An eco-lodge in the Alaskan wilderness, a historic hotel restored to its original elegance in New Orleans, a 1930s adobe casita in the California desert and a house of straw in southern Illinois. A guy needs a place to lay his head, and those four were among the top lodging spots found in a year of travels. They're there, waiting for you.
Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Alaska
RATES From $595
The only lodge within the mountains, glaciers and rocky coasts of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, the 16 cozy cabins have porches with views of seals, otters and black bears playing in the lagoon at the base of Pedersen Glacier. The lodge is accessible only by boat, but the four-hour ride is a wildlife tour in itself. The lodge was built at the invitation of the native corporation that owns a private nature preserve within the park.
29 Palms Inn
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
RATES From $85
Built in the 1920s on 30 acres of a natural preserve called the Oasis of Mara, the 29 Palms Inn has a colorful collection of detached units and the best restaurant in the town of Twentynine Palms in southern California. The wonderfully funky Irene's Historic Adobe (from $220) has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a beamed living room with a wood fireplace and a courtyard for morning coffee. The mystical cactus-and-boulder desert of Joshua Tree National Park is minutes away.
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club
RATES From $365
The sister islands of St. Kitts and Nevis on the Atlantic side of the Caribbean are a wonderful contrast: St. Kitts courts tourists, Nevis is a sleepy outpost and likes it that way. The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis is a cluster of 36 yellow cottages and a restored circa-1778 great house on 30 acres of lawn, gardens and palm trees. An old sugar plantation, the resort has the charm of a well-maintained Colonial country club, on a golden strip of empty beach.
RATES From $169
A stroll into the block-long lobby, glowing beneath nine crystal chandeliers, hearkens back to the golden years of New Orleans. Originally opened in 1893, the Roosevelt Hotel had several lives before a local investment group put up $145 million for a top-to-bottom restoration. The hotel has 504 rooms, two restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool and the classy Sazerac Bar. The grand reopening this fall put a glittering exclamation mark on the city's comeback.
The View Hotel
Monument Valley, Utah
RATES From $95
The guest-room balconies have up-close views of one of the most spectacular vistas in the Southwest, the red-rock monoliths rising from the desert floor. The valley is owned by the Navajo Nation, and the tribe built The View Hotel to blend in with the landscape. The hotel's interior and gift shop feature authentic art and its restaurant serves Native American dishes.
RATES From $169
A walk into the lobby tells you that the Drake is one of the iconic institutions of this first-class city. On the north end of Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile of shopping, Gucci, Bloomingdale's and North Face are a stroll away. A tip: Pony up the extra $40 for a lake-view room, and watch Lake Michigan sparkle outside your window.
River of Life Farm
Myron McKee has added the Whispering Pines cabin to his collection of tree houses overlooking the spring-fed North Fork of the White River near Dora, deep in the Missouri Ozarks on the Arkansas border. The cabin has a full kitchen, a queen bed with a Jacuzzi tub for two alongside, and a covered porch with the river sparkling through the trees. The tree houses are for travelers who truly want a mountain hideaway. Take a book, and take a friend.