Superb food and service at this grand old dame of Waikiki are what you get when you enter here. The location of the beachouse just adds to the occasion. This is dining out in Hawaii at its finest. Cheap it is not but it is worth it!
Beachside of the lobby of the Moana Surfrider Hotel -
2365 KALAKAUA AVE • (808)923-2861
Big Burgers? yes
Big Cheeseburgers? yes
Big bowls of chips? yes
Onion rings? yes
Never ending glasses of Coke? yes
If you are hungry when you go upstairs to the latest Cheeseburger restaurant in the Hawaiian Islands, you won't be when you leave!
Upstairs in the new Beachwalk area in Lewers St, Waikiki a few steps beachside of the Kalakaua/Lewers Intersection (entry via the escalators)
Waikiki has to be one of the ultimate tourist destinations on the planet.
Famous for its beach, Waikiki today has an eclectic mixture of stuff for tourists to do - walking, viewing, eating, drinking, shopping, watching the world go by. The traffic is slow, the retail experience is very good, the nights are warm and there are lots of places to get something to eat or drink. Sit on the beach, ride a scooter (no helmet required), go to Kuhio Park or climb Diamond Head, view the statues or stroll Kalakaua Ave. Basically go to Waikiki
The Bay Area has numerous beautiful panoramas to appeal to even the most cynical visitor, but Indian Rock in Albany, next to Berkeley, offers perhaps the most spectacular views of the Bay - in fact, the views are up there with the best in the world. Its location in the middle of leafy suburbia, far away from any other major tourist draws does make it something of an effort to get to. But it also means that, a few locals aside, you'll have the place pretty much to yourself a lot of the time. And believe me, it is worth the effort. Directly opposite the Golden Gate Bridge, the view from Indian Rock encompasses almost the entire Bay Area. The shimmering skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco, the gridiron of the East Bay (mesmerisingly illuminated at night), the waters of the Bay, the far-off glistening Pacific, the coastal mountains including the forest-clad hills of Marin County. A world-beating feast for the eyes that you can hardly believe. Come and witness the spectacular sunsets and have your breath taken away. The memories will last a lifetime.
A couple of miles north of downtown Berkeley, a car is the best way to get there, as it's more than half an hour's walk from North Berkeley or El Cerrito bart station. Indian Rock Park, 950 Indian Rock Ave, Albany, CA.
Cute little motel teepees in the middle of Kentucky. I always remember seeing this as a kid and thinking it was the most amazing place. It's near Cave City, home of Mammoth Cave, which is a quirky and kitschy place all in itself. The Wigwam Village is a unique bit of Kentucky history and I've never seen another place quite like it. Apparently, there's only three motels like this still standing in the U.S.
601 North Dixie Hwy
Cave City, Kentucky 42127
For me, Route 66 conjures up open roads, wide skies and roadside diners. But now, on the outskirts of San Bernardino, it's one dollar stores, bail bond businesses and liquor stores. But in the midst of this rather run-down neighbourhood, is the Wigwam motel, an encampment of concrete teepees, built in 1949. There is something truly amazing about your first glimpse of the green field full of 30-foot teepees, encircling a swimming pool and barbeque area, rather than a campfire. Our double room was large enough to encompass a sofa and TV area, as well as a bed. Good job that there was plenty of space, as the bed was almost 2 ft high so, short as I am, I needed to make a running jump to get into it! Tucked under the sloping back of the teepee, the bathroom is small and basic, perhaps a reflection of the different expectations of earlier customers. This is a motel out of time and out of place. Before you leave, search out the 'Do It In a Teepee!' sign at the back of the site.
2728 W. Foothill Blvd.
Rialto, CA 92376-5333
Affordable motel right on the Highway 101 Pacific Coast Highway. Beautiful setting right next to the sea - you can hear the waves breaking from your room. Perfect stopover when driving the Pacific Coast.
The Greenporter is an old-style US motel, just two hours from central Manhattan. The difference with this motel is that the central parking lot has been replaced by a beautiful swimming pool and hot tub (complimentary towels and loungers) and this motel has fine dining in the shape of La Cuvee Bar and Bistro, which offers locally-sourced food and a selection from the local Long Island vineyards (wine tours available).
Greenport, a historic seaport on the North Fork of Long Island, provides an excellent contrast to the hustle and bustle of NYC. You can drive (or better, hire a bike from Bike Stop on Front Street) and take the short ferry to Shelter Island, home to deer and secluded bays, then another short ferry to Sag Harbor on the South Fork, with its artsy shops and eateries.
Two minutes walk from the station or the bus station (the 'Hampton Jitney' takes you from Penn Station in air-conditioned comfort, with charming hostesses who provide complimentary drinks and snacks). Ample parking by the motel too.
326 Front Street
Greenport, NY 11944
phone: (631) 477-0066
fax: (631) 477-2317
Even though Montauk is part of the stylish (and absurdly expensive) Hamptons, the town is more Campbell's dry goods than Calvin Klein. Montauk is full of retro motels - 1950s mock-Tudor and Polynesian designs with whimsical names like Daunt's Albatross and Kenny's Tipperary.
But the most famous motel of all is the Memory Motel, which Mick Jagger immortalised in the 1976 Black and Blue album. The Stones often visited resident Andy Warhol, and they would hang out at the bar. The Memory was the only place around with a pool table and a piano. It seems that the owners weren’t pleased; they hated the Stones!
Still a little seedy, the Memory is only a block from the beach. Diners and a pizza place are only a short walk away. Today fans regularly pay homage, and it’s not unusual to spot a stretch limo parked in front.
692 Montauk Highway, Montauk, New York 11954 USA
(001) 631 668 2702
A deli serving a range of Kosher (non meat) food, including freshly baked bagels and other breads, traditional fillings, fried fish, pizza, salads, knishes and cakes. A small, very friendly, welcoming neighbourhood deli with generous portions at very reasonable prices and a varied clientele. An ideal breakfast spot.
393 Amsterdam Ave at West 79th, New York, NY 10024.
Nearest subway: 79th Street
The Madonna Inn is on Route 1, the spectacular Californian coastal highway, and is the most unusual wacky motel we found on it.
It has themed rooms that have to be seen to be believed and which are not sparing on detail, public toilets that are like waterfalls and staff who are dressed as if they have escaped from a Disney cartoon film.
The food in the restaurant is equally over the top and fantastic, and the next day you can travel up to Hearst castle for more surreal experiences.
If Dali had run a motel this would have been it!
100 Madonna Road
San Luis Obispo
805 543 3000
Vegas is a city that runs on tips. It's no different checking into your hotel, where a discreetly placed $20 bill - sandwich it between your photo ID and your credit card- will often earn you an upgrade.
FrontDeskTip.com ranks major Vegas hotels by how likely tipping the check-in clerk is to get you an upgrade, based on users' field reports.
Situated on a bluff overlooking a lovely bay, The Castaway is the most westerly motel in the continental US. All the rooms have excellent seaviews, some with sun porches. Next door is a lodge, owned by the same people, that can accomodate 2-10 people, on over 7 acres of grounds.
The historic Cape Blanco Lighthouse is nearby, with one of several cedar-framed beaches to walk for miles on with only your own footprints to keep you company. The Sixes and Elk Rivers are known for their trout and salmon fishing. Shops, charming art galleries, and excellent restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel
Named after singer/songwriter Gram Parsons, this quaint bed and breakfast in Tampa is as kitsch as they come.
A favourite with troubadours and travelling musicians looking for a kooky stop-off on the road, the hippy-trippy owner insists you call an hour before arrival so he can give you a proper welcome.
Housed in two cutesy cottages, each room has its own musical theme and a comment book so guests can add decorating tips. My favourite touches are the real musical instruments that line the walls, and cassette player and book to teach you about your room’s style of music.
You can take your pick from a full score of ‘genres’ from Country Music to the Blues Room, or upgrade to the ‘Adventure Room’, a stand alone cabin-cum-tree-house with a skylight for star-gazing.
Let the novelty continue with a night in the Train Room – a sleeper car that has been converted into a co-ed dorm, or rustle up some grub in the ‘I Love Lucy’ Kitchen.
More dive bar than the Hard Rock Hotel, there’s a BYOB ‘Parson’s Pub’ where cats laze around on the veranda and strains of folk and reggae fill the air.
Wannabe rock-stars can spend an evening in the playboy-grotto-esque Jacuzzi, surrounded by an overgrown garden of waterfalls, palm trees and vines.
The Austin Motel has quirky themed rooms - for instance we stayed in the Mexican Room with kitschy cactus plants and colourful walls. It's a fabulous location so once you park up you can walk to most places - ideal as Austin has a great bar scene with live music on every night. It has a 50's style kidney shaped pool if you are there in the summer to cool down in. For breakfast I recommend El Sol y La Luna
This 1950s-style motel near Palm Springs is an oasis of kitsch in a desert of indulgence. Whichever hot tub you choose - warm, hot, natural mineral, indoor or outdoor - you'll be mesmerised by palm trees and snow-capped mountains, not to mention the vibrant carpet of AstroTurf.
The Ma Ha Yah Lodge is ideally situated to provide sanctuary for visitors of Palm Springs, the incredible Joshua Tree National Park, and in particular, the Coachella Music and Arts festival hosted in the near by polo fields.
68111 Calle Las Tiendas, CA 92240
Big Bend national park was a real eye opener, pretty far from the beaten track and despite its beauty, relatively unknown. Real John Wayne country with a single access road through a wide rift valley. Smoking volcanoes to your left, mountain lions in the distance, cowboy cacti all along the way. Stunningly beautiful, remote and there on the Mexican border near the bottom of the 'bend' is a real oddity... the small town of Lajitas. This is not the place you'd expect to find a town where the mayor is an elected goat (apparently the other candidate was so unpopular they jokingly elected a goat in his place) and the President plays golf at an exclusive, lush green private club.
Loads to do including Kayaking, horse riding, exploring, climbing, camping... an amazing experience that you'll never forget, I'd recommend to anyone and everyone.
It is said that New Yorkers are a driven lot, but a large percentage of us are driven because we do not know how to drive. There is no need in this city to operate a car - there is excellent public transport at half the price of London. And yet New Yorkers are among the best-travelled people in the world. Sometimes we hire a car and driver, but our independent and sociable natures often inspire us to do what the locals do.
I am a regular visitor to Los Angeles and have figured out how to enjoy much of the area without a car. For a first-time or repeat visitor, my advice is to base yourself in Santa Monica. It has much of the iconic LA topography: sunsets on the Pacific Ocean; a sandy beach full of people who are in much too good condition; wandering “street” characters of every stripe; the occasional movie star sighting; one of the best outdoor food markets in America; superb restaurants; and, above all, the sense that this could not be anywhere else in the world but the LA we envision. All that is missing is Disneyland and that can be reached if one must.
My hotel of choice is the Georgian. It dates back to the 1930s and was preferred by more than a few movie stars for a romantic getaway. The building retains its elegant old bones but has been smartly updated. There are delicious breakfasts based on local ingredients, bracing ocean air, and those sunsets. The elegant Merigot hotel is another choice and its Cezanne restaurant offers many dishes based on local ingredients. I love the fish dishes there. Within three blocks of the Georgian Hotel are at least 50 restaurants, cinemas with 12 screens showing the latest hits and important independent films, and even a pub popular with British ex-pats. It is right across the street from the ocean and I would try to get in a swim every day.
You can rent a bicycle and cover a lot of local terrain. Santa Monica also has a superb local bus system as well as limited-stop long distance buses that go to Beverly Hills and downtown LA. Selective use of taxis can take you places where buses do not reach. The two I would recommend are both part of the J. Paul Getty Museum (www.getty.edu/museum), for which reservations are required to attend. The Getty Villa, straight up the Pacific Coast Highway, holds a superb collection of Greco-Roman art in an idyllic setting. It is a short trip from the Georgian Hotel. A bit further, and probably the most expensive transport (about $40) you will incur, is the Getty Museum, an omnium gatherum of paintings, sculpture, drawings and photographs. The Getty has one of the best educational initiatives of any museum in America. It also has good eating facilities, so I tend to make the visit a full day.
And what do I do if I need or want to go further afield? New Yorkers are resourceful and also friendly. I tend to befriend residents of LA, almost all of whom own a car and are willing to give me a lift. In exchange, I invite them for drinks on the terrace of the Georgian just in time for sunset over the Pacific.
Georgian Hotel: 1415 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Tel: 1-310/395-9945 Fax: 1-310/451-3374
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