A good hotel can make or break a vacation. Nobody on Earth knows that better than we do. It’s why we pride ourselves so dramatically on the hotels with which we partner. It’s also why we’re proud to send our Expedia Viewfinder bloggers out and about to experience some of these stellar accommodations all over the world. We recently asked members of the blog team to pick their favorite hotels of 2015. Their selections were as varied as the hotels in our database.
My selections? Let’s just say the decision wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. Ultimately, I settled on a tie between Delano Las Vegas and Hotel DeLuxe in Portland, Oregon. What I love about Delano is that it is SO DIFFERENT from theHotel, the property that came before it. That property was dark and mysterious; the new property is light and white and airy. I also love the spacious rooms, and the lobby with natural accents such as boulders and wood. Hotel DeLuxe is very different—it’s a boutique, rooms are tiny, and the building is OLD. What I loved about this place was the service. Our room had a menu for 12 different religious books people could order. There were pillow options. The concierge bent over backward to accommodate me and my kids, going so far as to set us up in the lobby for dinner one night. Just a great property overall.
Now that you’ve read my picks for Best Hotel of 2015, here are some of the selections from my Expedia Viewfinder colleagues, each presented in their own words.
Occasionally you come across a hotel that gives you chills, lingers in your mind, and soothes your soul. For me, this stay is the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, a splurge-worthy rarity that rises above service, style, and sense of place into a realm fit for royalty. But, the best part about this swish stay is there’s no pressure to look regal. You can just be. Couple this with sleek, teak-adorned rooms and a cascading beachfront location that wows from every vantage point, and it’s the destination I dream about when I need to go to my happy place. (Note: the property, pictured atop this page, reopens in February after a lengthy renovation. Book accordingly!)
Captain and Clark
Located in the heart of Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia, and walking to distance to the city’s major sights, Hotel Telegraaf offers the comforts of home with the luxuries of a high end hotel. The hotel staff always welcomed us with a smile and friendly, “Hello,” and we thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance from a live three-piece orchestra. Hotel Telegraaf also is home to Restaurant Tchaikovsky, voted one of the best restaurants in town.
The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is a favorite of Los Angeles natives as an escape from city life. The resort, which sits on a property with rolling green golf courses and stunning mountains in the distance, resembles a small village. Spacious guest rooms are inside Spanish-style haciendas dotted throughout the grounds; each hacienda has its own unique decor and vista, many with fireplaces, large flat screen TV’s, touch pad room service, and private balconies. Guests can spend their days dining at the many on-property restaurants, playing golf or tennis, biking, or lounging in a cabana by one of the pools. Also on the property is a beautiful spa with a wide selection of relaxation and beauty treatments, as well as “body and mind” fitness classes. Other activities from which to choose include art classes, a kids’ camp, yoga atop a mountain, and ocean excursions. When I visited, I found that the staff seemed to anticipate my needs. Another of my favorite features was the live music; often a bluegrass band plays under an old oak tree, entertaining guests in front of a sprawling vista. In Southern California, where the weather is sunny nearly all year round, this retreat is wonderful for family gatherings and romantic getaways alike.
Perched on a hill in the quiet Fiesole neighborhood of Florence, Hotel il Salviatino is a restored 15th century Italian villa that exudes elegance yet still feels like home. Each room is unique and spacious with large picture windows, as well as many of the original architectural details. After an Ayurvedic treatment at the spa and a bit of relaxation at the infinity pool surrounded by cypress trees, enjoy an aperitivo on the terrazza with breathtaking views of Salviatino’s ancient rose garden and sweeping panoramas of Florence. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to go truffle hunting, the property is built in the center of a truffle-rich forest.
Viewfinder Tip: Sign up for Expedia+ rewards and earn points for every hotel booking on Expedia.com. Points can be redeemed for credits to book!
Girl Gone Travel
The Nanuku Auberge Resort is located in Pacific Harbor, Fiji, and it exceeds the standards of what most travelers know an all-inclusive resort to be. This full service resort has everything from a salon to a fitness center. It even has a cultural center where events and activities, such as cooking classes of local favorites, are held to teach guests some local cultural know-how. Most of the luxury villas have private pools overlooking the ocean; the set-up is perfect for couples or families. When you go, be sure to seize the opportunity for a sunset cruise to achieve that extra touch of Fijian paradise.
Who doesn’t like to splurge on an upscale hotel? We, however, like our luxe with a bit of personality. While Hotel am Steinplatz, in Berlin, is solidly in the luxury category, it’s not overly fussy, sterile, or uninteresting (as so many luxury properties tend to be). The rooms are gorgeous and just a little edgy; think the interior design equivalent of Marlene Dietrich in a suit. We had a spacious unit with a plush bed, fantastic art, and a generous work area overlooking the tree-lined street.
Midlife Road Trip
The Sandpearl Resort is situated on the white-sugar sand of Clearwater Beach, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. It has a renowned spa, breathtaking sunsets, and a dedicated staff that see to every detail throughout your stay. You can reserve a cabana to kick back and relax by the lagoon pool, wine and dine at Caretta on the Gulf restaurant, roast marshmallows on the beach, or watch the spectacular sunsets from Tate’s Island Grill.
What were your favorite hotels in 2015 and why?