Bathe in a champagne glass. Sleep in a giant clam. Lock your lover in a ye olde dungeon, (if that’s your thing). When it comes to kitsch hotel experiences, the trompe l'oeil sky is the limit. Now more than ever, we’re jazzed at the prospect of escaping daily life, if only for a night, with a stay at a room whose number is merely "Rainforest Suite."
Alas, the world of over-the-top hotel sleuthing can feel daunting. So we consulted kitsch hotel expert Margaret Bienert, who test-runs the kitschiest hotels across the US with her husband, Corey, and airs all the deets on the couple’s Instagram and (addictive) YouTube series, “A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour.” Her pro tips? Firstly, bed bug-haunted reviews are a deal-breaker. However, "if the biggest complaints are that the towels are a little crusty and there's a stain on the carpet," she says, "I go ahead and pack my bags, but everyone is different!” Do “be mindful of what your cleanliness standards are, and read reviews if you can find them. Kitschy hotels tend to be vintage and will appear ‘outdated’ to some, which means you're going to notice more wear-and-tear than you might at a normal hotel. If you're a fan of retro decor, hopefully, that wouldn't be enough to scare you away!"
That’s the magic of kitsch hotels. They’re the ultimate mental escape! They push homespun creative design to the absolute edge, and always with an indulgent ethos that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Consider the following seven hotels — which are a sparkling blend of Bienert’s hot recs, and our own tried and true faves – as the kitschiest hotels to add to your (Covid-19-minded) travel bucket list. See you in the gladiator’s love chariot!
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you make a booking from a recommendation on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
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