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10 Hotel Brands That Are Shaking Up Travel

See the 2015 Travel Vanguard 

The hotel of the moment is less a high-thread-count hideaway and more a super-wired salon where, whether you’re a deal-maker, a tech geek, or a member of the culturati, you can mingle with like-minded souls, get inspired—and maybe sleep a little too.

Virgin Hotel
A next-gen brand for business travelers, Virgin Hotels Chicago pays special attention to women road warriors. Wi-Fi is fast and free, rooms have savvy closets, there are weekly TED-like talks, and the Funny Library is stocked by Second City improv stars. Coming soon: Nashville and New York City.

tommie
Opening this summer in New York, the micro-hotel tommie Hudson Square models efficiency-chic with custom-made square beds, a changeable pegboard for hanging clothes, and a flip-down work desk (below). But who wants to be in their room when the lobby-cum-lounge screens indie films nightly and hosts salons with local artists, all to a soundtrack of emerging bands? Next up: A second Manhattan hub.

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1Hotels
From Barry Sternlicht, founder of the Starwood Hotels, comes a new brand: 1Hotels (now open in Miami) where, when you’re not sunbathing or celebrating at a full-moon fete, you can join a volunteer expedition to, say, clean a beach. The hotel eschews plastic (bye-bye travel-size shampoo bottles), maintains a fleet of Teslas, and hosts a monthly mini farmers’ market in the lobby. Next up: Manhattan.

Moxy
Marriott’s Moxy in Milan is about connecting. The hotel revolves around 24-7 communal areas, including bars with premade cocktails and high-style lounges filled with outlets, a screen that shows photos tagged #atthemoxy in real time, and board games (Jenga, Connect 4) for offline fun. Rooms are spare and further encourage mingling. Rather than an iron in each room, there’s an ironing room on each floor. Next up: Berlin, London.

Generator
An events coordinator at each European Generator hostel—Paris is the latest (shown at top)—brings in a steady stream of local artists, designers, and musicians. And, in keeping with backpacking’s let’s-hang vibe, there’s always a themed place to lounge and chat: a petanque bar (Copenhagen), a screening room (Amsterdam), and a rooftop terrace (Paris). Next up: Rome, Amsterdam.

Proper
The new Proper hotel brand—from the team behind the Viceroy Hotels—aims to create spaces that feel less like a hotel and more like a tech-savvy version of a 19th-century salon. Expect a glam, vintage furniture-filled playground plopped in a startup hub, with indie bands, intimate rooftop lounges, and free yoga rounding out the mix. The first hotel is set to open in late 2015 in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

Canopy By Hilton
Opening in city neighborhoods across the U.S., plus London, in late 2015, Canopy plans wants to get you out of downtown and away from the suits. They plan to keep the vibe local, bestowing welcome gifts at check-in—i.e., Garrett’s Popcorn in Chicago—that are iconic in the city. Expect local art throughout and nightly tastings of local craft beers, wines or spirits. Shown below: the lobby in the Portland location.

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Centric by Hyatt
New in South Beach and then rolling out nationally, Hyatt’s new Centric centers on open-plan lounges, with décor tailored to each city, quiet libraries, and convivial communal tables. All staffers are empowered and encouraged to act as your concierge, so ask them about local running routes, taco trucks, and skirting the lines at hot clubs.

Radisson Red
This is not your father’s Radisson. The new Red brand is smaller, for starters, held to about 150 rooms, and aimed more at millennial strivers than middle-aged middle managers. With a gallery-like entryway, grab-and-go deli, and fun touches like ping pong tables, it’s more about hanging out than crashing out. Rooms are jazzed up with floor-to-ceiling bold modern prints on the wall and, where you might expect a desk, a table with mismatched chairs instead. The first is opening in Shenyang, China in early 2016; The rendering on the web site shows flexible lobby areas with outdoor terrace with ping pong tables.

Ace Hotel
What’s the next city to gain the Ace swirl of common spaces, funky decor, and fantastic, chef-driven food? Nope, it’s not Chicago or Austin, but Pittsburgh. Slated to open in late 2015, the perma-cool hotel brand’s latest outpost will be located in the city’s emerging East Liberty neighborhood, home to juice bars, lots of reclaimed wood, and even a new Google hub. Ace has been mum on the nitty-gritty, but the hotel is expected to be about 65 rooms in a former YMCA outfitted with a coffee shop, retail shop, and possibly even a coworking space.

Generator Hotel Paris image by Nikolas Koenig.