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!
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
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
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.
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
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
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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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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 »
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 »
A waterfront vacation doesn’t have to mean a trip to the beach. River locales, such as charming San Antonio or rugged Snoqualmie, offer plenty of the same draws as oceans and lakes. Flowing past some of America’s best cities, around mountain ranges, and through desserts, these rivers are the optimal alternative vacation spots for boating, fishing, hiking, and more while on vacation. So get ready to dive into our favorite river destinations.
1. May River in Bluffton, South Carolina
The May River is just one corner of gorgeous Carolina Lowcountry.
Carolina Lowcountry is a truly other-worldly corner of the United States. Here, salty marshes and mossy forests are connected by scenic waterways. The May, Cooper, and New Rivers wind through the region’s haunting landscapes, providing visitors with unique ways to soak in the beauty of the region. Boating and kayaking are popular, especially since bottlenose dolphins are common in this area. You can also go fishing, crabbing, or shrimping.
STAY: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff
This “inn” in Carolina Lowcountry is really more akin to a sprawling estate, offering a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming; plus, the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. Read More »
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 »
Sometimes spa treatments tip over the edge of relaxing and enter the realm of downright strange. From fish pedicures to snow rooms, hotels around the globe are offering unique (and kinda weird) options for guests to indulge in. Some might swear by these alternative services, others may be skeptical — but we at Oyster will try (almost) anything once! Here, we’ve rounded up the craziest spa services we’ve come across during our travels. Take a look and prepare to get pampered in a whole new way!
The Treatment: Sparience Oxygen Bubble
The Spa Hotel: Gran Hotel La Florida, Barcelona
The Sparience Oyxgen Bubble experience is stress-reducing.
At the Zen Zone Spa in Barcelona, guests can try out the Sparience Oyxgen Bubble. Meant to relieve stress and minimize injury recovery time, these bubbles are filled with 99.5 percent pure oxygen, which should induce intense mental and physical relaxation. The sculpted AlphaSphere bed combines color, shape, and light with sound, vibrations, and warmth to increase the effects of the treatment. It all sounds well and good, but doesn’t it remind you a bit of this John Travolta classic? Read More »
Hundreds of wineries dot the rolling hills in Napa and Sonoma counties, the heart of California wine country. Visitors come from all over the globe for the region’s beautiful vineyards, quaint towns, hot air balloon rides, world-class cuisine, and, of course, wine. Travelers looking to get pampered should consider these top luxury hotels.
Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort, Napa Valley
It’s no wonder royalty, A-list celebrities, and athletes keep returning to the luxury Calistoga Ranch: It’s in a class all by itself. Guests rent exquisite private lodges, set on a private 157-acre park-like property complete with hiking trails and a top-of-the-line restaurant and spa. Attention to detail carries over from room design to landscape planning — all modules for the lodges were flown in by helicopter to minimize impact on surrounding trees and to maximize privacy. The property boasts plenty of activities, including outdoor yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, a bocce court, a fabulous fitness center, and wine tasting seminars. If guests decide to venture out for some reason, they can easily access downtown Calistoga and other towns with not only loaner bikes, but loaner Mercedes-Benzes! Read More »