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This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-4-6 10:25|
7. The Shady Dell Vintage Trailer Court, Bisbee, Arizona
Kick back with a martini and copy of "Life" inside the "Mansion" trailer.
You can live out "Mad Men" fantasies in this slickly imagined time capsule of a hotel -- or rather, "trailer court."
The Shady Dell Vintage Trailer Court's collection of 11 restored mid-century travel trailers come with 1950s decor -- vintage accessories and furnishings like martini glasses, diner-style booths and record players.
But the Shady Dell goes beyond decor. Even the entertainment doesn't break character. Vintage radios play nothing but "era-appropriate radio programs," the magazines are all several decades old and the "televisions only broadcast in two colors."
If you've ever wanted to experience the 1950s, minus the chain-smoking (smoking is forbidden inside the trailers) and racism, the Shady Dell Vintage Trailer's romanticized, politically correct version of the past can be the perfect realization of a dream.
"Our trailers harken to a time where people socialized not through the computer but with a cocktail in hand," say owners Jennifer and Justin Luria.
Trailers start at $50 a night.
1 Douglas Road, Bisbee, Ariz.; +1 520 432 3567; www.theshadydell.com
8. McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland, Oregon
Where they'll happily school you in the art of drinking.
A pub and a former elementary school. It's an unlikely relationship, but at the McMenamins Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon, it works fabulously as a hotel.
At the Kennedy School, sleeping in class is encouraged -- the 35 guestrooms are former classrooms, retaining props like desks and chalkboards. The school auditorium is now a movie theater and the school cafeteria (now a restaurant) actually serves palatable food.
Perhaps the best change that the pub-school alliance has wrought, however, is that the girl's room is now a brewery, and guests can sip locally brewed beer in the Detention Bar.
Starting at $115 a night, prices at this hotel aren't cheap, but then again, neither is an education.
5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Portland, Ore.; +1 888 249 3983; www.mcmenamins.com/KennedySchool
9. Kokopelli's Cave Bed & Breakfast, Farmington, New Mexico
You can honor Kokopelli's spirit in this inviting room.
Perhaps it's the caveman roots of homo sapiens, perhaps it has to do with our love of the blanket forts of our childhoods -- but it seems America just can't get enough of cave lodgings.
While a cave sounds like a questionable place to stay the night, much less pay to stay the night, Kokopelli's Cave Bed and Breakfast in New Mexico is not about masochism or asceticism, or even being cheap.
With prices starting at $260 a night, Kokopelli's Cave, while a remarkable deal, is no mere hole.
Guests reside in a carpeted, fully furnished room 21 meters below the surface, dug into a cliff face of 65 million-year-old sandstone.
There's a TV, there's a DVD player and there's a selection of movies, but for once guests might find themselves more fascinated with the walls, which are a "geologist's dream," with a "360-degree view of cross-bedding, petrified and carbonized wood and plant fragments," according to the hotel.
While reaching the cave (there is only one, with bedding for four) requires a short hike, these "difficulties" also mean maximum privacy, unless you count the ring-tailed cats that are said to occasionally visit.
5001 Antelope Junction, Farmington, N.M.; +1 505 860 3812; www.bbonline.com
10. Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California
The dining room sets the tone with its blindingly pink color scheme.
The Madonna Inn is has no single draw or final trump card. It has 110.
Each of the 110 rooms in the Madonna Inn (named after the original proprietor, not the singer) is dramatically decorated according to certain themes or motifs.
Or several; the Madonna Inn has no scruples about mixing styles or clashing patterns.
The result is a zany explosion for the eyes, starting with a (relatively) demure faux-Swiss Alps exterior and quickly reaching the heights of the outlandish with designer urinals, flooring that looks like it could easily induce fits of epilepsy, en-suite rock showers, whacked-out color schemes and way too many waterfalls.
Not all of the rooms are wild.
The "Yahoo" room (starts at $249) has a coffin-shaped coffee table and carriage wheels attached to the bed. The "Old Mill" room, which starts at $249, features a mill and cottage facade -- complete with water wheel -- jutting out above the bed.
Many of the other rooms content themselves with exciting wallpapers and lurid murals.
With such dizzying decor, plus the other amenities -- pool, spa, clothing boutiques, bakery -- you might be overwhelmed, but never bored.
100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; +1 805 543 3000; www.madonnainn.com
11. Turpentine Creek, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
A safari in Arkansas. Who knew?
Turpentine Creek is more zoo than hotel.
As a refuge for rescued "big cats," Turpentine Creek's real guests of honor are the tigers, lions, leopards, cougars and the odd bear that make their home here.
Naturally, stays revolve around the cats -- with the daily highlights being events like habitat tours, big cats education sessions and feeding time.
Not that humans have anything to complain about. Guests are lodged in tasteful safari-themed rooms adjacent to the zoo section, and treated to the sound of "animals caroling throughout the evening and night," according to vice president Scott Smith.
There are five lodges, two suites and a tree house bungalow.
Assuming you're a big cat aficionado, there's another reason to come.
"When you visit the refuge and stay at our lodging, all proceeds from your visit help the animals," says Smith.
Rooms start at $150 a night.
239 Turpentine Creek Lane,
Eureka Springs, Ark.; +1
479 253 5841; www.turpentinecreek.org
12. Burlington Hotel, Port Costa, California
And Betty. We can't forget Betty.
This supposedly haunted former bordello is a dilapidated, rundown place that nonetheless remains beloved for its authenticity and some vague, indefinable "X factor."
With old furniture and older wallpaper, some might argue that the Burlington Hotel takes authenticity a bit far.
The place is like the friend who borrows your clothes and returns them shredded, who stands you up then calls you at 3 a.m. from the police station, but who you keep around because he's just too much damn fun.
Anyone looking for a comfortable and luxurious family vacation might find better luck elsewhere.
But for the intrepid vacationer, the Burlington Hotel, while somewhat disadvantaged in terms of hotel amenities (it walks a fine line between hostel and hotel) is undeniably unique.
Popular with inebriated partygoers looking for a place to crash (or continue) after a session at the affiliated bar across the street, the Warehouse Café, the Burlington's 20-odd rooms have names like "Fanny" and "Ethyl," after the ladies of the night who supposedly lived and worked there.
Rooms start at about $40 a night.
5 Canyon Lake Dr., Port Costa, Calif.; +1 510 787 1827