Travel is one of the greatest joys, in my opinion. We only get one life to live, so why not make the most of it and see new places? I’m happy to travel just about anywhere, even if it’s somewhere I’ve been before. After all, every trip is a new experience, and the more you embrace it, the more fun you’ll have.
From trips across the globe (hello, Australia!) to hometown getaways (#minnesotaweddingweekends), I’ve stayed in some pretty fun hotels and vacation homes. In no particular order, here are 10 of my favourite hotels that should go on your travel bucket list!
Hilton Hawaiian Village
I’m still pinching myself that we got to stay here for our honeymoon. Hilton Hawaiian Village, or “The Village”, is the biggest (and best!) Waikiki Beach Resort.
If you’ve never been to Hawaii, this is a great place to start. Everything you need is right here, from fine dining restaurants to DQ Blizzards (yes, you heard me!)
The spacious rooms, famous Rainbow Tower, luxurious pools, fish ponds, and waterfront eateries make The Village so much fun.
Best of all, it’s family-friendly with a huge lagoon if you don’t want to swim in the ocean. However, if you were going to take a dip in the sea, this is the place to do it. The water is warm, the beach is sandy, and there’s sea turtles just swimming around. The turtles were by far my highlight of the trip.
You can snorkel right off the shore of this Hilton resort or go for a stroll along the beach to the heart of Waikiki.
InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort
I cannot recommend InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort enough. Staying here was another pinch-me moment. We went with Nick’s family for his 29th birthday, just a few weeks before COVID shut the whole world down. I’m so glad we made the most of it before lockdown, not that we knew much at the time!
Sanctuary Cove is situated on Hope Island, Queensland. If you fly into Gold Coast Airport, it’s about a 40-minute drive, compared to 50 minutes from Brisbane. If you’re into theme parks like us, Warner Bros. Movie World isn’t far away.
There’s plenty to do if you want to stay closer to the resort, too. Lounge around the sparkling lagoon, play a round of golf, or stroll through the lovely shops and restaurants up by the marina.`
Kewarra Beach Resort & Spa
It always surprises me to hear how many Australians (or at least the ones I know) haven’t been to Cairns. Known as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a beautiful laidback city (and one of my favorite places).
A short drive north of Cairns is Kewarra Beach Resort, a luxurious tropical getaway with relaxing rainforest suites. Katie and I stayed here a few years ago and it was amazing. From the rock pools to the private beach, it was truly spectacular.
Even the rain couldn’t wash away our smiles as we went for a swim and checked out the reef (hint: go to Green Island and SNUBA!)
I would stay here again in a heartbeat, that’s for sure. Maybe next time we’ll see what the beachfront rooms are all about!
Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior
It’s been a long time since I was at Bluefin Bay, but I’ve haven’t forgotten it (and never will!)
This Lake Superior resort is about four hours from the Twin Cities, and the drive up the North Shore is one of the prettiest routes Minnesota has to offer.
Whether you go for a summer shore trip or a winter getaway, the beautiful views and fun pitstops are so worth it. Pro tip: just 10 minutes up the road is Lutsen, where you can ski in the winter or take a ride on the alpine slide in the summer. If you opt for the alpine slide, just try not to panic and go super slow like yours truly did.
Lobster Lake Lodge
This one’s not a hotel, but rather an Airbnb vacation rental. We had an amazing girls’ weekend at Lobster Lake Lodge, with its beautiful sandy shoreline on a secluded lake just outside Alexandra, MN.
This vacation home sleeps 12 and has so many cute nooks and crannies. It’s been recently updated but still has plenty of classic cabin charm. The yard is spacious and perfect for summer fun, and the host is wonderful too!
The Venetian Las Vegas
The Venetian is my favorite Las Vegas resort. How could it not be, considering it’s the first one I ever stayed at and it’s the place we were staying when we lost Sandy, or to put it more accurately, she lost herself (if you know you know).
The ambiance here is just next level. The Grand Canal Shoppes, the gondola rides, the art, the restaurants…I love it all.
Another great thing about the Venetian is its location on the world-famous strip. It’s across from the Mirage and close to Harrah’s and Caesars Palace.
The Bellagio is neck and neck with the Venetian. We stayed in an older room a few years ago but it was still fabulous, and I’ll never forget the room service!
This luxury resort is in the ideal location at the heart of the strip and it has the beautiful fountain show. Even if you don’t stay here on your next Vegas trip, at least wander over to the Bellagio and see what it’s all about.
Hilton Daytona Beach
An oceanfront resort in the heart of Daytona Beach? We’ll take it!
Hilton Daytona Beach puts you right on the sandy shores of one of Florida’s most iconic vacation spots. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend here with my siblings, and apart from a minor crab mishap, it was picture perfect.
San Francisco Marriott Union Square
Oh, the infamous San Fran trip. The Union Square Marriott was the perfect spot to prepare for our wine tour and decompress after our Napa Valley adventure.
The bathroom was next-level luxury and the rooms were huge. We loved the location too, right in the middle of the city with so many fun shops and restaurants to explore. I would love to go back!
The Watson Hotel
Last but not least, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The Watson Hotel in New York City. It’s where Nick and I stayed when he came to visit at the end of my fellowship back in 2017 (oh the early glory days!)
The Watson certainly isn’t the fanciest hotel in the Big Apple, but it’s nice, clean, and in an amazing location. I certainly recommend it if you want great value and a comfy room to relax in after a long day of exploring. There’s even a rooftop pool!
Best Hotels in America & Australia
Well, there you have it – my list of awesome hotels and destinations to put on your travel bucket list. What do you think about these spots? Have you been to any of them or are you planning to go soon? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for reading!