Rome Offers Many Unique Hotels

Rome Hassler Hotel
Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome.
Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome.

New places are always popping up around the city of Rome, but two new and improved options, both near the famous Spanish Steps in the city center, are great options for your next stop in the Eternal City.

Elizabeth Unique Hotel

As of January 2018, the Elizabeth Unique Hotel of Rome has reaped as a newly restored 17th-century palace. Inside the centuries-old palazzo, the boutique hotel is located just a few minutes walk from the famous Spanish Steps in the pedestrianized Via del Corso neighborhood. With thirty-three freshly renovated guest rooms, Elizabeth’s quarters are perfect for savvy travelers with antique wallpaper, couture, one-of-a-kind textiles, and incredibly varnished floors.

The guest rooms’ canopy beds welcome visitors as they sip espresso while taking in the breathtaking views from outside their window. The living room offers guests a relaxing atmosphere to wind down in after their day of sightseeing in the city, complete with a fireplace or their garden terrace.

Centrally located and tragically chic, the Elizabeth Unique Hotel’s contemporary style, innovative use of technology, trendy bar, and international team offer guests an unforgettable stay in the city on seven hills.

Rome Hassler Hotel
Rome Hassler hotel

Roma Hassler Hotel

If you’re looking for a more historic accommodation, a notable Roman property, and another uniquely non-chain lodging option, the Hassler is a fan favorite. Owned and operated by the same family since the early twentieth century, perched atop the Spanish Steps, the Hassler is overridden by Roman style and personality.

Three newly renovated suites were recently revealed, adding more appeal to this timeless classic. At their in-house bistro, Italian fusion cuisine is served to guests, dishes like tandoori-style duck and cacio e pepe risotto, all while overlooking beautiful panoramic views of Rome.

Find hotels in Rome and then use the points from Bonwi for another stay.

The Hotel Zones of Los Cabos, Mexico

Las Ventanas Rosewood luxury resort

Las Ventanas Rosewood luxury resort

If you’re headed to the resort area of Los Cabos in Mexico for the first time, you may not realize what a large, spread-out region this is. Occupying the whole bottom of the Baja Peninsula, it’s a sprawling cement truck parade of hotels, condos, golf courses, and two cities amidst dry desert and cacti.

Los Cabos has the greatest concentration of luxury resorts in Mexico though, with more being added every year, so it’s not a place filled with high-rises that can host 1,000 guests. Here the emphasis is increasingly on the guests who put this place on the map: upscale travelers from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, New York City, and oil country in Texas.  Don’t expect to find great  bargains here just because you’re heading south of the border: everything has to be shipped in or flown in except for seafood. Just getting water requires an expensive desalinization process. You’ll pay $200 an up to play golf because, well, Jack Nicklaus designed the course and…it’s a desert!

Los Cabos Quivira golf course

Here are the geographic options when you book a resort in Los Cabos. Make sure you’ve got a map handy to figure out what’s what.

Cabo San Lucas

This is the busiest part of the region because it’s where the cruise ships dock, where the nightlife is, and where the marina is that leaves on whale-watching trips. This calm bay is one of the few places where you can swim from the beach in this whole area: in most spots the waves are too rough and the undertow is serious.

There is a mix of upscale lodging (like Cabo Azul) here, as well as more budget-friendly options fanning back from the sea.

Le Blanc Los Cabos in the Corridor

The Corridor

The Corridor of Los Cabos was once and long and lonely stretch of desert dotted with a few hotels and golf courses. The cement trucks have been working overtime the past few years though and a new hotel goes up every month or two. Most of the best high-end resorts are here, like Rosewood Las Ventanas, One & Only Palmilla, and The Cape. The latest additions are a new Le Blanc and a new Casa Velas—both luxury all-inclusive resorts.

An all-inclusive or a high credit limit on your card can make a lot of sense here because you’re miles from anything when you arrive. You probably won’t leave the resort much except for adventure excursions.

San Jose del Cabo and the Port/Marina

San Jose del Cabo has long been the sleepy cousin at the other end of the corridor, but it has caught the development bug as well, especially in its marina/port area, where there’s a Secrets Resort and soon a Four Seasons.

Land’s End Los Cabos and North

Los Cabos Land's End waves

Where the Sea of Cortes and the Pacific Ocean meet is the tip of Baja known as Land’s End. Grand Solmar and Pedregal resorts are there, around the corner from the famous arch, and not far from downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Development is stretching north from there, with the Diamante and Quivira golf courses being the centerpieces of major real estate and hotel developments. There’s a Pueblo Bonito resort, a partially opened Grand Solmar Rancho San Lucas, and a Nobu. The further north toward Todos Santos you get, the more isolated the areas become. The idea is to play golf and hang out by the pool, though there are plenty of adventure activities on the wide beaches and among the cacti.

To book your perfect Los Cabos vacation and earn lots of points back you can use for future trips, go to Bonwi.com and rack up the rewards.

 

Lisbon’s Pink Street is Your Nightlife Destination

Pink Street is one of the highlights of Lisbon's great nightlife. photo: www.itsallbee.com
Pink Street is one of the highlights of Lisbon's great nightlife. photo: www.itsallbee.com
Pink Street is one of the highlights of Lisbon’s great nightlife. photo: www.itsallbee.com

Lisbon: From Red Light District to Pink Street, the Rehabilitation of a Neighborhood

A party scene like you’ve never seen before. Lisbon’s Rua Nova do Carvalho, nicknamed Pink Street, is the heart of Lisbon’s fierce nightlife. A visitor has not truly experienced a night out in Portugal’s capital without blessing themselves with a trip to Pink Street.

Dotted with bars, clubs, and late night eateries, Pink Street is a more upscale alternative to Lisbon’s famous Barrio Alto, whose nightlife thunders through the streets every night of the week. In 2011, Pink Street was born after the city’s former red light district was rehabilitated into what it is today.

Now, it is a destination for party goers wishing to experience a true night out Lisboa style. With action picking up around 3am, people dance and drink their way to morning at the eclectic bars. Located near the old port of Lisbon in the Cais de Sodre neighborhood, Pink Street is conveniently positioned near a metro stop.

Before your big night out, check out Time Out Market. This dreamy Ikea-sized warehouse was recently refurbished by Lisbon’s greatest chefs. The cafeteria-style food court destination is the perfect place to eat a high end dinner at an affordable price before napping and heading back out to Pink Street in the Middle of the night.

In it’s past life, Pink Street was home to trouble, and visitors did not visit their without encountered from thieves, prostitutes, or people looking to rent out rooms for an hour or two with a friend. Today, with interest from both tourists and locals, tons of new bars and hang outs have popped up along the infamous road.

For the best cocktails on the street, check out 4 Caravelas Cocktail Bar and order a Honey Pot. This 5 Euro concoction does not disappoint. Just up the street a bit, Povo offers outdoor seating and a tapas menu, perfect for people watching in this amazing neighborhood. Music Box is perfect for those looking for live music and a dance floor, and it’s one of Pink Street’s most visited night spots.

Lisbon is famous for its streetcars and steep streets. Max Hartshorne photo.
Lisbon is famous for its streetcars and steep streets. Max Hartshorne photo.

There are literally dozens of options to explore on Pink Street, and whether you’re a frequent party goer or out for a special occasion, you will no the disappointed with the color, excitement, liveliness, and unique vibe Rua Nova do Carvalho will show you.

Have you been to Portugal lately?  If you want to save money and get more out of every euro you spend on lodging, use Bonwi to find hotels in Lisbon and get points for every night you can use another time.

The Tivoli Lisboa, for example, will cost you just $551 for two nights and net you 6,051 Bonwi points you can use for your next trip.

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.

Bristol, England, Makes a Great City Break

The Bristol Hotel, right near the river and in the heart of the city, is perfect for a City Break.
The SS Great Britain was built in Bristol and is the top attraction in the city. You can tour even the very bottom of the outside of the ship!
The SS Great Britain was built in Bristol and is the top attraction in the city. You can tour even the very bottom of the outside of the ship!

Sometimes, frequent travelers like to avoid the most popular cities, hoping instead to discover an out of the way place that won’t be overrun with tourists.

Yet there are times when it’s fun to visit the most popular tourist cities because they’re set up to provide visitors with fun experiences,  restaurants of all stripes, and more hotels.  Bristol, England falls into this category, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Britain.

Visitors come to Bristol for what people on the Continent like to refer to as ‘City Breaks.’  The advent of City Breaks came mostly after inexpensive flights became widely available from Ryanair and EasyJet made flights to places like London, or Prague, or Faro, Portugal very very affordable.  So today you’ll see many Brits and other Europeans planning their own 3-night city breaks, and Bristol is a perfect place for this.

Either take a cheap flight from Paris, or Rome or just take the train two hours from London.

The Bristol Hotel, right near the river and in the heart of the city, is perfect for a City Break.
The Bristol Hotel, right near the river and in the heart of the city, is perfect for a City Break.

Bristol’s fine Bristol Hotel would be a great choice for anyone visiting the city, with prices from around $135-150 US.  You can find a deal using Bonwi and have around 6000 points to use on a future trip.

What else do visitors enjoy in Bristol?   One new attraction is called Cargo, at Wapping Wharf. This is a collection of shipping containers that have been put together and strapped into two stories where cafes, small shops, a bakery, high-end restaurants and other businesses have opened up.  Building using containers means that you can put two or three together to make it larger, and the rent is low. So all manner of experimental businesses can give it a go.

Cargo is a shopping and dining area built out of shipping containers.
Cargo is a shopping and dining area built out of shipping containers.

Bristol is just one of thousands of cities where you can enjoy a city break, and with Bonwi, you’ll get points you can use for the NEXT one too!

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.

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.