In 2016, I spent 60 nights staying in 31 hotels or other accommodations during my travels to Costa Rica, Florida, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northern Michigan, and Kentucky. In this post, I’m sharing the most luxurious resorts and hotels and the coziest of bed & breakfasts and Airbnb finds where I stayed this past year.
Top Five Boutique Hotel Stays Of 2016
I love luxury boutique hotels for their contemporary styling, themed decor, unique amenities, and personalized hospitality. The five hotels I’m featuring here are hip and trendy, for sure, but what set them apart was making me feel like a VIP.
HotelRED | Madison, Wisconsin
Located across the street from the University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium, HotelRED embraces its collegiate neighbor’s signature color. Pops of red are found throughout the trendy and contemporary lobby and 48 rooms and suites. Complimentary covered parking, the shower’s multiple jets, receiving a local Madison-made chocolate upon check-in, and dining at The Wise Restaurant & Bar were my favorite aspects of my HotelRED stay.
For more information about HotelRED:
The Commons Hotel | Minneapolis, Minnesota
Geek meets chic at the Commons Hotel. Located on the University of Minnesota campus, the hotel’s decor is a nod to the scholastic location and to Minneapolis’s industrial history. The spacious and modern lobby is filled with cozy reading nooks, luxurious leather chesterfield sofas, molecular chandeliers, and plenty of plaid. My room’s argyle wall, geek-chic design details carried throughout the hotel, and dining at Beacon Public House made me wish I could have extended my stay.
For more information about the Commons Hotel:
Vintage Inn | Yountville, California
Vising Napa Valley in March with my sister and two of her best girls from New York City, we stayed at this lovely hotel in Yountville. Set up like a village of apartments, the Vintage Inn is steps from Yountville’s fine dining, including chef Thomas Keller’s the French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery. Our adorable two double-bed room had a fireplace, small refrigerator for storing bottles of wine, a complimentary bottle of Chardonnay, and a spacious bathroom with an oversized tub. The Vintage Inn seems ideal for a romantic getaway or honeymoon, and it was just right for our girls’ trip.
For more information about Vintage Inn:
Hotel Corque | Solvang, California
Having spent the day wine tasting around Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, I was ready for a luxurious slumber when I reached Solvang. Hotel Corque proved to be the perfect pit stop between Santa Barbara and my late morning tasting at Demetria Estate. My spacious room had the most comfortable king-size bed and a bathroom with two separate sinks and vanities. In the morning, I walked down the street to Danish bakeries, gift shops, and the post office to mail postcards. I wish I could have spent two or three nights in Solvang, California’s little Danish town, to explore and wine taste around Santa Barbara County.
For more information about Hotel Corque:
Hotel Irvine | Irvine, California
While attending the Women in Travel Summit in March, I stayed in this boutique Orange County hotel. The lobby seemed to constantly be bustling with conference attendees and hotel guests checking in and out, perusing the fantastically convenient marketplace, and drinking at the lively Red Bar. My two double-bed room was accented with a bold orange wall and was a comfortable size to share with my travel buddy Jen, whom I met while volunteering in Peru.
For more information about Hotel Irvine:
The Coziest B&Bs & Airbnb Rentals Of 2016
When visiting a destination that doesn’t have luxury hotels, booking a bed & breakfast maintains the high-quality hospitality I desire. I’ve also been using Airbnb this year. If you plan to book an Airbnb rental, please use my referral link.
Bingham Hall | New Ulm, Minnesota
In August, I visited New Ulm to experience how Germans have more fun. My first night was spent sleeping in this extremely comfortable queen-size bed after checking out the local dining scene with the B&B owner, Shannon. My room, The Elijah, had a gas fireplace, a full-body massage chair, the plushest bath towels, and a two-person Jacuzzi. It was a romantic room that I totally under utilized, which is why I’d love to return for a romantic getaway someday.
For more information about Bingham Hall:
Airbnb: Treetops Delight in Northern Door County | Sister Bay, Wisconsin
Hosted by Eileen and George, I felt thoroughly welcome in their Wisconsin home. They list their two upstairs bedrooms on Airbnb, and I stayed in Treetops Delight, which had a balcony surrounded by green treetops. Eileen and George were so hospitable — welcoming me with the cutest chalkboard greeting, serving me wine the evening I arrived and a full and delicious breakfast each morning, making my dinner reservation, and offering wonderful itinerary suggestions for a foodie and first-time visitor to Door County. I fell in love with Door County, so I’m sure I’ll visit the area again. When I do, if I don’t stay in Treetops Delight, I’ll certainly be stopping in Sister Bay to catch up with Eileen and George.
Airbnb: Studio Walk to Beach & Downtown | Laguna Beach, California
In Gary’s studio apartment in the lower level of his Laguna Beach home, I was a short downhill stroll from the beach, Laguna Beach Art Museum, dining, shopping, Whole Foods for groceries, and art galleries. The studio had everything I needed — a queen-size bed, kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave, and even beach chairs!
Deutsche Strasse Bed & Breakfast | New Ulm, Minnesota
My second night in New Ulm, I moved a couple blocks down German Street from Bingham Hall to Deutsche Strasse. The real highlight was Ramona’s delicious four-course breakfast served with the B&B’s exclusive signature coffee. I stayed in the Crystal Room, decorated with Austrian crystal accents. The room was so cozy with its pair of fireside slider chairs and Whirlpool tub for two.
For more information about Deutsche Strasse Bed & Breakfast:
Tritsch House | Alma, Wisconsin
While on my Midwest road trip in late spring, I visited Wisconsin’s Great River Road on my way to Minneapolis. Located in Alma, the Tritsch House is a historic Queen Anne with an upstairs view of the Mississippi River. The rooms are decorated in period furniture and unique antiques. My room, the Belle of Alma, had a private bathroom, Jacuzzi tub, sofa, and queen-size bed with luxury linens. I particularly liked the gorgeous billiards table in the parlor and the continental breakfast spread in the morning.
For more information about Tritsch House:
What other travelers are saying about Tritsch House on TripAdvisor
Airbnb: Just a Stone’s Throw Cottage | Rapid City, Michigan
In August, the boyfriend and I decided to book a last-minute romantic getaway to Traverse City. Booking three days before our travel date didn’t leave us with many options. It was the end of the high summer tourism season and most hotels were booked or would blow our budget. Luckily we found Catherine’s 3-bedroom cottage just a block from Elk Lake. We didn’t mind driving 30 minutes to Traverse City because we had a fire pit to roast marshmallows for s’mores when we returned to the cottage at night.
My Luxury Resort Stays Of 2016
Sometimes travel should be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. A vacation. Some travelers may find this at a yoga retreat, having a spa weekend, or lounging at the beach. I prefer unwinding at a luxury resort, where peaceful slumber, spa treatments, delicious meals, and fancy cocktails can all be conveniently experienced in one place.
Dreams Las Mareas | El Jobo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
My 2016 travels commenced with a relaxing five-night, six-day vacation in Costa Rica. My best friend of 20+ years and I wanted to celebrate our 30th birthdays at a tropical all-inclusive resort where we could relax poolside with piña coladas, enjoy massages and spa treatments, and escape to exciting excursions in the rain forest. We certainly found all of that at Dreams Las Mareas.
For more information about Dreams Las Mareas:
Temecula Creek Inn | Temecula, California
On a press trip to Temecula, I stayed in a rustic-chic room with a plush king-size bed and this magnificent view of the golf course from my balcony. My room was only a short walk from Cork | Fire Kitchen, where I enjoyed a delicious dinner and drinks. I’ll be sharing more from my California trip this winter and spring.
For more information about Temecula Creek Inn:
More Upscale Hotels Visited In 2016
This time of year I start making travel plans. Since you are likely doing the same, I also wanted to share with you the other hotels where I’ve stayed. I recommend these upscale hotels for their luxurious accommodations and amenities, commitment to providing excellent service, and close proximity to dining and attractions.
The Marquette Hotel | Minneapolis, Minnesota
For more information about the Marquette:
The Saint Paul Hotel | Saint Paul, Minnesota
For more information about the Saint Paul Hotel:
Radisson Blu Mall of America | Bloomington, Minnesota
For more information about the Radisson Blu Mall of America:
Hilton San Diego Bayfront | San Diego, California
More information about the Hilton San Diego Bayfront:
Grafton on Sunset | West Hollywood, California
For more information on Grafton on Sunset:
Hyatt Regency | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
For more information about the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee:
Aloft | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
For more information about Aloft Milwaukee:
Great Hotels From When I Felt Budget-Conscious In 2016
As I’m starting to plan my 2017 trips, I’ve been thinking about budgeting more than I ever have in the past. One of the ways I’ve been able to splurge on luxury hotels in 2016 was by saving money staying at less expensive accommodations for portions of my travel. These mid-range and budget hotels were fantastic options where I enjoyed amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, complimentary coffee all day in the lobby, pools, and — my favorite — the chocolate chip cookie I received at the DoubleTree.
Hilton Garden Inn Monterey | Monterey, California
More information about Hilton Garden Inn Monterey:
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Irvine-Spectrum | Irvine, California
More information about DoubleTree by Hilton Irvine – Spectrum:
Home2 Suites by Hilton | Roseville, Minnesota
For more information about Home2 Suites by Hilton in Roseville:
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort | Lake Buena Vista, Florida
More information about Disney’s All-Star Music Resort:
Castle Inn | Cambria, California
For more information about Castle Inn:
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Which of these fabulous accommodations would you book for your 2017 travels?
Disclosure: This post contains links to affiliate partners and sponsored posts. As always, all opinions are my own.