Hipmunk City Love: A Guide to the New Orleans French Quarter

New Orleans French Quarter

The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is a well-known neighborhood in New Orleans. It is one of the oldest districts in the city. Its history dates back to the 18th century colonial years of the Spanish and the French. This history is especially visible in the architecture. The French Quarter is also a district full of bars, restaurants, hotels and shops. This vibrant neighborhood will keep vacationers entertained for days. Despite its touristic character, it is also a residential area that houses a large variety of African and European immigrants.

A Day at the River

New Orleans is a valuable port. Trade has always been important in this city, due to its convenient spot near the Mississippi River. Vacationers will also enjoy this iconic and mighty river. Kids like to watch the ships go by, and food lovers have a great time at the riverbank restaurants. Seafood, especially, is a delight in these restaurants. The Mississippi river is within walking distance of the French Quarter.

A Night Out in Bourbon Street

Known worldwide among party lovers, Bourbon Street is the place to go for an electric night out in the town. Music bursts out of every corner in this melting pot of bars, clubs and restaurants. Due to a tolerant public drinking law, visitors are often seen hopping from one bar to another, while drinking their cocktail and singing or dancing. Music is a strong signature of Bourbon Street. Various musicians roam the streets to feed the lively atmosphere. Make sure not to drink too much because Bourbon Street is one place you want to remember.

Colonial Architecture 

When it comes to architecture, the French Quarter is mainly known for its creatively designed ironwork balconies, lush green courtyards, and its graceful fountains. Spanish and French influences are visible in many of the historical buildings. Jackson Square is the most iconic landmark in the neighborhood. This square is a delight for history lovers. Here they can find the St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, a colonial government building. The Pontalba buildings also flank the square. These are the oldest apartments in the country.

Sleeping in the French Quarter

Visitors have a lot of choices when it comes to hotels. One of those choices is the stylish Prince Conti Hotel. Here, guests will stay in romantic, antique furnished rooms with a charming 19th century touch. The hotel is a comfortable getaway in the center of the French Quarter. Various French Quarter attractions are conveniently within walking distance.

An Electrifying Adventure in the New Orleans French Quarter

A city-trip to New Orleans is a dynamic adventure. Neighborhoods like the French Quarter will take visitors back to colonial times during daytime strolls, and will make them forget the time when they watch the sunset over the mighty Mississippi river. And at last there will be the nights. The nights they end up singing and dancing their way through Bourbon Street, enchanted by all the jazz, soul, gospel, and pop sounds that were born in this multicultural hot spot.

Hipmunk City Love: Best Of Austin Sustainable Hotels

 

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Sustainability is important in Austin, Texas. Long dry seasons especially stress the need for effective water conservation. This strong focus on sustainability can also be found in many of Austin’s hotels. They are suitable accommodation options if you care about luxury, comfort, and your ecological footstep. Here are seven of the best green Austin hotels.

1. Hotel San Jose

Hotel San Jose is a true hipster and eco-friendly hotspot. It has become a favorite place for celebrities because of its calm, nature-themed atmosphere. The hotel’s landscape design stands out because of the lush variety of drought-friendly plants around the building. The hotel itself is thoughtfully renovated with various recovered materials.

2. W. Austin

The W. Austin is an excellent choice for responsible travelers. Modern technologies and sustainability methods blend successfully in this eco-friendly hotel. Lights and thermostats have smart motion detectors. These detectors cut the energy output by turning off lights or adjusting the temperature when they don’t detect any movements. The hotel also serves organic food from local sources and recycling bins are in every room.

3. Habitat Suites

Habitat Suites uses solar panels to generate energy. The hotel garden is not poisoned by pesticides and toxic fertilizers. Instead, the hotel uses an army of hungry ladybugs. Garbage goes in provided recycling bins. Toilets and showers are on water-saving mode. Trees around the hotel create a cool shade and cut air conditioning costs.

4. Four Seasons Hotel Austin

The Four Season Hotel Austin serves healthy, organic food. Water and electricity conservation are also important sustainable focus points for this hotel. The beautiful hotel garden is a toxic free green zone, making it a suitable place to relax.

5. The Hyatt Place Austin Downtown

The Hyatt Place Austin Downtown educates its guests and its staff about various sustainable practices. Light bulbs in the hotel burn efficiently with the help of energy tracking systems. Recycling and waste reduction are also encouraged. The hotel reuses its linen and its towels.

6. Hyatt Regency Austin

Clean and healthy water is an important part of the Hyatt Regency Austin service. They have reduced the amount of unnatural cleaning chemicals in their swimming pool. Instead, the hotel uses a healthier, eco-friendly saline-based cleaning method. Laundry detergents are also eco-friendly. The hotel restaurant serves purified water. Grease from the kitchen becomes biofuel.

7. Wyndham Garden Hotel Austin

As with many other sustainable hotels in Austin, the Wyndham Garden Hotel Austin focuses on recycling, energy conservation and eco-friendly products. It banned Styrofoam, reuses much of the laundry water, and creates biofuel from recycled grease. There are recycling bins near the pool and in public areas.

A Sustainable Accommodation Stay in an Eco-friendly City

Austin, Texas, is a perfect destination if you are looking to stay in a sustainable accommodation. Hotel rates are sometimes a little higher than at typical hotels in Austin,Texas, but that is a price worth paying if you consider the excellent sustainable benefits these green hotels have to offer.
 
 
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5 Barcelona Neighborhoods You Weren’t Planning on Traveling to but Should

 

Barcelona

Photo by Asier García via Trover.com

No matter where you go in Barcelona, architectural and artistic beauty is never far away in this vibrant city. There are a lot of famous cultural and historical sights, but Barcelona’s unknown treasures also deserve some attention.

Those who leave the city center to explore Barcelona’s lesser known sights will often end up strolling through narrow alleys, which lead them through the city like veins in a body. Eventually, they will end up at a large artery like La Rambla, which will bring them back to the buzzing, beating heart of central Barcelona. Travelers might also like this complete Barcelona travel guide.

1. Gràcia

Gràcia is relatively unknown among tourists. Those travelers who do stroll through this neighborhood’s narrow streets will be pleasantly surprised by its strong community minded identity. Gràcia is the artistic playground of musicians, bohemians, and designers. The neighborhood houses various gorgeous designer boutiques, small workshops, and exclusive galleries. A real treat for vacationers who like to travel off the beaten path.

2. Dreta de l’Eixample

Travel to Barcelona’s upmarket Dreta de l’Eixample neighborhood if you are looking for a more spacious environment, luxurious Barcelona hotels, and high-end restaurants. Although more touristic, this area also has a lot of side streets that cater mostly to the locals. Dreta de l’Eixample is also an excellent spot if you want to marvel at some of Antoni Gaudí’s most famous creations.

3. El Born and La Ribera

As with other neighborhoods in Barcelona, El Born becomes particularly interesting if you leave the main road to explore its back alleys. Once more, you will be happily surprised by the large variety of hip boutiques, galleries, and shops. Visit La Ribera to travel back in time to the medieval era. Stroll through dark, cobblestone alleys and marvel at the interesting fact that this ancient quarter secretly hides some of the city’s best galleries, boutiques, food shops and tapas restaurants.

4. El Raval

El Raval is a bit of a rough area. It does not suit every traveler’s view of an ideal sightseeing spot, and it is better to avoid this area at night. However, it definitely has its charm. Adventurous travelers will enjoy the daytime, weekend markets and the strong, alternative vibe that characterizes the interesting identity of this grungy neighborhood.

5. El Poblenou and El Poble-sec

El Poblenou is a rarely visited, middle-class neighborhood. It is a good spot to have a peak at the everyday life of the city’s locals. El Poble-sec is a neighborhood for the working class. This less traveled area is especially interesting because of its excellent tapas bars.

Explore Barcelona’s Unbeaten Paths 

Barcelona is relatively small for a capital city, but it houses a lot of interesting districts. Vacationers don’t have to travel far to avoid the main tourist streams. They can hop off the main road, dive into a small alley and suddenly find themselves in a whole new world. A quiet world, full of uncommon shopping and sightseeing opportunities. Dreta de l’Eixample is a good area for travelers who are in need of some space after all the narrow alleys.

Hipmunk City Love: Best Of Berlin Spa Hotels

 

Berlin Spa Hotels

The capital city of Germany is a lovely destination because of its conveniently low prices, which are surprisingly cheap compared to other European capital cities. It is also a wonderful place for sightseeing. The city houses a lot of monuments, museums and buildings that show visitors reminders of more turbulent times in its history. It also houses a large variety of luxurious Spa hotels that suit travelers who wish to pamper themselves during their hotel stay. Here are ten of the best spa hotels in Berlin.

10. Das Stue

Das Stue is a 5-star, central located hotel with a full-service spa. Guests can take a facial, body treatment, and a massage. Possible outside activities near the hotel include a visit to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and a walk to Brandenburg Gate.

9. Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm stands in the centre of Berlin. Possible spa activities at this hotel include a relaxing body treatment, a revitalizing facial treatment or a professional massage. Guests can also use the steam room and the sauna.

8. Rocco Forte Hotel De Rome

Health, spa and fitness lovers have a good time at the Rocco Forte Hotel De Rome. A sauna, swimming pool, sauna and a spa treatment are some of the revitalizing amenities that they can use during their stay.

7. Radisson Blue Hotel, Berlin

The beautifully designed 5-star Radisson Blue Hotel, Berlin caters to the needs of any spa lover. revitalizing treatments charge you up for your next Berlin city adventure. When recharged, take a trip to Alexanderplatz or the Pergamon Museum.

6. Meliá Berlin

Guests of Meliá Berlin can end their sightseeing trip with a comfortable health treatment in the available spa facility. This hotel also has a gym and a sauna.

5. Hotel Q

Luxurious hotel amenities like a health club, sauna, and a full-service spa will make you want to stay or come back at Hotel Q in Charlottenburg.

4. Hotel Palace Berlin

Hotel Palace Berlin is an excellent choice for guests who want a spa treatment. Offered amenities like Ayurvedia treatments, body scrubs and massages will fulfill their wishes.

3. Louisa’s Place

Spa services in Louisa’s Place include body wraps, aromatherapy treatments, massages and manicures or pedicures. Vacationers can also relax in the sauna.

2. Soho House Berlin

This Soho House Berlin spa hotel is special because it has a Turkish bath/hamman. Other treatment and relaxation options include manicures, pedicures, massages, a sauna, and a steam room.

1. Waldorf Astoria Berlin

The Waldorf Astoria Berlin is the crème dela crème when it comes to Spa hotels. It offers one of the largest selections of relaxing hotel spa treatments. There are a total of six treatment rooms where you can undergo services like hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy, aromatherapy, and an Ayurvedia treatment.

A Wonderful City With a Variety of Luxurious Spa Hotels

Berlin’s history was turbulent. However, it showed resilience and transformed itself into a wonderful city. A city that might be the perfect destination for a sightseeing tour combined with a comfortable spa hotel.
 
 
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3 Uncommon Tourists Spots in Chicago

Gold Coast - Chicago
Photo by Zeynep Akman via Trover.com

Chicago, Illinois is full of hidden gems when it comes to attractions and sights. Pick your unique Chicago activities and plan an adventurous city trip to this vibrant and soulful town. Stroll to unexplored neighborhoods, listen and feel the music on every corner, get in contact with locals, and at the end of the day relax in one of Chicago’s comfortable hotels near your favorite tourist attraction. Here are a few of those hidden gems that you may not have known about.

The Fountain of Time

The massive concrete sculpture, the Fountain of Time, in Washington Park is one of the city’s less-visited sights. However, its unique design and the story behind what it represents make it an interesting attraction and a real treasure. The sculpture, created by Lorado Taft in 1922, represents humanity’s relationship with time, and you really need to see it up close to appreciate its splendor. The Chicago Lake Shore Hotel is a good choice if you are looking for a nearby place to stay. The distance is about two miles from Washington Park and the fountain. Amenities in this pet-friendly hotel near Lake Michigan include a free area shuttle, outdoor pool, and luggage storage.

Oz Park

Fans of the Wizard of Oz will love this unique spot in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. In Oz Park, you will find many statues of important Wizard of Oz characters like the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and of course Dorothy and Toto. Children like to play in Dorothy’s Playlot, and adults like to stroll through the Emerald Garden. There’s even a Yellow Brick Road! This park is a nice alternative to the much more often visited and highly touristic Millennium Park. The Majestic Hotel is within walking distance of Lincoln Park. This Lakeview boutique hotel offers rooms with air conditioning, satellite TV, and free Wi-Fi.

The International Museum of Surgical Science

The Gold Coast-based International Museum of Surgical Science educates its visitors about a variety of topics in the field of Western and Eastern medicine practices. Exhibitions display the art of surgical science. The Gold Coast also houses a large variety of luxurious hotels, such as the W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel. This hotel overlooks Lake Michigan, so you’ll have an excellent view during your stay. The hotel also has a restaurant, and you can end the day with a drink at the bar. The nearby Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Hotel is also a suitable accommodation option.

A New Look at Lesser Known Tourist Spots in Chicago

No matter if you are into small and uncommon museums, local music festivals, uniquely themed parks, or unseen architectural artworks. In Chicago, you will always find some undiscovered jewels that will catch your interest. Spend some days avoiding the usual tourist attractions, and you might end up being positively surprised about all that is not yet discovered by the big crowds. Book a comfortable Chicago hotel near one of your favorite attractions, and relax in style after a day of strolling on the unbeaten paths of the Windy City.