five-star-hotel

Hotel Savings You Should Be Making

The cost of staying at a hotel can often be confusing, with you often having to pay more than the published rates because of some fee or another. You may think you’re getting great value upon booking only to realise that you’ll also have to shell out some money to pay for Wi-Fi, hot water and a resort fee—even when you didn’t even take a wee dip in the pool!

What are these hidden hotel fees and how can you save more on your hotel accommodation? We’ve come up with some great ways to cut costs, including tips on getting the best deals.

Book using discount vouchers.

One way to save on room rates is to use discount codes when booking. Hotels and third-party booking companies usually offer two-night packages on hotel accommodation, letting you pay less than the hotel’s published rate. Some hotels may even offer airport transfers as part of the package, so make sure you check those out and call the hotel beforehand to make sure which services and amenities are included. A great place to get voucher codes at Hotels.com is here: http://www.totaldiscounts.co.uk/shop/hotels-com/

Apply association discounts.

Discounts for membership in associations do not typically show up on booking engines, so you will need to book directly with the hotel and inquire about membership discounts. Aside from associations, credit card companies may also have partnerships or pricing agreements with certain hotels, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Use travel rewards points.

Aside from special pricing, credit card companies may also offer points in exchange for discounts in hotels. Some companies even give away a couple of night’s stay just for signing up. Earn enough points and you can redeem an all-in two-week-long vacation in a top destination! Indeed, using credit card points for free hotel accommodation is one of, if not the best deal the travel industry has ever come up with, so you’d better take advantage of it whenever you can.

Ask about parking fees.

Some hotel chains offer free parking, while others don’t even if you park your car yourself. If you’re bringing your car, make sure to call ahead and ask about parking fees. Fees are usually counted on a per-day basis, so if you’ll be staying for more than three days, it would be more ideal to go for a hotel that offers free parking.

Venture outside the hotel for meals.

Menu prices in hotel restaurants (and room service) may make you cringe, so to save money and immerse yourself in local culture at the same time, explore what the town has to offer. You may find a quaint café or a restaurant favoured by the locals that you’ll like, not only budget-wise but taste-wise as well. The same goes for water and coffee—while hotels may offer bottles of water or instant coffee and tea as complimentary items, the things you may find in the fridge come at a price. Pro tip: bring your own treats, or head on over to a nearby café for your daily dose of caffeine.

Other fees

Resort fees, Wi-Fi, laundry service, late checkout—these are just some of the “hidden fees” you should be aware of when staying at a hotel. Never assume you’ll only need to pay what’s on your reservation. Call to inquire about these fees so you won’t get bill-shock when it’s time to leave.

 

quality-yacht

Where to Find the Best Quality Yachts in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is a boat lover’s paradise where many good deals on quality yachts can be found. While many local brokers can help you out with your search of the best quality yachts in the Caribbean, you should also have some basic knowledge of yachts and where you want to sail to. If you are just starting to look for a yacht for a vacation, here are some things to consider.

Type of boat

The type of boat to look for would depend on the kind of boating you want to do. Will you be doing a lot of tropical island hopping, deep-sea fishing, long-distance offshore sailing or coastal day-sailing? Will you be living aboard? How many people will be on-board? For a romantic getaway, a 38- to 42-foot sailboat would be good for a couple and won’t cost as much as larger yachts.

If you want to cruise along the Caribbean at a laid-back pace, a sailboat can be just the thing, but if you value speed, you’ll get to more places in a shorter amount of time with a power boat.

New or used?

This would depend on your budget—new boats of course will cost more than pre-owned. With used boats, you’ll have more room to do some negotiating with the price; however as with buying used cars, you should be aware of some downsides to pre-owned boats. Some engines may need an overhaul, the interiors may seem dated and require some refurbishing or the mast may be in dire need of repair. Factor in the costs of repair into the price to see if the boat is worth your money—if it isn’t, move on—there are plenty of other options in the used boat market.

Boat structure

Like cars, boats have various specs and materials used. Many boats are built with carbon fibre, some with fibreglass, while others can be made of wood and steel. Sailboats can be a catamaran or a monohull. Power boats can be a fishing boat or a trawler, and vary depending on the number of engines.

Before buying a boat, read up on these various types as well as the benefits of each. For instance, catamarans are boats with two hulls, making them more stable in water. However, they may cost more in terms of building, maintenance and docking because they’re wider and therefore have a larger surface area compared with monohull boats.

After your research, make a list of features that you want according to your needs. This will help you have a clear idea of the boat you’re looking for and narrow down your search.

Where to look

Online listings are great resources for quality yachts for sale in the Caribbean. Of course, nothing beats seeing boats for sale and talking to dealers and brokers in person, and for this you would have to make your way to see the boat yourself. You can also visit boat shows where you can go aboard to check the interiors and cockpit. Make sure you bring a knowledgeable friend along!

You can also head over to marinas to get a better idea of the different types of boats. If the owner of a yacht you fancy is on board, you can also ask for tips on features and what to look for. Kind owners would let you check out the cockpit and the galley to help you refine what you want to have in your own boat. So do your research and be prepared to shop around!

yacht

Hotels with Boat Moorings in the Med

Boating along the Mediterranean is a dream vacation for lovers of the sea, especially during April, when the Med sailing season really kicks off and the climate is still cool. While it can be fun just cruising along the sparkling waters, you may want to relax on land as well and take advantage of what the Balearic to the Greek islands have to offer.

For this list we’ve come up with some of the best villas in the Mediterranean that have their own boat moorings in addition to top-notch facilities. If you’re planning for a waterside holiday of luxury on the Med, make sure you check these out!

Sailor’s Retreat

This villa is located on the island of Lefkada on the Geni Peninsula in Greece. It features four bedrooms and can accommodate up to eight people. The interiors are filled with gorgeous Italian marble furnishings with oak accents. The al fresco terrace lets you have a breath-taking view of the Mediterranean and the villa’s private swimming pool where you can relax tired muscles. Sailor’s Retreat has its own private jetty where you can moor your boat and it also has a boat hire service. Guests can do some wakeboarding and water-skiing or explore the local tavernas.

The Beach House

Another gorgeous villa in Lefkada, The Beach House sleeps up to 10 people in its five bedrooms. The villa has its own boat mooring, pool and direct beach access. Guests can watch the neighbouring Greek islands take on a warm glow as the sun rises, or watch while the sky takes on the orange-purple hue of sunset. Guests can also try their hand at cooking Mediterranean food in the villa’s built-in wood burning oven.

Al Olivar

Boat owners and water sport lovers will enjoy staying at Al Olivar, located in Meganisi in Greece. The villa’s living area features wall-length sliding glass doors, making sure you have an unencumbered view of the Ionian islands. For the best dining experience, take your meals at the al fresco dining area. Guests can take to the water in a kayak, cruise around in a sailboat or simply relax in the villa’s private pool.

Alitheia

Alitheia is the shining jewel on the northeast coast of Corfu in Greece. It features direct sea access (and stunning views of course), a private boat hire if you’d like to give yours a break and an infinity pool. The open plan design of the villa gives a feeling of airy, modern luxury, complemented by the minimalist white colour. Alitheia has five bedrooms that can sleep 14 people and four shower areas. You can even avail of the services of a private chef. Guests can explore the nearby town of Kassiopi and have a taste of authentic Greek cuisine in traditional restaurants.

Spirit of the Sea

The Spirit of the Sea resides in the Balearic Islands, specifically in the bay of San Antonio in Menorca. The villa is the perfect place to relax in after a whole day’s exploration of the local fishing villages. The villa has five bedrooms and features a roof terrace with its own kitchen and dining area, so you can enjoy a barbecue with family and friends while admiring the view of the harbour. For a romantic evening, have your dinner set up at a vine-covered pergola.

boat mooring uk

The Best Places to Moor Your Boat in the UK

There are thousands of mooring sites in the UK, from simple spots along a riverbank or canal to berths in large, fully serviced marinas. Most of these mooring sites are managed by boat clubs or private companies and it can be difficult to choose where to moor your boat. You will really have to shop around to see which mooring service will meet your needs and be able to accommodate your boat properly.

To help you along, we’ve got some information and tips on moorings as wells as things to consider when looking for the best places to moor your boat in the UK.

Pricing

Moorings in the UK are often priced according to the popularity of the area as well as the length of the boat. There are various pricing options, but generally the more popular the area is—for example in the south where the price of land is highest—the greater the demand and the more you’ll have to pay for mooring. Areas that offer special services and amenities such as on-site showers also require higher mooring fees.

Location

When choosing a place to moor your boat, decide how far you want to travel to your other inland destinations. Some boat owners don’t mind making a few hours of travel, while others prefer easy access so they can hop aboard whenever they want. For instance, marinas and other offline moorings usually have transport links as well as car parking. However, if you want to be moored in a tranquil location away from a busy marina, then a mooring in a remote boat yard may be ideal.

You can also ask local farmers who allow boats to be moored along their land. This costs less than offline moorings but have few facilities, if any. If you plan on exploring nature and taking in the scenery, this would be a better choice.

Security

While riverbank or canal moorings may be convenient in some cases, most boat owners prefer the security of a marina and do not mind paying extra for it. If you choose a canal mooring, make sure you have the necessary devices to ensure your boat’s safety, such as a tow hook lock.

Marina berths

If you are looking to have your boat berthed in a marina, check its Gold Anchor rating. Marinas are given one to five gold anchors depending on the quality of services and facilities they offer boat owners. The highest award is indicated by five gold anchors.

Residential moorings

If your plan is to live on your boat, you’ll have to do additional research on policies concerning residential moorings. Aside from the location, there are also tax, duration and other fees to consider. Check out the Canal & River Trust as well as the Environment Agency for your mooring options.

Berth brokerage services

If you don’t want to go through all the hassle of looking for a secure mooring for your boat in the UK, you can avail of the services of a berth brokerage company, which can find the right berth for you. If you value convenience, the service fees may be worth it—just make sure the company you’re dealing with is duly registered and has a pool of satisfied clients.