Shermanstravel Blog

Hotels

We love Austin for its loud bars, its excellent and cheap food, and its amiable locals. And more, we love that the city has a specific look, that its neon signs, low craftsman-style houses, and distinctly throwback-y flavor could exist almost nowhere else. Here are six of our favorite places in Austin — all of which show different sides of this utterly original city.

1. Antebellum-Style Opulence
austin_ella2You probably think of Charleston or Savannah as the places for sprawling historic homes, but Austin has one that easily competes — and you can stay in it. Hotel Ella, which opened in 2013 in a Greek revival mansion, doesn’t feel stuffy or pretentious, either. The hotel’s interiors reflect a modern take on a traditional aesthetic. Think artfully distressed mirrors, tufted velvet in bright colors, and modern sculpture by the pool. In fact, our favorite spot on the property is the ultimate mix of old and new: a classic set of wrought-iron chairs, perfect for an outdoor cocktail, that sits under a tree hung with an enormous glass chandelier. Locals and out-of-towners alike flock here in high season for weddings, so book early if you’re staying April through September. Rooms average about $279 per night.

Saver tip: Stay before the end of the year. We found some midweek rooms in October, November, and December going for as low as $219 — a great price for a luxury property.

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Looking for an excuse to get away? With this offer from the AAA 4-Diamond W Fort Lauderdale, you won’t need one. The chic oceanfront property is beckoning guests to pay South Florida a visit this season with its Any Occasion Celebration offer, which starts at $270 per night. That saves you 25 percent compared with rates over the busy winter and spring seasons.

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NantucketHotel

It’s just about time to pack up the beach gear and wave goodbye to this year’s summer season. But before you do so, a collection of Nantucket properties beckons travelers to the island for one last time with an enticing last-minute deal.

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Any good hotel can offer high end amenities, plush mattresses, and fine linens. But to truly capture the tastes and textures, history and culture, and people and personalities of a city is a much harder feat. Sometimes, it’s impossible.

That is, unless the hotel is ingrained in the founding and very being of that city. Then the hotel is no longer just a nice place to sleep within it, but a living part of it and a representation of what makes that city what it is. Such is the case with Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton, a true Grande Dame hotel that is as much a part of Chicago as deep dish pizza and Wrigley Field — and is affordable to boot.

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casacalma wellness hotel - 620

It seems like “green” hotels are becoming more mainstream than ever before, with properties old and new adopting an overall ethos of eco-friendliness. But to the average traveler–someone who might not self-identify as environmentally conscious–what’s the real draw? Below, check out five hotels with perks that appeal to every type of traveler.

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Long known as a mecca for surfers and sun-seekers, Costa Rica is, has been, and always will be a hotspot. But what many travelers are only just starting to discover is that Nicaragua, its central American neighbor to the north, offers much of the thrill, scenery, and sizzle — with a culture all its own. The fact that Nicaragua is an affordable destination, given its off-radar status, is a great reason to fold it into a Costa Rica itinerary. After all, both countries deliver their own brand of charm, and crossing them off your bucket list in one trip is both practical and illuminating when it comes to getting a feel for the region. Here’s how to create such a Central American tasting menu:

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Hotel Vitale, San Francisco

In a bustling city like San Francisco that’s an icon for tourists worldwide, scoring a hotel room for under $250 is nearly impossible. But as the city’s “Indian summer” — the months of September and October when temperatures hike into the 80s — tapers off, hotel rates plummet.

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After the category three Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas region on September 14 — bringing harsh winds, floods, and structural damage to Baja California — airlines and hotels are finally on the rebound. Los Cabos International Airport finally reopened on October 3, with public transportation and cruise ports also back in operation. While travel lodgings are still somewhat limited, travelers might find some great deals if they’re flexible and willing to do a bit of research.

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New York News

Do you ever wish you could preview your hotel room before you arrive? Maybe you’d take note of the room layout, the distance to the elevator, or the amenities offered on your floor. Or, do you wish you could peruse a neighborhood in a foreign city before you jump on a flight — maybe get a sense of its walkability or its proximity to the major sites?

New virtual reality technology, called Oculus Rift, could someday let you do just that.

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Holiday Inn Resort Aruba

Fresh off a large-scale renovation earlier this year, the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba is not what you’ve come to expect from the global mega-chain. The brand’s standards are still there — its signature green sprinkled throughout the property and commitment to family-friendliness — but the resort’s spectacular oceanfront views and longest stretch of beach on the island are just as inviting to those looking for a romantic escape or group getaway. No matter which three of these categories your vacation falls into, you’ll return home dreaming of the soft white-sand beaches. Read more

1475 RIFF HOTEL

If you’re heading to the Big Apple this fall, there’s one more hotel to choose from: the Riff ChelseaAnd you can snag rates for a scant $99.

The hotel — formerly known as the Chelsea Star and playing host Madonna as one of its guests at the original location in the ’80s — has completed a transformation channeling the artsy, musical roots of that era. Rooms are currently available for booking right now as it undergoes its soft opening.

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JekyllIslandHotelClubFacebook
Autumn in the Southeast is a glorious time to visit as summer’s humidity dies down to make way for cooler days. And there is nowhere more posh than Jekyll Island Club Hotel, a former private retreat turned tony hotel on its namesake barrier island off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, midway between Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia.

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Looking for a remote escape to getaway from it all? Mission Point Resort, a property on Michigan’s Mackinac Island that can only be reached by ferry or private plane, lets you literally disconnect. Better yet, there’s a package filled with fun activities that’s running for another two weeks.

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Captain’s Manor Inn isn’t a full-fledged hotel, but the label “bed and breakfast” hardly seems to do it justice. Don’t get us wrong — we’re huge fans of B&Bs, so we don’t mean it derisively by any means. The intimacy and character of an independent inn, after all, is something that big hotel chains are actually trying to emulate. But when’s the last time you stayed at a bed and breakfast with a dedicated housekeeping staff, with a regular afternoon tea hour in its “bistro” and rain showers in guest bathrooms?

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Free breakfast, iPod docking stations, and coffee makers are nothing compared to some of the whacky hotel amenities we found. From vintage record players to pet psychologists, here are five quirky — and dare we say somewhat outrageous — amenities that can be found at hotel chains across the country.

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