Staycation at Days Hotel Iloilo

October 5th, 2015





When you are lazy to travel on a long weekend, you should enjoy a staycation. Last week, I treated my boys with an overnight stay at one of the best hotels in Iloilo – Days Hotel Iloilo.  

A business hotel right at the city center, Days Hotel is  kid-friendly and definitely a family hotel.   Days Hotel Iloilo is situated inside a mall, The Atrium Mall, which is one of the first in the city of Iloilo.

Its location is one of the many reasons why among other hotels in Iloilo, many choose to book their stay at Days Hotel. Occupying the 4th-6th flour, the 5th floor houses the guest rooms.   Check-in was swift and in no time, we were billeted to our room, Modern Deluxe.      




When you are checking out hotels, setting up real expectations is important. With Days Hotel serving Iloilo guests for decades, I was astounded to have a room at par to those new hotels in Iloilo.  To my OC readers, the pillows are not perfectly placed because my kids jumped on the beds as soon as we got inside. :)

As a woman and a freelance writer, I like that their Wi-Fi is stable and the blow dryer is high-grade. Not the wall-attached type or the small dyers. #kulotproblems


The bathroom is quite large with its rain shower and non-slip features. I was at ease while my kids took a shower; my kids are now insisting on their privacy.



Here’s another photo on the fifth floor. Great to hang-out. Near the elevator is a standby security guard.  




With room rates ( promo) starting at 1,999Php, Days Hotels Iloilo is not one of the cheapest hotels in Iloilo, yet I still consider it as an affordable. Imagine the savings you get from taxi rides and the opportunity cost as you go out of the hotel to find restaurants and shops.

With The Atrium, you can shop, dine, and enjoy leisure time without leaving the hotel. Days Hotel was a comforting place for me with kids, asking for food throughout our stay. The myriad of food choices and shops surely replaced our need for a hotel pool.

Here is a photo taken during the latest Chocolate Festival Competition ( why the activity area is packed). At the ground floor is Iloilo Supermart and Tinapayan Bakeshop – comes in handy when your kids wake up at 5:30 in the morning.      




Such convenience for me to buy our supplies especially for our midnight snacks. Because my kids are currently unplugged from gadgets, the building has a small place for school supplies. I bought some art materials. There is also a pharmacy, just in case. See, you’re completely covered!




We spent the day just sleeping, eating, buying art materials, and cheap toys. There is a salon where my kids had their much-deserved haircuts. For food, there are fast-food chains as well as budget-friendly dining venues. Therefore, this hotel is a good choice for budget and frugal travelers.

 The hotel’s in-house restaurant, The Promenade serves the best food spread in the city. This is just a sample of their breakfast buffet.





The rain and the sumptuous arroz caldo complemented our cozy accommodation in Iloilo..





Days Hotel Iloilo is perfect for business and other functions. This is one of the press conferences I attended which was held in one of the hotel’s function rooms.





Other hotel amenities are gym and their spa. I experienced the Wellness Club Spa on a separate occasion with my husband and I’m glad that finally, there is a great place for a massage in the city. Their spa also has a sauna.

To sum it all, I would like to borrow my five-year-old’s words, “ I can stay here for hundred years!“. As mom, it was a stress-free staycation. Thanks to Days Hotel Iloilo.

No doubt, this hotel is true to their tagline ” Sleep with the Best“. We definitely enjoyed our staycation and glad to share my experience with you.





Thanks for reading!


Days Hotel Iloilo

4th Level, The Atrium Mall

Gen.Luna Street, Iloilo City, Philippines

Tel. ( 63 33) 337-3297; 336-8801 to 10

Fax No. (63 33) 336-8000

Mobile No. +63 0917-700-3297 or +63 0999 887-3297


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From Nice to Naughty: When Good Travelers Go Bad

September 28th, 2015


This post was posted by Hipmunk Staff on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog September 2, 2015.





Being in a foreign environment tends to provide travelers with a feeling of anonymity. It’s regarded as a space governed by different social rules, and while abroad people often engage in behavior that they would normally not allow. But we wanted to know just how naughty they would actually get—or at least, what they would cop up to.

From stealing food to skinny dipping, Hipmunk got the dirt (anonymously, of course) on just how badly travelers behave while en voyage. Scroll down after the infographic for even more naughty traveler behavior:




More Naughty Behavior: 


Stealing Souvenirs

12% of travelers surveyed have swiped a towel or robe


Supporting Stowaways

37% of travelers surveyed have snuck in an extra, unregistered guest into their hotel rooms to stay the night


Skirting (U.S.) Laws

Travelers take advantage of activities that are perfectly permitted in their host countries, but may put them in legal hot water in the U.S.

12%  Doing drugs in countries in which they’re sanctioned

21%  Driving faster than any US speed limit

23%  Under-21 drinking

30%  Eating non-FDA-approved foods, like certain French cheeses


So, tell us. What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done on vacation? Sound off in the comments below!

Methodology:  Hipmunk surveyed nearly 1,000 travelers from from July 7 through August 6, 2015, about their travel habits and behaviors.
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Chocolate Festival by Tinapayan Bakeshop

September 23rd, 2015






For decades, Tinapayan Bakeshop delighted Ilonggos and visitors with their delectable breads, cakes, and other pastries. For four weeks, starting last September 21, Iloilo’s favorite bakeshop offers speciality cakes and scrumptious breads and bars.

This week, September 21-27, Tinapayan will have Chocolate Loaf Bread and these yummy treats..






The cake for the week..





What other chocolate creations should you look forward to? Let’s start with the cakes!










Hope you are not drooling yet, there’s more! Here are bars to wait in the weeks to come.


















All these available in all Tinapayan Bakeshops across the city, from 8am-8pm.


To check for the weekly offerings, like and check their Facebook Page – Tinapayan Bakeshop.




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Travel Truths You Need to Accept in Order to Stay Happy on the Road

September 14th, 2015


This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 1,2015.





Travel is one of the most educational and invigorating experiences that life has to offer. It allows you to get out of your routines and comfort zones, meet new people, experience different cultures and see more of the world. Couples trips can be highly romantic, and travel with a large group can create amazing memories; solo travel is an opportunity for a unique experience and perspective. No matter how, where or with whom you travel, there are some key things to be aware of to stay happy in any situation. Consider these travel truths carefully before you embark on your next trip so that you can enjoy your adventures to the fullest.


Fellow Travelers Need Clear Expectations

If you will be traveling with others, take the time to verify that everyone is on the same page about the details and logistics of the trip. Keeping to a budget by staying in youth hostels or cheap hotels in Paris while backpacking through Europe is fine; just make sure your travel companions weren’t expecting a five-star hotel experience.


Patience Is Key

Traveling is full of unexpected moments. Even the best laid plans will likely require adjustments along the way. If things don’t go as planned, stay calm, go with the flow and see where the road takes you. Being flexible and patient can open you up to magical travel experiences you might not have otherwise had.


Earplugs Are Indispensable

Unless you are one of those lucky people who can sleep anywhere, you’ll probably benefit from a good pair of earplugs. Sleeping in a new place can be invigorating, but it can be hard to adjust or anticipate the noise level outside hotels in Beijing or other busy locales. It’s best to be prepared: bring along earplugs to get the sleep you need to enjoy the rest of your trip.

Travel is an incredible opportunity to expand your horizons and enrich your life, but it requires a measure of realism and preparedness. Whether you’ll be staying in chic New York City hotels or traveling the world on a budget, consider accepting these travel truths before you set sail or hit the open road.

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A Definitive Guide to Outlets Around and How to Use Adapters Without Frying Your Electronics

September 13th, 2015


This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 10,2015.




These days, most of us want to travel with our electrical gadgets, whether that be a cell phone, tablet or similar mobile device, laptop, camera, music player or hairdryer. But not using the right power adapter when you are traveling can be worse than an inconvenience–it can damage equipment and lead to electrical failures. What’s more, it can be hard to find the adapter you need in some parts of the world, so it’s always best to travel prepared.


While most modern electronics are able to take 220 or 110 volt (V) power, many devices still need adapters even if you don’t have to convert the voltage. An adapter will allow you to connect to the power supply for the country you are in.

Whether you are staying in the fanciest hotels in New York or the best Las Vegas hotels, it’s always worth asking, as they may be able to offer you advice or lend you an adapter–find out before you travel.

And while many hotels provide some of the actual gadgets you may need, not all will. Most cheap hotels in London, for example, won’t be able to supply hair dryers in rooms or computers in a business center. (Though they may have one if you ask.) Therefore, it’s important to understand the various types of power adapters on the market as you travel, and be able to read the voltages labels on your gadgets so you choose the right equipment you need.

Reading Power Labels Properly

You can find information regarding your gadget’s power supply requirements on a label stuck to the back of it, on the plug or on the transformer box. The input will mostly be AC100-240 V 50-60Hz 14W with an output of DC 1.2V 23A. The input line reveals whether a gadget is single, dual or multi-voltage.

In the U.S., power supplies use between 110 and 120 V; in Europe it’s more likely to be between 220 and 240 V. Other parts of the world will have other variations. Again, check before you travel.

Power adapters are usually 110-120 V to 220-240 V or 220-240 V to 110-120 V. They convert incoming voltage into an output your gadget can operate on. But in addition to the right power adapter, you will need the right plug adapter as well, as follows:

  • The UK standard has three rectangular pins in a triangle.
  • The EU standard has two circular prongs.
  • The U.S. standard has two parallel prongs of different sizes.

Some countries will be different, and, again, some may use different plug types for varying devices.

Finally, consider a universal adapter, which combines a power adapter with a plug that fits into varying socket types. (Expect to pay more for these, however.)

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How to Get the Best Seat on the Plane

September 8th, 2015


This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 2, 2015.




Traveling on a plane can come with a slew of seat-based comfort challenges, whether you’re assigned to a seat that doesn’t recline or located just adjacent to the bathroom. If you want to get the best seat without having to pay extra cash, there are a few simple tips to follow. While you might not feel like you’re lounging in a featherbed in one of the many luxury hotels in Milan, you will optimize your chances of having a travel experience that’s comfortable, pleasant and relaxed.



1. Don’t Pre-Select Seats

Many flyers are tempted to pre-choose seats when they book their plane flights on Hipmunk. However, it’s best to actually let the airline assign you seats when you check in; particularly for full flights. Airlines cannot require you to pay for premium seats if they are the only spots available. If you wait until everyone else on the plane has chosen a seat, there’s a good chance that one of the premium seats will be assigned to you at no cost.



2. Volunteer to Sit in an Emergency Exit

Flight attendants need to fill emergency exit rows with capable passengers who can assist in an emergency. If you feel physically fit, you can volunteer to move to an exit row if flight attendants are looking to fill the seats (or swap someone out who is not qualified). Sitting in an exit row affords you a lot of extra leg room. It’s also often is an emptier row, as airlines usually pre-charge an extra fee to sit there.



3. Fly During the Middle of the Week

Statistics show that the smallest number of travelers fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To ensure you have the most room on the plane–and the biggest selection of great seats–fly during the work week.



4. Take Seats Freed by Upgrades

Once you board a plane, some may opt to pay extra for first class or business class seats. Ask if you can take the seats they left empty. Many of these seats will have been occupied by frequent flyers or business travelers, which means that you might earn yourself a premium seat with extra legroom, greater recline or other great features.

No matter whether you’re crossing a few state lines or the Pacific Ocean, having a comfortable seat can ensure you have a restful and pleasant flight. By following a few simple tips, you can find yourself the best seat possible without forking over any extra dough.

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Bus From Singapore to Malacca via Larkin Terminal

September 3rd, 2015





Isn’t it nice to visit multiple countries in one trip?


This is one of the reasons why you will love to go to Singapore – a  chance to visit Malaysia. While others go to Legoland, I chose to visit one of Malaysia’s popular tourist areas, Malacca or Melaka.


I would like to assume that Malacca is favorite weekend destination among Singaporeans given the number of bus schedules from Singapore to Malacca, ranging from budget to luxury coaches.


If you are planning your trip to Malacca and Singapore, chances are, you are checking bus schedules. Like you, I spent quite a lot of time researching, finding the cheapest option and I found out that traveling to Melaka from Singapore via Larkin Terminal. Larkin Terminal is in Jahor Bahru, the nearest Malaysian soil from Singapore.    




Why should you take the bus to Malacca from Singapore via Larkin Terminal?


The most obvious reason is cost. It is cheaper compared to taking a direct Singapore to Malacca bus at Queen Street.  Fare is less than 23MYR in Larkin Terminal compared to the 25SGD. Check the exchange rate and amazingly, via Larkin is more than half less than direct buses from Singapore.

Taking the bus via Larkin Terminal is also good if you want to travel early. You can take the earliest train ride ; the earliest trip to Malacca from Larkin is 7am.


How do you get to Malacca from Singapore via Larkin?


The most important part. Follow this route that I personally took.

1. From your nearest station ( that would be Little India Station in my case) to Kranji Station. I think it took almost an hour. Kranji is also far from the business and central Singapore. So relax and enjoy your train ride.

2. From Kranji Station, exit the train station. Then look for bus SBS #170; bus #170 is the only public Singapore bus that can take you directly to Malaysia . FYI, there is a small food area in Kranji ( for breakfast) as well as money exchanger.

Fare for SBS #170 is $1SGD from Kranji Station. Some take the bus directly and skip the train ride to Kranji but I read that it will take a long time.  Ask your hotel if it’s more feasible to take the bus right away rather than going to Kranji Station.

3. The bus will stop at the Singapore Immigration Check Point. You will be asked to bring your things ( if you are going back to Singapore, it is best to travel light and leave the rest of your things at your accommodation). No photos allowed. After clearing immigration from Singapore checkpoint, go back to the bus. No need to ride the exact bus; you can take any available SBS #170 ( pls keep your ticket).

4. The bus will proceed to Malaysian Immigration. Once cleared, the bus will go to Larkin Terminal.



From Larkin to Malacca    


When you arrive at Larkin, do not feel intimidated with all the men trying to convince you to take their buses. Decline politely and go towards the ticketing booth. Coming to the Philippines, I’m used to these “barkers”, but Malaysians do take no for an answer.When you say no, they stop and won’t bother you. There are many bus companies traveling to Malacca and pick the earliest trip.


 I took Mayang Sari for 23 MYR.  This is located on platform 143. Buses in Malaysia are based on their platform. While digging for information, I was assuming that buses have numbers on their body but it turned out, you have to check the platform where the buses are parked. My bus was traveling directly to Malacca, no in-between stops and it left right away.    






Melaka Sentral to Jonker


All buses arrive at Melaka Sentral, the main terminal of the city. The terminal is clean and plenty of food choices. It is easy to navigate. Proceed to platform #17 and take the red Panorama bus. I was looking for that blue bus I previously read online, but according to the local tourism staff, only the Panorama buses are available.

No need to buy tickets, you need to pay in cash. The driver will ask you where you’re going  ( tell him you will alight at Dutch Square if you will be staying at my hotel – Hangout Hotel) and he’ll tell you the fare. Therefore, keep some coins handy.




I stayed at Hangout Hotel, conveniently located along Jonker Street. Alight at Dutch Square, your landmark is the red color and Victoria fountain. Cross the bridge and you have officially arrived in Malacca!


Some tips for you

1. Do not be afraid to ask for directions.

2. Once you are in Melaka Sentral, check out the bus schedules going back to Singapore.

3. It is advisable to take a direct bus to Singapore from Malacca. It is still cheap – 35MYR.

4.  If you want to take a taxi to and from Melaka Sentral, fare is 20MYR

5. Bring food and drinks in case your bus won’t take a stopover. Food and drinks are strictly prohibited in Singaporean trains.


Hope you find this post useful! Enjoy Malacca!


Read more about my trip to Malacca

My Solo Trip to Malacca Part 1

My Solo Trip to Malacca Part 2

My First Solo Travel: Singapore and Malacca



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How To Pack Light For Any Trip, Anywhere

August 29th, 2015


This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on August25,2015




No one would prefer lugging four suitcases through the airport over picking up a backpack and whistling past the baggage claim. But that doesn’t mean packing light is an easy feat. Develop a strategy for packing light, and you’re much more likely to actually do it in spite of anxieties.

Whether your goal is to pack for a multi-week vacation in a carry-on or you’re just looking to lighten the load and develop better packing habits, here’s how to pack light for any trip.


Embrace multi-functionalism

Why pack two (or more) items when it’s possible to pack one item that accomplishes everything the others would. Think two-in-one shampoo/conditioner, smartphones (they’re a camera, flashlight, GPS, and phone all in one), a small bundle of strong, flexible rope (use it to tie things to a pack, string it up as a clothesline, or tie the bag to the roof of a bus), or a tablet that can be converted into a laptop. While packing, consider all the ways (conventional or not) that each item could be used. Pack as many multi-functional items as possible, and don’t double up—if one item could serve a particular function in a pinch, that’ll do.


Follow the “rule of three”

When it comes to clothing, three pairs of socks, three pairs of underwear, and three shirts should take care of the basics. That way you can wear one, wash one, and dry one all at the same time. Because pants and shorts get smelly less quickly, two pairs will probably do it. Choose clothing in neutral shades so that any of the items can be paired with the others, and opt for fabrics that aren’t prone to wrinkling.


Think light

Evaluate everything on a packing list to see if there are light-weight versions of any items. For example, consider packing a Camelbak bladder instead of a stainless steel water bottle. And instead of packing a heavy winter coat for a cold climate, pack light-weight thermals and thin sweaters (One exception: If you’re staying in an ice hotel, bring the heaviest coat you’ve got). You’ll stay warm either way but the latter will take up way less room in a suitcase. Opt for the lighter version whenever possible.


Be willing to wash

Committing to washing your clothes while traveling will save a ton of weight, because you won’t need to pack fresh outfits for every day of the trip. A sink plug and a little soap is generally all it takes to get clothes clean on the road.


Make a “don’t-pack” list

When it comes to packing light, what you don’t pack is just as important as what you do. Leave behind jewelry and other valuables, items that can be purchased at a destination, multiple guidebooks (or multiple books in general), unnecessary electronics, excess toiletries, and most of the items you feel inclined to stuff into the bag in a last-minute panic. Also be sure to adhere to any regulations for liquids, etc., in order to spend less time in airport security.


Pack several days in advance

This affords time to assess everything you’ve planned to pack. A day or two after laying out all your gear, re-evaluate whether each item is essential. If you’re justifying taking an item with the phrase “what if…” that may be a sign that it’s not actually necessary. Packing in advance will also leave time to pack in an organized way, with heavier items toward the bottom of the pack, clothing rolled instead of folded, and the gear you’ll need most often in accessible places.

Packing light is a skill made better with practice, and it gets easier every time it’s done (especially after a few trips prove that things don’t fall to pieces without all those “what if” items). Put these tactics into practice every time you pack for a trip, and pretty soon you’ll be a pro at packing light.


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Museum Cafe in Bacolod

August 19th, 2015



I was in Bacolod weeks ago for a writing assignment and I can’t wait to try the city’s delectable dining options. I believe that Museum Cafe is one of Bacolod’s top restaurant and I was excited to dine at the cafe.

Museum Cafe’s location intrigues me and my last visit was perfect – to eat alone. I first saw them while checking out the museum nearby; I can’t dine that time because I was working though I had a refreshing ginger-lime drink ( Php65).




My curiosity to eat at this cafe in Bacolod is their menu and I promised to have lunch next time I’m in Bacolod. Negros as we all know is gifted when it comes to agriculture, their produce is not just about sugar but they are the place to go if you like something organic. Museum Cafe uses local ingredients from their cheese to local coffee.

Here’s what I had for my lunch – Roast Beef with Mayo Sauce ( Php195). This budget meal ( the serving is smaller, perfect for solo diners) comes with bread or rice and salad.



The highlight of my meal was the salad. Fresh and I love the pickles. Their salad is highly recommended! The bread was certainly freshly-baked.


I will cut the chase and just want to tell you if you are looking for places to eat in Bacolod after all the inasal and cakes, Museum Cafe is the place to go. Great food and the place is a retreat. This cafe is well known but I still consider this my secret dining place in Bacolod.    






Have you been to Museum Cafe? What did you get?


Thanks for reading!



Want to read more?

Rapha Valley, an Organic Destination

Orchard Valley, Organic and Local

Promenade’s International Buffet


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5 Reasons to Visit Denver

August 13th, 2015



Denver City and County Building from Colorado State Capitol, Denver Civic Center, Denver, Colorado

Photo by Kevin Lund via Flickr


Denver may be one of the highly urbanized cities in the US, but it is also one of the most underrated travel destinations. Nicknamed “The Mile High City,” Denver is no doubt an interesting city, yet sadly, less traveled by many tourists. If you are planning for a trip, you may want to consider Denver.


Denver is complete when it comes to amenities — specifically for Denver hotels. You can choose cheap hotels in Denver, or if you feel like splurging, book a room in luxurious hotels like The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa. For dining, the city has a long list of restaurants and bars.


Need more motivation? Here are some reasons why you should come and enjoy Denver:

Denver is Sunny with a Beautiful Landscape


When the temperature starts to drop, skip the usual destinations like Florida (which tend to get crowded anyway) and visit Denver instead. The city experiences 300 days of sunshine, ensuring that you will have fun outdoors; their attractions and activities are open year round, as well.


Situated near the mountains, Denver gives you stunning scenery of panoramic peaks, as well as high rolling plains. Though most people think that Denver is located in the mountains, it actually isn’t. Still, the visible peaks and overall landscape in and around the city is enough for tourists to enjoy Denver.


Denver for Outdoor Lovers


red rocks hike

Photo by apascuito via Flickr


Colorado’s capital city is the place to digitally detach and reconnect with nature. From the city center to its surrounding areas, there are various outdoor activities. Enjoy biking on Denver’s bike paths or through Denver B-cycle, or join a biking tour at the Green Mountain Loop. Open all year round, this mountain bike activity is suitable even for beginners.


Red Rock is not just the city’s most iconic landmark, it also offers plenty of activities from watching live performances to hiking. For some challenge, hike all the way to Lookout Mountain to get a panoramic view of the city. You can also travel a bit outside the city center to Confluence Park and enjoy heart-pumping rafting.


If you decide to stay in Denver proper, hike and walk around its park, go skating at Denver’s skate parks, and visit Denver’s Botanic Gardens.


Denver Bears Old West Legacy


Reminisce America’s pioneer era while in Denver starting with its museums like the American Museum of Western Art and Buffalo Bill Grave & Museum. Learn about the city’s past at History Colorado Center.


For more fun, visit Four Mile Historic Park. Sign up for their guided tours and learn about how the pioneers lived during the Old West time. Lastly, a trip to Denver will be incomplete without trying out Western costumes at the Rockmount Ranch Wear.


Denver, Craft Beer Capital of the West



Beer tasting tour of Denver

Photo by Thomas Galvez via Flickr


Over 200 beers are served in Denver’s tap houses, brew pubs, breweries, and gastro pubs. The city is also home to Coors Brewery, the world’s largest single brewery site.


There are beer tasting tours offered in Denver, as well as brewery tours. The easiest way to enjoy Denver’s craft beers would be to visit any local pub or to attend The Great American Beer Festival, the largest beer festival in the U.S. that occurs every September.


Denver is for Everyone


Denver is a destination suited for everyone. The outdoors are something that this city takes pride in, but there are also some activities that don’t require great energy or for those with mobility issues or the elderly. Walking or touring around the historic districts of Denver, as well as enjoying their local cuisine, is something everyone should check out.


The city is a proud family-friendly destination with plenty of attractions for little kids. Can’t leave your dog while you travel? Denver is a certified dog-friendly destination. Many hotels in Denver cater to pets, and the city allows dogs on patios of bars and restaurants if owners meet certain requirements.


From accommodations and other facilities to a long list of activities, Denver should be on the list of your places to visit. As one of America’s less-traveled cities, Denver can absolutely provide a crowd-free holiday.


This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove Project. Check out my recommended hotel in Denver at Hipmunk!

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