Ma Bailey couldn’t have been more right in "It’s a Wonderful Life" when he said, “It’s deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace.” It’s no different when you’re at the mountaintops for ski season or just enjoying time away from home during the chilly months. Curling up next to a classic stone fireplace can be the perfect antidote for a long day of shopping, skiing and sightseeing. And let’s face it: Sometimes spending a lazy afternoon fireside with a good book and a cup of cocoa is the most anticipated part of a traveler’s itinerary.
Departures.com scoured the country to find hotels that offer not just a roof and walls, but also decadent fireplaces to fend off the cold. Park City, Utah’s hillside Washington School House hearth is filled with 18th-century charm, while The Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., features a double-sided fireplace built with local stone. The crackling blaze of The Equinox in Manchester Village, Vt., is the fabled meeting place of the state’s Green Mountain Boys, and over in New York City’s East Village, an urban oasis awaits in the lobby of The Bowery Hotel. And for a change of pace, soak up some southwestern warmth in front of an ornate adobe-beehive fireplace at Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz., or next to the buffalo-adorned one at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas. Here, a menagerie of glowing hearths that would make Pa Bailey blush, from modern architectural marvels to bastions of old-world glamour.
The Bowery Hotel, New York City
Travelers looking to escape the city’s chaos can seek shelter in this hotel’s lobby, which is soothingly lit by a vaulted Gothic fireplace. A mural depicting 19th-century New York wraps around the room, surrounding oversized chairs, sofas and antique wooden newspaper racks alongside the cozy wood-burning fireplace. The atmosphere is casual and unhurried, perfect for lingering guests. Rooms, from $425; 212-505-9100; theboweryhotel.com.
Camelback Inn, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Visitors to the West’s most Western town can kick off their boots and unwind by the fire at this homey oasis in the Sonora Desert. The original adobe-beehive fireplace (installed in 1936, the same year the resort was built) is flanked by vibrant Navajo rugs and plush leather couches — perfect for travel-weary cowboys to sink into at the end of a long day. Rooms, from $160; 480-948-1700; camelbackinn.com.
The Equinox, Manchester Village, Vt.
This legendary meeting place for the fathers of the American Revolution has been serving up comfort by the fireplace’s warm glow since 1769. The original stone hearth from the tavern where Ethan Allen and the militia group Green Mountain Boys once regularly gathered now sits amid the browns, burgundies and old hardwood floors of the resort’s upscale restaurant. Oversized tables and cream leather banquettes make it the ideal spot for guests to connect over a leisurely meal. Rooms, from $200; 800-362-4747; equinoxresort.com.
Hotel Burnham, Chicago
The landmark building, designed by legendary Chicago architects Daniel Burnham, John Root and Charles Atwood, offers an intimate, one-of-a-kind architectural setting. The living-room-style lobby, washed in burgundy and gold, has modern, cozy touches that make snuggling up to the marble-framed hearth an easy segue to happy hour. Rooms, from $160; 312-782-1111; burnhamhotel.com.
The Little Nell, Aspen, Colo.
After a day on the slopes, guests — and their dogs — can enjoy a cocktail around the lobby’s double-sided-wood-burning hearth, crafted using local buff sandstone. Guests seeking a little more privacy are in luck: Each of the 92 Holly Hunt–designed guest rooms at The Little Nell — the only ski-in and -out hotel in the city — have an electric stone fireplace. Rooms, from $265; 888-843-6355; thelittlenell.com.
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