The St. Bride's Hotel is a surprising treat in West Wales. Overlooking the village of Saundersfoot and its beautiful sandy beach, the views are stunning - sitting on the balcony with a good bottle (on a bizarrely balmy day in April) is one of my favourite travel memories. We had an incredibly beautiful suite - I travel a lot with business and I love it when I stay in a hotel that isn't done by numbers but still has that feeling of quality. The food was local and excellent and the spa takes full advantage of the breathtaking views - seriously, if you can't relax here, you may as well stop looking and live out your days in a stress filled strop. Love this place, and what's more you can explore the magnificent West Wales coastline from here with ease - in fact after a tasty, generous breakfast, we headed down the beach towards Amroth and walked for about five hours. Wonderful, relaxed and it has a great little cascading pool with a view - can't wait to go back.
I collect hotel stays like spinsters collect cat figurines and Kasbah du Toubkal is the best place I've ever stayed.
At 250E per night for the deluxe suite, it's not cheap, but worth every penny.
- Your every need is anticipated (except alcohol, but they notify you in advance, and it's fine to bring your own)
- Scrumptious food
- Insane 360 degree views of the Atlas Mountains
- Walking trails of all lengths and levels of difficulty
- Genuine hospitality
- Multiple opportunities to mingle with fellow travellers
- Small pleasures (bright flowers, kittens, freshly-baked bread)
It's only a one-hour drive from Marrakesh.
It's not five-star luxury, but it's five-star charm.
+ 33 (0)5 49 05 01 35
We spent six nights in this hostel in April 2010 and enjoyed every moment of our stay. After staying in numerous different places this year on our world trip, this hostel stands out as one of the best. I suspect our experience was also made better by the fact that we had a room at the back of the hostel and not overlooking the interior courtyards which could get a bit busy. Anyway, our room was large, clean and very comfortable, with a partial view of the sea (which is a couple of kms away) and ensuite bathroom. The breakfasts were generous and they also provided an option to purchase extras such as freshly squeezed juice, at good prices. The hostel is near a large shopping centre (including cinemas) and the centre of town. There were no cooking facilities though that didn't stop us purchasing fresh food daily and enjoying it in the courtyard at the hostel. The staff were all really helpful and friendly and we would happily recommend this place to anyone.
We had the misfortune to spend one night at this hostel in Belo Horizonte. If you have ever tried to find budget accommodation in this city you might understand how we ended up here as there is nothing available in the budget price range. I won't go in to the long list of reasons why you shouldn't stay here other than to say that in 8 months of travelling and staying in over 105 places to date, this is the only accommodation we regret! Our needs are fairly undemanding; that our accommodation be clean and safe (and hopefully cheap and central as well, but you can't have everything). O Sorriso Logarto's only saving grace was that it was near the most fabulous sushi bar I have come across EVER and that it had a balcony meaning we could avoid spending time indoors...
We had a fantastic romantic break for three nights in Moy House in August 2009. The house has been beautifully restored and our room was large with lovely antique furniture and a wonderful view over the sea. We were lucky to have calm, sunny weather interspersed with some great Atlantic storms which we enjoyed from the warmth and cosiness of our room. We had dinner in the restaurant one night which was excellent and the breakfasts were also very good and hearty. Brid and the other staff made us feel very welcome and we do hope we get the chance to go back some day. Moy House is on the outskirts of a small village called Lahinch which has basic shops and a couple of good restaurants. It is a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher and other interesting spots along the west coast.
We spent six nights in this hotel in 2008. It is in a great location in Sultanahmet near the Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque (which you have a great view of from the rooftop breakfast room) and Aya Sofia, as well as being a few steps from the tram that takes you across town. Our room was spacious and clean and we could hear the call to prayer, though luckily not enough for it disrupt our sleep! In any case, being able to hear the call to prayer adds to the experience of being in such a fascinating city. We loved our visit to Istanbul and would like to go again. If we do we plan to stay at Hotel Nena again.
My friend and I booked the Suite Royale (after hours of comparing riads) for $175 night (May/June) and it was amazing. Insanely so. Huge - five or so rooms including a bathroom with a lounge and fireplace, a grand piano room, a relaxation room, a balcony overlooking the pool, 15 foot ceilings and collection-worthy furniture.
Plus, the riad is in a great location, the staff were friendly and helpful, and the decor was stunning.
Restaurant and bar suggestions:
- Al Fassia for dinner. Absolutely go. But the secret is out, so book your reservations in advance via the internet. We received an excellent wine recommendation (and drank it the rest of the trip). The food was the best we had all week. Lastly: great atmosphere and people-watching. The human scenery was half the fun.
- Le Foundouk for dinner. The inside is very nice, but it's nothing compared to the rooftop deck, which would be worth a trip even if the food wasn't so good. Getting there is a little scary but that's part of the fun.
- La Mamounia for a drink. You will have to give-up your firstborn to pay for it, but lounging outside is such a nice break from the Marrakesh chaos that it's worth it.
- Maison Arabe for a drink at Le Club. It has that Rick's North African vibe. Piano player, upscale clientele, mixologist who takes his drinks seriously. A good way to start the evening.
Morocco trip report (Marrakesh, Essaouira, Atlas Mountains) at: www.travelmusings.net/morocco/
29 Arset Aouzal, Bab Doukkala, 40000 Marrakech, Maroc
00 212 524 38 54 51
Google map: tinyurl.com/3xvu4nr
55 Souk Hal Fassi, Kat Bennahid, 00212 (0)524378190
MH 9bis route de l'Ourika, 40000 Marrakech
TEL: +212 524 38 38 39
Avenue Bab Jdid, 40040, Marrakech
1, Derb Assehbé, Bab Doukkala
(+212) 5 24 38 70 10
This is a beautiful place, not too big, and it is rather up market for a backpackers. If you are like me and don't want to spend an evening with a bunch of 20-somethings, this is the place to go. The outside covered deck is great, there are lots of comfortable spaces to spend a few hours with a book, glass of wine or just enjoying some company. The top feature has to be the very cute dog and the manager was helpful about what there was to do in the region, and there is a lot more than just the crossing.
Valle Fértil is a really charming small town north of San Juan in northern Argentina. It was our base for visiting the nearby parks of Ischigualasto and Talampaya, both of which are impressive. The town is compact with some good restaurants and shops. The town square was very much where the action took place with locals promenading around it in the warm evenings while children played until late in the night. The town generally has a very safe and inviting atmosphere and we much preferred it to the larger and soulless San Juan. Our stay however was really made by the accommodation we chose at the Hotel Rustico Cerro de Valle. The owners Mario and Marisa could not have made us feel more welcome. The hotel is very comfortable and clean and they have a spotlessly clean pool, which we much appreciated in the hot weather! For those who like to stay in touch electronically, it is worth noting that there are two or three internet cafes in the town however the connection is pretty slow. The bus service from San Juan was very good. It took around two hours with a toilet/snack stop midway. Connections onwards leave at fairly inhospitable hours so we went back to San Juan in order to continue our trip north.
We thought that the hostel itself was pretty good. We had a private room with ensuite bathroom and both were clean and spacious. The noise however was something else. The room we had overlooked the main drag, which seems to be the centre of the town's entertainment each evening as cars cruise the street with music blaring and engines revving. Sounds a bit tame when I write it here but really, words cannot describe it. On top of this, noise from the reception area of the hostel and the music from the shop below the room was overwhelming. Having said all of that, if you have no problems at all with noise then this is the place for you. It's cheap, central, good atmosphere and rooms, along with a communal kitchen/eating area. The staff were really helpful and the price was great.
I had a perfect, hassle free experience in booking and staying at Future Inns and the restaurant wasn't too bad either. Going by the rather unusual name of Fishbones, they do indeed have more than a few decent fish dishes. I went for the breaded sardines as this seemed to be a 'proper' fish dish and I wasn't disappointed. Almost as good as some of the fish mezes I have enjoyed in Cyprus.
This is the best B&B ever! It's very welcoming, spotlessly clean, full of fresh flowers. Fun part is the 'Dr Finlay's Casebook' memorabilia (TV series was filmed here). It's the little touches that make it so hospitable, like cups and saucers in your room instead of the ubiquitous mug, and at breakfast, marmalade and jam in pots, butter in small ramekins instead of the finickity mass produced packets. You can order a paper for the mornings.
I've stayed twice now and have come away completely refreshed and rested each time.
Independent four-star hotel about 10 minutes walk to the north of the city centre. It is part of a renovated former military hospital, but you would never realise that from the place today. Our room looked out over water. The decoration was contemporary Finnish, the rooms are spacious and the whole place had a vigorously healthy feel about it. Excellent buffet breakfast.
Kasarmintie 13, PO Box 404, 90101 Oulu
tel: +358 (0)20 757 4700
Google map: tinyurl.com/32gpkos
This has to be one of the best riads in Marrakech. Oliver and his staff are very welcoming and friendly. The accommodation is first class with all rooms air conditioned. The food is Moroccan home cooking at its best. Dar Najat is just five minutes walk from the centre of the bustling city and is a quiet and calm place to return to after a busy day of sightseeing.
From start to finish a wonderful experience. We were picked up at the airport and arrived at the riyad to a very warm welcome that included mint tea and pastries. We were treated as if the riyad were our home. It was not a hotel experience-I'd say more like the ultimate B&B. We were in the heart of the medina and within walking distance of most of the major attractions. Our hosts made sure we were comfortable getting around, made taxi and restaurant reservations for us and treated us like royalty. The riyad is stunning and felt very old world, but with all of the modern conveniences one would need, down to Wifi. I hope to go back. Don't miss out on the hammam while there. The food was plentiful, delicious and beautiful.
A lovely quiet guest house intriguingly hidden away down a tunnel ("can this be the right way?!") within the maze of narrow streets in the northern Medina of Marrakech. A great base for exploring the Medina and the souks and a tranquil refuge from the frenetic pace when you need it. Simple rooms with lots of character. Excellent breakfasts served in the pretty courtyard by the swimming pool. Hammam and various invigorating health treatments also available.
N°8 Derb Myara, Sidi Ben Slimane, 40 000 Marrakech - Morocco
+ 212 524 426 463
A beautiful laid back, romantic, beach hotel, where you really do feel like a castaway.
The airy cottages are extremely comfortable and spacious, with good bathroom, huge bed and covered terrace with hammocks and seating. They are well spaced out so all you can hear is the ocean.
The food is excellent, with the emphasis on fish for lunch and dinner.
You can spend all day chilling on the beach but there are other activities, such as the walk around the lagoon through the forest, kayaking round the lagoon and boogie boarding. There are no motorised beach activities, which is a bonus.
The lodge is involved in a turtle conservation project so sometimes you can see the baby turtles hatching, unfortunately that didn't happen while we were there but it must be fantastic.
There were quite a few honeymooners there while we were and I can see why.
This is a community owned safari lodge in a "big five" reserve, which was created from former farmland and opened in 1991. The game were transferred from other locations around southern Africa.
It is staffed and managed by the community and they benefit directly from the profits. You can go on a visit to the village.
The staff are very friendly and attentive and the accommodation is beautiful, spacious and comfortable. It's an absolute treat.
The lodge is in an elevated position and the views over the reserve are stunning.
The game drives were excellent during our stay (July 2010), we saw a vast amount and variety of game in three days.
I would recommend this to anyone who wants the safari experience with a clear conscience!
This is a hostel located in the best place of Miraflores (Lima) I stayed there for four days. The place is clean, quiet and comfortable. The staff are professional and polite. The best part: the price!
mygreatstay.com is an organisation which finds, assesses and monitors homestay accommodation in nine key Indian states and allows you to book with a UK credit card. At a homestay, you have a private room with attached bathroom and often breakfast and dinner. They are in fabulous locations throughout the country, including areas which have few hotels, and offer visitors a unique insight into the culture of the country. Your hosts are not intrusive but always available for advice and guidance. The last one I stayed in was with the delightful Mayekar family at Chivla Beach, close to the town of Malven in South Maharashtra, just north of Goa and nine hours by train south of Mumbai. I had a clean and comfortable double room for £12 a night, under the coconut palms with the Arabian Sea lapping only a few metres from the door. With a motor scooter rented for less than £4 a day to explore the pristine beaches and river valleys that are almost devoid of human beings, and two meals a day lovingly prepared by the ladies of the house for less than the cost of a capuccino at a coffee bar in England, I had an experience that no travel agent could ever devise, even for thrice the price.
tel: (91) 970217 5257
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