Vacation home rentals are one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. And why not? Compared to staying in a hotel, vacation homes can provide more spacious and personality-filled accommodations for around the same price. That’s particularly true if you are traveling with a large group.
For the past several months, Spot Cool Stuff has been scouring the internet for websites that let you book temporary vacation homes. We checked out out more than 60. Here’s a review of our six favorites:
While being lead to your room through dark rock passageways one feels like a dwarf on a quest in the Mines of Moria
Hitting rock bottom on vacation can be a very cool experience. At least it can in Scandinavia, in Sweden, in the county of Västmanland and in the town of Sala. For it is there that travelers can find the Sala Silvermine and can stay in the accommodations of its Mine Suite. At 155 meters (509 feet) below ground level, it is deepest hotel room in the world!
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.
Stockings may wind up on the floor instead of over the fireplace
Yes, Virginia (and Mara and Wei and Dev and Ashley), there IS a Santa Claus. And contrary to popular belief, Santa only winters at the North Pole with the Missus! But he’d love to have you visit his permanent residence — in Osaka — if you have a little time, and mischief, on your hands.
That’s right, jolly ol’ Saint Nick makes his home in Japan, at the eyepopping Chapel Christmas, in one of Japan’s thousands of “love hotels.” Santa’s a nice chap, but he’s never naive. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, and he knows there always a little of both going on at the Hotel Chapel Christmas.
There are 908 islands scattered around the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast of Australia’s Queensland State.
Of those, 74 islands make up the Whitsunday Archipelago, a national park and one of Australia’s top tourist destinations.
Of those, 11 islands are inhabited.
And, of those, only 1 island has luxury resorts, gourmet restaurants and a sophisticated, yet laid-back, vibe:
There are few regions of the world with as many scenically located hotels as you’ll find on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. On that stretch of Mediterranean shoreline from Sorrento to Salerno, dozens of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and inns peer down on sparkling seas, grand gardens, charming churches and other sights that tempt travel writers adopt to alliteration and make other visitors simply exclaim WOW.
On the Amalfi Coast — the whole of which is a UNESCO World Heritage site — selecting the hotel with the best room views is thus a daunting task. Forced to settle on one for this post, we’ll choose the Hotel Caruso Belvedere.
The Methow Valley is as picturesque as any in the world. Nestled in a high pocket of the North Cascades of Washington State, the valley is all forests and flower fields, ravines and rivers, snow peaks and sunshine1. And it’s all crisscrossed by biking, hiking and running paths — and by one of the longest cross country skiing trails in the world.
Until recently, one of the few blights on the Methow Valley was a particularly unattractive RV park northwest of the town of Winthrop. Happily, the Winnebagos there have given way to a wild meadow that’s mostly untouched except for the unusual, low-impact accommodations offered by Rolling Huts. It is a fantastically cool place to stay.
When Spot Cool Stuff travels we love staying in a room with a view. In Montreal, there’s no better hotel room view than that offered from the upper rooms at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain.
Spanning to a height of 139 meters (454 feet), the Marriott Chateau Champlain is the tallest hotel in the city (and its 9th tallest building of any sort). The vista from those lofty heights is framed by the hotel’s most distinctive feature: the half-moon windows.
From inside the rooms, the view through those windows looks like this: