For avant-garde accommodations, these three hotels offer something a little different for a truly unforgettable experience.
There is exquisitely restored architecture around every corner at this downtown Nashville, 20th-century railway station turned boutique hotel, which recently underwent a US$15-million renovation. The hotel’s clock tower and Romanesque exterior stand out against the city skyline. Inside, the third-floor lobby features three massive chandeliers that sparkle beneath a barrel-vaulted, stained-glass ceiling. Nashville’s contemporary side is reflected in the designs of each of the 125 rooms and suites. Room decor includes cowhide headboards, leather chairs and iron chandeliers.
At night, the hotel’s central location facilitates exploration of Nashville’s nearby live-music venues, from honky tonk bars to the historic Ryman Auditorium. Back at the hotel, spend some time in the lobby’s spacious lounge area, on a couch by the fireplace. At lobby restaurant Carter’s, take a seat at the marble bar for Southern-inspired small plates and cocktails made with Tennessee spirits. Rates from US$219. —Alyssa Quirico
Need to unplug? This is the place for you. Suspended among the mixed forest canopy like oversized Christmas baubles, a sleepover at Free Spirit Spheres in Vancouver Island’s Qualicum Bay (a two-hour drive from Victoria) provides a unique squirrel’s-eye view of the world. Inside the four hand-built, gently swaying orbs—accessed via spiral staircases or short steel bridges—the creature comforts are far beyond most treehouses.
The cozy, hobbit hole-like wooden interiors have built-in beds and counters—along with kettles and speaker systems—while outside, at ground level, there is a private outhouse and immaculate, heated, three-piece bathroom for each individual sphere. Amenities aside, the real point of a spherical stay is to reconnect with nature.
Tranquil trails weave around the property’s pond and surrounding forest, while each globe’s porthole windows deliver next-branch-over views of jays and woodpeckers accompanied by birdsong symphonies. Rates from $210. —John Lee
This groovy California getaway will appeal to fans of Airstream trailers, mid-century kitsch and the music of the B-52s. Kate Pierson, a member of the seminal 1980s new wave band, co-owns this vintage mash-up motel with wife Monica Coleman. Though she doesn’t tend the front desk, Pierson is known to pop by on her rock-star travels.
Located in Landers near Joshua Tree, about an hour from Palm Springs, the adults-only motel is the desert version of sister property, Kate’s Lazy Meadow, in Mount Tremper, N.Y. Its vintage Airstream trailers, including “Tiki,” “HotLava” and “Planet Air,” are backdropped by mountains, desert trees and scrub. The setting makes a perfect base for hikes in the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park. There’s no maid service, but the trade-off is an ultra-cool accommodation experience and the likelihood that you and your fellow guests will get into a B-52s lip-sync battle during your stay. Rates from US$175. —Karen Burshtein
Tiny Hotels in Nashville, Los Angeles and Miami
These boutique hotels with 15 rooms or less deliver cozy comforts in prime neighbourhood locations. Stay at Nashville’s Germantown Inn for its historic charm, at L.A.’s Hotel Covell for its apartment-like feel, or at Prime Hotel - South Beach in Miami for its closeness to the Art Deco District.
Five Places that are Totally Gluten-free
Gluten-free dining has become more accessible in recent years, but these spots in Nashville, Toronto, Saskatoon, San Francisco and Victoria do an exemplary job of creating completely gluten-free fare. There are no special menus at these restaurants, markets and bakeries, so simply sit back and dig in.