Hotel in Vancouver, Canada, puts a new spin on in-room iPads

hotel No need to worry about tipping your tour guide on your next trip to Vancouver, Canada, as the OPUS Vancouver hotel has recently added iPads to each of their 96 guest rooms to act as personal tour guides of the city. While the trend of adding tablets to hotel rooms is not a new concept, the OPUS adds a new spin by having the technology reflect the guests’ personality and show them around the city.

First, guests choose their rooms based on what they like: Red Modern and Minimalist, Blue Stylish and Sophisticated, Green Artful and Eclectic, Orange Vibrant and Outgoing, or Taupe Daring and Dramatic. Your in-room iPad concierge and guide will then give you a personalized tour of the city based on your personality. To make these fictional guides more human, they’ve been given names, professions, and home cities. Guides include:

  • Pierre, a food and wine critic from Paris
  • Billy, a cultured rock star from London
  • Susan, a fashion executive from Toronto
  • Mike, a doctor from New York
  • Dede, an actress and prima donna from Los Angeles

And no need to worry about Wi-Fi as the virtual guides work offline, as well. For more information, click here. To get to know the tour guides a little bit better, you can also visit the OPUS Hotels’ Blog to read some posts written by the fictional characters.

Toronto, Canada, hotel features a new kind of art using sexy male athletes

sexy male art While you can usually expect a nice landscape painting or maybe even a piece from a well-known abstract artist on your hotel room walls, the Hôtel Le Germaine Maple Leaf Square in Toronto, Canada, puts a new spin on hotel art by featuring sexy portraits of athletic male bodies in the rooms.

Because the hotel is part of the Air Canada Centre, Canada’s premier sports and entertainment venue, the company knew it wanted to have sports images in the rooms of players doing the things they usually do. The trick was combining the elegant and refined ambiance of the hotel with the rougher side of sports.

Matthew Plexman, the photographer behind the project, explains, “The idea was, because it’s a sports complex, to bring some sports figures into this, and not necessarily showing faces but to focus on their bodies. Kind of the engine under the hood, so to speak.”

That’s great for the ladies, but what about for the men? Apparently, the blinds on the shower open from the outside of the bathroom.

For a look at how the photo shoot went, check out this video:

Uniquely designed luxury hotel and office complex in China resembles ocean waves

unique hotel in china It’s truly amazing what architects can do nowadays in terms of innovative design, and the Hangzhou Waves, a new luxury hotel and office complex proposed in China, is a perfect example of this. While the structure is a 5 star accommodation, it is also a work of art, as it actually resembles the natural waves of the ocean.

Hangzhou Waves is a project of JDS Architects, a firm known for its unique approach to design and architecture. In fact, it says right on their website that their approach is “affirmatively social in its outcome, enthusiastic in its ambition and professional in its process. At the core of our architecture is the ability to take a fresh look at design issues through experienced eyes”.

The technique used to create the hotel and office space was to use ascending and descending cubes to create the two buildings, which mirror each from a back-to-back point of view. And just like the ocean, the building plays host to plots of lush plant life.

For a better idea of the project, check out the gallery below.


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

hostel celicaRecently, 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 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.

underground hotels 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.

underground hotels 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.

underground hotels 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.