WITH 10 YEARS of travel experience, Samantha Brown is no stranger to overnight stays. Here are her five top hotel choices, from the lavish to economic. She also gives us tips on how to find a great hotel in the midst of a not-so-great economy.
1. Sunset Key Guest Cottages, Key West, FL
“It’s where I spent my honeymoon.”
Located on a luxury island 500 yards from Key West, Florida, the Sunset Key Guest Cottages offer patrons individual bungalows endowed with front porches and rocking chairs. Every morning warm muffins and freshly squeezed orange juice are left on the porch in a picnic basket for guests to enjoy over ocean views.
Rates start at $500 and climb depending on how high guests want to take their levels of luxury.
2.The Library Hotel, New York City, NY
Touted as Manhattan’s most celebrated luxury concept hotel, The Library Hotel defines modern elegance and extravagance. Rooms are filled with books on myriad subjects. From architecture to biographies, even to erotic literature, each floor is dedicated to one of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System.
Around $375 lands guests complimentary breakfasts, including espresso and cappuccino, a wine and cheese reception, and in-room access to the top 100 films from the American Film Institute. On the penthouse floor, The Library Hotel offers a poetry garden and writer’s den.
3. The Pod Hotel, New York City, NY
“Create more space by holding on to each other; you were going to do that anyway right?”
For young hipsters on a budget but unwilling to stay at Motel 6, the Pod Hotel is the perfect alternative. Established on 51st Street, the Pod Hotel offers a great location at an affordable $79-99 a night with cool features (mp3 docking stations, free WiFi, LCD TVs), and a dimmer lights.
4. Hotel San Jose, Austin, TX
This former motor lodge is now a very cool hotel with a desert Zen atmosphere. Sitting in one of Austin’s hippest neighborhoods, Hotel San Jose offers a great location on South Congress Street.
Right across the street is one of the best live music venues, The Continental, and Joe’s Coffee, which plays movies in the parking lot and live music on Sundays.
Not for quiet lovebirds, Hotel San Jose is tailored more for the party couple looking to love it up and live it up together. And with $100 rates for shared bathrooms on weekends, this hotel is definitely an affordable option.
5. Inn of the Five Graces, Santa Fe, NM
“This was one of the best beds I have ever slept in. And being on the road 240 days a year, let’s just say I’ve slept around.”
Ranging on the more expensive side, the Inn of the Five Graces averages $375 a night for an intensely romantic, mysterious, and exotic experience.
Guests feel like they have been transported by Aladdin’s magic carpet as rooms are decorated with beautiful textiles some would expect to find on the silk road. The slow, relaxed dripping water sounds of the courtyard fountains and the superbly comfortable beds make this establishment truly phenomenal.
Value added extras: free mini bar, breakfast, wine and cheese reception every evening. One of the rooms even has carving of the Kama Sutra on the headboard.
How to find the best hotel for your ever decreasing buck:
- Brown advises lovebirds to look for off-season destinations as one of the ways to help mitigate travel costs.”Right now it’s beaches, especially in the Northeast. Sure it’s cold, but you’ll have the place all to yourselves, which could be incredibly romantic.”
- Or as an alternative to traveling on the amorous holiday, Brown suggests couples create a personal version by reserving their celebratory weekend for another day: “Valentine’s Day weekend is one of the busiest in the hotel industry, so hotels are going to be able to charge whatever they want.”But if you hold off and go just one weekend later, the rates will be substantially lower. So give your sweetie your gift of a romantic weekend on Valentine’s day, but scheduled for another time. If they don’t appreciate it, then my advice would be to break up with that person; they are only going to get worse.”
- In the city, business hotels offer cheaper rates on the weekends (think Wall Street in NYC). “Take advantage of the road warriors going home.”
- Las Vegas and Orlando have cheaper rates during the week.
- Check out the destination’s Visitor’s Bureau website. “These sites really cater to people in search of deals.”
- BedandBreakfast.com: B&Bs are great, inexpensive options for the cozy couple just looking to get away from it all. “They are no longer like staying at an aunt’s house that smells of bad perfume and cats.”
For more information on Samantha Brown, including her taping schedule, you can visit her page on the Travel Channel website.