Sure, the rooms are swell, but at these buzzy new openings, all the action is downstairs—or on the roof.
New York Edition
The property’s May opening in the 1909 Met Life Tower on Madison Square Park marked hotelier Ian Schrager’s return to New York. Inside the opulent restaurant, restored wood paneling, Venetian plaster, and photos from Schrager’s Studio 54 days serve as a backdrop for the city’s glamour set, who come for the gold-leaf-lined bar and billiards table. Here, lauded chef Jason Atherton helms the kitchen and oversees cuisine for major events (the hotel hosted no fewer than 13 parties in its opening week). The 273 rooms have sleek furniture and sizable showers, and many look out on the Empire State Building. Corner rooms are big by New York standards, but even the smallest bolt-hole is an oasis from the hard-hitting scene downstairs—and by extension, the rest of Manhattan. Doubles from $725. —Stephanie Wu
Virgin Hotels Chicago
Richard Branson’s first property under the Virgin Hotels brand (pictured above) is a playful hot spot in Chicago’s typically buttoned-up financial district. The 250 rooms are quiet and comfortable, but if you spend all night in one, you’re missing the fun. From 5 p.m. on, crowds descend on the lobby’s wine bar; at the second-floor Commons Club and Shag Room, you’ll find people drinking stiff cocktails or playing Cards Against Humanity. But the real social hub is the newly opened roof terrace. Designed by Paola Navone, it has glass-topped bars and lime-green couches. There, attractive young locals gather for spicy dumplings, mango-brandy margaritas, and headline DJs. And post-party recuperation is covered: the underground spa has five treatment rooms and a hammam. Doubles from $260. —Jennifer Parker
Few places in Paris elicit the collective nostalgia of Les Bains, an 1885 Marais bathhouse that was the ne plus ultra of nightlife in the 1970s. Shuttered in 2010, it was reborn in June as a hotel-nightclub-restaurant hybrid with the same bon vivant spirit that once drew in Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, and David Guetta. Philippe Starck’s original checkerboard dance-floor tiles have been repurposed in the dining room, beneath a blood-red rippled ceiling that recalls stalactites; stained glass adorns the Chinese Salon; in the 39 rooms, retro telephones and velvet sofas lend an Art Deco touch. Come midnight, the club pulses like the glory days, but shut-ins needn’t miss out: guests can tap into the DJ’s playlist from mini Marshall amps in their rooms. Doubles from $549. —Lindsey Tramuta