Darn Good Digs

"Darn Good Digs Reveals Outstanding Accommodations with Budget Prices" - Arthur Frommer

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Darn Good Digs in Spain

Darn Good Digs are the world's best independently owned accommodations for budget-minded travelers, all with rooms under US$150. Darn Good Digs stand out for their originality, spectacular locations, scrumptious food, and great vibes.

  =   Editors' Choice


Traveler Favorite

Barcelona: HelloBCN Hostel
 Nominated By: Nomadic Matt, September '09

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at hostelbookers

Price Range: 17-35 Euros (per person, includes basic breakfast) # of Rooms: Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes HelloBCN Hostel so Darn Good? "The rooms were clean and cheap, the hostel bar and lounge was always full, and the staff was very friendly. HelloBCN is about a fifteen minute walk from Las Ramblas." Read more.

Traveler Favorite

Barcelona: Hostal Poblenou
 Nominated By: Allison and Michael, January '10

Price Range: 45-110 Euros (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 6 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes Hostal Poblenou so Darn Good? "Mercedes, the owner, is incredibly nice and sweet. She has a natural warmth that made us and our three year old feel very welcome. We appreciated the hostal's large, comfortable rooms and its location just off the Ramblas in the lovely neighborhood of Poblenou." Read more.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Begur, Costa Brava, Catalonia: Aiguaclara Hotel
Nominated By: Sarah Lavender Smith, Piedmont, California, USA, April '10

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Price Range: 85-175 Euros (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 10 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes the Aiguaclara Hotel so Darn Good? Situated in the heart of Begur, a medieval village on the coast of Northern Spain, Aiguaclara occupies a 19th century mansion replete with original tilework and ornate wrought iron detailing. Windows open to a view of the town's winding cobblestone streets and 11th-century castle, and the central plaza is just out the door. Aiguaclara's owners, Clara and Joan, are extremely welcoming and helpful; they picked us up at the bus stop and helped us arrange a rental car.

Location: Begur is a lovely small town along the spectacular Costa Brava one and a half hours from Barcelona and a half hour from the ancient, walled city of Girona. Hunker down in Begur and savor its tiny one-lane roads, plazas buzzing with life, and medieval castles and churches. The closest beaches and swimming coves are three kilometers down a winding road from Begur's town center.

Rooms: Each of Aiguaclara's ten rooms is individually decorated with antique furnishings and regional art, and some have terraces overlooking the town. The hotel is spacious with high ceilings and has a restaurant enclosed in what used to be an outdoor yard. Common spaces include a game room with hip décor and retro board games, a self-serve snack and beverage area, and a lounge within the restaurant.

Food: The hotel serves a buffet breakfast featuring traditional Spanish fare, such as tortilla espanola, as well as fresh fruit, yogurt, and pastries. The dinner menu at the top-rated hotel restaurant includes several regional specialties.

Vibe: Aiguaclara attracts a hip international crowd, yet manages to be family-friendly at the same time. Our eight and twelve year old kids were made to feel very welcome.

Keep in Mind: Smoking is prevalent in Catalonia, so be prepared for the restaurant and lounge area to be a little smoky. Also, church bells ring every quarter hour and sounds echo in the tile hallways, so while the hotel is not always quiet, it is extremely comfortable and peaceful.

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Traveler Favorite

Madrid: Hotel Moderno
 Nominated By: Nayda Sauri from Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, Dec '10

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: 60-192 Euros # of Rooms: 97 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes the Hotel Moderno so Darn Good? "The Hotel Moderno has the best location in Madrid at about US$100." Read more.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Nerja, Costa del Sol, Andalucia: Hostal Miguel
Nominated By: Lisa Lubin, Chicago, Illinois, USA, February '09

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at hostelbookers

Price Range: 28-52 Euros (breakfast extra) # of Rooms: 9 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes Hostal Miguel so Darn Good? Hostal Miguel is a sweet and simple guesthouse in a lovely beach town.

Location: The guesthouse is located on a pedestrian street in the heart of Nerja's old town. Plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants are right out the door, and the beach is just a few minutes walk away. Nerja is fifty kilometers east of Málaga on Spain's Costa del Sol.

Rooms: With their white-washed walls, traditional wooden furnishings, and bright cushions and wall-hangings, the Hostal's nine comfortable rooms are all decorated in typical Andalucían style. In the downstairs salon, guests can relax with a book from the multi-language shared library.

Food: Breakfast is served on Hostal Miguel's beautiful rooftop terrace. The coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice are certainly nice, but the views of the Mediterrean Sea and Axarquia Mountains are absolutely spectacular. Scrambled eggs, croissants, and sliced meats and cheeses are all available on the breakfast menu.

Vibe: Hostal Miguel's innkeepers, Ian and Jane, are a lovely and down to earth British couple, and the vibe at the guesthouse is easy-going and friendly.

Things to Keep in Mind: The Hostal does not have an elevator or AC, but all rooms have ceiling fans to keep them cool.

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hotel rural cuartamenteru hotel rural cuartamenteru hotel rural cuartamenteru hotel rural cuartamenteru

Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Poo de Llanes, Asturias: Hotel Rural Cuartamenteru
Nominated By: Michael, Brooklyn, New York, January '10

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: 42-104 Euro (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 10 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes the Hotel Rural Cuartamenteru so Darn Good? The Hotel Rural Cuartamenteru is an immaculately maintained small hotel in Asturias, only a few kilometers away from spectacular beaches and a five minute drive to the lively beach town of Llanes. The hotel has its own micro-sidreria, which the owner gave me a tour of within ten minutes of our arrival - including my first taste of the Asturians' beloved hard apple cider.

Location: Cuartamenteru is perfectly situated between the northern coast of Spain and the stunning Picos de Europa mountains in the little hamlet of Poo de Llanes (that we affectionately called Poo in English). Poo has its own gathering place at the crossroads of the main road, but the real action is in Llanes, at least during the summer, where we enjoyed the weekend carnival atmosphere and the enticing old town packed with restaurants, shops, and sidrerias.

Rooms: Our room was modern, clean, brightly painted, and decorated with hanging masks from Asturian mythology. The bathroom had all the amenities one would expect at a luxury hotel, even including toothpaste and shoe polish. A second one story cottage adjacent to the main building housed a very comfortable glass-enclosed sitting room along with the sidreria and breakfast area.

Food: Fresh pastries, cereal, yogurt, as well as juice, coffee and tea were all included in the continental breakfast. We ate in the colorful breakfast room because it was a bit chilly in the mornings, but there was also seating on the outside porch overlooking the grassy yard and the mountains.

Vibe: The vibe was quiet and friendly. Not only did the owner introduce me to the local cider, but he also gave us many very helpful suggestions on which beaches, towns, and sites to visit.

Keep in Mind: Poo de Llanes is not Llanes, but Llanes is only a short drive away.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

San Sebastian-Donostia, Basque Country: Pension Altair
Nominated By: Allison and Michael, Brooklyn, New York, USA, August '09

Price Range: 36-82 Euro # of Rooms: 10 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes Pension Altair so Darn Good? Pension Altair is sparkly new, modern, and sleek! Its owner, Ricardo, is super-friendly and was very sweet and welcoming to us and our three year old boy. We enjoyed our daily chats with him and appreciated his great tips on things to do and places to eat in San Sebastian. The Pension is just a short walk to Gros beach, one of the city's three main beaches.

Location: The pension is located in the Gros neighborhood of stylish San Sebastian on Spain's northern coast. From the pension, it is just a fifteen minute walk across the bridge to San Sebastian's happening old town, and not much further to the famous Playa de la Concha.

Rooms: Pension Altair's ten rooms are located on two floors of a well-kept apartment building (think marble-floored foyer) with an elevator. The rooms are modern and new, and are decorated in soothing neutral tones. The beds are comfortable and the towels are soft. We stayed in a slightly larger room in the back, but the front rooms have arched windows overlooking the street.

Food: While the pension does not serve food, San Sebastian is well known for its tapas restaurants and cutting-edge Basque cuisine. If you don't want to head to the old town, the Gros neighborhood has plenty of patisseries for breakfast, as well as cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Vibe: The Pension is a cool, happy place, with a friendly vibe.

Keep in Mind: The front desk is only open at certain hours, so be sure to call ahead before arriving. Also, if you are driving, street parking is free on weekends, and on weekdays, free parking can be found up the hill on the other side of Gros. Just ask Ricardo!

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Traveler Favorite

Zaragoza, Spain: B&B Siesta
 Nominated By: Allison and Michael, September '09

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at Venere

Price Range: 36-66 Euros (includes continental breakfast) # of Rooms: 3 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes the B&B Siesta so Darn Good? "The B & B Siesta is new and super-clean with a nice self-serve breakfast. This sweet little place has a lovely owner, Marta, and is a GREAT value!" Read more.





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