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Are you a grown-up? Do you love summer? Well, then you’re going to love TPG Contributor Christine Cantera‘s picks for destinations that won’t be overrun with families looking to entertain their kids…while you’re just hoping for some peace, a little cultural pursuit, and quite possibly a nice cocktail.
They’re predicting a summer “heatwave” in London, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s Farenheit, which brings out the locals in droves and transforms the Big Smoke into one big outdoor party. Summer events include the Queen’s Birthday Parade, also called Trooping the Colour (June 13); Open Garden Squares Weekend (June 13-14), when London’s private, locked gardens are open to the public; Glastonbury Festival (June 24-28), which has the rare possibility of not being a muddy mess this year; and the opening of Buckingham Palace while the Royal family is on holiday (July 25-September 27).
Stay at the newly opened Hilton London Bankside, or redeem points at one of London’s finest hotels. If you want to hit the ground running, don’t forget about the new Delta Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow (LHR). And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll take The Points Guy’s advice and book tables at these three great London restaurants!
Acadia National Park, Maine
If you’re not an inherently outdoorsy type, America’s National Parks probably don’t make the top of your list. But if you’re simply looking for nature and beautiful views without having to travel to the back of beyond, then Acadia National Park—on Mount Desert Island off Maine’s southern coast—may just be what the doctor ordered.
Acadia can be reached by car after landing at Boston Logan (BOS) or Bangor International (BGR), and from there your trip can be as flexible as you’d like—from camping in the outdoors, or as part of a road trip along the Acadia National Scenic Byway. If you’d like to leave the car behind, bike rentals are available in nearby, tony Bar Harbor.
If you’re not going to be camping, Bar Harbor accommodations lean towards high-end B&Bs like the Yellow House. Close to the park, though, great redemptions can be found through May 11 at Wyndham properties like the Days Inn Bar Harbor (starting at $152.15/night or 16,000 points), Knights Inn Ellsworth Bar Harbor (starting at $84.15/night or 16,000 points) and Ramada Ellsworth (starting at $135.15/night or 16,000 points). There’s also the Bar Harbor Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (starting at $146.56/night or 35,000 IHG Rewards Club points) overlooking Frenchman’s Bay.
Note that Acadia is best visited in early summer, as it tends to get crowded in the later months. If you’d like to ensure you have accommodations, try one of the many campgrounds available at Acadia. And if you want to know more about the area, know that we’ll be featuring a more extensive guide to Bar Harbor in May.
Use your miles for award travel to Istanbul this summer, and experience the city that everyone talks about, but a surprising few actually visit. While there, don’t miss the exhibition of Cecil Beaton portraits at Pera Museum through July 26, which features iconic photographs of some of the most important people of the 20th century. Then as the sun goes down, hit the rooftop bar NuTeras for stunning views and outstanding food under the stars.
It looks like the swanky Edition Istanbul is pretty solidly booked this summer, but once booking becomes available at the new Soho House Istanbul (featured in The Top 15 Hotels Opening in 2015), you might want to check it out. Or, try to snag a Bosphorous-view room at either The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul (starting at 295 Euros/$319 or 50,000 Marrriott Rewards points per night) or the Radisson Blu Bosphorus Hotel (starting at 308 Euros/$335 or 50,000 Club Carlson points a night).
Hội An, Vietnam
Central Vietnam has become a popular destination in the last decade, attracting mostly budget travelers, backpackers and those who want a more on-the-ground experience. However, there’s an astounding collection of luxury accommodations along the beautiful sugar-sand beaches in the seaside town of Hội An, set 45 minutes south of Da Nang.
Points properties are scarce in Hội An, but you’ll find a fair range of prices at romantic beach resorts that will all aim to treat you like royalty. For instance, at the Nam Hai Hoi An, a one-bedroom villa with ocean views and a private garden starts at $456 per night, while at the Boutique Hoi An Resort, a Superior Room starts at 3,300,000 VND ($153.75 USD) per night.
If you can tear yourself away from your beach chair or the teal-blue water, make sure to visit Hội An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a remarkably well-preserved trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.
The closest major airport, Da Nang Airport (DAD), is served by Vietnam Airlines and Korean Air, among other Asian carriers. Should you need/want to spend time in Da Nang proper, check out the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort Hotel, where a two-Queen room with ocean view starts at $278 or 25,000 IHG Points per night.
Paso Robles, California
Located roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles makes for a great destination in its own right while on a West Coast road trip. The charming 1890s-era downtown and its farm-to-table Central California cuisine (try to snag a reservation for dinner at Artisan) are bested only by the lure of wine tasting at vineyards in the surrounding area (e.g., Daou, Adelaida Cellars, Lone Madrone, etc.), where you can enjoy the region’s signature Zinfandels, Syrahs and more while savoring valley views.
There are several mid-range points options at the edges of town. At the Marriott Courtyard Paso Robles, a two-Queen room starts at $179 or 70,000 points, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites has a King Room starting at $15o.99 or 30,000 points, and the Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles starts at $214 or 40,000 HHonors Points for a King Room.
If you’re looking for more upscale accommodations, head to the heart of downtown. The Paso Robles Inn has a high-end motel vibe, with the ornately wood-carved Cattlemen’s Ranch bar and a few rooms with their own hot-springs tubs, while the nearby Hotel Cheval offers even more rustic-chic luxury. For a funky, sexy B&B with a sprawling lawn, an outdoor pool and its own house tequila, head a mile away and check out Inn Paradiso.
Don’t feel like staying in a hotel this summer? Check out these posts on finding alternate accommodations in your favorite destinations:
4 Great Sites for Booking Short and Long Term Accommodations It's a stellar Cash Back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.
Hotel Alternatives: Booking Rental Homes For Travel
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Maximizing Points And Miles On Vacation Rentals with AirBnB and VRBO
It's a stellar Cash Back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.