Recent Visits

Marion Recent Visits

ICELAND, BERLIN,IBIZA,TENERIFE, BARCELONA

 

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BRUGES- September 2013

In September I spent 4 nights in Bruges at the Hotel de Tuilerien, a very quaint and comfortable Hotel overlooking the main canal.   Travel via Brussels with Eurostar was very easy with a 20 minute check in and very low key security checks.  Although your bags are x-rayed they don’t ask you to take off your shoes, belt or give up most of your ‘lotions and potions’.  An altogether less stressful experience than flying.

I can definitely recommend the de Tuilerien.  The rooms were all individual and very comfortable, the lovely breakfast room overlooks the canal and the staff were all very friendly and charming.

Bruges is quite small and in 2 days we had seen most of its attractions.  It has a lovely Square with many very good Restaurants and several street markets selling very unusual and unique items. Of course it is famous for its chocolate and there are many wonderful chocolate shops where you can buy beautifully packaged chocolates which would make really good gifts.  There is also an abundance of delightful coffee shops where everything is presented so well and always with a chocolate on the side.

December would be an ideal time to visit when they have the Christmas Markets. 

Bruges is a really lovely place to just wander around and look at the wonderful buildings.  A trip on the canal is definitely recommended as you can see another aspect of the quaint medieval architecture as you go through small canals and under bridges with a very informative commentary from your guide.  For art lovers there are excellent examples of Flemish art in the Groeninge Museum and Michelangelo’s Mother and Child at the Church of Our Lady.

A very short train ride away is Ghent, another very pretty Medieval town,  similar to Bruges but larger.  It is very easy to get around by tram but we also took a ride by Horse and carriage to the canal where there are lots of really nice Restaurants and shops.  We had lunch outside in the sunshine and the food was really good as it was everywhere during our stay.

The next day we went on a WW1 tour of the battlefields and Ypres which was arranged by the de Tuilerien.  This is definitely an experience and should not be missed.  However I would recommend that you are in Ypres in the evening when everything stops for the sound of the Last Post.  I was told that this is played most evenings and is very moving.  Of course Ypres is also famous for the Menin Gate where many of the soldiers who died are commemorated.                                                                                                        

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AMALFI COAST

 

Last summer I spent 6 nights at the newly opened MONASTERIO SANTA ROSA on the Amalfi coast

It has to rank among the most beautiful and relaxing Hotels I have stayed in.  Originally a Monastery it has been lovingly converted over 8 years by the American owner and no expense has been spared.

The rooms are  lovely and all have a view of the beautiful coastline – even from the very spacious bathrooms.  The gardens are stunning, and tiered down to the wonderful infinity pool (which can be seen on our banner at the top of the page).  On every level there are wonderful places to sit – or lie – on very comfortable chairs or decadent circular sofas complete with awnings or umbrellas if you want shelter from the sun.  I went in July when it was very hot – at the moment there are special offers for April and May which would be a great time to go.

We had breakfast on the amazing Terrace overlooking the sea surrounded by Bourgainvillea.  There is no self service here and the breakfast was superb.  Dinner is also served outside – weather permitting.

If you want to eat out Conca di Marina is a short walk away, and  there are 2 or 3 simple Restaurants where local families tend to congregate – particularly on  Saturday night.  They were very inexpensive and we really enjoyed the experience.

Alternatively, the Hotel provides free transport into Amalfi  (about 10 minutes away) and they will also pick you up at the end of the evening.  There  are many fantastic shops and Restaurants in Amalfi which open very late in the summer.  I even managed to buy a handbag between courses!
During the day you can get  the Hydrofoil or Ferry from Amalfi to Capri and Positano.

GETTING THERE

We flew to Naples on British Airways from Gatwick and there are also daily flight on Easyjet  .The transfer takes about 90 minutes but it is possible to get a Helicopter from Naples Airport if you prefer which will take you to Amalfi.

I have visited many Hotels on the Amalfi coast over the past few years in Ravello, Positano and Capri and would be happy to discuss them with you.

Please feel free to contact me for any further information on 0208 748 9777 or email me on skytravel.barnes@btconnect.com

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Lynda

ITALY - NOVEMBER 2013

I have just returned from a trip to Italy through Typically Italian Holidays where I stayed at the Al Vecchio Convento in Portico di Romagna.   This was  a  19th Century Palazzo and is now a family run and owned Hotel.   It is full of rustic charm and a lot of the original furniture and fittings still remain.  All the rooms have period furniture, private facilities. telephone, TV and hairdryers.

It has one of the best Restaurants I have had the pleasure to eat in.  The breakfast is a buffet of home-made jams, cakes, cold meats, cheese and fruit.  All the food is cooked and prepared by Marisa, her husband Giovanni and their three sons and is delicious,  The vegetables are all grown in their garden and picked fresh every day.

Although there is no swimming pool, there is a natural pool/river with a marvellous waterfall just a 5 minute walk away.

The Hotel also provides Cookery lessons, wine tasting and truffle hunting which is great fun.  I managed to make pasta and bread  which we ate in the evening.       

For those of you who like to paint, the scenery here is breathtaking.                                  

Please contact me if you need any further information on the Hotel and its surroundings.

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OMAN

I recently went to OMAN, travelling with Omani Air.  I was very impressed with every aspect of their service.  The inflight entertainment and the food were excellent and in the economy cabin the legroom was far superior to most airlines. I was fortunate enough to return in Business class  which has very comfortable beds in a 1 – 2 -  1 configuration.

The three Hotels I visited were the AL BUSTAN the CHEDI and the SHANGRI LA
THE CHEDI is very modern and does not cater for children, although they do accept them.
The spa and gym are excellent and it has 3 swimming pools including a very long pool for those who like to do laps. There are also 2 tennis courts. The rooms are comfortable but unless you upgrade to a Suite which has a high supplement, the rooms do not have a bath or balcony.

THE AL BUSTAN is very traditional which is reflected in the décor.  It has a very good childrensclub,tennis courts, and a new spa and gym.  It also has beautiful gardens.

THE SHANGRI LA consists of 3 Hotels – the Al Waha which caters for families and has family suites, the Al Bandar and the Al Husn which is the most expensive of the three.   I really liked the Al Husn for the fabulous suites, the beautiful infinity pool and the peaceful ambience.  They do accept children but the rooms are not suitable as they do not provide extra beds or have interconnecting rooms.

For pure relaxation I should mention the SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY.  I did not see it on this trip as it is some distance from the other Hotels, on the Northern Peninsular.  The closest airport is Dubai (one and a half hours).  It has an amazing spa and Gym and also a childrens’ club so caters for all the family.

Oman is very traditional – far removed from Dubai in that sense – so it is best to avoid going during Ramadan.  This year it is from 9th July to 7th August – not a good time for Oman anyway, weatherwise.  The best time to visit is from October to May.

Please feel free to contact me for any further information on 0208 748 9777 or email me on skytravel.barnes@btconnect.com

 

 

Recent Visits - Amalfi

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