Author Archives: Luke Durden

About Luke Durden

Travel and gastronomy are my passions. Love discovering new destinations, hotels, restaurants, wines...Living on the magical island of Majorca and enjoying it!

A Valentine’s Day in Madrid: the best plans for two

Known for its intense rains, its cold and its intense storms (yes, like the ones that accompanied us earlier this year), the month of February is more than one hundred percent a winter month: it is the month of the Arrows of Cupid, the month of saying “I love you” over and over again and re-experiencing the flame of love for our Valentine.

Although it is not the star month to travel, the truth is that because of its good prices and its low number of visitors, choosing to give us a Valentine’s Day in a different city than ours can be charming and affordable. Moreover, what would you like to celebrate on the day of love in the capital, Madrid? What are those plans for two that will make your Valentine’s Day 2017 a memorable day? This month from A Thousand Hotels we give you some references that never fail.

madrid azoteas

Choose a good hotel

The date of Valentine’s Day must be experienced as a couple, with those unique moments of intimacy and relaxation, and for it, nothing better than the IBEROSTAR Las Letras Hotel. This hotel, famous for its exclusive hotel rooms on Gran Vía, is not only ideal for romantic moments, but also has a perfect location within walking distance of such emblematic points as the Puerta del Sol, Princesa Street or the la Playa de España.

In addition to an indisputable quality/price, IBEROSTAR Las Letras Gran Vía has charming corners inside where you can enjoy tranquility and silence. The most outstanding? Its mini urban library, a real delight.

The la Latina neighborhood, pure romanticism

Famous for its beautiful neighborhoods, the city of Madrid becomes especially romantic in the streets of la Latina. This neighborhood – one of the most special and authentic of the capital – is a perfect place to walk hand in hand and to exchange confidences sheltered by a few glasses of wine. In addition to its many tapas bars, this neighborhood is ideal for discovering art galleries and for treating yourself to some quirk in your traditional shops.

A unique dinner for two

After visiting la Latina and enjoying walks in areas as beautiful and romantic as the gardens of El Retiro, it is good to say goodbye to Valentine’s Day with a dinner for two. Our recommendation? The restaurant Dabbawala. This gastronomic center created by chef Luca Rodi and located on Calle El Españoleto is perfect for those looking for a different place with a unique gastronomy.

Dubai, much more than a tourist destination in the Middle East

Experts say that few things help us disconnect as effectively as starting to plan for our upcoming holidays. Even if it’s more than a month until it’s time for Easter to knock on our door, planning our spare time in advance in order to enjoy a great trip at a good price isn’t a bad idea. Are you looking for something different? This month we’ll suggest an exceptional and unique destination: how would you feel about a mini holiday in Dubai?

Dubai: the jewel of the Persian Gulf and the undisputed queen of the United Arab Emirates is a unique and different destination where luxury reaches a higher level. It’s a place for relaxation where you can combine romantic dinners fit for a fairytale with expeditions to extraordinary landscapes that you’ll never forget.

With more than two million inhabitants and an urban area that looks to be taken straight from a sci-fi movie set, Dubai offers the perfect hotels and just the right balance between quality and price. This is proven by hotels such as the beautiful Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, one of the 4-star hotels in the centre of Bur Dubái, the most exclusive hotels in the city.

Beyond booking exclusive hotel rooms in Bur Dubái, the capital offers other interesting tourist spots that can be visited and enjoyed during a 5- or 6-day trip. These are some of the highlights:


Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa building

163 floors and more than 800 metres high – the Burj Khalifa building is one of the capital’s main attractions and the tallest building in the world to date. It’s an impressive skyscraper with a lookout point located on the 124th floor, offering an exceptional view of the city.

Dubai Aquarium

Even if swimming with the sharks is the most adrenaline-filled visit you can opt for, an ordinary visit to Dubai Aquarium is an experience in itself – this is the largest aquarium in the world. Here you can enjoy more than 30,000 aquatic animals from around 150 marine species.

A flying visit to Palm Jumeirah

One of the most impressive visits of all in Dubai is that of the Palma Jumeriah. It’s an artificial island (recently created) as big as nearly three thousand football fields. Even if you can enjoy it from the ground, more or less, the ideal visit would be taking a helicopter tour to fully appreciate it.


Touring the Southwest of Mallorca: coves, landscapes and retreats

Known for being the retreat of thousands of German and British tourists, the island of Mallorca is a treasure that sleeps in the Mediterranean Sea’s bounty and where you will find magical places full of indigenous nature and beautiful panoramas that truly deserve to be captured in hundreds of photographs.

Out of all the tourist zones to be found throughout the island, the southwest of Mallorca is the greatest exponent of the type of leisure to which we refer. Since during these winter months the island is still an option for spur of the moment getaways, today we will tell you which areas stand out most in the southern area of ​​the Poniente Mallorcan.

The viewpoint of the Malgrats

Mallorca is an island where there are lots of natural lookouts. Although the best known is the Cap de Formentor, the truth is that in the West of the island you can find true landscape gems such as the viewpoint of the Malgrats Islands. A place unknown even by the locals where watching sunset is much more than an experience.

Unique ports in the world

In addition to beautiful beaches such as Portals Vells or El Mago and ports of great depth such as Port Adriano, the southwest of Mallorca is home to other ports such as Puerto Portals. This port owned by the Kraft family offers the glamour associated with sailing and is a place that rivals the port of Monte Carlo.

Shopping without stress

About 8 kilometers by road from Palma, in the south-west area of ​​Mallorca you can now find a place free of queues and crowds in which all shoppers tastes are catered for: from the luxury boutiques in Puerto Portals to other cheaper brands that are located in the recently opened La Villa shopping center in Magaluf.

Where to stay in Mallorca

For those who have chosen the West of Mallorca to spend a few days of their holidays, there is nothing better than opting for hotels full of services such as those offered by the Sol Hotels. Options such as Sol House are ideal for those traveling with friends or as a couple, and others such as the original Sol Katmandu Park Resort, a hotel which includes a theme park .


Trip Advisor Certificate

The Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa is happy to announce that it has received the 2016 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award.

First of all, from the Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa we want to thank you our guests for their support and recognition. Hence we promise that our team will continue with the efforts and the hard work to please our customers.

About the certificate:

→ Which hotels receive this certification?

Those hotels which regularly receive travellers reviews on Trip Advisor site. This is a recognition by customers.

→ How do hotels receive this award?

To obtain this certificate, hotels must keep a rating of four or higher, they may be included on Trip Advisor list for at least 12 months and travellers have to vote for them. The amount of travellers reviews received within the latest year is also a point to take into account.

→ Why do hotels obtain the certificate?

Hotels rewarded usually focus on delivering great services to customers.

Hospitality, resorts’ facilities and services are the keys to be awarded with the certification.

→ What can we do now?

In our aim to improve, the hotel’s professional team will hardly work to outdo ourselves and to stick out from competitors.

The Certificate of Excellence award will help us to increase friendliness and to develop new ways to surprise and take care of our guests.


About the hotel:

The Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa is placed in the heart of Dubai. It is a 4-stars city hotel designed to provide services to both tourists and business travellers.

A combination of old Dubai’s tradition and new facilities are the essence of this resort close to the cultural district, the diplomatic enclosure and only 6 kilometres away from Dubai International Airport.

173 rooms, non-smoking areas, different dining options, business facilities and a health club are some examples of the hotel’s services.

Further information and bookings on on the Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa website.


Discovering the secrets of the island of Fuerteventura

When traveling it is normal to take advice, so we recommend travel guides, agencies or acquaintances who have been to the destination before us. Although it is a good idea to sum up a place, there is nothing better than to leave everything “typically well-known” for others and choose the destination’s unknown corners that are hardly touched on in the guides and that make the place unique.

One of those places that hide secrets that are well worth discovering is Fuerteventura, an island that is a biosphere that hides natural treasures that are highly recommended for curious travelers who do not conform to the norm. What does the island hide beyond its beaches and its purely volcanic areas? Let’s do a review.

Playa de Jandía

The Jandía Peninsula

Few areas are as beautiful as the whole of the Jandía peninsula. Although it is known by the great majority of tourists who visit the island, it is worthwhile to stop in every nook and take in every detail on each beach in order to feel the magic of its deserted beaches, its dunes with an African feel and the color of its truly spectacular emerald toned Atlantic waters…

Beyond the hotels and the most frequented points of Jandia, do not forget to enjoy those routes with limited access that can only be reached by foot or with the help of an off-road vehicle.

Some of the best and most highly recommended hotels on the island are in the Jandía Peninsula are like the Iberostar Playa Gaviotas, the Iberostar Fuerteventura Palace or the Iberostar Playa Gaviotas Park.

 The Betancuria Pinar

A pine grove in the middle of an island that tends to be arid! The locals also questioned this idea when a few hundred years ago the authorities at that time tried to create a lush pine forest on this arid island.

Although the project failed, the good result was that at this point on the island we can find a truly beautiful native Canarian pine forest; an ideal picnic area to spend a day with the family or to rest after a hiking session.

El Puertito de los Lobos

One of the most beautiful areas of Fuerteventura is, by far, the little port of los Lobos. This place that was formerly the refuge of the sea lions that visited the island is today a place you must visit and an authentic treasure for the inhabitants of Fuerteventura. In order to visit this charming little port you need to arrive by boat to the little island of Lobos (from the North of the main island).

Fuerteventura, Tunisia and Mallorca, three ideal destinations for Winter travel Iberostar

Escape from the cold and enjoy the most gentle and beautiful sun of the year. Without saying any more, this is one of the most enchanting presents that we would like to give ourselves for Christmas especially at the end of the year when temperatures start to plummet and we think of planning getaways away from home. Above all it is known that December is an ideal month to travel because of the Christmas offers and the numerous days off which the month gives us. So, how do we get our destination right without emptying our wallets?

Although what most of us have in mind is travelling miles with a trip to the Caribbean, we can’t forget that there are destinations very close by, many of them in our country, where you can enjoy a few days of good weather and relatively warm temperatures. Our selection for this Christmas month is Fuerteventura, Mallorca and Tunisia.

playas de fuerteventura

Fuerteventura and the Sun

With a unique setting and providing an exclusive holiday, Fuerteventura is an island that gives us days of real summer in the winter months. A place bathed in crystal clear waters of extreme beauty and unique natural landscapes in which you can also enjoy first class gourmet food and great sport.

Where to stay in Fuerteventura? For its location and its services we recommend you choose the Iberostar Fuerteventura Palace

The ever lovely Mallorca

In Mallorca you won’t always find temperatures of twenty degrees but a pure, lasting sun that shines almost always and in every part of its geography. Although most tourists prefer to visit the island in summer, there is nothing like choosing this destination in the winter months to bring you all the very best of its land and its people. Its landscape and its exquisite gourmet food stand out especially.

Where to stay in Mallorca? Although you have a lot of very good choices, you can’t fail if you book your room at the Iberostar Suites Hotel Jardin del Sol; a hotel with stunning sea views located in one of the most beautiful areas of Mallorca.

The Sleeping Lady of Africa

With her calm and her many riches, Tunisia is the true sleeping lady of Africa; a destination full of Mediterranean magic where you can ideally enjoy a few days relaxing with friends, as a couple or as a family. It has the best of everything, its people, its beaches, its gourmet food and its spectacular landscape.

Where to stay in Tunisia? Our recommendation is that you choose the exclusive Iberostar Averroes Hotel, especially ideal if you are traveling with your family.


Top Golf Destinations in Autumn

With a climate that has been, for centuries, the envy of our European neighbors and with facilities worthy of listing, giving yourself a few days of golf in our country is certain to be a success. From North to South, Spain has golf courses that are real gems, just focus on the island of Mallorca, on Valencia, on Tenerife or on Andalusia.

They are destinations with maximum sunshine even in winter. Also you can find everything from independent golf courses (where you pay a daily or hourly rate) to perfect hotels with golf courses that are a real delight and that offer a full service.

Hoteles de golf

 The sports magic of Cádiz

Beyond its humour and its traditional fried fish, Cadiz is known for sports disciplines such as riding, surfing, kitesurfing, tennis and golf. With golf courses that are outstanding worldwide, the home of “the silver cup” offers everything for lovers of this sport.

People choose Cadiz for its quality / price ratio which is unique, for its great climate, the character of its people, its food and also because you can find hotels specializing in golf in various parts of the province (ideal for those looking for a golf hotel in Chiclana with all the rules).

Golf from the North to the South of Tenerife

For those who have decided to jump into the pool by choosing to book the services of a Costa Adeje golf hotel we have good news: the island of Tenerife is, without a doubt, one of the best destinations for golf in the Autumn months. The reasons for this are obvious: fewer tourists, better prices and a climate that remains (almost always) above 22 degrees. What more could you ask for?

Isla Canela, the jewel of the crown

Under shelter of the best natural beaches of all Andalusia and with a cool but pleasant climate, Isla Canela is the jewel of the crown for those who want to enjoy golf in the Autumn months. It is a place with courses of indisputable quality in which to enjoy the sport like never before. In other words, opting for an Isla Canela golf hotel is a wise choice from start to finish.



Everything you wanted to know about Punta Cana and they never told you

One of the things which mature international destinations have in common, (i.e. those that are the first choice for MICE or honeymoon trips), is that they do not require much explanation or details to appeal both to backpackers and resort tourists. In other words, just a travel guide is enough, filled with pictures of beaches, sunsets, coconut palms and Caribbean cocktails for us to decant for these destinations in under a minute.

Beyond this statement, to consider that a mature wellknown destination doesn’t merit any attention beyond purely what “sells” is a mistake that many travelers usually fall into. One of those destinations is Punta Cana. Are you about to cross the pond and want to take note of some of those rare things which stand out but are not in the usual tourist brochures? This month we are going to list some.

punta cana

 One of the busiest airports in the Caribbean

While it may appear that others take the cake as far as arrival and departure of tourists are concerned, the fact is that there is no airport in the Caribbean busier than Punta Cana. With hundreds of connections and thousands of tourists coming and going 24 hours a day, Punta Cana airport takes the prize in the Dominican Republic. Another notable fact is that is well above the international airport of Santo Domingo as far as operations are concerned.

 “All inclusive” high quality Hotels

Being a mature tourist destination means that the renovation of the hotel industry and services is a constant. The result? High quality hotels that offer the best hotel rooms in Punta Cana as well as an ‘all inclusive’ that is unique in the world. Good examples of this are establishments like the impressive hotel Catalonia Punta Cana.

Higuey, more than a colonial village 

Although Punta Cana hides a thousand and one treasures well worth discovering once at the destination, there is nothing comparable to the visit to the town of Higuey.

Founded in the early sixteenth century (back in 1503), Higüey is ranked as one of the oldest cities in the Americas hence its importance, its history and its incomparable beauty. What is most outstanding? Its roots to ancient traditions and architectural legacy that goes beyond what the guidebooks describe.


Heading to the North Mallorca, looking for natural relaxation

Our rhythm of everyday life and work pressures are two of the reasons that lead many people to travel the earth in order to switch off. This temporary calm helps us meet our true selves so that we allow ourselves to enjoy the small pleasures of life. We do this with a break in which all that matters is rest and relaxation.

Far from the frenetic summer vacation when you have to deal with tourists and destinations that in many cases, are overcrowded; taking a relaxing trip in these first weeks of autumn is a winning and effective option. The key to success is in choosing the correct destination since not everywhere is perfect.

Can Picafort, North of Majorca

Can Picafort, North of Mallorca

Options such as the Picos de Europa or cities such as Burgos (quiet by nature) are perfect for lovers of alpine sports, cold but warmed by endless fireside chats. Of course, if your aim is to switch off in the shelter of a kinder temperature and a chic ‘seaside’ atmosphere there is nothing better than opting for places like Mallorca.

Although most visitors who choose Mallorca focus on the southeast (in places like Paguera, Santa Ponsa or Andratx), there is nothing better than going in search of tranquility to the north of the island where places like Can Picafort and Alcudia are popular. How and where can you capture the island’s relaxing “take it easy” essence?

Enjoying nature

Mallorca is nature in its purest state so is a perfect place to visit for lovers of beautiful landscapes. Getting to know natural surroundings such as the Parc de S’Albufera or enjoying unspoiled beaches like Can Picafort and Muro or others like Son Serra de Marina, are some of the “natural” options that can be enjoyed.

Taste and flavor

They say that when you switch off, the palate has a lot to say. To be able to forget, bit by bit, the restrictive rules and habits to which we adhere throughout the winter, is easy on a trip to Mallorca and the island is a jewel as far as food is concerned. Where should you choose? Enjoy the best of the island’s fresh fish in some of the restaurants that make up the Puerto de Alcudia.

Water sports and peace

Whether practicing Yoga SUP or enjoying a few hours of kayaking, truthfully there is nothing better than northern Mallorca to get rid of stress using the nautical sports as an excuse. These fun activities can be enjoyed both in Can Picafort and Puerto de Alcudia.

Hotels in Mallorca to escape stress
Another key to success when hoping to switch off for a few days in a different destination from our place of residence is in choosing the perfect hotel. Although there are many chains on the island, there is nothing like choosing what the Ferrer Hotels chain has to offer, since it is a company specialized in letting you relax from your first minute. What are your choices? Enjoy the best services and a unique setting (like playa de Son Bauló) choosing from two of its flagship hotels: the Hotel Ferrer Janeiro and the Hotel Ferrer Concord.

Objective? To thoroughly live the Lloret de Mar of the rich sea-traders

Seasoned travelers and experts say that to get to know a destination really well, it is not enough just to scratch the surface and enjoy the obvious. To show we are real travelers, to drink in and enjoy the essence of each place we are supposed to throw ourselves into the unknown side of those destinations that we consider “basic” or simply “sun and beach”.

In all this you can take note of a doyen destination in our country such as Lloret de Mar, one of the jewels of the Selva region, in the province of Girona. It is this part of our country that is a magnet for those seeking sun and beach and it is an authentic temple of history. In fact, did you know that thousands of locals crossed the seas to make their fortunes and then return to Lloret de Mar?

Beach in Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava

Beach in Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava

The presence of the Spaniards who returned rich from the Americas resulted in a unique architectural heritage in the area and centuries of history have subsequently formed a perfect tourist tour to give that special touch to some relaxing time in Catalonia. What are the highlights?

The Town House

One of the greatest exponents of the ‘Nabob’ presence in Lloret de Mar is the local municipality. With a clear neoclassic style, the council came to life in 1872, at the height of the rich sea-trader’s return. With its yellow facade, its windows and wrought iron bells, it is no wonder it is one of the most photographed spots in Lloret. .

The Cemetery

While visiting a cemetery is not one of those plans that will seduce all travelers, strolling through the cemetery in Lloret de Mar is an experience, especially if one follows the path of the returned sea-traders. Remodeled in the late nineteenth century, the place retains some of the graves of those who dared to reach the Americas.

The Maritime Museum

Beyond its Catalan essence, this town is pure sea (hence its name). Since the sea was what started Lloret de Mar’s success, few places have put together so well the sea-traders presence as the Museum of the Sea, a unique location overlooking the Mediterranean that becomes a real walk through local history.

Hotels in Lloret de Mar
Lloret de Mar is a place that can boast of having a range of first class hotels. Although some may have more or fewer stars and more or fewer services, there are those that give exceptional value for price such as the FERGUS San Juan Park or FERGUS Style Plaza Paris SPA, both with the FERGUS Hotel’s seal of quality.