Eight Unique Places To Stay On Vacation

You'll want to save your vacation days for these hot spots

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feed a giraffe from your window or wake up in a hammock 20 feet above the ground? Wonder no more because you can absolutely experience both those things if you're willing to travel a bit. Here are eight of the most interesting and exciting accommodations on the planet:

Dine amongst giraffes

Don't mind me, just here for a snack

Giraffe Manor, part of The Safari Collection in Nairobi, Kenya, is a boutique hotel situated on 12 acres of verdant private land inside a 140-acre forest. Rothschild giraffes roam freely across the property and it's not unusual to find one poking its head inside a room through the window in search of a treat. The giraffes join you for breakfast, and you can feed them straight from your table, or take a guided walk across the beautiful sanctuary and admire the elegant creatures from afar.

A five-star birds-eye view

Have you booked your stay yet?

They don't mess around at Lion Sands Game Reserve in South Africa's Kruger National Park; their tree houses are the embodiment of a bucket list experience. The wall-less "rooms" contain cushy chairs, a four-poster bed sporting gauzy mosquito netting, and an elegantly set table all atop polished wooden floorboards. The breathtaking view of the savannah from your little piece of paradise will keep you transfixed for hours as you slowly drink in the splendor of Mother Nature. Concerned about facilities? Don't worry – there is a shower and a bathroom en suite. After a night sleeping out under the stars you can choose from an adventurous safari or bliss out at their five-star spa. If you're a glamping fan, you'll dig this unbelievable reserve.

Precious metal = precious memories

Serenity now

It's not balmy, but what it lacks in core temperature it makes up for in "cool" factor. The Sala Silvermine has a suite almost 500 feet underground in an old silver mine. If you're keen on "getting away from it all," look no further: no phone or internet service will interrupt the hushed reverie of being so far beneath the earth. While the mine itself remains in the 30-degree range year-round, your hotel room will be heated to a bearable 65 degrees and there are plenty of thick blankets heaped on your bed. There's a toilet accessible from the room so you don't have to travel up to ground level for a bathroom break in the middle of the night, but you'll have to shower upstairs before retiring for the evening.

Chill factor

Bring your long johns for this one

Test your mettle and stay overnight in the ICEHOTEL of Sweden where you'll sleep under reindeer hides in a thermal sleeping bag, albeit in negative 40-degree temps. Each suite is a shimmering work of art, painstakingly carved by a hand-chosen artist and filled with unique ice sculptures illuminated by tastefully placed lighting. If you're keen to spend a frosty night snuggled in your cozy sleeping bag but aren't thrilled with the idea of literally chilling out in such harsh cold before bed, the Johka suite offers a heated relaxation room adjacent to your quarters. The hotel also offers "warm" quarters for those excited to see - but not sleep in – the arctic hotel. Pop by the ICEBAR for a cold drink served atop ice from the local Torne River or warm up in one of their many saunas.

Riding high

This treehouse is for the birds...and people

You'll sleep like a baby in one of Free Spirit's spherical tree houses. Set deep in the coastal rainforest of Vancouver Island in Canada, these eco-friendly orbs afford you a view normally only enjoyed by birds. Choose from Eryn, Luna, or Melody, each with its own special theme. The tree houses are all heated and contain sleeping accommodations, a fridge, and a small table, as well as speakers for guests who enjoy being surrounded by music. There's nothing quite as beautiful as relaxing in a tranquil forest canopy with nothing but your own thoughts.

Cave of wonder

The original sustainable living quarters

Cappadocia, Turkey, is best known for its so-called "fairy chimneys," formed after thousands of years of water and wind eroded ash that had solidified into rock after a particularly harsh volcanic eruption in the area. These natural structures can rise over 100 feet into the sky, and their nickname was coined as a nod to their spindly stature. Along with the area's natural splendor, human-made wonders abound: Cappadocia is also home to an intricate network of man-made caves underground and dug into the rock formations. Private owners occupy many of the caves, but the Fairy Chimney Inn is your opportunity to experience a night inside one of these ancient residences. Originally created as a hidden Byzantine cave monastery, this 1500-year-old structure now features kilim rugs and local art on the craggy walls of the guest rooms. You'll love settling into this rugged yet charming hotel after a long day of hot air ballooning or exploring the natural beauty just outside your doorstep.

In da house

You may want to add a few extra days to really enjoy this retreat

The Udang House in the Bambu Indah boutique hotel is a luxurious suite decorated in traditional Balinese style: intricate hand-carved furniture, rough-hewn walls leading up to high ceilings with exposed beams, and of course, a four-poster bed with sheer mosquito netting. What sets this restful space apart are glass floors revealing a babbling brook flowing underneath the structure. The stream feeds the sustainable and eco-friendly swimming pool available for use nearby. Take a dip and enjoy the chlorine-free water under an azure Indonesian sky.

The princess without a pea

Princess Kate would feel right at home here

You may not have the opportunity to marry into royalty, but you can still live like a king or queen for a night at the Dalhousie Castle Hotel. This 700-year-old masterwork was once prime lodging for the Scottish Ramsey Clan's royal guests. (Famed visitors include Queen Victoria and King Edward I.) Each lux room is decorated with period furniture and Scottish fabrics and the hotel spared no expense when it came to bed and bedding quality. Rest assured that if royalty were to stay there today, they'd have nothing but praise for their experience. Happily, you don't have to have a prestigious bloodline to stay here, just a pretty hefty bank account.

If you've got a bad case of wanderlust, make sure you add these fantastical accommodations to your bucket list. What's the point of traveling somewhere new if it's not going to blow your mind?

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Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!

Travel Tips

8 of the Best Donut Spots In the United States

Celebrate National Donut Day with our favorite treats across the country.

November 5th marks one of 2020's two National Donut Days.

Occurring in both June and November, National Donut Day allows fans of those delectable yeasty treats to embrace their sweet tooth. But like any niche food group, people often take their donuts very, very seriously, and there are countless places to get your fix.

Below, we've rounded up some of the best donut spots across the country. From coast to coast, these bakeries are sure to impress even the pickiest donut-heads.

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop – Modesto, CA

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop

If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's worth taking a short trek out east towards Modesto for some of California's best donuts. Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop has remained family owned since its opening over 30 years ago, providing both tried-and-true classic donuts as well as experimental flavors and holiday specials. Even their 24-hour service doesn't diminish the line that trails out the door most mornings.

Dough — New York, NY

Dough \u2014 New York, NY

Donuts might not be the first circular, doughy treat you think of when it comes to New York City. If you've had your fair share of bagels, the Big Apple also boasts some spectacular donuts at Dough, a go-to spot for both tourists and locals alike. Here, you'll find a host of Latin American-inspired flavors that are hard to come by anywhere else; their Dulce de Leche flavor is a customer favorite, while the tangy Hibiscus donut is just as good for Instagramming as it is for eating.

Blackbird Doughnuts — Boston, MA

Blackbird Doughnuts \u2014 Boston, MA

Boston's Blackbird Doughnuts is a no-frills donut spot specializing in both brioche "raised" donuts and old-fashioned cake donuts. With a small menu of year-round donuts and a rotating cast of seasonal flavors, Blackbird keeps it simple and classic. Why mess around?

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop — Brooklyn, NY

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop \u2014 Brooklyn, NY

For over 60 years, Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop has been calling the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint home. Since then, the bakery has remained a popular spot for both regulars and new visitors passing through the area. Here, you won't find uber-trendy decor or gimmicky recipes, just damn good donuts that prove the power of long-standing local businesses.

Pip’s Original — Portland, OR

Pip\u2019s Original \u2014 Portland, OR

In both their mobile catering van and brick-and-mortar locations, Pip's Original is a staple for small, sweet treats in Portland. They're known for their tiny donuts that come in inventive seasonal flavors like marionberry-lavender and mango ghost pepper. But even if you opt for one of the more traditional flavors, Pip's Original proves good things can come in small packages.

Round Rock Donuts — Round Rock, TX

Round Rock Donuts \u2014 Round Rock, TX

Founded in 1926, Round Rock Donuts—located just north of Austin—are impossible to miss. These donuts' distinct yellow-orange color, caused by fresh eggs in the original recipe, make them stand out among the crowd. While this classic outpost can easily churn out hundreds of dozens of donuts a day, they also offer Texas-Sized Donuts, which are just as ginormous as you'd imagine. Round Rock Donuts are not only delicious and easily recognizable, but they're a slice of Lone Star history.

The Holy Donut — Portland, ME

The Holy Donut \u2014 Portland, ME

In Maine's Portland, you might not find tiny donuts or a decked-out catering van, but you will find a slightly healthier alternative. The Holy Donut was founded on the premise of creating tasty donuts that used all-natural ingredients to make a treat you could feel good about eating. The secret ingredient is fresh, mashed Maine potatoes, which make these donuts delectably moist without sacrificing flavor.

Donut Friend — Los Angeles, CA

Donut Friend \u2014 Los Angeles, CA

As expected of a city so focused on entertainment, Los Angeles' Donut Friend puts an edgy spin on their inventive donut flavors. Their year-round menu features donut flavors with names like Green Teagan and Sara, Fudgegazi, and Bacon-182 that are sure to delight the rock music nerds. For everyone else, the delicious donuts speak for themselves.