September 2014

For those looking to ditch the typical 300-square-foot hotel room in favor of a more spacious pad, you are in luck. These days, more and more hotels are catering to the ever-growing crowd that seeks a home-away-from-home vibe by offering guests super-sized suites with tricked-out amenities. Whether its granite kitchen countertops, extra wiggle room, stunning views, added bathrooms, or a bevy of French doors — these hotels all give that spacious apartment vibe any claustrophobic would approve of. And to be clear, these feel less like our tiny studio apartments in NYC and more like the sprawling penthouse pads we can only dream about. So dream on >>

Aqua Soleil Hotel & Mineral Water Spa, Greater Palm Springs

Aqua Soleil

The larger rooms at Aqua Soleil look straight out of a Pottery Barn or West Elm catalogue. Each suite comes with a king bed, kitchenette, and large balcony with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains, as well as two flat-screen TVs with DVD players and a nice bathroom with a walk-in shower. (Some rooms even have their own personal pool!) This mid-range, 95-room hotel has limited curb appeal, but once on the property’s grounds, guests will find it is attractively landscaped and includes desert flora, a pool and spa filled with mineral water, and seating areas gathered around fire pits.

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This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel.

Traveling can be expensive. After all, hotels, transportation, dining, and sight-seeing add up quickly! But one way to lessen the financial load is to opt for hostels over hotels; these budget-oriented spots have an undeserved bad rap. Sure, they’re usually bare bones when it comes to accommodations, but they often offer a fun, vibrant scene that can really add to a guest’s overall traveling experience. Primarily geared toward young, party-oriented travelers who don’t mind sharing rooms with strangers, hostels can be a great option for a cheap place to crash — that also has a fun atmosphere. We’ve found eight hostels around the world that fit the bill. Expect hopping bars with alcohol flowing, lounges with pool and foosball tables, and guests from all over with whom you can dance and take a shot of Jägermeister.

Flying Pig Downtown, Amsterdam

Flying Pig Downtown

The Flying Pig Downtown is a friendly, fun-focused Amsterdam hostel. Located on a busy, central shopping street, this hostel is surrounded by many of the city’s nightlife hot spots, while also being a short walk to popular sights and the Red Light district. Private rooms are available in addition to the secure and tidy dorms, and the property is frequented by a mainly backpacking clientele. There is a modern guest kitchen, cozy smoking lounge, and lively bar on-site. One of two Flying Pigs properties in Amsterdam, this (in)famous landmark hostel is unashamedly geared towards the younger party crowd. Housed in an 18th-century townhouse, its bright colorful lobby attracts backpackers and weekend revelers looking for good times with like-minded spirits. Decor is fun and funky in common areas with colorful murals, eclectic furnishings, and a whiff of cannabis. The atmosphere, unsurprisingly, is relaxed and friendly, especially in the cozy, cushion-scattered smoking room. Things liven up in the evening in the busy bar with regular DJ sets.

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Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mega-resort just as much as the next person. But sometimes the large crowds, all-you-can-eat buffets, and 24-hour casinos make for an overwhelming stay. When we seek quieter, more intimate getaways, we head to these cottages, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts for some R&R.

Hidden Pond, Maine

Hidden Pond

If you’ve ever dreamt of living in the wilderness, but cringe at the bare bones nature of Thoreau’s stay in Walden, then consider Hidden Pond; it’s got all the seclusion and beauty you crave, with the upscale amenities you can’t live without. Spread over 60 acres in Kennebunkport, the individually decorated bungalows and cottages are cozy, with bright pops of color and some cabin-esque touches (think Ralph Lauren meets woods). The tree house-like spa is a nice perk, as is the organic vegetable farm, and the outdoor bar and restaurant with awesome seating around a fire pit.

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Owning and operating a hotel is a full-time job, and many of those who devote their lives to the hospitality industry specialize in all things hotel — and that’s it. But there are some unlikely faces in the exclusive “hotel owners of the world” club (hey, it probably exists) that got their starts in other industries; in fact, most of them have their hands in many pots and own their hotels while simultaneously acting, directing, cooking, designing, singing, running a country….you name it! So here we bring you nine surprising hotel owners, from chefs to sultans.

The Greenwich Hotel, owned by Robert De Niro

Greenwich Hotel

The Greenwich Hotel is the hub of Robert De Niro’s personal TriBeCa monopoly: he’s co-owner of the hotel, and also owns its direct neighbors, Locanda Verde restaurant and the Tribeca Film Center. Other owners include developers Ira Druker and Richard Born, of the Mercer and Bowery hotels — both of which are celebrity magnets. The Greenwich also attracts its fair share of stars with its gorgeous, homey rooms and sexy underground spa.

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room view

This property is NEW on Oyster! With 25 freestanding cottages along a 20-acre bird sanctuary, this hilly resort is one of just a handful of hotels on Harbour Island. Understated sophistication is the vibe here; the grounds are peaceful (except for the roaming roosters), and the occasional celeb, such as Paul McCartney and his family, can be found bunkering down in the Banyan Tree Estate Home (shown above). Most guests seem happy to spend their days simply soaking up the sun at Pink Sands Beach — a beautiful and unspoiled three-mile stretch of sand from which the resort takes its name. Ocean view cottages offer outstanding panoramas from the patios and private walking paths to the beach, but cost almost twice as much as garden view cottages. Room decor mixes modern and tradition, with sleek wooden bed frames, romantic open-style showers, and screened-in windows that allow breezes to float in from all sides, for a truly tranquil stay in the Bahamas

Click through the jump to see even more beautiful pics of what makes this spot a celebrity favorite >>

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Kids may not fret about mortgages and car payments but they’ve still got plenty of reason to de-stress. There’s dating blues, red-marked math exams, bad selfies, embarrassing parents, Justin Bieber drama — and that’s just the short list! So why not treat them to a little time at the spa — just like Mom and Dad! Yes, there are plenty of hotels out there that cater not only to adults but also to tots who need a decompressing massage or a pick-me-up pedicure. Here are our six top picks for hotel spas where kiddies can come along.

Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Orlando

Nickelodeon Suites After your kid has been walking for hours around a hot Orlando theme park, those little feet could use a nice soak! But the Nick Suites‘ kid spa offers way more than just pedicures and polish. Young guests can do everything from getting ‘inked’ with airbrush tattoos to requesting funky hair braids and feather extensions. Aside from having a super cool spa, this property is also one of Orlando’s best options for families. The property’s 777 suites, all with kitchens or kitchenettes, are spacious and well-designed to sleep families. Bonus: the on-site water park is the perfect spot to show off those freshly-painted toes!

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Staying in a New England inn during foliage season is the quintessential fall vacation. If you’re conjuring up images of historic mansions, elegant antiques, thick oriental rugs, and cozy fireplaces for those crisp fall nights – well, you’re right on the money. These ten inns all have charm to spare.

Ale House Inn, New Hampshire

Ale House Inn

The cozy 10-room Ale House Inn — more suited to adults than families — is housed in a historic 130-year-old former brewery warehouse a block from downtown Portsmouth. Room decor is minimalist, hip, and chic, but there isn’t much to this boutique hotel other than a small lobby and common area with free snacks. There is no on-site restaurant or bar, but the Market Square District location means shops and dining are nearby. The hotel gives free tickets to the Seacoast Rep Theater, which is located on the ground floor, and a free local beer upon arrival. Each room is equipped with a pre-loaded iPad that includes a ton of information about Portsmouth.

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A crackling fireplace, hot apple cider, vibrant leaves…these are just a few of the (amazing) things we associate with fall. And taking a cue from the dropping temperatures, at this time of year, hotels begin to entice travelers not with their refreshing pools or sandy beaches, but with cozy autumn amenities. From bed-and-breakfasts perfect for prime foliage viewing to city hotels that successfully capture a country vibe with fun activities like pumpkin carving contests, these seven picks are sure to make the transition from summer to fall a pleasant one. Just save some pumpkin pie for us!

In-Room Fireplaces: Fifteen Beacon, Boston

Fifteen Beacon

A 63-room upscale hotel with exquisite service and sleek decor in residential Beacon Hill, Fifteen Beacon (or XV Beacon) offers a luxury boutique experience. The building, constructed in 1903, blends historic New England elegance with modern, minimalist design and high-tech amenities. Expert concierges, free chauffeur service in a Lexus, and a location at the top of Boston Common make this hotel a great fit for discerning business or leisure travelers. Rooms are spacious, with stylishly masculine decor, and our favorite feature for fall are the working gas fireplaces. There are switches conveniently by the bed to turn on both the fireplace and stereo, so you can stay cuddled under the covers.

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palm springsEven though we’ve been trying to embrace all things fall, we still can’t help but feel like summer came and went too quickly this year. And while fireplaces and fall reading and apple picking are all nice, we’d still love some time defined by warm weather, sandy shoes, and suntan lotion – especially as the temperatures start to drop, and drop, and drop some more. So we’ve come up with an Endless Summer Series to satisfy our sand-and-sun dreamin’. It’s a simple idea based on the fact that no matter what month it is, it’s summer somewhere. And since it doesn’t get much hotter than the desert, we figured that was a pretty good place to start sizzling. No need to throw in the (beach) towel on your warm weather wanderlust!

Click through the jump to get all the scoop on Palm Springs in September…and where to stay for every budget >>

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Today is the first official day of fall, and while saying goodbye to the summertime is no easy feat…well, we don’t really have a choice. But to be honest, we’re looking forward to the days of football and beer, leaves crunching under our boots, and crackling fireplaces. And nowhere in the country does the fall season better than New England. So whether you’re planning a getaway to Massachusetts or Rhode Island, Vermont or New Hampshire, or Connecticut or Maine, we have a fun fall activity to get you in the seasonal spirit!

Go: Pumpkin Picking in Vermont

VT pumpkin picking

New England is replete with pumpkin-picking patches and Vermont has some of the best. While Stowe is often associated with winter skiing, it’s also prime for fall picking. With tons of open space and rolling hills, it is home to numerous farms where visitors can pick apples, pumpkins, and other produce.

Stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge is one of the top luxury properties in Vermont, and offers rustic elegance throughout — from the impressive lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows to the bright, contemporary rooms. This property has a lot in the way of amenities, particularly for the area: an inviting spa, big outdoor pool with mountain views, acclaimed restaurant, state-of-the-art fitness center, 18-hole golf course, and great children’s program. 

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