Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Has Collected Another Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Award

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, the luxurious desert retreat owned by Emirates Hotels & Resorts, has collected yet another Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Award. Jumping six places in its overall rating from last year, Al Mahawas the only Dubai hotel to be listed in the prestigious top 20 list, for Overseas Leisure Hotels.

For the second year running, readers have placed Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa within the top 20 overseas leisure hotels in the highly competitive Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean region. The influential readers’ survey of the world’s best destinations is conducted annually by Condé Nast Traveller. Moving up six places from the 2007 ranking to number 14 in the 2008 survey, the overall rating of the property improved from 79.59% to 83.81%.

Condé Nast Traveller is one of the world’s leading travel magazines, and has become a source of authority in the travel industry for sophisticated and discerning travellers, seeking the ultimate, unique holiday experience.

The prestigious Readers’ Travel Awards, now in their tenth year, are highly acclaimed in the industry and have become a highlight of the travel trade calendar in terms of a benchmark against which to judge the best the travel world has to offer. Resorts and hotels are ranked according to a number of different criteria including service, standard of accommodation, environmental friendliness, leisure facilities and overall ambience.

The top 20 listing of overseas leisure hotels in the region boasts some stunning resorts, including Singita Private Game Reserve in South Africa, Cape Towns’ Cape Grace Hotel, Soneva Gili in the Maldives, and North Island in the Seychelles. Once again Al Maha has the distinction of being the sole Dubai resort to be featured.

Tony Williams, Senior Vice President, Resorts & Projects at Emirates Hotels & Resorts, commented on the findings: “This is a great tribute to the staff of Al Maha, and we are obviously delighted to have received such a great accolade – in particular when it comes from the guests. Moving up in the ranking by six places this year highlights that year on year the resort and the experience at Al Maha remains not only consistent, but is improving against this world-class standard.”

Mr Williams continued: “The criteria against which we have been judged are integral to our own product philosophy, and it is heartening to see that across the company Emirates is pushing the boundaries in product and service excellence alongside some of the other great resorts in the world.”

About Emirates:
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa is part of Emirates Hotels & Resorts, the premier hospitality division of Emirates Airline. It comprises a growing portfolio of award-winning luxury conservation-based resorts, five-star city hotel properties, spas and fully-serviced upmarket apartment hotels.

In addition to conservation-based resort Al Maha, located in Dubai, Emirates Hotels & Resorts manages The Harbour Hotel & Residence and Green Lakes Serviced Apartments. Both add diversity, luxury and a fresh dimension to Dubai’s quickly broadening accommodation landscape.

As well as being the epitome of luxury resorts for travellers, all Emirates Hotels & Resorts properties provide self-contained, stand-alone conference facilities with boardroom-style and conference-style. This makes Emirates Hotels & Resorts the ideal solution for hostingbusiness events, meetings and conferences.

Via EPR Network’s Innovative Technology Will Simplify The Task Of Researching, Planning And Booking Processes For International Leisure And Corporate Travelers

Internet is increasingly becoming the place where business travelers fulfill their travel needs. With competitively priced airfare and hotel accommodation, the internet travel service is replacing the traditional corporate travel agencies for price conscious business travelers. The cost benefits of going online are substantial. The cost of using a traditional travel agent ranges from $20 to $80 per trip. In comparison, booking a flight through carries only a $5 transaction fee. Our airfares are normally 20% less than a traditional travel agent. We also offer even greater savings on Hotel or Flight + Hotel packages. Business Travel section is designed for companies of all sizes It provides numerous and useful resources for companies and corporate travel managers and Travelers. Its Intelligent Online Marketplace Engines aims to aggregate inventory from over 100,000 suppliers to give business travelers a single destination to plan and manage flights, car rentals, and hotel accommodations, as well as ancillary travel expenses such as shopping, dining, and event tickets.

About is a Global Online Travel reservation system designed to save your time and money. Visitors to can shop securely 24/7 for the best possible deals on Airline Tickets , Hotel Rooms , Vacation Packages , Car Rentals , Cruises , and travel Activities . Travelers can select from over 115,000 hotels and resorts worldwide, leading rental car companies, major cruise lines and hundreds of traditional and low-budget airlines to book travel services instantly and securely.

Via EPR Network

Macdonald Hotels Is Offering The Perfect Cost Effective Opportunity To Escape And Savour The Beauty Of Autumn

Macdonald Hotels and Resorts has teamed up with many of the UK’s top attractions, including National Trust for Scotland properties, English Heritage properties and city sightseeing bus tours to provide guests with a host of Great Days Out discounts on activities across the country.

The Great Days Out Autumn break deals are available at over 40 Macdonald Hotels situated throughout the UK, allowing guests to take advantage of discounted short city breaks, golf and spa getaways and rural retreats in luxury locations.

The choice of hotels and attractions which are being included in this latest offer will allow guests to enjoy the highlife without the high price, whether they want to immerse themselves in a fun family holiday, share a romantic quality break, enjoy a Scottish golf break with friends on a championship fairway or simply discover the history and culture of cities like Edinburgh or Bath.

Keen to ensure that children are spoilt for choice too, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts are giving every child their own activity pack and bubble bath to soak up the fun.

The Great Days Out promotion includes the chance to visit any one of 400 family attractions around the country. With participating attractions like the Balmoral Estate in Scotland, Drayton Manor Theme Park in the Midlands, Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight, Milennium Stadium Tours in South Wales, The Jorvik Viking Centre in York, and Portmeirion Village and Gardens in North Wales, there are many activities to suit both adults and children alike.

This autumn children under 12 can stay and eat breakfast for free when sharing a room with a parent or guardian, and guests who book one of the Autumn breaks will receive a late check out on a Sunday up until 4.00pm to really make the most of their weekends.

The Macdonald Hotels offer provides a cost-effective opportunity to escape and savour the beauty of autumn.

About Macdonald Hotels & Resorts
Macdonald Hotels & Resorts Limited operates 48 hotels across the UK and ten resorts throughout the UK and Spain. The company employs over 4,400 staff and operates in excess of 3900 hotel rooms. First established in 1990 by Donald Macdonald and colleagues, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts was floated in 1996 on the main London Stock Exchange. In 2003, it returned to private ownership and was one of Scotland’s biggest public to private deals at a cost of £620m, which was wholly underwritten by the Bank of Scotland. The Bank now owns 50% of the equity with the remainder held by the management.

The Group’s focus is on developing its strong portfolio of four and five star hotels, with each offering its own character and individuality underpinned with the quality and attention to detail expected of the Macdonald brand. In particular, the company prides itself on the seasonality and provenance of its food within the hotels, from breakfast through to dinner, as well as its wide range of specially selected wines.

Via EPR Network

M&S Money Has Reported That Sales Of Turkish Currency Have Soared As Brits Seek Holiday Bargains Outside The Eurozone

M&S Money reports that the popularity of destinations outside the Eurozone is growing among British tourists, with Turkey emerging as a top holiday hotspot for 2008.

Foreign currency expert M&S Money has seen a 53% year-on-year increase in sales of Turkish Lira. The Turkish Lira has proved to be the second most popular ‘exotic currency’* in 2008, only being beaten to the top spot by the Australian Dollar.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of Brits visiting Turkey ranks third, only behind travellers from Germany and Russia. Around 1.9 million British tourists visited the country in 2007 and bookings for Turkish resorts are up 20% this year according to the ABTA website.

Currency sales have received an additional boost over the past few weeks, as millions of Brits headed abroad to make the most of the last Bank Holiday weekend of the summer.

Fraser Millar, M&S Head of Travel Services, said: “The huge increase in sales of Turkish currency is not surprising, with the relative power of the euro against the pound meaning Brits are getting more for their money by opting for destinations like Turkey. This trend is confirmed by the fact that there has also been a large increase in sales of Egyptian currency this year.”

However, travellers heading to Turkey are being warned that they should make sure that they have travel insurance. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Turkey is in the top 15 countries where British nationals required the most consular assistance between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007. During this period, 157 British passports were lost in Turkey and there were 137 hospitalisations involving British citizens.

About M&S Money
M&S Money (originally called Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top-ten credit card provider and the second-largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers travel insurance as well as providing insurance for homes, cars, travel, pets and weddings, along with loans, savings and investments.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations with over 9,500 offices in 76 countries and territories. The business continues to operate under the M&S Money brand, with an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

The company employs 1,200 staff at its headquarters in Chester, delivering personal financial services to its customers, reflecting the core values of Marks & Spencer – quality, value, service, innovation and trust.

Via EPR Network

Your complete holiday guide to the best of Puerto Pollensa

New web site focusing on the popular resort of Puerto Pollensa in the Balearic island of Majorca has been recently launched in preparation for the winter holiday booking season.

The website which is owned by a father and son, who along with other members of their family, have been enjoying holidays every year in Puerto Pollensa for more than twenty years and want to share the knowledge of the resort with future holidaymakers. The site offers detailed information about all hotels and apartments in the resort as well as information about bars, restaurants and things to do and see.

The site tries tried to answer many of the questions that holidaymakers who are planning to visit Puerto Pollensa, would be keen to have answers too. and there is even an FAQ section to help in this.

Additional features include a photo gallery which gives an immediate visual indication of hotels, restaurants, shops and local views. As well as maps and general information, tips and advice, which will assist those on holiday to make the most of their break from the very first day.

The site, is already proving to be popular with users and with that encouraging feedback, a second phase of the site is to be developed further near the end of the year.

Via EPR Network


Warner Leisure Hotels Scoops The Award For Hotel Chain Of The Year From Top Travel Publication Travel Trade Gazette

Warner Leisure Hotels has scooped the award for Hotel Chain of the Year from top travel publication TTG (Travel Trade Gazette), beating off stiff competition from a number of well-known global brands including Conrad Hotels and Resorts and Swisshotel Hotels and Resorts.

Almost 40 judges, including some of the biggest names working in the travel industry, were invited to assess the 169 entries that made it on to shortlists in 30 categories. The awards are widely regarded as being the most prestigious in the industry.

The award was presented to Warner Leisure Hotels managing director Jim Forward in a glittering ceremony held at Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London. It was a victorious night for the Hertfordshire-based leisure firm, with parent company Bourne Leisure also scooping the evening’s top award of Travel Company of the Year for over 100,000 passengers, and sister company Haven Holidays winning Domestic Operator of the Year.

Jim Forward commented: “We are delighted and honoured to have been voted Hotel Chain of the Year by such an influential group of industry experts. These annual awards are widely regarded as being the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry.”

“This award reflects Warner Leisure Hotels’ commitment to investing in and developing the experience of its guests in its portfolio of properties across the UK. We are in the middle of a multi-million pound development scheme throughout our group, ensuring that we continue to innovate and enhance our guest experience, as well as maintain our high standards of accommodation, facilities and customer care.”

About Warner Leisure Hotels
Exclusively for adults, Warner Leisure Hotels’ enjoys an occupancy rate of 95% in its portfolio of 13 properties across the UK. As well as offering a wide choice and style of accommodation, each with its own personality, the hotel chain is renowned for itsExperience Breaks, offering over 600 additional activities from hot air balloon trips and antiques with tv’s Eric Knowles to a Mini Cooper Treasure Hunt and numerous dance breaks.

Warner Leisure Hotels has a wide portfolio of hotels, ranging from the majestic Thoresby Hall Hotel and Spa in Nottinghamshire and the historic Littlecote House Hotel in Berkshire, where Henry VIII courted Jane Seymour, through to the Victorian character ofAlvaston Hall Hotel in Cheshire with its own golf course and the Lakeside seaside resort on Hayling Island in Hampshire which offers relaxed accommodation in a pretty traditional seaside location.

Via EPR Network report the growing Russian holiday market is eclipsing that of both Britain and Germany

Research by shows Russian holidaymakers’ willingness to spend big means hoteliers are now aiming for the Russian holiday market by offering its tour operators better deals than they would to British and German Operators.

This has led to the traditional battle between the Brits and the Germans for the sun lounges of Europe evolving into a three-way competition, with the Russians making their way to the front of the battle to take over the beaches and pools.

Previously, all Brits had to contend with were the Germans getting up at the crack of dawn to reserve the best sunbathing positions with their towels.

However, the Russians have opted for a much more brash stategy by paying hotel staff to reserve the sunbeds in advance – making them well known and popular with hotel staff.

This popularity extends to hoteliers and local businesses, as Russians’ in-resort spending far outweighs that of British and German tourists.

This has led to many hoteliers to take a large step and leave targetting the German holiday market altogether, replacing them with the free spending Russians.

The deals being offered to Russian tour operators are so good a number of tour operaters in the UK – including Thomson, Kuoni and Inghams – have already taken the step redirecting considerable resources to service the Russian tourism market.

Early signs show predictions that major UK travel brands Thomas Cook and Virgin are set to join the other UK operators.

Another advantage the Russians seem to provide hoteliers is that they will be willing to accept a lower customer service standard than more travelled tourists such as the British or Germans.

20 Years after Communism fell, a strong Russian economy has bought wealth and prosperity to many of its 145 million citizens.

Previously restricted from travelling, now Russians are marking the most of their freedom by heading to Europe’s most sought out holiday hotspots.

So far their favourite holiday destinations are Turkey, Egypt, Spain, Italy, and Greece – all made popular by British holidaymakers and all in’s top 10 summer holiday destinations.

Industry statistics show that more Russians visit Turkey than any other nation with 1.5 million a year taking advantage of the discount prices.

In a number of Turkish holiday resorts, the hotel cabaret is performed in Russian while nightclubs favour Russian music to entertain their growing Russian clientele.

Russia is also set to overtake the British and become the biggest tourism source market for Egypt and its expanding Red Sea Riviera, which features the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Taba.

Roughly one million British and Russian tourists visit Egypt every year, however the Russian market is set to overtake the British market.

There has been a number of problems with Russian holiday operators booking over their quotas in Egypt. The Egyptian Tourism Ministry has accused Russian Holiday operators of flexing their muscles and expecting the hoteliers to find rooms for them.

Reports from the Egyptian Tourist Ministry, the number of holidayers who went to Egypt last September grew by a massive 45%. UK Managing Director John Bevan said: “The battle for Europe’s sun beds will be more intense than ever this summer as the Russians establish themselves as the most prominent outbound tourism market in Europe.”

“The hoteliers focus for the Russians market, mainly at the expense of German tourists, has changed the in-resort holiday experience.”

“Holidaying Brits will have to have their sun bed strategy finalised before departing if they want to come back with a tan.”

Who is pioneered the online travel and leisure industry by offering people a 5* lifestyle for 3* prices, selling everything from hotels, flights, gifts, gig tickets, restaurants and theatre tickets all at the lastminute.

Since its birth in 1998, conceived by the vision of cutting edge entrepreneurs Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, has come a long way. We now operate in 13 European countries, USA and all. exists to help people make the most of their free time with new, creative and unexpected ideas for every single day.

In July 2005, and its group of companies including car hire gurus Holiday Autos and travel agents’ best kept secret all joined the Sabre Holdings Group.

Via EPR Network

Britannia Hotels Has Unveiled The Refurbishment Of Their Largest Manchester Hotel

Britannia Hotels, the leading privately owned hotel group in the UK, has refurbished its main Manchester property with traditional style décor and a number of additional amenities which, along with Britannia Hotels’ Sachas hotel in central Manchester, help make it an ideal city centre hotel for many, with easy access to attractions and the airport.

As a Grade II listed building, The Britannia Manchester Hotel already boasts a tremendous amount of character, with the recent refurbishment adding to the property’s allure.

The Grand Staircase, a balconied stairway extending throughout the hotel, has been repainted and restored to its former glory with the public areas surrounding the staircase now featuring plush new carpets.

All 363 guest accommodations within the hotel have also been updated with new carpets, as well as new duvets replacing the sheets and blankets that were formally the norm at the hotel. Tasteful, neutral colours adorn the walls of the rooms and new doors with key card locks have also been added, giving guests additional peace of mind during their stay.

New furniture has also been added to the in-house Crompton’s French Restaurant while the Pizzeria Restaurant has been restyled. Following these refurbishments, Britannia Hotels’ Manchester property also looks to become a leading corporate venue, with nine modern conference, meeting and banqueting rooms, capable of catering for up to 250 people.

With the refurbishment and additional amenities, Britannia Hotels aims to maintain the building’s reputation as one of the premier properties among hotels in Manchester for business and leisure travellers, with a whole host of things to do in Manchester just moments from the hotel entrance including shopping, the city’s financial district, airport, theatres and Manchester Central.

About Britannia Hotels:
Britannia Hotels is the leading privately owned hotel group in the UK, operating nationwide with 33 hotels offering nearly 7000 bedrooms. Location is the key to the success of Britannia, with hotels easily found in prime cities throughout the UK, as well as near major airports, in seaside resorts or surrounded by stunning countryside.

Britannia Hotels’ aim is to provide extremely good value for money at a time when it has become an increasingly important factor to companies and individuals when making buying decisions. Britannia not only offers extremely competitive rates but also combines this with richness in décor and facilities such as a choice of restaurants, health clubs, nightclubs, bars and complimentary Wireless Internet Access.

Via EPR Network

Unless you have an omlet, do not even think about knocking

Embassy Suites Hotels have recently conducted its nationwide search for the best Do Not Disturb door hangerdesigns to be used in all of its nearly 190 upscale, all-suite hotels. The contest was held During September and October 2007, where a panel of Embassy Suitesjudges has choosen the cleverest design/copy submitted and picked five winners who will all win a trip to a select Embassy Suites Hotels, plus have their signs hung on hotel door knobs around the country.

Known for its own variation on the Do Not Disturb sign – “There’s a Good Reason for You NOT to Knock Right Now”Embassy Suites ( challenges guests to up the ante on the fun.“Embassy Suites is all about giving consumers choice and control over their business or leisure travel,” said John Lee, Vice President of Brand Marketing. “We’ve gotten such a tremendous response to our Do Not Disturb sign that we thought it would be fun to give consumers some control over what their door sign says. We imagine there are many creative ways our guests would like to say ‘do not disturb me right now’.”

The contest has ended last October, and the winners selected are:

Sandra Parcher – Milites, CA;

Brian White – Chicago, IL;

Susan Suarez – University City, MO;

Amy Forgette – Stremwood, IL;

Marty Mintman – St. Louis, MO;

About Embassy Suites Hotels

Embassy Suites Hotels is a member of the Hilton Family of Hotels and opened its first hotel in 1984. It was the first all-suite upscale hotel brand ( to enter the industry and today has nearly 190 hotels. To make reservations or learn the locations of Embassy Suites Hotels in urban, suburban, airport and resort areas, travellers can visit the Embassy Suites Hotels Web site at, call 1-800-EMBASSY or contact their professional travel agent.

Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT) is the leading global hospitality company, with nearly 2,800 hotels and 475,000 rooms in more than 80 countries, including 150,000 team members worldwide. The company owns, manages or franchises a hotel portfolio of some of the best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton, Conrad, Coral by Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Scandic and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection.

Via EPR Network

Warner Leisure Hotels Has Announced The Opening Of The Orchard, A New Restaurant Specialising In Fine Dining, At Their Holme Lacy House Hotel

Warner Leisure Hotels’ Holme Lacy House Hotel near Hereford is the location of The Orchard, a brand new restaurant which looks set to be one of the region’s leading places to dine.

Situated in one of the recently restored and refurbished grand reception rooms at Holme Lacy House, The Orchard offers guests and non-residents alike the chance to enjoy fine dining in an elegant setting, with the restaurant boasting exquisite oak panelled décor and lavish furnishings and great views over the scenic gardens and grounds of the hotel.

An a la carte menu has been created by executive chef Gary Wheeler, formerly the chef at leading restaurants The Left Bank and The Castle House Hotel. Mr. Wheeler has long been recognised as one of Heretfordshire’s most respected chefs and brings with him years of experience of creating imaginative and innovative menus, priding himself in using seasonal food delivered daily from local farms and regional suppliers wherever possible. The extensive menu is accompanied by a comprehensive fine wine list.

As well as The OrchardWarner Leisure Hotels Holme Lacy House Hotel has also opened Le Bistro, created for guests who prefer a more informal and relaxed dining experience. Le Bistro is set in a stylish and airy glass-roofed former courtyard and offers a contemporary menu with a theatre-style kitchen, giving it a modern and vibrant atmosphere.

Exclusively for adults, Holme Lacy House is set in 20 acres of landscaped grounds situated just 20 minutes from the charming riverside town of Ross-on Wye, making it one of the most scenic hotels in Hereford. The extensive facilities on offer include beautiful Georgian public rooms, a range of leisure activities and experience breaks such as croquet, boules and freshwater fishing, three restaurants and The Terrace coffee shop. Holme Lacy House’s modern, fully equipped leisure club with gym and indoor swimming pool, and Decleor health and beauty therapies, which are also proving to be very popular with non-residents.

About Warner Leisure Hotels:
Warner Leisure Hotels has thirteen properties throughout the UK and North Wales, including nine hotels, six of which are magnificent historic hotels, three charming character hotels, and four coastal resorts, offering short break holidays in stunning locations.

All breaks include en suite accommodation, breakfast, a host of recreational activities and leisure facilities, delicious three course dinners and live nightly entertainment.

Via EPR Network

Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center’s Rees Jones Course Has Been Named One Of The Best Courses In North Carolina According To Golf Magazine

Sea Trail Joins Storied Courses Like Pinehurst No. 2 And Pine Needles On Prestigious List Of The State’s Best In Its Latest Ranking

Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center’s Rees Jones course has been named one of the best courses in North Carolina according to Golf Magazine’s “first-ever” ranking of the best courses in each state. The rankings were determined by Golf Magazine’s course-ranking panel, editorial staff, and “well traveled spies.” The list appears in the September issue of Golf Magazine.

“We’re extremely proud to be on Golf Magazine’s ‘first-ever’ state by state ranking,” said Tom Plankers, President of Golf at Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center“We work hard to make our courses the best they can be, and to have the Jones Course placed on the same prestigious list as Pinehurst No. 2 and Pine Needles is very rewarding.”

The Jones course at Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center was also recently named one of the top 100 courses along the North Carolina coast by the North Carolina Golf Panel. That Panel’s rankings were reported in the April issue of Business North Carolina magazine in a special section spotlighting the state’s 100 best courses.

More information about Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center is available by calling 888-675-9237 or online at

About Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center
Sea Trail is a 2000-acre golf resort and residential community with three courses of distinction and the largest convention facility on the North Carolina coast. A popular location for meetings and conventions, Sea Trail has over 60,000 square feet of meeting and function space. Sea Trail was the host site for the 2003 and the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

The recreational heart of Sea Trail is its three courses designed by Dan Maples, Rees Jones and Willard Byrd. Other amenities include a Village Activity Center with indoor and outdoor pools and whirlpools, an on-staff licensed massage therapist, supervised children’s activities and Magnolias Fine Food & Spirits. Sunset Beach, known for its extraordinary beauty and serenity, is a short drive east of Sea Trail. In addition, a huge variety of entertainment, shopping, nightlife and cultural opportunities are just south of Sea Trail along the Grand Strand.

Sea Trail is located in Sunset Beach, N.C., which is between Wilmington, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. More information is available online at or by calling 888-675-9237.

Via EPR Network

az-u-r – new restaurant by Emirates Hotels & Resorts opens at The Harbour Hotel & Residence in Dubai Marina

The Harbour Hotel & Residence, Emirates’ city-based hotel located in the Dubai Marina, opens the doors of its new restaurant az-u-r, Dubai’s first ‘farm-to-fork’ restaurant, delivering the kind of food which has made Mediterranean cooking the world’s most popular dining choice.

az-u-r (read ‘as you are’) is inspired by the cooking styles from countries around ‘The Med’, from Spain and Morocco in the west to Lebanon in the east. In addition, it serves many of those great traditional dishes for which French and Italian cooking have become famous.

Tony Williams, Senior Vice President, Emirates Hotels & Resorts said: “We really wanted to mirror the authentic food experienced in regional Mediterranean towns and villages where local produce is provided fresh on a daily basis, and immediately used in traditional menus, often following family recipes. As a result the food is distinctive, giving guests a tastier, ‘made-to-order’ and homemade ‘farm-to-fork’ dining experience.”

Executive Chef, Chris Baker, who put together the culinary team at The Harbour, commented: “There are several key aspects to Mediterranean cooking, and each one has been tackled with equal passion. The first challenge was to trace authentic, family-tradition homemade recipes. We then met personally with many of the fresh-produce suppliers to small, regional restaurants in the Mediterranean. In doing so, we have uncovered some of the world’s best organic food producers, and certainly some of the highest quality produce I have seen in years. ‘Farm-to-fork’ became our motto – we travelled extensively, visiting fruit and vegetable farms, local bread mills and bakeries, and even fish-markets.

“The effort was time-consuming, but certainly worth it. For example, we even source our own wheat and wholegrain flour for the bakery, baking all our own bread every day using fresh eggs and quality butter. Preparing food from scratch makes a huge difference. Our bread is now so popular that we bake extra so that local residents can come and collect their bread at Counter Culture, our deli-style restaurant on the ground level.”

az-u-r is on the pool-deck of the Harbour Hotel & Residence, and aligned with the Timeless Spa on the same level. To complement the Spa, the restaurant offers a range of healthy menus, from cheeses to wholesome salads, which predominantly use organic products. The az-u-r kitchen is open in design, giving guests easy access to the chefs and the experience of a cosy, informal atmosphere.

More than 70 per cent of the produce served at az-u-r has been organically sourced. The staff have been trained by organic expert Dave Friend, who also assisted in the selection of food, sourced according to the seasons. Produce comes from as far a field as Spain, Italy, Lebanon, and France.

An extensive choice of wines and mineral waters accompany the culinary options, with az-u-r offering a selection of over 70 wines, including Vega Sicilia Unico, Tignanello, Sassicaia, Chateau Musar and Chateau Cheval Blanc, alongside a collection of organic wines.

az-u-r has a relaxed and casual atmosphere, integral to the restaurant’s dining offering. An easy place to meet for an aperitif, the venue is comfortable, with direct views of the Marina. From the spacious terrace, guests can feel immersed in the ultimate Dubai experience and al-fresco dining options are available.

About the Harbour Hotel & Residence
The 52-storey luxurious Harbour Hotel & Residence, a USD141 million investment for Emirates, opened its doors in November 2007. Located at the gateway entrance to the Dubai Marina, the hotel is set within Dubai’s most fashionable and sought-after lifestyle districts.

The Harbour Hotel & Residence is part of Emirates Hotels & Resorts, the premier hospitality division of Emirates Airline. The division manages a portfolio of award-winning luxury conservation resorts and spas, as well as a Dubai-based fully-serviced luxury apartment complex.

Via EPR Network


Additional flight taxes are almost certain to affect the tourism of islands like Menorca

Cheaper flights have enabled millions more families to take a holiday in an overseas destination, and many European coastal resorts have developed to cater for the increase in tourists. Cheap flights from low cost airlines operating out of the UK and other European countries could be under threat as the Conservative Party – once a campaigner and implementer of lower taxes – has called for purchase tax to be introduced to domestic flights.

The tax would add up to 17.5 per cent on to the cost of a flight from one British city to another, but while flights to the European mainland and popular holiday islands such as Menorca aren’t specifically mentioned, one travel company believes the new policy will inevitably lead to higher fares for flights not just within Britain, but elsewhere too.

The Tory policy review calls for the UK to be a leader on green growth, noting that it was illogical for flights to attract less tax than cars and trains, with David Cameron, the Tory Party leader, saying that much of the report would be included in their manifesto at the next British General Election, which could be up to two years away, but at the time could have been just weeks away as Prime Minister Gordon Brown considered an early poll.

‘It’s not so much that we’re convinced the Tories will win the next election and tax domestic flights’, say the travel company, ‘But by proposing new taxes on flights it leads the door open to the Labour Party, who are more likely to win, to use taxes on flights as a revenue raiser with no opposition from the Tories who are traditionally seen as the tax cutting party. We have no doubt that flights will be taxed a lot more in 2008 because the Tories have now made it a soft target for the British government of any political persuasion and the Treasury when they prepare their annual budgets.’

Citing Menorca as an example, the company points to the holiday industry on the island being a major employer, and the Menorca map changing over the years as new resorts have been built to accommodate additional visitors.

‘One of the other aspects of the report that is a worry for the holiday industry’, continues the travel company, ‘Is that new runways at Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow Airports are all ruled out – all three airports serve London and the South-East of England. Any increased demand for example for Menorca holidays probably won’t be able to be met without increased capacity, inevitably leading to a consequence of higher prices overall.’

From the environmental lobby the Green Party described the proposals as ‘fiddling around the edges when what is needed is urgent and radical action’, adding that the Tory eco-taxes would hit the poorest in society hardest.

Citing Menorca as typical of the areas that could be affected most by additional flight taxes, the travel company takes the view that any downturn in visitor numbers and the volume of bookings for holidays and hotels in Menorca would hit an island that relies heavily on tourism.

The Spanish island is currently served by three UK airlines that offer scheduled flights, including one low cost carrier that offers cheap flights to Menorca. But there are a high number of holiday companies who offer chartered flights in the summer months, and these companies have helped reduced prices for holidaymakers visiting the island. Neighbouring island Majorca attracted most UK tourists for 2007, beating off competition from low cost destinations in Eastern Europe, and Menorca has also benefitted from an increase in visitor numbers.

Despite their geographical closeness and being part of the same group of islands, the Balearics, Menorca and Majorca attract a different type of tourist from each other, and with Ibiza the third of the islands each has its own appeal, and each her unique selling points when compared to each other.

Ibiza is known in Europe for her clubs and nightlife, with 18 to 30’s and their high disposable incomes preferring the island to quieter Majorca and Menorca. A survey by the island’s tourist board sprung a surpise for many in the hotels and holidays industry with a report showing of the three islands that Ibiza’s visitors spent more on their holidays than those in Majorca and on holiday in Menorca.

Majorca is a favourite holiday island for both the British and Germans, and as well as having a cosmopolitan feel to it offers both nightlife for the young with luxury hotels and villa holidays for older visitors. Plans are in place to build Spain’s top luxury hotel on the island.

The island of Menorca, also known as Minorca, is regarded as the quietest of the three holiday islands, and family orientated, with tourists just as likely to be taking a villa holiday with companies like James Villas as they are staying in a hotel or holiday apartment. The island is at her best in May and September when the island’s roads are quiet and the but everyone is geared up for the season.

The travel company who produce concludes that all three islands would be affected detrimentally by any further increases in taxes on flights, infrastructure improvements and new hotels in Menorca planned for the future might have to be reconsidered if the number of tourists visiting for a holiday comes down.

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Via EPR Network

Ciclismo Classico, one of the country’s leading bicycle vacation companies, expands its trip destinations by now offering biking vacations in Vietnam, New Zealand and Chile/Argentina

In an effort to expand beyond Europe and to uphold its mission to discover the best bicycling routes in the world, Ciclismo Classico, one of the country’s premier bicycle tour companies, has added three new regions to explore, giving travelers the opportunity to cycle during the fall and winter from October – March. For its 2008-2009 season, Ciclismo Classico has added Chile & Argentina, New Zealand and Vietnam.

When we started 20 years ago, our focus was on Italy,” says Ciclismo founder and cycling enthusiast Lauren Hefferon. “Over the years we added France, Spain, New England and many others continuing our goal of offering an array of safe, healthy, fun vacations that span Europe and immerse our riders in the culture and cuisine of the country they’re visiting. Now, with the addition of three new continents to our trip menu, new and returning cyclists will experience touring the Ciclismo Classico way in places where the lands are ripe with discovery and the dollar goes a bit farther.”

The company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has put together these three new tours, all of which include local guides, a fully-outfitted bicycle rental, accommodations and meals, cultural excursions, travel planning and more:

Chile and Argentina – debuts October 25, 2008
Ciclismo’s South American tour is the only one of its kind and offers the option of an 8-day base trip or a 10-day extended trip. Riders will cycle nearly 200 miles of scenic mountain routes with the snow-capped Andes nearby. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to ride by the Seven Lakes, visit five national parks, take a hike to Petrohue Falls, stop at the Curarrehue Museum and soak in the Huife hot springs. The additional two days will feature a trip to Santiago and the Colchagua Valley, an exclusive discussion about Chilean wines with a local sommelier, three private winery visits, and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Vina Viu Manent’s vineyard. The 8-day trip starts at $3.795/person. The two night post-trip extension is an additional $1,195.

New Zealand – debuts November 16, 2008
This itinerary offers the choice between the base 10-day trip and an extended 14-day stay. The nearly 300-mile journey on the South Island starts in Christchurch and continues along New Zealand’s west coast and through the Southern Alps. During the bike tour, guests will ride the TranzAlpine Train, one of the world’s greatest scenic railway journeys. In addition to great biking, guests will witness a jade carving demonstration, hike to the base of the Fox Glacier in Westland National Park, go sea kayaking, and even visit a sheep farm. The extended package includes an overnight cruise on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, the opportunity to ride an additional 100+ miles, a stay in Te Anau, a ride to the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and a steamship ride to Queenstown. The 10-day trip starts at $3,995/person. The optional four night post-trip extension is an additional $1,895.

Vietnam – debuts October 25, 2008
This 11-day ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) features more than 200 miles of scenic and cultural cycling including riverside riding, coastal explorations, mountain passes, rolling hills and small villages. Riders will get the chance to see a traditional water puppet performance in Hanoi, experience a garden and tea stop while cycling through Hue and boat to the Coral Islands off Nha Trang. The itinerary also features exclusive visits to the homes of four Vietnamese experts, a boat cruise on the Perfume River and a ride to the famous Cu Chi tunnels. Guests also have the option to extend this trip for four days for a visit to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, where they will explore the city of Angkor Thom, visit the famous temple complex and a local Cambodian orphanage. The 11-day trip starts at $3,995/person, and the three night post-trip extension is an additional $1,275.

These tours are designed for small groups of between 14 and 18 guests, so space is very limited. A $500 deposit is required to make a reservation. For more information on any of these trips or for other Ciclismo Classico excursions throughout Europe and New England, please visit

Ciclismo Classico has been recognized by several publications for its outstanding trip itineraries. In 2004 and 2007, Outside Magazine awarded Ciclismo the “Trip of the Year” for Western Europe, and Men’s Journal named the Southern Italy: Sea to Sea trip as one of the “Top 100 Trips on the Planet.” Ciclismo has also been covered by the Denver Post, Bicycling, Business Week and Marin Magazine, among others.

About Ciclismo Classico
As a specialized boutique bicycle tour operator since 1988, Ciclismo Classico provides the most authentic, unique and exciting vacations in the adventure travel industry. Their well-crafted, award-winning educational trips in Europe, South America, New Zealand, Asia and New England are active immersions into local art, language, music, folklore and, delicious cuisine. By combining legendary service and rare cultural experiences, the Ciclismo travel experience continues to energize and transform each and every guest. For more information about Ciclismo Classico, visit

via EPR Network

Emirates has announced features and amenities exclusive to passengers travelling on its new Airbus A380 aircraft

Emirates, the rapidly expanding Dubai based airline, has announced several of the features and amenities that passengers can enjoy on the new Airbus A380, in a move that the company hopes will offer travellers the comfort and space previously only associated with private jets.

Following the delivery of the first Airbus A380 to join the Emirates fleet on the 28th July, the interiors and onboard product were finally revealed, with many already commenting that the new aircraft could revolutionise air travel.

Spread over two levels, the Emirates A380 aircraft will feature a carefully designed interior, offering passengers the maximum amount of space and comfort available. The upper deck of the plane will be dedicated to Premium Class passengers and will feature several amenities never before seen on a commercial passenger aircraft. 14 flat-bed suites situated near the front of the aircraft will offer a spacious work area, electronically controlled mini bar and what many are calling the most advanced in-flight entertainment system available.

However, it is one of the amenities of First Class that has been the focal point for discussion among those who have seen it. An On Board Shower Spa, from the airline’s spa brand, Timeless Spa, is available to all First Class travellers. The showers will be regulated through a software programme that works a traffic light system, giving each customer a five minutes shower.

Business Class on the A380 is also set to offer passengers some innovative features. Cleverly designed seating enables all travellers on the aircraft to have aisle access, with easy laptop stowage and a selection of beverages available in a Business Class lounge, while those travelling in Economy Class can enjoy spacious and comfortable seats and Gourmet chef prepared meals.

The A380 also produces 50% less cabin noise than its nearest sized rival aircraft and a higher cabin pressure, both proven to reduce the effects of travel fatigue and to ensure a pleasant flight for all passengers.

Travellers will be able to make up their own minds about the A380 aircraft at the start of August when Emirates Airline launches its first commercial flight from Dubai to New York’s JFK, with further flights following later in the month.

About the Emirates Group:
Emirates, the Dubai airline, is one of the world’s most successful and rapidly-expanding airlines. Emirates is currently the only airline to operate non-stop flights to six continents from one hub.

Emirates is by far the biggest customer of the Superjumbo which means the Emirates A380 will eventually be available on more international routes than any other airline. If a person is travelling on an A380 there will be around a one-in-four likelihood that they will be flying Emirates.

via EPR Network

First Annual CKG Tour World Junior Golf Tournament to be Held August 6-10 in Myrtle Beach, SC

Signature Golf Packages, Inc. is gearing up for the first annual CKG Tour World Junior golf tournament which will be held August 6-10 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Visit for all the details on seeing the best junior golfers from around the world!

Don’t forget to ask for our “GOLF AND GAS Rebate” special when you book your fall or winter golf package with Signature Golf Packages.

Las Vegas is one of the most exciting cities in the world to visit! Check out for the best in desert golf!

For more information, on Signature Golf Packages, please contact us at 1-866-462-9885 or visit Let us put our “Signature” on your next Myrtle Beach golf vacation.

via EPR Network

Signature Golf Packages, Inc. is proud to announce their new golf destination in Las Vegas, Nevada

Signature Golf Packages, Inc. is proud to announce their new golf destination in Las Vegas, Nevada. Signature Golf Las Vegas has a collection of over 20 courses from such great designers as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

We are excited to be affiliated with Sonoran Suites and their beautiful two and three bedroom condos located just minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip. Visit Signature Las Vegas Golf for more information on golf tee times and golf packages.

Summer is in “full swing” on the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach. We have some great summer rates as well as fall specials for your group or family.

For more information, on Signature Golf Packages, please contact us at 1-866-462-9885 or visit Let us put our “Signature” on your next Myrtle Beach golf vacation.

via EPR Network

Celebrating 25 Years of Short Break Holidays

Superbreak, the market leader for short breaks throughout the UK, is this year celebrating 25 years of trading, with a look back in time at how the travel industry has changed.

The short breaks specialist, which was founded in 1983, initially began promoting just a handful of hotels. Over the next seven years, the company continued to gain momentum and by 1990 Superbreak had set up its York based operations. By 1995, Superbreak was acquired by Eurocamp Travel and became their new hotel breaks division.

By the mid-nineties, it became obvious that the internet was going to play a massive part in the future of the travel industry, with more people looking to buy their short break holidays online, so in 1996, Superbreak launched their own website: At first this was just a means to advertise their holidays, but in 1999, the website became a place where customers could research and make holiday bookings completely online.

In 2002, Superbreak acquired Crystal Britain, the UK hotel breaks division of Thomson, which was followed by the acquisition of the London Travel Service and Bridge Britain and Ireland in 2003. The following year in 2004, Superbreak extended its reach into mainland Europe by acquiring Bookit, Holland’s leading online short break company. In 2007, Superbreak acquired West End Theatre Bookins, further enhancing their presence in the London short break theatre trip sector.

Ray Jones, Superbreak’s Brand Development Director, commented on the momentous occasion:

“Oh how the world has changed in 25 years. Superbreak today is fast-changing too, but the constants remain great value and exceptional service levels. I am so glad we have not gone online-only and still have a UK based call centre staffed with nice people who know their product and care about our customers. I believe our people and our clients will see us through the next 25 years.”

Superbreak has celebrated their quarter century anniversary with a look back in time through their archives. By visiting their website, visitors can browse brochures of days gone by, look at retro logos, and also see how much prices have risen over the years, with the ‘Hotel Prices Then and Now’ chart. The chart reveals that in 1983, a night at the London Grosvenor Hotel would cost £35; now it will set visitors back a much heftier £210.33.

About Superbreak
Superbreak is the internet division of Superbreak Mini Holidays Limited, the market leader for short breaks and hotels in London and throughout the UK. Superbreak is part of Holiday break plc, a publicly quoted leisure company whose share price can be found in most major UK newspapers, or at

Based in York, England, Superbreak specialises in booking 2-5 star hotel accommodation throughout Britain for the leisure traveller. Superbreak holds allocations of rooms at all hotels and can make bookings up to and on the day of departure.

via EPR Network

Premier Inn announce the development of six new Premier Inn hotels to be opened in London

Whitbread PLC, the UK’s largest hotel and restaurant group, has announced the development of six new Premier Inn hotels, with 1200 rooms, to be opened in London over the next three years, with an overall investment equivalent to £100 million.

Whitbread has agreed to acquire the Quality Hotel (Westminster), Comfort Inn (Kensington) and Purple Hotel (City of London) from the Real Hotel Company PLC (RHC) for £18.5 million, adding 400 new rooms. An additional £12 million will be spent converting them to Premier Inn hotels. Whitbread has also secured the first right of refusal to acquire all 12 of the remaining Purple hotels from RHC should they be earmarked for sale. The proposed acquisition is subject to RHC shareholder approval and certain property related consents.

Premier Inn is also developing three new build hotels in the Greater London area, which together with extension to existing properties adds 800 new rooms. The three new London hotel builds are located at Waterloo, Ealing and Old Street in the City and are scheduled to open by 2011. The equivalent of £70 million* will be invested in these leasehold developments.

Premier Inn is the largest group of hotels in London by number of properties with 44 hotels and 5,300 rooms. These latest plans will increase the total number of rooms in the Capital to 6,500, with a further pipeline of 2,000 rooms expected to be announced over the next twelve months. Together, these will represent an increase of 60% to Premier Inn’s London estate.

Alan Parker, Chief Executive Officer of Whitbread PLC, said:

“We have exciting expansion plans for Premier Inn in London and the addition of 1200 rooms is a great start. The Capital is an important focus for Premier Inn, and there is an increasing need for high quality, affordable accommodation. Our further pipeline will position us as the largest hotel chain in London with at least 8,500 rooms before the Olympics in 2012”.

* The £70 million relates to the capital value of the lease commitments, the cash capital to be invested amounts to £6.5 million.

About Whitbread PLC
Whitbread PLC is the UK’s largest hotel and restaurant group with market leading businesses Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and Costa. Founded in 1742, the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange (as WTB.L) and is a member of the FTSE4Good indices.

via EPR Network

Homewood Suites announce the opening of their first property in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Homewood Suites by Hilton, the international brand of all-suite, residential-style hotels, announce the opening of its newest property: the Homewood Suites by Hilton Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 98-suite hotel is owned by Horst Hotels Granite, LP and managed by Horst Realty Company, LLC.

“We continue to see strong demand in the extended stay hotel segment and feel this property helps to fill a need in the Lancaster metro area,” said Cory Floyd, general manager. “Whether traveling for business, for leisure, or with the entire family, at Homewood Suites, guests are made to feel at home with standard amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, complimentary, high-speed wireless Internet access, and separate living and sleeping areas.”

Additional guest amenities include a daily complimentary Suite Start hot breakfast in the hotel’s hospitality center – the “Lodge” – a Welcome Home reception featuring a complimentary light meal and beverages Monday-Thursday evenings, an executive business center, exercise facilities and a 24-hour on-site pantry. The Homewood Suites by Hilton Lancaster also offers a swimming pool, sports courts and 800 square feet of meeting space.

The new three-story hotel in Lancaster Pennsylvania is ideally located to meet the needs of the Lancaster metro area, situated in the Granite Run Corporate Center just minutes from Lancaster County’s famed Amish Country, Historic Downtown Lancaster, Armstrong World Industries, Kellogg’s, and Alcoa.

About Homewood Suites by Hilton
Launched in 1989, the Homewood Suites by Hilton brand now has more than 230 hotels open with approximately 140 in the development pipeline. Beyond its spacious suites and home-like amenities, Homewood Suites guests can find at each hotel an on-site Suite Shop convenience store, exercise facility and guest laundry at most locations. Additional guest services at Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels include a complimentary grocery shopping service and a complete business center at most locations.

Hilton Hotels Corporation is the leading global hospitality company, with more than 3,000 hotels and 500,000 rooms in 74 countries, with more than 100,000 team members worldwide. The company owns, manages or franchises some of the best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection.

Hilton Hotels Corporation is an Official Sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team, which will extend through the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, the 2010/2012 U.S. Paralympic Team and the 2011 U.S. Pan American Team.


via EPR Network