The 15 Best City Hotels in the Continental United States in 2018

View from a room in The Spectator Hotel, Charleston
Photo: Courtesy of The Spectator

To stand out in a crowd, a superior city hotel should have a prime location in a prime neighborhood, or a clubby bar that draws both locals and guests (an especially hard trick to pull off). Or how about stylish rooms that serve as tranquil oases from the hum of urban life? These are just a few of the factors our readers took into consideration when voting on the top city hotels in the continental U.S. this year. The results, as always, continue to surprise us. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities. Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards New York and Los Angeles have six winners on the list between them, a testament to their enduring popularity with our readers. Coming in at No. 12 is newcomer Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, a T+L It List 2018 winner. Several readers called out the buzzy rooftop pool and restaurant, where you can see an air-kissing local crowd. “Waldorf got it right, in a very big way,” one fan said. “A whole new era of Beverly Hills.” New York’s debut entrant, Hotel 50 Bowery, is breathing new life into Chinatown, which didn’t have a luxury hotel before now. Like the Waldorf, it has a rooftop bar scene, though the views include landmarks like the Empire State Building. But Hotel 50 Bowery also nods to the past by displaying centuries-old artifacts unearthed during construction (it sits above former local hangouts like taverns and a movie theater) and details on the history of the neighborhood. “Beautiful design, a one-of-a-kind property,” one guest said. Three hotels made it from our reader’s favorite city in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina. The Spectator (No. 2), Planters Inn (No. 6), and French Quarter Inn (No. 11) are all in the historic district, and many readers wrote in to say that they loved being close to all the action. “Planters’ location cannot be beat: it feels like a quiet and refined oasis in the heart of the city,” one reader said. Readers also loved the setting of the Inn of the Five Graces, a low-slung adobe building that is quintessential Santa Fe. “This hotel has it all and is only one block away from the historic plaza,” raved one fan, who also couldn’t get enough of the mosaic-tiled bathrooms and kiva fireplaces. “Each room is a masterpiece of colors and textures.” And the 317-room Pendry San Diego (No. 4), in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, got shout-outs for its food — there are no fewer than six restaurants and bars on site. “I ate at all of them and the food was simply amazing.” Where is the No. 1 urban stay? For that, we’re traveling back to New York City, to the heart of the Upper East Side. Read on for more on the winner — and to see the full list.

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15. Hotel 50 Bowery, New York City

Design elements of the Hotel 50 Bowery
Courtesy of Hotel 50 Bowery

Score: 92.80

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14. XV Beacon, Boston

Lobby of the XV Beacon Hotel
Courtesy of XV Beacon

Score: 92.83

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13. The Langham, Chicago

Pool at the Chuau spa at the Langham Chicago hotel
Courtesy of The Langham, Chicago

Score: 92.84

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12. Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills, California

Exterior of the Walford Astoria Beverly Hills
Courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Score: 93.00

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11. French Quarter Inn, Charleston, South Carolina

Room at Charleston's French Quarter Inn
Courtesy of French Quarter Inn

Score: 93.13

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10. The Jefferson, Washington, D.C.

Suite at The Jefferson hotel in Washington DC
Courtesy of The Jefferson

Score: 93.25

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9. Inn of the Five Graces, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Mosaic tile bathroom at Inn of the Five Graces
Courtesy of Inn of the Five Graces

Score: 93.44

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8. London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, California

Lobby of The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills
Courtesy of The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills

Score: 93.57

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7. Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, California

Pool at Viceroy L'Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills
Courtesy of Viceroy Hotel Group

Score: 94.00

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6. Planters Inn, Charleston, South Carolina

Facade of Planters Inn, in Charleston SC
Peter Frank Edwards/Courtesy of Planters Inn

Score: 94.37

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5. Hewing Hotel, Minneapolis

Details in a room at the Hewing Hotel
Courtesy of Hewing Hotel

Score: 94.42

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4. Pendry San Diego

Pool at the Pendry San Diego
Courtesy of Pendry San Diego

Score: 94.62

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3. The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, New York City

Reception desk of The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
Courtesy of The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Score: 94.64

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2. Spectator Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina

Room at The Spectator hotel in Charleston
Courtesy of The Spectator

Score: 95.20

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1. The Lowell, New York City

Exterior of The Lowell hotel in New York
Courtesy of The Lowell

Score: 96.27

This jewel box of a hotel sits just off Madison Avenue in one of Manhattan’s toniest neighborhoods — the lavish flower arrangements alone may be worth the stay. And a recent lobby refresh by design guru Michael S. Smith, as well as the addition of Majorelle, a polished French restaurant from Charles Masson, is giving the Lowell new life. “We like the openness and elegance of the new bar,” one reader said, while another added, “perfect service.”

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.

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