Travel Trend Watch: Themed Cruises

(Photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean, Holland America Cruise Lines, and Flickr member kellinahandbasket)

A few weeks ago we posted about themed hotel suites, and it got us thinking about other themed hotel trends. Cruise lines have started to offer themed cruises, and there are plenty of options available, but we picked a few that really float our boat:

  • Dancing with the Stars: At Sea—This cruise, based on the hit television show Dancing with the Stars, travels to Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, and a few other islands. Holland America Cruise Lines even hosts dance lessons and a competition, similar to the show, at the end of the cruise. The days at sea will fly by as you're getting your groove on!


Travel Trend Watch: Themed Hotel Suites

(Photos courtesy of Eden Hotel, Seven Hotel, and The Plaza)

If you couldn't already tell, we love following hotel trends. We've posted about the most bizarre hotels, boatels, and Sleepboxes. Recently, themed hotel rooms are trending. From the girlie to the macho, these hotel rooms grant guests access to everything from Arkham City to the wonderful world of Mattel.

  • Hello Kitty Suite, Grand Hi-Lai Hotel, Kaohsiung, Taiwan: While we're aware of the cult following for Hello Kitty, we didn't imagine a room would be devoted to the cartoon-esque feline. The Hello Kitty Suite has a living room, dining room, and master bedroom outfitted in—you guessed it—bright pink Hello Kitty-adorned décor. Top off a purrfect getaway by taking a long, hot "Kitty bubble bath."
  • 007 Suite, Seven Hotel, Paris, France: Channel your inner James Bond in this suite fit for only the stealthiest. Enjoy the elegant design and sophistication that is so quintessentially Bond, accented by golden toilets and an endless mirror. We won't blame you if you start humming the theme song.


Travel Trend Watch: Boatels

(Photos courtesy of Dromen aan Zee)

Yes, you heard us right. These intriguing hybrids have somehow slipped under our radar until now. This month, CNN reported its top 5 boatels, from old lifeboats to military ships.

  • Yankee Ferry—This historic ferry shuttled new immigrants to Ellis Island and served in both World Wars. Today, the Yankee is permanently docked on the Hudson River and serves an entirely different purpose. Furnished with vintage finds and carnival-esque accents, the Yankee has a "bow"-row seat to a beautiful Manhattan skyline.
  • Harlingen Lifeboat Hotel—From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Lilla Marras was operated by Britain's Royal National Lifeboat Institution and carried rescue operations along the North Sea and saved many from drowning. Now, the Lilla Marras is moored and combines a comfortable night's sleep with a beautiful panoramic view of the fishing town of Harlingen in the Northern Netherlands.


News to Use: Hotel Fees Keep Climbing

(Photos courtesy of Flickr members 401(K) 2013, Ugg Boy, and Giorgio Montersino)

Resort fee. Parking fee. Internet fee. Once you're done paying all of the hotel's taxes and fees, the original price of your stay has practically doubled. In 2012, hotel fees climbed 5.4%. Hospitality expert Bjorn Hanson told that with hotel occupancy on the rise this year, hoteliers plan to tack on even more fees.

In 2013, keep an eye out for:

  • Baggage holding fee—While this service was previously complimentary, some hotels may now charge up to $2 per bag (not including tip) to keep your bags safely stowed.
  • Minibar restocking fee—Restocking the minibar requires hotel staffers to make sure each candy bar and nip is refreshed. Since these fees may cost you up to $2.50, try your hardest to fight the $5 late-night craving.


Hotel Trends of 2012—Innovation at its Finest

(Photos courtesy of the Pop-Up Hotel and the St. Regis Aspen Resort)

What were the most unique hotel trends of 2012? Farm-to-spa features? Day-use hotels? Innovation was key for hoteliers last year. Some of the most unique trends, according to this Fodor's article, included:

  • Farm-to-Spa Treatments—Made popular by the food industry, farm-to-table cooking emphasizes freshly sourced ingredients that are used in the preparation of meals. Last year, hotels took this idea a step further, offering these same ingredients as part of their spa treatments. The St. Regis Aspen Resort introduced its "farm-to-massage table," which pairs treatments with food service. Farm-fresh facial, anyone?
  • Pop-Up Hotels—These types of hotels became popular during the London Olympics, when game-goers needed temporary lodging close to the stadiums. They have high standards but are able to break down in a flash. Look for them this year at festivals like Glastonbury and the Tour of Wessex in the English countryside.