For years, many smaller American cities have flown under the radar. But with prices and hassles soaring in major metropolitan areas, tourists and businesses alike are rediscovering the appeal of the country’s smaller metropolitan hubs. The hotel industry is certainly taking advantage of this trend, developing these one-of-a-kind hotels in emerging hot spots:

Photo courtesy of the Varden HotelThe Varden Hotel: Long Beach, California

Long overshadowed by its neighbor to the north, Long Beach is undergoing a major renaissance. Downtown is being redeveloped with a range of modern buildings, including a sleek courthouse, luxury apartments, and retail and outdoor space. The Varden Hotel, dating back to 1929, sits in the middle of it all. When given historic landmark status in the 1980s, the property had fallen on hard times. But, just as Long Beach started reawakening about a decade ago, The Varden was bought, renovated and reopened. It’s now a European-style boutique hotel with nods to historic chic. For example, the check-in counter, the windows and railings are all retro originals. The property’s black and white landmark sign was recently restored to its original glory and at night graces the downtown skyline with red and blue neon lighting.