Travel + Leisure

The 100 Best New Hotels of the Year

It List 2024: The best new hotels of the year, all visited and reviewed by Travel + Leisure’s expert editors and contributors.

21c Museum Hotel St. Louis 

Hotel guest room with colorful artwork in St Louis

Opening in August 2023 with the not-so-hidden agenda to breathe new life into one of St. Louis’s most historic neighborhoods, this 173-room property — Missouri’s second 21c Museum Hotel — has proven that it is indeed fun to stay at a YMCA. Before the renovated, 10-story neo-Renaissance building found a second life as a hotel, it housed the downtown St. Louis chapter of the YMCA for nearly a century. Today, instead of luring guests with team sports and weight rooms, this Locust Street location does so with art exhibitions, culinary extravagances, and well-curated guest rooms. The building’s Wes Anderson–esque facade was renovated by the preservation pros at Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, while Bill Rooney Studioreimagined the guest rooms and architecture firm Hufft designed the public spaces. True to the brand’s ethos, the hotel only showcases art from the 21st century, each piece hanging from an unexpected place, like on the walls lining the YMCA’s former basketball court — gloss floors, suspended running track, and all. Altogether, there is more than 14,000 square feet of art exhibition space, all designed to double as event space hosting community activities like altruistic happy hours supporting a different local nonprofit each month. Even the hotel rooms act as mini galleries, featuring unconventional layouts and exclusive artwork from artists with strong ties to Missouri, like Carmon Colangelo. Designers brought in custom Rookwood Pottery tiles to replicate the historic inlays of the basement fitness and swim club, where the phrase “Swim for Life” is still etched on the pool floor, preserving a piece of YMCA history. In contrast, new culinary additions bring a fresh appeal to the hotel — I loved the Northwest Coffee at Good Press cafe and the playful, Spanish-style tapas and cocktails at Idol Wolf restaurant. From $161/night. Accessible hotel. — Kristy Alpert