Archive - December 2012

1
New Years Detox Holidays
2
Purple Pick: Best value holidays Europe
3
Off the beaten track: Taking a dip on the edge of the world
4
Best boozy holidays
5
Bucket List: The Northern Lights in pictures
6
A night less ordinary: Hotel without a key
7
Footage from the world’s scariest airports
8
Strictly Come Cruising
9
Boxing Day Special: Top 10 Travel TV shows (including one epic fail)
10
The PurpleTravel.co.uk year in posts

New Years Detox Holidays

After a month spent knocking back mince pies and downing one too many glasses of mulled wine, January is an international period of detox. For some, this necessitates a strict diet of raw food and juices, while others just need a week away to recover mind, body and soul. Here, PurpleTravel.co.uk searches for the top ten New Year detox holidays. Attention please…

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Castel Monastero, Tuscany

Castel Monastero is a stylish retreat overlooking Chianti vineyards, placed within an 11th-century settlement. Its therapeutic wellness programme was designed by Dr Mosaraf Ali, the director of the Integrated Medical Centre in London. This programme focuses on weight loss, detox and rejuvenation – perfect for beating the Christmas bulge.

Expect daily yoga, toxin-eliminating Marma massage, cellulite-busting Trattamento Lipolitico mud wraps, a personalised dietary programme by Gordon Ramsay (delicious), and profuse amounts of fasting tea (gross). Come here if you’re looking to go home with more energy, lower stress levels and ease of sleep.

Viva Mayr, Austria

Based on Franz Mayr’s research on the idea that many ailments are actually caused by poor digestion, Viva Mayr, the Centre for Modern Mayr Medicine, in southern Austria prides itself on excellence in allergy and food intolerances. Run by Harold Stossier, the centre’s programmes combine traditional and modern naturopathic therapies, each with a different focus, whether it be on allergies, stress or anti-ageing. Its beautiful lakeside setting, indoor pool and beauty parlour make for an even more luxurious stay. However, don’t be fooled, this is not a holiday; everything is geared towards achieving optimum health, cleansing the digestive system and re-education of eating habits.

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Longevity Wellness Resort, Algarve

Portugal’s first anti-ageing medical spa lies within a nature reserve by the quiet spa town of Caldas de Monchique. Recently built, the modern concrete and glass structure is eco-friendly, with grass roofs and solar panels. In partnership with La Clinique de Paris, specialists in ageing management, the Resort spa offers a variety of holistic personalised wellness programmes, lasting from three days to one month. For New Year, why not try Dr Chauchard’s 15-day Fast Slimming and Detox programme, which includes full medical consultation, a diet plan and related treatments? You will stay in one of the apartment-like suites, with its own kitchenette with Smeg and Bosch appliances and living and dining areas.

Fusion Fitness, Hotel Aguas de Ibiza, Ibiza

The Fusion Fitness holiday at Aguas de Ibiza offers seven personalised one-on-one activities and treatments, focusing on cardio, strength, sport, mind and body and renewal. Whip your body into the best shape to start the New Year with in the beautiful surroundings of Ibiza.

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Hotel Palace Merano, Italy

Henri Chenot’s detox programmes are like catnip for yoga bunnies. His method is called Biontology, which combines Chinese medicine with Western technology. His regular clients visit to lose weight, boost their energy levels and rejuvenate their bodies, but those at the Hotel Palace Merano  also benefit from being in the foothills of the Dolomites in northern Italy. Enjoy calorie-controlled, salt-free recipes, trips to the spa and medical centre and picturesque views.

Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat, Devon

Located within 50 acres of organic farmland in north Devon, the incredibly stylish Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat is home to a convoy of fitness, nutrition and yoga experts. Here, you have the option of reconnecting with nature in the beautiful English countryside, while enjoying the range of outdoor activities on offer. For New Year, you should try their signature programme, an intensive four to seven-day detox called the Yeotox, which involves a combination of private consultations and specialised massages, plus daily activities to boot.

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The Golden Rock Retreat, Bali

A journey towards radiant health, the Golden Rock Retreat on the eastern tip of Bali is a private resort in the most tranquil of settings. Beachfront bedrooms and tailor-made programmes will help you get away from it all. Nutrition, fasting, yoga, meditation and qigong are all included, with the aim of deep-cleansing the system and re-energising the body. Whether you opt for the four-day Elemental Cleanse, with bowel flushes, massage, reflexology and other components or the 20-day Golden Rock Retreats, you’ll leave the Retreat feeling like a new person.

Forte Village, Sardinia

The Spa Thaermae del Forte at Forte Village houses six seawater pools at varying temperatures to heal by thelassotherapy. Resident doctor, Mosaraf Ali provides clients with advice on exercise, relaxation, yoga and massage to get you back on form after the Christmas season. His impressive list of patients include Prince Charles, the Sultan of Oman, Richard Branson and Michael Douglas.

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Penninghame House, Scotland

On the exterior, Penninghame House is a quaint family home, but further inside you will discover a modern macrobiotic health retreat. Located on a remote 19th-century estate (an hour and a half’s drive from Glasgow in Dumfries and Galloway ), the House offers various courses, including cookery lessons and dine evenings, where their chefs will demonstrate a range of dishes, with ingredients chosen for their effects on the body, mind and energy levels.

The January health week (16-22) is perfect for your New Year’s resolutions, having a specific detox focus, which will help you clear your body of toxins, fat and acidic imbalance. You will also take home the skills needed to maintain a healthy balance in the future through lectures and home remedy sessions.

SHA Wellness Clinic, Albir, Spain

Alfredo Bataller Parietti’s used macrobiotic principles to tackle and recover from a disease he had suffered since childhood. With his SHA Wellness Clinic, he fuses ancient Oriental disciplines with Western techniques to create personalised macrobiotic diet programmes that include organic, locally sourced Mediterranean and Japanese fusion cuisine. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the resort’s fresh, contemporary design and its setting within the natural beauty of the Sierra Helada National Park. The seven-night, full-board Detox Holiday (already on our Christmas lists),  includes a medical check-up at the beginning and end, clinical analysis, consultation with a personal coach, massage, colonic hydrotherapy, acupuncture, daily yoga, t’ai chi, cooking demonstrations and a personalised post-treatment health plan plus two months of follow-up coaching.

Need a detox holiday? Let us help you find the right one. Learn about the latest deals from Purple Travel.

Purple Pick: Best value holidays Europe

Make your budget stretch that extra mile with our price busting, sunshine bolt holes that are the best value this year. You can give us a call to book any of these cheap holidays now on 0207 993 9228.

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images by D0ominik

For families: Sunshine in Crete

There’s never been a better time to take advantage of great prices on holidays to Greece. Pretty much all of the islands are paradise like and its largest, Crete is ideal for families with children of all ages. Head for Chania, where you’ll find long stretches of beach where the kids can make sandcastles or the older ones can try out their water sports skills. Greeks tend to dote on children and evenings out in the Old Town are fun and very family friendly, with tavernas to dine in and plenty of entertainment options on offer.

Where to stay in Chania: The Althea Village is just a stone’s throw from Agioi Apostoloi, it’s got four pools and plenty of games and playground facilities on site. Throw in the friendly staff and this is the best family choice in Chania.

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image by einaz80

For foodies: Northern Croatia

Croatia is a great, budget friendly alternative to Greece or Spain. There are plenty of budget hotels and the Istrian Riviera in particular is especially nice as it is on the verge of becoming one of the top foodie hotspots in Europe. It’s a bit friendlier on the pocket and just as stunning as the capital Dubrovnik. The whole area is known for its hugely diverse culinary choices, with fresh fish (of course!) Italian influenced pastas, truffles accompanying many dishes, and open air markets that are in almost every town.

Where to stay in Porec: Island Hotel Fortuna. This is an unusual and beautiful hotel close to lots of local restaurants and offering magnificent views as you dine. You can even sail to the centre to dine at the many local restaurants every evening.

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For couples: Road trip in Catalonia

Road trips are some of the best way of seeing new countries, and with short flight times to Spain it is well worth it. The proud Catalan people live for the important things in life, like sunshine, beaches nature and tapas. And of course Barcelona is an ultimate city for couples with boutique hotels, Park Guell and the many Gaudi inspired architectural wonders, more tapas bars than you can shake a stick at and even a city beach. It being a city, a little bit of scouting means you can find the cheapest of the cheap. We love the idea of a day trip from a cute hotel hidden away in the natural lush surroundings.

Where to stay: in Catalonia we like the Santa Susana Hotel just a hop, skip and a jump from bustling Barcelona. The Susana is a nice secluded haunt, where you can spend days relaxing, or head for the nightlife of the city.

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image by maxshaman

For partying: Superclubs in Magaluf

Into clubbing? Want to bar hop night after night after night? Magaluf is an oldie but a goodie. Boasting one of the biggest clubs in Europe, BCM’s already seen Tulisa passing through this year, so you can imagine who’ll be headlining next summer. It’s a great choice for the last hurrah for Stag or Hen parties too with endless beer crawls, nightclubs, cocktails and fun. Oh did we mention the sun, sea and sand too?

Where to stay: In Magaluf go for the Fiesta Jungla Aparthotel. You’ll find the super clubs on your doorstep and the pools and beach to recover on the morning after the night before.

Click here for our best prices to Magaluf.

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image by sommertho

For complete relaxation: R&R in Malta

Malta is a tiny gem of an island in the heart of the Mediterranean, close to the boot of Italy, Sicily. The country is actually an archipelago made up of three islands, so it really has something for everyone. But, if you’re looking for a so-laidback-it’s-horizontal atmosphere at very budget friendly prices then you’ll find it here. The best bit? We think it has to be that Maltese summers are practically guaranteed hot, with loads of sunshine and no rain! On top of that, there’s a fine range of cheap hotels so it easily places on our best value holidays Europe list.

Where to stay: We love the Hotel Bella Vista in Qawra in a great location right on the seafront. You can take it easy at the bar, with a cocktail in hand just listening to the sound of the waves, or head for one of the tasty local eateries before retiring to your comfortable, spacious room.

Click here for our best prices to Malta.

Off the beaten track: Taking a dip on the edge of the world

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The whopping Victoria Falls and its surrounding area is a once-in-a-lifetime place to visit. Also known as the Devil’s Pool, September to December provides the ultimate in swimming at the edge of the world. The current at Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe forms a small pool, where visitors can watch over the 355 foot waterfall. But, would you be brave enough?

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Best boozy holidays

After extensive research (!) we’ve compiled our list of the best boozy holidays. Whether it’s a stag or hen do, a beer discovering holiday or you simply like to throw back a few pints, choose these holiday destinations for a spirited pick me up.

Cancun, Mexico This purpose built resort has been serving the best in tequila since the 70s. It’s a kind of anything goes place, so be prepared to let your hair down.

Cancun

Image via Pinterest.

Las Vegas, USA Renowned across the world as one of the funnest places you’ll find, the 24 hour casinos tend to ply gamblers with free drinks, so you’ll never be without a cocktail in your hand.

Las Vegas

Image via @ Moyan_Brenn

Ayia Napa, Cyprus Tourists have been going there to party for years. The clubbing capital is filled to bursting point with clubs and bars, and people going to party as if their lives depended on it.

Ayia Napa

Image via Pinterest.

Magaluf, Majorca Otherwise known as Shagaluf, there are bars and clubs stretching for miles on every street. If it’s nightclubbing until the small hours you’re after then there’s no better choice.

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Image via @ FeelSummer.com

Munich, Germany The legendary beer halls and Oktoberfest, make Germany a must see. Grab your mates and head off for a few days of major boozing in costume in the beer halls of Munich.

Germany

Image via @ Alaskan Dude

Amsterdam, Holland The home of Heineken is a firm favourite for stag dos. Not only will you get up to all sorts of boozy shenanigans, but it’s well known that Amsterdam’s explosive nightlife caters for all kinds of fun.

Amsterdam

Image via @ Michell Zappa

Malia, Crete It’s where the Inbetweeners decided to party. Says it all doesn’t it.

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Tallinn, Estonia Another stag favourite, it’s not unusual to have a beer at 8 am. If that’s the kind of boozing you’re after, head for Talinn.

Tallinn

Image via @ Cal Evans

Dublin, Ireland Temple Bar, Saturday night, that’s all you need to know.

Dublin

Image via @ fotopedia

A night less ordinary: Hotel without a key

Every week we look for hotels with a twist so you can have a night less ordinary. We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels from nights in a cave to sleeping in a converted prison, expect the unexpected. This week, it’s a hotel with no reception, no room keys and, eh, no locks on the doors at the Blow Up Hall 5050 Hotel.

5050 hotel

The Blow Up Hall 505o Hotel in Poznan, Poland, is one with a difference. We know we say that a lot, but trust us on this one. Entirely decked out in black and white, and taking its style inspiration from the 60s cult film Blow Up, it’s an old brewery transformed into hotel/shopping centre/art gallery.

What’s the gimmick? Where do we start?  The interactive hotel’s 22 rooms are decked out in the finest in artistic experimentation. Guests are given an iPhone on arrival, so instead of meeting a friendly receptionist, the device guides them to their room and gives information on the local area. Oh and there are no room numbers, the iPhone looks after that too.

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Why stay? The hotel is really an eyeful, in a good way. The monochrome décor is cool, while the trendy bar is a hotspot for hipster locals and visitors alike. The black lift, lack of room numbers and complete commitment to technology means this is one for the super cool amongst us.

Footage from the world’s scariest airports

Image via @ Todd Neville

Pilots had to keep their eyes wide open flying into Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport, a sharp and difficult right turn made it especially hard and gave no chance for error. The airport was closed in 1998.

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Pilots and passengers may need to cross their fingers flying out of Matekane, Lesotho, as a 2,000 foot drop appears fast at the end of the short runway.

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A plane spotter’s delight to see a landing at Princess Juliana International Airport, St Maarten, Caribbean.

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You only get once chance at Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Lukla, Nepal.

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Beautiful for passengers, but pilots have to fight wind shear and sever turblence to land at Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland.

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Cross winds are the biggest problem at Funchal Airport in Madeira.

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Barra Airport in Skye is actually just part of the beach and it’s take offs and landings are ruled by the tide.

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Strictly Come Cruising

If your idea of a perfect Saturday night is curled up on the sofa with Bruce and Tess as they introduce a fox-trotting former Eastender or a tangoing gymnast, then we’ve got the ultimate in holidays for you. P&O Cruises will once again host famous faces from the show on board some of their ships for a magical Strictly Come Dancing themed holiday this summer.

SCD Judges

On each cruise, hot tongued judge Craig Revel Horwood will be joined by four of the BBC show’s pro dancers who will perform show stopping numbers. Summer 2013 will see some favourites from this years show, with Natalie Lowe, James and Ola Jordan, Pasha Kovalev and Kristina Rihanoff. If you fancy taking to the floor yourself, the experts will even be on hand to help you improve your jive or rumba, while each show will feature a selection of costumes and is filled with as much glitz and glamour as you can imagine.

All cruises depart and finish in Southampton. The Canary Islands cruise featuring Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe stops at Madeira, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Cadiz and Lisbon. The Mediterranean Cruise, with James and Ola Jordan stops in Cartagena, Dubrovnik, Venice, Malta and Gibraltar.

Prices start from £1179 per person for 13 nights on a Canary Island Cruise.

Boxing Day Special: Top 10 Travel TV shows (including one epic fail)

If you still can’t fasten your trousers from piling in the turkey yesterday, now is the time to stew on the couch and switch on the Tele (and dig into some Quality Street). But if you don’t feel like watching the Christmas episode of the Flintstones for the fifteenth time, maybe you’ll enjoy some of these ‘holiday’ TV shows with a difference. Here is our pick of the top ten travel TV shows (including one epic fail). Happy boxing day!

An Idiot Abroad

An Idiot Abroad
Karl Pilkington’s travel plans lie in the hands of his ex-radio show host colleagues, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Pilkington’s indifference to seeing the world is mocked by Gervais and Merchant who make him do just that, only with an enormous list of crazy things to do (while they sit back and watch from the comfort of their London office). Expect activities that vary from being dropped into the Amazon jungle and told he has to survive to climbing Mount Fuji.

Around The World In 80 Days
In 2001, the BBC produced this seven episode series, which follows Monty Python star Michael Palin, on an attempt to become a Jules Verne’s hero. Palin aims to match the route of his fictional predecessor by circling the globe in 80 days without the use of modern air transportation. Palin is responsive, intelligent, candid and most importantly, hilarious, as he creates a journey filled with fascinating encounters – TV gold.

Stephen Fry in America

Stephen Fry in America
Stephen Fry, a man of many talents (he is an actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, and comedian), journeys through America in a traditional London cab. Beginning in Maine, he drives through the lower 48 states, before flying to Alaska and Hawaii. However, far from your typical travel TV show, Fry’s interpretation is as honest and endearing as the man himself, and full of his usual tongue in cheek humour of course.  

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony’s Bourdain’s No Reservations has moderately redeemed the Travel Channel for years of inane broadcasting. Bourdain, whose wickedly funny commentary is the greatest thing about the whole show, visits a series of disparate destinations including Iceland, Vietnam and New Jersey. His unfiltered take on local foods and atypical typical tourist activities makes for a personality-driven show, but then what else could you expect from the world’s leading punk chef novelist?

Globe trekker

Globe Trekker
Globe Trekker has filmed over 130 episodes and is hosted by a total of 26 people, offering a unique feel depending on which host appears in each episode.  The show acts as a tour guide through a series of destinations, with a huge amount of time and effort put into each well thought out, well edited episode.

The Amazing Race
A reality TV show with a difference, the contestants on The Amazing Race are racing the globe in both famous and offbeat locales.

Going Tribal

Going Tribal
Adventurer Bruce Parry, a former Royal Marine, is followed as he goes in search of knowledge from supposedly ‘primitive’ peoples around the world. He lives with a tribe for at least a month, learning everything about their lives – even their language. At the end of each episode, there’s genuine regret and often tears as he parts with the tribe, making for bona fide armchair travel.

Departures
Departures began when three friends were talking about travel shows and decided that they could make something better. Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach leave all familiarities behind and set out into the beyond. Expect incredible cinematography and an authentic, personal approach to travel. The show has won three Gemini Awards and with just one look at the landscapes presented, you’ll understand why.

Full Circle

Full Circle
Another one from Michael Palin, this time he makes an epic journey around the Pacific Rim from the Arctic, coastal Asia, Australia, Antarctica, South America, North America and back. As is the norm from Palin, it is he that makes the series so memorable, admirable and relatable.

Boozed up Brits Abroad (epic fail)
On the other hand, shows such as Boozed Up Brits Abroad are a cold, cruel reality check for those living in the UK. If you enjoy feeling embarrassed by your nation, this is the show for you. Expect to see profane language, nudity and of course, lots of vomiting.

The PurpleTravel.co.uk year in posts

Our top ten posts of the year, read, enjoy and be merry. And a very Happy Christmas from everyone at PurpleTravel.co.uk.

  1. Open your eyes on a trip to Turkey with our destination guide to Dalaman.
  2. The secret to a longer life? Holiday in the Greek Island of Ikaria.
  3. Feeling like a movie star? Now you can holiday like James Bond.
  4. And speaking of movies, where to have a Hobbit adventure.
  5. Too fat to fit? We’ve got the ultimate infographic on airplane seats.
  6. The gorgeous Alessandra Ambrosia’s travel inspired photoshoot.
  7. Get your dancin’ shoes on for a great road trip through the Deep South in the US of A.
  8. Would you stay at the World’s Worst Hotel?
  9. Two for the price of one with our Purple 10s, Weird things stolen from hotel rooms and the weirdest things found in hotel rooms. we’re not sure which is worse!
  10. Spend a night if you dare in the Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write the Shining.

Image used under creative commons by @ paprutzi

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