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If there’s one hotel booking website the adventurous travelers need to have at their fingertips, it’s www.uhotw.com, Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World. And I take my hotels seriously.
UNUSUAL AND UNIQUE HOTELS OF THE WORLD WEBSITE
Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World is the best of the unique/boutique hotel booking websites. It’s always the first resource I consult after narrowing down my upcoming trip by countries I intend to visit. The guide classifies properties by 21 different types (from “underground” to “underwater” to “treehouse” and beyond) and rates them on its Wowmeter. You can also sort by destination, view the properties on a map and sort by price. I love this site because it’s so damn fun and user-friendly. Everything a traveler needs to know on a potential destination is presented intuitively and booking a reservation is easy.
When I win the lottery I will be off on a round-the-world tour of Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World places. In the meantime, I’ll have to make do with my memories of the places where I’ve already stayed. Three of my favorite properties that I found from the website are hotels with spaces that have been turned into habitable works of art: the Hotel Silken Puerta America, the ART Hotel Atelier sul Mare and the Propeller Isand City Lodge.
HOTEL SILKEN PUERTA AMERICA, MADRID
The Hotel Silken Puerta America is a must-stay for architecture and design afficionados. Located near the Madrid Airport, it’s a difficult building to miss, what with 14 storeys painted in a rainbow of colors. It gets better. Inside, each floor is wildly different from the next, transformed by a different, famous architect/designer into their futuresque vision. Staying here is a big vertical party at which everyone rides the elevator and trades floor access with their fellow hip guests. Choose your floor in advance of your visit (depending upon availability, obviously).
ART HOTEL ATELIER SUL MARE, SICILY
Many of the Atelier sul Mare rooms have been designed by a different artist and no two are alike. Most of the rooms are minimal and incorporate a water theme (which makes sense: the property overlooks the sea). Picking your room in advance is almost as much fun as staying here.
PROPELLER ISLAND CITY LODGE, BERLIN
One artist, the owner of the Propeller Island City Lodge, designed each of the hotel’s rooms, which run the gamut from the spiritual to the sexual (if you find coffins, cages and mirrored ceilings sexy). I wasted hours online selecting my room, and finally booked the more tame Tempel Room when I visited Berlin.
Why just visit museums when you travel when you can stay in one? Or maybe I’m preaching to the choir. What’s your favorite Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World property?
This post is part 3 of a Travel Checklist series.
TRAVEL CHECKLIST: TWO NIGHTS OUT
- Go to The Weather Channel for a 10-day forecast
- Don’t wait until the last minute and pack under pressure: allow your subconscious a few days to mull over your choices: you’ll add and remove items, and chances are you’ll pack more appropriately than if you had procrastinated
□ Notify trusted neighbors of your trip
□ Download plenty of podcasts, books, movies and songs
□ Get a manicure, pedicure, wax, etc. Throw a condom into your bag. Who knows who you’re going to meet on this trip?
□ Begin Malarone, if you’ll be entering a mosquito zone in two days
□ Prepare at work
- Save an out-of-office message on your voicemail and email a half-day or day before you leave: You can still reply to important requests, but you’re off-the-hook for having to address non-emergency issues
- Identify someone (with that person’s permission) as your emergency back-up. List that person as your emergency back-up on your out-of-office email message; mention that person on your voicemail message
- Be caught-up on your workload so that you have the entire day prior to your trip to handle emergencies
□ Take a laxative. Exotic food, foreign surroundings, time zone changes, and unfamiliar micro-organisms can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system: might as well anticipate it and act prophylactically
TRAVEL CHECKLIST: ONE NIGHT OUT
□ Double-check what you’ve packed against your packing checklist
□ Call your airlines (or look them up online) to confirm the status of your flight(s) and know your departure terminal. If you can only book your seat 24 hours out, claim your seat
□ Order a taxi to the airport, if appropriate
- Give the company an address near your house: do not give them your address (thereby notifying strangers of a vacant house)
□ Remove and secure unnecessary items (excess credit cards, bank cards, etc.) from your wallet
□ Lock-up valuables (jewelry, credit cards, checkbooks, etc.) if people will enter your premises while you are away
□ Charge your electronics
□ Water plants, fill pet food and water bowls
□ Tag your luggage
- Your address should not be visible as you announce to other travelers that your house is vacant
□ Set your alarm. Double-check it
□ Leave out instructions and payment for petsitters, housesitters, squatters
TRAVEL CHECKLIST: DAY OF TRAVEL
□ Make mental notes when you turn off your appliances and lock your doors so you don’t drive yourself crazy wondering if you did it later
□ Adjust your thermostat
□ Close blinds, shades, etc.
□ Keep your keys in your carry-on!
HAVE A FABULOUS TRIP!
This post is part 3 of a Travel Checklist series.