Introducing Gary Manners, your Canal St travel Expert.Online booking has changed the industry tremendously, but the personal touch can always provide added confidence together with many added value aspects to your trip.
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Discover one of Mexico’s best All-inclusive holidays Paradisus, Playa Del Carmen
It’s a surprise when a Jet Ski appears in the swimming pool. It is even more of a surprise when it is pulling a flying man on a jet-powered hover board. Chins tilted towards the sun, we watch as he flies into the air, arching his back and twirling around gracefully before diving into the water. He emerges to a round of applause, the water draining from his chunky boots. The Jet Ski loops round to pick up the woman who is supplying the background music, belting out A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay on her saxophone under the cloudless blue sky. It is a bizarre sight, but pretty cool.
We’ve been encouraged to sit on the edge of the pool for this impromptu performance by the entertainment team and I watch everyone’s stunned faces as this fearless guy impresses us with his aerial acrobatic skills before surfing his way around the perimeter, creating a bow wave that ripples over our legs.
The team at Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Esmeralda has mastered the art of a luxury.
There are planned experiences from 9am to 10pm for kids – and a few surprises thrown in for good measure. One morning you might find yourself covered in bubbles at the family foam party; or watching your youngest save a princess who has been kidnapped by pirates during a treasure hunt – the booty being a big treasure chest overflowing with sweets.
There’s a pool for every mood, from a quiet area with comfy day beds and chill-out music close to the beach; to the shallow pool with its giant pirate ship and slides. The latter is the perfect setting for the weekly pool party, where you’ll find the resident DJ on the decks, and dancers.
The five-star service here is spot-on and the interior design of the hotel is extraordinary. Gigantic lampshades and chandeliers light-up lofty roof spaces, mammoth statues flow through the entrance and water features run like canals through the hotel, some home to koi carp and large terrapins occasionally making their way out of the water to bask on rocks in the sunlight.
The resort is big and split into two – the family-focused La Esmeralda and the adults-only La Perla, separated by an incredible choice of restaurants and bars in the middle. At the Brazilian Rodízio, we turn our card green on the table and a waiter brings round a new skewer of meat every few minutes, carving it at the table onto our plate if it takes our fancy. From melt-in-the mouth steak to chorizo sausages, the kids get involved in this barbecue and, one by one, we drop out of this meat-eating competition until we all agree it is time to turn the card in the middle red.
Why not try Mole, the contemporary Mexican restaurant, where our little ones light up at the sight of a pudding served with billowing dry ice, laughing as their hands try to cup the clouds floating over the table. At Vento, the Mediterranean restaurant with hints of the Middle East, oversized red, white and black lampshades dangle overhead and huge eyes gaze down at us from the modern art on the walls, a mixture of graphics, mirrors and tiles creating a giant face. Curved plates offer us mezes, beef in plum sauce and baklava; and the showmanship continues as the waiter pours hot chai tea from a teapot over a sugary dessert that melts before our eyes.
Some of the 14 restaurants and 16 bars here are adults-only, such as the Michelin-star Passion by Martin Berasategui. These child-free dining experiences are aimed at La Perla guests; or parents staying at La Esmeralda hoping to sneak off for a romantic evening while the children enjoy a supervised movie night or pyjama party.
There are six restaurants for us to enjoy together , plus Olio, an Italian restaurant exclusive to Paradisus Concierge guests. One of the most memorable dining experiences we have is a seat at the Hibachi table at Bana, the Asian fusion, teppanyaki and sushi restaurant. We watch as the chef cooks in front of us with gusto, juggling with kitchen utensils before chopping and cracking ingredients – like a raw egg – mid-air onto the sizzling grill. Every one of the posh restaurants we dine in welcomes us all, offering us simple meals if the fancy cuisine doesn’t tickle your taste buds.
After dinner each night, we head to North Avenue Bar or Gabi Club to see what’s on. We watch a fantastic Michael Jackson tribute show; a Divas’ Night featuring hits from Adele and Beyoncé; a circus show; and performances from acts such as The Jersey Boys and Il Divo. After nine nights at the resort, we are still discovering new things and on our last night we follow signs to The Lion King show in the theatre. I expect a cosy performance space and am astounded to find a theatre the size of an aircraft hangar where a full production of the show is about to start. We take our seats and the music springs to life, the ‘animals’ running and darting through the aisles towards the stage.
With so many surprises – from jet-powered aerial acrobatics to full-on West End-style shows – we could have easily stayed for two weeks and are reluctant to head home. The size of the resort ensures you’re always discovering something new, from a little coffee shop hidden away to a Tribute show. We don’t often agree on much , but Paradisus has made an impression and we all want to come back. We’ve found our Mexican paradise.
Gary has a small selection of travel ideas for you below;
New York JFK : New York is the ultimate romantic winter break and Thomas Cook Airlines is offering return flights for travel from Manchester from January – March 2019. Book between 29th November and 9th December to bag some unmissable deals.
Prague – Known for its beautiful Old Town with colourful baroque buildings and Gothic churches, Prague is a wonderful city to explore in winter, just wrap up warm. He is offering 3 nights bed and breakfast, including flights, at the 3-star Hotel Gloria on 7th January.
Gary knows the city well.
Reykjavik – With beautiful frosted landscapes and the chance to see the northern lights, Reykjavik is an incredible winter holiday destination and Gary is offering a 4-night stay at the 4T Exeter Hotel on a bed & breakfast basis, including flights departing from Manchester Airport on 2nd January 2019 and transfers.
Portugal – If the freezing temperatures in the UK are getting you down, brighten your mood with a trip to the Algarve, 7 nights self-catering in the 3 star Vilamoura Golf Apartments, including flights from Manchester on 6th January.
Marbella – With 6 hours of sunshine per day, it’s a great time of year to explore beautiful Marbella. Jet2holidays is offering 7 nights bed and breakfast, including flights, at the 3-star Aparthotel Marbella from Manchester on 6th January.
Paphos – Get the whole family together for a fun-filled trip to Paphos with Jet2Villas is offering 7 nights self-catering at Aphrodite Hills Holiday Residences for 6 people with flights from Manchester on 12th January.
Lanzarote – Bask in the sunshine of Lanzarote this Christmas with a 7-night holiday. Fly from Manchester on 20th December and stay at the 3T TBH Tropical Island on a self-catering basis. This price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights and transfers.
Gran Canaria – For a Christmas the family will never forget, jet off to beautiful Gran Canaria. TUI is offering a 7-night all-inclusive holiday for two adults and two children. Fly from Manchester on 20th December and stay at the 4T TUI FAMILY LIFE Bahia Feliz Orquidea
Which Maldives island is perfect for you?
Our expert Gary Manners has all the answers..
This week I wanted to give you some ideas of a wonderful destination i have visited many times and here are a few new Islands to get you in the “Holiday Mood” take a look and enjoy….
When you picture your ultimate Indian Ocean escape, you want it to be the way you’ve always imagined it. You may want to dive off your water villa deck into turquoise waters, sip cocktails on a sandy beach or explore the ocean on a snorkel safari. Here’s just a taste of what’s in store in the Maldives…
Best for foodies - Kandolhu Maldives
“Enjoy culinary delights from around the world at 5* Kandolhu Maldives. Indulge at the 4 à la carte restaurants for some of the tastiest food in the Maldives. Choose from Banzai, with a focus on Japanese delicacies, fresh seafood at Sea Grill, or Mediterranean cuisine at Olive. The Market offers all day dining with both international dishes and local Maldivian specialities.”
Best for divers - Biyadhoo
“Natural, rustic and one of the friendliest resorts in the Maldives, 3* Biyadhoo is a haven for divers, with a wide range of top dive sites nearby to choose from. Its renowned dive school has excellent instructors to advise you on which of the local dive sites are best suited to your ability. If you’re not a diver but would like to try your hand at snorkelling, the spectacular house reef offers the opportunity to get up-close to reef sharks, rays and turtles.”
Best for choice - Meeru Island Resort & Spa
A tropical paradise of palm trees, white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, 4* Meeru Island Resort & Spa has one of the largest ranges facilities in the Maldives. Not content with offering you as much or as little as you’d like to do, Meeru also has a fantastic choice when it comes to accommodation; from simply furnished Garden Rooms to stylish Jacuzzi Water Villas.”
Best for cocktail connoisseurs - Kuramathi Maldives
“At the far end of 4* Kuramathi Maldives, Laguna Bar provides the best spot on the island for an unforgettable sundowner with chilled vibes from the resident DJ. Sample the tasty creations of Fung Bar’s talented mixologists. Make sure you catch the sunset, moonlight or twinkling stars at the Dhoni bar that has incredible panoramic views across the ocean
Best for couples - Veligandu Island
“If it is privacy and intimacy you’re looking for, 4* Veligandu Island Resort & Spa is a perfect couple’s hideaway. In a peaceful, secluded setting, you’re encouraged to adopt the “no news, no shoes” bare-foot policy. For added romance after a stroll on the island’s glorious sandbank, dine under the stars at Madivaru restaurant before retreating back to your thatched roof villa.”
Best for families - Kurumba Maldives
“Head to 5* Kurumba for a perfect family holiday in the Maldives, only a short 10 minute speedboat from the airport. There are plenty of activities to keep yourself and the kids busy. Head to the spa, learn to dive, take on the resort’s watersports, or challenge each other to a game of tennis! There’s also a fantastic kids club that runs from 9am to 6pm.”
Best for water villas - Diamonds Athuruga
“Home to some of the most stylish water villas in the Maldives, 4.5* Diamonds Athuruga is one of the Indian Ocean’s ultra-contemporary resorts. The Italian-style water villas offer something a little different to other Maldives islands. With huge, open wooden decks built on stilts over the water, choose between sunset or sunrise views. Make the most of your experience and dine in the overwater à la carte restaurant Aqua.“
Nevis a Caribbean Paradise.
Read more about this hideaway..
recently visited this wonderful Caribbean Island, having visited many of the
larger Islands during my 25 years in Travel and found this a breath of fresh
air. If you need any information or recommendations, please let me know. I
loved this island and called it my “Caribbean Hideaway”
travelled over on the local ferry from the terminal at St Kitts, and it took
about 45 minutes to get over. You can get back on the fast jet boat if you have
is a very interesting place to visit. Lots of shops, and plenty of
Georgian-style buildings still remain. There’s a charming lack of modernisation
of Charlestown, and local efforts are underway to preserve the original
my time in Nevis I got to visit the following hotels staying at the Four
Seasons, a Luxury 5 Star Hotel with wonderful facilities, sea views and
different room types.
thing I did notice during touring Nevis which was quite amazing was the
difference between the beaches on the North and Western parts of the islands. I
found them much superior, less crowded and often empty compared to the beaches
of South and Eastern parts, and of course clean and free to be used by
around the Island is quite easy with quiet roads and very little in the way of
traffic jams or road rage.
Beach on the north coast is well maintained and surrounded by palm trees. It’s
largely frequented by guests at Nisbet Beach Resort Hotel but everyone is
welcome. Its gentle ocean breezes make it a popular place to spend a relaxing
day. On the day I visited a group of cruise customers who had just arrived.
Located in 30 lush acres, this is the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn
located on a beach. Its magnificent lawns lead down to the soft sands and the
sea. The setting is beautiful and elegant.
are 38 luxurious lemon-coloured cottages, each surrounded by almost a quarter
acre of land to ensure peace and privacy. Dining is highly prized with no less
than three Caribbean restaurants serving gourmet food with a local flavour and
a global influence. Thursday nights feature popular beachside barbecues and a
local steel band.
pampering is also on the menu and a visit to the Palms Spa is a perfect
complement to your stay at this relaxed hotel. Facilities include three
restaurants, two bars, freshwater pool, tennis court, snorkelling, boutique,
croquet and complimentary laundry.
beaches were stunning, clean and my favourite ones. On the northern side of the
island, this beach gets its name from the nearby village of Newcastle. It’s
mostly covered with soft, yellow sand and is a nice spot to relax. It’s also a
great place to visit on a Saturday and enjoy the atmosphere as the fishermen
sell their fresh catches that day. Be sure to sample the local BBQ… wonderful!
Beach isn’t far from the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club. Herbert’s Beach is
renowned for its many reefs teeming with spectacular marine life. Naturally
this makes it a magnet for snorkellers. The beach is close to where the
Atlantic Ocean begins on the windward side of the island.
is a very elegant and romantic venue for a wedding. You can choose from
picturesque churches, historic plantations, soft, sandy beaches or beautiful
tropical gardens. All will make your special day a memorable occasion. I will
give you all the help you need in arranging a perfect Wedding or Honeymoon and
will guide you through the simple formalities.
some of the things to do whilst visiting Nevis include touring the Heritage
Trail, turtle monitoring and swimming. Golf facilities on Nevis are world class
with the main course being the Robert Trent Jones II 18-hole, par 71 course at
the Four Seasons Resort.
waters around Nevis are teeming with game fish like tuna, barracuda, sailfish,
blue marlin, wahoo and mahi mahi. You can see a lot cycling in Nevis. Remember
the island is only 36 square miles in size and there is a 20 mile main road
that runs round it.
in all a wonderful “Caribbean Hideaway”! I can thoroughly recommend
both the historical and cultural interest of the island along with the superb
North and West coast beaches and hotels.
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