• Two nights in a Traditional room • A “chef-in-training” class at the on-site Cook Academy • A welcome treat from the resort’s bakery • Access to the spa facilities, which include sauna, steam rooms, and relaxation lounges
Cost: $349 ($175 per night) Book now for travel between October 1 and December 19.
• Two nights in a standard king room • Spot four states—Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan—from the Ledge, an all-glass observation deck on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower • Two $10 breakfast vouchers • Craft cocktails at the Berkshire room • Two passes to the TILT Observation Deck
Cost: $438 ($219 per night) Book now for travel between October 1 and November 30.
Less than $200 a night and brand new. Meet the latest crop of affordable new hotels in the U.S.
The Remote Outpost: Outlook Lodge, Colorado Springs, Colorado
To get to the new Outlook Lodge, in Colorado, you’ll set off along a dirt road into the Rocky Mountains. After being welcomed by a strapping host, you’re on your own to explore the area trails or just grab a book and relax on the rustic porch.
• 4 nights in a one-bedroom suite at Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences, on the island’s palm-fringed northeastern coast • Horseback riding on the beach • Bottle of wine upon arrival • Outdoor spa treatment
Cost: $840 ($210 per night)
Book by August 31 for travel through December 2014.
The Montreal Jazz Festival runs June 26-July 6. Even with all the big acts—this year, to name a few: Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, and Rufus Wainwright—more than half of the 700 performances are free to the public.
A perennial favorite for American travelers, Europe can also be one of the most expensive places to travel. First and foremost, you need to find a good transatlantic ticket, which can be challenging, since taxes, fees, and carrier charges can easily tack an additional $600 onto the average fare. In “How to Find the Best Fares on European Flights,” I outline strategies for landing the best flights. Here are some other ways to find value in Europe.
Pick the right destination.
Your dollar goes further depending on where you are—and what currency you’re using. The best values usually lie outside the euro zone. According to Hotels.com’s annual Hotel Price Index, Warsaw had the most-affordable luxury hotels in Europe in 2013, with an average room rate of just $124 a night. Budapest, Istanbul, and Prague also all had top rooms for less than $250 a night. (By contrast, Paris’s luxury rooms went for $504, on average, and London’s for $430.) This squares with the Economist’s Big Mac Index, which offers a quick (and playful) look at the relative cost of countries by charting the price of the ubiquitous McDonald’s burger around the world. According to this metric, the Polish zloty is undervalued by a full 35 percent against the U.S. dollar; the Czech koruna (undervalued by 25 percent), Turkish lira (19 percent), and Hungarian forint (17 percent) also offer bargains for Americans.
This Spanish company, cofounded by former Olympic horseback rider Enrique Sarasola, is known for its futuristic-looking hotels (origami-like furniture; neon lights). It recently opened outposts in Istanbul’s chic Beyoğlu district and on a man-made island in Amsterdam; Milan and Rotterdam debut in 2015.
Based in northern Europe, Scandic blends contemporary design and cutting-edge technology; it recently became the world’s first hotel chain to offer brand-wide online checkout (through smartphone or computer). British star chef Jamie Oliver creates menus for each property and is bringing his own restaurant to Stockholm’s Scandic Anglais this fall.
Radisson Blu’s pedigree can be traced to its first European hotel: Danish architect Arne Jacobsen’s 1960 Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The company continues to attract homegrown talent, including François Champsaur, who worked on Paris’s Le Metropolitan. Look out for new locations in Belgrade and Oslo.
Though established in 1967, France’s Novotel brand stays current with redesigned rooms and a virtual concierge service via on-site kiosks and a smartphone app. Among the latest arrivals are a location near London’s Wembley Stadium and a 360-room property in Moscow that’s a short drive from the Kremlin. Next up: Rotterdam.
Expect well-located, city-center hotels that embrace local design from Majorca-based Meliá. Consider its two most recent openings: Meliá Vienna sits in the city’s tallest building (a glass tower by Dominique Perrault), while the 19 rooms at the Villa Capri are outfitted with Murano chandeliers and Poltrona Frau and Cappellini furniture.
Ones to Watch
This month, Scandic Hotels debuts the stripped-down brand HTL ($) in Stockholm; 20 more are planned by 2019. The Millennial-focused Citizen M($)—with free movie streaming and self check-in—opens in Paris later this year. 25Hours Hotels($) recently headed to Berlin for its seventh property. The arty, edgy company Nhow($) has launched in the culture-rich cities of Berlin, Milan, and Rotterdam.
Hotels $Less than $200 $$$200 to $350 $$$$350 to $500 $$$$$500 to $1,000 $$$$$More than $1,000
Restaurants $Less than $25 $$$25 to $75 $$$$75 to $150 $$$$More than $150