Stephen Travels

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Travel Through Time at Detroit’s Inn on Ferry Street

Inn on Ferry Street, Detroit, MichiganDetroit has seen better days — we all know that. But that doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless case. In fact, it’s one of the most interesting American cities I’ve ever visited. And when I was searching for a place to stay in this Michigan city — one of the best in the United States for architecture, and by far one of the most anthropologically riveting — I decided to opt for something from its grander days rather than a shiny new glass-and-steel hotel. So I took a step back in time and, for four days, I led a semi-Victorian life at the unique Inn on Ferry Street. Read more >

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Ca’ San Rocco: Venice’s Perfect Secret B&B

A substantial number of people who spend more than a day in Venice, Italy, tend to overnight out of town in nearby Mestre — it’s convenient to Venice, and accommodation prices are much more reasonable. But I would not suggest that. If you’ve come all this way to see Venice, stay in Venice. It may cost you more, but the experience and memories will far outweigh your parsimony. And once I decided to forgo a room with a canal view, the financial difference was barely noticeable because I stayed at Ca’ San Rocco, an utterly charming, comfortable, quiet, and affordable bed and breakfast in the heart of Venice. Read more >


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Mediterranean Luxury at Malta’s Hotel Phoenicia

Since it opened in 1947, Hotel Phoenicia has been one of the foremost hotels in the Maltese Islands, and I was fortunate enough to spend a week here during my visit to this Mediterranean archipelago. From the second I arrived to the second I checked out, the entire staff effortlessly provided warm and accommodating service amid the resplendent setting, maintaining a tradition of excellence that has been the hallmark of the Phoenicia for 70 years. Read more about this preeminent hotel >


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Affordable Luxury in the Heart of Tallinn, Estonia

I wanted to stay within the walls of Tallinn, Estonia’s Old Town, a top UNESCO Heritage Site, but a bit removed from the tourist bull’s-eye of Raekoja plats (Town Hall Square). Upon my first glance at the Savoy Boutique Hotel, I knew I had found what I was searching for: a surprisingly affordable luxury hotel in a perfect location with an enviable list of amenities and services. Read more >


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Rejuvenate Yourself at Casa Calma Wellness Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Casa Calma Wellness Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The outside of Casa Calma, in the heart of Argentina’s capital, left me wondering if the place was still open. Decrepit, fairly ugly, and covered in untamed vegetation, the hotel appeared to have been abandoned years ago. When I walked through the front door, however, things instantly changed and just got better and better over the next 48 hours. By the time I checked out two days later, I was most definitely calm and well. Read more >


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Do Everything — or Nothing — at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Florida

Innisbrook, Palm Harbor, FloridaWhile visiting cousins on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I needed to stay somewhere equidistant to Palm Harbor and Dunedin. All I wanted was someplace convenient, not too expensive, and simple. During my search, I discovered Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort, perfectly situated between my relatives’ homes and surprisingly affordable, but this resort, home to a prestigious PGA tournament, was anything but simple. Read more >


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Vicksburg’s Baer House Inn: Refinement and Comfort — and an Irresistible History

Baer House Inn, Vicksburg, MississippiMy interest in the past is always piqued whenever I travel in the Deep South, where everything seems to drip with history like Spanish moss off a Southern live oak tree. So when I chose to stay at the Baer House Inn in Vicksburg, Mississippi, I knew I would be lodged in refined and comfortable accommodations in the heart of a city brimming with all kinds of references to yore, from its rough-and-tumble era with rampant gambling and prostitution that would ultimately give birth to the term “kangaroo court” to its pivotal role in the Civil War. What I didn’t expect, however, was the utterly engrossing story of the Baer House itself and how one very spirited daughter of Jewish immigrants got her ultimate revenge on her wealthy, controlling mother. Read more >