romantic destinations

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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.

Monart

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

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.  

Maldives

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.

 

Sarah

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Top Ten Romantic Destinations

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It wasn’t easy trying to come up with a list of the top ten romantic destinations – let’s face it Italy probably has ten on it’s own! I had to narrow it down to my personal favourites so I hope you like them…

The world is full of romantic places but sometimes it’s what happens in a particular place that makes it romantic. Let’s face it The Eiffel Tower doesn’t look particularly romantic, but proposing in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, is one of the world’s most romantic places to propose. Hopefully you can take some inspiration from these romantic destinations and plan you own romantic getaway.

 

 

 

 

Paris, France

Paris one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

It is impossible not to fall in love with Paris. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and sip champagne from the bar at the top. As I mentioned previously, it is one of the most romantic places to propose! If that’s not your thing, take a stroll around Montmartre and enjoy the views from the Sacré Coeur, or relax and absorb the city from a boat trip on the Seine. Finish off your day with some classic French cuisine in one of it’s many brasseries – formidable!

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Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Whitsunday Islands one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

My trips around Australia led me to some pretty spectacular places, but the one place that stands out in my mind is Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. It is still probably the best beach I have ever seen, and one that I will find it hard to beat. The sand is amongst the purest in the world, it is so fine you can even use it to polish your jewellery!

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Tuscany, Italy

Florence one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

The Ponte Vecchio bridge n Florence is full of couples browsing it’s jewellery shops – just looking for the right one, and Florence’s Duomo is one of the most impressive I have ever seen.  The city is so easy to navigate, and even a casual stroll taking in the Italian style is enough to bring out the romance in you.

If you have time, take a trip to the Tuscan countryside and visit Siena, San Gimignano or the Chianti wine region. In fact Im struggling to decide which is more romantic, Florence or the surrounding countryside…. For more info on Tuscany, read my blog.

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Venice, Italy

Venice one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

A trip on a gondola and a coffee on St Mark’s Square – it has to be done right? Ignore the expense (they both cost a small fortune) – the views from both are breathtaking. The small winding streets and bridges are a pleasure to explore. Where else will you find a city of such scale and beauty built on water?

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Maldives

Maldives one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

White powder beaches, year round temperatures of 30 degrees, each resort is on its own island and you generally arrive at your hotel by seaplane – the Maldives is pure paradise! The laid back atmosphere means that even in deluxe hotels, the dress code is casual – so girls, no need to pack ten pairs of heels!

Read about my magical stay in the Maldives

Read: Maldives holidays – the best resorts in the Maldives

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Hawaii

Hawaii one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

This multicultural paradise is vastly different from the paradise islands of the Indian ocean or South Pacific. You will see college students on gap years, mingling with honeymoon couples in five star resorts. There are six main islands, each offering something different. The combination of rugged landscapes, waterfalls, volcanoes, superb beaches, and the relaxed vibe, ensures a holiday in Hawaii will leave you wanting to come back for more.

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Bora Bora

Bora Bora one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

I debated between Bora Bora and Tahiti – both in French Polynesia and both absolutely world class romantic destinations. No matter which island you choose, you just have to have an overwater bungalow. I think it was the Four Seasons Hotel in Bora Bora that won it over for me –just take a look!  

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Lapland

Lapland one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

Lapland is not all about Santa you know! If you like the snow then there is nowhere better. It really is a winter wonderland and will definitely fill you with child like wonder. From late August to late April this is the best place to watch the Northern lights. Why not stay in a glass igloo and watch the Northern lights from the comfort of your cosy bed.

Read: How to see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo.

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Santorini, Greece

Santorini, one of the top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

Santorini has to be on everyone’s bucket list. That picture postcard that you see on almost every advertisement for Greece – how could you not want to go there? Every time I see it, I picture myself sipping a cocktail in a small Greek taverna, watching one of the most amazing sunsets. One of the world’s most romantic destinations – absolutely.  Top Tip: Try to avoid peak summer months, the crowds might ruin the romance.

Read: 10 Amazing Airbnbs in Santorini, Caves, Windmills and Private Pools

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Tanzania

Despite travelling to over 50 countries in 30 years, our holiday in Tanzania is still my favourite travel experience. The deluxe tented safari camps and the most spectacular game viewing – we experienced nature at it’s very best. And then we finished off our trip of a lifetime by relaxing on the beach in Zanzibar – pure bliss! 

Read about my safari in Tanzania here

South Africa safari,the travel expert,sarah slattery,wildlife,trip of a lifetime

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I would love to hear your favourite romantic destinations – please comment in the box below.

 

 

 

Sarah

 

The Travel Expert

 

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Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

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We all have different tastes and budgets, so I think it is fair to say that there are no perfect honeymoon destinations that suit everyone – well maybe Bora Bora…

Lets face it, if we had unlimited holidays and unlimited cash, we would probably all like to stay in a beach villa in the South Pacific. However, being realistic, we need to remember not everyone can take three weeks off to travel the world, and many of us have limited means. You also have to make sure to check the weather before you book, as it could be the rainy or even hurricane season in your dream honeymoon destination. Here are my top  honeymoon destinations – there should be one here to suit you.

 

 

 

1. Short on time – The Amalfi Coast

amalfi coast is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations

For those of you who only don’t have lots of annual leave available, a week in Italy is the perfect choice. Stay in a deluxe hotel in Positano or Ravello and live like a celebrity. Visit the isle of Capri, take water taxis along the coast and soak up the Italian atmosphere.  Bellisimo!

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2. Short on cash – Greece

zakynthos famous beach

I love the Greek islands and if you are getting married during the summer months, then Greece is a great choice. Swim with turtles in the turquoise waters of Zakynthos, explore the hilltop town of Lindos in Rhodes, or chill out in a five-star hotel in Crete. I stayed in a luxury hotel near Chania and loved it.

Read my review of Anemos Luxury Grand Resort.

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3. Like All Inclusive –  Cancun

top 10 honeymoon destinations

If you want a luxury hotel with all meals and drinks included, then Cancun is best for value. Cancun is perfect for anyone who wants to be pampered, without moving too far from your hotel.  Many honeymooners feel exhausted after the wedding, so all-inclusive holidays suit perfectly. You could however, mix it up a little and add in a few days in New York or Vegas on the way back….

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4. Play it safe – The Maldives

maldives is one of the top honeymoon destinations

If you want pure luxury, idyllic beaches and want to wear flip flops for the week, the Maldives is for you. It is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations, but can still be affordable. Combine with Dubai for a great combination of city and beach. 

Read: Where to stay in the Maldives – my guide to the best hotels in the Maldives

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5. Tick all boxes – Island hopping in the Caribbean

barbados is ideal for honeymoons

This is a great choice for couples who primarily want a beach holiday, but want a bit of adventure thrown in. Barbados, The Grenadines, St Lucia and the Cayman Islands, it’s hard to believe they are all so close  – yet so different. If you don’t fancy to much packing and unpacking, try a Caribbean cruise and see them all on day trips!

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6. Like adventure – South Africa

South Africa safari,the travel expert,sarah slattery,wildlife,trip of a lifetime

South Africa is one of my favourite honeymoon destinations. It is the perfect place to mix adventure with beach time. Drive the garden route, go whale watching, take in a safari, explore Cape Town and finish off your honeymoon by chilling out on a wine estate.

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7. Road trip – California

Golden Gate bridge

There is nothing like the wind in your hair as you drive the Pacific Coast highway in a convertible. Combine San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and if  you have three weeks to spare, try to take in the national parks too. Drive from LA to Scottsdale, on to Vegas before hitting Death Valley and Yosemite. From there drive to San Francisco and hit the pacific coast highway back to LA. For a two week trip, make it simple, fly to San Francisco and drive the PCH to San Diego. 

Read the best places to stop on the Pacific Coast Highway.

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8. Adrenaline Junkies – Florida

 honeymoon destinations for adventure

Surprisingly this is a really popular honeymoon choice. If you are looking for non-stop action, then Florida is hard to beat. Mix it up a little and combine with New York or Vegas, or why not add on a Caribbean cruise?

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9. A bit more exotic – Thailand

top 10 honeymoon destinations - Thailand

 

Thailand is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Choose to relax on one of its many beaches or choose to combine a stay in Bangkok and Thailand’s cultural centre, Chiang Mai. Opt for five-star glamping in the Elephant Hills Camp, go island hopping in the Andaman Sea, or shop till you drop in Bangkok. Who says you can’t do it all?   

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10. The world is your oyster – Australia

 

If you have plenty of time on your hands, and plenty of cash – then it has to be Australia! See the sights in Sydney, marvel at Ayers Rock and explore the world’s most impressive underwater paradise at the Great Barrier Reef. There is actually so much to see and do in Australia – way to many to mention! And if you manage to tour this massive continent and still want some more action – hop over to New Zealand…

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Sarah

 

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery
 

 

 

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