Darn Good Digs (DGD's) are the best of the best locally or independently owned hotels around the world with rooms under $150, even in the high season1. All DGD's were either personally reviewed by us or nominated by fellow travelers as one of their all-time favorite places to stay, and all of them meet or exceed our selective criteria. Hotels cannot pay to be included.
All DGD's meet ALL of the following criteria:
|Vibe||DGD's may be hip and happening or laid-back and mellow, but no matter the vibe, it works. You feel welcome, you feel happy, and you sure don't want to leave.|
|Rooms and Grounds||DGD's are one of a kind, and that's the way we like them! Their owners have unique visions, as well as a sense of style and an eye for comfort. The rooms and grounds are clean, well-kept, and clearly loved.2|
|Location||DGD's are located in noteworthy settings, such as unspoiled rainforests, seaside cliffs, or historic towns. Some DGD's are smack dab in the heart of a city, but others are in authentic neighborhoods with good access to public transport.|
|Food||While all DGD's don't serve food, we sure like it when they do. We look for home-cooked regional specialties using fresh, local ingredients.|
We receive dozens of new nominations every month, and we cannot visit all of them ourselves for a number of reasons - our full time jobs, our four year old boy, our own limited budget. Instead, we spend hours and hours meticulously researching each nomination using every source imaginable. That includes guidebooks, magazines, word-of-mouth, online reviews, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Twitter posts, forums, and blogs. If we determine that there is a consensus among travelers, across multiple sources, that a hotel meets all of our criteria, then we bestow the title of Darn Good Digs. As every good researcher should, we post links to our online sources below each review - a bibliography of sorts for travelers to reference. At this point in time, only about 20% of nominations we receive become DGD's.
We often receive genuine nominations from real travelers that seem amazing, but we just cannot find enough sources, or enough consistency across different sources, to confirm that the hotel meets all of our criteria. If we think a nomination is noteworthy and useful for our traveler community, but we do not feel confident that the hotel meets all the criteria of a DGD, then we post the nomination "verbatim" as a "Traveler Favorite".
While we treat every nomination very seriously, we frequently do not post a review for a number of reasons. 1) The nominated hotel does not have rooms for under US$150 in the high season. 2) The hotel is not independently owned. 3) We cannot find enough information, or the information we do find is too inconsistent. 4) We suspect that a nomination is from an owner, or that the nominator is disingenuous. (Owners should use our Owner Form instead.)
We try to work as quickly as possible, but we are very diligent researchers and a small operation. The entire process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
We try to stay as up-to-date as possible with all our DGD's. Every hotel review includes a "Comment" button for travelers to give us feedback. In addition, we periodically recheck our sources to make sure the consensus still exists. DGD's can become Traveler Favorites, and vice versa, and if a hotel's quality falls we will remove it altogether.
In addition, inflation happens, exchange rates fluctuate, and prices change. We don't remove DGD's from our list if they no longer have rooms within our price range, but we do acknowledge the misfortune with a “Gosh Darn It” next to the review.
Nominating your favorite place to stay is easy and as quick as you want it to be. Just use our simple nomination form. You can write stream-of-consciousness or spend time polishing your words - it's up to you.
Please read our blog post about why we only publish reviews for locally and independently owned hotels.
Most of the hotels included on Darn Good Digs still prefer that travelers contact them directly by phone or email. A handful of hotels have allowed our readers to send direct inquiries right from darngooddigs.net. Several other hotels on darngooddigs.net use online reservation services that provide immediate availability and rates, and in these cases, we have provided a link to these booking services. We are not a booking service ourselves.
We use the words of the nominator as much as possible in every DGD's review. However, our editors, Allison and Michael, may add information to an entry in order to fill in gaps in information and to maintain consistency throughout the website. All editor additions are written in italicized dark gray font to distinguish them from the nominator's words.
Membership is free at DGD's, and it takes a few seconds to join. We just ask for your name, city, and email address on our super-easy membership form.
Members receive a quarterly newsletter announcing the new digs we've added. In addition, members receive early notice about new contests we are holding to win cool prizes, such as travel bags, books, or gadgets.