Five of The World’s Finest Beaches

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 Posted by

When the sun is shining, and the sky is blue, there is nothing better than taking a vacation and hitting the beach. Whether you prefer sun-bathing on a tranquil sandy shore, or taking part in high-energy activities, we’ve hunted down some of the world’s finest beaches for your contemplation.

1.      Lanikau Beach, Hawaii

With a name which translates to “heavenly sea” Lanikau Beach is one of 100 tourist beaches in Hawaii. The beautiful palm-lined bay stretches along a mile of coastline, and is covered with soft, white-gold sand, with gentle, warm water making Lanikau into a paradise on earth. Lanikau beach is considered to be excellent for swimmers, as the bay is protected by a natural off-shore reef, while those who enjoy watersports can get involved with kayaking, windsurfing and sailing, along with many other activities.

2.      Coral Bay, Cyprus

Located to the North of the popular tourist resort, Paphos, Coral Bay is a spectacular 600m beach, which is watched over by matching headlands at each side of the bay. Close to the beach, visitors will find plenty of bars, restaurants and shops, which makes Coral Bay an excellent choice for families with kids. The safe, still waters of the beach are popular with swimmers of all ages and the bay is a proud holder of a EU Blue Flag.

3.      Playa De Las Arena, Tenerife

Discover beaches that aren’t golden, but are still truly stunning, when you holiday in Tenerife. Most of the natural beaches on Tenerife have black sand, due to the volcanic residues from which they formed. One of the best beaches on the islands is Playa De Las Arena, in the village of the same name. The small beach is set in dramatic rocky coastline, and is quite breath-taking to see in person for the first time – photos in holiday brochures don’t describe the sensation of sun and sea-air on your skin!

4.      Squeaky Beach, Australia

Perhaps you fancy something completely different – in which case, maybe you’d like to visit the amazing Squeaky Beach, in the secluded Wilson’s Promontory National Park. Popular with surfers, the Squeaky Beach is so-called because the quartz sand makes a strange noise when you walk across it. In the nearby area, there are many other points of interest such as rock formations, as well as Australia’s flora and fauna for you to discover at leisure.

5.      Porthcurno, Cornwall

Of course, it is possible to enjoy gorgeous beaches without travelling outside of the UK. Porthcurno Beach in Cornwall could quite easily be compared to a Spanish or French beach, with it’s golden sands and crystal clear waters. The idyllic spot is perfect for a romantic picnic, as it is quiet and not generally mobbed by tourists. Close by, visitors will find Penzance and St Ives, both fascinating seaside towns with plenty of history, art galleries and shops.

These are just five beaches, which stand out for their beauty and charm – have we selected your favourite, or can you think of any we’ve missed out?

Holiday Suggestions

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 Posted by

We all look for something different from our holidays. Whether you are searching for the perfect location for a romantic break, or want a vacation that is all about action and adventure, we have some exciting suggestions to inspire you.

If you are looking for an unforgettable romantic break :

If you are planning a break for you and your partner, think big and take them to Mica Moutain Lodge in Alberta, Canada. The adorable wooden cabins are designed for both privacy and comfort, ideal for one to one time for couples! Mica Mountain Lodge is located within a wilderness park, with breath-taking views, waterfalls, historic sites and the Canada Rocky Mountains all in the local area. If you are thinking about a proposal, you’ll find dozens of dream spots for popping the question, and even if not, you’ll still enjoy getting cosy by the log-fire which you’ll find in your cabin.

If you want a cheap and cheerful break:

For those of you looking for a holiday that won’t dent your bank balance too much, while giving you that fun in the sun vibe, you should consider Benidorm on the Costa Blanca of Spain. Not only does Benidorm enjoy an average of 325 days of sun each year, but has two four mile long beaches. There are plenty of attractions for all ages in the area – from pubs and restaurants, to theme parks and even a zoo. Competition between businesses keeps prices low, and that keeps visitors coming back, year after year.

Gemelos XXII is an apart-hotel located just 2km from the beach, with amazing views across Benidorm. Lots of facilities are on offer, and the simply but modern rooms all have a terrace or balcony, as well as cooking facilities and even a washing machine!

If you want to dine in fine restaurants and shop till you drop:

Not only is London host to numerous major tourist attractions, but it is also home to numerous Michelin starred restaurants and designer shopping opportunities. Britain’s capital city is high on the list for quality entertainment, with theatre shows and musicals galore.

Book an apartment at the classy Odyssey Luxury Riverview, which sits in the bustling Canary Wharf. The trendy, spacious accommodation is complete with all necessities, and finished in the contemporary style. Make this elegant apartment your home from home, as you make the most of all that London has to offer.

If you want to treat yourself to a luxurious vacation in exotic surroundings:

When your daily life is stressful, you need a holiday which will soothe body, soul and mind. Escape to the beautiful Republic of Mauritius, a sun-soaked island which is surrounded by the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean. The tropical climate makes Mauritius feel a whole world away from work and worries, so that you can enjoy a blissful sense of total tranquillity.

Stay on a self catering basis at the five star Le Grand Mauritian, located in the poetically named Turtle Bay. The hotel is close to an ocean nature park, sparkling white beach and coral reef, and edged with sugar cane fields, creating an atmosphere of serenity. Take your holiday relaxation to the next level in the Mandara Spa, where you can indulge yourself with decadent treatment rituals, many of which incorporate local spices and essential oils.

Eight Ways to Stay Cool in a Hot Country

Posted on: June 13th, 2011 Posted by

If your holidays this year take you to a country with a hotter climate than you are used to, you will find the heat gets overwhelming at times. The eight tips which follow are a selection of tried and tested ideas which will help you to reduce your body temperature and refresh your senses.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

When temperatures rise, staying hydrated is vital. There are a number of ways to know if you are dehydrated – one of the easiest is to note the colour of your urine – it should be a light straw-like colour. To stay hydrated, drink at least a glass of water every hour, and if you are out and about, take a bottle of water with you and remember to take regular sips. Cool water, rather than iced water, will aid your body in all its functions and go a long way towards preventing heat stroke.

2. Have a Tepid Shower

Relaxing in an icy cold shower may seem like the perfect way to rejuvenate yourself on a scorching hot day, but a tepid shower will decrease your body temperature more efficiently! Chill out when the heat gets too much by showering for around 20 minutes, which will lower your body temperature and leave you feeling fresh and renewed.

3. Chill Your Body Lotion

If you are staying self catering, you are sure to have access to a fridge – and you can use it to store more than just food. Pop your body lotion or after-sun gel into the fridge for a deliciously chilly sensation on application – perfect after a shower.

4. Wear Loose Fitting, Natural Fabric Clothing

When packing for your holiday, be inspired by the loose fitting robes of the nomadic tribes who live in the deserts of Africa, and pack garments which allow air to circulate around your skin. You have probably heard advice suggesting that it is better to wear light colours, but recent studies have shown that what is more important is a loose fit. Another point to consider is choosing materials which let your skin breathe – such as cotton and bamboo. The only exception to this is high-performance technical fabrics such as Supplex (usually found in active wear) which wick perspiration away from the skin.

5. Get Sweaty

Sweating is the bodies natural system for reducing temperature and can help you to feel cooler. Eat spicy food or drink a hot drink to stimulate the sweat glands and you’ll quickly notice the difference.

6. Dip Your Feet In Water

When you are out on a walk and come across a tempting spot to sit and dip your feet in a river, a lake or the sea – go ahead. Submerging your feet in water helps to reduce the temperature of your blood as it circulates around your body.

7. Eat Cooling Foods

If you can’t face eating spicy dishes like curry to cool yourself down, choose foods which create a cool mouth sensation. Salads, yoghurt, sorbets and chilled soups all slip down smoothly and will make it easier to stop thinking about the heat!

8. Rest During the Hottest Times

In most hot climates, you’ll notice that the locals have a rest during the hottest hours in the middle of the day. Take a tip and follow their schedule – trying to make it through the heat will just be uncomfortable, so have a sleep, or just lounge around for a few hours when its too hot to be out of doors.

The summer holidays are nearly here, and you might be thinking about booking a last minute deal for this years break. Or perhaps you are looking ahead to a vacation in the autumn or even the festive season. Two of the options that you will come across are self catering and all inclusive packages, both of which have their pros and cons. We look at both types of holiday package, to help you decide which is the best for you.

It would be useful to first understand what exactly self catering and all inclusive actually mean. Self catering is when you book accommodation only – it may be a villa, apartment, caravan or even yurt – and are responsible for arranging your meals and drinks. All inclusive holidays are usually based in hotels and include all meals and drinks.

Self catering may seem like the instant answer for anyone looking for a holiday on a budget,                but remember that you will have to add your food costs onto the holiday price – which may get  expensive if you choose to eat in restaurants or cook with expensive ingredients. All Inclusive on the other hand includes at your costs at booking – but be aware that drinks included in the deal are usually local brands, you are unlikely to find labels such as Gordons, Budweiser and Bailey’s gracing the shelves of an all inclusive bar.

At an all inclusive hotel, you may feel “tied” to stay close to your accommodation, as when you go elsewhere you have pay for drinks and meals. Some chains of hotels will allow you to use facilities in other locations in the area, but this is not always the case. If you go self catering, you have free to plan your day (or not) as you see fit – no need to set an alarm to get to breakfast in the morning if you are cooking it yourself!

All inclusive accommodation usually includes lots of facilities and entertainment as part of the package. This might not be your cup of tea if you are looking for a tranquil escape, but is fabulous for mums and dads who want to chill out while a kid’s club keeps the little ones busy! In-house entertainment in all inclusive hotels is usually of a fairly high quality, with a packed schedule, which means you don’t need to go out and explore the local area if it doesn’t appeal.

Self catering accommodation gives you to opportunity to sample local delicacies as well as enjoying preparing and cooking your own meals. If you want a real “flavour” of an area, this is one of the best ways to get it – bustling markets and even supermarkets seem to have more atmosphere when you are abroad than back at home. All inclusive meals may be a bit hit and miss – if you choose accommodation that caters mainly for Brits, you might find versions of UK food being served up and not get the chance to sample traditional food from the country you are visiting. However, most hotels will at least offer a speciality night or two, when typical dishes are served.

At Christmas, New Year and other special occasions, most all inclusive hotels will offer spectacular gala meals, which really bring a party vibe to the occasion. If you are self-catering, then you can celebrate as you wish – or perhaps escape the festivities altogether, if that’s what you are aiming for!

To conclude – self catering accommodation is great if you want a peaceful break and a chance to explore the local area without being tied to a meal schedule – ideal for couples and those of a more adventurous nature. All inclusive deals work well for people who want a real break from the daily responsibilities of cooking and cleaning, and are great for families with kids, who need plenty going on to keep them entertained.