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 A Wind of Change on Morocco's
Coast in Essaouira
 

Le Jardin des Douars in Morocco

Essaouira is the perfect short haul sunshine destination. Located just over three hours from London, served by direct flights, the town combines a cool cosmopolitan vibe across its medina united with a laid-back beach and port atmosphere.

Essaouira is like nowhere else in Morocco. Visitors can combine a beach and cultural town break in one holiday and enjoy a very laid-back vibe that invites relaxation and some exploration. Over the last few years there has been a surge in cool new openings of local independent businesses around the medina including restaurants, shops and galleries.

Fresh Fish

Le Jardin des Douars in Morocco


The large working port by the medina, is picturesque and where restaurateurs go every day to get fresh fish. One of the most famous dishes in Essaouira is the Monkfish tagine. The outdoor fish grill stands are a lively option for lunch. Located at the port, the relaxed stands sit side-by-side and offer a truly unique dining experience with chefs attracting you and inviting you to sit as they display their magnificent selection of fresh fish. Visitors simply pick from a selection of freshly caught fish, this is then cooked on the grill and served with salad and bread. After lunch explore the medina, located next door.

UNESCO Medina

The walled medina is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here visitors will discover the most laid-back medina in Morocco, compared to larger towns and cities. Fans of Othello the film, may recognise the labyrinth of streets. Combined with traditional craftsmen and women creating authentic Moroccan pieces on sale in many stalls and shops, guests will also experience many contemporary new restaurants, shops and galleries.

A great place on Rue al Yeman is Mega Loft, popular for its night-time live music, this large restaurant is full of unique furniture items and local art. Essaouira's medina is smaller than those in other Moroccan cities meaning guests can explore and shop without getting lost.

Art and Music

Throughout Essaouira visitors will witness artists at work and the medina is full of galleries with a vast selection of brightly coloured paintings for sale. Most of the artists are local and self-taught. The Galerie Damgaard, located at the gates of the medina, showcases Arab and Berbere cultures with a creative power of gesture, wide variety of themes and plenty of jubilant colour.

The Gnaoua Festival takes place between 29th June and 2nd July 2017. This annual contemporary world music festival welcomes a diverse selection of artists for four days. The vibrant festival spills out across the town with street performances.

Beach

The beach at Essaouira


Essaouira's sunshine and often windier climate make it an ideal destination to enjoy surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing. Expect waves of between one and three metres. The beach is also the place to ride a camel or simply relax. A great lunch spot on the beach is Ocean Vagabond who can also assist with surf lessons.

Golf

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Essaouira's beach is Golf de Mogador. Designed by Gary Player, the newly launched 18- and 13- hole courses have been beautifully integrated into the natural landscape. Open daily, the two courses are ideal for professionals and beginners.

Le Jardin des Douars

Le Jardin des Douars in Morocco

An independent hotel set in botanical gardens, Le Jardin des Douars is the perfect base to experience Moroccan hospitality, offering privacy and easy access to the beach, port and medina. Made up of a series of traditional terracotta Moroccan countryside buildings, Le Jardin des Douars offers a unique setting.

There are just 28 bedrooms, suites and luxury villas; all with their own outdoor space, making it a truly relaxing retreat. The hotel's three dining areas offer distinct experiences. Le Jardin des Douars has two outdoor heated pools overlooking stunning tropical planting and a hammam and spa open until 8pm daily, with treatments using traditional argan oil.

Lunch and dinner are open to all at Le Jardin des Douars and the cuisine is a mix of Moroccan, North African and Mediterranean flavours with both an a la carte and daily changing specials menu. Children's menus are available. The stunning terrace is secluded and surrounded by botanical gardens.

2017 Discovery Address Book

Restaurant: La Table by Madada - Medina

Restaurant: Umia – Medina

Restaurant: La Mouette et les Dromadaires  Sidi Kaouki beach

Art Gallery: Gallerie l'Arbre Bleu

Art Gallery: L'Atelier des Arts Empreinte

Shopping: Histoire de Filles

The charm of Essaouira is that it is still relatively quiet and not taken over by tourism. Here visitors get to relax, enjoy warm weather, fresh food and beautiful, genuine hospitality, all in a laid-back vibe.

B&B priced from around £125 per room, per night or £395 per villa, per night.

Travel Information

easyJet fly between London Luton and Essaouira twice per week on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

Essaouira airport is located 15 minutes from Le Jardin des Douars and a shuttle service is available. Marrakech is about three hours from Essaouira by coach or less by car.

For more information about Le Jardin des Douars visit www.jardindesdouars.com
 

Holiday in Sorrento Without the Crowds

The Sorrento Peninsula

Sun-kissed for around 250 days a year, the Sorrento Peninsula, with its captivating views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri, is spectacular at any time of year. Why not avoid the high season hustle and make the most of the more temperate weather by travelling with expert 'experience' tour operators Chapters Experience Holidays in Spring.

The Sorrento Peninsula comes out of hibernation in Spring, with mid 20°C temperatures making it ideal for comfortably exploring the flower strewn hills and taking the first of many dips in the sea without any of the crowds. At this time of year, the calm waters of the Bay of Naples provide a beautiful backdrop to a lush fertile landscape dotted with sweet smelling orange groves, vines and historic sights, which have been shaped and influenced by its volcanic setting,

Combining days leisurely walking on the Peninsula and in the Lattari Mountains with a myriad of local world-class sites, Chapters Experience Holidays 'Exploring the Sorrento Peninsula' is a superb way to explore this lovely region.

Highlights include the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum – both frozen in time by Vesuvius's eruption in AD79; the magnificently preserved Greek temples of Paestum and walks to the crater rim of Vesuvius and along the craggy and dramatic Amalfi coastal Path of the Gods.

There is also the chance to explore the famous towns of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello as well as the colourful city of Naples. Staying in the family run Hotel Mary, with fabulous views out over the Bay of Naples below, evenings are spent dining on the terrace or sipping on a perfectly chilled limoncello as the sun slips silently into the shimmering sea.

Equally appealing, Chapters Experience Holidays also offer a selection of autumn holidays to Sorrento when the crowds have all but disappeared and the weather is still very inviting.

The Sorrento Peninsula

'Exploring the Sorrento Peninsula' is available as a one or two week break with one week starting from £940/person including return flights and transfers, half board ensuite accommodation, all transport costs and service of a leader.

With over 20 departures to choose from, Spring dates span from 15th April to 3rd June, with Autumn dates from 2nd September to 11th November.

There are also special Christmas and New Year departures available on 20th and 27th December 2017.

For more information visit the website at www.chaptersholidays.co.uk
 

Travel & Holidays


Silver Travel Prize Draw

 

Win a three night weekend break for two with Warner Leisure Hotels

At Silver Travel Advisor you can find a wealth of information, impartial reviews written by people like you, as well as suggestions, ideas and destination reports about travel for the over 50’s.
 

If you have any questions, a team of experienced Advisors who are retired travel professionals are ready to assist at no charge. And you can share your own experiences too by writing reviews.

It's easy to
enter the prize draw with Silver Travel Advisor.

    March 2017 Prize Draw

Win a luxury Forest Holiday


This month we have a choice of two wonderful UK prizes, one from Forest Holidays, the other from Warner Leisure Hotels.

If you’d enjoy a few days away, in an Adults Only hotel, our prize this month will be perfect for you!

Win a three night weekend break for two with
Warner Leisure Hotels at any one of their stylish hotels in 2017. Stay in a standard room and enjoy a range of daytime activities such as archery, Zumba and rifle shooting.

Make use of the leisure and sports facilities with a dip in the pool or a workout in the gym. Or you might like to relax with a stroll around our beautiful grounds. Delicious breakfasts and three-course evening meals are also included followed by an evening of great entertainment.

There are
great offers for Silver Travellers at Warner Leisure Hotels all year round.

Our other prize is to win a luxury Forest Holiday where one lucky winner and three guests could enjoy a four night midweek or three-night weekend getaway at a stunning woodland location thanks to
Forest Holidays. You’ll stay in a luxury two bedroom Silver Birch log cabin, complete with private outdoor hot tub surrounded by peaceful woodland.

Forest Holidays offers luxury self-catering log cabins set on breath-taking Forestry Commission land with nine stunning locations across the UK to choose from. Whether you choose to roam the forest, try your hand at a new skill or simply relax and recharge your batteries, this will be a memorable getaway for all.

If you’re not lucky enough to win this time around, you can still enjoy 10% off cabins at Forest Holidays.
Visit the website and enter the code STACOMP to receive your discount on breaks booked by 30th April 2017, and to be taken by 5th January 2018.

 

  Enter the Prize Draw

     Terms & Conditions


See
www.silvertraveladvisor.com for more details as well as terms & conditions and the growing list of holiday prize winners

 To Enter the Competition
      click on
Enter Now

 

Corsica Specialist
Adds 5 Star Luxury Spa Hotel & Savings


Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa Sea & Spa in Corsica


Corsican Places has added the five star Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa Sea & Spa to its Corsica holiday collection. This inspiring, luxury hotel benefits from an outstanding and secluded location, (by Porticcio) with magnificent views across the bay of Ajaccio, on the south west coast, and is the only thalassotherapy hotel on the island.

Guests will enjoy the ultimate in relaxation throughout the hotel with its scenic outlook, attentive staff, and impressive Spa centre offering high quality hydrotherapy, massage, and spa treatments. Open seven days a week, there's also free access to the hotel's fitness centre which provides a Turkish bath, aerobics, and gym.

Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa Spa

The hotel has 98 air-conditioned rooms and suites, most of which benefit from sea views across the bay. Further facilities include a restaurant serving fresh local and Mediterranean cuisine, an outdoor swimming pool, poolside snack bar, piano bar, seafront gardens, floodlit tennis courts, wi-fi and a private sandy beach. There's also a heliport and helicopter flights available from the hotel.

For those who wish to explore beyond the hotel's exceptional natural setting, there are many further beaches within easy reach while Corsica's capital, Ajaccio, and birth place of Napoléon, is within a 20-minute drive. The rugged landscapes of the interior are also a major draw.

Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa Beach

Corsican Places is offering seven night packages from £1599, a saving of £142 per person, for arrivals on April 30th (2017). This is just one of a sample of fabulous packages.

This price is based on two sharing a Classic room on bed & breakfast and includes Gatwick to Ajaccio flights and a week's car hire. Room upgrades and further flight options are available on request, subject to availability.

Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa Bar

For more information visit the website at www.Corsica.co.uk
 

Le Boat Adds Foodie Itinerary to its
Self-Drive Menu

Take a self-drive boating holiday along the River Thames


Le Boat has introduced a new gastronomic-themed itinerary to one of the UK's most mouth-watering areas.

The new self-drive boating holiday takes in a stretch of the River Thames famed for being a hotbed of culinary talent. Starting in Benson, at the foothills of the Chilterns, the easy-paced Foodie Cruise allows holidaymakers to sample some of the country's finest dining experiences as they eat their way along the famous waterway to Chertsey in Surrey.

With so many acclaimed restaurants cooking up a storm en route, as well as a feast of picturesque villages and historic towns such as Henley and Windsor to whet one's appetite, Europe's largest self-drive boating company recommends that guests allow between 7 and 14 nights to fully enjoy the 96km river cruise.

Those with a taste for fuller shouldn't miss the chance to tuck into these suggested gastronomic hotspots during the Foodie Cruise:

The Miller of Mansfield, Goring

Behind the doors of this lies an award-winning kitchen food dishing up delicacies with a twist.

The French Horn, Sonning

Fine dining at The French Horn coaching inn at Sonning


This charming coaching inn offers haute cuisine in an enchanting Thames-side setting said to be a firm favourite with local resident George Clooney.

Sindhu, Marlow

Fine dining at the Sindhu, Marlow, owned by Atul Kochhar

This elegant restaurant is owned by Atul Kochhar, one of Britain's most critically acclaimed chefs and the first to win a Michelin star for his sophisticated take on Indian cuisine.

Andre Garrett at Cliveden, Taplow

For fine dining served up in the magnificent neoclassical that is Cliveden House, André Garrett's exquisite dishes are guided by the seasons and brimming with locally-sourced produce.

The Hinds Head, Bray

Heston Blumenthal's famous gastro-pub was awarded a Michelin star for its unique menu that blends much-loved British dishes with the innovative style pioneered by the master of molecular gastronomy.

The Foodie Cruise is available from April until October and prices for a seven-night trip on a luxury Horizon cruiser sleeping up to four starts from £1,138. The high-spec boat combines space, modern features and comfort, making it the ideal choice for couples and families alike. The priced includes a fully-equipped kitchen, towels and linen plus boat-handling instruction and technical support.

Take a self-drive boating holiday along the River Thames

For further exploring, or to burn off extra calories, bicycles can be rented from £6 per day (adults / £4 (children).

To find out more about Le Boat holidays visit www.leboat.co.uk

 

  New Tuscan Hotels
 from Simpson Travel


La Madonnina, near the Tuscan/Umbrian border


Simpson the specialist, independent, luxury villa and boutique hotel operator, has launched a new Italian programme for 2017. Along with a handpicked selection of villas and apartments in Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria and Venice are two beautiful new boutique Simpson Hotels in Tuscany.

La Madonnina, near the Tuscan/Umbrian border, has newly opened as a hotel and is suitable for families and couples alike, whilst Mille Desideri, not far from Arezzo, is a 17th-century Adult Only retreat available on an exclusive-use basis from 22nd July – 31st August. Both properties are managed by and exclusive to Simpson Travel.

Graham Simpson, founder, Simpson Travel says, "We are delighted to add these two, unique new hotels to our portfolio. All the properties within our Simpson Hotel Collection are small, intimate and exclusive boutique escapes – and these two properties are no exception.

"A million miles from the impersonal service of larger hotels, Simpson Hotels offer a bespoke experience where guests can truly relax and feel at home. We take our time to choose just the right properties – and the right staff – who we feel can create the exceptional service that is intrinsic to this. With La Madonnina and Mille Desideri, we are now offering our clients the chance to enjoy this experience in the heart of Tuscany, with all that this beautiful region has to offer."

La Madonnina

La Madonnina, near the Tuscan/Umbrian border


This traditional, stone, Tuscan retreat, a short drive from the Renaissance town of Castiglion Fiorentino, is set in a superb location surrounded by a wonderful landscape of vineyards, olive groves and the Val di Chio. Sleeping a maximum of ten guests, La Madonnina is set in beautiful gardens, offering plenty of privacy and quite breathtaking views. Stone steps lead down to a shared pool, from which you can relax and enjoy the rolling Tuscan countryside all around.

The house has been in the same family for generations and in 2016, was transformed into a hotel by the Simpson Travel team alongside owners Rinaldo and Maria. Featuring two well-designed two-bedroom suites (Gli Avi and La Nonna),which include kitchens, there is also a separate studio set apart from the main building with its own al fresco dining area. Each is decorated in typical country style with a light touch – exposed beams and brickwork offset by white painted walls – very much in keeping with the relaxed atmosphere and homely feel created by Maria and Rinaldo.

The swimming pool at La Madonnina

As with all Simpson Hotels, breakfast is provided, but Maria's generosity of spirit and culinary flair extends to more than a delicious start to the day. Guests can pre-order other meals, created from fresh, seasonal produce, and pay for them locally – or even take a cookery course. She's also a mine of local information and is never far away for guests looking for inspiration or a well-informed and passionate local perspective on the region's very best attractions.

Castiglion Fiorentino is the nearest local town, a five-minute drive away or 6km along a footpath and cycle track. This impressive Renaissance town rises above the Valdichiana Plain and has lovely traditional squares with open-air restaurants as well as various sites of interest including the old Gothic church of San Francesco and the Madonna della Consolazione temple.

The town also hosts a number of lively festivals, including an eight-day medieval festival at the end of May/beginning of June, complete with traditional food, costumes, parades and fireworks. Ideal for walkers, this region is flanked on one side by the Pratomagno Mountains and on the other by the attractive Alpe di Catenia. For day trips, Florence is easily accessible by train and Cortona, Lake Trasimeno and Perugia are also within easy reach

Mille Desideri

Mille Desideri in Tuscany

This secluded Adult Only retreat joins the Simpson Travel collection of child-free properties, offering a peaceful bolthole in the heart of Tuscany. It's in a truly beautiful location, with spellbinding views, offering a combination of 17th-century charm and a warm welcome from owners Nicola and Rosa, and their daughters, Sara and Federica.

With just six, one-bedroom suites (sleeping a total of 11 guests), the property has a private pool, extensive gardens and a spectacular outlook over tranquil wooded hillsides and valleys all around. Interiors are simple yet chic, with lovely public areas and comfy sofas to relax in, as well as plenty of terraces with different aspects from which to soak in the surrounding views.

Owner Rosa used to spend every summer here as a child, but when she and her husband bought the property in 2000 it was a ruin. Together, they've brought it back to life with loving care and attention, and now, working alongside the Simpson Travel team, they have transformed it into an unmissable addition to the Simpson Hotel collection.

Tuscan cuisine is integral to the experience and, thanks to Rosa's celebrated culinary talents, the most delicious local dishes are on offer, enhanced by the estate's own olive oil. Breakfast is included, but other meals can be paid for locally. Walks, wine tasting, horse riding and golf can also be arranged by Nicola and Rosa, who have been running this hotel for ten years and can guide guests towards the experiences that will enhance a holiday still further.

From 22nd July – 31st August, the six-suite Villa Mille Desideri can be booked by a single group – the ideal way to spend a relaxing summer with groups of close friends or family.

The nearest town is medieval Monterchi, some 20-minutes away, with its restaurants and the famous fresco of Piero della Francesca's Madonna del Parto. About 40 minutes from Villa Mille Desideri lies Arezzo, used as a location in Roberto Benigni's film La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful). As well as being home to such gems as the 12th-century Santa Maria della Pieve and the mighty Gothic Duomo, it hosts a huge 500-exhibitor antique fair in the Piazza Grande on the first weekend of every month and the spirited (and competitive!) Saracen Joust in June and September. Florence, Pisa and Siena can all be reached within about 90 minutes.

For bookings call 020 8003 6557 or visit www.simpsontravel.com
 

   Spring Blooms in
   Castell Son Claret


Castell Son Claret in Mallorca


With spring just around the corner, the almond trees that surround Castell Son Claret in Mallorca are about to burst into life and transform the countryside beyond this luxury retreat and former castle, flooding the senses with the scent of blossom and the sight of acres of white flowers. To celebrate this beautiful time of year, the 38-room hotel is offering special offers including an Almond Blossom package and a 3-for2 offer.

The Castell Almond Blossom package consists of a three-night stay in a suite with daily breakfast and three blissful spa treatments per person at the hotel's Bellesa de Claret spa using almond harvested from the garden as the main ingredients for a full body exfoliation, massage and enriching body wrap. Each stay is completed with an almond-themed farewell gift. This package is priced from Euro 1,770 per suite for three nights.

Guests looking for an early season getaway can also take advantage of Castell's 3-for-2 offer. Guests booking three consecutive nights in an estate double room at Castell Son Claret will pay Euro 197 (usually Euro 295) per room per night including daily breakfast, internet, parking, tax and service. A non-refundable deposit of Euro 591 is charged at the time of booking. Price is already discounted by one free night.

A historic nineteenth century former castle just outside the village of Calvía, Castell Son Claret has 38 elegant suites and rooms located in seven buildings. Surrounded by Arabian gardens and the fragrance of bergamot, grapefruit, orange, rose and jasmine, the rooms have an elegant and contemporary design, many notable for their terrace or gardens and others for their private pools.

For more information about
Castell Son Claret  visit www.castellsonclaret.com
 

     Princess Cruises
Offers Largest Japan
    Programme Ever


Diamond Princess in Kagoshima, Japan


Princess Cruises has announced that its 2018 Japan programme will be its largest yet, offering more departures and ports than ever before. In total over 60 voyages will be available, ranging from four to 23 nights and sailing between April and December.

Guests can cruise solely around Japan, or combine it with other countries including South Korea, Taiwan, Russia and Vietnam.

Sailings from Japan have become increasingly popular amongst Princess Cruises' UK guests, with Asia now the second most visited destination for the line.

Highlights of the 2018 programme include:

'More Ashore' night calls in 12 ports, allowing guests to enjoy more time on shore with departures from 9pm or later.

'Highlights of Japan cruisetour' available on ten voyages at an extra cost, providing guests with the opportunity to experience the main sights in Kyoto or Tokyo before or after their cruise.

Seven voyages inside of school summer holiday dates.

Twelve UNESCO World Cruise Heritage sites to explore such as the historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

Cruises that coincide with the Nebuta festival (departing July 27) and Kumano fireworks (departing August 15).

A Spring Flowers cruise (departing April 13) for the April cherry blossom season

For the Japan Explorer voyage with Kumano fireworks, prices start from £979pp for seven nights sailing roundtrip from Tokyo, departing August 15th, 2018.

Prices start from £879pp for the seven-night Spring Flowers voyage, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo and departing April 13th, 2018.

The season also includes six maiden ports of call and two new autumn sailings. The new voyages, named Fall Foliage, will take place during Japan's peak autumn season. The itinerary includes calls to regions famous for their changing autumn colours, including Kyoto (Osaka) and Momijidani Park in Iwakuni. Prices start from £999pp for the eight-night voyage, departing October 8th, 2018.

Guests will sail on the 2,700-guest Diamond Princess. The ship is unique in the Princess fleet as it is tailored to offer Japanese experiences.

The dining rooms serve a wide range of authentic cuisine, including sushi, and the ship boasts the largest Japanese bath of its kind at sea - a traditional onsen that's both indoors and outdoors. 'Rakugo' storytelling performances and origami classes are also offered onboard.

New ports of call offered by Princess include Ishinomaki, Iwakuni, Niigata, Sakata, Toba, and Yokkaichi.

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com/holiday