Thursday, 30 June 2011

That's Parenting: When tots travel, you need these

That's Parenting: When tots travel, you need these: "Holiday firm Tots to Travel has created a handy list of six must have products that genuinely make life easier for parents of babies and yo..."

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

National Geographic (UK) special offers and competitions

Don’t miss out on the fourth issue of the 180-page National Geographic Traveller (UK) Jul/Aug 2011 issue along with a very special subscription offer & some great competitions.

• Subscription gift: Take advantage of theirspecial subscription offer of £9.99 for six issues – and a free gift (a rucksack/across the body bag) while stocks last. Don’t miss out.
Promo code: NGTJUN11.

• Competition: You could explore some of the world’s most untainted and exotic islands aboard an adventure cruise ship with our competition prize of a 14-day holiday for two to Tahiti.

• Digital magazine: And while you’re online check out the latest new 26-page digital sample of the Jul/Aug 11 issue:

Other competitions: Budding photographers can also send us their photos for publication and the chance to win a Canon 500D twins lens kit worth £599.95, exclusive to Jessops. This issue’s theme is ‘Holiday’ – upload a hi-res image and one line sentence to by 11 July.

Competitions, subscriptions, blogs, features and more

What's in it?
Cover Story: Country Escapes — Alternative country getaways from Portugal to Sicily, Cyprus to Switzerland and the flats of the Netherlands. From idyllic escapes to cycling tours, village stays and driving adventures… We’ve got over 20 great rural retreats across Europe for you to discover.

Destinations: Australia’s Outback, Galapagos, Thailand & Laos, Spanish islands and Serbia.
Cities: Mexico City, Tallinn, Dubai and Cape Town hotels.

Travel Talk: Ask the experts about your travel dilemmas; what you can do to avoid currency exchange charges, take the ferry and the lowdown on airline ancillary charges.

Real Life: A personal pilgrimage to the Sinai on a desert fast; and the pros and cons of taking your whole family on a multi-generational travel adventure.

National Geographic Traveller (UK) is published six times a year, with a cover price of £3.85, via subscription and on newsstands. Visit for more information.

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tunisia Launches First Post-Revolution Ad Campaign

This week sees the launch of a new advertising campaign by the Tunisian National Tourist Office (TNTO).

Designed by Tunisian advertising agency, Memec Ogilvy, the four-week advertising campaign will run in France, Holland and throughout the UK.

Currently running on bus panels across the UK, the first part of the campaign has been devised to shock and challenges preconceptions of the country and its people.

The second wave will run from the 27 June with a softer approach. Using real Tunisians it aims to remind tourists of Tunisia’s white sandy beaches, excellent golf courses and thalassotherapy centres, which are just two and a half hours from the UK.

“This four-week campaign has been devised to remind visitors that Tunisia is very much open for business.” says Anissa Ramoundi, UK & Ireland Director for the Tunisian National Tourist Office.

“it is designed to provoke a reaction and has been created by Tunisians in Tunisia.

“For the majority of Tunisians, the revolution has been very positive, allowing people the chance to speak freely for the first time; just a few months ago a campaign like this would not have been possible.”

Visit for details.

Betws-y-Coed, the Gateway to Snowdonia

On 3rd May 2011 Betws-y-Coed was officially named as the Gateway to Snowdonia- Porth Eryri. Marked by a new welcome sign and planter, placed on the entrance to the tourist village, a popular destination for a UK family holiday.

The new village status and sign have come about after two years of campaigning by the village Tourism Association. Last year over 70,000 visitors made Betws-y-Coed their holiday destination, with an additional 400,000 day visitors.

According to the village Tourism Association Betws-y-Coed was more popular than ever due to being in the media spotlight on national TV last autumn when Michael Portillo was filming his Great British Rail Journeys documentary in the Conwy Valley. With the media spotlight on the village thanks to Michael Portillo highlighting how great the destination is for walkers and train enthusiasts and, coupled with this the public toilets in the village last year were recorded as the busiest in the whole of North Wales with over 250,000 visits. Perfect for a UK family holiday.

This October the village is hosting for the third time The Snowdonia Walking Festival.
With walkers from all over the UK and Europe being welcomed here.

(EDITOR: Betwys-y-Coed is one of the most beautiful places we have visited.)

Llanerch Vineyard's Cookery School. A perfect break!

The Llanerch Vineyard Cookery School has been busy since it launched. And is expecting even more visitors when the Vineyard opens this month. Angela will then launch her Saturday Morning Kitchen, which is completely free.

Come along and get some great recipe ideas for entertaining family and friends on your family holiday in Wales, and then visit the new Vineyard café to enjoy two of her dishes in the wonderful surroundings at Llanerch, in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan. Come early to get your seat as this event will be free of charge and is sure to be very popular.

Also available this summer are their Cookstart lessons for teenagers. If you have a budding junior chef at home or your off-spring is about to fly the nest and can't boil an egg, send them to the Llanerch Vineyard Cookery School where they will gain confidence and become inspired by Angela. They will learn important culinary skills that will last a lifetime, including all about nutrition and seasonality, whilst having lots of fun in our fabulously equipped kitchens. A must for all Welsh food lovers!

Take this opportunity and visit them at the newly renovated Llanerch Vineyard and don't forget to book your place at the next Lunch Club on Thursday 07 July at 11am.

Llanerch Vineyard is a unique and tranquil treasure nestling in 22 acres of beautiful countryside in the Vale of Glamorgan. Ideally situated just minutes away from the M4, offering the perfect get away retreat where the emphasis is on relaxation and enjoyment.

With woodland walks, vineyard tours and wine tastings, you can work up an appetite for a delicious lunch, or a traditional high tea with a local flavour. Food lovers can indulge in an inspirational course at our new cookery school, or attend one of our monthly culinary events.

You can stay in one of their cosy rooms, and unwind in the Cwtch with a nightcap by the fire. For a longer stay you can choose one of their self-catering cottages with the woodlands on your doorstep, what a great idea for a family holiday!

The best spa in Wales?

The Vale Resort, Wales’ highest rated 4* hotel is unveiling its new spa just in time for those all-important, body beautiful, summer months. Already Wales’ largest spa, The Vale Spa will be bigger and better than ever after undergoing a £250,000 refurbishment to add a number of exclusive features that will allow guests to experience a whole new sense of well-being. The spa is a popular choice for a UK short break in Wales.

The new look Vale Resort spa has three unique relaxation zones, each with a bespoke design to help you find your idea of perfect peace. If your idea of heaven is a comfy leather sofa and a handful of the latest glossy magazines then the stylish ‘chill-out’ zone will be perfect for you. For something more relaxing surround yourself with the soothing sounds of the ‘water’ zone - with its comforting water beds and stunning water features it is a haven of total calm where you can simply float away. If you want to shut off completely then head straight to the Indian-inspired ‘sleep’ zone where shimmering lanterns and sumptuous quilts will provide the ideal environment to doze.

The brand new Thermae Suite is designed to treat your body to heat experiences that will soothe, relax and detoxify. The sauna offers traditional dry heat which can be intensified beforehand by body brushing with birch twigs. The hot and cold rainforest showers, with chromatherapy lighting, will stimulate the senses before you give your body a wake up call rubbing handfuls of ice flakes, natural salts and body muds to leave you with an all over glow. This room is ideal for groups of friends to enjoy a fun experience together, so why not book your UK short break here?

The concept of supermodel Christy Turlington, Sundari is an Indian-inspired range of luxury products and treatments and the new-look Vale Spa is the only spa in Wales to offer this luxury brand. Based on ancient philosophies and ayerverdic treatments – a favourite with celebrity A-listers – Sundari aims to restore a natural state of health and wellbeing and is the perfect prescription for those looking for not just an outer radiance but also an inner serenity.

And, all of this, in addition to the existing 19 luxury treatment rooms, floatation tank, hydrotherapy bath, 20m swimming pool, Jacuzzi and steam room.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Thinking about a family camping holiday? Read this first!

Family camping holidays are growing. But a major part of having a camping holiday you can enjoy is a tent that can cope with the very changeable British weather, whilst providing maximum comfort for you and your family.

Wild Country Tents has produced a useful guide (you can download it here - to assist people who are seeking to buy a family tent to make a balanced and informed decision.

Notonly does it help you fnid the tent that's best for you and your family, ‘A Tent For All The Family’ - looks at a wide variety of subjects including space planning, tips to prepare for a change in the weather - and ways of keeping the accommodation clean and dry. Very important in the British 'summer' one could argue!

Andy Utting, the MD over at Wild Country Tents, said: “Over the last few years more families have opted to enjoy a camping holiday.

“Getting the right tent for the job is really important first and foremost and, when out on site, there are many things people can also do to enhance the camping experience. This guide offers some pointers to achieve a happy, family tent.”

(EDITOR: Happy camping!)

British independent budget hotel chain announces local and worldwide franchise opportunities

Owner of an independent hotel? Want to be part of something big, yet retain your independence? Then Umi hotels might have what you are looking for.
Umi hotels, the award-winning independent hotel brand is growing internationally and franchise opportunities are now available.

In 2007, Caterer & Hotelkeeper Magazine reported on research findings that over the next twenty years the budget hotel sector will experience its biggest growth period, with the prediction that in 2027 the sector will represent a 26.8% share of the overall UK hotel market. The budget hotel sector looks to be growing in line with this prediction, despite the recession, following its increase in market share from 12% of UK serviced hotels at the end of 2007 to 16% at the end of 2010.

The umi brand is offering hoteliers the chance to be a part of this rapidly growing market in the UK and overseas. Umi focuses on first class customer service delivered by passionate staff combined with bargain accommodation prices. All of this within modern, relaxed, city-based hotel environments with the provision of services usually only provided by four and five-star hotels.

Does your hotel need to be re-ignited? If you are serious about operating it as a service-led business, umi believe becoming a part of their group could be just the right option for you. And, you don’t have to change the name of your hotel unless, of course, you want to.

Successful applicants will be required to pay a franchise start-up cost, a (low) commission charge on any bookings gained through the umi websites and commit to a three-year minimum term.

Marketing support, sales and budgeting training, staff manuals and use of umi’s BookItWith online booking engine are included amongst other parts of the deal aimed at providing support to your business.

Steve Lowy Founder of umi hotels said “we have a professional and experienced team and are happy to help other independent hoteliers make their hotel business profitable and efficient. Our franchise package is excellent value, in line with the value accommodation experience that the existing umi hotel’s are already offering”.

For details visit

Monday, 20 June 2011

Go TPOTY: Fantasic prizes for photographers in Travel Photographer of the Year awards

The 2011 international Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) offer some fantastic rewards for successful entrants. Prizes include trips to Marrakech, Oman, Botswana and Cambodia, cash bursaries, photographic equipment and tuition - and a paid photographic commission in England and Scotland; the first such prize in the awards’ history.
All winning photographers would see their prizewinning shots published in the next TPOTY book, Journey Four, and displayed at a major TPOTY exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London during the Olympic games. And for the Overall Winner there’s a further, unique opportunity within that exhibition.

With entries open until October 9th, and the awards open to photographers of all levels and all ages (including children, too), there’s plenty of time to for all the family to pick up their cameras and get shooting…

The Overall Winner of the awards – the 2011 Travel Photographer of the Year - will be given a unique personal showcase within the TPOTY exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in the summer of 2012. The showcase will contain not just their eight TPOTY-winning images but also a selection of their other, non-TPOTY work.

This will give them an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate their talents to the large numbers of visitors expected to attend the exhibition in London’s cultural quarter at a time when the Olympic Games will make the city a focus for millions of visitors from around the world. In addition they’ll receive a £1,000 TPOTY cash bursary, plus Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium 5.5 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software, a Plastic Sandwich personalised leather iPad portfolio case, complete with Apple iPad2, and a Lexar Professional 600x 32GB CompactFlash memory card + Lexar Professional Dual-Slot card reader.

The winner of the Spirit of Adventure portfolio category will be awarded an exclusive commission from Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky to shoot a number of photographs in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Cutty Sark will use up to 20 of the commissioned images for internal brand education and the winning photographer will be paid a fee of £4,000, with accommodation and transport for the trip being organised and paid for separately by Cutty Sark. The commissioned images will be used under license only and will be credited to the winning photographer, who will retain the copyright.

Cultures & Traditions – the winner of this portfolio category will travel to Cambodia on a 13-day tailor-made trip with Explore, the adventure travel experts. During their time in this atmospheric country they will see the temples at Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, the caves at Takeo, take a tour of Phnom Penhn and visit the ‘Killing Fields’.

The winner of the Exotic portfolio category will journey to Botswana with Tselana Travel, the luxury tailor-made travel specialists. They will experience a superb safari in the heart of Africa, discovering the Okavango Delta and its breathtaking wildlife. They will go on game drives in open vehicles, enjoy water activities like safaris in Mokoro, and have the chance of some wonderful bird watching. This trip is for two people, so they can take a guest!

The Oman Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, have teamed up to provide a fantastic holiday prize for the winner of the Natural Elements portfolio category. The Oman Ministry of Tourism will host the winner for seven nights in Oman. They will stay in Muscat, Nizwa, Wahiba Sands and the Jebel Akhtar mountains. The prize also includes a city tour of Muscat.

The winners of all four portfolio categories also receive Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software plus a Lexar Professional 600x 16GB CompactFlash card + Lexar Professional Dual-Slot card reader. And the winners of the Best Single Image award in each of the four portfolio categories will receive a beautiful 24” exhibition print of their winning entry from Genesis Digital, who make the TPOTY exhibition prints, along with a print of one of the fascinating historic images from the archive of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

The 2011 New Talent winner will travel to Marrakech with award-winning tailor-made sustainable travel specialists Tribes Travel and stay in a riad (traditional townhouse) in this colourful and highly photogenic town. They will also receive Adobe, Photoshop Lightroom 3 software, plus a Lexar Professional 600x 16GB CompactFlash card + Lexar Professional Dual-Slot card reader, a personalised Plastic Sandwich leather portfolio case or iPad cover and two TPOTY/Photo Iconic image critiques – one before their prize trip and one afterwards.

The winner of the One Shot, Wild Moments single image category receives £500, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software and a Lexar Professional 600x 16GB CompactFlash card + Lexar Professional Dual-Slot card reader.

There will be two winners of the beginners’ single image category, First Shot - Work, Rest, Play. They will each receive Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 software and a Photo Iconic photography course, or an online image critique. The two Runners-Up and four Commended entrants each receive critiques.

The Young Travel Photographer of the Year will receive £500, plus Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, Lexar Professional 600x 16GB CompactFlash card + Lexar Professional Dual-Slot card reader, personalised Plastic Sandwich leather portfolio case or iPad cover and an image critique session. The winner of Young TPOTY 14 & Under and the winner of Young TPOTY 15-18 each receive a Lexar Professional 400x 8GB CompactFlash card plus an online critique, while the runners-up receive a Lexar Professional 400x 8GB CompactFlash card.

Finally, the winner of the Young Photographers’ Alliance Emerging Talent Award, for the most interesting entry submitted by a photographer aged 25 or under in the New Talent or Young TPOTY categories will be given a place on the YPA mentoring programme.

The TPOTY awards are open to amateur and professional photographers from all countries and images can be submitted as prints or uploaded online. Entries for the 2011 TPOTY awards close on October 9th. Entry fees start at £10 and Young TPOTY is free to enter. Images can be submitted online or as prints. Full details on how to enter can be found at

Image shown is by Eric Kruszewski - TPOTY 2010

Thats Health: Let's do this toegether! Give your feet a treet. K...

Thats Health: Let's do this toegether! Give your feet a treet. K...: "Are you an average person? If you are, toy could be walking about 920,000 steps this summer. That's a lot of walking. And it makes sense to ..."

Book your family holiday with Cottages4You and earn Boots Advantage Card points!

Now you can enjoy a holiday in an adorable cottage and earn Boots Advantage Card points, too!

Because Cottages4you, provider of cottage and holiday lettings will be joining Treat Street.

This will be a new offering for the 'travel' area of the Boots Treat Street website, which will allow customers to collect more Boots Advantage Card points through the Treat Street site.

This is a fantastic addition to the site and it comes at the right time for the summer holidays. It is hoped it will appeal to UK customers who are looking for holiday accommodation at home and abroad.

The Cottages4you website has a wide range of cottages not only all over the UK, but in France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. There are in excess of 13,000 to choose from.

Customers would collect one Boots Advantage Card point for every £1 they spend with Cottages4you.

Dave Robinson, who is the head of partnership marketing at Boots said: "Treat Street is pleased to announce we will now be working with Cottages4you, by reputation the UK's leading provider of cottage and holiday lettings.

“With the summer holidays being a great time to treat the family, we believe Treat Street offers great value for new and existing customers, who wish to reward themselves following a purchase online through our website.

"We plan to expand our offers in the travel and holiday categories throughout 2011, so be sure to check the website frequently for new offers. By shopping through Treat Street you can collect Boots points with every purchase."

(EDITOR: And the great thing is, you can buy many of your holiday requisites (sun cream, insect repellent, first aid kits and so on) at your local Boots or the Boosts nearest to your holiday cottage and get Boots Advantage Card points on those, too!

Established in 2010, Boots Treat Street enables Advantage Card customers to collect Boots Advantage Card points with every purchase they make online through the website. Customers shopping through Boots Treat Street collect at least one point for every £1 spent with selected stores.

Boots Treat Street offers vouchers, discount codes and products from the high-street's biggest retailers including Comet, Currys and the Apple Store and also online retailers, such as eBay, Lovefilm and Customers can also collect travel discount codes such as discount codes, vouchers, Cottages4you discount codes and The Trainline offers.

Cottages4you has an unbeatable range of holiday cottages to rent. It has over 9,000 cottages all across the UK and has several thousand cottages, gites and villas across France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal. All of the cottages are regularly inspected and it only advertises cottages meeting its reassuringly high standards.

To find out more visit

Sunday, 19 June 2011

That's Parenting: Over The Wall' charity provides exciting challenge...

That's Parenting: Over The Wall' charity provides exciting challenge...: "Over The Wall (OTW) was founded in 1999 as part of Paul Newman's international Association of Hole in the Wall Camps to provide free, life-c..."

Travelex and TripAdvisor announce strategic partnership

Travelex and TripAdvisor have announced a deal that will provide holidaymakers with real time real time currency rates and information on the TripAdvisor website. Up to 40 million people annually could benefit from the deal as they research holidays on the site in what is the first time the TripAdvisor has partnered with a travel money provider to provide live web content.

Launching this month, June, the campaign will be made up of a series of tailored digital advertisements, plus the Travelex’s currency converter widget placed strategically within ‘Before You Go’ sections of the site, automatically updated with relevant rates and currencies.

Julian Neal, Global e-Commerce and Marketing Director, Travelex Currency Services says “Travelex is delighted to join with TripAdvisor to provide its users with timely and relevant information to aid them in preparing for the holidays. As the only truly global currency specialist, we see this as an important strategic partnership, with the world’s largest travel site.

“The fees associated with using debit and credit cards abroad are becoming increasingly expensive and there are so many hidden costs, travellers simply don’t know what they will be paying. Organising currency ahead of your trip is the best way to get best overall value from your holiday and removes the stresses associated with getting cash at the destination.

“The best currency rates are found online and Travelex customers in the UK and US have the assurance of our Online Price Promise and the ability to take care of all their travel money needs in what is a one-stop shop.”

Kevin Clapson, TripAdvisor’s head of UK sales, points out: “As the world’s largest travel site we aim to provide travellers with everything they need to plan the perfect trip. Partnering with Travelex means travellers can quickly and easily view real time currency rates and information on the TripAdvisor site while planning their trip.”

That's Food and Drink: Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel announces Aiden Byrne...

That's Food and Drink: Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel announces Aiden Byrne...: "Macdonald Craxton Wood has announced that Aiden Byrne will be launching his third restaurant on July 29th 2011. Working in collaboration wit..."

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Voyages Jules Verne announces enhanced service for this autumn

Voyages Jules Verne has announced the introduction of scheduled flights to its popular programme of escorted tours in Jordan.

Replacing the charter arrangement from Gatwick to Aqaba, clients will now fly from Heathrow to Amman with British Midland International (bmi), enjoying a number of additional benefits like Saturday departures, an extended season (thus a wider choice of departures over a longer time period), free connecting bmi flights from Manchester (supplement for other regional airports) and an upgraded flight option where customers can fly in even greater comfort in Business Class for an additional cost.

Travelling on scheduled flights will mean that there will be an extension to the duration of each itinerary, so letting Voyages Jules Verne clients to spend an extra night in Jordan, staying at an extra location.

For example, VJV's 15-night Grand Tour of Jordan itinerary now includes a stay at the luxurious Evason Ma'in Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa plus an upgrade to its standard accommodation in Tala Bay, which is now the five-star Radisson Blu Resort.

The eight-night Discover Jordan tour now features a night at the Dead Sea - staying either at the four-star Holiday Inn Resort or the new five-star Mövenpick Resort & Spa (additional cost).

Whilst it would be understandable to expect all these extra benefits to incur an additional cost, Voyages Jules Verne has managed to maintain prices across its Jordan programme - reinforcing the company's reputation for offering the best possible value to its clients.

And there's even better news on the budgeting front in the form of an Early Booking Offer as customers can now reserve their place on a Jordan tour by 30 June 2011 and enjoy a £50 pp reduction on advertised prices.

2012 promises to be a big year for Jordan, as it celebrates the 200th anniversary of the re-discovery of Petra by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt as well as the 50th anniversary of the filming of Lawrence of Arabia. And, with the country currently experiencing a temporary drop in tourism, there really is no better time to see Jordan 'while the tourist crowds are away'.

Voyages Jules Verne's 2011/12 Jordan holidays programme offers a choice of four itinerates including Petra to the Pyramids, Jordan's Red Sea & Petra, Discover Jordon and Grand Tour of Jordon.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Good news! Thomson has announced 'Couples', new child-free holidays at resorts worldwide

Thomson Holidays has launched Thomson Couples, an all-new adults-only holiday experience aimed at couples who want to spend time abroad in a child-free environment. With the first Couples customers flying out in June, Thomson is the first mainstream travel company to offer 100% child-free holiday resorts worldwide.

News of the launch of the adult-only holidays will be welcomed by over three quarters (79%) of all those questioned for a Thomson Holidays survey who admitted their holidays were affected by other people's children, while 31% said that unruly youngsters have actually ruined a well-earned break.

What's more, one in three UK adults (35%) said they agreed with the statement "Hell is other people’s children on holiday".

For over half those questioned (55%) the main complaint about children is their behaviour in the hotel restaurant, while almost half (48%) find the "general noise and whining" made by kids on holiday irritating. Another major gripe was noise from children in the next room (45%), while for a third (32%) over-tired youngsters can also spoil an evening’s entertainment.

The hotel swimming pool is a flashpoint too, where 41% are irritated by the noise from excited children. Being splashed while sunbathing around the pool was annoying for nearly a third (30%), while 21% said they dislike being splashed by children while they're swimming in the pool.

Interestingly, the problems are not solely confined to other people's children. Some 40% of parents say their own kids affect the enjoyment of their holiday, while 4% of these say they can even ruin it completely. (EDITOR: Then how about some old fashioned discipline?)

The research went on to show many people would like to see adult-only areas in hotels. Over half (55%) believe bars should be a no-go area for kids, while 42% would like part of the swimming pool cordoned off for adults to swim quietly.

The subject of adults-only holidays is explored in greater detail in a 'White Paper' commissioned by Thomson Holidays. The paper includes interviews with people taking both Thomson child-free and child-friendly holidays in Cyprus during last October’s half-term holiday.

Luke Gaskins, Head of Product Development at Thomson Holidays, explained Thomson Couples holidays is part of the company's commitment to designing holidays around the differing needs of its customers, and would complement its hugely popular Thomson Families resorts.

"Family holidays are incredibly important to Thomson and an extremely valuable opportunity for families to spend quality time together, enabling children to experience new places, foods and cultures - and have fun," said Luke.

"At the same time, many parents also tell us how much they cherish a few days to themselves once in a while in addition to their family holiday, to recharge their batteries. Just as our Family resorts are focused on keeping children entertained, Couples is completely geared to adult relaxation and together time. At a Couples hotel, peace and quiet both come as standard."

All hotels in the Thomson Couples range are part of Thomson's Premier Collection, which include the company's very best 4T and 5T hotels. Couples customers will also enjoy complimentary benefits including increased luggage allowance, priority transfers, day-before check-in and dedicated holiday advisors when overseas.

Visit for details.

Monday, 13 June 2011

SWAROVSKI OPTIK launches new binoculars, designed specifically for travel & leisure enthusiasts

SWAROVSKI OPTIK is delighted to present its latest binoculars: CL Companion. Designed specifically with the travel and leisure market in mind, the compact size and low weight combine with razor-sharp images to deliver an exceptional viewing experience.

At only 500g (17oz), CL Companion are the lightest binoculars available in the premium class. They are very easy to use and fit neatly in your luggage and can be easily worn around the neck. They're your perfect companion wherever you go.

Discovering everything the world has to offer can be a real joy. Whether you are sightseeing, hiking through untamed nature, marvelling at historic monuments or simply on a Sunday outing, precious moments stay with you forever. Driven by our innate curiosity, it is usually the details that make all the difference and turn a split second into a truly unforgettable experience. SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars are premium products with a long tradition of uncompromising quality, crystal clear optics and precision construction. (EDITOR: And with their compact size, they are ideal for people who need to make assessments of buildings or landscapes for their employment, too!)

This new model combines an attractive, modern look with the user-friendly ergonomics that have long been a standard feature of SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars. At excellent value for money, these binoculars are a top product for discerning buyers looking for both quality and style.

"Observing is more than seeing. It’s seeing the big picture and revealing hidden details. It’s the stirring up of a constant desire for new discoveries. So close you could almost reach out and touch, feeling as if you were really there. A compact and lightweight binocular such as the CL Companion with crystal clear images belongs in any suitcase.

“The new CL Companion is a durable companion designed to help you overcome the natural limitations of your perception and immerse yourself in precious moments," comments Carina Schiestl-Swarovski, chairwoman of the SWAROVSKI OPTIK Executive Board.

CL Companion is available in 8x or 10x magnification and in green, sand-brown or black. It will be available in stores from 01 July 2011. The RRP of the 8x is £790 and the 10x is £820.

This market launch is being accompanied by an exciting social media campaign. At, all globetrotters and travel enthusiasts are invited to take part in the "World Traveller’s Challenge" on Facebook, an entertaining game which, in addition to testing their geographical knowledge, will also put their creativity to the test with a challenging photography competition. From June 2011, SWAROVSKI OPTIK is also launching a product test campaign from this Facebook fan page, giving successful applicants the chance to test the new CL Companion for a whole six months.


Discounted Nile cruises available 04 July 2011 - October 2012

7-night Nile cruise holiday from £699 for first traveller and £349.50 for the second

A Nile cruise is not just a relaxing sail down the Nile – it offers holidaymakers access to the world’s largest open air museum and some of the most amazing ancient archeological monuments and sites that still stand after 6,000 years.

Discover Egypt is currently offering a special saving on a range of selected Nile cruises - a seven night Nile cruise for two with the second person paying half the price.

Enjoy a full board seven night cruise on board the five star Viking Princess with ten guided excursions, return flights and transfers in resort from just £699 for the first person and £349.50 for the second.

Packages on board other ships, the Royal Viking, start from £899 with second traveller from £449.50 and Alexander the Great, from £1,399 and £699.50 respectively. Half price single supplement offers are applicable on board the Viking Princess and Royal Viking.

This offer is valid for travel between 04 July 2011 and October 2012 on selected departures from Gatwick. Flights from Birmingham, Heathrow or Manchester are available at a supplement.

These are some of the highlights that holidaymakers will visit along the way:
• Valley of the Kings – one of the most famous archeological sites in the world and a World Heritage site since 1979. The valley is a burial site where tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs for 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC. Its most famous tomb is that of Tutankhamun, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.

• Temple of Hatshepsut – the temple of Queen Hatshepsut is close to the Valley of the Kings and is one of the most significant monuments of ancient Egypt. Considered the closest Egypt came to Classical Architecture and marked a turning point in the architecture of Ancient Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut was a rare female Pharaoh (late 16th century – 1482 BC) and considered by Egyptologists as one of the most successful.

• Valley of the Queens – the burial place for the wives of Pharaoh’s and often their children, located close to the Valley of the Kings. The area is said to hold seventy tombs that are all lavishly decorated, one of the most famous being the tomb for Queen Nefertari carved out of the rock.

• Colossi of Memnon – this is one of the most imposing ancient monuments on the West Bank and features two huge stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that have sat in the Theban necropolis for 3,400 years, just across the Nile from Luxor.

• Temple of Karnak – the Temple complex of Karnak is the largest ancient religious site in the world and is a vast mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons and other buildings, including the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure started by Pharaoh Ramses II between 1391-1351 BC).

• Temple of Luxor – another spectacular temple complex in the city of Luxor that was started by Queen Hatshepsut, with later additions added by Amenhotep III and Rameses II.

• Temple of Horus (Edfu) – located near the city of Edfu this is the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnak and one of the best preserved. It is dedicated to the falcon god, Horus and was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC.

• Temple of Sobek (Kom Ombo) – located 40 kms from Aswan in the town of Kom Ombo this temple was built in 180 BC with later additions added in Roman times. The temple stands on what was an important crossroads between the caravan route from Nubia and trails from the gold mines in the eastern desert. On a bend in the Nile, a spot favoured by crocodiles, the temple was dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god.

• Temple of Philae – Philae is an island in the Nile close to Aswan and the previous site of an ancient Egyptian temple complex. The complex was relocated in a major feat of engineering to the nearby Agilka Island after it was nearly lost under water in the 1960s due to the construction of the High Dam. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris and mother of Horus.

For reservations call Discover Egypt on 0844 880 0461 or visit them at

Skiers should stay healthy all year round

If you want to stay fit to ski over the summer, you don’t have to travel to the Southern Hemisphere or search for snow on glaciers. There are plenty of other things you can do while waiting for winter to return. The experts from The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead have put together a top 5 of summer activities for snowsports enthusiasts who have packed away their gear for the summer.

1. Mountain biking:

For many dedicated skiers and snowboarders, the summer is mountain biking season. All varieties of cycling are good to exercise leg muscles such as the calves, hamstrings and quadriceps. Mountain biking also increases your balance, agility and core strength because you need to maneuver your bike underneath you. But the advantages of this sport aren’t purely physical: you’ll also improve your ability to anticipate bumps and other irregularities while racing down the mountain.

2. Running:

One of the easiest ways to boost your cardiovascular system while building up your leg muscles is running. For optimal results, go running for at least twenty minutes 3 to 5 times a week. The advantages of a better stamina are many: you can ski or snowboard longer and faster, your après ski performance will be smashing and last but not least, during the summer, you´ll look lean and slim at the beach.

3. Yoga and Pilates:

Increasing your flexibility is just as important as cardiovascular exercise, because it will increase your agility on the snow slopes. Yoga and pilates will not only help you improve your flexibility but are also excellent ways of training all the small muscles that support the bigger muscle groups, which helps reduce the risk of injury.

4. Indoor snowsport lessons:

If you can´t wait any longer for the snow to fall, you could visit an indoor snow slope and make your dreams of skiing come true. If you’re a beginner, you can take out snowsport lessons to save you valuable time on the slopes next season. For advanced skiers, The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead offers special coaching sessions to boost your skills. These sessions include the Parallel Plus, the Carving Clinic and the Wednesday Night Bumps.

5. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water:

If you want to stay fit, it´s important to avoid dehydration and malnutrition. For example, lack of protein in your diet will lead to muscle deterioration. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables; a decent amount of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods; dairy products and some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein.

The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead has a BASI Centre of Excellence Status and is the most highly qualified snowsports school in the south of England. Skiers and snowboarders of all abilities are guaranteed to receive world class coaching.

For more information or to book, visit or call 0845 258 900.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

That's Parenting: Last Chance for Disney Tickets Offer

That's Parenting: Last Chance for Disney Tickets Offer: "FloridaTix has a great offer on Disney tickets this month but you’ll have to hurry as it will be over rather quickly! The Disney 14 Day Ul..."

Kuoni wins Daily Telegraph Ultratravel award for Best Large Luxury Tour Operator

Top travel specialist Kuoni, has won the prestigious ULTRA (Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Award) for Best Large Luxury Tour Operator at the Daily Telegraph's Ultratravel Awards for the fifth consecutive year, as voted by the readers of the Daily Telegraph's Ultratravel magazine.

The awards, hosted by Telegraph Travel Editor Graham Boynton, were held on Monday 16th May at London's Savoy Hotel, supported by a host of 'Help for Heroes' celebrities, including venerated heroes like the oldest living spitfire pilot and the widow of an incredible bomb disposal expert who saved many, many lives.

Commenting on the win, Kuoni UK MD, Joanna Edmunds said; "I thoroughly enjoyed the Ultratravel Awards ceremony which was very moving and very humbling. Whilst our work may not be in quite the same league I am incredibly proud that we have been voted Number One once again by the Telegraph's readers. It is a real testament to all of our staff's hard work, care and attention".

Each year the Ultra's raise money for a specific charity and this year the awards will be helping to support the 'Help for Heroes' charity with its efforts to provide grants that aim to provide practical direct support for wounded UK military servicemen and women. At the recent event at the Savoy in London, guests were fortunate to meet some of these heroes and hear their stories.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hillmaster and Sugula Most Popular Products

The Brasher Segula GTX and the Hillmaster GTX are the bestselling Brasher boots at, showing increased and strong early spring sales.

Brasher boots have long been a popular choice with British walkers, offering an exceptionally comfortable fit with a design to give comfort straight out of the box without a lengthy breaking in period.

The brand was formed in 1978 by Olympic Steeplechase Gold Medallist Chris Brasher, with the new range of footwear combining the comfort of trainers with the performance of hiking boots. As a marathon runner Brasher was obviously aware of the comfort of training shoes, yet knew that the design of walking boots was far behind the times.

The first release of Brasher boots saw Brasher rapidly growing into one of the top and best loved brands for serious walkers and hikers, because the footwear could offer levels of comfort which far surpassed that of the competition.

Since the first boots were produced, Brasher has been a leading force in the development of new technology to improve comfort for off-road walkers, paving the way for an explosion of styles to suit all terrain and conditions.

Whilst there have been many high quality models released, it was the launch of the Brasher Hillmaster GTX in 1993 which cemented the brands' position as the leading producer of hill and fell walking boots in the UK. The new model fairly rapidly became the benchmark by which other boots would come to be judged, especially when it came to comfort. Now 18 years on, the boot is still the bestselling boot in the men’s range.

“The Brasher Hillmaster GTX was an extraordinary walking boot when it was first released and they are still widely regarded as the best hill walking boots ever made” says MD Richard Gundle.

He adds: “It’s long been the bestselling Men’s hill walking boot here at, and sales are still on the increase”. Hillmaster is still dominating the sales charts, testament to the quality of the original design.

The Hillmaster dominates men’s Brasher boots sales at, but whilst it's a popular model with women, it has now been overtaken by the lightweight Brasher Segula. The women’s only model has been a favourite this spring thanks to a stylish design, and a lightweight construction ideal for the warmer weather.

As with all Brasher boots, the Segula boasts a generous fit to give the toes room to move. Memory foam is used in the collar and tongue for a close and comfortable fit, helping to ease lace tension on the instep, with a lightweight MEVA footbed to provide excellent cushioning, even over highly uneven terrain.

A robust outsole gives a great balance of stickiness for traction with the durability to take on rougher ground. The boots are stylish and hardwearing, and offer a considerable weight saving on other popular models, being 220g lighter than the Hillmaster for a women’s size six. By keeping the weight down, and improving breathability these Brasher boots are ideally suited for spring walking, a fact not lost on customers this month with sales of the boots soaring.

Vidur Kapur of Guoman Hotels winner in Acorn '30 under 30' Awards

Vidur Kapur of Guoman Hotels winner in Acorn '30 under 30' Awards

Guoman Hotels Charing Cross hotel manager, Vidur Kapur, has been selected as one of the hospitality industry's rising stars at the coveted Acorn Awards.

Now in its 25th year, the Acorn Awards '30 under 30' recognises the brightest young prospects in the hospitality industry.

Kapur started his career in hotels at a young age working in a number of four and five star hospitality establishments before embarking on a career with Guoman and Thistle Hotels in 2003.

With Guoman and Thistle, Kapur has quickly climbed the ladder from food and beverage manager to hotel manager - showing a flair for people management and exceptional leadership qualities. Whilst quickly progressing in his career, Vidur has illustrated his commitment and dedication to his personal development managing to study for a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management.

Riddian Davies, general manager, Charing Cross commented: "I'm extremely proud that Vidur has been recognised with this accolade, it is much deserved. Vidur has demonstrated incredible motivation, passion and commitment in his role, with a remarkable ability to get the best out of his team.

“He's a bright, switched-on individual with integrity and strong business acumen and has proved an asset to the hotel; particularly over the last twelve months as we've been enhancing the Charing Cross experience to complement the hotel's multi-million pound Buckingham Wing refurbishment. I have every confidence Vidur will grow to become a true industry leader – watch this space."

Kapur picked up his award at the glittering Acorn Awards ceremony at Coworth Park Hotel, Berkshire. He added: "I'm thrilled to receive this award. To be recognised for all the hard work is just a fantastic feeling but I could not have achieved my goals and got to where I am today without some inspirational mentors and the backing of a fantastic team here at Charing Cross."


Guoman Hotel Management Limited operates two hotel brands in the UK market; Guoman Hotels, an exclusive collection of deluxe hotels located in central London, including Charing Cross hotels and Thistle Hotels, a chain of quality full service hotels in the UK's top cities.

Guoman Hotels in the UK consists of four landmark properties; Charing Cross, The Cumberland, The Royal Horseguards (current AA London Hotel of the Year 2010/11) and The Tower. Whilst each hotel in the portfolio is different with its own unique identity and style, each provides the very highest levels of comfort and service to its guests.

In 2010, Guoman Hotels launched internationally, with its new property opening in Shanghai. In the UK, The Grosvenor Victoria property will join the collection in the near future.

Guoman Hotel Management Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GuocoLeisure Ltd, part of the Hong Leong Group which has hospitality and leisure businesses across the globe with hotels in Europe, USA, Australasia and Asia. reports sales increase for cruise holidays

Website tour consolidator,,has released new figures showing cruise holidays are proving more popular in 2011, reporting an impressive sales increase of 308% in bookings for cruise holidays compared on the same period last year.

The findings reflect research from the Passenger Shipping Authority, which shows that at least one in nine package holidays taken was a cruise holiday with 40% or more of all cruises departing from a British port.

It is believed shorter cruise breaks will prove popular during 2011 and agreed with this, after it noticed mini cruises account for at least 45% of all cruise holiday bookings taken so far this year, followed by 33% for high-value ocean cruises and 22% for river cruises. This in turn has seen prices fall with the average cruise holiday costing under £1000 last year.

The research goes against the belief cruise holidays are only preferred by older generations, showing at least 21% were aged 25-30 when they went on their first cruise holiday. Families are starting to see the benefits involved with cruise holidays and are opting to venture onto ships and travel the ocean rather than stick to a traditional package holiday. Ships like the 'Epic' and 'Oasis of the Seas' are providing holiday resorts on the open seas with their integral shopping malls, aqua parks, outdoor amphitheatres and much more.

Northern Europe appears a top destination for cruise holiday enthusiasts with itineraries for cruising The Baltics and Norwegian Fjords the most popular. The Caribbean remains the hot favourite with at least 8% opting for cruise holidays to explore its many islands like St Lucia, Barbados and Cuba.

It's not just cruise holidays that have seen a surge in popularity this year; revenue for UK coach holidays is up 39% while European coach breaks are up 46% compared on the same period in 2010.
Rachel Jones, Online PR & Marketing Co-ordinator, with said: "It ooks like cruise holidays are the way to go this holiday season if our recent sales figures are anything to go by.

“Households are facing a number of financial hurdles this year what with the high cost of living and salaries stagnating, therefore many are considering carefully what to do when it comes to their annual holidays in 2011." has also noticed some coach breaks that were popular in 2010 are declining in interest, especially London theatre breaks with sales revenues down some 18%. It's thought people are viewing London theatre breaks as luxury expenditure and are opting to abandon this idea in favour of ploughing their hard-earned cash into their main holiday for 2011.

Rachel concluded: "Cruise holidays are increasing in popularity this year as people begin to notice how much money they can save with this great-value holiday option. The benefit of cruise holidays is that everything is included in one price so people do not have to worry about funding for meals, drinks, entertainment and excursions - all they need to take is spending money should they want a souvenir or two to remember their holiday by."

FACTFILE: is a consolidation of national and regional tour operators creating a diverse choice of UK coach holidays, European and worldwide touring holidays including Paris city breaks, London city breaks, events packages and holidays by air to many exciting destinations. All have live availability and offer the customer the opportunity to book online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Monday, 6 June 2011

German Travel Centre offer three night city breaks from £399

Fans of women football can visit Germany this summer as the country hosts the sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ from 26 June to 17 July 2011.

There will be sixteen teams competing at games across the country with the opening ceremony and match, Canada vs. Germany, taking place at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on 26 June 2011 and the final in Frankfurt on 17 July 2011.

The UK has seen an amazing growth in women's football and the English Football Association has reported that it has now overtaken netball as the most popular female participation sport in the UK. Travel operator, German Travel Centre is gearing up for record numbers heading over to Germany this summer.

One of the biggest matches for UK fans will be England vs. Mexico on 27 June 2011 taking place at Wolfsburg, around 3.5 hours from Berlin by train and most famous for being the home of the VW Motor Group.

The German Travel Centre offer a number of packages to Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich so that fans can take in matches as the team’s progress. Prices start £399 per person for three-nights in Frankfurt for the final of the World Cup, including return flights from the UK and three nights bed and breakfast accommodation.

For information and reservations on short city breaks to Germany, please call the German Travel Centre on 0208 429 2900.

Sky High Communication? - Looks at Airline Phone and Internet Costs

Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has put together a table outlining the costs of using phone and internet services whilst you are in flight. This technology is still relatively new but demand is at an all-time high and airlines are responding quickly.

With the world becoming more accessible via smart-phone technology, it has now become a necessity to be able to access online and cellular services even while 35000ft in the air! Visit where you will be able to see a full table of the results.

The research found there are 3 main service providers that airlines use in order to have the phone and internet access on their aircrafts, with charges starting from £3.00. These are OnAir, Aeromobile and Gogo by Aircell.

Airlines that use the Gogo service are mainly American like Continental and American Airlines and it is only available on domestic flights. Providing a service that allows passengers to make calls and use the internet via Wi-Fi with the charges that passengers face set at the international roaming costs associated with the mobile network provider.

Unsurprisingly, budget airlines including BMI Baby, easyJet, Flybe and Monarch do not offer a form of mobile and internet connection aboard their aircrafts. However, from February 2009 to March 2010 Ryanair ran a trial where they introduced the phone and internet service provided by OnAir however this trial was never fully launched following the trial period.

The table of research, which can be found on the APH website, reflects the fact this technology is still new and continues to be developed. Most airlines want to offer this service for their passengers in the very near future. Make sure to visit for the most updated news.

Airport Parking and Hotels Ltd is one of the UK’s leading booking agencies and this year celebrates its 31st year as a retailer and operator of pre-booked airport parking and travel extras. APH offers parking at all major UK airports plus airport hotels packaged with parking and airport lounges. APH is also a carbon balanced company and has, through the World Land Trust, helped purchase more than 1,000 acres of endangered rainforest.

For further information visit or call 01342 859515.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Find hotels to make you feel like a Princess with HotelBook

When William married Kate a little while back, millions of women around the world perhaps sighed at a lost chance to be that lucky lady becoming a real life princess. But booking site HotelBook has recognised women’s desire to feel like a princess, if only for a short time, here they’ve listed hotels around the world where you can live like royalty for a few days.

Savoy Hotel, Rome
With its superb location, off legendary Via Veneto in the heart of Rome, a few minutes walk to the Spanish Steps, the Borghese Gardens and Gallery and the most famous Italian Fashion shopping district, the Hotel Savoy is a traditional, historical hotel with elegant décors and modern facilities. The interior is classical in style and extremely comfortable, allowing guests to feel surrounded by luxury during their stay.

Regina Hotel, Paris
This traditional hotel was fully restored and refurbished and now features spacious rooms with period furnishings, providing an elegant, refined atmosphere. It's directly across from Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre's entrance. And being in the heart of the modern district means the fabulous shops of Paris are close at hand. So it's the perfect location for princess guests interested in visiting both the shops and museums of Paris. HotelBook currently have an excellent choice of Paris hotel deals for you to choose from.

Leonard Hotel and Residence, London

The Leonard Hotel and Residence offers a prime hotel suites in London’s fashionable and highly agreeable West End. It pampers its guests with a tranquil atmosphere laced with some Victorian class. Located near the West End shops, hotel guests at the Leonard Hotel and Residence are afforded proximity to trendy boutiques, dance clubs, eateries and brew houses of England’s capital. Have a look at HotelBook’s London hotel deals for more inspiration.

Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, Honolulu
The Hawaii Prince Hotel is a bold achievement in superb architectural design and it offers first class luxury accommodation. Features include fine English slate and an accompaniment of other fine materials that distinguish the walkways of hotel grounds, lush tropical landscaping surrounding the hotel, and a five-story cascading fountain - the only one of its kind in Waikiki. Meanwhile the hotel's pool, located on the fifth floor offers an amazing ocean view.

All of the above hotels can be booked online at so visit the site to find out more about these and many other top luxury hotels all over the world.