International Travel Trends
Five Champagne destinations on a beer budget
New! HEADLINES ONLY on eTN click here
TORONTO, Canada - Sightseeing, shopping and spas are common temptations when planning a luxurious vacation, however, luxury and affordability don't often go hand-in-hand. Based on the findings from the latest Hotel Price Index™ (HPI™), the experts at hotels.com have put together a list of the top five international destinations where five-star accommodations can be found for less than $200 a night.
The HPI is a biannual report that looks at hotel prices in cities all around the world. The data is based on bookings made through the hotels.com website and the prices listed are the actual prices paid by Canadians - not advertised rates. The report compares prices paid in 2010 with those of 2011.
"Travelers on a tight budget often don't realize that it's possible to visit exotic destinations and luxury hotels without going into debt," said Jennifer Drew, director of market management for Canada for hotels.com. "The HPI is a valuable resource that can be used by everyone to help plan travel and discover which destinations can give you the best bang for your buck."
Morocco has become an increasingly popular destination for Canadian travellers and when visiting the city of Marrakech it's easy to see why. The 'old city' has more boutique shopping options than even the most seasoned shopper can handle, and non-shopaholics can enjoy the exciting nightclubs or traditional Moroccan cuisine. If you love art and nature, a visit to the Majorelle Garden is a must-see. Owned by famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, the garden was created in the 1930s and is designed to look like a Gauguin painting.
What is the perfect complement to a glass of champagne? A day at the spa! But even without the fizzy, if you're into opulent spa treatments, travel to Budapest is a must since it is a top spa destination. Located in a country of innovators -- think vinyl records, CD-ROMs and the discovery of vitamin C -- Budapest is the sophisticated capital of Hungary, and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Besides the spas, must-sees include the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building, St Stephen's Basilica and the Great Market Hall.
It's predicted that China will be the most visited country on the planet by 2020 and the increase in popularity among Canadian travellers was also evident in the latest HPI results. Foodies enjoy Beijing for its flavourful cuisine but, besides eating, you should make time to visit some of the historic sites. The Forbidden City is a popular attraction, once off-limits to citizens and visitors, as the previous home of the royal family and is now a well-preserved historic site. Tiananmen Square is another must-see and also the site of the world-famous man vs. tank protest photograph.
Thailand's capital, Bangkok, is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities but still manages to keep its rich historic culture. The city includes impressive temples like Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, a unique and world-famous floating market, and several flashy nightlife districts like Patpong, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. For a unique dining experience, dinner cruises are offered on the Chao Praya River where guests can indulge in a six-course meal while admiring the colourful city at night. Bangkok travel is high on the list for Canadian travellers jumping from the 50th most popular destination in 2010, to the 29th in 2011, according to the HPI.
Travel to Berlin and you'll find more than sausages and steins. The vibrant German capital can satisfy any traveller interested in European culture. Popular attractions include the East Side Gallery, an open air art gallery of more than 100 paintings on the Berlin wall, and for those interested in architecture, the Reichstag building. The Reichstag building is considered one of Berlin's most impressive historical landmarks and is also where parliament sits, and can be viewed in session, during the week.
So why not fake it this spring? Make like the rich and famous and plan a trip to one of these exotic destinations, no one needs to know how much you actually spent!