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The Best U.S. Hotel Openings of 2017

Las Alcobas Napa (California)
The Best U.S. Hotel Openings of 2017
What were the new hotels that inspired, excited, and surprised us this year? From a Napa getaway with vineyard views to a retro-glam resort set along Miami’s northern beaches, these are the 10 domestic hotels—all officially launched in 2017—that had us itching to hit the road.
By Sandra Ramani, AFAR Contributor
Courtesy of Las Alcobas
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    Las Alcobas Napa (California)
    Las Alcobas Napa (California)
    Following the success of its stylish boutique hotel in Mexico City, the Las Alcobas brand headed north to Napa, to the much-less-bustling—but still foodie-focused—town of St. Helena. There, in a 1907 Georgian-style farmhouse neighboring the Beringer wine estate, the 68 rooms and suites of the new Luxury Collection–member resort feature custom furniture, plush linens, and a soothing neutral palette. Many rooms also have perks like vineyard or creek views, freestanding tubs, and private balconies, terraces, or fire pits (over which you can roast gourmet marshmallows). Fill up one of the provided personal picnic baskets then head out to explore the grounds, settle into a cabana by the heated outdoor pool, or book a nourishing Naturopathica treatment at the Atrio spa. Don’t miss a meal at Acacia House, helmed by “Top Chef Masters” winner chef Chris Cosentino, whose other eateries include San Francisco’s much-lauded Cockscomb.
    Courtesy of Las Alcobas
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    Four Seasons Surf Club (Florida)
    Four Seasons Surf Club (Florida)
    Twentieth-century tire magnate Harvey Firestone’s former Florida retreat—which hosted everyone from Winston Churchill to Frank Sinatra—has been transformed by starchitect Richard Meier and interior designer Joseph Durand into one of this year’s most anticipated new hotels. Though just a short distance from Miami Beach and the shopping at Bal Harbour, The Surf Club still has the air of a private beachfront club, with 77 retro-chic rooms (including five cabana-inspired accommodations), outdoor heated pools, and “serenity lawns” for yoga and Pilates sessions. Spaces like the glam Champagne Bar and oceanfront, Italian-flavored Le Sireneuse Miami are drawing a local crowd, while the gorgeous all-white spa boasts both indoor and cabana treatment rooms, plus a traditional hammam.
    Courtesy of Four Seasons Surf Club
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    The Whitby (New York)
    The Whitby (New York)
    From the creative minds of Tim and Kit Kemp—the beloved hoteliers behind Firmdale properties like the Crosby Street Hotel—comes this whimsical new addition to midtown Manhattan. In honor of The Whitby’s location near city icons like Central Park and the Museum of Modern Art, the 86 rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling, warehouse-style windows framing views of the skyline and a playful, color- and pattern-filled decor inspired by contemporary art and design. All rooms have walk-in showers, upscale RikRak amenities, and lots of light, while some also boast freestanding tubs, private balconies, or sitting areas. The lively public spaces are also awash in notable artwork and Kemp’s signature style. Savor afternoon tea service (or something stronger from the honor bar) around the 18th-century Greek fireplace in the book-lined Drawing Room, or enjoy a meal at The Orangery, in a room lined with 40 illuminated porcelain pots by Martha Freud. There’s also a 130-seat cinema where the hotel hosts screenings and movie nights.
    Courtesy of The Whitby
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    Thompson Nashville (Tennessee)
    Thompson Nashville (Tennessee)
    Located in downtown Nashville’s upscale The Gulch neighborhood, on the same block as legendary bluegrass and roots music venue The Station Inn, this sleek Thompson outpost draws from the city’s history and creative spirit, while also bringing a dose of contemporary energy. Join the crowds of locals at the L.A. Jackson rooftop bar, where sweeping views set the scene for a lengthy menu of craft cocktails and regional brews. Also popular are the Marsh House restaurant, where dishes are filled with locally sourced ingredients, and Killerbrew Coffee, a daily spot for caffeine and pastries that turns into a coffee-and-cocktails hangout on weekend nights. Spread out over 12 floors, the 224 rooms and suites also mix Nashville heritage and modern design, with rooms that balance crisp bedding, rain showers, and tech amenities with hardwood floors, sliding barn doors, and a vintage-inspired honor bar. All feature floor-to-ceiling windows framing skyline views.
    Courtesy of Thompson Nashville
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    Proper San Francisco (California)
    Proper San Francisco (California)
    The historic triangle-shaped building at the intersection of Market, McAllister, and Seventh Streets, in the heart of the city, is the setting for a vibrant new hotel from the emerging Proper brand. Designed by interiors maven Kelly Wearstler in her signature bold and playful style, the 131 rooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes—including ones with bunk beds equipped with smart touches like outlets, USB ports, and separate TVs and headphones for each bunk. At the lobby level, chef Jason Franey’s Villon restaurant serves globally influenced dishes and a menu of 49 cocktails (in honor of San Francisco’s seven-by-seven-mile size), while high above Market Street, Charmaine’s rooftop bar is the place for drinks and elevated bites around the fire pit, surrounded by city views.
    Courtesy of Proper San Francisco
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    Andaz Scottsdale (Arizona)
    Andaz Scottsdale (Arizona)
    Spread out over 23 acres at the base of Camelback Mountain, Andaz Scottsdale—one of this Arizona city’s biggest recent openings—was inspired by the clean lines, bright colors, and textured folk art of the 1950s desert art scene. Nods to the arts abound, from the staff sporting handcrafted bracelets and the weekly live music from local bands to the partnership with the nearby Cattle Track artist collective, which provided artwork for the rooms and public spaces and stocks the lobby boutique with unique souvenirs. Head to the central Great House to play board games in the library or around the fire pits, enjoy a lively happy hour, and dine at the open-plan Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, serving Sonoran-flavored cuisine in shareable plates. The deck gives way to the Turquoise Pool—ringed by private cabanas and the Pool Bar—and to the 201 bungalow-style guest rooms, all with outdoor lounging space. Opened in mid-2017 as the final component to the resort, the Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary incorporates natural, desert-inspired ingredients into its customized treatments.
    Courtesy of Andaz Scottsdale
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    The Adolphus (Texas)
    The Adolphus (Texas)
    First opened over 100 years ago by Adolphus Busch, cofounder of Anheuser-Busch, this Dallas icon has undergone a complete reimagining over the past few years; the final phases were unveiled in 2017. The most comprehensive redo in the hotel’s history saw a transformation of the lobby, public spaces, and the 400 rooms and suites, all of which now feature a warm, sophisticated decor. Also new is the chic, top-of-the-line spa—one of the best in Dallas, with private changing suites, outdoor relaxation lounges, and excellent therapists—and the seventh-floor pool and bar, ringed by cabanas and fire pits. The Adolphus’s legendary dining experiences—including the award-winning French Room fine dining restaurant and the elegant afternoon tea service—have also been revised, along with several other notable eateries and bars. A Viennese-style coffee shop serves as a reminder of the Beaux-Arts building’s Old World roots.
    Courtesy of The Adolphus
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    Viceroy Chicago (Illinois)
    Viceroy Chicago (Illinois)
    Opened in September 2017, in the upscale Gold Coast area, Viceroy’s first Midwest property is an 18-story tower housing 180 modern rooms and suites, and the neighborhood’s first rooftop pool. As an homage to its location—which once held the iconic, 1920s-era Cedar Hotel—the architects kept the original brick-and-terra-cotta facade, while interiors have a more contemporary flair, with bold art fixtures and a 30-foot “Poem Wall” in the lobby. All of the spacious rooms have oversized windows highlighting sweeping views of the skyline and Lake Michigan; some suites kick things up a level with expansive terraces. The programming also aims to connect guests to the destination, from private styling and shopping by local boutique FELT and weekly “Chill Hour” meditation sessions by Chill Chicago to the seasonally focused Somerset restaurant by James Beard Award–finalist chef Lee Wolen, of Chicago-based Boka Restaurant Group. Don’t skip dessert; pastry chef Meg Galus has a James Beard Award nomination, too.
    Courtesy of Viceroy Chicago
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    Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs (California)
    Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs (California)
    The Kimpton brand rolled out a few hotels in California this year (and has another big opening planned for Los Angeles in early 2018), but this Palm Springs spot is a particular standout. Opened in mid-November, the seven-story, 153-room resort anchors the Downtown Palm Spring’s revitalization project and is the first ground-up hotel to be built in the area in decades. Convenient to both the city’s top shopping, dining, and cultural spots and the nature trails winding through the San Jacinto Mountains, the resort has a design that puts a contemporary twist on Palm Springs’ midcentury modern heritage, with a serene color palette, custom art installations, and clean-lined furnishings. All rooms and suites have mountain views or private balconies, while other perks include a lively rooftop with a shared-plates restaurant, craft bar, cushy cabanas, and the city’s first (and only) rooftop pool. With a second restaurant and bar on the lobby floor, plus complimentary wine hours, custom-designed PUBLIC bikes, and engaging programming, there’s plenty on-site to make for a relaxing getaway.
    Courtesy of Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
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    1 Brooklyn Bridge (New York)
    1 Brooklyn Bridge (New York)
    New York’s latest hotel hot spot looks at Manhattan from its perch at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, just south of the iconic bridge. Set in a sustainably built 10-story development, 1 Brooklyn Bridge’s 94 rooms and suites were designed in keeping with the 1 brand’s signature focus on environmentally responsible hospitality—so think reclaimed wood, native greenery, filtered water taps, and locally sourced art. Past the massive living green wall in the lobby, shared spaces include an eatery from restaurateur Matt Abramcyk and executive chef Michael Oliver, a café serving items from neighborhood purveyors, a full-service spa from U.K.-based organic brand Bramford, and a state-of-the-art fitness center and a yoga and barre studio. Buzziest of all is the rooftop—with an infinity-edge pool ringed by loungers and rocking chairs, fire pits, and a bar—and the 10th-floor cocktail lounge, both of which have views for days. Indie movie screenings, artists workshops, and other unique programming aim to draw both locals and visitors.
    Courtesy of 1 Brooklyn Bridge
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    What’s Next . . .
    What’s Next . . .
    Courtesy of XV Beacon