Designer’s Boiler House Rooms Avanti Consulting Engineers


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While sleek minimalism set the tone for urban boutique hotels in the 1990s, rustic elements are warming up the newest crop of small hotels. These trendsetters emphasize their sense of place through local themes, building materials, restaurant fare, entertainment or a combination of them all.

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Designer’s Boiler House Rooms Avanti Consulting Engineers

  2. 2. While sleek minimalism set the tone for urban boutique hotels in the 1990s, rustic elementsare warming up the newest crop of small hotels. These trendsetters emphasize their senseof place through local themes, building materials, restaurant fare, entertainment or acombination of them all.Minneapolis | The Commons HotelNear the campus of the University of Minnesota, the 304-room Commons Hotel telegraphsa geek-chic attitude with argyle wallpaper, a library with a book concierge on call and abanquette-ringed central fire pit, and Sudoku puzzles on room-service breakfast trays. Thebrick building, once a Radisson hotel, could pass for a dormitory, but the accent inside ison Minnesota, with walls of reclaimed barn wood, a photo mural of a birch forest in therestaurant and vintage black-and-white reels of university sporting events screened on anexpansive video wall.Rates from $199; (612) 379-8888,
  3. 3. Burlington, Vt. | Hotel VermontLocally owned and designed, this independent hotel aims to be modern on the surfacebut Vermont to the core. Its 125 rooms are stocked with blankets from Johnson WoolenMills, Lunaroma bath products and Vermont Teddy Bears (on demand). Much of thebuilding material, including oak furniture and flooring and marble in the bathrooms, camefrom within 600 miles. Until the hotel’s Hen of the Wood restaurant opens in latesummer, guests can order breakfast, including polenta with fried eggs and wild blueberrypancakes, from the Juniper bar; it, too, features local ingredients in its “carbon-negative”cocktails. In a twist on recycling, the hotel keeps a fleet of refurbished bicycles from alocal shop, the Old Spokes Home.Rates from $229; (802) 651-0080,
  4. 4. Kennebunkport, Me. | Boathouse Waterfront HotelOn the Kennebunk River, this design-oriented hotel, one of nine in the KennebunkportResort Collection, is poised to be a social setting for summer Mainers. David’s KPT, a200-seat restaurant with river views, is run by the Portland chef and restaurateur DavidTurin; it features a raw bar and lobster in many variations, including pizza. Inspired bythe area’s yachting and shipbuilding cultures, the hotel interior includes a front desksuggesting a boat hull and a lobby with blue-and-white furniture. The nautical colorscontinue in the 12 guest rooms, where beds are dressed in Maine-made Cuddledownduvets.Rates from $229; (877) 266-1304,
  5. 5. Aspen, Colo. | Hotel JeromeManaged now by Auberge Resorts, the oldest hotel in Aspen is, after a five-monthrenovation completed in December, also the town’s newest. The good bones thatdistinguish the 1889 hotel, like its brick facade and lobby hearth, remain, but there ismore lavish decoration incorporating historic and modern Aspen. Vintage collectiblessuch as old mining equipment, typewriters and antique buffet tables mingle withoverstuffed couches and nested cocktail tables in the lively Living Room lounge.Photographs, old maps and Western art underscore the mining-era theme, whilegenerously proportioned rooms exhibit the frontier sense of elbow room.Rates from $325; (970) 920-1000,
  6. 6. Portland, Ore. | Kennedy SchoolThis converted 1915 elementary school on Portland’s Northeast side recently added aliterary-themed English Wing of 22 rooms, each devoted to a different book, rangingfrom “Tropic of Capricorn” by Henry Miller to “Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Cleary.Contemporary artwork corresponds to the book themes. Kennedy School, with a total of57 rooms, is part of the McMenamin hotel chain owned by the beer-brewing brothersMike and Brian McMenamin, who specialize in reclaiming historic buildings. At this one,patrons can watch a movie in the old auditorium and drink at a bar in the former boilerroom.Rates from $115; (503) 249-3983,
  7. 7. Chicago | Hotel LincolnA former residential hotel dating to 1928, this year-old hotel opposite Lincoln Park paystribute to a few of its past habitués. For example, there is the architect BuckminsterFuller, whose geodesic domes were the inspiration for angular entry mirrors in each ofits 184 rooms. The author David Mamet is referenced in Elaine’s Coffee Call, a coffeeshop in the lobby that was named for the telephone operator who called the buddingplaywright nightly to inquire whether he wanted coffee or tea. The front desk wascreated by stacking 30 vintage dresser drawers from antiques shops; flea market artfestoons the lobby walls. A hotel pedicab provides shuttles to the nearby beach, andrestaurants on the roof and the ground floor take advantage of the organic Green CityMarket, held twice weekly across the street, May through October.Rates from $189; (855) 514-8112,
  8. 8. Santa Monica, Calif. | Oceana Beach Club HotelNewly remodeled to pay homage to its midcentury roots, this 70-room hotel ditched itsbright Mediterranean colors in favor of sun-bleached shades of blue in the poolcourtyard. The lobby now features ’60s-inspired furnishings, including geometric-patterned rugs and a mobile-like chandelier. Rooms evoke a beach house with floralpillows and lemon-yellow walls. The chef Josiah Citrin, a Santa Monica native known forthe Mélisse restaurant nearby, has opened the more casual Tower 8 in the hotel,focusing on Southern California seasonal dishes.Rates from $395; (310) 393-0486,