Timothy Barber
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Amsterdam goes chic
The Dutch capital is one of Europe’s great cities, but it’s not the best for cutting-edge hotels – until now. Canal House, the third hotel from Curious Hotels (the group behind Gloucestershire’s luxurious Cowley Manor) brings sexy interiors and cosy urban cool to three ancient converted canal-side houses. It opens in a month. Rooms from €240 per night.

Truffle hunting in Provence
France’s black Perigord truffle is one of the most wonderful ingredients known to man, and it’s in season. Provence’s enchanting Hotel Crillon le Brave is offering guided truffle hunting and a tasting visit to Chateauneuf-du-Pape from 11-14 and 25-28 November. £550 per person halfboard (two sharing).

Alternative accomodation
Sometimes hotels can seem tiresome compared to a proper home. SwapMyCityPad is an online service for people around the world to list their homes and swap with other subscribers when travelling (it doesn’t have to be a direct swap). The site’s real winner is the fact that all you need pay is an annual subscription of £39.99. Perfect for cost-cutting times.