Hotels & Lodgings

Indoor Caravan Camping

When you visit Berlin will you stay in an artsy boutique hotel? In a low cost hostel? In a trailer park?

The wonderfully cool thing about The Hüttenpalast is that the accommodations are all three of those—at once!

At Spot Cool Stuff we’ve reviewed more than our share of unusual hotels. But rarely have we found one that offers such an unconventional experience with such a relatively high level of comfort at such a relatively low price.

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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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The Best View from a
Hotel Room in French Polynesia

Previously, we published a review comparison of Bora Bora’s best luxury resorts, listing the pros and cons of each. Among the pros for the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa: It has the best views from inside a room of any resort on Bora Bora.

In fact, the more we thought it about, the InterContinental Thalasso has the best room views of any hotel in French Polynesia.

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The Jamaica Caves Where Celebrities Find Bliss

When the likes of Harrison Ford, Scarlett Johansson, Bono and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photographers visit Jamaica they head to the caves. The Caves Resort, that is, a luxurious-rustic getaway located in Negril—Jamaica’s “capital of casual” famous for its Caribbean sunsets and Seven Mile Beach.

Celebrities are drawn to the Caves Resort partly because it is owned by one of their own, legendary music producer Chris Blackwell (who also hosts the Flashpoint Film Festival here). And partly because, well, it is one cool place to stay.

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A Comparison of Bora Bora’s Outstandingly Cool-Looking Resorts

Bora Bora has only 29 square kilometers of land. Yet, incredibly, the French Polynesian island has 9 outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts. That gives Bora Bora a OCLR/KM (outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts per square kilometer) value of .31, which is surely the highest of any island in the world.

Each of Bora Bora’s nine outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts has its merits. A stay at each is also somewhere between expensive and exorbitant, especially once you account for the cost of food, activities and local transportation, all of which is pricey even before tacking on the 14% national tax. That makes choosing the optimum resort key. And, of course, if you are staying for your honeymoon you want to get it right.

For this overview, we’re listing Bora Bora’s OCLRs in the order of overall resort quality as we judge it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the first resort on our list is the best fit with what you are seeking for your particular trip. Also, while reading our comparison, keep in mind that all these resorts have overwater bungalows. All have service that exceeds that of a typical luxury hotel. And all are set in stunning locations, Bora Bora offering nothing but. In those ways, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices:

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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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A Good Night’s Nest

Spot Cool Stuff wrote previously about a rental villa in France where guests can live like human hamsters. But perhaps you’re looking for an animalistic unusual hotel experience more avian than that. We have your answer: The Human Nest.

The Nest is literally a human-sized abode made of branches and woven wood. Think of it as a piece of art that you happen to be able to sleep in.

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The Luxurious Boat-Room Resort

The Dhoni has been a central feature of life in the Maldives for nearly as long as there’s been a recorded history of people living there. Traditionally, Dhonis were small sailing vessel built from coconut palm wood. Today, a Dhoni (pronounced: “doh-nee”) comes in a variety of sizes and is as likely to be powered by an engine as it is by the gentle trade winds that grace the Maldives. Travel around that archipelago of tropical islands south of India and you’ll see Dhonis everywhere. People fish in them. Children ride to school in them. Merchants sell their goods from them. And at one hotel, the Cocoa Island Resort, Dhonis have been turned into romantic, idyllic luxury suites.

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