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The best design hotels in the USA to visit in 2021

In a time where the travel industry has experienced enormous hardship, hoteliers would’ve been forgiven for downing their tools for a while. Yet in spite of the pandemic, a string of new and exceptional properties have opened their doors, shaking up the hospitality landscape with beautifully conceived interiors, innovative architecture and a vision that sets them apart from the rest. Ahead of Independence Day on July 4th, we curate a list of the best new design hotels in the USA, from California to Boston.

White Water, Cambria

Set in an enviable location just off Cambria’s Moonstone Beach, the newly-opened White Water presents an elevated vision of a Californian coastal oasis. With just 25 rooms to its name, it’s an ideal spot for those seeking a low room count post Covid. Its creative direction is defined by Nina Freudenberger, a trailblazer best known for her private residential work and her curation of cool spaces in the books Surf Shack and Bibliostyle. Her breezy aesthetic reigns supreme once more at this majestic lodge which combines the terrain of Big Sur with the style of Santa Barbara.

Reflecting the textures that set Cambria apart from other beaches in the region, such as its famous emerald-needled Monterey pines and rocky tide pools, its ocean view rooms boast everything from wood-slatted headboards and indigo and chambray detailing to daybeds covered in ocean-blue patchwork cushions – the perfect spot to curl up with a good book. Elsewhere, look out for retro fireplaces, pebble mosaic countertops, local artwork and, if you’re checking into an Ocean View King Room, a retro green outdoor bath which Freudenberger transformed from a horse trough.

“I hope that the traveller that stays at White Water sees all the special touches we spent time developing,” says Freudenberger. “The small details, such as the robe hooks in the right spots and the countertop with enough space to put a make-up bag, were all really thought through and poured over by us as the designers. I hope people feel inspired by some of the fun things we did and they might do something similar in their own homes.”

Pendry West Hollywood, Los Angeles

One of a bevy of new haute hotels opening up in the City of Angels, the Martin Brudnizki-designed Pendry West Hollywood is a stylish nod to laidback Californian glamour. “We wanted to create a hotel that responded to LA,” says Brudnizki. “We achieved this through a colour palette that was composed of the blues of the ocean and sky, the greens of the hills and the pinks of the sunsets, as well as injecting some Hollywood glamour.” As such, guests enter through a lobby (below) adorned with lacquered peacock blue walls and a hypnotic sculpture by LA-based artist Anthony James, and bed down in rooms peppered with vibrant jewel tones, geometric wall treatments and decadent upholstery.

Its bold colour palette makes the Pendry (lobby pictured) one of the most Instagrammable new hotels in the USA

Alongside its 149 guestrooms and 40 Pendry Residence are what seems like an endless supply of guest and residence amenities including a private members’ club, screening room, bowling alley, spa, fitness centre and curated art collection with works from both emerging artists and acclaimed international names. Meanwhile, legendary chef Wolfgang Puck’s latest eateries Merois and Ospero dish up everything from crispy whole black seabass to homemade pizzas.

“I always like my interiors to appeal to different moods and be capable of transition throughout someone’s stay,” adds Brudnizki. “The hotel feels quite residential and comfortable in the day with plush seating, neutral tones in the guestrooms and beautiful materiality. In the evening, the mood changes and the whole experience becomes more decadent.” The perfect combination of Hollywood glamour and contemporary comfort.

Hollywood glamour meets nature at the Pendry’s Merois restaurant, designed by Martin Brudnizki

The Newbury Boston, Boston                                           

Located at the iconic address of 1 Newbury Street, which first opened in 1927 as a Ritz-Carlton, you’ll feel like you’re bedding down in a magazine spread at The Newbury Boston, no matter which room you’re in. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the property is a celebration of some of the world’s most recognised interior design teams, with Champalimaud Design, Jeffrey Beers and long-time Boston resident Ken Fulk all making their mark on various spaces.

Known for its luxurious contemporary interiors at the likes of Raffles Singapore and New York’s The Carlyle, Champalimaud incorporates a calming colour palette with handcrafted wood details, herringbone accents and original artworks by illustrator Veronica Lawlor throughout the hotel’s guestrooms and suites – 42 of which have wood-burning fireplaces. For a real treat, stay in one of two Presidential Suites for their panoramic park views, rainforest showers, walk-in closet and powder room and deep soaking tubs with bamboo shelf with slots for reading material.  

The Newbury’s public spaces are the work of Jeffrey Beers International, who kept the building’s rich history in mind. “The beloved property has a rich history and it evokes strong emotion and memories for Bostonians,” says founder and CEO Jeffrey Beers. “We were incredibly inspired as well as respectful to the original detailing. We looked to Boston’s current culture and aesthetic to inspire our modern choices.” This attention to detail can be seen through cobalt blue chandeliers, black Nero Dorato herringbone marble floors and a vast selection of contemporary artwork.

As for the hotel’s crown jewel Contessa, the dramatic 4,000 sq ft glass-enclosed rooftop restaurant, credit is given to award-winning interior designer Ken Fulk and his team. Here, blush and teal velvet banquettes and chairs meet a marble bar, fringed arm lamps, potted trees, and playful wallpaper that “conjure another era when dinner and dancing, three-martini lunches, or high tea were the perfect excuse to dress up and enjoy the city.”

Designed by Ken Fulk, Contessa restaurant is the crown jewel of The Newbury

The Maker Hotel, New York

Three historical buildings in Hudson have been thoughtfully renovated and combined to create one intimate 11-room boutique hotel at The Maker – the brainchild of Fresh co-founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, alongside hospitality expert Damien Janowicz. A mish-mash of different periods of time, each room has its own theme, many based on creative professions including The Artist room which is lined with paintings, and the Writer suite which is home to its own private library. Terrace lofts, located on the top floor, overlook the onsite courtyard (below), and the three-room apartment features a living space and kitchenette.

“The main inspirations for The Maker were La Belle Époque, Art Deco and mid-century,” Glazman says. “I worked off these different periods to combine and create an eclectic environment for the interiors. With that eclectic approach, I found that design elements from each period can live together in harmony but also express our bohemian sensibility.” 

Designers of The Maker hotel were inspired by La Belle Époque, Art Deco and mid-century styles

Careful to maintain as many original features as possible, including its painted ceilings, ornate fireplaces, mosaic floors and stained glass windows, Glazman was still keen to add a wealth of historical pieces and objects made by local Hudson valley craftspeople into the mix. Guests will also find three F&B options on site – the Maker Café, the Maker Lounge cocktail concept, and the Maker Restaurant – plus a swimming pool and perhaps the swankiest gym in town. Think a beautifully refurbished 1930s pommel horse, exquisitely-restored speed bag, antique leather medicine balls and 1940s gymnast rings – the space will actually make guests look forward to working out.

The Goodtime Hotel, Miami

It’s been a long time coming, but following five years of planning, design and construction, The Goodtime Hotel finally opened its doors at a historic section of Miami’s South Beach in June 2021, born from a collaboration between American Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams and entrepreneur David Grutman. Reviving the famed art deco architecture of the local area, its design has been spearheaded by Ken Fulk, who promises to “recall the opulence and nostalgia of a time gone by” with a combination of lush interiors and pastel hues.

A place designed to transport guests to another time and place, the hotel’s corrugated façade is home to 266 guest rooms and suites, alternating between direct views of the Biscayne Bay for sunset and the Atlantic Ocean for sunrise. From its custom bedding and bespoke drapes with blackout option to the leopard-print benches, Ortigia bath amenities and signature pink rotary dial phone that inhabit each room, every detail has been excruciatingly imagined by Fulk and his team, right through to the playful carpet woven with a pattern of wet footprints running along the corridors.

Not to be outdone by its swanky guest rooms, the hotel’s restaurant and 30,000 square foot pool club, Strawberry Moon, is equally as Instagrammable, channelling mid-century Caribbean and Central American resort towns through its vintage scalloped bar seating, pastel tiling and pinstriped awnings. Be sure to check out its state-of-the-art gym too, plus glossy peach-hued bar, The Library, for a quick evening tipple. 

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