I think I only stayed in three hotels during 2017. When I visited Belfast in April I stayed in an Ibis, but it was a nightmare – noise from other (drunk) residents at 3am. I also stayed in the Ibis Ouarzazate. Quiet. Comfortable. Great value (£22 including breakfast – which wasn’t available when I left at 5am, oddly enough).
Then I stayed in the Casablanca Novotel… twice. It was delightful. I’d stayed there for a couple of nights in 2009, so as well as being a lovely place in a good location, I enjoyed that sense of familiarity.
I stayed in apartments a few times – in Oslo and Girne, and on Colonsay. The one in Oslo was particularly memorable.
Bed and breakfasts – I had a lovely one on Islay and a quirky (in an enjoyable way) one on Lismore. I stayed in another one in Roy Bridge on my way to Eigg – it was very good but nothing unusual or memorable.
Eigg… Yes… That was an unusual place. I loved it. No frills and the toilet was 10 yards away across the field, but an experience.
Then there was the Terrace Guesthouse in Istanbul – an officially designated Special Place which I hadn’t visited since 2008. It was fantastic to go back.
My previous experience of riads (Marrakech and Fes in 2009) is very positive. Le Petit Riad in Ouarzazate didn’t let me down. I spent 5 nights there – plenty time for something to go wrong, but it didn’t.
The same can be said of the Riad Lamane in Zagora – a 3 night stay.
I find myself trying to decide between the “caravan” on Eigg and the Terrace Guesthouse. Breakfast with a view of the Bosphorus, or with a view of Ardnamurchan.
The Blue Mosque on your doorstep, or a herd of cows.
And the winner – in a photo finish – is the Terrace Guesthouse.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2018