It's a luxury hotel in the centre of Havana with great views of the capital building. On the top floor is an open swimming pool, where you can sit besides the pool at night, sipping rum and coke, looking up at the stars while the hustle and bustle of Havana goes on in the streets.
Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Google map: bit.ly/fRou4u
We have just returned from a week in this beautiful villa and felt compelled to post it because it was such amazing value for money (£60 each per night!) and very lovely.
It was just the two of us but we got the run of the whole place. There was a free shuttle to the centre of the marrakech but we found it hard to drag ourselves away from the private pool and garden so only used it once. The lovely housekeeper deserves special mention - her cooking was sublime.
+44 (0)20 8940 9493
It's a Hotel with spectacular panoramic views over the Kathmandu Valley. I'm recommending it for the views of the sunrise over the Himalayas and Everest. We travelled there during the start of October and it was spectacular. It has a good vibe and if busy is really good fun. If they offer it, take the 5.30am trip to the viewing point on top of the mountain, it's worth it.
Mahankal Temple, Nagarkot, Nepal
Google map: bit.ly/h5z9Tm
0977 - 1- 6680011 (mobile inside Nepal: 016680011)
0977 - 1- 6680109 (mobile inside Nepal: 016680109)
The truth is, every time I’ve done the Dunwich beach walk, scrunching along marvelling at the fact that the place was once a mile inland, I’ve been frozen by icy spray, or blinded by driving sleet. But that’s the secret pleasure of this bracing Suffolk coastal walk, anticipating a real fire, home cooked food and real ale at the cosy Ship Inn. Next summer I’ll stay at the inn (children and dogs welcome), venture into the conservatory and garden, and explore Dunwich Heath for nightjars and butterflies. Meanwhile, as you walk on the beach, listen carefully - you might hear the ghostly bells of All Saints Church, long ago drowned by the encroaching sea.
Really nice modern townhouse, well equipped and close to the centre of town. Great views across the harbour and up and down river. We'll certainly book again.
At Athole House, just a few minutes walk from the centre of Bath, owner Wolfgang makes his own muesli to Bircher's original Swiss recipe. The bread is home made every day too, as are the fruit salad and the buttermilk pancakes. We stayed for three days and ate so well each morning that we never needed food again until five in the afternoon.
Pub Walk. Middleham-E.Witton-Middleham
Distance: 5 miles
Park in the market place at Middleham, where pubs are slightly outnumbered by racing stables (buses run from Richmond via Leyburn and Ripon via Masham). Watch out for the strings of racehorses coming down from the gallops on Middleham Moor as you find your footpath. This leaves the town by the side of the 12th century castle, northern power base of Richard III, which dominates the small town. Follow the path past William's Hill, site of an earlier motte and bailey castle, down to the banks of the River Cover. Turn up Coverdale,keeping an eye open for Dippers, to reach a stone footbridge, Hullo Bridge, which crosses the Cover. Turn downstream and climb gently across the meadows beneath E.Witton Lodge to pick up West Field Lane which takes you to the top end of E. Witton. The Blue Lion is at the bottom of the wide green lined with Dales cottages. Stone-flaged floors, open log fire, Hand-pulled ales,good wine list, excellent food - if you can't bear to leave they have accommodation! However, if you do decide to return then retrace your steps up to the top of the green and then turn to the right to follow a path down through the meadows to cross the River Cover by a set of large stepping stones - not really advisable after heavy rain, when Hullo Bridge is a better bet. Climb up the slope into Strait Lane and across Chapel Fields (watch out for hares) to the footpath past the castle and into Middleham.
A walk of three very different ‘halves’ followed by a great Dales pub. The first leg climbs out of Reeth in Swaledale up to the lead mining hamlet of Hurst; the second passes through industrial heritage with the remains of lead mines, until it opens out with a fine view down the Dale, the third descends to the valley and follows Arkle Beck back to Reeth. Facing the village green is the Black Bull with an open fire, real ale and wholesome pub food. It welcomes kids and dogs and even has a back-to-front clock on the wall. It’s so good, I do it every year on my birthday.
The Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, is tucked away in the West Cumbrian fells and sandwiched between two lakes, which means when it comes to pre- or post-pub lunch walks there are endless choices.
The wellie brigade (young and old) have lots of lakeside rambles to choose from. Loweswater has a lovely old wood on its shore. Awash with bluebells in May, at other times you can potter along the paths looking out for deer and red squirrels and hunting for the hidden waterfall.
Crummock Water is also surrounded by a great mix of old trees and has countless paths to explore. There are becks to guddle in, caves to jump out of, footbridges to run across, a stone boathouse to picnic beside and lots of shingly beaches to swim from.
For the walking-boot band there are fells all around. One of my favourites is Melbreak (1,670ft, grid reference NY 14306 19471), bang in front of The Kirkstile’s beer garden, it challenges you to give it a go as you tuck into your slow-cooked Lakeland lamb. A short, sharp, and in parts slightly scrambly, ascent up the front takes you to the summit from where you can check out the rest of the Lake District before heading down a more gentle path off the side and along a track which delivers you back to the pub. Done and dusted within an hour, a friend and I once did this between our main course and pudding at the pub.
But it’s not all location, location, location when it comes to The Kirkstile: it has its own brewery (check out The Kirkstile Gold) and the food’s fantastic.
Seen as one of the best hotels in Kaunas. Only just behind the old town square and leading onto the most happening street (Vilniaus) the location is perfect.
Very friendly and we paid 40€ a night when we booked.
The Mission Inn is an unique hotel, Spanish style, first built in 1903 but includes a brand new spa. Presidents and movie stars have stayed in this historic place and every Christmas it is lit by three million lights. A must-visit 50 miles east of LA tours, are given to explore its many public rooms.
The grounds are beautiful and there are restaurants offering budget to expensive dining.
This beautiful urban 'casa' is situated right in the heart of Santa Clara - serious Che country - which is right in the heart of Cuba. Carlos and his family will look after you superbly and he enjoys speaking English. A little over 20 CuCs will buy you a fabulous room and great facilities and food. You're within easy, cheap and fast coach travel to both north and south coast beaches.
Lovingly restored small hotel with a charming feel. Remote enough to relax in luxury and close enough to the coast for some action.
Beautiful part of Spain
The Rosa Alpina is a gorgeous hotel in the Italian Dolomites ideally located to ski the surrounding mountains. Fitscape is a specialist holiday company that offers ski fitness training - you spend a lot of time on the slopes but also get a healthy breakfast, yoga classes and stretching exercises as well as plenty of time to unwind in the hotel's sauna, pool and steam room.
The staff were very helpful and excellent. Illeana could afford to smile a bit more, though. Roni was an excellent and hardworking guide. Lilliani was a very intelligent young girl with a lot of charm and enthusiasm. The meals prepared by her mother were good. The grilled fish prepared by Roni in the jungle was excellent. Saw some wildlife - macacas do cheiro, the big one maybe a spider monkey and a porco do espinha (as well as a Vagalumi and a few birds). The sounds of the jungle were amazing.
The water pump is way too noisy, by the way.
Av. Getulio Vargas, No. 694, Centro, close to Opera House
Manaus, Amazonas, CEP 69020-010
Fab self catering flat in a vaulted ground floor flat, middle of town, next to the river, access to garden which looks up at the castle tower. Full of character and art work. Lovely owner.
After miles of moon rock-like nothing, the Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch edge into view like one of those mirages out of an old Abbott and Costello movie. We’re in Death Valley National Park mid-Summer, about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and it is a blistering 50c. We stay of course, on the Ranch, looking forward to playing cowboys - at least for just a day.
Checked in, we unload the car quickly, running breathlessly between it and our room, from air-conditioning to air-conditioning. The heat is the cause of our breathlessness this time, not our fitness. It is suffocating.
We brave the heat to join others watching the sun set at Zabriskie Point, which it does beautifully, casting moody shadows on the hardened dunes. It’s the “thing to do” - possibly the only thing one can do in that heat other than swim or hit the golf course, which we are told, at around 215 feet below sea level, is the lowest in the world - before an all-American dinner of hamburger and fries in the diner served by an aging waitress with a southern drawl. Then it’s off to the saloon for a beer served in a chilled to the point of frosty glass by a bearded “dude”. It could have been a scene out of the Last Picture Show. This place is just made for the movies.
There is no let up from the suffocating heat at night. So despite the clearest, blackest and starriest night we have ever seen, we can bear only minimal time admiring it in the absolute silence. We soon want – no, need – the comfort of the cold in our air-conditioned room.
The next day we start out hiking along the dried up riverbeds at Zabriskie Point but end up dehydrated and exceedingly tetchy after only 15 minutes, so cut it short and head to the visitor centre instead, mainly to cool down. The drive out of Death Valley later is superb. Endless flat beige surrounds us under similarly endless blue sky. The road is long and straight and hot with illusory shimmering water on its surface. We stop to see slithering snake marks on the sand dunes and to regularly douse our car’s engine with the water provided along the way to prevent the otherwise inevitable overheating. The resultant plumes of steam fascinate us every time.
It’s a complete other world that we feel privileged to have experienced. And unlike some of the other similarly unwise tourists to have tried a hike in the lowest, hottest and driest place in North America, we feel privileged to have survived.
It's a modern lodge, beautifully decorated, on the edge of the Namib Desert. Perfect for trips into the spectacular dunes. Friendly staff, great food and a very relaxing atmosphere.
Units are built with adobe bricks typical of Arabian villages and tents similar to those of the Bedouin.
A road trip through California’s Death Valley is really just like it is in the movies: driving miles upon miles through atmospheric and desolate landscape, only passing the odd Harley Davidson, and sign to helpfully tell you ‘no gas for next 100 miles’. The Eureka Valley sand dunes in the northwest of the park are spectacular and the hike up to the summit is well worth the effort for the amazing views! Stay at the nearby Stovepipe Wells Village and enjoy a cold beer on the porch while gazing over the dunes and desert as the setting sun turns everything red -magic.
Zagora was the perfect stepping off point into the desert, having rented a car in Marrakech and loaded with a map it took us a full day to arrive at Zagora which while we hadn't planned to actually go to, it just seemed to be the accumulation of following where the road took us.
We decided to stay at the la Perle du Draa hotel, it was basic but had a pool which in the middle of august was a massive plus to say the least.
It was hot and we struggled to sleep, with the wind coming in off the Sahara burning your nostrils and the back of your throat.
That said, without any form of preplanning, it was the adventure I had wanted so without complaining we got through the night, although my friend got up during the night and slept by the pool while I had to have more than one cold shower during the night!
This said it was the best holiday I have ever had, pure fun and excitement from the very first moment, cheap as chips, no fixed planning or being dragged around from pillar to post by organised tours.
With days spent in the oasis in Ouarzazate, with trips out to the dunes we couldn't have wanted for much more.
Rising early on the first morning to drive out to see the sunrise over the dunes was one of the most enlightening experiences I have ever had.
The hotel was basic, but the experience made it all the while worth doing.
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