Prices slashed at hotels across Europe

If your thinking of taking a trip to Europe, now is a great time to go.

Research has revealed that hotel prices have dropped by almost 50 per cent since last year. 

The study by TripAdvisor showed that an average nights stay in locations across Europe have seen prices drop dramatically from last year as the Eurozone continues to struggle. 

Popular cities including Rome, Barcelona and Lisbon have seen hotel prices plummet. 

Hotel rates in wallet-friendly Albufeira in Portugal have seen a drop from around £82 a night to £47 for a good nights sleep – a 42 per cent drop. 

Even popular tourist spot Arles in France which boasts impressive Roman monuments – has seen a drop in hotel prices from around £83 to £55, 34 per cent. 

TripAdvisor spokesperson Emma Shaw says: ‘It has been an economically-troubled year for much of Europe, particularly for the Eurozone countries, and we are seeing that hotels are dropping their prices in some very well-known tourist destinations. 

‘For travellers looking for value for money, this is clearly good news. And with deals to be had in many destinations across Europe,  2012 looks like a good year for the short-haul holiday.’

Ice Lantern Festival in Swedish Lapland

Want to try something a bit different, head to Swedish Lapland for the Ice Lantern Festival.

The lights of thousands ice lanterns will soon shine through the Vuollerim area in Swedish Lapland. The village has put some extra effort in the annual Winter Market, with a full program for the week.

This year’s news:, house-jumping dinner in the locals’ homes and a lecture with Gert Palmcrantz, legendary sound producer who has worked with many celebrities in the jazz elite.

“Drum for your life” an exciting lecture with Gert Palmcrantz about the meaning of the drum through time. Listen to it on February 3rd.

Jokkmokk Market is over 400 years old, but there were markets in this area before it.

Ulf Westfal lectures about The Jokkmokk marke’ts background in “Half shady communication in totally shady winter darkness”.

Try something new – join in on the house-jumping dinner and experience the homely feeling in the village. Enjoy a cup of coffee and music crossword at the heritage centre. Local food traditions are highlighted with traditional Märgbens (marrowbones) dinner and the first barbeque of the year at Hotel Vuollerim.

As usual, visitors can experience the villagers’ creativity when the village lights up by thousands ice lanterns. Those who wish may try to make snow sculptures and ice lanterns together with the villagers. Lighting the lanterns, hot air balloons and speeches in Laestadius park on January the 31th at 6 pm.

The work pays off – international visitors, journalist and photographs are finding the village.  What tempt the to come are the genuine everyday experiences, the good atmosphere and “a world class hospitality” as visitors explain it. Warmly welcome! Lapland Vuollerim!

For the fully Market program and more info:

www.laplandvuollerim.se

Try somewhere different… Zagreb

Zagreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia, is one of the oldest European cities and is yet one of Europe’s youngest metropolises. The fact that the Zagreb archdiocese was founded in 1094 and that the city was proclaimed a free royal city in 1242, attests to its long history. Zagreb was founded in a place where the last hills of the Alps merge towards the edge of the Panonian valley, making it an ideal spot for building a city within the Medvednica mountain hills (the highest point is Sljeme at 1,035 meters, a favorite picnic spot for Zagrebians) and along the Sava River valley.

Zagreb is the administrative, economic, diplomatic, and cultural capital of the country, with a population of almost one million. It is also a university center with forty higher education schools and over 40,000 students, it is a city that is proud of its long history of education: the first secular city school was built in the middle of the 14th century, the first secondary school was founded at the beginning of the 16th century, and in the second half of the 16th century, Zagreb had its first university.

Zagreb is a city of science and culture. Many excellent scientists and artists, who have enriched Croatian and world heritage, work here. The city has approximately fifty museums and galleries, as well as private art collections and about twenty theatres and musical venues. In 1895, the city’s oldest theatre, the Croatian National Theatre, with its neo-baroque architecture, was opened by the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph I.

Many open air events and exhibitions are organized from spring to autumn. They create a very special atmosphere in the city and are a true tourist attraction.
Other main attractions include one of Europe’s most lively outdoor markets, and visiting it always proves to be a memorable experience to all visitors to Zagreb. It is here that you will remember those almost forgotten scents and tastes of childhood and where you will enjoy a diversity of color.

Despite being a Central European city in geography, culture, and baroque architecture, in many ways, Zagreb has a Mediterranean way of life. Thanks to its many influences, the city has a special charm and hospitable feel generated by its open-hearted people. Many say that nothing compares to this city!

A walk through Zagreb is an interesting and pleasant journey that encapsulates both history and modern day life. Ilica, the longest street in Zagreb, divides the city into the old romantic Upper Town and the young, busy, and business-oriented Lower Town. The oldest areas, Gradec and Kaptol, from which Zagreb arose, are considered to be one of the most preserved and beautiful European city centers built in the Art Nouveau style. The Upper and Lower Towns are connected through the Kamenita vrata (Stone gate), yet another recognizable Zagreb tourist attraction that is linked to many legends and beliefs, as well as to faith and peace.

For some, the most recognizable place in Zagreb is its neo-gothic Cathedral situated at Kaptol. Although it took many centuries to build, the Cathedral that stands today was completed at the end of the 19th century. The Cathedral’s treasury has kept priceless treasures and objects that date back from the 11th to 19th century. The people of Zagreb are especially proud that during his first visit to the city, Pope John Paul II held a special mass inside the Zagreb Cathedral, commemorating 900 years since the founding of the Zagreb archdiocese.

Others tend to remember the always lively central Ban Jela?i? Square or The Mimara Museum, also known as the Zagreb Louvre. Among the city’s many monuments is the oldest Zagreb cemetery called Mirogoj, which was opened in 1876. Thanks to its monumental neo-renaissance arcades, tombs of many famous Croatians from political and cultural life lay there. Numerous grave stones have been built by famous artists. Mirogoj is a must-see place for visitors to the city. Zagreb is also the site of many cultural and international events.

A city which has so many young people is bound to be very sporty, with many sports facilities, it also pays homage to an abundance of European and world sports champions, many of whom have won medals at prestigious sporting events.

The journey through Zagreb is not finished. You may best learn about it by walking down the city streets and enjoying a cappuccino in one of its many city cafes. The biggest value of this city is its atmosphere and the people who never allow you to feel alone. Zagreb has a story to tell and it has a heart, a big heart.

Corinthia Hotel opens its doors in London

Corinthia Hotel London today announced its doors are open to the public. Corinthia’s new flagship is a landmark property and joins the ranks of London’s finest 5-star luxury hotels. Combining traditional grandeur with modern freshness, the luxuriously redesigned Victorian destination is ideally located in the heart of London, a short walk from many of the city’s major attractions.

“The project marks the culmination of an exciting journey,” said General Manager Matthew Dixon, “Corinthia Hotel London is an intricately restored grand hotel with a 21st century approach. Its modern elegance is defined by a blend of classic Victorian architecture with outstanding craftsmanship and contemporary art, mirroring the energy, style, and history of the area. Guests are offered all the modern luxuries whilst enjoying an authentic experience in a hotel and location with heritage.”

Corinthia London has already established its name among a number of international celebrities and London influencers. Some of the biggest names in cinema, art, culture, media, fashion, and luxury have visited for a first look, and recent preview events have included parties in conjunction with the BAFTAs, Vanity Fair, GQ, and Condé Nast Traveller.

The newly-reconstructed flagship hotel features two world-class restaurants. Garry Hollihead, winner of Michelin stars at three different establishments, is at the helm of The Northall. The restaurant celebrates the best of British artisanal produce, including Cumbrian short horn cattle, together with an extensive selection of organic and biodynamic wines by the glass and by the bottle. The hotel’s Mediterranean speciality seafood restaurant, Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar, is headed by the renowned Italian chef patron Massimo Riccioli.

Bassoon, the musically-inspired bar designed by the award-winning David Collins Studio, serves both molecular cocktails and colonial-inspired drinks from its boutique spirits library. Elegantly discreet, it is expected to be a popular destination for Londoners, as well as international guests.

The heartbeat of the hotel is its Lobby Lounge. The space offers a residential feel enhanced by an eclectic mix of furniture and bespoke artworks. The soaring dome in the center is adorned with the pioneering Full Moon chandelier created by Parisian designer Chafik Gasmi and produced by Baccarat, the prestigious French crystal manufacturer. The Full Moon, composed of 1,001 crystal baubles, is the grand focal point of the main hotel area. Lobby Lounge guests can take afternoon tea and indulge in innovative creations by celebrated Pastry Chef Claire Clark or enjoy an evening cocktail.

Corinthia Hotel London commissioned twin brothers, Ian and Richard Abell, founders of Based Upon, to create a unique artwork piece for the hotel’s reception and custom-built doors for the lobby elevators. The nine-square-meter bronze artwork in the reception area features the River Thames meandering through the city of London with a true replica of each building on its banks, with Corinthia at its center. Casts of leaves from Northumberland Avenue and St. James’s Park were taken to create the textural marks for the lift doors, adding a delicate touch.

Award-winning international spa company, ESPA, has partnered with the hotel to launch its flagship ESPA Life at Corinthia. Spanning 35,520 square feet and on four floors, this magnificent spa features 17 treatment rooms, a private spa suite, nail studio, indoor pool, vitality pool, amphitheatre sauna, ice fountain, marble heated lounges, private sleep pods, a state-of-the-art gym, and Daniel Galvin hair salon. ESPA has enlisted exceptional therapists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, osteopaths, and physiotherapists offering guests a new level of spa and wellness in a five-star luxury setting.

Located on the mezzanine floor are 6 private executive level meeting rooms, conveniently linked through to the mezzanine dining area of The Northall for a private lunch or dinner. Five of the meeting rooms are fitted with a state-of-the-art, high-definition, optical, turnkey system that effortlessly allows total connectivity for media broadcasting, recording, editing, and mixing.

The hotel features 294 guest rooms, including 43 suites. The sumptuously-appointed rooms, averaging 485 square feet, are among the largest in their category in London’s luxury hotel market. With no restrictions on check-in and check-out times, Corinthia Hotel London has dedicated itself to providing guests ultimate flexibility, convenience and comfort during their stay.