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The hot tub at the Scarlet. The Spaceport might be on the headland right behind it
Hot on the heels of the news that the Hotel Encanto De Las Cruces in New Mexico has been selected as the official spaceport hotel for Virgin Galactic passengers, comes word that the UK is planning a spaceport of its own – and Newquay Airport in Cornwall is the frontrunner to get it.
According to the West Briton, the aim is to build the spaceport for commercial flights by 2018. Which got us to thinking… which hotel could they partner up with?
Cornwall, and Newquay in particular, is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, of course, but space travellers will be after something a little classier than the town’s standard crummy guesthouses. But here’s our pick of three posh Newquay-area hotels (note: you don’t have to be a space traveller to stay here).
Sir Richard Branson's recreational space travel company, Virgin Galactic, is real and it's really happening, with flights expected to happen next year. (They were supposed to take off in 2010 and then in 2013 but this is space travel so we expect some delays.)
Yet while we wait for the first guests to pay $200,000 to blast off into space, here is a piece of hotel news we can get excited about right now--Virgin Galactic has selected The Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, a Heritage Hotel, to be the "official preferred Virgin Galactic hotel and resort. Previously, Virgin Galactic had hoped to partner with a luxury brand to build a new resort but this is much easier.
The Encanto hotel is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 60 miles from Spaceport America, where the Virgin Galactic flights will take off. And already, the hotel has begun to undergo some renovations to accommodate the high-flying guests.
Last week, we nearly lost our minds when we heard of a new underwater hotel that was hoping to open in Australia. Aside from our general dislike of underwater hotels (do we really need them?), we had major issues with this hotel looking to set up shop, literally, at the Great Barrier Reef. NO.
Fortunately, like all other underwater hotels we've heard about in our decade here at HotelChatter, this hotel will probably never see the light of day, or the darkness of the ocean floor. But now today, we've got to put up with yet another stupid hotel idea. And the only thing we hate more than underwater hotels are Space Hotels.
“If we can get enough people wanting to fly [to space] we can start building Virgin hotels in space, we can start doing trips to Mars, we can colonise Mars, we can start pulling asteroids back to Earth to see what minerals they have got in them."
Oh brother. We like how Branson dreams big, like intergalactic big but c'mon. Please open Virgin Hotels here on earth first and then we can start talking about your space hotels and colonizing other planets.
We've gone over the fact that space hotels in space aren't going to happen anytime soon, but what about space hotels on earth?
An agreement was signed recently with Mobilona LLC to manage the financing of a space hotel on Barcelona Island off the coast of Catalonia, Spain. Details are few and far between at this stage, but we will admit that what we're reading sounds pretty damn cool.
The proposed project will have about 2,000 rooms and residences, each equipped with "immersive wall and surface displays that provide panoramic impressions of the universe."
In other space news this week, a Russian company is opening the world's first space hotel, located 217 miles above ground. Which will certainly make for great travel photography—but maybe not so great for, you know, 'exploring the neighborhood.'
CNN reports on the float-el, which is scheduled to open in 2016 under the name Commercial Space Station. Gee, how romantic. If you're game—and the £100,000 hasn't spooked you yet (not to mention the £500,000 cost just to get there)—here are some tips on what you'll need to bring with you.
Apparently, the prospect of meeting real, live members of the Atlantis Space Shuttle crew, while bouncing around on an inflatable Mars space rover wasn't enticing enough. So now, the Eventi Hotel is throwing Elmo into the mix.
Apparently, the fuzzy red guy made an appearance last month at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where NASA's final space shuttle mission took off. So his presence totally makes sense. Right? Honestly, the whole NASA-Eventi-Sesame Street triumvirate strikes us as a little random. But getting to play with space toys and a Sesame Street character? At a hotel? That's too hard to pass up.
True, there are only two more Space Shuttle launches to go, but geek idol and hotelier Robert Bigelow says that ain't no thing. The Budget Suites of America founder is planning a space hotel that could be in orbit as early as 2016. Yay, for even more space hotel rumors!
What makes us actually, kinda sorta believe this one? For one thing, Bigelow has already launched two prototypes, through his holding company Bigelow Aerospace, so he's already much farther along than your average space hotel developer. (Ahem.)
He's also got a plan to make some money, reports the Orlando Sentinel:
Bigelow officials said they plan to target space-faring countries looking to expand their research capabilities and small nations that don't have a space program and want to send astronauts or "important VIPs."
A Bigelow brochure notes: "There could be relationships with foreign leaders or corporate presidents that can be strengthened due to this kind of gift or other variations of this gesture."
Space Hotels might just be another flash in the sky.
Here's yet another Space Hotel making the rounds on the interwebs today. A Russian firm, Energia, has teamed up with Orbital Technologies to create a hotel that no one except wealthy billionaires will be able to afford. Their space hotel will essentially be a private space station that can fit up to seven people. ABC News reports:
The hotel will provide facilities for scientific research, media projects and entertainment and will be able to dock with Russia's Soyuz manned spacecraft and Progress transport craft, Orbital said in a statement.
Private investors have pledged to commit between $100 million and $1 billion, said [Alexander Derechin, the company's chief designer.] Orbital said several customers have already signed contracts.
"I do not think we will be able to complete it before 2015 but I do not think we should wait much beyond that. The competition is growing and we need to hurry up," Derechin said.
We linked to the news that the very first Space Hotel would open in 2012 in our hotel news briefs on Monday. That's because we didn't think something so far-fetched really merited an entire post but today we thought we'd put our thoughts out there on the Galactic Suite Space Resort.
For starters, it's not going to open in 2012. Does anyone not remember Lance Bass' dream to go to outer space? Look how well that turned out. And most ambitious hotel plans never make their opening date so we're gonna go ahead and say that outer space probably has some unique factors that could contribute to a delay.
Second, let's talk about price. Sure, Russian billionaires may have the money to spend $4.4 million on three nights in space but what happens when this space hotel runs out of Russian billionaires? (Not so coincidentally a Russian billionaire is financing this project.)
There's always been a lot of talk about Space Hotels opening in the near future but it looks like mice--yes, mice--have beaten us humans to the Final Frontier.
MSNBC reports that six mice are shacking up in a little "hotel" inside an international space station:
The small rodents are part of an Italian study investigating the effects of bone loss in space, and researchers have set the mice up in orbital style. "Basically, it's a little hotel," said Joe Delai, Discovery's payload manager, of the cages holding the space mice. "They have a room and a place to eat and sleep."
The mice will stay in their space hotel for three months. The longest any other mouse has lived in space before is 30 days. Other mice have gone on expeditions within space shuttles before but this will be the longest stay in space, proper. Hopefully, keys to the minibar have been confiscated.
In other news:
· The Roosevelt New Orleans Bringing Hope Back to the City [NPR]
· Chris Noth DJs at the Fasano Hotel [NY Post]
· We're Not the Only Ones Who Love Tree Hotels [ABC News]
· Jamie-Lynn and Britney Spears Takes Their Babies to the Mandarin Oriental Miami [JustJared]
It's looking more likely all the time that space tourism will be led by private industry, not slow-moving NASA. So who better to get the infrastructure going than a hotel man?
The November issue of Wired magazine has an feature story on Robert Bigelow, billionaire founder of the Budget Suites hotel chain. Turns out he is a bit of a space nut, living in Nevada and owning a chunk of land where UFOs have been sighted. He has been pouring his fortune into Bigelow Aerospace, a company that is setting up innovative space stations that inflate in orbit instead of having to launch in pieces.
You won't find the story online, unfortunately. Despite the magazine's name, most Wired stories can only be found in old fashioned print on ink. The big takeaway though is that space hotels are not first on the list in terms of projects for the stations. First of all, there's not that much money in it. Tenants looking to do science experiments and zero-gravity manufacturing are going to pony up a lot more money than zillionaires who want to brag they ordered room service while gazing down at the Earth.
Once Richard Branson or Jeff Bezos gets a space shuttle for tourists going, however, Bigelow Aerospace's modules can be configured to suit any purpose. So later we could see hotel suites--but definitely not Budget Suites.
While we're all gradually accepting that space travel is an inevitable part of the tourist world, somehow the idea of a space hotel hasn't quite got us convinced. But billionaire and CEO of Virgin Airlines Richard Branson is already planning his hotel out of this world. In his own words, this space hotel:
... will go round the Moon -- it's easier to build one that is not actually on the Moon's surface. We believe we can programme a two-man spaceship, with a bubble on the top, so we can send you off from the hotel, programme you to be a few hundred feet above the Moon, and you will skim the Moon's surface before going back into the hotel. We hope that this will happen in my lifetime.
Whether a near-the-moon hotel will also have a spa, sauna, buffet breakfast, WiFi access and all the comforts we expect is not clear, but perhaps the whole "moon skim" thing is supposed to satisfy our quest for adventure.
If Branson's moon hotel is not what you want to save your bucks for, then perhaps his next venture will interest you more: a Balinese-style eco-resort on the island he's just acquired in the British Virgin Islands--Moskito Island. He has, however, decided to change its name to Mojito. Smart man.
· Race for Space [Times UK]
· Spaceship Hotel, Brazil [HotelChatter]