Thursday, 16 December 2010

How geography swots can win a weekend in Europe

I've more prizes (and some Chrismassy muzak) from Radisson to share.

Their latest competition, which focuses on the Radisson Blu brand, has been giving geography swots an opportunity to win money-off voucher or a weekend for two in some of my favourite European cities - Milan, Madrid, Berlin, Helsinki and Hamburg.

All you need to do is visit their snowy competition website, which has the obligatory snowman, igloo and snow shaker. There's even a choice of three muzak tracks, albeit three versions of Rudolph the Reindeer.

Once you're feeling all festive, put your quiz hat on and take a stab at the three triviatastic questions. Don't worry, you can click for extra hints if you're struggling with the answers. Your reward for getting all three correct is the chance to spin the wheel of fortune and win instant prizes including €100 Radisson Blu gift cards.

Swot or not, everyone can enter their weekly prize draw for the weekend hotel stay. The prize, worth €400, comprises two nights accommodation for two people in a standard room including breakfast at a Radisson Blu Hotel.

Remaining draw dates and destinations are:

21 Dec - Helsinki, which really does have one of the freshest art and design scenes in Europe, as well as fantastic shops.

28 DecMadrid, where I walked and walked for days, fuelled by tapas and glasses of red wine mixed with cola.

3 Jan Hamburg, where the Beatles got creative and it's difficult to resist saying 'Ich bin ein Hamburger'.

If you are aged 18 or over and live in the EU (but not Sweden) give it a whirl at

Radisson Blue Quiz

Radisson Blue Quiz

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Regular Red Sea divers not worried by shark attacks

I've just spoken to a UK-based Dive Master who is travelling to Hurghada, on Egypt's Red Sea coast, tomorrow. He'll spend the run up to Christmas with a group of divers and local guides on a 'live-aboard' trip from Marsa Alam. They'll dive some incredible offshore sites including Sha'ab Aiman and Sha'ab Mahrus, in the hope of seeing grey, silver tip and white tip reef sharks.

Divers on live-aboard trips average three dives per day, each lasting around an hour, so he'll be spending around 20 hours in the Red Sea. In light of the four recent shark attacks in Sharm el Sheikh, that could sound like a long time to be underwater.

But he told me: "Regular Red Sea divers won’t be worried by the attacks or the idea of continuing to dive with sharks. They are used to them, as are other warm water divers from elsewhere. But if it turns out that several oceanic white tips carried out these attacks it may mean their feeding practices are undergoing radical changes, and that is a concern."

Shark attacks are very unusual in the Red Sea, particularly attacks by the species in question this time - the oceanic white tip. Still, the FCO travel advice for Egypt, which was updated today, continues to read that 'most diving and water sport activities in the Sharm El Sheikh area remained suspended'.

See the latest statement from Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Watersports here
(Image by Diving Mullah)

Read more like this:
Scuba dive to escape - Top 5 Emotional Escapes
Golden Blocks Shore Dive - For The Independent

And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Face the muzak and defeat the Park Inn hotel manager to win iPads and free accommodation

I wish that Santa existed, that hotel rooms were always free and that iPads grew on Christmas trees, so that I could just pluck off the perfect present for my loved ones. Because unless I win an iPad in Park Inn’s addictive ‘4 in a row' competition, my boyfriend is going to be the proud owner of a pair of crazy pants and a year’s supply of bbq sauce rather than the gadget he really wants to find in his stocking.

Because I'm greedy, I also want to win the grand prize: a week's worth of free accommodation. I'd pick the Park Inn Alexanderplatz in Berlin, where we’re heading to in January. Close to the Brandenburg Gate and the TV tower, it would be perfect base for the sightseeing itinerary I’ve devised – one packed with art, history and nightclubs, daily Currywursts and ein oder zwei biere.

So if you’re anything like me (a competitive lover of freebies with an addictive personality) you’ll relish the opportunity to get one over the Park Inn hotel manager in a battle of the key cards. Pick a colour and keep going and going until you win. Two competitors each week will win an iPad or a £250 voucher to use in any of the 200 Park Inn hotels worldwide (also includes Radisson Blu). Visit to start playing.

And brilliantly, every player – winner or loser – can enter the final grand prize draw. So even if you have to get back to work or reality before you’ve beaten the smarmy manager to 4 in a row, you could still win a week’s holiday at the Park Inn Manchester, Park Inn Berlin, or Park Inn Ulysse Resort (in Djerba, Tunisia) plus a £300 gift card.

The competition runs until 18 December and the winner of the seven nights’ accommodation will be announced by the end of December. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and the week’s holiday must be taken by 31 December 2011. For full terms and conditions visit the competition page at

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Friday, 3 December 2010

Please forget Christmas and plan me a Valentine's Week in Bora Bora

Boyfriend, today's post is written especially for you.

As talented as the snow is at making the cars and wheelie bins in my British suburban street sparkle, and as much as I love Christmas for giving me an excuse to devour huge quantities of Port, turkey and stuffing, I've already had it with winter.

If I see one more 'Guide to Europe's Best Christmas Markets' or another 'Spotlight On The Best (read 'Most Snobby') Ski Resorts of the World', I'll scream into my woolly indoor snood. Arghg! What I really want to be reading about and planning for is next year's sunshine holiday. Scuba diving, drinking a beer with my feet dangling into the sea, open air yoga, a tanned face...

Perhaps you're thinking about these things too, lovely boyfriend of mine. Perhaps you really want to surprise me with a special Valentine's Day holiday to the sun, but you've been waiting for me to point you in the right direction via my travel industry tit bits.

So if that is the case (and I know it will be), here's some info I hope you'll find interesting. While you read it, I'll get on with sourcing my beachwear for 14th Feb 2011.....

The Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora will be celebrating Valentines for the whole of February. (

Their new Valentine's Package includes a complimentary fifth night, champagne and chocolate-dipped tropical fruits on arrival, daily breakfast buffet, a 50-minute Couple’s Polynesian Massage and a sunset cruise.

General Manager Rajiv Malhotra said:
“Romance is always in the air here. However, we could not resist allowing our guests to experience even more romance and value through the most romantic of holidays.”

The Four Seasons Bora Bora have 100 overwater bungalows and seven beachfront villas, all with traditional thatched roofs. There's a full service spa and their restaurant serves a range of dishes from Polynesian to French to South Pacific fusion.

Prices start at £575 per room per night for a Beach View Over Water Bungalow.

Go on boyfriend, forget Christmas and make my Valentine's Day instead!

Read more like this:
Top 5 Emotional Escapes
Trips that will kick start your spirit
Magic Real Travels in Fiji
Not the most romantic proposal idea in the world (Barcelona Bans Gut Wrenching Bullfights)

And here is t
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