Top Hotel Deals For 2020

With a new year comes new vacation plans. Of course, whether you like it or not, with every new vacation comes hotel costs. To help you enjoy the trips you take this year without worrying about hotel costs biting into your wallet, below are 11 tips you can use to find the best hotel deals in 2020 no matter where your trips take you.

Book in Advance

Like anything, the farther in advance you begin looking for hotel deals, the more likely you are to find them. Not only that but booking far in advance can also allow you to book during otherwise unavailable data ranges, which can improve your visit (visiting during peak season, for example). With these two things in mind, it’s useful to start the search for hotels as far out from your visit as possible.

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Look for Last-Minute Deals

On the other hand, you can also find incredible hotel deals by searching for accommodations last-minute. In an attempt to fill otherwise non-booked rooms, many hotels will offer their rooms at lower-than-normal prices. You can search for last-minute rooms manually, or use apps like HotelTonight, One: Night to make the process easier. You can also use Priceline, a website that posts “tonight only” deals every day at 11 a.m.. Keep in mind that the type of trip you’re taking can affect the availability of last-minute hotel deals. For example, if you’re traveling to a city for a conference, hotels in the area know that people will need rooms. If anything, booking last-minute in this scenario will have you paying more rather than less.

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Be Flexible With Your Dates

If you have a hankering to visit somewhere but aren’t tied down to a specific date range, researching hotel stays for different dates can help you discover the cheapest time to take your trip. This also applies to the days of the week your visit covers. Generally speaking, since hotels see the most visitors on Friday and Saturday nights, mid-week stays such as a Monday through Thursday stays will result in much cheaper prices.

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Bid on a Room

If you’re okay with a little uncertainty, some services allow you to bid on hotel stays that fit within your desired price range. For example, Priceline’s “name your own price” feature lets you select neighborhoods and star levels when you bid, but doesn’t reveal the name of the hotel until your bid is accepted. Before you bid on anything, Priceline suggests researching hotels for your specific star level around the neighborhood you plan to stay in to give you an idea of what you might end up with. This is especially important considering that your credit card is charged as soon as your bid is accepted and you cannot change or cancel your reservation.

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Travel During the Off-Season

If hotels know that lots of people will be looking for stays in their area, such as during peak travel season for that area, then it doesn’t make sense for them to offer any discounts. People are almost guaranteed to pay full price regardless. With this in mind, to save money on hotels, plan your visits for the off-season when there aren’t floods of tourists looking for hotels.

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Pick a Different Neighborhood

It might be convenient to stay right downtown in the city you’re visiting, but it’s also more expensive. To find cheaper hotel stays, look in neighborhoods farther away from main areas. However, it’s also important to factor in the cost of transportation to anywhere you plan to visit. In some cases, staying in a cheaper hotel farther away and taking public transportation every day might be more expensive than just biting the bullet and paying more for a hotel closer to downtown.

Use Hotel Search Sites

Sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, and Momondo can help you quickly find hotel deals no matter where you’re visiting. For example, with Skyscanner, you can put in your destination and date range, among other filters, and Skyscanner will connect with its 1,200+ partners to find what hotels offer the cheapest stays for your travel period. Or, if you’re flexible, you can put in your destination and see which dates offer the cheapest hotel stays.

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Compare Sites and Deals

As useful as hotel search sites are, it can sometimes be cheaper to do your own research. You can start by using sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, and Momondo to give you an overview of the hotels in the area you plan to visit, but you should research those hotels on your own after. This is because some hotels offer the best rates only when you book through them directly. When searching on your own, be sure to search around Google and the hotel’s website for promotions and perks such as free parking, meal discounts, complimentary WiFi, and so on.

Take Advantage of Rewards Programs

If you repeatedly stay with a specific hotel chain or hotel group, then it might make sense to sign up for any rewards programs they offer. Like perks you would get for using a specific credit card, many hotels offer perks for being a part of their rewards program. For example, with enough earned points, Wyndham Rewards members can redeem free stays at any Wyndham property worldwide, from the cheapest Days Inn to the most expensive Wyndham Grand resort.

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Use Your Affiliations

It’s always worth asking your hotel if they offer discounts for people with any associations you may have. For example, many hotels offer discounts for seniors, government employees, students, members of the military and AAA members.

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Negotiate Your Rate

Did you know that people who negotiate their room rate with hotels pay less or get a better room nearly 80% of the time? After doing your research and coming up with a number of hotel options, it’s worth getting in contact with each of your options one by one, explaining the prices being offered by their competitors, and asking them if they can offer a better price.

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The Most Romantic Hotels in Vegas

Las Vegas aka Sin City is known for its collection of over the top attractions, casinos and late-night pool parties. But Las Vegas is also brimming with romance. With luxury hotels, incredible amenities, spa treatments and plenty of memorable moments; Sin City is the perfect place to spend your next romantic destination.

15. Nobu Hotel

This five-star luxury hotel oozes with swank and style, the design is a blend of Japanese and Asian traditions. Although this boutique is situated inside Caesars Palace, it is in its own tower, making guests feel like they are miles away from the hustle and bustle of Vegas. The zen colors of deep purple and gold are accented throughout the hotel making guests feel immediately relaxed when they walk in.

Room amenities are plentiful and include exotic-scented sleep oils and tea, a personal concierge and priority access to the famed Nobu restaurant. If you plan on spending all day and night in bed, there is a special app that lets you order in-room service directly from the restaurant as well as housekeeping from just a push of a button on your phone. Indulge in the spas and pools that make Caesars Palace so famous.

Via snyar.net

14. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

It is only five years old but The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is certainly making a name for itself in terms of being a romantic hotel. The terraces of the rooms are a big selling point with romance goers as they provide breathtaking views of the strip, mountains, and desert. The rooms themselves are absolutely lovely, oversized and full of amenities. Luxurious bathrooms come complete with soaker tubs and showers big enough for the both of you, marble floors and luxury linens.

There are a total of thirteen restaurants to choose from here including an excellent steakhouse and a seafood restaurant. Those looking for a little privacy should head over to the Bamboo Pool where pampering and re-energizing are at the forefront of experiences. If you are looking for a couples massage, why not check out the 43,000 square foot spa.

Via Vegas Pool Season

13. Delano Las Vegas

For couples looking to escape the casinos and live shows, Delano Hotel is exactly where they should head for an intimate urban-chic environment. Guests here should expect huge suites, amazingly attentive staff, world-class art adorning the walls and a breathtaking spa. Rivea restaurant, located inside the hotel provides the perfect dining experience for those couples looking to indulge in incredible food, 180-degree views of the city below, and the best seasonal ingredients.

The Beach Club here is a far cry from the overcrowded, loud, party atmosphere like so many others along the strip. Instead, guests here will find personalized service, chaise loungers, crafty cocktails and whimsical elements that make it unique, such as a submerged chess board complete with pieces. And for those looking for a little more relaxation; the bathhouse spa features saunas, steam rooms and 12 treatment rooms where you can enjoy facials, massages and more.

Via www.delanolasvegas.com

12. The Laurel Collection by Caesars Palace

This beautiful collection of rooms are set inside the Octavuis Tower and seep luxury and class from the moment you enter into the private valet entrance. Guests arriving will find exclusive registration, dedicated staff and an easy to use personalized service through a laptop or iPhone. These penthouse suites include such amenities as a separate dining area, wet bar, Jacuzzi tub, steam shower and roundtrip airport transfer in a limousine.

Marble bathrooms and Anichini linens make these rooms that much better. Couples here can relax in the Roman Baths or dine at the extraordinary Guy Savoy restaurant located in the Augustus Tower. Guests also have access to all the shows, entertainment, casino and pools that are apart of Caesars Palace.

Via ecoticias.com

11. Wynn Las Vegas

Boasting one of the best locations in all of Las Vegas, the Wynn delivers with spectacular staff, over-the-top entertainment, and luxurious rooms. This is truly a hotel for the romantic couple that thrives plenty of dining options, excitement and typical Vegas attractions. We recommend staying at the expansion hotel, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the tower suites as they have a separate check-in and are removed from the casino floor.

Expect to see many couples here tying the knot as the Wynn offers both indoor and outdoor wedding venues. If you are planning on getting hitched here, the skilled consultants on staff will ensure everything goes to plan. Make sure to check out one of many pools including the European bathing pool or topless pool, adults only of course. Splurge on fine dining, incredible spa treatments, and world-class shopping; all located right inside the hotel.

Via www.wynnlasvegas.com

10. Trump International Hotel Las Vegas

The Trump Hotel boasts some of the stylish rooms near the Vegas strip and as one would expect, delivers incredible personalized service. It is one of the few hotels that is a non-gaming hotel which can be important to many couples looking for more romance and less gambling. Sleek and sophisticated, the Trump Hotel offers floor to ceiling windows in all of its guest rooms and suites, offering visitors incredible views of the strip, city or surrounding mountains.

Romantic guests will love the oversized spa tubs in the marble bathrooms, private foyer entrances, and personal butlers. Take a splash in the sparkling pool with private cabanas, grab a couples massage at the award-winning spa or dine at the world-class restaurant or choose to cook a romantic meal in the suite; whatever it is you are after, you will find it here at this incredible hotel.

Via Jetsetter

9. SkyLofts at MGM Grand

MGM Grand has gone above and beyond with their 51 two-level SkyLofts that are located 21 floors above the strip. If you are looking for the ultimate romantic getaway where everything is taken care of for you, look no further than here. Guests should expect private entryways, sweeping staircases, gallery foyers, butler pantries, sweeping staircases and a billiards room. In-room expect certain amenities such as plunge pools that overlook the strip, infinity spa tubs with butlers delivering color-therapy baths, rainfall showers, big living rooms separate from bedrooms and bi-level patios.

Guests here have preferred access to nightclubs and the incredible dining spots such as Joel Robuchon. 24-hour butler service, loaner iPads and round-trip transport in a limousine from the airport are all included when you stay here. As an added bonus if you plan on tying the knot while here, the wedding chapel downstairs is absolutely beautiful.

Via Booking.com’s

8. Sky Suites at Aria

Aria’s main hotel is absolutely massive, with over 4,500 hundred rooms and suites, but the Sky Suites here are in a class of their own. With separate indoor and outdoor entrances to the hotel and casino, there is a sense of exclusiveness that is found here. Guests at the Sky Suites will have exclusive use of the Sky Suites pool, personalized service, a separate lounge with food and cocktails, luxury transport to and from the airport and a slew of other amenities found nowhere else.

Your personal concierge is the key to making this romantic vacation a success as they are well versed in making reservations, suggesting itineraries and decorating your room before you arrive, in fact, no order is too tall for this hotel. Enjoy awesome dining, a private elevator and the ultimate experience at this prestigious Forbes Five Star Award-winning destination.

Via bookasuite.com

7. South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

This off-strip resort offers an incredible experience for couples looking to not break the bank on a romantic getaway to Vegas. The South Point Hotel offers more than 2,100 guestrooms with standard amenities such as LED flatscreen TV’s, Wi-Fi and luxury linens. Couples won’t have to look far to indulge in incredible dining including the ultra-romantic Michael’s Gourmet Room which has won far too many awards to even count.

South Point also happens to be the home of the world-class Costa Del Sur Spa and Salon, a favorite for those looking for a romantic escape as it features a private couples retreat area. For those romantic couples that are looking to add in a little fun, check out the 64-lane bowling center, 16-screen movie theatre or take in a live act at the Showroom. Catch some rays together at the paradise pool, get your competitive spirit going to the arcade or soak your stress away in the hot tub.

Via southpointcasino.com

6. Palms Place

This luxury resort has everything you are looking for in terms of romance. With recently updated rooms, an incredible spa, expanded casino and some of the best views of the Strip in all of Vegas, it is easy to feel the love. The 600 room tower that adjoins the Palms Casino Resort by skytube is perhaps the best place to find romance, away from the crazy pool parties and over the top Fantasy Suites.

The spa features a private outdoor garden lounge and true Turkish Steam Rooms; perfect for relaxing after a long day of people watching. The 50,000 square foot pool surrounded by lush gardens and cabanas has plenty of nooks and crannies to call your own. Make sure to book one of the rooms that include a whirlpool tub and working fireplace to get the ultimate experience. Check out the romance packages they offer even more amenities.

Via Booking.com’s

5. Paris

This was just one of the hotels in Las Vegas that was built with love in mind and couples heading here should prepare themselves for the ultimate romantic getaway. Spread over 24 acres this hotel features almost 3,000 rooms, all of which feature luxurious European touches such as rich fabrics and fine furnishings. Guests here will enjoy replicas of famous French landmarks including a 50-story Eiffel Tower.

Head up to the 11th floor and dine at the Eiffel Tower restaurant which features one of the most romantic tables in the city. The observation deck on the 46th floor provides sweeping views of the city. If you are up for some fun make sure to take in Anthony Cools R-rated Hypnotist Show which will leave you feeling frisky and have you heading back up to your incredible room sooner than you thought.

Via sunshine.co.uk

4. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa

For couples that are looking to travel to Vegas but want to avoid the bright lights, neon signs, and casinos, the JW Marriott is the perfect alternative. Besides the beautiful guest rooms that are set across 54 acres of lush gardens, this hotel is also home to one of the best spas for couples in the city. Spa Aquae offers experiences for couples including a co-ed area outside where couples are invited to enjoy the hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms, whirlpool, and sauna.

Choose from one of ten renowned restaurants on site to dine at, play a round of golf on Southern Nevada’s most prestigious golf courses or relax around the pool or waterfalls on the property. If you do want to play at the casino, there is one conveniently located next door for your convenience. Whatever it is you desire, you can find it here at the spectacular JW Marriott.

Via outwithmommy.com

3. Bellagio

It is home to one of the most romantic attractions in the world, the famous Fountains of Bellagio and therefore it should be no surprise to anyone that this hotel is known for its romantic retreat packages. With almost 4,000 guestrooms including over 500 suites, couples here will enjoy world-class service, luxury amenities and a slew of activities. Enjoy the elaborate courtyard with its choice of five swimming pools and numerous elaborate sculptures and fountains.

Some of the best restaurants on the Strip are located here and guests always have preferred access. Watching the dancing fountains is a must on any romantic trip here. Chocolate covered strawberries, champagne in your room, exclusive check-in and couples massages are just a few things you will enjoy when staying at the Bellagio on your romantic retreat.

Via samosnet.gr

2. Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

Compared to a lot of the hotels in Vegas the Mandarin Oriental is relatively small, giving it the advantage of being calm, quiet and mature. While other hotels are swarming with guests and clanging slot machines, this hotel is an oasis of peace and tranquility. Count on staff being attentive and treating you as if you are royalty.

The Ultimate Romance package that this hotel offers includes such amenities as complimentary champagne, your own personal romance concierge, a couples treatment at the spa, a night-flight experience over the city and much more. For those who want to build their own itinerary make sure to head up to the 23rd floor where the Mandarin Bar gives incredible views with floor to ceiling windows on three sides.

Via Booking.com’s

1. The Venetian

It is undoubtedly the most romantic hotel in Vegas and is truly the next best thing to taking your partner to the real Venice, Italy. Step into another world as you take a romantic gondola ride down the replica Grand Canal, sip impressive Italian wines and relax in one of the luxurious rooms. The Canyon Ranch Spa Club provides a co-ed area for couples to enjoy as well as incredible couples massages that will leave you relaxed for days.

There are over 10 pools to enjoy throughout the property although we suggest booking one of the private cabanas at the Azure Luxury Pool, where you can enjoy bottle service, a fridge stocked with water and fresh fruit on arrival. Take advantage of their romance packages which include wine pairings, in-suite dining, a luxury suite and much more.

Via Travel With Bender

The Best Hotel Hot Tubs In The World

Hotels are often praised for their outstanding accommodations and incredible dining, but what about the extra amenities that can make your vacation go from good to outstanding. Hotel hot tubs can play an important role in making your experience unforgettable. Forget the dingy hot tubs located beside the hotel pool and get ready to experience some of the best tubs in the world. From outdoor hot tubs that give views of mountains, valleys and wildlife to hot tubs that are built right into your room; these 15 hotel hot tubs will make you want to book your vacation today!

15. Amangiri, Canyon Point, UT

Set on 600 acres in Canyon Point and built right into the landscape, this luxury resort offers views over the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, perfect for travelers who love the desert. Along with a massive size swimming pool and incredible terrace, there is a beautiful hot tub located at the base of the rock wall.

King-sized daybeds and sun loungers provide the ultimate place to relax while not in the water. Whether you choose to visit in winter or summer, the hot tub is the perfect place to gaze up into the open sky and watch for stars at night. Guests here will also enjoy the water activities on nearby Lake Powell, exploring the national parks and experiencing the spa treatments.

Via Pinterest

14. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, Beaver Creek, CO

This luxury resort doesn’t just offer one hot tub but five, each with their own selling points, which make this resort one of the best to visit if you are looking to spend some time soaking. If you are looking for some adult only time make sure to wander over to one of the two adults-only hot tubs, if it is a view you are after, make sure to check out the one with a jaw-dropping view of the Vail Valley.

Our favorite hot tub here though is the one with the cascading hot waterfall, straight off the natural rock formation that surrounds the tub. If you are looking to get slope-side service, make sure to head over to the tub that comes complete with cocktails, a personal waitress, plush robes, hot towels and truffle popcorn. If you feel more like swimming and less like relaxing make sure to check out the year-round heated outdoor pool.

Via InTomorrow

13. Twin Farms, Barnard, VT

This all-inclusive Vermont resort is home to ten freestanding cottages that feel more like luxurious homes than rustic cottages. Most of these ten cottages also happen to feature incredible hot tubs. Located both inside and out, guests have their choice of accommodation when booking and whether you are looking for a sunken indoor hot tub next to a fireplace or an outdoor tub in a private screened porch, you are in luck.

Each cabin has been designed by professionals and it is no surprise that guests here come back year after year. Our favorite hot tub of all though is the one located inside the Aviary cottage. Guests who stay here will have the opportunity to soak in a tub that has been sunken in granite rock, with views of the New England forest from the huge window. A towering stone fireplace sits a stone’s throw away and you can assure you will never be cold here.

Via Andrew Harper

12. Regent Palms, Turks and Caicos Islands

Part infinity pool and part hot tub make up this incredible multi-million dollar paradise. Overlooking the North Atlantic and situated on the impressive Grace Bay Beach is a ten-person hot tub located inside the infinity pool on its own island. Wooden decking, sun pods, stylish loungers, chilled towels, fresh fruit and complimentary Wi-Fi set the stage for this incredible soaking experience.

The resort itself boasts 72 suites and is just steps away from white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Other amenities include a 25,000 square foot spa, floodlit tennis courts and an abundance of water sports including sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. It’s easy to spend the entire vacation here poolside though, and whether you are relaxing in the hot tub or plunging into the warm pool, it’s absolutely breathtaking.

Via wowamazing.com

11. Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

On the edge of Lake Wakatipu is an alpine cedar and stone lodge that offer incredibly beautiful suites, rooms, and guest cottages. It is here where guests will find an incredible hot tub overlooking The Remarkables mountains. The hot tub is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass doors which open to expose it to all the elements and with lit candles surrounding it; this is the perfect romantic destination.

An additional hot tub is located outside the spa, along with a sauna and heated swimming pool. If you are traveling with a family or group of friends, make sure to book the owners cottage where you will have access to your own private hot tub located on the balcony overlooking the beautiful surroundings.

Via Andrew Harper

10. Blancaneaux Lodge, San Ignacio, Belize

It is no surprise that this hot tub makes this list as it was actually designed by Oscar-winning production designer Dean Tavoularis. The lodge actually has a hydroelectric plant that heats the 11,000-gallon tub with the excess electricity it produces, and unlike a typical hot tub that has many bubbles, this one is just straight hot water. Housed in a tropical jungle, soaking in this tub is like escaping reality, even just for a short time.

What makes this hot tub so unique is the fact that it was constructed by local stone craftsmen with thousands of pieces of local granite. Guests here can enjoy drinks served to you by the bar; just make sure to let the bartender know you are heading down there in order to get the best service.

Via thewaywardpost.com

9. The Ski Dream Home, Park City, Utah

This opulent ski-in, ski-out home is located 8,000 feet above sea level atop Deer Valley Resort’s Little Baldy Peak and offers an incredible 12-person stone hot tub. Guests here won’t have to worry about being cold in the frosty weather with the outdoor fireplaces, heated wrap around decks and a heated outdoor pool. From the hot tub, guests will be privy to watching the sun turn the Wasatch Mountain Range into brilliant shades of purple while sipping on a cocktail from one of two bars located inside the house.

Other amenities in this luxurious house include six bedrooms, ten bathrooms, DJ booth, a home theatre, pool table and a full swing golf simulator. After spending days hitting the slopes via a privately heated ski bridge, make sure to relax in this ultra swanky, breathtakingly beautiful outdoor stone hot tub.

Via Luxatic

8. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives

It is one of the most romantic hot tubs on this list, located at the ultra-luxurious Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel. The hot tub is situated outside the beautiful over-water spa and is meant for just two people, giving guests the utmost privacy. Overlooking the clear Indian Ocean, surrounded by vibrant coral reef and heated to 104 degrees; guests will have no reason to ever want to leave this hot tub.

You won’t have to worry about getting out anytime soon as hotel staff will provide you with fresh fruit juices and cool aromatic towels while you are soaking. Other awesome amenities at this resort include an underwater restaurant, an underground wine cellar featuring over 20,000 bottles of wine, holistic treatments from the beautiful spa and unique experiences such as swimming with whale sharks.

Via Simply Maldives Holidays

7. Doe Bay, San Juan Islands, WA

This rustic resort is tucked away on beautiful Orcas Island and the focus here is on reconnecting with nature. Three clothing-optional outdoor hot tubs are at the heart of the resort, overlooking the Salish Sea and out to the other islands of the San Juan Archipelago. The tubs can seat up to eight people and can be used by guests of the hotels as well as drop-in guests, for a fee.

Guests of this resort can choose from campsites, cabins or yurts as their accommodations and there are plenty of activities to experience on the island. Relax and renew your spirit with yoga or massages, before heading over to the sauna and soaking tubs which remain at a lovely temperature of 104 degrees all year around.

Via Everyone’s Travel Club

6. Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Guests of the Nimmo Bay Resort in British Columbia can soak their cares away in one of two red cedar hot tubs that are tempted at a lovely 104 degrees all year around. The setting itself is absolutely stunning and the views from one of the eight-person hot tubs are equally impressive; cascading waterfalls, lush green vegetation and the feeling of being tucked in the middle of nowhere.

Many guests here dare to take a plunge in the cold pool before hopping into the hot tubs for the ultimate cold-hot experience that is meant to invigorate your body and senses. The tubs are actually filled with the clear waters that fall from the top of Mount Stephens. Other activities at this all-inclusive upscale resort include heli-fishing, whale watching, paddle boarding, hiking, and kayaking.

Via mananatravel.com

5. The Hotel on Rivington, New York City

This hotel located on the lower east side is a secretive hot spot for anyone looking for incredible views, a great party, and an incredible rooftop hot tub experience. This 10 seat coveted cedar hot tub is the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails while taking in the view. The round cedar hot tub looks more like a bucket and only adds to this ultra-hip penthouse.

Surrounding this sleek hot tub is incredible extras such as an outdoor shower to cool off in the summer, an outdoor fireplace to warm your toes in the winter and some incredible themed party nights. This hotel boasts luxurious and sleek guestrooms, celebrity parties and a full-size pool table in the lobby.

Via blog.kitchentrotter.com

4. Banyan Tree Lijiang Resort & Spa, Lijiang, China

Guests of this incredible resort won’t have to share a hot tub with anyone else, as each garden villa comes complete with its own two-person private hot tub. Hot tubs look out onto the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and are heated to a comfortable 100.4 degrees. With world-class dining, an incredible spa and luxurious accommodations; this resort offers something for everyone to enjoy.

While soaking in the tub make sure to request some local plum wine or traditional Chinese tea. Other amenities at the resort include Yoga, outdoor tennis courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center and an abundance of tours and treks to experience.

Via karmatrendz.wordpress.com

3. The Molori Safari Lodge, South Africa’s North West Province

This five-suite lodge boasts one of the most impressive hotel hot tubs in the world. This in-ground tub can seat up to six people and visitors should prepare themselves for awesome wildlife viewing. From the hot tub, guests can watch as elephants, zebras, wild dogs and even lions graze nearby. The Molori Safari Lodge is located deep inside the Madikwe Game Reserve, a 185,329-acre reserve that is teeming with wildlife, and is malaria free!

Guests can not only enjoy this epic hot tub but are also treated to a personal butler who serves them traditional drinks and snacks while they are soaking. As an added bonus this beautiful hot tub is surrounded by an equally stunning infinity pool, gorgeous wood furnishings and comfortable chairs and couches.

Via XO Private

2. Hotel Villa Honegg, Lucerne, Switzerland

This outdoor hot tub is one of the largest on this list, being more like a steaming swimming pool than a regular hot tub. On the back lawn of this 1905 mansion is where this incredible hot tub is located, overlooking the pristine Lake Lucerne. In the winter time, the dramatic landscape includes snow-covered peaks while the summertime green grassy hills roll on as far as the eye can see.

This ultra-modern tub is sleek in design, with stainless steel railings and crisp cut corners, contrasting brilliantly with the surrounding stone. Other amenities at this beautiful hotel include a 20-seat cinema, e-bike rentals, salon and fireplace room, a nearby golf course and an excellent restaurant.

Via AWOL – Junkee

1. Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Canada

Known for looking more like a castle straight out of a fairytale rather than a hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers incredible luxury, beautiful surroundings, and one epic hot tub. This enchanted landscape is home to blue skies, towering mountains, huge pine trees and snow-capped peaks. In the middle of all of this sits an outdoor hot tub that begs to be soaked in. Whether you choose to visit in the summer or winter, guest will enjoy soaking in the healing waters while they breathe in the alpine air.

Also located on this magnificent property is the equally impressive Willow Stream Spa, offering its own indoor and outdoor hot tubs, along with numerous treatment rooms and mineral pools. There may not be anything more magical than soaking in the warm waters while taking in the views of this breathtaking landscape that surrounds you on all sides.

Via photos.banfflakelouise.com

The World’s Absolute Best Tennis Hotels

Tennis lovers unite! All over the world, there is a multitude of amazing hotels and resorts that are catering to the player in all of us. Whether you are a serious tennis player, looking to watch the pros in action or just getting started; there is a tennis hotel for you. From the south coast of Antigua to the Swiss Alps to the charming state of South Carolina, these hotels are loaded with amenities, fabulous dining choices, luxury rooms and of course, the best in tennis instruction. Discover the World’s Top Tennis Hotels where we promise you will improve your play.

12. Carlisle Bay, Antigua

On the south coast of Antigua overlooking the sparkling blue waters and rain, forested hills sit a family-friendly hotel that is perfect for the tennis lovers. The bedroom suites are enough to visit this hotel alone, with their chic furniture and split-level designs. As for dining here, guests have their choice of four different restaurants, all serving locally sourced ingredients.

But it is tennis for the whole family that really stands out at Carlisle Bay. With nine well-maintained tennis courts, including four that are floodlit for night play; you won’t have any problems working on your skills. Rackets and balls are provided on a complimentary basis, as well as the hotel runs complimentary clinics throughout the week. If you are looking for more professional instruction there are instructors on hand for group or private lessons. It’s hard to beat the setting as you practice amongst tropical flowers and the bright shining sun.

Via Carlisle Bay

11. The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, Arizona

This 1,300 acre Arizona resort is surrounded by an outcrop of 12-million-year-old granite and is set just north of Phoenix. It has been ranked as one of the top tennis resorts in all of America by TENNIS magazine and it certainly does not disappoint. The Boulders features exceptional service and first-class facilities including four premier hard courts, three cushioned courts, and one classic clay court. Private lessons and clinics are offered on a daily basis and expect to dramatically improve your skill here.

While off the court guests will enjoy the four crystal blue pools, two world-class golf courses and a 33,000 square foot spa. Guests here have their choice of casitas, executive suites, villas or haciendas; all decked out with luxury furnishings and the feel of home. The resort is truly an oasis full of willows, cactus and flowering shrubs, flowers and a dramatic landscape.

Via Boulders Resort & Spa

10. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island, Hawaii

This beautiful beach hotel features 11 tennis courts alongside the ocean, making this one of the best views players will get. The hotel was built in 1965 by legendary hotelier Laurance S. Rockefeller and was completely updated after an earthquake in 2006. As well as enlarged and enhanced rooms, a spa and new restaurants, the courts also got a facelift. The setting of the tennis complex is perhaps what makes it so special, located so close to the sea that players often call timeouts to watch the whales and bottlenose dolphins that pass just off-shore.

The tennis direction Craig Pautler has set up amazing lessons, clinics, social activities, games and programs for kids. Children as young as 4 years old can start in the tiny tot’s tennis program whereas adults can enjoy the round robin tournaments or private lessons.

Via Big Island Now

9. Sani Resort, Greece

This resort sprawls over 1,000 acres and is made up of four hotels, ranging from family friendly to grown-up suites. It also happens to feature its own marina, an ecological reserve, an 8km stretch of beach and six tennis courts. The courts are clay and floodlit, housed in the state of the art sports complex near the Sani Beach Hotel. The Sani Tennis Academy focuses on providing an ideal environment to motivate young beginners while at the same time giving advanced players the opportunity to continue training at a higher level.

Experienced full-time coaches are on hand to lead you through group sessions or one-on-one instruction. Kids are welcome here and specialty camps are offered for kids aged 4-12. Besides tennis there are plenty of other activities such as scuba diving, walking trails and lounging by the pool. Three restaurants, a spa, and miles of beach await visitors to this awesome tennis resort.

Via Booking.com

8. Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, South Carolina

It has been ranked in the top 10 of best Tennis Resorts in America, nine years in a row by Tennis Magazine so it is no surprise it is amongst the best in the world. Tennis isn’t just an option at this beautiful resort but a true passion. Wild Dunes offers 17 courts, including a stadium court and five of them floodlit for night play. As a guest here you will receive complimentary court time.

Guests are also privy to top-ranked instruction with professional instructors and activities range from clinics, lessons, and drills. Accommodations here range from condos to cottages to hotels and guests can choose from pool-side to beach-side and even court-side. Other activities here include golf, fishing, water sports, and fitness. Let’s not forget about the abundance of spa services that are offered here as well.

Via Destination Hotels

7. TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort, Destin, Florida.

Visitors here only need to spend moments in the Pro Shop and around the courts to appreciate the love for tennis at this resort. Located on the soft white sand beaches, this private resort combines a 12-court tennis complex with a gorgeous stretch of beach, for the ultimate tennis vacation. Several tall towers and numerous one and two-story condos make up the resort, along with an expansive pool, restaurants, whirlpools and an on-site shuttle service.

Players here should expect the ultimate tennis experience as the staff is focused on delivering lessons, clinics, round robin plays and weekends devoted to team competitions. The 12 courts are all clay courts and ten of them are lighted for night use, with guests having complimentary access to all of them. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy the beach and improve your game at the TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort in Florida.

Via 30A.com

6. Gstaad Palace, Switzerland

This beautiful hotel is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Swiss Alps and dates back to 1913. Featuring 104 rooms, a spa, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, numerous restaurants and four tennis courts; this Palace is truly spectacular. During the summer seasons is when tennis lovers will want to head here, specifically during one of the specialty tennis weeks when tennis legend Roy Emerson offers personal instruction to guests.

If you are more interested in watching the pros perform, plan on staying at this hotel during the Allianz Swiss Tennis Open Gstaad where the world’s best tennis players compete for one of the most important tennis trophies. There also happens to be three indoor courts located next door in case of bad weather. Whether you want to relax with a full body massage after a long day of practicing, soak in the steam baths of hit the nightclub; this hotel truly offers it all.

Via TrailblazerGirl

5. Topnotch Resort and Spa, Stowe, Vermont

This resort and spa is a haven for both tennis lovers and those looking to get introduced to the sport. With a recent renovation to its 76 rooms, this resort also enlarged the amazing swimming pool, enhanced the 40,000 square foot European Spa and installed a new casual restaurant. It’s the tennis academy that sits above all though with its extensive menu of both indoor and outdoor programs. Players can count on playing up t 5 hours a day if they choose to do so while junior programs divert kids and encourage the whole family to play. Staff will arrange opponents for games or group and private lessons. There is your choice of rooms, suites, and homes to rent; all packed with luxury amenities. If you get sick of tennis why not head over to the equestrian center, golf courses or shops that are all located nearby.

Via Topnotch Resort

4. Forte Village Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy

If you happen to love tennis and want to visit the wonderful country of Italy, there is only one place you need to visit and that is the Forte Village. This resort in Sardinia features a total of 12 tennis courts- 10 clay, 1 natural grass and 1 synthetic- all floodlit for nighttime use. Guests flock here for the head coach of the tennis program here, a man by the name of Rocco Loccisano, a former top Australian player and once trainer to Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.

Private or group lessons are available from a plethora of tennis professionals but that isn’t all these amazing resort offer. Choose from a spacious seafront suite, bungalow, villa or 5-star hotels to spend your nights in. An array of restaurants and bars await you, as well as shopping and nightlife. If you happen to have the kids with you, make sure to check out the awesome children’s wonderland that features pools, a theatre, and other fun activities.

Via Forte Village

3. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

With two complete tennis complexes located on this 10-mile island, it is easy to be close to a championship court. This elegant oceanfront hotel comes complete with an elegant spa, dedicated children’s park, five designer golf courses, 10 miles of pristine beach and numerous shops and restaurants. What makes this resort pretty special is the fact that they have put their tennis clubs under the direction of former touring pro, Roy Barth.

For 35 years Barth has been operating a broad-based program that features a lengthy roster of weekly activities including instructional clinics, mini-camps, round robins and private lessons. The resort features 90 holes of championship golf, fishing tours, special activities for kids and teens and a plethora of dining options including a signature steakhouse. Choose to stay in the Sanctuary Hotel, a private villa or luxury private homes.

Via charlestoncvb.com

2. Rancho Valencia, California

This elegant Relais and Chateau and retreat in Santa Fe California has a huge focus on tennis, offering 17 courts for just 49 suites. This family-friendly resort also has a way with customer service and guests here should expect that every need they have will be catered to, one and off the court. Along with the amazing courts, this retreat offers an incredible 10,000 square foot spa, a delicious restaurant that is focused on California coastal ranch cuisine and amenity-rich suites.

The suites here are simply to die for, with their gas-log fireplaces, outdoor Jacuzzis, private patio gardens and jetted tubs. Guests here will enjoy the superior coaches and instructors that offer private lessons and programs that are tailored to each individual. Complimentary match play, daily tennis clinics, video lessons and family lessons are just a slice of what is offered here.

Via Jetsetter

1. Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire

The setting is picture perfect, an English mansion that is set in the Buckinghamshire countryside that dates back to 1908.  The grounds are over 300 acres and include 49 exquisite rooms, three restaurants, indoor swimming pool, a 27 hole championship golf course, and a whopping 13 tennis courts. Tennis is the draw here and every year this hotel hosts the pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament where tennis stars from around the world gather to warm up for the season.

Many guests choose to come during this week to watch the stars in action. If you are more interested in working on your own tennis skills though, this hotel offers lessons to guests on both the indoor and outdoor courts and provides junior camps to young players. Luxury amenities, incredible dining options and the opportunity to not only work on your skills but see the stars in action make this one awesome tennis hotel.

Via Stoke Park

The 8 Best Airport Hotels in the World

For too long now airport hotels have been gouging travelers with the overpriced, small and amenity lacking rooms, but thankfully times are changing. Hotels located in the airports and close to the airports are listening to what guests want, such as soundproof windows, a variety of dining choices and more amenities. The best airport hotels in the world offer all of these things, plus more including free Wi-Fi, award-winning spas, luxury suites and day rooms that are perfect for those long layovers. From Canada to the United States to Germany and beyond, here are the eight best airport hotels around the world.

8. Aloft San Francisco Airport, San Francisco, CA, USA

Located just half a mile from the airport, this hotel makes it easy to reach with its free and frequent shuttle service that runs 24/7. Relatively new at just two years old this hotel is perfect for an overnight stay while connecting on an early flight. An open-air lobby invites guests to enjoy a billiards table and old-time board games.

The business center is also located in the lobby, which can make it a bit noisy if you are looking to grab a meeting there. An outdoor pool and backyard patio space features live music or a DJ spinning beats on the weekend. The bar is typically busy with other guests grabbing a much-needed drink or snack. As far as downsides go, we don’t really see any considering a stay here starts at just $169/night.

Via travelforsenses.com

7. Hilton Munich Airport, Munich, Germany

Located between terminals, travelers will quickly leave behind the hustle and bustle when they enter into the beautiful Hilton Hotel at Munich’s airport. Whether you want to book a room during the day to kill eight hours or spend the night here, there are enough amenities to keep any grumpy traveler happy. Enjoy the 24-hour fitness center that boasts an abundance of state of the art machines, or head to the heated indoor swimming pool for some laps.

The signature restaurant on-site along with two bars gives travelers the perfect excuse to enjoy a nice meal and a glass of wine. The rooms are elegantly furnished with luxury bathrooms, there is ample meeting space and the hotel atrium will simply amaze you. Make sure you don’t leave this hotel without checking out the Fit & Fly Spa, the perfect way to relax before a long day of travels.

Via Travelocity

6. Regal Airport Hotel, Hong Kong

It doesn’t get much better than this, a nice hotel directly connected to the passenger terminal of the Hong Kong International Airport, by an enclosed air-conditioned link bridge at that. Travelers who are staying here can expect to visit the OM Spa, one of the only spa facilities in Hong Kong to provide couples massages, and if you are just too relaxed to move this spa actually allows guests to spend the night in the spa. A 24/7 workout center is also available for guests along with steam rooms, saunas and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

Rooms are spacious, stylish and provide the perfect resting place for weary travelers. Dining here is easy with an array of distinctive dining experience from Cantonese to Japanese to Western to International cuisine. This hotel receives constant awards for its hotel spa, class of excellence and best in class in terms of airport hotels.

Via travel.rakuten.co.jp

5. Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport

This beautiful airport hotel opened in May 2008 and became the first international upscale hotel to operate with direct access to Singapore’s Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. The hotel was designed with style and high tech in mind and features open corridors, rainforest-style gardens and natural light throughout from the strategically based skylights.

Some of the favorite amenities for travelers here include a beautiful swimming pool that is designed around landscaped “mini-islands” and Jacuzzi tubs, providing natural hideaways to soak your tired body. Other travelers choose to head directly to the spa treatment center for some jet-lag reflexology. Delicious restaurants and bars, contemporary rooms with added bonuses and direct access to the airport make this hotel one of the best in the world.

Via IHG

4. Sofitel London Heathrow, London, UK

This airport hotel combines convenience and elegance and offers a break away from one of the busiest airports in the world.  The hotel is actually connected to Heathrow Terminal 5 via a walkway and to the other terminals via free inter-terminal transfers. Three restaurants and two elegant bars await weary travelers who are looking to grab either a quick bite to eat or sit down for a nice meal.

Every room includes in-room Wi-Fi, a mini fridge and a plush bed that offers a great sleep. Many travelers here take advantage of the award-winning Heathrow spa located in this hotel, offering over 25 innovative treatments. A 24-hour fitness center is also on-site, along with a sauna and Jacuzzi. Additional added touches include soundproof windows and an extensive champagne list that will have anyone wanting more than just one glass.

Via Accor Hotels

3. Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport, Beijing, China

This convenient airport hotel offers elegant flourishes, modern design, and sparkling service; making travelers forget they are still at an airport hotel. Guests of this hotel should expect timeless luxury and tailored hospitality, with added bonuses throughout. Guestrooms include several lofts, townhouses, and an ultra-luxurious penthouse.

Oversized bathrooms, an abundance of gadgets and a bed you will never want to leave await you in the rooms. There are a total of five restaurants to choose from, whether you are seeking classic or international cuisine. A state of the art cardio studio, an art gallery within and spectacular meeting rooms make this more than just your run of the mill airport hotel.

Via red-luxury.com

2. Fairmont Vancouver Airport, Vancouver, Canada

This soundproofed, luxury hotel and spa are located directly within the Vancouver International Airport. Guests here are treated with floor-to-ceiling views, diverse dining choices, health club, spa, indoor pool and many other amenities. Dining here is a breeze and many choose the signature restaurant that offers views of the runway. Others head to Jetside Bar for live music offered five nights a week.

Rooms here are beautiful with state-of-the-art technology, views of mountains, ocean and the runway and this airport hotel offer day rooms for guests with long layovers. The Absolute Spa offers over 130 different treatments while the health center offers saunas, a whirlpool, children’s wading pool and workout area. With check-in for major airline carriers at the hotel lobby, it couldn’t be easier to choose this as your airport hotel of choice.

Via Booking.com’s

1. Hilton Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany

If there were one word that could sum up this hotel it would be ‘fantastic’. From the fantastic service to the fantastic rooms to the fantastic gym to the fantastic food; it is easy to see why this hotel is one of the best airport hotels in the world. All rooms in this awesome hotel include king size beds, Wi-Fi access, soundproof windows and a large desk for any work that you may need to get caught up on.

The Hilton offers two choices of dining, both being open late into the evenings to cater to guests. A fitness room, steam bath, and sauna are on-site for any fitness buffs. Getting here is a breeze; simply use the pedestrian walkway from Terminal 1. With offerings of rooms, suites, and dayrooms this hotel caters to anyone who doesn’t’ want to spend hours upon hours in those uncomfortable airline seats.

Via cvent.com

The World’s 8 Most Remote Hotels

Imagine touching down somewhere that few people have ever been, discovering a remote world that you didn’t know existed. Travelers are becoming more interested in places that offer more remoteness, that often take a journey to get to. Luckily the call for these types of places have been answered and throughout the world, remote hotels are popping up in places you didn’t even know existed. From a beachfront hotel in Iceland to a surfing getaway in Samoa, these 8 remote hotels all have a few things in common- exceptional accommodations, stunning scenery, delicious cuisine and an air of privacy.

8. Hotel Budir, Iceland

The only real beachfront hotel in Iceland lies next to a lava field with views over the Snaefellsnes glacier. The accommodations here are simple, chic and unpretentious offering a variety of rooms including eight rooms in the attic, one suite, nine deluxe rooms and ten standard rooms. In the wintertime, guests cozy up by the fireplace in the lobby while staring out the large windows at the breathtaking surroundings.

Summertime brings bonfire parties on the beach and swimming during the day. Guests here will be treated to exceptional service, an exquisite restaurant and one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The possibilities for activities here are endless and hotel staff is delighted to help guests plan whatever their heart desires, whether they want to take a tour by helicopter, go horseback riding, fishing and more.

Via Iceland Times

7. Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada

Fogo Island is a remote island off the coast of Newfoundland, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator and home to the simple yet charming Fogo Island Inn. Open all year round, guests here are treated to the floor to ceiling views of the North Atlantic Ocean in one of 29 guest suites. Every piece of furniture and textile in the rooms are handcrafted, from the quilts to the chairs to the wallpaper.

Three meals a day are catered to suit your personal preferences along with snacks and focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients. In wintertime watch, as winter storms crash through, try your hand at cross-country skiing or ice fishing. In the spring the gigantic icebergs float by, bonfires are lit and wildlife viewing is at its finest. To get here, visitors have to take a ferry from Farewell Harbor or arrive in style in a helicopter.

Via Hospitality Net

6. Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska

Deep in the Alaskan wilderness, hundreds of miles from paved roads sits this incredible remote lodge, taking people to places where nobody has gone before. It is a six-hour drive from Anchorage and then a 90-minute flight into the Wrangell Mountains to reach this lodge, set amongst the largest protected wilderness on earth. Visitors here should expect luxurious like bearskin rugs, floor-to-ceiling windows, a wood-fired sauna, freshly baked goods and stunning scenery.

There are no set itineraries at this lodge; every day is customized depending on the time of year, flying conditions and interests. Activities range from kayaking in a glacier-fed river, flying over the largest vertical rock face on earth, driving over glacier fields, and hiking across arctic tundra. Every experience at this lodge is unique and unforgettable and entirely worth the journey.

Via LiveTheLife.tv

5. Aganoa Lodge, Samoa

Surfing is the main draw at this ultra-remote lodge, located on Savai’i, the more remote of the two main islands of Samoa. This lodge offers fully guided surfing experiences for a maximum of eight guests while catering to non-surfers and families who want an active travel experience. Eight open-air bungalows set the stage for this beautiful experience, each one constructed of reclaimed timber and lava rocks that were collected on site.

Beautiful white sand and crystal clear water beckon guests to swim, snorkel, surf, kayak and more; with the included equipment from the lodge. Dinner is served nightly in the open lounge and features the fresh catch of the day, along with other incredible seasonal ingredients. Whether you are looking to surf, dine or relax; this remote lodge will appeal to you.

Via PegasusLodges

4. Lyngen Lodge, Norway

The ultimate remote getaway for winter sports enthusiasts is Lyngen Lodge, a remote lodge offering luxury accommodation, top quality cuisine and epic adventures in the world’s most beautiful and undisturbed arctic regions on earth. The lodge only caters to 18 guests at a time so expect a personalized retreat with incredible cuisine and exceptional customer service. Relax in the center of the lodge where large panoramic windows offer spectacular views of the Lyngen Alps and a crackling fireplace keeps you warm.

Activities here include dog sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, Northern Lights viewing, boat tours, water sports, and Heli-hiking. Whether you choose to come in the winter for the unforgettable skiing or the summer for the abundance of activities, chances are, the experience will be unforgettable.

Via Natural World Safari

3. Yemaya Island Hideaway, Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Little Corn Island is literally a speck in the in Caribbean Ocean, 43 miles off the east coast of Nicaragua. Getting here requires multiple forms of transportation including flight, taxi, panga boat and your own two feet. The reward is well worth it though, 16 private cabanas nestled among swaying coco palms with views of the crystal clear ocean. Private outdoor verandahs, a rainforest shower, and beautiful handcrafted furnishings await you.

Dining is done in the open-air restaurant that serves up local and organic ingredients grown on site along with fresh seafood. Guests here can enjoy activities such as daily yoga, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and incredible spa treatments. This hideaway offers the chance to reconnect, explore nature and live carefree, if only for a few short days.

Via Small Luxury Hotels

2. The Oberoi Vanyavilas, India

Situated just ten minutes from Ranthambhore National Park, this is a chance for visitors to get up close and personal with the incredible Royal Bengal Tigers in the wild, while staying at an amazing remote hotel. Accommodations are in luxury tents, complete with a four-poster bed, a claw-footed tub, personal stocked bar, silk bathrobes and more.

Dining is done in the main hall of the restaurant in the winter time in front of an open wood fireplace while the outside courtyard becomes transformed into a restaurant in the summer complete with bonfires, candles and folk musicians. Explore the national park with its incredible ruins, elephants; hundreds of species of birds and of course the majestic tigers. Pamper yourself at the beautiful spa, have a private candlelit dinner or learn how to cook with Indian Spices; whatever your heart desires, you will find it here.

Via Jetsetter

1. Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Perched at 3,116 feet above sea level in between rainforest and cloud forests sits an incredible lodge, surrounded by plants, orchids and a staggering 500 species of birds; along with monkeys, pumas and an abundance of waterfalls. Luxury and nature merge here at this five-star lodge where rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and glass walls that look out into the lush forest.

The towering two-story dining room features fully panoramic views and seasonal menu items that are prepared fresh by fine dining chefs. Top naturalist guides are on hand to take you through the surrounding trails and explain the flora and fauna that surrounds you. Voted as one of the most unique lodges in the world by National Geographic; this remote hotel is not to be missed.

Via Mashpi Lodge

8 Alternatives to Staying in a Hotel

One of the excuses people often give for not traveling often is the expense. Fortunately, there’s now a wide range of alternatives to traditional hotel stays, which often ate up a large part of the traveler’s budget. And no, we’re not just talking about dormitory rooms in hostels. Here we’ve found 8 great alternatives to hotels that allow travelers to immerse themselves in other cultures, get their hands dirty, or simply stay in a really, really cool place.

8. Curl Up Right Inside the Airport

Most of us have been there: a flight is delayed, or canceled, or there’s simply no way to get from point A to point B without spending the night waiting inside the airport. But in some cases, voluntarily spending the night in the airport might actually make a lot of sense. Those with early morning flights who want to save cash should take a look at The Guide to Sleeping in Airports to find out whether it’s possible to catch a good night’s sleep in their desired locale. Some airports offer reclining lounges, armrest-free seating, and even sleep pods and dedicated rest zones. Keep an eye on amenities as well: with everything from showers and free WiFi to airport museums, brewery tours and swimming pools, travelers might wonder why they’re bothering to leave the airport at all.

Sleeping in airport

7. Secure an Entire Apartment (or a cottage, houseboat, or even a windmill)

Any seasoned traveler knows about Airbnb, and is probably using it to, at a minimum, compare room rates to those of nearby hotels. But there are other options out there as well, including VRBO, which will search across all the HomeAway vacation rentals to find the perfect property, and FlipKey, which partners with TripAdvisor and offers trip planners the option to choose rentals in categories such as “lakefront,” “luxury,” or “kid-friendly.” And for those that want a truly unique experience, intriguing properties abound. It’s possible to stay in a windmill in Santorini, Greece, for example, whil the Netherlands has plenty of houseboats on offer. There’s a water tower for rent in London, or a treehouse in Tuscany. Perhaps the ultimate indulgence, though, is the Downton Abbey-esque Scottish castle, which goes for $1170 per night.

I AM NIKOM / Shutterstock.com
I AM NIKOM / Shutterstock.com

6. Become Part of the Family

For anyone looking to really immerse themselves in the culture of the region they’re about to visit, arranging a home stay is an ideal solution. And no, we’re not talking about renting a room in someone’s house, a la Airbnb. To learn what life is like in another country, it’s best to be part of the action, smack dab in the middle of a family. This helps a visitor learn not just the language, but customs and traditions. Those staying with families get an idea of what an average citizen might eat, drink, read, watch, and even talk about, all while spending much less money than they might on a hotel room. To arrange a home stay, it’s best to search the country or city desired, along with “home stay”, as few sites exist that group these options throughout the world. The experience is worth the effort, however.

Arriving for home stay

5. Get Back to Nature

There’s no rule that says travelers must leave behind their camping gear when heading across international borders. Of course, it might be a pain to lug a tent and camp stove around, but imagine just grabbing a sleeping bag and waking up under the stars, thousands of miles from home. Of course, there’s a bit of risk to laying your bag down in just any old space. Fortunately, there are sites like Gamping, which advocates “Garden Camping,” in which travelers can find themselves a spot of land on which to rest their weary heads. If staying just outside a private home doesn’t appeal, take that risk and try wild camping. Seek out trails near lakes, in the hills, or simply follow the ocean to an isolated spot. Trust in your instincts – they’ll let you know if a place is safe to spend the night.

Camping at Lake

4. Try and Snag a House Sitting Gig

We’re not going to lie – it’s not all that easy to get a prime house sitting gig, especially if you’ve never done it before. But for those looking to be both immersed in a culture and maintain their privacy, house sitting is definitely the best option. It’s also great for travelers who are willing to be flexible about their destination and dates: simply visit a site like Mind My House and browse until a listing appeals to you. There’s an application process and a registration fee, but $20 seems like nothing when the result is two weeks (or more) spent in someone’s lovely home. Trusted Housesitters offers up the chance to bond with pets while the owner is away – sometimes for months at a time, so any animal lovers looking for the chance to experience living abroad, without paying for an apartment, should definitely consider this option.

House Sitting

3. Lend a Hand on a Farm

For those with a bit of energy to burn, staying at a working farm just might be the perfect alternative to a hotel. In exchange for a free place to sleep, volunteers pledge a certain number of hours they’ll spend helping out around the farm. While it’s possible to set up such stays individually, it’s far easier to go through an organization that helps connect volunteers to hosts. One recommendation is WWOOF which, despite its name, has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with organic farms. WWOOFers can sign up for farms in over 100 countries, where they’ll volunteer 4-6 hours of their time per day, and in exchange receive meals and accommodation. Depending on the location desired, those interested can learn about everything from beekeeping in Argentina to pineapple cultivation in Togo to helping educate schoolchildren in the Philippines.

GillianVann / Shutterstock.com
GillianVann / Shutterstock.com

2. Make a New Friend, Crash on Their Couch

Saving money on traveling by sleeping on someone’s couch for a few nights used to be much more difficult. You needed to know someone in the city you wanted to visit or, failing that, be a charmer who could entice a local to let you crash at their place. But with websites like CouchSurfing, it’s now a whole lot easier to find a free place to stay. But be warned: the idea behind CouchSurfing isn’t simply to show up at someone’s apartment, drool all over their pillows and set off for the bus station at dawn. Most hosts expect a little interaction, whether it’s a chance to practice their language skills or to sample a meal their guest has prepared. In return, though, these lovely people will give more than just a couch – perhaps a bike tour of their city or the opportunity to hang out with their friends in a pub a tourist would never discover on their own.

Sleeping on couch

1. Be a princess or a prisoner – your choice!

Anyone who wants a great story to share with jealous friends upon returning from their adventures should try their best to seek out unique accommodations. And while infinity pools stretching to turquoise oceans would certainly impress an audience, it’s not necessary to have a similarly infinite budget in order to find cool digs. It’s possible to pay hostel prices, yet sleep in rooms carved into caves in Goreme, Turkey; stay underground in Coober Pedley, Australia; or inside a renovated jet in Stockholm, Sweden. Two other extremely cool hostel options are that of St. Briavels Castle in Gloucestershire, England, which encourages guests to imagine themselves as traveling lords and ladies, and Hostel Celica in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which goes to the other extreme, allowing guests to lock themselves behind bars at night, just like the inhabitants of this former prison.

evantravels / Shutterstock.com
evantravels / Shutterstock.com

How to Tell if Your Hotel Room is Actually Clean

We have all heard the horror stories; the bed bugs, the dirty sheets and the filthy washrooms. And most of us have at least thought about it or experienced it at one point or another when staying in a hotel room. How does one really know if the sheets were washed, the water glasses are clean and the coffee maker is safe to use? Is it necessary to pack your own sheets, pillowcases and black light to check for stains? How far should one go to ensure that their hotel room is clean? Before you kick off your shoes and hop into that bed there are a few things you can do to make sure your hotel room is actually clean:

Do Your Research
If you are booking a hotel yourself it always pays to do a little research beforehand. A quick internet search of the property often brings up many traveler review sites where previous guests have posted about cleanliness. Trip Advisor is a popular site to use and one of the most trusted out there. Use the word “clean” when searching and the results will be much more specified and organized. Most hotels are inspected annually for cleanliness and don’t be afraid to call up the hotel and ask them for their latest score. Hotels depend on a great reputation for business and a four or five star rating normally ensures they are up to par in the cleanliness factor. Rental properties and B&B’s are less likely to be federally inspected and heading to the Internet is usually your best choice to see what others have to say. One thing to note is that the Internet has a lot of information and it is easy to get sucked into reading review after review after review. Likely every hotel will have one or two bad reviews so don’t get hung up on reading too much into them. If you are worried just be sure to throw some anti-bacterial wipes in your luggage.

hotel room being cleaned

Do a Visual Check
The first impression is important and before you get to your room make sure to take a look around at the grounds, lobby and elevators. If things are dusted, polished and clean it is normally a good indication the hotel cares about its cleanliness. Once you are in your room all it takes is five minutes to visually inspect the room. Key areas to look at are the bed where bedbugs hide and can be recognized as tiny brown bugs that often run when they are disturbed. Make sure to check the sheets, mattress and headboard for these nasty critters. A good tip to remember is to call housekeeping when you arrive and ask that they change the bedspread and pillowcases as studies have shown these often get missed. The bathroom is the second place to check out as a dirty bathroom warrants a request for a new room. If there is any sign of mildew around the bathtub or shower; chances are you won’t want to be walking around barefoot in there. Make sure to look around for dirty fingerprints and hair that is caught in the drains. A quick check of the light switches and door handles will truly tell you if the room has been wiped down. Don’t be shy about asking housekeeping to return if you feel your room isn’t up to par; after all, you’re paying for it.

hotel bathroom counter

Don’t Use the Glassware
At most, glasses get rinsed with hot water before getting wiped down with a semi-clean towel before being put back onto the table for you to use. Your safest bet is to use the individual wrapped plastic glasses or at least wash the glass ones yourself before you use them. Speaking of things not to use: if you didn’t take the above tip about changing your bedspread you should now go ahead and throw it off your bed. Bedspreads do not typically get changed between each guest and can be a haven for germs. As for the pillows; most hotels hide extra ones in the closet that are sure to be washed and clean. The dirtiest of things in a hotel room tends to be the television remote so if you happen to be packing an anti-bacterial wipe; this would be a good thing to use it on. Other things to avoid are the ice bucket and the coffee maker as one can never be sure what those containers were used for before you got to them. Eating ice out of a bucket that was used for garbage by the guest from the previous night is just not a vision we want to have. A good rule of thumb is never to place your toothbrush on the bathroom counter as housekeepers often use the same towel to wipe down multiple surfaces. Do yourself a favor and keep anything that goes in your mouth or on your face in your travel bag. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently as good hygiene will protect you from any germs that may be present.

hotel glasses

Don’t Overdo It
All that being said, realistically we live in a world where there are germs and most likely when you are traveling you will come into contact with them. Don’t expect that the carpet will be shampooed between every guest or that the bedside table will be polished. Be sensible in what you touch and what you don’t touch and know that germs lurk in the hidden corners that may have been forgotten by the cleaners. Be smart about what to look for and do follow the above steps to ensure you will be comfortable staying in your hotel. Don’t be afraid to ask for a different room, an extra wipe of the bathroom or a change of sheets. When your hotel experience is complete; help other travelers out by posting a review about your experience on the Internet; whether it was positive or negative. Remember, bad hotel experiences can happen but you don’t just have to sit in misery. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want because after all, you’re the guest!

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The Creepiest Things You Don’t Know About Hotels

Staying at a hotel is usually a fun experience, especially if you’re traveling for a vacation or other holiday but there are lots of things about hotels that aren’t so fun. Things that the hotels don’t even want you to know about; most of them pretty creepy. Aside from thinking about how well your room was cleaned or who stayed in it before you, there are a number of other issues you probably didn’t even think about, so let’s take a look:

People Leave Things Behind

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This happens surprisingly often according to reports from hotel staff. Scary stuff gets left behind by seemingly ordinary guests like weapons, illegal drugs, and prescription pills. Most of it gets removed by cleaning staff but they don’t always find it all so you just never know when you could be sleeping with a loaded gun under your mattress!

You’re Not the Only Living Creature

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Most people are wary of checking for bedbugs in any hotel they’re staying at but these aren’t the only thing you might be sharing your room with. Fleas, ticks, and roaches can all be common occurrences depending on where you’re staying. If you’re in the tropics it only makes matters worse with reports of spiders and even scorpions being reported in some Tripadvisor reviews.

It Might Smell Clean…

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You may walk into your hotel room and smell a pleasant perfume scent but that could be your cue to ask for a different room as many hotels use perfume scents to cover up stubborn odors. If you smell cleaning chemicals (slightly, not strongly) that’s probably a good sign but if the room reeks like a department-store perfume counter, they’re probably hiding something…and it ain’t pretty.

There Are Deaths

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While it’s not something we like to think about, people die and sudden deaths can happen anywhere. It’s also not uncommon for suicides to take place in hotel rooms, so much that Lodging Magazine even published a recent article for hotel managers addressing suicide prevention in hotels. Statistics on the issue are hard to find, however, as many incidents are ‘swept under the rug’ so to speak.

You Paid How Much?!

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This next issue is more annoying than it is creepy; it’s the little matter of hotel rates. There’s so much fluctuation in the industry that almost no one pays the same rate. Hotels use complex algorithms to determine rates which can even include factors like airline tickets sold and the weather. The best thing to avoid aggravation is don’t ask anyone else what they paid!

Crimes

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Hotel rooms have long been used as places for illegal acts like prostitution and taking drugs but in recent years, the illegal activity is getting more serious. Drug rings are now using hotel rooms as temporary meth labs which leave behind harmful and toxic chemicals in their wake. According to the DEA, 1,300 hotel rooms were used as meth labs in the US in 2013.

The Pool, The Horror

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The smell of chlorine usually makes us think a swimming pool is well-treated, safe, and clean but this may not be the case. Strong smells can actually mean dangerous levels of chemicals could be in use, which is usually a cover-up for poor water quality. Because swimming pools and fitness centers are bonus amenities that aren’t primary revenue-makers, they’re often overlooked as far as maintenance and upkeep. The last thing you want during your hotel stay is a soak in bacteria-filled water.

7 Tips for Booking a Cheaper Hotel Room

When you’re traveling, one of the largest chunks of your budget will go toward accommodations. In many of the world’s top destinations, you’ll pay a pretty penny for a room—especially if you’re vacationing during peak tourist season or during a popular event. Hoteliers are wise to the ways of travelers and they usually increase rates when they know they can demand it. So what’s a budget traveler to do? There are many options: couchsurfing has been facilitated by the Internet and there are always hostels or, if you’re lucky enough, family and friends who might open their doors to you in far-flung places.
While all of those can be great options, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and book a hotel room, whether it’s for amenities and comfort, or just for proximity to a location. What you don’t have to do is pay top-dollar for your bunk; there are many ways to find a place to put up for the night without blowing your budget. Here are 7 great tips for booking a hotel room —at a more affordable rate.

7. Take a Geography Lesson

What do you like to do while on vacation? If you’re hoping to catch a play or a concert, then you’re probably going to look for an entertainment district in your holiday city. If you’d rather hit the beach or maybe play a round of golf, you’re going to want to look for hotels that are nearer to the activities you enjoy. Food is also an important consideration; do you really want to drive or take transit just to grab lunch? Checking out where you want to go, what you want to do and which hotels are closest to where you want to be is always an excellent move.

You’ll like also want to look at the hotel “landscape.” What kind of properties does your holiday destination have on offer? If there are several different types, such as budget hotel options, luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts, look for where different property types tend to cluster. If you’re traveling on a budget, you probably don’t want to book where all the swankiest hotels are located, since the businesses around them are likely to be high-end and pricey too.

Paris Map

6. Do Your Homework

One mistake that novice travelers often make is booking a room on the first site they visit or without checking back on later dates. That almost guarantees that you’re going to book at a higher price than you could. Don’t jump the gun; deal-hunting requires patience.

Once you have an idea of where you want to stay, narrow your hotel choices to about 10 properties. Your best bet is to visit price aggregators such as Hipmunk, Trivago and Kayak.com. These sites search multiple booking sites and list the best deals based on your filter preferences, which saves you time in searching and comparing each and every individual booking site. With Hipmunk, their site features vacation rentals along with hotels (the only American website to do so) and their “ecstasy” filter works wonders for getting you a balance between luxury and pricing. The site also has a mapping feature, which can show you where the best food and nightlife are in the city, and how close various properties are to those hotspots. Trivago has the largest database, searching over 200 booking sites, and Kayak.com allows you to check multiple hotels at once.

Online Research

5. Seek Out Packages

Many hotels have deals with rental car companies; most booking sites also have deals with rental companies and airlines, as well as hotels. Through these arrangements, most booking sites offer package deals—which offer you more bang for your buck. If you’re looking at jetting off somewhere, certainly take a look at which flights will come bundled with which hotels. See if any of your preferred properties are bundled with a flight, especially if you’re not exactly particular about which airline you fly or what time you need to get up and drive to the airport. If you know you’ll need a rental car for all or part of your trip, be sure to check out bundles for that as well, since it can save you money in the long run.

A word to the wise on packages: package deals can be great, but they are not a solution for all trips. They work best if you’re heading between two large hubs, such as New York and Paris or Toronto and London. If your trip is complex, including several stop overs and different destinations, a package may not work in your favor so make sure you do some comparisons.

planes trains and autos

4. Look for Unpublished Rates

Hotels don’t publish all of their rates. While booking sites and price aggregators can get you some pretty good deals, those deals are all based on published rates —which are rates given to the general public. Sometimes, though, the best deals are so-called hidden or “secret” rates, which are the rates that the hotels don’t want you to see. Hoteliers offer lower rates for rooms they don’t think they can sell, but they tend to keep that fact on the low-down so that they can still charge the price they want.

Taking advantage of unpublished rates can be tricky, since the information can be difficult to track down. A site like getaroom.com, which specializes in flash deals, will offer unpublished rates to customers who call a toll-free line. A word of caution though: make sure you trust the site you’re using. Many sites claim to offer great deals and secret rates; customers who book through them arrive only to find they either don’t have a room or are being charged a much higher rate. Take advantage of these deals—but don’t let yourself be taken advantage of!

Top Secret Unpublished

3. Go in Blindfolded

This is not as bad as it might sound at first. Much noise has been made in the past little while about sites like Priceline.com and Hotwire.com. These sites allow you to pick a geographic area and a star-rating, so you know that you’ll at least be near your preferred destination and getting quality service you’re comfortable with. Other than that, the process is blind; you don’t know where you’re staying until your credit card bill reflects the charge.

With Priceline, you bid on the hotel room; Hotwire allows you to choose a discount rate. That means you can score some pretty sweet deals, but it also means that you’re taking a risk. While you won’t end up in a dive as long as you set your filters right, you are giving up control about where exactly you stay—and for some travelers, that is just not acceptable, no matter the price-point. If you’re more concerned about budget than whether you’re staying at a chain hotel or supporting a local business, getting an opaque deal can be your best bet for saving the most money.

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2. Go Direct

Sometimes, the best way to get a deal is simply to ask for one. Booking sites generally take anywhere from 20 to 30 percent commission on hotel reservations made through them, which means you have a gambit for the hotel. Pluck up your nerve and pick up the phone; call the hotel and tell them that you’re about to book a room with them through a booking site. Then ask them if they’ll give you a discount for booking directly with them instead. While some hotels are more than happy to split the extra revenue of a direct booking with you, others are reluctant. If that’s the case, you can always ask to speak to a manager or the owner. Someone higher up in the chain might be more willing to sweeten the deal for you.

If you’re booking in a foreign country (or on another continent!) and don’t want to run up long distance charges, use Skype or an app like Viber to make your call. If you’re booking in a country where English isn’t the native language, you might also consider simply emailing—although this can be a slower and less direct method of communication.

Hotel Desk Booking Agent

1. No Deal Is Final

Well, that may not be entirely true. Always be sure to check cancellation policies on the booking site deal and the hotel before attempting to pull a switcheroo—if you don’t, you could end up on the hook for more than you bargained for, and not in a good way.

If you do luck out and book a refundable or pay-later deal with a decent cancellation policy, you can check out Yapta.com and last-minute booking sites in order to ensure you’ve still got the best deal. There are also countless apps that will do the legwork for you; some of the best are Hotel Tonight and the Europe-only Blink. If you do stumble across a better deal before you take off on holiday, don’t be afraid to cancel your existing reservations and book at a better price-point. Unless you’ve locked in by paying a non-refundable fee or a deposit, or your cancellation policy will charge you even a percentage of the room, you are not obligated to hold your reservation if something better comes along. Just be sure to read the fine print!

Cancelled