Based in Sheffield

Andrea Lovatt

It's Nice To Meet You

Welcome to my web page at Travel Counsellors.

With 26 years of experience as an independent travel agent, 15 of which have been as a personal Travel Counsellor, I have the knowledge, time and tools I need to give my customers the special attention and care they deserve when booking their holiday.

I appreciate your time is precious so I do all of the work for you. You no longer need to leave your home to make time consuming trips into town. I will arrange everything for you from start to finish.

At Travel Counsellors we are the experts with award winning technology and access to hundreds of suppliers all over the world. Whether it be a holiday, cruise, flight, car hire, a night in a hotel, a theatre, golf or spa break or even just some airport parking, I have the confidence and ability to source the best possible deals to suit you.

If you would like any further information on how I can help you with your future travel plans whether it be for leisure or business please do not hesitate to contact me at any time - day, evening or at the weekend and I will be happy to answer any questions. If you have any friends, family or colleagues thinking of travelling too please feel free to pass on my details.

I look forward to helping you!



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My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

1 night at The Malmaison Hotel in Manchester - to see 'Coldplay'

20 June 2012

I booked tickets for my boyfriend and I to see ‘Coldplay’ at Manchester City Football Club’s ‘Etihad Stadium’ as a Christmas present and decided to book a night’s accommodation so we didn’t have to make the hour drive back home again that same night. I decided on the four star Malmaison Hotel opposite Piccadilly Station in the centre of Manchester. Six months later, upon check-in we were absolutely thrilled with my choice! The hotel felt very modern and contemporary with a bar and coffee shop area with seating near the reception area and a lovely breakfast room/restaurant as well. We were upgraded to an executive room which was absolutely lovely and had a massive comfy bed, seating area, tv, minibar, iron and ironing board, docking station and wi-fi in the room and a lovely bathroom with lots of complimentary lotions and potions! After seeing ‘Coldplay’ (who were amazing!!) and our night in our hotel, we had a lovely buffet breakfast which was included in the price. We didn’t have to check out until 12 noon which was nice, so we sat and had a coffee in the bar area and then headed home. It was such a shame we didn’t have more time to enjoy the hotel and maybe have a spa treatment or two. This was such a lovely trendy but comfortable hotel…easily the best hotel I have ever stayed in in the UK and I would definitely love to return their again! If you would like information on this hotel or any other UK breaks please just let me know.

Grand Siva Resort in Hurghada, Egypt

20 June 2012

I had never visited Egypt before and my partner and I decided to stay for seven nights in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada at the four star plus Siva Grand Beach Resort on all inclusive basis. I flew from Manchester with Monarch Airlines who I always find to be a good airline and on arrival after obtaining our visas, we had a short transfer to our hotel. Upon check-in we found we had been upgraded to a suite in the main building which was lovely but the standard rooms scattered around the resort in bungalows looked easily as nice. We had seven nights of gorgeous sunshine, fantastic all inclusive food and drink (especially for kids), a pretty gently shelving beach, fabulous swim-up bar in the pool and great evening entertainment…what more could we ask for! Just outside the hotel is the Siva Mall with an internet café, a few bars and cafes, lots of gift shops and the ‘Little Buddha’ nightclub. During our stay we hardly left the hotel other than a quick shopping trip and a full day snorkelling boat trip which was amazing! If you are interested in trying Egypt for yourself, there are always great last minute deals with beach holidays in Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh or perhaps you fancy something a bit different such as a Nile Cruise. If you would like any more information on my holiday or any other Egypt holidays please just let me know at any time.

3 night break in ‘The Thatched Barn’ in Smarden, Kent

19 June 2012

This was the fourth pre-Christmas break my friends and I have taken, so it seems this has now become a yearly thing! We have always chosen accommodation fairly near to where we live so we never have to drive that far and we did the same again this time. We chose ‘The Thatched Barn’ in Smarden, Kent which was about a 50 minute drive from where we live so was the perfect location. When we arrived we were just blown away as it was gorgeous, easily the best one we have stayed in. It was in a tiny little village with just houses, a couple of shops and a pub but near to other larger towns if you should need them. As always, other than a visit to the local pub for lunch and a few drinks, we hardly did anything whilst we there and we had such a lovely relaxing time! We had already bought all of the food and the drink that we needed for our three nights so we didn’t even need to leave the house! The barn had a kitchen, open plan living and dining room, two double bedrooms, two twin bedrooms and another small sleeping area. It had one main bathroom and two en-suite bathrooms, a small games room and a lovely outside seating area. This was a lovely break in a beautifully converted barn in lovely peaceful surroundings. These types of accommodations are available all over the UK and all through the year for stays from two nights upwards. If you are interested in booking something similar to this please just let me know as I would be happy to help.

5* Costa Adeje Gran Hotel, Costa Adeje in Tenerife

19 June 2012

I flew from Gatwick to Tenerife with my friend for a four night pre-summer break at the five star Costa Adeje Gran Hotel in Costa Adeje, and had a fabulous time. The weather was gorgeous and the hotel was perfect for a luxurious five star short break. I stayed on half board basis and the buffet restaurant offered a brilliant choice of breakfast and theme dinners. The hotel had three separate pool areas with an entertainment team available throughout the day, an outside restaurant and bar and another pool bar, a lovely airy restaurant with a lovely choice of food and themed meal evenings including Italian, Mexican and fish and a lovely big evening entertainment area with a bar and computer area. Evening entertainment generally started with a pianist and then a range of entertainment earlier in the evening for children with a quiz game or singer later on, ending with the pianist again. We had a day out at the Siam Park waterpark which I would thoroughly recommend. It has some of the best and biggest waterslides I have been on and the biggest wave pool in Europe. It also has free shuttle buses running from many resorts in the South of the island. I even managed a couple of hours meeting up with my auntie and uncle who live in Tenerife so that was a lovely little bonus! I would say this this hotel was a gorgeous more relaxed five star hotel and I would definitely return for either a short break or a longer holiday. If you would like any more information on this hotel or on Tenerife just let me know.

3 night break in a converted barn in Buxted, East Sussex, UK

26 February 2011

Me and a group of friends stayed in an oasthouse in Wittersham, Kent, not far from where we live, at this same time last year and had such a lovely time we decided to do the same thing again a year later! We didn’t want to travel too far again as our break was only going to be for 3 nights so we chose a converted barn on a farm in Buxted, East Sussex about a 50 minute drive from where we live. When we arrived we were just blown away as it was gorgeous, in a lovely setting on a working farm so there were cows, horses and chickens all around us. Just like last time, we hardly did anything whilst we there and we had such a lovely relaxing time! We had already bought all of the food and the drink that we needed for our 3 nights so we didn’t even need to leave the house! We did pop into the nearby town of Uckfield for the afternoon but that was all. This was a lovely break in lovely peaceful surroundings. We enjoyed it so much again that I think this will probably now become a yearly event! These types of accommodations are available all over the UK and all through the year for stays from 2 nights upwards. If you are interested in booking something similar to this please just let me know as I would be happy to help.

2 night break in Liverpool, UK

30 December 2010

I caught the train from Hastings to London Bridge, took the tube across to London Euston and then travelled for the rest of my journey from London Euston on a ‘Virgin’ train. I couldn’t believe it when that whole journey took only 5 hours and we arrived into Liverpool, all that way, so quickly and early! I was actually travelling to Liverpool for my annual conference where I stayed at the Premier Inn, Liverpool Albert Dock for 2 nights. As soon as arrived into Liverpool, I loved it! We got off the train, straight into a taxi and it was literally a 5 minute ride to our hotel. We were staying in the Albert Docks because it was near the conference centre but even though the docks are in their own little area, they are still only a short walk from the centre of Liverpool. The Premier Inn, Liverpool Albert Dock was just great! The whole set up and décor was just like that of any Premier Inn but it is in a 19th century, Grade 1 listed building, which has been sensitively converted, so it was lovely and very in keeping with the feel of the old Albert Docks. This hotel is in a fantastic location for the conference centre’s, the lovely shops and restaurants and the ‘Tate Liverpool’ around the docks and the Liverpool big wheel. I would love to go back to Liverpool for a couple of nights for the shopping and to see the sights and I think I would try and find a hotel more in the city centre but if I was not able to, I would definitely not be against staying here again. Unfortunately, I did not get to see as much of Liverpool as I would have liked to as this visit was for my conference but I did get chance to walk to Mathew Street and have a couple of drinks and listen to a live band in ‘The Cavern Club’ where ‘The Beatles’ used to play. This was a fantastic experience! If I never go to Liverpool again, at least I have had a drink in the most famous club in the world!! My conference was amazing. Aswell as our conference sessions which included presentations from some very inspirational people including 'Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson', we were kept entertained throughout the weekend by 'Michael McIntyre', 'Shayne Ward', 'Escala' and 'Faces of Disco'. Having now had a glimpse of Liverpool, I would definitely love to go back one day. I think a 2 night stay would be perfect. There are lots of things I would love to do from the ‘Beatles Story Experience’, a sightseeing bus tour, maybe a tour of 'Anfield Football Club' and, of course, lots of shopping! If you are looking for a short break away with the family or a girly weekend or stag weekend, I think Liverpool would be a great choice! I am able to book hotel breaks all over the UK with a massive selection of prebookable excursions and attractions. If you would like any more information on breaks in Liverpool or anywhere else in the UK please just let me know.

Gumbet, Turkey - 2010

28 February 2011

This was my 12th visit to Gumbet in Turkey and my 12th stay at the same hotel! Every year, myself and a group of friends always book to stay at ‘The Bagevleri Hotel’ in Gumbet, on the Bodrum Peninsula, for either 7 or 14 nights. We love this time of year as it is not too busy but the weather is still beautiful. ‘The Bagevleri Hotel’ is a small family run bed and breakfast hotel in a fantastic location, just off the main road so very near to the beach, shops and restaurants in Gumbet. The hotel has a lovely pool area, bar and restaurant and with a shop just across the road you don’t even have to leave the hotel for the day if you don’t want to! Whenever we go to Turkey, we always start our holiday off with a Turkish bath. We went to a gorgeous hotel in Bitez, a nearby resort, to have our bath, followed by a body which prepares your skin for a lovely tan without peeling and then a lovely massage. As always, this left me feeling lovely and relaxed and ready for my two week holiday. During our two week stay, we took a gulet cruise along the coast where we made lots of stops to swim in the sea, enjoy a lovely lunch and took a trip to ‘Camel Beach’ where a few of us had a quick ride along the beach on a camel! We spent most of our days enjoying the sun and the pool at the hotel but had a few days on the beach in Gumbet and Bitez. It was on Gumbet beach that a few of us had a ride on the ringos …. Inflatable rings pulled along through the water by a speedboat. I hadn’t been on these for a few years so it was good fun to do this again! I love the resort of Bitez which is about a five minute drive from Gumbet. We always spend a couple of our days on the beach here as it is much nicer, quieter beach than in Gumbet. It is more ‘cosmopolitan’ resort and has a little market selling gifts, clothes and gorgeous jewellery. We also went back to Bitez for an evening meal a few times which made a nice change from being in Gumbet. I wouldn’t want to stay here for my whole holiday as it is a bit too quiet for me but it is lovely for a visit or two. We spent our evenings eating in some of the many lovely restaurants in and around Gumbet including the restaurant at our hotel and the ‘Café Columbia Steak House’ right across the road from the hotel. I always have a fantastic time in Turkey. Aswell as what I have mentioned, there is always so much to do in and around Gumbet. There are lots of shops to buy ‘fake’ designer gear and lots of bars and nightclubs. The larger resort of Bodrum is only a five minute bus ride away where this a lovely harbour area, castle and lots more shops and bigger bars and nightclubs including the world famous ‘Halikarnas’. I love the ‘Bagevleri Hotel, where we always stay. It is a small family run hotel in a great location. We know we will always be looked after by the hotel staff. I am sure we will be returning here for many years to come! If you would like to more about Gumbet and Bodrum or about the Bagevleri Hotel please just let me know.

3 night break in an oasthouse in Wittersham, Kent, UK

16 December 2010

Me and a group of my friends wanted a little winter break to just ‘get away’ from everything. We wanted somewhere very near to where we lived so we didn’t have to travel too far! I found a gorgeous oasthouse in the peaceful countryside in Wittersham, Kent so I booked for us all to stay there for 3 nights in November 2009. We had such a lovely, relaxing time! We hardly did anything whilst we there. We had already bought all of the food and the drink that we needed for our 3 nights so we didn’t even leave the house! We literally just relaxed the whole time we were there and although we were not far from home, we could have been a million miles away! This was a lovely break in lovely peaceful surroundings and we enjoyed it so much that we booked the same sort of thing for the following year! These types of accommodations are available all over the UK and all through the year for stays from 2 nights upwards. If you are interested in booking something similar to this please just let me know as I would be happy to help.

Gumbet, Turkey - 2009

26 February 2011

This was my 11th visit to Gumbet on the Bodrum Peninsula and to the same hotel. My June holiday to Turkey has now become a yearly ritual for me and a group of family and friends and we always have such a wonderful time! I love going in June as the weather is beautiful and hot but not too hot! It takes just under four hours to fly from Gatwick to Bodrum and then just 45 minutes to be transferred to ‘The Bagevleri Hotel’ in Gumbet for our 14 night stay. It is small family run bed and breakfast hotel just off the main road of Gumbet with a lovely pool area, bar and restaurant and only five minutes from the sandy beach. We usually spend the majority of our days in Turkey sunbathing by and swimming in the lovely pool at the hotel. The hotel has a lovely outdoor restaurant and bar right by the pool that serves lovely lunches, gorgeous evening meals and drinks so we never have to go far too far! As always, we went for a Turkish bath on our first day. This was a great way to start my holiday as after the bath, we had a body scrub and a massage which prepares your skin for a gorgeous tan with out peeling! We also went on our annual boat trip along the coast on a gulet. This is our favorite day as we get the chance to sunbathe and relax on the boat, eat a gorgeous lunch onboard, swim in the sea and make a stop at ‘Camel Beach’. My friend and I had a go on the ‘flying fish’ from off the boat. This is a flying inflatable pulled along by a speedboat which flies you very high in the sky! Another day out we had was a jeep safari where we were driven into the countryside, had a swim on a remote beach and lunch in a village. This is lovely as you get to see the ‘real’ turkey. But you do also get very wet as the day seems to be a non-stop waterfight!! We always spend a day or two on the beach in the neighbouring resort of Bitez. It is quieter, prettier resort than Gumbet with a lovely beach and a lovely little market selling gifts, clothes and gorgeous jewellery. Us girls always come home with a few ‘buys’ from here. During this visit to Gumbet, my friend ‘Paula’ and I tried something we have never done before. After a trial run in the hotel pool, we had a go at diving. We had a short taster dive from a dive boat and both absolutely loved it! Maybe we will get to try a proper dive one day! For most of our evenings in Turkey, we usually meet at the hotel bar for a drink and then decide which of the many, lovely restaurants in Gumbet we are going to eat in. We often eat at the restaurant at the hotel and every year we always have a couple of visits to the ‘Café Columbia Steak House’ right across the road from the hotel. I always have a fantastic time in Turkey. Aswell as what I have mentioned, there is always so much to do in and around Gumbet. There are lots of shops to buy ‘fake’ designer gear and lots of bars and nightclubs. The larger resort of Bodrum is only a five minute bus ride away where this a lovely harbour area, castle and lots more shops and bigger bars and nightclubs including the world famous ‘Halikarnas’. I love the ‘Bagevleri Hotel, where we always stay. It is a small family run hotel in a great location. We know we will always be looked after by the hotel staff and this is one of the reasons we return year after year. If you would like to more about Gumbet and Bodrum or about the hotel please just let me know.

London Theatre Break to see 'Oliver'

06 February 2009

When the new musical ‘Oliver’ started at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, some of my friends and family and I really wanted to see it so when I came across a really good offer for 2 nights in a hotel in London with tickets to see the show, we booked up straight away! We travelled up to London from Hastings by train and went straight to the 3* Royal National Hotel in London to check-in. It is a fairly budget hotel that is generally used for theatre break offers so it was fairly basic but perfect for what we wanted. We had 4 twin rooms with private facilities that were a good size and the hotel was great as it had a large restaurant where we had our full English breakfast that was included in our break and a bar that stayed open until 2am which was really good for when you came back to the hotel late at night! On the last day there was a room that we could leave our luggage in whilst we spent our last day in London. We had pre-booked to go ice skating at Somerset House on the Friday afternoon which was brilliant. It was a rink set up outside in the middle of the big old buildings and we had an hour on the ice (with very comfortable ice skates for a change!) and had such a good time. Some of us took to it with no problem at all …. And some didn’t!! The skating at Somerset House is only temporary and is usually there over Christmas so I would definitely recommend this as something to do if you are in London over December/January time. On Saturday morning we had a ‘Duck Tour’, again that we had pre-booked. This was excellent and so funny. We were taken around London to see the sights in an amphibious DUKW which then slid down a slipway into the Thames where we continued our sightseeing tour by boat. It was a 70 minute trip and, again, I would so recommend this as it was a great way to see London by road and by water although we did get lots of funny stares from people around London! On the Saturday night we went to see ‘Oliver’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane where we had some of the best seats in the dress circle. We all agreed that ‘Oliver’ is one of the best shows we have ever seen. Rowan Atkinson was just brilliant as ‘Fagin’, Jodie Prenger (from TV’s ‘I’d Do Anything’) was definitely the best choice for ‘Nancy’ and all of the children in the show made it that bit more magical. After the show, we wandered round to the stage door and met all the stars! On Sunday morning, after another lovely full English breakfast, we caught the tube over to London Bridge to go into the ‘London Bridge Experience’. This was an attraction with the first half learning about some of the history of London and then the second half trying to get through an adult-type haunted house set up like the streets of London with people jumping out at us and heads hanging around. This was quite good fun but not that scary really so was my least favourite part of the weekend. As well as the things I have mentioned above during our weekend away we ate in lots of nice restaurants (and visited a few pubs!), saw lots of sights around London and, overall, had a fantastic weekend …. Although very, very tiring! If you are thinking of getting away for a couple of nights, I am able to book any show in London with a 1, 2 or 3 nights stay in the hotel of your choice for you. I would definitely recommend ‘Oliver’ but there are lots of other fabulous shows for you to choose from. I am also able to pre-book lots of London attractions for you including the duck tour, The London Eye, River Thames sightseeing cruises, Madame Tussauds and helicopter champagne flights over London.

Marbella, Costa Del Sol, Spain

06 February 2009

I flew from Gatwick to Marbella on the Costa Del Sol (‘The Sunny Coast’) on the 21st November 2008 for my annual conference where I stayed at the 5* Melia Don Pepe Hotel for 3 nights. I must admit I was a little disappointed with this hotel as although in its day I think it would have been a fabulous, grand hotel, it now felt quite old fashioned and dated. The bedrooms were quite small for a 5* hotel but had beautiful views out over the gardens, beach and sea. The outdoor areas, gardens, the pool, and pool restaurant were lovely and much more modern and a private gated area led straight onto the long promenade and beach. The beach was lovely and, covered in palm trees, seemed more like it should have been from the Caribbean than in Southern Spain! Unfortunately, I did not get to see a lot of Marbella as this visit was for my conference but I took a walk along the promenade to the marina and it was lovely, lined with pavement cafes, exclusive shops and an 8 screen cinema complex! The marina housed lots of very impressive boats. I spent an evening at the ‘Olivia Valere’ club in a beautiful high-walled setting in Marbella where I was entertained by fabulous flamenco dancers all evening. Rumour had it that Ashley Cole spent his stag night here! Another evening, I ate at the gorgeous ‘Villa Tiberio’ Italian restaurant in Marbella where the walls and ceilings are decked with stunning Roman murals and I can honestly say I had one of the best meals here I have ever had. There are lots of excursions you can take around Marbella. I took part in a flamenco workshop which was great fun and lots of my colleagues tried their hand at paella making, wine tasting, and there was also the chance of a visit to the Picasso museum as well as lots of activity challenges and treasure hunts. One thing I was very disappointed in is that I did not get the chance to visit Puerto Banus which is like the St Tropez or Monte Carlo of the Costa Del Sol. I would have loved to have spent the afternoon or evening sitting at one of the exclusive pavement cafes ‘people watching’. You never know I might have seen a celebrity or two! Having now had a brief glimpse of Marbella, I would definitely love to go back. It seems to have everything from gorgeous beaches to pretty villages and lovely countryside, endless world class golf courses and, with excellent conference facilities, would be fantastic for both business or pleasure. If you are looking for a men’s golfing break, a girly weekend or a family summer holiday, the Costa Del Sol would be perfect!

'Atlantis The Palm' Hotel, Dubai

05 October 2008

I have been lucky enough to have stayed at the ‘Atlantis The Palm Hotel’ in Dubai for a week from the opening day … and WOW! What a place! I flew from Gatwick to Dubai with Emirates Airlines who were fantastic. The best airline I have ever flown with. A comfortable seat pitch and the excellent service made the 6.5 to 7 hour flight quite bearable!! Upon arrival in Dubai I was met by private transfer and driven to the 5* deluxe ‘Atlantis' Hotel situated on the crescent of the ‘Palm Jumeirah’ in Dubai. My transfer took about 20 minutes to get to the Palm from the airport and then about another 10 minutes to get up the Palm to the hotel! When I visited, the Palm was very much a building site with hotels and apartments being built up the trunk and on all of the fronds (the branches) but is actually quite interesting to see! The monorail which runs from the hotel at the end of the Palm, right up the palm and up through most of Dubai is due to be completed in April 2009. My stay at the ‘Atlantis Hotel’ was fantastic! A massive pink ‘Las Vegas’ style hotel with an atlantis theme with the ‘Aquaventure’ waterpark and ‘Dolphin Bay’ attached. My room was lovely with all the little luxuries you would expect from a 5* deluxe hotel and views either out to see or over the Palm. I would definitely request a Palm view as the sea view doesn’t give you very much to look at! The hotel has lots to see. There is the impressive lobby, avenues full of shops (very expensive designer clothes shops and jewellers!), the ‘Lost Chambers’ with floor to ceiling glass windows into the fish and shark filled lagoon, the gorgeous pools overlooking the Palm with lovely sunbathing areas and towels laid out for you and many fantastic restaurants to choose from. The ‘Kaleidoscope’ restaurant serves the most fantastic buffet breakfast I have ever seen and then also offers buffet lunch and dinner. The pool bars offer snacks and then there is the choice of restaurants for your evening meal. I would have loved to have eaten in the ‘Ossiano’ Michelin star seafood restaurant as it has the glass windows into the lagoon again but I don’t eat fish!! We had drinks in the 3 bars, my favourite being the ‘Levantine’ Lebanese bar out on a terrace overlooking the Palm. There is also the ‘Sanctuary’ nightclub but it had not opened yet. I did find the restaurants and bars quite expensive and the only downside I felt was it was very much fine dining all over the hotel and it lacked somewhere to just get something ‘normal’ to eat! The ‘Aquaventure’ waterpark which is joined to the hotel was fantastic and makes this hotel excellent for families. Guests at the hotel receive unlimited access throughout their stay. I went on all the slides (including the ‘Ziggurat’ which plunged you through a shark infested lagoon!) and floated around the 2km long lazy river. If you are thinking of taking children to this resort it is ideal as in addition to the pools and waterpark, there is also the ‘Club Rush’ kids club which has lots of activities for children throughout the day and night. I did also pre-book a dolphin interaction at ‘Dolphin Bay’ which, again, is part of the ‘Atlantis’ resort. It was obviously a fantastic experience but was not an ‘entertainment type’ of thing like in Florida. It was nice as it was much more of a gentle interaction and the dolphins were not made to do anything they didn’t want to do. You basically gave them a kiss, a cuddle and a stroke and not much else really so the £85.00 I paid was quite a lot of money for what I got. The photo that was taken cost me another £24.00!! I think they will be adding deeper water swims to their programme in the future so this might be better. I think you should only stay at this hotel if you want the ‘gimmick and the luxurious touches’ really but not if you want to feel like you are in Dubai! Being out on the end of the Palm felt like you could have been anywhere in the world and not in Dubai. I did book a city tour and was so pleased I did as this did show me the ‘real Dubai’ with a visit to the museum, the oldest mosque in Dubai, the colourful spice souks and the gold souk and also stops to show us all of the well known hotels such as the ‘Burj Al Arab’ and also to see the mass of hotels under construction. Our tour also included a little trip across the creek in a watertaxi which was good fun. One other thing I did whilst in Dubai was a visit to the ‘Mall of the Emirates’ shopping centre for lots of shopping and I enjoyed watching people trying out the indoor ski runs! I would love to go back to Dubai but maybe not for about another 3-5 years as I feel there will be many changes and it will be great to see the Palm finished. This hotel would be great for a city break but I would recommend a little longer as there is so much to see and do at this massive resort! I am not sure if I would go in September again though as it was so so hot! It was in the 40’s every day!! Maybe the cooler months would be better! If you would like to know more about the ‘Atlantis The Palm’ Hotel in Dubai, please just let me know.

Gumbet, Turkey - 2008

26 February 2011

I have been to Turkey around ten times now! Quite by accident I found a little gem in Gumbet on the Bodrum Peninsula and have not been able to stop going back to the same place ever since! I usually go to Turkey in May or June as the weather is beautiful and hot but not too hot! I fly from Gatwick to Bodrum which takes just under four hours and then a 40 minute transfer to ‘The Bagevleri Hotel’ in Gumbet. It is a small family run bed and breakfast hotel just off the main road of Gumbet with a lovely pool area, bar and restaurant and only five minutes from the sandy beach. There are lots of restaurants in Gumbet including my favourites …. ‘The Bombay Cottage’ where you can get a gorgeous Indian buffet and the ‘Columbia Steak House’ right across the road from the hotel. There are lots of shops to buy ‘fake’ designer gear and lots of bars and nightclubs. The larger resort of Bodrum is only a five minute bus ride away where this a lovely harbour area, castle and lots more shops and bigger bars and nightclubs including the world famous ‘Halikarnas’. Another resort near to Gumbet worth a visit is Bitez .... A smaller, windurfing resort with a much quieter beach, some nice shops and some lovely restaurants on the beachfront. There are many things that are a must for me whilst holidaying in Turkey …. A turkish bath is a great way to start your holiday as after the bath you have a body scrub that removes all your dead skin so you are ready to get a gorgeous tan with out peeling! A boat trip along the coast on a Gulet making lots of stops for lunch, fishing and swimming in the sea and another stop at Camel Beach for a quick ride along the beach on a camel. We find this a good day to try some watersports aswell, as a speedboat brings the banana, ringos and jetbikes out to the boat. The Gumbet market is worth a visit or take a trip into Bodrum or Turgetreis for one of the bigger markets. A day at the waterpark, the dolphin swim park or a try at horseriding in the hills are some other things worth considering! My favourite trip is a jeep safari including lunch at a Turkish village, as well as a remote beach stop for a swim, lots of waterfights and other suprises throughout the day. There is so much to do and see in Turkey but still have that well needed relaxation. The Bagevleri Hotel is so perfect and the staff here look after us so well that I think I will carry on visiting here for many years to come!

Disneyland Paris, France

27 February 2009

I have been to Disneyland Paris four times now, lastly in April of this year and have stayed in both the Newport Bay and the Cheyenne Hotels. For the lower price, the Cheyenne Hotel is great, especially for kids as the rooms have a cowboy theme and it is set in a ‘Wild West’ town with shetland ponies and horses all roaming outside! Disneyland Paris just gets better each time. The Disneyland Park is as magical as ever and the 2nd park, the Walt Disney Studios, now has the brand new ‘Crush’s Coaster’ and the ‘Hollywood Tower of Terror’ … we, of course, went on both! You will get to meet lots of characters throughout the parks but a top tip is to make a dinner reservation at ‘Cafe Mickey’ in the Disney Village (make your reservation early though as it gets very booked up) and the characters come round and meet you at your table so you get lots of time to have pictures taken without the crowds! You might even get to see Minnie and Pluto dancing together on the tables like we did! We also made reservations for ‘Buffalo Bills Wild West Show’ here in the UK when we made our original Disney booking and this is definitely a show worth seeing. Travelling by Eurostar is the best way to get to Disney, arriving in just two hours, directly into the park ready for your first afternoon and evening in Disney. One other useful hint is to definitely prebook the ‘Disney Express’ service which means, upon arrival at Disney you can leave your cases at an office and they will take them to your hotel for you so you can go straight into the park. On your last day, they will bring them from the hotel down to the Eurostar again so you can enjoy your last day in the park without having to go back to your hotel to collect them. This cost us £14.00 per adults and children are free and, in my opinion, was money well spent as it saved us lots of time (and energy!), especially on our last day!!

La Manga Club, Costa Calida, Spain

20 May 2008

I flew to Murcia for a five night break at the La Manga Club on the Costa Calida and what a lovely five nights in style I had! Flying into Murcia from Gatwick (taking around 2 hours), meant I only had to travel for around 30 minutes by taxi to get the La Manga Club. I stayed at the 5* Hyatt Regency Hotel which is the main hotel in the resort but there are also lots of self catering apartments, villas and townhouses dotted all around the resort. We were spoilt for choice with an array of different restaurants including an Italian, Mexican, Indian, American and Chinese, aswell as the Amphora Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency. I tried all of these and really could not pick a favourite as they were all superb. Although La Manga is mainly a golf and tennis resort, it doesn't matter if you choose to play neither, it is still a perfect place for a breakaway. We spent our time laying by the lovely pool, spent an afternoon at the spa and had some treatments. We took the hotel minbus down to a tiny, quiet cove and spent a day laying on the beach. The Hyatt Regency is a quiet hotel but came alive at night where the whole of the resort seemed to get together in the piano bar until early hours of the morning! A great mix of relaxation and activity. A great break which I would highly recommend.

Orlando, Florida

20 May 2008

Although it was some years ago I went to Florida, I still have very vivid memories of such a wonderful trip. I flew to Orlando with Virgin Atlantic which was a great way to start my holiday. The flight was excellent and we had our very own personal tv screens with loads of films and Nintendo games that kept us entertained during our flight. I stayed on International Drive which is the main road that runs for 14 miles straight through Orlando. This was the best place for us to stay as we did not hire a car so we needed to choose a hotel that had free shuttle buses to all of the attractions. Lots of hotels do offer this if, like us, you would rather not drive in America. We were right in the middle of everything and all of the attractions, the shops and factory outlets were within easy reach. Shopping is excellent in Orlando and if I went again I think I would take a spare suitcase to bring back all the cheap clothes I bought! The restaurants are excellent in Orlando. All along International Drive are steakhouses and 'all you can eat' buffet restaurants which were so cheap but by the end of our holiday, we were a bit fed up with the same type of food and the amounts of it!! On a few occasions, we were so tired after the long days in the park that we just ordered pizza to be delivered to our hotel room! I want to tell you about some of the parks we visited, although since I went, there are now lots more! After a nights sleep, we spent our first day at 'Blizzard Beach' which is one of Disney’s waterparks as we thought this would be a bit more of a relaxing day in the sun. It was brilliant. It is quite a bit newer than Disney’s other waterpark (Typhoon Lagoon). It is set up like a ski resort with snow (not real obviously!) and had ski lifts and toboggan runs as well as the scary 'Summit Plummet' waterslide that we did all have a go on. We spent our next few days at 'Magic Kingdom' which was great but probably better for kids, 'MGM Studios' which we loved as it had just opened its newest attraction … 'The Hollywood Tower of Terror' where you get dropped in a lift and 'Epcot' which I really loved as it was very different from the other Disney parks. When you first arrive you go into 'Future World' which is the big golf ball you have probably seen in lots of pictures, which is full of interactive and futuristic games and things. Then we went to the second part of the park ‘World Showcase’ which was my favourite! We walked through the different countries including Japan, China, England, America and Norway where each country had its own shops, restaurants and rides and lots of other little hidden gems. 'Epcot' also has one of the best firework displays I ever seen! The only Disney park that I haven’t been to is 'Animal Kingdom' as that opened about a year after I went to Orlando but I would love to go back and visit! During our two weeks in Orlando, we also spent a day at 'Universal Studios' which I loved, again because it was different to the Disney parks but thought it was a little dated. 'Jaws' and 'King Kong' were the best rides. I haven’t been to their new park (Islands of Adventure) as again this hadn’t been built but friends of mine have told me it is better, again, with bigger, better and more up-to-date rides. We did travel down to Tampa to 'Busch Gardens' which was really good and has lots of rides but lots of animals too. Although I had a great day there, now that the newer parks and 'Animal Kingdom' has opened, I don’t think there would be any need to go there again. Aswell as a few shopping days and second visits to some of the parks above, I have left my favourite until last … 'Seaworld'. This was brilliant and definitely my favourite park in Orlando. We watched the killer whale show during the day and then again at night as it is totally different and much more spectacular with all the underwater lighting. As well as seeing lots of other things here, we spent a lot of the day at the dolphin lagoon where we bought little trays of fish to feed to the dolphins. They kept throwing themselves up onto the ledges around the inside of the pool so you could lean in and have a cuddle! Once again, a new park ‘Discovery Cove’ has opened since my visit where you can actually swim with the dolphins. This will be a must if I ever return to Florida! I am hoping to go back to Orlando sometime in the next few years but if I do I might consider staying in a villa with a private pool instead of a hotel as I think this would be much more relaxing, although that would mean I would definitely have to hire a car as they are a little further out of Orlando!

My customer stories

Sent by Tristan & Rebekah O'Connoll

Thank you so much for organising a quite brilliant honeymoon. It was incredible! First class hotels, trips...everything! Thank you so much

Sent by Neil and Janice Laker

Having used Andrea Lovatt as our Travel Counsellor for the past few years, we have found her to be extremely competent and committed. Over the years she has arranged various trips and extras for us ranging from a three week holiday to Orlando, Florida to helicopter rides in New York City. There has not been a question that she has not been able to answer or a holiday detail that she has not been able to arrange. However, it is not just her wealth of knowledge that most impressed us about Andrea. She is bubbly, thoughtful and kind. Whilst in Florida, my daughter turned 17 and Andrea arranged to have flowers delivered to her room as a surprise. It is the little things that can really make a holiday, and Andrea’s thoughtfulness really made the day to be that little bit more special. After years of using Andrea as our Travel Counsellor, we would not use anyone else.

Sent by Sandra Banford

We have known Andrea for many years, she was always our first port of call at our local travel agents, always happy to help with a very friendly smile. We were disappointed to learn that she had left but then luckily we received a letter in the post to say that she had joined Travel Counsellors - a independent firm. From then on we have gone no where else, nothing is every too much trouble for Andrea and if you need advice she is only an e mail or a phone call away, if ever we have any problems they are sorted out instantly and any concerns about our holiday are all fine by the time we leave. From big family holidays to small weekends away, flights, hotels, attraction tickets and any extras all great value for money, it's really nice to have such a personal service, we have had some brilliant holidays and hopefully many more to come.

Sent by James & Sara Hemsley

My wife and I had decided to go to the Maldives for our honeymoon, and after flicking through several thick holiday brochures we were nowhere near to finding our ideal destination... so I turned to Andrea. I simply told Andrea that we wanted somewhere quiet and romantic. Andrea came back to me within hours with several options, all cheaper and more exclusive than those that we had found in the brochures. We decided on Chayaa Lagoon but wanted to stay in a water bungalow. There was a difficulty in locating any that seemed available through the normal holiday companies, so Andrea called the hotel directly and managed to book us a water bungalow for the duration our stay. Andrea also informed the hotel prior to our arrival that we were honeymooners and we were greeted with wine and fruit in our room. Our honeymoon was perfect, we could not have asked for anything more and it was all thanks to Andrea. In the midst of the drama and mayhem of sorting our our wedding, it was fantastic to have someone who dealt with one of the most important items for us so professionally and calmly. It was a real weight off of our shoulders. The service you receive from Andrea is far better than you will receive on the high street. Andrea goes the extra distance to ensure that you have a perfect holiday. Once my wife and I have settled our argument over whether we visit Hawaii or Mexico next year, we will be back to Andrea to arrange it for us.

Sent by Jack and Louise Sewell

A friend recommended that we use the travel counsellors' service to find out about destinations for our honeymoon. We found Andrea, our travel counsellor, to be very helpful and efficient at finding details about places to stay within our budget. Needless to say, our honeymoon was fantastic! All of the transportation that we needed for each destination was arranged for us, the hotels were lovely and accurately described to us. We also received some extra little treats from our hotels at Andrea's request - the added personal touches were very much appreciated! The whole holiday experience, from searching around, to booking and then travelling was made so easy for us and saved us a lot of time. We will certainly be contacting Andrea the next time we decide to go on holiday! Many thanks.

Sent by Ken and Lisa Lewins

My husband and I were trying to decide on where to go for our Honeymoon and Andrea was recommended to us by a friend. Having Andrea on board made the process so much simpler and easier for us. Both my husband and I have busy jobs so it was a real relief not to have to go into a travel agent every time we wanted to ask something - everything could be done by email or telephone and Andrea was superb in answering even our silliest queries straight away! It really was a much more personal service as we were dealing with the same person all the time - from the initial booking to the weeks leading up to the honeymoon. Andrea was able to help answer questions not only on the accommodation and flights but on practical things like the amount of currency we would need on safari - she even emailed the hotels individually to advise it was our honeymoon so we received flowers and champagne on arrival. Andrea was so efficient and friendly that we are going to use her for our holiday next year. In fact, we gave Andrea's details to some friends who were also getting married this year and they also used Andrea to sort out their honeymoon in the Seychelles.