Rate Parity and what you don’t know about booking travel online

Finding the best hotel discounts is no longer an easy task and if the truth be known, it’s no longer possible to find any genuine discounts on a traditional booking engine. Yes, they are still popular and the most common means on which most travelers will reserve their accommodation, but make no mistake, Expedia, Orbitz and every other travel booking engine no longer offer the same value to customers as before.

Many online users are unaware this is the case and that standard booking engines are an outdated way to book travel without any genuine discount or value. But why has this happened and what is the alternative solution?

Rate parity

Great changes in the online travel industry

Although this is something you may not have heard about, a recent law called “Rate Parity” has greatly affected the market for booking engines as this new legislation stipulates every travel brand must keep the price of accommodation the same across all channels of distribution. What does this mean? It means Expedia and other large brands cannot offer an alternative cost to the price on any of their other websites. In a more specific sense, rate parity means the traditional booking engines can no longer offer hotel rooms or any other travel related service at a discounted price.

Why do online users still use these booking engines?

Good question. Booking engines are known to offer a user friendly and convenient experience but more to the point, it would seem online users are just simply in the habit of using what was once the only means of booking their travel online. Thing is, you really do need to ask yourself; why book with a travel booking engine when you can book direct with the hotel for the same price? Furthermore, why book with either of the above when you can book for less with a Travel membership club?

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Travel Membership clubs

Once the most popular way to book discounted travel back in the early 1990’s, travel membership clubs have been finding their way back to the forefront of the travel industry in recent times. Rate parity is the reason for this, for membership clubs are the one exemption to the rules which have all but taken away the ability of a traditional booking engine to offer genuine value.

Hotels Etc – 25 years of exceptional service

Hotels Etc is the leading travel membership club in North America with a five star reputation spanning 25 years. User friendly and highly convenient, this is a booking engine but with a stark contrast; every listing represents a discount on the usual price. Ranging anywhere from 40 – 70%, these discounts are incredible value and are testament to the fact Travel Membership clubs are the one best way to find travel discounts online.

Why pay more, when you can pay less? Check out Hotels Etc now and start saving on your next overnight stay or long anticipated vacation.

Packing for a Caribbean Vacation

You’ve booked the flights, you’ve got a place to stay (thanks to those sweet hotel discounts you found online), and now all that stands in front of you and laying on the beach on your soon-to-be-fabulous Caribbean vacation is the dreaded thing we all try to put off as long as possible — packing. But, don’t worry too much about it, getting everything together and shoved into those old bags you still haven’t replaced won’t be nearly as hard as you might think. So take a breath, close your eyes, imagine yourself snorkeling with all kinds of different magical-looking fish, and let’s do this.

Packing for a Caribbean Vacation

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No Passport Needed

There are some interesting things you need to know about getting into the Caribbean as far as passports and visas go. First off, if you’re American and a full-fledged U.S. citizen, you don’t need to have a passport if you’re flying into Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, which includes the trifecta of St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix — the others require you to have more than basic U.S. IDs (driver’s license, etc.). If you’re hopping on a cruise, you can actually visit more of the islands without a passport, but be sure to double-check where you’re going before assuming you’re all good.

Caribbean Weather

Another important thing to thing to do before you start packing is familiarizing yourself with the weather happening for wherever and whenever you’re traveling in the Caribbean. There’s not a lot of major differences between the temperatures from one to the other and the average temperatures are around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit most days, but depending on the month you’re traveling you might have more or less rain, which is a good to know. Brief showers happen nearly every day on most of the islands, too but not enough to pack any legit rain gear.

Vacation discount

Packing Light

It’s easier said than done, but thanks to the consistently hot climate, the Caribbean is a place where less is more. In fact, many people who are traveling for a week or less easily get away with packing a couple of carry-ons, wearing a light jacket, and keeping it simple. Depending on your needs (I know, shoes)  and length of stay you could easily get away with not checking any bags, which would also save you a lot of hassle and potential delays if you’re flying.

Your Itinerary Determines Your Needs

Are you planning on doing some hiking? You’ll need some active clothes and a pair of good rubber-soled shoes that can give you the support you need. Are you just going to lounge on the beach all day and drink cocktails? You can probably get away with packing not much more than a couple of swimsuit options, flip-flops, and one or two pairs of shorts or dresses to wear when you’re not listening to the waves. There’s no one perfect list for this since each trip is unique, but think through what you’ll be spending your time doing and pack accordingly.

Toiletries

Your toiletry needs will pretty much be the same, but you might want to throw in some extra sunscreen, lip balm, or aloe/lotion depending on your plans to get out into the wild or your skin tone. It’s going to be hot and sunny most of the time, so ease into it and remember, you can always get more sun the next day, but it’s hard to deal with a really bad sunburn.

Gadgets

Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to pack in your cameras, selfie-sticks, GoPros, Kindles, or any other electronics that you feel like you can’t live without. You’ll probably want to keep the phone off as much as possible, but it’s your Caribbean vacation, not mine, so you can do whatever you want.

Are you actually getting the best prices for hotels?

Nothing scream louder from the rooftops than a special offer and we should know this having amassed several million members in the past 25 years of providing the largest hotel discounts you can find anywhere in the online world. You might think that sounds a little too good to be true or a slight exaggeration of some kind but given that we offer a free trial to any prospective member, you should feel assured that we encourage you to come find out for yourself.

But why have you not heard of Hotels Etc until now?

Good question. Hotelsetc.com was first established in the mid 1990’s when, believe it or not, there was no such thing as a booking engine and travel clubs were the only real option for anyone looking for discounts on hotels or any other travel related services. Back then there was no real internet presence of course and so competition in every region was mostly confined to travel agents or hotlines but nevertheless, Hotels Etc was still established as a market leader and the number one place to find hotel discounts in particular.

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So what changed recently?

The online world changed everything of course but there is also a new law which has change things further again. Over the past 10 years any company or individual was enabled to advertise hotel rooms on a website in return for a commission from the hotel itself which in turn brought about the birth of Expedia, Orbitz and all the other major brands. Except until recently, there were a million other booking engines offering the best hotel discounts and inevitably, the initial lack of presence online for us (Hotels Etc) combined with mass saturation in this particular market would allow the big brands to take over. You may have noticed the words “Until recently” in italics above? You see, unknown to most consumers, a major shift in regulations has resulted in a in stark change with regard to online bookings in the travel industry which directly relate to pricing. The law of “rate parity” has effectively meant that these websites can no longer offer discounts to customers like they once did and thankfully for us, travel clubs were exempt from this new law.

In case that’s not clear enough, travel clubs are now the only way you can find genuine discounts online.

Come see why millions of customers have stayed with us for 25 years

We are only scratching the surface here of course because our service extends far beyond hotel rooms and when you add this to our customer service or incredible search engine, you will be a lot closer to understanding why millions of our customers are still with us today. Free trail or jump straight in, the choice is yours but either way, welcome to Hotels Etc.

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You can get signed up right away by clicking here and starting uncovering all the amazing hotel discounts we offer our members.

Las Vegas or Orlando? The best Vacation special offer in 2016

As if anyone needs another reason to take a Las Vegas vacation or visit the sunny home of Disney and co. Except for arguments sake, let’s just say you are having a hard time getting some money together, that you are unsure of where to go exactly or hesitant about using up some precious vacation leave; Hotels Etc. are here with the best vacation special offer in 2016 to rid you of any procrastination and help you decide on just taking that vacation regardless of what else is going on.

Yes, the king of hotel discount North America has just announced the most incredible special offers which will take their loyal travel club members on a once in a lifetime adventure for just $199. Lasting 4 days and offering every single bit of value that any other trip to Vegas or Orlando promises, these 4 day packages can be extended to 7 days for $100 extra or be taken just as they come. You want to know the best thing about it? There’s no catch, you simply sign up with your contact details here and start looking forward to an incredible break from the norm.

Orlando

These much sought after travel hubs need no introduction either, whether you take the kids with you or just want to get away for a few days with a partner, there are so many attractions and things to do in Orlando and Las Vegas. In fact, it’s almost always the case that you need to choose which attractions to miss out on when time is short but then, as mentioned above, you can always avail of a few days extra to enjoy the amenities.

We wrote earlier this week about the special vacation offer for Mexico and as you can see, the same great value applies to more than just the sunny destination down south. In this sense, what more reasons do you need not to go on vacation? With costs at rock bottom and incredible destinations all included in the packages, there really is no need to wait around any longer wondering if you deserve a break from work or what many of us know as civilization.

In case you might be wondering, the process is also as simple as could be and all we require to start getting your dream vacation booked is some contact details. With that said, you should jump over to the special offer page now to take a closer look at these great deals and make sure you are not imagining the prices we listed above.

One last thing people, we are proud to be helping millions of members from all over North America for the past 20 years and we have no plans to stop providing the best hotel discounts and more anytime soon, so get signed up, feel at home and start looking forward to finding even more of the best online travel deals in the future.

Get your dream vacation now!

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Researchers explain why planning a vacation can make you Happy

Vacations are fun, we all know that, we all want more of them and some of us will almost live for them. But do they make you happier? It might seem like a question with an obvious answer but a group of researchers in the Netherlands set out to answer this precise question while also determine what it is exactly that causes someone to feel this way.

Almost 2,000 adults took part in the research, half of which had taken a vacation during the previous year and the results threw up a very interesting point. Yes, there were no surprises that these people experienced happiness while on the trip, whether they were relaxing next to the pool, swimming at the beach, eating out in a fine restaurant or sipping cocktails as the sun went down but what about afterward or what about before?

“The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip,” said Jeroen Nawijn head of the research. “What you can do is try to increase that by taking more trips per year. If you have a two week holiday you can split it up and have two one week holidays. You could try to increase the anticipation effect by talking about it more and maybe discussing it online.”

You see, much of the findings for this research pointed to the fact that most adults felt relaxed returning from their vacation, they felt energized and rejuvenated but what they did not expect, was to learn how extremely happy these same people felt when planning a vacation. That’s right, the research showed that the longest, most prolonged and enjoyable part of their trip was the actual part of planning a vacation. Marveling at wanderlust inducing photographs online, imagining how relaxing it would be on the beach, checking the best places to stay in the Caribbean and then of course, looking for the best hotel discounts, vacation deals and general value. People felt good about being able to find the best online travel deals, joining travel membership clubs for cruise discounts and knowing that they had found the best place to stay at the best price.

So there you have it in black and white, planning a vacation is just as good for your health and will make you just as happy, as being on the vacation itself. We can’t say we are surprised as for more than 25 years now we taken great pleasure from finding the best hotel discounts for our members here at Hotels Etc. We know that people will always appreciate a good deal when we find one and keep coming back so long as we keep offering the best value vacations. So what are you waiting for? It might be a few weeks, a month or even a year until your next time off but why should that stop you from feeling happy, start planning your vacation and get signed up for a travel membership with Hotels Etc.

How to get the best travel discounts

HOW TO GET THE BEST TRAVEL DISCOUNTS

Life without travelling would be very sad and plain. It refreshes our mind, helps us change the perspective and gives us new energy and ideas for the future. Travelling and exploring our lovely planet provides us with great memories and experiences that we will cherish and pass on as stories to our grandchildren. We all want to travel as much as possible and if we are smart, we can travel and save lots of money, too. Smart travelers plan their trips ahead, search for the best prices and usually plan their trip outside school holidays and the high season. Smart travelers know that the airline tickets are way cheaper on Tuesdays and Wednesday, resorts offer best deals on Sundays and hotels charge less during the mid-week. View our videos comparing Hotels Etc. rates to online public sites.

Before you travel, first decide where you want to go and research the location, the attractions and activities. Then check online to get an idea of prices. You can save money on travel by staying at cheaper hotels, joining a chain’s loyalty program, using a travel reward credit cards, being flexible with travel dates, using discounts for members of a professional association, negotiating with the hotel, taking two flights instead of a direct one or buying a package. Another perfect way to save a nice heap of banknotes is by becoming a member of the travel discount site like Hotels Etc. The membership is only $99 a year. But you can save more if you get the lifetime subscription for $995. It’s not a lot if you consider the sum the membership saves you on all vacations of your life. Hotels Etc. is committed to offer you superb discounts with a secure system to make your bookings and purchases. They are all about customer satisfaction so you won’t regret joining.

Stop spending countless hours searching how to get the best travel discounts when you can subscribe to Hotels Etc. and have the best discounts at your fingertips.

Can you afford the cost of travel?

When was the last time you packed a small suitcase and left the busy city behind?  There is simply nothing like taking a weekend break or even one night away from the norm, a few days to escape the monotony of a work week and take refuge in a relaxing hotel stay with fine food and maybe even a spa.

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Unless you have work at the weekend or an insurmountable amount of debt, the chances are there is actually no good reason not to get away for the weekend. At this point it may seem a little too late to be planning a trip with the weekend closing in but then, how long does it take to make an online booking and put a few clothes in a suitcase? The answer, in case you’re wondering – not long at all.

Taking an annual vacation is obviously a great idea, the perfect way to relieve stress and get back to enjoying the finer things in life. However, is simple process is surely restricted to once a year? No, the simple process of relieving stress and hitting the re-fresh button in life is attainable at just about any moment in every week and it just so happens that travel is the perfect way to make it happen.

Thing is, if it was always as simple as throwing a few clothes in a suitcase and taking off we would do it almost every weekend right? So what’s stopping everyone from taking more weekend breaks?

afford travel

We all know travel can be expensive and even without a debt of some sort looming overhead, it can be difficult to afford the high cost of living these days never mind forking out on a hotel in Chicago for the night. And this is exactly why you need a travel club membership, the easiest and fastest way to find hotel discounts and more to make everything affordable. Rather than just saving on hotels or annual vacations, a travel membership club such as Hotels Etc will also help you find discounts throughout the year for anything from movie theater tickets to restaurant deals. In fact, by the time you have availed of a 60% discount on a hotel stay, it’s likely you will already have saved the remaining cost by utilizing the thousands of other discounts on offer.

There really should be no cost placed on the prospect of taking time out from a hectic schedule and escaping all the noise for a few days but in reality, we do understand there is always going to be a fee attached to the concept of travel. In this sense, Hotels Etc is not here to make travel free or promise you something you cannot afford, but rather it offers a simple membership which will allow you to afford the cost of travel an then to get an awful lot more from it, for a much lesser cost.

You can access all the best hotel discounts and more by signing up today for a travel membership with Hotels Etc.

5 Amazing family vacation resorts in the US

Given the huge variety of destinations on offer, choosing a family vacation in the US is not an easy task. In fact, even when you do find some options, it can be hard deciding which on is most suited to a family’s needs. Luckily we’ve gone to the trouble of picking out 5 of the best family destinations in the US for you:

Woodloch Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania

The Woodloch Resort is one of those destinations that feels like a fairytale. Located on Lake Teedyuskung, the range of activities are staggering in the summer time when hiking, mountain biking and ziplining. There are many other interesting things to do at Woodloch Resort including mini golf and go-karts and if you happen to find yourself at Woodloch in Winter, there are still activities on offer with ice skating and snow tubing being particularly popular. At $360 for a family of four, a stay in this beautiful pocket of Pennsylvania is worth considering.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Port St. Lucie, Florida

When it comes to all inclusive family vacations, Club Med have always been at the forefront of the industry and today, this is still the case in Port St. Lucie. The most notable attraction for parents with young toddlers here, is no doubt the infant care on offer but then the older kids are also well looked after with a huge variety of activities, from volleyball and table tennis, to basketball and swimming. For a family of four you can expect a price of $385 per night although make sure to check for hotel discounts before finalizing anything.

Rancho de los Caballeros, Wickenburg, Arizona

Imagine having more than 20,000 acres of desert surrounding your haven of activity in Arizona. The Rancho de los Caballeros has been around for a very long time and while it may have a loftier price tag for a family of four than the other options on this list (($640 per night), there are very unique experiences on offer here including a fantastic opportunity for horseback riding. As with the other resorts, there is also both a daytime and nighttime kids club which allows parents not only to have a break during the mornings, but also to enjoy a cocktail at dinnertime without having to rush.

Mayan Dude Ranch, Bandera, Texas

While horseback riding is high on the agenda for most families arriving at the Mayan Dude Ranch, there is a lot more to this wonderful resort than the more affordable price tag of $490 per night. In typical cowboy fashion, you will stay overnight in a log cabin before waking on a huge Texan landscape to begin riding the many trails in the area. Fishing is also popular nearby, as too is tubing , while the kids can make full use of the tennis courts and stunning swimming pool. There is also an evening entertainment program with Western bands and line dancing.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Hawaii takes some beating on almost every front and the same can be said about the kids clubs. Simply put, the resorts in Hawaii excel when it comes to providing the highest level of kids entertainment and the Hilton Hawaiian Village is up there with the best. From submarine tours to giant super pools, the Waikiki Aquarium to volcano making on the beach, there is no end to activities here for the kids and you are sure to have plenty of free time as a result. With a stunning beach and 5 star facilities on offer, this resort will please the parents as much as the kids.

Find all the best hotel discounts and family vacation discounts on the leading travel club membership website Hotels Etc.

5 Quick and easy ways to save on travel in 2016

Taking a vacation doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. In fact, a little research and smart decisions can go a long way to making your dream vacation happen, for a fraction of the usual cost. Here are 5 quick and easy ways to help you save on travel in 2016:

Check out travel credit cards

A certain stigma attaches itself to the idea of having a credit card, and rightly so, for spending money you don’t have, or buying something you cannot afford, is always a bad idea. However, while they can have the same pitfalls, there is also a risk-free strategy with travel credit cards which can help you make huge savings on future travels.

Providing you do a little research and read the fine print on each one, a travel credit card with free air miles can be obtained with no upfront costs. In fact, there are travel cards which offer free air miles with absolutely no obligation for a minimum spend amount. Furthermore, this bonus will remain even if you decide to cancel the card at a later date and there is no limit to the number of travel credit cards you can obtain.

How to find the best travel credit card: A quick google search will bring up a dozen options for you to consider.

Get Hotel discounts and more

Since the introduction of rate parity laws, there is really no way to find genuine hotel discounts, other than joining a travel membership club.

In recent years, a mass number of booking engines and travel companies have saturated the online market, but what many people have not yet realized, is how the above mentioned law now restricts these businesses from providing the best hotel discounts, vacation packages or travel offers. Essentially, this means you will now find the same price for products or services across all channels of distribution and the end result; no real discount or value.

Thankfully, there is still a way to find the best hotel discounts or special offers, and it’s a very simple process which involves signing up for a travel membership club such as Hotels Etc and getting easy access to huge savings.

Hotels Etc is a reputable company with more than 20 years experience, and over 4 million members.

Invest in an unlocked cellphone, or don’t take one at all

With so much Wi-Fi access in travel destinations, there really is no need to be spending dollars on roaming charges; Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype all have a facility to make calls.

However, an even smarter move when it comes to traveling abroad is to take an unlocked cell phone and purchase a local SIM card on arrival. Most airports will sell a temporary SIM card at very low prices, and the rates for which you are charged while using it, is always a fraction of the costs incurred through data roaming.

Eat local, and eat cheap

Cost is not always a true reflection of the value, and this is most certainly the case when it comes to food. When you think about it; why not have food in the hotel room for an evening? or make some lunch using ingredients from the local supermarket?

Eating at a restaurant for every meal can be a sure fire way to use up the entire budget for a vacation, and choosing to prepare your own lunch every afternoon, can leave you a lot more disposable spending money for other activities. Another alternative is to choose local restaurants away from the main tourist hub; meals are often just as good, and half the price.

Get your timing right, and travel for half the price

Shoulder months are always the most affordable time to travel on vacation, the weather is generally still just as good in this period, and everything cost less. People with children may not have the luxury to plan a trip outside of school holidays, and then sometimes it is difficult to agree on the best time, if there is a group decision involved, but ultimately, it will lead to large savings.

In fact, recent travel deals have allowed Hotels Etc members to travel with up to 60 – 80% off a large variety of hotels and vacation packages. These were not last minute deals, but rather an example of the amazing hotel discounts which are provided through travel membership clubs.

Whatever happens, and whatever the weather, think smart, pay less and have just as much fun.

You can sign up for a free trial with Hotels Etc today and check out all the latest offers.

luxury hotel deals

5 Best luxury hotel deals in the US

Rooftop infinity pools, high tech rooms, prime locations and superior customer service. There are many five star luxury hotels across the country who provide all of these services, but here are five of the best luxury hotel deals in the US, and the easiest way to find hotel discounts to make huge savings on your next reservation.

luxury hotel deals

The St Regis, New York
A personal 24 hour butler, an incredible variety of five star food, and a central location in the heart of New York City, the St Regis has plenty of competition in the “Big Apple” but it really is in a league of it’s own, even when it comes to the most luxurious alternatives.

Located on 5th avenue in Manhattan, the St Regis pulls out all of the stops by providing every possible service, with the greatest amount of detail, and this also goes for the room decoration. Spacious, sleek, stylish and elegant, you can expect nothing but an exceptional experiences on all levels, when you stay here on your next trip to the city that never sleeps.
Location: 2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, United States

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, California

The Garden Villas, and the hotel suites provide two alternate options when it comes to staying in the stylish Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Both are incredible places to stay, both elegant, and both as prestigious as the other.

Located in close proximity to the nearby shopping areas, the Fairmont is the perfect base for a weekend of splurging, but it is also central to the stunning beaches, and coastline scenery in Santa Monica. Another highlight is the Gourmet Dining and nearby nightlife which attracts the crowds, but the real draw of this opulent hotel, is the secluded experience it provides with peaceful gardens to explore on foot, and the option of the Garden villas for extra privacy.
Location: 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Waldorf Astoria, Chicago

Another hotel which excels when it comes to focusing on the fine details, id the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. The exterior is an eye catching sight with an old fashioned motor court which appears more like something you expect to see on mainland Europe, while the interior is a designers paradise with sparkling chandeliers in the lobby, and Coco Chanel drapes adorning the walls.

Interestingly, the staff at the Astoria do not have a designated role within the hotel, but rather each member is committed to assisting with every aspect of the hotel. It certainly helps not having to look far for somebody to help with an inquiry, but the theory is smart, and it helps customer service at the Waldorf Astoria stand out from competition.

The romantic fireplaces in each room are a nice touch which add a very personal feel to the hotel, and this atmosphere, combined with the ultimate level of service, has long ensured that clients return to the Waldorf Astoria year after year.
Location: 11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

Hotel Beaux Arts Miami

The Hotel Beaux Arts is a small hotel in comparison with the reputation it holds. Naturally any hotel in Miami can boast an alluring location with easy access to fine dining, and some of the best nightlife in the country, but the hotel itself does not rely on any of these factors to maintain this image.

Every room is equipped with the most modern high tech gadgets, from ipads to large flat screen televisions while the wooden floors, unrivaled views, and endless facilities make the Hotel Beaux Arts one of the most prestigious in the country.

A rooftop infinity pool, yoga studio and ultra modern fitness room are icing to the cake in this fine establishment, and the slightly less “flash” appearance of Hotel Beaux Arts, make it an ideal place to stay prior to a cruise, or for business professionals staying overnight in Miami.
Location: 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131

The Hay Adams, Washington

The most prestigious location in the country, the Hay Adams Hotel is situated directly across from the White House and has a historical relevance which only adds to the chard of a stay in the Nations Capital.

Although all the modern facilities exist in the Hay Adams, the refined nature of the interior design st it apart from the competition. Local designer Thomas Pheasant has ensured the history of the building is maintained by designing it with a very residential feel. The lobby is akin to a natural museum, the cocktail bar is famous throughout the city, and the roof terrace is one of the most peaceful places you could possibly imagine.

When you consider the high profile location, the history, and charming nature of the interior; the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington is arguably one of the most alluring hotels in the United States.
Location: 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006

All the best hotel discounts, and luxury hotel deals can be found exclusively on Hotels Etc, the number one travel membership club in the US, and easiest way to make huge savings on all your travel needs.