Cheap Hotels

Cappadocia’s Cave Hotels

Cappadocia is one of the coolest, and most fascinating, travel destinations in Turkey. Up until two million years ago the region was literally a sea of lava over 150 meters (500 feet) deep. After the volcanoes that surround Cappadocia stopped erupting that sea of lava turned to rock—relatively soft rock that’s easily eroded and dug into. As a result the region is today rife with otherworldly rock formations, underground cities . . . and cave hotels.

There are maybe two dozen cave hotels in the greater Cappadocia region. A review of some of our favorites for budget travelers and for luxury-seekers.

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Overnight Inside a Giant Beagle

At this affordable bed and breakfast, paying the bill is not a bitch

Getting sent to the doghouse can be a very good thing if you happen to be traveling through central Idaho. Because there, on a rise on the outskirts of the town of Cottonwood, is where you’ll find the Dog Bark Park Inn, an unusual bed and breakfast that’s shaped like an enormous beagle!

The gregarious proprietors of the Dog Bark Park, Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin, describe their property as “a noble and absurd undertaking.” That sounds exactly right to us.

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3 Cool & Affordable Places To Stay In Vancouver

For a world-class city that gets more than its share of backpack and flashpack travelers, Vancouver has a surprising dearth of interesting budget accommodations. Yeah, there’s the big party-oriented youth hostel, but there’s nothing especially remarkable about it save for an excellent central location. Choice Hotels has seven properties in the greater Vancouver area that provide good value but all are rather blah.

So what’s a cool seeking but money pinching traveler to do? After some sleuthing Spot Cool Stuff managed to find three lodgings that were both high in character and low in price.

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The Hotel That Was Once Luke Skywalker’s Home

Spot Cool Stuff previously reviewed the cool, luxurious and eco-friendly Adrere Amellal resort in Egypt; we described being there as like living on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s desertic home planet in Star Wars.

Further to the west, in Matmata, Tunisia, there’s a desert lodge that isn’t like Tatooine. It is Tatooine1. That lodge, the Sidi Driss Hotel, served as the filming location for several scenes in Star Wars.

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Yo, Cool and Cozy In-Airport Hotel

Take a modern, stylish boutique hotel. Then automate its check-in process. Then shrink down its rooms. Then place this hotel inside the terminal of a busy airport. What you’ll get as your result is Yotel—Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite chain of airport-only accommodations.

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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 World’s Best Hostels 2011
(Part I)

Hostelbookers is one of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite websites for booking cheap hostels, inexpensive inns and budget hotels. In addition to offering a wide selection of accommodations (most of which aren’t available on sites like Travelocity or Hotels.com), what’s cool about Hostelbookers is their extensive database of customers reviews—they’re a huge help in separating out those hostels that are high value from those that are cheap for a reason.

Hostelbookers reviewers grade properties on eight criteria: atmosphere, location, facilities, fun, staff, cleanliness, safety and value.

Below is the first of our two part review of the budget lodgings that Hostelbookers users rated the best over the last year. Scroll down to read through them all. Or click on the region you are most interested in:

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

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Experience Istanbul Like an Ottoman

The Ottoman Empire may conjure up images of elaborately mustached men decked out in fez hats while women recline seductively behind floaty veils in the sultan’s harem, but there is much more to this exotic empire than first meets the eye. At the height of its might, Ottoman territories expanded across the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Istanbul, known then as Constantinople, was wrestled from the hands of the Byzantines in 1453 and remained the capital of the Empire until its end in 1923. Situated on three bodies of water with a literal treasure chest of historical gems, the Ottomans further capitalized on Istanbul’s breathtaking beauty to ensure it maintained its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

Although Istanbul has modernized at a startlingly rapid pace, some of the most glorious remnants of its past are everywhere to be seen. From centuries-old wooden mansion hotels to ancient shopping malls, mosques, palaces, bathhouses and much, much more, it’s possible to spend some time in Istanbul shopping, eating, praying, relaxing and sleeping much like the Ottomans did!

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