Denver’s Inflatable Hovering Hotel Room Costs $50K

AP

Have you ever wondered what a $50,000 a night hotel room would be like? Well, one hotel in Denver is giving travelers the chance to find out — though they might a little surprised by what they discover.

Expecting a heavenly mattress? Too bad, because all this pricy pad offers is an inflatable bed for your weary body. Dreaming of unwinding in a jacuzzi in your marble-clad bathroom? Sorry to burst your bubble but you’ll be doing your business in a chemical toilet instead.

Completely confused yet? Well, despite the lack of amenities, it turns out that people are willing to cough up wads of cash for the sake of novelty. In this case, The Curtis Hotel in Denver is offering a room that’s hoisted 22 feet up in the air, perched on top of a van. The room — which is entirely inflatable — is a temporary space that was designed as part an arts festival.This isn’t the first strange hotel room to be dreamed up by artists and designers. We found several other bizarre places to lay your head down for the night.

  • Weymouth Beach in England opened the world’s first hotel made entirely out of sand a few years ago. Guests were able to book a stay at the hotel for as little as $15 until the hotel was washed away by the ocean. Even the beds were made of sand, with hotel operators warning visitors that the sand “gets everywhere.”
  • At the Tubo Hotel in Mexico, travelers can make themselves at home in an old drain pipe. The recycled concrete pipes, which were previously used in sewers, are decked out with queen beds so you don’t actually have to feel like you’re sleeping in the gutter.
  • In Belgium last year, travelers could stay in a hotel room designed around the top of a 100-year-old clock tower. The room, which hovered 75 feet above the busy streets of Ghent, was designed to give guests an intimate perspective on the city’s history. With a massive clock right up against your bed, we’re guessing you don’t need to request a wake up call when you’re staying in this room.

Tell us, what’s the strangest hotel room you’ve slept in?

Norfolk, Virginia: Thanks to PETA, it’s the next best destination for vegetarians


It seems likely that the site of the world’s largest Naval would be a place where meat monopolizes the menu. But in Norfolk, Virginia that’s simply not the case. The small city has truly embraced vegetarianism (and veganism as well), with nearly all of the restaurants featuring an ample list of veg-friendly options-plus plenty of places that cater solely to the meat-free crowd.

Obviously, larger cities like New York, San Francisco, and Toronto or towns that attract more eclectic inhabitants such as Portland, Bloomington, and Austin have plenty of demand for vegetarian eateries. In Norfolk, however, something else seems to be at work. The big influencer is actually the world’s largest animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which is based there. For many positions at the organization, it’s actually a requirement that the employee is vegan-and it’s a bit of a no-brainer that the office culture probably dictates most employees stray from meat.

As the sailors filter in and out of the city, the PETA employees stay. As a result, there are plenty of places for vegetarians to eat morning, noon, and night. In the funky neighborhood of Ghent alone, there is a laundry list of over two-dozen restaurants that cater to vegetarians-and all seem to have mastered clearly marking menus for easy perusal.

Just a few of the favored pit-stops for vegetarians around Norfolk include Machismo Burrito Bar for Tex-Mex covered with nondairy sour cream and cheese, Rajput for Indian cuisine like veggie samosas and tofu palak, and Azar’s Market & Cafe for over 40 meat-free Mediterranean options. The menu at The Ten Top is dominated by veggies, and at Dragon City you can get cheap Chinese takeout that is assuredly vegan. Bella Pizzeria serves up pizza with soy cheese, and Yorgo’s Bageldashery goes above and beyond tofu cream cheese by serving a tempeh BLT wrap and “egg” salad. Even a local greasy spoon, the Donut Dinette, serves soy sausage with breakfast and vegan chicken salad for lunch.


Of course, the food isn’t the only draw to this seaport. There’s wine, too. Each year in May, the city’s waterfront becomes home to the Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, when visitors pack the downtown area to sample Virginia’s finest vino and listen to live music.

But seriously: Besides food and wine, Norfolk has historical and cultural attractions that draw visitors year-round. History buffs will want to explore the naval museum Nauticus, where you can walk the decks of the impressive USS Battleship Wisconsin, a retired ship that’s storied history launched during World War II and continues through firing the first four missiles in Operation Desert Storm. Art lovers, on the other hand, should head to the Chrysler Museum of Art to peruse the expansive collection of 62 galleries or partake in a glass blowing workshop at the museum’s brand new studio. It’s also a good idea to weave through the local artist studios at d’ART Center, or possibly even plan a visit around the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival, a free event that brings 25,000 people to a local park (and just so happens to coincide with the Wine Festival in May).

No matter why you choose to come to Norfolk, it’s a city that is sure to surprise you once you arrive. My advice is to come for the food and wine, and stay for the great festivals and museums.

[Photos by Libby Zay]

Ghent proclaims regular vegetarian days

The Belgian city of Ghent, long famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture and excellent art museums, may soon become a favorite destination for vegetarians. According to the BBC, Ghent has become the first city in the world to have a designated “Vegetarian Day.” Public sector workers are asked to give up meat every Thursday, and in September schools will follow suit by serving vegetarian-only meals every Thursday in their cafeterias.

The move is designed to tackle obesity and reduce the city’s carbon footprint. The meat industry is a major source of greenhouse gas, much of it coming from animal flatulence (no, really) and the city council hopes this program will become a model for other cities.

Belgium is already one of the greener nations of the world, with an efficient recycling program and a goal of having 6% of all electricity generated by renewable sources by 2010. Ghent has the largest pedestrian center of any Belgian city and boasts numerous vegetarian restaurants. As part of the new program, the city government is giving visitors free guides to veggie eateries, and there’s a copy (in Dutch) online that also includes information on the vegetarian lifestyle. An unofficial English guide to vegetarian dining in Belgium can be found here.