Shermanstravel Blog

Hotels

Photo: Michael Troutman/www.dmtimaging.com

Finding a hotel that supports your lifestyle back at home can be challenging and overwhelming, particularly if you have specific interests and needs. That’s where niche booking sites that help narrow down your options according to your preferences come into play. Here are four websites that tackle allergy needs, pet-friendliness, and more.

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iStockTipping envelopes in travel are not a new concept. For years, hotels across the globe, big and small, have left a place for monetary appreciation for the cleaning staff — oftentimes using hotel stationary. It seemed subtle and voluntary.

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You know you can ask the concierge to arrange a jeep tour or recommend a local restaurant. But did you know they’ll also hunt down the perfect souvenir or replace those dress slacks you forgot to pack while you lounge by the pool?

Most concierges want to do whatever it takes to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. The best part is that the concierge’s time and expertise is usually complimentary, though you’ll of course be charged for items and services purchased on your behalf. Gratuities aren’t mandatory but are always appreciated (a simple thank you in person or a sincere email when you return home go a long way, too).

Here, some surprising requests that you can ask of your concierge:

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iStock - IndyCar LouisianaIn a city chock full of traditional festivals, the addition of a new one is a big deal. So it’s big news that New Orleans has been granted next season’s inaugural IndyCar Grand Prix of Louisiana. The dates have been announced for April 10-12, 2015.

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Scoring a Manhattan hotel room that’s comfy and chic for under $250 has long been a stiff challenge. But a package from the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel recently reminded us of two good strategies: Visit around — but not on — holiday weekends, and think ahead.

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BOGEKHotel

Open since October of 2013, EK Hotel is a modern boutique hotel in one of Bogotá’s ritziest neighborhoods. Within a few minutes’ walk, you’ll find restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shopping; especially centered around Calle 85, the T-Zone neighborhood, and the tree-lined plaza called Parque 93. Even closer, there are a few restaurants that share a plaza with the hotel, such as the newly opened Black Bear, recommended for its raw bar, sharing plates, and craft cocktails. However, with the on-site Cafe Bar Lounge serving all day, you don’t need to leave the hotel for a meal or drink.

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Avalon Hotel Beverly HillsNew York City’s annual Hotel Week started in 2011 with a simple premise: Offer great hotels for $100, $200, or $300 per night — in many cases, a substantial savings off typical rates. It’ll be happening again this year in January, but, before that, Los Angeles travelers will get their own opportunity to save on some excellent hotels.

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Downtown Denver Sign

If you think of Denver as a convenient gateway to an amazing mountain or nature trip, you’re right. For skiers and hikers, it’s the closest major city to such perennial favorites as Telluride, Aspen, and Breckernridge. But with breweries galore, a charming restaurant district, affordable hotels, and a mile-wide cultural streak, the Mile-High City is developing into a travel destination unto itself. Here’s how to eat and drink your way through this affordable, good-natured city. In fact, you may never even make it to the mountains.

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At hotel receptionHas this ever happened to you? You think you’re getting a great hotel deal, only later you discover that everything from a fitness center charge to a newspaper service fee has been tacked onto the bill? Hotel fees are more popular than ever these days, and all kinds of properties, from hostels to high-end resorts, are discreetly charging for amenities you didn’t even know you had access to — and may not even want. Some of them are inevitable and rather set in stone, like resort fees. Others, like being charged for in-room safes, can be disputed. Like we always say, it’s a good habit to check the fine print and know exactly what you’re being charged for. Here are 10 fees to watch out for:

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Our roundup of underwater hotels from last spring was such a crowd-pleaser that we’d treat you to round two, with a twist. Here, six overwater, floating hotels for a pretty wacky but totally luxurious escape.

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Sunset MarquisWho doesn’t love looking at photos of beautiful hotels? OK, maybe lots of people don’t, but our travel-addicted selves definitely do. Case in point, we’re loving these new shots of the remodeled Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles. This classic hotel is known as a haven for celebs — especially musicians. (Harry Connick Jr. met his wife by the pool. Dave Grohl met his by the bar.)

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park-hyatt-maldivesIt’s fairly easy to make travel happen — be it a business trip, a jaunt to see a family member, or a bona fide vacation — when you’ve spare cash laying around. It’s a little tougher when you don’t, but loyalty programs and the ability to collect miles and points have made it possible to enjoy a bit of travel-related adventure, if you’re willing to have patience and put in the effort. Understanding and managing miles and points across various platforms, services, and credit cards is no easy task, but here are a few tips on making the most of those unused travel currencies. Read more

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Is there anything sweeter than checking into a hotel named for the cacao bean, chocolate’s essential ingredient? Turns out, there is – Hotel Cacao, opening on October 1 in the Riviera Maya hub of Playa del Carmen, plans to offer rates starting at only $147 per night.

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Not long ago, the idea of staying in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx instead of Manhattan during a New York City visit would’ve been met with disbelief. One, who stayed overnight in the outer boroughs unless a flight was involved? Two, no one could name a decent hotel because…well, there weren’t many.

But times have definitely changed. Visitors and businesses alike have been flocking to nifty-sounding neighborhoods — and to more palatable prices. The outer boroughs’ new hotels have been varied, ranging from well-known chain properties to offbeat boutiques. Here are a few on the scene that we love, plus a couple more to look forward to in the future.

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Switzerland’s Hotel Palafitte lays claim to an unusual distinction: it is the only hotel in Europe built on stilits — an architectural detail more commonly associated with the Indian and Pacific oceans. More than mere novelty, the stilts are an architectural design meant to enhance the surrounding views. The luxury boutique property, a member of Preferred Hotel Group, was built as part of Switzerland’s 2002 National Exposition and consists of 40 spacious private bungalows, twenty-six of which are called “Lake Pavilions” and situated lakeside and built directly over Lake Neuchâtel in Romandie, the French-speaking area in western Switzerland. Read more

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