My Favorite Hotels of the Year
Since I travel about three hundred days a year, I spend most nights of my life in hotel rooms across the world. In the last five years, I've stayed in every type of accommodation you can imagine: from big resorts, to boutique finds, to glamping in the forest, to Airbnb's. I love hotels - I love researching them, finding them, reading about them, and exploring them once I arrive. What I've learned is sometimes where you stay makes all the difference to the trip, and sometimes it doesn't matter at all. Some places are worth the splurge - and others are not. What I look for in hotels when I research now is unique features, stylish design, and amazing service. I dedicate a lot of time to planning what hotels I book. So here's a roundup of my favorite finds of 2017.
The Ocean Club
Paradise Island, Bahamas
This hotel was so nice, I visited twice this summer! The Ocean Club is laid-back luxury; it has all of the frills without any of the pretension. Ocean-front rooms, dedicated butlers for your every need and daily complimentary champagne and macaron delivery. Luxury is easy to achieve, but magic is not. (Take it from a magician’s assistant.) The Ocean Club is dedicated to making your stay magical from the moment you arrive. At the Ocean Club, I felt like I was at my own beach-front mansion surrounded by my Bahamian family. From the ocean-front infinity pool, to the expansion Versaille-style gardens, to the James Bond Martini Bar, to the amazing steamed shrimp salad at Dune, this place will make you realize why this place is called Paradise Island. Since I visited this property has become a Four Seasons Resort - so it looks like I'm due for a third trip!
Read my full review of this hotel on The Travel Women
Taj Banjaar Tola
Kanha National Park, India
Since I've been on African Safari a few times, and I LOVE India, Tiger Safari was next on my bucket list! When I went to Kanha National Park this year, I stayed at the luxury Taj + &Beyond Lodge Banjaar Tola. The lodge is an oasis in the jungle. As I felt with every safari camp I’ve stayed in: from Tanzania to South Africa to India – the photos don’t do them justice. This elaborate “tent” was entirely styled in wood, straw, and bamboo, in shades of khaki, olive, sunflower, and paisley. It looks as though it grew out of the nature surrounding it, evolving over time from trees and leaves into the luxurious shelter it is now. The inside has large glass windows everywhere seem to disappear, giving the illusion that you’re outside. A huge deck off the bedroom with sun loungers and a view of the river right outside your door!
Read my article for We Are Travel Girls
Read more about Tiger Safari
Perhaps I'm a little biased to a hotel that shares my name, but this design hotel in the heart of Munich is one of my favorite city hotels I've stayed in. I immediately fell for the plush, pink lobby and boutique feel of this design hotel, and then I saw the room! My room had a beautiful balcony looking out over Munich, a bed so cozy I almost didn't want to get out of it, a shower with changing infared lights, cozy robes and slippers, and yummy welcome chocolates! I always prefer a small, stylish, design hotel because they offer a little more TLC to their clientele. During our month-long road trip through Germany, this was my favorite night!
Read my full guide to Munich
New York, New York
This was my 2017 staycation. The night before my big sister's wedding, all four of my sisters and our two little nieces had a massive sleepover at the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York! Because I live in NYC I never get to stay in hotels, so this was a real treat. Our suite was elaborately decorated in tones of gold and cream and no detail was spared. The giant bathroom was my favorite feature - entirely marble and sparkling tiles and of course stocked with the coziest robe. To stay at such a landmark hotel, with a view of Central Park and no doubt the best service in the city - this was definitely a hotel highlight.
Peppers on the Point
Lake Rotunda, North Island New Zealand
During my stay at Peppers on the Point we had a cozy, free-standing cabin bigger than most starter homes all to ourselves! The master bath had a spa shower, the living room had a working fireplaces, and the master bedroom had a giant porch with lounge chairs overlooking the lake, and a private jacuzzi. Miniature horses and fuzzy lambs roamed the property, and the unobstructed view was unmatched.
I'll let you in on a little secret: Pablo Escobar's former mansion is a boutique hotel in Tulum that is unmarked, off-the-radar, and totally amazing. The avant-garde property houses the incredible modern art collection of the owner, has a bar covered in vintage suitcases and decaying babydolls, and has a grotto below the swimming pool a la Hugh Hefner. In other words - it's baller and you need to go NOW.
Boho Bingin Beach
My secret spot is right next to the famous Uluwatu hideout Sal's Secret Spot, and between us - it's no contest for which is better. This boutique hotel looks like Anthropologie exploded. It's oozing with rustic, boho vibes and the rooms are enormous and spotlessly clean. I'll also mention the manager, Fernando, is gorgeous. Ladies....pack your bags!
There are few hotels and places that I love enough to go back to again - and again, and again, and again. But that's exactly how I feel about Grand Cayman and the stunning Caribbean Club. If you're looking for a luxurious beach home away from home, you'll find it here - and your backyard is the stunning seven-mile stretch of powder called Seven Mile Beach. They make you feel right at home here, and have everything you need to make your stay comfortable and fun - from jet skies, to paddleboards, to an amazing Sunday brunch that will have you buzzing from mimosas! Did I mention Grand Cayman has some of the clearest, most beautiful water I've seen anywhere in the world?
The best way to fall in love with Paris is to experience it like a local, and that means swapping your overpriced hotel for a charming, Parisienne apartment. Venture2Paris has three lovely apartments on Rue Tresor; a mere twenty feet from the door I used to live behind, on what is possibly the cutest little street in all of the Marais. Apartment Degas was a fully renovated two bedroom, one bath flooded with light, color, and charm that would be my dream home if I ever moved back to the city of lights! This place could easily sleep four to five, and is better value than any hotel I've come across. Read more about Venture2Paris