by Tom Isler | July 01, 2007

Propeller Island

New twist: An upside-down
room at Propeller Island

Steven Dobson believes experiences are more important than price tags. “Luxury is defined by how much you spend,” laments the former corporate marketing professional and world traveler. “It’s not defined, as I think it should be, by how much enjoyment or how much ‘wow’ you get for your dollars.”

In 2004, Dobson launched, a directory of jaw-dropping places, with his business partner Simon Penn, a former incentive coordinator. Dobson and Penn now work with incentive planners to match their top performers to the right unusual getaway.

Dobson warns that not all of the hotels on his site are suitable for incentives, but there is plenty of conventional luxury to be found in his directory of international curiosity.

The U.K.-based site features ice and cave hotels, tree-house resorts and an alpine camp accessible only by air. There’s a hotel built in a former bullring, a one-bedroom escape dangling from a crane and inhabitable works of art like Propeller Island in Berlin. The site also favors conceptual oddities, such as the Library Hotel in New York City, which looks typical, but its rooms are themed and organized according to the Dewey decimal system.

The directory has total editorial credibility; hoteliers can’t buy their way in, and if users find a hotel middling, it’ll be erased from the files. Now, at 150 properties deep, the site is just getting started. Dobson’s got hundreds more that he hasn’t had time to upload yet.