Wednesday, May 25, 2011

✈Worldwide Wednesdays: Unique Hotels - Underwater and more

Where shall we travel to today?....

Daspark Hotel aka the Drain Pipe Hotel, AUSTRIA

Daspark Hotel, or the Drain Pipe Hotel, I would say, is more for the free spirited minimalist traveler and adventurer.  It's nothing fancy but the idea is unique.  They are constructed from repurposed drain pipes.  If you've always wanted to know what one of those, you know, Ninja Turtles felt like living in a drain pipe, well, here's your chance!

Dasparkhotel is conceived and implemented primarily as a hospitality tool. Therefore, their pay-as-you-wish, user-friendly system is unique since they obtain sanitation, breakfast and other hotel facilities from existing public infrastructure.   A night in dasparkhotel costs just as much as you can afford or want to pay.

What are the rooms like you say?  Well, the rooms are.. uh, round like a barrel.  In a way it's almost like the 9h Capsule Hotel, in Japan I talked about many posts ago.  It can be a little bit claustrophobic, but at least in these rooms you can stand up and outside the rooms you are surrounded by the great outdoors - not more capsules, lol. There is full headroom, double bed, storage, light, power, woolly blanket and light cotton sleeping bag, all on a comfy double wide Eurofoam mattress.  You even recieve your own personal door code upon booking.  Also, they don't want your digital camera or mobile phone to die mid-trip so there is even a 220V outlet for charging your electronical devices inside. Of course you will have to bring your own toothbrush, towels, soap, blowdryers etc.  I guess it's kind of like going camping but in a concrete drain pipe instead of a tent!  So if hanging out in a drain pipe for a night is your kind of thing, you better hurry! - They are only open from May to October.

And if you can't get enough confined, round spaces to stay in, there's also the...

De Vrouwe van Stavoren (the Lady of Stavoren) Hotel, NETHERLANDS

The four enormous Swiss-made casks on the grounds of the Hotel De Vrouwe Van Stavoren in the Netherlands held the equivalent of 19,333 bottles of the French Beaujolais wine. The richly worn and airtight oak barrels holds a modest two-person room with standard amenities and even an attached bathroom and sitting room, with a small sitting area outside.  But don't take my word for it - just check out the quick video below.

I was just curious if you pass out drunk smelling like wine if the cask, room, barrel.. whatever you want to call it, if it would 'mask' the smell? hmmmm..  Or does it already smell like a drunken pirate.. hmmm.   I guess either way people will think that full-bodied, fruity odour is not coming from you but from the room itself..  I think I'm starting to like this place. Proost!

And if you still can't get enough of that claustrophobic feel, how about...

Jules' Undersea Lodge, USA

When guests visit Jules' Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, they discover that the name is no marketing gimmick. Just to enter the 600-square-foot Lodge, a former marine lab, one must actually scuba dive 21 feet beneath the surface of the sea.  Jules' really is underwater. Diving through the tropical mangrove habitat of the Emerald Lagoon and approaching the USA's only underwater hotel is quite an experience.  You'll have to know how to scuba dive to reach your room, and guests without the mandatory certification must take a course at the hotel. Once you've reached the lodge, which sleeps up to six, you'll be close to angelfish, anemones, barracuda, oysters, and other creatures — each room is equipped with a 42-inch window, so you don't need to be suited up to keep an eye on the neighborhood.

Although the underwater hotel may sound like the latest tourist fun spot, Jules' Undersea Lodge, actually began its existence as La Chalupa research laboratory, an underwater habitat used to explore the continental shelf off the coast of Puerto Rico. The authenticity of the underwater habitat is what really sets it apart from amusement parks and other similar attractions. The mangrove lagoon in which Jules' is located is a natural nursery area for many reef fish. Tropical angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and snappers peek in the windows of the habitat, while anemones, sponges, oysters and feather duster worms seem to cover every inch of this underwater world. Guests of the Lodge explore their marine environment with scuba gear provided by Jules' Undersea Lodge and are given an unlimited supply of tanks. Jules' Undersea Lodge may have a comfortable futuristic decor, but its sense of history is inescapable. It is the first underwater research lab to have ever been made accessible to the average person.

And if all this is just too paysan for you and you require something more upscale but keeping with the underwater theme, I'm sure you've all heard by now about that breathtaking the hotel under the sea...

Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji 

Part of the Poseidon Mystery Island and accessible by elevator and nestled in the crystal clear cerulean waters of a 5,000-acre Fijian lagoon, Poseidon Undersea Resort is the world's first seafloor resort and the only place where you can spend the night 40 ft. (12 meters) underwater incomparable luxury.  People we are talking LUXURY beyond your imagination - all underwater!  I've read that marble, leather and fine fabrics grace the floors and walls, and approximately 70 percent of the room is enveloped in 4-inch (100 milimeter) thick clear acrylic, allowing spectacular sights of individual coral gardens and the ocean beyond.  70% people... of your own underwater coral garden!  You can even interact with the fish by feeding them with a push of a button from your control console!   External underwater lights can also be turned on at night to attract marine life coming up towards the surface from the deeper areas of the reef.  And if you don't want any 'peeping-toms' staring into your room at night, (during daylight hours it would be almost impossible to look into the individual suites from under water), guests may actuate a special interior window film to protect their privacy.
And of course, needless to say folks, a great deal of research went into the making of this resort.  Competition will be hard.  They searched the world to find the perfect location - crystal clear waters with visibility up to 200 feet teeming with marine life abundant in coral reefs.  Plus they had other competitive advantages such as:

The Technical Capability

The designing principals and engineering were the responsibility of the U.S.Submarine Engineering LLC meaning Poseidon is the first "one-atmosphere" (the interior is at surface pressure) undersea resort project that was designed by people who work in contemporary undersea vehicle and pessure vessel design on a full time basis.

Modest Capital Requirement
Unlike Dubai's Hydropolis, which will ultimately cost $1.5 billion if it ever gets built, or other ambitious undersea city projects, the Poseidon project consisted of 24 underwater suites that was built at a reasonable cost for the underwater resort structure itself thereby making capital acquistion goals more easily achievable.

The modest size of their resort means that they need only 4,000 visitors a year - an achievable goal at their weekly rate of $15,000.00/week.

Extraordinary Viewing
As mentioned earlier, 70% of each room's surface area is transparent which dispells any feelings of claustrophobia one might get not to mention the spectacular views and wonderful light from above.

The undersea suites include:
  • A king-sized bed laden with Scandinavian down duvets, plush pillows and high thread-count lininens.
  • A sitting room featuring a library and personal office with voice/data access, Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet connections, and multi-line telephones.
  • Entertainment technology, including a large, high-definition flat screen television; CD/DVD player; and satellite radio with surround sound. Lord, I'm starting to sound like a damn travel agency!
  • In-room refrigerators, which will be continuously stocked with gourmet snacks, champagnes, wines, premium alcoholic beverages, soft drinks etc.
  • Rich marble bathrooms with a large Jacussi tub, ... sorry, I'm getting all excited like a kid in a candy store, I meant Jacuzzi tub, two sinks, a hydro-spa shower and a wealth of plush towels.  Bathrobes, natural loofah sponges, hairdryers and a selection of marine-influenced beauty products. 
  • And if all this isn't enough to entice you,  they claim to make you become part of history in the making by offering the first 1,000 guests' names permanently inscribed on two monuments, one on the island and one on the floor of the lagoon!
    Well, for 15 grand a week they better fly you to this 'Mystery Island' from the airport also... uhm, actually, I'm just reading... they do!
Wow, this would be like the ultimate vacation dream.  Ok, so let's see... you don't want to go by yourself so you have to bring someone else, so that's 30 grand for a week, so let's see... I'll have to re-mortgage the house, sell the car.. wait a minute, I don't have a house anymore.
Shit!  It'll have to remain a dream...

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