Each day the number of very interesting lodging options in Europe increases. Leading the innovation seems to be Portugal. Besides the intriguing possibilities inherent in renting a room in a historic place called a Pousada, Portugal offers options like the soon-to-open Ecorkhotel just outside of the Alentejo gem called Evora. While the official web site is strangely silent on the virtues of this hotel, the Portuguese Travel Bureau tells us that the Ecorkhotel is "an Eco-Hotel in which the use of cork, in its outside, is one of the rare buildings in the world using this feature. The use of cork in the main building, such as thermal and acoustic insulation, allows exceptional energy efficiency and a unique natural environment. The entire hotel was designed and built with maximum energy efficiency. For this purpose, it uses geothermal heating for the main building, and solar panels to hear the hot water in the rooms and pools."
Kathy and Charley Wood, who've offered small small group tours of the Luberon through their company European Experiences have finally broken down and purchased a historic vacation rental property in the Luberon village of Bonnieux, a village we liked very much on our week in Provence excursion. It's one of those houses you've always looked upon with wonder, a house like a wedge driven between two converging streets. In any case, the paint has just dried and you can rent the apartment through HomeAway: Experience village life in our Bonnieux apartment.
Perhaps you've wanted to stay in one of those grand buildings tourists gawk in a cute-as-a-bugs-ear fishing village, say the Ducal Palace or some such, advertised as:
- Year of construction: 1600
- Year of renovation: 2006
Well then, I have just the place. Mansion Giovinazzo is a very modern apartment set inside the Ducal Palace with a plethora of modern entertainment devices, meaning multiple stereos and televisions and all the modern kitchen gear you might need. Your head will spin. It's in Italy's Puglia region, which means life is easy and not all that expensive. What does a mansion go for these days? How does 400 € / week sound? And you can eat upon the roof overlooking the famous cathedral and the sea (and the nightly spectacular sunset over the little harbor).
Travel in Europe isn't just about the cheap hotel with the creaky floors and the bath down the hall any more, that's for sure.