THE PRICE OF COMFORT
A hotel can raise its room rate based on demand or by being the only game in town, but it takes a combination of amenities and service to be considered more than just "expensive." With vacation rentals and home-sharing biting into the hospitality industry's bottom line, guests willing to pay a premium for plush accommodations expect a certain level of quality — spa treatments, concierge service, private chefs, and other luxuries. While day-to-day price fluctuations make it nearly impossible to find the most expensive of these luxury hotels, we combed lists of the best, picked midsummer weekends in June and found facilities known as much for their pampering as for their price tags.
ALABAMA: GRAND MARRIOTT RESORT, GOLF CLUB AND SPA
The Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club, & Spa features a host of amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a 20,000-square-foot spa, and large meeting spaces. Guests have access to boats, jet skis, fishing, bikes, tennis courts, and a whole lot of other distractions. Its most luxurious accommodations are found in its 1,800-square-foot, $3,000-a-night Presidential Suite. Recently renovated, the suite includes a baby grand piano, balconies overlooking the Grand's marina and Mobile Bay, a giant bath, four-post king bed, plasma TV, private bar and kitchen, a fireplace, and a dining room.
Starting price by the night: $360
ALASKA: SHELDON CHALET
The Sheldon Chalet sits at 6,000 feet of elevation, overlooks a natural amphitheater carved out by a glacier, and still is only at the base of Denali. It's just a half mile from the Denali landing strip inside, uses the Finnish fireplace in its common area as a clean-combustion heating system, gets its power from solar panels, and draws water from glacial runoff. With fairly spare rooms, much of guests' time is spent adventuring, watching the auroras and taking in meals by Alaskan chef Dave Thorne, cooked for Justin Timberlake, Keith Urban, and Kings of Leon when they were on tour.
Starting price by the night: $2,300
ARIZONA: CANYON SUITES AT THE PHOENICIAN
Starting at more than $260 a night and offering guided nature hikes along Camelback Mountain, golf course excursions, and seven pools — one with a 165-foot waterslide — the Phoenician is fairly lush in its own right, but has Canyon Suites that give guests terraces, marble bathrooms with a separate tub and shower, and views of either the golf course or pool. Some of the perks include access to a private infinity-edge pool, complimentary breakfast, chauffeur service, and free bike rentals.
Starting price by the night: $513
ARKANSAS: MOUNTAIN HARBOR RESORT AND SPA
Built in 1955 and retaining the original mid-century architecture, the Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa lodge is the entrance to 900 acres of guest rooms, cabanas, cottages, condos, boat slips, pools (three), a conference center, a restaurant, and a full-service spa. You have to bring your own wine, beer, or spirits (it's in a dry county) and the beach at Ouachita Lake has a fee for use, but there are noteworthy luxuries in this wilderness retreat, including a luxury cabin with a stone fireplace and hot tub that starts at $700 for a two-night stay.
Starting price by the night: $265
CALIFORNIA: CALISTOGA RANCH
Located amid 157 acres in Upper Napa Valley, Auberge Resorts' Calistoga Ranch offers a taste of wine country at its Lakehouse Restaurant and Lounge, Pool Terrace, wine cave, or even right outside your lodge — with your own chef handling the cooking. The deluxe lodges are the property's most modest accommodations, and even they include outdoor showers, fireplaces, and bath gardens. Premium lodges add amenities including full kitchens, hot tubs, and private concierge service, but all feature gourmet snacks, Wi-Fi, in-room iPads, down linens, and access to a heated swimming pool and full-service spa. The Auberge Spa features services ranging from the $460 "Calistoga Cure" (mineral salt body scrub, private outdoor bath, energy balancing session, and massage) to a $100 soak in a tub filled with beer.
Starting price by the night: $1,860
COLORADO: THE RITZ-CARLTON BACHELOR GULCH
In the shadow of the Beaver Creek hills, the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch is a true ski-in, ski-out resort teeming with recreational facilities, private concierges, an afternoon fire pit lighting ceremony, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant (Spago) and a remote location that brings the surrounding nature into the lodge itself. Most rooms have a mountain or valley view, and shuttles take you into Beaver Creek village should you get the urge to shop.
Starting price by the night: $610
CONNECTICUT: THE GRACE MAYFLOWER HOTEL AND SPA
February room rates here ran between $480 and $640, and it does look lovely in the snow. However, The Mayflower Inn sits on 58 acres just two hours from New York City in Litchfield County and is alive with landscaped gardens, meadows, woodland, and rolling river. However, the property itself is home to fireplaces, pools, saunas, a 1927 cinema, classic cars, a library and local wines.
Starting price by the night: $623
DELAWARE: THE BELLMOOR INN AND SPA
After Memorial Day in Rehoboth Beach, the term "most expensive" becomes relative. The Bellmoor Inn and Spa earns its premium with a full spa menu ranging from $40 manicures and $115 massages and facials to a $325 massage, facial, and manicure/pedicure package. Two pools (one for family, one for adults), a hot tub, breakfast, and afternoon refreshments are included in the room rate, as is free shuttle service to the beach.
Starting price by the night: $419
FLORIDA: SUNSET KEY COTTAGES
This isn't so much "Key West" as it is a 27-acre private island a boat ride from Key West. You can still visit Ernest Hemingway's house, Harry Truman's Little White House, and all the Key West bars and music venues — you'll just come back afterward to Sunset Key Cottages' private cottages with wrap-around veranda and a sprawling beach where an ice cream man doles out free treats. Charter fishing cruises, zip around on personal watercraft, take yoga classes, go parasailing, try scuba diving, and get spa treatments, all offered on the facility's activities list. Just a quick boat ride from Key West on Sunset Key, the property's cottages adorned with bougainvillea are charming, luxurious, and full of quintessential Floridian charm. If you can't keep up with Key West, Latitudes Restaurant and Flipper's Pool Bar are there to keep you sustained during a low-key time on Sunset Key.
Starting price by the night: $1,102
GEORGIA: THE CLOISTER AT SEA ISLAND
The Sea Island resort and its four hotel properties and private cottages keep some exclusive company. It's hosted a G-8 Summit of world leaders, holds the PGA Tour's RSM Classic on its Plantation golf course, and is home to a yacht club, beach club, shooting school, and 5 miles of its own beach. The Cloister itself is a palatial main building, a beach club, and ocean residences with four restaurants, a spa, and a fitness facility. We'd linger on the Cloister's soaking tubs and Nespresso coffee in each room, but the formal, jacket-required dining in chef Julian Scheibel's Georgian Room merits getting out. Peruse the menu or sample the black bass crudo, octopus, the Wagyu striploin, and truffle soup at a chef's table seating.
Starting price by the night: $849
HAWAII: MONTAGE KAPALUA BAY, LAHAINA
Hawaii has no shortage of sprawling, costly resorts to choose from, and Maui itself has them to spare. Still, Montage Kapalua Bay boasts three restaurants and bars, a full-service spa, pool, tennis courts, and horseback riding along a gorgeous stretch of beach and hosts luaus, helicopter tours, snorkel tours, food and wine tours, and sport-fishing excursions, and actually gets less expensive in June as mainlanders stop fleeing the winter temperatures. It's a bit pricier $1,295 a night in March.
Starting price by the night: $1,095
IDAHO: SUN VALLEY RESORT
Ski season is high season at Sun Valley, with rooms starting at closer to $500 and guests clamoring to get to the ski lift, cross-country trails, sleigh rides, and ice rink. But Sun Valley also has three swimming pools, a jacuzzi, two fitness centers, a movie theater, a bowling alley and arcade, three golf courses, biking and running trails, fly-fishing rivers, paddle boating on Sun Valley lake, horseback riding, and, yes, a full-service spa. Meanwhile, if you're hungry, there are 20 eateries ranging from an Austrian coffee and cocoa house to an outdoor dining terrace along the golfing greens.
Starting price by the night: $369
ILLINOIS: FOUR SEASONS
About four blocks off of Lake Shore Drive and Oak Street Beach and amid shops along Chicago's Magnificent Mile, the Water Tower, and the observatory at the John Hancock Building, the Four Seasons is what you'd expect from the neighborhood and brand. The Four Seasons' room upgrades include terraces and fireplaces, and its 2,300-square foot presidential suite has three bathrooms, a view of Lake Michigan, a private bar and a private fitness center. Even in a minimally priced rooms, guests have access to the Four Seasons' full-service spa, health club, fitness center, and 900 shops in the floors below.
Starting price by the night: $667
INDIANA: LE MERIDIEN
The story of high-end hotels in Indiana is the story of a whole lot of facilities charging between $200 and $300 a night. What makes Le Meriden Indianapolis so special? It isn't the 24-hour fitness center, connection to Circle Centre Mall, free Wi-Fi, Illy coffee or big flat screens. It's the location that's attached to the Indiana Convention Center and within walking distance of the zoo, Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of basketball's Indiana Pacers) and Lucas Oil Stadium (home of football's Indianapolis Colts). On some weekends, proximity is the greatest luxury of all.
Starting price per night: $303
IOWA: HOTEL BLACKHAWK
Many love the amenities at the historic Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, with its spa-like bathrooms, indoor pool, and premium location along the Mississippi River. It's also near the Adler Theater and the Figge Art Museum. The Blackhawk's full-service spa offers facials, massages, and manicures and pedicures. An especially unique feature: The Blackhawk has its own bowling alley complete with a martini lounge.
Starting price by the night: $346
KANSAS: GREAT WOLF LODGE
Many kids won't be out of school for summer vacation at this time. But if temperatures in Kansas City play along during late spring, it may be all the reason families need to visit this hotel/indoor waterpark chain. Great Wolf Lodge has 16 of these facilities across the country. The center of all the attention is the thicket of pools, waterslides, and water forts, but the lodge also plies kids with mini-golf, shows, costumed characters, arcade games, and stuffed-animal workshops. What's in it for the adults? A fitness center, nightly food-and-wine pairings and, if they spring and pay $287 or $332 a night for it, a room with a separate tent or cabin sleeping area for the kids.
Starting price by the night: $214
KENTUCKY: THE BROWN HOTEL
A Louisville institution since 1923, the Georgian Revival Brown Hotel and its rooftop garden, gilded two-story lobby, two restaurants, and lobby bar has developed quite a personality over its lifetime. Its J. Graham's Cafe gave the hotel its signature sandwich, The Hot Brown — an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and Mornay sauce. The expansive, ornate Lobby Bar will pour you a flight of various Kentucky bourbons, and serve either a Hot Brown or a slice of walnut-and-chocolate Derby Pie before sending you off to bed. The lushly paneled English Grill is still the finest eatery the hotel offers, but amenities including 24-hour hotel shuttle service, free rides downtown, and complimentary use of its fitness center stand out. If you're fortunate enough to snag one of the club rooms, access to a club-floor concierge, snacks, cocktails, and complimentary continental breakfast is provided.
Starting price by the night: $238
LOUISIANA: THE RITZ-CARLTON
How do you make a hotel stand out among the rest of the luxury offerings just off of Bourbon Street? Just keep piling on the amenities. Set in a 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, the Ritz-Carlton employs its own crawfish concierge, snowball sommelier, and oyster butler. It serves farm-to-table meals in its M Bistro and named its third-floor Davenport Lounge after jazz headliner Jeremy Davenport. Its suites look like French Quarter parlors and its club level offers continuous meals and snacks throughout the day, a dedicated concierge, 24-hour grab-and-go station, and a salon, library, and parlor of its own. If we fail to emphasize the 22-room spa and its 100 treatments, it's only because it's difficult to prioritize any one lavish perk over another.
Starting price by the night: $450
MAINE: CLIFF HOUSE
Maine doesn't use its "Vacationland" moniker lightly, and this inn right on Bald Head Cliff is exactly what visitors picture when taking their Maine getaway: A view of the ocean and Nubble Lighthouse off in the distance. The Cliff House Inn welcomed its first guests in 1872, but was recently refurbished to include three pools, an art gallery, private terraces, locally produced linens and comforters, a 24-hour fitness center, a full spa, a coffee house, a seasonal lobster shack, and the oceanfront Tiller restaurant. Just minutes from Ogunquit's beach and little more than an hour north of Boston, Cliff House and its 226 rooms are open for all seasons.
Starting price by the night: $513
MARYLAND: THE IVY
Just north of the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore, near the Baltimore Symphony and Modell performing arts center, The Ivy converted a historic Mount Vernon mansion into 18 guests rooms, 23 fireplaces, a grand staircase entrance, gardens, a library, and a small spa. There's afternoon tea, a serve-yourself bar, and Magdelena — chef Mark Levy's five-room restaurant that The Ivy touts as the best in Baltimore.
Starting price by the night: $475
MASSACHUSETTS: CANYON RANCH
Canyon Ranch is a wellness resort in the Berkshires that's almost equidistant from New York and Boston and teeming with spa treatments, biking, hiking, nutrition, salon treatments, adventure packages, gourmet cuisine, and more. Located in the former Bellafontaine Mansion, Canyon Ranch includes a daily $160 service allowance, all meals, 35 activities a day, facility access, round-trip transportation from regional airports and train stations, valet parking and gratuities in its price. If you don't want to leave, it also sells residences on the property.
Starting price by the night: $1,952
MICHIGAN: GRAND HOTEL
Overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and wedged between Michigan's lower peninsula to the south and its upper peninsula to the north, the Grand Hotel has been greeting Mackinac Island travelers since 1887. Since there are no cars on the island (and only 600 full-time residents), you get picked up from the ferry terminal in a horse-drawn carriage. Then there's golf on the Jewel course, a spa or salon treatment, biking the island, swimming in the massive 220-foot Esther Williams pool, taking afternoon tea, or dancing to the Grand Hotel Orchestra. Just don't spend too much time staring at the restored wallpaper: There are nine eateries to visit before leaving.
Starting price by the night: $981
MINNESOTA: THE TOWERS AT KAHLER GRAND
How does a 90-year-old hotel in Rochester become the most expensive in the state? It's simply the only luxury hotel within walking distance of the Mayo Clinic. The Towers at Kahler Grand are connected to the clinic by a climate-controlled underground passageway and a skyway. It has three restaurants, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, a domed rooftop pool, a fitness center, and free shuttles to any of the area's medical facilities. If you have to be in town either for treatment or to treat a patient, this is about the most comfortable way to do so.
Starting price by the night: $469
MISSISSIPPI: RIVERWALK CASINO
This casino hotel recently underwent some renovations, but this is no resort: This is a gambler's casino. Sure, the Riverwalk also hosts the Magnolia Hill buffet and Smiley's sandwiches, but the big draw here is the sports book, which received a huge boost from a 2018 Supreme Court decision legalizing sports gambling under specific circumstances. When you're one of the first outside of Las Vegas with that particular amenity, you can charge what you want.
Starting price by the night: $290
MISSOURI: D'MONACO LUXURY RESORT
D'Monaco — near Branson without actually being in Branson — has six cavernous villa suites on Table Rock Lake with window walls offering views of the Ozark Mountains, bedroom suites with king beds, private verandas, choice of watercraft rentals, a pool, multiple restaurants, a lake shore, private docks, cliffside fire pits, a swim-up tiki bar, and an available masseuse, personal shopper, and event planner. Unfortunately, D'Monaco was hit by a tornado in December 2018. It is undergoing repairs and is building more villas. It is scheduled to reopen June 1.
Starting price by the night: $696
MONTANA: THE RANCH AT ROCK CREEK
The Ranch at Rock Creek's astonishing starting price still requires a five-night minimum stay and doesn't include the 20 percent ranch fee (itself $600 a night) for taxes, long-distance calls (because it's 1993 on the ranch), Wi-Fi, staff gratuities, and bottomless snacks and beverages. What is included in that price is a lodge room, housekeeping, all meals and coffee and tea, unlimited alcohol (beer, wine, and spirits), guided activities, gear, and equipment, the Silver Dollar Saloon (with billiards, poker, shuffleboard, karaoke, a private movie theater, board games, and four lanes of bowling), airport transportation, and a personal bicycle for getting around. You could also drop $12,400 a night on one of the ranch's eight-person luxury homes.
Starting price by the night: $3,000
NEBRASKA: HOTEL DECO
Hotel Deco bills itself as the only AAA four-diamond preferred hotel in all of Nebraska. It's steeped in history and dates back to 1930s with its art-deco styling and elegance. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is situated near the Old Market and the Gene Leahy park, and the Orpheum Theater. In recent years, the hotel underwent a renovation and upgrade. It's Monarch Prime and Bar restaurant features entrees like bison striploin and Wagyu Tomahawk Chop ($150) along with an extensive cocktail, wine, whiskey, and scotch menu.
Starting price by the night: $204
NEVADA: SKYLOFTS AT MGM GRAND
If you've done particularly well at the tables or just want some sanctuary from Las Vegas noise, these 1,400-square-foot, two-story MGM Grand Skylofts go all-in on amenities. While there are two-bedroom and three-bedroom versions available, even the one-bedroom comes with a king-sized bed, private bar, espresso machine, a TV in the mirror, video game consoles, an infinity-edge spa tub, immersion shower, a smart remote for the whole facility, and complimentary electronics. In case you're still on the fence about shelling out, MGM offers a pillow menu, personalized stationery, laundry and butler service, a personal concierge, an elevator escort, packing and unpacking assistance and access to the SKYLobby (which doubles as a lounge for the adjacent TopGolf facility.
Starting price by the night: $1,600
NEW HAMPSHIRE: WENTWORTH BY THE SEA
With no offense to Marriott, which owns this hotel and spa, this isn't your downtown or airport Marriott. Opened in 1874 and given a $30 million overhaul in 2003, Wentworth by the Sea is one of the last of the area's grand hotels. Located right along the coast, the Wentworth features a full-service spa, exercise studio, indoor and outdoor pools, a tennis court, historic gardens, 10,000 square feet of event space, four dining facilities, and a 170-slip marina. The Sunday jazz brunch may make guests want to linger a bit longer, but the ocean views, king-sized beds, and whirlpool tubs in the Turret Suites tempt them to stay long-term.
Starting price by the night: $417
NEW JERSEY: PEACOCK INN
In the home of New Jersey's Ivy League institution, standards are a bit higher. The Peacock Inn, three blocks from the Princeton University campus, was built in the 1700s and hosted members of the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War, as well as Albert Einstein when he moved to town. It spent three years being renovated before reopening in 2010 and now provides guests with plush Hollandia mattresses, down comforters and pillows, heated bathroom floors, Ben Shahn artwork, and rich soaking and jetted tubs in the suites.
Starting price by the night: $325
NEW MEXICO: FOUR SEASONS RESORT RANCHO ENCANTADO
The Four Seasons shows up a lot on this list, but usually for its amenity-laden urban locations. When you have the natural wonders of Santa Fe, it doesn't make sense to just package all of those same amenities into a 12-story brick box. Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is on 57 acres just 10 minutes from the galleries and shops of Santa Fe. Each of its adobe-style casita rooms has its own fireplace and terrace, with the 1,100-square foot, $1,950-a-night Encantado Suite providing a premium view from the site's highest elevation. The spa is inspired by the sacred kiva rooms of the indigenous Pueblo, and the regionally inspired treatments range from an altitude-adjustment massage ($150 and helpful at 7,000 feet) to the two-hour Mountain Spirit Purification featuring heavy doses of sage, juniper, and adobe clay ($300). With a Southwest-flavored restaurant, timbered exercise facility, dedicated yoga and pilates studio, and terrace pool, this Four Seasons is uniquely attuned to its environment and feels less like a hotel and more like Santa Fe with a Four Seasons logo slapped on it.
Starting price by the night: $749
NEW YORK: FOUR SEASONS
One of two Four Seasons properties in New York City, this one in Midtown is a landmark all its own. On Billionaire's Row between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue and just below Central Park, this Four Seasons is in a modern-deco building designed by I.M. Pei. and has services catered to its globally and economically cosmopolitan clientele. The 10-room spa is overseen by skincare brand L. Raphael, The Garden restaurant overlooks the lobby and seats guests beneath Acacia trees. Guests in the Terrace Suites get "Meals in the Sky" prepared on their terraces overlooking the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. We aren't going to waste time on mundane details such as gyms and children's amenities when the Four Seasons offers guests rides around the city in a Rolls-Royce and its most prestigious guests a Suite in the Sky: a 4,300-square-foot penthouse on the 52nd floor with four glass balconies, curated original artwork, a chauffeured Rolls-Royce Phantom, 24-hour dedicated guest relations manager, and unlimited caviar, champagne, and massages.
Starting price by the night: $1,095
NORTH CAROLINA: THE UMSTEAD HOTEL AND SPA
Just five minutes from Raleigh-Durham airport but a world away from the bustle of The Triangle, The Umstead Hotel and Spa is an urban oasis. Every guest gets a free VertuoLine Nespresso Machine in their room, a free shoe shine, free Wi-Fi, and nightly turndown service. Meanwhile there is also free yoga every weekend, free bicycle rentals with helmets and trail maps, Free 24-hour fitness facilities, and outdoor pool with cabanas and bar, and a full-service spa where guests can use relaxation lounges, locker rooms, steam room, sauna, whirlpool, current pool and meditation gardens free during the week. There's a three acre lake on the property with a ¾-mile walking/jogging trail, but the five-star restaurant with its own 1-acre garden and the lounge with live entertainment are similarly strong draws.
Starting price by the night: $479
NORTH DAKOTA: WILLISTON BOUTIQUE HOTEL
The Williston opened as an Elks Lodge in 1918 and didn't start taking guests until after renovations in 2012. The apartment-style rooms have their own kitchens and dining rooms, free Wi-Fi, fold-out beds, and office space, but the key amenity is the Eleven Restaurant & Lounge on the main floor and its 45-day aged steaks. It's nice to have a steakhouse and lounge right downstairs, and even nicer for a business traveler to have the option of bringing that steak up to the room.
Starting price by the night: $129
OHIO: CEDAR POINT'S HOTEL BREAKERS
On a peninsula in Lake Erie, in the shadow of Cedar Point roller coasters and swing rides, is this 110-year-old grand hotel, the crown jewel of the theme park's accommodations. Hotel Breakers lacks the tiny-house appeal of the Lighthouse Point trailer cabins, the wave pool of the Castaway Bay hotel, or the frugality of the Express Hotel, but does have a whole lot of other perks. For one, it's the closest hotel to the amusement park and water park — it has dedicated entrances to each and doles out tickets to guests at a discount — and offers free parking, an hour's worth of early entry and shuttle service to other points on the peninsula. There's also free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, outdoor and indoor pools and hot tubs, a water play area for the kids and multiple family-friendly eateries (think Starbuck's, Domino's, Perkins, and TGI Friday's).
Starting price by the night: $301
OKLAHOMA: AMBASSADOR HOTEL
The 10-story Ambassador Hotel was Tulsa's first extended-stay hotel when it opened in 1929. It was turned into apartments in the 1960s, but restored to its former glory in the '90s. The hotel's Chalkboard restaurant has been a Tulsa fixture since the '70s, but was also updated in the '90s. There's no spa here, but other amenities include free valet parking, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and express checkout.
Starting price by the night: $278
OREGON: ALLISON INN & SPA
There are surprising luxuries hidden amid the agricultural landscape of Oregon's Willamette Valley, where Newberg mixes working-class town with big-moneyed wine tourists — The Allison catering decidedly to the latter. Rooms and suites have terraces, gas fireplaces, and spa-quality bathrooms. There are 100 pieces of art strewn about the grounds, fields of grape vines can be seen from the rooms, and the grand stone fireplace in the lobby serves as a backdrop to live music. There's a spa with 12 treatment rooms, an expansive fitness room, and an indoor swimming pool, and the inn partners with Lexus to provide guests transportation to and from wineries. Its Jory restaurant has a wall of vintages to choose from as well.
Starting price by the night: $465
Situated in the former Girard Trust building in the heart of Center City (the William Penn statue on city hall practically casts a shadow on it), the Ritz-Carlton's shell dates back to 1908 with an interior that is definitely new money. After a $25 million redesign, there are things the Ritz gets right about Philly and things it doesn't: It doles out Goldenberg's Peanut Chews (good), but calls Broad Street the Avenue of the Arts (no). Yet its Richel D'Ambra spa, chef Richard Sandoval's Aqimero restaurant right in the former bank's lobby, its 27,000 square feet of event space, and its Ritz Kids program to keep children entertained all hit the right notes, as does the club level with its dedicated concierge, club lounge, and parade of snacks.
Starting price by the night: $405
RHODE ISLAND: OCEAN HOUSE
This list has provided some fine examples of historic grand Victorian hotels. Ocean House is a fine example, but neither historic nor Victorian. There was a grand hotel built on these grounds in 1868, but like so many summer "cottages" of the Gilded Age, it fell into disrepair and closed in 2003. It was demolished to make way for this facility, which opened in 2010. We'll admit, this is a faithful replica. All the windows are in their original positions, many artifacts and furniture from the old hotel have been saved, but the room count has been slashed to 67 from 159 as a nod to luxury. There's the same views of Montauk, Block Island, and the Atlantic from the hotel's 650 feet of private beach as in the 1800s, and many of the same activities on its croquet lawn, putting green, and shuffleboard court. The list of modern amenities include an award-winning spa, a wine and culinary arts program, yoga classes, free Wi-Fi, free use of the hotel's Mercedes-Benz convertibles, free valet parking, free afternoon refreshments, an indoor saltwater lap pool, squash courts, and butler service, both on the hotel floors and on the beach.
Starting price by the night: $1,030
SOUTH CAROLINA: WENTWORTH MANSION
Among the smaller hotels on our list, Wentworth Mansion dates back to 1865 and served as the home of a cotton magnate, a group of Scottish Rite Masons, and an insurance company before being renovated into a hotel in 1997. It's difficult not to get lost admiring the inlaid floors, Tiffany glass, rooftop cupola, and marble fireplace in the Harleston Parlor, but the Circa 1886 restaurant and the mansion's spa demand attention as well. A free, full breakfast, afternoon snacks and wine, whirlpool tubs in each room, free soft drinks and bottled water, nightly housemade chocolates and evening port sherry and brandy all do a fine job pleading Wentworth Mansion's case.
Starting price by the night: $540
SOUTH DAKOTA: HOTEL ALEX JOHNSON
Rapid City isn't Mount Rushmore's doormat. The statues of presidents on its streets may lead you to believe that's all it cares about, but the graffiti alley, Elks movie theater, performing art center, brewery, food trucks, and parks along Rapid Creek benefit from the faces on that rock, but take on a completely separate life. Dating back to 1928, shortly after people first put chisels to the Black Hills to carve giant noses and chins, the Hotel Alex Johnson has views of the Black Hills from its Vertex Sky Bar, a cozy pub in Paddy O'Neill's (named after the hotel's first guest), and lattes at Starbucks because, let's face it, the tourists still want their coffee. A 24-hour fitness room, salon, spa, and meeting rooms are all available, but the original wood carvings, stone fireplace, and ghost stories about at least three spirits haunting the Alex Johnson give this place its charm.
Starting price by the night: $204
TENNESSEE: OMNI NASHVILLE HOTEL
Connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Omni Nashville Hotel offers visitors a dose of luxury in Music City. Its Mokara Spa has full array of services ranging from facial treatments starting at $125 and a $280 signature body treatment that includes exfoliation, an oil application and a hot stone massage. Swimmers and sunbathers will enjoy the hotel's rooftop pool and whirlpool and their dazzlings views of the Nashville skyline. The Kitchen Notes eatery serves biscuits throughout the day at its famous Biscuit Bar, this being the South and all. But the hotel's location is what makes it ring true in Music City. When you have the Ryman Auditorium, Music Row, Johnny Cash Museum, and some hot chicken all within reach, why just sit around waiting for a train that isn't coming?
Starting price by the night: $695
TEXAS: FOUR SEASONS
One could argue that there isn't anything "weird" about a city with a Four Seasons, but all that South By Southwest money has to stay somewhere. We'll give the Austin Four Seasons credit for having live music in the lobby lounge and advertising games of cornhole on its grounds (because you just know Ty Warner isn't having any of that at the Manhattan Four Seasons), but the spa, fitness facility, and saltwater pool overlooking Lady Bird Lake and wind-down weekend tea service with eye masks and earplugs are a little more on-brand. If you're looking for a unique Austin touch beyond the library of Texas authors, seek out the guitar concierge.
Starting price by the night: $645
UTAH: ST. REGIS DEER VALLEY
An hour from Salt Lake City, the St. Regis Deer Valley offers guests ski-in/ski-out access at Deer Valley Resort, a ski beach, and ski valet in-season, when starting prices can get into the high $700 range. They tail off a bit during hiking, fishing, and summer concert season, when there's still a split-level infinity pool, hot tubs, and St. Regis Wine Vault to enjoy, as well as the Remede Spa, butler service, and summer jazz shows — and views from the terraces are just as lovely when things are green as they are when they're white.
Starting price by the night: $351
VERMONT: TWIN FARMS
While Twin Farms is known for having an incredible hot tub, it also has an interesting history. It was once owned by author Sinclair Lewis and journalist Dorothy Thompson, who played host to countless literary and political figures of their day. Today, Twin Farms' Bridge House Spa offers massages, facials, scrubs and other treatments. There are also six private downhill ski trails. This 1700s-era farmhouse is also home to a 15,000-bottle wine collection to complement chef Nathan Rich's elegant menus that vary by season. Guests can arrive by car, but in case you need it, there's also a helipad, where a Trump helicopter was seen arriving in 2017.
Starting price by the night: $1,800
Tucked in the Virginia countryside amid the Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland sits on 12,000 acres amassed by French billionaire and Schlumberger oil field services heir Didier Primat and opened as a sportsman's paradise in 2009. Much about this facility pushes visitors to go outside, where there's golf on a course modeled after ancient Scottish courses, sport shooting, archery, biking, disc golf, fly fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, trail riding, tree climbing, tomahawk throwing, yoga, and stargazing. After a long day of those, head back to your room in the lodge, suite, cottage, or treehouse of your choice. The facility uses recycled and repurposed materials, the restaurant and pub menus are strictly organic, and the spa is inspired by Native American and European rituals.
Starting price by the night: $601
WASHINGTON: FOUR SEASONS
Spa? Check. Fitness center? Check? Upscale restaurant with name attached? Ethan Stowell's Goldfinch Tavern is a check. There are many ways the Four Seasons will treat you well, and add to the list giving a whole lot of guests a view of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound from their rooms, putting a giant fireplace in the lobby, and opening an outdoor bar and heated infinity pool with a view of Puget Sound during the summer. Just a brief walk from Pike Place Market, the waterfront, and the home of baseball's Mariners and soccer's Sounders at Safeco Field and CenturyLink field, the Four Seasons doesn't really have to do much but offer the amenities Four Seasons travelers are used to ... and tell them that June at the pool might be cold, foggy, rainy, or a combination of the three.
Starting price by the night: $839
WEST VIRGINIA: HILLBROOK INN
Technically a bed and breakfast consisting of 19 rooms across five buildings, Hillbrook near Harper's Ferry has enough amenities to compete with hotels several times its size. Its Gatehouse Spa offers massages, facials, body treatments, waxing, and cosmetics. Its Redbook Restaurant bases the daily menu on the market availability of fresh ingredients. A full breakfast is served every morning, but the Hillbrook will also bring a continental breakfast to your room. Upgrading to a cottage suite brings a gas fireplace and a king bed for $319 a night.
Starting price by the night: $249
WISCONSIN: THE AMERICAN CLUB
Yes, that Kohler: The people who made your bathroom fixtures. This is a company town, and in Kohler's earliest days, immigrants from Austria, Holland, Germany, Russia, and other locations flocked here for jobs when it was just 21 acres of farmland. Needing a place to put them, Kohler opened The American Club in 1918 with a pub, bowling alley, and barbershop — and lessons in American citizenship and the English language. Today, it's part of a multi-property resort that's home to four golf courses (one hosts the Ryder Cup in 2020) nine distinctive restaurants and eateries, boutique shops, and Kohler Waters Spa. Guests can tour the Kohler factory and design center, stroll the Kohler gardens, go to the River Wildlife nature preserve and dining club, and just marvel at all that a tub-and-toilet empire has built.
Starting price by the night: $417
WYOMING: JENNY LAKE LODGE
This lodge inside Grand Teton National Park at the foot of the mountain range doesn't look all that luxurious, but after waking to its views, doing morning yoga against that backdrop, hiking the meadows, listening to classical guitar reverberating from the lounge, and stargazing under an open, untarnished sky, you'll wonder what other amenities you need. Your cabin and wood-burning stove is fine, but the Jenny Lake Lodge Signature Stay Package with gourmet breakfast, a five-course dinner menu, horseback riding, and the use of beach cruiser bicycles makes this trip into nature slightly more luxurious.
Starting price by the night: $542