Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for October, 2008

ABTA: No such thing as typical all-inclusive holiday

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

All-inclusive holidays vary enormously from provider to provider, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has pointed out.

Activity holidays including sporting activities, vacations focussing on the family and beach breaks targeted at couples are all covered by the all-inclusive umbrella, spokesperson Frances Tuke said.

Recent research from youtravel.com shows that the sector is growing in the UK – with a 70 per cent rise in bookings tracked between March and April.

Halifax Travel Insurance has also found that 2.5 million Britons take a package holiday each year.

Ms Tuke commented: “There’s no such thing as a typical all inclusive holiday because they do have different markets.”

She added: “There’s a family market – you tend to have water sports thrown in, its full board, you have food, your drinks will be paid for, and some have things like ice-cream [included] as well. Then you have other kinds of all inclusive holidays, like Sandals, and Beaches, which tends to appeal to the couples market.”

Dubai luxury hotel announces spa packages

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Amara, otherwise known as the Dubai Park Hyatt luxury hotel, has unveiled its new range of spa packages for guests this summer.

The white-walled, blue-domed luxury hotel provides a spectacular setting for the comprehensive range of spa treatments, providing visitors with the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of their lives back at home.

Option one, the Summer Ritual, is a two-hour long round of treatments beginning with a hand and foot rose petal bath, aromatherapy, full-body massage, reflexology, a Phyto-aromatic facial and use of the swimming pool.

The Spirit of Summer features many of the same features, along with an Aleppo soap treatment – and a full-body massage with Amara’s specially-formulated massage oil of frankincense, amber, myrrh and sandlewood.

All treatments also come with free Arabian tea, dates and roasted almonds and apricots to be served by staff throughout.

“A unique sense of place is provided by the exquisitely designed Park Hyatt Dubai hotel and its breathtaking views of the Dubai Creek,” the hotel’s operators state.

“With its adjoining private courtyards and cascading water features, Amara is in perfect harmony with the sophisticated retreat atmosphere of the hotel.”

Darwin cruise unveiled

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

A special new luxury cruise to commemorate naturalist Charles Darwin has been unveiled by the operators of the Spirit of Adventure.

The voyage will ferry passengers around the spectacular seas of Central and South America next year, to mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.

Costa Rica, the Amazon Rainforest and, of course, the Galapagos Islands are all on the itinerary for the 352-passenger cruise ship – mirroring the naturalist’s 19th century journeys which inspired his celebrated discovery of natural selection and the classic Origin of the Species text.

Moreover, a special journey to the frozen wastes of Antarctica is also scheduled for customers.

“All Spirit of Adventure cruises include a series of meticulously planned shore excursions, which delve deeper into the historical, cultural and architectural surroundings of each destination visited,” the operators said in a statement.

“In addition, each day of exploration is further enhanced by a comprehensive programme of lectures led by expert guest speakers on board.”

Spirit of Adventure departs from Chile for its Darwin voyage on February 21st, 2009.

Abbey finds ‘half term holiday premiums’

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Parents planning a holiday for the upcoming half term break will pay extra for the journeys, new research from Abbey shows.

Luxury hotels and other breaks to Spain and Portugal are to carry a 39 per cent premium for the trip – a figure which increases to 78 per cent for US holiday camps.

Abbey found that the average family journey to Spain over the half term will cost £348 – while week-long trips to Cyprus and the Algarve are to cost £439 and £553 respectively.

All three figures are inflated for the half term period, the financial services firm said.

Callum Gibson at Abbey commented: “For many families money is tighter than ever this year, so every penny counts.

“There are a number of ways to keep costs down on foreign holidays such as booking in advance to get the best deal, shopping around for the best price on foreign currency, taking a credit card on holidays that saves you money on foreign exchange fees and putting your holiday on a zero per cent credit card where appropriate.”

Israel unveils tourists’ birthday treats

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Israel is to mark its 60th anniversary with a series of tourist-friendly festivals.

The middle eastern nation, which boasts an excellent climate along with a near-unparalleled cultural richness, marked its birthday earlier this week.

However, celebrations are to continue throughout the year, climaxing in the Violins of Hope concert in Jerusalem this September.

At the event, the orchestras of Istanbul in Turkey and Raanana in Israel will unite in the Old City as a mark of cultural integration.

Elsewhere, the tourist town of Eilat is hosting the Red Sea Jazz festival in August, with acts from around the world scheduled to perform.

Jazz fans might also like to consider the Festival at Caesarea Harbour next month – with three “world-renowned” bands from New Orleans set to perform in the pretty seaside town.

Jerusalem will also host an international film festival in July – and the city hosts a well-respected wine event in the same month.

Sea crossings offers announced

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Cheap sea crossings to Europe and Scandinavia have been announced by ferry firm DFDS Seaways.

The boat firm is providing special offers on sea crossings to the Danish port of Esjerg, Amsterdam, Bergen and Stavanger in Norway.

For example, Newcastle to Amsterdam now costs £132 for two people and a car, while Newcastle to Norway costs only £176 – although customers are advised that these tickets are one-way only.

Ferries offer considerable advantages to holiday makers over air travel, DFDS Seaways also said.

“No hassle with airport queues, delays, baggage restrictions and stress. Just pack up the car and head off on your holiday with everything you need.”

Customers were advised by the firm that ferry journeys can also be used as a “gateway” to explore further afield – for example, the sea passage to Amsterdam can form a starting point for trips to France and even the Mediterranean.

Spain ‘still cheap’ for UK tourists

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

A rise in British tourists visiting Spain is expected despite the pound flagging againstthe euro, a Spanish tourism chief has claimed.

Ignacia Vasallo of the Turespana Spanish Tourist Board said he believes the country will remain a popular tourist destination during 2008, reports the Majorca Daily Bulletin.

Predicting a two per cent rise in visitors this summer, he said Spain was still one of the cheapest eurozone destinations and claimed certain slight price increases were not going to turn people away.

He stated: “While the credit crunch may persuade British consumers to put off selling the house or buying a new car, it will not deter them from going on holiday this year.”

With 10.7 million tourists having visited Spain already during the first quarter of 2008, it appears the country may indeed be in for a bumper year.

Visitors to Spain can choose between laid back breaks at one of the many beach resorts along the country’s Mediterranean coastline, or cultural trips to historic cities such as Barcelona and the capital city Madrid.

Moscow plays host to English supporters

Monday, October 6th, 2008

As many as 50,000 English football fans are expected to descend upon Moscow today in preparation for the Champions League Final.

Ticket-holders for the showpiece fixture have been waived visa requirements in a one-off gesture by the Russian government, providing many with a rare opportunity to enjoy the sights of the capital city.

Moscow authorities have laid-on 700 buses to transfer fans between the city airport and the stadium and many have chosen to book hotel accommodation in the city for the duration of their stay.

Specially erected pavilions in the famous Red Square are expected to be filled with supporters, although the drinking of alcohol openly on the streets will be prohibited.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko urged the English fans to respect Russian customs and avoid a repeat of the violence which marred last week’s UEFA cup final between Glasgow Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg.

He added: “We will make sure that our guests will be taken care of, that they feel safe and feel our hospitality and have a great time.”

Russian visas, permitting a visitor to remain in the country for a specified period of time, can be obtained upon application to the Russian National Tourism Office.

Zoo is the favourite family day out

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Zoos are the most-searched-for tourist attraction by UK families using the internet, a leading search engine has announced.

Both of the top two Bank Holiday destinations looked for on Ask.com are zoos, with Chester topping the charts ahead of London in second place.

Other attractions regularly searched for include the Natural History Museum in the capital (3rd), Alton Towers in Staffordshire (4th) and Warwick Castle (5th).

Ask.com managing director Cesar Mascaraque said there had been a surge in web searches for family days out and specific queries related to opening times, ticket prices and travel directions.

He said: “It’s a sign of our times – we used to have to phone attractions up and listen to a recorded message take forever to tell you when they were open and how much a ticket was.”

Tourist hot-spot Chester Zoo was boosted in April by the second birth of a baby giraffe inside two months.

A rare Madagascan radiated tortoise has also recently been born at the zoo, the first known hatching of the species in the UK.

Hotels’booming’ in Northern Ireland

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Rising numbers of tourists heading to Northern Ireland are fuelling growth in the hospitality industry, according to a leading bank.

Hotels are expanding and new facilities being constructed in the country according to Ulster Bank, which is providing a great deal of the investment in the sector.

Experts at the bank say the multi-million pound investment is set to continue in the future as the tourist industry continues to develop.

Mark Mulholland, a senior manager at the bank, said recent figures show Belfast hotels to be “enjoying very strong occupancy rates”.

He added the local tourism industry continues to capitalise on Northern Ireland’s improving image as a visitor destination.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has promoted the country to outside tourists since hostilities in the country ceased in 1998.

Attractions in the country include Norman castles, walled cities, beaches and the famous Giant’s Causeway.