Eurostar Announces Winners Of Ashden Award For Sustainable Travel

Eurostar has announced that Norfolk-based car-sharing organisation, liftshare, and the Belgian city of Ghent’s cycling programme have beaten off stiff competition from over 120 sustainable travel initiatives across the UK, France and Belgium to win the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.

The winners were selected against four other finalists for the ground-breaking ways in which they encourage people to think differently about how they travel. liftshare and Ghent City Council will now share £30,000 in prize money to further their work to promote sustainable travel.

liftshare was chosen as a winner for its tireless efforts to fill empty car seats on the roads, via its online car-sharing network, which offers a friendlier, greener and cheaper way to travel. liftshare stood out to the judges because of the breadth of its initiatives to promote car-sharing including; a free-to-use public car-sharing network for individuals, and tailor-made paid for schemes for local authorities, organisations and businesses which they then provide free to their users. This strategy, combined with creative marketing and innovative product development, has attracted over 332,000 active liftshare members, with 1 in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the network. Liftshare helps remove around 100,000 journeys from the UK’s roads each day, which will cut 113,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, this year alone.

Ghent City Council was selected for its far-reaching mobility plan, which is designed to get more people cycling. Their approach, which includes the creation of a car-free city centre, extensive safety initiatives and investment in creative marketing support, impressed the judging panel. As a result of these efforts, Ghent has transformed from a city with high levels of traffic congestion to a clean, tranquil and safe cycling city, where two wheels take priority over four.

Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar Chief Executive said: “We were delighted by the breadth and quality of all the entries into our first sustainable travel awards, making it a difficult decision to select both the finalists and the overall winners. liftshare and Ghent City Council stood out to us as winners for their innovative approach in helping to transform the way people think about travelling. By celebrating their achievements we hope to inspire more people to consider the environment when making their own travel choices.”

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of Ashden added: “liftshare’s achievements are very impressive: with 1 in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the liftshare network a huge number of car miles are being saved, resulting in phenomenal carbon savings.

“The city of Ghent has made cycling safe, easy and pleasurable through its excellent cycling infrastructure, innovative marketing campaigns and well thought-through cycling support, from rentals and repairs at stations through to providing gloves for when it’s cold.”

Eurostar, in partnership with Ashden, launched the Sustainable Travel Award in 2011 to celebrate and support local sustainable travel projects across the UK, France and Belgium. The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel forms part of Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme to reduce the business’s impact on the environment and encourage people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport.

About Eurostar
Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps. Eurostar runs a London to Amsterdam train, travelling via the Channel tunnel, as well as Amsterdam city breaks. Eurostar also offers cheap Paris tickets for those wanting to enjoy Paris city breaks.

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British Airways launches new flights from London City

British Airways is serving up a feast of six new flights from London City Airport this summer with the first of the new services taking off to Mahon in Menorca.

The airline will complete its Balearic Islands portfolio, launching flights to Mahon in Menorca. British Airways launched highly successful services to Majorca and Ibiza from the Docklands airport for the first time two years ago.

Other cities served direct from the Docklands will include Angers in the Loire Valley, Quimper in Brittany, Venice in Italy, the Isle of Man and Aberdeen

The addition of the new routes means a total of 23 destinations in the UK, Europe and the USA will be served by British Airways from London City Airport. As the airline continues to grow its network customers have more choice to more business and leisure destinations, flying on one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the business.

Luke Hayhoe, general manager commercial said: “We are very excited about the launch of the new routes, most of which are completely new destinations for London City Airport and offer our customers even more holiday choices. We’re sure that these new routes coupled with British Airways’ all inclusive fares and London City’s unique 20 minute check-in time with luggage will be a hit this summer.”

British Airways offers all inclusive fares to all 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.

British Airways also offers holidays from London City including holidays in Menorca. The four-star Port Ciutadella hotel in a great location on the west coast of the island and close to a selection of restaurants and shops, while the three-star Carema Club Playa aparthotel is right on the beach and offers families great value and the perfect base to explore.

In Angers, British Airways offer a range of hotels in the Loire Valley from the three-star Mercure Angers Centre Foch to the four-star de France Angers hotel which is a few minutes stroll from the famous city castle.

Fly-drive holidays to Quimper make discovering the Brittany region even easier. The historic town is picturesque with grand buildings and museums and medieval gardens and a great place to begin a holiday to the region.

The new London City flights are now available on www.ba.com.

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Etihad Airways renews Sport Australia Hall of Fame sponsorship

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has renewed its sponsorship of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame until June 2015.

The three-year extension of the sponsorship, which commenced in July 2009, will see the airline continue to support Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s work to promote outstanding sporting achievement in Australia and inspire future generations.

As the major sponsor of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Etihad Airways will also be the presenting partner of the organisation’s Annual Induction and Awards Dinner.

The airline will also provide air travel to young athletes under the age of 21, who have qualified for the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Mentoring Program, in order to help further overseas training and competition experience.

James Hogan, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Australia has a proud history of sporting excellence and achievement. Renewing our sponsorship of Sport Australia Hall of Fame allows both organisations to continue promoting their common goals of outstanding performance and achievement, and to recognise and support the next generation of Australian sporting legends.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and to finding new and exciting ways to develop the partnership.”

John Bertrand AM, Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chairman, said: “The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is the most prestigious sporting institution in Australia. Its members represent 200 years of Australia’s sporting excellence. Etihad Airways is one of the great airlines of the world. Put simply, the partnership between the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Etihad Airways is excellence combined with excellence.”

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Celebrate festival season with the Oriental

Visit Brighton this month and you’ll find a city full of life. The city’s May festival programmes have blossomed this year with outstanding line-ups for a broad spectrum of tastes. To participate in the festivities, city-centre-based boutique hotel the Oriental is running offers on midweek stays, giving guests the chance to experience a slice of Brighton’s famous festival scene.

With events from 3 to 27 May, the Brighton Festival this year is directed by Vanessa Redgrave. Redgrave has selected a programme of stimulating events, including a lecture from Alain de Botton, theatrical performances from Circus Klemzer and a classical concert from the Jerusalem Quartet.

One of the great pleasures of visiting Brighton while the festival is running is stumbling upon new events taking place throughout the city. Art exhibitions are being held at the Oriental, taking inspiration from the popular Open House movement that is part of the growing Fringe Festival.

Before it was a boutique Brighton hotel for guests seeking a stylish place to sleep, the Oriental was home to the famous Brighton Belle nightclub, a hangout for musicians and artists. Drawing on this artistic heritage, the Oriental displays year-round exhibitions, which include paintings, photography and jewellery by talented artists from around the world.

Brighton’s thriving live music scene draws music lovers throughout the year, and the Oriental provides a warm welcome to those looking to dance the night away. The Great Escape festival of new music is held from 10 to 12 May. Notorious for being a wild and exciting experience for music enthusiasts, a three-day weekend ticket gives guests access to 300 bands playing at 30 venues. This year’s acts include the Temper Trap and Maximo Park.

About The Oriental
Housed in a Grade II listed Regency building just moments from Brighton’s best landmarks, guests staying at the Oriental are treated to a truly unique experience. The hotel is recommended in the Guardian and Lonely Planet and is also listed in The World’s Best City Hotels for £100 or less. With seasonal deals available throughout the year, the Oriental is the winter, spring, summer or autumn special offer hotel Brighton visitors love to stay with again and again.

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British Airways Jubilee Jumbo takes flight

One of British Airways’ fleet of 747s is now featuring a very special emblem to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The celebratory aircraft will be flying its message of congratulations around the world.

Designed by 11-year-old Blue Peter winner, Katherine Dewar from Chester, the official logo has been emblazoned on the side of the British Airways aircraft alongside the words, “Congratulations, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee”.

Katherine Dewar said: “Since winning the competition, its been like a dream come true to see my design in so many different places around the UK but I never expected to see it on a huge jumbo plane.

“I love going on holiday to Florida and hope the next time I do I’ll be lucky enough to fly on this plane so I can look out the window at my design.”

British Airways’ Captain Mark Mannering-Smith said: “As the national flag carrier I can’t think of anything more fitting than British Airways carrying a message of congratulations to Her Majesty around the world.”

Customers travelling on flights arriving into London over the Jubilee weekend (June 2-5, 2012) will hear British Airways captains making congratulatory announcements to mark the occasion.

In British Airways’ Heathrow lounges, customers will be offered a regal afternoon tea, including a selection of traditional British sandwiches, sweet treats and a special Jubilee blend of tea from Twinings.

Premium customers in the Business and Concorde lounges will be invited to raise a glass to toast Her Majesty with a champagne cocktail, ‘Pimms Royale’, or the award-winning English sparkling wine, Balfour Brut.

For those looking for some pre-flight pampering, there’s also a selection of Jubilee treatments at the Terminal 5 Elemis Spa exclusively for British Airways’ First, Club World and Gold Executive Club members. These customers will be able to choose from four ‘Royal Therapies’ and massage treatments, including Royal Rose facials, hand treatments and musclease foot and body workouts.

British Airways offer holidays in London with a range of hotels to choose from including great value budget hotels to luxurious five star hotels and apartments in central London.

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Redspottedhanky.com and Masabi Launch Windows Phone 7 UK Rail Ticketing App

redspottedhanky.com, the award winning online travel retailer, has announced the launch of its ground breaking Windows Phone 7 ticketing app for UK Rail.

Developed by Masabi, the mTicketing transport technology pioneer, the redspottedhanky app allows travellers to search for train times, buy UK rail tickets and earn loyalty points whilst not being charged any booking, card or delivery fees. It also boasts displayable mTickets on certain routes, eliminating the need for many passengers to queue at ticket machines.

Windows Phone users can now quickly and easily search for and buy train tickets and earn loyalty points without paying any booking fees, with repeat purchases now being even faster, requiring only a few key presses. mTickets are supported on certain routes in the form of 2D barcodes. Where mTickets are not available, customers can collect their tickets using a booking reference number at most UK rail stations. The application also has the option to link purchases to the user’s web account, giving them a single convenient place to view all purchases, or print out receipts for expenses claims.

“Windows Phone handsets like the Nokia Lumias offer the consumer a truly beautiful smartphone experience. At Masabi, we are delighted to be able to now cater for this new group of mobile users and ensure that those who opt to travel by rail, have access to an application that enables them to completely bypass ticket machines,” said Giacomo Biggiero, CEO of Masabi. “We are extremely pleased to be working with redspottedhanky.com to be the first to bring this innovative service to Windows users.”

All transactions are secured using Masabi’s award-winning, US government certified, encryptME security system that will ultimately support phone-based contactless technology, such as NFC, once it is widely available on handsets.

The app is available from Windows Phone Marketplace at http://www.windowsphone.com/en-GB/apps/6b052ccd-273a-4548-9ba3-3c5f218f2a8c.

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Macdonald Hotels and Resorts scoops two prestigious awards at Scottish Hotel Awards

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has received the Breakfast of the Year Award – Group Hotel category at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2012 in Glasgow. This success comes just weeks after the 45-strong hotel group secured for the second time in three years the title of Best Breakfast at the Menu Innovation and Development Awards (MIDAS) in London.

In 2011, the hotel group invested over £120,000 to further improve the quality of its breakfast menu and presentation. In addition to healthy organic mueslis and fresh fruit, business guests can enjoy a nutritious breakfast menu that includes free-range meats, eggs and Freedom Foods approved Scottish smoked salmon. Milk is sourced from the award-winning, Graham’s The Family Dairy.

Alan Swinson, Catering Director of Macdonald Hotels, commented: “For business travellers and conference delegates alike, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and for busy professionals sets them up for the day ahead. When staying with any Macdonald Hotel, whether the guest takes breakfast in the hotel restaurant, in their meeting room or from the comfort of their bedroom, they will always be able to savour a high quality breakfast, packed with goodness, freshness and taste, prepared using only the finest and freshest produce.

“Our skilled chefs are passionate about maintaining the highest quality of food offering and can all take great pride in playing their part in securing these latest industry accolades.”

The commitment in quality of ingredients sourced and used by Macdonald Hotel & Resorts is carried across the hotel groups. This ensures all conference delegates, whether at the 750 capacity Macdonald Inchyra Hotel in central Scotland, Macdonald Berystede Hotel near Ascot or the 1000 capacity conference centre at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, enjoy wholesome, nutritious food to stay energised throughout their meeting.

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Guoman and Thistle Hotels Launch Mobile Site For On-The-Go Travellers

Guoman and Thistle Hotels has announced the successful launch of its mobile-optimized sites, allowing travellers on-the-go to search and book hotel rooms from their mobile phones. Both mobile sites were created by leading technology platform Usablenet, one of the driving forces behind mobile commerce in UK and Europe.

The two mobile have seen a 25% increase in visits since their launch. Both sites feature a slick design with HTML5 capabilities specifically tailored for the best mobile browsing experience, making the site very easy to use and quick to navigate.

Features include:
Book a Hotel: Users can book a room at any of Thistle’s 32 hotels and Guoman’s 5 destination properties from any web-enabled mobile device. Calendar overlays make it easy to choose dates from a calendar without loading extra pages.

View Offers: Allows prospective guests to find special offers on accommodations, dining, or meetings and events, all searchable by city, hotel, or type of offer, and easy to book from a mobile.

Hi-Resolution Image Galleries and Videos: Viewing property images is highly important to travelers deciding where to stay. The mobile sites feature scrolling image carousels of the hotel properties, rooms and facilities, aiding users in their decision when booking hotels or meeting rooms.

Find a Hotel: View the entire collection of hotels under the Guoman and Thistle group, or use the Find Hotels Near Me feature that utilizes geo-location services.

My Reservations: Allows users to easily view and cancel existing reservations from their phone.

Advanced Navigation: Expandable and collapsible menus make it easy to navigate the site without loading extra pages making it a fast browsing experience for people on-the-go

Mithu Sengupta, eCommerce Director from Guoman and Thistle Hotels said: “The mobile channel has become an important travel planning and booking channel worldwide, especially for local and last minute searches. It was very important for us to have a mobile site that reflects our brand and provides the best experience for our customers with rich-media content and videos. We partnered with Usablenet to create a mobile site that caters to the traveller’s needs and understands what their user journey would be when accessing our websites via mobile phones. We are very happy with the response we had from our customers who have been on our mobile site and who have stated that we have provided them a seamless transition between mobile, tablets and desktops to effectively assist them in their travel plans.”

“Thistle and Guoman were very committed to providing the best user experience for their customers. Whether you’re a business traveler or a leisure traveler, customers can easily view and book rooms, and manage their hotel reservations easily via the mobile site,” said Nick Taylor, CEO of Usablenet. “With the rapid growth of travel bookings via mobile increasing each year, they understand the importance of the mobile channel and are proving to be true leaders in the space.”

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London Celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the Biggest Flotilla in 350 Years

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will be the most spectacular event marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. On Sunday 3 June more than 1,000 boats, ships, kayaks, rafts and canoes will take to the River Thames for a seven and a half mile long flotilla to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Continuing a royal tradition, spanning close on 500 years, this flotilla will be the biggest the Thames has seen in more than 350 years.

The first royal flotilla was held to celebrate the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533; this year the flotilla will mark 60 years since Queen Elizabeth II took to the throne.

Travelling from Putney Bridge in the west to Tower Bridge in the east this special Diamond Jubilee Pageant is expected to draw crowds of up to one million spectators. The route along the Thames will be lined with giant screens allowing spectators to keep up with the action along the entire route.

A full programme, including key timings and information about the boats taking part, can be found on LondonTown.com.

For families, the Diamond Jubilee Festival at Battersea Park will be a safer, less crowded place to watch the flotilla progress along the Thames . Further entertainment including an old steam fairground, outdoor cinema, fete and storytelling will be provided. More information is available on LondonTown.com.

So visitors can enjoy all the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations throughout the long weekend, LondonTown.com has secured discounts at a range of London hotels close to all the action. For example, LondonTown.com has the three-star Holiday Inn Express London-Victoria from £89 per room, per night thanks to securing a 70% discount. The Thistle Marble Arch Hotel has had room rates cut by 91% thanks to LondonTown.com, so prices now start at £90 per night. More information about both of these hotels and others on offer can be found on LondonTown.com.

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LondonTown.com Reveals Three of the Best Diamond Jubilee Events for Families

Dozens of events are taking place over the extended weekend surrounding the Diamond Jubilee and LondonTown.com has the low-down on the best three events for families. Celebrating all things British and warming up for the London 2012 Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee series of events are not to be missed.

The Jubilee Family Festival on 2 and 3 June in Hyde Park is designed with children in mind. Hosted by Sainsbury’s, this two-day festival is designed to showcase the best of Britain through the ages, with music, comedy and drama from across the Commonwealth. The main highlight of the event comes courtesy of Disney. The Magic of Disney finale is a 70-minute performance from Disney’s most popular characters singing its best-loved songs.

1,000 boats, canoes, kayaks and rafts are taking to the Thames for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. It will be the biggest flotilla the capital has seen in more than 350 years and will surely be a memorable sight. The seven and a half mile long flotilla with sail from Putney Bridge to Tower Bridge and giant screens along the banks of the Thames will chart its route. However, for families with small children, watching the flotilla from the Diamond Jubilee Festival at Battersea Park is a better bet. Away from the crowds children will be treated to a range of attractions and entertainments including a village fete, storytelling, outdoor cinema, an old-fashioned steam fair and fancy dress.

The Jubilee Big Lunch on 3 June is commandeering Piccadilly with a 500-seated table for the biggest street party the capital has ever seen. They’ll be bouncy castles, face painting and plenty of live music and entertainment. Food is coming courtesy of Fortnum & Mason, The Ritz and The Wolseley, so mum and dad should enjoy this one too.

LondonTown.com has secured discounts at some of the capital’s most popular hotels to make a trip to London more affordable for families. The four-star Thistle Piccadilly Hotel London will have rooms available from £90 per night thanks to a hefty discount of 84%. Additionally Lancaster London Hotel, a four-star property next to Hyde Park, is on offer from £119 per room, per night due to a discount of 70%.

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Macdonald Manchester Hotels Serve Award-Winning Breakfasts

Macdonald Hotels now has two Manchester hotels which are able to boast award winning breakfasts; Macdonald Manchester and Macdonald Townhouse are part of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts who recently attained a highly acclaimed industry award for the most important meal of the day.

For the second time in three years, Macdonald Hotels has won the Best Breakfast award at the Menu Innovation and Development Awards (MIDAS), which aims to recognise outstanding talents in the restaurant sector.

Guests at either Macdonald hotel in Manchester city centre can take advantage of the full award winning breakfast menu, which includes organic mueslis and fresh fruit, John Ross Jnr smoked salmon and free range Yorkshire sausages.

Steve Dunford, General Manager of Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa, said: “It’s an honour for us as part of the group to receive such a prestigious award. We pride ourselves on being able to offer our guests the finest, quality food. We work with a small selection of UK-based suppliers, and our restaurant chefs use the best raw ingredients so all food is bursting with nutrients and flavour.”

Having invested £120k last year to improve its breakfast menu, Macdonald Hotels takes what health experts class as the most important meal of the day very seriously. Unlike many other hotel groups, Macdonald Hotels’ restaurants celebrate the best ingredients on offer across all areas of catering; breakfast, lunch, room service, conference and banqueting, using only the most fresh of ingredients.

More information can be found at www.MacdonaldHotels.co.uk.

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Eurostar Predicts 30% Surge In Bookings As Jubilee Weekend Approaches

Thousands of Brits are taking advantage of the double bank holiday to take an extended mini break, while thousands of our European cousins will visit London to enjoy the Jubilee celebrations, as royal fever spreads across the continent.

Friday 1 June is set to be Eurostar’s busiest day with over 30,000 passengers expected to travel between the UK and mainland Europe on that day alone. To meet this heightened demand Eurostar is adding 10 extra services, but with tickets selling fast travellers are encouraged to book quickly.

As tens of thousands of people are set to visit London for the Jubilee celebrations, some Brits are taking advantage of the extended bank holiday and the recent strengthening of the pound against the euro to enjoy a long weekend away. Eurostar has seen a 46% surge in bookings for people leaving the UK over the bank holiday weekend, compared to the Royal Wedding bank holiday weekend last year**, with destinations like Avignon, Bruges and Amsterdam proving popular with travellers.

Nick Mercer, Commercial Director for Eurostar said: “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will start a once in a lifetime year of celebrations for the capital, with the London 2012 Festival and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. London is the hottest destination this year and it’s fantastic that so many people from across Europe are travelling with us to join both the Jubilee and Olympic celebrations. At the same time, for those Brits who want to take advantage of the Jubilee double bank holiday, there’s still time to book that trip to Paris, Avignon, Lyon, Bruges and many more destinations with the extra services we’re running.”

The Queen opened the Channel Tunnel and Waterloo International station in 1994 as well as St Pancras International station in 2007. Her Majesty travelled with Eurostar in May 1994 and April 2004 to Paris and July 2007 to Brussels.

For more information, to book Eurostar tickets or purchase Eurostar gift vouchers visit www.eurostar.com.

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Premier Inn Research Reveals Brits’ Bedroom Spats

Premier Inn has revealed that the average couple bickers in the bedroom 167 times a year due to a number of niggles faced during a night’s sleep, with the top offender being hogging the duvet.

Aside from the tug of war with the duvet, the second most common reason for a night-time squabble is the age old problem of snoring. The research commissioned by Premier Inn to coincide with National Stop Snoring Week, revealed one in ten couples have a bust-up over snoring at least twice a week.

More than half of those questioned blamed men as the worst culprits for snoring, though it is not always the partner’s fault for missing out on much needed shut eye, as a fifth of Brit’s admitted to waking up once a week from their own heavy breathing.

The study, which questioned 2000 adults in a relationship, unveiled that half of us suffer with a snoring spouse, with 20% revealing they lose two hours sleep every night as a result. And, for one in ten Brits the disturbed night’s sleep is such an issue that they would even consider leaving their partner because of it.

Other bones of contention in the boudoir include allowing children to sleep in the marital bed, venturing onto the wrong side, being touched by freezing cold feet and leaving the lights on to read.

Claire Haigh, Premier Inn spokeswoman, commented: “Our research shows that most of the arguments couples have in the bedroom are down to habits that are easy to resolve as a relationship develops.

“We conducted this research to coincide with National Stop Snoring Week and the findings discovered that a lot of people are seriously affected by snoring and hogging the duvet.

“At Premier Inn we believe everyone deserves a good night’s sleep so we ensure we do all we can to give our guests the best possible night’s sleep to minimise disruption. Our king size beds, comfortable pillows and black out curtains are key to getting a great night sleep.

“People suffer from snoring to varying degrees and the research shows how something like snoring can impact on our day to day lives especially if one person in the relationship is missing out on much needed sleep.”

Premier Inn offers all guests a ‘Good Night Guarantee’, which means if guests are not 100% satisfied with their stay they can request a full refund. Premier Inn is so committed to its philosophy that everyone deserves a great night’s sleep, that they recently invested £70 million into refurbishing 13,000 rooms.

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Visit London’s Secret Gardens for One Weekend Only During the Open Garden Square Weekend

London is one of Europe’s greenest cities but rarely does the public see the full extent of its urban greenery. For one weekend only hundreds of city gardens will open their gates to the public as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend. The event is organised by London Parks & Gardens Trust in partnership with the National Trust. It takes place on 9 and 10 June and adult tickets cost £9 in advance and £12 on the day; children under 12 are entitled to free entry.

This year 212 gardens across all 27 London boroughs are taking part, including 23 new gardens and squares. Each of these garden squares is unique; some are old and traditional while others are modern community allotments; there are herb gardens and vegetable gardens, courtyard gardens and water gardens. Some of the most popular private gardens that will be accessible to the public are the Royal College of Physicians’ Medicinal Garden, where more than 1,000 different medicinal plants are grown, and the Sir John Cass’ Foundation Primary School in Whitechapel with its very own ‘grow your own’ roof garden.

To make the most of this two-day event LondonTown.com advises an overnight stay in the capital. To coincide with this event it has secured reduced rates at a range of London hotels.

One of the most impressive discounts on a hotel in London is at the Kensington Close Hotel and Spa. This four-star hotel located just off Kensington High Street has its own Zen-like water garden. It also features a fitness centre, swimming pool and spa that are available for an extra fee and the simple yet stylish interior is perfect for a short weekend break. LondonTown.com has managed to get an 85% discount at this hotel in London, bringing the rate down to just £62 per room, per night.

If visitors want to soak up the best of London’s green spaces during their stay thenLondonTown.com recommends the luxury five-star Baglioni Hotel London. This sumptuous, elegant hotel overlooks Hyde Park, the largest of the four Royal Parks. LondonTown.com can offer this hotel for £221 per room, per night, which includes a sizeable discount of 67%.

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Cyclists Saddle Up for World Naked Bike Ride

The World Naked Bike Ride is taking place on June 9 th , with cities across the world taking part. Last year’s London leg involved 1,000 cyclists, many of whom opted to strip off for the ride. Along with the nudists and exhibitionists, tattoos and body art is expected to be heavily-represented.

To help travelling cyclists find affordable accommodation close to Hyde Park, website LondonTown.com is offering discounts on selected hotels in London for the duration of the weekend.

Disrobing is not mandatory, with the organisers operating a ‘go as bare as you dare’ policy, but in previous years the majority of participants have lost at least part of their clothing. The event – now in its seventh year – is part of a global scheme to raise awareness of the need for more tolerance of bicycles on city roads.

The London naked ride is being conducted in conjunction with Love London and Team Great Britain Bike Week, although the ride itself is not intended to be a challenging one. The ride sets off from Hyde Park at 3pm, with simultaneous rides taking place across the country in towns and cities including Brighton, Bristol , Cardiff , Edinburgh , Sheffield, Manchester , York and Southampton .

One of the most exclusive hotels in London , the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London is offering a 60% discount on double rooms, bringing the nightly rate down to £307. The Mandarin is located in the heart of Knightsbridge, just ten minutes walk from Hyde Park . The offer is only available when booking through LondonTown.com.

The Thistle Marble Arch Hotel is opposite Hyde Park . It is offering double rooms at a 91% discount, making the nightly rate just £90. Visit LondonTown.com for more information on the World Naked Bike Ride and to view more discounted hotels in London.

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Celebre las Olimpiadas todo el verano con el Festival Londres 2012

La diversión y el espectáculo de las Olimpiadas no se reducen al Parque Olímpico en Stratford; habrá eventos a todo lo largo de la capital para marcar esta espectacular ocasión. El Festival Londres 2012 es un claro ejemplo. Se celebrará desde el 21 de junio hasta el 9 de septiembre e incluirá más de 1.000 eventos, la mayoría gratis.

Los eventos incluidos en el Festival Londres 2012 no solo solo numerosos sino también muy diversos. Las Olimpiadas y Paralimpiadas serán celebradas a través de danza, música, teatro, cine, artes visuales e innovación digital. Se han encargado obras a todo tipo de individuos del mundo artístico y creativo, incluidos la actriz Cate Blanchett, el director Mike Leigh, el bailarín Akram Khan, la artista Tracy Emin y el cantante Damon Albarn.

Siguiendo el espíritu de estas celebraciones, LondonTown.com ha reducido los premios de los hoteles en Londres como el Royal Trafalgar Hotel y el Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel.

El Royal Trafalgar Hotel de cuatro estrellas se ubica en Whitcomb Street justo detrás de Trafalgar Square, donde la mayoría de los eventos tendrán lugar. El precio se ha reducido un 90%, así que gracias a LondonTown.com el precio de las habitaciones comienza ahora a tan solo 97 libras por noche. El hotel es cómodo y sin complicaciones y los comentarios de los clientes son excelentes gracias a su inmejorable ubicación y a un personal abierto, acogedor y siempre dispuesto a ayudar.

El Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel ofrece un poco más de lujo. Este hotel de cinco estrellas da a Leicester Square. Se trata de un hotel exclusivo de alto standing con paredes de caoba y suelos de mármol, además de una impecable atención a todo detalle. También goza de excelente reputación entre sus clientes gracias a su personal y a su ubicación, y además por el amplio tamaño de las habitaciones y el toque personal. LondonTown.com ha conseguido un fabuloso descuento del 73% en este opulento hotel de cinco estrellas, con lo cual el precio es 143 libras por habitación y noche.

LondonTown.com tiene muchos otros hoteles en Londres con descuento para disfrutar del verano y para todos los bolsillos y necesidades. También cuenta con información de todos los eventos del verano londinense, incluidas las fechas y horas de los eventos del Festival Londres 2012.

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Blink 182 vuelve al O2 Arena en el verano 2012

Tras separarse en el 2005 dejando a gran número de fans totalmente sorprendidos, este verano vuelve Blink 182 al O2 Arena de Londres con dos espectaculares conciertos. Con un regreso repleto de nuevas canciones y también sus clásicos, Blink 182 actuará en el O2 Arena el 8 y 9 de junio.

Blink 182 fue uno de los grupos más importantes de los noventa con éxitos tan icónicos como What’s My Age Again y All The Small Things que han sido la banda sonora de los años de adolescencia de muchas personas. Pero gracias a su nuevo álbum de estudioNeighborhoods y a un historial de irónicas actuaciones electrizantes, el grupo, compuesto por Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus y Travis Barker, tiene asegurado apuntarse nuevos fans esta segunda vez.

El O2 Arena está ubicado en la Península de Greenwich y se accede a él por el metro de North Greenwich y la A102. Puede albergar hasta 23.000 espectadores y ya ha recibido a grupos famosos como los Rolling Stones, The Killers y AC/DC.

Como el concierto acabará tarde, LondonTown.com sugiere reservar una noche en uno de los hoteles de la zona. Para que sea asequible para los fans de Blink 182, ofrece habitaciones con descuento en varios hoteles en London.

Para los fans que busquen la comodidad y un presupuesto asequible, LondonTown.com recomienda el Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel. Este hotel de cuatro estrellas está situado frente al O2 Arena al otro lado del Támesis, a tan solo un breve viaje en autobús o taxi. Además de ser un lugar cómodo donde descansar tras el concierto, este hotel también dispone de spa y piscina. Con LondonTown.com el precio de este hotel es tan solo 62 libras por habitación y noche, incluyendo un fabuloso descuento del 88%.

Otra alternativa igualmente asequible que sugiere LondonTown.com es el Holiday Inn Express London Greenwich. Este hotel de tres estrellas está cerca de la bonita “villa” de Greenwich y de sus cafés, bares y restaurants. Cuesta solo 57 libras por habitación y noche gracias al fabuloso descuento del 77% ofrecido con LondonTown.com.

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Lords Take on Commons in Charity Tug of War

The annual House of Lords versus House of Commons Tug of War is set to return on June 12 th . Once again, the competition will be in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity netted £110,000 from last year’s event.

For those lucky enough to have a ticket to the event and are looking for an affordablehotel in London, the city’s premier events and booking website LondonTown.com is offering special discounts on selected rooms.

The tug of war takes place on the greens of the Westminster College Gardens as around 600 invited guests look on with champagne and canapés. Last year’s face-off was won by the Commons, after a 2-0 victory. The House of Commons also won in 2010.

As the MPs attempt to score a hat-trick over the Lords, broadcaster Jeremy Vine will provide witty commentary for the assembled crowd and BBC2. Other matches will be played out between local firefighters, military and city firms.

Among the hotels on offer from LonddonTown.com, St. Ermins Hotel London is providing double rooms at a 54% discount on the standard cost, bringing the nightly rate down to just £160. The St Ermins is a five minute walk from Westminster College Gardens.

The Grange Rochester Hotel London in Vincent Square is a mere ten minute walk from the Gardens. Book through LondonTown.com and you can take advantage of a 66% discount on the standard rate, bringing the cost of a double room down to £85.

Visit LondonTown.com for more information on the House of Commons vs. the House of Lords Tug of War, and to find your own discounted hotel in London this summer.

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Jumeirah Carlton Tower rolls out Jubilant Afternoon Tea menu

Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower continues its partnership with master patissier Eric Lanlard by unveiling its new ‘Jubilant Afternoon Tea’. The tantalising tea menu, created especially for a landmark summer in London, is the second installment of the ‘Afternoon Tea by Eric Lanlard’ series A ‘Jubilant Afternoon Tea’ menu will feature British afternoon tea staples: finger sandwiches, cakes and tarts, all of which Eric Lanlard has frivolously re-invented.

“Afternoon tea should have a sense of fun,” Eric said. “The inspiration behind this tea is celebration, traditions and British summertime flavours and, of course, Her Majesty the Queen in this, her special year.”

The decadent menu, served with a freshly brewed pot of tea, is a nod to the traditional British experience but with fresh tasty twists. The experience begins with savoury delights such as prawn and lobster royal in a hollowed out brioche bap and bridge rolls with coronation chicken. Then, to satisfy sweet-toothed aficionados, a selection of cakes and pastries including the signature strawberry tarte royale adorned with a limited edition edible white chocolate portrait of HM The Queen and Eton mess verrine with Indian mango and pink peppercorn. The finale is the hotel’s renowned fruit and plain scones served with clotted cream and fresh fruit preserve.

Customers defeated by their tea will be treated to a ‘Take Home Box’ of leftovers on departure ensuring tea-lovers can take the enjoyment of this experience home with them.

As one of the world’s most renowned patissiers and star of Channel 4’s ‘Baking Mad’ series, Eric has baked wedding cakes for the likes of Madonna, Claudia Schiffer and Elizabeth Hurley and can count Prime Minister David Cameron, Elton John and Lady Gaga amongst his clients.

Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower provides the perfect backdrop for afternoon tea with its sophisticated, classic-contemporary décor. A new twist on the ‘Afternoon Tea by Eric Lanlard’ series will be presented seasonally throughout 2012 for guests and visitors at the luxury hotel in central London to enjoy.

To book, visit www.jumeirahcarltontower.com or call +44 (0)20 7858 7181.

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Whitbread Plc. brings £6.1 million to London Richmond thanks to new Premier Inn

Whitbread PLC is to open its brand new Premier Inn hotel in London Richmond on 18th June 2012. The property will contribute over £6.1 million to the local economy whilst creating 37 new jobs for the residents of Richmond and its surrounding areas.

The brand new 93 bedroom hotel is situated on Lower Mortlake Road, within walking distance of Richmond, Kew and only a five minute walk from North Sheen station which gets guests into Central London within 25 minutes.

The new hotel is ideal for travellers who want to be within walking distance to transport links and Richmond Park. Guests can enjoy being able to relax away from the hustle of bustle of central London, but still reap the benefits of it being just a short train ride away.

Jonathan Hind, General Manager of Premier Inn London Richmond, commented: “The hotel is ideally located for those looking for a great value weekend break as the area has so much to offer. It will also be extremely convenient for business travellers looking for accommodation just out of the city centre.”

Each bedroom caters for up to two adults and two children (aged 15 and under) and includes an en-suite bathroom; a king size bed; remote control TV with Freeview; tea/coffee making facilities and a spacious desk area with Wi-Fi Internet access. The hotel will also offer the All You Can Eat ‘Premier Breakfast’ in the onsite restaurant.

Premier Inn offers all guests a no quibble ‘Good Night Guarantee’ at its hotels, which means if customers are not 100% satisfied with their stay they will get their money back.

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