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If you equate urinal cakes, public parks, and the sound of toilets flushing with the pinnacle of luxury, then, boy, does Japan have a hotel for you.
Artist Tatsu Nishi (the same man who recently created a living room in the middle of New York's Columbus Circle) has built a one-room hotel inside a public toilet in Osaka's Nakanoshima Park. He's calling it "Nakanoshima Hotel." And before you go thinking it's just some fanciful, high-concept, bunch of art baloney, keep in mind that this is an actual hotel that costs 10,000 yen ($125) per night, and includes a proper bed, shower, and separate bathroom for hotel guests.
There's even a desk! Because, after all, everybody does their best thinking in the bathroom.
OK, no one's saying the world is actually going to end. However, in the case that things get a little...shaky, here's a hotel that's designed to withstand almost any natural disaster.
Russian design firm Remistudio has devised the floating Ark Hotel, which The Daily Mail tells us will incorporate solar panels, a rainwater collection system, vegetation, and a self-cleaning see-through exterior.
The structure is being described as "shell-shaped," though CNN has been quick to point out how much it resembles a slinky. We kind of agree.
One of the oldest registered ferryboats in the US is starting a new chapter in its 105-year history on the water. Having ferried countless New Yorkers in the early 1900s over to places like Boston, Maine, Governor's Island, and Ellis Island, the boat has now settled into its new role as an artsy, refurbished five-bedroom boutique hotel on the Hudson.
The NY Daily News reports that the ship's new owners, Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs, have added 16 bunks, an on-deck chicken coop, a dining room table, an Apple computer, and plenty of colorful art. Because sleeping on a regular old chicken-less boat with only the portholes to look at can just get so boring.
The boat was constructed in 1907 in a Philadelphia shipyard, and subsequently was requisitioned by the US Navy during WWI. But though it's had a relatively action-packed history, it certainly has never looked as lively (or as party-ready) as it does now.
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And this one's a goodie. Described by the Daily Mail as an "eccentric businessman," UK-based Alfie Bubbles has purchased an old narrowboat and transformed it into a psychedelic, fully-functional 3-bedroom hotel that's inspired by, and remains faithful to, the Beatles' original yellow submarine.
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We've all experienced the thrill of visiting an old-world European city, staying in a perfectly-situated hotel, and then going out during the day to discover all the city's sights and monuments. But what if you could bring those sights to you?
That's exactly what a new art-installation-cum-hotel-room in Ghent, Belgium is trying to do. Supported by a web of scaffolding on top of the city's train station, Hotel Ghent is a temporary one-room hotel that's been built around a clock tower.
As in, you better appreciate public monuments because once you check into this room, it's all clock, nothing but clock, all the time. The project was designed by artist Tazu Rous and is intended to make the visitor experience an iconic object in a new or "different" way. Yep, we'd say this is pretty different, alright...
Did you know that fifty minutes outside of Nagasaki, Japan, there is a resort the size of Monaco that is modeled after a 17th-century Dutch town? Complete with windmills, canals, fields of tulips, and an exact replica of the residence of H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, built with special permission from the Dutch Royal family?
Named "Huis Ten Bosch" (after the Queen's residence, which translates as House in the Forest), the resort was built in honor of the shared history between Nagasaki and the Netherlands, dating back to the arrival of a Dutch ship called "De Liefde" (The Love) in 1600.
Centuries later, the resort / theme park was built on reclaimed land, much like parts of the country it was modelled after. Hundreds of thousands of trees and flowers were planted to regenerate the area, with sustainability and environmentalism still a major focus today. You can stroll around cobble-stone streets, or go native and take a bike, stopping by one of the museums before getting a spa treatment on your way to an afternoon bit of theatre.
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Built on a 17 acre tract of land outside of Marfa, TX, El Cosmico is more than just a hotel—teepees, yurts, and campsites are all available for guests to stay in. But on the hotel side of things, the site offers five funky restored vintage trailers, each named Vagabond, Branstrator, Royal Mansion, Imperial Mansion, and Kozy Coach (pictured above).
We think the spot is pretty much ideal for the kind of low-key, long weekend, artsy getaway we love, but later this month, the hotel/campground is hosting a "songwriter's retreat" that should prove irresistible to music-makers and -lovers alike.
Titled "Music Is A Family," (May 17-20), the retreat will offer musicians the chance to hone their songwriting skills, while enjoying a whole weekend of guitar-strumming in the desert and impromptu campfire jam sessions. Si, señor!
No, this isn't the first time HotelChatter has taken a look at Berlin's art-tastic Propeller Island City Lodge, a collection of 34 rooms individually designed and crafted by German artist Lars Stroschen. But to end the week on a more positive note, we thought we'd re-visit one of our favorite odd hotels.
The themes at PICL, which range from "Prison Cell" and "Grandma's Room" to "The Upside Down Room" (above) and "Coffin Room," mostly draw on places where you'd never, ever want to sleep, but then again we've stayed at far more sensible (read: boring) hotels that charge way more per night.
Interestingly, rates here vary among the different rooms, so a night inside the Prison Cell will only set you back 79 EUR, while a night in the "Two Lions" suite, which, yes, comes with a cage, goes for 190 EUR. We browsed through the hotel's collection of photos and have picked out the ones that appeal most to us. And just for kicks, we put them into a gallery for you to look at.
Click below to take a peek at the odd, odder, and oddest rooms!
In Japan (where else?), it's now perfectly acceptable to book a hotel room for your sheep when you go away. We recently received an announcement about a new 30-room hotel, called simply "Hotel Sheep Guest House," opening in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, about two hours south of Tokyo.
Surprisingly, unlike doggie boarding houses, or human hotels that are pet-friendly, this Japanese hotel strictly prohibits all other animals, meaning at any given moment its rooms are full of only sheep. How incredible! This is exactly the kind of place we'd like to visit when we're having an off day. Cuddling with all those sheep, ordering room service, maybe even watching a movie (Shrek somehow seems appropriate) would be like a hotel dream come true.
Cleaning up after them is another story.
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Ever have those moments when you walk into a hotel room and get caught off guard by something unexpected, causing you to drop your bags and go inspect whatever it is, before you've even had a chance to close the door?
Yeah, we've had a few of those ourselves—usually involving an insane killer view or a cool bathroom amenity. But never have we seen anything like this photo, which was taken inside the Au Vieux Panier in Marseilles, France. The hotel has only five rooms, each of them designed by a different artist (kind of like The Gladstone in Toronto), and most recently, graffiti artist Tilt stopped by to add his colorful touch to the space. Or, at least half of it.
Not that we have anything against nudity. Nor do we disapprove of unconventional wedding ceremonies. It's just, well, after all the Fashion Week madness here in New York, it's kind of refreshing to see guests who just don't give a darn.
Over 100 couples sent in detailed reasons as to why they should be picked for the clothes-optional getaway. And we're guessing the reasons had to be something other than "to save money on a wedding gown." Once they arrived, each couple was treated to a four-night stay at the resort, in exchange for agreeing to be filmed for an upcoming documentary. Which means they get to save money on a wedding photographer too. Good deal!
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After learning last week that Design Hotels had been partially taken over by Starwood, we worried that the originality and flair of the former might start to be undermined. Starwood's great and all—but running a multi-brand corporation is certainly different than running a small, design-oriented boutique collection like Design Hotels.
For now, our worries have been put to rest by some exciting news about a new pop-up hotel being launched by DH this month in Tulum, Mexico. According to MSNBC.com, Papaya Playa is a 99-cabana resort on the Mayan Riviera, and boasts a spa, private suites, and several restaurants.
Unlike other flashy resorts along the Caribbean, this spot has an expiration date of May 6. So if you like what you hear, you'd better not dally!