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, sustainability ethos, unusual concepts or striking design – sometimes all of the above. Book your stay for a true local experience in Instagrammable surroundings. 

Los Angeles, California

Gold-Diggers | By Pablo Enriquez

From the outside, Gold-Diggers is pretty inconspicuous–a sage green and black building on Santa Monica Boulevard with a vintage-look yellow sign–but step inside and you’ll discover an ultra-hip hotel/bar/recording studio hybrid that feels like a music insider’s well-kept secret. After a night sipping cocktails and dancing to Dj sets in Gold-Diggers’ thoroughly soundproofed bar, head upstairs where 11 artsy rooms are waiting to provide a soft landing for the night. Each space is uniquely designed with velvet-covered furniture, handpicked vintage vinyl and cassettes, one-of-a-kind artworks and lots more thoughtful details. Outside the window, iconic LA views stretch all the way to the Hollywood sign.

Good Hotel
Antigua, Guatemala

Courtesy of Good Hotel

Situated on a cobbled street in the 16th-century Guatemalan city of Antigua, Good Hotel offers its guests feel-good stays in the chic surroundings of a converted mansion. Twenty rooms furnished with work by local craftspeople and a pretty courtyard overflowing with greenery create the oasis-vibe of Good Hotel, but what makes it truly special is its commendable purpose. Every centavo of the hotel’s profits supports the education of local children through the NGO Niños de Guatemala

Fogo Island Inn
Newfoundland, Canada

Fogo Island Inn | by Bent Renè Synnevåg

Perched on the rocky shores of Fogo Island – a fishing community off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada – Fogo Island Inn draws guests looking for a tranquil and remote getaway. Days are spent hiking the rugged coastline, venturing out on a fishing excursion, or channeling an artist’s retreat vibe with a creative workshop, before heading back to the Inn for a soak in a wood-fired, rooftop hot tub, fresh seafood dinner, and relaxing evening spent star-gazing through floor-to-ceiling windows. Besides its distinctive futuristic architecture, Fogo Island Inn stands out for its dedication to sustainability, including funneling its profits back into community development and cultural preservation.

Joie Inn
Anna Maria Island, Florida

Joie Inn pool | Courtesy of Joie Inn

If you’re a sucker for a stylish stay, bookmark Joie Inn. Ashley Petrone and her husband Dino, the duo behind design business and blog Arrows and Bow, poured their impeccable taste into the launch of their first boutique hotel in 2021. Taking aesthetic inspiration from its surroundings on Florida’s Anna Maria Island, Joie Inn’s four apartment-style accommodations are decorated in tropical nature colors (from sunshine yellow to ocean-inspired sage), and the pool area is lined with retro chairs and umbrellas that feel quintessentially Floridian. Don’t forget to check in with the innkeepers for tips on what to eat, drink, and do on your barrier island break.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

TOURISTS | By Nick Simonite

If you’ve been craving time in the woods, preferably accompanied by the sound of flowing water and birdsong, head to TOURISTS, a forest retreat in the Berkshires. Set on the banks of the Hoosic River, and within easy reach of art galleries, craft breweries, and the Appalachian Trail, it’s the perfect base for enjoying a little bit of all the best things. TOURISTS’ rooms are minimal and modern, featuring organic materials that bring the beauty of the outdoors inside.


* Featured image courtesy of Fogo Island Inn 

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen

Imagine getting caught in the rain while kayaking at one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Known for its stunning turquoise-colored lake, surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains, Lake Louise is home to diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears, elk, and moose.

Reel: @reneeroaming