Even if you don’t know much about Norway, you’ve probably heard somewhere along the line that it’s crazy beautiful. Well, we’ve been there, and we can confirm: It is. It’s the kind of beautiful that leaves even the most jaded travelers with their mouths hanging open in wonder. There’s a lot to love about this Scandinavian winter wonderland — and these 11 things, in particular, are famously Norwegian.
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This 50-room luxury inn is one of the most exclusive (and expensive) destinations in California wine country. Despite its intimate size, it has all the amenities of a larger resort: a 7,000-square-foot luxury spa, a lovely pool, and a Michelin-star restaurant. Views of the surrounding countryside are phenomenal, the grounds are lush and peaceful, and the homey rooms all come with huge terraces (and, in most, fireplaces and soaking tubs). It’s a truly special, romantic retreat, and it’s location in Rutherford is convenient for exploring Napa Valley — but note that there’s nothing within walking distance. Read More »
Love to party when you travel? Whether you’re planning a raucous getaway with friends or simply want to indulge in a boozy night out on your next business trip, take note. We’ve scouted out the hottest hotels in some of the country’s most hopping party destinations — New York City, LA, Las Vegas, and Miami – where the revelry takes place on right on-site. No need to deal with cabs or public transport in the wee hours of the morning; at these hotels, stumbling to bed is as easy as riding the elevator.
The Wynn is home to the uber-popular Tryst, a 12,000-square-foot club with a 90-foot waterfall, go-go dancers on tables, waitresses with prepared shots (tequila and lemon drops), a very danceable club mix, and plenty of scantily clad twenty-somethings. The lounge, where there are sitting areas for bottle service, looks out on the surreal Lake of Dreams. Next door, the Encore hotel has another esteemed nightclub, XS. Read More »
The relaxed, tranquil environment of this adults-only boutique resort is a major part of its appeal. This isn’t Antigua’s fanciest property, but it doesn’t need to be: Simple Caribbean style (think: thatched roofs, stone, and rattan), a truly gorgeous beach, and all-inclusive food that’s better than average for the island make for a winning combo. Water sports are also included in the rate, but the ocean here can get a bit rough so guests shouldn’t count on being able to swim in it every day. The 40-acre property is set on a stunning three-quarter-mile long beach on Antigua’s northeastern shore, about a 10-minute drive from St. John’s.
Beach at the Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
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Stairs at Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul
Formerly the palace of an Ottoman Sultan, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski is the grand dame of Istanbul. It wows guests at every turn, from the sprawling, manicured grounds, to the heated infinity pool right on the Bosphorus, to the refined suites. The dining options are extensive and exceptional; the spa is lovely; and the meeting space housed in the original palace building makes an ornate setting for a business function or wedding. It’s arguably the city’s top luxury option, but it’s far from the popular tourist sights in Sultanahmet. Read More »
The 23-room Hotel Mathis is an upscale boutique property in the 8th arrondissement, within walking distance of designer shops and the Arc de Triomphe. The attractive, Art Deco-inspired decor is particularly impressive in the cozy breakfast room, which has crystal chandeliers, rich blue banquet seating, and crown moldings, as well as in the bar, which has plush red couches. Most rooms have a toned-down version of this look (antique-like lamps, rich curtains, prettily patterned desk chairs), but some have modern elements that contribute to a more eclectic feel. All have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The hotel’s charm and level of luxury are comparable to the Hotel Daniel’s, but prices are often better here (though they’re still not cheap).
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Hotel Bar at the Hotel Mthis Elysees Matignon
Fall is an ideal time to visit Spain, thanks to the season’s mild climate and reduced tourist crowds. (It’s still a popular time to go, but September and October aren’t nearly as busy as August, when most Europeans plan a vacation.) And visitors can avoid the hoards not just as the tourist sights, but within their hotels, too — provided they select an intimate boutique pick, like these five attractive options.
This exclusive 15-room luxury boutique hotel embodies contemporary style at its best, fitting right in in a city that treasures design. Rooms are avant-garde, from the clean, white and beige decor, to the modern under lighting, to the remote-controlled blinds, to the Bang & Olufsen sound system. An amazing spa with Turkish baths shouldn’t be missed, and the hotel’s Michelin-starred on-site restaurant is a highlight. But the slightly out-of-the-way residential location is a drawback. Read More »
Here’s one way to cope with the end of summer: Start planning your first weekend fall getaway. The Graham & Co in the Catskills is an attractive contender, drawing groups and young couples with free beer upon check-in, hipster-friendly decor, fire pit, projector for movie nights, quiet lounge with outdoor seating and low music, free loaner bikes, and a convenient location a couple of blocks from Main Street in Phoenicia.
With no TVs, spotty cell service in the area, and a location surrounded by nature (but within walking distance of restaurants and shops), The Graham & Co. lets guests get away from it all. It is relaxing, clean and simple, with 20 rooms of varying sizes (some have kitchens) featuring Tivoli radios with iPod hookups, reclaimed wood furniture, and large comfy bean bags — but little else.
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Fire Pit at The Graham & Co.
Nicaragua is still a diamond in the rough. It 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’s a much poorer country and it shows. However, the handful of luxury resorts in Nicaragua are proof that the upscale travel market here is emerging, and Mukul, the super-exclusive property that opened in February 2013, is helping to bring the country into the international spotlight.
Mukul is more than just a luxury resort; it is one of the most exclusive hideaways not only in Nicaragua, but Central America. The name, Mukul, is Mayan for “secret,” and guests are assured of a high level of privacy: The resort, part of a sprawling, 1670-acre beach community, has only 37 luxurious Bohios and Villas, and the grounds are not open to the public. The existence of the resort is hardly a secret, however, as this $40 million project helmed by Don Carlos Pellas, a Nicaraguan business magnate, is helping to change the face of the country’s tourism industry. The guests who can afford Nicaragua’s most expensive hotel rates will be rewarded with a gorgeous white-sand beach, one of the most beautiful spas in the world, an 18-hole golf course, gourmet cuisine, and pampering service — though they should note that construction on the property’s hillside real estate is still underway.
Spa at the Mukul Luxury Resort and Spa
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The marriage of travel and food has been a long and happy one. For foodies, a destination isn’t going to rank as a favorite unless its cuisine — be it Mexican food in San Diego, seafood in Seattle, or the hodgepodge of deliciousness that is New York – is something special. For us, that logic applies equally to the hotels where you stay within a city: not just hotels with great restaurants, but places that incorporate gourmet treats into the overall hotel experience. These hotels we love offer awesome foodie freebies, from decadent a la carte breafkasts to free nightly wine hours. Talk about tasty extras.
A la carte breakfast
The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.
Spotlight On: Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Costa Rica
Free hotel breakfasts aren’t exactly a rarity, but they are usually comprised of cereals, fruit, and, if you’re lucky, some moderately edible scrambled eggs. Not so at Gaia Hotel and Reserve, where the free breakfast is a gourmet a la carte affair. Menu items include Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, Italian Egg White Frittata, Vanilla and Mango Pancakes, a Costa Rican Breafkast, and more. And the freebies don’t stop there: The room rate also includes a short spa treatment.