PORTLAND, Ore. – Portlanders know it as a great place to catch a movie on the cheap, a pint of Ruby, and maybe a quick dip in the salt-water soaking pool.
But a national travel company, TripAdvisor, thinks McMenamin's Kennedy School is the quirkiest place to stay in the nation.
The converted grade school, refit by the McMenamin's brothers in the quirky, hippie style of many of their other 50-plus establishments, features over 30 former classrooms converted to comfortable suites – but the chalkboards and other schoolhouse charm remains.
The establishment is like an enclosed eco-system of fun: travelers can check in and spend time catching movies on the cheap, drinking in one of several bars in the building, eat all their meals at the restaurant, smoke cigars, peruse the extensive art and photos on the walls, get a soak and then maybe attend a function, such as a class reunion, all on the same premises.
“Quirky appears to be ‘in’ in 2010, with these off-beat properties among the most beloved by our members,” said Christine Petersen, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor in a press release. “From uniquely themed villas to wacky dog-shaped inns, these odd accommodations can be a really fun way to spice up a vacation.”
TripAdvisor's list includes odd lodgings from all over the nation.
Full press release from TripAdvisor:
NEWTON, Mass. – April 1, 2010 –TripAdvisor®, the world’s most popular and largest travel community, today announced its quirkiest U.S. accommodations, according to TripAdvisor editors and travelers. From sharing a bedroom with King Tut to waking up among tigers, these properties offer truly unique places to stay. And TripAdvisor travelers seem to enjoy a little “quirk” with their lodging: 76 percent who described a hotel as “quirky” also rated it either 4 or 5 (out of 5) on tripadvisor.com.
1. Not Too Cool for School: McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland, Oregon – Avg. Nightly Rate: $104
Catching some Zs in class was previously frowned upon, but no longer: guests are encouraged to snooze and relax at this elementary school-turned-quirky hotel where the guestrooms were once classrooms – still complete with chalkboards today – and the auditorium is now a movie theater. And at an average of $104 a night, it’s an inexpensive education. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, “This ‘hotel,’ if you can call it that, is the perfect experience while in Portland…We had so much fun roaming the hallways and exploring the premises.”
2. Railway Relaxation: Forget-Me-Not Lodge and the Aurora Express, Fairbanks, Alaska – Avg. Nightly Rate: $117
Forget you won’t after a night spent in a restored Alaska Railroad car with views out over Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Alaska Mountain Range. Completely authentic, one was even a hospital car from World War II. One TripAdvisor traveler said, “Getting to see and sleep in a real car was a great experience. It was also nice to have an entire railroad car to ourselves!”
3. Two Dog Night: Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho – Avg. Nightly Rate: $88
Man’s best friend becomes traveler’s best friend at this very unconventional Idaho inn where not only is the entire building shaped like a giant dog, but carved dog statues made by the owner, a headboard covered in carved dogs, and plenty of real furry friends all make this a truly canine-oriented lodging treat. One TripAdvisor traveler said, “The head is a loft bedroom filled with games, the body is another bedroom and bathroom, and you're the only ones in it!”
4. Caving Inn: Kokopelli Cave Bed and Breakfast, Farmington, New Mexico – Avg. Nightly Rate: $240
No dank, dark quarters here – in this unique sandstone lair carved out of the side of a cliff, travelers can have their cave and heat it, too: the earthy atmosphere is paired with warm, inviting accommodations and the luxuries of home. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, “Seriously, how neat is it to stay in a cave? A really PLUSH cave with all of the amenities.”
5. Theme Scene: Victorian Mansion at Los Alamos, Los Alamos, California – Avg. Nightly Rate: $293
The eccentric suites at the Victorian Mansion at Los Alamos range from “Gypsy” to “Pirate” to “Fifties” themes. Adorning the Egyptian Suite are Persian rugs, images of the desert, and even a life-size sarcophagus of King Tut himself, hiding a surprise for guests. One TripAdvisor traveler recalled, “I laughed every time I pulled King Tut's beard to open the hidden bathroom.”
6. Cats’ Cradle: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs, Arkansas – Avg. Nightly Rate: $87
Lions and bobcats and cougars, oh my! Not for the faint of heart, Turpentine Creek gives travelers the chance to get up close and personal with nature’s big cats. The animals are housed in enclosures right outside several of the rooms, giving travelers access to incredible sights…and sounds! As one TripAdvisor traveler recalled, “Hearing the cats roar at night is something you just can't find elsewhere!”
7. Tent-alizing: Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, Arizona – Avg. Nightly Rate: $51
“Have you slept in a Wigwam lately?” asks the Wigwam Motel’s front sign, enticing travelers to spend a quirky but comfortable night in one of the motel’s Wigwams along Route 66. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, “To add to the authenticity, in front of every wigwam sits a different historic automobile. It was a great experience which provided us with a unique and lasting memory!”
8. On the Bandwagon: Adobe Grand Villas, Sedona, Arizona – Avg. Nightly Rate: $512
Travelers nostalgic for the Wild West will enjoy sleeping in a covered wooden wagon in the Wagon Wheel Villa, or enjoying the enormous and aptly-named Hacienda Villa, complete with whirlpool tub beside a terracotta fireplace. To top it off, this quirky accommodation has breadmakers in each of its 15 unique, historical villas. One TripAdvisor traveler recalled, “We stayed in the French Quarters… the room looks like you stepped into a little French town.”
9. Dell-ectable Fifties: Shady Dell RV Park, Bisbee, Arizona – Avg. Nightly Rate: $92
In Bisbee, Arizona, there are nine small places where the ‘50s are alive and kickin’ – nine vintage travel trailers outfitted to look like an authentic ‘50s diner, a “Polynesian Palace,” a yacht, and more. With LPs spinning on the old record player and lawn flamingos out the door, this property turns back the clock. One TripAdvisor traveler said, “What a fabulous and funky step back in time… blonde wood paneling and deco-style lights, phonograph with vintage records, black-and-white TV and retro horror flicks.”
10. Tree-top Stop: Winvian, Morris, Connecticut – Avg. Nightly Rate: $1,700
A night spent in a true treehouse? Sleeping in a 17,000-pound restored U.S. Coast Guard helicopter? Travelers can do either at this property nestled in the Connecticut countryside, home to a total of 18 whimsical cottages designed by innovative architects. One TripAdvisor traveler said, “Next door was the ‘Helicopter’ cottage, with a vintage Sakorsky helicopter in the room. Incredible.”
“Quirky appears to be ‘in’ in 2010, with these off-beat properties among the most beloved by our members,” said Christine Petersen, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “From uniquely themed villas to wacky dog-shaped inns, these odd accommodations can be a really fun way to spice up a vacation.”