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Berlin is the European capital of underground culture, hipster style, and well… currywurst. [Ed. note: It's the best, we promise.] But the city is also home to top-notch museums, world-class operas, cutting-edge architecture, and first-rate shopping. All of this would come at a high price in any other city, but Berlin is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe (although the city still has plenty of pricey luxurious spots). Still, it’s not always easy to tell if the budget-friendly spot you’ve found delivers on value as well.  So to help you out, we’ve picked out our favorite wallet-friendly hotels in Berlin that are places you’d actually want to spend a night in. Check them out and enjoy your stay!

Excelsior Hotel Berlin

Modern, stylish rooms have crisp white wedding and sepia photographs.

Modern, stylish rooms have crisp white wedding and sepia photographs.

The Excelsior Hotel Berlin is a 316-room contemporary property near Ku’Damm. The modern rooms feature crisp white bedding, plush accents, and striking sepia photographs. Room perks include free Wi-Fi (for the first 30 minutes each day), a big flat-screen TV, a minibar, and a coffeemaker. Renovated bathrooms are large, and some upgraded rooms come with spacious balconies. This stylish property has an appealing lobby with flickering candles and the Franke Brasserie has a nice gas fireplace. And with a cozy on-site bar, fitness room, sauna, and steam room, this hotel is packed with amenities and value.

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In our new series, Europe on a Budget, we will be compiling guides of some of our favorite value hotels in each of Europe’s most popular destinations so that even those with tight budgets can plan the trip of their dreams.

Ahh, Paris – the art and fashion capital of the world known for its over-the-top luxury properties and bohemian boutiques. But though some (or, really, most people) can’t afford a stay at the iconic, Hotel Plaza Athenee or the Hotel Mathis Elysees Matignon, it doesn’t mean they have to skimp on their Parisian experience. Even the most budget-conscious travelers are sure to find value options without having to turn to crowded, 6-bed hostel rooms or chain hotels near the airport — especially with the help of this guide. Check out our top picks for budget-friendly hotels in Paris and start packing!

Hotel Palm Opera

Rooms are flooded with natural light and feature refreshing modern decor

Rooms are flooded with natural light and feature refreshing modern decor.

The 38-room Hotel Palm Opera is a well-run boutique with a fantastic central location. Rooms are clean and sophisticated with modern Danish-style minimalist decor, flat-screen TVs, and French balconies that offer excellent Parisian views. The bathrooms are as immaculately clean as are the rooms, which are also surprisingly spacious. There’s little else in the way of amenities other than a small on-site dining room for breakfast, but this allows this contemporary, stylish hotel to be such a good value.

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We love when we get a chance to hop across the pond and explore Europe. And one of the best parts of a European vacation is that even a quick jaunt can include visits to multiple countries. Traveling from the westernmost capital (Lisbon) to the easternmost (Moscow) takes just over five hours – which is less than the time it takes to fly from New York to Los Angeles — and many trips take only around an hour. Plus, you don’t need a visa for every country on your itinerary. So now that the Games are winding down (Go U.S.A.!), take a break from good ole’ London and top off your European getaway with visits to nearby countries. We compiled a list of our top picks for overnight trips, all less than a two-hour flight from London. Start packing!

Overnight Trip #1: Dublin

  • Flight Time: 1 hour
The Temple Bar are in Dublin is the perfect spot for a pint

The Temple Bar area in Dublin is the perfect spot for a pint

Ireland’s capital is a vibrant city with a small-town vibe. The relaxed atmosphere encourages lazy days throwing back pints in a pub, but tourists are certainly never at a want for things to do: Dublin boasts a hopping nightlife – especially in the Temple Bar area – as well as gorgeous architecture, beautiful gardens (don’t miss St. Stephen’s Green), wonderful museums, a surprisingly gourmet dining scene, and an easily walkable city center.

  • Tip: The pay-as-you-go bicycle system in the city center is a great way to explore Dublin, and is often a more reliable means of transportation than the public tram system. Just make sure you get a map before heading out for the day, as one-way streets can be tricky.

STAY AT: The Morgan

One-Bedroom Suite at The Morgan; Dublin, Ireland

One-Bedroom Suite at The Morgan; Dublin, Ireland

The Morgan is a boutique hotel located in Temple Bar, the “cultural quarter” and nightlife center in Dublin. The all-white rooms have comfortable beds and crisp linens, and are complete with modern bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and electric kettles. While there is no gym or spa, and in-room Wi-Fi comes at an additional fee, the hotel is home to a popular neighborhood bar serving a small tapas menu and cocktails.

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Gilded moldings and rococo-esque ceiling paintings are just a start. These hotels are so Europe-esque you may forget you’re still in America.

The Pierre

Completed in 1930, The Pierre was built with a Neo-Georgian exterior (an American and English architecture inspired by the 17th century Georgian style of the first four British monarchs of Hanover). The upmost floors’ exterior, however, was modeled after the Royal Chapel at Versailles with Corinthian pilasters, arch-headed windows, and a copper roof.

The Pierre - A Taj Hotel

The Pierre - A Taj Hotel

During the hotel’s 2009 renovations, decor was updated with Asian accents but many French aesthetics remain, like the Rococo-inspired wall murals and the trompe l’oeil ceiling painting of the sky.

The Pierre - A Taj Hotel

The Pierre - A Taj Hotel

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The rotunda at The Pierre makes you feel like you're at Versailles.

A jet-set trip to Europe may not be within your budget — but that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your dreams of Europe right here at home. Some of our favorite New York City hotels will make you feel like you’re across the pond with their flair for decor, dining, and service. So whether walking through the front door transplants you in a Tuscan villa or gliding down the gilded staircase makes you think “let them eat cake!,” below we’ll show you the New York City hotels that have that certain je ne sais quoi that will transplant you to Europe.

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European history in Miami?

by Paul Rubio on February 26, 2010

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida

Sometimes a city is so young it has to import its history and commemorated architecture. In the case of Miami, several buildings were constructed in the early 1900s to resemble old European styles; in other instances, historical establishments were taken apart and shipped to the U.S. Two of Miami’s most spectacular historical sights are explained below. Read More »

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Sin City sets the standard for raucous debauchery twelve months a year. But once spring hits, Vegas’s scene gets even hotter with sizzling poolside parties. Some of our favorite “waterfront” hotspots are opening this coming weekend with over-the-top parties, and others have been in full swing for months now. So if you’re ready to dive into booze-fueled and bikini-studded daytime fiestas — or are at least curious enough to dip a toe — here are the seven hottest Las Vegas pool parties happening every weekend for the rest of the spring and summer. (And no, it is not a coincidence that we picked seven sinful spots).

Opening Soon:

TAO Beach at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino

tao

This Saturday, the Venetian’s TAO Beach Club reopens with a wild pool party hosted by Jason Derulo. The singer will perform multiple hits at the pool’s modified space, which features a larger stage and more spots for being able to get a good view of the performance. DJ Eric D-Lux will also help keep the beats pumpin’. Entry is $30/person (although, typical for Vegas, women get a $10 discount) but those who really want to live it up can rent one of the pool’s luxe cabanas, which comes complete with massive TVs with DVD libraries, minibars, and butler service that includes personal body misters, sunglass cleaners, and food and drink service.

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Calling all adrenaline junkies! Our hearts are in the bottoms of our stomaches just thinking about bungee jumping, but we know some of you seek out breathtaking, heart-stopping, pulse-quickening adventures on the reg. Well, if that’s what you crave, bungee jumping is just the ticket! And if you’re already game to try something terrifying, you might as well conquer the most terrifying, right?! Here are the world’s five most terrifying bungee jumps (plus, five beautiful hotels for celebrating — or sleeping — post-feat).

1. Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe

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Connecting the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Victoria Falls Bridge crosses over the second gorge of its namesake — which, as the largest waterfall in the world, is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World as well. Only the bold bungee jump from this bridge; after all, the jump plummets 364 feet over the Zambezi River, which in turn is filled with crocodiles — but the views are breathtaking…if you can keep your eyes open!

Where to Stay: Matetsi Water Lodge is located on a massive game reserve by the Zambezi River. The lodge’s 18 suites are intimate and surprisingly luxe — each suite has its own plunge pool, patio, large bathroom with separate shower and tub, and bedroom with river views.

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It’s hard to resist the complex flavors and rich history that comes with drinking a glass of vino. And heck, it’s hard to resist sipping on wine even without all that history…but it is noteworthy — and fascinating: In a process dating back to 6000 BC (well before the Romans epitomized the drink across the Mediterranean), the transformation from crushed grapes to delectable alcoholic beverage has been an important part of the human tradition — whether it be celebratory, religious, you name it.

From the Greek Isles to Australia’s Yarra Valley, from Chardonnay to Shiraz, some variation of the grape stuff can be found the world over. And for the discerning traveler looking to explore a region’s gustatory offerings, many wineries await with open arms (and free-flowing wine) to offer tours of their operation and — most importantly — samples of their best vintages. Picturesque backdrops set the scene across the globe for a truly delicious (and perhaps tipsy) experience. So whether you’re a wine aficionado or an eager wino student, pack your bags and make sure to bring a corkscrew, because these far flung locales have just the bottle of wine for you.

1. Napa Valley, California

napa

Napa Valley — home to some of the most charming cities in the U.S. — is also one of the world’s best wine-growing regions, with hundreds of wineries sprawling across the rolling hills. Wineries can occasionally feel a little touristy (it’s not uncommon to see a tour bus parked outside), but perhaps that’s inevitable in one of the world’s top wine-tasting destinations. The valley is actually divided into fourteen sub-regions, each suited to a particular grape, so you can map your tour based on your wine preferences.

Where to Stay: If you’re daydreaming of a luxury stay in the heart of wine country — complete with impressive views, rustic-luxe charm, and lavish  amenities — you can’t do much better than the Harvest Inn. Each guest receives a bottle of wine upon arrival, and many rooms overlook the neighboring vineyards of St. Helena.  Read More »

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Spring break is right around the corner — finally! After a long winter of snow and slush, it’s time to escape the homestead and let loose. But a quick trip to an island all-inclusive isn’t for everyone. Maybe desert vistas are more your thing? Or you’d rather climb a mountain than windsurf in the Caribbean? No matter what your vacation style, we have a spring break plan for you that promises to be everything but run-of-the-mill.

If the desert sun is calling your name, head to Albuquerque, New Mexico: 

albuquerque

Albuquerque, located about an hour from Santa Fe, is often overlooked. Like Santa Fe, Albuquerque is dotted by adobe historic buildings, and has boiling summers. Albuquerque is known as the “hot air balloon capital” of the U.S. and if you like the city in the spring, you should be sure to revisit in the fall when the world’s largest hot air balloon festival takes place here. Albuquerque also boasts gorgeous terrain, a chance to cross the Rio Grande, and an amazing fine arts community. Not to mention, as the setting for AMC’s Breaking Bad, the city attracts more than one Walter White fan.

Stay: The gorgeous and hip Hotel Andaluz is housed in a historic building with a luxe vibe and eco-friendly focus. Featuring a rooftop bar and a stunning lobby, the Andaluz evokes the feel of a Spanish resort, yet also honors its own history as a New Mexico landmark with extensive Southwestern art throughout. Read More »

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