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A Place To Stay
Author: Shelley-Maree Cassidy
Photography: Grant Sheehan
My husband and I love travelling and because of this we have more than the average number of travel type book on our shelves. We tend to get given these for gifts by family and friends and also I can never resist a book that looks interesting in the travel section of any book shop which is why I try to keep away from them.
This book is specifically tempting you with rather amazing hotels in various parts of the world. The subtitle of the book is " 30 Extraordinary Places to Stay" and indeed that is no exaggeration. They are all very different and they are in places all around the world from two in Britain to India, another two in Australia and then Spain, Italy, Holland and so on.
Each chapter takes a hotel and sets it in context of the city or area around it. They then describe the hotel and what makes it special with plenty of photos to really give you a clear idea of the place. Some are so out of our price range that they are really just to wonder at while others are probably more within the realms of a special luxury treat for us.
Which of these little treasures specifically appealed to me then? Well although I love the thought of an ice hotel as they look so amazing I am fairly realistic about my attitude towards the cold so I think that the "Hall of the Mountain King " inside the Arctic circle won't be getting a visit from us despite the fact that I read that they provide you with appropriate clothing for the experience.
The one that rather grabbed my attention was closer to home , about an hour south of Vienna in Austria and it is the most amazing looking building which looks like a piece of artwork. The website shows this brilliantly http://www.blumau.com/rogner-bad-blumau-hundertwasser-architektur.html so do have a look. It is beautiful in a very art nouveau sort of way with simple bright curved shaped like Mondrian style only curved rather than straight lines and then the buildings have grass roofs. The buildings look like paintings and are just my idea of wonderful and to top that this is a spa and the bedrooms look simple but quite elegant. I want to go there!!
Another one of these rather special places that appealed to me was the Taj Lake Palace hotel in Udaipur, India. This is the ultimate in luxury and I can't imagine ever being able to stay here as two nights in the most basic room here costs £660 as a special offer. Maybe one day if we win the Premium bonds I will be able to stay here otherwise possible I might be able to enjoy a drink here. The room photograph looks typically exotically Indian in the most sumptuous dark reds and golds, like something I can imagine Shah Jahan might have slept in.
Another hotel in the book that I will probably only have my Singapore Sling to remember it by is Raffles in Singapore but that actually is more reasonable at £150 per room per night so maybe if we ever go there again we might stretch to that. It certainly would be nice as it is not only luxurious but also has that history as well.
The hotel in Santorini is another one I fancy called Perivolas and it is perched on a clifftop on this idyllic island with sunshine and warmth which seems such a far distant memory at the moment. It is typically Greek but with a spa, restaurant and hopefully a proper flushing toilet unlike most Greek places we have stayed! Each room is a separate house furnished in Cycladic style and furnished with antiques. Each is self contained with beds in little cosy niches , a little kitchen ( what is that for in a luxury hotel?), bathroom and private terrace. One can dream I suppose.
Where else can I take you? Let's go to Japan and see what that brings. We find the Tawaraya Inn in Kyota which is an urban retreat. This is a traditional style Japanese Inn which is about 300 years old. The Inn may be old but it has been carefully modernised but the effects are well hidden behind textiles or containers. You are treated like an honoured guest. And everything is traditional Japanese , from the low tables through to the immaculate service and the futon. This is one I will not be enjoying I know because my husband cannot sit at a table on the floor nor would he sleep on a futon but I can look and admire the beauty of the place in the book.
The book is written in an easy style as though someone was talking to you about their experience; a bit like a review on here I suppose. You get a bit of history if it is relevant and then descriptions of the hotel generally and what is special followed by the facilities if they are relevant. It is a lovely book to read even if you will never stay in any of the hotels which most of us won't.
The book 's author doesn't pick places like the Burj al Arab in Dubai but more hotels that complement the place they are a part of. The Japanese hotel is a traditional Japanese Inn, the place in Amsterdam is the hotel Ambassade which is a traditional canal side building in the city and so on. They belong to the culture they are a part of, they fit well in their surroundings and offer a home from home albeit at a price most people could not afford.
I enjoy looking through the book and enjoy the idea of staying in them. I do check to see if any are within easy travelling distance whenever we go to a new country even if we cannot stay ther maybe we can go and take a peak, have a meal or even a drink there and soak up the atmosphere.
If you enjoy travelling and experiencing different places then this book will appeal even if you never stay in any of the hotels. It is one of those books you can look through from time to time and imagine yourself staying in one of the places. It is a way of travelling without actually travelling. It is a book that you can enjoy almost like a photography book and enjoy the pictures and the descriptions as though you are looking at works of art.
In short this is not a book that will appeal to everyone. It is one that people who enjoy travelling or the idea of travelling will get a lot of pleasure from. I pick this book or one similar to flick through when I am eating my breakfast as my husband enjoys reading his cricketers magazine with his breakfast. Sometimes it is about four or five months before I get back to this but it gets drooled over fairly regularly.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.