What To Look For In A Hotel

October 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

You can trust established chains such as Marriott or Hilton but there is so much on offer that it would be a shame to miss out on the smaller or independent hotels as they may be able to offer you something the larger chain brands can’t.

The Rating System
The star system was created to help guests judge how good a hotel is. Star ratings symbolise the level of standards a guest can expect and are recognised worldwide. Ranging from 1 – 5, the quality of service, amenities, size and condition of rooms and building, safety and security, atmosphere, quality of food and drink, hotel presence and efficiency of staff are judged.

1 Star
Practical accommodation. Don’t expect anything more than the absolute basics. The shower room is likely to be down the hall, but remember, it’s the cheapest accommodation. If you’re looking for a bargain, and don’t mind not having en-suite facilities, don’t hesitate to consider one-star hotels – just check the room first. Go for one that offers clean sheets and a nice neighbourhood. It may be cheap but you don’t want to slum it next door to a crack den!

2 Star
Although many offer en-suite facilities you may find in some hotels there is still a need to share the shower room down the hall with other guests. You’ll have a colour television, a comfortable bed, and a restaurant/dining room for breakfast and dinner.

3 Star
Private bathrooms in the (usually smallish) room colour television, occasionally even a mini bar, a phone, laundry service (optional) and a more formal style of service along with the opportunity for room service during certain times to be expected.

4 Star
Four-star hotels are spacious and have the creature comforts with a touch more luxury, including private baths in addition to a strong emphasis on food and beverage, 24-hour room service and a dry cleaning service available. More often in well situated locations.

5 Star
Simply the best. The interiors will be of the highest standards. Opulent, stylish and of absolute luxury. Nothing is too much for guests. Exceptional comfort, 24 hour room service, luxury amenities, for example, spas or star rated restaurants serving superb cuisine are the norm. The concierge will be only too happy to get you want at whatever time of the day, (so long as it’s legal). You will feel very well cared for by professional, attentive staff providing a flawless service. This is the kind of luxury dreams are made of.

The star definitions should be treated as a general guide to what you should expect from a star rated hotel as there is yet no definitive worldwide standardisation available.

Because of this, it can sometimes be abused and you could find yourself booking into a hotel that just doesn’t come up to what you believe to be adequate for its rating.

Due to the lack of consistency in hotel ratings around the world you could find yourself staying in, for example, a three-star hotel abroad which may be better than a three-star hotel in your native country. But be warned, it can go either way and you could find yourself in a less than desirable hotel with exactly the same star rating.

Keep in mind it is your right to view a room before you commit to staying in it. Ask to do so.

If you’re thinking of booking into a hotel, but don’t know what it’s like, www.gate14.co.uk suggests you take the following steps.
: Ask trusted friends with similar tastes to recommended somewhere
: Alternatively, search the name of your intended hotel and read impartial hotel reviews from people who have stayed in the accommodation.

Reviews can be seen at Holiday Watchdog. It’s free to use and you can even submit a review of your own.

If you would like to see special offers in accommodation, go to http://www.gate14.co.uk/SV4.html.

Top Luxury Hotel Costa Rica Is The Hotel Punta Islita

August 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

This Luxury Hotel in Costa Rica known as the Hotel Punta Islita is quite isolated and positioned on a high bluff between two mountainous ridges overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the northwest Guanacaster Province. You will certainly have a luxurious Costa Rica Vacation here, and it would be an ideal spot for your honeymoon hotel, because of the stunning setting and the isolation

Every room has a king sized bed, and a private patio complete with a hammock. There is a well stocked bar and excellent en-suite facilities. The Punta Islita Suites are worth paying extra for, with a sitting room and a private Jacuzzi. Whatever room or suite you choose, they are all large and the type of luxury you expect from a quality hotel.

The Punta Islita is not on the beach, in fact it is about a ten minute walk, but there are shuttle buses. The hotel beach is in a small crescent shaped cove, and quite calm and protected, but the beach itself is long and almost always deserted. There is also a bar at the beach club, serving drinks and snacks, with a freshwater pool and a swim up bar. There is plenty of room here to relax in the landscaped gardens .

As you would expect from a luxury hotel the food is a feature. Because of the isolated nature of the hotel, after all you need a 4 x 4 vehicle to get you there, there aren’t really many alternatives when it comes to eating. The emphasis at the Punta Islita is on fresh seafood, and a touch of nouvelle cuisine. The meals are served in the Palapa restaurant. The views of the sunset are incredible.

The Luxury Hotel Punta Islita sits at the edge of the tropical rain forest, so the environment is very much an untouched by civilization and the hotel works at keeping it that way. It must be one of the most unspoilt beautiful spots occupied by any hotel.

The staff here are particularly good and helpful, and the canopy tour in the rainforest is a must.

What a lovely luxury hotel in Costa Rica is the Punta Islita. Take a vacation package, or just a holiday, perhaps even your honeymoon.

Online Shopping Virtuosos Unearth Hotel Deals

August 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Destinations

Even if you aren’t the greatest miser going, when you are ready to go on a holiday, saving is going to be one of your biggest questions. Finding that safe haven you can call home should neither be a struggle, nor a way of reducing your cash in hand. There are many techniques you can take to find inexpensive lodging without compromising quality in your vacation destination.

The smartest idea for cheap hotels entails online shopping. The travel industry today is full of rivalry among different firms, and there is information available to you in magazines, online, even through text messages, where business will compete for your holiday dollars if they know you have an interest. Follow these few simple words of advice, and you could be counting your sheep on some of the most comfortable beds in the world at a terrific bargain.

The first thing you need to do is ascertain what kind of accommodation you are looking for. Questions you will be asked at booking include what kind of bed, how many people will be in the room, and do you want a meal package with your reservation. Know all of these things early on, or you will be upsold before you can say continental breakfast. There are several online shopping Internet sites that will help you pick out deals based on these parameters.

You also need to know what you are looking for as an overall holiday need. Are the kids with you? Are you going to want a swimming pool? Spa? Gym? The more you want, the more you are going to spend. Become familiar with the rating system. The more stars a hotel has next to its name in the AAA guide, the more money you are going to spend. More stars (or in some cases, diamonds) means the hotel offers more amenities. You will see things like a free continental breakfast, swimming pools either indoor or out, restaurant on site, concierge service, night maids, day maids — the list goes on. In fact, it is astonishing that in the pre-online shopping days such deals could even be structured.

The more of these services your hotel offers, the more your cost is going to be. These items are known as amenities, and even though they are offered as “free services” the cost of the service will be built into the cost of your room rate. If you don’t need concierge service, but want a swimming pool, look for a mid-level hotel that has just a pool. Again, the number of stars the property is rated does not signify its “niceness”; it represents how many amenities can be accessed by you. You can get a beautiful hotel room with no amenities at good rates if you look in the right places.

Don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade when you check in. If a hotel is not fully booked, they should be more than happy to accommodate you and make it a point to see that you become a repeat customer. In the services industry, word of mouth is basic to a hotel’s success. Bad news travels fast in the hotel industry. Your friends will know what complaints you had about your vacation far before they hear about how soft the pillows were. Hotels know this and want to make your stay as comfortable as possible because it will bring you back. Ask for a complimentary upgrade, the worst that can happen is you won’t be able to avail of it. The best thing that can happen is a premium room.

Lastly, if you can, travel in the off season. This will lower your costs considerably. All hotels reduce their charges in the off-season to fill up their rooms and get you in the door. Once they do, they treat you well and hope to see you again during peak season. And who knows, if they do their job right, they just might.

Keep in mind that online shopping is wonderful but only for the smart online shopper who knows where best to get his shopping done.

The Presa Di Goa Country House Hotel

August 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

Presa Di Goa Country House is a country house which has been completely restored, and then furnished as one might have expected from the Portugese when Goa was a colony. It has a wonderful feel to it, more like a home than a hotel which is a tribute to the owner. This is a real gem, and one that for the sake of future guests shouldn’t be publicised too much in case it ruins perfection.

It sits in the village of Nagoa in the countryside surrounded by rice paddies, and is really a place for romantics, for travellers as opposed to package holidaymakers. It is all peace and tranquillity here, and it is hard to believe how close it is to the beaches of Baga and Calangute.

This is a unique holiday environment and one that you won’t want to leave.

From the beginning, being picked up at the airport is always fantastic, I just love to get off the plane, and whilst others are climbing into a bus we go to the man with our name on his board, and he takes care of everything, it makes you feel special, and this feeling will continue unabated.

So what is so special about the Presa Di Goa, well the list is long, but just to begin, it is worth your while booking a junior suite if you can because the standard rooms although beautifully furnished are a little small. Having said that there are only 7 accommodation units, and the Crossandra suite is the largest. A deep joy is breakfast served on the balcony overlooking the countryside, and watching the wildlife.

By the way the food is excellent from the beautiful papaya, to the food in the restaurant which is European with a Turkish slant, so you can expect beautiful mezzes, to the coconut based Goan cuisine with things like mulligatawny soup, and Turkish lamb kebabs thrown in. If this doesn’t sound your thing, just ask, and you can have what you want cooked to perfection.

When you decide you want to go to the beach there is a complimentary transfer arranged with towels thrown in, and if you want to go to Calangute city centre, then the same thing applies.

The finally memory you will have is a friendly staff, a lovely owner who I gather has long experience in the hotel industry and it shows.

Nukubati Island Resort Labasa The Most Romantic Hotel In The South Pacific

June 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

I had a week on Nukubati Island Resort Labasa, as part of my honeymoon and I thought it was absolutely amazing. Whilst being greeted by hotel staff on the beach is quite commonplace in the South Pacific, this was something else.

Their voices are so harmonious, and apart from our welcome song, there were ice cool flannels, and welcoming drinks, and boy did we need them!! We had read reports which included quotes like “Most romantic hotel in the South Pacific.” And we very quickly realised why.

It is important to be aware that this is an all inclusive resort, and we were looking for all inclusive adult only hotels for our South Pacific Honeymoon.

This is the perfect escape with no phones, no television just serious relaxation.

Jetlag can spoil the first few days of a vacation especially when you are close to the international dateline, and having to conform to meal times isn’t what you want to do. We need not have worried, because we discovered after sleeping in almost all day after arriving, that you can pretty well eat when you want to. We were brought champagne and canapés, and then we had a wonderful seafood meal, and tons of fresh vegetables which we discovered were literally from the back garden!!

We could have eaten in our honeymoon bure all the time, but the dining room was a real treat with tablecloths, candlelight, fresh flowers, looking out onto the beach, and views you can’t really do justice to here.

If you want to see photographs then go to http://www.worldwidevacationspots.com/articles/128/1/Nukubati-Island-Resort-Labasa-the-Most-Romantic-Hotel-in-the-South-Pacific/Page1.html

Fiji and the Pacific islands in general are so lush, and not without reason. It is because of the amount of rain, but it is such warm rain, and it hits you so hard it is totally exhilarating to be out in. I’d never realised before now how much fun swimming in the rain can be!!

Above all it was the superb service, and the attention to detail that we loved. The little things we observed like the mosquito repellent burner at your dinner table, the water tray at the door of the bure, so you don’t bring sand in. The boat bringing you in, takes you to the beach outside your bure, and there would have been a towel on your seat on the boat to stop you from burning yourself.

We attended Sunday church in the local village, and the singing and the harmony was so moving it made me cry.

We also were taken out for a sandbank picnic, which was epic, not only for the picnic, but also the snorkelling afterwards. These little sandbanks only appear for a few hours, but we were taken there, and the staff set up umbrellas, table, chairs, champagne, and a three course delicious lunch, then they picked us up before the sandbank reappeared.

Nukubati is without a doubt the most romantic place I have ever visited. I felt so far away from every care, in fact from the world. I felt we were seeing the traditional Fiji. I know we came looking for an all inclusive adult only hotel for our South Pacific Honeymoon, and what we found was the most romantic hotel in the South Pacific

How To Find The Best Price On Alicante Hotel Deals

June 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

If you are looking to find a destination where you can relax, enjoy fun and adventure, experience excitement, and soak up the wonderful sunshine, then Alicante could be the ideal place for you. You will find this vibrant and exciting city situated at the center of the Costa Blanca region, and no matter what you are looking for in a vacation this could prove the ideal spot for you. When you come to Alicante you can enjoy fabulous weather, rich history, colourful culture, adventure, excitement, fun, and plenty of opportunities to relax. Whether you are travelling alone, looking for a romantic vacation destination, or wish to enjoy a memorable family vacation, Alicante is an excellent choice of destination. You will find plenty to keep you busy here both day and night, and even if you simply want to kick back, chill out, and top up that tan, this is a destination that will never fail to surprise and thrill you.

Find some great deals for your Alicante vacation

You can find some incredible deals on vacations to Alicante these days, which means that you can look forward to experiencing the wonders of this fabulous resort without having to break the bank. One of the things you are going to need to look into for your vacation is a suitable property in which to stay, and you can select from a wide range of options. If you are looking for a comfortable yet affordable Alicante Hotel in which to stay you will find some wonderful deals available these days, and this means that you can look forward to great service, a range of amenities, and a warm welcome at a price that suits your pocket. No matter what your needs and circumstances, you should be able to find an Alicante hotel that matches your requirements, and one of the best places to find an array of excellent deals on accommodation in this Spanish city is to go online and browse through the many bargains that you will find. The great prices available on Alicante hotel deals means that you can look forward to more spending money on your vacation, so you can relax, soak up the sun, play a little golf, explore, sample the nightlife, enjoy the wonderful cuisine, and take in the incredible sights and entertainment.

Get great deals on flight costs and car hire too

If you want to enjoy even bigger savings on the cost of your Alicante vacation you can also enjoy some wonderful deals on the cost of flights and car hire when you go online, so you can look forward to saving a small fortune on the overall cost of your vacation. Remember, every cent that you save on the cost of your actual vacation is an extra cent towards your spending money whilst in this exciting city, and this will enable you to make the most of your time here and enjoy all that this destination has to offer without overstretching your budget.

Finding A Nice San Francisco Hotel

May 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Getting a San Francisco Hotel is different than in most places because location matters a great deal. San Francisco has almost always been known as a romantic city. The city lights, a large bay, a couple of bridges, some great history and Victorian row houses all are a part of the San Francisco landscape. It also what makes this city offer a unique experience for families, couples and even singles.

When visiting San Francisco the first thing to consider when selecting a hotel is the proximity to public transportation. Traffic in this city by the bay is horrendous and the street layout is extremely difficult to maneuver. As with many older cities, San Francisco grew up over decades before there were automobiles. So the streets and roadways were no designed to accommodate the car but horses and foot traffic. Also like many larger cities, the government in SF also decided to make many interior streets 1 way! Combine the traffic, street size and unfamiliarity together is a recipe for a very stressful time.

The good news is that there are many alternatives in the greater San Francisco Bay area region. The city has a good bus system, taxis, Bay ARea Rapid Transit or BART and of course the quaint cable cars. Find a nice hotel or suite in SF close to public transportation and simply enjoy the town and all it has to offer.

From the vantage point of a city bus or cable car, enjoy the sights and sounds of this unique city. Visit the old area of Haight Ashbury where some say the hippie movement of the 1960’s was born. If you’re into rock and roll history, locate 710 Ashbury Street, where the Grateful Dead Band lived at one time. There’s also the Golden Gate Bridge, tours to Alcatraz, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, Coit Tower atop Telegraph hill and many other attractions.

By far, one of the most popular attractions has to be Fisherman’s Wharf. Here, California sea lions have taken over some of the most expensive boat harbor real estate in the country. Fisherman’s Wharf is much more than a launching place for the small fishing boats. There’s also Pier39, an outdoor mall experience built on an old commercial pier. For lunch, consider going down the street just across from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum and pick up some fresh sourdough bread. Continue down a little more and there’s Alioto’s, a favorite fish and seafood place. Pick up some Dungeness crab or shrimp cocktail to enjoy with the fresh bread and have lunch right by the bay. An inexpensive lunch with scenery that can’t be beat.

The key to enjoying San Francisco is based more on the proximity to the public transportation that any specific San Francisco hotel room. Shop for the best deal on a room and give yourself a stress free vacation by leaving the driving to someone else.

Are Tamanu Aitutaki Could Be The Most Romantic Hotel In The South Pacific

March 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

Of all the South Pacific destinations, it is arguable that the Are Tamanu Aitutaki, one of the top Cook Island luxury resorts is in fact the most romantic hotel in the South Pacific.

If you are going on a romantic vacation, or your honeymoon for that matter and you have in mind a South Pacific destination, then in my opinion the Are Tamanu Aitutaki ranks amongst the top five worlds best beach resorts, and I hope to be able to convince you that this is the case from my own personal experience.

Are Tamanu is not a five star resort, and I am accustomed to this type of hotel, so I was somewhat apprehensive before setting out, despite the fact that my husband was absolutely certain that I would think it was the most romantic resort in the South Pacific.

The first thing to know is you have to arrive at Rarotonga and then catch another short flight to Aitutaki. You quickly realise you are in another world, not only because of the spectacular views from the aircraft, but also because in the very few minutes it takes you to get to the hotel you realise that what they mean by a road is really a sand track.

I found this whole environment so much more romantic that Tahiti, so much less commercialised, so much more the authentic South Pacific of my dreams.

It is the colors that hit you first, the shockingly bright blues, turquoises, greens, and the white of the beaches, it is extraordinary.

The huge beautiful lagoon is almost beyond description, and there was our resort sitting right next to it!!

The rooms were large, and clean, and comfortable, but not modern. Having said that they were what I’d always imagined South Pacific to be, and I just fell in love with the place, the people, just everything. No TV or radio was another bonus, this was just bare feet paradise – my husband couldn’t spend his time on the phone to the office, or his laptop for that matter.

The food in the restaurant was good and reasonably priced, we went for a cruise around the lagoon, and I got to go to islands with wonderful names like One Foot Island where we had a superb BBQ lunch. I also discovered this is where they film Survivor, and also visited the beautiful Honeymoon Island.

The whole vacation at Are Tamanu was just so relaxing, but to me the real highlights were the local people, so genuinely friendly, the clors, and the snorkelling right in front of our door so to speak.

I definitely think we stayed in one of the most romantic hotels in the South Pacific if not the most romantic

Aigua Blava Hotel

March 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

If you are looking for a haven of peace and tranquility in one of the most spectacular settings anywhere on the Spanish coastline, then look no further than the renowned Aigua Blava Hotel.

Why Go To The Aigua Blava

Opened in 1929 with just eight rooms, it has gradually grown to 18 suites and 70 double rooms, all of them different to each other. You can relax over the many terraces, or enjoy tennis, swimming, boating and beaches. It is also considered a ‘best kept secret’ by many British families who keep very quiet about the fact that they return year after year, sometimes for over 20 years, and always in the same room, in case it becomes mobbed!!

It’s that kind of hotel. The staff is also part of the hotel family. These are not temporary employees who come and go – for most of them this has been the only job they ever had. They care about their guests, in a way that most hotels can never hope to achieve.

The Aigua Blava is a way of life, much more than just a hotel. A beautiful double room with private terrace, overlooking the sea, including breakfast buffet and four-course dinner will cost just € 87 per person per night, in May. That is marvelous value for money. In addition, if you are a golfer, the hotel has 20-30% reductions on the green fees of all courses.
Where is It

Aigua Blava is on the north west mediterranean coast, or the north east coast of Spain, not far from Barcelona, and just north of the beaches of the Costa Brava, but it is a different world from the tourist traps found only a few miles away.

Aigua Blava is the name given to the small but stunningly picturesque stretch of coastline around an inlet between two rocky, pine-covered headlands Literally translated from the Catalan as Blue Waters, it encompasses three beaches connected by a road.


The Hotel Aigua Blava is about 40 minutes from Gerona airport and 90 minutes from Barcelona airport. It is easy to drive from the UK, and we did it in a day, so you have a car for exploring.

The Hotel has 70 double rooms, 6 suites and 11 junior suites, all with air-conditioning, heating, bathroom with shower, private balcony, satellite TV, hairdryer, telephone and safe, based either in the main building or in annexes.


The restaurant is the place for romantic dining, wonderful food, and spectacular views, it is first class with superb Catalan and international cuisine. Half board is included and represents excellent value. A comfortable and hospitable bar offers a warm atmosphere for aperitifs.

The levels of service and the quality of the Gastronomic Restaurant, together with an impressive wine cellar outclasses many 5 star hotels in other regions of Spain.


The Aigua Blava is more than just a hotel, it is a resort. In June and September half board is offered as a mandatory inclusion, whilst in July and August, a unique full board package is offered.

In the summer one can hire boats from the harbour below the Hotel via reception, to explore the coastline.

Amenities include a secluded pool area with bar, tennis court, parking, outdoors cooking area, hairdressing and beauty salons and useful money changing facilities. Bar and terrace bar, 2 restaurants, table tennis, room service 7 am – 11pm.


All area courses are between a 15 – 40 minute drive making Hotel Aigua Blava the perfect place to stay during your Catalonian Golf Tour. The excellent golf courses of Pals and Emporda are both approximately 15 minutes driving time, while Girona, PGA Catalunya and Golf dÕAro are also within easy reach.

The hotel is closed from early November until end of February

What to See & Where To Go

The closest large cities are Girona and Figueres, and the roads are good and in the main uncluttered

The city of Figueres is the birthplace of the 20th century surrealist painter Salvador Dali, and the Dali museum here is the second most visited museum in Spain. Inaugurated by Dali himself, it is dedicated to his weird and wonderful work and will not fail to delight, surprise and puzzle.

Further south, the beautiful walled city of Girona hosts a number of ancient monuments within its old town. Further afield, beyond Barcelona, is Montserrat, a great mountain of strange rock formations shaped by centuries of wild weather and with one of Catalonia’s most important shrines, the Benedictine Monastery, perched on one side. Although popular with tourists and pilgrims, the Monastery is still inhabited by monks and is a fascinating place. If heights don’t faze you, the approach by cable car is the most dramatic.

You will enjoy a visit to the village of Cadaques, which has traditional white houses, narrow cobbled lanes and arty boutiques. It was made famous by Dali, who live close by, and it was a well-known haunt of artists.

The delightful coastal villages of Llafranc and Tamariu are close by and well worth a visit.


With clients coming back to the hotel year after year, early booking is essential at the Aigua Blava, because now you have found it, you must try it and discover why it is one of the best kept secrets in Europe

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