American Hotels Wake Up
Here, three fresh U.S. hotels. Bringing a modern flair to Portland, Oregon, is Hotel Lucia (877/225-1717; www.hotellucia.com; doubles from $115). Leather couches in the black-and-white lobby and 679 photos of celebrities and world leaders throughout the hotel (by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Hume Kennerly) enhance Lucia's minimalist interiors. · After being closed for 78 years, Houston's legendary Sam Houston Hotel (1117 Prairie St.; 877/348-8800 or 832/200-8800; www.samhoustonhotel.com; doubles from $299) has reopened as a downtown hot spot with 21st-century amenities. The rooftop bar, Veranda, is already a hit with the fashion flock, and John Sheely's Riviera Grill serves a mean chocolate torte. · Set to open later this month in New York City, the Maritime Hotel (88 Ninth Ave.; 212/242-4300; www.themaritimehotel.com) is the latest enterprise from Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, masterminds behind the nearby Park restaurant. The structure was originally the Maritime Union (which explains the porthole windows). The 120 rooms will have the functional elegance of a luxury ship. There are also two 120-seat restaurants and the largest garden space of any Manhattan hotel.
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With black-and-white photos on display and a quirky Thai room-service menu for late-night cravings, this pet-friendly Portland Hotel serves as a modern oasis in the heart of downtown.
The Maritime Hotel
Formerly the headquarters of the National Maritime Union, this Chelsea boutique hotel is housed in a 12-story white building lined with row after row of porthole windows. A tasteful nautical theme begins in the lobby, furnished with bright blue carpet, wood paneling, and a marine-inspired mural, and continues in the 126 cabin-like rooms with dark teak accents, headboards of blue Japanese fabric, and of course, the porthole windows (which open). The hotel recently overhauled its restaurant scene, introducing TAO Downtown, which serves Japanese small plates and dim sum, and a new Mario Batali concept is forthcoming.