General Travel News
Spend Eid in the Swiss Alps
If you want to chill out in the Swiss Alps during the Eid break you can head to the Crans Montana region which is located in the Alps about 3 hours from Zurich. Ranging from 3-star to 5-star luxury hotels, the Crans Montana hotels are geared to receive guests from the Middle East with Halal food and a family firendly environment as well as a special Pay Less Stay More package.
Last year there was a 40% increase in tourist arrivals at the Crans Montana Alpine resorts from the Gulf particulalrly from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. Philippe Rubod, CEO of the Crans-Montana Tourist Board said: “The Middle East is a very important market for us, and we are looking into increasing the numbers of visitors from this part of the world on a yearly basis, as well as building repeat business. Summer in Crans Montana is the most favourite season with Middle Eastern guests, when they can enjoy wonderful weather and countryside. We understand the needs of Arab travellers, families in particular, in terms of cuisine, accommodation and activities, and our hotels are very well aligned to them.”
The special Pay Less Stay More deal targets Middle East travelers – both nationals and residents - offering complimentary bonus nights with minimum length of stay starting from 3 nights. There are 16 hotels from the Crans-Montana region participating in the promotion. Starting from US$ 200 per night, the accommodation options include luxury, first class, comfort hotels and lodges, which makes the promotion appealing to the various types of travellers with the main focus being on families. The offer is valid until September 30, 2014.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 July 2014 15:42
Charge phones and laptops before boarding
While traveling to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom from the Middle East, it is now mandatory to have all electronic/communications devices charged as at the airport you will have to switch these on. This is part of enhanced new security measures required by the authorities of these countries.
If your laptop or tablet or mobile phone has run out of battery juice you may be denied the right to fly. Make sure that the last minute phone call on your way to the airport does not drain out your battery. Keep some juice for the airport inspectors.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 July 2014 02:51
Larger overhead bins for Boeing 737
The world's best selling aircraft, the Boeing 737 will now have more cabin luggage space thanks to the new Space Bins on the next generation Boeing 737s. These bins can store six carry-on bags compared to the current four. That is more space for travelers who do not want to check in their luggage or for those who cannot resist the temptations of duty free shopping.
But there was a time when there were no overhead bins. The airlines wanted us to have head room. Really? They did not want us to be cramped and cooped up? Later they introduced a hatrack - that was meant for hats and coats. And then there was also a time when you could go over to the dining salon for meals while on some aircraft they even had sleeper berths that you could lower and go to sleep in - yes fully flat beds!
Boeing 314 Clipper Dining Salon
In the days before jet speeds, the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser provided passengers with sleeping berths for intercontinental nonstop flights which covered more than 4,000 miles. The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser had a maximum range of 4,600 miles with 55 to 100 passengers and crew.
And now we are happy that the airlines are allowing us more overhead bin space so that you can still fit in your carry-on bag even after those inconsiderate folks who have seats at the back of the plane conveniently stow their hand luggage in the first available overhead bin and walk away carefree to their seats.
Last Updated on Saturday, 12 July 2014 13:25
London most visited city in the world
London tops the 2014 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index by overtaking Bangkok which was last year's most visited city. The top 5 most visited cities in the world are London, Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai.
The 2014 list of top 20 most visited cities in the world includes two cities from the Middle East - Dubai ranked No.5 with an estimated 11.95m overnight visitors and Riyadh ranked No.18 with 5.59m visitors.
While the top three most visited cities in the world - London (18.69m), Bangkok (16.42m) and Paris (15.57m) - have a lead that may not be able to break overnight, the rankings of the next four cities is likely to change next year as visitor growth rates can make a significant difference. For example, Dubai with 11.95m and New York with 11.81m and Istanbul with 11.60m are experiencing high growth. Istanbul with a 17.5% surge in visitor numbers can shoot up from No.7 to the No.4 position if visitor numbers maintain their growth.
“The index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel,” said Ann Cairns, president of International Markets, MasterCard. “The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs.” Now in its fourth year, the index provides a ranking of the 132 most travelled cities from around the world.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 06:11
Halal Ramadan meals at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
With Ramadan and the summer holiday season coinciding, an increasing number of hotels in Europe are now tweaking their menus to cater to the culinary needs of the Muslim traveler. The upscale Manadrin Oriental hotel which is located in the Passage de Gracia in the city centre is close to Casa Batllo one of the major architectural creations of Antoni Gaudi.
In addition to the provision of Arabic Halal cuisine, Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona also caters to the cultural needs of Middle Eastern guests with additional amenities and services such as:
- Specialized welcome amenities
- Prayer Mat, Qibla and the Koran in bedrooms
- Arabic speaking staff
- Arabic dining menus (Halal food on request)
- Shisha amenity on request
- International and Arabic TV Channels and press
- Personal shopper on request and private and personal shopping on request available in most exclusive shops (Chopar, Loewe, Brioni, Tiffany’s among others)
A special post-Ramadan spa treatment is also available until the end of October 2014 at the hotel’s spa allowing guests to immerse into a deep sense of serenity and rejuvenation following the Holy Month.
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 July 2014 14:29
Ramadan near the Swiss Alps at The Dolder Grand, Zurich
If you would like to get away from the summer heat and relax in the cool air of Switzerland then there is no better place to do it then at the luxurious Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich. Nestled on a hilltop overlooking the city and the lake but just 25 minutes to Zurich city centre by public transport, this castle in the sky caters to the requirements of its Muslim guests by providing Halal meals and special Suhoor and Iftar facilities.
Mark Jacob, Managing Director of The Dolder Grand says: “We make sure that the needs of our Muslim guests are met by ensuring that prayer timings are respected and the right food and drink is served in line with Ramadan traditions. Arabic TV channels are also available and the concierge make sure guests are aware of Islamic prayer facilities in Zurich.”
To further guarantee an authentic experience, Lebanese Chef Firas El-Borij provides guests with a true Ramadan experience of Arabic amenities and Halal food available throughout the holy month. Whether guests want to enjoy Suhoor on their private balcony, indulge at one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants or dine with authentic Ramadan cuisine accompanied by the Swiss Alps and nature itself, The Dolder Grand is worth the visit.
A special "4 for 3" - stay three nights get one night free - offer is available until 31 August 2014 for approximately US$2,345 for two people.
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 12:22
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