NYC vacation rental market is swamped with blatant scams. It is safer to stick to airbnb.com or roomorama.com when looking for an apartment for short-term stay. Craigslist might still have the best bargains though, if you've got the time and patience to hunt for them. In order to weed out the scams, stick to two simple rules: after you've made contact with the person offering a place for rent, ask the magic question: "With all the scammers out there, could I please send a local friend over to take a look at the place before booking?" (doesn't matter if you really have anyone there who could go over, no reply = scammer). Second, do not pay anyone anything in advance unless there is a way to reverse the transaction (read: PayPal only). Anyone requesting full stay's rent plus a huge deposit in advance via bank transfer or money order is a scammer, and they're most likely using photos and descriptions stolen from legit real estate ads.
I'd recommend the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, Cape Town any day.
I was blown away by the beautiful setting. The hotel has large garden with exotic plants in front of the mountain and it's very close to vineyards and the sea. The local people came for a stroll on the beach on Sunday afternoon without any shoes on! It was fantastic to do the same too. Nobody seemed to care.
The food was great and the most of them all, biscuits and cakes were wonderful. They looked the same as ours but tasted so different. I had to buy the SA cookery book on baking!
I'm dreaming of visiting there again...
Corner Faure & Stellenbosch Roads
Somerset West, 7130, Cape Town, South Africa
Tel No: (021) 855 1040
Durban rocks, great night life and all but if people visiting South Africa want an authentic African experience they could do alot worse than check out Bulungula Lodge. It's a chance to spend some time with Xhosa people. Also Mthatha is about the most African city - everywhere else is very European in comparison.
If visitors are in the Eastern Cape (may be for games at Port Elizabeth or if they are in and around East London), I would highly recommend them to take so time out of their trip to head further into the interior. The quaint University town (Rhodes Uni resides here) of Grahamstown is South Africa's answer to Durham. Beautiful place for a one night stay, and being small, everything in the town (like the University, Settler monument and central Church) is within easy walking distance. Wouldn't stay for much longer than a night as there isn't that much to see.
The Mercure is not the cheapest hotel in Nelspruit but it is particularly good value for families: you can book a spacious two-bedroom apartment with kitchen area and living room. It's cheaper if you book (and pay) in advance. The Mercure has a beautiful swimming pool and the staff are welcoming. One drawback is that a shopping mall is being built next door, so our most recent stay (August 09) was not as peaceful as previous visits due to reversing trucks and the clang of scaffolding. Hopefully peace will return when the project is finished.
Corner of N4 & Graniet Street PO BOX 1556 1200 NELSPRUIT
Google map: tinyurl.com/yeaxx3w
A smarter than average guesthouse situated close to Mimosa Mall and just a short drive from the N1. You'll need to drive to most places in the city, but there's a good seafood restaurant just a short (safe) walk away (Jimmy's Killer Prawns).
Rooms are spacious and comfortable, with particularly good showers. The honeymoon suite is a little Miss Haversham with its fake flowers and dark colour scheme, but the spa bath more than makes up for it. There's a small bar onsite, with very reasonable prices, secure parking and a lovely pool.
I have visited the Kruger park over 15 times with my family over recent years. Tom Kelly's overview of the Kruger gives the impression that it's hard to eat cheaply there - but the Kruger is a great pace for a budget family holiday. You can stay in cheap accommodation at most rest camps (usually fixed safari tents for two or four or budget huts for two-six which are spotlessly clean and have comfortable beds and a wash basin). In addition to more expensive restaurants, all the rest camps have cheap cafes and shops selling food so you can eat well indoors or have a BBQ (braai) under the stars for next to nothing. In general, most of the wildlife tends to congregate in the Southern area of the park (from Skukuza down to Crocodile Bridge and across to Malelane)so this is the area I would most recommend - but the Northern areas of the park have fewer tourists and thus are more peaceful.
My wife and I spent over three weeks on a business assignment in Barcelona. We stayed in a pillowapartments on Avinyo (gothic attico) - an excellent location in the center and close to the Rambla. It was just over a block to the metro stop and to the underground train station allowing us to easily take trips to Girona, Terragona and Figueros on the weekends.
The apartment was modern: large TV, DVD player, wifi, tall ceilings, microwave, big refrigerator, toaster, dishes and all the start-up supplies needed (toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning materials, etc.).
Pillowapartments did an excellent job in managing the lease. Mr Devaux was fast, efficient, courteous and extremely responsive to emails and questions.
Overall, we had an excellent stay and will use pillowapartments in the future.
25 refurbished Karoo houses - each with a theme. It's like stepping back in time - we had a wind-up record player - all reminiscent of Dutch settlers at the turn of the century. Spotlessly clean. Ideal for visits to Mountain Zebra National Park and The Owl House - fantastic studio of artist Helen Martins. I have never seen so many owls before and could not resist buying a concrete one for some boys outside the house - managed to get it home in one piece as well.
A complex of traditional build mud huts situated on an eco-friendly farm 12Km from the Addo Elephant Park main gates.
The en-suite huts have ceiling fans and tea and coffee facilities, plus a fridge.
Evening meals can be reserved and traditional food is served, cooked over an open fire.
Time can be spent relaxing alongside the pool or in the louging lapa.
The family who run the Lodge are very friendly and helpful with information about the area. This was my first experience of South Africa - Wow!
Spend some of your holiday volunteering and share an experience of a lifetime.
The Centre (CART) is based in the village of Sicambeni on the beautiful Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. You will live in the heart of a rural village while working alongside local people and other volunteers.
The project aims to eliminate rural poverty through education, empowerment and the promotion of self sustainability based on organic agriculture and sound water management.
I defy anyone to spend time at CART and not be deeply moved by the experience.
Friends from London were visiting and wanted to get away from it all so we all booked in at Two Bridges Hotel right smack bang in the middle of The National Park Dartmoor. It is an old coaching inn recently refurbished and stunning! All the old world charm you want but up-to-date facilities that we all want these days. Food better than any three-star place I have been to, obviously keen on local produce and using Dartmoor Farmers Beef. We upgraded to a room with four poster bed and spa bath which was great after a days walking. The log fires and own brewed Jail Ale was a great way to relax with friends. The friendly receptionist did offer us a tour of their brewery but we did not have the time perhaps another day. We will certainly be back.
HQ is the best hostel I've stayed in, in my entire life. The design is modern, minimal yet very functional. The hostel provided clean bedsheets, a large pillow and soft duvets. Gym facility and chill-out coffee and waffle bar are a plus. Breakfast and wifi are free. What more can I ask for for US$10/ night? The staff were super friendly and always helpful. Loved every second I spent there and will go back everytime I'm Bangkok.
An inspiring and sumptuous place to stay. Great food, atmosphere, rooftop views, excellent music drifting across the terrace, and right in the heart of the medina. Friendly informative helpful staff made this riad a pleasure to stay at.
18 Derb Lalla Chacha, Douar Graoua Kennaria, 4000 Marrakech
A beautiful island, close to Cancun but more orientated for those who wish to enjoy a nice relaxed atmosphere as supposed to Cancun's tackified hotel zone. The island is only about 12km long so getting around is fairly easy with plenty of taxi's or if you prefer you can hire bicycles, mopeds and even golf buggies. Lots of nice relaxing bars and restaurants on the beach and some amazing snorkelling and dive sites nearby. I stayed in the PocNa hostel geared for the backpackers out there. At only 100 pesos a night (around £5) including breakfast it is a price that cannot be beaten. With a beach bar and all the islands eateries within walking distance this is a perfect place for those on a very tight budget.
Isla Mujeres can be reached by ferry costing about 70 pesos from Puerta Juarez just north of Cancun. There are plenty of regular buses from the centre of Cancun costing around 5 pesos. Once on the isle of Mujeres the PocNa hostel is just a short walk from the docks and all the locals will be able to direct you.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yag3e7p
Figuring out how to find a budget place to stay on Ambergris Caye in Belize got a lot easier when I stumbled upon Pedro’s Hotel. I had already been checking out the area and was very happy to find a great budget deal that had more of the amenities than other budget rooms yet still kept to my allowance per day.
The rooms are basic but clean and sport two twin beds, air conditioning, a private bathroom and cable TV. The rest of the buildings comprise a swimming pool and sun deck, a bar, a restaurant and of course the owner Peter who is on hand to offer advice on the local area.
All in all a very good deal for those on a budget in Belize, those looking for a cheap vacation or backpackers with a splurge on!
Phone USA: (212) 796.4897
Phone Belize: (011) 501.226.3825
-or- (011) 501.206.2198
(after 4:00 pm)
Take a boat from Belize city, or Chetumal in Mexico. FLy by Tropic air direct to the San Pedro airstrip
The 4floors Istanbul is a beautifully renovated old building in the heart of the bustling Beyoglu neighborhood. The talented architect owner has converted a 70-80-year-old building into a modern haven of glass, iron, and wood. I stayed on the penthouse floor, which has two floors and a rooftop deck. Enjoying a glass of wine on the deck while taking in the stunning views of the Bosporus, mosques, and other residential rooftops was one of the greatest highlights of my trip - this was my first time in Istanbul. This place is ideal for independent travellers who enjoy unique experiences off the beaten track, and appreciate impeccable design. It definitely feels more like a flat than a hotel. The owner is very knowledgeable on the city, and gracious to provide recommendations. However, there is no official concierge or front desk. The refrigerator was well stocked with drinks and basic snacks...
Really great hostel if you want to make a lot of new friends.
You feel at home and taken care of, as the super friendly staff asks you every day how you are doing and really look after you.
The rooms were very social, we met heaps of great people.
I will definitely head back to this place!
This apartment rental company really impressed me with their professionalism. Thanks to Billy for giving us loads of information when we checked in and answering all our questions. Everything was as it should be, which was very nice as we had heard a lot of bad stories about some companies.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com