Turn of the century building set in acres of greenery at the foot of Table Mountain. Their traditional afternoon teas are said to be formidable. Doubles are between R3,460 (low season) and R5,125 (high season). Luxury suites go from R8,030 (low season) up to R12,165 (high season).
76 Orange Street; Tel: 27 21 483 1000; www.mountnelson.co.za
Once a prison, now cheap accommodation in a great setting, within walking distance of a multitude of bars, restaurants and shops. Doubles start at R460.
Portswood Road, Victoria and Albert Waterfront; Tel: 27 21 406 1911; www.bwl.co.za/
Stripped brickwork and wireless internet in the rooms. Elegant bars, a gym and a narrow open-air pool. Doubles start at R1,000.
Corner of Somerset Road and Ebenezer Road; Tel: 27 21 418 1234; www.proteahotels.com/findhotel.jsp?croid=vjunc
The building at the top of the Spanish Steps was bought by a Swiss family in 1885 and has become a byword for old school stylishness. The rooftop restaurant offers stunning views across the city and a fabled Sunday lunch buffet. Prices for a double start at €500, but special deals can be obtained.
Trinità dei Monti 6, 00187 Roma; Tel: 06 699 340; www.hotelhasslerroma.com/
The least expensive of three hotels owned by the same group on the tranquil, up-market Aventine hill. If you ever fancied yourself as a character in a Henry James novel then this is the place for you. Prices for a double room range from €114 to €197.
Via San Domenico 10, 00153 Roma; Tel: 06 5783 214; www.aventinohotels.com/
Small, clean and friendly hostel near the main Termini rail station offering a range of accommodation from single rooms to dormitories for eight, with or without bathroom. Prices for a double room plus Italian breakfast range from €21 to €49 per person per night.
Via Marsala 80, 00185 Roma; Tel: 06 4959 887; www.popinhostel.com/
Named after Egypt’s greatest singer and built on the site of her former home, the hotel has a reconstruction of her living room - complete with old-style gramophone - just off the foyer. All bedrooms have a brass plate on the door with the title of one of her songs. Rooms at the front overlook a tranquil branch of the Nile and its houseboats; those at the back have large, sunny balconies.
Zamalek (near 15th May bridge); Tel: 02 736 8444
Sheer luxury in six acres of grounds. But if this is the sort of pampering you want, shouldn’t you be going to Capri instead of Cairo?
Saray El Gezira Street, Zamalek; Tel: +20 2 7358888;
Never mind the dull food; if it’s colonial atmosphere you want, the Windsor has no equal. This former club for British officers is a living, working museum-piece.
19 Alfi Street (near Cinema Diana); Tel: 02 5915810, 5915277; www.windsorcairo.com/
The latest flashy hotel to open in Mexico City has received rave reviews for its design perfection, although the service is reputedly a little wanting. Double room: $165-395 plus 15% tax.
Avenida Veracruz No 102; www.condesadf.com/
Currently being revamped and due to open in the spring of 2006, this boutique hotel is right on the Plaza de Santa Ana. It has traditionally been the bullfighters' hotel, so expect to bump into men in tight trousers and sequins during the season at Las Ventas.
Plaza de Santa Ana, 14; Tel: 91 5314500; Metro: Puerta del Sol; www.hardrock.com/locations/hotels2/madrid/
At 14-19 euros the night, it is certainly cheap. Morisco style, chill-out, weekly parties and 24 hour opening make this a desireable spot in the centre. Two to 14 beds per room.
Calle Cañizares, 6; Tel: 91 369 28 07; Metro: Anton Martin; www.catshostel.com/
The swimming pool on the roof of the Hotel Emperador is open to non-guests. It is expensive, but divine, with great views and has its own snack bar.
Gran Vía, 53; Tel: 91 547 28 00; Mon-Fri: €25, Sat-Sun: €35; www.emperadorhotel.com/
A majestic wooden framed complex of white buildings on the beachfront at Santa Monica, offers a haven from the heat and hustle of the city. A rooftop pool and Jacuzzi, log fires burning (needlessly) in the opulent lobby, views of the Pacific, and a breakfast to die for in the restaurant make this the perfect stop for those who have money and enjoy the quiet life. But don't be put off: it is child friendly too. Rooms start at $325. Prices vary according to season.
Shutters on the Beach; 1 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, California 90405; Tel: 310-458-0030; www.shuttersonthebeach.com/
Not the place to stay if you are looking for a restful vacation, but if you want to imbibe some of the hedonistic buffoonery for which LA is rightfully known, this is the place for you. From the over-designed furniture and accessories, to the girl in the glass case in the lobby, to the rooftop pool, the Standard complies with all the cliches of LA life. $170 per room.
8300 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90069; Tel: 323-650-9090; www.standardhotel.com/
The upper end of the Best Western budget hotel chain, the Marina Pacific is right on the beach at Venice, offering a bird's eye view of the comings and going on the Broadwalk. Walking distance to many good restaurants, it also offers a base for wandering around Venice (a rare pleasure in LA) and exploring neighbouring Santa Monica. Many rooms have a kitchenette. Prices range from $110-$200 for a double room depending on season.
1697 Pacific Avenue, Venice Beach, California 90291;
Tel: 310-452-1111; www.mphotel.com/
Not unrelated to the original branch of Swinger's diner, the Beverly Laurel has a good location - which, of course, is everything in LA - funky rooms, a decidedly retro feel and offers good value.
Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel; 8018 Beverly Boulevard,
West Hollywood, California 90048; Tel: 323-651-2441
It is practically impossible to find a decent, quiet, budget room in Dublin, which is why I like the Oaklodge. It is a no frills, small Victorian terraced family house on a quiet residential street in Ballsbridge at the edge of the "embassy belt". Yes, it's at least a 30-minute walk from the city centre, or a swift bus ride, but it is the perfect starting point to scout out the beautiful redbrick streets of Dublin 4. Warm welcome, good breakfast. €40 per person for a double room in August, €35 per person per night in winter.
4 Pembroke Park, off Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; Tel: 00 353 1 660 6096; www.oaklodge.ie/
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