The 15 Best City Hotels in the Continental United States in 2018
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.
15. Hotel 50 Bowery, New York City
14. XV Beacon, Boston
13. The Langham, Chicago
12. Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills, California
11. French Quarter Inn, Charleston, South Carolina
10. The Jefferson, Washington, D.C.
9. Inn of the Five Graces, Santa Fe, New Mexico
8. London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, California
7. Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, California
6. Planters Inn, Charleston, South Carolina
5. Hewing Hotel, Minneapolis
4. Pendry San Diego
3. The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, New York City
2. Spectator Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina
1. The Lowell, New York City
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.