In upstate New York, I would have seen tremendous fall color along the curving, hilly roads if it hadn't been for the blur of windshield wipers. Never mind the rain and cold. I made a great discovery that had nothing to do with autumn leaves: a hotel that I didn't want to leave.

I'd happened to book a Canopy by Hilton hotel in Ithaca.

The global hospitality company, whose brands include Embassy and Homewood Suites, launched the Canopy concept in 2014. The Ithaca location joined others in places like Portland, Ore., Zagreb, Croatia — and Minneapolis — to become the 11th in the upscale brand. More are planned.

The first sign that I'd landed well: A fireplace flickered in the lobby, surrounded by sofas.

After warming ourselves by the fire, my travel companion and I slid over to a table and ordered a great hand-tossed pizza. Locals sipped cappuccinos at a long bar, where cocktails would later be the focus. We weren't up for going out again, but we may have happened upon one of Ithaca's coolest dining rooms.

Warm and dry, we retreated to our room. Wool blankets added to the Scandinavian-modern vibe. Windows let in ample light, despite overcast skies. A glass water bottle on the desk could be filled with filtered water down the hall.

The entrance and bathroom made the biggest impression. Instead of small, dark closets, our suitcases found a landing on a wooden built-in oversized luggage rack. Above it, hooks and hangers offered more storage. A coffeemaker occupied a colorful nook, which also had a refrigerator drawer. A barn door slid to separate the ample entrance and bathroom area from the beds — a boon to travelers who want to dress in privacy or rise earlier than their roommate.

Near the lobby, a "transit lounge" has lockers, showers and toiletries for those who have already checked out. But the best part? A front-desk clerk handed me a hotel umbrella — because rain threatened again.

Contact Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at; follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.