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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Treehotel - Sweden

Welcome to Sweden's Treehotel, a set of six high-design suites suspended 15 feet above the subarctic forest floor, taking reservations now for its July 2010 opening.

One suite lets you shack up in a human-size bird's nest, surrounded by a layer of thatched sticks, riddled with snow, moss and whatever else falls out of the trees. Another does its best impression of a UFO, with a saucer shape and porthole lights. Another ditches walls entirely, letting you set up in a massive mirrored cube with panoramic forest views. If you stop by during the summer, also known as midnight-sun season, you might even catch a 360-degree sunset.

When you're done basking in the rustic tranquility, you can stop by the central inn for a sauna or a turn in the backyard hot tub, but the most important stuff will be coming from the kitchen: local delicacies like elk and reindeer steak, ferried out by a butler to whichever modernist marvel you happen to be staying in.

at Brittas Pensionat
Edeforsväg 2 A
960 24 Harads, Sweden
+46 928 10403

Monday, February 22, 2010

9-Mile Sled Run in the Austrian Alps

The world's longest illuminated toboggan run.

Wildkogel Rodelbahn
at Ski Arena Wildkogel
Neukirchen, Austria
+43 0 6565 6405

Possibly the best place in the world to sled down a mountain.
Wildkogel Rodelbahn, 8.7 miles of dedicated tobogganing bliss—complete with hairpin turns, a dedicated ski lift and an ale house along the way (so you can stop halfway through for a round or two at the slopeside tavern).

In short, it's the grown-up version of your 10-year-old self's biggest fantasy: hurtling down a mountain's worth of slopes on a runner sled just inches off the ground. On one side, you'll have a towering Alpine peak; on the other side, a frighteningly steep drop-off.

The full course can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on your ability and endurance.

Here is some home video I found on YouTube to give you a better idea:

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

The Plitvice Lakes is a national park in Croati
in the mountainous region of Lika.

The mountain valley holds many large emerald lakes, each of which drains into the next in spectacular series of waterfalls.

Official Plitvicka Jezera National Park website

See more photos in the PHOTO GALLERY

Thursday, November 19, 2009

L'Hotel - Paris

L'Hotel's 20 rooms lead off the famous central stairwell. Each room has its own opulent style. The rooms are graded according to size, and in some cases view.

L'Hotel / 13 rue des Beaux Arts, 75006 Paris, France /
- thanks @amyfabulous

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites

Inis Meáin is one of the Aran Islands strewn across Galway Bay, 15 miles off the west coast of Ireland. It is just 3 miles across and supports 200 inhabitants. Ruairí de Blacam is a chef and a native of Inis Meáin. Ruairí’s wife, Marie-Thérèse, is from Cork and has a business and fashion background. Together they decided to create an exclusive design hotel on the island that would allow them to live in this special and unique place.

The project was set up with the aim of enhancing visitor’s appreciation of the island by providing a style of accommodation and dining that is complimentary to the location. The building was designed by de Blacam & Meagher architects and is inspired by the surrounding landscape. The suites are simple and understated in styling, with ample space and views. The restaurant serves good local food.

Inis Meáin is the middle island of the Aran Islands. The landscape is of terraced limestone and is unique in Europe. Over the centuries, limestone has been cleared from the land to make sheltered fields, most of them no more than half an acre in size. The result is hundreds of miles of dry stone walls rambling through the island. Old traditions in farming, fishing, sport, and music are a large part of daily life. Irish is the first language of the small community.
Being the least visited of the Aran Islands, Inis Meáin offers the most peaceful and genuine experience of this unique landscape and culture. It is unusual to encounter anyone on scenic cliff walks to the south of the island, even in July or August. There is just one pub on the island where locals and visitors gather. This tranquillity and simple way of living are what make Inis Meáin special.

Inis Meáin on

Pádraic Connolly takes a trip to the Aran islands


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jaz Resorts & Hotels

do you think i'd be comped?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

10 Cool Small Towns

These towns all have fewer than 10,000 people—but they can rival larger cities when it comes to good food, culture, and quality of life.

Port Jervis, N.Y. Population: 9,161. Nearest City: New York, 93 miles.

Downtown Livingston, Mont., in the shadow of the Rockies. Population: 7,062. Nearest City: Bozeman, 25 miles.

Amazing Hotel Pools

You can take small sailboats out on the saltwater pool at San Alfonso del Mar, in Algarrobo, Chile. The pool measures two thirds of a mile in length—Guinness World Records calls it the largest in the world.

See More Amazing Hotel Pools HERE

Weird Hotels

On your next trip, check into a wine cask, a salvaged 727 airplane, or a room where the furniture defies the law of gravity.

See Photos of these weird hotels at

By John Rambow

Your escape pod awaits

Colored bright-orange for easy visibility, the '70s-era escape pods that make up the Capsule Hotel once hung outside oil rigs, ready to be deployed in case of an evacuation. Recycled by self-proclaimed "garbage architect" Denis Oudendijk, the fleet of pods now rotates among different moorings in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. At the moment, two are in the western Dutch town of Vlissingen and another is in The Hague. For a kind of James Bond-meets-Barbarella twist, opt to book your pod with a disco ball and all the spy's movies on DVD. It's a super-kitschy nod to a similar pod's appearance in "The Spy Who Loved Me."

Upside-down stay

At Berlin's Propeller Island City Lodge, each of the 30 rooms is weird in its own way. The artist-owner, Lars Stroschen, has seen to that. One room, the first built, is made to look like a brightly painted medieval town, with an ultra-mini golf course surrounding the castle bed. Another has furniture attached to the ceiling, another has coffins for beds, and still another has lion cages on stilts (the website claims that kids "love to sleep" in them). Then there's the Freedom Room, which resembles a prison, complete with a toilet next to the bed—oh, that German humor!

A place to unwine'd

When they were owned by a Swiss château, the four enormous casks on the grounds of the Hotel De Vrouwe Van Stavoren in the Netherlands held the equivalent of 19,333 bottles of wine. Now, after some creative recycling, it's guests rather than booze that mellow out inside the casks. The richly worn and airtight oak barrels have two narrow beds, with a small sitting area outside. The grounds are quite close to tiny Stavoren's harbor, which was a major port in the Middle Ages.

Crazy kind of stay

The daughter of Ho Chi Minh's No. 2 masterminded the Hang Nga Guest House and Art Gallery in Da Lat, Vietnam, a complex that more than earns its local nickname, the Crazy House. The three main buildings are Gaudi-esque concrete treehouse-like growths that appear as if they flowed organically out of the ground. Inside, the walls seem to dissolve into the floor, and right angles are avoided entirely. Each guest room is built around a different animal theme: the Eagle Room has a big-beaked bird standing atop a huge egg, while another has arm-sized ants crawling up the wall. The animal theme continues outside — a large giraffe statue on the property contains a teahouse, and human-size "spider webs" are set up here and there.

In a league of its own

Hydrophobics should stay far from Jules' Undersea Lodge, named for novelist Jules Verne of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fame. The 600-square-foot lodge, a former marine lab, is 21 feet underwater, close to the bottom of the mangrove-filled Emerald Lagoon, in Key Largo. You'll have to know how to scuba dive to reach your room, and guests without the mandatory certification must take a course at the hotel. Once you've reached the lodge, which sleeps up to six, you'll be close to angelfish, anemones, barracuda, oysters, and other creatures—each room is equipped with a 42-inch window, so you don't need to be suited up to keep an eye on the neighborhood.

Crash in a jet plane

Near a beach that's within Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, the Hotel Costa Verde doesn't lack for great sights. But few are as amazing as its own 727 Fuselage Suite, a salvaged 1965 Boeing 727-100 that looks as if it's crashed into the Costa Rican jungle (it's actually mounted atop a 50-foot pillar and reached via a spiral staircase). The jet's interior was once able to hold up to 125 passengers, but there are few reminders left of its days in the service of South African Airways and Colombia's Avianca Airlines. The suite's two bedrooms, dining area, and sitting room are now covered over entirely in teak to match the surroundings. Guests can play "spot the toucan" on the small wood deck that sits on top of the right wing.

Where the penthouse is a trailer park

Cape Town's sleek Grand Daddy hotel has a surprise on its roof: a fleet of seven Airstream trailers, six of which were imported from the U.S. The aluminum-clad "rooms," which sleep two people, have been done in playful themes that incorporate icons like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (a blonde wig and a bear suit are available for dress-up), and John Lennon and Yoko Ono (the room's white-on-white furnishings include an enormous bed, natch). If you don't want to stray as far from the trailers' original looks, there's the Pleasantville model, an Eisenhower-era fantasia with chintz, harvest-gold curtains, and flower-covered throw pillows.

See More Weird Hotels