Unique hotels: the U.S. through architectural gems
The United States is much more than its imposing cities and great national parks. It is rich, varied and, also, peculiar architecture. We move away from the more traditional tourist guides to enter into a unique tour of the United States. A journey that will take us to know this impressive country through its architectural oddities.
The best part? In addition to being unique buildings, you can also sleep in them. We propose a route through unique hotels in the United States in which you will discover unusual and special places.
To appreciate the beauty of the places we will visit, it is not necessary to know about architecture. However, if you love to travel and also love architecture, this article is made for you. Join us as we take you on a tour of the United States through these architectural gems, and we are convinced that you will want to run out and pack your bags…
Area 55 Futuro House: sleeping in a UFO
Our journey begins with an extravagant night in a spaceship, at the Area 55 Futuro House.
Finnish architect Matti Suuronen is responsible for the design of this futuristic-looking accommodation. During the 1960s, Suuronen designed numerous Futuro Houses that are now scattered around the world. This one in particular is located in Joshua Tree National Park in California.
Suuronen was a pioneer in the design of prefabricated houses that were cost-saving and easy to transport, but with the arrival of the oil crisis the price of the materials to build them increased, making the houses more expensive and not very viable.
Undoubtedly, having the opportunity to sleep in a Futuro House will be a temporary experience… and a sensory one!
The Invisible House: another jewel in Joshua Tree
Without leaving Joshua Tree Natural Park, the desert area where the Colorado and Mojave deserts coexist and where our previous lodging was located, we moved on to our next proposal.
This “supposedly” invisible house can hardly go unnoticed. Its majesty makes it a true work of art that leaves those who discover it speechless.
The landscape of the area in contrast with the luxury of this lodging provokes sensations that are difficult to explain. The Invisible House is a horizontal skyscraper that disappears in the middle of the desert, and is undoubtedly one of the unique hotels worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.
Delano South Beach Hotel: Welcome to Miami
Welcome to Miami, we move to the beach to introduce you to the Delano South Beach Hotel.
The Delano Hotel was the first hotel to be built in Miami Beach after World War II, and also the tallest building at the time. Designed by architect Robert Swartburg in 1947, the Delano was originally intended to house military housing.
Its spectacular Art Deco design has made it one of America’s most iconic and beloved buildings. The Delano is located in the largest Art Deco district in the world, with more than 1,000 buildings of the style, which later inspired the region’s own style called MiMo (Miami Modernism).
Named after President Roosevelt (Franklin Delano Roosevelt), the Hotel Delano appeared in 2007 on the American Institute of Architects’ America’s Favorite Architecture list, ranked 39th most popular building in American architecture.
The St. Regis New York: the good neighbor
We pack our bags to travel now to the Big Apple…
Opened on September 4, 1904 after numerous neighborhood disagreements and attempts to avoid them, the St. Regis is today a classic in New York.
and attempts to avoid it, the St. Regis is today a classic in New York. Its architects were Trowbridge & Livingston, while Arnold Constable was in charge of the interior design.
Magnates such as William Rockefeller and other wealthy landowners of the time, tried to prevent the opening of the hotel owned by John Jacob Astor IV, because the plot he chose to build it, just across 5th Avenue. The problem was that the hotel blocked the views from different mansions of the neighborhood.
John Lenon, Salvador Dalí or Nikola Tesla are some of the personalities who have stayed or temporarily resided in this unique French Beaux Arts style hotel.
Aria Sky Suites: sustainable wonder
What would this tour be without a stop in Las Vegas…?
If you are looking for unique hotels in the United States, you should definitely visit Las Vegas. The ostentatious style of the area may not be to your liking, however, among neon lights and endless partying you will find architectural wonders like the Aria.
Built in 2009, its design is the work of the Pelli Clarke Pelli architectural firm. The Hotel Casino Aria occupies an area of 353,000 square meters, however, despite its enormous dimensions, the hotel has energy sustainability certifications for its efficiency in saving electricity and water.
Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel Miami: National Historic Landmark
We return to Miami, this time to visit a relic, the Biltmore Hotel.
Recognized as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the Biltmore was not always a hotel.
Designed in 1926 by the young architect George Merrick, in its early years, the Biltmore had its heyday: fashion shows, golf tournaments, water shows in what was the largest swimming pool in the world…
Years later, after World War II, the hotel underwent several conversions, from housing a veterans’ hospital to being the first headquarters of the University of Miami. The only thing that has remained unchanged over time is the beauty of this building, of Mediterranean architecture with Italian, Moorish and Spanish influences.
Amangiri Luxury Resort:
wild placid west
What about a rest stop during our tour, to relax and recharge your batteries… There is no better place than the Amangiri.
On the Colorado Plateau, cradle of the original Wild West, hides this unique hotel. The Amangiri is a collaborative design by 3 architects: Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy. Together they created this jewel and materialized an oasis of perfection in the middle of a desert landscape full of ridges and gorges. Both its exterior and interior architecture have been designed to blend in as much as possible with the landscape: natural tones, materials, textures. Words cannot do justice to such an exceptional place…
Hotel del Coronado: Emerald City
We continue our trip by visiting a mythical hotel, the Coronado.
When the Hotel del Coronado opened its doors in 1888 it became the largest hotel in the world and also the first to use electricity. This fact is even more interesting when we learn that it was Thomas Edison himself who was in charge of supervising the electrical installation of the hotel and also the lighting of its first Christmas tree.
The Coronado is one of the few original Victorian-style buildings still standing in the United States. Its architects were the Canadian brothers James and Merritt Reid and, for the ambitious garden project, the renowned landscape designer of the time, Kate Sessions, was hired. Like the Biltmore Hotel, the Coronado is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and has hosted numerous celebrities, U.S. presidents and other VIPs.
In addition, this unique hotel has been the setting for several films and L. Frank Baum is known to have written most of his work, The Wizard of Oz, while staying here. Many believe that the author was inspired by the hotel’s gardens to bring Emerald City to life. What do you think?
Waldorf Astoria Hotel : a unique hotel in a unique City
Back in New York, let’s spend a night at the Waldorf Astoria.
What was once two hotels at odds over a family rivalry is now one of the most famous hotels in the world. The merger of the Waldorf with the Astoria took place in October 1931, shortly after the Great Depression. However, thanks to its events and galas, the Waldorf Astoria was as successful as its predecessors.
This Art Deco marvel on Park Avenue was designed by architects Schultze and Weaver. Countless characters, events and curiosities revolve around this building. From Hollywood stories to Cold War negotiations, this hotel is pure American history.
Ahwahnee Hotel: Refuge in Yosemite
And to finish this tour across unique hotels, let’s disconnect from the world in Yosemite…
In Yosemite National Park, California, is the Ahwahnee Hotel, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. This hotel built with organic materials is a clear example of the rustic architecture that takes place in the different national parks of the United States.
This characteristic style has been baptized Parkitecture and its objective is to create buildings that harmonize with the natural environment. The hotel was designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and is considered a masterpiece in the representation of this type of architecture. Although the original project was much larger and more ambitious, in the end the Ahwahnee was conceived as a large, luxurious country house rather than a resort.
The interiors were the work of Ackerman and Pope, who blended Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern and Arts and Crafts styles, making good use of their knowledge of art history.
As a curious fact, some of the hotel’s interiors served as inspiration for the creation of the set of the fictional Overlook Hotel in the movie ‘The Shining’.
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