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Sip, Shop and Savor: The Langham Place Hong Kong

Wednesday April 16, 2014

The Langham Place Hong Kong stands right in the heart of busy, busy Mongkok, attached to a multi-story high-end shopping mall filled with designer and high-end shops. When the hotel opened in Mongkok nearly a decade ago, it was described as an "art gallery masquerading as a hotel." The shopping districts surrounding the hotel, with everything from antique reproductions to high-end designer goods, have to be seen to be believed. There's even a multi-story, 200-store mall attached to the hotel. Afterwards, indulge in some balancing of your elements via the techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine practiced in the Chaun Spa, and dine in the two-Michelin-star Ming Court. Sip, shop and savor at Langham Place Mongkok, Hong Kong.

Image copyright Charlyn Keating, licensed to About.com

5 things to love about 88 Xintiandi

Tuesday April 15, 2014

In the midst of European-style tree-lined boulevards dotted with designer stores stands a boutique hotel with a truly personal touch. 88 Xintiandi captures the feel of a residence right from the lobby; in the center of the wood floor is inlaid a tile mosaic salvaged from an old Chinese home. That's just the start of the charm within this old-style hotel within new and flashy Xintiandi. Here are just a few things I love about 88 Xintiandi.

Image copyright Charlyn Keating, licensed to About.com

Heaven on Earth: The Langham Xintiandi Shanghai

Monday April 14, 2014

View from the Bund in Shanghai

I was able to cross two destinations off my travel wish list that had been added ages ago: Shanghai and Hong Kong. Exploring them for just a brief time, I realized something. No sooner had I checked them off my wish list, I added them to another list: places I hope to return to, and soon.

Shanghai is one of those places in the world that captures the imagination of travelers. Exploring Shanghai, you'll find a city that embraces modern aesthetics and can even look futuristic in places, alongside enduring ancient traditions and vestiges of the recent past that have yet to be erased by progress. In the heart of Xintiandi stands theLangham Shanghai, a beacon of Western hospitality. I can think of no better place to start your exploration of Shanghai.

Image copyright Charlyn Keating, licensed to About.com


Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Thursday April 10, 2014

When I heard Universal Orlando opened a new on-site hotel, I had to go. For years, there have been only three hotels on property - Hard Rock, Portofino Bay, and Royal Pacific. Each is unique, and each appeals for different reasons. After checking in to Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which just opened last week, I'm thrilled to say there's a fourth option to love.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is on the value end, which means rooms are less expensive than at the other three. You can still enjoy all of the perks of staying on-site, including early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with one exception - your hotel key won't get you front-of-line access to the attractions as it does with the other resorts. Plan your trip during off-season, or invest in Express Passes if you want that perk.

The 1950s and 1960s retro vibe is charming and fun, food and drinks were a hit with my whole family, and the pool area sports a water slide, ping-pong tables and (this summer) a lazy river. Standard rooms are available, but if you have a family of five or six (or even four), opt for a family suites. Created with the cleverest design I've seen in any family suite, it will give you extra room, a kitchenette, and a bathroom where three people can actually get ready at one time.

Image copyright Charlyn Keating, licensed to About.com.

A Fun and Funky Hotel in NYC You Can Afford

Tuesday April 8, 2014

If you're looking for an affordable Manhattan hotel that's very close to Times Square (three blocks away) and the Port Authority bus station yet delightfully removed from the chaos, then YOTEL needs to be on your radar.

The fun name says a lot about the kind of experience you're going to have here. And the funky exterior, which glows purple, also gives a hint that this is a fun-loving and rather futuristic kind of hotel. The idea is that everything about a hotel stay should be as easy and convenient as possible. Check into the fun and funky YOTEL in NYC.

Image courtesy Yotel

Gay Friendly Hotels

Wednesday April 2, 2014

For gay travelers, the world is opening up at a record pace when it comes to gay-friendly travel opportunities as states and countries adopt laws that look to legalize gay marriage. And similarly, gay-friendly hotels, inns and resorts are also on the rise everywhere from Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam.

But what, exactly, makes a hotel gay-friendly? And how do you find them?

Going to Europe? Think Outside the (Big American Brand) Box

Tuesday April 1, 2014

When it comes to planning a European vacation, it can be easy to click on the websites of your go-to American hotel chains to see what kind of options they offer in popular European cities like Paris, Rome and Prague. But if you only consider those American hotel names you know by heart when traveling to Europe, you're likely to miss out on some of the best hotel rates on the continent. European hotel chains don't always have names you automatically recognize, but they can often be quite a bit cheaper than the American chains you're familiar with.

Want to Score a Hotel Upgrade? Use These Magic Words.

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Ever wonder if there's a magic phrase you can use to score an upgrade when checking in to your hotel? When it comes to getting upgraded, a little niceness goes a long way. Keep these phrases ready the next time you travel, and up your chances for an upgrade.

Hotel Trend: Flexible Check-in Times

Tuesday March 25, 2014

If you travel enough, surely you'll recognize the following scenario. An overnight flight across the country or to Europe has you arriving in the wee hours of the morning. And, chances are, you're far from well-rested thanks to a snoring row mate or the exceedingly uncomfortable experience of a middle row seat in coach.

Your prerogative is simple, your needs basic. But attaining them is often a challenge. All you want is to be able to check into your hotel room to freshen up with a hot shower and possibly even fit in a nap to help get over your jet lag -- or catapult you back to top form before an afternoon meeting. Read on for tips on how you can get flexibility on check-in times - like a pro.

Fitness-Focused Hotels

Wednesday March 19, 2014

At home, walking's my favorite way to keep fit, enjoy some fresh air and reconnect with nature. But when I'm on the road, in keeping with the adventure of traveling to a new place, I see it as the perfect excuse to expand my exercise horizons. Something as simple as a walk outside turns invigorating when you're exploring foreign shores. And what better excuse could you have to try a new fitness class, whether it's Bollywood Burn on the in-room TV or a yoga class among the dolphins. Check out this round-up of fitness-focused hotels that cater to your healthy lifestyle.

Image courtesy Milliken Creek Inn

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