Amazing views, incredible food and great hospitality - we ate at the villa 5 of the 7 nights we stayed, loved the antipasta and David's deserts were fabulous. In fact my partner is a vegetarian and the menu was better than most restaurants. Had the most relaxing holiday, in fact we were chilled out within half an hour of arriving. This region of the Marche is still relatively undiscovered and long may it stay that way. Prices for eating out are unbelievable - 3 course meals around 35 euro and great local wines as well.
Villa Sibillini's bed and breakfast rates are just 85 euro a night and the breakfasts are a delight, fresh fruits and many home-made jams.
Couldn't praise it enough, Pam and David have just the right touch - friendly and welcoming, it was like staying with friends. Will certainly be back.
Contrada Collalto 10, San Ginesio, Macerata 62026, Le Marche, Italy
nearest station - Tolentino
Three room B&B (single, twin and family room for up to 4) in 1906 house in quiet street 10 mins walk from centre of Verona, so ideal for the opera. Also 5 mins from superb public playground at the end of the old brigde over the river. Manuela speaks fluent English and is very happy with children running about and playing with her toy cars. Breakfast is served out in the back garden terrace and she is very keen on organic/quality food. Rooms have ceiling fans with remote control, so expect your kids to enjoy playing with it. She is also the local World Wildlife Fund rep.
Close enough to Venice to allow a long day trip so you avoid the high prices. Family room for 4 plus breakfast was 100 Euros per night in August 2006.
Il Piccolo Principe B&B
Viale del Risorgimento 10
+39 045 914110
Nearest station Verona Porta Nuova and then 10 mins by bus (just off main core bus routes so very frequent).
Man-made floating reed islands holding 5-6 huts each afloat the mighty Lake Titicaca - breathtaking. Amantani natural islands housing approx 1,000 residents - magnificent. Staying with an Amantani family, cooking with them, laughing with them, playing football with them, dancing with them - unmissable.
STA travel do some great tours around lake titicaca and islands.
The islands are around a two hour boat ride from Puna.
Next time you get that flight with Ryanair to Santiago de Compostela. Leave the city behind you and visit the countryside. I would recommend the area known as the Ribeira Sacra (holy river banks). Great wines, food and a very peaceful countryside, which looks and feel ancient. They say there are Celtic connections between Galicia and Ireland.
A stay at Casa Santo Estevo is a great central location for this visit. Located near to the Rio Mino it is easy to travel to Lugo, Ourense, Monforte de Lemos plus the Ribeira Sacra. The house is run by expats, from the U.K. and The Netherlands, so language will not be so much of a problem!
The food is out of this world, mainly local receipts but with some from other parts of the world too. Look at the website for the house. Not only is there information about the property but the area around too. I had a great time there letting time wash past me.
A five room B&B situated in the historic - and picturesque - town of Burlats near Castres.
Okalani is ideal for families with small children. The large, toy-filled garden features a hugely popular trampoline and leads down to the river. The room we had was plain, to the point of being bare, but large with an ensuite bathroom.
Dinner was served outside on the terrace and was a delicious stew of Toulouse sausage and lentils. The children had potato wedges, sausages and pasta so no need to feel embarassed over their food fads.
The kids all played together and as we were outside chatting and eating together, it was easy to make friends with the other guests. All in all, a very friendly and relaxing stop.
Okalani Chambres d'hotes
15 Route de Castres
Tel: +33(0)563 516 401
This hotel is a converted bogeda, with a beautifully lit courtyard/atrium. It does bed and breakfast, but has no restaurant or bar. They will do room service to the courtyard, where we supped several glasses of wine and took afternoon coffee. The breakfasts were typically continental offering a huge choice from a buffet ranging from cold meats and cheese to cereals and fruit. Also the reception desk was wonderful, helpful and friendly with good english.
Calle Alvarez Quintero 9-13, near the Cathedral
This is a great value, B&B style, 19th century budget hotel. You can get rooms for less than $100, which is especially good value as it is short walking distance from Darling Harbour. Good option for families. Book in advance.
22 Allen Street
Tel: (02) 9552 4773
A coffee farm with nice traditional rooms (but with bathrooms, 2 pools, a bar and restaurant, and a number of activities on site including presentations on coffee growing and processing (including picking your own coffee berries, preparing and roasting them), horse riding through the coffee groves and the largest canopy in Colombia - 7 zip line rides over the trees.
Very friendly staff who are happy to organise outings to the National Coffee Park, a trip down the La Vieja river on a bamboo raft, or up to the mountains to go walking.
Near to Quimbaya, in Quindío province, 27km from Armenia.
This traditional pub in the Merchant City, Glasgow has a very nice and relaxed atmosphere. No background music, the emphasis is on conversation. Very good pub food at more than reasonable prices. There is also a restaurant on the first floor, with a good variety of game, and they even offer accommodation. A very friendly and relaxed place to meet friends and make some new ones.
16-18, Blackfriars St, Glasgow
A small (& quiet) riad deep in the heart of the medina. (You have to abandon the taxi & walk the last 250 yards). Perfect for just laying back and relaxing... Wonderful staff & very friendly owners.
203, Arset Aouzal, Bab Doukkala, Médina;
tel: 00212 24 38 27 13;
The Villa Gaia Hotel is situated in the historic center of Taormina, just 30 meters from the Duomo, and offers a magnificent view of the crystal-clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea! I've been here with my wife and had a very pleasent stay.
Simple, clean and perfectly placed in the Santa Cruz district near the cathedral. More importantly, it has air con and is cheap (from €55 for a double). I've stayed here over the past 10 years, and have never felt the urge to put up anywhere fancier.
Tel: 00 34 954 211 170
There are those, guide books included, who sneer unjustifiably at the local cuisine, but to be fair the restaurant of Don Alfonso in Sant Agata should be sampled. But take care, rated in the top five restaurants in Italy with three Michelin stars does not come cheap!
Especially with such dishes as a souffle of marrow with mozzarella and anchovy sauce, pheasant with pistachio nuts, or bream cooked inside lemon leaves. All the produce comes from the family’s organic farm. It is possible to stay in one of his five apartments where he will also cook breakfast. Take out a mortgage first!
Both the Damai Beach and Damai Lagoon Holiday Inn resort hotels are excellent places to stay in a secluded, beach area surrounded by jungle, about 45 minutes drive from Kuching. Double rooms go for a mere £30 per room.
Damai Beach: Teluk Bandung Santubong, Kuching; tel: 60-82-846999;
Damai Lagoon: Teluk Penyuk, Santubong, Kuching; tel: 60-82-846900;
There is a shuttle bus to both from the Holiday Inn in Kuching.
Riad Dar Zahia offers superb accommodation and tranquillity in the heart of the medina and just a five minute walk from the main square. We stayed in the beautiful Sakina suite for a couple of nights at the start of our holiday in August. The room, sun terrace and excellent staff almost set too high a standard for the rest of our holiday in Morocco.
60 derb El Hammam, Mouassine, 40000 Marrakech Médina;
A truly lovely small hotel in the Santa Cruz district of Seville (formerly an 18th century tenement), it's just 10 minutes walk from the cathedral but offers an oasis of calm. It has a small rooftop pool and sun terrace; the rooms are tranquil and well equipped; the breakfasts are wonderful (cava! tortilla!) and the staff are unendingly helpful. Great for a romantic weekend and the perfect base for exploring.
Jesús de la Redención 2 (15 mins walk from the central railway station in Seville and about 25 mins in a taxi from the airport);
tel: 954 561 441; 954 561 496; 902 388 310
Large and airy, this hostel is in an old textile warehouse. It is in a great location for exploring the city centre by day and the Northern Quarter bars by night. Some of these drinking holes are quite difficult to spot, so sign up for the bar crawl, if you don't mind Australians.
50 Newton St, The Northern Quarter, Manchester; tel: 0800 083 3848 (free in the UK);
This is a hidden gem situated in the heart of the city and lies just behind the Cathedral on a quiet pedestrian street. The twelve rooms are a decent size and beautifully furnished with large bathrooms. You can help yourself to hot and cold drinks at any time. Meals are not provided but there are loads of great restaurants nearby. The staff are extremely helpful and friendly.
Alvarez Quintero, 52;
tel: 954 293 913
Lao Pako is an ecotourist resort about 50km from Vientiane. It's set on the banks of the Nam Ngum river out in the countryside - access from the nearest village is by the river in a motorised canoe.
It's a really relaxing place to spend a few days chilling out - reading, swimming, walking, wildlife watching, going on boat trips or visiting local villages. There is a dorm building as well as private rooms and bungalows (costing approx US$6-25), a bar/restaurant and a large terrace overlooking the river. There's no electricity so evenings are pretty low key - playing games, drinking Beer Lao and eating the fantastic local food.
Take the Pakxap bus from Vientiane morning market to Somsamai (about an hour) then get a local boat to Lao Pako (25 mins). For more info tel (856) 2131 2234 or fax (856) 2121 2981;
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