Go for the Drinks
Beer: Just days ago, Columbus, Ohio, welcomed the DogHouse (from $162/night, brewdog.com), the first craft beer hotel in the world, and known for its in-room beer taps. In addition to views of the new BrewDog tank room interior and a built-in beer fridge in the shower, each room features a tap that pours your favorite IPAs, porters, and sours.
Wine: Happy hour is even more cheerful thanks to complimentary daily tastings at the wine-and-cheese shop inside Wabash’s extensively restored and surprisingly elegant Charley Creek Inn ($159/night, charleycreekinn.com). The lobby bistro makes up for its small size with a surprisingly large array of vino, craft beer and spirits, and artisan cheese, much of it from Indiana makers.
Go for the Art
In Studio: Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel ($279/night, thepfisterhotel.com) sponsors an artist-in-residence on the ground floor. This year, fashion designer Stephanie Schultz sketches, cuts, and sews dresses in the studio for all to see. Because the hotel has a world-class Victorian art collection, she’s creating outfits inspired by the era that will debut in a fashion show this winter.
Go for the Tech
Robots: Getting a toothbrush or extra towels delivered at 5 a.m. can be a tall order at some hotels. Not at Hotel EMC2 ($189/night, hotelemc2.com) in downtown Chicago, where a pair of 3-foot-tall robots named Cleo and Leo roam the halls at all hours fulfilling guest requests. Loosely inspired by R2D2, the duo also sometimes greets guests in the lobby.
Gadgets: The Boyne Highlands Resort ($89/night, boyne.com) in northern Michigan offers Segway rides, ziplines, and horses, but the newest way to get around is the Golfboard on its 18-hole courses. A surprisingly fast and agile alternative to the golf cart, it’s a motorized scooter that’s as fun as it is practical for people who don’t want to climb in and out of a cart.
Go for the Music
Learn: Southeast Ohio’s Fur Peace Ranch ($1,700/weekend, furpeaceranch.com) is more a spectacular guitar lesson that happens to come with a cabin than the other way around. But when legends like Warren Haynes, G.E. Smith, and Guy Clarke are jamming with you and offering pointers for two days, who even wants to sleep?
Listen: Free monthly music programming at the Freehand Hotel ($216/night, freehandhotels.com/chicago) in its Broken Shaker bar is designed to offer a taste of Chicago’s best local talent. The new improv-jazz series “Time / Space” showcases a different bandleader and trio each month. Past shows have included a Pitchfork-themed event and a Lollapalooza after-party with a performance by Brandy. If turntables are more your thing, follow the cool kids to the top level of the Ace Hotel Chicago ($300/night, acehotel.com/chicago). The Waydown bar is named for a John Prine song and renowned for its lineup of nightly DJs.
Go for the Views
From Land: For those who long for the romance of staying in a lighthouse without all the work of actually maintaining one, Point Betsie ($345/night, pointbetsie.org) near Frankfort, Michigan, will leave the light on. With views of Lake Michigan that border on absurd, the Keeper’s Quarters sleeps up to six. Other lighthouses offer the same program with some work duties, like manning the visitor center.
From Sea: Lake Michigan rocks you to sleep aboard the Manitou windjammer docked in Traverse City, Michigan. Book the Traverse Tall Ship Company’s three- or four-night sails through September (from $635/person, tallshipsailing.com) to sleep in a gleaming wood cabin with two sturdy bunks— or snooze under the stars on the deck (BYO sleeping bag). You can also pitch in as crew. The wind has a lot to do with determining the course, as this “boatel” makes port in a few remote spots.