Five Places To Anchor Yourself In Titanic History

“Titanic” 3D hit cinemas this week just in time to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s fateful voyage. But the box office isn’t the only place you can pay tribute to the ship. Two new Titanic museums are opening up just in time to celebrate the ship’s anniversary, and there are many other places that are keeping the ship and its passengers’ legacy afloat. Below are some places where stories of the Titanic live on.

Titanic Museum Attraction
Branson, Missouri
You can’t miss the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, Missouri mostly because of its massive size and shape (even among all of Branson’s other over-the-top attractions). The exterior is designed to replicate the ocean liner, complete with an iceberg at the museum entrance. Inside, guests receive a “passenger boarding ticket” with the name and story of an actual Titanic passenger (the idea is to find out if you survived or perished through the course of your stay). The museum also has displays about what each class looked like, as well as plenty of authentic Titanic memorabilia including lifejackets, deck chairs and letters. The museum will hold a special musical tribute to the Titanic on Saturday, April 14, the 100th anniversary of the night the ship fatally struck an iceberg. Descendants of actual Titanic passengers are expected to attend and there will be a lighting of an eternal flame during the tribute. The attraction also has a sister museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.Maritime Museum, Southampton
Southampton, England
The goal of this soon-to-be-debuted museum is to tell Southampton’s side of the Titanic story. One of England’s largest passenger ports, the Titanic left from Southampton on its maiden voyage and the city lost 500 residents when the ship sank. The museum will explore the lives of the working-class crew as well as the impact their tragedy had on families back home in Southampton. Visitors follow the careers of cooks, stewards and watchmen, and the tour culminates in a teary-eyed video featuring recordings from survivors.

Titanic Belfast
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Another newbie to the crop of museums is the Titanic Belfast Visitor Center opened last Saturday to celebrate the birthplace of the Titanic. The museum is located in the heart of Belfast on one of the slipways where the ship was built. Now the world’s largest museum dedicated to the Titanic, the $160-million center looks similar to the Sydney Opera House with four prows of the ship jutting out in different directions. The museum houses exhibits where visitors can learn about the construction of the ship as well as the rich story of Northern Ireland’s maritime heritage. At the time of writing, tickets were already sold out through April 16.

Titanic Historical Society Museum
Indian Orchard, Massachusetts
The oldest Titanic museum in the U.S. is the Titanic Historical Society Museum in Massachusetts. At the entrance of the museum visitors are greeted with a 9-foot model of the ship. Inside, Titanic fanatics will find artifacts from the ship and its passengers, many of which were donated by survivors. Highlights include the lifejacket of the wealthy John Jacob Astors, original blueprints of the ship, a rivet from the ship’s hull, a carved oak chair from the ship’s dining room and even the wireless message received by the Titanic that stated the location of the fatal iceberg (it never made it to the bridge of the ship).

The Jane Hotel
New York, New York
For a little slice of Titanic history that is closer to home for many of our readers, stop by the ballroom of the Jane Hotel. Known for small, ship cabin-esque rooms and discount prices, the hotel is actually anchored to the ship’s past. Back when it was known as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, the hotel put up surviving crew members after disaster struck. A private memorial was held in the hotel on April 19, 1912. Today it remains a respite for weary travelers. The hotel will be offering two signature cocktails that commemorate the Titanic anniversary in its ballroom: the Bourbon-based “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” in honor of the only woman to row a boat to safety after the tragedy, and the Champagne-based “ST-705,” named as such for the 705 passengers that survived.

Images (top to bottom) courtesy the Titanic Museum Attraction, Titanic Belfast and The Jane Hotel.

New York City’s Jane hotel, from $69 through March

Shoebox-size hotel rooms in New York City are notoriously overpriced, especially since you’re usually too busy running around the city to spend enough time in them.

The Jane hotel could be the antidote — now through March, the starting price has dropped down to $69 for a single room (compared to $99). A room with bunk beds now starts at $79. Note: these 50-square-foot rooms have communal bathrooms and are extremely narrow — the wall-size mirror can only do so much to conjure airiness. The rooms, which were modeled after train and yacht cabins, do at least come with built-in drawers underneath the twin beds and overhead luggage racks so you’re not tripping over your stuff.

If you’re claustrophobic, though, you may be happier booking one of the 250-square-foot Captain’s Cabins for $179 (normally $250-$300), which have private bathrooms.

For once, these prices match the size of the rooms. Besides, The Jane’s location in the West Village really makes it hard to justify spending too much time in the tiny rooms anyway.

Budget meets Boutique: The Jane in NYC

At some point in our lives, hostelling begins to lose its appeal. Sure, it’s cheap, the community is great and often times the locations are unbeatable, but sooner or later the needs for some personal space and some quiet time begin to outweigh the need for low budget accommodation. But the desires to stay somewhere unique and somewhat social and maybe even save a few bucks are still there.

The Jane hotel in New York City mixes these two worlds perfectly. As a boutique hotel in Greenwich Village (lower west side,) the Jane offers the quiet and comfort of single, private rooms while mixing in a communal washroom, a jaw dropping bar and plenty of community activities. The result? A clean, chic hotel in one of the best corners of the city that you can book for under a hundred bucks a night.

So what’s it like? Is sharing a washroom that big of a deal when you’re paying half the rate of another Manhattan hotel? Does extra foot traffic in the hallway make the rooms noisier? Lets take a look around.


The Rooms

When you check into the Jane, you’re given a large, metal keyring with your magnetic door key and a long metal rod. As the elevator attendant will show you when you reach your room, you insert this rod into a slot in the room to turn on your electricity.

It’s just one way that the Jane conserves money and makes your stay less expensive. Among other efficiencies they’ve implemented are shared liquid soap in the showers and no desks or tables in the rooms.

Conversely, each room has a robe, towels, an iPod dock and a bottle of water for purchase.

Rooms are small and cozy. As a former sailor’s housing unit, much of the architecture and style have been historically preserved. Wood detailing surrounds each room, and with the bed built into the wall, the feeling of being in a ship’s cabin is strong. Each room is designed for one person with a single bed, though rooms with bunk beds and even rooms with queen beds and bathrooms are on tap for later this year.

Despite the heavier hall traffic, rooms are quiet and cozy, though if you’re particularly sensitive to this, ask for a room that isn’t near the hallway doors.

The Washrooms

Although it’s a little unnerving passing a stranger wearing a bath robe in the hall, community washrooms are a perfectly logical concept. Each is well maintained, with classic tiling on the walls and private stalls for toilets and showers. It’s true that you’ll have to (or you should) put pants on to walk to the end of the halls, but this shouldn’t bother most people. The fact of the matter is, much of your savings on this hotel booking are because of the shared washrooms, and if they’re an important part of your experience you should either book another hotel or wait for the larger rooms to open up.

Can we tell you about the bar?

One of the Jane’s biggest strengths is their amazing bar. Comprised of one main bar just outside of the lobby, an adjoining, high ceilinged lounge in the next room and a balcony above, the massive Jane Bar is a great place to sit back on a soft, comfortable couch, stare at your surroundings and drink in the opulence. Many people come to the bar whether or not they’re staying at the hotel, and if you come home late in the evening you’ll have tell the bouncer your room number.

Outside of drinking hours, the Jane Bar also hosts movie nights, private parties and other fun activities. You can check the local schedule when you arrive.

In Summary,

The Jane Hotel fits into the perfect niche between hostel and hotel, giving residents a taste of both worlds at a damn good price. If you’re all about being pampered, numerous amenities and vast personal space, this place isn’t for you — but for those of you who are looking for a clean, chic place to stay with a bumping nightlife, you can’t go wrong.