Now Benidorm is not considered a resort where you would expect to find a high end luxury boutique style hostel/pension, but how pleasantly overwhelmed I was to find this little gem in the heart of the old town.
From first impression it looks like any other townhouse offering standard rooms until you climb the stairs to your room and see the vast amount of money which has been spent in the total refurbishment in 2008. I can only say: four-star hotel quality rooms at hostel rates. Air conditioning, huge wardrobes, flat screen TV, double glazing, top of the range power shower with radio!
That would be enough, but you also get a large room fridge, free Wifi and a complimentary continental breakfast of juices, coffee and cheese with local cold meats and fresh fruit.
And here is the other great bonus as a green supporter: the Grapevine is eco-friendly with unlimited hot water supplied from roof top solar panels reducing your carbon footprint!!
The lovely Spanish/British owners take care of you well and offer great value local food too to suit your time and budget. As for price - unbeatable I was given a double room for single use at just 30€ per night in April, amazing.
To sum up if you are on your travels up the Costa Blanca coast and find yourself in slightly tacky Benidom stop a night, head for the old town and search out the Grapevine. Expectations exceeded. Without a doubt, I would happily have paid three times the price.
Carrer Del Condestable Zaragoza 5
Casco Antiguo, Benidorm
Tel +34 965 857 375
I saw your piece on 'boutique' hostels and that you had recommended 41 Below. I've been in Bariloche for the last few weeks and can tell you that the best hostel in town is actually 1004.
It's on the top floor (10th) of the tallest building in town, which is, frankly, a bit of an eyesore from the outside. But the views from inside are something to behold, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Aside from that, it has a fantastic lounge area, balcony overlooking the lakes and mountains beyond, a really warm atmosphere and great staff. And a near-restaurant quality kitchen.
San Martín 127 (Pagano's corner) - Bariloche Center Building - 10th floor - Apartment 1004.
San Carlos de Bariloche (CP 8400) - Río Negro - Patagonia Argentina
Great budget accommodation in typically pricey French Polynesia.
Away from the bustle of the capital Papeete, these bungalow villas are on the West Coast of Tahiti, and most have scenic views of the lagoon, ocean, or garden.
Each has kitchens for making your own food, and modern bathrooms with hot showers. Depending on which bungalow you get, you could probably fit around 2-4 in each.
The lagoon location is beautiful, and there's plenty do - from taking out the free kayaks to swimming in the pool. There is also an 18 hole golf course and great surfing nearby.
If you can't afford the luxury hotels and expensive spa retreats, these bungalows are a bargain island paradise.
Located between Cook and Opunohu Bays, the Pension is an idyllic cluster of beach bungalows, surrounded by a tropical garden. Even cheaper are the dormitories with a view of the lagoon, but we opted for the beach view bungalows - much more romantic! The rooms are cool and comfortable and typically Polynesian.
The Motu Iti restaurant is fantastic value and is on a shady deck over the lagoon. You can tuck in to fresh grilled fish for lunch, an all-American breakfast and local specialities for dinner.
The themed evenings and Ma'a Tahiti (traditional feast) were a major highlight!
Named 'trou du souffleur' by the locals, this is a fun natural landmark to visit, and is easy to spot from the coastal road.
If the sea's rough, water rushes into a cavern and shoots up through a hole in the rocks, like a geyser!
Watch out if the sea is extra fiesty - you could get wet on the viewing platform!
PK 22, Coastal road, Tiarei, Tahiti
This is a great hostel – pretty new and just ten minutes on the Metro from the Eurostar at Gare du Nord. They’ve got private rooms, dorms, free WiFi, an internet café, a bar, a sauna and a soundproof nightclub in the basement too!
The guys on reception told me it’s on the same canal where they filmed Amélie and that the building’s a remake of the old nineteenth century warehouse - Magasins Généraux, which burnt down in 1990.
The location is right on the Bassin de la Villette - Paris’ biggest artificial pool of water which hooks up to the Seine via the Canal St-Martin. Because of this spot’s popularity the builders had to bring in the famous architects, Chaix et Morel - the same guys who were behind the restoration of the Petit Palace.
On foot you can reach the Buttes Chaumont Park in no time and also the Parc de la Villette, which includes the Science Museum.
The routes into the city are pretty easy too. Crimée Station on Metro Line 7 is only 200 meters away and takes you straight to the department stores around Opéra, the Louvre, Le Marais and the Latin Quarter.
The Laumière station on Metro Line 5 is about 400 meters away and will take you to the Bastille, the Oberkampf night spots and the Latin Quarter.
Also there’s the Jaurès Station on Metro Line 2, again only 400 meters away. This goes to the Arc de Triomphe, Pigalle, the Père Lachaise cemetery and Montmartre.
From the hostel itself you can organise bike tours, walking tours, a Paris induction, basic French language classes and day trips to places like Versailles, and Giverny.
St Christopher's Inn
159 rue de Crimée
Phone: 00 44 207 407 1856
Metro: Crimée, Laumière or Jaurès.
Boutique hostel right in the centre of Moscow. Walking distance from all the main sites. In a city with crazy hotel prices, this is a great little option. It's in a converted communal apartment (but with all mod cons) so you feel like you're staying in the 'real' Moscow rather than a soulless chain hotel. V friendly and helpful staff complete the homely experience.
Petrovka Street 17/2, Moscow, www.petrovkaloft.com
SunRock is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the serenity of Corfu, the gem of the Ionian Islands. It is a family run hostel, but having stayed there I would consider it to be a resort. As a solo traveller, I know hostels can be ideal to meet other travellers, however sometimes hostels appear cliquish. SunRock flourishes with the kindness and acceptance one would expect to receive from a loving family. Indeed, I felt like part of a family when I stayed at SunRock. Everyone that was staying there got to know each other and EVERYONE stayed longer than they expected because no one wanted to leave the peace they had found.
The family that owns the hostel/resort cooks breakfast to order as you wake up in the morning after a long night of talking with friends and watching the moonlight on the Adriatic sea as seen from the beautiful terrace. Most hostels offer a free* breakfast with their stay, but I've stayed at many (+20) hostels and most are just dry toast with butter or jelly and if you're very lucky, you get a 6 ounce cup of juice. SunRock provided me with fresh breakfast of Greek pancakes and French toast while I was there as part of my stay! YES! No extra charge! They also hosted family style feasts for dinner (also at no extra charge) where everyone staying there would sit down together at a long table. No one ever ate alone! The family makes its own feta cheese and homecooks every delicious meal. It was such an incredible experience. It germinated a seed of acceptance deep within my heart.
I heard about SunRock from a fellow Couchsurfer/traveller. It wasn't in my itinerary to visit Corfu, but based on the recommendation I had to go and I'm very glad I did - it was perhaps the best place I stayed in all of Greece!
Sunrock (Vrachos) Resort, Pelekas Beach,Sinarades,49084
SunRock is located on the waterfront of wide, sweeping, sandy, Pelekas Beach of Corfu Island. I took a ferry from Venice, Italy and was picked up at the ferry port by a staff member at SunRock. They are wonderful to provide free transportation to/from the hostel and ferry port or airport! If you give them your ferry booking or flight schedule, they will pick you up!
2661 094637 or 26610 94056 (text) or 6948407545 (phone)
Superb four star hotel just opened last month. It's located at the end of Princes Street which is a great city centre spot. Facilities include pool, gym, bar and restaurant, rooms are brand new with all modern gadgets, wi-fi throughout. The bar is a trendy hangout to see and be seen in. For some of the best shopping in Scotland turn right onto Princes Street when you exit.
Tel: 0871 288 1208
Nice clean guesthouse with original features and generally nice decor, and a secluded roof garden. Two metro stops from the centre, and very reasonably priced for what you get- I paid E120 for three nights in a single ensuite room.
Rua dos Anjos, close to Intendente metro station
Uig is a little gem, the countryside around it enchanting and Andi and Vicki are fab hosts. Their B&B oozes coziness, their breakfasts are able to raise one from the dead and if you stay for dinner you won't be disappointed either (pocket or tummy-wise).
They also arrange a lot of outdoor activities but, alas, the weather has to be on your side!
This is a great selection of rooms to rent in an apartment block in Napoli. They are located at various points around the city centre. The owner is a great guy who goes out of his way to make you feel welcome and to help you find where you want to go. He will recommend things if you ask him.
We stayed in the Paprika room for 60 Euros which included a very light breakfast.
This is a great place to stay if you're on a budget. It's located on a quiet street but is very central in the old town. The free breakfast isn't much but its free. The views from the rooms at the back are excellent (ask for number 53 if it's available as it has a small balcony where you can sit and enjoy the view).
For me, Route 66 conjures up open roads, wide skies and roadside diners. But now, on the outskirts of San Bernardino, it's one dollar stores, bail bond businesses and liquor stores. But in the midst of this rather run-down neighbourhood, is the Wigwam motel, an encampment of concrete teepees, built in 1949. There is something truly amazing about your first glimpse of the green field full of 30-foot teepees, encircling a swimming pool and barbeque area, rather than a campfire. Our double room was large enough to encompass a sofa and TV area, as well as a bed. Good job that there was plenty of space, as the bed was almost 2 ft high so, short as I am, I needed to make a running jump to get into it! Tucked under the sloping back of the teepee, the bathroom is small and basic, perhaps a reflection of the different expectations of earlier customers. This is a motel out of time and out of place. Before you leave, search out the 'Do It In a Teepee!' sign at the back of the site.
2728 W. Foothill Blvd.
Rialto, CA 92376-5333
Fab takeaway pizzas from this little shop on Calle Mondo Nuovo in Castello. I'm not a great fan of the food in Venice - pretty overpiced and not really very good - apart from a little fish restaurant I know ...
But Cip Ciap is great if you want a quick bite on the run. You can buy by the slice or a whole pizza. I totally recommend the calzone con prosciutto.
Calle Mondo Nuovo, just off Piazza Santa Maria Formosa
Cute little hostel, run by the nicest staff. Very conveniently located within walking distance from Santa Tereza’s hottest spots, while very near to downtown Rio. Excellent advice on local day tours, nightlife, and other things to do while in Rio. Just sorry the weather was too chilly to enjoy the terrace, pool and the patios!
Casa Mango Mango, Rua Joaquim Murtinho 587 - Santa Tereza, Rio de Janeiro
Named after singer/songwriter Gram Parsons, this quaint bed and breakfast in Tampa is as kitsch as they come.
A favourite with troubadours and travelling musicians looking for a kooky stop-off on the road, the hippy-trippy owner insists you call an hour before arrival so he can give you a proper welcome.
Housed in two cutesy cottages, each room has its own musical theme and a comment book so guests can add decorating tips. My favourite touches are the real musical instruments that line the walls, and cassette player and book to teach you about your room’s style of music.
You can take your pick from a full score of ‘genres’ from Country Music to the Blues Room, or upgrade to the ‘Adventure Room’, a stand alone cabin-cum-tree-house with a skylight for star-gazing.
Let the novelty continue with a night in the Train Room – a sleeper car that has been converted into a co-ed dorm, or rustle up some grub in the ‘I Love Lucy’ Kitchen.
More dive bar than the Hard Rock Hotel, there’s a BYOB ‘Parson’s Pub’ where cats laze around on the veranda and strains of folk and reggae fill the air.
Wannabe rock-stars can spend an evening in the playboy-grotto-esque Jacuzzi, surrounded by an overgrown garden of waterfalls, palm trees and vines.
Seriously recommended hostel in Durban – situated behind the owner’s house, it’s a small collection of private huts and a larger dorm room/common area in the midst of a tropical garden. It’s actually called ‘hippo hide’ because of the decor but you’ll be just as likely to spot a monkey on your doorstep come morning. Best thing, however, is the super friendly staff who make you feel like their guests rather than just travellers on the road.
This is a lovely little guest house, in a traditional mud brick house about half a kilometre from the centre of Skoura. At 80 dirhams a night (eight quid) for two of us, it was amazing value. We were offered mint tea on the roof, watched the sun set over the palmeraie. Our host recommended us some marvellous places to visit and helped us rent bikes to tour the oasis. The warmest welcome in Morocco.
Gite d'etape la Palmeraie, Skoura - 0662 15 30 49. If you're getting off the bus you may meet 'our man on the scooter' - who will direct you (and took my partner on the back of the bike).
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