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
I visited Singapore last week and have enjoyed my stay there very much.
The cosy room at the City Backpackers, as well as its location in the heart of Singapore, near to the Raffles City Shopping Complex and the Esplanade Concert Hall and Theatre, couldn't be better.
A big thank you to the friendly staff!
If you're visiting Edinburgh on a budget, I recommend staying at the Argyle Backpackers Hostel.
It's very cheap - my girlfriend and I stayed in a twin room and it was just over £40 a night between the two of us but you can get a bed in a shared room from about £13 a night.
The hostel is in the beautiful Marchmont area, directly opposite an excellent little row of shops - a greengrocers, a vegetarian wholefood shop and an amazing convenience store with a wide range of vegan and organic products.
It's just south of the Meadows and is only a few minute's walk from the Royal Mile.
14 Argyle Place
Phone: +44 (0)131 667 9991
Great location within walking distance of many sites including the river Moldavia and the old town. We didn't need to get on a tram/metro: we walked everywhere.
Buffet breakfast included in the room price.
Staff extremely helpful.
Would definitely stay there again if I was visiting Prague!
Na Morani 15, Vaclavska 5, Prague, Czech Republic
If you look for an excellent relation quality / price for an apartment in Barcelona, you should consider contact Apartments BCN, they have a wide range of apartments from a studio with 2 terraces until beautiful 3 bedrooms apartments up to 8 people. We had a very comfortable stay in one of the wonderful Sant Pau apartments.
Phone: + 34 93 456 16 19
Cell phone: + 34 652 599 480
I challenge anyone not to relax in Collioure, an historic coastal town just south of Perpignan and sandwiched between the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean.
You can wander the narrow streets, ponder the meaning of life in a seafront café or march into the rugged hills and vineyards behind, where you’ll get a great panoramic view of the town below.
Seafood lovers should sample the famous Collioure anchovies. For foodies generally, Café le Vauban serves a never-ending platter of regional delicacies that redefines the term "bargain".
Collioure can be a great base to explore up and down the coast too. A train line runs through several towns, but be aware that all trains cease between around 1pm and 3pm, as is the Mediterranean way.
Where to stay: a good value hotel is Le Triton. Breakfast by the sea …
30mins on train from Perpignan.
Unique tree-level jungle lodge on the banks of Rio Negro.
Google prices and compare them with the offers of local travel agencies, which might be more convenient as they include transfers and excursions.
Travel agencies in Manaus and www.ariautowers.com/
A 16th-century chateau set in beautiful grounds with a wonderful restaurant.
In the summer you eat on the terrace beneath linden trees.
Elegant without being pompous.
Set behind the shopping/commercial estate of les Milles just outside Aix off the Marseilles road. You go through the grand gates and into another century.
Dar Said is the former townhouse of a wealthy Tunis family, in the pretty seaside and artist’s village of Sidi Bou Said, perched on the cliffs in the northern suburbs of Tunis. It's a picture-perfect place of warm sun, cobbled streets, whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters and ornately decorated doors, with tall cypress trees and bougainvillea flowers spilling over garden walls.
Dar Said has been listed many times among the world's best boutique/individual hotels, and it feels small, quiet and intimate (how staying away from home should be!). All the rooms are spacious, cool, well-furnished, with opulent bathrooms, and open onto small courtyards of jasmine and gurgling fountains.
A gorgeous pool is set among terraces overlooking the sea, and breakfast is served poolside every morning.
Really lovely hotel five minutes' walk through pretty streets to the historic centre of Salzburg. The owner, Peter Kuhn, is really helpful and will give you plenty of advice about things to do and where to go. He also provides free bikes which you can borrow and ride all around Salzburg, which is very cycle-friendly. The rooms are large, with ensuite bathrooms and nice views, it's on a quiet residential street and has a great buffet breakfast. Very reasonably priced too.
Rupertgasse 15 - A-5020 Salzburg
Tel. +43 662 872318 - Fax +43 662 872318-8
If there's more than three of you, then I'd always recommend going for an apartment. It usually works out only a little bit more expensive than a hostel, and is worth it's weight in gold for the added privacy and ease of meeting up and/or staying in!
I stayed with 7 other people in Opera 1 through Escape to Prague following the Guardian recommendation, and it was excellent. Lovely place, clean, roomy and three bathrooms/toilets.
If you're going to hostel it, again I'd recommend paying a little bit extra and going for somewhere nice. Miss Sophie's was excellent, and far enough out to avoid the crowds, but close enough to stroll into town.
Check out Banditos opposite for a friendly drink, and The Crow for some late night supping of that gorgeous beer!
Luxury and elegance in an authentic 15th-century mansion. Hotel de Tuilerieen is situated very close to the Groeninge museum and all the historical sights of Bruges.
First of all, their friendly English and Portuguese speaking staff make your trip seamless through the country if you take one of their well-planned guided tours (and Portuguese is not an easy language).
They also make it so easy for someone to go on their own down the coast. It's really a joy when you can roll through the countryside with just a map and bike knowing your hotel and restaurant staff are literally waiting for you! Bluecoastbikes' staff also took care of our dinner and hotel reservations too.
Their staff took care of everything for us, even calling midweek to see how we were enjoying everything!
Bluecoastbikes is the way to go for biking in Portugal if you want to enjoy your trip and worry about nothing but the ride and the wines to choose!
They are licensed and insured. They have daily rentals and dropoffs, week-long guided and self-guided tours, and jeep rides/tours as well.
We had a weekend break with friends in Liverpool and wanted something different.
The accommodation was first class and really well priced, and having a kitchen gave us freedom to do breakfast and dinner when we wanted.
We split the bill for a three-bedroom apartment six ways and it only cost us £30 each!
Its a minimum two-night stay which suited us. They don't do hen or stag parties.
We got to it from the Mossley Hill train station in Liverpool, but best check direction details on their website: www.merchantliving.com
Briar Lea Inn and the adjoining pub The Jolly Drayman are run by a great couple (English wife and American husband) - we stayed next door at the Norseman, so can't comment on the accommodation, but can vouch for the Jolly Drayman's food and friendly atmosphere. The beer's good, too!
150 Mayville Road, Bethel ME 04217 (Route 2)
The Norseman Inn is best known for its winter accommodation close to the Sunday River ski area, but we stayed in June and found it a good place to stay.
The rooms are spotless and spacious (we were in the motel) and the facilities are very good: guest laundry, games room, and vending machines in the lobby.
Breakfast was included at the weekend, but seems to be available all the time during winter.
PO Box 934, 134 Mayville Road, Bethel ME 04217 (on Route 2)
I would like to suggest JSC Travel agency, an online travel agency in Prague. I was very satisfied with the kind help before and during my stay in a Prague hostel that they run.
The service included online reservation for accommodation. They just took my credit card number as a guarantee for the reservation. No payment before, no stressed nights.
"The roof of Norway"
Use Hotel Finse 1222 as a base for adventures in the Norwegian mountains.
There are excellent walks and cycling opportunities along the old Navvy Road. Ask the stationmaster for the best routes by hopping from station to station - they are spaced about 15km apart.
The walk from Hallingskeid to Myrdal, down through the tree line, is unmissable, while, the railway museum at Finse is incredibly informative.
This hotel is only accessible by train on the Oslo - Bergen mainline. See:
La Clape wines from around Narbonne are a little-known but wonderful find. Buy from the roadside, or the local caves.
Our favourites are from Chateau Ricardelle, between Narbonne and Gruissan. We stayed there on our honeymoon, and been back to the area many times.
Rent an apartment from the owners - Homelidays has been very good for us, not a duff holiday.
Lovely B&B on the island of Westray, a quiet island one hour's ferry ride from Orkney mainland.
A very stylish bed and breakfast in a beautifully restored house next to Pierowall Bay. We could see seals from our bedroom window.
Very comfortable, great food (evening meals if you want).
Fairtrade, local produce and Earl Grey tea! Magic!
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