The 9 best Tampa hotels, from sprawling family resorts to decadent luxury hotels – and every single one has a must-visit pool

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa

  • Tampa, a major city in Florida, is popular for its area beaches, historic charm, and college campus.
  • The metropolitan Tampa area also includes the popular resort towns of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
  • The best Tampa hotels take advantage of the stunning Gulf setting – here are our top picks.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The third most-populated city in Florida, Tampa is a Gulf Coast gateway to an impressive region of white-sand and blue-water beauty.

There’s plenty to like about the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area. I’m a Florida-based travel writer and love the Tampa coastline for its stunning sunsets, fresh seafood – the grouper and flounder from the Gulf alone justify the trip – and more easygoing mentality than you’ll find in party-driven places like Miami.

Whether you want to hit up Busch Gardens, admire some of Florida’s best beaches, or tack on a second stop after a trip to Orlando’s theme parks, Tampa is filled with great hotels that are worth a visit in their own right. From sprawling family-friendly resorts to decadent luxury hotels, these are the best hotels in Tampa.

Browse all the best hotels in Tampa below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are the best hotels in Tampa, sorted by price from low to high.

The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tampa

Book The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

This large hotel is accustomed to business travelers with precise demands, as well as groups in town for destination weddings or other events. So, you can be sure that any request will be met with both efficiency and excellence.

Guests enjoy their time here, from morning coffee made just the way they like it to meetings in the tech-stocked rooms, and after-work swims in the rooftop pool.

The 325 rooms start at 338 square feet and feature floor-to-ceiling views of downtown, the landscaped courtyard, or the atrium. Guest rooms are outfitted in natural woods, high pillowtop mattresses, blue-and-wheat plaid drapes, and white comforters with patterned throws and pillows. The desk chair is ergonomic, which is helpful if you’re there for several days of work.

Meanwhile, the bathrooms feature grab bars in showers and tubs. For more accessible room features, ask while booking. 

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort

Innisbrook A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort

Book Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort 

At 900 acres, this massive luxury resort hosts professional golf and tennis tournaments and draws aficionados its fabulously designed courses, courts, and lessons. But that’s not the only reason to stay here.

In addition to golf, Innisbrook takes sun life pretty seriously, scattering six pools around the property, including one with two sand beaches, a waterfall, and waterslides. Recently refreshed rooms are designed in a crisp tropical palette and begin at 300 square feet, while suites start at 1,000 square feet and have kitchens plus a private balcony or patio to take in the views.

Take the tram from an early morning golf game to enjoy a poolside lunch and cocktail, or get around the property on a surrey bike built for four or six. And if you somehow bore of  Innisbrook’s options, sign up for one of their field trips to places like Clearwater Marine Aquarium or top-rated Caladesi Island Beach.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Aloft and Element Hotel

Tampa Dual Branded Aloft and Element Hotel Sal y Mar Rooftop Bar Exterior

Book Aloft and Element Hotel

Located in the ultra-trendy Midtown Tampa city-within-a-city, this two-in-one hotel brings you right into Tampa’s young professional nerve center. Surrounded by waterside running trails, airy outdoor cafes, dog parks, and more, the dual-branded Aloft and Element Hotel is the place to drop your bags in order to get out and go.

That said, the hotel(s) do have their charms that keep you in place. Contemporary, clean rooms are accented by striped rugs and platform beds. The minimalist designs are comfortable and colorful, with mini fridges and free Wi-Fi to work or keep up with family and friends.

Both sections of the complex have self-serve markets. They share the latest highlight – the Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar, where you can meet clients or friends after-hours for Spanish tapas and Mayan-influenced Mexican fare. Separately, Aloft adds the WXYZ bar and Element takes it one step further in the morning with the complimentary Rise: Breakfast Bar. They also differ in that Aloft has a fitness center while Element directs you to the rooftop pool that they share for exercise. 

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

Tampa Marriott Water Street Exterior

Book JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

Given its stunning Tampa Bay waterfront setting and accessible luxury, it may be difficult to think of JW Marriott Tampa Marriott Water Street solely as a wellness retreat. Or as just a business hotel. Or perhaps only as an event venue. Because, in addition to welcoming everyone from couples on vacation to families convening for Buccaneers games, it’s all of those things.

Newly refurbished rooms boast a range of sand, sky blue, and light gray hues that match the outdoor views, making it difficult to leave their comfy confines, especially if you’re staying in one of the 35 Stay Well™ rooms that includes air purification, aromatherapy, a Mood Box to energize or relax you, and a shower infuser that illuminates your hair and skin. Wellness features also include Cleveland Clinic tips and programs for sleep, stress, and nutrition management.

Outside of the room, dine on amazing seafood at Anchor and Brine, casual American fare at Café Waterside, or light bites and cocktails in the beautifully designed Great Room or on the waterside patio, where live music is often booked.

Head up to the rooftop pool for a dip, work out in the 24/7 fitness center, or ask the concierge to arrange boating, fishing charters, or other water activities.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Hotel Haya

Hotel Haya

Book Hotel Haya 

Opened in September 2020 with renowned Miami celebrity chef Douglas Rodriguez at the helm of on-site restaurants Flor Fina and Café Quiquiriqui, this 178-room hotel is set smack-dab in Ybor City, also known as Cigar City. 

The hotel comprises two historic buildings. One was Ybor City’s first restaurant, and the other was the Warren Building, which housed Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. The decor and architecture reflect the “Golden Age of Havana.” Look for Francisco Goya reproductions and Chihuly-style blown glass, which recall the district’s original streetlights.

Rooms are done up in colors of rust red, brilliant blue, and primary yellow, and include stone-tiled bathrooms, wrought-iron balconies, and locally-sourced objets d’art. Plush robes, Grown Alchemist toiletries, and bedside wireless charging pads ensure a good night’s sleep after enjoying Rodriguez’s iconic ceviches and other amazing dishes.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Le Méridien Tampa

Le Méridien Tampa

Book Le Méridien Tampa

If you love the romance of repurposed, historic buildings, this one is for you. Once a federal courthouse, Le Méridien boasts soaring ceilings, and former courtrooms have been converted into coveted event spaces.

A boutique hotel, the 100 rooms and suites are spare and elegant, starting at a generous 330 square feet. The blue-gray walls and carpet make both the white comforter and the picture window pop. Conveniences like a mini fridge and high-speed Internet are also appreciated.

The restaurant Bizou Brasserie is particularly known for its French pastries. Just try not to ask for one of its signature eclairs to put in the fridge for later. Artsy guests also love the gorgeous bar/restaurant for its decor, including sputnik chandeliers that hang overhead like satellites, as well as the lobby filled with midcentury and Art Deco furniture.

The tropically landscaped pool, while small, is an additional place to relax, especially at night when the lights make it glow.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

Epicurean EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge

Book Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

When you’re looking for both location and luxury, the South Tampa-situated Epicurean should be your goal.

With a philosophy of indulgence, the hotel offers a luxury experience in every department. It’s especially known for its commitment to fine food and drink, with signature restaurant Élevage Patio & Dining Room and panoramic rooftop bar EDGE leading the charge. Like what you’ve consumed? You can learn how to cook it, or something like it, with on-site classes.

Accommodations don’t fall short either, with amenities ranging from gourmet in-room pantries and fully stocked mini-bars to thoughtfully designed work desks. Chill out on a personal terrace, soak in a marble bathtub, or snooze on an overstuffed mattress. 

If you crave more activity, the fitness center is open 24/7, and the pool is heated year-round. There’s also a trail for jogging and biking, plus the stellar Evangeline Spa.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

Book Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa 

While the exterior of the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa isn’t as flashy as its sister “guitar hotel” on the east coast of Florida, parts of it were recently renovated. The complex, which underwent a $700 million expansion in 2019, includes a 15-story tower, bringing the number of rooms and suites to 800.

The look is as glitzy as you might expect, with souvenirs and costumes from rock-and-roll and pop icons everywhere. There’s a ton of bling — and yes, a lot of that brrring brrring — in the casino, but the hotel hallways and rooms are quiet and restful for body and soul, with generous proportions and comfortable, contemporary furniture. A mini fridge and coffee corner are helpful when you don’t feel like braving casino crowds first thing in the morning.

The three pools, a cabana area, and a pool bar, are adjacent to the Rock Spa & Salon and the Body Rock gym. These areas are not as populated as the casino and concert stages, so when you’ve had your fill of playing the numbers, watching sports, and listening to live music, head to the second floor for some respite.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa here.

The Westin Tampa Waterside

The Westin Tampa Waterside

Book The Westin Tampa Waterside

Located next door to – and almost sharing space with – the JW Marriott Tampa Marriott Water Street, The Westin Tampa Waterside is a view-driven sanctuary. It’s next to the Tampa Convention Center and within a circle of popular attractions, including The Florida Aquarium, Sparkman Wharf, Amalie Arena, and Tampa Riverwalk.

The rooms are known for their Westin Heavenly® Beds, which deliver on a great night’s sleep. High-tech, rooms make it easy for business and leisure travelers to access devices with high speed and streaming services, though some of the starter-rate rooms can be under 300 square feet. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in your room, it’s wise to go up a level.

Otherwise, revel in the outdoor swimming pool peppered with palm trees and tropical foliage, or engage in cardio or weights in the WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio. There’s also an on-site Starbucks and a restaurant featuring fresh Gulf Coast seafood.

Covid-19 procedures are available here.

More on our methodology for selecting hotels

In addition to the criteria above, I considered the following factors:

My experience: I’ve been living in Florida since 1992 and covering the entire state as a food-and-travel writer since then for a large variety of international publications and guidebooks, including Insider.

I’ve stayed in many of these hotels over the years and can vouch for their overall experience. Some, we’ve even reviewed at length, too.

Overall features: The best Tampa hotels feature standout views of the city, adjacent St. Petersburg, and Tampa Bay.

All of them offer great pools (a must in Florida) as well as amenities such as fitness centers, rooftops for a sunset bar/lounge experience, and restaurants that cater to foodie clientele with straight-from-the-Gulf cuisine cooked by well-known chefs.

COVID-19: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies.

FAQ: Tampa hotels

Where is Tampa?

Tampa is on the west coast of Florida, about one hour and thirty minutes west of Orlando and four hours south of Tallahassee by car.

The third most-populated city in the state, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area that also includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

What is the best area to stay in Tampa?

That’s up for debate! Downtown Tampa is great for attractions and water views, but some guests complain that it’s a little deserted at night. Ditto for the Westshore business district, which is busy during the day, not as much in the evening.

Midtown Tampa is lively, but not as heavy on attractions. Ybor City has history, eateries, and all-around trendiness.

But if you’re planning to stay on the beach, you’ll want to look for hotels in St. Petersburg or Clearwater Beach. Downtown Tampa is about 30 minutes from the beach regions.

Which hotels in Tampa are best for groups? Families? Couples?

To narrow your choice from this list, choose based on the size of your traveling squad and your intended activities.

If you’re in town with friends, check out the championship courses and courts at Innisbrook, A Salamander Gold and Spa Resort, or the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (both of which have spas).

If you’re traveling with a young family, look for somewhere near a lot of popular attractions, like JW Marriott Tampa Water Street; if your kids are closer to college-age and also happen to enjoy eating, the Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection is near University of Tampa.

Solo young professional? Look to the Aloft/Element in Midtown Tampa, which is also popular with a lot of other Millennials and Gen Yers.

If you’re in the vicinity for business meetings or an event, try a place near the airport, such as The Westshore Grand, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Tampa, or The Westin Tampa Waterside near the Tampa Convention Center. Finally, history buffs should book the new Haya Hotel in Ybor City or Le Méridien Tampa, which both offer repurposed architecture.

What is there to do in Tampa?

Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater are renowned for their fishing, boating, beaches, and other water activities.

The Tampa metropolitan area has a ton of attractions, including The Florida Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Sparkman Wharf, Tampa Riverwalk, Amalie Arena, Raymond James Stadium, Busch Gardens, the Dalí Museum, Ybor City, Hyde Park Village, and Caladesi Island Beach, to name just a few. You can do all of these in all seasons. Just keep in mind that hurricane season runs from June 1-November 30, which has a tendency to interfere at times.

Tampa, which includes National Historic Landmark District Ybor City, one of the first Cuban settlements in Florida (and arguably the home of the Cuban sandwich, though Miamians disagree), is an ideal setting for numerous outdoor activities.

I’ve been to Tampa dozens of times over the years to attend everything from literary to food events, and I’m never disappointed in the accommodations and the natural attractions of the area, which range from the blooms of botanical gardens to the rolling greens of golf courses.

Do I need a car in Tampa?

Public transportation is available in Tampa via the TECO Line Streetcar, a charming heritage streetcar transit line. You can also take HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority) buses to get around; see here for fares, routes, and more. 

If you don’t have a car, car rental deals are always available, and experts say renting one in a pandemic is safe. Additionally, these are the best car rental companies

Some hotels offer complimentary shuttles to and from Tampa International Airport, which has 14 car rental agencies on site.

Are hotels safe and open?

Yes, experts agree hotels are safe, provided you take the necessary precautions outlined by the CDC. Additionally, the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US. All the hotels on this list are open and accepting guests.

That said, the state of Florida has lifted governmental restrictions and protocol for COVID-19. Keep in mind that many private businesses still opt to follow the CDC masking and social distancing guidelines and come prepared with safety precautions for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses who might enforce their own rules on the premises of their properties.

More of the best hotels in Florida

Mandarin Oriental, Miami Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group LEAD
Read the original article on Business Insider

19 of the best Airbnbs in Hawaii on every island for a much-needed tropical vacation

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

the best airbnbs in hawaii
  • With beautiful weather and stunning beaches, a passport-free trip to Hawaii is always appealing.
  • Hawaii can also be expensive, so booking an Airbnb over a hotel may help trim your budget.
  • We found some of the best Airbnbs on each island, whether you seek sun and surf or rainforest hikes.

With year-round warm weather, beaches framed by swaying palms, and majestic rainforests and volcanos, Hawaii is always a good idea.

And now that Hawaii’s six visitable islands are once again welcoming guests – so long as you present a negative COVID-19 test – a passport-free island getaway is especially appealing.

Enjoy Hawaii’s trade winds and warm sunshine as you sample fresh papaya alongside Hawaiian-grown coffee. Plan a rainforest hike, surf incredible waves, or simply savor a slower island pace. However, with such an idyllic setting, hotel prices may shock your wallet. It’s easy to spend over $500 per night for a standard double room with no character.

Airbnbs, on the other hand, can offer a more affordable option in spacious condos or homes that come infused with local personality. Here are the best Airbnbs in Hawaii you can book.

Browse all the best Airbnbs in Hawaii below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best Airbnbs in Hawaii, sorted by price from low to high.

Cheaply priced studio apartment on Oahu

Best airbnbs in Hawaii in Waikiki

Book this Waikiki studio on Airbnb

It’s hard to find a bargain in Waikiki, so this studio is an absolute dream for its great rate and amazing location near one of the most famous beaches in the world.

The apartment may be small and standard in terms of amenities, but it provides privacy and partial ocean and sunset views from your own dedicated lanai. 

A calming neutral palette, beautiful wood floors, big windows, and plenty of storage means you won’t miss out on unnecessary square footage. The main space is comprised of a small kitchenette, and a sofa and TV for downtime, backed by a sleeping area with a Queen-size bed. 

Staying here also provides access to the complex’s soothing palm tree-lined pool, outdoor BBQ, guest laundry, and a cute outdoor fitness center. Nearby Diamond Head also provides a serious workout, so take host-provided beach towels to refresh after a morning climb. 

Quiet oceanfront condo on Molokai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - Quiet oceanfront resort condo living room looking outside

Book this Molokai condo on Airbnb

Social distancing is a breeze at this condo in Ualapue, just outside the town of Kaunakakai. The population is just over 400 on this side of the island, but it’s a short drive to eateries and shops in central Molokai. 

The ground-floor condo is surrounded by a lush garden landscape with easy access to an unpopulated beach. Take advantage of resort amenities such as tennis courts, a pool, and a community recreation center. Hiking trails and waterfalls are also close by. 

Inside, light wooden floors are accented by an open-concept space with a stainless steel equipped kitchen and a King-size bedroom with ocean blue linens. A private shaded outdoor dining and lounge space boasts spectacular waterfront views. 

Condo near Kailua Village on the Big Island

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - Kailua Village Condo kitchen table

Book this Kona condo on Airbnb

Staying in this condo means you’ll have the ocean just a block away, waterfront Hale Halawai Park is within a few steps, and wonderful eateries, tiki bars, and local shopping are all in close proximity. Visit nearby Kona Farmers Market for produce, freshly roasted coffee, and tropical flowers to add color to your rental home’s contemporary kitchen. 

This fully renovated condo has gorgeous wooden floors in the bedroom and cool new tile in the upgraded bathroom with a spacious walk-in shower. Furnishings are minimal while island-influenced decor like the ocean-inspired bedding are nice reminders of the surrounding tropical oasis. There is a Queen-size bedroom, though a fold-out sofa offers additional space if needed. 

Sip morning java at the kitchen bar while plotting the day’s adventures, or take breakfast onto the private furnished lanai to enjoy ocean views. Be sure to dip into the on-site pool to cool down, though you’ll also appreciate the rare island find of air-conditioning in this condo.

Private guest house on Maui

Best Airbnb in Hawaii - Downtown guest house living room

Book this Maui guest house on Airbnb

While it seems everyone wants to flock to Maui’s beaches, there’s something to be said for the charm of Lahaina Town. Front Street is bustling with activity and known for its vast array of local eateries and amazing art galleries. You’ll also find the world’s largest banyan tree right in the center of it all, just one block from this rental. 

This upper-level Lahaina guest suite has its own private entrance and comes with a work desk with a parsons chair for digital nomads, though you’ll most likely want to simply lounge with local coffee outside on the furnished private lanai. There is also a smart TV, crisp white bedding, and a modest kitchen.

Discover more of the best Airbnbs on Maui

Islander’s ocean view condo on Oahu

hawaii airbnb honolulu

Book this Honolulu studio on Airbnb

This colorful studio has a prime location just two blocks from the ocean and is a fantastic deal for a couple or solo traveler. Centrally located in Honolulu, guests are steps away from great local food trucks, restaurants, entertainment, nightlife, and more. 

Chic but whimsical decor will instantly place you in vacation mode from the retro pink couch to the bright turquoise design accents, and leafy bathroom statement wallpaper. The kitchenette is small, but has a vintage mini fridge, and a balcony and with a built-in bar that overlooks the ocean waves. Beach gear, including sunblock, is also provided showcasing attention to detail and small personal touches made by the host.

Beachfront condo with a pool on Molokai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii -- Beachfront Condominium living room with balcony

Book this beachfront condo with pool starting at $130

This oceanfront condo may be small but is packed with all you need for a great stay and is just steps from the beach. From your private furnished lanai, you’ll catch colorful sunsets and views of surrounding islands, and the beachfront pool is equally scenic.

Tasteful island decor shines with Koa wood optic floors, sleek granite countertops, and pops of color by way of accent furnishings and bedding. The apartment is fully stocked with small appliances and a gas stove, while the living room has a flat panel TV with HD cable provided and free Wi-Fi.

Provided beach gear includes an umbrella, beach mats, and towels, and the location is about a mile east of downtown Kaunakakai with local eateries and shopping. On-site coin-operated laundry is available, and gas and charcoal BBQs are free to use. 

Beach paradise condo on the Big Island

The best Airbnbs in Hawaii -- Beach Paradise terrace view

Book this Kona condo on Airbnb

Watch amazing sunsets from your private lanai at this condo rental on the outskirts of popular bar town Kailua-Kona. No rental car is needed; you can walk or cycle to nearby hotspots like Don’s Mai Tai Bar or Alii Sunset Plaza for boutique shopping or to gather groceries. 

The condo has a community pool and hot tub, though a sandy beach is mere steps from the rental, too, so you can enjoy ocean waves day or night. Inside, the decor is a touch dated but features tropical inspiration and you’ll find a nice breeze on the shaded lanai, and east-facing windows bring in fresh air while you relax in the King-size bed. The sofa converts to a full-sized bed and also benefits from its own large windows. 

There is also a full kitchen plus a wide breakfast bar for quick bites and a small dining table perfect for a candlelit dinner. Or take it outside to grill up an island feast on the provided BBQ. 

Charming riverside cottage on Kauai

Kapaa_Kaui_Cottage

Book this Kauai cottage on Airbnb

Only one block from the beach, this riverside canal cottage on the outskirts of Kapaa Town overlooks the peaceful banks of the Wailua River, where guests can paddle with host-provided kayaks and SUPs, or take bikes out for a spin on a lovely path. The river leads to a natural lava rock grotto with waterfalls, an area formerly reserved for Hawaiian royalty but now enjoyed by many.

The plantation-style cottage was built in 1953 but renovated to feature beautiful paneling and beam details, bamboo accents, air conditioning, a vaulted ceiling with fan, sustainable wood floors, and a well-appointed outdoor area with a grill and water views. The lush grounds are home to fruit-bearing trees, so don’t be surprised if the host offers you a taste of starfruit. 

The kitchen is stocked with all the basics, so you’ll be able to sample local coffee and have seasoning on hand to flavor your in-room meals. Beach chairs and umbrellas are also provided, and there’s complimentary guest laundry.

Private guest house on Maui

Private_Home_Kihe_Maui

Book this Maui home on Airbnb

Some of Maui’s most beloved beaches are located in Kihei and Wailea-Makena, and this one-bedroom cottage makes it easy to take advantage of the waterfront along Keawakapu and Kamaole Beaches where you’ll find food trucks and casual eateries aplenty, along with great people watching.

The space is bright, light, and sparkling clean with a convection oven and enough kitchen space to cook meals. There is also a coffee maker, air conditioning, a memory foam Queen-sized bed, and blackout curtains for excellent sleep. The private courtyard space includes a BBQ and hammock surrounded by lush plant life including organic papayas, mangoes, avocados, lilikoi, guava, lemon, and lime, depending on the season.

Additionally, the living room has a mounted smart TV to stream your favorite shows and movies after a long day at the beach. This guest house is attached to the host’s home, but you will have incredible privacy with a separate entrance and your own dedicated outdoor space. 

Modern remodeled condo at Poipu Beach, Kauai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - modern remodeled condo living room

Book this Kauai condo on Airbnb

It doesn’t get much closer to the waterfront at Poipu Beach than this stunning home.

Fresh off a full remodel, the contemporary space has a cool palette of white and grey, with a stainless fridge and in-counter cooktop, ideal for quick self-made meals. Adorning the walls is a series of island images from a locally renowned photographer, and the fresh, clean design carries throughout the condo.

There is a large bath offering natural light and the main bedroom has a King-size bed and a spacious layout. The living room convertible sofa adds extra sleeping space, and big windows and air conditioning keep the space comfy and cool.

In addition to immediate beach access, the condo property also has an outdoor grill and seating area for meals outside, while guests are also close to popular ice cream shops, casual and upscale restaurants, and great local coffee roasters. 

Bohemian retreat on the Big Island

best airbnbs in hawaii jungle home

Book this Big Island home on Airbnb

Set on an organic mango orchard and surrounded by plumerias, the home is located in Captain Cook and just a mile from Kealakekua Bay, known for some of Hawaii’s best snorkeling and wild dolphins.

Kind of like glamping, this open-air, two-bedroom bungalow merges the comforts of a well-appointed, bohemian-inspired home, with the outdoors. The kitchen and living areas are partially outside and open to the elements, but protected from rain, and eclectically adorned with vintage and tribal-inspired decor.

A lofted bedroom places you eye-level with a lush canopy of trees through floor-to-ceiling windows and a 30-foot stroll down a secluded path leads to an open-air bathhouse. It’s scenic and lovely, like staying in a jungle treehouse, but best appreciated by those who are comfortable with such rustic accouterments, especially given the occasional cameos from birds, insects, and lizards.

But it’s not totally roughing it; modern amenities include Wi-Fi and a washer and dryer, and town is a short 20-minute drive.

North Shore getaway at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii -- Entire condominium living room with stairs to a second floor

Book this Oahu home on Airbnb

Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore is memorable for its jagged lava rock coastline, a wide assortment of sea life ideal for snorkel sessions, and a starring role in the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

At this resort condo, guests may enjoy all the amenities of the popular resort such as a great pool complex, private beach, tennis, grills, dining, and sprawling grounds, while enjoying the privacy and quiet space of a whole home rental. 

The beach cottage comes with partial ocean views from the living room and the bedroom loft separates you from travel pals who can spread out on the Queen pullout sofa. Decor is crisp and clean with sea blue accents, and a vaulted ceiling is accented by tropical plants and island-inspired artwork. There is also a full kitchen, air conditioning, ensuite laundry, and your own designated parking space. 

Tiny home on a volcanic lava field on the Big Island

Best airbnbs in Hawaii tiny home on a lava field

Book this Big Island home on Airbnb

For an only in Hawaii experience, book this custom-built tiny home set on an otherworldly landscape of a volcanic lava field. You might even catch a glimpse of Pele’s orange volcanic glow. 

The home is also loaded with standout decor from steel tub sinks to a brightly painted ocean landscape mural behind the bed. Light pours in through oversized windows and patio doors, brightening the industrial-inspired interiors. The main living area is open and includes a couch, full kitchen, wooden writing desk, while a Queen-size bed is tucked upstairs in a sleeping loft.

This unique rental is in a great location for visiting the national park and nearby Kehena Black Sand Beach, which is less than an hour south of Hilo Airport. You’re also on the right side of the island for sampling local-grown macadamia nuts. 

Modern condo on Kauai

Zen_home_Princeville

Book this Kauai condo on Airbnb

Located in a well-kept apartment complex, this Princeville condo offers the amenities of a larger resort with the privacy and personality of a warm home. Located on a quiet ocean bluff, guests enjoy the use of a shared community pool, grills, scenic hiking and cycling paths, and breathtaking beaches. 

The design exudes a luxury lean, with a soothing palette of calming blues and greys that creates a very Zen-inspired feeling. The living room has a smart TV, ceiling fan, and beach views from a lovely patio, while the kitchen is full-size. The modern Queen-size bedroom includes an additional fan, blackout shades, a bathroom with walk-in shower, and the option for a Pack ‘N Play crib if needed. 

Farmers’ markets and great restaurants are located close by. Be sure to sample the taro and juice farm store in neighboring Hanalei, and note there’s even a wine market nearby that offers delivery. 

Tropical cottage on Maui’s North Shore

North_Shore_Cottage_Maui

Book this Maui cottage on Airbnb

For a tranquil stay on Maui’s scenic North Shore, this garden cottage places you amid green grass, waterfalls, and gentle breezes, perfect for lapping up sounds of nature and stargazing. Hookipa Beach is just a 10-minute drive away while the town of Paia isn’t much further.

The one-bedroom space is airy and bright with a smart TV, ceiling fan, convection oven, dishwasher, a washer and dryer, a memory foam Queen-size bed, an additional Queen-size daybed, as well as both a picturesque terrace and a separate, screened porch with ocean views. The backyard overlooks fruit trees, and the host also provides boogie boards, snorkeling gear, and there is the added bonus of an outdoor shower.

It’s worth noting that while this cottage is private there is a shared wall with another home, but only a few guests have noticed neighbor sounds and there are “quiet hours” in place. 

Large plantation-style home on Lanai

best airbnbs in hawaii in lanai

Book this Lanai home on Airbnb

This stunning home in the heart of Lanai is ideal for group travel thanks to its sizeable footprint. The contemporary space is well-lit with high ceilings and includes deluxe appliances and an inviting marble island made for social gatherings. There’s also a private patio, free parking, on-site laundry, free Wi-Fi, and taxes are already included in the nightly rate, making it a great deal for a full-family getaway.

Each of the three bedrooms has a Queen-size bed and the spacious living room includes a plush sectional sofa that converts to a full-size bed. There’s also a daybed if you have even more family members to accommodate. 

For cool pool dips, visit the rec center a mere five-minute walk down the street. Or head to nearby Hulopoe Bay to enjoy ocean waves. 

Three-bedroom designer beach house on the Big Island

Earthy_Modern_Beach_Home_Kona

Book this Kona beach house on Airbnb

With three bedrooms, this sophisticated beach home is a solid deal given the excellent location, sleek design, and excellent amenities. It’s just 10 minutes from the closest beach and the bustling tourist town of Kona.

Select a record for the turntable or queue up something to screen on the living room projector and sink into a hanging wicker chair while admiring the serene atmosphere of this beach home with concrete floors, midcentury furnishings, and tropical plants. The neutral design feels curated out of a magazine, with a full kitchen, air conditioning (in all rooms but one bedroom), surf and bamboo accents, essential oil diffusers, and playful palm print wallpaper. Each of the three bedrooms has a Queen-size bed, and a tranquil porch and backyard blend indoor and outdoor living seamlessly.

Other extras include beach gear, a grill, two bicycles, free parking, and a slew of family-friendly perks such as a travel crib, high chair, stair gates, changing table, baby monitor, baby bath, and more, for no added fee. 

Decadent artist’s house on Lanai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - artists house open floor plan

Book this Lanai house on Airbnb

Located in the old Japanese section of Lanai City, this original 1930s plantation-style home has been remodeled with a contemporary chef’s kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances and a sharp-looking range hood. 

A classic neutral color palette emphasizes natural finishes, including warm wood grains in flooring and the dining set, with a plush leather sofa for cozy movie nights. There’s also plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors with a large furnished patio, a tropical garden, and an outdoor shower to rinse off after a fun day at the beach. The two interior full bathrooms offer natural light and ample storage for the whole family, while the main bath also has a jetted tub for soothing soaks. 

A well-known local artist renovated this charming home to reflect modern needs while retaining its roots as a former plantation home. Now the property includes a steam shower, full ensuite laundry, and personality while having easy access to downtown Lanai’s shops, eateries, and cafes. 

Luxury B&B with a pool on Maui

best hawaii airbnbs luxury bnb

Book this Maui B&B on Airbnb

For something closer to a hotel stay that’s still a standalone accommodation with a private entrance, this B&B offers the best of both worlds.

This guest suite includes a luxurious spa-like ensuite bathroom with a rain shower and a deep soaking tub, plus a King-size bed and golf course views. Right outside the door is a gorgeous swimming pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, a sauna, fitness equipment, and free daily breakfast that is included and served poolside each morning.

While the pool and outdoor amenities are shared with one other listing on the same property, staying here is truly like staying at your own exclusive resort. Plus, for a completely private escape, you can rent out both guest suites.

Award-winning Ka’anapali Beach is just across the street, so you’ll have quick access to incredible soft sand beaches, and a supreme range of local eateries and retail shops. 

FAQ: Airbnb in Hawaii

Where should I stay in Hawaii on Airbnb?

Each island has its own identity, which means you’ll eventually want to experience all the islands for a true sense of the state. 

Oahu is often a first-timer’s choice, as it’s home to Honolulu and Waikiki and cute surf towns. It’s also the most populous island, which means there’s no shortage of attractions, eateries, and places to stay. Here you’ll find a fusion of traditional art and luaus alongside city skyscrapers and contemporary five-star restaurants.  

Maui is known for its laidback beach vibes, though you can also explore lava rocks, watch the sunrise atop a volcano summit, and hike through the rainforest in between surf sessions. It’s the best island for watching migrating humpback whales in the winter, while summers are ideal for seasonal farm-to-table dining. 

The “big island” of Hawaii is hands-down a coffee lover’s paradise. This is where you’ll find famous Kona coffee beans grown on lush hillsides en route to those famous volcanoes. This island is sizeable, so you’ll want to day trip to its various seaside towns to experience all the flavors, like Macadamia nuts on the east side, coffee on the south end, and chef-driven dining in upcountry. 

For outdoors enthusiasts, the island of Kauai is a magical place to visit for its diverse terrain of stunning green valleys and towering cliffsides. Rainforests and cascading waterfalls are a big draw for hikers, too, so pack reliable footwear. Beaches on the South Shore are great for family swims and there are plenty of great snorkeling spots here, too. 

Lanai is only nine miles from Maui and easily accessible by a pedestrian ferry for day trips. The island is known for 4-wheeling and snorkeling spots, and there’s really only one town to explore in the center of it all. In tiny but chill Lanai City, guests savor local coffee at mom-and-pop cafes in between adventurous exploration of rugged island terrain.  

Finally, Molokai is only 38 miles long and while it’s perhaps the least visited island, it offers a different experience with its quiet atmosphere. The highest sea cliffs in the world are found here and lead to Kalaupapa National Historic Park. Though the island is remote, Central Molokai is home to an 80-year-old bakery and a handful of local eateries and shops. Keep in mind there is no direct air service to Molokai Airport, so you’ll need to connect from Honolulu. Once on the island, there is no public transportation, so your options will be to walk, cycle, or rent a car. 

What is the best time of year to visit Hawaii?

Hawaii’s climate is consistently warm, so there’s no bad time to visit when considering the weather. Even during the winter months, the daytime average is a balmy 78° while summer at sea level is in the mid-80s. No matter when you visit, it’s possible to experience some light trade winds or rainfall, but even in the wettest months, which are November through March, the rain passes as quickly as it arrived, so your fun won’t be interrupted for long. 

Near-shore water is consistently welcoming, so any time of year offers a refreshing dip at the beach. Just keep an eye on wave conditions to ensure you won’t face strong currents. When in doubt, swim at a beach with a lifeguard. And be sure to layer on sunscreen as even cloudy days can take your skin by surprise. 

How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?

In shoulder season and for more modest accommodations, Airbnb vacation rentals are easy to find for under $100. But expect to pay a few hundred dollars during popular vacation periods or for homes with plenty of guest space, unique features, and updated design.

Of course, you’ll also want to plan for a decent food and drink budget, which can also be expensive. You can save money on dining by picking up beverages and a few essentials at a local market like Foodland Farms or ABC Stores. 

If you can be flexible with travel dates, there is sometimes a dip in midweek pricing for Airbnbs but know that Hawaii is a year-round popular destination. Shoulder seasons may offer a bit of a price break, so keep an eye on spring and fall prices which may be less than the peak of summer vacation and winter breakers. 

Are there travel restrictions to Hawaii? 

If you are traveling during the pandemic, be sure to review Hawaii’s latest travel protocols and know that entrance requirements change often in response to new health data.

At present, all incoming mainland travelers — regardless of vaccination status — are subject to pre-travel testing to bypass a 10-day quarantine. Travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter, which must be an approved test from specific trusted testing partners, no more than 72 hours before departure to Hawaii.

If you are unable to present an accepted test, you will be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon arrival. A new vaccination quarantine and test bypass program is in development, but not likely to begin until later this summer. 

All travelers must also register with the State of Hawaii Safe Travels program and be sure to stay up to date on the latest traveler guidelines

 Is Airbnb safe?

While there’s no such thing as a safety guarantee, getting fully vaccinated greatly decreases your chance of falling ill near home and while away.

If you’re wondering if staying at an Airbnb right now is safe, experts largely agree that private vacation rentals are likely safer than hotels due to the ease of social distancing and lack of interactions with other guests or staff.

Airbnb has also implemented reassuring new policies, including the Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, which includes new safety guidelines for hosts, as well as optional booking buffers.

More warm weather getaways on Airbnb

airbnb beach houses malibu
Read the original article on Business Insider

12 of the best affordable hotels in New York City, according to our first-hand stays

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

best cheap nyc hotels

  • Price is usually a factor for booking hotels, especially in more expensive cities like New York.
  • However, traveling on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality.
  • We found the best cheap hotels in New York City, all personally vetted and starting under $200.

Though New York is known for being pricey, especially when it comes to hotels, there are plenty of affordable spots to be found with a little digging. While I firmly believe that you get what you pay for in life, some hotels really are nicely-appointed, well-priced, and accessible to the modern traveler – so long as you’re savvy in your search.

Luckily, we’ve done the tough work of scouring the seemingly endless options for you and have found the best cheap New York City hotels, all slept at and personally vetted by our team.

You won’t find any run-of-the-mill, standard chain offerings on our list. Our best affordable hotels are carefully selected gems that serve as far more than just a place to rest your head at the end of the night.

Browse all of the best cheap hotels in New York City below, or jump to a specific area:

Here are the best cheap New York City hotels, sorted by price from low to high.

Arlo SoHo

1. Arlo SoHo shades open

Book Arlo SoHo

Arlo SoHo has made it cool to book tiny hotel rooms, popularizing the trend of micro hotels where quarters barely measure 150 square feet. Sure, the bathroom is nearly reachable from your pillow, but the cozy nook beds are actually places where you’ll want to curl up and hit snooze. Cheapest options include bunk bed, queen, or king options, that range in price depending on the view, and the time of year.

Plus, what it lacks in size, Arlo makes up for with fun common spaces including four bars, an on-site restaurant, co-working space, rooftop lounge, and a seasonal courtyard.

COVID-19 policies can be found here

Read our full hotel review of Arlo SoHo

Freehand New York

freehand hotel review 2

Book Freehand New York

The Freehand New York is a good pick for budget-conscious travelers who still want serious style, as well as convenience and personality. It also feels more in the know than the similar concept presented at Ace Hotels.

Art-filled accommodations are steeped in character and prices are especially reasonable if you select a bunk bed room or standard offering. Rooms still feel fairly new, too.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full hotel review of Freehand New York

Moxy East Village

Moxy East Village bed

Book Moxy NYC East Village

Marriott’s outpost in the East Village from their affordable boutique Moxy brand is a four-star hotel themed after the neighborhood’s vibrant local art and culture. There are clear nods to rock and roll, street art, and other East Village countercultures.

Rooms are small but make thoughtful use of storage and design, and the starting price of $185 midweek makes it one of the better-appointed and more affordable options in the hip, popular neighborhood.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full review of Moxy East Village

Made Hotel

Made hotel

Book Made Hotel

Made Hotel is a boutique property with budget prices in slower seasons. It’s a great find for travelers who appreciate boho-chic design, cool hotel hangout spots, and curated lush green plants. The intricate design has solidified this hotel as an experiential, one-of-a-kind property, unlike any chain offering nearby.

Rooms are minimal with standard rooms featuring beds perched atop platforms and tribal fabrics.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full hotel review for Made Hotel

Hotel 50 Bowery

Bowery hotel room 2

Book Hotel 50 Bowery

I’ve seen Hotel 50 Bowery, a World of Hyatt Joie de Vivre boutique property, priced as low as $115 per night in winter, though $150 is probably a safer average. 

Hotel 50 Bowery brings design-forward decor to the edgy Lower East Side taking inspiration from rich cultural surroundings. If you snag one of those cheaper rates, use the extra cash to upgrade to a balcony room for beautiful views of New York City and order a round of drinks at the rooftop bar.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full hotel review of Hotel 50 Bowery

Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel

Gild Hall   Lobby   Landscape.JPG
Gild Hall’s rustic lobby area.

Book Gild Hall

Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel from World of Hyatt, offers boutique personality under $200 pretty regularly. Warm and welcoming, the cozy decor is inspired by Aspen country houses for an overall vibe that feels rustic, and far from its corporate Financial District surroundings. 

Standard rooms hover between $170 and $200, making it an interesting, out-of-the-box option for an otherwise generic hotel-filled neighborhood.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full hotel review for Gild Hall

The Evelyn

Evelyn New York

Book The Evelyn New York

The Evelyn is a historic NoMad hotel that underwent a multi-million dollar renovation for an Art Deco-inspired look that’s very charming. While many rooms and public spaces were updated, the hotel still preserved the building’s iconic roots in music and history by maintaining original design details, which you’ll find in restaurants and in guest rooms.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full review of The Evelyn New York

Sister City New York

Sister City: An affordable boutique hotel in New York

Book Sister City New York

If you love Ace hotels but prefer a more understated approach, Sister City is a good fit. It’s a spin-off property from the creative studio behind Ace Hotel and caters to the experienced, busy traveler who appreciates modern amenities and independence. Self-service tablets guide guests through check-in, while amenities and housekeeping are available on demand.

It’s a smart approach for savvy guests looking to avoid the pain points of crowded hotels and prefer a low-key approach, but with just as much style as a hip boutique spot.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.  

Read our full hotel review of Sister City New York

Ace Hotel New York

Ace Hotel New York  Hotel review

Book Ace Hotel New York

Ace Hotels have long established themselves as a cool and also affordable boutique offering, with outposts in cities like Portland, Palm Springs, Seattle and more. Rooms are minimal and small (which keeps prices low) with the focus on common spaces that invite guests to linger and mingle.

The New York location is equally hip with industrial-meets-masculine decor. The lobby is bustling with creative types who camp out with laptops, and on-site food, drink, and shopping are all top-notch. Single, small, or bunk-bed rooms offer the cheapest rates. Never mind the smaller quarters, the real scene is happening outside the room anyway. 

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full hotel review of Ace New York

Park South Hotel

King Bedroom Park South

Book Park South Hotel

Rooms at the four-star Park South Hotel are straightforward but well-appointed in Manhattan’s super central NoMad neighborhood. The hotel is a member of World of Hyatt’s Joie de Vivre upscale portfolio ensuring your stay will be comfortable and chic, in line with the boutique line’s standards. Prices in low season start around $150, making it one of the most reasonably-priced higher-end, four-star properties on our list.

This hotel is currently closed until May 21, 2021. You can find COVID-19 updates here.

Read our full hotel review for Park South Hotel

Kixby

Kixby hotel review

Book Kixby

Kixby in Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan recently went through an impressive redesign and both guest rooms and public spaces benefitted from the updated treatment. The space has an intimate members-only club feel, and rooms are quiet.

Newer renovated Lux rooms start at $295 per night, but it’s actually the older but still worthy Classic rooms that deserve your attention here as they are actually larger than the new upgraded offering, and start as low as $152. 

This hotel is currently closed until June 1, 2021. You can find update COVID-19 info here.

Read our full hotel review for Kixby Hotel

Henry Norman Hotel

Henry Norman Standard Room

Book the Henry Norman Hotel

Forget Manhattan, Greenpoint is one of this New Yorker’s favorite neighborhoods in the city, and the Henry Norman Hotel is a hidden gem that’s well-suited to explore it. This wonderful corner of New York filled with incredible restaurants (don’t miss the authentic Polish food), a fun bar scene, and boutique shopping.

Housed in a converted 19th-century warehouse, the hotel’s standard studio loft rooms are large and often start at $169 a night, with a bright, modern eclectic vibe with far more space than you’re likely to find in Manhattan for the same price (a general trend on this side of the river).

There’s no on-site dining, but a complimentary shuttle transports guests anywhere within a mile of the hotel, and there are two 24-hour common terraces with great skyline views. There’s also a laundry room that’s free to use, which is a nice value, considering it’s a common hotel upcharge.

COVID-19 policies can be found here.

Read our full review of the Henry Norman Hotel

Our methodology for choosing the best hotels

In addition to the criteria previously listed above, we considered these additional factors:

Price: We looked for typical starting room rates under $230 per night, with most hotels coming in under $200 per night in low season.

First-hand experience: Every hotel on this list was stayed at and vetted by our team. We considered the value rooms offered, location, decor and design, and more.

Reviews: In addition to our own first-hand stays, we thoroughly researched reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, and Booking.com, and took into account the experience and reviews of other recent guests.

Guests: We chose the best cheap hotels in New York City for a wide audience, including families, couples, solo travelers, and business travelers.

Amenities: We looked for hotels with great amenities that go beyond the usual chain offerings, from excellent dining options and rooftop bars to free bike rentals.

COVID-19 safety: In light of the pandemic, we selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of guests with strict new cleaning policies.

FAQs

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can now safely travel domestically.

Most hotels New York City hotels have reopened with strict new COVID-19 cleaning procedures in place. Though you’ll encounter fewer people if you opt for a private home rental, experts say that with added precaution, hotels are safe

We also recommend following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask in public, washing hands frequently, and following social distancing.

Where should I stay in New York City?

That depends entirely on what you want to do. There’s something great about every neighborhood in New York, so it’s tough to go wrong. If it’s your first trip to New York and you want to be close to the tourist action, you may be interested in a stay closer to Times Square, Central Park, NoMad, or Flatiron.

Of course, these areas tend to be some of the most crowded, so if you prefer a slightly quieter stay, or if you’re a business traveler heading to Wall Street, consider downtown areas like the Financial District, Seaport, and Battery Park. 

If high-end shopping and hitting boutiques is a top priority, trendy SoHo might be right up your alley. Young travelers and those looking to enjoy more nightlife will likely want to be in the Lower East Side and East Village, or in Chelsea and the Meatpacking District (though there’s culture to be found over there too by way of the High Line, Whitney Museum, and more).

Of course, there are other boroughs outside of Manhattan to consider too. For incredible skyline views from your room, look to Brooklyn and areas like Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

What are the best activities in New York City?

You could spend decades in New York and never run out of activities. Some of the most popular and iconic activities include visiting Times Square, seeing a Broadway show, strolling through Central Park, taking in amazing views from the Empire State Building, One World, or the recently opened Edge, and visiting world-class museums from The Met to MoMA.

When the weather is nice, the High Line and the Brooklyn Bridge also make for nice walks with city views. Taking a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty is another must-do activity, and if you book well in advance, you can even get tickets to go up into the crown.  

Foodies have no shortage of incredible restaurant options, from Michelin-starred fine dining establishments to next-level hidden taco bars. And, there’s no shortage of nightlife, whether you’re seeking classic clubs where you might spot a celebrity or hidden speakeasies. 

Fifth Avenue and SoHo offer legendary shopping and there’s plenty of vintage shops and boutiques to explore too.

What is the best time to visit New York City?

Popular in every season, fall tends to be one of the priciest seasons since the weather is particularly lovey. April to June also offers mild temperatures and lovely spring blooms. If you visit in the summer expect hot and humid temperatures and an influx of tourists and an outflow of locals.

You can often find good deals in the winter, but expect prices to rise around the holiday season when people love to come see the holiday decorations, window displays, Rockettes, and more.

More of the best New York City hotels

the high line hotel new york
Read the original article on Business Insider

12 of the best hotels in Chicago, from 5-star properties with sleek pools to design-forward boutiques with standout rooftop bars

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

viceroy chicago outdoor
  • Chicago’s architecture, dining scene, and lakefront location are longtime draws for tourists.
  • There are many hotels at all prices, from boutique stays to cheap hotels and 5-star properties.
  • We chose top hotels in Chicago with historic features, great rooftops, and COVID-19 safety policies.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

As you might expect from one of the world’s greatest cities, Chicago is home to architectural marvels, an award-winning dining scene, innovative museums, and stunning lakefront scenery. Since I moved here more than 20 years ago, I’m constantly impressed by the rich cultural offerings the city provides.

The largest city in the Midwest has also grown to include numerous compelling hotel choices, from intimate boutiques to world-renowned opulence. There is an enormous selection of accommodations for business travelers, luxury seekers, families, and tourists of all sorts.

Our picks cull the choices down to a pristine group and are found in prime locations and worth your hard-earned cash – or reward points. Prefer Airbnb? Here are some of our favorite affordable Airbnbs in Chicago.

Browse all the best hotels in Chicago below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best hotels in Chicago, sorted by price from low to high.

Ace Hotel Chicago

ace hotel chicago guest room

Book Ace Hotel Chicago

Minimal, yet modern and edgy, Ace Hotel Chicago speaks to hip business travelers and locals looking for a West Loop base with cool factor. It’s hard not to feel taken by the immersive vibe. 

The West Loop is one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods, and the whole hotel seems to channel that sentiment. Rooms are purposefully utilitarian (a hallmark aesthetic of the Ace brand) yet still very comfortable, and some even come with their own turntable or guitar. The restaurant, lobby bar (with outdoor patio and fire pits), and rooftop bar are all hotspots that attract locals as well. Weeks later, I’m still thinking about the heart-stealing views from my east-facing room and the rooftop.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Read our full hotel review for Ace Hotel Chicago

Virgin Hotels Chicago

virgin hotels chicago

Book Virgin Hotels Chicago

Created by Sir Richard Branson, the very first of the Virgin Hotels opened in Chicago in 2015 inside the Old Dearborn Bank Building. Steps away from Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s Loop, the downtown boutique hotel offers a refreshed approach to modern luxury and comfort, catering to younger business types and tech-savvy travelers. An app is utilized for check-in, room service requests (which is actually handled through delivery services like Door Dash), and it also serves as your TV remote control.

Each room (they call them chambers) in the 26-story hotel is separated into two areas, with a large dressing area, closet space, and shower separated by a set of sliding privacy doors from the sleeping area. The vibe is cool and no-nonsense. I love the fact that Virgin has no hidden fees and they offer “street-level” pricing on minibar items and videos on demand, without the typical upcharge found at similarly elevated hotels.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Loews Chicago Hotel

loews chicago

Book the Loews Chicago Hotel

The Loews Chicago Hotel is housed within a gleaming 52-story glass and steel tower and favored by business travelers who eschew stuffy or traditional hotels for one such as this that favors a clean, sleek approach. Unlike many of Chicago’s hotels set in rehabbed historical buildings, I love the newness of Loews. The spacious public spaces feel contemporary, and the rooms, while decently sized, still seem airy.

I’m also enamored by the enormous rooftop terrace (one of the largest in the city) and the 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center and large indoor lap pool. Located one block from the Chicago River, the hotel is about a five-minute walk to Michigan Avenue.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

chicago athletic association

Book the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Originally home to an elite men’s club, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel building is an architectural gem dating back to 1893. Converted to a boutique hotel in 2015, the lobby always gives me goosebumps with its Harvard meets Hogwarts aesthetic.

Rooms play into the vibe, but it’s comfortable rather than kitschy. I often bring out-of-towners up to Cindy’s Rooftop, an airy restaurant with a large outdoor terrace offering some of the city’s best views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review for Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

londonhouse chicago rooftop

Book LondonHouse Chicago

After I stayed at the LondonHouse Chicago, I consider it one of my favorite hotels in the city. The hotel is located only steps from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in a Chicago landmark building, the former London Guarantee and Accident Building.

Many of the plush rooms in this Hilton Curio Collection property overlook the Chicago River and I highly recommend my Vista Suite for the prime river views and comfortable accommodations. Though, the real scene-stealer is the rooftop bar, arguably the best in the city with 360 panoramic views and three levels, at the top of which is a columned cupola — expect to witness daily marriage proposals in the summer.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Read our full hotel review for LondonHouse Chicago

Kimpton Gray Hotel

kImpton gray hotel chicago

Book Kimpton Gray Hotel

Packed in amidst the Loop’s skyscrapers, the Kimpton Gray Hotel is ideal for downtown business travelers but it’s a far cry from the bland cookie-cutter business hotels you might expect. Formally known as the New York Life Insurance building, the landmark edifice dates back to 1894. The hotel takes its name from the preserved Georgia Gray marble, which is found throughout much of the restored interiors.

The IHG property deftly combines such historic features with contemporary-styled guest rooms with crisp furnishings. Upgrade to the King Spa room for a walk-in shower and separate soaking tub, which is pretty nice after a long workday. We love the social vibe of the complimentary evening wine hour in the lobby, an IHG hallmark. Head upstairs to the lively Argentinian rooftop lounge with an enormous retractable roof. It’s a great after-work spot for entertaining clients.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review for Kimpton Gray Hotel

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection

emc2 chicago

Book the Hotel EMC2

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection (part of Marriott Bonvoy’s collection of hotels) is a truly one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in Chicago’s downtown Streeterville neighborhood. True to its name, it impressed me with a refreshingly different design concept mixing art with science. It’s far more interesting and immersive than it might initially sound.

Rooms feature sleek decor, hardwood floors, and dramatic artwork that feels experiential over traditional. My favorite part: the hotel “employs” two-room service robots, Leo and Cleo, who will deliver extra towels and such to your room. That was a first for me.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Read our full hotel review of Hotel EMC2

Thompson Chicago

thompson chicago

Book the Thompson Chicago

Dark and sophisticated, The Thompson Chicago (a World of Hyatt luxury property) immediately makes you feel cool with a stylish, loft-like urban edge that attracts a cosmopolitan crowd.

Reviewers love the luxury linens, Gold Coast location, and modern, state-of-the-art bathrooms and city views. Nico Osteria on the ground floor is well known in the neighborhood for its raw bar, house-made pasta, and tasty seafood.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel

The Gwen Deluxe King Suite Bedroom

Book The Gwen

Located right on iconic Michigan Avenue, The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel from Marriott Bonvoy, is set in a 1920s Art Deco landmark building (yes, it’s a common theme in Chicago).

Bright and modern rooms come with ultra-luxe Frette linens and a plush bed. Amenities include excellent on-site restaurants from one of Chicago’s most celebrated chefs and the sleek rooftop terrace has fire pits and a unique “curling” rink in winter. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of The Gwen

Viceroy Chicago

vchi rm b

Book Viceroy Chicago

From the beautifully restored 1930s façade to the 30-foot lobby wall of quotes, the Viceroy is all about looks.

During a recent stay, I was quite impressed by the highly-designed rooms, which felt like a study in midcentury modern decor, and as if I was living in my own pied-à-terre rather than a standard hotel.

I also loved that Viceroy is located in the Gold Coast neighborhood with its great shopping and dining. Staying here gives visitors a taste of residential life, but with plenty to do nearby, and prime beach access. The hotel is very close to Lake Michigan.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Read our full hotel review for Viceroy Chicago

The Peninsula Chicago

the peninsula chicago

Book the Peninsula Chicago

Often named not only the best hotel in Chicago but also one of the best in the US, the five-star Peninsula Chicago earned a spot on our list for its winning combination of service and elegance.

We appreciate all the plush details found within rooms from the Pratesi linens to the TV above the soaking tub in the marble bathroom. It’s opulence at its finest. Although it’s pricey, sometimes they have special offers like a third night free.

Whenever you visit, try to stay over Friday or Saturday night so as not to miss the decadent, chocolate buffet of your dreams in the Lobby restaurant. This is also where the celebrated Peninsula Afternoon Tea takes place. And don’t miss the 1930s supper club decor and world-class dining at Shanghai Terrace or the views of Michigan Avenue from the rooftop terrace.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review for Peninsula Chicago

The Langham Chicago

guest room langham chicago

Book The Langham Chicago

The five-star Langham Chicago is a classic example of luxury, consistently praised for its excellent service and posh appearance. The art-filled hotel resides in the landmark, 52-story IBM building designed by renowned architect Mies van der Rohe. It’s perched on the Chicago River, steps from Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park, and Chicago’s business district, offering one of the best locations in all of the city.

Large rooms all have floor-to-ceiling windows with stellar city views. Splurge on a Club Level room and you’ll receive a complimentary breakfast buffet, afternoon tea, cocktails and snacks all day and into the evening, and butler service, which offers tremendous value for the higher price tag. Oh, and don’t forget your swimsuit to do laps in one of Chicago’s nicest indoor pools. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review for Langham Chicago

More on our methodology for selecting the best hotels

In addition to the criteria previously outlined, we considered the following factors:

Experience: Every hotel on this list has been visited first-hand by one of our local Chicago writers, who confirmed that the overall experience delivers on design, value, location, and more.

Value: In fact, value matters a lot. We chose Chicago hotels that offered strong value through rooms that feel worth the money, as well as a combination of other important travel factors such as on-site amenities and a location that makes it easy to explore the city.  

COVID-19 protocols: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new strict new cleaning policies in light of COVID-19.

Price: We only accepted hotels with room rates that start under $400 in low season.

Guest profile: We chose hotels that would appeal to families, young professionals, solo travelers, couples, business travelers, friends, and more. 

Reviews: We consulted past guest reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com.

FAQ: Chicago hotels

What are the best hotels in Chicago? 

The ones on this list, of course! As a self-proclaimed ambassador for Chicago who’s always encouraging friends to visit, I’m always asked for recommendations on where to stay. My answers typically depend on the person’s style preferences, location requirements, reasons for visiting, and of course, budget. These factors similarly fueled this very list, to highlight the hotels that best tick all those boxes: stylish, centrally located, near business and leisure, and are reasonably priced.

What is the best time of year to visit Chicago?

Chicago’s harsh winter means spring, summer, and fall are the ideal times to visit, though, summer can also be quite humid. However, the city is filled with fun outdoor things to do during these warmer months, from sunbathing on the beach at Lake Michigan, to sitting riverside at a restaurant on the Riverwalk, strolling through Millennium Park, hitting farmer’s markets, and more.

But because of cold weather, winter will also be the cheapest time of the year to visit. Expect to pay higher prices in summer and early fall.

Which is the best location to stay in Chicago?

If you’re visiting Chicago on business, you’ll probably want to be based downtown, otherwise known as The Loop, which is the city’s financial center. It’s also home to Millennium Park. 

Foodie should head to West Loop, an emerging hotspot for chef-driven restaurants and swanky cocktail lounges.

If shopping is on the agenda look to areas in and around Magnificent Mile, such as Streeterville, which is also well-suited to first-time visitors, as is River North. To travel further afoot like a local, consider Wicker Park or Lincoln Park.

Is it safe to stay in hotels?

The CDC has said that fully vaccinated people can safely travel within the US. Experts also say hotels are safe if you are unvaccinated, so long as you take proper precautions.

Hotels are also implementing new cleaning policies to help guests rest easier. We’ve noted updated policies for each of the hotels on this list below.

However, because the pandemic situation is constantly evolving, you may want to read up on hotel cancellation policies.

More of our favorite city hotels

best hotels nyc

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hotels are pulling out of Biden’s $87 million contract to house migrants amid political pushback, report says

us-mexico border migrant children
Central American asylum seekers arrive to a bus station after being released by U.S. Border Patrol agents on February 26, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas.

  • The Biden administration secured an $87 million contract to house migrants at hotels.
  • Some of those hotels have backed out as debates over the border surge continue, Axios reported.
  • The US is experiencing the biggest surge on its southern border in 20 years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Four hotels have backed out of plans to house migrants under a Biden administration contract, Axios reported Friday.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed in a statement to Insider last month that it had secured an $86.9 million contract with the non-profit Endeavors to “provide temporary shelter and processing services for families who have not been expelled and are therefore placed in immigration proceedings for their removal from the United States.”

The statement said Endeavors, which has programs that include housing services and disaster relief, would secure 1,239 beds in addition to other services. Families would also receive COVID-19 testing.

“Our border is not open,” ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson said. “The majority of individuals continue to be expelled under the Centers for Disease Control’s public health authority.”

Read more: Biden’s immigration messaging is fine – the problem is his policies don’t back up his ‘don’t come’ message

Axios reported the hotels that backed out of the plans were in Texas and Arizona and were set to house around 600 migrants. They were a Woodspring Suites, a Hampton Inn by Hilton, a Microtel by Wyndham, and a Best Western.

Endeavors told Axios alternative hotels have already been secured.

Hotels have been used by immigration officials before, including last year, when hundreds of migrants, including children, were held in major hotel chains before being deported under President Donald Trump’s pandemic border ban.

In recent months, President Joe Biden’s administration has struggled to address a surge of migrants, mostly families and children, at the southern border.

The US is on track to see up to 2 million migrants there this year, amid the biggest surge in two decades, The Washington Post reported. The surge is putting a heavy strain on government resources and border towns.

Republicans have blamed Biden’s actions and rhetoric for the surge, which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called a “Biden border crisis.” Meanwhile, Biden has publicly tried to urge people from Central America to not travel to the US and stay where they are.

The White House has declined to refer to the situation as a “crisis” despite criticism from Republicans.

US officials told Reuters last week that Biden’s aides are increasingly frustrated with the situation and believe migrant children are not being released quickly enough from Department of Health and Human Services custody.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 8 best hotels in Fort Lauderdale whether you seek rooftop pools and casinos or a relaxing beachfront retreat

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

best hotels in fort lauderdale
  • Fort Lauderdale features a great restaurant and bar scene, beautiful beaches, and historic sites.
  • Hotels in and around Fort Lauderdale range from old Florida beach motels to luxury high rises.
  • We chose the best Fort Lauderdale hotels at affordable prices starting from $129 to $399 per night.

Just 45 minutes north of rowdy Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers a more relaxed and often more affordable take on a fun, Florida beach vacation. The cosmopolitan city is infused with old Florida soul and is packed with white-sand beaches, standout dining, historic sites, boat shows, some of the nation’s best discount shopping at Sawgrass Mall, and more.

The landscape of Fort Lauderdale is also wholly unique – within its 36.3 square miles, there are 165 miles of canals, rightfully nicknaming Fort Lauderdale the “Venice of America.”

With so many reasons for travelers to visit, the city is home to an impressive number of hotels designed to meet every traveler’s taste. Knowing this, we’ve combed through the masses to choose the top hotels in the area.

Browse all of the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale below, or jump to a specific area:

Read on for the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale, sorted by price from low to high.

Plunge Beach Hotel

Plunge_Beach_Hotel_sits_in_a_charming_Old_Florida_neighborhood_called_Lauderdale By The Sea

Book Plunge Beach Hotel

This modern twist on an old, vintage Florida beach hotel offers a quiet, casual beach weekend at an unbeatable price. As you’re driving down El Mar Drive, you can’t miss it — it’s a five-story, all-white building with an all-white pool deck and 163 rooms. The rooms are standard, but very clean, spacious, and (most importantly) just steps from the area’s powder-white sand beaches.

Plunge Beach Hotel has a mix of standard guest rooms and one- or two-bedroom suites. We recommend opting for accommodations with a partial- or full-ocean views to really feel like you’re on the water. 

The most interesting thing about this hotel is its amazing location. Plunge Beach Hotel is in a charming part of the city called Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, a Stars Hollow-esque village that looks plucked from 1960s New England, filled with mom-and-pop restaurants, old-school ice cream shops, old Florida vibes, pedestrian-friendly streets, and buildings no higher than five stories.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Dalmar, Fort Lauderdale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The_Dalmar_is_a_stylish_hotel_that_fuses_Palm_Beach chic_with_tropical_decor.

Book The Dalmar

Staying at The Dalmar is a fun, sophisticated retreat done up in a mix of mid-century modern design infused with plenty of tropical accents. Palm Beach-chic bright magenta and greens, palm frond prints, and neon wall messages all brighten the well-designed common areas. Likewise, rooms are large and comfortable with a mix of both city and, in the distance, Atlantic Ocean views. 

The contemporary and glamorous Terrace Grill is a great restaurant, and there’s also a rooftop infinity pool with butler service that guests can request simply by pushing a button on their pool chair.

The lobby area doubles as a trendy lounge, with a communal working table, plush cream couches with palm-printed throw pillows, a glowing marble bar with bronze accents, and a candy-pink Moet champagne vending machine. Head to the top floor and check out the Gatsby-style rooftop lounge, Sparrow, which is the highest rooftop bar in Fort Lauderdale.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

The_Westin_Fort_Lauderdale_Beach_Resort_connects_to_the_beach_via_skywalk.

Book The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

Staying at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort feels like retreating to an effortless and well-appointed beach getaway. Two towering buildings in matching baby blue and white hues are perched right on the sand, with rooms that exude beachy elegance with light woods, wicker furniture, plush all-white beds, and throw pillows covered in bright green palm fronds. Rooms are spacious, with ocean, pool, or Intracoastal views, including the lowest room category, which is a Traditional Guest Room, 1 King. 

If the weather is nice, grab a first-come, first-served pool chair on the oceanfront pool deck. The pool is small, and there aren’t that many chairs, so get there early to make sure you snag one. The hotel also has a fitness room, the Heavenly Spa by Westin™, and one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, Lona Cocina Tequileria. When you eat at Lona, start with the blue crab tostadas, end with the churros and housemade chocolate-dipping sauce, and thank us later.

You can find COVID-19 policies here.  

Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

The_Fort_Lauderdale_Marriott_Harbor_Beach_Resort_&_Spa_sits_on_16_acres_of_beachfront_property.

Book the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa is like entering a pristine compound with so much do, it’s easy to stay on-site for the entirety of your stay. The resort sits on 16 acres of beachfront property with a 22,000 square-foot spa, a tropical lagoon pool, and seven restaurants and bars. 

The rooms are spacious, with even the lowest room category — Interior Room, Guest room, 1 King — measuring a generous 338 square feet. Standard hotel rooms all come with handcrafted wooden headboards, sheer white curtains, abstract art, plush sofa chairs, pillow-top mattresses, and glass showers.

Because of its massive size, great room prices, and long list of amenities, this hotel attracts a mix of guests, from families and friends to business travelers, couples, bachelor and bachelorette parties, spring breakers, and more.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

Pelican Grand Beach Resort

The_Pelican_Grand_Beach_Resort_is_home_to_Fort_Lauderdale’s_only_lazy_river.

Book the Pelican Grand Beach Resort

Drive down North Ocean Boulevard, and despite its Easter egg-yellow color and 10+ story building, you might miss the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, which is set off to the side. Thanks to a $7 million guest room renovation in 2019, rooms now have a refreshing mix of whimsical Florida soul coupled with boho-chic design. The hotel is as close to the water as you can get, and rooms are pretty large and come with a private balcony or terrace that includes at least partial ocean views. 

This hotel also has a delicious restaurant, OCEAN2000, a sprawling pool with a lazy river, and a rooftop spa with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that make it appear as if you’re hovering over the sparkling blue Atlantic Ocean. No matter how you spend your time here, post-dinner s’mores by a firepit in the sand are a must.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

W Fort Lauderdale

The_W_Fort_Lauderdale_has_a_see through_rooftop_pool_known_for_its_pool_parties.

Book the W Fort Lauderdale

If you were priced out of Miami, know that W Fort Lauderdale is a lot like staying on South Beach. The lobby bar, Living Room, is a hot spot for both hotel guests and locals, and there’s an all-glass rooftop WET pool that’s a whole party in itself.

The hotel has a lot of vibrant energy, from its electric pink, blue, orange and green decor to its large Wonderful, Spectacular, Fabulous, Cool, Marvelous, Wow or even Extreme Wow rooms and suites (those are the actual room categories). Wake up and walk straight to the beach or take advantage of the AWAY spa. Whether you get steak at Steak 954, Mexican food at El Vez, or cocktails at Living Room, you’ll enjoy panoramic, floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean just steps away. 

As mentioned, the pool is the main social event here with 360-degree views of Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale Beach, and covered in daybeds available by reservation only. They fill up quickly, so make a reservation early to make sure you don’t miss out.  

Because of its party vibe, this hotel attracts a lot of groups of young friends, bachelorette or bachelor parties, young couples, and solo travelers. It’s a fun, stylish, trendy hotel but it’s not a place for a quiet beach retreat or serene, romantic getaway. 

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino

The_Guitar_Hotel_at_Seminole_Hard_Rock_Hollywood_Hotel_&_Casino_is_the_world’s_first_guitar shaped_hotel.

Book The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino

After undergoing a much-anticipated $1.5 billion renovation and expansion, The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino finally opened in fall 2019. The all-glass hotel has 638 oversized rooms and is designed to look like two back-to-back guitars, with six illuminated guitar strings on each side. 

The lowest room category, Deluxe King, offers a super spacious 520 square feet, huge marble bathrooms, convertible vanity areas, and direct views of the Bora Bora pool area, which was designed to look like Bora Bora itself. 

The amenities aren’t lacking, and guests can take advantage of 19 restaurants, 20 bars, a luxury co-ed spa with music-inspired treatments, a full-scale fitness center, the Hard Rock Live concert venue, a comedy club, nightly light and music shows, the DAER nightclub and day club complex, an indoor shopping mall, and of course, a casino.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

Guests_of_The_Ritz Carlton,_Fort_Lauderdale_get_a_complimentary_water_taxi_ride_every_day._

Book The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

This beachfront hotel offers a pampering, luxury escape, and at certain times of the year, it’s actually pretty affordable, which is a steal for a top-tier brand such as the Ritz-Carlton.

Even the lowest-category rooms — Intracoastal View, Guest room, 1 King, Balcony — come with a lot of space, large marble bathrooms, leather furniture, and a private balcony and view of either the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway. 

There is a $45 daily resort fee but it offers tremendous value, including beach chairs, daily beach umbrellas, Ritz-Carlton water, two signature resort cocktails every day, daily one-hour fitness classes, high-speed internet, two four-hour bike rentals, and a daily water taxi pass.

Spend your days at the beach or by the hotel’s private, heated infinity pool, or book a spa treatment in the 8,500 square-foot spa. If working out is a part of your travel ritual, you’ll love the Ritz’s fitness center with glass windows overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

Our methodology for choosing hotels

In addition to the criteria previously listed above, we considered these additional factors:

Price: We looked for typical starting room rates under $400 per night.

Reviews: In addition to our own first-hand stays, we thoroughly researched reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, and Booking.com, and took into account the experience and reviews of other recent guests.

Guests: We chose the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale for a wide audience, including families, couples, groups of friends, solo travelers, and more.

Amenities: We looked for beach hotels with standout decor, excellent locations, beach access, pool facilities, delicious restaurants and bars, and other guest perks from golf courses to beachside spa services.

COVID-19 safety: In light of the pandemic, we selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of guests with strict new cleaning policies.

FAQs

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can now safely travel domestically.

Most hotels have implemented strict new cleaning procedures to ensure guest safety. Though you’re more likely to encounter other people in hotel common spaces such as lobbies, restaurants, and pools, experts say that with added precaution, hotels are safe

We also recommend following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask in public, washing hands frequently, and following social distancing.

Where should I stay in Fort Lauderdale?

That depends on what you want to do and, perhaps most importantly, how close you want to be to the beach. You’ll find chic properties, and excellent shopping and restaurants near Las Olas Boulevard, the city’s main drag that runs from the beach to Downtown Fort Lauderdale. 

You’ll want to stick to the coasts if your main objective is hitting the beach or boating. Fort Lauderdale Beach is always a popular choice, though for quieter beaches and hotels with Old Florida charm, consider Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

What is there to do in Fort Lauderdale?

Shop or stroll into a cafe on La Ola Boulevard or bike along the riverwalk. Of course, hitting the beach is a prime activity here. Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and Las Olas Beach are two attractive options for getting your toes in the sand.

Boating and sailing are also especially popular here. If you don’t have your own boat, consider booking a day cruise, sunset sail, or even an airboat tour to the nearby Everglades.

What is the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale?

Though a great year-round destination, the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale is October to May, since you’ll avoid the humid, rainy summer season, as well as hurricane season which runs from June to November.

Fort Lauderdale is also often very crowded during peak times like spring break, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. Keep this in mind and expect to pay more if you plan to visit during the most crowded times.

More of the best beach hotels

best hotels destin florida
Read the original article on Business Insider

Which is safer: Airbnb or hotels during COVID-19? Here’s what doctors and the CDC say.

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Travel Generic Graphics Hotel Key 4x3

  • Summer travel is poised to make a big comeback in 2021.
  • Both Airbnbs and hotels are open and welcoming travelers with stringent new cleaning protocols.
  • So which is safer: Airbnb vs. hotels? We asked doctors about the lodging they’d book themselves.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Travel is shaping up to have a major comeback this summer as more Americans become vaccinated, and in response to new CDC guidelines that say fully vaccinated individuals can now safely travel in the US.

As a result, many will likely book that long-postponed family vacation, romantic getaway, or bucket list trip. Of course, the novel coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon, and safety in travel will still be top of mind.

Fortunately, when it comes to safe lodging, travelers have many choices, and all of them are actively courting business with sweeping new policies and protocols.

Many large hotel chains have announced big changes to cleaning policies, and Airbnb requires that all hosts and guests commit to their Enhanced Clean program, which includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and abiding by a five-step enhanced cleaning process.

However, there is still an element of risk. After all, travelers who preferred hotels for on-demand housekeeping, room service, and impressive on-site amenities may now view those same person-to-person interactions as liabilities. Similarly, in an Airbnb, everything from bedsheets to a fork was previously used by another person.

To help determine the safest lodging for travelers during COVID-19, we spoke with doctors, whose conclusions represented a consensus.

Are hotels and Airbnb safe during COVID-19 in 2021?

When making arrangements for overnight lodging – as with any other decision you make when leaving your house during the pandemic – consider that the most significant risk you can encounter is direct contact with other people.

And when you’re traveling, you’re likely to encounter not only other humans but those who come from backgrounds and locations unfamiliar to you.

“The first thing that potentially opens up risk is running into other people that you have no idea what their infectious status is,” explains Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo. “We know now that there’s a lot of people who get the coronavirus who have no symptoms at all who could potentially transmit it. Therefore, you have to assume that anyone you encounter that you don’t know could be potentially infectious.”

Are pools safe during COVID?

When it comes to pools, beach chairs, and other amenities found at Airbnbs and hotels, “other bodies are the main concern,” Dr. Russo says, as opposed to the water in the pool.

So, your safest leisure-time bet would be a chaise completely away from the crowd, a bike for a solo ride, or a swim in the chlorinated pool of a private Airbnb with no other guests present. To help with that, we rounded up some of the best Airbnbs in the US with private pools.

CNT Hotel Hot List 1HotelWestHollywood

Is it safe to eat in a restaurant?

In hotels, unless you have a suite with a kitchen, all dining will be done either in a restaurant or through takeout. Our experts said the safest option in a hotel would be no-contact room service or other delivery.

In an Airbnb, you can prepare your own food, which is both safer and cost-saving, although remember with this style of lodging you can expect an additional cleaning fee. Increased fees post-pandemic have been in the range of $250, and that’s just for cleaning, in addition to service fees and the like.

Again, no matter what lodging you pick, the main thing you’ll want to consider is the likelihood you’ll encounter other people and the number and length of such encounters. Plus, factor in the location, and if possible, avoid regions with high rates of infection.

“When booking any type of lodging, consider how many people you’ll be surrounded by, when was the last time someone stayed in that accommodation, and how is the state or city doing in regards to flattening the curve,” said Dr. Neil Brown, K Health‘s chief diagnosis officer.

What can I do to minimize the risk of COVID-19 while staying at a hotel or Airbnb?

Whether you choose an Airbnb or a hotel, be aware of high-touch areas that might facilitate virus transmission.

In both Airbnbs and hotels, these might include light switches, phones, TV remotes, doorknobs, sinks, bathroom faucets, and toilet handles. Additionally, look out for flat surfaces like bedside tables. “If someone was sick in the room and coughing, [those are among] flat surfaces it could settle onto,” Dr. Russo notes.

If you’re going to use kitchen items in Airbnbs, Dr. Russo suggests running them through the dishwasher just in case, an action that would neutralize the virus.

The virus is likely to settle out of the air quickly – about one to three hours under experimental conditions, and possibly much less in the real world – Dr. Russo notes. So that means the air quality is not likely to be a major concern in either a hotel room or an Airbnb if you are the only one in it. Nevertheless, you can mitigate your risk in both by insisting upon a margin of time passing since the last guest was in the space.

With Airbnb, look to book homes that have an Enhanced Cleaning badge, indicating they have committed to following Airbnb’s COVID-19 safety practices. This includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and, for hosts and their teams, abiding by a five-step enhanced cleaning process.

Disinfecting doorknob

Similarly, look for hotels with impressive new cleaning protocols and policies such as keeping rooms empty between guests, or specifically request a room that’s been vacant for a day or more.

Without explicitly stated buffers, hotels may indeed turn guest rooms around faster than Airbnb. But if you were to check into a room in which an infected person stayed right before you arrived, and the housekeeping crew did clean and sanitize everything according to guidelines, you would “probably” escape risk, Dr. Russo said, “but that’s not an ideal scenario.”

“I think it’s great that hotels are taking initiative and hiring these experts to help them implement better cleaning protocols,” he said. “But my biggest concern is the amount of traffic going through these hotels.”

Plus, there is the matter that stated policies ideally will be executed in good faith by every member of the hotel staff, and every Airbnb host or cleaner, in every instance. But that cannot be guaranteed by each individual arriving guest.

What do CDC guidelines say about hotels vs. Airbnbs?

According to the CDC’s current guidelines for lodging options, the lowest risk option is, of course, staying at home.

However, the guidelines list “staying in a house or cabin (for example, a vacation rental) with people from your household or fully vaccinated people” as “Safer.” However, it’s important to note that this is specifically for booking vacation rentals and Airbnbs only with people from your household.

Both hotels and vacation rentals that you share with people who are not vaccinated or are outside of your household are in the “Less Safe” category.

Bottom line, which is safer: hotels or Airbnbs?

The doctors we spoke with agreed that one lodging option is safer than the other as a general rule, because the main risk in coronavirus transmission is directly from person to person. And you are more likely to have person-to-person encounters in hotels compared with private Airbnbs. So the experts we spoke to agree with the CDC guidelines that the safer option is Airbnbs.

“While there is no question hotels are working diligently to keep their hotels clean and sanitized, Airbnb has a huge advantage given that the renter is generally the only one occupying the property,” said Dr. Brown. “With Airbnb’s new Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, the company provides a better option than public hotel spaces. Airbnb homes are more private, so there is a lesser chance of being exposed to the coronavirus.”

Dr. Brown does suggest confirming your listing meets Airbnb’s new cleaning protocol even though it is now a requirement for all hosts. “I would double-check to see if the host is participating in the policies,” he said.

Dr. Russo “absolutely agree[s]” that staying in a private Airbnb, especially one that allows no-contact check-in, such as through a lockbox, is the safer option now, given the probability of fewer person-to-person encounters.

Whatever lodging option you choose – if you choose to travel – both doctors recommend undertaking a serious consideration of the risks versus rewards.

Dr. Russo said he would stay in an Airbnb, and as for a hotel, said, “I think so.” But if he had the potential to encounter anybody in person at any point in his travels, he’d definitely wear a mask and would weigh the importance of the trip to his quality of life before deciding to undertake it.

“If it’s a trip that is important and necessary, I feel relatively safe using the proper protective measures like wearing a mask, distancing, disinfecting, and hand hygiene,” he said, noting that individuals will have to weigh their own individual risk tolerance, risk factors, and risk-reward potential.

Dr. Brown voiced a somewhat more conservative view. “Personally, I would do my best to avoid traveling altogether, but if it is necessary, I would feel more comfortable staying at an Airbnb after doing my own disinfecting upon arrival,” he said. “At the end of the day, the only people we can trust to protect us are ourselves. So if there is no need to travel at the moment, I would recommend everyone to continue staying home.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best non-theme park hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee for amazing pools, spas, golf, and cheaper prices

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Hyatt Regency grand cypress orlando

  • With warm weather and iconic theme parks, Orlando is one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.
  • Many hotels are Walt Disney World resorts, but there are plenty of choices outside the parks, too.
  • We picked the best hotels in the Orlando and Kissimmee area priced under $200 for your next trip.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

I’ve been visiting and editing guidebooks about Orlando for 15 years, and have witnessed Orlando and adjacent Kissimmee evolve dramatically, with a healthy mix of new resorts, independent lodging, and national hotel chains, and most offer some kind of shuttle service to the big theme parks.

Though many come to the Orlando area for the theme parks, alternative hotel options are growing and staying off-site means cheaper prices, varied accommodations, and higher-value food and drink, all without the immediate, looming presence of The Mouse. Though, if you’re looking for the best Walt Disney World hotels and resorts, we have those, too.

Browse all the best Orlando hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best hotels in Orlando, sorted by price from low to high.

B Resort & Spa

bresort

Book B Resort & Spa

There’s a charming retro feel to the exterior of this Disney Springs-area hotel, a nod to its former life as the Royal Plaza (the place was fully renovated in 2014). Though it’s actually a Disney-owned property, it hardly feels it compared to other theme park hotels and you’d never know thanks to interior elements such as gleaming marble, by multi-colored chairs, and oversized lamps in the lobby. 

The property confidently walks a fine line between adult and family-friendly, with fun amenities such as iPads to borrow and a Kids Zone video game arcade. The pool area, which many rooms face, is zero-entry with a classic, Miami-style look filled with palm trees, sleek lines, and a bar. 

The rooms are large and airy, with dark blues and grays standing out against white walls and light fittings. They’re sizeable enough for families and come replete with Aveda toiletries.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Castle Hotel

castle_hotel

Book the Castle Hotel

This International Drive hotel was previously considered to be solidly in the tacky-kitsch arena, but after a 2013 multi-million dollar renovation, it has been elevated into Marriott Bonvoy’s prestigious Autograph Collection.

Gone are the cartoonish pinks and purple accents, replaced by elegant whites and silvers, flanked by striking towers that conjure up a castle-like image. Though stepping into the lobby is more akin to entering the world’s most glamorous hunting lodge, with shiny furniture, chandeliers, and mirrors mixing with deer skulls. The sophisticated rustic mix continues in guest rooms, which feature intricately carved wooden headboards.

Guests can loll by the alluring circular pool, which boasts a dolphin-themed fountain as its centerpiece or take a break in the spa or gym facilities. There is also a bistro restaurant and a cocktail lounge.  

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Caribe Royale Orlando

caribe royale orlando

Book Caribe Royale Orlando

There’s really no missing this huge pink complex that’s just a five-minute drive from EPCOT. It’s classier than it sounds, though, and the resort’s Italianate lobby is suitably plush with a hexagonal skylight and opulent greenery. 

The rooms are largely neutral with lots of space and comfortable living areas, especially in the family-sized apartment-style suites. Families and convention guests are kept largely to their own towers, which helps keep it from feeling overrun. 

The dining highlight is the Venetian Chop House, a decadently furnished, award-winning restaurant with crystal chandeliers and wood-paneled booths. There are a handful of more casual options, too. 

Another stand-out amenity is the resort’s pool area with interactive play areas, waterfalls, and an impressive 65-foot water slide. There are also tennis and basketball courts, a gym, spa, as well as fishing (catch and release), and a mile-long jogging and biking trail. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

hilton orlando bonnet

Book Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

This Hilton resort shares convention and other facilities with its sister property, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, and offers almost comparable levels of comfort and amenities with a more family-friendly slant. 

The lobby feels bright and spacious thanks to pastel shades and pale stone floors that reflect the daylight. The ceilings feature striking (but not racy) murals of women in vintage bathing costumes. The rooms are perfectly comfortable, if unremarkable, but do come with Hilton’s Serenity beds, and some offer views of fireworks from the surrounding parks. 

The main draw, especially for families, is the pool area with a lazy river, water slides, and cabanas. Guests can also make use of the golf course and spa, which are amenities that are shared with the Waldorf Astoria. 

Also shared are the varied dining options, though the on-site Italian bistro, La Luce, comes highly recommended and is operated by Napa Valley chef and restaurateur Donna Scala.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

gaylord

Book Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

Run by Marriott and primarily geared to convention-goers, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center also offers close proximity to Disney and an impressive array of amenities that will appeal to families and adult business travelers. 

The approach has the air of an upscale country club, with palatial spaces, columns, and marble. The hotel also boasts a unique four-and-a-half acre atrium housing a Floridian eco-system of gators, fish, caves, and sand sculptures, among many other things. Guests can visit various themed sections such as Everglades, St Augustine, Key West, etc. 

All rooms were renovated in 2012 and sleep up to five people. Many have atrium views and private balconies, as well as noticeably pleasant granite-topped bathrooms. 

The hotel’s five restaurants include a steakhouse, Caribbean bistro, and a seafood restaurant, part of which is a replica sailboat. The pool area is a mini water park and there’s also an adults-only pool for relaxing.  

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

grandbohemian

Book The Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

Part of Marriott’s niche Kessler Collection, this property in downtown Orlando is steeped in the portfolio’s usual esoteric design. The lobby is a symphony of red tiling and fabrics and dozens of paintings and sculptures add to the art-forward ambiance. It’s well worth taking a tour of the property’s impressively eclectic art collection. 

The rooms are swathed in plush velvet, and bold color choices such as purple and gold create a slightly kitschy, but decadent look that certainly stands out amid the usual Floridian design. In effect, this hotel feels more like a Vegas property than an Orlando one. 

The flagship restaurant, Boheme, serves modern American cuisine and is similarly sultry with dark woods and scarlet curtains. Its neighboring sister cocktail lounge is dominated by a Grand Bosendorfer Piano, which allows for a great Jazz Brunch at the weekend. 

The hotel’s rooftop pool is relatively modest by Orlando standards but is perfectly pleasant and heated year-round. The spa reflects the playful design of the hotel. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Reunion Resort & Golf Club

reunion resort a salamander

Book the Reunion Resort & Golf Club

This Wyndham Grand property just west of downtown Orlando is a favorite with golfers, offering three championship courses. The setting could not be more perfect in a plum spot amid two and half thousand acres of landscaped gentle hills. 

A grand, tree-lined driveway brings guests up to the looming towers of the main hotel, with the lobby stepping up the grandeur even more with chandeliers and shining marble floors. 

The main building houses one and two-bedroom suites, while family-sized villas towards the golf courses are also available. All accommodations are fitted to a very high standard with gold and beige color palettes and dark wood finishes that really drive home the sense of quality. The villas are large enough to entertain with high-end granite kitchens. 

Three golf courses are the main attraction, designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Watson, and there are a number of swimming pools, as well as a spa and gym. The 11th-floor restaurant, Eleven, serves a gourmet American menu and Italian and sushi options are available elsewhere on-site.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

hyatt regency grand cypress

Book Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is probably as close to Disney as you can get without actually being part of the campus. Its 1,500-acre sprawl is jam-packed with so many amenities that even the normally-dreaded resort fee seems reasonable. The overall aesthetic is a little 1990s but there are so many distractions that guests will soon overlook it. 

The guest rooms replicate Hyatt’s Asian-influenced, sleek design with rain showers, private balconies, and a chaise lounge. Rooms on the upper floors enjoy the bonus of being able to see the fireworks from Disney and EPCOT, and most rooms overlook the on-site lake. 

The jewel in the amenities crown is the lagoon-style pool complex, which has water slides, waterfalls, and caves and is arguably the best resort pool in the city. On land, there are tennis courts, biking trails, rock climbing, and 45 holes of golf. Hemingway’s is the signature restaurant, serving elevated Floridian classics, and there are four other large eateries to explore. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

waldorf astoria orlando

Book Waldorf Astoria Orlando

A name made famous in New York stands as arguably the most luxurious hotel in Orlando. It echoes the original property with a golden dome and famous clock in the grand, circular lobby and monochrome floor tiles in guest rooms. But unlike New York, this Florida outpost comes with the added bonus of a world-class golf course attached to the hotel, with beautiful links that endow the place with a scenic view. 

Beige and gold accents mean guest rooms bathe in a regal light and enjoy high-end linens, toiletries, Italian marble bathroom fittings, and the technical amenities expected from this lofty brand.

The hotel’s signature restaurants set the dining standard in the region with an on-site steakhouse, Bull and Bear. A dozen more casual options (some shared with neighboring sister property Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek) offer every option from Italian to sushi and coffee. Two large pools are classically glamorous, and the spa is indulgent with a full menu of treatments, some of which employ decadent local ingredients like Florida honey. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

More on the methodology behind our hotel choices

My experience: I’ve been visiting Orlando and writing about hotels in the area for 15 years. I’ve been to most of these hotels myself and can vouch for their value and hospitality.

COVID-19: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies.

Amenities: Knowing that not everyone comes to Orlando to go to theme parks, we selected hotels that have a wealth of on-site amenities from lavish pool complexes with water parks to sumptuous spas, world-class golf courses, buzzy dining, kids clubs, and excellent fitness facilities.

Location: But if you do want to hit the theme parks, they’re very close and most hotels offer shuttles to avoid the hassle of parking.

Value: We chose hotels that are not only cheaper than most within theme park limits, but offer larger, more up-to-date rooms alongside excellent services and amenities. 

Ratings: We researched reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com.

Guests: Our best hotels in Orlando appeal to families, couples, business travelers, and more.

FAQ: The best hotels in Orlando

What is the best area to stay in Orlando, Florida?

If you want to go to the theme parks, Lake Buena Vista is as close as it gets. The nearby picture-perfect town of Celebration is a great place to stay if you want to be in the area, but not the thick of it. International Drive is home to tons of restaurants and shops and is also close, while Downtown Orlando has tons of non-theme park things to do.

Where should adults stay in Orlando, Florida?

Despite the kid-friendly approach of most hotels, many family-friendly resorts seek to attract adults without children by promoting features like adults-only pools and other grownup endeavors such as spas and golf.

How many hotels are in Orlando, Florida?

The Orlando metro area boasts well over 120,000 hotel rooms, the second-highest in the country behind Las Vegas. And although a substantial number of rooms are within Disney theme parks, the strong convention trade, as well as traveler needs, have driven the growth of high-quality hotels all over the city. 

How much does it cost to stay in Orlando, Florida?

Prices vary enormously, though non-Disney hotels are far cheaper than what you’ll find within the theme park grounds.

Peak season prices usually surge between mid-December to April and the period from March to May sees fewer crowds and pleasant temperatures. Summer will be cheapest but expect stormy humid weather.

However, anytime school is not in session, prices can rise to attract families with kids. Busy convention schedules may also drive up prices.

What is there to do in Orlando, Florida?

Orlando has been home to Walt Disney World since 1971, which expanded to open Epcot, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, and many shopping and entertainment complexes in addition to the Magic Kingdom.

But Disney is hardly the only theme park. Brands such as SeaWorld and Universal have also set up shop with the latter recently opening the wildly popular Harry Potter World.

More of the best hotels in Florida

1 hotel south beach
Read the original article on Business Insider

8 eye-catching boutique hotels in the Catskills, including quaint B&Bs and luxe glamping suites

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

UC Catskills_Guest Room_Ben Fitchett (3) copy

  • Two hours from New York City, the Catskills is a year-round delight for outdoor activity.
  • Many boutique hotels have recently opened, drawing visitors to intimate, design-forward rooms.
  • The best Catskills hotels feature Scandi design and experiential amenities amid unparalleled nature.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Roughly two hours outside of Manhattan, the Catskills offer a scenic outdoor escape. After emerging as a ’70s spiritual retreat attracting everyone from Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix to iconic Woodstock and Phoenicia, the Catskills are now seeing a resurgence. Developers have revitalized hotels, opening boutique gems that prove a mountain getaway isn’t all log and timber.

I’ve been vacationing in the Catskills for over a decade and watched the area not only evolve but reclaim some of its former glory. These rooms are far from standard, designed in the hopes of attracting a new generation of urbanites.

For added social distancing, you may also want to consider these affordable Airbnbs in the Catskills, as experts have noted that stays in private rented homes may be safer than hotels due to fewer interactions with other people.

Browse all the best Catskills boutique hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area:

Read on for the best hotels in the Catskills, sorted by price from low to high.

The Graham & Co.

best catskills hotels - The Graham & Co.

Book The Graham & Co.

A 20-room hotel meets trendy motel located at the foot of Hunter Mountain, The Graham & Co. sets the tone for a throwback to the Catskills retro era. The low-key locale is simple but cozy with wooden furniture and free-hanging lightbulbs. Think of it as going back to summer camp with an upgraded hipster twist.

A good spot for everyone from solo travelers to families, room options range from Standard Singles with Queen-size beds to Bunk House rooms with twin bunk beds to roomy Bungalows with a master bedroom, second bedroom with bunk beds, and a full living room and kitchen area. 

Spread across more than three acres, the property is chock full of activities and amenities, though there are no TVs and cell service has been described by past guests as spotty at best. The emphasis is on unplugging and getting away from it all, but for those who find it impossible to live without it, Wi-Fi is available.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls

best catskills hotels - roxbury

Book the Roxbury at Stratton Falls

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls is full of imaginative and quirky accommodations including mansion rooms, cottages, and suites. 

Spread across two properties in the Catskills, for those looking for little to no exposure to other guests, the hotel’s new Tower Cottages are just the ticket. The standalone, three-story accommodations have multiple bedrooms, screened-in porches, and private balconies and observation decks.

Each boasts a bespoke theme from a Game of Thrones cottage called the “Crown of Pendragons” to the fairy tale fantasy “Cinderella’s Gown,” which welcomes guests with an 18-foot ball gown doubling as a bedroom canopy. 

Beyond the cottages, there are 43 rooms and suites, 36 of which have exterior access doors, so most travelers won’t ever have to interact with other guests in tight hallways. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full review of the Roxbury hotel here

The Gray Barn at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

best catskills hotels - gray barn

Book The Gray Barn at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

Opened in 2019, The Gray Barn at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is an elegant, boutique inn with just five modern guest rooms. Each comes with its own private terrace with views of Mohonk Mountain, Rondout Creek, and the property’s garden.

Rooms feature minimalist but chic interiors with sumptuous bedding, built-in wooden shelving, marble bathroom countertops, and large walk-in showers.  

Overlook the breathtaking Shawangunk Ridge and the Sanctuary’s resident goats grazing in their pasture, common rooms gather guests for dining and lounging in spaces flooded with ample natural light. 

Guests here enjoy mouth-watering seasonal and locally-prepared vegan breakfast options. Private tours to meet the 370-rescued animal residents are an immersive experience and a chance to see the work and mission of the sanctuary up close.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Inn at Lake Joseph

best catskills hotels - Inn at Lake Joseph

Book the Inn at Lake Joseph

Perched on a 250-acre private lake, Inn at Lake Joseph is a 17-room hotel in a resort-like setting. With a variety of summer and winter activities from kayaking and swimming in the outdoor pool to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, guests even have access to a nearby health and fitness spa. 

This is an ideal option for those who love a classic country bed and breakfast but want all the bells and whistles that come with a more traditional hotel stay. 

Guests range from couples seeking a romantic retreat to families with pets, and there’s truly something to appeal to anyone looking to unwind and embrace the majestic scenery. Some rooms come with full kitchens while others include private hot tubs. Cozy stone fireplaces, deep armchairs, and wooden furnishing complete the look.

The inn is located close to The Bethel Woods Center For Arts, which will encourage music lovers to post up and catch and local show.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Shandaken Inn

best catskills hotels - shandaken inn

Book Shandaken Inn

Bordered by the Esopus Creek, Shandaken Inn was built in the late 1920s as the clubhouse for the renowned former Rip Van Winkle Golf Course. After a multi-year renovation, the 15-key inn reopened with new amenities include a heated swimming pool and two pet-friendly suites located in an annex on the property, which are especially ideal for a socially-distanced getaway.

With rustic-meets-inviting design, every room is uniquely furnished to look and feel like a cozy cabin and each is named after a historic resort found around the Catskills. For those who want the classic history and allure of the region, but with elevated and modern touches added in, it’s tough to find a better stay.

Free breakfast, top-notch service, and the peaceful location along the creek further set this property apart. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Eastwind Hotel & Bar

best catskills hotels - eastwind hotel & bar

Book Eastwind Hotel & Bar

Located in Windham, New York about three hours outside of New York City, Eastwind Hotel & Bar presents vacationers with outdoor-focused experiences. 

Fusing Scandinavian inspiration with midcentury eclectic, the hotel’s design draws upon the property’s history as a bunkhouse for hunters, fly fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts dating back to the 1920s. 

Guests can choose from 19 accommodation options, ranging from more traditional guest rooms to Lushna cabins that are small, standalone A-frame cabins with picturesque window views. Those looking for even more private space might also enjoy the Lushna Suites, which include lofted bedrooms, lounge space, a writer’s nook, and a private deck complete with fire pit and outdoor shower. 

Ideal for how we have to consciously travel today, the property has numerous ways for guests to immerse themselves in the natural setting, from spaced apart communal firepits to hammocks, picnic tables, and easy hikes.  

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Eastwind Hotel & Bar

The Herwood Inn

best catskills hotels - The Herwood Inn

Book The Herwood Inn

Peace, love, and positivity are all at the heart of The Herwood Inn. Set directly on Tinker Street in the heart of Woodstock, this charming boutique hotel opened in 2019 and is the place to come to savor the best of this historic hamlet. At its core, The Herwood strives to build a sense of community while providing a peaceful and relaxing environment for everyone who stays there.

Music aficionados and history buffs will love the fact that each of the four guest rooms are named after iconic female musicians from the King Suite (inspired by Carole King) to Mitchell Manor (named for Joni Mitchell). 

The boho-chic decor draws guests in from the start. Natural wood, hanging plants, pops of colorful pillows, and tiled showers set the tone. Some rooms come with kitchenettes and others have small outdoor patios. In-room amenities include a concierge iPad, yoga mats, and a record player with a curated collection of vinyl. 

Each room is separate from the others, and you can even find and book Mitchell Manor on Airbnb.

The inn’s courtyard is a popular spot and guests like to hang out in the hot tub or by the fire pit.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Urban Cowboy Lodge

best catskills hotels - urban cowboy lodge

Book the Urban Cowboy Lodge

Nestled on 68 acres in the Big Indian Wilderness, Urban Cowboy Lodge boasts Wild West luxury accommodations. Dating back to 1898, the hotel has been artfully revived by Lyon Porter’s signature design style incorporating bold patterns and hand-picked Americana antiques. With just 28 guestrooms and 12 signature suites, highlights include clawfoot tubs with forest views and private balconies with rocking chairs. 

The lodge features a hand-built Estonian sauna, a 75-foot spring-fed pool, nightly communal bonfires, miles of mountain trails. The Esopus Creek also runs through the property for fishing or taking a cold plunge.

Guests here are encouraged to disconnect, and no cell service is viewed as one of the hotel’s greatest amenities. However, there is complimentary Wi-Fi if you must.

Not to be missed is the live-fire restaurant that focuses on outdoor cooking with foraged ingredients and a seasonal menu intended to bring people together. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here

More on our methodology for selecting hotels

In addition to the criteria above, I considered the following factors:

My experience: I’ve been visiting the Catskills for a decade and have seen many of these new hotels first-hand and can vouch for their overall experience. Some, we’ve even reviewed too.

Boutique features: The best boutique hotels feature design-forward rooms and common spaces from Scandi-inspired minimalism to vibrant prints and statement wallpaper. These are not run-of-the-mill rooms or hotels, but rather, an experience. They also offer amenities like farm-to-table food, craft cocktails, and perks such as outdoor gear or pools and spa facilities.

COVID-19: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies.

Ratings: We consulted reviews and ratings on sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com, and others to ensure others’ experiences were also overwhelmingly positive.

FAQ: Catskills hotels

catskills new york

Where are the Catskills?

The Catskills is a region of mountains in New York State that includes 700,000 acres of Catskill Park. It’s located roughly between Albany and New York City.

Are hotels safe and open?

Yes, experts agree hotels are safe, provided you take the necessary precautions outlined by the CDC. Additionally, the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US.

All the hotels on this list are open and accepting guests, but some smaller properties require a buy-out or minimum stay during set days of the week.

Where should I stay in the Catskills?

Somewhere from this list! To narrow it down further, choose based on your intended activities. If you wish to ski or snowboard, stay close to your intended mountain in towns like Windham or Phoenicia if you plan to ski at Hunter, Belleayre, or Windham. Otherwise, there are many small, charming towns to discover located amid thickly wooded areas perfect for hiking. 

What is there to do in the Catskills?

In winter, come to the Catskills to ski, showshoe, snowboard, and cross-country ski. In warmer weather, go hiking, discover waterfalls, swim in lakes, and admire the fall foliage. There are also many farm stands and breweries to sample.

How far are the Catskills from New York City?

The Catskills are roughly two to three hours from New York City by car, depending on where you’re going. Amtrak serves the area along the Hudson River, as do bus lines.

If you don’t have a car, car rental deals are always available, and experts say renting one in a pandemic is safe. Additionally, these are the best car rental companies.

More great vacation ideas

best catskills airbnbs lakefront
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 11 best hotels in San Diego for couples, families, business travelers, luxury, and more

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar  Trip Advisor
  • San Diego is home to beaches, a military base, a world-famous zoo, and many outdoor activities.
  • From urban towers with water views to beachfront resorts, we vetted the city’s best hotels.
  • Our picks are based on our own reviews and offer great amenities for a Southern California getaway.

With picturesque beach resorts, contemporary downtown hotels, and intimate Spanish-inspired bungalows, San Diego’s hotels are as varied and exciting as the city itself. Whether your visit is for business, golf, world-class spas, the beach, or, of course, Comic Con, there’s a hotel that will meet your needs.

To highlight the hotels in San Diego that truly shine, we made selections based on our own expert hotel reviews and experiences on-property, and also set discerning criteria to determine the very best hotels in the city. Though, if you prefer a vacation rental, we’ve got you covered too.

Whenever your travels next take you to San Diego, consult our list of the best hotels, from Coronado Bay to downtown, and Rancho Santa Fe.

Browse all the best hotels in San Diego below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are the best hotels in San Diego, sorted by price from low to high.

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

Kimpton Palomar San Diego - Hotel Review

Book Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

This bang-on-trend property in the heart of San Diego’s buzzing Gaslamp district is popular with younger travelers who appreciate the look and feel that’s equal parts trendy and modern and comes with perks like complimentary wine at check-in. 

There are 211 rooms set over 20 stories, with the top four floors reserved for Skyline Collection rooms which have expansive views of San Diego and touches like surfboard headboards, upcycled light fixtures, and shibori curtains. Every room is design-forward with crisp white linens and Atelier Bloem bath products and is stocked with useful extras like yoga mats and umbrellas. There’s also a posh rooftop pool, an on-site Mexican eatery that specializes in elevated street fare, and a pet-friendly attitude that treats your dogs like VIPs.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

The Guild Hotel San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The Guild San Diego: Hotel Review

Book The Guild Hotel San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

In downtown San Diego, there are many corporate big-box hotels, and it can be hard to find a middle ground between modern and intimate and a reasonable price point. Enter the Guild San Diego, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel from Marriott Bonvoy. The hotel is a newer addition to the downtown scene, housed in a century-old Armed Services YMCA. Yet rather than erasing the building’s past, the owners lovingly embraced its former life in an effort to honor San Diego’s rich maritime heritage.

Ornate, Italian Renaissance Revival exteriors were preserved, while run-down dormitory-style interiors were transformed into a sleek lobby. Well-appointed rooms feel cozy but upscale with modern velvet furnishings. But the standout is a tranquil but glam pale pink courtyard and urban garden that feels like you’ve been transported to the south of France.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of The Guild San Diego

InterContinental San Diego

Intercontinental SD   Kai Oliver Kurtin_Business Insider

Book InterContinental San Diego

Located on the historic grounds of Lane Field (the former baseball stadium for the San Diego Padres) and part of IHG hotels, the InterContinental’s downtown waterfront location offers a prime vantage point of the San Diego Bay and is a close walk from the Embarcadero, where the USS Midway Museum, Broadway Pier, and cruise ship terminals are located.

Housing 400 guest rooms over 19 stories, InterContinental San Diego is a mass of oversized windows overlooking the water with rooms that are above average in size and generally very affordable in price. Since the real draw here is the bay, splurging on a room that overlooks industrial buildings wouldn’t sit right — spring for a water view. There are also spacious two-room suites, ideal for families.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of InterContinental San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel Review

Book Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

While there are cheaper downtown options in San Diego, the Manchester Grand Hyatt consistently delivers on a high level of sophistication alongside friendly staff, plenty of on-site dining, and a central waterfront location that makes it easy to explore the city and savor the sunset. 

With 1,628 guestrooms, including 76 suites, the hotel is huge but not impossible to manage. Rates are accessible in price too, if you’re not specific about which incredible view you receive. And there isn’t a bad one; all rooms overlook either the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, or downtown city area.

The hotel earns added appeal as the West Coast’s tallest waterfront hotel and is just steps from attractions like the Gaslamp Quarter, the USS Midway, and San Diego’s scenic Embarcadero. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Pacific Terrace Hotel

Pacific Terrace Hotel   Trip Advisor

Book Pacific Terrace Hotel

Directly facing the ocean at the end of the Pacific Beach boardwalk, this beachy hotel’s waterfront location is gorgeous. There are 73 rooms and suites outfitted with rich wood furnishings, plantation shutters, and bright pops of turquoise for a tropical island feel. Book a room with an ocean view and watch as San Diego strolls, runs, bikes, and rollerblades by, and surfers catch early morning waves. 

If you can’t choose between pool or ocean, know that the former directly faces the sand for a best-of-both-worlds lounging option. Beach buckets and shovels, toys, boogie boards, and bikes are all available for guests’ use, and the hotel is well-located close to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Torrey Pines State Beach, Belmont Park, Crystal Pier, and is just eight miles north of San Diego’s International Airport.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort 10

Book Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Coronado might be synonymous with the famous Hotel Del Coronado, but for a cheaper beach resort getaway, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort is a solid option without compromising on comfort or style. 

Situated at the end of a private 15-acre peninsula, Loews Coronado offers a hip but relaxed vibe with a luxury lean, as well as excellent hotel grounds, amenities, and scenic 360-degree bay views.

Though beach access is located across a highway and requires a free hotel shuttle, there’s plenty to enjoy on-site including the large pool deck with reserved space for both adults and kids, a spa, and a terrace bar with ample views. It’s also a bit quieter than Hotel Del, surrounded by natural elements and removed from the city bustle. Rooms are chic and in line with the high-end Loews brand.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel

US Grant   Trip Advisor

Book The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Once a presidential palace dating back to 1910, The historic US Grant is a posh hotel that’s also earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The 11-story building was built by the son of Ulysses S. Grant, who named it after his father. 

But it’s far from old and stuffy. Now operating as a luxury hotel, the interiors are magnificent, with large chandeliers, impressive columns, and artifacts on display that speak to the city’s history.

There are 270 high-end rooms and suites for an upscale experience not commonly replicated in the city. The hotel is also well-located downtown near Balboa Park, the waterfront area, San Diego Zoo, and Petco Park. Luxury Collection hotels are also members of Marriott Bonvoy, offering a good opportunity to earn and redeem points.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Hotel Del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Hotel Del Coronado - Hotel Review

Book Hotel Del Coronado

Located just five miles from downtown San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado is a historic hotel and landmark that has hosted US presidents, royalty, and movie stars for decades. If the Victorian-style resort looks especially familiar, that’s because it’s the direct inspiration for Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Affectionately dubbed The Del or Hotel Del, the sprawling beachfront resort counts 28-acres and 757 rooms and suites spread throughout the massive original Victorian building, as well as a contemporary oceanfront tower, poolside cabanas, and luxury beach cottages and villas.  

The main building showcases a variety of antique details such as a vintage iron elevator that requires an operator, while the oceanfront towers, cabanas, cottages, and villas each have their own vibe, and tends to be more modern and beachy. The beach is also a draw (and attracts crowds too as it is public) with on-site water sports rentals and wellness classes.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Hotel Del Coronado

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Inn at Rancho Santa Fe   Marriott Bonvoy

Book The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Set on 21 landscaped acres just a short drive outside of downtown San Diego, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa is an enticing option when you want to stay near San Diego, but not in the thick of it.

This calming boutique escape is a member of Marriott Bonvoy and feels like a Mediterranean-inspired bungalow with red-tiled roofs, mosaic details, Spanish-Californian architecture, and bubbling fountains. Swaying palms, leafy green trees, and tall cacti add color to the well-kept grounds.

Even starter Queen rooms are large with 325 square feet, sleek bathrooms, and peaceful terraces overlooking the hotel’s polished spaces. The design is rustic but contemporary, which creates a cozy, welcoming feel, especially if you upgrade to a room with a fireplace. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Fairmont Grand Del Mar  Trip Advisor

Book the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

You might feel like you slipped away to the Spanish countryside when you first enter this sprawling five-star luxury golf and spa hideaway.

Housed on a lush 400-acre setting with Mediterranean tile work, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar feels pristine with arched windows, curved staircases, and a rose-tinted facade that resembles a European palace. And the level of sophistication is sincere; the hotel is operated by the same team behind the ultra-high-end Plaza Hotel in New York City.

There are 249 large, well-appointed rooms and suites, though you’ll likely spend most of your time wandering the well-kept gardens or taking a dip in one (or all) of the four pools. For a bit more activity, the resort is just a few miles from the beach, and there is also an 18-hole private golf club designed by Tom Fazio, and activities such as art classes, tennis lessons, yoga, cooking classes, and more. Fairmont Grand Del Mar earned the distinction as a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond luxury resort and also boasts a spa, kids club, nightlife, and dining.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

Park Aviara   Maribeth Mellin_Business Insider

Book Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

For something more sedate than the crowded beach, or quieter than the noisy downtown area, head inland to the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort’s 200-acre estate in Carlsbad. The hotel overlooks golf greens, a wildlife sanctuary, and provides ample views of the distant ocean. The sense is overwhelmingly tranquil, with well-kept common places to kick back after a few laps in the lavish pools.

A recent renovation promises this hotel is only going to become more grandiose, with comfortable, well-appointed rooms, and newly revamped pool and common areas. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

Our methodology for selecting hotels

In addition to the numbered criteria previously outlined above, we considered these factors:

Price: We looked for starting room rates in low season under $600 per night.

First-hand reviews: We visited and stayed at many of the hotels on this list. Those we didn’t came highly recommended and only were included based on our criteria and research.

Guests: We chose the best hotels in San Diego for a wide audience, including first-time visitors, families, couples, business travelers, friends, and more.

Amenities: We looked for San Diego hotels that boast comfortable, well-appointed rooms, central locations, beach access, excellent pool facilities, well-regarded restaurants and bars, and other guest perks.

Reviews: We consulted reviews and ratings on sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com, and others to compare the experiences of other guests.

COVID-19 safety: We selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of guests with new strict new cleaning policies in light of COVID-19.

FAQ: San Diego hotels

sonder San Diego balcony

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically.

Hotels are open during COVID-19 and while you’re more likely to encounter other people in common spaces such as lobbies, check-in desks, restaurants, and pools, experts say that with added caution, it is safe to stay in a hotel

We also recommend following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask in public, using hand sanitizer, and following social distancing.

Where should I stay in San Diego?

That depends on what you want to do! Stay downtown in neighborhoods like the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, or Embarcadero if you want to sightsee with a central, urban base.

If you plan to spend most of your time on the sand, look to coastal communities in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, or Del Mar. Drive 25 miles up the 101 and you’ll find yourself in popular beach towns like Cardiff and Encinitas.

Or, for a beach base with easy access to downtown, consider Coronado Island. 

If you want to revolve your trip around theme parks and attractions, you should consider a hotel’s proximity to places like the San Diego Zoo or Legoland in Carlsbad.

What is there to do in San Diego?

San Diego has a little bit of everything with a robust city center, military base, rich history, and beautiful beaches.

Watch surfers, take a dip in the ocean, take advantage of the nightlife in Gaslamp, stroll around Coronado Island, or check out the seals in La Jolla. There is also a major sports stadium, the San Diego Zoo, and beautiful parks such as Torrey Pines. 

What is the best time to visit San Diego?

San Diego enjoys warm temperatures and sunny weather for most of the year. As such, there isn’t a major off season when prices change dramatically. For nice, mild weather, consider a winter visit. However, when temps soar in summer, you might just see cheaper hotel prices.

More of the best hotels in California

Figueroa Los Angeles Hotel Review
Read the original article on Business Insider