Once In A Lifetime: Spectacular North American Bucket List Hotels You Need To See

By , January 28th, 2016

Whether it’s made of ice, a historical must-see, or simply too luxurious for words, these bucket list hotels are worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. Let your jaw drop slowly as you peruse our list of spectacular North American Bucket List hotels.

#1. Hotel De Glace

[caption id="attachment_37305" align="aligncenter" width="700"]HotelDeGlaceGuestroom Photos by © Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel De Glace. [/caption]

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Stay in a winter wonderland at the shimmering Hotel de Glace just outside of Quebec City, Canada. The rooms are made entirely of ice with custom-made in-suite fireplaces contrasting the frigid surroundings. The unique lighting illuminates ice sculptures (including the bed and furniture) creating a whimsical charm you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re feeling ultra-luxurious, opt for one of the Premium Deluxe suites which includes a private spa!

Hotel de Glace Canada ice sculpture

#2. Wynn Hotel Las Vegas



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You should be treated like a true VIP at least once in your life — the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada takes VIP treatment to another level. Peer out from one of the two luxury sky-high towers, each offering jaw-dropping views of the sparkling Las Vegas strip. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that will make you feel like an aquarium suspended over the city. The hotel offers two award-winning spas, a casino, boutique shops from top designers like Givenchy and live shows to enjoy with your evening meals.

[caption id="attachment_37461" align="aligncenter" width="999"]wynn-guestroom-trivago Photos courtesy of the Wynn Hotel.[/caption]

#3. The Plaza

ThePlaza Atrium New York

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Boasting more than a century of pure opulence in the heart of Manhattan, the Plaza Hotel is a timeless beauty with an old world elegance unmatched by any other hotel in the Big Apple. The Hotel has hosted famous figures for more than a hundred years — you’ll feel like a movie-star the moment you step through the revolving doors, walking through the same gold and creme-colored hallways that stars like Sinatra walked before you. Make sure to try the signature cocktails at the Champagne bar or book a suite with the butler service — a hot bath will be prepared for you by the time you return from a Gatsby-like event in the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom.

[caption id="attachment_37423" align="aligncenter" width="960"]The Plaza suite Photos courtesy of The Plaza Facebook page. [/caption]

#4. Post Ranch Inn


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Leave it to California to house an eco-friendly hotel that should top your bucket list. The Post Ranch Inn, set atop the cliffs of Big Sur, is an architectural marvel as well as a serene escape from daily life.  Enjoy being suspended over the Pacific Ocean, with breathtaking views from the shower, a private sundeck, wood-burning fireplace and an outdoor hot tub on the edge of the cliff. It’s hard to believe that this modern and luxurious structure was once a working cattle ranch and homestead in the old west, where a cowboy and his family farmed for more than a century before it was transformed into an Inn in 1992.

[caption id="attachment_37298" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Kodiak_Greenwood_Pacific_Suite_PostRanchInn Photos by Kodiak Greenwood, courtesy of Post Ranch Inn. [/caption]

#5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge



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Explore the magical world of Disney first-hand at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando, FL. You’ll gaze out over endless acres of savanna lands from your African-styled hotel room. Let the kids step out on the private balcony to catch a glimpse of majestic zebras grazing below. You might not be able to bring the whole family to Africa, but you can bring them on an African safari — complete with giraffes and more than 30 other species of exotic animals at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Be sure to top it all off with a yummy dinner at one of the Lodge’s award-winning restaurants like, Boma, boasting bold, African-inspired aromatic dishes you won’t soon forget.

[caption id="attachment_37439" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]DisneyAnimalLodgetrivagosourceexpedia Photos courtesy of the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. [/caption]

#6. Refinery Hotel

Refinery Rooftop (2) New York

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If you’re looking for a modern New York experience, you must add the Refinery Hotel to your Bucket List. This hip hotel located in Manhattan’s famous Fashion District is drenched in New York chic. The 197 guestrooms are dressed up in white, black and red detail. Refined, sophisticated, warehouse-style decor will make you feel like you’re in an industrial art gallery. Make sure to put on your most dapper outfit and head up to the Refinery’s Rooftop Bar for contemporary cocktails paired with delectable modern American cuisine. This is the coolest you are ever going to feel!

[caption id="attachment_37304" align="alignnone" width="1200"]RefineryNYGuestroom Photos courtesy of the Refinery Hotel. [/caption]

#7. Inn On The Cliff

View from the Inn on the Cliff

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Utah’s Inn On The Cliff is not for the faint of heart. Literally ‘on a cliff’ overlooking the small town of St. George in southern Utah, the Inn is a gateway to desert staples like Snow Canyon, Pine Valley Mountain and Zion Canyon. The Inn is the ultimate place to relax for the adventurer. The rooms are decorated with soothing earth tones and desert plants illuminated by oversized windows overlooking the peaceful canyon below. Explore the nearby Johnson Dinosaur Tracks Museum in the morning, hike the canyon in the afternoon, and make it back to the Inn’s delicious Cliffside Restaurant for a home-cooked, American-style meal with a side of breathtaking vistas.

[caption id="attachment_37324" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Inn On The Cliff Guestroom Photos courtesy of The Inn On The Cliff.[/caption]

#8. Winvian Farm

beaver-cottage at Winvian Farm

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Fancy an isolated getaway in a beautiful cottage surrounded by woodlands of the Northeast? Look no further than Connecticut’s Winvian Farm in Litchfield Hills. The Farm is a collection of 18 luxuriously cozy cottages spread out on 113 acres of pristine forest. Each of the cottages has a unique design with a clever story to accompany its theme. Try the Helicopter cottage for a truly once in a lifetime experience — a real life US Coast Guard Helicopter is built into the cottage ceiling! Enjoy cocktails and a movie in the original helicopter cockpit! For a more romantic option, try the Charter Oak cottage — built around a live Oak tree that dominates the bedroom, the cottage also features a wood-burning fireplace, a private hot tub and 1,300 square feet of cozy seclusion.

[caption id="attachment_37206" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Winvian -Charter Oak Photos courtesy of the Winvian Farm. [/caption]

#9. Featherbed Railroad Caboose Bed & Breakfast

All Rights Reserved © Photo by Julian Jenkins

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Of all the hotels you must add to your bucket list, California’s Featherbed Railroad Caboose is the quirkiest. Head up North to Clear Lake to take a break from reality and step into a fantasy-land aboard one of the hotel’s nine themed caboose guestrooms — in case you missed it, the hotel is a vintage train! The guestrooms are surprisingly spacious with private bathrooms, soaking tubs, and a cupola seating area for two on the second floor. If you’re feeling frisky, opt to stay in the ‘Loose Caboose,’ fashioned after a New Orleans bordello complete with a nude portrait on a velvet backdrop, mirrored ceilings and a two person Jacuzzi.  In any of the cabooses you’ll enjoy a secluded stay overlooking lake country where you can ride bikes or take a peaceful walk. Enjoy home cooked breakfasts every morning like homemade blueberry muffins, crepes or crunchy Belgian waffles — all made with locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. Every room comes complete with a genuine down goose feather comforter, so you can snuggle in the fluffiest of nests.

[caption id="attachment_37235" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Featherbed railroad suite Photo by Julian Jenkins courtesy of Featherbed Railroad. [/caption]

#10. Montage Palmetto Bluff

IPB_CottageBath2 Montage Palmetto Bluff


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Embrace your inner Southern Belle at the Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina. Sip mint juleps on the veranda of one of the Southern-style cottages nestled on a 20,000-acre development along the May River. Experience classic Southern hospitality surrounded by opulent marble bathrooms, pine floors, bay windows, and vaulted ceilings. Views from your screen porch look out over either lush forests or calm lagoons, both speckled with giant oak trees dripping with Spanish moss — a quintessential Southern staple.

[caption id="attachment_37452" align="alignnone" width="1200"]PalmettoBluffLivingRoom Photos courtesy of the Montage Palmetto Bluff.[/caption]

#11. The Inn of Five Graces

The Inn of the Five Graces

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Brace yourself for a truly unique experience curated for you by two artists at the Inn of Five Graces in historic Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hotel is a fusion of East meets West with adobe and wood being the primary materials used for it’s construction. The earthy tones and clay colors convey a Spanish colonial revival but the interior of the hotel is largely decorated with colorful, Moroccan-inspired mosaics. The chairs, carpets and bedding are made up of intricate, colorful patterns of the East, reminiscent of the goods traded on the old Silk Road. Guests receive a scrumptious delicacy as an arrival treat, one that can be enjoyed in your private, ivy-draped courtyard or by the calming river rock fireplace.

[caption id="attachment_37239" align="alignnone" width="1820"]Inn of Five Graces Photos courtesy of the Inn of Five Graces.[/caption]

#12. The Queen Mary Hotel

Queen MaryExterior-trivago

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Experience what transatlantic travel from the 30s-50s was like aboard the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, California. Once an actual working ocean liner, the Queen Mary offers guests an authentic peek into the past with signature wood-paneled maritime cabins and original artwork from the 1930s. If you’re thinking that a ship and it’s claustrophobic living quarters are not your cup of tea, think again — the spacious suites feature nautical windows with views of the open sea. The ship also boasts an in-house spa, fine shopping, and a wine-tasting room! Partake in one of the paranormal tours of the ship — nicknamed “the ghost ship” — the Queen Mary still houses departed souls, like those of the sailor who died in the engine room and the children who once drowned in the ship’s pool.  The paranormal ship walks take place Sunday -Thursday from 8-10pm. Everyone has to stay in a haunted ship at least once in their life!

[caption id="attachment_37445" align="aligncenter" width="975"]QueenMarySuitebytrivago Photos courtesy of the Queen Mary Hotel.[/caption]

#13. Chatham Bars Inn


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It’s time to embrace your inner swank at one of the opulent suites or cottages at the Chatham Bars Inn in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Guests can enjoy a toasty Nespresso from the privacy of their suite’s balcony with views of the Atlantic, or cozy up indoors on the four-poster bed facing the fireplace. Built in 1914, the Inn retains it’s historical elegance with soft maritime hues of white and blue, marble vanities and L’Occitane toiletries. Make sure to milk the lavish New England experience for all it’s worth with a sea dew hot stone massage, a sailing day, and fresh oysters plucked right from the sea.

[caption id="attachment_37277" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Chatham Inn Photos courtesy of the Chatham Inn. [/caption]

#14. Salamander Resort

Salamander resort arena via trivago

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The Salamander Resort is an absolute must for any Equestrian’s bucket list. The resort spans over 340 acres of breathtaking horse and wine countryside in Middleburg, Virginia. Established in the 1700s, Middleburg is known as “the land of horse and hunt” where many famous figures (the Kennedy Family, Elizabeth Taylor) have saddled up for a ride. The resort’s 168 suites retain an equestrian charm, with horse etchings, and tack-themed bed covers. Each spacious suite boasts views of the grand lawns that surround the property and features free-standing soaking tubs for a relaxing treat after a long day’s ride. During your stay, you’ll be meeting some of  the hotel’s permanent residents like Gent, a 14-year-old chestnut Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding, and beautiful Stella, the painted Warmblood.

[caption id="attachment_37432" align="aligncenter" width="704"]salamander suite Photos courtesy of the Salamander Resort.[/caption]

#15. Calistoga Ranch


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California’s Tuscany should already be on your list — but the Napa hotel worthy of your bucket list is definitely Calistoga Ranch. Secluded in a canyon of Oak trees, the Ranch offers one of the most intimate escapes you’ll ever encounter. The Ranch is divided up among individual lodges, made of natural textiles that blend seamlessly into the surrounding nature of the canyon. Each lodge offers it’s own unique element of intimacy, from private treetop sundecks and outdoor hot tubs, to alfresco garden baths and creek views, the Ranch embraces it’s surroundings and wraps its guests in calm luxury. Be sure to try the ‘Calistoga Cure’ treatment at the Spa — a signature remedy consisting of exfoliation, a mud or mineral salt bath, an energy balancing session and a classic massage.

[caption id="attachment_37336" align="alignnone" width="988"]Calistoga Ranch guestroom Photos courtesy of Calistoga Ranch. [/caption]

#16. Mii amo

Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

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Find harmony in the sunny Southwest at the Mii amo resort in Sedona, Arizona. The resort offers guests a selection of different ‘Journeys,’  each catered to a different need, for example, a Spiritual Exploration Journey explores your inner self while the Soulful Essence Journey focuses on past experiences. Each Journey is designed to catapult guests into a harmonic state of awareness and overall calmness. The resort borrows inspiration from the surrounding red rocks of Sedona by using red adobe throughout, accented with Native American-inspired decor and details like hand-woven rugs. Explore the spiritual canyons that were once home to the ancient Anasazi tribe or take a stargazing tour of the desert sky. Prepare to emerge from the Mii amo resort with a new outlook on life!

[caption id="attachment_37222" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc. Photos courtesy of Mark Boisclair Photography for the Mii amo Resort.[/caption]

#17. The Villa Casa Casuarina


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Miami’s vibrant culture is emulated in the colorful walls of the luxurious Villa Casa Casuarina, an eclectic mix of cultures and histories resulting from a constant change in ownership (each ambitious in their own designs) over the years. The hotel was originally constructed in the 1930s and served as a homage to Christopher Columbus, featuring bricks brought back from Alcazar De Colon (build by Columbus’s son) in Santo Domingo. The keys to the Villa passed through many tenants’ hands over the years, but it 1992 Gianni Versace (who was later murdered on the steps of the Villa) purchased the Villa and the surrounding areas to enact a complete revamp of the property using Italian and Greek inspiration. A large mosaic pool and garden is one of the Villa’s most beautiful features, along with the ostentatious decor of each guestroom and the overall mix of Roman, Greek and Spanish architecture. The Villa is an assault on the senses — in a good way.

[caption id="attachment_37284" align="aligncenter" width="925"]CasaCasaurina Photos courtesy of The Villa Casa Casuarina.[/caption]

#18. Little Palm Island Resort

little palm island beach

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We couldn’t complete the list without having at least one bungalow accommodation make an appearance! The Little Palm Island Resort in the Florida Keys has the bungalow you’ve been waiting for: with windows for walls, traditional Palm leaf roofs, mosaic-tiled bathrooms, and romantic canopy beds. Each bungalow is engulfed by Palm trees, powder-white sands, and ocean breezes. Sit out on the sun deck and sink your teeth into a cool Key Lime pie, native to the region, and then mosey over to the spa for a hydrating Coconut Poultice — perfect after a long day of scuba diving through the azure Florida waters.

[caption id="attachment_37246" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Little Palm Resort suite_interior Photos courtesy of Little Palm Island Resort.[/caption]

#19. The Drake Devonshire

[caption id="attachment_45277" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Owners Suite Nikolas Koenig Drake Devonshire Night Photo courtesy of the Drake Devonshire, captured by Nikolas Koenig[/caption] [button text="See it on trivago!" href=""]

The Drake Devonshire has flawlessly combined its cool Toronto roots with the ultimate lakeside experience guest will cherish for years to come. During the winter you can take off on a truly Canadian Winter Warrior Ice Fishing excursion and catch your own dinner. Alternatively, you can hole yourself up in the Glass Box; here you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the creek, a ping-pong table and every board game you’ve ever loved.

Come summer, the attention is focused on time spent outside roasting marshmallows, live music and other cultural events. The decor here brings a modern touch to the classic lakeside cottage with plenty of fishing lures, mid-century chairs and wool blankets. The Owner’s Suite, pictured above, boasts an incredible view of the lake via its glass wall, plus a fireplace for cold nights and private patio for summer stargazing.

[caption id="attachment_45280" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Drake Devonshire The Loft Guestroom Lounge Photo courtesy of the Drake Devonshire, captured by Nikolas Koenig.[/caption]

That sums up our list of spectacular hotels you must add to your bucket list. Which one(s) are you adding to the list?