Round up of some of the best hotels in Maldives

Woman in infinity pool

The Indian Ocean is home to a few of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world – Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives. The long distance from Europe and America means most tourists look elsewhere than the Indian Ocean when going on holiday. This is a plus if you want to avoid the crowds. If a beach holiday on the crowded coast of Alicante in Spain is not for you, then Maldives certainly will. Many resorts in Maldives own their own private islands, guaranteeing you peace and quiet. There are over 1000 islands within the archipelago, of which fewer than 200 are inhabited.

Woman in infinity pool

With so many luxury hotels in Maldives, it can get quite difficult to make a choice. So here’s a brief summary of a few that will help you decide which one is right for you.

Banyan Tree Madivaru

A 5 star hotel with an original tented pool villa. It tries to replicate the desert island experience yet in total luxury.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Private islands, crystal clear waters, private outdoor showers and palm-thatched bungalows will be yours there.

One and Only Maldives

White sandy beaches in abundance, long stretches of coastlines, guaranteed ocean views and direct access to the lagoon whilst retaining a high level of privacy.

The Residence Maldives

Traditional Maldivian architecture, private villas, private dive site and even a dedicated transport to take you around the island.

Naladhu Resort

Private island, the softest of all sands, palm treesand infinty pools. Spend time in quiet luxury and your own private steam room.

Six Senses laamu

Set on the remote Laamu atoll amidst plenty of greenery, you will live close to nature with organic food served in the restaurant, locally-sourced products and a huge variety of wines.

Kani Resort

Sailing academy, diving facilities and plenty of spa treatments, Club Med’s private atoll is one place where you can play hard and relax thoroughly afterwards.

Lily Beach Resort and Spa

Renovated a few years ago, this 5 star hotel is set in luxury, beauty and makes for the laziest of all holidays!

Jumeirah Vittaveli

This resorts boasts itself for being informal yet retaining its 5 star rating. Ideal for romance as the soft ocean breeze murmurs through the palm trees.

Constance Moofushi Resort

An elegant blend of luxury and tropical environment, this piece of paradise is deemed one of the best diving spots in the whole world.

The Gili Lankanfushi

If you’re in a hurry to get to your resort, this one is only 20 minutes away from the airport by speendboat. This resort is located on the island of Lankanfushi and abounds in marine life. There’s a diving school to make the most of it.

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa

Tree house villas, private ocean fronts and luxury all around.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Nothing to haha about, this resort is 400 km away from Male, on one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, boasts 50 villas, an award-winning spa and an indigeneous restaurant.

Conrad Rangali Island

Take a seaplane from the airport to reach this resort set on not one but 2 private islands joined by a foot bridge. Dine literally under water on the sea floor with just a glass protecting you from the elements.

Additional info:

www.visitmaldives.com

Bizarre Hotels and Travel Accommodation

Fancy staying in this?

Everyone likes a nice hotel but when so many hotels seem to be completely identical it’s sometimes more fun to find a small local B&B with local charm, or an apartment with fantastic views. These hotels will give you an unforgettable experience for their own reasons.

The Crane- Netherlands

Fancy staying in this?

Yep that’s right. It’s a hotel and it’s a crane and it’s not modelled on the avian variety. Although the prices can be very steep (excuse the pun) it’s definitely a hotel stay which you won’t forget. The interior is very smartly decorated and although it isn’t the biggest bedroom you have ever seen, it’s well decorated and cosy. It has state of the art appliances; including showers, T.Vs and audio equipment and you can rotate the crane to get a 360 degree view. The hotel is situated in Harlingen which is about an hour’s drive outside of Amsterdam but closer to Groningen and Heerenveen.

Propeller Island City Lodge – Germany

Do you see me?

This distinctive hotel is located in Berlin and was created with the artistic vision of Lars Stroschen to which he offers the opportunity to “live in a work of art.” The hotel has 30 unique rooms, so you’ll have a hard enough time agreeing with your other half about which one you would like to sleep in. The upside down room offers a different twist but one which could become nauseating or disorienting after a few drinks. The landscape room is well lit and considered as one of the most aesthetically pleasing rooms.

The Hobbit Motel-New Zealand

Living close to ground

The Lord of the Rings films were filmed in New Zealand so it’s only fitting that someone created some accommodation based on the famous ‘Hobbit Huts’. The rooms are embedded into the land and go underground. The rooms are blessed with fantastic views as well as unique charm. The surrounding area is a small town but it is easily accessible to a number of fun activities, including caving and a Kiwi Culture Show. Prices aren’t too prohibitive and the novelty of the rooms will definitely keep the kids entertained.

 

A Room of One’s Own: why holiday homes are the new hotels

Dream home, this way

They say a change is as good as a rest and a holiday is certainly one of the best ways to recharge your batteries. But what happens if you don’t fancy staying in a hotel? The answer is simple, rent a house instead!

Sometimes, no matter how luxurious a hotel is, you just can’t relax because it isn’t homely enough. Luckily home rentals are on the rise, so you can have a house-all-to-yourself holiday, in someone else’s home.

Dream home, this way

How it works

The idea is pretty basic, the home owner goes away (probably on their own holiday) and you rent their house for the duration of your stay. And don’t worry, if you still like the luxury of someone doing all the hard work for you, most companies offer extras such as a chef, daily maid and laundry service. Some companies will go as far as loaning you an iPhone during your stay to help you explore the local area!

Good for large groups

If you’re travelling with family or a group then renting a holiday home can be a cash smart choice. You’ll be able to fit everyone in without having to pay the high prices charged by hotels for separate rooms.

Worldwide

And you don’t have to stay in your own country, with destinations available as far flung as Latvia, Mozambique and Venezuela the world is your oyster. You could have a mini break in a city loft apartment, seven days in a sunny Spanish villa or two weeks in a gorgeous cottage in the Cotswolds. The choice is yours!

Lifestyle swap?

Staying in someone else’s house is definitely more personal than booking a hotel room. Some generous home owners will leave you welcome packs of wine, toiletries and the details of the local takeaways! Others will leave you the numbers of friends and neighbours in case you have an emergency in the house. So really, it isn’t just a house swap, but a friend and lifestyle swap as well. House swapping allows you to live like a local rather than just travel like a tourist.

If the thought of having a home from home in an exotic location appeals to you then check out TravelClub UK for some amazing deals on flights, holidays and so much more.

4 great hotels to consider when visiting the Red Sea

Wave seen from under the Red Sea

Set on the divide between Asia and Africa, the Red Sea is a unique destination. The area boasts some beautiful and opulent hotels, which offer numerous facilities, set within very grand vistas. We’ve picked 4 of the best for you.

Wave seen from under the Red Sea

Source: National Geographic

The Dan Eilat Red Sea Hotel

This fabulous family hotel is located in the north beach area. It is happy and stylishly informal. It is like a small city with a beauty salon, outdoor pool, modern gym, spa, drugstore, disco, conference room, etc. There is a children’s play centre and kids’ pool supervised by a responsible staff. With the children busy elsewhere, perhaps you’d like to enjoy a quiet meal? The hotel boasts six restaurants, including a delicious international food buffet while the bar is exceptional with live entertainment. All the rooms have balconies or terraces for a spectacular view of the Red Sea.

The Eliat Princess Hotel

The Isrotel Princess as it is also known boasts a marvellous lobby amidst magnificent surroundings. The Edom Mountain, the Red Sea’s coral reefs and marine diversity are all visible from the hotel. if you’re in a hurry you’ll even find a tunnel leading to the Coral Beach. The hotel is child-friendly to the point that there is even a children’s menu in the poolside bar that is half submerged in water. An entertainment team provides constant activities to keep children distracted and there are separate children’s pool, lounge, pool tables and video game rooms.

Adults can enjoy the modern gym, high tech spa, sauna, swimming pool, and grand convention centre. Daily activities include swimming lessons, morning hikes and exercise classes. Later in the day, guests can go dancing at the Elixir while the Moscow-New York bar offers a sophisticated atmosphere. Feeling hungry? The lobby serves a delicious buffet while the Sun Rise Restaurant is a separate facility inside the hotel. All the guest rooms have mini-bars and balconies with fantastic sea views of course.

The Herods Boutique Hotel and Spa

This spa hotel is an exclusive and prestigious hotel in an oasis of tranquillity and peace. The interior is rich but restraint, tasteful and harmonious, catering to business people and tourists who are looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the company of professionals like them. Lawyers book their conference at the hotel every year. Guests can be picked up directly at the airport. Newspapers are available in Russian, French or English. A swimming pool, a spa, tanning salon, fitness room, lounge, restaurant and private parking are among its amenities. For the hard-working lawyers on business trips, professional masseuses offer many forms of therapeutic massages. You don’t even have to be a working lawyer to enjoy them! The suites are tastefully designed with Oriental motifs and equipped with a stereophonic audio system, whirlpool, television and balconies for scenic views of the gulf.

The Isrotel King Solomon Hotel

The Isrotel King Solomon Hotel is perfect for family vacations. Newly restored, it’s famous for its hospitality. Adult and children’s entertainment are continually provided: the kids will enjoy the Kids Kingdom operated by child certified staff while the adults can learn the latest dance trends at the hotel bar, Blanko. There is a nightly show at the lobby while during the day the diving staff will assist guests who want to explore the diving area in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Eliat. The hotel has a pub, swimming pool, restaurant and lounge and every guest room has a sitting area, mini bar and balcony. You weill find affordable packages with discounts fro this hotel.

All the hotels above provide room service, wi-fi, laundry, parking, safe deposit boxes, concierge services and handicap accessibility. If you’re looking to get away for your winter sun holidays, you can’t do much better than to visit the shores of the Red Sea.

How hotels are getting ready for Christmas 2012

Nice and cosy does it

According to Reading hospitality specialists, demand for hospitality services remains strong despite the recession. Alec Jeeves, director of sales and marketing at one of Reading’s hotels, said, “I would say it’s more buoyant than last year. Weekends remain a challenge but Christmas parties are promising”.

Nice and cosy does it

Gearing up for the season

Hotels that receive a great number of covers and bookings for Christmas parties are getting ready for the holiday season. Solutions are myriad, from offering upgraded hotel TV featuring personalised content for every guest to promising mouth-watering gifts.

Wonka Christmas

Mr Jeeves explains how to attract corporate clients as corporate business is on the up. “We are doing a Wonka Christmas. It’s called Winter Wonkaland and people of Reading seem to have a sweet tooth. It’s hit the nail on the head,” the marketer said.

Offering new media solutions is also effective in attracting corporate clients. Browsing the web and using online apps from the comfort of your room is a great benefit which is now available at certain hotels.

Meeting rooms located on the ground floor are prepared for numerous Christmas parties. Hotels’ dining rooms are adjusted to hosting dinner parties for over 300 people as well as more intimate events.

More treats

Many hotels offer specially tailored Christmas vacations featuring surprises and bonuses including free spa treatments with hydro massage bathtubs and festive Christmas dinners on December 25. To attract more families, certain hotels offer discounts for children.

It’s all about having fun

Despite all the preparations, it’s not only accommodation that attracts visitors. Christmas performances, fairs and markets abound in December are major attractions. For instance, Edinburgh is a popular destination during the holiday season. Bonfire Night fireworks and barbeques, music and dance shows, lighting of the Norweigan Christmas tree, food stalls and pantomime – there’s a lot to be seen in the Scottish capital during the festive season, no matter which hotel you choose.

10 of the best hotels in Canada

St Lawrence River, wide enough to be mistaken for the sea

If you are wondering where to stay during your holiday to Canada, here is a list of Canada’s highest rated hotels. These Canadian hotels provide all the comfort, luxury and facilities you’ll ever need.

St Lawrence River, wide enough to be mistaken for the sea

Auberge Saint Antoine, Quebec City

The combination of an ideal location and a beautiful interior make this hotel number one on the list. Auberge Saint-Antoine is a stunning hotel situated in the Old-Port area of the city and is close to the St. Lawrence River and shopping on Le Petit Champlain. Its features include goose down duvets on all the beds, heated bathroom floors and impeccable facilities.

Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver

From the moment you walk into this luxury hotel you’ll feel as though you are a treasured VIP guest returning for another visit. Despite its stylish appearance, you’ll feel like you have arrived home as you settle into your spacious yet cosy room.

Hotel Le St. James, Montreal

At around £214 per night, staying at Hotel Le St. James is a pricey experience, but while you may expect a pretentious atmosphere what you’ll actually get is friendly service and absolutely everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay.

Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver

This chic and cosmopolitan downtown hotel delivers 5 star services and offers a range of wining and dining options, including a trendy cocktail bar with live music six times a week.

The Hazelton Hotel, Toronto

The Hazelton Hotel is located amongst the finest restaurants in Toronto, and is “upscale” in every sense of the word. It has 62 unique rooms and stunning suites, including the prestigious three-bedroom, four-bathroom “presidential suite.”

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

The enchanting location and castle-like building will make you feel as though you have stepped into a fairy tale as you stay at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. In 1980 it was designated a National Historical Sight of Canada, making it the perfect accommodation for a stay in Old Quebec.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

If your holiday to Canada is taking you to Lake Louise, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is ideal. Although this hotel is expensive, I don’t think you will ever come across better scenery. Waking up to unrestricted views of Lake Louise will soon make you forget the price.

Four Seasons Resort Whistler

In addition to the pretty building and luxurious rooms, the staff at the Four Seasons will treat you like a King or Queen. Whistler is said to be the best place in Canada to ski, and the hotel take this into account and creates the perfect atmosphere for a skiing trip.

The Fairmont Banff Springs

In the heart of Banff National Park you will find this idyllic hotel styled on a Scottish Baronial Castle. This is the perfect option for a family looking to spend the Christmas period in Canada, with Santa’s workshops and bedtime stories for kids to enjoy.

Prince of Wales, Niagara-on-the-Lake

This attractive inn was established in 1864 and has become one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s beloved landmarks. The hotel’s interior designers have kept to the style and opulence of the late nineteenth century, decorating each room individually to ensure a unique experience for every guest.

 

The most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean

One of the many beaches of the island

Think of the Caribbean and your mind will immediately be awash with thoughts of sun soaked days spent on white sand beaches surrounded by nothing but the turquoise sea and tropical fauna for which the area is renowned.One of the many beaches of the island

Step of the beaches however and you see an even more glamorous side to these picturesque islands, as five star resorts compete to offer the utmost in lavishness and service. So where do you go to find the ultimate in Caribbean luxury? Here are our top 3 resorts.

1: Blue Waters – Soldiers Bay – Antigua

An unrivalled choice at number one Blue Waters offers the opulence of a five star resort whilst enjoying the sort of laid back and personable atmosphere one would normally find in a smaller property.

Nestled on the North Eastern tip of Antigua Blue Waters enjoys an enviable position in Soldiers Bay allowing it to benefit from calm waters and enjoy perfect conditions for the many water sports on offer here.

Located on three of the Caribbean’s best beaches (Antigua has as many as 365!) and surrounded by immaculate gardens it’s no wonder Blue Waters is a famed honeymoon resort, guaranteeing couples romance and privacy alongside five star service and gourmet cuisine.

For true luxury head to Rock Cottage, a secluded 5 bedroom villa overlooking the beach and equipped with its own private plunge pool – pure bliss!

VisitAntigua & Barbuda’s website.

 Bluewaters resort with swimming pool

2: Cap Juluca – Anguilla

The neighbouring island of Anguilla takes the number two spot in our list, in particular the Cap Juluca resort which is famed as much for its exclusivity as its Moorish villas and views across the mountains of St Maarten.

Cap Juluca offers 179 acres of island paradise and is perched on its own mile long beach on the southwest coast of Anguilla meaning you’re guaranteed an ocean view from every room at the hotel.

Fancy a coconut?If you’re worried Anguilla is a quiet island and that Cap Juluca has little in the way of amenities you’d be wrong, as an 18 hole golf course, tennis court and countless water sports activities combine with 3 beachfront restaurants and a luxurious spa to give you the choice of making your holiday as active or laid back as you like.

3: Amanyara – Turks and Caicos

With a name derived from the Sanskrit term for peaceful place Amanyara is everything a Caribbean getaway should be… tranquil, isolated and with staff service that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Located on the pristine sands of Malcolm’s beach on the island of Providenciales, Amanyara is away from the main developments currently being undertaken in Turks and Caicos and therefore enjoys a stunning position close to a pristine reef and surrounded by lush greenery.

With regular yoga classes, a nature discovery centre and a wellness facility overlooking the calming reflection pond Amanyara is a haven for those looking to escape the pace of everyday life.

 

What to see in Liverpool for a Perfect Mid-week Break

Hard Days Night Hotel bed

At Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool we consider ourselves massively happy and privileged to operate in what we think is one of the greatest cities in the UK. Packed full of heritage, culture and countless things to do, Liverpool is a rather unlikely however utterly fantastic destination for any mid-week break.

Hard Days Night Hotel bed

Liverpool is an amazing city packed full to the brim with heritage, culture and is massively popular as a drop off spot for people interested in music and the arts due to numerous permanent art attractions such as the Tate Gallery which boasts amazing works of art for people to get up close and personal with.

If you are apprehensive for any reason about spending a little bit of time or taking a mid-week break in Liverpool, hopefully we will be able to bring you to your senses and help you on your way to making an informed decision. Below, find all of the reasons we would pick Liverpool as the perfect mid-week break destination:

Art

Liverpool boasts a wealth of amazing art galleries for you to visit. The most well-known and arguably the best one if the Tate Gallery located at Albert Dock which is houses in one of the very best buildings of Liverpool; a grade I listed converted warehouse. If you love art you should also check out the Liverpool Walker Art Gallery and Liverpool Bluecoat, both of which offer up truly breathtaking works of art to admire.

Music

The worlds biggest ever band The Beatles came from Liverpool and started out their music career in the city playing to small crowds which grew and grew before they made it big time. Liverpool is also the official World Capital of Pop. If you love live music you will also find that Liverpool has literally hundreds of live lounges scattered across the city with local artists performing songs across all genres.

Sport

Liverpool has been completely sports mad for hundreds of years and boasts Liverpool F.C which is in the Premier League, a world-class golf course called the Golf Coast which is considered to be the best stretch of golf course in the whole world and although Liverpool don’t have their very own Rugby League team, the city widely supports St. Helens and Widnes Vikings, two very high quality teams. If you love sport you will fit right in at Liverpool.

Shopping

Love shopping? Then you will love Liverpool. Whether you choose to go to Bold Street, Liverpool ONE, Metquarter or Cavern Walks, you will be treated to a wealth of mainstream and boutique stores offering up amazing products which you will cherish forever. All in all the shopping in Liverpool is world-class and considered to be one of the best shopping destinations in the UK.

A guide to protecting your caravan from theft and vandalism

Touring caravans on site

Touring caravans on site

You’ve finally got that caravan you dreamed of and are all set to take the UK and – dare we say – the Continent, by storm.
Not only does this luxury villa on wheels have everything you need for your venture, it’s accessorised to the hilt and just oozes comfort.

So how devastating would it be for it to be stolen or worse – vandalised?

It’s not nice and something you probably don’t even want to think about, but it can happen to anyone.

Luckily there are steps you can take to prevent it. The following are some recommended security tips that many caravanners forget about, whether on the road or parked up at home between camping seasons. Although some are more expensive than others, implementing all of the below will make it highly unlikely you will become a victim of caravan crime…

1) Never leave your car and van unattended by an adult at a service station, even with CCTV around. Service station caravan theft is still common as of 2010 and an easy method for would-be thieves to have your holiday home.

2) Always park towards an exit, make sure your caravan isn’t blocked by other vehicles and leave the engine running for a quick getaway if need be. This may sound like an exaggeration and is unlikely but you can never be too safe!

3) Get a decent hitch lock ie. one that covers the entire hitch or a metal ball from a trusted company such as Purple Line.

4) If parked at home, ensure your van is filmed by fixing up a CCTV camera high enough to avoid thieves tampering with it.

5) Ensure the camera’s wires are hidden too, a CCTV system that is easy to dismantle might as well not be there at all.

6) Get lighting which alerts you if someone is in the vicinity of your caravan. Again, ensure this is mounted well above head height. These can also be triggered by cats, but any deterrent is better than nothing.

7) Always park your van in a visible location where neighbours can see it. A caravan in an obvious spot may be more visible to thieves, but it would make a theft of said caravan harder in plain view.

8) Avoid caravan covers and choose to just clean it a couple of times while out of season instead. Thieves can be difficult to spot underneath them.

9) Closing the blinds on a caravan can alert a thief to ‘valuables’. Leave them open to avoid would be thieves speculating. A look throught he window and a scope out is better than waking up to a broken window or worse. I don’t think I need to tell you that you should remove all valuables too!

10) Put up a sticker saying the caravan has a tracker device and an alarm attached, even if it hasn’t. Not many people are going to run the risk of finding out.

11) If you’re going to go for an alarm then invest your money and buy a decent one with a hidden noise box. No thief is going to hang around with a constant din going on to alert the neighbours. Some sights will insist on a particular type of alarm system.

12) Avoid seasonal pitches if possible – thieves know caravans lie empty on them for long periods with few people around, it’s part of their job!

13) Clamp-lovers should ensure they buy one which is ‘sold secure’ – otherwise don’t bother.

Although caravan theft is not as high as motor theft it is still something that occurs regularly enough in the UK to warrant taking safety measures. Happy Camping!

Picture credit: Birdseyeviewofwales

What to Look for When Booking a Ski Chalet

Ski chalet

Ski chalet

Thinking of ski chalet breaks? Before booking, consider the following:

Ski-in, Ski-out

This literally means the property is situated on the slope. The definition is somewhat overused because it allows property owners to charge more for their property because of its perceived proximity to the slopes. In reality many ski-in, ski-out properties are situated away from the slopes with a walk, or even short bus ride to the lifts. That’s not to say that there isn’t genuine ski-in, ski-out properties available for a good price, you should be wary when booking.

Sites and travel agents offering genuine ski-in, ski-out properties will have a map showing the actual location. Often these properties have beautiful views, and a short walk into the town or village you are staying in.

How Many Can the Chalet Sleep?Seating many

This may sound obvious, but the number of rooms doesn’t equate the number of people a chalet can sleep. Often chalets sleep two to a room and also have sofa beds. So, a chalet with four bedrooms may sleep up to 10 people. The more the merrier and the cheaper it can be.

To Self-Cater, or not to Self-Cater?

You can save a lot of money by loading up your car – if you’re driving – either before you leave for, or when you arrive at your chalet, Supermarkets and local shops on the continent are well stocked with quality produce giving you the opportunity to try something new.

Choices in catered ski chalets can relieve you of the stresses of preparing meals for an extended-family sized group, but what it often doesn’t offer is variety. Having a rota in your self-catered chalet means something different every night. If you’re skiing on the Continent, buying alcohol at the supermarket will certainly be cheaper than only drinking at bars.

Real Bang for your Buck, Pound, or Euro

Many property owners are seasoned skiers who have bought the chalet as both investment and a base when skiing themselves. Often they have kitted the property out with media systems that can include games consoles, a flat screen TV, sports channels, etc. In the relaxation department, some chalets are include their own spa, so after a day on the slopes you can relax in a Jacuzzi, or sweat in a sauna.

These chalets tend to be pricier, but if you’re counting on coming home refreshed and rejuvenated, it might just be worth it.

Equipment – Hire, or Buy?

A skier down the slope

Ask yourself have you done it before and will you do it again? If the answer is yes, then it might be worth purchasing your own skis, or board, clothing and boots. If you go down this route it’s also worth purchasing a sturdy ski/board bag in which to transport your new toys. Airlines are not as sympathetic to your equipment as you’d like and often have prohibitive regulations that demand you check your ski’s or board into the baggage hold. Transporting your gear in a single bag ensures it all stays together and (hopefully) arrives in one piece.

Hiring has its pitfalls too. Research the resort and how many shops offer equipment hire rather than relying on the website you’re booking with to sort it out for you. Often their equipment isn’t great and having handed over your credit card details, you’re locked into an agreement. Looking around can get you great equipment at a good price.

With the array of chalets and destinations ski chalet breaks can be a wonderful experience, exposing you to glorious landscapes covered in tranquil snow.