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Finola Murtagh

Maldives-Holiday

Thomas Cook Rewards | Everything you need to know

If you didn’t know already, there’s a new way to let the everyday make your holiday! Thomas Cook Rewards will help you get money back on the purchases you already make each month, then add it to a Thomas Cook Gift Card, ready to use towards holidays, flights, upgrades, travel extras and more. It really couldn’t be easier to get started.

 

What are Thomas Cook Rewards?

When you sign up to Thomas Cook Rewards, you can collect cash rewards when you shop at over 3,000 big name brands. From gadget and fashion hauls, to homeware and health and beauty buys, spending has never been so rewarding. Once you’ve collected at least £10 of confirmed cash rewards, transfer them to a Thomas Cook Gift Card and start spending!

 

What are the benefits?

So, why is Thomas Cook Rewards so great? It’s quick, free and easy for anyone to join and, as a member, you can earn cash rewards every time you shop through the Thomas Cook Rewards website or app. You can also earn cash rewards with selected high street brands when you register your cards.

 

How do I sign up?

Signing up couldn’t be simpler. Just head to our website to create your account and you can start earning cash rewards today. There are thousands of different offers from big brands, and you can shop them all. There’s no limit to how much you can earn and you can add your cash rewards to a Thomas Cook Gift Card as soon as you have £10 or more confirmed.

Do you have any tips for saving up for holidays? What do you think to Thomas Cook Rewards? Let me know in the comments below!

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Palma’s most Instagrammable hotels

We look forward to our holiday all year. We dream about it, plan it, then tell everyone else about it too! On Facebook, Instagram, in WhatsApp group chats…and I, for one, love to show off where I’m staying. That’s why I thought I’d show you these seriously Instagrammable hotels in Palma, Majorca. When my love for travel and interior design become one? That’s the perfect holiday for me. And if you feel much the same, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the beauty of my top picks below.

 

Best for cocktails

Cook’s Club Palma Beach

Cook’s Club Hotels and cocktails go happily hand-in-hand, and a snap of one of these colourful creations is definitely worthy of an Instagram post or two. The bar here’s the brainchild of Berlin-based mixologist, David Widemann, who’s magicked up a menu with everything from a French Sex on the Beach (oh là là!) to firm favourites like the Moscow Mule. So sit back, get sipping and enjoy the chilled out poolside tunes.

 

Best for food

Iberostar Palma

If you’re longing for a taste of five-star dining without paying an arm and a leg (or even leaving the hotel walls!) you’ll love trying out Iberostar Llaut Palma’s Katagi Blau restaurant. Enjoy a taste of the East on the shores of Majorca: it’s an Asian restaurant fused with a Mediterranean flavours. The delicious dishes are prepared using only the freshest local products, and I dare you to resist pulling out your phone to film the Teppanyaki chefs at work.

 

Best for views

Fontanellas Playa

Wow… what can I say about this picture, other than those beautiful shades of blue would certainly leave me with some serious holiday envy if I saw them pop up on my feed! Fontanellas Playa will give you stunning, unobstructed views out to sea from its glass-balcony rooftop. There’s also space to dine, soak up the sun and relax in a jacuzzi (why not, you’re on holiday). Just don’t forget to snap the glamorous yachts in the distance.

 

Best for chilling

Sunprime Monsuau

Sunprime Hotels are the perfect place to relax and unwind. They combine all the best bits about holidays: great food, spa time, gym sessions and beautiful design. It’s a great place to appreciate the finer things in life and really soak up the atmosphere of the destination. Plus, you can join a yoga session to slow the pace right down. You’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated before you can type #namaste on your Instagram caption.

 

So there you have it: Palma’s most Instagrammable hotels. Are there any you’ve stayed at worth adding to the list? What makes a hotel snap-happy to you? Let me know in the comments below.

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The best places to stay at LEGOLAND®

LEGOLAND® Billund is an amazing place to go for kids and adults alike. But, one of the most important things is finding out where’s best to stay for you. Whether you’d like to go back in time to a medieval castle, take a trip to Japan or stay in your very own chalet, you can do it all here. Take a look…

 

Hotel LEGOLAND®

The ultimate LEGO® experience

Hotel LEGOLAND®For the ultimate LEGO® experience, Hotel LEGOLAND® should be top of your list. You’ll be able to stay in cool LEGO® rooms, with lots of different themes, whether you’re a fearsome pirate or a pretty princess. There are even the girls from LEGO® Friends, and the style of the rooms range from subtle to full-on fun!

This hotel’s a fantastic 4-stars, and if you stay here you’ll find yourself right in the middle of all the action. If you love those classic LEGO® bricks, be sure to stay in our Park View room. There’s plenty of space, enough for two adults and three children, and there are LEGO bricks everywhere you look! There’s a giant wall of LEGO bricks behind the bed, and the room is full of bricks ready for building for kids and grown-ups alike.

Or, if you’re more of an adventurer, live like a treasure hunter in one of the Treasure rooms. With birds, spiders, scorpions, lizards and lots of other LEGO® creepy-crawlies, it’ll be a real test of bravery for the whole family and will certainly get your creativity flowing for a holiday that’s centred around LEGO. Or, if you’re holidaying with a princess, the Princess rooms are fit for royalty. There are butterflies, castles, and pink everywhere you look: it’s what girly dreams are made of and where their most special memories will be made.

 

LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel

Stay in the heart of all the fun

LEGOLAND® Castle HotelJoin the fairy tale at LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel! Whether you’re a mysterious wizard, a brave dragon knight or a magical maiden, all your dreams will come true. An enchanted castle towers right beside LEGOLAND®; it’s where the king and queen live, and you’re invited as their very special guest. There are 142 rooms to choose from, with three different themes, so where will you stay? Will it be in the princess’ royal chambers, in the dragon knight’s cool living room or in the wizard’s magical observatory?

Each room will take you back in time to the middle ages, with stony walls, stained glass and castle-themed furniture. Stay in the Dragon Knight’s cool living room to help the king in the battle for the treasure. Sleep amongst fire-breathing dragons, brave heroes, and clanking swords, and wake up as true knight of the LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel.

Or, maybe you’d prefer to drift off to sleep in the princess’ royal chambers, where you can dream of friendly woodland animals and all the colours of the forest. Wake up to bird song and help the princess prepare the horses for the big knights’ tournament and another day of fun. Or, maybe you’ll be spellbound by the wizard’s magical observatory? You’ll become one of the wizard’s favourite apprentices, and hooting owls and luminous magic potions will lead you into adventure every day at LEGOLAND®.

 

LEGOLAND® Holiday Village

Live like a real adventurer

LEGOLAND® Holiday VillageIf you’re looking for an amazing LEGO® experience outside the four walls of a hotel room, head to LEGOLAND® Holiday Village. There are lots of outdoor activities and plenty of places to play and stay, where you can live in a Wild West cabin, a pirate motel or an Indian tent for a more authentic experience. The wilderness barrels and cabins will give you a real taste of life on the ranch.

You’ll live among all the wild, LEGO® built animals that hide around the barrels and cabins, with wooden features and cowboy decorations. Or, maybe you’ve always dreamed of camping under the stars? If so, bed down for the night in your Indian tent and cook your own meals around the barbecue area. For those kids that dream about fighting scurvy sea dogs or training as a ninja to defeat mortal enemies, there’s the Pirates’ Inn Motel or the LEGO® NINJAGO® cabins. Embrace the pirate atmosphere with palm trees, gold coins, sabres, skulls and parrots. Your rooms are furnished with treasure maps and the main sail is your bed cover.

Or, there’s the spirit of Japan in the NINJAGO® cabins, designed with lots of LEGO® built details, such as shurikens, crystals and Master Wu’s hat. No matter where you stay, there’s lots of activities available. In LEGOLAND® Holiday Village you’ll find everything from minigolf and activity parks to bouncy castles and TV rooms, if you just want to take it easy.

 

Holiday Resort Lalandia® in Billund

Splash into some family fun

Holiday Resort Lalandia® in BillundLalandia’s the big attraction this year, with its lightning-fast Turbo Racer waterslide and the wild Adventure Tower high above the ground, Aquadome™, plus endless games and activities. So, it’s no surprise you might be interested in staying here! When you rent a holiday home at Lalandia, the whole family is guaranteed a great break in their own holiday home with free entry to Scandinavia’s largest waterpark and Monky Tonky Playland.

You’ll be able to find the perfect holiday home for you, no matter your taste or budget. The beautiful holiday homes are lovely places to stay for that genuine holiday home feeling. Here, the focus is on space and time together, with everything you’ll need from a base to explore the wonders of Lalandia.

The range of sizes mean these houses can hold either four, six or eight: perfect for all family sizes (or even two families sharing!) And why not consider a holiday home with sauna and spa pool? The holiday homes feature attractive modern decor and all the helpful features and home comforts you could think of. The holiday homes are ideally located in the area around the Lalandia tropical holiday centre.

 

Are you interested in a LEGOLAND® Billund holiday? Simply visit one of our experts in your local Thomas Cook store.

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Firing on neutral: our steps forward in sustainability

As part of our sustainability efforts, we’re committed to improving our fuel efficiency by 12% overall by 2020. We’re fully aware of our environmental impact as a business, so we’re striving to reduce our carbon emissions. We’re trying to minimise our climate impact, both at home, on holiday and during your flight. Here’s just another important step in our sustainability journey…

 

What we’ve done

From this April just gone, Thomas Cook Northern Europe is the first major tour operator in the Nordics to offset emissions from all air travel. That’s 1.5 million customers’ flights with Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia (and our other partner airlines) that are now CarbonNeutral® certified. To achieve this, we’re working with Natural Capital Partners, experts in delivering solutions for positive impact on the environment. We were thrilled to achieve zero net emissions in accordance with the CarbonNeutral Protocol, the global standard for carbon neutral programmes.

Forest in the wildernessTo offset our emissions, we’re financing projects around the world that generate renewable energy, as well as improving access to clean water in The Gambia and supporting a reforestation project in Spain. Our projects are independently verified to quality standards, such as Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and the Gold Standard. These were developed by, among others, the World Wildlife Fund and supported by more than 80 environmental organisations. We’ll continue to keep you updated!

 

Which ways do you look after you carbon footprint in your day-to-day life? What changes would you like to see us make? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Which Turkey resort is right for me?

Turkey is one of the most popular destinations for us Brits, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s something for everyone, no matter your budget, from big family adventures to relaxing couples’ breaks. So, the only tricky part is deciding which resort in Turkey to stay at. Are you a thrill-seeker at heart, or longing for a luxurious getaway? Maybe you want to introduce the kids to some traditional culture and colourful history? But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard bit. Take a look at some of our favourite places to help you decide which resort in Turkey is just right for you.

 

Antalya

SENTIDO Flora Garden, Antalya, beach view room

Luxury lovers. It’s no surprise that Antalya’s nicknamed ‘the Pearl of the Mediterranean’ with its unspoilt, sandy beaches, world class golf courses and luxury hotels.  Turkey’s the place where your money goes further, and Antalya’s the perfect example. Expect high class service, the most modern of rooms and incredible dining options at an amazing price. Most hotels feel like their own little world, as many have a stretch of private beach, a choice of bars and restaurants and dozens of pools. And, if keeping the little ones busy is your main concern, some even have their own waterparks! Travelling as a couple? Turkish hammams and sumptuous spa time awaits. Now it’s just a case of deciding which hotel…

 

Dalaman & Ӧlü Deniz

Bird's eye view of the Blue Lagoon, Ӧlü Deniz

Thrill-seekers. Dalaman, and more specifically Ӧlü Deniz, is home to the most photographed beach in all of Turkey; the stunning Blue Lagoon. The name Ӧlü Deniz literally translates as ‘dead sea’, due to the area’s calm and clear turquoise waters, making it the ideal place to relax in the sea, soaking up the warm, Mediterranean sun. However, it’s in the air where all the action takes place! The resort is famous for its incredible paragliding opportunities, where you can soar above the teardrop-shaped beach and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Lycian coast below you. If heights aren’t your bag, head out on an action-packed jeep safari and explore the fascinating history of the surrounding countryside.

 

Izmir

Ephesus, Izmir

Culture vultures. Izmir’s a place that’s bursting with culture dating back thousands of years. With Greek and Roman influences and French architecture, including a glorious pier built by none other than Monsieur Eiffel (think Paris’ most famous tower!) it’s a real cultural melting pot. These days there’s definitely a modern vibe too, with a buzzing harbour, glamorous boutiques and ocean-view eateries that wouldn’t look out of place in the south of France. Then, there’s the ancient city of Ephesus, home to the Temple of Artemis which was once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Tens of thousands of people still visit here every year…  I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a couple more!

 

Bodrum

History buffs. Considered the ‘Saint Tropez of Turkey’, Bodrum really does have it all. The lively marina is full of luxury super yachts and fancy seafood restaurants, but the ancient fort in the background is by far the most special thing about the city. It’s the 15th century Castle of St Peter, aka Bodrum Kalesi, the peninsula’s most  grand-looking landmark. Inside, Bodrum’s Museum of Underwater Archaeology has original shipwrecks with their treasures on show, that’ll interest and amaze you no matter your age. When you’re finished, wander around the remains of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus on a journey back in time to a place the Romans, Greeks and Persians once called home.

 

Still can’t decide on the perfect Turkey resort for you? Take your pick of the bunch below.

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Cook’s Club El Gouna: lagoon living and Bedouin nights

Perched on the lagoons of Egypt’s Red Sea, Cook’s Club El Gouna is the place to be this winter. Now, I don’t know about you, but hotels in hotspots like Egypt can all look the same to me, with towering white structures and glossy marble floors. That’s why it’s time to trade in the ordinary for something infinitely more cool at Cook’s Club. With leafy palms, rustic wood and brass details and muted sandy tones, the desert vibes have definitely been brought inside these four walls. Here are five things that will make it truly memorable for you…

 

Wooden gym

Cook’s Club’s love of natural materials extends far beyond just the design: an onsite wooden gym is opening soon, fully equipped with weights and machinery to keep you toned up on holiday.

 

Water sport wonderland

Its prime location on the lagoon means that it’s a year-round paradise for wind and kite surfers, as well as an excellent snorkelling hotspot if you’re more at home below the water’s surface.

 

Private pier

At the hotel, there’s a private beach and jetty that stretches into the very heart of the lagoon. Surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters, prepare to be the envy of all your Insta followers.

 

By Zeytouna Beach

Reach this beach by boat; it’ll take you around ten minutes. Then, there are two marinas to choose from. Expect glamorous yachts bobbing in the harbour and delicious, independent eateries.

 

Hiking desert dunes

No Egyptian holiday is complete without a trip to the desert, and Cook’s Club El Gouna offer a range of hiking tours to make this happen. Who said holidays were made for lazing by the pool?

 

As well as these interesting little quirks, there’s still everything you’d usually expect from a Cook’s Club holiday: premium cocktails, cool design, chilled soundtracks and, of course, the best of the world’s street food. What I would say about Cook’s Club El Gouna, though? If you’re chasing the sun this winter, it’s the perfect place to be, plus it’s an exotic getaway at just a fraction of the price you’d expect. Take a look below.

Cook’s Club El Gouna

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Thomas Cook Book Club: Sink into summer with Phoebe Locke

July’s here and we’re expecting another heatwave! Whether in your garden or lazing on the beach, sink into summer this year with this hazy, urban page-turner. Gripping from the first page to the last, there’s a twist that will knock you for six! Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. Welcome to The July Girls

 

What’s the book about?

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. 

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks, but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .

‘EXTRAORDINARY. SHOCKING, YET SUBTLE, THE MENACE DRIPS OFF EVERY PAGE . . . AN ALMOST UNBEARABLY GOOD READ’ – Caz Frear,  author of SWEET LITTLE LIES

 

Phoebe Locke meets Thomas Cook! Find out what she has to say…

1. What inspired you to write The July Girls?

The first thing that came to me was the relationship between the two sisters – they were in a short story I wrote several years ago, which I didn’t end up doing anything with. They were almost exactly as they are in the novel – Addie aged ten and Jessie seventeen, basically fending for themselves in the city – but that was the only similarity as the entire plot was different (and terrible!). But they stayed with me, those two sisters, and later, when another idea came to me – a man coming home on the night of a terrorist incident, covered in blood not belonging to him despite not being anywhere near the attack – I realised that Addie could be the perfect character to tell that story.

 

2. Why did you choose the backdrop of London for this novel?

I lived in London for ten years and always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. When I first started writing The July Girls, I’d just started looking to move back to the country town where I grew up (in Cambridgeshire) and somehow, as the novel developed, so did London’s role in the story. It ended up as a bit of an unexpected love song to the city, in some ways, which surprised me. As the novel covers a reasonably large span of time (2005-2017), it also covers a lot of the time I was there – I was living in Brixton for some of it, the same as Addie is – and some of the events which feature most strongly in my memories of my time there, for example the 2011 riots.

London can often feel quite anonymous – it took me a while to get used to people saying hello to me in the street once I got back to the countryside! – and despite its busyness, I could imagine a woman disappearing unnoticed on a dark summer’s night. But it’s also a city you can come to feel very protective and possessive of, somewhere that you can really feel you belong, and that’s very much how Addie views it even as the rest of her world starts to crumble.

 

3. What’s your favourite summer holiday destination?

I’ve just got back from two weeks in Italy – a friend was getting married there – and as part of that trip we drove along the Amalfi coast, which was absolutely stunning. And I have never eaten so well in my life! But I also love San Francisco – that’s the place I’d go back to if I could pick anywhere tomorrow.

 

4. Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, probably – both of whom have made me stay up all night feverishly reading and made me feel so deeply for their characters. Or, if we go even further back, Dick King Smith or Colin Dann – for very similar reasons! I don’t think I’ve ever been more devastated by a book than The Fox Cub Bold.

 

5. Which of your novels have you most enjoyed writing?

It’s hard to choose, actually – I would say that writing The Tall Man was the most enjoyable; it really felt like something I was doing just for me, writing a story I knew I wanted to read. The July Girls felt harder – for practical reasons, like having a deadline, but also emotionally. But writing in the first person for a whole novel, especially following Addie grow up, felt very intense in a good way. I definitely feel the closest to her of any of my characters, and that’s rewarding in quite a special way.

 

6. What’s your favourite book of all time?

To Kill A Mockingbird. I think about it all the time, along with the English teacher who taught it to me for GCSE. The Gregory Peck adaptation is one of my ultimate comfort watches. But I also have a special place in my heart for Jane Eyre, probably the book I have most often reread – I feel that Jane means something different to me every time, though the rebellious teenage me who first encountered her loved her just as much as I do now.

 

7. What type of books do you like to read on a relaxing beach holiday?

A really good headscratching mystery or something really funny. Or something set in an exciting location – I just read Tangerine by Christine Mangan in one hot afternoon on the beach and it felt suitably fitting to the book’s Tangier setting.

 

8. If you were to write a book based abroad, rather than London, where would you choose?

I’ve been harbouring the beginnings of an idea in a Vegas hotel for a while, something I’d really like to find a novel in at some point!

 

9. What book is currently at the top of your must-read list?

I’ve just received an early copy of We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker – I love his writing so I can’t wait to get stuck into that. And I’d also been saving Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams for my holiday, but in the end my suitcase was too heavy to add a hardback to so I’ll be reading it with my feet up in the garden instead.

 

Buy The July Girls

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Our favourite holidays on a budget

There was once a time where  ‘budget’ felt like a dirty word; but as I’ve got older, ‘budget’ is one of my favourite words in the dictionary! I just don’t see the point in paying above the odds for things when there are cheaper alternatives, and why should holidays be any different? Don’t be mistaken either, a ‘budget’ or ‘value’ holiday doesn’t mean there’s any compromise on quality… just take a look at these incredible hotels below.

 

Greece with Manos

Manos specialise in authentic holidays, including Cyprus, Turkey and as far afield as Goa. But my favourite Manos destination by far is Greece. With lots of quaint little islands, quiet beaches and untouched landscapes, it’s the perfect place to relax and, of course, save those all-important pounds. Manos creates that family-run feeling with a simple Bed & Breakfast or Self Catering option, so your holiday will be more affordable, plus you can save some money by arranging to cook in your apartment or dine out for less locally.

Manos holidays

 

The Canaries

Not only will the Canaries warm you with their sunshine during our winter: they’re also fantastically affordable for families and couples alike. Found around a four-hour flight away, you won’t be left shelling out for more exotic long-haul flights or the mega-luxurious likes of Mexico and Cuba. Instead you’ll find great quality hotels and beautiful beaches without breaking the bank. I’d recommend Mirador del Atlantico in Gran Canaria. I went here with my Mum a couple of years ago and enjoyed a spacious apartment, delicious All Inclusive meals and stunning views from the pool area to the curved, golden bay below. It’s a thumbs-up from me!

Holidays to the Canaries

 

Thrifty Turkey

 

Long-hailed as the value-for-money hotspot, it’s no surprise that Turkey’s made my list for the best budget holidays. Your money just goes further here: more space, more sunbeds and maybe even your own private patch of beach! I’d always recommend going All Inclusive in Turkey too. Again, it’s great value for money, plus the fact that I always want to stay hydrated, especially in the high summer months. For a budget-friendly adult paradise, check out our Sunprime Hotels. There’s a spa, gym and fitness classes in each hotel, with four fab hotels to choose from across Turkey… although I must admit, Sunprime Dogan Side Beach comes out on top for me (there’s just something about all those leafy palm trees and cosy outdoor seating areas!).

Sunprime Hotels

 

So where takes your fancy for a thrifty holiday? Do you have any money saving tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.

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This summer’s top trends

Are you still on the hunt for this summer’s getaway? Sometimes it’s hard to decide where to go, and it seems that everyone has their own opinions on each and every destination. That’s where our Holiday Report comes in. It gives us a general feeling of what you (our amazing UK holidaymakers) are thinking about where to go. So, let’s take a look at what’s on this summer’s hot list…

 

All Inclusive holidays

As a result of the weak pound, All Inclusive holidays are falling into favour more than ever before. With the price of flights, hotel, food and drink already sorted and paid for before you jet-off, there’s less to worry about in terms of an unsteady exchange rate, as you won’t need as much cash. A staggering 61% of us will go All Inclusive, for peace of mind and bottomless piña coladas, of course. I’ll cheers to that!

All Inclusive holidays

 

Turkey holidays

One trend that’s really stood out this year is the shift towards non-European destinations. Almost half (43%) of holidaymakers said they’d be more likely to travel outside of the EU compared to the last couple of years. And, nearly a whopping half of all of our package holidays are to locations that don’t have the Euro. But, why? A lot of it’s to do with the weakness of the pound against the euro and us wanting more for our money with exchange rates. This is also reflected in the popularity of Turkey… it’s now our second most popular destination!

Turkey holidays

 

North African adventures

The typical family holiday used to revolve around the pool, with many of us not leaving the comfort of the resort. But now, we’re branching out and want the kids to explore the wonders of the world! North African countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are packed with ancient history, endless activities and dramatic landscapes. So this year, maybe it’s time to swap the swimming pool for souks and the ‘del Sols’ for the desert. Want to find out more? Browse our full Holiday Report below.

Thomas Cook Holiday Report 2019

So, have these top three new trends given you some food for thought? Where would you like to jet off to this year? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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6 reasons to book you summer 2020 holiday now

Now, I know it might seem like a long time to wait, but now’s the perfect time to book next summer’s holiday. Could you tempt your loved one to plan a romantic break now? Do you want to get your family holiday sorted out in plenty of time? With an amazing range of getaways and some fantastic options to manage your money, that holiday you’re dreaming of could be sorted before you know it.

#1/ Free kids’ places

We all know that family holidays can get expensive, so what better way to save money than booking a holiday that has a free kids’ place? Next year, your kid’s holiday’s on us! You can enjoy everything you’d usually expect, like flights and transfers, plus plenty of fun and games! Find your free kids’ place below.

Find my kid’s free place

 

#2/ Something to look forward to

Family Beach Holidays

Half the excitement of a holiday is definitely the build-up to the big day! Booking in advance means you can get everything sorted in plenty of time!

#3/ I need…

Whether you’re after a serene honeymoon suite or an adjoining room to keep an eye on the kids, you’ll be able to get in there first with any special requests.

#4/ Fly your way

Smaller, regional airports tend to be everyone’s first choice, so take your pick as soon as possible. Less time in the car means you can get into the holiday spirit quickly and you won’t have to worry about the long drive home.

#5/ Pick of the bunch

Best hotels for families

It’s easy to choose your dream holiday destination, but it might feel like you need to compromise on where you stay. When you book early, you’ll be able to pick the perfect hotel without settling for second best.

#6/ Plenty of time to plan

When you book early you’ll be able to plan in lots of exciting excursions and save up for some special meals out. Get the most out of your time away by coming up with some magical ideas with your other half or little ones.

What are your tips for booking early? Have you already got next year’s holiday sorted? I’d love to hear what’s on your list of things to do.

 

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Celebrating National Piña Colada Day

It’s my favourite day of the year. No, it’s not my birthday. And no, the weather’s not unseasonably warm for 25 December. It’s actually Piña Colada Day. Although I’ve never shied away from a Pornstar Martini or a Mojito, it’s always the Piña Colada that comes out on top. It just has that way of transporting you from your back garden to a sandy Caribbean shore in a matter of sips. So, today we celebrate the rum, the coconut and the pineapple coming together in this summery concoction. Take a look at my recipe below to toast this cocktail!

2 parts coconut flavoured rum
1 part coconut cream
Pineapple juice (to taste)
Fresh pineapple chunk

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add coconut rum and coconut cream. Fill a cocktail glass of your choice with ice, before shaking and straining into the glass. Top up with your perfect amount of pineapple juice. Garnish with a piece of pineapple, and get summer sipping!

If cocktails are your thing, take a look at our Cook’s Club Hotels. Did you know, each and every hotel has a cocktail menu created by top Berlin mixologist, David Wiedemann? With premium ingredients and branded spirits, you can wave goodbye to those watery holiday mixers of the past. Plus, they’re aesthetically pleasing enough to secure a spot on your Insta feed. I mean, just take a look at these beauties…

So where do you want to be summer sipping? Do our Cook’s Club Hotels hit the spot? Let me know in the comments below!

Cook’s Club Hotels

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Best city breaks for families

As a couple, you might have strolled Dubrovnik’s ancient streets, enjoyed a candlelit meal in Rome and taken in London’s stunning skyline. But if you’re missing all the culture of a city break because you now have little ones in tow, fear not: these cities are still worth going to with kids. There’s no need to compromise on an amazing holiday just because your lifestyle’s changed. Take a look at my suggestions for family city breaks and I promise you might just reconsider another week around the kids’ pool.

 

London

London City BreaksIf you’ve never been on a city break with tiny tots before, London’s a great place to start. There’s no faffing around with different currencies or worrying about a language barrier, plus you probably already know your way around the London Underground. There’s lots of incredible free things to do here too, so between the price of a train ticket and a few meals out, you’re in for a pretty affordable long weekend. Take kids on a journey through time at the Natural History Museum, entertain them with the sights and sounds of Borough Market or head off for a picnic in Greenwich Park.

Take a look at London and some of our other UK city breaks.

UK city breaks

 

Rome

Rome City BreaksRome has a rep for being notoriously hot and busy, so hit up the city with the Colosseum during its cooler, quieter periods in autumn and spring. Enrol the little ones in the Rome Gladiator School so they can play soldiers for an afternoon, watch a traditional puppet show and help make all their wildest wishes come true at the Trevi Fountain. And when it comes to dinner time, let’s give Italy a pat on the back for its surprisingly kid-friendly food. Fresh, stone-baked pizza? Check. Messy (but delicious!) authentic spag bol? Double check. Generous helpings of world-famous gelato? I’m sold too.

Rome city breaks

 

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik City Breaks If you’re looking for a family city break without compromising on coastline, Dubrovnik’s got your name written all over it. Banje beach is just a short walk from the Old Town, so you can make light work of paddling in the sea and doing lots of sightseeing. A few days is really all you’ll need to get a taste of Croatia’s culture, but there’s no saying you can’t go island hopping, swim in salt lakes and wander through waterfalls too. You’ll be sure to wear the kids out with all that fresh air and fun, so use your spare time to stroll the real King’s Landing from Game of Thrones while they catch some Zs in the buggy.

Dubrovnik city breaks

So there you have it: three very different but equally fantastic options for a family city break. Where’s taken your fancy? Let me know in the comments below.

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Payday holidays (and living your best life for less)

Now that my bank account is looking slightly less sorry for itself, I can’t help but get excited thinking about all the things I could buy. But too often, I end up either on a massive clothes haul or splurging on expensive make-up. If you’re guilty of the same, maybe it’s time to think about ways to better spend your pay packet. Rather than material things that come and go, why not treat yourself to a holiday where you can make amazing memories that’ll last a lifetime (and for much less than you’d think!)

 

Deal appeal

Did you know we have a page completely devoted to deals? It might sound like a trick, or too good to be true, but it really isn’t (promise!) Just choose your budget and we’ll do the rest. You can find holidays below £299: you’ll have an amazing time in the sun and barely a dent in your bank balance. Maybe you’ll choose to go All Inclusive for even better value for money , or maybe you want to stay at one of our hottest hotels? Whether you’re looking for an adults-only escape or a holiday jam-packed with family fun, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Our deals page

 

Trusty Turkey

Whenever anyone asks me which destination is best value for money, I’ll always sing Turkey’s praises. I simply think it’s unmatched in terms of price, space and quality. If you head to the likes of Antalya, expect massive premium resorts with endless activities at an affordable price tag. Or, if big hotels aren’t your bag, make Olu Deniz your port of call with its glimmering Blue Lagoon and restaurant and bar-lined beachfront. The flight to Turkey’s around four hours, which means it’s not too tiresome for families with little ones. Thanks to its handy location, slap bang between Europe and Asia, you can expect great weather pretty much the whole time between April and October.

Turkey holidays

 

City breaks

Now’s the perfect time for a city break. You could be forgiven for thinking city breaks are all about wrapping up warm and wandering around Christmas markets, but in reality there’s so much more to do in summer. Think tapas and red wine on Barcelona’s sunny promenade, tram rides in Lisbon and Monaco’s glamorous marinas. My best friend has just got back from Krakow and it was a staggering 32 degrees; perfect weather for a picnic in Planty Park and strolling the grounds of Wawel Cathedral. Krakow’s also super affordable. A meal, two cocktails and a dessert to share (plus tip!) in Krakow’s Old Town set her and her boyfriend back just £30.

City breaks

 

And, as if I haven’t saved you enough cash with these suggestions, there’s also a Thomas Cook travel money rate sale on until Monday. Click the banner below to discover all the savings you can make…

*Terms and conditions apply: https://thomascookmoney.com/terms-and-conditions/

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Thomas Cook Book Club: Interview with Victoria Hislop

This summer’s HOTTEST beach read…

Still looking for your summer holiday books? This month we’re speaking to 10-million-copy selling Victoria Hislop about her latest bestseller, Those Who Are Loved. Set against the stunning backdrop of Greece, it’s the perfect book to lose yourself in this summer. It has also spent two weeks at no.1 in the bestseller chart and with 5* reviews across the board. One not to miss from your suitcase this holiday!


What’s the book about?

This powerful new novel from Victoria Hislop (author of The Island) sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life. Let’s find out a bit more…

 

Victoria Hislop meets Thomas Cook! Find out what she has to say…

What inspired you to write Those Who Are Loved? 

About a decade ago, I was taken to see the Temple of Poseidon just south of Athens and from a distance I saw an island – the island of Makronisos – and was intrigued by it.  It turned out to be a former island prison – where communist prisoners were sent after the civil war – and I knew immediately that this would be the focal point of my next novel.  I discovered that women were also sent there, which cemented my resolve to bring this place more into the open with my writing.

 

Why did you choose the German occupation of Greece as the destination for Those Who Are Loved?

The novel covers the period from the 1930s right through the Nazi occupation of Greece (1941-44) and into the civil war (which took place from 1946-49) and beyond, almost to the present day.  This is a very unknown part of modern Greek history and most of my readers have been surprised by the depth of suffering in Greece during that time (particularly 1941-49), and what people had to do in order to survive.  As often happens in my novels, characters are confronted by real decisions and conflict – and many of them are women (who are the least written about people in non-fiction history books).

 

What’s your favourite summer holiday destination?

Crete – I love Crete because, although it is an island, it is like a small country with so much variety and richness of landscape.  It has mountains, plateaux, beaches and clear blue sea!  And the food is fantastic too –fresh ingredients, lots of modern and imaginative cuisine and some really adventurous chefs now.  There are masses of fresh fish but, more importantly for me as a vegetarian, extensive uses of beans and pulses – so I always eat too much!

 

Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

If there is one writer, it has to be Emily Brontë who of course only wrote one novel – but what a hugely influential novel it was!  I first read Wuthering Heights when I was thirteen and it was one of the first adult books I really enjoyed and it marked a break for me from children’s/young adult literature.  Its significance for me was that place, environment and even weather can play a really important role in a story – certainly the houses (Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange) are like characters in the novel.  And this has influenced me a lot – to show how a place influences behaviour and creates atmosphere.

 

Which of your novels have you most enjoyed writing?

I enjoyed writing Those Who Are Loved hugely – mostly because I was learning so much about Greek history as I went along.  This made it an immensely satisfying book to write and I am almost a different person as a result.

 

What’s your favourite book of all time?

One of them is definitely Wuthering Heights (as above), but another is Nutshell by Ian McEwan – it’s a work of genius.

 

What type of books do you like to read on a relaxing beach holiday?

I love to read books that are relevant to the country I am in.  I was on the beach recently in Colombia and the only author that seemed right at that moment was Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the time of Cholera – it was set only a few kilometres from where I was lying on the sand and was totally page-turning, too.

 

If you were to write a book based abroad again, where would you choose?

Definitely Greece!  It’s an unending source of inspiration for me.  And I am already planning the next story.

 

What book is currently at the top of your must-read list?

I am a judge for the Sunday Times Young Writers Award (famously won by Sally Rooney a couple of years ago) so I have forty books to read this summer, and they are all at the top of my list!  I am excited to read them all.

The post Thomas Cook Book Club: Interview with Victoria Hislop appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Which bikini should I wear on holiday?

I go to Ibiza next week, and shopping for holiday bikinis has taken up a surprising amount of time. But what makes it so hard? I think it’s because there are so many different colours and styles to choose from. There’s a lot to think about. Will this bikini look good with a tan? Will it stay in fashion? And how on earth can I avoid those tan lines?  Well, worry no more. Take a look below to find out about which bikini is right for you and where you could be wearing it!

 

Effortless one piece

For cool summer vibes, Cook’s Club is the place to be, so this one piece swimsuit will fit right in. The orange and cream striped design screams summer and the casual nature of a one piece is perfect for effortless beach chic. Pale or peachy shades are the best for bringing out a tan too, so be sure to make a beeline for pastel colours, especially towards the end of your holiday. You could even pair it with a cute denim skirt or a pair of wide leg trousers to take it from day to night!

 

Cool crochet

Inject some bohemian spirit into your summer wardrobe with a crochet bikini and cover up. After Coachella this year, I’ve seen tassels and crochet just about everywhere, and this style is the perfect partner for a stay at Casa Cook. Casa Cook Hotels showcase natural materials throughout their rooms as well as rugged furniture, so a pic in this outfit in one of their swim-up rooms is sure to get those Instagram likes rolling in.

 

Classic black bandeau

When it comes to shopping for a classic bikini, the black bandeau can’t be beaten. Why, you ask? For bikinis (and clothes in general) I always reach for darker tones as they’re flattering on everyone and always stay in fashion. And although white bikinis can look great, stains from sticky sun cream can soon see them yellowing. A strapless top is always a winner too. All I want to be left with from holiday is amazing memories, not those pesky tan lines!

 

Tie-dye dream

If you want to bring some of the 90s fashion revival on your holiday, a tie-dye bikini is a stunning (yet subtle) way of doing so. I love a good print and tie-dye is no exception: I’m especially a fan of this pretty blue number above that was worn at one of our SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts. Pair with a cool pair of denim cut offs for a timeless summer look that we’ve seen generations before, but somehow always looks fresh and new.

 

So, what will you be wearing this summer around the pool? Which style most suits you? Let me know in the comments below!

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Want to be at Wimbledon 2019?

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. Wimbledon’s on the horizon, which means long, sunny days on the tennis courts for the circuit’s stars, and hopefully long, sunny days on Henman Hill (enjoying strawberries and cream) for some of us! Although I’ve only ever watched it through a screen, I think Wimbledon’s one of my favourite sporting events. There’s just something about all those famous faces, crisp tennis whites and some good old fashioned British pride.

 

If you were thinking about experiencing the live atmosphere one day, you might be surprised to know that there’s still chance to watch the likes of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic this year. Over at Thomas Cook Sport, there are still plenty of tickets going to catch some of the year’s biggest games. There are all kinds of incredible extras too. At the Courtside restaurant you can enjoy a delicious three-course lunch menu, or a traditional afternoon tea if that’s more up your street. Or there’s the exclusive Champions Room restaurant, boasting the best in service, fine dining and a complimentary bar.

 

Book Wimbledon today

 

Let’s take a look at some key upcoming dates you could grab a seat at!

Qualifying begins 24 June
The Draw 28 June
Pre-event Media Conferences 29 June – 30 June
Order of Play released 30 June
The Championships commences 1 July
Centre Court – Day 1 1 July
Centre Court – Day 2 2 July
Centre Court – Day 3 3 July
Centre Court – Day 4 4 July
Centre Court – Day 5 5 July
Centre Court – Day 6 6 July
Centre Court – Day 7 8 July
Centre Court – Day 8 9 July
Centre Court – Day 9 10 July
Centre Court – Day 10 11 July
Centre Court – Day 11 12 July
Centre Court – Day 12 (Ladies Final) 13 July
Centre Court – Day 13 (Mens Final) 14 July

 

So, do you reckon you could swap cheering from the living room to rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous this year? What’s your favourite thing about Wimbledon? Let me know in the comments below.

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A weekend away in Reykjavik

A city break to Reykjavik makes the perfect choice for a weekend away. You’ll lose yourself in landscapes which are totally different to those of home: swap rolling green hills for black volcanic mountains, blue geothermal pools and dramatic glaciers. Here’s my breakdown of how to spend 48hrs here. Wrap up warm, put your exploring hat on and get ready for the trip of a lifetime…

 

Saturday

Firstly, I’d recommend you hop on the earliest flight possible to really make the most of your weekend in Iceland’s capital. You want to ease into your Reykjavik city break in style, so make your first port of call the iconic Blue Lagoon. Here, you can enjoy a host of spa treatments and relax in mineral-rich, milky blue water. Heated by geothermal activity, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy morning of travelling.

After a few hours bathing in the open Icelandic air, head to Perlan. You’ll be there within the hour, and this museum’s an amazing way to spend an afternoon; getting  an insight into Iceland’s landscapes without  having to be outside. As the aural activity of the Northern Lights isn’t the strongest in June, take this chance to watch Áróra, the first ever 8K northern lights planetarium show. There’s also an exhibition on glaciers and ice caves, which looks into the impact of global warming too.

Reykjavik

Sunday

After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to delve into Iceland’s more rugged side. Why not take a day trip along the coastline to discover bubbling geysers and towering waterfalls? With a tour guide leading, you can relax and soak up all the sights at your leisure, snapping pics along the way. Or, you could take to the seas for a few hours of whale watching on a luxurious yacht. Complete with sea life talks, you’ll learn all about the deep blue while spotting some of nature’s most incredible creatures.

Or maybe your idea of a good time is sampling some of Iceland’s finest tipples and winding down before you head back to work on Monday? If that’s the case, the Eimverk Distillery is the place for you. Showcasing spirits made from 100% Icelandic barley, it’s traditional in a very different sense! From finding out their behind-the-scenes processes to sampling fragrant gin and whiskey, it’s the perfect way to round-off your trip: plus you can get your hands on some souvenirs to bring home.

Reykjavik City Breaks

So there’s my rough guide to a weekend in Iceland. What do you think of my top picks? Is there anywhere you think I should add to my 48hr itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

The post A weekend away in Reykjavik appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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A weekend away in Reykjavik

A city break to Reykjavik makes the perfect choice for a weekend away. You’ll lose yourself in landscapes which are totally different to those of home: swap rolling green hills for black volcanic mountains, blue geothermal pools and dramatic glaciers. Here’s my breakdown of how to spend 48hrs here. Wrap up warm, put your exploring hat on and get ready for the trip of a lifetime…

 

Saturday

Firstly, I’d recommend you hop on the earliest flight possible to really make the most of your weekend in Iceland’s capital. You want to ease into your Reykjavik city break in style, so make your first port of call the iconic Blue Lagoon. Here, you can enjoy a host of spa treatments and relax in mineral-rich, milky blue water. Heated by geothermal activity, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy morning of travelling.

After a few hours bathing in the open Icelandic air, head to Perlan. You’ll be there within the hour, and this museum’s an amazing way to spend an afternoon; getting  an insight into Iceland’s landscapes without  having to be outside. As the aural activity of the Northern Lights isn’t the strongest in June, take this chance to watch Áróra, the first ever 8K northern lights planetarium show. There’s also an exhibition on glaciers and ice caves, which looks into the impact of global warming too.

Reykjavik

Sunday

After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to delve into Iceland’s more rugged side. Why not take a day trip along the coastline to discover bubbling geysers and towering waterfalls? With a tour guide leading, you can relax and soak up all the sights at your leisure, snapping pics along the way. Or, you could take to the seas for a few hours of whale watching on a luxurious yacht. Complete with sea life talks, you’ll learn all about the deep blue while spotting some of nature’s most incredible creatures.

Or maybe your idea of a good time is sampling some of Iceland’s finest tipples and winding down before you head back to work on Monday? If that’s the case, the Eimverk Distillery is the place for you. Showcasing spirits made from 100% Icelandic barley, it’s traditional in a very different sense! From finding out their behind-the-scenes processes to sampling fragrant gin and whiskey, it’s the perfect way to round-off your trip: plus you can get your hands on some souvenirs to bring home.

Reykjavik City Breaks

So there’s my rough guide to a weekend in Iceland. What do you think of my top picks? Is there anywhere you think I should add to my 48hr itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

The post A weekend away in Reykjavik appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Maldives-Holiday

A weekend away in Reykjavik

A city break to Reykjavik makes the perfect choice for a weekend away. You’ll lose yourself in landscapes which are totally different to those of home: swap rolling green hills for black volcanic mountains, blue geothermal pools and dramatic glaciers. Here’s my breakdown of how to spend 48hrs here. Wrap up warm, put your exploring hat on and get ready for the trip of a lifetime…

 

Saturday

Firstly, I’d recommend you hop on the earliest flight possible to really make the most of your weekend in Iceland’s capital. You want to ease into your Reykjavik city break in style, so make your first port of call the iconic Blue Lagoon. Here, you can enjoy a host of spa treatments and relax in mineral-rich, milky blue water. Heated by geothermal activity, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy morning of travelling.

After a few hours bathing in the open Icelandic air, head to Perlan. You’ll be there within the hour, and this museum’s an amazing way to spend an afternoon; getting  an insight into Iceland’s landscapes without  having to be outside. As the aural activity of the Northern Lights isn’t the strongest in June, take this chance to watch Áróra, the first ever 8K northern lights planetarium show. There’s also an exhibition on glaciers and ice caves, which looks into the impact of global warming too.

Sunday

After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to delve into Iceland’s more rugged side. Why not take a day trip along the coastline to discover bubbling geysers and towering waterfalls? With a tour guide leading, you can relax and soak up all the sights at your leisure, snapping pics along the way. Or, you could take to the seas for a few hours of whale watching on a luxurious yacht. Complete with sea life talks, you’ll learn all about the deep blue while spotting some of nature’s most incredible creatures.

Or maybe your idea of a good time is sampling some of Iceland’s finest tipples and winding down before you head back to work on Monday? If that’s the case, the Eimverk Distillery is the place for you. Showcasing spirits made from 100% Icelandic barley, it’s traditional in a very different sense! From finding out their behind-the-scenes processes to sampling fragrant gin and whiskey, it’s the perfect way to round-off your trip: plus you can get your hands on some souvenirs to bring home.

Reykjavik City Breaks

So there’s my rough guide to a weekend in Iceland. What do you think of my top picks? Is there anywhere you think I should add to my 48hr itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

The post A weekend away in Reykjavik appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Where is Love Island 2019 filmed and how can you find your own piece of paradise?

If you haven’t made the cut for this year’s series of Love Island or you’re already happily loved-up, you can still get that tropical holiday vibe without the drama and gossip. This year, just like previous years, Love Island 2019 is filmed on the beautiful island of Majorca. And, I’m sure we’ve all fantasised about entering the doors of that stunning villa, dedicated to a a summer of fun. But if it’s a hotel stay you’re looking for, I’ve got the coolest places along the Majorcan coast, whether you’re with your other half or hoping for a bit of downtime with your best mates. Either way, you can get a taste for that villa life in one of these gems.

Cook’s Club Palma Beach

Best for beach vibes: If you live for weekends spent in cool cocktail bars and at chilled House events, I can guarantee that Cook’s Club Palma Beach will be a bit of you. Last September, I spent a week in the Cook’s Club in Hersonissos and it suited me down to the ground. With vegan treats, mixologist-made cocktails, minimal beats and DJs at night, everything you need for the holiday of a lifetime is in one place. But if you do want to adventure into nearby Palma, swanky rooftop bars and tapas spots by the sea await.

Cook’s Club Palma Beach

 

BH Mallorca

Best for groups of friends: If you want to take your party experience up a level, head to BH Mallorca for pool parties, club nights and an onsite waterpark. It’s found just 350m from the Magaluf strip for all those long, summer nights with your best friends. There are plenty of places to chill out by the pool and with KISS FM DJs hosting, you’ll be in the holiday mood all day, every day.

BH Mallorca

 

Hotel Astoria Playa

Best for couples: Found the other side of the island in a quieter resort called Alcudia, adults-only Hotel Astoria Playa is the place to be for some one-on-one time with your other half. The minimalist white design gives the hotel a fresh feel, and it’s just a short walk from Alcudia’s stunning Blue Flag beach (anyone would forgive you for thinking you were in the Caribbean!) There are cabanas to chill on by the pool and the historic Old Town right on your doorstep, too.

Hotel Astoria Playa

So which of these hotels would you couple up with? What do you look for in a holiday with your friends or partner? Let me know in the comments below.

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