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January 08, 2013

Hotel Spotlight: Hotel Teatro

By awayblog

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Teatro, deluxe room
Deluxe room, Hotel Teatro

Located exactly where you want to be in Denver, Colorado, Hotel Teatro occupies the cornerstone of the city's theater district. This downtown enclave sits in a restored century-old building originally built in the early 1900s as the Denver Tramway Building, and is now restored with careful efforts taken to preserve original touches like marble flooring and wainscoting. Its central location allows for an easy walk to the best of Denver's cultural offerings—the Denver Performing Arts Center and Colorado Convention Center provide a meeting place for musicals, ballets, and symphony performances; Coors Field and the Pepsi Center house some of the city's best athletic events; and the 16th Street Mall boasts local boutiques and street performers showcasing their best acts. The only problem with Hotel Teatro is getting yourself out of the hotel itself.

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Related Topics: Places to Stay · Trip Ideas · US Travel

December 03, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Craddock Terry Hotel

By awayblog

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View of the Deluxe King Suite (Craddock Terry)

Housed in a former shoe factory—which you'll see nods to almost everywhere—Lynchburg, Virginia's Craddock Terry hotel is as good of a homecoming you can get without having ever gone home. Each guest is greeted at the door by Buster Brown, the hotel's resident wirehaired fox terrier—he's also available for guests to take on walks/runs on trails through the surrounding historic district. Mixing turn-of-the-century architecture with stylish, and a bit eclectic, décor, Craddock Terry is a tranquil escape at the front door of the Blue Ridge Parkway and some of the most idyllic countryside a city-weary heart can think up.

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Related Topics: Places to Stay · US Travel

October 12, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: The Muse, New York City

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The Muse is the definition of an urban oasis—if you're here, you're in the heart of New York City. Located just blocks from the bustle of Times Square, The Muse keeps to the signature quirk of Kimpton's famed boutique hotels and is one of four Kimpton properties in the city. Taking a cue from the lively culture that surrounds it, The Muse is characterized by sleek furnishings with a bit of whimsical flair—from leather headboards and plush animal-print robes to a chimerical "forest of trees" in the hotel lobby and the head of a stone statue reminiscent of Greek mythology adjacent your suite's flat-screen TV. Holding to the Kimpton philosophy of style and comfort, each bath is outfitted with luxurious Etro products, and each bed is tucked with goose-down feather bedding. In addition to spacious rooms (in a city where space is coveted), The Muse stays on trend with the desire to stay fit while on the road by housing a 24-hour fitness center with cardio machines, free weights, balance balls, and yoga mats. And if you want to explore the city on foot, ask the front desk for mapped running routes from the hotel's front door, or, as a guest of The Muse, take advantage of a complimentary day pass to Bally Total Fitness for the offerings of a full gym. Want to stay put? Ask about "Mind. Body. Spa.," an in-room spa service that also offers yoga or Pilates instruction in the comfort of your cozy digs. The Muse is one of the rare hotels that not only accepts pets but caters to them with no additional charge or deposit--treats, water, and food bowls are placed in your room upon check-in. If you're looking for personalized service down to the detail, The Muse is a gem in an area of New York where quality is often lost to quantity.'s New York City Travel Guide


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October 05, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

Aerial view of Amelia Island Plantation Resort (Visit Florida)

This well-regarded resort in Northeastern Florida underwent a change of ownership several years ago, yet the measure of Amelia Island Plantation Resort's quality is that it remains an excellent destination resort regardless of which brand logo hangs over the moss-shaded reception center. The reason? Spread over 1,350 acres of oceanfront real estate, threaded throughout with miles of biking and walking trails, the resort and its amenities blend into a landscape that immediately puts you at ease. The beach never feels crowded, and several on-property pools allow you to mix it up. (Note that the property is in the midst of continuing upgrades that mean the main pool and beach club facility will be closed until spring 2013; the resort has waived its daily resort fee for guests and upped activities and recreation equipment on the beach.) First-class tennis and golf facilities offer other recreation aplenty, while families will appreciate the nature programs and wildlife center. A variety of accommodations are available, from standard hotel lodging to self-catering villas and apartments. Before booking, be sure to check the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort's website for seasonal packages with discounts on activities such as spa treatments, golf, and dining. Our one knock on this resort, as with many others, is the expense of resort dining (including its more casual market and deli). To hold down costs significantly, make a run to the nearby Harris Teeter to stock up on groceries for meals in one of the self-catering units.

For more of the world's most stunning destination resorts, check out's Best Resorts & Lodges Guide.

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Family Vacation · Places to Stay

April 20, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Virginia's Homestead Resort to Debut New Water Park

LET'S PLAY!: Artist's rendering of The Homestead's Allegheny Springs (The Homestead Resort)

Thomas Jefferson, inveterate tinkerer and inventor of things, would have approved. The historic Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, has been undergoing a $25 million upgrade that will include the nation's first spring-fed water park, plus a new 18-hole miniature golf course. Jefferson himself took to the waters in these parts in the 1800s and would no doubt have enjoyed a ride down one of the three planned waterslides and 400-foot lazy river. Construction is nearing completion on the two-acre water park, which is scheduled to open around July 4th. Consider this just one more reason to take the kids to this tranquil retreat deep in the Allegheny mountains of southwestern Virginia. Beyond the 2012 additions, The Homestead is packed with dozens of family-friendly activities including an indoor bowling alley, movie nights, fishing pond, hayrides, falconry, archery, and more. The resort food is good, though if you want to hold down costs, wander into Hot Springs for a cheap nosh at Lindsey's Roost. Service is friendly and the food is cheap (though not exactly nutritious—think burgers and fried-fish sandwiches). Check out The Homestead Resort's website for the latest seasonal deals and packages.

For more of the world's top family resorts, check out's Best Resorts & Lodges Guide.

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March 16, 2012

Rugged Luxury: The World's Most Remote Luxury Lodges

By BootsnAll

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Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu, Peru

There are luxury hotels all over the world, and they all provide some variety of over-the-top amenities to make guests feel eminently comfortable—but perhaps the best way to demonstrate luxury is to contrast it with rugged surroundings.

Here are seven luxury hotels and resorts in rugged and often remote locations, where you'll be no less pampered, but where you may need to watch out for wild animals prowling the grounds at night.

Phinda & Beyond Private Game Reserve—South Africa
There's no denying the luxury of a stay at Phinda, regularly called Africa's top luxury safari, where guests choose from six different lodge areas set beautifully among nearly 59,000 acres of wilderness. Each guest gets an entire lodge building to themselves, there's no end to the gourmet food available, and all of the Big Five are found at this African safari reserve. Just note that you'll need a staff chaperone to walk around after dark in order to avoid the animals that lurk unseen.

Sanctuary Lodge—Machu Picchu, Peru
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is on many a bucket list, but if you'd like a slightly more luxurious route to the same iconic view, you can book a stay at the Sanctuary Lodge. It's the only hotel anywhere near Machu Picchu, and guests get to experience the World Heritage Site when it's not overrun by day-trippers, and of course everything from the suites to the restaurants to the spa services is top-notch (not to mention eco-friendly).

Continue reading "Rugged Luxury: The World's Most Remote Luxury Lodges" »

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December 23, 2011

The Most Exciting New Resorts and Hotels of 2012

By awayblog

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Rendering from Revel, Atlantic City, New Jersey (Revel Entertainment)

While resort development has certainly slowed due to the global recession, with many projects shelved these past two years, 2012 will be a banner year for the unveiling of new properties. Billion-dollar mega-resorts, ultra-chic honeymoon hotspots, and boutique hotels in downtown centers will all open their doors to the public this coming year.

In some instances, cost has not been spared. Take, for example, the $2.4 billion Revel, set to open on 1,000 feet of Atlantic City boardwalk this spring. Built to delight all Boardwalk Empire fans and folks who like their casinos to display Vegas-style flair, Revel will occupy more than enough space to entertain guests for a weekend of gaming. The 47-story tower will house 12 restaurants, six pools, a 5,800-seat theater, close to four dozen retail stores, and one massive casino.'s Atlantic City Travel Guide

As one would expect, London is gearing up for the 2012 Summer Olympics with a slew of new hotel construction. Yet two of the most exciting openings have pushed their launch dates beyond the Games. Near Hyde Park Corner, in the upscale neighborhood of Knightsbridge, the Wellesley Hotel London is now scheduled to debut in November 2012. Next door to the Lanesborough Hotel, the Wellesley will feature 36 spacious suites, including the largest suite in the city, and is billing itself as the first six-star lodging in London.

Overlooking the Thames in London, the 70-story building dubbed "The Shard" is supposed to be completed by the end of the year, but Hong Kong hotelier Shangri-La reportedly won't move in until early 2013. Once finished, the Renzo Piano-designed building will be the tallest structure in the European Union. Shangri-La will occupy floors 34 to 52, so rest assured that you'll have glorious vistas of the city's skyline.'s London Travel Guide

Assoufid, Marrakesh (Rocco Forte Hotels)

Continue reading "The Most Exciting New Resorts and Hotels of 2012" »

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July 22, 2011

Dream Big at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas


As befits a place that has built its brand around a legendary submerged kingdom first chronicled by Plato around 360 BC, the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas is upping the fantasy quotient for its younger guests this summer. For the next several weeks, guests can join themed camps that include a Fashion and Fitness Camp hosted by the editors of Seventeen magazine, an Atlantis Marine Adventure Camp that takes campers behind the scenes of Atlantis' impressive marine-habitat operation, and a Second City Fantasy Camp to learn from the same improv outfit that launched the careers of comedians like Tina Fey and Mike Myers. The Seventeen magazine Fantasy Camp runs July 25-28; the Marine Adventure and Second City Fantasy camps will occur August 1-4. To book, visit

Of course, even if you don't join one of these camps, Atlantis is one serious bucket of fun (a 20-million-gallon bucket if you take into account all its fresh and saltwater pools and lagoons, waterslides, waterfalls, and marine habitat). Atlantis guests have full access to all these amenities, as well as 35 restaurants, well-regarded kids' programs and activities, plus casino, spa, and shopping for the grownups to join in all that holiday dreaming.

Click here to read a review of Atlantis, one of's top-rated family resorts.

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July 14, 2011

Courtyard Marriott Bids Adieu to the Waffle Iron

The new look of Courtyard Marriott's breakfast space (courtesy Courtyard Marriott)

Travelers staying at Courtyard Marriott are getting a healthy (and delicious) kick in the pants when it comes to the breakfast buffet. The old standards found in hotels and motels across the country (stale cereal, carb-loaded muffins, and yes, the ubiquitous waffle maker) are giving way to egg white sandwiches with havarti cheese and heart-healthy apple-cranberry oatmeal. The move is part of Courtyard's Bistro concept, which aims to give weary business travelers an excuse to stay in when on the road.

The project, being rolled out to Courtyard's 700+ hotels through 2012, brings comfortable, modern accents to once staid hotel lobbies. "Media pods" (small booths where groups of two to four can have a multimedia meeting) and communal tables allow solo travelers to chit-chat with others while checking email or having a glass of wine.

Courtyard-salad But the big change is the food menu. Open for breakfast, lunch, and light entrees, "The Bistro" has a menu crafted by chefs at the test kitchen in Marriott's D.C. headquarters, combining seasonal dishes with tried and true favorites. We recently got a sneak peak at the menu items, and though there were hits and misses, the food was a significant step above your typical chain hotel fare. A falafel sandwich surprised and impressed this reviewer, both for the fact that it was light and tasty and that Courtyard, whom I know from my days on the road to healthcare marketing conferences, would risk such niche item. The roast beef sandwich sources bread from California's well-known LaBrea bread company, and the Asian noodle salad would have made a perfect fill for that state of hunger that only six hours of airline travel can bring.

Now only if they could work on airline food.

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June 20, 2011

Hotel Spotlight: Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort

Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort and adjoining Bay Lake Towers (Disney)

I recently spent a couple of days at Walt Disney World in Orlando, staying at Disney's retro-modern Contemporary Resort. For families, this 40-year-old Magic Kingdom stalwart doesn't quite have the cachet of the newer Animal Kingdom Lodge or faux-frontier Wilderness Lodge, but I was impressed with the 655-room property's simple comfort and convenience. Built in 1971, the landmark A-frame design still exudes a futuristic grace that takes you back to old Uncle Walt's original out-there vision for his Florida wonderland. The Contemporary Resort is within sight of Walt Disney World's iconic Cinderella Castle, meaning you can be hitting the rides within minutes, plus gain a privileged, no-crowds view of the nightly fireworks that erupt over Downtown Disney each night. The monorail stops right inside the hotel on the first floor, whizzing guests to the Magic Kingdom as well as Epcot. Another nice feature in the Contemporary Resort's favor is its perch on the shore of Bay Lake, which you can explore by small rental motorboats as well as during water-skiing and paragliding sessions offered through Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre, Disney's on-site concessionaire. (Most notably, check out the exotic birdlife on the lake's central islands, hosting an array of exotic species which were released to live in the wild here after being originally imported during the development of the Animal Kingdom.) Given its role hosting Disney's convention center, the resort does feel a little more buttoned-up than other themed accommodations at places like the Polynesian Resort or Adirondacks-style Saratoga Springs, though I must say I quite enjoyed that the volume was turned down low after a day of being immersed in the whole Disney magic thing. Nightly rates for the Contemporary Resort start at $300, with children under 18 staying at no additional charge in Deluxe Resort rooms when with parents.'s Family Travel Guide to Walt Disney World

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