I spent a long time researching apartments in Hvar as I had heard it was better to book ahead in August (although in the end, there were lots of people offering accommodation as we got off the ferry).
This was one of the few apartments I found that looked comfortable, central (in old fortress part of town) and modern for a reasonable price. We paid £34 a night for two people. The terrace was huge and had a fantastic view of the harbour and Pakleni islands. We had air con (you will need it in July/Aug), and were two minutes' from the main square. Owners were friendly and speak good English. I think they also have an apartment for four people.
Prosper Caric <email@example.com
00385 91 725 2481 (Natasa Caric)
(google "prosper caric" for photos)
Bed and breakfast/farmstays with local families in and around San Luis de Pambil, Bolivar Province. Very basic (it's a poor, agricultural area) but friendly people and beautiful scenery, great for hiking, trekking, etc.
Not at all touristy, well off the beaten track (you need to speak some Spanish) but well worth the journey to experience genuine village life in Ecuador. They do river raft trips, too, and you help build the balsa wood raft. They have some suggested tours, and help you arrange whatever you want to do (in one case, a bug-hunt for a 10-year old and a 12-year old fascinated by the local insect life!) and make you feel very welcome.
It's run by a reforestation charity, so you plant a tree for each day that you stay there.
San Luis de Pambil, Bolivar, Ecuador
In many ways this is a superior three-star hotel, and the service is attentive. It is located on a sidestreet off Divan Yolu Caddesi, easy walking distance to all the Sultanahmet sites.
Their website and online reservation service is impressive. However, the real treat is to book one of the deluxe suites (one twin, one double, I think) on the top floor for at least three days, reserve in advance and pay in cash. That gets you B&B accommodation, two free transfers from the airport, and discounts on the price - and a balcony with views over Haghia/Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque towards the Bosphorus and the Princess Islands!
We paid Euros 450 for four nights, which is not at all bad for central Istanbul in the high season.
Tel : + 90 212 5165264
Fax : + 90 212 6383059
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Address : Binbirdirek Mah. Klodfarer Cad. No: 8/10 34122
If you need to spend a day or so in Nairobi in between safaris or are waiting for connecting flights, then you can make your stay in Nairobi an experience rather than a stop-off.
At Ngong House you can stay in one of five luxurious treehouses raised 15ft off the ground with views out over the Ngong Hills. They also have a driver on hand so you can visit some of Nairobi's attractions such as the giraffe sanctuary, elephant orphanage and
Karen Blixen Museum.
www.toescapeto.com Tel: 020 7060 6747
If taking kids to Paris you don't have to pay a fortune for a hotel.
We've stayed in campsites both within and outside the city, they are loaded with things to do for children after a day taking in the sights and these days caravans and even tents have facilities that more than match most hotels and a lot more besides.
To stay for a couple of nights for a fairly cheap price, I don’t think you can do much better than the Heron Court Hotel. Anything cheaper seems to be a bit nasty, and there is quite a jump up in price to the Norfolk/Stanley etc.
If you want a quiet, characterful but cheap hotel in an atmospheric part of central Paris the Hotel des Batignolles in Rue des Batignolles is hard to beat.
This is a rising chic area west of Montmartre where the poet Verlaine grew up and Mallarmé lived and has lots of lovely neighbourhood foodshops, bars and restaurants.
The hotel is old-fashioned, unhip, but quiet and a double room with breakfast costs only 62 Euros a night. It’s near the Place de Clichy and Rome metro stations and it’s easy to book.
26 Rue des Batignolles, 75017 Paris. + 33 1 4387 7040
Many of the travel companies booking the resorts south of Mombasa will offer you a couple of nights in a 'Treehouse'.
Mostly tiny, with two or three individual cabins scattered on a hillside, butler service, river-water jacuzzis heated by sustainable wood fires, roving elephants nearby, and four-poster-beds that can be wheeled out to sleep under the stars (with mosquito nets, of course), these are worth looking at if you're going on honeymoon, or celebrating a birthday or anniversary. Or just feeling a bit decadent.
The Sable Treehouses in the Shimba Range of Hills were particularly lovely.
As an alternative to bumping around in a dusty van pointing at distant dik-dik, Pinewood Village is a very very quiet, friendly hotel at Galu Beach, down a bumpy road south of the much busier Diani Resorts.
One of the main attractions (apart from the lack of forced activities, relaxation and friendliness of the atmosphere) is the stretch of beach stretching away from the hotel, pure white and, apparently unusual for the area, somewhere you won't get harassed by beach boys - who'll simply introduce themselves on the first day, point out where their shop is and ask you how long you're staying.
Found it through Trip Advisor where it was highly recommended for a very quiet, peaceful break.
Tented rooms with private pools and amazing views over the Rift valley. Walking with local guides, canoeing and night drives. Lots of game and no other vehicles around. And revenues are shared with the local villages.
A thirty-minute private charter flight from Nairobi
A B&B in Tywardreath (setting for Daphne du Maurier's House on the Strand). Really stylish modern rooms and ideally located for exploring mid-Cornwall. Owners are highly knowledgeable about local walks, beaches, pubs and restaurants.
L'art de la Fugue B&B in St Gillies District is a romantic, rambling sort of place filled with antiques, arts and other treasures foraged from the local fleamarkets.
The bedrooms are themed: we got all adventurous in the African-themed Lawrence of Arabia suite (complete with animal print bed linen, spears on the wall and a real vine in the bedroom). Goodness knows what we’d find in the Italian style Farrinelli room.
A truly unspoilt island in the Lamu archipelago. Relax on the white beaches, doze in a hammock or drink sundowners in the bar before a dinner of rock oysters and lobster. If that sounds too supine, you can take a walking safari over the sand dunes.
My husband and I booked ourselves into a very welcoming and friendly guest house (B&B). Spacious and affordable rooms. We paid £32 pppn for a lovely 4 poster room. Really helpful and friendly owners.
It is situated in the central area of Windermere in Lake District.
Haisthorpe Guest House, Holly Road, Windermere, Cumbria, The Lake District, LA23 2AF
Tel: +44 (0)15394 43445
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