A Japanese Taxi? yes! Here in Melbourne in the 'Transport' hotel in the centre of the city is a Japanese restaurant, a very good restaurant mixing modern day Oz with Japanese to produce inspired dining.
The food and service is fantastic and the interior and exterior design ...amazing
'Taxi' dining room is at Transport Hotel, Federation Square, Flinders St
(just across from Flinders St
Tel: 9654 8808
The European flagship of the Four Seasons chain. Recently renovated to its glorious, Art Nouveau best.
Stunning all the way I'm sure, but I've only been in for tea, as I'm a poor student and not a millionaire, like you. I ate in the bar area, which is beautiful, and the food was good and the service impeccable.
Wish I could afford to stay there. Donations on a post card to...
Roosevelt Tér 5-6. 1051
Tel: 36 (1) 268-6000
Fax: 36 (1) 268-5000
We recently stayed in this hotel on a long weekend visit to Istanbul and thoroughly recommend it. It's clean, tidy, with good amenities, but best of all the people who run the hotel - Tahir and Emu - are wonderfully friendly and helpful and really made our trip special.
A delightful timepiece of gracious living plonked in the wilds of Connemara, the pink-washed country house has mature gardens with trails overlooking Bearnaderg Bay and the small mountains, the Twelve Pins of Connemara.
We received a warm wlecome, late at night, with soup and sandwiches brought up to our toasty room by a lovely old lady we wanted to adopt as our grandmother. This set the tone for our weekend...warm, friendly, chatty and not at all stuffy.
Tel: +95 41101
Antico Doge is situated right on a little canal 5 minutes walk from the Rialto. You are in the heart of Venice but not in an area swamped with tourists. The hotel has been recently renovated, with the emphasis on creating a very luxurious ambience - gilt cherubs, swags of drapery, trompe l'oeil. The bedroom was really comfortable with a great shower and a window over the canal (you could hear voices and footsteps - but, of course, no cars!). Very romantic and relaxing.
Accommodation in Venice is not cheap - and neither is this hotel - but the streets are litter free, public transport is brilliant, all goods have to be delivered by boat: if you consider these costs and the taxes that businesses must pay to cover them, then it is surely value for money. You can't expect to stay in a museum for nothing!
C.po SS. Apostoli - Cannaregio 5643
Telephone: 041 2411570
I'm a fairly regular visitor to Florence and have, over the years, built up a shortlist of my favourite places to stay. However, on my last trip, I happened to be in town at the same time as a large convention at Fortezzo da Basso; my shortlist was no use - I had to find somewhere new, which is how I came to be staying at Hotel Relais Il Cestello.
It's located on the south bank of the Arno, a short walk from both the centre and one of my favourite getway places, the Boboli Gardens (must write a tip about them one of these days). The only downside was no dedicated parking, but that's not so unusual in the centre of Florence, and you can get special rates at some nearby garages.
The hotel was a pleasant mix of old and new and has been well restored. Staff were friendly, not always a given in Florence, and gave me a great restaurant tip.
Not much more to say really - pricing was reasonable, and it's featured on my usual booking site for Italian hotels.
Piazza di Cestello 9, 50124, Firenze
A watering hole on the edge of England's last wilderness, serving great meals of local produce and the best range of ales from their microbrewery. Miss it and have regrets for the rest of your life.
It is not just a hotel telephone directory as it includes all of the hotel official contact info as well: phone, fax, email, postal address, website link.
Some hotels are featured with an additional hotel page where pictures, special offers and last minute deals are posted.
It is quite good to know that a hotel directory of this kind actually exists and that you can refer to it when tired of looking at hotel reservation services and not finding the hotel contacts!
On top of a hill at the edge of charming Borders town, Peebles, sits the snub-faced Venlaw Castle where one can play the lord or lady and enjoy good food, fine views and a bar well stocked with excellent whisky.
The two 'romantic' suites have been refurbished to a high standard and offer a cosy warmth. From here, the eager explorer can find many things to occupy the time or, failing the will-power to face quaint towns and block stone homes, can climb a little higher for quietly breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Edinburgh Road, Peebles. EH45 8QG. www.venlaw.co.uk . Tel: 01721 720384.
It's a castle. Get that? A castle. One huge, genuine, 13th Century castle. And you can stay there. What better reasons to recommend Ashford could there be?
Of course there are castles where, once you get over the battlements and Disney style restoration, you feel a little let down by the experience (Walworth, we're looking at you). Ashford castle, thankfully, is as rich an experience as the guests who loiter in the beautifully appointed lounges.
Ashford doesn't need much praising. Its awards and reputation speak volumes but it is worth pointing out that the castle comes into its own during off-peak seasons. There, amidst the quiet corridors and hallways, hundreds of years worth of history hangs like a tapestry, quiet dignity pervading the areas that would normally be taken for granted by obnoxious guests unable to converse without recourse to proclamation.
Everything one could possibly want for complete indulgence lies within easy reach. Golfing tees off (ahem) an itinerary that includes horse riding, falconry and boat trips. It is enough, however, to take a walk through the grounds and discover the walled gardens or venture towards Cong (where The Quiet Man was filmed) or even out to one of the small number of stone circles in the area. Just take a look at the photographs on the website and you'll soon find yourself ordering George to ready the carriage.
Fly to Galway airport and take a taxi or book a helicopter. www.ashford.ie
For a slice of unpolished Sicily, catch the hydrofoil from Trapani to the Egadi, a mini-archipelago off the north-west coast. We stayed on Marettimo, the smallest and most remote. There are walking trails across the island but the real joy is in the simple pleasures — sunning yourself on an empty, rocky beach, ordering a brioche con gelato in La Scaletta, the local ice-cream parlour, watching the fishing boats offload their catch on to wooden trolleys to be sold through the village.
When you arrive at Marettimo’s tiny harbour you’ll be greeted by locals offering rooms in fishermen’s houses. To guarantee a bed for the night — and more space — book into the Residence, the island’s only hotel. May and September are sleepy; in July and August the Italians pile over.
Small, beautifully furnished and efficiently managed, the Racó del Pi occupies a sheltered spot in the rambling backstreets of Barcelona just off Los Ramblas. It's all very understated, a style that gives the gothic architecture chance to impress inside as well as out.
Such is the location, however, that all this amounts to a hill of pinto beans as most of your trip will revolve around the multitude of shops that wait within easy reach. By all means, make time to explore the city but don't forget that excellent (and cheap) train links can take you out into quieter areas for a different perspective on Catalan culture.
Part of this culture is, of course, the food and it's not difficult to find in Barcelona but it's worth noting that the Racó offers an extensive breakfast spread for an additional cost. With the room rates being so reasonable then it's something to consider at least once.
An unusual hotel in Verona, lying right by the river and just a short walk from the Arena. If you've not been before it's a bit tricky to find, hiding as it does behind a large set of doors (drive through these for private parking shaded by a pergola), but once inside you'll find an interesting building with a splendid communal area downstairs. We loved our stay, and this is very much a 'boutique' hotel.
They do have their own site, but we preferred to book online at the site below, useful for the Google map aside from anything else.
Tel. + 39 045 59 77 21
Okay, I'm going to be totally perverse here by suggesting a place that isn't in Sicily. Vulcano is actually one of the Aeolian Islands just north of Sicily (others include Stromboli and Lipari) and is quite unlike anywhere else I've visited. The name's a bit of a giveaway (Vulcano/volcano geddit), as these islands are all volcanic (and there's Etna on mainland Sicily of course. Vulcano itself has (apparently) Italy's largest 'non submarine' volcanoes, there are little 'fumaroles' spouting steam, the beach has black sand - unbelievable - and there are thermal spas and mud baths. A bit like Iceland with hot weather we reckoned. Stayed at a very nice modern hotel on the Gulf of Ponente.
A very family-friendly small hotel in the south of France. Our room was spacious and very comfortable, a perfect family atmosphere. Plenty of toys and entertainment for the kids.
The food was excellent. All guests ate together in a typical "French family" style. All diets are catered for and there are even baby listeners so that parents can eat without their children if wanted.
The views and the surrounding area are beautiful and the welcome is amazing. I really recommend this place.
Quite simply, the best hotel I've ever stayed in - and I've stayed in some good hotels in my time.
The standard room we stayed in was laid out like a mini-apartment: an entrance hall with mini-bar and tea/coffee facilities; bathroom and bedroom both off this little hall. The bathroom was well kitted out and there were slippers and robes for both of us. The bed was huge! We have a super-kingsize bed at home and this bed dwarfed it.
The hotel facilities are great and the service is impeccable. Staff are extremely friendly and helpful. We had booked a room-only rate but upon arrival were told that breakfast was included. There is a free port table where you can sample port and the cherry liqueur, ginghina, and there are a number of board games available for you to play in the lounge area.
We felt instantly at home here and I would recommend this hotel to anyone.
Rua Rodrigues Sampaio, 17
Want a taste of Aeolian island luxury, but can't afford the prices over on Panarea? Located on nearby Salina, the lushest Aeolian island in the archipeligo, Signum makes for a deeply relaxing, stylish retreat. After a short hop on the hydrofoil from Milazzo, and a thrilling cliff-edge bus ride to the village of Malfa, drag your suitcase down a winding footpath past traditional white washed houses to a cacti-filled, antiques laden reception.
All the components of a trendy boutique hotel are in place: myriad balconies with splendid sea views, (modest) horizon pool, and vine covered terrace where you can feast on terrific local seafood by candlelight. And don't miss the cute pebble beach, backed by crumbling fishermen's huts.
Hotel Signum, Via Scalo 15
Tel: 0039 090 984 4222
This is a hotel almost in the centre of Palermo. It is in a traditional old Sicilian building and has large rooms, some with balconies overlooking the street. The staff are friendly and efficient, and the breakfast buffet is pretty reasonable.
Via Roma 72, Palermo 90133
A fantastic, reasonably-priced hotel in the city's best district. Opposite the Hilton, the location is brilliant - just five minutes by bus to the main square, the hotel is opposite the main church and viewpoint.
The 'Castle District' is quiet, high up on the Buda hilly side of the city, so you get great views - especially at night. Hotel Burg has clean rooms (with free minibar!) and English-speaking staff. Best of all, the prices were very reasonable.
Castle District, Buda.
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