top 5 travel
Prices are exclusive of flights. Words: Emma O’Reilly
The quirky but homely décor, welcoming hosts and awardwinning breakfasts are what draw visitors to the 190-year-old Quay House in Clifden, Galway. Most rooms overlook the harbour, and the town, with its pubs and restaurants, is a 10-minute stroll away. The Irish weather might not be reliable – but this is the perfect place to hole up with a book and a cuppa. ❤ Doubles cost from around £120, including breakfast (www. thequayhouse.com).
Capture the castle
Whisk your prince away – without paying a king’s ransom – to Hôtel Le Château Fort in Sedan, a fourhour drive from Calais. It forms part of the biggest medieval castle in Europe and is an impressive sight. It’s the perfect place for a romantic adventure and, if you’ve got kids in tow, there are family duplexes, too. While you’re there, take an audio tour of the fortress itself. The castle makes a good base for exploring the Ardennes (www.ardennes.com), a beautiful, relatively undiscovered region of forests, rivers and rolling hills. ❤ Double rooms cost from around £66 (www. hotelfp-sedan.com). SeaFrance does return DoverCalais crossings for a car with up to five passengers from £19 each way (www.seafrance.com).
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With these special places that are not just for valentines
A taste of the exotic Step back in time with a visit to Fez in Morocco, one of the most impressive walled medieval cities on the planet. Riad Louna in the medina is the perfect retreat: rooms are simply but stylishly furnished and there are soothing courtyards with fountains and a rooftop terrace. Step outside and you’re in the souks, where you can haggle for bargains before enjoying a scrub, bath and massage at a traditional hammam. ❤ Doubles cost from around £80 per night, including breakfast (www.riadlouna.com).
All accommodation is five star at the Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites on the Greek island of Crete, but for privacy, splash out on a villa with an infinity pool overlooking the Med. You can self cater or call in room service but there are restaurants, a bar and a spa for when you want to venture out. And Crete has some great beaches and ruins to explore. ❤ A suite for two costs from around £225 per night, including breakfast, while a villa sleeping four costs from £540 (www. eloundagulfvillas.com).
Moorland View, an 18th-century cottage in Dartmoor National Park, is the ultimate love nest, with oak beams, a log fire and a copper bath big enough for two. If you don’t want to cook, you can stay in for a pre-ordered meal or visit the village pub. ❤ Moorland View has two bedrooms and sleeps up to four. Three nights cost from £700 (www.moorlandview.com).