World's Best Boutique Hotels
We scoured the globe until we found the 31 best new hotels for under $150.
Palm Springs, Calif.
The third branch in the white-hot Ace chain makes the most of its expansive desert resources: Occupying a 1965 Howard Johnson, the 9-month-old Ace Hotel & Swim Club has a dedicated stargazing deck near the pool and is in the process of going fully solar-powered. But design is really the brightest light here. The 180 rooms, with cork floors and tree-trunk tables, have whimsical accents like denim-covered headboards and vintage National Geographic magazines scattered about. Throughout the property, designers make playful use of space: An ice-cream truck serves as the poolside bar, and spa treatments take place in Mongolian yurts. The on-site King's Highway restaurant, once a Denny's, is a foodie's riff on a retro diner—think ricotta hotcakes served with maple-crunch butter. acehotel.com, from $109.
Two blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, Hotel Shattuck Plaza is just the kind of place grad students at the college's architecture school aspire to live in. The 1910 building reopened in June after a cosmetic overhaul of the 199 rooms: They now have bright new fabrics and vibrant red walls. The restaurant, Five—with its crystal chandelier and arched windows—puts a refined farm-to-table spin on comfort foods with dishes like orzo mac 'n' cheese. hotelshattuckplaza.com, from $119.
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Union Square's 102-room Hotel Vertigo takes its theme to great heights. Named after Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller Vertigo, which was filmed on location and plays on a loop in the lobby, the property preserves the dizzying spiral staircase featured in the movie, while also sprucing up most rooms with white tufted-leather headboards and orange-vinyl chairs. hotelvertigosf.com, from $129.
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When opening the El Tres Inn in May, former music execs Melanie Tusquellas and Dave Neupert literally built on the success of their El Chavo Restaurant and Chavito Lounge—they added a trio of soundproof suites above. Befitting its artsy Silver Lake neighborhood, El Tres makes a statement with red-velvet sofas and florid wallpaper. All rooms have private kitchens and come with two free drink tokens for house margaritas. Ask for the Uno suite, which has a turntable and classic vinyl (Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, Dolly Parton). eltresinn.com, from $125.
The year-old Good Hotel promises a novel service: absolution. An orange phone in the lobby connects guests with volunteer activities like sorting cans at a local food bank. The 117 ecofriendly rooms are each done up with reclaimed-pine headboards, chandeliers constructed out of empty Voss water bottles, and cheeky reminders to BE GOOD painted on the walls. jdvhotels.com/hotels/good, from $109.
A block from the harbor, the 23-room Pearl Hotel is a Palm Springs–style motel that forms a horseshoe around a saltwater pool. In the 2-year-old hotel, cypress-tree stumps serve as coffee tables and pet betta fish as roommates. By the pool, the butterfly lounge chairs and cabanas are the best seats for weekly movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's. thepearlsd.com, from $79.
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Teton Village, Wyo.
Pro skier turned hotelier Rob DesLauriers didn't compromise on comfort when going green. His 132-room Hotel Terra Jackson Hole—built using old barn lumber—has bathrooms with radiant-heat slate floors and amenities like a full-service spa and an outdoor infinity pool. The hotel is less than a five-minute walk from the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, and after a punishing day on the slopes, nothing beats soaking in the rooftop hot tub while sipping a fair-trade latte. hotelterrajacksonhole.com, from $119.
A lodge for ferry passengers crossing the Columbia River in the 1920s, the Commodore Hotel Astoria was revived by new owners this year. The lobby and 18 rooms combine authentic artifacts (antique books and suitcases), splashy furniture (bright-orange metal chairs), and creative recycling that pairs the old with the new (a coffee table made from the original fir floorboards). Book one of the eight suites that has a view of the river and a private bath. commodoreastoria.com, cabins from $69, suites from $129.