Hotels North America Travel

The Hotel List: Part Two

Last month, I shared some of the hotels and resorts on my “dream” list – the places where I’d love to stay, all around the world. Today I am sharing part two of “The Hotel List” – I hope you enjoy, and as always, please share yours!

5. Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland

I’m always beseeching Mr. Feather to go with me to far flung and and maybe more exotic places – Antartica! Botswana! Laos! The other day however, he was surprised to hear me musing about Ireland.


Ballyfin 2

Ballyfin is an incredibly unique property in Ireland’s countryside – a completely restored historic property with amazing decor and beautiful grounds. I love staying at hotels where it’s very clear that the owners have put a lot of love (and money) into the property – and Ballyfin is the perfect example of such. I could spend a week here just marveling at all the details in the rooms, and just walking around the grounds. I can’t wait to stay here one day.

PS No golf courses! Ireland has enough top tier resorts + courses that Ballyfin doesn’t need to be one).

6. Amanpulo, Palawan, Philippines


Only an Aman resort would be able to lure me back to one of my most loathed and dreaded places in the world – the chaotic mess that is Manila International Airport. But the beaches at Amanpulo look magical – not to mention the fact that the resort is on its own private island, and guests stay in individual villas and casitas.

7. Pousada de Amares-Santa Maria do Bouro, Amares, Portugal

pousada de amares home 03

I’ve been wanting to go for years, but I still haven’t made it over to Portugal. I hope by next year I can cross this beautiful country off my list. And while in Portugal, I can’t wait to stay at a Pousada. The term refers to a network of state-owned hotels that are often incorporated into historical buildings, and that offer very nice prices to boot. Sure most Pousadas aren’t luxurious in the way that a Four Seasons might be..and there probably isn’t room service. The overall value however, and chance to stay in a historical building? Priceless!

This particular Pousada is a former Cistercian monastery dating from the 12th century. How cool is that?

8. Ultima Thule Lodge, Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Ultima Thule Lodge-04

Alaska is another “to do” on my list. I’ve never been to the state…the closest I’ve come has been multiple readings of Into The Wild. If  ever go, I want to make my stay at Ultima Thule – a fantastic lodge in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness that boasts its own fleet of planes that can fly you to the most remote sights. And then at night, you eat meals made from fresh game and fish from what was caught around you. I think a stay at Ultima Lodge is one that anyone would remember for a lifetime. I want to make my way here one day.

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  • WorthyStyle
    July 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

    That Pousada is absolutely gorgeous.

    • Katherine
      July 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Yes it is!

  • Mod
    July 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I “backpacked” (I used a rolly) around Portugal and Spain in 2011 and that was one of my favorite trips yet, which to be honest, surprised me a little. I didn’t think I would fall in love with those two countries as much as I did. So I definitely recommend Portugal. Now with Pousada, I’ll have an excuse to go back. So much traveling to do!

    • Katherine
      July 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

      So glad to hear that you loved Portugal! That’s been the feedback from almost everybody I know that went there 🙂

  • Tien
    July 17, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Hi there! I was at Amanpulo in April. We just got back from Amanyara (we did not like it) and it made me appreciate Amanpulo all the more. The sand there is softer and finer than anywhere I’ve been, and it never gets hot. The sunsets are magical. There are turtles bigger than me. Diving is so easy there. I got my advanced open water certification with Steve, who is just a delight. At first I didn’t think I would care all that much for it, but if you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing escape, it’s perfect. I would recommend going sooner rather than later.

    • Katherine
      July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Lucky you! Thanks so much for the recommendation. So sorry to hear you didn’t like Amanyara – could you share more details?

      • Tien
        July 18, 2014 at 9:06 am

        Amanyara just didn’t feel like an Aman. There is a review on trip advisor that describes it as lacking a soul. It is for sure a beautiful place, but there is something missing. The architecture is stunning and that reflection pond has little gorgeous spotted jellies (no stingers). Amanpulo, which I honestly didn’t think I would like all that much, was easy, simple, and while the architecture is not as beautiful as Amanyara, it sucks you in. The service and attentiveness of the staff at Pulo is excellent. I don’t think we will return to Yara, but Pulo is absolutely a repeat. That sand and that water! I think the beach at Pulo is one of the best I have ever seen. I read flyer talk luxury forums for reviews on Amans. I find the Aman junkies there more accurate and reliable than on tripadvisor.

        • Katherine
          July 18, 2014 at 12:56 pm

          That’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience. I really want to go to Pulo as I love beautiful beaches…and I heard the Vietnamese food they serve is really good, LOL. A good beach + good pho = a perfect experience in my book!

            July 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm

            The Viet restaurant is no longer. They shut it down after Haiyan and it’s reincarnated as a Thai restaurant.

  • a
    July 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Hi Katherine, another wonderful post! Your Ireland photos remind me of the sets of BBC’s Aristocrats, an 18th-century tale of a group of aristocratic ladies in their grand estates, one of which was located in Ireland.

    I spent a significant amount of time in Portugal, but unfortunately I can’t comment on the Pousadas. I did notice that many wonderful historical and major chain hotels are priced very reasonably and much less than other parts of Europe (cough, cough Four Seasons George V Paris).

    • Katherine
      July 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Hi a, thank you. If you would recommend anywhere else in Portugal please share. I found hotels priced in Spain very reasonably as well. Paris is another story like you say.

      • a
        July 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Hi Katherine, I found Lisbon to be a sleepy village-like place. It may just take a day or two to get through. I prefer Cascais-Estoril just outside of Lisbon. That strip is a resort full of old mansions and hotels that can rival any old European architectural beauty; Estoril-Cascais is where the old aristocrats and moneyed class hung out, resulting in many posh homes. The beaches and views of the sea are stunning.

        Sintra is outstanding – not only are the palaces worth visiting, but so are the surrounding areas. I’ve been to Sintra many times, but I still haven’t been to the Quinta da Regaleira. We leave travel sleuthing to pros like you, K!

        • Katherine
          July 19, 2014 at 5:17 pm

          Thank you for all the recs! I can’t wait to refer back to this post when we plan our Portugal list 🙂

  • Shahrul
    July 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    I just came back from Point Yamu in Phuket last week. Personally I think the best resort in the area. The spa and dining is well above other Phuket brands (which is already awesome). Just a suggestion 🙂

    • Katherine
      July 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Thank you! I looked it up and it looks beautiful! Have you stayed in other places in PHuket?

      • Shahrul
        August 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm

        Previously I have stayed in Anantara, Banyan Tree and Westin. Westin was my top pick here but now Point Yamu wins I think! It was my first Como experience and I am excited the check out more of the brand!

  • Glenda
    July 27, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I just read this blog entry from yesterday about luxury hotels–very interesting, & I added a couple of hotels to my list of ones I want to try:

    • Katherine
      July 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you so much for that link! What a great article!

      • Glenda
        July 28, 2014 at 8:18 am

        You’re welcome! Thanks for your great blog–obviously the posts stay with me long after you post them.