The Pre-Fit Delivery and Wasteland Ski partnership is one of the most exciting to hit the ski scene this year. Very rarely do great ideas or concepts come along to transform and invigorate people’s lives for the better. We’re talking, simple, classic, no nonsense ideas that, even under vigorous scrutiny, just make complete and utter sense. To coin a well-used phrase, they’re just “no brainers”.
The Pre-Fit Delivery service is one of these. It’s a simple, professionally delivered service that cannot fail to transform and enhance any holiday experience by ensuring that all the hassle of ski and boot rental in resort has been removed. The result? More time on the slopes and less stress for everyone. Pre-Fit takes the mundane out of equipment rental and gives it a fresh new stance. It’s a wake up call, the “new way” and it adds real, tangible value to holidays, as well as offering new levels of support and engagement for committees and groups.
Wasteland Ski are the UK’s leading student ski tour operator, focused on delivering a quality service for their customers in what is a very competitive market. They have always loved trail blazing and being at the forefront of great ideas and developments. This is evident in their recognition that Pre-Fit is the way forward in terms of how equipment hire should be delivered, thus ensuring the very best for their clients.
Service and professionalism are bywords for both brands and as such, Wasteland are the perfect organisation to be the exclusive partner for Pre-Fit in the UK student market. The combined offer of a Wasteland Ski trip with equipment supplied through a Pre-Fitted service is hugely compelling and will no doubt influence how equipment is supplied in the coming years. This partnership will revolutionise equipment hire and ensure that the student ski experience will be efficient, effectual and effortless.
Those booking with Wasteland Ski next season and beyond will have the last laugh as they hit the slopes in record time thanks to Pre-Fit Delivery. Those who haven’t thought ahead will be chanting, through gritted teeth, ‘I should have been to Pre-Fit’.
If you’re looking for a summer getaway to Italy, Real Holidays is who you should call. They have just released a select few special offers, bookable over the coming weeks. Real Holidays’s are the Italy experts, you’re guaranteed to have a holiday to remember….
Head to the Palio della Balestra festival staying at Borgo Il Poeta
On Sunday 26th May in Gubbio, Umbria, is the Palio della Balestra, a cross bow tournament that sees large numbers of locals dress in medieval costume. Congregating in the Piazza Torre di Berta, crossbow-men from Gubbio challenge their counterparts from neighbouring Sansepolcro to compete as they have done since 15th Century. In the morning, as is ancient custom, the Herald proclaims the challenge against the rivals and the same afternoon, crossbows are blessed and the Archers come into the square after the flag-throwing exercise is completed. Costume inspired by the paintings of Piero della Francesca us worn to evoke the artistic culture of the Renaissance.
Head to this magnificent festival with children over half term and stay at Borgo Il Poeta, one of Real Holidays’ fabulous Italian hideaways located in the unspoilt countryside of northern Umbria. Borgo Il Poeta was formerly the site of one of the watch towers which stood along the Tuscan/Umbrian border. Today, the remnants of the 16th century tower and the hamlet surrounding it have been transformed into a collection of 6 elegant country houses.
Borgo Il Poeta is the perfect place for guests to get away from it all and relax. The property overlooks the Tiber Valley to the front, and all houses have views of fields and forested hillsides, which come alive with colour, particularly in the early summer when the sunflowers are in bloom. The layout of the property is such that if you want privacy you can find it, but there are also opportunities to socialise with fellow guests with the heart of Borgo Il Poeta being the courtyard which has far reaching views looking out over the stunning Umbrian countryside.
The swimming pool sits just below the gardens where there is also a tennis court, croquet lawn and an area for practising your skills at bocce. The surrounding area has many trails for enthusiastic walkers or mountain bikers. In close proximity to Borgo Il Poeta are the Perugino chocolate factory in Perugia, a funny old cable car in Gubbio, a mini theme park, Citta della Domenica and a water park.
It costs from £2660 per family of four (£665 per person) to stay at 2 bedroom villa La Torre for 7 nights self catering including Ryanair flights and car hire.
Nick Whitaker, apprentice at the Lime Wood kitchen, has won the New Forest Chef of the Year.
Head Chef, Luke Holder, is incredibly proud of Nick and his hard work over the past year and half, and has seen him go from strength to strength. This is an amazing achievement from the 17 year old who faced tough competition from Chewton Glen and The Four Seasons.
The title has been retained for the two years since the competition began, which Lime Wood are hugely proud of. Nick’s winning dish was local wood pigeon, Laverstoke Park burratte, gaganeilli and tomato oil.
Dolphin’s Leap in Pelion, Greece… Well as if the name isn’t enough to entice you, here are a few more details that will be sure to seal the deal.
Dolphin’s Leap is a stunning new villa, completed last summer, in Pelion, Greece. It sleeps between 8 and 14 and is perched on the west coast of the Pelion Peninsular above Lefokastro’s sandy beach. With its jaw-droppingly gorgeous views across the Pagasitic Gulf, (yes you guessed it) the frequent sightings of leaping dolphins have given the villa it’s name.
Owners Pippa and Nick Dale-Harris have painstakingly ensured that this haven is one of the finest newly constructed stone built houses in the area using local materials throughout. It’s West facing, overlooking the water and amazingly all the bedrooms have a sea view! In the main house there are four bedrooms, an apartment and in the annexe, known as Writer’s Retreat (how heavenly does that sound), there is an additional bedroom.
The villa has a perfectly placed infinity pool and a sandy beach just a two-minute walk below the villa so the swimming options are plentiful. An impressive (if slightly unnecessary) three kitchens means that if there is a little indecision on the menu options for the evening then that is not a problem, you can cook three separate meals if necessary. But on a serious note, the villa is perfect for al fresco dining or if your feeling lazy then the nearest taverna is just a ten minute walk away.
Pelion is, without question, the unspoilt Greece of the 60s and 70s, right out of Captain Corelli’s mandolin. You can still find that perfect beach or sit in the square of a hilltop village under a large plane tree and only have to share the experience with a local ukulele playing Greek man. That’s certainly our idea of paradise!
I am still in shock, mixed with anger and frustration. How stupid can I be? I genuinely thought she was in need of help. She seemed so helpless, she was almost in tears . ‘My sister, my sister’ she kept saying, urging me to help. She can’t have been more than 17 years old, roughly dressed with dirty hands and a scarf wrapped round her head. She appeared out of nowhere as I was having lunch with my sister in Café Nero on Tottenham Court Road.
’Excuse me miss’, she exclaimed and a map was waved in front of my face then swiftly placed onto the table (unbeknown to me the map was covering my iphone). ‘Can you help me, my sister… here my sister!’ It was a detailed map of the area and it appeared she needed to get to Selfridges on Oxford Street. I felt sorry for the girl, knowing exactly how she felt having travelled a lot myself; it can be frightening to be lost in a foreign city and my heart went out to her. After five minutes attempting to explain the way, my sister and I gave up. I rose from my seat, put my wallet in my bag, grabbed my coat and left. Standing outside Café Nero, reaching into my bag to get my phone, I realized I didn’t have it! ‘She’s got my ‘f***ing phone’ I thought. In panic I initially didn’t know how to react, but before I had a chance to shout after her, in what would have no doubt been a very un-ladylike manner, six under cover Police had grabbed the girl and retrieved my phone. Whilst giving my statement to the Police, I discovered that they had been following this girl into several other cafés along Tottenham Court Road as she attempted to do the same to multiple people. According to Police, Pret-A-Manger, Starbucks, Nero and Costa are all aware that it goes on but don’t want to acknowledge the fact, as they’re scared that they’ll loose customers. I don’t know about you, but I am less likely to go back to Nero not just because that’s where the thievery took place, but because they know it goes on and turn a blind eye to it.
There seems to be a real cultural trend in the UK of individuals using cafes as a workspace and as a consequence, leaving valuables on the table. The temptation to steel is significantly increased with iPhones, iPads, Laptops and wallets displayed openly for all to see. If the cafes are not going to warn us then we all need to look out for each other. If you see this happening to anyone please tell them!
London – 21st February 2013 – Sherlock™, a new patent-pending keyless entry technology, was today unveiled by onefinestay, the world’s first unhotel. Consisting of a physical device and a smartphone app, Sherlock enables secure keyless access to all types of homes including apartment buildings and walk-ups by using a mobile phone. This dispels the hassle associated with keys and allows homeowners to grant secure access to their homes while they are out.
Sherlock is a technology initiative from onefinestay, a service launched in 2010 and now operating in London and New York that allows visitors to those cities to live like a local by staying in a distinctive home while the owner is out of town, with a service which offers all the convenience and comfort of a hotel. Guests enjoy luxury amenities like 5* hotel linens and toiletries and every guest is also lent an iPhone for the duration of their stay which is stocked with local tips from the home’s owner, and from which they can make free local calls. Members benefit by earning an income from a house or flat which would otherwise stand vacant, without the risk or hassle associated with alternatives like holiday rental or short letting.
The launch of Sherlock follows the recent appointment of the company’s CTO Jackson Hull, who relocated to London from Silicon Valley with his family to join onefinestay, as the company continues to invest heavily in technological innovations to change the lives of city homeowners. The technology has been developed primarily by the company’s in-house Research & Development engineering team and Head of Product and co-founder Tim Davey.
Sherlock was developed by onefinestay to help solve the challenges that come with managing tens of thousands of keys, and is initially being offered to current onefinestay members. Sherlock has already been successfully piloted in London where its early users have been using it to let in friends, maintenance teams, cleaners, grocery deliveries and family members easily and securely while they are out.
By allowing homeowners to control access to their home while they are not in, or to give a single-use ‘virtual key’ to others they trust, Sherlock is an elegant solution to an age-old problem. 111 million Americans wait in for deliveries each year and waste a combined total of over 200 million working days—equivalent to $38bn in lost productivity. The invention also solves many problems related to keys, from needing to have multiple sets cut (the average person has nine sets of keys), to waiting at home to meet the cable guy.
Unlike other electronic home access solutions, Sherlock does not require homeowners to change their locks, and works in both houses with a single front door, as well as buildings with both a communal building door and an apartment door. That means it is effective in all types of buildings: townhouses, walk-ups and apartment buildings. During its initial installation, the Sherlock device is plugged into a homeowner’s existing door entry system (Sherlock is compatible with 95% of door entry systems). Because of this, the technology—already in use within some onefinestay members’ homes in London—does not require homeowners to install new locks, issue new keys, or change their security systems.
Greg Marsh, CEO and co-founder of onefinestay, says, “We’re delighted to unveil Sherlock to the world. Like the fictional genius of the same name, with a bit of technology magic, it’s a service that provides an answer to that perennial mystery: how to get into – and out of – a locked room with no keys.”
The service is currently being offered to members of onefinestay in London.
On St Patrick’s Day head to the real, rural Ireland – not some pub in London with Guinness quaffing blokes dressed as leprechauns. Dungarvan in County Waterford hosts a classic St Patrick’s Day Parade through the streets where carnival floats and fancy dress are the norm. Everyone from the town and surrounding villages heads to the historic town centre for revelry and non-stop fun. Overnight, stay at Irish owned and Irish run Cliff House Hotel, a short drive from Dungarvan, and enjoy a Michelin starred dinner served with unbeatable views across Ardmore Bay.
The Cliff Break costs from £483 for two people for two nights b&b including dinner in The House restaurant and use of The Well, Cliff House Hotel’s spa. Contact 00353 24 87800 or visit www.thecliffhousehotel.com Return flights from Heathrow to Cork with Aer Lingus start from £80 (www.aerlingus.com)
There is one unspoilt part of Greece that never seems to change, not ever. It’s Pelion, where Stanley Johnson and Don McCullin’s family have houses. It remains untouched and untainted by tourism which means that the charming Greek village atmosphere lives on.
Thanks to strict building regulations Pelion has remained unchanged for over thirty years. This peaceful, untouched area retains the charm of the Greek coast unlike anywhere else in the country. The seaside hamlet of Lefokastroi has a tranquil bay lined by a crescent of twenty houses and three tavernas.
If you head there in May the temperatures will be pushing the mid 20’s which is far more pleasant than the scorching heat you find in July and August. The sea is beginning to warm up and it’s a great time to go walking along the ancient cobbled kalderimia (donkey tracks) that connect the many traditional villages. Tourists will be few and far between but you are sure to find yourself chatting to locals over a coffee or ouzo in one of the welcoming tavernas.
Chalet N, Austria’s beautiful new Superchalet, sits at 1,660m in Oberlech above the glamorous resort of Lech and enjoys incredible views of the world famous Arlberg massif. With a remarkable 11 suites (one specifically for children), sitting room complete with dedicated bar, mountain view dining room, fondue room, wine tasting cellar, cinema, gargantuan spa and ice bar, its no wonder this chalet is one of, if not the most resplendent chalets in existence.
All 11 suites have large bedrooms and spacious living areas (the master suite measuring at 184 square metres), luxurious bathrooms with full size Hermes amenities, walk-in wardrobes and private balconies. The children’s room has four spacious bunks and various entertainment facilities to keep the young fully occupied. The suites at Chalet N mix traditional materials with state of the art technology and supreme comfort. Guests even have a choice of seven different pillow varieties, accommodating for every kind of sleep ritual. The chalet is built entirely from reclaimed oak and filled with the aroma of baobab-scented candles, giving its own unique ambience and fragrance.
The spa takes up an entire floor of this vast building and is one of the largest and most extensive of any private chalet. The swimming pool at Chalet N has a deluxe underwater sound system and fluctuating colour scheme, shifting shades every 20 seconds. It is surrounded on one side by large day beds for the ultimate relaxation. A glass partition leads outside onto the front decking where you find two external Jacuzzis offering uninterrupted views of the slopes. Adjacent to the pool there is a sauna and steam room area positioned around twin hydrotherapy pools. The central focus of this area is a Swarovski shower, with crystals forming the curtain, which adds an extra tier of glamour to this spa experience.
Next door in the treatment area discover a gymnasium complete with the latest Miha Bodytech equipment, another relaxation area with electric beds that gently sway from side to side and single and double treatment rooms. The experienced spa team are extremely knowledgeable in their field and have chosen to use the elite product Ila; made from purely organic ingredients sourced from around the world. Also offered at the spa is the exclusive jet treatment, which cleans the skin before inserting vitamins four millimetres into its pores leaving clients feeling nourished, refreshed and revitalised. The spa also offers Jane Iredale make-up along with manicures and pedicures using the OPI range.
The cinema room, a cosy underground haven, is perfect for those days when the weather is too poor to ski. The Bose surround sound system, inviting sofas, and an almost unlimited choice of films, provide a luxurious bolthole to pass those wintry afternoons and evenings.
The dining room offers views of the surrounding mountains, through the floor to ceiling bulletproof windows, while guests sample their food with pure titanium cutlery. The Walser Stübel, a dedicated fondue room, is quintessentially Austrian and ideal for children who want a more relaxed dining experience.
The wine cellar contains an impressive 350 wine labels and 900 different varieties of cigar. The cellar itself is beautifully designed with Gucci sofas and soft dim lighting providing the perfect setting to carry out a tasting with the chalet’s Sommelier.
The boot room is another notable feature of Chalet N. Each guest has their own locker with heated racks and the elevator takes guests straight up to ground level and onto the piste. The ski area is vast with access to St Christoph and St Anton made seamless by road transfers in the chalet’s Porsche Cayanne or array of sparkling Range Rovers.
However, the main draw of Chalet N is the impeccable service and a staff team of 35, chosen from 600 applicants, is on hand to ensure that each guest’s stay is flawless from start to finish. They cater explicitly to each individual guest; from embroidering initials onto each pillow to providing the guest’s favourite body lotion or savoury snack. Nothing is too much trouble and whatever a guest requires will be provided. This is what makes a stay here truly unique and beyond anything else you will ever experience.
For bookings contact The Oxford Ski Company (01993 899420; www.oxfordski.com)