The Best in the West: 12 Hotels in the Western U.S. Bucking the Standard
Californian summers may call to mind stretches of sand and palm trees, but these 12 hotels prove that the western U.S. has way more to offer than standard beach crashpads and stuffy Hollywood hotels.
Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California
Stay in a yurt or an open-air wooden nest, looking out over the Pacific, at this eco-resort. Employees live on-site and the restaurant's food scraps are feed to the resort's chickens or used as compost for the organic garden, which provides nearly all of the produce for meals. It's off-the-grid glamping (you'll have a queen-sized bed in the yurt, but you'll need to walk three minutes to the restroom/shower), but it still feels a little indulgent thanks to the heated pool, amazing views, yoga workshops, and stargazing on your private deck.
The Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon
Once an elementary school that fell into disrepair, it now has 57 rooms—some with cool details like an original chalkboard or a blurb about a standout former student—an outdoor saltwater soaking pool, a brewery, restaurant, movie theater, and bar (it's in the old principal's office, of course).
The Mansion at Casa Madrona in Sausalito, California
This 1885 historic Victorian mansion has 11 newly rooms with a clean, simple aesthetic, all with Instagram-ready views of the San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, and Richardson Bay. True ballers can stay in the mansion's 5,000-square-foot Alexandrite suite, which comes with a private chef and a personal trainer, and a wine fridge stocked with local bottles; the hotel can arrange a sunset sail or sailing lessons in the Bay.
Sou'Wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington
Skip the traditional lodge and rent one of the dozen vintage trailers—most are outfitted with a full-size bed, kitchen, full bathroom, and a record player. There's even an on-site vintage store (yep, also in a trailer) open on weekends.
Washington School House in Park City, Utah
This former school, made of hammered limestone, was gut-renovated in 2012 and turned into a 12-room boutique hotel. It now has reclaimed barn wood floors, an outdoor torch from the Park City Olympics, super-soft Pratesi sheets, a pool terraced into a hillside of aspen and spruce trees, and a gourmet complimentary breakfast for guests.
Los Poblanos Historic Inn in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The charming hacienda-style rooms, with stone fireplaces and carved ceiling beams, are surrounded by an 800-acre ranch that grows organic heirloom produce for the insanely delicious on-site restaurant, La Marienda. They also raise honeybees and grow fields of lavender, using the essential oils for the hotel's spa products.
Roche Harbor Resort in San Juan Island, Washington
This 1886 hotel, formerly called Hotel de Haro, was a favorite of John Wayne and still feels authentic and old-timey. Most rooms don't have private bathrooms, and for nighttime trips, you'll definitely feel like you might run into a ghost on the way to the hall bathroom. But it’s worth it for the electric sunsets over the harbor, visible from your balcony.
Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California
The pricy spot (though it does include breakfast and all snacks, guided nature walks, yoga, and use of the hotel's Lexus fleet) offers stand-alone guestrooms built into trees or ocean-side cliffs; 39 of them are spread over gorgeous hills dotted with wild peacocks. It's a nearly silent oasis, likely because no TVs, alarm clocks, pets, or kids under 18 are allowed—and you'll be glad for that when you're soaking in the infinity pool overlooking the ocean, hearing only the birds chirp.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica, California
Once a beachside crash pad for Marilyn Monroe, the hotel's mid-century Ocean Tower was recently restored, and each room has gorgeous views of Malibu, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Pacific. In July, they'll unveil 28 redesigned bungalows, nestled among the property's palm trees and waterfalls, each with its own patio.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa in Vail, Colorado
Sure, there's an ice skating rink, ski-in mountain access, boot-drying service, and architecture that calls Switzerland to mind, but the best part is S'moregasboard, the fire pit-adjacent happy hour from 4-6pm daily, with free s'mores fixins, including homemade marshmallows in vanilla, Grand Marnier, strawberry, and toffee.
Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa in Pray, Montana
Just north of Yellowstone National park, this three-story, Victorian-style lodge has been in business since 1900. After getting a drink in the Saloon, hop between the two pools that are fed by natural hot mineral springs—the large pool is usually 96 degrees and the small pool averages 103 degrees.
The Commodore Hotel in Astoria, Oregon
Opened as a hotel in the historic port town in 1925, it was closed for 40 years before a gorgeous modern-nautical renovation that preserved the original windows, doors, and fixtures. If you have a work deadline, the pet-friendly hotel also houses CoCommercial, a flexible office space with day rates.