In most of our yearly holiday calendars there’s usually at least one long trip. And, as “deep travel” is the way to go, the preference is to stay in just one place in order to discover as many of the city’s intricacies as possible. Because one week is a long enough time to miss the comfort and inspiration of home we’ve put together a list of fun, easy hotel room projects for you to experiment with while you break in your newly acquired accent.
1. Build a Camera
While this sounds ambitious, you can turn your hotel room into a camera obscura. All you need are a couple of flattened cardboard boxes, vinyl tape, and scissors.
The first and most time consuming step is blocking all light from entering the room. Patch up the windows with cardboard and stuff towels in the crevices under the doors. You’re at an advantage as a good hotel room is usually designed with blackout curtains to give guests a great night’s rest. For the second and final step, poke a hole in cardboard, somewhere in the center of the window and et voilà there should now be a live stream of the outside world in your very own hotel room!
Stay at the Hôtel des Champs-Élysées and follow in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s footsteps by capturing scenes of Parisian life.
2. Develop Film
To develop film you will need a darkroom. Bathrooms are commonly used as darkrooms, and what better bathroom than that of a dimly-lit cave! As a photographer you’re in luck, as cave hotels are often found in the most scenic destinations.
As you won’t want to spend a ton on chemicals that you’ll have to leave behind we suggest developing your film with coffee and washing soda. You will need ground coffee, washing soda, vitamin C powder, a bucket, and a developing tank. For the method, read these wikiHow instructions.
3. Write a Novel
Were you inspired by the top hotels for book lovers featured here? We’ve found their Asian equivalents! The Strand Hotel in Myanmar, and the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in Hanoi, are both known for hosting famous novelists.
Start a character study the next time you stay at a large hotel. After all, hotel lobbies are where characters reside!
4. Grow a Plant
In addition to reducing your carbon footprint by opting for green hotels, plant a seed the next time you’re in a hotel room with a balcony or rooftop access.
When you spend several days in one location you can begin to experience it as locals do. Visit a local garden centre and learn about the local flora of the area. To see your plant sprout during your stay we recommend bamboo as it’s extremely fast growing.
Indonesia boasts the largest biodiversity in Asia. If you want to venture a little further into your eco mission and not only grow your own plant but tend a full-blown garden, stay at the Greenhost Boutique Hotel. And if you’re flying or crossing borders, first check whether you are allowed to bring the species of plant you’re growing into the country you’re entering. If not, it makes for a nice gift to someone who helped you out during your stay.
5. Make a Cake
If you’re the type who exclusively dines out while on holiday and always has leftovers jammed in the hotel mini-fridge then this one isn’t for you. But if you are a foodie and love Saturday morning markets we’ll tell you what to do with the basket of fresh berries you always wind up with to ensure they don’t end up as a snack for airport control!
The fresh fruit at London’s Borough Market is second to none and will be prefect to sample in cake form. So give it a go with this easy recipe for no-bake strawberry (substitute with any other delicious fruit) cheesecake.
6. Make Liqueur
Did you like that homemade liqueur your talented friend made for your birthday? You can do it too – all you need is inspiration! And you’ll find plenty of it on a week-long vacation to sunny, Southern Italy.
Sorrento lemons, native to Southern Italy, are used in the original Limoncello recipe. You’ll find tonnes of fresh lemons at Palermo’s famous Ballarò Street Market. Stay at the Piazza Borsa and make your own lemon liqueur using Giada De Laurentiis’ easy, four ingredient recipe.
*No hotel linens, carpets or minibars were harmed during the making of this article.