Bed & Breakfast

Controversy Tram Inn:
The Recycled Hotel

Spot Cool Stuff has seen our share of art made from found objects. One of our favorite Caribbean beach bars, Antigua’s Dune Preserve, was constructed largely with beach-scavenged goods. But the Controversy Tram Inn, located in the village of Hoogwoud, Holland, is the only hotel we know of with such a strong focus on recycled objects.

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The Safari B&B in Deepest, Darkest California

At night you fall asleep listening to the roar of lions and tigers through the canvas walls of your tent. In the morning you wake up to an elephant bringing you your breakfast, carried in a picnic basket he’s holding by his trunk.

It may seem like you are in Africa or in some brought-to-life children’s story. You are not. You are at the Vision Quest Ranch, an unusual B&B in Salinas, California, about an hour south of San Francisco.

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Yurt “Camping” on the California Coast

You like camping but your partner prefers more glamorous travel. The solution? Glamping. Glamorous camping. Like that on offer at the The Treebones Resort.

Treebones, located on California’s scenic Big Sur coast, is a resort that offers the perfect romantic getaway for you both. Accommodations here are in yurts, large circular tents originally the domain of Central Asian nomads and made of sheepskin.

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The Glorious Clutter of London’s Hidden Hotel

Imagine you had eccentric British relatives who lived in an enormous 18th-century London townhouse, who were veracious collectors of antiques, and who stuffed their house full of every painting, sculpture, mirror, book, armoire, clock, chest, candelabra, and exotic curio they ever obtained. The hypothetical townhouse you are imagining probably looks something like the very real Miller’s Residence. But you needn’t be a relative of the Miller’s to stay there. The Miller’s Residence is a hotel.

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The Unusual Hotels of Harlingen, Holland

When in Harlingen, on the Dutch coast an hour’s drive from Amsterdam, you’ll need to crane your neck upwards to spot two of the three coolest hotels in town. One of those hotels is atop an actual working crane. The other is in a lighthouse. And the town’s third cool hotel? That’s on street level—or, more accurately, water level—inside a lifeboat.

Our reviews of each . . .

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Hawaii’s Treehouse Hideaway

A bamboo outhouse is a one-minute walk away. At night the path is lit by Tiki torches.

At the end of a winding 52-mile drive through the rain forests of Maui, Hawaii sits the peaceful, idyllic village of Hana. And there, in a forest reserve, is a sort of green Eden: the Hana Lani Treehouses.

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Winvian’s Luxurious, Unusual “Cottages”

There are several cottage resorts around but few are as luxurious—and none are as unusual—as northwest Connecticut’s Winvian Cottages. Really “cottage” is a bit of a misnomer here, suggesting accommodations more simple than the Winvian’s abodes, each of which designed by a different architect and possessing its own flair. The Library Cottage is centered around double-story wrap-around book shelves. The Treehouse Cottage is a two-story wonder built amongst the leaves and branches 30 feet above the ground. Perhaps the most unusual option is the Helicopter Cottage, which is large enough to contain the whole of a Sea King Pelican helicopter. Though back when the U.S. Coast Guard was flying it we suspect this ‘copter didn’t contain the minibar, sofa and flat screen TV it has today.

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Affordable, Yet Cool, Caribbean Accommodations

“Affordable” and “Caribbean” are not necessarily contradictions in terms.

To find cool hotels, relaxing beach resorts and luxurious bed and breakfasts in the Caribbean at an affordable price try these tips:

Look at the smaller establishments. They don’t get the press the big resorts do, but they sometimes provide much better value. A good Caribbean guidebook can be an invaluable friend in finding the high value hotel gems.

Check out the less developed areas. In Jamaica, for example, there are lots of great, inexpensive hotel and resort options outside of the major Negril, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay tourist centers.

Decide what’s most important to you and try to find a hotel without a lot of frills you won’t use. If you don’t care about using a spa, for example, you can save money by staying in a resort without one.

Shop around. A superb website for finding great deals on resorts, as well as on cruises and vacation packages, is Cheap Caribbean Affordable, Yet Cool, Caribbean Accommodations.
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And, most of all, read on. The resorts below are among Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite affordable Caribbean digs. Each has rooms in the high season for less—and in some cases much less—than $150 a night . . .

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