After 10 years in the TV production business, I have filmed at — and slept in — a wide spectrum of hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts and, yes, youth hostels. Below are a few of my favorites.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Columbia Airport
Summary: Stay at this Holiday Inn and you might notice its contemporary design, fitness center, meeting space, complimentary wireless and other business-friendly amenities. But what you might not catch right away is the little sticker designating it as the only full-service hotel in South Carolina to achieve difficult LEED certification. The hotel opened on Earth Day in 2010, and pledged to live up to its birth date. Among its green features: an underground, storm-water cistern for irrigation; tankless hot-water heaters; solar panels; and traction elevators. The smoke-free hotel’s interior was designed using all recycled materials; its paint and carpet adhesives are designed to emit as few contaminates as possible; and even its on-site restaurant, the Sporting News Grill, recycles its cooking oil and uses as many local and sustainable ingredients as possible.
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
Located on stately Royal Street, Hotel Monteleone has all the charm and elegance you’d expect from an historic New Orleans hotel. Built in 1886 by a Sicilian immigrant, this French Quarter landmark has appeared in movies such as Double Jeopardy and 12 Rounds, and is said to be haunted by a 10-year-old boy who plays hide-and-seek in the hallways. But the coolest part of Hotel Monteleone has got to be its Carousel Bar & Lounge, a 25-seat, circus-clad merry-go-round that’s long been one of the city’s premiere spots for sealing a business deal. The slowly revolving bar was the birth place of two famous drinks, The Goody and The Vieux Carré Cocktail, and a favorite hangout of authors Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. All, plus author Eudora Welty, have hotel rooms named in their honor.
Magnolia Hotel, Omaha
On the National Register of Historic Places, Magnolia is a boutique-style hotel in Omaha’s Old Market district downtown. Built in 1923, the 145-room hotel effectively splits its time between business and leisure. Guests are greeted with a manager’s reception in the afternoon and put to bed with milk-and-cookies turndown service. Like many hotels, the Magnolia has plenty of meeting, conference and banquet space; but, unlike many hotels, it has a library that Warren Buffet frequents when he’s in town. With the largest suite in the city — 1,200 square feet and complete with kitchen, sitting area and second floor — the Magnolia has hosted the likes of Bill Gates, Keith Urban, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
Adoba Eco Hotel, Rapid City, South Dakota
After 17 years as a Radisson, this non-descript Rapid City hotel reopened under the Adoba Eco brand in 2010. The company believes it can convert any well-built building into a stylish, socially responsible hotel that achieves either Gold or Platinum LEED certification. To achieve this, the Rapid City hotel has replaced wallpaper with an eco-friendly lime wash. It uses LED bulbs that last up to 10 years and has blinds that can cut out 95 percent of UV rays. Accent walls are made from recycled snow fences, chandeliers from recycled soda tabs and trashcans, and serving trays from recycled signs. The hotel even commissioned earth-friendly wall coverings of local images such as Mount Rushmore and the Sturgis Bike Rally. Now who wouldn’t want to sleep under that?
The Crash Pad, Chattanooga
Admittedly, The Crash Pad isn’t for everybody. After all, it is a youth hostel. However, it is no ordinary youth hostel. For starters, its developers (a couple of adrenaline junkies naturally drawn to Chattanooga) traveled the country researching hostels before opening this one. When ready to move forward, they built the place using modern materials such as pre-cast, insulated concrete wall panels. They also used bricks from an old house on the property to build a pavilion and pine from the same house to make benches, countertops and beds. The Crash Pad’s owners say 99 percent of the structure was diverted from a landfill. Their relationship with the local arts community also is evident in biking and climbing gear embedded in concrete countertops and funky, welded door handles. And, by the way, a bunk at The Crash Pad runs $27 a night, while a private room costs $70. You’ve even got private bathrooms and showers on each floor and 24-hour access to communal spaces. Not bad for a business traveler on a budget.