Beloved American writer, traveler and culinary curator Anthony Bourdain recently published a list on his Facebook account listing his 10 favorite hotels in the world. He describes himself as a “Hotel Slut” having stayed in so many different places over the years. Certainly his busy lifestyle as a traveling foodie has taken him to some far flung places and required a lot of nights away from home. The star says “A hotel where I know immediately where I am when I open my eyes in the morning is a rare joy.” Here are his favorites:
10. The Murray Hotel -Livingston, Montana
Bouradin says that if you stay at The Murray, make sure you try to book the Peckinpah suite.
9. Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor -Siem Reap, Cambodia
Grand colonial-area hotels in Asia have a certain spot in Bourdain’s heart and this one in the ancient city of Siem Reap, Cambodia is no exception.
8. Hotel Metropole -Hanoi, Vietnam
Bourdain says he’s a huge fan of English novelist and author Graham Greene and says if the writer has stayed at a hotel (like The Metropole) chances are he will stay there too.
7. The Edgewater Hotel -Seattle, Washington
The luxury Edgewater Hotel in Seattle’s downtown sits right on the waterfront. Bourdain loves watching ships slide right past your room as you look west over the water.
6. Park Hyatt -Tokyo, Japan
This posh Tokyo hotel was featured in the 2003 film Lost in Translation and as a film geek, Bourdain can’t pass up the opportunity to stay here when he visits the city.
5. Hotel Oloffson -Port au Prince, Haiti
With all his television series, books and other entrepreneurial endeavors, Bourdain can afford to stay pretty much wherever he wants. But the star appreciates more than just 5-star accommodations, ambiance is everything and he describes Hotel Oloffson as “Sagging, creaky and leaky but awesome.”
4. Hotel Continental Saigon -Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Bourdain appreciates history along with his good nights sleep, and for this reason he loves to stay at Hotel Continental Saigon; Vietnam’s very first (and consequently oldest) hotel.
3. The Raleigh -Miami, Florida
Bourdain can’t stress it enough; stay at The Raleigh for the best pool in Miami. Period.
2. Chiltern Firehouse -London, England
This old Victorian firehouse turned hotel is owned by the same team as Bourdain’s number one pick and he describes the London hotel as “pretty much perfection.”
1. Chateau Marmont -Los Angeles, California
Bourdain’s love of Chateau Marmot is clear: the author says “if I have to die in a hotel room, let it be here. I will work in LA just to stay at the Chateau.”
It’s that time of year again, when world renowned guidebook publisher and travel advocate Lonely Planet publishes their predictions and recommendations for the coming year of travel in what’s know as the “Best in Travel 2016” The entire guidebook is filled with top 10 lists with varying themes from Best Animal Adventures to Most Accessible Destinations. In this article however, we will take a look at Best Value. Lonely Planet knows that no matter how deep your pockets are, every traveler loves a deal, and for some, traveling on a strict budget isn’t just a lifestyle; it’s an art form. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the 10 best value destinations for 2016:
10. Western Australia
Typically Australia has been a place that for many, seemed out of reach if not for its geographic location than for its high costs due to a strong Australia dollar. But recently, the AUD has taken a dive, especially in comparison to the US dollar, while that means many Australians might be forced to limit their overseas travel plans, it also means that for many North Americans, a trip to Australia is cheaper than its ever been. Western Australia in particular offers better value than other parts of the country but with all the Australian culture and scenery one could want.
Not straying too far from the number #10 destination, the Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste occupies half of the island of Timor north of Australia in the Timor sea. This beautiful, lesser-known country is surrounded by coral reefs teaming with marine life of all shapes and sizes. Lonely Planet suggests venturing outside of the country’s capital of Dili and all its pricey international hotels and checking out the bargain beach shacks that can be found on the islands pristine beaches. If you’re not afraid to blaze your own trail and mix with the locals, Timor-Leste might be just the deal you were looking for.
8. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast
While the west side of Costa Rica has been sufficiently explored by tourists, expats and Americans looking for their next vacation home, the east side of the country is still left mostly to the locals. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has plenty to offer in comparison to the well known towns of the east but with a much less touristy vibe, which also translates to better deals as well. The town of Tortuguero is famous for nesting sea turtles and the reefs of Manzanillo make for an excellent dive spot, but one of the biggest draws is the famous Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary located south of Limón.
7. Québec City, Canada
If a trip to Europe has been on your wish list but you lack the time and funds to make this a reality, Lonely Planet suggests North Americans head to Québec City. No, it’s definitely not Europe but they suggest it has enough of a foreign francophone vibe and old world charm to make you feel like you’re a long way from home. The city’s Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with the cobblestone streets, historic buildings and little French bistros, you might just get that taste of Europe for less than you thought.
6. Galicia, Spain
Being a well visited country by many tourists, you wouldn’t think Spain would have a lot of deals left to be had, but head to the country’s northwest region of Galicia and you’ll find rocky coastline and villages relatively unexplored by tourists. Lonely Planet says that the value of this region comes not only from being a place relatively unexplored by tourists but also from the quality of meat, cheese and seafood that can be found in the many tapas bars throughout the Galicia region. They also suggest booking self-catering accommodations to save money even further.
5. Bosnia and Hercegovina
It is no secret that Europe has a bit of a reputation with travelers as being a pricey place to explore. While that is definitely true of the more major cities like Rome, Venice, London and Paris, it’s the lesser known cities and countries that offer the best value. Hence, the #5 entry on this list: Bosnia and Hercegovina. The Balkan country encompasses all the major values you look for in budget travel including inexpensive accommodations and cheap eats and its historic cities of Sarajevo and Mostar offer the kind of history and charm you’d expect to pay a price for.
4. New Mexico
Even with travel to America looking rather expensive to everyone except those who live there, Lonely Planet stresses the value that can still be found in the state of New Mexico. Cheap eats, affordable accommodations and free activities and attractions abound in this outdoor lovers paradise. With dry sunny conditions almost guaranteed, there are few better states where you can cram in as much time in the great outdoors (an activity that’s essentially free of charge.) Take a Breaking Bad tour in Albuquerque, hike the Apline forest or explore a free wild hot spring. The possibilities for value are endless in this state.
3. East Africa
Thanks to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, many tourists are sufficiently scared of the continent as a whole, and thus bookings for 2016 are on the low side. You can probably guess that means good deals are readily available for travel to the continents safer half; East Africa. Lonely Planet advises that the cities of London, Paris and Madrid are hundreds of miles closer to the outbreak region geographically than East Africa’s prime tourist spots are, and reminds travelers just how large a continent this is. So if you’ve ever felt compelled to have an African animal encounter, or explore Africa’s spectacular scenery, the time to head to places like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is now.
2. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam
Backpackers have known for years that Vietnam is a budget travelers best friend and a recent study by priceoftravel.com confirms the fact placing Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi third and second in a list of the cheapest destinations in Asia. Lonely Planet says that in both cities, $20 USD or less per day will get you food, lodging and sights but the guidebook publishers say at that rate you’ll be living like a local (which we say isn’t a bad thing!) But if you want an experience that’s a sight step up, your authentic Vietnamese experience still won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Lonely Planet says this year’s #1 best value destination will almost seem like the promised land compared to other popular European destinations. That’s because your Euros go a little farther in Estonia, a Northern European country where Nordic meets old-world Eastern European. If you’ve been getting around Europe by sleeping in hostel dorm rooms, you’ll be happy to know that upgrading to a hotel room of your own will seem quite affordable here, as will the food, drinks and nightlife. It’s not like there’s nothing to see either; the preserved Old Town in the capital of Tallinn has history and museums galore while the enchanting forests of Lahemaa National Park will amaze any traveler.
When you are traveling, you always need to be watchful of your valuables. This is especially true of items that you carry in your pockets. When you are traveling in a foreign country, you need to be especially careful in certain places that are known for pickpockets. Here is a guide to the ten worst cities in the world for pickpockets.
This beautiful Spanish seaside city hides a danger underneath its surface. It is notorious for thieves who like to prey on unsuspecting tourists. The large crowds and boisterous noise provide the perfect environment for pickpockets to operate.
This is widely considered by many to be among the most beautiful cities in Europe. It draws in legions of tourists every year, but many of them leave with less cash than they should. Be very wary of the large crowds that provide cover for pickpockets at the tourist hotspots like the Charles Bridge in Prague.
Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and that reputation draws in the thieves. They have easy pickings with the many tourists who walk around in a daze as they gaze upon all the famous sights. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times in Rome, especially in busy areas.
Spain can be proud of many things, but having two cities among the top five most notorious pickpocket locations in the world is not one of them. The Spanish capital of Madrid is also one of the world’s pickpocketing capitals. The metro and the markets are the locations where tourists need to be especially careful to guard themselves against the sticky fingers of petty thieves.
They say that Paris is a city for lovers. That reputation may help explain why it is one of the world’s leading pickpocketing sites. The lovers walk around in a haze as they enjoy their romances, which makes them easy marks for the thieves who patrol the city’s streets. They are especially prevalent on the city’s metro lines. The crowded trains make it easy for them to operate without getting caught. People are packed in so tight that it can be difficult to notice someone’s hand reaching into your pocket.
6. Buenos Aires
This is one of the wealthiest cities in South America, which brings in lots of thieves who are looking to siphon off some of that wealth. One of the most infamous tricks these thieves pull is to have one person dump something on a tourist. An accomplice then comes in to “help” the tourist by cleaning them off, which gives them an ideal camouflage for rifling through the mark’s pockets.
One of the most famous artists’ cities in the world is also infamous for its pickpockets. It is easy for these thieves to steal from tourists when they are gazing in rapture at the stunning artworks that abound in the city.
This is one of the most delightful tourist destinations in the world. Its thieves are just as welcoming as the rest of its residents, and it is easy for them to operate in Amsterdam’s laidback atmosphere. The thieves make easy work of the inebriated tourists who like to indulge themselves in Amsterdam’s legendary party scene.
The Vietnamese capital is also the pickpocketing capital of Asia. The city is full of noise with its steady stream of motorcycles, cars and taxis always honking. This noise and the bustling crowds provide a nice cover for the petty thieves who ply their trade on Hanoi’s busy streets.
No city on Earth has more historical sites to see than Athens. These sites often put tourists into an enchanted stupor in which they become easy prey for the legions of pickpockets who operate here. Tourists need to secure their money well before heading out to see the famous historical ruins of the city like the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Enjoying the world from the perspective of a bicycle is a type of enjoyment shared by millions the world over. Whether a person enjoys cycling amidst the urban areas of a major city, or cycling among the trees and nature of a remote town, there are a number of terrific locations around the world for cycling enthusiasts.
1. Portland, Oregon
The residents of Portland have made great strides in creating a bike-friendly culture and city design for cyclists, and visitors are also treated to amazing views of the Cascades that look beautiful in every season. Bicycling enthusiasts will also experience a particularly green and environmentally friendly city while visiting or living in Portland.
2. Mundaring, Western Australia
Offering a trail that runs for over 200 miles through forests and past native Australian animals like kangaroos, the Munda Biddi Trail starts in Mundaring and travels all the way to Collie. Beautiful eucalyptus trees and Aboriginal forests line the special cycling route that the locals created in 2004, and which has become internationally popular in the years since.
3. Burlington, Vermont
An extraordinarily healthy city, Burlington offers residents amazing views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains from the perspective of miles and miles of amazing biking trails. Inside and outside of the city there are many areas dedicated to bicycle-friendly travel.
4. Flagstaff, Arizona
Surrounded by forests and offering a strong view of the historic west, Flagstaff and Sedona (which is directly south of Flagstaff) offer many cycling opportunities within the towns, and it’s also easy to head outside of the urban areas and ride around to enjoy the beautiful ponderosa pines of the region.
5. Luchon, France
For any cyclist who fancies that they are a competitor for the Tour de France, the mountain pass from Luchon to Bayonne represents some of the fiercest bicycling opportunities anywhere in the world with a road that covers four difficult mountain passes. Cyclists in France might want to check out Alpe d’Huez for additional French cycling adventures.
6. Boulder, Colorado
Offering many miles of paths dedicated to cycling, Boulder sits in a perfect spot near the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and is one of the best spots in the western United States to head for recreational opportunities and to be around people who love the outdoors.
7. Jotunheimen, Norway
This national park area offers views of a mountainous area that almost looks as though it was created for a fantasy novel. There is a very popular route within the park that offers some incredible hill work for cyclists, but there are a few different paths that offer different degrees of difficulty for cyclists.
8. Langkawai, Malaysia
This archipelago area of Malaysia encompasses over a hundred islands and is an amazing area that’s popular for cycling around waterfalls and pristine beaches. There aren’t any amazing peaks to ascend, but the scenery is some of the most idyllic in the world and the trails and paths go on for many miles.
9. Hanoi, Vietnam
Cycling culture is extremely strong in Vietnam, and residents are apt to be on their bikes whether they’re commuting to work or riding around for fun. Through Hanoi and along the coast toward Ho Chi Minh City, is an amazing route of over 700 miles that takes riders along perfect sandy beaches and beautiful coastlines.
10. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Although the harsh winters might make riders think otherwise, Minneapolis is second only to Portland with the number of bicycle commuters in the city. There are terrific bicycle-friendly streets all over the city along with many parks and trails across the town.
Traveling with the intent of bicycling one’s way around a vacation is a terrific idea in so many beautiful and amazing trails around the world. From leisurely rides along the beaches in Malaysia to the incredibly difficult peaks in France, the world is a cyclist’s playground of beautiful adventures and classic rides.