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Five Unique Boutique Hotels that Immerse in Sense of Place

Travelers who eschew the chain hotel experience for something immersive and memorable can check out these gems, all with 15 rooms or fewer

According to a recent survey by Skift, more than 40 percent of travelers have used Airbnb for a leisure vacation. This is no surprise considering 70 percent of travelers have said they don’t want to feel like tourists on vacation.

For those who want an authentic experience during their travels without sacrificing the luxury of a five-star hotel experience, here is a short list of boutique hotels with  no more than 15 rooms each. Each hotel features unique design and incorporates elements that you can’t help but marvel at. They may seem small, but they are big on hospitality and design.

Fitler Club, Philadelphia, PA

Room Count: 14

About: Philadelphia’s most extravagantly modern hotel rooms reside at Fitler Club, the ultimate “work/stay/play” destination, where some of the city’s most sought-after accommodations allow guests to becomes a member of Fitler Club for the duration of their stay.

The 14-room hotel was designed by a team comprised of Fitler Club’s Founder and CEO, David Gutstadt, Head of Design, Amanda Potter, and LA award-winning architecture firm M-Rad and offers guests exclusive access to all the club’s amenities including a world-class gym and spa, a restaurant with a menu by renowned chef Marc Vetri, collaborative workspaces and more.

The Club also presents a museum-quality art collection, with much of it from its founders’ collections. For an ultra-luxe getaway, the club features two master suites – one designed by French furniture retailer Roche Bobois and the other by Philadelphia modern-furniture retailer Minima. The suites feature custom furniture, art and oversized living and sleeping accommodations including a separate powder room, built-in bar, dining area and soaking tubs with Kallista and Waterworks fixtures featured throughout.

Hotel Covell, Los Angeles, CA

Room Count: 9

About: An independent hotel focused on luxury and satisfaction, Hotel Covell’s boutique suites are highly designed for the complete experience of comfort, peace and style. Sally Breer, founder of Co-Mingle Design Group, gave ‘Boutique Hotel’ an entirely new meaning when designing Hotel Covell. With each suite, named as chapter numbers, comes a visual story of George Covell’s life, from a young boy in Oklahoma to an accomplished author in New York City.  

Each chapter is a whole sensory environment says Breer, designed to be cohesive, even if you don’t know the story.

The Pitcher Inn, Warren, VT

Room count: 11

About: Located just minutes from ski destinations Sugarbush and Mad River Glen, The Pitcher Inn is a Relais & Châteaux luxury inn offering two spacious two-bedroom suites and nine extraordinary guest rooms. Each guest room is distinctly individual and well-appointed with eclectic décor. Design elements of each room draw upon the distinct culture and history of Vermont, like the Calvin Coolidge room which reflects the kind of lodging President Coolidge, a prominent Vermonter, grew up in.

The wide, columned porch is popular for watching the Town of Warren’s world-renowned Independence Day Parade. Another design-forward room, called “The Trout,” boasts a tree-trunk carved bed with fiddlehead ferns, and a fine collection of original art and sporting prints. The luxury bathroom has a birch-framed mirror and an antique Vermont Verde marble vanity.

The Villa Casa Casuarina, Miami Beach, Florida

Room count: 10

About: Built by Alden Freeman, The Villa Casa Casuarina is nestled inside the former Versace Mansion. It features ten custom guest suites with king sized beds or double king sized beds, custom Italian marble oversized bathrooms with two shower heads, expansive closet space, separate living rooms or sitting areas and balconies or patios.

Several historical design elements are scattered throughout, mostly in the courtyard, like the medallion medusa meant to symbolize the shield of Perseus, who beheaded Medusa and put it on his shield to protect him when he went into battle.

Lafayette House, New York, NY

Room Count: 15

About: Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, this brownstone experience is nothing short of residential; in fact, there’s no check-in desk or formal lobby. Guests are given their own key for the front door to use throughout the duration of their stay. The decor is best described as Victorian, with extravagantly brocaded fabrics, striped wallpaper and crystal chandeliers. Thoughtful design extends into the spacious bathrooms with dark wood floors, white tiling and Victorian-style hardware. Lafayette House has amenities for all weather conditions, from in-room fireplaces for the cold and an outdoor garden and rooftop terrace to enjoy warmer seasons.