Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Favorite Hotels

Tripadvisor has compiled lists of the "top hotels" in several categories. Of the top 25 hotels in the world, according to Tripadvisor, the only ones in the United States are the Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle, Henderson's Wharf Inn in Baltimore, and the French Quarter Inn in Charleston, S.C.

One of my favorites didn't make any list. It's the Duchamp in Healdsburg, Calif. The photo here of the spa and pool area gives some idea of the serenity offered by this inn in an olive grove. Almost all travelers can recall at least one place that for one reason or another seemed absolutely perfect. I've stayed at a lot of excellent hotels, but the minimalist design of the Duchamp, the fact that each room is its own tiny villa, and its almost invisible location in the heart of town make it a favorite. By the way, Healdsburg is a must on any serious tour of California's Napa and Sonoma wine country.

Do you have a favorite hotel? Please post a comment!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips for Saving on Travel

Michelle Higgins, who writes the Practical Traveler column for the New York Times travel section, offers 11 tips for saving money on travel.
For example, she recommends shopping air fares on Tuesdays because most airline sales begin on Monday evenings and within hours other airlines have reacted and adjusted their fares.
There are also tips for minimizing baggage charges, finding discount codes and avoiding foreign currency exchange fees. Michelle mentions several strategies for making low-cost international calls, too.
Save enough money on the trip itself and you can reward yourself with drinks at sunset. (That's Santa Monica, Calif., in the photo.) Cheers!