Very new, very modern, and very reasonably priced hotel south of the Arno. About a 25 minute walk from the centre, but worth it for the cool bar, funky showers, and to get away from the tourists in the evening.
B&B on Piazza Duomo. Very central, comfortable and reasonably priced. The rooms at the rear are quieter.
Every thrifty (i.e: poor or stingy) traveller is - or certainly should be - familiar with these guides, which are the distillation of the experiences of many steerage class (mostly student) travellers.
There are several nice, clean, inexpensive pensiones on the Via Faenza - just a short walk from the cathedral. See op cit for addresses.
This place was absolutely fantastic with the type of service that really makes you feel at home. It has a great central location and loads of other features such as free internet, free national home phone calls and free CD burning! And the staff were very informative and helpful while at the same time very funny and quite charming.
Via Nazionale, 7, San Lorenzo Market, one block from central station
A word of warning. In my experience some branches of the local hotel industry have yet to adapt to (let's be polite) those with expectations beyond clean bedding. For expensive amusement, look no further than the huge Old Swan hotel near the Turkish Baths. In this hotel (part of the Macdonalds chain) staff seem engaged in a bizzare game of cat and mouse seemingly to frustrate your every requirement. It is a real gem which National Heritage should preserve for the nation. Very soon there will be no hotels like this left. If you aren't from England, however, or you are not a fan of 1970's sit coms, you may wish it a wide berth. (Stay in Leeds and visit by train).
The Swan hotel is off Ripon Road nr the train station.
A beautiful Pensione in a small square south of the river - it's on the 4th floor and has a fantastic loggia on two sides of the building. Very simple, basic rooms - clean but no mod cons, yet that's the joy. You really feel like you're staying in an authentic pensione, not a hermetically sealed hotel.
Piazza Santo Spirito 9, Oltrarno;
They have a superb range of apartments, boats, and studios to rent for periods of 3 days or more. Great central locations, highly individual properties owned by locals, it's more like living there for a little while. It’s a great way to see the true Amsterdam. I have used them twice, and found the service excellent.
My father and I just spent a pleasant 5 days in Ypres, at Camalou B&B. We found it to be a great base from which to explore both the salient and the surrounding countryside. Annette and Christian are great hosts - they treat their guests like old friends and they are a font of information about Ypres and anywhere else you would like to explore. Annette does great tours of the battlefields, but whatever you choose to do with your day, she will have some invaluable insider tip for you. The rooms are beautifully furnished and comfortable, the breakfasts hearty and family-style. Camalou is about 3.2 km from the center, which means you will need a car, but you are near roundabouts that will take you to any key towns in the salient, and you get to wake up to the sound of local roosters and dairy cows. At around 65 euros/night, Camalou is an ideal Ypres headquarters. I heartily recommend it.
Be wary when selecting property rental companies. Try to get as much information as possible about the property before you arrive.
We stayed in Nice for a week last year with accommodation organised by TotallyNice, a rental company. Unfortunately, the apartment was entirely unsuitable for us. It was located near the train station, which turned out to be one of the most dangerous areas of Nice, and the neighbours downstairs were a nightmare, playing loud music until 5am.
For anybody booking an apartment in Nice: the 'undesirable neighbourhoods' are the area near the train station, the port and Malaussena. Anywhere else in the centre of town seemed perfectly safe.
Personally, I plan to avoid using 'rental companies' in the future, and approach the property owner directly.
However, don't let my bad experience put anybody off Nice. I had a wonderful time there and I plan to return very shortly. It's a beautiful city.
The hotel has the established look and feel of an Edwardian mansion with its rich mahogany furnishings, soft luxurious carpets and the most attentive staff. In fact it was built only eight years ago and so benefits from all the modern technology necessary for guests’ comfort.
The rooms are spacious, each furnished with a safe and supplied with complimentary bathrobes and slippers. The bathrooms are a delight with huge soft towels and Gilchrist and Soames bath products – it is the epitome of luxury.
Our room looked out to Croagh Patrick and beyond to the ocean’s silver of Clew Bay.
In the morning, laze breakfast away over the second pot of tea or coffee after the fluffy poached eggs on slivers of toast or the grilled Dover sole or the creamed porridge with cinnamon…
Afterwards, sit in the foyer and read the morning papers while the world passes gently by. The foyer is one that immediately welcomes - there is a comfortable atmosphere with relaxing seating and lighting – a pleasant setting to do the crossword in the Irish Times - the easy one.
Hotel Nacional is well worth just the one night at least. The breakfast is amazing (all world cuisines covered in one room). Mojitos in the garden with bands serenading and the sea view in front - it's an amazing way to start (or end your visit).
A Casa particular in Vedado (Habana). We stayed with Horacio and his wife, and were made to feel very welcome. He speaks fluent English, is extremely enthusiastic about his city - making recommendations, made good (but simple) breakfasts, and as we were three (one couple) travelling, the fact that there were two rooms to hire was ideal.
However, the outstanding feature was the house itself, with (as the name suggests) antiques abounding, a lovely balcony, grand piano and huge four poster beds. We were stuck in the house during Hurricane Charley (2004) and despite this, it was such a memorable end to our month in Cuba. Highly Recommended.
Just 50 metres from Plaza Mayor, this casa particular has a nice room with ensuite bathroom, aircon and 24hr hot water. Outside is a small patio where you can hear music from Casa de Musica. Lovely family and great Cuban food. Owner happy to help with tours.
Calle Simon Boliviar 504, Trinidad
tel: (01419) 2343
Accordion music, fountains and a cheery greeting of “Bonjour” from the hotel staff greet you as you head towards the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas.
The tower is not quite as tall as the original, in fact it is exactly half the size, however it has been reproduced with a superb eye for detail. An elevator whisks you to the observation deck, 460 feet above the Strip where there are fantastic views across Vegas, taking in a 360 degree panorama that includes the Strip, the city and the mountains in the distance and, in the evening, wonderful views across to the Bellagio fountain display.
The observation deck is quite small (holding about 30 to 40 people at a time) so you may have to queue to get in and, needless to say, it is not for those at all nervous of heights.
Cost of entry was approximately 12 dollars each when we visited. A little pricey maybe but worth it for the views
At the Paris Las Vegas, 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd
For accommodation, rent a self-catering apartment at the beautiful Patara Prince resort, get the "best of both worlds" with the freedom and convenience of self-catering, but having all the many fantastic facilities available.
This is a small chambre d'hote - French B&B - in a lovely quiet street near the centre of town. Nice rooms (only five so book ahead), really central and close to the cathedral, bars, restaurants, everything.
35 rue bouffard;
tel: (00 33) 556 813 453;
Rogelio and his wife are the warm and friendly hosts of this beautiful, colonial casa particular (B&B). Right in the centre of Trinidad old town, this 18th century house is filled with antiques and original features. Huge iron beds, original wooden floors and tall windows make it a truly romantic place to stay. From the roof terrace you can enjoy beautiful views over the rooftops and up to the mountains while watching the sun setting at an amazing speed over the horizon. Just 20 minutes by car or taxi to a palm-fringed, white sand beach, on one side of town and the jungle-covered mountains on the other, this casa is perfectly placed for exploring the best Trinidad has to offer. Book in advance as this place is very popular!
Simon Bolivar #312, Trinidad;
Staying at Casa Antigua gives you first-hand experience of how the Cubans live. Horatio and Marta run their “casa particular” (the Cuban version of a B&B) with a great deal of pride. They have managed to restore their 1940s villa, replacing once-lost original features, and have rescued their family's antique furniture to create a fascinating environment for their guests. With limited resources, they offer a warm welcome, good breakfast and tips and ideas for how to make the most of your stay in Cuba. Speaking excellent English, they are happy to talk about the history and politics of Cuba as well as recommending the best bars, restaurants and things to do in and around Havana. To get the best out of Cuba, stay with a family - it's an experience you'll never forget and much cheaper than staying in impersonal hotels.
The casa is in the district of Vedado, Havana;
Based on the Malekon, overlooking the sea and the bay, this is the best hotel in Havana - full of history and atmosphere. A tour of the hotel is a must, as you can see the trenches and bunkers built in the early 60s in preparation for a possible US invasion.
Calle 21 y O, Vedado, Plaza, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba, 10400;
tel: (53-7) 836 3564 al 67;
On the Malekon - cannot miss it
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