July 4, 2008 / 5:52 AM / 11 years ago

Author picks coolest hotel rooms to stay

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - From rooms decked out with a soundstage to concierges who can arrange impromptu tango lessons, trend spotter and author Bill Tikos has roamed the globe to find hotels that offer a unique, and luxurious, experience.

Tikos’ book, “The World’s Coolest Hotel Rooms”, features more than 50 rooms ranging from those that fulfill rock star fantasies to others that elevate the meaning of luxury with sumptuous day beds in lush, secluded gardens with private pools.

“We’re not just looking for a bed any more we want an experience. Hotels are really catering for an experience rather than just an overnight stay,” said Tikos, who writes a weekly syndicated column and runs website www.thecoolhunter.net.

“I guess it needs to have that wow factor the moment you walk in,” said the Australian author told Reuters. “I think it’s the aesthetics, the way the room is configured and the design element to it, and obviously the technology part of it.”

Tikos believes the growing ranks of wealthy and well-heeled business travelers, as well as celebrities, have in the past five years helped drive demand for smaller, boutique establishments and all the luxury amenities that go with it.

“They’re coming for the experience, not just an overnight stay especially the business people, they know exactly what area they want to go into, where they want to go,” he said.

One of the hotels featured in Tikos’ glossy book is the Riva Lofss in Tuscany, with its apartment-size, three-storey rooms that also have a kitchen.

The hotel only had about 30 rooms, with views across the river, and provided bikes to cycle to town about 20 minutes away.

“It didn’t feel like a hotel, it was more like a New York Loft,” Tikos said.

“The Italians know the wow factor. The Italians do it well, from fashion to design. Hotels and fashion go hand in hand.”

The “World’s Coolest Hotels Rooms” is targeted at designers, people who are interested in architecture and design and, of course, the savvy — and wealthy — traveler.

Entries include the Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista in Verona, Italy, just miles from the centre of Verona, and which has hosted creative heavyweights such as author Takashi Murakami.

In Frankfurt, Germany, Goldman 25hours Hotel catches the eye with its orange-and-blue facade. Each room has its own theme, ranging from a suite decorated in the style of 1890s Paris to another devoted to the words and wisdom of 1950s poets.

Tikos said hotels needed to constantly upgrade their in-room technology to attract travelers who are no longer satisfied with just a high-speed Internet connection

“Our lives have changed with Apple products, computers, laptops, the Blackberry, so we must change design wise,” he said.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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