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Five Chic Boutique Hotels Found in Up-and-Coming Locales

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What would possess someone to open a stylish, 104-room boutique hotel in the remote Arkansas town of Bentonville? It might seem like an insane proposition if not for the Crystal Bridges Museum, the giant new collection funded by Wal Mart heiress Alice Walton and underwritten by the company (which has its headquarters in town). An offshoot of a similarly art-focused hotel in Louisville, Ky., the 21c Museum Hotel—the only Arkansas property on the Curbed National Hotel Heatmap—was designed by Deborah Berke and includes a contemporary art gallery on the ground floor.

? Now that formerly gritty Downtown L.A. is considered old-hat by the city's trendsetters, the cool hotel gurus at the Sydell Group—responsible for NYC's Ace and NoMad and Palm Springs' Saguaro—have turned their attention to rough-and-tumble Koreatown. The company bought the dated Wilshire Hotel and are currently renovating it into a 385-room getaway called The Line. So far the only photos are some teaser shots of the facade, but major changes are afoot, with collaborations with local chefs, promoters, and designers all influencing the new design, slated to be revealed this fall.

? Meanwhile, back in NYC, the Starwood chain Aloft has opened an outpost in booming Brooklyn. That's not too surprising on its own, but the hotel isn't located in the hipster hotspot of Williamsburg—which has seen a veritable hotel boom of late—but was set amid the office towers of Downtown Brooklyn. Granted the neighborhoods nearby, like Cobble Hill and Fort Greene have been gentrified lately, but downtown is still home to beat-up storefronts. The modern design distracts from the scruffy setting, with a giant roof terrace, a guest lounge, and a billiards room.

? With updated decor, a marina-front location, and views of San Francisco Bay, the Waterfront Hotel could be one of San Francisco's coolest hotels, but its located across the bay in Oakland. Despite the city's bad rap for crime, the hotel might be a good option for budget and style minded travelers, considering the ferry to San Francisco leaves from the pier next door. The Waterfront Hotel is also convenient to a J/World sailing school, perfect for tuning up your skills before the America's Cup hits San Francisco Bay this summer.

? The decor at Baltimore's Inn at 2920 ranges from classic to cliched, but despite a few missteps, the inn is a welcome alternative to the city's legion of giant chain hotels. Located in the up-and-coming Canton neighborhood, east of the Inner Harbor, the inn might be a bit far afield for some guests. The price is right, though, with rates starting at just $155 per night.

· Mapping the 10 Best Hotel Art Collections in America [Curbed National]
· 21c Museum Hotel - Bentonville [official site]
· The Line Hotel Will Do Boutique With Korean Flavor in K-Town [Curbed LA]
· The Line Hotel [official site]
· Aloft New York Brooklyn [official site]
· Waterfront Hotel [official site]
· Inn at 2920 [official site]
· All Hotels Week 2013 coverage [Curbed National]