Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

A Romantic Christmas Break In Paris

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Eiffel TowerEvery year my Christmas is spent at home with the family, why not make it a bit special and a little bit more romantic, in Paris with a loved one? Not that a family Christmas around a fire isn’t just as appealing, but maybe this year surround yourself with a Parisian atmosphere. Visit the Eiffel Tower and the wonderful selection of art galleries or shop on the Champs Elysées and have a romantic meal followed by a romantic walk down the River Seine.

Expedia have some great deals at the moment staying in the heart of the city, priced between £200 and £300, in either three or four star hotels. The Hotel Concorde La Fayette is a four star and looks modern and stylish, with some wonderful views over the city. Prices are around £270 staying from the 23rd of December to the 27th with excellent flights between London Heathrow and Paris.

Visit www.expedia.com to find your ideal Christmas break. After all, we are in need of well deserved break in the holidays!

Sinatra’s Bar in Puerto Banus

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Sinatra Bar Puerto BanusIf you happen to be travelling to Puerto Banus, go between the months of June and August. This is the busiest season in southern Spain and very popular with the rich and famous.

Sinatra’s bar is quite a tourist attraction in itself, well known as a celebrity haunt. The week I visited I was informed that Jennifer Aniston, Girls Aloud and Gareth Gates were there the previous week (disappointing I know). The bar is situated on the front port in Puerto Banus, on the very busy strip with plenty of restaurants and bars to compliment it. Although it is small the elite crowd tend to spill onto the road and I’m told at weekends cars simply cannot drive on the road. The décor is simple and sleek and the drinks menu has a variety from beers to cocktails to champagne. Expect to pay London prices or maybe a little less.

A fabulous night out!

Relax in the Costa Del Sol

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Hotel H10 PalmasolThe Hotel H10 Palmasol is a perfect hotel to stay in for a relaxing break in the sun. The hotel is located in the heart of Benalmadena, about a minute walk away from the beautiful marina, beach and nightlife.

Apart from the hotels gorgeous pool and fabulous location, there are many other great reasons to stay. The hotel provides a half board basis where a buffet breakfast and lunch is served, many activities to choose from for entertainment, a bar with evening entertainment and food served through out the day and an excellent cleaning service.

Rooms are nicely sized with a spacious and clean bathroom, separate bedroom and lounge with a balcony and if you’re lucky the rooms with a marina view have balconies three times the size of all other rooms.

Benalmadena is a small town located on the Costa Del Sol. Holiday makers flock there during the summer to see its award winning marina, lovely hotels and beautiful beaches. Not settled with just Benalmadena? You can experience most other parts of the Spanish south coast and even Morocco as an excursion with your tour operator. I recommend the trips to Puerto Banus and Tangiers in Morocco, these make the holidays just perfect!

Check out www.lastminute.com for some excellent deals at the Hotel Palmasol and resort of Benalmadena.

The Taurito Princess, Gran Canaria

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Taurito PrincessI visited the Taurito Princess, Gran Canaria in December 2005. Unfortunately the weather was awful so the photographs do not do the complex any justice. I wouldn’t say it was the most memorable holiday I have ever had but I’m sure it would have been lovely if the sun had been out for more than a day!

The hotel itself was lovely and clean with marble floors and a nicely decorated interior. The first thing that struck me as we drove up in the coach was its location – on the very side of a cliff. I had never seen a hotel in this sort of position before but I thought it was really cool. The good thing about this was you had a lovely sea view and you could see into the town of Taurito from most rooms.

Rooms

There are 404 rooms in the Taurito Princess spanning 11 floors. 392 of these are double rooms and 12 are larger suites. The double rooms are a reasonable size with either a double bed or two singles to choose from, they have an attractive yellow patterned overthrow with white sheets and a blanket underneath. The beds are very comfortable with a long pillow per person; additional pillows can be requested at reception if needed. Full-length curtains between the room and balcony match the bed cover decoration and help keep out the heat.

The walls are plain white with 2 art pieces hanging up and the floor is covered with shiny white tiles. The rooms are a little outdated compared to the rest of the hotel and probably more to a 3* standard but the maid comes in every morning and keeps them nice and clean. Each room has a large square shaped balcony with plastic table and chairs and due to the situation of the hotel; every room has a sea view to its right and a view of the town to its left. There are 12 suites located on floors 6 – 11.

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Special Offers at Center Parcs

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

I was looking for things to do over the Easter holidays and came across some special offers on the Center Parcs Website. The deals tend to be the weeks before and after Easter but they are offering up to 25% off some accommodation if you have flexible holidays.

I used to go to Center Parcs all the time when I was younger but the only one I really remember is Longleat Forest in Wiltshire. This one has a great swimming pool inside a glass dome and loads of activities to get involved in. They also have the most fantastic pancake house where you have the choice of many different inventions! I remember the last time I went (2 years ago) I felt the chalets needed a bit of a refurbish but they also have some newer larger chalets that have an outside hot tub and some relaxing extras.

If you do go to Center Parcs try and take bikes with you; you will need them and Center Parcs charge a lot for you to hire them. Remember to take your bike locks as well, we forgot these and had to pay about £10 for a new one.

It is best to go with a group if possible, sometimes a 1 bedroom apartment works out only about £50 cheaper than a two bedroom so you’ll definitely save if you go for more bedrooms. The chalets range from ‘comfort’ to ‘VIP’ so make sure you look at the options and see if you can get a good deal.

You can visit Center Parks for a whole week, the weekend or from Monday to Friday. Check out their website to see if you can take advantage of their special offers.

Sheraton La Caleta in Tenerife

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

My boyfriend and I decided to visit Sheraton la Caleta after we found a great Internet offer for just €90 (£60) a night. This was for the both of us and this included a buffet breakfast each morning. We stayed during June so the offer was for an off-peak season holiday but the great thing about Tenerife is that it’s warm all year round so if you can go off-peak your more likely to get a better deal. We also enjoyed the peace and quiet around the hotel and on the beach that you wouldn’t normally get during peak season.

The hotel it situated in Costa Adeje, about 10 minutes from Playas de las Americas so the entertainment is just round the corner id that’s what you’re after. The only downside is that the Sheraton la Caleta beach isn’t sandy and we had to walk along the promenade a little to find a nice spot to sunbath. However, overall I was extremely impressed with the hotel and the facilities and would definitely return if I got the chance.

Hotel

The hotel is a very unique brick red colour and almost looks like a castle due to the structure. I liked this about the hotel, I felt it had much more character than the usual white painted hotels I am use to. There are 284 guest rooms and suites in total, meeting rooms, restaurants, cafés, bars, a grand ballroom and a spa. You can probably get an idea of the size of this hotel.

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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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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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