Make yourself at home. Shirts and shoes are strictly optional.
Spot Cool Stuff has not seen the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back. But we’ve seen where Stella got her groove back. At My Time ‘N’ Place, a wonderful little cottage bed and breakfast-y type of place on the northern coast of Jamaica.
My Time ‘N’ Place owes its existence to the movie industry. And to its gregarious and entrepreneurial owner, Tony.
There are plenty of rural lodges with log cabin architecture and a family-friendly environment. And there are also a myriad of modern hotels that offer a luxurious, adults-only atmosphere. But we only know of one resort that is both of those at once: The Emerson in Mt. Tremper, New York.
Spot Cool Stuff went to visit The Emerson as part of our road trip test drive of a Kia Sportage EX and our family road trip around the Catskills area of New York State. We stayed at The Lodge at the Emerson (the family-friendly section of the resort), toured The Inn at the Emerson (the resort’s adult portion) and did some shopping at the resort’s country store, which, among other things, is the unlikely home to the world’s largest kaleidoscope. Here’s what we found at each:
This review article began with a simple question: Which is the best Sandals resort in Jamaica?
Sandals, as you may know, is a chain of all-inclusive beach resorts with properties in a handful of Caribbean countries including St. Lucia, the Bahamas and Antigua. The country with more Sandals resorts than any other — there are seven altogether — is Jamaica.
But which of those seven Sandals should I choose for my vacation? you might be asking.
With that specific question in mind — and with a skeptical view of Sandals in general — Spot Cool Stuff took a tour of the all-inclusive resorts on during our last trip to Jamaica. Here’s what we found:
Staying here is a curious mix of luxury and roughing it
Seattle is a Spot Cool Stuff favorite city. We love experiencing its vibrant urban heart. And we love how easy it is to escape that for the accessible natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
A case in point (literally, a “point”) is The Treehouse Point. The complex—part treehouse hotel, part quaint event venue, part wilderness preserve—is in the middle of a lush forest yet only a 35-minute drive from downtown Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market.
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.”
High snows. Cold temperatures. Brutal winds. Camping at altitude in the Alps during the winter is for the hard core. But going glamping — glamorous camping — needn’t be.
Travel in the Alps offers many opportunities to experience the rugged charm and back-to-nature feeling of staying in a tent without, you know, having to stay in a tent. Spot Cool Stuff readers might remember our review of the disappearing-and-then-reappearing Whitepods ski resort or our post about the boutique hiking hut at the base of the Matterhorn. To those we now add the PodHotel Flims — though the “hotel” in the name is a serious misnomer.
Stockings may wind up on the floor instead of over the fireplace
Yes, Virginia (and Mara and Wei and Dev and Ashley), there IS a Santa Claus. And contrary to popular belief, Santa only winters at the North Pole with the Missus! But he’d love to have you visit his permanent residence—in Osaka, Japan—if you have a little time, and mischief, on your hands.