Where to Stay

I've traveled a lot since starting this travel blog. Like, a LOT. I've visited more than 60 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, arranged in alphabetical order by region.

*Note: Some of these hotel links are affiliate links, meaning that if you book through my link, I will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Read the full disclosure policy here.

North America Hotels


Chicago, Illinois – Raffaello Hotel

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, OhioHampton Inn & Suites Downtown

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, OhioHyatt Regency at the Arcade

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, FloridaPlantation on Crystal River

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.

The Plantation on Crystal River
Plantation on Crystal River

Niagara Falls (US side)The Giacomo

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, FloridaCabana Bay Beach Resort

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 – Staypineapple at Hotel Rose

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, OhioHotel Kilbourne

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 Hotel Caribe Hilton

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.

Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico
Hotel Caribe Hilton

Scottsdale, Arizona – Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows

The Andaz Scottsdale Resort is the perfect base for a few days of exploring the Scottsdale area. The hotel offers up individual bungalows instead of high-rise hotel rooms, along with a spa, a large pool, and cool lounging areas with views of Camelback Mountain.

Washington, DCThe Normandy

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 ParkLa Quinta Inn Zion Park/Springdale

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, AlbertaFairmont Chateau Lake Louise

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 Paradise Lodge and Bungalows instead.)

Niagara Falls (Canada side)Radisson Fallsview

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!

Radisson Niagara Falls
Radisson Fallsview

Ottawa, OntarioFairmont Chateau Laurier

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.

Quebec City, Quebec – Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

I love the Fairmont line of hotels in Canada because they are almost all historic railroad hotels. This is true of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, too, which looks like the Canadian version of Hogwarts. The hotel is right in the heart of Quebec City's UNESCO-recognized Old Town and within walking distance of lots of restaurants and shops.

Vancouver, British ColumbiaFairmont Hotel Vancouver

Yet another amazing Fairmont property that looks like a castle. It's also located right in the middle of downtown Vancouver.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Inn at the Forks

My pick for where to stay in Winnipeg is the Inn at the Forks, a modern hotel located at The Forks. The hotel is comfortable and stylish, with a spa and restaurant both on-site. I also like staying here because you can walk to many parts of Winnipeg from The Forks, whether it's the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Saint Boniface neighborhood across the river, or the Exchange District downtown, which is only about a 20-minute walk away.

Central America /Caribbean Hotels

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua – Yemaya Island Hideaway

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.

Read my full review here: Sisters Getaway: Discovering Little Corn Island in Style

Cabana at Yemaya Island Hideaway on Little Corn Island
The view from our cabana

Orajestad, Aruba – Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

This resort has two separate hotels: the adults-only Marina Hotel and the family-friendly Ocean Suites. The Marina Hotel has beachy rooms and multiple on-site restaurants and bars. The Ocean Suites has a large outdoor pool and lagoon access. Guests at both hotels have exclusive access to Renaissance Private Island.

Read my full review here: Flamingos, Beaches, and Private Cabanas: Staying at the Renaissance Resort in Aruba


Amsterdam, The NetherlandsRadisson Blu Amsterdam

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, SpainGrupotel Gran Via 678

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, SwitzerlandRadisson Blu Basel

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.

Radisson Blu Basel
Raddison Blu Basel

Bergen, Norway – Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz

This is the top-rated hotel in Bergen. I like Thon hotels a lot because they usually include (a very good) breakfast and are reasonably priced. In this instance, the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz is also in a prime location in Bergen, right next to the colorful Bryggen Wharf.

Berlin, GermanyPLUS Berlin

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 – Holiday Inn Express Dublin City Center

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)Holiday Inn Express Royal Mile

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 plus.

Edinburgh, Scotland (apartment)Destiny Scotland – George IV Apartments

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.

Edinburgh, Scotland
View from Destiny Scotland George IV apartment

Lisbon, Portugal – BE Poet Baixa Hotel

Right on Rua Augusta in the Baixa neighborhood, this boutique hotel is an excellent and affordable option for a stay in Lisbon. The rooms are comfortable and quiet (the double-glazed windows are great), the staff is SO nice, and the breakfast buffet is top-notch.

Liverpool, England – Titanic Hotel Liverpool

When my mom and I went to Liverpool to trace the city's Beatles ties, we stayed in the Titanic Liverpool Hotel, and affordable luxury property at Stanley Dock that's housed in a former warehouse. The hotel has massive rooms and lots of cool and luxurious touches.

London, England (hotel)Qbic London City

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 funky character.

London, England (apartment) – Lamington – Hammersmith Serviced Apartments

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

Lamington Apartments
Lamington Apartment

Oslo, Norway – Thon Hotel Terminus

This hotel is close to Oslo's central train station (you can easily walk there), and is in a good location close to the city center. The Thon Hotel Terminus also has one of the best breakfast spreads I've ever seen at a hotel!

Oslo, NorwayScandic Vulkan

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.

Porto, Portugal – Pestana Porto – A Brasileira

This is a luxury hotel in a historic building in the heart of Porto. This hotel is the newest of the Pestana properties in Porto, and is already one of the top-rated hotels in the city. I thought it was pretty affordable and unpretentious for a 5-star hotel (though, admittedly I visited in early March, which meant off-season prices).

Room at Pestana Porto – A Brasileira

Reykjavik, IcelandRey Apartments

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 (B&B) – TuttoTondo Roma

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.

Rome, Italy (hotel) – Starhotels Metropole

If you're looking for a hotel in Rome with nice service, larger-than-average rooms for Italy, and a good location within walking distance to Termini Station, then Starhotels Metropole is a good bet.

Split, CroatiaHotel Luxe

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

Hotel Luxe
Hotel Luxe in Split

Stockholm, Sweden – Central Hotel

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.

Tromsø, Norway – Scandic Ishavshotel

The Scandic Ishavshotel is located right on the Tromsø Sound. Many rooms have great views, and they all come with free wifi and included breakfast. The on-site restaurant here is also quite good. To top it off, the Scandic Ishavshotel is one of two main hotels in town where most of the tour companies do free pickups from.

Venice, Italy – Hotel Bonvecchiati

This historic hotel has an excellent location in Venice; you can quickly walk to both St. Mark's Square (5 minutes) and the Rialto Bridge (10 minutes). It's close to restaurants, gondola stations, and shopping, and has large and modern rooms.


Chiang Mai, ThailandTwenty Lodge

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, VietnamFamily Inn Saigon

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 KongHoliday Inn Express Soho

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, ThailandSri Lanta Resort

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

Sri Lanta Resort, Koh Lanta
Sri Lanta Resort


Cape Town, South AfricaTaj 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!

Read more here: The Private Game Lodge Experience in Kruger National Park

Jock Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park
Outdoor day beds at Jock Safari Lodge – we saw elephants from here!

Nairobi, Kenya – Wildebeest Eco Camp

This spot outside of Nairobi is incredibly quiet and relaxing – it feels like you're out in the bush, even though you're not far from a massive city. Wildebeest Eco Camp has both motel-style rooms and glamping tents, along with an on-site restaurant and even a pool.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Bayete Guest Lodge

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.


Auckland, New Zealand – Grand Millennium Auckland

This upmarket CBD hotel is clean and comfortable, and has a lovely staff. There's an indoor pool, a bar, and two restaurants on-site, plus a pretty great room service menu. You can walk to the Sky Tower and harbor in about 15 minutes.

Faa'a, TahitiInterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa

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 ZealandBrook House B&B

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 ZealandPowderhorn Chateau

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 ZealandNovotel Queenstown Gardens

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 ZealandRydges Wellington

There are plenty of accommodations to choose from in Wellington. On my last trip there, I stayed at Rydges Wellington, and loved it. It's in a great location, close to the waterfront, food on Cuba Street, and shopping on Lambton Quay. You can walk to all the main sites from here, and some of the rooms have fantastic harbor views!

Page last updated November 11, 2019