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Wednesday
Jul092014

Discover Island fun, new in Mallorca

Pierre & Vacances opens its first two properties in the Balearic Islands this month. Located on the popular island of Mallorca, the two residences offer two boltholes on the east coast of the island best known for its beaches and caves.

Destination

Mallorca has been welcoming the rich and famous for generations, with regular visits from Claudia Schiffer to Andrew Lloyd-Webber, the King of Spain and Raphael Nadal. Mallorca is one of the most popular destinations for British families taking a summer holiday in Spain. Located 130 miles off the coast of Barcelona, there are regular direct regional flights from the UK. It is the largest island of the Balearic Islands and unusually for a Mediterranean island, amid its varied and breathtaking landscape, Mallorca is fertile and green. With soaring mountains in the west to beautiful vineyards and of course, wonderful golden sand beaches along its coast.

Residence Mallorca Vista Alegre

Newly open on the 9th July 2014, Pierre and Vacances has 42 new spacious and elegant apartments at the Mallorca Vista Alegre residence which feature one bedroom apartments, fully equipped, air conditioned apartments for 3 people. Just 500 meters from the sea with individual terraces, the open air pool is nestled between the five buildings.

Porto Cristo has carved out a role as a friendly, family resort, taking advantage of a superb position at the end of a long, sheltered inlet. It's a sweet little place, with a nice beach and a lovely blue-green sea. Porto Cristo is an old Mallorcan fishing village, surrounded by many beaches and creeks whose turquoise waters are perfect for sailing. The lively port boasts many water sports activities and is an ideal location to switch off - swim, sunbathe and dine at the terrace restaurants which are perfectly placed to catch the lunchtime sun. A great way to sample the eastern coastline is by boat, there are many glass bottom boat cruises that do trips to see stunning cliffs and rocks with beautiful clear blue seas. One of the most popular local sights is the Cuevas del Drach, the Dragon Caves with one of the largest underground caves in the world. For those in search of imitation pearls, Mallorca’s ‘second city’ of Manacor is just a 20 minute drive away where an industry thrives on this.

Residence Mallorca Portomar

Newly open on the 9th July 2014, the Pierre and Vacances Mallorca Portomar residence is just 50 metres from the sea and 500m from Cala Marçal, one of the quietest beaches in Portocolom. The new residence features 2 and 3 bedroom apartments for 3 to 6 people for a week or short break in Mallorca. The modern apartments are spacious and comfortable, all with air conditioning and a balcony and some have sea views. There’s a fully equipped gym, sparkling outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and sauna on site.

Located on the east of the island, Portocolom is well-known for its natural environment and the crystal clear waters of its beaches and creeks. Cala Marcal is a blue flag rated beach that stretches 500m along the seafront to the south of the town. Portocolom boasts a wide range of leisure facilities and water sports activities. This fishing village, set inside a deep natural harbour, still has the feel of a small fishing port, with boats around the quay and pastel-coloured houses lining the Waterfront, each with its own landing-stage. The most popular beach of Portocolom is Cala Marcal which lies to the south of the marina and village. It is a blue flag beach with very soft sands and water that is fairly shallow and which gradually deepens. From Portocolom, the Natural Park of Mndrago or the pretty sandstone village of Santanyi is accessible by car.

Tuesday
Jun242014

THE SWISS CHALET HOLIDAY IS NOT OVER

Gmatchi chalet

VIP SKI CONTINUES TO FEATURE THE SWISS RESORTS OF VERBIER AND ZERMATT

Recently Swiss laws were changed and working conditions for overseas workers in Switzerland were enhanced. This has seen a majority exit of the mass market British chalet tour operators from the Swiss slopes. Meanwhile VIP SKI who has always traded as a Swiss operating company will continue with their luxury chalet programmes in the resorts of Verbier and Zermatt.

VIP SKI is delighted to continue to feature four stunning chalets in fabulous Verbier and Zermatt. In Verbier  the super-stylish chalets both sleep six and are situated in a prime position at the heart of the village, just a three minute walk from the main Medran lift, close enough to the buzz of village life but perfectly secluded from the action. Lying in a wide sunny bowl above the Rhone Valley at the crossroads of Europe, Verbier offers fantastic, high altitude skiing, spectacular Alpine scenery, lively après-ski and plenty of razzle-dazzle! Glitterati and royal patronage aside, Verbier has managed to retain plenty of Alpine charm.

After all that action, where better to retire to at the end of a busy day than VIP SKI’s beautiful, chalets; Chalet Tortin and Chalet Mont Fort. More than any other resort, location is everything in Verbier, and VIP’s chalets are a three minute walk from the Medran lift and a few minutes further to the village centre. The stunning apartment chalets both have three en suite bedrooms (sleeping six) and enjoy design-led interiors combined with perfect Swiss form, function and charm. The pictures say it all, a class act. Enjoy breath-taking views of the roof of Europe from the wraparound, south-facing balcony or cosy up beside an open fire in the stylish yet comfortable open-plan living areas....If Alpine Top Trumps existed, you would want this card!

Zermatt is dominated by the mighty Matterhorn, this historic climbing town is both snow-sure and super-chic, combining an abundance of Alpine charm with discreet A-list appeal and the unmistakable smell of heritage. Zermatt village dates back to the Middle Ages, and today ancient barns sit alongside tastefully modern hotels, while the car-free policy preserves the peace. Zermatt is also an ideal resort for non-skiers who are either happy to shop and spend their time in cafes or want to try some of the many activities on offer. These include ice-skating, sleigh rides, curling, and ice climbing. Gmatchi and Haus Glacier offer two excellent holiday options. Haus Glacier, is one of the exclusive chalets which sleeps six in understated elegance, with a large comfortable lounge and smart bedrooms with designer bathrooms. There are wraparound balconies for both sunrise coffee and a relaxing drink as the sun goes down after a hard day on the mountain. A lift takes you from the high street up to Haus Glacier and once inside the tranquil apartment, it is difficult to image that you are in the very heart of Zermatt.  Just a five minute walk from the chalet is the Gornergrat train or the Sunnegga funicular to access the pistes or take a shuttle bus to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise lift. Gmatchi is quite the opposite of Haus Glacier, a spectacular barn conversion in the very heart of Zermatt’s cobbled old town. The original house dates from 1753 and over the centuries the building has seen use as a cow barn, a hayloft and an artist’s studio. The decor combines original wood beams with contemporary furnishing, assuring Gmatchi of a bright future to match its illustrious past. This is a completely unique home.

Guests can also choose to book; valet parking, private transfers.

For more information call VIP SKI on 0844 557 3119 or book online at www.vip-chalets.com

Monday
Jun232014

The Snow Camp Alpine Challenge is back - 2 days, 150 snowy km and over £40,000 to be raised.

 

Alpine Challenge

Take on the Snow-Camp Alpine Challenge and help move a mountain.

The Snow-Camp Alpine Challenge is a unique 2 day charity snowsports endurance event designed to give teams a skiing and snowboarding experience they will never forget whilst raising money for innovative youth charity Snow Camp.

Teams of 4-5 riders must clock up 150km of GPS tracked skiing or snowboarding over two non-stop days across15 resorts in the massive Portes du Soleil ski area. The event is all about strategy, stamina, teamwork and fun but best of all, it’s for a great cause.

By taking part in the 2 day endurance event contenders not only have the opportunity to pack as much skiing, snowboarding and night snow-showshoeing action into the shortest space of time possible, but they also help raise funds to support inner city young people. These funds help provide inner-city young people the opportunity to participate in the Snow Camp youth training programmes and makes a massive difference to their lives and future choices.

The Alpine Challenge 2015 will also benefit from the support from new key partner Ski Weekends.

Ski Weekends is offering heavily discounted packages (including accommodation, flights, transfers and even ski hire) exclusively to those participating in the Snow Camp Alpine Challenge weekend.

Dan Fox, Managing Director of Ski Weekends said: “We are delighted to help organise the Alpine Challenge this year and contribute towards this fantastic cause by taking care of the ‘holiday’ part. All packages are at heavily discounted prices exclusively for Alpine Challengers and participants will typically save £100+ which will cover the registration fee. We also pledge that 100% of profit on all the Alpine Challenge bookings made through us will go directly to Snow-Camp fundraising.”

The Snow Camp Alpine Challenge takes place from 12th-15th March 2015 in Morzine, Portes du Soleil, France. Ski Weekends packages are available for 3, 4 or 7 nights over this period.

Registration is £100 per person (£400 per team) and includes entry to the event, bibs, GPS tracking, medals and certificates, fundraising support from the Snow-Camp team, hog roast and a free drink on the first night of the event and, of course, entrance to the après ski party!

Following the inspiration of the 2014 winter Olympics and the outstanding performances from  the likes of Jenny Jones (Snowboard Slopestyle Olympic bronze medalist and new Snow Camp Patron and role model) there is more appetite and opportunity for young people to try skiing and snowboarding than ever before. involvement in these sports has proved positively life-changing for the majority of young people that have experienced the Snow Camp programme and The Challenge plays an essential role in supporting Snow-Camp’s work and fund raising.

The 2014 challenge broke record distances and raised over £40,000 for Snow-Camps work. A participant from last year’s event said: “I love skiing and snowboarding and I like any charity that supports getting kids on the hill.” To watch a short video of last year’s event to see what it’s all about visit: http://youtu.be/HFDpf9p_clw

Visit: www.snow-camp.org.uk/events/alpinechallenge for more information and to register

Tuesday
Jun172014

Holidaying with pets – the breed of travel that continues to grow

 

Holidaying with a pet is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel market. It became cheaper and easier to travel abroad when new, simpler rules were introduced in January 2012 and now many dogs, cats and ferrets, are chipped and vaccinated and have their own pet passport. 

It seems that a holiday just isn’t complete without the family’s furry four-legged friend in tow. When it costs between £15 - £50 a day to leave Mutley (or Arthur in our case) behind in a kennel it can be more cost effective too. In 2013, DFDS Seaways transported 42,129 pets across their Eastern channel routes and saw a 14% year-on-year increase in April 2014*. Ferry company LD Lines also reported a 29% increase in pet travel last year on its Portsmouth-Le Havre route.

 

Pierre & Vacances offer a huge range of inspired vacations from serene spa breaks to action-packed activity holidays suitable for everyone. Their inclusive family ethos of ‘playing together and staying together’ also extends to pets as long as they have a valid rabies certificate. All Pierre & Vacances properties are mutt and cat-friendly.

 

The luxury self catering accommodation ranges from studios and apartments to villas and country houses with many options just a short pet-friendly drive from Calais, Dunkirk, Le Harve Caen or Cherbourg. Set amid beautiful countryside and dotted along the stunning French coastline, Pierre & Vacances’ car-free holiday hamlets offer not just comfortable holiday accommodation but fun activities and surroundings to entertain all ages and breeds.

 

 

Pierre & Vacances 4* Village Club Belle Dune is just 1 hours drive from Calais
Located alongside a striking 18-hole golf course and close to the sea, Belle Dune Holiday village blends into a pretty environment of lakes, dunes and trees that are ideal for walkies. The eco-friendly, pedestrian holiday village offers a number of nature-based activities for an action-packed weekend or longer holiday.  Village Club Belle Dune

 

Pierre & Vacances 3* Normandy Garden Holiday Village is in easy reach of Calais, Le Havre, Caen or Cherbourg. 

Normandy Garden holiday resort is set in the heart of the Auge country, 2 hours from Paris and close to Deauville's, Cabourg's and Villers-sur-Mer beaches. The self-catering apartments, houses and cottages are all wooden with tiled or slated roofs inspired by Normandy's traditional architectural style. Normandy Garden apartments are surrounded by 30 acres of hilly landscape and split into 8 districts.

 

Pierre & Vacances 4* Residence Le Green Beach

Residence Le Green Beach is situated just a few kilometres from Omaha’s huge beach and unspoilt natural coastline. Based in a 7-hectare park, on the prestigious Omaha Beach golf course this Authentic and characterful location is ideal for those travelling with pets. After a relaxing stroll along the quays, follow the path leading up to the cliff to discover ‘Tour Vaughan’, built in 1694 as a defence against Anglo-Dutch privateers and English raids. From one side, you can enjoy views overlooking the entire harbour while cliffs on the other act as a barrier against the crashing waves below.

 

 

Alternatively take the puppy to the pistes!

Avoriaz is fantastic for an Alpine Adventure in summer or winter.

Take the whole family and save on School Holidays
Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil offers a wealth of outdoor activities that kids and adults love from biking, hiking, horse riding, canyoning and climbing to exploring the spectacular surroundings with the family pet. It’s worth going alpine for a great value family holiday that’s packed with adventure.

Pierre & Vacances 5* Premium Residence L’Amara is situated within the recently developed L’Amara area of the resort featuring new restaurants, bars and shops. Apartments are contemporary and come with a fully equipped kitchen. The residence also has its own swimming pool and spa (facilities include a sauna, steam room and gym and ‘Algothem ‘Deep Nature Spa’ treatments) and is close to the Aquariaz complex. Aquariaz is Europe’s highest waterpark based at 1800m - The park features natural tropical vegetation and temperatures, a central pool area with a gentle flowing river, climbing walls and a large swimming pool.

Or book early for the ski season and save up to 20% on accommodation

Located in the Crozats district, the new Pierre & Vacances 4* Residence Atria-Crozats has panoramic views over the Avoriaz and Portes de Soleil mountains. Perfect for family ski holidays, the residence has direct access to the ski slopes and the resort centre. There is also a sauna, steam room and gym in the residence. Built in a traditional Alpine style, the self catering ski apartments are comfortable and finished to a high spec. Who says you can’t take a dog skiing? With alpine walks and an inexhaustible supply of snow balls to throw, the company of man’s best friend isn’t seasonal.

 

For more information on Pierre & Vacances pet-friendly accommodation visit: www.pierreetvacances.co.uk or call 0870 0267 145.

It costs £16 to carry pets each way with Eurotunnel and £19 per carriage with DFDS Seaways. For more information about DFDS Seaways or to book a ferry crossing visit www.dfds.co.uk or call 0871 574 7235.

 

-       ENDS   -

Monday, 02 June 2014

Monday
Jun162014

THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR A HOLIDAY

Hedonistic Hiking has all the ingredients for the perfect walking holiday in Italy. Food, wine and hiking are impeccably blended to give guests a real taste of la dolce vita - and there is no one better placed to divulge the gastronomic secrets of Italy. From chic restaurants to cosy hidden gems, the staff at Hedonistic Hiking have eaten their way across Italy (all in the name of work, of course!) to bring their clients the definitive guide to very best places to eat on their tours.

For the delectation and delight of gastronomic explorers…

 

Top six places to eat in Italy this summer recommended by Hedonistic Hiking’s guides:

 

  1. La Louye su la Goumba Restaurant, Pontboset (Champorcher Valley – Val d’Aosta The Best of the Italian Alps )This restaurant is a real adventure to get to - winding mountain passes and series of hairpin bends - but once you sample the food, you’ll be glad you made the trip! Situated quite literally at the end of the road, this isn’t the sort of place you may accidentally stumble upon, so it really is hidden. Owners Lucia and Bruno serve up mouth-watering dishes, including Zuppa Valdostana (cabbage and fontina soup), Carbonade (beef stew with buckwheat polenta) and Semifreddo al pane nero - all washed down with the finest of wines, naturally!

 

  1. La Subida, Cormons, Friuli Slovenia and Friuli A firm fixture on the Slovenia and Friuli tour, La Subida is a stylish restaurant just a stone’s throw away from the Slovenian border, close to the wine town of Cormons. With a cosy fire burning in the autumn and a garden to enjoy an aperitif in the spring, this restaurant offers diners fabulously refined food in a warm and homely environment. Menu highlights include Briciole di Pasta Buttata con Le Verdure di Campo – pasta “crumbs” tossed with wild vegetables and a refreshing sorbet made with their own wine vinegar. The wines are all carefully selected from the Collio hills or from Goriska Brda, which is the neighbouring Slovene wine region. If you like your wine local, then this is the place. Nothing comes from more than 10kms away.

 

  1. Terra Antica Agriturismo, Borgo Val di Taro, Emilia Romagna  Parma, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre  Yet another restaurant where the journey is almost as memorable as the food! Situated in the hills above Borgotaro, Terra Antica Agriturismo is a real labour of love for Milanese owners Fabrizio and Laura, who bought this place when it was a run-down farmhouse. It’s a real highlight on the tours, with seasonal produce cooked to perfection by both Fabrizio and Laura. From mushrooms (porcini season is a must!) to tender beef done on the outside oven, you’re guaranteed to taste the passion in their food.

 

  1. Il Sigillo, Staffarda Abbey, Saluzzo, Piedmont The Jewels of Piedmont  Since he took the helm in 2007, Alberto Demaria has taken this restaurant - in a richly historical location - from strength to strength. Classic regional recipes are given a  new lease of life, and expertly paired with the fabulous wines from Piedmont - world famous for its grapes. Il Sigillo is a real family affair - so expect to see his wife and sister welcoming guests with charm, grace and ever-present smiles.

 

  1. Osteria Della Bietola, Pontremoli, Tuscany Parma, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre Tucked away down the narrowest of streets in the labyrinthine maze of medieval Pontremoli, this charming Tuscan Osteria is run by husband and wife team Alfonso and Giuliana - whose exceptional service keeps customers coming back time and time again. Carved into the arches, this tiny restaurant serves one of Pontremoli's most classic dishes, testaroli. A bit like an oversized pancake, testaroli is traditionally served roughly chopped and laced with fresh pesto. Given that Pontremoli sits on the border of Liguria - reputed for its pesto and home to the sweetest green basil in Italy - there’s no doubt that this classic dish is made to perfection. Carnivores may want to sample their delicious rabbit dishes, and Giuliana’s panna cotta is a must-eat for sweet toothed patrons.

 

  1. La Torre, Siena, Tuscany Tuscan Harvest Siena is home to The Piazza del Campo - undoubtedly one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy. Stylish bars and restaurants reign supreme here - but take a walk away from the bright lights of the piazza and you’ll discover this tiny, one-roomed gem, tucked in a side street behind the bell tower. La Torre is a memorable experience - from charismatic owners to the melt-in-your-mouth fresh pasta - arguably some of the best in Tuscany! The ravioli con burro e salvia is to die for, and the whole menu is composed to perfection. Pair your food with the plentiful Chianti served up, and make sure to save room at the end of your meal for coffee and ice-cream...carried in from the bar next door.

 

Hedonistic Hiking Italian Tours to pair with the gastronomic experience:

 

1.    The Best of the Italian Alps: Hiking in the shadow of Europe's highest mountains

Experience the Italian Alps in their very best season with this tour, which starts and finishes in Turin. Enjoy fabulous hiking surrounded by spectacular views of the Gran Paradiso, Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc mountain ranges. New for 2014: Stay three nights in exquisite Courmayeur and take a cable car to the "rooftop of Europe" at 3335 m for unbeatable views of Mont Blanc - plus hike a section of the Tour of Mont Blanc. Visit ancient castles and follow the routes of the Roman armies, medieval pilgrims and Napoleon Bonaparte. Prices for this 9 day trip start at £2,215 per person, based on two people sharing or with a single supplement of £225. This includes 8 nights’ accommodation, all meals, and a support vehicle on hikes, 2 experienced guides, and transfers from Turin, luggage transportation, museum visits and tastings. Return flights from London Heathrow to Turin start at £70. For more information, visit www.hedonistichiking.com, or call +44 (0)1858 565148.

2.    Slovenia and Friuli: Lakes and Mountains, Waterfalls and Wine A 9-day hiking holiday in Slovenia and North East Italy, which starts in Ljubljana and finishes in Venice. From Lake Bohinj, the Julian Alps and Kobarid, we cross the mountains into Italy to explore Friuli where we walk in the vineyards of Collio and visit the Unesco World Heritage town of Cividale. Prices start at £2,175 per person, based on two people sharing or a single supplement is an additional £150. This includes 8 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels, 2 experienced guides, all meals, a support vehicle, transport in air conditioned minibus, pre-trip information and museum visits and tastings. Return flights from London Heathrow start at £105. For further information, visit www.hedonistichiking.com or call +44 (0)1858 565148.

 

3 + 5Parma, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre Prosciutto and Parmesan, Pilgrims and Poets Starting in Parma and finishing in Pisa, this tour takes in the splendour of Emilia Romagna. Experience the Sagra del Fungo Porcino (Porcini Mushroom fair) at the "Slow Food" town of Borgotaro. Walk one of the most beautiful sections of the Via Francigena pilgrim route and discover an untouched area of Tuscany before descending to the Gulf of Poets on the Ligurian coast to explore the quaint villages of the Cinque Terre. Prices start at £2,005 per person, based on two people sharing, with a £145 single supplement fee. This includes 7 nights accommodation, all meals and wine, a support vehicle on hikes, 2 experienced guides, transport both from Parma and to Pisa, pre-trip information, luggage transport and museum visits and tastings. Return flights from the UK start at £80. For more information, visit www.hedonistichiking.com, or call +44 (0)1858 565148.

4.    The Jewels of Piedmont A Celebration of Slow Food: Starting and finishing in Turin, this is a real foodies tour. Let your taste buds do the walking as you are immersed in the gastronomic wonders of north west Italy. Barolo wine, the legendary white truffle of Alba, porcini mushrooms, hand crafted cheeses and cured meats. Beautiful hotels, stunning walks, fascinating history and culture plus exceptional food and wines. Accommodation will be in a former farm on the edge of medieval Saluzzo with a peaceful courtyard and in a boutique hotel in the village La Morra complete with swimming pool. Prices start from £2,100 per person, based on two people sharing, with a single supplement of £160. Return flights from London to Turin start at £70. This includes 7 nights accommodation, 2 guides, all meals and wine, support vehicle, return transfers from Turin, luggage transfers, museum visits and tastings. For more information, visit www.hedonistichiking.com, or call +44 (0)1858 565148.

 

6.    Tuscan Harvest- Chianti, Castles and Tuscan Cooking Starting and ending in Pisa, this guided walking holiday in Tuscany brings you the best of central Tuscany. Experience superb guided hikes taking you off the beaten track. Visit Tuscan gardens and castles, drop in to wine estates, chat to the winemakers and taste their wines and olive oil. Have fun making fresh pasta with a celebrated local chef in the sixteenth century kitchen of a private country villa. The accommodation consists of a 4* and 5* hotel; La Suvera is a former Papal villa with spa and an attractive outdoor pool, and Palazzo Leopoldo is a converted noble residence in the heart of the delightful village, Radda-in-Chianti. Prices start at £2,280 per person, based on two people sharing, with a single supplement of £240. This includes 7 nights accommodation, all meals with wine, a support vehicle on hikes, experienced guides, return transport from Florence, pre-trip information, luggage transport and museum visits. Return flights from the UK to Pisa start at £60. For more information, visit www.hedonistichiking.com, or call +44 (0)1858 565148.

 

-Ends-

Monday, 09 June 2014