It doesn't have to be fancy (but that menu of pillows at the Trump Hotel didn't hurt), it just has to have a little spunk and a lot of character.
First, five of the very coolest places I've stayed.
El Cosmico (Marfa, TX) - This place. It's so very Moonrise Kingdom. When you book your spot you have teepees, vintage trailers and safari tents (our selection) to choose from. Or if camping is your style, you can set up your own spot. The gift shop rivals some of my very favorite boutiques, there's a hammock forest (a HAMMOCK. FOREST), a fire pit, a stage for the occassional jam session, and even outdoor claw foot tubs in the bathroom. I mean.
Treebones (Big Sur, CA) - Big Sur is magical. Like for real. When we headed north for an epic road trip there was only one place I wanted to stay. Nestled on a hill overlooking the ocean (!!!), at Treebones you'll find a dozen or so yurts in the sky. With fireplaces and front porches, it's the perfect place to just be outside. Add to that a great lodge with fireplaces and board games, a pool and spa, an organic garden and a MAKE YOUR OWN WAFFLE BAR and I never wanted to leave.
VN Guesthouse (Kanchanaburi, Thailand) - I first read about this town and this place here. I knew if I ever went to Thailand, no matter what, a side trip had to happen. Right on the River Kwai, Lu's guest house was one of my favorite parts of my Thai adventure. We stayed in floating rooms on the river, woke up to roosters and sunrises unlike any I've ever seen, and the very best part was the restaurant. The food was delicious (I'll never love anything more than their banana pancakes) but the views. We spent hours sitting on the floor and watching the boats go by. It was perfect.
The Ace Hotel (Portland, OR) - A room wallpapered in band posters? Bunk beds? Sign me up! All the Ace outposts are unfathomably hip and cool. Put one in the middle of a city that is also unfathomably hip and cool and your brain might explode. There's a photo booth in the lobby, you can rent a record player for your room and the restaurant downstairs has won awards for it's epic food. So. Go.
The Nolitan (New York, NY) - I already wrote a whole post about this hotel. Long story short, the neighborhood is awesome, there's wine and snacks, and...well that's all you need to know.
Here are five more places on my list. I can't wait to visit!
The Graham & Co. (Phoenicia, NY)
The Madonna Inn (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Base Camp (Lake Tahoe, CA)
The Amado (Palm Springs, CA)
Hotel St. Cecilia (Austin, TX)