Hotel Riu Yucatan Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Hotel Riu Yucatan is an upper-mid-range, all-inclusive resort on the beach that attempts to please everyone, but often falls short. Wristbands are required of all guests and though there are several restaurants and bars, the food is mostly bland and the drinks are watered down. An upgrade to a Suite is required if you want a bathroom door; liquor dispensers on the wall might be unappealing for families (but are a nice surprise for partiers). The white sandy beach is clean and there are two outdoor swimming pools, plus a pool with a swim-up bar and a small pool in the kids' club. It may be worth comparing rates at Hotel Riu Tequila across the street; rates are slightly lower and you get access to everything offered at Riu Yucatan.
Alp & Wellness Sport Hotel Panorama Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Alp & Wellness Sport Hotel Panorama is a 59-room, upscale ski resort located in Northern Italy. Amenities like an outdoor pool, on-site dining, and European-style spa make for an easy vacation with plenty to do on property. The Hotel Panorama is one of the oldest hotels in the area, built in the 1940s. It offers its guests an exceptional panoramic view over the valley of the Adige, and the Trentino Alto Adige river to the right. But the hotel’s remote location is hours from Italy’s most popular attractions so a car is required. Rates at the Panorama are slightly higher than other hotels in the area, although they're not the most expensive.
Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The all-inclusive Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club is one of the most kid-friendly hotels in Jamaica, offering an XBOX garage for teens and tweens, as well as Camp Sesame (where Sesame Street characters can be found), a water park, and babysitting services. There are activities for adults too, with golf and scuba lessons, the Red Lane Spa, and an adults-only piano bar. Since the majority of guests are families, the resort can be noisy. The 223 rooms have upscale Caribbean style. This Beaches property has a private beach, unlike Beaches Negril Resort & Spa which only has access to a public one.
Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 74-room Siripanna is an elegant boutique resort with several unique touches. Located outside of the city center, it feels like a rural retreat, although it isn't more than a 10-minute drive from downtown. The resort features its own rice field that guests can help farm, a gorgeous traditional Thai teak house in a garden setting that can be used for weddings and romantic dinners, and lovely grounds. Rooms here incorporate plenty of teak, and have balconies, bathtubs, and huge 42-inch LCD televisions. The restaurant serves a mix of Western and Thai cuisine for all three meals, but the cloudy pool here is more like an artistic canal and isn't all that swimmer-friendly.
Hacienda Tamarindo Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This 17-room bed & breakfast on a secluded part of Vieques island, near the town of Esperanza, is owned by Vermont couple. It was decorated by the missus -- a former interior designer -- who keeps historic aspects in tact, like the nearly 270-year-old Tamarind tree at the center of the property. The New England influence is felt in the antique decor and the huge country-style breakfast portions (included in the price). An elegant outdoor pool is a point of pride for the mister with a pretty terrace and vistas of the ocean beyond. After a day in the sun, self-serve drinks can be prepared in the air-conditioned library for a low-key evening with only the sound of tree frogs as they sing their evening chorus. A car is recommended to get to beaches, and restaurants, as well as a grocery store for stocking in-room coolers (there are no mini-fridges).
Pan Pacific Vancouver Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The four-and-a-half pearl Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver is on top of Vancouver's iconic Canada Place building, which it shares with the Vancouver Convention Centre and the cruise line terminal. Buzzing with activity, the huge chain hotel has 503 elegant rooms. There’s a sophistication to the hotel that makes it a good fit for business travelers and those seeking luxurious accommodations, though some rooms are a little bland and slightly dated. The views of the harbor and mountains are breathtaking and can be seen from the rooftop pool, the lounge terrace, and from most of the rooms. Guests looking for a more intimate hotel may want to consider L'Hermitage Hotel, a small boutique hotel with elegant rooms in a residential building.
River Terrace Inn Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The three-story River Terrace Inn is a 106-room property located along a tree-lined river path. It's an upper-middle-range hotel with a range of features and services. Rooms are tastefully furnished and comfortably designed to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers. It's also romantic enough for couples, honeymooners, and those celebrating a special event. A path along the riverfront leads to the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. The inn has an outdoorsy feel yet it's within a minute's walk to dozens of restaurants and tasting rooms. It would appeal to travelers of all ages and particularly those who'd like to experience the Napa area's shops, restaurants, casinos, and vineyards, while also feeling as if they're at a private getaway. Overall, the River Terrace is a terrific value for the price.
Regent Palms Rating: 4.5 Pearls
If you are looking for a luxury hotel with access to one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches, a lively (yet relaxing) pool area, award-winning spa, and a nice selection of on-site activities -- without the zoo-like atmosphere found at some larger resorts -- the 72-condo Regent Palms may be just what the vacation doctor ordered. Located in the Grace Bay area, this is a residential property offers large, sophisticated suites and penthouses with kitchens and luxurious bathrooms. Families will likely appreciate the suites' size (up to three bedrooms) as well as activities such as water sports. The swim-up pool bar, multiple shops, and popular Parallel 23 restaurant attract couples and groups, too.
Hotel Indigo Barcelona - Plaza Catalunya Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Travelers looking for modern, clean, and comfortable lodging near the center of Barcelona will want to consider the Hotel Indigo -- Plaza Catalunya. It occupies an older building in Barcelona that once housed another hotel, but a complete remodel in 2013 has given the space a fresh look. The decor is minimalist, the art is modern, and the location -- in the Eixample district -- means shopping, restaurants, and cafes are all within close range. The 77-room hotel is a good choice for both leisure and business travelers, though families and couples are the most common types of guests encountered here.
Das Stue Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Located in Berlin’s diplomatic district, Das Stue is a boutique, luxury hotel with 79 chic rooms. From the elegant fine-dining restaurant to the cozy library, the hotel is immaculately decorated, offering the crème de la crème of hotel experiences. There is an indoor pool and a beautiful outdoor terrace. The location is a bit far from several of Berlin's tourist attractions, but there are some galleries, restaurants, and shops in the neighborhood. Guests looking for a more convenient location may want to check out Melia Berlin, a modern, upscale hotel near a transportation hub.
Morritt's Tortuga Club & Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Morritt’s Tortuga Club & Resort is a massive resort on located on the remote East End of Grand Cayman. Morritt’s is almost a small city by itself, with 204 suites on three properties within the resort, a large beachfront, three pools, two restaurants, an on-site spa, fitness center, jewelry store, and dive shop, and even its own shopping center across the street. The one- to three-bedroom condos have full kitchens and range from dated to stylish. Various surcharges due upon checkout can make guests feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed.
Hotel Monna Lisa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 45-room, upscale, family-owned Hotel Monna Lisa is set in a 14th century building that was originally a convent, then a palace, and finally a hotel in the 1950s. The architecture and decor are extraordinary, featuring the family's private collection of antique furniture and art, some by great masters. Rooms are classically decorated with silk and antiques, but vary in size, with older bathrooms. The Monna Lisa embodies Renaissance Florence; this hotel is a solid pick for guests interested in the city's culture and history.
Lakeway Resort and Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 175-room Lakeway Resort and Spa sits on a high bluff overlooking Lake Travis in Austin. With three pools, a swim-up bar, a spa, kid-friendly activities, and nearby golf and water sports, the Lakeway can be a nice getaway with lots to do. Plus, the hotel is only a half-hour drive from the more urban area of Austin. The facilities are not luxury-grade -- the furniture and decor in the common areas look a bit worn -- but the rooms are newer and upscale, and the views are breathtaking. The Lakeway also costs about half as much as the similarly-rated Travaasa Austin, which is 25 minutes away.
Rydges Kensington London Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With 81 rooms and suites, the upscale Rydges Kensington feels a little more personal than some of the larger hotels of its category. However, it still has a few important amenities (namely a small fitness center, elegant bar, and artsy restaurant) that one would expect from a higher-end property. Rooms are modern and cozy, ranging from small singles to family-size suites, and come with mini-fridges and windows that open. The bathrooms feel somewhat cramped (particularly the showers), but overall this hotel is a good choice for its convenient central-London location, and well-kept rooms and common areas.
Amara Resort and Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 100-room Amara Resort and Spa is a moderately sized Kimpton Hotel along Oak Creek in uptown Sedona. The contemporary design can feel a little overdone, but the grounds are beautiful, with an infinity pool overlooking the red rock pillars for which the area is known. Rooms are contemporary and pleasant, if not quite as stylish as those at some other Kimpton hotels. With free morning yoga and a spa with body treatments and facials, the hotel is a restful and picturesque getaway. Amid shops and galleries in Uptown Sedona, the location is ideal for tourists.
North Beach Plantation Rating: 4.0 Pearls
North Beach Plantation is one of the few upscale properties in Myrtle Beach -- and it's arguably the best of the bunch. Configured as condos and townhouses, accommodations are impeccably neat and clean. Sizes range from one-bedroom condos to five-bedroom cottages, making this a convenient pick for groups of any size. A high-end spa, a famous Myrtle Beach restaurant, a beachfront location and multiple options for pools means there is plenty to do on the property. Just note that it's a 25-minute drive to the boardwalk; those who prefer a more central location may want to consider the Anderson Ocean Club & Spa.
The Cove Eleuthera Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Far, far removed from the crowds of Nassau is this 40-acre boutique resort on Eleuthera Island. This property, which opened in 2013, is a hot spot for celebs seeking privacy, and features a jaw-dropping infinity pool and cliffside bar sitting between two man-made, pink-sand beaches. Chic, airy rooms have white decor, and enormous villas with private plunge pools and state-of-the-art kitchens are on offer. Non-villa guests without kitchens should plan on eating at the sophisticated restaurant often, since nearby options are limited. Luckily, the menu changes daily based on produce from the garden and the sushi chef spears his own fish. Cove Eleuthera is best suited for a four-day getaway -- anything longer and guests may get bored.
Knossos Beach Bungalows & Suites Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Knossos Beach Bungalows & Suites is an upscale 135-room property found right along the Sea of Crete. Built like a Greek village with classic whitewashed stone, the family-owned hotel is popular for its shallow sandy beaches and outdoor swimming pools. The food receives solid reviews, particularly Swell Restaurant, run by Michelin Star awarded chef Ettore Botrini. Some rooms are more modern than others and all have a balcony or terrace. (It's worth paying extra for a sea view.) Various recreational activities like tennis, paddle boats, and mini golf are welcome features, but fees for in-room Wi-Fi, safes, and use of the guest computer can leave visitors feeling nickel and dimed.
Diverhotel Aguadulce Rating: 3.0 Pearls
For families and divers looking for an all-inclusive chain hotel on the beach, the mid-range Diverhotel Aguadulce is a solid bet. With a serve-yourself buffet available throughout the day, it's easy to dive in El Palmer Bay, lounge by the two swimming pools, or explore the coast via bike without having to worry about meal times. Supervised entertainment for kids and teens is a welcome perk. One place guests don't spend much time is in their rooms, which need an injection of style but do have pretty sea views. The surrounding neighborhood is isolated enough to require a car.
Lumeria Maui Retreat Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The wildly pretty, four-pearl Lumeria calls itself an “educational retreat” and a “sanctuary for authentic transformational travel.” The lofty language may sound cheesy, but the property does indeed offer tranquil grounds off the beaten path in Maui, lovely design, and natural beauty. Its 24 high-ceilinged rooms are airy, with scenic views and luxurious furnishings. The lineup of programs is impressive, from yoga classes to detox cleanses to writing retreats. There's an organic restaurant, a saltwater pool, and healing spa along with plenty of places to enjoy the manicured and majestic outdoors. With caveats like limited staff, no air conditioning, and windows that are wide open for others to see through, the property does, however, seem to stress its retreat services more than guest hospitality. If a retreat isn't really your thing, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on Maui's northwest shore and Grand Wailea on the west shore offer more traditional beachfront resort-style accommodations.