'The Cove' is a set of stunning apartments cut into the hills 200 yards from Lamorna Cove. The apartments are self-catering, although there is a great on-site restaurant (that also serves food in your room.)
Best bits were the friendly staff, the private pool with amazing views to the cove and the hot chocolate croissants delivered to your door each morning. Fairly costly but excellent value and a very desirable setting.
20 minutes by boat from St Peter Port, Guernsey is Herm Island. No cars, so very quiet. Two absolutely stunning beaches within 20-30 mins walk of the harbour.
Costal path walk with views of Frances, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark and the Barclay twins' castle on Brechou. There are cafes at the beaches and a hotel and restaurant by the harbour.
In 2007 a day trip for 2 adults and 2 children was £27.00 (cheaper if you go on the 08.30 boat).
Me and my girlfriend (we are a lesbian couple) traveled from Moscow to Ekaterinburg, and on to Volgograd. The trip was amazing. We were a bit worried about traveling without male company, but I must say Russia is one of the friendliest and untouristy places I've ever been.
It is a big advantage to know some Russian. Outside of Moscow we met nobody who spoke English. I found Moscow very stressful and expensive. It was the least pleasant city we visited. Our next stop was Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. I highly recommend Kazan. It's an old, beautiful and exotic city with a mix of Tatars and Russes living there. The atmosphere was far more relaxed than in Moscow.
Kazan offers great mosques, and is the Muslim centre of Russia. It's a great place to relax and stroll about. This city has some stunning sights, including the UNESCO listed Kreml.
Our next stop was Ekaterinburg. We were told that it was situated in the Ural mountains, but we never saw a glimpse of them. Nevertheless; Ekaterinburg is a very pleasant and chilled city. It has a very western feeling to it. It's easy to find western food, as there's plenty of Irish pubs there. I recommend going to the Altay building. There you can take a lift and see the city from the rooftop. It's quite stunning. There's plenty of theatres all around the city, and even though you don't understand Russian, don't miss the opportunity to catch local theatre-troops.
A great place (although hard to find) to stay is the guesthouse called Academy of Geology. It's peaceful and has beautiful rooms.
From Ekaterinburg we went south to Ufa. Ufa is the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Ufa was quite hard to get around, but it is still worth a visit. You can visit one of Lenin's homes and spot some unique architecture. The atmosphere in Ufa is, like in Kazan, very different from the Russian cities. I highly recommend the Azimut hotel (Bus stop Gore Moskva). It's a business hotel with great standards and a friendly staff.
On to Volgograd. Volgograd is probably one of the most beautiful cities I've been to. Situated on the banks of the Volga river with an almost tropical climate, it almost feels like you're in Greece. This is a city of history. The name Stalingrad might ring a bell. The most stunning thing to see in Volgograd is the huge Mother Russia statue. It's the highest statue in the world (72 m). It's an unbelievable sight when you compare it to a church that stands beside it. It looks more like a doll's church.
I also recommend the Stalingrad Battle museum, and the Volga river cruises. There are plenty of offers. Volgograd was really easy to get around in. The city centre is quite small, and it's easy to navigate because of the river. The Volgograd Hotel is cheap and amazing.
We had a wonderful time in Russia. My girlfriend knows some Russian and that came in extremely handy. We got quite used to people looking at us, but we never felt threatened or harassed. The most common comment we got from other women was that we were brave to travel by ourselves.
One thing that is difficult however, is buying train tickets. You will need to write down the information for the train you are going on, how many tickets you need, and what kind of cupee you want. And prepare for long lines. It might take hours to get your tickets. We always went in a 4-people compartment. It was a great way to travel. We shared compartments with so many different people, and it was a great way to get to know Russians. It's important to bring some food or beverage to share.
Girls; go to Russia. It is a fascinating place....
A stylish modern flat for up to six people. Near to Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament, Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags. Great for walking to old and new town with free local parking.
Telephone 0781 112 7920
This excellent budget hotel in the centre of Pokhara's Lakeside area is great value, with pleasant doubles with shared bathroom at around Rs 600 a night ($10).
The staff are friendly, and the large garden is a lovely place to relax and drink tea, to which Suraj likes to add lemon grass from the flower beds. They can recommend great guides if you are going trekking.
A top quality small hotel overlooking the harbour in Fowey. Fabulous views from the balconied sea view rooms, and a great Michelin starred restaurant that does the best full English breakfast I've ever had (or local Kippers, which are just as good).
www.themarinahotel.co.uk, nearest rail station: Lostwithiel
This is a wondrous, fun place to stay, filled with paintings floor to ceiling, old and new, fabulous and not quite so, most by local artists.
Each room is different. Ours was huge with a view over the rooftops of the town to the sea.
There's also a lovely walled garden and an excellent restaurant. The town itself is fun to walk around and St Michael's Mount is nearby.
A helicopter will take you to the island of Tresco for a look at the famous Abbey Garden and a good day out.
There are wonderful artists in Penzance too. We bought a painting by American artist, Kathy Todd, who now lives in Penzance. After our time there we drove further along the coast to St. Ives, another magical spot.
Chapel House, Chapel Street, Penzance
Nicest beaches on the south coast.
There is Studland Beach for the adventurous sun seeker who like to be natural.
Take a while to get there by car.
They have a new Monglian Yurt Village.
In Dorset, on the coast
www.yurtvillage.co.uk for the Mongolian yurt place
I came across this lovely completely rebuilt heritage Portuguese house, not too far from Vagator and Anjuna beach, in a superb setting in a coconut grove overlooking rice paddies.
Huge garden, expat owner. I'll give his web address so you can check it out.
Just some observations - public transport is poor in Sofia. However, taxis are very cheap and plentiful. I have never had a problem, but of course there are stories of cabbies trying it on. Normal caution should suffice.
Pavements are dreadfully dilapidated, and often obstructed by parked cars. This is not a town for baby buggies, let alone wheelchairs (I have never seen anyone in a wheelchair). The elderly should also beware.
A good guide, published quarterly is Sofia in Your Pocket: www.inyourpocket.com
Also, an English-langauge newspaper Sofia Echo, published Fridays with listings: www.sofiaecho.com
In August, theatres are closed, and some restaurants. Check first.
A truly excellent find - perfect for a stopover when driving to southern France or Italy from the UK.
The view from the clean, airy and beautifully decorated bedroom is of Chateau de clos Vougeout, and vineyards as far as the eye can see.
Fantastic continental breakfast, with everything beautifully displayed on platters. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Equidistant between Dijon and Beaune on the N74 (exit No 1 on the A31).
Famous old hotel in Kangaroo Point with a fantastic view across the river of the CBD. Good tucker in three different bars or in the adjoining steak house (Deery's Restaurant). Annual cockroach racing on Australia Day.
Beaconstone is an off-the-grid eco-lodge on the rugged west coast of the South Island. "Off-the-grid" sometimes illicits images of rustic and basic, and maybe even dirty, but the lodge owners, Nancy and Grae Stevens, have put their heart, souls and sweat into building this place, lending it incredible comforts. Every time we turned a corner in the solar-powered lodge, some carefully thought of detail caught my eye. The warm wood interior is all chemically- untreated, from sustainable forests. There is an impressive collection of vintage, authentic concert posters from the California music scene of the 60s and 70s. Organic cotton sheets cover the coconut-core mattress, and organic wool rugs line the floors. Fresh, seasonal vegetables are available for the picking, and imagine, an outdoor shower by candlelight. It's a magical place built by love for the environment. We had to stay more than one day.
Birds Ferry Rd.
17km south of Westport on State Highway 6, approximately 35km north of Punakaiki or 85km north of Greymouth.
Phone: 027 431 0491
Rudechalets are a chalet company based in Morzine. I stayed last year with them. Their staff, food and chalets are awesome.
The only place I have stayed with PS2s in all bedrooms, a hot tub, a 42" plasma screen and a ride snowboard test centre!
www.rudechalets.com rudechalets, Morzine, France
Gecko Villa is a unique place to stay in the northeast of Thailand: it's a single house with a great private swimming pool standing in the rice fields in the countryside.
You get the whole villa to yourselves, airport transfers are free and the Thai meals that were served to us daily were delightful and again included in the cost. It was great fun picking the fruit and vegetables and herbs in their own orchards and then learning how to cook them up.
We were looked after by a Thai family that lived in a village nearby and they really made our stay a memorable one. Friendly, fun and good value for an unusual stay away from the normal tourist meccas.
A voluntary charity in the centre of town. If you're here for a while, teach a bit of English, or help with their ever-precarious IT situation, shorter term there is a nightly drop-in English conversation class, just come along and chat, that's it.
As well as all this, they also have yoga classes, some of the cheapest rooms in town and it's a good place to meet other travellers who aren't in India for the cheap weed.
Lots of good work here with many newly arrived refugees and monks, even if you cannot volunteer, donate something.
Temple Road, opposite Thomas Cook
The Cloitre St Louis is a very affordable four-star hotel located in a former 16th-century monastery.
The rooms are quiet, spacious and very well decorated in a modern minimalist style and the breakfasts keep you going all day.
The hotel was an ideal location for non-car users, being a stone's throw from Avignon Centre railway station (not Avignon TGV).
Hotel Cloitre St Louis
20 Rue Du Portail Boquier
Avignon, FR 84000
A hotel with spa (massage and other therapies) swimming pools outdoor and in, tennis courts (clay, international standard) and indoor courts. Gym with the latest equipment. Very child friendly. Very pleasant, helpful, English-speaking staff.
The architecture and particularly the interior decor rather "Soviet" of the 80s, although this hotel was built within the past eight years.
Large bedrooms. Garden restaurant in summer, where the food is pretty good. Good buffet breakfast. Many shiny black expensive cars with tinted windows and "colourful" local clientele.
The hotel is situated a 15-minute (very cheap) cab ride from the centre of Sofia, towards the Vitosha mountain and park, which may be a plus or a minus, depending on requirements.
There is internet in all rooms, but this is charged for. I protested that nowadays they might as well charge for hot water, and the charming young female owner (ex international tennis player) said they would be looking into it. I am trying to wage a campaign against internet charges in hotels.
Advertised prices (Jul 07) range from €96 single room to €220 Maxi Privilege suite. There are weekend deals and there are also apartments.
Breakfast and use of all spa and sports facilities are included.
On our latest visit to the west of Ireland my son and I decided we would try accommodation at a couple of Irish tourist hostels.
Our main motives were to save a little bit on money and the notion that we might increase our chances of meeting interesting fellow travellers.
Unfortunately after staying at two "hostels" in Galway and Ennis respectively, we have come to the conclusion that Irish hostels are neither cheap or particularly friendly places to stay on holiday.
One of the hostels we stayed at was not even properly cleaned and at both facilities were variously nonexistent, broken, unserviceable or at an extra charge and not as advertised.
We had an infinitely better experience in every way with standard B&Bs, and my tip would be to use these in preference to hostels and, unless money is no object, many provincial Irish hotels.
Irish Hostels National site. And www.hostelworld.com
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