Boston: Charles Street Jail opened as The Liberty Hotel

Boston Liberty Historic Picture

This week sees the opening of the former Boston Charles Street Jail reborn as The Liberty Hotel after an US $ 150 mio acquisition / refurbishment of 5 years.

The luxury hotel features 300 rooms (i.e. a US $ 500,000 investment per room) of which 10 lavish suites. Not all rooms are crammed in the old Jail, rest assured. There is a modern high rise next to the old Jail dating back from 1851.

Boston liberty 02

The Jail House past comes back in a specially commissioned mosaic by Coral Bourgeois featuring multi- textured tiles depicting historical scenes from penitentiaries and true life crimes, in “do not disturb” door hangers wisely worded Solitary and Alibi, and in the first floor bar that is housed within the jail’s former Drunk Tank.

Ah, they have Molton Brown bathroom amenities, which reminds me I have a rant in my sleeve about Molton Brown.

Via Hotels of The Rich and Famous Blog

Dutch Design (18): The Hague Post Stamp

The Hague Post Stamp
The Hague Post Stamp

Do you do snail mail? I still do!. And my first job today will be running to the Post Office to acquire a good stock of this new post stamp issued by Royal Dutch TNT Post in a series “Beautiful Netherlands” , which did a much better job than the The Hague Municipality itself when it launched its city marketing logo ( see my post Den Haag City Logo Launch).
Thanks AD

Dutch Dutch Design (17): Nuna4 ready for competition in the Australian World Solar Challenge.

World Solar Challenge
The World Solar Challenge

The Panasonic World Solar Challenge will start October 21, 2007 in Darwin Australia.

World Solar Challenge Map
World Solar Challenge Map

The Australian Panasonic World Solar Challenge is a bi annual 3000 km solar car race from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia since 1987, so this year it celebrates its 20ieth anniversary. The challenge is for student teams from universities and colleges to design and construct the fastest vehicle that is propelled on solar energy only and can endure the 3000 km distance. The 2007 challenge counts 45 entries from 21 countries.

I Love Nuna4
I Love Nuna4

Along with other solar cars, Nuna4 will be competing under extreme weather conditions, having to navigate between other traffic on the road – with the notorious and dangerous Australian road trains – as well as avoiding kangaroos and other obstacles.

Nuna4 003

The competition will be fierce this year. The US team of the University of Michigan even managed to secure a very high budget for the construction of its solar car with the specific aim of dethroning the Dutch Nuna 4 team of students from the Delft University of Technology who won 3 prior editions of this race in 2001 (team Alpha Centauri and average speed of 91,8 km/h), 2003 (Nuon Solar Team with Nuna II and average speed of 97 km/h), 2005 (with Nuna 3 and average speed of 103 km/h) in a row. You can understand why I am proud to be a Dutchman with these results.

Nuna4 Wind Tunnel Tested

The team has successfully come through the wind tunnel testing sessions. Its top speed is reported to be over 140km/hr. It is a really professional operation!

Team Nuna4 consists of four Aerospace Engineering students: Susan Luijten, Hjalmar van Raemdonck, Oliver van der Meer and Demian de Ruijter. The Design Engineering Department is repreented by Joep Steenbeek, Tine Lavrysen and Ivo Hagemans. Mechanical engineer Rabih Alzaher and Electrical Engineering graduate Paul Beckers are also on board. Stefan Roest brings an unusual perspective to the project from his Shipbuilding studies and will be the team leader. The team members have either completed their Bachelor’s degree, or are about to do so in a short time.

Apparently Nuna4 is in the process of revamping its website. It is clear that the development of the car had their first priority.

More Nuna4 photos are available on Flickr Nuon Solarteam

A Nuna4 video with Dutch Language comment showing recent tests at the Dutch Trucker DAF test course:


Nuna4

I wish them lots of luck!

Here a photo and a video of the unveiling of one of its fiercest competitors, the Continuum of University of Michigan:

University of Michigan Continuum Solar Car
University of Michigan Continuum Solar Car

University of Michigan Continuum unveiled

Yotel goes to Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol) and Yotel Gatwick’s First Guest reviews


A You Tube Yotel Preview

Us about Yotel:

Willem, founder and co author of our Dutch language Blog Weekendhotel Weblog wrote about Yotel’s plans already in 2004.

I translated the post for Happy Hotelier in English Answer to sleeping in a wine barrel: Yotel

To Schiphol
According to Zibb it is official: Yotel will open a 56 cubicle hotel in the transfer area of Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol). It will be the second hotel in Schiphol’s transfer zone. It is also mentioned on their website. So it is even more official.

Yotel Gatwick

The first Yotel opened July 1, 2007 in a Gatwick Airport (UK) terminal . The same day as Qbic. Isn’t that a strange coincidence that mrs Smit- Kroes, the EU competition watchdog has to look into? 🙂

Blog Reviews

The first reviews are in. I know it from fellow Blogger, Esme Vos, who wrote about a review on her Blog Rose Cantine and linked to Cyrus Farivar

Basically once you get out of the baggage claim and clear customs, there’s an elevator that goes down one floor — and all of a sudden, it’s like you’re in this serene space that shouldn’t exist in a loud international airport like this one. To the left is a set of computers where you check it — once you’re confirmed (it almost feel like you should get a retinal scan), it prints out your receipt with your WiFi code on it, and gives you the keycard to your room.

Gatwick’s Yotel currently has 46 rooms, and from what I can tell about one-third of them are the “premium” class rooms, which are slightly bigger, with and extra three inches of television screen (23″ vs. 20″) and are the ones shown in the photos on the website. The premium will run you 82 GBP ($168) vs. the “standard” room, which is what I have, which “only” costs 55 GBP ($110) for 24 hours. The minimum charge for the room is 25 GBP ($50) for four hours.

Equipped with the keycard, you then glide through a transparent plastic arch and into the hallways of rooms. Honestly, the calm of the whole place is a little eerie, but I guess that’s the point. The rooms are supposed to be soundproof (well, mostly), and the ambient noise is a low airy hum that permeates the space.

The room is tiny, but it makes you wonder why you’d ever actually need more space than seven square meters. Basically once you’re through the door, you see that the room is divided into three adjacent rectangles. The middle one, the walkway, is about 4 paces (at most) long, and maybe 1.5 paces wide. There’s a fold out desk and small stool.

To the left is the bed, which the website advertises sleeps a “cozy two” — in other words, think your college dorm bed, but maybe slightly wider. The bed is raised up a good 3-4 feet, so that when you lay down you can watch that 20″ TV. Via the TV there’s Internet access (there’s a remote and a wireless mini keyboard), and you can watch English, Spanish, French, German and Arabic-language channels. Movies can be purchased for 5 GBP ($10), or porn for 8 GBP ($16).

To the right is the shower, sink, and toilet — with that entire wall covered by a mirror, which means every time you turn in bed to look towards the bathroom, you get to stare back at yourself.

The fun part, though, about the TV, is that it acts essentially as your telephone to communicate with the “concierge.” You can order food from “The Galley” (most expensive thing on the menu is 7 GBP), drinks (oddly, the only beer on the menu is Cobra), and they’ll deliver it to your door , 24 hours a day.

Still, there don’t seem to be very many other guests — I talked with one guy from Manchester and a woman from Leeds who both seemed to be very up on the whole experience. Both are on their way to holidays in the Greek Islands and Budapest, respectively.

I’m not sure I’d want to spend more than one night in a place like this (particularly if you were sharing the room with someone else, as there’s not a lot of space). But hey, it’s a really comfortable way to spend an overnight layover.

Thanks Cyrus!

Yotel Photos

Cyrus links to a review taken from a press release by Yotel on Treehugger, so I took the liberty to snatch some of their Fotos as the press page of Yotel itself doesn’t give much away:

Yotel Plan

Yotel Room lay out

Yotel Room

Yotel Room

Yotel premium Room

Yotel Premium Room

Yotel Bathroom

Yotel Bathroom

Guest Reviews on Tripadvisor

  • Very convenient!
    Traveler rating: 5
    Jul 19, 2007 pete1769, BIRMINGHAM , ENGLAND

    Stayed there it was the best hotel i have stayed at overnight for a airport hotel .

    The cost was great £25 for 4 hour or £55 for over night standard room.

    There is no tea & coffee in rooms but the cabin bar is cheap for the airport prices .

    The room has everything u need and small room

    This TripAdvisor Member Liked: The price and the rooms cleanness

  • Lifesaver!
    Traveler rating: 5
    Jul 26, 2007 loriannsparks, Hawaii
    I got stranded in the London Gatwick Airport on 07/18, as I was supposed to be heading onto Madrid but missed my flight there. I tried to get a hotel in London, and it was at least 150 pounds or more to get a hotel last-minute. I was already missing my flights and missing out on money from the flights missed on Easy Jet, so I wanted to spend as little money as possible. I found out about the Yotel from the “Tourist” station at Gatwick Airport. I went down there, and I met this really nice employee working there, Martin (not sure of his name exactly, but he was from Poland originally). He said there weren’t any rooms for that night, and without hesitation, I immediately burst into tears. I couldn’t help it – I was stranded, tired and had few options now! He was so nice and sympathetic to my situation. He said to come back down in 2 hours and he would see what he could do. I thanked him repeatedly, went upstairs to eat, call my husband, etc. and headed back down 2 hours later. I’m not sure what he did to get a room for me, but he had a room ready for me when I came back. He was GREAT! Praises go out to him! I ended up having the room for 7 hours – from 12am to 7pm, and it was 43 pounds. That is so inexpensive compared to my other options at that point! The room was modern and clean and just what I needed. I thought it would just have a bed to sleep in, but there was a toilet, sink and shower. It was perfect! The bed was so comfy too. What a life saver, honestly! I would suggest the Yotel to anyone who wants to get a few extra hours of sleep while waiting for a flight at the Gatwick Airport, or if you get stranded like I did. It was a great experience! Thanks Yotel!

    This TripAdvisor Member
    Liked: I didn’t check any of the things above because it’s in the hotel and caters to people who get stranded, want to get a few hours of sleep, etc. but it was very clean and had great service!

    Disliked: Nothing – it was great!

  • Very convenient!
    Traveler rating: 5
    Jul 30, 2007 M&E_London, London
    Fantastic for late arrival and early flight in the morning – literally 30 secs from the departure check-in. Rooms are obviously very small but the premium cabin has everything you need for a cosey night (tv, shower etc) and all very, very clean. Couple of things would improve things – two chairs instead of one; and a hook to hang a wash bag. Apart from that no complaints and a fantastic concept. Would always try one of these before any other airport hotel.
  • Very convenient for overnight stay for early flight…
    Traveler rating: 4
    Jul 26, 2007 Artemis-Angel, Chelmsford

    I stayed here before an early flight from Gatwick,

    I was attracted by the price and the convenience for the airport.

    If you are on your own and looking for somewhere to sleep, the standard cabin is ideal.

    As you would expect the room is small, but there is room for luggage storage and the bathroom is adequate, toilet, basin, shower.

    The bed was very comfortable and I had a good nights sleep.

    There is some noise as residents come and go at different times of the day but I did not find this a problem.

    It should be noted that the ceiling above the bed is not full height, but there is room to sit up and move around on the bed.

    This is an ideal place to sleep before an early flight and I have already booked for my next early flight.
    This TripAdvisor Member
    Liked: The location for airport terminal
    Disliked: n/a

Verdict:

It scores a bit lower than Qbic, but not bad, not bad at all.

Up to the Easy Hotel reviews

MarySlim: a Very Slender Vessel as motor yacht

Very Slender Vessel US Marine

Very Slender Vessels are in the first place developped for use by military and special forces.

From Global security I got this information:

In 1999 the Special Boat Squadron, Britain’s marine special forces unit, acquired a VSV (Very Slender Vessel). It can go faster than any other ocean-going fast pursuit vessel in the world. It is capable of speeds of more than 60 knots, is 53 feet long and cylindrical, with a 10 foot cross-section so it can punch straight through waves rather than go through the top of them.

Traditional Deep’V’ hulls have two modes of operation, low speed displacement mode and a high speed planing mode. The VSVâ„¢ hull, by contrast, exhibits no discernible planing ‘hump’. The vessel can maintain any speed within its performance envelope returning full command to the skipper.

When traditional Deep ‘V’ boats travel at speed in rough conditions, they jump from wave to wave and land with high vertical acceleration or ‘g’ force. As the speed of the vessel increases or the sea gets rougher, the ‘g’ force on landing increases. Peak readings regularly exceed 20g which is sufficient to cause injury to the personnel and damage to the vessel and its equipment.

Basically a VSV is a wave piercer. It is not completely novel as designers have been developing slim sharp fronted boats for years that are encouraged to cut through the waves rather than bouncing over them. The VSVâ„¢ applies these principles to high-speed patrol vessels. This has enabled crews to travel at high speeds in adverse sea conditions in relative comfort and safety.

Vosper Thornycroft has its own VT Halmatic VSV, 16 m long:

VT Halmativ VSV 16m

and is developping a 22 m version.

The Motor Boat & Yachting issue of July 2007 features the maiden trip of MarySlim, the first VSV that is built as a motor yacht and gives it a thumbs up especially as to the unexpected smoothness of riding the waves. Cruising speeds of 28 – 35 knots are fabulous in waves without having to re swallow your kidneys!

Here are some photos Copyright Neils Obee from the press release preceding the maiden trip:

MarySlim2
Mary Slim Yacht
MarySlim3
Mary Slim Front View

The second photo shows clearly the difference with fast wave piercing motor yach designs thus far: They all have as a common factor the more or less trimaran form. The VSV has no outrigging parts. It only has very wide chines and a very high length : beam ratio.

See for more information Multi Marine UK.

Very interesting development!