From hipster hotels with typewriters and rotary phones, to ones with guitars on the wall and artisan soaps in the bathroom — these are the coolest hotels to visit in 2016. What exactly makes a hotel cool and hip? It’s not just that these are independent chains. The ethos of these small indie hotels is one of originality and true hipsterdom. They’re cool. They’re organically cool.
But to really stand out in a crowded hotel market, these 10 international hotels do more than most. Their front desks are staffed with locals who know more than just the best nearby restaurants—they’re also going to know which clubs to go to on which nights, how to properly order whatever local food you need, and share tips on the coolest events, festivals or club nights. Inside the hotels, the rooms are likely to be furnished not with cookie-cutter designs from IKEA, but rather furniture either custom-made or found from local thrift and vintage shops. No two rooms are going to be the same. Some, like the Ace Hotel in London, even sell their custom-made furnishings at the front desk. And if you’re lucky, your room will include more than just the necessities. Some rooms will be decked out with record players, old vintage rotary phones, guitars, handcrafted soaps, used furniture or who knows what else!
These hipster hotels are also likely to share lobby space with adjoining shops, or have their own shops and art galleries on site. The Brown Beach Hotel in Tel Aviv has a beautiful bakery set amidst bookshelves, while the hotel lobby at the Acme Hotel in Chicago bridges the hotel with a local cocktail bar famous for their classic drinks and expert bartenders. There’s even a bagel shop on the premises!
Finding a cool hotel is never easy. First you need to know what neighborhood to look in—you’ll want to stay in the hipster neighborhood, somewhere near all the trendy cafés and artisan coffee shops, wherever record stores still exist and thrift shops are more popular than The Gap or Urban Outfitters. Start by searching online for “cool hotels” or looking for recommendations from your coolest friends—you know the type! He/she/they is probably wearing a scarf in the summertime, or jeans that are two sizes too small, or some weird jewelry they found on that trip they took to visit thrift stores in Manchester. Ask this friend where they stayed on their “coffee holiday” exploring every café in town, except for the Starbucks.
Hipster hotels tend to be located in weird locations, too. The buildings are often renovated from more sinister pasts. In London, you might end up sleeping in a hotel that once was a prison, or a former cinema in Stockholm, or a bowling alley in Los Angeles. But that’s the charm of these cool hotels — they’re one-of-a-kind and the perfect way to enjoy traveling in a new way, doing something unique and seeing the world with new eyes.
Your may never want to go home after staying in a truly cool and hip hotel.