Next to the reception desk of The Veranda House on Nantucket Island there’s a large photo from the 1880s of the bed and breakfast. It shows well-heeled guests hanging out on the namesake verandas, admiring the view of the historic town center and the waters of the Nantucket Sound beyond.
Since that photo was taken the fashions have changed. The quality of photographs has greatly improved. But guests today still hang out on those same verandas. They still enjoy the view of the town and the water. They are still drawn to the iconic lodgings by its history. The Veranda House, after all, was built in 1684 — by the time the photo was taken it had already earned its place as one of the island’s historic icons!
A sandy floor, a full size tree trunk, a profusion of green plants and a posse of endangered species — in cuddly toy form. The WWF room at Scandic Vulkan hotel in Oslo is wild! The only thing missing are the calls of rainforest birds. Although, if you are after a good night’s sleep, that’s is probably for the best.
Designed in partnership with WWF Norway, to raise awareness of environmental issues among hotel guests, the room also features recycling bins (yes, you’ll have to sort out your paper from your plastic waste), second-hand furniture, organic toiletries and long-life bulbs, among other energy-saving devices.
Is it Athens, Greece? Or is it South Beach, Miami? While staying at the Semiramis Hotel your GPS would tell you the former. But the day-glo colored lobby filled with beautiful people, the ubiquitous pop art and the pastel swimming pool area filled with the scent of suntan lotion is enough to convince you of the later.
Yes, everything about the Semiramis is undeniably cool. But it is as certain that this boutique hotel not for everyone. Its in-your-face design, its vibe and its location are the best reasons to stay here — and the best reasons not to.
There are all kinds of hotel categories: boutique hotels, eco hotels, heritage hotels, apartment hotels and capsule hotels, to name a few. (To say nothing of motels, hostels, lodges, resorts, inns, pensions, guest houses, flophouses, bunkhouses, bed and breakfasts, holiday cottages and caravanserai). But chances are you’ve never stayed at a “landscape hotel.” That’s because, chances are, you’ve never stayed at the cool Juvet Landscape Hotel near the village of Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway, a five-hour drive north from Oslo.
The landscape hotel category was virtually invented by the Juvet and the Norwegian architectural firm that designed it, Jensen & Skodvin. The idea was to create a hotel that’s minimalist in design, that blends into its environment and that offers amenities oriented outwards towards the surrounding nature.
When Spot Cool Stuff was arranging a tour of the Yotel New York, a hip boutique hotel two blocks from Times Square, we suggested to their press representative that we meet her in the lobby. She wrote back: “I’ll meet you at Mission Control.”
That would not be the last time we would be reminded that, at Yotel, things work a little differently.
Yotel got its start in Europe as an in-airport pod hotel for passengers in transit or pre-positioning themselves for early morning flights†. Their New York City property is Yotel’s first foray outside of an airport. Though, the hotel’s inspiration still comes of a romanticized version of luxury airliner travel. As such, Yotel New York does not have a lobby, it has the aforementioned “Mission Control.” Instead of rooms it has “cabins.” Instead of staff it has “crew.” The VIP section is “first class” and the shared kitchenette on each floor is the “galley.”
Inside the Au Vieux Panier Hotel in Marseille, France there’s a guest room that, if it doesn’t have the world’s most unusual design, certainly has the most schizophrenic.
The room, referred to as The Panic Room, is half bone white — white bed sheets, white carpet, white walls, white furniture. The other half of the room is entirely decorated in bright graffiti — graffitied bed sheets, graffitied carpet, graffitied walls, graffitied furniture.
The dividing line between the two halves, it is as stark as can be, bisecting the room’s mirror, dresser and even the bed!
Supposedly, Seattle as a travel destination embodies the funky and artsy. Yet, surprisingly, there are only a handful of hotels that match that reputation. The majority of high-end hotels in Seattle seem stale, corporate, and predictable.
Those adjectives are light years away from the Hotel Max. This downtown, Seattle boutique hotel is all about being fun and trendy.
When a beach-side hotel is part owned by Madonna it's got to have a stylish pool.
Water views. Frozen drinks. The smell of sunscreen. Celebrities and scantily clad socialites mixing it up. The hotel swimming pools of South Beach do indeed offer all that. But did you know you can also find the world’s largest hot tub and the world’s shallowest swimming pool shallow end? For a scene like no other hop a flight to Miami and check out this selection of the city’s best hotel swimming pools: