Monthly Archives: December 2014

The new luxury hotels

Luxury travellers are one of the most stable tourist segments in Spain in these times of crisis.

Demands are high, the investment needed to meet their needs too, but its recovery far exceeds the more modest projects. More and more travellers, even those who do not belong to this group, want to pamper themselves and enjoy 5-star experiences.

The increased competition has led to a democratization of prices, although they are more expensive than the 4-star hotels in the centre of Barcelona or Madrid, are now more affordable than a few years ago.

This type of luxury accommodations are usually found in coastal areas, among which especially stand out -for attention and exclusive services and facilities- the 5-star resorts in Costa Adeje, such as the Grand Hotel Salomé; some hotels with golf course in Majorca located close to Palma -Llucmajor, Son Vida or Calvià-; or Adults only accommodations in the coast of Marbella and the the Spanish Levante.

Iberostar Grand Hotel El Mirador

Iberostar Grand Hotel El Mirador 

Luxury… 4-star hotels

Luxury is not only present in the 5-star hotels before mentioned. This added value is growing even more in hotels that form the 4-star and 4-star superior segment. An example is the line of boutique hotels in Madrid and Barcelona which belong to the Petit Palace Basque chain, often protagonist of our lists that include some of best hotels in the country. Their work, based on an investment in emblematic and historic buildings, completely refurbished with exquisite taste and care to preserve its essence, has turned it into one of the hotel companies preferred by travellers with high purchasing power.

Examples such as the hotel in front of El Retiro Park in Madrid, the accommodation in Calle Serrano or the museum hotel in the centre of Barcelona are a good example of how they have managed to place their 4-star hotels among the most visited luxury hotels in the country.

In a similar way, we find the Catalonia chain, which works with a similar concept in which design spaces are the key element. One of the more elaborate accommodations in this sense is its hotel in Berlin, Catalonia Berlin Mitte, which has become an authentic treasure of urban art in the German capital and a hotel of reference for executives and directors of our country travelling to Berlin.

Catalonia Berlin Mitte

Catalonia Berlin Mitte

The rest of their accommodations are located in the centre of Madrid, Tenerife, Majorca, the Caribbean and, especially, Barcelona, where they have several 3 and 4-star hotels aspiring to become the new luxury hotels in the city, offering a price really affordable for almost every budget.

Some of the most outstanding ones are Catalonia Las Cortes in Madrid, Catalonia Majorica in the promenade of Palma, and Catalonia Barcelona Plaza which is one of the most exclusive accommodations in the centre of Barcelona for both tourists and business travellers.

Luxury in the Caribbean

Since we have mentioned above that this type of chains that are leading the segment of new luxury hotels in Spain have arrived to the Caribbean with this new concept, we invite you to check the result. Whether you opt for Catalonia Riviera Maya or for Catalonia Bavaro Beach, in both’ of them you will find good taste for design, pervaded by touches of tradition of the destination. Luxury services but prices are still affordable and tight, especially in All Inclusive accommodation. The facilities are, as usual in this type of beach resorts in the Caribbean, so modern and spacious.

This type of luxury hotels on the beach has their counterpart in the major cities in the Caribbean.

Thus, Colombia represents a leading country, with outstanding examples such as Dann Hotels with gems such as Dann Carlton Bucaramanga Hotel and Dann Carlton Bogota Hotel, which offer all the luxuries of a 5-star resort but right in the centre of both cities.

 

 

 

Palma and MICE tourism

The Palma Parliament is the metaphor for many things in this Mediterranean capital. It’s that “I want and I cannot because I do not know”, a radiography of the incompetent management of a community that was born with a gift but has forgotten to exploit it with care. It seems that only here and now is worth, that the country’s economic crisis has not only made us more cautious but made us even more miserly, eager and blind to the real demands of those who, after all, make us grow.

MICE tourism (Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) is a good example of how a destination like Palma, with a unique potential -for location and nature- has lost ground without fighting.  Although it is a segment that, nationally, seems to resist better than other regions the effects of the crisis: on the islands that matter has still to be resolved.

 Catalonia Majorica MICE

Until 2010, the downturn was 40%, according to Mallorca Convention Bureau, an organization that gathers 90% of the sector in the islands. The following year, in 2010-2011, a small recovery was noted (with a rise of 1.7%). In 2013, the number of events in Majorca was 1,309, with about 66,000 attendees, compared with 62,346 in 2012. Key months are still May, September and October, which contribute to consider this sector as one of the most potential in the deseasonalization of the destination. It is a sector predominantly focused on the Spanish market (24,609), although the German (21,857) follows closely, and most of them are incentives for business trips, meetings and executive meetings and training.

The leading sectors are still the medicine, business and finance and tourism and leisure companies.  The hotels for events in Palma receive most of the demand, although there is also a tendency for golf resorts in areas such as Son Antem, Son Vida, Calvià and even the Majorcan Levante area. Playa de Palma is still at a standstill, although many accommodations have been reinvented in this sense to provide complete business hotels near Can Pastilla, El Arenal and Cala Estancia, which are the most sought-after beaches in this area of Palma Bay.. Most of the events are still celebrated at the hotels in the promenade, such as Catalonia Majorica Hotel, Tryp Bellver or Palas Athena.

The average cost is usually around EUR 200 per attendee, with a stay that usually does not exceed 3 days.

 

Winter sun destinations: Málaga

Looking for somewhere different for winter sun holidays? Of course! Today we invite you to travel with us to Malaga and to take a tour around Costa del Sol. The province of Malaga is one of the most visited in Andalusia because it perfectly combines all kinds of travel motivations: water sports, golf, artistic heritage, folklore, cuisine, music, cinema, theatre … A year-round destination.

 

What to see in Malaga?

If you want to visit the most recommended tourist attractions of Malaga, you have to make a stop in the city centre. Find a hotel in the centre of Malaga and stay for a couple of days: it is worth it. The city offers attractions like its beautiful castle, must visit cultural centres such as the Picasso Museum, cinemas and mythical theatres, -besides, every year an interesting cinema festival is celebrated there-, beaches along an extensive promenade, a perfect place to practice all types of sports, to enjoy the nightlife and tapas tours which are a unique meeting point in Costa del Sol, with Larios street as the greatest exponent…

 

If you are motivated to continue your visit to the rest of the province, there are several points that you should include in your trip plan. Marbella is one of them. If you have the chance to spend one of your nights in this area, take the opportunity to book one of the spa hotels in Marbella, since they are considered as some of the best in the south of Spain. Spend a day in the Golf Valley and Benahavís which will take you to the heart of Sierra Bermeja and the famous tour of the white villages: Casares, Gaucin, Ronda …

 Confortel Fuengirola Hotel in Malaga

Where to stay in Malaga?

Besides booking a room in the centre of Malaga to enjoy a couple of nights of tapas tours and culture, on the coast you can enjoy a wide variety of accommodations to choose from. From the hotels in Marbella focused on golf to the All Inclusive hotels in Torrox-Costa, perfect if you want to travel with family and relax without worrying about anything.

 

The area of holiday hotels in Fuengirola is also a good choice to escape from it all at a very affordable price at quality accommodations with all types of services. The centre of Marbella and Puerto Banus are some of the most expensive areas, but if you wish to pamper yourself or surprise someone, they are perfect.

What to eat in Malaga?

Almost as important as the section about what to see in Málaga is what to eat. Its cuisine is one of the richest and most varied in Spain, although there are some dishes from Málaga you really should try. This is the case of the espetos from Malaga, which you will find all along the promenades running along this coast. The fried fish, carabineros and shellfishes are an authentic delicacy in the beach bars, although there are also top quality restaurants you should visit. Now, they are much more expensive.

 

Salmorejos, gazpachos, Serrano ham, Spanish omelette, scrambled eggs …  The tapas are the spice of life in Málaga, so our recommendation is to go from pub to pub and savour its proposals accompanied by a well-chilled white wine or a good beer.

Winter sun destinations: Fuerteventura

Travelling in winter has many advantages.  For most of the destinations it is the quietest tourism season, the main attractions are less crowded than in August and it is easier to get table in the good restaurants or have a drink at beach front terraces. Although it is true that in all the destinations, the most visited areas in winter are the ghost towns, there are more and more destinations working towards deseasonalizing and offering interesting proposals for those who decide to keep their holidays until the coldest months.

If you are one of those who look for good weather even in January, we have prepared for you a short list with winter sun destinations: we begin with the beautiful Fuerteventura, its accommodations, places to visit and gastronomy. Take note and embark on the venture

Jandía, the magical penInsula

Before, it was an island connected to Fuerteventura, but the currents turned it into a spit of land linked to the island, now known as the Jandía Peninsula, located in the southern part of Fuerteventura. There you can find some of the best beaches in the Canary Islands, such as Matorral beach, which is in process of ecological recovery. It is divided into two parts, of which one is nude.

The area of hotels in Playa de Gaviotas, Costa Calma and its surroundings are perfect to find a quiet accommodation at affordable prices, with all types of services within reach. As for places to visit, it offers the lively fishing village Morro Jable and the entire natural area which before belonged to Jandia Natural Park, boasting unique beaches such as Cofete and hiking routes ideal for any level or age.

Regarding accommodations, 3 hotels of Iberostar chain stand out: family resorts in front of Playa de Gaviotas, perfectly connected to the main streets of the island with good price-quality relationship.

Playa Gaviotas, Playa Gaviotas Park and Fuerteventura Palace. In total, 3 spaces full of comforts to choose from.

The gastronomy of this area is much related to the sea and eating in some of the restaurants close to the Morro Jable is a must thing to do in Fuerteventura. There you will enjoy top quality fresh fish and some of the most traditional Canary dishes.

 Barceló Corralejo Bay Hotel services

Corralejo, the most sought after destination

Users of Tripadvisor from all parts of the world have agreed that it is one of the top destinations of 2014 and one of the places they want to visit. Corralejo is a charming town in the north of Fuerteventura, just one step away from one of the most wonderful natural areas of the island: the Corralejo Dunes, natural park worth visiting in any trip to the island. Its amazing sunsets and the colours of the dunes at dawn.

Full of life and tradition, Corralejo allows you to enjoy a comfortable holiday at any time of the year by practising all types of water sports among which windsurfing stands out. Very close to the town, towards the north, you can find some of the best places for surfing, visited by surf lovers and professionals every year. There are also many reputable schools where you can take intensive courses, ideal for those who want to begin this exciting sport during their holidays.

The accommodation offer is varied, so much so that we can find hotels with luxury services in Corralejo or boarding houses, campsites and apartments at affordable prices.

It is recommended to opt for an intermediate choice: 3 and 4 star hotels are really affordable and have good quality. For families, the offer is very wide, although there are also Adults Only hotels next to Grandes Playas area which are worth staying if you travel as a couple.

Gastronomy is an extra benefit. Like in the south: good fish and traditional stews. Some of the most renowned restaurants in Fuerteventura are located there and offer international, creative and traditional menus that will surprise even the gourmets.

 

Winter sun destinations: Jerez

We continue travelling around Cádiz province. In this occasion we visit Jerez de la Frontera to enjoy its cultural and gastronomic richness. Unlike other southern destinations, Jerez offers many leisure alternatives for winter and cold months without needing the beaches: tours around the cherry wine cellars, delicious food, some of the best golf courses in Andalusia and, of course, one of the most famous motorcycling circuits in Europe. If you want to travel to the south and make the most of the sun in winter, without giving up a trip full of varied proposals come with us to Jerez.

 Barcelo Montecastillo Golf & Resort

What to see in Jerez?

With a long bullfighting and equestrian tradition, an incredible Moslem legacy and wonderful vineyard areas, Jerez boasts a thousand places to visit and contemplate. In the centre of the city of Jerez, you must visit the neighbourhoods which belonged to the old Arab medina quarter, such as San Lucas and San Mateo, with the small streets and churches; the famous Plaza del Mercado, where are now located the Archaeological Museum of Jerez, Riquelme Palace and, of course, Alcázar de Jerez, Jardín de los Olivos y the Arabic Baths.

Another must visit place in Jerez is the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, where you can attend a unique dance show with some of the best Spanish horses.  Besides, it is located in a beautiful palace, created by the same architect of the Paris Opera, where you can find renaissance and baroque touches.

Where to sleep in Jerez?

The centre of Jerez is full of life, so it is easy to find an affordable accommodation, especially if you want to live the ambience and take the opportunity to know its night-life, tours and local customs with all services within reach. Nevertheless, if you are planning a relaxing family trip, it is better to opt for a hotel in the outskirts. There are several possibilities, but one of the best recommended ones, if you want comfort and good price-quality relationship, is choosing a good resort next to the Jerez circuit, with golf course and perfectly connected to the rest of the Cádiz province. In this case, the advantage is that you can easily visit the surroundings and different areas every day, without giving up the comfort of an accommodation with 5-star rooms and villas in Jerez.

What to eat in Jerez?

Besides the traditional delicacies you find in the entire province of Cádiz, it is advisable to know what to eat in Jerez, since there is a series of home-produced dishes which are essential if you have a good palate. Berza jerezana, ajo caliente, torrijas with wine, oxtail with chickpeas, chikpeas with prawns, tocino de cielo… All this accompanied by the best wines in the world.

 Xerez, cherry or txerry is one of the finest wines. The most famous wine cellars in Jerez have created a complete wine tour worth trying. Osborne, Domecq or González-Byass offer wine tasting, special events, breakfasts, brandy selections…

 

Winter sun destinations: Cádiz

Now that we have arrived to Andalusia, we cannot miss the coast, La Tacita de Playa and its wonderful beaches. There is not better winter sun destination than Cádiz, a perfect place to enjoy its magical light, its coves and sandy areas full of waves delighting the kitesurfing lovers, the meeting point of fans of humour, the ideal city to taste what the sea offers us… Cádiz is unique

What to see in Cádiz

Cádiz, the streets, the people, the magic of its everyday life.  This is why the best way of discovering this city and its surroundings is by travelling with the eyes wide open and improvising. Nevertheless, there are must stops: the market in the centre of the city, a breakfast with hot chocolate and churros in the famous Plaza de las Flores, visiting the Poniente Tower of the Cathedral, renting a car and travelling the coast as far as Calas de Roque, where you will find some of the best beaches in the world, almost pristine.

If you have the possibility, the most suitable is to book a couple of nights at an accommodation in the centre of Cádiz and, then, drive to the area of hotels in Calas de Conil, the perfect place to disconnect from routine and enjoy the sun that shines all year long in this Andalusian coast.

Confortel Calas de Conil Hotel in Cadiz

Where to sleep in Cádiz

One of the most famous holiday areas in Cádiz in La Barrosa beach. There is really easy to find accommodation at a good price. There is a wide variety of hotels, guesthouses, campsites and apartments. A good option is to stay in a resort in La Barrosa beach, it is more comfortable and offers good services, especially if you travel with children. The spa hotels in Chiclana are also an interesting alternative as for price-quality relationship. Recommended if you travel with your partner.

What to eat in Cádiz

You cannot organise a trip to Cádiz without planning what to eat. The gastronomy from this province is so extensive and delicious that you must establish tours and try to taste a bit of everything. The best, undoubtedly, are the tours throughout the traditional bars of Cádiz,  such as Casa Manteca, where you will find all types of tapas made with top quality products. Among the traditional dishes, it is worth mentioning el cazón en adobo, the rices, especially those prepared with shellfish, croquetas del puchero, retinto… And a great many exquisite proposals that you can almost in any restaurant in the centre of the city or in the coast at really affordable prices. Because eating in Cádiz is good, delicious and cheap