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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | June 01, 2016
The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown (pictured) adds its unique high style to Lower Manhattan.
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A new breed of lodging is popping up in major cities -- the urban resort. This fresh player in the hospitality sector is challenging the very concept it is based on. While traditional offerings such as beach cabanas, stunning coastline panoramas, pro-caliber golf and signature spa treatments make meeting at a classic resort destination very appealing, such attractions come with a price, namely resort fees of up to $30 per night, per person, along with a nagging perception that all the on-site distractions could make it hard to actually accomplish much work.

In lieu of the above, some planners might find it an opportune time to make the leap from a picturesque coast to a stunning cityscape. The following 10 properties, all set to open by 2018, offer high-tech meeting rooms with natural light, wellness-themed breaks and eco-friendly operating policies, plus all the trappings of a typical destination resort, such as full-service spas, trendy dining and art installations. Need more? Step outside these lobby entrances and you're in the midst of museums, galleries, boutique shopping and nightly entertainment.


THE FOUR SEASONS HOTEL NEW YORK DOWNTOWN
Opening: late 2016
Guest rooms: 185
Meeting space: 6,815 square feet

Rising on the same block as the landmark 1913 Woolworth Building in the Big Apple's Financial District, and one block from the World Trade Center, this hotel will occupy the first 22 floors of an otherwise residential high-rise.

The Four Seasons New York Downtown's sumptuous guest rooms will feature spa-like bathrooms, while the full-service spa itself will have seven treatment rooms and a private sundeck, as well as a heated indoor lap pool and a 24-hour fitness center. For dining, head to the 86-seat Wolfgang Puck CUT steak house, which also offers a lounge as well as a private dining room for groups of up to 31. The hotel's Greenwich Ballroom looks out onto the 19th-century St. Peter's Church and the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, crowned by a surreal winglike structure called the Oculus.


The Guest House at Graceland
has design touches inspired
by Elvis' home.

 THE GUEST HOUSE AT GRACELAND
Memphis, Tenn.
Opening: October 2016
Guest rooms: 450
Meeting space: 32,000 square feet

With a design overseen by Priscilla Presley to reflect the style and character of Graceland itself -- think plantation-style colonial facade and special theme suites inspired by the King -- this resort will be the city's largest hotel project to date. Among the features are two restaurants, a grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 900 seated, several outdoor pools, and a 464-seat theater for movies and live performances.

The exclusive top floor of the Guest House at Graceland, known as The Upstairs, will comprise 19 special accommodations. These include two King Suites that take their design inspiration directly from Elvis' personal living space at Graceland mansion, with red and black color tones and a draped canopy bed with overhead TV sets.


The Kimpton Journeyman's rooftop
bar and lounge, dubbed The Outsider

 THE KIMPTON JOURNEYMAN HOTEL
Milwaukee
Opening: July 2016
Guest rooms: 158
Meeting space: 7,000 square feet

In the heart of Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward, now home to the city's emerging arts and fashion scene, the eight-story boutique Kimpton Journeyman will feature all the typical hallmarks of Kimpton hotels, such as a daily complimentary wine hour, a fitness center, complimentary bicycles and yoga mats, but with a nod to the city's rich history.

Among the highlights: The Outsider, the property's rooftop bar and lounge, has retractable glass walls for year-round use; guests will be able to enjoy a specialty cocktail or a game of shuffleboard. Tre-Rivali, a full-service restaurant, will offer Mediterranean-inspired Modern American cuisine.

The hotel is within walking distance of the Public Market, brimming with  artisanal food sellers and home of the annual Summer Fest musical festival, as well as the Milwaukee Art Museum and Lakeshore State Park, where art galleries, shops, bars and restaurants abound.


The Omni Louisville offers
a rooftop café and pool

 THE OMNI LOUISVILLE
Louisville, Ky.
Opening: spring 2018
Guest rooms: 612
Meeting space: 70,000 square feet

The Louisville skyline is poised to get a major addition. Just one block from the Kentucky International Convention Center, the 30-story, LEED-certified Omni Louisville, with its dramatic glass facade, will feature two full-service restaurants as well as a rooftop sporting a café and a swimming pool. For entertainment, guests will head to the Speakeasy, which will come complete with its own bowling alley, or check-in at the full-service spa. Art lovers will appreciate the hotel's lobby gallery, and everyone will enjoy the adjacent 20,000-square foot modern urban-lifestyle market, redolent with the smells of freshly brewed Heine Bros. coffee, baking bread and fragrant fresh flowers.


The Pendry San Diego lies within
the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter

 THE PENDRY SAN DIEGO
Opening: September 2016
Guest rooms: 370
Meeting space: 23,000 square feet

This $100 million 12-story newcomer is in the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter, just three blocks north of the San Diego Convention Center and a quick half-hour drive from 70 miles of California beaches.

Billed as a luxury lifestyle hotel, the Pendry San Diego is the first such branded property from parent company Montage Hotels & Resorts, based in Laguna Beach, Calif. Features include an 8,600-square-foot ballroom, a full-service spa offering customized signature treatments, a  high-tech fitness center, and several restaurants and bars. The latter includes an underground "ultra-lounge" nightclub and beer hall, which will serve microbrewery beers from around the region. Up on the third floor of this pet-friendly property, an inviting outdoor deck will include a pool and a grill.