8 luxurious American hotels that feel like they're overseas

The interior of the Jefferson Hotel Rotunda Lobby The Rotunda Lobby of the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia.

When traveling abroad, part of the fun is staying at places that exemplify the best of the destination—an upscale French estate, a rustic Italian vineyard, a Caribbean beach resort. If you're craving the ambience but can't travel internationally, there are also lodgings closer to home that offer a similar atmosphere. These AAA Diamond-designated hotels can help you feel like you've made the journey—no passport required.

(Not familiar with AAA Diamonds? Learn about what makes them special.)

1. Allegretto Vineyard Resort

Paso Robles, California

With the elegance of a grand Tuscan vineyard estate, this Four Diamond resort offers the ultimate retreat into wine country. Sophisticated design carries through to the European-inspired decor of the guest rooms. Many of the rooms and suites have balconies that open onto the property's lush gardens, where meandering pathways lead guests through olive trees, vineyards, and courtyards showcasing beautiful statues, water features, and artwork. The French-style Abbey chapel is not to be missed.

Book your stay at Allegretto Vineyard Resort

2. The Chateau, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Farmington, Pennsylvania 

Nestled in the breathtaking Laurel Highlands south of Pittsburgh, this multifaceted Four Diamond resort offers luxurious guest rooms in its high-end Chateau, plus villas and townhouses. The traditional European luxury decor, such as elegant chandeliers, blends with the modern art in the public areas to create the feeling you’re at a Pennsylvania version of Versailles. Chateau rooms feature fine Old World-style furniture and palatial drapes to round out the royal welcome.

Book a stay at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

3. The Jefferson Hotel

Richmond, Virginia

The white Beaux-Arts exterior of the Jefferson Hotel

The 125-year-old Jefferson was built in the Beaux-Arts style, which crossed the Atlantic from Paris in the 1800s. It's a Five Diamond hotel and a historic landmark with striking architectural details, including a Tiffany stained-glass rotunda, a marble statue of Thomas Jefferson, and a grand staircase. The ornate lobby is the hotel's centerpiece, and the luxurious French accents continue in the guest rooms. A small museum tells the property's storied past.

Book a stay at the Jefferson Hotel

4. The Moonrise Hotel

St. Louis, Missouri

This intimate and attractive Four Diamond hotel will make you feel like you’ve left the planet, not just the country. Located in the heart of a funky shopping and dining district, it features a lunar theme that starts in the lobby with upscale artwork and space-themed collectibles. Subdued blue lighting in the halls gives way to light, airy guest rooms with posh bedding.

If the moon isn’t enough, reach for the stars with one of the hotel’s 10 celebrity suites, individually named and themed around stars from the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Book a stay at the Moonrise Hotel

5. Chateau du Sureau

Oakhurst, California

Nine acres of terraced gardens give this romantic and Provence-inspired castle an atmosphere of grandiosity. An exquisite 2-bedroom villa featuring an in-ground sunken jetted tub is also available. Sophisticated spa decor provides an unforgettable experience. Most rooms at this Five Diamond establishment are spacious and individually appointed with sumptuous bedding, fireplaces, world-class antiques, and art pieces, not to mention the homemade pastries you'll find in your room upon arrival.

Book your stay at Chateau du Sureau

6. Horseshoe Bay Resort

Horseshoe Bay, Texas

This Four Diamond resort is in Texas Hill Country, but the waterfront, palm trees, and colorful macaw parrots make it feel more like South America. The dramatic landscaping includes a par-72 putting course, waterfalls, and a flamingo pond among beautiful gardens. Elegant rooms with traditional decor vary in size and design, and you can upgrade to one with a balcony.

Book your stay at Horseshoe Bay Resort

7. Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The interior of one of the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza's casitas

Travel back to when New Mexico was a Spanish colony at this Four Diamond hotel, built around the historic former home of a prominent Santa Fe family. Guest rooms feature comfortable beds, plush bedding, and Southwest accents. There are also 3 casitas that date back to 1640; visitors can book them to stay within their preserved adobe walls, complete with a traditional fireplace and planked ceilings.

Book your stay at the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

8. Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook, Alabama

Just minutes from Birmingham but miles from ordinary, the Four Diamond-designated Grand Bohemian impresses with trendy furnishings, custom art throughout the hotel, and spacious rooms. The eclectic Boho theme mirrors the natural beauty of the neighboring botanical gardens. The hotel's unique appeal also reflects in the available lifestyle experiences such as wine-blending classes, cooking classes, billiards, a rooftop patio, and the gorgeous glamour of the meeting facilities.

Book a stay at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

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AAA Travel alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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