Archive - 2013

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug or Dragons on a Plane
Switzerland Holidays: Worlds steepest cogwheel railway
A night less ordinary: Marie Antoinette Suite Paris
Purple Tips: Christmas around Europe
Guest Post: How To Save Money On Your Next Summer Holiday
Amazing Days Out: Chichen Itza Cancun
Purple Tips: 8 January holidays
Ryanair Hand Luggage Size – finally changing!
A night less ordinary: Hotel de Glace in Quebec
Wines and Regions: An Introduction to the Cotes du Rhône

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug or Dragons on a Plane

Air New Zealand, the official airline of Middle-earth is celebrating the release of the new Hobbit film early, with a scary Smaug themed livery for its planes. A Boeing 777-300 has been specially touched up to show the dragon Smaug all the way down each side to celebrate the release of The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug.

The plane’s new livery is all part of a theme for Air New Zealand who pull out all the stops when it comes to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Last year there was a similar effort when various characters from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey featured on the side of an aircraft. However, this year the mighty dragon Smaug voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch takes the starring role. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says it’s been a privilege to collaborate with the film team and Director Peter Jackson; “we worked with the digital effects company behind The Hobbit Trilogy, Weta Digital, and they designed the graphic for us especially for this purpose.”

Images via @ AirNzHobbitMedia

Switzerland Holidays: Worlds steepest cogwheel railway

Looking for things to do on Switzerland holidays. If so then this is a must-try experience which you will never forget. Railway company Pilatus in Switzerland takes you from Alpnachstad lake in Lucerne to the top of Pilatus mountain, which is 2.073m high on the worlds steepest cogwheel railway. Warning though! It’s not for the faint-hearted

Switzerland holidays: cogwheel railway

Image via @ Marcin Wichary, Sky Eckstrom

Unique Switzerland Holidays

The train goes over 1600m uphill with a speed of only 4.6km. The world’s steepest cogwheel railway winds up through lush meadows carpeted with Alpine flowers, past sparkling mountain streams and fascinating rock faces. Switzerland holidays, whether you choose to go to this part of Switzerland or not are full of stunning mountain and lakeside scenery.

So if you went…would you dare travelling?

A night less ordinary: Marie Antoinette Suite Paris

Find out more about the most amazing hotels around the world with Purple Travel. We take a look at a night less ordinary, whether it’s sleeping in a fox hotel, or in a silver mine, we want to give you a look at some of the weirdest but most wonderful hotels in the world. This week, a delight for that special lady in your life, let her eat cake at the Marie Antoinette Suite Paris in the Hotel 7 in Paris.


What’s the gimmick? Have a little taste of the Palace of Versailles at this incredible Marie Antoinette Suite Paris. Created with the indulgence of aristocracy at the French Court it has every luxury you can imagine and creates the perfect atmosphere for an unforgettable weekend away in the City of Lights.


Why stay?  Featuring a clawfoot hot tub, canopy bed and a voluptuous lounge, it’s made for fun and games and a feeling of utter decadence.


All images via @

The WOW factor! Really, a themed hotel in the heart of Paris, built for heavenly levels of extravagance make for a perfect dirty weekend. If you feel like spoiling someone special check out the Marie Antoinette Suite Paris at the Hotel 7.

Prices start from 367€ per night.

See what it looks like in this video:

YouTube Preview Image

Read more: A night less ordinary Hamster Hotel

Purple Tips: Christmas around Europe



Image via @

Decoration – The Christmas Tree is the most well known festive decoration. People use colourful lights, homemade decorations, a bit of tinsel and on top of the tree a big shiny star, symbolising the Star of Bethlehem that revealed the birth of Jesus. But, as always, the Greeks have their own particular traditions! Mainly, in the Greek Islands, the locals decorate a wooden model ship to show their love and appreciation to all the seafarers on duty during these special days.

Christmas delicacies – Apart from the sweet savoury pastries, such as melomakarona (honey cookies with walnuts) and kourabiedes (shortbread-type biscuit usually made with ground almonds – recipe), there’s another special treat made only on the first day of the year. It’s a cake or bread called Vasilopita, and on New Year’s Day families cut the pastry for a blessed and luck year. This is usually done at midnight on New Year’s Eve. A coin is hidden in the bread by slipping it into the dough before baking.

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Guest Post: How To Save Money On Your Next Summer Holiday

Aviva guest post

There’s no getting away from it – summer holidays are expensive especially with kids in tow. Even if you get a great deal on your package holiday there is still spending money to think of and the cost of living in another country for a couple of weeks. But there are ways to save money before you go and whilst you are away. All it takes is a little ingenious planning.

1. Get Frugal With Your Flights

If you are travelling abroad, flights can take a huge chunk out of your holiday budget. The good news is that even during the summer holidays and other peak times, it is still possible to get a better deal on your flights. If you have the luxury of travelling during off peak times, you’ll make even bigger savings.

Choosing unpopular times and days for example can net you some good deals. Usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday can be the cheaper days to travel. Take a look at your smaller local airport too to see if they fly to your chosen destination. Many smaller airports are adding to their flight destinations and could be a cheaper option especially if you don’t need to pay for parking.

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Amazing Days Out: Chichen Itza Cancun

Chichen Itza from Purple Travel

Chichen Itza Cancun is one of Mexico’s biggest and most famous tourist sites. 125 kilometres from Cancun and Cozumel it is a major landmark on the Yucatan Peninsula. Filled with huge temples, ancient carvings and a fairly fatal football pitch, Chichen Itza was a place of trade, culture and history for the Mayan people.

The Temple of Kukulkan, or El Castillo, pictured above was built under specific astronomic specifications. The structure is one of a whole series of temples, pyramids and other structures sacred to the Maya people. There are 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Each side has 91, which with the top makes 365 again, a reference to the year. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, a snake shadow falls on the temple. As the sun sets the snake gradually slithers down the steps.

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Purple Tips: 8 January holidays

January holidays 2014 from Purple Travel

Gambia Average temps 24 degrees Gambia is a great value choice for January Holidays. Easy on the pocket and easy on the eye, there are tonnes of beach side hotels or villas to choose from and no time difference, so you can feel at home on holidays!

Cuba Average temps 21 degrees Within nine hours of the UK, the Caribbean offers warm waters, soft sandy beaches and an incredible range of hotels. It’s just a matter of where to choose! We love Cuba for its laidback atmosphere, perfect for a post-Christmas break. Choose an all inclusive resort like the Playa Costa Verde All Inclusive resort where your every whim is catered to.

Hurghada Average temps 22 degrees release your inner scuba diving with a mostly underwater holiday in the Red Sea. Float through a tropical landscape by day as you discover coral reefs and the beauty of nature. At night there are nightclubs, bars and a huge range of range of entertainment from the traditional to the modern in Hurghada’s bustling resort. Hurghada is a fantastic choice for January Holidays.

Dubai Average temps 20 degrees A shopping lovers dream, although post Christmas, it might not be the first thing that springs to mind. The hot, dry weather in Dubai in January is just the balm to chase away those winter blues. Jumeirah Beach is a purpose built holiday haven, with its own souks, malls, clubs and pools… actually we could go on, but isn’t it better to see for yourself?!

Swiss Alps Average temps -1 St Moritz is a ski Mecca in January. It is slap, bang in the middle of full winter season, with skiing and snowboarding, cross country and hiking on offer as well as electric après-ski. Book now for great ski deals in January with Purple Travel.

Cape Verde Average temps 24 A string of islands floating in the Atlantic, Cape Verde is a wonderful melting pot of cultures, from its Portuguese influences to its proximity to the African coast. It’s not exactly mainstream so offers an eclectic holiday for sports lovers, surfers and great food and is still cheap enough for a great January deal.

Canary Islands Average temps 22 degrees The Canaries are renowned as winter sunshine holiday destination. And at just four hours flight time from the UK, they offer a cheap, cheerful and close holiday. Family friendly in Lanzarote sunshine is just the ticket after a long winter. Book self-catering or all inclusive budget accommodation in Lanzarote now with Purple Travel.

Florida Average temps 23 degrees Holidays in Florida are a great choice for two reasons: 1. you can beat the queues at the Theme Parks and 2. You can do it minus any sunstroke. Disneyworld and Orlando are still busy but not at summer levels, while Sarasota and St Petersburg beaches are still warm enough for bathing. Of course, if it’s endless parties you’d prefer, you could do worse than a quick road trip to Miami.

For more on cheap January Holidays talk to Purple Travel on 02079939228.

Ryanair Hand Luggage Size – finally changing!

On the back of a complete overhaul of Ryanair’s website, the low cost Arline is introducing changes to its baggage and check in policies, in a bid to attract more customers.

Ryanair from purple travel

Ryanair image via @ Paolo Margari

The no-frills airline announce on 28th November it was to allow passengers to bring a second small carry-on bag for free. It’ll also see the Ryanair boarding card fee reduced from €70/£70 to €15/£15 for customers who are already checked in online. This will presumably come into play if a customer has already printed out their check in card and mislaid it.

It’s part of CEO Micheal O’Leary’s plan for a whole series of customer service improvements across the Ryanair network.  It comes in addition to a grace period of 24 hours to correct minor booking mistakes and a selection of new quieter flights, (pre 8am and post 9pm.) There’ll be no more fighting over seats either, as fully allocated booking will be introduced on 1st February.

Maybe the most important part of the changes is Ryanair hand luggage size. In addition to a single 10kg cabin bag, te introduction of a second small bag, from this Sunday (Dec 1) means there’ll be less trying to wear all your clothes at once like Joey From Friends – or these girls… YouTube Preview Image However don’t think you’ll be grabbing another big case, the dimensions of the second bag must be 35cm x 20cm x 20cm.

Ryanair’s head of communications Robin Kiely said: “We are actively listening and responding to our customers so that they can continue to expect low fares and on-time flights, but can now enjoy a second small carry-on bag and reduced boarding card reissue fees for those who have checked-in online, along with easier website access, 24 hour grace periods and quiet flights, with further improvements set to be rolled out over the coming months.”

A night less ordinary: Hotel de Glace in Quebec

Find out more about the most amazing hotels around the world with PurpleTravel. Whether you want to sleep in a princess suite, a submarine or a hamster hotel, Purple Travel will give you a night less ordinary. This week, alternative art lovers will be amazed by the Hotel de Glace in Quebec, Canada where you can sleep in an ice sculpture.


What’s the gimmick? Made up totally of ice, the Hotel de Glace in Quebec, Canada is rebuilt every year by its skillful sculptors.  Some people call it a work of art – some people just go to feel really cool. Either way you can’t deny how impressive the Hotel de Glace is.


Why stay?  The Hotel de Glace is only open for a few months each year, so get in there while you can. It opens on January 5th – March 23rd 2014 and the highlight will be its frozen facade and Nordic Escape-themed decoration. The well stocked Ice Bar should have enough reserves to keep you warm.


All images via @

The WOW factor! Visitors will have the chance to go behind the scenes and discover the secrets of the hotel’s construction. Tours take place every weekend upon reservation, just be sure to reserve a spot in advance.

Prices start from £250 per person

Wines and Regions: An Introduction to the Cotes du Rhône

red wine


Image via @ Ralphunden

You’re probably familiar with Bordeaux, or at least aware that it makes very famous wines. And you may already know all about Shiraz, it being a staple of every supermarket wine shelf. But how much do you know about the French region of Côtes du Rhône? Well, we can start by telling you there’s plenty to know. The area is very diverse in terms of both climate and grape variety, so it goes without saying that it produces many different bottles that vary in price and style. But this doesn’t do much to help the everyday consumer when they’ve got a particular vinous request in mind, so what is going to help you differentiate between those old-fashioned looking labels? Well, let’s start from the beginning… with an introduction to the Cotes du Rhone.

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