The Villa Gaia Hotel is situated in the historic center of Taormina, just 30 meters from the Duomo, and offers a magnificent view of the crystal-clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea! I've been here with my wife and had a very pleasent stay.
Accordion music, fountains and a cheery greeting of “Bonjour” from the hotel staff greet you as you head towards the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas.
The tower is not quite as tall as the original, in fact it is exactly half the size, however it has been reproduced with a superb eye for detail. An elevator whisks you to the observation deck, 460 feet above the Strip where there are fantastic views across Vegas, taking in a 360 degree panorama that includes the Strip, the city and the mountains in the distance and, in the evening, wonderful views across to the Bellagio fountain display.
The observation deck is quite small (holding about 30 to 40 people at a time) so you may have to queue to get in and, needless to say, it is not for those at all nervous of heights.
Cost of entry was approximately 12 dollars each when we visited. A little pricey maybe but worth it for the views
At the Paris Las Vegas, 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd
It's a private townhouse designed in 1893 by Brussels' art nouveau architect Victor Horta. It has recently been renovated by cult cartoonist duo Schuiten & Pieters and opened to the public. It's situated in the Schaerbeek area, which is off most tourist maps (being just north/north east of Rogier station) but well worth visiting for the beautiful buildings alone, many of which have been built in art nouveau style and kept in excellent condition (or recently restored). What's more, there's hardly a tourist in sight!
The entrance fee for Maison Autrique is 5€. Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and bank holidays.
266 Chaussée de Haecht, Schaerbeek, 1030 Brussels;
tel: 02 215 6600;
Accessible by tram: 92 & 93 (Saint-Servais), 90 (Robiano), or if the weather's nice, take the metro to Rogier and walk for 20-30 mins along Chaussée de Haecht;
This is a wonderful way of seeing Bruges from - literally - a different level. You cruise along some extremely beautiful stretches of canal overlooked by some extremely pretty buildings, especially the houses right by the water. Many have stone jetties leading into the canals, some have overhanging windows and others small courtyards overlooking the water.
The trip takes about 30 minutes and there are many views that will have you reaching for your camera.
One, small criticism is that the boat driver/guide can differ in quality. Some can be a little lack-lustre in their commentary – ours always seemed to have gone past the building, point of interest etc by the time he got round to talking about it and so I felt I didn’t get as much information about what we were seeing as I would have liked. However I would still recommend a canal trip for anyone visiting Bruges. Sit back, relax and enjoy seeing the city from a different viewpoint
The trip cost approx 5 euros.
George STAEL Katelijnestraat 4.
This new attraction located within the D-Wing of the former prison, is a fantastic introduction to the history of Oxford - (the city not the University) - and the stories of some of the Prison's former inmates.
As you walk through the tiny cells and atmospheric prison corridors, you hear all about the real people and events from the site’s turbulent past: the first Oxford teachings, the owners, visionaries, activists and inmates.
People like Marshall William Smith, the King’s prison keeper, who in the 1600s made Oxford Prison as feared and as notorious as Colditz; Mary Blandy a convicted murderess, who became an 18th-century celebrity; Jack Ketch, the public executioner and the man on which the Punch & Judy hangman character was modelled; and Anne Green, who survived her own hanging and narrowly escaped being anatomised by an Oxford medical student in 1650!
After your tour of the Prison there is the chance to climb the 101 narrow steps of the Saxon St George's Tower and enjoy the spectacular 360 degree panoramic views of the Oxford skyline.
Oxford Castle, (off New Road), Oxford, OX1 1AY
T: 01865 260666
Seven simple, elegant rooms with sea views in an 18th-century house which was once a Portuguese embassy. Lots of arty stuff going on downstairs in the arts club, like jazz nights and life-drawing classes. The Frog Fish cafe in the basement serves good local seafood and organic meat.
Accommodation starting at £35pp with the full English and is a great deal.
One of Istanbul’s most photographed monuments which incredibly dates back over 2,000 years, you simply cannot miss the iconic Kiz Kulesi or Maiden’s Tower, out on its own little island at the mouth of the Bosphorus.
In its capacity as customs control, defence tower, lighthouse and now restaurant, you can’t help but wonder what this intriguing structure has bore witness to over the centuries. This is truly a unique dining experience in what is itself a one-of-a-kind city.
The food is good, but who cares? It’s the view of the sun setting over old Istanbul from the tower’s summit that people really come here for.
Transfers from Salacak (Asian Side) and Ortakoy (European Side) daily – check the website for times. Booking recommended.
Tel: 0216 342 47 47
Breathtaking views of Manhattan from the Grill Bar at the historic Rainbow Room. Save the admission fee to the observation deck and have drink instead. Excellent retro cocktails. Good people watching. Sirs Elton, Paul and Alex Ferguson spotted recently.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th floor
Head out to the Indian Ocean beaches at Cottesloe (15 mins on train from Perth) and go to the Blue Duck overlooking the beach. Time it late afternoon and sit on the outdoor terrace with a mango daiquiri and something simple to eat from the extensive menu (the potato wedges are great!). If you've timed it right you'll be able to watch a stunning sunset over miles of glorious beaches. A second mango daiquiri will prove to you life doesn't get much better than this!
There are 2 very special restaurants that provide the perfect Southern Califronian Experience. Mr A's is situated next to Balboa Park and has fantastic views of the city, great meanu and they have the longest balcony which allows sunset walks to see every angle of the city.
Further up the coast in a beautiful town called Del Mar is Jake's where you can experience wonderful seafood, great service and fantastic views of the ocean as it sits on the beach - with spotlights at night. Neither will disappoint and enjoyed by San Diegans.
The most magical hours of a glorious, fun-filled trip to the City of Lights were spent on the terrace of Pizza Milano with my boyfriend, Martin. We drank in the magical night time atmosphere of the latin quarter, eating good food, well prepared and very reasonably priced. Service was attentive and friendly and there was no wait for a table. To turn unexpectedly to find the stunning view of Notre Dame across the square, its gothic stature lit against the late summer sky, was a 'Can you believe it - you and me - we're really here...' moment.
Place St Michel, Metro Saint Michel,RER B et C, opposite Notre Dame cathedral.
Scarborough is still relatively tourist free despite the great scenery on offer on the drive there - head along the coast and over the pass from Noordhoek, past Misty Cliffs and into Scarborough. Cobbs itself is situated just back from the beach and offers great food and even better views. After your meal drive over Red Hill for the best views of Simon's Town on offer!
Nothing special about the hotel itself - standard 3-star fare. But the views of Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Bosphorus from the rooftop restaurant and bar are pretty hard to beat.
Yerebatan Cad. Cami Cikmazi No:36-40 34410 Sultanahmet Istanbul. Tel: +90 (212) 512 02 07. www.andhotel.com
500 metres above sea level on a hill opposite Ekeberg restaurant, Frognerseteren offers a higher vantage-point of the city, with a superb panorama of the fjord and its islands. And you can get there by tube in just half an hour.
Metro line 1, Frognerseteren station
Good quality hotel, reasonably priced right on the edge of Times Square. Club rooms are nice, but are only on floors one through 15, so the views are just ok. If you want a good view, ask for a high floor corner room, they are just as nice as the club rooms but I think they have better views. The lifts have TVs in them and go so fast they made my ears pop! The beds are very comfy and are actually called 'Heavenly'. The staff are very helpful. The hotel is right next door to a cinema, and you don't even need to go outside to get to it.
Westin Times Square 270 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036;
Situated on the shoreline between the marina and the bay, Rìva really makes the most of its bayside location. There are views across the bay, the marina and the Melbourne skyline and the outside decks sare great. The menu and wine list are pretty good. Rìva was packed when we went and although it's a bit different, it's still a great place for a night out.
Want to go to Venice but afraid of the hotel prices there? Stay in Mestre and commute to Venice each day. We did and found it fascinating to jump on a bus each morning and go to Venice with the workers. The view of Venice from a bus on the causeway is certainly different.
Manesty Holiday Cottages are in Borrowdale, one of the most beautiful valleys in England, just a 10 minute walk from Lake Derwentwater. They have simply fantastic views.
You can walk from the door on to the fells (my favourite walk, Catbells is just behind the cottages) or to the lake through the wood.
They also have a natural wood-fired hot tub in a small woodland overlooking the valley that you can book by the day - perfect after a long walk.
The cottages are clean and warm and run by a family who live just a minute away. Good value for money. Highly recommended, especially if you are after the quiet life.
Manesty Holiday Cottages, Manesty, Borrowdale, Keswick
In a county replete with astounding cream teas, Primrose Cottage in Lustleigh serves the best.
Set in the wooded Dartmoor village famed for its Cleave, Lustleigh avoids the worst of the tourist influxes suffered by Widecombe and Haytor. Its thatched cottages centre around the church and its neighbour Primrose Cottage. As well as astoundingly good cream teas (served since the 19th century) the tea rooms also have an incredible selection of homemade cakes.
Work it all off with a walk along Lustleigh Cleave, a steep wooded valley through which the River Bovey bubbles.
Lustleigh is a 10 minute drive north of Bovey Tracey and about 45 minutes from Exeter.
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