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Purple 10: Best hotels in Dubrovnik
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Purple Tips: Hidden Shopping Gems Europe
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Summer 2012: Turkish delight
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Turkey Top 5
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Blog Directories
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Purple Tips: Corfu Hotels
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Purple Tips: Best Hotels Crete

Purple 10: Best hotels in Dubrovnik

In Dubrovnik, there is nothing better than long, lazy days lounging in the sunshine, strolling around the Old City Walls, enjoying a gelato or a cool beer or tucking into some amazing fresh seafood. You’ve already read all about what to do in Dubrovnik, now we fill you in on the best hotels in this gorgeous city.

Dubrovnik rooftops

Affordable Luxury: Grand Hotel Park. The design hotel is in a great location right in the heart of the city and has lots going for it. Surrounded by vibrant gardens and with lovely views of the Lapad Cove Promenade and of course the sparkling ocean, the Grand is a mix of Italian design and Croatian hospitality. We definitely like the look of the Taverna Marikin Dvorac which specialises in fresh fish and grilled meats. Vegetarians steer clear!

Rock the Kazbek: The Kazbek. This one really deserves its spot on the 10 best hotels in Dubrovnik list. It started as a castle, built in 1573 by noblemen so you know you’re in for a bit of luxury here. Fully renovated to its former glory, this boutique hotel has just 12 beautifully designed rooms, a restaurant with courtyard and balcony terrace and even boasts a library. You can literally become king or queen of the castle by renting out the whole property for something really special.

Bed to beach and back again: Komodor Hotel. This 3* is a great example of the famous old Dubrovnik architecture. This small hotel has a cosy atmosphere and offers the simple pleasures to make your stay unforgettable. And just minutes from the water, you can go from bed to beach in no time.

Water baby heaven: Orphee Hotel. Right in the middle of lush gardens and woodlands, so it offers that real get-away-from-it-all experience. It’s just a few miles from Dubrovnik, the pools are just what the doctor ordered; while the PADI approved dive school on the beach means you can learn a thing or two while you’re there too.

Naturally beautiful: Valamar Lacroma. Archinature, yes that might just be a made up word, but there’s no better way to describe this secluded hotel. Combining the natural environment and lush greenery of the Croatian countryside, with mesmerising style and architecture the Valamar Lacroma is a dream to stay in.

Unforgettable views: Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. In a truly fabulous location, just minutes from the Old Town, this is the place to go for breathtaking views overlooking the ancient city walls and the gleaming Adriatic. Although it was renovated recently, it has that lovely old world feel and plenty of original architectural features.

A regal choice: Hotel Excelsior. Well if money was no object this would definitely be one of our faves. It’s literally where royalty go to holiday. Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, King Olaf have all stayed in this pristine hotel as well as super celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Hey, if it’s good enough for them, we wouldn’t mind it!

Family run fun: Berkeley Hotel. A really family friendly, family run hotel, the Berkeley is ideal for a relaxed summer get away. Run by the Vicelic family since 2007 who offer the warmest of welcomes, a really great breakfast and lots of insider knowledge on where to go during your stay.

Cosy cottage: Vesna’s Cottage. We absolutely fell in love with Vesna’s Cottage. From the lush gardens that surround it, to the blue timber ceilings, Vesna’s is so laidback it’s horizontal. The brightly coloured walls will make you smile and kids will love the feeling of countryside right in the city.

Feeling flush: Hotel Pucić Palace. Now this one is for the serious luxury hunter. The 5* boutique hotel is right in the middle of the city and prides itself on its exclusive feel. It’s got ancient stone walls and parquet floors which combine with all the modern stuff you need – in room DVD and CD players. It’s even got a yacht for hire! If that doesn’t impress in your holiday snaps, nothing will.

If you fancy a stay in one of the best hotels in Dubrovnik, call Purple Travel now on 02079939228.

Purple Tips: Hidden Shopping Gems Europe

Purple Tips: Hidden Shopping Gems Europe

It takes a special kind of tourist, one with a keen eye, a patient disposition and a thorough approach to research (not to mention an iPhone…), to visit a city and discover the gems that even its locals have no idea about. Anyone can stumble out of the tube at Knightsbridge and find themselves in Harrods and even my grandmother wouldn’t be too hard-pressed to locate one of the better boutiques on the Champs Elysees, but the real challenge, the one that may ultimately reward months of MI6-style investigations with a pair of one-off Chanel sandals, requires a far keener tourist.

Before you read on, be warned. This blog post is not for the faint-hearted, the sun-seeker or the “let’s just have a MacDonalds”-er, this is for the shopper – the real shopper. While the list may be subject to add-ons or removals and is far from a comprehensive European shopping guide, I believe it contains some of the best-kept secrets of my own European travel experiences. Consider it a work in progress and feel free to reveal your own hidden treasure coves. Enjoy…

Copenhagen
As Scandinavia is fast becoming the centre of cool, it is no surprise that first on the list is the Acne Archive store in Copenhagen.  Archive is an Acne outlet store, selling a collection of classics by the offbeat Swedish foursome, as well as some recycled pieces from catwalks and samples. With 50% off all year round and new stock coming every week, it’s actually cheaper for Acne-lovers to fly over to Denmark for their new season wardrobes than it is to purchase the collections full price in their own country.

Athens
Following the philosophy, ‘one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure’, Bohbo, a contemporary second-hand store in Athens, is an Aladdin’s cave of pristine Chanel, rare Marc Jacobs and well-selected vintage pieces. New items arrive daily, mostly donated from the wealthy, well-heeled women of the nearby Kolonaki neighbourhood, so the choice is continually diverse and fresh, with something on offer for everybody. Expect to find a wide range of unusual pieces alongside fashion classics such as Balenciaga motorcycle handbags and unworn Louboutins. On a recent excavation, I picked up a pair of cork-heeled Chanel Mary-Janes for just €120.

London
A renowned spot for stylists seeking retro designer looks, Bang Bang Clothing Exchange offers a dream mix of impeccably kept ‘I want you’ labels, excellent quality vintage and rare pieces from local designers. A little like New York’s Buffalo Exchange, Bang Bang also allows you to take your own unwanted clothing (as long as it reaches the standard of their stock) and exchange it for others within their store. However, unlike Buffalo, Bang Bang is extremely selective in its stock, meaning only the most pristine and fabulous clothing will be accepted.

Berlin
With so many interesting and unique stores flooding through Berlin at present, it’s impossible to choose just one. However, Darklands, situated in the arty area around Heidestrasse, north of Berlin’s main station, has really thrown itself to the forefront. Currently offering an impressive selection of avant-garde menswear, the shop is nomadic, moving every 15 months or so to a new location in a new area in order to shake off those shoppers whose noses are perpetually stuck into the air (buyers, stylists, anyone who works at Net-a-Porter – this means you). For this reason, the interior of their third instalment (Darklands 3.0) is the antithesis of a high-fashion world; expect life-sized dolls hanging from the ceiling, unsurprisingly dark clobber embellishing the walls, including coveted designer brands such as Damir Doma and Christian Poell and exposed lighting fixtures, all housed within what used to be non-descript, rough warehouse.

Milan
Stepping into Milan’s Cavalli e Nastri is like walking into some wealthy, old lady’s very well-organized designer closet. The petite shop, situated close to Moschino and Armani houses some of the most pristine vintage finery you’ll ever be so lucky to lay eyes upon. Pieces can date back to the late 1800s, but equally may include a 1950s organza prom dress or a pristine beaded flapper, hanging neatly beside a quality ’70s Pucci print. There is row upon row of glass drawers containing colourful stone brooches, earrings, and costume jewellery and a serious handbag collection (think Hermès, Dior, Chanel) in the rear room.

Summer 2012: Turkish delight

Fancy getting away from it all? We’re daydreaming about soaking up the sunshine on the deck of a wooden ship gently bobbing along in the Aegean? Maybe you prefer to lounge by the pool with a good book, before tearing up the dance floor every night? Or perhaps you’d like a quiet little beach break with the kids, where there is plenty of room for their bucket and spade. Whatever you’re looking for, we think Turkey is a top tip.

Turkey’s right on the crossroads where East meets West. It’s bordered by a whopping eight countries and three seas, so you can imagine the choice on offer.

For pure relaxation, first stop should definitely include a Turkish bath, speaking from experience; this is a pretty blissful thing to do. An attendant basically scrubs you from head to toe with a kind of cloth, a bit like an icing bag, followed by a serious massage! If you’re not a fan of massages stay away and head for the many spas or yoga retreats on offer.

If it’s partying you’re after, well, there is no better place than Gumbet.  There are a heap of open air clubs and some even have 24 hour bars so there’s no excuse! Stay up all night, make friends and watch the sunrise outside some of the best beach clubs in the world. Ps. if you check out Gumbet, definitely take advantage of a boat trip to the Greek island of Kos, it’s like two holidays in one!

If you fancy something a little different, a walking holiday in Cappadocia might be right up your street. This strange rock landscape looks a bit like the moon. There are even underground cities and caves to explore. It’ll make your eyes pop!

For foodies, try out the spicy kebabs and famous coffee in the beautiful surrounds of Bodrum or give the meze dishes a go. With a choice of up to 15 at a time, you will definitely find something you will like. Or how about sampling the sights and sounds and grabbing a bargain on a short break in Istanbul.

Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For history buffs, start out with the ancient wonder of Ephesus. Its ancient Temple of Artemis dates back to 550 BC and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Mount Nemrut offers you the chance to see head statues dedicated to the ancient Gods.

So we think there’s something there to suit almost anyone. If you’ve got any other suggestions for things to do in Turkey, we’d love to hear them. Stay tuned for another country focus coming soon.

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Turkey Top 5

Turkey is easily one of the most popular summer holiday destinations for Purple Travelers.  Its combination of stunning beaches, quaint seaside resorts, ethnic cuisine, and rock-bottom prices, make Turkey the destination of choice for British holidaymakers. If you’re thinking of travelling to Turkey this summer, or have already planned to return, we’ve come up with some of the most spectacular things to do while you’re there.

Pamukkale thermal pools via purple travel

1.  Pamukkale Thermal Pools

If you do only one excursion during your stay in the Bodrum Peninsula, this is definitely it. This rare formation of thermal pools high in the mountainous region is said to heal asthma, rheumatism, and even skin and eye conditions. In case that’s not enough to convince you, the stunning views and the photos you’ll be able to bring back home should certainly do it. Pamukkale image via @ Esther Lee

Gulet cruise via purple travel

2.  Gulet Cruise

The best way to experience everything the Turkish coast has to offer is by taking a Gulet Cruise, also known as the Blue Cruise. Starting in the port of Bodrum and travelling as far as Antalya, these cruises will take you through stunning bays, busy ports, ancient cities, and secluded coves. A little research in advance is well worth it, as these cruises are different and may stop in different places of interest. Keep your eyes out for those stopping at Kaputas Cove and Patara Beach. Gulet Cruise Image via @ Turkey Vision.

Ephesus via purple travel

3.  Ruins of Ephesus

One of the most-visited archeological sites in Turkey, the ancient ruins are certainly a sight to see if you’re staying near Kusadasi. Ephesus was home to one of the original 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, and still is a significant point of culture, religion, and history. Image of Ephesus via @ Esther Lee.

Mamure Kalesi via Purple Travel

4.  Mamure Kalesi

This castle fortress located on the southernmost tip of Turkey, is a magnificent sight. Home to the Romans, Crusaders, and Ottomans throughout the centuries, it stands as though it was livable just last week. Although it’s about 5 hours from the nearest tourist resort of Alanya, it is the ideal getaway for a swim at sunset. Image of Mamure Kalesi via @ Dr. Colleen Morgan.

Ballooning in Cappadocia

5. Ballooning in Cappadocia

The area of Cappadocia is hugely popular with tourists, who visit it to examine its history, geological and historic landscape. But really, the way to see it is by hot air balloon and is available in Goreme. This will give you a true birds-eye view of the incredible landscape. Image via @ Moyan Brenn.

Of course, there are many other sights to see in Turkey that we didn’t go into more detail about and are sure to be a memorable experience on your trip. Definitely go to one of the many Turkish markets in your resort, or the Turkish Nargile (Water Pipe) Bars.  There are many archeological sites and castles scattered throughout the coastal region worth visiting. If you’re still deciding on where to go in Turkey, do some research on what you want to see before you book and stay in the area with the most places of interest to you. A good place to start is Trip Advisor’s Thing to Do in Turkey  page.  Have you been to see these, or any other sites, yourself? If so, please post your feedback and your suggestions for our readers!

For more on things to do in Turkey and the best value flights, hotels and transfers, get in touch with our expert team at Purple Travel here.

Purple Tips: Corfu Hotels

Purple Travel takes a look at some of the best hotels in Greece: this week we’re looking at the Northern Island of Corfu. We chose these hotels because of their high quality standards of service and the great feedback we get from you – our customer – on any budget. These properties are really something to get excited about, especially with the great prices we have on offer. If you like what you see, take a look at our website to get the holiday from your local airport. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give our expert travel advisors a ring on 0207 993 9228 and find out more about Corfu hotels Greece now.

Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa, 5* This beachfront hotel has everything you need for the perfect escape. Set just outside of Corfu Town, and right on the beach, you can have your ideal escape without giving up the wonders of Corfu Town just around the corner. A beautifully finished hotel, it has the stunning views of the sea in front and a secluded woodland surrounding.

Customer Rating: 5/5 Restaurants: Beach front restaurant, fish taverna style and buffet style. Bars: Beach bar and piano bar in the lobby. Activities: Tennis Court, horse riding, water sports, Spa centre, hammam, private beach, free wifi. Children: Family rooms, children’s playground.

Louis Kerkyra Golf 4* The Louis Kerkyra Beach all inclusive hotel  is the essence of a perfect family holiday. Located right on the beach in Gouves, the hotel has something for everyone. With complete dining, entertainment, and relaxation facilities, you’ll never want to leave!

Customer Rating: 5/5 Restaurants: Greek & International Buffet Restaurant, Main Restaurant, Chinese Restaurant, Lagoon Restaurant Bars: 5 Bars Activities: Entertainment, Varied Sports, Jacuzzi, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Mini Golf, Watersports Children: Kidzone Mini Clubs, Children’s Entertainment, Waterworld Lagoon, Children’s Pool

Seafront Apartments Kavos Set right at the foot of the Kavos strip, the Seafront Apartments offer the perfect combination of a being in the centre of the lively resort without giving up the peaceful beachfront location. This family-owned, friendly and basic accommodation offers exactly what you need for the perfect Kavos holiday.

Customer Rating: 4/5 Restaurants: Beach Snack Bar Bars: Beach Bar Activities: Water Sports, plus the infamous Kavos Strip is just two minutes walk away.

You should read… Great Hotels in Rhodes

Purple Tips: Best Hotels Crete

We came up with a brilliant list of hotels in Crete, the southernmost and largest island of Greece, to discover with your favorite travel companion(s). We chose these hotels because of their high quality standards of service and the great feedback we get from you – our customer.

These properties are really something to get excited about, especially with the great prices we have on offer. If you like what you see, take a look at our website to get the holiday from your local airport. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give our expert travel advisors a ring on 02079939228 for more of the best hotels Crete now.

Crete beach
Image via @ Michalis Polakis

Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort 5* Elounda

The ultimate in luxury, set in the stunning resort of Elounda, the Porto Elounda Deluxe Resort is the place to spend an unforgettable holiday. Exceptional service is combined with an array of high-quality facilities just steps away from the most beautiful resort in Crete.

Customer Rating: 5/5
Restaurants: Buffet, Mediterranean & Cretan, Seafood & Greek Tavern
Bars: Piano Bar, Beach Bar
Activities: Spa, Golf, Water sports, Tennis, Gym, Indoor Heated Pool, Entertainment
Children: Kids Club, 2 Children’s Pools, Children’s Entertainment, Babysitting

Louis Creta Princes 4* Chania

Right on the beautiful beach of Maleme Bay, the Louis Creta Princess offers bright and elegant rooms positioned around its lush gardens and pool, all with sea views.

Customer Rating: 4/5
Restaurants: Show Cooking Buffet, Italian, Chinese
Bars: Lobby Bar, Beach Bar, Disco
Activities: Entertainment, Varied Sports, Tennis
Children: Children’s Pool, Mini Club, Playground, Mini Golf, Kids Buffet, Mini Disco

Aegean Sky Hotel & Suites 5* Malia

Get away to the lively resort of Malia without compromising on great quality service and fantastic facilities. Just a short distance to the nightlife and to the beautiful beach, the Aegean Sky provides the ultimate accommodation for your lively holiday.

Customer Rating: 5/5
Restaurants: Snack Bar
Bars: Pool Bar
Activities: BBQ Nights, Pool Parties

Minos Hotel 4* Rethymnon

Just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Blue Flag beach, the Minos Hotel offers tranquility and excellent service that’s right next to the historic centre of Rethymnon.

Customer Rating: 4/5
Restaurants: Buffet, Mediterranean
Bars: Lobby Bar, Pool Bar
Activities: Entertainment, Varied Sports, Water Sports*, Tennis

Amazones Village Suites 4* Hersonissos

This boutique all-suite hotel is the perfect setting for any type of holiday you are looking for. Set in a good location with easy access to all the favorite Cretan resorts, the Amazones Village Suites offers you incredible service and luxury.

Customer Rating: 5/5
Restaurants: Main Restaurant
Bars: Main Bar
Activities: Fitness Centre, Tennis, Golf, Excursions

Marni Village Hotel 3* Hersonissos

Set just off the main area of Hersonissos, the Marni Village Hotel offers the ultimate combination of relaxation and great entertainment for the entire family. Enjoy the splendid sea views from the pool area or head over to the bustling town of Hersonissos for the sandy beaches and shopping.

Customer Rating: 4/5
Restaurants: Poolside Restaurant
Bars: Pool Bar
Activities: Sauna, Tennis
Children: 2 Children’s Pools, Playground, Playroom

Alantha Apartments 4* Agios Nikolaos

Located a few meters away from the city centre, the Alantha Apartments offer the ultimate in style and functionality. Featuring all the room facilities you need for an incredible holiday, the Alantha Apartments are not to be missed if you’re looking for a great place to stay in a central location.

Customer Rating: 4/5
Restaurants: Snack Bar
Bars: Pool Bar
Activities: Roof Terrace Swimming Pool, Games Room

You should read… Corfu Hotels Greece

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