Arizona

Hotels with the Best Views in America

Posted July 30, 2014 by SmarterTravel.com

 

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California (Photo: Preferred Hotel Group)

A perfect view is a priceless hotel amenity. It allows you to enjoy a perspective of a landscape or monument that's, for the time being, yours alone. You get to maintain a visual connection to your destination even after you've retreated to your room with a bottle of wine and the room-service menu. And it affords the opportunity to take some pretty impressive pictures without battling crowds of camera-wielding tourists.

Some of the greatest views of America's most spectacular sites—the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, the rugged beaches of California's Central Coast—are available from the guest rooms of hotels. Here are 10 U.S. properties that overlook superb vistas and offer guests a picture-perfect point of view.

 

(Photo: Ian A Gratton via flickr/CC Attribution)

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, New York City, New York

New Yorkers are knee-deep in marvelous views, from teeming Times Square to the high-flying city skyline to the emerald-green expanse of Central Park. But at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, telescopes in harbor-view rooms help you get a special perspective on one of America's icons: the Statue of Liberty. One of two Ritz-Carlton properties in New York City, the Battery Park Ritz property is located about 100 yards from the harbor, giving guests an unobstructed look at Ellis Island. Plus, the port for Statue of Liberty tours is a stone's throw away.

 

(Photo: Grand Canyon NPS via flickr/CC Attribution)

Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The astonishing views are what draw many to the rim of the Grand Canyon. So why not stay in a place that's as close to the powerful landscape as you can get? The Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim is the only lodging inside the park that's located at the North Rim. (This means you should book your stay far in advance.) The lodge consists of cabins and motel rooms; the prime spots to book are the cabins close to the rim of the canyon. For best results, be sure to ask for a cabin with a North Rim view.

 

(Photo: Hotel Vitale)

Hotel Vitale, San Francisco, California

The Golden Gate isn't the only San Francisco bridge worth looking at. Last year, an enormous installation comprised of 25,000 LED lights was hung on the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Oakland. The Bay Lights make up the world's largest LED sculpture. And Hotel Vitale, which sits on the San Fran waterfront across from the Embarcadero promenade, offers guests perfect Bay Bridge views. When booking your stay, ask for a bridge-view room. You'll get to see the Bay Bridge sparkling with more than a mile of glittering lights from dusk until dawn, right from your room. Some guest rooms also offer views of the Ferry Building Marketplace along the Embarcadero.

 

(Photo: Preferred Hotel Group)

The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island

Enjoy a view fit for a gilded-age baron in … where else but the former home of a gilded-age baron. There's little argument that this gorgeous historical property offers the best ocean views in Newport. The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a mansion constructed in the 19th century by Civil War-era congressman John Winthrop Chanler, is the only hotel located on Newport's celebrated Cliff Walk. It's perched directly on the trail that snakes between the Atlantic Ocean and a sequence of ornate gilded-age manors. Grab an Ocean Villa to enjoy unforgettable views of the ocean and the historical town of Newport directly from your room.

 

(Photo: Far View Lodge)

Far View Lodge, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

This hotel's name says it all. The only lodging available inside Mesa Verde National Park, Far View Lodge sits amidst miles of arid sagebrush-blanketed wilderness on the Colorado Plateau. All rooms at the lodge have private balconies from which guests can stargaze, search for wandering Rocky Mountain elk, black bears, or coyotes, or simply enjoy the rolling cuesta landscape that seems to extend forever.

 

Corner Executive Suite (Photo: Swissotel)

Swissotel Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

This Magnificent Mile property affords views of the best of both Chicago worlds: Lake Michigan and the city skyline. Certainly, the finest viewpoints are available via Swissotel Chicago's corner king rooms; these accommodations have wide windows that allow guests to enjoy full views of water and city in two directions. Need an excuse to work out? The property's fitness center, located on the 42nd floor, also offers panoramic Windy City views.

 

(Photo: Ryan Harvey via flickr/CC Attribution/Share Alike)

Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona

Tucked amidst the multihued red rocks of Sedona, Enchantment Resort has a well-deserved reputation for stunning views. The property is located on 70 pristine acres at Boynton Canyon, where a mix of forest, desert, and canyons forms a unique and visually stunning ecosystem. Trails are accessible for those who want to explore the extraordinary natural setting. Or you can order room service from one of a handful of on-site restaurants and dine on your own private terrace in full view of the Sedona scenery. For the best perspective, request a room with a view of the canyon face or a room on a higher floor.

 

(Photo: Four Seasons)

Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Lanai, Hawaii

The secluded Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay is one of just a few hotels on Lanai, so you won't see any other properties from your window; that equates to pristine, unobstructed views of red lava cliffs and blue ocean. Even if you don't snag a room with an ocean view, you won't have to worry about getting stuck with concrete high-rises in your visual field. There's not a bad view in the house: You might have a view of the sea. You might have a view of the property's lush tropical gardens. Either way, you'll be hard-pressed to spot any signs of commercial development from your accommodations on this calm, quiet island.

 

View from Peak House Guest Room (Photo: Preferred Hotel Group)

Port Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California

At Post Ranch Inn, secluded cliff-side dwellings offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Take in the sea view from a private porch, a living room warmed by a crackling fire, or a roomy jetted tub positioned before a wall of glass. (The windows facing the ocean hang above a steep incline, which supplies the requisite privacy for large-windowed bathrooms.) You'll also find amazing views in the property's restaurant, Sierra Mar, where walls and floors made entirely of glass extend over the sloping cliffs, creating the perfect visual setting for an unforgettable meal.

 

(Photo: brianandjaclyn via flickr/CC Attribution)

Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park, Montana

It's generally agreed upon that Many Glacier Hotel offers the best views of all the lodgings in Glacier National Park. And what views they are: Lake-facing windows at this Swiss-style property provide a flawless perspective on glacier-carved mountainous landscapes. See the jagged peaks reflecting onto the clear water of Swiftcurrent Lake right from your room. But book early. There are only a handful of hotels within the national park, and lake-facing accommodations fill up especially fast.

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title 10 Hotels with the Best Views in the U.S.

Follow Caroline Costello on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

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Take a Low-Cost Tour Through Tucson's Culture

Posted August 2, 2010 by Kate Hamman

Tucson Though Tucson is clearly in Arizona, its history is deeply rooted in Mexican culture. Come learn about the city's past on a trolley ride, shop for arts and crafts, and dine on fresh Mexican cuisine. Plus, you'll barely spend a dime while you're here.

Play
Old Pueblo Trolley: Hop aboard the Old Pueblo Trolley for a ride back in time, where you'll get to learn about the history of trolley operation and the surrounding area. The ride begins at the Fourth Avenue Business District and ends near the University of Arizona, and along the way you'll pass a dizzying array of shops, cafes, and restored homes, with narration explaining their historical significance. Kids are welcome to ring the bell. Each ride costs $1.25, but you can hop on or off at any of the stops for the one-time fee of $3.

Shop
Old Town Artisans: Located in Tucson's El Presidio Historic District, you'll find 150-year-old adobe structures housing six unique artisan shops and galleries. Browse the many examples of contemporary and traditional art from regional and local artists. You'll find jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and much more. And if your feet get tired, you can relax outside in the Spanish-style courtyard. Prices differ from item to item, but window shopping is always free.

Eat
Guadalajara Grill: Fresh is the name of the game at Guadalajara Grill, where you can watch as your salsa is made tableside, eat homemade tortillas, and sip a freshly made margarita. You can also dance the night away to live music. The menu features many familiar Mexican items, such as burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and quesadillas, alongside different dishes like huaraches (fried maza crust topped with meats divided by beans) or volcano molcajetes (volcanic rock is heated and filled with soup-and-salsa queso mix).

To search for flights and compare prices to Tucson, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Scottsdale's Spa and Wellness Bargains

Posted March 12, 2010 by Jamie Moore

Scottsdale Finding affordable wellness experiences in this town of over-the-top spa luxury can be tricky, but we've done it. Here's the inside scoop on which spa the locals frequent, where to get a "detox margarita," and which cafe offers healthy comfort food.

Play
The Lamar Everyday Spa
: Phoenix Magazine calls this place "one of the valley's best day spa deals." For $90 you can get a 55-minute relaxation massage. Good prices have earned the day spa a long list of loyal local clients, including the Phoenix Suns dancers. Even without a treatment you can buy a $30 day pass and use the pool, whirlpool, sauna, and steam room.

Drink
Sprouts at Camelback Inn
: After your treatment, keep the good vibes flowing with a supercharged antioxidant-rich cocktail sipped poolside. Inside the spa at the legendary and expensive Camelback Inn, Sprouts restaurant is your ticket to a five-diamond resort experience for only $12. Who can resist a place that includes Detox Margarita ($12) on the drink menu? Try a Desert Rose, a blend of organic vodka, rose nectar, prickly pear, grapefruit, and fresh lime juice. Or go non-alcoholic with a $4 cucumber-mint-lime cooler.

Eat
Cafe ZuZu
: After a day of complete relaxation, indulge yourself at Cafe ZuZu in the Hotel Valley Ho. This contemporary restaurant offers classic comfort foods with a modern twist, and Executive Chef Chuck Wiley has declared 2010 to be "the year of the vegetable." Come enjoy entrees with changing ingredients, ensuring everything is used at its peak of deliciousness. Try the lunch menu's offerings, which start at $9 for truffled grilled cheese with fontina cheese, arugula, and oven-roasted tomatoes on sourdough bread; or just drop in during happy hour for $3 appetizers like mini pork shanks.

You can use our tool to compare airfares to Phoenix, the closest major airport, from multiple travel providers.

(Photo: Spa Lamar)

A Quieter, Traffic-Free Route to the Grand Canyon's South Rim

Posted July 2, 2009 by Jamie Moore

AZ-HopiHouse-DEF This year, nearly five million people will descend upon the Grand Canyon. Most will see the one-mile deep wonder along the South Rim from their car. Oh, you hoped you could escape the bumper-to-bumper routine on this trip? Take the track less traveled, and, yes, you will find a quieter, traffic-free route to Grand Canyon's South Rim. Hop a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, stay off-rim in a lodge surrounded by ponderosa pines, and shop for Native American artwork.

Play
Grand Canyon Railway: Save the gas—and those poor mules' backs—and opt for a breathtaking journey through the park by train instead. Grand Canyon Railway locomotives make round-trip excursions ($70 to $190) from Williams, AZ, to the heart of the park's South Rim village. Once aboard the early 1900s steam train, you feel like you've been transported to a different time. Best value: A one-night package that includes your round-trip fare, hotel stay in Williams, breakfast, and dinner for $169.50.

Stay
Maswik Lodge: Maswik, a great pick for families, is just 1/4 mile walk (or free shuttle) from the South Rim village hubbub. The lodge is tucked away in a pine forest, and there's a big grassy yard for the kids to roll around in, so you actually feel like you're in a national park, not Grand Central Station. Cabins (summer only) or rooms with two queen beds go for $90 per night, and casual cafeteria-style dining is available in the lodge.

Shop
Hopi House: No need to admit you ever dozed during class. One step into Hopi House and you get a painless recap of history, architecture, and art in one visual sweep—all while you shop. What could be better? The architecture of this gallery and gift shop—built 103 years ago by Hopi craftsmen—is native to Hopi dwellings in the area. Study the timber-layered ceilings, adobe walls, and corner fireplaces, then move on to the gorgeous jewelry, pottery, and paintings crafted by Native Americans.

To search for flights and compare prices to Phoenix, which is home to the Grand Canyon’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: iStockphoto.com/Bill Grove)

Sedona's Outdoor Inspiration Leads You to Inner Peace

Posted June 15, 2009 by Jamie Moore

AZ-Sedona-Chapel-DEF Gorgeous sandstone colors vast swaths of the West, but Sedona's magnificent red-rock monoliths steal the show. You'll be so mesmerized by the scenery you won't want to go inside. So don't. Find inner peace on a red-rocks vortex tour. Browse boutiques under shady sycamores in an arts and crafts village. And dine on a Spanish-style patio, margarita in hand. You can easily skip around town on Sedona's free open-air RoadRunner trolley.

Play
Sedona Vortex Tours: For centuries, artists, shamans, and spiritual sages have come to Sedona for inspiration. Some 20 energy centers, or vortexes, lie within a five- to 10-mile radius, a rare concentration not found anywhere else in the world. Channel the good vibes yourself on a vortex tour, where you can walk, meditate, and picnic on the red rocks. Guides will explain the mysteries of medicine wheels, power points, and ley lines on a three-hour tour. Rates run $89 per person to be part of a group tour.

Shop
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village: Walking through Tlaquepaque (Tla-keh-pah-keh) you'd swear you were in Mexico. This legendary Sedona shopping destination, actually built in the 1970s, was authentically fashioned after a traditional Mexican village. Vine-covered stucco walls, tall sycamores, and cobblestone walkways make you think this place has been here for centuries. Save time to savor the lush surroundings between stops at galleries and boutiques.

Eat
El Rincon: Ask any local for a restaurant recommendation, and chances are you'll get El Rincon. This festive landmark, with Spanish-style furnishings and arched doorways, doesn't disappoint. The menu combines Mexican, Southwestern, and Native American influences, and the bar serves up a killer $6.50 "Margarita Magnifica" that's hailed by locals and visitors alike. Order a hand-rolled chimichanga, Navajo pizza, or other house specialty ($9 to $15) and dine outside on the patio that looks onto the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.

To search for flights and compare prices to Flagstaff, which is home to Sedona’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Scott Prokop; iStockPhoto.com)

Where Not to Go in the Grand Canyon

Posted June 11, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Grandcanyonfire If you’re looking to spend your summer vacation exploring one of nature’s most miraculous creations, you’d be hard pressed to find a better destination than the Grand Canyon. Similarly, if you’re looking spend your summer vacation getting burned to a crisp in a raging inferno, this could also be your ideal getaway choice.

Okay, okay, before the nasty letters from the National Parks Service start, that’s actually not entirely true. It’s valid to say that wildfires rage throughout the Grand Canyon. (Point: me). Buuuut, they’re also well monitored and managed (as well as can be) by one of the most active fire management programs in the National Park Service. (Point: them).

All of which brings me to today’s travel tip: How to avoid finding yourself in a fast-burn wildfire during your family vacation in the Grand Canyon. It’s easier than you’d think! First of all, don’t start one. Only you can prevent wildfires.

Second, take a look at the Grand Canyon’s regularly-updated Fire Information and Activity page on the National Park Service website. Here, you’ll find beyond-helpful information about exactly where fires are raging, plus downloadable fire activity and fire progression maps, and useful tips like “please do not stop or pull over in the vicinity of the fire.” (Though they don’t specifically say it, I will add my own tip to the mix: “Please do not touch the fire”. You’re welcome.)

If you’re so inclined, you can also hit up their website to find some interesting information about their fire management program and prescribed fires (planned fires) happening in the fall. All in all, an information-packed website for both the firebugs and the fire-avoiders in the family. I highly encourage you to peruse it for yourself prior to your Grand Canyon trip to glean current news and help to ensure that your vacation packages don’t include trips to the Burn Unit.

(Photo: www.eri.nau.edu)

Take a Low-Cost Tour Through Tucson's Culture

Posted April 1, 2009 by Kate Hamman

AZ-Tucson-PuebloTrolleyTour-DEF Though Tucson is clearly in Arizona, its history is deeply rooted in Mexican culture. Come learn about the city's past on a trolley ride, shop for arts and crafts, and dine on fresh Mexican cuisine. Plus, you'll barely spend a dime while you're here.

Play
Old Pueblo Trolley: Hop aboard the Old Pueblo Trolley for a ride back in time, where you'll get to learn about the history of trolley operation and the surrounding area. The ride begins at the Fourth Avenue Business District and ends near the University of Arizona, and along the way you'll pass a dizzying array of shops, cafes, and restored homes, with narration explaining their historical significance. Kids are welcome to ring the bell. Each ride costs $1, but you can hop on or off at any of the stops for the one-time fee of $2.50.

Shop
Old Town Artisans: Located in Tucson's El Presidio Historic District, you'll find 150-year-old adobe structures housing six unique artisan shops and galleries. Browse the many examples of contemporary and traditional art from regional and local artists. You'll find jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and much more. And if your feet get tired, you can relax outside in the Spanish-style courtyard. Prices differ from item to item, but window shopping is always free.

Eat
Guadalajara Grill: Fresh is the name of the game at Guadalajara Grill, where you can watch as your salsa is made tableside, eat homemade tortillas, and sip a freshly made margarita. You can also dance the night away to live music. The menu features many familiar Mexican items, such as burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and quesadillas, alongside different dishes like huaraches (fried maza crust topped with meats divided by beans) or volcano molcajetes (volcanic rock is heated and filled with soup-and-salsa queso mix). Don't miss happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when margaritas cost $2.99 and snack items go for $4.95.

To search for flights and compare prices to Tucson, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau)

More Nakation Fun in the Sun

Posted May 2, 2008 by Heather Gilbert

Readers, you’ve come to expect colorful, off-beat travel coverage from your pals here at the BookingBuddy blog.  You hardly batted an eye when I shared with you the various forms that nude vacations (or nakations) are taking these days.  Just another day at BookingBuddy HQ.  071005_nude_bcol_9astandard

Well, it looks as if the New York Times wanted in on the action, because in Sunday’s travel section, up popped a piece about nakations!  (And in the Times piece was a quote from Tom Mulhall, owner of the Terra Cotta Inn in sunny Palm Springs … the very same Tom Mulhall that was kind enough to comment on my previous nakations post!)  Hello nakations, we’re glad you’re back! 

The Times reported that nude vacations are on the rise, especially in the high-end sector of the business.  There’s the $300 per night all-inclusive Hidden Beach Resort in Mexico.  They even have a nude disco, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “shake your booty.”   There’s the Sea Mountain Inn resort and spa located in Desert Hot Springs, California, that runs up to $900 per night (no single men allowed!), and even luxury cruise lines participating in no-clothes cruises.  What’s next, a clothing-optional condo resort?  Check.  Welcome to Mira Vista, near Tucson, Arizona, where you can get a two-bedroom condo from $244,500.  I’m sure the views are worth every penny. 

Apparently the nakations are here to stay.  Whether you’re young or old, prefer land or sea, are straight or gay (yes, there’s a gay-only naturist group ), your next vacation could be a nakation.  A high-end, luxury nakation.  With lots of sunscreen.


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