Superlative

Crystal Cruises Offer Standby Fares

Time was, you used to be able to get ultra-cheap air fares if you flew standby. You’d buy a special standby ticket and show up at the airport. If there were room on the plane you’d get on; if there wasn’t you didn’t. The idea being that an airline would rather get a little bit of money for a seat than fly with it empty and get none at all.

Though some airlines still sell full-fare standby tickets, the days of them being deeply discounted are no more, sadly.

Happily, the standby concept might be taking hold in another travel industry: cruises. Luxury operator Crystal Cruises is now offering deals to those willing to be a bit spontaneous with their vacation.

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The Best Miami
Hotel Swimming Pools

When a beach-side hotel is part owned by Madonna it's got to have a stylish pool.

Water views. Frozen drinks. The smell of sunscreen. Celebrities and scantily clad socialites mixing it up. The hotel swimming pools of South Beach do indeed offer all that. But did you know you can also find the world’s largest hot tub and the world’s shallowest swimming pool shallow end? For a scene like no other hop a flight to Miami and check out this selection of the city’s best hotel swimming pools:

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5 Temples & Monasteries
on Perilous Cliff Sides

To monks, the monastery represents the victory of good over evil. To travelers, it represents the victory of architecture over gravity.

Spot Cool Stuff previously reviewed five towns on cliff sides—villages where drinking and driving . . . or drinking and walking . . . or simply walking could be especially perilous.

Following up on that, here are five religious buildings—a shrine, temple, church and two monasteries—built at a cliff’s edge. Gazing down the rocky drops from these structures, and out upon the magnificent vistas they offer, and perhaps one can’t help but believe in God.

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Luxury, Romance, Nature—and Pod Dinning

The Eco-Villa is made from locally sourced materials, is powered by renewable energy and features a private natural swimming pool that uses plants to clean the water.

Spot Cool Stuff has reviewed a pod bed, a pod ski resort and a pod treehouse hotel. But this is our first ever pod restaurant.

And what an amazing location our first pod restaurant is blessed with: on the grounds of the gorgeous “six star” Soneva Kiri beach resort located on Thai island of Ko Kood.

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Top 10 Destinations
For Rice Terrace Travel

After thousands of years of hindsight it seems maybe rice wasn’t the best choice for humanity’s most popular food staple. Yes, it tastes great with sushi. But growing rice is very water and labor intensive. And it requires a flat field that farmers can flood during the planting season.

Rice is particularly labor intensive in hilly areas where farmers must create their flat field by carving floodable terraces into hillsides. We find even a single terrace impressive when we contemplate all the work involved, work usually done by hand. The sight of multiple rice terraces, stacked atop each other as if to form a giant’s staircase, is truly awe inspiring.

Spot Cool Stuff has been a longtime fan of rice terraces. We once flew round trip between San Francisco and the Philippines specifically to spend a single day in Banaue, supposedly the site world’s most grand rice terraces. Supposedly. After nearly two decades of rice terrace travel we’ve formed our own opinion on such matters. Here’s our list of the top 10 rice terrace destinations:

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The Best View From a
Hotel Room in the Caribbean

You are planning your honeymoon, or a trip celebrating some other special occasion, and you are looking for a hotel room that is as special as the reason for your travels. You want to find a resort with accommodations that cause you to gasp WOW, a place that will make you say to yourself I’ve never stayed in a room this nice before. I might never stay at a room this nice again.

In the Caribbean, the room you are looking for is at the Jade Mountain Resort.

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The World’s Best Hostels 2011 (Part II)

This is the second of our two-part look at the world’s best hostels, budget hotels and inexpensive guest houses as chosen by the users of the Hostelbookers website. Scroll down or click on the region you are interested in:

Part I Part II
Africa Europe
Asia Oceania
Canada South America
Caribbean/Mexico United States

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The Museum of Hair

Albert Einstein, Troy Polamalu, Gwen Stefani and Donald Trump would love it. Those with chaetophobia (a fear of hair) would consider it hell. Our readers inclined towards Spot Cool Stuff’s odd travel attractions would find it so bad that it’s good.

It’s the Museum of Hair in Avanos, Turkey.

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