Top 10 Places Where the Dollar Goes Far

July 17, 2015
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    The dollar is stronger than ever, and that means everything from hotels and restaurants to transportation and shopping is more affordable for jet-setting US travelers. Jetsetter has put together a list of favorite euro-using destinations—some classic, some unexpected—where your greenbacks will take you WAY farther.

    1. Paris


    Even the notoriously pricey City of Light is now within reach. Bed down at one of our 50 hotels: At the Monhotel Lounge at Spa (from $132 a night), the guestrooms are decorated with cool black-and-white photography, and you're just a stone’s throw away from the Arc De Triomphe. Two blocks from the Seine, Le Bellechasse Saint Germain (from $188) has seriously stylish interiors designed by master couturier Christian Lacroix, and the hotel's buzzy Le Butterfly bar is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail. The biggest news in the city is the recently reopened Picasso Museum, with more than 5,000 works by the Spanish artist. Book a private tour, then head to the up-and-coming 11th Arrondissement for dinner at bistro Le Servan, where the decadent roasted quail is a local favorite.

    2. Dublin


    The Irish capital is a major steal, with a host of new restaurants and boutiques. Start at the Black Sheep on Capel Street for craft brews. The Howling Gale Pale Ale is a must-try, according to plugged-in tour guide Emily Westbrooks, who can arrange bespoke excursions around the city. For dinner, there’s no shortage of Michelin-starred restaurants, including the much-acclaimed Patrick Guilbaud, which serves a mouthwatering foie gras with iced red miso (the meal may set you back $113, but it would have cost $147 a year ago). Hotel rates aren't too bad either. Splurge on a room at the InterContinental Dublin or check into the Hampton Hotel, where a spacious double is only $96 a night.

    3. Lisbon

     



    With its hilly terrain and steep winding streets that plunge into waterfronts, Portugal’s capital is reminiscent of San Francisco. The Barrio Alto Hotel (from $244) is a 55-room property with a rooftop lounge overlooking the water and a covetable location near Lisbon’s coolest bars and restaurants. Tickets are gratis at the nearby Museu do Design e da Moda, or MUDE, which showcases more than 1,200 haute couture items designed by superstars like Jean Paul Gaultier and Yves Saint Laurent, among others. You'll likely be inspired to hit the boutiques, so head to Paris em Lisboa on Rua Garrett, where must-have items include delicate linen shirts, handcrafted soaps, and intricately-woven tablecloths made by local artisans. The finest restaurant in town is hands down Belcanto run by Chef José Avillez. Book a table in advance and tuck into hearty dishes like suckling pig topped with orange-peel purée.

    4. Berlin

     



    You’ll get a double dose of savings in Berlin: the city has long been more affordable than most Western European capitals and now with the exchange rate, it’s an even better deal. Get to know the bourgeoning street food scene with a stroll through Markt Halle 9, a mix of food trucks and stalls that hawk everything from Curry Wurst and homemade pasta to little-known German wines. If you want to be close to the haute boutiques in the Kurfürstendamm neighborhoods, stay at the Ellington Hotel (from $82). Another great bet: the brightly colored rooms at The Dude Hotel (from $155), with retro-inspired furnishings and cool amenities like Moleskine notebooks.

    5. Rome


    Whether it’s your first trip to Rome or the 15th, there’s always something new to discover in the Eternal City. Once you’ve checked off the big-ticket items—the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Sistine Chapel—meander through the cobblestoned back streets in search of authentic Italian eats. A favorite spot: the family-run Trattoria da Olindo in the Trastevere neighborhood, just east of the Tavere River. The traditional dishes like roasted artichokes and housemade pastas are some of the best in town. Across the water at St. George Roma (from $382), hotel guests get complimentary access to a sauna and Turkish bath. If you’re looking to upgrade, try the elegant Hotel Palazzo Manfredi (from $444), with a to-die-for view of the Coliseum from its rooftop restaurant.

    6. St. Barts


    Guess where else you’ll benefit from a stronger dollar beyond Europe? A handful of Caribbean islands including flashy St. Barts, with its 14 pristine beaches and A-list clientele. Stroll the white-sand St. Jean and the more secluded Petit Cul de Sac, on the island’s eastern edge, before heading to town for some boutique hopping. We love Bamboo St. Barth for its colorful cotton beach tunics and leather sandals (everything is tax free on the island!). Hotels can be pricey here, but you can still find great value. Book a room at the Christopher Hotel (from $600), which has a new spa with treatment rooms that look out on the water. For a heftier price tag, there’s Le Sereno (from $632) on Grand Cul de Sac, where the Christian Liaigre-designed rooms have private terraces.

    7. St. Martin

     



    Put your euros to good use on the French side of St. Martin—the Dutch half uses the guilder—which is full of charming shops, waterfront cafes and restaurants. Start the day with coffee and an almond-filled croissant at La Sucriere, then go for a hike around Pinel Island, a five-minute ferry ride off the coast. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab lunch at Karibuni, where every morning the chef plucks lobsters straight from the ocean. Our hotel of choice: the Belmond La Samanna. The whitewashed rooms have private terraces, plush robes and L'Occitane bath products. Bonus: tennis, kayaking, snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding are all complimentary.

    8. Santorini

     



    This popular Greek Island is so beautiful, it makes your eyes ache. The idyllic villages are tucked into steep volcanic cliffs, the beaches are white as snow and the water is sparkling blue. Those looking for romance should stay at the adults-only Andronis Boutique Hotel (from $802), where the 23 cocoon-like rooms have private Jacuzzis. In Imerovigli, try the Iliovasilema Suites, and enjoy the free breakfast while looking out over the Aegean Sea. It’s hard not to eat well here, but for a truly unforgettable meal, book a table at La Selene, where owners Evelyn and George Hatziyanuakis put a modern spin on classic Greek dishes.

    9. Southern Spain

     



    What better way to explore Southern Spain than from behind the wheel of a convertible. Take in the region’s breathtaking Moorish sites—the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Granada’s Alhambra, and the Real Alcazar in Seville—stopping at the lesser-known town of Ronda, where Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles spent many summers. Some of our favorite hotels in the region: the 18th-century Hotel Palacio de Villapanes (from $201) overlooking Seville’s Giralda tower; the Eurostars Palace (from $85) in Cordoba; and in Granada, Hospes Palacio de los Patos, which welcomes guests with a glass of cava.

    10. Malta


    Malta has long been overlooked for its more popular neighbor Sicily, but this under-the-radar gem has gorgeous beaches, a rich maritime past and plenty of adventure activities to fill a week. Immerse yourself in the history with a stay at the 152-room Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa (from $249), a 19th-century structure that’s ideally located between Malta’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the capital city of Valletta, known for its baroque architecture, and medieval Mdina, a walled town in the center of the island. Dine under stone archways in a former Norman residence at Medina Restaurant, where artfully plated dishes include seared duck breast and house-cured salmon.

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