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.
Fes Youth Hostel is in the Ville Nouvelle, on a leafy back street. Its green courtyard is quiet, occupied by a cuddly black and white cat and some cynical tortoises. Book a twin room here and chill out - we found that though it's half an hour's walk from the medina, the change of atmosphere and the chance to relax were well worth it. And at 135 dirhams a night for the two of us, this is real budget accommodation, and very much better than any hotel we could find for the price. You don't need to be a YHA member either.
18 Rue Abdessalam Sergini, Fes - the back street near the Ville Nouvelle MacDonald's.
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).
Just got back from a week of skiing in Chamonix where we had an amazing time. We stayed in an apartment in Chamonix Sud that we rented through Ventoria.com. It was quite small, but there was enough space for us and considering the discounted rent it was a great deal. The bus stop for the lifts was just across the road which saved us the long walk in ski boots. The small pizza place downstairs is also worth checking out if you dont fancy cooking.
The Bodegas Castaneda is the most perfect way to experience local life and beautiful tapas. My mum and I found this bar wandering around (in the rain!) on a Tuesday night in February and it was packed to the barrelled rafters! We tried the manzanilla and were given crusty rustic bread topped with a slice of Manchego cheese and some mouth-wateringly good local jamon. Mmm. Another great bar is just around the corner, Bodega la Antigualla, the bartender was really friendly and with two small beers we received a garlic topped toasted roll filled with jamon and cheese with fries. Not thinking we ordered another drink and got the same again! I'm looking forward to my next trip, just writing this is making me hungry.
Bodegas Castaneda is on Almireceros, head to Plaza Nueva and to the left of the square is Calle Elvira. To the right you'll find Bodega la Antigualla and opposite is Almireceros, walk down there and you'll find Bodegas Castaneda.
Spend Sunday mornings in Athens in the slightly seedy area of Plateia Avissynias, as the area comes alive with Athen's notorius Monastiraki Flea Market.
Part treasure-trove, part bizarre bazaar, you'll find trinkets and old junk you never knew you needed, as well as antique shops that are are here all week. Rub shoulders with the locals who get there early to scoop the best buys, and bring your haggling skills.
Cafes and bars bordering the market overspill onto the street at weekends, and add to the festive ambience as you sift through the stalls.
It makes for a colourful, slightly manic morning, and your rummaging may be rewarded with a treasure or two - I came away with some antique pink Turkish bottles, and bags of old ornate jewellery - I managed to resist the ancient gramophone that I was told still works!
Plateia Avissynias & Ermou
These super-stylish self-catering apartments are only five minutes away from the Acropolis, and are spacious enough for families on a budget, groups of friends, or couples who want a bargain alternative to backpacker hostels.
The open-plan studios are styled with funky furniture and modern art on the walls, and fully equipped with a kitchen, free internet, a flatscreen TV, bathrooms, and air conditioning - a welcome respite from the intense summer heat and city smog.
The bedroom and sitting room both have their own balconies, or you can head up to the rooftop bar for a breathtaking view of the Acropolis as the sun sets. The perfect accompaniments are a well-priced cold bottle of beer and Sheesha Pipes in every flavour from Coca-Cola to Vanilla.
There's also a happy hour from 7-8pm every night with half-price cocktails-the Parthenon Passion is a must!
If you want budget accomodation but aren't quite ready to bunk down in a hostel dorm, the Athens Studios allow you to tackle this frenetic city at your own pace.
Avoid the scores of tacky tourist shops that spring up in Plaka during the summer months - your friends and family won't miss the miniature Acropolis keyring or T-Shirts printed with 'It's all Greek to Me' you could have wasted your Euros on.
Instead, there are two brilliant places to pick up local and traditional Greek handicrafts.
Oikotexnia is run by the Institute of Social Protection, so you will be helping to preserve and promote traditional Greek handicrafts as well as scoring some top quality souvenirs. Best buys include knotted carpets, fluffy Flokatis rugs, embroidered cushions and tablecloths.
The Centre of Hellenic Traditions is a haven from Plaka's mass-produced tat and sells Greek art, icons, pottery, wood carvings, embroideries, and prints. Best of all, there's a charming cafe on-site for enjoying a view of the Acropolis
Oikotexnia, Filellinon 14, Plaka
Centre of Hellenic Tradition, Mitropoleos 3 and Pandrossou 36 in the Plaka
Athen's Central Market is packed full of stalls selling mouthwatering Greek food - cheeses, olives and dried fruit, but it is essentially a meat market.
If you really want to eat like the locals, and fancy some cheap and filling fare away from the overpriced restaurants in Plaka, brave the tavernas in the centre, feeding hungry workers and hung-over clubbers with steaming bowls of 'Patsas', tripe soup.
Epeiros and Papandreou are the most authentic, with stoves simmering over with huge pots of chickpeas and all manner of tripe soups, which the cooks swear are cholesterol-free and have medicinal properties.
The science behind that may be sketchy, but a bowl of the soup blasts hangovers away after one too many glasses of ouzo, and the restaurants are incredibly atmopsheric, with tables crammed with loudmouth market workers day and night. I opted for the Mayeritsa which is a tripe soup made with an egg-lemon sauce, and after a few nervous spoonfuls, found myself licking the bowl clean.
If you can't face the tripe, pick from plates piled high with lamb so tender it falls off the bone, roasted potatoes and bottles of delicious red wine.
Between Sofokleous & Evripidou, Athinas 42
Situated at the mouth of a spectacular gorge and set in a tranquil olive grove. This spotless hostel lends itself to long spring sojourns for the intrepid walker or beach lover alike.
Eight person spacious dorms all with a patio, table and chairs surround a grass covered communal area with ample shade.
The manager is on hand to take care of simple needs like internet access, bottles of local wine and ice cold Mythos beers. Breakfast is a simple and cheap affair but the community spirit is what makes the hostel buzz.
Guests come from all over the world and some stay months or even the whole season to enjoy the local beaches and simple life that Plakias affords.
A world away from the resorts of the north the Plakias youth hostel gives much in return for the thoughtful and social traveller.
Plakias can be reached by bus from most major towns in the north of Crete.
Mirthios 74060, Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Tel. +30 28320 32118
book on reservations.bookhostels.com/psacreative.com/hostel.php?HostelNumber=10176
A stunning youth hostel in a Jacobean manor house looking over the Shropshire countryside. The stone building may be austere but the food is superb and you can wash it down with a cold bottle of Hobson's Town Crier. It also has the benefit of being haunted! Handy for walking and not far from the superb Royal Oak in Cardington out towards Church Stretton.
Longville in the Dale, between Church Stretton and Much Wenlock, Shropshire.
I went here to these gites with my children at Easter for a week's holiday, it was fantastic. The children loved the place. It had a heated pool, a great play area and loads of space for them to run around.
The gite itself was spotlessly clean, very well equipped, light and airy, and still homely and comfortable. There was loads in the area for the children and for us to explore, we didn't have a dull moment.
The owners were really welcoming and we had an Easter egg hunt and BBQ to finish off our week. A special place and a special holiday. We will definitely be returning in the summer.
Le Petit Husson
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