I stayed in this hotel near the St Stephen Basilica. It's quite new, I think they opened this year. The reason I'm writing this post is the price. It's a brand new three-star hotel in the middle of the downtown and a night costs peanuts.
Dapitan Beach Resort Hotel (aka Pavilion Hotel) is owned and run by the local municipal government, who built it maybe 20 years ago from the proceeds of a gigantic US$ loan to promote tourism.
Since opening, the hotel has received next to no maintenance or further investment, but the air-con rooms are all huge and still luxurious - if you overlook the cracked bathroom fittings and the crumbling plasterwork everywhere.
The setting, on Dapitan's Sunset Boulevard, is spectacular, facing a huge 5 mile long white sand beach, with the South China Sea stretching in front of you; it feels like you've reached the end of the world (which you have, in a way...)
Grand luxury and elegance - at Php 1,650 per night (about £17) it's an unmissable bargain. Get there by overnight ferry from Cebu, Negros or Manila to the nearby Dapitan/Dipolog pier, or by plane to Diploog airport. Local motor tricycles will take you the last km or two for Php50 each. My wife and I spent our quite perfect honeymoon there 9 years ago, and we've been back a few times more since then!
Dapitan Beach Resort Hotel (Pavilion Hotel) Sunset Boulevard, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao
In the south of the province of Pontevedra, you can find the best three campsites in this region.
These campsites have all the facilities needed for camping and they are getting more and more confortable. They are located near to the beach and near to the most touristic villages of Galicia.
Among the facilities of these campsites you can find: health care, hot water showers, supermarket, restaurant, laundry, post office, swimming pool, sport facilities and others.
They are the following:
Camping Bayona Playa - Bungalow Park. It is located in the touristic village of Baiona, a wonderful place to enjoy holidays with wonderful landscapes of the Ría de Vigo and islands such as the Cíes Islands.
Camping Playa América. It is located in the municipality of Nigrán and very close to Vigo.
Camping Santa Tecla. This one is the furthest camping from the cities of Vigo and Pontevedra. However, it is very close to Portugal. It is located in the municipality of A Guarda, where you can visit the Mount Santa Tegra with its old archaeological site of the Celtic civilizations. It has a privileged location in the Ría de Vigo, in the estuary of the River Miño. It is an amazing landscape nobody should miss and even has a disco.
Carregfelen is a wonderful 14th century manor house situated on a private country estate, only 1 1/2 miles from the beach. Absolute tranquility and peace - even private fishing if required!
Tel: 01768 898071
Recently re-opened cafe and B&B in splendidly isolated position on Rannoch Moor. Only accessible on foot or by train to its own station!
Great food and drink (lots of venison-based dishes from the local estate) and within walking distance of beautiful lochs and hills. Equally brilliant Loch Ossian eco-Youth Hostel close by.
Corrour Station House, Corrour Estate, Fort William, PH30 4AA
- at Corrour Station.
Fairwinds is a fabulous small hotel in the village of Carrbridge. Informal and friendly; Alison and Lindsay are excellent hosts. You eat in the conservatory from where you can watch red squirrels feeding. Evening meals, usually chosen from a choice of three items in each part of the menu, and are always superb.
Carrbridge, Aviemore PH23 3AA
Tel: 01479 841240
Pazos are typical Galician manor houses from the 16th or 18th centuries. They are buildings built to order by bourgeois Galician people. In these pazos, you can travel along history and recall the dresses, traditions and furnishings of the Modern Ages.
Some of the pazos are private property, so they are closed to the public. Likewise, the visitor can only enjoy the outside pazo.
Others are open to the public, and some of these are available for accommodation. One example of a pazo restored as a hotel is the Pazo da Buzaca, in Moraña. It is a wonderful manor house composed of three buildings. It has rooms decorated in different styles, a dining room with fireplace and a library. It is a luxury building for lovers of history and nature.
Others, as the Pazo de Lourizán hold different exhibitions. In a few words, pazos are regal buildings.
I recently went to Whitby for a short break with my husband and two children. We rented a really lovely cottage from an agency called Marmadukes. It was a really lovely period conversion and very well maintained and comfortable. It was great to have a bit of luxury rather than the usual basic rental style of property, and the price was very reasonable considering!
Please beware of people trying to overcharge you for taxi fares from the airport. I booked an apartment through the website www.feelhomeinrome.com and they booked me a taxi for 65 Euros. I only found out later, when the taxi didn't turn up for the return journey and I had to hail a cab from one of the main streets, that the official charge is 30 Euros to the inner city. You can also get a bus for eight Euros to termini.
By the way, even though the apartment was good, I wouldn't recommend feelhomeinrome.com as they apply hidden charges for cleaning the apartment and work with a dodgy taxi company that is charging more than double the official fare.
One of the finest B&B establishments around. A stunning view of Quinag, Suilven and Stac Pollaidh from the balcony, this recently built spacious detached wooden house is situated a kilometer outside Lochinver. Beautifully clean, it boasts an outdoor hot tub to relax under the stars after a big day on the mountains. Fantastic hospitality - our host Mike arrived to pick us up with takeaway fish and chips after an 11 hour 'too late back for pub food' assault on the whole Suilven ridge as part of our Cape Wrath 250 mile trek.
Breakfast is very hearty and meticulously timed and all at £22 a night per person. An amazing bargain for what you get.
Mike Rochester, Eadar Da Sloc, Torbreck, Lochinver, Sutherland IV274JB
A very stylish riad in the centre of the medina. Dar One has the best roof terrace in all Marrakech to simply chill. The hosts are wonderfully attentive, nothing is too much trouble. The rooms are very modern and well appointed.
A feeling of calm washes over you as soon as setting foot through the door. We didn't want to leave.
Central, located near to many cool bars and restaurants. Derb Jaama El Kabir n19 Hay Salam, Medina, Marrakech, Morocco
An oasis of calm. This riad is centrally located just off the Djemaa el-Fna. Tucked away fom the hustle and bustle, this traditional stylish riad is run by Brigitte and Bruno, wonderfully accommodating hosts.
Very central in the medina, minutes from main square, although you may need a guide when first arriving as it is down a side alley. www.riadboussa.com
The Yellow is a funky hostel close to termini, I recommend it just because of the great time I had there. They've got a brand new reception and a cool bar with cheap drinks for guests.
I've stayed all over Europe and the States in hostels and this place is at the top of my list.
Ty Derw is a pretty B&B located in the Snowdonia National Park. We enjoyed a fabulous weekend hiking and exploring the surrounding countryside, and finished the day with home cooked food and a bottle of wine.
The atmosphere is homely and welcoming, the owners clearly care about quality and it shows in the rooms, in the food and in their warm hospitality. A great place to escape from city life.
01650 531 318
This is a country house hotel offering first-class accommodation and food. I have already recommended a small but stylish guesthouse - Y Goeden Eirin near Caernarfon. Maes-y-Neuadd is on a different scale.
It's a fully-fledged hotel with great tradition, spectacular views, luxury accommodation and fine cuisine. You come here to be pampered, and the atmosphere is formal (but not rigid!), with bespoke service. Maes-y-Neuadd seems to be for elevated people with deep pockets. It's a place to go for a birthday or wedding anniversary celebration.
Eating at the restaurant is a ritual. They have their own kitchen gardens, and raw materials are top-notch. Food is cooked by a team of award-winning chefs. At Y Goeden Eirin, the food cooked on the Aga is not haut cuisine, but it is natural and nourishing.
If you can afford it, spend a weekend in Maes-y-Neuadd, and enjoy the sea and hills of Ardudwy, the joys of the natural world, and some spectacular sites such as Harlech Castle. Go to Y Goeden Eirin for a few relaxing days in a warm, smart family home of great character. Have a look at www.neuadd.com and www.ygoedeneirin.com, the contrast is striking!
Hotel Maes-y-Neuadd, Talsarnau, Harlech LL47 6YA Tel: (01766) 780200 Website: www.neuadd.com To find this fine hotel go along the Maentwrog/Harlech road, and it is clearly signposted on the left near Talsarnau. Drive up the narrow winding road to find it on an elevated position with breathtaking views.
It's a stone-built guest house of great character and style in the countryside outside Caernarfon, between sea and mountains. I hesitate to call it a guest house, but neither is it a hotel or B&B.
It's a Welsh-speaking home where guests are welcomed like friends or relatives. Rooms have been furnished to a high standard of luxury, yet have a cosy feel, and there is a fusion of traditional and modern here. Great use is made of local slate, traditional oak furniture, modern lighting effects, and there are slate tables outside for al fresco drinks or meals in fine weather.
The atmosphere is fantastic, the tranquillity wonderful. The house is full of books in both Welsh and English, and there are modern Welsh paintings on the walls, and sometimes you can hear classical music being played on the Bechstein grand piano.
Tasty local food is cooked on the Aga, and they have a fully licensed dining room. This is a great base for exploring the Llyn Peninsula, the wild beauty of Snowdonia, and is within easy reach of picturesque towns and villages such as Caernarfon with its castle, the university town of Bangor, the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno, Beaumaris, Llanberis, Beddgelert, Betws-y-Coed, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Abersoch and, of course, the Italianate village of Portmeirion.
It's ideal for nature lovers, walkers, climbers, fishermen as well as lovers of history, culture and especially the Welsh language.
Y Goeden Eirin, Dolydd, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL54 7EF Tel: (01286) 830942
Have a look at their bilingual website: www.ygoedeneirin.co.uk
From Caernarfon, take the road south, and at the last roundabout at the south end of the village of Bontnewydd, take the left turning signposted Dolydd. Before reaching Dolydd Garage on the left, take the drive on the right hand side past the white painted farmhouse to the renovated farm buildings behind. These squat and interesting buildings constitute Y Goeden Eirin, but they don't look in any way like a conventional B&B or hotel! The nearest railway stations are Bangor and Porthmadog, and there are good bus services from these which go through the hamlet of Dolydd.
Have a look at their bilingual website: www.ygoedeneirin.co.uk
Astra Hotel is one of the best hidden secrets in Budapest. It's on the Buda side in the Castle district with easy access to trams, bus stations and subway.
It's a quaint historical house that is 300 years old, which has been converted into a hotel with very spacious rooms decorated with simple antiques. Each room has its own personality, also very clean and easy on the budget.
Breakfast buffet is served in a cozy dining room with enough variety to satisfy each guest's taste.
Best of all, the staff is super friendly and very helpful with great tips on where to go and what to avoid. Very important for a city where people don't speak fluent English. Definitely a home away from home.
Staying at Astra definitely made my trip to Budapest a very memorable one, can't wait to go back!
H-1011 Budapest, Vám u. 6.
Tel: +36 1 214-1906
Don't expect 5-star service for 3-star prices ($108 a night). The service here is mediocre, but who cares? The architecture is one-of-a-kind (envision lots of dark, twisting tunnels) and the view from your balcony is stunning at any time of day. I highly recommend HC if you're staying in Punta del Este: it's charming and full of character. Rent a car. Full report, with pictures, at www.travelmusings.net
A lovely small hotel in Durness run by a great young couple. Absolutely beautiful rooms with attention to every detail. Reasonable prices for this level of comfort. The breakfast was especially superb. Durness is as far north as you can go on the mainland. The beaches are gorgeous and scenery on the way is spectacular.
Durness, Sutherland IV27 4PN
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