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Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Mad Men Takes a HoJo To Go


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Did any of you feel a wave of nostalgia for a Howard Johnson’s road trip stop while watching Mad Men last night? I kept thinking of my family driving from Ohio to Cape Cod in the family truckster (a tan Ford station wagon with wood paneling and flip up seats in the way-back) and stopping for a hot dog and an ice cream cone. The bright colors, light fixtures and even the waitress uniforms actually looked retro-fresh in last night’s episode.

Somehow, the combination of pot pies and orange sherbet leads to a devastating fight between Don and Megan, and he abandons her in a HoJo’s parking lot. How could he not, with that fabulous honeysuckle dress with matching chevron coat? It was made for a HoJo’s. Girlfriend even had on matching pink sunglasses. Tory Burch has got nothing on Megan’s costume designer.

Only that devilish cad Don Draper could make the iconic Howard Johnson’s roof look sexy.

Anyway, the wave of nostalgia made me want to look into the history of Howard Johnson’s. Because I’m lazy, most of this information was compiled via Wikipedia, so take it for what it’s worth.

Howard Deering Johnson opened drugstore in 1925, but soon realized that the soda fountain was the most profitable part.  He started tinkering with ice cream and the business changed direction toward becoming a restaurant that became known for fried clams.

In 1932 a second restaurant was opened, one of the first franchise deals in the U.S. The first motor lodge was opened in Savannah Georgia in 1954, and it was designed by architects Rufus Nims and Karl Koch. From there, in a nutshell, the business boomed and the motor lodges became known for their ubiquitous roadside advertisements:

In the 1960s and ’70s, there were over 1,000 HoJos across the United States and Canada.

There is a site completely dedicated to posting pictures of former HoJos, called

Then, new owners and more new owners and big changes, bland architecture and a new logo that’s no fun. The End.

Oh, P.S. Also, when you Google “Howard Johnson,” this guy is interspersed between all of the motel pictures. He’s a singer:

Images 1,2, 3 via

Image 4 via

Image 5 from Wikimedia Commons


Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

I Want to Go to Go to There: The Hezen Cave Hotel in Turkey


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

There are so many great places to stay when traveling, whether they be easy on the wallet, easy on the eyes or easy on our backs as we enjoy a relaxing massage. I’m going to make more of an effort to share lodging that’s full of great design with you as it crosses my path. In honor of Liz Lemon, we’re going to christen this column “I Want to Go to There.” Sadly, this amazing hotel did not cross my literal path, but rather entered my life via an email from, which is always full of tempting trips I wish I could take.

Forget the bat cave, this hotel was formerly a house of bedrooms, carved out of a cave in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Common areas even have wi-fi, though unless you are booking a local hot air balloon ride online, being on your laptop at a place as beautiful as this should be a crime.

Turkish interior designer superstar Halide Didem designed the beautiful and exotic rooms. She layered bright colors, luxe fabrics, metallic finishes and exotic shapes atop neutral and natural base of textures, a design lesson we can all take a note from.

Beautiful terraces give guests a chance to soak in the views from a luxurious perch.

Cave bedrooms are a combination of rough-hewn walls that form a cozy room with sumptuous linens; the perfect combination for a great night’s sleep.

Are there any areas or hotels on your dream trip list? Please let us know about them in the comments section!

All images from Hezen Cave Hotel


Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Hotel High Design


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Let’s face it, we’ve all seen so many cleverly decorated boutique hotels that it takes a lot to catch attention lately, doesn’t it? I mean, we’ve seen everything from Beetlejuice looking B&Bs to crack den chic (a certain Manhattan too-cool-for-school joint, I’m talking to you). However, as I caught up on my magazines with an old issue of W the other day, a tiny picture from “August’s Most Wanted” caught my eye (yes, I am that far behind on my glossies). It was a shot of a bedroom from the c/o Maidstone East Hampton. Let’s enjoy some fresh eye candy from their Swedish icon designed rooms (inspirations range from Eero Saarinen to Birgit Nillson the soprano, not to be confused with Brigitte Nielsen, known for Red Sonya and Flavor Flav reality shows):

The decor inside this lovely classic in are very unexpected:

Pssst, if you like that chair from The Vernor Panton-inspired room, we have it for sale here.

This joint is also extremely dog-friendly.

They also have Kronan bicycles ready to lend out to all of their guests. I suppose you could put your tiny dog in the basket and pretend he’s Toto. By the way, that would make you Dorothy.

They’ve also done their best to remain energy-efficient, from nixing the bottled waters to serving organic food in the restaurant.

Color me refreshed.

All images via c/o Maidstone.


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Flickr Faves of the Week: Hotel OTTO in Berlin


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This week a group of images in our Fresh New Spaces Group on Flickr caught my attention. They were the minimalist spaces from a boutique hotel in Berlin called Hotel OTTO. Here, the neutral color palette and restrained furnishings let you enjoy the view, the photography and the warm hardwood floors:

Schöne Aussicht von der Frühstücks Lounge im Hotel Otto in Charlottenburg

This simple bedroom contains lots of space saving tips, including using thin but colorful upholstered canvases in lieu of a clunky headboard, and utilizing swing arm sconces to save nightstand space (and of course, when you don’t have room to cram in a nightstand, these are a great solution as well).

Moderne Zimmer im Hotel Otto in der Nähe der Oper Berlin

The palette is kept very simple, letting this iconic Eames fabric get the attention it deserves:

Zimmer im Boutique Hotel Otto in der Nähe vom Savignyplatz in Berlin

However, if a subtle blue, gray and black palette is not for you, they’ve got some electric preppy pink and green options for you. Note the extra shelf on the nightstand, which is great for tucking away books, magazines, and even that annoying glow from a digital clock that can exacerbate an insomniac. They’ve also scooped up some of the floor space with this piece so that you can take some of that stuff out of your suitcase and really get comfortable:

Standard Zimmer im 4 Sterne Hotel Otto in der Nähe vom Kurfürstendamm

Daybed zum Entspannen im Boutique Hotel Otto am Savignyplatz

Thanks so much to Hotel OTTO for sharing these shots with the group! More information about Hotel OTTO


Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Flickr Faves on Friday: A New Hotel in Paris


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This week’s flickr fave is making me want to hop on a plane to Paris. It’s from the Hotel La Belle Juliet, and it looks like a good antidote to some of the boutique hotels gone wrong that seems to be proliferating the hospitality industry lately. I’m thinking of a place in NYC that’s a little too cool for me, where I kept expecting to see Sid Vicious on the floor with a needle sticking out of his arm (I’m not going to name names, but let’s say it’s name is also a good card to draw in Blackjack.).

Hôtel La Belle Juliette (photo ref 8995)

It looks like this Hotel will be opening just in time for New Year’s. The interior was designed by Anne Gelbard. For more information, click here.