Qype: Abbey Hotel in Brighton

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I stayed here a few years ago before I came to the University of Sussex so that I could scope out the town and explore all that my future university town had to offer. The reason I chose to stay here was mainly the price – at about £40 for a double room, £20 each per night was a total bargain.

If you aren’t looking for the ‘hotel experience’, then this place is perfect. It’s kind of a hotel-meets-hostel. There’s no restaurant for example, just some vending machines in the hall, but that doesn’t matter because in each room there’s a mini kitchenette with a toaster, kettle and microwave. You don’t have your own bathroom and the communal facilities are quite rubbish, but if you’re only staying there for one or two nights that doesn’t matter either. The bed was also very creaky and rather uncomfortable, so for any length of time I couldn’t have coped with that.

The staff aren’t particularly friendly or helpful, but they aren’t offering any hotel-style services, so it didn’t bother us and we just kept the room tidy ourselves for the two days we were there. It’s kind of like renting a very mini bedsit. Great for the money and served its purpose well.

Check out my review of Abbey Hotel – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Florida Norte Cafeteria Restaurante in Madrid

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Hotel Florida Norte Cafeteria

Seeing as we didn’t go for the ‘Bed and Breakfast’ option, we didn’t spend much time in the hotel restaurant. In fact, we didn’t have breakfast here at all. What we DID do was use this place as a kind of ‘in house coffee shop’ or extended living room when everything in the outside world closed down for the afternoon siesta. So over a few days, many café con leches and beers were consumed in here.

Despite the fact that it felt a little bit lacking in character (kind of like the hotel canteens on school residential trips) it was tidy, clean and the service was extremely fast. Mainly because we went there at odd times when most people were napping, so we were the only ones needing serving.

Inside the Cafeteria

If you’re staying in the Florida Nortel, you’re so close to the wonderful independent, traditional restaurants of Old Madrid that there isn’t really any need to confine yourself to the hotel at mealtimes. Especially as there are much better value suppers to be found just a short walk away.

Check out my review of Florida Norte Cafeteria Restaurante – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Hotel Florida Norte in Madrid

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Hotel Florida Norte

Despite knowing absolutely nothing about Madrid when we booked our holiday, I doubt we could have booked a hotel in a better spot if we’d tried. Situated at the beginning of the Paseo Florida directly opposite the Principe Pio Metro station (only a short ride and one change from Madrid Barajas airport), this hotel is in the heart of Royal Madrid with views of the Palacio Real from the upper floors.

It’s a very central hotel, but seeing as we were so close to the Metro system, I must say it was well worth paying the €17 for a five-day pass so we could zip from place to place in no time at all.

Just a ten minute walk away from the Palacio Real and about 15-20 minutes from the fabulous cafes, restaurants and shops of Old Madrid this is a prime location for a short city break. Listed as a four-star hotel, we hoped it would be great value for the £180 we paid for flights and accommodation and we were right.

Our room - spacious, comfortable and clean

We opted for a standard double room which was large, clean and comfortable. The only downside was that there was no kettle or tea service in the rooms, so I couldn’t make a cuppa when I woke up. But maybe that’s just an English thing?

The staff in both the hotel and bar all seemed friendly, approachable and spoke English. Even when there seemed to be a slight mix-up with the room upon checking in (I couldn’t tell what, because they were speaking in Spanish), the receptionist didn’t falter in the slightest and immediately sorted it out.

If you’re looking at a short stay in Madrid, then the Florida Norte would come very highly recommended by me. I’ll even give it the same four stars here as it got in the brochure.

Check out my review of Florida Norte – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Myhotel in Brighton

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Myhotel's super-cool bar area

There’s no doubt about it, this place is seriously cool. Walking into the hotel lobby from North Laine is a bizarre experience – like stepping from the epitome of Brighton into something completely different that feels like it would belong far better in the centre of London. That’s not to say I don’t love it, because I do.

Strangely enough, I’d never set foot in here before last week. I wasn’t sure that just wandering into a hotel lobby was entirely acceptable. That was until I discovered the insanely cool bar at the back. Oh my goodness, it’s brilliant. On each of the far walls there are two gorgeous fish tanks, while images of fish are displayed on the plasma screens over the steel bar. The place seems kind of space-age, with soft curves of metal and high-legged chairs lining the central seating area. It feels nothing like the homely, traditional pubs I tend to frequent and hey, I think it’s time for a change of scenery every now and again! Drinks prices are slightly shocking, but everyone’s got to indulge once in a while. Especially when it comes to cocktails.

I may be giving a slightly biased review in that the only room I’ve set foot in is the ‘Carousel’ penthouse suite, which at £450 per night you’d have to have some mega bucks to consider staying in. You can get a week in Florida, flights and all, for that kind of money (believe me, I’ve checked). But who am I kidding? If I had the money I’d definitely stay here. Probably once a week. The decor is very bachelor-padesque: leather chairs, animal print ottomans, an enormous plasma screen TV, blacks, browns and deep reds. But this is softened by the addition of a beautiful antique rocking horse (which you aren’t actually allowed to touch), silks, velvet and beautiful balls of crystal topping the roofless four-poster bed. The bathroom area contains a stunning free-standing bath and is seductively curtained off with a red, semi-sheer curtain. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also your own personal steam room. Utterly divine.

Now, where’s my lottery win so I can move in?

Check out my review of myhotel – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype