This week: Swedish opulence versus ultra-modern chic.
This hotel is conveniently located close to the train station, waterfront, old town and shopping district, so it's great for anyone who wants to be close to the action in Stockholm.
How they rate it
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"Opulent old-style Stockholm meets modern furnishings," says Amy Harley in The Daily Telegraph. Except for the "poky" reception, all the hotel's spaces have "a sense of grandeur". The staff are "typically young, trendy and professional". But it isn't ideal for everyone. "The prevailing party atmosphere may alienate more sedate travellers," warns Harley, and it can get particularly noisy at weekends. The ballroom-cum-dining-room is the high point of the hotel step inside and "it feels as if you've been transported to 19th-century Stockholm".
When it comes to food there is a wealth of choices; the hotel boasts a "maze of bars and outdoor terraces". For restaurants there is Berns Asian and Berns Bistro to choose from depending on whether you fancy southeast Asian or French cuisine. Berns Asian menu includes smoked salmon with miso cream cheese and pickles. Breakfast is served in a "beautiful conservatory" decorated with original tiles.
Doubles cost from £130. Visit www.berns.se or call 00 46 8 5663 2222 for more.
An ultra-modern, do-it-yourself check-in sets this hotel apart from the crowd. Rather than being greeted by a receptionist you are faced with a computer. You pay for your room and receive a five-digit code before you arrive. Tap this into the reception computer and it tells you your room. You then use the code again to get into your room.
How they rate it
This a "charismatic addition to the Swedish capital", says Lucy Gillmore in The Independent. The exterior is "nondescript-modern", but inside it's "opulent-industrial" with polished concrete floors, huge exposed pipes running across the ceilings, and plush velvet furnishings. The beds are "marshmallow soft" and you get two single duvets rather than a double so no fighting with duvet hogs. And it's situated in Ostermalm, which is Stockholm's designer boutique and restaurant district, so there is plenty to do.
Breakfast buffets "can be a sorry affair", says Gillmore. But not here. You get little baskets of soft and hard-boiled eggs, delicious nutty breads, scrunched-up balls of Parma ham, and tangy cheese. Most importantly, the coffee is "rich, aromatic and delicious".
Rooms cost from £85 B&B. Visit Storyhotels.com or call 00 46 8 545 03940 for more.
What the travel writers are saying
If you're looking for Bounty-advert beaches and turquoise seas, The Sunday Times has a few suggestions. In the Caribbean, Pinney's Beach on Nevis is a "three-mile streak of hot gold sand, pricked with palms and tickled by soft surf", say Vincent Crump and Jeremy Lazell. Nevis itself "feels like a floating village". Stay at Nisbet Beach Club, with its "hammock-hung strand and authentic plantation house" (Nisbetplantation.com).
A "half-mile kiss-curl of strawberry-blonde sand, buttressed by pink boulders and lapped by fizzing rainforest" awaits visitors to Anse Lazio in the Seychelles. The beach is a "spine-tingler", yet it's never crowded thanks to its position in a "far-flung crook of the coast of Praslin, a magical island that some reckon was the original Garden of Eden". La Reserve (Lareserve.sc), a ten-minute drive away, is the nearest hotel.
"Picking the best beach in the Maldives is like picking the best star in the Milky Way," but Halaveli has the edge. It's "a classic, a shining white corona around an uninhabited 20-acre islet in the North Ari Atoll". Best of all, the resort, which reopened in June, "is now all but giving away rooms... to drum up custom." Scott Dunn (Scottdunn.com) offers 50% off at the Constance Halaveli Resort if you book by 31 October. Eight nights in a water villa costs from £1,695pp B&B including seaplane transfers.
My dream holiday: Peter Serafinowicz
"The rich man's Tahiti" is how Peter Serafinowicz describes Bora Bora in The Sunday Times. "So improbably beautiful and perfect". But watch out for the local wildlife, warns the actor. One night "I looked down and saw a shoe on the floor... Next thing, the shoe moved swiftly and silently to another part of the room. It was the biggest cockroach, which, ironically, I had to kill with an actual shoe."
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