Motel One Manchester-Piccadilly, Manchester

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Motel One is about as handy as you can get if you arrive in Manchester by train. It is directly across the road from Piccadilly train station. The rooms are quite small, but they are cleverly laid out and well appointed. The windows are big, so even on a grey day the room feels bright. The bathrooms are new and modern and the shower is excellent. The bed is big and comfortable, all rooms have free wi-fi that is efficient, the code only works for 3 items though – so if you are as gadget fuelled as we are, you may have to sweet talk the reception staff into giving you more codes.  Motel One is German hotel brand and the TV comes with many European channels as standard.

The breakfast is good, but continental only, it is not included in the price and not particularly great value in a part of town that is full of great brunch venues. Head to Hilton Street which is less than a ten minute walk away and has a number of interesting cafes, including  The Pen and Pencil, 57 Hilton St, Manchester which we really liked.

Also, you need to be aware that, despite its name, Motel One, does not have a car park, so you are at the mercy of private car parks if you have driven to Manchester and parking in town is not cheap. Having said that, central Manchester is a great city to walk around and public transport is pretty good, so a car would not be essential for your time here.

The bar on the ground floor is decorated in a modern European style; flash furniture and muted colours, pleasant enough to sit and have a drink in while waiting for friends. The music is at a nice level for conversation and they have pleasant bar staff.

Overall, Motel One Piccadilly is a very good budget hotel, right in the heart of town and I will happily stay here again next time I come to Manchester.

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Hosteria La Estepa, El Calafate, Argentina

This hotel is 1.5k outside town so about a 30 minute walk but also only about £3 in a taxi. It also has the advantage that if you book a tour there’s a good chance that you will be picked up last and dropped off first.The view over the lake is beautiful especially from the upstairs lounge. The staff were wonderful and did everything they could to help.

We actually liked being a little out of town as on a clear night the there was less light noise and the stars appeared brighter.

The room was great and the shower very good, if there was one thing that I missed it was the ability to make tea or coffee in the room.

Having said that Hosteria La Estepa would be my first choice if I returned to El Calafate.

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The Blue Mansion, Georgetown, Penang 

This distinctive blue mansion is now a beautifully restored hotel and apart from staying here the only way to see it is on a guided tour. These are free and run in English twice a day. We were brought round by a very entertaining (and quite stern!) lady who really brought the history of the building to life. Don’t let the fact that you have to wait for a tour put you off; the building would not have been as much fun without the guide.If you know the French movie Indochine, it may look familiar as it was filmed here.


  

Captain Cook Caravan Park, Adventure Bay, Bruny Island, Tasmania

We stayed in a 1 bedroom cabin in this camping and caravan park. The cabin was clean and well maintained. Ours had a separate kitchen with cooker, fridge, freezer and microwave. There is also a TV and a sofa. The seating area out the front has a barbecue. The sea is directly across the road and the sound of the waves as you sit there in the morning or evening is gorgeous.

The bed was comfortable and the water in the shower was hot and strong. 

Reception is open limited hours and the nearby shop and restaurant close early…. So bring snacks! There is no wifi. However this is easily compensated for by the empty pristine beaches, the beautiful walks, the nearby penguins and the white wallabies. 

We had such a fantastic time in Tasmania and Bruny Island in particular.

These photos were both taken from the vicinity of the Park

   
 

Meriton Serviced Apartments, Campbell Street, Sydney

Sydney hotels are pretty pricey if you choose not to go down the backpacker route. However, if you are staying more than a single night, serviced apartments offer a great alternative. Meriton do them well. We stayed 5 nights in these ones in Campbell Street and were impressed. The position was great; just on the edge of Chinatown and the CBD. It is possible to walk almost anywhere in Central Sydney from here and if you don’t like to walk, it is only a couple of minutes from Central Station.

The rooms are huge, the bathrooms modern, and the water hot and plentiful. There is loads of cupboard space and the aircon is efficient. There was a washing machine and dryer in the room too, they even supplied a little tube of washing powder!

The 1GB limit on wifi use per day was enough even for our data hungry devices.

We shall be looking up Meriton Serviced Apartments for future stays in Australian cities.

Park Hotel Clarke Quay, Singapore

We stayed here for 4 nights. The room was compact but well laid out, so it did not feel too restricted. I particularly liked the wardrobe that could be opened from the bathroom as well as the bedroom.
It was a good base from which to sightsee Singapore. It is modern and had good facilities. The bathroom and shower were great. The wifi was good quality. It has a nice pool and sunbathing area. There are many restaurants and shops close by and it is walking distance (but hot and humid, so we did get taxis sometimes!) along the river to Singapore’s must see venues. I would stay here again.

Campbell House Hotel, Georgetown, Penang

This hotel was recently chosen as a global winner in the Luxury Guest House Awards, and it easy to see why. We loved the attention to detail and the friendly staff made our stay personal and memorable. We enjoyed the theatricality of our luggage being lifted to our room by rope and little touches like a surprise desert being left in our fridge or on our table at night made our stay exceptional.

The rooms that we saw were all lovingly restored and the communal areas are also beautiful. The bathrooms are lovely and the showers hot. The wifi in the room was fast.

Georgetown is famous for its street food and restaurants and this is close to many of them. Its in-house Italian restaurant is also great, as was the breakfast.

All in all, we had a perfect 4 days in Penang and Campbell House greatly contributed to this