Prior to our year of reckless traveling, Mrs. Selfish and I only splurged once on a hotel, staying at the Sofitel Hanoi for our Honeymoon. Otherwise, business as usual was a 3-4 star hotel using sites like hotels.com.
And then I discovered the world of miles and points.
With a bank roll of millions of hotel points, spread out over 5 different hotel programs, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to spend our year abroad in style – hitting up some of the travel hacking community’s go-to destinations.
Here’s the 10 best places we stayed in chronological order. Some are miles and points accessible, though some can only be paid for with cold, hard cash!
Room with a view: Airbnb in Paris
Mrs. Selfish and I spent an amazing 6 weeks in Paris in Montmartre, the same Arrondissement where the movie Amelie takes place. Taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris was something I’ll never forget, and certainly nothing screamed “Paris” quite as much as waking up to a view of the Sacré-Cœur every morning.
Anyone interested in renting the same flat can do so at Airbnb.
The Riad Pachavana: The full Moroccan Experience
Mrs. Selfish and I arrived in Marrakech, disoriented and utterly confused. Marrakech’s old town is maze of twisting streets and Aladdin-style scamming street rats, children who try to get you lost so you’ll pay them to take you to your hotel.
Nevertheless, we quickly succumbed to Marrakech’s charms – especially after staying at the lovely Riad Pachavana, which we saved $150 on thanks to three Expedia BRG coupons.
For more, check out our full post on the Riad Pachavana.
Staying in Protected Palawan: El Nido Resorts
In the Philippines we were fortunate enough to stay at El Nido, located on Palawan – a protected island south west of Manila. Accessible only by a small private plane (max capacity of < 50), El Nido is a beautiful, isolated paradise. Despite being an all-inclusive resort, the food and activities were pretty great. Plus they have a killer happy hour with an amazing view.
For more information on Palawan check out our full trip report.
Best Design: The Intercontinental Danang
For our last 2 nights in Vietnam, I decided to splurge on the Intercontinental Danang, a place where “myth meets legend,” according to their marketing speak. While I’m a little unclear on the myth, the design of the Intercontinental Danang is legendary.
Utterly beautiful (and brand new as of March, 2013), this was probably the most awesome point redemption, with regular rooms starting at 25,000 IHG points a night – or 15,000 + $70.
If you’re planning a trip to Hoi An, I highly recommend a 3-night stay at the Intercontinental Danang. For more information, check out the full review.
Infinity pools forever: the Conrad Koh Samui
The Conrad Koh Samui is probably the first hotel I eagerly anticipated on our Selfish Year. Unlike most hotels, the Conrad Koh Samui’s standard room is a villa with a private infinity pool. A legend on flyertalk, this beauty cost a measly 145,000 Hilton Honors points for 4 nights prior to the great Hilton devaluation. It’s also the first hotel I’ve stayed at where I had no desire to ever leave the room.
For more information on the Conrad Koh Samui, check out our full review.
A slice of old Japan: The Ryokan Sanga
For our trip to Kurokawa Onsen Town, Mrs. Selfish and I wanted to stay in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel. Scanning tripadvisor, I quickly settled on the Ryokan Sanga, an English-friendly Ryokan where you could book a room with your own private onsen. What followed was two amazing nights of kaseki meals, and wi-fi less existence.
For more on Ryokan Sanga, check out our full review!
The Extras are Extravagant at the Park Hyatt Tokyo
For our last 5 nights in Tokyo, I decided to book us in the mother of all redemptions: the Park Hyatt Tokyo. For the grand total of 22,000 Ultimate Rewards points and 4 free nights, Mrs. Selfish and I were set for one of our swankiest stays ever! I even had Mrs. Selfish undergo Hyatt’s Diamond Challenge, so we had temporary diamond status which meant: free access to the sauna, a room upgrade, free room service breakfast, and access to the Diamond Happy Hour in the PHT’s famous NY Bar. So awesome.
For more information on the Park Hyatt Tokyo, check out the full review.
Music to my Ears: the Park Hyatt Sydney
For our last night in Sydney, I jumped on the chance to stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney. Just opposite the Sydney Opera House, the Park Hyatt is a recently renovated masterpiece, with amazing views of the opera house. Thanks to Mrs. Selfish’s temporary diamond status, we even managed to get an upgrade to a deluxe opera room and complimentary breakfast. Boo yeah.
For more on the Park Hyatt Sydney, check out our full review.
Diving head first into the Gorgeous Hilton Bora Bora
With the massive devaluation in Hilton points brewing, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to blow our remaining Hilton points while the getting was good: 195,000 HHonors points later we had 5 nights at the amazing Hilton Bora Bora. Easily the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, the icing on the cake was our very own over water bungalow.
For more on the Hilton Bora Bora, check out our full review.
Hot Tubbing in Queenstown: The Hilton Queenstown
For our final hotel stay on our year-long world wide trip, I booked a room at the Hilton Queenstown. At 20,000 points + $80 a night, Mrs. Selfish and I were upgraded to a relaxation room which came with a fireplace, and outdoor hot tub. Queenstown is a truly gorgeous city, surrounded by snow-capped mountains on every side.
For more on the Hilton Queenstown, check out our full review.
Tomorrow Mrs. Selfish is talking about our favorite meals.
If you missed Mrs. Selfish’s post on our top 20 experiences you can check it out here.