The Best Hotel Booking and research websites !

I Love Hotels. I Love Eloquent, historical, sultry, boutique hotels. Usually this dictates at least four stars. Some of my hotel requirements are :

  • Quiet and Peaceful
  • Professional Staff
  • A Bath big enough for two
  • Fine Dining Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Gardens
  • Walks

Generally, we get away for a short break maybe every couple of months. And some of the hotels we have stayed in – Oh Just Heavenly …

However, I do love to search, and research for that perfect hotel almost as much as I love the stay … Anticipation. Usually I can narrow it down quite quickly to a choice of maybe four or five hotels.

Most Divine, in Hotel Du Vin ….

Again I was in Edinburgh … this time however, I had been summoned. A big family birthday bash happened, just north of the city – Which is a blog post in itself !

The very next day however, my fiance and I stole away to Edinburgh city for a night of fine dining, and self indulgence. Or more accurately – Recovery and Recuperation !

Luckily we had found the perfect place – The Catena Zapata suite in Hotel Du Vin.

Now, this hotel is set in the Old Town. And I know, all of Edinburgh city centre looks old, with its imposing great stone architecture. But the old town is obviously the ancient part that the city grew up around. And the history within the walls here is palpable.

Paardenhof Guesthouse is Heaven in a French Farmstead

Need to ferry over the channel ? Why not skip the chaos at Calais and go via Dunquerke. That’s what we did last summer. And the French hotel (or guest house) we found just down the road from Dunkirk, was a dream come true …

Paardenhof Guesthouse is a treat for the senses. The translation in English means “Horse Farm Guest House”. And yes they have an array of beautifully kept happy horses. There are even ducks complete with their pond, and a Springer Spaniel that will steal your heart …

The guesthouse is situated in a wonderful farm, which is home to your host and Hostess – Delphine and Quentin.

The rooms are situated in a beautifully renovated stable block originally built in the 18 hundreds. There are no more than two on-suite guest rooms tucked away in what would have been the hay loft. The bedrooms are brand sparklingly new, spacious, furnished with quality, durable materials and furnishings. But all done with a decadent eye on design. The bathrooms are compact but lack nothing at all. And again really lovingly designed. You can feel the depth of thought put into the design. Delphine’s has included many finishing touches that reflect a delicate French Flare !

The Waterboys, Madrid and the Opera Hotel

So the Waterboys were playing Madrid … Don’t Bang The Drum – Lets just go, that’s what I said to my man ! ….. So we did.

Got the pets all organised with sitters, and me & my Fabulous Fiancé drove our Beautiful BMW up to the very center of Spain ….

I had booked the Hotel Opera specifically …. for its bath. This bath was basically on the balcony of the room, but situated within a glass enclosure. It was a double Jacuzzi Bath … (the kind that makes you rather cautious with bubble bath) … And, it was directly opposite the Opera House. But no one could see in. We however, could see the stars as we soaked …

This magnificent bath was put to use as soon as we arrived. (All in all I think I had 4 baths in 24 hours !!!) Now this was winter, and Madrid can get cold. So cold in fact this particular December there was actually snow on the streets! Yes it can snow in Spain! But the freezing weather just made the whole Jacuzzi experience all the better. There I was, completely immersed in a very large bath of hot water and bubbles. And, just on the other side of the glass which was above, and all round me, there was ice and a very cold breeze. Fantastic!

The Duisdale House Hotel on the Magical Isle of Skye …

One searing hot summer’s day in the south of Spain (where we lived for more moons than I care to count) I said to my fiancé … Darling, I need rain …

Off we set, north, back to the homeland … To Scotland in search of rain – Not a difficult quarry given our destination!

This would be the first time we had ventured a holiday on the west coast, amongst Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. I had visited before but never actually stayed a while. I was enthralled …

We landed in Glasgow, picked up our car, and headed straight to our booked place of rest –The Duisdale House Hotel on the Magical Isle of Skye. The drive up past fort William is listed by the AA as one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world. Green, lush, historic and grandiose in all its mountains. So very breath-taking. And the air – Sweet as a freshly flowing clover.

The bridge to Skye is a god send. No more waiting for big smelly ferries, just a seamless jaunt across the water from mainland to isle. Note – Skye is the only island with such a bridge !

Our Hotel was there patiently awaiting us.

Easily found on one of Skye’s “Main Roads”, but nestled into the side of a hill of woodland and moss … What a Lovely Stone Clad Country Manor House. Gardens, Views across the sea to the mainland. Perfect. I felt at home before I even got out of the car. The delightful staff welcomed us with their beautiful west coast lulling accents. And we were shown to our room.

Venice in April, no need for rain

Ahhh Venezia … if you haven’t been you simply must go. This is a city of water, wonder, love and so much romance. But be careful. There is not a map in existence that truly charts her streets, as my fiancee and I discovered … ! That however, just makes it all the more romantic. You can get lost in Venice and be assured of your safety upon her islands. Venice has the lowest crime rate in Europe, and therefore the smallest police presence. She is …. goodness words fail me …. She, Venice, is the shear definition of grace, elegance and unique beauty.

I have been twice now, and I would go again this afternoon if I could. I just Love Venice. We went in April. Lovely temperature and not too busy. Although if you truly want to see St Marks square, and the surrounding architectural wonders, you have better do it at 7 am. In these early morning hours there is no one about but the dedicated staff who service Venice in all her unique needs.

How about a night in La Rioja (hic!)

A few weeks ago, we were traveling through la rioja region of Spain. And did we have a lovely hotel to stay in ? Why yes we most certainly did !

Palacio Casa Fuerte …

A divine find … the hotel is a 15th century palace that was in fact still inhabited by the family of the Duke and Duchess Fuerte until recently. It was then sold and converted – very sympathetically into a hotel with no more than 5 rooms …

Suite La Gloria

hotel room bath jacuzzi la rioja spanish wine

This family run gem is an absolute steal at the prices they charge for the rooms. We stayed in Suite La Gloria … Wow, Double jacuzzi bath, beautiful comfortable 4 poster bed. And a small balcony. All designed with the original ancient stone wall interior. The photos on the website do not do this room justice at all ….

We had a wonderful stay. Arriving in the afternoon just in time for a late siesta, after sampling the local wines of course (and the bath). Later we awoke in time to bathe again before dinner … not allowed to say too much there, but I can assure you this bath is well big enough for two and the jets work beautifully !

The Beauty of a well-timed Hotel …

I don’t know about you but I LOVE a well timed hotel break … One that comes along at just the right time … You know what I mean …

You are stressed, people are bugging you, but you have a couple of days you can escape with and you actually can put everything else one hold …

Where would you go?

I can tell you exactly where I would go …

If I were in the south of England

Barnsley House Hotel – The Secret Garden Suit …. Heaven …

rm-11-v3

It’s a suite set in the Gardens detached from the hotel. Gardens which were designed and tended by the great Garden Designer Rosemary Varey no less (The hotel was originally her home!) This achingly beautiful suite houses a Great Egg Shaped Stone bath (where you can comfortably fit more than 2 should you desire…) A Fabulous, and massive shower. A lovely sitting room, and obviously, a bed made for dreaming …. As space is not at a premium here, the suite sits inside a private walled garden complete with pond ! It truly is heaven. So difficult to leave ….