It's getting towards the quietest time of the year now, or at least it should be. Not many people going on holiday, and not many people booking either (even though now is a good time for getting the best choices and the possibility of Early Booking discounts). There's still plenty to keep us occupied though: updates on existing hotels, finding new hotels and researching new areas, so it never stops at Little Hotels.
We've been concentrating on two new regions recently: the Italian Riviera (otherwise the Ligurian Coast) and Sardinia. Obviously every hotel on our website is carefully selected so not featuring here today is no rebuke.
The first place to catch our eye is Capo Torre Resort B&B. Superlatives pale into insignificance at this intimate little B&B on the coast just west of Genoa. Cutting-edge modern design is everywhere, but most especially around the chlorine-free infinity pool that hangs precipitously on the edge of the cliff. Inevitably, this is one of Margaret's favourites.
Sa Cruxitta is on the west coast of Sardinia, not far from Cagliari. Right on the coast, facing west with a view directly over the marina of Portoscuso to the islands of San Pietro and Sant’Antioco, the garden is the perfect place to watch the sunset.
Although Sardinia is justifiably renowned for its beaches we've also found some exciting hotels a little way inland. Located on a big basalt rock outcrop, Hotel Castello Malicas is an aristocrat’s summer villa built around 1900. Built of stone, it certainly looks the part of a medieval castle as it sits in the Malicas Park and dominates the town of Galtelli.
It was such a shame to hear of the recent demise of Thomas Cook. Of course our first sympathy lay with the holidaymakers who were stranded by the sudden closure or lost their holidays, but we also feel for the many hotels which will lose a lot of money and staff who will lose their jobs. The collapse of the company came at the end of the summer when hundreds of thousands of room-nights will have been provided by hotels but not yet paid for.
It also just seems sad that a travel agent founded in 1841, possibly the first travel agency in the world, that grew to be such a goliath of the travel industry, that survived the disruption of the depression and two world wars, should eventually succumb. Perhaps the day has come when the "package holiday" business model is in retreat and more and more travellers prefer the flexible approach of booking their flights and hotels individually.
Best Destinations in Europe
No matter how sceptical you are of TripAdvisor, the reach and popularity of their reviews is undeniable. They have just published their list of the Top Destinations in Europe, many of which we feature on Little Hotels. It seems to us to be a bit "city-centric" but for what it's worth here are some highlights.
There is something for absolutely everyone: history, architecture, culture, museums, art galleries, theatres, and the shopping! London was also rated the Top Destination in the World.
The Eiffel Tower remains one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Louvre contains some of the most famous paintings in the world. Unfortunately you may have to wait a few years to see Notre Dame return to its former glory.
1600 years after the fall of the Roman Empire, it remains the most influential factor in the culture, politics, religion and languages of the whole western world. The most iconic reminders of that heritage are all in Rome.
Our personal favourite for a city break.
Wonderful beaches and so much more. The playground of Europe.
Not really a part of Europe, but it's on the list! Volcanic mountains, sandy beaches and a winter climate that is a magnet for visitors from more northern parts.
The heart of the Renaissance where you can view the real David by Michelangelo. It's also the gateway to Tuscany.
The destination that features on more bucket lists than any other.
France's own Mediterranean island, filled with dense forests and craggy mountains in the interior, and precipitous cliffs and long sandy beaches around the coast.
Scottish pageantry reaches it's zenith here, involving lots of guns, kilts and bagpipes. And don't forget the Edinburgh Festival and the equally notable Fringe.
Perhaps a chalet hotel in a ski resort is not so very extraordinary, but as most of our hotels are in warm places, it seems appropriate to point out that we do "cold" too. You really can’t getter closer to the ski slopes that this! Hotel U’Fredy sits at the foot of the La Clusaz slopes just a very short walk from the U’Fredy and l’Etale ski-lifts. For ski enthusiasts, it’s all here.
Hotel U’Fredy is a hotel, bar and restaurant rolled into one, and if you’re not skiing you can sit out on the terrace, sip your drink and watch the other skiers go by. This classic Alpine chalet provides ten comfortable guest rooms, ideal for couples, families, and friends travelling together.
And finally.... I started out in life with nothing, and I still have most of it left.