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/
Just a few decades ago this was almost the only accommodation for foreign tourists. Today, it is still the hotel of choice for visiting statesmen so expect to pay through the nose. Prices start at $180 to $9,000.
33 Chang’anjie street, Dongcheng District; Tel: 86-10-6513 7766; Nearest metro: Wangfujing; www.chinabeijinghotel.com.cn/
The history of this district stretches back 700 years to the Yuan Dynasty. For 120 rmb per night, you get to stay in an old courtyard house in a lively neighbourhood full of boutiques, bars and restaurants.
Nanluogu Xiang hutong, Xicheng area; Tel: 8400-2429
Berlin’s most famous hotel, right next to the Brandenburg Gate and the British Embassy. The Adlon was sumptuously rebuilt in 1997. The style is classical, with Chinese-themed rooms, and plush fin-de-siecle decor. Impeccable service, and 42 different mineral waters for homesick Japanese tourists. There is a British high tea at 5pm if you have a sudden yearning for a scone. It’s not cheap, though. Rooms cost €320-€490 a night.
Unter den Linden 77; Nearest S-Bahn: Unter den Linden; Tel: 030 22610; www.hotel-adlon.de/
Every room is decorated by a modern artist, so you might find yourself sleeping beneath some multi-coloured Wellington boots or a portrait of a semi-naked model. One of the better art hotels that have now sprung up all over Berlin. Breakfast costs an extra €8.
Luisenstrasse 19; Nearest S-Bahn: Friedrichstrasse; Tel: 030 284480; www.luise-berlin.de/
I’m not generally a fan of posh hotels. But the InterConti, next to Berlin’s Zoo, is now a fun and stylish place to stay after its mega-makeover. You can play around with the rooms in the new East Wing: they have a moveable wardrobe so that you can make the bathroom bigger or smaller. From the West Wing, there’s a good view of the animals in the zoo. There’s also a fantastic spa. Rooms cost €160-€200 for a double, including breakfast. It’s worth asking if they have any special deals.
Budapester Strasse 2; Nearest S-Bahn: Zoologischer Garten; Tel: 030 26020
Very quiet mid-range hotel, two minutes’ walk from Friedrichstrasse station. Friendly staff and a really good breakfast. The hotel is owned by a Christian mission. About €80-120 a night.
Albrechtstrasse 8; Tel: 030 308860; Nearest S-Bahn: Friedrichstrasse
Friendly place, with stylish rooms decorated by previous guests. Also right in the middle of things. Backpackers dormitory from €13. The hostel also has bike rental, laundry, and cooking facilities. The people who run it are opening a new hostel in trendy Kreuzberg in January 2006.
Chausseestrasse 102; Nearest U-Bahn: Zinnowitzerstrasse; Tel: 030 28390965
You can get some amazing deals on cheap accommodation in Berlin. The Circus is a clean, bright, arty hostel – in fact there are two of them – just north of Hackescher Markt, right in the centre of Berlin. They have an Arabian room, an underwater room, as well internet and bar. Rooms €15-€32.
Weinbergsweg 1A; Nearest U-Bahn: Rosenthaler Platz; Tel: 030 28391433 or Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse 39; Nearest U-Bahn: Rosa-Luxemburg Platz; www.circus-berlin.de/
If you are looking for a place to get away from it all then Sweden is the place to go. This is where I grew up and it's my getaway from a busy London. Rent a cottage by the lake and enjoy the clean air, quietness and crystal clear lakes. Go fishing in the sunset or pick blueberries in the forest. You will come back feeling like a new person.
www.bengtsfors.se/page/403/english.htm, where you can also rent cottages online. Two hours drive north from Gothenburg.
The Tamaris is a charming three-star hotel in the town of Baska in the south of Krk. It has 15 rooms and 15 apartments and has been recently refurbished. Rooms are well-equipped, clean and modern. The hotel staff are also welcoming and very helpful. But what really makes this hotel standout is its superb position right on the beachfront with the sea a mere stone's throw away. Good out of season deals available.
Emila Geistlicha bb, 51523 Baska
A good place to stay is The Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay. Free wireless internet - and if you like to internet in your room, they do not mind at the front desk to lend you a laptop when it is not busy at the communication centre.
Book a seaview room and enjoy the sunset. If you don't, no problem, just go to the (sports) bar. There is an excellent shuttle service to and from the V&A waterfront till 11pm. Nice and friendly atmosphere and the food and wine is good.
34 Victoria Road, Bantry Bay 8005
Tel: 27 21 439 6170
We stayed there a couple of years ago and it was fantastic. Small and humble and a room costs around £35 / night. It's right in the heart of Little India.
Across the road is a big food court which offers pretty much anything that's local. Tonnes of fruit, stacks of "popiah" which are like roll-it-yourself spring rolls, gallons of fresh juices...don't let the grubby appearance of the places put you off. My girlfriend was very particular about food but even she was amazed by the loveliness of the hawker stalls. There are beautiful temples within two minutes' walk, and for nerdy techno freaks like me, Sim Lim Square is 5 minutes away if you want to buy yourself an iPod, camera or computer...enjoy!
The Changi Village is a modern, chic hotel and is one of the most affordable luxury hotels in Singapore. We managed to get a double room in August for £55 a night, booked on the hotel’s website.
Although it’s not in the centre of town, it is near a beach and ideal for early morning flights from the nearby airport.
Sol Ibiza fantastic hotel, food good and a vast choice,very clean and great service. Night entertainment catering mostly for oap's though.
Mel's bar for a great English breakfast and very friendly brits.
Sol Ibiza near harbour and Mel's on the promenade.
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