Chandeliers, halogen lighting and three loos are not standard equipment in most Cornish self-catering cottages. You can find slate floors, whitewashed walls and other rustic accoutrements in many holiday homes, but all too often accompanied by damp, draughts and ill-equipped kitchens.
But Gambridge Barn, described by Classic Cottages as “chic”, actually exceeds expectations. Claire, who owns the property, has made a new stable conversion her decorating dream — and for fans of smart contemporary living, it works.
In a city of sultans, the Kempinski Ciragan Palace has a huge advantage over its rivals — it’s the only Ottoman palace currently open for business as a hotel.
Add the superb location — right on the Bosphorous in strolling distance of the smart BoHo cafés, clubs and shops of Ortakoy, Istanbul’s Hampstead — and you can see why this hotel (its difficult name is pronounced Shir-arn) is so popular with well-heeled visitors.
The Harmony, just over a year old, is what Jerusalem has been crying out for — a chic but affordable perch in the lively, western side of town.
And you can’t beat Nachalat Shiva, west Jerusalem’s dining and clubbing playground, for location — though taxi drivers must be told to head for the back entrance of the Harmony parallel to Yoel Moshe Salomon Street, which is pedestrianised. The hotel sits on the upper floors of a small shopping centre.
Eastbourne may seem like a retirement home, but on many Saturday nights, it well and truly rocks.
It did exactly that one recent autumnal evening when Toploader, a local group made good, took to the al fresco beachside bandstand for their comeback gig.
And we saw it all from the balcony of this four-star hotel on the Grand Parade. Our modern en-suite executive room was wrapped around the corner of the striking white façade, allowing spectacular views through large picture windows over the beach and the pier.
This south coast haven hides its virtues like a Victorian bride. All you see from the A337 into Lyndhurst is a French bistro and a few hedges dividing it from the college campus next door. A short drive into the greenery and you’re presented with a country house where a wood-panelled reception gives way to long 70s motel-style corridors.
But it’s at the rear where this former hunting lodge comes into its own. A £6 million upgrade in the mid 90s added a sizeable — and award-winning — oriental spa.
The Park is the latest in a chain which is branching out nationally. Think a notionally up-market Travelodge and you’re just about there.
This one opened in June. Its best asset is its location, bang opposite the Arena stadium, and just a short walk to the city centre, — Selfridges and Harvey Nicks. The night I stayed, Boyzone were playing, so there were quite a few podgy mums chaperoning their tattooed kids.
When Simon Cowell stayed here, he was surrounded by autograph hunters. I had a Big Issue seller. But, each to his own.
A chauffeur dropped Cowell off, but at least I had a concierge take my car away. That helped make me feel just a bit special in what is a hot spot for the well-known and well-heeled: an ornately crafted Victorian boutique hotel in the heart of the city’s jewellery quarter.