Activities

Go Forth and Multiply, Cupcake ATM

Remember our post about the world’s first Cupcake dispensing ATM? It was located in Beverly Hills, California outside of a Sprinkles Cupcake store.

The Los Angeles suburb of Beverly Hills has long been known as the home of ritzy Rodeo Drive shopping, by-the-book police officers and the country’s most famous zip code. Yet the cupcake ATM managed to grab its own share of the spotlight. The machine made cameo television appearances, including on TMZ, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Today Show. And it proved a huge hit across the spectrum of Beverly Hills residents, from celebrities to soccer moms and stoners (and travel bloggers). It was even the location of a wedding proposal!

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Total Luxury Half Underneath the Indian Ocean

Longtime readers of Spot Cool Stuff might remember our review of Sweden’s Utter Inn. The “inn” is located in the middle of a lake and consists of a single suite with one room above water — and another room beneath it!

It’s amazing being a guest at the Utter Inn, laying snuggled under your sheets while looking out at the underwater scene beyond your bedroom’s windows. But how much more cool would it be if that scene was of crystal clear tropical waters instead of a murky Scandinavian lake?

To answer that question, one needs to travel to the The Manta Resort on Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. That’s where Genberg Underwater Hotels, the company that designed and constructed the Utter Inn, recently finished work on their second half-underwater suite.

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The Cool Headlamp That Matches the Angle of your Eyes, Not Head

Adaptive headlights — headlights that anticipate the direction you want to look and orient their spotlight that way — were first introduced on consumer automobiles in 1948. But it wasn’t until 2014 that the same functionality to found its way into a portable headlamp of the sort you’d use for camping. That’s when Snow Peak started selling the Mola — the most significant advance in headlamps since the introduction of the LED bulb.

Here’s how it works:
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Bathe In Chocolate

Bathe in whipped chocolate milk while basking in the glow of Tootsie Roll-flavored candles and breathing in brownie scented steam.

Chocolate is romantic. Taking a candlelit bath with your special someone is romantic. So what could be more romantic than spending time with your special someone while bathing in chocolate?

It’s that sort of flawless logic that has Spot Cool Stuff writing a review of the world’s best chocolate spas. We found three spots in particular—one each in Switzerland, the United States and Japan—where you’ll want to go to experience the world’s best chocolate baths.

So, what’s it like to bathe in chocolate? you might be asking.

Contrary to what you might imagine, it isn’t like this . . .

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3 Cool Theme Parks in France
(You’ve Probably Never Heard of)

Okay, so you’ve already purchased your Paris Disneyland tickets online and are mentally preparing yourself for an overdose of le Mouse de Mickey. Chances are your kids begged you to take them, enchanted by attractions like Big Thunder Mountain, the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and what’s arguably the best castle of any of the Disney properties: Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant.

But chances, too, are that your kids haven’t heard of all the other cool theme parks in France. There are some great ones. And some of them have creative features that will delight parents every bit as much as their children.

Here’s a rundown of Spot Cool Stuff’s three favorites:

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The Ski Resort That Disappears

Whitepod is an eco-resort in the truest sense of the term

Visit the site of the Whitepod ski resort in the Swiss Alps between April and November and what you’ll see of it is . . . nothing.

You’ll see no roads. No electrical wires. No place to stay. Just a 19th century farmhouse. And a pristine alpine meadow that’s begging for some von Trapp kids to twirl around in Sound Of Music style. And an amazing view. The vista of the snow peaks from this virtually untouched place 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) above the oceans is among the grandest in Europe. “Untouched” being the key word.

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12 Divine Chocolate Shops

Is chocolate good for you? Researchers, conducting highly scientific studies, have found chocolate beneficial in preventing a plethora of ailments including cancer, stroke and heart disease. But Spot Cool Stuff has a more simple theory:

If it makes you smile, it’s health food.

In honor of National Smile Month—and to the dismay of dentists everywhere—here’s our look at 12 wonderful chocolate shops. We hesitate calling them the “best” chocolate shops given how there are easily 60 or more stores that we could have included on this list. All the shops we did include are superlative in some way.

Note that this overview is a companion piece to our equally dentist-horrifying review of the world’s best candy shops.

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Have Wood Burning Spa Will Travel

Spot Cool Stuff adores glamping travel. Glamorous camping can get you out into a natural environment in the same way tent camping does. But it combines that with touches of luxury like you might find at a high-end hotel. After spending much of our youth backpacking on a rock-bottom budget, we think we’ve earned a bit of luxury.

Much of what we write about glamping on this travel blog concerns resorts that combine aspects of roughing it with aspects of being pampered. (Our review of these 5 especially wondering glamping spots is a good place to start reading about those). We also appreciate products that let travelers create their own glamping experience. Our favorite of those might be this:

The Dutchtub.

It’s like a personal hot-springs-to-go. If you have a tub-sized patch of flat ground, wood and 200 gallons (750 liters) worth of water or snow you can have your own spa virtually anywhere.

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