More often than not, hotels are seen as a means to an end. It’s a place to eat and sleep during your travels, and that’s about it.
But what if your hotel was a part of the experience?
Boutique hotels, often independently owned, offer unique and premium angles to your stay. And there’s usually something distinct about the building itself!
Let’s tour five of the Southeast's best boutique hotels.
Amelia Schoolhouse Inn — Fernandina Beach, FL
Did you ever fall asleep in school? Now you can do it on purpose.
Initially built in 1886, Amelia Schoolhouse Inn was Fernandina Beach's only schoolhouse. But after a touch-up in 2017, the building pairs old-school comfort with high-brow amenities. Featuring 17 guest rooms, a pool, a courtyard with a putting green, and a bar called "The Principal's Office," this inn will wow you!
The hotel is in downtown Fernandina Beach, a walk away from cute shops and delicious restaurants. Even the beach is just half a mile away! And if you’re interested in outdoor excursions, Fernandina Beach is known for its terrific kayak and fishing tours.
To learn more and book rooms, visit Amelia Schoolhouse Inn’s website here.
Len Foote Hike Inn — Dawsonville, GA
The only way to get to the inn is by hiking a moderate five-mile trail starting from the top of Amicalola Falls, an incredible 729-foot waterfall. But despite its remote location, the inn is outfitted with all your favorite creature comforts — including a soft bed, hot showers, and great family-style meals with other hotel-goers. The facility is also sustainably designed, using recycled rainwater, solar panels, and composting toilets.
Staying at this inn gives you unbounded access to the great outdoors. The hotel is nestled in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, which has dozens of trails with different difficulty levels to enjoy. And after your day, you can unwind in the Sunrise Room, which has library books, board games, and a wraparound porch to enjoy.
To learn more and book rooms, visit Len Foote Hike Inn’s website here.
The Stricklin Hotel — Florence, AL
Sometimes, you just need a big dose of small-town charm — and the Stricklin Hotel has it in spades.
First built in 1946, the historic Stricklin Building re-opened as a hotel and event space in 2018. Each of the 24 stylish yet cozy rooms has a king-size bed. But there’s more to Stricklin than the boarding. The building has a breakfast and lunch restaurant called the Big Bad Breakfast on the first floor. And even the basement is outfitted with the Boiler Room, which has four vintage-style bowling lanes and other games like foosball, skeeball, and arcade tables.
The Stricklin Hotel is in downtown Florence, a quaint and historic area. You can visit the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, tour the architecturally fascinating Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House, or walk the nearby University of North Alabama campus.
To learn more and book rooms, visit the Stricklin Hotel’s website here.
The Caboose at Station 451 — Waynesville, NC
The old train car isn’t holding coal, though. Inside is a queen-size bed, dining table, TV, mini kitchen, convertible couch, and more — even internet access! The caboose has outdoor amenities, too, including a fire pit, propane grill, electric fireplace, Applachian-style shower, and a furnished porch with a swing. In all, the caboose has space for four people.
The Caboose at Station 451 is on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which means the park’s trails, fishing, and historic buildings are yours to explore. But it’s also in Waynesville, which has antique shops, farm tours, and the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre.
To learn more and book rooms, visit the Caboose at Station 451’s website here.
Grand Bohemian Hotel — Charleston, SC
Charleston is known for its historic and old-fashioned aesthetics — but the Grand Bohemian Charleston brings a new charm into the mix.
The hotel is all about art: colorful art, modern art, portrait art, sculpture art. Every corner of the hotel, from the lavish rooms to the lobby, will make you stare. The Grand Bohemian Gallery gives you a tour of ever-changing exhibitions featuring cutting-edge artists nationwide. And for the food forward, the hotel also has a wine bar and a French-inspired rooftop restaurant called Élevé.
The Grand Bohemian Charleston is in the middle of the city, where you can stroll down Rainbow Row, visit the Charleston Museum, or wander through the Charleston City Market. And in Charleston, the shopping and dining options are nearly endless!
To learn more and book rooms, visit the Grand Bohemian Charleston’s website here.