Last year, while planning a couple’s trip to Ireland, I had a very particular vision for where I wanted to stay. I imagined something that felt cozy, not corporate; quaint, but with modern amenities. Ideally, it had free parking and was also within walking distance of major attractions. Just when I thought I’d have to whittle down my list of wants, I came across the Stop B+B, a bed and breakfast with an artsy vibe in an old 1930s home, five miles from Galway’s city center. I promptly reserved our stay and then spent the next several months dreaming about the day when we would check-in.
We arrived, weary from navigating the tiny country roads in an oversized car, to freshly baked bread and tunes floating in from the living room record player. We slept with the windows open and listened to the rain falling outside. Each morning, we went downstairs for a gourmet hot breakfast accompanied by fresh-squeezed orange juice. I nearly cried when we had to leave—it was that lovely.
Since returning stateside, I’ve jumped at the chance to stay at other bed and breakfasts. Often, I conjure up a similar Nancy Meyers-esque experience only to be disappointed when I go to book because the rooms look musty, outdated and dark. In truth, Europe still has the edge when it comes to cute bed and breakfasts, but there are some great design-forward properties in the U.S. that offer a more modern, yet still charming, experience. Here are some of my favorites.
In truth, Europe still has the edge when it comes to cute bed and breakfasts, but there are some great design-forward properties in the U.S. that offer a more modern, yet still charming, experience.
Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown is behind this retreat in Montclair, New Jersey. It’s beloved by Anglophiles, celebrities (Steven Spielberg was a recent guest) and beauty devotees alike. Amenities include Dyson hairdryers and EO bath products—need I say more?
Thirty minutes from Portland, Oregon, this little oasis is tucked between forests and waterfalls. Enjoy breakfast on your private deck or gaze up at the stars through the built-in skylights.
This bed and breakfast in Galveston, Texas, has all of the charm that comes with a 150-year-old building but none of the dated décor. Each room is different, but there’s a nautical theme carried throughout. Don’t miss the gallery wall of ship paintings in the upstairs corridor or delicious breakfast—favorites include truffle hashbrowns and pecan pancakes.
Unwind in wine country at this Sonoma, California, hotspot. Perks include a dreamy pool, a fireplace in every room, and complimentary wine and cheese tastings in the afternoon.
A young couple opened this inn in Saratoga Springs, New York. The proprietor is a former event planner and chef who whips up treats like Cinnamon Toast Crunch doughnuts, homemade pumpkin butter and smoked salmon quiche. A visit is beautiful any time of year, but especially in the winter, when the snow-covered inn looks like it belongs in a Hallmark movie.
An interior designer partnered with her long-time client to transform this historic inn into a refined rustic retreat in Wiscasset, Maine (just an hour from Portland). Explore the surrounding farmland, home to chickens and pygmy goats, or ask to be set up with a guided kayak excursion.
The couple behind Akwaaba first fell in love with the bed and breakfast concept in the early ’90s and were inspired to open their first location in Brooklyn. Today, they own four other inns, including the first bed and breakfast they ever stayed at. Each location represents a different style, from traditional to glam to minimalist.
I may be biased because I call the Lone Star State home, but I think we have some of the best bed and breakfasts, which is why I’m including two on this list. Set in the hill country town of Fredericksburg, Texas, this bucolic inn is within driving distance of a number of wineries, boasts a cooking school on-site and offers a variety of lodging options, including private houses. Also, breakfast is delivered each morning in a basket and, well, it doesn’t get much cuter than that.
There’s no relation to a certain Duchess, but I’d say this Charleston inn is fit for a royal visit all the same. Take a dip in the riverside swimming pool, go horseback riding or explore America’s oldest landscaped gardens.