The World’s Most Exotic Swimming Pools

Bonwi-swimming-pools-of-the-world

Bonwi-swimming-pools-of-the-world

Dive into the world’s most exotic pools.

From Miami to the Maldives, we’ve circled the globe to find the most incredible places to take a dip.

Grace-Santorini

1.) The Grace Santorini – Greek Island of Santorini
Known to have one of the most beautiful views from a pool.
Bondi-Icebergs-Club
2.) Bondi Icebergs Club – Bondi Beaches of Australia
Some might question the sanity of anyone willing to swim outdoors on a cold winter’s day, but for the Bondi Icebergs, winter swimming is a time-honored tradition.
Four-Seasons-Pool-Guangzhou
3.) Four Seasons Pool – Guangzhou International Finance Center, 69th floor
Ranked as one of the highest infinity pools in the world.
Marina-Bay-Sands-Infinity-Pool
4.) Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool – Singapore
The 500 ft long infinity pool is the largest in the world. To put that in perspective, the pool is longer than the Eiffel Tower itself.
The St. Regis Gold Energy Pool
5.) St. Regis Gold Energy Pool – Lhasa, China
This pool is suitable for those who like to swim with the riches that has views of the lake and the Himalaya Palace.
San-Alfonso
6.) San Alfonso Seawater Pool – Algarrobo, Chile
Named the largest pool on the planet. It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, has a 115-ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.
The Oberoi Udaivilas pool
7.) The Oberoi Udaivilas pool – Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India
With lush green lawns framed by geometric patterns of sandstone and white marble tiles, the sapphire pool is a majestic centerpiece.
Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North
8.) Four Seasons at Troon North – Scottsdale, Arizona
This pool is found in an outdoor oasis of relaxation with picturesque mountain and desert views.
Unud-Hanging-Pools
9.) Ubud Hanging Gardens – Rainforest of Bali
Named “The World’s Best Swimming Pool” by TripAdvisor. This pool is high on the Verdant Cliffs, overlooking the rainforest and facing an ancient temple.
By using these tips as a guideline, you can better organize and prepare for your trip to the most amazing swimming pools in the world. Ready to search? Click here.

Is It the “Best Hotel Price” for You? Or for Them?

best price on hotel bookings every time

Every hotel booking site claims in some way to give you “the best rates” or “the best price,” but are they really showing you the best deal for you?

Why do some properties get placed at the top of the search results instead of others? Can you believe Booking.com when they say there are only “2 rooms left at this price”?

Can you believe it when Expedia tells you a displayed price is slashed from the normal one–and that there’s only one room left?

misleading hotel booking information

As you’ve probably guessed, the answer is “not exactly. ” Booking.com is constantly testing ways to get you to commit and one of them is by creating artificial scarcity. Often if they are telling the truth when they say they only have four rooms at that price, other sites may have plenty. It just means the Booking.com allotment is almost sold out.

That price you see above from the Expedia page is not special to Expedia. I saw the same rate on other sites, including Wyndham’s own and Bonwi’s, but without any scare language about that price being about to disappear.

The Games Hotel Booking Sites Play

These practices are nothing new, but it gets worse. You would assume that by using a site that presents multiple prices from multiple sites, you would get the best possible deal, right? If Trivago or HotelsCombined shows you the lowest rate across every online travel agent they track, you should be able to trust that you’re seeing the best rate, right? That’s what the Trivago guy or gal (depending on your nationality) keeps telling you in the TV ads.

Alas, it’s all a game. According to this article in Travel Pulse, “Trivago admits to misleading its customers” and could face more than $10 million in fines from the the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Trivago essentially led customers to believe that the results page had the lowest prices, but the ACCC discovered cheaper deals in the “more deals’ section which customers were not made aware of.

It came out that one of Trivago’s favorite tricks was to compare a standard room on one site with an upgraded room at another site and then show the difference as a big discount. They also “prioritized advertisers who were willing to pay the highest cost per click fee,” said the ACCC in a statement.

Here’ s the most telling admission:

Trivago has since updated their website to tell customers that hotels are ranked by ‘compensation paid by the booking site.’

In other words, if Hotels.com is paying them a higher click-through rate that Agoda, they are going to show you that the Hotels.com rate is lower, even when it’s not. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of using a site comparison tool like this?

best price on hotel bookings every time

How to Be Sure It’s a Great Hotel Deal

If you book through Bonwi, you’re guaranteed to get the best price available. We’ve even compared their rates (and points paybacks) to the ones you find from the hotel chain itself, like with IHG, Marriott, or Hilton. We’ve also compared the rates between Bonwi and Hotels.com.

There is one huge difference though in how the properties are displayed or ranked. The automatic sort in Bonwi is to show you the highest payback in points. In other words, the prime filter above all others is to show you which is the best deal for you. Which booking will result in the biggest points payback–the biggest rebate?

If you search Orlando on Expedia for dates in February, it’s hard to know how you’d find the best hotel price for you. The first result has “Sponsored” in tiny type, the second is a random medical center Hampton Inn, the third is $730 a night, and the fourth is a downtown Aloft hotel. How do these end up at the top? Well one is a paid ad, first of all, and placement of the others is a mystery. They’re not showing you the biggest discounts or the cheapest prices.

Let’s compare that to what you see on Bonwi if you pull up the same dates. You will always see the hotels with the biggest point paybacks at the top, regardless of price. I didn’t show the first few results because those are expensive Disney resort properties with huge points payoffs. But scroll down a bit and you still get a big rebate for that booking—enough to get you another hotel room somewhere or around $200 in flight credit.

best hotel price and payback at Bonwi

You’ll notice that I clicked the “Compare Public Prices” for that second listing. It shows what the other major booking prices are charging. That way you can be sure you’re always getting the best hotel price—without any fake discounts or sorting tricks.

To get the best rate for you every time instead of what is best for the booking site, head to Bonwi.com. You’ll get the best hotel price and the biggest payback you can use for more travel.

Home 2.0 for the Holidays

There’s no better time to embrace adulting than when deciding where to stay for the holidays.

Home vs. hotel 

Mom and dad are so excited. You’ve finally taken time away from your busy, impressive adult job to join them for the holidays. Normally, you might be more of a “call on Christmas, forget about Easter” kind of go-getter, but your parents are so proud of you. They just wish they could see you more. P.S. Make sure you’re eating enough. 

The thing is….

Though you might have hoped that, after busting your backside to accrue all of those vacay hours (or preparing that assessment for your boss of all the ways you earned your “unlimited” vacation), you would be going on an actual… vacation… Not so. You’re definitely booking a flight back to Akron, Sacramento, Des Moines, St. Paul, Lubbock or another hometown. It’s happening.

Now, where to stay? You could stay with your parents where their siblings, your siblings, and someone’s lonely neighbor will roost, OR you could stay at home 2.0.

What is home 2.0?

Home 2.0 is a hotel, proximal to your parents’ house – 15 miles or less. It’s outside of town enough that you won’t endure run-ins with high school crushes or former teachers, but close enough to make sense. You can park your bags, maintain your privacy, sleep like an angel and soak in the Jacuzzi while everyone else fights over the two outlets in your parents’ never-renovated split level. So, let’s compare going home for the holidays with going to home 2.0:

Home: Your brother’s kids scream-fight over toys
Home 2.0: A slice of quiet
Peace is important. You’ve learned this while adulting and you earned these days off. While you will cherish dinner, presents, caroling, crafting, movie night, and whatever else your parents have over-planned, your ambivert self is going to require a recharge. Your phone is, too. Welcome to your sanctuary.

Home: Politically gregarious
Home 2.0: Neutral territory
You and your parents may not see eye to eye on those hot button issues like the 2020 election, religion, or why you still haven’t had babies. Or maybe it’s Cousin Sam, who always goes eggnog overboard and alienates everyone before sundown. We all have someone. Tagging a secondary home base will allow you to casually slip out the back door, book it to your quiet, sensible rental car, and avoid catastrophe.

Home: That Christmas movie you hate, on repeat
Home 2.0: Your remote, your rules  
We don’t judge. Some people like the familiarity of those five holiday movies that are always on TV. If you’re someone who would like to take a hard left turn away from the usual suspects OR if you just want to watch something that isn’t animated for like, a whole entire hour, head back to Home 2.0. Blame it on a last minute work thing or a call from the (fake) significant other and catch up on a few hours of whatever else is on.

Home: Shoddy WiFi
Home 2.0: Connected
Your mom and dad are probably still using Wi-Fi provided by their cable company, who also provides their home phone line, and who also is not a national franchise. Your local cable outfit might be fine to make sure mom and dad can watch America’s Got Talent, but you need to be able to scroll Instagram, keep up with the scandalous group chat with your equally-displaced friends, and play Candy Crush, unabated. At Home 2.0 the WiFi password is a single word, and not the 14-digit code that came with the router (also on a sticker on the bottom of the router).

Home: A morning run with Uncle Greg
Home 2.0: A (basically) private gym
Uncle Greg. Good guy. Going through something you can’t relate to. Talks about something you can’t relate to. You’re going on a run. Now Greg is going, too. P.S. He’s wearing spandex. At home 2.0, you work out on your schedule, alone, or do a few laps in the pool. Without Uncle Greg.

Home: Sharing your childhood room with three other people
Home 2.0: Spreading out on the Cali King
Don’t be fooled, friend. Your childhood room might still be preserved the way you left it, right down to the race car wallpaper trim and the little league pennant – but it’s not your territory anymore. When you arrive, there will be air mattresses. There will be toiletry bags. There will be lost socks that aren’t yours, plus the bare feet that match them. Stay at home 2.0 and the only person putting their feet on your sheets is you.

Home: Someone else’s toothpaste, cap off
Home 2.0: Your oasis, and all the hot water you could ask for
Your parents’ one-and-a-half baths weren’t designed to accommodate 12 people, let alone three teenagers and a few kids who take hour-long baths. Your mid-range needs are last on the list, and when you DO get your turn, that place will be a warzone. Bathroom 2.0 is yours to linger and languish, alone.

Home: Eggo waffles by the plug-in fireplace
Home 2.0: Breakfast luxuries & the morning paper

Maybe your mom and dad make the most incredible pancakes on planet Earth. If they do, you have the flexibility to get up early and slide in right on time for the warmest short stack. If your parents aren’t exactly chef-inspired, you can enjoy a deluxe breakfast in the peace and quiet of your room or the dining space in your home 2.0 – and no one will take the part of the newspaper that you like best.

Where to find home 2.0

At the end of the day, you DO want to see your family. You love them, and that’s why you’re making this trek instead of heading to Cabo. But just because you miss your mom and dad doesn’t mean you want to sleep on their couch, end-to-end with a cousin you barely know anymore. This holiday season – and all year long – book yourself a backup plan that keeps everybody happy.

To book home 2.0 for the holidays, sign up for Bonwi today and instantly earn your first 1,500 points.  You’ll get the best hotel and car rental deals on the web, and earn massive amounts of points when you book…up to 40% back! Points can be redeemed for flights, hotel stay, car rentals and gift cards.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels from the Bonwi team!

 

 

5 Stocking Stuffers for Your Business Travel Road Warrior

power strip gift for business traveler

stocking stuffers business travelers

“Oh I don’t know, I don’t really need anything in particular right now.”

Have you heard this one before when asking for holiday gift suggestions? I know I’ve said it plenty of times myself. The older we get, especially if our clothing sizes don’t change much, the less we have  running wish list of more stuff we want to accumulate.

This is especially true for road warrior business travelers, who are often traveling with just a carry-on. They want nothing to do with those bulky and of-the-moment travel gear gift ideas you see in the glossy magazine round-ups. They’re constantly paring back, not adding on. Tell them they can have anything they want from the Brookstone store and they’ll probably use the shopping spree to pick up gifts for their kids instead.

Here are some small things you can think about as stocking stuffers for your favorite business traveler if you follow that tradition. They’re small enough to fit inside and inexpensive enough that you’re not taking a big gamble.

A Comfy Eye Mask

Business travelers, especially international ones, need to catch some sleep on the plane. The eye masks they get for free in the amenity pouches though, even in most business class cabins, are scratchy and not all that comfortable. They’ll do in a pinch, but a soft and comfortable eye mask will be appreciated and doesn’t take up much room.

Earplugs

a gift business travelers really needSoft and squishy disposable earplugs don’t take up much space, but they can come in really handy when there’s a screaming baby on the plane, a hotel room facing a busy street, or a hotel where there’s a wedding going on in the courtyard until the wee hours. Plus you can find them at any drugstore or Target.

Get a small travel pack for a stocking stuffer, or if you know they go through a lot, a jar of 50 for less than 10 bucks.

Melatonin Tablets

Giving drugs for Christmas? Well, it’s a natural drug at least and it won’t get you high. What melatonin will do is help rejigger your body clock when you fly across multiple time zones. Your recipient will thank you later when they find they’re recovering from jet lag faster and getting a better night’s sleep after popping the recommended dosage at bedtime in their destination.

Travel Power Strip

This is a larger item than the others on this list, but a portable travel power strip can be a godsend for travelers who need to keep multiple gadgets charged. It’s not unusual these days to be traveling with three or four different items that keep running low on power–with Apple adding another to the list when they forced the use of Bluetooth earbuds–so it’s handy to carry a small strip that turns one outlet into three or four.

power strip gift for business traveler

Travel Sized Toiletries

This is more of a “saving you a trip honey” gift than a long-term keepsake one, but anyone who travels with a carry-on is constantly replenishing key toiletry items. It may not be very sexy to give travel-sized toothpaste, quality disposable razors, or travel-sized shaving cream to your special someone, but those are items they will be sure to use!

Bonus item: compression socks. Nothing says “I love you” as much as an item that could keep your significant other from getting blood clots on a cramped plane.

Now if you are the road warrior yourself, we know a gift that won’t cost you much but will really be appreciated. Cash in your Bonwi Rewards points for a weekend getaway together. You can use your points for a hotel room, a rental car, or even a couple flights if you’ve banked enough.

What about you? What travel stocking stuffers have you received over the years that really got used?

Article by Tim Leffel, travel writer and editor of Hotel Scoop.

McMenamin’s Has Cornered the Weird and Wonderful Hotel Category

McMenamin's Grand Lodge, Forest Grove, Oregon
McMenamin’s Grand Lodge, Forest Grove, Oregon

Ask anyone who lives in Portland, or Seattle, and they’ll probably know what the name McMenamin stands for.  It’s two brothers, Mike and Brian McMenamin, who have cultivated a big following for their eclectic one-of-a-kind hotels and breweries which are all in Washington and Oregon, with 54 in all.

We recently stayed at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge, in Forest Grove, Oregon, where the building was once a home for aged Masons.  The brothers are big fans of the Grateful Dead so you could call the theme of many of the hotels “a hippy-influenced free spirit.”  Dark colored walls and ceilings, lots of customized art, glitter, and posters from the dozens of years that concerts have been played in their venues or in nearby theaters.

 

The hotel's kitchen garden provides a whole lot of the restaurant's needs.
The hotel’s kitchen garden provides a whole lot of the restaurant’s needs.

 

They name the rooms at the Grand Lodge after famous books, and inside, each room is painted by hand, lots of darks and not many overhead lights. More the dim mood type.

The Grand Lodge has a feature that’s popular in these hotels, a Japanese soaking pool. It’s a very hot tub, about the size of a regular swimming pool, outdoors.  It is better than 90 percent of the hotel pools I’ve ever dipped into.

It’s a different experience than just a pool, it has a rustic feel.

The McMenamin brothers also really like movies. That’s why so many of the converted schools, homes for the aged, and former municipal buildings they convert into hotels include a movie theater.  So you can often catch a first-run movie at many of their hotels, which are considered resorts that many people enjoy for a long weekend.

As Grateful Dead Fans, the McMenamin Brothers adopt that theme in many of their hotels.
As Grateful Dead Fans, the McMenamin Brothers adopt that theme in many of their hotels.

The Japanese soaking pool is just a little hotter than most hot tubs and plenty spacious.

The Japanese soaking pool is just a little hotter than most hot tubs, and plenty spacious.
The Japanese soaking pool is just a little hotter than most hot tubs and plenty spacious

 

If you’re traveling to Oregon or Washington, find a McMenamin property on Bonwi, and when you book you’ll earn points to use…on rental cars or perhaps even a stay in a different McMenamin hotel another time.

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!