Booking a private island for the day is a reality!

Jamesby with Union in the Background

Jamesby with Union in the Background

Erika’s Marine Services, a yacht agent and concierge in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, offers exclusive rental of Jamesby, an uninhabited island in the middle of the Tobago Cays Marine Park.

Heather Grant, founder of Erika’s said, “Erika’s offers many concierge services, but one that is quite special, we think, is our ability to book an island exclusively for our yacht clients’ use. This sounds amazing, doesn’t it? And expensive.

“Well, it is amazing, but the cost is not what you might think. Most people assume mega bucks are required for the use of a private island, and most of the time they are correct, but in this instance, there is a small, uninhabited island in the middle of the Tobago Cays Marine Park that is available for hire through Erika’s for a single day, or longer if needed – and at a reasonable price. Depending on the time of year, a day’s rental can cost anything from US$2,000 to US$3,000.”

Heather told Yachting Pages that Erika’s has been booking this particular spot for several years, with great success and excellent reviews from their clients.

Tobago Cays Tranquility

Tobago Cays Tranquility

She explained, “Here’s the deal: The yacht sails to the Grenadines and the captain sells his guests on the idea of having an exclusive, remote private island to themselves for a day. Nobody else will be there. Guests can have all their water toys, barbecue, shade structures, furniture, lounge chairs, yummy local fish or lobster, and even live music, if they wish.

“We can pretty much guarantee they will like it – what’s not to like about a beautiful natural environment, complete with white sand beach, warm azure sea and sunny skies? Go swimming with the turtles, scuba dive, snorkel, or enjoy kiteboarding lessons right there on the private beach.”

As an established yacht concierge with existing relationships with many returning yacht crews and suppliers within the region, the team at Erika’s organises everything on behalf of yacht crews and their clients – all they have to do is ensure that the guests show up.

Erika’s Marine Services is working with Yachting Pages Media Group, a specialist in providing products and services for the superyacht industry, to offer its services to crews and guests.

Have a go before you go 360° virtual reality app

Have a go before you go app

Have a go before you go app

Feeling stressed at work? Forget lounging on the beach, 75 per cent of Brits now say their key to stress release on holiday is getting active. And what better way than the fast paced thrill of skiing down the slopes or windsurfing in the sun? If you’re unsure whether skiing is for you, Neilson Active Holidays have launched a new 360° virtual reality app to give you an interactive taste of what it’s like to go skiing on one of their winter holidays or windsurfing at a Neilson Beachclub, letting you really ‘Have a Go Before you Go’.

Brits are now more active than ever before, with new research showing that participation in sport has increased by 15 per cent over the last decade. And this doesn’t stop on holiday. The number of Britons planning fitness holidays has doubled in the last year, with people ditching “fly and flop” for something a bit more adventurous. Neilson’s app is sure to feed this appetite.

Download the Have a go before you go app and go skiing on the beautiful slopes of Andorra or windsurf in a sunny Greek bay by moving your smartphone or tablet around at all angles, as if you were right there. Using Oculus Rift technology and state of the art video footage, the app allows your to enjoy a 360° experience, all from the comfort of your home.

The app is available to download here:

-Neilson Web app:

-iOS app:

-Android app:

-Facebook app:

Europe’s next cheap holiday destination?

Santa Maria

Santa Maria

A new location has appeared on the flight routes of Europe’s budget airlines – the Azores.

About 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, the islands in the Atlantic Ocean were once a stopping point for Concorde.

Travel writer Simon Calder asks whether they could become the next big holiday destination.

When I touched down at Santa Maria, I was disappointed not to find a sign saying “Welcome to Concorde Island”. But I cheered up a few seconds later. In the middle of the pint-sized terminal, I found the Concorde Bar serving beer for barely £1 a pint – 1980s prices.

In the 80s Concorde Island as I shall call it, was one of the elite locations served by the Anglo-French supersonic jet. As Venezuela grew fabulously rich on oil, Air France chose to connect Paris and Caracas at twice the speed of sound.

The plane’s thirsty engines couldn’t make it all the way to South America on a single tank, and Santa Maria was the obvious pit stop: while this mid-Atlantic fragment of Portugal measures only 10 miles by six, with a population of less than 6,000, it boasts the ocean’s longest runway – courtesy of a now-abandoned American base.

Thus the rich, powerful and glamorous were invited to stretch their legs and perhaps visit the Concorde Bar while their aircraft was refuelled ahead of blasting off to Caracas.

Click here for the full article on the BBC.

Stunning Reserves and Parks in Sicily

Italy, Sicily, Nebrodi mountains, view of the countryside

Italy, Sicily, Nebrodi mountains, view of the countryside

Sicily has some of Italy’s most magnificent natural parks. It is really a nature lovers paradise, whether you love volcanos, the sea, the mountains, the country or the forests, Sicily has something to satisfy you. There are many websites online such as that provides you a guide to Sicily, general information, and help you to find out the best cultural attractions and most interesting sites to visit. This way, it will be easier to organize your holiday in Sicily.

Parco del Etna

Parco del Etna, or Etna Park, is famous for the active lava flows that are constantly changing the land. It is located on Europe’s largest volcano, Mount Etna, which continues to erupt several times per year. There is a unique plant universe that can survive on this strange but fertile volcanic soil.

Parco Fluviale dell'Alcantara

Parco Fluviale dell’Alcantara

Among the ferns and the downy oak forests, you will find a vast array of plant and animal life that feeds and nourishes itself on the slopes of Mount Etna. You may have an encounter with a porcupine, dormouse, weasel, fox or wild cat, or perhaps all of the above! However, the true king of Etna Park is the majestic golden eagles.

There are many other birds that live here as well. For example, the owl, peregrine falcon, sparrow hawk, wild dove and heron. One of the best parts about the park are the lovely wines that are grown on its slopes. One of the best ways to enjoy Etna Park is take a hike up to one of the cantinas that offers delicious wine cultivated on location paired with fantastic local delicacies. There is no better way to relax after a long day exploring craters and dodging lava flows.

The park has a total of 58,095 protected hectares and is located in the province of Catania. When you go, make sure to check out the Bove Valley on the eastern side of Etna. It is a natural reservoir into which many of the lava flows have channelled over time. Check at parcoaventuraetna if you are looking for adventure and different green activities.

Parco Naturale dei Nebrodi

Stadtblick Cefalu, Sizilien

Stadtblick Cefalu, Sizilien

The Parco Naturale dei Nebrodi was founded in 1993. It is home to the largest forest in Sicily, about 50,000 hectares of protected land. Some of the trees within the forest are the Fagus sylvatica, which is found in the southern part of the forest.

The Quercus cerris and the Quercus suber grow throughout the whole park. Quercus ilex, Ilex aquifolium and Taxus baccata can be found in the more rocky areas of the park. There are lots of animal species that thrive in this park as well. Don’t forget about the traditional wheat bread, called durum, that is famous to this park and produced exclusively in the surrounding cities.

Parco delle Madonie and Park of Alcantara

Taormina - Sicily

Taormina – Sicily

This protected park is the one and only river park in Sicily, which consists of over 50 km of protected land. While this is one of the smaller natural parks, it does not lack in natural beauty.

There are unique and unusual elements of nature here that are found nowhere else in the world. For example, the powerful geothermic movements that have sculpted the current basalts into their strange and fascinating current forms. In the prehistoric period, a river ran over these sediments of clay, which was followed by a period of volcanic eruptions.

This led the riverbed to become a canal of liquid magma which then sunk into the cracks in the cray. Now, all that remains are the stunning and mysterious basaltic colonnades. The most beautiful of these natural statues is found near the town of Motta Camastra in the Larderia area.

Your Money: Cashing in on holiday currency

As you plan ahead to your holiday, flights and accommodation are not the only elements that need organising in advance.

Planning where, and when, you get your holiday cash could save you money.

Time is of the essence.

The euro is currently at a seven-year low against the pound.

In fact, in the last year alone the euro has become 10% weaker and that translates into an extra £10 of spending power for every £100 that you spend in the eurozone.

So how can you take advantage of today’s good rate?

Pre-paid cards

One way is to buy your currency through one of the increasingly common pre-paid cards.

These let you buy your euros at today’s exchange rate, but one which will usually be better than that offered in a bank.

You pay now for the euros, or any other foreign currency, and they are loaded onto your card.

The cards are then ready for immediate use, at an ATM or even in a shop, and you get the certainty of locking in today’s rate.

But this also means you are taking a small gamble on the foreign exchange markets.

You may be assuming that the euro is at its weakest point and will not become any weaker.

You might be wrong and could miss out on further potential gains.

“Our advice is to pre-pay up to 50% of your holiday cash when a rate seems good,” says Rupert Lee-Browne, chief executive of Caxton FX, one of the bigger providers of cash cards.

“Clearly with the euro at a seven-year low, you are getting a relatively good rate even if the euro weakens further.”

Full article on the BBC.

Carbon neutral hotels

carbon neutral hotels

carbon neutral hotels

The hospitality sector is leading the way in the global campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a rapidly growing number of carbon-neutral hotels.

Being carbon neutral as a business, organisation or individual simply means doing things to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as you add to it, creating a “zero carbon footprint”.

The 24/7 nature of hotels means that their consumption of essential utilities, such as electricity, gas and water, is significant. However, there are simple and sustainable ways to reduce the negative impact such high consumption has on the environment.

Environmentally-conscious hotel groups, like Carlson Rezidor, with its Think Planet initiative, are shaping the future of their operations around carbon neutrality by implementing strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

There are a number of ways to offset, from paying others to remove or sequester CO2 through tree planting to supporting projects focused on preventing greenhouse gas emissions. You can also buy carbon credits to offset annual emissions generated in the consumption of utilities like electricity, gas and water, as well as services like laundry and transport.

Responsible hotels are reducing the impact of their operations on the environment by replacing energy-guzzling lighting with low-energy LED lamps, installing smart controls for heating and lighting and reducing water consumption. Retrofitting with LED lamps can deliver carbon emissions savings of up to 85%.

A simple step like fitting eco shower heads, which can reduce water usage by more than 50%, brings immediate carbon benefits, not only through reduced consumption but also by cutting the amount of energy needed to heat and pump water.

Working with trusted partners who can help to plan, implement and, most importantly, measure carbon reduction projects is essential for any hotel group looking to successfully reduce carbon emissions. has a range of useful tools, including a mobile app to gauge water savings and online calculators to assess carbon emission reductions from solutions like LED lighting. You can also purchase simple and effective products, such as flow bags to measure the flow of your taps and showerheads.

In addition, you can also access useful guides, such as the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI). The HCMI uses Global Business Travel Association guidelines and is free for any hotel wanting to measure the carbon emissions from a guest stay, a meeting or an event. Associated emission generators, such as staff travel, furnishing and waste, should also be factored in.

The HCMI is also useful for larger hotel groups which must have emissions information as part of the annual RFP process, as it allows them to identify green suppliers and is also essential for mandatory reporting.

The measurement initiative has two goals – to substantially reduce the hotel carbon footprint and to demonstrate good management practice. However, due to the number of property and geographic variables in the sector, it does not provide benchmarks.

Hotels around the globe are focusing on sustainability and are demonstrating the many ways that a business can be commercially viable as well as environmentally sound.

Mark Sait is managing director of, a full-service efficiency partner helping businesses and households reduce energy and water consumption, and cutting carbon emissions to improve sustainability.

Win Two Tickets To Snowbombing in Austria

If you fancy a free ticket to the awesome Snowbombing festival then try your luck in the competition below. Entrants can go to the Crystal Ski website for hints each day, good luck!

The Event

A week-long whirlwind of world class DJs and bands, in the idyllic alpine setting of Mayrhofen, Austria. Days are spent skiing/boarding, enjoying music on mountain -top stages or relaxing in the spa of a 4* hotel.

Nights deliver cutting edge performances from world-class acts in unique venues; from a sky high igloo, to an enchanted forest clearing. Now in its fifteenth year, Snowbombing is regarded by many as, “The Greatest Show on Snow”. Mystical. Musical. Without equal.

The Competition


Santa's Ski Holiday Advent Calendar

Santa's Ski Holiday Advent Calendar

Special Honeymoon Destinations

Mardan Palace Hotel, in Turkey

Mardan Palace Hotel, in Turkey

To get married is a one in a lifetime occasion, therefore, why not make it special with an special honeymoon? There are some great hotels around the world that can make your journey unforgettable and make you feel like king and queen for a few nights, surrounded by some spectacular landscapes, but also offering you the possibility to spend some great nights out, drinking champagne away, or playing poker like a real gentleman.

Indeed, many of the most amazing hotels in the world also have some pretty great casinos, perfect to crown not only your evenings, but also your honeymoon and, possibly, your luck!

Generally speaking, when it comes to super-luxury hotels, here are some of the best ones!

Hotel Palms, in Las Vegas

Hotel Palms, in Las Vegas


  • Hotel Palms, in Las Vegas, is probably one of the best and most amazing hotels you can find. Its rooftop suites, like the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, are simply breathtaking, with their rooftop Jacuzzi hanging over The Strip. And don’t forget that sin city is the best place for poker players! Of course, if you choose to go to Las Vegas for your honeymoon you might want to try playing some online poker in one of the most popular sites first before you enter a live poker room.

  • Paris…Paris! The Royal Suites at Hotel George V are simply amazing and absolutely romantic and elegant. Perfect if you want to feel like royalty!

  • Feeling oriental? The Ritz-Carlton Suite at Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo overviews the city for an unforgettable and luxurious stay in the Japanese capital.

    Villa La Cupola Suite at the Westin Excelsior in Rome

    Villa La Cupola Suite at the Westin Excelsior in Rome

  • If you want to go eternal, the Villa La Cupola Suite at the Westin Excelsior in Rome is the ultimate destination if you want a La Dolce Vita style honeymoon. You can even watch it during your stay, as you will have a private cinema, besides a private spa with sauna, whirlpool and steam bath.

  • The Emirates Palace, in Abu Dhabi, is also one of the most amazing a luxurioushotels in the world, with its 394 rooms and suites, uncountable pools and fountains, a spa and over 1000 crystal chandeliers. For a precious honeymoon.

    The Ritz-Carlton Suite at Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo

    The Ritz-Carlton Suite at Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo

  • If you’re opting for a Mediterranean destination, the Mardan Palace Hotel, in Turkey, is perfect for you. Built by Russian Billionaire Telman Ismailov, it prides the largest swimming pool in the Mediterranean (it fits 1000 guests) and it’s been appointed as one of the most elite luxury hotels in Europe. A real mediterranean diamond.

It Takes 96 People To Get Each BA Customer Into The Air

Air travel – it’s a simple as book, pack, fly. Or is it? Behind the scenes, there’s a whole army of people that come together to get each customer in the air. In fact, 96 people – as research from British Airways reveals.

To coincide with its latest ‘To Fly. To Serve’ campaign, British Airways has calculated the essential people involved in the customer journey in order to fly. It includes 96 different roles, across 18 different departments, using over 11 external suppliers in the process. The figures rise to 107 roles for premium customers – which can include the additional benefits of fast track boarding, lounge access and personal meet and

To illustrate the point, British Airways has created a montage image, using headshots of people across the airline, its suppliers and partners that represent each of the 96 roles, mixed in with hundreds of images from around the


Abigail Comber, British Airways head of marketing, said: “Our new TV advert shows the work that goes on behind the scenes, in order to get 100,000 people in the air every day. The research gave us a real appreciation for every single person that makes flying a seamless process. From the tug driver to the ramp agent, from NATS air traffic control to our chefs – there’s more people than you realise, that get you from A to Z.”

Looking at just one strand in the chain highlights this. For instance, the fish pie served to customers on board started out at Severn and Wye smokery in Gloucestershire, where fish is farmed. Meanwhile at Gate Gourmet in London, meal trays are assembled and dishes freshly prepared ahead of flying. Kuehne and Nagel deliver cutlery and tablewear for the meal trays. The menu has been considered for quality, taste and seasonality in advance by Mark Tazzioli, British Airways menu manager. On board a member of cabin crew prepares and delivers the meal. Once enjoyed, it’s returned to the aircraft kitchens and loaded into containers. When the aircraft lands, the containers are offloaded and returned to Gate Gourmet, and the process starts again.

Before flying there are 23 crucial roles behind the scenes working to ensure everything is in place for your flight. On the day you fly, there are 38 people that contribute directly to getting you in the air.

On board there’s an average flight team of 16 people, including cabin crew, Captains and Senior First Officers, and upon landing there’s 19 people that ensure your safe arrival.

On board a typical long-haul Boeing 747 flight, there will be 1,263 items of metal cutlery, 735 glasses, 233 toothpicks, 337 copies of High Life magazine, 2,000 ice cubes, 99 full bottles and 326 quarter bottles of wine, 58 toilet rolls, 337 donation envelopes to ‘Flying Start’ charity, and 40 skyflyer packs for children.

British Airways latest ‘To Fly. To Serve.’ TV advert launches on Friday 6 September at 11am on, and will then be shown on ITV during the ‘England versus Moldova’ World Cup qualifier. It follows a customer journey, showing close up shots of the intimate details of flying, panning to wide shots of the aircraft in motion. It draws contrasts between them both, showing the care and thought that goes into every part of their journey.

Walking in Symonds Yat, Forest of Dean

Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat

Something Britain prides itself on is its luscious and diverse countryside. If you are a lover of wandering amongst the natural beauty of Britain, Symonds Yat offers many walks with spectacular views.

Symonds Yat is a popular tourist destination just a few miles from the Welsh border and straddles the River Wye in the Forest of Dean (one of the few remaining ancient forests in Britain). Built across two counties, Symonds Yat East is situated in Gloucestershire and Symonds Yat West is in Hertfordshire.

Regardless of its popularity, there is an abundance of walks away from the crowds if you know where to look. Walk 3302 is an easy/moderate 4 mile walk that winds through the quieter High Meadow woods before taking you to Yat Rock viewpoint, the highlight of the day. Keep a compass about you as some of the footpaths along this walk are poorly marked and have several options.

At grid reference SO564156, a car park is located. A small track to the south runs along the B4432 for a few hundred metres before crossing the car park exit, taking you deep into the forest. Turn right along a forestry vehicle track when you approach the road and a telephone box. This track will take you across a stream where you will turn left at the fork and proceed along the main track (Wysis Way) heading due west towards Monmouth. Keep an eye out for an unmarked path bearing left, about ten minutes after joining the Wysis Way. Continue along this path, maintaining a westerly bearing until you reach the forestry road signposting The Biblins Campsite (ignore all the other paths up until this point or you will stray off the walk). Follow this broad path until you reach the River Wye where you will head right towards the Symonds Yat East village, keeping to the bank of the river.

When you reach the Saracen’s Head pub, you may wish to take a well-earned rest and meal before leaving the pub to the right, heading towards a small hotel. When you reach the fence, take the left path uphill and once out of the gorge, cross the small bridge to the car park where on the left will be a fantastic view point of the Welsh border and river Wye. Exit to the south and across the bridge where you will pass a gift shop and re-enter the car park you began from.

Walk 3302 is just one of many walks in this beautiful area, ranging from easy/moderate to very hard. For detailed information on other walks in the Symonds Yat area, see here.

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