Bed and breakfast accommodation. Hospitable, excellent local information, exotic surroundings. Will arrange airport pick-up and taxi tours to both sides of the Iguazu falls and the bird park on the Brazilian side.
Dar Bibine is quite simply the most lovely place I have ever stayed. Tucked away down a side street in a quiet village on the relaxed island of Djerba, it is run by two welcoming Belgian expats with a true love for their adopted homeland. We arrived in the wee hours following a very late flight from London via Tunis and despite the late hour were welcomed with continental kisses through the bougainvillea draped doorway into a white and blue fairyland lit with candles and scented with jasmine and orange blossom by both Isabelle and Gerard who dealt with our luggage and even offered to pay the taxi for us and add it to our bill to ensure we weren't cheated.
Gerard is an architect and his eye for design comes through; four beautifully decorated rooms surround a small but perfectly formed swimming pool while above the roof has been converted into a relaxing space to eat, sunbathe, read, or quietly cuddle (the last made possible by the area being divided into sections with flowing drapes and bountiful bougainvillea.) Isabelle is an accomplished cook and often came and found us while we relaxed in the sun to deliver tasty snacks (cool melon, tangy cheeses, olives) or cold beers. The building is situated not far from the village mosque and the calls of the muezzin drift across the walls and into the courtyard without being loud enough to cause disturbance. One side of the guest house is also bordered by a Jewish synagogue (Djerba has an ancient tradition of Islam and Judaism peacefully coexisting) and it was truly magical one Friday evening to sit as the moon rose and listen to both the muezzin calling and the gentlemen of the synagogue sharing their respective faiths in their steady tones across the evening air.
The hotel provides breakfast, with options to your taste but can include fried eggs in the shape of fish, with dots of fiery hot sauce for bubbles, or the really delicious chocolate cous cous and tiny pastries, always accompanied by very strong coffee and cold orange juice. Evening meals, also prepared after a discussion of your tastes, can be provided (and anyone staying there should absolutely do so one evening) for an extremely reasonable extra cost, given the quality of the food. Choice in the village itself is limited but taxis are cheap, reliable and readily available and the main towns on the island are only a very short drive away.
A highlight for us was the tour of the island which Isabelle arranged for us with Faisal, a lively native who managed to speak bits of English, French, German and Italian - often in one sentence! He spent several hours showing us sights including Roman ruins, underground mosques and potteries (the heat made working and praying underground a necessity in times past) and even climbed trees to retrieve dates, olives and pomegranates for us to sample claiming (as he did about nearly everything) that these were the best available tout le mondo! At the end of the tour we were so enchanted we ended up paying him nearly triple what he had requested, certainly the best value £40 I have ever spent. I did consider suggesting Faisal as a tip himself but suspect he doesn't have a website and might need to be contacted by friends of friends (he was that type of chap).
A good tip would be to go prepared to exercise any lingering school French. Isabelle has excellent English but the locals have almost none and we found ourselves racking our brains for long forgotten vocabulary to describe what we wanted. That said, everyone was extremely friendly and patient and rather delighted to be muddling through with us.
Our visit to Djerba was so excellent that we have often said that we aren't sure we'd want to return in case it was all a dream.
Rue Abdel Wahab 7, Erriadh, Djerba
Newly-opened (June 2012) bed and breakfast in a hamlet in the south Lakes. Watch the weather change over Blackcombe, stroll down to the standing stones pictured on their website before dinner cooked with ingredients from the garden or other local sources, or head off to the beach. This is walking, cycling, riding territory. Oh, and there's a good pub in Kirksanton too. Run by Kev and Rachelle, who know how to put you at ease. Lovely, comfortable bedroom, instant relaxation. Close to Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass and other Lakes attractions.
Gran Caffe Tito Schipa - a cross between a gelataria, cafe and traditional Puglian family home of sisters Rosa and Annamaria.
We stopped by on recommendation from the owner of our palazzo, and were instantly treated to homemade orichiette on the terrace, deadly-strength G&Ts and straw-coloured homemade wine.
Rosa drove us out to see the Puglian coast and Alberobello and invited us to eat with her Italian family and friends repeatedly. First-class truly Italian experience, warm, hospitable and stunning food.
Gran Caffè Tito Schipa Caffè
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 19-21 72017 Ostuni +393283250470
Google map: bit.ly/OmzZaG
Putange is in the Normandy area which saw much of the fighting after the D-Day landings. A pretty French riverside village with bars, bakers etc, completely unspoilt by too much tourism. The real jewel in the crown here is "Le Bosquet" a B&B overlooking the village. Resembling a small chateau this residence charms in every way. Excellent bedrooms (five in all each individually decorated) good continental breakfast and excellent decor throughout. The hosts Richard and Magda Green are always on hand to give advice on the various places to visit, like the area of Suisse Normandie, but leave time to enjoy their garden and wildlife.
Great things about Secret garden B&B:
John - the owner and host who made our stay the highlight of Iguazu; spotless rooms in a quiet neighborhood; 7pm drinks to swap stories and laugh; great breakfast.
Picture this. Stunning sun drenched open terrace overlooking a deep blue green Mediterranean sea. I could gaze endlessly out at the small islands in the distance. Instead, I have work to do: deciding what to order. Will it be the Ottoman style lamb shanks, grilled sea bass, a traditional claypot chicken or the fainting priest (aubergine and veggie hot pot)? Adam makes it easy and suggests grilled garlic prawns, rice and salads. We all opt for this and soak up the atmosphere with a bottle of cool crisp Cankaya white wine. We witness a spectacular pink hued sunset from our small corner of paradise.
We return a few days later for brunch- heaven on many little plates: Pan fried paprika infused white cheese, a selection of local cheeses, poached paprika egg dish, fresh bread, salads, organic tomatoes and cucumbers, a selection of home grown olives in various marinades, home made jams and honey and the list goes on! My daughter plays with bunny rabbits and works up an appetite chasing roosters and chickens with Adam's children.
Adam's Place allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy tourist town and experience a traditional Turkish meal in a relaxed informal setting.
Adam is charming, helpful and friendly. He and his family are gracious hosts. We have been frequenting Adam's Place since first coming to Kalkan in 2007. All meals include home grown organic produce. Whether an al fresco breakfast, brunch or dinner, Adam's Place does not disappoint.
Adam will even drive you to/from your holiday home in Kalkan as his restaurant is about a 5-10 minute drive from the centre of Kalkan.
Kas Road, Kalkan
+90 0242 844 3232
An hour’s drive out of Antalya lies a small village next to the sea called Cirali. After sunbathing in the early afternoon sun and a refreshing swim we sat in the shade with a cold beer wondering where in this small village we would eat dinner. We asked at the pensyion where he could recommend eating. “What do you like?” he replied, I said fish, Jimi said Kofte. “OK come back at 7pm and it will be ready”.
He then set off in his little boat along the coast with us wondering why he left in such a hurry. 7pm arrives and we apprehensively approached the cushioned area at the front of the Pension. (It was out of season so not set up for a restaurant.) To our great surprise Cemil laid out a wonder of treats before us. Meze to start with Babaganoush style dip, fresh Turkish warm breads, a tatzijki sort dip and fresh rough looking pitted olives. The main was just as I asked, freshly caught fish to order just hours old and home-made sizzling koftas with a delicious fresh mouthwatering local salad. We ate our feast to the sun setting, looking out to the sea and delightful Turkish music playing in the background. We were offered cold beers or Raki and water (a traditional Turkish combo). I would never have imagined that a small pension in the middle of nowhere could have produced us such a wonderful meal in such a picturesque and idyllic setting. I would recommend Cemils Pension in Cirali as a relaxed and beautiful place to eat a delicious and memorable meal.
+90 242 825 7063
Turks are famed for their hospitality, so for me, the best eating in Turkey is neither in the cities nor the resorts, but in people’s homes. Get off the beaten track and many people are delighted to welcome visitors. On a recent road trip between the Mediterranean resorts of Antalya and Kaş, my friend was caught short while passing through at small village. We stopped to ask a group of women outside the village shop if there was a toilet handy. One of them, smiling broadly, beckoned us into her neighbouring house to use her facilities. She then insisted we sit while she brought us traditional tulip shaped glasses of piping-hot çay (Turkish tea). While we were busy drinking, we realised she was preparing our lunch - an offer we couldn’t refuse.
A few minutes later, a huge tray arrived, laden with dishes. A saucer of olives picked from the tree in her garden and home-cured with thyme and lemon was followed by sliced tomatoes in which you could taste the warmth of the Medittarenan sun. A plate of strong, crumbly local goats cheese came accompanied by bowls of creamy chicken soup that our host indicated had also come from her garden, gesturing outside at the small flock of happily clucking hens. It was all served with piles of yufka – delicious and impossibly soft and thin village flatbread. We ate it, attempting to communicate in our few words of Turkish with our host and her assorted children, grandchildren and their friends. The warmth of this welcome and the delicious simplicity of the food is the real taste of Turkey.
We stayed at this B&B in January 2012. A frendly place, lovely garden, clean rooms and not to be missed apero!
My wife and I spent a magical three days in Iguazu at John's Secret Garden B&B where we relaxed in tropical splendor and warm comaraderie with John and fellow guests. A highlight of our travels in Argentina in 2012.
Everything you read about the Secret Garden is true. We arrived at the B&B and met the wonderful man John Fernandes, the owner, who exudes such genuine warmth and kindness. Our room had a queen and twin bed in it and private bath, spacious, bright, clean and well appointed The walls and ceilings are all tongue and groove woodwork painted in warm tropical colors. The beds are firm with pressed cotton sheets and lots of pillows that are fluffy and fresh. Large and quiet A/C unit and a large standing room fan gave us lots or ventilation options. There are only three guest rooms that open out onto a communal sitting area that connect to the main house by a elevated walkway through the tropical garden. If you believe in the power of attraction that like attracts like, then the Secret Garden is a classic example of this. John has created an environment where an evolved man is attracting other evolved people from around the world to share his space and his enthusiasm for his corner of the world. In short we met the most interesting and delightful people at the B&B. John does a very nice cocktail hour for his guests at 7pm and creates a delightful ambient environment for people to connect and share their world with others. At breakfast there was lots of fresh tropical fruit, banana bread and good strong coffee with hot milk, toast, home made jams and fresh squeezed juice. John also took the time to give us a little drive around town and dropped us off at Bocamora Grill for lunch. This is where the corners of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet and you get to see it all from the terrace of this great restaurant and have a wonderful meal to boot. If you are going to Iguazu falls, then this is definitely the place to stay. I will never forget my stay at the Secret Garden.
Los Lapachos 623, Puerto Iguazu N3370JMC, Argentina
+54 3757 423099
Once you've booked your first casa particular you enter an unofficial chain where the owners of your present casa will offer to book your next one and arrange for you to be picked up at your point of arrival. We were gently bounced from one casa to the other up and down Cuba. Of course they're taking a cut but it does make things easier for you.
Luxury B&B, superb breakfasts inc. choice of vegan and vegetarian. Kate and Alan were superbly witty and entertaining hosts and also cater for restricted diets.
Excellent base for The Peaks, with lots of information on what to do and where to eat.
51 Dimple Road Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3JX
This hostel felt like staying at home! It is run by Miriam, Lucas and Hector, a lovely Argentine family that treat you like you are part of their family. The hostel is charming and clean, and the staff helped book excursions and make the best of my time in Ushuaia. The breakfast is better than most hostels - including Argentine medialunas, or croissants.
Before we went to The Secret Garden last month, I was somewhat sceptical as to how anywhere could have elicited so many wholly favourable remarks. But there's absolutely no doubt at all: for us the Secret Garden lived up to every possible expectation.
From the very first moment that John shows you round town and then offers a cooling drink, through the excellent (and seemingly endless) caipirinhas, tapas and snacks in the early evening, to the extremely generous and tasty breakfasts with home-made jams, and the lovely evening conversations with John as a charming host: it is an entirely delightful and special experience.
John's advice on how best to divide your precious time in Iguazu - as well as on restaurants, transport or any other question - can be followed unhesitatingly.
We spent three full days in Iguazu and enjoyed our time enormously. Even the after-effects of a huge tropical storm that wiped out some two-thirds of a precious day was leavened by John's generosity and our fellow guests' company.
The staff who cannot do too much to help, bouncy Roxy the Jack Russell, the chalet room that has everything one could want, the lovely garden ... and, above all, John. Truly a very very special experience.
Los Lapachos 623, Puerto Iguazu N3370JMC, Argentina
+54 3757 423099
If travelling from Vancouver to Banff this has to be the place to stay to break the journey. The welcome, breakfast and accommodation is first class. Stay at least a day to go up Revelstoke Mountain and Bigbie falls. Eat at the Village Idiot in Revelstoke town. What a lovely place to stay where nothing seems to be too much trouble.
We stayed at Roundwood House recently and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Just an hour outside Dublin but feels like a world away! The house itself is absolutely stunning, but homely and comfortable at the same time. We received a warm welcome from the owners Hannah and Paddy, who couldn't be more accommodating. But the best part of the weekend was dinner time! The food was delicious and the hosting perfect.
David, the landlord at the Barley Mow pub in the pretty Derbyshire village of Bonsall will regale you with ambitious plans to develop the car park as the first UFO Space Centre in the UK or sign you up for one of his Landlords Walks.
However, the Mow’s major claim to fame is as host of World Championship Hen Racing. This eccentric mix of serious racing and training and hopeless enthusiasm means that the thoroughbreds of the hen racing world stand as much chance as any have-a-goer who can acquire a hen and turn up on the day.
Occasional battles between competitors see yellow warning cards for fighting on the track. Hens might take the warning to heart and reform their behaviour, or ignore it, get the red card and be sent off. Competitors have been known to travel from as far afield as Belper (10 miles), Chesterfield (15 miles), Finland and Australia.
A great family day out, the World Championship supports the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, a registered charity which aims to provide a comfortable retirement for battery hens. (www.thehenshouse.co.uk.)
La Nube del Angel is a small, homely and really comfy hotel in Puerto Piramides on the Peninsula Valdes. For those who aren't familiar with the place, it's the best spot to go whale watching in the whole of South America, truly an amazing spectacle.
I recommend the place for it's great view over the bay - we could see whales jumping from our bed!
The posada is run by a lovely young couple who recently moved there and will go out of their way to make you feel at home. The breakfast is a killer with homemade bread and jams, and the location is a must!
The hotel is located in the "quiet" part of town, very easy to find with the simple street naming policy of the village. You will find the Nube on the Segunda Bajada al Mar, literally the second way down to the sea.
Google map: bit.ly/pwljMg
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