Extraordinary Hotels (Best of 2021)

Extraordinary Hotels (Best of 2021)

Extraordinary Hotels (Best of 2021)
Hotels can be special for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's design. Sometimes it's the surrounding landscape. It might be the history. Or a wild-card amenity. Whatever the source of the extraordinary, when a hotel has it, you know it. And you never forget the experience. Here are 15 properties everyone should experience once (at least) in a lifetime.

The past is present at Dunton Hot Springs, a 19th-century mining camp/ghost town reimagined with a hundred golden details in every corner of the property. Hand-hewn cabins reveal a refined alpine sensibility; the private library is a reader's oasis; and the centerpiece saloon is fit for Butch and Sundance. But the warm heart of Dunton is its 106-degree natural spring, gathered in a minimalist bathhouse for a memory you'll not soon forget. WILDSAM COLORADO

This Berkshires roadside lodge ups the ante on the old-motel-gets-a-redo trend. At Tourists, the warm-wood, clean-line aesthetic reflects the area's art-world bonafides. Mass MOCA is 3 miles down the road. Plus, a roaring fireplace and two tan Bellini sofas make for the coziest of cool-weather digs. WILDSAM NEW ENGLAND

This log-cabin mansion is the brandy-pickled heart of Whidbey Island, a place defined by maritime heritage. The team behind California's Pioneertown Motel shored up the 1907 structure, threading history and hipness. Vintage copper pendant lamps hang above the dining hall's horseshoe bar, and schooners set sail from every picture frame. WILDSAM PACIFIC NORTHWEST

From the roaring hearth to spot-on rooms surveying one of NYC's most storied streets, the Bowery Hotel is the Manhattan nook for the holidays. Prime real estate begins inside the wood-paneled lobby whose fireplaces and cushy armchairs exude Old World comfort. WILDSAM MANHATTAN

Perched up high in the Catskills, Deer Mountain Inn is a six-suite Arts & Crafts cottage brimming with turn-of-the-century yet evergreen character. Seems equally plausible that Meryl Streep or Mark Twain might be sitting in the crazy-cozy, fireplace-lit lounge upstairs. Bring a bottle of wine and a blanket up to the top of the mountain. WILDSAM HUDSON VALLEY

A true Santa Fe landmark, Bishop's Lodge rests on 317 secluded acres at the Rockies' southern edge. This history-steeped resort recently underwent a thorough restoration, combining luxe renovations and sensitivity to the 150-year-old site's deep Southwestern heritage. WILDSAM SANTA FE

An 1893 Venetian Gothic club for the city's elite on Michigan Avenue reimagined as a hotel with a much more egalitiarian ethos. The chocolate-colored wood lobby resembles an old-school library ready for a John Hughes scene. Gym-class details carry throughout, even to the pommel-horse benches at the ends of the beds. WILDSAM CHICAGO

A rustic-chic hideaway 5,000 feet high—right along the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park—comes complete with hand-hewn chairs strewn across a secluded meadow and foot access to the meandering Cataloochee Divide Trail. WILDSAM SMOKIES

Play peninsula dweller on a piazza at an 1804 courtyard compound in Charleston's Historic District. The vibe throughout is Lowcountry genteel, from the rooms to the cozy dining-room-style restaurant. If you're inspired to go deep on Southern cooking, you can learn the art of the perfect heirloom tomato salad or how to sear a great piece of tilefish at the on-property culinary school. WILDSAM CHARLESTON

Tucked at the far end of Calistoga's Lincoln Avenue, mineral waters await. Since 1913, visitors to Indian Springs have been dipping into the property's thermal geyser-fed healing waters. From your pool perch, gaze upon cozily luxurious cottages, manicured lawns and the renovated Mission Revival-style lodge. WILDSAM NAPA & SONOMA

Wraparound verandas on this once orphanage, now sprawling Italianate property in the city's lush Garden District encourage one to recline and gather their wits a while. But there's also a touch of '70s glam, from rum-punch colored tile to psychedelic wallpaper. WILDSAM NOLA

A high-desert destination, thanks to concrete-block casitas resembling a minimalist art piece and uninterrupted sunrise views over the Chisos Mountains. Inside, thoughtful amenities belie the property's spartan appearance. Come sunset, post up for a communal fire-pit hang. WILDSAM TEXAS

Yes, places like Post Ranch and Ventana are gorgeous. But what makes Deetjen's extraordinary is how it captures the soul of Big Sur like a time capsule. The family of board-and-batten dwellings feels homestead settler in spirit. No phones or TVs. Breakfast at the long family table. Redwoods magic outside every window. Here is the definition of simple luxury. WILDSAM CALIFORNIA

Drive through the organic farm and hacienda's cottonwood-lined entrance, and it's clear you've found the place. Come for the sumptuous bungalow-style rooms and lavender-field walks; stay for poolside Campo margaritas and the Farm Shop's vintage turquoise trove. WILDSAM DESERT SW

True fact: you're unlikely to get a spot at this legendary rustic lodge on the Grand Canyon floor this year. But it's not too early to plan ahead—for 2023. (Cabin spots go by lottery, 15 months in advance. Lucky vacancies do pop up.) Renowned canyon-country architect Mary Colter designed this classic destination for hikers and mule riders. From here, all trails lead up. WILDSAM GRAND CANYON