Our Favorite U.S. Hotels with Private Cottages or Villas

Many Indagare members have started to embrace the idea of traveling again, albeit domestically, and often within driving distance from home or via a charter flight. And while hotels have reopened throughout the country with enhanced safety and sanitization processes, we have been fielding requests for private cottages and villas options, which can eliminate the need for sharing elevators and hallways and reduce interactions with other guests. The upside: all the amenities of a hotel, coupled with the privacy—and social distancing—of a home rental. Here, we share some of our favorite hotels around the U.S. that offer standalone, private accommodations.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to discuss whether a hotel with private cottages or villas is right for you, and to learn more about coronavirus travel safety, including the destinations that are open to travel, new COVID-19 hotel policies and future trip-planning advice, inspiration and other ideas.

Related: Road Trip Ideas: The Best U.S. Hotels You Can Drive To

Hotels in the Northeast

Hidden Pond, Kennebunk, Maine

This relaxed resort in the woods near Kennebunkport caters to both couples and families, with distinct adults-only bungalows removed from larger, kid-friendly two-bedroom cottages. Expect classic Maine touches, including spacious porches and stone fireplaces, along with full kitchens, reliable WiFi, and washer and dryer units. For Summer 2020, Hidden Pond has altered to weekly rentals only—meaning fewer new people, making it feel like even more of a luxe summer camp.

Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont

The former Vermont estate of Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis and his wife, Dorothy Thompson has, for nearly 30 years, been one of New England’s most coveted stays. An 18th-century main house, where guests take evening cocktails, is the heart of Twin Farms, but it’s the 10 whimsical yet stylish cottages scattered across 300 acres that keep guests returning year after year. Art lovers will want to check in to the Studio cottage, with works from the likes of Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney.

White Elephant, Nantucket, Massachusetts

In a residential corner of town—just a short walk to restaurants and shops—the White Elephant has an idyllic waterfront location with manicured lawns overlooking the bustling harbor. And while we love the second-floor rooms with their sea-facing terraces, those looking for extra space and privacy will want to consider the hotel’s adjacent private cottages, residences and in-town lofts. The one-, two- and three-bedroom garden cottages—including one designed by Lilly Pulliter—are clustered in between the main hotel building and town. Across the street, one- to three-bedroom residences are even more spacious, and come with pantry-style kitchens. And two loft apartments give guests a pied-à-terre experience downtown, plus access to all of the White Elephant’s amenities a short walk away.

Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island

From its perch atop a 40-acre peninsula just outside of town, Castle Hill Inn has a commanding view over Narragansett Bay. The shingle-and-clapboard mansion, built in the 1870s as a summer home for a wealthy marine biologist, is an archetype of Victorian New England maritime architecture—turret included. And down along the waterfront, the Inn’s beach houses and cottages have French doors that open up to decks facing the Atlantic. Each cottage or house is divided into several accommodations, except for the Premier Beach Cottage, which is standalone.

The Roundtree, Amagansett, New York

Just outside of East Hampton, the discreet hamlet of Amagansett is home to the Roundtree, a 125-year-old farmhouse turned 15-room boutique hotel. Near the main house, five cottages offer seclusion and their own unique history. The largest, which can sleep eight guests, dates back to the 1700s, and features cathedral ceilings, a gas fireplace and fully-equipped kitchen. Smaller one-bedroom cottages are ideal for couples, and have private gardens.

Hotels in the American South

Blackberry Farm & Blackberry Mountain, Walland, Tennessee

These sister properties in the Smoky Mountains share a global reputation for Southern hospitality, rustic charm, exceptional culinary programs and gorgeous views. Blackberry Farm opened first, drawing foodies and pastoral-seekers into the hills for spa treatments, garden tours and gourmet meals served nightly in an 18th-century barn. In 2019, Blackberry Mountain opened 10 miles up the valley. Both the Farm and smaller, more health-focused Mountain resorts offer standalone accommodations. At the Farm, one-bedroom Hill Cottages have soaking tubs, fireplaces and porches—rocking chairs included. And at the Mountain, we love the Clingsman’s Cottages, which have hot tubs and a spa room that can be converted into a second bedroom for children, along with the even larger Azalea private homes.

Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina

Your first introduction to Montage Palmetto Bluff, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, is a long, oak-lined drive. It’s a fittingly Southern arrival to this bucolic estate, where time seems to slow down, thanks to miles of Spanish moss-shrouded walking and biking trails, an award-winning golf course, lazy poolside lunches and bonfires at night. The resort’s airy one-bedroom cottages, which overlook lagoons, woodsy grounds or the May River, have sprawling screened-in porches, wet bars with Sub Zero refrigerators.

Sea Island, Georgia

Sea Island, an hour and a half south of Savannah on the Georgia coastline is by no means a boutique resort: its Lodge and Cloister properties can accommodate hundreds of guests. But its sheer size—sprawling over 1,000 acres—and variety of options make it a surprisingly easy place to stay socially distant while on a beach, golf and spa vacation. That’s especially true in the multi-bedroom cottage rentals and villas, scattered around the island. All guests have access to the resort’s beach club and activities, ranging from bike rentals to horseback riding.

Gasparilla Inn, Boca Grande, Florida 

“Florida as it was meant to be,” is the motto for Boca Grande’s Gasparilla Inn, a circa-1913 resort that has kept families coming back to this corner of the Gulf Coast for generations. Guests can spend their days lounging poolside, playing tennis on any of the seven clay courts, golfing on the Peter Dye-designed course, or simply enjoying a cool drink and admiring the view from the rocking chairs on the main porch. There are 18 private cottages, plus six three- to four-bedroom houses. The latter are particularly great for families, and, although built between 2014 and 2016, showcase the resort’s signature Old Florida style, with soothing yellow walls and white trim.

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key, Florida

In the Lower Keys, 24 miles northwest of Key West—bungalow-only Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is on its own private island, accessible exclusively by boat or seaplane. Its thatch-roofed beach cottages have a British West Indies castaway appeal, decorated in dark woods and rattan furnishings. Most face the water, and come with outdoor copper tubs and their own beach fire pit. This adults-only retreat swaps TVs and telephones for kayaking, paddle boarding, eco-tours, snorkeling, diving and sunbathing—at the pool or along four acres of beach.

Related: Private Charter Flights: What to Know Now

Hotels in the American West

San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara and its upscale neighbor, Montecito, bill themselves as the American Riviera, and nowhere is that more true than at the area’s most renowned resort, San Ysidro Ranch. Originally part of a Spanish land grant, the 500-acre Ranch is dotted with forty-one freestanding, bungalow-style cottages, in a variety of sizes (ranging from 475 square feet to 2,500 square feet). The bliss-inducing grounds, which offer sweeping views from the Santa Ynez foothills to the Pacific Ocean, are full of birdsong and the scents of orange blossoms, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Interiors range from French Provençal-meets-English countryside to New England-meets-California coastal, though most have beamed ceilings, stone or brick fireplaces and canopy beds. Bathrooms are sumptuous and seventy-five percent of the cottages offer outdoor rain showers on private patios that also house hot tubs and two chaise lounges. The overall effect makes you want to move in permanently.

Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, Los Angeles, California

From the moment you arrive, this world-famous pink hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills’ high-rent residential neighborhood lives up to its reputation (Oh, the stories these walls—covered with more than five miles of the hotel’s signature banana-leaf wallpaper—could tell.). The 23 free-standing bungalows (by far the most-requested rooms on property and renovated in 2014) are tucked into twelve landscaped acres, with fountains, bird-of-paradise and banana palms. The famous pool, rimmed with potted orange trees, topiaries and private cabanas, can be rented for the day for an über-private lounging experience. The Polo Lounge remains a breakfast, lunch and cocktail hot spot and the counter-only Fountain Coffee Room oozes charm and is beloved by locals for its homey breakfasts and afternoon ice cream and pie. Overall, the Beverly Hills Hotel is the type of grande dame that can make even the most blasé traveler feel nostalgic, in the best sense of that word.

Calistoga Ranch, Napa Valley, California

Reality feels distant when you reach this Auberge Resort, tucked into 157 acres of lush reserve in the green canyon between Calistoga and St. Helena. The property appeals to those who want to enjoy Napa Valley’s natural setting: in addition to the main Bathhouse—where a thermal pool and soaking tub sit among spaces for mud treatments and massages—activities here can include flora walks, wine tours and Ai Chi (yoga for two, performed in a private, 98-degree soaking pool). The nine individual cedar lodges (which offer one- and two-bedroom options and range from 600 to 2,400 square feet) are all equipped with outdoor fireplaces and outdoor showers, and some also feature a private outdoor soaking tub; the two largest lodges are also equipped with full kitchens and dining areas, as well as expansive outdoor living spaces.

Related: Ask Indagare: Coronavirus Travel Safety & What is Being Done as the World Reopens

The Ranch at Rock Creek, Big Sky, Montana

Located on 6,600 acres of Big Sky land, the lavish Ranch at Rock Creek offers incredibly stylish rooms, suites, houses and tented accommodations in what is a personal and gorgeous interpretation of a Wild West adventure—with soaring mountain and sloping hillsides, fairy-tale pine forests, seemingly endless meadows and, of course, a river that runs through it all that happens to be one of the premier sporting streams in the region. In addition to the seven über-comfy, family-friendly and romantic private cabins (options range from cozy one-bedrooms to two-story, five-bedroom homes), the Ranch also offers the chance to takeover the the remodeled 19th-century Historic Barn, which has a rustic-chic vibe and three bedroom suites (including a spacious loft and a stables-inspired bunk room), as well as ten luxury “glamping” cabins, which are located along the river and range in format, so that you can choose the outdoor adventure suited to your wilderness tastes.

The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana

The dude ranch that pioneered the concept of “glamping,” the Resort at Paws Up boasts an exquisite setting on 37,000 acres of land interlaced by the Blackfoot River and continues to draw a loyal following. Their 36 luxury camping tents are divided into six different campsites scattered along the river and are set in a secluded meadow, allowing travelers to connect with the outdoors without forgoing the amenities of a hotel. Each tent features a King-sized bed (two- and three-bedroom tents feature additional rooms with two twin beds) with 300-count linens, a private deck, electricity, heat and air conditioning and rustic paintings and furniture. All the tents have en-suite bathrooms, with rain showers, heated floors, and some with deep soaking bath tubs, and all have great views of the surrounding Bob Marshall Wilderness and Mission Mountain Range. The homes and cabins, which have outdoor hot tubs and decks, sleep anywhere from four to eight people and are designed for couples, families and friends. Top-of-the-line are the 3,200-square foot wilderness estates and the Blackfoot River Lodge, all of which come with a car for use during the stay. Many guests of Paws Up opt to split their time between a tent and a home in order to get both experiences.

Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana

Set in the towering Douglas firs of Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Triple Creek Ranch is an adults-only Relais & Châteaux property with twenty-four cozy, well-appointed cabins. The personalized service — your cabin fridge is stocked with your favorite beer, for example— and the epicurean fare are nothing short of five-star. But the log-and-cedar accommodations, most of which were built in the 1990s, are rustic enough to have a true cabin-in-the-woods experience (albeit with flat-screen TVs in each room, his and her vanities and toilets, steam showers and clover whirlpools, a stocked wet bar and kitchenette). Although the massive log-post king beds, wood-burning fireplaces, Western art and furniture make each cabin feel rustic and cozy, the open floor plans and clerestory windows keep the spaces feeling bright. But at Triple Creek, it’s worth emerging from your cabin to horseback ride on national forest land, hike along the Lewis and Clark trail, take part in the somewhat addictive sapphire panning (where guests use traditional equipment to look for the gems in loose dirt brought in from a nearby mine) and the blue-ribbon fly-fishing opportunities.

Dunton Hot Springs, Dunton, Colorado 

A Western mining town-turned high-end resort, Dunton Hot Springs has an incredible sense of place—both historically and physically. In the 1800s, its collection of freestanding cabins formed a small town, and to this day, you can still walk down the road to the mines where the inhabitants of Dunton used to work. Throughout the centuries, the place had fallen into disrepair, effectively becoming one of the West’s many ghost towns, but what made Dunton unique was its incredible natural setting on 200 remote valley acres, surrounded by the San Juan mountain range, and next to natural non-sulphuric hot springs. It was the combination of remote wilderness and hot springs that drew Cristoph Henkel, of Canyon Equities, to the Dunton property in 1994. Henkel planned on creating a real-estate development, but fell in love with the setting at 9,000 feet of elevation, and seven years later emerged with a unique luxury resort set in the pristine wilderness of the lower Rockies as a legacy for his children. Today, there are thirteen authentically restored cabins and tents, which are now filled with pieces from the personal art collection of Henkel’s wife, Katrin Bellinger, who is a curator—in addition to en-suite bathrooms, radiant floors, and luxurious bedding. (The property’s most unique detail are, of course, the hot springs that brought Henkel to Dunton in the first place, and are said to improve circulation, among other health benefits). 

Indagare Tip: The entire Dunton camp can accommodate forty-five guests in total and can be taken over by a single party or family.

Lodge at Blue Sky, Wanship, Utah

Set on 3,500 acres in Utah, the Lodge at Blue Sky is a contemporary ranch (part of the Auberge Collection) with a design focus, elevated cuisine and renowned horsemanship and wellness programs. The five freestanding, one-bedroom Creek Houses are set in a very private, adults-only section of the property along the Alexander Creek, within an Aspen grove, and feature 200-square-foot private outdoor patios. Top activities on property include hiking with or without a guide, biking and fly-fishing in nearby rivers, but the real draw is the horseback riding and horsemanship program, as well as the clay shooting club on the ranch, where guests can take part in both the 18-stand sporting clay course or a simulated drive. The extensive wellness program encompasses specialty treatments, yoga, meditation and sound bathing in the spa or even outdoors in a mountain yurt.

Related: Indagare Special Offer: Four Nights at the Lodge at Blue Sky

Sorrel River Ranch, Moab, Utah

Sorrel River Ranch sits on a gorgeous 240-acre oasis right along the Colorado River and is the place to stay when visiting Arches National Park (now partially reopened!). It’s located a 30-minute drive from Moab, through stunning red rock landscapes. The property’s 55 rooms and suites (all of which come with kitchenettes) are set in freestanding wooden cabins that line the river, in a variety of configurations ranging from airy, romantic studios to multi-story family homes. Interiors are modern interpretations of the Wild West, with polished wooden floors, Navajo-inspired rugs, wrought iron light fixtures and massive picture windows. Most of the bathrooms come with separate showers and claw foot tubs, and the lovely eco-friendly amenities are made exclusively for Sorrel. Overall, the vibe here is laid-back, almost like a summer camp for grown ups—no one dresses up for meals, and most everyone is just happy to be staying in this special setting.

Sundance Mountain Resort, Sundance, Utah

This iconic ski resort—acquired by Robert Redford in 1969 and the home of the Sundance Film Festival—is settled on 5,000 acres of alpine forest in northern Utah and offers 12 unique, freestanding mountain homes (ranging from two- to seven-bedroom structures) with fresh design schemes that pay homage to the lush surroundings through both natural and cozy accents—crafted in line with Redford’s original vision that the property should, first and foremost, respect the environment it occupies and promote creativity. Both storied and modern, Sundance is known for such activities—besides skiing—as hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking and cultivating the fine arts. 

Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona

Opened in 1987 within a stunning red rock canyon, set on a 70-acre private ranch, Enchantment Resort features a huddle of Southwest-style adobe casitas that line Arizona’s Boynton Canyon, not far from Sedona. A wonderful family resort, the property has many different accommodations, ranging from those with kitchenettes for practicality and even those with their own private pools. Each of the 218 rooms abides by an organic design scheme, with soothing earth colors, rugs inspired by basket weaving, and Native American décor adding life to the otherwise minimalist feel. There are numerous on- and off-property activities, with Sedona’s raw landscape providing ample excursions (hiking, mountain biking, nature walks) and the nearby spa at Mii Amo available for relaxation and mindfulness treatments. The sprawling property also features tennis courts, a putting green (and nearby golf course) and croquet, as well as a host of daily activities, ranging from painting and nature walks to tennis clinics and star-gazing. It is also a great base for those who want to explore the Grand Canyon.

Related: Our Favorite U.S. Destinations for Extended Summer Stays

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to discuss whether a hotel with private cottages or villas is right for you, and to learn more about coronavirus travel safety, including the destinations that are open to travel, new COVID-19 hotel policies and future trip-planning advice, inspiration and other ideas.

– Elizabeth Harvey on July 8, 2020


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