All posts by thehipmunk

Quirky New Architecture to Add to Your Travel List

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on March 25, 2016.

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From the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Colosseum in Rome, sightseeing often entails reveling in the architecture and age of sites that have been around too long for us to fully fathom. But while classic architecture should of course be visited and appreciated, it shouldn’t totally overshadow the amazing things being built today. New technologies and new designs are giving birth to crazy, quirky, jaw-dropping modern structures — sometimes alongside classics and sometimes in newer cities altogether.

Take a look at some of the quirkiest new buildings around the world.

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Tree Snake House, Pedras Salgadas, Portugal

Portugal is home to Celtic villages, ancient Castles, and other century-old structures, but it’s also home to arguably one of the quirkiest new buildings on the globe: A modern, gorgeous tree house. The Tree Snake House is located in Pedras Salgadas — a small spa town in the district of Vila Real — and was built in 2012. The tree house was built with natural raw material, slate, and wood. And as its name suggests, the design was meant to imitate a snake slithering through trees. It’s the grown-up version of every child’s fantasy, especially considering the stunning, modern interior.

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Salt Lake City Courthouse, Salt Lake City, Utah

In 2014, a new United States Courthouse was constructed in Salt Lake City, and it’s cutting-edge to say the least. The supposedly symbolic 10-story building is essentially a giant glass cube, and it’s especially quirky for the controversy that ensued when the courthouse was unveiled. While many in the world of architecture have applauded the project, residents seem to despise it. The building has been nicknamed the “Borg cube” and placed highly in an ugly building contest shortly after completion. To each their own, though — perhaps the only way to decide if the structure is impressive or hideous is to see it in-person yourself.

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The Blue Planet, Kastrup, Denmark

While the courthouse might be fun to look at it, this next structure is also fun to go inside. The Blue Planet is a stunning aquarium in Denmark — the largest aquarium in Northern Europe, in fact. The smooth, flowing design was completed on the shores of Oresund (not far from Copenhagen City Hall Square) in 2013. Folks inside the vortex-inspired building are meant to feel like they are underwater, and will indeed find water (fill, of course, with sharks, eels, and much more) on all sides as they make their way through The Blue Planet’s five arms.

dubai-1140433_640Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Doha, Qatar

In Doha, the capital of Qatar, travelers will find another new, sleek, stunning piece of architecture. The building for the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies — a huge white cavernous structure — was recently completed and houses classrooms, research centers, a library, a mosque, and more. The design was based on historical Islamic precedents; gardens, for example, are meant to be an interpretation of paradise, while the building’s five pillars represent the five tenets of Islam. As mentioned, the facility also accommodate the Education City campus enormous mosque, the ceiling of which is dotted with small lights reminiscent of twinkling stars and embossed with Quranic verses.

These new-age structures — which vary in style and purpose — are just a quick sample of the architectural creativity and progress taking place around the globe. The tree house, courthouse, mosque, and aquarium represent a wide range of building, and are just the tip of the iceberg for globe-trotting architect fans.

The Best Apps for Productivity Across Time Zones

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 18, 2016.

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For many folks, travel is a way to escape from the daily grind, relax, and gain some much-needed rejuvenation. But for the world’s more than 480 million business travelers, travel too often involves worrying about missed emails, dropped expense reports, or scheduling meetings or keeping a project on track from across different time zones.

It can be tough to get work done far away from the office, but that’s where each of these apps comes in. Every entry on this list meets a specific need of the modern business traveler. Taken together, they offer business travelers a maximum-productivity package that will help ensure you’re able to get work done pretty much anywhere.
Asana

Asana is perfect for anyone who needs to tackle collaborative projects with a remote team. It’s developed by one of the co-founders of Facebook, and it’s just as on-trend as the behemoth social media platform. The app lets you lay out the steps necessary to complete a project, assign each task to a collaborator, track the project’s progress, and communicate with other team members—all without being in the same room or worrying about scheduling a phone call across time zones.
CamCard

Perfect for trips on which you anticipate doing lots of networking, CamCard allows you to digitally store business cards and contact information for new prospects or collaborators. So there’ll be no more panicking when you get home and realize you lost that potential new client’s contact info en route.
Docusign

For the executive on the go: Docusign makes it easy to digitally execute contracts, manage transactions, and issue legally binding electronic signatures across mobile devices. The service prides itself on being usable from virtually anywhere in the world (it’s already in use in 43 languages and 188 countries), and it’s secure as it is functional.

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Dropbox

No matter where you are in the world, you can access all of your files from Dropbox. If you know you’ll need access to certain documents while traveling, simply upload them to the service ahead of your trip. Then you’ll be able to access them from any device, at any time. (It sure beats having to wait several hours until a coworker wakes up and can email you the documents you need.) You can also easily share files with simple links.
Expensify

Never worry about processing expense reports on the go again. Expensify allows users to quickly import card transactions, add cash expenses, record billable expenses, auto-categorize expenses, create custom invoices, ditch paper receipts, issue reimbursements, and more—and it will do it all while supporting more than 160 currencies and international taxes.
HipChat

For those times when you need to communicate with your team in real-time (but you’re in, say, Bangkok while the rest of your team is in NYC), turn to HipChat. The app offers a group chat service that’s available on desktops, tablets, or smartphones. The app will also deliver messages to your phone even when you’re signed off, so that you and your teammates will be able to reach each other at any time should a pressing issue arise.
Hipmunk

Sure, we’re shamelessly self-promoting. But it’s only because we think we’ve made the best travel app on the market. Hipmunk’s app eliminates wasted time in the planning stages of a trip by finding the best hotel and flight deals, providing free flight fare alerts, and offering instant booking. Business travelers can also use the app to coordinate group travel. Leave the trip planning to us so you can get back to work.
World Time Buddy

World Time Buddy is a world clock, time zone converter, and online meeting scheduler all in one convenient app. Need to plan a conference call with someone in San Francisco while you’re in Dublin? Skip the math and simply plug in what time zone you’re in, what time zone they’re in, and bada boom: The app will provide you with a selection of compatible meeting times. The app also tracks market hours.
XE Currency

If your business travels take you to multiple countries in one go and you need to calculate currencies in a hurry, then XE Currency has you covered. The app allows users to view historical charts and current exchange rates and calculate prices from a mobile device. You can also create customized comparison charts for prices anywhere in the world.

The only downside to these apps? They’ll limit your excuses for not getting work done during your travels. Welcome to the great big mobile world!

Is Duty Free Really Worth It?

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 21, 2016.

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It’s hard to miss the bright lights and ample displays at the duty-free stores in most international airports, cruise ship ports, and border stations. Designer clothes and jewelry, bottles of high-end liquor, and tobacco products are all screaming to be picked up and taken home. After all, it’s a great deal and tax-free, right?

Getting a bargain at a duty-free shop requires some research in advance. Items found in these shops are free of the local import tax (also known as “duty”) that would normally be placed on the item in a regular retail store. However, you may potentially owe a customs duty in the country you’re heading back to. We’re looking at you, America (sigh).

It’s not all bad news. According to guidelines from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, if you are a U.S. resident returning from a foreign country other than one in the Caribbean (and you were there for more than 48 hours), you are allowed a duty-free exemption of up to $800. Your next $1,000 worth of goods is subject to a flat tax rate of 3 percent, which is still cheaper than many local taxes on similar items.

Don’t go on a spending spree just yet: There are limitations with alcohol and tobacco products. Travelers returning from a European country like France or Germany are allowed to bring in up to 1 liter of alcohol duty-free, but the total amount is up to the laws in the state you head back to, so make sure to know what’s permitted in your home state before you stock up. You are also allowed up to 100 cigars or 200 cigarettes within the $800 exemption. If you purchase duty-free items from a Caribbean country, like the U.S. Virgin Islands or Guam, there is a $1,600 duty-free exemption, and the next $1,000 worth of goods is taxed at 1.5 percent. (Spring Break trip, anyone?) Plus you can pick up to 5 liters of alcohol as long as one if a product of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or American Samoa. Residents are allowed 1,000 cigarettes as well.

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When it comes to scoring a deal on duty-free items, the best bargains are the ones most heavily taxed in your home country (and state). In the U.S. this puts alcohol and tobacco-products at the top of the list. While U.S. federal federal tax is adjusted for the percentage of alcohol in a bottle of liquor, a 750ml bottle is taxed at $2.14 and just over $1 for a pack of 20 cigarettes. States also have their own tax on alcohol and tobacco. States like Washington, Oregon, and Virginia have some of the highest rates.

In general, beauty-related items, like perfumes and cosmetics, tend to be 15 to 20 percent cheaper than domestic U.S. prices. Pro tip: Fragrance multipacks are often created just for duty-free shops and could save you some cash compared to individual bottles. Consider free cosmetic samples and in-store sales at your local beauty store, which may tip the scale in favor of buying beauty items at an affordable price domestically.

Other goods like electronics, cameras, confections such as chocolate, and high-end jewelry and clothing are probably worth passing on. While discounts can range from 10 to 25 percent, an online or in-store sale in the U.S. might yield the same results. That being said, if the duty-free store is offering a one-of-a-kind product, or if you’re interested in an item that never goes on sale, just saving the tax might be worth the purchase.

For the best deal, know what the customs regulations and exemptions applicable to you and your home turf. Make sure to check prices at your local retail stores so you can compare them when you get to a duty-free shop. And keep those receipts for when you enter customs at home – it will make declaring your new goodies that much easier!

The 5 Best Hotels for Experiencing Times Square

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 1, 2016.

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For a winter vacation that’s worth bundling up for, why not consider heading to one of the greatest cities on earth? Yes, we’re talking about New York City, which welcomes over 56.4 million tourists a year— with 50 million of them heading to Manhattan’s iconic Times Square for its legendary restaurants, broadway shows, street entertainment, and shopping options. (Bonus points if visiting to witness the New Year’s eve ball drop!)

While New York is often considered the city that never sleeps, getting to experience Times Square and then walk right to a hotel to continue soaking in the sights is a real win-win. We’ve rounded up five hotels in the heart of Times Square that will make any trip to the Big Apple even that much more worthwhile.
Millennium Broadway Hotel

A room with a view (of Times Square) for $200 a night? Experiencing the The Millennium Hotel is hard to pass up, especially since it’s situated only a half block away from the heart of Times Square. They also offer coupons, promotions, and deals for things to do in and near Times Square for their guests, from dinners out to broadway plays—all within walking distance. Perhaps the best part is the hotel offers child care, too, so parents can treat themselves to a night out even if they have kids.

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Hilton Garden Inn

For the hands-down best offer found in Times Square, look no further than the Hilton Garden Inn. Rooms range from $109-144, and it’s still only steps away from the hustle and bustle of the city, including lines to grab discounted theatre tickets. The Garden Inn also has not only a gym, but a Stay Fit Kit for its guests, which consists of a yoga mat, dumbbells, and a Thera-Band—so people can get a good workout in and still enjoy a cocktail at the hotel’s rooftop lounge.
Night Hotel Times Square

Think of this hotel as an indoor version of Times Square. The suave and sleek lobby is bursting with colored lights, aquariums, and modern furniture and art. There is also a restaurant and lounge right at the hotel to enjoy a meal and a drink before heading to the next venture outdoors. Rates start at $199, another reasonably priced place to stay while being a block away from all the entertainment outside.
Room Mate Grace

After a long day walking around, who wouldn’t want to relax in an indoor pool and steam room and then enjoy a drink that overlooks over the city? Room Mate Grace is literally 300 meters from the center of Times Square, and has a selection of rooms from basic twins to luxury suites. There’s also luggage and laundry service, breakfast options, and access to VIP tickets for clubs right down the street. Depending on how fancy guests want to get, rooms go for $300-$700 a night.

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New York Marriott Marquis

Now this is vacation. The New York Marriott Marquis comes fully equipped with feather-bed mattresses, luxurious bathtubs, and rooms filled with granite and marble. The best part are the views; many of the rooms have stunning views that look straight into Times Square. Perhaps the coolest part of this place, though, is its signature revolving restaurant on the rooftop, called nothing else but “The View.” Rooms typically start for less than $600 a night.

5 Hotel Restaurants With Famous Chefs

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 12, 2016.

Food is one of the great pleasures of travel. So why not book a hotel known for its cuisine? Here, we’ve curated a list of premium hotels with renowned chefs who have brought their talents to travel industry. The menus have their stamp of approval (and ours)!
1. Café Boulud at The Surrey, New York City

New York is café culture, and at The Surrey NYC, you can experience Daniel Boulud’s namesake eatery. It serves traditional French and international cuisine made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Brioche French toast is a great way to start a day of New York sightseeing, and an artisan cheese plate is a terrific way to end it. As you get hooked on NYC, check out Hipmunk deals at Waldorf Astoria New York City for your next trip.

2. Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

The flash, glamour and entertainment alone are reasons to check out Caesars Palace Las Vegas. If you’re also tempted by Excalibur Las Vegas, remember Caesars has Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. It serves the finest of Southwestern cuisine. There’s a wide choice of wines, and the cocktails feature only the highest-quality tequila. Try the blue corn-crusted halibut and the churros.

3. Bread Street Kitchen at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Chances are Gordon Ramsay won’t be dishing out his acerbic brand of kitchen discipline while you’re dining at Bread Street Kitchen — at least not within earshot. But if you visit Marina Bay Sands Singapore, you can enjoy his tasty British-style food. Why go to London for shepherd’s pie and fish and chips if you can enjoy it in Singapore? You can even stay late for drinks.

4. Man Wah at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

No matter what room you book after checking Hipmunk deals at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, head to chef Chi-Kwong Hung’s Cantonese eatery, Man Wah, on the 25th floor. Visit the restaurant at lunchtime so you can have dim sum, or go for dinner to enjoy the extraordinary view of Hong Kong’s city lights. Tough choice? Make it easy on yourself and try both.

5. ONE at The Hazelton, Toronto

The exclusive ONE restaurant is the vision of Executive Chef Mark McEwan. Housed in a Toronto boutique hotel, ONE serves French and Italian cuisine. There’s the ambient dining room, the candle-lit patio and private spaces for intimate culinary explorations. Hipmunk deals at The Hazelton Toronto come with a bonus: ONE offers 24-hour room service to guests.

6 Stunning Ski-In, Ski-Out Hotels

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on January 15, 2016.

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Planning a luxurious winter vacation? Slumber slope-side at one of the world’s best ski-in, ski-out hotels. These prestigious spots offer up the best of snow sports on your doorstep, along with five-star facilities, restaurants, spas, pools and more.
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort

One of the premium Hipmunk hotels in Whister, BC, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort sits at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain on the edge of Whistler village. Relax in the al fresco spas and heated indoor/outdoor pools, work up a sweat in the gym, pamper yourself in the Vida Spa or dine in one of six delicious restaurants.
The Little Nell

Located at the base of Aspen’s Silver Queen Gondola, The Little Nell is a chic boutique hotel with spectacular views and a gas log fireplace in every room. The hotel is well equipped for après ski drinks, with four upmarket bars on the premises, two restaurants and of course a heated pool.
Stein Eriksen Lodge

Check out Hipmunk’s Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah for Norwegian-style charm without leaving the country. After a day playing in the powder, curl up with a book in front of one of the lodge’s many stone fireplaces, soak in the heated outdoor swimming pool, have an après ski fondue in the Troll Hallen Lounge, or enjoy the facilities and treatments of the 20,000-square-foot Spa.
Goldener Berg

It doesn’t get much more alpine than Goldener Berg in Lech am Alberg, Austria, which sits on a mountain between Mittagspitze and Warth-Schröcken ski resorts. If you don’t feel like skiing, you can take in the view with a glühwein in hand, dine in one of the hotel’s restaurants, or take advantage of the full-service spa, pool and hot tubs.
Hotel Koh-l Nor

Do ski-in, ski-out with modern French style at Hotel Koh-l Nor in Val Thorens. This striking hotel affords stunning views of the alps, contemporary interior design and all the luxury you could need. Two restaurants, a full service spa and indoor pools ensure you’ll be sufficiently pampered when you step off the slopes.
Copperhill Mountain Lodge

Instead of going “Scandinavian-style,” go straight to the source at Copperhill Mountain Lodge, one of many Hipmunk hotels in the Swedish resort town of Åre. Among the pines of Mount Förberget, you can spend the day exploring ski runs, go heliskiing or find a comfy spot in the Fireside lounge and bar. You can also enjoy the pool and spa or taste some traditional Swedish delicacies in Niesti restaurant.

Top 6 Hawaii Hotels for Honeymooning

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on January 15, 2016.

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The breathtaking islands of Hawaii will provide you with everything you can look for in a honeymoon; romance, adventure, and relaxation. Situated in the South Pacific, Hawaii is easily accessible by plane from most major cities throughout the country. You will also need to fly to travel from island to island on your adventures. To achieve the amazing honeymoon you desire, be sure to check out these top six Hipmunk hotels on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.
1. Halekulani Hotel
Just an eight-mile drive from Honolulu International Airport is the beachfront city of Waikiki, which is where the Halekulani, or “House Befitting Heaven” in Hawaiian, is located. This luxurious hotel sits right on the beach and features its own restaurants and spa. It also boasts a beautiful pool with a unique orchid design that becomes illuminated at night. One of the more popular restaurants, House Without a Key, features al fresco dining as well as live music nightly.
2. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach
The Hyatt Regency is also located in Waikiki and offers a more central location where you can walk to the public beach, local restaurants and the loads of chic shops and boutiques nearby. Go check out Diamond Head, a famous volcanic formation that can be seen from the beach, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, rent a car for the day and drive up to the north shore of Oahu. Another popular activity on Oahu is to visit the Pearl Harbor Museum, where you can step back to that fateful day in 1941.
3. Hyatt Regency Maui
Hopping over to the town of Lahaina in Maui, the Hyatt boasts an enormous swimming pool that has a cave complete with a cave bar as well as a super-fun slide. Be sure to check out the amazing collection of exotic animals on the hotel grounds. This hotel also boasts its own luau, The Drums of the Pacific Luau, that draws a large crowd on most nights. Be sure to venture to the lovely local restaurants Lahaina has to offer such as the Mala Ocean Tavern and Star Noodle, which are about five miles away.
4. Fairmont Kea Lani Maui
Situated on the other side of Maui, in Wailea, this hotel has a more upscale, quiet and romantic feel. Don’t worry; there’s still plenty to keep you occupied. The beach is just steps away and so are plenty of luxurious, delicious restaurants such as Nick’s Fishmarket Maui and Ko. While in Maui, be sure to ask your concierge about the Road to Hana, the turbulent and adventurous road that travels the perimeter of Maui to a small village called Hana. Also ask about the bicycle tour of Haleakala, Maui’s 10,000-foot volcano.
5. Grand Hyatt Kauai
Check out the Hipmunk deals in Koloa at the Grand Hyatt, a great place to get your Kauai fill. With a golf course, a lazy river and even a salt water lagoon, this luxurious hotel exudes the true essence of relaxation on Hawaii. Go to the concierge and book a boat tour of the Napali coast, the beautiful shoreline of Kauai that can only be seen by boat or helicopter.
6. St. Regis Priceville
This Hipmunk hotel is located on the other side of Kauai, situated just off the beautiful Hanalei Bay. You can only get to this side of the island through a one lane bridge. Hanalei Bay is one of the more popular beaches on Kauai, and this hotel provides breathtaking views of the ocean from every angle.The St. Regis provides you with the ultimate honeymoon experience of being pampered with its pristine rooms and high end restaurants such as Makana Terrace and Kauai Grill.

10 Places to Catch the World’s Most Beautiful Sunsets

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 9, 2015.

There’s nothing quite as romantic and breathtaking as a beautiful sunset! If you want to travel and catch some of the world’s prettiest views of the sun as it sets, check out the spots below. These places are well-known destinations where you are guaranteed to catch a colorful, beautiful and awe-inspiring sunset.
1. The Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, CA

People might think of Los Angeles as a place with smoggy skies, but it just might be these skies that cause some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Book one of the great classic Los Angeles hotels, then head up to the Griffith Observatory around dusk. From the top, you can see not only a beautifully colored sky, but also an unforgettable view of the city and Sunset Boulevard.
2. Oia, Santorini, Greece

Santorini is known for its distinctive white and blue architecture. Set on a craggy cliffside, the village of Oia gives onlookers the perfect spot to watch the sun as it reflects on this stark white buildings, then sets into the Aegean Sea.
3. Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Travel to Rio de Janeiro, and you’re going to want to catch a sunset on legendary Ipanema Beach. The sunset is beautiful in Ipanema because it sets behind the rocky hillsides that border the coast. The beach is also a great budget destination to catch a great sunset due to many cheap hotels in Rio de Janeiro.
4. Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

Nearly anywhere on Oahu is a great place to catch a sunset, but climb up Diamond Head, a volcano and state monument, and you’ll be able to catch the stunning setting sun over legendary Waikiki beach. If you want to stay near Diamond Head, check out a room at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach, which is located close to the foot of the volcano.
5. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Everything about the Taj Mahal is beautiful, but it has become an international destination to visit at dusk, because of the beautiful sunsets that occur behind it and the stunning colors that reflect around the building.
6. Mallory Square, Key West, Florida

Key West is known for its stunning sunsets. For the best view of the sunset on the island, head to Mallory Square, where people gather each night to watch the sunset together. Sometimes, you’ll be accompanied by entertainers — like jugglers and street musicians — to celebrate the sunset with you.
7. Milovaig, Isle of Skye, UK

The Isle of Skye is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland in the UK. While the entire island offers a stunning view of the setting sun, one of the best spots to catch it is the pier at Milovaig, which offers onlookers a multi-colored, breathtaking scene.
8. Parish Church of San Rocco, San Rocco, Italy

High in the cliffs of the Portofino National Park, on the Ligurian Coast of Italy, there is a small town with a cathedral called San Rocco. In that town is a cathedral with a beautiful terrace overlooking the Ligurian Sea, and from there you can catch a breathtaking sunset nightly, over the small coastal town of Camogli.
9. North Cape, Finnmark, Norway

North Cape, Norway is so far north it’s nearly in the Arctic Circle. Thus, during the summer, the sun hardly ever sets. Visitors can take in the midnight sun — or the sun that sets just to the horizon, but never fully sets. Seeing this strange sunset phenomenon can be a once in a lifetime experience.
10. Ao Kao Beach, Koh Mak, Thailand

Located in Trat Province in Thailand, Koh Mak is world famous for its stunning sunsets. Far from the big hotels in Bangkok, Koh Mak features idyllic, serene nature with no skyscrapers or cityscape to obscure the sunset, making the consistent, nightly sunset into the great blue yonder an unforgettable experience.

5 of the World’s Best Hotels Are in Singapore

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 21, 2015.

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The tiny island of Singapore has far outgrown its reputation as a stopover city, with more than enough attractions to make it the star destination of your next Asian adventure. In this rich melting pot of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures, the sights, smells and flavors are as varied as they are tantalizing. From rain forests buzzing with wildlife to sparkling skyscrapers, quiet farmlands to bustling urban marketplaces, there is something to excite the senses around every corner. Here are our top picks for places to rest your head at night:
1. Marina Bay Sands

Combining the luxury of a 5-star hotel with all the glitz, glamour and entertainment of a top casino, the Marina Bay Sands is truly in a class of its own. Conveniently located on Marina Bay, across from downtown Singapore, you’re a stone’s throw from the attractions of the city, though there’s plenty to keep you busy within the resort itself. Perched atop the hotel’s three 55-story towers is the Skypark, which features an observation deck, spa and infinity pool with spectacular views. When you’ve worked up an appetite from swimming, you can dine in one of the hotel’s 15 restaurants before dancing the night away at one of five nightclubs and lounges. You could try your luck in the casino or attend a symphony, stage production or concert. Want to treat yourself to a bit of luxury? Take a look at Hipmunk deals at the Marina Bay Sands.
2. The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

Located in the buzzing Marina Bay area, this is one for lovers of art and architecture. The building was designed by Kevin Roche and is home to a 4,200-piece art collection featuring works by Andy Warhol and David Hockney. This is a hotel oozing with sumptuous, modern style from the guest rooms to the restaurants and bars. With impressive views over Marina Bay and top-notch service, it’s a real gem.
3. Raffles Hotel

Serving guests since 1887, the Raffles Hotel Singapore has become an icon of the island. The stunning colonial architecture of the building is matched by the chic antique furniture and elegant design of its interior. Sit at the bar and sip one of the hotel’s famous Singapore Sling cocktails, enjoy mouthwatering meals in a variety of restaurants, lounge by the pool or catch a play in the Victorian-style theater.
4. Capella Singapore

If you want a retreat from the chaos of the city, Capella Singapore is the perfect place to unwind and breath in the South China Sea air. Nestled on a leafy hillside on Sentosa Island, this getaway for Asia’s elite is a 15-minute cab ride from downtown but feels like it’s a world away. Capella Singapore features all the amenities expected of a 5-star hotel, plus elegant colonial architecture, Mediterranean and Cantonese restaurants and the perfect bar for sun downers.
5. The Fullerton Bay Hotel

This one is true decadence. Another of Marina Bay’s dazzling high-end hotels, this one features a rooftop pool with views over the bay, which is also home to one of the city’s most stylish rooftop bars, Lantern. Rooms are comfortable, bright and spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies so you can sit back and enjoy the vista. Dining options at the Fullerton Bay Hotel include the upscale French La Brasserie and more relaxed grazing at the Landing Point lounge.

7 Travel Destinations Made Famous by James Bond

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 3, 2015.

With the recent debut of the latest installment in the James Bond movie franchise, Spectre, we’ve been reminded of one of 007’s greatest qualities—namely, that he’s better traveled than most people on the planet (okay, he’s a fictional character, but the point still stands).

In fact, in his 50 years of service, Bond has visited nearly 50 countries, while most of the films feature upwards of six distinct locales. Want to globe-trot like James Bond? Simply jet-set to any of these stellar destinations.

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1. Hong Kong, China

The bustling city has been featured in several Bond films, including You Only Live Once, Die Another Day, and The Man with the Golden Gun, which includes scenes shot in the famous Peninsula Hotel. Considered one of the world’s best hotels, the Peninsula boasts a Rolls Royce fleet, a rooftop helipad, marble baths, exceptional service, and (fittingly, for Bond fans) traditional British tea.

2. Istanbul, Turkey

In the opening of Skyfall, Bond finds himself in search of a stolen hard drive in the city of Istanbul. He then chases an assailant through Eminonu Square, one of the oldest in the city (Bond also visits Istanbul in From Russia with Love and The World is Not Enough). To make your visit as luxurious as Bond’s would have been (had he not been dodging would-be assassins and chasing down bad guys), book a stay at the lavish Shangri-La Bosphorous, which promises an in-room espresso machine, 300-count linens, heated bathroom floors, a separate shower and soaking tub, and complimentary high-speed WiFi.

3. Jamaica

The whole country makes the list on account of its significance to the Bond franchise. Not only was nearly all of the original James Bond movie, Dr. No, filmed on the island, but it’s also the site of the emergence of Honey Ryder (the first Bond girl, played by Ursula Andress). The country is also heavily featured in Live and Let Die. To top it all off, Goldeneye, Jamaica is the former home of the late Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond franchise. His house has now been incorporated into a luxury boutique hotel, which keeps Fleming’s writing desk and typewriter on display.

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4. Khao Phing Kan, Thailand

Dubbed “James Bond Island” by 007 fans, this island in Thailand had its moment in the spotlight in The Man with the Golden Gun. Located within the Ao Phang Nga national park, it makes for a stunning destination for nature lovers and film buffs alike. Head to any of the cheap hotels in nearby Phuket after your day of adventure.

5. London, England

No list of this kind would be complete without mention of 007’s headquarters. Home to M16 and featured in nearly every film in the Bond franchise, London is hands down Bond’s most frequented destination. While M16 has moved from London office buildings to Whitehall’s Old War Office, the Barbican, and its eventual headquarters on the Thames, London will forever remain Bond’s home.

6. Mexico City, Mexico

Spectre marks the second time Bond has found himself in Mexico. The first time around, in License to Kill, Bond checked in at the Grand Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. This time, 007 is amongst the crowds during the Day of the Dead parade celebration in Mexico City’s Zocalo square. Mexico City is one of the most populated cities in the world, so you’ll have no shortage of sightseeing opportunities at any time of year.

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7. Venice, Italy

The canals and gondolas of Venice make for frequented terrain for the Bond franchise, with spots in From Russia with Love, Moonraker, and Casino Royale. Stroll the Piazza San Marco and ogle the Cipriani Hotel, where James Bond is seen mooring his yacht in Casino Royale (It’s also reportedly where Daniel Craig himself stayed during filming).

While you may not be landing on a helipad or saving the world from nuclear meltdown, you can still travel the world in style at any of these 007 locations.

Email hello@hipmunk.com to check hotel prices to Hong Kong, Istanbul, Mexico City, Venice, or London!

Cover Photo: Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, and Spaarnestad Photo.