Hotels are living in a material world

Hotels made of ice? Old hat! There are now other materials coming to a faddish property near you. The idea of spending time in ice hotels might be appealing for novelty s sake, but I have heard of guests opting not to visit their requisite vodka bars so as they do not then need to get out from underneath the multiple layers of reindeer quilts on their beds for a freezing visit to the little room in the middle of the night. Holidays on the beach sound more enticing?

Well, that is now possible with the world s first sandcastle hotel, at least one that can be booked and checked into, which like its icy peers is seasonal. Two Zandhotel properties will open in The Netherlands as part of event organization Global Powwow s two sand festivals in the country. There is the possibility of launching a beachhead (sorry, I couldn t resist) and establishing peer festivals and sand hotels in Germany and the United Kingdom, too.

The hotels come with all mod cons, carpeting, electricity and bathrooms. And I am sure they also come with Wi-Fi. The Zandhotel Friesland is in The Netherlands town of Sneek, while the Zandhotel Brabant is in Oss, to the south of The Netherlands and close to s-Hertogenbosch, often referred to as Den Bosch. Both are wonderful towns I ve been fortunate to visit.

Den Bosch has attractive canals, old buildings and a central square with raw herring stands. It is where artist Hieronymus Bosch was from and painted his detailed works on medieval life and religious themes. Sneek I stopped at on my way to visit several of the more than 50 megalithic structures known as hunebedden that pepper the area to its south. I mention all this as possible design inspiration for next year s season, as sand eventually will blow away as much as ice surely will finally melt.

The 19-suite IceHotel in Jukkasj rvi, Sweden, perhaps seeing threat from these Dutch silica implants, is not putting its offerings on ice. For its upcoming season, to start on 11 December, the hotel will tackle the thorny subject of the elephant in the room by literally sculpting a massive, icy pachyderm. Other materials have been used in hotels that also might appear to be more temporary in longevity than say a Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld constructed a hotel room made of chocolate in Paris in 2011. A luxury choice in Uyuni, Bolivia, is the Palacio de Sal, or Palace of Salt, which quite sensibly uses what is abundant in the world s largest salt flats.

The best thing from a hotelier s perspective is that guests are prepared to pay top euro for such experiences. The two sandcastles open only for September and a few days of October, and, according to CNN1, they are all sold out and at $168 per night.

So once they re gone, I sense a gap in the market. A niche. As I live in the United Kingdom, my plan now is to build a chain of temporary hotels made of rain. My idea is that they d open in the fleeting summer when the British public would be missing endless drizzle the most.

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  1. ^ according to CNN (

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