Santa Barbara

Resorts and mega-hotels certainly have their perks, but few stays can feel as personal or as cozy as one at a quaint bed-and-breakfast. While the level of luxury and service can vary greatly from one B&B to another (some claim the status simply by offering free bagels each morning), we’ve had the good fortune of holing up in some particularly charming bed-and-breakfasts across the states. From romantic rooms that maintain the property’s historic flair to absolutely glorious breakfast buffet spreads, these twelve bed-and-breakfasts offer the very best in the U.S.

1. Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn

Savannah Inn

The 15-room Savannah Bed and Breakfast Inn was built in 1853 in the southern end of the historical quarter of Savannah and is listed in the local register of Historic Inns. Each room has individual character, but all are decorated in a formal, traditional style with four-poster beds, oriental carpets, and shelves stocked with books. The inn is renovated and bathrooms are modern, but certain period features, like steep, narrow staircases, remain. Breakfast included in the daily rate is excellent and southern-inflected; afternoon tea and evening cookies are also served. Rooms are available in four carriage houses and assorted nearby cottages.

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Throughout our travels we’ve seen over-the-top luxurious rooms, themed rooms, massive rooms, just plain weird rooms, and everything in between. But for some rooms that we’ve gotten the chance to explore, there’s no better way to describe them than just, well, cool. Whether they’re located in caves or decked out in all-over orange (you’ll understand in a minute), these ten picks are some of the coolest hotel rooms in the world.

1. The Suite of Orange at Hotel Estherea, Amsterdam

 Hotel Estherea

Hotel Estherea takes a maximalist approach to its interior design, and treads the fine line between plush extravagance and gaudiness with aplomb. This is particularly apparent in the lavish Suite of Orange, which lives up to its name; decked out in various shades of orange with plenty of mahogany touches, it features a gorgeous chandelier and high-tech amenities such as massive flat-screen TVs and iPads upon request. The hotel’s location on the Singel canal is picturesque, and well positioned for exploring Amsterdam‘s attractions.

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We’ve traveled all around the globe, and even though every destination we’ve visited — and its hotels — are unique, we’ve learned that most have at least a few things in common. Intriguingly so, we’ve discovered that many a locale has no problem with a little nudity and naughtiness – especially when it’s in the privacy of a hotel room. Here we bring you a look at one of the biggest hotel trends to date: peek-a-boo bathrooms.

Artrip Hotel, Madrid

Artrip Hotel

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Finally, the temperatures across the states — and around the world — have begun to rise and it’s got us itching to get out in the great outdoors. While exploring completely unchartered territory can be quite the adventure (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not-so-good way), we’re the types who prefer resort camping grounds; the tent is already assembled, the amenities are plentiful, and staff is on hand should you need some assistance — way better than having to ask the creepy guy in the neighboring tent, in our opinion. Here are our five favorite resorts for camping this spring and summer.

El Capitan

1. El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara

Twenty miles north of Santa Barbara, situated on 300 acres of canyon wilderness, El Capitan Canyon offers a camping, or “glamping,” experience with enough modern conveniences to satisfy travelers who would rather just semi-rough it. Guests stay in cabins, tents, or yurts; only cabins have en-suite bathrooms. All accommodations have electricity and wooden floors. El Capitan Canyon provides the fun and adventure of camping but with many of the comforts of a hotel.

 

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Welcome to the ultra-luxe Four Seasons The Biltmore. One of the most iconic properties in Santa Barbara, this beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival resort was built in 1927 and has attracted the likes of JFK and Jackie O, the Kardashian clan, and even several film crews — with stars like Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in tow. It sits on 22 pristine acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and the sprawling grounds are home to gorgeous pools, elegant restaurants, and beautiful gardens.

A stay at this Four Seasons is like stepping into an earlier, more civilized time — but with all the modern conveniences guests crave. The spacious grounds (crisscrossed by winding pathways) convey privacy, and the terra-cotta terraces, ornate and colorful tile work, and high-beamed ceilings give the large public spaces a cozy feel. Active visitors will find lots to do both on and off the grounds, including tennis, swimming, yoga, croquet, biking, and stand-up paddle boarding. The spa offers Santa Barbara and Four Seasons-themed treatments, including grapeseed and red wine-infused body scrubs and wraps. The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, on Butterfly Beach, includes an Olympic pool, steam rooms, saunas, and a hefty dose of retro glamour, free of charge to all guests except those staying in Superior or Deluxe rooms.

All this have your attention? When we visited the property we took tons of professional pics, so take a breathtaking photo tour of The Biltmore after the jump.

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As any true food lover will tell you, the best things in life come in dozens: donuts, bagels, cupcakes… you catch our drift. So today we’re bringing you the best beach resorts for foodies, in a tasty set of twelve. After all, a beach vacation is always a treat, but when it’s paired with culinary delights — well, it’s that much sweeter. From Caribbean all-inclusive resorts with tens of celebrity chef-helmed restaurants, to hidden spots where the ocean-facing restaurant is a destination unto itself, we’ve found twelve amazing beach resorts with amazing foodie-pleasing offerings. Bon appetit!

 

Casa de Campo

1. Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic 

The D.R.’s classiest, most famous resort since 1974, the Casa de Campo hotel is part of a massive, 7,000-acre resort community that includes three world-renowned golf courses, an immaculate beach, a marina, and thirteen delicious restaurants. With everything from a casual pizzeria to a lively tapas bar, Casa de Campo has something for every kind of foodie; those with a leaning towards celebrity will enjoy the Caribbean outpost of Le Cirque, sitting right on the beach and serving up tasty bites like fried fish sliders.

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This year, thanks to an aptly-timed Presidents’ Day, Valentine lovers get a long weekend to celebrate romance — and the two holidays aren’t as unrelated as one might expect. Some of our fearless leaders have been decidedly romantic, and quite often their romantic rendezvous have taken place at some of the country’s most romantic hotels. Whether they are treating the First Lady (or their other lady loves) to a relaxing vacation, or pining for their loved one from a hotel suite for one, these presidents sure know a thing or two about l’amour. This Valentine’s weekend, you might consider booking a hotel with the presidential seal of approval.

San Ysdiro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, Santa Barbara 

San Ysidro

The Presidential Couple: John and Jackie Kennedy 

Back in 1953, the former president and his new bride paid just $27 to spend a night at this luxurious resort as they traveled from Acapulco up the Californian coast. Nowadays, that same suite — renamed the Kennedy Cottage after the couple — goes for thousands of dollars per night. Read More »

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If you and your honey have VIP taste when you travel, you’ll be in good company at these romantic resorts. All of them have made headlines for hosting celebrity couples, from Brad and Angie at Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S Virgin Islands to, most recently, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer and his girlfriend at Half Moon in Jamaica (where he either did or did not suck her toes in a hot tub, depending on whether you believe the New York Post). So what makes these resorts special enough for the likes of Hollywood royalty (and in some cases, royalty royalty)? We’ll give you the inside scoop.

Half Moon, Jamaica

Half Moon, JamaicaWhen Eliot Spitzer and girlfriend Lis Smith vacationed together at Half Moon, Jamaica in early January, they made headlines for some racy hot tub behavior (specifically, Spitzer was reported to have sucked on Smith’s toes). The report turned out to be unreliable, but we imagine the pair had a lovely time at Half Moon even without the toe-sucking. The 400-acre resort has two miles of pristine beach, a dolphin lagoon, horse stables, and a spectacular spa; it’s fit not only for American political royalty (JFK and Jackie stayed here long before Spitzer) but actual royalty (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and The Prince of Wales have also visited). Read More »

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The Inn on the Blue Horizon is one of our favorite B&Bs in the Caribbean.

We love the quaint, homey vibe that comes with bed-and-breakfasts. And when they’re located beachside, where mega-resorts are more often the norm, they feel even more like hidden gems. Plan your next getaway — or just dream about it — by clicking through our slideshow of the best B&Bs on the beach. Many dot New England’s coast, but some, like this first one, are further flung — and just as fabulous.

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Summertime is fast-approaching and we can’t wait till the days of top-down convertibles, cover-ups and flip-flops dress codes, and mini weekend getaways. After all, a share can be great but there’s something about a spontaneous trip to the beach to really make it feel like summer. So whether your home base is New York or Los Angeles, D.C. or San Francisco, or even Boston, we have a beach destination that can easily be reached via a quick road trip. So grab a map, your sunglasses, and some road trippin’ munchies, and make your escape!

Weekend Getaway from New York City: Montauk

Travel time: 2 hours, 30 minutes via car

Visit Montauk before the "too cool" Hamptons vibe has rubbed off on it.

It may seem cliche, but there’s a reason why Manhattanites flock to the Hamptons come summer. Home to upscale restaurants, trendy workout clubs, quirky shops, and of course, beautiful beaches, it offers a nice reprieve from the congestion and smog of the city — while maintaining that cool (and sometimes snobbish) city vibe. Montauk, located at the furthest tip, however, has a more laid-back feel; residents fear that a recent influx of visitors will taint its unpretentious reputation, but for now it’s a nice alternative to the ultra-exclusive vibe of other Hamptons.

Where to Stay: A cool party spot, Sole East attracts a young, beautiful crowd. With a tasty on-site restaurant, a small pool with loungers, and beach cruisers available for rent, it’s a great pick.

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