Oslo

Sweden and Norway typically conjure images a la Frozen: Stunning icescapes punctuated by the rogue reindeer or a flash of brilliance from the Northern Lights. But there is more to these Northern European countries than meets the eye — and it’s not all winter and chill. When hockey season ends and the sun comes out to play, Scandinavians flock to the coastline for summering on the shore. Whether boating along their country’s rugged oceanfront or exploring its lakes, Scandinavians embrace the warm weather with gusto. There’s also phenomenal hiking, golfing, and other athletic activities to enjoy, as well as island hopping and shopping, so Norway and Sweden are both wonderful, not to mention atypical, holiday vacations to squeeze in before the summer’s over. Check out our favorite stays and activities in Scandinavia.

1. Hotel J; Nacka, Sweden 

hotel j

This nautical-themed, boutique hotel has a secluded, out-in-the-country feel perfect for summering in Sweden – but in reality, it’s only a 10-minute drive from central Stockholm, making it convenient as well as picturesque. Though the suburban area of Nacka, one of the city’s business hubs, can be relatively quiet at night, the Hotel J has an excellent waterfront restaurant that’s often bustling. Nacka is well-regarded among sailing enthusiasts and spa-goers, making it an apt choice for a holiday. Read More »

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The opening ceremony for Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will be broadcast on Friday, February 7th, which means that Olympics fever is nearly here. Those of us who love the Winter Olympics may be looking for a taste of our own Olympics glory – without going to Russia. Luckily, many hotels are allowing guests the chance to partake in the Olympics fun through Olympics-inspired packages. Whether you want to relive Winter Olympics past or simply show off your own winter sports prowess at some of the world’s top winter destinations, these hotels have got you covered.

Resort at Squaw Creek, Lake Tahoe

Resort at Squaw Creek, Lake TahoeThe Resort at Squaw Creek is one of the largest hotels in Squaw Valley, where the 1960 Winter Olympics were held. It’s making the most of its Olympics past with the 1960 Winter Games Penthouse Package, which includes penthouse accommodations for two nights as well as two lift tickets and two adult ski rentals per day, among other offerings. The hotel has a ski-in, ski-out location with lift to Squaw Valley, making it easy for guests to ski the same slopes of long-ago Olympic greats. Read More »

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Ballnahinch Castle, one of Ireland's most beautiful historic stays, has played host to Pirate Queens, members of Parliament, and an Indian Maharaja.

Europe’s rich history is alive and well at these amazing hotels. Seeming to appear straight out of the history books, these castles, palaces, and monasteries have been the host to some of our world’s most interesting — and sometimes notorious — affairs. Pirate Queens, famous authors, scheming politicians, and celebrities of days past and present have walked through these corridors — and now you can, too, just by clicking through our slideshow.

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Pool at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa; Atlantic City, NJ

Pool at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; Atlantic City, NJ

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has launched an in-room gambling program that allows guests to gamble through their TV sets.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Angelica Huston and Donna Karan were recently seen partying at The Surrey in New York until the wee hours.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The B Ocean Fort Lauderdale is offering several special promos for March 1st that include $13 rooms, breakfast buffets for $13 and two cocktails for $13, as the date will be palindrome (3/1/13).

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Peninsula Beverly Hills has an on-site Nutrition Adviser who works upon request with the hotel’s chefs to create healthy meals for each guest.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Comfort Hotel Grand Central in Oslo is housed in the city’s original train station, built in 1854.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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We’re all about a funky hotel or two, but some of the coziest spots are those with shabby-chic decor — just homey enough to be comforting, while still packing in a lot of style. Shabby-chic hotel design is a study in the art of textural contrasts: vintage leather, velvet furniture, deliberately faded rugs, woods, and rich prints all add to the look. And when shabby-chic is done well, the end result is impressively style-conscious, yet more livable than some, shall we say more modern, spots we’ve visited.  So today we’re giving a photo tour of our favorite hotels that have the shabby-chic vibe down pat. Get inspired — and get the look!

Petit Ermitage, Los Angeles

Butterfly Bar at the Petit Ermitage

We love the cozy, laid-back look of the Petit Ermitage, a quaint boutique in West Hollywood. The hotel’s bohemianism — think stained glassdistressed fixtures, and plenty of interesting artwork – gives the common areas and rooms a whimsical vibe and clearly attracts a fair share of hipsters, who can be found by the rooftop pool or in the lobby. It may not look like much from the outside, but the Petit Ermitage not only boasts an attention-to-detail in the design, but also in the amenities it provides (rooftop garden, tasty restaurant, pool), especially for a hotel of its size.

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