Meybel Landaverde has grappled with a tough calculus in the 18 months she has been unemployed.
“I had to decide which bill was more important than others,” she said. “I was talking to my car insurance company all the time to see if they’d give me more time to figure out how I can pay them.”
Landaverde was furloughed last March from her job as a host at the Urban Tavern restaurant at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, where she has worked for roughly 17 years. She is one of hundreds of thousands of hotel workers, many of whom are women or people of color, who remain out of work as hotels see business recover but continue to go without services like regular housekeeping, room service, and restaurant and bar service.
More than one in 5 hotel jobs that were lost in the pandemic, roughly 500,000 of them, won’t return by the end of 2021, the report found. It also says the industry probably won’t rebound to 2019 levels until at least 2023.
“Staffing levels at our properties are best assessed hotel by hotel and are informed by market demand, local business environments, and recommendations from government and health authorities,” a Hilton spokesperson said in statement to Insider. “Labor continues to be the biggest issue facing our industry right now, and many hotels are quite actively hiring.”
Landaverde says it’s frustrating to see hotels hold out on calling back furloughed staff because “the hotels don’t need the money that I need.”
Unite Here, a union representing 300,000 hospitality workers in the US and Canada, says 98% of its members were out of work at one point in the pandemic.
Being furloughed last September was “a very hard moment” for Tony Correa, who has worked in room service for more than 20 years at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport. He has been staying afloat with pandemic unemployment benefits, but those will expire in September.
“I’ve never stopped working for this long a time,” he said. “I was thinking about the whole situation, how it’s going to be to support the family.”
“If you get rid of daily cleaning, you don’t have food and beverage options, and there’s very little at the front desk, that’s more like a college dorm, not a hotel,” Unite Here President D. Taylor said. “This is all about cutting costs and seeing if the guest will take it.”
Jason Maxwell, a bartender at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and The Modern Honolulu, was furloughed last April but often hears “irate” guests’ complaints from working colleagues.
“It’s just a huge mess,” he said. “The guests are very upset, and they take it out on the workers. That creates stress for the workers, and the workers are already doing double the work they were doing before.”
Workers fear guests won’t return if services remain limited, which could further threaten their livelihoods.
“The guests always tell us they feel mistreated; they feel like they’re not getting what they paid for,” said Ligia Leal, a housekeeper at the Hilton Stamford. “Already, we’re not getting five days [of work], but if the guests aren’t satisfied, they might not come back and then we might get even less work.”
Some companies say that’s the goal. In a February earnings call, Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta said the company was focused on “creating more labor efficiencies, particularly in the areas of housekeeping, food and beverage and other areas” so Hilton brands will ultimately “require less labor than they did pre-COVID.” In April, Marriott began testing out “contactless arrival kiosks.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we discovered guests enjoyed the flexibility of on-demand housekeeping services and have varying levels of comfort with someone entering their rooms after they have checked in,” a Hilton spokesperson said. “We encourage our guests to call the front desk to request daily room cleaning.”
Many hotel staff can’t afford to be out of work much longer. Maxwell has taken a job scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for people but says his savings, including money set aside for his dream of buying a home, are “pretty much depleted.”
“It’s almost like they’re making us fight over the scraps,” he said. “They’re trying to make their money back by hurting us.”
Marriott and The Modern Honolulu did not respond to requests for comment.
This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Ramon Olguin Sanchez, a 33-year-old hotel vibe manager from Los Cabos. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I’ve worked with the Hard Rock brand for over four and a half years and have been the resident vibe manager for almost three years.
Before, I earned a degree in master of musical production with a specialty in live audio, and worked for audiovisual companies that produced big events.
I initially started working at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in 2017 as supervisor of the audiovisual department. Following the former vibe manager’s resignation, the hotel’s general manager asked me to step in and eventually offered me the role full-time. A few years later in December 2019, I was transferred to Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos.
Hard Rock first introduced the vibe manager role in hotels around 2005.
We set the stage for memories to be made, from curating music and overseeing memorabilia to creating mood lighting.
I don’t have a set schedule, but my day usually starts with a walk around the property
I adjust the music volume on-site and check on the memorabilia displays. There are 14 separate music zones on the property that I manage. Next, I go over any events we have for the day, and mingle and interact with the guests throughout the grounds and chat about our music amenities.
I also oversee the upkeep of our musical memorabilia, a collection of more than 83,000 pieces, including at one point the famous “Prince Blue Guitar.” I made sure it stayed secure, in good condition, and with proper lighting and care. I also deal with special requests, such as carefully shipping a motorcycle from Riviera Maya’s Bret Michaels-themed suite to the Hard Rock headquarters in Florida.
At Hard Rock Los Cabos, we have a professional recording studio guests can use to create their own songs
I run the signature “Sound of Your Stay” program which includes three major components. The first, called “tracks,” is our free music service. Guests get a key holder with a code at check-in, and we curate playlists they can download to their device for free.
The second is “picks,” our electric guitar rental service with a menu of around 20 different guitar models. Guests can pick one to bring back to their room with an amplifier and take an in-room video guitar lesson on their TV. And the third is “wax,” our turntable service. We lend out over 100 vinyl records for guests to take back to their own room since every room has its own turntable.
I also run a DJ music creation activity on-site called “Mix,” where we teach guests how to use popular DJ software.
My favorite part of the job is planning live concerts and meeting musical guests
When it comes to creating a good atmosphere for any event, the most important component is to properly manage lighting and the volume of the music. Our standard for the proper volume of the music at The Hard Rock is measured by whether we can hear the person we’re speaking with loud and clear without having to raise our voices.
I love getting creative to put on unique music experiences for guests, anything from an 80s party, to a reggae party, to a disco party. I scout local musicians to perform at the hotel and have also met famous artists who’ve stayed as guests, including Bret Michaels himself.
Another great guest encounter came when I met a couple where the husband, who is blind, enjoyed singing his poetry over smooth jazz music. His wife made a reservation for the recording studio, and he sang original poetry over a smooth jazz track. I helped them throughout the recording process – I’d never heard someone sing poetry over smooth jazz before, and I loved it.
The Grand Californian was the first of the three Disneyland resort hotels to open. Since our stay, both Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotel have reopened as well. The Grand Californian is the most luxe of the three and the closest to the parks. It’s quite large with 948 rooms and 50 two-bedroom villas and is also the priciest. Standard rooms start around $584 per night.
However, it might be well worth it if you plan to spend significant time at Disney’s California Adventure, which is connected to the hotel. Guests of Grand Californian may bypass the incredibly long general admission line and walk right in. Similarly, the hotel has direct access to Downtown Disney, which leads into Disneyland.
I wasn’t sure what to expect amid COVID. But Disney runs a notoriously tight ship, and although the stay was different from past visits, it was such a fantastic experience that we’re already planning our next trip.
Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa.
It was evident that things were different from the first moment we pulled up to park. Valet was no longer an option and only self-parking was available.
Since my stay, however, valet was recently reintroduced, for $35 per night. Self-parking is $25 per night.
The entrance doors set the stage for the early 20th-century craftsman theme, with tall, colorful stained glass windows depicting a national park.
Inside, the cavernous interior featured tiered wood balconies, golden lanterns, oversized floral arrangements, and subtle Chip ‘n Dale theming (as well as, of course, those ubiquitous hidden Mickeys).
One of the lobby’s highlights was a large alcove with seating arranged around a roaring fire. It’s a hot ticket, so if you’re looking to while away a few minutes and happen to find it unoccupied, snag a seat.
The main difference between now and the “before” times, however, were the masks. Unvaccinated guests are required to wear masks indoors — although vaccinated people can go without — while all the staff members we saw wore masks.
Considering that kids under 12 still aren’t vaccinated, it gave me comfort to see so many people with face coverings indoors.
Guests are encouraged to complete online check-in, which may be done five days prior to arrival.
I opted to do it in person as I wanted to see how it compared to previous visits. Luckily, there was no wait at all, though we did check-in during a quiet period.
Later on, I did see short lines, and the next morning, the front desk was very busy with guests checking out.
The check-in was quick and easy and the staff seemed thrilled to be welcoming us, offering directions and advice about how to navigate the new COVID-era resort experience.
I initially booked in a Standard View King for $595, but chose to upgrade to a Premium View room, which had two Queen beds and a partial view of the pool complex for a total of $732 per night.
All rooms feature balconies and beds sit atop an open frame to allow for extra storage underneath.
During a previous stay in a similar room, there was a pull-down day bed, which our daughter loved. We were disappointed to find that our room didn’t have this feature this time, even though they do exist in the category. When we requested a roll away bed instead, the hotel said it wasn’t possible, so later that night she and I piled into a Queen bed together for a snuggle.
There was also a dresser, a desk, mini-fridge, 55″ smart TV, and Keurig coffeemaker. A charging station with several USB ports and outlets was located between the beds. The closet was smaller than average but came with bathrobes.
As you might expect from a Disney property, our room was spotlessly clean. The decor was surprisingly not overly child-centric. It was quite understated and in line with the outdoorsy lodge theme.
The bathroom was not large but did have two sinks and a step stool, and came with Disney-branded H2O+ sea salt bath amenities.
There was a rain shower, which my husband and I appreciated, but made bathing our 1-year-old impractical. Given that it’s a family-friendly resort, we would have preferred a tub.
The fact that every room has a balcony or patio is an enormous plus — especially for parents crammed into a single room with their littles.
After we put the kids to bed, we were able to retire to the balcony with a glass of wine and cup of tea, slide the glass door shut, and enjoy some much-appreciated adult conversation.
Other room categories feature Downtown Disney views, Californian Adventure theme park views, rooftop, or parking views.
Because weather in Anaheim is pleasant year-round, there isn’t really a low season, though rates are always more expensive during the summer and holidays when children aren’t in school.
Although each of the three Disneyland Resort hotels are open, they continue to be in a phased approach due to COVID. This means certain amenities, restaurants, and experiences may be closed.
Because restrictions remain so fluid, especially in California, it’s best to check the Disneyland website for the most up-to-date information.
However, the Grand Californian has several bars and restaurants, and most are open. For breakfast, GCH Craftsman Grill offers quick-service dining and take-away, while guests can order a la carte at Storytellers Café. Pre-COVID, there was a buffet as well as character dining, but both were removed for the time being.
Storyteller’s Cafe is extremely popular, so I highly recommend making reservations in advance — they can be booked online up to 60 days before your stay.
Additionally, the same Disneyland app that allows guests to order food within the theme parks may be used for dining reservations or to place orders at the hotel.
Advance reservations are also a must if you wish to experience Napa Rose, the Grand Californian’s upscale, signature-dining option.
By contrast, the poolside GCH Craftsman Bar and Hearthstone Lounge both accommodate walk-ins.
The pool complex is one of the property’s main draws. There are three pools to choose, and a large 90-foot waterslide winding around the stump of a Redwood tree that is the marquee attraction. There’s also a much smaller mini-waterslide as well as numerous Jacuzzis. Poolside cabanas are available for a fee.
Because we were checking in just before dinner, we had no problem snagging several chairs in a quieter area.
However, the Acorns Gifts & Goods shop is open, as is the 24-hour Eureka fitness center and the 24-hour laundry room.
Of course, Disneyland is the main attraction here and the hotel’s entrance faces directly onto the grounds of the California Adventure theme park. Many rooms even overlook it.
The hotel’s proximity to Downtown Disney District is also a major plus, with its scores of restaurants and shops, plus entertainment like Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling.
Further afield, Anaheim and its surrounding areas offer numerous other kid-approved spots, including Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, Angel Stadium, the Honda Center (home to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks), a Medieval Times dinner show, and water park Great Wolf Lodge.
Many reviews praise the resort as being “magical” and “special.” By contrast, negative reviews hone in on the diminished staff and the “frustrating” new systems put in place post-COVID, as well as the waitlists to eat at popular spots like Storytellers Café.
Reviews overwhelmingly praise the resort’s location, with its proximity to California Adventure and entrance directly into the park “in less than five minutes” from the room a huge plus.
Who stays here: Families, multi-generational groups, and Disney-loving couples and singles
We like: The resort is still at reduced capacity, which gives comfort to those who are nervous about traveling with unvaccinated children. The hotel’s waterslide is also a hit with parents and children alike: each member of my family rode it several times.
We love (don’t miss this feature!): Because the Grand Californian is connected to California Adventure, guests may bypass an extremely long security line that all others must brave. This is probably the hotel’s single biggest perk. It comes in handy for Disneyland, too as the hotel has an entrance directly into Downtown Disney, close to the Disneyland front gates.
We think you should know: Room service isn’t available, housekeeping is only every other day, and bellhops won’t deliver bags to your room unless you’re there. Because service is slower than usual, this might mean (extremely) impatient children while waiting for your bags to be dropped off so you can finally explore the property, pools, or parks. We had to wait about 20 minutes for our bags. Additionally, perks like Magic Morning, Extra Magic Hour, and FASTPasses are not currently available.
We’d do this differently next time: Most of the complaints related to our trip were COVID-related and nothing we could change. Still, it would have been nice to do character dining at Storyteller’s Café, or simply to enjoy multiple nights at the hotel for both more pool time and more park time.
The resort is in a phased reopening with many COVID policies in place.
I felt that the Grand Californian‘s restrictions walked a fine line between providing extra comfort and safety without feeling overly intrusive. We were fine with the lack of housekeeping and room service, although if we were staying several nights it may have become a nuisance.
Mask usage was spotty: most children wore them, but adults were hit or miss and it is impossible to know whether everybody unmasked is actually vaccinated. Masks were non-existent by the pool and while dining, but this was consistent with CDC protocols.
On the whole, we felt comfortable because the resort was large enough to spread out and avoid other people.
Other policies include:
Face coverings are required for unvaccinated guests (ages 2 and older) in indoor areas, except when dining.
To enter a theme park, guests (ages 3 and older) need a valid ticket and a theme park reservation for the same day and park they want to visit. Theme park reservations are limited and subject to availability.
Certain parks, hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, have limited capacity, and are subject to limited availability or closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed.
If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland or California Adventure and want the added convenience of staying on property and skipping excess security lines, consider adding a stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa.
With rates starting at $584 per night, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa isn’t the cheapest option near Disneyland and California Adventure, but it offers a fantastic — and, yes, magical — experience that adds more luster to an already special visit to the Happiest Place on Earth, even amid a global pandemic.
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Post-pandemic, there is now pent-up demand for travel, plus extra budget after a year without it.
If you saved by not traveling and are ready to splurge, we found incredible luxury hotels in the US.
These are the best 5-star hotels to fulfill bucket-list dreams, from Hawaii to Montana and Orlando.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
As a professional travel writer, I’ve been fortunate to stay at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. But like most people, the pandemic left me grounded – and wanderlusting madly.
Now that it’s possible to move about once again, and after over a year with little to no travel, we’re left with not only pent-up demand but unspent cash that we’re ready to put to good use.
If you’re ready to realize those travel dreams with a bucket list trip, but aren’t ready to cross the border, we rounded up some of the most luxurious hotels here in the U.S. These incredible five-star properties all offer an unparalleled guest experience, dreamy scenery, sumptuous amenities, impeccable service, and much more.
Browse all the best luxury hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area:
The Peninsula Chicago is a famous five-star property located on the Magnificent Mile, in the heart of the city’s premier shopping district. The 339-guest room hotel features three restaurants, a rooftop lounge, and a world-class spa.
Entry-level guest rooms face south over Superior Street and are some of the most spacious in town, with rich wood and cream leather that accents high-end furnishings. The Superior rooms are bright and airy with sophisticated decor in muted earth tones and signature blues.
The indoor pool, located on the 19th floor, offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and the city through 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, while the sumptuous spa takes over the 19th and 20th floors.
The Setai is one of South Beach’s most polished jewels, with an east meets west aesthetic that merges thoughtful Zen-like design inspired by purposeful Feng Shui practices with classic Miami Art Deco architecture.
The all-suite hotel is often booked by celebrities and posh-minded travelers seeking a private and pampering experience. Standard Art Deco rooms are spacious with separate sitting areas, indulgent rain showers, and deep soaking tubs in the middle of Studio and One Bedroom City Suites. A separate gleaming tower houses contemporary one, two, and three-bedroom oceanfront apartment-style suites with terraces and kitchens.
Three sleek pools are heated to varying degrees year-round, while excellent on-site dining includes a lavish Friday night show with fire dancers and acrobatic performers while guests tuck into Asian fare and cocktails. The Valmont Spa offers remarkable treatments inspired by Swiss medicine and practices.
Eloise, the story of the glamorous little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel, is just one of many stories that contribute to the lore and reputation of one of New York City’s most famous hotels.
Since its debut more than a century ago in 1907, the Plaza Hotel has hosted just about every celebrity and dignitary you can imagine within its walls on Central Park South.
Entry-level rooms span 475 square feet, which is generous for a hotel room anywhere, but especially so in Manhattan where most standard rooms barely push 200 square feet. They also include comfortable sitting areas and a bathroom finished with inlaid stone mosaics in floral motifs. Bathroom details also include 24-carat gold plated faucets and accessories, and hand-crafted marble vanities.
The hotel features multiple restaurants, an adjacent upscale food court and market, and the lavish Guerlain spa.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk is pure Newport, housed in an iconic Gilded Age mansion. It’s also the only hotel to be located along Newport’s Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile oceanfront path lined with other historic mansions. It’s one of Rhode Island’s most popular attractions and staying here gives you a front-row seat and a pass from having to secure parking, which is nearly impossible during summer and other peak travel periods.
Inside, the 19th-century mansion is over the top elegant, with 20 guest rooms and villas dripping in period style. Rich custom linens feature alongside thick drapes and regal upholstery, all inspired by the city’s heritage. Opulent chandeliers, fireplaces, and furniture round out each accommodation. Some also feature jetted tubs, ocean views, and private patios.
There are several options for upscale dining as well as a more casual cafe, plus in-room dining and spa services offered.
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is a splashy urban hotel located in the heart of Beverly Hills, at the intersection of some of the city’s poshest boulevards.
The property has 119 rooms and 51 suites with interior design by Pierre-Yves Rochon, top-end technology, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private balconies. Guest rooms start at 537 square feet with a 110 square-foot terrace, lounge areas, espresso machines, Bluetooth-enabled speakers, and luxurious bathroom amenities.
Indulge in Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills’ signature restaurant, Jean-Georges Beverly Hills (from three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), which offers an eight-course tasting menu.
Atop the hotel is the alfresco Rooftop by JG, with 360-degree views of Los Angeles, and a rooftop pool deck that is the biggest of its kind in Beverly Hills with cabanas, a lounge area with panoramic views as well as a swimming pool and jacuzzi.
The on-site spa by La Prairie Spa offers ultra-luxurious treatments amid 5,000 square feet.
Located on 400 acres outside Tucson in the shadow of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval is a world-renowned destination spa resort prioritizing wellness.
The Life in Balance Spa, which we have visited and recommend without hesitation, features a myriad of services including Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, and acupuncture.
Suites are large and lavish and some come with hot tubs, walk-in showers, fireplaces, dining areas, and private patios. There are also zen touches such as a meditation pillow from an organic pillow menu, a Tibetan singing bowl, mindful coloring books, a community journal, and an essential oil diffuser, available on request. For true indulgence, the Solace Retreat is tailor-made for spa-like relaxation, with its own outdoor patio with a private hot tub, a celestial rain shower, and a lounge area with a fire pit. Other touches include an aromatherapy diffuser, fluffy cotton bathrobes, an indoor soaking tub, a sitting area, plus views of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
The resort is a digital, device-free space, where guests are asked to unplug at check-in and place their phones and devices in a special “sleeping bag” to center themselves.
Room rates also include a nightly credit, all meals, and more than 200 classes and activities ranging from outback hiking and biking to challenge courses.
For some travelers, the ultimate bucket-list vacation involves Disney. Make it happen in ultimate luxury with a visit to Four Seasons Orlando, located in a secluded, residential setting within Walt Disney World Resort.
This lakeside property is dotted with gardens and pools and is a haven for family members of all ages. You don’t have to be a Disney fan to love it here, but it doesn’t hurt.
Guests can access its on-site character breakfast, The Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & His Pals, offered at Ravello restaurant, and take advantage of included transportation to Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A Disney Planning Center on the lobby level serves as a full-service Disney concierge to assist guests with all needs including theme park tickets, tours, and dining reservations.
The resort is designed with specific areas that appeal to different age ranges for multigenerational travel. Teens can hang in the lazy river or water slides, or play water volleyball at The Cove section of the river. Not-yet-swimmers can splash away in the Splash Zone. The Explorer family pool is ideal for all ages, and there’s also a peaceful adults-only pool surrounded by palm trees and cabanas, as well as an 18-hole golf course, three tennis courts, and a spa.
Even the smallest room is a generous 500 square feet with a marble bath and chic furnishings in a neutral palette. While this is a Disney paradise, it definitely does not look it with the typical Mickey Mouse imagery strewn about.
Montage Laguna Beach is situated on a bluff atop the Pacific within the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach. The craftsman-style resort offers 250 rooms (and 23 privately owned Montage Residences) on 30 acres of oceanfront real estate.
The showstopper in the massive 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage with incredible pampering treatments. There is also the destination-dining restaurant Studio Restaurant, 3 pools, direct beach access, a fine art collection, and other luxurious amenities.
Rooms start at a generous 500 square feet and come with separate sitting areas with sofas, and marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and separate showers.
Hotel Wailea is Hawaii’s only Relais & Chateaux property, a brand renowned for elegant luxury. The hotel encompasses over 15 exclusive-feeling private acres overlooking the beach, with stunning views from every vantage point.
There are 72 impressive one-bedroom suites, each with a chic residential feel and lanais facing the ocean. Tesla Model X vehicles serve as house shuttles to punctuate the air of luxury that permeates the place. The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea is a destination in itself, offering Chef Zach Sato’s cuisine with panoramic ocean views.
The adults-only vibe is a boon for couples, and the hotel’s sweeping views exude intimacy and romance. Though you should know that Hotel Wailea is not located directly on the beach, however, it is a very short shuttle ride away.
Castle Hot Springs is Arizona’s first luxury resort, originally founded in 1896 as a holistic wellness retreat. Set against the silhouette of the Bradshaw Mountains (50 miles outside of Phoenix) the resort is like an oasis in the Sonoran Desert.
The 1,100-acre property, which underwent a major overhaul prior to re-debuting in 2019, is a 34-room resort that was once the chosen wellness retreat of choice for America’s titans of industry like the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, and Astors. The property has ancient hot springs and a digital detox philosophy ideal for those seeking a mental and physical reboot.
All guest suites (think bungalows, cottages, and cabins) feature outdoor stone tubs plumbed with hot springs water. Telescopes outside lodgings allow for nighttime stargazing.
Activities include guided hikes through the mountains, horseback riding along craggy desert trails, and tours of the one-acre greenhouse and farm, which produce more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Three daily farm-to-table meals are included with the cost of the overnight stay.
The Resort at Paws Up combines all-out luxury with adventure set against a 37,000-acre ranch property. Yes, you read that right: It comprises about 60 square miles of Montana wilderness.
Situated along 10 miles of the Blackfoot River, Paws Up offers more than 100 miles of designated hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and ATV trails. Its activity list includes more than 50 options for fly-fishing, cattle drives, archery, snowmobiling, ice-skating, and more.
Accommodations come in the form of 28 luxury homes offered year-round and 36 glamping tents with seasonal availability. Each is individually decorated with a Western-chic vibe and artwork hand-selected by the owners.
Paws Up’s owners also opened an adults-only resort, The Green O, on the 37,000-acre property. It will offer 12 luxurious freestanding glass-walled units and a central Social Haus restaurant.
For a major dose of romance, consider this sprawling resort where John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned. As a result, it’s been called one of the most romantic places in the world. Guests may even book the Kennedy Cottage where the couple stayed, a two-bedroom, two-bath, 2,000-square-foot pied-a-terre.
The 500-acre San Ysidro Ranch is located in uber-chichi Montecito within the Santa Barbara region, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands.
There are just 38 intimate cottages, each decorated with antiques, stone fireplaces, oak floors, and come with an expansive private deck, many with indoor-outdoor rain showers, sunken hot tubs, heated floors, and private gardens.
Work with the on-site team to create customized itineraries including sunset sailing, private yoga, sound meditation sessions, horseback riding, and wine tastings.
While the price is exceptionally high, so is the value as the rate includes meals, too. Order the $250 caviar, the $90 bone-in steak, or the $96 lobster cioppino. It is all included except alcohol.
In July 2021, the property opened a new outdoor spa patio and pool bar, as well as a new lower bar back patio deck, bocce ball court, and professional golf putting course. For an additional fee and with advanced reservations, San Ysidro Ranch guests may reserve a golf experience at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at the exclusive members-only Montecito Club.
I’m a seen-it-all luxury travel writer, but I rarely walk into a Four Seasons that doesn’t wow me. This one is especially a standout, even among the brand’s impeccable portfolio.
The secluded 90,000-acre paradise on Lanai (not far from the island of Maui) offers a wide array of outdoor activities such as archery, private horseback rides, diving, and fishing adventures upon the resort’s private fleet. There are also luxe accommodations at the beachfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai or the sister wellness destination, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort.
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai has 213 guest rooms in an array of low-rise buildings along the coastline for a residential vibe. There are multiple outdoor restaurants, including Nobu Lanai; Four Seasons’ Kids for All Seasons kids’ club; a beach and pool with seating areas tucked among tropical gardens; luxury boutiques; and an array of included classes and events.
For more of an exclusive, adults-only vibe, the sister resort, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, is an adults-only wellness destination spread on 24 acres. The 96-room resort is anchored by a great hall and sweeping outdoor gardens meant for connecting with nature.
Sensei by Nobu offers Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s classics as well as selections that incorporate Sensei’s nutritional philosophy created in partnership with Sensei’s co-founder Dr. David Agus.
The outdoor facilities include a 24-hour fitness facility, movement studios, a yoga pavilion and outdoor yoga spaces, an 18-hole putting course, onsen baths for private relaxation, an oasis pool with lap lanes, and gardens with lush flora as well as sculpture and art.
When the Kardashians and the Real Housewives want to splash out on a domestic vacation, it’s likely at this famous Aman property in Utah. Set on 600 acres in a protected valley, Amangiri (meaning “peaceful mountain”) is known for its sweeping views over towering mesas and dramatically stratified rock facing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The resort is built around a stunning swimming pool defined by a jaw-dropping stone escarpment. The main pavilion houses its dining room, living room, library, gallery, private dining room, and cellar. The Desert Lounge is an open-air living room perfect for sundowners or stargazing after dark.
From the pavilion, two wings of accommodations lead into the desert. In all, there are 34 suites, many with private swimming pools and roof terraces. Suites are large, with clean lines and natural materials, reflecting the surrounding Utah desert. Think white stone floors, concrete walls, natural timbers, and blackened steel finishings. Each suite has a fireplace and an outdoor lounge area.
New for 2021, the resort introduced the Cave Peak Stairway, an installation that rises 400 feet above the ground, for outrageous views. Thrill-seekers can climb the 120 steps — a dramatically vertical ascent with just open air below — leading from the resort’s existing Cave Peak Via Ferrata Trail for an unforgettable panorama (and pics) from the top.
A short hike or drive from Amangiri, Camp Sakira is a cluster of 10 canvas-topped pavilions centered around a shared lounge. Each has a private plunge pool.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is the only private island resort in the U.S. Located off the Florida Keys coastline, the adults-only Little Palm Island is a 4.5-acre property only accessible by boat or seaplane, for a totally remote and isolated vibe.
The island is never inhabited by more than 60 guests at any given time, though various species of birds, Key deer, and other natural wildlife keep the humans company.
Sumptuous accommodations are in thatched-roof bungalows amid secret-feeling pathways that lead to swaying hammocks and chaise lounges. Bungalows begin at 550 square feet with vaulted ceilings, ocean views, and outdoor showers or tubs.
SpaTerre offers treatments that incorporate ancient spa traditions like Balinese techniques and Thai body rituals. Outdoor activities include paddleboarding, kayaking, and Hobie Cats.
No travel is completely risk-free and we recommend following CDC current guidelines as well as all applicable local protocols at the time of travel.
What’s the best luxury hotel in the U.S. for couples?
John and Jackie Kennedy were among the famous honeymooners at San Ysidro Ranch, an iconic and historic California destination known for romance.
Another unforgettable option: As the only private island resort in the U.S., Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is an ultra-romantic destination for couples. The remote, adults-only vibe makes it ideal for a honeymoon.
What’s the best luxury hotel in the U.S. for families?
Many hotels on our list are ideal for families, but Four Seasons Orlando stands out for its incredible access to Disney: It’s situated right in Walt Disney World Resort, with transportation to theme parks and a dedicated Disney concierge — not to mention a five-acre water park on site including a lazy river.
What is the most luxurious hotel in the world?
Dubai’s outrageously opulent Burj Al Arab has often been described as the world’s most luxurious hotel. At the time of its opening in 1999, it was touted as the first seven-star hotel on the planet.
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Walt Disney World is open and if you’re planning a visit, staying on-site offers extra perks.
There are over 30 resorts and hotels within Walt Disney World, but not all are created equal.
We selected hotels with the best perks, from early entry to those that are walkable to the parks.
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Travel has changed considerably during the pandemic, and in addition to safety, choosing experiences that offer high value is a top priority. And while Walt Disney World vacations aren’t cheap, they do just that.
That’s because Walt Disney World Resorts aren’t just a place to sleep. Along with clean and comfortable rooms, hotel guests enjoy an array of perks that are only available when you stay on-site, especially when you choose a Deluxe hotel. Stay on-site and take advantage of priority park access, activities for all ages, free room deliveries for items purchased within the parks, and online mobile check-in so you never have to wait in line at the front desk.
The key, however, is knowing which of the 30 resorts in Walt Disney World offer the best value. As a travel writer with a focus on covering Disney parks and Disney-based travel, I used my extensive knowledge of the resorts to narrow the field down to the following resorts that offer the most perks for a Walt Disney World vacation.
Browse all the Disney Resorts below, or jump directly to a specific area:
The Animal Kingdom Lodge may be far from most of the action, but it makes up for it with a breathtaking lobby, an impressive African art collection, and the animals that live at the resort and make it feel as if you’re sleeping inside a zoo. Zebras, giraffes, gazelles, ostriches, and many others all roam the grounds. Book a Savannah view room and you can watch the wildlife right from your hotel room balcony.
The Animal Kingdom Resort also has some of the best, and most exotic, food in all of Walt Disney World, including the restaurants Saana, Boma – Flavors of Africa, and Jiko – The Cooking Place. The Wanyama Safari & Dinner Excursion and the Starlight Safari, offer an added unique way to explore the resort and the animals, ending with a culinary adventure.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge:
The surrounding Savanna is filled with animals.
Award-winning dining options.
Two large pools, a waterslide, and hot tubs, a playground for kids, and theZahanati Massage & Fitness Center.
Cultural experiences: Music of the Savanna, an art tour of the hotel’s collection, a cultural safari, South African wine tasting, a culinary tour of the restaurant, educational wildlife programs.
The Riviera is a Disney Vacation Club resort, which means that the accommodations are more like a condo than a standard hotel room.
The options range from the small Tower Studios, which feature a Murphy bed to incredibly spacious three-bedroom villas with kitchens and separate living areas.
The hotel is reminiscent of a European seaside resort with tranquil pool areas and is located on the Disney Skyliner line, making it a breeze to get around.
A stand-out dining experience in all of Walt Disney World can be found here at Topolino’s Terrace, and off of the lobby is the Voyageurs’ Lounge, a comfortable library with phone chargers, classic games, and drink service. While there, make sure to take a look at the carefully curated displays that link Disney with European storytelling, such as Pinocchio and Snow White.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort:
Easy access to the Disney Skyliner to get around the parks.
Well-appointed, large apartment-style rooms with kitchens, whirlpool tubs, and washers and dryers.
Great restaurants, including character dining on-site.
Quiet pools, a Fantasia-themed splash area, bocce ball, giant chess, and the Athlétique Fitness Center.
Activities include an art scavenger hunt, fun runs, and nightly story time.
The upscale, rustic style of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is evocative of the grand lodges of United States National Parks.
Like the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the majestic lobby with all its woodsy allure is a sight to behold. While guest rooms are more lowkey, there is a wide range of lodging options, from a standard offering to a waterfront cabin that comes with its own hot tub. But no matter the room you stay in, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the resort’s plentiful perks, including boat service from a pier to theme parks.
The lovely arts and crafts-styled restaurant Artist Pointe offers character dining hosted by Snow White while the Geyser Point Bar & Grill is an open-air lounge overlooking the water’s edge with great food and drinks. The pools are also some of our favorite in all of Walt Disney World.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge:
The boat service to the Magic Kingdom.
Recreational activities including two pools (one with an active geyser), jogging trails, bike rentals, boat rentals, and fishing.
Unique activities include sunrise yoga, air hockey tournaments, and an art and architecture tour.
Evening entertainment includes an electrical water pageant parade and a fireworks cruise (for an additional fee).
The Contemporary is one of the oldest hotels in the Magic Kingdom and will be celebrating its 50th birthday in late 2021. The rooms are dated, but in the process of getting a full makeover with a midcentury modern look inspired by Pixar’s “Incredibles.” There is also a second building, the Garden Wing, however, it lacks the grandeur of staying in the original concept.
However, despite the need for renovation, one of the biggest perks of the Contemporary is its location. You can walk to the Magic Kingdom’s main gate, board a boat, or take the Monorail, which stops right inside the hotel for easy access to Epcot, as well.
Guests looking for an upscale dining experience flock from all over Walt Disney World to the California Grill. Not only is the food fresh and delicious, but you can watch the fireworks from there. Chef Mickey’s offers Character dining, which is a big hit with the kids.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort:
You can walk to the Magic Kingdom or hop on the monorail from inside the hotel
There are excellent dining options including fine dining and character events.
Recreation options are plentiful with a pool, waterslide, beach volleyball, tennis, a jogging trail, boat rentals, fishing, and the Olympiad Fitness Center that offers free fitness sessions such as total body toning and lakeside yoga.
There is prime viewing of the nightly electrical water pageant parade and fireworks.
Even though they are two separate resorts, the Yacht Club and the Beach Club share most of the same public areas and amenities. The big draw at these traditional New England-themed resorts is the Stormalong Bay pool area, a three-acre water wonderland with a lazy river, a shallow sand-bottomed pool, a huge replica of a shipwreck that houses a 230-foot long waterslide.
The resorts are both on the Disney Skyliner route, making for an easy journey to the theme parks, and are walkable to an entrance at Epcot.
There are several destination dining experiences, including a steakhouse, a great spot for seafood, and an adorable ice cream shop where the best thing on the menu is the Kitchen Sink, which is an eight scoop sundae served in a bowl that resembles an actual sink.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Beach Club and Disney’s Yacht Club:
Great restaurants including fresh seafood.
Stormalong Bay, which is worth a full day on its own, plus access to tennis, volleyball, jogging, boat rentals, and fishing. Fantasia Gardens Mini golf is nearby.
There are special sailings for kids including the Albatross Treasure Cruise and the Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew (for an added cost).
Enjoy fun and games with water balloon activities, sandcastle building, mermaid school, and painting in the vineyard.
The Yacht Club is a dog-friendly resort (but not the Beach Club).
One of the best things about Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is that the Boardwalk is right outside your door. Inspired by old entertainment piers, the area is filled with popular restaurants, bars, shopping, and even carnival-style games. Stroll along while stopping at vendors selling hot dogs, funnel cakes, and beers, or stop into the AbracadaBar, a magician-themed cocktail lounge.
The hotel lobby and public spaces are reminiscent of a seaside resort seasoned with a heavy dose of whimsy. The rooms can feel a bit dated, but there is so much to do at the resort, that this won’t take away from your experience.
The best thing about the BoardWalk Inn, however, is its location. Not only is it directly a part of the Boardwalk, but it’s also walkable to Epcot, or you can take a boat from the hotel to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It is on the Disney Skyliner route, making it really easy to get around.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort:
Direct access to Disney Boardwalk with entertainment, games, food, and drinks, plus a location that is within walking distance of Epcot
The hotel hosts activities like yoga on the lawn and a fun run around the Boardwalk.
The Community Hall has family-friendly activities like wire Mickey Ears, creating a Pixie Dust necklace, as well as a place to rent out board games and DVDs.
Disney’s Grand Floridian is a nostalgic resort that harkens back to traditional beach resorts with turn of the century music and touches, and stunning architecture inspired by the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.
Beyond the beauty, the Grand Floridian is also very convenient and is next to the Magic Kingdom, which may be reached from the hotel by Monorail or by boat.
Narcoosee’s, Victoria and Albert, and Citricos, are all on-site restaurants that are worth visiting, while kids will love afternoon tea and the character dining. As of publishing, this is the only resort that offers in-room dining.
Best perks for staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian:
The great location is right near Magic Kingdom and Epcot and has a monorail stop and boat access to the parks.
There is a wide range of dining options including character dining.
The basketball courts are now legendary since the NBA was housed in a quarantine bubble there during the 2020 season.
The Victorian themed Senses Spa and Salon is a treat and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo makeover salon for kids is great fun.
The hotel beachfront offers a front-row view of nightly fireworks.
Activities include a daily pool party, sandcastle building, and rubber duck races.
The Polynesian Village Resort is a tropical oasis spread over 39 lushly landscaped acres. The rooms at the Polynesian recently underwent a makeover, and now feature a fresh and colorful Moana-inspired look, which is an improvement over their previously dated rooms.
For a splurge, an overwater bungalow, which not only has a great view of the park but its own private plunge pool.
The Polynesian has both Monorail and boat transportation on-site, giving it a big advantage over others. The resort is also home to the Pineapple Lanai, the only place to get a Dole Whip outside of the parks.
Best perks for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
The location is very convenient to visit all the parks.
Unique dining and drinking including Trader Sam’s and Disney’s Spirit of Aloha, which are both unforgettable experiences and fun for the whole family.
The Lava Pool area includes a waterslide and a tiki-filled splash zone, with a surrounding beach with volleyball, hammocks, beach chairs, boating, fishing, and jogging.
take advantage of South Pacific-themed activities such as free ukelele and hula lessons.
What are the perks available at Walt Disney World Resorts?
While perks vary from resort to resort, there are some that are shared by every official Walt Disney World Resort. These include:
Free transportation between hotels and theme parks via bus, boat, Monorail, and Skyliner
Pools with water slides, hot tubs, and activities
Free parking at Disney theme parks, Disney water parks, and the Disney Springs area
Airport transportation on Disney’s Magical Express (until January 1, 2022, when the service is discontinued).
Merchandise delivery and pickup
First access to FastPass+ and advance dining reservations (temporarily on hiatus)
Extra Park Time: Beginning in October, all guests enjoy a 30-minute early entry into the theme parks while Deluxe Resort guests will get two additional after park hours.
Which hotels are considered Deluxe?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Polynesian Village, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, as well as Disney’s Rivera Resort.
Which Disney Deluxe Resorts will have the extra time in the parks on select evenings?
Any of the Walt Disney World Resorts that are rated Deluxe (see above) will have this perk, including the Swan and Dolphin, although it is not a Disney property.
Are all the perks free?
Almost all of the perks are free. Although some — a few of the craft activities, cruises, bike, and boat rentals, or wine and food tasting — may incur an additional charge.
If I stay at one Walt Disney World Resort, can I use perks at another hotel?
All resort perks are for the guests of that particular resort, however, you can dine and drink at any resort.
Is it easy to transfer between Walt Disney World Resorts?
Yes, bus, boat, Monorail, and Skyliner services make it easy to travel between hotels.
Additionally, Disney’s luggage transfer system is excellent if you plan to stay at more than one resort during your vacation. At the end of one stay, just bring your bags down to the lobby when you check out and ask that they be forwarded to your next resort while you explore the parks. When you get to your new resort, you can either retrieve them from the bell desk or have them delivered directly to your room.
Is there transportation from the airport?
Disney’s Magical Express is a complimentary shuttle service between the Orlando airport and Walt Disney World Resorts. But unfortunately, this perk will end starting with arrivals on January 1, 2022.
Are luxury perks like Concierge and club-level rooms available?
Yes. All of the above resorts have concierge services that can assist in purchasing park tickets, making dining reservations, and more.
Also, all of the resorts, except for the Disney Vacation Club’s Riviera, have club-level rooms. These rooms cost more than standard rooms but come with club-level lounges that serve free food and drinks (including alcoholic drinks) throughout the day as part of your rate.
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Autumn is a stunning time to enjoy the changing foliage of the Northeast when trees pop with color.
Many travel from far away to see the magnificent sight, so it’s best to plan a visit far in advance.
From Maine to Pennsylvania, we rounded up the region’s best hotels for a leaf-peeping getaway.
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If you live in the Northeast, you know that the fall is a wonderful time to be outdoors. The summer heat is traded for sun-kissed days and crisp nights and activities abound; pick apples, visit a pumpkin patch, sip cider, or perhaps best of all, savor the incredible fall foliage.
In Autumn, the changing leaves turn vibrant shades of scarlet, yellow, and orange, offering a kaleidoscope of color. It’s a huge draw, attracting visitors from around the world to witness this gorgeous nature show. But the leaf-peeping season is short, and with so many travelers coming to the region, lodging can be limited and pricey.
That means now is the best time to plan a fall foliage trip while inventory is still high and affordable. We curated a list of the best hotels in quaint villages, near majestic mountains, and close enough to the Atlantic Ocean to smell the salt air. Here are the best places to stay to see show-stopping foliage this fall.
Browse all the best fall foliage hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area:
New Hampshire’s White Mountains offer some of the most striking foliage in New England. In the shadows of towering Mount Washington lies Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, with miles of well-maintained paths for hiking and trail biking. Drive the Mount Washington Auto Road to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast for a serious dose of autumnal color.
The Glen House is cradled in these majestic mountains, adjacent to the Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. The spacious lobby is bright and airy, with breathtaking views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Guest rooms are clean and modern, reflecting the streamlined modesty of Shaker design with comfortable beds, simple nightstands, excellent lighting, and functional desks that are offset by unforgettable vistas. Many rooms have private terraces.
The Notch Grille supports local farms, breweries, and distilleries with New Hampshire-brewed beers on tap.
If sustainability is important to you, rest east knowing the property uses a geothermal system for both heating and cooling.
Saranac Lake is located in the center of the Adirondack Park, a land of towering mountains, old-growth forests, and clear lakes.
Artists are drawn to the area’s natural beauty. BluSeed Studios is a nonprofit artist workspace with rotating exhibits and hands-on workshops. Don’t miss a ride on Saranac Lake’s beloved carousel with hand-carved indigenous animals spinning merrily.
Hotel Saranac is situated in a landmark 1920s building that maintained original architectural charm while still thoughtfully updated with amenities. The terrace is a fine spot to savor colorful mountain views as you relax by the fire pit with a cocktail.
Guest rooms mix past and present with crown moldings, velvet sofas, and quartz vanities side-by-side with ergonomic desk chairs, smart TVs, and fast Wi-Fi. The on-site restaurant, Campfire, serves a menu of comfort food favorites.
Saratoga is a small town with a big art and culture scene and famous horse racing.
Autumn is a quieter time to explore when nature shines and the serene Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa is located inside Saratoga Spa State Park, a bucolic maze of hiking paths, tennis courts, and seasonal swimming pools punctuated by potable natural mineral springs. The Roosevelt Baths & Spa, known for its no-nonsense treatments, is also here.
The hotel’s in-park location provides a bucolic backdrop for reconnecting with nature just minutes from the town center. Rocking chairs on the front porch give the hotel a Norman Rockwell feel.
Guest rooms were recently refreshed with new carpet, paint, and blinds, and updates to the bathrooms. Expect stately wood furniture and oversized armchairs. Some have French doors leading out to a screened-in porch,
Ringed by Alpine scenery, Stowe looks like a page from a fairytale. Though it’s known for downhill skiing, there is no better place to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature’s autumn foliage. Cycle or walk the 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path for colorful leaves galore.
The Stowehof resembles a Swiss chalet with welcoming common spaces. It’s set on 26 hilly acres with a sauna, tennis courts, and a rotating art exhibit in the lobby.
Rooms are decorated with traditional rustic furnishings that add a hint of nostalgia. Some have clawfoot tubs, separate dressing areas, and Green Mountain vistas. All rooms have excellent Wi-Fi and flat-screen cable television.
The Catskill Mountains offer outdoor options like biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and zip-lining, with phenomenal leaf-peeping to sweeten the deal.
The Roxbury Motel and the Roxbury at Stratton Falls are just down the road from each other and primed to make it easy to do all of the above. There are trails leading to a waterfall right on-site as well.
However, their design-forward rooms come close to upstaging the foliage with individually appointed, highly thematic rooms that are incredibly imaginative.
No two rooms are alike here. Book “Genie’s Bottle,” a room inspired by the television show “I Dream of Jeannie,” with a shimmery silver sofa and spherical bathroom with glittery mosaic tiles and a Japanese soaking tub. “Cinderella’s Gown” has an 18-foot ball gown doubling as a bed canopy and an enormous morphing pumpkin, and the “Superhero Incognito” is an over-the-top immersion into the world of Wonder Woman, complete with a 3-D Wonder Woman headboard adorning the King-size bed.
Amherst is a New England college town. Hike peaceful paths at Mount Pollux Conservation Area and enjoy sweeping views of the Mount Holyoke Range to the south and the Berkshires to the west. Downtown is a pedestrian’s delight and poetry buffs come to pay homage to Emily Dickinson at her namesake museum in her birthplace.
The inn overlooks the leafy town green from a stately exterior with whitewashed brick and black clapboard shutters.
Guest rooms maintain the historic character with pleated curtains and old-school wallpaper while enjoying conveniences such as polished chrome bathroom fixtures, pillow-top mattresses, and high-thread-count linens. Furnishings include simple antique reproductions with an emphasis on functionality, so expect good desk lighting and roomy reading chairs.
Brick paths lined with tall trees and manicured flower beds weave throughout the property, with fire pits and roomy chairs to sit back and enjoy the colorful confetti of changing leaves.
The Pioneer Valley is nestled in the rolling hills of Western Massachusetts. In the center of the valley sits Northampton, a compact college town that enjoys a laidback vibe. In fall, rent a bike at Northampton Bicycle and cycle the 11-mile Norwottuck Rail Trail to Amherst. It will be fringed with a canopy of colorful leaves and lined with farm stands selling fresh apple cider doughnuts.
The historic Hotel Northampton has 106 guestrooms, inviting public spaces, and gracious hospitality. Guest rooms offer flat-screen televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi, plush terry robes, and Gilchrist and Soames bath products. Decor is pure Americana with floral curtains, vintage wood furniture, leather couches, and two-poster headboards.
Bob Dylan, Stephen King, John F. Kennedy, the Dalai Lama, and Franklin Roosevelt have all rested their heads on the hotel’s comfy pillows.
The latest COVID-19 procedures are available by calling the hotel directly at (413) 584-3100.
Bennington is within a cozy corner of Southern Vermont, a state as known for its maple syrup, covered bridges, and stunning autumn foliage. The town is home to the Bennington Museum, home to the largest public collection of works by Grandma Moses. The adjacent George Aiken Wildflower Trail showcases native wildflowers nestled in a backdrop of colorful leaves.
Four Chimneys Inn is a charming New England oasis on nearly a dozen acres and a short walk from town. There are 11 guest rooms, each with glassed-in porches and hardwood floors. The feel is upscale yet not ostentatious. A hearty morning meal is included in the room rate, which you may enjoy at a private table at least six feet from other diners, in your room, or on the lovely stone patio.
Freeport sits on the shores of Casco Bay, just minutes from trendy Portland. This tidy town has been home to L.L. Bean for over a century, and admirers of the great outdoors will appreciate the idyllic beauty of Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. Hike the Casco Bay Trail and watch the resident osprey fly through the colorful treetops.
The Harraseeket Inn offers spacious rooms with antique furnishings, fireplaces, and Whirlpool tubs. Some feature Chilton wood furniture, a family-owned Maine furniture business that blends Shaker simplicity with spare Scandinavian style.
For extra space and privacy, nine duplex townhouses are set along a tree-lined path and have full kitchens and multiple bedrooms.
The inn’s tavern serves traditional New England-style cuisine. Don’t miss their award-winning Maine lobster stew.
Situated in the center of the Berkshires, the town of Lenox offers a wealth of autumn possibilities, including hiking nearby Pleasant Valley’s miles of trails bordered by streams and a hummingbird garden. It is also home to The Mount, literary great Edith Wharton’s legendary residence and garden-filled grounds.
Located in a mansion built in 1897, Hampton Terrace Inn evokes the elegance of the Gilded Age, when families with surnames like Morgan and Vanderbilt owned magnificent Berkshire estates they humbly called cottages.
The property’s 14 upscale rooms and suites are spread over three buildings and many have fireplaces, four-poster beds, and porches. Pedestal sinks and oversized jetted bathtubs add panache, while period decor such as a 1929 Steinway grand piano, merge with excellent Wi-Fi, Jacuzzi tubs, and HD-TV.
As the birthplace of the American conservation movement, Milford’s abundance of pristine woodlands and waterfalls are located only 90 minutes from New York City and Philadelphia. There are dozens of hikes or rent a canoe and paddle down the Delaware River for front row views to stunning leaves reflected in the water.
Hotel Fauchère is in heart of the quaint village. This 16-room Relais & Châteaux property is suited to city folk who crave country but don’t want to sacrifice creature comforts. Room amenities include high-speed wireless Internet, Nespresso coffee machines, Frette bath and bed linens, Molten Brown toiletries, and Carrara marble and Pennsylvania bluestone accents in the bathrooms.
The public spaces feature works by prominent artists including contemporary photographer Christopher Makos’ iconic image of Andy Warhol kissing John Lennon. An enclosed garden and conservatory bring fall foliage to the doorstep, and the wide porch is spacious and airy, a good spot for a light bite or a glass of wine.
Home to Dartmouth College, Hanover is the quintessential Ivy League town. Located on the banks of the Connecticut River with the Appalachian Trail cutting right through, there are recreational opportunities on land and water. Consider a hike to Velvet Rocks or rent a kayak and paddle downriver.
The Hanover Inn overlooks the town green and campus, an excellent position to glimpse the foliage and soak up the college’s youthful energy.
Rooms include strategically placed Dartmouth memorabilia and splashes of green, Dartmouth’s school color. Traditional New Hampshire-crafted furniture gives a sense of place.
Home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown is ground zero for fans, and anyone who appreciates a quaint downtown filled with lovingly restored homes and museums. Fall is a lovely time to visit when apple orchards are ripe with fruit for picking and colorful leaves dot the lake.
The Otesaga is in the heart of town, a short stroll from baseball’s Mecca with a Federal-style facade, imposing front portico supported by towering columns, and sweeping veranda that exudes grace and elegance.
Common areas have a genteel look with stately couches and wingback chairs blending with just a few touches of baseball memorabilia. Rooms feature traditional wood furniture and floral drapery offset with creature comforts such as flat-screen televisions and Egyptian cotton towels.
Kennebunkport is an upscale seaside village with coastal New England charm, complete with clam shacks serving fried seafood and lobster boats bobbing in the waves. The summer crowd waves goodbye come Labor Day, leaving fall travelers to savor a slower pace with plenty of room to roam.
The casually elegant Tides Beach Club is across from beautiful Goose Rocks Beach with adjacent salt marshes and estuaries that attract a variety of migratory birds. Complimentary cruiser bikes make it easy to cycle trails that display brilliant colored leaves next to deep green pines. The hotel’s wide front porch is an excellent spot to soak it all in, perhaps on a padded rocking chair with a hot beverage in hand.
Rooms feature contemporary accents with soothing natural tones and textures accented with pops of coastal colors like seafoam green decorative pillows and coral wallpaper. Bathrooms have rainfall showers and Jonathan Adler bath products, and beds are plush with custom upholstered headboards and soft, soothing linens.
The property stays open for the entire fall foliage season, before closing for winter in late October.
The Sagamore is on the shores of Lake George, known as the Queen of American Lakes. This southern section of the Adirondacks is under four hours from NYC and Boston, and an excellent spot to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the lake and mountains. In autumn, the tall trees explode in a striking burst of crimson color.
Originally opened in 1883, The Sagamore’s white clapboard exterior with green shutters is an American classic. In its early years, it was a favored summer vacation spot of industrialist tycoons and robber barons. Today, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 390 rooms merging modern touches with rustic Adirondack decor.
Rooms all have high-speed Internet and flat-screen televisions; some come with expansive lake views. The property is sprawling, so there’s plenty of privacy and room. In addition to the historic main hotel, there are seven lodge buildings with roomy suites.
Vermont and New Hampshire arguably present the most vivid spectrum of autumn leaves in the United States, with reliable pockets of color blanketing both states.
In truth, all of New England, New York State, and Pennsylvania’s higher elevations are tinged with gorgeous color worthy of a thousand photos. Inland regions tend to have a more intense overall color while the foliage in coastal locations is more muted as it blends with fading seagrass, delicate sea lavender, and the last of the beach roses.
The large variety of deciduous trees in this swath of the country is key to the dynamic range of tones, though it is probably the sugar, red, and Japanese maples that produce the striking crimson and fiery orange hues that leave such a lasting impression. Oaks add muted red and russet splashes, while American elm and ginkgo round out the color scheme with a palette of yellow, from pale corn to deep mustard.
When is the best time to see fall foliage?
The sweet spot to view peak foliage varies each year and is dependent on weather, so last year’s peak foliage date isn’t necessarily going to be this year’s peak. Warm, sunny days and cool but frostless nights help produce the deepest shades of red, orange, and even purple.
A good rule of thumb is the farther north and the higher the elevation, the earlier peak foliage is reached. Coastal areas tend to reach peak color later than inland regions, as the warm post-summer ocean provides a tempering factor.
Colors really pop in Northern New England and the Adirondacks by mid-September, while Pennsylvania and coastal New England states don’t usually reach their zenith until mid-October. The good news is that peak leaf-peeping rolls through New England and the Northeast in a staggered manner. Like a moveable feast, if you miss the pinnacle in one spot you can catch it in another, helping to explain why fall road trips are so popular in this part of the country.
How long does fall foliage last?
As summer winds down and days grow shorter, there’s less sunlight for trees to convert into food during the process of photosynthesis. As a result, the green pigment of leaves, called chlorophyll, dies off and the gradual process of changing color starts, eventually becoming as bold as anything Crayola could create.
Subtle color changes usually hit New England’s very highest altitudes in early September while peak color doesn’t arrive in southern and coastal areas until mid-October, so there are usually 6-8 weeks when you can soak in the region’s sublime color. The hourglass ticks as foliage reaches the absolute peak, only lasting for a week at most.
Is it safe to travel?
According to the CDC, domestic travel is safe if you are fully vaccinated. The vaccination rates in New England are very high, though unvaccinated individuals should continue to take extra precautions.
All travelers should follow current CDC and local guidelines regarding social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitizing.
Additionally, all the hotels we included here have implemented new cleaning protocol in guest rooms as well as in public spaces in an effort to keep guests safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
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Some luxury hotels that are traditionally expensive have dropped starting rates to lure back guests.
We found five-star stays across the US and internationally that are all under $665 per night.
Our picks offer exceptional value, with many top hotels ranging between $150-350 per night.
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The travel and hotel industry was among the hardest hit due to COVID-19 in 2020 and early 2021.
But now, hotels are reopening with rigorous new cleaning standards and doing everything they can to lure back travelers. For some posh five-star hotels, that means offering unheard of discounts you never would have seen pre-2020, among other incentives and savings.
If you’ve been waiting over a year to splash out on some serious self-care, these luxury hotels have prime pricing this summer. We found some of the best cheap luxury hotel deals, both in the U.S. and popular international destinations with open borders to vaccinated travelers or those with a negative COVID test.
Browse all the best cheap luxury hotel deals below, or jump directly to a specific area here:
Cape Panwa Hotel is one of Phuket island’s most sought-after hotels by travelers, and luckily for vaccinated guests, they can now arrive quarantine-free to Thai paradise.
This five-star stunner is perched on the slopes of a former coconut grove that peers over the Andaman Sea and features sophisticated, luxury suite-style guest rooms and pool villas. Discerning travelers pick this property for its privacy and feeling of seclusion, which is hard to come by on tourist-strewn Phuket. For the ultimate in intimacy, book the beachside dinner for two lit up under a white tent with a whimsical hanging floral display.
Due to its steep position, a funicular moves guests up and down the property and makes for a memorable activity with intoxicating views. Another highlight is the Sino-Portuguese mansion, which emerges from plush vegetation and has been used as a filming location, but today operates as a Thai restaurant.
Rooms have casual, unpretentious Thai elegance filled with dark woods, earthy tones, and jute rugs and the hotel’s private, shallow beach is popular among families. A sparkling blue pool with comfy loungers protected by canopies rounds out the reasons why you should start searching for airfare, which as of press time, was just $675 in economy on Etihad Airways leaving from JFK.
Not only is The Boulders Resort & Spa home to well-appointed and private Casita guest rooms, it’s also the site of two of the best golf courses in the United States. The Jay Morrish-designed courses offer 36 holes surrounded by gorgeous desert landscape and mountain views.
The resort pampers guests with its full-service spa, four luxurious pools, and multiple on-site restaurants and bars that serve an array of cuisines.
For those focused on improving their forehand, The Boulders has hard and cushioned tennis courts, as well as around-the-clock stringing and re-gripping services.
Located in New York City’s NoMad neighborhood, the Mondrian Park Avenue boasts stunning rooms designed by Philippe Starck who adorned the spaces with bold and whimsical touches.
The hotel’s amenities have fully reopened, including stylish restaurant Cleo’s indoor spaces, and Mondrian Terrace, the hotel’s rooftop lounge and bar on the fifteenth floor with sweeping views of Park Avenue South.
Guest rooms feature plush, comfortable beds and spacious, spa-like bathrooms. Floating desks are another major draw for those looking to experience the Big Apple as it bursts back to life. The location is great too, located in a tranquil part of the city that is in close proximity to landmarks like the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park, and the Flatiron District.
The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville is a little slice of history. There are 122 spacious guest rooms adorned in traditional decor featuring hand-made, custom furniture imported from Europe. The building dates back 110 years and is located a block from the state’s capital, and also served as a home base to both pro and anti-suffrage groups leading to the vote on the 19th amendment that passed in 1920. To honor its role in the landmark vote, the hotel now showcases its private collection of historic artifacts.
The Hermitage also stands out for its spectacular Oak Bar with an impressive fine wine list and premium, hand-crafted cocktails that also pay homage to Nashville’s most prominent Suffrage leaders.
Additionally, there is an exceptional pampered paws program with a pet turn-down service, in-room dining for pets, collars, and leashes, and optional pet walking and pet excursions with a chauffeur — a desirable amenity if you’re traveling with a furry friend.
While Miami emerged as a popular destination for eager travelers during the latter part of the pandemic, there are still deals to be found.
Be prepared to swoon over the Mandarin Oriental‘s sweeping downtown views of the Miami skyline, as well as the glittering blue-green Biscayne Bay from the lobby. Located in trendy Brickell, this elegant hotel features a gorgeous infinity pool with its own cafe serving top-quality meals and drinks that go far beyond your usual beach snacks.
When you’ve retired from the pool, enjoy the hotel’s on-site restaurant or lobby bar and lounge, as well as the full-service luxury spa, hair salon, and state-of-the-art fitness studio. The hotel is close to upscale shops Saks Fifth Avenue, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Coach at Brickell City Centre, as well as The Shops at Mary Brickell Village, which houses a premium cigar shop, among other favorites.
Villas ranging in size and in view — including bay, ocean and hilltop views — are set at Cape Fahn amongst lush, tropical jungle and foliage.
One of the resort’s most exclusive rooms is in fact its own private island and comes complete with a dedicated pool, two bedrooms, a large living space, and a spa-like bathroom with a soaking tub.
Unique, contemporary decor in soothing tones is par for the course in all of the villas, though, with dangling white linen curtains, wood paneling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and accordion doors that make use of the expansive, crystal blue water Choeng Mon Beach views.
This quarantine-free resort, located on the popular and recently reopened Koh Samui island, is bound to be less busy than the previously opened and more popular Phuket, which means you can enjoy the large outdoor swimming pools (including a saltwater pool) almost to yourself. There’s also a sun terrace and a reading room, exclusive only to hotel guests.
Cape Fahn visitors relish active pursuits like yoga, kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, Thai boxing, and lower impact activities like cooking lessons, movies lit by the moonlight, and even the chance to charter a luxury yacht.
Take in the views of Tuscany from this hilltop luxury estate, which has been developed entirely around a small, medieval Italian village and its surrounding countryside.
Whether you stay in the hotel, housed partly in what was once a tobacco warehouse, or in one of the many stately villas or apartments, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of vineyards, olive groves, a lake, and a crop field.
There is a wellness center and spa, plus a stunning pool and bar which bask in the bucolic views as well. The resort is also home to Tuscany’s largest championship golf course, split into a 9-hole lakeside course and an 18-hole mountain course for golfers interested in a challenge.
In addition to ample outdoor offerings, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi is spoiled with four distinct restaurants. One of my all-time favorite dining experiences took place here at La Rocca, an elegant-yet-unfussy restaurant inside a beautifully restored medieval castle. The restaurant excels at serving an impressive feast for the senses, culinary-minded individuals, and for those who appreciate immaculate service.
Just 20 minutes from the Pantheon and other top attractions, guests here enjoy polished guest rooms and magnificent suites with decidedly Italian finesse, a private Mediterranean park filled with centuries-old pine trees, as well as an eye-catching bronze dolphin fountain.
The many indoor and outdoor glittering blue pools are just as beautiful by night as they are in Rome’s impressive sunlight, which can average between 10-11 hours a day in the summer months.
In the spa, magnificent jetted tubs were designed in the style of a traditional Roman bath and treatments are available within this relaxing retreat, or outdoors in private cabanas amid a lush park.
One of the few five-star luxury hotels that has obtained Green Key certification, Rome Cavalieri is also a “green property” and furthers this cause by offering eco-conscious dining. In collaboration with Slow Food Rome, guests can enjoy a decadent Sunday brunch menu filled with ingredients from local producers, as well as scrumptious raw ingredients.
As you step inside the Langham‘s stunning lobby with sky-high ceilings, you’ll immediately be swept away by this posh hotel. Each room offers floor-to-ceiling windows as well as modern furnishings and beautiful views of the Chicago skyline.
A true highlight is the Chuan spa, which embraces centuries-old Chinese healing philosophies with indulgent treatments, alongside a health club and a attractive indoor swimming pool.
The Langham Club features panoramic views of Chicago and rotating tasty all-day food and beverages, plus a Writer’s Corner with a library and workstations.
Lean into the pristine vibes with a spot of afternoon tea, which is held in their gleaming Pavillion dining space, or tuck into a lavish meal at Travelle for seasonal American cuisine.
Opened in 1910, this historic hotel is famous for being the only luxury “palace” hotel on the city’s Left Bank. It was once haunted by an array of famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, Josephine Baker, and James Joyce, the latter of whom is said to have written part of “Ulysses” there during his stay.
In the summer of 2018, it re-opened following a four-year, $234 million restoration and it’s now one of the most exquisite luxury hotels in all of Paris.
While it’s equipped with every modern comfort, the building’s unique blend of art nouveau and art deco styles will surely transport you to turn-of-the-century France.
There are no less than five fine dining venues, and wellness enthusiasts can book a treatment, steam, or dip in Akasha Spa.
The hotel is also known for its magnificent penthouse suites, which offer the kind of 360 rooftop views over Paris that you usually only see in movies.
Located just minutes away from Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, this AAA Five Diamond Award-rated resort offers a family-friendly luxury stay.
Kids can play at Explorer Island, a five-acre water park that includes a family pool with a lazy river, a climbing wall, two water slides, and an interactive Splash Zone.
For parents, there’s a peaceful adults-only serenity pool encircled by swaying palm trees and white cabanas for maximum privacy. An 18-hole golf course, three Har-Tru tennis courts, and spa also offer adults the chance to relax and unwind as the young ones play. In fact, parents can leave children aged 4-12 for as little as an hour and as long as all day at The Kids For All Seasons kids camp, and complimentary luxury transportation is provided to four main Disney Parks.
On Saturdays, kids can interact with Disney characters at “The Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & Pals” character breakfast at the on-site restaurant, Ravello, and watch the fireworks display at night.
To find cheap hotel deals, start by checking the rewards offerings of your credit cards and other memberships. Many credit card companies offer incentives to their customers, including exclusive deals, promotions, and room upgrades.
American Express’s Platinum Card offers members a $200 Hotel Credit in the form of an annual statement credit, for prepaid bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties made within American Express Travel.
You should also examine deals from less obvious service providers. For example, most T-Mobile plans come with access to T-Mobile TRAVEL, meaning you can save up to 40% on Booking.com stays and 40% off Priceline rental cars when booking through the site.
Another great way to find cheap hotel deals is to comparison shop using search engines and booking platforms like KAYAK, Travelocity, Trivago, and Priceline. Compare and contrast the posted rates between the platforms, and the hotel’s direct site, to find the best deal and remember to always make sure you are checking the room types being offered before the time of booking so that the deal is a good fit for you and your needs.
How do I find luxury hotel deals?
Aside from the tips above, one of the best ways to find luxury hotel deals can be to simply open a new browser tab.
Google the names of some of the luxe properties on your wishlist and then click Google’s “Check Availability” button to see the hotel’s future availability and rates in a calendar view to see the cheapest dates. While this rate information is not available for all properties, you’ll be able to see upcoming rates for blocks of dates for most places and plan a trip around the lowest rates available. It’s also a great tool for comparing rates of similar hotels in the same destination.
Checking a hotel’s website is another great way to learn about packages and discounts. Though they generally have blackout dates, it’s a good option for flexible travelers.
Many hotels offer a free night if you book 3 nights or more, and some offer additional free nights, especially if you’re booking during off-peak times.
A travel agent may also help alert you to the latest deals and promotions at a hotel, as they often track that information for their clients.
What’s the best place to find last minute luxury hotel deals?
Last minute inventory is a key reason you might find a cheap deal on a luxury hotel. As hotels assess inventory closer to a specific date, they’re able to offer more competitive prices based on a lack of demand.
Hotels.com offers an easy-to-use search engine dedicated to hotel deals, while apps like Hotel Tonight let you see last minute hotel deals based on your location, letting you compare top hotels by rates, neighborhood, and your non-negotiables (hello, hot tub).
Meanwhile, websites like Roomer Travel will allow you to buy reservations directly from individuals who can no longer use them, meaning you can save big if your dates and preferred luxury hotels align.
He credits the hotels’ strong staffing to its culture, which he said has worked on for nearly four years. “We believe a happy team equals happy guests,” Verkist said. “You cannot have one without the other.”
“There is no ‘fear-driven’ leadership in our organization,” he added. “We strive to create a workplace that our team enjoys coming to each day and feels supported.”
Verkist let some staff go early on in the pandemic but stayed in contact with them. Some college students quit their jobs because they no longer needed to stay in Bellingham after their classes went online, but he said the vacancies got filled quickly.
He now hires around 35 workers across both hotels, and doesn’t contract staff from outside the company.
Verkist prides himself on the perks he offers to his staff, too. He said that he raised starting wages to $15 an hour last May, and offers bonuses of between $250 and $500 to up to four staff members a month.
He also gives staff $15 in bar credits for each shift they work to get a free meal at the hotel’s restaurant either during or after their shift. Outside of working hours, staff get a discount at the restaurant, too.
Verkist added that he focuses on promoting from within, and has never hired a manager from outside.
The labor shortage stems from issues ‘that have been laying low for years’
A third of former hospitality workers said in a Joblist poll that they wouldn’t return to the industry.
“This is a mass exodus like I’ve never seen before in my lifetime,” Peter Ricci, head of Florida Atlantic University’s hospitality and tourism management program, told Insider.
This comes as travel is rebounding massively amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. “People are traveling like crazy again,” Ricci said.
Ricci said that some business owners had a short-term view and blamed the tight labor market on supplemental unemployment benefits, but that it really stemmed from issues “that have been laying low for years,” like low pay, few healthcare benefits, and a lack of flexible hours.
“If we get closer to starting wages in other industries, we’ll level the playing field,” he said. In the meantime, hotels and restaurants may have to raise their rates and menu prices or reduce their operating hours, he said.
“Eventually incentives and benefits will draw workers back,” Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington said – and the “silver lining” is that the labor shortage could create a better environment for workers, he added.
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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.
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With beachfront 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 to meet your needs.
To highlight the best hotels in San Diego, we made selections based on our own expert hotel reviews and experiences on property, and also set discerning criteria to determine the 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:
This bang-on-trend property in the heart of San Diego’s buzzing Gaslamp district is popular with younger travelers who appreciate a look and feel that’s equal parts trendy and modern and 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 that have expansive views of San Diego and include 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 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.
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 downtown, 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 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.
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.
While there are cheaper downtown options in San Diego, the Manchester Grand Hyatt consistently delivers a high level of sophistication alongside friendly staff, plenty of on-site dining, and a central waterfront location.
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.
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 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 available for guests’ use, and the hotel is well-located near 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.
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, plus excellent 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.
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 that speak to the city’s history.
There are 270 rooms and suites providing a high-end, traditional experience not commonly replicated in the city. The hotel is also well-located 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.
Set on 21 landscaped acres 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 escape is a member of Marriott Bonvoy and feels like a Mediterranean-inspired village 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.
Located five miles from downtown San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado is a historic hotel and landmark that has hosted U.S. 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 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.
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 appears pristine with arched windows, curved staircases, and a rose-tinted facade resembling a European palace. The hotel is also 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 pretty gardens or taking a dip in one (or all) of the four pools. For 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.
For something more sedate than the crowded beach, or quieter than noisy downtown San Diego, head inland to the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort’s 200-acre estate in Carlsbad. The hotel overlooks golf greens, a wildlife sanctuary, and offers ample views of the ocean in the distance. The sense is overwhelmingly tranquil with well-kept common places to kick back after a few laps in the lavish pools.
A recent renovation delivered on well-appointed rooms, and a newly revamped grandiose pool has separate areas for adults and children.
That depends on what you want to do. Stay downtown in neighborhoods like the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, or Embarcadero if you want to sight see 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.
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Texas is a big state with cosmopolitan cities, cowboy culture, and white-sand beaches.
Major cities and towns have great hotels, from luxurious splurges to quirky, affordable properties.
We compiled the best hotels across Texas in places like Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Marfa.
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They say everything is bigger in Texas, and when it comes to its hotels, that’s certainly true, too.
From beach resorts in Galveston for a family vacation to a high-end spa retreat in Lake Austin, or a funky rural abode off-the-beaten-path in Marfa, the Lone Star State has something for you.
I’ve spent the majority of this summer exploring the state, making the major cities my home base for a few weeks at a time, with weekend trips to other destinations. In doing so, I’ve stayed in and researched Texas’ best hotels, which I’ve compiled below. Whether you’re in town for business, a bachelorette, or a rodeo, start here to decide where to stay.
Browse all the best hotels in Texas below, or jump directly to a specific area here.
South Padre Island is southern Texas’ premier beach getaway, and a pretty affordable one, too.
The Isla Grand Beach Resort couldn’t have a better location right off the Queen Isabella Causeway, on a slice of prime beachfront real estate in the heart of South Padre Island. If you want to head off property for dining, drinking, or sightseeing, there’s plenty within walking distance.
But there’s so much going on at the resort that if you didn’t want to leave, you wouldn’t have to. While the majority of hotels on the island are big-name chains with limited amenities, the Isla Grand Beach Resort has two pools, sports courts, grassy lawns with hammocks, and several restaurants and bars, including a nightclub with live music pretty much every weekend.
There are 128 Cabana rooms spread throughout the property’s low-rise buildings, which can each fit three to four guests. If you’re traveling with the whole family, however, you might want to book one of the condos that have two bedrooms and full kitchens.
Just keep in mind that South Padre Island is a popular choice for spring break, so be mindful of the dates you book.
Marfa is a remote desert town in West Texas that’s an art lover’s dream, drawing everyone from low-key folk artists to the late Minimalist master Donald Judd. For boho-style travelers, the best lodging in town is El Cosmico, which is a glamping-style compound.
Spread across 21 acres are a series of off-kilter accommodations, from restored vintage trailers to yurts and tepees. While the trailers have kitchenettes and bathrooms, the other spaces are a little more bare-bones and share a bathhouse.
Inside you’ll find electrical outlets and a real bed dressed with colorful sarapes (Mexican blankets that you can even purchase), so you won’t be sleeping on the ground. For a slightly more comfortable stay, book the Cosmic Kasita, a hippie-chic tiny house. No matter where you stay, you’ll be surrounded by rainbow hues, Native American–inspired textiles, and a general boho-chic atmosphere. The goal here is to connect with nature, not your iPhone, so there’s no Wi-Fi in any of the accommodations, except for the main building.
Amenities are limited; stop by the provisions store to buy some beers, then head to the outdoor kitchen to grill your own dinner. There are, however, Dutch-style hot tubs that you can book for an additional fee, as well as free hammocks for snoozes or stargazing.
Located in North Austin, The Lone Star Court Hotel covers four acres on the quieter side of the Domain, a shopping, entertainment, and residential area that’s continually expanding. The retro-inspired hotel offers a resort experience with a modern twist through landscaped courtyards, lawn games, fire pits, a pool, and complimentary bicycles.
The 123 rooms open to large ranch-house breezeways with rocking chairs. Room interiors include classic Texas elements with sliding barn-style bathroom doors and cow-hide director’s chairs.
There’s live music every weekend and a food truck court including Aurora Venezuelan and Waffletaste trucks. In addition, there’s an on-site restaurant, The Water Trough, serving Hill Country-inspired dishes.
Though as a whole, Galveston is a family-friendly beach destination, the Hotel Galvez & Spa stands out amongst its neighbors for being a much more romantic, sophisticated option.
Ten years after the devastating 1901 hurricane wiped out much of the island, the Hotel Galvez opened its doors to welcome guests as the Galveston’s grande dame, and it’s been doing so ever since.
The hotel features a quiet, elegant pool area, a casual seafood restaurant, and a spa with eucalyptus steam rooms and a meditation garden. There’s also a full-service gym, but that’s about it in terms of amenities. You’re really here for the beach. Unfortunately, the Seawall Boulevard gets in the way of the sand, but it’s not too difficult to make the crossing every day.
There are 224 rooms in total and standard room types are divided by view — choose a Gulf-facing room — while suites are named after Galveston history and important figures, from Houstonian Howard Hughes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Each has classic, refined decor and a comfortable mattress with plush betting, while suites have sitting areas and wet bars.
On Mustang Island, a quiet, nature-driven beach destination between Port Aransas and Corpus Christi is the unassuming Lively Beach, a collection of eco-friendly condos spread out over 46 acres (11 of which are developed, and 35 of which are preserved wetlands).
The units range in size from a studio efficiency to a two-bedroom unit and are loosely based on the design of a traditional Moroccan riad with a courtyard in the middle. They also feature fresh coastal-cool decor and are connected to the beach by a private elevated boardwalk.
There’s no on-site restaurant or bar as guests are expected to use the kitchen in their condo, but there is a shared pool. For evening entertainment, the hotel is just a few minutes away from restaurants and bars.
If you love food, drink, music but don’t want the overdevelopment of most Austin neighborhoods, head to East Austin. There, you’ll probably drive right past this hotel because it looks nothing like one. The Heywood Hotel is located inside a 1920s Craftsman bungalow in trendy East Austin where it combines the homeyness of an Airbnb with the convenience of a hotel.
There are just seven rooms, each decorated with handcrafted furniture and local art. The Stearns and Foster mattresses are a particularly big hit with guests, who rave about their comfort.
But because the Heywood Hotel is more like a private home, there are few if any amenities. There are no restaurants or bars, for instance, but there is free Wi-Fi and loaner bikes (and helmets!).
You might write off Fort Worth as the uninteresting little sister to Dallas, but if you love Wild West history, you need to visit the Stockyards and stay at the Stockyards Hotel.
Opened in 1907, the property has seen its fair share of cowboys, outlaws, and everyone in between. Renovated numerous times over the years, the Stockyards Hotel still maintains its nostalgic Texan charm without feeling dated.
There are 52 rooms, and the standard ones come in four styles: Native American, Western, Victorian, Mountain Man. The suites are named after famous Texans, such as Davy Crockett. The most impressive room, however, is the Bonnie and Clyde Suite. The bank-robbing couple stayed in this very room, which is now filled with historical artifacts, including Bonnie’s revolver.
Other than a restaurant, there aren’t many amenities. Thankfully, there’s plenty to do right outside the hotel, with restaurants, bars, shopping, and even daily cattle drives that keep the spirit of the Wild West alive.
Downtown Dallas isn’t the city’s tourism hub, but it’s worth a visit to stay in Dallas’ original luxury hotel, the Adolphus.
The property first opened in 1912 but underwent a major renovation in 2018 that breathed new life into the storied property. Modeled after a German castle, the historic beaux-arts structure is famous for its French Room, a fine dining restaurant kitted out with extravagant Murano chandeliers, Louis XVI-style chairs, and gleaming gilt accents. Don’t miss afternoon tea here.
But that’s not the only stellar amenity. There are two other restaurants and bars, which are more casual but no less spectacular in their offerings. On the rooftop, find a pool with private cabanas, and inside, there’s a 5,000-square-foot spa, including a couple’s treatment room with a private terrace.
Speaking of rooms, there are 407 at the hotel, each with 10-foot ceilings and sophisticated decor. Though the building might be more than 100 years old, the rooms are delightfully updated.
Houston is a city of neighborhoods, and the Museum District is best known for, well, its museums. Funky Texan hospitality group Hotel ZaZa has four properties across Texas, but the Museum District outpost is our favorite given its stellar location, over-the-top decor, and eccentric themed suites. This is a much more fun stay than you’ll find in a standard chain hotel.
At the pet-friendly Zaza, there are 315 suites, the most basic of which feature graphic-print headboards in sultry red and black. Things get crazier in themed suites where you’ll find a life-size astronaut statue in the Houston We Have a Problem room and mirrored walls in the Rock Star Suite.
Rooms aside, the decor in the public spaces is also quite flamboyant, whether at the bistro Monarch, which has a fantastic terrace, or the pool area with black-and-white striped loungers. Even the spa has bold art prints. Despite the loud decor, though, you’ll feel perfectly serene once you’re down on the table getting a massage.
Twice a year, the Round Top Antiques Fair draws thousands of shoppers to the eponymous Texas town located about halfway between Houston and Austin. But Rancho Pillow puts Round Top on the map all year long. Formerly an artists’ retreat, this 20-acre ranch owned by Sheila Youngblood is now available for other guests to book.
Accommodations range from the century-old multi-bedroom Red House to the Native American-style tepee, all ensconced in bright colors, bold patterns, and globally inspired textiles and antiques. A word to the wise: if you book the tepee, just note that you’ll need to use the outdoor bathhouse, as there’s no running water inside. Thankfully, there is air-conditioning.
The bathhouse is actually a communal space, in case anyone wants to enjoy bathing in the great outdoors. There’s also a saltwater wading pool, a shared mess hall and gathering place in the Barn, and outdoor activities like croquet and badminton.
When you think of San Antonio’s River Walk, you’re probably picturing the crowded mariachi-band-lined pathways of the central hub. But the North River Walk neighborhood, just across the river from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, is a far quieter, more upscale area just a short walk away.
Opened in February 2021, the pet-friendly, art-filled Thompson San Antonio is the sleek luxury hotel the city needed. Housed in a shiny new building, the property is poised to become one of the hottest food and beverage spots in town thanks to Landrace, which serves elevated Texas cuisine, and The Moon’s Daughters rooftop restaurant and bar, which is a lively place to party; its special event calendar syncs up with the lunar cycle for Full Moon parties. But no matter what’s going on in the night sky, there is live music or a DJ every Friday and Saturday night.
Not into the party scene? Head to the 5,000-square-foot spa to relax, or take a yoga class in the fitness center to ground yourself.
You can also retreat to your room. There are 162 of them, each with equestrian-inspired decor, a stash of D.S. & Durga bath products, and a high-end espresso machine. If you splurge on the Penthouse Suite, you’ll be treated to a private terrace and a pool table.
Just 15 miles outside of downtown Dallas is the exquisite Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, an ideal weekend getaway for locals or a destination trip for travelers as part of any visit to Dallas.
The urban resort places wellness at the forefront, with an 18-hole golf course, 12 tennis courts, and a three-story sports club with classes like aerial yoga and mixed martial arts. For downtime, head to the spa, to the restaurant LAW (that is, Land, Air, Water), or to one of the three pools. If you brought your whole family, there’s a kids’ club to keep the little ones entertained.
With 431 neutral-toned rooms, you might expect the property to feel crowded, but everything is spread out enough that it’s quite serene.
Set in the centrally-located Galleria shopping hub of Houston, The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston is arguably the most luxurious hotel in town — and potentially in all of Texas.
Its owner is local billionaire Tillman J. Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets NBA team, who spared no expense with this over-the-top property. In fact, it would fit in swimmingly among Dubai’s dazzling hotels, and not only because its design was inspired by the Dubai Opera House.
Amenities include a Miami-like pool and bar, four restaurants, a 20,000-square-foot spa, a salon, a 30,000-bottle wine cellar, a Rolls-Royce showroom (yes, in the hotel), and a multimillion-dollar art collection.
The 250 sophisticated guest rooms are a little less flashy with calming, neutral color schemes. But everything is luxe here, too, from the heated marble bathroom floors to button-operated curtains that open and close on demand. The attention to detail is high with Bluetooth connectivity and a toe ledge in the walk-in shower. Rooms start at 500 square feet and go up to the 5,000-square-foot penthouse with a private helipad.
Though it’s just 30 minutes outside of downtown Austin, the Lake Austin Spa Resort feels a world away from the city’s bustle. The luxury resort covers 19 lakefront acres with prominent water features and wellness programming.
As an all-inclusive resort, the vast majority of offerings are covered by the rate, from three gourmet meals made from ingredients grown on-site to morning yoga classes, water sports on the lake, and stargazing sessions with an astrologer. Think of this as an adult version of a summer camp, where mindfulness and fitness are the main focus. Regrettably, spa treatments are not included, but on the plus side, they’re available for day guests to book.
If you do choose to splurge and spend the night, you’ll stay in one of 40 French country-style accommodations, which range from quaint rooms with private meditation gardens to the elaborate Lady Bird Suite with a private hot tub. Each comes with fresh-cut daily flowers, Veuve Clicquot champagne upon arrival, a De’Longhi Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine, and toiletries with the spa’s signature lavender scent, created from plants grown on-site.
If you’re coming to San Antonio to party hard along the River Walk, Hotel Emma isn’t for you. But if you’re more interested in sampling gourmet cuisine, sipping on local brews, and taking artistic architectural photos for your Instagram, be sure to book a room.
Hotel Emma is housed in a century-old former brewery in the trendy Pearl District, and its designers, acclaimed hospitality firm Roman & Williams, kept much of the industrial-chic ambiance throughout.
In the guest rooms, brick walls display a patina of old paint behind embroidered curtains, while concrete floors are dressed in textured rugs. And while things might look rustic, they’re high quality. Bed linens, for instance, are Frette.
As for amenities, food and beverage are the focus at Hotel Emma, with each guest welcomed with a margarita. Dining options include the American restaurant Supper, the tavern Sternewirth, and the market-meets-bar Larder. There’s also a food truck at the rooftop pool, serving picnic-appropriate bites and frozen cocktails. After exploring the hotel, hop on one of the loaner electric bikes to go sightseeing downtown.
Because hotels in Texas are so varied, the answer depends on the type of trip you’re looking to take with your family.
For instance, you could go the beach resort route, in which case you might want to try Isla Grand Beach Resort on South Padre Island. Alternatively, the Stockyards Hotel provides Wild West-style fun for the whole family.
Which Texas hotels are good for couples?
For couples who want to connect with nature, stay at El Cosmico in Marfa for an intimate glamping experience. For a luxurious wellness vacation, pamper yourselves at the Lake Austin Spa Resort.
Are there Texas hotels on the beach?
Texas has 367 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico, which translates to several pristine white-sand beaches. While some beaches are in more remote wilderness areas, others have been built up into major beach towns, where you’ll find hotels of all shapes and sizes, not to mention restaurants, museums, and tourist attractions.
Check out South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and Galveston for Texas’ best beaches.
Which hotels in Texas have rooms with a private pool or lazy river?
Texas might be hot, but private plunge pools and lazy rivers are somewhat rare at hotels across the state. The best hotel for rooms with a private pool is the Inn at Dos Brisas in Washington, a nine-room luxury ranch, while the hotel with the best lazy river is the Marriott Marquis Houston, which has a rooftop lazy river in the shape of Texas.
Are there COVID restrictions in Texas?
At the time of publication, there are no COVID-19 restrictions in Texas. People are encouraged to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, but masks are not a requirement.