In The Media

Romantic Holidays As Seen on TV3 Saturday AM – 6th February 2016

TV3 Sat AM

Love is in the air for this weeks Saturday AM travel slot. We discussed romantic holidays including Ireland’s top hotels, a weekend break in Florence and a magical trip to the Maldives.

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Ashford Castle

Not only is Ashford Castle Ireland’s best hotel but it was also voted the world’s No 1 hotel in 2015 by one of the industry’s leading luxury networks – Virtuoso. €75 million has been invested into the hotel over the past two years and there is no doubt this 13th century castle offers something unique to its guests. As you drive in under the impressive gates, through the golf course and across the moat – you will be blown away before you even set foot inside the hotel. Once inside the attention to detail is extraordinary. Complete with excellent service and the finest furnishings, when it comes to romantic hotels in Ireland, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Ashford castle discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

You can choose one of the many sporting activities including golf, falconry, horse riding, fishing or spend the afternoon relaxing at the spa – you will be spoilt for choice here. There is also an excellent choice of dining available. Choose fine dining in the famous George V Dining Room or casual dining in their Summer Bistro or Dungeon restaurant.

Ashford castle discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

As it is a leap year, Ashford are offering a “Leap of Faith’ package for ladies who would like to propose. Price of €563 per person includes a two night stay with breakfast, a five course fine dining meal, couples spa treatments and a visit to the in house cinema to see the movie Leap Year. It doesn’t end there! During the movie you can arrange for a secret proposal to happen on the big screen. This will be arranged by the staff to suit your individual taste. And of course you will be given a bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Ashford castle discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

There are also special offers available during February & March which would be ideal as Valentines day gifts. Two nights BB and one evening meal from €285 per person or two nights BB and two evening meals plus afternoon tea from €380 per person. For more details click here.


The difference between Monart and other luxury hotels is that Monart is Ireland’s only destination Spa property. It offers a unique adults-only environment and was recently awarded ‘runner up best spa retreat in the world’, by Conde Nast Traveller. It was also named as Ireland’s best destination spa for four years in a row. If you are looking for a spa break, there is no doubt – Monart is the best!

Monart Spa Resort discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

All spa products at Monart are 100% natural. They use Pevonia Botanica, the award-winning natural skincare range and Voya, 100% organic seaweed body therapies. The deluxe accommodation and excellent cuisine are also top class and as Monart is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here.

Monart Spa Resort discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

Monart have limited availability for Valentine’s weekend with packages from €185 per person including breakfast, evening meal and full access to the 2000 square foot Thermal suite throughout your stay.

Monart Spa Resort discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

Alternatively they have over night stays available throughout the year from €149 per person – a perfect Valentines day gift. For more details click here.


Florence is Italy’s most romantic city and must rival Paris for being Europe’s city of love. Smaller and more compact than Paris it offers a more intimate feel. It is so easy to navigate and you should manage to see most of the highlights in a weekend break.

Florence by The Travel Expert

The Ponte Vecchio bridge is lined with jewellery shops just asking for the ring to be chosen. The city oozes style so its not surprising that Gucci and Roberto Cavalli were born here! The Uffizi Gallery houses one of the largest collections of art in the world and the Cathedral (Duomo) is one of the most impressive you are likely to see anywhere.

Duomo, Florence by The Travel Expert

If you have the time, a trip into the Tuscan countryside will only add to the romance. Choose from Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti – all a short distance from Florence. I found a great deal departing on the 7th of May for only €215 including flights and three nights hotel accommodation. The perfect gift for your loved one on Valentines day! Click here for more details.  


The beaches are white powder, the temperatures are approximately 30 degrees all year round and each resort is on its own island. The word paradise automatically springs to mind! Not surprisingly the Maldives are one of the most romantic places to holiday.

Kandolhu Island, Maldives by The Travel Expert

There are almost 1200 islands spread out over 1000 km of which 100 are tourist islands and 200 are locally inhabited. Even the airport is on a separate island as it is literally a runway in the ocean! Renowned as an underwater paradise each island is surrounded by its own reef which is perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. Many rooms or villas are situated over the ocean with direct access to the sea. The atmosphere is so relaxed that even in the 5* resorts, a beach dress and flip flops are the norm at night. So ladies, no need to pack ten pairs of shoes!

Kandolhu, Maldives, The ultimate honeymoon by The Travel Expert

Normally once you land you will transfer to a sea plane to bring you to the island resort. As everything needs to be imported, items can be expensive so I would recommend going all inclusive. Be careful though as some all inclusive resorts will only allow you use the buffet restaurant and you will have to pay extra to use the a la carte restaurants on the island. I can recommend Kuramathi, an excellent 4*+ resort who offer a ‘select’ all inclusive package, that includes nine a la carte restaurants. Prices from €2745 per person include flights and seven nights accommodation in a jacuzzi beach villa, with sea plane transfers and the select all inclusive dining package. For more information click here.  Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert talks about the Maldives on Saturday AM

If you want to go 5*, Kandolhu has four a la carte restaurants and even your own wine cooler stocked with 30 bottles of wine in your villa! Will you manage to get through them all though…. 

I hope I gave you some ideas of how to surprise your loved on on Valentines day or at some stage in the future. For more ideas read my blog post – the top 10 romantic destinations.


Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change.



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Is this the ultimate honeymoon?

Kandolhu 1217

Imagine the anticipation of waiting for your chauffeur driven limousine to pull up outside your home. Your journey starts here…

Arrive at the airport in style and go straight to the business class desk for a speedy check in. Enjoy a glass of bubbly in the Etihad lounge before boarding your business class flight to your ultimate paradise island. Sample drinks of your choice and some fine dining on board, before drifting off to sleep on the Etihad Airways lie flat beds.

Kandolhu, Maldives, The ultimate honeymoon by The Travel ExpertArrive thoroughly refreshed only to board a sea plane for the final hop across the Indian Ocean. After a short 25 minute flight you will arrive at the five star luxury Kandolhu Island in the Maldives. The island is 200 metres long by 150 metres wide and has only 30 villas.  It is the guardian to one of the most pristine and colourful reefs in the Maldives. The beach, one of dust like pure white sand, is exactly what comes to ones imagination when ‘paradise’ is mentioned.

You will be staying in one of only seven ocean pool villas. Facing the sunset, these villas serve only to enhance the experience at Kandolhu. Each villa is reached by its own private walkway and on entering the oversized bedroom, you’ll notice the large bed, daybed and walk-in wardrobe. The bathroom is open with a shower, bathtub and opens out onto the pool deck. Complete with sunloungers, sun umbrella and a plunge pool with panoramic views of the ocean. Suffice to say; You. Have. Arrived.

So we are familiar with the concept of ‘all inclusive’, but Kandolhu Island brings that concept to a whole new level. Here you will have the choice of dining in four a la carte restaurants. You have your own wine cooler in your room, stocked with 30 bottles of premium wine. There is an unspoken challenge to get through as many as you can, as you sit and watch the sunset beyond the horizon each evening. So is this the ultimate honeymoon destination? Well, its got to be up there with the best, and once you consider the ‘ultimate inclusions’ option, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers a great deal to Dubai

After relaxing for seven nights on this wonderful island, being spoilt by the service, and slowing down the pace of life to a crawl, what next? It has to be the glitz, the glamour and all the excess on offer in Dubai. Shop till you drop in the biggest malls in the world and marvel at the view from the world’s tallest building. You can ski, surf, or safari (in the desert at least!)  – what ever you want to do, you will probably find it in Dubai. Spend five nights in a deluxe room at the stunning Atlantis Palm Hotel (airport transfers by limo of course). Enjoy breakfast and evening meal each day and if you are feeling adventurous, access to their waterpark throughout your stay. You will also have afternoon tea in the world’s only seven star hotel, the Burj al Arab. I have done this and, believe me, it’s worth it just to see the glorious excess that is seven star.

Don’t worry though if you are feeling tired after all that action in Dubai, you can chill out and relax on your return business class flight. And just to complete the ultimate honeymoon, your chauffeur will be waiting for you in Dublin airport to bring you home – and back to the reality! So forget about the chocolate fountains and the candy carts, nobody will remember them anyway.  As for the honeymoon, well, it is a trip of a lifetime….


See IslandEscapes.ie for more details.



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