May 2014

It seems that every week a new tablet device has launched or a new robot is being introduced to do the work of a person — and hotels that know what’s up have made sure to stock up on these new technologies. Although summer vacations are traditionally meant for getting away and unplugging, we can’t help but love these super high-tech hotels that boast some of the coolest geek-friendly amenities we’ve ever seen. From Bond-like retina scans to robots (yes, robots), these ten hotels have some pretty awesome technology.

Fingerprint Scan Room Entry at Alma Barcelona

fingerprint

A smartly designed luxury boutique hotel, the Alma Barcelona has 72 quiet, upscale rooms with flat-panel TVs and free Wi-Fi. Unlike the nearby Majestic, the pool here is indoors, but the rooftop terrace has first-rate views of the Eixample and Sagrada Familia. Style here has a starring role: design elements include fingerprint swiping instead of room keys, and architectural features such as a minimalist light-filled atrium. 

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Miami BeachYes, you read that right — Miami Beach is getting (another!) hip boutique hotel. Thompson Hotels — who we already know and love from the Smyth Hotel, Gild Hall, and Thompson Toronto, among others — will be opening the Thompson Miami Beach in late 2014 on Collins Avenue, just south of the Fontainebleau. The hotel was a whopping $200 million investment for Commune Hotels & Resorts (the hotel management company for not only Thompson Hotels, but another lovely boutique chain we love, Joie de Vivre) and the property will reportedly have preserved Art Deco features blended with contemporary glamour and bohemian flair. Sounds about right for what we’ve come to expect from the area’s trendiest boutiques.

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Summer is a time for celebration, family bonding, and — most importantly, in our book — travel. But when vacation extravaganzas to far-flung islands and ancient cities don’t fit into the budget, the answer is not to skip vacation: it’s to nearcation! (Yes, we just made a new word. And we think it’s kinda awesome.) Avoid the cost of flights, currency exchange, and pricey destinations for some spectacular cities that are just a short drive from major U.S. cities — we know where you live… So without further adieu, check out five nearcation destinations that won’t break the bank, but will be just the amazing vacation break that you need!

Atlantic City 

Driving Time from New York City: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Atlantic City

When most people think of Atlantic City, they think gambling, and casinos galore. While that’s certainly a major part of the destination, Atlantic City is also an excellent choice for a wallet-friendly summer vacation that doesn’t have to include time spent at the tables. In fact, this sparkling seaside city offers one of the East Coast’s most impressive lineups of comedy shows, concerts, festivals ,and events, and then piles on plenty of outdoor attractions: sandy beaches, a festive boardwalk (don’t miss the saltwater taffy!), New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, an aquarium, ballet, sport fishing, golf, museums, trolley tours, surfing and a lot, lot more. (Bonus: Check out our non-gamer’s guide to Atlantic City.)

Where to Stay: It’s easy to score a great deal at one of Atlantic City’s casino hotels, but our value pick goes to the Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City. Decked out in Roaring Twenties-themed decor and just steps from the boardwalk, this hotel in an extremely affordable option.

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So Spain’s Costa del Sol is pretty renowned (and justly so), but it doesn’t get quite as much international love as the French Riviera or Amalfi Coast. We’re not quite sure why, because it’s pretty friggin’ gorgeous, and hotels here are a fraction of the price of those in more famous Mediterranean beach destinations. If whitewashed buildings in charming Andalusian seaside towns sounds like your kind of thing, you’ll probably dig these seven hotels. It doesn’t hurt that the views are postcard-perfect….

Hotel Balcon de Europa

Hotel Balcon de EuropaThe Hotel Balcon de Europa is one of many four-pearl luxury hotel choices on the Málaga coast, but what sets this 108-room property apart is its prime location on the beach in the center of tourist-friendly Nerja. There’s definitely an adult vibe here thanks to the rooftop swimming pool, spa facilities, and a romantic restaurant with views of the beach through floor-to-ceiling windows. Read More »

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A beach getaway is meant to be a relaxing escape. But when you’re spending a fortune for just a few days on the sand, it can be everything but a time of peace and tranquility. Fortunately, we’ve traveled to beaches all over the world and have stayed not only in luxe beachfront hotels, but also in lovely motel-style beach properties that are — wait for it — affordable. Here are our top ten picks.

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows

1. Ke Iki Beach Bungalows; Oahu, HI

These 11 beachfront bungalows offer a solid value, and sit just above the sand on Hawaii’s picturesque North Shore. Sure, the bungalows are modest, amenities are few, and service is minimal. But a beautiful beach is just outside the door, as are hammocks and grills, and parking is free. Oahu’s most famous surfing spots and a charming surfer town, Haleiwa, are just down the street.

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The Cromwell_Ribbon CuttingAfter renovations costing $185 million, The Cromwell opened in Las Vegas on Wednesday — just in time for the swarms of visitors arriving this weekend for the Memorial Day holiday. Though Sin City has been home to massive casino resorts for decades, the luxe Cromwell follows the newer trend of small boutique Vegas hotels that focus more on quality than quantity. Special, attention-to-detail perks at this property include in-room hair straighteners (finally, a hotel understands what that heat can do to our hair!), sexy steam showers, and free coffee service on every floor. But The Cromwell is not just a trend-follower but a trendsetter: While boutiques such as the Nobu Hotel (located inside a tower at Caesars Palace) have been opening over the last couple of years, this property is the first stand-alone boutique on The Strip…ever. It will also be home to celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis’s first restaurant, which opens on June 3. See more photos of the brand new property after the jump. [The Cromwell]

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Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and her baby North West arrive at the 'Givenchy' store in Paris

The Internet has been abuzz this week with the prospect of the upcoming Kimye nuptials, supposedly taking place in Paris this weekend. Rumors have been swirling as to the locale of the grand event, with guesses of everywhere from Versailles (Kim shot this rumor down) to Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere (still a possibility, so we hear). But it got us thinking not so much about the famous couple’s preferences for where to stay and where to wed, but those of their daughter, North West. She’s just along for the ultra-luxurious ride, but she must have a few favorite spots from her travels around the world. And if we’re talking about North West, we can’t leave out celebrity spawn such as Blue Ivy, Suri Cruise, and more. Here are the luxe hotels where celebrity tots have stayed.

Since this article’s publication, Kim and Kanye wed in a lavish ceremony in Italy before jetting off to Ireland for their honeymoon.

See where the most adorable celebrity tykes lay their heads >>

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There’s something about boutique hotels that make them sexier than your average getaway: Smaller spaces and dark corners, personalized service, and often diligent attention to detail make them well-suited for the romantically-inclined. We picked our favorite boutiques that have all the necessary trappings for romance.

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thailand photo The Thai military announced on Thursday that it has taken over the government in a coup — but those with travel plans to Thailand don’t necessarily have to scuttle them. The military chief said it should be business as usual for the public , and the military promised to provide security for foreign vacationers, CNN reports. So if you sunk thousands of dollars into plane tickets and hotel rooms, don’t panic just yet. Past protests and conflict have primarily taken place in Bangkok, so those heading to the beaches may be able to steer clear of problems — though partiers may not appreciate the 10 p.m. curfew the military has imposed.  We’re sure there will be more news about this in the days to come, and those planning to visit the country this year should keep an eye on travel alerts from the U.S. state department.

Photo credit: Darren Johnson/Flickr

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We get it, you love your kids. But some occasions — anniversaries, romantic holidays, and even just good ole sexy time — require an adults-only escape. Enter these six sensual (and beautiful) adults-only resorts and inns, each of which promises all the accouterments of the ideal vacation a deux. From fluttering bed canopies to massages for two, from private rainforests to seaside cliffs (and some secluded corners private enough for a little hanky panky, as well!), these six kids-free vacations deliver the ultimate in romantic luxury.

Gaia Hotel And Reserve

Gaia Hotel And Reserve, Costa Rica

The adults-only Gaia Hotel, located in spectacular Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, is a romantic tropical haven. Surrounded by a private rainforest reserve, this boutique boasts exotic blooms, hooting howler monkeys, and lush scenery at nearly every turn. Many couples appreciate the quiet, the ambiance and the attentive service, which includes freebies such as delicious breakfasts and a 20-minute spa treatment.

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