Western Australian Vines Resort spa is acclaimed

A leading resort in Western Australia has won international acclaim for the quality of its spa treatment.

Novotel Vines Resort, in the Swan Valley, was among the winners at the 2018 World Luxury Spa and Restaurant Awards, held in Northern Ireland.

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Keishi Spa at the Vines Resort was named the global winner in the prestigious categories of best luxury boutique spa and the best luxury golf resort spa.

It was also recognised as the Best Luxury Beauty Spa in Australia and Oceania.

The awards celebrate exceptional service  in the luxury wellness and fine dining industries.

World Luxury Spa and Restaurant Awards are considered the pinnacle of accomplishment and are a benchmark for luxury hotels and spas across the globe.

This year, more than 140 countries competed in 100 categories, with entrants ranging from safari lodges to health retreats.

At Keishi Spa, guests are treated with luxury Babor Skin Care and Aromatherapy Associates in a secluded sanctuary at the Vines Resort, which is about 35 minutes from the Western Australian capital of Perth

The spa, which is popular with resort guests, features a couple massage room, dual Vichy showers and a hairdresser.

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The spa is situated in a secluded sanctuary under towering trees, between the resort’s golf grfeens and swimming pool.

Spa owner and manager, Everlyn Zaccagnini, said it was particularly pleasing to take out the global awards in sections where Keishi Spa had won its continental honours last year.

This, she said, was “a huge elevation in status and reason for us to be immensely proud.

“It is testament to the hard work of all our staff and we are honoured to win such accolades.”

Featured hotels travel Western Australia

Town House Motor Inn, Young, Australia

The Hilltops Region of south-western New South Wales, has plenty of  boutique and traditional accommodation options.

For our visit, we based ourselves in the town of Young and deliberately booked into the area’s original motel, the Town House Motor Inn.

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We knew that the Town House Motor Inn dated to 1960, but had recently welcomed new owner-operators – and was being refurbished. 

It was an ideal opportunity to see how the revamp was going. Here’s the ‘Memorable Destination Review’:

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. We checked prices with a few online booking sites; found the best price; and booked. The process was straight-forward, flexible and easy, without booking fees.

Q: Did the Town House Motor Inn communicate after the booking?

A: We received a confirmation email, but  were delighted to see that the motor inn’s has a great Instagram account, a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and an excellent  website.

This communication was particularly informative – and the Instagram account, in particular, allowed us to  gain a good idea of the scale of modernising underway at the inn.

Q: Does the Town House Motor Inn have street appeal? 

A: The frontage to Zouch Street, Young is tidy, visible and easy to find. The Town House Motor Inn is right in the heart of Young’s central business district and is also in the restaurant and civic precincts.

It is within walking distance of the main street shopping area; the Hilltops Council office; Young Library, the NSW Government Service Centre; and the Hilltops Regional information service. It is also surrounded by eateries.

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Q: How did check-in go?

A: Smoothly. We arrived slightly earlier than expected on a chilly and foggy day, but our room was ready and warm, with the heater operating. The staff member on check-in was professional, helpful and friendly in appearance and manner. We were shown the off-street car parking area;  given directions to our room; and handed our door key and free wifi code. 

Q: How was accessibility, particularly for senior travellers.

A: The Town House Motor Inn does well, given the decade in which the original units were built.  

For a start, guests can drive directly into the off-street car parking area, from where it is a short, level walkway to the rooms. 

There were no stairs to enter our unit and it was a simple matter to wheel our luggage inside. It was also a level and step-free walk to the breakfast room and outdoor leisure area.

Our unit – which appeared to be one of the older-style rooms – was practical in design, compact; warm, well lit, comfortable and spotlessly clean. Light switches were sensibly mid-height;  door handles opened with little effort; and there were easily-reached clothes hangers in the open-front wardrobe.

 We found the bathrooms and showers simple to negotiate – but the height of the handbasin, shower hub and room layout around the toilet could have posed problems for a person in a wheelchair.

Q: Was the bedroom big enough?

A: There was plenty of space. The room contained a particularly comfortable Queen-sized bed, individual lights over the bed; wardrobe; chair; bedside draws on either side; and a luggage stand.

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There was impressive high speed wifi, tea and coffee-making facilities and individually controlled air conditioning.

Complimentary biscuits, replaced daily, were a nice touch.

Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: The unit featured a bench area suitable to serving food and drink; a minibar; microwave oven; flat-screen television set; a kettle; and tea and coffee-making facilities.

A wide range of teas and coffee was replenished daily, as the unit was serviced.

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The bathroom was fitted with quality toiletries, fluffy towels, which were changed daily and a hair-dryer.

Our room (and every unit it seemed) opened directly onto a landscaped garden area and a self-service laundry adjoined the motor inn.

Q: Did the Town House Motor Inn have adequate charging points?

A: We always carry a multi charger and our unit easily catered for our six electronic devices. 

It was pleasing to see that the room included a power point on either side of the bed, ideal for using mobile phones as alarm clocks.

Q: How was breakfast?

A: Breakfast was included in the room rate – and was typical hearty country fare.  The breakfast room was easy to reach, spacious, comfortable, spotlessly clean and looked out onto an outdoor seating area.

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There was a wide range of cereals; toast and toppings; fruit juices; coffee and tea; and fresh fruit – as well as sausages, meat patties and baked beans.

A television in the breakfast room was telecasting around-the-clock news. 

Q: Were there any problems with the Town House Motor Inn?

A: None. The owners of the facility are obviously making a big effort – and are doing all the right things.

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It was interesting to see how they are renovating the inn while maintaining a high level of service. We were certainly impressed with the way in which the owners are documenting and promoting the renovation on Instagram. Top marks!

The friendly and highly professional attitude of the managers and staff was a highlight of our stay.

Age Friendly rating

Print

8/10: From our experience, it’s our opinion that the Town House Motor Inn makes a genuine effort to be ‘age-friendly’, within the confines of the area’s first motel. 

We would return without hesitation – and would be interested in casting our eyes over the accessibility features of the new rooms.

A particular mention must be made of the inn’s social media communication, which is logical, but especially progressive and appreciated.

Duration of stay: two nights

Location: The Town House Motor Inn is located in Zouch Street Young, a key centre in the Hilltops Region of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous State.

Australia Featured hotels Hilltops Region travel

Vue Luxury Apartments, Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia

Our reviews have convinced us that much of the travel industry is aware of the need to cater for a fast-ageing population. 

Some aspects of accessibility are being done better than others – and there’s a long way to go in many areas.

Realistically, ‘age-friendliness’ needs to be considered at the very design stage of facilities like airports, railway stations, ports, hotels, resorts, aircraft and ferry terminals.

But it’s pleasing to say that, from our experience, growing numbers of operators seem to be thinking about accessibility – and making genuine efforts to realistically service all ages.

Truly ‘Age-friendly’ accommodation

So, having said that, we are delighted to showcase one of the really good guys – accommodation that balances function, layout and looks to cater for the widest range of people possible. 

In 2018, the focus of our reviews is on our homeland of Australia.  And, in Far-North Queensland, we cast our eyes over the Vue Luxury Apartments at Trinity Beach.

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Photo courtesy Vue Luxury Apartments

The apartments overlook the beach with panoramic views of the Coral Sea, about 19 kilometres north of the city of Cairns.

Here’s our review:

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. We had read other reviews of Vue Luxury Apartments, so we used several comparision websites to find the best price, then booked online with one of the sites. The process was straight-forward, flexible and easy, without booking fees.

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Q: Did Vue Luxury Apartments communicate after the booking?

A: Yes. We received an initial confirmation email – and two follow-up communications as our visit neared.

Vue Luxury Apartments also offered to arrange airport transfers and assist with booking Great Barrier Reef tours, if desired. 

As well, we closely followed Vue Luxury Apartments on Instagram.

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Q: Do Vue Luxury Apartments have street appeal? 

A: The stunning aspect is the most outstanding feature of the apartments. They overlook the Trinity Beach Esplanade and beachfront, with a tavern – serving lovely food – immediately below and shops, restaurants and bars alongside. 

The swimming beach is almost directly across the street. From all sides, the apartments look impressive.

 

Q: How did check-in go?

A: Seamlessly. We arrived slightly later in the day that expected, but the on-site managers waited for us. They were extremely friendly, helpful and highly professional in both appearance and manner.

The security process was explained; we were given directions to Apartment 213; electronic door cards, free wifi code, lift security pass and an automatic door-opener for the undercover garage.

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Q: How was accessibility, particularly for senior travellers.

A: We can’t speak highly enough about this aspect of Vue Luxury Apartments.  We drove directly into the secure garage through the automatically-opening door – and were given a dedicated parking place immediately alongside the lift. 

There were no stairs and it was a simple matter to wheel our luggage into the lift and go up one level. From there, an equally level, well-lit and undercover walkway took us about 10 metres to the door of our two-bedroom unit.

 

Again, there were no steps to enter – and the unit was easy to negotiate, with wide hallways that allowed bags to be wheeled with ease.  

The unit was well lit throughout and, as is sensible in the tropics, the floors were generally tiled. 

Bathrooms and showers were walk-in, without steps – and hand-basins were high enough on the wall for a wheelchair to move close, should it need to. 

 

Light switches and power-points were sensibly mid-height;  door handles opened with little effort; there were clothes hangers at mid-height in the wardrobes; a level access to the rear patio and a safety latch on the door leading directly to the infinity pool. 

Our unit overlooked the dazzling pool, with ramped access.

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Q: Were the bedrooms big enough?

A: There was plenty of space in each. The rooms contained a King-sized bed, individual lights; bedside drawers; a wide-screen television and built-in wardrobes,

 

There was also complimentary high speed wifi, tea and coffee-making facilities and individually controlled air conditioning and fans in all areas.

Q: Were the beds comfortable?

A: Extremely. The rooms seemed to be sound-proofed and we slept well.

Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: The apartment was fully self-contained, with high quality European kitchen appliances.  These included a double-door Bosch freezer-refrigerator; touchscreen Bosch cooktop; Bosch combination wall oven and microwave; and Bosch dishwasher. 

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Photo courtesy Vue Luxury Apartments

The kitchen was fully equipped with cutlery and crockery, cooking pans, a toaster/sandwichmaker and electric kettle.

A wide range of teas and coffee was replaced daily, as the unit was serviced.

In the adjoining family room there was a wide-screen television complete with cable channels and a DVD player.

The laundry included a washing machine and clothes dryer.

There was adequate storage and cupboard room, as befits longer-stay apartments.

As well as the infinity pool and heated spa, it was possible to walk directly from our unit to spacious entertainment areas and B-B-Q’s overlooking the beautiful Coral Sea.  The sea views were amazing!

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Q: Did the apartment have adequate charging points?

A: Vue Luxury Apartments easily catered for our 14 electronic devices.  There were plenty of charging points, including some on either side of the bed, ideal for using mobile phones as alarm clocks.

Q: Were the bathrooms to the expected standard?

A:  Both the main bathroom and the walk-in en-suite were modern, fully tiled and fitted with luxury toiletries. There were adequate fluffy towels and hairdryers.

The ensuite bathroom also contained a full size spa bath.

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Although there were four people in our party, there was never any shortage of hot water.

During our stay, the apartment was serviced daily and we were also offered fresh linen, pool towels and bed sheets. 

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Q: Were there any problems with the apartments?

A: Just the opposite. Vue Luxury Apartments opened our eyes in many ways.

As well as being luxurious, modern, fully-equipped, spotlessly clean, extremely comfortable and secure, our apartment seemed genuinely ‘age-friendly’ (see the explanation below)

 

The approachable, helpful and highly professional attitude of the managers also made our stay at Vue Luxury Apartments all the more comfortable and memorable.

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Age Friendly rating

10/10:  This rating is a ‘first’ – and is not given lightly.

Based on this six-night experience, it is our opinion that the operators of Vue Luxury Apartments not only take accessibility seriously, but have tackled it in a whole range of practical ways – from the care given to catering for wheelchairs, to the central location at Trinity Beach adjoining a bus stop and the inclusive and intelligent apartment layout.

On-going communication with customers; the easily-navigated website; and strong social media presence all indicate to us an obvious management policy of providing accurate information and informed assistance.

We hope to return to Trinity Beach to write a more detailed review of these outstanding apartments.

Location: Vue Luxury Apartments are situated on the Trinity Beach Esplanade, Queensland, Australia. 

The nearest international airport is at nearby Cairns. This area is regularly used as a base for travellers visiting the Daintree rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and Atherton Tablelands.

Featured hotels travel

Gulls Apartments, Townsville, Australia

A review tour of Australia’s far north-eastern coastline landed us in Townsville, a Queensland city considered by the locals to be the regional capital.

And, for the first time, we decided to base ourselves at the Gulls Apartments, in Townsville’s North Ward.

It was a smart move.

Gulls Apartments were recommended by colleagues as being well priced, well located, well managed and well equipped.

And these testimonials proved the value of genuine first hand recommendations.

Here’s our opinion

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. We used several comparision websites to find the best price, then booked online with one of the sites. The process was straight-forward and easy.

Q: Did Gulls Apartments communicate after the booking?

A: Gulls sent a confirmation email when we booked.

Q: Does Gulls Apartments have street appeal?

A: The apartments are a hidden gem. The block of 12 is located in a quiet street, about 200 metres or less from the waters of Rowe’s Bay and within easy walking distance of the seafront attractions along The Strand. The apartments look sedate from the street, but deliver superbly – ultra comfortable, clean and convenient.

Q: How did check-in go?

A: Smoothly. We arrived from the airport late in the afternoon on a hot day and found our two-bedroom unit prepared and ready for us – with air conditioners and fans running. We checked-in later and the staff member on reception was friendly, helpful and highly professional in appearance and manner. The process went smoothly indeed.

Q: How was accessibility, particularly for senior travellers.

A: Excellent. In our apartment, there was only a small step at both the front and back door. The unit was on one level with a sole step in the bathroom, probably to allow families to use the shower as a bath for children. The bathroom was equipped with railings to help with balance should they be needed. The off-street parking was only metres from the apartment.

Q: Were the bedrooms big enough?

A: There was plenty of space in each room. One room contained a Queen-sized bed and a single bed – and the other room had two single beds. Each had bedside units and built-in wardrobes,

There was also complimentary high speed wifi, tea and coffee-making facilities and individually controlled air conditioning in all areas.

Q: Was the bed comfortable?

A: Extremely. The rooms were quiet and we slept soundly.

Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: The apartment was fully self-contained, with good sized refrigerator, electric stove and oven, microwave oven, wide-screen television, DVD player, cutlery and crockery, cooking pans, a toaster, an iron, ironing board and washing machine.

Gulls apartments are set amid gardens, manicured lawns, a large bar-b-que area and a tiled above-ground swimming pool.

Q: Did the room have adequate charging points?

A: Gulls apartments easily catered for our 12 electronic devices. There were plenty of charging points, including some on either side of the bed, ideal for using mobile phones as alarm clocks.

Q: Was the bathroom to the expected standard?

A: There was an adequately-sized, serviced bathroom with an overhead shower. The bathroom featured fluffy towels, hairdryer and toiletries.

Although there were four people in our party, there was no shortage of hot water.

During our stay, the apartment was serviced and kept spotlessly clean. We were also offered fresh linen and bed sheets.

Q: Were there any problems with the apartments?

A: No. Gulls Apartments offers well-priced, clean and comfortable accommodation close to Townsville’s beaches, harbour and waterfront shops and entertainment.

The apartments are modern, fully-equipped, and secure, with off-street parking, free wifi, television, adequate air-conditioning and an outdoor swimming pool.

A highlight of the Gulls apartments is the high quality of customer service provided by the owners, Paul and Caroline and their staff.

They treated us like part of the family – and their hospitality made our stay at Gulls apartments memorable indeed.

Duration of stay: seven nights

Location: Gulls apartments are located in Rose Street, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Age-friendly rating

9/10 – From our experience, it is our opinion that Gulls Apartments, Townsville, is extremely suited to people of all ages.

Featured hotels travel

Review: The Brocket Arms

We hit the jackpot with the Brocket Arms.

As part of our series about life in small villages, we decided to head for the east of England and spend time at Ayot St Lawrence in rural Hertfordshire.

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Ayot St Lawrence had it all: history, solitude, community and stunning scenery – yet still within day trip distance from London.

Although off the regular tourist trail, the village was picture-postcard beautiful, surrounded by rural estates, walking trails and horse studs.

As well as the village surrounds, there were long, meandering gravel lanes, lined on all sides by greenery and tangled hedges.

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While in the village, we also decided to review the Brocket Arms, a local pub with its own impressive history. 

Supposedly built in the 14th Century, the timber-framed pub is said to have been the ‘monastic quarters’ for the Norman church until the Reformation. It is also supposed to have been a stop-off point for pilgrims travelling to nearby St Albans Abbey.

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And here’s our frank review of the Brocket Arms:

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. We used a few comparision websites to find the best price, then booked online with one of them. The process was straight-forward and easy.

Q: Did the Brocket Arms communicate after the booking?

A: Yes, the hotel checked by email that everything was okay several weeks before our visit. This was appreciated. Friendly hotel staff also helped us arrange our travel from Heathrow airport. The Brocket Arms also has an active social media presence.

Q: Does the Brocket Arms have street appeal? 

A: It sure does!. The hotel is a stunning old building that sits perfectly in its olde England surrounds. It is surrounded by tree-lined laneways and is in a beautiful village setting.  

I realise it’s cliched, but time seems genuinely to have stood still at this wonderful old inn. 

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Q: How did check-in go?

A: It was astonishing. The friendly, welcoming hospitality at The Brocket Arms, quite frankly, was like nothing we have encountered anywhere.

And it started the minute we arrived. We were earlier than expected, but staff took our luggage from us and ushered us inside for a complimentary cup of coffee while our room was finalised. The formal check-in took place smoothly and efficiently when it suited us.

Q: How was accessibility, particularly for senior travellers.

A: For such an old building, accessibility was especially good. There were no real steps from the car park to the front door and, once inside, the few steps between the bars were clearly marked and relatively gentle.

Our accommodation was in a separate building across the courtyard – and it was particularly accessible, with level floors, ample room and easy access to the bathroom.

Our bags were able to be wheeled on the carpet with ease. This was important to us, as a wheel on our Travelon bag had somehow come adrift at Heathrow airport.

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The bars and restaurant at the Brocket Arms feature delightful beam ceilings, but we found no problems with headroom.

Q: Was the bedroom big enough?

A: There was plenty of space in the room, which featured a large, Queen-sized bed and a modern ensuite bathroom, plenty of storage space and sufficient room for bedside tables.

There was also complimentary high speed wifi, that worked perfectly in our room; and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Q: Was the bed comfortable?

A: Extremely. The room was quiet, there wasn’t much passing traffic and we slept soundly.

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Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: Although we didn’t us it, there was a modern, flat-screen TV.

Q: Did the room have enough charging points?

A: The Brocket Arms room easily catered for our seven electronic devices. There were plenty of charging points, including some on either side of the bed, ideal for using mobile phones as alarm clocks.

Q: Was the bathroom to the expected standard?

A: There was a good-sized en-suite bathroom with overhead shower. The bathroom featured fluffy towels and luxury toiletries.

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Q: Did you get breakfast?

A: Breakfast was included in the room rate. The breakfast room was comfy; the food was superb (loved the full English) and, once again, the staff made us feel like part of the family.

Q: Were there any problems with the hotel?

A: No. The Brocket Arms is a remarkable village hotel that takes you back to a past age; allows you to feel part of a village community; and also provides the utmost in luxury, technology and outstanding service – including ease of accessibility. 

The customer service provided by the staff during our stay was extraordinary. 

Nothing was too much trouble; everything was done with a smile; they went out of their way to make us feel part of the local community; were only too pleased to help with information about Ayot St Lawrence – and even invited us to a surprise birthday party for the owner.  This was a wonderful occasion that drew a big crowd of local residents.

We will long remember sitting and chatting with locals residents late into an enjoyable evening

Duration of stay: Three nights

Location: The Brocket Arms is located at Ayot St Lawrence in rural Hertfordshire.  It is about 25 miles from central London and can be reached via the M1 and A1 motorways.  It can also be reached by rail from Welwyn Garden City, Harpenden and St Albans stations.

Our Age-friendly rating:

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9/10 From our experience, The Brocket Arms caters well for all ages.  The adjacent accommodation area was extremely accessible, with simple room layout and straight-forward entry.There were a few steps inside the bar area, but they didn’t worry us – and were gentle considering the age of the premises

Overall 

Whether you a making a day trip from London or looking for a quaint setting in an historic English village, the Brocket Arms is outstanding.  We couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Featured hotels travel UK hotels

Review: Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee

It was a misty October afternoon in the Tyrolean Alps of western Austria.

Light rain was falling as we moved along the motorway that had carried us from Italy, headed for Hamburg in northern Germany.

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Daylight had started to fade as we passed the city of Innsbruck and our good friend and trusty driver, Gert, was looking for somewhere to pull in for the night.

“Ah ha”, he said as we rounded a curve, crossed an arched bridge over a lake and stopped beneath a sight that could only have been described as extraordinary.

Peering at us through the mist and low cloud was a stunning castle that dominated the hillside like something from a fairytale.

“Our hotel” said Gert with a smile, as we gazed in amazement at the scene before us.

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Fernstein Castle has guarded the road to Bavaria since at least 1288.

At the foot of the Fernpass, the castle rises from alpine forest overlooking two clear-water lakes only a few kilometers from the glaciers of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain.

The location is simply incredible – on a trade route that has been important since Roman times; ringed by knife-edged Alps; and leading to the Mieming Plateau, an area beloved by hikers.

We discovered later that Fernstein Castle is actually alongside the Claudia Augusta Road, an historic Roman route that was built in 15 BC and is still visible today.

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Originally a military installation, many of the oldest parts of the castle are in ruins, but the site is now the Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee – a grand step back in time with a combination of opulence, history, majesty and modern conveniences.

The hotel is the centre of a 280,000 square metre nature reserve, with modern alpine-style units scattered among the forest, running streams and emerald-green Fernsteinsee.

Our two-bedroom unit was in the Villa Lorea annex building and was bright, roomy and modern, with free wifi; a kitchenette; en-suite bathroom; minibar; and flat-screen TV.

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Everything was accessible; we were able to drive right to the front door, there were minimal stairs; an easy-to-use door lock and level floors.

Breakfast was included in the room rate, giving us the opportunity of sampling one of the most stunning dining areas imaginable – with superb antique furnishings, lighting, fittings and awesome artworks on the walls.

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The food was tasty and ranged from international delicacies to products from the castle’s own farm.

There were also plenty of homemade Austrian pastries and ice cream.

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Photo courtesy Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee 

Although we didn’t use the facilities, the Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee is apparently well known for its Wellness centre, that includes a Finnish sauna and massage service.

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Steady rain prevented us from exploring much of the nature reserve, but we took a quick look at the Fernsteinsee and the stables which, at one stage, were apparently able to hold between 30 and 70 horses.

Age-Friendly rating

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8/10: From our experience, the Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee is suitable for guests of all ages. There was a short walk between the dining area and our annex. However, it was possible to drive almost to the door.

The hotel itself is located only metres from the motorway.

The Fernsteinsee is quite close to the hotel, but visibility appeared good along much of the shoreline.

The balcony in our unit was solid, with level flooring, high wooden rails and a secure lock on the door.

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Austria has quite a few superb castles and we’ve been fortunate to see some awesome ones, including Schloss Schonbrunn; the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Hohensalzburg.

However, as impressive as each of those are, none have the striking forest and mountain location of the Fernstein Castle.

Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee and its castle are at Nassereith in western Austria, in the Tyrolean Alps about 53 kilometres from Innsbruck.

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It offers a truly remarkable experience

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Review: La Torricella Hotel, Poppi, Tuscany

Tuscany: the very name brings visions of Italian medieval hilltop towns; stunning cities; Renaissance architecture; great wine, food, beaches and art.

Over the years, we’ve enjoyed the splendours of Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca and San Gimignano, so our latest visit took us instead to the scenic Casentino Valley.

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And there – about 25 miles east of Florence – we were taken to the La Torricella Hotel, overlooking the medieval hamlet of Poppi and the River Arno.

Here’s our independent review of the hotel and its suitability for people of all ages and fitness levels:

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. For once, we didn’t book this accommodation online. Instead, we simply drove up to the hotel and asked if there were vacancies.

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Q: Does the La Torricella have street appeal?

A: Oh yes!!!. The farmhouse-style hotel sits high on a hill looking directly at Poppi castle and other ancient buildings.

La Torricella is surrounded by the National Park of Casentino Forest and everywhere you look is green and lush countryside.

Q: How did check-in go?

A: Smoothly. Reception staff at the La Torricella were efficient, professional and friendly. They spoke perfect English and were well presented.

Q: How was accessibility?

A: We drove right up to the free parking area, walked several paces to the main entrance of the La Torricella. The foyer was typically Tuscan,  inviting and modern – and the lift was nearby. We had no problems wheeling our bags.

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Our room was on the first floor and we caught the lift without a problem.

The hotel lifts had adequate space and the corridors were wide enough. The key to our room worked perfectly and was simple to operate.

Q: How was the room?

A: The entire hotel is built in the style of a traditional Tuscan farmhouse, with maximum use of stones, terracotta tiles, wood and wrought iron.

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Our room was classically furnished, with wooden beams on the ceiling, a queen-sized bed; modern tiled bathroom with a shower; plenty of wardrobes; and a desk.

The room was spotlessly clean.

There was also complimentary high speed wifi that worked well.

Q: Was the bed comfortable?

A: Extremely. The La Torricella’s country setting means the area is particularly quiet – and we slept well.

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Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: Although we didn’t use them, there was a flat-screen TV; cable radio; telephone and a minibar.

Q: Did the room have adequate charging points?

A: The La Torricella room boasted several charging points and we were able to keep our seven devices operating with the use of our multi-cable charger.

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Q: Was the bathroom to the expected standard?

A: There was an en-suite bathroom with modern shower and fluffy towels.

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Q: Did you get breakfast?

A: Breakfast was included in the room rate. The room was easy to find and breakfast at the La Torricella was extensive and included local cakes.

Q: Were there any problems with the hotel?

A: No. the La Torricella provides comfortable accommodation at an attractive price in a beautiful Tuscan setting.

Age-Friendliness Rating

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8/10. The Casentino Valley is a glorious part of Tuscany away from the traditional tourist trail.

And, the La Torricella is an ideal base to explore the walled fortress hamlet of Poppi, with its castle that towers over the countryside.

Although we believe it is possible to take a train from Rome to Arezzo, and then a connection to Poppi, the remote location means that the La Torricella is probably best visited by car.

Once at the hotel, it is a simple matter to use use the reception, rooms and facilities. There are few steps; our room was spacious; and the bathroom was accessible to all. The breakfast room was clearly marked and the floor was generally level.

In our experience, the La Torricella is suitable for visitors of any age. It is a small(ish) family-run hotel with 21 rooms.

The hotel is situated on the top of a hill which offers the visitor a wonderful view of Poppi castle and surrounding medieval buildings.

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