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I've traveled a lot since starting this travel blog. Like, a LOT. I've visited more than 50 countries all around the world, and that means that I've stayed in hundreds of hotels, hostels, apartments, and B&Bs along the way.
Some of the accommodation I've used has been awful. Some has been fine, but nothing to write home about. But other places have been great – good enough that I still remember the hotel names and what I loved about them.
Below you'll find some of the great places. These are all places that I have personally stayed and would stay again.
Chicago, Illinois –
Located next to the John Hancock Building and within walking distance of the metro in downtown Chicago, the Raffaello is a great upscale hotel choice. On the roof you'll find Drumbar, one of the best cocktail bars in the city.
Cincinnati, Ohio –
Not only is this hotel in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, but it's also in a gorgeous, historic building that used to be home to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The rooms are very generously-sized, and the free wifi and free hot breakfast are added bonuses.
Cleveland, Ohio –
I live not far from Cleveland, but going to a conference in the city one year meant it made more sense for me to stay overnight than to deal with rush hour traffic two mornings in a row. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which is built into an old Victorian shopping arcade downtown.
Crystal River, Florida –
If you're headed to Crystal River to swim with the manatees, I highly recommend the Plantation, which is a hotel, golf resort, and spa right near King's Bay. The hotel itself is charming, and they have an on-site dive shop that can take you out to see the manatees.
Niagara Falls (US side) –
Most people chose to stay on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls – but staying within Niagara Falls State Park in New York is a great option, too. My pick is the elegant Giacomo – be sure to have a drink at their Sky View Lounge!
Orlando, Florida –
Going to Universal to geek out over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Book a room at Cabana Bay, one of the newest Universal properties. Not only are rooms here really affordable, but staying here will get you in to both Universal parks an hour early each morning (and you can use the free hotel shuttle to get there). The hotel also has pools, a lazy river, a Starbucks, and more.
Portland, Oregon –
Located in a great spot in downtown Portland, this modern hotel is both comfortable and affordable. Plus, the little pineapple cupcakes in the lobby and free bike rental are huge bonuses!
Sandusky, Ohio –
Hotel Kilbourne only opened in August 2016, but is fast on its way to becoming a staple in Sandusky, Ohio's “renaissance.” The hotel is close to the waterfront, is housed in an historic downtown building, and has two bars (including one on the rooftop). It's also the only boutique hotel in this part of Ohio, meaning it's well worth checking out.
San Juan, Puerto Rico –
If you're heading to Puerto Rico and don't want a full-on resort but also don't want a characterless hotel, I'd recommend the Hotel Caribe in San Juan. It has a fantastic outdoor pool area that's right on the water, but is close enough to Old San Juan, too.
Washington, DC –
If you're looking for a DC hotel away from the National Mall and in a cool neighborhood, check out The Normandy, a boutique hotel near DuPont Circle.
Zion National Park –
Zion is one of my favorite national parks in the U.S., and if you're going to go, you're going to want to be as close to the park as possible. To do this, you need to stay in the cute little town of Springdale. The La Quinta here has huge rooms with mountain views, a free breakfast, and nearby shuttle stops to get you into Zion (you can't drive your own car in the park).
Lake Louise, Alberta –
Going to Banff National Park in Canada? Then you can't really do much better than the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Splurge on a room overlooking the lake for amazing mountain views, and enjoy one of the hotel's many on-site restaurants.
(Don't have to budget to splurge on the Fairmont? Check out the instead.)
Niagara Falls (Canada side) –
If you do decide to stay on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, splurge on a fallsview room at the Radisson. You get a room with a whole wall of windows and a hot tub – talk about the perfect spot for a romantic weekend getaway!
Ottawa, Ontario –
In Canada's capital city, there's really only one hotel option in my opinion. And that's the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier, which overlooks the UNESCO-recognized Rideau Canal. The hotel is gorgeous and dates back to 1912.
Vancouver, British Columbia –
I love the Fairmont line of hotels in Canada because they are almost all historic railroad hotels. This is true of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, too. It looks like a castle and is located right in the middle of downtown Vancouver.
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua –
Whether you're looking for a great honeymoon spot or a place for a relaxing girls' getaway, you can't go wrong with Yemaya, a resort and spa on Little Corn Island. This is the true definition of a tropical paradise.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands –
This hotel within Amsterdam's UNESCO-recognized city center is a great base for any length of stay in Amsterdam. It has beautifully decorated hotel rooms (and comfy beds), a delicious breakfast spread, and a historical bar in a old church that the hotel lobby has been built around.
Barcelona, Spain –
There are tons of options when it comes to hotels in Barcelona. I stayed for a couple nights at the Grupotel on Gran Via, which was really affordable and in a great location for sightseeing around the city.
Basel, Switzerland –
With modern, sleek designs in a central location, this Radisson Blu property is great for your stay in Switzerland's third-largest city. From the hotel, you can easily walk to attractions like the Cathedral, Town Hall, museums, and some of the city's most popular shopping streets.
Berlin, Germany –
I feel that I've mostly outgrown hostels on my travels, but PLUS Berlin is nevertheless making this list. Built in an old schoolhouse, this modern hostel has both typical dorm rooms AND private, hotel-like rooms great for people traveling on a budget. The hostel also has a great on-site bar and restaurant.
Dublin, Ireland –
This newer hotel in the heart of Dublin is an excellent choice for any length of trip. Breakfast is always included, and you can walk to many popular spots in central Dublin.
Edinburgh, Scotland (hotel) –
When staying in Edinburgh, you won't want to miss the Royal Mile, and this hotel is really close to the famous street. It also offers free wifi and breakfast, which is a definite .
Edinburgh, Scotland (apartment) –
If you want to get away from the noise, have more space, and yet still be really close to the Royal Mile, consider renting an apartment. I stayed in one of Destiny Scotland's George IV apartments recently and LOVED it. Not only was my one-bedroom apartment modern and spacious, but I also had a view of Edinburgh Castle and was right up above the Elephant House Cafe.
(For a cheaper option in Edinburgh, I can also highly recommend .)
London, England (hotel) –
I love London's East End, and my favorite hotel there (so far) is the funky Qbic London City. It's super close to the Tube and plenty of restaurants, and is filled with character.
London, England (apartment) –
I've been to London many times, and often stay with friends or in Airbnb apartments. But I've also stayed in Hammersmith in a Lamington Serviced Apartment, and it's one of my favorite places I've stayed. The apartments are beautiful and light-filled and within walking distance of three Underground lines.
Read my full review here: Local Living in London
Oslo, Norway –
The Scandic Vulkan, located near Oslo's trendy Grünerløkka district, is a great base for a stay in Oslo. There are restaurants nearby (including a big food hall), and you can get to the city center by bus or tram in less than 10 minutes.
Reykjavik, Iceland –
I love Reykjavik, but booking a hotel in the city center can be tricky – some of the big-name hotels are actually quite far from the city's main shopping street and attractions. If you want a fantastic central location with a price tag you can afford, check out the Rey Apartments. A bonus is that you get a small kitchen in these, too, meaning you don't have to eat every meal out.
Rome, Italy –
On my last visit to Rome, I booked a room in this B&B because of its proximity to St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums (it's literally right next to the Vatican walls). Not only is it in a great location (also close to a metro stop), but it's a bright and beautiful B&B with comfortable rooms and lots of homey touches.
Split, Croatia –
This modern hotel is located close to both the ferry port and Diocletian's Palace in the city of Split. The rooms are comfortable and stylish, decked out in cool shades of purple.
Read my full review here: Review: Hotel Luxe in Split, Croatia
Stockholm, Sweden –
Located within walking distance of both Stockholm's main train station and Gamla Stan, the Central Hotel is a great option in Stockholm. They offer single rooms, too, to make it even more affordable for solo travelers.
Chiang Mai, Thailand –
I decided to stay at the Twenty Lodge for about five days in Chiang Mai because I wanted a comfortable place to stay with good wifi so that I could get some work done. I found it at Twenty Lodge, which has affordable (and beautiful) rooms with wifi and air conditioning, along with a small pool. The hotel is within Chiang Mai's Old City, too, meaning you can walk to just about everything.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam –
The Family Inn in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City has a lot of things going for it. First, it's very affordable. Second, the rooms are nice and the staff is great. Third, it's pretty easy to get to all of the city's main attractions from here.
Hong Kong –
There are so many accommodation options in Hong Kong. I opted to stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Soho because it's right in the thick of things and within walking distance to public transport, sightseeing, and transport.
Koh Lanta, Thailand –
Looking for a beach retreat in Thailand? Look no further than the Sri Lanta Resort on Koh Lanta. The main part of the resort is set on a quiet beach on the island, with a spa, restaurant, and infinity pool. The rooms are in bungalows in the jungle just across the road. Staying here for a few nights was perfection.
Read more here: Spoiling Myself in Paradise
Cape Town, South Africa – Taj Cape Town
If you're looking for luxury in Cape Town, look no further than the Taj Cape Town. The location is great, and the rooms large and spacious. And, thanks to a weak South African Rand, staying here isn't nearly as expensive as it used to be.
Kruger National Park – Jock Safari Lodge
This private concession within Kruger is everything you could want out of a private game lodge in South Africa. It's rustic yet luxurious, historical yet relaxing. The villas here are beautiful, the food is delicious, and the game drives are second to none – be prepared to see the Big 5!
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe –
If you're staying on the Zim side of Victoria Falls, check out the family-run Bayete Guest Lodge. Rooms are comfortable, the pool is nice, and the optional dinners are homemade and delicious.
Faa'a, Tahiti –
A couple years ago, I booked a stopover in Tahiti on my way to New Zealand with Air Tahiti Nui. I opted to stay at the beautiful InterContinental Resort & Spa because it was included with my stopover. The resort is gorgeous, with views out towards the island of Moorea from the pool. I stayed in a hotel room (not an overwater bungalow), and would probably stay again. The only downside is that food at the resort is SO expensive.
Kaikoura, New Zealand –
I've stayed at this bed and breakfast in Kaikoura twice now, on two separate trips to New Zealand. The house is cute, and the owner, Judy, is SO nice (and bakes the BEST chocolate muffins). The only downside is that the B&B isn't really within walking distance of the town center, meaning you really need a car here.
Ohakune, New Zealand –
This looks like a ski lodge for the slopes within Tongariro National Park, however it's a fun place to stay year-round. The geek in me loves it because the “Lord of the Rings” actors famously stayed here for a while during filming. Ask, and you can stay in the same room as your favorite star!
Queenstown, New Zealand –
Situated on the edge of the Queenstown Gardens and within steps of the shore of Lake Wakatipu, this hotel is one of my favorites in Queenstown. It's centrally- located (seriously, you can walk to everything in the city from here), and the rooms are very nice.
Wellington, New Zealand –
There are plenty of accommodations to choose from in Wellington. On my last trip there, I stayed in the Amora (formerly the Duxton Hotel), and loved it. It's in a great location, close to the Te Papa museum, food on Cuba Street, and shopping on Lambton Quay. It's also easy to get to the waterfront and Oriental Bay from here.
Page last updated December 21, 2017