This is a beautiful apartment on a farm estate in Tuscany that is ideal for families. The apartment is big enough for four and has a decent-sized shared pool with stunning views down the valley. It's about half an hour from Arezzo and there are shops at nearby Anghiari.
This wonderful house is located in the center of Havana with a wonderful view to the sea because is beside the Malecón (the esplande) in Havana. Clarita is the best and help me in all that I asked.
Marina # 61, Havana 10300, Cuba
This typical strip town in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest has been the centre of a couple of great hiking holidays for us. You're never more than an hour's drive from all the White Mountain's 4000-footers, but on your off days you've got a discount shopping mall which, with no sales tax, can satiate most retail needs. There are plenty of great restaurants and a real favourite of ours was the Flat Bread Pizza Company, and the Golden Gables Inn is a warm and friendly independent motel.
Flat Bread Pizza Company:
2760 White Mountain Highway North Conway, NH 03860, United States
+1(603) 356 4470
1814 White Mountain Highway North Conway, NH 03860, United States
+1 (603) 356 2878
Google map: bit.ly/R0AxD7
Julian, just a couple of hours' drive from San Diego is a gem, small and unspoilt and a great place to spend a night or two. The Julian Hotel on the Main Street was originally opened as Robinson's Hotel in 1897 by a former slave and is warm, comfortable and super friendly with great breakfasts. Afternoon tea is an American take on English tea learnt from films of the 30s - indulgent.
The town has plenty of small, independent stores and places to eat and enough to occupy a lazy day, either en route over the mountains to San Diego or heading west to the Joshua Tree National Park and other wonders in Arizona.
Between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon,Prescott is a perfect place for a break. It's charming and historic, with antique shops, good museums, a brewery/restaurant, and the saloons of old Whisky Row. Try to book the comfortable Tom Mix room at the Hotel Vendome, where the cowboy movie star stayed while making his many silent films featuring Tony, The Wonder Horse. Nearby are lakes and trails galore - we wished we'd had longer to explore it all.
Bisbee is a little town in southern Arizona, close to the border with Mexico and quite unlike most of small town America with its Victorian and European style houses clinging to the hillsides. We stayed in a vintage trailer at The Shady Dell trailer park, which has a selection of vintage trailers from the 1940s and 50s. As well as Airstreams there are more unusual and rarer models, including the 1947 Airporter which has been transformed into a 'Polynesian Palace'. The Shady Dell also hosts the tiny 1950s Dot's Diner, which was transported here from Los Angeles in 1996. We loved the Bisbee Breakfast Club, a short walk from the trailer park. The BBC was set up in 2005 and caters mainly for the very welcoming locals who are loyal not just to the venue but to specific dishes. Try the wally cakes - free form pancakes with walnuts. On weekends only they serve gooey, sticky buns. Take time to browse the quirky shops and galleries, including the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel with its huge collection of new and vintage bikes and ephemera.
The Shady Dell:
Bisbee Breakfast Club: bisbeebreakfastclub.com/bbc-bisbee-home.aspx
Dot's Diner: www.theshadydell.com/Dots_Diner.html
Bisbee Bicycle Brothel:
Google map: bit.ly/SPyIJE
The small town of Clarksdale, lies along the Mississippi blues trail and is the former home of the mysterious and legendary blues pioneer Robert Johnson, as well as John Lee Hoooker, Muddy Waters and various others (including Ike Turner). Two miles south of town, the Shack Up Inn offers accommodation in quirky, makeshift cabins among the flat fields of the Hopson cotton plantation. Each cabin is decked out according to a theme, with vintage fridges and appliances, scruffy antique furniture and "reclaimed" objet d'art. It costs just $80 a night per cabin, and the price includes coffee and greasy donuts in the morning. Also, upon checking in, guests are loaned a guitar which they are then obliged to strum as they watch the sun set over the cotton fields from a rocking chair on their cabin porch. All the buildings on the complex are made of rusty corrugated iron and the grounds are littered with old trucks, pumps, tanks and other defunct farming machinery, rusting and overgrown with vines. The staff at reception are also well-informed about which of the towns diners and bars have live music - all blues, of course - on any given night.
Amsterdam has a well-oiled (and downright oily) network of cheap hotels geared towards the weekend warrior from the UK, France, Germany, etc. These are places that serve as mere drop-off points for your backpack and as way stations for trips to the bathroom and a quick shower, where your fellow guests might include a mouse or two and various arthropods.
The Toren is not one these places. Located on the Keizersgracht canal in the heart of the canal ring, it is a luxurious oasis of a hotel, dripping with class and coolness. It’s pricey, as you’d expect from a four-star design hotel, but for good reason - the staff is first-rate (good service itself being something of a luxury in Amsterdam), the bar/restaurant is perfect, and the rooms are clean, cosy, and hard to leave on those days when the rain ceaselessly pelts the canal outside your window.
Even if you aren’t staying here, the small lounge is worth a visit during the day, when you want a break from the tourist hordes.. And at night you can slip into what feels like a movie setting, what with the candles going and hushed conversations happening on the couches and lush chairs. The only downside is that you might not ever want to leave.
Keizersgracht 164, 1015 CZ Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 622 60 33
Google map: bit.ly/OkxYLZ
* Jeff is our Been there local for Amsterdam. You can read his profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/amsterdam-local-jeff-funnekotter.jsp and follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/jefffunnekotter
Immune to the sniggers of visitors, the small town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, is in the centre of “Amish Country.” Black Amish buggies trot along the roads, often with a gaggle of small, bonneted children peering from the back, while stalls selling fresh produce abound along the roadside. The Amish shun modern machinery, or even electricity, so horses and hand-drawn ploughs are a common sight in the fields. Like other towns in the area, it boasts ‘all you can eat’ Amish and Mennonite restaurants where you can indulge in limitless helpings of wholesome, traditional cooking; leave room for tooth-numbingly sweet desserts like ‘Shoo-fly pie’. Passing tiny, one roomed schoolhouses, you can see children clad in lace bonnets, pinafores and dark, knee length dresses playing traditional playground games in the schoolyard. Staying in the Red Caboose Motel, a collection of old railway carriages in nearby Strasburg, we awoke each morning to perfect stillness and silence, broken only by the sound of threshing being done by hand in the fields beyond.
Small charming hotel located in a magic medieval village, only 10 km from Saturnia hot springs where you can enjoy great food and wine in a relaxing atmosphere.
The owners Angela and Enrico are very hospitable and welcoming. It is located in a village that is quiet and unspoilt. You can walk up to the high point of the village for fabulous 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside. We had dinner at the hotel for both nights of our stay. The meals were among the best of our trip and were served on the terrace. The quality of the food cooked by Enrico and the setting were both excellent. I would recommend people to stay at Locanda La Pieve and also to have dinner there as well. We spent 16 nights in Italy and this was definitely a highlight of our trip.
This lovely spot is run by a Colombian-Kiwi couple and has amazing views. They make yummy healthy food and Diego takes guests for a walk through the forest on their property - lots of butterflies, bird and orchids! You can stay in their guesthouse or visit from the day from Manizales to have a meal and a walk. The sunsets are amazing - the perfect spot for a cocktail!
Villa Maria Km 3 via Llanitos, Manizales, Caldas, Colombia
+57 310 764 82 49
Three superb cottages hand restored by Richard and Lois Livett. Great location with beautiful views over Loch Sunart. Every need considered and catered for; private yet very generous with space, light and spirit. Beautiful gardens full of trees and bird life, and a very productive vegetable patch. You really feel a special guest in a special place.
We spent five days here in August. More towards a hostel rather than a hotel with a mix of rooms, from rooms with private bathrooms to beds in dorms with shared bathrooms.
For our room with the private bathroom we spent 33JD per night. Citadel and amphitheatre are on the doorstep.
There is a communal room where people can eat or meet other backpackers/travellers.
The hostel can arrange trips. They organised a car to take us and two other guests to Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea for 20JD (not including admission fees). Additionally they can arrange cars to and from the airport or to the Jordanian border.
Good breakfast served in the morning.
Staff always on hand (with perfect English) to assist with any queries such as how to handle taxi drivers etc.
Not luxurious but safe, comfortable and friendly.
48, Hashemiyeh Street, Hashemiyeh, Amman, Jordan
We only stayed here for one night but cannot speak too highly of this place. The staff were very friendly with the owner dropping us down to the Petra site after we arrived at the hotel. The hotel is situated above the main town but is only a short taxi ride down the hill to Petra/town centre. However there are a number of other hotels and restaurants around this hotel so it is not isolated.
When you see what Movenpick etc are charging in the town you will be amazed at this hotel's prices!
The owner's father was a previous governor of the area and he is very well regarded in the area.
We paid 28JD and were astounded at the quality of the accommodation. The whole place was recently renovated to a very high standard and would not look out of place in one of the good hotels in Europe. For example the bathroom was huge, enclosed in frosted glass.
The owner arranged for a bus to pick us up from the hotel for our trip back to Amman saving us a journey to the bus station.
My wife wished the accommodation on the rest of our trip in Middle East was like this!!
During autumn, the weather in Delhi is perfect: the monsoon rains have passed and the temperature is in the high 20s. There are some lively festivals at this time of year, including Navaratri (October 16th-23rd), during which there are ten days of street festivals, dancing, Ramlila plays and finally the burning of giant effergies of the God Ravana. The largest celebration during autumn is Diwali (November 3rd this year.) To celebrate the Hindu New Year and the triumph of good over evil, the city is filled with glittering lights - tiny clay lamps flicker from every window - and fireworks fill the skies. Delicious sweets such as the milky burfi are sold on every street corner and the roads are strewn with marigold and rose petals or colourful Rangoli patterns made from coloured sand or chalk. It's a good time to visit as hotels offer deep discounts on rooms and shops have sale bonanzas of up to 40%. I would recommend the recently built Radisson Blu hotel in Paschim Vihar, where there is a tourist concierge who will arrange independent travel by car to all the local sights as well as the Golden Triangle. We were there last Diwali as practically the only guests -Indian families prefer to stay with relatives during this special period, so we were thoroughly spoiled with cakes, fruit and sweets and the undivided attention of dozens of hotel staff.
We stayed here for six nights in early September and were not disappointed. While on the map it looked like it was situated on the northern edge of the city centre, it was in fact very central for us.
Only a few minutes walk from the beach as well as the renovated Old Port area (with many restaurants and shops), quite simply a brilliant location. Great bars and restaurants only around the corner on Dizengoff street (especially on corner of Yirmeyahu street and Dizengoff street).
Very modern spotless hotel with free wi-fi.
We paid $154 per night (which for Tel Aviv was one of the best value decent hotels we could find!)
Particularly liked the fact that our room had a fridge which we were able to fill with drink and food from the nearby supermarkets.
Breakfast was basic but other than that no complaints about this hotel!
This hotel is situated up on the Mount of Olives in Arab East Jerusalem. While not centrally located near the old town, every morning we got the #75 bus that dropped us outside Damascus gate within 10 - 15 mins for five NIS. Taxis at night back to the hotel cost us between 35 - 45 NIS from the centre. Too far to walk especially at night.
The hotel was rather tired but we paid a very good price for Jerusalem at about £43 GBP per night for five nights. The room had an ensuite old bathroom but no TV.
Friendly hotel with a large buffet breakfast on offer every morning. Additionally free wi-fi.
We were surprised to find that the hotel was right next to one of Jerusalem's attractions - Mosque of Ascension which is on the site of Jesus's ascension and contains his alleged footprint!
For many years now, my friends were telling me to go to Santorini and that I would fall in love with this island so this year I did. It was absolutely gorgeous. It is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. Fira, Imerovigli and Oia are for the romantic couples but Kamari and Perissa are beach villages and they are great for families. I have stayed in Kamari, in Hotel Matina (got the idea from the review here). It is a great little hotel with very friendly owners and the prices are very reasonable.
It’s a very stylish contemporary 4-star hotel in the center of Madrid, next to the tranquil Retiro Gardens. Some of the best museums (Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza) are a short walk away, and the area is very fascinating and lively. It is very moderately priced for the quality and location.
c/Antonio Maura, 5
Beyond the door lies a retreat straight out of colonial days.Simple rooms,shaded by exotic vegetation, focus on a verandah where at 6pm all the guests gather at the invitation of the owner,John.Free cocktails and spicy nibbles enhance the exchange of information in a very sociable atmosphere.This is the perfect base for visiting both sides of theIguazu Falls.
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