Countries, Deals, Ireland

Dreamy Dromoland Castle Hotel

It’s how we all travel in our sleep, and dreamy Dromoland Castle Hotel in romantic Co. Clare, Ireland is the world’s best hotel for Zzzzs.

Now what we look for most in a hotel particularly if we’ve got jet lag but also if we’re just jaded is a good night’s sleep.

And for us the first thing we do when we get into our rooms is check the roll.

Whether it’s a one, two or three roll with, of course, a triple roll the best.

Meaning you can swivel three times before falling out of the bed or land on your partner.

All of which is underpinned by leading mattress maker King Koil.

Rolled King Koil

Let’s hit the hay: The King Koil mattresses

And Rolled King Koil as we call it will make you a merry rolled soul, all right.

So what is about King Koil that Tripadvisor reviewers fell for at dreamy Dromoland Castle Hotel?

Well, it would seem to be their deep sumptuous mattress pillow top.

Supportive, with breathable fabric and pressure-relieving memory foam for healthy comfort.

And here’s the science… no less than 2,000 independent pocket springs support the body and minimise partner disturbance.

While the back support and mattress edge protection, with re-inforced border encasement, ensure edge-to-edge sleeping comfort without roll-off.

King-sized offer

Red carpet treatment: The foyer

And best of all the King Koil Dromoland Castle bed comes with an added incentive.

Of a free room upgrade at Clare’s pride and joy with every purchase.

This exclusive promotion is in-store from 1 October to 31 December.

Now Drumoland have a range of offers at hand but here’s one we fell on to give Thanksgiving for for you and your partner

Best seats: In the house

With the Thanksgiving experience for €1379 offering:

•Two nights luxurious accommodation including full Irish breakfast each morning.

•Special Thanksgiving welcome amenity from Executive Head Chef, David McCann.

•Thanksgiving dinner on the Thursday night, showcasing the best of Irish produce and with an Irish twist.

•Estate activity of choice which includes genealogy or country pursuits (falconry or archery or clay target shooting).

•Or golf on the championship course.

Sleep well

Strings to your bow: And learn archery

And because we’re more, much more than a travel blog, more a template for life.

We bring you tips for a better night’s sleep.

And that means gentle exercise… steady, that’s before you get into bed!

Decaffeinating, we’re always told, helps. So go easy on the booze, coffee, fizzy drinks and chocolate.

Keep regular sleep patterns and wind down before going to bed.

Queen of the Castle: Or king, at Drumoland

Create an atmosphere by keeping the room dark, with black-out curtains or blinds.

Avoid blue light, like computer and phone screens, and keep the room cool.

While the old adage rings true that to get through life get a strong bed and good pair of shoes.

As you spend half your life in one and the other half on the others.

With mattresses to be changed every eight years.


Countries, Deals, Europe, Sport

Qatar va voom

For most of us football’s winter World Cup was our introduction to this Gulf state so if that whetted your appetite why not Qatar va voom out for the motor racing?

The desert, where you can drive without checking for speed cameras and it’s camel humps rather than speed bumps.

Fly high; With Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Holidays are offering a package for the petrolheads’ festival from October 5-14.

Rev it up: The Qatar Grand Prix

Including the golden ticket of the Grand Prix on October 8.

The Geneva International Motor Show – Qatar which boasts extended test drives to automotive activities in the desert and Expo 23.

And all for €2,121 for three nights from October 5-8 for two at the Al Liwan Suites.

Classics fan

Old meets new: Classic cars in Doha

Now it won’t have escaped your notice that this is Geneva in Qatar and Experience and the most influential motor show is premiering outside Switzerland for the first time.

Where you’ll get to witness 32 of the world’s most renowned marquees showcasing a ground-breaking array of new cars.

And classic automobiles… the classics.

Cream of the crop: Vintage cars

Running from 2pm-10pm daily and 10am-10pm on Saturday.

The exquisite display also highlights the automotive jewels from the Qatar Auto Museum, the Gulf Qatari Classic Cars Association, and Qatari & Arabian private collections.

Off riad

Happy as a sand boy: In the desert


Of course as much as we love to look at the swankiest cars even better is to get behind the wheel.

And in Qatar that means off road, or off riad as we like to call it.

What GIMS Qatar calls where the desert meets the sea.

From 7 October you can sign up for the authentic and luxurious festival camp at Sealine.

Camel of you: This is not my first camel rodeo

And its abundance of exciting and indulging pursuits.

That’s exclusive car display, offroad circuit driving, sand boarding, camel riding, dune buggies, stunt shows and live performances.

So if you’re a petrolhead then you’ll want to Qatar va voom out to the Gulf state for a car-azy old trip.



Countries, Deals, Europe

Revive a Espana

There’s nothing to raise the blood pressure more than golf so our suggestion is go wellness and Revive A Espana.

And if you’re with Mark Twain in thinking it’s a good walk wasted then lose the golf bit and indulge in the wellness part of the resort.

Camiral Golf & Wellness between Girona and Barcelona all about the pamper with its next wellness retreat,.

The five-day ‘Strengthen & Revive’ programme, which will take place between Monday 20th and Friday 24th November.

Well of talent

Bounce, bounce: Put your back into it

Alongside general medical consultant and integrative health expert Dr Saskia Kloppenburg.

Ably backed up by Mireia Cervera, an advisor to Barcelona restaurants Flax & Kale.

Our Catalan chums tell us that Mireia has worked closely alongside Camiral’s executive chef David Vives to devise the Wellness Centre’s nutritional programmes.

While even the University of Girona’s Professor of Wellbeing and Happiness Edgar Tarres chipping in alongside executive coach Nieves Rodriguez.

And if Pilates is your thing then instructor, Rocio Gil will put you through your paces.

Tackling goals holistically

The next course: Camiral

Jenna will present a workshop around the link between nutrition and inflammation.

While Saskia Kloppenburg will address internal inflammatory processes with one-to-one consultations and supervised intravenous infusions.

Edgar Tarrés will lead mindfulness and meditation sessions that focus on rest and breathwork.

Workshop by Nieves Rodríguez will advise on managing stress and Rocio Gill’s Pilates sessions will retune body and mind.

The immunity-boosting menu, making the most of the resort’s home-grown produce, across the five days has been drawn up by Mireia Cervera.

She will support and adapt menus for participants during the retreat.

Get some cryotherapy

The cryo game: Cryotherapy

Núria Camins’ therapists and trainers will offer treatments and classes.

So sign up for everything from cryotherapy, photo biomodulation and oxygen chamber therapy to massages and yoga.

While you get to stretch your legs through the expansive, forest-fringed landscape to the Cap de Creus peninsula.

will take things to another level. Balancing group activity with personal downtime will be factored into the programme as rest and switching off are to be embraced too.

Camiral our cup of tea

Brisk walk: At Camiral

You’ll stay at the five-star, 138-bedroom Hotel Camiral, designed by Lazaro Rosa-Violán.

If added privacy and seclusion are sought then look to the seven Camiral Suites that were unveiled in September 2022.

Designed by the Bryan O’Sullivan Studio (whose work also includes suites at Claridge’s and The Connaught) these suites are directly connected to it.

These suites allow for exercise within and come equipped with accessories such as yoga mats and gym balls.

All’s wellness that ends wellness

Lie back: And think of Catalonia

The all-inclusive ‘Strengthen & Revive’ Immunity Retreat is priced from €3,019 staying in a Superior Deluxe Room to €3,644 in a Junior Suite.

Also included in what we call Revive A Espana are the designated retreat activities and treatments.

All meals and access to Wellness Centre Spa facilities.

Room upgrades and extra treatments and consultations are available at a supplementary cost.

Flight transfers from Barcelona and Girona airports are not included but can be arranged upon requested.



Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Ireland Iceland Island Fireland

The financial joke was that the difference was one letter and six months, but we’re not the only ones linking Ireland Iceland Island Fireland.

Although it has taken our friends at Celebrity Cruises to make it a cruise route.

Celebrity is offering 11 nights for €1,684pp, on Apex, departing Southampton for Cork (Cobh) on June 27.

Love me tender: Celebrity Apex

And taking in the pride of Iceland, Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureyri and making a detour to Kirkwall (Orkney Islands).

They are also offering up to 75% second guest, saving included.

Up to $200 to spend onboard and free parking in Southampton.

Navigating the waters

Now these may be uncharted waters for even the most experienced of cruisers.

But one of the most famous explorers of them all sailed this way 1,500 years ago.

Yes, only the first Westerner to reach America.

No, not that one, Christopher Columbus.

But St Brendan the Navigator who called Iceland the Land of the Smiths on account of the volcanoes.

Now Smithsland would, of course, have been a very different place.

But they’re right about something, there is a light that never goes out in the land of Ice and Fire… and the Northern Lights.

On-board luxury

Ship shape: Celebrity Bandanaman

You’ll enjoy five days at sea when hopefully you’ll get to see sharks just like Bren did back in the 6th century.

So you’ll be able to relax at the cabanas, disconnect at the art gallery.

Play Jenga on the rooftop garden, dance away at the club or pamper up at the salon.

And among the entertainment and culinary spaces we have happy memories of Eden from Celebrity Edge off Florida.

So follow in the footsteps of one of the great seaman, St Brendan the Navigator.

And make this your summer cruise next year… Ireland Iceland Island Fireland

Countries, Deals, Europe

This blog on South Tirol may contain hay

My old uni pal Toothy was crippled by hay fever but also debt and signed up for my farm crew so wherever he is today a warning… this blog on South Tirol may contain hay.

The truth is that many of us are martyrs to hay fever while the rest love the smell of the farm and forest in our nostrils.

If that’s you then hey, we’ve brought the outdoors indoors.

Or more accurately Adler Lodge Ritten in and their wellness log cabins in South Tyrol in Italy have.

Of course there’s a forest path up to the two appealing saunas set under the canopy of Swiss stone pine and evergreen fir.

So that’s a Finnish sauna and hay sauna.

One of the highlights of your stay will undoubtedly be the Aufguss.

That is a unique multisensory sauna ritual that is adapted to your personal needs by the lodge’s expert Saunameister.

Now I’m no stranger to saunas or Tirol (on the horizon in Austria) so am intrigued the hay sauna, which uses the power of dried flowers and native Alpine herbs to naturally calm your mind and spirit.

Wood you believe it? The South Tirol forests

Afterwards, saunter into the relaxation pavilion where you can doze, daydream, or read a book.

And this space is where you’ll find yoga classes each morning.

Within the main lodge, you’ll find a world of restorative energies with the ADLER Revive rituals that focus on inner balance.

These include energising massages, nutritious skin packs that combine clay and algae, a South Tyrol hay bath.

Beaming with excitement: And more wood

Or a ventilation ritual with natural aromas and a body peel as part of a traditional Turkish Bath ritual.

And yes I’m a slave to all of these, from Osterreich (that’s Austria to you and me) to Istanbul in Turkiye (Turkey). 

Float weightlessly in water in the lodge’s saltwater Infinity Panorama Pool.

So you don’t have to go to the Red Sea for the experience, though, do, no, really do. 

Adler Lodge Ritten is the ideal setting then to witness the majestic Dolomite Mountains and expansive slopes as you dip or swim.

The benefits of AI

Wined down: You’ll have earned it

Your all-inclusive benefit will allow you to fully switch off from your daily routine.

And experience seasonally inspired daily activities and locally-sourced, traditional, cuisine to whet your appetite.

The very attractive and cost-effective all-inclusive arrangement at Adler Lodge Ritten includes breakfast, lunch, and a gourmet dinner.

Along with drinks such as juices, aperitifs, wines, and cocktails which are all available throughout the day.

Refuel: And the most exotic cuisine

With the aromas of the forest, the pure water of the Dolomites.

And an expert wellness team on hand to guide you, it’s time to breathe in nature and reclaim time.

So, yes, we’ve committed to this disclaimer… this blog on South Tirol may contain hay.

No sweat, or maybe a lot of sweat but it’s all worth it.

And it’ll set you back from €1,820 for a junior suite for two for the random first weekend of October.




Countries, Deals, Europe

Wild Women’s Wellgarve

I’ve gatecrashed these gigs so bring it on… Wild Women’s Wellgarve.

Well, it was Biarritz and a thalassotherapy hotel, and I was the only bloke among a gaggle of women (it was ever thus).

And there I was getting covered with mosses and gels, doucheing down… and drinking kale.

All of which proved to myself that I’m as comfortable on a girly getaway as I am on a boys’ booze bus.

Now over to our friends at Cassidy Travel, who we’ve been sharing all their boys’ weeks away sporting packages (girls are allowed too).

And they have given us the nod here on women’s tribes.

That’s their words so don’t shoot the messenger!

Cassidy have flagged up Wild & Free in one of our favourite European coastal resorts, Algarve.

As a women’s retreat to give you time and space to connect with your authentic self, gather with your tribe and tune into feminine wisdom.

Stretching out: In the Algarve

It’s hosted by Sarah Shannon and Wild & Free takes you on a journey.

She promises that she’ll help you find ways to listen to your inner wild and allow yourself to be free.

And you’ll enjoy morning meditations and rituals, guided journaling and yoga classes suitable for all levels.

And workshops, women’s circles, a cacao ceremony, sound healing and other special activities.

All included in the price.

There will also be plenty of free time to enjoy the surrounding beaches and stunning retreat venues on your Wild Women’s Wellgarve trip.

And, of course, I’m a past master of Algarve sporting, fitness and wellness at the Campus, Quinta do Lago

And don’t you just know the first of these retreats is on a very special anniversary.

Although The Pampered One is already being swooped away… to Firenze.

Wild & Free September Retreat

Exercise is fun: In the Algarve

They have a five-night package with all meals and activities included on September 17 at Loule in the Portuguese holiday getaway.

With deluxe private & standard private rooms from €2179pp.

Twin sharing rooms en-suite from €1599pp.

Flights and transfers are not included but can be added at time of booking.

Wild & Free October Retreat

Sporty spice: You’re welcome

Or enjoy Autumn in the Algarve with all meals and activities included, arriving in Loule on October 26 for a five-night package.

With deluxe private & standard private rooms from €2179pp

Twin Sharing Rooms En Suite from €1599pp.

And again you can add on your flights and transfers on booking.


Countries, Deals, South America

We’re all Patagonian

If we are what we wear then we’re all Patagonian…

The outdoor clothing brand you can wear to give the illusion that you’re a Bear Grylls adventurer.

For the real Patagonia we rely, as we so often do when it comes to big adventures, on our friends at Hayes & Jarvis.

Patagonia, of course, is the variegated 400,000sq mile tip of South America, covering Argentina and Chile.

Where you can do everything from hiking up glaciers.

Journeying deep into Torres del Paine National Park and spotting orcas just off the coast.

Passport check

Horses for courses: The Patagonia plains

And so with our own personalised H&J passport holder and document eager to get out of the drawer…

Then our interest is piqued by H&J’s prompt for their Patagonian options.

And they remind us that we can combine an Antarctic Cruise with a Patagonian adventure.

Or add a few city breaks across Chile and Argentina.

As you can see it’s a £4,999pp 12-day trip of a lifetime.

Two to tango

Sway to go: Learn to tango

Well, it does take two to tango and that’s where you’ll start in the tango capital, Buenos Aires.

Where you’ll guided through your steps before rewarding yourself with Argentinian wine.

A rock and a cool place: On your H&J trip

Buenos Aires is a delight and you can take in the city’s architecture and cathedral on a tour of the capital.

Before you visit Plaza de Mayo and the river port of San Telmo.

Now seeing you’re in South America you’ll want to fly south like the birds.

Beautiful South

Splash of colour: Ushuaia

And H&J will oblige, taking you to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

With its fascinating mix of museums and harbours.

And the Tierra del Fuego National Park which you can explore on foot.

Penguin suits on: And a special day out

They’ll ppppick up the pace and set sail next to Martillo Island.

For a rare close/up of the native Magellan and Gentoo penguin colonies, albatrosses and other birdlife.

Before setting out for El Calafate for a full day at the National Park Los Glaciares which is mint.

With its fantastic walking trails and cave paintings.

Puerto Natales is noted for its Biosphere Reserve.

The UNESCO National Park Torres del Paine, which boasts stunning waterfalls, mirror image lakes and herds of guanacos.

Chillin’ in Chile

Walk this way: In your Patagonia gear

And because Patagonia is a two-country experience you’ll want to get chillin’ in Chile.

Santiago will be our final stop wher you’ll have the opportunity to explore Chile’s capital city.

With a trip of the university and central markets.

Before you cross the Mapocho River to San Cristobal Hill for a stunning view over Santiago and the Andes.

And finish your tour as you began with some more wine tasting.

And a few glasses of the best Chilean wine and we’re all Patagonian.




Countries, Deals, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

How happy on the mountains

How happy on the mountains are those of us who head for the hills in the summer.

As Corfu burns we are reminded of the searing heat of our honeymoon there back in the day (behave!)

And the locals tell you that the Greeks would flee the heat of Athens and Thessaloniki for the mountains in the summer.

Murphski: Ski specialist Catherine et moi in Isere

It is an exodus played out across the world and history.

For now we’ll leave our Greek friends then to head for Mount Olympus where we guess the Gods will look after them.

And we will set our sights on an old new favourite nearer our British and Irish heartland we know better on our ski travels… Isere.

Cool Isère

Peak form: Isere in the summer

Vaujany in Isère, the French Alps (18°C): Of course we’ve packed away the ski jackets and salopetttes and boots of the winter.

Where you can see the village too stripped of its winter clothing.

And the free ‘Petit Train’ trundles around the resort allowing guests and visitors to hop on and off.

Vaujany boasts charming beginner climbing trails.

An aquatic centre home to a children’s area; kids shows in the centre of the village.

And the opportunity to learn how to ride (and groom) a pony.

Think petanque 

Happy as a.. sand boy

This summer, Le Collet, a multi-activity family area at 1,700 metres, has re-opened after a refurb.

There are tennis courts, pony trekking, archery ranges, a bike park, petanque bowling green and more.

Scooters, bikes and skateboards can be used on the new pump track.

Brand new water games have been designed.

And shady picnic areas are now provided for parents and children to relax.

Flat de resistance

Luxury: Vaujany

Stay at Résidence Les Épinettes**** in a spacious, modern apartment with Summer France in the centre of Vaujany.

You’ll be just minutes from the main cable car.

Guests can make the most of the fully equipped kitchenette, large sitting room with television, balcony or terrace.

Plus, Ski France also offers flexible arrivals and stays.

A week’s stay, from 4 August 2023, costs from £521 total for up to four people sharing a self-catered cabin studio. Accommodation only, flights / ferry, transfers, food and activities extra.



Countries, Deals, Europe, Sport

Formula for excess

Of course the motor racing is just a diversion… the appeal of the grand prix is that it is a formula for excess.

And a chance to celebrity watch.

Bum’s rush: Lewis Hamilton

And as he’s our man then catch up with our fellow party reveller from Barbados’s Crop Over, Lewis Hamilton.

Petrolheads will, of course, dispute who is the GOAT and who the best fans are.

Take it as red

Fast cars: Monza

But it’s undeniable that the Ferrari’s red livery and prancing horse livery are the most recognisable symbols of the sport.

And that they transcend the sport as anybody who has been through airports around the world and tarried in their shops.

Particularly in Italy but the pick-up is global.

FI’s reach continues to grow and its fan base too, sparked by Netflix’s Drive to Survive.

And served on Irish shores by sports travel providers supreme Cassidy Travel.

Monza bonzer

Tifosi does it: In front of the fans

They are offering a range of F1 packages including the chance to become un tifoso ar Monza on August 31.

And eat, drink and be motory as the fast cars whizz by you on the sport’s fastest lap at 350km.

It’s a four-night package which includes a hotel and F1 ticket.

Which means a three-day grandstand ticket.

All for €839pp, based on two people sharing.

Take a pit stop

Fly the flag: Italian F1 fans

Flights are not included but can be added when purchasing with the package.

With the nearest airport Milan Linate, only 13kms away.

Though having enjoyed the charms of nearby Bergamo.

I’d advise Italianophiles to take a detour there before the racing with Ryanair flying into Milan Bergamo, 35kms away.

The Italians take their motor racing very seriously and their image.

They call it la bella fugura and you can be sure that no matter Max Verstappen’s procession to the flag all eyes will be on the Party Set.

And you can be one of them too… it’s a formula for excess.

Across the circuits

Abu Dhabi do: The Gulf

Cassidy, of course, are across all the circuits so look out too for their packages.

For Abu Dhabi, Montreal, Canada this season and Austria for next year.

America, Countries, Deals

Connecting the Twain and Stowe dots

You can only be in Connecticut if you’re connecting the Twain and Stowe dots which helpfully isn’t difficult as they were good neighbours.

And lucky for us literary tourists that they were as visitors to the Constitution State can immerse themselves in Mark and Harriet in the one trip.

And more fortunate still that their hood, Nook Farm, is just a 15 mile drive down from Hartford Bradley International Airport.

Which we all know has the best connections with Aer Lingus flying New England lovers (that’ll be us) to Bradley with the added bonus of pre-clearance.

And coming in at €483.90 for a sample October round trip.

In the pink: Mark Twain’s house

Now Mark Twain, as well as giving us Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and championing bushy moustaches, is a figurehead of travel and travel writers.

And we could all do worse than follow this sage advice…

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

“And many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

Although even the most travelled of us would do well.

To match his adventures of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

A proud Connecticuter

If the walls could talk: The Twain interior

The long and short of it: Stowe and Lincoln

Harriet Beecher Stowe was well ensconced, having moved into Nook Farm in 1871.

And going on to live here for the last 23 years of her life.

By then abolitionist Harriet was firmly embedded as the most famous woman in America.

On the back of her pioneering book Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

All of which prompted Abraham Lincoln to greet her in Washington DC in 1862 thus: ‘So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.’

Student life: With Handsome Dan at Yale

Look out for that reference in a framed photo near the foot of the staircase in the Stowe House.

And seeing you’ll be in Hartford then you’ll be sure to take the Riverwalk.

And dwell a while at the statue of Lincoln and Stowe built by Bruno Lucchesi in 2006.

Of course we’re studied in the state and Yale and New Haven following last year’s drift through New England (Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut).

But alas not visiting Hartford on our Amtrak tour.

We’ll be back, though, again, connecting the Twain and Stowe dots.