The Skylounge is a cool bar-restaurant on the top floor of the Mint Hotel. The terrace gives an amazing view of Amsterdam whilst enjoying a cocktail. Free entrance, cocktails were about £12 each.
Amazing location right next to beach in Asvem, North Goa. Accommodation is in 'eco pods' made of local materials, very comfortable inside with designer touches. The resort is laid back, no TV, just sound of ocean and cool breeze. Perfect combination of nature and comfort. Breakfast is served at your pod, home made jams, delicious teas and coffee, with fresh breads and fruit. Very family friendly too.
BDL is a lodge for skiers and snowboarders based in Niseko Village on the island of Hokkaido. It offers simple comfortable accommodation including breakfast, its own restaurant and bar as well as a range of Backcountry guided tours that are all well priced. It attracts a mix of international punters and professionals alike.
The lodge is well linked to the resort free bus service which allows you to access some of the best snow in the world. Yes, the rumours are true, it does not stop snowing and it didn’t when were there. The staff (a mix of Canadian and Japanese) know Niseko like the back of their hand. They are also extremely helpful before you arrive and will offer you assistance with internal flights and transfers.
The backcountry tour packages they offer range from one day to longer trips in Niseko but also to Rusutsu and beyond. We did a day's guiding with Andrew, who took us through the back gates of Niseko for an unforgettable day of powder riding.
Once you have done all that you can return to the lodge and relax in their wonderful but strange massage chair!
+81 136 44 1144
Google map: bit.ly/qqpywa
Black Diamond Lodge
Higashiyama 24-3, Niseko-cho
Nearest Airport: Sapporo Chitose
Nearest train: Hirafu
This was the best value hotel we found for our recent stay in Lyon. Rooms were small but the rooms were clean.
Seems to be part of a budget chain in France though we paid £50 per night via a well known hotel booking website which was the cheapest we found and yet not what we would automatically call 'cheap'.
Excellent strength free Wi-FI.
Location was fairly central - the only 'issue' was that while it is situated on the south of Presqu'ile (central area) it could be quite confusing getting to the north of Presqu'ile due to the mass of motorways and train lines crossing the Presqu'ile forming an almost impenetrable Berlin Wall. The easiest way was to go through the Perrache train station which may not appeal to all, especially at night.
24, quai Perrache, 69002 Lyon
+33 4 78 37 16 64
Google map: bit.ly/nyroGg
There’s something primal about sleeping in a cave – being inside the earth cuts off the man-made world. Due to its volcanic past southern Italy is a veritable Swiss cheese of caves, and Cave Central is Matera in Basilicata. Up until the 1980s it was a disease-ridden town of troglodytes, now an astonishing Unesco site where we visited ancient churches in caves, ate in restaurants in caves, and stayed in a cave - albeit nowadays with marble floors, room service and a Jacuzzi bath.
Would very much recommend this hotel. Very friendly, very clean and rooms always cleaned to very high standard.
Located only across the road from the Santa Justa train station in a nice part of town.
While we were there in August (six nights) the hotel was in the process of being renovated but that was only a minor inconvenience.
We got a good deal on the rooms from a well know hotel booking website.
Avda Kansas City 7, 41018 Seville, Spain
+34954 919 797
Google map: bit.ly/oHbUqa
Definitely one of the coolest hotels and bars in the world let alone Edinburgh. Small and intimate, stylish, and with a fantastic restaurant, this is a must for anyone visiting Edinburgh.
The hotel is the perfect mixture of traditional Austrian and modern facilities. The new design rooms and the spa with indoor and outdoor pool has been a highlight for the whole family. The food was delicious and the hospitality of the family Fischbacher and their hotel team has been outstanding. Just perfect for active families who like to ski in the alps or like to be active in nature in summer.
This wonderful luxury B&B is located in one the most beautiful villages in Italy, which boasts a Terme health resort, skiing and hiking in The Sibillini Mountains and a local area that is littered with stunning medieval villages. We were among the first guests at this hotel which is based in a 16C palazzo and finished to the highest level. Our bedroom was big, very stylish and comfortable and the ensuite was something out of grand designs. Rhona the owner was very helpful with tips and advice.
This three-star hotel is located right in the heart of Granada. As well as its location, the great feature of the hotel is the roof top terrace. In the day you can sunbathe on the roof with a great view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada. At night the roof top terrace becomes a bar/ restaurant. Even if you are not staying in the hotel, its worth popping up on the roof at night for a drink and the view.
We booked via a well known hotel website and got rooms for £40 per night.
This is a really cool gastropub and hotel in a picture postcard Suffolk village. The building has beams, open fires etc, but with a modern twist and the food is London restaurant standard. Great service and the home baked bread is to die for.
This was the best riad I have ever stayed in. Great deco, just near to the Jemaa el Fna square. The staff were so helpful and food is a must to try! There is a pool in the roof terrace and you really disconnect from your day to day activity.
Port El Kantaoui comes into it's own at this time of year. It is still hot enough for a beach holiday without being uncomfortable. The port is a purpose built tourist resort and only a short drive to the older town of Sousse with it's traditional medina. The Hotel Kanta is a lovely hotel in the centre of the port with easy access to the beach and marina. It has a choice of pools and very friendly staff, all you could want for an enjoyable holiday.
4089 Port El Kantaoui Tunisia
+ 216 73 348 666
This is a 2 star hotel in a historical Ottoman building. It has air conditioning, pool and B&B plus wi-fi all for 30 Euros a night. Ibrahim the manager is very helpful and accommodating.
Eleonas is a beautiful hotel made up of cottages straddled on a Cretan hillside and a main taverna/reception/bar at the base of the hill. If you want to get away somewhere quiet and friendly, with amazing food and the possibility of walking in the hills, gorges and forests of upland Crete (or, a short drive away, the beaches, Minoan palaces and towns of the beautiful South Coast), then this is for you.
We have just returned from a week at Cortijo del Seviilano and what a lovely place it is. Sevillano is a charming, converted farmhouse that's around 200-years-old. It's conversion to a comfortable place to stay is a stylish mixture of traditional Spanish and contemporary. Go as soon as you can, even a long weekend will make you feel as if you've been away for a week.
Number 1, 04610, Cuevas del Almanzora
It's a wonderful little campsite right on the river. Only a five minute walk to the town - BBQs allowed, as are pets, children and smokers. The shower facilities here are better than any others I've ever been to in my life. I'd go as far to say that the showers themselves are better than some in hotels. The owners are British and cook amazing food. The drinks at the bar are ridiculously over-priced but okay for a few nights. They also cook pizza in an outdoor stone oven.
It's also a few miles away from a fantastic volcanic region of France where you can swim in crystal-blue crater lakes.
How to say this: you don’t find these hotels anymore and Hotel Esmeralda will undoubtedly sooner or later fall into the hands of savvy promoters who will turn this most authentic and simple 12 bedroom hotel, all with views over Notre Dame into a boutique hotel with stratospheric prices. However, for the time being, just enjoy it: rush to this gem of a hotel with its cats and wallpapers coming out of a bygone era. Share this secret address with everyone you love. As with all great passions, it won’t last, so savour every moment of your stay.
4 rue Saint Julien Le Pauvre 75005 Paris
+331 43 54 19 20
Google map: bit.ly/p5i8v6
* Agnes is our Been there local for Paris. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/paris-local-agnes-poirier.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/AgnesPoirier
Excellent location when you arrive from the airport in Malaga. A 15 minute train journey takes you from the airport to hotel as the hotel is just outside the train station.
Nice new hotel with an eye catching slide from the 2nd floor to the lobby ... which I tried!
City centre is a 10 min walk from hotel.
Renting a car is a must for exploring the beautiful rugged western Crete - all doable on day trips from a charming Venetian town of Chania. Our favourite outings were Samaria Gorge, Gramvousa and Elafonisi. Samaria Gorge for a change of scenery and sightings of wild goat Kri Kri; relax to follow after the day hike in the laid back coastal village of Agia Roumeli. Explore the hills above the Balos beach for wonderful pre-sunset views of Gramvousa Peninsula. Drive to Elafonisi via the Agia Sofia cave; enjoy paradise settings of Elafonisi with its warm sands and shallow, blue/green hued waters; then back via the spectacular NW coastal drive. Late summer should be a perfect time to visit - the crowds are gone (not that it’s ever too busy) and the weather is good well into early autumn.
We stayed at Frida for easy access to everything.
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