Where to stay in Lyon

A 13th-century castle complete with moat and drawbridge versus a funky hotel converted from a school.

Chteau de Bagnols

There are 22 Michelin stars in Lyon, and one of them belongs to the restaurant at Chteau de Bagnols. This hotel is widely considered to be one of the best in France. It won't take you long to see why. The building is a 13th-century castle complete with a moat and drawbridge surrounded by vineyards. Inside, the rooms are decorated in a sumptuous period style and there is an abundance of impressive architectural details.

How they rate it

"If there is a finer hotel in France, please tell us," says The Sunday Times. Bagnols is "sheer, unadulterated sophistication". The chateau manages to feel "intimate and discreet despite, on the face of it, being hugely imposing", says Lesley Thomas in The Times. "It's worth every one of the quite considerable number of pennies you need to stay here."

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The menu

Needless to say, the food is exquisite, with treats including crayfish with truffle gratin, or pike served with a light cream mushroom sauce.

The cost

A room costs from £590 per night. Visit www.chateaudebagnols.co.uk or call 00 33 474 71 40 00.

College Hotel


If you like your hotels to be a little bit quirky, then you will love the College Hotel. This former school has been converted into a funky hotel. It has a great position in Lyon's Old Town, so is a perfect base for exploring all the fabulous eateries the town has to offer.

How they rate it

The hotel has "taken an educational theme and runs with it", says Sarah Turner in The Observer. The all-white rooms have lockers that act as wardrobes and the place makes "copious use of blackboards and vintage text books". It may "seem gimmick-y at first glance", says Jolyon Attwooll in The Daily Telegraph. But the College Hotel's interiors have been "done in style and with humour and there is enough substance to this three-star hotel to back it up".

The menu

The hotel has a tapas bar, but with so many world-class restuarants nearby, it seems wrong to eat in the hotel. Instead, head to L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, the world-famous three-Michelin-star restaurant run by Paul Bocuse. You'll have to book in advance, but it's worth it to taste his culinary delights which include sea bass stuffed with lobster mousse in a puff pastry shell.

The cost

An 'undergraduate' room costs from e125. Find out more at www.college-hotel.com or call 00 33 472 10 05 05.

What the travel writers are saying

Offering "dazzling rooftop pools, exotic villas and first-class food", the new breed of hotels opening around the world in 2011 is set to upset the competition, says Tom Chesshyre in The Times.

The Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York has just opened in the NoMad neighbourhood. It's a "funky affair" with a rooftop pool that has "terrific views" of the Empire State Building and "trendy loft-style rooms" with floor-to-ceiling windows. Doubles cost from £267.

The Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom in Austria looks like a "giant glass box that has been squashed". It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and is already considered an architectural attraction in its own right.

It features modern art inside and has a "supercool" bar and a restaurant, Le Loft, with "fabulous city views". Prices for a double start from £163.

At Babylonstoren in Drakenstein, South Africa, guests are encouraged to pick their own salads. You'll certainly be spoiled for choice as this is a 200-hectare farm with fruit groves and vegetable gardens. Help yourself then take your choices back to the "smart restaurant". There are also vineyards and boats and canoes available so you can "potter in the water by a local dam". B&B doubles cost from £127.

In London, the two hotels to watch out for are the W Hotel on the old Swiss Centre site in Leicester Square and Corinthia on Whitehall both are set to open this year.