Old Montréal is like a city within a city, a slice of Old Europe right in the middle of a major North American city, where one can still hear the hooves of horses, drawing carriages along the meandering cobbled streets. And the Auberge du Vieux-Port is a bit of a trip through time as well—though nominally a boutique, and younger than it looks, the hotel is chock full of historical detail, with rustic touches like timbered ceilings and pine floors and 1882-vintage stone and brick walls.
The Hotel Nelligan is named for Émile Nelligan, one of Quebec’s most celebrated poets, and his face and quotations adorn the interiors of the hotel. It’s a detail that stops well short of outright gimmickry, but it contributes to the sense of history that is thick in the halls of this 1850 building.
Although Le Petit Hôtel may be petit in size, it’s grand in luxury, in a style that evokes a lost bohemia of nineteenth-century Europe. The Antonopoulos Group have made a habit out of carving modern boutique hotels out of Vieux Montréal’s historic buildings, most notably the Nelligan and the Auberge du Vieux Port. And with Le Petit Hôtel, located in the center of the historic district, you’ll feel like a Montreal local, surrounded by hidden clubs, bars, shops and galleries.
Hotel Place d’Armes is a new addition to the historic district of Old Montréal, a modern boutique hotel within the renovated nineteenth-century Great Scottish Life Insurance building, and an ideal vantage point from which to witness the resurgence of this once-neglected neighborhood.
In the historic quarter of Vieux Montréal, behind the 18th-century stone facade of a former carpet factory, you’ll find one of the most modern hotels in North America. Hotel Gault has no time for the French country style of many of its neighbors—the look here is industrial contemporary, with open-plan loft-style rooms, floors of polished concrete, and 1950s Eames chairs that look as futuristic today as they did when they first came off the drafting table.
There’s no place in North America with more historic character than Old Montreal — which means that a design hotel like the William Gray, made from a pair of 18th-century heritage buildings and a contemporary addition, gets maximum impact from its stylistic contrast. Once you’re inside the modern section, with its soaring glass atrium, it’s clear that you’re in for a 21st-century luxury-boutique experience.
Classic architecture meets modern interior design in this Old Port boutique, perennial contender for the title of Québec City’s finest small hotel. Once the 1912 Dominion Fish & Fruit building, today it’s the Hotel le Germain, a warm and inviting home base for exploring the historic walled city of Old Québec.
Try as it might, this town just can’t shake its reputation for aesthetic conservatism — but XV Beacon, Boston’s original luxury boutique hotel, is proof that well-worn tradition and contemporary boutique style can go comfortably hand in hand. The name is the address: 15 Beacon Street, a block from Boston Common, at one end of the city’s posh Beacon Hill neighborhood. What’s behind the cast-iron façade of this turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts building could easily have been a perfectly uptight, perfectly conventional New England luxury hotel — instead it’s possessed of a certain dark elegance, and an atmosphere that’s both romantic and a little bit Romantic.
For travelers of certain tastes, the big, established Miami Beach boutique hotels, with their see-and-be-seen atmosphere, can sometimes feel a bit much. Just one block from the Collins Avenue hotel strip, hiding in plain sight at Washington Avenue and Española Way, is something a bit subtler: Esmé Miami Beach is a Spanish-Mediterranean gem whose bohemian-luxe interiors establish a warm and slightly retro mood — one that’s got nothing to do, for once, with mid-century modernism.
At first glance it may seem difficult to reconcile the visual impression made by Weber’s Boutique Hotel with its claim to have been open — and family-owned — since 1969. But it’s clear that this is an establishment that hasn’t been content to rest on its laurels. The restaurant came first, a classic upscale steak house with live lobsters and a live piano player, and it’s still here in something approximating its original form — which feels like a time capsule in comparison to the hotel, which is as modern as they come, and stylish to a degree that’s positively shocking when you consider that this is Ann Arbor, Michigan, a city that, for all its charms, isn’t exactly at the cutting edge of boutique hospitality.
We’ve nothing against bed and breakfasts per se; they’re not simply small hotels, but something else entirely. Occasionally, though, we come across one that’s extraordinary enough that we’re forced to take notice, and this is one of those times. Atlanta in general does oversized nouveau riche as well as anyone, but Stonehurst Place is proof that they’ve still got a flair for the classic as well.
In far northwestern Massachusetts, roughly equidistant from Boston and New York, the Berkshires are undergoing the sort of revival that travel trend pieces are made of. Thanks in part to the redevelopment that’s accompanied MASS MoCA, the contemporary art museum, the formerly industrial town of North Adams is living a second life as a booming cultural destination. Outside the town center, on the road to neighborhing Williamstown, you’ll find another piece of reclaimed Berkshires heritage: TOURISTS, a Sixties motor lodge reborn as a very modern, very hip little country boutique hotel.
The Dewberry is an antique building, to be sure, but in its current incarnation as a boutique hotel it’s brand new. The downtown Charleston landmark formerly known as the L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building now bears the name of John Dewberry, the Atlanta developer who spent the better part of a decade transforming the structure. He didn’t just reimagine the building’s plain red brick facade, he commissioned local artisans to apply a custom-made gray limewash to the exterior. He didn’t just perk up the flowerbeds, he built a romantic walled garden evocative of old-world Charleston, then modeled the design of the hotel’s spa on his personal carriage house — and, along the way, assembled a dream team of architects, lighting specialists, and landscape designers, collaborating closely with a Brooklyn-based design firm and tapping a Charleston Preservation Designer to consult on the lavish marble and brass-fitted bathrooms.
Troutbeck didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to style itself a creative retreat — it’s been walking the walk for well over a century, having welcomed Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, and many others along the way. And while this estate, in Amenia, two hours from Manhattan, has seen some changes over the years — the Century Lodge dates back to 1760, while the Manor House was added in 1919 — it’s perhaps most remarkable for its continuity.
Founded by makeup magnate Bobbi Brown and her husband, real estate developer Steven Plofker, The George is something out of the ordinary for the New Jersey township of Montclair. Though it’s 12 miles to the west of New York City, it feels, from the inside, like a Greenwich Village mansion, as interpreted through the eyes of an eclectic, assured decorator; Ms. Brown herself serves as the project’s creative director, having dived head-first into this project just a day after walking away from her cosmetics empire.
Savannah, Georgia’s riverfront district may be historic, but unlike its counterparts in some other Southern cities, it’s not a time capsule — this is also a youthful and vibrant city, where a spirit of creativity permeates everything. It’s the perfect setting, in other words, for a boutique hotel like the Drayton, behind whose 19th-century stone façade lie interiors that are historically informed but unmistakably contemporary.
We’re finally going to make it all the way through the description of a Washington, D.C. hotel without any wisecracks about the capital’s aesthetic conservatism. The Eaton Hotel is impervious to that line of criticism — this isn’t just the hippest hotel in Washington, but one of the most impressive new boutique hotels in America, and it’s thanks in large part to the fact that its founder, Katharine Lo, isn’t given to half-measures.
Continuing the project that began with the 2017 Women’s March, the Viceroy hotel group has made a statement with what used to be Washington D.C.’s Donovan — after a large-scale renovation it’s been renamed Hotel Zena, and is now a grand feminist gesture, dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women at every turn. As gestures go, it’s not a subtle one — a pair of female “Warrior Guardians” adorn the exterior, and an enormous pointillist portrait of the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg dominates one of the walls of the lobby lounge.
In a town as traditional as Washington, a little bit of modern design goes a long way. The newly redesigned Dupont Hotel is, in its subtly stylish way, one of the hippest hotels in the nation’s capital. It’s the only hotel on Dupont Circle, in a neighborhood better known for dining, nightlife and entertainment than for monuments or institutions — which, provided you’re not here with your high school history class, is definitely a good thing.
Finally, we take back everything we said to the contrary about the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C. has plenty of youthful style, if you know where to look — and in the hospitality world, one of the natural places to start is Yours Truly. This is one of the new breed of boutique hotels that aims to create an atmosphere of approachable sociability, rather than luxe elitism, and while its modernist, industrial architecture may recall the first wave of high-design boutique hotels, its interior decoration is warm and eclectic, and feels more collected than consciously designed.
Vermont may have a reputation for low-frills, homespun charm, as does the word Woodstock, with its hippie-era associations. But this is an entirely different Woodstock, both literally and figuratively. The Woodstock Inn, in the Vermont town of the same name, was founded by Laurance Rockefeller — in 1969, ironically enough — and though it’s recently undergone a thorough renovation, it’s stayed true to its aristocratic spirit: this is one of the most elegantly luxurious hotels, not only in Vermont, but in the whole of the Northeast.
The Inn at Thorn Hill, a luxury hotel and spa in the woods of northern New Hampshire, is nothing if not relaxing. Each of the suites and rooms of the main building has its own unique style and layout, but all feature two-person whirlpool bathtubs and gas fireplaces. Guests in need of more space and privacy may also choose from a pair of charming independent cottages, while a larger group may prefer the historic carriage house, adjacent to the main building, whose six rooms can accommodate up to twelve guests. The spa provides a sauna as well as a generous menu of beauty treatments, while the hotel’s Dining Room serves upscale American cuisine, alongside a tavern with a fantastic selection of classic cocktails, wines, and draft beers.
Whatever meaning the word “refinery” calls to mind, New York’s Refinery Hotel has it covered: there’s a slight edge of industrial chic about the guest rooms, an air of classic refinement about the public spaces, and the whole thing is built on the site of a factory that once turned out finery, if you’ll extend the pun that far — hats, to be specific, though the vibe is more holistically Twenties-inspired than specifically headwear-related.
Charleston, South Carolina is one of the most unique cities in the United States, and it deserves a hotel like Emeline. The building, at Church and Market in the heart of the historic downtown district, was previously a forgettable chain hotel, and is now unrecognizable, so complete is its transformation — today’s Emeline is impeccably stylish and chock full of local flavor and inimitable personality.
There’s more to the Hamptons travel experience than just the glamorous seaside resorts — the Roundtree, Amagansett shows off the pastoral side of island life. It’s set on two acres of land in the town of Amagansett, a mile inland from the beach, and comprises a barn and a collection of cottages dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. From the exterior, they’re beautifully preserved, proud of their history — inside, however, you’re treated to a visually minimalist contemporary-luxe experience, complete with Frette linens, Matouk towels, and Nespresso coffee machines.