British Airways Increases Flights From London City

British Airways is expanding its aircraft fleet and route network at London City Airport where it is now officially the largest operator with the highest number of routes and customers.

The airline is to take delivery of another Embraer 190 in the late summer, bringing the total fleet size to 14 aircraft.

It will be used for new year-round flights to Venice and to increase frequency to the key business destinations of Frankfurt from March and Glasgow from September.

The new route means even more choice for customers wanting to take holidays in Venice, the gateway to Northern Italy, when the flights launch in September and there will be one extra flight a day to Frankfurt and Glasgow.

The news comes as British Airways is about to start brand new services from the Docklands airport to Mahon in Menorca, Quimper in Britanny and Angers in the Loire Valley in France from May.

As the airline continues to grow its network, passengers now have more choices of leisure destinations when they fly from London City on one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the business. A total of 22 destinations in the UK, Europe and the USA will be served by British Airways from London City Airport.

Peter Simpson, managing director British Airways wholly owned subsidiary airline BA CityFlyer, said: “We are very excited about the arrival of our 14th aircraft which will add frequency to existing business destinations and has opened up new flying possibilities to popular leisure destinations. Our customers love the quick and easy service at London City, just 15 minutes from curbside to airside, making the most of their valuable time.

“We have some very competitive all inclusive fares to all our destinations, which include a generous free 23kg luggage allowance, free on-line check-in and seat selection 24 hours before departure and complimentary food and drink on board.”

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British Airways Launch New London Gatwick To Nice Flights

British Airways has launched a new service to the city of Nice in the south of France from London Gatwick. The airline will fly to Nice three times a day and will boost its summer sun network. This is in addition to the seven daily flights from Heathrow and once a day service from London City airport.

Richard Tams, head of UK & Ireland sales and marketing, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to offer this extra service on a very popular route. Nice is the gateway to the South of France and now with flights from London Gatwick we are making the region even more accessible to customers.”

British Airways offers holidays to many of the well-known destinations in this region including holidays in Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Juan les Pins and the upscale Monaco.

Top hotels in the South of France include the 5 star Hotel Martinez in glamourous Cannes, famous for the Film Festival and long frequented by the rich and famous. The art deco hotel still attracts many movie stars and A-list celebrities with its first class service and two Michelin star restaurant. Travellers on a budget can head to the Comte de Nice hotel in beautiful Old Nice where colourful flower markets and the stylish beachfront Promenade des Anglais can be found. For the high rollers Monte Carlo is the perfect destination where the 5 star Farimont Monte Carlo welcomes the glitterati and minor royals of the beau monde. The hotel is nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the world renowned Casino of Monte Carlo, on the famous hairpin bend of Monaco’s legendary Grand Prix route.

British Airways also offer fly-drive packages to Nice with car hire from Avis giving customers the freedom to discover the south of France at leisure.

British Airways has recently invested in a new high-tech check-in area in London Gatwick’s North Terminal, which officially opened in October 2011. The new area boasts revolutionary self-help technology with a new bag tagging system making the journey time from check-in to airside much shorter which will help ease congestion, especially at peak times. The area has been a resounding success with positive feedback received from customers since the launch.

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Jumeirah Emirates Towers Celebrates 10th Anniversary of The Vertical Marathon

Jumeirah Emirates Towers, in association with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and in collaboration with the Red Crescent Society, is proud to announce details of one of Dubai’s most popular fundraising events – The Vertical Marathon.

Hundreds of men, women and children will ascend 265 metres up 1,334 stairs to the top of the 52 floor office tower at Jumeirah Emirates Towers on Friday, April 13th.

Organisers of the event, which has raised a total of AED 1,086,493 since its inception in 2002, have plans to make 2012 the most successful yet raising the largest amount of funds in the history of The Vertical Marathon.

Registration details can be found at www.dubaiverticalmarathon.org where participants are asked to make a minimum pledge of AED 500 per adult and AED 350 per child (17 and below), inclusive of a breakfast buffet. The registration deadline is 11th April 2012.

Move One and Talise Fitness at Jumeirah Emirates Towers are the main sponsors of the event, while other sponsors include Premier Timing, 100 Plus, Acqua Panna and Sport 360.

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Jumeirah Group Announces Internal Promotions To Senior Roles In Marketing

Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, has announced the promotion of Ross McAuley to the role of Vice President, Brand Marketing for Jumeirah Group and Shaf Butt as Director of Marketing for the Dubai Commercial Team.

Ross McAuley has been appointed as Vice President of Brand Marketing for Jumeirah Group. He joined Jumeirah Group in 2007, initially responsible for Marketing and Innovation across the whole of the Madinat Jumeirah Resort. Then, as Director of Marketing in Dubai, he successfully led the central marketing function for Jumeirah’s hotels and resorts in Dubai, including 70 restaurants and bars, convention and meeting facilities. Before joining Jumeirah, Ross held marketing and brand management positions for Sony UK in London and DHL Express Middle East based in Bahrain. A Scottish national, Ross has a degree in Law from Aberdeen University in Scotland. In his new role, Ross will be responsible for driving the Jumeirah brand promise globally and will be responsible for Brand Management and Customer Experience, Brand Marketing/Advertising, Guest Recognition and Loyalty, and the Brand Digital platform for the Jumeirah Group.

A British national, Shaf Butt has recently been promoted to the position of Director of Marketing for the Dubai Commercial Team. Shaf joined Jumeirah Group in 2007, initially responsible for Rooms Marketing at Madinat Jumeirah – The Arabian Resort. In 2009 he was promoted to Director of Marketing – Rooms for the Dubai hotels. Before joining Jumeirah, Shaf held key marketing positions for companies such as Carphone Warehouse in London, UK and Axiom Telecom in the Middle East. He holds a degree in Media from the University of Southampton, England. In this new role, Shaf will be responsible for leading the whole Dubai Marketing function for Jumeirah’s Hotels & Resorts in Dubai.

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Guoman & Thistle Hotels Launch Guest Rewards Scheme

Guoman & Thistle Hotels has launched a user-friendly rewards scheme, ‘Signature’, for guests staying at any of the group’s properties across the UK.

Signature is quick, free and easy for guests to join. Guests progress through Blue, Ruby and Gold membership tiers depending on how often they stay, to enjoy benefits such as a free Sunday lunch, priority / late check-out and free room upgrades.

The scheme is valid across any of the groups hotel’s including the newest member of the Guoman Hotels collection, the recently refurbished hotel, The Grosvenor Hotel.

The Signature Blue tier is open to all guests and is completely free to join. To qualify for the Signature Ruby tier, guests must stay at any Guoman or Thistle property for 4-10 nights across a maximum of two stays or more than eleven nights (across two stays) to become a Signature Gold member.

Signature Gold tier members receive all the rewards that Blue and Ruby tier guests receive as well as additional benefits such as complimentary tea and coffee at weekends, a dedicated check-in area and increased WI-FI usage. In all tiers, from time to time, members will receive exclusive offers and ‘unique treats’ as a thank you for staying with Guoman or Thistle.

Guests can enrol for the scheme and monitor their rewards points at www.guomansignature.com or www.thistlesignature.com.

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Kuoni Goes Back To The Shop Floor

Management at leading luxury tour operator, Kuoni, have been sent ‘back to the shop floor’ as part of an initiative to work with and support their chic new travel stores around the UK.

Kuoni’s management team were assigned a Kuoni store to work in for the day so they could experience what it’s like to be one of their Personal Travel Experts. The initiative aimed to connect management with customers ‘face to face’ to further ensure Kuoni is meeting customers’ holiday needs and expectations. The management also wanted to support the high street teams by swapping desks and business meetings for direct customer contact so they could share their travel knowledge.

Over the past three years Kuoni has invested heavily in a high-street retail presence, opening 21 boutique Kuoni travel stores. Each individually designed store is inspired by a wide range of exotic destinations and chic, stylish hotels. The stores showcase authentic artefacts from all over the world to give customers an immediate sense of foreign lands the moment they walk in. These include a knitted ‘meet and greet’ desk, eastern European rugs, Saki barrels, and oriental lamps based on traditional mosque lamps.

Mark Duguid, Kuoni head of market management (interim) commented: “Our knowledge, experience and the variety of destinations we’ve travelled to were a real asset when we went ‘back to the floor’. We all enjoyed engaging with customers and exchanging personal travel stories and experiences. There was a real buzz around the stores with managers participating by giving out leaflets and goodie bags throughout the day. Many new ideas and insights have come out of the initiative and we’re looking forward to making our store experiences even more unique and fulfilling for
customers.”

Dagmar Marrocco, Kuoni market manager commented on her day at the Kuoni Solihull store: “For me being in the shop brought the product to life. It reminds you that we don’t just sell a commodity. Our holidays fulfil dreams and are memorable experiences. Working on the shop floor is unpredictable – one minute it’s quiet and the next the shop is full of clients and the phones are ringing off the hook.”

Fiona Harris, Kuoni’s PR director who worked at High Street Kensington commented: “Its dynamic working on the shop floor. You never know who may walk in. It helps to be a good listener and combine this with good travel and destination knowledge.”

Mark Duguid added: “For me, working in the Bristol store, it was clear to see that our customers have an enormous affection for the brand and with it, very high expectations, which I am proud to say, were met in every case. Being able to handle any and every type of enquiry was something I was not prepared for. I was very impressed by the breadth of knowledge held by our Personal Travel Experts.

“I now appreciate the small details really do make all the difference.”

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Guoman Hotels Launches New Lifestyle Packages at the Royal Horseguards

Guoman Hotels’ five-star The Royal Horseguards has launched a range of new luxury lifestyle packages to suit everyone visiting London in 2012; the certified shopaholics, loved up couples and enthusiastic explorers.

The Royal Horseguards, in the heart of London, epitomises British refinement. The hotel is steeped in history and heritage and has presided over the Thames with grandeur for over 100 years. It is conveniently located in close proximity to Covent Garden, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square and The Strand making it the ideal base to spend a day exploring the best in shopping and cultural attractions that London has to offer.

The new range of lifestyle packages which are available to book now includes: Sophisticated Shopper – Shopaholics staying at the Royal Horseguards can head to the centre of the capital for an indulgent shopping stay. Guests can use a dedicated shopping map and get started with a £50 voucher for Liberty, one of London’s most fashionable department stores, and a Regent Street VIP card for some great discounts and offers. After all that shopping, guests can relax with a bottle of Champagne and ease aching feet with a Guoman foot care kit.

Romance on the River – Travellers can treat their loved ones to a romantic hotel break, a bouquet of roses and a luxury beauty gift set with this indulgent package. Couples can share a bottle of rosé Champagne and Champagne truffles while enjoying the lavish surroundings by the River Thames.

Glamour in The Tower – This package offers guests the ultimate in indulgent stays in the capital; they can enjoy a night in The Tower suite with views of the London Eye and the South Bank across the River Thames. The package includes bespoke bathrobes and slippers, delicious pastries and chocolates, a bottle of rosé Champagne, a luxury beauty gift set and rose petals at turndown.

An Eye for Luxury – Guests can look out across the capital with a Champagne ride on the London Eye before continuing to enjoy views of the River Thames from an executive king river view room while indulging in a selection of pastries and chocolates.

Ladies Only London – An ideal hotel break for mother and daughter or best girlfriends in the centre of London. Guests are offered dedicated London shopper’s maps, a £50 Liberty voucher and an indulgent Champagne afternoon tea. In addition, a VIP booking at one of a selection of lounges, restaurants and clubs in London is included.

London Revealed – This package offers guests a chance to fully explore of the capital, with a travel card and a London welcome pack available at the hotel. Travellers can climb onboard a Bateaux London cruise and enjoy a premier dinner whilst sailing down the River Thames before relaxing with a foot care kit. A beautiful London photo book will serve as a great way to remember the luxurious experience.

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Fourteen Films Make Their UK Premieres At The Inaugural Sundance London Film Festival

Fourteen films will make their UK premieres at the inaugural Sundance London festival which takes place at The O2 from 26th to 29th April 2012 when Robert Redford’s independent film festival comes to London for the first time. For film fanatics travelling to Greenwich for the event, the website LondonTown.com offers a convenient way to book one of the nearby hotels in London. With the London 2012 Olympics just sixteen weeks away, now is a good time to visit London before everything gets booked up!

In bringing the non-profit festival to the UK, Robert Redford, aims to deliver the “very best in current American independent cinema” through panel discussions, screenings and special events. The Hollywood actor and director, who founded the festival in 1981, will be one of the well known industry experts hosting panel discussions. He shares the indigO2 stage with esteemed producer T Bone Burnett for a discussion on music in film hosted by British novelist Nick Hornby. Further panel discussions are hosted by John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, and Clare Stewart, Festival Director of the London Film Festival.

On Saturday night, the HRH The Prince of Wales narrates a documentary film introduced by Robert Redford which will be followed by an extended Q&A with the filmmakers and invited guests who will talk about the environmental issues facing both the US and UK today.

In addition to film events the festival offers an exciting music programme which includes a performance by Tricky who will be appearing with vocalist/musician Martina Topley-Bird for the first time in 15 years to perform his award-winning debut album Maxinquaye. English rock band Placebo also perform live and are paired with filmmaker Charlie Targett-Adams for a screening of Coming Up For Air. On Sunday evening, Rufus and Martha Wainwright perform their mother’s work at the intimate indigO2 space following the world premiere of Lian Lunson’s loving homage to folk singer Kate McGarrigle.

All 11 screens at The O2 in Greenwich, including the largest screen in London, will be used for the film festival with eight short films adding to the 14 full length feature films. Among the short films will be the premiere of the winner of the Short Film Competition, a collaborative effort with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Ravensbourne College, in which UK-based filmmakers were invited to enter original pieces between three and five minutes in length around the theme ‘Story of Our Time’.

Sundance London Film and Music Packages are now available, individual film tickets, priced £11.50, will be on general sale from Wednesday 4th April. For more information about the Sundance London festival visit LondonTown.com, who offer a whole host of resources for London’s visitors, residents and tourists.

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World Shakespeare Festival Celebrates The World Famous Playwright On An Unprecedented Scale

With just 26 days to go until the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival, which begins on Monday 23rd April and runs until November 2012 as part of the London 2012 Festival, audiences can look forward to the biggest celebration of the world famous playwright ever staged. Thousands of artists from around the world will take part and anyone who wants to stay in London for the festival can book one of the London hotels on the website LondonTown.com where there’s a wide range of accommodation to choose from whether travelling for business, for the festival or on holiday.

It’s an ambitious project on a scale never seen before featuring collaborations with leading UK and international arts organisations and over a million tickets available for a programme which includes 23 brand new productions – 21 of which were commissioned specially for the festival. With almost 70 productions, events and exhibitions taking place across the UK, including London, the World Shakespeare Festival has something of interest for all ages and all nationalities.

In London, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is staging Globe to Globe in which 37 of Shakespeare’s plays are performed in 37 languages in six weeks. Further highlights include Nicholas Hytner directing Simon Russell Beale in Timon of Athens at the National Theatre, Michael Attenborough directing Jonathan Pryce in King Lear at the Almeida Theatre, and Gregory Doran – who will succeed Michael Boyd as Artistic Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, it has recently been announced – who stages a production of Julius Caesar at the Roundhouse.

Doran’s Julius Caesar is one of two Royal Shakespeare Company productions which will premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon during the summer and then transfer to London’s West End. Iqbal Khan’s Much Ado About Nothing, with Meera Syal in the leading role of Beatrice, will also transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre from August.

From 19th July, visitors to the British Museum will be treated to Staging the World, a major exhibition – complemented by a 20-part BBC Radio 4 series to be broadcast in April – which illustrates the emerging role of London as a world city 400 years ago through the perspective of Shakespeare’s plays.

There’s a grass roots aspect to the festival with over 260 amateur groups involving 7200 people (aged from 6 to 90) taking part in Open Stages, a project coordinated by the Royal Shakespeare Company and nine partner theatres. These amateur productions will be staged in castles, churches, parks and pubs, and some will perform at the RSC’s Stratford-upon-Avon home.

Thousands of teachers and young people will take also part in the festival which will create a legacy for young people through a number of projects including Worlds Together, an international conference that explores the influence of Shakespeare who is already studied by 50% of the world’s school children.

World Shakespeare Festival events are taking place across the UK, not only in London but also in Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-upon-Avon as well as Newcastle/Gateshead, Birmingham, Brighton, Wales and Scotland. For the full festival guide visit www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk and for more information on planning a trip to London visit LondonTown.com, a useful resource for visitors and local residents with listings on everything from Shakespeare to shopping. Find and book hotels and restaurants, and discover the best festivals and events happening in London this spring and summer.

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Eurostar Extends Summer Booking Horizon

Eurostar, the high speed passenger service between the UK and mainland Europe, has announced that it is extending its booking horizon by an extra four weeks this summer to cater for heightened demand.

Holidaymakers across the country can now book tickets from London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International to Paris, Brussels and Lille for travel until the 15 August rather than 15 July, which is the typical Eurostar four month booking horizon.

Summer 2012 is set to be a blockbuster year for European travel. With the London 2012 Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London, the 20th anniversary of Disneyland Paris and hundreds of music and cultural festivals throughout France and Belgium, the advice to holidaymakers is to book their trip early.

Nick Mercer, Commercial Director for Eurostar said: “The summer months are always our busiest for leisure travel and with so many exciting events happening across Europe, we expect this summer to be more popular than ever! This is why we’ve extended our summer booking horizon to five months and we’re encouraging travellers to book early to avoid disappointment.”

Tickets are available for travel from London St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International to Paris, Disneyland Paris, Brussels and Lille. When passengers arrive in their chosen destination their Eurostar ticket gives them much more than travel alone with a range of enticing ‘Eurostar Plus’ offers for museums and galleries, restaurants and shopping.

For more information, to check availability and to book Eurostar tickets visit www.eurostar.com or call 08432 186 186.

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Jumeirah Group Announces The Winner Of Its 2nd Arts And Culture Award For The Luxury Sector

Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, is proud to announce the winner of its second Arts and Culture Award winner, presented at the 16th Annual Luxury Briefing Awards, celebrating the best in the luxury industry and taking place last week at The Corinthia Hotel in London.

The Jumeirah Group Arts and Culture Award celebrates leading international enterprises that are supporting artists and advancing artistic practice through innovative creative collaborations in the business arena. The second instalment of the award went to Montblanc and its Young Artist World Patronage.

This unique project, created by Montblanc in 2004, gives young and up-and-coming artists a platform to present their name and talent to a broader public and the international art scene in particular. The concept is to have more than 330 Montblanc boutiques worldwide act as a gallery and exhibit simultaneously for a single artist with one particular artwork for a period of almost 6 weeks. Since 2004, Montblanc presented 18 young artists from all over the world.

The Luxury Briefing Awards also saw awards sponsored by leading luxury brands including Loewe, Swarovski, Escada, Barclays Wealth and Pernod Ricard.

Jumeirah Group has a strong dedication to the arts that is demonstrated through its global arts and culture platform. This platform includes ‘Artist in Residence’ programmes, international art fairs sponsorships as well as exhibitions and cultural initiatives in the Group’s resorts and 5 star hotels in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New York, Frankfurt, 5 star hotels in London, Shanghai and the Maldives.

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Macdonald Hotels’ Manager Encourages Jobseekers To Stand Out

The manager of a luxury resort in Shropshire this week offered his advice to jobseekers on how to make themselves stand out.

Terence Southward, the general manager at Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel Golf hotel in Shropshire said it was important to show initiative in the current climate.

“Our business is about personality, commitment and get-up-and-go so just putting in that little bit of extra effort can make all the difference,” he said.

Terence, a father of one, started his career at 21 waiting tables at Butlins but is now manager of the luxury hotel and golf resort on Tarporley Road, Whitchurch, part of the Macdonald Hotels & Resorts group which includes 40 hotels and resorts in the UK, including Manchester hotels.

The Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel Golf and Spa is well-known as one of the top 10 golf venues in the UK but it is also one of the most prestigious venues for weddings in Shropshire with a luxury spa and health club as well as conference facilities for up to 300 people.

It had been a quick rise to the top for the 39-year-old who simply knocked on restaurant doors until someone gave him the job he wanted after leaving the holiday park. He said it was this kind of dedication that could make the difference in the eyes of potential employers in 2012.

“It’s easy to put a letter in the post enquiring about employment but if someone with the right attitude walked into my hotel, I would give them a chance,” he said.

Before becoming general manager of Hill Valley, Terence worked his way up through the ranks, starting with waiting tables shortly after graduating from university.

Over the years he has worked in three and four star hotels throughout the North West – including in his hometown of Liverpool while it was the European Capital of Culture – and has managed the catering for the weddings of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen.

He believes the best managers are those who have experienced work at all levels of their industry.

“You understand the pressures your employees are under if you have done it yourself,” he said.

“The most important thing to me as general manager is attention to detail, the moment I walk into a hotel I will notice if the background music isn’t on, if a light bulb is broken or if the temperature isn’t quite right.

“They may sound like small things but they make a difference to customers and that is what concerns me.

“Every day you should come into work and ask what are we doing and how can we do it better?”

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London’s Trafalgar Square is transformed into an English garden for 2012’s St George’s Day Celebrations

London ‘s Trafalgar Square will be transformed into an English garden in honour of St George’s Day this April. The celebrations are part of the Mayor of London’s ‘summer like no other’ programme which sees a series of events – from sculptural soundscapes to floating opera – bringing unusual forms of entertainment to the capital in 2012.

For the official St George’s Day celebrations in London , the mayor has called on the services of an award-winning horticulturalist to create raised flower beds around the famous Trafalgar Square fountains – next to the new boy on a rocking horse sculpture – just for the day on Saturday 21st April 2012.

Visitors may find themselves moved to hum ‘in an English country garden’ as they walk around the square where they can discover pop-up gardening installations supplied by Pimping Your Pavement and Mobile Gardeners. For the green-fingered who want to get their hands dirty there’s the chance to grow your own with help from the experts on hand.

Live music is performed under the ornamental bandstand by buskers from this year’s GIGS competition and will include acts as varied as Beatbox Academy , Big Phat Brass, and Londoners The Lorelles and the Robbie Boyd Band. There’s also the chance to sing along to well-known English classics thanks to the Brick Lane Music Hall , the UK ‘s only fully functioning music hall.

Best of British street entertainers will be walking among the crowd and there are ample activities encouraging visitors to get involved including English rose making origami, horticultural talks as well as face painting and a garden treasure trail for children.

For visitors coming to London for the free St George’s Day event, or one of the many other events taking place in honour of England’s patron saint across the city, the website LondonTown.com can provide a London hotel that will fulfil all your requirements, whether you are coming to town for a family day out or planning to meet friends – the wide range of accommodation has something to suit all budgets and tastes.

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Strong Kenyan team and Olympic hopefuls line up for Virgin London Marathon

With just a month to go until the Virgin London Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 22nd April 2012, sports commentators will be paying special attention to the famous 26.2 mile race which takes on a special significance as Olympic hopefuls aim to achieve qualifying times which will put them in the running for the Olympic marathons in August.

One of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, the London marathon attracts 30,000 runners who are cheered on by many more thousands of spectators and for anyone travelling from outside London for the event the website LondonTown.com offers a comprehensive choice of hotels in London all along the marathon route which starts at Greenwich and Blackheath and finishes at The Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

Defending the men’s title will be last year’s winner Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai whose biggest challenge comes from world record holder and fellow countryman Patrick Makau. Kenyan runners won all six World Marathon Majors races last year and they’re looking equally strong for the London marathon with double world champion Abel Kirui and Frankfurt champion Wilson Kipsang, three-times London champion Martin Lel, and Vincent Kipruto, the world silver medallist in Daegu, joining Mutai and Makau.

In the women’s race, Britain’s hopes will be pinned on Paula Radcliffe who will take on Kenyan Mary Keitany, last year’s Virgin London Marathon champion and one of the favourites for gold this summer.

For Team GB, the 29-year-old Londoner Scott Overall, whose Berlin performance was the best run by a British man at a major marathon since Jon Brown was fourth at the 2004 Olympics, will be pacemaker for British men hoping to gain Olympic qualifying times.

Alongside the serious athletes are keen amateurs and those raising money for charity. Over half a billion – a record £51.8 million – was raised for good causes at last year’s race, the largest annual fundraising event in the world. This year’s official charities are the Prostate Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Care with many more charities represented.

The route, which passes through Surrey Quays, Tooley Street and Canary Wharf takes in many of London ‘s spectacular sights including the Tower Of London, Tower Bridge and Parliament Square to finish on The Mall by the Queen’s London home, Buckingham Palace.

For information about how you can run and raise money for charity go to www.virginlondonmarathon.com. For further information on all events happening in London in 2012 go to LondonTown.com where previews of all the sporting action, theatre and art exhibitions, tours and family days out are listed along with useful information on restaurant and hotel reservations, whether you prefer to book online or over the phone.

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Las celebraciones del día de San Jorge vuelven a Tafalgar Square

El evento oficial de Londres para el Día de San Jorge tendrá lugar en Trafalgar Square el sábado 24 de abril, dos días antes del día del santo patrón.

Trafalgar Square se transformará en un jardín inglés para esta celebración, con grupos en directo, actores callejeros y puestos de comida durante toda la tarde.

En conjunto con este evento se celebra una serie de actividades en torno a Shakespeare en el Globe. Los interesantes talleres y entretenidos juegos interactivos para niños darán vida a la obra del famoso dramaturgo que nació el Día de San Jorge en 1564 (y en el que murió en su 52 cumpleaños en 1616).

LondonTown.com, la principal web de hoteles y eventos de la capital, contribuirá para que los visitantes a Londres durante el fin de semana de San Jorge pasen una estancia memorable al ofrecer grandes descuentos en hoteles en Londres seleccionados cerca de Trafalgar Square.

The Trafalgar Hotel London, uno de los mejores y más céntricos hoteles de Londres, ofrece un descuento del 84% –o 119 libras por noche– en las habitaciones dobles al reservarlas con LondonTown.com. The Trafalgar Hotel está a tan solo un par de minutos de Trafalgar Square.

También está muy cerca el Club Quarters Trafalgar Square en Northumberland Avenue. Este elegante hotel del siglo XVIII tiene una ubicación inmejorable y ofrece dobles deluxe por 129 libras la noche, una reducción del 69% de su precio normal.

Visite LondonTown.com para informarse sobre las celebraciones del Día de San Jorge y ver más hoteles con descuento en Londres.

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Butlins Butlers at Bognor Regis!

The six butlers will be at Ocean Hotel’s guests’ beck and call to do anything from serving you breakfast in bed to organising your whole day with the kids.

Wearing hot pink and navy uniforms with tails and top hats, the butlers are available from Easter, for Easter breaks and other UK breaks at the Hotel on the West Sussex coast.

Butlins Operations Director, Mike Crowther, said: “We’re sure the butlers will be a huge hit with guests, adding that extra bit of luxury to our premier hotel.

“Our families deserve to be spoiled when they come on holiday and we will be able to give them a taste of star treatment. Having a butler serve you breakfast in bed will be very popular especially with mums and dads – a real treat.”

The butlers will be on hand to welcome guests and take them on a tour of the resort, book activities for families such as archery and fencing, arrange picnics and book dinner reservations at all the resort restaurants including Turner’s, Brian Turner’s restaurant.

Mike added: “Families want to make the most of their holiday and not waste a moment. So, as the butlers know the resort, numerous activities and entertainment so well, they can tailor-make individual itineraries.”

The team of butlers will have their own concierge desk inside the Ocean entrance, and most of their duties will be free of charge, with just a £2 per person tray charge for breakfast in bed.

Another exciting addition to the Bognor Regis resort is Wave Hotel and Apartments which launches this summer next to the Ocean and Shoreline Hotels. The new £25m hi-tech accommodation has 29 spacious self-catered apartments as well as 215 hotel rooms.

For the ultimate experience it offers kids bunks with their own built-in TV, inter-connecting rooms, a Kindle library, 3D gaming room, and lots more
future-proofed features.

To book a family holiday or other UK break, visit www.butlins.com or call 0845 070 4730.

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British Adults Fail The National Geography Test

BRITONS may know all about the beaches of St Kitts and the lavish nightlife of Monte Carlo but they have little idea about the geography of their home nation, new national research has shown.

While their children are busy leafing through revision notes in order to sit their geography GCSE exams this Spring, more than one in five British adults (20.6%) admit they do not know how many countries are actually in the UK.

In a year of national pride, which sees London play host to the Olympic Games and the Queen launch nationwide celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee, more than half of British adults (58.6%) confessed they believe Mount Everest, Ben Nevis and Snowdon are actually in England, according to the research* by luxury tour specialists Journeys of Distinction.

Staggeringly, more than a third of the nation (33.8%) believes the Home Counties circle Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow, according to the research.

Ten per cent of those polled have no idea that the huge Angel of the North is even in the UK, let alone in the north-east of England.

And almost a quarter of Brits think Australia’s iconic Ayers Rock is actually in Britain, while one in 20 confessed they had absolutely no clue that Stonehenge is also based here in Britain.

Astonishingly, one in five Brits confessed they don’t know where in the UK Britain’s legendary seaside resort, Blackpool, is located. And the majority (53%) have no clue where Balmoral Castle is based.

Almost a third of the nation (32.3%) don’t know that Canterbury, home to the world famous Canterbury Cathedral, is based in the county of Kent.

Many experts believe that advances in technology and the easy availability of online search engines which provide instant answers to any question anywhere, any time, means that people now don’t need to store geographical information like they did in the last century.

The recession also means that British householders are tending to travel less – often now on just one holiday a year – which means UK trips are often abandoned in favour of Caribbean beaches or Alpine ski resorts and, thus, first –hand geographical knowledge of their home nation is immediately hindered.

Karen Gee, managing director of Journeys of Distinction, said: “We were astounded that while Britons clearly have an enviable and broad general knowledge of famous cities abroad – New York, Paris, Rome and many others – they seem to display a lack of geographical awareness when it comes to their own nation.

“It’s such a shame because the UK has so many national treasures for people to experience, right here on their doorstep.

“That’s why we launched our Journeys of Distinction Best of the UK Tour – to highlight these amazing places and incredible experiences existing right under our noses and to show people that they don’t have to travel abroad to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.”

*Research based on a poll of 2,000 British citizens, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Journeys of Distinction in February 2012.

Via EPR Network
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America’s Favorite family fun park announces the opening of outdoor attractions

Gentlemen and ladies too! … START YOUR ENGINES! Step into a fast and hair-raising ride as you race your way around our 1,100-foot long, 30-foot-wide track of hair-pinned and S-turns.

America’s Action Territory’s go kart track was MADE FOR RACING and since the weather in Chicago has been so nice, the park manager has now opened the outside attraction along with it’s 18 whole, multi-level mini golf and batting cages. One of the fastest go kart tracks around, Kenosha’s Action Territory has a multi-level track that weaves around featuring Grand Prix action and hairpin turns for thrilling, fast-paced racing for the whole family. Tap into your enthusiasm for the thrill of the race and speed your way through a Daytona-like adventure for hours of fun! and now for a limited time unlimited rides for $20 ( plus Tax). But that’s not all – Your $20 dollar wrist band includes unlimited mini golf, laser tag and the new disco themed bumper car. Go kart drivers nine years old and 54 Inches can drive alone, younger patrons can ride with adults. A savings of almost $8 per person!

Open Year round, Action Territory is a premier family fun center serving patrons from both sides of the state line, Wisconsin & Illinois, just a few minutes from Gurnee Illinois where the famous Six Flags facility is located. The facility is considered home the area’s best birthday parties and now open for corporate fun as well. The location recently opened The Action Eatery Beer & Wine bar serving many local favorite drink specials including a Frozen drink bar featuring Strawberry margarita, Pina Colada, Hurricane Run Runner and Strawberry Swirl Pine Calada for $4.25.

The Action Eatery features something for everyone, Whether it’s pizza, sandwiches, hot dogs or burgers, the Action Territory Eatery has probably the most diverse collection of casual cuisine around, plus all sorts of meal-deal specials and big-party feeders to satisfy your hunger and your budget. The homemade PIZZA special FOR 4 is sure to please with a Large Pizza, 6 Breadsticks, & a Pitcher of Soda for $19.75 and is perfect to eat in – or take out.

The venue can manage groups from eight to 800 with overnight rental and multiple day events. Inside, the private party rooms encircle the huge 15,000 Sqr foot complex to keep you right in the action plus the facility includes FREE Wi-Fi and free parking, including free bus parking. During summer hours, Action’s party planners can plan arrange you event outside on the 12 acre park property. Set up a tent or plan to have a band, the party experts can help you plan for all ages. Action Territory has it all on site, indoor and outdoor activities, plus the meeting facilities you need to manage your groups activities and family fun. Free Admission year round, this is a perfect stop for the whole family.

Action Territory America’s favorite family fun park is located less then an hour from Chicago, Illinois and the best plans for things to do with kids in the area. Log-on for attraction information http://ActionTerritory.com America’s Action Territory 12345 75th Street Kenosha, WI 53140 ~ P: 262 857-7000 Current hours are Thursday 4-8pm, Friday 4-10pm, Saturday 11am-1opm, Sunday 11am-8pm But during the spring school break the park will be open Thursday April 5th – 4pm-9pm, Friday April 6th – 12pm-10pm, Saturday April 7th – 11am-10pm, Closed Sunday for Easter, reopening Monday April 9th through Friday April 13th -Noon -10pm, Saturday April 14th – 11am-10pm and Sunday April 15th -12pm-8pm – then returning to the regular winter hours. Families are invited to enjoy the park with ALL DAY with unlimited access to indoor and outdoor activities when they purchase the wrist band.

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Radisson Blu Hotel Kiev to join Earth Hour movement

Radisson Blu Hotel Kiev has announced that it will join the Earth Hour worldwide movement on 31 March, 2012 at 8:30 pm and will switch off the hotel’s lights and illumination. By this action, the hotel joins the efforts of many other organizations around the world to draw attention to the worldwide issue of global warming.

In March 2007 in Sydney, Australia, 2.2 million individuals turned their lights out for one hour for the first time to take a stand against climate change. Electricity production, along with excessive usage of natural resources, results in emissions of greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. Each year more and more individuals, organizations, cities and countries are joining the movement with Earth Hour 2011 seeing hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour.

Radisson Blu Hotel Kiev was one of the first business organizations in Ukraine that supported the Earth Hour movement. Since 2009, the last Saturday of March is when the hotel hosts a series of events that aims to draw the attention of guests and employees to the climate challenges facing the planet. The activity which has the greatest impact and involves everyone in the hotel is the switching off of the lights in all guestrooms and public areas. The hotel is lit with candles and each of the two on site restaurants turn into the most romantic places.

This year, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Kiev is involved in the event again and has prepared an intensive program for its guests whereby visitors to Mille Miglia Italian Restaurant will experience and join the Earth Hour program by ordering the special set menu of three fabulous dishes cooked without electricity.

To make participation in Earth Hour both interesting and informative, there is an invitation to guests and visitors to the K-Largo culinary master class “Cooking with Love to save our Planet”. All dishes will be prepared without electricity and the class offers interesting ideas how to create tasty, healthy food while respecting the environment. Guests will be assured that cooking without electricity does not sacrifice nutrition or taste and the attendees will be able to try their hand at cooking their own culinary masterpieces.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv is conveniently located in the business and historical city center. It features 255 rooms of Kiev accommodation in 3 unique design styles. Guests can unwind either in the award winning Italian Mille Miglia restaurant, or in the K-Largo Lounge Lobby or experience the fabulous Super Breakfast Buffet. Conveniently located on the ground floor the hotel’s Kiev conference facilities span over 407 m. sq. including an Embassy Suite to accommodate 250 people based in reception and four boardrooms for business meetings. The hotel’s fitness center features a gym, sauna and steam room, different massage types, and a solarium.

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Radisson Blu Hotel Prague Restaurant Awarded First Michelin Star

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced that the Radisson Blu Hotel Prague’s fine dining restaurant, “The Alcron”, been awarded its first Michelin star. The intimate restaurant featuring just 24 seats is headed by Czech chef Roman Paulus and offers an exclusive menu focused on fish and seafood.

“We are very proud of Roman Paulus and his professional, dedicated team. Michelin honors the best of the best only and “The Alcron” is a true jewel where our guests enjoy food and hospitality of outstanding quality”, said Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of the Rezidor Hotel Group that operates the hotel.

“The Alcron” opened its doors in 1932 and soon became a favourite venue for celebrities such as writer Frederick Forsyth, French cabaret owner Maurice Chevalier, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and Czech athlete Emil Zatopek. Much like the Radisson Blu Prague hotel itself, the elegant dining room is designed in Art Déco style. It features an original fireplace from the 1930s and wall paintings of dancing couples by Tamara de Lempicka.

Chef Roman Paulus, who has worked in famous kitchens like at The Savoy in London and on board the legendary cruise liner “Queen Elizabeth II” before joining “The Alcron” four years ago, firmly believes in perfect, fresh ingredients and excellent service: “Food must have taste and be fun at the same time”, he said.

Together with David Patek, Food & Beverage Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel Prague, Paulus has put together a carefully selected, rigorously trained and highly creative team at “The Alcron”.

“To have the right attitude and ambitions is crucial for us. We cannot work with people who are willing to make a soup out of instant powder”, he commented.

Located in the heart of the Golden City, the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel Prague is just steps away from famous attractions such as Old Town Square, Prague Castle, Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. A lavish, avant-garde accommodation when it opened in 1932, the hotel’s historic features have been meticulously restored, preserving details like glittering chandeliers, rich Italian marble and creamy milk glass. All 206 guest rooms retain the grace and elegance of a bygone era while offering modern conveniences, such as free high-speed internet access, LCD flat-screen televisions, Nespresso coffee machines and state-of-the-art online entertainment systems.

Via EPR Network
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