While the last few years saw some of the world’s largest hotel chains consolidate to form hospitality behemoths, a crop of trendy brands and collectives also sprouted on the scene to redefine the way we travel. Founded by hospitality stalwarts, industry disruptors, and acclaimed creatives, these hip groups are ushering in a new era of boutique hotels centered around locally inspired design and immersive experiences. Below are eight boutique hotel brands in the USA we love.
Ash Hotels is a top contender for the title of one of the most design-savvy hoteliers in the industry. Its reputation lies in offering over-the-top luxurious accommodations that serve as cinematic tributes to the best of the old world, now revitalized. Fashionable slumbers await at their outposts in Providence, Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, and soon, Richmond. We can attest that Hotel Peter & Paul in NOLA, housed in a refashioned church, rectory, convent, and schoolhouse, is one of the most creative stays we’ve ever experienced, while history lovers will certainly ‘ooh-and-ahh’ over Baltimore’s Hotel Ulysses, exuding an ambiance filled with relics from its illustrious past as a former bachelor pad.
The celebrated Texas-based hospitality group, Bunkhouse Hotels, is well-known for creating memorable boutique experiences that connect to the heart of the destination—which is exactly what we’re looking for at HAP. With flagships in Texas, California, Kentucky, and Mexico, each stay zooms in on playful interiors by infusing punchy-colored furnishings and funky printed wallpapers into its guest spaces. While we can’t choose a favorite, we’re partial to both of its Mexico properties (Hotel San Fernando in CDMX and Hotel San Cristóbal Baja in Todos Santos) and the Austin Motel in Austin, Texas. Plus, we have a soft spot for its bold outpost in Louisville, Kentucky, Hotel Genevieve.
Hospitality group Our Habitas’ first hotel in Tulum quickly became the talk of the town, from its beachfront rooms with straw-smothered roofs to its meandering jungle-sheltered paths. Fast forward to now, and you’ll find Habitas’ hotels worldwide, from Alula in Saudi Arabia (no doubt, you’ve seen this moon-like property on Instagram) to Habitas Atacama in Chile. The brand emphasizes deeper human connection within the places where they open hotels—and to our admiration, you’ll find they “practice what they preach”: their structures are abuzz with sustainability measures (natural materials like wood and straw for the win), staff are mostly comprised of locals, and various initiatives that help the environment—such as their coral-regeneration project in Tulum—are put into place (and it feels refreshingly authentic).
Started by hospitality legend Avi Brosh, this California-born boutique hotel brand’s stays are cemented into the fabric of local neighborhoods—for example, at Palihouse West Hollywood, the in-house Lobby Lounge Café and Bar is a favored place to catch up with friends, get work done, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee sans any particular reason; it equally (and effortlessly) welcomes in both locals and guests to its spacious seating area that pours out the sun-soaked sidewalk. When staying at Palisociety’s hotels, you’ll notice their understated, pared-back décor, a convergence of “California cool” and European grandeur: spherical pendant lights dangling from ceilings, checkered floors, lots of blues and greens, plus cohesive millwork are a few common attributes. While birthed in “The Golden State,” the group now has properties nationwide, including a new outpost in Tampa, Florida.
Proper Hospitality is celebrated for putting a Cali-cool spin on contemporary luxury across three brands: Proper Hotels, Avalon Hotels, and Hotel June. Each vibrant hotel comes to life through an individual design narrative developed by renowned designers, like Kelly Wearstler, who use local artwork and vintage furnishings to create urban sanctuaries catering to the modern nomad.
Before debuting a bespoke collection of hotels in dynamic, culture-rich neighborhoods around America, Life House got its start offering independent properties a revolutionary all-in-one operations platform. Today, the tech-driven brand operates nearly 50 hotels around the country, including “Life Houses” on Nantucket, Denver, and Miami, with highly-anticipated openings in Brooklyn and MX on the way.
Founded in 2014 by industry titans David Bowd and Kevin O’Shea, Salt Hotels is an acclaimed full-service hospitality collective with a growing roster of design-led lifestyle hotels. Boutique properties include the flagship Salt House Inn and Eden House in Provincetown, The Asbury and Asbury Ocean Club in New Jersey, Hotel Greystone in South Beach, and Hutton Brickyards in New York’s Hudson Valley.
This Louisville-based chain presents a unique hospitality concept that seamlessly fuses the best traits of a boutique hotel, contemporary art museum, and farm-to-table restaurant. With 9 outposts in cities throughout the U.S.—including the newest in Chicago—each 21c Museum Hotel boasts lots of contemporary art and free rotating exhibitions.