Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Founded in 1610 by Spanish adventurers in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the capital of New Mexico has preserved its core of original adobe buildings, giving it an idiosyncratic feel. The setting attracts ourdoorsy types and has long drawn an artsy, New-Age crowd as well. This three-bedroom, five-level haven is set on acreage, with Mid-Century accents and views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez ranges. Situated just outside of town, hiking and biking are on the doorstep.
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The music scene, including Jimi Hendrix, Heart and Nirvana, brought this city – considered by many to be America’s most livable metropolis – to the world’s attention. Various movie and television producers have chosen it as a setting (see Sleepless in Seattle, Frasier and Grey’s Anatomy). And with the return of Twin Peaks in 2017, sights such as Snoqualmie Falls and Twede’s Cafe in North Bend will once again inspire travellers. This homey, timber hideout for two in the village-like Eastlake neighborhood is light-filled and looks onto Lake Union where Sleepless in Seattle was filmed.
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Set against the backdrop of majestic Mount Hood, Portland combines a hip, cosmopolitan atmosphere with friendly, small-town warmth. No other city in the United States has more cyclists per capita. Bike lanes snake across it, offering diverse scenery, from its creative centre to the forests that ensconce it. On its doorstep is Willamette Valley, a burgeoning wine district. This designer loft in the beating heart of Portland’s trendiest quarter is cool incarnate, from its reclaimed-wood kitchen to its accordion doors that bring the outside in. It’s a perfect perch for two.
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The skyscraper sprawl of Atlanta (offset by its many parks) belies its upbeat, progressive soul and its riches as a repository of African-American history. There’s a clutch of wonderful cultural institutions, including the High Museum of Art, Atlanta History Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. After a day of expanding your mind, retreat to this one-bedroom Japanese-inspired home that sleeps three. The floor-to-ceiling windows take in views of the surrounding hardwood trees.
New Orleans, Louisiana
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The birthplace of jazz has soul, with its rich Creole cuisine, century-old southern live oak trees and collision of American, Caribbean, French and African cultures. Travellers have been falling in love with the city for hundreds of years; you will be the latest in a long line. Near the centre of town, engage with the past at this pre-Civil War family home, which has been lovingly restored and is brimful with antiques. It has a certain Gone with the Wind allure. There is one official bedroom but the house can be prepped for up to five visitors.
Palm Springs, California
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An opulent desert oasis for design aficionados, Palm Springs came to the fore in the 1950s and 1960s as a weekend getaway spot for Los Angeles-based stars such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope. The buildings exude a singular Mid-Century Modernist aesthetic and thus the town attracts as many visitors who are nose-deep in Architectural Digest as those seeking the hiking-happy landscapes on its threshold, such as Joshua Tree National Park. Ocotillo Retreat is a suitably splendid Meiselman home with three-bedrooms on a large corner block that's perfect for entertaining. Recently renovated, the back of the home opens up to a indoor/outdoor space complete with a salt-water pool and spa, loungers, and an outdoor dining area.
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With its immense skyline towering over the wind-chilled shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is one of America’s greatest cities. A Mid-Western industrial star, it gave the world the skyscraper and has one of the most stunning assemblages of modern public architecture, showcasing the likes of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. The jazz and blues, gospel and rock clubs will blow your mind; as will the world-class restaurants, more of which seem to open every month. This tasteful, cosy and well-placed two-bedroom apartment comfortably sleeps five. It is a perfect springboard from which to explore the restaurant-crammed neighbourhood of Logan Square.
Las Vegas, Nevada
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Everyone needs to go to Vegas once. Set in Nevada’s parched Mojave Desert, this resort city is made for all-night casino jaunts and cabaret shows on the Strip, where the fountains are synched to music and an Egyptian pyramid, the Venetian Grand Canal and the Eiffel Tower have been recreated in miniature. Bed down in the capital of kitsch at this fun-loving four-bedroom house – there's a game room with a billiards table and shuffleboard and out the back you'll find a barbecue and outdoor dining area, with a large pool and a Jacuzzi flanked by inviting sun loungers.
Williamsburg, New York
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Manhattan’s little sister, Brooklyn, has gotten very big for her boots. It started out with a trip to New York being incomplete without a zip across the Hudson. Now, people are heading straight there to find the hippest of lodgings and New York lifestyle. Williamsburg’s gentrification has now passed the point of no return – but it’s where the borough’s densest cluster of bars, restaurants and cool boutiques are. Plus the layer of long-time residents with creative incomers imbues the area with a true feeling of fun when the sun goes down. This one-bedroom bolthole spells convenience (being three blocks from the L train) and funky, comfortable style with its roughed-up exposed brick.