Best Specialty Hotels

TripSavvy Editors' Choice Awards 2018

The Archer Hotel

Archer Hotel by Claire Cohen

Not every occasion calls for a one-size-fits-all hotel. Some hotels suit the visual-minded, with carefully considered design notes carrying through from the lobby to the guest suites. Others imbue a trendsetting atmosphere, serving up cocktails and DJ sets until the sun rises. From gay-friendly hotels to the most romantic, here are TripSavvy's favorite specialty hotels for 2018.

Design Hotels

A room at the Opposite House
The Opposite House 

The Opposite House: Beijing, China — featured in The Best Hotels in Beijing

In the hubbub of Beijing The Opposite House is an oasis of quiet and calm. It opened in time for the 2008 Olympics and wowed both locals and tourists alike with its remarkable design that blends the old with the new. Famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma created every detail to invoke positive feelings. The exterior is made of emerald glass, the color of serenity, and the lobby is a vast seamless space meant to give off a sense of tranquility and order. The rooms are spacious and open. The sculpture garden has works from the best Chinese artists around the world.

 –Alyson Krueger

Made in Louise
 Made in Louise

Made in Louise: Brussels, Belgium — featured in The Best Hotels in Brussels

The Belgians know how to live right. They start the day with homemade pastries and jams or oversized waffles in a beautiful loggia overlooking a beautiful garden. Throughout the day they crack open a craft beer to enjoy with close friends or family. At night they cuddle up in an oversized bed in a cozy room that is also elegant. Made in Louise has perfected giving this experience to guests. They’ve even set up their hotel in a 20th century townhouse, so visitors feel like they’re living in the grand home of a friend rather than a hotel.

  –Alyson Krueger

Gay-Friendly Hotels

Grand Resort
 Grand Resort

The Grand Resort: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — featured in Fort Lauderdale Gay Resorts & Hotels

The Grand Resort and Spa is Fort Lauderdale’s largest and best-known gay owned and operated spa-resort that first opened in 1999. The resort included 33 well-appointed rooms and suites, and is located just steps from the beach, in addition to all of the city’s attractions and nightlife. As Fort Lauderdale’s first gay resort with its own full-service day spa and hair studio, Grand Resort offers guests an experience that is unique and which sets them apart. The resort rates always include free WiFi and parking, continental as well as hot catered breakfast each day.

–David Duran

Capitol Hill Mansion
Capitol Hill Mansion 

Capitol Hill Mansion: Denver, Colo. — featured in Gay-Friendly Hotels in Denver

This incredible gem has been one of Denver’s premier urban inns since 1994. The inn has eight distinctive guestrooms, each named after a Colorado wildflower. There are three two-room suites, two rooms with balconies and two with fireplaces. Three even have whirlpool tubs! But what makes this place so special are the owner/operators, a father and daughter duo that are enjoy interacting with guests and serve as the perfect city ambassadors, helping with suggestions on what to see and do. The father, Chef Carl, prides himself on his breakfast creations and with good reason, as his bountiful breakfasts are delightful and something to look forward to each morning.

–David Duran

Hacienda at Warm Sands
 Hacienda at Warm Sands

Hacienda at Warm Sands: Palm Springs, Calif. — featured in Best Gay Hotels in Palm Springs

From the moment you enter the gates at Hacienda at Warm Sands, you’ll quickly appreciate why it’s considered one of the most upscale gay male resorts in California. This stylish and spacious hotel comes with lush landscaping, is extremely service oriented and offers just ten suites, which means you will receive extra care and attention while staying there. Located in Palm Springs, a city known to cater to the LGBTQ community, Hacienda at Warm Sands is within a short distance to all the city’s major attractions, restaurants and nightlife.

Or just take advantage of the property and treat it as your semi-private hideaway resort oasis. –David Duran

    Hot Hotels

    Hotel San Jose
    Hotel San Jose 

    Hotel San Jose: Austin, Texas — featured in Hip Hotels in Austin
    Former Manhattan Prosecutor Liz Lambert transformed this 1930s motor court hotel, previously a hub for drugs and crime, into one of Austin’s best designer properties. Every detail, from the bed platforms made of reclaimed wood to the custom saddle leather chairs, is considered. Guests get custom Sferra sheets and kimono bathrobes. They can even get into the retro spirit by borrowing typewriters and polaroid cameras. There is a small pool, decorated with cacti, for hotel guests only.

    Forget your bathing suit? The hotel will lend you a dipster (disposable swimwear.) The hotel hosts multiple events in its parking lot including the five-day South by San Jose festival. –Alyson Krueger

    Mason & Rook Hotel: Washington, D.C. — featured in Best New Hotels in Washington, D.C.

    Kimpton’s newest D.C. hotel, Mason & Rook opened in 2016 to rave reviews, thanks to its stylish residential feel — mid-century vintage finds, funky artwork, and Chesterfield sofas abound in the 178-room hotel off of the hip 14th Street corridor. Lots of D.C. hotels (and their guests) are stuffy and, well, stifling. At Mason & Rook, a cooler, friendlier vibe takes hold thanks to its modern design and amenities like a rooftop pool and lounge, complimentary bikes, and in-room yoga mats, plus the unpretentious bar and restaurant, Radiator.

    –Devorah Lev-Tov

    The Sebastian Vail: Vail, Colo. — featured in Vail's Best Winter Resorts

    After a day on the slopes, this luxury boutique hotel knows how to warm up its guests. Yes, there’s the steaming hot tubs with views of snow-capped mountains. But, the property also has a hot chocolate program, with weekly rotations of gourmet flavors and homemade Baileys Irish Cream marshmallows. The hotel is located in the center of scenic Vail Village, which has bars, restaurants, shops and an ice skating rink and channels European vibes with its cobblestone streets. The Sebastian Vail also has a private mountain club edged up against Vail Mountain, where ski valets help guests step into warm ski boots.

    Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
    Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club 

    The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club: Honolulu, Hawaii — featured in Honolulu's Best Hotels

    Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club — open since 2016, in the shell of a former motor lodge — is two blocks from Waikiki Beach’s main drag (Kalakaua Avenue). Need a curated experience? The “director of aloha” can hook you up with restaurant recommendations, vintage shopping, the best place to get a lei, you name it. Live music, poolside flicks and yoga sessions are guest perks. Locally renowned chef Ed Kenney helms the all-day-dining menu at Mahina & Sun’s, featuring local, organic cuisine. Rooms flaunt retro-chic décor and don’t leave without grabbing coffee at Olive & Oliver, whose floral-motif paper cups are a huge hit with design fans, as is the attached boutique.Kristine Hansen

    Romantic Hotels

      The Loden Hotel
      The Loden Hotel 

      Loden Hotel: Vancouver, Canada — featured in the Most Romantic Hotels in Vancouver

      Tucked away on a quiet yet central tree-lined street in Coal Harbour, the boutique Loden Hotel is a romantic haven for couples on a city break (or staycation). After a day of sightseeing, take a dip in the deep soaker tub and then snuggle up in a soft robe. Cuddle up in the king-sized bed and order room service from the hotel’s award-winning French restaurant Tableau Bar Bistro (get the pork ragu pasta if it’s in season). Borrow the Loden’s complementary cruiser bikes to take a ride around the nearby seawall, which stretches to Stanley Park and over to Kitsilano.

       –Amy Watkins

      The Library Hotel
       The Library Hotel

      The Library Hotel: New York, N.Y. — featured in the Most Romantic Hotels in NYC

      Hidden in Midtown East is a hotel dedicated to literary geniuses; every detail creatively nods to them. The property has an astonishing collection of over 6,000 books organized by the Dewey Decimal System (remember that? Each guest floor is dedicated to one of the ten categories.) Book lovers get access to The Reading Room, open 24 hours a day, that offers free coffee, espresso, tea, cookies, and a wide array of books. The highlight is the rooftop bar fittingly named Bookmarks. Surrounding by New York City’s most beautiful towers, guests sip cocktails named among others The Pulitzer, Tequila Mockingbird, The Hemingway, and the Drunken Botanist.

        –Alyson Krueger