Hotel of the month: September

There’s something strange about Calcot Manor, near Tetbury, in Gloucestershire. It doesn’t really look like a top-class hotel – but it just keeps on winning awards. There’s no fuss, but everything runs with smooth efficiency. And although it welcomes children, somehow you never seem to see them. More correctly known as “Calcot Manor Hotel and […]

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Hotels join the great wi-fi fiddle

A reader has contacted us to complain about the sky-high internet access charges imposed by American hotels. He very recently stayed at the Westin, on New York’s Times Square – which is not exactly a cheap hotel in the first place – and was blithely told at check-in that wi-fi would cost him an eye-watering […]

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Cruise views: Scottish islands get a fare deal

We’ve been a little unkind to Fred Olsen Cruises lately – partly because we don’t like the changes they are making to two of their ships. So we are especially pleased to report a really welcome Fred Olsen innovation: a keenly-priced cruise around the Scottish islands. Cruises in this area are notoriously expensive, and until […]

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Cruise views: The cheap way to see Japan

If you have already cruised around Britain, round Africa, round South America, and perhaps even round Australia, where next? Princess Cruises (www.princess.com) have one answer: they have added a number of sailings around Japan to their worldwide cruise programme. But are these voyages right for Western travellers? A report in “USA Today” makes interesting reading. […]

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Cruise views: How to reverse late booking trend

  Late bookings are the bane of the travel industry in general and cruise lines in particular. Nobody can blame customers for hanging on until the last minute, in the hope of picking up a holiday bargain, but having to cut prices to the bone and remain unsure whether they will sell the remaining seats, […]

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The travelling toolbox in your credit card holder

We wonder whether it might be considered bad form to keep a bottle opener in your pocket. But how about if it also served as ruler, screwdriver, spanner, letter opener, cell phone stand, box opener and can opener? And was only the size of a credit card? We think you’d be tempted. We don’t review […]

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Getting away from it all – on your own

Growing numbers of holidaymakers are choosing solitary cottage stays this summer, according to statistics published by holidaycottages.co.uk., the property lettings providers. Why the increase? “With the rise in ‘mindfulness’ and digital detoxes as ways to combat the ever increasing buzz and stress of everyday life, it should come as no surprise that growing numbers of […]

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Cruise views: Excursions get a makeover

Some passengers have now been on so many cruises that shore excursions hold little attraction for them: they’ve done all the ones they fancy. And that’s a problem for cruise lines, because shore excursions are major money-spinners. But Celebrity Cruises have had the bright idea of organising “Signature Event Sailings”, a series of exclusive cruises […]

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Cruise views: How friendly Fred became unfriendly

Last-minute holiday cancellations are always upsetting for people – particularly if the cancellation is for medical reasons. But it is important to remember that the cancellation is a nuisance to the holiday company too ­– whether they be a hotel, a holiday cottage, an airline….or a cruise line. They may be lucky and resell the […]

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Cruise views: A poisoned chalice?

You’ve heard of Murder Mystery hotel weekends, now here comes a similarly-themed cruise. And it sounds like something straight out of a James Bond novel. Apparently Fred Olsen senior, chairman of the cruise company that bears his name, and the Duchess of Northumberland have discovered that they share a bizarre interest in – of all […]

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