It used to be that if you wanted to stay someplace nice in Cleveland, you only had a few choices. You had the Ritz, a swanky downtown joint where all the celebs would hole up when they were in town. And you had the Intercontinental, an upscale hotel that's essentially attached to the Cleveland Clinic. It's where all those rich folks from the Middle East go while they're getting world-class treatment at the Clinic.
But the city has recently expanded its range of hotels and by year's end, downtown should add a boutique hotel that's part of the Kimpton chain. It will be located in the Schofield Building. In addition, Le Méridien Cleveland and a 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown should open by 2016. Here's a rundown of some of the hotel options available to travelers (and residents who crave the occasional staycation):
Aloft | aloftclevelanddowntown.com
Part of the same chain that includes the upscale W Hotels, Aloft is a bit more affordable than the overpriced (but hipper) W. With outposts in Beachwood and downtown Cleveland, Aloft caters to business travelers. But the downtown hotel boasts WXYZ, a modern-looking bar where the locals hang. And it offers great views of the river. The Beachwood location has its own WXYZ bar along with a pool table and nice outdoor patio. Both bars are happy hour destinations.
The Cleveland Hostel | theclevelandhostel.com
With its string of cool breweries and restaurants, West 25th Street has become a nightlife destination for locals. So it's a great bonus that out-of-town guests on a budget can hunker down at the Cleveland Hostel, conveniently located on West 25th, and have some money to spend on the tasty microbrews they can get at Great Lakes Brewing Co., Town Hall, Market Garden Brewery, Bier Markt and Nano Brew. The place offers a shared kitchen and boasts a cool rooftop deck. It even has bike storage and lockers. The lounge comes as advertised: It's "cozy."
Emerald Necklace Inn | emeraldnecklaceinn.com
You won't find any hipsters hanging out at Emerald Necklace Inn, a place that prides itself on its coziness. It advertises that rooms feature an "original claw-style tub with shower, private lavatory" and "a cozy winter fireplace heater." And yet, the views of the Rocky River Metro Park are fantastic and the quaintness of the place (it even has a tea tasting room, for chrissake) is undeniable.
Glidden House | gliddenhouse.com
Settled in an old mansion on the campus of Case Western Reserve University, Glidden House is a 60-room boutique hotel in walking distance of many cultural attractions. The charming hotel serves its guests a European-style breakfast buffet daily in its old parlor and offers plenty of dining and drinking options including Palette Wine Bar, Glidden's small lounge with a large wine list. It's a great place to stay if you're hanging on the East Side for a weekend.
Hotel Indigo | hotelindigo.com/beachwood
This boutique hotel just opened in Beachwood and it boasts a series of "signature murals [that] capture the true essence of the style and culture around you." Hyde Park Prime Steak House is on the premises and the place provides easy access to shopping destinations Legacy Village and Beachwood Place. The artfully decorated lobby looks like something out of a sci-fi Western.
J. Palen House | jpalenhouse.com
Part of a very walkable section of Ohio City — it's a short stroll to the hustle and bustle of West 25th Street as well as the West Side Market — J. Palen House provides an urban bed-and-breakfast experience. Built in the 1800s, the place has a vintage look and feel thanks to features such as inlaid wood floors, a brick and tile fireplace, stained glass windows, glass lighting fixtures and leaded glass French doors. There's even a parlor window seat, a spot the owners say is "a perfect place to listen to old songs and modern renditions."
The 9 | the9cleveland.com
Don't let the accounts of brawls between overly enthusiastic fans and NFL quarterbacks turn you off: The 9 adds a bit of glamour to downtown Cleveland. The giant LED billboard makes it look like it belongs in Vegas rather than Cleveland. Predictably enough, the 9 comes with a hot nightclub (the Vault, which is, quite literally, set in the building's old basement vaults) and a rooftop patio with great city views (it's only open seasonally). Condé Nast Traveler magazine recently included the place on its list of best new hotels, and Adega, the hotel's modern Mediterranean restaurant, is lead by Eddie Tancredi, a 30-year-old chef with an incredible culinary resume.
Washington Place Bistro and Inn | washingtonplacebistro.com
Known as much for its fine-dining restaurant as it is for its overnight accommodations, Little Italy's Washington Place Bistro and Inn provides an alternative to the typical hotel experience, offering all the conveniences of an upscale hotel (wall-mounted TVs, glass showers, iPod alarm clocks) without the anonymity. Occupying the former Baricelli Inn, Washington Place got a bit of a face lift a couple years back when new owner Scott Kuhn spent six months completely remodeling the upstairs accommodations with warm, relaxing amenities and adding a full bar to the restaurant.
The Westin | westincleveland.com
Downtown's Westin recently underwent a $64-million renovation and has been completely gutted and redone. It's also now home to Urban Farmer, one of several restaurants belonging to the highly respected Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group. Urban Farmer offers a farm-to-table steakhouse that caters to locals as much as it caters to hotel guests. Meanwhile the hotel, conveniently nestled down near the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation, offers views of Lake Erie and a short stroll to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.