A lovely kitsch and cute classic films themed hotel with an in-house cat and lovely staff. Each room is named after a filmstar (we were in the Kim Novak suite) filled with film posters that they had starred in and even larger pictures in the lobby, halls and breakfast room. Feels like a home from home in the middle of the Big Apple - you're right on the corner of Chelsea, the meatpacking district and the west village. They post you a newsletter under the door every morning with suggestions of things to do and sights to see and they will book you tickets to anywhere you want to go. We went on honeymoon and they sent flowers to our room. Very very charming, free internet and business centre with compuetrs and printing, lovely breakfast and staff who would do anything to ensure you are happy in this lovely hotel.
Without a doubt a destination hotel, the Madonna Inn embodies the glorious wackiness of California like no other, but does so with immense style and heart. Even if you're just passing through, take the time to pull off route 101 to gaze in awe at the ornate (and very pink) dining room (be sure to marvel at the pink sugar) and be impressed by the waterfall in the gents' toilets upstairs (ladies - knock and peep!). If you do stay you just have to decide which of the 110 individually and imaginately themed rooms you want - Yosemite Rock, Captain's Bridge, Paris Violets, Caveman. One night will not be enough!
For a potent San Francisco experience, the Phoenix delivers on all levels. Its motorlodge 1950s motel style, complete with kitsch central pool and vintage furnishings, make you feel like you're in a really good Quentin Tarantino film. Team this with its grungy Tenderloin location and the fact that tour buses regularly pull up on the drive to deliver touring rockstars as guests, and you've got yourself one hell of an American Dream.
Super-friendly bed and breakfast place and very reasonably-priced.
Coffee and some sort of cake seem to be permanently available. The breakfasts are as huge and filling as you want them to be.
The centre of Bend, with it's pubs and restaurants, is just 10 minutes walk away, so it's perfectly located for the town as well as the surrounding Cascade mountains.
You will have to share a bathroom though, so if you're not happy about that, look elsewhere, but everything's spotlessly clean.
When at Breakers Inn you can be in Japan, Sweden or Canada Or if you are feeling a little homesick – England, Scotland or Ireland. Or if you want to experience more of the USA than you have time for – Oregon, Pennsylvania or Virginia. These are just a sample of the 28 individually decorated rooms available.
We stayed in Holland. It was bright, fresh and clean with all that you would want in a motel room with just one or two extras: bright ornamental wooden tulips, pictures of windmills surrounded by tulip fields and mini china clogs hanging from the wardrobe handles!
With amazing uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean and the Gualala River, Breakers Inn is a brilliant motel to spend a night or two when exploring Northern California.
Truly scary palace of kitsch - bright pink sparkly lobby, themed rooms and a waterfall in the men's toilets. Definitely worth a stop for a drink even if you can't face staying here!
The Pink House is a hotel and restaurant in Puri, far down the main strip right by the fishing village. We didn't stay there (the rooms on the beach look lovely but we were in need of air-con) but had one of the best meals ever on the tables in the sand. The fish is freshly caught and brought the ten meters up the beach, but the highlight was the chilli crab. I don't think we spoke for 15 minutes as we attacked it, watching the sun set over the sea. Absolutely amazing.
My girlfriend and I stayed at Riad Dar Eliane for four nights and were made to feel very welcome from the minute we entered the hotel. It is decorated in a Moroccan chic style with a good sized roof terrace that's great for sun bathing and relaxing. It is located about 10 minutes from the main square, Jemma el fna, 10 minutes from La Foundouk a spectacular restaurant and about 10 minutes from Cafe Arabe a more relaxed restaurant.
Each morning we had a traditional Moroccan breakfast in the open riad courtyard. We opted for an evening meal on our final night and were given a traditional and tasty three course meal for around 25 Euros each.
The riad also organized for my girlfriend to have a traditional hammam treatment and massage at the Didi spa near the square. Marrakech is quite a hectic place, which made us realize how fortunate we were to have such a relaxing riad to come back to. Bouchra and her team really did their best to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable and we had a great time.
No39, Derb Maada, Azbezt, Medina
This is a hotel and restaurant. I did not stay there but the interior looks quite basic but homely. I want to recommend it for a drink - lovely sunny terrace with amazing views and really close to Flegere cable car so a perfect place to unwind after a long hike!
100 Route des Tines - 74400 Chamonix Mont Blanc
+ 33 (0)4 50 53 06 39
Great hotel, comfy rooms, delicious food in the restaurant. Good place to stay if you're not on too tight a budget.
This is a lovely place. It’s down a side passage off a bustling thoroughfare in the northern medina, lined with shops and full of shoppers, tradesmen and people on motorized scooters.
Our room was excellent and we found all staff at the riad to be very friendly and helpful. Bouchra the manageress met us when we arrived and gave us information about how to get to the Jemma El Fna square.
The food was really good and very plentiful and we'd happily recommend eating here one night on your stay.
The riad offers to get a taxi to pick you up at the airport for a 10 euro fee. This is a reasonable deal and the driver takes you to the nearest point that cars can reach, from there the riad is about a five minute walk.
We walked through the more modern part of Marrakech, Gueliz where many of the western style hotels and you really could be anywhere in Europe in this quarter.
Gade, who runs the place, is so welcoming. The rooms are large and right in the heart of the old city, on Rachamakka Road. You really feel as if you become part of Gade's family. Service a bit slow for the cafe, but if you're not in a hurry, it's worth stopping to try her homemade smoothies, and don't forget to ask why she calls her place "Elliebum".
The home of Anna and Jack Peckitt, this 16th-century farmhouse, with its romantic four-poster en suite bedrooms is ideally situated for touring North Yorkshire. Also it is home to the Cuckavalda Gundogs,so if you wish to take a dog with you for company on your walk, you are welcome to choose one here. Don't worry, you won't have any muddy paws to cope with as they are very well behaved and do not go indoors.
This delightful bed and breakfast is in Cambridge, very close to Harvard University. 150 years ago it was a country house. Today there are 20 rooms, each decorated in traditional New England style. Breakfasts are plentiful with the pancakes being a particular favourite. There is a well kept garden/terrace in which one can have breakfast under the shade of a Linden tree on warm mornings. The Inn is close to Harvard, MIT, Harvard Square, good restaurants, shops and local bus/subway routes.
We didn’t have enough time to do everything that the Brecks in mid Norfolk had to offer for a mid week break in August. Using Strattons Hotel in Swaffham (featured in the ITV hit series “Kingdom”, staring Stephen Fry) as our base was perfect, just a short drive to the coast, forestry, cities Norwich and Cambridge, historic buildings Oxborough Hall and Saint Marys Chapel, the Queens estate Sandringham and more as I will divulge. For our 5 day break we tried to do something active each day, having cycles delivered to the hotel from Bike art at High Lodge, we picked up Peddars way just 1 mile east from Swaffham. The Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path starts in Suffolk at Knettishall Heath Country Park and follows the route of a Roman road to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast, which we would highly recommend. For day 2 we decided to take it a little easier and so visited Historic Hall Oxborough before returning to hotel for a walk via the beloved Waitrose to Castle acre. The magic of the Norfolk country side is that you can see for miles with its flat landscape not obscuring your view and as Stephen Fry has been quoted when describing his favour place in the world Norfolk has the biggest sky’s. Castle acre is a great place to lose an afternoon, with its Priory, church, castle, local pub and tea rooms, it was a real hit with us! After such a relaxing day we once again decided to turn up the volume by visiting Go-Ape high wire adventure at High Lodge Thetford forest. Now this isn’t for the faint hearted, a high level tree course set out across Thetford forest taking around 3 hours with a few breaks to catch your breath from the 3 G swing. A must do for the dare devils amongst us. Another day in the City, just 30 minutes east from Strattons we found the charming Norfolk city of Norwich. Mixing culture with shopping we roamed the Cathedrals grounds which I would die to own one of the ancient dwellings, and the surround area of Tombland. As a shopping adventure Norwich comes top, antique and art galleries, a market and the usual high street facades, a full day’s trading.
In summary, would we go again? We have already booked! Using Strattons as a base couldn’t have been more ideal and although we didn’t make it to the much written about North Norfolk coast it is just 30 minutes in the car or a few hours by cycle and will defiantly be on the agenda next time along with the Queens estate Sandringham.
Festival de la Sidra Natural de Gijón (Festival of Natural Cider – Gijón, Asturias, northern Spain)
Some might call Asturias the cider capital of the world. Certainly more cider is drunk per capita in that region of Spain than in any other similar-sized location in the world. It is drunk young and fresh, and all drinkers, from the old blue-overalled farmers in the mountains to young tattooed crowds in the city squares, follow the same ritual of pouring a quarter-glass of cider from a raised arm. This, as they say, ‘opens’ the drink, making it fizz and sparkle with rich appleness and as you drink down your ‘culín’.
To celebrate this art, the city of Gijón celebrates every August since 1991, on the beach of its wide sandy bay, the quirkily-named Guinness Record for Simultaneous Cider Pouring. This year, 7293 people poured over 70,000 litres of cider in unison. Anyone can participate and the cider is free. This is accompanied by the bustling Market of Cider and the Apple, with abundant free tastings of cider and food.
In a country of tomato fights, giant paellas and bull-running, one can only expect the same exuberance and love of plenty from this small and under-explored mountainous, Celtic and cider-fuelled region of the north.
And where else could you possibly have over 7000 cider pourers?
Gijón is short bus-ride from Asturias airport, with flights from Stansted, and is bristling with hotels and pensiones, and in the surrounding hills and mountains it is easy to rent casas rurales.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2f9sctf
Broome is a guesthouse and working cider farm near Ross on Wye in Herefordshire. We rolled up for some cider tasting and stayed all afternoon. After being greeted by a small herd of friendly alpacas, our canadian cider-enthusiast host was more than welcoming and keen for us to try as many of the tens of ciders on offer as we wanted. We did just that and took a guided walk around the orchards while the effects wore off. We left with dizzy heads and a selection of bottles, as well as sausages made from pigs on the farm. The farm is a little gem - it was a relaxing, interesting, fun experience and I would advise anyone with even a passing interest in cider to give it a go.
Peterstow, near Ross on Wye.
Peterstow is situated off the A49 close to Ross-on-Wye. If coming from the roundabout on the A49 at Ross take the second turning on the right. Broome Farmhouse is signposted bearing left at the small green you first come to and is located a few hundred yards along the road, past the orchards to the right and round the bend.
Google map: tinyurl.com/38gp3pu
I recently saw an unbelievable offer for a Sunday night break in Northamptonshire and thought I would treat my husband to a night away. I was trying to re-invent the Sunday evening in our household as being fun rather than suffering going back to work blues! The offer was just £60 bed and breakfast per room and included a three course dinner on the Sunday evening for two! The house and surroundings are beautiful; you can see why it’s so popular for weddings - there is a wonderful view of the fantastic countryside from the hotel. The rooms were charmingly traditional, with beamed ceilings and lead lined windows. Definitely a place to go for a romantic weekend or Sunday night away!
This is a perfectly accepable and comfortable hotel just a few minutes walk from São Bento station and with many local bars, pastry shops and restaurants. To get to Ribeira just walk down Rua do Augusto Rosa and take the funicular car (its not marked but is down the steps where the tram ends)
Praça da Batalha
Tel : (+351)22/2043300
Google map: tinyurl.com/39byyot
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