A crackling fireplace, hot apple cider, vibrant leaves...these are just a few of the (amazing) things we associate with fall. And taking a cue from the dropping temperatures, at this time of year, hotels begin to entice travelers not with their refreshing pools or sandy beaches, but with cozy autumn amenities. From bed-and-breakfasts perfect for prime foliage viewing to city hotels that successfully capture a country vibe with fun activities like pumpkin carving contests, these seven picks are sure to make the transition from summer to fall a pleasant one. Just save some pumpkin pie for us!
In-Room Fireplaces: Fifteen Beacon, Boston
A 63-room upscale hotel with exquisite service and sleek decor in residential Beacon Hill, Fifteen Beacon (or XV Beacon) offers a luxury boutique experience. The building, constructed in 1903, blends historic New England elegance with modern, minimalist design and high-tech amenities. Expert concierges, free chauffeur service in a Lexus, and a location at the top of Boston Common make this hotel a great fit for discerning business or leisure travelers. Rooms are spacious, with stylishly masculine decor, and our favorite feature for fall are the working gas fireplaces. There are switches conveniently by the bed to turn on both the fireplace and stereo, so you can stay cuddled under the covers.
Expansive Grounds with Fall Colors: The Round Barn Farm, Vermont
The Round Barn Farm has a serene location with more than 245 acres of rolling green hills in every direction. It has a decidedly romantic ambiance, with rooms that have whirlpool tubs and/or working fireplaces, perfect to enjoy during the fall months. Having both a small indoor pool and fitness center (though technically it’s only a few cardio machines) is a true B&B rarity in these parts, but the real draws here are the peaceful vibe, accomplished through incredible views and plenty of fresh air. There are various spots surrounding the property to sit and view the stunning red, orange, and yellow leaves that Vermont is known for this time of year.
Hot Mulled Cider: Captain Jefferds Inn, Maine
This historic sea captain’s home is now a charming, 15-room inn full of indulgent freebies and modern touches. It’s in a quiet, residential area of Kennebunkport, within walking distance of the shops and restaurants downtown. Cozy rooms vary in size, decor, and amenities — some have fireplaces, soaking tubs, and private entrances — while all include modern perks such as free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs. Free breakfasts here are gourmet, sit-down affairs, and more yummy snacks are available throughout the day, including at afternoon tea. Some couples seeking romance complain about the communal breakfast table, but with a no kids under 10 policy, the inn maintains an intimate and peaceful atmosphere. In the cooler fall months, afternoon tea includes hot mulled cider, fresh baked cookies, and light hors d’oeuvres.
Pumpkin Carving: Hotel Helix, Washington D.C.
An eccentric, reasonably priced, 178-room Kimpton hotel (a chain with seven D.C. properties), Hotel Helix opened in 2002 on a once-sketchy but now pretty block of Rhode Island Avenue in the Dupont Circle vicinity. It was revamped in 2009 with extra-large guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, and modish decor. In addition to filling the lounge with Halloween decorations (as seen above) every season, the hotel holds an annual pumpkin carving contest, complete with prizes. And all year long, a free wine reception is held in the evenings.
Hot Chocolate: Draycott Hotel, London
This 35-room combo of Edwardian townhouses is warm and intimate with a country home feel — and a great location for exclusive West End shopping. Rooms are cozy and traditional, each themed after a prominent figure in theater; some even have their own cozy fireplace. With wonderful boutique perks such as the free English afternoon tea (guests at other hotels will have to pay at least a £15 premium to enjoy such a tradition), free pre-dinner champagne, and free hot chocolate before bed, it’s hard to find much at the Draycott to complain about. The hot chocolate and biscuits are served in the Drawing Room at 9:30 p.m. every day.
Heated Outdoor Pools: Hope Lake Lodge, New York
The 106-room Hope Lake Lodge is practically a town unto itself. Ample activities in the area abound, as the property sits next to the highest point in the county — the ski resort — which is attached to a year-round adventure center where visitors can zip-line, snow tube, and much more. While it’s easy for kids to stay entertained, adult activities include signature cocktails next to the lobby’s cozy fireplace, as well as spa treatments. The property features Northwoods decor throughout, and many details were crafted from vendors in the area. Conveniently located adjacent to the hotel is a kid-friendly water park staffed by lifeguards (access is an additional fee). The modern structure is kept at a constant 84 degrees, and thus can be enjoyed year-round. It features 500 feet of water slides, as well as a large wave pool with three revolving settings. Additionally, guests get free access to the heated outdoor pool and indoor/outdoor whirlpools at the water park complex.
Local Draft Beers: The Norwich Inn, Vermont
The historic Norwich Inn — where President James Monroe and Dr. Seuss have both stayed — is a quaint, well-maintained inn with just 38 rooms. Rooms have a cozy New England feel, with floral wallpaper, Victorian antiques, and exposed brick, but they also offer modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Rooms are divided between the Main House, Ivy House, and Walker House, and vary both in size and decor. While the inn is popular with those visiting nearby Dartmouth College, it also attracts visitors for its on-site brewery, welcoming pub, and dining room. The on-site brewery is home to Jasper Murdoch Ales and the pub is the only seller of its brews. The pub rotates the ales, so expect to find some perfectly suited for fall, like Oktoberfest.
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