Lodging in Santa Barbara, California (II)

Category: Travel Blog

Lodging in Santa Barbara, California (II)

Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, located in Southern California. If you’ve planned a tour of the Central California Coast, then Santa Barbara is definitely the best overnight destination. This articles series will reveal everything you need to know about lodging in Santa Barbara, California:


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Canary Hotel – A Spanish-Moorish nest in downtown Santa Barbara


In the early 2000s, an aging building in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara was demolished to make way for a luxury hotel. Hotel Andalucia rose from the ashes in this primo spot, with easy access to SB arts, culture and nightlife. 


In 2008, the folks who own Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica gave the Andalucia a makeover and a new name to align it with its step-siblings down south. 


The Canary — named after the Canary Islands — is now a Kimpton Hotel. It looks like a Spanish-Moroccan island getaway, complete with African rugs, yoga mats and candles.


If you stay here, be sure to spend time up on the 6th floor Perch, where some of SB’s best views unfold in all directions. Finch & Fork restaurant and bar on the main floor serves locally sourced, bistro-style comfort food (think grilled fish tacos and sheep’s milk ravioli). If you’re a shellfish fan, don’t miss the fresh seafood raw bar, with lobster, crab, shrimp and ceviche.



Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Chumash Casino Resort – Vegas without the glitz

Set within the Chumash reservation in rural Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort attracts visitors from all over the southland.


The casino (must be 18 years old to enter) has 2,000 slots and video machines, plus blackjack, poker and other gaming tables, and bingo. 


The resort's main draw is the Samala Showroom, where you view world-class stars up-close from the 1,400 riser-style seats. 


The adjacent hotel has a full-service spa, pool, hot tub and fitness center — a great place to chill while friends and family members hit the slots, or when you need a break from the action. Room rates range from $180 to $550. 


When hunger pangs hit, choose among three eateries: The Willows (dinner), an all-you-can-eat buffet (breakfast and lunch) and a casual cafe that serves quick meals round the clock.


The casino operates free shuttles from Goleta, Lompoc and Santa Maria — visit their website for schedules.


Best Places to Stay in Venice, Italy

Lodging is abundant in Venice, but tends to be expensive and frequently booked up, especially during high season – April to August. So plan ahead and book rooms well in advance especially between May and October.



Best Places to Stay in Venice, Italy: Pensione Accademia Villa Maravege


The Pensióne Accademia Villa Maravege, originally a private residence, served as the Russian Embassy between the two World Wars and since 1955 has been a hotel. The hotel is located near the Galleria dell'Accademia in the Dorsoduro district.


The twenty-seven rooms range widely in price from reasonable to high-end with views over the canal or the hotel's gardens and each room has a private bathroom. A buffet breakfast is included in the rate and is served in the garden in the summer months.


There is no elevator, but there are handicap accessible rooms.


There is a garden and Wi-Fi is available but you must pay by the hour. The Salmaso family also has apartments neighboring their restaurant, Ristorante da Raffae.



Best Places to Stay in Venice, Italy: Pensione Calcina


Pensióne Calcina is a family-owned and operated hotel with twenty-nine rooms on the waterfront in the Dorsoduro district overlooking the Giudecca canal over to the island of Giudecca.


All rooms have Internet, wood-parquet floors and private bathroom. 


Calcina has a cafe, bar and restaurant. Dining options include an indoor dining room, garden terrace and rooftop terrace. Dishes are made using local and seasonal ingredients. They use only extra-virgin olive oil and only Italian wines are served.



Best Places to Stay in Venice, Italy: Venice Hostel


The youth Hostel in Venice, part of the Hosteling International network, is on the island of Giudecca.


If you are traveling alone, or with a companion, hostels are one of the least expensive options since you are paying per bed, not room. 


Remember that to have an enjoyable stay you should get into the hostel mindset, which involves embracing noise, more of a social scene, and sharing space, including bathrooms. If you are in the mood, backpacking and staying at youth hostels are fun, cheap ways to travel. If you are not in the right frame of mind, they can seem nightmarish, and you are probably best advised to find an inexpensive pensión or pensión-style hostel to stay in where you can have your own room.


Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose (III)

"Yes!" It's such a powerful word that it can bring men to their knees. A word that they hope to hear when that big moment arrives. To set the stage to pop the "M" question, here are some of the most romantic places in the world to propose, which help you both relax. These destinations will get her in the mood for romance and create memories that will last forever—till death do you part…


5. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Ka'ana Luxury Boutique Hotel—San Ignacio, Belize

When Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss proposed to his partner, Shannon Tweed on television in Belize, it became the "it" spot for romance. Your getaway can include reserving your own waterfall and natural pool. At the edge of the pool, a jungle platform sits, with a slate floor, thatched roof and chairs and tables for dining. Another option: Hike to a luxury safari camp set at the base of a Maya Temple and dine under the stars, surrounded by majestic temples. Then join your personal guide for the ascent to the highest temple where you will enjoy 360-degree views. The Blue Hole is one of the most famous sites located along the second largest barrier reef in the world. Arrange a private charter flight to view the natural wonder from above. The circular ring shape is a perfect opportunity to pull out the REAL ring to place on her finger. (It's also the famous site filmed on ABC's The Bachelor.)


6. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Inverlochy Castle Hotel —Torlundy, Fort William, Scotland

Scotland's Inverlochy Castle Hotel is known for its fantastic food and wine as well as for its luxury accommodations. It's in the Scottish Highlands perfectly situated amongst mountains and glens. Through the years, the hotel has attracted such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, Elton John and Anthony Hopkins, plus an array of politicians and royals from around the world. "I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot", wrote Queen Victoria in her diary, while visiting for a week's holiday. This occurred in September 1873, one hundred years before Inverlochy was transformed from a private country house estate into a luxury 5 star hotel. The bedroom in which she stayed is now the Honeymoon Suite, with four poster bed, draped in shades of soft pink and peach, offering the most perfect and peaceful setting. It is not surprising to learn that Inverlochy was voted Romantic Hotel of 1997, and continues to be a "romantic spot", year after year.


Best Cities to Visit in China (VIII): Shanghai

Best Cities to Visit in China: Shanghai


"No other city fell to communism in so feverish a whirl of pleasure, dissoluteness, rapacity, and squalor…those who witnessed it will almost certainly never see its like again." – Pan Ling, In Search of Old Shanghai


If Beijing pulls the country's strings, Shanghai is surely the locomotive, propelling the country ahead with its financial clout and designer lifestyle. Back when the rest of the China was still regarding the outside world with a mix of aloofness and distrust, Shanghai was already eagerly importing the foreign ideas and trends that would go on to shape the country in the 20th century. 


Best Cities to Visit in China: Shanghai


Vestiges of the Shanghai myth – the one-time "Whore of the Orient" renowned for crime, decadence, and outright exploitation – still form some visitors' expectations, but if one thing has changed, it's that Shanghai today is much more interested in hard work than instant gratification. 


After you've peered into the infinite horizon of China's past in Beijing, it's time to visit Shanghai to get a genuine glimpse of what lies ahead.


Best Cities to Visit in China: Shanghai


What's here? Stroll the Bund, peer out at the world from the top of a skyscraper, wander the former French Concession for a round of shopping or visit the Old Town for more of the same. Wherever you go in Shanghai, eating is of utmost importance, but don't be surprised if you find yourself admiring art here as well – places like the Shanghai Museum are on a par with anything you'll see in Beijing.


Best Cities to Visit in China: Shanghai


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Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast (I)

From the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, the United States east coast offers up some of the world's most spectacular beaches. Dotted along its sandy shore are wonderful towns and exciting regions playing host to millions of visitors each year. Though there are hundreds of beach towns scattered across America, here are six that are among the most popular from the coast of Maine to the shores of the Gulf.


1. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Bar Harbor, Maine — Located on Maine's Mount Desert Island, the town of Bar Harbor bustles with activity from Memorial Day to Labor Day every year Throughout the year, about 6,000 call this island town home, but when the summer sun shines, crowds pack its beaches to absorb the long-anticipated season. With the warm summer temperatures and the cool northern Atlantic waters, vacationers find Bar Harbor the perfect place to relax. At low tide many locals, and visitors alike, venture out to Bar Island for magnificent views and even more peaceful isolation. Just a note though, be aware of the tidal schedule so you don't get stranded on the island when nearly ten feet of water covers the path back to town at high tide. Nearly one hundred cruise ships visit Bar Harbor every year from late spring to early autumn, bringing thousands to this Northeast jewel. Aside from the summer beach-life, Bar Harbor is also a popular destination for those craving outdoor activities, ranging from kayaking fresh water streams to trekking through the Acadia National Park. When you add up all that Bar Harbor offers, it's no wonder its considered one of the best beach towns in America.


2. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina — For years first-time visitors to Hilton Head Island have found what so many before them have bragged about Being "on island" truly must be experienced. From world-class golf courses to twelve-miles of beach on the Atlantic, Hilton Head is where millions travel annually Some stay for just a few days, while others have either chosen this border island as their winter home, or even their permanent residence. With winter's average temperatures in the 600, to summer highs in the mid-80s, Hilton Head has been said to be one of the most comfortable places to live in the country. Home to the yearly PGA stop known as The Heritage Golf Classic at the Harbor Town Golf Links, and host to the largest annual wine festival on the Atlantic coast in early March, Hilton Head offers so much more than just lazy days at the beach. 

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (IV)

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel Dona Camilla Savelli – Converted convent by Borromini


It’s not every day you can stay in a convent designed by Borromini. The Dona Camilla Savelli was designed in the 17th century for an order of nuns by the famous architect. It has recently been restored and converted into a luxurious four-star 78-room hotel in the heart of Trastevere.


Since this is four-star, it’s decidedly less expensive that it’s five-star colleagues located nearer to the Spanish Steps. The location, in a quite corner of Trastevere, makes it walking distance from nearby sites like Piazza Navona and Castel San Angelo. During warm weather breakfast is served in the romantic courtyard.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel Duca D'Alba – 4 Star Hotel in Monti


This small four-star hotel is located in the trendy Monti neighborhood. This is a fantastic location, near many restaurants, small boutiques and enoteche, without the craziness of more touristy zones like Piazza Navona or the Spanish Steps. Walking distance to the Colosseum and the Forum and almost everything else. 


Even though the rooms are on the small side (especially the singles), they are beautifully furnished. The staff is extremely professional and helpful. A great choice for a four-star in Monti. (The only four-star in Monti as a matter of fact).



Best Place sto Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel Forum Bar – Cocktails with view of Forum


Call me a romantic, but I like my cocktails with a view. Even if it’s nothing much more exotic than a gin & tonic, if I’m looking at the sun set over the Roman Forum, I’m happy. 


There aren’t a lot of places you can do this, so the terrace atop the Hotel Forum is a gem. Located just at the edge of the Monti neighborhood, the Forum Hotel rises up just where Via Cavour ends at Fori Imperiali. The smallish cocktail terrace is reached by taking the elevator up to the top floor, walking through the restaurant, and up a narrow flight of stairs. Once reached, the pocket-sized bar looks out over the Forum, and towards the Palatine and Campidoglio hills. As swallows swing by, order a Negroni or a Bellini – or even a Gin & Tonic – before you head on for dinner.


Location: Via Tor de' Conti


Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand (II)

With over seven million inhabitants, Bangkok is one of the largest cities in the world. Bangkok is loud, hot, chaotic, full of people and noise. At the same time it is a city of temples, friendly people and exotic smells, a melting pot of cultures. Precisely these contrasts represent the diversity and fascination with this beautiful city. Keep reading to discover the most important tourist attractions in Bangkok, Thailand:


5. Lumphini Park (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Park)

Lumphini Park is also fondly referred to as the “green lung” of Bangkok. The largest park in Bangkok is located directly in the town center. You will be able to take a step back here from the hectic and the traffic. Visitors can ride rowing boats and pedal boats on the artificial lake. Public concerts are held in the palm garden of the park in winter.


6. Wat Phra Kaeo (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Park)

Wat Phra Kaeo, the most sacred of all Thai temples, is located in the grounds of the royal palace. Its treasures include the sacred Emerald Buddha, which is the most revered Buddha statue in Thailand. The statue, however, is not made of emeralds, as the name suggest, but green jade.


7. Wat Arun (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Temple)

Without a doubt, the “Temple of the Dawn” is one of the most well known landmarks of Bangkok. It is located directly on the Thonburi bank of the Chao Phraya River. You can enjoy the glorious view of the town in the tower, which is 70 meters high. The temple was developed around 1780. The entire complex is coated with porcelain and seashells. You can take the ferryboat to the temple for Tha Tien Pier. The crossing costs approx. 5 Bahts.


8. Vimanmek Palace (Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand – Castle)

The Vimanmek Mansion is the world’s largest teak wood villa. Formerly, the 81 rooms were used as the imperial palace, but today a museum is housed here. The ground floor basically comprises brick and cement; King Rama V had the upper floors made of golden teak wood. The museum is home to many art treasures, personal items of the royal family and beautiful historical photographs. Only those wearing the right attire may enter the premises.

Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose (II)

"Yes!" It's such a powerful word that it can bring men to their knees. A word that they hope to hear when that big moment arrives. To set the stage to pop the "M" question, here are some of the most romantic places in the world to propose, which help you both relax. These destinations will get her in the mood for romance and create memories that will last forever—till death do you part…


3. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Bartolome Island — Ecuador

Bartolome Island in the Galapagos archipelago is a young formation — the top of a collapsed volcano rising from the sea. The beautiful golden beach is bordered with thorn shrub and saltbush, while the hills are red and barren, with gray mat plant and a few lava cacti growing from the rock. Towering above the golden beach is Pinnacle Rock. Surrounded by the cold, aqua sea, this "rock" has become an icon of the Galapagos. Blue-footed Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds and elegant Brown Noddies encircle the island as they fish. Galapagos Penguins, the northernmost of their family, preen on the rocks along the water's edge. The romance begins upon landing and traversing the boardwalk trail, which leads to a climb of over 350 steps. The climb takes you to the highest point on the island, the overlook to view Pinnacle Rock. This vantage point is where the rush of being in the Galapagos surfaces for many. (In fact, the tour owner proposed here — and she said YES!)


4. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Hacienda San Angel — Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Combine a romantic destination, a luxurious suite, sultry topical nights and the object of one's delight. Hacienda San Angel, one of Puerto Vallarta's most intimate and luxurious boutique hotels, nestled high above cobblestone streets and blessed with majestic views of the Sierra Madre Mountains and azure Banderas Bay, offers a divine setting for sweethearts in search of romance, luxury, pampering and the picture-perfect proposal. Proposal arrangements can be made ahead time—from securing the suite of choice to a private balcony dinner with a Mariachi serenade to an artesian tequila tasting. There are plenty of options for wooing one's true love. Romantic doesn't begin to portray the ambiance of tenderness and exclusiveness that fills the courtyards and areas of this amazing boutique resort. Sparkling cascades, perfumed frangipani, fine linens and vintage fixtures are barely a few of the stylish touches that help blend peaceful sophistication with rustic simplicity. Three ponds, a fine dining roof top restaurant, an open-air wedding chapel and in-room spa services are all part of the attraction.

Best Places to Stay in Peru (I)

Peru, officially known as the Republic of Peru, is a fascinating country located in South America. It was home to ancient cultures spanning from the Norte Chico civilization – one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. Peru is a wide mixture of cultural traditions, worth visiting any time of the year. This is a review of the best accommodation options in Peru.


1. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Explorama Lodges – This is Iquitos’ largest lodge operator and their numbers cannot be ignored. They have several lodges in different areas, so you can combine stays at any of them and get the chance to see a number of different habitats, forests, and fauna.


2. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Muyuna Lodge – Muyuna is south of Iquitos, not far from Pacaya Samiria and in close proximity to stunning scenery and wildlife. The price is one of the most reasonable I have found for the quality of the lodge, the guides, and overall accommodations and tours.


3. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Explorama Inn – This Puerto Maldonado legend is the most conservation-minded of any jungle lodge I have ever visited. The amenities are not as luxurious as other lodges, but the real reason you come to the jungle – for wildlife viewing – is the best.


4. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Posada del Puruay – This country estate near Cajamarca takes every opportunity to get you to enjoy the hills and fresh air. Their land is great for horseback riding, hiking, cycling, fishing, and just plain relaxing. The friendly sheepdogs that run around the grounds act as tour guides as well.


5. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Casa San Blas – This new hotel hidden in a small side street in San Blas in Cuzco is one of the most charming. The rooms are quite affordable and suites with kitchenettes are just a slight bit more.


6. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Tambo Viejo – A restored Victorian style home about 10 blocks from the center of Arequipa is one of the best budget options I have found in the country. There is a long list of amenities, clean rooms, and a vibrant social scene.


7. Best Places to Stay in Peru: Hotel Taypikala – This hotel in Chucuito, near Puno, is rumored to be owned by an Aymara shaman. The décor here is quite strange and enchanting, which can also be said for the lake and its people.


Best regards, Twisted Perfectionism

Best Cities to Visit in China: Kunming


The capital of Yunnan province, Kunming is often dubbed "the city of eternal spring". Sitting at an altitude of 6207 feet (1892m) and ideally situated between the jungles of Southeast Asia and the Tibetan Himalayas, it is an excellent base for those looking for a variety of adventure.


Up until Kublai Khan swept through the area in the 13th century, Kunming was for all intents and purposes beyond the reach of the Chinese empire, subject instead to the powerful kingdoms in Dali during the Tang and Song dynasties. Today home to 25 different ethnic groups, it remains a cultural crossroads and is considerably more relaxed than most other Chinese cities.


Best Cities to Visit in China: Kunming


What's here? Kunming isn't worth a huge amount of time, but there are a few places to visit in between onward connections. The Yunnan Provincial Museum has exhibitions related to Yunnan's extraordinary ethnic mosaic, while the Yuantong Temple is the city's oldest and largest Buddhist temple. Outside of town is the enormous Dian Lake, where you can hike and temple hop in the Western Hills (Xi Shan). Also near Kunming is the Bamboo Temple, filled with 500 extraordinary Buddhist sculptures. 


Don't miss out on the cuisine here – the most famous dish is "across-the-bridge noodles," a type of rice-noodle dish made with chicken stock, eggs, chili and chicken and ham. Fresh fruit, mushrooms and chili sauce are in abundance. 


Best Cities to Visit in China: Kunming


If you want to read more about the sights and tourist attractions in Kunming or China in general, use the search bar on the top of this page or subscribe to our Blog and make sure you don't miss any of our updates!