Decadence in Dubai: A snapshot of some of the best luxury resorts in the Middle East

Often Madinat Jumeirah is unofficially regarded as Dubai’s ‘6 star resort’ – and little wonder, for it’s a by-word for beauty and luxury, nothing less! The look and feel, with its connected waterways and ancient Arabic-style architecture, owes much to its sea-faring past, a time dominated by fishermen, pearl divers and traders. The resort offers a magnificent range of accommodation, from the exquisitely-styled Mina A’ Salam hotel nestling on the edge of the Arabian Gulf, and the fabulous Al Qasr hotel, the jewel of Madinat Jumeirah and designed to reflect a sheikh’s summer residence, to the exquisite Arabian summer houses at Dar Al Masyaf, and the spacious opulence, seclusion and impeccable service at Malakiya Villas.

And what about shopping and dining out? How about the 95 retail boutiques and the 40 or so restaurants and bars of the Souk Madinat Jumeirah. There’s nothing quite like this traditional Arabian souk with its wind towers, lantern lit hallways and narrow waterways. Incredible.

When it comes to luxury, opulence and excellence of service, Le Royal Meridien Dubai has it all. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the amazing reviews on the web. Here’s just the tiniest snapshot…“one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in, staff were fantastic”…“food, drinks and service are amazing”…“I would not consider going anywhere else in Dubai”…“have stayed in many 5 star hotels around the world and this was a very high standard”. Kind of says it all!

Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort And Spa is located on a superb stretch of white sandy beach with the clear blue waters of the Arabian Gulf stretching into the distance. Its location is everything you could imagine. Perfect in every sense.

It has some 500 rooms and caters for every type of traveller imaginable, from the high-powered businessman to the honeymoon couple and everyone else in between. Facilities are simply out of this world with no less than three heated swimming pools to choose from. Then there are tennis and squash courts, water sports facilities, and a club for the kids with play area and supervised activities.

Spoilt for choice doesn’t even cover it when it comes to the food and drink on offer. For there are no less than 14 international restaurants and bars catering for just about any taste imaginable!

If pampering and indulgence is the ultimate when it comes to holiday bliss, then look no further than the Royal Mirage Dubai. Intimacy is the watchword within this Arabic style sanctuary resort and spa situated on Jumeira beach. Accommodation available includes one villa, twenty suites and twenty-eight prestigious bedrooms. Spread over three properties, including the original hotel, the newly built Arabian Court and the Residence and Spa, the Royal Mirage has an extensive range of fabulous leisure facilities and meeting rooms and is considered the most stylish resort on Jumeira Beach.

The Palm Dubai, with a string of luxurious and themed hotels, villas, apartments, beaches, marinas, restaurants and shopping outlets, is fast becoming one of the world’s premier resorts. It is often dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. But however it’s described, it’s a fantastic and unforgettable destination that never disappoints!

A brief guide to Barcelona

The second largest city of Spain and capital of Catalonia offers various enjoyable attractions to the great pleasure of its visitors. Barcelona is the largest Mediterranean coastal metropolis and this city was transformed after hosting the Olympic Games in 1992 to become one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe. There are flights from most major cities across Europe, so it is relatively easy to find package deals that offer air and accommodation, so finding a hotel in Barcelona is no problem.

Barcelona has always been popular with artists, with Picasso and Gaudi being two famous one time residents. Catalan Music is famous worldwide and the well-equipped music halls offer fantastic encounters for music lovers and performers where orchestras, traditional bands and flamenco artists perform.

In Barcelona you can see art and architecture intersect. Historical sites and contemporary modern architecture share the same spaces. The Gothic churches and the internationally known Sagrada Familia remain the most popular attractions. The Sagrada Familia stands out above all the churches in Barcelona, and indeed in Europe. It is a giant temple designed by the renowned architect Antonio Gaudi designed in a style like no other cathedral in the world.

Sagrada Familia
[Sagrada Familia]

There are also recreational places such as parks, zoos, beaches, green places and other public spaces. That man Gaudi left his mark on the city again. His sculptures and mosaics transform Parc Guell from a park to an open air gallery. Mount Tibidabo overlooks Barcelona and it is an ideal site to get an overview of the city.

Parc Guell
[Parc Guell]

Barcelona is not only popular for his daytime attractions but for its lively nightlife as well. There are many restaurants offering a riche cuisine for all tastes and budgets. Pubs and bars are open late into the night.

For people who are planning to come on holiday in Barcelona, they should taste the local cuisine and especially the Tapas. Visitors can still eat these small treats made of fresh seafood in some places. For the wine lovers, there is the wine tour that is an opportunity to visit the vineyards and taste the locally made wine.

Halloween Sale At Paris Pass

Halloween Sale At Paris Pass

Save 10% on the Paris Pass in the fabulous Halloween Sale. Hurry, this offer ends on the 31st October and only includes 4 and 6 Day Passes.

Your Paris Pass will be valid for 12 months from the date of purchase so buy in advance and save! The Paris Pass comes with an extensive guidebook to help plan your sightseeing adventure.

Halloween Sale At Paris Pass

Travel Deals: Paris Pass

Things to do in Marbella Spain

Standing between the Mediterranean coastline and the Sierra Blanca mountains, Marbella is one of the most popular destinations on the Costa del Sol. The city has become famous for being a playground of the rich and famous, as the many boats & yachts in the marina will attest, so you are sure to find a luxury hotel Marbella Spain to welcome you. Malaga has a classic Mediterranean climate, with over 300 days of sunshine per year (Costa de Sol is Spanish for the Sun Coast afterall).

Puerto Banús, Marbella (Spain)
[Puerto Banús, Marbella - (by marcp_dmoz)]

An obvious starting point for exploring Marbella is the The Old Town & Orange Square. Wander around the narrow streets of the old quarter to get a feel for the Andalucian/Moorish history. At Puerto Banús you can go shopping while admiring the impressive boats that are docked in the harbour.

Marbella is an ideal family destination, with attractions like the nearby Fuengirola Zoo, Torremolinos Aqualand and the fun Funny Beach. Then there is beach walking and walks in the nearby mountains.

Do not forget that Marbella have the trendiest beach clubs. So much so that it is often difficult to decide where to go. All of them have one mission – that is to make sure you get to experience the classiest, funkiest places to eat, drink and chill out.

Being centrally located on the Costa del Sol, you are not just limited to Marbella. One of the most popular destinations nearby Marbella is Playa de Calahonda (Calahonda Beach). For Horse lovers the Costa del Sol Equestrian Art School offers a wide range of horse-related attractions.

Getting to Marbella is easy enough, especially from the UK and Europe. Marbella is 50km from Malaga, which has the fourth busiest airport in Spain. Most of the low cost airlines and charter airline companies are represented here. You can also arrive via Gibraltar airport, which offers flights from the UK.

Bring Me Sunshine – a Guide to Florida’s Highlights

Florida Keys
[Image credit: Lana_aka_BADGRL]

From Cape Canaveral to the Keys, Florida – nicknamed the ‘Sunshine State’ – offers a mind-boggling wealth of fun experiences and adventures just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

Florida attracts more than eighty million visitors each year, not least because it is home to the world’s most visited tourist attraction, the Walt Disney World Resort; commonly referred to as Disneyworld. Located just to the southwest of Orlando, the scale of Disneyworld is breath taking: within the resort’s thirty thousand acres are four theme parks, two water parks, thirty-one hotels, a campground, spas and fitness centres and enough family fun to satisfy the average Disney-loving youngster for a lifetime.

Harry Potter fans might prefer Universal Studios’ theme park also in Orlando, where muggles can experience J.K. Rowling’s wizardly world for themselves, as well as entering Jurassic Park or rubbing shoulders with Shrek, the Simpsons or the Terminator. In fact, Florida is packed with brilliant theme parks including the legendary Busch Gardens and the brand new Legoland Florida, both located in Tampa.

With more than three hundred days of sunshine every year, it’s fortunate that Florida can boast some of the most iconic beaches on the planet. Celebrity-spotting sun worshippers will want to hang around the ultrafashionable bars of Miami Beach; local homeowners include Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon, Sylvester Stallone, Shakira and Anna Kournikova. Designated areas of Miami Beach allow topless and all-nude bathing for those who dare to bare, but quiet family spots can also be found.

An altogether different experience is to be had at Daytona Beach – the only beach in Florida on which vehicles are allowed. Daytona’s smooth and hard-packed sand means that you can literally drive your car along designated stretches of the beach; motorcycle racing has been established here since 1902 and an annual motorbike rally still takes place each October.

To find the perfect family beach take the spectacular Florida State Road A1A, a designated scenic byway which fronts the Atlantic Ocean, and head to Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach offers the unique opportunity to witness spacecraft launch from nearby Cape Canaveral. A quiet six-mile stretch of white sands, Cocoa Beach is the east coast’s surfing capital but also boasts a full range of beach activities and attractions, as well as budget-friendly bars, restaurants and accommodation.

More great beaches make the Florida Keys, an archipelago of coral islands stretching for around 110 miles southwest from the coast of Miami. The Keys are linked by road bridges which form part of an unforgettable section of US Route 1 dubbed ‘the Overseas Highway’. This route includes one of the longest road bridges in the world: the Seven-Mile Bridge which traverses the ocean between Knight’s Key and Little Duck Key. The islands of the Keys have been described as ‘America’s Caribbean’ thanks to their tropical climate, laid-back lifestyle and opportunities for reef snorkelling, wreck-diving and deep sea fishing.

Head south from the Keys and you’ll reach Florida’s Everglades. The Everglades National Park covers about a fifth of the area of the original Everglades ecosystem and its subtropical wilderness provides a home to a number of endangered species including the Florida Panther and the American Crocodile. Vast areas of natural mangrove swampland and sawgrass prairies provide visitors the unique opportunity to experience an all-American wildlife safari, covering the waterways on iconic fan-propelled air boats, by kayak or on land by foot or bicycle. True to the image portrayed by film and television, you’re never too far from an alligator in the Everglades National Park as long as you know where to look.

If all of this outdoor activity leaves you desperate for some serious retail therapy or city life, there are few better places than Florida to indulge your passion for shopping, entertainment and fine dining. Take the glittering city of Jacksonville, for example. Featuring thoroughly modern stunning steel-and-glass architecture, Jacksonville is divided by the St John’s River which flows through the city’s heart. The Jacksonville Landing is an all-in-one shopping, dining and entertainment experience where local retailers ply their wares alongside outlets for the best-known international brands. Shop until you nearly drop, and then unwind on a relaxing sunset cruise along the river before choosing from Jacksonville’s many fine restaurants for a memorable waterfront dinner. By contrast, Fort Lauderdale on Florida’s west coast is a city steeped in culture, arts and entertainment. Considered the ‘Venice of America’ thanks to three hundred miles of inland waterways, the best way to explore Fort Lauderdale is by gondola or water taxi. But with an entertainment scene that encompasses everything from comedy and jazz to hard rock and ballet, shopping opportunities including flea markets and state-of-the-art malls, dining experiences and accommodation aplenty, there’s much to discover.

In fact, that applies to Florida as a whole. Whatever you’re looking for from a trip to the sunshine state, whether it’s fine beaches, family theme parks, vibrant cities, inspiration or relaxation, Florida has it all for you to discover.

European City Holidays from the UK with easyJet Holidays

easyJet Holidays

Here are this week’s special offers on city breaks from easyJet Holidays to destinations in Europe:

From: London Luton (LTN)
To: Amsterdam (AMS)
Date: 4-Dec-11
Duration: 3
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Fashion – 4*
Resort/City Price (PP): Amsterdam City £154
Key Points: 3 nights for price of 2 on accom. Close to christmas markets.

From: London Gatwick (LGW)
To: Barcelona (BCN)
Date: 26-Nov-11
Duration: 3
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Amrey Diagonal – 3*
Resort/City Price (PP): Barcelona City £142
Key Points: Located at one end of the leisure district. Perfect for christmas shoppers.

From: London Gatwick (LGW)
To: Marrakech (RAK)
Date: 4-Dec-11
Duration: 5
Board: RO
Property / Star Rating: Hotel El Andalous – 4*
Resort/City Price (PP): Marrakech City £177
Key Points: Catch the last of the warmth before christmas. Perfect for a peaceful getaway.

From: London Luton (LTN)
To: Paris (CDG)
Date: 5-Dec-11
Duration: 2
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Alane – 3*
Resort/City Price (PP): Paris City £125
Key Points: Great location for people wanting to experience the cities festivities with a great rate.

From: London Stansted (STN)
To: Prague (PRG)
Date: 7-Dec-11
Duration: 2
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Galileo – 4*
Resort/City Price (PP): Prague City £154
Key Points: Located in the city centre. Great for christmas markets.

From: Liverpool (LPL)
To: Amsterdam (AMS)
Date: 7-Dec-11
Duration: 3
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Fashion – 4*
Resort/City Price (PP): Amsterdam City £145
Key Points: 3 nights for price of 2 on accom. Close to christmas markets.

From: Liverpool (LPL)
To: Barcelona (BCN)
Date: 29-Nov-11
Duration: 3
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Amrey Diagonal – 3*
Resort/City Price (PP): Barcelona City £143
Key Points: Located at one end of the leisure district. Perfect for christmas shoppers.

From: Liverpool (LPL)
To: Krakow (KRK)
Date: 5-Dec-11
Duration: 2
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Sympozjum – 4*
Resort/City Price (PP): Krakow City £112
Key Points: Located in the old town. Ideal for a peacful cultural break.

From: Liverpool (LPL)
To: Paris (CDG)
Date: 7-Dec-11
Duration: 2
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Alane – 3*
Resort/City Price (PP): Paris City £131
Key Points: Great location for people wanting to experience the cities festivities with a great rate.

From: Manchester (MAN)
To: Madrid (MAD)
Date: 7-Dec-11
Duration: 2
Board: BB
Property / Star Rating: Occidental Miguel Angel – 5*
Resort/City Price (PP): Madrid City £135
Key Points: Great rate for a luxurious property, centrally located.

Travel Deals: easyJet Holidays