Our 5 Favorite Places to Stay in the Entire World
In six months of traveling, there were tons of hostels, homestays, guesthouses, Airbnbs, you name it. So what makes an amazing accommodation? In our opinion, it depends on three major factors: service, atmosphere, and convenience.
With regards to service, the staff or host should be informative, resourceful, and proactive in making sure their guests are comfortable and happy. Atmosphere is also important as we’ve learned that cleanliness and decor can really make a difference. While it’s not imperative or necessary, but it connects back to service. It makes your guests feel like you’ve gone the extra mile. Lastly, convenience is relative but I believe convenience is what makes you come back to the accommodation. When you’re busy catching connecting flights or struggling with a stomach bug, having the accessibility to your specific needs does wonders to your day-to-day. Every individual has their own specific needs and honestly, it can also depend city by city. Whether it’s a nearby mini mart or proximity to public transport, it’s important to figure out ahead of time what is important to you. For example, in Seoul, it was important for us to be close to a subway that was fairly central to all of the sites we wanted to see, whereas in our overnight stay in Bangkok, we just wanted to be close to the airport.
There have been times where we didn’t like a city that much but the accommodation made that trip so special. And we would definitely go back there just to enjoy the beautiful stay. I will preface and say that none of these recommendations are sponsored. We genuinely enjoyed every stay and recommend them highly.
Amongst the list, we have a favorite ryokan, boutique hotel, beach-front hotel, Airbnb, and hostel. so let’s get on with the list!
#1 Hotel Kifu Club Shiretoko (Ryokan), Hokkaido, Japan
Where do I begin? Let’s talk about the food first. The meals at this ryokan are so special. I was just so blown away by the level of detail and the quality. As a ryokan, the best part is that the accommodation is a family-run business. It’s like eating at someone’s grandmother’s house, and every dish is plated perfectly with the most beautiful ceramic piece, arranging each ingredient like a painting. For every night you stay there, they serve you a completely unique meal so each day, your dinner will be different from the previous.
The facilities include two different onsens: one is indoors overlooking the lake and the second one is outdoors in a private and romantic setting. Each room has a fantastic view of the lake that is just feet away from you. And every day at 4:30PM, the sky begins to fire up and all you have to do is step outside the ryokan to enjoy the most colorful sunset I have ever seen in my life. I have never stayed at a place where I could step right outside and stand right in front of one of the most magical sunset.
While it was one of the pricier accommodations during our travels, I can 100% guarantee that it is worth every single penny. I would even encourage you to start saving now so you can enjoy this once in your life.
#2 Chronivida Residence (Boutique Hotel), Siem Reap, Cambodia
This hotel was brand new. Now I know what you’re thinking - brand new hotels are usually a hot mess, right? Not here. This place still beats any type of service and accommodation I’ve experienced in any other five-star hotel. The general manager, Sophia, is a gem. The moment we arrived, she asked us what we wanted to do and began curating our itinerary right then and there. She ensured we got everything we wanted on the list and was very open to helping us if anything else came up along the way. Her English was also flawless - some of the best I experienced in South East Asia for someone who’s English was their second language. I was really impressed.
They also went out of their way to upgrade us to their Presidential Suite - their largest room in the hotel. This was by far the nicest hotel we have ever stayed. I mean, the room was HUGE and beautifully decorated. The pool and restaurant were wonderful and we really enjoyed the food there. Location wise, it was perfect walking distance to Pub Street and our favorite bar around the corner.
Just when you thought her job was done when we checked out, she offered us a free ride in the company’s luxury car to the airport. In the hospitality industry, it benefited her and her business to go above and beyond for us. This is something all new hotels need to do.
#3 Long Beach Chalet (beach-front Hotel), Koh Lanta, Thailand
Have you ever looked at a photo of a hotel and awed at how beautiful it is? Like it came from a dream? The rooms are absolutely stunning here with full-on bungalow vibes with a modern twist. One wall was entirely made of windows facing the ocean. What a view to wake up to each morning without stretching your neck to catch a glimpse of the water.
When we stayed there, there were some “sea ants” in the water - tiny little jelly fish that can sting slightly. It was a bit of a damper, but luckily, their pool was absolutely fantastic, large, and perfectly warm. Their restaurant was also one of the best and highly rated on Long Beach. So lucky. With a free pick up from the pier, it was super convenient.
The hotel is also walking distance to some of the best beach bars in Long Beach to catch the sunset. We were able to enjoy one of the most luxurious spas next door at Layana Spa. While it is pricier than your usual Thai spa, it’s worth every penny. This was the best spa experience I have ever had.
#4 Palm Beach Getaway (Airbnb), Gold Coast, Australia
This was probably our favorite Airbnb that we ever stayed. The host, Josh, bought the place decades ago and renovated it completely. He added a second floor where he resides so he can rent out the ground floor. Perfectly designed with that classic, Australian-surfer aesthetic, you couldn’t help but smile when you walked in - open concept with a beautiful kitchen, a patio with a barbie, and a backyard with poles for hammocks.
Best part? You are two blocks from the beach. And the beach is usually completely empty. You might get the occasional four or five people, but that’s it. Josh also lets you borrow his surf boards if you wanted to catch a wave or two. With a mini mart, liquor/wine store, and small grocery down the block, it was the perfect place. They also have uber in Gold Coast so we took one to the larger supermarket and grilled every single night. We are in our element when we do this. Who doesn’t love beaches, beer, and barbecue?
#5 Piece Hostel Kyoto (Hostel), Kyoto, Japan
We’ve stayed in so many hostels during our travels and this was my favorite one. It’s truly more of a boutique hotel with all the benefits of a hostel - the shared common spaces, the convenient location, and the sense of community amongst the staff and the travelers. It’s so beautifully designed. With typical Japanese accommodations, they are small but the decor and the space feels relaxing and comfortable. With a tasty ramen spot right next door and public transportation just a few blocks away, this is my top pick for your next stay in Kyoto.