It may be the modern face of India, but at heart Bangalore is still firmly wedded to the great days of the Raj. Which explains why its best hotel, the Leela Palace, unashamedly takes its inspiration from a maharajah's palace, recalling those glory days rather than the gleaming glass structures of the IT multinationals that strut their stuff on the outskirts of the city.
When Nelson Mandela wanted to escape the pressures of being one of the most famous men in the world, and to finish his autobiography A Long Walk to Freedom, he used to retreat to the home of his friend Douw Steyn in the peaceful Johannesburg suburb of Sandhurst.
Arriving at your hotel before midday, the best-case scenario is normally that reception staff deal with check-in formalities and arrange storage for luggage so you can go about your business unencumbered until such time that your room is available.
It's everything you'd expect of a 5-star hotel in Tuscany. Castello del Nero offers the 12th-century bones of a noble residence, adapted for modern comfort while preserving ancient features like beams and old brick floors.
Having discovered that the hotel is no more than a two-minute saunter from the tube and, more importantly, the culinary smorgasbord that is Borough Market, we were well up for our capital getaway. And enthusiasm was not diminished on reaching our fourth-floor accommodation.
Is "affordable luxury" just another way of saying "no frills"?I pondered this when crossing London's busy City Road late at night in search of a pack of the tissues not provided in my room at the Z Shoreditch. Yet this was a room billed as coming equipped with toiletries - for which read "one bog-standard little tube of shower gel-cum-shampoo".
It's a nice surprise to find a comfort-able, stylish - and affordable - hotel right in the midle of a town centre.
The Bristol Hotel was the city's first modern hotel, built in 1960, alongside its Floating Harbour. Around the same time the harbour was regenerated and emerged as a tourist area - but not in the usual tacky sense. The area is attractive, busy and fun. And very close by.