Gamechangers: Hotels & Resorts - Full-Time Travel

Gamechangers: Hotels & Resorts

Gamechangers: Hotels & Resorts

Over years of traveling the world, we’ve learned that a hotel can make or break the vacation experience. Find a good hotel – one that prioritizes intuitive service, pours consideration into design, and pushes the envelope when it comes to dining, wellness or experiences – and you’ll want to return again and again. This year, our winners are all trusted hotel and resort brands that continue to impress us and spark our wanderlust in equal measure. 


Amanjiwo, Indonesia | Courtesy of Aman

The name Aman derives from the Sanskrit word for “peace,” and that’s exactly what you feel when you step into one of its resorts, which emanate a home-away-from-home feel amid some of the most dramatic and beautiful locations of Earth. Wellness is a pillar of the Aman experience and you can get really granular with it thanks to personalized programs that focus on local healing traditions and holistic practices alongside fitness and spa offerings. If you’re intrigued by the ways different cultures approach wellbeing, Aman’s options never disappoint. At Amanjiwo, in Java, Indonesia (which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year), guests can participate in the recently launched Tolak Balak ritual – a purification custom performed by a Javanese priest, which encompasses breathwork, meditation, and chanting for spiritual rejuvenation.

Beyond Green

Nile Safari Lodge | Courtesy of Beyond Green

Inspired by traveler’s pandemic-awakened priorities, Preferred Hotel Group announced the launch of a new sustainable hotel brand in 2021. Named Beyond Green, this portfolio of independent, eco-minded hotels shares a belief in travel as a force for good, and showcases a commitment to 50 sustainability indicators that align with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Thirty unique properties are currently part of the Beyond Green group, from an Irish castle to a Namibian desert lodge, and each one blends impeccable service and beautiful surroundings with responsible practices and conscious conservation. Beyond Green recently teamed up with andBeyond to launch an itinerary booking platform, providing a seamless planning service for sustainable trips to Africa and select countries in South America.  

Pavilions Hotels & Resorts

Himalayas lakeview room | Courtesy of Pavilions Hotels & Resorts

With its emphasis on adventure and outside-the-box details that go beyond what you might expect from a luxury brand, Pavilions Hotels & Resorts invite guests to “be the main character” in their own unique travel story. This year, Pavilions has opened two new resorts in two of the world’s most remote and entrancing places: Nepal and Mongolia. Get into the wild on these curated trips which immerse you in unforgettable nature and rich cultural experiences with epic hikes, mountain biking, horseback riding, rafting and urban exploration. Interestingly, Pavilions Hotels & Resorts recently became the first international hotel group to accept payment in the form of cryptocurrencies, making it easy to turn your Bitcoin stash into meaningful travel experiences. 

The Hoxton

Rooftop pool at the The Hoxton Barcelona | Courtesy of he Hoxton

Born in east London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood before expanding throughout the U.S. and Europe, The Hoxton has garnered fans with its creative spirit, ‘open doors’ policy (the lobby is a hive of activity), and spaces that reflect their specific locations through thoughtful design. The group’s newest hotel recently opened in Poblenou, an artistic enclave of Barcelona, and it’s quickly become one of the coolest places to stay in the city. Mediterranean hues of terracotta and seafoam adorn the rooms (including The Hoxton’s new “homey” room category, which is equipped with a kitchen for longer/remote working stays), and up on the rooftop you’ll find a pool and bar/taqueria perfect for a casual lunch or a couple of sundowners. 

Wynn Resorts

Wynn Las Vegas | Courtesy of Wynn Resorts

The Wynn Las Vegas is best known for its glitzy casino, opulent foyer, and plush rooms, but the brand is fast earning a reputation for its climate conscious commitments, too. In 2018, Wynn created a 160-acre solar farm at its resort on The Strip, reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent. Similar environmental initiatives soon rolled out across Wynn’s entire portfolio; the brand has announced its hotels will be powered using 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, with a long term goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

*Featured image courtesy of Amanjiwo, Aman

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

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