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Best Design-Led Hotels In the U.S.

From a 500-acre resort adorned with Renaissance tapestries and antiques to a gilded woolly mammoth skeleton situated at the gateway to the beach, these design-led hotels are a step above the rest.

1 / 10

Parker Palm Springs

In Palm Springs, where architecture and design is everywhere, it makes sense that design-led hotels inspire guests with their own take on modernism. The Parker Palm Springs, a new member of The Leading Hotels of the World, is a stunning example.

In 1959, long before it was the swanky hotel that it is today, the first Holiday Inn in California was established on the site. By 1961, Gene Autry had purchased the property to house his baseball team, the California Angels. Eventually (in 2003), the hotel landed in the hands of hotelier Jack Parker who hired designer Jonathan Adler for a $27 million remodel.

A couple of years ago, Adler redesigned the property once again, this time adding a seven-foot-tall bronze banana sculpture to the hotel’s main lawn, and making a statement on the lobby stairs with a carpet that replicates the one from the cult film The Shining.

According to Jonathon Adler’s website, “It’s the vibe everyone should aspire to: comfy, glamorous, mood-enhancing, and appealingly eccentric.”

Around every corner there’s a sense of groovy, hedonistic luxury, from the turquoise velvet doors that flank a tiny bar in the lobby to the sheepskin draped over wicker chairs, Moroccan poufs perfectly placed for comfort and social time, and graphic prints and geometric shapes that add color and provoke conversation.

If you love Mid-Century modern as much as they do in Palm Springs, check out these 14 iconic Mid-Century modern decor elements.

2 / 10

Archer Hotel New York

Offering stunning views, supreme style and a perfect amount of panache in Midtown, Archer Hotel New York is a design-driven hotel through and through. Glen Coben of Glen and Company, based in Manhattan, was behind the architectural direction and design of the hotel, focusing his efforts on creating a “New American Classic.”

The rooms are divided (informally) into “Masculine,” “Feminine,” “Metro” and “Archer’s Style.” Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in natural light as if you were at home, while bespoke colors, fabrics and artworks have been thoughtfully curated for each type of room. The lobby is not to be overlooked, either, with its impressively tall ceiling, wood paneling and Chesterfield sofas. While some home decor trends stand the test of time, others come and go in a blink. Here are 11 trends that are currently on-trend.

3 / 10

Resort at Pelican Hill

When a hotel offers the public a free art and architecture tour, it shows how much they value their architecture and design. The Resort at Pelican Hill pays homage to Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), the acclaimed architect of the High Renaissance, known for his churches, villas, palaces and other grand edifices in Northern Italy.

The hotel, nestled in the coastal hillside of Newport Beach, California, is reslendent with rows of arched porticos, barrel-vaulted ceilings, multi-story entry rotundas, corniced columns and flowing fountains. The 500-acre property will make you feel like you’ve flown to Northern Italy for a countryside retreat.

The resort’s attention to detail is impressive. Specialized artisans were brought in to create classical doors and windows crafted of wood and bronze, and millwork, including moldings, crowns and column capitals, has been constructed in true Renaissance style. Even the landscape offers Mediterranean influence, including the approximately 750 mature olive trees that line the main thoroughfares and access roads to the Bungalows and Villas.

The Art and Architecture tour, for guests and the public, is a 45-minute walking tour that features plein air painting, Renaissance tapestries and antiques, as well as Palladian architecture and an Italian-style landscape.

The pool at the Resort at Pelican Hill is worthy of discussion all on its own. Find out more about it, along with other amazing hotel pools, here.

4 / 10

Press Hotel Portland

Located in the former home of the Portland Press Herald, the Press Hotel is the first boutique hotel in Portland, Maine. The adaptive reuse of a commercial building is surely what makes this gem stand out, but there’s more than meets the eye. Stonehill Taylor, a hospitality-focused architecture and interior design firm, is behind the creative concept.

Upon entry, you’re greeted with reclaimed wood columns, herringbone-tiled floors and original coffered ceilings. Behind the front desk you’ll find a large art piece by local artist Matt Hutton and the wallpaper in the hallways is a digital print of actual newspaper headlines from the Portland Press Herald. Hallway carpet features a jumbled letter design and hotel rooms are inspired by a 1920s writer’s office. Here’s how to make your home feel like a luxe hotel.

5 / 10

Kimber Modern Soco

Architect Burton Baldridge is behind the Kimber Modern‘s sleek-meets-mod design. Located in Austin’s bustling South Congress neighborhood, Baldridge didn’t have much to work with at first. “Aside from three sizable live oaks, the small, precipitously sloped lot seemed an unlikely candidate for a hotel; it was overgrown with weeds and fronted a service alley for the neighboring bars, restaurants and retail establishments,” the Baldridge Architects website notes. But, the location was what made it so desirable. “The design of the hotel is routinely praised for offering a peaceful and secluded alternative to the typical urban hotel experience.” These are the decorating tips interior designers would never tell you for free.

6 / 10

Faena Hotel Miami Beach

This fully restored Art Deco mid-rise in Miami is a flamboyant piece of real estate from inside out that’s worthy of a spot on our list of favorite design-led hotels. The 169-room hotel is infused with Latin inspiration. A combination of the golden-age glamour of Miami and modernism, the hotel is alive with its vibrant hues, colossal works of art by Damien Hirst, like “Gone but Not Forgotten,” and a gilded woolly mammoth skeleton, situated at the gateway to the beach.

An unassuming assist in designing the hotel, Oscar-nominated Baz Luhrmann and his set designer/costumer wife Catherine Martin were brought on board for their creativity in cinema that keeps them from reaching for repetition. The couple took inspiration from opera houses and L.A.’s Chateau Marmont, mixing Fitzgeraldian Art Deco with South American hospitality. Here are 7 things interior designers notice as soon as they enter your home.

7 / 10

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

This stunning waterfront hotel was designed by Marvel Architects, with interiors New York-based design firm INC. Situated alongside Brooklyn Bridge Park, it offers supreme views of the bridge and Manhattan, right across the East River. Featuring reclaimed materials and native plants, the hotel combines industrial-chic with boho-greenery to create a space that feels both edgy and fresh.

The hotel had to be designed in a way that allowed you to be part of the park, and everything in the hotel is themed around the park,” says Marvel. “There’s a plant in every room. There’s filtered water, there’s no bottled water, so we’re really operating in a sustainable way.”

A big double height space around the perimeter of the building allows you to feel like you’re still outside when walking through any of the doorways. If you love to explore, check out 20 of the world’s most enchanting homes you can rent.

8 / 10

21C Museum Hotel Cincinnati

This Cincinnati, Ohio hotel‘s name refers to the hotel’s proximity to the Contemporary Arts Center and Aronoff Center for the Arts. Founded by contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, and designed by architecture firm Deborah Berke, this combination offers a multi-venue contemporary art museum with a boutique hotel and chef-driven restaurant.

Reimagining the 100-year old Metropole Hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the grandiose, old-timey feel was mixed with forward-thinking concepts to create a space that’s entirely unique. The 156 hotel rooms reflect various artistic movements. You’ll find Dali-esque chairs and pop art colors among many other stunning features. Check out the most historical hotel in every state.

9 / 10

Cavallo Point Lodge

Serving as Fort Baker, a military base, from 1850 until the mid-1990s, Cavallo Point Lodge is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, California. Situated on 27 acres of parkland, and comprised of 21 rehabilitated historic buildings and 14 new lodging buildings, it’s more of a compound than a standard hotel.

Sandwiched between mountain and ocean, the lodge is a welcomed juxtaposition to the nearby city life, and guests flock here for the peaceful, modern aesthetic that has been sensitively intertwined with the historic components.

With an interrelationship between sustainable, contemporary design and cultural landscape rehabilitation at its core, Cavallo Point is a compound rich with history and lush with mindfulness.

The restored landmark buildings offer guests the coziness of a home instead of a stuffy high-rise hotel room, featuring expansive front porches, authentic tin ceilings, fireplaces and panoramic windows. Take a look at these 9 National Trust houses with a royal history.

10 / 10

Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

Amid Alabama’s quintessential southern estates, there’s a gem of a property that provides an unexpected and welcoming dose of eclecticism and mysticism. Grand Bohemian Hotel is surely the most unique lodging in Mountain Brook. Its larger-than-life character, sparked by the plethora of whimsical botanicals inspired by the neighboring Birmingham Zoo and Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and elements inspired by the state’s auto industry and nearby Barber Motorsports Park, are a true delight.

The modern/woodland decor is blended with an intriguing gothic vibe, like oversized plum purple velvet furniture, purple chandeliers and purple walls. Of its client, Reese Vanderbilt & Associates says the 100-room luxury boutique hotel was “designed to celebrate creativity and inspire the soul.” For more travel and design inspiration, take a look at these 32 items you can buy for glamping with style.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website:

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