Hipmunk Hotels: Offbeat Attractions in Flagstaff, Page, Yuma, and more

This post was originally published on Tripper by Sandra Henriques on June 29, 2016.

By means of a strange acculturation process while growing up, I’m more connected to the American culture than I am to the Portuguese. As a result, the United States is high on my list of countries to visit (and the list of offbeat attractions grows with it). I’m still in the romancing phase, but I’m already liking my odds in Arizona and in Pasadena. I have my eye on several attractions in these areas and more, and I’m interested in the best hotels in each area.

1. Experience Space, the Final Frontier in Flagstaff (Arizona)

I love a good alien story, especially if it mixes an “X-Files” vibe with some futuristic storytelling like H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. However, you can visit some “other-worldly” attractions without leaving this planet. The Lowell Observatory and the Cinder Lake Crater Field are two offbeat must-sees in Flagstaff. I wonder if I can find an alien-themed hotel in Flagstaff? Or at least one with a mysterious alien story behind it.

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona

Photo by James Jones via Flickr.

2. The Most Famous Canyon in Page (Arizona)

The Antelope Canyon is hardly a secret and it’s very high on my list of beautiful sights. The most photographed rock formation in the American Southwest is one guided tour away when you visit Page. To continue exploring the scenery beyond the Canyon, check with your hotel in Page for tour recommendations.

Antelope Canyon in Page Arizona

Photo by Todd Petrie via Flickr.

3. A Bridge (Not) Over Troubled Waters in Yuma (Arizona)

Do you know the Talking Heads’ song “Road to Nowhere”? Well, in Yuma, things go a little further with a “bridge to nowhere”. No, it’s not a metaphor. The Gila River was diverted in 1968, and today the McPhaul bridge crosses (oddly) over sand and rocks. I have a series of postapocalyptic-themed photos for that bridge in mind, meaning the visit could be emotionally draining. Finding a hotel in Yuma for some well-deserved R&R would do the trick.

4. London Bridge in Lake Havasu City (Arizona)

Did London Bridge really fall down like in the nursery rhyme? Technically, it was sinking due to structural problems, and in the late 1960’s, the City sold the bridge to the highest bidder — a local entrepreneur in Lake Havasu City. Booking a romantic stay at a Lake Havasu City hotel and a stroll on the bridge shipped overseas, block by block, sounds like a great story to tell.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr.

5. Doc’s House and Strange Sodas in Pasadena (California)

Hoverboards are not a real thing (yet) but Dr. Emmet Brown’s house is. Fans of “Back to the Future” wouldn’t the Gamble House be an offbeat must-see? This could (probably) only be topped by a Buffalo Wing soda. I’m not entirely sure I would handle the sugar rush at the Rocket Fizz, the place where these strange soda flavors come from. Tasting wouldn’t be a problem; narrowing down the weirdest ones to taste would. How do you top this off? Perhaps with a stay at a Hollywoodesque hotel in Pasadena, where you can pretend to be a star with a quirky taste for strange sodas.

The Gamble House in Pasadena California

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr.

New York is Always New

I’ve been to New York countless times. I’ve seen dozens of shows on Broadway. I’ve people watched in Times Square more times than I can remember. I’ve eaten the famous pizza. I’ve drunk cider in many Irish Pubs between 1st and 6th. No matter what I do in New York, it always feels new and fresh.

The Chaos of Time Square

Image provided by Ai Long via Trover.com.

When it comes to a New York hotel, you have tons of options. There are over 75,000 rooms in Manhattan. When I plan a trip to New York, I have been known to stay at two or three on one trip. Some hotels take on their neighborhood’s personality; you expect that. I discovered the Hilton Times Square Hotel offers a respite from the chaos of the area surrounding it. The hotel has recently been renovated and offers amenities that create a quiet and comfortable hotel. When the city calls you, you only have to walk outside and find yourself in the center of the city’s most active neighborhood.

Midtown East with Character

For the typical tourist, staying in Midtown means the west side and Broadway, but Midtown East and The Lexington New York City, Autograph Collection offer a new perspective on the other side of New York, literally and figuratively. Think New York style with a side of laid back ease. The newly renovated Lexington pays homage to the jazz greats of the past and present. The art deco lobby reminds you of the old New York, but with the modern convenience of a big city hotel. Shop on Madison Avenue just a block away, and continue another block and enjoy 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center.

Chelsea Charm and Flair

Image provided by Alouise Dittrick via Trover.com.

Larger than most boutique New York Hotels, the Chelsea Savoy is a reasonably priced alternative in a unique area of New York. Make sure to take part in the complimentary breakfast before you head out each day. Chelsea Pier, the massive sports complex overlooking the Hudson River, sits a few blocks away from the Savoy. I’ve always wanted to hit a few balls at the driving range or take a class at the gym with other New Yorkers. New York does some amazing things with parks in the cement city, so checking out the HighLine Park is a new experience to enjoy as I explore the neighborhood.

34th Street Entertainment

The 34th Street area of New York is shopping and dining central. While the tourists flock to the area, the locals enjoy the convenience and options as well. Dumont NYC – An Affinia Hotel fits perfectly in the neighborhood. It offers some of the most spacious rooms in Manhattan while providing fantastic views at a reasonable price for the quality and the area. You’re just south of the famed Murray Hill area of New York and close to Macy’s flagship store, as well as other shopping and entertainment venues on the surrounding blocks of the hotel.

It doesn’t matter how many trips I take to New York or where I stay — it’s always new and exciting.

What city can you visit over and over again? 

This article is part of a Hipmunk Travel Series.

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Hipmunk Hotels: Affordable luxury hotels in West Hollywood, Pismo Beach and Dana Point

This post was originally published on Savored Journeys by Laura Lynch.

If you’re seen popular towns like West Hollywood and Pismo Beach on television shows, you already know how swanky and luxurious these areas are. As a traveler, you have many options for affordable luxury hotels in the midst of some of the best shopping, dining, nightlife and beaches the west has to offer. You can’t go wrong with a stay at any of these affordable luxury hotels right in the heart of the action.

West Hollywood, California

Hollywood, CaliforniaHollywood, California (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

Consider staying in West Hollywood for affordable luxury. It’s right in the heart of Los Angeles, with swanky bars, restaurants, and nightlife, right outside your door. This area is home to high-end shopping outlets and celebrity restaurants. You might even spot a celebrity, if you’re lucky. The Andaz West Hollywood Hotel is in the center of the action on Sunset Strip. It has a rooftop pool and is within walking distance of some of the hottest nightclubs on the strip.

Pismo Beach, California

Pismo BeachPismo Beach (Photo: Laura Lynch/SavoredJourneys)

As far as beach locations go, you can’t do any better than the small, quaint town of Pismo Beach, located just a few minutes from the college town of San Luis Obispo. The pristine beach stretches for miles, which is perfect for a long stroll in the sand or a day of relaxing in the sun. You’ll also find incredible views of the Pacific Ocean, dramatic sunsets, and dozens of wine tasting rooms nearby. There are many beachfront hotels to choose from, and most come with incredible views.

Dana Point, California

Dana Point, CaliforniaDana Point, California (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

Another great beachfront town is Dana Point, in southern California. Dana Point is a surfer and paddleboarder’s paradise, with over seven miles of coastline to enjoy and great weather year round. If you’re not out participating in water sports, hiking, or admiring the views, you can relax at one of Dana Point’s extraordinary hotels, like the St. Regis Monarch Beach or the Laguna Cliffs Marriott, both of which have a high standard of luxury.

Fullerton, California

Disneyland, CaliforniaDisneyland, California (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

When visiting Disneyland or one of Northern Orange County’s other amusement parks, Fullerton offers affordable luxury accommodations in a quiet and charming historic town. Three of the Disney hotels are in Fullerton – Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier, and Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa. All of these luxury options have a pool and give early access to the park.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New MexicoSanta Fe, New Mexico (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

While California is a great location for affordable luxury stays, don’t underestimate other trendy places in the West, like Santa Fe. With a rich Native American history and evidence of early Spanish settlers still visible in the architecture, Santa Fe has a distinct appeal. There is a vibrant art and music scene, as well. Stay at the Hacienda & Spa at Hotel Santa Fe or La Fonda on the Plaza for an affordable luxury stay with many great amenities and a truly local feel.