Ohio

8 Coolest Hotels in Cleveland | Where to Stay to Experience the Best of the City

Clevelander Joe Baur takes you through the city's coolest hotels complete with nearby sights to see to help you plan your next visit.

There’s a feeling I get when I’m back in Cleveland, a familiarity that starts with the street names–Euclid, Franklin, Abbey, names that sound like the cast of an ’80s multi-camera sitcom. And like most sitcoms, the city has a familiar story. It’s familiar, at least, to fellow Rust Belt cities like Detroit, St. Louis, and Milwaukee.

The story starts with a reputation for being tough. Cleveland’s was immortalized by Daffy Dan’s Cleveland: You’ve Got To Be Tough tee shirt in the ’70s. A reputation of toughness and resiliency has been a common fallback in Rust Belt cities with a history of getting screwed.

Nowadays the narrative isn’t so simple. Cleveland can’t (if it ever could) be summed up in one or two words. It’s more complex than that. And with complexity comes controversy, disagreement, and heated debate over what the city really is, should become, and is going to be if we don’t get our way.

None of this is to say that Cleveland’s grit and grime (that you either love or hate) is gone. But the breweries, boutique coffee shops, and fitness studios are just as much center stage these days as the cracked sidewalks lined by broken chain-linked fences overlooking the poorly funded subway. What remains consistent are the people. It’s the people, from the commuter trying to find the sidewalk in the plowed snow to the musician playing Beachland, who have a story that keeps Cleveland grounded and unique.

So when you check into your hotel, chat up the person standing across from you at reception. Let the bartender split your ear and say ‘hello’ to your neighbor on the Rapid. Because when you stay at one of these coolest hotels in Cleveland, it’s the people that will make your visit special.

A Rock and Roll Neighbor

1/3

The Westin Cleveland Downtown sells itself first and foremost on its location. Business travelers are a short walk to the Cleveland Convention Center, but what’s arguably more important is that you’re close enough to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to hear the rumblings of a live summer show from the hotel.

But it’s not like Westin’s enviable location in Downtown Cleveland is the only thing they’ve got going on for themselves. Cleveland is an art town–and not just in the way that every city has an ‘Art District’ these days. The Cleveland Museum of Art has long been a national, cultural institution and Westin embraces that sentiment with the WestinCLE Art Tour App. The app helps guide guests through four floors of artwork, pre-loaded with art guides, and offers an interactive tour that you can access with your phone’s camera.

After taking in some of the city’s premier art, you can grab a table at the attached Urban Farmer Cleveland’s Steakhouse. This relatively new addition to Downtown serves up locally sourced beef dishes alongside regional wines and beers in a rustic setting. It’s the best of both worlds because here you get an Ohio farmhouse dining experience without leaving the energy and excitement of the city behind.

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The Westin Cleveland Downtown

Top rated
Cleveland, 4.2 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
8.7 Excellent (2173 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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A Modern City Experience

1/4

Like the Westin, Hilton Cleveland Downtown sits right next to the Cleveland Convention Center, but you’re that much closer to the Warehouse District and Cleveland Browns Stadium–making it a favorite for fans of visiting teams who, history shows, are more than likely to go home happy.

The latest skyscraper in Cleveland, the Hilton offers up a comfortable, modern city experience. This is what you expect out of a four-star, name brand hotel in the city center complete with the chic bar that gets its name from the floor it’s on (32). Grab a cocktail as you admire the Cleveland cityscape and view of Lake Erie. If you want something more substantial, you can head down to The Burnham Restaurant named after architect Daniel Burnham who contributed to Cleveland’s city plan in the early 20th Century along with San Francisco and Manila in the Philippines.

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Hilton Cleveland Downtown

Top rated
Cleveland, 4.5 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
9.0 Excellent (725 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Rock Out In Your Room

1/3

The Kimpton Schofield housed on the corner of Euclid and East 9th was a highly anticipated project during the city’s Downtown residential and hotel boom over the past decade. The entire corner, in fact, had been under constant renovation with construction crews a constant sight over the better part of the early 2010s. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might even recognize it from the climactic fight scene in The Avengers.

That battle is long over and it’s plenty safe to check-in these days at the Schofield, perhaps the most visually interesting property in Downtown Cleveland. Like so much of Cleveland, the name comes from a piece of local history. Benjamin Schofield came to the area back in 1816 when Cleveland was a simple village of about 200 residents. His grandson Levi would later become the architect heading up the Schofield building once the city had grown to nearly 400,000. With suburban flight, the building sat neglected for years before Kimpton came in to renovate this fascinating piece of Cleveland history. Thankfully, Kimpton took care to preserve the Victorian legacy of the building’s facade while adding the obvious contemporary touches travelers would expect.

Amenities abound at The Schofield, but they go beyond the staples. The hotel supplies a yoga mat to help you maintain your inner peace, you can get a $20 discount on two fitness classes at GrooveRyde (a nearby boutique fitness studio), and you can borrow one of their custom-designed PUBLIC bikes for a spin around the city. The icing on the cake? You can sign up for a complimentary guitar rental to rock out in your room.

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Kimpton Schofield Hotel

Top rated
Cleveland, 4 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
8.8 Excellent (1090 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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A Bar For Every Season

1/4

Downtown residents first heard about Metropolitan at the 9 because it’s where many of the city’s professional athletes stay during the season. If it’s good enough for pro athletes, that gives you a sense of the caliber you can expect at this property.

Metropolitan at the 9 can go toe-to-toe with any other property on this list. Like The Schofield, the history here blends seamlessly into contemporary stylings and hotel suites that make it obvious why pro athletes would choose to stay here. Besides the elegance of the aesthetics and service, the refurbished Heinen’s Market is right next door (the best-looking grocery store you’ve ever seen) and the 9 hosts numerous social events throughout the year where you can mix with locals. Check out Paws on the Patio for dog-friendly fun on the weekends or catch a show at the on-site ALEX theater.

Where The 9 truly excels is in its on-site bars. If the weather is behaving, a feat in and of itself in Cleveland (but it does happen), you’re going to want to head up to the Azure Rooftop Lounge. Here you can soak up that rare dosage of Cleveland sun, sip on a cocktail, and take in that impressive urban view that the city doesn’t get enough credit for.

Then again, the odds suggest that you might want to stay indoors while visiting Cleveland. That’s when you’ll want to head down to the Vault. (Truthfully, you’ll want to check it out even if the sun is shining.)

The Vault takes you through the doors of a century-old bank vault (think the kind of large, circular metal door that Batman villains try to blow up) into a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge. There are few better spots in the city to warm up on a cold winter’s night than in the candlelight glow of The Vault, nursing a snifter of their Classic Old Fashioned.

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Autograph Collection Metropolitan at The 9

Top rated
Cleveland, 3.9 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
9.0 Excellent (811 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Cleveland Instagram

1/4

Unlike so many of the other hotels on this list, the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade is not new. Prior to the recent hotel boom, this would’ve been a no brainer. But even though there’s more competition these days, nobody would fault you for sticking with this classic Downtown property.

The Hyatt is housed inside The Arcade shopping center, which you’ve seen pictures of if any of your Instagram friends have ever been to Cleveland. This is where you’ll spot one of the most architecturally interesting views in the city. Walking into The Arcade is like dipping into the city’s past with its late 19th-century stylings. (That’s probably because it was constructed in 1890.) You can easily imagine an era when this building was bursting at the seams with locals and travelers alike back when Cleveland was one of the most populous cities in the country.

History has, unfortunately, since happened. But in an era where historically significant buildings are still getting knocked over for cookie-cutter projects and parking lots, it’s a real treat that Clevelanders and visitors to the city can still appreciate this historic marvel. And because this property comes from an era that predates the omnipresence of automobiles, you’re in a fantastically walkable location in the city. The award-winning restaurants of East 4th Street are across the street and you could practically throw a baseball at Tower City with rail service to the ever-popular Ohio City neighborhood. Of course, if you want to stay in for the night, the 1890 Restaurant remains a favorite featuring comfort food and service until midnight on the weekends.

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Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade

Cleveland, 4.2 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
8.2 Very good (3380 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Welcome to the Flats

1/4

Most of Cleveland’s coolest hotels find themselves in the city center, each one just a few blocks away from the other. A stay at Aloft Cleveland Downtown, contrary to the Google search-friendly name, gets you out of Downtown and into the Flats neighborhood. Really, the Aloft is on the edge of both neighborhoods and makes for an exceptional base to explore Cleveland by foot.

You might remember the Flats being a thing in the ’90s, but it hit a dry spell and most businesses moved up into the Warehouse District or elsewhere Downtown. The Aloft marked the beginning of the return of the Flats. Besides offering travelers the refined lodgings the brand is known for, this property also houses the fantastic Lago East Bank restaurant and Aloft’s staple WXYZ bar with views looking out over both the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.

Once Aloft opened, development along the surrounding Flats East Bank of the Cuyahoga River soon followed. Now the area is a hub of fine-dinning, laid-back bars, and apartments. So whether you stay in for the night or explore the surrounding neighborhood, you really can’t go wrong.

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Aloft Cleveland Downtown

Cleveland, 4.4 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
8.4 Very good (2029 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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Old World Elegance

1/3

Cleveland is a city of neighborhoods. Downtown is great, but depending on your travel tendencies, you might consider staying at The Tudor Arms in University Circle.

Instead of skyscrapers and more restaurants than you can keep track of, you get green space and culture. From the Tudor Arms, you’re around the corner from Case Western University, the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra (an obligatory mention), and one of the finest Little Italy neighborhoods in the country. (Seriously, have the cannoli.) Still hungry? Check out a Wade Oval Wednesday in the summer (food trucks and park concerts).

But what about the Tudor Arms itself? No surprise at this point, it’s another Cleveland rehab. Whereas some of the others on this list have a consistent contemporary vibe in their suites, Tudor Arms seems to harken back to an era of sophisticated luxury. Think of a European castle ballroom you may have seen on television (or in-person) and you have an idea of the kind of ambiance that permeates throughout the property.

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The Tudor Arms Cleveland - a DoubleTree by Hilton

Cleveland, 0.7 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
8.3 Very good (2456 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.8 / 10
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A Mansion B&B in Cleveland's West Side

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If you really want to base yourself in the thick of a neighborhood, then you really can’t beat Stone Gables Bed and Breakfast. The B&B is just another house (an impressive one at that) on the block in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. (You’ve heard of this neighborhood if you’ve ever read about Cleveland in another travel pub, like this one, namely its chef-celebrated West Side Market.)

Stone Gables sits on Franklin Boulevard and West 38th Street, so you can really get that coveted local vibe. Plus it’s a great spot for exploring not just Ohio City but for hopping over to the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood–both of which are easily accessible by foot or bike.

Jeff and Connie will be your hosts at the former late-19th-century mansion with five rooms, each with a private bathroom (ask for one with a whirlpool tub). The couple bought the property in 2017, first experiencing it themselves as guests. Is there a better endorsement than that for a B&B?

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Stone Gables

Cleveland, 5.6 miles to Cleveland Botanical Garden
9.4 Excellent (75 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.4 / 10
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Featured photo by Joe Baur