Oxford University Examination Schools
Wednesday 18 April 2012
Tuesday 17 April 2012
Able to squeeze about 30 people into its eight or so apartments, Chalet Verwall is taken over by British tour operator Esprit for the ski season. The basement hosts the boot room and sauna, together with a well-equipped nursery. On the ground floor is a cramped hallway, kitchen and dining room, as well as one large apartment. Opposite the kitchen, you'll find a kettle, cafetiere, coffee, tea and a small fridge containing milk and beer, to which you can help yourself and pay what you think is appropriate at the end of the week. When you enter the building, you have to take off your shoes and leave them next to the main door. As you climb the stairs to your room, you'll find the lights come on illuminating spooky dolls sitting on chairs on the landings. At the top, on the third-floor, tucked into the eves, is a cosy lounge, a bathroom (with a bath) and a play room.
Probably the most popular mountain restaurant in Obergurgl, the Nederhütte knows exactly what it takes to keep lots of skiers and boarders happy. If the sun is out, the terrace will be choc-a-bloc with diners, demarcated from the smokers' bar by its transparent circular walls. If it's snowing, the Nederhütte's all-wood interior is warm and welcoming. A small stage, complete with drum kit and microphones, is surrounded by scores of tables of varying sizes and heights. Kitted out in leather jackets, the Nederhütte's young waiting staff are efficient, friendly and armed with wireless devices that take your order.
Monday 16 April 2012
One of the smartest establishments in Obergurgl, the Crystal Lifestyle Hotel, is a good choice for a leisurely morning coffee if you can't get onto the slopes. It's stylish and spacious lounge has large comfortable cream leather chairs, glossy magazines, funky photographs and pieces of art. A decent cappuccino or latte macchiato will cost you about 3.20 euros, while a Heisse Schokolade is 3.70 euros. Service is polished, but relaxed. 7/10
Sunday 15 April 2012
Monday 2 April 2012
Beginning in the hamlet of Downe, this undulating four mile walk takes in some of the finest countryside inside the M25. Parking in the village, you follow the signs to Down House, the longtime home of Charles Darwin. You skirt around the grounds, across a big open field, cut through a patch of bluebell wood and join a steep path, which runs alongside the road up to Cudham. In the village, you can stop for a pint in the unpretentious Blacksmith's Arms - try and grab one of the few tables in the sun at the front. Head back towards Cudham's church, walk through the churchyard, around the north side of the playing fields, past some farms, admiring the distant views of Canary Wharf, shimmering on the horizon. When you reach Foxbury Wood, head west and follow the signpost - 11/4 miles to Downe. The footpath takes you up and down through fields and woodland, underneath sizzling electricity pylons and back to your starting point. You re-enter Downe near the school. 7/10
Labels: More walks
A venerable establishment in a central location, the Prescott is a keenly-priced four star hotel, striving to stand out from the many other hotels around Union Square. The foyer and lounge are comfortable and reassuring, rather than trendy and edgy. But a wood-burning stove, together with free water and coffee (in the mornings) make for a cosy, welcoming ambiance. The elderly lifts are showing their age (the floor buttons don't always light up when you press them) and the corridors are narrow and dingy. Still, the innocuous standard rooms (decorated in shades of brown with white bedspreads) are well-equipped with fast, free Wi-Fi, safes, ironing boards and big, comfortable beds. Moreover, there is a long list of bits and bobs, such as toothpaste and sewing kits, that you can get from reception for free or a few dollars. But the window might overlook a brick wall, you may lack a proper desk and the ancient air-conditioning can be noisy as it chugs into life. Moreover, there is a shortage of electric sockets, particularly if you are using bulky international adaptors. Still, the Prescott's helpful and cheerful staff seem keen happy to go the extra yard. 7/10
Images from Scala's web site