My Favourite Hotels Around the World

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on November 25, 2019 by Mark Crone

The list of my favourite hotels around the world could go on and on—it’s almost unlimited. But I’ve put together a shortlist based on the hotel and the destination experience. There’s a mix of larger hotels and smaller properties. While it’s great to enjoy the hotel and its facilities, it’s also great to enjoy the area and destination. I’ve stayed at all 5 properties several times—they’re all comfortable and highly recommended. Here’s my shortlist of favourite hotels, in no particular order:

Flemings Mayfair, London

The Flemings Mayfair Hotel on Half Moon Street in London

In London, hotel choices are limitless and highly dependent on location. The Flemings is situated right in the heart of central London, in the prestigious Mayfair area. The first time I stayed there, I went for a walk through Green Park (down the street and minutes away) and literally came upon Buckingham Palace on the other side. The small hotel (129 rooms) is located on a quiet residential street which gives a homely feel to the hotel. Flemings Mayfair is an independent, family-owned property and the second oldest established hotel in London, dating back to 1731.
Room prices are available from £250 per night, which includes breakfast. It’s great value for central London and a well-equipped, recently renovated property!

Kristall Hotel, Austria

Winter view looking at the Hotel Kristall in Austria

The family-run Hotel Kristall in Perisau at Lake Achensee is a must-visit. In the winter, the area is a winter wonderland with skiing, skating, snowshoeing and more. In the summer you can go biking, hiking, golfing and trek mountains nearby. The small (50 room) hotel has a luxury feel and a comfortable ambience. There’s a renowned spa, gourmet dinners in the new vaulted cellar and weekly wine tastings in the wine repository. The hotel is a short walk from Lake Achensee, mountain attractions and nearby cable cars and mountain ranges. Staying at the Kristall is an escape holiday, where you simply lose track of days and time (the best kind of holidays)! The combination of the gorgeous landscape and the surrounding alpine world creates a lasting memory of Tyrol!
Suite prices start at 150 Euro per person with special inclusive packages available.

Royal York, Toronto

Inside a guest room at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada

The Fairmont Royal York, formerly and commonly known as the Royal York, is considered one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. It’s a large historic luxury hotel located along Front Street West, directly across from Union Station in the southern end of the Financial District, in central Downtown Toronto.
The hotel opened in June 1929 and has 1,363 guest rooms and suites, including Signature or Luxury, along with eight types of suites. In addition to first-rate facilities, the Royal York is connected to the PATH system, a series of pedestrian tunnels that connect numerous buildings in Downtown Toronto. There’s also a tunnel directly connecting the hotel to Union Station and to Scotiabank Arena (home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA Toronto Raptors and major concerts).
You can’t beat the Royal York’s location in Toronto. Room rates start at $195.

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Caesar Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Caesars Palace opened in 1966 and is one of Las Vegas’s largest and best-known landmarks. The hotel is located right on the Las Vegas Strip between the Bellagio and The Mirage. Caesars is meant to give a Roman Empire feel with statues, columns and a 20-foot statue of Augustus Caesar near the entrance.
It’s a large deluxe resort property with 3,976 rooms and suites in six towers, a convention facility, a large range of restaurants and outdoor pools, among many other features. The hotel operates a large casino and “The Colosseum”, a venue for live music and sports entertainment, featuring major entertainers for one-night shows and residence stays. There’s also a sizable shopping mall attached to the resort called “The Forum Shops at Caesars”.
Despite its size, the hotel is very comfortable and has absolutely everything on site, making it a great choice for a Las Vegas stay. Rooms can be as low as $99 per night!

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Aerial view of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Dubai is one of the seven emirates forming the United Arab Emirates, and it’s a very unique destination . It’s one of the most sought-after destinations for travellers from around the world, with its endless choices for fine dining, shopping, and luxury accommodations. The 7-star Burj Al Arab is perhaps the top choice in Dubai (and possibly anywhere).
The Burj al Arab is the iconic “sail” hotel located directly on the Persian Gulf in Dubai. It features all-suite accommodation, which includes butler service and a private beach. You don’t need to leave the property (and might not want to with room rates). The Burj has 201 suites, 9 restaurants, 5 pools, a spa, fitness centre and much more. If you’d like to make a grand entrance, you can arrive by helicopter on their roof or by chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. It’s the lap of luxury and pure fantasy rolled into one: a once in a lifetime hotel experience.
It’s still one of my favourite hotels of all time! Rates start at $4,300 USD including breakfast for two.

These are my 5 favourite hotels, but my hotel list continues to grow! What’s your favourite?
Safe travels,
Mark

Visiting Las Vegas: 5 Specialty Museums to Visit

Las Vegas

If you are visiting Las Vegas, it’s all about the experience you can’t find anywhere else. Between the world-class dining, gambling, and special performances, Vegas delivers. But there are also attractions that not only provide a fun time for the whole family, but offer some cultural enrichment, as well.

As a crossroads between California and the rest of America, Las Vegas has built an amazing collection of museums that offer a glimpse of bygone Americana and other areas of curiosity.

Here are five of the best specialty museums Las Vegas has to offer:

1. Visiting Las Vegas – Pinball Hall of Fame

Las Vegas Pinball

You don’t have to be a “pinball wizard” to enjoy a trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame. It’s 10,000 square feet of lights, bells, sirens, bumpers, and balls was established as a way for the Las Vegas Pinball Collector’s Club to show off their wide collection of machines.
While most of the machines are from the 1970s and 1980s, the oldest models date back
decades farther, while the newest machines are from the 1990s and feature themes that
younger generations be familiar with. If you’re a pinball buff, you’ll find hours of enjoyment at this museum.

2. Visiting Las Vegas – The Mob Museum

Las Vegas Mob Museum

If your movie collection features names like DeNiro and Pacino, then The Mob Museum is for you. Built as a time capsule of organized crime and the brave G-men who worked tirelessly to take down gangsters, The Mob Museum offers a rare look into the seedy underbelly of an American criminal institution: the Mafia. You’ll explore exhibits that follow the mafia from its Sicilian roots to Las Vegas itself, with all of the juxtaposition of glamour and gore that has kept Hollywood and movie audiences everywhere enamored with the with tales of the mob. Static and interactive exhibits abound, giving you an up-close look at the lives of gangsters.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to try out the display guns. For that, you’ll need to visit Machine Guns Vegas, where you can try out popular law enforcement firearms and real machine guns on their highly safe Las Vegas shooting range. For fans of The Godfather, it’s an offer not to refuse.

3. Visiting Las Vegas – Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum

Las Vegas Haunted House

At 11,000 sq.ft. and already reportedly haunted, this museum is a perfect fit for Zak Bagans’ collection of the paranormal. As the collection has grown, so have the reports of strange apparitions and occurrences. One of the most famous pieces in the collection is the Dybbukbox, a haunted wine cabinet with a storied past that was the inspiration for the movie The Possession.

If you’re frightened of things that inexplicably go bump in the night, this museum may not be for you. However, if you can’t resist the thrill of rubbing shoulders with the alleged supernatural, The Haunted Museum may make you leave believing that ghosts are indeed real.

4. Visiting Las Vegas – National Atomic Testing Museum

Las Vegas Atomic Bomb Museum

Relive prepping for the Cold War with a trip to the National Atomic Testing Museum. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, this museum contains relics of the burgeoning atomic age, some of which come directly from the nearby Nevada Test Site for military weapons.
Features include inactive nuclear weapons, geiger counters, pop culture materials from the 1950s to present that are associated with nuclear war, and a simulated nuclear test that lets you experience a virtual version of an atmospheric nuclear test. Of all the museums on the list, it’s safe to say this one will be a blast.

5. Visiting Las Vegas – King’s Ransom Museum

Las Vegas Elvis Museum

Las Vegas is known for entertainment, and there has never been a modern music star bigger than The King. If you’re an Elvis Presley aficionado, be sure to put the King’s Ransom Museum on your to-do list. Packed with the Presley’s own property, you’ll see clothes, cars, and accessories that are instantly recognizable from his movies, performances, and public life.

This multi-million dollar exhibit may not be Graceland, but it’s the next best thing. It’s a great way to honor and remember the King of Rock ‘n Roll. Elvis played 636 sold-out shows at the International and Las Vegas Hilton from 1969-1976. A museum to his rock-and-roll majesty was definitely in order.

Meet the Author:
Jordan McDowell is a writer, aficionado of American culture, and second amendment rights advocate. As a proponent of responsible gun rights nationwide, he writes about recreational hunting, American history, and the latest developments in state and federal firearms legislation.

Where to Go in Lake Tahoe When You’re Not Skiing

Lake Tahoe, the cobalt blue lake where California and Nevada meet, boasts a reputation as the ultimate skiing destination for travelers seeking mountainside luxury and rugged adventure. This winter, Tahoe has experienced record snowfall fairly earlyin the season, so visitors looking to plan a trip should act fast, as local resorts will get quickly booked! And while Tahoe is primarily known as a skier’s paradise, with resorts like Sugar Bowl Resort and the upscale Northstar California Resort standing out as popular destinations, there are plenty of options beyond the slopes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do before or after a day of skiing — or for travelers who would rather take in the scenery than speed down a mountain.

Foodie-Friendly Dining

The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, Manzanita, is particularly popular for its refined dishes all made with local ingredients, along with a wine list featuring many Northern California favorites. For a more intimate experience, visitors should check out Cafe Fiore, consisting of seven tables in a tiny alpine cabin. Cafe Fiore is known for its hearty Italian fare, with its house special, scallops and other seafood sauteed in lemon and wine tossed with linguine, a particular standout.

Health-conscious travelers should make a point to stop by Sprouts Cafe, a natural foods cafe established way back in 1990. It’s informal atmosphere is family-friendly, with books and games for kids are scattered about. Another great casual option isBasecamp Pizza Co., which offers hearty fare, including pizzas laden with ingredients ranging from bbq chicken to crisp vegetables. The vibe is laid-back but lively, with a happy hour every day and live music every night.

Daytrip to Truckee, CA

Visitors should trek up to the north shore of the Lake and make a stop in the charming old railroad town of Truckee, CA, now an upscale, hippie town  with a bustling nightlife. The crown jewel is Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, tucked into the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. A hip bar and live music (including past visits by regular Paul McCartney) will make for a lively night on the town. Those interested in a down-to-earth “dive” should stop by the Tourist Club, one of the oldest bars in town and somewhere a party is always happening.

High-Rolling in South Lake Tahoe

Those wishing to get a taste of Vegas-like activities should check out South Lake Tahoe, across the Nevada state line, where a small strip of casinos sits alongside the lake. Harvey’s, which is right along the lake, is known for its old-school atmosphere.  Just down the street is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which offers, in addition to its casino, three restaurants and two bars and lounges. The MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is known for its nightlife, as its Opal Ultra Lounge is the place to go for a wild night out. (It’s a favorite of bachelorette parties!) For affordable lodgings in the area, consider the Holiday Inn Express South Tahoe, which is located near the main casino strip and also features a relaxing sauna.

Bustling Galleries for Art Lovers

Art fans should make sure to check out some of the galleries in the Tahoe area, which specialize in various styles of art, from painting to sculpture to glasswork and photography. A long-time favorite is Gallery Keoki, specializing in fine art photography and even offering the service of creating custom fine art installations for homes and office spaces. The James Harold Galleries has a large and varied collection of paintings and sculpture, all by new and known names in contemporary art. To take a piece of Tahoe home, visitors should definitely stop by the Jon Paul Gallery, which specializes in photographic artworks depicting the majestic natural beauty of Tahoe. Photographer Jon Paul even offers workshops for aspiring photographers, hinging on his philosophy of “bringing the fine art of nature home.”

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 28, 2016.