Affordable Luxury

Monkey See, Monkey Spa

The monkeys wash themselves, kick back with their arms resting on the hot spring’s rim, and generally carry on like humans would

So, a man and a monkey are in a hot tub . . .

That’s usually the start of some bad joke. Unless you are in the Japanese village of Jigokudani.

It is there, outside of Nagano in the Japanese Alps, where travelers can stay at the Korakukan Inn, a wonderful little Japanese-style hostel. The inn has a rotemburo (outdoor hot springs) that is for guests only. Though, apparently, no one has informed the local primate population of this policy. Stay at the Korakukan, go for an early morning bath in the winter months, and you may well be sharing the tub with a monkey.

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Mexico’s Unusual Pipe Resort

”Luxurious” and “drainage pipe” are words rarely used in the same sentence

At the Dasparkhotel in Austria you can spend the night in a drainage pipe. But why settle for a drainage pipe hotel when you can stay in an entire drainage pipe resort? That’s what you’ll find at the Tubohotel in Tepoztlan, Mexico.

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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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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 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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Dive Into Jelly(fish)

It's a surreal diving experience, moving around in water that is itself a moving gelatinous mass

On the Pacific island nation of Palau you’ll find Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite inland scuba diving location: Jellyfish Lake. Though it wasn’t always a lake.

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The World’s Only Pub
That’s Inside a Tree

The Big Baobab Bar has everything you'd find in a traditional British pub (except more ants).

Sometimes the name of a pub describes exactly what it is. So it is with the Big Baobab Bar in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

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