All posts filed under: Trips

How I Officially Became a Middle-Aged Badass in the Finnish Arctic

A few summers ago, I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a roundtrip holiday junket to the Finnish Arctic region in hopes that I’d write about the region’s beauty, sustainability and why it should be a top travel destination for millennials who are increasingly seeking meaning and purpose when they travel.  But as a woman in midlife, a decidedly non-millennial, I found meaning, purpose and a little bit of a super-hero skill in the deep-freeze. I was offered two, week-long options. The first was to take the trip during the summer solstice in August, featuring hiking, biking and outdoor trekking. The second was a visit during the darkest and coldest time of the Finnish winter, January. Given that I’d be traveling solo and am middle-aged, I initially leaned towards the safe and more “typical” sounding summer holiday. But, after reflection, I thought, “Hell, Susan, why not go the challenging route? Get out of your comfort zone and be a badass for once.” So winter darkness was the selection I made, and my trip would …

25 Years Later, Adventures with My Husband Are Just Getting Started

“What’s the Australian equivalent of Ibuprofin?” I asked my husband, handing him Band-Aids out of a medicine chest in a hut in the middle of the Tasmanian wilderness. “Is it paracetamol?” I said, flipping through various tiny white medicine packets stored in a Dixie cup. My husband winced and limped back to a bench to tend to his blistered feet. He’d been pretending they weren’t bothering him, but four days and almost 40 miles into our traverse of Tasmania’s Overland Track, his feet weren’t playing along. “Hey, your legs are still bleeding from the leeches,” he said, pointing to the rivulets that traced their way down my left calf. We’d learned that leeches secrete a chemical to prevent your blood from clotting while they fill up. You can’t feel them latch onto you and it doesn’t hurt to have them there, but once they fill up and drop off it, it takes ages for the bleeding to stop. “I know,” I said, dapping at the blood with a tissue. “Those little Tasmanian bastards.” It was the …

A Pragmatist’s Guide to Adventurous Living 

When people ask how a nice Mormon girl from a small, conservative college town ended up in New York City, I tell them it was by way of the Western Sahara, a desert wedding and a white camel. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was trained for a life of adventure. Conceived in a well-traveled uterus (my parents had spent a grueling 12 months traveling the globe the year prior), I had been to 32 countries and visited every one of the United States except Alaska by the time I was 12. I celebrated my third birthday crying over a lost sweater on a Norwegian fjord. My fourth, waiting patiently in our VW camper for my father to be released from a Mexican jail. My fifth, eating couscous from the henna-ed hands of bejeweled women at a Berber wedding in Morocco and begging my parents to let me bring home a very sweet, very tiny white camel. And the year I turned 18, I furtively exchanged blue jeans for Soviet bezdelushki behind …

Taking Off and Waking Up

I take a lot of long-haul trips, the kind where I’m trapped in the coach seat of a jetliner for a dozen hours or more. So I’ve learned to sleep on planes. Within a half hour of slipping the plastic off my airline-issued blanket, I’m dozing deeply, head nestled against my bright pink travel pillow. I used to fight it. I found the whole experience unsettling. One minute, I’m in New York, closing my eyes on the snowy tarmac of JFK, and the next thing I know I’m surrounded by the desert heat and social restrictions of Abu Dhabi. It’s surreal, emerging as the lights get brighter and the rustling of people and baggage brings the cabin suddenly to life, unsure for a moment where or when I am. The control freak in me took years to accept that I was OK being totally, vulnerably asleep in such a public place, under a blanket that wasn’t mine, with total strangers – and not ones I’d chosen to sleep with – reclining next to me. At …

Bad Street Food Nearly Killed Me Until Celine Dion Saved My Life

So this is how I die: assassination by brunch. Murder by poop. Wrung dry yet drenched in sweat. Alone. Cheek pressed against the cool tile floor. Whoever finds me won’t know who I am. I carry no identification. At the moment, I’m not even wearing pants. I miss my parents. I don’t want to die here. I want to hug my best friend. I want to see Nebraska again. I want to have sex again. (But maybe not in Nebraska.) Hours pass. I try to stand but can’t. With my fingertip, I seek my pulse. Still alive. I check my watch and calculate the hours until my bus leaves. The bus that will take me to a city, to an airport. Home. I am not going to make it, I tell myself. I’m not sure I’ll even make it out of this room. This is how I die. And then she comes to me. Hazy at first, a swirl of colors before my eyes. Soon enough, I can make out her angular face, the little …

Sleeping Your Way Around The World — No, Really

I used to think traveling for work would be an amazing benefit, collecting miles and points for my personal use later on. While living in San Francisco, I even took a job with a company partially because it boasted offices in 31 cities across 16 countries, and lured me with project collaborations in Paris and Rome. I never travelled further than Palo Alto. Eventually, I moved back to New York and was hired by a company that wanted me to travel quite a bit. That was when I learned a hard truth: work travel is nothing like vacation. It’s more like a series of redeyes to minimize hotel expenses, and thus, sleep. I’ve arrived at many meetings and conferences feeling like one of the faceless cast members of the The Walking Dead. But I’ve also learned that while there’s no substitute for a comfortable bed in a dark, quiet place, there are some tricks and tools that can help you sleep just about anywhere. 1. Pack for Comfort Remember when all airplanes and all the …

tuenight censored bangkok melissa rayworth

Life Lessons from Going Balls Deep in Bangkok

I am a hypocrite. A hypocrite holding a ping-pong paddle. On this night, the ping-pong paddle has just hit a ping-pong ball that is coming directly at me, as ping-pong balls do. But it is the ping-pong ball’s provenance that concerns me: It has just been launched from inside the vagina of a visibly bored, thirty-something Thai woman sitting spread-eagle on a dingy stage. For over a year, I have lived in Bangkok as an “expat,” a term I dislike intensely. I am, no escaping it, white privilege embodied. But I have tried to encounter the culture in which I now live on its own terms — terms of respect and deference, with an eye toward understanding the world better and being a worthy representative of my country in a far-off place. Curiosity has gotten the better of me, though. I want to understand the famously forbidden parts of the city I currently call home. And that curiosity has brought me to Patpong, a part of central Bangkok that is perhaps the most scarlet of …

The Zipper

I read Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying at 19 during my first year of college, around the time my then-boyfriend and I were working together to give me my first orgasm. In the most iconic riff of the novel, protagonist Isadora Wing describes a one-hour trip from Heidelberg to Frankfurt, which she would take four times a week to see her analyst. On the train, she would see beautiful German men and have elaborate sexual fantasies, including one involving an Italian widow and a soldier in a train compartment. She famously called this a “zipless fuck….not because the participants are so devastatingly attractive, but because the incident has all the swift compression of a dream and is seemingly free of all remorse and guilt.” When I set off on a study abroad program in Europe myself a few years later in 1994, I did so with Jong’s zipless fuck in my mind. I would get a Eurail pass, travel alone, and have hot, anonymous sex with a chain-smoking French intellectual. But unfortunately for my scheme, …

The Birthday Incident: Turning 40 in a Parking Garage

My friend, Andrew, an artist in Los Angeles, was grouchy on the night he turned 40. He did not like the aging process. To cheer him up, I made reservations for a small birthday dinner at his favorite restaurant and invited three of his closest friends. Andrew, being a control freak, insisted that we all meet outside his apartment complex at precisely 7 p.m. and then he would drive us to the restaurant. He was proud of his driving mojo and only trusted himself to get us to the restaurant in time. Getting together for dinner in Los Angeles can require as much precision as a military operation. Friends live far apart, and traffic is always bad. Sandra drove from Pasadena, picking up Hiroshi downtown, while I drove from Redondo Beach, picking up Brian in West Hollywood. We all converged on Andrew’s block in Silverlake, parking our cars near his apartment complex. Part One of the mission was accomplished. The metal security gate to Andrew’s garage creaked open and Andrew appeared, driving his 1996 Honda …

The Girl in the Gray Flannel Suit

Before I moved to Bridgeport — Connecticut’s only really big, bad city — I commuted into Manhattan out of a station in Westport. A bit of trivia: Westport is the town that played the role of EverySuburb in the 1955 bestseller The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, reissued with a forward by Jonathan Franzen, and in the hit movie, starring Gregory Peck. You likely haven’t read the book or seen the movie (I did, only just in advance of writing this), but I bet the title triggers the image of its protagonist: the button-downed, soul-squashed, bread-winning husband/middle-manager who takes his place on the platform every weekday morning at 6:34 a.m. at the exact spot where the door will open, briefcase and folded-up New York Times in hand. What you probably don’t know: On the Westport platform and at that time in the morning, not much has changed. Many mornings it was a sea of grey-suited men, most of whom resemble Dick Cheney at some point in his life, and me. The youngest among them have …

How to Become a Car Person In Just 3 Short Years

In my 18 years in New York City, I relied on the subway every single day of my life just like everyone else. First, it was the G to the L. Then, the G to the 7 or maybe the G to the E. Then, there was the L to the N, the G to the F, the L to the 2 (and that horrible tunnel between them), and finally the 4. Just the 4. Live and work long enough in NYC, and you’ll earn the privilege of a single-train commute. For years, I traipsed through wind and snow, uphill both ways to the subway — not an old saying in this case, but likely actually true based on NYC Sanitation’s snow removal efforts. I walked in sub-zero temps and felt my eyeballs start to freeze. I plodded through swampy humidity with sweat rolling down my back. I darted around bewildered tourists at the top of the subway stairs. I always got on the train at the exact door that would match my preferred exit …

Zen and the Art of the Crafty Commute

As someone who makes her home in a tree-lined, mostly hipster-free (knock wood), very outer area of the most desirable outer borough of Manhattan, I spend an inordinate amount of time commuting. Despite the rumblings of further encroaching gentrification, I’m blessedly still just a little too far from the maddening crowd. Yet another Fashion Week event invitation? Not all that interesting if it means spending extra hours on the back and forth. Tribeca Film Festival? You’ll need a pretty compelling line-up for me to spring for a cab back home. And, yes, I did just turn down an invitation to the cocktail party gala for the Frieda Kahlo exhibit up in the Bronx because no one offered to send an Uber. While I schlep back and forth on the F train to meetings or dinners or cocktails or basically anything worth doing, I tend to complain mightily. And I always have a plan of attack. I avoid eye contact, avoid frottage and try to have something to focus on other than the smells and sound effects …

The Ritual of Flying and Crying

The window seat on airplanes has always been my refuge. I can turn my face into it to hide my tears, or I can focus on a cloud while flashing back to an 11 year-old quietly sobbing on the nine-hour journey from London to Vancouver. Most of us experience at least one traumatic event that shapes and alters everything to come. As a child, my move to Vancouver had a shocking air of finality. I watched my whole extended family gathered at Heathrow Airport to see us off. There were various aunts sobbing, stoic uncles wiping deceptive trickles off their cheeks and unaware cousins who scoffed at the hoopla around them. I opted for a British stiff upper lip, hoping it would allow me to show a sense of decorum and unflappability. As I stood by the departure gate, I felt like I was going into exile. My younger sister and dad made the first move to go on ahead and waved back happily. This prompted a twinge of betrayal in me. How could they …

Snow & Steam — A Couple’s Tour of Iceland

I saw Iceland for the first time in a friend’s photo: she and her rock-star girlfriend were luxuriating in a pearlescent hot spring surrounded by snowdrifts and billowing steam, explorers on a magnificent alien planet. My husband and I finally explored those hot springs and snowdrifts for ourselves five years ago, and we promptly fell in love with them; we went back two years ago, and we’re planning to go again next winter. We try to play it cool by alternating trips to Iceland with trips to other countries, but the truth is that we daydream about moving there. “Iceland” is a misnomer, and a deliberate one at that: the Vikings gave it a nasty-sounding name to trick other Scandinavians into steering clear of it and settling instead in “Greenland” (which actually is kind of a frozen hellscape). Iceland is green, gorgeous, and breezy in the summer, and temperatures in the spring and fall hover around what you’d expect in New York City, though the daily mini-seasons, when storms blow in and out and the …

The Bravest Woman I’ve Ever Known

There have been many fierce, independent women in my life. Women who have stepped far outside of their comfort zones to chart new paths or tread into unfamiliar territory. But the woman who has inspired me the most to explore, to dare, and to navigate is my great-aunt Adriana. Her erratic presence in my life, seemingly flying in and out with the wind, opened my eyes to exotic worlds beyond the small southern town where I grew up. Many years earlier, she had had the same effect on my father, who would “drag” his family on archeological digs and to more ruins than I can count. Our nomadic tendencies were a bit of an anomaly in our town, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I truly appreciated this gypsy lifestyle. It was my family that introduced me to the gift of travel and my great-aunt who helped me realize the importance of breaking bread with other cultures around the world. As a young woman, Adriana would take the same route home from …

Top 5 Ways to Survive Sickness While Traveling

If I could give you advice, it would be to travel as often as you can. Traveling and living in multiple cities has always been a life goal of mine. Some years, chasing that goal entails multi-country tours. Others, it means staying in one place to soak up much of the local atmosphere as I can. From summer internships in Spain, business trips in Latin America, living in France while pregnant, and educational sojourns to Asia, I have learned much about the art and adaptability of travel from my journeys. Such experiential education becomes even more important to apply when you become ill while traveling. I don’t mean the headache or hangover type of ill. I mean the I-want-to-be-in-my-bed-with-my-doctor-and-mother-on-speed-dial type of ill. Now that I’m a parent, it’s even more important for me to be prepared prior to and during travel. Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot. Here are my top 5 tips for dealing with illness while on the road.   1.  Ask about special amenities for the sick. Airports sometimes have accelerated immigration for …

That American Woman: Finding Myself in Africa

My father once said to me, “Just once I’d like to get my feet on African soil, to stand anywhere on the continent if only for one day.” It’s a fairly common sentiment held by those of us whose ancestors were brought by the African slave trade to the Americas, the desire to reconnect and bind ourselves to an identity beyond our short and tragic history here. Given his advanced age and fear of flying, I’m sad to say it’s a dream I doubt he’ll ever realize. I, however, had the great fortune of spending a couple years after college as Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia during the pre-war years, an experience I will never forget. Full of hope and wonder, I was excited touch, see, smell, hear, and taste the wonders of “the Motherland” for myself. Despite my enthusiasm for reconnecting with my roots, however, I was disabused of any notion of belonging almost as soon as I arrived. No amount of sun could darken me enough to stop the locals from referring to …

A Globetrotting Romance

My marriage splintered after just five months when I discovered my husband deemed free trips to Miami and New Orleans a nuisance. He loathed travel, preferring to burrow into the earth in one place. I grew up believing divorce was a sin, but my need to traipse across every inch of the earth was stronger. After my divorce, I medicated myself with travel. I wanted a man who shared my odd sense of humor, was smart but kind, didn’t want kids and had the contradictory quality of loving intense travel yet having a home base. I was sure he didn’t exist. After seven years alone, I finally decided that Maddie, a little black lab, was the real love of my life. She loved road trips. The solitude of the open road has always rearranged my cells in a way I can’t pass up, so on a recent trip, I went to Portland. For the past year, I’d been tweeting with Lourens, a guy who was living there temporarily. When he learned I was in town, he suggested drinks. I was …

The Trip and the Tribe That Changed My Life

A coworker of mine used to give me shit about my fondness for getting together with my “Hawaii girls,” a group of writers I met in the Aloha State. A mere week after our group parted ways, we were planning our first reunion. “Don’t you guys have friends of your own?” she asked. “Of course we do,” I replied. “We just really, really like each other.” Last June, bleary from a pre-dawn call-a-car ride to the airport and a turbulent connection from New York City to Atlanta, I plunked down in my seat on a massive jet for a nine-hour flight to Honolulu. The woman beside me looked strangely familiar. Had we met somewhere before? “You look like you might be on the Starwood trip,” she said. “I’m Kafi—I am, too!” Kafi is a fellow writer, and she and I were both headed west to check out Starwood Hawaii’s health and wellness programs. Nine hours is a long time to share an armrest, and by the time we touched down we’d told each other the stories …

Lesvos, Ayvalik, Istanbul, Astoria

In 2005, I was waitressing in New York City and thought, no, was convinced that I was destined for so much more. I called myself an opera singer/actor, but I wasn’t making a living at it. Many of my friends had far fancier, better educations than I did, better jobs, and, in most cases, more money. That is a reality of living in NYC, but I had only been here a couple of years and hadn’t fully accepted my place “in the middle” yet. I decided that the best way for me to become more equal with a friend whom I idolized for her intellect, creativity, and worldliness was to travel more, like she did. She was just starting to freelance for Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, and I shared her curiosity for other cultures and places, so it didn’t seem so crazy that I would make it a goal to just get on a plane and… GO. My friend (who I’ll call Z) and her then boyfriend, now husband (let’s call him P) invited my …

Hitchhiking in Italy: The Worst Travel Decision I’ve Ever Made (Shocker, I Know!)

There I was, age 19, exactly 24 hours after setting out on a three-month tour of Europe, walking along the narrow shoulder of a busy freeway on the outskirts of Naples — then considered the most dangerous major city in Western Europe — bent under the weight of my backpack and the near-paralyzing fear that I would not live to see the sunrise. It was the middle of the night. My friend Angie and I had just been unceremoniously dumped from the cab of a transport truck onto the side of a busy exit ramp and left to fend for ourselves. From the start, it had been one of those episodes that, if it had gone another way, would have been the sort of headline-making story fellow travelers shake their heads at in an “obviously, this is what happens when you’re an idiot” way and parents brandish as a dire warning to children setting out to travel for the first time. In my own defense, the one good thing I can say about the worst …

A Superstar Visits Buenos Aires

Gospel music has a way of making people sound like better singers than they are. I should know—I’m one of those people. In general, one should not make too many assumptions about someone’s talent simply because that person sings professionally or publicly. When a person chooses to sing or not sing in front of other people, that choice doesn’t necessarily reflect the person’s musical ability (or lack thereof). Not all people who can sing do sing, and not all people who do sing can sing. If you’re wondering into which category I fall, the answer is who the hell knows? Can I carry a tune? Absolutely. (*Clears throat. Puts right index finger to ear and points left index finger to sky, like Mi-mi-mi-miiiiii. Do-re-mi-fa….*) Can I hit high notes? Usually. It depends on how many Marlboros I smoked (or how much Malbec I drank) the previous night. But when you sing in a gospel choir, especially an African-American gospel choir, hitting your notes is beside the point. The music is as much about the message …

Cyclone Approaching! Why I Chose to Dive Anyway

When you go on vacation, are you the cautious type, heavily insured and fully prepared for anything that could go wrong? Or are you a more adventurous type, for whom the worst seems easily resolvable with a little Immodium or an immediate call to Amex? You’re optimistic—you are on vacation, after all. You could be mugged in Mexico, and it would still be better than being at work. I’ve been that person. I’ve spent hours researching hotels and dining but overlooked required immunizations. I’ve put myself in questionable situations that could have been easily avoided with a little forethought—or any thought at all. Like the time I took a bus alone from Montevideo to Punta Del Este, Uruguay. It wasn’t until boarding that I realized that it was highly improbable I would know which stop was mine. I had just assumed there would be a large sign, “Welcome to Punta Del Este.” Or at least an English-speaking bus driver. Somehow, I managed to find a fellow passenger who knew both the stop and English, and …

Why I Kind of Hate Disney World

If you asked me to describe my worst vacation scenario, it would go something like this: The destination is perpetually crowded, it’s hot and noisy, the accommodations are bland at best, the food is unhealthy and unappetizing, I must wait in line to do anything, and I have to pay a sizable sum of money to have the crap scared out of me several times a day. Sound like fun to you? Then you must be a fan of Disney World. As you might have guessed, I am not. But it’s not Disney’s fault. On the contrary, I believe that for those who are so inclined, the place is top-notch. I don’t get the appeal, but I know that even grown-ups without children visit the park regularly. Some couples even honeymoon with Goofy. And for those people, Disney definitely hits the spot. You might assume I have shunned The Mouse’s kingdom, refusing to set foot near a single spinning teacup. But you would be wrong. For not only have I stomped my boots at the Country …

Why Bathing is the New Hotness

  When we chatted on the phone today, my mother reported that, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown’s stipulation, she and other California residents must reduce their water consumption by 25%. She now feels guilty about even letting the water in her shower run until it’s warm enough to stand beneath (though she catches the cold water in a bucket and uses it to revive her drought-flattened garden). I chuckled in sympathy and offered to bring a suitcase full of New York City tap water when I visit her later this summer. Then I went for a jog and cooled down in my second shower of the day, at one in the afternoon. It’s possible that I’ll take another when I get home tonight, if I walk home in the rain and need warming up (a cold front is sweeping through the city this week). I also might take one if I have trouble falling asleep—it’s so much nicer to go to bed when my hair is wet and my skin is a little damp. I …

Like Cheers, Only Sunnier: Saying Goodbye to Miami’s Best Bar

During a recent trip to Miami, I visited one of my favorite bars with the sad recognition that this was likely my last time there. For over a year, Scotty’s Landing had been slated to close, despite efforts to save it from the path of Condo-geddon. Many places in Miami have succumbed more swiftly, including some veritable institutions, but for me, the closing of Scotty’s is like the loss of a friend. Small businesses falling to rising rents is hardly unique to Miami — or even cities. You could visit nearly any place in this country and hear about a restaurant, boutique, book store or other kind of place-gone-by recalled with distinct fondness. It’s always a small business, too: where your little league team went after games, where you celebrated graduation, the secret diner you told people to visit when they were in town. [pullquote]A favorite place can transport you to a substantial period of time, like a decade or childhood. When it closes, so does that time in your life.[/pullquote] No one ever says, …

10 Gifts for the World Traveler and the Day Tripper

Whether you’re shopping for a Wild-inspired backpacker or a globe-trotter who considers a two-star hotel “slumming it,” these gifts will work for just about any kind of traveler. And best of all, they might inspire you to book a last-minute flight and head off on your very own adventure. 1. Flight 001 Mondo Travel Alarm When you’re switching between time zones and still need to be sure you don’t miss that early morning wakeup call, this cute, lightweight alarm can help. It’s small — not even a full three inches across —so you can justify packing it, and just like your alarm at home, comes equipped with a snooze button. $25, flight001.com   2. Cath Kidston Mini Ticket Holder One major travel challenge is keeping all those pieces of paper together: boarding passes, train tickets, printed-out hotel confirmations and the like. This organizer is small, flat and easily stashes all your paperwork. Plus the London bus design gives it a sense of whimsy. $10, cathkidston.com 3. Trakdot Luggage Tracker We’ve all had that sense of …

Island for One, Please: Why I Love Traveling Solo

Are you one of those people who say they could never work virtually because they’d miss being around other people? Not me.  When I tell, friends that, they look at me in bewilderment. “But if you were stranded on a deserted island…” and I cut them off with, “Wait, where is it?” I’ve been looking for that island for years. No, I don’t need to go 100% off the grid, and it’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that sometimes I prefer solitude. I find travelling alone, even in a crowded city, can give me some sense of “alone.” About 10 years ago, I took my first solo trip — on my way to visit a friend in Hong Kong, I decided to go to China on my own. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken, but eventually, I forgot that part of what I had loved was being on my own. Then, a few years ago, a friend bailed on a trip to Prague about a week before we …

I Always Travel With My…

When traveling, we all have that one thing we wouldn’t dare leave home without —a pashmina to keep us warm or earplugs to tune out Loud Baby. We asked our contributors for that one special thing… Baby Cashmere Blanket When my son was born, we received a gorgeous cashmere baby blanket from Susan Lazar, the designer, who is a childhood friend of mine. It is gray with his horoscope sign (Scorpio) in white. He no longer needs it — he is 10 now —  but it is the perfect blanket to use on an airplane. It is easy to stuff into a backpack, and it is cozy, soft, warm and luxe. —Lauren Young Moccasin Slippers I ALWAYS fly with my old Dearform moccasin slippers. Beige, furry and a hand-me-down from my mom circa 1982, these slippers are on my feet before the plane takes off. I’ve gotten some funny looks from other passengers but I don’t care. A few years ago, I lost my lucky slippers before a long haul to London, so I picked …

Dublin, Take Two: A Writer Revisits the Emerald Isle

The first time I took a whack at Dublin, I was working as an assistant in my first job after college. The second, I was an established travel writer “on holiday” with my then-boyfriend. There are some things that remained the same: the nippy weather, the reliable Guinness pours, the warm, amiable charm of the Irish people. But being able to go and do it “the proper way” this time — staying at a hotel instead of a six-to-a-bed mixed hostel room — gave me a whole new perspective on the city. Where to Stay The Shelbourne. It’s hard to get more central than St. Stephens Green, and this hotel wins not only for convenience but for cozy-yet-luxe accommodations. It was built in 1842, but the old-world charm melds nicely with modern conveniences. Paintings by local Irish artists hang in hallways and common areas and the spa is perfect when you need a warm sauna at the end of a cold day. Dylan Hotel. If it’s a more boutique-y feel you’re after, The Dylan is a laid-back hotel …