Take Ten: the year’s lovely lodging

I rest my head on dozens of beds besides my own every year and check out many other properties without staying overnight. What catches my attention is the unusual, but that doesn’t necessarily mean uber expensive or exotic. Among my 2017 favorites:

Ace Hotel, New Orleans: Count this shabby-chic hotel as an edgy draw, especially for hip young adults, in the city’s Warehouse District. A mix of music, original art, collectibles and art deco fill the popular Lobby Bar. On the roof: a garden with pool, cocktails and nibbles for sharing. Within one walkable mile are the powdery beignets of Café Du Monde in the French Quarter. Much closer are cable car lines, to whisk you into other neighborhoods. Rates start at $159. 504-900-1180

The Barn at Deva’s Farm, Paris, Ky.: On 40 acres and 30 miles northeast of Lexington is a country retreat with sleek, modern furnishings in a faux barn that sleeps up to six in two bedrooms. Expect a horse farm across the road, a cow fence a few yards from your door, furnished patio and total privacy. It’s a good place to land after a day at the horse races or along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Rates start at $165; two-night minimum stay. 859-707-9013

The Current, Davenport, Iowa: You can’t get much closer to the Mississippi River, especially when downtown, but views from UP (the hotel’s rooftop bar) are not the only draw. Inside the revamped 1880s building, a Daniel Burnham design, are 500-plus pieces of original art, most about the Midwest. Think corn-ear light fixtures, cow and pig sculptures, abstracts and stylish heartland interpretations. Hot Glass vases, for sale in each room, are created by veterans. Rates start at $88. 563-231-9555

Hotel Grinnell, Grinnell, Iowa: Go “old school,” literally, in this rural college town. A 1921 junior high school, underutilized for 35 years, now is a cleverly designed boutique hotel that also has two, 10-bed bunk rooms (for visiting athletic teams, birthday parties for kids, friends on the go). Iron canopy beds are made locally. Room keys look like hall passes. The bar is called The Periodic Table. The former school gym is the ballroom. Add thoughtful details: free bike rental, a free welcome cocktail. Rates start at $95. 641-236-9250

Karsten Hotel, Kewaunee: Here’s one solution for Packer fans in search of reasonably priced lodging for a home game. The three-story, brick building from 1912 comes with many ghost stories; look for an apparition of namesake William Karsten (departed sea captain and mayor) on the second floor. The fittingly creaky hotel, also known as the Kewaunee Inn, is 30 miles from Lambeau Field. Some of the 23 rooms have a view of Lake Michigan. Rates start at $86, which includes a modest continental breakfast. Pay $20 for a roundtrip shuttle to the stadium on home game days. 920-388-0800

Lodge Kohler, Green Bay: Splurge by staying as close to Lambeau as you can get, a cool 100 yards away. The new Titletown District anchor is splendid and unique, from the Taverne in the Sky rotisserie menu (and heated outdoor patio for cigar smoking) to the Packer memorabilia en route to Leaps and Bounds Café at ground level. Spa services? Sure, and loungers face the stadium. Also just out the door: Titletown’s new sledding hill and ice-skating track. Rates start at $119 (but $359 on New Year’s Eve). 855-395-7638

Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park, Montana: Inside the park, on Swiftcurrent Lake, is a sturdy, five-story and century-old lodge that was renovated in 2016. Expect comfortable beds but no A/C or televisions. Claim a rocker on the porch or cozy couch by the massive fireplace. Save a few bucks by bringing your own bottle of wine. Hike around the lake, then expect to wait for a table at Ptarmigan Dining Room. It is all a little slice of heaven, in a chalet-like setting. Open June 8 to Sept. 18 in 2018. Rates start at $207. 303-265-7010

The Nines Hotel, Portland, Ore.: “Dressed to the nines” – that’s where the luxury hotel’s operator is coming from, but so much is about understated elegance and environmental awareness. Also inside this long-ago and overhauled department store are two upstanding restaurants: Urban Farmer, a steakhouse in an atrium setting, and Departure, mod Asian cuisine with rooftop patio seating. Take light rail from the airport; the hotel’s historic terra cotta building is smack in the city’s bustling downtown. Rates start at $202. 877-229-9995

The Oxbow Hotel, Eau Claire: Thank Justin Vernon of the Grammy-winning Bon Iver for adding music-loving lodging to the cityscape downtown. The Eau Claire native is a big force behind this college town’s growing reputation as a place that welcomes musicians of all chords. In each guest room: a retro record player. Check out the hotel’s library of vinyls or settle into the Lakely for a little jazz with dinner or a craft cocktail. Rates start at $110. 715-839-0601

St. Louis Union Station Hotel, St. Louis: One of downtown’s most significant overhauls is to the city’s grand but unused train depot, which slowly is being transformed into a one-stop entertainment hub. Room designs have railroad themes in artwork, furnishings, historic posters. Laser shows, set to music, happen daily in the Grand Hall and an outdoor, lakeside plaza shared with a Hard Rock Café and Landry’s Seafood. Most historic is the Station Grille, springboard for the 1946 “Harvey Girls” comedy/musical with Judy Garland. Opening on the campus in 2019: the $45 million St. Louis Aquarium. 314-231-1234