The Coziest Places to Stay in America
The best inns and small lodges in the country are completely reinventing the idea of a bed-and-breakfast (though you’ll get the best of both). Whether they’re a stone’s throw away from a bustling city or hidden in the backwoods, the nine properties on our list are intimate, and full of regional character. Guests feel cared for—not served—and often mistake these hotels for second-homes, or the abode of a distant, but much-loved family member. You have no qualms about kicking off your shoes and wandering downstairs for a glass of wine in your bathrobe.
Of course, that’s not to say that the inns and lodges that topped the 2015 World’s Best Awards list in the United States aren’t upscale or updated. Camden Harbour Inn in Maine, for example, is a Relais & Châteaux property with flat-screen televisions and iPod docking stations. But what makes an evening at the inn so memorable is sipping a glass of welcome Prosecco on your private deck and watching the sunset over Penobscot Bay as your fireplace warms your room.
And at an independent, boutique property—like the lauded Inn at Little Washington—service is so intuitive the staff practically tidies your room before you’ve stepped outside. “That omniscient hospitality,” reader Tanya Spaulding told Travel + Leisure about her stay at the Virginia wine-country inn, “is a feature rarely—if ever—found in the larger hotels.”
Whether you’re traveling to the highlands off the Pacific Coast, or bedding down in one of historic Newport, Rhode Island’s 19th-century mansions-turned-luxury hotels, attentive, accommodating staff can make the difference between feeling like a paying visitor and a cherished guest.
One World’s Best survey-taker said that during a stay at New York’s classic Lake Placid Lodge, “every single employee took the time to help me, and get to know me, during my stay.” Another called the service “exceptional, but not overbearing.”
With a fire crackling in the background—and the smell of fresh-baked pastries greeting you every morning—daily life can seem light-years away while you still, somehow, feel perfectly at home. That’s what America’s most embracing inns and small lodges have to offer travelers. Read on for the best-of-the-best.
No. 9 Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island
At the fringe of a favorite New England summer destination is Castle Hill Inn—once a sprawling summer home, now a Relais & Châteaux property. The Victorian mansion overlooks Narragansett Bay, and despite its aristocratic airs, still cultivates a warm and leisurely vibe. Guests are encouraged to sip their morning mimosas on the deck at the water’s edge or take the MV mistress for a boat tour of the town’s famous Gilded Age mansions. But come winter, you’ll feel like the whole town is your own. This is the perfect time to book a weekend in one of the contemporary Harbor Houses, which boast porches with Adirondack chairs and direct access to Grace Kelly beach. There’s nothing more welcoming than the fireplace at the foot of the bed—or thinking the small, half-moon of the beach is your personal front yard.
No. 8 Tickle Pink Inn, Carmel, California
Perched at the edge of Big Sur is the family-owned B&B known for continental breakfast buffets on the deck and a wine-and-cheese social hour—perfect for meeting your neighbors and watching migrating gray whales. Décor is decidedly European in style—as is the gracious hospitality. One World’s Best voter recommended taking your breakfast in the room, where you can enjoy fresh-ground coffee and homemade pastries on your private balcony, wearing one of the hotel’s comfy terrycloth robes and reading the morning paper.
No. 7 Camden Harbour Inn, Camden, Maine
Tucked between Bar Harbor and Portland is one of Maine’s best (and most design-forward) hotels. No two rooms are even remotely the same, offering everything from ensuite fireplaces and oversized sleigh beds in our favorite space (the Delagoa Bay room) to Asian antiques or Art Deco accents. Guests raved about the inn—which occupies a rambling 1874 building—and the owners ability to “make you feel welcome and at home as no other place does.” The concierge can arrange everything from a guided hike to a tour of the quaint coastal town in a Rolls Royce. An around-the-clock spread of tea, coffee, and pastries adds to the homey vibe.
No. 6 Inn Above Tide, Sausalito, California
“We come at least twice a year [to] what we’ve come to think of as our short-vacation luxury home,” said one T+L reader. “[You] get to meet…all the other folks [over] tapas and wine in the lobby before dinner. Oddly enough, they, too, think this is their home away from home.” Yet this sleek, modern property, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, soaking tubs, and chic, minimal décor is a far cry from your standard guesthouse. From its promontory on concrete and timber pilings thrust into the San Francisco Bay, this shingled inn—which has in-room binoculars for watching the local wildlife (sea lions; migratory birds)—blows most vacation homes out of the water.
No. 5 Lake Placid Lodge, New York
Travelers especially love this property in winter, when the luxe log cabins and Arts and Crafts-style lodges are warmed by stone fireplaces. Outside? More fireplaces. Pull an Adirondack chair up to a fire pit at dusk and roast fresh marshmallows for s’mores. “You can sit outside…and the snow can be falling five feet away, and you’re warm and snuggled under a blanket with a view of the lake and a custom cocktail from the bar,” rhapsodized one T+L reader. Come morning, you’ll find a plate of raspberry pancakes with jars of house-made preserves in a wicker basket outside your door.
No. 4 Inn at Little Washington, Virginia
World’s Best voter Susan Neff called the Inn at Little Washington’s attention to detail “impeccable.” Whether you bed down in the Victorian mansion, the farmhouse, or a private cottage, you’ll see the painstaking efforts of London stage designer Joyce Evans, to create a romantic, country house atmosphere, with silk-fringed lampshades and wooden floors reclaimed from a 17th-century French chateau. But it’s the service—and James Beard-awarded cuisine (prosciutto-wrapped veal loin, granny smith apple tart with buttermilk ice cream)—that makes this one of the best inns in the country.
No. 3 Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island
Arguably one of the best hotels in the U.S., the Chanler at Cliff Walk is known for its elegant décor and superb service. “Every guest feels as if they are the only guest in the hotel,” said one T+L voter. Another added that, thanks to the hospitality of the staff, “I wasn’t just a customer renting a room. I [felt like] a guest coming to stay in their home.” Lavish designs have transformed each of the 20 rooms in the Vanderbilt-era mansion into unique creations, some French Provincial in style, others more Greek Revival. All have heated bathroom floors, wet bars, and antique prints or original oil paintings. Even if you’re not a guest, you should pop in for a famous (and heart-and-soul-warming) hot toddy.
No. 2 Farmhouse Inn, Forestville, California
The thoughtful details at Farmhouse Inn really won over Travel + Leisure readers, who spoke fondly of the “romantic, cozy rooms” appointed with everything from dual-sided fireplaces to heated marble floors, homemade sugar scrubs and bedtime cookies. Thanks to a recent $8 million expansion and renovation, the property—the most luxurious place to bed down amongst the redwoods in West Sonoma—has a stable-inspired spa, nine new guest rooms, and an expanded patio. Ingredients from the on-site garden can be found in everything from organic spa treatments to the cocktail you’ll enjoy watching the sunset from the deck.
No. 1 Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana
How did this remote property from Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains snag the No. 1 spot on our list? “Cabins are comfy and cozy and beautiful,” said one voter. With wood-burning fireplaces, steam showers, and locally woven woolens, the 23 rustic log cabins are perfect for adults seeking a quiet, off-the-beaten-path experience. And while you may feel like family while staying at Triple Creek Ranch (you can have dinners at the chef’s table and nibble on fresh-baked cookies) there are no children at this adult-only retreat. What that means, however, is ample opportunity for romantic horseback rides, helicopter tours, and nights watching the stars from your personal hot tub.