Author - Kate

1
The real story on the best destinations 2014
2
Purple 10: Cool New Years Eve 2014 Parties
3
Making the most of your Cuba holiday
4
Film and TV: Incredible Game Of Thrones locations
5
Using Tint for Travel
6
A Night Less Ordinary: Marmara Antalya Revolving Hotel
7
Purple 10 | Extremely Cool Water Parks for 2014
8
Purple Tips: Gambia – The Ideal Holiday Destination for Families
9
Amazing Days Out: Granada’s Alhambra Palace
10
A Night Less Ordinary: The ship-shape Jane Hotel

The real story on the best destinations 2014

It’s official, Trip Advisor the world renowned travel site has awarded a host of awards for best destinations 2014. The annual Traveller’s Choice Awards includes the vast city of Istanbul in Turkey which tops the poll, with Rome, London and Beijing following close behind. Each city or place earned its review through the reviews and opinions of visitors the site. “If you’re looking for trip inspiration, look no further than the Travelers’ Choice Destinations,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Our global travelers are the tastemakers for uncovering the best places to visit around the world.” The awards in its 6th year picks out 500 of the absolute best places to visit in the world.

Best destination collage Square 640But what are these places really like? I’ve asked some of the Purple Travel family to share their thoughts on the top destinations 2014. Some they loved and some… well, you’ll see for yourself. We’d love to hear what you think, good or bad about the official list!

1. Istanbul, Turkey Fantastic city full of sights and culture. The people are so friendly and eager to help. This place has it all. – Gary
I think the best of the best way to taste the Turkish food, and experience the Turkish mentality, is to eat this giant hot dog with fish and cabbage at the Bosphorus coast on the Asian part of Istanbul. There are cooks on floating boats, preparing the grilled fish, that are then placed on these huge bagel and stuffed that with cabbage, fried potatoes and mustard. You cannot imagine! Also don’t miss the old guy outside the Blue Mosque who sells bagels and gives you for free La vache qui rit portion! – Soso
2. Rome, Italy What can someone say about Rome, about the Italians, their food and their language? I think my best moments in Rome were when we were walking around from the Piazza di Spagna, to the Colosseum, and the Fontana di Trevi. Suggested hotels-the newly built Caravel hotel (just two stops by bus from Piazza di Spagna) with nice big rooms and a lovely receptionist and Hotel Trevi, with its traditional style in the very centre of the city!!! loved them both, love Rome! – Soso
3. London, England Massive dump, ok for day trips but get out before it chews you up. – Gary
4. Beijing, China
5. Prague, Czech Republic Really touristy, especially in the centre, but a fun city with hilarious museums and cool bars. The beer on its own is worth the trip! – Kate
6. Marrakech, Morocco
7. Paris, France Paris is indeed the city of lights. Loved the museums and the Seine coast. I’m giving you the heads up for the hotels!They are all tiny and expensive in the city centre.  You have to go a bit further, if you wanna get a nice one on a descent price. Don’t hesitate cause the train is very good! – Soso
8. Hanoi, Vietnam
9. Siem Reap, Cambodia One of the most peaceful places I have ever been, temples here, there and everywhere, wild life and nature reclaiming it slowly, truly spectacular sights. The night life is also very good fun from low rent rock bars to high end cocktail bars. – Gary
10. Shanghai, China
11. Berlin, Germany Well a friend of mine got mugged there at 7 am in a packed train station and no one helped, so Berlin doesn’t rate too highly for me. – Kate
12. New York City, New York New York the best of the best hotel ever is next to the SEX museum, the one and only “The Gershwin Hotel”.  Almost on the 5th avenue, next to the train station, 5 minutes from the Flatiron District and the same distance from the Empire State Building and the hugest, the biggest Shoe Shop (named designers only) at the best prices!!!! Loved New york City for the donuts, the coffee shops and the views from the car driving all around Manhattan! You have to visit the shop of Tiffany & Co. at least for a window shopping as well the Hollister shop-at least for the experience-you feel like being in Miami!!! I tasted new things, loved this multicultural city!
Top secret tip for New York City – buy a $75 the city pass for New York (prior to arrival, purchase that online). It gives you access EVERYWHERE. If you do not have that and you want to visit all museums, take the boat tour to the Statue of Liberty or go to Broadway, you will spent more or less $185. So this pass will save you money and my secret for NYC. Do you remember where Alicia Keys was singing about the big apple and was playing the piano on the top of the steps on Times Square? Well, just underneath these steps, there is a ticket shop, with last minute bargains for Broadway.. I got ticket for the Phantom of the Opera for only $20. – Soso
13. Florence, Italy I went to a wedding in Florence a few summers ago and it was AMAZING. The city is gorgeous and fairly small so it’s easy to get around. The Uffizi has some magnificent art, food is fantastic (obviously) and it’s so historic. Although the queue was long, climbing to the top of the tower in Florence Cathedral is well worth it. – Kate
14. Buenos Aires, Argentina An old European style metropolis where you can go out for dinner at 2 in the morning, dine on fine steak and learn the tango. – Sean
15. Barcelona, Spain Amazing city, maybe the best in the Mediterranean! Great vibe, beautiful gothic quorter , even more beautiful smiley helpful people and of course the tapas and the sangria! Absolutely loved it! Some of my highlights: La Ramblas, Barcelonnetta, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Gothic Quarter. – Elizabeth
16. St. Petersburg, Russia
17. Dubai, United Arab Emirates Extravagant , glamorous and over the top. See how the richest spend their money and live an artificial lifestyle! – Ellen
18. Chicago, Illinois
19. Cape Town, South Africa
20. Bangkok, Thailand A bustling city, watch your head on the power lines and take public transport to avoid the 8 hours of rush hour traffic. Dine like a king for under 1 pound or do a cooking class and make it yourself. Don’t fall for the taxi drivers that can take you to get a suit made and drink your body weight in milky sweet ice tea. – Ellen
21. Budapest, Hungary Budapest is actually crazyWe went to an outdoor bar along the Danube and there was a huge lightning storm! It was so much fun though. Really lively city with cool bars and clubs. The baths are the perfect hangover cure too. – Kate
22. Sydney, Australia
23. Lisbon, Portugal
24. Chiang Mai, Thailand
25. San Francisco, California

If you want to book cheap holidays to any of these destinations, call Purple Travel on 0207 993 9228 or visit our website for our best offers and don’t forget to visit Purple Travel on Pinterest for loads of pics of these gorgeous destinations.

Purple 10: Cool New Years Eve 2014 Parties

Need some inspiration for where to party on New Years Eve 2014? Why not visit one of these ten places to party on new years eve 2014, the showstopping destinations that will ensure you begin the New Year with a bang.

1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is always a great city to party in and New Years is even better. The biggest party in the city is at Museumplein. And the best bit? It’s completely free. With a massive fireworks display and rocking Dutch bands, it’s a handy choice from the UK. Alternatively you can find plenty of dedicated club events throughout the city.
2. NYE in NYC
Times Square is *the* place to be at New Years, but let’s face it, anywhere in New York is going to be pretty awesome. The city is littered with big name DJs playing the top clubs to ring in 2015. While Times Square is a legendary NYE venue, made famous by the glittering ball that descends from the top of the square at midnight. There are balloons, confetti, fireworks, singers and dancers on hand to entertain up to 1 million people who fill the square every year.
3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for New Years on the beach
An absolute riot of colour, Rio could be called the party capital of the world. Make friends with the millions who gather on Copacabana Beach to take in a fireworks show that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. In the lead up, everything turns white – with flowers thrown into the water to bring good luck.
4. Hogmanay in Edinburgh
Hogmanay in Edinburgh is like the spiritual home of New Years. This year, as usual, thousands are expected on the streets to say hello to 2015. You’ll find yourself linking arms and singing with new friends who you meet along the way to the epic live bands that play, while 4.5 tonnes of pyrotechnics should be enough to light up the night sky. And don’t forget the traditional chorus of Auld Lang Syne.
5. New years in the country
If you fancy a quieter take on New Years, the Scottish Highlands are gorgeous. The Lochs, forests and rivers provide a tranquil setting to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead. A few great friends, a cottage in the countryside, a roaring fire and maybe a dram or two in the local and you’ve got the perfect peaceful New Years celebration.
6. Some-Fin a little different
Imagine spending New Year’s soaking up the northern lights, ice fishing or on a husky safari to a reindeer farm. A countryside retreat at Iso –Syote in Finland is a top choice for a true escape. Brisk walks in the snow, followed by warming sauna sessions and nights discovering the mysterious countryside is a unique NYE experience.
7. Trinidad & Tobago for a carnival atmosphere
Endless parties, dancing all day and all night, music fills the air, that’s what New Years in Trinidad & Tobago is all about. One of the Caribbean’s most diverse destinations, the annual Parang festival means it is one long party for the whole holiday season.
8. Turks and Caicos Islands for BBQs on the beach
BBQs right on the beach, bonfires to dance around, and up to eight different fireworks shows fill the air on the Turks & Caicos Islands. Seeing the pyrotechnics at the same time over the water from the 12 mile beach is certainly going to be a memorable experience.
9. Negril, Jamaica for serious fun
An adults only resort for an adults only New Years eve, Negril is one sizzling New Years Eve party. Hedonism II is the ultimate in NYE parties, We’ve heard about naked hot tubs, open bars and all sorts of shenanigans. Remember, what happens on tour, stays on tour!
10. St Barth’s for the rich and famous
Grab your yacht, take your diamonds and put on your Louboutins, St Barths is all about the celebrity filled New Years Eve. It’s where Russian billionaires cruise to hang out with celebrities and treat themselves to intimate gigs with huge name bands. Jay Z and Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Lindsay Lohan, Black Eyed Peas, you name a celebrity, we’re pretty sure they’ve partied in St Barts.

Call one of our expert travel advisors now on 0207 993 9228 to find the best deals for NYE celebrations for 2014.

Image used under Creative Commons via @ StuartMoreton 

Making the most of your Cuba holiday

A trip to Cuba offers a holiday like no other. The largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba beckons to visitors with promises of sun, sea, sand and salsa. Throw in a rich history, unique culture and exotic scenery, and Cuba stands apart as a “must see” vacation destination — particularly for those who immerse themselves in the laid back and distinctly Cuban spirit that characterises this extraordinary place.

Doesn’t just looking at this view make you feel more relaxed?

Embrace History
Stepping into the capital city of Havana offers an intriguing contrast of the old and the new. Take in sites ranging from an abundance of 1950s-era American cars to colourful Spanish Colonial architecture which has gracefully withstood the test of time. Whether window shopping along the Calle Obispo or touring the breathtaking Castillo de la Punta, be ready for some serious photo ops. And don’t forget to stop by a cigar factory to see Cuba’s most famous export being rolled, and perhaps even buy a box while you’re there.

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Film and TV: Incredible Game Of Thrones locations

Excited about Game of Thrones Season 4? Ahead of its premiere on Sky Atlantic on April 6th, we’ve got some pictures of the best filming locations for the new series. For anyone living under a rock, the TV show based on the hugely popular G.R.R. Martin books centres around the fight for power amongst seven feuding families who plan to win the right to the Iron Throne. Featuring the Starks of Winterfell, Lannisters of Casterly Rock, the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands nad House Targaryen it is a fantasy epic with locations that match its incredibly dramatic story lines. Game of Thrones is filmed mostly in Iceland, Ireland, Morocco, Croatia and Malta where rugged landscapes stand in for Winterfell and sun soaked streets play host to the Queen of the Dragons. Here are some of our favourite Game of Thrones locations.

Dark Hedges Ireland

The bulk of Game of Thrones filming season 1, 2 and 3 took place in Northern Ireland, where Castle Ward in Downpatrick became Winterfell and introduced viewers to the Starks, Lannisters and King Baratheon. McComb’s Coach Travel provides Game of Thrones day trips from Belfast where you can also visit the Kings Road and the Cave of Cushendun where the shadow baby was born to Melisandre. Ballintoy Harbour played host to Theon Greyjoy’s homecoming to the Iron Islands and near Bushmills is the avenue of trees known as The Dark Hedges, where Arya Stark escaped King’s Landing. There’s even a GoT exhibit in Belfast where you can take a seat on the Iron Throne.

Dothraki Camp Ireland Game of Thrones IrelandImages via @ causewaycoastandglens

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Using Tint for Travel

Online is a big world and I think Tint is going to help our company Purple Travel make a splash. We aim to find customers the best price on holidays to destinations all over the world.

Tint is a social sharing platform which lets brands curate and aggregate their social media feeds in one place. Basically Tint displays pretty much every important social channel – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. It’s incredibly easy to edit and you have complete control over what you want to post. By using a specific hashtag e.g. #PurpleTravel it will narrow down all the content from your social feeds to include that one hashtag. It’s perfect for specific campaigns or holiday offers.

After a recent rebrand and new website, we wanted something that was really impressive, progressive and stands out. Our team created the Purple Travel Social Lounge where guests can engage and share pictures and posts and we can showcase our most important content. Using Tint we created a wall of content that updates almost in real time and refreshes automatically so our customers can enjoy the best of our social channels.

 

Using Tint for travel and the industry is a no brainer. Travel Industry social sharing is all about the visual and Tint is able to package that in one space that is totally customisable by the customer.

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A Night Less Ordinary: Marmara Antalya Revolving Hotel

For something really special, why not enjoy a night less ordinary. We scour the world to find the most amazing and unusual hotels all over the world. Whether you’re interested in a night with some giraffes, or you want to pretend to be James Bond for one night only, we’ve got you covered. This week, a revolving hotel room. Enjoy a night less ordinary at the Marmara Hotel, Antalya.

A night less ordinary Marmara Hotel Antalya via Purple Travel

The WOW factor: The Revolving Loft Room. It’s the extra special touch that we thought made the Marmara Antalya worth featuring in our series of great hotels. 24 rooms are built into the revolving roof of the hotel give you a view that changes by the hour. A full revolution soaking in every view takes seven hours, just don’t blame us if you never want to leave! Soak up the atmosphere as you gaze across the sparkling water of the Mediterranean and the breathtaking views of the Bey Mountain range.

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Purple 10 | Extremely Cool Water Parks for 2014

Who doesn’t love slip-sliding about and releasing your inner child? Is there a better place to do that than in a them park or water park? We don’t think so. Impress your kids this year with all the facts about these extremely cool water parks for 2014 and don’t forget to tell us if we’ve missed one of your favourite water parks in the comments below.

1. Tropical Islands Resort, Krausnick, Germany. The largest indoor water park in the world, Tropical Islands is in a former zeppelin hangar, complete with rainforest, palm trees, birdsong and artificial sun.

Tropical Islands Resort Germany - Purple Travel

2. Siam Park, Tenerife. Perhaps one of the best known water parks in Europe, Siam Park, the Water Kingdom is home to a Tower of Power which is a 28 metre plunge, the zero gravity Dragon experience, the 200 metre mega slide the Kinnaree and the Sawasdee, a great choice for families: it’s a mini version of the grown up rides especially for kids.

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Purple Tips: Gambia – The Ideal Holiday Destination for Families

Gambia family holidays

Have you ever planned a family holiday trip by throwing a dart at a map of the world? That method might well be the only way many of us would ever hit upon The Gambia as our next family holiday spot. This tiny nation, one of the smallest in Africa, nevertheless offers some marvelous facilities for tourists along the stretch of beach that sits along the Atlantic. If you and your family enjoy the unusual and if they seek exoticism — here it is!

A Unique Culture

Of course the “real Gambia” includes far more than what you can see from your hotel window. Feeling the need for a bit of help from knowledgeable locals? Then you’re in luck, you can find freelance tour guides through the Gambia Official Tourist Guides Scheme. This organization connects tourists staying in area hotels with guides who can help them get more out of their stay. The guides are happy to show tourists the sights and explain the culture.

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Amazing Days Out: Granada’s Alhambra Palace

Amazing Days Out: Granada’s Alhambra Palace

If you’re holidaying in Spain, particularly Andalusia or anywhere nearby, you’ll be wanting to check out the incredible Alhambra Palace. It is easily one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, certainly the most famous in Spain and the town of Granada offers a little shelter from the punishing summer heat of Seville or Cordoba, and is only a couple of hours from Malaga. The two parts of the complex, the Alhambra and Albaycin are seated on two opposite hills and showcase medieval Granada at its most magnificent.

Alhambra

Image via @ Cromeo

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A Night Less Ordinary: The ship-shape Jane Hotel

Our weekly series: A Night Less Ordinary is all about finding the most weird and wonderful hotels all over the world. From a James Bond hotel room, to sleeping underwater expect the unexpected. This week, we take a step back in time for a night on a cabin in the Jane Hotel New York.

What’s the gimmick? Lovingly renovated, the Jane Hotel’s rooms are themed around the cabins on a ship, complete with galley style bunk bed rooms,  brass fittings, warm colours and big mirrors, storage under over beds and buckets of bohemian history. A stay in the Jane Hotel, with its retro-uniformed staff and period design  is filled with character and one that makes the most of the NYC experience.

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