Bill Bryson called it ‘an outpost of comfort and graciousness', and it's a fantastic place to escape to: flawless setting (on a bay overlooking the Isle of Skye), fine food (local scallops and the like eaten in the bar sitting on old fish crates), romantic rooms (the master bedroom looks out over the Sound of Sleat to Skye) and a cracking atmosphere (the ebullient landlord sets the tone). Rooms from £89 B&B.
Glenelg, Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire, The Highlands.
A former Co-op building that was converted into a state-of-the-art minimalist hotel in 1995. Lots of light, curves and uncluttered space with white bedrooms and blocks of vivid coloured lighting. Good restaurant and bar. Some rooms have views of the castle. Prices can be as low as £85-95 for a double, depending on availability.
34 Bread Street, Edinburgh 0131-221 5555
A listed Georgian town house in this remarkable river town in SW Scotland. The place is immaculate and you are minutes from the magical River Dee and its miniscule working port. The owners do a great haggis breakfast and the drawing room looks out one way to the estuary and the other to the Georgian high street.
48 High Street
01557 331 734
Really snug hotel on the village square in Grantown-on-Spey, about 20 miles from Inverness. It makes a perfect base for exploring the Cairngorms and Monarch of the Glen country. All the rooms have recently been refurbished in a modern boutique style - beige walls and purple throws - but without the boutique prices. From £38pp B&B.
Castle Road, Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire. 01479 872836
Depending on the time of year, prices at the Holiday Inn Express can be as low as £70 a night.
All rooms come with a double bed and fold down sofa, so four of you can cram in (this may involve two of you not technically checking in).
Obviously not a good option for families and people seeking a bit of luxury, but great if you’re looking to spend a cheap weekend on the town in London. The Express on Old Street is particularly well-located near the bars and clubs of Shoreditch.
275 Old Street, EC1V 9LN; tel: 0870 400 9093; nearest Tube: Old Street
A B&B just to the south of Oxford city centre (a 10-15 minute walk). It’s clean, comfortable and decent value - all too rare in this city. It's not particular beautiful but it's close to the river, colleges, shops etc and does the job at a good price (singles from £40, doubles from £54).
118 Abingdon Road, Oxford, OX1 4PZ; tel: 01865 244725
Budget hotel located opposite the Albert Dock and five minutes' walk to the city centre - cheap and cheerful. You can have a single, double or triple room for £29.
25 Wapping, Baltic Triangle. Opposite the entrance to the Albert Dock
It is only a £1 or 50p for concessions to get in, and it is a museum but is set in an uncluttered way in that you can explore the various rooms of the keep yourself. The view from the top is more extensive that the one from the Baltic viewing platform, as you can see up the Derwent valley and out past Byker.
Near Newcastle Central Station, also next to The Bridge Hotel
We recently stayed at Westwood House in Ilfracombe, North Devon. We found it by accident as it hasn't been open very long, but we were glad we did. Although it's classed a B&B, it's more like a small boutique hotel. The £75 room we stayed in was beautifully decorated and the bed was very comfortable. The room came equipped with a widescreen TV and DVD player so we were able to enjoy a film after our night out at Damien Hirst's restaurant. After a great nights sleep we were treated to an organic breakfast which was delicious and set us up for the day of walking ahead. We've stayed in lots of good B&Bs and hotels over the years but credit where it's due, this is probably the best to date.
Stunning views over the north coast of Ireland and the sun setting on the nearby Scottish isles - and that's only what you see when you are sitting beside the open fire in the common room!
Nearby attractions are the Giant's Causeway, an 8 mile walk along the coastal path that passes the hostel, and Carrick a rede rope bridge, four miles into the other direction. A five minutes' walk gets you down into Whitepark Bay, a beautiful stretch of white sand, perfect to quickly tire out children after dinner.
The hostel is small and clean and always booked out at the weekends. The self-catering kitchen allows you to avoid sampling the local cuisine, which might be a good thing if you are a foreigner or suffer from heart problems.
Whitepark Bay Youth Hostel,
157 Whitepark Road,
t: +44 (0) 28 9032 4733
A smart portside restaurant serving amazing value for money "menu del dia". There’s soup, a choice of starter and main, wine and water, dessert, coffee, digestive liqueur and sweets. All for the quite incredible price of 8.5 euros (and it tastes great as well).
This YHA is set in a grand old mansion. When I was there, the elegance of the common dining and lounge areas was enhanced by the presence of rather bookish types ranging in age from their mid-20s to 50s, rather than the unsettlingly young and just-discovered-alcohol kind of guests that hostels can attract.
Set on one of Bath's most presigious streets, on a hill leading up to the university, it has lush green grounds and is far enough from the city to feel secluded. But it's just a short walk down to the town centre. Don't walk along the road; ask the staff about the shortcut that follows the edge of nearby pastures - with views across the city - and crosses lochs before reaching the town centre.
Staff are friendly, food is good value, and the rooms are cosy and - given that your roommates are obliging - comfortably quiet.
Bathwick Hill, take the number 18 bus from the bus station, or it's a 15-minute walk from the centre of town.
www.yha.org.uk/hostel/hostelpages/85.html; 0870 770 5688
You couldn't get much more central in London than this hostel off Piccadilly Circus, meaning you can cut down on transport costs. Some rooms have been refurbished recently with new pod-style dorms, individually painted by selected artists. The style is eclectic but fun. Pod bed prices start at £12.
12 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7BR,
www.piccadillybackpackers.com, 0207 434 9009. Nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus
A Quaker hostel just off Plaza de la Revolucion. Originally the home of muralist Jose Clemente Orozco, it was donated to the mission after his death.
Rooms are dormitory style although there are a couple of private double rooms with their own bathrooms. You can cook your own food in one of the two kitchens or have breakfast for 15 pesos. Lots of interesting people work at or stay at the hostel and it is a great place to base yourself while in Mex City. We stayed in one of the doubles for about £7 a night.
Ignacio Mariscal 132,Col. nearest Metro Plaza de la Revolucion
Located on Insurgentes Sur in the Condesa neighborhood, this hotel is conveniently near the fun in the Zona Rosa.
I shared a double room. It was clean, quiet, and had a large bathroom with a giant shower, TV, breakfast and coffee. This hotel is comparable to any moderately priced business hotel in the US. At the equivalent of $40 US per night it's a bargain. The staff were professional and attentive.
Insurgentes Sur 287, Col Hipodromo, Condesa, CP 06100
Access to Metrobus. Located south of the Glorieta Insurgentes.
I've lived here for four years as a foreigner and never even seen a robbery or any kind of unpleasantness on the metro. For 2 pesos (not 10) i.e. about 12 pence to get anywhere, often faster than by road, it's unbeatable: safe and clean, (even if a bit old and ropey). Also one of the best places to watch and learn about life here.
A bright and lively family run restaurant situated at the beach end of Hampton St, Pelagos offers traditional greek food and a great atmosphere (with lively greek music playing in the background). Great for families and others wanting a proper greek feed, Pelagos is a must visit. Note: take-away is also available!
265 Hampton St (beach end)
Hampton, VIC 3188
Tel: (03) 9598-3332
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