Pa 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.
So we 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’s hillside Washington School House hearth is filled with 18th-century charm, while The Little Nell in Aspen features a double-sided fireplace built with local stone. The crackling blaze of The Equinox in Manchester Village, Vermont, is the fabled meeting place of the state’s Green Mountain Boys, and over in New York’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, Arizona, 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.