Sagewater Spa, Desert Hot Springs

Sagewater Spa, Desert Hot Springs

Minimalist chic, a truly stunning swimming pool and jaw-dropping views of the surrounding hills are some of the draws of this Californian therapeutic retreat. There are just seven rooms (in pastel shades and each with a kitchenette), so the peace is almost palpable.

Sagewater Spa, 12689 Eliseo Road, Desert Hot Springs, California 92240 (001 760 251 1668; Doubles from $205 (£107) per night - two nights minimum

Aline Nassif

Kennedy School, Portland, Oregon

A one-time abandoned school in north-east Portland has become a landmark hotel oozing atmosphere. Here, 35 guestrooms have been fashioned from the original classrooms and even feature blackboards with chalk . Facilities include a courtyard restaurant in the school's former canteen, plus a couple of innovations that have arrived since the students left: a working brewery and an in-house cinema.

Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33 Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97211 (001 888 249 3983; Doubles from $99 (£52)


Ace Hotel, Seattle, Washington

Exuding urban cool from a historic Belltower house, the Ace (right) is one of Seattle's hippest hotels. The emphasis is very much on affordability and style - furnishings are minimal, rooms are dazzling white and there are army blankets on the beds. A couple of condoms and a copy of the Kama Sutra are left at the end of the bed, along with a Bible.

Ace Hotel, 2423 First Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98121 (001 206 448 4721; Doubles from $85 (£45)


Chateau Marmont, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Towering in serene Neo-Gothic splendour at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, the Chateau looks down panoramically on the shenanigans taking place on the infamous Sunset Strip. Built in 1929 and whimsically modelled on the Chateau Amboise in the Loire valley, the hotel is the epitome of bohemian chic, its quirky charms attracting celebrities of the likes of Madonna, Ethan Hawke and Julia Roberts.

Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90046 (001 323 656 1010; Doubles from $315 (£166)

Aoife O'Riordain

Hotel Triton, San Francisco, California

The décor is outrageous; the atmosphere is wacky; the staff wear bowling shirts. The Triton (right) aims to be fun, yet there is a serious side, with a commitment to sound ecological and environmental practice.

Hotel Triton, 342 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California 94108 (001 415 394 0500; Doubles from $99 (£52)