Garage glamour

"IT'S just a room." How often have you said that about a hotel?

Hoteliers spend millions trying to prove the theory wrong but, in the case of the Linz09 Pixel Hotel in Linz, Austria, the point of difference has been taken to a new level.

The Pixel Hotel is just a room or, more precisely, six rooms, located across Linz.

To celebrate the city's new status as a capital of culture, several of the city's young architects were given the brief of transforming unused spaces around the city - including a car park, a garage, a former workshop and even a ship - into hotel rooms.

Prices range from $252 and include breakfast in local cafes.

See pixelhotel.at/en.

Spa culture

A hotel without a spa is unthinkable these days but The Langham Auckland is going one step further and putting two suites within the confines of its soon-to-be opened Chuan Spa.

The suites, or residences as the hotel calls them, feature traditional Chinese decor - with strict adherence to feng shui principles - and are positioned so guests have direct access to the Chuan Spa.

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"They are for people who enjoy the spa atmosphere and don't want to leave," says Bob van den Oord, Langham Hotel's vice-president of sales and marketing.

The Auckland Chuan Spa will have six treatment rooms including two dual suites with private spas, ice caves (designed to invigorate and refresh while allowing skin to cool), snail showers (with multiple heads to allow water to massage the skin from all directions), relaxation lounges, herbal steam rooms and saunas, a jacuzzi and heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

While one door opens, another closes for the Langham brand. Management withdrew from its Koh Lanta property in Thailand after a year of trading.

The Hong-Kong based hotel group was in partnership with local owners but felt it could not get the service results it wanted, so rather than damage the expanding brand, it has withdrawn from the agreement. See auckland.langhamhotels.co.nz.

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