Posted March 10, 2011 by BookingBuddy
The Amalfi coast is famous for some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe – higgledy-piggledy houses perched precariously on the sides of cliffs, white sailboats on top of brilliant blue water, and market squares thronged with people. Amalfi takes on a yellow tinge in the warmer months, thanks to the lemons that grow all around here. Quench your thirst with a chilled glass of locally-produced Limoncello as you sit on an outdoor terrace taking in the brilliant sunsets.
Ristorante Caravella – This Michelin-starred restaurant may not have the best views, but who has time to look out to sea when you’re faced with food this good? The menu makes is heavily seafood based. There’s spaghetti served with seafood, ravioli cooked with cuttlefish ink, and fried olive and mozzarella balls.
Hotel Residence – Set in a palatial old mansion, the Hotel Residence sits on the seafront overlooking Amalfi’s magnificent harbour. All 27 rooms here have been furnished with original antiques, in a style that remains sympathetic to the building’s origins. Room rates start from £120.
Amalfi Cathedral – This ancient cathedral is unmissable – its formidable bulk looms above Piazza del Duomo, where a set of steps lead up to the marbled, arched entrance. Spend some time admiring the gilt mosaics on the cathedral’s gable, or enter the Romanesque nave through the magnificent bronze doors, which now sport a patina of green. The bell tower looks over Amalfi’s harbour, and is covered with majolica tiles.
Check here for Amalfi travel information.
Posted March 9, 2011 by BookingBuddy
The smallest of the Emirates, Ajman is far removed from the glitz and glamour of its neighbouring states. Ajman has its fair share of shopping centres, but this quiet state offers a welcome rest from the hyperbole on show in other Emirates states. It’s worth spending a day or two here just for the beach – miles of white sand, bordered on one side by warm water and on the other by palm trees.
Ajman Museum – The building currently housing the Ajman Museum has been through many guises in the two centuries since it was built. First constructed as a fort, it then became the palace of Ajman’s ruler, before being turned into a police station in the 1970s. Visitors these days will be able to view a collection of archaeological finds, as well as old weapons and religious artifacts.
Kempinski Hotel Ajman – Nestled on the shores of Ajman, the Kempinski Hotel is one of the most popular hotels here, perhaps due to its stretch of private beach. The luxurious rooms and sophisticated furnishings may be just a little over the top, but there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy yourself here. Head to Hai Tao for an indulgent Chinese meal, or visit Sabella’s for intimate Italian dishes. The stuff can also arrange a romantic, candlelit dinner on the private beach. Room rates start from £70.
Bukhara Restaurant – Tucked away in the grounds of the Kempinski Hotel, the Bukhara flies the flag for Indian cuisine in Ajman. The open kitchen allows guests to enjoy the spectacle of kitchen life. Enjoy platters of tandoori-cooked meat or seafood, accompanied by stacks of fresh naan bread and refreshing dips.
Check here for Ajman travel information.
Posted March 8, 2011 by BookingBuddy
First time visitors to Croatia may find themselves pleasantly surprised at the country’s balmy Mediterranean climate. Croatia’s long coastline hugs the Adriatic, providing it with a multitude of sandy beaches that are perfect for spending lazy summer days on. Head to Dubrovnik to find out why Lord Byron proclaimed this World Heritage listed city the ‘pearl of the Adriatic’. The ancient city of Split is full of historic attractions, and ruins left over from Roman times.
Hotel President – Located beside the open-air market at British Square (Britanski Trg), the Hotel President offers a peaceful respite from city life in the Croatian metropolis. Guests can visit the market to shop for fresh food or antiques. The hotel itself is refreshingly modern, and the rooms are finished with roomy beds and colourful paintings on the walls. Room rates start from about £90.
Kamenice – Grab an outdoor table at this popular hangout and feast on fresh local cuisine. ‘Kamenice’ means oysters, and you’ll find plenty of that on the menu. There are also steaming platters of mussels, fried fish and squid, and a variety of omelettes.
Diocletian’s Palace – Built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century, the imposing Diocletian’s Palace is a city within a city. The magnificent edifice was built with imported marble, and finished off with Egyptian sphinxes and columns. The Palace is in remarkably well-preserved, although there are still several areas undergoing restoration. Visitors will need to spend several hours taking everything in – the palace is a wonderful example of Roman excess, from the huge Peristyle to the basement with its soaring vaulted ceilings.
Check here for Croatia travel information.
Posted March 3, 2011 by BookingBuddy
If you still think of Eastern European countries as cold, grey outposts, then a visit to Bulgaria will soon change all that. It has emerged from the shadow of the Iron Curtain, and is fast becoming a popular holiday destination. Visitors have plenty to choose from – sandy Black Sea beaches, lush mountainscapes, hidden villages and colourful, cosmopolitan cities.
Rila Monastery – If you’re heading to the Rila Mountains, make a pit stop at the historic Rila Monastery for a look at this World Heritage listed landmark. The monastery was built near the cave where the hermit Saint Ivan originally spent his days. The modern day complex encompasses not just the cave, but a whole series of magnificent buildings, churches and towers.
Hebros Hotel Restaurant – Located in the Hebros Hotel, this restaurant offers diners a slightly upscale version of traditional Bulgarian dishes. Start off with a choice of soups salads, and move on to homemade meatballs, breaded pork fillets, or rabbit stewed with plums.
Dedeman Trimontium Princess Plovdiv – Look past its fairly uninspiring facade, and you’ll find a comfortable, spacious hotel with pleasantly neutral furnishings. The hotel is perfect as a base for visitors who wish to explore this ancient city. It is only 10 minutes walk from Old Plovdiv, the city’s atmospheric old town. Room rates start from around £40 per night.
Check here for cheap flights to Bulgaria.
Posted March 2, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Paris may be more hyped up, but Prague is the real city of romance. The Czech capital has more than its fair share of spectacular architecture - the majority are clustered within the historic centre, but those willing to venture further afield will be rewarded a more cosmopolitan view of the city. Sightseeing can take its toll on your feet, so sit down in one of Prague’s great cafes and enjoy a rich hot chocolate or glass of Czech wine.
Old Town – It may be full of other camera-wielding tourists, but to entirely skip the Old Town wouldbe unforgivable. Prague’s historical nexus is filled with a staggering variety of architectural wonders.Take a look at the Astronomical Clock, or Orloj. It built more than 600 years ago and features an array of animated figures that appear every hour. Visit the exhibition in the Old Town Bridge Tower to find out more about the significance of the famous Charles Bridge, and to enjoy the bird’s eyeview of the Old Town from the top of the tower.
Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa – The opulent surroundings might be a bit much for some, but if over-the-top Baroque style is your cup of tea, then a stay in the Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa might just be the thing for you. This boutique hotel is housed in a magnificent mansion a few short steps away from Prague Castle. The interior courtyards here are full of old-world charm, and are just the spot for enjoying a quiet tea break. Room rates start from about £170.
Grand Cafe Orient – Cubism reigns supreme in the Grand Cafe Orient, designed by architect Josef Goscar (his bust greets customers as they enter the cafe.) The interior harks back to Cubism’s heyday in the early 20th century, with elegant Cubist-inspired furniture and fittings. The menu itself features a variety of Czech cafe favourites, interspersed with a few international offerings.
Check here for cheap flights to Prague.
(Photo: Vera Kratochvil)
Posted March 1, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Celebrate the start of Spring with a short break away from your work desk. The sunny but cool days are perfect for exploring the streets of a new city, or rediscovering the hidden corners of a familiar one.
20% off at Sol Y Mar Shark’s Bay, Sharm el Sheikh
Don’t worry about Jaws getting hungry - the Sol Y Mar Shark’s Bay boasts its very own private beach for guests to relax on. With 20% off your bill, you’ll be able to enjoy the sun and sand with one less thing to worry about. (Found on expedia.co.uk. Check availability.)
50% off at Newport Beachside, Miami Beach
With fine sandy beaches and clear blue waters, the private beach at Newport Beachside is likely to be the beach of your dreams. If that’s not enough to entice you, perhaps a whopping 50% off will? (Found on hotels.com. Check availability.)
£35/night at Mission Valley Resort, San Diego
Relax and discover San Diego’s attractions, most of which are mere minutes away from the Mission Valley Resort. You’ll be even more laidback when you discover that room rates start from only £35 per night. (Found on vivastay.com. Check availability.)
20% off at Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu, Tokyo
Explore the vibrant Shibuya district and enjoy wonderful views of Tokyo’s night lights from you room at the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. Book early and get 20% off your bill. (Found on expedia.co.uk. Check availability.)
10% off at Park House Hotel, Galway
See Galway in bloom while relaxing at the elegant Park House Hotel, conveniently located in the city centre. The hotel is currently offering 10% to guests staying one or more nights. (Found on hotels.com. Check availability.)