Hotel food used to be predictable. Whether you were ordering room service pancakes or a severely overpriced steak at the lobby restaurant, you knew what was coming your way. But the those days are long gone. We’re living in the age of Shake Shack room service, hotel bars that surpass your neighborhood mixology mainstay, and mini bars easily mistaken for trendy artisanal grocery stores. Chefs actually want to open restaurants in hotels, because eating in your hotel is just as exciting as eating, well, anywhere else. Here’s our highly specific guide to the most delicious places to stay in America.
Hygge, the buzzword for Danish-style coziness, isn’t just a winter thing in Minneapolis—it’s a lifestyle. Case in point: breakfast at the city’s newest Nordic gem, Tullibee. Chef Grae Nonas, a Norwegian by way of New England, starts the day in the Hewing lobby with heart-shaped waffles with local butter, herring porridge, and gravlax tartines. Even the coffee mugs look snug in their woolen Faribault sleeves. —Ashley Mason
For me, a nightcap is a business-travel rite. It’s my way of establishing equilibrium in a faraway place. Most of the time it’s an unglamorous affair: bottles of minibar booze in a plastic tumbler, drunk in bed while trying to figure out how the cable works. (Don’t judge.) But on a stay at the Crawford Hotel in Denver’s Union Station, I found myself just steps from the Cooper Lounge on the mezzanine of the city’s lovingly restored (and still operational) beaux-arts train station. It felt almost comically civilized, all marble and cut crystal, Manhattans deftly crafted and delivered on silver trays. And after lingering in my plush armchair just long enough and paying my bill by way of room number instead of plastic, I drifted to bed, re-centered, knowing exactly where, and who, I was. —Amiel Stanek
Some go for the postcard-worthy lakeside setting in Deschutes National Forest, about a three-hour drive south of Portland. Others go to unplug and drink wine in front of a fire in one of the cozy cabins. Us? We go to the 15-acre Suttle Lodge for the Fish and Chips Sandwich. Chef Joshua McFadden of Portland’s Ava Gene’s takes a fillet of trout, crusts it in crushed Kettle-brand potato chips, then deep-fries it to golden, crunchy perfection. It comes tucked into a soft potato roll with tartar sauce, pickles, and crisp iceberg lettuce. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks. —Andrew Knowlton
I’m all for charm, but why, at B&Bs, does “charming” mean rooms that feel like they’re haunted by the ghost of Mary Todd Lincoln? No such creepiness is in sight at Urban Cowboy. The stately Victorian seems more like your musician friend’s crash pad. Make that your very wealthy musician friend, who left no leather couch untufted and no bathtub un-clawfooted. It’s form over function, sure (that tub distracted me from the fact that my room did not have an actual shower), but damn, it’s fine form. And those dubious-looking muffins that always seem to accompany the awkward B&B breakfast are not in the repertoire of the man-bunned cook who rolled into the dining area and cooked made-to-order eggs and sweet potato hash. And then there’s the gem of a restaurant out back: Public House, where everything from olives to extra-crispy chicken gets a hit of char from the wood-burning grill. —Julia Kramer
There was a strange moment, sometime after my fourth beer, when I realized I hadn’t yet left the hotel bar. I was at a fire pit, surrounded by Burlington locals, drinking hard-to-find beers, intoxicated by the smell of the juicy IPAs Vermont is famous for. As a beer nerd, I had come to Burlington on a sort of pilgrimage, and there’s no better home base for beer drinkers than Hotel Vermont. At on-site Juniper (home of the fire pit) and Hen of the Wood, bartenders pour beers from some of the most sought-after breweries in the country. Backacre Sour Golden Ale. Foley Brothers’ Prospect Double IPA. The only thing better than the beer selection is the hotel’s beer concierge program. Yeah, beer concierge. For $639 (for two people, including a two night stay), beverage director Matt Canning acts as your personal beer guide, chauffeuring your squadron to tastings at remote breweries like Hill Farmstead and exclusive tasting dinners, while filling you in on which corner stores stock cans of the coveted Heady Topper and which bars tap the freshest kegs. My kind of tour guide. —Alex Delany
Cyclists at this new Napa hotel can check out the stunning surroundings with a map of suggested routes and, better yet, snacks like house-made energy bars (almonds, dates, espresso salt) and a prosciutto and butter sandwich from chef (and cycling nut) Chris Cosentino. —Nikita Richardson
Imagine lying in a sprawling hotel bed, watching a rom-com, trying to deal with a punishing hangover. Then imagine your doorbell ringing, and it’s room service, and there is a Shake Shack burger and fries at the door. This really happens at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, a 19th-century restoration with a Shack off its lobby (just one good reason to stay there). —Meryl Rothstein
Because 9 a.m. is “too early” for a piña colada, sipping coffee from these custom-printed to-go cups is the next best way to start off a day in paradise. At Olive & Oliver—the Hawaiian Surfjack Hotel’s coffee shop slash clothing boutique—the pineapple, philodendron, and palm tree patterns give us some serious aloha vibes. —Ashley Mason
Attention all big-birthday-celebrating, anniversary-trip-booking readers: Single Thread is the newest member of the Very Special Hotel canon. Run by husband-and-wife duo Kyle and Katina Connaughton, it’s a restaurant/inn/farm in Sonoma County, where everything from the peas to the olive oil comes from the property. Kyle (late of the Fat Duck, Michel Bras) prepares seasonal meals, while Katina raises produce on the five-acre farm nearby. Room service breakfast can mean fresh-squeezed satsuma juice and Dungeness crab. Dinner is an 11-course Japanese-leaning meal, where the charred leeks on your cod will have started the day on the farm. —Nikita Richardson
As a Georgia native, I’ve always appreciated the idea of Southern hospitality, but enough backhanded “Bless his hearts” and “Hons,” can make the concept seem more artificial than honest. My Southern faith was restored after a recent visit to The Dewberry in Charleston. Set in a former federal building, the 155-room mid-century modern hotel is a sleek stunner—you can imagine Don Draper on a Dixie business trip walking in the front door. But it’s the absurdly warm service that has everyone talking. There was the bartender who walked out from behind the bar to hand me my Champagne on a silver tray. And the other bartender who, seeing a group of us standing, brought out a marble-topped high-table for our drinks. If you spend more than five minutes in the hotel, the staff—dressed like a million bucks, by the way—will start addressing you by name. This is the Southern hospitality I crave, darlin’. —Andrew Knowlton
If we find a hotel that happens to have, say, a restaurant specializing in hearth-cooked local game or a diner-and-Asian-inspired-tasting-menu spot from a top chef, we book a room in a heartbeat. Throw in a Third Wave coffee shop and a bar helmed by a rockstar bartender, and you’ve got the soon-to-be-opened Line D.C. Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike Gjerdeand Maketto’s Erik Bruner-Yang have teamed up to bless the neoclassical church turned hotel with five distinct food and drink concepts. And we haven’t even gotten to the room service congee yet. —Amiel Stanek
We travel to be transported, and somehow those cooking classes in generic stainless-steel kitchens don’t exactly have us daydreaming. You can’t say the same for the lessons at Zero George, taught by in-house chef Vinson Petrillo and a rotating cast of guest chefs. Held in a restored 1804 carriage house with beautiful original pine floors and the Lacanche stove of our fantasies, the Low Country cooking is only part of the fun. —Nikita Richardson
Think of the Honor Pantry at Rivertown Lodge like a hallway vending machine, if vending machines were filled with things like small-batch Talbott & Arding pimiento cheese and Piggery cured ham, all made in (or very close to) Hudson, NY. Then there’s the fact that there’s no eye-gouging markup: Everything from La Esquina salsa to Newburgh IPA six-packs are priced comparably with a corner store. —Ashley Mason
New Yorkers are suckers for rooftops, and the space atop Williamsburg’s William Vale is no exception. Home to Andrew Carmellini’s burger-and-ice-cream-slinging Airstream, Mister Dips, it’s a good place to grab a cone of the Malter Cronkite (vanilla-and-malted-chocolate swirl with chocolate dip) while enjoying a view of the Manhattan skyline. — N.R.
The sprawling Hotel Emma isn’t just a place to crash in style; it’s also home base for exploring San Antonio’s Pearl District, a vibrant 16-block area once home to the legendary Pearl Brewery. You can spend a full day without leaving the Pearl’s boundaries and still consume everything from croissants to tacos to