HOTEL GUIDE

The Best Off The Beaten Track Hotels In The USA

From The Berkshires to the sunny coasts of California, here's a list of some of the best independent hotels in the country.

By Ernesto Roman, edited by Hamzeh Alfarahneh on 8.23.22

Are you planning a road trip? Or want an escape for a long weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city? We have curated a selection of the coolest and best hotels, some hot-off-the-press, and other all-time favorite hotels from The Berkshires to the sunny coasts of California. As always, we have your back!

 

BRADLEY BEACH, NEW JERSEY

The James Hotel in Bradley Beach, New Jersey
The James Hotel in Bradley Beach, New Jersey

The James 

This new minimalist and elegant hotel is redefining the Jersey Shore landscape. Located an hour and a half from Philadelphia and New York City. The James’ 17-room hotel sits on a 118-year-old property, a two-minute walk from Bradley Beach and walking distance from most of the town’s restaurants and shops.

The project is the creation of Manhattan-based designer Sebastian Zuclowcki and owner George DiStefano. “I wanted to create an experience that captured the essence of the Jersey Shore,” mentions Zuchowicki, “while integrating a timeless and minimalistic design to show the concept that casual living can still feel elegant.” DiStefano acquired the property in July 2021, intending to reinvent the traditional bed and breakfast concept.

The hotel includes a 22-seat dining room and 24-seat private garden dining area, original clawfoot tubs, Flamingo Estate amenities, and a handpicked selection of contemporary artworks, handmade vessels, and rare objects that can be bought on the spot.

Address: 204 3rd Avenue, Bradley Beach, NJ 07720
Starting Rate: $259
Visit Website

 

HILLSDALE, NY

Little Cat Lodge in Hillsdale, New York
Little Cat Lodge in Hillsdale, New York
Little-Cat_Interior

Little Cat Lodge

This picturesque property delivers cozy European chalet vibes. The two-storied guest house has 12-rooms, evoking rusticly charming mid-century Berkshires and offering a private terrace that overlooks Catamount Mountain. You will find a seasonal swimming pool and pool bar, barrel saunas tucked away in the woods, and lush hiking trails.

The Tavern and The Dining Room are the Little Cat Lodge’s culinary outlets overseen by executive chef Jason Bond, the same maestro behind the Bondir Cambridge (a Bon Appétit Hot Ten restaurant), and Clover Food Lab.

Owners Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman — are both friends and business partners. You may know them from their award-winning restaurants and bars, The SmileGrand ArmyThe Jane Hotel Ballroom & Rooftop, CelestineBlack Seed Bagels and Pebble Bar in New York City, and the historic grocery store, Otto’s Market, in the Hudson Valley. 

The hotel was designed by LOVEISENOUGH in the 1950s and 60’s Western Massachusetts ski style of the Swiss and Italian Alps. “We approached this project like a storybook village mountain house – each space feels like a familiar holiday home with warmth, discovery, and charm. It’s its own mountain world.” – Loren Daye, founder of LOVEISENOUGH

 
Address: 19 Nicholson Road, Hillsdale, NY 12529
Starting Rate: $345
Visit Website

 

BIG INDIAN, NY

Urban Cowboy Lodge
Urban Cowboy Lodge

Urban Cowboy Lodge

The Urban Cowboy Lodge offerings include 28 guestrooms, a freestanding cabin, and a standalone chalet. If you are craving an escape from the city buzz and the chance to get fresh mountain air, this property is for you. Surrounded by one of the largest protected wilderness areas within driving distance of the city, giving visitors a multitude of hiking opportunities. 

This Catskills property is Urban Cowboy’s third location, after Nashville, Tennessee, and Brooklyn. Founded by Lyon Porter and Jersey Banks. The pair teamed up with hotel developer Phil Hospod ( FreehandLINE, and NoMad hotels) on this venture.

The Urban Cowboy brand is well known for its cool vibes, aesthetic and tasteful interiors, recognizable by the patterned wallpaper, eccentric-rustic chandeliers, taxidermy, horns, and sexy copper tubs. For this location, the team brought Japanese-style oak soaking tubs for rooms with outdoor porches, where you can let go and relax while staring into the woods. 

The lounge is home to a massive stone fireplace, a collection of records, and a black taxidermy bear wearing a top hat. The tavern  is a lumberjack’s wet dream and not to be missed. The lodge features a basement game room with a relaxed bachelor uncle vibe, a private movie screening room, billiards, board games, and a fireplace. 

During the summer, guests can venture around the property, swim in the nearby creek, warm up in the Estonian sauna, and enjoy stargazing and storytelling around the various fire pits. S’mores anyone?

Check out Nikki Kynard & Aku Orraca Tetteh‘s review of Urban Cowboy Lodge on A Hotel Life.

Check out Shelby Eastman‘s review of the Urban Cowboy Nashville on A Hotel life.

 
Address: 37 Alpine Road, Big Indian, NY, 12410
Starting Rate: $349
Visit Website

 

NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS

Toursits Welcome in North Adams, Massachusetts
Toursits Welcome in North Adams, Massachusetts

Tourists Welcome

This chic Berkshires motel reimagines the architecture of a classic American motor lodge in the heart of North Adams, Mass. The hotel consists of 48 minimalist rooms with high ceilings, tall headboards, wood furniture, and canvas-covered TVs. 

Each room has sliding glass doors leading to an outdoor shower and lounge chairs on an expansive private deck where you can sunbathe and relax with a good read. A unique attraction is The Airport Rooms, the on-site restaurant and cocktail lounge that serves seasonal fare, natural wine, and stiff drinks inspired by the Berkshires surroundings. 

Tourists Welcome is not an ordinary motel. Instead, it attracts a community of creative crowds visiting the nearby attractions such as Mass MoCA, The Clark Institute, or the Appalachian Trail. The hotel also offers an array of art & adventure activities, including private hikes, Plein air massages, foraging walks, waterfall meditations, a sculpture garden, and a seasonally heated pool. It even has its own suspended bridge!

Check out Ernesto Roman’s review of Tourist Welcome on A Hotel Life.

Address: 915 State Road, North Adams, MA 01247
Starting Rate: $239
Visit Website

 

NEW ORLEANS

Hotel Saint Vincent In New Orleans
Hotel Saint Vincent In New Orleans

Hotel Saint Vincent

Originally built as The Saint Vincent’s Infant Asylum in 1861, the building has been a landmark along Magazine Street for 160 years. Neighbored by mansions donning either the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. Saint Vincent and its 75-room hotel are operated by Austin-based McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality with interiors by its sister firm Lambert McGuire Design.

The interiors will delight you with the eclectic mix of design styles that range from 20th-century Italian to mid-century modern and art deco. 

Saint Vincent’s amenities include two bars, two restaurants, a shop, and a pool. The rooms stand apart with sexy furniture, moody hues, and colorful wallpaper, giving a classic and sophisticated look and feel. Sitting the standards to southern hospitality.

Address: 1507 Magazine Street • New Orleans, LA 70130
Starting Rate: $233
Visit Website

 

ESCALANTE, UTAH

Yonder Escalante in Escalante, Utah
Yonder Escalante in Escalante, Utah
Yonder-Escalante-shot-by-The-Nomadic-People-44-uai-1199x1598

Yonder Escalante

Located on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Bryce Canyon National Park. The Yonder Escalante is a luxurious and remote campsite destination where you can isolate yourself among a few others and get in touch with the-element life.

The property offers special accommodations, including 67 pull-in sites for RVs, vans, and campers. Each includes a variety of hook-up options, a private fire pit, 10 retrofitted airstreams, and 22 custom-designed cabins.

Hotel guests can enjoy resort-style amenities, such as an open-air Lodge, a spa-inspired bathhouse, laundry facilities, a general store, an oversized lounge pool, and a hot tub.

Twenty acres of the great outdoors offers the chance to connect with nature. But the most distinct amenity is their private drive-in theater reserved for guests only. If you are a guest, you can enjoy this drive-in experience from the comfort of one of nine classic stationary cars equipped with sound and heaters and an accessible cohesion stand.

 

Address: 2020 West UT-12 | Escalante, UT 84726
Starting Rate: $119
Visit Website

 

GREENOUGH, MONTANA

The Green o in  Greenough, Montana
The Green o in Greenough, Montana

You will find this magical retreat outpost within the 37,000-acre grounds of the Resort at Paws Up, just under an hour’s drive from Missoula. At the Green o, you will explore spectacular views of Western Montana — do not forget to bring your best cowboy hat!

This adults-only property has 12 standalone houses — or ‘Hauses’ as Green o likes to call them — scattered along a wooded hillside. Each haus offers privacy and the feeling of living among the trees, enjoying spectacular views of the Blackfoot River Valley. The million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Swan Mountain Range. To the south lies the Garnet Mountain Range, home to majestic large elk herds. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hundreds of miles of trails and activities such as fly fishing, water rafting, ATV tours, clay shooting range, mountain biking, and horseback riding. 

The culinary program is powered by executive chef Brandon Cunningham, a veteran of the Portland, Oregon, restaurant scene and his tenure at Paws Up, along with James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Krystle Swenson, formerly of Crawford & Son in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Address: 4069 Backcountry Road, Greenough, Montana 59823
Starting Rate: $2199
Visit Website

 

CAMBRIA, CALIFORNIA

White Water in Cambria, California
White Water in Cambria, California
white-water-lobby-lounge

White Water

This peach is located along the picturesque California shoreline. Offers a coastal living experience right across from the dreamy Moonstone Beach. White Water is the first hotel project from the Los Angeles-based interior designer Nina Freudenberger

The boutique-style lodge includes 25 rooms with an assortment of vintage and custom furniture, retro fireplaces, indigo-dyed pillows, pebble mosaic countertops, and mid-century style birch slatted headboards. 

What to do? Enjoy happy hour with a signature cocktail at the 1970s-style lobby, ride the complimentary beach cruisers, or go surfing by one of the most secluded surf breaks, and you can browse the library stocked with antique board games and vintage National Geographics. But what won us over was the daily doorstop breakfast delivery in a picnic basket. 

Address: 6736 Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria, CA 93428
Starting Rate: $264
Visit Website

Have you signed up for our newsletter yet? Never spammy, always bringing you the best and coolest hotels in the world and global lifestyle culture, all through the eyes of industry insiders and local tastemakers. Sign up here!

Share this Story

More Guides

Berlin by Fabia Mendoza

If anyone knows Berlin, it's Fabia... So we caught up with her to get her take on the German capital.

tell me more ›

An Easy Guide To documenta fifteen

We visited Kassel for the world’s most important — and controversial — contemporary art exhibition, and this is why you should go before it closes on September 25th

tell me more ›

TansyTips: Packing In

Tried-and-tested products, tricks, and ideas for nimble and juicy adventures

tell me more ›

Paris’ 8eme by Aurélie Ponce

Tips on what to do, see and eat in arguably the most iconic neighborhood in Paris

tell me more ›