Gamechangers: Boutique Hotels & Motels - Full-Time Travel

Gamechangers: Boutique Hotels & Motels

Gamechangers: Boutique Hotels & Motels

Small in scale but big on design, boutique hotels offer guests personal touches and unique details that are often absent at larger resorts. This year’s selection of winners impressed us with their hidden-gem appeal, ambitious sense of purpose, unusual concepts, or striking design – sometimes all of the above. Book your stay for a truly local experience in Instagrammable surroundings. 

El Fenn
Marrakesh, Morocco

El Fenn | ©Cécile Perrinet Lhermitte

Marrakesh is full of beautiful riads, but few can compare to El Fenn. Access to this discreet hideaway is via a passageway so nondescript you could easily miss it, but inside it's a design lover's dream, with vibrant color and distinctive decor at every turn. Three pools, including a lap pool in the courtyard, offer plenty of respite from the city heat, and the space is full of shady nooks to relax with a hibiscus-ginger margarita. At sunset, head to the rooftop bar for live DJs by candlelight, then stroll five minutes to Jemaa el-Fnaa, the city's main market square, to shop and soak up the atmosphere.


Eaton Hotel
Washington D.C., USA

Eaton Hotel D.C. | By Adrian Gaut

Founded in 2014 by Katherine Lo, daughter of Hong Kong real estate and hospitality giant Lo Ka Shui, Eaton was a response to the question, what would a modern hotel-meets-lifestyle brand look like? The answer is a place that’s part hip hotel, part wellness studio, and part co-working space, with purposeful programming driven by a community of local artists and activists. When travelers book a stay at Eaton, they are embedded into D.C.’s scene of artistic movers and shakers and social change-makers, giving them access to a slice of local culture they might never have experienced otherwise. 


The Ryder Hotel
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

The Ryder Hotel | By Joe Thomas

In our humble opinion, The Ryder is Charleston's hippest lodging. Easy-breezy decor (think: blonde wood and wallpaper emblazoned with tropical foliage), impressive fitness offerings including in-room yoga mats and Peloton bike rentals, and a loungey pool area with oversized gingham sun umbrellas give the hotel a fresh, modern feel in an area known for history and tradition. Speaking of which, the location is another plus. Situated on Meeting Street, The Ryder is surrounded by downtown Charleston's best dining and drinking venues, although its own Little Palm cafe and cocktail bar is buzzy enough to keep you lingering until late.


The Siam
Bangkok, Thailand

You need somewhere to downshift and unwind after an exhilarating day of sightseeing and tuk-tuk riding in Bangkok. The Siam is that place of refuge. With its light-drenched atrium courtyard, riverside pool, and plush, antique-filled rooms, the hotel provides a steady sense of calm that's rare in the city's historic district, where throngs of tourists gather at glittering temples. When you're ready for something more active, check out The Siam's signature experiences, including a romantic dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River, Muay Thai training with an expert coach, or Sak Yant, a sacred tattoo administered in the hotel's specially consecrated studio.


Sir Savigny
Berlin, Germany

Berlin Suite | Courtesy of Sir Savigny

A picture-perfect library, communal chess set, curated artworks, and carefully placed coffee table books give Sir Savigny an unmistakable sophistication. It's an aesthetic perfectly suited to the hotel's location in Charlottenburg, Berlin's artsy literary quarter. After a day spent perusing local boutiques and galleries, fill your tummy with the city's best burger at Sir Savigny's restaurant, The Butcher, then retire to one of the hotel's sumptuously decorated rooms. Our favorite is Sir Suite, which boasts a giant freestanding bathtub.

* Featured image of The Ryder Hotel, by Joe Thomas 

The Christmas market in Frankfurt, Germany, transforms Römer square into a festive haven with twinkling lights and charming stalls. Aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fill the air as visitors explore handcrafted gifts and traditional treats. The iconic Christmas tree and live performances create a magical atmosphere, making this market a cherished holiday tradition.

Reel: @pillter_

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It`s cabin season where crackling fireplaces and peaceful solitude creates a magical and cozy atmosphere in the winter time.

Reel: @dirtandglass 📍 @evergreen_cabins

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We love a pre-winter adventure just before the water freezes into ice. @jaspernationalpark

Reel: @ninadefilla

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Throughout November, the mountains surrounding the well-known abodes of Shirakawa-gō begin to adopt the colors of autumn. 🍂 ...

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"The wait is over... it`s that time of year again! Every year from November to early March, millions of butterflies blanket the high altitude forest in central Mexico in a mesmerizing display. It`s truly spectacular to witness." - 🎥 @jess.wandering @everchanginghorizon ...

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In the latest episode of our podcast, an award winning editor, writer and producer and the host of the podcast, Travel That Matters, @brucewallintravel travels through Central America with his then fiancee to enjoy what they imagined to be their last big adventure before settling down. It was a trip that gave Bruce a new travel ethos, that travel gets better the more effort you put into it. 🎧 Link in bio to listen! ...

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When fall meets winter in Utah.

Reel: @ashleylporter

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Ethereal moments from a sunset in Scoresby Sound, Greenland.

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

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Autumn in Lago di Saoseo, a stunning alpine lake in the Poschiavo Valley of Switzerland, is a magical experience. The season transforms the surrounding landscape into a picturesque tapestry of vibrant colors. The dense forests that encircle the lake burst into a riot of reds, yellows, and oranges as the leaves change, creating a breathtaking contrast against the crystal-clear, emerald waters of the lake. The cool, crisp air of autumn adds to the tranquility of the scene, making it an ideal time for peaceful hikes and nature appreciation. It`s a time when the natural beauty of Lago di Saoseo truly shines, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Reel: @jakeguzman

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6 Spooky Fall Adventures (An Hour from NYC)

Follow this guide from @steffy where everything is Halloween themed
including the street signs!

- @pumpkinblaze
- @harvestmoonorchard
- @lyndhurst_mansion
- @ Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
- @sleepyhollowbookshop
- @horsefeathers for a spooky drink
- @castlehotelandspa to stay!

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Zhangjiajie, located in China`s Hunan province, is a stunning national park known for its towering sandstone pillars, deep ravines, and lush forests. It gained international fame as the inspiration for James Cameron`s "Avatar." The park`s surreal and otherworldly landscape, particularly the "Southern Sky Column" (renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain"), served as the muse for the film`s floating mountains and lush forests. Zhangjiajie remains a popular destination for travelers seeking to witness the real-world beauty that inspired the cinematic masterpiece.

Reel: @cyn_cynti

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The scent of crisp, autumn air fills the atmosphere of this picturesque region in southern Germany. Allgäu turns into a patchwork of fiery reds, golden yellows, and rustic browns as the leaves change color.

Reel: @_marcelsiebert

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Host of our very own podcast, The Trip That Changed Me, and this week’s Travel That Matters guest, Esme Benjamin (@esmebenjamin), tells us about her year-in-the-making five-month-long road trip across the United States.

On the podcast, Esme starts by telling us the things that happened in her life that led her to take this life-altering adventure. Then, we hear about her path through the following incredible places: Black Hills & Badlands (South Dakota), Glacier National Park and Bozeman (Montana), Cody (Wyoming), Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa (Colorado), Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon (Arizona), Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana), San Francisco and Los Angeles (California), and more!

🎧 Link in bio to listen and to explore the transformative power of travel.

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