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The Swan at Hay, Hay-on-Wye: hotel review

The chintzy restaurant is awaiting a refurb (and the bedrooms are a little fussy) but no one is looking at the wallpaper when the food is this good. Shame the hotel itself isn’t as creative as the brilliant menu

The dining chair had a wobbly leg, and husband was on the point of swapping it when general manager Ronan rushed up. Thinking our doubtful looks were occasioned by the chintziness of the upholstery (matching the curtains), he hastened to explain that though the hotel’s bedrooms had all been revamped, the Garden Room restaurant was still in its old incarnation. Modern, much less flowery furnishings were on order, he said, and would have been in place already but for some glitch.

Giving up on the chair switch, we sat down to dinner and any worries about seating were soon blown away by a meal – created by 28-year-old chef Jerry Adam – that will linger long in the memory.

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Serifos, Greece: great interiors, even better outdoors

For beauty, Serifos is up there with the Cyclades’ more famous islands – but it surpasses them for easygoing charm, which is why Athenians come here. That and the stylish places to stay

How do you choose which Greek island to visit? There are thousands, and of course the most famous cannot be the best. For unspoilt beauty, you need a tip-off, and for one that has a little more life, you follow those in the know: the Athenians, and those smart hotel groups who seek out rarefied and spectacular destinations to woo their clientele.

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