Hostels are great ways to make any trip more affordable. I mean, you can’t beat a clean bed, ensuite, and breakfast for $30/night can you? But staying in a hostel means there are a few extra things I need to pack. Find out what they are.
In 2016 Ljubljana, Slovenia was named Europe’s Green Capital. In the middle of the green capital, surrounded by parks, is the city’s greenest hotel. Some hotels say they’re environmentally friendly and sure, they may not wash your sheets and towels every day but they’ve got nothing on the Hotel Park in Ljubljana.
Have you ever had a long layover in a city during the day? Sure, you could pay to store your luggage at the airport while you go explore the city. But what if all you really wanted was a nap, a shower and to binge on Netflix until your next flight? Or what if you really need a workout and a swim to recover from the flight? Enter the day use hotel.
Ever since WestJet announced their direct flights to London from St. John’s last year, it’s dawned on me that England is now entirely possible as a long weekend getaway. It can be cheaper to get to London than it is to get to Toronto. Crazy talk. And with only a 3.5h time difference it’s time to start considering London for you next girls getaway.
When you think luxurious, indulgent night on the town in St. John’s, two things should come to mind: dinner at Raymonds Restaurant and a stay at the Luxus. The prices aren’t for the faint of heart but both experiences are memorable and remarkable. I was recently lucky enough to experience both and I’m still pinching myself.
If you want to feel like a pampered princess without breaking the bank, than Nicaragua is the place for you. And Los Patios Hotel in Granada is a great example of that: a beautiful boutique hotel with personalized service in a convenient location for exploring the colonial streets of the city.
“Are you in Paris?” a family member asked me on Facebook after seeing me post a photo from the Hotel Elysée. I wasn’t. I was in New York. Outside my window, beyond my 14th floor patio, traffic crawled by on East 54th St., but inside my room I could’ve been in the City of Lights.
Maybe I’m a hotel snob. Maybe I’ve become spoiled. I used to think a Holiday Inn was fancy. These days though, when I check into a nice hotel I’m always a bit disappointed when there’s no robe waiting for me in the closet. To me, it’s a symbol for the hotel experience and the pampering feeling I’m hoping to get out of it.
I love unique places. With a chain hotel, you generally know what you’re getting and I can see how if you travel a lot, that sameness can be reassuring. One less thing to worry about. I like taking a chance on a one-off though. Interesting and unique hotels are part of the travel charm. Well, you can’t get much more unique than the Gallery Inn in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
35 years old and I’d never stayed in a hostel before but with recent house renovation bills coming in and two weeks in Europe already booked I was feeling poor and hostels were cheap. “It’ll be an adventure!” I told myself though I wasn’t sure I really believed it. Wasn’t I too old to be getting on with this foolishness? “You’re booked into a four star hotel in Paris and now you’re looking at a hostel in Barcelona? And a dorm room no less! Foolish.” But you know, curiosity (and my wallet) got to me in the end and that’s how I became a first time hostel guest – booking myself into an 8-bed female dorm at the St. Christopher’s Inn in Barcelona for two nights. I researched hostels carefully and shuddered when I’d see photos of open bunk beds in a room. The thought of sleeping in an open…
Paris strikes me as a lady of a city. Elegant and refined. Not gaudy and loud. Not overly showy or pushy. When I think of hotels in Paris I think of cozy, elegant rooms mixing heritage buildings and fine fixtures. Of hushed conversations and real tea drunk from china cups, not paper. On the border between the 8th and 9th arrondissements sits the newly opened Hotel de Seze, which embodies all of these qualities.
A lot of people will claim that their favourite smell is freshly baked bread. Boutique hotels are starting to get on with having a unique fragrance in their lobbies. What do the two have to do with each other? At the Praktik Bakery Hotel in Barcelona they combine a scented lobby and the smell of fresh baked bread. Except this scent doesn’t come from a factory. It comes from the real live bakery in the lobby, producing bread and sweets all day, every day.
I’m going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret. I love hotels. Staying in a nice hotel is one of my favourite things. Maybe it’s the free cable. Maybe it’s the lack of housekeeping responsibility. Maybe it’s the tiny soaps. I sometimes think about how I can bring that hotel feel back home with me. So I came up with a few tips.
If you’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico, you really owe it to yourself to explore the smaller islands. Vieques, with its laid back feel, abundance of beaches, and openness, is a great retreat from the narrow, stuffy streets of Old San Juan. If you’re looking for a chic boutique hotel while there, look no further than Malecón House.
Between the two pools, honour bar, free beach gear, great continental breakfast, and comfy beds the Bravo Beach Hotel makes a fantastic home base when you’re exploring the many fabulous beaches of Vieques, Puerto Rico.
While I was in Chicago attending the first ever Women in Travel Summit (WITS) I had the opportunity to stay at the Hotel Felix and, after looking at their website, I had high hopes. The property looked stylish without being fussy. The beds looked fluffy and comfortable. Best of all the hotel is environmentally conscious. In fact, they’re the first green hotel in Chicago to have a Silver LEED Certification.
When most people think of Banff, Alberta they think luxury resort town. Sure there are some high end properties in town but there are also excellent affordable offerings too. I was only in Banff for one night this fall and stayed at the Juniper Hotel. It’s actually just outside the main town centre which means that, unlike hotels in town, you get a great view of Banff and a more panoramic view of the mountains.
Located in the heart of downtown, the International Hotel Suites Calgary makes for a great stay when you’re in town on business or just need room to spread out. At first glance it looks like a fairly generic mid-range hotel but I was intrigued by their Orchid and Esquire floors and wanted to check it out.