Stay in style

Checking out the local art and architecture are popular activities when we travel. But where we choose to sleep? Those buildings can be a little “blah”. In recent years, companies are out to change all that, and many are blurring the boundary between modern art and modern amenities.

Recently, Budget Travel nominated some of the latest offerings for its 11 new hotel wonders. While these choices aren’t easy on the wallet per se, they do offer that little something extra: amazing views inside and out.

Here’s a look at some of the favourites to get you daydreaming:

Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

You don’t get much more secluded than this luxury lodge on Australia’s third largest island. Imagine pristine beaches, bush land as far as the eye can see and endless ocean — after all, there’s nothing between you and Antarctica. More than one third of the island is designated as a National Park or reserve, and “Australia’s Galapagos” is home to many species of flora and fauna

Perched atop the island’s famous limestone cliffs you’ll find the Southern Ocean Lodge, known as much for it’s chic décor and modern amenities as its stunning views. A private patio surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows offer a “wrap around” view from every room — even the bathroom. The lodge isn’t just for viewing nature, it seeks to work with it — like the rain water barrels which make the lodge self-sufficient most years and windows which allow for easier heating and cooling.

Don’t take our word for it — see for yourself:

While a stay includes a lot of amenities — including gourmet meals, handcrafted wine, and a selection of excursions — rates won’t come cheap. Prices start at $990 AUD (about $1035 CAD) per person per night with a minimum of a two night stay. Solo travellers can expect to pay a single supplement, but package rates are available for couples and for multi-night stays.

For more information visit the Southern Ocean Lodge website and Kangaroo Island Tourism.

Axis Viana Business & Spa Hotel, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Looking for a little contemporary style among some old world charm? Stacked layers made of steel and glass surprise visitors to the beautiful city of Viana do Castelo in Portugal’s north. The modern look is matched inside with sleek furniture and décor — not to mention picturesque views from its enormous windows.

The hotel is located just outside the city’s historic centre and isn’t too far from coast either. While you enjoy the folklore and tradition of the area, you can also take advantage of the hotel’s spa and wellness centre — including classy indoor and outdoor pools.

Here’s a quick peek:

Sound appealing? Luckily, a stay in this unique hotel won’t put a big dent your budget. Rooms are equipped with double or twin beds and typically run $78-159 CAD per night (special packages are promotions are available too.) 

For more information, visit Axis Hotels and Splendia Luxury and Character Hotels.

Hotel Consolación, Teruel, Spain

Though smaller than many modern accommodations, this unique hotel is a contradiction in styles. Its 14th century-inspired hillside hermitage has been renovated into stylish common areas for guests — including a lounge, restaurant and library. The Ermita Baroque Room offers 19th century inspired luxury with bright colours and fine linens.

However, the real claim to fame is the series of 10 freestanding “Kubes” nestled among the trees. Each one resembles a wooden box on three sides with a glass wall and sliding doors leading out to a private terrace. Inside, the furnishings are sparse but modern, with fireplaces that hang from the ceiling and sunken black slate tubs.

Though in Spanish, this video offers a selection of shots of the hotel and surroundings:

A stay in a Kube starts at 140 EUR (about $185 CAD) per night for singles and can range as high as 260 EUR ($342 CAD) for triple occupancy during holidays and weekends.

For more information, visit the Hotel Consolación website.

Bella Sky Comwell, Copenhagen, Denmark

Hotel or abstract sculpture? The leaning towers of black and white trapezoids make the Bella Sky a little of both. There are advantages to those angles: the hotel is designed so that as many rooms as possible have a view of the surrounding city. Located near the airport, the hotel offers easy access to bus and metro lines into the city.

Inside this “design hotel”, you may be hard pressed to find a square or rectangle — the hotel reputedly has over 200 different room shapes. From the architecture to the décor and furniture, these accommodations have a distinctly Scandinavian feel.

Another unique feature: the Bella Donna Floor. Designed specifically for the ladies — with input from some of the country’s most prominent women —  this floor features extra security measures, custom décor and additional amenities aimed to please.

What will a stay in this hotel cost you? Rates start at 790 DKK (about $140 Canadian) per person per night based on double occupancy.

For more information, visit the Bella Sky Comwell website.


Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

Want to enjoy the high life? The three glass towers of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel are almost as impressive as what is on top of them. Over 55 stories above ground, the one-hectare Skypark offers a 360-degree view of the city and connects the three towers. If you’re feeling daring, you can swim right up to the edge in the enormous Infinity Pool. If you prefer to keep a respectful distance, you’ll still enjoy the view from the sculptured gardens and observation decks.

Of course, the hotel is just part of the resort — you won’t have to go very far to enjoy amenities like live entertainment (think Broadway musicals) a museum, casino and shopping (think Louis Vuitton).

And, on special occasions, it’s also the site of base-jumping displays:

However, the high life does come with a high price tag — even the “low end” rooms here start at $400 USD  per night and range up to an impressive $1800 USD for premium suites. You have to be a guest of the hotel to use the Skypark and pool, but the public can purchase tickets to visit the observation deck.

For more information, see the Marina Bay Sands website.

A little too rich for your blood? Architectural marvels tend to come with steep rates — especially in cosmopolitan cities like Dubai. For those of us who aren’t big spenders, it’s still fun to look.

To view the full list and photos, see The Hotel World’s Most Striking Architecture on

Photo: Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino, Singapore © Dmitry Rukhlenko

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