Reading reviews of Havana and seeing the repetitious recommendations for the Nacional or the Inglaterra makes me wonder if the reviewers visited anywhere else. OK, so both have a 'history', but then so do several others if you're a Hemingway or Graham Greene buff, but that's no reason to actually stay there. No, in Havana there are two primary considerations: location and functionality.
The Nacional is a characterful hotel which is great to visit and sip a mojito overlooking the Malecon, but it is miles from the centre of things and a taxi ride to everywhere. The Inglaterra is certainly well-located but if you're going to stay on the edge of both the old town and central park there is no better choice than the eponymous Parque Central.
Because of its location you can break your day up and dive back to the hotel between forays; a major benefit when it's hot and humid. It's modern (translation: the architecture is out of step with the fine old buildings around it) and so everything works and after a hard day's sightseeing the rooftop pool is THE place for a cooling dip, with fabulous views towards the Capitolio.
A vegetarian B&B with a breathtaking view and fantastic breakfasts - they use organic ingredients including their own honey. For the musically inclined, they hold regular classical concerts & recitals.
Near to Ambleside,
I spent ages trawling the internet for holiday homes to rent on Ile de Ré and in La Rochelle. www.abritel.fr seemed to be the best, and most comprehensive, website. We ended up with a wonderful 2 bedroom stone house on a narrow, quiet street a stone's throw from the main square and the main supermarket in Ars-en-Re. Rented from a certain Pascal in Paris. They have an English version and you contact the owners directly.
The site caters to all of France, by the way.
A pleasant and cheap hotel located in a quiet town. Located 5 minutes from the small but nice beach, it is handy for commuting to the FIB festival (provided you have a car - there are buses though). Friendly staff and it's disabled friendly (there were a group staying there).
It is a few years since I was there, but it was a splendid place, situated on a peninsula south of Dubrovnik. The building itself is magnificent, with superb sculptures in the huge entrance lobby. I could not discover the artist. The hotel has an enormous free form swimming pool indoors.
The village of Cavtat was a friendly place, with regular buses to Dubrovnik.
Hotel Croatia, Cavtat 20210
+385 20 475 555
There's a small choice of accommodation on the island, but for those like us with young children, the Lafodia Hotel is ideal. It provides a kids club
where the children's creative side is encouraged and they are taken on little fishing trips. We travelled earlier this year when the weather was rather mixed, the children were kept occupied with activities for about 90 minutes in the morning and afternoon.
Food is hot and cold Mediterranean buffet style with plenty of salad and fruit and the hotel is all inclusive so you could get house red/white; beer and some spirits all day to 11pm.
Lopud island is about a one hour ferry journey from Dubrovnik.
The now infamous Jet Apartments on Playa D'en Bossa's main beach are very basic accommodation. However the location cannot be beaten. The complex houses the famous Bora Bora beach bar and is across the road from Space Nightclub, the Waterpark and a €6 taxi ride to Ibiza town. Location location location.
A much better choice on the island of Vis than the (slightly) larger Vis Town. Pleasant beach and good restaurants. Very reasonable apartments too - ask for the poet Pepe in the travel agencies (everyone knows him!)- he will put you up very comfortably!
If you get the ferry into Vis from Split, rather than stay there, take the bus that meets the ferry to Komiza. It is worth it if you want a more laid back village and a better beach.
If you're looking for inexpensive and advantageously located accommodation in Budapest, try Buro Panzio. This is a small hotel, only about l0 rooms, located just off Moszkva Ter, a major subway/tram/bus stop on the Buda side and therefore convenient to almost anything of interest. The rooms are clean, comfortable and air-conditioned, a rarity in any small hotel there. The young staff could not be more friendly and helpful. There is a good Hungarian restaurant next door and a local vegetable/fruit/bread/meat market just across the street. All this equals great value for money at about 60 euros/night. I could not have been more pleased with my stay there.
1024 Budapest II
Dekan U 3
+361 21 22929
About three kilometres from the centre of Palma, this is somewhere to go to be pampered. The service here is exemplary. The staff know how to serve without being servile. The Mallorcan is a different person from his counterpart on the mainland.
It boasts five stars, all of which are well-deserved. Everywhere there is space. Cool and marbled. High ceilings and tumbling water.
Even the lifts are examples of good design with walls and ceiling of black glass. The myriad tiny lights in the ceiling illuminate the interior giving an infinity of images of the occupants, who appear to be floating in a void.
Soft squashy sofas and cool, comfortable chairs are everywhere. On landings, around unexpected corners and always within reach, huge ornate bowls of apples and oranges. The decor is subdued elegance from the wide marble staircases to the large abstract paintings on the walls.
Calle Francisco Vidal Sureda 23E
La Bonanova, Palma 07015
Last year we went to wonderful Cavtat to relax for a few days before heading to Dubrovnik.
Our accommodation wasn't booked in Dubrovnik so we asked the staff in restaurants and at the pension we were staying in for suggestions.
Most people knew somebody who could help (Cavtat isn't far away), and we were fortunate enough to rent a house in the Old Town.
The house was two minutes away from a bar positioned on Dubrovnik's cliffs that you access through a hole in the city walls - look for a sign saying cold drinks at the far side of the town.
If you like your hotels ultra-modern and luxiourious this is the one for you. It's ten minutes or so walk from the main shopping street (Patricks St). Beautiful rooms, nice bar, nice restaurant and friendly, efficient staff. Request river views with balcony rather than the Atrium.
After many trips to Granada I finaly found the perfect place to stay. Its one of those secret places you find that you don't want anyone else to know about, but the owner is a cool guy and I would like to see him do well. Plus it's the best deal in town. With views of the Alhambra from the roof top terraza.
OK, another bar/hotel on George Street. However I think this is a little different to the others such as Le Monde. Not cheap for drinks but you have to go at least once! Staff are very friendly and not pretentious in the least. The interior of Tiger Lilly retains the basis structure of the Georgian house that it once was. Food is also good and not overpriced.
125 George Street (near Charlotte Square);
tel: 0131 225 5005;
Great hotel in an excellent location - good breakfast included in the rate and most places are walkable from it.
Fantasy-like love nest hotel snuggled into the castle. It's unbelievably camp and over the top with roll-top baths, bizarre mix of busts and antiques, four-poster beds, and it just feels so unique and so sexy. Daily bottle of champagne helps, and there's great food in the Secret Garden. Not cheap, but worth it for a night of unbridled passion.
The Witchery by the Castle
Tel: 131 225 5613
I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a really luxurious treat. It’s new and very opulent, and that bit different. It has eighteen rooms, all themed around a city (for instance: LA, Dublin, Marrakech, Beijing). We stayed last time in Atlantis, which was absolutely beautiful. Attention to detail is first class, staff are really friendly, and you get a welcome drink on arrival. Right in the centre of Edinburgh on the very stylish George Street, it also has three bars called Paris, Milan and Vienna and a nightclub called Tokyo in the basement. I particularly enjoyed the French martinis in Paris bar. Definitely wish to go back soon.
16 George Street, EH2 2PF;
tel: 0131 270 3900;
Very friendly B&B. Excellent breakfast, non smoking, near Arthur's seat and swimming pool in the south side of the city. Very nice for women travelling alone. It’s 15 minutes’ brisk walk from the Royal Mile and has good bus connections to the town centre. Reasonably priced. Nice area. I've stayed there 9 times, and have recommended it to friends, all of whom were as impressed as I.
9 Kilmaurs road, Edinburgh EH16 5DA;
tel: 0131 667 8315;
Stayed at the Hotel Forum in Rome this June and enjoyed a wonderful week in this beautiful city.
The hotel is centrally located, right opposite the Forum, excellent for visiting all major sites.
Room and service were great too, so I would definitely use this hotel again and can recommend it to friends.
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