Where to stay in Venice
A Chic B&B in Venice's Santa Croce quarter and a luxurious hotel on the Grand Canal.
Aman Canal Grande Hotel
What's so special?
Stay here and you will be right in the thick of the action on the Grand Canal in the San Polo district. It is a short walk to the Rialto Bridge and Traghetto di San Toma for access to St Mark's Square.
How they rate it
The hotel has "all the rococo splendour you hope for from Venice", says Cond Nast Traveller. "Guests arrive by boat, alighting at a little jetty that leads straight into a vaulted-ceilinged hall of the hotel, painted with frescoes and embellished with carvings and intricate reliefs."
There are 24 rooms, many overlooking the Grand Canal. The palazzo bedrooms are the cheapest and smallest and have garden views. Opt for the parquet-floored Papadopoli Stanza "signature" room for its views of the water and ceiling frescos.
The restaurant menu alternates nightly between Thai and classic Venetian. Italian dishes may include black squid-ink risotto or pan-roasted sea bass. Thai dishes might include pad pong karee (stir fried fish with red chilli).
Prices start from €1,000 per night. For more information, see amanresorts.com, or call 00 39 041 270 7333.
What's so special?
Escape the crowds and see a more authentic Venice with a stay at this boutique B&B in the Santa Croce quarter, "far enough away from the hordes, yet still with views of the Grand Canal", says Aoife O'Riordain inThe Independent. It is a three-minute walk toSan Stae Vaporetto, which is three stops from the main railway station.
How they rate it
Cima Rosa is "something special", says O'Riordain. Situated off the "pretty 13th-century courtyard is the dim, ground floor portego of this 15th-century palazzo, atmospherically illuminated by lanterns". There are just five bedrooms, but go for a suite for views of the Grand Canal. The dcor is "tastefully restrained, with misty lagoon greys, blues and exposed beams that complement the architecture. Beds are extremely comfortable and clad in snowy white Italian linen".
Breakfast is "simple but satisfying" and there is a kitchen for guests to use all day.
Doubles from €145, suites from €225, with breakfast. See cimarosavenezia.com, or call 00 39 333 354 8525.
Where to find the best British beach houses
The Beach Hut, Widemouth Bay, Cornwall (pictured). "The actress Kate Winslet is just one of the celebrities who have stayed at this quaint beach shack for two between Bude and Boscastle," says Liz Bird in The Times.
This "romantic retreat" boasts a "seaside chic interior of stripped floors and whitewashed walls", and has "its own secret surf spot" on a 52-acre estate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can even book an in-house chef. A three-night weekend for two costs from £1,120 (uniquehomestays.com).
Tamarisk Beach House, Woolacombe, Devon. This chic, "elegant 1930s Arts and Crafts-style house overlooks the vast golden sands of Woolacombe Bay". Enjoy an alfresco meal on the sea-view balcony, or in the tiered garden. "The master bedroom has a smart en suite and a lovely window seat with stupendous views." There are also two more double rooms and a twin. Three nights for eight costs from £695 (uniquehomestays.com).
Bert's Cottage, Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire. This two-bedroom, Grade II-listed cottage is just 100 metres from the beach and has "bags of character", with "beamed ceilings, sash windows, original fireplaces" and a woodburner for cold nights. The double room has a "wrought-iron bed and feature fireplace". A week for four costs from £396 (yorkshireholidaycottages.co.uk).