VisitEngland Offers Facebook App for UK Vacations

UK residents who are also social media enthusiasts will now be able to download a new Facebook app, ‘101 Things To Do Before You Go Abroad’, promoted by VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England.

The app intends to promote destinations in the UK to British travellers, and offers a range of new experiences for visitors to England. Among the experiences included in the app are star gazing at the International Dark Sky Reserve in Exmoor’s National Park, and climbing Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England.

Following the Jubilee celebrations, and Olympic and Paralympic Games, which took place in the UK last year, recent research conducted by the agency shows that 60 percent of the country’s population are more proud to be British now than ever, while around 20 percent of respondents are planning to take more breaks in England in 2013 as a result of renewed interest in their mother country. The new app is attempting to meet the demand generated from this nationwide intention and will be offering newer travel destinations to attract British holidaymakers to stay in their own country and have a wonderful vacation.

James Berresford, the chief executive officer of VisitEngland, said, ‘Only including 101 Things to do in England before you go abroad will be the challenge! There is so much on offer in England, which is capable of taking our breath away. We hope this app will inspire Britons everywhere to take a holiday in England and remember that this is one of the best, if not the best destinations in the world.’

TripAdvisor Releases 2013 Travellers Choice Hotel Awards Lists

TripAdvisor, a company offering an online travel community for collating user-generated travel information, has announced its 2013 Travellers’ Choice awards for hotels.

The awards have acknowledged the most outstanding properties globally in the categories of Top Hotels, Luxury, Bargain, Service, Small Hotels, and B&Bs and Inns.

The lists name around 6,000 hospitality properties across the world in 82 countries and nine regions.

Barbara Messing, the chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, said, ‘Once again, TripAdvisor is thrilled to recognise the finest accommodations based on the feedback from those who really matter: their guests. It’s the insights from millions of travellers that make these awards so special, as they help others discover the hotels travellers love most – whatever the budget, in all corners of the world.’

In the UK, the top ten hotels are Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate; The Milestone Hotel, London; Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham; Casa Hotel, Chesterfield; Corinthia Hotel London, London; 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences, London; Swinton Park, Masham; Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton on Sea; The Green Park Hotel, Pitlochry; and Staybridge Suites London-Stratford City, London.

The top five Small Hotels in the UK are The Chester Residence, Edinburgh; Boskerris Hotel, St Ives; Ardeonaig Hotel, Ardeonaig; Can-y-Bae, Llandudno; and Hotel 41, London.

The other UK hotel to make it on to the world list is the Lauriston Court Hotel, Llandudno, which was ranked as one of the Best Hotels for Service in the World.

The average per night rate for winners of the 2013 Travellers’ Choice awards for hotels is £133. More than 75 percent of winning hotels have an average nightly rate of £125 or less.

Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf Announces Valentine’s Day Specials

Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf, Located in London and with views of the River Thames, is offering a number of experiences for couples that are seeking a romantic Valentine’s Day venue for 2013.

Quadrato, the northern Italian restaurant and bar, overlooks the hotel’s private garden and the River Thames, and it is offering a special Valentine’s Taster Menu for guests. The candlelit dinner includes a special Valentine’s cocktail with a three or five-course dinner, which will be accompanied by fine Italian wines. The three and five-course menus for February 14, are priced at £60.00 and £100.00 per person, respectively.

Throughout February, the hotel is also offering a relaxing Rose Petal Foot Ritual for couples in the hotel spa, followed by a Honey Body Scrub and soothing Rose and Jasmine Massage, with private relaxation in the couples’ suite.

The hotel is located at the heart of London’s business district, just 15 minutes from London City Airport, and it is part of the Canary Riverside development. It is a modern structure with contemporary interiors and has 142 rooms, which include 14 guest suites. Guests are offered access to the nearby Dove Spa at Virgin Active, as well as in-room treatments on request.

In addition to the Quadrato Restaurant, guests can also dine in at the Bar Quadrato, and for business travellers, the hotel has 5,931 sq.ft. of flexible meeting space.

On site recreation options for guests include access to a tennis court, a swimming pool, a fitness centre and juice bar.

Heathrow Airport Collaborates with London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Heathrow Airport is partnering with the London Philharmonic Orchestra to offer a musical experience to travellers using the airport.

The orchestra will be playing in the departure areas of the airport terminals, with a range of unique performances throughout the coming year.

Recent research conducted by the airport has shown that around 25 percent of passengers feel tense before a flight, and around 48 percent of passengers listen to music to help them unwind in their daily lives. The new initiative is intended to provide relaxing music to nervous passengers before a flight.

Carol Stokes, the head of passenger experience at Heathrow Airport, said, ‘Passengers tell us that they love live music. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with the London Philharmonic Orchestra during 2013. The LPO’s series of live terminal concerts will make the journey through Heathrow even better – more relaxed, more vibrant and so much more memorable.’

Dr Harry Witchel, a Senior Physiologist at Brighton and Sussex medical school and editor of a music psychology book, said that music ‘profoundly effects people’s mood and is very strongly correlated with a feeling that it is special.’

The London Philharmonic Orchestra makes regular international tours and will be performing their traditional repertoire, as well as newer pieces, with passion and energy, for the airport audience.

Helen Searl, the corporate relations manager for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, said, ‘We loved seeing the look on people’s faces when we performed at Heathrow during the Olympics and Christmas last year, we don’t think they were expecting a 20 piece orchestra to greet them at check in. We are delighted to be asked back to play for passengers in this unique and exciting location.’

British Travellers Prefer to Revisit Holiday Destinations

An increasing number of British travellers prefer to visit the same destination for their holidays, rather than experimenting with new ones.

In a recent survey conducted by Cheapflights Media, a UK-based online travel company, around 39 percent of British travellers questioned reported visiting the same resort year after year, while 20 percent reported eating the same meals, and 14.2 percent even reported being served by the same waiter.

Around 80 percent of those surveyed said that they are likely to visit the same holiday destination more than once, according to the survey.

So why do British travellers return to the same holiday destinations every year? When the survey asked a similar question, the most cited reason was that it was ‘just the best holiday I’ve ever found’, followed by good prices, and great weather.

British travellers have named the UK (24.2 percent), the US (17.2 percent), Spain (14 percent), France (7.9 percent) and Italy (4.8 percent) as the top five destinations that they visit repeatedly.

Explaining the results, chartered psychologist, Dr Jane McCartney, said, ‘Most of us are creatures of habit; it is not unnatural for us to want to know what we are doing, when we are doing it-and with whom. However, as in many things, balance is crucial. Choosing a holiday destination is an excellent way of trying out something new and different-and stepping outside your normal patterns of behaviour.’

Encouraging people to explore more, Cheapflights travel expert, Oonagh Shiel, said, ‘If you’re a little too familiar with that balcony view-or you’ve been on first name terms with your holiday waiter for a few years now, perhaps it’s time to give each other a break and look at some other options-and swap your destination deja vu for something new.

Whether you fancy a beach holiday, a spot of culture or some new gastronomic delights, there are some great reasons to break out of your regular holiday habits this year.’