The 10 urban hotels making design waves Stateside

Whatever the state, whatever the city, US urban hotels have stepped up their design nous with a cutting edge list of properties that offer more than just rooms. Whether carved from an historic pile or a modern new build, each of these hotels will appeal to the most hardened design aficionados.

Guestroom at Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Miami, USA
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Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club

Opened to great fanfare, the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club in Miami has been one of the most talked-about launches in recent times. Established by tyre tycoon Harvey Firestone in 1930, in its midcentury heyday the property boasted a visitor’s book that saw stamps of approval from the likes of Liberace, Frank Sinatra and Alfred Hitchcock. Over 85 years later, the hotel reopened as a Four Seasons property following a grand revival that saw input from a number of outstanding collaborators, all harmonised by The Surf Club’s owner Nadim Ashi. The 77-room beachside structure, designed by Richard Meier, cantilevers over the original 1930s clubhouse and interiors by Joseph Dirand — a smooth play on light, shape and colour — complete the lesson contemporary modernism. Big names are also present in the hotel’s F&B outlets, with Antonio Sersale of Positano’s Le Sirenuse helming the restaurant and a second Martin Brudnizki-designed, Thomas Keller-led restaurant set to open later this year.

9101 Collins Avenue, T 1.305 381 3333,, Rates from: $899

Guestroom at 11 Howard Hotel, New York City, USA

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11 Howard
New York City

Just north of Canal Street and lined with a chic assemblage of boutiques, Manhattan’s Howard Street has made a smooth transition from serene enclave to downtown draw in recent years. Anchoring this is 11 Howard, a 221-room hotel that occupies a former post office reworked by local architectural practice Beyer Blinder Belle, with interiors composed by the hotel’s creative director, Anda Andrei, and Danish firm Space Copenhagen. The resulting aesthetic is a blend of a Scandinavian design sensibilities and a distinctly New York personality, as witnessed in the bleached oak lobby, where statuesque bespoke furniture complements an Alexander Calder mobile suspended from the 4.5m-high ceiling. Rooms offer an individual charm thanks to the historic building’s irregular floor plan, and feature credenzas, desks and armoires designed by Space Copenhagen and Andrei in collaboration with brands such as Gubi, Mads Raaschou and &Tradition.

11 Howard Street, T 1.212 235 1111,, Rates from: $219

Double guestroom at Ace Hotel, New Orleans, USA

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Ace Hotel
New Orleans

The Ace Hotel group has come a long way since its beginnings in Seattle nearly two decades ago, and the New Orleans outpost is a shining example of how its formula is has been successfully adapted to a range of diverse cities. Located in NoLA’s downtown, the hotel duplicates its hometown’s multi-layered history from a nine-storey building and is just a quick step away from the French Quarter. Interiors by Roman and Williams, who have filled spaces with vintage colours and found objects, are perhaps a little more austere than sister properties, but are an appropriate fit for the 1928 French Deco structure. That’s not to say the brand’s quirky hallmarks aren’t present. Original terrazzo floors offset custom and found lighting in the lobby, while guestrooms are elegantly outfitted with painted wooden armoires and modernist furniture. It’s all rounded up with hearty fare at Josephine Estelle, an in-house outpost of Stumptown Coffee Roasters and cocktails at Alto, the hotel’s rooftop garden.

Doubles, from $135 600 Carondelet Street, T 504 900 1180,

Guestroom at 21 C Hotel, Oklahoma City, USA

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21 C
Oklahoma City

Literally setting the scene for a host of new boutiques and restaurants housed in the former offices of Paramount, Warner Bros, and MGM, Oklahoma City’s historic Film Row neighbourhood provides an ideal backdrop for the artsy hotel chain 21C’s latest iteration. Located in a century old Henry Ford-built assembly plant — an appropriate frame for the brand’s museum/hotel hybrid concept — the 135-room 21 C spans 1,300 square metre and event space to accommodate a regularly changing schedule of exhibitions, installations and cultural programming. Guestrooms, designed by Deborah Berke Partners, are respectful of the building’s original architecture by industrial designer Albert Kahn and make the most of the oversized steel windows that fill each high-ceilinged space with light and vistas of downtown. Original artworks, frequent nods to the building’s industrial heritage and custom made furniture, complete this contemporary homage to an Oklahoma landmark.

900 W Main Street, T 1.405 982 6900,, Rates from: $199

Guestroom at Nobu Ryokan Malibu Hotel, Malibu, USA

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Nobu Ryokan Malibu

As celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s foray into international hotels gathers even more steam in 2018, Nobu Ryokan Malibu, opened in 2017, offers a landmark reference point for following sister properties. Considerably smaller in scale and ambition than its international siblings, the two-storey Malibu property features just 16 rooms, each furnished and modelled after a traditional ryokan, with views of Malibu Pier and the Pacific Ocean for a stark reminder that this is indeed California and not Japan. Formerly a 1950 motel, the building has been attentively renovated by Studio PCH and Montalba Architects, who have transformed the property into a serene sanctuary. Interiors by TAL Studio are characterised by earthy tones, clean lines and calm palettes, and are equipped with handmade teak soaking tubs, tatami mats, shoji screens and George Nakashima furniture. There is no restaurant onsite, but with Nobu Malibu restaurant just mere steps away, that shouldn’t be a problem.

22752 Pacific Coast Highway,, Rates from: $2,000

The bar at The Line Hotel, Washington DC, USA

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The Line
Washington DC

The Sydell Group’s second hotel after the launch of its overwhelmingly popular debut property in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, The Line DC, is situated in the former First Church of Christ, Scientist in Washington DC’s northwestern neighbourhood of Adams Morgan. Designed by New York studio INC Architecture & Design, the hotel is located in a 1912 neoclassical revival-style building, which has been carefully preserved and yet suitably updated to accommodate five F&B outlets including an all day eatery, a wood-fired restaurant, a coffee bar and a live broadcast radio station. Annexing all this is a new building, which houses the hotel’s 220 rooms, each one a chic medley of individually-sourced furniture, original artwork and books curated by local institution Idle Time Books. It’s all capped by a rooftop that opens out over the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral.

1770 Euclid Street NW, T 1.202 588 0525,, Rates from: $268

Guestroom at NoMad hotel, Los Angeles, USA

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Los Angeles

The Sydell Group’s ascendency keeps on trucking. After The Line, Freehand and The Ned, the group introduced its elegant NoMad brand to Downtown Los Angeles. Giannini Place, an historic building formerly known as the Bank of Italy building, houses this west coast outpost, which boasts 241 rooms, a rooftop pool and the brand’s signature library. While French interior designer Jacques Garcia has infused the hotel with some of the neo-classical flavour that characterises its sister property in Manhattan, nods to the building’s Italian heritage are frequent. These include gold and blue coffered ceiling in the lobby, elegant Doric columns and marble floors; all preserved and immaculately restored. This Italianate palette continues in guestrooms alongside custom-design furnishings and artwork from Anglo-French design studio be-poles. Food and beverage offerings overseen by chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park include the Giannini Bar and the Lobby restaurant, where diners are treated to Humm’s spin on New American cuisine.

Giannini Place, 649 South Olive & 7th Street, T 1.213 358 0000,, Rates from: $315

The restaurant at Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, Restaurant and Hotel, Philadelphia, USA

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Wm. Mulherin’s Sons

A substantial upgrade from the traditional restaurant with rooms, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, Restaurant and Hotel in Philadelphia’s Fishtown has been an overwhelming hit since opening in 2016 and adding accommodation in 2017. Based in an historic building – a lovingly restored whiskey blending and bottling factory from the 19th century – the four room hotel and restaurant is a studied throwback to old English pubs that has garnered countless accolades for its wood-fired, Italian-influenced fare. Each guestroom is in keeping with the property’s over arching modern heritage aesthetic, with preserved pre-existing architectural features, decorative wallpaper by Stacey Rozich, custom wood furniture by Tim Lewis Studio and a dash of Nordic-inspired minimalism. Signs of the building’s past, such as a pulley system previously used for bearing heavy loads, and a claw-footed bathtub, reveal additional layers of history at this multifaceted hotel, while Aesop amenities, fully equipped kitchens and luxe rainfall showers are a nod to the present.

1355 N. Front Street, T 215 2911355,, Rates from: $300

The exterior of The Line Hotel, Austin, USA

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The Line

A follow up to the Sydell Group’s debut property of the same name in Los Angeles and a second in Washington DC, The Line Austin has further honed the brand’s masterful marriage of architecture, design and local culture. Situated at the intersection of the city’s Town Lake and Downtown neighbourhoods, this mid-century building — previously the Crescent Inn — has been revamped by Los Angeles-based designer Sean Knibb together with the Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Stylish and eclectic features, such as the giant arched windows offering lake and city views and the hotel’s expansive lake facing lobby, blur the distinction between indoors and out. The 428 guest rooms (including 108 suites) follow a similar, back-to-basics concept, brought together by a mix of natural textures, yielded from sandblasted plywood headboards and exposed concrete columns, alongside with a soothing colour palette, for a series of enticing hideaways.

111 East Cesar Chavez, T 1.512 478 9611,, Rates from: $275

Restaurant terrace at The Robey Hotel, Chicago, USA

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The Robey

Forming the third stateside property from Mexico-based Grupo Habita, The Robey takes a step back from the din of the city’s congested downtown, to generate an air of excitement that is all its own. Carved out of the 12-storey art deco Northwest Tower, this 69-room hotel is the work of Belgian design firms Nicolas Schuybroek Architects and Marc Merckx Interiors, who have paid full homage to history of its landmark home. Comfort, a creative vibe and the distinct heritage of the neighbourhood are pulled together with minimalist furniture, hardwood flooring and lighting by Chicago-based Filament 33 for an atmosphere of simple luxury, which can be found in guestrooms and the French-American-style Café Robey. The result is a hotel that plays on a harmony between old and new, European and American, timeless and warm. Cabana Club, an indoor/outdoor cocktail bar and rooftop pool that is open May-September, draws guests and visitors alike.

2018 West North Avenue, T 1.872-315-3050,, Rates from: $150

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms