What you really want when you get to the Georgian architectural extravaganza that is Bath, is a hotel that really lets you live the dream. The Francis is one of just a handful in this elegant town which lives up to the promise, but has been rather delightfully reinterpreted with a touch of je ne sais quoi by the French.
When you are alone in a strange town, spending a few nights there can seem a little, lonely. So on a recent budget trip to Worcester, I shied away from the faceless chain hotels, opting instead for a bed and breakfast.
I found one in the village of Ladywood, a few minutes drive from town and noisy local pubs. At the every least, I reasoned, I would be in pleasant surroundings.
The Iadera gleams with newness. From the glass lifts, to the radiant white bathtubs, to the burnished sheen on the croissants, everything is polished. For guests at the luxury spa, it’s all about renewal too, settling into fluffy white robes, cleansing in the clear blue sea of the private beach, getting the grime scrubbed off, your tired muscles pummelled and eye bags smoothed away.
There’s something satisfying about sitting in a tractor-drawn tourist train being dragged around the streets of a seaside town and hearing the guide describe the hotel you’re staying in as posh and the guests as lucky.
Especially if you’re about to make your way back there after a spot of lunch at one of the waterside restaurants.
Only older children are allowed upstairs in the play centre at Calcot. The winding staircase from the soft toy area where smiley ladies help babies play with trains even has a gate little fingers can’t open.
Up there in the mini loft with its scatter-cushioned cinema and football table, everything is X-boxed and Playstationed to the rafters. A teenage dream.
Sometimes the star grading system can be a bit of a misnomer and should be considered as a standard rather than an expectation, much like the Premiership football league; there are teams which continue to be brilliant, and then there are the rest.
In the heart of Mayfair, just set back from Park Lane and a few paces from Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, sits the 5-star Four Seasons hotel.
Draped luxuriously over the side of a pretty cliff amid foliage and trees, the hotel cascades towards the Illetes coastline of Palma Bay.
The décor echoes Spanish Castilian style with wood floors, low-beamed ceilings, red carpets, stone walls and burgundy upholstered seats. Precious porcelain and antiques in nooks and crannies are lorded over by suits of armour.