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A great value and a great way to learn Spanish (in a town where you might not encounter another English speaker for a week). You know how you can tell when someone pours their heart into a project? That's how you feel here. Stephanie and her Argentine husband Claudio have created a mini-family of students at the small school. Classes with their expert teachers (all professional Spanish teachers) are all small, usually 2-4 students. Plus, if you happen to show up on a week where no one is at your level, you'll get an amazing discount on one-on-one classes. There's usually a few fun activities during the week (football games, barbecues) where you'll get to know the other international students, as well.
Note: We didn't stay here, just toured the rooms and ate at the restaurant. The restaurant is fabulous, sometimes there's a musician or pianist playing, and the food is some of the best we had in two weeks in Rosario. The rooms were romantic and historic, if slightly small. Gorgeous rooftop patio, but the pool was oddly located indoors, in the basement, and the room was incredibly stuffy and humid.
Helpful staff, great breakfast, clean rooms, outdoor pool and ping pong table, great views from the upper floors ... for a Holiday Inn, this is a fantastic place to stay in Rosario. We checked out the Savoy and the Ros Tower hotels, but for the price, the Holiday Inn was a really good bet. It's in a somewhat residential part of the city center, but there are a few good restaurants and shops nearby.
Just across the street from The Rectory Hotel in the hamlet of Crudwell (just outside of Malmesbury in the southern Cotswolds) is this decidedly adorable pub. In the summer, you can dine outdoors on big round picnic tables. We went in winter, when we appreciated the pub's coziness. We totally dug all the photos of dogs on the wall. (Although they're officially banned now, fox hunts used to be a very big thing in these parts.)
Who knew sashimi (one of my favorite foods) could taste *this* good? With a dozen types of dishes on the menu (salads, mini sushi tacos, hot dishes), you'll have taste buds tickled you didn't even know you had.
In the less-touristed but gorgeous area of Seven Dials near Covent Garden is this tastefully designed Indian/South Asian street food cafe. Come hungry, early if you don't want to wait in line, and with friends; the many small plates are meant to be shared. I don't like daal much, but theirs is remarkably good. 'Naughty' chocolate chai comes with a splash of bourbon.
Vegetarians and low-fat devotees need not visit. This Argentine steak house (a small chain, mostly based in London) has over a dozen different types of steaks and cuts, along with all things South American and beef-related: empanadas, ceviche, etc. Be warned: It's about £100 per person, minimum, and the noise levels are high.
If you're going to stay in Marrakech, a riad is a much better option than a chain hotel. Riads can be both hotels or (very posh) private homes, but they're all built in a courtyard style, often with an inside pool and lush garden with two levels of rooms surrounding the beautiful interior.
Our stay at the Riad Andrea was fantastic. We loved our hosts' traditional Moroccan breakfast and the Arabian-themed decor and interiors. It's central but extremely quiet.
Mayfair is filled with five-star hotels and high-end boutiques, but even so, you can find a homey British pub with good food and decent prices. The pub downstairs is your typical London pub -- convivial and lively -- plus there's an upstairs restaurant that serves delicious fish and chips and a fantastic mushroom pie.
My boyfriend consults near Tetbury, so we stay here *a lot*. The Close is probably my favorite hotel in the area. It's in the centre of Tetbury, right near Prince Charles' Highgrove Shop. The restaurant is fantastic, wifi works well and the staff are friendly.
My boyfriend works nearby during the week, so I've stayed at almost all of the Tetbury hotels now. This is probably my least favorite place to stay (except for the giant Great Dane, George). The wifi is terrible, the service isn't great, and the rooms are really cold during the winter. However, it's perfectly located in the exact centre of town and has a good restaurant.
Whatever food you need, Selfridges has it in its food hall and confectionary: matzoh meal, sushi, Pop Rocks, Reese's Pieces, scorpion lollipops, gold-flaked chocolates. The clothing is all very high-end if you're into that kind of thing, but the food hall is accessible to all. Stop in for a gourmet cupcake or salted beef sandwich and shop for any one of hundreds of kinds of chocolate from around the world.
Free! The V&A museum costs nothing (sans for special exhibits and events) except for an optional donation. Here's my take: Don't even consider spending more than two hours here. Your eyeballs would explode. Pick a section, spend an hour or so, and then enjoy the outdoor courtyard or just get the hell out. We loved the neo-classical, Victorian rooms. You're in London, so might as well drop into the Britishness of the best of art and design.
Canary Wharf isn't exactly known for independent restaurants, budget anything or local places, but Royal China meets each. It's a bit west of the centre of Canary Wharf, just past the Westferry roundabout on the Thames next to the ferry (so a beautiful location, as well). I ate there with friends who'd lived in Hong Kong for 12 years, and they said it was one of the most authentic Chinese places in East London and apparently has the best dim sum in London.
Good (and relatively inexpensive) French bistro in the most adorable part of town (Shepherd's Market, near ritzy Mayfair). The cod and the beef bourgonin were fantastic, but the desserts looked even better. I wish the pomme frites were more French-style, but they were thick British chips.