The 7 Best Boutique Hotels in the United States

Explore eclectic and popular cities and towns across the United States.

As much as I rely on name brands like Hilton and Marriott when I travel with my family, I also enjoy exploring off-the-beaten path locations.

According to travel agent Adeel Khan, this is one of the characteristics that set boutique hotels apart as they’re “often found in trendy or off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, providing guests with a unique sense of place and a chance to explore the local culture.”

He noted that when he’s looking for one, he seeks “properties that are independently owned, with a distinct personality and design aesthetic that sets them apart from larger hotel chains.” Khan explained that, “Boutique hotels are known for their unique character, intimate atmosphere and personalized service.”

I took this into account on my quest to find the best boutique hotels in the United States, especially with the weather getting warmer in many locales. I also looked at traveler reviews, amenities, on-site restaurants and bars, and things to do in the surrounding area.

So if you’re looking to spend your free time away from home in a setting that’s more than just a place to lay your head after a day of sightseeing, consider some of the boutique hotels ahead.

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Ghost Light Inn: New Hope, PA


New Hope, Pennsylvania, is a cozy riverfront town on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. With an intriguing history, the town may be best known as the place where Aaron Burr retreated after shooting frenemy Alexander Hamilton in the famous duel. Although the Aaron Burr house is now a Bed & Breakfast in the town, my money’s on the Ghost Light Inn as a unique place to stay with excellent service and walkable distance to the town’s attractions.

The boutique has just 12 rooms, including eight river view rooms with balconies. It was fun to wake to the sound of ducks in the river below, plus the rooms are spacious with a “ghost light” in each. Simply, it gives the room an eclectic character.

The on site restaurant, Stella of New Hope, offers exciting New American dishes by Executive Chef Michael O’Halloran. The menu changes frequently and is often inspired by the availability of local ingredients. When I stayed there with my family, we enjoyed a meal at Stella. The salmon was, hands-down, the best I ever tasted, and even my 12-year-old son was impressed by the braised beef short rib tater tots.

Whether you are inspired by American history, art or antiques, you’ll find plenty to do and see on a weekend in New Hope. Hop in the car over the bridge to Peddler’s Village for sweets, shopping, and Giggleberry Fair is a great space for kids with video games, a big play area, a carousel and more.

The New Hope Railroad is worth the ride, but only runs seasonally and typically on weekends only, with some expanded days through the summer.

The Portofino Hotel & Marina: Redondo Beach, CA


The idea of a hotel directly over the Pacific Ocean appealed to me, but I was sold after a specific TripAdvisor review that said they could hear seals barking from their room. I also love the history of The Portofino Hotel & Marina. Founded by race car enthusiast Mary Davis, it became the final destination for The Cannonball Run (both the race and the movie.) As a movie geek, I’m sold on anything offbeat and related to cinema.

The recently renovated hotel offers a waterfront “Living Room” lobby, upgraded rooms, and luxury suites that all impress with a beachy vibe. Rent cruiser bikes and enjoy the breathtaking ride along the California Coastal Trail or relax in the heated pool and jacuzzi.

Whether you want to shop on Rodeo Drive or prefer kayaking and hiking, you’ll find it all nearby. Blend beachside or ocean adventures with Hollywood life for the perfect getaway in Redondo Beach.

Related: 10 Best Romantic All-Inclusive Resorts

Rise Uptown Hotel: Phoenix, Arizona


With an average 4.5-star rating on both Google and TripAdvisor, the Rise Uptown Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, delivers plenty to do in Uptown Phoenix. My first stop would be the cozy indy bookstore, Changing Hands, which is just steps away. Stinkweeds, with new and used vinyls, CDs, and more, is also worth a look if you are feeling nostalgic or an audiophile looking to expand your collection.

One Tripadvisor review calling the hotel “trendy without being over the top,” could also describe the local neighborhood. If you’re there on a Saturday, make sure to check out the Uptown Farmers Market with everything from local crafts to food trucks. The Japanese Friendship Garden is nearly four miles away, but it’s also worth the trip.

While you’re at the Rise Uptown, you’ll want to make sure to take a swim in the pool and sip some cocktails at Lylo’s Swim Club poolside bar. After hours, take the party up to the Say When rooftop bar for views of the city and the mountains.

Hope & Glory Inn & Vineyard: Irvington, Virginia


At Hope & Glory in Irvington, Virginia, you may come for the wine and stay for the ambiance and service. Located on Virginia’s Northern Neck Peninsula, this historic hotel earned a solid five stars on TripAdvisor and has won awards and accolades from TripSavvy, Virginia Living, and Coastal Living among others.

Founded as a schoolhouse in 1889, the hotel today includes seven guest rooms and six private cottages, which are surrounded by a secret garden, saltwater pool and open-air garden bath. You can also take a cruise across Carter’s Creek and the Rappahannock River on the hotel’s boat, True Love.

Once you dock, make sure to spend some time in The Dog and Oyster Micro-vineyard, combining two of the most romantic foods and beverages I can think of. If wine and oysters really aren’t your thing, visit The Colonnade fine dining restaurant, known for locally sourced boat-to-table and farm-to-table dishes.

Related: The 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts

The MC, Autograph Collection: Montclair, NJ


While most of the hotels on this list are privately owned, rather than part of a chain, The MC Hotel, part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott Bonvoy, is worth the stop. First, there’s the proximity to Manhattan, making it perfect for city dwellers who want to escape for a weekend and aren’t keen on the Jersey Shore or Long Island’s East End.

The hotel itself is clean and friendly, with modern décor that only hints at its Marriott roots. Walls are adorned with art from local Montclair artists. I noticed something new every time I glanced around the lobby, restaurant, and hallways.

The rooftop, and some of the room balconies, boast breathtaking views of the New York City skyline. When my family and I stayed overnight, our Jr. Suite had a crystal clear view of both Manhattan and New Jersey. We spotted the Statue of Liberty and the Dream Wheel that is part of American Dream Mall.

The Alto rooftop bar and restaurant at The MC Hotel offers craft cocktails, an impressive collection of wines, and a small plate selection far beyond your typical bar food. The rooftop bar is open in most weather, with fire tables to keep guests warm.

When we recently visited on a Saturday night, the clientele was young, hip, yet relaxed, enjoying the DJ and the view. The crowd downstairs at Allegory restaurant skewed slightly older and the music was a danceable selection of live jazz.

In warmer months, the rooftop holds a vegetable and herb garden, as well as bees thanks to a local partnership. The bees stay far away from the crowd, feasting on carefully curated flowers. The hotel chefs use the offerings from the garden, as well as local honey, in their dishes at Alto Restaurant and Allegory’s Rooftop Bar.

From local shops to the famed Van Vleck House & Gardens, there’s plenty to do around town. You can even visit neighboring Bloomfield, NJ for Detroit-style pizza at BlueSteel or indulge your sweet tooth at Anthony’s Cheesecake. With 63 five-star reviews on TripAdvisor and an overall four-star rating, it’s no wonder The MC Hotel is a top choice in the area.

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The Maven at Dairy Block: Denver, Colorado


U.S. News & World Report recently named The Maven at the Block the #5 hotel in Denver. TripAdvisor reviewers agree, as the hotel is rated 11 out of 179 hotels in Denver on the website and earned 4.5 stars.

One reviewer, who rated it five stars, described everything a boutique hotel should be: “Amazing rooms, the location is prime, and the market nearby is spectacular. You cannot beat it! I absolutely loved the fact that you can walk to anything you would need within a mile radius.”

Located in the trendy LoDo at The Dairy Block micro-district, the hotel boasts modern décor, spacious rooms, and deals at local shops and restaurants covered by the $25 Destination Amenity Fee per room per day. The fee covers a complimentary glass of wine or craft beer or a margarita daily, a courtesy car to use to explore the city, and other great deals around town. Make sure to review the specials to make the most of your money.

The variety of rooms, all adorned with local art and a distinct design, are designed to fit the needs of travelers from friends to couples or families. The Innovator Suites have a sofa, dining area, wet bar, and workspace, across 575 feet. While the Maven’s Loft is a corner suite boasting 715 square-feet to sprawl in.

El Prado: Palo Alto, California


The best boutique hotels blend new renovations with old world charm and that’s exactly what you’ll get at El Prado in Palo Alto, California. With a4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor, the hotel is rated fourth best out of 29 hotels in Palo Alto.

Inspired by Spanish architecture with thoroughly modern accommodations to match the needs of tech-oriented Silicon Valley, the hotel includes a thoroughly stocked fitness center, minibars in the rooms, and 24/7 concierge service.

Minutes from stores and restaurants in downtown Palo Alto, the hotel boasts 62 rooms ranging from Deluxe Kings and Queens up to the Penthouse Suite, with 1,000 square feet of living space, two patios (one with a fountain), a fireplace, a spa tub, and an overhead rain shower.

Browse the Cantor Arts Center or stroll the famous grounds of Stanford University by day, and relax in luxury in the evening. Make sure to grab a plate and a beverage at La Mirada Tapas and Cocktail Lounge, or a full-scale Italian meal in Il Fornaio, where the al fresco dining experience will make you feel as if you’re at a European sidewalk café.

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Let’s Recap the Best Boutique Hotels

The U.S. has so many unique cities, towns, and downtown areas to explore. A boutique hotel puts you in the center of a neighborhood or city’s culture, while offering upscale service in a unique setting.

The hotels on this list all deliver concierge-level service in unique, relaxing, and inspiring settings.

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.

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