We have made a last minute change to our accommodation in Luzern. We were planning on staying at the Tourist Hotel, but have now decide to switch to the Hotel Bellevue. The reason for this was two-fold. One, we worked out we had spent much less on accommodation than we had planned. And two, we decided that while at Luzern we would like to have a lake view, yet not be too far from the town. So based on tripadvisor.com reviews, the Hotel Bellevue got the nod.
Some time ago I outlined details of our Irish accommodation so thought I’d better outline details of the remainder of the accommodation we have booked.
The list falls into four main parts : London, Paris, Switzerland and Hong Kong.
For London, we have chosen 108 Streathbourne, a B&B a little way out of central London. This B&B has been recommended by Trip Advisor as the 2nd best B&B in London. Its run by an English/Australian couple and is close by the underground [Tooting Bec on the Northern line is the closest station], yet far enough out of central London to be relaxing. We are looking forward to staying there.
Our Paris accommodation will be at 10 rue Fontaine. Located in the heart of one of Paris’ liveliest neighborhoods, this one-bedroom 4th floor apartment is just steps away from the Moulin Rouge, Montmartre and Sacré Coeur. We are renting this apartment from Frenchy Rentals, a small property management group who rent out apartments for the owners. We found this apartment via vrbo.com [Vacation Rentals by Owner] but booked it directly through Frenchy Rentals.
We are staying in five different locations in Switzerland ranging from the capital city to a mountain resort. Accommodation in Switzerland is quite expensive despite the very good Australian dollar to Swiss Franc exchange rate, so we have had to economise a little.
For our two nights in Berne, we are staying at the Bern Backpackers [Hotel Glocke], booked through hostels.com, in a Twin Private room with a shared bathroom. Located in an historic building which is part of the city’s UNESCO world heritage area, the hostel is centrally located and close to the train station.
For our two nights in Wengen, a Swiss ski resort, we are staying at the Hotel Belvedere. Wengen is a no-car zone, so we chose the Belvedere because it is within walking distance of the Wengen station and because it was the best looking hotel in Wengen. The hotel is a traditional art nouveau-style chalet hotel overlooking the Alps. We’ve chosen a double room plus breakfast.
For our two nights in Zermatt, a small village close to the Matterhorn, we are staying in Le Petit Hôtel, a fairly modern hotel. Being a very popular tourist destination, and at one end of the famous Glacier Express train trip [more on that in a future post], accommodation in Zermatt was hard to come by and I think we were lucky to get a place to stay, despite booking 6 months in advance.
For our two nights in Luzern, we have chosen a budget hotel imaginatively named the Tourist Hotel. This hotel is located on the Reuss River and is close by the main railway station and is just a couple of minutes walk from the streets of the old town of Luzern. Despite being classified as a two-star hotel and being closer to a hostel than a hotel, it received fairly good reviews from TripAdvisor.com.
For our three nights in Zurich, we have splurged a little [within our budget, at least] and have booked into the Hotel Continental. Built in the 1960s, the Hotel features Swiss chalet-style interiors and is centrally situated, 500 metres from the downtown area and the main train station. It also received very good reviews on TripAdvisor.com. The exterior of the hotel, in the photos I’ve seen, looks to be your typical bland 60’s architecture, but the interior photos belie the drab exterior.
We are staying in Hong Kong for 3 nights on our way back to Australia. We have chosen a harbour view room at The Salisbury – YMCA in the Tsim Sha Tsui part of the city. Reasonably central, this hotel came recommended by a couple of friends which was good enough for us.
Well, stage one of the trip planning is done. We have sorted out our accommodation in Ireland.
Here’s the rundown….
We will be arriving in Dublin from Zurich at 10:35 am on 15th April. We will be staying at Egans Guesthouse in the suburb of Glasnevin. Egans Guesthouse is a 3 star B&B, just 15 mins walk north of Dublin City and comes fairly highly recommended by Tripadvisor.com as well as many other travel sites. In many respects, its just a place for us to catch our breath after our 3 leg flight from Australia. We are only spending two nights here as most cottage rentals start on Saturday.
First stop after Dublin will be in Cottage No 2 in Avoca, County Wicklow. This cottage is located in the scenic valley of Avonbeg River, close to the Meeting of the Waters and the Vale of Avoca (location of Ballykissangel). Its apparently a very scenic area close to the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough. This will be our base for a week, while we tour the areas in and around Counties Wicklow, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny.
According to their website, Mill House Cottage is “a charming, enchanting and beautifully restored 17th Century Cottage, set in a very scenic location with
panoramic views of the Ballyhoura mountains. It offers a very safe environment and an exceptionally comfortable and excellent touring base for exploring Killarney, Kerry, Waterford, Tipperary and the South and West of Ireland.” Which is everything that we are planning on using it for.
From CastleOliver Farm, we will be moving on to Cottage 206 in Craughwell, County Galway. Located in a quiet farming village and surrounded by meadows yet only 14 miles from the centre of Galway City. 2 miles from the village of Craughwell, and close to the Dunkellin River, 6 miles from the sea and only 15 miles from The Burren in Co. Clare. This will be a perfect base for us to explore the West Coast of Ireland.
After Galway and the wilds of the West Coast, we will be moving onto the “wilds” of Northern Ireland. Our base here will be Stable Court just outside of Antrim on the shores of Lough Neagh. Stable Court’s close proximity to the main arterial routes provides easy access to Belfast and Northern Ireland’s major attractions, such as the famous North Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway as well as the Midlands north of Dublin city.
We will return to Dublin from Antrim on 15th May. Once again, we will be staying at Egans Guesthouse. It will be somewhere familiar for us to re-gather our strength after our 4 weeks in Ireland before we embark on the next stage of our trip to London and beyond to mainland Europe.
For those with Google Earth, here is a KML file showing details of where the cottages are located.
During our trip we plan on using a number of ‘bases’ that we can treat as home for a week.
In Ireland, we are looking at renting cottages for a week at a time, one in each area. For example, here is one place we are looking at.
Living in cottages has the advantage of being self catering, gives us a touring base that we can do day trips from and allows us to relax in our own ‘home’ each night. Most surprising is the cost — to rent a cottage is roughly the same or less than using B&Bs or hotels. We were expecting it to be higher, given that many are advertised as ‘luxury’ cottages.
In Paris, we are looking at renting an apartment for the time we are there. There is a myriad of choices of these ranging widely in price and facilities. But they appear to be much cheaper than hotels and give us the option of self catering.
The only places where we won’t be using this type of accommodation is London, Dublin and throughout Switzerland [which is another story in itself].