Monthly Archives: June 2017

Design Hotel

Design Hotels AG is a publicly traded company providing hospitality services to a network of over 280 independently owned small boutique and luxury hotels in over 50 countries worldwide. The firm maintains offices in London, Barcelona, New York City and Singapore in addition to its headquarters in Berlin. Design Hotels represents and markets a curated selection of over 280 independent hotels in more than 50 countries across the globe. Design Hotels charges member hotels a base membership fee and earns additional revenue by providing various supportive services on an a la carte basis. Services include sales, marketing, PR and other creative services; online and telephone booking services, with associated customer service; yield revenue management and third-party business development deals; and hotel consultancy.

Design Hotels publications include DIRECTIONS, a bi-annual magazine on travel, architecture, and lifestyle; the Design Hotels BOOK, an annual edition showcasing the full range of member hotels; and various newsletters. Architecture and design symposia include Design Hotels Arena, an educational event for member hoteliers on trends affecting the hospitality and design industries, as well as other events. The firm also participates in industry-wide trade shows for travel companies, including ITB in Berlin, Germany and ITB Asia in Singapore, International Luxury Travel Market (ITLM) in Cannes, France; and in Shanghai, China and LE Miami, Florida.  Design Hotels was founded in 1993 as a California Corporation, Design Hotels Inc. by J. Peter Schweitzer and Claus Sendlinger. Claus was a part owner (with Hans Peter Knodler) of German full-service travel agency CO-ORDINATES GmbH, based on Augsburg, Germany; the two firms, and several others, consolidated in 1998 under the holding company GmbH, subsequently known as lebensart Global Networks AG in 1999. The holding company went public in Germany on Dec. 10, 1999. In 2000 lebensart Global Networks AG, with Daniel Adams as the CFO raised sufficient capital to transfer trading from the over-the-counter (OTC) markets to the Börse München. In 2001 the firm re-branded itself as Design Hotels with 23 initial member hotels. That same year the firm completed the corporate merger of wholly owned subsidiaries ResExpress, Inc., Younger Direct Marketing, Inc. and lebensart technology, Inc. The company began trading under the name lebensart technology Arizona, Inc., with headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2004, after several relocations of its headquarters from Arizona, California, to New York City, the firm settled its headquarters in its current location in Berlin, Germany, with its current name, Design Hotels AG.

The Most Hantued Hotels

  • Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, a small town at the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, was said to have spooked horror master Stephen King so much that it became the inspiration for the setting of “The Shining.” Opened for more than a century, ghostly events have always been a part of its history, with the sounds of children running and laughing down the halls frequently reported on the fourth floor, and Mr. Stanley, the hotel’s original owner and the inventor of the Stanley Steamer Automobiles, along with his wife, are said to frequently walk through the lobby. Mrs. Stanley can sometimes be heard playing her piano in the music room, while a former housekeeper who died here in 1911, is said to frequently assist guests in Room 217 by unpacking and storing their belongings.

  • Hotel Roosevelt, Hollywood, California 

Marilyn Monroe was once a resident at Hollywood’s glamorous Hotel Roosevelt, and she’s thought to be one of its many restless spirits that haunt the establishment today. Guests and hotel staff have reported seeing a blonde woman in the mirror found in her former suite, and her presence has also been felt in the hotel’s poolside Tropicana. Reports of mysterious phone calls to the hotel operator, orbs and cold spots are frequent – and, the ghost of the late actor Montgomery Clift has reportedly even been heard playing his trombone from room 928, where he once stayed.

  • The Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Colorado 

For more than a century, the Brown Palace Hotel has set the standard for luxurious accommodations in Denver, hosting numerous celebrities, presidents and other dignitaries. It’s also said to play host to several spirits, with many tales of unexplained paranormal activity reported by staff and guests throughout the years. The stories have included sightings of a string quartet in the San Marco Room where guests used to enjoy musical performances, the group has reportedly assured various bellmen by saying, “we live here.”

  • Castle Leslie, County Monaghan, Ireland 

The slightly eccentric, yet strikingly magnificent Castle Leslie was completed in 1871, but the estate dates back for hundreds of years. Today, this luxurious hotel is said to be home to a number of reported spirits, including Norman Leslie, who supposedly inhabits the Red Room. A grey and dusty monk is occasionally seen in the banquet hall, while Lady Constance is said to haunt the Mauve Room.

  • Ross Castle, County Meath, Ireland 

This 5-bedroom stone tower-style castle built in 1536, is now run as Bed and Breakfast accommodations. If you stay here, there’s a good chance you won’t do much sleeping. Guests frequently wake up at night hearing voices as well as the doors banging and shutting on their own. Some have even felt the presence of a spirit sitting at the edge of their bed. It’s said that the spirit of an English lord’s daughter haunts the castle along with the ghost of Myles “The Slasher” O’Reilly, an Irish folk hero who spent his last night at Ross Castle before dying in battle in 1644.

  • Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California 

This luxury resort built in 1888 has had its share of famous visitors, including former presidents, and it’s been rumored that it was the place where King Edward VIII first met Wallis Simpson. The hotel’s most famous ghostly guest is Kate Morgan, who was found dead several days after checking in back in 1892, with a gunshot wound to the head. Guests who’ve stayed in her room have witnessed lights flickering, the television turning on by itself and even a beautiful woman standing by the window. Kate has also been seen walking down the hallways, through the garden and along the beach.

  • Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland 

The ghost of Lady Catherine is the most frequently reported ghost at this 13th century fortress turned renowned hotel, a hotspot for honeymooners. Just a teen at the time, Lady Catherine is said to have locked herself in the top room of the castle and starved herself to death after her parents forbid her to see the young man she was in love with. She’s been heard on numerous occasions, tapping on doors, rustling her skirt and even sometimes pulling guest’s hair.

Hidden Charges Bemoaned by Travelers, Are Climbing Higher Than Ever

Tamara Myers thought that her hotel bill at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino would come to $415. At least that’s what, the website through which she booked the room, promised her. But the site glossed over a small detail: a mandatory daily “resort fee” payable at checkout, which added $306 to the folio.


“I did my due diligence,” insists Myers, who lives in Indianapolis and works for the military. She’d made the reservation for her 88-year-old mother, who was caring for her brother in Las Vegas. “The fee was listed nowhere on”

Mandatory resort fees, tacked onto a hotel bill after an initial price quote — and sometimes even later, as with Myers — are on the rise again. A total of 1,026 domestic hotels charged a resort fee for the first half of 2017, a 14?percent increase from just six months ago, according to new research from, a site that allows travelers to look up resort fees at hotels worldwide. The average resort fee, which covers everything from “free” WiFi to access to exercise facilities, now stands at almost $21, a jump of 8.7 percent from last December. The biggest increases came in large metropolitan cities, including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where resort fees are up by a whopping 70 percent in six months. “Until recently, most hotels in these cities didn’t charge a fee,” says Randy Greencorn, publisher of

No wonder, then, that frustration with resort fees is reaching a boiling point. They’re difficult to fight once they’ve been added to a bill. Government action on the fees, once thought to be inevitable, has stalled. Resort fees are classic travel industry sleight-of-hand — you’re quoted one price, you pay another — yet for now they remain perfectly legal. How so? Hotels are only required to disclose the fee before the booking is made, but not when the initial price quote is made. The Westgate’s site warns that a resort fee of $29.95 plus tax a night “may” apply. A search for a weekly room rate in August shows a price of $781 for a standard “Signature” room. The next screen downplays the final room rate, which, after taxes and resort fees, comes to $1,192, a 53 percent increase. You have to click an arrow to get a price breakdown. shows an asterisk and refers to resort fees under “Hotel Information” on its booking page. “Some hotels do charge a resort fee which must be paid to the hotel directly,” it warns. “ is not responsible for resort fee charges and has no control over their implementation.” Only a few months ago, resort fees were headed for extinction. The Federal Trade Commission signaled that the fees as they are currently advertised by most hotels were “unfair and deceptive.” The agency was poised to announce a policy shift that would require resort fees to be included in the initial price quote, according to multiple sources.

Unique Hotel

From quirky to downright weird, a guide to the most unusual places to stay around the world, featuring the world’s best spaceship treehouses, ice suites, underwater hotels and glass igloos.

  • Treehotel, Harads, Sweden

Located in the pine forest around Harads are seven unique ‘treerooms’ (more are planned to open in the near future). Treehouses include the glass capsule-like Cabin, the lifelike Bird’s Nest, the mind-blowing reflective Mirrorcube and the UFO (pictured), which reminds guests of the final scene in E.T. There is also a Tree Sauna.

  • Crane Hotel Faralda, Amsterdam, Netherlands

An unashamedly bonkers hotel in up-and-coming Amsterdam Noord. This three-suite property is housed in a converted crane and boasts spectacular city views. Opulent and obscure in equal measure, it’s ideal if you’re looking for something alternative, but best avoided if you suffer from vertigo.

  • No Man’s Fort, Solent, Portsmouth

No Man’s Fort – a Victorian-era fort which was originally built between 1867 and 1880 to protect Portsmouth from an attack from Napoleon III – has been turned into a luxury hotel, with 22 bedrooms, a lighthouse penthouse suite, nightclub, hot tub and laser quest arena.

  • SiloStay, Little River, New Zealand

Situated in Little River, just 350 yards from the Christchurch-Little River Rail Trail, SiloStay offers innovative eco-friendly accommodation on New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula. Despite the surrounding area offering no immediate attractions, the owners of SiloStay hope that the physically round silo and peaceful surroundings will give guests the opportunity to seek personal introspection. The silos are designed across two floors and are fully-equipped with kitchen facilities, balconies and televisions. Gourmet microwave meals or takeaways can be provided on request.

  • Palacio de Sal, Uyuni, Bolivia

The Palacio de Sal – ‘Salt Palace’ – on the salt flats of Uyuni, is completely constructed from salt, including most of the furniture. There’s an impressive lobby, bar and 16 rooms with private bathrooms, central heating and electricity. The restaurant’s speciality? Salt chicken, naturally.

  • The Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho, USA

The Dog Bark Park Inn takes the term ‘dog lover’ to a whole new level. Owned by chainsaw artists, the b&b is located inside a 12-foot beagle. Guests (it sleeps four) enter the beagle’s body through the second-storey deck. It is, of course, pet-friendly.

  • Magic Mountain Hotel, Huilo Huilo Reserve, Chile

The Magic Mountain Hotel is in the Huilo Huilo reserve, which covers 60,000 hectares of Valdivian forest, and has natural hot springs, unexplored lakes and direct access to the Mocho Choshuenco volcano. Accommodation ranges from rooms in the main lodge, which has a waterfall cascading from the pinnacle of the roof, to secluded forest lodges.

  • Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Twenty years ago the world’s first Icehotel opened in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Every November, ice from the frozen Torne river is fused with snow (‘snice’) to remake the hotel – new themed suites are designed every year. The team behind the hotel has, as of 2017, opened its first permanent hotel, ICEHOTEL 365, just opposite.

  • V8 Hotel, Stuttgart, Germany

Car fanatics will love the V8 Hotel in Stuttgart. All rooms are themed around the automobile, with features such as vintage cars, racing paraphernalia and drive-through cinemas.

  • Das Park Hotel, Linz, Austria

Who would have thought concrete could be comfy? These renovated sewage pipes are, thankfully, clean and functional and sit on the banks of the Danube, making them a perfect post-industrial bolt hole.