No, the Hotel Murano isn't in Italy—try Tacoma, Wash. But the new boutique property does share one notable attribute with its European namesake: vibrant art glass everywhere you look.
This former Sheraton has undergone a dramatic $20 million transformation. Befitting its key location in the U.S. art-glass capital, the Murano features museum-worthy pieces by 40 masters of the craft, including Tacoma's Dale Chihuly, Italy's Lucio Bubacco, and Japan's Hiroshi Yamano. Each floor showcases the work of one artist, and as you stroll the halls you can read his story, see the inspiration for a particular piece, follow the process used to create it, and finally view the finished work itself.
In the remodeled rooms, sophisticated decor includes brightly colored blown-glass bedside lamps, modern furnishings, luxe bedding, and flat-screen TVs.
Located directly downtown, the Murano is close to many attractions that are making Tacoma shine anew: burgeoning museum and theater districts, the Beaux-Arts Union Station, a revitalized waterfront, and the Museum of Glass and Chihuly Bridge of Glass, a 500-foot pedestrian overpass filled with fragile artwork. (888) 862-3255, www.hotelmuranotacoma.com .
Photography courtesy Hotel Murano/David Phelps 
This article was first published in January 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.