Matthew Walters's visited places
Profile | 74 places in 22 countries
Stayed at the Malmaison, Oxford. A great hotel - converted from the old prison, they have managed to retain the building's integrity.
Our room was in the old Governor's House and the room was huge - the bathroom even had room for a chaise longue.
The only negative was finding the place - look for Tower Crescent, not New Road - that will save you an hour in Oxford's one-way system.
Good trip - stayed at the Golf Hotel Rene Capt. Food was excellent - although the menu was 'fixed' on half board, you could request a change during the morning if there was something that you can't (or maybe just won't) eat.
The hotel was well positioned on the lake, at the far end of Montreux; a 15 minute walk would take you as far as the market and shopping area.
As we were staying locally, we were given a card to provide free bus transport for the duration of the stay - this came in handy as we went to Chillon Castle and Vevey.
Locarno is a pleasant enough town on the shore of Lake Maggiore. It's proximity to Italy gives the area a very Italian feel with Pizzerias, Gelatos, and lots of pavement dining areas.
We arrived the week after the Film Festival and the Irish Festival and the town felt a little tired - maybe they needed a bit of a break!
Lots of churches to visit and plenty of lake tours if that's your thing.
The hotel was disappointing - evening meals were poor; veal two nights running and the second night included 'Milanese' Risotto. From this tasting, I would assume risotto is not popular in Milan.
Interlaken was a great introduction to Switzerland - very clean and quiet. It's a handy place to explore the local lakes and mountains - an easy train ride takes you to bases for exploring the Eiger and Jungfrau, or the Schilthorn.
We stayed in the Royal St George's, a pleasant hotel from the 1900's. Air conditioning would have been appreciated - the bedrooms and dining room suffered with excessive heat whilst we were there. Food was nicely presented and tasty; the bar was quiet in the evenings and a walk into the centre of town was generally called for.
The hotel was positioned opposite the 'last sex shop before the Jungfrau'. This is an interesting claim, I can't believe there is much call for 'marital aids' when hiking or climbing!
Ludlow is a beautiful market town in Shropshire - there is still a street market on certain weekdays and weekends, in Castle Square - in front of the castle. Ludlow Festival is an annual event and there are regular outdoor plays held in the castle grounds.
We stayed (and ate) at Mr Underhills - www.mr-underhills.co.uk, a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms. Arriving just after 3pm, we parked at the restaurant - there isn't much parking on site, although there is some roadside parking alongside. We then took the steep walk up to the town in time to see the market, grabbing an ice-cream cone from the Gourmet Chocolate shop on the way.
Back at Mr Underhills, we had a wonderful 7-course 'tasting' menu. The menu changes daily and uses local ingredients. Well worth a visit. Service and breakfast the following day was equally good. Overall very good stay, and reasonable value for money (although not a 'budget' stay).
Just returned from a fabulous trip to Sintra, bought for me as a birthday surprise - I love photography and architecture, so this trip enabled me to mix both together.
We stayed at the 5-star Lawrences Hotel (www.lawrenceshotel.com/) - and what a super place it is, too. Built in an 18th century manor house, with stripped wooden floor, shutters on the windows and open fires in the rooms. The room was sizeable - a suite - and comfortable, the bath even had a jacuzzi - great after a long walk to the Moorish Castle. Apparently, Lord Byron stayed in the building in 1809.
Food at the hotel was excellent (if a bit pricey) - we also ate at the Cafe De Paris in town which has similar levels of service but the food didn't seem as good. The hotel has a good value afternoon menu, with a decent burger costing about €6 - similar prices at the other restaurants in the town again didn't meet the standard I felt we had at the Lawrence's.
Sintra is a town of contrasts - high quality restaurants vie for space with terrace cafes and coffe shops, typical 'tourist' souvenir shops rub shoulders with boutique clothing stores and jewellers selling Breitling watches.
As a town, it also suffers the age old paradox of restoration/renewal. Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the palaces and historic architecture, but this means that it is increasingly expensive for people to buy and restore properties to a suitable standard. unfortunately this means there are many fine old manor house that appear to be going to ruin.
For anybody touring Portugal, it is well worth spending a good day or so in the vicinity so that you don't feel the need to rush between all the sites.
Staying at the Lanhydrock Hotel and Golf Club, we had again hired an E-Type Jaguar from Classic Escapes. As usual, the car and service were faultless - we were let down a bit by the weather, but this is England in April, so what do you expect?
The Lanhydrock was a great place to stay - ideal for exploring Cornwall, particulalry if you like golf (which I don't!) The food was great and good value for money. The room quality was excellent, although it would probably have helped if the hotel had a small gym or pool.
For anybody interested in driving, the road between St Ives and St Just (the B3306) is a nice scenic drive along the coast - plenty of places to stop for a while and go for a walk exploring the old Cornish tin mines or just taking in the rugged scenery.
We stayed at the Two Bridges hotel - a nice spot on the edge of Dartmoor. Roaring open fire place, English cream tea and locally brewed beer - can't get much better than that. The hotel was homely and could probably do with a slight touch up, but couldn't fault the friendly service.
We'd hired an E-Type Jaguar for the duration (when I say 'we', I mean my partner forked out the cash) from Cornwall Classic Car Hire (www.classicescapes.co.uk). Service from this company was excellent, a well handled meet & greet, nicely prepared car and a free picnic hamper.
We were let down by the weather a little, but not too bad for late October.