A roof over your head…

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A Portuguese Pousada…

Out of all of the places Caroline and I have stayed in over the last year, this is the one that ticked all the right boxes, even though it’s several notches above our usual choice of accommodation.

Pousada do Convento da Graca is a luxury hotel in Tavira on the Algarve at a price that didn’t break the bank thanks to the over-55’s rates available via the Pousada chain’s own website and the likes of Expedia (which is where we booked our week long stay plus Monarch flights from the UK and private transfers from and to Faro Airport.

Our room was a generous size with a luxurious bathroom and a good buffet breakfast was part of the deal. Pousada do Convento da Graca is a converted convent complete with church and cloisters that is a few minutes walk away from Tavira‘s centre and bus station in one direction and the railway station and Lidl in the other direction.

Apart from breakfast, we ate out for both lunches and evening meals (and saved a reasonable amount in doing so – eating in was around €65 for two without wine or beers whilst our last night’s meal in a local restaurant cost €40 for two mains, two desserts, two coffees, a bottle of wine and a bottle of sparkling water.

http://www.pousadas.pt

Old school…

Redworth Hall Hotel near Darlington here in the UK was an independent school that I used to pass twice a day when I went to and from work in Darlington back in the 1970’s.

Caroline and I stayed there three years ago, but decided to check in again last November as part of a break in the North East.

Large rooms and big, comfortable beds are the order of the day, as are good breakfasts and some fine in-house catering (they even made sure that their take on a good burger came with a decent regular bun as requested rather than a Brioche bun).

http://www.thehotelcollection.co.uk/hotels/redworth-hall-hotel-durham

Lisbon dreams…

Yes, it’s back to Portugal time! Lisbon Dreams Guest House has a hostel vibe to it, but that is a good thing.

There’s double rooms with shared bathrooms plus very luxurious bathrobes to wander from your room to the bathroom and back without upsetting fellow residents. Breakfast is a simple affair whilst evening meals can either be taken in one of Lisbon‘s many eating places or prepared in the Lisbon Dreams kitchen – the Guest House is situated above a mini-market with a good choice of meat, fruit and bread which is a boon for self caterers.

Lisbon Dreams is in the Rato area of the city, but it’s a quiet area around twenty minutes walk from Rossio Station and ten minutes from Principe Real‘s bars and eating places. This isn’t a bad thing though, especially if you’ve been eating out as the portions can be rather generous at times…

http://www.lisbondreamsguesthouse.com

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Chilled hostel.

It only seems as though we were at Hamilton Lodge in Fishguard last week and there’s a good reason for that – we were!

For five nights in the double ensuite room (others with shared facilities are available). Light breakfasts are provided, there are several pubs and takeaways in the town centre (the nearest is a Chinese immediately opposite the hostel) and there’s Q and Jet.

Q is the laid back owner of Hamilton Lodge and Jet is a black labrador who tends to get spoiled rotten by those staying in the hostel… like us! Q has put together a comfortable environment and one that’s great to relax in either indoors or outdoors in the garden at the back of the hostel.

There’s a good kitchen to prepare meals in with hobs, oven, microwave and toaster (there’s a Co-op, a Costcutter and Tesco Express to get supplies from, along with several independent retailers too), that garden to relax and unwind in, wifi and TV’s in each room too.

We will return. Oh yes, we will return!

And I’ll be writing more about Hamilton Lodge in the not-too-distant future.

http://www.hamiltonbackpackers.co.uk

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Guess where?

Caroline and I have stayed in three proper hostels in Portugal – one H.I. affiliated in Lagos and two independently run hostels in Porto and Aveiro respectively.

Aveiro Rossio Hostel is our choice out of the three as it’s in the centre of Aveiro (but a long walk from the railway station) and therefore near the gondolas on the canal and several bars, cafes and other eating places in the centre.

Like Hamilton House, there’s a chilled atmosphere, light breakfast and a kitchen to use at other times. The double ensuite room was simply furnished and comfortable whilst the hostel lounge had an interesting mix of furniture and artwork around the room.

Any problems? Only with the door code to get into the main entrance as the keypad was playing up, something that didn’t worry us as we were coming and going at sensible hours whilst staff were in attendance and not coming back in the wee small hours.

After two nights, it was time to move on to Coimbra for three nights and boy, did we wish that we could have taken Aveiro Rossio Hostel with us (and on so many different levels too)!

http://www.aveirorossiohostel.com

And just for the record, all of the accommodation mentioned was paid for by ourselves!

All will be mentioned again in the One Year series of posts that’s coming soon!

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About Keith Rickaby

Fiftysomething writer and occasional photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now firmly based in't Yorkshire...
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