How to do without Fodor or Fielding, ignore the high-gloss hostelries, and stay out of the path of tour groups. British writer Rubinstein, bent on the preservation of ""hotels with character,"" solicited nominations through travel columns and from professional hotel-testers. The 300 suggestions--half from the British Isles, half scattered across Europe to Turkey--are just that, the responses of the (one to three) individuals whose names are appended to the descriptions. The Sign of the Angel, in Lacock, Wilts, boasts ""enough paneling, stout oak beams, sloping floors, bewildering stairways to satisfy any romantic's dream of Tudor England,"" Roger Smithells reports. The gregarious proprietor, the ""slightly elderly clientele,"" the lack of anything to do are all duly noted: the choice, pro or con, is yours. And you can take issue with the selections (in one case, we intend to) as well as contribute your own for future editions. Meanwhile this one, with its agreeably quirky British comments (one hideaway ""is full of the hush of grown-ups relaxing"" and therefore no place for small children), will well serve those venturesome Americans who want to make the most of their more limited opportunities. Basic information on seasons, rates, and amenities is included with each listing.