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Peepers, Creepers and Sleepers

7 Hotels for Exhibitionists
  • The Waterhouse at South Bund

    The Waterhouse at South Bund

  • La Purificadora

    La Purificadora

  • The Standard High Line

    The Standard High Line

  • Blow Up Hall 5050

    Blow Up Hall 5050

  • G Boutique Hotel

    G Boutique Hotel

  • The Pavilions, Phuket

    The Pavilions, Phuket

  • 1888 Hotel

    1888 Hotel

November, 2013

In an era of overzealous oversharing, when a vacation to the beach is just another opportunity to induce a swell of envy amongst one’s digital admirers, it’s perhaps no surprise that some hotels take the whole no-boundaries thing to the extreme. These places are for those guests who truly want to see and be seen — if not the certifiable voyeur, then at least the sort of extrovert who’s totally relaxed about hotels that lack such bourgeois niceties as bedroom curtains and bathroom walls.

1.

The Waterhouse at South Bund
Shanghai — You haven’t even checked in before this hotel’s, um, commitment to transparency is nakedly on display — there’s a window set right in the lobby wall, for a view into the bedroom just above the receptionists’ heads. Other rooms face one another across a courtyard, with mirrored shutters allowing guests to interact with one another from their rooms. Throughout the hotel, the line between public and private space isn’t so much blurred as boldly, repeatedly crossed.
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2.

La Purificadora
Puebla, Mexico — There’s glass everywhere at this converted 19th-century water plant — glass balconies off the guest rooms, glass walls around the change-in closets, big plate-glass windows just past the foot of the bed, glass stairways and landings, swaths of glass in the floors and ceilings…. There’s even a thirty-meter glass-walled swimming pool which makes extroverted swimmers look a bit like Damien Hurst’s famous shark, only livelier.
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3.

The Standard High Line
New York City — Peace, quiet, a finely tuned sense of reserve: these are not the things you come to the Meatpacking District in search of. And in the Standard High Line, the neighborhood has a hotel that’s as flashy as its clientele. The glass-walled bedrooms have something of a reputation for inducing after-party antics — especially in the aptly named Liberty suite, with its fully stocked wet bar, its circular seven-foot bed and its window-side “teacup” bathtub for two.
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4.

Blow Up Hall 5050
Poznań, Poland — The hotel’s name alone — an allusion to Antonioni’s dark thriller about a photographer who sees more than he’d like to — would just about land it a spot on the list. The art installation inside simply pushes it over the top, with guests in the public spaces monitored on video, their actions incorporated into a work of real-time art. Fortunately the cameras don’t follow you to bed, though those who’ve gotten used to putting on a show can always hop into the glass-walled showers.
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5.

G Boutique Hotel
Vicenza, Italy — One of the easiest ways for a hotelier to raise eyebrows is to leave out a proper wall between the bedroom and bathroom. G Boutique has gone a step further. Three of the suites have glass-walled showers set right in the middle of the room, perfect for inducing either awkward moments or fun times, depending on who you’re traveling with. And for something steamier still, the shower in the Impero suite has an oversized arched mirror and a chair facing it, just outside the glass wall.
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6.

The Pavilions, Phuket
Phuket, Thailand — Admittedly the “all-over tan” policy at this adults-only resort is premised on privacy, not exposure — the idea being that your villa is so private that to put on clothes is simply superfluous. Instead, you’re meant to spend your days lounging naked in the sun, if the spirit of total relaxation prevails, while also making use of the glass-walled bedrooms, the deep stone tubs surrounded by windows, and the private pools made for skinny dipping — ideally all in good company.
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7.

1888 Hotel
Sydney — 1888 caters to the over-exposer who’s constantly snapping photos of their travels, sharing every last photogenic moment with everyone they know. The “selfie space” in the check-in area sets the tone, while Instagram photos from past guests make up a prominent part of the décor and a digital mural rotates through the best, most artfully filtered shots.
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