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Good hotels run on warmth, not money. Bloody hypocrite, I hear you say. OK, I'll put my hand up and admit that I snuggle into Badrutt's Palace in St Moritz or the Gasthof Post in Lech with all the joy of a luxury lover in clover. In other situations, I'm happy in simpler places, a village ryokan in Japan where you sleep on a futon under eyes of curious children or an off-boulevard family hostelry in Beijing where guests are welcomed with travellers tales. Whatever the price tag, the secret ingredient is mine host: if he's friendly and vigilant, you'll need to book in advance.
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