From hotels with typewriters (Boston), to ones with guitars on the wall (London) and artisan soaps in the bathroom (anywhere even moderately interesting) — these are the coolest hotels of 2015. They’re all picked from actual hotels I’ve visited in the past 12 months.
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Chicago’s coolest hotel, the ACME seems relatively unassuming when you walk in. The lobby is off to the side and there’s a small bagel shop by the ground floor entrance. A craft cocktail lounge, The Berkshire Room, is hidden at the back of the main entrance. But what really sets this hotel apart from other places to sleep, is the careful attention to detail and comfort in the rooms. The hotel’s impressive downtown location with amazing views from the front-facing rooms doesn’t hurt either. Staff is always helpful and friendly—so much so that the in-room information includes tips on how to properly eat a deep dish pizza.
The hotel is a very casual and comfortable place, which makes it all the more easy to ask for advice and tips from the staff. In the basement, a gym designed to look like a schoolyard playground is small but suitable—and even has a punching bag (how many hotel gyms have that?!). The small jacuzzi in the basement is also a great place to meet other travelers, whether in town for business or pleasure. And for those looking for more of a budget experience, there’s even laundry machines available for hotel guests.
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Ace Hotel Shoreditch
Arguably the coolest hotel in Europe, Ace Hotel has long been the style setter for what makes a hotel special. Their one-and-only London hotel opened up back in 2013 and is still the American company’s only venture in Europe. Ace Hotel London is conveniently located on Shoreditch High Street, steps away from the London Underground. In the Shoreditch neighborhood, the hotel is positioned perfectly on the edge of what’s easily London’s most accessible hipster neighborhood and close enough to the other touristic sights in London.
Besides the hotel’s endlessly cool rooms (seriously: guitars on the wall, trendy radios to hook up to your phone and cozy beds), the hotel plays host to a number of alternative and edgy London events. The local Naked Boys Reading group regularly uses the site, and the open-spaced lobby regularly attracts MacBook wielding hipsters in search of good coffee and a friendly atmosphere to work from. The restaurant on the premises, Hoi Polloi, also serves great food (I’ve had the burger late at night), so you could easily treat the hotel like a resort and never leave. Luckily you can take home pieces with you—just about everything in the room from the custom quilts to the vintage records can be taken and they’ll simply charge you later.
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Yes, it’s named after Gotham City from the Batman comic. Built in a former bank, the Hotel Gotham only opened in 2015 and is already making waves. A rooftop restaurant serves top-quality food and the bar, Club Brass, offers amazing views over Manchester’s skyline with fantastic cocktails and the same champagne served at the Oscars! The upscale art deco-style is luxurious without being stuffy. Rooms come with classic books and extra touches of style making you really feel spoiled. And the beds! Well, let’s just say it’s the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in.
For those looking for a truly exclusive experience, the Hotel Gotham even offers windowless rooms. Sounds weird—but I can see the attraction.
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You might not count Dallas as one of the world’s coolest cities, but The Joule hotel is reason enough to visit! (Dallas is cool, too.) Designed in cowboy chic with funky patterned floors, comfortable furniture and plush bedding, The Joule highlights all the best of Dallas. But really, the real attraction of this downtown Dallas hotel is the swimming pool. It’s on the roof. Floating out over the sidewalk with a glass edge. And this isn’t just a tiny rooftop swimming pool, it’s actually quite a comfortable size! The outdoor bar is a popular hangout on weekends and the hotel does a lot to make the area interesting and accommodating (including an on-site driver to help you get around the city as needed).
A central focus of The Joule hotel is its own unique style, helpfully accentuated by a range of art and mosaics. Rooms are stocked with a variety of magazines, plus a collection of Taschen art books. There’s even a yoga studio on the hotel premises!
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Los Angeles, California
As one of Los Angeles’ most iconic hotels, many might not consider the Hollywood Roosevelt very “hipster”—but after spending a few nights there last spring, and one long Sunday (funday) afternoon, I quickly fell in love. Located directly on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the hotel’s large lobby plays host to a number of different venues, including a cool, hip upstairs bar and a greasy street-level, 24-hour diner (with milkshakes!). While the property has that classic Hollywood look (this is the same property where Shirley Temple learned to tap dance and where Marilyn Monroe lived), the rooms are both modern and spacious. Mine even had a shower stall the size of a small room (big enough for six people, I’d guess).
But besides the comfortable and chic rooms, the Roosevelt’s outdoor swimming pool and bar is one of the coolest places in Los Angeles. Hipster locals and visiting models seem to camp out by the pool on weekends, with cocktail after cocktail. Some of the hotel’s rooms even look out into the pool’s courtyard with balconies offering that full resort feeling.
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Just around the corner from Fenway Park, the Verb Hotel’s location is perfect—steps away from Kenmore Square and Lansdowne Street where you’ll find plenty of great restaurants and bars (some of Boston’s best). The Verb Hotel, housed in the former legendary Howard Johnson hotel, has a strong history with the city’s local music scene, and notably the city’s indie music magazine the Boston Phoenix. The central courtyard of the hotel has a large swimming pool where parties and DJs regularly occur each summer.
The colorful interior design of the hotel makes the place a vibrant and lively place to stay. Rooms feature cool little design quirks, like working typewriters and funky bathrobes. Pop culture memorabilia and other music-themed artifacts are located throughout the hotel, offering a brief history of Boston’s alternative music scene. It’s a cool place to stay that’s both affordable and convenient.
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Berns Hotel tops just about every list for “cool things to do in Stockholm.” The Berns Hotel doesn’t just have a cool design throughout the rooms, but they also have their own clubs and restaurants, playing host to a number of Stockholm’s best events and festivals—from traveling music performers to annual fashion week events. Plus, it’s conveniently located to the gay nightlife of Stockholm.
Unlike other design hotels around the world (especially those that are often a bit pricier), the Berns Hotel doesn’t feel stuffy. The atmosphere is friendly and cool, plus with the two restaurants and the nightclub in the basement, it’s a convenient place to stay to meet other people. Rooms feature contemporary photography, flat-screen TVs and the pricier rooms even have saunas and balconies.
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One of Berlin’s coolest hotels, the Michelberger is located directly on Warschauer Strasse, steps away from Berlin’s best nightlife as well as some of the city’s coolest tourist attractions, like the East Side Gallery and the Oberbaumbrücke. The hotel’s lobby, where you’ll find a cool bar serving local craft beer, overflows with books and magazines (which the light fixtures and tables are even made of). Rooms are simpler but still offer plenty of design quirks like the custom-made furniture that all comes from the hotel’s in-house design agency.
The Michelberger’s restaurant also serves local, organic food, and a colorful central courtyard plays host to a number of indie bands and intimate performances for both locals and tourists.
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This hip boutique hotel, located in central Dublin directly in the Temple Bar neighborhood, offers comfortable rooms with chic, contemporary designs. Custom-made furniture adorns minimalist-styled rooms. The design contrast between over-the-top gaudy ornaments (like the bed frames) really complement the the minimalism throughout the hotel. The restaurant in the lobby serves traditional Irish food during the day and turns into a cool cocktail bar each night, with DJs playing in the courtyard. And hotel guests even get access to a nearby gym, sauna and indoor-heated pool—the perfect way to relax after a long night out in Temple Bar.
From the outside, the Morgan Hotel doesn’t really look like much, but inside it’s a quiet oasis on a busy street. With a varied range of guests from young families to solo travelers, it’s a great place to be located in central Dublin—walking distance to many of the city’s tourist attractions.
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Brown Beach Hotel
Tel Aviv, Israel
A sister property to Tel Aviv’s only official Design Hotels™, the Brown Hotel, this property only opened in 2015. The lobby features a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf and rooms are decorated with vintage furniture found from the nearby markets, or inspired by classic 20th century beach properties. Besides the spacious and stylish rooms, the Brown Beach Hotel is only steps away from Tel Aviv’s beaches and the always popular beach promenade, making it a great place to be located. (Disclaimer: I didn’t get the chance to stay at the hotel during my visit, but did manage to sneak up onto the roof and also hang out in their lobby for a bit!)
The hotel perfectly reflects the Tel Aviv vibe—cool, calm and urban. Inside, the atmosphere is casual but chic. An in-house bakery and cocktail bar make for a comfortable place to hang out in Tel Aviv, in-between visiting the beaches, shopping or enjoying the city’s world-class cuisine.