The luxury travel market is suddenly being inundated with a new term – “Pop-up”. While the term is common in temporary pop-up seasonal shops, it is also now being applied to hotels. One British company calling itself the “Pop-Up Hotel” specializes in crafting temporary spaces for events and retreats, and other hotel chains are now joining in.
While temporary usually equates to cheap, in the case of the Papaya Playa Project in Mexico, it is anything but. Priced at up to $675 per night, the hotel group Design Hotels has created a pop-up hotel in a series of cabanas and casitas right on the beach at Tulum. Claiming that it offers a luxury “glamping” experience (being a type of glamorous camping) it does promise high thread count sheets, a spa incorporating Mayan shamanism and food from KaterHolzig, better known for its Berlin Bar 25 fame.
Design Hotel Founder Claus Sendlinger also plans to bring famous DJs and musicians to perform on the natural amphitheater on the beach, introduce an on-site designer boutique and offer the luxury traveler perks such as sustainable and organic food-on-the-go.
Not to be outdone, the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas luxury hotel is offering a Pop-Up Wedding Chapel for a short time. There is a choice of ceremonies: the Hitched in a Hurry economy package which includes a photo booth picture and space eraser rings, or the deluxe “Going to the Chapel” package which has a silk flower bouquet, logo tee shirts and party favors.
by Gillian at Luxique
After the acclaimed success of the Ice Hotel at Jukkasjarvi, Sweden offers another innovative hotel idea to the world – a suite in a disused silver mine. While most guests are prepared to pay top dollar for the penthouse, descending over 500 feet below ground into a disused silver mine is also pretty pricey at £380 ($600) per night.
Guests reach the unusual room-without-a-view via the lift which descends the mine shaft in seconds. The hewn out cave has walls that shimmer with silver in the candlelight, a comfy double bed and silver furnishings. There is of course no cellphone service, Internet access or central heating, but the air underground remains an ambient 18°C (64°F) year-round.
As for the mine’s history, this silver mine in the town of Sala was the largest silver producer in Sweden for over 400 years. It took miners ten years just to create the bedroom-sized cave. The painstaking process involved burning wood to heat the silver so it could be removed by hand more easily.
Perhaps with the current rising price of precious metals, guests may be packing a rock hammer in their suitcase to procure a precious souvenir of their stay.
Five star hotels are frequently the preferred location for weddings, birthdays and other family events. Now luxury hotels in the Netherlands are completing the collection of family-oriented services by offering three-day breaks for couples to get divorced.
The idea is the brainchild of entrepreneur Jim Halfens who explains that couples first go through an extensive interview process and then choose their preferred luxury hotel to complete the divorce over a weekend. “It’s a divorce in three days, roundabouts, in a hotel,” Halfens explains.
One participant of the new scheme is the five star Hotel Karel in Utrecht where couples can book in, not for a chance to re-bond, but to commit to a quick low-cost divorce. Typically divorces can drag on through lawyers for anything from three months to three years, putting lives in limbo and costing a fortune. The Divorce Hotel solution comes in at around $3,500 including accommodation in two separate rooms, of course.
The three days include intensive meetings with mediators and other legal specialists including notaries and psychiatrists if necessary! Due to different divorce laws in different countries, so far only Dutch couples can actually complete the divorce process, but the idea could rapidly catch on in other countries.
Visitors describing a stay in a top luxury hotel as “out of this world” may have to revise their thinking when Orbital Technologies opens its first hotel in 2016. Their hotel will be just that!
Russia has just announced plans for its first space hotel, orbiting 217 miles above the earth. The hotel will accommodate seven guests in four comfortable cabins, boutique hotel style, and prices will be steep – an estimated £100,000 ($160,000) for the accommodation, plus the cost of Soyuz transport. Rocket transfer will take two days – costing another £500,000 ($800,000). At least when you get there, you won’t have to budget for designer shopping or knocking up high-end restaurant and bar bills.
The restaurant food will be prepared on planet earth and delivered by rocket to the space hotel, a great improvement on the freeze-dried food suffered in the past by astronauts. Alcohol will be strictly prohibited but there will be an assortment of mineral water, fruit juices and iced tea.
Huge windows will look out on space from the hotel rooms and guests will be given cameras and binoculars to marvel at the views – intergalactic ones of course. The self contained Commercial Space Station will recycle waste water, and air will be filtered and then returned to the cabin. Due to weightlessness, guests will sleep vertically in bags attached to the walls and showers could be particularly tricky to manage.
This new idea in adventure travel is aimed at wealthy individuals and companies wanting to send individuals into space to do research. It certainly adds a new aspect to luxury hotel vacations.
Cruise ships have long been called floating luxury hotels. With their butler service, designer shopping, choice of restaurants and spa facilities some are certainly in the same league. The latest idea being trialed at Echo Bay Marina on Lake Mead, NV are luxury floatels.
These moored lodgings are ideal for larger parties, families and gatherings of friends but can they really compete with luxury hotels in Las Vegas? Thankfully the boats are climate controlled for the dry desert environment, and they do come with a kitchen, four bedrooms, a TV and a sundeck with hot tub. Waterfront views are a given.
However, room service is not available and it is a long drive back to bed after dining on the Strip. While some places spring to mind as being a pleasant place to stay on water - Vancouver Harbour or Sidney Australia for example - most marinas with spare capacity for floatels tend to be seedy docklands and places you certainly would not want to return to alone after dark.
On the plus side, pets are welcome at these floatels and prices are lower than comparable luxury hotels. For me, floatels are closer to camping than pampering, despite what their optimistic advertising claims them to be.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
Imagine filling in your business expenses and submitting a sizeable claim for sleeping in a tree-house, an airliner or even a helicopter. These are just some of the contraptions that wacky hotel entrepreneurs have converted into guest rooms with luxury hotel price tags.
Sweden, known for its eco-friendly policies, has had to overcome many problems when it began building its Mirrorcube Tree Hotel hideaway. Reached by a series of inclines and ramps (there is no elevator) the 173-square foot tree house is built around a single tree trunk. The design called for mirrored glass sides so that it reflected the surrounding forests, making it almost invisible. Unfortunately birds and wildlife couldn’t see it either and the glass panels had to be lined with an infrared film visible only to birds. It certainly offers a room with a view.
Those flying into Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport will be hard pushed to spot their novelty hotel known as JumboStay. Parked on the tarmac like any other, the Boeing 747 offers less-than-luxury accommodation in coach class which has been converted into a four-person dormitory, but the upstairs cockpit has been turned into a luxury honeymoon suite. Hopefully the sound-proofing is up to it as aircraft frequently land nearby at this busy international destination.
Costa Rica also found a new use for a retired 727 aircraft whose final resting place is in the treetops. It has been fitted out as a VIP suite. Rather more cramped is the decommissioned Coast Guard helicopter placed in a barn at the Winvian resort in Connecticut. This boutique hotel boasts that every guest room is different, and this idea is probably the most off-the-wall of them all. Other cottages include a log cabin, beaver lodge complete with pond, a greenhouse and even a “Gordon Brown” house.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
Those who remember flying into New York’s JFK Airport in the good old days, pre 9/11 that is, may remember the modernist structure with its iconic winged roof which served as the TWA airline terminal building. When American Airlines bought out TWA in 2001 the building was defunct and was left to gather dust.
Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1962, it was one of a rare group of airport buildings which actually have some semblance of design, which is probably what has saved it from the bulldozers so far.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have just announced plans to reinvent the building as a 150-room boutique hotel in New York.
“Sounds a little big for the boutique hotel label”, I hear you say, but it does qualify for boutique status on the grounds of it offering something a little different and unique – in this case the design.
The building will house the hotel entrance and lobby along with restaurants and shops - after all, it is at the airport - and a newer extension will be squeezed in behind it to create the hotel rooms.
Hopefully, sound-proofing permitting, this boutique hotel in New York should prove both popular and very convenient. However it has way to go financially to break into the black. The Port Authority has already spent $20 million removing asbestos and making it developer-ready.
by Gillian at Luxique luxury hotels
For those who have not seen enough of the white stuff already this winter, there is the chance to head up to Quebec and sleep on a solid ice bed in your own ice-carved luxury hotel room.
The popularity of the original ice hotel in Sweden shows this unique experience is on many travelers’ must-do lists. Quebec’s Hotel de Glace opened on January 20, 2011 and this year’s theme honors the earth’s biodiversity.
Guests do not have to stay overnight to experience this amazing luxury igloo constructed entirely from blocks of ice, in Sweden’s case “borrowed” from the Torne River. Once the ice structure is completed, it is filled with ice carved chandeliers, sea life sculptures, furniture and a massive ice bar, colorfully lit to create a magical atmosphere. Even the glasses which the Absolut vodka-based drinks are served in are made from solid ice. Tours of the new hotel and icebar will take place each afternoon with check-in of overnight guests commencing at 9pm.
The 88 resident guests are invited to use the spa, sauna and bar before being zipped into artic-style sleeping bags. Tips from former guests include wearing long silk underwear and putting hand warmers in your boots to prevent them freezing by morning! Waking up in the eerie light in complete silence is part of the magic of this experience.
Prices start around CAN$230 per night, but you may want to upgrade to a specialty suite which has a fireplace and hot tub!
Inevitably the short season of this luxury hotel is a mere three month window before the melt sets in, so book a room at the Hotel de Glace before March 27 to be part of this inaugural year.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
A travel firm has caused a stir by announcing plans to open a luxury hotel in the Maldives staffed entirely by young blonde women.
The Lithuanian company Olialia (apparently pronounced Ooh-la-la), says blondes will run all the resort’s operations from the reception to the restaurant, and there’ll be special flights with an all-blonde crew of pilots and stewardesses.
The aim is to dispel the stereotype of the ‘dumb blonde’. Olialia’s Managing Director, Giedre Pukiene, said: “Our girls are very smart and they have degrees. All of them want to do something with their lives. They have lots of business ideas.”
Olialia is run and staffed by blonde women, and already operates in 75 different business sectors, making products from computer software and food products to pop music.
The resort is due to open in 2015, but the proposal could run into trouble as laws in the Maldives state that staff should be 50 per cent local – who are non-white and non-blonde.
When it was announced on the Maldivian news website, Minivan, many readers condemned it as discriminatory. One wrote: “This is racist and should not be allowed in the Maldives.”
by Andy Moreton
For blondes, brunettes, redheads or even the folically challenged who want a taste of paradise, Luxique offers ten luxury hotels in the Maldives.
You’re probably interested only in luxury hotels (and I wouldn’t blame you for that) but I’d like to share with you a new phenomenon that’s just arrived in London – the no-frills hotel.
Tune Hotels are an Asian chain with properties in Malaysia and Indonesia and they’ve just opened their first UK version near Waterloo station.
So how no-frills is this hotel? Well, if you want the room cleaned more than every third night, it’ll cost you £7.50 ($11.50); towel and toiletries? £1.50 ($2.30); TV? £3 ($4.60) a day; hairdryer? £1 ($1.50). You get the picture.
Tune Hotels readily admit that their business model is based on that of the low-cost airlines. And room prices can be very low if you book well ahead – from £35 in London: a bargain for accommodation in the capital.
“Our limited service, pay-as-you-use concept is fast gaining worldwide acceptance,” said Tune Hotels’ boss Mark Lankester. “For non-essential items such as TV, wi-fi, tea and coffee and hairdryers, guests pay only if they need them. Guests not using the extra facilities won’t be charged for them as part of the room price.” Or, as Tune Hotels’ slogan goes: ‘5-star beds at 1-star prices.’
by Andy Moreton
Sometimes, though, only the best will do – and Luxique has the finest selection of luxury hotels in London.