By offering local charms, access to adventure, and more intimate service, boutique hotels give luxurious chains a run for their money – especially among travelers in the know. From a two-suite lighthouse escape on a private island off the Maine Coast to an unexpected art haven in the Bluegrass State, here are the best small stays in the country.
Market Pavilion Hotel, Charleston
There's no better rooftop perch in Chucktown than the fifth-floor bar in Market Pavilion, where you can wash down panoramic views of Charleston's harbor and historic downtown with mango mojitos. The hotel has only been open for 12 years, but channels an 18th century colonial vibe with oil paintings of presidents in the rooms, floral armchairs, mahogany furnishings, and the like. The rooftop pool, frequented by local beauties, is the perfect refresher during the sweltering summer months. We love the Italian marble bathrooms, many with jetted tubs, and the way the staff enhances the unhurried atmosphere while being incredibly prompt. [Rooms start at $229; marketpavilion.com]