Hotels with the Best Views in America

Posted July 30, 2014 by


Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California (Photo: Preferred Hotel Group)

A perfect view is a priceless hotel amenity. It allows you to enjoy a perspective of a landscape or monument that's, for the time being, yours alone. You get to maintain a visual connection to your destination even after you've retreated to your room with a bottle of wine and the room-service menu. And it affords the opportunity to take some pretty impressive pictures without battling crowds of camera-wielding tourists.

Some of the greatest views of America's most spectacular sites—the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, the rugged beaches of California's Central Coast—are available from the guest rooms of hotels. Here are 10 U.S. properties that overlook superb vistas and offer guests a picture-perfect point of view.


(Photo: Ian A Gratton via flickr/CC Attribution)

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, New York City, New York

New Yorkers are knee-deep in marvelous views, from teeming Times Square to the high-flying city skyline to the emerald-green expanse of Central Park. But at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, telescopes in harbor-view rooms help you get a special perspective on one of America's icons: the Statue of Liberty. One of two Ritz-Carlton properties in New York City, the Battery Park Ritz property is located about 100 yards from the harbor, giving guests an unobstructed look at Ellis Island. Plus, the port for Statue of Liberty tours is a stone's throw away.


(Photo: Grand Canyon NPS via flickr/CC Attribution)

Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The astonishing views are what draw many to the rim of the Grand Canyon. So why not stay in a place that's as close to the powerful landscape as you can get? The Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim is the only lodging inside the park that's located at the North Rim. (This means you should book your stay far in advance.) The lodge consists of cabins and motel rooms; the prime spots to book are the cabins close to the rim of the canyon. For best results, be sure to ask for a cabin with a North Rim view.


(Photo: Hotel Vitale)

Hotel Vitale, San Francisco, California

The Golden Gate isn't the only San Francisco bridge worth looking at. Last year, an enormous installation comprised of 25,000 LED lights was hung on the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Oakland. The Bay Lights make up the world's largest LED sculpture. And Hotel Vitale, which sits on the San Fran waterfront across from the Embarcadero promenade, offers guests perfect Bay Bridge views. When booking your stay, ask for a bridge-view room. You'll get to see the Bay Bridge sparkling with more than a mile of glittering lights from dusk until dawn, right from your room. Some guest rooms also offer views of the Ferry Building Marketplace along the Embarcadero.


(Photo: Preferred Hotel Group)

The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island

Enjoy a view fit for a gilded-age baron in … where else but the former home of a gilded-age baron. There's little argument that this gorgeous historical property offers the best ocean views in Newport. The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a mansion constructed in the 19th century by Civil War-era congressman John Winthrop Chanler, is the only hotel located on Newport's celebrated Cliff Walk. It's perched directly on the trail that snakes between the Atlantic Ocean and a sequence of ornate gilded-age manors. Grab an Ocean Villa to enjoy unforgettable views of the ocean and the historical town of Newport directly from your room.


(Photo: Far View Lodge)

Far View Lodge, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

This hotel's name says it all. The only lodging available inside Mesa Verde National Park, Far View Lodge sits amidst miles of arid sagebrush-blanketed wilderness on the Colorado Plateau. All rooms at the lodge have private balconies from which guests can stargaze, search for wandering Rocky Mountain elk, black bears, or coyotes, or simply enjoy the rolling cuesta landscape that seems to extend forever.


Corner Executive Suite (Photo: Swissotel)

Swissotel Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

This Magnificent Mile property affords views of the best of both Chicago worlds: Lake Michigan and the city skyline. Certainly, the finest viewpoints are available via Swissotel Chicago's corner king rooms; these accommodations have wide windows that allow guests to enjoy full views of water and city in two directions. Need an excuse to work out? The property's fitness center, located on the 42nd floor, also offers panoramic Windy City views.


(Photo: Ryan Harvey via flickr/CC Attribution/Share Alike)

Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona

Tucked amidst the multihued red rocks of Sedona, Enchantment Resort has a well-deserved reputation for stunning views. The property is located on 70 pristine acres at Boynton Canyon, where a mix of forest, desert, and canyons forms a unique and visually stunning ecosystem. Trails are accessible for those who want to explore the extraordinary natural setting. Or you can order room service from one of a handful of on-site restaurants and dine on your own private terrace in full view of the Sedona scenery. For the best perspective, request a room with a view of the canyon face or a room on a higher floor.


(Photo: Four Seasons)

Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Lanai, Hawaii

The secluded Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay is one of just a few hotels on Lanai, so you won't see any other properties from your window; that equates to pristine, unobstructed views of red lava cliffs and blue ocean. Even if you don't snag a room with an ocean view, you won't have to worry about getting stuck with concrete high-rises in your visual field. There's not a bad view in the house: You might have a view of the sea. You might have a view of the property's lush tropical gardens. Either way, you'll be hard-pressed to spot any signs of commercial development from your accommodations on this calm, quiet island.


View from Peak House Guest Room (Photo: Preferred Hotel Group)

Port Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California

At Post Ranch Inn, secluded cliff-side dwellings offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Take in the sea view from a private porch, a living room warmed by a crackling fire, or a roomy jetted tub positioned before a wall of glass. (The windows facing the ocean hang above a steep incline, which supplies the requisite privacy for large-windowed bathrooms.) You'll also find amazing views in the property's restaurant, Sierra Mar, where walls and floors made entirely of glass extend over the sloping cliffs, creating the perfect visual setting for an unforgettable meal.


(Photo: brianandjaclyn via flickr/CC Attribution)

Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park, Montana

It's generally agreed upon that Many Glacier Hotel offers the best views of all the lodgings in Glacier National Park. And what views they are: Lake-facing windows at this Swiss-style property provide a flawless perspective on glacier-carved mountainous landscapes. See the jagged peaks reflecting onto the clear water of Swiftcurrent Lake right from your room. But book early. There are only a handful of hotels within the national park, and lake-facing accommodations fill up especially fast.

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title 10 Hotels with the Best Views in the U.S.

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Chicago Makes Being Green Fashionable, but Not Spendy

Posted March 9, 2010 by Kate Hamman

Chicago With several plans in the works, including an eco-bridge, that will make the city greener, Chicago is well on its way to becoming a top environmentally friendly destination, but without the high prices. Come shop for goods made from recycled materials and grab a slice of organic pizza before saving green by going green at a eco-friendly boutique hotel.

Grasshopper 510
: If the words repurpose, recyclable, vintage, organic, sustainable, reclaimed, and all-natural speak to your greener side, then this eco-boutique is right up your alley. The name—inspired by the prosperity and wisdom of a grasshopper, as well as the color measurement of green—conjures a sense of appreciation for the natural world. Here, you will find an array of environmentally-friendly items spanning a slew of categories, such as home decor, baby necessities, jewelry, and beauty essentials. Prices vary by product.

: Don't be fooled by the name. There's more to this pizza joint than just its crust. As the first certified organic restaurant in the Midwest, Crust adheres to a strict policy of no antibiotics, no growth hormones, and no genetic engineering in any of its products. Come enjoy a flatbread pizza fresh from the wood-burning oven. Pizzas such as the wild herb and cheese start at $12.

Allerton Hotel
: After serving guests for 85 years, the Allerton Hotel recognizes the importance of preservation in all areas of life, and has become one of the city's leading green places to stay. The property started a "green team" to maintain its environmental initiatives, including using only energy-efficient lighting and equipment, as well as biodegradable and recyclable products. Plus, the hotel rewards guests who help in its cause by offering a 10 percent discount if guests forego housekeeping services during their stay. Rooms start at $80 per night during the low season.

To search for flights and compare prices to Chicago, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Jim Jurica)

Shop your Heart Out in Chicago's Wicker Park

Posted August 14, 2009 by Kate Hamman

IL-Chicago-Habit-DEF Chicago's Magnificent Mile may be a shopping mecca, but the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhood provides a more relaxed atmosphere for browsing designer boutiques. You can spend all day wandering among the many clothing stores, but be sure to stop for a little sweet relief at an artistic bistro. And after a full day of splurging, you can rest at one of Chicago's longest-running B&B's.

Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhood shopping: Shopaholics rejoice when they stumble upon this area, overflowing with designer boutiques. Some of the best places to feed your addiction are Habit, where 75 independent and emerging designers share their creative threads; Veruca Salt Fancy, which features designer labels; and Clothes Minded, where the staff will help you put together the "it" outfit for a night on the town. Since so many stores are within walking distance, comparison shopping is easy and can pay off.

HotChocolate: Shopping can be exhausting, which is exactly why God created cozy bistros to rest your weary soles. HotChocolate breaks the mold, with sweet pick-me-ups and savory lunch dishes such as its decadent cheddar melt for $8. And you can revel in the day's spending with one-of-a-kind treats, including warm brioche donuts with hot fudge, strawberry and rhubarb poppy-seed shortcake streusel, and five types of hot chocolate.

The House of Two Urns Bed and Breakfast: For a long day of shopping, the House of Two Urns B&B prescribes a good night's sleep and a hearty meal. The inn has treated guests for more than 16 years, and is decorated from floor-to-ceiling with eclectic and fun art pieces, including an entire wall of antique cameras. Originally built as a neighborhood Polish bakery, the 1912 brownstone still delights guests with the sweet scents of baked goods come breakfast time. Rates start at $79 per night, depending on the season.

To search for flights and compare prices to Chicago, please use our price-comparison tool.

United Breaks Guitars in Chicago, Creates Fame for Musician

Posted July 23, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Blurb_broken_guitar_20080814-vi People deal with frustration in all kinds of ways. I knew a girl in high school who used to cry. I tend to shake my fists, punch inanimate objects and, occasionally, growl. (It’s not pretty but I’m not perfect.) Dave Carroll, facing endless unsatisfactory phone calls and poor customer service, writes songs.

You see, according to Dave, United Airlines breaks guitars. Specifically, United Airlines broke his guitar. The crux of the story is that during a stopover in Chicago while he was on his way to Nebraska, baggage handlers allegedly threw his $3,500 guitar and broke it. (I say “allegedly” although no one really seems to be disputing this point. I just can’t afford a lawsuit.) Attempting to receive some kind of compensation for this, Dave repeatedly made contact with United and was repeatedly told that United was not responsible for the damage.

Cut to Dave, with a new guitar and a new song, “United Breaks Guitars”. Viewed more than 3.6 million times, this catchy little act of vengeance has become an internet sensation and certainly a thorn in the side of United Airlines.

More than this being a story about revenge, though, I think this is a story about creative problem solving. Though Dave may never have received his desired monetary compensation, he’s achieved a level of fame that he would, most likely, have never achieved without this song. And, much as I may be prone to futile seething, this is probably a good lesson for all of us. Channeling our frustration into other outlets than oh, say, punching and growling, might just be the best revenge of all.


Dance a Jig for Low Prices in Chicago

Posted February 24, 2009 by Kate Hamman

Bar-CoupleCheers-DEF With a fairly large Irish population, Chicago doesn't dye its river green every St. Patrick's Day for the pretty color alone. However, you can visit any time of year to tap into the luck of the Irish. Come learn about Irish-American culture at a heritage museum, explore authentic pubs, and eat in a contemporary Irish bistro—all without spending a pot of gold.

Irish American Heritage Center: Pay a visit to this heritage center, where you can learn more about the literature, art, and music of the Irish in America. The center hosts many events and discussions highlighting the achievements of Irish-Americans. Check its calendar to see what's happening while you're there. Admission is free and many events are, too.

Chicago's Irish Pubs Northside Crawl: With such a high concentration of pubs in the area, it can be difficult to choose where to enjoy a pint of Guinness. However, you won't have to worry too much about where to go with this free handy-dandy map. Follow the trail, and "crawl" between several authentic Irish bars, where you will hear the brogue of native tongues and can sip on imported Irish brews. It's free to wander, but beer prices depend on the bar.

Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro: Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro has and added a dash of sophistication to traditional Irish dishes. The restaurant serves contemporary entrees such as bacon confit risotto or oat crusted rainbow trout. If you prefer the old standbys, you can also order shepherd's pie or beef-and-Guinness stew. Entrees start at $12.50.

To search for flights and compare prices to Chicago, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Gagne)

Swissotel Chicago a real drag for smokers

Posted February 28, 2008 by Zak Patten

Healthsafetynosmkgdef_2I’ll be the first to admit it—I’m extremely anti-smoking and always have been. So I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who want to light up in their hotel rooms, rooms that I might have the misfortune of staying in someday. But according to USA Today, the Swissotel Chicago is now taking its anti-smoking measures a step further by turning its staff into bounty hunters who are financially rewarded for catching smokers in the act.

Employees who bag a live smoker are given $10 for their service. Perhaps my high school principal should have utilized this technique instead of spending his time sniffing outside the boys’ bathroom. Our hall monitors could have made more money catching puffers than they did slinging fries at Mickey D’s.

Swissotel Chicago general manager Jack Breisacher insists he doesn’t “want this to sound like a police state,” but "One person having one cigarette is really a big deal," as it costs around $500 to completely clean a room.

I’m with Breisacher. But I hope he expands the program so that guests can turn in other guests. I wonder how many smokers I’d have to nab to earn a free night at his hotel.

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