Wednesday, 23 May 2012

LIVE from Barbados...

Our Director Oliver Broad writes to us live from Barbados...


Today is my last day day in the Caribbean.  The last time I was here I was in my early teens on a family holiday in St Lucia, and before then Barbados.  From memory we had a wonderful time, but now, just a few years later it was time to return and get an update on the many recent changes and improvements and to see why Barbados in particular is so popular with our clients.


I will bring you a full report when I return, for now however I just wanted to share with you a quick round up of the trip...


(Coral Reef, Barbados)


When we arrived just 7 days ago we spent a night at he delightful Coral Reef, a lovely 5* property on the West Coast that offers spacious surroundings in a typically luxurious Caribbean setting.  We also visited their sister property The Sandpiper, a favourite of our clients (and also my Mum & Dad), their warm and friendly welcome explained why.


From there we then flew over to the beautiful island of Mustique.  Famous as the favourite hideaway of Princess Margaret in years gone by, the island now has names such as Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger listed as owners of some of the most stunning villas in the world.  Our home for 2 nights was Cotton House, one of only 2 luxury hotels on the island.  This is a really special destination for those seeking to get away from it all and relax on a private island with very few people, and just mother nature to contend with.



(Arriving into Mustique)


(Mustique Beach)

After our short 2 nights living like the rich and famous on Mustique we returned to Barbados and visited the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Sandy Lane, Crystal Cove, Tamarind, Cobblers Cove ending up with a stay at Colony Club.  All offer differing levels of accommodation with Sandy Lane of course being the top of the tree with their signature luxury setting and attention to detail.  

(Sandy Lane, Barbados)

And so I sit here quickly typing before we depart for the airport back to the UK (and some good weather I hear).  I am definitely pleased to have come back to the Caribbean as a full grown adult and look forward to recommending the most suitable hotel to the right client when I return. 

Stay tuned for photographs and a more detailed report from Oliver when he returns to the UK.

To book your holiday to Barbados call Robert Broad Travel on 01543 258631 or email vip@robertbroadtravel.co.uk.  Nathan also recently visited Barbados so do make use of our first hand knowledge and advice when booking with us.  

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dave reports from Egypt...




Thursday  3rd May - BBC News flash: 11 people killed in Cairo & 150 injured

Guess who’s going to Cairo on Tuesday!  Worried, nervous ? not really – Cairo is such a huge sprawling city I am sure we will be nowhere near any possible flash points - said he hopefully...

Monday 14th May
Back in the office 6 days later , still in one piece and having enjoyed a fantastic break taking in Cairo, Luxor, overnight sleeper trains, hot air balloon trips and visiting some amazing sights such as the Pyramids at Giza, Luxor, Karnak and the fantastic Egyptian Museum. Never once feeling threatened we were made so welcome with many people stopping us to say thank you for visiting their country (and of course trying to sell us some ‘original’ antiquity at a special bargain price!) 

It really is a fantastic time to visit Egypt, all the major sites which in the past have been subject to long queues were easy to access and especially at the Valley of the Kings we were able to wander around the tombs without having to queue for hours for a quick glimpse.

Having been fascinated for years by those grainy images of Howard Carters discovery of King Tutukahamens tomb in 1922 it was great to not only visit the tomb but also to follow this up with a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and see the solid gold death mask together with many or the other artefact's and other priceless objects discovered by Carter and Lord Carnarvon.



Whatever problems this fascinating country has the welcome remains as warm as ever. Tahrir Square the scene of many of the protests was quiet and not at all threatening and yes we did walk around it and explore the various side streets and cafes. Away from the major sites I also experienced a local barber and a superb cut throat shave, sampled local food   the shwarma’s are delicious) and sampled life in a local coffee bar with a sheesha pipe.

My advice is visit now before the crowds return and as our fantastic guide kept saying Yallah, Yallah – which means - 'Lets go' - why don’t you consider it.

Dave travelled on the Pharaoh's Adventure 6 day tour...

A compact breakaway that showcases the very best of ancient Egypt. Taking in the major highlights of Cairo and Luxor. From the legendary Pyramids of Giza and Egyptian Museum, to the tomb strewn Valley of the Kings in Luxor.



Day 1: Cairo
Tuesday. Welcome to Egypt and the start of your holiday! Arrive Cairo, included airport arrival transfer to hotel and overnight.Overnight - Cairo
Cairo - Luxor. Today a visit to the incredible pyramids and Sphinx at Giza Plateau. It’s estimated the largest - Khufu (Cheops) was constructed from no less than 2.5 million quarried limestone blocks, weighing around 6 million tonnes. No mean feat, when you consider the pyramids were built without the use of modern equipment! Maybe opt for a camel ride. Travelling on to the necropolis of Saqqara, innumerable sand strewn temples and tombs await discovery. It’s at Saqqara where you’ll see Zhoser’s step pyramid. Rising 6 steps, it served as the prototype for ancient Egypt’s most enduring architectural legacy. Overnight train to Luxor - consider upgrading to a Sleeper cabinOvernight - Train(B)
Riding camels by the pyramids on the Giza Plateau
Day 3: Luxor
Arrive and check into hotel. One of the world’s greatest open-air museums, the 4000 year old site of ancient Thebes - known today as Luxor is our base for two exciting days of exploration. Enjoy some rest and relaxation. Tonight, an optional visit to Temple of Luxor. The temple is magically illuminated by a thousand coloured lights at night fall, book and pay locally. Remainder of the evening at leisure with a chance to enjoy the facilities of our hotel. Overnight - Luxor (B)
Luxor - Cairo. There is the option to float over Luxor in a hot air balloon at sunrise. From high above we look down upon ancient Thebes, remarkable landscape and local villages waking up to start their day. Afterward we cross to the West Bank of the Nile. The massive pair of statues known as the Colossi of Memnon are the first monuments we’ll see as we start our day's sightseeing. They are all that remains of the temple of Amenophis III. Today, we visit the Valleys of the Kings and the imposing colonnaded temple of Queen Hatshepsut. 

Returning to our hotel, we enjoy free time before visiting Karnak. More than a temple, Karnak is a spectacular complex of sanctuaries, pylons and obelisks - built on a grand scale. During the height of Theban power, Karnak was the most important place of worship. Tonight, we return to Cairo by overnight train. Overnight - Train (B)
The Tomb of Tutankhamen, at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
Day 5: Egyptian Museum
Arrive to Cairo and hotel check-in. Later, a guided visit to the Egyptian Museum. See the famous King Tutankhamen solid gold death mask or opt to see the Royal Mummy room. Remains of the afternoon and evening free to do your own thing. Overnight - Cairo (B)

Day 6: Cairo
Sunday. Our tour ends after breakfast and included onward departure transfer to the airport. (B)

Hot Air Ballooning

Bolt-on a Hot Air Balloon ride over Luxor and enjoy an incredible aerial adventure! Drifting silently over ancient temples, tombs and ruins and watching villages wake up in the early morning sun, as you drift just metres above their rooftops! Wave at the locals down below and glide through the air, above the River Nile and vibrant fields of sugar cane. Head to the skies, for a birds eye view of ancient Thebes!

How to book...

For departure dates, prices and booking call us on 01543 258631 or email vip@robertbroadtravel.co.uk


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Croatia report: Dubrovnik, Cavtat & the Island of Lopud...



John recently visited Croatia and reports below on what he thought...
My first visit to the very southern tip of Croatia was met with trepidation, not really knowing too much about the country other than the war that took place during the 90’s. This feeling was soon dismissed as I boarded our 2½ hour flight to Dubrovnik. Coming in to land, those of us on the left side of the aircraft were treated to a spectacular view along Croatia’s rugged coastline. 
After a short transfer we arrived at Grand Hotel Park, Dubrovnik our base for the next 4 nights. The locals could not have been more helpful, from assisting me with my baggage to tips and recommendations on places to visit.
Dubrovnik is probably the most famous city in Croatia. The medieval walled city is a listed UNESCO heritage site that has survived earthquakes and attacks throughout the years. A visit to the local patisseries is a must for those with a sweet tooth, just be careful what you order because the portions are usually on the large side!
Experience the magnificent view from the top of the medieval wall (for a small fee) overlooking the many Islands off the coast. Many of these are inhabited and free from vehicles.


One of my favourite Islands that I visited was the Island of Lopud, where a magnificent hotel has been added. Built to resemble 2 cruise ships, this little haven can only be reached by boat and is the perfect setting for those who wish to hire some bicycles and explore the island.
For those who get itchy feet after a couple of hours sunbathing, Croatia has all you could need to make your holiday one to remember. Board one of the local boat services that journeys between the towns and villages along the coastline. Be sure to make time for the small Harbour town of Cavtat. The promenade has a number of cafes and restaurants to sample whilst you watch the time pass you by overlooking the small marina and fabulous view over the ocean.

For those looking to stay a little longer, I recommend a twin-centre. Combine a stay in the Old city of Dubrovnik, with a stay on one of the islands or quieter resorts of Cavtat.
Example prices for holidays to Croatia...
4* deluxe Hotel Lafodia in September from £699.00 per person (Island of Lopud)
4* Hotel Villa Pattiera (small family run property with friendly owners) in September from £809.00pp (Cavtat)
5* Villa Argentina in September from £909.00pp (Dubrovnik)
All based on 7 night stays for 2 people sharing a room with flights from Birmingham.  We can also arrange flights from other airports, please ask for details.
View more of John's photographs online here

Call us to book your holiday to Croatia now on 01543 258631 or email vip@robertbroadtravel.co.uk

Croatia: Dubrovnik, Cavtat & the Island of Lupud

Fabulous-views-of-Dubrovnik-from-the-reception-at-the-Excelsior-Hotel-&-SpaA-standard-room-at-the-Radisson-Blu---Orasac-near-DubrovnikA-view-from--the-Villa-Pattiera,-Cavtat,-CroatiaA-view-of-the-hotel-Lafodia-from-the-boat-back-to-the-mainland,-CroatiaAccommodation-at-the-Hotel-Aquarius,-Dubrovnik.Along-the-coast-on-the-Island-of-Lopud,-Croatia
Another-view-of-the-rooms-at-the-hotel---Island-of-Lopud,-CroatiaAnother-view-over-the-residences-at-the-Radisson-Blu---Orasac-near-DubrovnikBar-area-at-the-Hotel-Grand-Park,-DubrovnikBar-area-at-the-Hotel-Lero,-DubrovnikBeautiful-Sunset-over-Lapad-Cove---DubrovnikBeautiful-views-from-the-Hotel-Cavtat,-Croatia
Bedroom-area-at-the-Dubrovnik-Palace,-DubrovnikBedroom-area-in-one-of-the-upgraded-rooms-at-the-Dubrovnik-Palace,-DubrovnikBedroom-in-one-of-the-suites-at-Hotel-Bellevue,-Dubrovnik.Clock-tower-in-the-centre-of-the-old-town---DubrovnikCoastal-view-from-Hotel-Bellevue,-DubrovnikDubrovnik-buildings
DubrovnikEntrance-into-one-of-the-many-museums---DubrovnikEntrance-into-the-old-town-of-DubrovnikEntrance-to-The-Cave-Bar-at-Hotel-More---Dubrovnik.Entrance-to-the-Spa-area-at-the-Hotel-Croatia,-CavtatExterior-of-the-Hilton-Dubrovnik
Croatia April 2012, a set on Flickr.
These photographs were taken by John in our office recently when he visited Dubrovnik, Cavtat and the Island of Lupud in Croatia.

To book your holiday to Croatia call John on 01543 258631 or email vip@robertbroadtravel.co.uk.

Friday, 4 May 2012

RBT launches newsletter for mobile devices...

We are fully aware that internet use on mobile devices is overtaking desktop use.  And so with this in mind we have today launched our brand new Travel Explorer newsletter as a special flip book that is compatible with mobile devices.  


And so if you have a smartphone or tablet you too can now scroll easily through our latest newsletter, viewing interactive video content which brings the publication to life.


To view it for yourself click below...







New routes open up to the Far East...



The Far East is developing fast. Compared with 2011, passenger numbers in 2012 increase by 20%. New hotels are opening up across the region and airlines are launching new routes to facilitate the growing demand.

To celebrate the launch of the range of new airline routes, we have a few new itineraries on offer...

Vietnam with Emirates and Vietnam Airlines
Some operators have seen passenger numbers to Vietnam increase by 50% in the last two years. Customers are increasingly looking to book multi-country holidays so combinations with Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos or Thailand have also seen a rise in demand.
From 4 June 2012, Emirates will begin flying daily from Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City, which means that clients can fly overnight from London or Manchester and be in Vietnam the following evening. A 3-night stay in Ho Chi Minh combined with 4 nights at the Princess d'Annam in Phan Thiet is priced from £1,845 per person, flying via Dubai with Emirates and inclusive of private transfers and breakfast daily.
  
Alternatively, Vietnam Airlines began flying direct to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from Gatwick airport in December 2011. The 15-day / 12-night Spirit of Vietnam private tour is priced from £2,760 per person, flying with Vietnam Airlines.  


Ask to speak to Dave when booking your trip to Vietnam with us as he has recently visited this wonderful country.

Hong Kong Airlines business class-only flight from London Gatwick
Hong Kong is an exciting destination for a city break and a convenient location for a stopover en route to Australasia.  Launched on 8 March 2012 Hong Kong Airlines is now offering a daily, all business class flight between Gatwick and Hong Kong with complimentary in-flight wi-fi connection in both business class cabins.  Robert Broad Travel can offer 4 nights at the Peninsula Hotel, with transfers, a half-day tour and breakfast daily priced from £1,995 per person with British Airways economy flights. Upgrade to business class on Hong Kong Airlines from £1,440 per person.


Ask to Speak to our Director Oliver who has visited Hong Kong when booking your holiday with us.



Beijing flights from Gatwick with Air China
From 2 May 2012, Air China will begin flying from Gatwick to Beijing four times per week, adding to its Heathrow service. This not only provides more options for travel to China, but also improves regional connections within the country.  Robert Broad Travel can offer an 11-day / 9-night China Experience private tour (superior) priced from £2,495 per person, flying from Gatwick with Air China.



Korean Air flies to Seoul from Gatwick
Launching on 29 April 2012, Korean Air will fly three times per week from Gatwick to Seoul. With a fascinating cultural history, but a futuristic present focussed on technology, fashion and music, Korea is an unexpected gem in the Far East and very much in vogue for 2012.
Robert Broad Travel can offer a 9-day / 7-night private tour priced from £2,295 per person with flights from Gatwick on Korean Air, private transfers and excursions, and accommodation with breakfast and lunch daily.


For more details on any of these tours call Robert Broad Travel now on 01543 258631 or email vip@robertbroadtravel.co.uk

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

John visits Croatia...





John flew over to Croatia last week to inspect a number of hotels and visit various resorts in the Dubrovnik area.  His favourite resort was Cavtat which is 15km south of Dubrovnik.


With easier fight connections from the UK than ever before 2012 is a great time to visit Croatia.  Local to our office are flights from Birmingham with both Flybe and Monacrh whilst other charters and budget airlines, plus scheduled services with British Airways and Croatian Airlines also offer regular connections to airports all over Croatia.


More details and photographs from John's trip are coming soon.  In the meantime however if you would like to book a holiday to Croatia do call John on 01543 258631 or email vip@robertbroadtravel.co.uk for personal advice and first hand knowledge.

WIN a New York break with United & Mandarin Oriental



From left: Nathan Collins (Robert Broad Travel), Mandy Haque (Birmingham Airport), Debbie Cant (United), Oliver Broad (Robert Broad Travel) pictured at Birmingham Airport for the launch of the Mad About the Mercury competition.




We are excited to announce the new Mad About the Mercury competition has now been launched giving readers the chance to win a break to New York in association with in association with United and Mandarin Oriental.  

This year's prize is the most exciting we have ever offered and we look forward to seeing the photographs you send into the Mercury to enter this fantastic competition.

All you need to do is take your copy of the Mercury with you on holiday and take a snap of you reading it abroad...but remember to be original and make is laugh, cry or be intrigued where you are!  Send your entries into the Mercury who will publish entries throughout the year until the finalists are revealed for public vote in April 2013.

The prize...
3 night break to New York flying with United from Birmingham and staying at the 5* Mandarin Oriental New York.


United...
United, formed by the merger of United and Continental Airlines, has been offering flights to the U.S. direct from Birmingham International Airport since 1997. You can fly nonstop from Birmingham to New York/Newark daily in the summer and 6 days a week in the winter, and from there you can connect to over 300 destinations across the Americas.

Transferring  from Newark Airport into New York City is really quick and easy - you can reach Manhattan in less than 30 minutes using the region’s transit rail network.


UNITED offer flights from Birmingham to New York/Newark in 3 different classes: Economy, Economy Plus and BusinessFirst.   

The Economy Plus service offers an extra 6 inches of legroom and a more spacious experience

In BusinessFirst fully recline in the 180 degree flatbed seat providing up to 6 feet 4 inches of sleeping space whilst enjoying the gourmet menus designed by United’s Congress of Chefs and complemented by award-winning wines and champagnes.  On the ground, take advantage of exclusive priority check-in and access to lounges worldwide.

(United BusinessFirst)

Economy class is spacious and comfortable with ergonomically-designed seats providing 31 inches of legroom, adjustable headrests to support the head and neck, and 5 inch recline. Onboard, enjoy complimentary meals and soft drinks.

Whichever class you choose, all seats feature an Audio/Video on Demand multi-channel personal entertainment system at every seat, which offers a large selection of movies, TV programmes, music and much more.

Mandarin Oriental New York...
Gaze over Central Park and the draw dropping Manhattan skyline from the most breathtaking luxury hotel in New York. This award-winning, 5 Star development high above Columbus Circle offers stunning views from every room. In the beating heart of the city, close to the most prestigious areas, Mandarin Oriental, New York has become a byword for New York style.


With 248 stylishly appointed rooms and suites reflect the oriental heritage of Mandarin Oriental while incorporating contemporary elements of New York City. And with every one of them comes a breathtaking view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, or the scenic Hudson River over which the sun sets. 


Enjoy all New York City has to offer, located just steps away from Central Park for scenic carriage rides, shopping excursions and easy access to the latest Broadway theater and Lincoln Center productions, it’s the ideal location for a fantastic getaway.  


Can't wait to win the competition?  Robert Broad Travel is offering Mercury readers 3 nights for the price of 2 when booking into the Mandarin Oriental New York.  Simply mention the Mercury when you book with RBT on 01543 258631

Terms and conditions apply, details: www.robertbroadtravel.co.uk/mercury