Monday, 30 January 2012

Stowe Mountain Lodge, USA

This week we take a look at one of the USA's top hotels in the beautiful resort of Stowe....

The Stowe Mountain Lodge, located at the base of Mount Mansfield, is New England’s premier mountain lodge and  features ski-in/ski-out access to the best skiing in the east and limitless mountain recreational options.  

Stowe Mountain Lodge is truly a resort for all four seasons.  Located in the heart of the new Spruce Peak at Stowe alpine village and adjacent to the ski lift connecting Spruce Peak to Mount Mansfield, guests can enjoy access not only to skiing, but to mountain hiking and biking trails in the area, pristine streams, ponds and lakes in which to fly fish for trout, bass and pike.  The resort if also in an ideal setting in the midst of the world’s most beautiful Autumn foliage.

The lodge boasts rustic, grand architecture, luxuriously appointed guest rooms, a 21,000 square foot spa, award-winning farm-to-table dining,  a year-round heated indoor/outdoor pool and a two-story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows and large fireplaces.  Guests  enjoy exclusive access to the Stow Mountain Club, an 18-hole mountain golf course, designed by Bob Cupp.

The Lodge offers exceptional service, including a signature Alpine Concierge, and is dedicated to providing the highest level of bespoke service to guests prior to arrival, during their stay and after their departure.

In addition, The Stowe Mountain Lodge,  was recently voted 5th in the USA and 89th in the world in the annual Condé Nast 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards.

We can include the lodge as part of a tailor made tour itinerary of the USA or a single centre holiday - our service is flexible so do get in touch to book this wonderful property.

Call us on 01543 258631 or email

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Good news for Burma

Good news for Burma as we make final preparations for our Burma Travel Lecture...The European Union is now in the process of reviewing sanctions against Myanmar to encourage signs of reform initiated by the nominally civilian government following decades of military rule.

Fresh aid programmes for Myanmar are also under consideration. Ministers are expected to announce a willingness "to consider initial steps in February 2012" in order to give a sign of encouragement before Myanmar’s April elections" which will see a historic bid for parliament by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

This evening we will be joined by Amrit Singh and Editor-in-Chief of Wanderlust magazine, Lyn Hughes for the 2nd in our Travel Lecture series.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Northern Lights from the Ice Hotel...

Lisa, one of our two resident Ice Hotel specialists recalls her visit to the Aurora Sky station during her trip to Sweden where she stayed at the famous Ice Hotel.

It has been almost a year since I visited the Ice Hotel but the memories are still very fresh and will last a life time.  The Ice Hotel is as busy as ever and scientists have predicted that 2011/2012 will be the best, brightest and most dramatic opportunity to view the Aurora (Northern Lights) in a long time. With this in mind we have been experiencing an increased demand in people who want to visit the wonderful Ice Hotel and the opportunity to see the amazing Northern Lights.

The excursion to the Abisko Sky Station has been extremely popular, located to the west of Kiruna, the mountains of the Abisko National Park dominate the landscape. Towards the summit of Mount Nuolja, in the heart of the range, stands the Aurora Sky Station which at latitude of 68.2°offers one of the finest platforms for viewing the Aurora Borealis away from artificial lights.  The excursion that we offer includes collection from the Ice Hotel (transfer time approximately 1 hour) and the Sky Station is accessible by cable car which takes 20 minutes.

A three-course evening meal, influenced by Nordic cuisine is included and will be served in the Aurora Sky Station.  After dinner have free time to view the Aurora exhibition and to sit outside under the dark night sky. On a clear night, hopefully the Northern Lights will be dancing across the sky above.

It was most definately one of the most memorable trips of my life, and Abisko Aurora Sky station was a great excursion, and one which is a must if you want to see the Northern Lights - but be quick, the best season is from January - March!

To speak to Lisa or Kirsty (our 2nd Ice hotel specialist) or another member of our award winning team call 01543 258631 or email

Monday, 16 January 2012

Newfoundland, Canada...

The UK's leading travel journalist David Wickers introduces us to Newfoundland (as featured in our latest 'Travel Explorer' newsletter - click here

With the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic services to Vancouver starting in May, Canada’s wild and wonderful west will once again come under the media spotlight. No doubt the number of British visitors to the region, which already outnumbers other parts, is likely to swell even more by the addition of new flights (already served nonstop from the UK by BA and Air Canada).

But I’d like to take a few moments to readjust the balance and sing the praises of Canada’s East including the shores of the mighty St Lawrence and the Atlantic seaboard. As well as including the more high profile provinces of Ontario (home to Toronto and Niagara Falls) and French-speaking Quebec, the area encompasses tiny Prince Edward Island, recently put squarely on the world map after a visit from Prince William and his new bride, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador. But rather than simply take you on a slow verbal meander around the lot, I’d like to focus on just one of these lesser known corners of Canada, Nova Scotia.

Give Nova Scotia a two week summer holiday and I will give you a destination that ticks an incredible diversity of boxes. Among the amazing experiences on offer is the Cabot Trail, a stunning scenic drive that competes with the Pacific Coast Highway in California or the Great Ocean Drive in Australia.

There’s more. Much more. I can virtually guarantee sightings of whales, and maybe a moose or two. You can visit award-winning wineries in the fertile Annapolis Valley, where you’ll be on the same latitude as Bordeaux, as well as a whisky distillery that looks as if it’s been airlifted from the Scottish Highlands. The local seafood, including lobsters at a fraction of  UK prices, is the freshest imaginable, and there are lots of interesting places to stay, from a remote wilderness lodge that belongs to the luxury Relais & Chateaux alliance to historic, family-run inns converted from the homes of old sea captains.

There’s no shortage of culture in amongst Nova Scotia’s natural assets, topped by Acadian heritage from the days when the region was tossed between British and French colonial masters, with the enormous fort at Louisbourg the most iconic feature. The province also boasts deep Celtic roots from the time of the ‘Highland Clearances’ when Scots were forced by ruthless landowners to abandon their crofts and, with them, their livelihoods.

Seekers of thrills and spills will be enticed by Nova Scotia’s most thrilling adventure, tidal bore rafting in the Bay of Fundy where you ride up the wall of water on the incoming tide, which happens to be the biggest in the world, and then toss around in the froth and foam as the water surges forth over sandbanks. For gentler action I would recommend a mild canoe trip through the Kejimkujik National Park.

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, will next year be taking its place on a world stage when its marks the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, the city being where many of the victims were first brought ashore and were subsequently buried in the local cemetery (after being housed in the local funeral home - in what is now the city’s finest restaurant, the Five Fishermen!). The Halifax Maritime Museum has a permanent Titanic exhibition.

Not only can you enjoy a complete Canadian experience in Nova Scotia but you can fly there nonstop from the UK in just six or so hours.

Contact us to tailor make your holiday to Canada on 01543 258631 or email  We offer  flexible service, using flights and hotels to best suit your needs and requirements.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Building the Ice Hotel, 8pm Channel 5 tonight...

Every winter in the small village of Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden, 200km above the Arctic Circle, a formidable and breathtaking ice structure takes shape. From humble beginnings as blocks of ice, harvested from the neighbouring River Torne, a talented team of snow builders, architects, designers and artists from all over the world create the original and world-famous ICEHOTEL – a sight which has to be seen to be believed.

For over 5 years now we have been selling holidays to the famous Ice Hotel in Sweden.  Both Lisa and Kirsty have visited this wonderful creation and are on hand to offer personal, first hand knowledge and advice when booking with us.  We have a dedicated website detailing the trips we offer - and we are on hand to take reservations over the phone on 01543 258631 or email

The sheer scale of the structure is mesmerising and the attention to detail is apparent throughout. This season (2011/12) has seen the construction of the 22nd ICEHOTEL and yet again, the artists have outdone themselves.
If you are interested to learn more, tune into the ‘Building of the ICEHOTEL’ on Channel 5 at 8pm today.  In recent years the themes have included ‘Space’ and ‘Water’.

Example package - Three night stay at the ICEHOTEL 
  • Day One: On arrival at Kiruna airport, transfer to the ICEHOTEL. Upon check-in at the ICEHOTEL you  will receive a thermal suit, mittens, a balaclava and snow boots. This clothing is yours to use until you depart. Your first night will be spent in sub zero temperatures (-5°C) within the ICEHOTEL on a bed built of ice and snow, insulated by reindeer skins and a thermal sleeping bag. For that special occasion, we would recommend a stay in one of the 16 individually designed Art Suites. 
  • Day Two: In the morning you will be woken with a hot lingonberry drink. After breakfast, you have free time in Jukkasjärvi. A wealth of winter activities including snowmobile and dog-sled excursions are on offer. Northern Light excursions are also available, including an excursion to the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko – regarded by Wanderlust Magazine as the best place in the world to see this phenomenon. Tonight, your accommodation will be in the comfortable warm accommodation at the ICEHOTEL.      
  • Day Three: Free time in Jukkasjarvi. Opportunity  to participate in further winter activities; explore the village of Jukkasjärvi or visit the town of Kiruna. Overnight in the warm accommodation at the  ICEHOTEL.
  • Day Four: After breakfast, transfer to Kiruna airport for your return flight home
  • Price from £915 per person and inclusive of:
    •         Return flights to Kiruna, via Stockholm, with SAS Scandinavian Airlines.
    •         Return private taxi transfers.
    •         1-night’s Bed & Breakfast accommodation in a snow room at the ICEHOTEL.
    •         2-nights’ Bed & Breakfast accommodation in a Kaamos room at the ICEHOTEL

Call us now on 01543 258631 to book, many dates are already sold out so please do book early.