BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Room service. Where UK space chief Paul Murdin stays

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Room service. Where UK space chief Paul Murdin stays - FOR BUSINESS: Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki. The name says it all, really; three times a year I stargaze at the University of Honolulu. Built in 1927 and

by PAUL MURDIN, director of science at the British National SpaceCentre
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

FOR BUSINESS: Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki. The name says it all, really; three times a year I stargaze at the University of Honolulu. Built in 1927 and known locally as the Pink Palace, the Royal Hawaiian is one of the oldest buildings on the island and I love it because of its odd turreted architecture and its quiet yet beach-facing location. The best rooms enable you to see the beautiful sunsets, but even the cheaper ones overlook its famous coconut-tree gardens, and all are opulent. Each has thick carpets and distinctive dark-wood colonial furniture. What sets it apart are the staff - they know you and address you by name - and the fabulous food.

The fish, which is all caught locally, is superb. Grilled Ma'hi Ma'hi is the local delicacy.

FOR PLEASURE: L'Auberge de L'Abbaye, Normandy. I'm a francophile and this 17th-century family-run hotel is situated in France's historic Le Bec Hellouin village. The joy of a hotel outside work should come as much from where it's located as how comfortable it is. It's in the heart of Normandy's lush meadows and fronts onto the village green with houses on both sides and the famed Benedictine Abbey of Notre-Dame opposite.

With simple, sloping wooden-floored rooms, it is fitted sparingly and to French taste. If I'm staying somewhere for pleasure, taking time out is also important. At L'Auberge de L'Abbaye you can eat for as long as you like, without feeling like you've got to rush to finish.

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