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Barbados villa: new listing
Mar 6th, 2014 by elisa

Picture-postcard scene

The Caribbean is one of those glorious picture-postcard places that many of us dream of visiting. Here at Villaseek we have many properties to choose from across the Caribbean islands, and we’re pleased to announce a new listing in Barbados.

This large, fully-equipped 10 bed holiday villa in Holder Hill, St. James offers a stunning ocean view. Split into an upper level (sleeps 6) and a lower, self-contained ground floor apartment (sleeps 4) means there are options depending on the size of your party.

Located in one of the most luxurious areas of the island, the property is well-placed for all kinds of activities and places to visit. There are plenty of golf courses, sail cruises and day spas. The island is surrounded by azure-water and pure white sandy beaches such as Blue Monkey Beach and Church Point Beach. You can also visit the nearby Frank Hutson Sugar Museum, or the Folkestone Marine Park.

The property is at the top of a small hill with wonderful seaside views and a large lawned garden with mature fruit trees for shade. The main upper section has 3 1/2 bedrooms, 1 King bed and 5 single beds, one en suite bathroom with toilet, and combination tub/shower. The second bathroom has a toilet and shower. The living/dining room has an ocean view balcony, and the kitchen is fully-equipped with an additional laundry area. The lower section is a fully-furnished 2 bed, 1 bathroom apartment.

Find out more about the property and prices here.

2013 round up
Dec 30th, 2013 by elisa

It’s nearing the end of 2013, so it’s time for our annual round up of travel news and features covered in this blog over the year.

January is normally the time when you start to examine your finances after the Christmas splurge, and this year was no different for the travel news. A Sunday Times report that found customers were seriously losing out on foreign currency exchange rates when purchasing their travel money at airports.  We also looked at the financial benefits of flying to an airport further from your destination and driving the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Spain was voted the best value destination for 2013, and Eve told us why she thought Spain was a great winter destination.

However, it was all about Greece in February! With its award-winning beaches and Thomas Cook trend survey that revealed a huge increase in bookings during the month. The month ended with a warning to check your travel insurance small print, as many travellers were reported to have fallen foul of clauses in their insurance, which meant they wouldn’t get a pay out on claims.

In March, a woman successfully smuggled a dog onto a plane; we looked at the biosphere reserve that is Menorca; and BA started selling tickets for flights on its ‘red carpet route’ to Los Angeles in its new super jumbo A380. Easyjet installed new, lighter, seats on its aircraft in an attempt to save on fuel and CO2 emissions. Bitter weather threatened to blight travellers’ Easter holidays, but this didn’t stop Peter Rabbit visiting children at Heathrow.

The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April. Samoa Air launched its controversial pay by weight flights and we looked at the facts about turbulence.

Easyjet began testing its volcanic ash cloud detection technology in May. We found that trillions of air miles are going to waste; and there was the slightly disturbing report of a flight being diverted because the pilot got locked out of the cockpit. There was good news for Harry Potter fans going on holiday in Florida, as the Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley “environment”.

A US ban on using a laptop during take off on flights was lifted in June.

Tenerife enjoyed at 14% rise in arrivals from the UK in July. It was also discovered that many English families were flying from Scottish airports to save up to £500 on their holiday travel costs. It may have been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years, but this didn’t stop large numbers of Brits leaving for even sunnier holiday destinations in the last weekend of July. We gave advice on how to avoid common pick pocketing scams as the Foreign Office issued a warning about pick pockets in Switzerland.

As August enjoyed more of the heatwave, Ryanair had a drop in flight bookings; it also took legal action against an unfavourable Dispatches programme “Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit”.

Etihad Airways launched its “flying nanny” service to look after passengers’ children in September. Helly Kitty planes took to the skies with Taiwan’s EVA Air, and a computer glitch in US Airways system sold $0 flights on its website. Spain enjoyed record visitor numbers over the summer, proving the predictions earlier in the year.

In October, Manchester was announced to be the UK’s first Airport City; and Ryanair announced that it would work on a better customer service.

It was all about the measure of happiness for travel in November, and BA introduced interactive billboards to remind people of the magic of flying.

The Northern Lights in Norway topped Brits’ “must see” list in December. Britain also endured wide-spread bad weather with winds of up to 140mph battering parts of the country, and flooding hitting others.

That’s the round up for 2013, make sure to follow this blog for more travel news and articles in 2014, and book your holiday villas at a wide range of destinations on Villaseek.

Beautiful holiday villa on the Croatian island of Hvar
Nov 7th, 2013 by elisa

Hvar Island

Hvar Island

With vast fields of lavender, olive trees and vineyards, surrounded by stunning beaches and crystal blue waters, the Croatian island of Hvar has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world.

Now is a particularly good time to book as the school holidays are over and many low cost airlines are offering great winter deals on flights.

With special offers when booking as a family or group, or for those staying longer than a week, this recently renovated island house might be just the accommodation for you!

It has stunning views of the Adriatic sea, town and hills. There are five double plus one single bedroom and the property has recently been renovated to an excellent standard. With all the amenities one would expect with such a substantial holiday villa, guests also benefit from two large patios, a garden, sunbeds, outdoor tables and chairs. Laundry will be done each week and you can expect to be greeted by an English/Croatian couple who will give advice on what to do and where to go on Hvar island and other nearby islands and mainland in Croatia.

One of the immaculate double bedrooms

One of the immaculate double bedrooms

Balcony view

Balcony view

The property sits five minutes away from the beach, and cafes, restaurants, piazza, market and boat hire is only a 10 minute walk away. It’s great for a relaxing holiday, but also ideal for those in search of more activity as within half a mile of the house there is sailing, water skiing, sea kayaking, paragliding, windsurfing, diving and tennis.

You can find this Hvar island house in the Croatia section of VillaSeek. For more information on the property and what to do there, go directly to the listing for the villa, where you can contact the owners directly.

Beautiful beaches

Beautiful beaches

 

Menorca – idyllic biosphere reserve
Mar 6th, 2013 by elisa

Turquoise sea, white sands. Menorca picture by Flickr user Paul Stephenson

Turquoise sea, white sands. Menorca picture by Flickr user Paul Stephenson

Menorca is a beautiful Balearic island; and with more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza combined, it is serious competition for its more famous neighbouring islands.

Known as the more laid-back island, it’s perfect for families with young children or just visitors who want a relaxing holiday and slower pace of life. The resorts tend to be small and occupied with holiday villas rather than large hotel complexes.

The most popular coastal resort is probably Son Bou / San Jaime, with over a mile of white sand, perfect for sun-worshippers! It is not just good for beach-goers though, the newly constructed coastal path, Camí de Cavalls, is ideal for walkers, too. The whole of Menorca has been classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco because of the striking wildlife and natural surroundings. On a walk around, you could see booted eagles, red kites, Egyptian vultures and even osprey! If you aren’t sure where to start, you could book a guided tour with Walk Menorca to ensure you see the best there is.

The capital, Maó, spreads along a cliff above the harbour with bars and restaurants. The old town is filled with small plazas and a market to explore. Across the other side at the western most point of the island is Ciutadella, a picturesque old town with cobbled streets, harbour, Gothic cathedral and museum.

If you like a fiesta, however, then go around the Saints’ days between June and September to enjoy the buzz and jollity of each town’s special programme of celebrations. For more information about up-coming events around the year, visit Menorca Live, which I’ve found rather helpful for finding things to do once you’re there.

We have many holiday villas in Menorca, but if you’d like some inspiration, then you won’t go far wrong with this pretty and spacious villa in Puerto Addaia.

The villa sleeps 6 and has 3 bedrooms (2 double & 1 twin – both doubles have air-con). There is a balcony overlooking the pool, and a large roof terrace with lovely sea views. There is a main bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, lounge with Sky TV and French doors which open onto a partially covered patio with built-in barbecue and large, extendable sun awning. The pool is excellently maintained and has a children’s section. The villa is also close to local shops, restaurants and marina. Also close by is Arenal, a beautiful beach.

Great for family holidays

Great for family holidays

For this villa and many more across Menorca or other holiday destinations, check out our main website for details.

 

Greece is back on top
Feb 26th, 2013 by elisa

Beautiful Greece - picture by Flickr user JFXie

Beautiful Greece – picture by Flickr user JFXie

It isn’t just us that think Greece is the place to go right now; the latest trend update from Thomas Cook shows a marked increase in the country’s desirability amongst holidaymakers.

Sales, marketing and e-commerce director Mike Hoban said: “Searches for Santorini have doubled as have those for our specialist Greek tour operator, Manos, and other Greek islands including Crete and Zakynthos.

“As people put a holiday abroad at the top of their shopping list, it appears to be stalwart favourites, like Greece, that are in high demand this year.”

ABTA, too, confirmed the trend:”UK Bookings to Greece, in common with other Eurozone countries, were hit hard in 2010 as sterling fell in value against the Euro. Good value resorts in North Africa were the main beneficiary of this fall in business. However last year, sterling rallied and we started to see a shift back to the Eurozone.” said a spokesman.

He continued: “January is traditionally the busiest single month for summer holiday bookings, particularly the family market and early booking indications to Greece are very positive with some of our members reporting booking levels not seen since 2009. However, if bookings are to hold strong it is essential that Greek suppliers do not respond to these positive signs, as they have in past years, by increasing prices.”

Find a wide range of Greek Villas on our main site, also lots of features on Greece for inspiration when planning your holiday!

Brits are creatures of habit
Jan 10th, 2013 by elisa

According to a new TravelVision survey, run in conjunction with the British Travel Awards, 33% of Brits are likely to return to a destination on holiday. View the rest of the story on our sister site, Holiday Cottages.cc

Wettest June increases holiday searches
Jul 6th, 2012 by elisa

Summer downpour picture by Flickr user emilio labrador

Summer downpour picture by Flickr user emilio labrador

 

It may not come as a surprise that operators are reporting an increase in sales this June, as it has been the wettest on record. This could coincide with the latest research which also revealed that Monday is the most popular day to search for a holiday online.

On the Beach claimed its European destinations bookings were up 20% year-on-year in the past fortnight. A similar rise in online searches has been reported by Thomson. An independent study for Thomas Cook earlier in the year found the one in five Brits are prompted to at least think about a holiday when it’s bad weather.

The statistics really are gloomy for this June’s weather, quite literally, as it’s been the second dullest June on record, with only 119.2 hours of sunshine, according to Met office figures. The Met office also recorded the wettest period from April to June since records began in 1910, and coolest June since 1991.

Head of online marketing at Thomson Nathan Timmins said: “Over the last month the Balearics, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Morocco have proved popular as Brits look to escape to sandy beaches, beautiful weather and resorts that they know and love.”

On the Beach marketing director Alistair Daly said : “The bad weather has clearly had a positive effect on Brits booking foreign holidays and we have seen a 20% rise in sales of holidays to destinations across Europe over the past couple of weeks.”

 

Has the weather prompted you to look at holidays? If so, be sure to check out our main site Villaseek for some beautiful getaways.

 

Online reviews – genuine or fake?
Mar 15th, 2012 by elisa

Do you believe online travel reviews for when you book to go on holiday? Despite an investigation by an advertising watchdog which told travel review site TripAdvisor that it could no longer claim to offer “trusted and honest reviews”, holidaymakers are still persuaded by online reviews.

TripAdvisor was told by the watchdog that it could not guarantee that customer feedback was genuine, and that although reviewers were asked to sign a declaration to state their views were real and they had no incentive or competitive interest to put a review on the site, “none-genuine” reviews could still appear.

The Advertising Standards Agency acknowledged that TripAdvisor uses “advanced and highly effective fraud systems”, but as this is not completely effective it also raises questions about other review sites which may not have so many systems in place. Despite all of this, according to the eTravel Benchmark study, 75% of consumers still think that the majority of travel reviews are ‘mostly genuine’, whilst 61% would be more likely to make a booking after reading a positive review.

The eTravel Benchmark study, carried out by eDigitalResearch, found the highest level of customer satisfaction in over two years.

Derek Eccleston, research director at eDigitalResearch said that sites that “support customers with a responsive and helpful telephone and email customer service repeatedly perform better than their rivals”.

What do you think? Do you book according to reviews? Do you regularly make sure to write a review after you have been away to help other holidaymakers?

2011 Round up
Jan 3rd, 2012 by elisa

Happy New Year to all our readers! Before we move on to this year’s news, here’s a round up of some of the biggest stories we covered on this blog in 2011, it certainly was an eventful year!

January started with the troubled BMI threatening to withdraw its Heathrow – Glasgow route after passenger charges at Heathrow were raised (this was confirmed a month later). Ryanair returned to Manchester with four new routes. And the political troubles in Egypt disrupted flights.

Spiraling conflict in Egypt caused complete cancellation of routes to popular holiday destinations in February. Meanwhile, Which? launched a super complaint on airline card fee charges,the cost of Qantas’ engine troubles were revealed, and airlines flying from the UK finally started to show clearer air fares.

March brought faster flight times under a deal signed by traffic controllers. But by far the biggest news of the month was the huge tsunami which hit Japan and led to re-routing of flights to avoid possible radiation risk, and advice to leave Tokyo.

A Skyscanner survey found Spain back in favour for British holidaymakers in April.

In May Belfast Airport started to charge for going for a cigarette break, and the ongoing battle between Unite and British Airways was finally settled!

More natural disasters happened in June with violent aftershocks in Christchurch, New Zealand and volcanic eruptions in Chile.

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal broke in July with airlines withdrawing their advertisements as a result.

In August research revealed the use of smartphones were ruining people’s holidays.

The Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand in September, where Wales’ hopes were dashed.

The first biofuel passenger flight took place in October, however green campaigners claimed it wasn’t as environmentally friendly as everyone thought.

Europe announced a ban on body scanners at airports in November, but the UK decided to go against the decision.

Finally, December saw 150mph winds hit parts of Scotland, which is where we are now at the start of 2012 as tremendous winds continue to batter the UK once more.

 

So, what travel news is in store for 2012? Keep up to date here!

 

St Lucia launches marketing campaign alongside The Bachelor UK
Sep 7th, 2011 by elisa

I had the misfortune to catch a bit of Channel 5’s new reality TV series, The Bachelor UK the other day. The premise is a gaggle of sunbathing pretty girls go on a series of dates with the rugby star, Gavin Henson, in a variety of beautiful locations around the world. At the end of each episode, Gavin looks torn as he has to decide which girls to keep, and which girl to eliminate in the quest for ‘true love’.

While the programme is not my cup of tea, it’s undeniable that it is set in some of the nicest places in the world. One of these, St Lucia, has decided to take advantage of this and launch a six week marketing campaign to coincide with the two episodes it’s featured in.

The creative focus will be on the island’s status as a romantic honeymoon destination using the banner Made for Romance. In addition, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board is launching a microsite on its website which will go live in mid September. It will allow on island hoteliers to upload added value coupons and discount vouchers to support the campaign.

Once a client has booked a holiday to Saint Lucia, agents and operators can send them to www.saintlucianow.co.uk to download the vouchers which can be redeemed on island or through their hotel.

The booking window is from 1st October 2011 to 31st January 2012 with travel from 1st October 2011 to 31st December 2012.

 

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