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Category Archives: Hotel

Making Memories in Los Cabos

When my husband and his brother told me and my sister-in-law that they wanted to go to Mexico for some R and R, we were both on board with that. None of us had ever been there, and we knew that it was something that would be enjoyable for all of us. They have another brother and also a sister, so we decided to see if they all wanted to go too and make a family affair of it. We started looking at luxury vacation homes in Cabo once it was decided that all four siblings and their spouses were going to go.

Hotel with a Touch of Whimsy In Dijon

Like the rest of France, Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, has seen an explosion of refurbished midrange hotels. Housed in a renovated 1926 Haussmann-style building, this 42-room, five-story property in the city center was opened in 2015 by the hotelier brothers Bruno and Christophe Massucco. It is Dijon’s first Design Hotel member, and interior spaces are accordingly whimsical and contemporary, a refreshing touch in sometimes stodgy Burgundy. But at times, spaces are confined and overly designed. The lobby is cramped, the breakfast room is crammed with chandeliers and a D.J. station, and a small glass-floored elevator barely fits two pieces of luggage and seems to be the sole reason for the hotel’s name.


Ideally located in Dijon’s ancient city center, the hotel is a flat eight-minute walk (or three-minute tram ride) from the train station and a 10-minute walk to sites like Les Halles Dijon, the city’s covered food market; the 13th-century L’Église Notre-Dame de Dijon; and many shops, restaurants and museums. There’s a bus stop just outside for going farther afield.

The Room

My Cocoon Room, the least expensive category, was soundproofed but tight quarters, even for one person. Tasteful Ligne Roset furniture, charcoal wool curtains and slate-colored walls clashed with more frivolous “design surprises” like an iPhone-shaped TV, a small black ceramic polar bear crawling up the wall, and an empty frame mounted askew on the ceiling above the bed. Maybe cool if you’re under 30; silly if you’re not. My window opened to a quiet courtyard, and the air-conditioning was powerful, a rarity in France. The minibar was stocked with salted caramel cookies, goji-berry juice, crème de cassis nips and jars of mustard sweetened with Chablis and morels. Beds had quilted headboards and quality duvets, but pillows were overstuffed. Wi-Fi was free and fast.

The Bathroom

The toilet was separated from the rest of the room by a sliding door that was heavily scuffed on the bottom. The shower featured a black-and-white tile mosaic and Missoni toiletries.


Vertigo has several small leisure spaces. A subterranean spa features a narrow pool decorated with blue-lit disco balls and ergonomic loungers, a sauna and exercise and massage rooms. A cigar room, in a second-floor loft, is furnished with leather loungers. And at night, the breakfast lounge transforms into a clubby bar bathed in pink light, ideal for sipping glasses of rosé and Champagne. At midnight on an August weeknight, it was empty. Members of the staff were quick and responsive to in-person and email requests, but noticeably inexperienced and unpolished. The best amenity is the free use of an electric car, a BMW i3, for exploring Burgundy’s vineyards. There are also free regular and electric bicycles.


Breakfast was a whopping €20 for standard buffet fare like croissants, eggs and bacon. There’s no restaurant, but room service offers a limited menu of soups, desserts and precooked jars of local dishes like boeuf bourguignon and Alsatian choucroute garnie, priced steeply at €14 to €18 per jar. It’s available 24/7.

Bottom Line

This is a fun and welcome addition to Dijon. The hotel’s design, a mixed bag that’s more likely to induce claustrophobia than vertigo, is easy to overlook because of the excellent central location, affordable price, comfortable beds and quiet rooms.

Tips to Search Hotel For Family Vacation

Do A Little Research:

You can find thousands of hotels listed online, however, make sure you check the feedback and history of the hotels you shortlist. Flip through some magazines and brochures and try to look for hotels that best suit your needs. Take opinion from your friends who have already visited the hotel before. Discuss with your family members who are going to accompany you. By doing so, not only will the family be able to enjoy the trip as one group but it will also lessen the decision-making pressure on one person.

Decide On A Budget:

Setting a clear budget before booking a hotel is important because you need to be realistic about what you can afford. Also look for offers and discounts, so that you can reduce the budget and spend the balance amount for something else that’s more useful.

For Example, There are many hotels in Mumbai near airport like Tunga hotels – that provide amazing offers if you do the bookings online. Without the need to step out of your house, you can get the best of the deals for the hotel, by just sitting in the comfort of your couch.

Remember, there is no hard and fast rule about how much you should spend on a hotel stay. Just make sure that you spend to a limit what feels comfortable for you and your family.

Ambiance And Decor:

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you want to relax somewhere comfortable, clean and inviting. So look for a hotel that offers a feeling of being pampered that is unmatched at home. Opt for rooms that are decorated with fresh flowers, attractive art, and thoughtful interior designs. This will allure your energy level and make your vacation even more enjoyable. In short, the feeling of comfort and relaxation that the ambiance creates will make your stay worth the money spent.

On-Site Restaurant Options:

After a long travel day, it is nice to have an on-site restaurant or two at your hotel. You save on time hunting for other eating outlets around the vicinity. Moreover, the all day dining bar and lip-smacking meal options in your own hotel will make your stay more exhilarating and thrilling.

Look For Facilities:

If you’re on a family vacation, your in-room time has to be exciting, thus extra features like convenient valet parking, pool and beautiful view from the room are more important.

Moreover, if you want to stay connected with other relatives and friends while you are away on a vacation, look for hotels that offer WI-FI connectivity at no extra charge. This will make your stay even more simple and stress-free.


The location is a factor, too. Be sure to choose a hotel that can be easily located. If you are new to the city, look for hotels that are near to the airport, the railway station, or the bus stand. This in all will save your traveling money, time and energy.

For example, if you visit Mumbai, you will find many hotels in Mumbai near international airport that are well connected to the other parts of the city. Be it any time of the day, you can easily access the hotels near airport with great ease without many hassles.

Just knowing that your hotel is only minutes away from almost everywhere is an incredible boon when you’ve spent a long day shopping and need an hour’s rest before the next adventure or event. Moreover, it becomes easier to experience more of what excites you than if you were in a hotel somewhere on the outside edge.

Way to Get a Hotel Upgrade

Who doesn’t love a hotel room upgrade? The chances of getting a better room than the one you booked aren’t a pipe dream, according to Jack Ezon, a hotel specialist at the New York City-based travel consultancy Ovation Vacations. “There are lots of ways to get upgrades at a hotel,” he said.

Below, he shares tips for snagging better accommodations for no extra cost but cautions that travelers should make sure that they actually want the upgrade they’re getting. “I’ve had clients who booked a junior suite and got upgraded to a duplex suite that they hated because of the steps. In another instance, I had four couples traveling together who booked separate rooms and got upgraded to a four-bedroom villa. They were irate because they wanted space from each other on their vacation,” he said.

Book with a Travel Adviser. Booking the old-fashioned way has its privileges, according to Mr. Ezon, because many advisers have close relationships with hotel managers. “An adviser can call or email the manager and instantly get you an upgrade,” he said. And, he said, travelers usually don’t have to pay an adviser a fee to make the hotel booking.

Some travel agencies are also part of agency-only hotel loyalty programs like the Dorchester Diamond Club from the Dorchester Collection, which has 10 upscale properties. Travelers who book a stay at a Dorchester property like the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles through one of these agencies receive an automatic upgrade when they make their reservation.

Additionally, travelers who reserve a hotel through a Virtuoso adviser — there are more than 11,000 globally — are guaranteed a space-available upgrade when they check in.

Ask on Arrival. It sounds almost too simplistic, but it’s not, according to Mr. Ezon, because very few hotel guests outright ask for a better hotel room. “Usually, if rooms aren’t booked, the person checking you in is open to giving you an upgrade,” he said. In some cases, he said, hotels may be willing to upgrade you to a significantly better room for a minimal charge. “Instead of paying $1,000 or more a night for a fabulous suite, they may ask you to pay $100” for an upgrade, he said.

Play the Special Occasion Card. If you mention that you’re celebrating a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, at the time of booking, many hotels make a note of the event in your reservation, said Mr. Ezon, and may upgrade you when you check in.

Book a New Hotel. When hotels first open, they usually have low occupancy, according to Mr. Ezon, and actually make it a point to upgrade guests. “New properties want to get as many people buzzing about their hotel as possible and want to spoil you with an upgrade with the hope that you will come back,” he said.

Travel Off-Season. Since hotels have lower occupancy when it’s not the peak season, they are more apt to upgrade guests to a room that is several categories higher than what they booked, Mr. Ezon said. “It’s no consequence or lost revenue to a hotel to let you stay in a better room that’s sitting empty. If anything, it’s going to make you so happy that you’ll book another stay at the property,” he said.

Grimm’s hotel in Berlin

Welcome to the fun house. Opened last year, the second Grimm’s Hotel in the German capital is bigger, bolder and more tranquil than its little brother, thanks to an eye-catching wedge-shaped building and nearby green spaces. The design is inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales, infusing the flamboyant lobby and 110 rooms and suites with bright colors and strange characters. Outfitted with a wall of wooden shingles and a fireplace crackling with digitally generated flames, the faux-lodge lobby is a kaleidoscope of hues and textures. Trippy, color-soaked forest scenes — maidens, wolves, giant mushrooms — cover the wall over the reception desk, while the lounge is inhabited by a sculptural wild boar (propping up an end table) and a lamp shaped like a rabbit. Chairs and couches in a mishmash of forms, colors and patterns (calfskin, plaid, orange, turquoise) complete the hallucinogenic atmosphere.


No bread crumb trail is necessary to find your way to the hotel, which is tucked in a niche alongside a tranquil park and canal near the bright lights and crowds of Potsdamer Platz, the Times Square of Berlin. A 10-minute walk brings you to its shopping malls, multiplex cinemas, restaurants and casino. The Berlin Philharmonic and Gemäldegalerie museum, known for European art, are also nearby.

The Room

Angular and white, the uncluttered room was suffused with light from large windows and featured a small balcony. Fabrics and surfaces in autumnal colors — brown, beige, gray — enhanced the relaxed vibe. Silvery contemporary lamps, a flat-screen TV and a sliding wall panel that hid a spacious lighted closet all provided reasonable functionality, though certain standard features of contemporary hotel rooms (docking station, coffee maker, minibar) were conspicuously absent. One wall had a colorful fairy-tale mural rendered in pixilated, geometric forms. Its repeating, futuristic images — a blond princess beckoning to a frog in a golden crown — appeared to allude to the story of the Frog Prince.

The Bathroom

More than a kiss from a fairy-tale princess would be required to transform the rather pedestrian bathroom into something special. Though clean, the narrow, minimalist space had no tub and lacked standard extras: robes and toiletries (there was a wall-mounted tube of dual shampoo-shower gel).


The small, efficient gym houses a Technogym treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike and more — as well as views of the green spaces nearby — while the adjacent park has a jogging track. When it’s warm, guests can use the top-floor sun deck.


The Wishing Table proved surprisingly mainstream in décor and menu. The specialties are burgers and tarte flambée (an Alsatian dish suggesting a rectangular thin-crust pizza), and changing German seasonal dishes (many named for fairy tales). The magic, alas, was wanting: no burgers were available. So we ended up with a solid tart flambée with ham and a serviceable salad with pumpkin and mushrooms.

The Bottom Line

With its contemporary architecture, a funky lobby, spotless rooms and easy access to Potsdamer Platz, the hotel is visually enchanting, comfortable and practical. Yet spotty service, skimpy in-room amenities and a half-baked restaurant experience spoiled the fairy tale ending.

Mexico Oasis Hotels & Resorts

Cancun is a hotly competitive market for all-inclusive resorts, but Oasis Hotels & Resorts has carved out a niche by remaining compact, focused, local and diversified – and committed to the travel agent community.

In all, Oasis has eight all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and nearby Tulum, as well as two urban hotels in downtown Cancun. Enrique Klein, vice president-sales and marketing, said the group has managed to stay competitive over its 22-year history by “staying on top of market conditions and customer preferences by reading and addressing what the customer is looking for in vacation travel.”

For Oasis, diversity is a priority. Properties are tiered by price, concept and target markets. The Pyramid, set within the confines of the Grand Oasis Cancun, is the most luxurious, reflected in its restaurants, amenities and quality of furnishings. A notch below that are the Grand Oasis properties and then Oasis. The recently introduced Oasis Lite category includes two property offerings, said Klein, with “great amenities and services at great price points.” And, typical of Oasis’ efforts to leverage the proximity of its resorts to one another, the Lite properties are nearby “sisters” to Grand Oasis resorts, so that guests on a budget can enjoy many of the amenities and services of the more upscale options.

The two urban hotels – Smart Cancun by Oasis and Oh! The Urban Oasis – also offer contrasting styles and price points. Oh! The Urban Oasis “is more upscale, but the [two] hotels are connected by a walkway,” said Klein. “Both are great for business travel, but we also find leisure travelers coming who want to be where the action is.”

Cancun’s Grand Oasis Sens, a resort for guests 21 and older, provides amenities like large terraces, personal plunge pools and a beach club.

The Grand Oasis Palm and sister resort Oasis Palm focus on welcoming children. They share a 50,000-squarefoot children’s area packed with age-appropriate activities. Parents can stay with their kids or, if they wish to play golf or enjoy a spa treatment, have them supervised. All beach resorts offer a “Kids Eat and Play Free” program for children 12 and younger when staying with two adults. The brand’s off-the-beaten-path resorts, Grand Oasis Tulum and Oasis Tulum Lite, now feature a new KiddO Zone and renovated Kids Club.

All the resorts place a premium on entertainment, but that offering is highest at The Pyramid and Grand Oasis Cancun, which hosts well-known performers like disco queen Gloria Gaynor and such rock legends as Kool and the Gang.

Oasis also aims to distinguish itself with innovative programs and amenities. For instance, the group shares a fleet of 250 Smart cars available for rent at a nominal fee. Those cars come in handy when guests take advantage of Oasis’ Grand Runaway Program, which enables them to patronize 50 restaurants and bars at sister properties. “It’s important to note that TripAdvisor lists two or three of our restaurants in its top 10 for Cancun,” said Klein. “We are very serious about our cuisine, with concepts like dining in the dark, different ethnic restaurants and so forth.”

Looking ahead, Klein said that while Oasis is open to expansion, “we have our hotels at a place right now that is really appealing to agents and customers and at the cutting edge of where the product should be.” He added, “We have invested over $100 million in the past few years in rooms, restaurants and bars, entertainment and back-of-the-house improvements. We now offer almost 3,200 rooms – a full 10 percent of the available rooms in Cancun and that gives us a lot of brand equity.”


To help travel advisors more seamlessly sell and market its resorts, Oasis recently relaunched its agent platform. “We have created a platform to provide agents with anything they need to sell the hotels and be knowledgeable,” said Enrique Klein, vice president-sales and marketing.

The site offers streamlined training programs, generous rewards and simplified tools that enable travel professionals to easily navigate Oasis’ offerings. Agents who register can access Oasis’ higher commissions and other rewards, view all consumer offers, discover perks for group bookings and book fam trips with special year-round rates.

Agents can also download marketing resources like brochures, resort fact sheets, videos, customizable flyers and more; and even book stays directly. The certification program provides a comprehensive overview of everything Oasis offers so agents can feel confident when selling the product.

The site is part of Oasis’ stepped-up effort to reach agents, which includes a fam program that invites agents to visit four resorts on a complimentary basis for up to five nights. Those staying four or five nights can stay at two resorts of their choice and will be asked to complete three site inspections. Agents staying for three nights receive accommodations at one property; they need to complete one site inspection at their home resort and do a site visit at a second one. Agents can book fams from April 17 through June 30.

Tips for a Healthier Hotel Room

REDUCE CONTACT WITH GERMS Bedspreads are notorious for holding germs, which is why many hotels use duvets with removable covers that are easy to launder. If your property doesn’t have duvets, request upon check-in that your bedspread be laundered. You can also reduce your exposure to germs by using antibacterial wipes to wipe down commonly used objects, such as television remotes, doorknobs and telephones.

IMPROVE AIR CIRCULATION Paint, furniture and cleaning products degrade the quality of the air inside because they are often made with toxic materials such as formaldehyde. And poor indoor air quality can cause headaches and fatigue. If weather permits, Dr. Chopra said, opening a window in your hotel room to allow for circulation can improve air quality. Or, choose a hotel that uses nontoxic cleaning products — the property’s reservations desk should be able to tell you if that’s the case.

USE A DAWN SIMULATING ALARM CLOCK While the hotel’s alarm clock will wake you, Dr. Chopra said that waking to sudden loud noise was a stressful way to begin your day. He suggested traveling with a dawn-simulating alarm clock, which gradually transitions your room from a dim glow to full brightness and helps you wake up more naturally. “You can buy one of these alarm clocks for less than $30, and they are big in improving sleep quality,” he said.

MAXIMIZE NATURAL LIGHT Light is the primary driver that aligns the body’s biological clock and sleep-wake cycle, Dr. Chopra said. “You want to rely less on artificial lighting and more on natural light, which can help improve your energy, mood and sleep when you travel,” he said. A simple way to get more natural light is to request a hotel room with a window that opens out to a street, rather than another building. Also, keep the curtains in your room open during the day so that natural light can stream in. Come nighttime, unplug the alarm clock and other electronics that emit sleep-disrupting artificial light.

WATCH THE IN-ROOM SNACKS Those tempting goodies in your room’s minibar can sometimes be loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. “Eating these processed and sugary foods is hard on digestion and can cause your energy levels to drop,” Dr. Chopra said. He advised traveling with healthy snacks such as whole fruits and raw and roasted nuts.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts

When Karisma Hotels & Resorts Executive Vice President Mandy Chomat was asked what he attributed the company’s ongoing success to, he wasted no time with his answer. “The philosophy was always to deliver a better all-inclusive experience,” he said. “One of the key objectives was to go after the market attuned to exceptional food and service, which is what we’re known for.”

But Chomat stressed that was just part of the equation. “The other objective was to train a distribution system of agents that would be different from anything else out there,” he said. In 2008, Karisma created the Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants (GIVC) program to attract these high-caliber travel advisors, who are paid 21 percent commissions.

In addition to those high commissions, GIVC agents are privy to exclusive offers for their clients that are not available to non-GIVC agents or OTAs. “We want to work with travel agents who want to market themselves to consumers, and we’re here to help with any marketing assistance they need,” Chomat. “Agents are really important to us, because we recognize that when somebody really knows our product and how to sell it, the consumer has a better experience with the product.”

Going forward, Karisma will need that travel agent distribution system more than ever, as it significantly expands its reach beyond Mexico’s Riviera Maya. In all, the company plans to add nine resorts to its portfolio of 26 properties, virtually doubling its room count from 4,592 to 9,424 by 2021.

“To stay in the game you have to expand,” Chomat said. “Up until two years ago agents could only sell us in the Riviera Maya. For agents to be successful we had to give them products to sell beyond a single destination.”

The company plans to debut three properties in Jamaica, two in the Dominican Republic, and one each in Antigua and Huatulco, Mexico.

The first of the three Jamaican hotels, an Azul Beach-branded resort in Negril, is scheduled to open its doors in May 2017. The first of the Dominican properties, Sensimar Cap Cana, is slated to come online in 2018. The Antigua property is slated to debut in 2018, and ground is expected to be broken on El Dorado Huatulco in 2017.

Plans are also underway for a second Nickelodeon property, the Nickelodeon Rivera Maya, which is set to come online in winter 2018. Additionally, Karisma is scheduled to break ground on eight family-friendly overwater bungalows at Generations Riviera Maya in 2018.

Beyond those expansion plans, Karisma recently forged a partnership with Margaritaville to create the all-inclusive Margaritaville resorts throughout the Caribbean. A groundbreaking for the resort is scheduled for 2017, with a launch at a yet-to-be-disclosed location in 2018.

“It’s an honor and point of pride for Karisma Hotels & Resorts to partner with Margaritaville,” Chomat said. “We see the deal as a testament to our exceptional quality of product, service and amenities, and to Karisma’s ongoing ability to exceed customer satisfaction, that a company like Margaritaville feels confident in working together to launch an entirely new collection of properties.”

However, it’s not as though Karisma rested on its laurels last year. In 2016, it unveiled 30 overwater bungalows, or palafitos, at El Dorado Maroma in Riviera Maya and debuted the Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana.

Chomat said the response to the palafitos, which are exclusively sold by GIVC agents, has been nothing short of phenomenal. “We’re seeing more travelers looking at our product who didn’t consider us before,” he said.

Response to the Nickelodeon resort has also been extremely positive, Chomat said. The property offers adults-only dining options, a luxury spa and such activities as yoga, snorkeling and tennis. For kids, there’s the Nickelodeon Experience, which features such activities as meet-and-greets with Nickelodeon characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In the final analysis, Chomat believes that Karisma’s success will continue to hinge on the travel agent community. “We really believe in the power of agents,” he said. “And we want to grow with travel agents who believe in us.”

Grandparents Stay Free at Generations Riviera Maya

Reiterating its commitment to introduce more families and multigenerational travelers to its properties, Karisma Hotels & Resorts unveiled a “Grandparents Stay Free” promotion at Generations Riviera Maya earlier this year.

Guests booking two-bedroom suites will receive a complimentary one-bedroom suite for grandparents 55 and older. The offer applies to new bookings and must be redeemed by a guest 55 or older.

Adults staying at Generations have access to all the facilities and amenities at the adults-only El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Casitas Royale, which adjoin the resort.

Karisma’s Nickelodeon and Azul Beach brands also cater to families, and the Nickelodeon Experience is available at Azul resorts.

Azul properties offer guaranteed connecting suites and those that can accommodate two adults and three young children. “We’re trying to make sure when families go on vacation at our hotels they have the ability to be together,” said Mandy Chomat, Karisma’s executive vice president.

The Generations, Nickelodeon and Azul brands also provide families with strollers, cribs, bottle sterilizers, baby monitors, bottle warmers and highchairs – and Gerber baby food is available in restaurants and through room service.

The Hoxton Amsterdam Hotel

The first two hotels from the Hoxton, both in London, earned the budget-friendly brand a reputation for creating spaces as cool to look at as they are to lounge in. The Hoxton Amsterdam, the first property outside Britain, opened in July 2015 with 111 rooms spread across five historic canal houses on the Herengracht canal.

The Dutch design firm Nicemakers created warm, welcoming interiors, and the large lobby, with its worn leather couches, classy U-shaped bar and mezzanine-level lounge, has become a favorite drinking-and-dining destination among hip Amsterdammers and visitors alike. Guest rooms, most with canal views, range in size from “Shoebox” to “Roomy,” and among three special concept rooms is the adorably named “Tubby” in the attic, outfitted with a bathtub.


The optimal central location is a five-minute walk from Dam Square, from which the city’s central train station is less than 10 minutes away by tram. Buses and tram lines stop nearby, and most attractions are within easy walking or biking distance.

The Room

Arriving on a Friday night, my husband and I found the lobby abuzz with cocktail-sipping locals. But our lovely fourth-floor “Cosy” room — the middle price class — was serene with two tall windows overlooking the peaceful canal.

Cozy indeed, the stylish room had herringbone wood floors, heavy gray curtains, a large mirror on a wall, and a soft gray quilt atop a supremely comfortable bed with a padded leather headboard. A Wi-Fi-connected radio played soothing jazz melodies, and a bookshelf displayed secondhand novels and a pair of antique alarm clocks. Tucked in a nook decorated with handsome artworks was a small desk with a drawer that contained pens, paper and a corkscrew.

The Bathroom

The tiny bathroom had an eye-catching design with geometric-pattern ivory tile and snaking copper piping in the shower. But the shower’s small glass partition did not prevent the rainfall showerhead from soaking the entire floor. And those cool-looking copper pipes were scalding hot, so showering in the cramped stall required vigilance to avoid burns.


A minifridge was stocked with complimentary milk and mineral water, and reception doubled as a shop selling snacks and drinks at reasonable (read: non-minibar) prices. Wi-Fi is free, as is an hour of phone calls to anywhere in the world. There are also bicycles available for guests’ use at no cost.


Waking up to find a complimentary breakfast bag hanging outside the door, delivered by “breakfast fairies,” was a delight. The paper bag appeared at my requested time filled with bananas, orange juice and cups of yogurt with blueberries and honey-nut granola from the local health-food chain Stach. Heartier plates are available from morning to midnight at Lotti’s, the hotel’s Italian-inflected restaurant, where everything from a full English breakfast to plates of celery-root ravioli are served beneath a retractable glass ceiling. The peacock-blue banquettes invite lingering, as do the ’50s-style swivel chairs at the bar, which also serves snacks like bitterballen, traditional Dutch beef-filled croquettes. A selection of menu items is available for room service at the same prices charged in the restaurant.

The Bottom Line

An excellent value with Dutch style and British humor, the Hoxton Amsterdam hits the sweet spot by balancing a hip vibe and relaxation.

Bambu Indah’s Guest

The hotel is certainly one of a kind, evolving, in its early years, as more of an experiment than an entrepreneurial venture. During the years when the couple were building Hardy’s namesake jewelry company—which they sold in 2007—they purchased a block of land adjacent to their house, fearful it would be turned into another of the area’s luxury hotels. From that point forward, Bambu Indah has evolved from a place that could accommodate the couple’s visiting friends to one of the world’s most unique examples of sustainable hospitality.

Pragmatism, rather than any particular design vision, governed Bambu Indah’s early development. The couple began snapping up inexpensive Javanese teak wedding houses, built more than a century ago, and transporting them to the island. “In a very short period of time we had three or four gladaks and placed them randomly on the new land,” says Cynthia. “There was no name for it and there was no organization, they were just cute little huts where we put a few guests who we asked to leave $20 a night in tips for the staff who would take care of them.”

Bambu Indah has continued to grow significantly—the hotel now numbers 15 unique guest pavilions—but the project’s guiding principles haven’t changed. Rather than manicured lawns, the property’s grounds are covered with vegetable beds and local edible and ceremonial plants. There’s a natural swimming kolan (swimming pond) surrounded by large river stones; delicious, spice-laden local food is served in a spacious open-plan kitchen and dining room; and while each of the hotel’s houses feel private and secluded, most are sited facing the Ayung River and the lush rice paddies in the distance.

Adding to this sensation of sybaritic escape, the Hardys decorated the hotel with pieces acquired on their many exotic voyages. Among the treasures are traditional Persian carpets, crystal geodes discovered in South America, African furniture, and ikats and cotton throws and bedding from the Indonesian Archipelago.

The Moon and Copper houses, the newest structures on the compound, were conceived by Hardy and his daughter Elora, the creative director of Ibuku, a local architecture and design firm known for conjuring lavish structures entirely from bamboo. The Moon House resembles a soaring crescent-shaped basket, its otherworldy form typical of the company’s creativity and technical prowess. The Copper House echoes this curvilinear silhouette with a bamboo roof wrapped in tin copper. Of the new houses, John explains: “We looked at the view and it was sublime. But how do you build without blocking the view? So we left them open and built a netted sleeping arrangement so there would be the possibility of privacy and safety. I like to call one of them the Love Nest, and the other is called the Moon House because there’s a beautiful copper bathtub in the garden for moonlight bathing.”

Just getting to the new houses, accessed through a steep series of stone stairways or via the hotel’s bamboo-covered two-person mining elevator carved into the cliffside, feels like an adventure. “The hotel offers a connection to nature and a sense of wonder and possibility,” says Elora of the hotel’s quixotic character. “We believe that by opening up to a landscape, culture, and nature you can get more joy. I hope that being at Bambu Indah inspires excitement about how the future can be.”