Dapitan Beach Resort Hotel (aka Pavilion Hotel) is owned and run by the local municipal government, who built it maybe 20 years ago from the proceeds of a gigantic US$ loan to promote tourism.
Since opening, the hotel has received next to no maintenance or further investment, but the air-con rooms are all huge and still luxurious - if you overlook the cracked bathroom fittings and the crumbling plasterwork everywhere.
The setting, on Dapitan's Sunset Boulevard, is spectacular, facing a huge 5 mile long white sand beach, with the South China Sea stretching in front of you; it feels like you've reached the end of the world (which you have, in a way...)
Grand luxury and elegance - at Php 1,650 per night (about £17) it's an unmissable bargain. Get there by overnight ferry from Cebu, Negros or Manila to the nearby Dapitan/Dipolog pier, or by plane to Diploog airport. Local motor tricycles will take you the last km or two for Php50 each. My wife and I spent our quite perfect honeymoon there 9 years ago, and we've been back a few times more since then!
Dapitan Beach Resort Hotel (Pavilion Hotel) Sunset Boulevard, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao
It's a stone-built guest house of great character and style in the countryside outside Caernarfon, between sea and mountains. I hesitate to call it a guest house, but neither is it a hotel or B&B.
It's a Welsh-speaking home where guests are welcomed like friends or relatives. Rooms have been furnished to a high standard of luxury, yet have a cosy feel, and there is a fusion of traditional and modern here. Great use is made of local slate, traditional oak furniture, modern lighting effects, and there are slate tables outside for al fresco drinks or meals in fine weather.
The atmosphere is fantastic, the tranquillity wonderful. The house is full of books in both Welsh and English, and there are modern Welsh paintings on the walls, and sometimes you can hear classical music being played on the Bechstein grand piano.
Tasty local food is cooked on the Aga, and they have a fully licensed dining room. This is a great base for exploring the Llyn Peninsula, the wild beauty of Snowdonia, and is within easy reach of picturesque towns and villages such as Caernarfon with its castle, the university town of Bangor, the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno, Beaumaris, Llanberis, Beddgelert, Betws-y-Coed, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Abersoch and, of course, the Italianate village of Portmeirion.
It's ideal for nature lovers, walkers, climbers, fishermen as well as lovers of history, culture and especially the Welsh language.
Y Goeden Eirin, Dolydd, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL54 7EF Tel: (01286) 830942
Have a look at their bilingual website: www.ygoedeneirin.co.uk
From Caernarfon, take the road south, and at the last roundabout at the south end of the village of Bontnewydd, take the left turning signposted Dolydd. Before reaching Dolydd Garage on the left, take the drive on the right hand side past the white painted farmhouse to the renovated farm buildings behind. These squat and interesting buildings constitute Y Goeden Eirin, but they don't look in any way like a conventional B&B or hotel! The nearest railway stations are Bangor and Porthmadog, and there are good bus services from these which go through the hamlet of Dolydd.
Have a look at their bilingual website: www.ygoedeneirin.co.uk
A lovely small hotel in Durness run by a great young couple. Absolutely beautiful rooms with attention to every detail. Reasonable prices for this level of comfort. The breakfast was especially superb. Durness is as far north as you can go on the mainland. The beaches are gorgeous and scenery on the way is spectacular.
Durness, Sutherland IV27 4PN
The Isle of Kerrera is a very accessible 5 minute ferry ride from Oban. It's car free and for a small island provides wonderful walking and exploring opportunities, especially for families. The tea garden at Lower Gylen with views out over Gylen castle and the Sound of Kerrera is a special spot. It's an easy day trip from Oban or if you have longer it's worth a night or 2 in the bunkhouse at Lower Gylen.
Isle of Kerrera, by Oban.
You get to stay in a very clean, and homely place right in the KL city. Cheap and good! Not many people have heard about them yet (i think.)
27 Jalan Mesui , Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
A B&B in a redundant Fog Signal Station and a place of splendid isolation on Holyhead Mountain. You are picked up at the base of the mounatin by Land Rover and taken on a hair raising ride until you reach the accommodation. Watch the sunset and the many seabirds and enjoy delicious home cooked food.
Castelinho38 is a marvelous guesthouse in Santa Teresa neighbourhood, one of the oldest in Rio.
This guesthouse has a peaceful and unique vibe, I felt at peace as soon as I arrived there! The owner and all the staff were super friendly and helpful. While I was there I also attended yoga and pilates classes.
The best thing though was the view, that was just incredible!
Rua Triunfo 38, Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro, 20240 320
+55 21 2252 2549
This is a really amazing guest house, it's a real castle on top of a hill and the atmosphere for me is just magical! It’s in the centre of Rio but at the same time you feel like you could be in the middle of nowhere!
There is a big terrace where they serve breakfast and you have a double view: the city of Rio in its splendour and then a green, peaceful hill.
I had a very good time there, the service is great, everyone that worked there was really nice and helpful! The bedrooms are huge and airy, you couldn't ask for anything better!
Rua de Triunfo 38, Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro 20240 320
+55 21 2252 2549
I stayed over a week with this wonderful family in the Umaid Bhawan in Jaipur, India. I absolutely fell in love with it, as well as its sibling, the Umaid Mahal. The family is extraordinarily kind and giving, the facilities are wonderful, and do I even need to start on the food?
When you are in this hotel, you feel as if you are royalty. Everyone seems to know and be close with everyone, and servants are willing to wait on your every need.
I plan on coming back to India simply to visit this wonderful family and their luxurious hotel once again. Ranvijay, the hotel manager, will go to any length to see that you are satisfied with your stay in his hotel.
Visit the hotel, or at the very least, stop by simply to eat a meal on the rooftop of this castle.
Hotel Umaid Bhawan
D1-2A,Behind Collectorate, (Via) Bank Road, Bani Park,
Jaipur-302016, Rajasthan, INDIA
24-Hour Direct Line to Ranvijay: +91 9314503423
Hotel Lines: +91 (141) 2316184 / 2206426 / 2201276 Fax us: +91 (141) 2207445
Email us: info@UmaidBhawan.com
website : www.umaidbhawan.com
Upmarket country house B & B a few miles east of Machynlleth in Dinas Mawddwy. Lovely well appointed rooms and very good hospitality from the husband and wife hosts Nick and Mair Godley. Decent and plentiful evening meals and good choice for breakfast too. Will be going again!
A beautiful little town on a bay. By far the best place to stay is L'Esplendido hotel which faces the mouth of the bay with the two lighthouses on either side. The hotel is beautifully done up and with lots of interesting spaces so as not to feel too crowded, including two pools on the terraces at the back with the most spectacular view from the infinity pool.
Really experience the chill by taking the tiny tram to Sollier which winds through the village back gardens with the temptation to pick lemons from the trees very high.
Port de Sollier is in the north west of the island nestled on the other side of the amazing mountains. Best way is to drive there (30mins from Palma) and make sure to take the tunnel (small toll).
The one essential reason to visit Kampong Cham is for the Rana Country Homestay - the most rewarding day of our entire trip to Cambodia. 80% of Cambodia’s population are still subsistence farmers, and this place is unique in giving an insider insight into the realities of peasant life.
The delightful and informative owner takes you on tours of the village and farmlands, in between making delicious home-cooked Cambodian meals (best Amok by miles), and in the evening people from the village come to talk to you about whatever you want.
We found it particularly insightful to have this perspective on the Pol Pot years – especially as most information comes from previously wealthy city dwellers dispossessed by the Khmer Rouge or the horrors of Toul Sleng and the killing fields. Strongly recommend you take the short detour required off the road from Phnom Penh – Siem Reap to visit!
I went on safari to Kenya and it was truly fantastic - go to the Masai Mara - and hopefully your tour guide will venture into the serengeti in Tanzania! The Masai Mara is the biggest and the best park. The serengeti is the next biggest (I think) and the landscape, although beautiful, was not as breathtaking.
DO stay in a luxury lodge for at least 2 days...Not too expensive and everything is usually included and you are guaranteed to see at least the 'big 4' out of 5.
If you decide that you want a more rustic slash back to nature experience, then look around for a guidebook recommended lodge/camping site, as a few friends of mine went for the cheapest, and saw very little as the guides were not as experienced!
Fantastic accommodation at fair price. It is a great apartment in Krakow just next to the Skalka shrine - perfect location for sightseeing - close to Vistula river, Wawel Castle and the Old Jewish Quarter.
Lovely and quiet spot with no stag parties in sight! Perfect both for families and romantic couples.
The owners are very helpful. They have a very nice website with lots of useful travel tips.
A small, friendly and quiet guesthouse, in a very convenient and safe part of Cape Town, two blocks up from the ocean and shops, nearest to Clifton Beaches, Seapoint around the corner.
The owner really knows what service and friendliness means, laundry service and ADSL internet was free (including calls to landlines in the UK) and we really felt at home away from home, delightful interior for a fantastic price.
They even give you a SA cell number when you book, so you can tell friends which number to get hold of you, while exploring the country.
Only ten pounds per person sharing per night!
Complimentary coffee, tea and use of fully equiped kitchen. Safe private parking too.
The best we found in our SA Holiday. Quality really does not need to cost the world.
Very nice place, good English speaking staff. Very helpful people. Perfect location on the beach. I suggest this for all kiters (for lessons as well) and non-kiters for massages and food.
The Blue Lagoon's a fantastic wee, reasonably budget place on Klong Prao beach. It has idyllic little clean, modern (we stayed in much, much worse - do not try KP Huts...) bungalows with verandahs over the lagoon - a non-stinky, non-mosquito-ridden lagoon I would point out. Brilliant for sunsets and relaxation, and just down from all the fancy resorts with much lesser views and more noise. The big bonus is they have a cooking school so the food's amazing.
Khlong Prao beach, Koh Chang.
Ponsonby's a great little area with loads of good cafes and funky shops, more character and feel to it than the city, but just a 20 minute (downhill, pretty) walk away - or a 5 minute direct bus trip. It has a range of good accommodation, including 3 funky backpackers and some posher boutique hotels. And it's the main gay friendly area of Auckland.
Charming apartment in a historic house a few hundred yards from the Colosseum, in a quiet backstreet. Giulia, who manages this small family business, speaks English and is happy to help you with all sorts of insider tips on the city.
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