Expert Travel Reviews
Hotel Trends

Underwater Hotels

November 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

New luxury underwater hotels are popping up everywhere. From ordinary to bizarre, these hotels are just something else and are a ‘must-visit’ for every avid traveler.

Top on the list of underwater hotels is the Jules Undersea Lodge in Florida, USA. Named after the famous maritime tale, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, it is the first underwater hotel in the world. Located at a depth of 21ft in a small mangrove lagoon, the hotel was previously a research laboratory. Equipped with all the necessary facilities, it will cost you from $375 a night including breakfast and lunch.

Built by a man with an imagination, The Utter (Otter) Inn in Sweden is a one-room inn. Guests can sleep 3m below the surface of Lake Mälaren, found around 1km from the shore. Resembling a large buoy, the inn takes resembles a Swedish red house with white gables. Costing around $250, the Inn is difficult to book during summer so place your reservations well in advance.

The Crescent Hydropolis of Dubai, built with a budget $550 million, is under construction on the Persian Gulf floor, 66ft below the surface and will cover an area of 27 acres.

The Poseidon of Fiji is set to open in late 2009 and is located 40ft underwater. The brainchild of American submarine engineer Bruce Junes, the hotel will provide each guest with a personal Triton submarine for their own use during their stay. Though still under construction, the room rate for a standard suite is around $1500 a night, while the entire island will cost you $3,000,000.

Hotels Retool In-Room Dining

May 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Room service, or in-room dining as it is now often called, is being retooled at many hotels as a way to cut costs while struggling with lessened demand for rooms and decreased travel. In-room dining has never been profitable for hotels, even prior to the recession, but has always been de rigueur for hotels of a certain stature, Joseph McInerney, president and chief executive of American Hotel and Lodging Association, told The New York Times. Brad Barnes, founder of restaurant consulting firm GigaChef, added that the service enhances the welcoming feel of a hotel, which in turn bolsters customer loyalty and the overall perception of the establishment.

So how do hotels trim their in-room dining offerings without axing the service altogether? According to the Times, some are focusing more on comfort foods and staples of the traveler’s diet such as sandwiches, salads, and hamburgers. Others are using cheaper cuts of meat and shrinking portion sizes, which allows them to drop their prices as well. Still others have resorted to preparing food in advance and using locally grown foods.

We ask our readers, how often do you use in-room dining? Have you noticed any difference in in-room dining on your travels?

When the Most Private of Business Becomes Public

April 6, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

The newest design trend among luxury hotels is the exposed bathroom, reports The New York Times. From Los Angeles and London to China and India, bathrooms enclosed (barely) by transparent glass walls and bathrooms that are free-standing, open areas of hotel rooms are all the rage among designers and hoteliers. The arguments for these designs range from conserving space to adding luxury to opening up hotel rooms by removing walls and letting in natural light. Some proponents of the exposed bathroom have also argued that the design minimizes spatial confusion and allows guests to locate easily all areas of their hotel rooms. (I say you’d have to be from another planet to need help differentiating between the clothes closet and the water closet.) Of course, for couples there’s also the voyeuristic opportunities afforded by unabashed views. But in this age of over-sharing, is some private business better left private?

As you can imagine, most travelers find the exposed bathroom experience to be disconcerting at best and downright disgusting at worst. One traveler who was greeted by a toilet in open view at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, Florida, in 2005, called it the “design equivalent of ‘too much information.’” What do you think? Are exposed bathrooms sexy or scuzzy?