Essential Travel Experience #84 – Stay in a Special Hotel

     There are many different opinions about lodging on vacation. Lee prefers the finer places; she likes to return to a wonderful room after a day of sightseeing. I don’t care where I stay; to me, a hotel is only a place to hang my hat temporarily. So we compromise. We look for value while requiring at least 3 stars in most country’s rating system. In the US, we use AAA’s rating system and, again, demand 3 stars or better. Our system has worked out fairly well over the years. We have been “burned” only occasionally. If we are staying longer than 2 or 3 days, we are obviously pickier.

     However, even though I am not typically impressed by the finer hotels, there are some hotels which transcend the ordinary, to the point of becoming icons in the lodging area. Here are some of these very special places that we have encountered (notice that I do not say “stayed in”) in our travels. If you can afford it, these are the places to stay!

    Canada has a series of hotels which were built by the railroads to encourage travel throughout the country. Many of them have changed hands but are still maintained as premier lodging venues. In Quebec City, the featured hotel is the Frontenac, which dominates the Upper Town.

Chateau Frontenac

Waterton Lakes National Park is served by the Prince of Wales Inn, which sits dramatically on a promontory adjacent to one of the lakes.

Prince of Wales Inn

Banff has two (2) of these incredible establishments, the Banff Springs Hotel, just outside of town.

Banff Springs Hotel

and the Chateau Lake Louise, situated on one of Banff’s gorgeous lakes.

Chateau Lake Louise

In the city of Victoria, capital of British Columbia, the Fairmont Empress overlooks the beautiful Inner Harbor.

Fairmont Empress Hotel

 In the United States, there are several of these facilities which deserve mention. The Hotel del Coronado, in San Diego, has its own beach.

Hotel del Coronado

The Princess Cruise Line maintains a number of excellent hotels in Alaska, to service their cruise passengers who opt for a land excursion into the interior. One of them is located just outside of Denali National Park.

Denali Princess Hotel

In Las Vegas, most of the hotels on the Strip are icons. We stayed in the Paris, Las Vegas.

Paris, Las Vegas

There are, of course, others like the Bellagio with its fabulous water ballet.

Bellagio's Water Ballet

The US Army maintains several hotels overseas, for its servicemen and women. We were fortunate to stay in one of them, in the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in the Bavarian Alps.

Edelweiss Hotel

In Scotland we stayed in perhaps the most memorable hotel of our lives; we stayed for three nights in Dalhousie Castle, in the India Room, an absolutely wonderful experience.

Dalhousie Castle


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