European Style for $17/Night! Hip Hostels to Open in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Rome
Dreaming about visiting Europe this year? We have good news that might encourage you to hit that "book" button, especially if you're a solo traveler. Design-focused Generator, a line of chic, affordable European hostels, is opening three new locations in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Rome, just in time for the peak season.
Millennials especially dig this brand—with locations in trendy neighborhoods in Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, and Berlin, to name a few—and the way each property blends local culture, art, events, music, and food with interactive guest experiences, a.k.a. getting to know your fellow travelers instead of just passing them in the hallways.
Read on for details about each new location. Which will you visit first?
When it's opening: March 16
What it'll cost: From about $17 for a dorm bed in a shared room, $72 for a private room, $111 for a luxury suite
Where it's located: In the uber-hip East Amsterdam 'hood, right next to the newly renovated Oosterpark.
Cool perks: It will be the only upscale hostel in the city. Housed in an historical building built in 1908 as the University of Amsterdam’s science department, the hostel is celebrating its DNA by keeping the lecture hall and science lab aesthetics while giving the space a modern twist. The main common space, named Nescio after a famous Dutch writer, has a café with locally-sourced dishes that’s open daily for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner; a day-to-night lounge that was once an auditorium, with the professor’s desk serving as the bar; and a library with shelves filled with bright orange books and wood heritage accents intact to impress Ron Burgundy.
Activities like beer tastings, coffee master classes, Vanmoof bikes, and movie screenings keep guests busy, and for those who want to splurge, there’s a luxury Sky Suite Apartment with views of Oosterpark and two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and TV. Later this year they’ll open an underground speakeasy bar in the former boiler room.
When it's opening: June 2016
What it'll cost: From about $24 for a dorm bed in a shared room, $77 for a private room
Where it's located: Just a five-minute walk from Drottninggatan, a must-walk street dating back to the 1600s. The pedestrian boulevard is lined with boutiques and restaurants running through downtown Stockholm. It’s also close to Central Station.
Cool perks: This is a large property, with 11 floors and 244 rooms and a lobby café that doubles as a work space. The bar and restaurant offer both Swedish and international eats. For those traveling with a group or staying longer, luxury suites are available.
When it's opening: Summer 2016
What it'll cost: From about $20 for a dorm bed in a shared room, $77 for a private room
Where it's located: In the heart of the Eternal City, on Via Principe Amedeo near the Mercato dell’Esquilino, the bustling market famed for its fresh international produce. The 78-room property is also close to many prime attractions, including the Roman Colosseum.
Cool perks: Mangia at the industrial-style Bistro, or take in views of the Apennine Mountains while you're perched up in the rooftop lounge, seven stories above the city.
$69 Flights to Caribbean Paradise? You Bet!
When it’s this cold outside, all we can imagine is lying on the beach with coconut trees as shade, sipping on delicious local rum. And now Norwegian Air is making our tropical paradise dreams come true, releasing a crazy-good deal for flights as low as $69 each way to Martinique, one of our Where to Go in 2016 destinations. That's 10 bucks lower than rates we reported just a few weeks ago. What's more, Norwegian is offering additional flights: up to eight nonstops every week out of the U.S., including just-added flights on Sundays in April out of New York City's JFK airport. Once you touch down, the island's currency is the euro, and with the dollar still going strong, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Budget Traveler-–friendly perks aside, we love the French Caribbean island for its varied landscape: Rain forest preserves and black-sand beaches in the north, plus white-sand beaches in the south make it perfect for adventurers and beach bums alike. Two-thirds of the island is protected parkland, so it's no surprise it was nicknamed the Island of Flowers by the Caribbean Indians dating back centuries. Get up close and personal with the island’s greenery at The Balata Botanical Gardens, which is home to more than 3,000 species of tropical plants and flowers, including Instagram-worthy ponds dotted with lilies and lotus blossoms (admission about $15, jardindebalata.fr). And the selection of French and Creole restaurants—ranging from street food to elegant dining—makes Martinique perfect for foodie travelers.
Icelandair’s New Buddy System Will Team You Up With a Local—For Free!
If you thought free in-flight movies and unlimited snacks were a major perk, Icelandair is really raising the stakes for airline amenities. Their new Stopover Buddy program provides you with a pal to show you around the country. All you have to do is book a flight across the Atlantic and opt to stay in Iceland—our top pick for Where to Go in 2016—for up to seven days on a layover, which won’t run you any extra airfare. Then they’ll team you up with a pal who shares your interests (food, adventure, nature, etc.) for one of the days. The only cost is paying for your new friend’s food, admission, and whatever else you decide to do that day. That’s an excellent deal considering you're getting your own personal tour guide who has the local scoop. The airline will match you with a buddy who is all about your personal tastes and knows the region well. Icelandair employees are as varied as the people who visit their country, spending their time doing everything from swimming in the ocean to mountain biking, heli-skiing, cross-country running, and knitting, and they want to share it with you. For example, there are Adventure Buddies for a day on the ski slopes; Culture Buddies who will take you beyond the museums; Food Buddies who know the culinary hotspots and just might bring you to catch your dinner; Health Buddies for bike rides, runs, and other athletic expeditions; Lifestyle Buddies to lead you on mountain climbs and volcano explorations; and Nature Buddies who will put you in the saddle on an Icelandic horse. You can even opt to go backcountry skiing with Icelandair’s CEO, Birkir Holm Gudnason. Icelandair will help you schedule a time and meet-up point, and then you’re all set. But keep in mind that travelers have to be 18 years or older, and must stop in Iceland before heading to their final destination. Also, the Stopover Buddy program won’t last forever—it’s only now through April 30—so now's the time to make a new friend overseas.
Spring Trips to Book NOW
Sure, the snow is still falling, but that doesn’t mean you can only dream about your spring getaway. We've lined up some great deals that you have to jump on right away: TULUM, MEXICO is the “quiet side” of the popular Riviera Maya, a tranquil Caribbean beach town that’s more affordable and less crowded than its rowdy neighbor Cancun mid-March through April. Hit the warm spring beaches, tropical forests, and the ancient Mayan pyramids. BedandBreakfast.com has rentals starting at under $100. PARIS & AMSTERDAM are within reach with a package tour from TripMasters that includes three nights in the City of Light (springtime in Paris is legendary for public gardens, flowering trees, and romantic strolls), three nights in the city of canals and tulips (Amsterdam is a Technicolor wonderland in spring!), and airfare -- all starting around $1,300. BLUE HARBOR RESORT, WISCONSIN on Lake Michigan is an affordable road-trip option for Midwestern families, a drive from Chicago, Milwaukee, or Green Bay. Breaker Bay Waterpark with rides and a wave pool is the attraction for kids, and the resort also offers fine dining, a luxurious spa, and even glow-in-the-dark miniature golf. Save 30 percent on the Blue Harbor Resort "Spring Splashdown” with rooms starting under $150 if you book now.
25 affordable last-minute romantic getaways for Valentine's Day
Baby, it’s cold outside, and we’re fantasizing about going on “love leave” this February to the coziest, quietest corners of the world. We tapped our savvy friends in the travel biz and found four amazing deals to some of the most luxurious, romantic (and now totally accessible!) spots. From the cuddle-worthy New England coast to the white sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, we’ve got your back when it comes to impressing your SigOth this Valentine’s Day. NORTHEASTERN GETAWAYS Boston, Massachusetts, is one of America’s best cities for new music, and if music be the food of love, play on! Aloft Boston Seaport presents some of Beantown’s best local talent at its live, intimate performances each Thursday evening in the WXYZ Bar. Ask for a room with a water view. From $169/night. Boston is also one of the most design- and technology-forward cities, and Element Boston Seaport is “green from the ground up,” with water-efficient fixtures, kitchens with Energy Star-rated appliances, in-room recycling, and design details like picture frames fashioned from recycled tires. From $179/night Cape May, New Jersey, is one of our favorite oceanside destinations, an easy escape from NYC and Philly. Peter Shields Inn will impress even the most jaded travelers with its 20th-century Georgian Revival mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, nine luxe guestrooms, and one of the city's best fine-dining restaurants. Maybe most impressive of all, rooms start at $99/night. Clayton, New York, feels like a trip back in time, with shop-lined Victorian-era streets along the St. Lawrence riverfront. The 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel will lavish lovebirds with Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, cheese, and gourmet nuts on arrival, plus rose-petal turndown service and breakfast for two at Seaway Grille. From $189/night. Edgartown, Massachusetts, combines old-world charm with sleek contemporary fixtures and amenities, and in winter you can experience the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard minus the summer crowds. Harbor View Hotel offers a farm-fresh prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu at its signature restaurant, Lighthouse Grille (named for the classic Edgartown Lighthouse in the harbor outside the hotel’s windows. Browse Edgartown’s beautiful shops and galleries. Film fans will recognize Edgartown’s old-timey New England storefronts from Jaws, which was filmed on the VIneyard in the 1970s. From $109/night. Kennebunkport, Maine, wants to be “New England’s Most Romantic Town,” and its “Paint the Town Red” festivities have the whole town decked out in red twinkly lights, with great deals to get you there. Kennebunkport Resort Collection is offering the “Love KPT” lodging package that includes a two-night stay for two people at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel (starting at $373) or the Kennebunkport Inn (starting at $405), arrival goodies of red wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, a three course dinner for two, and a late check-out at noon. And since romance isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day, the package is available through March 30, 2017. Lake Placid, New York, is one of the coolest towns in Upstate New York, with great opportunities for cross-country skiing in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain’s 284 skiable acres, and great food and shopping. Hotel North Woods, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, is an indulgent lodging with views of charming Main Street, Mirror Lake (right in town!), and the Adirondacks’ legendary High Peaks. From $99/night. Mystic, Connecticut, boasts The Whaler’s Inn, a charming New England classic that offers a romantic dinner for two, floral arrangements, assorted local chocolates, and a bottle of sparkling wine for couples. The town of Mystic is home to some of the coolest living history experiences in America, with its Seaport and great aquarium. From $195/night. Stowe, Vermont, offers a gorgeous setting in the Green Mountains (near one of America’s great ski destinations). Field Guide, a new boutique B&B, provides Instagrammable guestrooms, and indulgent amenities for your romantic escape. From $139/night. Westport, Connecticut, is one of the Nutmeg State’s coolest towns, with great theater, food, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s guided nature tours, and Sharpe Hill Vineyards award-winning wines. Westport Inn, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, will pamper you in sweet serenity. From $127/night. SOUTHERN GETAWAYS New Orleans, Louisiana, is known for its incredible music, food, and party scene, but its charming old-world streets and thriving gardens make it a wonderful place to take a “love leave.” Canal Street Inn is located along the city's most iconic thoroughfare, Canal a 30-minute ride on one of the city’s iconic streetcar lines to the French Quarter, and an easy walk to exceptional restaurants. The inn’s gardens will charm you with live oak, fruit, and pecan trees—a nice break the Big Easy's bustle. From $145/night. Williamsburg, Virginia, is known for Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and many more local attractions. The Kingsmill Resort puts couples up in style with its Bed & Breakfast Special, including a cozy guestroom, homemade breakfast, a free shuttle around the resort and the amazing local Williamsburg attractions, plus indoor pool and spa. From $171/night. Wimberly, Texas, is one of the gems of Texas Hill Country, known for its great wines and proximity to hotspots like Austin and San Antonio. Blair House features an art gallery highlighting the work of local artists, a day spa with a sauna, and even a cooking school. From $160/night. MIDWESTERN GETAWAYS Chicago, Illinois, may be the ultimate “shockingly affordable” American city, with culture, food, and activities that are second to none. Villa D' Citta offers luxury in a 19th-century Greystone mansion in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood, including a kitchen fully stocked with Italian meats, imported cheeses and fresh bread that is always open to guests. Insider tip: Ask for a made-to-order pizza cooked in the inn's stone oven and served with a complimentary carafe of house wine (from $129/night). Chicago is also home to the Magnificent Mile’s amazing shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, and Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile gets you right in the heart of the action, including nearby Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, legendary Wrigley Field (home of the world champion Chicago Cubs), Millennium Park, and Soldier’s Field (from $105/night). WESTERN GETAWAYS Golden, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is a historic Old West town nearby some of the best skiing in America. The Golden Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, looks out over Clear Creek, offers shuttle service within a five-mile radius for taking in the best of Golden’s local history and culture, plus a cozy indoor fireplace perfect for snuggling after a day in the snow. From $169/night. Grand Canyon, Arizona, is, of course, a jaw-dropping national park, and it also makes for an off-the-beaten-path romantic escape. Ride the scenic railway for 50 percent off for Valentine’s Day, a gorgeous 90-minute ride across high desert plains, arroyos, and ponderosa pine forest from Williams Depot to the Grand Canyon Depot, a short walk from the South Rim. The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel starts at $120/night. Taos, New Mexico, with its artsy Historic Plaza, Taos Mountain, and incredible history and culture, will melt stress upon your arrival. Hacienda Del Sol offers 12 large guestrooms among several adobe structures, decorated in Southwest style. You’ll love the private outdoor hot tub. From $160/night. Whitefish, Montana, is beautiful year-round. In winter, Good Medicine Lodge is your cozy, charming gateway to Whitefish Mountain skiing and Glacier National Park’s winter wonderland. Guestrooms and suites are beautifully appointed, and you can order your breakfast each evening for the next morning. From $130/night. PACIFIC COAST GETAWAYS Anderson, California, is an epicenter of outdoor activities in California’s unparalleled great outdoors. Gaia Hotel & Spa Redding, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, offers a heated pool, complimentary Wolgang Puck coffee and tea, free WiFi, and a fitness center. From $93/night. Cloverdale, California. This Sonoma County town is smack in the heart of wine country, overlooking the vineyards of Anderson Valley. The Auberge on the Vineyard offers seven rooms in an early 20th-century Queen Anne Victorian with a lovely wrap-around verandah and the remodeled Carriage House. You’ll love the three-course breakfasts, and you’ll even love the bill, from $140/night. Napa, California, isn’t exactly “under the radar,” but it is one of the most romantic escapes in America. Napa Winery Inn, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, is near the beautiful Napa Wine Trail, several well-known vineyards (including Robert Mondavi Winery), the historic Napa Valley Opera House, and much more. From $185/night. Seattle, Washington, is one of our favorite affordable cities for its Pike Place Market, stunning views, and design-forward aesthetic. Sleeping Bulldog Bed and Breakfast boasts a central location, freshly baked cookies, and innkeepers who are Seattle natives who are happy to dispense locals-know-best tips. From $141/night. CARIBBEAN GETAWAYS El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico, is the setting for the stunning El Yunque Rainforest Inn, on five acres that draw birdwatchers, hikers, and horseback riders for its beauty and tranquility (not to mention the inn’s luxurious claw-foot bathtubs and fireplaces). From $165/night. Nassau, Bahamas, is home to Paradise Island, which is genuinely as awesome as its name suggests. Enjoy all the splendor of the island without breaking the bank at A Stone's Throw Away, with its luxe lounge spaces, wraparound verandah, and welcoming staff. From $180/night. MEXICO Tulum, Mexico, is a short flight from the U.S. and an enticingly romantic escape. Casa Jacqueline will spoil you with stunning views (including star-gazing), jacuzzi, pool, and a quick walk to Cenote Manatee and a short drive to Tulum’s iconic Mayan ruins. From $140/night. COSTA RICA Las Catalinas is an innovative seaside town on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The car-free community is being built as a walkable beach town between the ocean and the mountains on the wildlife-rich Guanacaste peninsula. Studio Casa Indigo offers an intimate hideaway with complimentary sparkling wine and brigadeiros (irresistible Latin American chocolates), from $195/night. (To make reservations or for more details, visit lascatalinascr.com.)