Coming from a middle-class family with 3 kids, we traveled – but on a budget. Most of the trips we took were road trips involving hours of driving and the accommodations meant cramming into one room with us kids sprawled on the floor. I remember one time I had to open the closet door to make enough room for my head when I was sleeping on the floor.
I was well into my 30’s when I experienced the luxury of 5-star hotels. Then I realized that the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons are great, but cookie cutter. I have experienced the highs and lows of many accommodations in the past 5 years, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind and I recommend.
Air Stream in Marfa
Marfa is a small art community in West Texas developed by the artist Donald Judd. I went in November and despite the fact that it will get more than freezing at night, I picked El Cosmico. El Cosmico has tents, yurts, air streams, and camping ground where you can bring your own tents. I was told by the check-in clerk that Beyonce stayed in the air stream I booked. The decor was trailer chic, equipped with Mexican fabric robe, bullhorns, and Pabst beer in the freezer to complete the Americana vibe. I met a hipster couple from Brooklyn who stayed in the tents and was very glad that I picked the Air Stream. They were freezing despite the fireplace in their tent. El Cosmico was a trip.. a great one.
Tree House in Bilbao
I was so excited for this tree house that I rushed coming downstairs with socks on, slipped and fell on my tailbone. I thought for sure I have shattered it, but after laying down for few hours and visiting my chiropractor, I was on my way to the tree house.
In the middle of nowhere in the forest is Cabanas Arboles. They will give you GPS coordinates for you to find it. They have 5 Cabanas, each one all little different. They also have Gypsie wagons, but they’re not as cool as the Cabanas and have a shared bathroom situation.
My tree house was equipped with 2 queen size beds, a fireplace, and a bathroom perched above a tree. It was mating season for the deer and I was told to look out for them at night. I didn’t see any animals but found the rows and rows of straight trees serene and tranquil.
My favorite part was at 9 am when breakfast arrived in a basket and I wheeled it up to the top to find coffee in a thermos, orange juice, bread, and fruit.
The only thing that might set off a glamping crew is the bathroom flush is done with wood chips. Just make sure to use enough wood chips to hide your purge.
The second time I went to Bali, I decided to venture to Ubud. Ubud is on the jungle side of Bali and it brings fewer tourists. Most of my ex-pat friends who live in Bali live in Ubud, away from the Australian tourists who come to a party in Canggu or Seminak.
Hanging Gardens, a 5 star hotel, is perched on the steep jungle hill of Ubud. It consists of individual villas. The hill is so steep that you have to take cable cars to go up and down.
I walked into the villa to find mischievous monkeys running up and down our terrace and roof. You get your own private dipping pool and terrace as well. But the highlight is the infinity pool that runs for 2 floors and it’s grammed a lot. It really is like another world in the pool.
Buubbles in Iceland
I have been to Iceland 2 times – once in the winter and another time in the summer. Both times, I stayed in the Buubble for one night. It’s a pretty amazing accommodation. There are only 5 bubbles in the middle of farmland near the Golden circle. Once you book, they will give you coordinates to get to the bubbles, unless you sign up for a tour with the bubble as your accommodations.
I think a picture tells a thousand words of this experience. Each bubble is equipped with a heater and a bed. Bathrooms and showers are in a separate compound, but laying down and watching the stars and sunrise from the bed was an incredible experience.
This was also a hit with kids!