Travel Gifts for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We have put together some interesting Christmas gift ideas in conjunction with our friends at Gold Crest holidays. These are all short breaks to keep the costs within reason and are all designed for people with special interests, such as fans of the mega hit TV series Downton Abbey  our  1 night break to visit Highclere Castle where the series was filmed is already proving very popular.

Great Christmas gift ideas!

Our Christmas gift ideas also include trips to the British Grand Prix, Paris weekends, a visit to see the stars of ‘Strictly’ at the O2 arena, the Chelsea flower show and a trip to the amazing gardens at Keukenhof in Holland. Speaking of Holland how about a trip to Amsterdam to see the legend that is Robbie Williams!

Great Christmas gift ideas!

 

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Sheraton Fuerteventura – 5 star holiday hotel

The Sheraton Fuerteventura is a 5 star property located in the lovely resort of Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura. The stunning beach-side location is just one of many attributes that make this hotel one of our favourites in the Canary Islands.

The Sheraton Fuerteventura Resort

Although 5 star the hotel is modern with plenty of facilities and activities for children and adults making it appealing to both families and couples. There is evening entertainment, spacious swimming pools, great rooms and sumptuous suites if you would like to upgrade and pamper yourselves.

Sheraton Fuerteventura Suite

To aid relaxation the hotel has a wonderful Spa with treatments and therapeutic massages available to re-invigorate even the most stressed executive.

The well-equipped Spa

Dining here with the choice of restaurants is a culinary delight, in addition to the main restaurant there is a seafood themed restaurant and an Asian restaurant. Outside the veranda restaurant is the place for lunch and poolside snacks.

Veranda Restaurant

As an alternative to the hotel, one of my favourite lunchtime eateries is the Island diner located on the beach in front of the hotel. Also located nearby in Caleta de Fuste is a shopping complex and the resorts golf course.

View of the hotel from the Island Diner

The sheraton has received great reviews from our customers, it has a high level of repeat bookings and we are delighted to report that we haven’t received a single complaint about this excellent hotel.

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Spotlight on Sa Coma – Majorca

Lying on the picturesque east coast of Majorca is the lovely beach resort of Sa Coma. This enchanting  resort has several quality 4 star hotels and highly regarded apartment blocks. Sa Coma’s sandy beach, good accommodation and friendly bars attract the family market. However, Sa coma is equally popular with couples predominantly from  Britain and Germany looking for that relaxing beach holiday.

“Relax in Sa Coma”

A relatively new 5 star hotel the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel is already voted by Trip Advisor the best hotel in the resort and in the top 10 hotels (out of over 1,000) on the island. As with most 5 stars it has an extensive Spa, modern rooms and facilities and an excellent restaurant and wine list (I’m happy to report that I’ve sampled!).

Sa coma has a wide range of quality accommodation

During my stay I was happy just to ‘chillax’ on the beach or lay by the pool but if you like to be a little more active, plenty of people were hiring bikes or making the walk up to the Castle and Cafe at Punts de n’amer, where you can enjoy superb views and reward yourself for the trek up there with a refreshing drink. A trip to the adjacent resort of Cala Millor is worth the effort and provides for an alternative evening out.

If you are hiring a car there are plenty of hidden coves to explore, you can drive for 20 minutes to the plesant resort of Cala Ratjada, the harbour here is where in mid afternoon you can  enjoy watching the fishing boats return and unload their catches. Or drive 10 minutes inland to the weekly market at Son Servera, a little further away to the south are the ‘not to be missed’ Caves of Drach and resort of Porto Cristo.

All in all a great choice for couples or families looking to relax and unwind, with an excellent sandy beach and quality accommodation.

 

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New ‘biggest ever’ P&O Ship under construction

The word is out,  P&O Cruises have begun moves to construct their biggest cruise ship ever, the mega-ship is due for delivery in 2015.  Disappointingly for British ship workers the cruise liner will be built in an Italian shipyard.

However the ship will have an interior overseen by British hospitality company Richmond, they are overseeing the project and have promised to deliver the “classic and iconic history” of the P&O line.

Richmond has worked on several high profile hotels including the Langham London, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, The Intercontinental London and Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel together with Sandy Lane in Barbados.

Things are all pretty hush-hush at the moment and all P&O Cruises will say is that the as yet unnamed 141,000-ton, 3611 passenger vessel will be a “modern classic” offering a new design and an “unprecedented” number of passenger facilities, along with many of the brand’s classic and iconic features.

The keel-laying, which involves the placement in the dry dock of one large section of the ship’s hull and the start of the actual ship build, will take place in May 2013.

If everything goes to plan the vessel will take to the water for the first time in summer 2014, before her delivery in spring 2015.

More details when we have them, it will be interesting to see where the ship will be based and the itineraries that she will be operating as many interesting ports of call are denied vessels of this size.

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Family holidays to Lanzarote in the winter

Lanzarote is a great choice for a holiday at any time of the year but  with a  convenient 4 hours flying time from the UK, diverse resorts, family friendly hotels plus a climate that rarely drops below 20 degrees centigrade Lanzarote has some compelling attractions for a winter family holiday destination.

The busiest resort on the island is Puerto del Carmen, during July and August the ‘strip’ and other parts of the resort are quite lively until the early hours of the morning but in winter a more sedate pace is to be found here.

My personal favourite is Playa Blanca, the beaches here are superb and as the resort is relatively new the standard of hotels are also quite modern and of a high quality. This resort is ideal for families at any time of the year and is a great choice for a Christmas or winter half term break.

We have selected two recommendations per star rating for a family holiday in Lanzarote, this was a much more daunting task than I first imagined with a whole host of hotels especially in the 4 star category that we could easily have chosen, however the two that do appear are outstanding.

Based on facilities, location, great feedback, re-bookings and general long term quality standards here are are family hotel recommendations for this winter…

Five star: The Princesa Yaiza Suite Resort & The Dream Hotel Gran Castillo

Four star: The H10 Rubicon Palace & The Seaside Hotel Los Jameos Playa 

Many others could have been included such as the Riu hotels, the H10 Lanzarote Princess, the Hesperia Playa Dorada and many many others.

Three Star : The Sands Beach Resort & The Iberostar Lanzarote Park

The 3 star category includes apartments and aparthotels and could easily have included the H10 Lanzarote Gardens and several other outstanding candidates.

Have a look at our list of favourite Lanzarote hotels. If you don’t agree or have a personal favourite lets us know and explain why your favourite should be included!

 

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Spotlight on Roquetas de Mar

Roquetas de Mar is located in the region of  the Costa de Almeria in Spain.   The city of Almeria is less than half an hour away and not much further to its airport that is located just north of this interesting Spanish city.

The resort offers a contrast between modern and traditional with a wide choice of hotels many of which are of a good 4 star standard. Roquetas is renowned for its many golf courses, water sports and kilometres of ‘Blue Flag’ awarded beaches all complimented by its tourist infrastructure.

The resort is popular with both Spanish and British visitors and has quite a strong ex-pat British community. Many former UK residents  were attracted here by the reasonable property prices and a climate that provides 320 days of sunshine per year and is listed amongst the lowest rainfall areas in the whole of Europe!

The beach front in the older part of Roquetas is lined by a variety of restaurants many of which specialise in seafood and shell fish, the intense competition ensures great food at reasonable prices.  

Shoppers will also be delighted by the Grand Plaza, a Mall style shopping centre that is home to dozens of shops and plenty of entertainment including a cinema that plays English movies several times a week. 

Shop ’til you drop!

This area of Spain retains the tradition of providing customers in many of its bars with a complimentary tapas with each drink, this exemplifies just one element of the Spanish culture that is alive and kicking in this most fascinating part of the Spanish mainland.

Click to find out more about the Costa de Almeria and the resort of Roquetas de Mar.

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