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.
Washington School House Hotel, Park City
The 12 rooms and suites inside the Washington School House Hotel, occupy former classrooms constructed from limestone mined at a local quarry in the late 19th century. The striking building elevates the cookie cutter ski town experience by adding an element of old-school elegance. Note the heated outdoor pool terraced into a hillside thick with aspen trees and blue spruce, fireside après-ski lounge exclusive to guests, and French antiques littered about. Park City's Town Lift is a quick walk out the door as are all the boutiques, breweries, and restaurants of Main Street. [Rooms from $295; washingtonschoolhouse.com]