Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Menorca Holidays Shake, Rafa and Roll

Not since the days of Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe has the world of tennis been as exciting as it is today, as Rafa Nadal from Spain's Balearic Islands and Switzerland's Roger Federer make the game watchable to a mass audience again.

The numbers 1 and 2 in the world produced what was widely described by sports journalists around the world as Wimbledon's finest men's final in a generation last July where Nadal triumphed, and then in early February this year the two produced a pulsating final lasting over four hours in another Grand Slam event - the Australian Open. Again Rafa Nadal was victorious.

Upon returning home to the Balearic Islands after his Wimbledon triumph last summer - the Balearics are made up of Rafa's home island of Majorca, along with Menorca and Ibiza - Rafa was given a hero's welcome, and the island came to a standstill for the day as celebrations carried on from dawn to the early hours of the next morning.

Before Rafa's rise to the top of the tennis world, The Balearic Islands have been best known in the wider world as prime holiday destinations - Menorca for example is known as a quiet family holidays island, and with flights to Menorca under two hours from London has become a favourite for the British holidaymaker since the early 70's.

But with a recession hitting Menorca's main holiday markets of Britain and Germany, the tourist authorities for the islands have come up with a stroke a world class tennis player would be proud of - they have signed Rafa Nadal up to promote Menorca as a holidays destination to the British and German publics, and be the recognisable face for their holiday marketing activities.

'Rafa is an instantly recognisable symbol of something positive', comments leading Menorca travel site yourmenorca.net, 'And associating Menorca with someone as dynamic and successful as Rafa Nadal could help the island attract more tourists at a time it really needs it.'


Of all the islands in the Balearics, Menorca is known as one for family holidays. Quiet, sedate, peaceful are words often used to describe Menorca and Menorca holidays.

But as well as promoting Menorca as a reminder to past visitors to holiday on the island again, it's quite possible that Rafa Nadal's image among the population as a whole in both Germany and the UK could be enough for new generations to consider taking holidays in Menorca for the first time - something the island would welcome as once people take a trip to Menorca they often return and count the island as one of their top holiday destinations to consider for future years.

British visitors, an important constituent of Menorca tourism, have been hit by the strength of the Euro against Sterling, and Menorca holidays are more expensive than holiday destinations which don't have the euro - Turkey in particular has seen a big jump in British tourists, and outside of Europe Egypt and Morocco have benefitted too at the expense of traditional favourite Spain - in 2008 Spain experienced a drop of a million holidaymakers compared to the year before.

And while the island will still be seen as peaceful compared to some holiday destinations, it will be determined to keep that as part of the appeal that has attracted holidaymakers in the past. But new companies are also springing up among the Menorca holidays businesses that will appeal to those first time Menorca visitors who might want a little activity - and might expect it too considering Rafa Nadal's image. One new company is offering escorted mountain bike tours, while another is offering jeep safaris - perfect for the younger generation of tourists Menorca would like to see return in future years.

The new companies providing the tourist facilities will be welcomed by the Menorca hotels too. Menorca hoteliers have invested heavily in recent years, refurbishing existing hotels while a few new ones have been added too. But if occupancy rates drop this year there is a possibility that some Menorca hotels will open just for June, July and August, while others may be mothballed until the number of visitors increases again.

The holiday island will be hoping a bit of Rafa's magic will persuade holidaymakers to head their way this year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How To Find A Cheap Hotel In Madrid

Your flight is booked, your bags are packed and you are most certainly very excited about your first and so long desired Spanish vacation. Madrid is waiting for you and the only thing that’s left in order for your vacation plan to be perfect is finding the most appropriate hotels in Madrid where to look for vacancies.

Finding hotels in Madrid is not a difficult task, but factors like the purpose of your trip, financial possibilities and most of all, the availability of rooms have to be taken into consideration. If you find yourself in Madrid only on business, without a lot of time to spend in your room except during the night, then your choice of hotels in Madrid might be less demanding. Otherwise, you have to think of other details as well, not only about the bed you sleep in or the quality of the food at the restaurant. Location as well as other facilities can be crucial for a successful vacation.

It’s not difficult to imagine that the busiest period of the year is late spring until early summer when hotels in Madrid are packed with tourists impatient to visit the Prado Museum or the Royal Palace, to take pictures of the Spanish capital and drink the famous sangria. Therefore, it could turn out to be quite difficult to find vacancies in many of the hotels in Madrid during this time of the year.

Just like anywhere else, the hotels in Madrid offer cheap, expensive or exclusive services. You can easily try an Internet search and find out comparisons between the services and rates offered by Madrid hotels in just a few minutes. Cheap hotels offer common services that you can find in any decent hotel: air conditioning, a TV lounge and a bar. Exclusive Madrid hotels offer rooms decorated in an unique manner (such as Hotel Santa Domingo), electronic locks, fax machines, secretary services, computers, babysitting services, interactive TV or marble bathrooms. Your choice depends on how much you are willing to spend.

Since Spain is also a country with many immigrants, Madrid hotels can be also a source of exotic cuisine. Therefore some people prefer choosing a better rated hotel so they can enjoy some interesting meals that might be completely different from their traditional ones.

In order for you to make your staying in Madrid as comfortable as possible, you should also consider what you would like to do during your vacation. This will enable you to make the best choice when it comes to choosing one of the hotels in Madrid. If you would like to spend most of your vacation in Madrid shopping, then it is best to consider booking a room in a hotel close to the center of the city where most of the shopping centers are. If you are a big fan of football and you would like to see the famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium every morning when you wake up, you should consider booking a room in one of the hotels in Madrid close to the area where the stadium is located.

If you are looking for Madrid hotels located in the center of the city they will be more expensive, but you will also save time traveling from one visiting objective to another or from taking the subway, the bus or a taxi to get downtown from another district. If you have time for a longer vacation this may not be a problem, but if you only have a few days and want to visit as much as possible you should look for hotels in Madrid located closer to the center of the city.

However, if you plan to travel during your vacation and go see some other cities in Spain such as Barcelona or Valencia or Bilbao, you should consider this when looking for hotels in Madrid as sometimes there are special packages for people who plan to take a tour of some of the most interesting cities of a country such as Spain. Just like Madrid hotels, hotels from other cities can be placed in a wide range of prices and therefore you can choose a cheaper package or an exclusive one for more than one city.

When looking for hotels in Madrid you should also consider the fact the busy nightlife in Madrid (especially during summertime). If downtown is your first choice - where the nightlife is at its peak - you should keep in mind that you might be woken up very early in the morning by people heading home after a party night. Therefore, you might want to make sure that your room is either provided with a sound proof window-closing system or that you have a view on the other side of the hotel.

Consequently, Madrid hotels offer the same facilities as hotels in most of the cities of the world. There are affordable ones for anyone, no matter the financial possibilities and there are some which can dazzle through comfort as well as prices. Choosing from the wide range of Madrid hotels at your disposal is only a matter of how much importance you give to the accommodation part of your Spanish vacation.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Las Vegas Weather in May

May weather in Las Vegas sees a steady rise in temperature from the beginning of the month to the end. If you are planning to visit Las Vegas in May you should get to enjoy some really terrific weather unless you are very unlucky in a city that was built on luck.

The average daily high temperature in Las Vegas in the first week of May is slightly above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The low temperature is normally right around 60. Typically in Las Vegas the record highs are about 20 degrees above the normal high, so a 100-degree day is possible. The record low is a little above 40, so you could encounter nighttime weather that will require a jacket, so you will want to look at the weather forecast before you pack for your Las Vegas vacation in early May.

The daily high temperature in Las Vegas in the middle of the month of May is normally around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the low is little above 60 for a normal Las Vegas evening. The record highs can reach 105, and the record lows are still in the low 40s. The warmer Las Vegas weather in the middle of May will probably make sunning by the pool more satisfying for most people. The low humidity in Las Vegas will keep all but a record hot day feeling cooler than you may believe if you haven’t visited the desert Southwest before.

By the end of May the average daily high temperature in Las Vegas is in the mid 90s, and the low is in the mid 60s. Again, it will feel cooler than that to most people, and you can still golf and participate in other outdoor activities during the entire day unless you encounter an unusually hot day. The low temperature is now nearly 70 on a normal day, making May mornings in Las Vegas extremely enjoyable.

The Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas may be the most pleasant 3-day holiday of the year, from a weather standpoint, in this tourist city. The evenings are warm enough that jackets won’t be needed, and shorts and short-sleeved shirts can be worn all day and night. If you are planning on swimming you will find the weather to be perfect in the end of May, not too hot but very warm. If you want to golf you will need to use sunscreen and bring water, but you probably won’t get overheated, although you may want to consider an earlier tee time just in case the weather is a little warmer than normal.

May is also one of the drier months in this dry desert city. If it happens to rain while you are visiting Las Vegas in May it will almost certainly be a short, light rain. The stormy time of year in Las Vegas, if you can even call it that, is July and August, thunderstorms in Las Vegas are very rare in May. The worst weather that you could see would be an unusually hot day, or perhaps a windy day, but overall Las Vegas weather in May is usually ideal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Backpacking in High Mountains

Steve Gillman

The high mountains of Colorado still had a lot of snow in mid June. In fact, the Arkansas river was close to flooding here in Canon City, despite there being no rain in weeks. The snow melt was enough to raise it to its highest level in years. But my friend Mike and I were still hoping to go backpacking up high.

We had been up to 9,000 feet a couple weeks earlier and saw just one snowbank in the woods. Driving home we could see that though there was a lot of snow in the high peaks of the northern Sangre De Christo mountains, it was in patches. There were large areas without snow, even above 13,000 feet. It was time to give it a try.

We decided on a two night trip to Bushnell Lakes and possibly to the top of Bushnell Peak (13,105 feet). About this time I received a phone call. I own a backpacking website, so I get emails with questions all the time, but this was only the second time someone had called me at home. The man on the other end was calling from Texas, wondering about the conditions in the Sangre De Christos - was there too much snow?

"I hope not," I told him. "Me and a friend are headed up there tomorrow." He said he had called the forest service rangers for an area south of where we would be, and they had told him everything was still snowed in up high. He was going for a week, starting a few days after us, and wondered if they might be exaggerating. We agreed that they probably were.

Challenges Of High Mountains

It was hot when we started, even with only 13 pounds on my back (I like to go light). Where the trail split we decided to go to the Stout Lakes instead, by the Twin Sisters Peaks. This was the next valley over from Bushnell Lakes, and a shorter hike. When we came to a trail register we noted that only a couple people had been up there this year. One had left an entry on the way down: "Lost the trail in the snow at 10,800 feet." It was dated just a few days earlier.

We headed up the trail, soon hearing the roaring stream it follows. We saw the first small patches of snow before we crossed it at about 9,600 feet. Then we were hiking on a trail that doubled as a stream itself, complete with small waterfalls. The snow patches were more frequent, and we walked over the stream/path on a snow bridge at one point before realizing that it was a three-foot fall if it had broken.

Several hours up the trail there was no trail. It was somewhere under several feet of snow. It is hard to get too lost following a stream up a valley, though, so we kicked steps into the hard snow and continued on. In places we found the trail again, and even had long dry stretches to hike. The melting process is very irregular. In one of our photos Mike is standing on dry grass next to a seven-foot high wall of snow. In another, I'm trying to climb a twenty-foot snow-cliff.

Then there is the photo from the first lake. It is of myself, standing on it. There was dry ground around half of it, but it was frozen. We headed back down to a small pond that was only partially covered in ice. It had been a hot day of backpacking in deep snow. We put our water bottles in a snowbank and set up the tarp on the grass. Marmots came near to investigate.

The next day we hiked up past the first and second lakes, both above tree line. We followed a stream up a steep hill and into a meadow full of wildflowers at about 12,000 feet. There were frozen lakes below, flowers around us, and a 13,012-foot mountain waiting above, past rocky climbs and slippery fields of snow. We made it to the top - the highest Mike had ever climbed - and signed the register. We could see mountains in all directions, some of them over 60 miles away.

By the time we made it back to the camp, I was sick. I hadn't anticipated the effect of the sun. I had a hat and sunglasses, but the sunlight reflects at you from all sides when you cross snow and ice. It wasn't just a sunburn, but sun-sickness. I spent the night alternating between feeling on fire and having chills run through my body. Mike got the chills the following day. With that in mind, here are some tips for backpacking in the high mountains.

1. Call the forest service. Find out what the conditions are where you plan to hike, so you can bring the proper equipment and clothing.

2. Have a good map and know how to use it. This is especially important in early summer, when you might lose the trail in the snow.

3. Sun block is just a start. Where a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves.

4. GPS your car location. If you have a GPS device, mark your car in case you lose the trail.

5. Check the trailhead register. Those backpacking before you may have stopped on the way out to note that a bridge is washed out, fallen trees have covered the trail, or something else you should know.

6. Climb high early. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in many high mountain ranges. If you want to go to the summits and high ridges, it's best to do it early and be lower before noon.

It's great to have meadows and valleys to yourself. That's one of the advantages of backpacking in the high mountains early in the season. Just be ready for a wide variety of hiking conditions.

Monday, November 10, 2008

5 Tips on Preparing For World Travel Cruises

Preparing for world travel cruises is easier then you might think and with a little planning ahead of time, assure that your cruise will be wonderful and memorable.

Educate Yourself on World Travel Cruises Take Your Time Deciding Get Tips and Advice from Seasoned Travelers Explore Seasonal Promotions and Specials Plan for Enjoyment and Relaxation

Educate Yourself on World Travel Cruises

There's so many websites today for world travel cruises you can get all the information you need to make an informed decision about your cruise. Information about what to bring, when the ship departs and from which port, is available to you and it is with just a mouse click away. You will have fun exploring the various cruise lines and your excitement will increase with each exploration. World travel cruises are a great way to see the many exotic ports and diverse countries around the globe and educating yourself before you decide which cruise to take will give you a measure of assurance you have made the right choice.

Take Your Time Deciding

Selecting, planning and preparing for world travel cruises can be an intimidating experience with all the different cruise lines, options and prices. The pre-cruise decisions can be pain free if you take a few moments to consider some very important factors. Ask yourself; why you want to go on a cruise in the first place. Follow up with; what do you expect to be doing while on the ship or during port of calls. You are an individual with preferences, expectations and desires; be assured if you take your time and think over your preferences you can match them to the right cruise even from among a host of world travel cruises.

Get Tips and Advice from Seasoned Travelers

If you have ever been around someone just returning from a cruise then you know how they love to talk about the exciting adventures they had on their trip. Well these folks don't just tell others in person, they do it online as well. You can access some of these message boards, web-logs and chat rooms to ask these seasoned travelers some questions you might have about cruising. Considering they have been there they can give you first hand knowledge about what to expect, etc. Some folks even write reviews on world travel cruises where you can read for yourself how well different cruise lines perform in meeting their passenger's comforts and expectations.

Explore Seasonal Promotions and Specials

Just like many tourist industries, cruise companies need to market their services to attract new passengers to fill up rooms on the ship. This means the cruise lines provide special promotions and discounts for passengers. Many world travel cruises have fantastic specials and promotions which can save you thousands of dollars without detracting from the amenities and benefits of your cruise experience. World travel cruises do not have to break the bank if you take the time to hunt around and explore the seasonal or special promotions. Consider changing your travel schedule if a substantial discount is available and if your itinerary is flexible enough in allowing you to take advantage of the special promotion.

Plan for Enjoyment and Relaxation

Two of the key components of world travel cruises are enjoyment and relaxation. But some folks have to make a concerted effort to remain stress-free during their cruise. You can save yourself a lot of stress by keeping in mind during the planning of your cruise, that although you are seeking adventurous and exciting excursions, you don't want to be so busy that you can't enjoy yourself. If you plan too much in a short period of time you can be running around as busy as you usually are at home. World travel cruises should be relaxing and enjoyable while creating an opportunity to experience some of most wonderful and memorable moments of your life. Take a deep breath, relax, and let the captain steer the ship!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hotels Breckenridge, Hotel Fun

When planning your Breckenridge vacation, you have to follow and plan sequence of actions, first there’s the airfare, then the lodging, next is the activities. You will definitely enjoy a lot, if your Breckenridge CO vacation is well planned. No matter your taste for comfortable lodging, Breckenridge always sets the stage for a luxury mountain vacation and a warm family get-together. Choose what lodging style best fits your needs and while on your Breckenridge vacation never forget to savor every moment. It brings lot of excitement in the life of visitor and long lasting memories in their mind.

Being one of the world’s top year-round ski resort, the small yet thriving town of Breckenridge at the footsteps of the historic and truly magnificent Rocky Mountains offers a myriad of activities that are guaranteed to keep visitors busy with fun and exciting snow-related activities while at the same time giving them the comfort of a home away from home type of hotel or lodge.

With about 76 bars and restaurants to entertain guests and visitors, about 200 retail shops and boutiques that showcase the product of local artisans, and about five or so liquor stores to keep visitors relatively warm throughout the cold days and nights of Breckenridge, finding a place to stay in becomes a prerequisite for a very relaxing and truly enjoyable visit or vacation.

Whether your travel to Breckenridge is strictly for business or for pleasure, the choice of hotel is very important. Primary considerations in the choice will be the working budget of the traveller or visitor. Considering the vast resources and activities that Breckenridge has to offer to the whole family, potential guests are advised to prepare extra money before coming over to maximize their stay.

Since there are about 50 or so hotels in Breckenridge, aside from other accommodations in and around the town, visiting the websites and or travel advisories and reviews of these living accommodations is a necessary prerequisite. Once the price range needed to spend on lodging has been finalized, the visitor needs to narrow hotel choices in order to identify the amenities wanted or needed or to identify the level of lodging preferred.

The hotels and lodges that dot the Breckenridge landscape are strategically built and located to incorporate both the magnificent view of the mountain range and the proximity to the lifts. The lifts are spread out within the base areas of Peaks 7, 8, 9, 10, which hold the massive skiing areas in the resort.

Some of these hotels and lodges include the Valdoro Mountain Lodge, the Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge, the Beaver Run Resort, the Grand Timber Lodge, the Village at Breckenridge Resort, the Mountain Thunder Lodge, the Hyatt Main Street Station, the Corral at Breckenridge, the Great Divide Lodge, and the Wedgewood Lodge, all of which are rated high by vacationers and travel agencies alike.

Creating a splendid hotel stay in Breckenridge is therefore vital to the maximum enjoyment of the family or vacationer’s leisure and recreation plans.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hawaii Cruise Destinations And Shore Excursions

If you are in the process of planning to take a cruise but not sure where to go? Hawaii has it all, from a peaceful tropical vacation destinations to an exciting trips filled with secluded, adventure and romantic getaways. Hawaii cruises are perfect for anyone, young or old, relaxed or adventures. If you take a Hawaii cruise in your life, you can’t forget beautiful scenery, golden sunsets, palm trees swaying in the warm gentle breeze, sun-drenched sands and diverse landscapes.

Hawaii cruise... One way of getting the most of your Hawaiian cruise is to know more about the destinations and different shore excursions offered. Hawaii is home to the ‘best island in the world’ and it will be a waste if you don’t find out why it is dubbed such. Hawaiian cruise destinations include Hilo and Kona (both on the mainland) Maui, Kauai, Oahu and the Fanning Islands.

Hilo is the capital city of Hawaii and is home to the most active volcano in the world. Kilauea sightseeing is one of the offered shore excursions on Hilo. It is an active volcano which has been shooting up lava since 1983. The mix of colors and the danger of lava both provides for a thrilling excursion which will definitely entice any adventurous traveler. Either from a helicopter ride or land transport to 4,000 feet, you can marvel at the site of this volcano.

Kona is also on the mainland. However, the most featured Hawaiian cruise shore excursions in these parts are not found on land but under the sea. A traveler who likes underwater activities will love to go onboard the stylish Body Glove for a cruise to the Pawai Bay. This bay is a protected marine preserve so there are plenty of colorful coral reefs and underwater life forms to watch through snorkeling. But if you are the less adventurous type of traveler, then you should board one of the fishing boats from the Honokohau Harbor and be ready to catch priced ahi tuna or mahi-mahi.

Maui which is dubbed as the best island in the world is where you can do anything under the sun and on the beach. The island has the best surfing waves as well as well-maintained grass and landscape to play golf on. Then there are also the whale watching excursions. From the Ma’alaea Harbor, you can board a boat that heads for deep waters to watch majestic humpback whales and listen to their hypnotizing songs. At the end of the day, when the time comes for the sun to set, you can watch it transform from different shades of yellow to orange.

Oahu is where the cosmopolitan Honolulu is located and ideal for Hawaiian cruise passengers looking for classy dining and a place to shop. On the other hand, if you want to veer away from the sea and enjoy lush greens, Kauai Island is the best place to be. The main attraction here is Mt. Wai'ale'al which is said to be the wettest place on the globe for receiving an average of 485 inches of rainfall a year.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Portland Oregon a Treat

At home! That was the feeling as soon as I began walking the streets of Portland, Oregon. People here are some of the friendliest of any city I have visited. This is a town with a little of everything. Great restaurants, city parks, free public transportation downtown, the river, the river walk, and the view of the mountains. Portland has a little of everything.

There seems to be festivals happening every weekend. While we were there, the city had a beer festival and a maritime festival, side by side. The two Bs: beer and boats.

Not just any beer festival, but micro brewers from across the country. People came from all around. Sitting by the outside fireplace at our hotel, the couple across from us came from California just to attend the festival. If you can imagine a row of beer trailers with taps dispensing the best beer brewed, then you get an idea of the flavor of the event.

Located on the riverfront, it was accessible by walking. It was, I must admit a little farther from the hotel than I thought. But the walk helped burn off the calories consumed at the fest. If you became too tired to walk, there were always the bicycle taxis to carry you back.

Though we only stayed three nights, the city enchanted me. Probably the choice of hotels helped. A stay at the Hotel Modera is a treat. The décor is artistic, clean and European. The rooms are very comfortable and appointed with fine art and extremely comfortable beds. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. We were always greeted with a smile. Collin at the front was a fountain of information on where to go and what to do around town.

The lobby is large and open, filled with art and spaces to relax and people to watch. This is easy to do with the floor to ceiling glass walls and glass doors. Just outside the lobby is a common area that contains a living wall. The wall is decorated with vegetation that grows on the side of the wall, across from which are the outdoor fire pits. It was a treat to sit by the fire, put up your feet, enjoy a cocktail and talk with fellow guests. A perfect ending to a perfect day. Hotel Modera http://www.hotelmodera.com/boutique-hotel-portland-oregon.aspx

Of course a visit to Portland would not be complete without a visit to wine country and the beaches. You can easily combine the trip. It takes about an hour and a half to drive to the coast, but it is worth the drive. It will take a little longer if you stop at the wineries for wine tasting. It would take a lifetime to sample from all the wineries, but what could be better.

Portland is a college town and it of course means inexpensive restaurants and great places. One that we visited was McMenamins Pub East 19th Street Café near the campus of the University of Oregon. It has a laid back atmosphere. While we were there we met fellow Floridians from Key West who own a condominium in Portland.

Getting around Portland’s downtown is free thanks to the trolleys and buses provided by the city. Coming from an area where either you drive or stay home, it was welcome thing to experience.

A trip to a different town would not be complete without eating at a landmark restaurant and Jake’s is just such a place. The menu is seafood and it is good. Though the tables were a little close together for my taste, we solved that by staying in the bar area. A better place to watch the people.

Ghosts and pizza! You get them both at Old Town Pizza in - you guessed it - the Old Town section of Portland. The rumor has it that Nina, a prostitute turned states informer, was found dead in what is now the pizzeria, thrown down the elevator shaft. There is a table in the shaft. It is said that Nina herself carved her name in the brick. Ask a waitress and she can point it out.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Why Boutique Hotels Are so Popular

Are you planning your next vacation or business trip? If you travel frequently, you probably have a favorite hotel chain that you stay at. However, have you considered staying at a boutique hotel? Boutique hotels make your stay more enjoyable by providing luxurious amenities and distinct features that most large national chains lack.

What is a Boutique Hotel?

A boutique hotel typically differentiates itself from a standard hotel by offering a more intimate, luxurious environment. In comparison to larger chain hotels and motels, boutique hotels offer personalized services and facilities. Boutique hotels also differentiate themselves by offering guestrooms that have their own distinct style and décor--and the rooms tend to be decorated with quality furniture and artwork.

- Tip: Boutique hotels are also known as “lifestyle hotels” as an industry term. The public typically uses the phrase “boutique hotels” or “boutique luxury hotels.”

Boutique hotels offer many amenities.

Amenities and Services offered by Boutique Hotels may include:

- On-site dining facilities
- Bars and lounges
- Wi-Fi Internet
- 24-hour hotel staff
- Pet-friendly services such as grooming and doggie treats
- Flat screened TVs
- Grocery shopping
- Spa services

For example, if you are looking at luxury boutique hotels in Chicago, you may discover that amenities such as 24-hour room service, laundry, private wine reserves, wireless high speed internet and rain showerheads are available.

Boutique Hotels Have a Contemporary Atmosphere:

Boutique hotels also offer a unique atmosphere not found in most hotel chains. Many boutique hotels have European décor and have an intimate, warm and contemporary atmosphere.

Boutique hotels may also have a variety or hotel room options. For example, if you are looking at New York luxury boutique hotels, you may find one that offers suites in designs such as Chalet, Zen, Luna or Marquis.

Boutique Hotels are Business Friendly:

If you are travelling on a business trip or planning a conference, planning your stay at a boutique hotel can be ideal.

Many boutique hotels have meeting rooms that can be arranged for receptions, presentations, social events or parties. Many also have event coordinators that can assist with event planning, catering and managing the event.

Boutique hotels also offer amenities that are essential to the business traveler, such as high speed internet access and a large desk for working. Other amenities and services to look for include a business center, secretarial services, valet parking, complementary newspapers, complimentary coffee throughout the day and access to a fax and copier.

Boutique Hotels on a Budget:

Are you concerned that staying at a boutique hotel will be out of your price range? If so, think again. You can find online hotel specials by researching the internet for hotel deals.

Boutique hotels may also have special offers on their website. For example, one New York City boutique hotel has offers a discount for AAA members and another gives guest 15% off their stay for booking in advance.

In summary, there are many benefits of booking your next stay at a boutique hotel.

Benefits of Boutique Hotels:

- Boutique hotels can be business friendly
- Boutique hotels can be affordable (tip: look for online hotel specials)
- Boutique hotels can be pet friendly
- Boutique hotels can have customizable hotel room options
- Boutique hotels provide a fresh, contemporary vibe

Next time you travel, consider a boutique hotel. You may be pleasantly surprised and never stay at another hotel chain again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wonders of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a major tourist destination with its blend of Chinese culture and western influences. Historically, Hong Kong has had a turbulent past with British rule, the Japanese invasion during the Second World War and most recently, the handover of Hong Kong from the British to China in 1997 when the 99 year lease expired.

Hong Kong’s population is predominantly Chinese with the vast majority practicing Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. There is also a sizeable Christian community as well as Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Festivals take place throughout the year and anyone visiting Hong Kong should check the festival calendar to make the most of his or her trip. Many festivals are very lively and colorful with the Chinese New Year being particularly spectacular.

Hong Kong has so many major attractions and tourists visiting for the first time may find it difficult to choose from the variety of attractions on offer if they are only visiting for a short time. To make the most of Hong Kong’s attractions, a week is usually enough to take in most of the major sights. Fortunately Hong Kong has a modern, clean and efficient transport system with its Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and Kowloon Canton Railways (KCR) allowing visitors to reach most of the main sights quickly and cheaply. The Star Ferry linking Tsim Sha Tsui, Central District and Wan Chai is a must see with its’ spectacular views of the harbour.

For families with children, Hong Kong has two huge amusement parks with Ocean Park lying in the southern district and Disneyland which is based on Lantau Island. Other visitor attractions include the panoramic views of Hong Kong and its’ harbour from Victoria Peak which can be reached by taking the peak tram. The views of the harbour at night time are particularly breathtaking. For shoppers, Hong Kong is a shopping paradise with its’ Ladies Market, Temple Street Market in Kowloon and Mongkok which is the largest shopping centre in Hong Kong. For people who want to sun bathe and relax, there are some beautiful beaches at Repulse Bay. Finally no visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a visit to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. The Buddha is the largest outdoor bronze statue in the world but visitors will have to walk up 260 steps to see the statue up close.

These are just some of the wonders of Hong Kong and anyone visiting for the first time will have their senses overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and tastes of this wonderful destination. Further information about Hong Kong can be found at gotravelhongkong.com. As with any other popular destination, Hong Kong is a very busy tourist destination throughout the year and it is always wise to book your hotel or arrange your travel plans in advance to avoid disappointment. For travellers or holiday makers lucky enough to stay in Hong Kong for longer periods than one week, the islands offer a wealth of entertainment, temples, historical sights, Chinese and international cuisine, festivals and breath-taking scenery to make your visit a memorable one.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fall In Love In Playa Del Carmen

Approximately forty miles south of Cancun, Mexico and overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Playa del Carmen has become a vacationer's dream, and rightfully so. The average temperature is 77 degrees and can reach as high as 95 degrees during the summer months. There is sunshine year-round, so bring your sunscreen and someone special along to help you keep your body covered in lotion. This is a vacation spot that you will never forget.

There is just no better way leave your world behind than a visit to beautiful Playa del Carmen. With so many activities to choose from, you can make memories that will last a lifetime.

Close your eyes and imagine: the sky above is the bluest you have ever seen and there's not a cloud in sight. Sitting next to you and holding a tropical drink is the person you love, who is seeing you in a whole new light, relaxed and at peace. The only big decision you'll have to make is whether you want to explore the Great Barrier Reef today or explore your wild side by participating in one of the many extreme sporting events available.

As the afternoon wears on, after you've seen the Great Barrier Reef, you and your better half head back to the room for a power nap or a little alone time. It's time to recharge your battery. The nightlife here in Playa Del Carmen doesn't begin until midnight.

It's dinner time and there are so many restaurants from which to choose. Are you in the mood for American? Italian? Mexican perhaps?

After dinner, a walk down the "strip" seems to be in order. The sun begins to set and you stroll hand in hand down Quinta Avenue. You stop at the shopping mall to pick up a few items for friends back home as well as a few items for yourself and something special for your significant other.

Nightclubs swing into action at midnight and it seems everyone is here. The atmosphere is electric, the music is powerful and the drinks are delicious. Your partner takes your hand and leads you to the dance floor where you both dance like you're teenagers. You're sweating and laughing and having the time of your lives: you only have eyes for each other. This has turned out to be much more than a vacation, it has been brought the fun back into your lives.

Morning arrives and with it, a new day of decisions: should you go diving or visit the Mayan Ruins of Tulum and Coba? There's always the Xaman-Ha Aviary with its exotic birds, or should you get on the ferry and make a quick trip to Cozumel? Or after a busy day yesterday, and a full night of dancing, maybe you should spend the day on the beach, enjoying the white sands, warm water, blue skies, and each other.

When your vacation has concluded, it is only a short 45 minute ride to the Cancun International Airport and the flight back to your hometown. You'll return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Don't be surprised if you start counting the days until your next visit to Playa Del Carmen!