We don’t know about you, but we love getting free stuff — especially on vacation. Most of us don’t spend our hard-earned money on a trip lightly, and there’s nothing worse than showing up at your carefully chosen resort only to get nickel-and-dimed. That’s why when a resort does the opposite, and hands out freebies for things you wouldn’t expect, it isn’t just refreshing — it can be what elevates your vacation from just okay to out of this world. Here are five freebies that will take your vacation to the next level.
Free Spa Treatments
This is the type of freebie that makes us think we’ve misunderstood something. A free spa treatment? But there’s no mistake: At Gaia Hotel and Reserve in Costa Rica, every guest gets one 20-minute spa treatment just for booking a stay. The options include a back relief Swedish massage, a mini facial, or Feet Renewal treatment. Now that is the kind of service that makes us want to come back. Read More »
A new year is upon us, and you know what that means – time to plan your 2014 vacation, of course! And you, being the trendsetter that you are, are planning to go to somewhere on the cutting edge. Well, we’re here to help. This year is an especially good time to visit these five destinations, which have new growth, new tourism offerings, or special events happening only in 2014. Check ‘em out!
Why Now: Nicaragua, beloved by backpackers and surfer bums, offers many of the same splendors that draw travelers to its neighbor to the south, Costa Rica — lush rainforest, beautiful white-sand beaches, volcanoes, and rich wildlife – but it is far less developed. That is starting to change, however; 2013 saw the opening of the super-exclusive luxury property Mukul, and it’s possible that this diamond in the rough will be getting a lot more polish in the coming years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you like off-the-beaten path adventure travel – and discovering destinations before they fully “arrive” – now is the time to go.
Where to Stay: Aqua Wellness Resort
Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), and rooms adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. Read More »
New Year’s Eve is often a pricey proposition – but if you love to party, it’s a prime opportunity to dance your tail off at some of the country’s hottest clubs. And if you’re traveling to a major city for a night on the town, note that there are plenty of hotels with truly fantastic party spots right on-site. When you’re ready to stumble home to bed after ringing in the New Year, all you’ll have to do is head upstairs. So go ahead — take a look at some of our favorite party-hearty hotel options for New Year’s Eve.
The Hollywood Roosevelt is home to some of the most popular celebrity haunts in L.A., an impressive accomplishment in a town that has its fair share of celebrity haunts. The New Year’s Eve bash will take place at Tropicana Bar, which is centered around the chic pool area. Read More »
Staying in a New England inn in the snowy wintertime is about as cozy as a vacation gets. If you’re conjuring up images of horse-drawn sleigh rides, historic mansions, elegant antiques, thick oriental rugs, and roaring fireplaces for those chilly nights – well, you’re right on the money. These inns all have charm to spare.
With its warm, urban-chic vibe, Amee Farm isn’t a typical B&B. Rooms look straight out of an interior design magazine, with a near-perfect combination of rustic, warm, quaint, and stylish touches. Wide-planked hardwood floors, comfortable beds with white, soft linens, and interesting antiques are found in all the rooms. Bathrooms have granite showers with rain showerheads and updated fixtures (though not all rooms have private bathrooms). There are no TVs in rooms — only in the common area — but Wi-Fi is free and available throughout. It’s about a 20-minute drive to the slopes at Killington Ski Resort. Read More »
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, New York transforms into a magical wonderland. Christmas trees are lit, department stores deck their windows with lights, and visitors and locals alike strap on their skates and hit the ice. Temperatures may be low, but a cozy feeling called holiday cheer blankets the entire city. If you’re spending time in New York around Christmas, here are our favorite places to stay.
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Many people will spend the holidays at home or visiting family, but for some, it has become tradition to spend the time on vacation. Just because you’re staying in a hotel doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on holiday cheer; in fact, these amazing holiday hotels around the globe go above and beyond to spread the holiday spirit. Think: welcome mugs of hot chocolate, elaborate Christmas decorations, visits from Santa, carol singing, and more. Feeling Christmas-y yet?
The New York Palace is one of the best hotels for enjoying Christmas in New York City. It offers a prime location right next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which has Christmas masses) and about a block away from the giant tree and famous skating rink at Rockefeller Center. It also has guards in toy-soldier-style uniforms next to the stunning outdoor Christmas tree (they are happy to pose for photos!) and a Nutcracker brunch at Villard Michel Richard. Read More »
Peak season in Palm Springs is January to May, and we can’t think of many better ways to shake up your winter routine than a long weekend escape to this uber-stylish hotel. The Parker manages to be dressed-up glamorous and laid-back cool all at the same time. The rooms are impressive, with white brick walls, white decor, and private balconies, and the hotel entrance looks like it belongs on a movie set. Get ready to feast your eyes! Read More »
With its gorgeous beaches, educational cultural attractions, and laid-back, friendly locals, Hawaii is one of the best family destinations anywhere. And these nine hotels can take your family vacation to a whole other level. Massive pool complexes, man-made snorkeling reefs, water slides, animal attractions, kids clubs, luaus — you can probably find whatever you and your kids can dream up.
The Grand Wailea Resort may be the most kid-friendly resort on Maui; its biggest selling point has to be the one-of-a-kind pool system with some pretty awesome features. Its biggest selling point has to be the one-of-a-kind pool system with a lazy-river pool, four waterslides, a rope swing, and a water elevator at the center of a faux volcano. The resort also has one of the best kids programs we’ve seen; the 20,000-square-foot facility has a video arcade, pingpong and foosball tables, a PlayStation room, a mini movie theater, and an activity room for kids 5-12 (seasonal activities available for teens). As if that’s not enough to keep your kid busy, the beach has great waves for body-surfing and stiller areas for snorkeling. Even the rooms are geared towards families: standard rooms are huge and connecting rooms are available. There are also great kid options on restaurant menus. Read More »
Let’s face it: winters are tough. When it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. and there are sheets of freezing rain outside, it’s hard not to fantasize about getting out of dodge. But choosing where to escape to can be overwhelming; with so many options, where does one begin? Luckily for you, planning vacations is one of our favorite things. We’ve selected some of our favorite winter getaway destinations and shared what we love about them — as well as a top hotel pick for each.
Why We Love Kauai: Kauai is less developed than its more popular neighbors, Oahu and Maui — and arguably more beautiful. Its lush terrain, placid beaches, and dramatic cliffs provide the backdrop for numerous Hollywood visions of untamed, other-worldly paradises. Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Jurassic Park films, and the 2005 version of King Kong were all filmed here. The 10-mile-long Waimea Canyon, the lava-rock seawater pool at Queen’s Bath, and the remote, towering cliffs of the Na Pali Coast are among the world’s most beautiful natural attractions.
Where to Stay: St. Regis Princeville
The 251-room St. Regis Princeville is considered by many to be the premier luxury option in Hawaii, and given the stunning setting overlooking Hanalei Bay, it’s hard to disagree. Guests can expect warm, sophisticated decor, suites with personal butler service, world-class golf, and a memorable breakfast buffet on a terrace with gorgeous ocean views. Read More »
Costa Rica’s pristine beaches, lush rain forests, and majestic volcanoes make it a prime destination for a winter getaway. And these stunning resorts are the best spots to enjoy its natural wonders while staying in the lap of luxury. If you’re dreaming of rustic-luxe rooms, endless ocean views, pampering service, and world-class cuisine, look no further.
Easily among the most luxurious resorts in Central America, The Four Seasons is as close to perfection as it gets. With two beautiful beaches, ocean views from each one of the sumptuous rooms — decorated in materials including wood, bamboo, and stone — and an 18-hole golf course, the resort makes it possible for guests to spend their whole vacation on-site. Those who do choose to explore beyond Peninsula Papagayo should note that the roads in Guanacaste are in poor condition. Read More »