My suspicion is that there are many discriminating, borderline OCD travelers like myself who double and triple check hotel and destination information across a barrage of online sources in the hope of validating their choices (and possibly themselves), in the process. Speaking from experience, this can be an exhaustive and overwhelming exercise, particularly for those of us who like to tread off the beaten path, without compromising comfort, vibe and – God forbid – aesthetics. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you are like myself, you are not now, nor likely ever will be a card-carrying Hilton, Marriott – even Four Seasons (all due respect) club member. And resorts more often than not feel as though you are being locked in to enjoy the experience of a new destination with precisely the people you were hoping to leave behind, or worse, as if something (perhaps the local culture?) is being locked out. (I think of Fay Wray, bound and screaming in panic as the massive gates open and King Kong comes to scoop her up and away to his jungle lair.)
I’ve come to realize that exploration and adventure and comfortable chic are not mutually exclusive concepts in the travel space, they’re just a little more difficult to find. With that said, following are two travel sites that seem to have a similar sensibility to mine.
i-escape – offers a nice selection of “Hip Hideaways and Boutique Hotels.”
Tablet Hotels – “Hotels for Global Nomads”, as the caption reads. Good taste, “luxury boutique hotels” at a range of price levels. Note: the site can be a little slow.
36 Hours – NY Times – an excellent resource for tapping into the local zeitgeist, offering a host of unusual and interesting things to see and do – though the 36-hour time period seems a bit ambitious for this traveler.