The Hotels You Checked Out During a Travel Slump Year

Colorful chairs at Punta Monterrey Resort

Punta Monterrey on the Pacific Coast of Mexico

Many years on this Hotel Scoop site, we’ve had our contributors pick their favorite hotel or resort they stayed in during the past 12 months, linking to their review. There wasn’t a whole lot of traveling happening from mid-March onward during this travel slump year, however, so we’re doing things a bit differently.

At the end of a year we’ll all be glad to put into the rear-view mirror, we’ll admit that our site traffic took a dive in late March and was down significantly from 2019 after that. Not nearly as many people were researching the best hotels to stay in where they were headed, so we thought it would be fun to look at what did do well. What were the most popular posts of the year on a hotel review blog after March–when fewer people were staying in hotels?

Here’s what resonated with you the readers in a travel slump year. These are the reviews and round-ups that got search clicks and newsletter clicks from April through December, when much of the world had restrictions in place.

Individual Hotel Reviews

Embassy Suites Saint Augustine Resort review

As you’d probably expect, hotels and resorts that offered some physical isolation did well this year. Country hotels, remote lodges, and dude ranches all did better than usual, with urban hotels slipping down the rankings. There were a few that left us scratching our heads–like a convention hotel in a major city–but maybe that’s from people dreaming of that late 2021 conference where they can finally be social again.

Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Embassy Suites Resort on St. Augustine Beach, Florida

Gaylord Rockies Denver Resort at the Convention Center, Colorado

Glacier Park Lodge in Montana

The Firebrand Hotel in Whitefish, Montana

Hotel Millersburg in the Amish Heartland, Ohio

Salty Sister Hotel on Morro Bay, California

Waterfront view, Island Spirits, Rice Lake, Ontario

Island Spirits view in Ontario

Island Spirits Eco-retreat, Rice Lake, Ontario

Walk to the Magic Kingdom from Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Punta Monterrey on a Hidden Beach, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Area “Best Places to Stay” Round-ups

Apart from a few oddities here and there, our readers were mostly checking into places where they could get a change of scenery, but do it safely in a spot where they could eat outside and stay away from big crowds. They mostly chose to do that within driving distance of where they lived or a short flight away in Mexico.

The Rivera Maya Hotel Zones: Holbox to Tulum in Mexico

The Scoop on New Denver Hotels Opening Soon

The Best Romantic Hotels in Colorado

Solo and With Company in Red River, New Mexico

The Best Boutique Hotels in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Where to Stay on Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach Florida - still popular in a travel slump year


The Hotel Zones of Tampa Bay, Florida

Downtown Denver’s Best Romantic Hotels

Where to Stay on Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula

8 of the Most Romantic Hotels in Northern California

We know this was a difficult year, to the point where we published a post on how to recreate a hotel night experience at home. We’re hoping that at least by the second half of this year, enough people will be vaccinated that borders will start opening up again. By then some people will be willing to travel internationally again and feel safe getting on a plane to go somewhere far-flung like Alaska or Hawaii.

One byproduct of this travel slump is that the usually crowded places aren’t crowded at all right now. They probably won’t be again until mass tourism fires up again in the form of cruise ships and bus tours. Until then, this would be a good year to make a bold travel resolution and go somewhere that’s at the very top of your bucket list. It’ll be a buyer’s market for hotels for a while, even in formerly packed places like Amsterdam, Venice, and Barcelona.

Booking policies are flexible throughout the industry right now, so make reservations in the far-flung future so you’ll have something solid to look forward to! Check the rates below for what’s on your dream list and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at the rates.



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