Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Oman.. one of our favs in 2012

In 2012 we did a lot of travel, for research honest! One of Darren's favourites was Oman:

“For a spot of winter sunshine late last year I had a long weekend in Oman, where temperatures were in the mid 30's - just perfect for lazy days in the pool! I stayed at the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton hotel and a local landmark - there aren't many hotels I've been to where the local Sultan has a floor all to himself (not even the hotel's manager has been to the 9th floor, apparently!)
Darren at the harbour in Muscat, OmanOman is a beautiful country and Muscat itself is a fascinating town - the area has some beautiful hotels but if you can drag yourself away from the beach then I'd really recommend exploring Muscat for a half a day. The Grand Mosque is a beautiful example of Arabic architecture, while the Downtown area of Mutrah has an excellent Souq that looks like it hasn't changed for hundreds of years - I bought some spices and a rather lovely stained glass light fitting that seemed like a bargain!

The Al Bustan Palace itself is somewhat glitzier than most hotels I've stayed in, and its luxury extends from the 18 metre crystal chandelier in the lobby (the biggest in the world, apparently!) right through to the ice-cold drinks and fruit skewers brought to your sunbed. The out & out relaxation was only broken when a helicopter started circling overhead, but I guess that's what you must expect when your staying in a genuine Sultan's palace!”

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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Honeymoons in 2013

Driving safaris in Kenya

As the wedding season approaches, Escape Worldwide takes a look at some of their most popular destinations for honeymooners.

If your idea of the ultimate romantic honeymoon is to be alone with just the love of your life, then look no further than the Maldives. Hundreds of tiny islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a stunningly beautiful destination where romance comes easily. Lazy days on the beach, beautiful sunsets and understated service are the order of the day here – forget sightseeing and partying! Resorts do vary quite considerably, and as you can’t really leave your island once you’re there its important to get the right one for you. Larger islands tend to offer a range of facilities and more of a village feel, ideal for those who like a little more activity, while some islands are little more than a dot on the horizon, perfect for a real get-away-from-it-all. From the moment you land at the airport, the beauty and romance of the Maldives really does take your breath away.

For a longhaul honeymoon that won’t break the bank– and for a destination that’s fantastic at including extra touches to turn a holiday in to a honeymoon – Thailand is hard to beat. It’s a great value destination anyway and one that’s awash with stylish, quality hotels, but it’s easy to make your budget go a long way in Thailand. Keep an eye out for hotels that will offer complimentary touches such as room upgrades and spa treatments to help celebrate your honeymoon. Thailand excels at world-class hotels where the service is second to none, plus there’s a really good range of hotels that will give you high standards at a great price – pool villas are a bit of a Thai speciality, where your individual villa comes complete with your very own swimming pool, and they can sometimes cost little more than a standard room. With plenty of flight options and competitive hotel prices, Thailand tops the ranks for unbeatable honeymoon value for money, but without compromising on standards.

Many honeymooners look for a holiday that will give them memories of a lifetime, and one of the most popular options for this style of trip is a safari in Africa. Spend a few days exploring the game parks of East or Southern Africa before hitting one of the glorious beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline, hopefully spotting the‘Big 5’ on the way. Kenya is at its best from July to October when the annual migration is in full swing, when millions of wildebeest, zebra and other animals head to the Masai Mara to create the greatest wildlife show on earth. The East African coastline also boasts some of the world’s best beaches, where recent hotel openings have raised standards too, or perhaps head further afield to the likes of Mauritius or the Seychelles.
A honeymoon is a once in a lifetime holiday, and with so many destinations to choose from, the hardest decision for many couples may be knowing where to start!

Top Tip…if you’re tied to departures dates – perhaps a Sunday evening departure for a Saturday wedding –consider a destination served by multiple airlines to give you flight flexibility. Dubai, the Far East and the Indian Ocean lead the way.

Top Tip…take a copy of your wedding certificate with you, as some hotels will include freebies for honeymooners such as room upgrades but they may ask for proof! Generally, travelling within 6 months of getting married will class as a honeymoon.

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year from Escape Worldwide

A Happy New Year from everyone at Escape Worldwide. We had a great 2012 and we all managed to travel tons, all in the name of research of course.

Mark went to Mauritius which he loved and saw loads of properties. He was particularly taken by the Long Beach Resort Mauritius which he found was of a great standard with a good all inclusive package and also good sized rooms. So much so he's planning to go back next year on his own holiday.

He also went to Kenya again and as well as going on safari he also visited the brand new Swahili Beach Hotel in Mombasa which is a stunning 5* resort on Mombasa's south coast and if a great standard, cascading swimming pools and great restaurants.

Karen also made it to Kenya last year and went on safari on the Masai Mara and also Amboseli National Park which she hadn't visited before and simply loved being in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.

I managed to travel a fair bit, I made it to Mauritius, Taba in Egypt, Koh Samui in Thailand and Oman. In Koh Samui I stayed at the Centara Villas Samui in one of their stunning pool villas, stunning and such great value!

All were simply fantastic and well worth a visit in 2013.

We also finished the year on a high winning Kuoni Specialist Agent of the Year 2012 and also Travel2 Asia Agent of the Year 2012!

Everyone at Escape Worldwide hopes you have a fantastic 2013 and have simply amazing travels.

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays