A travel guide to the best hotels, planning tips and activities

Bergen, Norway: A travel guide to the best hotels, planning tips and activities

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Tripadvisor’s top 10 hotels in the world and the US for 2022

(CNN) — You start with the location: A deep green hillside lush with jungle plants that overlooks the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.

You add in the amenities: More than 50 stylish, modern bungalows and villas spread across 33 verdant acres. Access to a private, sandy beach with drink service. Colorful birds and other wildlife on premise. Hammocks, soak tubs, swimming pools and massages.

All of it combines to make Tulemar Bungalows & Villas in Costa Rica the top hotel in the world for 2022, according to Tripadvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice Awards.

“We know there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to travel planning. Some travelers are looking for unique stays — ranging from cave hotels to overwater bungalows — while others are looking for a quaint B&B,” said Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer for Tripadvisor, in a news release to CNN Travel.

“No matter what type of trip you are looking for, this year’s Travelers’ Choice Awards — with winners spanning six continents and 90 countries — showcase the top recommendations from other travelers.”

Tulemar is no stranger to high accolades. It was No. 9 in the 2021 list.

Last year’s No. 1 was Hotel Colline de France in Gramado, Brazil. It did not make the top 10 for 2022.

Top 10 hotels in the world for 2022

Tulemar Bungalows & Villas brings the outdoors in.

Tulemar Bungalows & Villas brings the outdoors in.

Courtesy Tripadvisor

This year’s top 10 hotels are scattered around the world, with Turkey being the only nation to snag two spots. They are:

1. Tulemar Bungalows & Villas: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

2. Hotel Colline de France: Gramado, Brazil

3. Ikos Aria: Kefalos, Kos island, Greece

4. Romance Istanbul Hotel: Istanbul, Turkey

5. THE OMNIA: Zermatt, Switzerland

6. Kayakapi Premium Caves: Cappadocia; Urgup, Turkey

7. Six Senses Laamu: Olhuveli Island, Maldives

8. Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort: Hopkins, Belize

9. Padma Resort Ubud: Payangan, Indonesia

10. BLESS Hotel Madrid: Madrid, Spain

Top 10 hotels in the United State for 2022

The Mark is in a building that's almost 100 years old, but it has a contemporary style inside.

The Mark is in a building that’s almost 100 years old, but it has a contemporary style inside.

Courtesy of Tripadvisor

In the United States, the top hotel is a popular resting spot for celebrities in New York City.

Tripadvisor said that The Mark Hotel “is housed in a beautiful 1927 landmark building, but, inside, it has been completely reimagined, and given a new life and identity for the 21st century.”

Located near Central Park, this is The Mark’s first appearance in the awards. Last year, another New York spot was No. 1: Mint House at 70 Pine (but it still made 2022’s top 10).

New York has three hotels in the top 10 this year, with the other seven scattered around the United States:

1. The Mark Hotel: New York City

2. Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection: Aspen, Colorado

3. Trump International Hotel Washington D.C.: Washington

4. The Lodge at Woodloch: Hawley, Pennsylvania

5. Mint House at 70 Pine: New York City

6. Sage Lodge: Pray, Montana

7. Hotel Emma at Pearl: San Antonio, Texas

8. The Towers at Lotte New York Palace: New York City

9. The Oxford Hotel: Bend, Oregon

10. The Standard Spa, Miami Beach: Miami Beach, Florida

Why no US entries in top 10 world hotels?

CNN Travel asked Tripadvisor whether US hotels were eligible for the world contest.

“To confirm, hotels in all countries are eligible for the best in the world all subcategories. The Mark did not make the Top 25 in the world,” Tripadvisor responded.

“As you can imagine, with millions of hotels around the world listed on Tripadvisor, the competition is extremely stiff. In general, only the cream of the crop — less than 1% — are awarded as the Best of the Best.”

Other categories

There were also numerous contest subcategories. These are the No. 1 picks in each of them for the world, and you’ll be well-acquainted with one of them by the time you get to the end of this list:

• Hottest new hotels: Adiwana Suweta in Bali

• Mountain resorts and lodges: Tulemar Bungalows & Villas in Costa Rica

• Hotels on the water: Ikos Aria in Greece

• Out of the ordinary hotels: Kayakapi Premium Caves in Cappadocia,Turkey

• Luxury hotels: Ikos Aria in Greece

B&Bs and inns: The Toulson Court in Scarborough, United Kingdom

• Small stays: White House Hotel Istanbul, Turkey

• Family-friendly hotels: Alpino Baby Family Hotel in Andalo, Italy

Most romantic hotels: Hotel Valle D’Incanto in Gramado, Brazil

• All-inclusive resorts: Ikos Aria in Greece

Several US hotels ranked on various world lists, including the Candleberry Inn on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as the No. 2 best B&B/inn in the entire world.

How the hotels were chosen

Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards are determined based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings specific to each subcategory posted on Tripadvisor from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021.

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How to cancel holiday flights, hotels as omicron variant spreads

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U.S. health experts are bracing for record coronavirus numbers this winter due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant, and travelers are debating whether to rethink their trips over the holidays.

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease specialist, said this weekend that all travel presents risks, but vaccinated and boosted people can go ahead with their trips, as long as they’re following precautions. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CBS he wouldn’t advocate against travel, “but you should do so very carefully.”

Betsy Ball, co-founder and partner of the travel agency Euro Travel Coach, said she has not had any customers cancel since the omicron variant emerged in late November, but a few potential clients said they will wait and see how the surge goes before committing to a trip. Overall, she said, inquiries for spring trips are way up.

Tara Cappel, founder and CEO of the For the Love of Travel agency, said her company is seeing requests to cancel or postpone trips in the near future, but ones set for February and onward remain untouched.

“It’s also destination-specific,” Cappel said in an email. “We’re not seeing cancellations for trips to Central and South America at this point.”

Jen Moyse, senior director of product for the trip planner and flight tracker app TripIt, said that now that we are entering the third year of the pandemic, more travelers have prioritized flexible bookings in preparation of unexpected surges.

For insight on how omicron will impact travel, we can take a look at the delta variant surge. In a TripIt customer survey, more than 28 percent of users said they canceled or changed plans because of the delta wave, and 27 percent lost money (some up to $5,000).

For people considering canceling or rescheduling an upcoming trip, note that travel companies are much less likely to shell out a refund if you change your mind about going. By now, we are expected to know that booking comes with risks. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to lose your vacation. Here is some advice to get you started.

Battles are being waged over airline refunds. Passengers aren’t always winning.

Airlines largely instituted flexible cancellation policies during the pandemic, but you aren’t likely to get a cash refund. Expect a voucher or credit instead.

During the delta surge, Scott’s Cheap Flights founder Scott Keyes advised travelers to hold off on canceling flights as long as possible. Whether you cancel a month out or a few days, you will probably only get an airline credit. But if you wait, you can see if the airline cancels first. Should your flight get canceled or significantly delayed, you are entitled to ask for a refund, per Department of Transportation regulations.

Unless you cancel a flight within 24 hours of booking, which entitles you to a full refund, results for canceling will otherwise vary depending on what type of ticket you purchased.

How to extend your flight credits and vouchers

With the exception of a few airlines, booking basic economy traps you into a fare that’s nonrefundable and can only be changed with a fee. Delta Air Lines announced earlier this year that you can make changes on basic economy flights without charges through the end of the year.

With airlines still dealing with staffing issues, wait times to speak to a representative can be hours long. If you want to cancel over the phone, here are some tricks for getting through faster. Your best bet may be trying the airline through their online chats, text or social media.

How to ski like a local in a mountain resort town

Hotels have very different cancellation policies because big chains operate differently from independent and boutique businesses. For example, at Hilton, cancellation policies can change based on the rate or dates you booked. Marriott also advises customers to check cancellation policies on a rate-by-rate basis. Hyatt hotels says its properties may adjust their cancellation policies during high-demand periods, so guests are encouraged to review cancellation, deposit and refund policies for the specific dates they have booked.

What you’re able to do will come down to the terms at the time you booked.

Are you striking out when you try to negotiate a refund with the hotel? Keyes says that when all else fails, call your credit card company.

“Every credit card and bank has a process where you can dispute a charge if you’ve paid for something and you didn’t receive that service,” Keyes said.

Card protections are in place for these very reasons, although there are limits to what a credit card dispute can get you. Keyes uses this step as a last resort, because the process can be more of a bureaucratic hassle than going to a merchant directly.

Millions plan to travel for Christmas, New Year’s as omicron spreads

Airbnb instituted more flexible booking policies on listings earlier this year, but a coronavirus surge doesn’t guarantee you a refund. Normally, getting your money back from an Airbnb is between you and the host.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Airbnb did adjust its policies to adapt to the new reality. Now Airbnb says the majority of listings have “flexible or moderate cancellation policies, both of which allow for full refunds of the nightly rate for cancellations made at least five days prior to check-in, regardless of the circumstances.”

While Airbnb created a COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances policy, it says reservations for stays and experiences after March 14, 2020, aren’t covered “except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19.”

What to do if coronavirus variants leave you stranded overseas

Note what the policy does not cover: “transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates — like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements.”

As we have reported before, it is not impossible to get an Airbnb host to give you a refund outside of the listing’s policies. While hosts might not be obligated to make any exceptions, you can still ask nicely and may end up getting what you want.

Luckily, most rental cars offer refundable reservations.

Your refund may depend on whether you prepaid for your reservation. With companies like Enterprise and Alamo, if you didn’t prepay, you will not be charged a cancellation fee. If you already paid, you will get hit with a cancellation fee that varies by your timing.

The pandemic has led to changes in many cruise booking and cancellation policies. As a result, Ball said, it’s easier now to make changes without incurring extra fees. Deposits may be nonrefundable, but you may be able to get a voucher to use at a later date.

“If a risk-free guarantee policy was in place when the reservation was made, it is not difficult to change the reservation by contacting the cruise line,” Ball said. “It’s even easier if you have a travel adviser who will take care of you and make those changes and arrangements for you.”

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Travel news: Glass bridges and space hotels

Editor’s Note — Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get news about destinations opening and closing, inspiration for future adventures, plus the latest in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.

(CNN) — In this week’s travel news roundup, we look at space hotels through the ages, Sicily’s new “Little America” and a new glass-bottomed bridge in Vietnam that might just be the world’s longest.

Connection restored

That happened this week when an article published last weekend helped two former refugees find the kind stranger who gave them $100 on a plane more than 20 years ago. Here’s how it happened.
In another story back in 2021, we helped solve the mystery of some 60-year-old photos that had been uncovered in an Amsterdam flea market.
The finder of the photos, Jennifer Skupin of Germany, was featured in our story. Susanna Stevens-Johnson — a 71-year-old Yup’ik woman who is part of Alaska’s indigenous community — was then amazed to see long-lost childhood images online of her old classmates, neighbors and friends in a village that had since been abandoned. Watch our video and read the full story here.

Space hotels: 1967 to now

Concepts for space hotels have been floating around since the very dawn of space exploration. Back in 1967, before Neil Armstrong even set foot on the moon, the Hilton hotel chain was planning a lunar hotel with rooms underneath the moon’s surface.
In 2011, Russian firm Orbital Technologies announced its plans for a hotel floating 250 miles (about 400 kilometers) above Earth. There was no bar or even showers, but you could clean up with wet wipes.
California-based Orion Span had hopes in 2018 to launch $10 million trips to its luxury Aurora Space Station this year, but the company shut down operations before that happened.
Now another California company is reaching for the stars. Orbital Assembly has just revealed new information and concepts for its space hotel designs, first touted in 2019. Its futuristic vision is for a rotating wheel orbiting Earth — but will our planet’s high rollers ever get a spin?

On the move again

Named after Queen Elizabeth II, Crossrail is set to partially open in 2022 as the Elizabeth line. It will connect East and West London like never before.

Australia’s Qantas airline has revealed new plans for the world’s longest nonstop flights — an 18-hour schlep that it hopes to launch between Sydney and London by the end of 2025.
New Zealand has reopened to tourists for the first time in two years, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has downgraded Mexico’s travel risk level for Covid-19.
The situation has been very different under the zero-Covid policy in China, however, where Beijing banned all restaurant dining and shut down Universal Studios as its five-day Labor Day holiday got under way.

Italy’s ‘Little America’

The catch was that the new owners would be responsible for revitalizing the local community by refurbishing the crumbling buildings within three years.

Now, the town is home to a fresh wave of largely North American buyers who took on the challenge. Here’s how they’re getting on.

Don’t look down

The Bach Long bridge is open for thrill-seeking visitors, offering a glass-bottomed walkway suspended nearly 500 feet above the ground.

Vietnam’s newest attraction for adventurous visitors is Bach Long bridge, a glass-bottomed walkway suspended between two mountains in Son La province. It’s 632 meters (2,073 feet) long and nearly 152 meters (500 feet) above the ground. It’s yet to be verified by Guinness World Records, but its owners claim it’s the world’s longest glass-bottomed bridge.

In case you missed it

Brazil has a brand-new statue of Jesus.

We looked at the world’s most expensive passports.

The surprising origins of the classic American hamburger.

Best travel games

Which do you want to see more of on your vacation: Your loved ones or your phone screen? If it’s the former, you might want to invest in some travel games. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have put together this roundup of the best on the market for kids and adults.

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Travel news: Ontario’s latest lavender fields, Montreal’s Fringe fest, and welcome to the era of ‘net-zero hotels’

Purple haze

With 30,000 lavender bushes in bloom this summer, the Avalon Lavender Farm in Mono, Ont., is more than just a pretty photo op. In mid-June, the family-owned lavender farm will begin welcoming the public every Thursday to Sunday. Visitors will be able to cut their own flowers, limber up at yoga sessions in a Celtic-style stone circle, or visit the shop inside an 1891 heritage barn. The farm will stay open for the season until September, but for peak purple, book your field visit for July or early August. Reserve a time slot, $14 per ticket, online.

Avalon Lavender Farm is home to more than 30,000 lavender bushes, primarily planted last spring.

On the fringe

Hundreds of comedians, dancers, musicians and circus performers are set to take over the streets of Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal and Mile End neighbourhoods during the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival (May 30 to June 19). Known for its independent and offbeat performances (think: “Carrie: The Musical,” based on Stephen King’s classic horror novel), this year’s Fringe will host more than 800 performances by local and international artists. What’s not free is affordable, with tickets capped at $15.

Spruced up

Nova Scotia’s iconic Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa has been around since 1929, but as of this spring, it’s now open year-round. A $12-million renovation is underway to winterize the property — which was purchased by a group led by the Bear River First Nation in 2019 — including upgrades to the main lodge and 31 private cottages, alongside the addition of new dining spaces. The resort is also set to grow, with the planned construction of a vacation village (investment properties managed by Digby Pines) expected to draw more investment — and travellers — to the region.

Opening soon

North America’s first “net-zero hotel” is set to open in New Haven, Conn., on May 19. The 165-room Hotel Marcel, part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, will generate 100 per cent of its own energy for heating, cooling and hot water systems using rooftop solar panels and solar parking canopies. It’s among a small group of hotels worldwide making this net-zero claim, joining the 86-room Room2 Chiswick, which opened in London, U.K., in December. With Hilton, Marriott and Accor also setting company-wide net-zero goals, expect to see more carbon-neutral hotels in the future.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

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Italy Lifts Vaccine Requirement for Museums, Restaurants, Hotels, More

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6 Travel Tips to Save You Money on Plane Tickets and Hotels in 2022

Travel is back — complete with sardine-packed airports and stuffed seats, despite the masking and COVID-19 testing requirements for international travelers. At least, that’s what I thought when I took a trip to Spain via Chicago this March.

Nearly a month later, the picture of what travel looks like for the rest of 2022 snaps into sharper focus. The immediate future of travel is expensive. At least in the US, the mask mandate is essentially no more — but airline cancellations and delays are skyrocketing, along with fuel costs. Those rising prices will affect road trips as well as flights. In fact, airfare costs rose by 10.7% in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rebound in travel comes at a time when inflation has reached its highest point since 1981. Climbing gas prices the world over are exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine. Food costs are also higher (some warn of a global wheat shortage as a result of the conflict), and global economies remain short-staffed as a result of the pandemic.

Yet, 85% of Americans expect to travel this summer, according to the US Travel Association. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to use every tool you have to cut costs, whether you’re hopping into a car, boat or plane. Here’s how to save on travel despite the climbing costs.

Read more: Cryptocurrency Is Risky. 5 Things Every Crypto Investor Should Know

Take advantage of COVID-era booking flexibility

Many COVID-related changes for airlines and hotels are here to stay. “Airlines have mostly removed the punitive change fees that had been a long-standing frustration with travelers,” said Scott Mayerowitz, executive editor at CNET’s sister site The Points Guy

Now, most major airlines will allow you to change a flight without incurring fees for most domestic, Caribbean and Mexican destinations. Change fees, however, will still largely apply to international flights, Mayerowitz said, so keep this in mind if you’re planning to travel farther abroad.

The same applies to flights booked using miles. Airlines used to charge a mile redeposit fee, Mayerowitz said. Now, you can book a flight directly with an airline using points and cancel with no penalty.

This mass elimination of change fees can be an opportunity to save money, said longtime globetrotter Stephanie Zito in an email. “Book early when tickets are cheaper,” she said. “Then change or cancel if your plans change. If there happens to be a price decrease on what you booked, you can still cancel and rebook” at a lower price.

Basic economy is cheaper, but think twice before booking

While regular flights are getting easier to change or cancel due to COVID, basic economy tickets are becoming more restrictive. Basic economy tickets usually offer the lowest upfront prices, but they lack flexibility — you can’t reschedule or cancel at all — and they charge extra fees for almost everything from bringing a carry-on to choosing a seat. And you’ll most likely be one of the last passengers to board the plane.

It’s important to keep this in mind because most booking portals, including those from airlines and credit card loyalty programs, will show you basic economy options first, stealthily sometimes. You might think you’re getting a great deal, but if you read the fine print on that fare — as you always should with any travel booking — you’ll realize you’re painting yourself into an option that could cost more than you bargained for in the end. 

A quick search for flights from Austin, Texas, to Amsterdam in April on Kayak and Expedia showed me round-trip options between $560 and $612, which sounded pretty good for that route. But it was only after I selected the tickets that all the restrictions came to light. When I picked the standard economy option, the same trip’s cost jumped up hundreds of dollars to $842 on both sites.

Travelers need to do their research first and be comfortable with restrictions they agree to. If you need to be flexible with your dates and can afford the extra cost of standard tickets, it may be a better value in the long run. 

Pack strategically to save money (yes, really)

Can the way you pack your bags save you money? Absolutely, though it depends on the situation.

If you’re flying on an airline where you’re not a loyalty member, packing everything you need into a carry-on bag could save you up to $30 per traveler for each leg of the trip. If you do check bags, doubling up so one large suitcase holds two people’s clothing (particularly if you’re a part of a family group) can halve your total costs in that department. 

While some airlines, like Delta, are experimenting with removing baggage fees to reduce delays, low-cost airline Frontier airline lowered its weight limit for checked bags to 40 pounds from 50 pounds — the industry standard. In this case, packing less could save you more. 

(Remember, many airline credit cards offer at least one free checked bag, plus priority boarding, as part of their benefits.)

Keep in mind when you check bags that you run the risk dealing with unexpected delays and lost luggage — and in the worst case scenario, a night without your suitcase. 

You might want to bring more snacks, extra days’ worth of medication and a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage, Mayerowitz suggested, in case your flight gets canceled or plans change. 

“Airlines are doing very big schedule changes to this day” and restaurants are not fully staffed in many places yet, he said: “As a traveler, you just need to be prepared for all sorts of scenarios.” While some airlines will reimburse you for basic needs in certain circumstances, you’ll largely be on your own for food, toiletries and additional comforts.

Redeem those points you’ve been sitting on

Thousands of travelers haven’t gone on a trip since the pandemic started. If you’re one of them, dipping into the reserves now is an easy way to save cash.

“There’s just a massive stockpile of unused points and miles out there,” Mayerowitz said. How many? Travelers accumulated over 27 billion unused miles by the end of 2020, according to a ValuePenguin study.

“I think the cost of flights in cash is rebounding a bit faster than the cost in points,” said Emily Sherman, senior managing editor at education site Optimal and a self-proclaimed points and miles travel fanatic. “The cost of a flight in points is often more affordable than in cash, and you won’t feel the sting of the charge hitting your account,” Sherman said in an email.

Not all points structures are the same, and the longer the flight, generally the more points it costs. Still, dipping into your points reserve could help reduce the overall cost of travel while you save up for your next trip.

Join your favorite hotel’s membership club

Signing up for a hotel loyalty program — such as Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors or World of Hyatt — can save you money in the long run in several key ways. Remember, these are bonuses that add up. I’m not talking about room upgrades, although those are always nice. Benefits like free faster Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, late checkout and additional bonus points have equivalent monetary value. 

Taking the family on a five-day trip now can help you earn toward a free night later in the year. And a room that gives you a 4 p.m. checkout instead of the usual 12 p.m. might save you money by using the hotel amenities longer before a late flight, compared to finding other activities to fill your time before heading to the airport.

Joining hotel loyalty programs is free and they usually offer discounted rates or guaranteed lowest prices to their members, but you’ll have to book directly with the hotel to reap the rewards. Using a branded hotel credit card when booking directly with a hotel can help advance your rewards and savings even further.

Just keep in mind that benefits can vary by the hotel chain and individual property, so you’re not guaranteed all benefits every time you travel. 

Say yes to alternative destinations — and low season

While millions of travelers stayed put during the first two years of the pandemic, many popular destinations that were sinking under the weight of tourism overcrowding — also known as overtourism — had the chance to rethink their approach to visitors. Cruise ships have now been formally banned from Venice’s historic city center in Italy. Barcelona, Spain, has forbidden short-term private room rentals. Amsterdam, Netherlands, has banned new hotels and souvenir shops in the city center. Other places like Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Machu Picchu, Peru, are taking similar measures in response to the potential massive return of tourists.

Choosing alternate destinations, traveling domestically and taking trips during the so-called shoulder season — the time between peak and off seasons — is a time-tested way to reduce the outflow of cash while you explore or relax.

Tools like Hopper and Google Flights can help home in on good deals at unexpected destinations, said Sherman, the avid points collector. “It’s amazing how much you can save by traveling outside the normal tourist season,” she said, “And there is usually still plenty to do at your destination.”

Whether you travel domestically or plan to branch out further, make sure you stay updated on travel restrictions to avoid unexpected obstacles. If you’re worried about uncertainty when planning a trip, you may consider travel insurance, which you can buy as a stand-alone policy or get through a travel credit card. This may give you some peace of mind while protecting you financially.

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