Thursday, 27 October 2011

Eurostar reports solid third quarter in 2011

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has announced its results for the third quarter of 2011, having delivered a solid performance during the period with sales revenues up 7% (£197m in 2011 vs. £183m in 2010). Looking back across the year to date, total sales revenue figures have grown by 5% compared to the same period in 2010 (£617m in 2011 vs £588m in 2010).

The total number of passengers travelling on Eurostar services between January and September 2011, rose by 1% compared to the same period last year (7.3m in 2011 vs. 7.2m in 2010). Excluding the estimated impact of the ash cloud disruption in 2010, the underlying increase in passenger numbers for the year to date was 3%.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: "We have delivered a solid performance during both the third quarter and the year as a whole although the tough trading environment across Europe demands a cautious watching brief. Since the beginning of the year we have seen growth in both our sales revenues and passenger numbers reinforcing our popularity with regular and new travellers alike."

In spite of an uncertain economic climate, Business Premier sales revenues grew 2% in Q3 2011 vs. Q3 2010. While this underlines the operator's positive performance during 2011, Eurostar remains cautious about the outlook moving forward in a challenging business environment.

The number of leisure travellers for the year to date grew by 2%. Research has shown that during previous economic downturns, leisure travellers have tended to protect their expenditure on short-haul leisure breaks, and this behaviour appears to have been borne out by Eurostar's experience.

This trend is reinforced by the strong growth in international passenger numbers, up 21% for the year to date and 15% for the third quarter compared with same periods in 2010. This increase has been evident throughout 2011 reflecting the continued favourability of the UK and Europe as a travel destination.

With London 2012 now less than a year away, Eurostar anticipates increased interest in the UK as a destination as the world's focus turns to the Games next year.

Eurostar has recently cemented its commitment to enhance the digital experience for travellers both before and during their trips. The recent launch of a free mobile application, which allows passengers to book journeys on-the-go and receive tickets direct to their mobile devices, is already proving popular with customers.

Eurostar is also introducing on board Wi-Fi connectivity and state-of-the-art infotainment for its fleet of high speed trains as part of its £700million investment programme.

Nicolas Petrovic said: "With our new mobile App it's easier than ever before for customers to access our services on the move. This is the first in a series of digital initiatives and is evidence of our continued commitment to upgrading the online experience for our customers."

For more information on the new Eurostar app and to find other Eurostar deals such as cheap Eurostar tickets, interested parties can visit or call 08432 186 186.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Choice Hotels announces opening of new Comfort brand hotel in Luton

Choice Hotels has announced that the Royal Hotel Luton has been re-branded as Comfort Hotel Luton and is opening to its first guests this month.

Located on Mill Street, the Luton hotel is in the heart the town centre, ideally located for both the railway station and less than three miles from Luton Airport providing both business and leisure travellers with excellent transport links.

The Comfort Hotel Luton is owned and operated by Mr Zaheed Nizar, Director for Landlet Hotel Group, under franchise agreement with Choice Hotels Europe. Previously independently run, the hotel has been re-furbished, doubling the number of bedrooms available. It now has 44 en-suite bedrooms and offers free wireless and internet access throughout. It also has 14 complimentary parking spaces for guests and the hotel bar is open to both guests and non-residents.

Maria Fazekas, General Manager, Comfort Hotel Luton, said: "We are pleased to be known as the Comfort Hotel Luton and to provide the town with an excellent three-star hotel."

Duncan Berry, CEO UK, Choice Hotels Europe, commented: "We are delighted to see the Comfort Hotel Luton join our global network of more than 6,100 hotels. Furthermore, we believe that the Comfort brand will attract more guests to the hotel and help drive local economic growth for Luton."

Choice Hotels Europe's portfolio of franchised hotels offers business and leisure travellers a full spectrum from premium economy to luxury hotels. Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe alone, including the Comfort Inn Vauxhall in London. Brands operated by Choice Hotels in Europe include Clarion which could be described as four-star, Quality, which sits in the three-star bracket and provides a mid-scale full service offering and Comfort, the largest Choice Hotels brand worldwide, known for value and reliability.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Ragdale Hall wins awards

Yoqua in Exercise PoolRagdale Hall has earned yet another award for its burgeoning trophy cabinet, this time for its renowned fitness offer. Readers of Spa Finder recently voted it amongst the top 10 spas in the world for fitness programmes, alongside a selection of the giants of the global spa industry.

"This is a fabulous honour and most gratefully received, as we put a lot of effort into this aspect of the business in order to ensure our guests are able to take part in many varied activities, some unique to us and all taught to a high standard. It's particularly rewarding to note we are the only UK spa to make the top 10 list", point out Senior Manager, Dean Hodgkin, the man behind Ragdale Hall's fitness philosophy.

With a timetable currently featuring classes such as Samurai, Drums Alive, Magical Musicals, Aromaball and Yoqua, Ragdale Hall's guests are familiar with the workout boundaries being stretched as Fitness Manager, Chris Chambers and his Team constantly seek to keep exercise fresh with new and innovative fitness formats.

Dean goes on to say: "Putting fun into fitness in not just a motto for us, but a way of life. We recognise that our guests come from different backgrounds and with varying fitness levels but our aim is always the same, to inspire them through an exciting, entertaining and educational fitness experience."

Having been voted Best International Fitness Presenter at a global industry event in New York in 2007, it's fair to assume Dean has a good handle on all things fitness, but the beauty of Ragdale Hall's ever evolving fitness programming is that the staff are key in developing new ideas and guest feedback is the lifeblood of the fitness department.

"We have a great formula of scheduling special events weeks when we can trial new themed workouts and then survey our guests to establish what they think. Popular classes make it onto the regular timetable and not so popular ones go back to the drawing board, it's a very simple process", Dean contiues.

With recent group exercise creations including the resistance training class Behind Bars, a skipping workout called On The Ropes, a unique marriage of old and new in Yogabody and Cycology, the spinning class that can only be described as meditation in motion, you never know quite what to expect, but you can be sure it'll put sweat on your brow and a smile on your face.....especially if you consider Zest Magazine recently voted Ragdale Hall the best spa for VFM!

Ragdale Hall Health Hydro ~ Ragdale Village ~ Nr. Melton Mowbray ~ Leicestershire ~ LE14 3PB
Telephone: 01664 434831 ~ Fax: 01664 434587 ~ Website:

Thistle's Parc hotel welcomes award winning Chef Iain Inman

Thistle's Parc hotel, located in the centre of Cardiff, is pleased and proud to announce the appointment of Iain Inman as the new executive chef of its restaurant, The Social. Bringing with him a wealth of experience, this talented chef will be supporting local suppliers; sourcing high quality products from within the region to create his new and unique fine dining menu.

Iain's new menu includes a series of Welsh dishes with a contemporary twist, such as the Grilled Rib Usk Valley Beef with Double Dragon Ale Sauce, Lemongrass Panacotta and Green Tea Sorbet.

With 15 years in the hotel and leisure industry, including positions held at two rosette winning restaurants; Pennyhill Park Hotel and Albannach Bar, Iain is set to bring his foodie flair to Cardiff, firmly placing The Social as a top gourmet restaurant among Cardiff hotels.

Darren Patt, Regional Operations Director of Thistle Hotels,said: "We are delighted to have Iain on board as our Executive chef at The Social. The Parc has built up a fantastic reputation as a great dining destination in Cardiff, with The Social being recently awarded two prestigious AA rosettes. We will continue this run of success with the appointment of Iain - ensuring that The Social continues to top the league of must-visit restaurants in the area."

For more information on The Social visit or to book call 02920 785593. You can also follow the Thistle Hotels' blog for frequent travellers at

Thistle Hotels is part of Guoman Hotel Management (UK) Limited which operates hotels throughout the UK. Thistle has 33 hotels across the country, many in superb city centre locations, including its hotels in Cardiff and eleven of them in central London. With a selection of restaurants and a choice of excellent health and leisure facilities, Thistle has something to offer everyone.

Thistle Hotels is the first hotel group to achieve Hospitality Assured accreditation, across its entire UK portfolio. Created by the Institute of Hospitality, the Hospitality Assured standard measures the quality within customer facing businesses across the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Voyages Jules Verne launches new Classic Journeys 2011 and 2012 brochure

Voyages Jules Verne has announced the launch of its rather exciting Classic Journeys 2011 and 2012 brochure, featuring a host of travel ideas including tours, cruises, trains, resorts and weekends.

In association with their longstanding overseas partners, Voyages Jules Verne is delighted to present this compendium of travel opportunities by air, boat and rail, including special sightseeing arrangements and many VJV special events. 

Among the selection of worldwide departures available until late 2012 are three new tours: Norway's 'Journey to the Arctic Circle' to the remote regions of Canada; exploring Burma's Irrawaddy River between Mandalay and Pagan in their 'Road to Mandalay' cruise and 'The Eastern and Oriental Express', a luxurious train journey aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express including 5-star accommodation in Bangkok and Singapore.  

Voyages Jules Verne are also able to offer travellers genuine price reductions of up to £400pp on selected tours in Peru, India, The Middle-East and South Africa such as 'The Indian Maharaja' travelling Bombay to Delhi, where travellers can save up to £300pp on selected dates. 'The Lost World of the Incas' tour discovering Machu Picchu through the Andes to Lake Titicaca offers a £400pp saving on selected dates.

Similarly, Voyages Jules Verne is rewarding advanced bookings with savings of up £300pp on selected tours such as Norway's 'Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage', 'Med by Private Motor Yacht' cruising remote islands and the Riviera, plus 'Cruising Sicily and Beyond' discovering the breath-taking sights of Sicily, Capri, the Aeolian Islands and Malta.

Also Solo travellers )EDITOR: Often ignored by some travel firms!) can benefit from VJV's on-going commitment to offer a choice of departures without financial penalty in its No Single Supplement programme. Tours with the single supplement removed on selected dates include; 'Interlude in Interlaken' to Switzerland, Egypt's 'A Royal Steamer Restored' and the 'Grand Tour of Sri Lanka'. Travellers should bear in mind that there is limited availability.

For a copy of the new Classic Journeys brochure, travellers can contact Voyages Jules Verne on 0845 404 3120, email or visit the company's website at

Monday, 17 October 2011

EZE Group evacuates volcano tourists

US-based travel and leisure specialists EZE Group has evacuated almost 50 holidaymakers from the south coast of the Canary Islands’ smallest island as fears grow over the activity of an underwater volcano.

The move affected 23 couples, and was taken as authorities in El Hierro raised their alert level to red, following three subsea eruptions – Spain’s first since 1971 – and an unprecedented earthquake storm.

Over 10,300 earthquakes have been recorded on the island since July 17th 2011.

The majority of the holidaymakers were taken to resorts in Tenerife, although some have decided to stay on the island, but have been moved to safer areas.

The 570 residents of La Restinga, a busy area popular with scuba-divers, were also evacuated as a precautionary measure.

EZE Group’s European Sales and Marketing Director Gerald Tiernan said: “We would only disturb our customers’ holidays as a last resort, but their safety is our number one concern, so we reluctantly took this measure on the advice of the local authorities in El Hierro.

“Apart from a few die-hard sun and solitude seekers, who were moved to safer parts of the island, we have relocated most of them to Tenerife at no cost.

“We advise all holidaymakers considering a trip to El Hierro to either delay their holiday, or consider the equally tranquil islands of La Gomera and La Palma instead.”

EZE Group allows people to buy credits, which can be used on a wide range of leisure activities, including holidays, spa and city breaks, and entertainments like theatre and restaurant visits.

The company was formed in the USA in 2001 and now has offices throughout North America and Europe.

Their services include helping people who are interested in selling timeshare, and advice for those looking for things to do in Tenerife, or considering holidays in any Canary Island resorts.

For more details on EZE Group visit their website

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cheaper Holidays for Half Term from

Cheap holiday deals can be hard to find, especially when you’re restricted to travelling when the kids aren’t in school. But don’t dismay, with October half term fast approaching there’s still time to find a great deal and get away to somewhere warm this winter.

Late holidays are still available to destinations around the world and here are’s top three late holiday deals for half term.

Holiday Offers for Half Term

Holidays to Barbados from £1,208 per person: Seven nights bed and breakfast at the Blue Horizon Resort in Barbados are available from £1,208 per person. The price includes seven nights accommodation, return flights with Air Canada from London and all pre-payable taxes. Travel 22 to 29 October 2011. Travel 22 to 29 October 2011.

Flights and accommodation in Sri Lanka from £1,159 per person: Stay at the Blue Water resort in Sri Lanka for seven nights from only £1,159 per person. The price includes return flights from London with Qatar Airways, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and all pre-payable taxes.

Orlando Holidays from £816 per person: Seven nights in Orlando are available from £816 per person including return flights from London with Aer Lingus, accommodation on a room only basis at the Econolodge Inn and Suites and all pre-payable taxes. Travel 22 to 29 October 2011.

All prices based on twin share, unless otherwise stated.

For further information visit or call 0844 493 4944.

Follow the latest news from on and at

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Cheap flight deals to worldwide destinations from

Istanbul flights from £165
Price includes return flights with Turkish Airlines from London Heathrow and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures 1st November – 9th December 2011.

Melbourne flights from £817
Price includes return flights with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures up to 9th December 2011. Book by 24th October 2011.

Auckland flights from £758
Price includes return flights with China Airlines from London Heathrow and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures up to 11th December 2011 & 1st January – 28th June 2012.

Johannesburg flights from £511
Price includes return flights with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures up to 9th December 2011. Book by 24th October 2011.

Cheap holiday deals from…

Discounted USA Holiday Offers

Miami holidays from £459 – Saving £220 can offer three nights staying at the three-star Claremont Hotel South Beach in Miami on a room only basis for £459 per person. Price includes return flights with Virgin from London Heathrow and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures up to 16th December 2011. Manchester departures available with Continental Airlines for £499 and Glasgow for £539. Book by 24th October 2011.

San Francisco holiday deals from £529 – Saving £200 can offer three nights staying at the three-star Comfort Inn by the Bay in San Francisco with breakfast for £529 per person. Price includes return flights with Virgin from London Heathrow and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures 1st November – 16th December 2011. Manchester departures available with Continental Airlines for £569 and Glasgow with KLM for £579. Book by 24th October 2011.

Cheap Caribbean Holidays

St Lucia from £949 – Saving £640 can offer seven nights staying at the four star Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa in St Lucia on an all inclusive basis for £949 per person. Price includes return flights with Virgin from London Gatwick and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures 1st November – 11th December 2011. Manchester departures available for £1229. Book by 19th October 2011.

Barbados from £949 – Saving £400 can offer seven nights staying at the five Crane in Barbados with breakfast for £949 per person. Price includes return flights with Virgin from London Gatwick, return transfers and pre-payable taxes. Valid for departures 25th October – 8th December 2011. Manchester departures available for £955. Book by 3rd November 2011.

All prices based on twin share, unless otherwise stated.

For further information visit or call 0844 493 4944.

FACTFILE: is part of the Thomas Cook Group and guarantees fantastic offers on flights, hotels, holidays and car hire worldwide. Thousands of discounted airfares from over 135 airlines, reduced rates at over 15 000 hotels, great offers on holidays and car hire are all available at, giving customers easy access to all the latest and best travel deals. is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), and every flight and holiday sold is ATOL protected, giving customers full financial protection and complete peace of mind when booking - whether online or over the phone.'

Rezidor and Esta Holding announce development of The Park Inn by Radisson Donetsk, Ukraine

The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide and the leading international hotel operator in Russia/CIS, has announced the Park Inn by Radisson Donestsk. It is the very first Park Inn by Radisson hotel in Ukraine and a common project with Esta Holding, the country's largest investor in the real estate sector. The mid-market property is being developed on the basis of the "Kiev" hotel located on Pushkin Boulevard in the centre of Donetsk.

"Ukraine is a key market in Eastern Europe for us. We are already successfully operating our upper upscale brand Radisson Blu in the country, and are delighted to follow with our young and dynamic mid-market brand Park Inn for which we see a considerable growth potential," said Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor.

The group's current portfolio in Ukraine features the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kiev; the Radisson Hotel, Alushta on the Black Sea coast; and a third hotel under development: the Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel in the country’s most popular ski area.

"The Park Inn Donetsk will be the first internationally managed 3-star hotel in Ukraine bringing the expertise and high standards of affordable accommodation to the hospitality market," commented Dejan Djordjevic, Managing Director of the Hospitality Business, Esta Holding.

The Park Inn by Radisson Donetsk has a prime location in the city centre. Pushkin Boulevard is the city's main pedestrian street and home to numerous cafes, restaurants, and monuments. Across the street is the recently re-designed Shcherbakov Park, which hosts events and festivals (including the "Fan Zone" during Euro 2012).

The main square, Opera and Ballet theatre, large-scale shopping malls and numerous corporate offices are in the immediate area. The hotel is already under construction and will open in Q2 2012, with 175 guest rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, meeting rooms, gym and outdoor parking.

Donetsk has large mineral resources and is one of the most economically important cities in the Ukraine. Moreover, Donetsk's new "Donbass Arena" will host five key matches during UEFA Euro 2012 (hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine) including the semi-final.


The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world. The group features a portfolio of more than 400 hotels in operation and under development with 88,800 rooms in over 60 countries. Its portfolio includes the Park Inn hotel Hannover, the Park Inn hotel Stuttgart, Park Inn hotel Oslo, Park Inn hotel Arcachon and the Park Inn hotel Erfurt.

Rezidor operates the brands Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts and Park Inn by Radisson in Europe, Middle East and Africa, along with the Club Carlson loyalty programme for frequent hotel guests. Under a worldwide licence agreement with the iconic Italian fashion house Missoni, Rezidor also operates and develops the new lifestyle brand

In November 2006, Rezidor was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Carlson, a privately held, global hospitality and travel company, based in Minneapolis (USA), is the majority shareholder.

The Corporate office of the Rezidor Hotel Group is based in Brussels, Belgium.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

London 2012 Olympics Car Hire Should Be Booked Early Advises

Sports fans wanting to get around the country should compare deals and book in advance says online comparator

30 September 2011 – With the London 2012 Olympic Games kicking off in a little under 10 months' time, online car hire comparator is advising drivers to book their rentals for the Games as soon as possible.

The London Games will next summer will be followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games and both events are expected to attract tens of thousands of sports fans to the games' many various locations around the UK. However, the website which sources cheap hire deals from over 50 leading providers, is warning people to book rental cars well in advance for getting around to the many Olympic sites.

Gareth Robinson, Managing Director of, says: “Events of the scale of the Olympic Games always seem to cause a spike in demand for car hire, so we want to give people the benefit of our experience. Prices as well as availability will be impacted around the London 2012 Games next summer."

“So people who want to head off to Wales or the north of England to see specific London 2012 Olympics events need to plan ahead and book their rental car well in advance. By doing this people can be sure they're giving themselves the best chance possible of getting a value for money deal plus also extra things such as child seats or satnavs.” is the leading car rental comparison site for comparing deals from up to 50 rental companies, including Alamo, Auto Europe, Budget, Holiday Autos and Sixt, in over 15,000 locations worldwide including car hire throughout the UK and USA. Car hire in the UK includes locations throughout London and Manchester for the Olympic Games.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Stena Line to boost onboard facilities

Stena Line has confirmed its two new Superfast vessels, which will be introduced on the company's new Cairnryan to Belfast service in November, will have a Nordic Spa onboard to offer passengers a totally unique travel experience!

Stena Superfast VII and Superfast VIII will be the largest ferries ever to sail between Scotland and Northern Ireland and are currently undergoing extensive upgrades in Poland by specialist cruise ship outfitters. When complete, they will be the first Irish Sea ferries to offer passengers the opportunity to relax and indulge in a Pure Nordic Spa during the 2 hour, 15 minute crossing.

The spa will contain a sauna and Jacuzzi which will be exclusively available to Stena Plus and Premium fare passengers.

"We have established a reputation for providing a very high level of customer service so the prospect of offering our customers the opportunity to unwind in a Pure Nordic Spa at sea has really got our staff excited about giving our customers an even better travel experience," said Stena Line Route Director Paul Grant.

"We plan to make the facility available to our Stena Plus customers and are confident that it will enhance our premium service offering even further. Although the new ferries will have a crossing time of just 2hr 15mins, our customers will still have enough time to relax and unwind and enjoy their journey even more than before.

"We are always looking at innovative ideas to help improve our offering to customers to ensure that their journey with us is a truly enjoyable experience in itself. The introduction of our Pure Nordic Spas is one such idea and one of a host of on board facilities which are dedicated to leisure and business passengers," he added.

Stena Line's new Cairnryan to Belfast route is scheduled to launch on 21 November. The new Superfast vessels will make 12 crossings per day and each of the ten-deck ships can carry up to 1200 passengers, 660 cars or 110 freight units.

Leading online car hire comparator helps UK travellers find value in Majorca and Menorca resorts this month

For those who are only now able to take their annual holiday, car hire price comparator has introduced new cheap car rentals deals to help them make the most of their holiday budgets.

Bargain air fares from the UK's budget airlines now help people to enjoy more than one holiday per year, meaning that people can head off for an autumn break in places like Majorca. To help people get around the island under their own steam and on a budget, has this week introduced new car hire Majorca choices which can be had from just £11 per day.

Travellers from all over the UK know and trust to save them money on their holiday rental needs, and this week the website is offering bargain car hire Menorca deals too. Tourists can log on and quickly browse the latest deals to book themselves Menorca Airport car hire starting from as little as £13 per day.

Gareth Robinson, Managing Director of, comments, " site users trust us to get them the utmost value for money on car hire - from all the best-known rental providers in the industry. People heading away to the Balearics for an autumn break should log on to our site right now and get themselves a value for money deal.”

The service compares car hire deals from up to 50 rental companies, including Alamo, Auto Europe, Budget, Holiday Autos and Sixt, in over 9,000 locations worldwide. To compare the latest car hire deals visit

(EDITOR: Prices correct at time of publication. Please check for current rates)

Dude Shoes. The Lightest Travel Accessory - Pack as many Pairs as you Like!

With strict luggage regulations and limits on air travellers, the average allowance being just 20 kilos, weight is of the essence when it comes to packing those holiday essentials. Coming in at just 250 grams per pair, Dude Shoes are one of the lightest styles of shoe on the market, meaning it would be possible to pack up to 80 pairs in your check-in bag and forty pairs in your carry-on bag!

Unbelievably light, with stylish Italian designs available in an array of fantastic colour combinations, the shoes are machine washable, so making them the perfect accessory for that beach to evening look, whilst saving precious suitcase space and wieght.

Dude Shoes are available at nationwide stockists and prices start from just £35.

Wearing is believing with Dude Shoes. I wore them on a recent trip to California and not only are they as comfortable as is claimed, their cool looks received admiring comments and requests for details of where they could be bought!

Dude Shoes are currently stocked nationwide in stores including: Treds, Strolling for Shoes, Patrick’s Shoes, Scorpio Shoes, Whirlwind Sports and Weird Fish.  

To find out more about Dude Shoes visit