unique travel experiences

Month: September 2016

That new hotel room smell

That lovely feeling of finally opening your hotel door after hours and hours of travelling, dropping your suitcase on the floor and then falling back onto the king-sized bed with its lovingly made duvet and freshly laundered sheets. But imagine doing all that in a hotel room that’s never been slept in before, or better still in a hotel that’s never had any guests in it before, and then better still in New York City! That’s what it was like when I spent 3-4 nights in the INNside New York NoMad hotel on its first day of opening.

A lovely welcome from the INNside general manager

A lovely welcome from the INNside general manager

So how this actually happen? Well I hadn’t intentionally sought out new hotels in NYC, but instead had been invited their through work to present to a team of US salespeople. It just so happened that our conference was to be in this newly opened hotel. The employees behind the desk in reception were just as happy to be there as I was as it was their first day in the hotel too. There were double the number of people behind the desk that were actually needed, but it looked like everybody was learning the ropes and keen to be out on the shop floor, together with all levels of the hotel’s management. It’s not common that you see the staff to be equally as enthused as their guests.

My room's first guest ... after I'd ruffled up the duvet slightly

My room’s first guest … me … after I’d ruffled up the duvet slightly

Everything was so “spick and span” and shiny new that workers were still positioning the pot plants in the outside foyer and tweaking the sensors for the reception’s sliding doors. We all love that “new car smell” but this was the first time I’d experienced a “new hotel smell”!


Ths finishing touches being made to the foyer

Once in the hotel room, after experiencing the “new lift smell’, I began to think OK – so in this room I’ll be the first person to use the ironing board, the first person to use the hairdryer, the first person so open the curtains and stare longingly at the Empire State Building diagonally opposite … the first person to use the bathroom …probably the first person to use the toilet?

Room with an empire view!

Room with an empire view!

Definitely the first person to use the shower with its freshly stocked Sampar toiletries. Talking of which, post inaugural shower, I cocooned myself in the softest, fluffiest towels I’ve ever had the good fortune to use before relaxing and watching the news on the crystal clear “new” TV.

First use of the bathroom and shower

First use of the bathroom and shower

During the week I visited the gym and no doubt was the first guest to use the treadmill too.


I gave one of the treadmills a test run too

The INNside hotel is right slap bang in the middle of the Garment District (27th street) and made an ideal base for our company conference and post work to head N, S, E and W to easily get to all the cool parts of Manhattan. It’s only 6 months old now so I’m sure there’s still a bit of “new hotel smell” left for you to sample, and it’s somewhere where I’d quite happily return whenever I get the chance to go to New York City again 🙂

More information on the INNside Hotel website or check them out on Twitter.

The elevator foyers make for a perfect Instagram opportunity

The elevator foyers make for a perfect Instagram opportunity

Document your travels through place name photos

It was while in Shanghai, just a few days into my 6 months “rite of passage” from China via SE Asia to New Zealand, I decided to make a “rod for my own back” and take of photo of me and the name of every place I was in at the time. Fairly simple to do you would think, but road signs weren’t always easy to find, names of the city/town/village were sometimes perched too high up, or in a few smaller places seemingly didn’t exist. This all lead to occasional and unnecessary exploring, much to the frustration of my patient travelling companions.

During my half a year adventure I had photos taken with anything from restaurant signs to tarpaulin banners, fountain artworks to t-shirts, maps, baggage carousels, bus stops, tuk-tuks, trams and railway station platform signs.

I went to at least 49 places as I traversed the 7 countries inbetween China and New Zealand which conveniently fitted neatly into a 7×7 square grid. So this is what I ultimately came up with after all these images lay dormant on my laptop for the last 6 years.

My montage of place name photos

My montage of place name photos – BIG VERSION

…and my top three photos?

Queenstown Mall. A rare occasion. A big sign at knee level

Queenstown Mall. A rare occasion. A big sign at knee level

Manly Wharf in Australia

Manly Wharf in Australia wearing the ubiqutious ‘Laos tubing’ t-shirt

Tanned with traveller hair in Thailand's Aonang

Tanned, skinnier with an attempt at traveller hair in Thailand’s Aonang

Was it all worth it? Probably not. But I could always make a canvas print in the future for my dining room wall or simply use it to create a new Twitter header instead. 🙂

My place names cover shot

My place names Twitter header shot



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