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Category Archives: Hotel and Resorts

Bali Villa Destinations

Candidasa

Located in the south eastern portion of the island, Candidasa is the newest destination to offer villa accommodations. Most accommodations are actually located between Candidasa and nearby Padangbai. This area first popped up on to the luxury travellers radar when the Aman group opened Amankila. The Alila group is also there now and we’re starting to see a few private villas open as well. Note that dining choices in the area are limited and taxis are few and far between. Look for a villa with a chef and a driver.

Why stay in Candidasa?

This is a good jumping off point for exploring the quiet rice terraces of east Bali and the slopes of Gunung Agung. It is also a good place to catch your breath either before or after a trip to neighboring Lombok. You can catch ferries to Lombok from Padangbai, or hire a speed boat if you prefer. With recent road improvements, Candidasa is now only 45 minutes drive from Sanur.

Canggu

Canggu is the fastest growing villa accommodations area. There is a wide number of options in this area at a variety of price ranges. Many of these accommodations are new, so finding mature gardens may be a challenge. This is a largely flat area of gently rolling fields (ex-rice fields). Most villas are garden view. There are a number of villas on the coast in this area. The nearby Canggu Club is also a magnet for new villas and if you are travelling with children, look for villas with a guest club membership; this provides options to help your kids pass the time in a supervised environment (while giving parents a much needed break!). Canggu is just a few minutes drive from Seminyak. Note that the road is crowded with traffic and taxis are not as easy to find, so you will want to find a villa with a driver.

Why stay in Canggu?

Wide range of choices, access to the beach, nearby Seminyak and the Canggu Club.

Jimbaran

Jimbaran Bay provides one of the few pleasant swimming beaches on the island, and it also gives easy access to a number of dining options. Several five star resorts are located in this area, including the Four Seasons and the Inter-Continental. Most villa operations here are villa resorts, though the nearby Tiara area provides some private luxury rentals (though these are far from the beach). This area is very popular with Asian tourists.

Why stay in Jimbaran?

Good walking and swimming beach. Access to fine dining and the seafood restaurants on the beach. This location is also just a few minutes from the airport, so getting in and out is a breeze. Taxis are easy to find here.

Pemuteran

Pemuteran is a small town located at the far northwest tip of the island. It is primarily a destination for those who wish to go snorkeling or diving around Palau Menjangan, or who wish to trek into the Bali Barat National Park. Facilities here are limited, though there are one or two good villa resorts. Dining options and transportation are rare commodities, so plan accordingly.

Why stay in Pemuteran?

The big reason to be here (OK, perhaps the only reason!) is the access to the natural features. Snorkeling and diving at Palau Menjangan are superb — some of the best in Asia. Bali Barat is also an attraction for trekkers.

Sanur

Sanur is Bali’s most gentile destination. A mecca for tourists since the 1930s, Sanur has a more laid back and mature feel that the frenetic nightlife and party scene of Seminyak. The beach here has a boardwalk and the ocean is gentle enough to allow for safe swimming. There are several villas here, some of them quite large and elegant — and quite exclusive.

Why stay in Sanur?

This is a more quiet side of tourist Bali. You have access to everything you could want here but without the party scene.

Seseh

Seseh is a relative new-comer on the villa scene, at least in terms of name recognition. There have been villas there for some time, but most people have simply labelled the area “Canggu.” In fact, Seseh is further northwest of Canggu and on the coast. You might say it is the “next” up-and-coming villa destination, the natural progression of growth and development past Canggu. Seseh is quiet and must less hectic than Seminyak. It has more of a traditional Bali village feel than Canggu (which is largely rice fields). All in all, it makes for a more relaxed and intimate feeling. On the downside, it is a fair distance from all the conveniences: shopping, markets, restaurants, and taxis. Look for a villa here with full services and make sure you have a car and a driver included.

Why stay in Seseh?

As a destination, Seseh is great if you want some place quiet and relaxed with access to an undeveloped beach. Good for families, and for anyone who plans to spend time relaxing at the villa.

Seminyak

Welcome to party central! Seminyak is the destination of choice if you want to be only a short wallk (or ride) from shopping, restaurant, markets and nightclubs. This district is urban and frenetic. This is the home of KuDeTa, La Lucchiola, the Oberoi and much, much, more. Finding an oasis of peace and quiet is a challenge but not impossible. Prices tend to reflect popularity as this is currently the destination of choice for Bali tourists looking for villa accommodations.

Why stay in Seminyak?

Convenience is Seminyak’s hallmark. Everything is here. If you are party people or you really want a hopping beach scene, this is the spot for you. If you are willing to settle for a villa hotel or villa resort, there are some very good options here.

Perfect Villa Holiday

Take some time to do some research about the area you want to stay in. Have a look at Trip Advisor and talk to people who have been on holiday to that area before.

Whilst some people think that the free ads is a good place to start looking, do so with caution – what protection can you / do you have if you book via one of these?

Ask to talk to previous renters of your holiday villa, a good landlord has nothing to worry about and will happily ask people to get in touch and validate their claims about the property.

Ask questions about the property, when advertsing some landlords find they do not have enough space to describe their villa. Ask about the property, get them talking and telling you about the villa, you will get a better idea of the property and its suitability for you and your family.

Google the villas name and location, see what comes up. You may find out things that can alter your decision to go to a certain destination. Then again you could confirm that it it’s the perfect place for your holiday.

However you decide to choose your holiday villa rental, make sure when you find your perfect villa you book it straight away. Often people leave their booking to the last minute and lose out on their perfect holiday.

Travel Hotspots of Northern Italy

Trieste

The beautiful Trieste deserves the first mention for its magnificent edifices and natural heritage. The city has a rich history of buildings, and lures visitors with its castles and opulence. Overlooking the sea, Miramare Castle is a pleasant sight on a peak of a ridge. The castle has conserved its old charm with furnishings. Piazza Unità D’Italia is locally famous as the Living Room of the city. Grotta Gigante is another natural attraction in the form of a cave that catches the fancy of visitors.

Verona

The city is supposed to have witnessed the love story of Romeo and Juliet but it is not the only thing that makes Verona a must visit for Northern vacationers. The city has survived various invasions and preserves its heritage. Vacations usually visit the city to see the balcony from where Juliet spoke to her beloved. Roman amphitheater named The Arena and art-filled churches are also much admired.

Parma

For cheese lovers, a Northern Italian vacation cannot be complete without visiting the Parma city. It is known for its prosciutto and cheese production facilities. Besides being known for its rich gourmet cuisine, the city also has ample countryside beauty and historical attractions. Romanesque cathedral, Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, and Palazzo della Pilotta are famous amongst vacationers. It was home to renowned artists such as Giovannino Guareschi, Attilio Bertolucci, and Benedetto Antelami.

Genoa

It is the sixth largest city in Italy, and falls nowhere short in terms of architectural beauty. Port of Genoa made the setting for international trade and brought prosperity to the land. Aquarium of Genoa is a must visit for travelers passing through the town. It is the largest aquarium in Italy and houses 800 different marine species. From the art point of view too, Genoa has rich heritage in the form of palaces and churches.

Some Special Events in Italy

Festa della Madonna Bruna in Matera, Italy

This is a unique festival held in southern Italy in July. The festival’s highlight comes when a Carro carrying the Madonna is destroyed. The Carro is made of papier mache and takes an entire year to create. Making the Carro is a skill passed down from one generation to the next.

L’Ardia di San Costantino

Held in Sardinia, L’Ardia di San Costantino is an Italian horse race. l Palio di Siena

Il Palio di Siena is a famous festival and horse race – probably the most famous in the country.

Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia

This is a very popular international jazz festival that’s held in July in Perugia.

A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale

Italians have this carnival before the 40 days of deprivation experienced during the advent of Lent. This type of festival has become popular in cities around the world.

Valentine’s Day in Italy

Italy celebrates Valentine’s Day with shops selling china baskets or cups filled with candies tied with ribbons. Getting engaged on Valentine’s Day is a tradition in Italy.

Christmas In Italy (Buon Natale)

Christmas in Italy is marked with white, red and green colors, which are also the colors of the Italian flag. Italians enjoy Christmas traditions, recipes and rites each year.

Easter In Italy (Buona Pasqua) Italy holds many ceremonies during the holiday of Easter no matter when the date of the holiday. Most ceremonies are conducted by churches.

Thanksgiving in Italy

Italy celebrates Thanksgiving, but in a different way than America. The family meal usually consists of Italian recipes (instead of turkey) that have been passed down throughout generations. Families gather for a traditional meal during the holiday.

Celebrate at the Venice Carnival The Venice Carnival is a traditional festival where partygoers wear masks. It is romantic and considered one of the largest festivals in Europe.

Festa del Redentore

This is a Venetian festival held to celebrate the end of a plague that occurred during the 16th century. It’s usually held the second week in July with a fireworks display and a regatta. An architect named Antonio Palladio built the Church of the Redeemer as a remembrance of the occasion.

Scoppio del Carro

This is an event held on Easter Saturday in Florence where a chariot pulled by an ox goes through the streets on a journey to the Il Duomo. Fireworks are ignited from the vehicle.

Spoleto Festival

Known as the “Festival of Two Worlds,” this is one of the most popular musical events in Italy.

Other Traditional Events in Italy (City or region stated in parentheses)

*Almond Blossom Festival (Agrigento) — Festival of song, fireworks and costumes.

*Giostra del Saracino (Arezzo) — Also known as the Joust of the Saracen, this is a tilting contest that’s held the first Sunday in September. Knights in armor depict the 13th century customs.

*Calendimaggio (Assisi) — Also called Celebration of Holy Week, this is Italy’s Easter event to celebrate Spring as they did in Medieval times.

*Torneo Della Quintana (Ascoli-Piceno) — This is the Joust of the Quintana that’s held on the first Sunday of August. It’s a pageant in which contestants wear 15th century costumes.

*Palio San Secondo (Asti) — This is a 700-year-old ceremony in which participants wear costumes from the 13th century.

*Sagra di San Nicola (Bari) — This is a historic costume procession held on May 7th.

*Sagra di Sant’ Efisio (Cagliari) — A large colorful procession is held on May 1st through 4th where pilgrims dress in costumes from the 1600s with accompanying horses, carts and a statue of the saint on foot.

*Calcio Fiorentino (Florence) — This is a soccer match held in June that resembles those football games of the Medieval times.

*Infiorata (Genzano) — A beautiful flower festival, where a religious procession takes place on streets carpeted with flowers.

*Balestrieri (Gubbio) — Known as the Palio of the Archers, this is a Medieval crossbow contest held on the last Sunday in May. Participants wear Medieval arms and costumes.

*Feast of Santa Rosalia (Palermo) — Held in July, this event features fireworks, bands and a procession in honor of the patron saint of the city.

*Epiphany Fair at Piazza Navona (Roma) — A January fair with sweets, toys and presents that is held outdoors at the gorgeous Bernini fountains.

*Estate Romana (Roma) — Coordinated by the city of Rome, this event takes place from the end of June until August or during Roman Summer. There is a summer season of open air entertainment put on by the Rome Opera House. Highlights include music, ballet, opera, drama and more.

*Carnival in Venice (Venice) — Held in February and March, this celebration features masks and costumes, music, fireworks and mimes. Entertainment is provided in the streets.
Wherever you go in Italy, there’s bound to be a special event or festival nearby. Italy is full of fun celebrations all year. You can join in and become a part of these great traditions when you visit Italy.

Dream Villa Vacation

Firstly don’t get fooled by a single picture – especially if it’s tiny and difficult to see – or the lovely descriptive prose which may not resemble reality. All villas can look stunningly beautiful when painted gleaming white, but avoid booking one that does not show sufficient interior pictures. And look closely into each picture – does the bedroom show a headboard, or is it just pillows against the wall? This could indicate lack of preparation by the owner or lack of expenditure on the villa generally.

Clarify if the pictures are current. Was that fantastic view taken from the roof of the building or before some building plot was developed next door? It’s not much fun if your sea view is only from the top floor toilet. It does happen.

Ask if you have sun on your terrace. Or will you be in shade from 1pm onwards? Find out about the villa’s position and orientation so you know that you do not have go to the beach in order to catch some rays.

A private villa owner may oversell his pride and joy. Think about the things that can make a big difference to your vacation. Would you think to ask an owner if the kitchen china is really just inexpensive acrylic or is it a proper unmixed china set? How can you tell if the sofa suite is cheap and not so comfortable or of superior quality? What is the type of linen and towels used, could it be bobbly winceyette sheets for summer use?

Look for an unbiased grading or rating – it’ll save you asking awkward or embarrassing questions about your villa vacation. It’s best to seek out those who show gradings that indicate the quality grade of kitchen equipment and soft furnishings (including beds and sofas), say, separately.

Ask what service backup do you have if something goes wrong. Ensure that your chosen villa has professional support in case you experience a problem that cannot be rectified quickly. Is for example a knowledgeable local person on hand seven days a week to resolve maintenance issues efficiently?

What happens if the villa becomes unavailable due to the owner taking a double booking (it happens)? Or if there is a problem with the pool, a new building next door, or something not repairable quickly. A private owner may have problems relocating you, while a firm has more options to give you alternative accommodation should something go wrong.

Is privacy important to you? Be aware that many new villas are on very small plots and though are detached, you will be close to your neighbour. So check if the details are specific about this. And, if closeness to shops and supermarkets is important, then do ask.

Private owners may also wish to get a high rate of return on their investment when they rent them out to vacationmakers – or simply believe that their villa just has to be worth more than the market around them. So rates could be unjustifiably higher when compared to similar villas in the same areas.

When thinking about booking a villa vacation through an agency, be certain who you are dealing with. Ask if the agency has a direct contract with the owner and is not sub-contracted. This ensures that you only liaise with one party, as sub-contracted parties are not in full management control of the villa, resulting possibly in delays of damage deposit repayments.

Check the small print carefully for extra charges. These can include surcharges for credit card use, damage charges even if no damage occurs, and unfair administrative fees charged per person or for simple changes to a booking.

Using a credit card such as Mastercard and Visa (not a charge card such as Amex, Diners Club or Switch or a business card) gives you, providing the payment exceeds £100 (payment amounts and cover may vary from country to country), full consumer credit card protection. So if the villa was fictitious, or the owner or agency was not what it seemed, you can get a full refund from the credit card firm.

Exotic Holiday Experience

Italy has set records ticking, being considered the fourth most visited country in the world. Italy has competently found its place on the globe with people and places to reckon with- who has not heard of Michelangelo, the famous artisan behind the great Sistine Chapel, in Rome, not too far behind is another personality Leonardo Da Vinci a gifted man of intelligence. While these were people who made Italy famous, Pasta a equally famous Italian dish found its way to millions of food lovers across the world. Besides Pizza now categorised as fast food all over was first made in Italy. Contrary to popular belief the Leaning Tower of Pisa has nothing to do with the name pizza. Rather it is a popular monument built years ago which literally leans and this characteristic makes it impossible to forget.

Italy is also known for its luscious wines, sumptuous olives, exquisite cheeses, and is world famous for its rich quality of foods and wines. What attracts a large number of tourists to Italy has to undoubtedly be the rich history, sumptuous food platters, the Old world charm and the handcrafted items that serve as memoirs to gift once you travel out of Italy. The concept of Agriturismo was made famous in Italy, which actually means farm stays – luxury holidays away from city life. These agriturismo accommodations have a simple and rustic appeal, while some of them can be expected to be plain luxurious accommodations. Some of the amenities provided to you would be swimming pools and riding stables. What takes the cake in such accommodations is the delicious homegrown food.

As a traveller you will be surprised to know the variety of accommodations that are made available to you, primarily an indication of the hospitality extended. Motorhomes, villas, romantic houses and five star hotels. While you get to select what describes an ideal vacation for you when away from home- Motorhomes are strongly recommended for the experience of a lifetime. Getting yourself acquainted with areas in and around Italy may not be an uphill task- some names that will often appear as strong recommendations will be: Napoli and Amalfi, Tuscany, Umbria, Lago di Garda.

Motorhomes act as your home away from home – well equipped accommodations that offer sleeping bags, crockery, glassware and cooking utensils. These are well maintained motorhomes that will take you around town while you enjoy the beauty of the city in the luxury of your home.

Luxury villas at Tuscany come second best in line to help you relax and unwind. Located in extraordinary luxury estates of Italy, Tuscany is ideal when you wish to stroll across historic centers like Siena, Pienza, Florence and Cortona. When at Tuscany do not miss visiting the vineyards of Montalcino to savour some good Tuscan label wines. If you wish to shop for some commendable leather goods, villages of Chianti is the place to be.

If you select a hotel accommodation above the others then Lago di Garda has some good hotels to talk about like the Sport Club hotel located in the lushes above the Lake Garda, a perfect combination of attaining serenity amongst nature. You will get facilities like air condition, Internet connectivity and the lake view all together.

Hotels in Italy

Hotels in Italy are expensive as compared to the hotels in other places of Europe. Facilities in these are vary depending on the service they offer and also the hotel type and location. that is located in city center is likely to be highly priced as compared to one located in suburbs. These are some of the small things you can check if you do not want to spend too much money on accommodation during the trip. Research about the hotels properly on the web and read reviews, you are sure to find something that suits your requirements.

There are many hotels in Italy and no matter what you requirements are; you will find something you like. Apart from the basic facilities; luxury have additional services to give guest the ultimate experience of luxury while staying in the hotels. Some of the options include:

• Atlantis Bay
• Golden Palace
• Hotel Garda
• Hotel Soperga
• Hotel Raffaello
• Borgo Paraelios
• Bernini Bristol
• Aldrovandi Palace
• Baia dei Faraqlioni
• Grand Hotel Baglioni
• Carlton hotel Baglioni
• Grand hotel A Villa Felt
• Capri Palace Hotel -Spa

Facilities that you can enjoy at most of the hotels in Italy include – air conditioned room, internet connection, telephone, dryer, T.V with a cable connection, iron and iron board, bathrobe, linen, radio and alarm clock among others. There are all types of hotels in Italy from star rated hotels to luxury hotels to motels to cheap hotels, you will find it all.

First Timer Visiting Italy

The number one tip for my mom was to not over pack clothing or shoes. This is because of the amazing shopping in Italy! I found amazing items at the street markets in Rome and Florence. It is easy to become inspired by Italian fashion and there are plenty of opportunities to find gorgeous clothing, shoes and handbags.

For my father I told him to not to get caught up with making and keeping a strict itinerary. Instead, to embrace the Italian culture and leave a few days open to discover what is around the next corner.

After returning home they both agreed that my Italy travel advice was worth taking. Traveling and vacationing in Italy is much different from most American vacation experiences. If you like history and art Italy has more than enough to go around. Even total art buffs can become a little burnt out if touring museums and monuments is the main focus.

I recommend mixing it up a bit from day to day. Enjoying the Italian countryside is a great way to take a break from high tourist volume in Rome, Venice, and Florence. My parents had an amazing time for a part of their trip relaxing at a beautiful Villa in Tuscany.

Which leads to my last bit of advice. If your traveling to Italy for the first time it’s essential to stay longer than one week. It’s important to be able to travel throughout Italy to major destinations feeling fulfilled with the experience. Rushing through Italy’s major cities and the countryside would most likely leave you frustrated and tired.

As a first time traveler to Italy you deserve to savor everything from the food the to the unexpected. Enjoy!

Purchasing Private Florida Villa

Consider the Location
First of all, if you’re going to purchase a private Florida villa, you need to consider the location of the villa. There are many different places all across the state where you can purchase. Figure out the area where you want to buy. Do you want to live further away from the city or do you want to be near the hustle and bustle of a city full of life? Do you enjoy being near the beach or do you want to be near Orlando and all the great tourist attractions available?

Once you actually think about the property location, then you need to decide the type of property you want to go with. Do you need only a couple of bedrooms or a place that has several bedrooms so you can enjoy company? Figure out whether you want a pool, whether you want to be on a large resort, or whether you prefer to be in a small development where there is a lot of privacy for you.

Think About Your Budget
The next thing to think about is your budget. Figure out how much money you can realistically spend on the private Florida villa. Your budget may influence the area, since some of the villas in less populated areas like parts of central Florida aren’t as expensive as those near the beaches, such as villas in the Miami area. It may be a good idea to start talking to a lender to see how much money you can be preapproved for and consider the payments you can handle each month.

Always Do a Home Inspection
Probably one of the most important tips to remember if you’re purchasing a private Florida villa is to do a home inspection. There are many problems that can occur to Florida homes, and most people aren’t aware of them. Not only will you want to do a regular home inspection, but you’ll also want to have a pest inspection done, since Florida is well known for pests, especially termites. The last thing you want is to purchase a villa that is infested with termites and about to fall down around your head. So make sure you inspect the property before you actually buy it.

Autumn Brings a Host of Italy

If you’re searching for Italy travel deals throughout September, October, November, and early December, you’ll find that this “shoulder” season means lower prices on everything from hotel rooms to organized and custom tours. The discounted prices can lower your output substantially, leaving a little extra money to splurge on that great pair of shoes in that shop in Milan, that extra bottle of wine with dinner in Tuscany, and perhaps that unique work of art you’ve spied in a gallery in Florence.

In addition, autumn puts travelers in Italy during a time when festivals are abundant. Italy travel deals in the fall months might include a visit to Calabria, for example, where there are at least three notable festivals occurring during that season. September brought the “Pizza Chef Champion of Italy 2010” competition to this town located on Italy’s “toe”. It October there’s a quirky gathering of accordion players that’s part of the Festival of the Madonna of Constantinople. To cap off the season, an annual Mushroom Festival is held in the town of Mammola, celebrating the harvest of mushrooms from the thousands of acres where they grow around the town. All sorts of mushroom dishes are prepared in a variety of ways, and there’s plenty of singing and dancing as well at this day-long celebration.

In general, autumn in Italy presents plenty of opportunities to get to know the local products. For example, the Euro Chocolate Festival in Perugia features well-known Baci Perugina candies and other chocolates from the area. You might even be there to celebrate Chocoday! What could be better! Of course, you may even stumble on a truffle festival or two as well as some excellent wine tasting events. If you’re booking a custom Italy tour, visits to these events or any others can often be arranged as you organize your itinerary.