Not a list of every place we’ve traveled or stayed in, but just a few accommodations that have stood out, whether because we’ve returned to it more than once, or just was absolutely perfect for our visit.
AirBnB, Homeaway, etc.
It’s probably no surprise that we have begun using these shared-vacation rental sites more and more. As we try to stay in places longer, having an apartment with kitchen and/or laundry available can go a long way towards not just saving money, but being able to have a more “local” experience. Some of the best experiences (and values!) we have had have been in Istanbul, North Conway NH, New Orleans, and London. Sadly, every apartment or house we have stayed and loved no longer appear to be listed on either site. That certainly shouldn’t discourage you from looking at these sites, if you are interested in that type of accommodation rather than a traditional hotel.
Portland is a city we visit often, in part because it’s so close to home–just a two and a half hour train ride from Boston–but also because it’s a fantastic food city, has a great culture, and is supremely walkable. We’ve stayed at a number of different hotels over the years, but our favorite by far is the Portland Regency. Lovely service, great amenities, and right in the Old Port, walkable to restaurants, shops, and lots of other things. The onsite spa is one of the nicest we’ve been to, and hotel guests have free use of the whirlpool, steam room, sauna, and fitness center. Massages and facials can be booked for a fee.
Depending on the season, Portland hotels can be pricey, and there aren’t many bargains at high times. But, other good options are the Marriott Residence Inn, and the Hilton Garden Inn, both in the Old Port (although the Marriott is a bit on the outskirts), and if you have rewards points for either place they are a great choice.
Culture Tip: One of the best attractions in the city, in our opinion, is the Portland Museum of Art. This is a beautiful, light-filled and well-designed museum housing some amazing artwork, including great rotating exhibits. Well worth a visit if you are an art lover.
We have been to New Orleans about a dozen times, and have stayed at quite a few hotels. The ones we have stayed at more than once and would highly recommend are the Place d’Armes, and the Maison Marigny. The Place d’Armes is about a block from Jackson Square, and located in 18th and 19th century buildings surrounding a lush central courtyard with a pool, where you can have coffee in the morning or relax with a book.
The Maison Marigny is located outside the Quarter, in the Faubourg-Marigny neighborhood, which is really our favorite area to stay. It’s a small, 4 room B&B with amazing hospitality. You feel as though you’re staying with a friend in their gorgeous home. Breakfast is amazing. This really books up ahead, so we’ve only been able to stay here twice.
A third place, Dauphine House B&B, we have only stayed at once but would definitely book again. Another lovely little B&B in the Marigny, there are only a couple of rooms, but on a super quiet side street with a little courtyard to sit out in.
We visited Morocco in 2009, so I can’t say whether it’s unchanged, but we absolutely loved our stay at the Riad Lorsya in the medina (old walled city) of Marrakech. We had definitely wanted to stay in a traditional riad rather than a western-style hotel, and were not disappointed. With only four rooms surrounding an airy courtyard, it was a lovely oasis from the medina and souks. Breakfast every morning was a spectacular display of homemade breads, fresh juices and fruits. We were very sad to leave this place.
If we ever return to Lima, there is no question as to where we’ll stay: Second Home Peru, in the Barranco district of Lima. While many tourists choose to stay in the more upscale Miraflores district, we were immediately drawn to the artsy, bohemian vibe of Barranco. We were so happy with our choice, and not least because of this spectacular small hotel, located in the former home of the Peruvian sculptor and artist Victor Delfin, and now managed by his daughter. The hotel is filled with sculpture and artwork, and is just a delight to roam around the grounds. Breathtaking views of the ocean, and a delicious breakfast each morning made this a perfect stay.