Top 10 Most Luxurious Hotels In The World

When comparing high-end hotels around the globe, there’s luxury and then there’s luxury. This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday explores the absolute pinnacle of hotel decadence. The top 10 hotels on our list offer impeccable service and accommodations that are second to none.

Burj Al Arab
Dubai, UAE

The Burj Al Arab has repeatedly been voted the world’s most luxurious hotel. It offers the finest and most comprehensive service, which includes an optional chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, helicopter trips from its iconic helipad, private beach access, terraces with pools and cabanas, as well as some of the world’s best dining venues.

 

Hotel President Wilson
Geneva, Switzerland

Hotel President Wilson is situated on the shore of Lemon Lake just steps from the most beautiful parks and the boutiques in the renowned Rue du Rhône. It offers wonderful panoramic views over Lake Geneva, the Alps, and Mont Blanc, as well as Michelin-starred cuisine from the famous Chef Michel Roth. The hotel is well-renowned as an international conference venue with 12 meeting rooms including an expansive ballroom that can accommodate up to 800 guests.

Waldorf Astoria
Orlando, Florida

Waldorf Astoria Orlando offers contemporary luxury nestled inside a 482-acre nature preserve. This hotel features stylish sophistication with countless amenities and personalized service. Guests will find no shortage of recreational activities for relaxation and entertainment. Enjoy an award-winning lazy river and world-class dining with 12 restaurants and lounges, including the famed Bull & Bear.

Palms Casino Resort
Las Vegas, Nevada

Situated on nearly 30 acres, the Palms Casino Resort is a boutique property with three distinct towers. Each offers unparalleled views of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip and the surrounding mountains. Recognized for its exceptional accommodations, high-energy night and day clubs, and world-renowned restaurants, the Palms is one of Las Vegas’ most sought-after resorts. It’s also the only hotel in the world with a suite that includes its own basketball court.

Rosewood CordeValle
San Martin, California

Surrounded by the picturesque countryside of San Martin, Rosewood CordeValle is the ideal sanctuary for recreation and relaxation. The property features a 260-acre, 18-hole championship golf course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Jr, in addition to a full-service spa, a fitness center, tennis courts, hiking trails, and swimming pools.

Resort at Pedregal
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

From spacious guestrooms to four-bedroom Los Cabos suites, every room has an ocean view and a private terrace, providing unbelievable scenic views of an undisturbed landscape. Rooms feature refined design details that include curated reading material, premium amenities, plush bedding, a relaxing rainfall shower, and a private plunge pool.

Zarafa Camp
Selinda Reserve, Botswana

Zarafa Camp is renowned for its remarkable concentration of wildlife, predators in particular, and luxuriously-appointed tented accommodations. The boutique camp has only four campaign-style canvas suites offering travelers a unique experience of Africa. If you’re looking for indulgence, great game viewing, knowledgeable guides and service, this is the place.

Triple Creek Ranch
Darby, Montana

Triple Creek Ranch offers an all-inclusive vacation experience of rustic elegance, gourmet cuisine with an excellent wine list, and welcoming five-star service amidst a forested mountain retreat. Adult travelers enjoy a truly romantic setting with incomparable scenery, a wide variety of native wildlife, an almost endless menu of all-inclusive outdoor activities, and the option of adding on some of the finest off-ranch Western adventures in the United States.

Twin Farms
Barnard, Vermont

Nestled in a valley in northern Vermont’s Green Mountains, on 300 acres of rolling farmland, dense forest, gardens and ponds, Twin Farms is all-inclusive in the most exclusive sense. Guests enjoy gourmet cuisine, personalized menus, along with an endless supply of top-shelf liquor and fine wines (from a 26,000-bottle cellar). Available activities include hiking, biking, fly-fishing, canoeing, tennis, croquet, and come winter, ice skating, snow-shoeing, sledding and skiing on the resort’s private six-trail slope with all equipment provided.

Temple House
Chengdu, China

The Temple House Hotel is a stunning, luxury hotel in the heart of the vibrant city of Chengdu. The property is a distinctively different type of luxury hotel, where old-world grandeur and cutting-edge contemporary design seamlessly come together. Rooms are sleek and stylish with thoughtful design and generous amenities. The cafe, teahouse, two restaurants (Chinese and Western cuisine) and impressive heated swimming pool all carry the strong aesthetic of The Temple House.

Hear from our experts on all elements of travel as they share their personal experience and knowledge, which spans everything from fascinating must-see locations, to practical and informative suggestions. Let Bonwi.com help ensure that your next getaway is the best one yet.

Why Convertible Reward Points Are Better Than Airline Miles

airlines don't deserve loyalty

airlines don't deserve loyalty

In case you haven’t noticed, the U.S. airlines don’t care much about you as a customer. Even the people who fly so much that they are at the top elite level status don’t always get upgraded, so even they are grumbling about the lousy service, the cramped seats, and the bare-bones amenities on the big 3 legacy airlines.

Plus the airlines are hitting you with every fee that they can legally get away with. You can no longer assume even international flights will get you a free checked bag unless you are on a superior foreign airline or on Southwest. They intentionally make it hard for you to figure this out too in the booking process, then hide the rules, ones almost guaranteed to result in a “gotcha fee.” On American Airlines, for example, a flight to Panama includes a bag, but one to Costa Rica does not.  For El Salvador it depends on the time of year. For Mexico and Colombia it depends on what city you’re landing in. No joke.

Having the airline’s credit card won’t get you out of the fees either. If you pull it out on an international flight with a bag fee, the airline agent will shake their head and say, “No, that’s only for domestic flight bag fees.” Why does the destination matter? Because you don’t matter, that’s why.

Airline Loyalty Doesn’t Pay

The only way to strike back at this system is to forget loyalty and either go for the best fare (Allegiant and Southwest will actually treat you better than American these days anyway) or to fly for free whenever possible.

It used to be rewarding to fly with a single airline and rack up frequent flyer miles. But now you don’t earn many miles from actually flying. Here’s what I earned on a recent flight all the way to Central America and back via Houston—for flying thousands of actual miles.

hotel miles versus airline miles

Notice that Houston to Tampa is 635 miles in one direction, but a paltry 235 “miles” the other direction. Driving 235 miles from Tampa would not even get me to Atlanta, but now the “miles” are based on airline revenue and fare class, not distance, a change that has drastically weakened how much you can earn for your loyalty. So now most airline miles come through credit card spending, not flying, because it’s a simpler penny per mile or more for spending, not a complicated formula that’s great for the airlines but terrible for the customer.

This is why you’re far better off collecting points and miles that can be used across multiple programs. Some credit cards allow you to do this, such as the Amex Membership Rewards program and the Chase Sapphire/Venture program. For the former you transfer the points in chunks whenever you want, topping off your airline miles account to get to a specific mileage level or transferring large enough amounts to get your whole ticket. For the Chase program, you simply use the points’ value to book any ticket, without going through the airlines.

Bonwi points work the same way as the Chase ones during redemption. If you have 30,000 Bonwi Rewards points, you purchase a $299 ticket and have a buck to spare. No blackout dates, no restrictions. You also don’t get dinged for taxes and fees like you would redeeming airline miles since that’s part of the ticket price. (I recently paid $77 for my “free” ticket to Belize on Delta and American Air once wanted nearly $300 in taxes and fees for an even less free ticket that stopped for a layover in London. Instead I flew Singapore Air through another airport instead with United miles and paid $49 in fees.)

Bonwi rewards points Chicago

Here’s the advantage though: it’s not simply a point per dollar or maybe two points you could get from Chase. You could conceivably spend $200 per night on a hotel but get more than 10,000 Bonwi Rewards points for a two-night stay. It’s not uncommon to see a payback of 15 to 30%.

If you really want to play this game right, pay for that hotel stay with a premium Chase card on top. Then you’re double-dipping without giving loyalty to an airline that doesn’t earn it. You won’t earn a paltry amount of airline miles that are hard to cash in, but a hefty amount of reward miles that have real value for redemption. Just one vacation can pay for another weekend away.

Vote with your wallet—instead of nostalgic airline loyalty—and reap bigger rewards for more travel with Bonwi Rewards!

Contributor Tim Leffel is author of one of the leading books on living abroad and is also author of Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune. See his regular rants on the Cheapest Destinations Blog

How To Receive An Upgrade On Your Next Flight

From unexpected weather delays to long lines at security, flying these days can be a hassle. Luckily, this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday focuses on a surefire way to make your next flight more enjoyable with upgrades. Continue reading to learn a few tips and tricks from our travel experts that will help you receive a free upgrade to business or first class on your next flight.

Achieving Status Pays Off

Having a frequent-flyer membership can earn you more than just free flights on your airline of choice. If you fly often enough with a particular airline, you can earn elite status, which often starts at 25,000 miles and can bring you a wide range of perks. Frequent-flyer credit cards are another way to add miles, too. Travelers with “status” are more likely to receive a free upgrade than the average frequent-flyer member. By being loyal to a particular airline, your chances of being upgraded by that carrier increase significantly. Travelers who want to earn elite status should consistently book flights with their airline of choice in order to receive the most benefit. Those who fly the most are rewarded the most.

Choose Your Departure Times Wisely

To improve the likelihood of receiving an upgrade, avoid flights filled primarily with business travelers. Passengers equipped with a company credit card will most likely have the premium cabins booked. Not to mention, on the off chance there are seats available for an upgrade, the business travelers will typically have a loyalty point balance that puts them far ahead of you in the upgrade queue. Avoid flights that depart early or late in the day and go for midday, midweek, and on weekends, as opposed to early mornings and/or late afternoons.

Get Bumped

Whenever airlines overbook flights and need people to give up their seat, that is when you have the most leverage for getting concessions and upgrades from the airline. As gate agents make increasingly urgent announcements looking for volunteers, you will have the opportunity to approach the gate and set your conditions for catching a later flight. If there are few volunteers offering up their seat, airlines can often be quite generous. It’s not uncommon in such a situation to receive not only an upgrade to business or first class on your replacement flight, but also a free one-way or possibly round-trip ticket for a later date.

Increase Your Upgrade Eligibility

Be Courteous: A little kindness could earn you a first class seat in the blink of a smile.
Unexpected Opportunities: A faulty chair that won’t recline, for example, is sometimes all that is needed for a one-way ticket to the front of the plane.
Fly Solo On Your Birthday: Flight/Gate attendants may feel encouraged to see you travel in comfort on your special day.
Stand A Little Taller At Check-in: It’s no secret how cramped and uncomfortable a coach seat can be for a tall person. Upgrading such a passenger to a seat with more legroom is equal parts sympathetic and practical.
Volunteer Your Seat To A Family: The flight crew will appreciate your willingness to accommodate a family that would otherwise be scattered in different areas of the plane.

Can We Really Keep Up With All These Hotel Brands?

30+ hotel brands to keep track of with Marriott

30+ hotel brands to keep track of with Marriott

Quick – if you have 30,000 Starwood or Marriott points, at which of their brands can you probably stay one night for free?

If you have 50,000 points with IHG, what does that really mean for which hotels you can stay in as a reward?

What do you get if you have points with Wyndham, Choice, Carlson, or Hilton?

Well, that picture at the top of this post will give you a clue about how hard this is to answer. As hotel chains have merged, spun off, been acquired, and split up, it’s hard to keep up with who’s who. It’s hard to know one big hotel company is owned by the Chinese, while another is owned by the French. One big conglomerate is Spanish and the Four Seasons is majority-owned by Arabs. Do you know which of the ever-expanding brands you can get into with your loyalty points?

The Head-Spinning Hotel Brands Game

The problem isn’t that you aren’t aware of who’s who. The problem is that only the most dedicated lodging geek could possibly keep up. Ritz-Carlton wasn’t always part of Marriott. Kimpton wasn’t always part of Intercontinental Hotel Group. Fairmont wasn’t always part of Accor – home to Sofitel and Mercure. Motel 6 was part of that chain, then it wasn’t.

Then just when you think you have a brand pegged, it shifts again. Orient-Express Hotels become Belmond. Andaz is launched as a hipper Hyatt. The roadside motel chain Best Western starts launching nice beach resorts right on the sand. Radisson hotels are usually dated and second-tier in the USA, but it Asia if you put “Blu” on the end it might be the nicest property in town. In Stockholm I stayed at a Clarion and it looked like this:

Clarion Amaranten in Central Stockholm restaurant

The problem comes in when you’re limited to a specific set of brands by your hotel loyalty program. Looking at that Marriott list at the top, do you have any idea what you’ll end up with if you cash in points for Delta, Tribute, Protea, AC, or Moxy? If you have Hilton Honors points saved up, do you feel comfortable trading them for a stay with Canopy, Tapestry, or Tru?

Sure, it’s nice to be able to trade Wyndham Rewards points in for a free stay, but there may not be a Wyndham Grand where you’re headed. Your only choice may be Super8, Days Inn, or Howard Johnson’s.

Points for Any Hotel, Anytime, Anywhere

If you book your stay with Bonwi, you won’t have to worry about any of this. Your points build up with any hotel brands, so there’s no need to compromise and pick an inferior choice. You can choose the hotel that earns the most reward points or just choose the hotel – from any brand – that is closest to your meetings or convention. You will usually earn more points than you would have with the corporate program, but your choices of what to do with them aren’t limited. You can book an independent hotel not part of any chain and still earn points that are worth real money.

You can earn points from a Hilton stay that you then apply to a Holiday Inn Express. Points from a stay at an Econolodge can top off your point balance to get you into a Four Seasons. You can rack up points with a Banyan Tree resort in Asia and take your family to any all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean you’d like.  No restrictions, no redemption tiers, no reward chart to memorize. Just earn points, cash them in, get free stays.

See how it all works here.

Smart Ways To Carry Money While Traveling

Carrying money on vacation is a balancing act between safety and utility. We want to keep our money carefully tucked away and safe from potential thieves, while simultaneously avoiding the need to strip off clothes and rifle through a dozen hidden pockets with each purchase we make. This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday brings you nine smart ways to help you carry your money both securely and intelligently while traveling.

Divide Money

Even if you disregard all other advice about carrying money, take this tip to heart: Whenever possible, divvy up your travel cash and credit cards into multiple safe spots. If you have all your money in one place, it only takes one time for a thief to completely wipe you out. Keep some money attached to your person and some in a bag/wallet that you carry. If your bag gets lost or stolen, you’ll still have enough to get to a police station or back to your hotel.

Favor on-Body Storage

Under-clothing storage accessories have come a long way since neck pouches and money belts came onto the scene. Though those classics are still in favor, newer options include bra stashes, as well as pants, underwear, and undershirts with built-in pockets for safe storage. On-body storage accessories are particularly useful if you’re sleeping somewhere that doesn’t have a secure place for cash and other valuables.

Keep Small Bills Handy

Changing or withdrawing large amounts of money minimizes the fees you’ll pay to get local currency, but it also means you’ll be traveling with far more cash – and larger bills – than you’d have on you at home. Make money preparation part of your morning routine: As you’re packing your bag, make sure you have a variety of small bills and coins at the ready for purchases such as food, souvenirs, and attraction entry fees.

Carry an Anti-Theft Bag

Bags made specifically for traveling are an excellent investment. They often include features such as cut-proof, steel-cable-reinforced shoulder straps, slash-proof fabric, and locking zippers. Since elements such as these slow down thieves, they can do a good job of deterring opportunistic pickpockets.

Trim Your Wallet

Are you going to need your library card when you’re halfway around the world? Unlikely. Before you leave, take the time to go through your wallet and take out everything except the necessities (a universal credit card such as Visa or Mastercard, a backup credit card, a government-issued identification card, etc.). Not only will it help you travel lighter, but you’ll have less to replace if your wallet is lost or stolen.

Use A Dummy Wallet

If you’re traveling to a place known for pickpockets, consider getting a cheap wallet to keep in your pocket or bag. Pad the wallet with some small bills and make it look more real by slipping in one or two of those sample credit cards you get with offers in the mail. A dummy wallet can stop pickpockets before they get to your real wallet.

Buy A Travel Wallet

In addition to a dummy version, you might also consider a wallet that you reserve specifically for travel. If your day-to-day wallet is constantly stuffed with cards for gym memberships, gift cards, frequent-buyer punch cards, etc, then the pockets are likely to be stretched out when you minimize the contents for travel. By having a travel-only wallet, your cards will have snug pockets that they can’t slip out of accidentally.

Use Money Alternatives

In high-traffic settings such as metro stations and bus stops, it’s nice to be able to forgo cash or credit-card transactions and rely instead on a multi-use ticket or other cash alternative. If you’re in a city where the public-transportation system offers multi-use cards (for instance, London’s Oyster card or San Francisco’s Clipper card) or where you can buy a bunch of tickets at once (such as a “carnet” on the Paris metro, which gets you 10 single-ride tickets for one discounted price), then take advantage of those options. You’ll reduce your chances of losing your wallet simply by retrieving and stowing it fewer times.

Stow Valuables Securely

Sometimes the best way to carry money is to not carry it at all. Many hotels offer an in-room safe to store your valuables, and if you have an item (or a wad of cash) that you’re particularly nervous about, see if the hotel also has a safe-deposit box behind the desk. If you do use a hotel lockbox of any sort though, remember to retrieve your items when you leave. In the rush to pack up and depart, out of sight can easily mean out of mind – until you’re on your way to the airport. Leave a colorful note on top of your suitcase as a reminder.

How To Travel With Friends

Traveling creates memories that you will remember for life. Traveling with friends gives you the opportunity to share those memories in person rather than through social media. Here are a few tips to plan an incredible trip with friends.

Choose Your Companions

When deciding who you want to go with on a trip, it is important to choose people with whom you get along. Low-maintenance, laid-back personalities, and groups of friends who already know each other can promote a tension-free trip. Sharing an experience can bring you closer to one another and strengthen a lifelong friendship.

Communication

Whether you are on a trip with your best friend or a new friend, establishing a clear channel of communication will benefit the overall success of the trip. Planning your trip together will ensure that everyone is on the same page, and will allow any questions or concerns to be addressed in advance. It is important to provide an opportunity for everyone to share his or her opinion on trip decisions, be it about the location of the hotel or the timing of departure.

Establish Vacation Goals

Establish expectations in advance by asking yourselves, “what is the number one thing that we want to accomplish during this trip?” Determine what you hope to get out of the trip as early on as possible. Unless you’ve already discussed in advance, a lot of time can be wasted trying to figure out what to do once you’ve arrived at your destination. Make a list of these goals to ensure everyone is satisfied.

Pool Your Funds

Create a “group fund” where everyone contributes the same amount of money at the beginning of the trip. Apply the money from this fund to group purchases such as shared taxi rides, groceries, and gasoline. When the fund is running low, everyone contributes the same amount again until the trip is over.

Ready to plan your next getaway with friends? Search Bonwi.com for your next trip.

Five Fantastic Destination Spas In The Western United States

Finding complete relaxation sometimes requires escaping for a while to somewhere dedicated to making you feel new again. While hotels everywhere have spa programs, the western US is host to some of the nation’s top destination spas – resorts offering a full restorative experience including therapy, healthy cuisine, and wellness programs; often amid scenic views and perfect weather. We’ve selected this short list of destination spas in the western states based on their charm, amenities, quality, and the immersiveness of their programs.

Mii amo Spa At Enchantment Resort

Tucked away in the Coconino National Forest north of Phoenix, Arizona, Mii amo is a secluded destination spa perfect for finding your center. While Sedona’s red rock formations instill a sense of zen, Mii amo sits among them harmoniously, with an open and inviting architecture designed around its natural surroundings. The spa features massage techniques from around the globe and transformational activities including Native American inspired rituals and meditation. Hiking trails and a full calendar of fitness and wellness workshops keep your options rounded. Sessions are offered both outdoors and within Mii amo’s many scenic treatment rooms.

The Well Spa At Miramonte

Located in Southern California’s Palm Springs Desert community at the Miramonte Resort, The Well Spa is considered a favorite by locals and visitors alike. This charming Tuscan-inspired villa sits peacefully afoot the Santa Rosa Mountains, adorned with bougainvillea and cyprus , setting the perfect mood to unwind. The spa, covering 12,000 square feet (1.114 square meters), boasts three outdoor treatment spaces, saline pools, bench-water therapy, and a eucalyptus-infused steam room. Begin your spa experience by choosing a stone on which a word of intention is inscribed. This becomes a mantra for your journey to restoration. A few unique treatments offered by The Well Spa include their signature Sticks and Stones massage, a honey massage, a couples painting party using restorative muds.

Claremont Hotel Club & Spa

If you’d like to relax and visit the San Francisco Bay Area, think of the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa as your island in the city. This spa offers a robust menu of treatments and sweeping bay views within a lovingly restored resort dating back to 1915. Watch a sunset over San Francisco in the distance from open-bay windows during a eucalyptus bath therapy session. Customized hydrafacials, aromatherapy, and up to six styles of massage are among the spa therapy offerings. Unwind at your own pace while within minutes of an amazing food scene and northern California’s natural beauty. Feeling adventurous after relaxing? Work on your swing at the on-site tennis club, or take a day trip to San Francisco, coastal villages, or the nearby wine country.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

The coastal village of La Jolla, just minutes north of San Diego, California, is home to this luxury hotel and spa modeled as a charming spanish-colonial villa. Estancia sits on 10 acres of immaculately-curated gardens high on the cliffs above Torrey Pines state beach. It’s award-winning spa features a Sea Stone Massage, eucalyptus steam room, and a meditation garden with overstuffed pillows. Bringing someone special with you? An intimate couple’s bungalow featuring a private deck and outdoor soaking tub for two catches ocean breezes all day.

Spa By The Sea

On the island of Kauai, imagine a massage right on the beach, the sound of waves, and a scent of cocoa butter. Literally a spa by the sea, Hawaii’s Waipouli Beach Resort features beach massages, body treatments making use of volcanic ash (an antioxidant), and body wraps with noni fruit, used for centuries by traditional healers throughout the Pacific Islands. When you’re not enjoying the sun, sand, and natural beauty of Kauai, a Japanese Soaking Tub, Vichy Shower room, and Chiropractic suite offer additional ways to relax at this tropical-destination spa.

Feeling like it’s time to hit your reset button? We all deserve some time for ourselves now and then. Putting time on the calendar to decompress might be the best thing you do for yourself this year, and a destination spa out west waits to welcome you.

 

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, a little last-minute booking for some rest and relaxation on Bonwi.com could be the perfect gift. And make sure you check back every Tuesday for our latest edition of Travel Tip Tuesday!

Travel Resolutions For The New Year Ahead

The dawn of a new year is the perfect time to think about what you’d like to do for yourself over the next 12 months. “Travel more” is a popular New Year’s resolution, since travel has the capacity to make you happier, healthier, more creative, and inspired. But it isn’t a very specific resolution, making it hard to act upon. To help kick off 2018 on the right foot, this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday brings you five specific resolutions for a fantastic year of travel ahead.

Weekend Getaways

Weekend getaways are the perfect opportunity for travelers who are limited on time, pinching pennies, or simply in need of some adventure in the time between their last big trip and the next. Find a new city that’s a quick flight or drive away, and grab your spouse, a couple friends, or even just go solo to discover it. Check out new restaurants and bars, meet new people, and experience new things. Exploring the unknown is an excellent way to gain confidence by extending our boundaries further. By the end of the weekend, you’ll feel invigorated and encouraged to continue exploring new places.

Shorten Your Bucket List

We all have a bucket list. Even if you’ve never written it down, there are things that each of us hope to accomplish during our lives. You probably have at least one far-flung destination in mind that you want to see. No matter the “what” or “where” on your list, whether it be watching a sunrise over the ocean in Bali, or learning to cook Paella in Valencia, start planning now to make it happen. Strive to cross off at least one such experience, or to at least start working toward taking that trip. It will feel incredible transforming your dreams to reality.

Travel To Connect

Travel isn’t just about the places you see, it’s about the people with whom you spend time. If there are people you’ve been vowing to visit forever, but it just never seems to work out, make this the year it happens. You’ll get quality time to bond with friends or family while creating memories that will last a lifetime. Meeting new people while exploring the world is also one of the best reasons to travel. Nothing opens your eyes to the world quite like conversations with strangers, and it’s the new friends who always stick in our mind after the trip has ended.

Travel To Disconnect

This year, use travel as an opportunity to disconnect a bit from the online world. Give yourself, and your vacation, the attention they deserve. We can’t suggest that you go completely offline, because you’ll need the Internet for information and communication, but making yourself scarce on social media while on vacation lets you focus more on what and who is around you. Why not savour that fabulous meal instead of Instagramming it first? And your Facebook friends can certainly wait for your vacation pictures.

Be A Traveler, Not A Tourist

Live in the moment and embrace each new place that you visit to the fullest, and keep top of mind that travel is not a competition. When we get caught up in the numbers game of who’s been to the most places, we lose sight of what traveling is really all about. Slow down and take the extra time to absorb all that a new destination has to offer. Focus on having an experience rather than merely sightseeing. Attend events, festivals, or other activities. Try your hand at creating your own wine in France, fly fishing in New Zealand, or learning to surf in Hawaii. Get lost exploring off the beaten path, and never be afraid to stray from the guide books.

Our 2018 travel resolution list aims to inspire you to start dreaming about where and how you want to wander in the coming year. Expand your horizons to new experiences, sights, and cultures. Resist allowing fear to get in the way of exploring the unknown. Open yourself up to the invaluable life lessons that can only be learned through travel. Book your travel on Bonwi.com to make those travel dreams a reality.

San Diego: What’s New In California’s Southernmost City?

Fallen Star

San Diego is well-known for its beaches, great weather, and not-so-great football team, the lowly Chargers.  But, the So-cal city offers much more than an appealing climate. From a famous haunted house to a massive park, San Diego has quite a few attractions that don’t have to do with beaches.

Overlooking the University of California, San Diego is Do Ho Suh’s “Fallen Star” sculpture. The unusual work of art sits atop the seventh floor of UC San Diego’s Jacobs Hall in the shape of a home. There is even a rooftop garden that accompanies the Seoul National University graduate’s incredible sculpture!

The Whaley House in San Diego features the Whaley House Museum, the Verna House, the Whaley House Museum Shop, two false front store buildings, and the Derby-Pendleton House. The Whaley House Complex is famous for its historical architecture, as well as its haunted folklore. You can tour the complex and learn a thing or two about California history and folklore!

Balboa Park in San Diego, acres and acres to enjoy.
Balboa Park in San Diego: acres and acres to enjoy.

Massive Balboa Park in San Diego boasts about 1,200 acres of gardens, walking paths, museums, theaters, and the popular San Diego Zoo. You could spend an entire day at Balboa Park considering the fact that the venue covers multiple forms of entertainment and activities. And various shopping opportunities at the park will leave you with some great souvenirs!

When you’re in San Diego, also check out some of these cool restaurants:

On Washington Street in San Diego is Lucha Libres Tacos. The wrestling-themed taco stop features Mexican wrestling paraphernalia, great tacos, and Mexican wrestling films on the TV; a truly unique eatery!

Speaking of unique restaurants, have you heard of Pop Pie Co. in San Diego? The neighborhood hangout offers a variety of savory and sweet pies in a casual setting. Pop Pie Co. also serves coffee and various craft beers!

When you’re planning your trip to San Diego, consider staying in one of these San Diego hotels:

After a $12 million renovation, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego is ready to give guests a luxurious stay. Each room comes with flat screen TVs, laptop-compatible safes, work stations with wireless internet, plush robes, and more. And the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, and a heated saltwater pool within a private garden will keep you active!

The Pendry San Diego, located on J Street in close proximity to Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center, bars, beaches, and tons more. The hotel itself has six restaurants and bars offering cuisine from talented chefs and unique concepts, and rooms come with Bluetooth-enabled speakers, fully-stocked mini bar, complimentary wifi, and more!

Use Bonwi points on your next trip to San Diego and come home with points to use later for airfare or another hotel.

Six Best Cruise Lines for Winter

Hit the seas this winter to experience exotic locations around the world. In the past, traveling by ship was the main mode of transportation when covering long distances. Thousands of years of innovation have blessed us with luxury cruise ships that meet every expectation and satisfy every desire. Whatever your ideal voyage looks like, check out these six cruise lines to inspire a winter sailing of your choice.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line keeps it lively with its festive atmosphere and diverse entertainment options, with a large fleet of ships so there are many itineraries from which to choose with destinations including the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe. Carnival is known for being the cruise line for “every cruiser” that wants to have an ultra-fun escape without breaking the bank. Waterslides, sport courts, casinos, piano bars, stand-up comedy, and nightclubs make it the perfect experience for any age group. Carnival Cruise Line is highly suggested for people taking their first cruise.

Royal Caribbean International

Despite having “Caribbean” in its name, Royal Caribbean offers cruises to 269 destinations across 77 countries, on six continents. The cruise line’s fleet of ships is as diverse as its menu of destinations. Royal Caribbean offers large ships for entertainment and excitement, as well as smaller ships that are more intimate and relaxing. Their fleet offers a wide range of fun activities that include rock-climbing walls, zip lines, water slides, ice and inline skating, surf and skydiving simulators, plus many more.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line embodies a laid-back atmosphere that caters to the “freestyle cruising” approach. You won’t find any dress codes or fixed-dining times on their ships, but you will find plenty of on-board entertainment for the whole family. The “freestyle dining” system allows you to eat culturally-inspired cuisine on your own time. Norwegian’s 15-ship fleet sails around the world, with popular destinations that include Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Holland American Line

Holland America cruise line is built on luxury and quality. Cooking and mixology workshops, photography classes, yoga and pilates classes, or relaxing in the spa are some of the enriching experiences on-board. Voyages last from one to 111 days, with global destinations like Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, Antarctica, and more. Holland America prides itself on quality and comfort, so if you are someone seeking opulence, this is the cruise line for you.

Princess Cruises

From very modest beginnings in 1965 with one ship cruising to Mexico, Princess Cruises has now become one of the most premiere cruise lines in the world. Sail around the world to destinations that include Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Europe, and the Caribbean. Whatever voyage you choose, Princess Cruises has created an experience on every boat filled with a refined atmosphere and personalized service.

Celebrity Cruises

Although Celebrity Cruises has a smaller fleet than its competitors, each of its ships feature beautiful upscale designs, innovative gourmet cuisine, and exceptional customer service. In short, if you are looking to get the most for you dollar, Celebrity Cruises is without question going to be one of the best options. The cruise line is currently in the process of constructing a one billion dollar ship to add to its existing extravagant fleet, so keep an eye out near the end of 2018 when rooms become available for its maiden voyage!

If you’re among those who are considering a first cruise, you won’t be disappointed with any one of these fantastic cruise lines. From luxury and relaxation, to excitement and energy, these massive ships offer something for every type of traveler – you can’t go wrong!

 

Ready to cruise away? Check out Bonwi.com for any accommodations before or after your departure. And stay tuned to our blog to hear from our experts on all elements of travel as they share their personal experience and knowledge, which spans everything from fascinating must-see locations, to practical and informative suggestions.