Adventure, Europe

Here we snow – Crystal Ski deals

Growing up in Scotland snow became a plaything.

Like the time when I threw a snowball at a driving car (don’t).

Only for the motorist to then turn up at the door (karma).

And, no, my Mum didn’t buy my story that I was throwing it at a pal across the road and the car got in the way.

Or in my first year at university when Myself and Nutty Nigel (the clue is in the name) built a giant snowball.

Fun and games in the Pyrenees

And blocked the entrance to the door of our block of flats.

Replace headmaster, angry parent with Halls of Residence manager.

And then there was the time during a week away with my then-girlfriend and her pals…

When I careened into her on the nursery slopes and soon became an ex.

But this is just for the cameras

Which is why with one brief return to the slopes with the (still) First Mrs M Soll Mates with I have hung up my skis.

Choose from these countries

The start of the year is fine enough time for booking your ski holiday.

Flying by the seat of my pants

With Crystal Ski offering €100 off your March deals.

Including: seven nights Andorra, departing March 15, staying at the 4* Hotel Canaro, Soldeu/El Tarter. Half-board. From €775pps.

Austria: Depart on March 7, stay at the 3* Haus Edelweiss, Zel Am See, B&B from €579pps.

Italy: Depart on March 15. Stay at the 3* Hotel Martin, Sauze D’oiux, half-board, from €795pp.

France: Depart on March 21: Stay. At the 3* Plagne Lauze Apartments, La Plagne. S/C from €975pps (four share).

From €375pps. Visit

So I’ll maybe leave the Franz Klammer (I’m showing my age) and Lindsey Vonn stuff to my old pal and multi award-winning ski writer Murphski and Co.


Black Friday feeling

Everyday I write the book. as Elvis Costello once wrote, but his was all about love, ours is about what we love… holidays.

Every day I bring you something special… Give us this Day on Sunday, Cruiseday Tuesday, Hungry and Thursday.

And usually Flyday Friday, but this week I can’t and wouldn’t want to ignore Black Friday.

So here are a few offers doing the rounds:

In the air

America is where it all started so this will probably put you in the mood to go Stateside.

And luckily for us Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus are offering €100 off return flights to North America.

To any of their 12 destinations. Offer ends midnight, December 3.

But it’s sun you’re after… and Emirates has plenty of that to offer with return flights from Dublin.

With my old favourite the Maldives just one of the destinations with mouthwatering discounts.

They have seven nights all-inclusive at the 5* You & Me Cocoon Maldives from €2149pp.

You’ll get a saving of up to €875 on your stay.

And a complimentary room upgrade from Manta Villa to Dolphin Villa.

Valid for Travel on 2-4 and 9-11 June. Book by 4 December.

Hit the beaches

Photo by Suraphat Nuea-on on

Our friends at TUI have all our bases covered

They have a range of holidays from long to short and family.

Fancy Thailand? Seven nights B&B at the 3*+ Chanalai Garden Resort, Kata Beach from €1309pps for March 30.

Or our old faithful Lanzarote, seven nights S/C at the 3*+ Cinco Plaza, Puerto del Carmen, for a family 2+1 from €1469. For mid-term, February 17.

Photo by Emils Plinte on

For a taste of the Canaries visit

TUI also has savings with its Black Friday codes: €100 off when you spend €1000 code name BF100.

Or €125 off when you spend €2000 with code name BF125. And €150 when you spend €3000 with code name BF150.

Hit the seas

Look after your princess with Princess Cruises

Which comes with the magic key, the OceanMedallion on either Crown Princess or Regal Princess.

Try the bumper 17-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruise on Crown.

It calls at Seville (Cadiz), Valletta (and you know what I think about Malta…), Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini and Cartagena.

Photo by ines bahr on

Prices from €1399 for two sharing an inside stateroom and €219pp for third and fourth guests. Departs November 6.

Among nine round-trip voyages, out of Southampton, across Northern Europe and the Med.

There are six Regal cruises, 12-night round-Britain sailings, out of Southampton, Fares start at €1209pp.

Hit the slopes

From Austria to Andorra and other letters in the alphabet too with Crystal Ski

They are offering €50pp off if you book before December 3.

And seeing we mentioned Austria: a wee Christmas trip, seven nights in the 2* Manzano Apartments, Pas de la Casa s/c, €279pp (four sharing).

Austria is a treat…

And Andorra, January 26, B&B stay in the 3* Haus Edelweiss, Zell Am See for seven nights from €685pp.

The offer runs until Tuesday, December 3.

I’ll catch breath and bring you more offers but it’s Thanksgiving tonight with the Americans at in Dublin.



Holiday Snaps… save on the slopes

The oul’ bobble hat has come out this week which means one of two things.

One, that I need to get out to the sun. Check… I’m off to Tobago next month.

Two, that I need to get back out on the slopes… put that on the to do list.

Particularly as there are some great offers out there.

Walking on snow

Such as savings of €100 per booking for the ski season with Crystal. €100* per booking on selected accommodations.

Having walked the mountains in Austria’s Tirol and just last month I got a sense that the snows were falling gently heralding the ski season to come.

The life and the Soll of the party

Crystal offers a seven-night stay in the 3* Haus Edelweiss, Zell Am See on a B&B basis from €735pp. Depart December 21.

While seven nights B&B at the 2* Haus Prichmoos in Soll is from €615pp. And it’s a resort that I know well having fallen down its slopes…

While in Austria our guide Reini took us over the mountains and across to Germany and also pointed out Italy which was maybe a couple of days away.

They’ll be the Pyrenees then

Maybe ski it? Crystal has seven nights at the 3* Residence Planibel Apartments, La Thuile, self-catering from €365pp (four share). Depart January 17.

Or seven nights B&B at the 3* Hotel Clotes, Sauze D’oulx from €635pp.

Andorra’s box of tricks

Andorra is clearly an old favourite and Crystal are right on board with the tiny country in the Pyrenees.

Seven nights at the 3* Hotel Katmandou, Pas De La Case on a half-board basis for seven nights from €519pp. Depart December 22.

Again I’ve been walking in the Pyrenees… don’t judge me, there’s no snow to ski in the summer or the autumn but I love them and it was on a Lourdes and Pyrenees trip…

And for more on this delightful region… And

All offers include flights from Dublin. Visit


Holiday Snaps

Start spreading the news… New York is more than just the city, although what a city! So start spreading out to New York State and start to discover its many charms.

Our friends at New York State who are never strangers and regularly come to see us in Dublin were in town again to share their wares.

NYS Partners represents Long Island, Greater Niagara, Buffalo, Wine, Water and Wonders NYS Tour and Dutchess County,

Bandanaman and Long Island are in more than nodding terms… it was my first billet in New York, aged just 17, when I stayed with my cousins.

Water water everywhere: Photo by Chait Goli on

It may surprise some that Long Island isn’t in New York but it’s not one of the five boroughs: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island.

But who couldn’t be entranced by the Hamptons mansions on Long Island, the setting for The Great Gatsby and still hang-out for the rich and famous…

New York State has water, and what water with Niagara, wine, and Buffalo with its wings and that’s the nourishment I need.

And if you want the last word on it… then New York State came up with the logo I heart NY. Insert the heart emoji yourself. You don’t expect me to do everything for you!


Tee ladies

The R&A, the guardians of golf, except for in the US and Mexico (go, figure) were at pains up in Royal Portrush on Sunday to promote the fact that the golf season now moves on.

From the Open Golf Championship… and that the Solheim Cup is on the horizon for Europe and America’s best golfers at Gleneagles.

Maybe you’re already making a late pitch for Catriona Matthew’s European team or you just want a bit of recreational golf. Either way this package at the world’s Best Golf Hotel (World Golf Awards 2018) will be right up your fairway.

Enjoy an overnight stay and two days’ golf at the 5* Dromoland Castle. Arrive on October 20 for a two-course lunch at the Fig Tree restaurant followed by an afternoon Golf Clinic with Head PGA pro Ian Kearney at the Dromoland Golf Academy. You’ll dine at night at the AA Restaurant of the Year, the Earl of Thomond Restaurant.

Don’t get too relaxed though. After breakfast the next day there’s an 18-hole Ladies competition, teeing off from 9am-10.30am followed by the prize-giving.

From €295pps. If you’ve got time you can avail of the self-guided woodland walks around the 450 acres estate and fun use of the Leisure Centre and swimming pool.

Visit–break or call (061) 346 7007.

She sells Seychelles

This week I hope to meet my cousins over here for a family get-together when the conversation will quickly turn to golf… their great passion. And foreign shores.

A favourite holiday destination of my Uncle and Aunt was the Seychelles and my cuzes could sell Seychelles on the sea shore.

And so can Tropical Sky. Particularly at these prices.

Try savings of up to €1700 per person on seven night stays at the 5* Banyan Tree, Seychelles for travel completed before September 30. The holiday is now €3189pp.

Each villa is furnished in a traditional Creole style and comes with a private pool, indoor sunken bath and the option of in-villa dining or BBQ.

Based on two sharing on a half-board basis and including flights from Dublin and transfers. Visit or call (01) 664 9999.

Sphinx she knows better

Photo by Pixabay on

And she’s usually (no, make that always) right. She told me that if she wanted my opinion she’d give it to me.

I know she makes a great Mum but I reckon my Scary One would have made a great Mummy in Egypt too.

She did though pass up on a trip out there a few years ago, though in retrospect I think she was wise to hold out for the real Egyptology over the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Luxury Gold has two itineraries in Egypt in 2020. Each journey includes a luxurious voyage along the Nile aboard the deluxe all-suite River Tosca where you can relax on the sun deck, the pool or the shaded cabana.

Book before August 31 and save up to €1,000 per couple on departures between January and April.

Elegance of the Nile is 12 days with up to €1,000 saving per couple while Elegance of Egypt is seven days with a saving of up to €500 per couple. Visit or call 1800 98 989 98.

All roads lead to Rhodes

Here’s a welcome: Rhodes. Photo by Jean van der Meulen on

You’ve left it late again. Don’t worry there are some great late deals to pick up.

TUI has Dublin to Rhodes, seven nights’ self-catering at the 2*+ Kassandra Apartment at Ialyssos from €449pps on August 28.

Or my old favourite for a late and good budget trip, Bulgaria. TUI has seven nights’ B&B on August 29 from €489pps.

Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Get your skis on

Are you having a laugh?

Well, no. The sun may be splitting the heavens but the skiers among us never stop dreaming of a white one.

Crystal Ski Holidays has two for one lift passes on select winter holidays to Andorra, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland. With deposits starting from €150pp.

Depart on December 21 and stay in the 3* Borsat IV Apartments, Tignes on a self-catering basis for seven nights from €705pp (four sharing).

Depart on December 21, stay in the 3* Hotel L’Aigulle Rouge, Les Arcs on a half-board basis for seven nights from €879pp.

I’ll come back to New Year later… it would be ridiculous to think of that yet. I’ll leave it a week.

Center of everything

The €233m forest resort that is Center Parcs Longford Forest had a soft opening yesterday.

Special offers from €399 for three or four nights in a two-bedroom lodge off-peak. Visit for a full range of rates.