Forget welcome champagne—how about an expertly crafted negroni at check-in? That’s the thinking behind a new breed of “bed & boîtes,” nightlife-centric crash pads where bellhops have been traded for bouncers, and a vibrant social scene is more important than thread count.
Leading the charge are Romée de Goriainoff, Olivier Bon, and Pierre-Charles Cros, the trio behind the Experimental Cocktail Club. Their Le Grand Pigalle (doubles from $217), in Paris’s Ninth Arrondissement, offers extras like mini-bars stocked with French whiskey, artisanal sodas, and DIY mixing tools, as well as a lounge that stays open until 3 a.m. “The traditional aspects of a hotel are a bit dusty,” de Goriainoff says. “Our experience has taught us that everything is linked—food, drinks, music, design.”
The concept of making the bar the backbone of a hotel was pioneered by Miami’s Freehand Hostel, where the Broken Shaker quickly became the city’s hottest hangout when it opened, three years ago. The bar’s front men, Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi, have now joined forces for an encore at the Freehand Chicago (doubles from $119), in the after-dark hotbed River North.
Meanwhile, in L.A.’s Koreatown, Dave Kaplan and Alex Day, owners of New York’s Death & Co., just opened the Rooms at the Walker Inn (doubles from $250), 10 accommodations tucked behind their new spot, the Normandie Club. Each room comes with a bar cart, bottled libations, and hangover remedies. Guests also get priority at the inn’s eponymous, hard-to-book, 26-seat cocktail den, where the spirits-focused menu is developed at an on-site lab.
Nate Storey is an assistant editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter @StoreysTL.