Fifteen minutes walk from Málaga station are small and charming Dulces Dreams Boutique Hostel. It is ideally located opposite the Church of the Holy Martyrs (most rooms have a church view) and within walking distance of the Carmen Thyssen Museum, but also offers excellent value for money. The decor is clean and modern (very white) and the real highlight is the funky café on the lower level with tables overlooking the square. The friendly and helpful staff recommended a tapas bar 10 minutes away – the best tapas I’ve ever had.
• Double from €50 rooms, dulcesdreamshostel.com
Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
Built in 1499 as a citadel, the Blokhuispoort was used as a fortress, court, place of execution and, from 1580 to 2007, as a prison. In 2013, four friends embarked on the project to convert ghost-infested cells into modern accommodations for travelers, including wifi, showers with private baths, bicycle rentals, and a lounge for breakfast and drinks. Less than 10 minutes walk from the station, Alibi Hostel it is one of the most suggestive places I have stayed and an excellent starting point to explore Friesland.
• Bed in dormitory from €20, double cells € 40 room only, alibihostel.nl
The four stars Hotel Continental, in front of Genoa’s Piazza Genova station, is a good place for a stopover. It has an old-fashioned elegance, slightly worn but with modern facilities such as comfortable beds and good showers. Like its sister hotel, the five-star Grand Hotel Savoia next door is built in a grand epoque style, with functioning cage elevators, chandeliers and red velvet stripes. Trattoria Tralalero specializes in Ligurian dishes – fresh pesto was a revelation – and the service is friendly and efficient. The slightly exaggerated cocktail bar in Savoy is a good place for a drink after a long journey.
• Double from €Only 77 rooms, hotelcontinentalgenova.it
A stone’s throw from the opulent Antwerp Centraal station (often cited as the most beautiful terminus in Europe), Glory No.10 it is an oasis of tranquility on the verdant Huybrechts Straat, in Borgerhout, the most suggestive district of the city. The owner, Erik, is the perfect host, with a keen eye for interior design and beautifully furnished rooms in this glorious period building. The excellent continental breakfast, consisting of organic meats, cheeses and fruit, will prepare you for a day discovering the main attractions of the city, all within short cycling distance.
• £ 82 cufflinks with breakfast included, on Facebook
We have been to Gdansk Craft Beer Central Hotel at the start of a journey through Poland by rail. Located right next to the main station in Gdansk Główny, in a building dating back to the end of the 20th century, the hotel offers attractively designed rooms at very reasonable prices. Above all – as the name suggests – the rooms are located above the PG4 brewery: after a day spent exploring, guests can relax with a few beers before climbing the stairs to sleep.
• Doubles from £ 45 overnight only, centralhotelgdansk.pl
The Sunset destination the hostel is just above the Cais do Sodré train station. You can’t beat the location: near the river, with a rooftop bar and close to many places of interest. From here you can take a direct train to the enchanting beaches outside Lisbon, to Cascais or Estoril. The hostel organizes events together with its two partner hostels in the city.
• Dorms from £ 16, doubles from £ 95, both with breakfast included, hostelworld.com
We have been to delicious Hotel Bayerischer Hof a couple of years ago, on a summer bicycle tour around Lake Constance. It is on the small islet of Lindau, which has a surprisingly large railway station that connects Zurich, Munich, Innsbruck, Vienna and Bregenz (useful for the opera festival). Right on the lake, it’s a two-minute walk from the station, but due to the location you can’t hear a peep from the trains. It has rooms overlooking the lake and the Alps, or the secluded and beautiful garden, and the breakfast and restaurant overlooking the lake are top notch.
• Double from €170 B&B, bayerischerhof-lindau.de
The Esplanade near Zagreb railway station was built in 1925 to provide accommodation for passengers passing on the Orient Express. It has since been renovated, but retains the atmosphere and charm of old Europe. Breakfast, in particular, is quite a steal, in a lovely art deco dining room, and the waiters seem to have been there forever. A highly recommended pit stop if you are crossing, and a good starting point for exploring the city.
• Double from €135 B&B, esplanade.hr
Leave the main exit from the Gare du Nord and after a couple of hundred meters you will find the oasis and charm of Hôtel Whistler. This extravagant structure evokes the steam age – it even has a model train that tightens around the restaurant ceiling. The rooms are well appointed, with nice touches including steam trunks. Ideally located for bars, restaurants and of course transportation, this gem of a hotel is great for both business and pleasure. And the honesty bar ensures that there is always a warm welcome on your return.
• Doubles from € 115 overnight stay only, whistlerparis.com
The Hotel Alex Guldsmeden it’s nice but not pretentious – the type of eco-hotel you would expect to find in Asia: warm wood abounds, even in the gym; stone sinks and ecological toiletries in the bathrooms; breakfast is organic and the full spa is simply lovely. There is also a garden with an outdoor fireplace. This hotel has all the cozy, covered and other Scandinavian lights hygge elements you would expect, but much more.
• Doubles from £ 113 overnight stay only, guldsmedenhotels.com
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