Archive - February 2013

1
Purple Tips: Top 5 Albufeira hotels
2
Purple 10: St Patricks Day 2014
3
The definitive list of Stag dos and donts
4
Purple Hearts: Florence Things To Do
5
Off the beaten track: Coral Reefs, the rainforests of the oceans
6
Passport Pass Notes
7
A Night Less Ordinary: A room made from Lego
8
Purple 10 film inspired hotel rooms
9
Amazing Days Out: International Spy Museum
10
Purple Tips: 6 Terrifying Roller Coasters

Purple Tips: Top 5 Albufeira hotels

We’re all about the Algarve, specifically the lovely seaside town of Albufeira. It’s got the Old Town that’s perfect for long lazy strolls in the sunshine. Over the hill you’ll find The Strip, packed with neon bars and all night parties. It really offers the best of both worlds.

Cheap hotels in Albufeira from PurpleTravel.co.uk

So if you’re stuck for a place to stay, here’s our top 5 hotels in Albufeira.

Family friendly: The Paraiso de Albufeira Hotel Apartments have practically every facility you could think of, from one bedroom apartments to duplexes. The MGE restaurant and pool side snack bar are great for keeping little ones topped up, while the multi use court for basketball or football, mini golf course and video game room will keep even the moodiest teenager busy. That’s before you even get to the pool, nearby beach or the selection of water parks you’ll find around.

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Purple 10: St Patricks Day 2014

Purple 10: Things to do on St Patricks Day 2014

It’s only a few weeks away, if you’re not heading to Ireland to celebrate the national day on 17th March, then at least you can pretend you’re a bit Irish with our Purple 10 things to do on St Patricks Day 2014.

St patricks pug

Image via @ dapuglet

  1. Eat something Irish. We’re not suggesting you turn Zombie on us, we mean get a taste of some yummy Irish cuisine. If you can’t get your hands on a Guinness (where are you? On the moon?) Then you can always break out a recipe book and throw together some coddle, boxty or champ.
  2. Go green. Hat, scarf, wig, anything really, just make sure you’re wearing something green on 17 March.
  3. Watch a parade. If you can’t make it to Dublin and the huge parade there, maybe there’s one happening in a bit city near you. There’s information here about parades throughout USA, Canada, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
  4. Learn about Ireland and its patron saint. There’s more to Ireland than simply shamrocks and Guinness, find out a little about the history of the country and the story of St Patrick. There’s a good podcast to start off with here.
  5. Whack a snake. We’re kidding; we just wanted to let you know that part of St Patrick’s celebrations include delighting in a complete lack of snakes in the Emerald Isle. The saint is said to have chased them into the sea and they’ve stayed away ever since.
  6. Have a flutter, the luck of the Irish. What better way to put that into practice than having a go at the bookies.
  7. Listen to some trad. Traditional irish music is a joy to listen to and even better to watch. The fiddle, whistle, pipes or concertina and plenty more are likely to be playing in harmony in pubs the world over to celebrate Ireland’s national day.
  8. Head to the pub and have a pint. If nothing else impresses, maybe a traditional pint of the black stuff will have you feeling green (in a good way!)
  9. Learn a jig, a reel or a polka. This isn’t some kind of scary incantation; it’s actually a type of traditional Irish dancing as made famous by Riverdance and Michael Flatley. YouTube Preview Image
  10. Have the craic. This isn’t a totally unique Irish concept, but the word is. Craic means having as much fun as you can!

The definitive list of Stag dos and donts

Ok, you’re a best man, or a brother-in-law to be or simply a friend who wants to give your mate a brilliant last hurrah to single life. That’s right, you’ve been charged with stag party duties! Feel free to go as wild as the groom, party as much as you like, and lose your passport on the way back home, but if you miss out on our dos and donts, you do it at your peril!

Stag parties from PurpleTravel.co.ukOh – and if we’re missing any, let us know in comments.

Do keep an eye on the stag. He’s the reason you’re all here after all, and bear in mind the bride might not be too happy to hear he’s been handcuffed to a street lamp in Benidorm.

Don’t get absolutely plastered on the first morning. You’ve got a couple of days, no need to be hungover for the whole thing.

Do get organised. It helps to book in advance to get the best deals on flights, hotels, transfer and activities. That’s where our dedicated stag party  experts can help out. Jack will sort it out in no time, and we promise he’s good! Give him a call on 01252418614.

Don’t forget to eat. Depending on your activities, paintballing, boozing, checking out some strippers, you’ll need some soakage and sustenance. Get a couple of good meals in, or talk to your hotel to book a decent restaurant.

Do organise some brilliant activities. How about driving a tank, or eating dinner off a stripper?

Don’t go too far. Getting arrested is not something to aspire too. Be aware of the rules and regulations in your chosen destination and don’t end up spending the night in jail.

Do actually ask the stag what he wants. You don’t necessarily have to let anyone else know about your heart to heart, but it’s his weekend too.

Find out more about the best in stag parties abroad from Purple Travel or call us now on 0125 241 8614.

Purple Hearts: Florence Things To Do

It might not be as famous as Italy’s other cities like historic Rome or Pisa with its leaning tower, but we think it’s fair to say Florence is a cultural, artistic and romantic capital all its own. Find out more in our guide to Florence things to do:

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The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is a small city filled with architectural marvels, cultural delights, breathtaking masterpieces, stylish Florentines and an atmosphere you could dip a spoon into. The birthplace of the powerful Medici family, Florence became a haven for aristocrats, architects and artists. A who’s who reads something like Botticelli, Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto and possibly the greatest of them all Leonardo Da Vinci. That’s quite a lot of name dropping and we’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg.

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Off the beaten track: Coral Reefs, the rainforests of the oceans

Stop for a moment to consider the fairytale ‘Finding Nemo’ world of coral reefs. With an astonishing variety of branching, leafy forms and intriguing, unusual sea life, they also play a hugely important role in preserving biodiversity as the home to many cute and amazing sea creatures like fish, jellyfish, anemones and soft corals. Most reefs are formed in long, narrow strips along the edge between shallow and deep water. They aren’t spread across huge areas in the same way rainforests are.

Here at PurpleTravel.co.uk, we’ve found the most impressive coral creations for your eyes only…

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  Coral reef scenery with Black-backed butteflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus), gorgonian and Red Sea dwarf sweepers (Parapriacanthus guentheri), Red Sea, Egypt

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

Passport Pass Notes

Passports are tricky things, we can’t tell you the amount of stories we’ve heard from people who realize they’ve left theirs at home the day they were meant to travel, missing flights because they couldn’t find it, or realising it’s out of date the a week before you leave!!

Passport

Passport image via @ Nathan17

We don’t want your holiday to be ruined by something like that, so we wanted to answer some of your most asked passport questions in one handy place. First thing is, it is your responsibility to keep your passport safe and in good order.

Renewing

It usually takes around three weeks to renew a passport and the price changes depending on how fast you request it. You need to bear this in mind when making a booking and ensure your passport will have arrived well before you leave.
If your passport is going to expire soon, you should think about applying for a new one early. Some countries require a minimum of two years validity on your passport from the date you arrive home.
Our rule guideline is that you have validity of at least six months left in your passport after your return date. If you have specific questions you should contact the consulate or embassy of the country you are travelling to. You can search here for UK guidelines on passport requirements by country.

Safety

It’s a good idea to leave copies of your passport, insurance details, ticket details and itinerary with friends and family at home too.
Lost: If you’ve lost your passport, or believe it has been stolen you’ll need to report it to the local police so you can get a copy of the report. You will need that to get replacement passport papers and for insurance reasons. Get in touch with the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate too.
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you will need to fill in an LS01 form (available from the local embassy/consulate.) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will issue you with replacement documents to get back to the UK.

Emergency passport

If you need to travel urgently, it is possible to get an emergency passport but you will need to show some document verifying your identity and a copy of a police report if it has been stolen. There is a fee involved in this too, so be prepared to pay the price. And not all countries accept an Emergency Travel Document (ETD.)
Similarly if you’ve reported your passport is missing to an embassy or consulate and you find it tucked away in a bag or under a pillow, you won’t be able to use it, as it will have been electronically cancelled. Be warned, if you try to use it, you may be stopped by the authorities.

In addition, whatever happens everything related to passports takes time, e.g. renewing or reporting it as lost, so your travel plans might be disrupted.

My passport says Miss, but I am a Mrs

As long as the gender on your booking corresponds to the gender on your passport, there should be no problem in being able to fly. Being labelled incorrectly as Ms/Mrs or Miss won’t change your booking. UK and most other passports do not actually state the title on travel documents. However, if this is not the case for you, please contact our team immediately by emailing admin@purpletravel.co.uk.

I got married and am in the process of changing my name

Your booking must be in the name that is on your passport. DirectGov has some sound advice. It says if you need to renew your passport it might be better to get one earlier in your maiden name and change it afterwards. Most travel companies won’t allow you on board if your name is different to your passport even if you have your marriage certificate with you.

We would urge anyone in any doubt about any aspect of their passport to contact the Foreign Office for up to date information.

A Night Less Ordinary: A room made from Lego

Legoland Room 1

If your idea of a good night is packed with Lego bricks, towers of all shapes and sizes and little square headed figures all over the place, then head for a night in Legoland in California, USA. Due to open on April 5th 2013, if you thought your home was coming down with Lego bricks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Legoland California is dedicated to all things colourful and brick shaped, from the blocks that adorn the walls as you make your way in, to the perfectly themed carpets. There are around 3,422 Lego models throughout the hotel, including eight in each room, made from more than three million Lego bricks. In the lobby alone there is a wall of 6,000 minifigures and a family of smoke breathing dragons at the front entrance.

Legoland water park

In the hotel there are three dedicated room types: Pirate with its Jolly Roger flags and Lego pirate parrots, Adventure with a sweeping jungle theme and friendly brick made monkeys and Kingdom where you get a taste of all things King Arthur and the Round Table. It’s probably fair to say these rooms and staying in the hotel fulfil just about every Lego fantasy you could imagine. In fact you could say it’s a Lego geek’s dream right down to the smallest detail. On top of family sleeping areas and dedicated Lego treats for little ones, a trip to the Hotel also offers select entry to rides and attractions within the theme park.

Beyond the hotel you get to splash around in the water park and even build your own raft from soft Lego bricks, or dodge the water cannons, go on a Safari trek, or visit Sky Patrol. Whatever you choose, we’re sure Lego adventurers of all ages will find something to enjoy. There are even mini Lego Star Wars adventure areas, a mini Las Vegas and something called a Coastersaurus, which we are dying to try!

Miniland las vegas

Find out more about hotels you never knew existed in other posts in a Night Less Ordinary.

All images via @ Legoland California.

Purple 10 film inspired hotel rooms

Batman Movie Room from Purple Travel.jpg

#1 This could be our personal favourite. The Batman hotel room built to resemble the Bat Cave. Everything is themed from the tv, shower even to a replica of the utterly cool Batmobile. It’s hard to think of a better start to our list of 10 film inspired hotel rooms.

Twilight themed hotel rooms from Purple Travel

#2 The Pacific Inn Motel, Forks, USA. For the Twi-Hards amongst us, you can sleep under framed pictures of Bella, Edward or Jacob and get a real feel for the town where the novels are set. Even Bruce Wayne would be impressed.

Tron hotel room from Purple Travel

#3 Tron Suite at the ICEHOTEL, Sweden. Around 200km inside the Arctic Circle is novelty enough, but when you find a room made of ice and designed to replicate the imagery from the Disney film Tron: Legacy, then you’re unlikely to forget it.

Pirates of the Caribbean Hotel room from Purple Travel.jpg

#4 Time will probably tell if the Pirates of The Caribbean films will go down in history as classics, but for now Disney has immortalised the films in the form of a hotel room. The pirate experience begins immediately – the doorbell plays ‘yo, ho, ho a pirate’s life for me.’

Star Wars Hotel Room from Purple Travel

#5 Luke Skywalker’s house in Hotel Sidi Driss, Tunisia If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll recognise the dusty landscape here as that of Tatooine. The rooms are surprisingly cosy, built in a traditional style dug from the sites of the caverns. If you’re not a fan, then this hotel is probably not for you.  Image via @ RapidTravelChai

James Bond Hotel room from Purple Travel

#6 Endless mirrors, golden tickets and an Hammam – very James Bond at the Suite dedicated to 007 at the Seven Hotel Paris Image via @ Seven Hotel Paris

Alive Hotel Room from Purple Travel

#7 Paris has a bit of a monopoly on intriguing hotels, in fact the Seven Hotel has a second one up it’s sleeve with the Alice Room. Dedicated to Alice’s journey through Wonderland, it’s got a rabbit hopping from the wall, psychedelic settings and two toilets with a chessboard in between. Image via @ Seven Hotel Paris

Drive in Cinema Hotel Room from Purple Travel.jpg

#8 At the drive-in a bed for five. Perfect for film buffs, the V8 Hotel in Stuttgart has a car shaped bed (that fits 5) and offers the feel of a drive in movie experience. Image via @ V8 Hotel

50 Shades of Grey hotel room from Purple Travel

#9 It hasn’t quite become a movie yet, but just give it a little while. After the whirlwind success of 50 Shades of Grey, hotels are cashing in on theming up rooms to incorporate all things Christian Grey. The Heathman Hotel, USA is offering a 50 Shades of Grey holiday, you might remember it’s where Ana and Christian had an initial encounter. Just don’t forget to bring your own cuffs and whips. Image via @ Heathman Hotel PDX

Hobbit Hotel from Purple Travel

#10 This is impressive whether you’re a Hobbit fan or not. Much love has been put into creating a dedicated ‘Shire’ experience in the lovely surrounds of Montana from gigantic mushrooms, a troll house, Hobbit trails, and even Gandalf’s hat in the room.  Image via @ Hobbit House of Montana.

Amazing Days Out: International Spy Museum

Intl Spy Museum 1

Gadgets, gizmos, cool cars, and femme fatales: all in a days work for James Bond and for visitors to the International Spy Museum. In Washington DC, you’ll find the spaced dedicated to unveiling the mysterious world of professional espionage, shining a light on double lives, and sharing the sometimes hilarious tricks of the trade that make spies so intriguing (lipstick gun anyone?)

A day at Washington’s most fun museum starts with the Spy in the City tour. We’re pretty sure it’ll be a highlight for any nine year old, or 99 year old! You track your way across the city, solving a series of fiendish clues and complete your mission. The tour is made all the more realistic with all the undercover gadgets you’d expect. Back at base you can explore the museum, which is filled with stories of ingenious, and sometimes ridiculous stories from the golden age of spying in the 50s and 60s, with in-shoe cameras and a replica of a tunnel that run underneath Berlin during the Cold War. There are also much older artefacts like George Washington’s spy letter, and an Enigma Machine used during World War II to send coded messages.

Intl Spy Museum 3

Right now Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains has some of the most famous cars from the franchise, along with a detailed exposition of every Bond Villain and the chance to create your own secret lair! Argo Exposed also brings you behind the scenes of the real life and completely daring mission by Tony Mendez to rescue a group of Americans from Iran by going undercover as a film crew.

Lipstick Pistol Intl Spy Museum

There’s code-breaking and a whole room dedicated to the Enigma cipher museum and it’s constantly updated with new activities – see if you can pass a polygraph test while you’re there. The best bit, is when you take away your spy stories you can be sure they come with some kind of authority, the man in charge of the museum was in the CIA for over 35 years, while the advisory board has two former chiefs of disguise for the Agency as well as a retired KGB general. create your own secret lair! Argo Exposed also brings you behind the scenes of the real life and completely daring mission by Tony Mendez to rescue a group of  Americans from Iran by going undercover as a film crew.

Tickets are $19.95 and children under 6 go free. You’ll find it on 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004.

Find out more about cheap holidays to the USA from Purple Travel.

Purple Tips: 6 Terrifying Roller Coasters

Purple Tips: 6 Terrifying Roller Coasters

What does it say about the human race that we are prepared to pay good money to scare the wits out of ourselves? We have our bodies thrown around the sharp corners, tunnels and twists at high velocity, while strapped in with little more than a glorified seat-belt. The adrenalin rush that each trip provides is surely addictive, and with coaster designers becoming ever more innovative in their sadistic desire to scare us half to death, the roller coaster stakes are higher than ever. Here are the world’s top six scariest roller coasters.

Shambhala

Shambhala image via @ Jodi Playa

Wind Shear at Divo Ostrov Amusement Park, Russia

This Russian roller coaster was supposedly designed to make its passengers throw up on themselves. Located at a theme park set deep into woodland, it spins, flips and rocks passengers in all directions for the ultimate stomach-churning effect (just make sure you don’t eat too much before boarding). The ride is one of Vekoma’s Waikiki Wave Super Flip rides (of which there is another in Mexico and one in Australia). The roller coaster can bend in all directions, allowing for diagonal twists and turns rather than just horizontal. One side of the ride moves in a clockwise direction, while the other moves in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning passengers are swung back and forth, hung upside down and tossed around in a vomit-inducing random fashion.

Batman The Ride at Six Flags, Georgia, USA

Batman The Ride has a particularly dark history. A teenager on a church trip was decapitated after entering a restricted area below. The 11-story-high ride was closed after the incident, but re-opened a few days later, only to take the life of a 58-year-old park worker in 2002, when he was in a restricted area while the coaster was operating. The man was kicked in the head by a passenger, who herself was hospitalised, though she ultimately survived the accident.

Shambhala at PortAventura, Spain

As well as being the tallest ride in Europe, Shambala is also the ride with the tallest drop (78m) and longest hyper coaster track (more than 1,650m). Its drop is enough to turn your stomach inside out and choose some of the other roller coasters around the world.

Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi

Formula Rossa is currently the fastest roller coaster in the world, reaching a staggering 240km per hour in less than five seconds. The velocity is such that passengers in the front seats are required to wear goggles to protect their eyes from the potential damage caused by a high speed impact with a flying insect.

Expedition Everest at Disney World, USA

This relatively new and relatively tame roller coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom still managed to kill a passenger, at least indirectly. A 44-year-old Florida man was unconscious when his cart pulled into the unloading station, and an employee and a park guest immediately tried to revive him. He was later pronounced dead, the victim of a heart attack, at a local hospital. Disney officials determined that the ride was operating normally when the man died. Maybe the surprise near the end of the coaster’s run startled him to death?

Cobra at Tivoli Friheden, Denmark

This amusement park in Aarhus, Denmark opened its new Cobra coaster in June of this year, only to shut it down eight days later after a section of track fell apart, sending a car off the rails and injuring four passengers. The ride’s now closed, as the park decides what to do: scrap it entirely or rebuild it. If it does re-open, we don’t think we’ll be signing up to ride it.

You Should Read… Top 10 Haunted Hotels

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