Modern Nomad is a weekly column dedicated to mobile gear, must-see world destinations, tips for life on the road, and traveling better through technology.
It’s no longer enough for hotels to simply provide a place for guests to lay their head. In the last decade alone, hotel designers have seriously upped their game and, these days, there’s no shortage of unique accommodations around the world. But some designer properties provide legitimate fine art installations with a built-in place to crash. Here are just three of our favorites:
As one of the world’s boldest, most forward-thinking, most creative cities, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam plays host to an art installation hotel. The so-called “art-sleep-experience” UrbanCampsite is a collection of beautiful, bizarre, and modern “campsites” designed first and foremost as works of art that provide barebones accommodations reminiscent of a typical campground. Each unit provides a sleep area (to accommodate two to four adults), copious windows to allow for ample natural light, and … not much else. Together, the units form a single, mobile campground collective that travels every few months to underused and unexpected parts of the city.
The Lightning Field (New Mexico)
Nearly forty years ago, American sculptor Walter De Maria designed the now-famous The Lightning Field. The curious and fascinating installation was established in the rural New Mexican desert as a one-mile by one-kilometer square grid array of twenty-foot-tall, polished stainless steel poles spaced a precise distance apart. The sheer size and vastness of the installation is striking, humbling, and eerily beautiful. While many visitors explore the space only during sunrise and sunset, the installation was intended to be experienced over long periods of time. For this reason, overnight onsite stays are available via a single, rustic cabin from May to October. Be sure to book well in advance though as the field fills to capacity every year.
Propeller Island City Lodge (Berlin)
Berlin embraces pop art perhaps better and more fully than any city in the world. Enter Propeller Island City Lodge — a 30-room hotel self-described as a “habitable work of art”. Where most theme hotels reek of haphazard kitchiness that feels forced and overdone, Propeller Island exudes a commitment to bizarre, art-inspired accommodations that’s somehow far more authentic. It just feels downright weird. From grandma’s house, to a log cabin, to a lion’s den, to sleeping in a coffin, there’s an overnight experience here for almost any traveler.