Everything But the Continental Breakfast: Hotels, Inns, and More on WordPress.com

WordPress.com is home to millions of great blogs and lots of great websites, from small businesses to schools to hotels. Forget your travel agent — you can find places to stay from New Zealand to New Mexico on WordPress.com.

Since we launched WordPress.com/hotels in April, hundreds of inns, guesthouses, motels, and more around the world have used it to create sleek sites that show off their amenities and locations. Here are a few of the places we love (and want to visit!).

Amy’s Place

Amy’s Place uses the Stay theme — created specifically to show off hotels and inns to their best advantage — to highlight a picture-perfect tropical setting that makes any reader want to book a trip ASAP:

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(If you’re ready to call your travel agent, you’ll need tickets to Sumatra, Indonesia.)

She uses Stay’s image slider to highlight a different beguiling photo for each of her whimsically-named menu items — Surf, Shelter, Grub, and Downtime. Her bright orange logo and the pops of orange background along the edges inject a fun note into what is otherwise a refined, elegant theme, giving the site a laid-back feel that matches its owner’s attitude.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.41.49 AMHer site is chock-full of useful information, from check-in policies to beach recommendations to the location of the nearest working ATM (not so close, so bring some Indonesian Rupiah). Stay also includes a reservation inquiry widget so interested guests can submit the details of their proposed visit. Wisely, Amy includes the form in the sidebar on every page, making it easy to drop her a line no matter which page you’re on when the fancy strikes.

(Note: to make sure the hotel-specific features are activated, be sure to sign up for your site through the WordPress.com/hotels page.)

Amy doesn’t just rest on a great layout and stunning photography — her copy also gives you a feel for what an Amy-style Indonesian vacation will be like:

I traveled around the world, surfing, for years, with no real plans to stop… until I got here.

When I first arrived in this area, I knew there was something special here. I’d love to have you share the experience.

I take things like surf, bathrooms, adventure, beds, food, & cold beer seriously. I hope you do too.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.44.39 AMAs long as you’re heading to Asia, stop by the Windflower Boutique Hotel in Mui Ne, Vietnam. Their site shows off another key feature for hotels and inns: custom room descriptions (at left). Upload photos, pricing, and descriptions for a range of rooms, and let us lay them out into a clean, easy-to-navigate page.

(We also love the way they’re using the Instagram widget to add color to the sidebar and communicate important info for visitors, like the temperature and beach conditions; it’s a creative use of photos that could work on a variety of sites.)

If Indonesia and Vietnam aren’t for you, try the Cannon House in Simon’s Town, South Africa; Kawai Purapura Retreat outside Auckland, New Zealand; Kizingoni House on Lamu Island, Kenya (which packs a punch with a tiled gallery on its home page); the Yellow Inn in Kathmandu, Nepal; Casale Giuncheto in Perugia, Italy; or South Yarra Place in Melbourne, Australia — all created using Stay.

Don’t operate a B&B? There’s more to Stay than just a great theme for hotels; it’d be useful for a variety of tourism-related sites — think tour operators, restaurants, or spas. (It’s just as good for sites that have nothing to do with travel: check out how one mortgage broker used it to build a site for her business.)

Crystal Rainier Retreat

Stay isn’t just for inns in far-flung locations. The Crystal Rainier Retreat, a vacation home in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, also uses the Stay theme, adding custom colors and fonts to give it a darker look perfect for a mountain lodge:
Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.50.58 AM
Using the $30 Custom Design upgrade, the Retreat’s proprietors layered dark gray over a subtle wood-grain background that peeks around the edges of the page. A sturdy font in a warm off-white paired with a photo of a comfy, rustic room complete Stay’s transformation from Beach Blanket to Bunny Slope.

Instead of displaying the reservation form widget in a sidebar, they’ve opted to make it a drop-down option — it remains accessible on every page, but frees up sidebar space for key information like maps and directions, or allows them to take advantage of the full width of the page for content:
Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.51.47 AM
We don’t know about you, but we’re taking some ski lessons and saving up our frequent flyer miles.

Vashisht Home Stay and Café

Creating a website for an inn or rental property doesn’t require use of Stay — once you’ve created a site, you can choose any of WordPress.com’s 200+ themes. As long as you sign up through the wordpress.com/hotels page, all the hotel-related options will be available, no matter which theme you choose.

The Vashisht Home Stay, in an area of northern India known for its natural hot springs, opted for the punchy, high-contrast look of Fanwood Light:

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.52.24 AM
Vashisht uses the same reservation widget, which now blends in with Fanwood Light‘s colors. A custom menu along the top of the screen makes it easy to find information on rooms and local attractions, while the starkness of the theme helps photos pop off the screen.

They’re not the only proprietors who have branched off from the Stay theme: The Long House Bed and Breakfast went with Vigilance, a classic theme with multiple custom menu areas that let them neatly organize information on the house, rooms, and local area.

Great photography, clear descriptions of amenities, and an easy way to make reservations are key to a hotel website that turns browsers into real-life visitors. WordPress.com/hotels make it simple for any proprietor to create a site that fits the bill quickly and easily.

Forget Travelocity — browse the Reader to find your next dream vacation!

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Michelle W.

10 Comments

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  1. Helen Devries

    So can you now do a site that allows us to suggest great places to stay?

    Like

  2. Helen Devries

    I’m sure WordPress doesn’t want to be Tripadvisor all over again but I see so many super travel blogs that it would be nice to have a sort of central recommendation point.

    I’m not a travel blog…well not on what has become my main blog asurfeitofpalfreys.wordpress.com…but I do travel between Costa Rica and Europe, usually off the beaten track and I’d love it if others could enjoy some of the places I’ve stayed at.

    There’s a hotel I like in Bressuire, Deux Sevres, France – a real backwater area but so well worth exploring – called the Boule d’Or.
    It’s almost a relic of French country hotels…old fashioned rooms, timers on the lights in the corridor, a super restaurant with local produce doing traditional food and absolutely the nicest staff. It will be modernised one day, more’s the pity!

    There’s a cafe in Saumur, Maine et Loire, France called Le Trianon which is a local landmark…a bistro still living in the fifties. You don’t see many tourists as it looks so run down from outside…the food isn’t remarkable…but the chef/owner is. Over eighty, shuffling round in his slippers, woolly hat firmly over his brows in winter and you get what he gives you. I love that place, but one day he’ll give up and something else good will disappear.

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  3. Veevee

    Thanks for the information :)
    This makes me feel like going on a holiday now!!

    Like

  4. windflowerhotels

    Thanks Michelle for writing and sharing this article. Yesh, we do really love many wordpress widgets but most is the Instagram widget and how it sync wirelessly to the front webpage. The blog and all the connections with social platforms are great and save a lot of time for us as we just need post an article on our blog and wordpress.com will do the rest on passing the post to facebook, twitter, etc…So kool!:D

    Like

  5. KevinHo

    Love this type of information – travel related or not! Thanks for sharing this

    Like

  6. Ocean Daze

    Thanks Michelle! You have inspired me!
    As the owner of one of the best kept secrets around (OceanDaze on the exclusive private Island of Windermere, The Bahamas) you have given me a wonderful resource to share with the world: ) I’ve had a paradigm shift!! Thanks again; )

    Like

  7. Jamie Dedes

    I really like this theme and used it for both my poetry blog and for a collabrative blog I set up. Problem: everyone complained about the small print. :-( I had to change themes.

    Like

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