Posts Tagged ‘Hotels’

Book travel with confidence

August 16, 2010

As an event planner, I’m often asked to suggest locations in various markets sight unseen.  Whenever possible, I’ll shoot a mail to someone in that city to see if they are able to provide any insight, but sometimes I’m faced with suggesting a venue or hotel without anything but a website to review.

Enter oyster.com, a website dedicated to providing real, undoctored hotel photos allowing you to book with confidence.  Their claim to “anonymously visit, review and photograph every hotel sold on Oyster.”  They offer a pros and cons list, along with their ‘bottom line’.

Intrigued, I thought I’d check out their thoughts on a hotel I’d stayed at recently in Washington DC, the Embassy Suites – Convention Center. Overall, I agree with their assessment of the hotel and felt that most of the over 200 photos available (including pictures of the food) accurately portrayed my hotel experience.  The pros and cons were on point; the only additional con I would add would be the room service, which I didn’t particularly care for, although it was quick. 

I especially enjoyed the Photo Fakeouts, including this one at Breezes Montego Bay, which shows marketing and Photoshop can make any spot look enticing. 

I tested out a few other hotels on Oyster and would have to agree that they provide an honest look into the inner workings of the hotels they review.  Definitely a site I will visit when making future travel arrangements.

Now if there was just a site for other venues that provided the same service!

Bizarre Beds

December 18, 2009

The other day I was flipping through Bettina Kowalewski’s new book, Bed in a Tree and Other Amazing Hotels From Around the World and I was amazed by the locations she referenced.  Of course, there is the ‘bed in a tree’ at the Lion Sands, a five-star safari lodge in a private game reserve, about which  Kowalewski comments, “For me, it’s a dream to sleep in the middle of nature with no walls.  I saw two rhinos right beneath me.  It is not a zoo.”

Other interesting options include the Dog Bark Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho, where Sweet Willie, a wooden beagle, stands 33 feet high and you are able to dine in his stomach; or the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, that is rebuilt every winter entirely from ice; or The Capsule Hotel in The Hague, Netherlands, which is actually a repurposed escape capsule from an offshore oil rig floating in an urban canal.

My personal favorite, is Les Roulottes in Ouroux, France, where you get to join the circus.  Located in the heart of Beaujolais wine country, this hotel is really three roulettes, or gypsy wagons, once used by traveling circuses.  The wagons are parked in a meadow next to a stone chateau, where meals are served. 

It’s a book that’s fun and easy to read, and certainly a great conversation starter.