Falling in love with a hotel is a common thing among travelers. However, some hotels are more special than other ones. Some hotels become and remain our first love or our biggest love. The level of service, luxurious amenities, comfortable and spacious rooms, amazing pools as well as thousands little details determine how our hotel experience is going to be.
I asked Jaime and seven dear travel bloggers to share their most memorable hotel experience, anywhere in the world. Here is what they said.
Las Brisas Resort in Acapulco, Mexico
Jaime’s favorite hotel where we stayed together is definitely Las Brisas Resort in Acapulco. He is a huge beach lover so staying in a beach resort was a dream for him. A little bit out of the city, on the slopes of the hill and with the romantic views of the bay, Las Brisas offers you peaceful and private environment. Your private buggy is just a call away to take you to the private beach club. Beach chairs, a pool bar, and fancy restaurant is all you need every now and then.
Our casita (little house) had a private terrace with views to the entire Acapulco bay and a shared pool. However, the neighboring casita was empty so the pool was only ours. Everything was in white and beige tones, with few pink surprises, perfect for a romantic getaway. We spent the evening chilling on the terrace, enjoying the stunning views and comfy lounge chairs. Well, I did. Jaime was admiring the views directly from the pool.
Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Laut Island in Malaysia
Picture this; a private island, over-water bungalows, turquoise seas, a kids-free pool area and a spa where for every treatment you take 45-minute bath house ritual. Pangkor Laut is the epitome of Malaysian luxury and hospitality.
I was lucky enough to visit with my husband for our first wedding anniversary and from the first moment everything was perfect. We enjoyed relaxing in sublime surroundings, being pampered in a couples spa session and the absolute highlight- a private sunset dining experience on a secluded beach. Bliss!
IBEROSTAR Paraiso Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
I am very fortunate as I have been able to travel across the US and stay in many luxury hotels and resorts. One of my absolute favorites is IBEROSTAR Paraiso Maya in Playa del Carmen. Not only are the rooms spacious and relaxing, the property is spread out so you never feel cramped.
What really sets this resort apart, and one of the key points I think in determining if a hotel is considered “luxury,” is the level of service. Everyone is friendly and will go out of their way to say hello and make you feel like you are home away from home.
Voted as one of the most luxurious and best service hotels in Japan, hotel Mume located in Kyoto is a hidden gem. From the second you enter this romantic boutique inn the staff absolutely pampers you. Trained with the mindset of European maids/butlers, blended with traditional Japanese ryokan characteristics, Mume’s crowning jewel is their customer service.
In the evenings prior to leaving the hotel, the staff was sure to ask us where we were going or if we needed any suggestions on places to eat or visit. In addition, they would also make reservations and arrange transportation which allowed us to spend less time planning and more time enjoying ourselves. Another greatly appreciated effort made by the staff during out stay was when they printed a map with directions to the desired destination and provided a picture of what it looked like (extremely helpful when you are not fluent in Japanese).
Hotel Mume also offers a complimentary happy hour with wine, spirits, beer, and soft drinks as well as snacks every afternoon. In the morning you can enjoy a delicious complimentary breakfast. Mume is a memorable, cherished hotel to be experienced by all.
If you are looking for a refined luxury with an authentic atmosphere, if you are looking for a great service, a Mediterranean gourmet cuisine, wide spaces, nature, and culture, relax and wellbeing, …then you’ll find your place at Borgo Egnazia, a luxury hotel in the south of Italy.
Borgo Egnazia just won the prestigious Best Hotel of the year prize, being selected by Virtuoso between a range of wonderful hotels worldwide (including the brand new renovated Ritz Paris).
The Spa is also superb Inspired by the ancient Roman baths, it’s completely based on natural products such as oil, salt, and almonds, in the most relaxing atmosphere you can imagine.
During my time in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, I stayed at the Brunei Hotel. It really was the first time I really appreciated a hotel and its comfort. It is not that easy to find a nice and affordable hotel in Brunei. Eventually, I got a good deal and booked the hotel.
The staff was really polite and so thoughtful. The room was warm and inviting, actually pretty cold thanks to the A/C. I especially loved the tidiness everywhere. Breakfast was extensive, including some homemade bread which, as a German, I missed after moving to Asia. From the breakfast room, you had a nice view of the bustling market nearby. I tried out the room service and it was excellent. I got fresh, high-quality food and, again, the staff was so friendly. The hotel has a really good location and you can reach everything by foot too.
Ocean Coral & Turquesa All Inclusive Resort in Riviera Maya
Ocean Coral & Turquesa all inclusive resort is a phenomenal hotel. In June of 2015, my husband and I celebrated our honeymoon in the Riviera Maya. The hotel is like an ocean oasis with paths leading to each amenity. Surrounded by three pools and extravagant plant life, it is hard to imagine being anywhere else. The rooms are beautiful with bright colors and complimentary tequila. On top of that, the staff is outstanding and willing to help you with whatever you may need.
Our favorite thing about this resort are the activities the resort provides for its guest. From water aerobics to theatrical productions, each day and night can be filled with excitement without evening having to leave the resort. Overall, this hotel has topped any other place we have stayed and we will totally be back! Now grab your swimsuit and passports and head to the Ocean Turquesa All Inclusive Resort!
Four of the eight rooms at their Koh Yao Noi property have a pool INSIDE with sliding glass doors that give guests an indoor/outdoor effect while you’re taking a dip. Villas can provide an exclusive adults-only escape but also perfect for a family friendly adventure – there’s a waterslide on property! Additional on property offerings include an on-call masseuse, traditional cooking classes, an infinity pool, and private yoga.
AniVilla’s also gives back. Within three miles of each of their four properties (Thailand, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic and Anguilla), they’ve built local art academies where tuition is free to students accepted into the intensive program.
Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico
I, personally, never enjoy a hotel as much as I enjoyed the Gran Hotel in Mexico City. From the very first moment, I knew spending our last night in Mexico there would be a great idea. From the check in, to the checkout, everything was perfect. Friendly staff, huge margaritas in the bar, luxurious rooms, and unbeatable views of Zocalo are just a few things to mention.
They spoiled us with a sparkling wine on a check in, personalized amenities in the room and the perfect combination of luxury, style, and comfort. The eye-catching, stunningly colorful roof makes this hotel even more special.
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Slovenia has one great secret – it is so small everything is close! At first, I was trying to find an accommodation close to every destination we planned to visit, but eventually, I just gave up. I found the studio I absolutely loved in Visoko near Kranj and that was when I started to check up the distances a little bit more.
Half an hour to Bled? Half an hour to Ljubljana? An hour away from Logar Valley? You got it. You can book a wonderful room or apartment in a countryside and pay much less than you would pay in the city or right next to the lake. If you are traveling in a couple, in Slovenia for less than 30€ per person per night you can enjoy tastefully decorated rooms in small and intimate guesthouses or even have a whole studio or apartment for yourself. Just as an added value, many of this accommodations are pet-friendly, if you wish to bring your furry friend along!
If you are planning to visit a wonderful Logar Valley, there are several towns and villages close by – like Luče, Solčava or Robanov kot. We booked a room in Solčava and it was a great choice. Farmhouse Štiftar had everything we were looking for. The rooms were cute, surroundings stunning and parking was free. Also, the town of Solčava looked so peaceful, with beautiful nature around it.
If you wish to stay in the other town, Luče, you should definitely check out Guesthouse S. Here you can use free bikes, park your car or just enjoy the small town center. Being comfortably situated in the warmth of your room, you can admire the mountains from your window.
If you want to be right at the center of Logar Valley, you can book in Tourist farm Ojstrica. Nothing can beat this location – they are right in the heart of the valley and a perfect spot to start your hike. They also have a great restaurant (try the cold meats and cheese platter!). You can dine enjoying the superb views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
Kranj and Kamnik are charming cities themselves, but also a great base to explore nearby mountains like Velika Planina, Kamniška Bistrica or even Jezersko region. If you wish to ride a bit more (around 30 minutes only) you can even pay a visit to Bled or Ljubljana from here.
We fell in love and instantly booked the most beautiful and modern studio at PR’ FIK Apartments in Visoko near Kranj. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the best-designed budget accommodation I’ve ever seen! We had a nice-sized studio with the prettiest bathroom ever seen, huge windows and the biggest yard. The river was literally 30 meters away and we were like in heaven. Being only 10 minutes drive from Kranj and 30 minutes from Bled, we had it all. (YES, we adored this place, if you did not notice.)
If you wish to stay bit closer to the mountains, you could book Guest house Repnik or Apartment nr. 16 in Kamnik. We paid a brief visit to this cute city, my grandmother’s hometown, and we noticed it was great for relaxation and hiking.
Staying around Bled and Bohinj
Of all places we visited in Slovenia, Bled and Bohinj were by the far most expensive locations. The prices of accommodation are, of course, in the direct correlation. We were struggling to find an affordable and nicely decorated pet-friendly places, what was not a case in other parts of the country.
In the end, we booked a studio in Apartments Mlin in Jereka near Bohinj. The apartment and the host were great, everything was clean and bed was very comfy. We especially loved chilling out on the terrace, while watching the sunset, drinking wine and enjoying the dessert our host made for us. But be aware, Mlin is good 20 minutes ride away from the lake and you would definitely need a car.
If you are looking forward staying in Bled, you could book Bled Apartments in the city of Bled. Their prices are often higher, but in autumn or spring you can find a studio under 60€. Staying here, you will be only 15 minutes walking distance from the lake. For an awesome price, right?
If you are looking for something different, search using the box underneath.
Booking an apartment in Split was fun! As always, we had some specific criteria – this time, we were traveling with Lota so we considered only pet-friendly accommodation. Because of the same reason, we wanted to stay in an apartment, no a hotel. We felt like she is going to be more comfortable having more space and less noise coming from the other guests.
When we found Split Dreams Apartment lovely studio, that was it. This centrally located, great sized, pet-friendly and nicely decorated studio apartment was booked in no time!
I gave a call to the owner approximately half an hour before our arrival and shortly after we parked in front of the apartment, somebody arrived to check us in. He was friendly and polite, gave us maps and some suggestions what to do around the city and where to eat (the most important tip lol).
Here is the review I wrote on Booking, which pretty much sums how was our stay.
We traveled with a pet and she loved the apartment 🙂 Thank you for being pet-friendly, we truly appreciate it and we hope Lota was a good guest! It was super clean, kitchen had everything we needed to make a simple lunch. Bed was comfortable, TV and AC working excellent. The location was just excellent, 5-7 mins walk from the Diocletian palace and less than five to Luka’s ice cream, but at the same time, it was quiet and calm enough.
So, the location was just fantastic! We were less than 10 minutes away from the city center and Riva. Our favorite thing about the location was that we had a perfect excuse to stop by to grab an ice cream at Luka’s place literally every time we were going to the city or back. Considering the price we paid for it, it was fantastic value for money option! We were in the very center, but yet we did not hear any noise and we were able to get rest.
The apartment was pet-friendly by all means. They were happy to see her when we arrived and there was no any items which could do the harm to her, or unnecessary cables lying around. She found her spot on the bed and enjoyed the time in Split. I must say this was one big apartment previous to reconstruction and there are two more apartments in the same hallway. It probably does not mean anything to anyone, I am mentioning just because she barked a bit when she heard a cleaning lady in the other apartments.
As I mentioned before, we booked a studio Split dreams apartment which was really spacious. There was a bed area, tv, working and dining tables, small but functional kitchen and wonderful and spacious bathroom. And big closets! We could not ask for anything else! Everything was super clean and working properly (AC, TV, boiler, induction hob).
The kitchen had everything we needed during our stay. We cooked fast lunch meals and induction hob was just great for it. This was my first time using an induction so I was particularly happy about it. I loved bathroom design as well! However, the shower door was not made in the smartest way so please do expect you will make everything wet. 🙂
I just hope they already got a dryer for clothes (I suggested it through a review on Booking.com). Split is a coastal city and I believe most of the people do go to the beach – it would make it so much easier to dry the towels afterward. We were putting ours all around the apartment in order to have them ready for next day at the beach.
Another thing – there was a weird fish smell in the apartment during the whole stay. I don’t know where it came from (it was not from withing the apartment and we kept our windows closed most of the time), but I do hope it is an exception.
We had a great time in Split Dreams Apartment! It was everything we wished for and had everything we needed. The location, staff, and facilities made us very happy guests. We will return for sure in this, fantastic value for money, apartment!
Split Dreams Apartment
Ante Starčevića 5
Split, Croatia Booking.com
Spectre, opening scene. Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, masked people, dance, and music. Mexico at its best. James Bond walking with a girl and entering the most stunning hotel in the city. If you saw the latest James Bond movie, you must have noticed Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico as well. If you did not, maybe you would like to watch the video first.
So, do you believe in love at first sight? I do. There is no better way to describe my feelings for Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. Long before James Bond, first time I visited Mexico City in 2014, I planned to walk into the hotel and check it. I saw its pictures in some guide or booking site and I was instantly amazed by it. Somehow, I managed to miss it and I did not pay it a visit.
A year later, we decided to spend a night in one of the city’s hotels before heading to Europe. I already booked another hotel in Roma neighborhood, but my mind kept coming back to this wonderful hotel. I was telling myself it would be better to save the money and stay in some hotel with prefix *budget*, but I could not resist it. We were absolutely sure in our plans so I made a nonrefundable reservation for 84€ + taxes (for September 2015). I could not ignore the fact this year prices for the same period are almost 50% higher.
As soon as we entered the hotel for the first time, I knew we made a good choice. The hotel is located just off Zocalo. In one moment you are surrounded by the hustle of Mexican streets, but the first step to Gran Hotel takes you centuries back. The Majestic lobby was under preparation for the wedding and, even we did not see the final setup, we could imagine how romantic it was.
As we found out from their web page, the building dates from 1899 since when it was home to one of the first department stores in Mexico City. It was transformed into a hotel in 1968. Back in days travel was glamorous so the hotel needed to be as well. Designed in attractive art deco style it kept a recognizable touch of elegance up to this days. Even today they offer many up-to-date services to satisfy modern travelers, many classical details can be noticed in the hotel. The staff is wearing classical uniforms with cute hats. Grand stairway, antique elevators, and golden birdcages make this place even more impressive.
We arrived at the hotel around 5 pm, did smooth check in, picked up our luggage which we stored a week before and got few useful tips from hotel staff. Before I forget, I just want to mention the staff is nice and helpful – they helped us with luggage and allowed to keep the room a bit longer. Almost year after, we still remember some of their names (which we never do!) so you can imagine how happy we were.
We were offered a glass of sparkling wine upon the arrival and Javier, the bellman, escorted us to our room, located on the second floor. With suitcase in one hand and wine glass in other, we followed Javier to old, antique elevator. He said all the guests experience this drive upon check-in, but he suggested us to use modern elevators during our stay.
As soon we stepped into the room, we were amazed. We were on the second floor only, but the views were amazing! Our room was facing Zocalo and we could check the happenings on the main square just with one look. However, we were lucky enough they closed square for traffic that night so we had perfectly calm and quiet night (until army started to rise the flag in the morning, but I was happy to get woken up by that). For the quieter room, ask for ones facing the patio.
As you can see, Gran Hotel offers the perfect combination of luxury, style, and comfort. All of its 60 rooms are decorated in classical style, with beds covered with canopy and bath tubs with classy curtains. Every detail is planned in order to provide you a memorable stay. Room are wonderful and spacious, decorated with taste and it is very hard not to fall in love with the hotel instantly.
We had big king size bed covered with baldachin and decorated with comfy pillows. There was also a sofa and working table where you could get some blogging work done if you need. On the table, a welcome amenity waiting for us, few sweet treats with my maiden last name written in chocolate (as it was a name under which reservation was made). Jaime ate a cookie before I could take a photo, of course!
It was our last night in Mexico and we decided not to go out. We spent last three months exploring the city and we just wanted to enjoy this beautiful hotel. We ordered something to eat (unfortunately we did not try room service, but I heard the restaurant is amazing as rest of the hotel) and rest.
WI-FI was working well and depending on your needs and wishes you could use business center for various printouts or spend some time in the gym, which could be easily accessed just using your key card. While Jaime was talking a bath in that huge bathroom, I went to explore the hotel and just peeked into the gym. It was not big, but more than enough to make your holidays bit more active.
To begin with, there is only one thing I can say – the glass ceiling is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. To be honest, it was the main reason why I wanted to stay here. On a bright day, the sun shines through and creates a beautiful environment. You can notice many tourists coming in just to take photos of that beautiful scenery.
I’ve been following hotel’s Facebook page pretty much since I learned about its existence. I found it very interesting because they are posting many interesting facts about the building and hotel in general.
As the sun came down, we went up. La Terazza restaurant and bar is located on the highest floor and offers wonderful views on Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square. Zocalo is second biggest square in the world (after Moscow’s Red Square) and it is home to monumental buildings like Cathedral, National Palace, and others.
We set down just for drinks. Jaime had michelada, beer with salsas, and I went for a margarita. This restaurant serves huge margaritas, seriously – almost big as my head! My brain got frozen several times while I was enjoying this wonderful mango margarita. What an excellent way to finish a perfect day, right?
To conclude this post, I am going to use a quote from their web which describes just perfectly everything this hotel is about. We could not like it more and we could not find a better place to stay before starting our European adventure. “With stunning architecture, beautifully appointed rooms and all the services and amenities expected from a luxury hotel, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is the ideal location for enjoying all that Mexico City has to offer.”
You have read our latest post about Plitvice Lakes and you are dying to visit? Great, because you should! I already started to think about our next visit and I came to a definite idea we should stay there whole marathon weekend. I already wrote how, since I have an hotelier’s heart, booking accommodation for me is almost the most exciting part of the trip. Even though next marathon will be held in June 2017, I already found several places where to stay around Plitvice and where I’m sure we would have a great time staying (and everybody else, of course).
We are going by car so walking distance to Plitvice Lakes entrances was not the first criteria (it would be nice not need to pay for the parking though), but the accommodation must welcome pets and have *that something*, it must be unique. WI-FI is also a plus, as well as size. We always prefer staying in small studios rather than rooms, as we like to use the kitchen to make coffee or even fast lunch. If there is a terrace or some nice garden where we can have fast walk with dogs, we are 100% happy.
Located only 400 m from the biggest waterfall in Plitvica Village, Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo are literally in the national park! Dark wooden ambiance offers authentic experience and makes it stand out from the crowd. You can choose from a double room with or without a hot tub and junior or family suites depends on with how many persons do you travel. They have animals on the premises as well as a restaurant.
Located in Korenica, this lovely guesthouse is approximately 10 km away from Plitvice. They offer several nicely decorated double and family rooms, free WI-FI and parking. We would stay here only if traveling without Lota because it seems they are not pet-friendly. In the vicinity, you can enjoy finishing, hiking or horseriding.
This ranch is my personal favorite! Since I stumbled upon it, I keep dreaming about the day we are going to visit. Two houses, 200 meters away from each other with views of a meadow. Wooden interior allows you to better connect with nature. They have apartments from 2 to 6 persons. Secondly, they have their own horse riding school and they organize day trips on horses.
Check them out: Booking.com