Want the best possible value on a hotel room? Pack your bags, you’re going to…southwestern Slovakia.
Recently, we wrote about how travel site Orbitz is in the news for showing Mac users more expensive hotel rooms than Windows users. Its competitor Expedia just released a list of the World’s Best-Reviewed Hotels, based mostly on user input last year – and only three of the top 10 are in the United States.
Before we get to the top picks, here’s some of the stats Expedia offered about the hotels on its list…
- World-class. The top 650 hotels are spread across 295 cities in 74 countries – with 28 percent in the States, 25 percent in Europe, 19 percent in Asia, and 3 percent in South America. The “elsewhere” category represents 25 percent, but Expedia doesn’t say where that is. Africa? Antarctica?
- Fancy doesn’t mean best. Only 35 percent of the hotels are categorized as “luxury.”
- Green is growing. Expedia says “green/sustainable” hotels had “an outsized presence” on this year’s list – 17 percent.
- Running hot and cold. There are 11 “ski-friendly” hotels, and 116 “beach hotels,” with more of the latter in Mexico than the United States.
- Pack light. Just 87 hotels on the list are “family friendly” – that’s about 13 percent.
And here are the 10 hotels topping the list. Since Expedia only gives names, stars, and locations, we poked around their sites to hazard a guess why these top the list.
1. Marrol’s Boutique Hotel (5 stars, Bratislava, Slovakia)
A luxury hotel in a colonial-style historical building. Free breakfast buffet, gym, newspaper, and Internet. Egyptian cotton sheets. And 46 activities onsite or nearby, including rafting, skydiving, snowboarding, hunting, and helicopter rides. Price: $120/night for a queen bed this weekend (with a free welcome drink).
It’s in the middle of Venice – “200 metres from St. Mark’s Square and 300 metres from Rialto Bridge,” in “traditional style with antique furnishings and wooden floors.” Enough said, right? Free breakfast, free newspaper, but no free Internet. Price: About $180/night for a king or two twins, but booked solid for at least the next three weekends.
3. Hotel Royal Corin (4 stars, Costa Rica)
A romantic destination…next to a volcano that’s visible from your private balcony. Free breakfast, Internet, parking, and newspaper. Price: $263/night for a king bed, sold out this weekend.
4. Hilton Garden Inn Aberdeen (4 stars, Aberdeen, Scotland)
“Scotland’s 3rd largest city features an enchanting granite skyline, a fantastic range of shops and restaurants and a vibrant night-life, while the city’s Old Town has a magical air of times gone by.”
5. Four Seasons Miami (5 stars, Miami, Florida)
It’s 36 miles from Money Talks News HQ, but far closer to Biscayne Bay (visible from some rooms), Mary Brickell Village, the American Airlines Arena (the Miami Heat’s court), and Miami Art Museum. Marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton sheets. Pets allowed, and lots of water and sports activities nearby. Price: $269/night for a city-view room this weekend.
Short walk to the harbor, St. Michaelis Church, or the subway, and within walking distance of the historic warehouse district. Free Internet and newspaper. Price: $174/night for a king or double bed this weekend.
7. Element Omaha Midtown Crossing (3 stars, Omaha, Nebraska)
It’s 5 minutes from downtown Omaha and the most popular zoo in America. Nearby golf and mountain biking. In the “green/sustainable” category. Free breakfast, airport shuttle, and Wi-Fi. Price: $179 Saturday and $119 Sunday for a king bed this weekend.
8. Sonnenalp Resort of Vail (4.5 stars, Vail-Beaver Creek, Colorado)
One of the “ski-friendly” hotels – close to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Vail Ski Resort, as well as Gerald Ford Amphitheater. Free Internet and newspaper. Price: one king or two double beds for $325 Saturday or $300 Sunday this weekend.
Right on the water in Mumbai’s suburban Bandra district, also in the “green/sustainable” category. Contemporary style with marble bathrooms. Nearby golf. Free parking, breakfast, and newspaper. Price: $164/night for a king bed this weekend.
10. Mr. C Beverly Hills (5 stars, Los Angeles, California)
A luxury hotel half a mile from Rodeo Drive; 7 miles from Santa Monica. Marble bathrooms and private balconies. Free newspaper, Internet, and use of an iPad or Macbook. Dozens of activities nearby. Price: sold out this weekend; $320 next weekend for a king bed.
Brandon Ballenger is a writer for Money Talks News, a consumer/personal finance TV news feature that airs in about 80 cities as well as around the Web. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.