This hostel excels in providing service. The cheerful owners cater for your every need with an attention to detail and warmth not always found in this sector of accommodation. Fedio's father's powerful rakia on arrival and mother's preserved fruit at breakfast leave you with the feeling you have stayed at a family house for an informal get together.
Oh, and did I mention the best view of the Yantra gorge in the city, all next door to one of the best small hotel restaurants in Bulgaria?
27 Gurko St
Dundee is a great place for shopping, even on a rainy day! There is the Overgate and Wellgate shopping centres which are both indoor and offer plenty of shops.
In between them is the main high street which also has a wide selection of shops such as Dixons, HMV and Game.
The newly built city quay area down near the waterfront has a TK Maxx and a few good restaurants that are worth checking out.
If you decide to spend the night you will find plenty of B&Bs and guest houses, most are just off the city centre but are still well within walking distance.
A rather wonderful family-run guest house, two minutes from the Assi ghats.
Clean and comfortable rooms (some with a balcony), hot water on demand and fresh home-cooked food.
Very, very friendly staff who will make you most welcome. Dr V.N Tripathi offers (advanced and beginners) yoga, meditation and Ayurveda lessons to guests.
I read the recommendations on the website and can vouch for them!
We stayed here and found it a great choice. The rooms are basic but clean and the staff were very helpful. Also, if you have the Lonely Planet for Ethopia and Eritrea 2006, the phone number is wrong!
Queen Elizabeth Road
Tel: +251 11 122 8080
A series of open-air concerts in Lucca, Tuscany each July, the main 'venue' being Piazza Napoleone, also known as Piazza Grande.
For such a small, albeit perfectly formed, town, this event has attracted some big names over the years - Oasis, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Alanis Morrisette, Black Eyed Peas, James Brown - to name a few, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Concerts usually begin at around 9pm; it's still warm, and the main square is closed off from early evening. During concerts most of the bars and shops around the square remain open, and the majority of the events are standing only - but not all.
The official website is notoriously late in announcing the lineup, but for 2008 some names are confirmed already - Sheryl Crow, Leonard Cohen, Alicia Keys, Chicago, Erykah Badu and Mick Hucknall. The latter is a fixture by now, be it as himself or Simply Red. Elton John is also a frequent visitor. It's rare for tickets to sell out, so you can usually be sure of showing up and buying on the day, but the official site also explains how to get tickets.
Below are some links - the official site, a blog post about the 2008 festival, and our favourite site for Lucca hotels:
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy - main venue is Piazza Napoleone, inside the famous city walls.
Not a pub, but a bed & breakfast near the Colosseum. The rooms are beautiful, as lovely as we have seen in four-star hotels. The host couple is very kind. They helped us plan our time and suggested some great restaurants.
It is the place to stay in Edinburgh, it looks absolutely stunning on the outside and from the polite doormen to the Michelin-starred restaurant this is the height of luxury. Well worth a look around, even for a coffee if you cant afford to splash out for a room!
Tofino is on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island. The area is formed of temperate rainforest and white sandy beaches which stretch for miles. Beyond its unbelievable natural beauty, it offers a rare thing in North America: harmony. The indigenous First Nations people, aided by eco-warriors, made a stand against the loggers in the 1980s and since then it has been given UN status as a natural wilderness.
The high-priced resorts dotted along the beaches are best avoided, especially in summer. To see the real Tofino go there in May (shoulder season) and stay in the town. The Tofino Motel offers great views at around $85 (£40) a night per room. If you like seafood Shelter and Schooner restaurants are a must, but for something more funky try Raincoast.
There are three impressive beaches nearby. Tonquin is but a short walk from the town and is good for a post-prandial stroll. Chesterman beach is a short drive away and is full of spirits and driftwood and as the site of First Nations resistance has great historical resonance. Long Beach is, well, just long. The caveats to all this are that because this is the raincoast it rains a lot. However, much natural beauty comes from this rain.
The First Nations people run several businesses in town offering whale watching, bear watching (you park near a beach and watch the bears forage for food) as well as trips to hot springs. The botanical garden are like nothing else, blending sculpture and nature. Getting to Tofino is easy. You can fly from downtown Vancouver from around $250 (£120) return by sea-plane, but the best way to travel is to take the Harbour Lynx from downtown Vancouver and then the Tofino bus across the island. Even though this journey takes around six hours, don't fall asleep. Remember you're going to paradise.
Fantastic range of "cures", massages and treatments at very reasonable prices. Also thermal baths. You can go à la carte or choose one of the many packages. Good quality hotels on site.
Buses from Luxembourg city/airport.
Casa Tío Juan is a self-catering rental house that sleeps up to 12. It's a traditional village house in the centre of Hoyos del Espino in the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. We had a great time there and will definitely be returning! Great mountains, stunning scenery and so much to do. The village has bars and restaurants, shops, a bank - everything that you could want within a few minutes walk. By car you can vistit Ávila, Toledo, Salamanca. The Sierra de Gredos is an undiscovered gem. Go before everyone else does!
For weekend city breaks to Calais the Bonsai hotel is a good choice. Tiny rooms but ideal location and budget prices. Located right opposite the main station, a few minutes' walk from the centre of the town of Calais. Most important - free parking facilities for those who travel by car.
Quai Du Danube, Calais, 62100
Private rooms are the budget way to go in Budapest. Rather like a B&B without the breakfast. Sometimes they are separate apartments and sometimes relatively independent guest units attached to a larger apartment (rather like a granny flat). Private rooms are usually centrally located, operated by Budapest-based expats and locals alike. They are not only a cheap option but also provide instant access to local knowledge via your host who will have the insider lowdown on the best places to see/do/go in the Hungarian capital. Some are quite chic and full of character and make for a memorable stay. Private rooms usually rent from around 30 Euros a night.
Ideally situated in the Bo-Kaap area (walking distance from Waterkant, downtown, waterfront and International Convention Centre), this charming guesthouse is owned and managed by Bruce who warmly welcomes you with true hospitality. Rose Lodge offers clean, tastefully decorated and very comfortable rooms. Delicious healthy breakfast is served on the terrace. Bruce was also very helpful in arranging airport transfers and he will gladly assist you with the planning of day trips or any other activities.
Stayed in Budapest two weeks ago and stayed in a lovely self catering apartment. Classical old building but renovated really well, modern, spacious and truly of a 4* hotel equivalent yet €60 per night.
Exceptional value for money and unique accommodation to boot. Worth considering.
Andrassay Utca apartment. Check out www.budarentals.com
Once you book with this family-owned company, Cornish Horizons will offer you first refusal on the same week at the same property the following year. Such a relief for when you find a holiday home you love to return to year in year out - it's like having your very own time share week! And saves having to take pot luck on booking.
19 New Street, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8EA
01841 533 331
It is a residential retreat and martial arts centre, offering guidance and tuition in meditation and martial arts, and where instructors and teachers of martial arts, yoga, pilates, dance or any other activity can take their students for a training camp or retreat. It is an incredible place.
The staff are wonderful, the facilities (I went there on a memorable long weekend of self-defence training for women only, taught by the owner) are superb. The food is local produce prepared in-house, and the welcome is unbelievable.
The owners have assembled a great team of helpers, and they are really good people. The house and gardens are gorgeous and the surroundings are breathtaking. The cost of a stay with them is low, and is great value.
The Metta Centre
Contrada Villa Saline
Penna San Giovanni(MC) 62020
Eco-Hostel in a charming old slate school on a hillside with wonderful woodland valley views. It has a cosy communal lounge with wonderful wood burner which is great for snuggling after a walk up nearby Cadair Idris. Extremely restive for a weekend stay. Good beer, food and company at the Slaters Arms down in the village.
5 miles north of Maccynlleth, just off the A487, not far from the C.A.T.
All I wanted was the five Cs
Cheap – in Venice that’s almost impossible, but this was very reasonable.
Cheerful – fabulous smile from the receptionist on arrival and every time we returned.
Cosy – ask for an attic room at the back so you can spy down into the locals' gardens below, and see the ocean liners berth in the distance. The breakfast room overlooks a local canal.
Clean – room was spotless and cleaned every day.
Convenient – 50 metres from Piazzale Roma bus station and car park, 250 metres from vaporetto number 1 stop, and 5 minutes from the railway station.
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