As a travel blogger, I’ve stayed in a LOT of hotels, bed and breakfasts, safari lodges and AirBnB’s. Most of the places I’ve stayed have ranged from OK to fantastic, with the odd never, ever again! So here is a list of places that I would recommend! If a place is just OK, it’s not on the list! I’ve personally stayed at or visited all of the places listed below! Keep checking back as I update this list regularly!
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN EUROPE
AUSTRIA | FINLAND | FRANCE | GERMANY | GREECE | NETHERLANDS | SPAIN | SWITZERLAND | ITALY
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN CANADA
BANFF | CALGARY
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN AFRICA
NAMIBIA |SOUTH AFRICA | SWAZILAND
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN SRI LANKA
BERUWALA | COLOMBO | HABARANA | YALA
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN AUSTRALIA
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Hotels in Austria
Alpenresort Schwarz | Mieming | Rates starting from $467 USD /€440
I loved, and I mean LOVED my recent stay at the Alpenresort Schwarz in Tyrol. It’s located just 2 hours from Munich in a lush green valley lined with snow-capped peaks. The Alpenresort Schwarz’s Tyrolean location guarantees adventure. In summer you can choose from hiking, climbing, mountain biking, horse back riding, golf, or tennis. Insider Travel Tip: Our guide highly recommended a guided sunrise hike for glorious views over the entire valley. In winter, guests can choose from down hill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. The hotel’s extensive fitness program and gym are also available.
Aqua Dome | Längenfeld (Ötzal) | Rates starting from $311 USD/€292.35
Normally, when traveling, I first choose where I want to go, then choose the hotel. In the case of AQUA DOME, I was so intrigued by the levitating pools that the hotel was in itself enough of a reason to make the ~200 km drive to Längenfeld, Tyrol, Austria from Munich. Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the AQUA DOME is the Spa 3000, Sauna World and Fitness Centre. You could easily spend several days without leaving the spa area – it’s HUGE! There are levitating pools, thermal pools, an activity pool for swimming lengths, an indoor pool and even a separate children’s area.
Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa | Bad Leonfelden | Rates starting from $170 USD/€ 160
Located in the Kneipp town (Kneipp is a type of hydrotherapy based on the works of Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest and one of the founders of naturopathic medicine) of Bad Leonfelden, Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa is a wellness hotel, home to the large Acquapura SPA and a unique Kneipp Pure Living wellness program. It’s the type of place where hotel guests walk around with a dreamy look on their face, wrapped in fluffy white bath robes and slippers. I lived in my white bath robe while I was there, reluctantly changing to go down to dinner where Mediterranean/Regional cuisine is served.
Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa | Bleibergerhof | Rates starting from $157 USD/€ 148
The Hotel and Spa Bleibergerhof in Bad Bleiberg, Austria is where you go to get away from it all, to escape from all the stresses of daily life. The idea is to relax by doing nothing. Doing nothing at the Hotel and Spa Bleibergerhof means enjoying the mountain views from your spacious room (there’s also an adjacent room with seating and a desk that’s not shown). You can even enjoy the mountain views while having a shower, which I did!
This is the place you want to come when you want to 1)either get away from it all and relax in the wellness area or 2) play hard on the ski hill during the winter, or take a ride on the summer rodelbahn, or test your balance in the climbing forest and then relax. Whatever you choose you will want to check out the indoor/outdoor pool and enjoy the incredible mountain views with your sweetie. Also keep your eye out for Flo: a seven-year hotel guest who as never paid – hint she’s a cat!
Hotel Fahrnberger | Göstling an der Ybbs | Rates starting from $132 USD/€ 124
Hotel Fahrnberger is a “Genießer Zimmer” – a concept of making the guest feel like s/he is at home through local touches. Genießer Zimmer are rooms designed for couples or families. Our room was huge! In addition to a separate bedroom, there was also another bedroom with two twin beds. In addition there was a full size table, and a large lounging couch that could also have been used for sleeping – not to mention double sinks in the bathroom!
Romantik Hotel Schwarzer Adler | Innsbruck | Rates starting from $176 USD/€ 166
Romantik Hotel and Restaurant Schwarzer Adler is located conveniently in Innsbruck’s city center. Once you’re there, you don’t need a car. The hotel’s 500-year-old Tyrolean history is proudly displayed near the entrance, which even includes a royal escape! Schwarzer Adler continues to make history being a hot spot for diplomats and local celebrities – so keep your eyes open. You never know just who you might be sitting at the next table. Schwarzer Adler prides itself on individuality – none of the 40 rooms are like. Versace and Swarovski are furnishing partners so you can expect brilliant (pun intended) touches throughout. Many of the rooms also have incredible mountain views as ours did!
Hotels in Finland
This is the only play to stay in Liminka Bay. Rooms are large clean dormitories on two levels that would be perfect for families. Each room has its own bathroom as well.
Spa Hotel Sani | Kalajoki | Rates starting from $130 USD/€ 124
Spa Hotel Sani sits right at the top of the dunes in Kalajoki. The views are gorgeous, especially at sunrise and sunset!
This is a modern hotel with clean lines and Finnish design. It’s conveniently located in the heart of Vaasa. Shopping is right at your doorstep and the sea is just a 5-minute walk. For a truly unique experience, book the Finnish cabin room pictured.
Hotel Iso-Syöte | Syöte | Rates starting from $86 USD/€ 82
Hotel Katajanokka | Helsinki | Rates starting from $133 USD/€ 127
This hotel has an interesting history – it used to be a prison! That means thick walls and a peaceful night sleep – but it also means that wifi doesn’t work as well as it could in all rooms. It’s been very nicely restored, but still retains its prison feel in the hallways, but with fresh white paint. It’s worth staying here for a unique experience.
Hotel Scandic Paasi | Helsinki | Rates starting from $118 USD/€ 109
I stayed here on 2 separate occasions and was impressed that on my second visit, they had recorded what room I had previously stayed in and gave me a different theme room! This hotel is sexy and I would highly recommend it!
Hotels in France
Hôtel du Jeu de Paume | Versailles | Rates starting from $168 USD/€ 160
This hotel was brand new when we stayed there. I loved the use of colour and clean lines. It was exceptionally well located – just 500 meters from the Palace of Versailles and a 5 minute walk to the train station with numerous resaurants and shops all within a few minutes walking distance.
I enjoyed my stay. It’s an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary design. The restaurant is also really good. I especially enjoyed dining on the outdoor terrace.
The contemporary Boutique Hôtel Le Morgane is a four-star eco hotel known for its Deep Nature Spa. We alternated our time between our huge patio enjoying the killer views of Mont Blanc and at the spa!
I stayed at the charming and centrally located Grand Hotel des Terreaux, which was a great location for sightseeing and being in the heart of the city. It was a short walk away from the action of the Festival of Lights, which takes place every December.
Quai des Pontis | Cognac | Rates starting from $89 USD/€ 84
I loved my stay at Quai des Pontis. The vastly different choice in accommodation really appealed to me. Guests choose from the more rustic lodge, over the top decorated caravans or a lake-front cabin, which I stayed in. I felt like I was staying in my very own cabin in the middle of nowhere, not on hotel grounds conveniently located near the heart of Cognac. Choose your own accommodation style when you stay at Quai des Pontis. I highly recommend the lake-front cabin if you’re looking for romance.
This was my first time staying in a chapel, well a former one anyway built in 1854! For a really wonderful experience, book one of the rooms in the Nave, with a fantastic view over the city. Conveniently located.
Hotels in Germany
Hotel Gut Ising Chiemsee is a 4-star romantic manner with a history that dates back to 1220! It is easily the nicest hotel room I have EVER stayed in. I literally walked in and said WOW, WOW, WOW! It was that worthy! If you’re looking for romance, it doesn’t get any better than this! And considering how often I stay in nice hotels, that’s saying a lot! The bed in our spa suite sat on a raised platform with a chandelier hanging over the bed, Our spa suite featured not one, but two seating areas, Our own very private sauna! & not only that, but also our own private jacuzzi!!
Haus Schwalbennest | Schönau am Königssee | Rates starting from $84 USD/€ 80
I loved our stay here. The owners were super friendly and delivered breakfast to our comfortable room everyday! There are only a couple of rooms so book your stay early. This property is most convenient if you are traveling with your own vehicle since it’s a couple of kilometres from Lake Königssee.
I stayed here for 6 nights while attending ITB (large travel conference) and really enjoyed my stay. It was spacious and clean and I really enjoyed having a kitchen. There were also cute cafes nearby and the tram was just a few minutes away by foot.
Romantik Hotel Jagdhaus | Bad Zwischenahn | Rates starting from $207 USD/€ 195
This hotel is ideally located directly on the shores of Lake Zwischenahner and offers guests a private beach only open to hotel guests. Its EidenSpa makes it a great place for a wellness break. I didn’t stay here, but had a lovely lunch and toured the property.
I didn’t stay here, but I enjoyed an incredible lunch next to an open fireplace. I also fell in love with the cottage directly on the river – the ultimate lovers hideaway. My highlight of the Romantik Hotel Hof zur Linde was the dessert. I was served, not 1, not 2, but 3 creme brûlées I ate them all, every last bite!
This is not just any castle, it’s one of the largest water palaces in the entire Münster region. It dates back to the 12th century when its purpose was to protect the surrounding prefecture. Today its purpose is much more civilized – for guests to unwind, enjoy and relax, and in my case pretend I was a princess. The castle hotel grounds are extensive at 42 ha and include a historic garden, wildlife park and 18 hole golf course. I felt like a princess during my stay here!
Hotels in Greece
This is Greece’s only winery hotel. It also happens to be the coolest wine cellar tour I’ve ever done with art installations built into the cellar! Note: I didn’t stay here, but did have a peak into the rooms and would love to stay here. It’s ideal for wine lovers!
Avanti City Resort | Trikala | Rates starting from $86 USD/€ 80
I loved the clean lines and the sophistication of Avanti City Resort, not to mention the stunning views over the valley! I only ate here, but would love to come back to stay!
Hotels in the Netherlands
I didn’t stay here but enjoyed an incredible lunch and had a tour of the area which is located near the De Maasduinen. National Park. Highlights of the Romantik Hotel Hostellerie de Hamert: River views while dining and from many of the guest rooms, and the close proximity to De Maasduinen National Park. The chef is always changing the menu and loves to surprise his guests. Expect to eat in-season foods like asparagus April through June and mushrooms in Fall and Winter, but expect them to be prepared in an innovative way. Enjoy with a glass of wine from the famous wine cellar.
Each floor at the Mainport Hotel represents a different part of the world, reflecting Rotterdam’s shipping industry. Mine was the Orient. I loved the bold wallpaper in the hallways and in my room. The sleek and modern design fits in well with the modern vibe of Rotterdam and suited my personal style. My favorite part of the room were the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the harbour. It’s one of the best views I’ve had while staying in a hotel. I woke up early the first morning with the light streaming in. Travel tip: Close the black-out curtains before heading to bed unless you want to wake up really early. It took me a couple of days to catch onto this.
Hotel Casa 400 | Amsterdam | Rates starting from $107 USD/€ 99
Rooms are clean and simple, and very reasonably priced. They had a nice breakfast buffet and I loved the wine bar!
Hotels in Spain
Sa Vista | Cadaques | Weekly rates starting from $8272 USD/€7700
Sa Vista is without a doubt the most luxurious place I have ever stayed! Much more exclusive than a hotel, it is a private holiday rental available through Charming Villas. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, this is the place to stay! Sa Vista offers incredible views over a bay, infinity pool, huge terrace, is located close to a natural park, and surrounded by olive trees. Inside, you will find sleek contemporary designer furnishings, natural slate stone, a chef’s dream kitchen, and a whopping eight bedrooms. Sa Vista would be a great place to go with other couple friends and there’s lots to do in the area, including visiting the Salvador Dali House Museum – only a 5 minute walk from Sa Vista. It’s the ultimate luxurious romantic getaway!
Hotel Rural Can Vila | Montseny Natural Park | Rates starting from $134 USD/€128
There are more horses than guests at Hotel Rural Can Vila, which perhaps is fitting considering that the hotel is a restored farmhouse from the early 1800s. The restoration work is exceptional with many of the original building materials used – stone, wood and iron. Situated in beautiful Montseny Natural Park, Hotel Rural Can Vila is a great place to come and get away from it all, slow down and make time for romance. Also be sure to check out the nearby Castell de Monsoriu, the greatest Gothic castle in Catalonia.
I loved the modern yet homey vibe these apartments exuded. Perfect for families or if you’re spending a few days in Barcelona and want the facilities an apartment provides.
Chic & Basic | Barcelona | Rates starting from $135 USD/€ 125
The name says it all! I really liked the funky decorations and the location near La Ramblas was incredibly convenient!
Hotels in Switzerland
25 Hours Hotel | Zurich | Rates starting from $271 USD/€ 255
25 Hours Hotels are design/contemporary hotels located in Zürich, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Vienna. Each hotel is unique and its design influenced by the location. In the case of 25Hours Hotel Zürich, it is reclaimed industrial chic, reflecting the industrial quarter of Zürich West where factories are evolving into galleries and theatres. In other words Zürich West has become a trendy place to hang out. I LOVED this concept, especially as someone who avoids chain hotels where everything looks the same regardless of the hotel’s location.
Hotels in Italy
Palazzo Seneca | Norcia | Rates starting from $216 USD/€ 200
I only ate here, but it was one of the best meals, I’ve ever had in my life! The building has been carefully restored by Umbrian craftsmen and the Bianconi brothers are pasionate about every last detail. Should I find myself in Norcia again, this is where I would stay!
Arthotel & Park | Lecce | Rates starting from $97 USD/€ 90
I didn’t stay here, but was fortunate enough to spend a few hours hanging out in the wellness area. Art was tastefully infused throughout the hotel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The only thing I didn’t like was that you had to take a taxi to the city center – it was too far too walk.
Grikò Country Hotel | Sternatia | Rates starting from $54 USD/€ 50
I liked the look of this hotel the minute we pulled up. Rooms are clean and simple and the owner is very friendly.
Hotels In Canada
I walked into my suite at Brewster’s Mountain Lodge in Banff National Park and immediately felt at home. It could have been the huge hand-crafted four-poster bed. Or perhaps it was the Brewster family photos documenting over a century of tradition. Or the western decor and cowboy art which are reflective of my Alberta roots. I especially appreciated that the decor reflected the region and the family. It gave the feeling of staying in a REALLY HUGE guest room at a friend’s house – comfortable and homey. I also loved the fireplace in the lobby, where I warmed up every time after coming in from the cold. There was also a jacuzzi which I didn’t use, but I liked the option. I did enjoy the complimentary continental breakfast though.
Hotel Arts | Calgary | Rates starting from $237 USD/€ 226
Named as one of the Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in Canada by TripAdvisor.ca, Hotels Arts is a boutique hotel located in downtown Calgary. Its contemporary, unexpected design and chic luxury interior transports you into another world (a romantic one) the minute you step into the lobby. I didn’t want to leave!
Hotels In Africa
Hotels in Namibia
Sossus Dunes Lodge | Naukluft National Park | Rates starting from $174 USD/€ 166
I LOVED staying here. It’s incredibly peaceful and soooo quiet. If you’re lucky you will see oryx or springboks grazing in the distance of your very own environmentally-friendly hut!
Grootberg Lodge | Damaraland | Rates starting from $217 USD/€ 207
Your rock and thatch chalet overlooks the Klip River Valley for incredible views! I LOVED my stay here. Also be on the lookout for a resident leopard who has been known to lounge around the pool, since there are no fences around the property. I also loved that all the staff were from the local community, where work is scarce.
Hotels in South Africa
I walked into Umlilo Lodge and felt like I was walking into a jungle. It’s the most serene and peaceful guest house that I’ve ever stayed in. I fell asleep to the sounds of the waterfall right outside my window – soothing and romantic. I woke up to the friendly owners serving up a great breakfast. St. Lucia is a small village, but it’s home to some wild residents – hippos are known to hang out across the street from the Umlilo Lodge. Perhaps looking for a way in?
Tembe Elephant Park was my top destination of 2012 and part of that experience included the luxurious accommodation that is perfect for wilderness purists as Tembe calls them. Our canvas tent was in the middle of the African wilderness (surrounded by a fence to keep the elephants out) which we accessed via a private path. I’m not big on camping, but this was nothing even close to camping. It was luxurious. The jungle sounds were incredibly romantic. There is also an outdoor shower (with hot water) to really put you in touch with nature. My only regret is staying for just one night.
Hotels in Swaziland
Sibane Hotel | Ezulwini Valley | Rates starting from $104 USD/ € 98
I loved my stay in Sibani Hotel overlooking the Ezulwini Valley. My only complaint? I should have stayed more than one night. There are 30 chalets, each decorated in a unique, moody style. It’s not very often that you walk into a hotel room and say WOW, but that’s exactly what I did when I first walked into my room. I stayed in a suite room, which had a seating area, two separate sleeping areas and two bathrooms. They say the devil is in the details and that’s what makes the rooms so special – from the soft wood covered lighting, to the fresh orchid petals on the bed, to the pile of pillows to the ornate carvings.
I loved staying in our own private hut and the views from the restaurant overlooking the dam were stunning!
Hotels In Asia
Recommended Accommodation in Sri Lanka:
Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel | Colombo | Rates starting at $186 USD/€ 197.55
I had the pleasure of staying in not, 1, not 2, but 3 Cinnamon Hotels in Sri Lanka and dining at a couple of others! Nothing says luxury and pampering like Cinnamon! Each hotel has its own unique features, but each also shares some commonalities. My favourite was the welcoming upon arrival. Each guest is greeted with a wash cloth, scented with cinnamon! Scentsational! Sorry…couldn’t resist. Once you were cleaned up, you were greeted with a tropical drink, really setting the scene for your stay. Another feature that I loved was not only the gorgeous swimming pools found in each hotel, but the welcoming lounging areas by the pool. I’m not much of a swimmer, but will happily sip a cocktail by the pool…which I did…every single night I stayed at Cinnamon. Hey, I was there for work and was networking…don’t judge!
I stayed at Chaaya Village Habarana. I really enjoyed the natural feel of this property where guests are greeted with cinnamon scented wash clothes and the open air lobby and restaurant. The property really does resemble a village with the thatched roof huts that guests stay in. Trees line the ample property and monkeys and giant squirrels are frequent visitors! Even the paint used is in harmony with nature and is mixed with mud! If you’re seeking something more lavish, then try the Cinnamon Lodge Habarna.
Leopard Trails Yala | Rates starting from $562, all-inclusive, including safari
It doesn’t get any better than my stay with Leopard Trails at Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. This was one of my very top experiences, not just while I was in Sri Lanka, but anywhere that I’ve travelled to! I made the mistake of just staying one night which gave me the opportunity to do an afternoon safari and an early morning safari. Don’t make the mistake that I made – stay at least two nights, but a day or two longer is preferable if you’re a nature lover like I am. I dropped my stuff of at my gorgeous tent, complete with all the modern-day amenities that make your stay comfortable, such as electricity, and a cool outdoor shower. This is my dream type of stay, wild, where you feel you are at one with nature, but still luxurious! Soon after my arrival it was time for lunch! No wonder I immediately fell in love with Leopard Trails, a warm welcome, monkeys and now a hearty Sri Lankan lunch!
WildTrails – Tented Safari Camp | Near Yala National Park | Rates starting from $387 USD/€ 364
On my personally curated trip, I was the only guest. Each trip is curated for each guest so you won’t be travelling with other guests. I was picked up in Beruwala where I was staying and taken to Wild Trails Yala, an incredible tented safari camp. There are only four tents and the path to each tent is lit up by lanterns and we dined under the stars!
Cinnamon Bey Beruwela | Beruwala | Rates starting from $95 USD/€ 89
Cinnamon Bay Beruwala
While I enjoyed my stay at all the Cinnamon Hotels, this one was my favourite! I LOVED this hotel! The open air lounge overlooking the pool was my favourite spot in the entire hotel, and with the ocean so close by, you could hear the waves! The pool is gorgeous and in addition to the large buffet, this hotel has its own dessert room, where desserts are kept at a cooler temperature. I kid you not!!! I’m not normally a dessert person, but I went back for seconds…OK thirds….
Hotels In Australia
The rooms lack the wow factor, but they are large and clean and offer ocean views (request one in advance) and it’s conveniently located on the Esplanade.
Note: Prices quoted are as of March 2015 and are subject to change and may fluctuate depending on the exchange rate and time of year for your booking. Refer to the link for each hotel for the most up-to-date rates.
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