Jellyfish stings Australian dream job winner

Do you remember the Best Job competition, where you could win great paid job in the paradise island - Hamilton Island? Apparently this job could also be dangerous.

Ben Southall, British who won the place, has been stung by extremely venomous jellyfish called Irukandji. You can read the full story on his blog - Island Caretaker Blog

New Flights from Bournemouth

There is a good news for Dorset and Hampshire residents, as Ryanair has announced 4 new routes from Bournemouth:
  • 30th March to Malta and Ibiza (2 per week)
  • 1st April to Fuertevetura (2 per week)
  • 2nd April to Valencia (2 per week)
Ryanair has also increased the frequency of flights to Alicante and Malaga (5 per week) and to Palma (4 per week)

Christmas and New Year in Morocco

For people who are not tied to staying at home for Christmas and the New Year, Morocco offers a fascinating break at a range of riads and hotels only a short plane trip away.

Many of the riads and hotels in Morocco are open over the Christmas break and offer guests relaxation, great service and a certain exotic inspiration, just the tonic at the end of a long, hard year.

In Marrakesh, Morocco’s best known city, Marrakech Hotels such as, Riad Aya, Riad Dar Karma, Riad Isis, Riad El Cadi, Riad L’Orangeraie, Riad Dar Attajmil, Riad Dar Ilham, Riad Dar Sbihi, Riad Dar Housnia, Hotel Tigmi, Hotel Caravanserai, and Hotel La Maison Arabe all welcome guests over Christmas as well as offering spa and hammam facilities on site.

In the less visited but equally cultured city of Fez, Riad Numero 9, Riad Les Oudayas, Riad Mabrouka, Riad Alkantara, Riad Fes and Riad Ibn Battouta offer rooms in the €70-110 per night price range and welcome guests over Christmas. A stay in Fez can be combined with an overnight visit to neighbouring Meknes to stay at Riad Bahia, a small and friendly four roomed riad.

Many city riads in Morocco are small enough to be easily rented exclusively. This is popular as the service staff are still on hand to make a stay run smoothly. Riads and hotels in Marrakesh, such as Dar Warda, Riad Ksiba and Riad Zina are some of the best examples.

For people wishing to leave the city behind, then Morocco’s Atlantic coast is a fantastic destination for Christmas and the New Year. Riads Dar Liouba, Villa Allun and Lalla Mira and hotels Madada Mogador and Ocean Vagabond in Essaouira all host guests warmly over Christmas with the added benefit of offering long walks along the local beaches on Boxing day.

If physical activity is the order of the day, then a stay in the famous Atlas Mountains may be preferred. Hotel Kasbah du Toubkal and Ksar Shama offer comfortable rooms and facilities in easy access of the mountains for easy walks or multi-day treks.

For desert activities and excursions, hotels Kasbah Ennasra, Dar Azawad, Riad Dar Zitoune, Ksar Jenna and Auberge Derkaoua welcome guests and provide 4x4 and quad bike excursion, treks, camel rides and overnight Bedouin camping in the desert sand dunes.

Christmas shopping in Morocco

With Christmas on the horizon, many people are now thinking about the annual task of buying presents for all their families and friends.

One interesting option that is available is to hop on a cheap flight to Morocco and visit the famous souks of Marrakech or Fes. There, you can buy low price and unusual presents including jewellery, clothing, wood and leather goods as well as many other home decorations.

You can also combine the visit with a relaxing stay at some delightfully individual and innovative riads and hotels in Marrakech and Fes. And helpfully, many riads and hotels are also offering shopping special offers which combine discounted riads and hotel accommodation with an English speaking shopping guide as well as assistance in sending purchases home by post.

For travellers on a budget, Riad Zina, Riad El Mezouar and Riyad El Cadi all offer good quality rooms in the €100-110 per night price range, including a half day with an English speaking guide, various refreshments throughout a guest’s stay, and assistance in posting shopping goods back to the UK or Europe.

In a mid-price range, Dar Seven, is a stylish but understated and chic launch pad from which to explore Marrakech and its Souks and other shopping opportunities. This riad hotel offers a 2 nights stay or more in superior suites (its Loggia Suite and White Room) for €320 per night including half a day with an expert shopping guide, a complimentary massage, airports transfers as well as advice and assistance in shipping larger goods.

For those willing to spend a little more, there are many attractive riad and hotel options. AnaYela, also of Marrakech, is a elegant and romantic hotel which offers 3 nights in a double room for €550 per person (based on 2 sharing) including half a day with a shopping guide, airport transfers, welcome drinks and gifts, complimentary massage and, of course, advice and assistance in shipping larger goods home.

In the leafy, verdant Palmeraie district of Marrakech, only 20 minutes from the centre, Jnane Tamsna is a hotel made up of 5 luxury villa, created with flair and style by Meryanne Loum-Martin. Here, date palms planted centuries ago are colourfully surrounded with olive trees and fruit trees as well as rose-bushes and bougainvilleas. The hotel offers a shopping special of 3 nights stay in October, November and early December in a double room for €580 per person including two half days with an expert guide, a complimentary hammam per person, a complimentary shopping map and advice and assistance in shipping larger goods.

Whilst Marrakech is often a more obvious choice for guests to Morocco, the second ancient city of Fes is another good option. Here riads and hotels such as Riad Mabrouka, Riad Fes, Riad Numero 9, Riad Les Oudayas, Riad Ibn Battouta and Riad Alkantara all offer guests a high quality hotel experience in the €90-€150 price range. All these riads and hotels can assist and advise guests in getting the most out of a shopping visit to Fes.

House Parties in Marrakech and Morocco

In 2010 Marrakech and Morocco hotels and riads are experiencing an increase in the number of ‘special occasion’ celebrations where entire hotel or riad are taken over by a group party.

The house parties are proving popular for 40th and 50th birthday celebrations but also for Christmas, Easter breaks and exclusive hen parties.

The popularity of house parties in Morocco is down to the tightening of personal budgets, which means that group parties further abroad can be too expensive for at least some of the guests invited. Morocco however offers a more economic option for group celebration while still being exotic, stylish and, true to its decadent roots, well geared for partying.

Marrakech in particular offers a wide range of hotels and riads of 3-15 rooms that are ideal for house party celebrations. These Morocco hotels and riads elegantly presented, have trained staff teams on hand, and offer highly attractive rates in a competitive year for bookings.

Marrakech hotels and riads which welcome group parties include Riad el Mezouar, Riad Zina, Riad El Cadi, Riad Ksiba, Riad Dar Sbihi and hotels Tigmi and Zitoune.

The cost to hire an entire riad or small hotel in Morocco depends on the quality and size of the property in question as well as the time of the year. However, the cost of highly competitive when compared to Mediterranean or other locations abroad.

Alternative venues in Morocco that are even more unusual than Marrakech include riads in the ancient city of Fez, kasbahs at the edge of the Sahara desert or houses on the windswept but sunny Atlantic coast in towns such as Essaouira and Rabat