Planning the Perfect Stay in Sydney, Australia

Sponsored post in partnership with IHG. All opinions are my own. 

Sydney is Australia’s most popular destination, for good reason. This city has it all, from stunning natural beauty to a thriving art scene. After you’ve picked the perfect Sydney hotel, here are a few things to add to your itinerary.


Photo via Flickr by Paul Ryjkoff

Explore the City

There is much to see in the city of Sydney, but a visit is not complete without a trip down to the harbor. On the weekend, you can take a stroll through the weekend markets at The Rocks, the historic neighborhood where Sydney got its start. After some shopping, climb the beautiful Harbour Bridge or, if you prefer, catch a ferry over to Sydney’s popular Taronga Zoo.

Art lovers will want to set aside some time to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Another must-see is the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is accessed through some beautiful botanic gardens. There are so many other museums and historical landmarks to be discovered while exploring the Macquarie Street area that you can easily spend a full day here. Just be sure to make it to Watson Bay in time to watch the sun set over the city skyline; you won’t regret it.

Hit the Beach

A trip to Sydney is not complete without a day (or days!) at the beach. Hop on a bus to Bondi Beach, where you can lie out in the sun or try your hand at surfing. If you need a break from the sun, there are a ton of unique boutiques and restaurants to explore in the area. Also, if you visit on a Sunday, be sure to check out the Bondi Beach Markets, where you can score vintage clothing finds that you won’t see anywhere else. Other beaches around Sydney include the picturesque Shelly Beach and Cabbage Tree Bay (a must-visit for scuba enthusiasts).

Sip Some Wine

If you love wine, you won’t want to pass up the chance to visit nearby Hunter Valley. A number of tour companies are ready to whisk you off to this vine-lined valley, or you can hire a car service for a more intimate experience. Once you arrive in Hunter Valley, consider renting a bike so that you can spend the day cruising your way through some of the 120-plus wineries in the area. Horse-drawn cart tours are also very popular for those who prefer to sit back and relax in between winery visits.

Even if you’re not a huge wine drinker, there is still plenty to see and experience in beautiful Hunter Valley. Foodies will be in heaven tasting local cheeses and olive oils. You can even get hands-on with a gourmet cooking lesson or wine-pairing class. If you want to extend your stay in the valley, book a night at one of the many quaint bed and breakfasts in the area and schedule a spa day or a tee time at one of the three championship golf courses nearby. Finish off your stay with a relaxing horseback ride up and down the countryside’s rolling hills for a unique view of the grapevines.

Hipmunk Hotels: Plan a Summer Getaway to Miami Beach

Sponsored post in partnership with Hipmunk. All opinions are my own. 

Miami Beach hotels

Photo via Nawab on 

Miami is possibly Florida’s most vibrant city. By day, explore the city’s rich history and Cuban influence as it’s reflected in the many cafes, restaurants and cigar shops that make up Little Havana’s Calle Ocho. After indulging in some Cuban cuisine, bask in the turquoise waters of Miami’s famed beaches. At night, learn why Miami’s nightlife is second to none, and explore the city’s trendsetting nightclubs.

Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach

The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach may be a 50s gem located in South Beach’s legendary Art Deco district, but this boutique hotel is filled with modern amenities. One of the highlights of this hotel is the gorgeous newly-renovated infinity pool which boasts oceanfront views and private air-conditioned cabanas complete with flat screen televisions, wireless internet and a private bathroom/shower. After a day at the pool, head to the hotel’s Blue Harmony spa for one of their signature services with include aromatherapy and various massages. There are also several on-site dining options to choose from ranging from French to Japanese.

Catalina Hotel & Beach Club

If you’re looking for a comfortable hotel with affordable rates and classic Miami Beach charm, look no further than the Catalina Hotel & Beach Club. Return to your room after a day of exploring Miami and relax on your luxurious Swedish Tempur mattress. Your room will also be equipped with a comfy bathrobe, plasma television and climate control to help you feel right at home. The Catalina Hotel offers a free shuttle to and from Miami airport for travelers flying in from out of town.

Clevelander Hotel

There’s something relaxing about the atmosphere at the Clevelander Hotel. The sunny rooms of this oceanfront boutique hotel are washed in comforting tones of white and blue giving of an appropriate marine vibe that will put you in the mood for some serious relaxing. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your room, order room service for lunch or dinner from the hotel’s on-site restaurant. There is also an on-site nightclub and sportsbar as well as a rooftop sundeck where you can take in some stunning views of the water. If you do venture out, the beach is just steps away from the hotel.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel – South Beach

The staff at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel – South Beach is standing by 24-hours a day to service you with an in-room massage or round the clock room service. Pet parents will be happy to know that the Loews is one of the the most pet-friendly hotels in the city.

South Seas Hotel

If you’re looking for a home away from home in Miami Beach, you’ll love the South Seas Hotel. Each room in this boutique hotel is filled with all the comforts of home including high definition televisions, coffee makers and mini refrigerators upon request. Before setting out for the day’s adventures, be sure to take advantage of the hotel’s free continental breakfast. You will also want to make sure to set aside some time to enjoy the hotel’s poolside bar which serves up classic Miami cocktails.

Hipmunk Hotels: Exploring Monterey, California

Monterey hotels

Sponsored post in partnership with Hipmunk. All opinions are my own.  Photo via Airstream Paul on California is known for it’s beautiful beach towns, but Monterey is truly a special destination. Although the town of Monterey is small, it makes up for it’s size in character.  Here are five boutique hotels in Monterey to […]

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