Here are some of our favorite hotels from recent travels at home and abroad:
Mies en scene The 2013 transformation of the IBM Building, a late-Mies van der Rohe office tower, into the posh Langham, was a stunning addition to the Chicago hotel scene. With a minimalist but luxe lobby of travertine marble and bronze-beaded curtains, the hotel offers 316 unusually spacious rooms outfitted in soothing greens and aubergines. — J.G.
Tropical grand dame If there can be such a thing as a quiet part of Miami’s South Beach, The Betsy has found it. This 61-room boutique hotel is situated in a sweet spot a few blocks north of the cheesy center of Ocean Drive, and a few blocks south of the shops and restaurants on the see-and-be-seen Lincoln Road pedestrian mall. The beachfront hotel itself is a real looker for its “Florida Georgian” architecture and tropical Colonial vibe, and also does its part for writers and artists –– The Betsy regular hosts poetry readings, art exhibits and jazz concerts, and reserves one guest room for a visiting writer. — R.D.
Nature in the city Perched in the midst of a bamboo forest, Tokyo’s Capitol Hotel Tokyu is at once surrounded by, and immersed in, the past. Walkways that pass through courtyards and along waterfalls suggest temple traditions, as does bamboo trelliswork. In guest rooms, carpets, drapes, and wall-coverings feature swirls and ripples that mimic the patterns of gently lapping water. Sliding fusuma screens divide entryways from bedrooms, and bedrooms from baths, and a calm palette of beige and grey prevails. — J.G.
Factory chic From a reception desk crafted of beer bottles to the huge, gleaming copper kettles that hang above the lobby, the Brewhouse Inn & Suites in Milwaukee, Wis., is accented with touches that reference its former use as part of the 150-year-old Pabst complex. Guest rooms include expansive kitchenettes with sparkling mosaic backsplashes and dining surfaces made from wood reclaimed on the property. — J.G.
Mid-century hospitality Mad Men’s Don Draper would feel right at home at The Loden, a mid-century-styled boutique hotel in Vancouver’s West End. The 77 luxe-comfort guest rooms and suites feature handsome built-in cabinetry, wet bars and marble-lined bathrooms. The Loden offers bicycles to access nearby Stanley Park and complimentary downtown car service via a London cab, as well as a fine, contemporary French bistro called Tableau. — R.D.
Mama knows best It’s only natural that Philippe Starck would go from designing furniture for boutique properties to creating his own hotel brand. Mama Shelter Marseille, part of a five-hotel mini-chain with other locations in Paris and Istanbul, allows you to experience Starck’s signature minimalist style at rates that average under $200 a night. Rooms are dramatically lit with, pardon the pun, the designer’s Starck-white aesthetic, but form doesn’t triumph over function: There also are generously-sized desks, plenty of outlets to connect your various devices and free wi-fi. — R.D.
Classic digs The Dauphine Orleans and its completely new sibling, the Hotel Mazarin, set just the right tone for anyone who wants to stay in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter without being disturbed by noisy revelers. The hotels, which are part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection, are situated in renovated historic buildings a short distance, yet a world away, from the action of Bourbon Street. The properties pair luxury features, like marble bathrooms with walk-in showers, with modern amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and iPod docking stations. The complimentary breakfast is a nice touch, too. — R.D.
Gotham romance Carved out of a dramatic castle-like seminary, The High Line Hotel in New York City is romantic and character-drenched with mismatched vintage furnishings that are enlivened by tableaus of rotary dial phones, embossers, and desktop terrariums. Add a series of lovely courtyards, an Intelligentsia espresso bar, amenities from Bigelow (the historic Greenwich Village pharmacy), plenty of eclectic books strewn about, and user-friendly policies that welcome dogs, offer free wi-fi, and have set very reasonable prices for mini-bar goodies, and you have the perfect Manhattan retreat. — J.G.