Designer Vacation spots?

A couple of months ago I had a slow week at work and my wife and I took a last minute trip to Palm Springs. We co-wrote a piece for c77 about it:

But I was wondering what are some spots some of you like to go on vacation? I’m always trying to keep a running list of spots.

Are you looking for simply vacation spots, or spots that have “designery things” to visit, etc?

Semi-designery (more for its inspirational value):
Tanzania, Africa would be the highest on my list…I did 3 .5 weeks: 1 week safari, 1 week Kilimanjaro, 1 week Zazibar lying on the whitest, softest, most deserted beaches I have ever witnessed.

A place I would be happy NOT going back to:
Cannes, France - Maybe its because I was there in February for the 3GSM show so there were thousands of business people leeching around…but I found it no where near the paradise I expected it to be. That and you simply can not escape the cigarette smoke…its everywhere.

spots that have “designerly things” to visit, etc

the last thing on my mind when I want to decompress …

Bean Blossom, and Gnaw Bone, Indiana come to mind if you want to take a step back; Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River, is another. Petosky, and Grand traverse Bay, Michigan. Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. Zaca Lake, California (but I’m not going to tell you where this place is (it’s mine :wink: )).

Where did you stay at in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania?

We based both the safari and Kili out of Moshi…which I liked a bit more than had we stayed in Arusha. Although Arusha is a bit closer to the Safari routes. We stayed in the Springlands Hotel which I would recommend highly.

We did the Marangu Route (aka the Coca Cola Route). We didn’t make it to the top b/c my wife got a nasty case of altitude sickness.

Both I suppose.

For me, I like to go to a designerly resort hotel, and hang out by the pool for a week… I don’t need much, a couple of great restaurants, some good bars, maybe a museum or too, a snobby over-priced coffee shop, some good boutiques, and a great book… not much at all…

Having written the piece, I guess I was just curious what other people like to do.

Last year we did a few western road trips, and these places stood out:

Palm Springs CA: Korakia resort
Telluride CO
Big Sur CA: Ventana resort
Sedona AZ

After reading your article (which I didn’t read before sorry)…

I have to admit, I have never gone on vacation in order to look at architechture, or to take on designerly sites. It might have something to do with the fact that I have never dated, let alone married, someone with that interest.

That said, I don’t go away and not any inspiration from my surroundings. As I have already said, Africa had the biggest influence on my life and my design approach as any one trip or event could.

A road trip to the Grand Canyon was absolutely amazing. Yosemite was right up there as well.

I suppose I tend to try and get away and get inspired/reminded about how small I am. Standing under a giant redwood, on the edge of the Grand Canyon, or flying/travelling for 24 hours straight to get to a place that is 1/2 way around the world reminds me how small and insignificant I am. But inspired by the fact that an idea from one person can change or influence the world.

That’s what seems to recharge my batteries.

Right in your backyard (Yo’s backyard that is) is another one of my favorites, Mount Saint Helens. Its hard to look at it and not feel small. The lava tubes are way cool as well.

Favorites in Southeast Asia (a few miles West of Palm Springs):

Ko Lanta, Thailand: Stay at Costa Lanta, bring a book and a camera to do some architectural photography of their minimalist cube bungalows and simple landscaping next to an expansive beach

Penang/Georgetown, Malaysia:A grand old island city fading in the tropical sun and rain, what Hong Kong and Singapore once were. Colonial, shophouse, and art deco architecture can keep you gawking and wandering for days, add great food, reasonable prices, history

Hue, Vietnam: Another faded gem undergoing a long renovation, great old grid system and canals for walking/cyclo-ing the old city. Once the royal capital and perhaps the populace and food still reflect a bit of that almost lost refinement. A cheap, low-key place to spend a couple days or add some historical day trips nearby. (Or choose Hoi An: in better/renovated condition, but on the beaten path)

Singapore: Say what you will, but if you are interested in designer hotels (The Majestic, 1929, Gallery), swimming pools, great restaurants (from basic food court to brand identity obsessed cafes to pricey and indulgent at the Paragon or Esplanade), museums (try Asian Civilisations museum on the river), cool coffee shops (or tea!), and endless shopping, then Singapore is a good visit on your way to the above places. (Bangkok may also work on these criteria, if you prefer a more energetic/reckless/chaotic/polluted mood.)

When I was in the US I found no better place to recharge than Costa Rica. The best place to wilt into oblivion is the Tabacon Hot Springs resort next to an active volcano

Still hunting for something this relaxing in Asia.

Tokyo is unbelievable. I stayed in Ginza at the Daichi Annex hotel last November. That city is soo huge. If you like architechture, design, good food, culture, shopping, landmarks, walking and trekking, I recommend this place.

when i lived in MI, i went to petosky and charlevoix a lot.

when i was in NC, i went to the mountains to experience the culture and the surroundings. Ashville is a nice “designer” getaway. lots of artists in the mountains around there.

now that i’m in CA, i goto the desert. the wind forms some really inspiring forms and the scale of space out there is mind-warping.

generally, though, i just like to drive hard through some twisty roads in the early morning. spacial relationships and the interaction with the car and road seems to really relax my brain.

i’m not into resorts. i always feel out of place. the best overseas vactions happened when i was able to blend in without people knowing i was american.

Kung Fu Jesus,

Sounds like we lived in many of the same places. In Michgan I used to drive my motorcycle up to Sleeping Bear Dunes. In North Carolina I agree that Asheville is great.

I am also someone who does not normally like resorts and prefers the blending in, but the Tabacon is an exception.

I would like to do Africa but for a reasonable price for maybe a week and a half or closer to two. Tanzania sounds cool. I saw a flight there for 1,170ish not w/hotel and sight seeing safari tour. For two would probably run you around 4-5K on the lean side. Does this sound accurate?

Prices have definitely gone up since 2001…almost double, in fact.

Here’s the price list for the hotel I stayed in:

Also look into a flight into Nairobi. You can take an 8 hour bus from Nairobi to Moshi. Springlands hotel will arrange it all for you. Just email them.

If you do Kili…don’t forget to request Godlisten Mkonyi…amazing guide. And also request David Moshi to be on your Safari team.

I just got home from a trip all around europe. 11 cities in 4 weeks. Some places that stood out from a designers point of view was definetly barcelona, spain and the netherlands.
The dutch just get it.
In Amsterdam, the cohesiveness of the different modes of transporation was the biggest shock for me. Bicycles, cars, buses, trams and metros working together seemlessly to get people around town. I loved how everyone rode a bike. Eindhoven, a European design capital, was obviously a wonderful place to see great design. Rotterdam, Holland’s architecture capital, was full of beautiful buildings, bridges and public spaces.
Barcelona was another city full of amazing architecture and design. With a major influence from modernism and Antonio Gaudi, the city was packed with fun areas to explore and beautiful buildings to see.
Both countries also stood out in the way their citizens went about their daily lives. Everyone was so happy! It sounds cheesy, but I’ve never been surrounded by so many people who were so in love with life.

How do you guys/gals afford these trips? Also, how do you get the time off? I’m lucky if I can get a 3 day weekend every four months. I have the base two weeks (10 days) plus two floating holidays to use at my company. When I request time off my boss goes nuts. I’m the only designer, which might be why. But still, four weeks in Europe. I can’t wait for that stage of my life!

How do you guys/gals afford these trips? Also, how do you get the time off?

It took me quite a while to pay off my Africa trip. Worth every cent of interest.

The other way, is save up, find another job, and then start 4 weeks after you finish at your current job.

I have never had less than 3 weeks vacation…but that might be a Canada perk. Kind of like the 1 year maternity leave we have up here.

Lines of credit are wonderful things :wink:

Oh, and it was 8 years out of school before I took the Africa trip.

Timf & Kung Fu Jesus,

I just moved to NC, and I am trying to find a relaxing non-resort-ish kind of place to take in the scenery of the mountains. Asheville looks great - where did you guys like to stay there?

Back to the thread - I personally get inspired from the simplicity of nature. Getting out for a camping trip, chopping wood, building fires, nature photography, and going for long hikes/bike rides seem to recharge my creative batteries as much as any inspiring trip to a museum or foreign city. It never ceases to amaze me how creative people get when they essentially have nothing to help them survive…

You are in gods country! i would love to live in BC!!
took a trip to whistler like 2 years ago and it is amazing up there!!
went to the telus ski fest and had a blast! hope i can make it this year!