A hotel stay might be the one comfort at the end of an exhausting day of business meetings, or maybe it’s lodgings in an exotic locale on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Sometimes, the hotel – and the views it provides its guests – is the whole point of a trip. Writer Mavis Gallant, author of “Paris Notebooks” once said, “A short story is what you see when you look out of the window.” Here are hotels that provide remarkable window views, each worth a thousand short stories.
Eiffel Tower Views
When you visit the city of lights with the one you love, it’s worth booking a room in the hotel that is closest to the Eiffel Tower, the most beautiful of all the sparkling nighttime displays the city has to offer. The hotel Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel is mere steps away from the iconic symbol of Paris and all things French. The hotel’s restaurant and most rooms have stunning views of the monument. But the best view is from the pricey Penthouse Eiffel suite – the most romantic hotel room in the world in which to celebrate a special occasion.
Rocket Launch Views
If you’re looking for a front row seat from which to view the breathtaking rocket launches out of Kennedy Space Center, book a stay at Courtyard Titusville Kennedy Space Center. This Florida Space Coast hotel is directly across Indian River from iconic launch pad 39A1 that has witnessed numerous historic missions, including those of the Space Shuttle program and more recent SpaceX Crew Dragon launches. The sleek hotel features many space-themed touches throughout, including deep space photo wall murals, NASA-themed gifts, rocket launch schedule/update plasma screen in the lobby, and miniature astronaut in-room star projectors.
A special elevator “launches” you up to the 7th floor rooftop Space Bar lounge which has been designed to provide the ultimate rocket launch-watching experience. Enjoy snacks and space themed cocktails in the lounge while savoring perfect, unobstructed views of the launch pad action. Fifth and sixth floor water-view rooms also provide great launch visibility.
The Courtyard Marriot Titusville was selected as the Best Hotel for 2024 by readers of Space Coast Living Magazine.
Drive-In Movie Views
When relaxing after dinner at this clean and comfy Colorado inn, you can enjoy a movie on the large screen TV in your room, or you can open the curtains and watch one on the big drive-in movie screen outside. You see, the Best Western Movie Manor in Monte Vista, CO, backs up to the double-screen 1950s Star Drive-In. One screen is visible from the inn’s rooms, with sound piped into each room. The second screen is available from the drive-in lot itself. Both are free of charge. Movies are shown from mid-April to October. Located in the beautiful San Luis Valley, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is an hour’s drive away.
The Station Inn in Cresson, PA, is one of the fewest and best lodgings situated next to a major rail line in the U.S. Sixty different trains roll by the front porch of the hotel every day (Norfolk Southern, Amtrak, and RJ Corman Freight). Suffice it to say, the views from the windows of all but one room face the train tracks located about 100 feet away. This chummy historic bed and breakfast inn is popular with railfans for whom it is a bucket list destination. The cozy front porch is open for trainspotting day or night. The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site is nearby.
Relax at 4,000 feet high on the edge of the Kilauea volcano crater at Volcano House -- a truly unique experience at this historic hotel located in Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park. Accommodations range from vintage guest rooms to cabins and campsites. Most rooms have views of the caldera. Lights are turned low in the restaurant dining room for better viewing during nighttime volcano activity. The Guava Flow is the hotel bar’s signature cocktail.
Note: Kīlauea volcano is not currently erupting. The most recent eruptive activity took place from September 10-16, 2023, but you can view updates and sign up to receive eruption forecast emails from the U.S. Geological Survey service before you decide to book.
Glamping in a designer tent perched on a canyon rim in Big Water, UT, is probably the comfiest way to experience the serene beauty of this southwest environment. Daytime hiking through the area’s otherworldly red-rock slot canyons, kayaking and paddleboarding on Lake Powell under an endless azure sky, and mountain biking through Grand Staircase offer a "world class view a minute." But nightfall at the Under Canvas Lake Powell - Grand Staircase setting is spectacular. Due to low amounts of light pollution here, you’re able to witness an all-natural light show unlike anything you’ve ever seen outside of a planetarium. As a result, this location of the Under Canvas safari-style lodging camps has been designated the first “DarkSky-Certified Resort” in the world.
All tents have private outside elevated decks. But the best choice for nighttime sky viewing is inside the Stargazer tent option. It has a special night sky viewing window above the king size bed. Hearty fare, including local and vegetarian and vegan entrees, is served in the communal dining tent, with a good selection of wines and local brews, among which is Utah’s Uinta Clear Daze IPA.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a luxurious sanctuary sprawled across two pristine islands in the Indian Ocean’s South Ari Atoll. And if you suddenly fall into a barrel of money one day, you may want to quit your job, pack your bags, and check it out. Lodging options include dozens of different and gorgeously appointed beachside and overwater villas – most with private pools and spacious decks. Spa services and water activities abound. A total of 11 different epicurean dining venues and lounges dot the compound, including a first-of-its-kind, glass enclosed underwater restaurant that provides panoramic coral garden views.
But it’s the underwater master bedroom suite – a domed hideaway 16 feet below the surface – that’s the star attraction. It’s part of the two-story Muraka villa that allows guests to “sleep with the fishes” in style. It’s the only underwater luxury accommodation in the world. The resort is a fave of celebs like Roger Federer and Paul McCartney.
New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Views
The historic Knickerbocker Hotel, opened in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV, is the only five-star hotel located in the heart of Times Square. It’s also the closest you can get to watch the ball drop from the top of the One Times Square building on New Years Eve (150 feet away) while avoiding the mad crush of merrymakers outside. The hotel offers a variety of room and party packages for the event, all of which culminate for SRO festivities ringing in the new year from the hotel’s luxe St. Cloud Rooftop Bar. If you plan a trip here for NYE, you’ll need to make your reservations months in advance.
One of the origin stories of the martini cocktail is that it was invented here in 1911 by the Knickerbocker’s bartender Martini di Taggia, and served to billionaire John D. Rockefeller with equal parts London dry gin and dry vermouth.
With views of jumbo jets taking off and landing so close you can wave to the pilots, the cushy Fairmont Vancouver Airport is the world’s best hotel for planespotting. It’s the only hotel located inside Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and is conveniently situated above the US Departures terminal. Most rooms and suites have direct views of the runways, plus the beautiful North Shore Mountains beyond. All the rooms are heavily soundproofed.
The hotel’s swanky Jetside Lounge has two-story floor-to-ceiling windows for prime cockpit gawking and enjoying delectable snacks and entrees along with a full slate of local and international beers, wines, ciders, and handcrafted zero-proof and classic cocktails. Their Jetside Aviation cocktail, made with 17 Empress Gin, Lemon, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Chamomile Elderflower Foam, is a traveler’s favorite.
This full-board vintage hotel, located 6,000 feet above sea level in Nairobi, is one of the most charming boutique hotels in the world. The stately Giraffe Manor was built in 1931 and is modeled after a Scottish Hunting Lodge. Besides the charming private gardens and the lush indigenous forest beyond, the main views here are of giraffes.
In the 1970s, owners Betty and Jock Melville started a nature sanctuary nearby where a now-successful breeding program was begun to save the vanishing Rothschild’s giraffe. Current giraffe residents of the sanctuary are allowed to wander the protected manor property and the towering, elegant creatures have made a habit of stopping by the breakfast room every morning and popping their heads through the windows for a treat. They also visit with guests outside in the garden at teatime.
Giraffe Manor offers farm-to-table dining in Daisy’s Cafe, full spa services, horseback riding, Nairobi National Park jeep tours, visits to the Giraffe Centre and art galleries nearby.
Unless noted, all photos courtesy of hotels mentioned.
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