London Is a Great Place to Score a Lot of Bonwi Points

We just returned from a trip to London and what a remarkable city it is.  Part of what surprised me when I was there was how few people I met in the course of business and on the street who were from England.

The fact is that there are almost no Uber drivers who are native Britons.  Nor are there many shopkeeps and restaurant employees.  Instead, you get a wide-ranging stew of just about every other country in the world, living in London, and it’s about as diverse a city as I’ve ever seen.

But what about hotels, and where did we stay?

You want Bonwi points? Go to London!
You want Bonwi points? Go to London!

As you can see from the graphic, you can really score big on Bonwi points if you visit London right around now.  The Ambassadors Hotel isn’t even a very expensive property, but for a six-night stay, if you spent $1635,  you’d bank a whopping 68,293 Bonwi points!

What means is if you wanted to return to London and use your 68,293 points, you could stay either here:

Total with Tax: 60,414
and pay nothing. Zilch!  Bonwi points are like getting a bonus of more hotel rooms simply by booking with them for your first stay.  You could have gone to London on business and then returned and stayed for fun for two nights without paying anything.
The next time you have to go somewhere on business–take a minute to look up hotels on Bonwi.  Then find a place with a lot of points, book your hotel at the best available rate, and voila—you’ll have points in the bank for a future free trip!
You can’t go wrong–and you’ll also be able to use the points for car rentals if you don’t need a hotel room.

Car Rentals and Bonwi: A Winning Combination

The gorgeous Vasco da Gama bridge between Lisbon and Alcochete, Portugal.
The gorgeous Vasco da Gama bridge between Lisbon and Alcochete, Portugal.

Bonwi might be better known at this point for the best way to accumulate points for hotel stays, but it’s also one of the best ways to accumulate points for car rentals.

You can use Bonwi points for car rentals that you accumulate after simply booking a hotel (at a great price) using Bonwi.  You can not only use them to rent car in cities like Denver Colorado, but you can also find car rentals down under…in Lisbon!

Salema is a small beach village on the Atlantic coast in Portugal's Algarve. It's the kind of place you really need a rental car to reach, and you can find one at Bonwi.com.
Salema is a small beach village on the Atlantic coast in Portugal’s Algarve. It’s the kind of place you really need a rental car to reach, and you can find one at Bonwi.com.

Portugal is a great country for a road trip. We just returned from a trip that took us from swingin’ Lisbon town down to the famous Algarve, in the bottom of the country. Not on the Mediterranean, it’s on the sparkling Atlantic.

One of the places we really enjoyed was the village of Salema. It’s a small village with seafood restaurants right on the beach, and just a few tiny hotels and BnBs. But it’s also not connected any major cities by bus or train. You really do need a car to enjoy a place like Salema, or other parts of the Algarve like Faro or Lagos.

There are so many small towns like Salema that are unique and make for the kinds of experiences everyone wants on their vacations. The freedom of the open road, being able to stop whenever you like, and most of all, not paying a fortune for your rental car.

One thing that you’ll want to do on the trip is to allow the rental car company to take care of the tolls that occur quite frequently on the A2 and other motorways. There is an option at places like Europcar that you give them a credit card and they are automatically charged…the other way to do it is to stop and pay within 24 hours of passing by the toll gantry. But for most people, it’s a no-brainer to allow the tolls to be paid by credit card.

So the next time you’re in the mood for a road trip, consider using your Bonwi. First find a hotel at a great price, and then use the points you get to book a car rental for peanuts!

 

Rome’s 21st Century Attractions

Rome's MAXXI museum.
Rome’s MAXXI museum: Art from the 21st Century in the ancient city.

When most people think of Rome they picture the Pantheon, the Coliseum, and the like. While these landmarks should definitely make the cut for your Rome vacation itinerary, there are many other things to see in the Italian capital.

Rome’s MAXXI, or National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, features contemporary works and is even contemporary in its smooth and sleek exterior. Inside the museum, guests can gaze at beautiful exhibitions of modern photography, architecture, and other art. This is not your average Roman landmark!

There are more than a few Catholic Churches in Rome, that’s for sure. But, there aren’t any Catholic Churches quite like Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso. This modern church was completed in 2003 and resides in Rome’s Tor Tre Teste neighborhood. The Church is represented as a boat, a well-known analogy, which is made clear by the building’s sail-shaped roof panels that can appear as one or multiple structures, depending on the angle from which you view the building.

This church is another example of Rome’s 21st Century vision.

Catholic Church Modern in Rome.
Catholic Church Modern in Rome


After visiting some of Rome’s contemporary attractions, grab a bite at these new restaurants:


Birra del Borgo has an admirable dedication to beer production and features 24 draft beers. The restaurant has fabulous pizza, regional cheeses, and fresh pasta. There’s also plenty of room with a 50-seat dining room, a lounge with couches, stools at the bar, 14 seats reserved for special events, and more. Not to mention, Birra del Borgo also has its very own art exposition in collaboration with Varsi, a Roman art gallery!

While the name Bagel Town may sound like an American fast food joint, I can assure you that is not the case. Rome’s Bagel Town combines quality organic ingredients with street food for an affordable yet gourmet culinary experience. You can enjoy classic, gourmet, and dessert types of Panini “with a hole” (col buco in Italian). Why not have a bagel with smoked salmon, crispy spinach, and Thai sauce!

A bagel with smoked salmon from Bagel Town, in Rome.
A bagel with smoked salmon from Bagel Town, in Rome.

 

When planning your trip to Rome, consider staying at these fine, new hotels:

The UNA Hotel Roma is centrally located in Rome’s historical hotbed just minutes from multiple sites such as the Coliseum, the Opera House, the Spanish Steps, and much more. With on site healthy Italian breakfasts, and internal garage, babysitting service, free wi-fi access, and more, the UNA Hotel Roma is a great choice for any traveler!

For a luxurious and relaxing stay, try the Boscolo Exedra Roma. This gorgeous hotel offers multiple kinds of rooms ranging from classic rooms to presidential suites, has its own incredible spa, pool, gym with personal trainers, and much more. And guests will never go hungry with the Lobby Bar, the Posh Terrace, the Breakfast Room La Frusta, the Champagnerie Tazio, and the Gallery Bar and Restaurant Tazio all on the hotel’s premises!

Find the best room rates for these and hundreds of other Rome Hotels on Bonwi, and use your points to save on your next trip!

  

Tips on Saving During Your European Getaway


Looking for budget friendly tips for your next European getaway? Below are our top cost-effective tips to consider during your European travels.

Traveling by foot or on public transportation will help you appreciate the beauty found within cities, and will save on expenses as well. Use public transport in place of taxis, and buy 24-hour, 3-day or even weekly public transport passes, which work out cheaper than single tickets.

Take advantage of “Welcome Cards”, such as those found in Berlin, Germany, which includes free public transportation and many discounts to sights, tours, restaurants, museums and more.

Use ATMs rather than travelers checks. You’ll get your cash cheaper and faster. While ATMs give the best possible rates, they do come with transaction fees. Minimize these fees by making fewer and larger withdrawals. Store the cash safely in your money belt.

Buying your maps in Europe will cost a fraction of domestic prices, plus you’re likely to find a wider selection.

Take advantage of leisurely ferry trips along coastlines, tandem-bicycles, or even horse-drawn carriage rides. Such means of transportation are not only means of saving money, but also perfect opportunities for relaxation and stress-free personal time to reconnect.

Trimming your budget certainly doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your trip, and in many cases doing so will result in a far more intimate, rewarding, and unforgettable getaway.

Quito Is the Pearl in Ecuador’s Oyster

Carondelet Palace, office and house of the Presidents of Ecuador.
The central square across from the Presidential palace in Quito, Ecuador.
The central square across from the Presidential palace in Quito, Ecuador.

Quito, Ecuador, is a UNESCO World Heritage city, and one of the highest capitals in the world, at 9350 elevation, only second to La Paz, Bolivia.  The beautiful city is built right on top of a former Inkan city, and you can see influences from many cultures who have dominated over the centuries, including Moorish, European and indigenous.

It’s amazing to stroll this city because there are so many preserved antiquities and dramatic buildings.  One element of traveling in Ecuador that makes it much easier for Americans is that the currency is the US dollar!  So you don’t have to change any money, you can use greenbacks.

Carondelet Palace, office and house of the Presidents of Ecuador.
Carondelet Palace, office and house of the Presidents of Ecuador.

The other element that makes getting around anywhere in Ecuador easy is that taxis are so cheap. You can take a long, long taxi ride, from one side of the city to the other, and pay the man $3 or $4. Easy peasy.

Quito is located about 16 miles south of the equator, and there is a museum and monument about this being the center of the Earth. Additionally, Quito is pretty much in the dead center in Ecuador.

La Mariscal

This neighborhood is the city’s entertainment center.  There are a large number of hotels and inns, travel agencies, language and dance schools, stores, bars, and discothèques that travelers and locals enjoying visiting.

The Plaza Foch is considered the zona rosa of the city. It has various night clubs and bars and has a great nighttime vibe. Plaza Foch is busiest on Thursday-Saturday nights, and tourists from all over the world enjoy the bustling nightlife.

La Ronda street, one of the most popular areas to go out in Quito.
La Ronda street, one of the most popular areas to go out in Quito.

Visitors to Quito also like to take in the sites of the well-preserved city center and the dramatic open square, and also to see the ornate Basilica del Voto Nacional and the Church of La Compañía de Jesús

Church of La Compañía de Jesús in Quito, Ecuador.
Church of La Compañía de Jesús in Quito, Ecuador. Max Hartshorne photos

Find hotels in Quito, Ecuador, and use your Bonwi Points to extend your trip!

 

 

8 Trivia Bits to Know About Stockholm, Sweden

Visit Stockholm old city

Visit Stockholm old city

Stockholm is a gorgeous capital city in Scandinavia and you could take a thousand postcard-perfect photos on a visit here. You get ancient architecture and a long history, plus this is a thriving and electric city with a great food, music, and nightlife scene. Stockholm often shows up on lists of the “most creative cities in the world” and its people often rank themselves as some of the happiest.

You’ll learn a lot from a guidebook or tour guide during your visits to museums and waterways, but here are a few surprises to get you started before you book a hotel and map out your plans.

You Probably Have Something From Here in Your House

Those Swedes aren’t real braggarts, but they’ve got an eye for business opportunities. Here are just a few brands that have rolled through Stockholm on the way to your house or garage: Ikea, Absolut, Volvo, Saab, Abba, Spotify, Electrolux, AstraZeneca, Skype, H&M, Fjällräven, Minecraft, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Abba museum Stockholm
Costumes at the Abba Museum

The Nobel Peace Prize Founder Was a Bomb Maker

Alfred Nobel is now known as the man who left his fortune for the establishment of the Nobel Prizes, including the Peace Prize. The way he made all his money though, was developing explosives. He invented dynamite and held the patent on it. Along the way though, he blew up several of his family’s factories and one blast ended up killing one of his brothers.

More #1 Hits By Anyone Not Named Lennon or McCarthy

You’ve probably never heard the name Max Martin, but unless you’ve been living in a cave for three decades you’ve heard a few of his songs. He has been behind #1 hits recorded by Katy Perry, the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, and lately The Weeknd. (If you now can’t get “Oops, I did it again” “Bad Love,” or “I Want It That Way” out of your head, blame him.)

Stockholm is Really a Collection of Islands

There are 14 islands connected by 57 bridges in Stockholm, for a city of 2 million. Roughly one-third of the city is green space and one-third of it is water. While the whole country of Sweden only has 7 million people total, it’s the 5th largest country by land mass in Europe.

King Gustav Was Killed at a Masked Ball

On March 16, 1792, Swedish King Gustav III arrived at a masked ball in costume. While most participants were incognito, he couldn’t help but show off his identity through a large star symbol on his vest. A captain planning a coup could easily tell it was him and shot him in the back. Gustav lived but ended up dying 13 days later from a resulting infection. This story eventually became an opera by Verdi, now known as The Masked Ball.

Boats Have to Come Out of the Water Each Winter

Marina and couple at sundown in StockholmThere are a lot of boats in Stockholm: an estimated 7% of Swedes own a boat and the waterways are lined with marinas. They can’t stay there when the water freezes in winter though, so most get moved to storage facilities up on the land.

The Country’s Most Famous Ship Was a Failure

The Vasa Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Stockholm, a giant wooden ship rescued from the harbor after lying at the bottom of it for hundreds of years. It sailed a little more than a kilometer on its maiden voyage of 1628, then toppled over and sank. It took three years to build and the carvings are grand, but they apparently neglected to budget for an experienced engineer to make the plans. It was poorly designed and top-heavy. If it hadn’t sunk near the shore, it would have sunk at sea.

Royal Palace in Stockholm

The Heir to the Throne Married Her Personal Trainer

Princess Victoria is next in the line of succession for one of the world’s oldest monarchies. In 2010 she married her former personal trainer, giving hope to gym rats around the world as 1,200 attended and half a million watched on TV. He’s gone from pumping iron to being called Prince Daniel of Sweden, Duke of Västergötland. We can only assume he also gets to hear, “Yes your highness” on a regular basis.

Is this capital city on your short list? Get the best Stockholm hotel prices at Bonwi, plus you’ll earn more valuable award points than with any other program.

Article and photos by Tim Leffel, editor of Perceptive Travel online magazine. See his story there on biking the Kattegattleden Trail in Sweden

Bogota: What’s New in the Colombian Capital?

Gaira Cafe Cumbia House in Bogota, Colombia.
Gaira Cafe Cumbia House in Bogota, Colombia.

Have you ever been to Colombia? Most people will probably say no. And that’s unfortunate because, between a great party scene, great shopping, and fantastic cuisine, Bogota has a lot to offer.

Salto del Angel is a five-level restaurant in Bogota where the young and beautiful come to party (however, it’s not a requirement). Dance around to Latin music, party, have a cocktail or a shot of aguardiente, and enjoy yourself at this hip establishment!

The famous Colombian singer, Carlos Vives, along with his family, owns the Gaira Cafe Cumbia House in Bogota. Filled to the brim with memorabilia and instruments of great Latin musicians, the Gaira Cafe Cumbia House practically doubles as a Colombian music history museum!  The venue has a lovely house band, creative Colombian cuisine, inventive cocktails, and even caters to children with a Sunday lunchtime musical theater.

If you’re in the market for jewelry or high-end textiles and other crafts, shop at Hacienda de Santa Barbara. This mall was converted from a 19th-century farmhouse, so it’s easy to get a glimpse of history while shopping. Multiple cafes surrounded by cobblestone, stone walkways, and wood balconies serve authentic Colombian coffee.

Bogota is no stranger to good food. Harry Sasson is a renovated National Heritage Site mansion that offers dishes combining international and Colombian ingredients. This place is so good that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton had to stop in for a bite!

Interior of Harry Sasson, Bogota, Colombia.
Interior of Harry Sasson, Bogota, Colombia.

Matiz is run by Le Cordon Bleu Peru graduate, Chef Nicolas Quintano. Nicolas’s combination of new cooking techniques and impeccable presentation makes for flavorful and sophisticated dining. You can even enjoy your meal on the outdoor terrace!

If you plan on visiting Bogota, consider staying at one of these hotels:
The Sonesta Hotel Bogota is a great value as each room comes with air-conditioning, wi-fi, a mini-bar, cable TV, and more. The hotel also offers 24-hour concierge service and 24-hour room service.

The Hotel B3 Virrey has 128 rooms that include, but are not limited to, LCD TVs, MP3 docking stations, extremely comfortable beds, and complimentary wireless and wired internet access.The Hotel B3 Virrey is also very close to El Retiro Shopping Centre, Virrey Park, Rockefeller Casino, and Clinica del Country.   Find more Bogota Hotels using Bonwi and your points will give you an extra bonus!

Los Cabos: What’s New in this Popular Mexican Resort?

Wild Cabo Tours takes visitors up close to the famous "El Arco" in Cabo St. Lucas.
Wild Cabo Tours takes visitors up close to the famous "El Arco" in Cabo St. Lucas.
Wild Cabo Tours takes visitors up close to the famous “El Arco” in Cabo St. Lucas.

Apart from being among the world’s best destinations for beaches and scuba diving, Los Cabos also has a whole smorgasbord of offerings that makes it one of Mexico’s top five vacation spots.

The Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall is located in the Cabo San Lucas region of Los Cabos. This shopping center is a step ahead of the competition because of its commitment to housing some of the most prestigious brands in the world. From jewelry and stylish bags to trendy shoes and sunglasses, the Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall in Los Cabos is an absolute treasure chest for high end shoppers!

If you’re interested in seeing all the scenic spots in Los Cabos in a way you never have before, take a dirt bike tour with Baja Dirt. This dirt bike tour company offers tourists a unique sightseeing opportunity in the beautiful and challenging terrain of Los Cabos. Come see mountains, abandoned gold mines, sand dunes, and ghost towns on an incredible dirt bike tour of Los Cabos with Baja Dirt!

Get out in to the sagebrush and desert of Baja California with Baja Dirt motorcycle tours.
Get out in to the sagebrush and desert of Baja California with Baja Dirt motorcycle tours.

If you’re not a big fan of dirt bikes, try a Wild Cabo Tour on for size. Wild Cabo Tours take tourists on a variety of different boat tours around scenic Los Cabos waters. The pirate-themed Cabo Legend Tours take place aboard a massive wooden ship and offer great family fun and entertainment. Cabo Escape Tours take tourists on a double-deck catamaran to see the beauty of Los Cabos and can include various activities such as whale watching and snorkeling.

The Buccaneer Queen Tours feature a replica pirate ship that had a part in the 1995 film “Cutthroat Island” and takes tourists around various popular historical and scenic spots around Los Cabos, including the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas!

There are so many different restaurants to try in Los Cabos that you could fill an encyclopedia with all of the municipality’s eateries. Chefs Omar Laguna Angel Carbajal of the Fat Tuna Restaurant will send your taste buds to another dimension with unusual but tasty dishes that involve Mediterranean cooking techniques. La Deriva Restaurant is yet another one of Chef Emanuele Olivero’s masterpieces that feature jaw-dropping views of the sky and the Sea of Cortes. The Stop Light Restaurant offers some incredibly affordable, enjoyable, and comfortable dining experiences in its polished wood and red brick atmosphere serving everything from fajitas and enchiladas to ice cream with peaches.

The Stop Light Restaurant offers some incredibly affordable, enjoyable, and comfortable dining experiences in its polished wood and red brick atmosphere serving everything from fajitas and enchiladas to ice cream with peaches.

While planning your trip to Los Cabos, consider staying in one of these beautiful hotels. The One and Only Palmilla sits looking out on the Sea of Cortes and gives its guests beachfront access to one of Los Cabos’s few swimmable beaches. The Cape, A Thompson Hotel also offers beach views, as well as two pools, a rooftop lounge, spa cabanas, and a fun urban night vibe!

Find these and many more Los Cabos Hotels on Bonwi.com.

Quito, Ecuador: Attractions and Hotels in the Capital of Ecuador

In Quito, a ski lift takes locals and visitors up the steep sides of the mountains.
In Quito, a ski lift called TeleferiQo takes locals and visitors up the steep sides of the mountains.
In Quito, a ski lift called TeleferiQo takes locals and visitors up the steep sides of the mountains.

If you ask a random person on the street where Quito is, they may give you a confused look rather than the right answer. But the capital of Ecuador, while sort of an under-the-radar destination, actually has plenty of reasons to be a well-known vacation spot. Incredible museums, contemporary cuisine, and scenic views assist in putting Quito on the map.

The Museo Nacional in Quito showcases a monumental collection of Ecuadorian art from many different time periods. This museum is home to ceramic pieces dating all the way back to 12,000 B.C., tons of cultural artifacts from a variety of different peoples, and plenty other Ecuadorian masterpieces. However, the Museo Nacional is currently undergoing construction and is planned to reopen in late 2017. In the meantime, check out the Museo Guayasamin.

The legendary painter known as Oswaldo Guayasamin is immortalized in his former home, now called the Museo Guayasamin. Housing many of Guayasamin’s own pieces, as well as his collection of various artifacts from the pre-Columbian era, and his collection of religious artwork, the Museo Guayasamin highlights the many influences that Hispanic culture and history had on Guyasamin while celebrating the artistic genius of the Ecuadorian painter.

For under $10, you can ride the TeleferiQo, a sky tram in Quito that gives passengers a chance to see Quito’s glorious mountainous landscape. The TeleferiQo travels to the very top of Cruz Loma via the side of Volcan Pichincha. The scenery doesn’t have to stop after the sky tram ride as passengers can choose to hike to Rucu Pichincha’s summit once they have reached the top of Cruz Loma. Riding the TeleferiQo is truly a fantastic way to see Quito’s incredible views!

Multiple great eateries make up Quito’s unique food scene. Dios No Muere is attached to a 400-year-old monastery, contains many options for the hungry carnivore, and also offers local microbrews and organic Ecuadorian coffee.

For sundaes, multiple varieties of crepes and waffles, espresso drinks, and great vegetarian, meat, and seafood dishes come to one of the many Crepes & Waffles restaurants in Quito.

Zazu, while a little bit pricey, offers fully prepared meat and seafood dishes while maintaining an inviting and ambient setting.

Whether your tasting Quito’s food, experiencing Quito’s views, exploring Quito’s museums, or all the above, consider staying in one of these fabulous hotels.  Find Quito Hotels at Bonwi, and use Bonwi points to get free stays!

See Vancouver’s Famous Capilano Bridge for a Killer View

In Vancouver, don't miss the thrill of walking on the Capilano Suspension bridge.
In Vancouver, don't miss the thrill of walking on the Capilano Suspension bridge.
In Vancouver, don’t miss the thrill of walking on the CliffWalk near the Capilano Suspension bridge.
Vancouver… the city is known for its hockey, its maple syrup, and of course, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you’re afraid of heights, I suggest you sit this one out, as the suspension bridge stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River. However, it allows for one of the most breathtaking and spectacular views I have ever seen.
The twenty-seven-acre park surrounding the bridge was built in 1889, and millions of people have crossed it since then. The park also features several other thrilling attractions, including CliffWalk, which is a cantilevered walkway clinging to the side of the granite cliff above the Capilano Canyon.
Several other smaller suspension bridges allow you to take a stroll through the evergreens 100 feet above the forest floor, the attraction called the TreeTops Adventure allows you to have the perfect bird’s eye view. If you’re too terrified to even think about journeying up to that elevation, then the park also features guided nature tours, Kids Rainforest Explorer’s program, and the Living Forest exhibit. Don’t forget to end your day in the best way possible, with homemade fudge from the gift shop!
During the winter, the park has its annual Canyon Lights Winter Festival, which features hundreds of thousands of lights illuminating the park. The bridge and all the attractions are transformed into a festive light show that’s pleasing to the eye. Get the chance to see the world’s tallest Christmas tree, decorate gingerbread cookies, and go searching for Snow Owls.

The area that the park is built on is rich with history, and the park does a great job incorporating that history into their attractions. The name Capilano is a First Nations name belonging to the Squamish Nation and the name means “beautiful river”. The park is named after Kia’palano, who was a great Squamish chief who resided in the area in the early 1800s.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is not for the faint of heart!
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is not for the faint of heart!
One of Capilano’s historic traditions includes placing hand crafted totem poles on the grounds near the suspension bridge. The tradition dates back to the when the  First Nations people came about, and is a great way to connect people to their culture.
The park is open from May 20 to September 4, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The rates range depending on age and if you’re a student, but the average price for a day at the park is $35.
When you want to find the best prices on hotels in Vancouver, visit Bonwi and use your Bonwi Points to save on your next journey.