You might consider a notel after visiting a new site on the block: Hotel Haiku, curated by Garri Rayne.
Hotel Haiku has taken up the idea of describing Hotels and, more importantly notels in a real Zen way, with a Haiku:
haiku [ˈhaɪkuː] n. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.
I’m particularly attracted to the term notel, because when I started out as a hotelier and was developing our own unique 3 suites only “hotel” Haagsche Suites, I had for some time the idea of naming it Not a Hotel. Eventually I decided to name it “Haagsche Suites” (i.e. suites of The Hague), because Not A Hotel sounded a bit negative. Never thought of notel.
I congratulate Hotel Haiku with the invention of this term notel. As they describe it:
notel [nəʊˈtɛl] n. An exceptional, often architecturally designed, holiday and vacation rental property that draws inspiration from the design hotel phenomenon.
So notel is beyond Hotel, beyond Hip Hotel, beyond Boutique Hotel, beyond Design Hotel or beyond what hotel have you and at the same time it is below the usual hotel radar. Thank you Hotel Haiku!
First Hotel Haiku (@hotelhaiku) found me via Twitter and I noticed it without paying much attention. Then I found out more about the site via our friends over at Tnooz. I refer to their review of the Hotel Haiku site.
I’m set to explore the phenomenon further and created even a notel category, because I’ve featured some notels here on the blog already.
As Garri pointed out in his comment the undercast n is essential for the idea behind the term notel , so I have edited all, but couldn’t withstand to add little bit of my own: red 🙂
I’ve applied cob (or clay or adobe) walls in my own hotel. Their advantage is that they excellently go together with wall heating. From that stems my interest in cob as a building material. 2/3 of the world population lives in cob. I started this series long ago with this post. I’ve now found a luxury cob vacation home in the UK, Bolton Percy Gatehouse, managed by the Vivat Trust. Worthwhile a visit so to see.
If you yearn for a romantic escape to a tropical Caribbean Island paradise, your quest has ended. Hix Island House rewards you with a luxurious retreat amidst rustic Zen-like architectural elegance.
Offering refreshingly unique comfort for body and soul, Hix Island House is located in a 13-acre natural refuge of native trees, tall grasses, birds and butterflies where you'll be at one with nature and savor the peaceful bliss of privacy, silence, and tranquility (no phones, television, or typical room and turn-down service).
At Hix Island House the outdoors becomes indoors. Our innovative self-contained spacious lofts highlight matchless views of the Caribbean and palm-lined beaches minutes away; open-air private terraces and outdoor showers bathe in the scent of trade winds and night- blooming jasmine under star-studded skies.
In July 2007 we were probably among the last guests of the Dutch couple who had started Bastide Saint Mathieu:
View from our James Gordon Bennet Suite
A French Bastide recently restored with meticulous care, surrounded by 2 hectares of its own gardens and parkland. It Sleeps 14/17 in beautiful large bedrooms, with marble ensuite bathrooms. Fine terracing and gas flare lit cuisine d’ete for outside parties and entertaining. Huge swimming pool, boules piste. Great views; splendour and privacy in the triangle between Mougins, Grasse and Valbonne; 15 minutes Cannes, 25 minutes Nice.
our beautifully appointed sitting room
It is a villa with 2 suites and 4 rooms, 1 of which is a single room.
All rooms are individually and elegantly decorated with period pieces, open log fires, air conditioning and all of todayâ€™s facilities. The property is also available fully staffed on an exclusive basis with catering arrangements made available to suit the individual wishes of guests. In a corner of the typical Provencal garden is a lovely pool and sun deck overlooking the olive groves and hills of Mougins. There guests can spend some lazy hours soaking up the sun rays and enjoying the fragrances of lavender, flowers and herbs bordering the area. It is surrounded by various old villages and a vast choice of restaurants and golf courses,
View from the outside breakfast area over the garden
Bastide Saint Mathieu offers a truly unique ambiance of luxury, charm and tranquility.
The former Dutch owners had sold to the present British owners who would start operating it August 2007. That was another reason for publishing this not immediately. It is my view that a lot of the fun of a staying in a hotel is made out by the way the owners/staff receive you. I am glad I could find two recent positive reviews in the meantime.
We stayed two nights in the James Gordon Bennet Suite, which has a separate sitting room and bedroom and we were pampered well by the former owner Inge.
Since our stay they have added a pergola to the swimming pool and made a covered area on the terrace for Al Fresco breakfasts, lunches and dinners. They have a marvelous photo gallery on their site.
I wouldn’t mind going back.
Post Alia: Still Nothing Zen!
While doing online research for this post, I found out that sites like Tripadvisor really are putting the smaller hotels like Bastide Saint Mathieu to a disadvantage vis a vis the big chains: Usually not many guests do write in a hotel’s guest book, I would estimate one out of 4 guests. If they write in the hotel’s guest book, they are not likely to write an online review. So my estimate is that less than one out of twenty guests writes an online review. Then the big question is where the review is written online, as there are many possibilities….
So Bastide Saint Mathieu has only 3 reviews on the US Site of Tripadvisor and the same three on Tripadvisor’s UK site. However when I looked at their UK an French sites three weeks ago, the UK site couldn’t find Bastide Saint Mathieu and the French site had 7 reviews….I see now the same 3 reviews. Probably they have now acknowledged he change of ownership…
It used to be a member of Chateaux et Hotels. I’m not sure it is now. Ah, darn, they still are! I wasn’t sure, because Chateaux et Hotels deemed it feasible to change their site. If you now are searching a hotel on their site you only can search for available hotel rooms. If the hotel is fully booked, you can’t find the hotel on the very site of their own marketing organization. This is Mighty Stupid! Chateaux et Hotels took away their maps……Why make it easy (as they did in an earlier version of their site) when you can make it difficult?
When I wrote about this now closed Berlin object of art/experimental one room billboard hotel in December 2007, I didn’t imagine that people would actually sleep in it. I visited it in March when I was in Berlin for ITB Berlin. Henri Roelings, who is one of the guys behind WiWiH (Who Is Who In Hospitality) had booked it during ITB Berlin and had actually slept in it a during ITB Berlin.
On the corner of Kommandantenstrasse and Neue Gruenstrasse one finds this billboard that hides the hotel room behind it. The room has no windows, so it is definitely a room without a view.
Henri commented that when he stayed in the room, he had slept very comfy,but he was a little bit afraid that people could easily fire him up by making a fire under the room. Luckily the giant steel watchdog opposite of the hotel room has been watching over his safety.
Henri had the ladder to enter the room so that he could advertise WiWiH.
Once entering the hotel room I was surprised to find a real bathroom. There was water for the wash bin and the shower via a reservoir. There was a chemical toilet and there was electricity.
Here you can see that you could hang your clothes, had a TV set and a drawer chest and an easy chair. All very doable.
The Guest Book
Not only the hotel room is artsy. According to the Guest Book its guests are artsy a well and they liked it!
This Swiss comment reads: “First sushi, then Victoria, thereafter Paul and finally here: Reason: Birthday!”