When Tablet Hotels agreed to partner with us for our Escape Photo Contest, we were thrilled: travel is a huge part of the ONA brand, and we love companies that value quality as much as we do. Each ONA bag is named after a place that founder Tracy Foster has visited–as far flung as Palma and as close to home as Brooklyn. One thing we’ve learned is that while photography inspiration can strike anywhere, being surrounded by beautiful scenery and carefully thought-out design can motivate creativity. The desire for a more stylish camera bag–the tiny seed of an idea that launched ONA Bags–came when Tracy was traveling in South Africa a few years ago. With that in mind, Tablet Hotels has generously shared the nine best hotels for photographers from their thoughtfully-curated collection: spaces that not only provide a beautiful place to rest and revive, but also encourage a new perspective through the viewfinder.
Just as looking through a viewfinder changes the way you experience a destination, traveling as a photographer presents its own set of considerations when choosing a hotel. From a high-rise above the streets of Manhattan to a tented camp on a tiny island in the Galapagos, these hotels offer outstanding vantage points for capturing their surroundings.
Few places on earth are as visually arresting as Rajasthan, where striking ancient architecture, otherworldly landscapes, and famously photogenic faces converge in the desert of northern India. Sher Bagh, founded by a family of wildlife filmmakers and set at the edge of Ranthambore National Park, adds wildlife to the mix, offering the opportunity to photograph Bengal tigers in the wild.
Kyoto, Japan’s most photogenic city, simply seems made for the camera’s eye — a good thing, until someone else’s lens nudges its way into your carefully composed shot. Ugenta, however, feels far from the crowds. The two-room ryokan, reached via a twisting mountain road, is close enough for day-long photography sessions in the city, but it still has all the scenic, back-to-nature appeal of a gorgeous little guesthouse in the woods.
At the Lower East Side’s Hotel on Rivington, you don’t even need to get out of bed to shoot some rather breathtaking cityscapes. Of course if you do get outside, the neighborhood’s streets are like a never-ending parade of humanity, a world of potential portraits set against a classic Manhattan backdrop.
Bhutan’s iconic, cliff-clinging Tiger’s Nest monastery is like something out of a misty vision of Shangri-la, and it’s really just the beginning when it comes to the country’s photo ops. Traditional dress prevails, outsize Himalayan landscapes abound and dramatic skies ensure that the light is ever-shifting. Uma by COMO, Paro is especially well-situated for photographing the annual Paro Tsechu, when masked monks don elaborate costumes to perform leaping, whirling dances in the courtyard of an ancient fortress.
One wonders if there’s a single square micrometer in Venice that hasn’t been photographed, but then again there’s a reason it’s so popular; Venice is an inexhaustibly picturesque place. Located in a convent on Giudecca Island, Bauer Palladio offers just enough distance from the famous sights (and their crowds), with St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace rising from the other side of the water.
Set against the sandstone cliffs of the Arizona desert, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain puts photographers right inside a rather spectacular scene. Specialized photo workshops ensure that you’ll capture it well, while sleek spa casitas with deep soaking tubs on the terraces make it easy to relax after a not-so-hard day’s work in the field.
At Cappadocia Cave Resort & Spa, the region’s famously strange, beautiful topography is on view from any number of on-site vantage points. Farther afield, a hot air balloon ride offers an aerial perspective on the surrounding towns, with their ancient homes and chapels built into the volcanic rock.
If you’ve ever been to an African safari camp, the concept (and level of comfort) here will be familiar — except that in the Galapagos, the game is a whole lot easier to photograph, giant tortoises, sunning iguanas and teetering blue-footed boobies being less inclined than those big cats to race out of the frame.
San Francisco is one of the few genuine contenders for the title of “prettiest city on Earth,” and Cavallo Point, just across the bay in Sausalito, reminds us that a little distance can be good for perspective. With a certain bright red bridge looming above, those famous fingers of fog creeping through the hills, and the city skyline spread out along the shore across the water, the hills and valleys here are like a never-ending series of San Francisco panoramas.
This post was produced by Tablet Hotels, in conjunction with this month’s Escape photo contest.
Have you entered the Escape Photo Contest on Facebook yet? The photo with the most votes will win the ONA bag of the winner’s choice and a Tablet Plus membership, which can be used to increase the perks at any of the above hotels.