1. CLEAN, QUIET HOSTEL IN BARCELONA -- writes Ann in Garden Bay, Canada -- From information on the internet, I booked a room at the Hostal Olivia in Barcelona. I was buzzed into the ornate entrance on the corner of a block of up-scale shops. After taking the quirky lift to the fourth floor, I was met by the hostel owner. She unlocked the door and I knew I'd found the right place: clean, quiet, and with a palpable air of grace. The lovely owner spoke little English, and I spoke little Spanish, but we managed to get by in French as she escorted me to my little single room complete with tiny renovated bathroom. I had no view, but that didn't matter - my priorities were cleanliness, quiet, and safety. Hostal Olivia is a quick walk to the metro and a short stroll to Placa de Catalunya and a huge Apple store, where online connection is free. Highly recommended. Website: www.hostaloliva.com
2. SUMMER ACCOMMODATION IN LONDON, ENGLAND -- writes Editor, Evelyn Hannon -- This seems like such a good tip I couldn't resist sharing with all of you. More House, a Catholic Chaplaincy Centre for the Universities of London is located in South Kensington, London. Single and double rooms are let to tourists during university holidays (July and August). The guestrooms are basic, but adequately furnished; shared bathrooms are located on each floor. Continental or full English breakfast is the only meal served but cafes and restaurants are only a short stroll away. Coin operated washers and dryers available. One of the advantages of staying at More House is its premier position, just yards from the main underground line (Gloucester Road Station on the Piccadilly Line) to Heathrow Airport. Website: www.morehouse.co.uk P.S. Ask for quieter rooms at the rear of the building. (Source: Good Nice & God Bless Guide to Convent and Monastery Accommodation in Europe)
3. INEXPENSIVE, FRIENDLY HOTEL IN GRANADA, NICARAGUA -- writes Catherine in Alliston, Ontario -- When other JourneyWomen travel to Granada, Nicaragua, I recommend a stay at Casa del Agua. It's well located in a charming colonial building close to the main square. The proprietor, Gerry is happy to recommend tours, places to eat and places to see. With a pool in the centre of the courtyard, a full kitchen, free WiFi, excellent security and private rooms with ensuite bath starting at $30US/night, I believe it's a perfect places to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Nicaragua. Website: www.casadelaguagranada.com. P.S. I'm going back this year.
4. CHARMING ACCOMMODATION IN AVIGNON, FRANCE -- writes Claudia in Montreal, Canada -- This past summer my husband and I stayed at Hotel de l'ile Avignon in Avignon in Provence. It's a small, charming hotel on an island across from the old part of Avignon. Our room was large, with full bath and balcony overlooking the peaceful Rhone River. A free shuttle bus or 5 minute ferry boat ride to the old part of the city made it convenient. Our friendly host served us continental breakfast (6 Euros each) and had time to chat with us at breakfast every morning in the courtyard, and helped us plan our daily itinerary. The room was only 45 Euros a night (cheaper then the camping accommodation next door). We found it quiet, romantic and excellent value. Address: 12 ch de la Berthelasse, 84000, Avignon. Tel/fax 04 90 86 61 62. Website: www.hosteleriedelile.com
5. I RECOMMEND A SMALL RESIDENTIAL CLUB IN LONDON, ENGLAND -- writes Valerie in Vancouver, Canada -- I'd like to pass on the name of a small residential club I stayed at in London recently. It's the Soroptimist Club residence at 63 Bayswater Road opposite Kensington Gardens and close to Lancaster Gate Underground station. The accommodation is open to all and you don't have to be a member. The rooms are all ensuite, spotless and well set up with good lighting, a desk, wireless internet, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, iron, and TV. The bathroom has the best lighting I've come across in my travels, it's clean as a whistle, with a tiled enclosed shower. I think the price for a single is a pretty good deal for central London at 72 GBP per night including breakfast, (choice of cereals, fruit, toast, eggs, etc). I found all the staff very friendly and helpful with information and tips on where to eat locally, and tourist travel tips. They happily stored my suitcase while I did a few last minute things before returning to Heathrow. P.S. I love your monthly newsletters and all the travel information they contain. Website: www.soropclub63.org.uk
6. BED AND BREAKFAST IN INVERNESS, SCOTLAND -- writes Heather in Edinburgh, Scotland -- I've been devouring the Journeywoman Newsletter for a few years yet have never had a chance to add any tips until now. I'd like to pass along advice about Highfield House B&B in Inverness, Scotland located in a quiet residential area (10 minute walk from the city center). I've been there twice and owner Margaret has offered consistent, welcoming service. She is a lovely person and delightful to talk with. Our rooms were beautiful and spacious. A full Scottish breakfast is offered every morning (Highfield house has fruit trees providing its guest with fresh fruit and jams). One very sweet touch that I remember -- when we would come back to the B&B in the afternoon, usually we found a chocolate bar instead of the usual shortbread biscuits in our room. Now how can a girl not like that? Website: www.highfieldhouseinverness.co.uk
Where to stay in Istanbul ...
Istanbul is packed with accommodations from the most luxe to humble hostels. For first or second time visitors the Old City, Sultanahmet, is a great choice to base yourself. There is so much to see, do and experience within an easy walk or tram ride in this vibrant neighborhood. One very good, centrally located, moderately priced choice is the intimate Hotel Djem with only twelve rooms and a lovely manager and staff. The Djemis a boutique hotel installed in a recently renovated wooden house just behind the Blue Mosque. The family that runs the hotel has been in the Carpet and Kilim business for years and the hotel is beautifully decorated with textiles. www.hoteldjem.com
Gold star for this New York hotel...
We stayed at Hotel on the Ave on 77th and Broadway and it was a fabulous choice. The location was perfect for what we wanted to see and do, our nicely decorated rooms were spacious, and the shower stall in our modern bathroom was big enough for a mom to wash five kiddies at the same time. We got a newspaper outside our door and coffee was served in the lobby each morning. There was free WiFi in the lobby as well. However, most important to us was the genial hotel staff who offered service with a smile each and every time we requested it. When Journeywoman realized she had left her iPhone power cord at home the assistant manager happily shared his with her and saved the day. Plus there were two female concierge desks in the lobby and those girls knew their stuff. This hotel definitely earned a JW Gold Star rating from us. Our group all agreed we'd come back here 'in a New York minute.