en by Momondo, 27. May 2008

Photo by Bjorn Bore 

If your criteria for the perfect holiday spot are total isolation, intimacy and not the least a fresh breeze, Hotel Utter Inn is just the right place for you. The hotel is a one-room affair in the middle of Lake Mälaren northwest of Stockholm.

You show up and are paddled 1km out to the archetypal Swedish miniature house on the surface of the water. Here you are dropped off and left to yourself.

Photo by Tom Airaksinen

If you bring a companion make sure it is someone whom you really get along with, as the hotel’s living space is only a few square meters. Most extraordinary is the bedroom, which is 10 feet under the water. Down here in the ‘abyss’ guests can keep themselves entertained with observing the dreamlike undersea world through the big panoramic windows or by being observed by a curious fish.

Hotel Utter Inn has a tiny kitchen, but if you are on a romantic spree you should seriously consider booking the deluxe version where dinner is delivered by boat.

Written by David Rich

Find more hotels in Sweden.

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en by Momondo, 22. May 2008

Photo by x.ni

If your girlfriend - like mine - thinks that ‘The Sound of Music’ is the most romantic thing that ever happened (even more romantic than our first date!), then here's the good news - you’ll soon have the chance to treat her to a passionate night in the bed of Captain von Trapp.

The Salzburg villa of the original von Trapp family, that gave inspiration to ‘The Sound of Music’ musical and movie (1965), will become a ‘The Sound of Music’ themed hotel in July.

The consequence is that on top of  'My favourite things' being played in heavy rotation at home and my girlfriend’s endless attempts to teach me to sing 'Do a dear, a female dear' in harmony, I might now also have to spend my summer holiday in Salzburg….

However, our stay in Salzburg is likely to be enriched by the company of other fans of the failed nun Maria who finds love in the arms of the widowed and terribly handsome father of seven, Captain von Trapp. The Austrian town is a must-see  place for ‘Sound of Music’ die-hards, who have the film as the sole reason for visiting Salzburg. Local tourism officials estimate that fans from the US, Asia and Japan generate 280,000 overnight stays in the city every year.

Photo by BHartzell

Seeing the film's original locations in Salzburg is for many a dream come true. As Lana Wright (51) from New Zealand puts it, stepping off the bus: "Finally I have arrived, arrived somewhere where I was supposed to be, somewhere that I was supposed to see", writes Reuters.

It is because of fans like Lana Wright and my girlfriend that I predict the ‘The Sound of Music’ theme hotel will have a bright and none the least prosperous future.

As an extra bonus, the hotel's guests will also be able to get married in the Von Trapp family’s private chapel. But please don't tell my girlfriend....

Written by David Rich Momondo

Find more hotels in Salzburg and Austria here. 

Published by
en by Momondo, 16. May 2008

Photo by Claytron 

While hordes of Europeans cross the Atlantic for the US to purchase cheap Levi’s and iPhones en masse, the weak dollar and the US economic slowdown have decreased the amount of big spending Americans in Europe.

According to Amy Ziff of Travelocity the bookings for countries that use the euro, such as France, Italy and Spain, are 15 percent lower than last summer. This is indeed a painful blow to the European tourism industry, and some of the ‘big players’ are now offering: “special price for you, American”, to try to lure US tourists back to Europe.

In Venice, the legendary Harry’s Bar – that gave us Carpaccio and the Bellini cocktail - is offering 20 percent discounts on food for American ‘victims’ of bad economy. US citizens won't need to bring their passports—"We will judge by the accent," says owner of Harry’s Bar Arrigo Capriani, according to Reuters.

Britain's tourism agency, VisitBritain, is letting Americans buy discount cards in dollars so they can see the sights for less, writes USA Today and Ireland is running a new advertising campaign: "Ireland, Can you afford not to go?"

However, it is not all European destinations that have fallen into disfavour among the American travelers. Bookings are up 16 percent for Eastern European countries that don't use the euro, says Amy Ziff from Travelocity.

Published by
en by Momondo, 14. May 2008

Picture from Inhabitat

A new sort of gigantic lilies could soon be floating on Glasgow’s River Clyde. The lilies belong to the solar family meaning they are actually solar pads designed to float in the river and soak up the sun’s rays and send electricity to the city’s grid.

The solar lily pads are designed by Scottish ZM Architecture and are one of the latest examples on new and spectacular technology that harvest green energy.
According to Peter Richardson from ZM Architecture the ‘lilies’ will also revitalize Glasgow’s urban waterfront and stimulate urban riverfront activity.

The solar lily pads are designed to be moved and dismantled easily as they are simply tethered to the river bed, with integrated motors used to rotate the discs for maximum exposure to sunlight throughout the day. Sounds like a very useful function considering that one often has to look around for the sunny spots in Glasgow!

Picture from Inhabitat

The floating solar pads have recently won 1st Prize in the International Design Awards (IDA) Land and Sea Competition and now Glasgow’s City Council is considering testing a small pilot project in conjunction with the Glasgow Science Centre.

Not only will the lily pads (hopefully) contribute with lots of green energy and make an old river look futuristic, they will also give Glasgow an innovate and eco-friendly image that can be difficult for other cities to subdue.

Written by David Rich Momondo 

Published by
en by Momondo, 8. May 2008

Pierre Cagnaire

Paris receives some compensation after being totally overshadowed by Tokyo in the latest Michelin restaurant-guide.

In the Restaurant Magazine’s recently released list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants no less than eight Parisian restaurants are ranked, which is more than any other city in the world.

Also on national level France is leading with 11 restaurants ranked on the prestigious top 50 list, which is formulated by a jury of 682 highly respected food connoisseurs.

However, Paris doesn’t offer the world’s best restaurant. For a third consecutive year, the father of molecular gastronomy Ferran Adrià’s restaurant El Bulli north of Barcelona was crowned the world’s best restaurant, followed by the inventor of snail porridge Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Berkshire (UK) and Parisian top scorer Pierre Cagnaire.

As the only one out of the top three restaurants, The Fat Duck can brag about being one of the sexiest restaurants in the world according to The Guardian. The newspaper has The Fat Duck as number 48 on its list of the sexiest places to be fed.

Written by David Rich Momondo 

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