The Coolest Avant-Garde Hotels in North America

Is there only one true shape for a hotel’s exterior? Not if you believe in strong design and support generous use of curves and angles at the hands of leading architects. These 5 avant-garde properties are not in design hubs within Scandinavia or Southern California. Nope, they reside in rural areas sprinkled across North America, proving design sensibility can find a home anywhere.

Fogo Island Inn (St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Fogo Island Inn (St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada)

Hovering above the jagged coastline on stilts, and designed by Norway architect Todd Saunders, 29 rooms in the modular building frame views of the property’s namesake island. Elaine Fortin’s wood-harvested Punt Chair, a nod to the region’s boat builders, is in each room. (@michaelmakesfilms)

Solaz Los Cabos (Los Cabos, Mexico

Solaz Los Cabos (Los Cabos, Mexico)

Cube-shaped accommodations with living green roofs at this 128-room property are the genius idea of Mexico City’s Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos. Cesar López Negrete designed 400 artworks and installations. Stacked, modular two-story blocks build out the rest of the 33 acres.

Wild Rice Retreat’s RicePods (Bayfield, Wisconsin

Wild Rice Retreat’s RicePods (Bayfield, Wisconsin)

Near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore’s ferry, this mind-body retreat’s RicePods—by Salmela Architects in Duluth, MN—riff on tiny houses. Despite the name, there’s no cramping: a kitchenette, seating area, bath and lots of windows are a posh alternative to camping.

Jade Mountain (St. Lucia):

Jade Mountain (St. Lucia)

Vanishing-edge pools on the 24 sanctuaries’ open-wall patios were owner/architect Nick Troubetzkoy’s vision. Indigenous materials (tropical hardwoods from Guyana and Dominican Republic tiles) avoid a stark feel while retaining intimacy meant stacking—not sprawling—the layout.

Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel (Round Top, Texas):

Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel (Round Top, Texas)

Salvaged shipping containers—with raised, private decks—flaunt décor like a Chesterfield sofa, Picasso-esque illustrations, vintage signage you might scoop up at a flea market (a major one’s nearby) and distressed ship-lap. A Hand Chair (inspired by Pedro Friedeberg’s 1962 original) joins Adirondack chairs by the fire pit.

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