Sunday, 16 October 2016

Majorca or Mallorca, the perfect stress free get-a-way by Anne Johnstone

In September I recently travelled to Majorca. Having not been since the early 80's my hubby and I decided to go and visit and take the opportunity to explore the island.

Travelling from Luton with Easyjet to Palma for a week this September, we picked up our hire car at Sixt Car Hire, and headed for Puerto Pollensa.

We stayed 3 nights at the lovely boutique La Goleta Hotel 4*, a delightful adult only hotel situated on the bay of Puerto Pollensa. Situated opposite the beach on a pedestrianised street. Formally a hostel, but now redeveloped and refurbished to a very high standard. A typical price for September would be around £500 for 2 people for 3 nights b/b, but don’t hang about they are already taking booking for next September! The décor and bedding was fab and beach towels were provided by the hotel. The roof top pool with panoramic views of the Mediterranean and Tramuntana mountains was definitely a highlight of our stay. 

La Goleta Hotel

‘Goleta’ is Catalan for a schooner, those beautiful traditional boats with two masts. Just like a schooner, this boutique hotel has a maritime and Mediterranean feel, and is authentic and welcoming. Situated on the Seafront in Puerto Pollensa, our beach hotel is an ode to lovers of the sea, our Mediterranean Sea.
Built 50 years ago, it was considered to be one of the most charming hotels and a forerunner of tourism both in Puerto Pollensa and in the rest of the island. We are delighted that five decades later, we’re still welcoming some of the hotel’s earliest guests.

In addition, Pollensa Bay, where the hotel is located, is one of Mallorca’s biggest natural swimming pools: its calm waters make it the ideal natural pool.

We went on to spend 2 nights at the 5*Jumeirah Hotel Porto Soller. This was an amazing hotel typical price though would be around £700 per night B/B for a double room during late September, a stunning hotel set high above Porto Soller harbour with amazing views.  There is a spa with an amazing but expensive restaurant, a mini bus will take you up and down frequently from the Harbour where you will find numerous bars, and restaurants.

Jumeirah Hotel Porto Soller

Built on a cliff overlooking the fishing village of Port Soller and surrounded by the Tramuntana mountain range, the Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa promises a true escape - even appearing to float between the sky and the sea. This intimate luxury hotel in Mallorca houses a selection of 121 airy sea or mountain facing rooms and suites, spread across 11 buildings connected by wonderful scented gardens. You’ll enjoy access to your own private balcony or terrace at our top hotel in Mallorca so you can enjoy the picture postcard view at your leisure.
The warm Mediterranean climate and the Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel’s glorious natural setting make this luxury hotel in Mallorca the ideal place for al fresco dining. You have a choice of three restaurants and two bars serving Spanish delicacies, while the luxurious Talise Spa, state-of-the-art gym, two swimming pools and a spacious ballroom provide more ways to spend your time with us.
A world away from the stresses of modern life, Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Mallorca is just a 25-minute car transfer from Palma International Airport.

We concluded our holiday staying in the resort of Sa Coma, 2 nights at The Marfil Playa Hotel 4*. A typical price on room only was £170 for 2 nights for a double, so not expensive. However this hotel was a typical hotel and offers a range of Room only, B/B, Half Board or All Inclusive. The area of Sa Coma has numerous bars, shops and a lovely beach and would be suitable for families.  This hotel also catered for older clientele such as Saga.

The Marfil Playa Hotel 

You can relax at Hipotels Marfil Playa all day long when youʼre not out and about in Sa Coma. The hotel has a great reputation for its food. And the excellent service, brilliant entertainment team and lovely swimming pool will help you feel at home. If you want to see more of Majorca, youʼll be so close to the resorts of Cala Millor and Cala Bona you could even cycle there.
(The swimming pool has been adapted for people with reduced mobility.)

We travelled all around the coastal areas, visiting north coast west and East, even travelled into Deya and Valdamosa, Palma and we saw the famous Cathedral, Magaluf, Can Picafort, Inca, Mogador and other places inland too, which were very mountainous.  

Majorca or Mallorca, whatever way you prefer to spell it, and whatever way you wish to pronounce it, is the largest of Balearic Islands, and along with its sister islands of Menorca and Ibiza, lies in the Mediterranean Sea off the south east coast of mainland Spain. Flying time from most UK airports is around 2 - 2.1/2 hours and on arrival local time is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Since the onset of mass tourism in the 1960's, Majorca has without doubt, been one of the most popular holiday destinations for all nationalities, offering a wide range of attractions to suit all tastes. However, as a generalisation, the resorts on the islands south coast are the more lively and perhaps more suited for groups of young singles, or those seeking an active nightlife.

For more information on this fantastic holiday island or to book your stay please contact Anne on 020 8882 0141

Please note prices quoted above are for accommodation only, flight prices vary depending on the time of year you choose to travel.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

A journey on the Gloucester Warwickshire Heritage Railway

Did you know that our Charles is a train enthusiast? What could be better than enjoying a  
a 25-mile round trip between Laverton and Cheltenham Racecourse through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cotswolds.

It’s not just fabulous far flung holidays that we are able to assist with at Scott’s Travel. We have experts in trains, planes, automobiles and even Formula one! So if you are looking at a UK city break or excursion please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team who will be very happy to help you.

Here are a few photos from Charles' recent client booking on the Warwickshire Heritage Railway, and even one of the model train itself.

Toddington Station
 Broadway Tower beauty spot during the afternoon tea stop

Until next time bon voyage!

Find out more about the Gloucester Warwickshire Heritage Railway on their website

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Doing it my way in New York City. By Lloyd Collier, Director

New York, the Big Apple – home to the yellow taxi!

The setting for many popular films including Sex and the City, Spiderman and Breakfast at Tiffany's. New York is a place everyone should try to visit at least once in their life. Famous for landmark sites including Central Park, Times Square, The Empire State and the Brooklyn Bridge. New York showcases an array of spectacular holiday experiences, let me introduce you to a few ways you can enjoy this fabulous city;

Explore New York from a high. There are few places more pleasant than a sunny afternoon on the High Line. NYC's only elevated park is one of Manhattan’s most popular destinations, and it's easy to see why. Created in 2009 out of a disused rail track the High Line is a 1.45-mile-long green space, running from Hudson Yards to the northern edge of Chelsea. Today it’s an urbanite’s playground planted with wildflowers and grasses, offering walkers some of the best views in New York City.

Explore New York City by bike. It’s autumn, the weather is a little cooler so get off your feet and hop onto a bike to tour New York City. Sure, you could undock a bright blue CitiBike, but, if you want a more focused route with a guide to answer questions and point out important sites along the way, then a NYC bike tour is just the ticket. The city is home to some fascinating bike tours, everything from the “Secret Streets of New York City” to “Friday Night Lights” where you can experience "the city that never sleeps" at its best! But beware some tours last around 6 hours, however they offer a truly unique way to view the city at around $99 per person. Check out Bike the Big Apple for their current scheduled bike tours

Explore in 2017 The New York Wheel. A short ferry ride will take you to Staten Island’s waterfront which is currently being transformed with the construction of the largest observation wheel in the Western Hemisphere, alongside hotels and a new shopping zone. The New York Wheel promises to become one of the city's great landmark attractions. With the opening date set for early 2017 you will have to be patient to experience this new bird’s eye view of the city.

Explore New York through its sport.

There are many sports teams in New York, but one could argue that none are more famous than the New York Yankees. Heading up to the Bronx for a game is a New York rite of passage. Whether you spend the game tallying box scores or just kicking back to enjoy the roar of the crowd. This is an unforgettable excursion especially if travelling with family and younger children.

As for shopping you will be spoilt for choice and for all you foodies I recommend a meal at Vandal on the Lower East Side. Having recently opened in January booking is a must. A New York City PASS from £77 it is a cost effective way to gain you admission to all the great attractions, including the Empire State Building Observatory, Guggenheim Museum or Top of the Rock, Statue of Liberty and much more.

Finally, it is worthwhile visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Why not consider combining New York with Las Vegas or the Caribbean?

We have teamed up with Funway to offer you some exclusive offers available throughout September and October. Please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of the team as Scott’s Travel for more information and our up-to-date prices.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

Taking place just once every 2 years, the Farnborough International Air show is one of the most iconic events in Hampshire, if not the world. Held at the historical Farnborough Aerodrome in Hampshire – the birthplace of British aviation, the show features a jam-packed flying display both on the ground and in the air, as well as a multitude of entertainment features.

At Scott’s Travel our team can help you organise corporate hospitality at various events in the UK and across the World including major sporting events such as football, F1 motor racing, tennis, golf and much more. Professionals at managing group travel bookings and transfers you can feel confident when booking with Scott's Travel that every detail is covered.

Lloyd recently spent the day at the Farnborough Air show, enjoying an exclusive view from the runway balcony. A three course meal, drinks and coffee were included in the £180 ticket price. Money well spent for any plane spotters out there!

Please ask our team about our hospitality packages.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Go Go Gadget Cover!

Going on holiday is supposed to be a relaxing experience. Insurance cover allows you to enjoy your holiday in the knowledge that you and your family are protected.

What's more we're adding Gadget Cover to our insurance policies to give you even more protection!

This means that if you need to insure valuables over £250, you can add on Gadget Cover.

Our current insurance policies provide cover for single item valuables at a limit of £250, Gadget Cover ensures you will get a single item limit of £750 with up to £2,000 protection for your most expensive items, which also includes:

  • Protection for electronic devices
  • Cover for accidental damage or loss
  • Protection against theft and malicious damage
  • Compensation for unauthorised calls and data

Don't spoil your holiday with unwanted extra costs, contact us and get it covered!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Chernobyl with Jeff Best by Ellie Sales

When Mike asked me to interview a long standing client of Scott’s Travel, Jeffery Best, about his recent trip to Chernobyl I was unsure as to what to expect. Upon arrival at his home in Southgate he immediately whisk me upstairs…I was in for a surprise. Jeff, a full time pattern maker for the likes of Ted Baker and many other high street brands, showed me his studio. Displayed on the walls are photographs of his many trips abroad (booked with Scott’s Travel) alongside his Equity Acting certificate.  When he is not making the next on trend shirt he doubles up as a wedding toastmaster!

More recently Jeff was looking for something a little different and decided to book a place on an escorted tour around Chernobyl (Ukraine). Yes the place of The Chernobyl disaster where a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Pripyat, then located in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union (USSR). The explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. The Russian’s had originally down played the disaster but many believe that it was in fact the start of the end of the Soviet Union. Fewer than six years elapsed between the meltdown at Chernobyl and the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union—six years marked by suspicion of government, dissatisfaction with public safety, and demands for greater transparency. Could Chernobyl have caused the first, most fundamental crack in the Soviet state and led to its collapse?

I was curious to know why Jeff was keen to visit the disaster site to which he replied. “Because it’s there”.

Jeff flew into Kiev where he spent the night. He was collected at 8am the following morning by his charming tour guides. After a 2 hour coach drive the group of 6 reached the seclusion zone, roughly the size of Enfield, where they had to present their passports before entry. The first day of their tour took the group to abandoned schools, summer camps and buildings. Each member of the party were given a Geiger counter, a consistently clicking reminder of their present danger.

The reactor itself is on the verge of being in-cased in the World’s largest moving man made object on earth, an impressive sarcophagus. With the assistance of scientists from America, Japan and the Far East they hope to successfully dismantle what remains of the nuclear reactor.

Chernobyl is now considered clean and on the second day of the tour Jeff was introduced to Ivan Ivanovitch an 80 year old “returner”. Originally evacuated by the Government after the disaster Ivan felt that the new village was more exposed to the danger of the after affects and he soon returned to his small holding where he continues to grow vegetables, although he is not allowed to sell them. Every month his water and ground is tested to ensure that it is safe.
Jeff with Ivan a "returner"

The 2 day tour is not for the faint hearted with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, two solid days on your feet and not the most luxurious accommodation whilst in the seclusion zone. However for those with a thirst for knowledge it offers an exclusive insight into history and all for around £600 per person.

Heathrow to Kiev – One night in Kiev, followed by one night in the seclusion zone and a further night in Kiev before flying home.

Jeff has a passion for travelling, often on his own, and has been fortunate enough to visit the following places

New York, Marrakesh (Morocco), Cork (Ireland), Malta & Gozo, Cairo (Egypt), Moscow, Cyprus, Rome, Isle-o-Mann, Jordan, Athens, Amsterdam, Kenya, Iceland, Florida, Canada, Istanbul, Croatia, Oslo, Albania, Jerusalem, Prague and Transylvania (Rumania).

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

10 Curious facts about Machu Picchu

  1. The first Westerner credited with unveiling Machu Picchu to the outside world, Hiram Bingham, was said to be looking for the lost Inca site of Vilcabamba when he was first led up the slopes to the then-overgrown ruins.
  2. Recently, the accepted history that Bingham was the first outsider to lay eyes on Machu Picchu has been challenged and several candidates put forward. The strongest possible contender is German engineer Augusto Berns who may have been to the site 40 years prior to the American.
  3. When Bingham endeavoured to reclaim the site from the encroaching jungle he uncovered a treasure trove of artefacts that he took with him to Yale University, including mummies, bones, ceramics and precious metals. The Peruvian government has long petitioned the university for their repatriation and in 2008 revised the estimated number of pieces from 4,000 to over 40,000.
  4. The most popular way to approach the site is the Inca Trail trek. This three-day trek reaches a lung-squeezing height of 4,214 metres at its highest and there are several sections of original Inca stone paths along the way. Due to fears of erosion the government limits the number of people embarking on the trek to 500, which includes the compulsory, locally-hired porters
  5. Each year there is a race along the Inca Trail, which at 26 miles is pretty much a marathon. The current record is three hours and 26 minutes.
  6. Many of the porters will sleep with a shiny metal object or mirror beneath them when on the trail. They believe it deflects spirits coming up through the earth and whisking them away. Ask any guide or porter, and most will tell you that at some time they have experienced the feeling of being pulled out of their tents by spirits of the past.
  7. A popular ambition on the trek is to arrive at the fabled Sun Gate in time for sunrise; however this is more of a sun-ruse as high mountains block most the view at sunrise – you’re better off having an extra lie in.
  8. At the ruins themselves, there are rules of entrance. One of the lesser-known is that you may not enter dressed in the traditional costume of another country; so anyone thinking of going dressed in your kilt and sporran, your kimono, or Swiss milkmaid outfit, should think again.
  9. The most expensive Bollywood film ever made, Endhiran, released in 2010, was partly shot on location at Macchu Picchu. It features and ex miss world as the starring actress and is one of only a few films to be given permission to film in the ruins.
  10. A few years ago, two spectacled bears – of Paddington Bear fame – were seen wondering the ruins alongside the throngs of visitors. Spectacled bears are occasionally spotted in the area, but it is very rare to see them in the ruins themselves.
Have you seen our latest window display, pop by and take a look.

Experience Machu Picchu on a flavour of Peru tour hosted by Latin Routes
Day 1 - 3: LimaArrive Lima and spend 2 nights discovering Peru's bustling capital city. On your first morning you will enjoy a half day tour visiting some of the cities highlights including the main square and cathedral. In the evening why not enjoy Lima's thriving gastronomic scene. 
Day 4 - 6: CuscoToday you will fly to the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Cusco for 3 nights. On your first day you will explore the highlights of this fascinating town on a half day city tour including some ancient Incan sites in the surrounding area.Your second day is at leisure and you may decide to relax around town or enjoy one of the many adventure activites in the areas surrounding Cusco. 
Day 7 - 8: Sacred ValleyToday you Travel to the magical Sacred Valley for 2 nights. Here you can enjoy a relaxing day at leisure or you may decide to visit one of the ancient Inca sites in the area (not included) 
Day 9 - 10: Machu PicchuToday you will climb aboard the train to Machu Picchu. Here you will discover Peru's most iconic attraction with a guide to explain all about the history of the Incan Empire.You will spend the night at Aguas Calientes and the following morning you may decide to return to Machu Picchu for sunrise (not included). In the afternoon you will take the train back to Cusco for your final night. 
Day 11 - 12: Fly to Uk In the morning you will head to Cusco Airport for your overnight flight back to the UK via Lima.Prices from £1899 per person**Based on 2 sharing, 2-3* accommodation, shared transfers and excursions (Enquire about upgrades and private transfers and tours)

Prices from £1899 per person*
*Based on 2 sharing, 2-3* accommodation, shared transfers and excursions (Enquire about upgrades and private transfers and tours)