All posts by Karen Gardiner

Karen comes from a small town in Scotland and, before moving to New York City, lived in Japan, Chile, Australia, the Czech Republic and Iceland. Her writing has appeared at The Guardian, BBC Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Bridal Guide and more. Find her at her website, on Twitter and at
Courtesy Timebased

Every August when the world’s largest arts festival hits Edinburgh, the population of the Scottish capital more than doubles. For visitors, that inevitably means that hotels — if not already booked up months in advance — raise their rates accordingly. Take the limited-service budget brand Tunes Hotels. Their Edinburgh... Read More

Courtesy Design Hotels
Design Hotels

Renowned Dutch designer Piet Boon‘s eponymous hotel on the Caribbean island of Bonaire is a sleek collection of beachfront villas, each one individually designed in his signature sophisticated style. Bringing beautiful architecture to a dreamy island setting, Piet Boon Bonaire has been a favored nest on the tranquil island... Read More

The Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands/Karen Gardiner

Located halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the remote and windswept Faroe Islands are becoming an attractive alternative to visiting Iceland itself. However, like many Nordic countries, the islands are often associated with being unaffordable — but that doesn’t have to be the case, especially if you follow this guide to... Read More

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Courtesy Design Hotels
Guestroom/Design Hotels

A few years ago, the Rooms boutique brand (from the hip Design Hotels portfolio) opened its first property in Kazbegi, Georgia — helping to boost the former Soviet country’s emergence as an accessible retreat. At the foothills of Mount Kazbek, visitors could now enjoy affordable luxury accommodations within easy reach of excellent hiking, paragliding... Read More

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A guestroom at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida
Guestroom/Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

Jimmy Buffett wears many hats: singer, songwriter, all-around nice guy, and advocate for “no worries” living. On top of that, he’s growing an empire that includes an expanding collection of Margaritaville restaurants across the country, as well as five hotels and resorts of the same name. Opened earlier this... Read More

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One World Trade Center Observation Deck, NYC
One World Observatory

More than 10 years in the making, the observation deck on the top three floors of the One World Trade Center — on the 100th to 103rd floors, 1,200 feet above Manhattan — is set to open on May 29. You can buy your tickets right now, ahead of the... Read More

MAMA Shelter

Created seven years ago by the Trigano Family, co-founders of Club Med, MAMA Shelter began as a chic-but-affordable boutique Paris hotel before expanding to Marseilles, Lyon, Istanbul, and Bordeaux. This spring, MAMA is coming for Los Angeles, making it the chain’s first foray into the United States. ... Read More

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hoxton holborn hotel london
The Hoxton/Facebook

London’s two hip Hoxton Hotels already present a pretty good value for money for such stylish digs in handy locations. But with the brand’s special springtime deal, you can save even more on a trip across the pond in the coming weeks. ... Read More

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reykjavik lights hotels
Reykjavik Lights/Facebook

Reykjavík isn’t the most budget-friendly of travel destinations overall, but that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a grim dormitory room or soulless budget accommodations to save on lodging. These stylish hotels and hotel-hostel hybrids have managed to capture the kind of cool you’d expect of far... Read More

Facebook/The Hoxton

The Hoxton Holborn is the second hotel by the hip and expanding Hoxton mini-chain. The original Hoxton in Shoreditch was a game-changer when it arrived on the scene in 2006, offering affordable rates for minimalist yet stylish rooms in a desirable neighborhood. The Holborn outpost opened late last year... Read More


Tired of the same old Caribbean resorts, however lovely? Let a newly opened property in St. Kitts inspire you. In a unique twist, Kittitian Hill has just unveiled its working organic Belle Mont Farm accommodations, in the first chapter of its luxury sustainable development. The property encompasses a collection of 84 one-bedroom guesthouses and seven... Read More

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With its irresistible cowboy culture, Fort Worth certainly lives up to its “Cowtown” moniker. But there’s a more sophisticated side to the city, too. This is most notably evident in the urban revitalization in the downtown area, which includes the recent addition of the Sundance Square entertainment district, and... Read More


Cincinnati has been experiencing something of a revolution in the last few years, shaking off its gritty past and slowly developing into a hip cultural center. Most evident is the transformation of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which suffered from high crime rates for decades. In 2004 the 3CDC non-profit formed... Read More


Many hotel brands are becoming more conscious of their role in environmental preservation — think solar panels, bathroom missives urging you to reuse your towel, and furnishings made from recycled materials — but leave it up to progressive Amsterdam to create a small and affordable hotel chain entirely focused... Read More

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Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1 to honor the deceased. The festivities run from October 31 through November 2 and are also observed outside of Mexico in other Latin American countries such as Guatemala and Ecuador — as... Read More