Blog

Welcome to the Secret Hotels Blog. Our aim is to help you enjoy the finer things in life without paying the hefty price tag!

Afternoon Tea Options in London

Afternoon tea is part of British tradition, the perfect gift for a loved one and a must-do on any tourists list when visiting London. We’ve selected our top afternoon tea picks, from the quintessential British to the Oriental version and even an afternoon tea for fashion lovers!

1.    The Dorchester

This iconic hotel has seen a few famous faces or two over the years, and it continues to be a drinking and dining destination for the elite. The classic afternoon tea includes read more ...

Hotels That Used To Be A Prison

Who doesn’t want to stay the night in a hotel steeped in history and tales of convicts past? Converted prisons aren’t as rare as you might think, here’s our top 5!

1.    The Liberty Hotel, Boston, USA ****

Once upon a time, this luxury hotel was the Charles Street Jail. Dating back to 1851, the jail had a whole host of criminals, from WWII German prisoners of war to suffragettes. Today, guests can expect contemporary décor with the latest technology as well read more ...

England’s Top 5 Most Romantic Cities

You don’t need to go abroad to find romance, England has plenty of romantic destinations for lovebirds. Here’s our top five:

1.    London

The English capital offers something for everyone when it comes to romance. Take a rowing boat out onto the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, watch a show in the West End such as the critically acclaimed Ghost or enjoy a classical music concert or Opera at iconic venues such as the Royal Albert Hall. Immerse read more ...

The [British] Indian takeaway – don’t expect to find one in India

When I first went to India I was looking forward to nothing more than a chicken korma, pilau rice and peshwari naan so boy was I disappointed when the menus looked decidedly different. I know this was a naïve attitude to go with, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only English tourist who believed the local curry house in London was an accurate reflection of the native Indian cuisine. The problem is, these well-known ‘Indian’ dishes we’ve come to love read more ...

Secrets Of The London Undergound

The London Underground carries a whopping 1,229 million passengers each year, so it’s no wonder that people, especially Londoners, have a lot to say about it. We take a look at some of the juicy gossip below:

High praise for the Jubilee line

In November of this year (2013), the Jubilee line was affectionately named as the city’s favourite tube line, with 24% of Londoners casting their vote to soar it to the top spot. So what’s so special about it? With read more ...

Amsterdam – Activities For The Family

Amsterdam isn’t just about the red light district, raucous sex shows and cafes serving hash brownies, there’s a whole host of family friendly activities to immerse yourself in! Check out our top five below. 1.    The Amsterdam Dungeon. Discover Amsterdam’s dark past with a trip to the Amsterdam Dungeons. In groups of no more than 30, visitors will walk through 11 live shows with seven trained actors telling gory tales from over the past 500 years, such as the horrors of read more ...

Why You Won’t Find London’s Best Pubs In The Centre

It’s the classic scenario. Tourists coming to London and visiting places like Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, only to have their heart set on the idea of finding a traditional British pub for a spot of lunch and a locally brewed ale. The worst part is that because so many of the central London pubs are still housed in historic buildings, this gives visitors the illusion that a historic pub equates to a good one! So why is it that read more ...

Street Food: Fresher and better for you!

Despite its often bad reputation, street food is emerging as the dark horse in the competition for delicious and often unusual food. Below are our top reasons why you should give it a go! 1.    It’s cheap! Ok so this probably isn’t something you’ve not heard before, but during these dark and difficult times this has got to be the main reason why people should give street food a chance. Street vendors can afford to slash their prices because they’re not read more ...

Why Airport Food Sucks!

Let’s be honest, when you know you’ve got a flight ahead, you know your next few meals are going to be pretty questionable! 1.    Lack of competition. Whether you’re flying from a big airport like Heathrow or a smaller one, there are only so many restaurants and cafes to choose from and therefore minimum competition between them. In a town, restaurants have to keep up a good reputation so they can survive during quieter periods, but in the airport there never read more ...

London’s Most Overrated Tourist Attractions

With so much to do and see in London, you’ve got to be selective with what you choose. We’ve handpicked our top five most overrated London tourist attractions below. 1.    The London Eye. The tallest Ferris wheel in Europe is one of the capitals biggest tourist attractions. But what’s all the fuss about? If you turn up on the day you’ll have to brave a long queue and for a family of four it will cost you £63. If you decide read more ...

Secrets To Avoiding ‘Dehli Belly’

Too many people have fallen victim to the dreaded Delhi Belly whilst on holiday in India, so be sure to follow these handy tips to reduce the risk whilst you’re there. 1.    Avoid ice. Even if you’re at the swankiest of hotels or the most expensive cocktail bar, unfortunately many establishments in India continue to make ice using tap water. Tap water in India is not fit for consumption, but many tourists still get caught out when they order bottled water read more ...

Visit New York On A Budget

It’s no secret that New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live and visit, but with this savvy guide, filled with penny-saving ideas and budget options from the people who know the city best, you’ll get even more out of your stay in the Big Apple!

Culture

Of course New York is well-known and highly celebrated for its world-class museums and cultural institutions, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to experience them all, read more ...

The Pickpockets of Barcelona

Unfortunately pickpocketing is a problem in Barcelona, but this shouldn’t deter you from visiting this beautiful city- you just need to be aware of what to look out for and how to prevent yourself becoming the next victim. 1.    Don’t look like a tourist. I don’t mean you have to speak Spanish and pretend you’ve lived there your whole life, but you do need to ensure you don’t stand out from the crowd looking lost and confused, as this will only read more ...

Top Five Views of Barcelona

When you first arrive in a new city, getting your bearings is essential, and what better way to do so that checking out the views! We’ve listed our top five below- perfect for picnics and romance.

1. W Hotel

This iconic five star hotel, in the shape of a sail ship, is situated on Barceloneta beach and offers fantastic views over the coast and city. Take the lift up to the 26th floor where you can take in the stunning vistas from read more ...

Visiting Berlin On A Budget

For Culture

Many of Berlin’s museums are free all year round, including the Topography of Terror, the Allied Museum and the Berlin Wall Memorial. For anyone interested to learn about Germany’s history and particularly life under and after the third Reich, these museums are a must, with the former known for its particularly moving exhibits. For those interested in the Cold War, visitors can now pass through Checkpoint Charlie for free and imagine what life was like read more ...

Visiting Rome On A Budget

For Culture

Wandering around Rome and taking in its stunning architecture doesn’t cost a thing, and many of the best known landmarks can be entered for free too. The Pantheon dates back to 27 BC and was originally built to worship the Roman Gods but today it is a Roman Catholic church, where visitors and locals can attend services, and of course admire the famous open-air oculus in the dome which lets natural light pour in. Angel Tours offer free 30 read more ...

Top Five Spanish Festivals

Running With The Bulls!
Spain, the country that gave us the word ‘fiesta’ attracts revellers from all over the world to its towns and cities for the many festivals that take place throughout the year. Fireworks, noise, music, religion and alcohol all play a part in making the fiesta in each town an event that celebrates exuberance and joy at being alive. Fiesta visitors never fail to enjoy a truly memorable experience whether it is running with bulls in Pamplona, jumping over babies in read more ...

London Hotels With Spa (our Top 4!)

Four Seasons Spa

1. Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane ***** 

Out of all the spas in London, none rival the fantastic service and facilities available at the Four Seasons. Located on the tenth floor, this rooftop haven with floor to ceiling windows benefits from stunning vistas across London and nearby Hyde Park making it a true urban retreat. The spa has nine treatment rooms offering everything from manicures and massages to an aromatherapy salt scrub and a classic read more ...

London Hotels With Free Parking

the lodge hotel putney
It comes as no surprise that finding a hotel with free parking in London is no easy feat and if you want something centrally located, you’ve got very slim pickings. From the small quantity of hotels that do offer this budget saving luxury, we’ve selected the top 5.

The Hide London (not star rating registered)

The Hide is a luxury boutique hotel located just 2 minutes from Hendon Central tube station in the north of the city. Guest rooms are beautifully decorated read more ...

How To Get An Upgrade On Your Hotel Room

Hotel Upgrade
We’ve all been there, checking into that bog standard room at reception whilst Joe Bloggs gets carted off to his penthouse suite. But what if you can harness your green eyed monster to get a free upgrade? Follow our careful tips below and try them out next time you book a hotel! 1. Careful planning is the key to winning your free upgrade. If you book into a hotel in Dublin on St Patricks Day the likelihood of bagging a free read more ...

London Hotels With Great Swimming Pools

The Rembrandt Hotel ****

This stunningly ornate Edwardian building is located in the prestigious area of Knightsbridge just minutes from popular tourist attractions such as the museums on Exhibition road, the Royal Albert Hall and Harvey Nichols luxury department store. The onsite spa and fitness club benefits from a spectacular centre piece in the form of a Romanesque swimming pool kept at a temperature of 32 degrees. This sumptuous pool is the ultimate place to relax, although lane swimming is also possible. read more ...

London Hotels With The Best Views (our Top Five!)

View from the Michelin Star restaurant at the top of the hotel (there is also a bar which requires no booking). Both the restaurant and bar are open to the public.

1. Park Lane Hilton *****

Situated in the exclusive district of Mayfair, the Park Lane Hilton has spectacular views of Hyde Park and the London skyline including iconic landmarks the Shard and Buckingham Palace. Unusually all rooms and suites offer stunning views, but for the ultimate opulence, the suites on the 27th floor are uniquely designed with British style in mind and include extra luxuries such as a whirlpool bath. On the 28th floor you’ll find the resident bar read more ...

Visiting Dublin On A Budget

Trinity College Dublin
Local tips to help you get more (for less!) out of your next trip to Dublin...

For Culture

Some of Dublin’s best museums and art galleries are open free to the public, housing many famous works and notable artefacts. The National Gallery of Ireland is home to a vast collection of Jack B Yeats’ works, who is one of Ireland’s best known artists, as well as housing works by Goya, Rubens and Turner. Those interested read more ...

Visiting Paris On A Budget

Louvre
Written by our resident local, the following tips are aimed at helping you get more value from your trip to Paris!

For Culture

Unlike London, there is an entry fee for most of the museums in Paris, however on the first Sunday of each month, popular museums such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay are completely free! If you don’t happen to be visiting on one of these Sundays however, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris read more ...

Visiting Barcelona On A Budget

Parc Guell
Save money on your next trip to Barcelona with these tips provided by our resident local, Camilla Sheppard.

For Culture

Barcelona is synonymous with the architect Gaudi and you don’t have to go far to see some of his beautiful buildings up close. Wander up the shopping street of Passeig de Gràcia and you’ll come across Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, otherwise known as La Pedrera. Gaudi was heavily influenced and inspired by the natural world, so be sure to look out read more ...