Sunday, 22 April 2012

Best Places to Stay

The other day I was thinking about what makes a good lodging - or even a perfect one. I often read Tripadvisor, but these days I think there are too many fake reviews. So I wonder what you like about a hotel, inn or b&b?

Here are my thoughts, with links to places I specially liked. They're not EXACTLY recommendations, because places change hands and I visited some of them ages ago. But if you're going to be in the area, you might like to consider giving them a try! :)

I really love places in amazing surroundings.Purcell Mountain Lodge in the Canadian Rockies. was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and I went in by helicopter because it's so far from any road. I've been to many wilderness locations but these huge vistas of imposing mountains, majestic and empty, really affected me. I don't have easy access to many of the photos I took - they are slides, and need scanning. But this picture will give you an idea of the scenery there.

(Photo: Ralph Maughan)

The lodge was a haven in the imposing but slightly alarming (to a city girl) landscape. All the guests bonded very well as a group and it was fun being with them. The food was great, the rooms fine, but the location was what blew my mind - like being in another world.

A differently lovely setting, and MUCH closer to home (about twenty miles from London in fact!) is Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel in Surrey, on the historic National Trust Polesden Lacy estate. When I first went, it had no electricity and no road access. It's a bit more up to date now but it is still gas lit and remote. You wake to the baaing of sheep and feel you've stepped back in time. It's lacking every sort of luxury (not even indoor toilets) but it's a huge favourite with kids and is always booked up. Here it is, on the edge of the wood. Can you spot this little black-and-white cottage amongst the Springtime trees? (oh, and I forgot to say, the woods are full of bluebells in May).

(photo: wossnim on Flikr)

Comfort. OK, Tanners Hatch doesn't qualify but usually it helps to have good lighting and good heating. I've been in too many places with dim, badly sited lights, and could have done without a stay in a Bavarian guest house not long ago when skies were dark and everything was covered in snow ... See the distant figures of T and little A, then 5 years old.....

The inn had been closed for weeks before our visit and the rooms didn't warm up for DAYS. We sat there in our outdoor clothes all evening while little A. slept. And l-o-ong evenings they were!

Friendliness. You can't expect the host to be always on top form - they might have just had bad news or be feeling ill, for instance. But I have good memories of the quaint old Barnacle Hall, near Coventry, Warwickshire, and The Old Bank in Marnhull, Dorset, and if you go there, I hope you find the owners as pleasant as I did.

Any traveller hopes to avoid lodgings that call to mind John Cleese's "Fawlty Towers." But once in a York b&b, I dared to turn the blaring radio down at breakfast, since we were the only guests. I didn't think anyone would mind. But the owner minded. "If you don't like my choice of radio station, you can go somewhere else next time!" he shrieked, turning the sound up again. (We did).


On the other hand, the owners of one b&b in Florida were just a little too friendly and chatty for comfort, and in an unstoppable stream of information, they told us FAR more detail than we needed to know about how weird the neighbours were. We locked our rooms that night, I can tell you!


Then there's Tea. Being English I always, always like a cup of tea, so a kettle, tea and preferably a snack, are a must in any lodging.

(Photo: Cindy Adkins)

At breakfast, those little plastic packets of jam and marmalade turn me off. No offence to the jolly little ones shown below (stock photo) but seeing plastic packs always suggests coloured blandness, not good flavoursome preserves.


I think Germans probably do the world's best breakfasts, with the best bread, the best variety. One of my most memorable breakfasts was in the moderately priced Park Inn in Berlin's Alexanderplatz. It's not that exotic, being a modern tower block in an ex-Communist square (below), but T and I actively looked forward to going to breakfast with its gorgeous mueslis and yogurts and fancy breads.

Outside Germany, take me to the breakfast at the Mauna Lani on the Kohala Coast, Hawaii. Not so much the breakfast for me (although it was good, with Japanese as well as American, like many Hawaiian hotels) but it was the beautifully relaxed atmosphere. Oh, and the blue sea, the balmy temperatures, the fresh pineapples....

(Photo: forbes)

I like fun decors. I don't have to live with them all the time, after all. Propeller Island City Lodge, (also in groovy old Berlin), is fun and mad for a night or two.

The Hotel Altstadt in Vienna, Austria is more traditional, decorated in a variety of old and new styles with some fine art works. I liked this room's gothic glamour.

(Photo: Altstadt Hotel)

We felt as if we were staying in a theatre set. (This hotel also has a good breakfast, and a salon with all-day free tea and cakes, too - very welcome in Austria's freezing winters.)

Delightful outdoor space is a plus. Plenty of nice contenders, but we remember the Chateau Marmont, on Sunset Boulevard, USA. We had the penthouse suite, with a massive balcony. This was some years ago (although Robert de Niro had already become a fan) and I don't know what it's like now but in those days the hotel reminded me irresistibly of the Tower of Terror in Disneyland (and I kind of liked pretending I was staying in a Disneyland ride).


It was K's eleventh birthday (that is the K who is getting married soon!) and we had a celebratory champagne breakfast on this vast terrace.

If you're shocked by the idea of 11 year olds trying champagne, I should add that she and her friend were attending the French Lycee at the time, where it was considerd that kids needed to learn to appreciate wine at the knee of maman and papa.

Luxury hotels are often fabulous, but the less imaginative ones can be snobby and ultimately dispiriting. I specially remember a deluxe hotel in beautiful South Africa where my earrings were stolen by the woman making the beds. No amount of linen bedsheets, fancy bath soaps, personal butlers or super spa facilities could make up for having my privacy violated in this way. I decided not to report the loss, because I kind of sympathised with her. I know there's no excuse for stealing, but most of the staff lived in terrible shanty towns and it made me feel uncomfortable. I have felt this in several otherwise beautiful hotels in countries with much poverty and deprivation.


I love places that are unusual or special in some way, like the calm and spiritual (and modern) cathedral lodge in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral. After the ancient gates have shut for the night, you can wander round and have the cathedral close almost to yourself. There's also a delightful library containing some thought provoking books in the lodge.

The mad and mysterious old Baron Hotel in Aleppo, Syria, is also memorable, with a dining room unchanged apparently since the 1920s, and ancient ad signs and photos on its walls for organisations that have long ceased to exist, like Pan Am, BOAC and Stephen's Inks, who provided this charming promotional thermometer on an outside wall.

Every now and then I don't make a note of a place's name, and then I regret it. One of my best ever lodging memories was of a b&b near Bath, England, which belonged to a woodsman and his family. It had a log fire, and wooden furniture (all made by the owner) and was surrounded by trees. The rooms were cosy, the food was delicious (and vegetarian), and, being winter, we really appreciated the roaring fire (wood fire, of course). I'm so mad I can't remember its name!

Do you have a favourite lodging anywhere in the world, and why do you like it? I'd love to hear about it.
(PS. If anyone has concerns about the new Blogger interface, I found a useful url - click here for it. I think someone is coordinating the problems there are, hoping Google will take notice and address issues before removing the old interface. I'm having real problems working the new interface from my phone.


  1. I stayed at the Casterbridge Hollow hotel in White River, South Africa last year, it had lovely spacious rooms with the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever slept in and the staff were both friendly and helpful. Meals were at the restaurant across the way and the food was excellent. I'd definitely stay there again.

  2. Great world tour. I'd like the Canterbury and Syria holiday. I may put the Syria one off for some time however.....
    Excellent report!

  3. What a rude hotelier; I bet he had customers returning again and again!

  4. Jenny this was so much fun, and since you want to hear about a place or two from us, I'll have to put a couple of my really fave places! I was quite young when I had my first visit to Berlin (to meet my mother's family) and it was my first time ever seeing a delightful woman in the women's restroom/toilet handing out soaps and a towel! Later I even was allowed on one of my trips there to purchase vodka for my Tante Margot, at age 13! Wow, that really blew all my friend's minds! I've been to Bath (lovely area) my daughter attended summer classes there one year! Oh the secrets she came home with! This was a treat, I'm looking forward to more romps around hotels and B& B's especially to hear about things common in your country and not so much in ours. Our English breakfast's mostly had fried tomatoes and beans while we were in London and Folkestone! Yummy!

  5. I really enjoyed this post, I love to travel, even if sometimes it's from my armchair. Love the sound of the Canterbury hotel, though I probably wouldn't stay there cos my brother lives nearby. Last year, daughter and I went to Cambridge for a couple of days and stayed in the University rooms- it was lovely.
    South Africa and the stolen earrings is unnerving. Reminds me of the Michaela Harte tragedy (she was killed on honeymoon in the Carribbean when she returned to her hotel room to get some biscuits to go with their after-dinner cuppa). It makes me reluctant to visit countries where there is such extreme poverty.

  6. I haven't travelled far or wide enough to have a favourite lodging but I've certainly enjoyed this world tour with you. I do like to stay in one place for an extended visit, using it as a home base, usually an apartment that the owner lets to tourists for part of the year. We had a fabulous one in Paris once, very near the Louvre, with floor to ceiling windows and tiny balconies. I just never wanted to leave it, even though I was in Paris. In my limited experience, I'd say that English breakfasts must be among the worst!

  7. I can only dream of being places you have been and mentioned. It's wonderful to have them brought to me through your eyes.

  8. Wow Jenny,
    Fascinating and informative and as per usual, your photos are awesome. Your experience in the Canadian Rockies brought back some wonderful reminders of the times I had there.
    My favourite lodging is located on Vancouver Island in a small town named Ucluelet. It was many years ago and I've forgotten the name of the lodging. I'm sure if I ever went back, I'd figure it out. A most peaceful, yet wild location.
    Thank you such a fantastic posting.
    In kindness and good wishes, Gary

  9. Wow! You have really been all over the world. This was fascinating for somebody like me. :)

  10. Wow! Some great travel destinations here. I'd love to see Canterbury Cathedral someday. So beautiful in this shot all lit up.

  11. Thank you for these places that I can dream of. I hope I see them when I go to sleep tonight :)

  12. I'm astonished to find out there are fake reviews in TripAdvisor! Thank goodness we have your extensive, and trustworthy, recommendations instead. These are marvelous places you've been to! I hope to see some of them someday, in particular Canterbury Cathedral (I don't know why I never went when I lived in the UK, but I was a student of limited means back then.) Anyway, you are so disciplined to keep a journal of the places you've stayed at. I remember magical experiences in exotic places -- many far from luxurious but infused with character and history -- but, just as I forget people's names right after the introduction, the lodgings' names escape me.

    Your comment on champagne for the pre-teen set had me smiling. We just had house guests with an 11-year old who kept sipping from her mama's wine or cocktails in the evenings. She doesn't go to French lycée but rather a private Jewish school in Toronto. Perhaps they are taught the same sophisticated manners as the French? ;)

  13. That was very interesting, and entertaining at the same time! Some of these places I wouldn't mind staying at - free cakes like at the Vienna Altstadt Hotel of course hold a special appeal :-))))

  14. Beautiful places, but what about a sleeping bag under an open sky? ^^ Not a lodge? Silence and solitude (or privacy, if solitude's not possible) are major requirements for me, possibly because I live in such an overcrowded city. Which brings me back to ... a sleeping bag under an open sky.

    That incident with your earrings? South Africans refer to such thefts rather sardonically as "redistribution of wealth".

    My favourite hotel in Africa is neither unusually luxurious nor incredibly exotic, but it has excellent, friendly service and clean, comfortable rooms. It's the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana. Highly recommended.

    My favourite ryokan in Japan? Impossible to choose. They're all beautiful, they all have perfect service, they all have great food. That's Japan! ^^

    1. I love all the places I stay in Japan.

      Can't say the same about some hotels in Malaysia or China. xD

  15. The feeling of arriving at a place that isn't as described is horrible... I've sacrificed quality for price one too many times. Your post reminds me of all the fabulous places out there to discover, thank you! (And also thanks for the link to the forum, that will come in handy!)

  16. My idea of 'luxury' changes from place to place. In the teahouses in Nepal (in the mountains) - white sheets are a treat (all washing done in the rivers, so everything goes grey). As is hot water (though the teahouse can't be responsible for that, as tanks are on the roof and need sunshine to get hot.) In malarial places - a mosquito net that doesn't need mending with sellotape before nightfall makes a wonderful change. Great people can make up for tiny rooms (I'm thinking of a hostel in Kuala Lumpur).

    On the other hand, in the UK - anywhere that doesn't have mushroom-coloured walls and gives me real milk for my tea (not little cartons) gets my vote.

  17. I loved living vicariously through your, inn, hotel, B&B stays . . . Two places come to mind . . . Barothy Lodge near Scotville, Michigan. Charming nearer log homes for large family and/or friend groups. There are also older homes lodges on the grounds which are just as comfortable. Trails to walk, pheasants, peacocks and other feathered flock.

  18. I hope that Google can fix the locking up in the middle of writing a comment.

  19. One more try, I can't go back and correct either. We stayed in a lovely B&B near the Kennedy compound in Ireland . . . the names escapes me but after long

  20. Thanks for all these interesting comments.

    Rurousha I know what you mean about sleeping in a remote place under an open sky, and I have done this once or twice. It IS wonderful in a way, but sadly I am a very light sleeper and I usually feel terrible the next day! The Labadi Beach hotel looks brilliant but I have never tried a ryokan, and really hope I will get the chance one day.

    Jenny, there are so many fake reviews in Tripadvisor (unless you're being sardonic) :) I do use it, of course, just take it with a pinch of salt because there are all kinds of pressures. The owner of East Village Apartments in New York, for instance, was very agitated when I gave a less than glowing review and she strongly hinted that I would get a refund or future discount if I changed the review and made it more positive. I didn't, but it makes me wonder how much of this kind of subtle pressure goes on, it's not something you can report to tripadvisor because no incentive for a good review has been directly offered. But multiply this a thousandfold, add in owners who are desperate to get top Tripadvisor marks , plus the companies that actually hire people to do fake reviews, and you end up with a significant unreliability factor.

    I think it makes sense to let kids learn about wine in a sensible way, so long as they only take a few sips. The French have so much more sensible attitude than us, IMHO, but a lot of it just reflects the culture, I guess.

    Louciao, I agree that apartment rental is the best way to see a city. I'll do another post about self catering one day, it's one of my favourite ways to stay abroad. And haha, yes, I have had some vile English breakfasts. I find Italian and French ones a bit of a let down though, just a tartine or bun and a cup of coffee does not set me up for the day but then I don't usually have a midday meal as they do.

    Hi, Liene, thanks for commenting! I have stayed at some utterly depressing cheap places, but think you hit the nail on the head "isn't as described" is the crucial thing, or maybe "isn't as imagined" !

    Mimi, I never stayed in university rooms except when I was a student, but I'm told they are specially wonderful in Oxford or Cambridge, about 500 years old in some cases!

    Rowan, Casterbridge Hollow looks LOVELY, will remember if I go anywhere near there in the future.

    I smiled at your comments about the lady in the toilets, and the vodka Karen. That's such a weird job, handing out towels, etc. though hopefuly she only does that after cleaning the place thoroughly :)

    Yes, Addullamite, the lodge at Canterbury really stands out because it's calm and clear and the library was just wonderful to have, specially after the hurly burly of tourism outside.

    Gary, I think somewhere called Ucluelet probably doesn't have too many lodgings so the place would probably be possible to find again if you returned. I think it sounds like a tiny place to me because it has "-let" on the end, which is a diminutive. So Uclue is the Big town the Ucluelet is the little one :D

    1. I'm still having problems posting. Grrr
      You are so luck to have been able to travel all over. You have lived my dream. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm smiling from ear to ear.

    2. A ryokan stay and that dip in their onsen or onsens. Bliss...

      Definitely recommended, Jenny!

  21. Nothing here I'd disagree with, but good food, a comfortable bed - and cleanliness do it for me - it's age, you know, it wasn't always thus!

  22. Jenny you have sent me off into a whole world of thoughts about hotels and places I have stayed some of which have been paradise and some rather nearer the Other Place. I'd love to think that I'll just remember the names over the next couple of hours before sleep sets in but, of course, I won't. In fact I've just spent nearly half an hour trying to trace an old manor house hotel I stayed in near Whitchurch. If I were back in Scotland with my records I could probably do so quite easily. You've set a challenge. I hope that I can eventually rise to it.

  23. Such a variety of places you've been to. I'm not much for B&B's, we like to find places that have their own small kitchen's tho. I need my breakfast before going out in the world to face people, LOL!


  24. am off to Wales in June to see Patti Smith play in a church hall....we have booked a B&B that sounds like it's going to be as entertaining as the gig!!

  25. What a fantastic collection of places (and giving me MORE ideas for my already long list of future trips!). I think I have similar requirements for accommodation as you do, and certainly fancy luxury is not one of them, I'd rather it be interesting, friendly and in a beautiful spot. One of my favourite places to stay are the simple cottages at Rottnest Island off Perth here, overlooking the Indian Ocean - perfect :-)

  26. Quit staying in hotels, except quick overnighters. Usually rent a cottage or an apartment. Did stay in a quite nice place in Key Largo, Florida a couple of years ago, right on the water, great staff, girl at the front desk loaned us her discount card to a local restaurant.

  27. Thanks for the further comments, these recommendations are great. Lynne, took a look at the website for Barothy Lodge and it looks just my kind of place. I will remember it if I visit Michigan.

    And, SonyaAnn (and anyone else having trouble with blogger),my link was to gather pressure for Google not to drop the old interface, but elsewhere on that site there is a lot of help and advice on particular problems.

    Oh, that is a tantalising remark, Young at Heart! Please tell us more!!!!! :)

    Amanda, thank you, I have taken a look at the Rottnest island cottages - they look historical and absolutely wonderful. I have been to Australia but not for many years and not to Perth. Starting to get itchy feet hearing these recommendations actually...

    Darla, I often go for self catering specially if I'm taking kids but I decided to leave s/c and villas out of my own post because they're a whole different thing. Talking about it one of the sweetest places I stayed at with a kitchen were some old wooden lodges on the outskirts of Carmel, CA. The place was so charming I went back specially to stay at them again about 10 years later and it was all GONE, just a huge supermarket stood there instead. It was like that movie "Back to the Future".

    Well, Graham, hope you manage to achieve this feat of memory, I entirely sympathise :) And Dave, I agree though it's not only comfort but being able to remember the name of the darn place! (Really wish I could recall that woodsman place, I have even tried googling a description of it but nothing comes up.)

  28. A quick tip, concerning Blogger, appears at the beginning of my most recent post.

    (I love a good breakfast, and meal service overall is one of my most important 'musts' in a lodging, but after you see the post I reference, you may not wish to take my recommendations for meals.)

  29. These are wonderful--the hotel in Syria(!) I agree re Tripadvisor - unfortunately. I used to really love Lonely Planet, but the books really depend upon the authors these days--some very good, others less so.

    Your B&B in Florida sounds very amusing and in absolute accord re the little jams! (Sugar with food coloring.) K.

  30. Hi! Great post and good theme to reflect about.
    What do I look for? To be honest, I usually travel with a tight budget so getting something cheap might mean I am able to stay longer. I will just go for a place in the city center, very near the public transportation, or close to where I am going. I just want it to be clean :)
    If I can pay more, comfort is the most important thing to me: good heating, hot water, nice breakfasts, etc. I love the American hotels with huge beds!! :)And of course, it is very special to be in the middle of beautiful surroundings, if I can do that it is great, but it would be kind of "extra".When I was starting blogging I wrote a post on a hotel I stayed in at Monument Valley: I said I loved it and was worth the price, it was soooooo special to wath those rocks fade into the sunset, the starry noght with no light at all but the moon, and then the sunrise illuminating again those massive formations...

  31. You certainly have had a wealth of different places to stay in your travels! I found the places in Warwickshire particularly interesting -- so often B&B in the UK is quite expensive for what you get -- especially when priced per guest. I suppose my favourite place (so far!!!) was the Quechee Inn in Quechee, Vermont -- when my sister was working there. It is a quintessential Vermont inn -- the rooms are very well appointed with traditional New England/Colonial furnishings and there is a wonderful beamed lounge with huge fireplace. And the restaurant is fabulous.

  32. Very interesting tour of holiday lodgings. I noted the hotels in Berlin and Vienna as Jenny and I may be visiting there shortly. I actually prefer apartments to hotels as you have more freedom to do your own thing. We have stayed twice in apartments at The Milson in Milson's Point, Sydney, which overlooks the Sydney Harbour Bridge and central Sydney. Magic!

  33. You make me want to go stay at all of the great places you've found! Someday, i will have to get back to England.

  34. Jenny, I really enjoyed reading your report! Altstadt Hotel looks like a classy place to stay. I agree with what you said regarding breakfast as well.
    Now that you mentioned it, I'm a bit angry with myself for not taking notes either. One place I really enjoyed was the cheapest motel you could imagine, somewhere way down south in Louisiana. It was about 110 °F, and it had been raining all afternoon. There was a huge swimming pool in the patio and someone brought one of those 1980's boom boxes playing southern rock music... hanging out in the pool, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, while the rain kept pouring down... that evening remains one of my favourite memories from my 2007 road trip from Boston to New Orleans

  35. oh you could keep me busy for a while...i love scenic views so that first one got me right off the bat...intriguing decor as well is def interesting though that orange room might drive me batty a bit....neighbors, ha posted about them today myself...smiles.

  36. btw... I've got huge problems with the new interface on my phone as well... I just don't understand why some people always feel the need to "improve" websites. The old interface used to load much faster

  37. Hi Jenny, I totally enjoyed reading your post. You delve into and flesh out all the interesting bits and pieces.
    Oh my goodness, in regard to the "fawlty towers"-like man with the radio ... lol, some people just don't realise that it's time to retire!!
    You know, I especially loved your kind attitude to the woman who stole your earrings - travelling to SE Asia opened my eyes to other peoples' circumstances and how they have to scratch out a living. It's all very well seeing these things in a tv documentary - far different in real life isn't it. I empathise certainly though, as pieces of jewellery hold memories near and dear.

  38. Brilliant post - and gorgeous photos! The man with the radio - good grief! Thanks for the link about the interface - I've only just had mine changed and I hate change :-) x


    We stayed at a 'bear reservation/bear watching lodge' called Knight Inlet in British Columbia

    It was a wonderful experience - can thoroughly recommended them. Great food, basic, but very comfortable rooms ... We slept like logs ... and then the bears - black, brown, grizzlies .... we got to see lots in their natural habitat, just minding their own business, living their lives.

  40. Wow, grizzlies, Biddy. That would be amazing to see, I never ever knew such a place existed....

    Yes, Susan, the loss of the earrings gave me a pang, I admit. I always feel uncomfortable in countries where there is a lot of poverty, it's not so bad where there is an amazing local culture because money isn't everything and who ever said you needed lots of money to be rich and happy and proud of yourself? It is difficult when people really don't have chances or a good culture. I felt a bit like this in Egypt, where the country has been plundered after years of dictatorship and ALSO visitor numbers are way down, there was some desperation amongst those who worked with visitors and I saw some very thin people. can't help wondering what will happen in Burma.

    Dominic, that sounds like an amazing wonderful place, goes to show that usually it's people that make a trip memorable -- people deciding to have fun and creating it themselves is always better than anything provided by a company ...

    Nick and Valentina, there is just something wonderful about overlooking an iconic place, opening the window and looking out and - well - just seeing it!!!

    And the website of The View in Monument Valley looks so great I actually want to go there. NOW!!!!!!! :D

    Your post really made me laugh Suldog - believe it or not I've never heard of Fluff and when you find a bed and breakfast that offers Fluff, Tuna and hot sauce, this, or a sardine fest, let me know and I'll stay away for sure! (anyone reading this, go over to his blog and take a barf bag):)

    I'm wondering why this didn't come up on my reader, by the way.

    Manicdaily, one reason Lonely Planet and other guidebooks may not be so good is that they are not using pro writers any more, some people like the wider variety of reader contributions but in me the topic shoos out all the bees that usually sit quietly in my bonnet.

    Yes, Broad, paying per person is a good way to put the price up IMHO, although I think part of the problem in England is the high property prices. Looks lovely (I checked the website)and i also love their clever slogan, "visit a place your imagination has spent a lifetime enjoying".

  41. I thought I’d commented on this post Jenny but it appears it didn’t stick. I think my original comment was about the rudeness of the hotelier - anyway I enjoyed every word!

  42. Jenny,
    I am just dreaming of travelling these places. If I have a chance, I really want to stay at Purcell Mountain Lodge and view the devine peaks all day long. They will recharge me fully.
    Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel also. I imagine how the woods full of bluebells in May look like.
    Your explanations of two remind me of Shangri-la.
    It is too hard to choose some of them!
    Have a great week!

  43. What a fun trip, this blogpost was! I totally enjoyed it. :)

  44. You sure has had some adventures with the places you stayed in! :)

  45. Thank you for this excellent travel guide, Jenny. I think I'll come to you for advice on Germany. (In a way that's funny, me being German) A lot of the places you speak of you visited in winter, is there a reason for that?

    I wonder if you know of a reasonably priced, small, hotel or B&B in London where a lady can safely stay on her own several times a year? I'd love to go but I'm always put off by the big chains, which are fairly cheap and the high prices of small elegant family hotels, which i can't afford.

  46. Jenny, I've written some reviews in TripAdvisor about the hotels where I stayed, more of them are negative. You're right, sometimes the small family owned hotels are more attractive.

  47. Well, Friko, if I were coming to London to stay (and I don't because I live here, of course) but pretty well ANY big city, and I was on a budget, I would certainly stay at a b&b not a hotel. Wolseley Lodges tend to have pretty nice places in decent areas, and since you have lived in London, you will be able to assess them, I think (or look at them on Streetview). There's also an agency I've heard good reports of They cover all areas but also go where Wolseley Lodge doesn't reach - areas like Archway or Bounds Green which are rather far out and a bit grungy in parts. You could expect to pay about £60 per night for a reasonable b&b though they may charge more for a single. I'm assuming you want to be somewhere that there are other human beings, rather than a suite/self catering by the way. Please let me know how you get on!

    I like Germany and visit in all seasons, but the three most recent trips were in winter, because I think Germans do enchantment and fairytales as well as they do breakfasts, and there is something so nice about the run up to Christmas.

    Lina, I have been inspired by your fab descriptions of onsens and if I go to Japan (which I intend to try and do next year,) then I really want to stay in one or two. (Weird, though, cause I can't find your comment where you mention them! I did enable it)

    And Keiko I have often told you that your blog inspires me, so I am glad mine has inspired you a bit.

    Thank you for visiting, Lydia, I have joined your blog because it is such fun.

    Yep, Nell, I re-enabled your original comment which had got into spam. Like Lina's it has vanished. I don't even have the excuse of being on the new Blogger interface! :)

  48. Oh my word Jenny, what a wonderful post! I feel like I have been on vacation! I love cozy b&bs, as long as folks don't OVER-socialize. I like a bit of friendliness, but then I like to be left to my own devices. I love luxurious hotels, as long as they are not snobby. We are coming to England/Wales in early September, and I've booked at the Chesterfield Mayfair in London, the MacDonald Spa in Bath, The Crowne Plaza in Liverpool, and a B& B in Beaumaris, Wales - I forget the name - it might have "church" in it.
    In Old Quebec city, I love the Loewes hotel, if you can get a high up floor. Then you can look down toward the Frontenac or over the Jean D'arc park. I got us a $550/night 19th floor king bed room there for $157 by booking WAY ahead, and it was fabulous.

    I SO want to live in the little cottage hidden in that picture.

  49. you certainly have been to some interesting places! and what a variety of lodging too. Maybe it was near halloween with the pair in makeup?? or heading off to a concert, LOL. thanks for stopping by on last weeks WW on the black eyes of tulips. yes all flowers can have fun features you may not notice from afar. Maybe a lot like the places you stayed at? this week, ~Faythe @ GMT~ thanks

  50. wow...what a post!! lucky you for all the travels and adventures! Thanks for the tours!

  51. You have been to so many unique places. Those pictures you have hold special memories for you and your family. I hope you get a chance to convert the slides to digital images. Going to offbeat places are more memorable than the standard tourist towns. Fawlty Towers had to be one of my favorite shows years ago.

  52. I haven't been to many and I bet Rurousha has better knowledge.

    But for a mix a old Japanese, history and a great onsen town feel : can't beat Bessho Onsen (it has a lot of ryokans there). :)

  53. We don't often stay in hotels (more into self-catering) and certainly haven't travelled as far round the world, but last year did a short road trip of Scotland and discovered some lovely B+Bs and guesthouses - and some not so nice. I prefer smaller places over huge hotels, and particularly like to find an old country house where I can sit in the grand drawing room, reading, and pretending it's actually my home!

  54. I'm such a home-body, I always love seeing faraway places and descriptions of other's travels. I found this post very interesting, Jenny! xoxo

  55. all of these are beautiful but the ones with the snow and the one with mountains...out of a james bond movie...awesome... :)

  56. Wonderful travel log, Jenny! You've stayed in so many diverse settings! I am thinking of my good friend who is living presently in Canterbury, completing his masters in Medieval History. Canterbury Cathedral and that stroll you mentioned is a regular haunt of his. He is in London this week doing research and translation on ancient documents - ah! The life! He'll be ending his sojourn in August. But, I expect he'll want to return for his PHD. Maybe, by then, hubs and I will be in a position to make the trip. Meanwhile - I'll live vicariously through him - and YOU!


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