Archive for February, 2007

Ferme du Lavay Les Gets, France

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I visited Les Gets in France with ten friends during January and stayed at the Ferme du Lavay for a week. It was absolutely fantastic apart from the fact there was very little snow – something that doesn’t happen very often in The Alps during January. The chalet is located at the top of Les Get, only a 5 minute coach ride from the main express lift. This was probably the only downside of the chalet – at the top of a long and winding hill it is difficult to get about in the evenings. During the day our chalet host took us down to the lift and picked us up in the afternoon so it wasn’t a problem.

We booked the Ferme du Lavay through Total Ski who run a lot of fully catered holidays. I must admit, this was my favourite part – having a chef cook breakfast, a four course evening meal and a cake in the afternoon every day. That’s right, no cooling on this holiday! Since the chalet was so large and there were 17 guests staying at the time we also had a cooking assistant and a cleaner, all staff worked for Total Ski.

Chalet

The chalet was just as you would imagine accommodation in the Alps to be, it looked like a wooden cabin from the outside and was snug and cosy inside. Ferme du Lavay can sleep up to 24 people therefore you can get a gist of how large this chalet is. There are three floors in total, the ground floor with three bedrooms, the middle floor with a huge lounge area, kitchen, dining area, two smaller bedrooms and a bathroom for these two rooms to share. The entrance to the chalets is also on the middle floor. The top floor consists of three larger bedrooms all with a double bed and at least one single bed.

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Sol Cayo Guillermo, Cuba

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Sol Cayo Guillermo is a beautiful hotel on the Carribean island of Cuba. The hotel is situated in Cayo Guillermo, just up the road from Cayo Coco, however is quite a way from the mainland (although there are day trips over to Havana).The flight to Cuba is 9 hours 15 mins and Sol Cayo Guillermo is approximately a 45 minute transfer from the airport depending on the stops before, but as you pull up to the hotel you realise it was worth all the travelling!

Currency is CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) and you can change this at reception or at the airport. However you’re unable to change your currency once back in the UK so remember to do this before leaving the country. Also remember that all tourists have to pay a departure tax of 25CUC per person so don’t leave yourself short for the way home!

If you’re like me you won’t find much to complain about when you have the hot sun, beautiful beaches and breathtaking views of the carribean, and this hotel really made our stay all the more relaxing.

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Kempinski Hotel Grand Hermitage, Bulgaria

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

The Kempinski Hotel is set high up on the beautiful black sea resort of Golden Sands Bulgaria. Although the hotel is very new, it is extremely popular among tourists and has been awarded 5*

The coach transfer from Varna Airport is approximately 30-40 minutes to the Kempinski depending on how many stops are in front of you. This is usually quicker if you are travelling by taxi. If you do take a taxi, expect to pay about 20 leva (£7) for the journey.

Hotel

The hotel is approximately 150 metres long and 50 metres wide. It is a huge structure and contains nearly 900 guest rooms. There are 12 floors altogether, 8 of which are dedicated to guest bedrooms that have either a sea or garden view. Due to the hotels’ location and surrounding greenery, you need to be on a relatively high floor to see the beautiful blue sea. There is also a reception floor, a business orientated floor, a restaurant floor and the spa floor known as the garage. There are 6 main lifts in the hotel therefore it is rare to wait more than a minute for one to arrive. There are lots of helpful staff members to assist you during your holiday.

Front of HotelHotel and Pool

Breakfast is included in your stay and there are restaurants in the hotel where you can eat lunch and dinner. However, you can also walk the 50 metres to the beach front and enjoy a 2/3 course meal for about a fiver! There are steps down to the beach front or a hill to the right of the hotel. The hill is relatively steep therefore not ideal for disabled access however there is another flatter road leading off to the right that also leads to the beach.

The exterior of the hotel is made from cream brick giving it an extremely “grand” appearance. Luxurious is the best word to describe both interior and exterior of the Kempinski Hotel Grand Hermitage.

Rooms

Gorgeous BedThe Kempinski has over 728 bedrooms in total and a choice of smoking or non-smoking. Rooms are either single, double, twin or suites, all of which are very well sized. The room décor is very luxurious; cream and dark red are the dominant colours with mahogany furniture and detailed cream carpet. The bed is obviously the main feature of the room, and then you have a desk area, wardrobes, 3 chairs and a long stool at the foot of the bed. Each room has a balcony with table and chairs; the sea view room balconies are slightly larger.

Rooms offer the following services:

Air Conditioning – Powerful if set to the highest fan, keeps the room lovely and cool. If your air conditioning is broken, ask at reception and they send someone to fix it the same day.

Room Service – A room service menu can be found on your desk and this is a 24 hour service! There is a large selection of food on the menu served until 10.30am (breakfast menu) and then a smaller selection available for the rest of the day and night.

Mini Bar – Consisting of water, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, crisps, peanuts and chocolate! The average price of a soft drink is about 2 Leva (70p).

Internet Access – If you have a laptop you can use the hotels’ internet for free by plugging in the network cable and asking reception for the password.

A Safe – A Safety Deposit Box is included with every room. This is also free and is large enough to store majority of your valuables.

Laundry Service – Forms can be found in the wardrobe nearest the front door.

Towels – Towels and flannels are changed frequently by the maid.

Luxuries – On arrival you are greeted with white dressing gowns and slippers to make your stay even more comfortable.

Action Lights – By the side of your bed you will find a group of switches. Two are light switches but the other two are for you to alert the maid; either ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Make up My Room’; saves you remembering to hang a piece of paper on the door handle.

Television – There are 6 English Channels including BBC World (24 hours News). Other channels are in German, Bulgarian and Russian.

Late Checkout – Costs 50 Euros and can be arranged up until 8pm.

Bathroom

BathroomThe bathrooms are extremely well designed and certainly meet the 5* standard. The floor and walls are decorated in light brown and cream tiles and all furnishings are white and chrome. There are two sinks resting on a brown marble surface, toilet, bidet, bath and many mirrors. There is a double shower with a huge chrome shower head attached to the ceiling and a removable power shower attached to the wall. Accessories include a washing line (hanging towels over the balcony is not allowed at the Kempinski!), hairdryer, soaps, shampoo, conditioner (small bottles) and flannels. A useful gadget found in the bathroom is a speaker and controller for the TV so you can listen to the program while brushing your teeth!

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Golden Sands, Bulgaria

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Golden Sands is a popular resort with lots of entertainment along the beach front. There are loads of restaurants, bars, cocktail bars and clubs to choose from with many places providing live music, dancing and special offers. The restaurants along the beach are very reasonably priced; you can get a three course meal for about £5 and a large beer for under £1. At night time Golden Sands is alive and a great place to be. club and bar promotion workers will hand you leaflets as you walk down the street.

Located at the very bottom of the Kempinski Hotel Grand Hermitage is a miniature golf course that costs 14 Leva for two people. You will be provided with score sheets, a clip board and pen so you can track the winner! Along the beach front (the path just behind) you can find a number of shops (supermarkets, souvenirs etc.), games (trampolines, bungee games), tattoo and hair braiding parlours and artists who will paint a picture of you or your family from a photograph.

Golden Sands is kept extremely clean so when you go to any public toilets expect to pay 50 Cents to the toilet cleaner. Although this is not common in lots of other countries, it does mean that visiting a public toilet is a much better experience.

Approximately 5 minutes down the road in a taxi is the aqua park which costs about £9 each for the whole day. The taxi shouldn’t cost you more than 10 Leva but if you prefer to walk it is doable. The aqua park hosts a number of flumes and slides, has a large children’s pool and an adults pool, sun beds can be purchased for 5 Leva each and umbrellas are free. There are lockers at the entrance to the aqua park to store your valuables. Food and drinks can be purchased from the park.

Beach

The coastline is miles and miles of golden sands, hence the name of the resort! If you wish to acquire sun beds for the day it will cost approximately 10 Leva (£3.50) per bed and per umbrella. There are always lifeguards on the beach and flags are placed near to the coast to show the condition of the sea. Red will show if they consider it to be dangerous, amber if it’s a little rough and green if it’s calm.

There is entertainment for tourists along the whole coastline; beach bars are close by if you wish to purchase any beverages and shops are just behind if you fancy anything to eat. Approximately every 50 metres you will stumble across a massage tent where qualified girls can provide a 25 minute back massage for 25 Leva (About £9) or a 50 minute body massage for 50 Leva (About £18).

If you are looking for sports on the beach, Golden Sands has a number of activities for you to get involved in. Jet Ski’s, parasailing, banana boats and pedal boats are available all day; Jet Ski’s cost approximately 50 Leva (£17) for 15 minutes and you can get a photograph of yourself on the Jet Ski for another 5 Leva (about £2).

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