3 Cool & Affordable Places To Stay In London

Yes, there really are low cost hotels in London. The English capital might be one of the world’s most expensive cities, but savvy travelers can still find centrally-located London lodgings with genuinely cool en-suite rooms for under £70, perfectly comfortable and clean rooms with a shared bathroom for under £30 and non-skeevy dorm beds for under £12.

Here’s a look at our favorite three hotels and hostels that offer a hip vibe, fun location and accommodations with a level of luxury that exceeds its price tag:

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4 Cool Ideas For Short Term Work Abroad

'Working' on a sailboat plying tropical waters—that's a tough gig to beat.

Long term travel does not have to come at the expense of long term debt. To pay for extended travel you can be independently wealthy or embark on a successful crime spree — or you can defray at least some of the costs by weaving a short term job in with your trip.

With that in mind, Spot Cool Stuff takes a look at four jobs that can be incorporated into your travels abroad. Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list of work abroad possibilities. The most obvious omission from this list is teaching English. Look for us to cover that in a future post. To be updated on that, follow us on LinkedIn.

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Cool Britannia Cottages

“Cool” and “cottage” are not normally words you’ll see together but a cottage holiday in the UK can be anything but chintzy and traditional. Renting a holiday cottage is also a great way to explore the local area and really get a feel for the UK. After the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics, you couldn’t pick a better time to visit the UK than now.

Choose a luxury cottage and you’ll find it rivals a boutique hotel in terms of decoration and fittings; think seriously comfy beds, high-end kitchens and luxurious bathrooms. An unusual or quirky cottage is a great location for a hen party, special weekend away or even your honeymoon! Enjoy all the style and amenities of a cool hotel in spacious surroundings without worrying about what time reception closes. Sykes Cottages have a wonderful selection of cool cottages throughout the UK and Ireland perfect for a short break or longer family holiday.

Here are our top five cottages of cool:

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The All-Suite, All-Cat Hotel

The Longcroft Hotel, north of London, features fine gourmet dining. Its staff provides five-star service. Every room in the hotel is suite—rates are as low as £15 per night! And if you are reading this you are absolutely not allowed to stay there.

That’s because the Longcroft Hotel is for cats only.

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The Villa Pisani maze is the world’s most difficult to solve. Napoleon himself is among those who have been flummoxed by it.

The world “mazerific” is thrown around a lot these days. But we’ve found eight mazes that really are superlative, either for their size, history or quirky features.

Check out our review below . . . and try not to get lost along the way.

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The Fabulously Crazy
Crazy Bear Hotel

If RuPaul operated a farm and Liberace an S&M palor the Crazy Bear Hotel would be like a cross between the two.

Sometimes it’s a fine line separating gaudy from opulent, and trashy from romantic. Straddling those lines is the Crazy Bear Hotel in Old Beaconsfield, England

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The London Restaurant with Interactive Tables

What’s on the menu at London’s Inamo restaurant? Literally, your plate, your drinks and your silverware. At Inamo, patrons order their food electronically at the high-tech, interactive table at which they sit!

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5 Cool Buildings Made of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers. You’ve seen them on trains, on the back of trucks, at ports and piled onto cargo ships. There more than 20 million of those steel 40 by 8 feet (12 by 2.4 meter) boxes scattered around the world. That’s more than were needed even before the current economic slowdown. Today, as many as one million shipping containers may be sitting around unused. The surplus is especially profound in the United States, northern Europe and China.

Given the planet’s excess of shipping containers and shortage of affordable housing it only makes sense that people would make the connection. “Container architecture” has become a specialty in itself. The benefits are obvious: Containers are relatively cheap (around US$1,200~1,500 each). They are, by definition, portable. And they are durable (made to survive rough treatment and resist salt corrosion). A container house can be built, on average, 40% faster than a comparably sized traditional house. And then there’s the environmental benefit of putting surplus containers to use instead of letting them slowly rust in a landfill.

Thousands buildings made of shipping containers are today being uses for offices, stores, restaurants and private residences. There are several excellent books documenting the most interesting among them. Here are five shipping container buildings we think are especially cool:

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