Like our blog is all about, we have been seriously lucky in our travels. We know we tend to travel “above our means,” and we NEVER take any of the amazing places we stay in for granted. We still do travel on a budget most of the time, and Airbnb, hostels and motels are our friends. However, every so often we’ve been able to stay in one of those amazing, unique hotels that really spoil us! Most of these connections came from working at a Travel Management Company (if you have the opportunity to have a job with travel benefits- take it!) Here is our list of absolute favorites, if you ever have the chance to stay in any of these hotels around the world, we highly recommend it:
- Corinthia Hotel London
- Rome Cavalieri
- Montage Beverly Hills
- Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
- Langham Auckland
- Four Seasons Denver
- The Rees Hotel, Queenstown
- Langham Place, New York 5th Avenue
- The US Grant, San Diego
- Santa Ynez Inn
This is the view from the top…I mean, you just can’t beat it!! Yes we are biased since London is our favorite city on earth, but regardless of that, the Corinthia hotel is absolutely stunning. Ask anyone else who has stayed there and they will tell you the same thing. There is a gorgeous chandelier in the lobby area where you can have a glamourous high tea, there is a stunning restaurant with beautiful lights and pillars, and the rooms are spacious while still being cozy. You feel like you’re at home if your home was really, really nice! There’s are also 7 super crazy cool penthouse suites, including the Musician’s Penthouse complete with a classic Steinway Model O piano. It doesn’t get better than this hotel.
I know, I know…how is this not number one?! But we have this HUGE soft spot for London so when we get to stay in one of the best hotels in the city, with a view over the Thames, the magic is hard to top. However, I was so thrilled to win a contest at work that included 3 nights free at this gorgeous hotel! It didn’t matter that airfare wasn’t included, I would make it happen. To have an indication of how amazing this hotel was, our room was on the same floor as the President of Cameroon who was also staying there. The only downside of this hotel is that it is a bit outside of the main city center. They do offer a free daily shuttle though, going back and forth about once an hour, that we took full advantage of. We are also huge fans of their breakfast spread which we were lucky enough to eat outside by the pool on some beautiful mornings. They have an outdoor pool, indoor pool, and gorgeous spa with hot and cold dipping pools! The concierge here also helped us book our private Vatican tour, which we would definitely recommend. It’s a bit of a splurge, but it’s hard to even know where to start without it!
We stayed here for one night only on my birthday one year and it was the greatest birthday present ever! Sometimes it’s difficult to explore the city you live in, especially to stay in a hotel near where you live because it’s a hard thing to justify spending money on. But this was way different from my day-to-day life and felt like I was a million miles from home (especially when I was riding in the elevator with Sylvester Stallone!). We treated ourselves to an amazing dinner at Scarpetta, the restaurant of celebrity chef Scott Conant, which has unfortunately closed its doors since then. We also had a truly “above our means” moment when we were able to visit the members-only bar, 10 pound. This discreet lounge specializes in the world’s most precious whisky, The Macallan Single Malt, from a globally celebrated distiller based in Speyside, Scotland. (Also where they get their water to make their famous ice cube spheres!) The most expensive shot in the world was purchased here: $64,000 for the last pour ever of extremely rare 64 year old Macallan. The money was then donated to the charity of the buyer’s choice. This was unfortunately not part of my birthday present! 😉 Also, another great spot for a delicious breakfast by the rooftop pool!
Hotels in Vegas can be, for lack of a better word, outrageous. This one is outrageous in a good way! First off, it’s a non-gaming and smoke-free hotel so there are no casinos, no smokers, and only stunning views. By far the best part of this hotel room was the bath tub, I love a good bath tub and one with a view over the strip….WOW! Unfortunately we only had one night at this stunning property, on our way over to London, but it was enough time to enjoy the room and a delicious breakfast buffet the next morning at the Aria. Before you go, stop for a drink at the Mandarin bar for a cocktail and a view of the sparkling strip through 3 walls of floor-to-ceiling windows.
All of the Langhams are classy and beautiful (including the Pasadena location close to our home and New York below). But Auckland is one of the other most special cities in our heart considering we moved here to spend a year living and working abroad! Before we made the move, we took a family trip with my parents and needed a nice place to stay for one night before we headed home to LA. We were able to get a great discount and experience the glamour of this property first hand. I love the dark, clean wood in the rooms and the high tea here is one of the prettiest! Even if you’re not sleeping here, you can treat yourself with high tea or visit Eight Restaurant, regarded from some of our Kiwi friends as their favorite restaurant in the whole city. The cool thing about it is that they offer eight interactive kitchens featuring eight different types of cuisine. You can choose from: American-style grill, Asian-inspired noodle and dim sum, Indian curries, Fresh seafood bar, sushi and sashimi, Salad bar, fresh bakery, and amazing desserts. Even if that’s too much, you can come only for the all you can eat dessert option…sign us up!
Luxury goes hand-in-hand with the Four Seasons. We have been lucky enough to stay in a few of their properties through our jobs, but we were lucky enough to have a work conference in Denver and stay at the Four Seasons Denver together! Can you say comfy robes and room service?! We also had a really memorable work dinner at the restaurant here, called The Edge. This is where we tried delicious steaks accompanied by Rocky Mountain Oysters- aka…bull’s balls. Just as crazy as it sounds, but definitely a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience! Our room had a great view of the city, inspiring us on our morning off work to get out and explore, there are so many fun things to see and do in this town.
Again, you know how much we love New Zealand considering we decided to say goodbye temporarily to our friends and family to live here. And since we spent our whole time in New Zealand living in Auckland, you may think Auckland is our favorite city in the country, but it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, we love Auckland, but we moved there mostly since that is the best place to find a job. Our favorite city in the country, for the most amazing views and exciting experiences, is definitely Queenstown. If you visit this city, you’ll realize in the first minute why it’s so amazing. You fly in past the mountains, sometimes getting rather close, to land in this tiny airport that has giant snow-capped mountains all around you. The air you breathe when you step off the plane is instantly fresh, and driving to the Rees, you think the lake views can’t get any prettier. Then you get into your room there. I’ve stayed here a couple times now and each time the view still amazes me. The rooms are spacious, but still feel cozy with a fireplace inside. Their apartments have full kitchens, a private dining room table outside on your deck, and a lovely tub. This is the best place to kick off your adventure-filled time in Queenstown, don’t forget to Bungy Jump at the first ever commercial spot- Kawarau Bridge Bungy!
During our trip to New York, we used the last of our travel agency benefits and were able to stay in 3 beautiful hotels. The Langham was our favorite of the 3 there. We also stayed in the Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District (very hip, trendy and a bit of a party hotel with the rooftop lounge + bar) and the Trump International Hotel & Tower (the guy may be crazy but he knows his hotels). The Langham was so classy, quiet, clean and enjoyable. Everything from the refreshing cucumber water when you walk in, to the amazing bathroom screamed elegance. We also loved our view out onto one of the most iconic cities in the world. Air Bnb is another great option for New York with a lot of hidden gems, but if you want to stay in a really amazing spot for a night or two, be sure to check this spot out.
We were lucky enough to have another weekend work outing at this location, which was great because even though it’s a city close to home, you can discover so many new things and places you’ve never seen. We took a walk through the Saturday Little Italy Mercato which was awesome! We spent one night here, in an amazing plush, super modern room with a huge bed. The next morning, which happened to be Mother’s Day, we had the most delicious brunch of my life!! It doesn’t look like they always have the buffet available, only for special occasions, but I can bet it’s great any time. If you do find yourself here over a holiday weekend, keep your eyes out for this brunch, it is sure to be a highlight.
This one is much more quaint and charming than most of the others on our list, but it has a special place in our hearts because it is where we spent our wedding night! We had one of the two suites at the hotel, which was so spacious and had a marble fireplace and whirpool tub in the main room! We were already on cloud nine after the most perfect wedding day, and then to come back here after a night of being with all the people we know and love was an indescribable feeling. We had a delicious, quiet breakfast the next morning before we went back to our family’s rental house for a huge 4th of July party with all our family and friends! We definitely plan to return to this adorable hotel one day and remember every detail we can of July 3rd, 2016.
We truly are blessed and so grateful for our lives of exploration together. It has been, and continues to be, the adventure of a lifetime!
Photos are from hotel websites and some are our own