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For our final Destination of the Week post of 2013, we decided to pull together a list of all the destinations we’ve covered this year. From Seattle to Shanghai, Mexico City to Melbourne, and Vienna to Dubai…we’ve covered a sundry selection of destinations…and there is something from everyone in this mix – from bustling cities to laid back beach resorts, so have a look through it and start planning your next vacation.
In the meantime, happy New Year and safe travels to all your holiday destinations (whether it be these or others!).
Cabo San Lucas: Whether you want to gallery hop, try craft brews, surf or simply lounge by the pool, it’s all here at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. TPG contributor Casey Hatfield-Chiotto explores the luxury hotel scene and killer surf breaks of this Mexican resort town.
Denver: TPG contributor Jason Steele is here to show you around his hometown. Though the city itself might not be your destination, it’s the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, and as the ski season gets underway, plenty of avid winter sportsmen and women are likely to be passing through here, so if your travel does take you to the Mile High City, here’s the lowdown on what you can enjoy there.
Disneyland: TPG contributor Kathy A. McDonald takes us around everyone’s favorite family destination. Today, the 500-acre resort encompasses two theme parks, three hotels (totaling 2,398 rooms and 50 vacation villas), dining and entertainment choices in Downtown Disney and acres of parking lots. Don’t forget to visit TPG’s posts on family travel if you are taking the family to the happiest place on earth: Disneyland!
Key West: Want to visit the warm and sunny southernmost tip of the continental United States? TPG contributor Nick Ewen takes us down to Florida to the as we visit the Conch Republic, also known as Key West.
Las Vegas: TPG contributor Nick Ewen gives us a tour of Sin City, which he called home for several years. Gamble to your heart’s content and check out a variety of Broadway shows and delectable restaurants. TPG has visited Las Vegas several times, and also advises on the best ways to use hotel points there.
Mexico City: As the beach resorts of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun become packed with tourists over the summer months, Mexico City is a tempting destination for travelers wanting an authentic trip south of the border that is not filled with raucous bachelor parties. TPG contributor Kristine Hansen takes us on a tour of Mexico’s capital to discover its vibrant neighborhoods, cultural history and colorful art scene.
New Orleans: Why not hit up Mardi Gras in February 2014? TPG contributor Sarah Tomlinson takes us to New Orleans, known for its raucous, free-spirited mélange of cultures, cuisines and musical genres, as well as half a dozen truly inspired annual excuses to party, including of course, Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest. TPG visited New Orleans this past Labor Day weekend, and recommends the Ritz Carlton New Orleans.
Palm Springs and Coachella Valley: Looking for a laid-back, slower paced vacation with year round sunshine and zero precipitation? TPG contributor Kathy A. McDonald takes us on a tour of a true desert oasis: Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. TPG took a day trip out here from LA last August and enjoyed a stay at the Le Meridian Palm Springs.
San Diego: This city isn’t just about surfing and sunshine (though there is plenty of both!). TPG contributor Casey Hatfield-Chiotti takes us to her hometown of San Diego, where the city’s eclectic neighborhoods are absolutely exploding with art galleries, breweries, and farm to tables restaurants.
San Juan: TPG contributor Melanie Wynne takes us to the Caribbean to a multicultural island boasting wide sandy beaches and tropical rainforests. It is time to take your high school Spanish out for a spin as you explore the city’s intriguing colonial past and the breezy, colorful and elegant cultural scene it offers today. TPG loves San Juan and has been there, as well as neighboring tropical paradise Vieques a few times.
Santa Barbara: TPG contributor Kathy A. McDonald takes us on a tour of one of Southern California’s most scenic and accessible destinations. Nicknamed the “American Riviera,” where the Pacific Ocean meets the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara, California makes for the perfect getaway. Back in 2011, TPG visited Santa Barbara and stayed in both the Four Seasons Biltmore and the Hyatt Santa Barbara.
Seattle: Perhaps best known for coffee-swigging, grunge-grooving hipsters, this city can be an enigma to travelers. However, it offers unparalleled outdoor and cultural adventures, and fantastic vistas of Olympic and Cascade mountains and the Pacific Ocean. TPG contributor Kate Gammon takes us to her native Seattle.
Tucson: University of Arizona alum and TPG contributor Lori Zaino takes us almost south of the border to a desert city that boasts around 300 days of sunshine a year. This city is one of the first places a youthful TPG flew using his frequent flyer miles many years ago.
Bangkok: Unlike some of its more sedate neighbors, this bustling metropolis is a forest of high-rise buildings, a swamp of smoggy traffic jams and contains warrens of some of Asia’s liveliest nightlife – not to mention the heat. But don’t let that deter you from exploring the other offerings of the city. TPG contributor Kate Gammon shows us the best of Bangkok, from markets to temples and more. TPG made a video report during his trip to Bangkok in March 2012.
Beijing: With plenty of world-famous sights like the Forbidden City and nearby sections of the Great Wall of China, not to mention centuries of history, cutting-edge design districts and a food and nightlife scene that is getting more fun by the day, Beijing should be at the top of your list to visit. Read all about TPG’s trip to Beijing and other cities in Asia here.
Dubai: Dubai is an exotic city that has a fast shot to prominence as a center of finance, commerce, and the finer things in life. TPG contributor Alex Schechter spent some time in this city recently and guides us through this Middle Eastern glitzy destination.
Hong Kong: This semi-autonomous city is known for its glittering skyline and beautiful harbor. Connecting both Eastern and Western cultures, this former British colony is home to exquisite cuisine and incredible shopping amidst a landscape of modern skyscrapers and historical temples. You can read TPG’s review of the W Hong Kong here.
Kuala Lumpur: Often overshadowed by Singapore at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula, Kuala Lumpur comes as a welcome surprise to travelers to Southeast Asia. TPG contributor Jenny Miller takes us to Malaysia’s capital, a low-key, diverse city where the food is delicious and the sights are both extensive and accessible.
Macau: TPG contributor Sharon McDonnell takes us to Macau, a former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong that has become the Las Vegas of Asia.
Maldives: TPG contributor Ola shares one of the world’s far-flung yet most dream-worthy destinations, a chain of tiny islands off the southern tip of India that’s gaining popularity with tourists by the day thanks to a pristine environment, world-class luxury resorts and an end-of-the-earth tropical ambiance. This destination is approved by TPG himself, as he recently visited the Maldives in November. In fact, stay tuned for more hotel and flight reviews related to TPG’s Maldives adventure.
Mumbai: TPG contributor Sharon McDonnell takes us all the way to the “Manhattan of India” to visit a multicultural capital that is steeped in history and has become one of the largest cities in the world. Formally known as Bombay, TPG recently visited this Bollywood capital so stay tuned for his trip reports.
Shanghai: This vibrant city of contrasts is recommended by TPG contributor Sarah Tomlinson, who guides us through Shanghai’s recent explosion of luxury hotels, upscale shops, and glamorous nightlife, in addition to it’s historical architecture and culture. TPG also loves Shanghai-check out the review of his 2012 stay at the Andaz Shanghai.
Siem Reap: This increasingly busy town is known as the gateway to Cambodia’s Angkor complex of temples, where colonial and Chinese-style architecture fills the streets, rice paddies dot the nearby countryside, and the range of visitors varies from backpackers on a shoestring budget to tourist-filled megabuses to ultra-rich jetsetters looking for a bit of history and culture. Siem Reap is a popular destination for the TPG team, TPG stayed at the Le Meridien Ankor in 2012 and Mananging Editor Eric Rosen just returned from Siem Reap only a few weeks ago after his stay at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap.
Singapore: This city is a colorful mix of both Eastern and Western influences. TPG contributor Jenny Miller takes us to the only city-state in the world that is actually an island, and the national pastimes of eating and shopping make for an excellent, exciting vacation spot. Check out TPG’s trip report on his two days in steamy Singapore!
Taipei: TPG contributor Melanie Wynne takes us to the Far East to visit Taipei: a glittering sprawl of high rise skyscrapers and construction projects, ornate temples, lush parkland, ancient art and cartoon-driven commerce, all surrounded by moped traffic and bound by a collective obsession with food.
Auckland: New Zealand is a magical island nation of hobbit hovels, snow-capped mountains, spectacular bays and some of the world’s most pristine landscapes, and here we explore the small but cosmopolitan city of Auckland. If your are the mood to taste some wine, hope on a ferry and visit Waiheke Island.
Melbourne: Let’s pay a summer visit to a city that sometimes gets overshadowed by its larger and glitzier neighbor to the northeast. But this laid back Australian metropolis is ideal both for cosmopolitan delights and outdoor adventures, not to mention wine-tasting in the nearby Yarra Valley.
Sydney: TPG contributor Debbie Emery takes us Down Under to a city that has blossomed from the first British colony in Australia into a bustling international metropolis, combining stunning natural scenery with a lively cultural scene.
Amsterdam: This travel hotspot has got a little something for everyone: families, singles, culture buffs, biking fanatics, hippies, art lovers…you name it, this Dutch destination has got it. Madrid-based TPG contributor Lori Zaino to take us on a tour of Amsterdam. TPG loves visiting Amsterdam, and particularly likes staying in the Pulitzer Hotel during his visits.
Barcelona: Madrid-based ex-pat and TPG contributor Lori Zaino takes us to a gothic city in the Catalunya region of Spain. Sunny Barcelona is a mixture of unique architecture, delicious food, beautiful beaches and friendly people. TPG enjoyed his brief Barcelona visit in 2011 and his stay at the Le Meridien Barcelona.
Belfast: TPG contributor Debbie Emery takes us to what was once one of Europe’s most war-torn cities that has blossomed in recent years from the center of the IRA ‘Troubles’ into the pride of Northern Ireland and one of Europe’s hippest destinations. 106 miles from Dublin, Belfast is politically and economically part of the United Kingdom, and not Ireland.
Berlin: It’s a city that has been at the center of the most profound historical moments of the past hundred years and has somehow emerged as a dynamic, cosmopolitan and trend-setting modern marvel. TPG contributor Adee Braun takes us to her favorite European city, where the nights are long, the beers are big and the wurst is plentiful. You can also read all about TPG’s stay in the Soho House Berlin.
Budapest: TPG contributor Adee Braun takes us to a city that she called home for a year—one of the stateliest and under-appreciated capitals of Central Europe. Budapest is a lively city with diverse neighborhoods full of cafes, yellow trams, historic buildings, new constructions, vibrant markets and colorful festivals. TPG had a whirlwind weekend trip here, and a fabulous stay at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace.
Copenhagen: TPG contributor Brittany Shoot takes us on a tour of a Scandinavian city that’s been around for over 1,000 years, but which has endured as a center of culture, learning, fashion and now food. Not to mention Danes rank as the happiest people in the world. If you head to Copenhagen expecting an idyllic land of happy, stylist, bicycle-riding people—well, you might not be disappointed. Make sure to check out TPG’s review of the Radisson Blu Copenhagen during his 2012 trip there.
Dubrovnik: Situated on a small outcrop on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most visited city, Dubrovnik. Packed with history, beauty and dramatic views, this medieval fortress town is the perfect seaside destination and TPG contributor Adee Braun fills us in on all the best things to do and see. TPG had a fabulous August 2013 jaunt to Dubrovnik with friends, and you can read all about his stay in the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik.
Edinburgh: This Scottish capital hosts one of the biggest arts festivals in the world, and TPG contributor Adee Braun takes us through this medieval destination where a brooding castle looms above the streets and the verdant lowland hills are never too far away. Read TPG’s review of the Sheraton Edinburgh here.
Lisbon: One of Europe’s most beautiful and most underrated European capitals: Lisbon, Portugal. TPG contributor Adee Braun walks us through a city that has recently been hit hard with the European financial crisis, but has remained an elegant, wistful and unique place to visit. Plus, it’s easy on your wallet, as it’s one of the most budget-minded capital cities in Europe to visit.
Mallorca: A favorite destination of TPG Managing Editor Eric Rosen, Mallorca is located in the Balnearic islands off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Its dramatic beaches, sunny climate and historic hotels draw vacationers from all over the world.
Malta: TPG contributor Jenny Miller takes us to a Mediterranean island nation where the English-speaking population, a year-round average temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit, and an abundance of both beaches and historic cities add up to an excellent vacation destination.
Milan: We are heading to a Northern Italian destination filled with elegance and style. It boasts one of the most breathtaking cathedrals in the world, not to mention people watching that is so intriguing you can’t help but sit on a bench and watch the world go by. TPG enjoyed a trip to Milan in May 2013, with a stay at the Park Hyatt Milan and a night out on the town.
Munich: Bavaria’s largest city is Munich, and it’s charming and cultural. Not to mention it hosts one of the worlds biggest and best beer festivals, the famed Oktoberfest. Read about TPG’s very brief encounter with Munich here.
Prague: Prague is easily one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, with its frosting-colored buildings, cobblestone streets, and Baroque palaces. TPG contributor Adee Braun explains how Czechoslovakia (which was the country’s name until its split with Slovakia in 1993) practically went right from Nazi rule to Soviet rule with just a brief stint of independence in between. Despite this, the city remained remarkably intact, and today Prague (now a member of the EU) is an inviting, compact, and exceedingly photogenic city.
Reykjavik: This destination was inspired by a trip TPG and Managing Editor Eric Rosen took together last July. A city of contrasts from the harsh volcanic landscape and frozen glaciers to the rich culture and ancient Nordic heritage, Reykjavik is located in between Europe and the US, and has both geographical and cultural traits of each.
Seville: Madrid-based expat and TPG contributor Lori Zaino covers one of her favorite cities in Spain, sultry Seville, whose stately tree-shaded streets, massive cathedral, and magnetic nightlife have drawn travelers from far and wide.
Stockholm: One of TPG’s favorite cities, Stockholm is made up of nearly 30% green spaces, with another 30% comprised of waterways, earning its occasional nickname, “the Venice of the North.” TPG contributor Brittany Shoot takes us on a tour of baroque palaces, pristine waterways and leafy neighborhoods. Enjoy photos of TPG’s first trip to Stockholm in 2011.
Venice: Always dreamed of that romantic gondola ride? You’re not alone. TPG contributor Sharon McDonnell takes us on a literary vaporetto ride of one of Europe’s top tourist destinations to visit museums, marvel at cathedrals, peruse the vibrant art scene and live it up along the canals of Venice.
Vienna: TPG contributor Jen Jones Donatelli takes us to one of Europe’s great capitals – a city of art, culture, music and cuisine that was once the capital of a great empire. And just an hour drive from Vienna, you can find beautiful vineyards, ancient castle ruins, baroque abbeys, apricot orchards, fairytale villages and some of the best restaurants in Austria: the Danube Valley.
Warsaw: TPG contributor Alex Schechter takes us to a land formerly hidden behind the Iron Curtain that has emerged in the 21st century as a gorgeous European destination well worth exploring thanks to its history, arts and architecture.
Cartagena: This Colombian city has a mishmash history of Spanish, African and native Indian cultures that somehow all works together in a complementary, colonial, beachy way. As Colombia has stabilized, Cartagena has emerged as a world-class tourism and resort destination. TPG contributor Kate Gammon takes us on a tour of this beachside seaside gem and all its splendors. With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.
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