Hip Hotels Atlas, by Herbert Ypma, provides a guide to great worldwide hotels.


What makes a hotel hip?

”It’s not just the feeling of ’wow,’ because you can get wow from anything. You can get wow from a 100-foot atrium in a corporate hotel,” Herbert Ypma, author of the Hip Hotels guidebook series, said in an interview from his London offices.

Instead, Ypma looks for ”highly individual places” that are ”capturing and reflecting and radiating the notion of travel” with some element that is unforgettable — whether it’s stunning decor, extraordinary architecture or a breathtaking location.

”What disqualifies a hotel automatically is mediocrity,” he added. ”That’s straightforward. When a hotel is mediocre, it’s mediocre in every respect — location, design and quality.”

There are 14 books in the Hip Hotels series, including the most recent, a paperback version of the Hip Hotels Atlas (Thames & Hudson). The lushly illustrated atlas offers descriptions of hotels on six continents.

Some of the properties in the book are luxury accommodations with price tags to match — like the Chateau de Bagnols in Bagnols, France, a restored medieval castle where rooms begin at $675 US a night. But others are moderately priced, including several of the seven listings for the continental U.S.

For example, listed rates for the Korakia Pensione, in Palm Springs, Calif., start at $159. The hotel is lauded as ”a place of hand-washed linen sheets, canopied four-poster beds, lace, ceiling fans, slate and wooden floors, furniture from Rajasthan, chairs from Mexico, glassware from France, black-and-white photography and lots of old books.” Rates at the Wawbeek in Tupper Lake, N.Y., which offers grand views of the Adirondacks, are listed at $140 and up.

Other U.S. properties in the Hip Hotels Atlas are Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colo.; Sundance, in Sundance, Utah; and Canoe Bay, Chetek, Wis.

For more information, visit www.hiphotels.com.