Bugle Hotel Titchfield

We’d got an early start, due to check-in for the Brittany Ferries morning crossing to Cherbourg at around 06:30 so looked around for a dog-friendly hotel in or near Portsmouth to stay the night before. All of the city centre was fully booked for that night and jolly lucky for us it was too!

After a little research I chanced upon this little gem online; I’d never heard of Titchfield or the hotel before so made a quick call for further details and to check about the dog policy. Before I knew it we were all booked in.

Exterior shot of the Bugle Hotel Titchfield

We had a leisurely drive down to Portsmouth in the afternoon and after some last-minute bargain hunting at the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre we headed over to Titchfield which is about a 11 mile drive away.

The Bugle is easy to find, right at the heart of this pretty quintessential English village. After checking in we took just the overnight bag to our room leaving the rest of the luggage in the car which was parked in the free, monitored car-park at the rear of the hotel.

A quick wash and brush up later and we were down in the bar where we enjoyed a fab meal of steak & chips with all the trimmings washed down with a glass or two or house red.

Herbie at home in the Bugle Hotel, Titchfield
Service was lovely, efficient and friendly we couldn’t have wished for a better place to kick off the summer holidays.  It’s an easy 20 minute drive from Titchfield to the Portsmouth International Terminal building but we left early so we’d plenty of time for a stroll along the Southsea esplanade to give Herbie some much needed exercise before the 3 hour crossing.

We’d highly recommend this hotel, especially good for budget stays and if you are travelling with pets. For more info or to make a booking check out their website The Bugle Hotel 

NH Hotel Grand Place Arenberg

This small hotel is situated in the heart of Brussels on a fairly quiet street only a few minutes’ walk from the Grand Place.

NH Grand Place Arenberg Exterior

Reception and lounge areas are light and airy, modern and comfortably furnished; there is also a large attractive breakfast room, however we didn’t use on this occasion as we were on a room only rate and there are plenty of great cafes in the location.

Our room located on the 5th floor at the back of the hotel was quiet and although a little small was spotlessly clean, well-furnished and had the most amazingly comfortable bed.

Grand Place Bedroom

The modern bathroom was well equipped and the toiletries of a very good standard. The temperature of the shower was a little erratic but I eventually got the hang of it; the only disappointment for me was that there was a rather inadequate shower curtain (rather than glass doors).

The hotel staff are amazing; they really do understand hospitality, our reception on Friday was particularly outstanding – all of the team we encountered were a real credit to the company.

Highly recommended!

Swan Hotel Thaxted

The Swan sits at the top of the hill leading down to the town square and has magnificent views over the beautiful English countryside. On our visit in August the front of the building was adorned with hanging baskets brimming with summer flowers and to the rear a small patio beer garden and a small secure car park.

Inside it’s all exposed beams and stone floors with a cosy bar and separate dining room/restaurant. We had room 5 at the front of the building which had picture postcard views of thatched cottages and a restored windmill. The bedroom was small and a litle tired, but clean and the bed very comfortable.


We opted to eat in, the menu was traditional pub grub and burgers and very reasonably priced. Sadly the food wasn’t great but not bad enough to make a complaint about. Burger buns were both burnt and cold and the burger itself a little rubbery. A side salad was little more than a garnish but probably reflected the price. We weren’t offered desserts or coffee which seemed a little odd as it wasn’t overly busy. Breakfast was significantly better with poached eggs cooked perfectly.

We were made to feel very welcome and at home by every member of the team who really do seem to get what hospitality is all about. Service was generally very good which went a long way to make up for the shortcomings in other areas.


Would we return? Yes, it’s good value, located in a beautiful setting, has great staff and is an asset to the delightful little town of Thaxted. I really hope that they get the investment to continue to refurbish, it could be amazing!


Hotel Escale Oceania, Quimper

A last minute change in plans meant we found ourselves in the beautiful medieval city of Quimper for last New Year’s Eve celebrations. We usually stay in the budget Hotel Dupleix however on this occasion it was unavailable so we tried the Oceania and couldn’t be any more pleased that we did.

This little three star hotel in situated in the centre of town almost opposite the Cathedral, benefits from being a short walk to the rail station and there is a pay multi-storey car park next door which as a bonus is locked at night.

Escale OceaniaFrom check-in to leaving the following day we were treated to 5 star service; all of the staff we encountered were enthusiastic, friendly and thoughtful.

Contemporary in style, well lit and spotlessly clean from the cosy little bar beside reception to the breakfast room and indeed the bedrooms, we found this to be an amazingly run and well-kept property. The buffet breakfast had a fab selection of hot and cold well-presented delicious food.

Great service, superb location and fantastic housekeeping. Highly recommended.