Innovation remains at the forefront for award-winning luxury tour operator Simpson Travel, as it launches its 2013 collection. Simpson adds Mauritius, its first ever long-haul destination, Adult Only hotels – a concept for those seeking a grown-up environment and a Honeymoon Gift List, an alternative to the traditional ‘first home’ wedding gifts, to its collection of luxury holidays for the discerning traveller.
These new additions are on top of an expansion of its originial Mediterranean property portfolio which includes luxury villas, boutique hotels and stylish apartments in Greece, Turkey, Corsica, and Mallorca.
In launching its 2013 collection, Simpson Travel’s Founder and Managing Director, Graham Simpson commented “We always listen to what our guests tell us and a winter destination has long been a wish of our dedicated followers. We also understand that choice remains important so we are sure our new properties and exciting programmes will be well received by our guests.”
Winter Sun: Mauritius
A fusion of different cultures and people all living and working in harmony, Mauritius offers visitiors a unique experience. Simpson’s Mauritius collection includes beachside villas, luxury apartments and stylish hotels throughout the island. Prices start from £1,275 based on 4 people sharing in May through to September for 1 week and include flights, private transfers and accommodation.
Adult Only Hotels
Providing guests a real opportunity to unwind and de-stress, Simpson’s Adult Only portfolio comprises three small boutique hotels in Paxos, Crete and Turkey where guests are guaranteed a serene atmosphere and adult environment. Prices start from £680 based on 2 people sharing in May for 1 week and include flights, private transfers and accommodation.
Honeymoon Gift List
A honeymoon is the perfect opportunity for an unforgettable holiday and Simpson’s Honeymoon Gift List service offers an innovative way of securing contributions towards this once-in-a-lifetime experience. With a dedicated sales consultant, beautifully designed registry cards and regular updates on payments and messages, this may be a welcome alternative to the conventional wedding gift list.
Larger Mediterranean Portfolio
Simpson Travel addsto its established portfolio in Greece, Turkey, Corsica and Mallorca, with new properties ranging from tucked-away intimate hotels and luxury family villas to romantic beachside cottages and rural retreats.
For more information on any of the above or to find out more about Simpson Travel, please visit www.simpsontravel.com or call 0845 619 6610.
Plunge into paradise with the kids this May half-term and take advantage of family time in the peaceful surroundings of the Maldives, with savings of up to £314 per family. Traditionally popular among honeymooners, this Indian Ocean destination is appealing more and more to family holidaymakers. And who’s to blame them when the white beaches and turquoise lagoons of Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort and Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resortprovide children with the ultimate giant sand pit to play in surrounded by a fascinating underwater world waiting to be explored?
The perfect blend of relaxation and fun, holidays to these four-star resorts will leave the whole family feeling revitalised and full of happy memories in the Maldivian sun. With a separate kiddie pool, play area and an activity programme, there will never be a dull moment for kids staying at Olhuveli. A team of dedicated child minders are on hand throughout the day to entertain with craft making, storytelling and sandcastle building and experienced babysitters are available for when a romantic dinner is calling. There’s plenty on offer for young children too including the recently launched PADI Skin Diver course, available to those as young as eight. While snorkelling is limited to peering down from the surface, this short course enables avid water babies to venture deeper, making frequent surface dives to interact up close and personal with aquatic life.
For parents of babies and toddlers in need of a break from the daily routine back home, Olhuveli is an ideal island destination. This resort has taken care of everything to ensure mums and dads have enjoyable times with the children along with precious time alone if required, with peace of mind knowing that their little ones are being well cared for. The Sun Spa is a welcome retreat with a wide range of refreshing and rejuvenating treatments to choose from and for something fun, Watersports World at Olhuveli offers jet-ski hire and speedboat charter for a little break away at sea.
Parents in need of inspiration for holidays with teens should look no further than Olhuveli’s sister resort Vilu Reef, which is sprawled across the entire expanse of Meedhuffushi Island in the South Nilandhe Atoll. There’s endless entertainment to enjoy from banana riding through the crystal clear waters, diving lessons and windsurfing to a family canoe trip around the island spotting colourful sea life and a morning out on a dolphin cruise where they’ll come face-to-face with these playful creatures.
What’s more, this family-friendly resort also works with charity organisation Pack For A Purpose (www.packforapurpose.org)alongside a local school, encouraging guests to pack a few supplies such as stationery, books or CDs to donate to the kids. The resort can arrange for families to meet the school children and teachers and deliver their donated items in person on a local island tour. Exploring fishing villages, a mosque and the school and offering a flavour of Maldivian life outside the resort, this community project provides a great family day out.
Tropic Breeze (www.tropicbreeze.co.uk / 01752 880880) offers seven nights at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort from £5,736 per family (saving £314) and Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort from £6,136 per family (saving £290) based on two adults and two children sharing. Valid for May half-term departing on the evening of 24 May, the price includes return flights from London with British Airways, accommodation on a half-boardbasis and transfers.
Individually tailored service focussed across travel, lifestyle and safety
24th January 2013, London: Abercrombie & Kent, the world’s leading luxury travel company, is launching the first Global Lifestyle Club specifically dedicated to discerning travellers providing its members with the ultimate in travel, lifestyle, medical and security services.
Building on its 50 years’ of luxury and experiential travel expertise, A&K’s Lifestyle Club will operate around the clock and around the globe. The A&K Lifestyle Club will provide unprecedented levels of service with exclusive benefits, privileged access, security and peace of mind worldwide.
Every A&K Lifestyle Club member and their partner will be allocated a personal A&K Private Travel Consultant who will draw on their own extensive travel experiences and the A&K worldwide network of 50 offices across seven continents, to create the best custom-made holidays for their members. Members will be treated as VIPs at every stage of their travels, benefitting from A&K’s hallmark commitment to excellence from start to finish.
Members will also benefit from a 24/7 global concierge service. They will be assigned a personal Lifestyle Manager who will act as their local fount of knowledge and ‘fixer’ both at home or wherever in the world they are. They will advise and help with lifestyle requests, from simply sending flowers to organising restaurant reservations or gaining access to exclusive clubs and events.
Safety, security and peace of mind are essential components of luxury travel and of great importance to A&K. A&K Lifestyle Club members and their family will have instant access worldwide to logistical, medical and security advice around the clock and will always be just a phone call away from a team of A&K Travel SoS™ professionals, including a doctor or nurse available 24 hours a day.
Geoffrey Kent, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent said, “In the 50 years of A&K providing discerning travel experiences, the world has become ever smaller but our clients’ requirements have, rightly, become more demanding. I am delighted that the A&K Lifestyle Club will meet the needs of those looking for an individually tailored service which is totally focused on travel, lifestyle and safety wherever they might want to travel to, for business or pleasure.”
Frank Rejwan, Managing Director, A&K Lifestyle Club commented, “Our exciting new club is the distillation of all that makes A&K great, with the addition of a global 24/7 concierge and A&K Travel SoS™ services. With incredible benefits and offers such as 70% off a luxury cruise to the Galapagos, complimentary nights in A&K’s villa portfolio, access to an exclusive table at The BRIT Awards or a place in the once-in-a-lifetime adventure of the Run to Monaco F1 supercar rally, the A&K Lifestyle Club gives the concept of privilege and convenience an entirely new meaning.’
The A&K Lifestyle Club service and benefits are available through just one dedicated phone number 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Combining the boot camp ethos but with a little more flexibility New You Boot Camp have launched new for 2013, their Flexible Boot Camp in Spain.
So whether you would like the intensity of a traditional result focused boot camp, or you would like a healthy holiday with a mixture of fitness and relaxing around the pool, the New You Flexible Boot Camp will be perfect for you.
Join in and do as little or as much training as you like. With this in mind you can start the day with a group morning run, followed by a nutritious breakfast, relax, unwind and sunbathe by the pool, join in with a circuit class, book an excursion or enjoy an indulgent massage. It’s your holiday so you get to choose what you would like to do.
When it comes to food and nutrition at the New You Flexible Boot Camp, their chefs have worked with their Nutrition Squad to put together mouth-watering menus and meal plans using local ingredients that compliment the unique therapeutic weight loss programme that helps minimize sugar cravings, burn stubborn fat and stabilise blood sugar levels.
And to help you on your ‘New You’ journey once you get home the wonderful New You Boot Camp Chefs will hold cookery demonstrations and take you through some delicious healthy recipes showing you that you can easily incorporate a healthier, nutritious lifestyle once you leave the retreat.
Situated within the beautiful Cadiz countryside near Marbella and the Port of Sotogrande, guests will stay at the charming boutique Hotel Monasterio set within an idyllic rural setting with outdoor pool.
Dates for 2013: 12-19th Jan, 2-9th March, 6th-13th April, 11-18th May, 19th-26th July, 9th-16th Sept, 5th-12th Oct,
Prices from: £1050pp/ Price includes allocated pick ups and drop offs from the airports, all food & drinks and fitness activities on boot camps. Flights not included in price, excursions and massages are an additional cost.
Flights available to Malaga: Easy Jet, Ryan Air, Monarch, British Airway, Swiss Air & Air France.
2012 was all about cool Britannia, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, it’s time for theUKto take down the nostalgic bunting, lower their pinkies and put their best china away. Encounters Travel is encouraging travellers to swap watching Downton Abbey for a year of discovery, and relieve their itchy feet, with a choice of exotic adventures in hot destinations!
Perfect for singles, couples and friends wanting to add some hot spice to their travel plans, Encounters Travel offer small group trips for adults only to Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Plus there are a whole host of discounted tours coming up, with savings of up to £200 per person. Options include:
EXPERIMENT WITH COLOUR ININDIAIndian Express: Save £50
The perfect introduction toIndia, this nine-day tour takes place over Holi festival (or the festival of colour) on 27 March. It starts with a visit to Old and New Delhi before heading to the UNESCO world heritage site Agra Fort, the beautiful Taj Mahal at sunset and then on to the mystical abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri and the Keoladeo National Park. The trip finishes atDelhi, after exploring the pink city ofJaipurand spending Holi festival at the nearbyAmberPalace, where travellers can take an elephant ride, fly a kite, taste and buy delicious food and even take in a fun Bollywood movie! Available for departure on 23 March for £549 per person (saving £50), the price includes transfers from/toDelhiairport, eight nights’ accommodation in good quality hotels on a mixed-board basis, as well as a local guide throughout.
BARTER LIKE A BERBER INMOROCCO, Moroccan Mosaics: Save £100
This exotic nine-day tour through the ‘gateway of Africa’ starts with two days exploring Marrakech’s mosques, minarets, spice-filled sensory souks and bustling bazaars, followed by a visit to local Berber villages, impressive gorges and canyons and the highest mountain pass in Africa, as well as a thrilling desert safari near Merzouga. Available for departure on 30 March for £599 (saving £100), the price includes return transfers from/to Marrakech airport, eight nights’ varied accommodation in four-star hotels and a traditional Berber camp on a mixed-board basis, all entrance fees to monuments, as well as an expert local guide throughout.
MEET THE LOCALS IN THEMALDIVES,MaldivesMagic: Save £200
This ‘holiday of a lifetime’ destination has previously been reserved for honeymooners and the rich and famous, however this award-winning 10-day tour is perfect for travellers looking to experience ‘real’ Maldivian culture, with visits to numerous deserted islands on a live-aboard sea safari, a stay with locals on an inhabited island and a visit to the tiny capital city of Malé before kicking back at The Royal Island Resort & Spa where facilities include two restaurants, four bars, a spa, watersports and PADI dive centre. Available for selected departures until September for £999 per person (saving £200), the price includes nine nights’ varied accommodation on a mixed-board basis, with snorkelling gear provided and the services of a local tour leader throughout.
Contact Encounters Travel (www.encounterstravel.com / 0800 088 6002).
The country’s capital, Muscat has a variety of interesting, cultural events throughout the year including at the Royal Opera House Muscat, a must to experience a range of musical genres, contemporary and traditional styles and events, www.rohmuscat.org.om.
One of the most popular ways to see Muscat in 2013 is with the new Double Decker Big Bus Tours where tourists and locals alike can explore the city with the 12-stop hop-on, hop-off tours, www.bigbustours.com.
There are a variety of different events at the start of 2013. The New Year kicks off with the Muscat Festival from 30 January to 28 February, set to have a host of new venues including Al Amerat Park, Nassem Garden and Bauscher Stadium. The festival will include a number of activities related to Omani heritage and culture as well as fashion shows, food festivals, concerts, special events and fireworks, www.muscat-festival.com.
The Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace in Muscat celebrates the Chinese New Year on 10 February 2013 by unveiling a series of new dining and accommodation programmes for guests to see in the Year of the Snake. Guests are invited to release lanterns at midnight and make a wish for the coming New Year, www.ritzcarlton.com.
For those who are looking to witness something more active don’t miss the fourth Tour of Oman cycling race 11-16 February, which will see the participation of 128 riders representing 16 teams one of which is Great Britain’s SKY Pro cycling team. The race will start from Musannah, passing through Rustaq, Nakhl and Al Khoudh, with the finish line at Sultan Qaboos University. The fifth stage crosses the city of Muscat several times finishing at the Ministry of Housing building. The final 144km stage is through Hawiyat Najam Park with the race ending at Muttrah Corniche, www.tourofoman.om.
The third Oman International Salsa & Dance Festival from 27 February to 02 March 2013 is a gathering of professional artists, performers, instructors and DJ’s bringing salsa to enthusiasts and novices alike. The event is three days and nights of a variety of dances with all-night salsa, BBQ’s and pool parties, www.omansalsafestival.com.
Other noteworthy events for 2013 include:
Cultural Theatre Programme – Running from January to March 2013, different groups from around the world perform during these cultural evenings in Salalah.
Oman Food Festival – Held at the Qurum National Park on 07 February, it is a great opportunity to sample traditional Omani cuisine. The festival is run in conjunction with expert chefs and students from the Oman Tourism College.
Traditional Boat Race – Oman’s maritime heritage is commemorated with this traditional boat race on 09 February with boats like Dhow Boats, Old Houri, New Houri and Al Shash competing against each other.
Bird Watching – March is one of the best months for bird watching due to the cooler temperatures. Visitors can see many species of birds in each of Oman’s different regions: Al Ansab wetlands in Muscat, Al Hikam Peninsula, Masirah Island, Wusta Governorate beaches, the Lagoona, the beaches and springs in Dhofar are ideal locations for bird watchers. Many of these species live in Dimaniyat Islands and in Musandam.
Scuba Diving – Oman is one of the most popular diving destinations in the region. The most prominent diving areas around the capital Muscat are: Bandar Khayran, Al Fahal Islands, Damaniyat Islands, Al Makbara Bay (Old Muscat), in addition to Al Jissah Beach. The best time to dive in Muscat and around is from April to July.
Salalah Tourism Festival – Colourful parades take to the streets on 01 July while artistic and cultural exhibitions are arranged by organisations such as the Omani Society of Fine Arts, Omani Women’s Society, Royal Oman Police and Royal Army. Festival activities include artistic and cultural shows and parades.
Renaissance Day – This celebration gives thanks to the day Sultan Qaboos bin Said began his rule in 1970, transforming Oman into the modern, advanced and industrial country of today. The festival takes place 23 July and celebrations are nationwide.
Eid Al-Fitr – An important Muslim holiday on 08 August 2013 which marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated across the country. The markets of Nizwa, Nafar and Suroor become especially busy.
Turtle Spotting – The best time of year to spot turtles nesting on the beaches of Ras Al Hadd and Ras Al Jinz. These turtles migrate to Oman from the Red Sea and East African Coast.
Golf – Due to the climate, golfing in Oman is most popular from the months of September to May. Muscat now has three 18-hole grass golf courses, with more expected to launch in the near future.
Eid Al-Adha – The Feast of Sacrifice is a Muslim holiday and the second of the two Eid festivals on 15 October and commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son to God. Morning prayers are followed by family getting together and exchanging gifts.
Laser World Championships – Oman is set to host one of the largest international sporting events in the Sultanate’s history after Oman Sail won the rights to stage the Laser World Championships in 2013.
The Islamic New Year – Celebrations starting 04 November and carrying on until December mark the beginning of the new Islamic Calendar.
Camping – Oman provides a variety of options when it comes to camping. Visitors can camp almost anywhere, from out in the desert, on mountain tops to the secluded beaches of the Dimaniyat Islands.
The country is also witness to the opening of several new hotels and complexes with more than 2,000 resort and hotel rooms to be added between 2012 and 2013. Muscat will see the majority of growth with over 720 new rooms, with the rest spread evenly across the country. New hotel openings in 2013 include the Fraser Place Sohar which is currently on track to open later on in 2013 and the Azaiba Hotel, an $80 million 5* project that is expected to be operational by mid-2013. The hotel will reportedly have four differently-themed restaurants with multi-level basement parking. These developments are in addition to luxury hotels that opened in 2012 including the 5* Juweira Boutique Hotel, based at Salalah Beach.
A new national railway company is also being developed in Oman in 2013. The company will be fully owned by the government, who will supervise planning and construction. This project is the biggest addition to the transport sector projects within the Sultanate and will go a long way to enhancing trade and investment. The railway is designed for passenger trains going at speeds of up to 200km/hr.
Suffolk’s luxury holiday cottage agency ‘Best of Suffolk’ has launched the county’s first Suffolk-wide loyalty scheme for holiday cottage guests. The agency has teamed up with restaurants and tourist attractions across the county to offer exclusive discounts and offers to holidaymakers staying in a Best of Suffolk holiday cottage.
Forming long-term relationships with customers is a key element of the agency’s strategy for 2013, and other loyalty benefits will include access to early-bird discounts on holiday cottages and a range of other offers and rewards, accessed via a new password-protected area on the company’s website.
Alex Tarry, Director of Best of Suffolk said: “We have a large number of very loyal customers who often holiday with us several times a year. The new ‘Best of Suffolk Club’ is our way of thanking them for their loyalty, and pointing them in the direction of the restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions that we know will look after them and give them a very enjoyable experience in Suffolk.
“We estimate that Best of Suffolk customers spent in the region of £5.2 million of holiday spending money in the Suffolk in 2012, so it is an extremely valuable contribution to the many small businesses in Suffolk’s tourism economy. If any tourist attractions would like to join the scheme they should contact our office for details.”
Best of Suffolk (www.bestofsuffolk.co.uk) grew by 24% in 2012 and expanded its portfolio of stylish holiday cottages into Essex, Kent, Cheshire and London under a sister brand ‘Best Escapes’. It has ambitious plans for further expansion in 2013, backed by a year-long strategic marketing plan.
General Tours World Traveler rolled out a new Small Group Adventure to Botswana, Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe. The nine-day program explores the Okavango Delta and Hwange National Park with a stop at Victoria Falls. Accommodations are at Banoka Bush Camp in the Delta, the Victoria Falls Hotel and Davison’s Camp on a private reserve in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Activities include game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, Mokoro canoe excursions and bush walks.
The new program is in addition to other General Tours programs for Southern Africa, including Journey to South Africa and Victoria Falls, South African Style with Rovos Rail, South Africa and Botswana Explorer and On Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls. The company also offers FreeStyle Travel options that can be combined for a custom itinerary.
General Tours offers a $600 price reduction on Small Group, Private and Small Ship vacations paid for in full at time of booking.
Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand Book to London (Conway, March 3013).
First published in 1862, it was originally meant as a guide for visitors, and it’s now reformatted to preserve the book’s historical value, and includes beautiful engravings of London attractions, an overview of the city, and information on London theaters, hackney carriages, omnibuses, churches, and even banks. The main body of the book focuses on a series of walking tours, and some of the advice on coping with London smog, avoiding pickpockets, and more is as useful today as it was back then!
Rounded out with gorgeous vintage illustrations, this book is sure to appeal to your readers. Would you like to see a copy for review or giveaway consideration, or post one of the illustrations on your website? I look forward to hearing from you.
Intrepid Vacations introduced a new series of tour packages for Israel focused on showing the religious heritage and historical attractions of the cities and villages on the itineraries.
Brian John, president of Intrepid Vacations, says the demand for faith-based itineraries continues to grow at an accelerating rate. Besides religious and historical sites, Intrepid has also tried to provide ample time to explore the modern life of the region. According to John, “Our Israel vacation packages offer a variety of options for travelers seeking excitement. For example Eilat in the Red Sea region is filled with cafes, theaters and night clubs, health resorts and vast stretches of beaches with outdoor adventure activities — such as the Dolphin Reef, Camel tours, ATV and much more. Our destination expertise guarantees the exposure Israel travelers seek for a lifetime of memories they will enjoy sharing with friends and family.”
The menu of escorted tours to Israel includes the eight-day/seven-night Israel Pilgrims Tour, priced from $1,475 and including Jerusalem, Galilee and Tel Aviv, as well as Bethlehem’s Manger Square and Church of the Nativity, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Nazareth, Syria, and the Sea of Galilee; Israel Holy Land, priced from $1,362, including Jerusalem, Galilee and Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Tiberias, Capernaum, the coastal areas of Acre, Haifa and Megiddo; Israel Splendors, priced from $1,378, including Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, the rock fortress of Masada, Herod’s great palace and the mountains around Jerusalem, Jericho, Tiberias, Capernaum, Nazareth, Acre and Haifa; Israel and Petra Wonders, priced from $1,976, including Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Eilat, and Petra in Jordan; Israel and Petra Pilgrims Tour, priced from $1,813; and Jewish Heritage, priced from $1,722. Prices are per person double occupancy, land only.
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