Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hunter's Country House, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Anne and I visited Hunter's Country House in March 2007 which is a luxury small hotel located ten kilometres west of Plettenberg Bay in the Garden Route in South Africa.

Hunter's Country House is a family owned exclusive luxury hotel-a member of Relais and Chateaux hidden away in extensive grounds with a backdrop of the Tsitikamma Mountains.

Having left the main road we drove for some one and a half kilometres up a track to arrive at the gated entrance where, after providing brief details, the gates opened to allow access to the estate. After a few hundred yards we arrived at the front of Hunter's Country House to be immediately met outside by a member of staff who, after a warm greeting, escorted us to one of the lounges where we were provided with a complimentary pot of tea and biscuits whilst our luggage was removed from our car and taken to our luxurious suite.

All twenty three suites are located in mainly thatched cottages of varying sizes in the hotel's grounds. We were given an upgrade to a superior suite which was secluded a two minute walk from the main building. The suite had a delightful sitting area and was furnished with antiques and you had a real log fire which we lit in the evening. Our suite had air conditioning, mini bar, safe, tea and coffee making facilities, private terrace with table, chairs and sun beds overlooking manicured gardens. The en-suite bathroom was huge with a double ended bath and separate shower and luxurious toiletries plus bathrobes.

Being the romantic couple we like candles in our bedroom. Although there were a couple of large candles already in the room I asked reception if we could have a couple of tea lights. Upon our return to our suite they had filled the room with twenty one tea lights each in a glass holder! Wonderful.

Hunter's Country House has beautiful lounges to relax in furnished with antiques. The hotel has three dining rooms in the main building decorated and furnished in an exquisite baronial style-dinner was excellent both the service and the quality of the produce. There is also a dining room outside for al fresco dining. Breakfast was outstanding with so much choice from the cold table together with cooked food to order- I had scrambled egg which was the best I have ever had.

Hunter's Country House loves children. There is an area set aside for the little ones with a small paddling pool, sand pit, swing and a children's house to play in- I am not doing this area justice! The hotel have put so much thought into these facilities for the younger ones.

Also, for the grown ups, there is a delightful swimming pool set in manicured gardens surrounded by well thought out sitting areas and tables. Sun beds are laid out with towels.

Hunter's Country House has its own small church known as the "Chapel in the Forest" in the grounds which we looked around-needless to say you would love to hold your wedding ceremony their as a couple did whilst we were at the hotel.

The guest to staff ratio at the hotel is excellent with someone always on hand without being intrusive. The laundry service is most proficient.

Hunter's Country House is indeed a small luxury exclusive hotel which is not to be missed.


Alan Hope

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Car Hire Murcia

When visiting the Mediterranean bathed region of Murcia, look forward to something more than breathtaking beautiful beaches, such as some natural beauties still to be discovered. It is the intriguing blend of natural charms and modernism which differentiate Murcia from the other regions of Costa Blanca. From the most desolated open natural spaces to modern residential neighborhoods to quaint little medieval towns. Nestled amidst the mountains of the Sierra de Orihuela and the Cresta de Gallo, Murcia boasts of the most sophisticated watering system in the region and is very famous for vegetables and thus happens to be the capital of the province.

Tips for your Murcia trip:

If Murcia happens to be the next pit stop in your holiday itinerary, make sure you rent a car. Local transport by bus or train is available, but if you want to witness something more than the beautiful beaches around the Costa Blanca and Spain, car hire in this region is a must. The city of Murcia can be reached via the national road E15 from Alicante or using the C415 from the Madrid direction. With Murcia being about 45 km away from the Airport car hire is a good option.Visiting Murcia during the summer period, without a car reservation in hand is not a very advisable thing to do! Also make sure to book your car before arrival at the Airport especially during summer months. Use your travel agency to get the best deal on Murcia car hire. But don't forget to compare pricing and availability over the internet. The Murcia airport lies 45 km outside of Murcia along the Mar Menor and is used by some English and German airlines offering cheap flights to Murcia.

What you need to remember while hiring a car at Murcia:

Car Prices: The rates for the same car vary a great deal from company to company. Compare basic rates and the extras. While some companies offer all inclusive rental packages, some charge for extras like insurance, mileage, the cost of additional drivers, airport taxes and other such fees.Many domestic and international car hire companies offer Murcia car hire at the airport. Check them out well in advance; so that once you are out of the Arrival terminal you have your car waiting for you.It is very important that you know what is included in the price you are quoted. If the company charges a basic rental rate with add on fees for extras, compare it with the all inclusive price of the other company. This will give you a more reliable comparison as you don't want to take the pains of comparing prices only to end up paying a higher price later.Compare daily and weekly rates of each company. The weekly rates are often cheaper i.e. if you need the car for four days, it may still be less expensive to reserve the car at the weekly rate.

Booking reference number: Get your car hire agreement in writing and be sure to get a confirmation/reference number. This number will help you avoid headaches later.

Car Type: Hire a car considering the number of people traveling and their age group. A standard family car seats 4 people comfortably where as minibuses, MPV's are ideal for those traveling in large groups. An economy car is anytime cheaper w.r.t rental prices as well as fuel costs.

Insurance: Taking insurance with a car hire is a very advisable thing to do. But before you do so, find out with your car insurance or Credit Card Company, if you are covered.

Advance Booking: Booking in advance with any car hire company is the best way to kick start your holiday planning because if you don't you will end up paying more than you thought. Also hiring a car after reaching Murcia will leave you with limited choices during the peak season. So why take a risk.

Documents: While hiring a car, you will need to provide car Hire Company with all the important documents like driver's license, proof of age, a credit card and insurance.

Car Condition: Inspect the car before you take possession of it. Make sure to check all damage is noted on the rental agreement. The aim is not to take responsibility for damage that was already there when you picked up the car.

Car Pick up and Drop Point: Another important comparison that you need to make is the cost of picking up your car from the airport or renting in the city. The difference could be from nothing to some considerable amount of money depending on the car rental company you choose. Commonly, it is cheaper to pick up and drop off the car in the same location.

Discounts: Look for discounts for your car hire. If you book with travel agent, you may get a discount on a car hire plus accommodation. Make use of any discount you can to save money.

The hot weather conditions; a limited (only 3 times a day) direct bus connection to Murcia City; and a train station 10 km away, most tourists opt for Murcia airport car hire with next most feasible option being a taxi hire from the airport.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Finding Cheap Flights to Spain

Make sure when you are looking to book your flight to Spain to enjoy the Spanish culture that you know what it is that you should be trying to do in an effort to get the most out of your flight when you are booking online. You should book your flights either really early or late, be willing to leave maybe a day early or late as well as trying to locate where the airports are located to see if you can find a local flight into that city.

Tip 1: Book your flight early or late

The best thing to do is to try and book your flight as early as possible in order to get the best rates possible for your flight. In many cases there will be a number of seats that are made available to early birds in order to fill the plane and drive up the prices for the people who are in need of a flight closer to when the flight is set to leave. In most cases it is recommended to book your flight at least 14 days in advance.

The other extreme is to wait until the very last minute. This works best if you have no concrete plans set out so as to be more flexible as long as you do not mind or have no true preference of where you are really going.

Tip 2: Be flexible

As far as flexibility is concerned you have to look not only at the city you are traveling to, but also surrounding airports are concerned. Look into where the locations are in proximity to where you are going. See if it conceivable to find a cheaper route that is close enough that the savings will be worth the drive to get where you want to be.

Some discounts or cheaper rates may also be available to those that are willing to work with the airline and deal with plane changes and layovers. If you are willing to deal with these then you will have the ability to get lower rates and be able to apply more money towards your vacation.

One last area flexibility can be helpful is if you are willing to alter your dates either one or two days in one direction or another. In many cases you can use these to your advantage. Possibly squeeze one more day out of your trip or save large amounts of money by leaving in the middle of the week as opposed to leaving on a weekend.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Buenos Aires Apartments

Buenos Aires has increased their popularity around the travel world. Many people discovered Buenos Aires City and recommend it for many reasons. There are people travelling to Buenos Aires for holidays, business and study planning. At the city are different cultures to enjoy and every excellent option for anybody.

You have many options of accommodations in Buenos Aires such as Hotels, Apart Hotels, Hostels, Hotels Boutique, Bed and Breakfasts and Furnished Apartments for temporary rentals. I recommend apartments in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires Apartments are the best option because is cheaper than a hotel and you have the privacy to live like local people and feel at home in Buenos Aires. You can rent apartments by day, week or months. They come fully equipped and counts with amenities to enjoy your stay.The apartments are located at the best locations in town such as Recoleta, where you can visit museums, historical places and exttensive area comercial; Palermo, the coolest area in Buenos Aires, its divided by Palermo Old, Palermo Hollywood, Palermo and Palermo New. Everyone have different styles but maintain the mystic of the neighbourhood; Downtown, Belgrano, Colegiales, Las CaƱitas, Puerto Madero, San Telmo and more.

Also you can travel around Argentina. North and South are good options to visit. By north you can visit San Juan, Iguazu Falls and Mendoza. By South you can visit Calafate and Ushuia between other destinations to travel. There are beaches, mountains and fields to spend your days, just you have to choose.

For more information please visit my site : Buenos Aires Apartments

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