New Zealand has long been on my bucket list, so when the opportunity to spend a night in Auckland presented itself, I jumped on it.
Although I would have liked to stay longer than 24 hours, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Park Hyatt Auckland. Given the property’s modern feel and its relatively cheap cost in points, I’ll absolutely be returning.
There aren’t that many Park Hyatts in the world; fewer than 50 are either open or being built. The Park Hyatt Auckland is a great deal when it comes to these top luxury properties.
As a World of Hyatt Category 5 hotel, a night here can cost as few as 17,000 Hyatt points at off-peak times. I spent 20,000 points for a standard night. The room I booked would have cost just over $400 in cash.
If you have Globalist elite status with Hyatt, you might get upgraded when you visit, as I did. Although the hotel was almost fully booked, I was able to score an upgrade to the best-available room, which featured a harbor view and a balcony.
The Park Hyatt Auckland levies additional charges on payments made with credit or debit cards. In this case, I would have paid a 2% surcharge if I hadn’t used points to book.
The Park Hyatt Auckland is centrally located on the city’s famous harbor. Several shops, boats, cafes and more are within walking distance, making it a great option for those without a car.
My room was ready when I arrived at the hotel just after noon, a few hours before standard check-in time. It looked to be among the first they’d cleaned, and I was thrilled not to have to wait around in the lobby, even though it looked very sleek.
The room included state-of-the-art features such as automated window shades and external screens on the balcony. And the view was incredible.
The room featured one large king bed, a separate table with a chair, and a seating area.
There was also a paid minibar at the entrance, though I didn’t partake.
The large balcony had a nice table with a couple of chairs, though the low height meant staring through the fencing, which was awkward.
Inside the walk-in closet were a pair of robes and slippers, which I used while in the room.
However, the most remarkable feature was the bathroom, which was separated into two distinct areas.
The first area was a stand-alone powder room with its own sink and a toilet, while the main bathroom featured a huge soaking tub, two marble sinks and a shower.
Toiletries in the bathroom were by Citron and Vetiver. I don’t often use hotel toiletries, as I find the quality pretty low (even at really nice hotels), but these smelled nice and were good enough to detangle my hair.
I spent the majority of my time in Auckland in the room, catching up on work, so I deeply appreciated the chocolate bar left on the bed.
A few minutes after I arrived, I was also surprised with a welcome amenity of Pavlovas with cream and lemon curd. It also included two additional bottles of water.
I’m not ashamed to say these freebies constituted my dinner for the evening, especially since the Park Hyatt Auckland doesn’t have its own executive lounge.
Food and beverage
Globalist members and their guests receive complimentary breakfast at Hyatt hotels, either in the club lounge or the hotel’s restaurant. As there was no club lounge, instead I enjoyed breakfast at Onemata, the hotel’s signature restaurant.
Globalist members are entitled to both the breakfast buffet and an entree from the menu, as well as hot drinks.
Breakfast hours vary based on the day:
Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
I’ll admit, I went a little wild.
The buffet wasn’t huge, but it included high-quality items such as:
Burrata with tomatoes.
When was the last time your local breakfast buffet came with kiwifruit, a caprese salad, avocado toast and locally produced chocolate milk? I rate this one a 10 out of 10.
I also ordered eggs Benedict from the main menu, but didn’t end up eating much of it. I blame the chocolate milk.
The hotel also has a few other dining options, including a lobby bar and a quick-service spot:
The Living Room: Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Pantry: Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., or 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., depending on the day of the week.
Captain’s Bar: Open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight, depending on the day of the week.
The Living Room, which is essentially a lobby bar, looked like a great place to take in the view over drinks.
Otherwise, Onemata is also open for lunch and dinner.
The pool area isn’t huge, as you’d see at a resort hotel, but that’s expected given that you’re in the middle of a city. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with its great view.
The pool area is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
For those looking to get in a workout, the hotel gym is open 24 hours and has a wide range of equipment, including treadmills, free weights and resistance machines.
How to get to the Park Hyatt Auckland
New Zealand is an interesting beast when it comes to flights. It’s decently connected to the U.S. with nonstop flights operated by Air New Zealand, United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and more.
If you’re looking to travel with points or miles, one solid option is using Virgin Atlantic points to fly on Air New Zealand. A one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Auckland costs 62,500 Virgin points. Although these seats can be hard to find, Virgin Atlantic points are easy to earn compared with other airline award currencies. They’re transfer partners with the following points programs at a 1:1 ratio:
The Park Hyatt Auckland is located about 13 miles from Auckland’s airport. Trains from the airport into the city stop a little over a half-mile from the hotel, but I opted to take a rideshare since I had luggage with me. The ride took about half an hour and cost around $35.
If you’re looking to stay at the Park Hyatt Auckland
I spent just over 24 hours at the Park Hyatt Auckland, and I was very impressed overall. Although I didn’t manage to snag a suite upgrade, the modern amenities and generous breakfast made it well worth my while.
Coupled with the incredible location and reasonable cost in points, this is one property I’ll be happy to revisit.
(Top photo courtesy of Hyatt)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
In today’s modern world, the house goals of yesteryear are a distant memory.
Long gone are the days of window shutters, oversized crystal chandeliers, multiple small rooms, intricate designs, wrought-iron railings, small windows, and large porches with overhanging beams.
Modern mansions favor simple and clean designs with open spaces.
While traditional mansions offer intricate and elegant details, today’s luxury homes feature straight lines, geometric shapes, a flat or low-sloped roof, and clean exteriors with little to no texture.
Luxurious homes of the past featured building materials such as brick, wood, plaster, stucco, and stone. Meanwhile, contemporary mansions favor newer, more technologically-advanced building materials including reinforced steel and concrete.
And windows, lots and lots of floor-to-ceiling windows.
Sophisticated smart homes are all the rage, as are connected outdoor spaces, white rooms and simple color palettes, open floor plans, glass walls allowing for ample natural light, green features, security settings, and the utmost privacy.
While traditional mansions typically featured a number of small, single-purpose rooms, modern floor plans include seamless open-ended spaces.
After all, one cannot be confined to small spaces while living that luxurious lifestyle!
A closer look at 18 of our favorite modern mansions
When it comes to stunning estates, we’ve got you covered.
From wraparound pools featuring panoramic views to glass walls for days, to dream chef kitchens, to seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces, we’re taking a look at 18 modern mansions that have knocked our socks off.
And we think you’ll (really, really) like them too.
A Marc Whipple-designed modern mansion with a wraparound pool
Designed by acclaimed architect Marc Whipple, this massive 11,200-square-foot home in Beverly Hills is quite a stunner.
Offering six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and two half baths, the multi-million dollar manse features disappearing walls of glass, so that its residents can enjoy the stunning views from each and every room.
Speaking of views, they’re completely unobstructed, with downtown Los Angeles, Catalina Island, and the coastline on full display. Those lovely landscapes can be seen from the home’s stunning wraparound pool.
Other luxurious amenities include a movie theater, a secret Zen garden, gym, guest house, glass wine cellar, gated driveway, and an outdoor kitchen.
This Beverly Hills manse had its moment of fame a few years back, when it was rented by Rockstar hitmaker Post Malone. It was later listed for sale with a whopping $26 million asking price.
A breathtaking Hollywood mega mansion with museum-quality energy crystals throughout
Built in 2021, this mega mansion is located in the heart of Hollywood.
Boasting panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and the canyon, the home offers six beds, nine baths, and nearly 10,365 square feet of living space.
The sophisticated smart home features museum-quality crystals sourced from around the world and placed with extraordinary care throughout to energetically enhance the residence.
Offering double-height ceilings and incredible indoor/ outdoor living spaces, the California compound also includes a custom home theater, fitness center, wine cellar, second living room and all the finest custom finishes.
Setting a new gold standard for Southern California living, the picturesque backyard — which is front row to the city and canyons — features a beautiful sparkling pool/spa, a built-in BBQ area, and a grassy green lawn.
See more of this unique Hollywood mega-mansion here.
A striking $150M modern mansion in Bel-Air with 360-degree views
This beautiful home in Bel-Air has all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern mansion (and then some).
Designed by award-winning architecture and design firm, Saota, the private compound is perched on a promontory high above the city — opening up to unobstructed, 360-degree views of Los Angeles.
Set on a 1.15-acre lot, the swanky crib offers nine bedrooms and fourteen baths spread across 20,841 square feet.
Some of the luxury amenities include an infinity pool with a secluded cabana and pool-side sunken fire pit, three separate staff quarters, and a one-bedroom guest house with a separate, private pool.
This magnificent manse was owned by George Ruan, co-founder of online coupon-clipping company Honey (now part of Paypal).
The Razor House in San Diego, the real-life Iron Man house
The one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece known as The Razor House was designed in 2007 by San Diego-based architect Wallace E. Cunningham.
The striking concrete and glass mansion — dubbed ‘the Iron Man house’ due to its resemblance to Tony Stark’s mansion in the famous Marvel movie — is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Offering endless concrete terraces, the stunning estate has mesmerizing views of surrounding hills and the ocean below.
Featuring several outdoor lounge areas, the luxurious three-story home comes with six bedrooms and six baths, with nearly every room opening up to jaw-dropping views.
In 2019, Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz bought The Razor House in a $20.8 million deal.
Villa Vella, one of Europe’s finest contemporary homes
Spanish dream house, anyone?
Dubbed Villa Vela, this sprawling 23,476-square-foot property is located in the sun-bathed province of Andalusia, Spain.
Sitting behind its own gates, at the end of a sweeping driveway, Villa Vela offers a total of six bedrooms and six baths.
The posh property has been designed to be free-flowing and, as such, has an open plan, including floor-to-ceiling retracting windows that open directly onto a terrace that stretches from one end of the house to the other.
Not to mention, each of the suites has its own outdoor space, and they also all connect directly to the vast upper terrace, its lawn, garden, and dining area, and benefit from breathtaking views.
A futuristic, yacht-shaped mansion perched high atop the Los Angeles hills
This 17,000-square-foot modern residential oasis in the upscale LA neighborhood of Brentwood is redefining luxury living.
Southern California-based architectural firm de Loren & Associates purposefully designed the building by superior wellness standards, without sacrificing on design but rather adding to it.
Inspired by the clean lines and interior spatial layouts of yachts paired with the motion of the sea, the curving exterior facades are reminiscent of ocean waves, wind, and clouds that make not only for an exhilarating lifestyle but also appealing to the eye.
The modern mansion boasts seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and three powder rooms across three levels.
Featuring a massive list of upscale amenities, the beautiful Brentwood home offers a 610-bottle wine cellar, commercial speed glass elevator, movie theater, state-of-the-art gym, a 300 sq. ft. green wall, and a lower-level entertainment area with a full bar, pool table and more.
And there’s plenty of room for Stormi and Wolf to explore! Turns out, this luxurious residence is owned by none other than rapper Travis Scott.
A newly-built Encino mansion with bright, airy, and warm interiors
We can’t get enough of this amenity-rich mansion with modern interiors and a killer guest house.
The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom Encino home offers 9,081 square feet of living space enclosed within a private, gated estate with surrounding landscape.
The stunning estate is a beautiful example of modern California living, with picture-perfect interiors, exquisite finishes, jetliner views, and plenty of attractive amenities.
Featuring warm wood tones, the large windows and Fleetwood doors open up to unobstructed views and plenty of natural light.
The carefully thought-out finishes give the home a modern vibe that extends into the bedrooms as well. The second level of this luxury Encino home has four bedrooms, including the master suite, which walks out to a 1,200-square-foot balcony with a fire table.
Naturally, this wonderful modern manse caught the eye of a famous buyer; it’s now owned by Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita.
A modern 4-story house facing one of the most beautiful coastal shorelines in all of California
We love this modern mansion set in the most desirable area of Manhattan Beach, The Strand, an oceanfront neighborhood lined with modern-looking mansions that typically sell in the $5 million to $15 million range.
Spanning 6,978 square feet of modern living space, the home offers six bedrooms and eight baths.
Designed by renowned L.A. studio KAA Design, this four-story home was envisioned around life, in all its texture, at the beach.
Rather than cluster sleeping areas on a single floor, they’re strategically spaced across the four levels, with the third floor being home to a primary suite with a private office that’s luxuriously sequestered in the style of a penthouse.
The private elevator takes residents and guests down to the beach room, which is level with the Strand itself, and lounge on the patio, front row to a peaceful scene of sea, sand, and sky.
Read more about this beautiful modern mansion here.
A $70M contemporary marvel that reimagines luxury living for the 21st century
Located in the coveted Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, this modern mansion is what happens when a star-studded team consisting of award-winning architect Noah Walker, AD 100 interior designer, Jamie Bush, and renowned landscape designer, Christine London LTD comes together.
Spanning 19,000 square feet, this beautiful abode is set on a sprawling four-acre lot and offers six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms alongside many recreation rooms.
The plush property has 270-degree views of the city, ocean, and canyon, and a long list of amenities that include a theater room — with acoustical wall paneling and a commercial cinema-quality projection system — a gym with a steam room, a 75-foot indoor lap pool, outdoor architectural pool and dual offices.
We first covered this luxurious contemporary home when it first came to market last year with an ambitious asking price of $70 million.
Just a few months later, it was purchased by music mogul Scooter Braun (better known as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s manager, and Taylor Swift‘s manager-turned-foe) for $65 million.
The Ora House in San Diego, where contemporary architecture meets serene living
In the hilly, seaside neighborhood of La Jolla in San Diego, a modern cliffside mansion has all the dream house vibes.
Built by Blue Heron’s BH Elite custom home division, the Ora House, as the property has been named, is a true architectural marvel.
The stellar design team incorporated the same innovative biophilic design and advanced Savant technology used in Blue Heron’s flagship home, VM001 in Las Vegas, to “enhance the flow of life while creating an overall sense of peace and natural wellbeing.”
The cliffside estate is set in La Jolla’s exclusive Bird Rock Waterfront enclave and totals 8,878 square feet of living space.
The architectural marvel has five bedrooms and eight baths across its four levels, with each level embracing the outdoors with spaces tailored for both entertaining and private moments.
A striking celebrity compound with a modern heptagon-shaped house
Check out this contemporary compound in La Crescenta, Calif.
Designed by AD100 architect Michael Maltzan, this dramatic, heptagon-shaped house has spaceship vibes, is surrounded by seven exterior walls (some made out of glass), and is anchored by an open-air courtyard that sits right at the center.
Nearly all the rooms of the house come with sliding floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to either the serene courtyard or beautiful mountain and city skyline views.
Some of the stand-out features of the modern mansion include a primary suite with an entire wall of glass that opens up to a generously sized balcony and a particularly unique bathroom with a blue curved penny-tiled wall surrounding the shower.
This unique home was owned by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Michael Peter Balzary, known professionally as Flea.
A $25 million Napa Valley glass house with killer views
Surrounded by over 40 acres of lush grounds set amidst California’s world-class wine country, this striking architectural home goes by the name of Karinya.
The highly suitable moniker originates from the Australian aboriginal culture and is simply translated as “peaceful home.”
Built in 2017, the stunning estate is nestled in the small community of Deer Park right next to St. Helena in Napa County.
Spanning 8,837 square feet, the impressive residence was built with natural materials, a deep connection to the valley’s views, and a design that boasts both beauty and luxury.
Not a detail is spared at Karinya, with many luxurious features such as endless walls of glass, a 2,000-bottle wine room, and an acoustically-designed media/ theater room.
Fitting a modern dream house, it also comes with a detailed smart home system with mobile phone control access that controls the music, air conditioning, security and programmable LED recessed lighting in 11 separate zones and a fire sprinkler system.
See more of this lovely Napa Valley home here.
A modern mansion that was once featured in the Oscar-winning “La La Land” movie
Set in the popular Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, this modern mansion offers an impressive cutting-edge design.
The six-bedroom home wows with its soaring ceilings and walls of glass that bring the outdoors in.
Complete with an infinity pool and spa (with a cascading waterfall) and a nifty pool/guest house with a sundeck for outdoor entertainment, the home is peppered with outdoor spots to relax and enjoy the lovely Cali weather.
In case you’re getting a strong sense of deja vu, this beautiful home was featured in the popular film, La La Land.
As the story goes, Mia (played by Emma Stone) and her friends attend a lavish party hoping to meet influential people in the business and finally get their lucky break.
You guessed it, this memorable movie scene was filmed at this gorgeous Los Angeles estate.
A celebrity chef’s former home with a massive kitchen anchored by a 24-foot stone island
Located in the coveted Via Bluffs enclave of Pacific Palisades, this modern mansion spans 6,500 square feet of luxurious living.
Offering massive sliding windows that open up to beautiful views of Potrero Canyon and beyond, the sumptuous five-bedroom, five-bathroom home is filled with natural light streaming in from the surrounding floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, while the skylights pour even more light onto the main and top floors.
The Pacific Palisades property also flaunts features like a dual-faced fireplace, a nearly 24-foot kitchen island, and a distinct living room that’s pouring out onto the outside deck overlooking the pool.
A large open-layout living area is anchored by an impressive dream kitchen.
This beautiful home was once owned by celebrity chef, Everyday Italian, and Giada At Home star Giada de Laurentiis.
A beautiful modern mansion tucked in the Hollywood Hills
Built in 2019, this Marc Whipple-designed home is a true Hollywood gem.
Located on the glamorous Sunset Strip, in the Hollywood Hills West neighborhood of Los Angeles, this home oozes that clean-lined modernist approach, while still offering warmth and comfort.
The posh property incorporates five bedrooms, six bathrooms, as well as two half-bathrooms, all with breathtaking views spreading from the Hollywood sign right to the Pacific Ocean.
The main entrance offers an open-concept kitchen and three terraces that total 5,000 additional square feet of outdoor living space.
And, the middle level features a second living room and a luxurious ‘floating glass box’ master suite.
All the bedrooms offer easy access to the infinity pool, which provides stunning views of the surroundings and a perfect setting to enjoy summer nights and sunsets in complete privacy.
A Malibu gem that’s often rented to high-profile celebrities
This Malibu celeb magnet is the epitome of indoor-outdoor Cali living, featuring large glass walls that seamlessly blend the interior with the grounds.
Perched above the Pacific Ocean, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,100-square-foot Malibu mansion is every bit the modern gem.
It’s the perfect property for entertaining, as it includes an infinity pool with fabulous ocean views, a spa, and a fire pit.
The entertainment continues inside, as the house includes not one, but three indoor fireplaces, as well as a media room, making sure you stay entertained throughout the entire year.
Amenities include everything you could possibly need, from in-unit laundry and air conditioning to five parking spaces, an outdoor patio, and a cabana.
The house not only rents out to celebrities such as Matthew Perry, Cardi B, and Taraji P. Henson, but it’s also owned by one.
Betty Moon, a celebrated Los Angeles musician, songwriter and producer, currently owns the plush property which she recently renovated before listing it for rent.
An impeccably designed modern mansion that embraces indoor-outdoor living
Located in the upscale neighborhood Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, this three-story home was designed and built by renowned developer/designer duo David and Eliana Rokach.
This multi-million dollar mansion offers a sprawling 13,543 square feet of modern living space and packs nine bedrooms and twelve bathrooms.
Boasting unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Canyon, the stunning estate offers an open-concept living/dining room finished in a chic, contemporary style.
The living room features custom-made electronic sliding steel doors that open to a beautiful outdoor area, which features a barbecue area, a grassy backyard, and an infinity-edge swimming pool opening up to views for miles.
A modern hillside lair with canyon views
Situated in Los Angeles’ coveted Brentwood neighborhood, this hillside lair with expansive living spaces, eco-friendly details, and ultra-high-end finishes gives us serious dream house goals.
The main entrance features a Japanese-imported Yakisugi front door and bonsai adorned atrium that leads to the open-concept living space.
Here, a chic palette of luxurious stone and reflective glass is accented by unique designer details, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide natural light throughout the day.
Offering sweeping views of the canyon, the four-bedroom home comes equipped with the latest technology for entertainment, comfort, and sustainability.
This includes a full automation system, Lutron Solar System lighting, home theater and surround sound from Bang & Olufsen, a home gym, and much more.
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United Airlines’ Denver hub is getting a big face-lift.
Not only is the airline adding stunning new gates with Instagram-worthy bathroom areas, but it’s also debuting three new and revamped lounges in the coming months.
It all starts this summer with the opening of a new club in the A-West concourse, between gates A25 and A27. This will become United’s first lounge in Denver’s A concourse. It’ll also be a major upgrade for flyers leaving from this pier since you’ll no longer need to take the train just to use a lounge.
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Then, later this summer, United will reopen the B-East club, which has been closed for the past few months for renovations. Once complete, it’ll become the largest club in the network, spanning a whopping 36,500 square feet.
Once the B-East club opens, United will close the existing B-West club and renovate it in a similar style to its other club in Concourse B, with completion scheduled for 2024. United will then build a Polaris lounge in Denver, but that’s still a couple of years away.
When all is said and done, United will have over 100,000 square feet of club space in Denver, including its novel Club Fly concept. But the improvements aren’t just about a bigger footprint.
Each new club will be designed to reflect the Mile High City and Colorado, and there’s a lot to get excited about. Don’t believe me? Come along for a first-look hard-hat tour of the new A-West club.
United’s A-West club will feature a two-story layout — one of the few lounges in the network to span multiple levels.
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Once you take the escalator up to the reception area, you’ll find touchless entry gates that will let you into the lounge. From there, it’s your choice as to whether you’d like to hang out on the first or second level.
Both will offer fantastic views of the concourse and tarmac, as well as copious amounts of natural light. The lounge’s west-facing window seats are sure to be the most popular during Denver’s dramatic sunsets over the Colorado Rockies.
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The new A-West lounge will measure 24,900 square feet across both levels.
From the moment you step inside, you’ll definitely notice a ton of improvements compared to United’s existing Denver clubs, beginning with the design.
United is going with a Colorado theme for this lounge, and based on the renderings, you’re sure to be impressed. Expect plenty of natural wood, along with gray carpets, blue accents and tan leather finishes.
At the moment, the lounge is still very much under construction, but you can already begin to see the Colorado inspiration. For instance, United installed gabion walls around the perimeter of the entrance hallway in a nod to the rock-filled walls that line Interstate 70 to prevent boulders from falling onto the road.
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This club will also feature two fireplaces — one on each level. A wood-filled wall display will flank the fireplaces under natural oak-lined ceilings. Assuming that the finished product looks anything like the renderings, it’ll likely feel that you’ve entered a cozy ski lodge rather than a busy airport terminal.
In fact, that’s exactly how Alex Dorow, United’s managing director of lounges, premium services and hospitality, conceptualized this new space. “If Ralph Lauren had to build a ski chalet, what would it look like?” he asked the team during the design process.
Amenities for the post-pandemic world
Aside from the finishes, United is purposely designing the space for a post-pandemic world. That means you’ll find more private workstations here than in most other United Clubs, in order to support those who are working from the road.
There will also be a few high-top coworking tables that’ll be perfect for solo flyers.
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Also, the dining area will feature a mix of one-, two- and four-top tables and booths, which will suit those traveling alone or with friends and family.
Speaking of dining areas, United is working to upgrade the lounge catering, said Dorow, and he teased locally inspired options that will rotate seasonally. “When we say local, it’s not just in the look and feel; it’s also in what you taste,” Dorow explained.
The three new Denver lounges will all feature United’s signature hydration walls and personal water bottle refilling stations. According to Dorow, the airline received feedback that more and more travelers want spouts to fill their own water bottles — a request that United is happily addressing in its newest outposts.
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Notably, the new A-West United Club will not offer shower suites, which is a bummer considering that the airline is planning to move its long-haul international flights to the A concourse in the coming years.
You will find gender-specific restroom facilities (featuring private, floor-to-ceiling stalls), an all-gender restroom and a family room on each level.
As with United’s existing lounges, expect fast and free Wi-Fi and convenient access to power outlets and USB ports.
A surprise is coming
While the new lounges seem like they’ll be a major upgrade for United’s Denver hub, Dorow didn’t spill all the beans during the hard-hat tour.
In fact, he teased an all-new amenity that’ll debut in all three of the new Denver clubs. “As we open up these lounges, you’re going to see some new ways that allow customers to also get to know one another,” he said.
He didn’t share specifics, but he kept mentioning “fun artifacts” and “games.” What that means is anyone’s guess, but the good news is that we’re just a few months away from finding out.
Better yet, even if this surprise is a dud, at least the rest of the lounge will bring some much-needed improvements to United’s Denver hub.
They say (“they” meaning basically everyone) that moving is the most stressful thing you can do in your life. And my fiance and I are moving next week. Even though it will suck, I am looking forward to this move. Finally, we’ve decided to move on from the broken, stained and generally mid home decor we’ve brought from apartment to apartment over the years.
The tricky thing is we live in New York City. Because New York City rent is notoriously pricey for small apartments, I have to get creative with our budget and space. The challenge is making our apartment feel like an adult home. After digging through the depths of the internet, there’s way more chic, affordable home decor than you would think.
From a $12 Matisse print to gorgeous vases and a perfect set of velvet throw pillows, scroll below for the secret affordable home decor finds already in my shopping cart.
1. Female Form Face Vase Art Vase for Home Office Décor, $19.99
I’ve always loved a good body-shaped vase, whether or not I actually put flowers in it!
2. MONDAY MOOSE Decorative Throw Pillow Covers Cushion Cases, Set of 4, $32.50
This set of neutral velvet throw pillow covers will look good in any room and with any aesthetic.
3. Talma Ceramic Toothbrush Holder, $20
Transitioning from a $2 plastic cup as a toothbrush holder to this dark green ceramic one is basically adulthood, right?
I already own these expensive-looking shower caddies, but I want to get two more. There’s no drilling required, but they’re so sturdy. It’s been two years, and there’s still no sign of rust!
5. Costa Farms Snake Plant, $22.86
Whatever is the opposite of a green thumb, I have it. But I do love plants! Luckily, this snake plant on Amazon is super affordable and basically indestructible, according to all the plant lovers around me.
6. Pernille Rosenkilde Butterfly Bud Vase, $32
These butterfly vases are so dainty and serene and will transform whatever room I place them in.
7. Amalfi Coast by Carlos Souza, $95.99
OK, so this Assouline coffee table book isn’t exactly affordable. Still, I’ve always wanted one, and I’ve flipped through the pages of this Amalfi Coast book in stores more times than I can count.
8. Funerom Vintage 14.5 x 10 inch Decorative Mirror Tray, $13.99
I’m not the best at keeping my jewelry organized on a jewelry tree, which is why this decorative mirror tray is perfect. It comes in a bunch of colors, but I’m leaning toward this vintage green.
9. Prettidecor Gold Home Decor Thinker Statue Accents, $29.99
I love a good tchotchke, and these small statues will be so fun on the bookshelf.
10. Helena Knobs, Set of 2, $16
While I could spend $1,000-plus on a nice wood dresser, my bank may call my therapist to see if I’m OK. It’s so much easier and cheaper to buy a basic dresser for like $200 and swap out the knobs for something a little more chic to fancy it up.
11. homesick Southern California Soy Wax Candle, $38
My fiance is from the Southern California area, which is obviously very different from New York City. I adore homesick candles because they’re made to smell like each location the candle is named after. This way, we can get a piece of his home in our home.
The ongoing pandemic has thrown the real estate market off balance, and New York City took the brunt of it. Office spaces throughout the city are left empty as companies embrace remote work, while many renters chose to flee the crowded city and head to quieter — and perhaps safer — places.
However, we must not forget that NYC is resilient. Its charm cannot be easily replicated and its unique appeal continues to draw people in, even in the most dire of circumstances.
The city’s real estate market, one of the priciest and most coveted in the world, has definitely taken a hit, but don’t be fooled, it’s still going strong.
The proof is in the pudding, and in this case, the pudding is real estate listings. We found a few amazing homes for sale in NYC that will remind you of the best this city has to offer.
They are luxurious, exuding timeless elegance, and conveniently located in probably the most desirable place in the world — Manhattan. Let’s check them out.
#1 130 West 30th Street, Apt 3B | Chelsea | $2,495,000
All the properties we’re looking at today are unique, but this one is truly something else.
The two-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment is located at 130 West 30th Street, also known as The Cass Gilbert. If you’re at all passionate about architecture, that name will likely ring a bell.
The building was designed by the same architect responsible for the Woolworth Building, the New York Life Building, and the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., among many others.
Unit 3B is selling for $2,495,000, and is currently listed with Marilyn Blume of Warburg Realty. The price tag is worth it just for the chance to own a piece of historic NYC architecture, but there’s much more to it than that.
This sun-flooded home is a corner unit with 11-foot ceilings, which means it offers plenty of natural light and nice views. Adding to that are hardwood floors, present throughout the loft-like home, and an additional office perfect for a work-from-home situation.
The large master bedroom has a seating area and a custom-fitted walk-in closet.
#2 110 West 25th Street, 3rd Floor | Chelsea | $3,285,000
This gorgeous three-bedroom, two-bathroom Chelsea gem is another unique property that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else outside of NYC.
Nestled within a historic prewar building completed in 1901, this 2,500-square-foot home works perfectly as a live/work/play space, which is exactly what most people are looking for right now.
The full-floor apartment is listed with Michael J. Franco of Compass. It is accessed via its own private, key-locked elevator, which leads into a massive, 38-foot living room with 17 (!) windows that offer unrivaled views of the city.
If you lived here, you probably wouldn’t feel the need to go out too often.
The apartment features a spa-size master bath adorned in floor-to-ceiling marble, a full library spanning over 20 feet in length, as well as a home office/third bedroom with sunny garden views to the east.
If you do feel the need to go outside, there’s no better place to be. 110 West 25th Street is just steps away from the High Line, Madison Square Park, and Hudson Yards.
This home basically offers the best of both worlds: the historic architecture of Chelsea, mixed with the modern, state-of-the-art developments of the Hudson Yards neighborhood.
#3 130 East 67th Street, Apt 3C | Lenox Hill | $2,995,000
A chic modern renovation meets classic details and grand prewar proportions in this lovely three-bedroom residence.
With its bright, sun-flooded living room, oversized windows overlooking a tree-lined East 67th Street, decorative crown molding and beam ceilings, this apartment oozes elegance and comfort.
All three bedrooms are generously sized and have plenty of storage options, not to mention custom millwork, and outfitted California Closets.
There are two windowed full bathrooms, including a spa-like primary bath with a double vanity and an over-sized seated shower.
Other features of this beautiful home include a lacquered powder room, wide plank oak herringbone floors, 9’4″ high beamed ceilings, and generous wall space for displaying art. It’s currently listed with Allison Chiaramonte and Tania Isacoff Friedland of Warburg Realty.
#4 465 West End Avenue, Unit PH | Upper West Side | $2,775,000
Our list wouldn’t be complete without a staple penthouse unit; and we found one of the best ones out there.
This 2-bed, 2-bath penthouse at 465 West End Avenue is perched atop a 12-story pre-war building built in the Italian Renaissance style. Its design bears the signature of acclaimed architect D. Everett Waid, who also lent his creative genius to the MetLife building at 1 Madison Ave.
Priced at $2,775,000, the penthouse has striking features, including a solarium that’s currently used as a dining room but that can easily be converted into a second bedroom.
There’s also a 2,900-square-foot wraparound terrace with plenty of space for gatherings and views that rival some of the best buildings in the city. And the terrace is accessible from every room in the property.
The stunning views have everything to do with the unit’s location — as the penthouse sits on West End Avenue’s coveted Gold Coast (between 82nd and 83rd Streets), which places it near Riverside Park, the Hudson River Greenway, excellent shopping and dining, as well as the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The property is listed with Compass’ Martin Eiden.
#5 611 West 138th Street | Hamilton Heights | $2,195,000
Nowadays, Manhattan is famous for its state-of-the-art, glossy skyscrapers. But the property we’re about to look at offers something completely different, and it stands as a veritable piece of NYC history in itself.
The five-bedroom, two-bathroom brownstone has 3,150 square feet of living space, all lovingly restored and preserved.
One of the highlights of this property (it’s hard to pick just one) is the kitchen, which features perfectly preserved, wall-to-wall, original wood cabinetry dating from the late 1800s. That’s not something you’ll find too often in the city, and it’s truly something special.
Another highlight of this home, listed with Warburg Realty’s Samantha Rose Frith, is a 750-square-foot, impeccable landscape private garden.
The home is currently being used as a single-family dwelling, but it can also be split into a three-bedroom, one-bathroom duplex with two-bedroom, one-bathroom rental on the third floor. There is also a 1,050-square-foot basement level that’s being used as a laundry room and storage space.
More luxury homes in the city
443 Greenwich St. building & the 12 biggest celebrities that lived here
The San Remo building and its famous residents
The Dakota, New York’s first luxury apartment building
Full-Floor Residence at the Newly Built Flatiron House
Editor’s note: TPG’s Erica Silverstein accepted a free tour from Tours by Local to review its services. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the company.
I’m standing atop a 13th-century arched stone bridge, looking out over a river rushing photogenically over smooth-hewn stones. I’m on a guided tour in the mountainous interior of the French island of Corsica, yet I’m blissfully alone — with the exception of Yulia, my guide.
“Alone” and “guided tour” are two concepts that tend not to be found together, but I’ve achieved this unusual combo during a cruise port call by booking a tour through a company called Tours by Locals.
Tours by Locals is essentially a matchmaking service for travelers looking for a local perspective and guides looking to show foreigners their homeland. Tours by Locals partners exclusively with top-caliber guides and thoroughly vets them before letting the guides post tours on its website. The guides use their local knowledge to create their own tour itineraries and set prices so they’re fairly paid.
As an avid cruiser, I often find myself on ship-organized tours on a bus with 25 to 40 other people, following a set itinerary and wasting time waiting for my shipmates to buy souvenirs, use the bathroom and meander back to the bus. I often skip the tour and explore on my own, but I don’t always get the full background on what I’m seeing. A private tour offers the best of both worlds – a small-group, customizable itinerary and a knowledgeable guide – but can be expensive.
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I was curious if a Tours by Locals tour would be worth the price, so when I was offered the opportunity to try one on a port stop in Ajaccio, Corsica, I jumped at the chance. I chose the approximately five-hour “Prunelli Gorges Half Day Road Trip,” which costs $586 for up to three people and promised “extraordinary views and discovery of Corsican tastes.”
Here’s how my day went and my thoughts on whether the experience was worth the price.
A slow start
The benefit of a cruise ship tour is convenience. You’re whisked off the ship straight to a tour bus, and you don’t have to worry about meeting points and finding your guide.
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I’d been texting my guide Yulia on WhatsApp prior to my ship’s arrival in Ajaccio, Corsica, a port I’d never been to. She promised to be waiting for me just outside the port with the other private guides, holding a sign with my name on it.
But when I got outside, I didn’t see an obvious meetup point for private guides and instead of a woman with a sign, I got a text that Yulia was stuck in traffic and running late. Uncertain where to meet her, I wandered around the terminal building feeling awkward until we finally managed to connect.
Even though guides try to arrive early, no one can predict bad traffic. Make sure you have texting access, either via Wi-Fi or an international cellphone plan, wherever you plan to wait for your guide to arrive.
Related: Ship-sponsored vs. independent shore excursions on cruises: Which should you book?
Avoiding the crowds
Although the planned tour was to explore outside of the city of Ajaccio, Yulia thought it was a good idea to see a few of the town highlights before we set off. She took me through the local market across from the port, where she told me about the region’s sausage and cheese, and I ogled bowls piled high with olives and colorful fruits and vegetables.
Ajaccio is famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon, so she gave me an overview of Napoleon’s family and early years while we walked by the house where he was born and the cathedral where he was baptized.
Yulia provided the context I would have missed by wandering the city streets on my own. I could have gotten the same information on a walking tour of the city booked through the cruise line, but I’d be jostling for views in a large group and strolling at the pace of the slowest walker.
After a coffee break, we headed off on the first leg of the tour, to drive out of the city and up into the hills to visit two small, local businesses: Corsica PaM, an essential oils distillery and laboratory owned by two brothers, and Le Jardin des Abeilles, the shop and tasting room for a family-run honey farm.
Cruise ship tours do go to these places, and I imagine you’d all have to listen to a canned presentation about how things work and then wander about while 25 people browse and make purchases. Instead, Yulia showed me the different essential oils, describing the ones she uses personally and taking me out back to see the fields of rosemary and lemon verbena, which are distilled for their oils.
The proprietors only spoke a little English, so she translated as one of the brothers explained how to extract the oils from the plants. Yulia explained how the unique Corsican scrubland, called maquis, is home to endemic species of plants, such as the “immortelle” plant, which are ideal for the production of organic essential oils – and how what would seem like a modern healthy and beauty trend comes from a long history of using plants for medicinal purposes.
At the honey farm, I had a private honey tasting with one of the owners who explained the differences in his five seasonal honeys and let me taste them – as well as a special small-batch honey he did not sell. He explained how Corsican honey is unique as it’s produced from the island’s black bees and gets its flavor based on its specific climate and native flora. Yulia laughed and took photos as I sampled the most bitter honey, and I felt less alone than I would have as a solo traveler visiting on my own.
Related: Tips for booking the best cruise shore excursion for your money
Yulia, who also guides for cruise ship and other large group tours, told me that the typical itinerary offered by ships is to get on the bus, visit the oil and honey farms, then return to town. But that was only the beginning of my private tour.
From the honey farm, we drove farther into Corsica’s interior, past some small mountain towns to the Prunelli Gorges. We could have stopped in one of the villages if I were hungry and wanted to try local charcuterie or wine, but as the tour was customizable and I was still full from my cruise ship breakfast, we happily carried on.
The gorges are an area of steep, craggy mountains, dotted with rivers and lakes, and full of hiking trails and via ferrata routes that I’d love to explore on a longer stay. The government no longer allows tour buses to traverse the narrow, curving roads, so you’re not going to get to the gorges with a group.
Yulia was determined to show me some unique spots, despite a rain shower that plagued most of our drive through the gorges. She took her little Kia down an unpaved road so I could see Tolla Lake and its dam set amid the craggy peaks. We slowed down to follow a herd of goats being shepherded by a dog, no goat-herding human in sight, as we pulled up to a scenic overlook to take in the vista and see where some of the black bee hives are kept.
Yulia parked by the side of the road and took photos of me on a bridge over a rushing river. And then, with the weather clearing, we pulled over again to hike down to the old Genoese-era arched bridge to cross the well-worn stones and appreciate more river views. We barely saw another human on the entire road trip.
Making it personal
I’m an introvert and Yulia’s English was fluent but not perfect, so at first conversation didn’t come easy. How am I going to make it through a half day alone with this stranger, I wondered. Had I been traveling with my family or a friend, it would have taken the pressure off, but as I was solo, it was up to me to make conversation.
But as the hours passed, we became more comfortable with each other, and Yulia opened up about how she came to Corsica, her family life, her hobbies (including gardening and flower arranging) and even how essential oils helped her during a difficult time in her life. Throughout the tour, she volunteered to take my photo as I was alone and as she put it, photos are always better with people in them. The experience was like traveling with a new, extremely knowledgeable friend.
Traveling with Yulia also gave me a glimpse into what it’s like to live in Corsica, from French bureaucracy and political corruption to the housing situation and local commutes.
She also shared her honest feelings about why smaller tours are much better than large-group tours. In her opinion, some of the more manufactured tours from Ajaccio (such as a little train that takes tourists up the mountain to a specially built center to try some local Corsican foods) are low-quality and inauthentic.
So many travelers come here and they don’t know what they’re looking to get out of a visit, she said. I admit, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to get from my day in Corsica, other than to get out of the city and get a glimpse of the island’s beauty. I got all that and more.
Should you book with Tours by Locals?
A private tour is always better than a group tour, in my opinion. You get to customize the itinerary, you don’t have to wait for large numbers of people to use the bathroom or buy coffee, and you can ask questions or get more personal with your guide.
However, $586 is a lot for one person to spend on a driving tour with a handful of stops, even with Tours by Locals’ policy of tips not being necessary. (Guides set their prices so are paid fairly; Tours by Local takes a cut of the fee.) For a couple, $293 per person for a half-day tour is possibly double or triple what you’d pay for a cruise ship tour, but the quality and intimacy make it worth it if you have the budget.
If you’re looking for the best value, you will want to shop around and compare prices and tour inclusions with other independent guides or guide-providing services. You’ll need to read the tour descriptions carefully; for example, Tours by Locals excursions are priced per tour, but the maximum number of people for that price varies from guide to guide, and you may or may not be able to pay extra for a larger group.
What I liked most about Tours by Local is the ease of searching out a guide. Instead of scouring the internet or online chat groups for recommendations, you put in your destination and up pops a list of tour offerings. You can read reviews of the guides, see the full tour itinerary and type of transport, and even get a feel for what items are not included and how much cash you might want to bring. You can even message a guide to ask questions before you commit, and pay by credit card online rather than worrying about paying day of in cash.
I don’t have the budget to book a private local guide in every city I visit, but for special occasions or in a destination I wanted to explore to the fullest, I would definitely consider using Tours by Locals for a private tour.
With the grand coronation of King Charles III (finally) taking place in Britain over the weekend, our thoughts turned to royal accommodations—specifically castles, with their turrets, tapestries, and stone fireplaces.
You don’t need to live in Europe to enjoy these old-world luxuries. Here in the good ol’ USA, there are plenty of dwellings that are royally inspired.
And you don’t even have to pay a king’s ransom to live in one. We found five for your viewing pleasure, all priced below $950,000.
So between viewing the royal pomp and circumstance in jolly old England, you might want to take a few minutes to browse the regal residences available in the United States.
Price: $780,000 Spanish style: The Brits aren’t the only ones with castles. There was castle-dwelling aristocracy throughout Europe, and here’s an example of a modern one inspired by the castles of Spain. Set on 5 acres, this 2010-built home has views of Pinos Altos and Silver City.
With three bedrooms and two baths in 3,234 square feet of living space, this castillo (Spanish for “castle”) features a fireplace big enough to roast game, should you be so inclined, and a hobby room that could serve as a chapel, the listing notes.
The rest of the house is distinctly modern, with tiled floors and a kitchen with stainless-steel appliances and a large island.
Price: $525,000 Gothic gem: A combination castle and chalet, this stone dwelling must have been built by an artist with a regal sensibility. Known as Owl Studio, the property consists of two separate structures, both eco-friendly and constructed from wood and stone.
Their gothic architecture features pointed arches on the doors and windows. The two-story tower offers 360-degree views, a half-bath, and rough-ins for a shower and a kitchen. It will need to be finished and furnished.
The chalet structure has a dramatic stone fireplace and a cozy sleeping loft. Together the unique dwellings could be developed into a short-term rental, an art or podcast studio, or a wellness retreat and yoga studio.
There’s plenty of room for more structures on the 6-acre lot high in the mountains, not far from Fort Collins.
Price: $899,900 Castle by the lake: This landmark residence was built in 2007 on the shores of Lake Mary Jane and comes with a private pier.
The 3,027-square-foot home with four bedrooms and 3.5 baths was bestowed two titles: Knightsbridge Manor and the Castle in the Pines. It features wood-clad barrel ceilings, a stone staircase, and a solid walnut front door with iron hardware.
The lot measures a third of an acre and features a fire pit and a newly built chicken coop. (Egg-laying chickens are included in the sale.) This castle is said to be the jewel of the amenity-filled, lakefront community known as the Isle of Pines.
Price: $695,000 Oh my, Ohio! This castle-inspired Victorian was built in 1898 in this quaint town about 77 miles southwest of Toledo.
With six bedrooms and three baths in 4,316 square feet of living space, the stately home near the center of town is just brimming with possibilities. It could be used as a family home, an events venue, or a charming bed-and-breakfast. The formal dining room, exquisitely outfitted kitchen, and the parlors with fireplaces lend themselves well to any of these options.
We’re particularly enamored with the carved-wood detailing, the picturesque reading nook, and the handy butler’s pantry.
Price: $935,000 Contemporary castle: Located in Walled Lake, this 2004-built manor boasts water views from many of its rooms.
The grounds span two parcels with a pond and fountain in back. The upscale home has four bedrooms and four baths in 2,241 square feet of living space. A grand spiral staircase connects its three levels.
The open floor plan includes a spacious kitchen with a large island and breakfast nook and a finished basement with a bar and a powder room.
The property is close to hiking and biking paths, as well as boating facilities and accommodations for the royal barge.
Whether you’re renting your first apartment or just moving on up, you might ask yourself a question that many renters face: Furnished or unfurnished? Furnished apartments are less common but might possibly be the right choice for you. Furnished apartments usually come equipped with furniture, basic kitchen appliances and tableware, bathroom necessities such as a shower curtain, a washer/dryer set, and possibly a few other amenities. The exact items will vary depending on the landlord and what kind of place you’re renting.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider before you decide if furnished or unfurnished is right for you.
Furnished apartments: The pros
Moving will be a breeze. If you’re a frequent mover, you want to keep your stuff to a minimum. Renting a furnished place means you won’t own most of the big items in your place, and it’ll be easy for you to pick up and move on short notice. It’s also cheaper if you hire professionals, since they’ll have a lot less that needs to be moved. Plus, you could do without the joy of moving a couch up a flight of stairs, right?
You’ll save money buying furniture. This one has two sides – see the cons list later. A furnished apartment will save you a lot of money upfront if you don’t have furniture already. Do you really want to add a $1000 mattress to the things you have to pay for early on?
Read more: Short-Term Apartment Rentals: What You Need to Know
They’re good in a time crunch. Ideally, if you’re searching for a new apartment, you should measure your existing furniture and then pick a place that will fit your stuff. This can be a problem if you’re relocating on short notice, or if you’re moving across the country and can’t make the trip to see your new place in person before moving day. A furnished place takes the hassle out of moving in a time crunch – all you have to do is show up.
Sometimes you can get a shorter lease. Most furnished apartments won’t require a year-long lease, since they cater mostly to students and traveling professionals who don’t stay in one place for too long. If you’re not ready to commit to one place for too long, you’re probably better going after a furnished apartment. They’ll be willing to do a shorter lease, and you don’t have to do such a big move for a place you’re only staying in for a few months.
Read more: Month-to-Month Leases: What You Need to Know
Furnished apartments: The cons
Your rent and security deposit might be higher. The money for the furniture has to come from somewhere. This isn’t a free gift for you, but money your landlord paid to make the apartment better. They’re going to build the price of the furniture into rent, and probably demand a larger security deposit to protect from damage to their valuable furniture. Speaking of which…
You face a higher liability. In an unfurnished place, you might not get your security deposit back if you accidentally bust a hole in the wall or your kid draws all over the walls with crayons. There’s a lot more to break in a furnished apartment. Did you tear the upholstery in the couch? Scratch the dining room table? That stuff doesn’t belong to you, so you’re going to have to fix it yourself or pay to get it fixed. Better be careful!
Tip: Take a video inventory of everything the landlord provides in a furnished apartment before you move in. Take note of anything that’s broken. That way, you’ll have indisputable evidence if your landlord tries to charge you for something you didn’t break.
Read more: Be Aware of Actions That Might Violate Your Lease Agreement
You’ll have no control over most of your décor. If you don’t like the couch in your furnished apartment, it’s a pain to get a different one. You could buy a new one, but you’ll have to figure out what to do with the old one, and if your landlord will let you in the first place. You can hang art on the walls and add other personal touches around the place, but you won’t have complete control over the look of your apartment. The look of the apartment is mostly determined by them, so if you care a lot about decoration, this probably isn’t the option for you.
You’ll have fewer apartments to choose from. There’s a reason rental income is listed as “passive” on tax returns: the preference is for less active work. Furnishing and maintaining the furniture in an apartment is a competitive advantage, but requires a lot of work by the landlord, so it’s not as common, leading to a lot fewer options than for unfurnished apartments.
The definition of “furnished” varies. You could be getting an apartment with everything you could think of to put in your apartment, or there might just be a bed frame and dresser. There’s no real standard of what “furnished” means, so you might still end up having to bring your own furniture to fill in some gaps anyway.
Not a lot of room for what you already have. You probably don’t have a lot of stuff if you’re looking at furnished apartments, but you already have something. Anything you bring with any bulk might be difficult to fit in the apartment, requiring some clever rearrangement to make everything fit and function.
Read more: Benefits of Renting vs. Staying in a Hotel
An open house is a crucial component of the home sale process. Start with these tips for staging an open house, but don’t stop there. Potential buyers are likely to inspect all areas of the house. Yes, even your “junk drawer” and closets. Here’s a list of five often forgotten places that potential homeowners may check.
The sides of your house
When you spruce up your front yard and backyard, pay attention the sides of your home as well. Potential buyers will likely look at the exterior of your house from all angles. One unkempt side may turn them off from the rest of the home. Make sure the paint and landscaping is in good condition from all angles.
Inside your closets
Don’t stuff everything in your closets and hope no one will open them. Even if the potential buyers aren’t fashionistas, they may still care about closet space. Show it off by organizing it. You wouldn’t want a potential buyer to open a closet just to find a hodgepodge of the belongings you stashed there.
Under your bed
Removing the bulk of storage from your closets is a great way to make closet space appear bigger, but that doesn’t mean your stuff should be shoved under the bed. Not only is it an eyesore, but the potential homebuyer might also see it as a sign that there is not enough storage space. Your best bet is to invest in temporary external storage space so that your open house has all the space it needs.
Inside the shower
Chances are no one wants a small, cramped bathroom. Create storage solutions that may make your space appear bigger and brighter to buyers. For example, stash toiletries and cleaning supplies in a separate closet, a dresser, or under the sink.
Your drawers and cabinets
Potential buyers will probably open drawers and cabinets. Spend time getting inspired by these home organizers. Think about all of the details like your spice rack, whether your dishes match, and finally taming your “junk drawer.” In need of more inspiration? Our Pins may help!
Go the extra mile, and don’t get caught off guard. You wouldn’t want to scream a slow motion “nooooo” as a potential buyer innocently reaches to open a closet.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the problem with trying to buy the perfect gift. Sticking with that gift theme, there’s a question that’s been on my mind: If you’re invited to an engagement party, a bridal shower, and a wedding ceremony all for the same couple, and you attend all three, do you give a gift at each event?
See, I’ve been invited to a few weddings this year. And it seems like the etiquette “experts” all agree that each event requires a separate gift, according to tradition. Here are some examples from around the web:
“If I bring a gift to the bridal shower, should I still bring a gift to the wedding?” a question Peggy Post, co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette is accustomed to answering. Her advice is, basically, that a shower gift is not a wedding gift. “I know some of these shower gifts are expensive, but be smart so you don’t have to break the bank.”
“I’m going to both the wedding shower and the wedding. Must I buy gifts for both?” “Unfortunately, yes. ‘That’s part of the obligation you agreed to when you RSVPed for both,’ says [Mark] Kingsdorf,” bridal consultant at The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants — Real Simple’s The Essential Guide to Buying Wedding Gifts.
“According to custom, the answer to whether to give gifts for engagements, showers and weddings is: maybe, yes and yes.” — How Stuff Works.
Hmm, exactly how is one supposed to “be smart” about expensive gifts? And calling gifts an obligation? It kinda puts a bad taste in my mouth, like it’s sucking the joy out of giving a gift in the first place.
Guests Say, “Forget the Experts!”
A lot of wedding guests disagree with the expert advice. For a few examples, I did a very scientific poll (of Yahoo! Answers responses). Here are a few that say that multiple gifts are not an obligation:
“Do not feel obligated [to give a wedding gift after giving a shower gift]. You did give them a gift already, so if you do want to gift them something, you can, but you don’t absolutely have to.”
“There’s no definitive ‘proper’ way to do this, other than the etiquette stipulation that the shower is a gift-giving event, and the wedding is not. (Obviously, most people do want to give wedding gifts, but that’s tradition, not a requirement).”
“Etiquette says NOTHING about purchasing multiple gifts for one wedding. You gave a gift, that’s all that you need to concern yourself with. No more gift giving is necessary.”
I always thought that you give a separate gift for the shower and the wedding. As for engagement parties and bachelorette parties, I have no idea. None of my friends and family members have had either of those.
But when I got married, all of our friends and family members gave one gift, even if they attended the shower and the wedding. (This was definitely fine by me — I’m rather shy and I actually would’ve been embarrassed if people bought me multiple gifts. My aunt basically had to force me to register for gifts in the first place.)
And then, to confuse things even more, Miss Manners has a take that’s somewhere in between one-gift-only and gifts galore:
“Engagement presents were a rarity until a decade or two ago. Perhaps a favorite aunt might be so moved, or a prospective mother-in-law might give the bride a family bauble to wear at the wedding. But no one showed up with a present at an engagement party, because the purpose of the party was for the parents to announce the engagement as a surprise. Multiple showers are warranted only when the bride or the couple has more than one distinct set of intimate friends. They should not be catch-all occasions, and nobody should be expected to attend more than one. Anyway, shower presents should be charming but trivial, and not comparable to wedding presents.”
No one agrees! And basically, I just want to do what everyone else is doing. I’m not looking to take some kind of gift-giving stance at my husband’s coworker’s wedding. I also don’t want to be the lone weirdo giving multiple gifts.
So I’m simply wondering, what does everyone else do? If you’re invited to multiple events and you want to attend and celebrate with the bride and/or couple, when do you bring a gift?