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English Hotels and Travel Tips

England and the UK have a wide variety of accommodation options fitting every budget and taste. Accommodation include large international "chain" hotels and motels, castles and ancestral homes, townhouses and country house hotels, country and city pubs to small family run B&Bs, working farms and youth hostels. it is virtually impossible to list every accommodation throughout England and the UK but we have gathered up a list of some of the most interesting ones and some of the best values in English hotels and otherwise. Is tipping the concierge, porters, drivers or other hotel employees necessary or acceptable in the UK? The short answer is yes. On the whole, people in the service industry have low wages and will much appreciate a well deserved tip. The custom of tipping is well established in the U.K. Many restaurants clearly include a service charge, and in this case, only a small token tip is advised. Otherwise tips between 10 and 15% are customary if the service is acceptable. If you will be staying at a 4 or 5 star hotel where service is one of the aspects of the hotel that you are paying for, it is useful to carry adequate tip money hand for such eventualities such as tipping the doorman for hailing your cab, the porter, the housekeeper and so forth. Here is a list of some of the hotels that we have chosen for you.

London Hotels

The Berkeley
The Berkeley hotel, centrally located in London, attracts a trendy, upper scale clientele who seeks fine dining and great shopping. The Berkeley hotel houses two of London's top restaurants, including the La Tante Claire, voted best French restaurant in London and Vong, a French-Thai restaurant. The hotel is conveniently located near Sloan Square and Belgravia where famous shops and stores are to be found, including the world famous Harrod's. Don't miss the Blue Bar, one of London's hippest spots for cocktails. Equally famous it the Berkeley Health Club and Spa, featuring Christian Dior products and treatments - one of only a few spas in the world selected to do so, and many alternative treatments. If you can afford it, and want a chic and lively atmosphere, great dining and luxurious pampering without even having to leave your hotel, the Berkeley is the place for you.

Abbey House Hotel
The Abbey House has long been considered one of the best value, B&B type hotels in London. The staff also gets high praise. The Abbey House Hotel is in an excellent location close to Notting Hill, Kensington and Hyde Park. Rooms vary in spaciousness and decor and include TVs and a washbasin, but every room shares a bath with another so if you want absolute privacy or the idea of sharing a bathroom with a complete stranger isnÕt your idea of proper accommodations, try another less stripped down hotel. If you are traveling with family or friends, perhaps stomaching shared bath accommodations is more acceptable. An English breakfast is included in the price and they offer complimentary tea. 16 rooms without bath. No credit cards. Full breakfast.

London Elizabeth
This is a fantastic, family-owned hotel near Hyde Park in central London. The value of the accommodations is excellent. While most of the rooms are charming and comfortable, do ask to see a few (if possible) before making your selection. Also, they oftentimes offer internet specials if you book directly online. Even though this is an inexpensive hotel, most guest find that they get the same personalized treatment as if they were staying at a 5 star hotel in London.

Darlington Hyde Park Hotel
The Darlington is just a stone's throw from Hyde Park. Low prices, excellent location, a friendly staff and good breakfast make this London hotel a winner for those who appreciate comfort and hospitality but don't expect luxury. Their web site is informative and includes pictures of the rooms.

The Morgan
This family run Georgian row-house hotel is also considered one of the better deals in London. The hotel is centrally located and while rooms are small and not elaborate in their decor, they are functionally furnished and include TVs. The five newer apartments are particularly pleasing: three times the size of the normal rooms (and an extra £15 per night), and complete with kitchens and private phone lines. If you are looking for luxury, perhaps the Morgan isn't for you but if your main concern is location and value, you'll be pressed to find a better value than the Morgan.
24 Bloomsbury St., Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3QJ, England
Phone: 020/7636-3735
Fax: 020/7636-3045

Shakespeare Country Hotels

Caterham House
Built in 1830, this comfortable quaint old hotel is in the town center and within easy walking distance to the theater. Its bedrooms are individually decorated in early 19th-century style, featuring brass beds and antique furnishings. While the rooms are small, they are also comfortable and the hotel's location and atmosphere make the Caterham House a great deal.
58 Rother St., Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6LT, England
Phone: 01789/267309

Thames Valley and Oxford

Blenheim Guest House and Tea Rooms
The Blenheim hotel in Woodstock is situated in a quite cul-de-sac that leads to the back gates of the Blenheim Palace. While the rooms are modest, this unassuming hotel is quaint and very inexpensive. Ask for the Marlborough room with a view of the Blenheim Palace. This unique hotel is worth the experience.
17 Park St., Woodstock OX20 1SJ, England
Phone: 01993/813814
Fax: 01993/813810

The Cliveden is one of the most significant hotels in the UK - and one of the most expensive. This is sophisticated luxury at its very best and a chance to experience the "Stately House" lifestyle in all its grandeur. There are 376 acres of magnificently tended English gardens and parkland with wonderful Thames river views. The interior is opulent in the extreme, and includes all that can be expected from an English manor such as suits of armor; a library; a richly paneled staircase; endless paintings, and an endless supply of rooms with beautifully molded plaster ceilings. The swank bedrooms are named after the famous people who once stayed here - including the one used by Lady Astor herself (which costs £775 a night); a basic double costs £270 a night. There are two main restaurants - the Terrace Dining Room and Waldo's - as well as the Conservatory, offering Mediterranean-style light lunches, which may be served around one of the two pools. The most lavish of all, however, is the French Dining Room, lined with the paneling from Madame de Pompadour's 18th-century dining room. Cliveden is located in the town of Taplow, near Maidenhead. 38 rooms. 3 restaurants, cable TV, 3 tennis courts, indoor-outdoor pool, health club, spa, boating, horseback riding, squash, and use of a nearby golf course. Book in advance during peak seasons.

Bath and Cotswold

Cardynham House
Located in Painswick, the "Queen of the Cotswolds", Cardynham House is a 15th-16th Century Grade 2 Star listed house. There is wealth of character to be found in every room each one decorated in a style of its own. Each bedroom features not only a unique style but also a Four Poster or Half Tester bed and every room has an En Suite or Private Bathroom. All rooms at Cardynham House are spacious and have Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate making facilities, Television, Hair Dryers and Direct Dial Telephones. There is a resident's lounge with an inviting fireplace which becomes a focal point for relaxation after supper. Breakfasts are hearty and not to be missed. Prices vary but are moderate on average. Check the website for specials.

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