You can pay $33k to live in a hotel for a year – but here are 31 even better options

Dec 16, 2020

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I’m tired of being grounded in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic and I bet you are too. This pent-up wanderlust is pushing hotels to create work-from-hotel packages and it’s also fueling hype around memberships that allow you to live for a year at an aspirational hotel for a set cost.

For example, last month the Anantara Veli Maldives turned heads when it offered unlimited stays in 2021 for $30,000. And now, the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit is offering a One Million Baht Club membership. By paying one million Thai Baht — which is about $33,255 — you can stay at this Hyatt Regency in a club room for a year. This equates to about $2,771 per month, but you also get a ton of extra perks, including:

  • 200,000 baht (about $6,651) food and beverage credit
  • Club Lounge access
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service (up to six pieces per day)
  • Private rooftop birthday party
  • 10 nights at Hyatt resorts in Hua Hin, Samui or Phuket
  • 10 one-hour Thai or Aroma massages
  • Ability to transfer membership to a spouse or designated immediate family member
  • Eligible for World of Hyatt earning, but Hyatt will only deposit the tier-qualifying nights, base points and elite status once the stays are complete

After traveling for more than three years as a digital nomad, I know there are plenty of perks of working from a resort or hotel. But, if you buy this membership, your stay must begin no later than Apr. 1, 2021. And Thailand’s entry and stay requirements make buying this package a risky proposition for anyone living outside Thailand. Specifically, you’d be buying a package that you’ll likely not be able to fully use.

On top of potential visa issues, booking a hotel for a year isn’t necessarily a good idea. After all, many hotels, cities and even loyalty programs cap how long you can stay. And, as I found when living out of an all-inclusive resort for a month, it may not be all that appealing to live in one hotel for a year.

Plus, although some countries offer extended-stay visas for digital nomads, these visas often aren’t easy or cheap to obtain. So, a 30 to 90-day stay on a tourist visa is usually more feasible than a year-long stay.

In this guide, I’ll present 31 hotels and resorts in countries that U.S. passport holders can currently visit that might be a better option if you want to live out of a hotel. I chose the properties based on a trade-off between pricing, location and amenities. Most cost no more per month than the One Million Baht Club membership. But, for the reasons previously discussed, I’ll assume you’ll stay for 30 nights instead of a year.

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In This Post

Hyatt Lodge (Oak Brook, Illinois)

Chicago downtown
You could venture into Chicago from the Hyatt Lodge for a day trip. (Photo by Mint Images/Getty Images)

If you want to enjoy living at a resort for a modest cost without leaving the U.S., the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, Illinois, might be the perfect option. Hyatt designed this resort to host meetings and events. But the resort also has a forest preserve, lake and trails that would make an extended stay enjoyable.

The Hyatt Lodge offers a long-stay rate for stays of 10 nights or longer. Although U.S. citizens don’t have to worry about visa restrictions, the hotel itself has a maximum stay length of 31 nights.

Currently, a 30-night stay would cost between $2,386 and $3,995 for four sets of dates I checked between March and Sept. 2021. This hotel is a World of Hyatt Category 2 property, so you could alternatively choose to pay 240,000 World of Hyatt points for a 30-night stay. These points are worth about $4,080 based on TPG’s valuations. Once you factor in the World of Hyatt points you’d earn by booking direct with World of Hyatt, you’ll likely want to save your points for another stay.

Related: It’s easier than ever to Work From Hyatt — here’s what’s new

9 great options in Mexico

Talavera pottery in Puebla, Mexico
Talavera pottery in Puebla, Mexico. (Photo by marcviln/Getty Images)

I visited Mexico City back in 2012 but haven’t returned to Mexico since. Unfortunately, now isn’t the time since the CDC recently recommended that Americans not travel to Mexico. This guidance will likely change in 2021 as a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available. So, it’s still worth considering Mexico if you’re looking to live out of a hotel or resort.

Mexico generally grants tourists from the U.S. a 180-day visa. So, although I’ll consider 30-night stays in this guide, you could potentially book a more extended stay. Here are my favorite properties in Mexico for a 30-night stay:

Hotel Category 30-night rate range across four sets of dates in 2021 Notable perks with this rate Hotel highlights
Hyatt Regency Villahermosa World of Hyatt Category 1 $1,643 None Well-located in Villahermosa

Regency Club for select rooms and Globalist elites

Villahermosa Marriott Hotel Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $2,153 (LTS rate) 15% off lunch and dinner

Noon early check-in

3 p.m. late check-out

Located in downtown Villahermosa

M Club lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

Hyatt Regency Merida World of Hyatt Category 1 $3,006 to $3,597 None Located in the heart of Merida

Regency Club for select rooms and Globalist elites

Residence Inn Meridia Marriott Bonvoy Category 4 $1,663 (LTS rate) None Located in downtown Meridia

Fully equipped kitchen and large workspace in each room

Daily complimentary full hot breakfast buffet

Pool with panoramic city views

Marriott Puebla Hotel Meson del Angel Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $1,916 (LTS rate) Daily breakfast for one adult

10% off food, beverage and laundry

Onsite self-parking

Located near downtown Puebla

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

Sheraton Mexico City Santa Fe Marriott Bonvoy Category 4 $2,688 (LTS rate) Breakfast

Daily hot beverage to go from the coffee
bar

Located in a new, modern district of Mexico City

Eligible elites get replacement perks while the lounge is closed

Aloft Celaya Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 $1,380 (LTS rate) 50% off laundry

15% off food and
beverage

Located in the heart of Celaya

Floor-to-ceiling windows

Marriott Tuxtla Gutierrez Hotel Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $1,417 to $1,868 Some rates include 20% off at two onsite restaurants Minutes from downtown Chiapas

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites

The Westin Guadalajara Marriott Bonvoy Category 3 $2,284 (LTS rate) None Located in a prestigious area of Jalisco

Note that several of the above properties are in the same city or region. So, you could check out a few different hotels in the same city before either returning to the U.S. or moving to a new destination.

Related: 11 things you should know before visiting Mexico

6 standout options in Colombia

I still haven’t made my way to Colombia yet, but you can currently visit Colombia without needing to show a negative COVID-19 test. Plus, U.S. tourists generally don’t need a visa for stays of 90 days or less. So, you could enjoy an extended stay at several of the following hotels before needing to request a 90-day extension or leave the country.

Hotel Category 30-night rate range across four sets of dates in 2021 Notable perks with this rate Hotel highlights
Hyatt Regency Cartagena World of Hyatt Category 3 $2,820 to $3,300 (long term stay rate) Breakfast for two Located oceanfront near Cartagena’s historic center

Regency Club for select rooms and Globalist elites (limited services currently)

Ermita Cartagena, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel Marriott Bonvoy Category 3 $2,820 to (LTS rate) None A boutique hotel that reflects the spirit of Cartagena
Sheraton Bogota Hotel Marriott Bonvoy Category 3 $2,218 (LTS rate) Daily breakfast for one adult

10% off select food and beverage

10% off select laundry

Located in Salitre, which is Bogota’s business center
Four Points by Sheraton Bogota Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $2,784 (LTS two for breakfast rate) Daily breakfast and dinner for two adults

Self-parking

New hotel in the Parque 93 area

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites

Aloft Bogota Airport Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $1,560 (LTS rate) Buffet breakfast for one guest daily at Backyard Restaurant

10% off food and beverage

Airport hotel that is also near many of Bogota’s sites
AC Hotel Santa Marta Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $1,758 to $1,950 Buffet Breakfast

10% off laundry services and food and beverage at select restaurants

4 p.m. late check-out

Located in Santa Marta’s historic center with harbor views

 

If you decide to go to Colombia, check out our guides to the best times to visit Colombia and reasons Bogotá should be on your travel bucket list.

Related: How to book a trip to Colombia using points and miles

5 appealing options in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Image by Fabio Canhim/Getty Images)

After an extended trip to Brazil in 2014, I’m excited to return for another extended trip. If you’re traveling on a U.S. passport, you can remain in Brazil as a tourist for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. So, you could consider visiting several of the following hotels while spending up to 90 days in the country:

Hotel Category 30-night rate range across four sets of dates in 2021 Notable perks with this rate Hotel highlights
Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro World of Hyatt Category 3 $3,500 to $4,533 None Located in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood

Grand Club Lounge for select rooms and Globalist elites (currently limited service)

DoubleTree by Hilton Sao Paulo Itaim From 16,000 Hilton Honors points $2,674 to $2,907 None Located in São Paulo’s Itaim Bibi neighborhood
Sheraton Porto Alegre Marriott Bonvoy Category 4 $2,151 (LTS rate) Breakfast

15% off laundry service

15% off food and beverage

Located in Porto Alegre’s Moinhos de Vento neighborhood

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

Sheraton Santos Marriott Bonvoy Category 3 $1,987 to $2,113 Breakfast

Complimentary self-parking

1 p.m. late check-out

New hotel in the heart of Santos with a skywalk to the Praiamar Shopping mall

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

 

Sheraton Vitoria Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $1,972 to $2,113 Breakfast

Complimentary self-parking

1 p.m. late check-out

Located in Vitoria’s Praia do Canto neighborhood

All rooms have ocean views

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (limited service)

 

Be sure to read up on the best times to visit Brazil and how to maximize points and miles to book a trip to Brazil. Now, here are some of the most appealing options for an extended stay.

Related: 8 tips to stay safe while visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

5 excellent options in Egypt

Pyramids near Cairo, Egypt
Check out the pyramids when visiting Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Omar Elsharawy/Unsplash)

Egypt has been on my list for a while due to its great value hotels and resorts. So, it’s only natural that some of these hotels and resorts would make it on this list.

U.S. tourists can currently visit Egypt, but the CDC discourages travel to Egypt now due to high coronavirus levels. However, this guidance will likely change as a vaccine becomes widespread in 2021.

You can apply for an e-visa online at least seven days before your departure, but Egypt will generally only grant the visa for 30 days. So, you’ll need to extend your visa or leave the country before your visa expires.

Here are some of my favorite Egypt hotels and resorts that are currently accepting reservations for 30-night stays.

Hotel Category 30-night rate range across four sets of dates in 2021 Notable perks with this rate Hotel highlights
Conrad Cairo From 21,000 Hilton Honors points per night $2,466 to $3,172 None Located in downtown Cairo

Enjoy views of the River Nile from the hotel

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

Ramses Hilton From 16,000 Hilton Honors points per night $1,857 to $2,388 None Outdoor pool overlooking the River Nile

24-hour casino

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

Le Meridien Dahab Resort Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $2,050 to $2,572 None Overlooks the Gulf of Aqaba in South Sinai

Well-located for diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea

Hilton Sharks Bay Resort From 12,000 Hilton Honors points per night $1,350 to $2,894 Daily breakfast Seven pools and a private beach
Renaissance Sharm El Sheikh Golden View Beach Resort Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $1,392 to $1,795 Daily breakfast

Self-parking

Roundtrip airport transportation

Overlooks Tiran Island, which is one of the world’s best diving & snorkeling spots

Related: How one TPG contributor spent a semester living at a Hilton in Egypt with just 320k points

5 outstanding options in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world. If you’re willing to eat locally and stay outside the tourist areas, living out of an Istanbul hotel for a month could be relatively inexpensive.

While U.S. tourists can currently visit Turkey, you’ll need to apply for an e-visa before your trip. This e-visa usually only allows you to remain in Turkey for 90 days, so you’ll need to leave the country before 90 days elapse. However, 90 days gives you plenty of time to check out a few of the following hotels and resorts for extended stays.

Hotel Category 30-night rate range across four sets of dates in 2021 Notable perks with this rate Hotel highlights
Hyatt Regency Istanbul Ataköy World of Hyatt Category 2 $3,279 to $3,645 None Three pools

Regency Club for select rooms and Globalist elites

Renaissance Istanbul Polat Bosphorus Hotel Marriott Bonvoy Category 4 $2,796 to $3,545 Daily continental breakfast Located in the Besiktas neighborhood of Istanbul

Offers stunning views of the Bosphorus

Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel Marriott Bonvoy Category 2 $2,795 to $3,110 Daily buffet breakfast Enjoy views of the Marmara Sea
DoubleTree by Hilton Istanbul Topkapi From 18,000 Hilton Honors points per night $1,536 to $2,544 None Sea views on the European side of Istanbul

Spa with hammam

Executive lounge for select rooms and eligible elites (currently closed)

DoubleTree by Hilton Istanbul Umraniye From 9,000 Hilton Honors points per night $1,034 to $1,860 None Located in the heart of Istanbul’s financial and commercial district

If you decide to take a trip to Turkey, here’s how to get to Istanbul using points and miles. And, if you’re willing to spend a bit more on your stay than is required by the above options, consider Hilton’s Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul. TPG points and miles editor Ariana Arghandewal loved its location and underground cistern pool on a recent visit.

Related: The best destinations to add to a trip to Istanbul

Earn and leverage high-level elite status

Conrad Bora Bora pool and overwater bungalows
Elite status can pay off when staying at an expensive hotel such as the Conrad Bora Bora. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you spend 30 nights at 12 different hotels in a year, you can easily earn high status levels with Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt. Or, you could go all-in on one program and enjoy elite-status perks even quicker. In 2021, you’d need the following to earn high-level status:

  • World of Hyatt Globalist: Stay 30 nights or earn 50,000 base points
  • Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite: Stay 75 nights
  • Hilton Honors Diamond: Stay 60 nights, 30 stays or earn 120,000 Base Points

However, you can jumpstart your elite status in each of these programs with cobranded hotel credit cards. Having these cards will provide the following perks immediately:

So, if you get the Hilton Aspire Amex, you wouldn’t need to work toward earning Hilton Honors status. And, having the other cards decreases the number of nights you need to earn elite status. Plus, note that World of Hyatt currently offers various promotions to make earning elite status easier in 2021.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Why this is the best time to stack World of Hyatt promotions

When to book with points

Hyatt Regency Kuantan pool
I paid just 5,000 points per night at the Hyatt Regency Kuantan. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

It’s important to consider when to use hotel points to book your stay. There are some great paid rates available currently, including some excellent packages from Marriott. So, you can get some good deals when redeeming Hilton Honors points because Hilton uses dynamic pricing. But, if you can snag an inexpensive paid rate, it may not be worth using points in the World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy programs.

You can get a fifth night free on select Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors award bookings. So, that’s certainly worth keeping in mind. Plus, you can book a Club-level room or suite for slightly more points at some World of Hyatt properties.

I recommend checking both cash and points rates before booking. You can use TPG’s valuations to estimate the value of the points you’d need to spend. But, keep in mind that you’ll also earn points when you pay a cash rate. So, if the value of the points you’d need to spend is similar to the cash rate, I recommend paying cash.

Related: 24 promotions that will make your next hotel stay more rewarding

Bottom line

One positive of the coronavirus pandemic has been the acceptance and normalization of remote work and school. So, even if work or school has typically tied you to one location, you may have a newly-found ability to live abroad. Once international travel resumes, you could go all-in by getting an extended-duration remote work visa. You could also take to the road as a digital nomad and visit multiple destinations within a year.

This guide focused on mid-tier and luxury hotels in three hotel loyalty programs located in countries U.S. passport holders can currently visit. Each of the 31 hotels and resorts discussed in this guide could be a good place for an extended stay. But, you may also want to consider hotels in other loyalty programs, independent hotels and vacation rentals when visiting some destinations.

Featured image by Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images.

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