A few months ago my boyfriend and I headed for a country break to Devon for a long weekend. We caught the train bright and early on a gorgeous Friday morning and before too long we were driving along the tiny country lanes in East Devon in search of our bed & breakfast. Listening to BBC Devon and watching field after field and horses and cows go by, we felt ourselves slowly being de-Londonised...
There it was our turning along a tiny dirt track, past the nearest 'village' Southleigh which consisted of a post box and village noticeboard. We passed a few farms and lovely converted barns and finally drove up the driveway to our bed & breakfast Glebe House, sitting beautifully on top of a hill. My kind of place.
Breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding farmhouses, wooden table and chairs for that night cap (or in my case peppermint tea) in the evening, and a welcoming host. I'd only just gotten there and I was already dreading leaving.
Our host, Emma, served us tea and cookies in the conservatory and then showed us to our room upstairs with views of the garden.
It was a perfect location for exploring the nearby villages, beaches and Moors. We spent a day at the beautiful beach town Lyme Regis, a day in the wild and rugged Dartmoor national park and a day in idyllic and hip town of Totnes.
I'm all about staying local, and luckily there are seemingly never ending options in this very country...
Devon EX24 6SD
Tel/Fax: 01404 871276
An ancient village inn right by the fishermen's pier at Port Bannatyne. Five guest rooms; continental hospitality; freshly landed seafood including langoustine.
This place is of exceptional quality and thankfully very relaxed about it all... no tablecloths or pack-drill, just French quality meals, real ales, and Russian wines, beers and vodkas.
A mile long sandy beach and 200 seals close by. Be very nice to these good Russians they are providing a service unknown to Scotland! Along the seashore is a little marina and a pitch for playing Petanque.
Behind the village is a 13 hole golf-course with fabulous views over the water to islands, mountains and forests.
The Russian Tavern,
Seashore, Port Bannatyne, Isle of Bute, Argyll
Ferry for Bute leaves from Wemyss Bay on the A78 between Greenock and Largs. Direct train from Glasgow Central, and from Glasgow Int Airport and Prestwick Airport (RyanAir) RyanAir psssengers go half-price on the train.
A great agroturismo hideaway. Not too big, with a decent pool and rooms with terraces - although more rooms are being built. Great service with thoughtful staff, although limited "room service"
30 mins from everywhere, yet quiet and a wonderful place to relax. Perhaps a little overpriced however thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
A glorious spa hotel in the heart of the Swiss Alps. It was almost empty when we were there (early June), meaning we had the entire spa, featuring infinity pool falling away into a valley panorama with snow-capped mountains in the distance, all to ourselves.
We had booked a room without a view, but were upgraded on arrival, and thank goodness we were- the view was breathtaking. Considering it's unlikely to be fully booked in the summer, I would recommend doing the same, and paying for an upgrade if it's not provided.
Not exorbitantly priced- our bill came to just over £200 including decent supper and bar tab.
One other tip- while the map makes it look like the journey from Lake Geneva to the hotel is a quick jaunt, it is actually straight up and down some fairly perilous mountains- the motorway via Bern is far quicker!
Norsehaven is the kind of place you can only dream about when in London. It is not the easiest of places to get to, being on the very north western tip of mainland Britain, but the trip is worth it. You could not be further from the stresses of the city when up there.
We have just returned from a week in Ceannabeinne, a lovingly restored croft nestled on the cliff side, with unspoilt sea views that are to die for. It is almost unbelievably idyllic - it has to be seen to be believed!
Pleasant trendy hotel with great retro 60s styling. Conveniently placed, walking distance of BTS (Nana). Rooms are a bit small, but wet season rate is about 2600 p/n.
Two hours free wi-fi - 50 baht p/h after that. Good staff. Roof-top bar with prices even higher! Car parking too. Roar with laughter when you see the size of their pool!
You don't need a car to get deep into the Alps during summer. Getting to Aosta from any of the airports in Northern Italy is a doddle on the train, and there's a great bus service that will take you up to Cogne. From there, walk or get the local bus to Valnontey for a great base for spectacular single or multi-day walks. Stay at La Barme for hearty, traditional evening meals.
www.trenitalia.com for train times to Aosta.
www.savda.it/orari_tariffe.htm for buses from Aosta to Cogne
www.hotellabarme.com - Hotel La Barme
Cicerone guide Walking in Italy's Gran Paradiso by Gillian Price has loads of great walks in.
A luxury apartment right in the centre of Whitby, next to the harbour and overlooking the old town and sea. Really comfortable and stylishly furnished. Great views across the harbour, particularly in the evening looking over to the floodlit Abbey and old town.
Pier Apartment, 2/3 Pier road, Whitby YO21 3PU
0778 658 0738
Lovely, luxury, self-catering Courchevel 1850 apartment in the tree lined Jardin Alpin area. It is literally located next to the ski lift and is ski-in ski-out to two gentle green pistes. There also is a drag lift which brings children and beginners directly to the nursery slopes (which makes your holiday so much more easy).
As the apartment is located in the same building as the five-star Byblos Hotel you can use the pool, sauna and spa facilities for a charge. There is a ski hire shop in the building too. The apartment was extremely well furnished to a high standard. Highly recommended.
Staying in Vinales at Casa Lucilo y Nirma was one of the highlights of our trip to Cuba!
The Casa is clean, safe, and Lucilo and Nirma were extremely friendly. They can arrange anything extra that you need in Vinales, have great ideas on what to do, and on top of all that Nirma is a great Chef!
They can also arrange any other Casas you may need for the rest of your trip in Cuba.
After long days of hiking and sightseeing around Vinales, our air conditioned room, and garden terrace at the casa were the perfect way to completely relax.
Vinales itself is a wonderful Cuban village. The town and surrounding area are picturesque perfect with beautiful tobacco fields, brightly painted Cuban houses and shops, and the amazing topography of the Vinales valley mountains as well that surround you.
If you are going to Cuba I highly visiting Vinales... and if you are going to Vinales then go to Casa Lucilo y Nirma where you will experience great Cuban hospitality and be treated like family!
I can`t wait to go again!
They were nice enough to meet us at the local bus station! See their web page for more info...
It is a Casa Particular registered for visitors to stay. Wonderful room in the the family home, vegetarian food especially for us no problem and very welcoming.
Casa Lucilo y Nirma
Pasaje Camilo Cienfuegos #52
Vinales CP 22400
Pinar del Rio
Contact yunior crespo garces
With new management, this has become a lovely, cheery apres ski bar with live acoustic music, good vin chaud and a crackling fire, filling a much needed gap for a nice bar in Les Praz. It's perfect for coming down from Flegere in winter and has a relaxing terrace and of course the Boulodrome for summer nights. The rooms are very good value too.
100 route des tines 74400 Chamonix Mont Blanc
Tél: (33) 450-530-639
Staff are very friendly and the travel counter persons are excellent. However don't forget to ask and demand what is promised eg daily amenities -t ooth brush, shaving kit etc. I would say our stay was very good.
Food at Crown India - just 400ft from the Crown Plaza is excellent and very reasonably priced. They also offer a free drop at falls.
Needless to say Niagra Falls is a divine experience. Also don't forget to experience the wondeful aquarium with your family.
Go via Buffalo Niagara Airport and ask the hotel in advance to book a taxi so you save. Crown Plaza has website and you may do advance booking.
This family owned and run ski chalet with direct ski access and fantastic creche is where we spent our best holiday ever in New Year 2009. My eldest started on skis; my little one loved the wonderful nannies at the creche.
Skiing was excellent with the portes du soleil right on your doorstep. Each evening, after the chalet served a delicious children's tea, we got the kids in bed and enjoyed the superlative cordon bleu dining and excellently chosen French wines served in the chalet.
The owners and staff were great, the atmosphere warm, friendly and helpful and the service exceptional. Delightful en-suite rooms, ideal for families. Our starlight plunge in the hot tub was one of the many highlights!
Spent three nights here with five girlfriends for a 'big birthday' in May 2009 and could not have been happier with the location, rooms, reception, cleanliness and atmosphere.
The hotel is in an old building and has an impressive huge carved wooden door, but inside all is modern and minimalist. The garden area behind reception is pretty with lots of steps to reach all the levels.
We didn't try the bar as there are loads of bars and cafes nearby. Helpful staff and loads of leaflets at reception.
We chose 'room only' as it is far cheaper to get a breakfast of anywhere choice in the city (Cafe de L'Opera round the corner is divine). Each of the three rooms we had were spacious and spotless, with big bathrooms and walk-in showers. Ours had a small balcony and all windows had blackout curtains as well as voiles. Like most hotels, it didn't have many hangers but that would be my only gripe. Each of the rooms had the facility to be turned into a family room, but the beds were discreetly folded up against the wall in all the rooms, sometimes behind a wardrobe area.
There was free internet access and a laptop in each room which was useful once we discovered how to get @ on a Spanish keyboard (Alt/Gr plus the @ key).
I'd stayed right on the Ramblas once before, but this was just far away enough to avoid the late night noise (except on the night when Barcelona beat Chelsea, ha!). Being so central the hotel is just near the Liceu metro station and within easy stretch of all the sights and shopping.
The street outside the hotel is pedestrianised, but is only about 25 yards from Las Ramblas, so not far to walk if you have luggage.
C/ La Boqueria 10
Junto A Ramblas 78
Ultra stylish newly built hotel - offers top quality accomodation at very reasonable prices probably because it is a few miles from city centre.
Fantastic reception team who really wanted to help.
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