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Hmmm.... boutique hotels, especially in NYC usually = very small rooms. On the style front, the lines are clean and hip and the location in SoHo if you don't want far to stagger for some terrific places to eat or hang out. Arranged around a central courtyard, there's a very strong European vibe going on here. Personally, I think there are more interesting places to stay where you can swing more than a cat over the Brooklyn Bridge. The penthouse suite is really comfortable and comparatively to the rooms and even junior suites, spacious. But unless it's any of the less Arctic months in NYC, at almost $900 a night I'd suggest better bang for your buck elsewhere.
Like arriving in a five-star hotel. Qatar Airways' first major lounge investment outside its home hub of Doha is a standard setter for comfort, decor and pre-flight dining. There are two choice for food, the informal deli area if you want to just grab something quickly or the table service brasserie. There's also a Martini bar for starting your journey in style. Service is exemplary - particularly the high staff to passenger ratio. Qatar Airways jealously guards its premium product, so a shiny frequent flyer card won't get you in here; like its counterpart Premium Terminal in Doha, access is restricted to those ticketed in first and business class.
A real gem in the southern-most Mani peninsula, the most lovely part of the Peloponnese. There are just seven rooms all beautifully decorated in a blend of traditional and contemporary rustic chic. The Guy Laroche bed linens are deliciously luxurious. The in-house restaurant is pretty good too. A perfect base for exploring the Byzantine and post Byzantine churches and Frankish castles of the surrounding region. About a 3.5 hour drive from Athens. Very romantic.
The focal point of Half Moon Bay is this surprisingly good fish restaurant with terrific views towards the boardwalk. The Cereberus Beach House is a restaurant in two parts: downstairs is a casual fish and chippery - perfect for a day out at the beach - while upstairs is the more formal, though laid back, dining room. An extensive wine list complements a menu strong on fish and seafood, but with a few meaty choices for those who prefer their dish without fins. The macadamia and lemon myrtle crusted calamari are particularly yummy. Book ahead for a table in the early evening to catch some spectacular sunsets. A local institution.
Affiliated with the nearby (in fact in the grounds of) Club Himalaya. By comparison, the accommodation is basic, but the restaurant does a couple of decent if overpriced (by local standards) Nepalese dishes. Service was a bit perfunctory when I visited.
This is one of my favourite spots in the Bay of Melbourne, located around 20km south east of the city in the suburb of Black Rock. It's a charming little beach which gets busy at weekends but is mercifully quiet midweek. Also popular with locals at sunset time, often combined with fish and chips al fresco from the nearby Cerebrus (see separate entry).
Splendid 18th Century palace in Durbar Square which is home up to the present day to the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu - a child revered as a living god. Tourists get in to the courtyard and if you're lucky enough you'll catch a glimpse (no cameras, please) of the living goddess from one of the first floor windows. Truly extraordinary.
If you can't get in to the Hotel Ganges View next door, this might be the compromise choice if you're looking for something clean and not too outrageously-priced. The place evokes very little of the charm of its surroundings and you'll not get a particularly interesting view from any of the rooms, but the location is terrific for exploring the Ghats. The restaurant is clean, if charmless. Walking through the lobby I just spotted bored looking Americans and Europeans who clearly wanted to spend more time on the internet than exploring wonderful Varanasi.
If there's one welcome respite from the truly scorching heat of Doha, it's going to the movies. You'll find a slightly more interesting programme of films here than your typical multiplex, especially during the annual film festival (with sub film festivals in between).
Doha's first Argentinian restaurant but don't be fooled by the faux St Elmo-eque interior. The prices here are anything but down tempo: a meal for two will easily hit US $130 and that's without any booze. Food was ok, service so-so.
Ah, now for something I did enjoy about Doha. A touch of tradition and heritage. It used to be children racing the camels, these days don't be surprised if you see a robot rider (I'm not joking) remote controlled by its owner. See the website for race schedules.
Buying something second-hand in Qatar?? Surely heresy! OK so it's obviously not in the same league as the flea markets of Paris and Brussels but this monthly fixture is a welcome alternative to the plastic and concrete expanse that is the rest of the city. Amongst the vendors hawking paintings and jewellery you'll find some interesting and eclectic food merchants.
Yup, another hotel restaurant, with the name of a celeb chef attached. Burger and fries for 30 bucks coming up.
The antidote to most of the more homogenised bling of Doha's restaurants is this Pakistani place with friendly staff and yummy curries. If you're particular about whether your 'meat' curry contains goat or lamb, you might want to ask before ordering. Very reasonably priced, by local standards.
Don't be deceived by the name, which fools you into thinking this is a simple affair with fish fresh off the boats. It's in fact the beach front restaurant of the InterContinental Hotel, so it's a Disney-fied sort of 'market'. Even so, the setting is pleasant enough and the seafood brunch every Friday a good draw.
Fishy delights on an industrial scale at this vast restaurant where you'll often have to wait for a table. Choose your fish, get it weighed (and be careful for bill shock here) and then tell them how you'd like it cooked. Nothing particularly revolutionary, a bit characterless but pure Doha.