• Iran Coming in from the Cold?

    Election of reformist candidate could be good news for tourism says Wild Frontiers

     

    The election of reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani could be good news for tourists wanting to visit the country, according to tour operator Wild Frontiers. The company currently offers holidays to Iran despite the FCO advice against travel there.

     

    Iran is one of the most impressive destinations we offer, with its long and fascinating history, stunning architecture and unique culture. We have been operating tours to Iran for ten years without any issues,” said Wild Frontiers MD Jonny Bealby. “In fact, one of the things our clients tell us they enjoy most again and again is the friendliness and welcome provided by the locals. We hope the election of Hassan Rouhani will prompt a period of détente, making visas easier to obtain and resulting in the lifting of the FCO advice against travel.” Currently, owing to the lack of diplomatic ties between Britain and Iran, visas must be processed via the Iranian consulate in Dublin.

     

    Iran has some of the world’s most impressive architecture, particularly in the ancient city of Esfahan. Imam Square, the second largest in the world after Tiananmen Square, is regarded as one of the most stunning in the world, flanked on all sides by beautifully-crafted Islamic buildings and the entrance to the city’s lively bazaar. Other highlights include the city of Yazd, a centre of Zoroastrianism and home to the Jame Mosque, with its spectacular tiled entrance; the green Bavanat Valley, where Wild Frontiers clients stay with local farmers and visit nomads; and one of the world’s must-see sites in Persepolis, the well-preserved ancient Achaenenid capital, with its intricately-carved bas-reliefs and griffin sculptures.

     

    “The Persian hospitality is legendary and on our Iran tours our clients have lots of interaction with locals, including stays with local farmers in the countryside and visits to nomadic people,” said Bealby. “We have long felt that the FCO restrictions have been more a political issue rather than because of any genuine threat to visitors, and we will be delighted if this election result means Iran gets to showcase its hospitality and world-class sites to more people”.

     Iran_Alamy460

    Wild Frontiers (020 7736 3968wildfrontiers.co.uk)

     

  • Makeover time for Raw and Cured!

    As you enter the Herb House’s newly refurbished Raw & Cured, you immediately get the sense of what’s to come from the locally reclaimed wooden sculptures, situated just outside the entrance. Upon entering, you step straight into a wooden refuge with oak floors and oak panelled walls. There is certainly no doubt about the location of this Raw restaurant – the New Forest! The much loved central bar is still intact,  but is topped with a sparkling new white marble top and surrounded by ultra squishy blue stools to perch on whilst you learn how to create some scrumtious dishes. Small but perfectly formed white marble tables are dotted about the room and right in the middle is a large wooden sharing table surrounded by benches – the perfect breakfast spot. The bar remains the focal point of the room and is where most of the raw food is prepared; delicious fresh salads and raw wraps are conjured up in front of your very eyes.

     

     

    The panelled walls are peppered with hanging wooden crates bursting full of fresh fruit and vegetables, which the lovely staff use throughout the day in your fresh juices, or as part of some light nibbles. Slate is also a central theme of the room – from the menu board to the book shelves, which house volumes on the many benefits of raw food and of course some truly mouth watering recipe books.

     

  • New Partnership between Pre-Fit Delivery and Wasteland Ski

    The Pre-Fit Delivery Company Logo | Angel Publicity

     

    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’.

    TWITTER

    @PreFitDelivery Company r Revolutionising #Skiing. They Fit ur #SnowBoard or #Skis B4 u go so no more Q-ing there http://youtu.be/33Nx7Ed7jb8 

    #Skiing starts early for beginners @welove2ski -thanks for the mention! The Beginner Skier’s Shopping List-Welove2ski http://welove2ski.com/beginner-skier-shopping-list …

     

  • Italy Experts – REAL HOLIDAYS

    Real Holidays

    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….

    Palazzo Gastaldo

    Northern Umbria rustic self catering apartments, ideal position for peace and tranquillity and exploring the art cities of Umbria

    Stay 2 weeks and get 50% off second week, valid 11th May to 30th June, saving £300

    Mazzaforte

    Northern Umbria 3 villas sharing pool, ideal for families and groups of friends

    14 nights for 12, saving over £500 per week on a 4 bedroom villa

    Hotel Emilia

    Luxury cliff top hotel on the unspoilt Marche coast, great for couples of all ages. A really unusual hotel by Italian standards and close to lots of great beaches and seafood restaurants!

    7 nights for 6 (not valid July and Aug), saving £150

    Villa di Monte Solare

    Central Umbria

    Part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, ideally positioned for Umbria Jazz or simply a luxury break with spa and great food! Also great central base for exploring Umbria and Tuscany

    7 nights for 6 in high season, saving over £200

    Casal dei Fichi

    Central Marche

    Great for couples who want good value, peace and tranquillity. Sleepy hill towns, beautiful beaches. Really unspoilt part of Italy for those who want to be “off the beaten track”

    Complimentary wine for stays up to 15th June

    TWITTER

    @Real_Holidays the #Italy experts have a select few special offers to #Umbria & the #Marche coast. Save up to £500..
  • HALF TERM IN ITALY

    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.

    Contact Real Holidays on 020 7359 3938 or visit www.realholidays.co.uk

  • NICK WHITAKER WINS CHEF OF THE YEAR FOR SECOND YEAR RUNNING

     

    Limewood Logo

     

    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.

    WELL DONE NICK!!!

     

  • New Villa for Real Holidays

    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!

  • Cafe Thievery – WATCH OUT!

    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!

  • Enter, Sherlock

    New patent-pending keyless entry technology unveiled by onefinestay

    Watch the video - http://www.onefinestay.com/sherlock/

    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.

  • The Cliff House Hotel – Irish Through And Through


    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

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