This just had to arrive the day after we announced the launch of Costa Fantasio on the OVClub FB page.
It is a crime that is difficult to detect, until it is too late, when light fingered guest conceal the souvenirs in their luggage and check out.
Hotels can lose up to 20 per cent of towels each month to souvenir hunting guests and those looking to replenish their laundry cupboard.
The end could be nigh for holidaymakers who decide to take this immoral route with the US hospitality industry trialling washable radio frequency tags that will stop thieves making off with towels and bathrobes.
Stitched into towels, bathrobes and bed linen, the tags will trigger an alarm if someone tries to leave the premises with them in their luggage.
Similar to those used in shop security tags, the radio-frequency identification chips, the devices are claimed to last for more than 300 wash cycles and enable hotels to track towels from the laundry room, and at pool kiosks.
Patented by US company Linen Technology Tracking one hotel in Hawaii has seen towel theft fall 81% since it introduced the tags last summer, saving more than US$ 14,000 a month.
So it looks like it is time to head back to the souvenir shops for your holiday mementos or risk being embarrassed as you walk out the door of your hotel.
One Vacation Club have some great deals on hotels waiting on their website for business and leisure travellers.
Everyone is looking for a cheap flight these days but this is pushing the envelope a bit to far.
I wonder how long it will be before a well known budget airline begining with ‘R’ are charging extra to fly inside the plane?
One Vacation Club have some great deals on hotels and cruises waiting on their website for the budget traveller.
April 29 will see invited guests gathering at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
If you are not one of the 1,900, who received a gold-embossed invitation on their doormat, the Royal wedding procession will give an opportunity to see the happy couple as they travel by car to Westminster Abbey and return to Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession.
The Royal wedding has been designated a public holiday in Britain so the route to and from the Abbey, though Saint James Park, along the Mall, Horse Guards and Whitehall will be packed with people eager to see the Royal couple and enjoy the pomp and ceremony for which Britain is so famous.
There is a huge amount of interest in the Royal wedding and this has been reflected in the amount of enquiries our site is receiving about hotel accommodation in London at the end of April.
Many of the hotels, nearest Westminster Abbey, are already full with rooms being snapped up fast and hoteliers reporting interest from the US, Japan, Canada and Australia as well as the UK.
Demand is extremely high, but a review shows you can still find a bed for the night in the centre of town. Prices range from US$ 516 per night, beside Westminster Bridge close to the Abbey, down to under US$ 65 for those prepared to stay a little further away to pick up a bargain.
One Vacation Club have a huge selection of big name London hotels and great value independents on their website. Many of the deals include breakfast and most of the hotels have reviews from fellow travellers.
The Royal Wedding Route
Since Christmas there has not been lot of snow in Europe. Now with more snow forecast for the weekend resorts can start looking forward to half term, one of the busiest of the winter holiday periods and give skiers the confidence to grab some bargain ski holidays.
Worries about the lack of snow coupled with high season prices has meant a lot of skiers have put of booking, resulting in a host of fantastic last minute deals in most of the top resorts including Val-d’Isere, Zermat, Megeve and Innsbruck whch can be checked out on our website.
Spoilt for choice we decided to feature an often overlooked destination, tiny Andorra, nestling between France and Spain in Pyrenees which although lacking the scenic beauty of the alps is summed up by their tourist office tagline, “a whole world in a small country”
Skiers will find two ski destinations in Andorra Vallnord and Grandvalira.
Vallnord, in the Northeast of the country, has three ski areas Pal, Arinsal and Arcalis and features long, if not to challenging, blue and red runs.
Grandvalira, in the west, is split into four main ski areas Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, Soldeu and El Tarter, offers a larger selection of black runs and even boasts a dog track for those who enjoy sledding with huskies.
Andorra has no airport of its own, so getting there is not so easy, you can chose from Toulouse or Barcelona with little difference in time or distance and expect a three hour road transfer. While this can put of the budget traveller there is an upside with duty free shopping and spectacular scenery en-route.
For the early risers dawn in the Pyrenees is spectacular, with mist rising from mountain lakes and a sun glowing over the summits to the east.
Our featured Andorra accommodation with this post is Abba Xalet Suites which won’t break the bank and offers spacious modern rooms, great service and a fantastic breakfast. Discounts are available on stays of five or more nights.
Wherever you are heading One Vacation Club is committed to making travelling easier and invites you will take a moment to enter the cruise competition on our website.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is almost here with shop windows full of red hearts and reminders that you need to do something special for your partner.
Will you impress your Valentine this year with those cheesy gifts of chocolates and roses or whisk them of for romantic Valentine mini break, without breaking the bank or having to remortgage the house?
These five suggestions, from five continents, offer romantic mini breaks that won’t break the bank.
Prague, Czechoslovakia , Europe
Valentine’s Day in Prague is about as romantic as it gets. The city boasts lovely hotels, wonderful sights and first class restaurants.
Plus prices are not inflated over Valentine’s, letting you experience the best of romance at low season rates!
Our pick, stay 3 nights at the 4 star Ametyst Hotel and save 30% on your stay!
With prices starting at less than US$ 65 a night splash out on a romantic dinner cruise and share the magnificence of Prague at night with your Valentine.
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
A break in the sunshine state, with pristine beaches, dramatic hinterland, tropical island attractions, world heritage listed nature reserves and arid desert regions are guaranteed to impress your Valentine.
The 5 star Sebel Hotel is not the cheapest place in Cairns to stay, with prices starting at US$ 145, but it is a great place from which to explore Cairns and very close to the Reef Fleet Terminal if you are planning a romantic cruise to the Reef with your Valentine.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Hiking might not sound like the best idea for a romantic trip, but add watching the sunset from atop a canyon, riding in the desert or exploring the river valleys while walking through alpine forests is definitely enchanting, romantic and different way to impress your Valentine.
For a mini break in the desert with a difference try the Bishop’s Lodge Resort & Spa thos 3.5 star property gets great reviews and with a winter sale offering 25% discounts you could be staying here for as little as US$ 96.75 a night.
A romantic paradise awaits you on the Indonesian island of Bali and is a romantic, mystical experience that will last a lifetime.
The scent of flowers on a frangipani tree, mesmerising dance performances and secluded ribbons of beach are just some of the romantic memories to cherish with your Valentine.
Take your pick from a wide array of beaches from crowded to deserted, with white sand or black Bali is waiting to enchant you .
Grab this last minute deal and save 48% on a stay at the 4 star Vision Villa and Resort for a romantic vacation destination only 5 minutes away from the beaches.
Head over to our website for great deals on hotels, resorts and AI holidays worldwide and find the mini break that you know your partner would love to share with you.
Happy Valentine’s day to all our readers.
The Disney Dream, the newest addition to the Disney fleet, complete with the AquaDuck water-coaster is the perfect answer for parents looking for a vacation where they can be certain that children will be entertained every minute of the day.
Exploring interesting list of ports of call is what attracts a lot of people to cruises but with Disney the on-board experience is everything. Parents can book in the certain knowledge that children will be entertained every minute of the day.
Disney Dream, the newest addition to the Disney fleet is a traditional liner that harks back to the golden age of sea travel and much larger than Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, Disney Dream is no less stylish, full of retro-design touches that hint at golden age of transatlantic liners and the elegance of old liners such as the Normandie and the Queen Mary.
Disney Dream is devoted to the two activities enthusiastically pursued by cruisers of all ages, eating and having fun, with the latest design innovations including inside cabins with ‘virtual portholes’ that offer a real time view of the sea, and ‘enchanted art’ in corridor.
On the Disney Dream, the restaurant transforms into a ‘shimmering undersea world’ where Crush, the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, ‘swims’ around the room, talking with and entertaining guests.
Guests enjoy the largest fireworks display at sea while the1,340 capacity theatre stages three Broadway style musicals and a Pirates Of The Caribbean themed party takes place in the top deck pool.
With shorter three and four day voyages, Disney successfully creates an abbreviated, fun packed trip that neatly dovetails with a three or four-day break at its Orlando theme parks, a 45-minute drive away from Port Canaveral.
The AquaDuck, billed as the ‘first ever on-board water-coaster’ is what will have kids pushing their parents to make a booking on Disney Dream. 765ft long and spanning the height of four decks, is described as ‘a combination of a water-coaster and a not-so-lazy river.’
Following an initial drop, guests glide through a ‘swing out’ loop that extends 12ft over the side of the ship. Surrounded only by the clear acrylic flume, guests get a stomach-churning view of the ocean surface 150ft below and are propelled all over the ship powered by powerful water blasters. to propel guests,.
A cruise vacation with Disney is not necessarily cheap, but a vacation that combines theme park thrills, in Orlando, with Disney Dream’s on-board marvels is value for money at any price and experience to be remembered.
One Vacation Club has Disney cruises on offer, with exclusive prices for customers who book using their Visa card, and Orlando hotels to suit all budgets,
Back in the seventies Time Magazine named Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands and although not one of the destinations you will see featured in travel agents brochures it has been seen by millions in the classic 1958 movie South Pacific.
Since then? Well, not a lot has happened really, and this has helped keep Tioman one of the travel industries best kept secrets.
Tioman, a 55 minutes flight down the Malaysian Peninsular from Kuala Lumpur, has an endless procession of crescent shaped bays, fringed with white sand beaches all lapped by crystal clear turquoise water.
Rainforest covers the slopes of the central mountain and with only two real roads boats are the main means of transport. The island is twenty four miles long by eight miles wide and the central mountains terminate in the South with the twin peaks of Nenek Si Mukut and Batu Sirau.
Local legend says these peaks were created by a dragon princess who stopped to rest while flying from China to Singapore to visit here prince and was o enamoured with Tioman she never left.
Coral gardens fringe the coast of Tioman Island. The water, crystal clear to depth of 100 feet, teems with rich variety of corals, fish and shells. The most popular spots for scuba diving and snorkelling are along the shallow reefs at Air Batang beach, Salang beach and Monkey Bay as well as at over ten beautiful nearby islands. The diving seasons stretches from March to November.
A 40 minute hike from Kampung Mukut, a small local village brings you to the spectacularly beautiful Asah waterfall, where the seven rivers that wind their way through the island meet. Kampung Mukut village is very quaint with well tended gardens surrounding wooden huts and very friendly locals who speak a little English.
Tioman may be a well kept secret but it is not lacking in things to do and enjoy, visitors who stay at the Berjaya Tioman Resort, our featured resort, will find an 18 hole championship golf course and the Ayura Spa (Ayura , in the ancient language of Sanskrit, means ‘Life’) that invites guests to experience total relaxation in the serenity of a tropical island.
The resort provide fun filled activities for the entire family, with three swimming pools and a Jacuzzi , at the main pool, plus a children’s playground, tennis courts and basketball court. Water sports facilities including snorkelling, scuba diving, ( in-house PADI 5 Star dive centre) , windsurfing, parasailing, sailing, island hopping, banana boat, sea canoeing and boat charters.
The resort has Chinese, Indian and Thai restaurants and a great breakfast bufet
With little nightlife to disturb the peace, the only drama comes from the odd tropical storm. How did this gem get overlooked by the travel industry? In part it may be that when tourists from Europe began heading to Thailand, in the Eighties, Malaysia was left behind.
You might think such an exclusive destination would have prices to match. But in low season you can stay for less than $ 100 a night.
Getting to Tioman is straightforward with daily flights, with Berjaya Air, from KLI, (Kuala Lumpur International) and from the budget terminal at Changi Airport Singapore with flight times of 55 and 40 minutes respectively.
A stopover in KL gives you a chance to explore Malaysia’s bustling capital city and with hotel rates a fraction of those in Europe it is definitely worth considering and a place the One Vacation Club team have no hesitation in recommending.
Our European readers should consider heading to the Big Apple for Christmas shopping bargains.
A survey by the Post Office (Britain’s mail service) has revealed that some items are up to 55% cheaper in New York than London.
The Post Office survey gives examples that include a Jet Pack Buzz Light year toy, costing £50 in London, is just £24.27 in New York, while a pair of Levi’s 501s costing Londoners £50 are just £22.29 in New York.
The survey showed that, while fashion items are invariably cheaper in New York than in London, prices for perfumes and beauty products are often higher.
Duty-free allowance for UK citizens travelling from the USA to the UK rose earlier this year from £340 to £390 meaning bargain hunters can bring back higher priced items like the Apple iPad
Don’t forget that additional savings can be made by shopping in stores like Bloomingdales and Macys, which offer a 10 per cent discount to foreign visitors to offset the 8.8 per cent New York sales tax.
Although most items are cheaper, the savings vary, so you should check prices carefully, before you splash your cash to make sure you are getting value for money for your Christmas gifts.
The granddaddy of all discount department stores is Century 21, across the street from the World Trade Centre site. New stock flows in all the time, as do throngs of customers.
Those looking for electronics should head a little further north to the J&R mega mart who have competitive prices on everything from cameras and computers to CDs and software.
A word to the wise, based on personal experience, is to be cautious about buying electronics at the ‘going out of business’ shops in Midtown.
There are some great hotel deals available and the Milford Plaza, at Times Square, is just one of a hotels, on the One Vacation Club web site, with ‘winter savers’ where you can get up to 30% discount on a winter stay in New York.
The airline industry are stepping up their campaign to convince governments that savings for air travellers could bring greater economic benefits.
Flights between Australia and New Zealand are a prime target, with the potential for their governments to agree to drop many of the restrictions and taxes that apply to international flights.
Tiger Airways draws attention to these taxes by separating them, to let passengers see exactly what they are paying for. The Company has stated. ”The airline wants its passengers to be able to see exactly what they are paying for.”
They highlighted these taxes recently, in a clever marketing move, with a promotional $0 fare, which sold for $19.95 AUD once taxes were added.
An analysis of the cheapest Sydney to Auckland fare, carried out by Flight Centre, found that the $251 AUD return ticket would drop to $121 AUD, if government taxes and levies were removed.
Taxes included an Australian departure tax of $47AUD, an Australian security levy of $51.16 AUD, a New Zealand security levy of $9 and a New Zealand passenger services charge of $23 AUD, a staggering fifty two percent of the fare.
These taxes have changed from being a method of cost recovery into a revenue stream for governments and exceed the actual cost of customs and quarantine services.
The burning question is could removing some taxes result in economic benefits that outweigh the income collected?
In Britain, APD, (Air Passenger Duty), which everyone flying out of a British airport must pay, increased on 1 November 2010.
The further you fly, the more you pay! For example if a family of four from Australia visited Britain or vice versa they would pay out around $537 in APD for an economy class ticket before they have even got on the plane. For business class ticket the APD would be more than $1,000.
For a budget conscious family these taxes could mean travelling to certain holiday destinations will no longer add up.
The answer could be staring governments in the face!
In 2009, the Netherlands followed Belgium by abandoning its equivalent to APD because although it raised $420m in one year, the Dutch reckoned the loss to the wider economy as a result of the tax was over $1.5bn.
The Dutch have realised that travellers were heading over the border to Belgium and Germany* and jumping on budget airlines for half the price so abolishing APD resulted in a win-win for everyone
IATA, (International Air Transport Association), say international airfares remain about 15 per cent below pre-recession levels. Fares have been rising on the back of recovering demand for travel and an environment of tight supply but are yet to return to the prices of mid-2008.
So grab a flight bargain, with One Vacation Club, while you can as IATA report that demand for international flights is up about 12 per cent on last year.
Share your thoughts on how APD and if you feel it impacts on countries who rely on their tourist industry.
*2011 Germany is introducing tax on air travel from January
Author Mike Andrews