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Our great travel deals 17/05/2011

Follow in the colourful footsteps of Johnny Depp, Gordon Ramsay and Julia Bradbury

Written by . Published on May 19th 2011.

Our great travel deals 17/05/2011

A spot for Jolly Rogering?
PUERTO Rico is set to be a hot destination this summer. All because it was a location for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides, released in the UK on Friday, May 20. Fajardo and at the Castillo San Cristobel situated in Old San Juan are apparently the places to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Depp and shipmates. For tourist info:  www.seepuertorico.com
Where to stay:
Two brand new resorts, the W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, which opened in March on Vieques Island and the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. For further information, visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
How to get there:
BA has a twice-a-week service from Gatwick to capital San Juan. Return fares cost from £659.70, including taxes. For flight details, visit www.ba.com or call 0844 493 0787.

EurovisionSongContest2011-winners.jpgAzerbaijan flight searches double
MEANWHILE, Azerbaijan’s Eurovision victory with Running Scared has sparked a stampede of tourist interest in that undervisited nation. www.whichbudget.com reports Azerbaijan is topping flight destination searches, almost double the normal. How long this will last is unclear. The oil-rich nation’s visitor attractions seem to centre on capital Baku’s ancient Old Town and the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape featuring 6,000 stone age rock engravings.

Russell Watson and Derren Brown on P&O Cruises this winter
TWO of Britain’s most popular stars will be on P&O Cruises ships this winter as four new cruise breaks go on sale. These cruises, of two, three and five nights, are ideal pre-Christmas breaks and perfectly timed to make the most of Christmas markets and festivities in the destinations they visit, including Bruges, Paris (from Le Havre) and Hamburg. Russell “The Voice” Watson and illusionist Derren Brown will perform on Arcadia, cruises departing December 3 and December 12 respectively. The three night cruises from Southampton will call at Zeebrugge (for Bruges) and Le Havre (for Paris and Honfleur). Fares are from £299 per person including performances. For more information or to book call P&O Cruises on 0845 3 55 4444, visit www.pocruises.co.uk or see an ABTA travel agent.

Summer Sail Away offers at Liverpool’s Liner Hotel
IF you don’t run to a cruise Liverpool’s appropriately themed Liner Hotel, is offering good value summer mini-break packages. From June 4-August 20, from £99 a room, sample their Summer Sail Away package on Fridays and Saturdays, which includes a barbecue item buffet per person, a selected glass of wine or bottle of beer, full English breakfast, along with car parking and Wi-Fi. Visit www.theliner.co.uk or call 0151 709 7050.
Gordons Great Escape Malaysia021.JPG.display.jpgFollow Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape with Travel Indochina
TO mark Gordon Ramsay’s new Channel 4 series, Gordon’s Great Escape South East Asia, leading Asia specialist Travel Indochina is offering for May only a fantastic £100pp discount on ALL advertised prices on their culinary discovery tours to Vietnam and Cambodia. Travel Indochina’s popular 11-day Vietnam Culinary Discovery tour gives customers the chance to explore Vietnam’s traditional markets, test their skills at local cooking schools and eat at the best local restaurants. Prices (based on twin share) now from £1,085 per person. Or for £1,710 per person there’s the 15-day Vietnam and Cambodia Culinary Discovery tour, which includes a sunrise visit to Angkor Wat. Book direct with www.travelindochina.co.uk.

Champagne break with Grape Escapes
FLEE the May Bank Holiday throngs for a spot of bubbly. Specialist wine tour operator Grape Escapes still has spaces on its two night Prestige Champagne Tour available from May 27-29 or May 28-30, with prices starting at £339 per person. Based in the historic city of Reims, the tour will include visits to a variety of Champagne Houses, villages and vineyards in a private luxury coach with a local, English speaking guide. The price of £339 per person includes return Dover to Calais ferry crossings with P&O Ferries for a car and two passengers, two nights B&B in Reims, all tour visits, one gourmet meal and the guide. For more information or to book call 08456 430 860 or visit www.grapeescapes.net.
Blackpool family treat for stay-at-home Brits
ONLINE hotel provider Octopus Travel reports a rise in domestic bookings of 92 per cent for July and August 2011, year on year. Their tip for family fun in Blackpool? The Big Blue Hotel, within easy reach of all attractions, including the Pleasure Beach, costs from £96 for a superior double room (www.octopustravel.com/hotels/uk/united-kingdom/blackpool/the-big-blue-hotel-at-pleasure-beach-resort).
Half-term cottages in South Devon with stand-up paddle boarding!
HAVE a go at stand-up paddle boarding and then take part in the South Devon family SUP championships at Blackpool Sands during Whitsun half-term week. Helpful Holidays have several cottages nearby for a week’s stay, starting May 27 or 28, priced from £649pw for four at Hazel Barn, on a 300 acre organic farm near East Allington where youngsters have shared use of a play barn; Rose Cottage, at Blackawton is just four miles from Blackpool Sands at £706 for five; while the stylishly furnished Blackbird Barn near Woodleigh is £815 for four. To book call Helpful Holidays on 01647 434063 or visit www.helpfulholidays.com. For details about SUP lessons and championships visit www.lovingthebeach.co.uk.

Pembrokeshire Fish Week – it’s a whopper!
PACKED with more than 250 events, the Pembrokeshire Fish Week festival (June 25-July 3) features ‘Cook your Catch’, a seafood cookery masterclass with five top chefs, Mark Hix, Valentine Warner, Mitch Tonks, Bryn Williams and Anthony Evans in Milford Haven on June 29. Earlier in the day, they will all go fishing off the South Pembrokeshire coast and they must cook their own rod-caught fish or shellfish in their demo. Tickets for ‘Cook your Catch’ are £17 per person, including a glass of wine. To book call the Torch Theatre Box Office on 01646 695267. Download the 2011 Fish Week brochure from www.pembrokeshirefishweek.co.uk or call 01437 776 168. Accommodation suggestions: www.visitpembrokeshire.com or call 0844 888 5115 for a free copy of the Pembrokeshire Holiday Guide.

bradbury.jpgFollow Julia Bradbury with new Icelandic Walk itineraries
JULIA Bradbury’s Icelandic Walks’, on BBC4 showcased the hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers and lava fields along the spectacular 60km Landmannalaugar Route. Now  Discover the World has launched a five day hike, the Laugavegur Highland Walking Trail, which replicates Julia’s walk and also gets close to the notorious Eyjafjallajökull volcano which caused last year’s infamous ash cloud chaos.The tour runs weekly from June 20 until August 22 and prices start at £639 per person. This includes accommodation on a full board basis, 4x4 jeep transfer for food and equipment, tents and cooking gear. Hikes are in groups of four to 14. For this and other tailor-made holidays in Iceland, visit www.discover-the-world.co.uk/walkinginiceland.

Or for an alternative take on Iceland...
RAMBLERS Worldwide Holidays has a new 10 day Iceland tour, Eastern Iceland Explorer, which crosses the isolated and little walked eastern Borgarfjorður region. Highlights include the colourful rhyolite mountains which appear to change colour in different weather, Europe’s most powerful waterfall called Dettifoss, black sand beaches and the natural geothermal baths of Lake Myvatn. The holiday costs £1,899 per person including return flights from Heathrow, half board accommodation in Reykjavik and full board accommodation for the rest of the trip and an expert guide. It departs on July 14 and there are still spaces available. www.ramblersholidays.co.uk.

Your own private villa in Orlando from just £499 per person
TRAVEL City Direct is offering great savings on seven night holidays staying in a four-bedroom Orlando Classic Home with private pool with prices starting from just £499 per person, a saving of up to £165 per person. Prices are based on four adults and four children sharing on a self catering basis for departures between June 9-16 and include scheduled flights on Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick or Manchester, car hire and insurance.  Offer expires May 26. Based on midweek departure and subject to change. Ring 0844 557 6965 or book online at www.travelcitydirect.com

Complimentary half board at Columbia Beach, Cyprus
ITC Classics (01244 355 527; www.itcclassics.co.uk) is offering sven nights from £1,279 per person, based on 2 adults sharing a Junior Suite Garden View on a half board basis including flights with easyJet and private transfers. Valid for travel in May only. Saving up to £415 per person.

Go on a  bargain Rhodes trip
SOVEREIGN Luxury Travel (0844 415 1936; www.sovereign.com) is offering a complimentary room upgrade, a 15 per cent special offer discount and an online booking discount for 7 nights from £799 per person on an all-Inclusive basis for The Kresten Royal Villas And Spa – Rhodes, departing June 29. Price includes flights from Manchester and private transfers. Saving up to £564 per couple.

Or try a boutique hotel on the same Greek island!
RHODES (www.rodosisland.gr) is not just about packages and all-inclusives. Pick of the new-wave boutique hotels springing up:
British-owned Spirit of the Knights, with just six suites, is a beautiful boutique hotel in the Old Town of Rhodes. The building was restored with the help of the Greek archaeology department to retain its original qualities: it was built by the Crusaders and later altered by the Ottomans. From £92 per suite per night. www.rhodesluxuryhotel.com.
lindos.jpgSpectacularly situated Melenos Lindos Hotel (pictured) built in the style of a tiered village, inspired by the architectural style of 17th-century Lindos. 12 suites, with hand-carved stone facades, elaborate carved woodwork, hand-painted ceramics and decorative wood ceilings. Open winter, too. From £145 per suite per night. www.melenoslindos.com.
Well known Greek fashion designers Nikos and Takis own Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel in Rhodes Old Town near the Grand Master’s Palace and the Street of the Knights. The hotel has seven suites with king size beds. Each is individually designed with exclusive pieces, including silk fabrics, hand embroidery and feather cushions. From £148 per suite per night.  www.nikostakishotel.com/default_en.asp.


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