New Experiential Moroccan Hotel Brings Chic Luxury To Traditional Berber Style

In Morocco, the indigenous people are Berbers, and their traditional architecture uses rammed Earth and wood. Aside from in big cities, the Berber-style is plentiful across the country. While this rooted design may be popular, however, the country has never seen it done in a modern and luxurious way – until now.

At the end of March, Max Lawrence opened a brand new experiential hotel, Chez Max. Located 45 minutes outside of Marrakech, this all-inclusive catered villa is offered exclusively through Lawrence’s company, Lawrence of Morocco. The property takes principles of Berber building techniques and infuses them with dramatic effects and trendy accents. For example, while Berber rooms are customarily long, low and narrow, Chez Max features squared or curved rooms with high ceilings, giving them more space and light.

“Normal Berber properties are built around the Islamic principle that strangers and prying eyes cannot look in, but the problem is that this means you can’t look out, either,” explains Lawrence. “But Chez Max is able to flaunt that rule, and offers views for kilometers, over the local hamlets towards the hills, from inside and from its terraces.”

While this is the designer’s third Moroccan property, the style of hotel is one-of-a-kind in the country. Along with the tradition and luxury infusion, the property works to help guests feel completely at home. For example, the housekeeper, Saida, makes sure the rooms are tidy and also prepares delicious home-cooked cuisine. Additionally, there is no bill to pay on departure, as the designers do not want to intrude on the peaceful and relaxed feeling of the villa.

“There’s absolutely nothing else like this in Morocco,” says Lawrence. “Other Berber impersonations aren’t nearly as stylish or dramatic, nor are they situated in a such a quiet spot in the country, but within easy reach of Marrakech.”

Tubohotel Takes Exotic Camping To The Next Level

Just when you thought you’d seen it all – tree hotels, salt palaces, undersea lodges and enormous boot-shaped bed and breakfasts — something new comes along that tests the limits of accommodation possibilities. Located in Tepoztlán, Mexico, is the Tubohotel (shown right), a unique experiential property that allows guests to sleep in massive tube pipes stacked like pyramids.

In line with ecotourism, the tubes are made of recycled tube pipe materials. While this may sound like you’ll be sleeping in a sewer, the company claims the experience is actually very comfortable. The rooms each come with a queen bed, fan, desk light, storage compartments under the bed, a towel rack with towels, a plush comforter and soft sheets. Furthermore, the tubes are apparently quite warm. Or, as Tubohotel says, the rooms maintain a “comfortable, almost tubo-licious temperature during the day and night.”

While you won’t be able to bathe in the room, the property boasts two clean, spacious bathrooms with hot water, private showers and toilets, although you will have to bring your own robes and slippers.

No matter how nice the rooms at Tubohotel are you’re not going to want to spend all day sitting in a pipe. Luckily, the hotel also has an onsite Infinity pool and can arrange for cultural cooking classes with celebrity chef Ana Garcia. Nature activities like mountain climbing, hiking and biking are also abound. Not to mention, a bar and restaurant are coming soon to the property.

Prices start at 300 pesos (about $24) per night, based on double occupancy. Click here to learn more or make a reservation.

Stay at a former military prison turned art hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Recently, Gadling’s Meg Nesterov talked about 10 reasons to travel to Ljubljana in Slovenia. The country has a lot to offer to visitors, and for those looking for an affordable and historical place to stay, a unique hostel experience, as well.

Hostel Celica, currently an artsy youth hostel, was once a military prison within the military barracks of Metelkova Street, dating back to 1882. Once Slovenia gained independence and the barracks were no longer needed, the Metelkova Network planned to turn the site into a multicultural center. The vision never came to be, and when the city tried to demolish the barracks, the network and its supporters used their bodies to protect the building. They occupied the site, and when the city turned off the electricity and water, a new plan began to form in their minds.

The group decided to make the place into a welcoming space for international travelers, and with the help of architect Janko Jozic and over 80 artists, Hostel Celica opened its doors to its first guests in 2003.

While the space is now a hostel, that doesn’t mean it’s lost its essence of history and culture. There are 20 prison cells that act as rooms, and one of the former prison cells has been converted into a Point of Peace, a space where visitors can pray and meditate. There are alters for the five major world religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and the highest religious representatives from each have come to bless the space. Moreover, an art gallery resides on the first floor of the hostel, and workshops, debates, concerts, and cultural events take place on a daily basis.

For more information or to book a room at Hostel Celica, click here.

10 unique underground hotels from around the world

While staying above ground has its perks, it’s always fun to try something a little out of the ordinary. On your next trip, why not try staying in one of these unique hotels located underground? You’ll get privacy, a unique experience, and won’t have to worry about the sun waking you up too early on your vacation.

Sala Silvermine
Sala, Sweden

The Sala Silvermine is an actual mine that allows visitors to stay in a Mine Suite, the “world’s deepest hotel room”. The room is about 508 feet below the Earth’s surface, next to underground galleries and caverns. Guests will receive a guided tour of the mine, which was well-known for its silver, lead, and zinc content, as well as a basket of goodies including cheese, fruits, chocolate, biscuits, and sparkling wine. While beautiful and peaceful, just make sure to dress warm as it is only 35.6 degrees Farenheit in the mine all year round and 64.4 degrees Farenheit in the room itself.Desert Cave Hotel
Coober Pedy, South Australia

Since 1915, people have flocked to Coober Pedy in the Outback in search of the precious opals the town is known for. They have also gone to explore the underground dwellings of the area, as many locals live in “dugouts” to keep cool. The 4-star Desert Cave Hotel officially opened in 1988 as a way to help people experience the underground way of life. While there are 50 rooms available, 19 are underground. All contain modern luxuries like color television, Wi-Fi, and free in-house movies. And those living below the Earth won’t feel too disconnected from the world, as there is also an underground shopping arcade that features an extensive range of opals and opal jewelery.

Kelebek Cave Hotel
Cappadocia, Turkey

Located right in the center of Goreme’s historic village, the Kelebek Cave Hotel allows guests to stay in spacious underground cave dwellings as well as fairy chimneys formed from volcanic activity. The rooms are surprisingly comfortable and cozy, with a fireplace and a traditional Turkish breakfast. If you want a better idea of what the property looks like inside and out, they offer a comprehensive virtual tour on their website.

Woodlyn Park
Waitomo, New Zealand

Lord of the Rings fans will love this hobbit-inspired accommodation. Woodlyn Park includes 4 types of motels, including a plane motel, train motel, boat motel, and the underground hobbit motels that have circular windows poking up out of the ground. The rooms include a kitchen, bathroom, furnishings, and decor. While this is by no means a luxury hotel, it is a fun and unique accommodation option.

La Claustra
Airolo, Switzerland

La Claustra was once a hidden military fort housed inside the St. Gotthard Mountain. In 1999, the Swiss army gave up the space, giving arist Jean Odermatt an idea for a unique modern accommodation that is embedded deep into mountain rock. This 4-star property also offers, innovative and organic cuisine, a steam grotto, and activities and events upon request.

Les Hautes Roches
Rochecorbon, France

Les Hautes Roches is located in the Loire Valley and was formerly the living quarters of the nearby Abbey of Marmoutier monks who sought refuge during the wars of religion. After being abandoned for 15 years, these caves and adjoining 17th century pavilion were renovated by hotel owner Philippe Mollard into a luxury Troglodytic hotel. Guests sleep in rooms sculpted from tufa rock and housed inside the center of cliffs. Fun fact: Tufa rock has a velvet-like appearance and is also known to promote health and well-being.

Beckham Creek Cave Lodge
Parthenon, Arkansas

The Beckham Creek Cave Lodge is a serene and secluded underground property with modern technology and luxurious amenities. Relax in the below-ground jacuzzis, watch movies on a flat sceen television, or just enjoy the elegantly furnished room and high-tech stainless steel kitchen. While you will be sleeping below the Earth, you will be able to immerse yourself in nature above ground with horseback riding and hiking through the Ozark countryside.

Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
Guadix, Spain

The Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcón is a pre-historic cave hotel near Granada that has been amended into chalet accommodations. Carved into the clay hillside, the individual chalets feature modern living facilities inside whitewashed caves that give guests the chance to “experience the authentic lifestyle of accitanos”. There are 23 fully-equipped caves to choose from, as well as a pool, restaurant, meeting room, reception, and laundry facility.

Kokopelli’s Cave Bed & Breakfast
Farmington, New Mexico

Kokopelli’s Cave Bed & Breakfast is a cave accommodation that has been blasted out of mountain rock. The property is a 1,650 square foot, one-bedroom cave hotel that sits 280 feet above the La Plata River and is made from sandstone that is 65 million years old. Luxury and comfort is part of a stay in this private and secluded cave, with plush carpeting, a hot tub, hot waterfall shower, kitchen, washer and dryer, and Southwestern-themed decor.

Null Stern Hotel
To be determined

The first Null Stern Hotel opened in Teufen, Switzerland, but closed down on June 4, 2010, exactly one year after opening. The closing came not because of an unsuccessful establishment, but due to an overwhelming amount of positive guest feedback asking for more properties. A former Swiss Nuclear bunker, the aim of the underground property was to give the unused space a second life while providing guests with an affordable accommodation.

For the time being, the founders of the hotel are dedicating their energy on an expansion strategy and opening a Null Stern Hotel property that is even bigger and better than before. However, because negotiations are still in progress, the exact location cannot be disclosed. The original hotel is currently open as a museum, giving visitors guided tours that introduce them to property features like the wheel of fate, the second check in, and the virtual window.

Boutique hotel in Turkey allows guests to sleep in caves and meander through underground tunnels

Located in the center of Cappadocia, Turkey, on the site of an ancient monastery, there is the Argos in Cappadocia, a historical and experiential boutique hotel. The remains of the historical structures, tunnels, and caves have been restored and turned it into a unique accommodation for travelers.

The views from the hotel look like a mix between a fairy tale and a sci-fi film, overlooking volcanic peaks and valleys of apricots and apples as the hotel is literally imbedded into the layered hillside. Room styles vary from “standard” to “Splendid Suites”, with each type being housed inside of a cave. These cave rooms are each located in hillside mansions that are connected to underground tunnels containing meeting rooms and fully stocked wine cellars. If you’re imagining a dark and dismal atmosphere, think again, as these rooms open onto terraces, balconies, and private courtyards with clear views of the adjacent Guvercinlik Valley and faraway mountain peaks. Moreover, each guestroom is technology-capable, with wireless internet and state-of-the-art sound systems. Turkish carpets, artifacts, and candles adorn each dwelling, although you may want to opt for the Splendid Suite for your own private in-suite swimming pool.

Having a hard time picturing it? Check out the gallery below to get a better idea of what you can expect.