20 of America's most beautiful hotels

Krisanne Fordham, for CNNUpdated 18th April 2018
(CNN) — With so many iconic cities and diverse landscapes, beautiful hotels in the USA can seem like a dime a dozen. But some are, quite simply, more beautiful than others and truly worthy of note.
From rustic alpine lodges in the Rocky Mountains to sleek beachfront resorts in Miami, we've handpicked 20 of America's most beautiful hotels where you can stay:

1. Halekulani, Honolulu, Hawaii

When it comes to Honolulu hotels, nothing comes close to the understated, elegant Halekulani.
Despite its prime Waikiki Beach location, the beautiful, whitewashed property remains remarkably Zen-like thanks to the lush gardens that surround it. Its newly renovated guest rooms are refreshingly low-key, with neutral décor that allows the ocean views to steal the show.
The hotel's pièce de résistance? Its beachfront freshwater pool with an orchid -- made out of 1.2 million pieces of blue glass -- at its center.

2. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana

Right in the rugged heart of the Montana Rockies, secluded, adults-only Triple Creek Ranch is a popular honeymoon destination -- and no wonder.
Its 12 ultraprivate cabins feature roomy hot tubs, wood-burning fireplaces and complimentary, fully stocked wet bars.
If you do manage to drag yourself outdoors, there's a seemingly never-ending menu of couples-friendly activities like horseback riding and river floating.
Or simply "waste" an afternoon enjoying the views -- and a free glass of wine -- at the sprawling, rustic main lodge.

3. Casa del Mar, Los Angeles, California

Built in the 1920s as a beach club, Casa del Mar is a Los Angeles landmark.
It's one of only two hotels that sit directly on Santa Monica Beach, with no boardwalk or roadway separating guests from the sand. All 112 rooms are spacious and plush with a California beach-house vibe, and most have views of the Pacific Ocean.
Though it's been updated with modern amenities through the years, the hotel's old-world hospitality and palatial design -- sweeping staircases, stained-glass windows -- remain.

4. Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah

US beautiful hotels
Amangiri's 34 suites boast private courtyards with show-stopping desert views.
courtesy Amangiri
While other desert resorts temper the harsh landscape with plush decor, Amangiri embraces it, quite literally: the main pool wraps around an enormous sandstone butte.
Inside, concrete walls, rough timber furnishings and a muted brown color palette further reflect the resort's arid setting. That's not to say that luxury is spared at all -- Amangiri's 34 suites boast private courtyards with show-stopping desert views.
The Amangiri Suite, with its desert-facing sky terrace and 60-foot-long swimming pool, is the resort's crowning jewel.

5. Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Chicago

Though the Waldorf Astoria brand is known for its Old World opulence, its Windy City property is all clean lines and sleek decor.
Its 188 rooms are dressed in silvery grays and ultramodern furniture and finished off with luxe touches such as marble soaking tubs and granite fireplaces.
Highlights include Bernard's, a hip cocktail bar on the hotel's second floor, and an award-winning spa with a eucalyptus steam room and jacuzzi.
Added bonus: the hotel is located in Chicago's swanky Gold Coast neighborhood, just steps from Magnificent Mile shopping.

6. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

US beautiful hotels
The horseshoe-shaped hotel trumps all other beautiful resorts on Maui.
courtesy Four Seasons Resort
Though beautiful resorts on the island of Maui are commonplace, the Four Seasons at Wailea trumps them all.
Built on 15 acres of windswept Hawaiian coastline, the resort is designed in a horseshoe shape to ensure optimal views of the Pacific from almost every suite. Lodgings are bright and breezy, outfitted with traditional, handmade koa furniture and spacious private lanais (terraces).
But what you're really here for is the adults-only infinity pool: it boasts an underwater music system, a swim-up bar and unrivaled views over Wailea Beach.

7. Lotte New York Palace, New York

This newly renovated hotel, purchased by luxury hotel operator Lotte for $805 million in 2015, impresses from the outset.
Its dramatic lobby features cascading crystal chandeliers, high coffered ceilings and Tiffany stained-glass windows. Guest rooms are similarly opulent, decked out with plush contemporary decor and marble bathrooms.
Not surprisingly, the hotel and its rooms have been the setting for countless television shows ("Gossip Girl," "Mr. Robot") and movies ("Just My Luck," "27 Dresses").

8. The St. Anthony, A Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio, Texas

Built in 1909, the St. Anthony was the first luxury hotel in San Antonio.
After a $24 million renovation in 2015, the hotel was restored to its original Victorian-era glory, with the addition of quirky modern touches like acid-green velvet.
Hotel highlights include a heated rooftop pool flanked by chic cabanas and a sleek cocktail-and-jazz bar, The St. Anthony Club.
Located just three blocks from the Alamo and a block from the San Antonio Riverwalk, the hotel also boasts one of the best addresses in town.

9. The Roosevelt, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New Orleans

There may be newer and trendier hotels in New Orleans, but none can touch the beauty of The Roosevelt.
The iconic property, opened in 1893, is reminiscent of a bygone era with its tiered crystal chandeliers, gold-gilded pillars and original floor mosaics -- discovered during renovations after Hurricane Katrina. Its 504 rooms are similarly aristocratic, with dark wood furnishings and rich fabrics.
The hotel's legendary Sazerac Bar, located in the lobby, is the birthplace of the cognac-based cocktail, as its name suggests.

10. Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina

US beautiful hotels
The main River House -- with its gabled roof and antebellum architecture -- is a highlight of Montage Palmetto Bluff.
courtesy Montage Palmetto Bluff
Tucked away amidst a thick maritime forest on the banks of the May River, the Montage Palmetto Bluff makes for the perfect South Carolina Lowcountry hideaway.
Its 50 clapboard cottages are rustic yet luxurious, outfitted with screened porches, vaulted ceilings, pinewood floors and working fireplaces.
The main River House -- where you'll find the lobby and library -- is reminiscent of a bygone era with its gabled roof and antebellum architecture.
Looks aside, the resort offers endless diversions, including a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, two pools and a luxury spa.

11. Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Though it's just a few miles north of Santa Fe, Rancho Encantado feels worlds away thanks to its tucked-away location at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
In keeping with the region's earthy, organic architecture, the resort's guest rooms are sprawled across casita-style dwellings made of adobe. Each casita seamlessly pairs traditional decor (Native American rugs and pottery) with ultra-luxe amenities (deep-soaking tubs, private patios).
The beautiful spa, designed to resemble the sacred kiva rooms of the Pueblo Indians, is one of the resort's many highlights.

12. The Gant, a Destination Hotel, Aspen, Colorado

Located in a secluded, five-acre enclave at the foot of Aspen Mountain, this rustic-chic lodge makes for the perfect mountain retreat.
Its 120 rooms are luxurious yet cozy, each outfitted with wood-burning stone fireplaces and spacious private balconies. In addition to five tennis courts, there are two heated outdoor swimming pools and three jetted hot tubs, open year-round.
Added bonus: the property recently debuted a rooftop terrace offering sweeping alpine views -- part of a $5 million renovation of its poolside restaurant and event space.

13. Palace Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco

Established in 1875, the majestic Palace Hotel recently underwent a $40 million renovation that's made it, well, even more palatial.
Already grand common spaces were upgraded with golden, atrium ceilings, vintage crystal chandeliers and rich carpets. Several new suites were introduced, featuring marble fireplaces, four-poster beds and classically inspired contemporary furniture.
There's even a glass-roofed indoor lap pool that's easily the most luxurious pool in the city.

14. The Setai, Miami Beach, Florida

With its high-rise appeal and Art Deco-meets-Eastern architecture, The Setai feels more like a hip urban hotel than a beachfront resort.
And that's a good thing: its sleek facade is a refreshing contrast from its attention-grabbing, candy-colored South Beach neighbors.
Suites are upscale and sophisticated rather than casual and beachy with slate-colored modern décor and dark wood furnishings.
Outside, you'll find not one but three pools -- heated at 75 degrees, 85 degrees and 90 degrees respectively -- located steps from South Beach.

15. Ocean House, Watch Hill, Rhode Island

US beautiful hotels
Ocean House offers an enviable view to the Atlantic Ocean.
courtesy Ocean House
Built just after the Civil War in 1868, Ocean House is New England's most storied oceanfront retreat and is a destination in and of itself.
In 2004, the Victorian-style property was lovingly restored to its original design, down to window placements and interior wall hues. There's lots to keep guests busy beyond admiring the Atlantic Ocean views, including a 12,000-square-foot spa, a cinema and a golf course.
Added bonus: the property sits on the bluffs above a private white-sand beach, accessible exclusively to guests.

16. The Nines, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland, Oregon

Like Portland itself, The Nines oozes an eclectic charm that appeals to the young, hip and well-heeled.
Everything about this downtown Portland property feels effortlessly trendy, from its airy, courtyard-style lobby to the '70s retro decor. There's even a billiards room stocked with books and magazines for guests to borrow.
Suites are whimsically decked out -- silver wallpaper, Tiffany-blue velvet couches -- and boast sweeping views over the city.

17. The Lodge at Sea Island, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Set on St. Simon's Island in Georgia's Golden Isles, this stately English manor is the stuff of fairy tales.
Its 40 rooms -- furnished with handpicked antiques and cozy, overstuffed sofas -- are outfitted with private balconies offering picture-perfect views over the windswept coast and St. Simon's Sound. But what you're really here for is the Southern hospitality.
Every evening at sunset, a bagpiper heralds the evening, and before bed, guests are treated to warm milk and fresh-baked cookies.

18. Bellagio, Las Vegas

US beautiful hotels
Is this the most iconic hotel in Las Vegas?
courtesy Bellagio
There may be newer and flashier hotels on the Strip, but Vegas just isn't Vegas without the Bellagio.
The $1.6 billion hotel, with its curved Italianate design and signature fountains, is a Sin City institution. Inside, you'll find a sprawling casino, countless bars and restaurants and five Mediterranean-style pools.
Other hotel highlights include the famous Dale Chihuly sculpture of thousands of glass flowers, a conservatory and botanical gardens.

19. Manor Vail Lodge, a Destination Hotel, Vail, Colorado

Sitting on the banks of Gore Creek at the base of Vail Mountain, this stunning lodge boasts Vail's most enviable location.
Accommodations are cozy, alpine-chic and casually luxurious, perfectly suited to the resort's rugged alpine setting and nature-loving clientele.
Unlike chain hotels and lodges in the area, suites here are individually decorated -- no two rooms are alike -- though all are outfitted with wood-burning fireplaces and scenic private terraces.
Hotel highlights include two heated outdoor pools, four hot tubs and the newly launched Fitz Bar and Restaurant, which serves up dishes as lovely as its surroundings.

20. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California

Panoramas of the Big Sur coastline are a highlight in each of Post Ranch Inn's 39 rooms.
Panoramas of the Big Sur coastline are a highlight in each of Post Ranch Inn's 39 rooms.
Courtesy of Kodiak Greenwood
Perched atop a cliff's edge and surrounded by thick redwood forest, eco-friendly Post Ranch Inn is worth visiting for the views alone.
Each of its 39 standalone dwellings -- so spacious and luxurious the word "cabin" does not suffice -- boast dramatic panoramas of the Big Sur coastline.
They're also decked out with luxe amenities like outdoor showers, hot tubs, private terraces and wood-burning fireplaces.
Hotel highlights include two heated clifftop basking spas, a heated swimming pool and an award-winning spa.