As someone who tries to save money where I can, usually I end up in an AirBnB. Hotels tend to be more expensive and sometimes I really like engaging with whoever the local person that rents out the AirBnB is. This is just a different experience than that of the impersonal experience we get from hotel stays.
However, when I do save money on a flight I take the opportunity to also splurge on a hotel. It has happened a couple of times and I don’t regret shit! If I can get a cheap deal on a flight, I’ll up the budget for a place to stay and that has sometimes lead me to some incredible hotel stays.
Here are my five favourite hotels I have stayed in so far:
#5) Steel House – Copenhagen, Denmark
I don’t do hostels. That’s not my thing at all. I try to save money, but I refuse to wake up with some stranger hovering over me and now I have to fight. HELL NO.
When I was traveling to Copenhagen this past winter, I stumbled upon this ‘luxury hostel’ as they call themselves on their website, and I was immediately hooked. They had a private room option though, don’t want you to think I suddenly changed my opinion on communal bunk bed living. No.
This place was one of the coolest places I have stayed in during my travels. The location was superb and their amenities were kick ass. The room was very cozy, there was an indoor pool, a gym, a communal kitchen and even a musical space where you could play your instruments.
The best part though? The no-need-to-talk-to-anyone-at-front-desk-check-in. Prior to arriving at the hostel you are sent an e-mail letting you download their app. On this app will be your key! This key lets you go into the elevator to your floor and lets you enter your room. You just would open the app, go to your key and then swipe your phone on the key reader and enter. I loved this option. It let’s you bypass the long lines at check-in counters and also anything extra during check-out. You don’t have to worry about going out and losing your room keys because you hold on to your phone for dear life anyways.
If you are ever looking for a cheap place to stay in Copenhagen that gives you a very cozy private room and cool amenities, I really suggest Steel House.
#4) Hyatt Regency – Cartagena, Colombia
This was a prime example of ‘got my flight for cheap, so let’s splurge a little‘ – and it wasn’t even expensive.
When my friend Lorren and I traveled to Cartagena back in October, we had researched places to stay and once the view from this pool came up….. I mean, LOOK AT IT!
The flight to Cartagena was only $300ish roundtrip so it only made sense to get somewhere to fancy pants to stay for our trip. I won’t write about this hotel at length because I already had posted a Review of The Hyatt Regency, Cartagena article on the blog. But this hotel had to be included in my top five because between the beautiful views, pools, bathroom, location and amazing spa? I high recommend this place if you ever visit.
#3) Azulik – Tulum, Mexico
If you have Instagram, you have likely seen pictures of this place.
My boyfriend and I found out about Azulik the same damn way, and that is what lead us to booking there during our Cancun trip last September. It looks like everything you had seen on Instagram. Although this place is pretty damn pricey per night, for one night or two it was soooooooooo worth the splurge.
This is another hotel I had written a whole post about so I also don’t need to necessarily go into a deep dive of how awesome it was.
Check the ‘How to get from Cancun to Tulum‘ post, if you want to know how to get there from Cancun.
Check the ‘Review of Azulik, Jungle Villa‘ post to read about the whole experience of staying at Azulik for the night.
I would say this is a really great hotel to go to alone or with a bae. With the whole open-bath concept, you’d have to be VERY comfortable traveling with a friend or family member you know? Very romantic spot. Make sure if you go to also head over to Kin Toh for some drinks, but not for dinner. You can read about WHY I say that, here.
#2) Rostrevor – St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados
I loved this hotel. So much.
This place isn’t as fancy as #3 and #4 are but it doesn’t matter, this place was incredible. You literally could not pick a better location for when you attend Cropover in Barbados.
In 2017 my friend Jummy and I went to Barbados for Cropover and we had chosen Rostrevor for our accommodation. Picture this – you have a private beach in the back and nightclubs in the front. OKAY. OKAY?
There is literally no way a place could be situated anymore perfectly than this hotel was. We had the ground floor suite so we could walk out, hit the pool or the beach in under 100 feet. It was clean, quiet and the beach was absolutely perfect. The second you would come back from Foreday morning festivities, you could run right into that water and clean off. Furthermore, you exit out the front and have access to all the mac pie, pigtail and Gap Burger you want. (If you have not had these things, GO HAVE THEM)
The other thing I really liked about this hotel was that they hold your keys at the front desk when you go out. If you have attended any all-inclusive fetes in Barbados for Cropover, you can understand why maybe leaving your keys at home is a good option. Drunken stupors and all.
If you go at any time that is or is not Cropover, still, I really recommend this hotel because for accessibility it’s superb.
#1) Five Palm Jumeirah – Dubai, UAE
Should have expected that the most fancy pants hotel I’d ever stay in would end up being in the Emirates.
In December of 2017 my friend Sherry and I did a trip through Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Maldives for Christmas/NYE. During the time in Dubai, we chose to splurge a little and stay at the Five Palm Jumeirah. Back then I really should have done a whole review of this hotel on its own, but it takes time to learn this SEO stuff you know?
This place was first class all the way. From the courteous and professional treatment you get upon entering the hotel, the Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries, the gorgeous bathroom in your room, the INSANE buffet breakfast (still addicted to scrambled eggs with creme fraiche), the lounge on a high floor and of course – the pool area. I literally have zero complaints about this hotel.
Everything we paid for was well worth it and if I ever return to Dubai I hope I can stay here again. Make sure you get to the pool nice and early to secure a good spot for the sunshine, otherwise just sit back and press the button at your lounger and the staff will bring you drinks and food.
Ah, the luxury life that I always deserved.
I would like to also give a special shout out to the Penthouse suite at the Bellagio, one for the random hotel we found in Santorini for 40 Euros for three nights and also Simpson Bay resort in St. Maarten. Those three deserve special mentions for sure.
What are some of your favourite hotels you have stayed at during your travels?