A rustic rural retreat based in a castle, 40 minutes drive North of Bologna, Italy. Only accommodating 10 guests, in frescoed rooms, it is like staying in your own personal castle. No TV, no WiFi and probably no mobile phone reception (as it is in the middle of nowhere) but lots of books, music and art, along with good food and wine. Early morning balloon rides followed by breakfast anyone?
Castello di Galeazza
Via Provanone 8585
40014 Galeazza di Crevalcore (BO)
Tel +39 051 985 170
Nearest stations: Bologna or Crevalcore
The hamlet of Peralta is set in the Tuscan hills that rise high above the valley of Camaiore, behind Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi on the coast.
It was restored over a period of thirty years with great love and imagination by international sculptor Fiore de Henriquez (her work is all over the hamlet). Fiore lived and worked in Peralta until her death in June 2004. Peralta is not just a collection of houses and apartments for holiday lets. It is a place that inspires, seduces, has a special atmosphere. When Fiore first found Peralta (1967) in an abandoned state she immediately fell in love with the place and knew she wanted to restore the houses. She went about this in the same manner that she made her sculpture, building up, adding, taking away, moulding. The result is indeed a creation and one feels this special atmosphere immediately upon arriving. It is not a place for people seeking luxury accommodation where everything always works perfectly, but for people seeking inspiration, tranquillity and beauty.
A small town nestled at the base of the Strezlecki ranges , Yarragon has a range of speciality shops covering arts and antiques, bookshops and places to taste the local cheeses and wares. We stayed at the Yarragon motel, a small neat and tidy place just off the main highway (it was cheap accommodation too.)
about 130km SE of Melbourne on the Princes Hwy
Google map: tinyurl.com/pf36vv
A lovely, friendly, inexpensive rural hotel and restaurant perched right on the edge of the gorge in the spa town of Alhama de Granada, Andalucia. The owner Paco is an ex-flamenco singer who often takes guests down to the hot springs and serenades them under the stars.
We go to Kenmare for hols every year and have had many self catering experiences but staying at Ard Mullen was the best. Booking accommodation on the internet is always going to be hit and miss, but this was a hit. There was five of us (three generations of family) and we were told that it was two bathroom, three double rooms and one single. The single room was also a double. There was a large comfortable living room and massive kitchen/dining roomm with all the mod cons and downstairs toilet, and a small garden with patio furniture.
Ard Mullen is a large house decorated to a very high standard and a few minutes walk from Kenmare. In fact we booked it again this year.
If you are looking for clean no frills accomodation in Chaing Mai 'Nice Appartments' will be a good choice. Ms Chon is an easy going landlady who will provide clean rooms at a very affordable price, throwing in free tea and Thai bananas for a good meassure.
She will also allow you to leave your bags when you go off on a trek, even if it is a three day trek, and will put away your valuable possesions on a security lock. She will make you sign several forms for that and seal your possesions, but I felt better for that.
There is a 1AM curfew, so if you are here partying this may not be your place
Off the main road just by the main gat
15 Soi 1 Ratchadamnem Road
Confortel have built a fine reputation for providing affordable and stylish accommodation in major Spanish cities. The confortel seville is a huge disappointment and not worthy of its three star status.
Hotel Puerta de Triana Sevilla
We had a thoroughly enjoyable week at this attractive townhouse in the historic heart of Lanciano, Abruzzo. If you want an authentic Italian getaway then this is the place for you. Lanciano is centrally located for both the beach and the mountains and has plenty of bars, restauraunts and shops to entertain too. We had the most blissful week eating breakfast on the roof terrace overlooking the town, pottering about the alleyways and eating at the most authentic (and cheap) trattorias in town. There are a wealth of beaches and coves only a 15 minute drive away and yet we could be up in the mountains in only half an hour. The house is really well equipped and with lots of much appreciated touches such as wine and water in the fridge and the basics for our first meal should we have needed it. The owner took her time to meet up with and give us a quick guided tour of the town which really helped save time on the first day and were always on hand if we needed more information about what to see and do. This area is virtually unspoilt by tourism and the people genuine, warm and friendly. We will be back soon.
San Francisco has passed through several cultural lifetimes since 1967. It still has its unique clarity of light and the Victorian houses clinging to hillsides, but today it offers a deep acceptance of lifestyle choices, a rich mix of world cultures, more excellent restaurants per capita than perhaps anywhere else in the world, and arguably the best aesthetic taste of any American city. It is also the only US city west of New York where one reasonably can ditch the car for public transportation.
Epitomizing these cultural strengths is The Parsonage Bed and Breakfast Inn, a 19th-Century Victorian freestanding city house that is easily the most elegant bed-and-breakfast inn in San Francisco. It is the home of Joan Hull and John Phillips, a worldly and welcoming couple committed to politics and the arts, patrons of the San Francisco Ballet, and connoisseurs of good food and wine; their portuguese water-dog, Pilar; and an ever-changing group of visitors and residents. They serve a restaurant-quality cooked breakfast to guests in their formal dining room, whose trompe l'oeil decoration was inspired by a one of their many trips to Italy. With their lovely antique furniture in the double parlor, sitting room, dining room, and two floors of guest rooms, the house itself is a sight worth seeing. They also have excellent beds.
Its location in the lower Haight puts it within easy walking distance of the symphony, ballet, and major music venues of Civic Center, as well as in a public transportation hub. The Market Street streetcars, BART, and many buses are within a few blocks. There are dozens of high-quality restaurants in the neighborhood. The Hayes Valley shops closeby are some of the most interesting in town. The owners are long-time local residents, generous with advice to visitors.
With its physical beauty, location, and the professionalism and charm of its hosts, The Parsonage is really a find. I only hope this review doesn't make it too hard to get in there.
198 Haight Street, San Francisco 94102
just west of the Market/Van Ness Muni Metro station
Blackthorne Inn bed and breakfast is nestled in a wooded canyon near the charming village of Inverness, California, an hour from San Francisco and the Napa-Sonoma wine country. It provides intimate overnight accommodations in a beautiful rustic setting adjacent to the magnificent Point Reyes National Seashore wilderness park in northern California.
This unique structure resembles a giant elegant treehouse. Crafted from redwood, cedar and a 180-foot Douglas fir cut and milled on the site, the Inn rises through fragrant bay trees to sunny decks on four levels.
A generous buffet style breakfast is provided each morning. Guests may dine privately or together on the 3,500 square foot deck which surrounds the main level, or inside in the glass solarium.
Hot and cold tubs are sunk into an upper deck and one bedroom (The Crow's Nest) is in a tower reached by a spiral staircase. A firehouse pole connects the main deck to the ground.
The Red Vic is everything you'd hope for from a B&B located right in the heart of San Fran's vibrant Haight-Ashbury district.
A gorgeous deep red building from the outside, the Red Vic has a host of differently-themed rooms. My girlfriend and I stayed in the Sunshine Room, which was decorated in red, yellow and orange shades.
The Red Vic does a pretty convincing job of retaining the spirit of the Beatnik generation, and it plays host to an active local and travelling arts community in the restaurant and small shop downstairs. You'll almost certainly meet the hotel's spiritual and artistic centre Sami Sunchild as well, who helps make your stay even more memorable.
Downside? As ever in San Fran, you're at the mercy of the limited parking, and keep an eye on the changing parking conditions signposted on the streets nearby or you'll pick up a less than chilled out fine!
1665 Haight Street
This is quirky, class and comfy accommodation, situated in the heart of Valletta. The owner gives the house and your holiday a very personal touch and it was far better than any of the many hotels I have stayed in. Valletta has many fabulous attractions and great restaurants and is a must!
This is a funky little boutique hotel in the downtown area where each room has been decorated in eclectic style by a different artist and there are frequent exhibitions in the lobby. Facilties are basic and breakfast is pretty limited - a bagel or a muffin and some juice mainly. But it stands out for it's youthful vibe, fantastic value and brilliant location. Trams, buses and Metro are all a short walk away.
If you're goping in the warmer months I'd recommend requesting a room overlooking the back as the garbage truck and air con can get noisy.
447 Bush Street, San Francisco, California 94108
20 metres from Chinatown Gate and round the corner from Union Square area.
When I visited San Francisco a couple of years ago I stayed at a colourful victorian guest house, moments from the bars and shops of Castro and Market streets. With five tastefully themed rooms it had a friendly, laid back atmosphere and was a great starting point for exploring the city.
It's a quirky B&B in the heart of Castro - the gay and lesbian district in San Francisco. Everybody is welcome and the breakfasts are divine. Rooms are clean with beautiful views. Each decorated with a kind of funky 70s style.
The Red Victoria is a lovely hotel in the Haight (pronounced Hate) district of San Francisco - think Camden with more hippies and less pirates.
It is run by a septegenarian artist called Sami Sunchild who designed each room separately and occasionally joins guests for breakfast and discussion in the Peace Cafe. You can choose from Peacock, Butterfly, Sunshine and even Japanese tea garden rooms, but I found waking up in the Skylight room particularly relaxing.
Local curios include the Red Vic movie house where I squeezed in with the other punters on to old sofas and benches whilst eating popcorn 'n' yeast and watching The Big Lebowski.
Golden Gate Park is two blocks away, and the Castro district is a steep 20 minute walk (via Twin Peaks), or a 5 minute bus ride which connects with trams into the centre of town.
I was assured by a man whose eyes seemed to work independently that the burrito shop on the corner was the best in the area, and after only being there for a couple of days I met a gay man and a lesbian who had fallen in love. Only in San Francisco...
It's a bright red building on Haight and Ashbury, if you're on the street it's hard to miss.
Red Victorian Bed, Breakfast & Art
1665 Haight Street San Francisco,
Phone: (415) 864-1978
Fax: (415) 863-3293
I was supposed to meet my sister in San Francisco one year but the hotel I had booked was horrendous so I had to find a place to stay for a few nights before she arrived. The White Swan Inn saved my bacon. My room had a little fireplace in it and was the definition of cosy, which is weird considering it is quite near Union Square. So the bed part was great. Breakfast was served in a lush little parlour and was really good - scrambled eggs, bagels, muffins - I felt really fat! I felt really at home and was happy killing time with a book in the parlour. I haven't stayed in many places in San Francisco so I don't know if this kind of character in a place is normal but I had a super stay and would be happy recommending it - although if you expect it to be like and English B&B in price (i.e. £25 a head) you'll be disappointed. Even with a strong exchange rate it wasn't cheap.
Bush Street in the Nob Hill area
We found Trinidad to be casa heaven, and Casa Balbina Cadahia was our highlight.
Located a 4-5 minute walk from the main square, this casa contains a beautifully peaceful courtyard and large, spacious bedrooms. This was undoubtedly the most comfortable bed we stayed in on our trip.
Food was good and plentiful and our host was friendly (and English speaking for those that find that useful).
On a more general point, I would encourage you to do some casa research before leaving for Cuba. We found the Lonely Planet to be next to useless when trying to find accomodation: some places were no longer there; some, it seemed, had never been there. Use websites like this instead.
Also, despite warnings that Cuban banks will not accept debit cards, my Nationwide Visa card was happily accepted.
Anyhow, as I was saying: you'll love Trinidad, and you'll love this casa.
A Maceo No 355
entre Lino Perez y Colon
+53 0141 992585
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