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Old, New, Unique, and Outrageous Hotels

Ahuva Sofer

Let’s take a peek into some of the most fascinating hotels around the world. You’ll be surprised by the variety and creativity

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

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As a kid, hotel stays were always my favorite vacation experiences. They sported game rooms, pools, saunas, basketball courts, and endless plates of cookies and cups of tea: every kid’s dream vacation. But, the word “hotel” is not limited to sugar cookies and swimming pools. In fact, it has a pretty comprehensive meaning as well as a fascinating history. Let’s explore the history of the development of hotels and dig into its diverse industry today. You’ll be surprised with how creative hotel owners, artists, and contractors can get when mapping out and designing hotels.

A Long Time Ago…

In the simplest terms, a hotel refers to a place to stay. Forget fancy buildings with lots of windows or skyscrapers with lobbies sporting chandeliers, comfortable couches, or tea rooms; back in the Middle Ages, accommodations for travelers were often monasteries and hospitals. In fact, the word “hotel” actually comes from the word “hostel” or “hospital.” Hotels didn’t exactly entertain their guests with swimming pools or shows either; in fact, most only offered space to sleep. They didn’t provide food or have electricity or indoor plumbing. Some vacation!

… In a Faraway Land

The first lodging which offered food to its guests was opened in the 1500s. Over time, other hotels began to follow suit. It was only in 1800s when the standard guesthouse in Japan took the standard up a notch. They began offering novel luxuries: indoor bathrooms, food service with an a la carte menu, and personal locks on all the doors! In 1874 a second resort in Athens was proud to boast two indoor bathrooms — to be shared by the all the guests.


Hotel de Caronado, a luxury hotel which opened up in California in 1888, was one of the first in the world to offer yet another novel commodity: electric lighting.

We have come pretty far since the hotels of yesteryear. Resorts are now an integral part of the tourist and travel industries. You’ll be fascinated to learn how creative hotel owners, craftsmen, and contractors can be when designing hotels. Let us take a peek into some of the most fascinating hotels around the world.

Palacio de Sal, The Salt Hotel

If you’re looking to add a little spice to your vacation, you might want to visit The Salt Hotel in Bolivia, which is constructed out of blocks of salt. The “Salt Palace” is located in the flats of Uyuniis, the largest salt flat in the world. Because construction materials, such as cement and wood, are scarce in the area, the hotel is constructed entirely from bricks of salt. An impressive lobby features a floor, reclining chairs, sculptures, pillars, and wall-art pieces made entirely of salt blocks. The furniture in the rooms, including the beds and night stand, are also made of salt. Visitors can enjoy an impressive landscape of salt from their bedroom windows.

The hotel’s unique construction presents a number of challenges. “We have to change our salt blocks often because when it rains, water eat away at the bricks,” say the maintenance workers. “We are also located at a high altitude, so the food takes longer to cook at that height, but it is delicious, featuring the purest salt in the world.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 709)

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