Monday, 30 April 2012

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Have We Lost The Ability To Think Creatively?


How would you feel about shutting your laptop down and switching your phone off for a week? Nervous? Lonely? Or surprisingly refreshed?! You never know until you try it, and GoLearnTo.com have the perfect destination to escape from technology...

We live in a world so heavily dominated by technology that it's hard to imagine life without laptops and mobile phones. Millions of us check emails instinctively before getting up in the morning, spend our evenings in front of the TV, on our laptops or check work emails after leaving the office, which demonstrates just how difficult it is to find time to get away from technology.

Initially the thought of having no internet connection or phone signal for a week may fill you with dread, but in practice it is incredible how refreshing and inspiring a break from technology can be. And if you are looking to get away from it all, what better way to escape than abroad? There is no better place for your creativity to be inspired than in a brand new location with stunning surroundings, gourmet food and great company.

GoLearnTo.com have just the place. They have a remarkable eco-retreat set in unspoilt and rural Spain in an 'off-grid' location, two hours from modern technology, which encourages you to immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings and provides you with the perfect opportunity to fully switch off and think creatively.

Whether you're looking for a quiet place to focus on your artwork or photography, a destination for commercial meetings where your staff can think creatively, a unique retreat for the whole family or just somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, this creative retreat is the perfect destination.

Set in the heart of the 'Parque Natural Sierra Maria-Los Velez', this 'eco-chic' guest house has over 50 acres of land and is set in an area of extreme natural beauty in with dramatic alpine deserts on one side and almond blossom on the other. There is no phone signal at the retreat which helps to resist the urge to check emails and messages and really relax in the stunning rural surroundings. If the thought of this fills you with dread, there is a satellite connection at the retreat for emergencies (checking your Facebook page doesn't count), and remarkably it takes under 2 hours to reach the bustling cities and airports of Almeria, Murcia, Granada and Alicante.

Host, artist and ecologist Simon Beckmann offers professional tuition in a unique, laid-back way with a range of painting and photography courses using the natural landscape and culture as inspiration for the themed courses.

The eco-retreat also hosts a Residency for international professional artists, making meal times a great time to get to know the fellow artists in a fun and social environment. These artists will be happy to share their experiences and give you presentations of their work in the evenings, which is a really unique opportunity.

The retreat is the perfect blend of ecology and creativity. The cortijada is a beautiful carbon neutral guest house converted from five old farm houses. Due to the remote location and lack of technology in the area, the eco-retreat has had to be specifically designed to be environmentally friendly. Natural resources are utilised at every opportunity, and power is created from the sun and wind for cooking and electricity, wood is used for heating, rain water is harvested from the roof, and waste water is managed and utilised to irrigate the surrounding dry land.

The decoration inside the cortijada is simple but luxurious, with remarkable attention to detail.  Simon and his wife Donna's own artwork graces the otherwise white walls and you'll find unique pieces from many of the professional artists in residence throughout the house giving it a feel of a home from home art gallery. The modern, clean design allows you to absorb the creative atmosphere and think clearly. 

So switch off your phone, shut down your laptop and hot foot it to Spain to visit this remarkable eco-retreat today. Let the spectacular location with its stunning scenery and beautiful accommodation inspire your creativity.

Go off grid on a unique holiday combining creativity with ecology. Book now at www.GoLearnTo.com or call 08445 020 445 for more details.

To read details of the specific courses on offer, visit http://www.golearnto.com/search.aspxctry=68&rgn=t_1870142&activetype=4&datefrom=&dateto and click on 'read more about this course'




New Partnership Extends Travel Reviews For Mature Travellers


Just over a year after launching the UK's only travel review and travel advice website for the over 50s, Silver Travel Advisor (www.silvertraveladvisor.com) is entering into a new venture with Age UK, the Charity and social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of older people.

This exciting collaboration will see Silver Travel Advisor contribute to the 'Travel and Lifestyle' section of the Age UK website (www.ageuk.org.uk), which attracts 5.5 million visitors each year. Silver Travel Advisor will bring expertise to the website, taking the form of travel reviews and editorial as well as holidays and special offers which are available through Silver Travel Advisor's selected partner companies.

Silver Travel Advisor was established by a team of veteran travel industry professionals, with hundreds of years of travel experience and sound management credentials between them.

Silver Travel Advisor's MD Debbie Marshall, formerly MD with CV Travel, Crystal and Thomson Ski, said; "Silver Travel Advisor.com has grown from a zero start to now having well over 8,000 active travelling members who have contributed thousands of reviews, and the site has a fast-growing wealth of useful and interesting travel information. It is a clear indication of the need for an impartial travel review and information website for this sector.

"The new venture with Age UK will enable us to reach out to a much wider audience of older people who may be interested in contributing to both the website and the forum. Ask 60-64 year olds their aspirations for retirement and 81% say leisure activities and holidays

"Currently working with 25 specialist partner companies, including household names in travel such as Noble Caledonia, Regent Holidays and Kirker, Silver Travel Advisor has found a niche in supporting the travel requirements of the older traveller, and we look forward to welcoming new business partners to this exciting joint venture".

Tom Wright CBE, Group Chief Executive of Age UK, said; "This is an exciting venture for Age UK and I'm sure our website users who are looking to enjoy travelling in later life will find the new content really informative. By bringing in the expertise of Silver Travel Advisor, we feel we'll really enhance the quality and value of the Travel & Lifestyle offering of our website."

Age UK and Silver Travel Advisor's teams will work closely together, with Silver Travel Advisor still operating as a separate business, providing content for Age UK to a much wider audience.

Age UK is dedicated to improving the lives of older people. It provides free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and researches and campaigns on the issues that matter to people in later life.

That's Travel: The Ocean Views Launch At Soar Mill Cove

That's Travel: The Ocean Views Launch At Soar Mill Cove: This is self catering with the hard work taken out! Stunning green roofed luxury eco villas with uninterrupted sea views at Soar Mill Co...

The Ocean Views Launch At Soar Mill Cove


This is self catering with the hard work taken out!

Stunning green roofed luxury eco villas with uninterrupted sea views at Soar Mill Cove are now welcoming their first guests. Their first guests have enjoyed these large 2, 3 & 5 bedroomed homes that offer all of the hotel luxuries and more. For guests who want more space with your own sea fronting lounge, dining room, kitchen, wet rooms, and large bedrooms with big comfy Hypnos beds these are proving a real hit.

Where they score is in their USP's - you can stroll across the courtyard to Soar Mill Cove's Champagne Bar, comfy lounges, coffee shop and restaurant, yet still see the villas so feel free to take full advantage of wired baby listeners to give Mum and Dad a tad of freedom.

For dining chose between self catering, with groceries delivered to your door from your favourite supermarket or take your pick from our "chef prepared" deli dishes with a full in suite dining menu of prepared delights such as beef Wellington, Cracked Lobster and Hot Chocolate Fondants. Or enjoy a night of decadence with a delicious dinner prepared in the hotels 2 rosette restaurant or served "exclusively yours" by your own chef and waiters in suite for that special night of luxury.

British Airways' Future Pilots Prepare For Take-Off


The first-ever British Airways Future Pilot Programme cadets have started their 18-month pilot training course this month.

Only the top three per cent of applicants qualified for the airline's dedicated training programme, with the successful 95 future pilots fighting off stiff competition from more than 3,500 hopefuls. On completion of their training the newly qualified pilots will be introduced to the British Airways fleet of aircraft, the most diverse of any UK airline, and will begin their flying careers.

The top-flight cadets will start their training, at one of three British Airways approved flight training schools in Oxford, Southampton and Jerez in Spain, between April 2012 and February 2013.

During the initial 16-month period at the flight training schools, students complete their ground theory training, cockpit instrument rating and flight training - flying light aircraft in Spain, New Zealand or Arizona in the US.

The final two months of the programme is completed on British Airways' multi-million pound simulators at the airline's flight training centre near Heathrow, where the cadets will learn to maintain British Airways' high standards. British Airways' director of flight operations, Captain Stephen Riley, said: "It's great to see our Future Pilot Programme come to life.

"With this first group of new pilots entering the airline in 2013 and the second recruitment phase starting later this year, the high levels of skill and service that our customers rightly expect from British Airways' pilots are assured for years to come.

"We look forward to welcoming them into our fleet of 3,500 pilots."

No Better Time For Business Travel Support


ABT UK stresses the importance of travel management in the current climate   

The economic downturn has seen corporates across the country tighten their spending, but as business travel management company, ABT UK advises, in the current climate travel management assistance is more important than ever.

"A travel management company can help corporates curb unnecessary spending and ensure that any travel booked is cost effective, essential and direct. In business, time is money and searching for the best deals or connecting flights is time consuming. A dedicated travel management company will have access to the market's best commercial arrangements, saving you money and time," said Cilla Goldberger, Managing Director ABT UK.

In what has already been a turbulent year of riots and unrest, travel management assistance is crucial not only to budgeting but to employee safety.

"Your travel management company will be able to prioritise security and crisis management to ensure your employees travel safe and have detailed repatriation plans in place.  All of our clients, regardless of size or turnover, have access to our 24-7-365 helpdesk manned by a dedicated team to field any questions or concerns," said Cilla.

Despite the number of travel firms affected by the financial climate, ABT UK has continued to enjoy growth in 2012. Since January, the company has opened a second office in Bath, joined the Advantage Focus Partnership and secured a number of new clients.

ABT UK provides tailor-made travel solutions for corporate clients across the UK and Europe. ABT UK are dedicated to providing existing and future clients with unrivalled customer care, flexibility and savings.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Busabout, HAGGiS and Shamrocker Adventures announce top YouTuber, Kimmi Smiles, as its 2012 vlogger

Busabout and its budget travel brands, HAGGiS Adventures and Shamrocker Adventures has announced vlogger (video blogger), Kimmi Smiles, as their 2012 social media partner as of the end of April.

Kimmi Smiles is one of Australia’s most popular vloggers with close to 112,000 subscribers on KimmiTalks and Kimmi has produced 57 videos generating 7.7million views – all of which are making her a global YouTube sensation.

Known for her love of music, assortment of lyrical covers and dance videos set in the iconic streets of her hometown of Melbourne, Kimmi brings a fresh look and unique edge to independent travel by taking her vlogging expeditions to new destinations in 2012.

In 2012, Kimmi will spend two months travelling Europe, sponsored by Busabout and using their network that covers 33 destinations in 9 European countries, where she will visit many iconic sites as well as spending time getting to know the locals in places off the beaten track.

Kimmi Smiles says, “I’m so excited to be working with such a fun and dynamic group of travel brands and am looking forward to sharing my travel adventures with the world,”

“Since making my first video in 2009, I’ve had the opportunity to share my interests and connect with many new friends from around the globe, and with the support of Busabout, I can now take my passion for vlogging worldwide.”

Busabout has championed working with the vlogging community over the past three years and believes this next social media partnership will bring the same success, as travellers continue to find the brands’ collaborations with leading vloggers to be of great interest.

Graeme Ward, Global Managing Director, Busabout, HAGGiS and Shamrocker Adventures, said: “Following the success of our 2011 YouTube stars, Louna and Stefan, we were overwhelmed by the popularity of BusaboutTV and saw how well these vloggers identified with today’s travellers.

“Going into 2012, we were keen to find another vlogger who embodied the brand that had a fun and adventurous streak as well as an appetite for travel. To this end, we are thrilled to announce Kimmi Smiles as our 2012 vlogger and look forward to working with her throughout the year as we continue to provide travellers with a sample of the true Busabout experience.”

At the end of last year, Louna and Stefan wrapped up a successful season on the road capturing some great footage throughout Europe, with highlights including eating calamari in Santorini, sleeping in a tree house hostel in Gruneau and Island Hopping in Greece.

The pair created much excitement on the brand’s dedicated YouTube channel becoming one of the most popular travel related channels in 2011, with each video by Louna and Stefan, seeing on average 2,000 views. Louna has even gone from being a BusaboutTV star to a cover girl with her picture making the front cover of the 2012 Europe brochure.

Launched in 2009, BusaboutTV is seen as a fun and interesting way to engage with travellers sharing with them information that is relevant. Ward added: “Rather than try to control the messages, we have enough faith in our product that we actively encourage travellers to generate and post their own videos of their Busabout experiences in addition to those uploaded by our dedicated vloggers.”

Head to www.youtube.com/BusaboutTV and check out Kimmi’s first vlog.

For more information visit www.busabout.com or connect with Busabout by becoming a fan on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/BusaboutEurope

Are We Nearly There Yet? Everything You Need For A Stress Free Staycation This Summer

RING inverter in situ
RING inverter in situ
RING inverter MP120
RING inverter MP120
RING air compressor RAC630
RING air compressor RAC630
Cybalite Lightstar 120
Cybalite Lightstar 120
Summer holidays in the UK. You can’t predict the weather, but you can predict the journey. The inevitable traffic jams; hours cooped up in the car and the kids in need of non-stop entertainment. Travelling can be a traumatic experience!

Ring Automotive has not only pre-empted summer motoring scenarios, but addressed them with a range of innovative accessories to ensure the start of your holiday goes without a hitch.

Henry Bisson, marketing manager, Ring Automotive says: “with around 30% of Brits expected to take their main holiday in the UK , and with the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics on home turf this year; more and more people are choosing to stay put. If you are planning on jumping in the car for a break in Britain this year, then we’ve compiled a list of motoring must-haves.”

Under Pressure

Don’t get deflated, instead make sure you are pumped up and ready to go! Under inflated tyres will not only slow you down but will cost you more in fuel. But forget queuing at the forecourt to check the pressure, thanks to Ring Automotive you don’t even need to leave your driveway.

The RAC630 Automatic Digital Air Compressor, from Ring Automotive can inflate a tyre in 3 minutes flat! Featuring a pre-set pressure mode with automatic cut off, the compressor means you can apply precise pressure.

Compact and complete with its own handy case, the compressor can go on holiday with you, without taking up valuable luggage space. If you need to use it at the roadside there is a high intensity LED light as well as a Red SOS light to draw attention. Ring Automotive compressors are easy to use and powered by the cigarette socket; choose from a range of award-winning compressors. Prices from £12.99 to £59.99.

Let me Entertain You
The cries of ‘are we nearly there yet’ and endless games of i-spy in the confined space of a car are a parent’s worst nightmare. But now you can concentrate on the driving, safe in the knowledge the kids will be entertained for hours.

Portable games consoles and MP3 players are brilliant for keeping the kids quiet until disaster strikes and the battery dies. Now you never need run out of ‘juice’ as with a Portable Powering you can have mains power straight into your car. The ultra slim design of the MP:120 Compact Inverter, (in car adaptor) from Ring Automotive includes a flexible coiled cable so it is tucked out the way. With a plug point and a USB charging point, you can keep two children continually entertained simultaneously! Simply plug into the cigarette lighter and let the endless entertainment commence!

Ring Automotive inverters convert power from your cigarette lighter into domestic (3 pin) and USB supply. Prices start from £34.99

Light Up Your Life
Whether you’re arriving at your destination in the dark, in need of an emergency stop or searching for something in the boot of the car, an LED torch can become a traveller’s best friend. The Cyba-lite Lightstar torches from Ring Automotive are compact, tough, high spec and energy efficient. Available in four sizes and battery powered or rechargeable, these torches have high intensity LEDs producing up to 275 lumens of output.

The RT5166 Cyba-lite Lightstar 120 retails at £29.99 and even has SOS signalling. With an energy saving dimming control switch, it is lightweight and water resistant, so you can take it anywhere and everywhere.

In Case of Emergency
But not everyone will be staying on home soil this summer, so if you choose to escape to Europe, then you’ll need to pack the necessary emergency essentials. High visibility vests are a must-have in most places, and from 1st July this year, you’ll need to pack a breathalyser if you are travelling to France. Otherwise:

• When you head abroad you are legally required not to ‘dazzle other drivers’.
Luckily the RCT1250 Beam Convertor converts left hand drive headlamps when driving in Europe and costs just £7.99
• Packing a BU027 Universal Bulbs kit £10.99 will give you peace of mind. A bulb kit is compulsory in Spain but recommended for travel across Europe to help keep you safe
• A warning triangle is a legal requirement in most European countries and the RCT1300 triangle and stand is compact and lightweight and will fit easily into the boot of the car retailing at £10.99
• GB stickers (RCT 1100) are compulsory across Europe but at 99p they won’t break the bank if you break for the border

 Wherever you are off to this summer, make sure you don’t forget the motoring essentials. To see the full range of Ring Automotive products visit www.ringautomotive.co.uk

British Airways has upgraded its website


British Airways has upgraded its website, ba.com, with the addition of a completely new homepage.

The ba.com homepage has been comprehensively redesigned to make it easier to use and navigate, as well as making it more inviting and accessible to customers. Striking imagery has been added throughout the page with clearer information on products, services and offers.

Andy Newman, British Airways' ba.com manager, said: "First impressions count, which is why we've devoted so much time in making sure that our award-winning website is even better at engaging our customers, from the first click.

"Ease of use is a key principle we bring to all our digital channels, so we've developed a new easier way of navigating around ba.com, with a clearer 'Manage My Booking' area and a better use of evocative destination images to help inspire customers and make the most of their trip."

The last time major design changes were made to ba.com was in 2005. Over the past year, ba.com has been rolling out a series of continued improvements. This includes new ways of presenting flights to show the ticket costs across multiple cabins with information on what service, baggage allowance and dining options customers can enjoy.

Design agency HUGE worked closely with ba.com on the design prototype of the new homepage through to the final agreed design, which was then built by the airline's in-house team.

Newman continued: "British Airways is always striving to improve the customer experience and we want this excellence to begin with ba.com. We've started with the homepage and will continue to unveil the new look across ba.com as part of our continued investment in customer-focused digital channels."

ba.com has also recently developed new ways to inspire customers to choose their flights, through Tripseeker, and the Holiday Finder. A lowest fares feature also enables customers to choose when to fly to destinations around the world, by searching for the lowest available fares.

The value calculator, introduced in June 2009, provides customers with the information to compare the value of British Airways flights with the cost of no-frills airlines.

Other technological investments by British Airways for its customers have been to provide mobiles apps and mobile boarding passes across all major mobile phone platforms, for iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phones. Over 1.7m mobile boarding passes have been downloaded since they were introduced in July 2010.

ba.com offers over 600 destinations for sale, with flights operated by British Airways across its global network and its partners, such as Iberia, Qantas and American Airlines.

From last week, bmi flights in and out of London Heathrow were made available to book on ba.com, including flights to Azerbaijan, Ireland, Kazakhstan and flights to Sierra Leone as well as being available to book through flybmi.com.

ba.com was awarded Best Airline Website by Travolution for the past two years.

Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm Hotel celebrates 1st anniversary

When Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm Hotel & Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre was built a year ago, Stockholm’s skyline changed forever. Carlson Rezidor's new flagship has been a success for both hotel and conference guests and they recently celebrated their 1st year anniversary with a grand cocktail party in a "homely" style, accompanied by the artist David Urwitz.

It was clear that a lot of hard work had been put into the preparations for the 1st anniversary of this hotel, with the entire 5th floor of the hotel being especially decorated by EDGE in the style of a complete apartment with various rooms, a balcony and a garden, including playing children and dogs. Approximately 350 guests enjoyed a welcome drink on the balcony whilst Sam Holmberg, MD, cycled onto the lawn and gave a welcoming speech.

Throughout the evening guests enjoyed a delicious buffet, composed by Chef Rudi Wegner, as well as drinks that were served around the 'apartment'. Swedish musician David Urwitz entertained guests, followed by a DJ later in the evening.

Since opening a year ago, the Radisson Blu Waterfront hotel Stockholm city has had more than 127 000 guests, and has taken the top spot for the best hotelson TripAdvisor, hotels.com and bookings.com and has been visited by celebrities such as the Dalai Lama and Kevin Costner.

"This year had gone so fast," stated Sam Holmberg. "We are very proud of the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel's succesful year."

Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm Hotel & Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre is located in central Stockholm, within walking distance of Central Station and the Arlanda Express. The location makes the hotel ideal for both business and leisure travellers within close proximity to Stockholm's business and shopping districts, the Old Town, Royal Palace and the City Hall.

This accommodation in Stockholm has 414 modern, non-smoking rooms and suites, designed by the British leading interior design firm RPW Design. Many of the hotel rooms have stunning views of Riddarfjärdens lake and the City Hall. The hotels three suites are located on the top floor and offer panoramic views of the lake, Mälaren and the City Hall. The largest of the suites is 74m. sq., comprising of a double bedroom, bathroom with a bath and separate guest toilet, and a living room with a sofa and dining table. All the hotel’s rooms and suites in this accommodation in Stockholm have free wireless Internet access as is standard or all Radisson Blu Hotels.

The congress facility at the hotel Stockholm has 14000 m. sq. of flexible floor space, including an auditorium with a ceiling height of 17 metres and is big enough for an audience of up to 3000 people. The facility also has a banqueting hall with place for up to 2000 guests and the second and third floor there is a business centre consisting of a number of meeting rooms of varying sizes for up to 1000 guests.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Door2Tour.com gets hit with demand for 'Downton Abbey breaks'

Door2Tour.com reports a recent surge in demand for breaks to the filming location of period television drama Downton Abbey has led to a shortage in availability, leaving it struggling to meet demand. The online coach holidays consolidator claims that the sudden clamour for coach trips to Highclere Castle, which took off in February and has continued throughout March, has left coach breaks to the venue so few and far between that many hopeful passengers have been turned away.

Tours for Downton Abbey first went on sale on Door2Tour in May 2011, but sales have rapidly increased in line with the popularity and success of the series. Such is the interest that 2012 sales have already outstripped the total sales for 2011, up 55% on the total sales for 2011 alone.

Sales for Downton Abbey coach tours are believed to have snowballed in line with the hit drama's recent success at various television awards. Despite not winning any Baftas in 2011, for which it was nominated for 3, the TV series went on to scoop 4 Emmys in September for best direction, best mini-series, best writing and best supporting actress. Its success across the pond was also sealed by a prestigious Golden Globe award in January, followed by the coveted Best Drama accolade at the UK National Television Awards.

Kate Glanfield, Web Manager of Door2Tour.com said: "We've had so much demand for Downton Abbey in recent weeks that we're not able to service all of our enquiries. We were down to the last one or two seats by the end of March and we're still getting interest now. We're literally turning people away."

The struggle to meet demand is fuelled as tour operators become unsuccessful in getting tickets to the castle. With the venue only open for limited periods between July and September and three ad hoc weeks in the year due to other events and filming, combined with a limited daily capacity, there are simply not enough tickets to go around. 2012 is now fully booked, with 2013 already filling up quickly.

Downton Abbey portrays the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them during the early 1900s. After a highly acclaimed Series 1 and Series 2, filming for Series 3 has already started filming and will be broadcast in September 2012.

Kate concluded: "Usually when a tour sells out and there is unprecedented demand it's possible to obtain more availability, which was recently the case with Andre Rieu's concert in Maastricht, where over 2,000 passengers ended up travelling. With Highclere Castle, tickets are like gold dust and our suppliers are facing long waiting lists. At the moment all we can do is add customers onto our cancellation lists and hope that they are lucky enough to get on. The in joke here is that it's easier to get on the Inca Trail."

Passengers wishing to book a Downton Abbey coach tour may need to wait until later on in the year before 2013 dates become available.

Kate concluded: "Downton Abbey fans can be rest assured that there will be more availability for the future. In the meantime, customers can still give us a call to express interest and we'll contact them as soon as more dates are in, or of course satisfy their Downton Abbey cravings with Series 3."

The A to Z of Dining Shows in Orlando for this Summer!

Families heading to Orlando this summer who want to experience excellent evening entertainment and delicious food can view Attraction Tickets Direct comprehensive guide to dinner shows and see the best value dining extravaganzas. When booking Disney World tickets families can also book their favourite dining show and become either pirates, detectives or knights for the evening.

Attraction Tickets Direct recommend The Arabian Nights Dinner Show as their ‘Top Selling Show’; it is a fantastic display where you can see more than 60 of the world’s most beautiful horses combined with special effects and stunts in the world’s largest equestrian arena for a permanent show. It is very good value as it lasts for three and a half hours and is just £21 for an adult and £18 for a child. It is suitable for the whole family and just a short distance from Disney World.

For those wishing to get into character Attraction Tickets Direct recommends the Pirates Dining Adventure where guests can step aboard an authentically replicated 18th century Spanish ship in a dramatic indoor lagoon. History fanatics will love journeying back to the 11th century for a celebration feast and traditional games tournament at the Medieval Times Dinner Show which is set in the majestic Castle of Kissimmee. There is also the option to become a detective at the interactive Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show and listen to some hilarious jokes at The Outta Control Magic Comedy Show.

The older members of the family will love the ‘fiery’ Makahiki Luau Dinner Show and the Treasure Tavern Show, which is Orlando’s newest and hottest night time show with cabaret performances.

The Dinner Shows vary in price and cost approximately £25 for an adult and £18 for a child. The Outta Control Magic show is the cheapest at just £16 for an adult and £11 for a child for a 90 minute show and The Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show the most expensive at £30 for an adult and £15 for a child for a two and half hour show.

All of the dining experiences include a delicious three course meal and either unlimited soft drinks and alcoholic beverages for those over 21 years or a selection of free beverages depending on the show. Guests can enjoy tasty local and international cuisine which compliments the exciting evening entertainment.

Visit www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk to purchase your dinner show tickets.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Swiss Lounge, Basel-Mulhouse EuroAirport, Named Best Airport Lounge In The World

The Swiss Lounge at Basel-Mulhouse EuroAirport, Switzerland, is today celebrating victory in the prestigious Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards. The lounge has been named best in the world by members of Priority Pass, the world’s largest independent airport lounge access programme.

Announcing the results, Jonathan French, head of brand, Priority Pass, said: “As we celebrate over 20 years of offering Priority Pass to global travellers, we are delighted to present this award to the Swiss Lounge and congratulate them on this excellent achievement. They have consistently delivered an outstanding experience and have distinguished themselves ahead of over 600 worthy competitors in the eyes of our members. Priority Pass members, who are the world’s most frequent travellers, expect high levels of quality, innovation, customer service and business acumen from their service providers. This award is a true reflection of those accomplishments.”

Daniela Schädler, station manager, Swiss-Lounge Basel-Mulhouse added: “Our customers are obviously happy with the services provided by our Service and Welcome Desk Staff - the lounge ambiance, openness and architecture plays an important role too. Our lounge guests have reflected their satisfaction with the service we offer with their vote, which we are very thankful for.”

Schädler continues: “Besides continuous improvement, our main goal at Swiss-Lounge is to maintain a high standard of quality while being competitive in such a demanding and ever changing industry. Listening to our customers and making adequate and appropriate changes to accommodate their needs ultimately leads to achieving the customer satisfaction we aim for. This award is proof that we are moving in the right direction and we are delighted to receive it.”

The Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards, established in 2005, are designed to recognise service excellence amongst the lounges in the Priority Pass programme. The Swiss Lounge was singled out for honour amongst more than 600 other airport lounges globally, and with the award based on over 40,000 ratings made by Priority Pass members from around the world - discerning, frequent travellers who know a thing or two about travel - this accolade has come from an impeccable source.

The spacious Swiss Lounge was nominated for its size, design and exclusive atmosphere. With a vast glass dome allowing natural light to flood in, the ambience is designed specifically with relaxation in mind. There are 200 seats and 40 places at the bar spread over 1,700 square metres. The lounge also has showers available. The Business Centre, with dedicated space to work, has an eCorner with internet, computers and W-LAN. Hot and cold buffet snacks are offered with an extensive selection of drinks. VIP guests are received in a separate VIP area.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Priority Pass has millions of members worldwide. The programme provides frequent travellers with airport lounge access, irrespective of their class of travel, airline flown or existing membership in an airline loyalty programme. Founded in 1992 with 55 lounges in 49 countries, Priority Pass today offers access to more than 600 airport lounges in over 300 cities in more than 100 countries.

Previous winners of the Priority Pass Global Lounge of the Year Award include the Continental President’s Club in Houston, USA, the SUMAQ VIP Lounge in Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima and the Finnair Lounge in Helsinki.

There were a total of nine winners in the Priority Pass 2012 Lounge of the Year Awards:
Global Award: Swiss-Lounge, Basel-Mulhouse
Regional Awards:
Europe: Swiss Lounge, Basel-Mulhouse (Global winner)
North America: Alaska Airlines Board Room, Seattle
Latin America and Caribbean (LAC): American Admirals Club, Rio
Africa/Middle East: Menzies Aviation Shongololo Lounge, Johannesburg:
Asia Pacific: Travelers’ Lounge, Hong Kong – East Hall

Best Staff: The Yorkshire Premier Lounge, Leeds Bradford
Best Refreshments: Dilmun Lounge, Bahrain
Best Business Facilities: No.1 Gatwick, North Terminal, London Gatwick


FACTFILE:
Priority Pass is part of the Priority Travel Group, a division of the Collinson Group, specialising in the international travel clubs and services sector. Priority Pass was launched in 1992 with the objective of providing frequent travellers with airport lounge access, irrespective of their class of travel, airline flown or existing membership in an airline loyalty programme. Today, Priority Pass offers access to more than 600 airport lounges in over 300 cities in more than 100 countries. For more information, visit www.prioritypass.com or www.prioritypass.com/LoY2012/.

National Geographic Traveller (UK) reaches 100,000 downloads

Limited time offer
Limited time offer
National Geographic Traveller (UK) iPad and iPhone app reaches 100,000 downloads
LIMITED TIME OFFER — MAR/APR ISSUE JUST 69P

LONDON (25 April 2012) — Having launched just eight weeks ago, the National Geographic Traveller (UK) app has already been downloaded over 100,000 times. The free app features full versions of the current issue and back issues for just £1.99 each. Version 2.5.1 has just been updated with enhanced features for iPad 3 retina display.

As a very special, limited time offer, the Mar/Apr issue will be available for just 69p. The price will revert back to the usual cost of £1.99 on Friday 16 May.

Editor Pat Riddell said: “While we knew there was demand for a National Geographic Traveller (UK) app, we had no idea it would prove to be this successful. The phenomenal response is testament to the National Geographic brand and people’s desire to see, experience and discover the world through Traveller’s eyes.

“The iPad is the ideal platform for a travel magazine as it allows the photography to really stand out and the intuitive nature of the app enables readers to have all the back issues at their fingertips — and to search them quickly.”

In partnership with PixelMags, the app enables users to read the magazine offline and in landscape or portrait view as well as offering a fast and easy search function, contents menu, bookmark features, sharing facilities and full online support.

The current issue is available to download at a cost of £1.99 per issue, back issues will also be available. Future issues are also available through the auto-renewing subscriptions priced at £7.49 for six months and £14.99 for 12 months.

Newsstand is Apple’s easy-to-organise bookshelf displaying the covers of all a user’s newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world. If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.

Download National Geographic Traveller from Newsstand in iOS 5, from the App Store on iPad or iPhone, or at http://www.itunes.com/appstore.

Apps for Android and other platforms for the magazine are also set to launch this year.

The print edition of National Geographic Traveller (UK) has a cover price of GBP £3.85, via subscription and on newsstands. For 2012 there will be seven issues (single issues for Sept and Oct) moving to an eight-issue frequency into 2013. Visit www.natgeotraveller.co.uk for more information.

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Jumeirah Group appoints Nicholas Clayton as Chief Operating Officer

The Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, announces the appointment of Nicholas Clayton as Chief Operating Officer and the retirement of Guy Crawford as Chief Executive Officer.

Nicholas Clayton joins Jumeirah Group from the Viceroy Hotel Group where he was President and later CEO. In that role he led a team of 3,500 colleagues in 15 properties to deliver the highest standards of excellence. Previously Nicholas Clayton spent 14 years with Ritz-Carlton in their businesses in the United States, Australia and finally Singapore where he was Managing Director of the Ritz-Carlton Millenia. He then joined Mandarin Oriental in 2001 as Senior Vice President Operations based in Hong Kong. He was responsible for the group's 18 Asian and European properties and a staff of over 9,000 as well as the Food and Beverage and Spa divisions globally.

At the same time, Jumeirah Group is also announcing the planned retirement in June 2012 of Guy Crawford, the company's Chief Executive Officer. In his 10 years with the company, Guy Crawford has helped build Jumeirah into one of the most successful global luxury hospitality brands, recording consistently high levels of profitable growth and outperforming the market both commercially and in terms of guest satisfaction. In that time the company has grown into a portfolio of 20 luxury five star hotels and hotel residences with a portfolio of other profitable businesses including restaurants, spas, water parks and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.

Commenting on the senior management changes, Executive Chairman of Jumeirah Group, Gerald Lawless said: "We are immensely grateful to Guy Crawford for his tireless and energetic contribution to Jumeirah. He will leave behind an enduring memory of his tremendous passion for the business as well as a huge appetite for the unexpected challenge. We wish Guy and his family every happiness for the future.

"The company is also delighted to welcome Nicholas Clayton as Chief Operating Officer. He comes at a time of significant expansion with the company doubling the number of hotels under management from 2011 to 2012 and now having a presence in 11 countries round the globe. His experience and leadership skills will help steer the company towards continued success and profitable growth in key markets."

Monday, 23 April 2012

Cox and Kings celebrate Tours to India

The world’s longest established travel company, Cox & Kings celebrated its collection of tours to India this month, with an interior design challenge for UK bloggers.

Using “India” as inspiration and theme and using a small budget donated by Cox & Kings, six UK interiors, home and style bloggers were challenged to make over one room each in their home.

As well as keeping readers up to date with posts on their progress, ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of each of the rooms were uploaded onto Cox & Kings UK Facebook page, where voting for the winning room took place by fans and followers ‘liking’ the pictures. The Cox & Kings UK team and bloggers used a ‘hashtag’ on Twitter to communicate their progress and promote their own entries to the competition on Facebook.

Mike Pullman, online marketing manager says: “We have been thrilled with the response to our Indian inspired interiors challenge. As well the innovative and creative room make-overs from some of the country’s best interiors blogs, the response from our Cox & Kings UK fans on Facebook and Twitter exceeded our expectations, with more than 1,000 votes cast on Facebook and more than 80 tweets during the four week long voting period. However, we couldn’t have brought this campaign to life without the incredible support from the bloggers we worked with on this project, so our thanks go out to all of them.”

The bloggers involved in the challenge were:
• Thatsyummymummy.net
• Cosyhomeblog.com
• Homegems.net
• TheStylePAatHome.com
• MaryPoppins-HomeSweetHome.blogspot.co.uk
• Bibbity-Bob.blogspot.co.uk

The blogger with the most popular make-over was MaryPoppins-HomeSweetHome who won a weekend break to Tallinn from Cox & Kings.

Cox & Kings, the luxury holidays specialist, luxury holidays specialist was established in 1758 and is built on high quality service and attention to detail that enables the company to continue to flourish as an independent tour operator, with operations in London, the US, Japan, Australia and throughout India. Cox & Kings organises escorted small-group tours and private tailor made holidays in the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


All too often Switzerland gets forgotten as a holiday destination once the snow has melted and Easter past, but this Alpine country is stunning in summer, too, and offers just as many opportunities for family adventures, if not more, than in winter.

The Engadine valley, where the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina is located, is positively bursting with activities that suit families with children of all ages. There are mountains to be climbed, hiking trails to be discovered (of varying difficulty and with different themes, such as fairy and flower) by foot, mountain bike or scooter, lakes in which to swim or on which to sail, excursions by train, horse-drawn carriage, boat or helicopter, and child-friendly centres such as a petting zoo and rope park.

Better still, Grand Hotel Kronenhof has a comprehensive in-house programme for children, which means that parents also have the chance to spend some time relaxing on their own.

The hotel’s play school offers a wide range of activities that vary daily and include crafts, indoor games, painting and plenty of exercise, then there’s the Children’s Club with its climbing wall, creative corner and teeny games, as well as table tennis, an indoor bowling alley and a water world with slides and water games, not forgetting Rondelle, the supervised children’s restaurant.

Finally, many of Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s guest rooms interconnect creating suites of almost any size, ideal for families with kids.  And, of course, the hotel is happy to provide all the amenities that may be required, like children’s beds, baby monitors, bottle warmers, kettles, baby baths, potties, changing table pads and more.  If it is starting to sound as if the hotel has perfected the art of hosting families, it has according to the Swiss Hotel Association, which has awarded Grand Hotel Kronenhof its coveted Family Hotel Seal of Approval.

This summer, Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s seven-night Fun for Kids & Co package costs from CHF1,745 (approx £1,195) per adult sharing a double room and from CHF1,365 (approx £935) for two children up to the age of 14 years sharing a connecting twin room. 

The adult rate includes a week’s half-board accommodation, including one breakfast at the Morteratsch dairy, one 25-minute back massage, unlimited use of The Kronenhof Spa and unlimited use of all the open mountain railways in the Engadine / St Moritz region. 

The rate for two children sharing a room covers bed & breakfast accommodation only, including one breakfast at the Morteratsch dairy, supervised children’s activities and unlimited use of all the open mountain railways in the Engadine / St Moritz region.

To book, call the Grand Hotel Kronenhof on +41 81 830 3030 or email reservations@kronenhof.com.

Oceania Cruises To Showcase Contemporary Latin American Artists On New Cruise Ship, `Riviera'


When she sets sail on her maiden voyage in May 2012, Riviera, Oceania Cruises newest entry in the upper-premium category, will further confirm the lines status among art lovers and epicureans. Riviera will showcase a museum-worthy collection of fine art focusing on the works of some of Latin America's most accomplished and admired contemporary artists. More than 1000 works will adorn the mid-size ship.

The world-class collection is a nod to the Cuban heritage of Frank Del Rio, the liner's founder and chairman and CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings. More curator than collector, Del Rio went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that every inch of the ship was designed to showcase paintings, glassworks and sculpture that will spark conversation and contemplation among the guests."

The ship's collection includes original and highly expressive works by renowned artists from Cuba's Vanguard Movement, from 1927 to 1950. During this period artists such as Wifredo Lam, Cundo Bermudez, René Portocarrero and Servando Cabrera were celebrated with exhibitions at New York's Museum of Modern Art and in private galleries in New York and abroad. These seminal works are displayed side-by-side with contemporary Cuban artists, including Julio Larraz, Carlos Luna, Humberto Benitez, Manuel Mendive and José Grillo. Works by French painter Pierre Boncompain, Mexican painter Luis Zesatti, Peruvian artist Daniela Wicki and Catalonian master, Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, are also featured.

The works will be prominently featured throughout the ship, but also tucked in the most unexpected places to promote a sense of discovery, says Del Rio. Wherever guests roam, from the Bon Appétit Culinary Centre to the restaurants to the onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub, they will find the ship's rich woods, abundant marble and granite and fine wool carpets complemented by Del Rio's evolving collection.

Del Rio commissioned José Grillo to create a painting inspired by the title, Yellow Submarine, which will be displayed outside Jacques restaurant. El Caretas, another Grillo work, occupies a prominent place by the reception desk. Carlos Luna has several paintings throughout Riviera, including Lovers at the entrance to the Riviera Lounge. Renowned Miami artist Humberto Benitez was commissioned for several pieces in Horizons Lounge and for his sentinel piece, The Feast, fittingly enough hanging in La Reserve, the ship's über gourmet dining venue.

Like her sister ship Marina, the centrepiece of Riviera is a stunning Lalique Grand Staircase, designed by the fabled French artists of jewellery and crystal. It features double-curved staircases and a balcony with balustrades of crystal medallions and scrolled iron with a brass banister topped by a mahogany handrail. Six crystal pillars rising from the landing enhance the two-story, glass elevator surround.

For more information on Oceania Cruises or to order a brochure, visit www.oceaniacruises.com or call on +44 845 505 1920.
 

In celebration of the `forty fabulous years’ since the company was launched in 1972, CV Travel has come up with its pick of the top ten villas for each subsequent decade, starting with the partying 1970s; the `anything’s possible’ 1980s; the austere 1990s and the `green’, eco-aware noughties. Each of the `forty fabulous villas’ selected here has a wow factor representative of CV Travel’s 2012 global villa collection.

1990s – The decade when The Internet took hold, when the National Lottery was launched, when Sunday trading and 24-hour shopping were born and when the boom growth of the Thatcher years finally went bang. Mobile phones, PCs, dishwashers, widescreen TV’s and digital cameras were `must haves’ and holidays were global. CV Travel continued to do what they do best and expanded into France, offering luxurious, unique and individual villas and holiday houses.

In the ethos of the 1990s quest for cutting the cloth as the recession took hold, here are CV Travel’s pick of the top ten luxury villas `worth the money’ in 2012:-

Beauty and tranquility on the Cote d’Azur, sleeps 10

Spend a week in complete luxury, surrounded by nothing but beauty and tranquility without paying the premium for this privilege with CV Travel’s French house Hacienda which is just a short drive from the beautiful Medieval village of Saint Paul-de-Vence and walking distance to La Colle sur Loup with its antique shops, restaurants and local festivals. This gorgeous property is set within beautifully well-kept gardens with elegant modern furnishings inside, a floodlit boules pitch and its own private swimming pool, which makes the property feel like one of the Cote d’Azur’s most exclusive and prestigious properties.

Hacienda is available through CV Travel (020 7401 1044, www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £2,980 to £5,490 per week for up to 10 guests sharing and includes villa hire, maid service and welcome provisions. Flights, train tickets, car hire and transfers are all available on request.

Superb property packed with modern features, sleeps 8

Get real value for money withCV Travel’s other French house Le Tigne, a superb property packed with modern features and extras including Sky+, Internet access, I-pod systems and a private swimming pool. A barbecue, traditional stone pizza oven and exterior summer kitchen create an excellent outdoor dining experience. This property is built in a quiet suburb along the Cote d’Azur just 1.5 kilometres from the peaceful hilltop village of Cabris with cafes and restaurants. Le Tigne is surrounded by magnificent views of the Mediterranean and beautiful gardens of horse chestnut trees.

Le Tigne is available through CV Travel (020 7401 1044,www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £1,730 to £3,840 per week for up to 8 guests sharing and includes villa hire, maid service and welcome provisions. Flights, train tickets, car hire and transfers are all available on request.

For more information on luxury villas in France contact CV Travel on 020 7401 1044 or visit www.cvtravel.co.uk

Stylish Mallorcan villa with pool close to sandy beach, sleeps 10

Stay on one of Mallorca’s prettiest corners within walking distance from a lovely sandy beach enclosed by headlands, restaurants, bars and four golf courses without paying a premium price. CV Travel’s Casa Golondrina is a large property on the Costa de Canyamel of Mallorca, Spain, surrounded by pine trees and overlooking the Bay of Canaymel’s sandy beaches and sheltering headlands. The property is packed with high quality furnishings and fun extras including a private swimming pool, alfresco dining area with wonderful views, stylish interiors giving a luxurious feel as well as a games room with air-hockey table.
  
Casa Golondrinais available through CV Travel (020 7401 1035, www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £2,560 per week for up to 10 guests sharing and includes villa hire, maid service and welcome provisions. Flights, car hire and transfers are all available on request.

Large Portuguese villa with private pool and separate annexe, sleeps 10

Tucked away and high up on the slopes of Portugal’s Serra de Monchique is CV Travel’s Horta do Cano with fantastic views of the surrounding countryside all the way to the beautiful sandy beaches of the Algarve and North Africa beyond. The price comes with so much more than the property, as Serra de Monchique’s mountain range is often quoted as Portugal’s best-kept secret and is terraced with renovated hillside villages, with thousands of years of history and outstanding natural beauty to explore, ideal for walks and bird watching and natural thermal spas. Horta de Cano has a separate annexe behind the main house, which makes the villa adaptable for families or groups of friends as well as its own private swimming pool and communal outdoor dining area with spectacular views.

Horta do Canois available through CV Travel (020 7401 1035, www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £1,595 per week for up to 10 guests sharing andincludes villa hire, maid service and welcome provisions. Flights, car hire and transfers are all available on request.

Wonderfully located Andalucian villa within pine forest, sleeps 6

Located within a beautiful pine forest and just a stones throw away from the sandy beach at La Barrosa is CV Travel’s Casa de las Higueras on Spain’s Costa de la Luz in Andalucia, a lovely property with a private swimming pool surrounded by old fig trees, banana palms and beautiful shaded gardens. The location of this villa is worth the price itself as it is situated within a conservation area of pine forests which are ideal for walking, biking and horse riding.

Casa de las Higuerasis available through CV Travel (020 7401 1035, www.cvtravel.co.uk)from £828 to £1,824 per week for up to 6 guests sharing and includesvilla hire, maid service and welcome provisions. Flights, car hire and transfers are all available on request.

For more information on luxury villas in Spain and Portugal contact CV Travel on 020 7401 1035 or visit www.cvtravel.co.uk

Tuscan villa in the heart of unspoiled rural Chianti, sleeps 4

If value for money is a priority then CV Travel’s traditionally rustic Tuscan villa in the heart of unspoiled rural Chianti, Tuscany is one to watch out for. CV Travel’s La Vigna is a charming house surrounded by vines and magnificent rolling countryside in a spectacular location, ideal for romantic retreats or smaller family holidays. The property has a shared swimming pool and guests are perfectly situated to explore a myriad of little towns and villages of this most quintessential region of Tuscany.

La Vignais available through CV Travel (020 7401 1039, www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £1,245 per week based on up to 4 guests sharing and includes villa rental only. Flights can be arranged on request.

For more information on luxury villas in Italy contact CV Travel on 020 7401 1039 or visit www.cvtravel.co.uk

 
Beautiful Greek villa on the north east coast of Corfu, sleeps 4

CV Travel’s gorgeous Greek villa Evangeila is a property well worth the money simply because of its location on the highly sought-after north east coast of Corfu. The property is bright, contemporary and has its own private swimming pool in the centre of a large outdoor terrace with a covered dining area. There are superb views from the bedrooms on the three floors overlooking the popular harbour town of St. Stephano and the surrounding coastline.

Evangelia is available through CV Travel (020 7401 1026, www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £1,090 per week based on up to 4 guests sharing and includes villa hire, maid service and welcome provisions. Return flights are available on request.

For more information on luxury villas in Greece contact CV Travel on 020 7401 1026 or visit www.cvtravel.co.uk

Beachfront Caribbean villa in Tobago, sleeps 6

For excellent value for money CV Travel’s Yellow Bird house on the Caribbean Island of Tobago is right up there with the deals of the decade. The beachfront property is positioned on a hillside overlooking panoramic views of sandy Grafton Beach, and is within walking distance of local restaurants, water sporting facilities and traditional Caribbean markets. Yellow Bird also has its own private swimming pool along with a poolside gazebo with views out over the well-kept gardens and out to sea.

Yellow Bird is available through CV Travel (020 7401 1050,www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £1,636 per week for up to 6 guests sharing and includes villa rental only. CV Travel is offering a discounted price of £1,211 per week for all stays during September, October and November 2012. Flights can be arranged on request.
 Party in the Caribbean, close to two sandy beaches, sleeps 14

A great way of saving with large luxury villas is by gathering family and friends together for a week’s stay in CV Travel’s large 7 bedroom Villa Lucy on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. Save by travelling in a large group as this wonderful property is the ideal place for a large party to relax as it’s located within easy reach of two sandy beaches and Rodney Bay - a local cosmopolitan marina with plenty of bars and restaurants to try out. Or spend the week relaxing at Villa Lucy with its large private swimming pool, outdoor gazebo and tranquil atmosphere.

Villa Lucy is available through CV Travel (020 7401 1050, www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £4,523 per week for up to 14 guests sharing and includes villa hire only. Flights can be arranged on request.

For more information on luxury villas in the Caribbean contact CV Travel on 020 7401 1050 or visit www.cvtravel.co.uk

Medieval manor estate in Wiltshire with private pool, sleeps 6

As an alternative to spending money on flights, why not save and stay at home this year withCV Travel’s Wiltshire Medieval manor estate,The West Wing. The property has acres of grounds surrounded by rose gardens and meadows to explore by foot or on horseback as well as an ornate private swimming pool and helpful owners to arrange horse riding and luxurious spa treatments on request. Guests can sharpen their cooking skills with organic food from the local farm shop as well as plenty of ruined castles, abbeys and ancient villages to explore in the heart of the Cotswolds and West Country.

The West Wing is available through CV Travel (020 7401 1086,www.cvtravel.co.uk) from £1,500 per week in 2012 for up to 6 guests sharing.

For more information on luxury houses in Great Britain contact CV Travel on 020 7401 1086 or visit www.cvtravel.co.uk

On the trip of a lifetime, treasure every detail with SWAROVSKI OPTIK’S new EL 32 binoculars

- the ultimate, compact, travel-friendly device viewing experience -

Leisure travellers embarking on unforgettable journeys to the world’s most fascinating destinations now have the optimum means to appreciate their surroundings. SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s new EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars offer perfect edge-to-edge sharpness, contrast and uncompromising colour fidelity and an unrestricted field of view, even for spectacle wearers. Designed to be simple to use on the go, the EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars are the ultimate in luxury, high-end viewing perfection, whenever sights and scenery demand immediate close inspection. This new model will be available from our authorised stockists from 1 May 2012.

The size and weight of the binoculars are crucial factors for travellers who are on the move and need to balance compact design with optical performance. At 580 grams they are even lighter than the previous model and feature SWAROVSKI OPTIK’S renowned ergonomic and classic styling. They come with an adaptor for compact cameras, so photographs can convey all the detail that travellers have seen with their own eyes.

{{SWAROVSKI OPTIK has designed the EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars with the needs of the discerning international traveller in mind}}. “Booking an incredible holiday or tour is all about experiencing new, different and often unique features of another country or civilisation. Our new EL32 binoculars are perfect for travellers who want to gain the most from their explorations. The best and most life-enhancing holidays deserve the fullest visual appreciation: EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars reveal astonishing detail and colour in wildlife landscapes, performance and entertainment, architecture, living society, nature and cityscapes,” says Carina Schiestl-Swarovski, Chairwoman of the Executive Board of SWAROVSKI OPTIK.

Top marks for optics and luminosity:
The EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars are synonymous with crystal-clear image quality. SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s unique SWAROVISION technology uses field flattener lenses to produce a virtually flat image, providing perfect edge-to-edge image sharpness. The HD optics reduce colour fringing, creating maximum colour contrast, while optimised coatings (SWAROTOP, SWAROBRIGHT, SWARODUR, SWAROCLEAN) make for true-to-life, brighter images.

Maximum comfort for all users:
EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars offer an impressive unrestricted wide-angle field of view of 141m at 8x magnification and 120m at 10x magnification. Thanks to the larger exit pupil distance typical of this range of binoculars, spectacle wearers can also fully enjoy the crystal-clear image quality. The twist-in eyecups have four positions, adaptable to suit each individual’s requirements.

The EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars are sure to impress with their ergonomic design. The only EL binoculars with a 32-mm lens, they come with the EL wrap-around grip to guarantee users maximum stability during observation, even with just one hand. The large, grooved focusing wheel is accurate and robust and can also be easily operated when wearing gloves.

Premium quality down to the smallest detail:
Like every product from SWAROVSKI OPTIK, all EL SWAROVISION binoculars are produced using the lowest possible production tolerances and undergo a 100% quality check.

The 8x32 or 10x32 models of the EL 32 SWAROVISION binoculars will be available for sale from 1 May 2012, in either green or sand-brown. As standard, the binoculars also come with a Snap Shot Adapter for compact digital cameras, a Field Bag, eyepiece and objective lens protectors, as well as a lift carrying strap. A large selection of accessories is available from specialist stores.

Prices:
8 x 32 EL Swarovision: £1,540.00/ €1,854.00
10 x 32 EL Swarovision: £1,570.00/ €1,942.00

www.swarovskioptik.com

Eurostar presents Traction: an official London 2012 festival event curated by Gilles Peterson

Eurostar, an official supporter of the London 2012 Festival, unveiled an original one-day summer festival - Eurostar presents Traction - curated by internationally renowned DJ Gilles Peterson.

The unique event, created by Eurostar, will bring together musical, dance and arts performers from across Europe for a special one-day festival to celebrate the diversity of European talent on London's doorstep.

Parisian Sebastien Tellier and Cologne's Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble are the first two acts to be confirmed today, with further names set to join the line up in the coming weeks. Each performer has been handpicked by Gilles Peterson, drawing on his 30-years of experience in the music industry and his insatiable appetite for groundbreaking new music.

Traction will be the very first event to take place in London's newest creative quarter, Granary Square. The venue is a stone's throw from Eurostar's central London home, St Pancras International. Opening to the public for the first time in June, Granary Square will be one of the largest urban spaces of its kind in Europe. The square sits at the heart of the 67-acre King's Cross development, which combines new and magnificently restored historic buildings with an ambitious art programme featuring major commissions by internationally acclaimed artists.

Early bird ticket sales for Eurostar presents Traction opened on 17 April 2012. More information and tickets are available at www.eurostartraction.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Gilles Peterson, curator of Traction, said: "Emerging across Europe is a wealth of pioneering musical talent. Traction will give thousands of residents and visitors to the London 2012 Games the chance to discover the exciting new music on offer just a short journey from the UK. In curating this very special event, we will bring a truly original experience to the public as they celebrate the arrival of the Games in London."

Lionel Benbassat, Director of Marketing at Eurostar, said: "With such an inspiring and eclectic mix of European music, art and dance, London's newest creative quarter will come to life for the first time in July. We are excited to be bringing together Europe's finest talent from across our destinations as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations."

Eurostar is the Official International Rail Service Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. During the summer, Eurostar will carry Olympic and Paralympic fans from the continent to London to soak up the atmosphere of the Games.

The London 2012 Festival is a 12-week UK-wide programme bringing together leading artists from across the world. More information can be found at www.london2012.com/festival

Be That Writer: NGT Travel Writing Competition 2012 Winners

Be That Writer: NGT Travel Writing Competition 2012 Winners: National Geographic Traveller (UK) Travel Writing Competition 2012 Winner and runners-up announced www.natgeotraveller.co.uk Nat...

Eurostar reports continued growth in sales revenues and passenger numbers

Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported a good start to the year, with continued growth in sales revenues and passenger numbers. It reported that sales revenues are up 7% to £211 million from £197 million in Q1 2011. Passenger numbers are also up 4% to 2.24 million in Q1 2012 from 2.15 million in the same quarter in 2011.

The growth over the last three months has been driven by an increase in leisure travel with business travel in the first quarter of the year remaining broadly flat compared with 2011. In addition to enjoying Eurostar's traditional destinations, passengers looking to travel further afield by high speed rail, have been taking advantage of its highly competitive fares for the train from London to Amsterdam.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "The year got off to a strong start with sales revenues and passenger numbers on the up.  Our core destinations continue to be a big draw for passengers but we have also seen particularly good take-up of our Amsterdam fares as passengers are increasingly keen to try out new leisure destinations by high speed rail." 

As a sponsor of the London 2012 Games, Eurostar is playing a key role in bringing spectators to London and in helping to make the Games a truly international celebration.  To mark the London 2012 Festival Eurostar is staging ?Traction', an original one-day summer arts festival which will be held in London's newest creative quarter, Granary Square. The venue is a short walk from Eurostar's central London home at St Pancras International.

This unique event will bring together musical, dance and arts performers from across Europe to celebrate the diversity of European talent.  The festival is set to be a key attraction for visitors coming from the continent and is already seeing high demand for tickets, with the first tranche selling out within days of their release.

Nicolas Petrovic continued: "We are gearing up for an exciting summer as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations.  Bookings for the June bank holiday weekend are looking strong with thousands of visitors coming to London to enjoy the unique pageantry of the Queen's Jubilee.  There is no doubt that London is set to have one of its most memorable years on record and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to share in the experience."