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?
Millions of us will head to the mall this week to return gifts or buy what we really wanted from the after-Christmas sales. Chain stores, fast food courts, and packed parking lots are what most of us associate with shopping malls, but a new retail concept in hip East London is looking to change that. Boxpark is the world’s first pop-up mall, made out of 60+ shipping containers that house a mix of international labels like The North Face and Levi’s, UK designers Luke and Boxfresh, plus cafes and eateries such as Pieminister. Boxpark will be open for five years, and stores may change after a year or two. Befitting the Shoreditch neighborhood, don’t expect Claire’s Accessories or the Gap, but rather street fashion, cool sneakers, and funky concept stores and art galleries Art Against Knives and Marimekko. Already a huge trend with restaurants, one-off shops, and hotels, the flexibility of the pop-up concept means an urban (or anywhere, since the containers can be moved!) location, up-and-coming designers, and more creative retail spaces.
Check out all the retailers at www.boxpark.co.uk plus info on sales and special offers.
The food truck craze is nothing new to many Americans. Long a popular foodie option in New York, Los Angeles, and even Cleveland, it’s a food trend that’s constantly evolving to bring new ideas and tastes to the, er, table. The Turkish food blog Istanbul Eats, who launched a book version last year and now offer food tours of the city, spotted a very local version of the mobile eatery trend along the Golden Horn. They posted a few photos of Mehmet Abi’s çay kamyon (that’s tea truck in Turkish) on their Facebook page this week, complete with a seating area for sipping a hot glass. You can find Mehmet’s truck parked by the Karakoy mosque near the hardware market at the Galata Bridge, ask around for the Perşembe Pazarı (Thursday market) to find it.
Turkish çay is already quite mobile. Around Istanbul, you’ll spot men carrying trays of glasses to deliver to local businesses, the empty glasses are later collected or returned to the çay shops. And while coffee chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jean’s are quite popular in Turkey, you won’t find Turks drinking çay out of paper cups, the honor system works well for to-go orders as well.
While the food truck craze as we know it has yet to hit Istanbul, Turkish food is going mobile in other places. Pera Turkish Tacos launched late last year outside the former Tavern on the Green space in Manhattan and recently became the first food cart in the city to get a liquor license.
As the year comes to a close, it seems everyone is offering up their predictions for 2010 travel trends. Which destinations will be the new hot spots? Will the cost of airfare rise or fall? Will people travel or won’t they? As with every year, some predictions will be spot on. Others will just seem like the same ideas from last year dressed up with new names.
Rick Seany, CEO of FareCompare, centered his predictions around air travel. He says we can expect more a la carte pricing, fuel surcharges, and in-flight advertising. He also says deals will be much harder to find…but we’ve already seen some low fares for the first quarter of 2010, so let’s hope he’s wrong there.
TripAdvisor made predictions all across the board. The listed the destinations they think will grow in 2010, which included spots in Turkey, Mexico, Germany and Scotland, and made predictions about fees and traveler behavior patterns. For example, 22% of travelers expect to be more environmentally conscious about their travels next year.
Nile Guide’s 2010 predictions ranged from where we will go to how we’ll get the information to plan our trips. Having access to information on the go (via travel apps) will play a huge part in how we plan our travels. They also predict the availability of in flight wi-fi will continue to increase.
The Independent got in on the act too, with a travel forecast from Editor-in-Chief of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Julie Kinsman. Kinsman predicts more travelers will mix business with pleasure. That may be true, but do we really have to call it “bleisure?” She says “granny chic” (which may just be “shabby chic” recycled from the late 90’s) will be a popular decor style and that we’ll see more boutique B&Bs, luxury all-inclusives and eco-lux resorts in the coming year.
What are your travel predictions for 2010? Tell us in the comments.