Living a Frontier Dream on the Outskirts of China’s Capital by Andrew Jacobs [New York Times]
Welcome to “Hometown America,” as Jackson Hole is called in Chinese, a mammoth real-estate venture that is an exacting pastiche of an American frontier town, albeit one with a wine-tasting pavilion, a spa and security guards dressed as park rangers, who salute every passing car. Modest entry-level homes sell for $625,000. Larger abodes — described by Jackson Hole’s developers as castles — have an attached vineyard and fetch nearly $8 million. The developer, Ju Yi International, says that more than 90 percent of the 1,500 homes have already been sold. Occupying more than a square mile of arid land in northeast Hebei Province, Jackson Hole has plenty of room to expand.
About a year ago, the U.S. Justice department issued a memorandum allowing tribal nations to grow and sell marijuana. In June of this year, The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, located in South Dakota, announced plans to open a marijuana resort (See also). The tribe signed a contract with Colorado-based Monarch America to help them with the venture. A member of the tribe is creating a documentary of the process. The resort was slated to open on December 31, 2015. An extensive grow operation was underway to provide more than thirty strains of marijuana in a tightly-controlled environment. As of yesterday, all growth operations have ceased, the plants may have been destroyed, and the future of the Tribe's plans is uncertain.
The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus “Sochi used to be much prettier... These days crooks from Moscow come here to build and sell skyscrapers and apartments, although it used to be such a small, lovely town." via The New York Review of Books article on "Why Sochi"
Putin explicitly links the Games to the humiliations of the recent past: “There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it,” he said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude.” The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”
Trip Avisaargh - a tumblr collection of links the best (worst?) and most memorable reviews on the travel site Trip Advisor. Sales Pitches! Statues! Manager responses! (more!) It can't get worse! Mr. Toilet House! Bonny Old London! Palaces!
Grossinger's Hotel used to be one of the most popular resorts in the Catskill region of New York State. The resort served as a playing ground for the famous stars of the time like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Robinson. But, like most things, its popularity faded and by 1986 it closed its doors forever. It has remained abandoned ever since. (Buzzfeed, Now and Then photos)
Only in Japan, Real Men Go to a Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends: Dating-Simulation Game a Last Resort For Honeymoon Town and Its Lonely Guests. "Some devoted fans will go so far as to pay twice the rate—most hotels in Japan charge per guest not per room—to indulge the fantasy that they are not there alone. A night's stay, at most, can cost $500 though many rooms are cheaper. In Atami, the Love Plus+ fans—mostly men in their twenties and thirties—stand out. Unlike the deeply tanned beach crowd wearing very little, they are often pasty and overdressed for the heat in heavy jeans and button-down shirts." [more inside]
Canis Resort, the world's first luxury dog hotel, located in Freising, north of Munich, Germany. It opened for preview on December 9, 2008, and is to be opened to the public from December 15, 2008. The hotel can accommodate up to fourty-five dogs in nine heated dog lodges, with trained dogsitters offering full services including grooming, training, health care and exercise, twenty-four seven. Day care costs 65 euros, while an overnight stay costs 80 euros. The 20 trained dogsitters offer a seven-day, 24-hour full service for all guests. Check out these images.
It's Friday night, and us workaday schlubs deserve to fantasize about “an unconventional and extraordinary getaway,” don't we? Do you fancy an overnight stay in a 1968 decommissioned Coast Guard Sikorsky, pithily dubbed the Hotelicopter? Or maybe in the Treehouse, 35 feet off the ground and with a full bar? Winvian is a 113-acre resort in Connecticut's Litchfield Hills; dotting the grounds are eighteen cottages in whimsical themes. Like, an artist's studio, complete with blank canvas, watercolors and oils, just in case inspiration strikes. And a tomb-like structure named "The Secret Society" -- an homage to Yale's Skull and Bones temple (most of the 14 architects that designed the hotel's cottages are Yale alums). Win Smith Jr., the former Merrill Lynch exec and owner of Vermont ski spot Sugarbush, built the resort on his family's property to save it from becoming a high-rise development. No shortage of luxury-travel reviewers are salivating over Smith's "experiential retreat," just opened this spring. A daily rate starting at $1450 includes the continental breakfast nook, full breakfast, lunch, picnics, spa snacks, afternoon tea, cocktails, dinner, and after dinner petit-fours. The main building is a restored 1775 colonial with a cigar-and-brandy lounge, art gallery, and 130-variety wine cellar... and also boasts an appropriately gothic backstory. Who needs to pay the rent, anyway?
Sundance is a little ski resort about twenty minutes up the road from me... it's quiet during the winter, and a great date in the summer ...and aside from it's eponymous (and off-site) film festival, who would have guessed that it was so famous? Do you have any local favorites in your neck of the woods... places that are surprising local hotspots (a la "a prophet in his own country")?