Pooping In Public, The Newest Hotel Trend

open plan bathroom hotel
Bentley Smith, Flickr

They say traveling together will either bring you closer together or destroy your relationship, and the latest hotel design movement is certainly putting that concept to the test.

According to The Guardian, open-plan bathrooms are a growing trend in luxury hotels. Instead of hiding in a separate room, showers, baths and even toilets are now being placed right inside the bedroom. Occasionally, you’ll find walls separating the wet areas from the bedroom — although see-through glass does little to shield you from the eyes of your travel companion.A few hotels that have embraced this concept include the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam, the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel and the Ecclestone Square Hotel in London (though at least here you can flip a switch to turn the glass walls opaque).

While some couples might get a kick out of the less-than-private baths or showers, the placement of the toilet leaves a lot to be desired. After all, no matter how close you are with your partner, do you really want to be in on each other’s bowel movements? And what exactly do you do if you’re traveling with a relative, friend or business partner?

Making matters worse is the fact that some of these open-plan bathrooms are not just “open” to your roommate, but also to the public. At The Standard Hotel in New York, one suite features a floor-to-ceiling glass wall in the bathroom that faces out onto the street. And yes, people are watching. One hotel specialist told The Guardian that while staying at a different hotel in New York with a glass wall that faced the outside, she “could see a guy standing in a building looking at me having a shower.” Creepy or what?

Would you stay in a hotel with an open plan bathroom?

Photo Of The Day: Elephant Bath

Humans aren’t the only ones that need to clean up. As we see in today’s shot by Flickr user ladyexpat, even elephants like to have a scrub now and then. It’s a great candid shot of not just the elephants in action, but also the handlers, as they casually chat while standing on the animals’ backs.

Taken any great elephant photos during your own travels? Or any other animal for that matter? Why not add it to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Britain’s Heritage Cities are ready for visitors


Britain's Heritage Cities are ready for visitors


Thanks to the London Olympics, which will open on July 27, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 2012 is expected to be a boom year for tourism in Great Britain. In the hopes of capitalizing on this trend, six historic cities have teamed up to get noticed by travelers intent on venturing beyond the English capital.

Bath, Carlisle, Chester, Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and York, Britain’s so-called Heritage Cities, are trying to lure tourists with eight itineraries that explore their shared history. The Literary, Visual and Performing Arts tour, for example, takes in Oxford, Bath, and Stratford with stops at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Bodleian Library, the model for Hogwarts Library in the ‘Harry Potter’ series. Meanwhile, travelers interested in England’s North Country may want to follow the Great Castles, Stately Homes, and Gardens tour, which visits three countries (England, Wales, and Scotland) and three Heritage Cities (Carlisle, Chester, and York), and includes stops at a 12th century castle, the homes of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, and sections of Hadrian’s Wall.

Beyond exploring these cities in a package tour, Britain’s Heritage Cities website offers a glimpse of the top 10 attractions in each town. Did you know that York is considered the most haunted city in Europe? Or, that the city of Chester still carries on the medieval tradition of town criers? The most oh-so-British traditions and folklore live on in these Heritage Cities, so it may be worth checking them out while the past is still present.

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Stroll through the Field of Light at the Holburne this winter

art From now until January 8, 2012, the Holburne Museum in Bath, England, will feature renowned lighting artist Bruce Munro‘s “Field of Light” exhibit. The art installation features over 5,000 light bulbs planted around the venue that alternate and shift their appearance in groups. A magical effect is created by acrylic stems topped with frosted spheres that contain fiber optic cables illuminated by a color projector.

Everyday from 4PM-7PM, the Field of Light is turned on, and visitors can enjoy strolling through the grounds free of charge. While exploring the exhibit, try to see if you can imagine the barren dessert in Australia and how it bursts into bloom after it rains. This image is what actually inspired Munro to create the work.

The Director the Holburne Museum, Alexander Sturgis, comments, “We are delighted that Bruce Munro’s artwork will bring such a magical experience of light within our grounds at the darkest time of the year. At what, for most people, is a frantic time of festive preparation we are pleased to be able to offer a tranquil and uplifting experience at the Holburne.”

If you’d like to visit the Holburne Museum, it is located on Great Pulteney Street. You can also check out the gallery below to get a better idea of exactly what this serene and mystical world really looks like.

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Stanton Drew stone circles yield more clues to the past

Stanton Drew, stone circles
A geophysical survey at the three stone circles at Stanton Drew near Bath, England, has uncovered more details about the prehistoric monuments.

This is Bath reports that subsurface imaging has added to a similar survey done in 1997. That survey revealed that the largest of the three circles was surrounded by a ditch with a wide entrance. The new survey, done with more modern equipment, discovered a second, smaller entrance. Archaeologists also found that one of the smaller stone circles stood on a leveled platform.

Stanton Drew’s main circle is more than 110 meters in diameter, making it the second largest stone circle in the UK, bigger than Stonehenge and second only to Avebury. The main entrance of its surrounding ditch faced a smaller stone circle to the northeast. Further away to the southwest was a third circle. Inside the main circle were nine concentric rings of wooden posts. These rings may have served as a sort of calendar marking important celestial events such as solstices and equinoxes. The megaliths of the three stone circles served a similar function.

Local folklore says the stones are a wedding party tricked by the Devil into celebrating on a Sunday. Stone circles have accumulated lots of folklore and several are said to be petrified people, including the Rollright Stones.

The complete archaeological reports are available here.

[Photo courtesy Rosalind Mitchell]