First and foremost, I want to be honest. I did not build this site for you. In fact, you found this and are reading this by accident. I do not advertise this, I do not market this, I don’t tag anything, or link anything, tweet anything, or sell anything. I built this site for me, not for you. I wanted a place to record my travels and have a little fun. Yes, I could have just done this in a word document or diary of some sort, but I like the idea of visuals and accessibility. Additionally, I did not say that I wanted to share it with no one, I said I didn’t share it with you. That being said…here’s what I think. Single Luxury Travel is all about the modern traveler. I’m sick of every top 10 list catering to 50 year olds. I think travel should feel young, and cool, and sexy, and sophisticated. This site was born from pure selfishness.
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Santorini

Santorini is a magical place. You know it right when you get off the ferry. When you see those white hill towns it quickly becomes clear that you could fall in love with it. So you have a choice, stay beachside and visit the cities, or stay in a city and visit the beaches. To me the choice is quite clear. While the beaches are magnificent, and the black volcanic sand is actually pretty cool, the magical part of Santorini is really Fira and Oia (pronounced Eea). These are the types of towns that you just don’t get to see very often. Similar-ish cities can be found of course, but each one is unique, and Fira where we stayed is no exception. Imagine the tiny winding European streets that you’ve seen before. Old as hell, lined with bars, shops, and restaurants. Imagine how old and amazing and quaint they were. Now imagine that on the top and side of a mountain. Hidden passageways. Up, down, left, right, for as far as you can go. You’ll be there for a week and still not see it all. Every corner hides a secret. Every step a new view. Everywhere you look you will be like, oh my god we have to go there. Oh my god we have to stay there next time. Read more >>

Aressana Spa and Resort

SANTORINI IN GENERAL

Don’t even get me started on the spa at Aressana. Like why are US spa relaxation rooms not private? Like seriously. Like charge an arm and a leg. Like what would you pay for one hour of heated loungers, showers, hot tubs, and steam rooms. All to your self. No interruptions. I mean come on. It was like Christmas. And while I would never treat Christmas like a porn movie, on this particular morning, we opened lots of presents 🙂 (you basically book the relaxation room like a treatment, then they essentially lock you in. the hot tub is big enough for 15 people by the way)

Aressana was a fantastic hotel. The front desk folks were amazingly helpful. I mean like always there to help. The waitstaff was the same way. Truly special service (though the girl did say she works 7 days a week and lives there so she might just be a slave who’s chained in the basement). Read more >>

Amalfi Coast

What a trip! We started in Rome, then hit up Cortona in Tuscany, then headed down to Naples as our jumping off point to the Amalfi coast. Dramatic scenery, small towns, great transportation options for the most part, great food, some nice beaches, not that many tourists if you work it right. We truly loved it. From Cortona it did take us a car, 2 trains, a cab to grab a Napoli pizza, a cab to the port, a ferry to the island of Capri, a cab to the hotel, and then a walk to the hotel because cars can only get so close…plus 3 out of 3 cabs raped us good and proper… Needless to say we were ready to chill upon arrival and we definitely got what we asked for.

Capri – Capri is basically 2 spots, the marina where everyone goes to the blue grotto, and the town of Capri on top of the hill (there is a funicular that goes straight there for 3 euros so don’t be a dumbass/me and take a cab for 20). The town is gorgeous. Old ass winding roads filled with restaurants, shops and gelato. There are hotels everywhere, there are views everywhere, and unexpectedly but some minor research would tell you that it’s one of the more expensive places on the planet. We are talking rodeo drive, but actually pretty (rodeo drive is surprisingly uggo). We had a great dinner at Giorgino (a recommendation from the super nice hotel lady), had a hell of a time getting there but once we found it and they gave us an amazing table on the patio we were super happy. Walking around these streets at night is a wonderful adventure. It’s so ritzy but so relaxed, it’s a little odd in a good way honestly.

I should also add that the ferry area is no slouch either. Yes there are day trippers everywhere but it’s still fun. The coast is dotted with restaurants and we had a great time just sitting on patios and having some wine and food while people watching.

The main attraction in Capri is the Blue grotto, and it is the dumbest attraction I may have ever been to. All told it costs about 30 euros to wait in a line, take a short boat ride, sit on said boat in the sun for an hour or more, hop on a tiny boat and go into a super dark cave for about 5 minutes with 30 or 40 other boats filled with your closest friends. This is a made up attraction. Its beauty is minimal, and its grandeur is non existent. If you have traveled at all and have seen anything, do yourself a favor, trust the Wikipedia page’s pictures, you’ve now seen the best that this place has to offer. Blue water in a cave…really?! That’s your pitch?!

Positano – Positano itself is very cool, but very steep. Read more >>

MGM National Harbor

DC IN GENERAL

Am I in love?!?! No. Decidedly no. I wanted to be in love. I really did. I was excited as anyone. I was ready. I was the unpaid advocate. I was a Gladwell tipping point for real. I was on it man. Talking to everyone. Watching the progress. I was as ready as anyone. But it just doesn’t reach love. A strong like for sure, but Vegas it ain’t. It ain’t even the Borgata or the gone but not forgotten Revel (if you didn’t go in that brief window it was open you truly missed out on an east coast gem).

The MGM National Harbor does come close though! It has a grand lobby complete with ever changing displays. It has a food court that kicks the shit out of any casino food court you’ve ever been to. It has grand restaurants and great typical casino bars. It has a huge poker room and tables aplenty. It’s shiny new and it’s got some good shit…BUT, Read more >>

Latitude

VIRGIN ISLANDS IN GENERAL

Latitude, our villa, was pretty fantastic. Right in Rendezvous on Klein’s Bay (easy access to town). It had 3 bedrooms and the master was separated from the other two by a giant pool and hot tub area. The master bed and bath were just perfect. Great window coverage, and if one had a complaint, it would be the inability to keep out light resulting in a 7am wake up call from the sun every day, but whatevs. The bathroom was huge and had a double shower area that worked “ok”.

The other bedrooms were pretty standard but certainly good enough for anyone who’s not a master bedroom type.
The main house lacked one major ingredient…air conditioning. If the weather is perfect, which it often is, then this does not matter, but if it’s hot, like hooootttt, man I struggled. That room, especially when cooking, was not remotely comfortable.
The mosquitos were pretty outrageous too but we had bug spray and a tropical storm had just come though right before we got there so mosquito timing might have been horrid.
I mainly stayed in the pool and hot tub. Gorgeous views, gorgeous water, I mean truly hard to beat. We grilled out under the stars one night and had a fantastic time.
The road to get to the house is pretty simple and easy, the driveway itself is not, and yup, I did wreck the car just a little bit. See my “fuck mr. piper” note in the main VI area… Read more >>

Hotel Dukes’ Palace

BRUGES IN GENERAL

This is really a fantastic hotel. I had many many problems with it, but I am a snob and I should ignore most of them.
They call it the only 5 star hotel in Bruges. I don’t know if that’s true, but it is a palace. I usually don’t go for regal but I was very happy here. The rooms were modern, and the main areas were classic. It was actually nice to have both in a place like Bruges. The location is hard to beat, maybe 2 blocks from the Markt (but the main street outside of the hotel was completely dug up and under construction, wasn’t too big a deal but it’ll be much better when it’s done).

We ate at the restaurant, and though they extremely limit the tables to artificially create demand (we actually had a nice conversation about this and confirmed it with the manager), we did still have a good time. They could of sat us much sooner (since he “created” a table for us from one of the so called bar only tables), so I retain a little bitterness.
The bar was kind of nice with good service and nice accouterments. Plus, you could sit all over the lobby in these plush sections and they would serve you. If the weather had been better, we would’ve sat on their patio often.

My room was on the 1st floor (2nd floor for us americans) which was perfect because you aren’t really going to get a view from any room (the buildings are not tall enough), and I could walk up and down the main stairs right to my door.
The bathroom was killer. A big tub with a giant window facing the bedroom…very sexy if you want it to be. It also had a big standup glass walled shower and a very mod vanity area. I was surprised.
The room itself had a nice bed and a desk and all of the amenities except pay per view, but the TV was good. The mini bar was nice and had those half wine bottles for 6 euros…12 easy in the US. The room service was wonky and you had to order it from the downstairs bar but they did say it was 24 hours (I did not test this).

The spa was kind of the jam. Read more >>

Grand Hyatt Beijing

BEIJING IN GENERAL

I mean this place is pretty sweet. A really nice headquarters when making your way through the general nothingness that is Beijing. It’s right on Wangfujing road (a pretty nice pedestrian stroll) and right down the street from Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City, it’s also connected to a mall which can come in handy from time to time.

The hotel itself is pretty large and the entrance and road sort of look like you are going to party headquarters or something. I actually think most buildings in Beijing are designed to look like that. The lobby shows off dueling lounge areas and a couple of restaurant/bars. I found the lounges to actually be pretty sweet for a nightcap. The hotel has two towers and the pool can only be accessed from the first one…and I was in the second, ugh.

The rooms are pretty standard Hyatt fare. Mini bar was ok, no pay per view, room service was 24 hours. Bathrooms were new enough but not cool.

Besides the hyatt attraction and the location, the reason this place is on so may must stay lists is because of the pool. Man oh man is there a pool. Whoever designed it did not design anything else in this place and must of had an unlimited budget. First of all, once you go through the spa and the gym and all, you finally see how fucking massive this thing is. It’s designed like a Vegas themed island oasis. Palm trees, huge vaulted sky-like ceilings, nooks, crannies, waterfalls, hot tubs, I mean it was quite a thing. It was impossible not to relax in that mega pool, but it helped that I was almost completely alone! Kids would of killed that vibe.

Notes

-The premier hotel restaurant was “Made In China” and it was the jam. Best Peking/Beijing Duck I’ve ever had…and I’ve had a ton! The bar area was awkward and stupid though, the best seats are next to the open kitchen areas. Super well known restaurant in Asia.

Le Royal Meridien Shanghai

SHANGHAI IN GENERAL

Perhaps I am in a good mood, but I am really liking this hotel at the moment. Now, there are flaws. First things first, the lobby is on the 10th floor. That just sucks. Now add that to the nauseating amount of elevators they have and you can get downright upset just trying to go up to your room. They have people EVERYWHERE to “help”, but that’s also a little annoying to be honest.

You also have to go through the lobby to get to the pool/gym. Another weird layout issue. Pool was great though (and offered a great view), but what the fuck do I need a lifeguard watching me for when there’s no one around for miles. Gym was big and nice as well.

The rooms are big, and modern, and really well done. The bathroom is like integrated into the room in a great way, with a bathtub and shower area that looks right onto the living area, which I always like (there is a shade as well of course). They do not have pay per view but the AV system is modern and good (though it’s fucked up right now! argh). They have a huge room service menu and many 24 hour options. The mini bar is great, but expensive, although I think wine is expensive everywhere in China.

I am on the club level, which has a pretty sweet lounge, had an unbelievable view, and a huge breakfast every morning (but why no eggs! and nice try pal, quiche is not the same thing), along with free drinks and shit every night. Though there are just too many employees in that room. I really don’t need so many hello’s! Club level rooms get free water up the ass, which was huge!

Notes

-The location right at the end of Nanjing Road and next to the People’s square was perfect for me. But maybe I would stay on the Bund if I came back (they say this place is on the Bund but I beg to differ).
-Views in any tall building in Shanghai are great, if you can get them. It’s hazy more often than its not, so being rigid may not even matter view wise.

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

TOKYO IN GENERAL

They call this a luxury hotel…it is not. This is not a hotel that anyone should go to. Maybe if you’re at a convention or something, and that’s a strong maybe. Even the lower concourse which is crowded with full service restaurants feels like time has forgotten it. This is a forsaken land, where no man need tread.

The location is quite a few blocks from the Shinjuku train station. But even if it was right next door you’re still taking a cab so who cares. Shinjuku is close to nothing except Shinjuku.

Rooms are bare, built like dorm rooms, and if you had a cool dorm room then fuck you. No mini bar offerings. No pay per view. Room service was weak. I think it was offered 24 hours but since they didn’t take credit card from us when we checked in (neither of the rooms) then we had to pay with cash, which would’ve been fine if the room service guy at 2am spoke a lick of English. Nope, nada. Drunk and starving is how TV’s break btw.

Notes

-I think the beds were made of wood
-I think the TV had 6 channels
-The pool had been empty for some time, but it looked like shit anyway
-The wifi sucked
-They have rooms dedicated to Hello Kitty
-Do not stay here
-I must mention, in the interest of fairness, they did let me check in under my brothers name, and since they didn’t get there for like 5 hours and I was desperado for a nap, I really really appreciated their incompetence in not looking at first names.

Fairmont Pacific Rim

VANCOUVER IN GENERAL

I mean this hotel is awesome. My mandatory and required complaints are very very limited.

Obviously I am no Vancouver expert, but the location of this hotel seems just oh so slightly out of the action. Like super slightly. Like you can still walk everywhere and you are right on the water and the Harbour views are money so I probably shouldn’t mention anything but it just seems oh so slightly farther from things than “perfect” should be.

The rooms are big, the bathrooms are huge and modern with giant tubs and glass walk in showers and great lighting plus TV’s in the mirrors. The AV system is money with surround sound everywhere. The bed is great. The rooms even have balconies if you order right. This room is super comfortable. Oh, and everything is controlled from an Ipad, or from numerous other touch panels placed around the room.

Mini bar is good. Room service menu is actually fantastic and is available 24 hours. Pay per view is perfect and has a knock your socks off 24 hour package.

The pool area is cool if the weather is good but I wasn’t able to observe any “scene” if there is one (they certainly have enough cabanas to indicate that there’s a scene). The downstairs bars are super popular and they do live music on the weekend.

This place ain’t cheap but it is sick.

Notes

-I got a discount but the rate was still $400 per night.

Refinery Hotel

NYC IN GENERAL

Well. Weeeeelllllll. We chose this hotel due to its recent addition to the best new hotels in the US list this year. Had to try it.

The first thing you may notice is that there are no traditional doormen. Usually I wouldn’t care, but this place ain’t cheap, and at the very least when you are trying to hail a cab on a Friday afternoon in Manhattan it can be very nice to have a professional on your side. In addition, the bellmen that they do have lost our bags. Yup, the room wasn’t ready upon arrival and we checked the bags and went out to lunch. Our bags were apparently sent to the wrong room and didn’t reappear for 4 hours, after many complaints. I’d like to say that our bellmen ordeal ended there, but no. No. Not at all. Upon our departure we asked them to watch our bags again. I pointed to a shopping bag and showed the guy the bottle of wine inside. He said not to worry and off we went. We should’ve worried though. It took him about 5 minutes to drop said bag and the wine exploded all over everything, including a brand new sweater that I loved. After calling me to tell me this, I asked the bell captain to have our bags ready because we were pulling up in a cab and needed to leave quickly. Thinking he wasn’t going to do this, I also called the front desk and said the same thing. Upon arrival though, guess what, not only were our bags not ready, but they couldn’t even find them. I have never seen such a cluster fuck. They all seemed super nice and even competent, they are just so unorganized. Whoever is running the show needs to take a step back and really look at the operation/their life choices.

In any case, we loved the hotel bar, which was like a parlor room in an old mansion. We also loved the hotel restaurant, Parker and Quinn. They are super nice in there and the decor is just perfect old school new york. Subway tile everywhere, cool chandeliers and sconces, etc. Brunch was good, but NYC not allowing booze sales until noon on Sunday put a damper on my plans! Read more >>

JW Marriott Lima

LIMA IN GENERAL

I am upset. Very upset. I was livid, now I’m just upset, and I won’t be getting over it soon. Fuck you. You know who you are.

I got there late. Way later than I expected or had planned for. I was exhausted. So tired. So beat up. I just needed some modern conveniences and some serious rest. I told you this. I told you I wanted to do some work and sleep forever. I told you exactly what I needed. I had paid $300 American Dollars for this room. I had picked the JW on purpose. Just in case something like how I currently felt was happening, I put myself in the best position for success. I told you all of this. Sure, I didn’t have my rewards number handy, but I told you I was a member. I told you many things. I basically begged you for some pretty simple things. I am sorry that I declined your bell man service. It was late and I just couldn’t deal with another explanation of how a coffee maker works. It’s not magic, I get it.

So what did you do? You amazingly, unbelievably, inconsiderate woman. You put me in a room on the 6th floor. I think you knew that this room got no wifi. Not the guest room wifi, not the conference room wifi, not even the publicly offered wifi. No wifi, when the only thing I needed to do work and connect to my world was have wifi. I told you that before you picked this room.

I think you knew that the power was scheduled to go out on this floor at 2am. Waking me up from barely being able to close eyes. Already frustrated I call down and the nice guy on the phone says that someone would be right up. I get dressed of course and sit on the bed and wait. No dude. Sure, the power came back on but no dude came. I waited, then I fell back asleep. Then you decided to call me to make sure I was ok. I appreciate that. Thanks douche. It’s 3am now.

I think you knew that they were doing construction directly above my head at 8:30 that morning. I know you knew it. You wanted me to suffer. That weird hammering that didn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to wake me up and prevent more slumber.

And the most crushing defeat of all, your solution to all of these problems. I told you my story. I even had to sit in the lobby for hours to get some work done. So what did you do, offer me a free cab ride to the airport. About 10 bucks worth of a solution. Screw you folks. Seriously. Screw you.

Notes

-Besides the above, this place is nowhere near the airport…40 mins to an hour. It’s right on the water and is connected to the most ridiculously American mini mall I have ever seen overseas. It’s perfect if you traveled to Lima to see suburban USA. The beach in front of the hotel is rocky and overall a waste of time. There’s no wifi in my area, there’s no pay per view, mini bar was fine and there was 24 hour room service. The view was good and if everything above didn’t happen, I would actually argue that the room and bathroom were quite nice and modern, almost like a Park Hyatt. But fuck this place.

Poseidon – Positano

AMALFI COAST IN GENERAL

Amazing views, but you gotta work to get up there!
Amazing patio and pool area! The pool is great with French Riviera style patio seating with wonderful views and a little bar.
The room was fine, bigger than expected I would say, bathroom was moderately sized, mini bar was fine, no pay per view, and room service was limited. They did give us a nice bottle of prosecco for our honeymoon (which we actually drank instead of stupidly leaving it behind like the bottle the hotel in Cortona gave us).
Breakfast is pretty good but the gorgeous seating is limited.
The real feature for us at this hotel was the balcony. Oh my it was huge, and it overlooked the city and the sea. It wasn’t the most private thing on planet earth but we sure acted like it was. We used that thing thoroughly!
We did have to pay 500 a night to stay here.

Notes

-All things considered, you want to be up high for the views and the breezes, so even with the walk up and down every day, this hotel is pretty perfectly located. There is even a market right next door for whatever you may want, like wine, or wine.

PalazzianG Venice

VENICE IN GENERAL

This place was rad. We adored this hotel. Adored. Maybe, just maybe there is one downside which is the location, but I could see many people enjoying the quieter side of San Marco. I would say we felt just maybe 5 minutes too far off the beaten path.

This is a Starwood hotel, and you feel South Beach and the W everywhere. Stark white. Mirrors literally all over the room. Like everywhere. Like if you even remotely like the person you are with then it’s on. The windows are even mirrors, and open oddly to the barren street below.

The bathroom was huge and had a gigantic shower with rainfall heads that we used considerably. TV was good. Room service was good.
The breakfast area is a little boring but they did a good enough job with the outdoor patio and cool seating. In addition to being the breakfast area it’s also a bar/lounge later in the day. The bar and restaurant downstairs were as hip as it gets.
$600 a night (but we actually used points for the first time ever).

Notes

-There is a gondola “bus stop” right outside the hotel so that makes the location better I suppose…but we liked to walk.
-The chef’s tasting menu looked so incredible, but it was outrageously expensive so we passed.
-Everyone was soooooo nice!

The Vendue

CHARLESTON IN GENERAL

Oh dang. Number one hotel in Charleston. The new hipness. The new hotness. BUT as a hotel, this shit offers nothing. Go to the bar, go to the restaurant, go to the rooftop. All of those things are actually very cool, very hip, very Charleston. Go everywhere except for staying in the hotel.

The rooms are an utter waste of time. No mini bar, no pay per view, limited room service. Our room didn’t even have a window. The hotel is separated across streets and buildings with zero amenities in most spaces. Oh, you offer milk and cookies every night? Really? That kitschy shit only works when you have other cool amenities. But you offer none. This hotel is a joke. It’s a scam. And it’s apparently working. I mean they don’t even have peep holes in the doors (which you will want when loud noises continuously happen outside of your room late at night). This might have been one of the worst hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. In my life. Like I am still baffled. Like…ugh.

Location is the only advantage.

Can’t wait to comeback to Charleston, can’t wait to hang out on the roof at the vendue, but this hotel has fooled me once.

Notes

-I’m so severely disappointed. THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A HOTEL ROOM!