Bed check: New Jersey

HGTV style on the Jersey Shore


Washington Post Service

Something looked strikingly familiar about the photos on Page 242 of Home by Novogratz, the fashionable coffee-table tome about the HGTV design couple. Studying the images, I felt as if I’d seen that rug before: black-and-white with interlocking gender symbols. And that bed: custom-made platform with built-in side tables and a single-stripe blanket draped over it. And that wall art: a handcrafted flag of Jamaica, a puckish twist on patriotism.

Wait a minute: That’s my room. The space that I was reading about was the same one that I was currently inhabiting. Reality TV, are you filming this meta-moment?

The Bungalow Hotel, in Long Branch, N.J., is the first commercial property conjured by Cortney and Robert Novogratz, the celebrity husband-and-wife team who blend the hip of Andy Warhol with the hop of Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit. The 24-room property, open since 2009, resides in the Pier Village development on the Atlantic. But don’t judge a hotel by its outdoor-mall cover; the interior is an art house of fun and fantasy.

The main vibe is laid-back surfer, but the dude appears to have an advanced degree in contemporary art. Photographs of surfers hang on the lobby walls. Near the front entrance, a vintage blue-felt billiard table sits amid a small forest of birch trees and a chunk of a trunk. Overhead, a fixture dangles like a dandelion drunk on a cocktail of Rogaine and steroids. Light boxes by Heidi Cody spell out the hotel’s name in a pop-goes-the-logo style.

In the lounge area, a sofa purchased on eBay and reupholstered in faux moo backs up against a giant postage stamp of Queen Elizabeth. British artist Ann Carrington, who created the Royal Jubilee banner for the queen’s diamond jubilee celebration, used pearl buttons to define the monarchical profile. Carrington also crafted the two dozen flags, including a U.S. pennant cobbled together from denim scraps.

When I arrived at the hotel, I was sandy and dripping — a staff member later erected “watch your step” signs around my puddles — but no one treated me like a stray wet dog. Despite the art gallery veneer, these floors (high-gloss white engineered wood, according to Home) were made for flip-flops. The hotel is within walking distance of the Long Branch beach.

The property describes itself as a “boutique luxury lifestyle hotel” and offers five types of accommodations that transport the guest from the Jersey Shore to Hawaii’s North Shore: From small to large, there’s the Aloha room (465 square feet), the Hang Loose junior suite (575), the Lil’ Pipeline one-bedroom suite (785), and the Pipeline (1,010) and Kahuna (1,170) two-bedroom suites.

Despite the size differences, a similar decor flows through each space. For example, all have floating bathroom mirrors that cleverly divide the dead zone between bed and bath. In addition, every room is painted white, creating the sensation that you’re sleeping inside a clamshell.

•  Bungalow Hotel: 50 Laird St., Long Branch, N.J.; 732-229-3700; Rates from $189 in the off-season; from $400 in-season.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

European cab drivers, like this happy one in Turkey, only expect you to round up your fare when you give them a tip.


    Tips on tipping in Europe

    Here’s a tip: Don’t stress over tipping.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    I was charged an extra $134 for my car because I was an hour late

    Q: I have a complaint about my recent car rental experience at Indianapolis International Airport. I’ve called Hertz and Hotwire, the online travel agency I booked this through, and didn’t get answers that make sense.

The living room restaurant Caro Kookt, run by Caro van der Meulen, in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. 2014.


    Enjoying a home-cooked meal in a stranger’s home

    The square wooden table fits just beneath the windows of the townhouse near the Anne Frank House. Tourists and locals both stroll along the stone street outside, heading toward the busy cafes of Amsterdam’s Jordan district. The dozen dinner guests inside are oblivious, sipping a lusty local wine and swapping get-to-know-you stories.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category