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Off-the-beaten path saves money, offers fresh view

By MICHELLE GROENKE   |   May 26, 2013 at 6:01 AM   |   Comments

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CHICAGO, May 26 (UPI) -- Hotels in hip, culturally diverse neighborhoods and stylish cabins in rustic locales offer travelers this summer the opportunity to approach popular tourist destinations from a different perspective.

Hotels.com suggests travelers can extend their travel budgets and see a different side of a city by seeking out hotels in neighborhoods a bit off the usual tourist path.

Taylor Cole of Hotels.com said the cost-savings of flying midweek is sometimes offset by higher hotel rates.

"Consumers have now been trained that flying midweek is better for their wallet, but when visiting major cities, hotels in downtown areas typically have higher rates and lower inventory due to business travel and conventions," Cole said in a release. "This is the perfect time to explore other neighborhoods of cities like New York and Chicago and save on the hotel stay and flight."

Aside from the people-watching possibilities of viewing "hipsters" in their natural habitats, places like Chicago's Wicker Park or Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhoods offer less expensive lodging, trendy restaurants and great entertainment opportunities. Hotels.com says a night at the Wicker Park Inn starts at $109, compared to Chicago's citywide average of $162 per night. In Williamsburg, a night at the Condor Hotel starts at $179, compared to the New York City average of $264 per night.

Allston-Brighton is a thriving neighborhood in Boston that caters to students from Boston University and Boston College. In Los Angeles, Silver Lake is known for its indie rock scene and some of the nation's most acclaimed food trucks and farmers markets, according to Hotels.com. The Warehouse District in New Orleans offers a respite from the chaos of Bourbon Street, while San Diego's North Park neighborhoods is a culturally diverse, pedestrian-friendly alternative to the city's car-centric downtown .

Other suggestions offered by the website, include Seattle's Capitol Hill, the Mission District in San Diego,and H Street in the District of Columbia.

For travelers looking to see nature from a different angle, a new lodging product developed by Delaware North Cos. was created with an eye toward attracting guests who want to experience the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park while enjoying all the modern conveniences of home.

The New York company has coined the phrase "cabineering" to describe the experience of staying in their newly built cabins just outside the west entrance to the park.

Delaware North Cos. Parks & Resorts President Rick Abramson says the Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone offer an alternative to rustic cabins or traditional hotel rooms.

They're dog-friendly and feature fireplaces, granite counters, front porches, WiFi and flat-screen televisions.

The 50-cabin property is scheduled to open July 1.

Different from "glamping," the "glamorous camping" trend that lends itself to luxury linens, gourmet meals and personal butlers or maids, "cabineering" is designed for people who like to be out in nature "but they like all the creature comforts of home," Abramson told UPI. "We're trying to relate to a bigger cross-section of America, people ... that haven't visited the parks for one reason or another."

He said the cabins really lend themselves to family reunions. "You can bring your mother-in-law, your brother ... and even the pool boy if you want," he joked. The kitchenettes are outfitted with a microwave, a two-burner ceramic glass cooktop, dishwasher and an under-counter refrigerator/freezer.

The cabins are the first newly built lodging option in West Yellowstone since 2007, the hospitality company said. Pricing during peak season will run about $284 for a studio to $379 for a a two-bedroom. (http://www.visityellowstonepark.com/explorer-cabins-at-yellowstone.aspx)

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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