When I plan a vacation, I always try to find a hotel that offers more than a place to sleep. I want my hotel to add to the experience.

I’ve been fortunate to stay in some wonderful hotels. Yesterday I shared my very favorite hotel experience, Thornbury Castle Hotel in England.

Here are the other 4 hotels that make my favorites list.

In no particular order…they are all so different that it is really hard to compare them.

1. San Pedro, Belize: Ramon’s Village Resort

Ramon's Village Resort - beach signBeach side entrance to Ramon’s Village

Ramon’s Village Resort in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, was a fabulous place to stay. It’s close enough to walk to town, many restaurants and bars and even the small airport. All of the pathways and roads are sand, and the staff delivers and picks up your luggage via golf cart since it’s a pain to drag through the sand.

Ramon’s is also the only hotel in this part of the island that has a good beach and private chairs. Someday I will go back, and I will definitely stay at Ramon’s again.

Ramon's Village Resort - resort

Garden Rooms and TownhousesRamon's Village Resort - beach and massage hut

Outdoor Massage Hut (left) with Outdoor Lounge Palapa (center)
Ramon's Village Resort - beach view

Ramon’s Village beach viewRamon's Village Resort - beach hammock

Ramon’s reserved beach chairs and hammock hut
Ramon's Village Resort - pool

Ramon’s swimming pool
Ramon's Village Resort - outdoor lounge

Great place to relax in the evening with water viewRamon's Village Resort - villa room

Ramon’s villa roomRamon's Village Resort - view from balcony

Villa room balcony viewRamon's Village Resort - room

Villa room with palapa roofRamon's Village Resort - room sitting areaVilla room sitting area and bathroom

2. Merida, Mexico: Hotel Casa Lucia

Hotel Casa Lucia - front 2Hotel Casa Lucia

A few years ago I visited Merida, Mexico. Merida is unlike any other part of Mexico I’ve visited. It is an inland city about 3 hours by car west of Cancun. It is the cultural center of Mexico, and you are surrounded by history everywhere you go so staying in a historic hotel was perfect. I loved that this hotel had cubbies for you to leave your rather large, old-fashioned room keys at the front desk whenever you went out. I felt like I was in an old western movie.

I loved everything about the hotel, including the free breakfast that let you order off a menu, the window shutters you closed in your room at night and the convenient location in town making it easy to walk everywhere.

I actually stayed here with my Mom, but I’ve never stayed in a more romantic and beautiful hotel.

Hotel Casa Lucia - front lobbyCasa Lucia entrance
Hotel Casa Lucia - courtyard 1Casa Lucia has just a handful of rooms on 2 floorsHotel Casa Lucia - poolCasa Lucia swimming pool and outdoor seating areaHotel Casa Lucia - room 1Casa Lucia room

3. Playa del Carmen, Mexico: La Tortuga Hotel & Spa

La Tortuga Hotel - night view

La Tortuga Hotel & Spa at night

I’ve been to Mexico a number of times, and Playa del Carmen is my favorite location. I stayed at La Tortuga Hotel which breaks my pattern of choosing Mexican all-inclusive hotels. Playa has such a vibrant town and so many great restaurants that it would be a shame to stay at a hotel where you had to eat all of your meals. La Tortuga isn’t on the beach, but it’s just a 5 minute walk to get there and you can use just about any resort’s beach chairs as long as you buy some drinks.

I absolutely loved everything about this hotel. The location is an easy walk to everything you want to do and the setting is beautiful. When we arrived, we were given a really tiny room. After one night, we asked to get moved to another room. The first room just wasn’t big enough for 3 people. The staff was accommodating and showed us a few options. When we saw the room with the balcony, we decided it was worth paying just a little more. The next time I go back, I’ll happily stay here again.

And if I was on a romantic holiday, I would definitely pick this hotel.

La Tortuga Hotel - poolPeaceful quiet settingLa Tortuga Hotel - pool and seating area

La Tortuga has several small seating areas around the pool offering tons of privacyLa Tortuga Hotel - double roomLa Tortuga 3rd floor room with balcony

La Tortuga Hotel - balconyLa Tortuga balcony…worth every pennyLa Tortuga Hotel - pool view from balconyView from 3rd floor room at La Tortuga

4. Indianapolis, Indiana: Nestle Inn

Nestle Inn - Indianapolis B&BNestle Inn

I love the idea of staying at bed & breakfast inns. The first two B&B’s I stayed at were ok, but both had drawbacks to them keeping them from becoming a favorite. Last month, I tried again and hit the gold mine with Nestle Inn.

This B&B is located in the best area you could want to stay in Indianapolis, known as the Mass Ave theater and arts district. The owners live in a carriage house behind the B&B, so they are accessible anytime you need them by phone but also stay out of your way, making it almost feel like you area staying in a house you rented. While the room wasn’t decorated fancy or with antique pieces, it was much bigger than what I’ve come to expect at a B&B. Of course, I was staying in the suite…so I’m sure that made a difference.

Nestle Inn - 2nd floor family roomNestle Inn 2nd floor family roomNestle Inn - libraryNestle Inn – main floor library
Nestle Inn - suite bedroom area
Nestle Inn suite king size bedNestle Inn - suite fireplace Nestle Inn’s suite fireplaceNestle Inn - suite claw foot tubNestle Inn suite has a bathroom with claw foot tub and separate shower

Read my recent article on the Nestle Inn…

Have you stayed in a great hotel that isn’t ordinary?

Share your favorites in the comments below.