Welcome to our official TripAdvisor UK blog. This is where we aim to share our thoughts, quirky updates, new research and anything else we hope you will find useful and interesting.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Quarter of Brits Plan to Take a 2013 Spa Trip

If like most of us, you’ve broken your New Year’s resolutions by now and the trainers are firmly set back in the cupboard for another year, perhaps you’re looking for a bit more of a relaxing way to start the year – and what about with a spa break?

TripAdvisor surveyed over 3,900* European travellers, including 1,547 Brits and seems they are all for the idea. Almost a quarter of Brits (23%) are planning to take a rejuvenation trip early 2013 and a third (33%) hope to visit a spa over the course of this year.

With January over don’t beat yourself up if you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution. Instead of painful gym sessions, embrace the new you with a spa trip, where you can do as much – or as little – as you wish,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

For those looking to book themselves a spa break, TripAdvisor can reveal the top 10 hotel spas in Europe according to TripAdvisor travellers, with a London hotel proudly taking the number one spot**.

Top 10 European Hotel Spas

1.    Corinthia Hotel London – London, UK

Located a few minutes from 10 Downing Street, ESPA Life at Corinthia London offers fitness and nutrition as well as luxury spa treatments from some of the world’s top professionals. Max Tomlinson offers complimentary health, the gym is managed by personal trainer to the athletic elite, Stephen Price and hairdresser to the A-list, Daniel Galvin takes care of hair. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “The spa is probably the best I've been to in London.”



2.    Seafield Golf & Spa Hotel – Gorey, Ireland

Less than an hour drive from Dublin, this hotel is nestled among 160 acres of wooded parklands with an 18-hole championship golf course. Oceo Spa at Seafield houses 14 treatment rooms including a couples suite. Also on offer is a thermal suite, hammam suite, rasul chamber, aromatherapy suites, monsoon showers, ice grotto, relaxation area, outdoor vitality pool and a 16 metre hydrotherapy pool. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “What a fantastic hotel and spa. The spa was a wonderful experience, well laid out, spacious rooms and the outdoor hot tub was terrific on a December night!!”

3.    Grand Hotel Kronenhof – Pontresina, Switzerland

The heritage protected Grand Hotel Kronenhof is located in the centre of Pontresina, at 1,800m above sea level and just 6 miles from St. Moritz. The Kronenhof Spa offers visitors stunning views of the valley, pine forests and Roseg and Bernina glaciers. Facilities include a pool with counter current system and underwater music, a paddling pool, steam room, relaxation floating grotto and relaxation area with roaring fire. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “A first-class spa and wellness facility in a historic, quaint town... a dream.”

4.    Rockliffe Hall – Hurworth-on-Tees, UK

Nestled within 375 acres on the banks of the River Tees, Rockcliffe Hall is a golf and spa resort set on a restored 18th century estate. The spa at Rockliffe is 50,000 square feet and offers many treatments as well as a 20-metre pool where spa butlers offer refreshments of champagne and freshly squeezed juices. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Words fail me to express just how sumptuous this spa is.”

5.    Hotel Botanico & The Oriental Spa Garden – Puerto de la Cruz, Spain

Located on the Orotava Valley coastline, Hotel Botanico is situated at the foot of Tenerife´s Mount Teide. The Oriental Spa Garden at Hotel Botanico offers treatments that are inspired by Asian hospitality and facilities include a Japanese sauna and oriental laconium. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “The spa was spectacular and included everything I could have thought of.”

6.    Natur und Wellnesshotel Hoeflehner – Haus, Austria

This hotel offers panoramic views of the Dachstein Mountains and the spa facilities include an indoor and outdoor pool, a 70 year old Stadl sauna made from oak wood, Turkish bath and infrared sauna. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “It's an absolutely stunning property with unbeatable views. The hotel grounds and spa are great for guests of all ages.”

7.    Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisboa – Lisbon, Portugal

Located in the heart of the city, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon provides a bird’s-eye view of the city's historic sites. In the spa, windows over-look a garden and park and the spa can even be brought to you with treatments in your own room. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Fabulous hotel, magnificent gym, spa, breakfast buffet, rooms, service – an all-round great stay.”

8.    Elite Suites by Amathus Beach – Ixia, Greece

Just 4 kilometres from the Old Town, the Amathus Beach Hotel Rhodes offers rooms, private bungalows and elite suites. The 1,400 square foot spa draws on practices from around the world and provides a hammam, steam bath, sauna, jacuzzi and 14 treatment rooms.  As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “The Elite Suites at Amathus Beach are exactly that. The staff are ever attentive, the spa is marvellous and the suites themselves are a pleasure to call home for 10 days.”

9.    Muckross Park Hotel & Cloisters Spa – Killarney, Ireland

One of the oldest hotels in Killarney, it opened its doors as The Herbert Arms in 1795 and was part of the original Muckross House Estate. The spa has a monastic theme and facilities include an outdoor hot tub, a salt grotto, iced fountain and herbal sauna. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Our room was outstanding and the Spa is something else.”

10. Headlam Hall Hotel Spa & Golf – Headlam, UK

This family owned and run 17th century country mansion stands in gardens surrounded by its own farmland and golf course.  The spa includes a 14m deck level pool and outdoor hot spa, a drench shower, sauna and steam room with mood lighting for the ultimate relaxation. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “We had a suite over the spa - just perfect!!! The evening meal was magnificent, service great! Such a wonderful relaxing place.”

*survey carried out on 3,922 European travellers, including 1,547 British travellers, between 14th December – 21st December 2012.

**The list is based on the most highly rated hotel spas according to the quality and quantity of TripAdvisor traveler reviews. To qualify a hotel had to have a minimum four star classification.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

British travellers split on issue of wearing a helmet skiing

With ski season upon us, many of us will be hitting the slopes, decked out in all the equipment necessary for  maximum fun in the snow. But how many of us will be wearing a helmet? Following recent news that a leading travel insurance company is refusing to offer cover for skiers who do not wear a helmet on the slopes, TripAdvisor can reveal that British travellers are split down the middle on the issue.

In the poll of over 13,500* British travellers on TripAdvisor.co.uk who have been skiing in the last year, half (51%) wore a helmet, while 49% chose to forego the protective head gear.

“As we hit the peak ski season, many travellers will be frustrated by the potential for insurance policies to be invalid should a helmet not be worn. But for those British travellers who ensure that they wear protective head gear when skiing, this news is likely added reassurance for the safety of fellow skiiers,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

*Poll carried out on 13,597 British Travellers, between 15th November – 23rd November 2012.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

SeatGuru Launches New Site Design and Introduces Guru Factor Recommendation Feature

We are pleased to announce that SeatGuru, the online guide to air travel, has unveiled a completely revamped site, designed to best help travellers find not only the lowest fares, but the best seats and flights. Flyers will find new and improved seat maps, an intuitive layout, and even photos and comments on individual seats submitted by other travellers. Plus, a new tool called Guru Factor has been introduced offering flight recommendations based on seat comfort and onboard amenities like WiFi and in-flight entertainment, giving each flight option a recommendation of “Love it,” “Like it,” or “Live with it.” This SeatGuru redesign gives travellers all of the tools needed to plan and have the best flight experience possible.

For more information, check out the new site here and keep on the lookout for a refresh of the mobile app in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Welsh hotel best in world for service, UK’s B&Bs reign supreme and Yorkshire shines

It’s that time of year again when we announce the winners of what is often dubbed the ‘Oscars of the hotel world’ 2013 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Hotel awards, which names the best hotels in the UK and beyond in the categories of Top Hotels, Luxury, Bargain, Service, Small Hotels and B&Bs. The awards are decided purely by those who matter the most – travellers themselves.

The UK has serious cause to celebrate – with a £35 a night Welsh hotel crowned best in the world for service. Britain’s B&Bs reign supreme laying claim to four of the world’s top 10 B&Bs, and Yorkshire comes up trumps with winners in multiple categories including being home to the Top hotel in the UK and the eighth best bargain hotel in the world.

Welsh hotel best in world for service
The UK has not always been renowned for world-class hospitality, but the Lauriston Court Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales has been crowned the number one hotel for service in the world.

The hotel also scooped sixth place in the best bargain hotel in the world category. And with a stay at the Lauriston Court Hotel costing from just £35 per night, it’s proof that great service doesn’t have to come with an eye-watering price tag.

UK’s B&B’s still reigning supreme
The results of this year’s Travellers’ Choice Hotels Awards prove that the UK is still home to some of the finest B&Bs in the world. Britain lays claim to seven of the top 10 B&Bs in Europe and even takes second and third place in the best B&Bs in the world category.

Despite narrowly missing out on the honour of world’s best B&B to a property in Italy, Athole Guest House in Bath takes second place, while No1 in St Ives, Cornwall comes in third.

The UK’s Top Performers
The UK’s number one Top Hotel is Harrogate’s Rudding Park which also celebrates fourth place in the world. Edinburgh property, The Chester Residence, takes the award for best Small Hotel in the UK. This new category recognises hotels with less than 30 rooms.

Disappointment for the Capital in Jubilympic Year
With the 2012 Olympics and Jubilee celebrations, London hotels have been under intense scrutiny over the past year but the results of this year’s awards are somewhat disappointing for the capital. While London performed well in the UK categories with five winners in the top 10 Luxury hotel list, the city fails against hotels in Europe or globally with only one win outside of the UK in the top 10 – the Milestone Hotel taking 9th place in the European Top hotels list.

Yorkshire shines
Yorkshire performed remarkably well in this year’s Travellers’ Choice Hotels Awards with wins in multiple categories including Harrogate’s Rudding Park taking the coveted Top UK hotel award. The Caribbean hotel in Doncaster has been crowned 8th best bargain hotel in the world. The county also lays claim to two of the world’s top 10 best B&Bs - All Seasons Guest House in Filey and St Michael's Guest House in Scarborough in sixth and seventh places respectively.

Watch this space for the full lists winners…


For more information please contact Hayley Coleman: 077 398 27951 / hcoleman@tripadvisor.com 

Notes to Editors

TripAdvisor has named 6,297 award-winning properties around the world this year, with dedicated lists now covering 82 countries and 9 regions worldwide.



Friday, 11 January 2013

Cost-comparison for a stay in Marseille on its inauguration weekend as European Capital of Culture

With the start of 2013 underway, Marseille in France has assumed its position as a European Capital of Culture.

The cultural programme will officially begin on 12th January with four festive highlights: a public opening ceremony in Marseille, the opening of a contemporary art exhibition in Aix-en-Provence, a treasure hunt in Marseille-Provence and a fireworks display in Arles to close the opening week-end.

For travellers looking to head to Marseille to experience some of the action, we at TripAdvisor have put together TripIndex Marseille, a price comparison of a stay in Marseille. The TripIndex includes a range of budgets – those looking for a more basic trip to those who are planning a luxurious weekend away.

The TripIndex Marseille is based on the combined cost of one night's hotel accommodation, a ‘bouillabaisse’ dish and a glass of ‘pastis’ which are traditional for Marseille and transport in to central Marseille:
Hotel Budget Level Drink
Return/13 kilometers round trip
£ Comfort:
£2.32 Public transport: £2.33  £24.39 £100.53
££ First class: £103.17  £3.98 Taxi: £18.88 £39.31 £165.34
£££ Luxury: £150.30  £8.54 Car hire with driver: £113.97 £80.04 £352.85

For more information on Marseille visit: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g187253-Marseille_Bouches_du_Rhone_Provence-Vacations.html

TripIndex Marseille 2013 Methodology:
Prices were collected through a variety of research methods as outlined below.  Prices were taken in local currency in December 2012 for the night of 12 to 13 of January 2013, date of the inauguration of Marseille 2013 European Capital of Culture.

Hotels: Hotel prices shown specify the average per room per night cost of a 3 star hotel, a 4 star hotel and a 5 star hotel found on TripAdvisor in Marseille. For each hotel category, between two and 29 hotels were included to compute the average price. Pricing information is taken from partner booking sites on TripAdvisor.
Meal: Meal prices shown specify the average cost of a ‘bouillabaisse', a local dish, for one person taken from three local restaurants in each price category shown on TripAdvisor (£ = under £30; ££ = under £50; £££ = over £50). 

Drink: Prices specify the average cost of a glass of  ‘pastis’, a local traditional drink, from top-rated hotels in each star category on TripAdvisor in Marseille.
Transport: Prices specify the cost of one return journey in public transport (bus, tube, tramway) in central Marseilles, a taxi return journey of 13 kilometers approximately (6,5 kilometers for each journey) in central Marseilles and the price of a car hired with driver for a return journey 13 kilometers approximately (6,5 kilometers for each journey) in central Marseille. Prices were sourced from local authorities and recognised car hire companies.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Channel 4’s ‘The Hotel’ TV Show Prompts Staggering 6,280% increase in Interest for Hotel

If you’re a fan of the successful Channel 4 series, The Hotel which aired last week, with the latest episode broadcast last night, you may not be surprised at our announcement that interest from UK TripAdvisor users in the star of the show - The Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay - increased by a staggering 6,280%*.

The fly-on-the-wall series follows the peaks and pitfalls of running the hotel and the experiences of the guests who stay there. The increase in interest came in the two days immediately following the first broadcast of the show on 30th December, when the hotel’s listing on TripAdvisor saw over 60 times more views than in the previous week.

“With The Hotel now in its third series and a firm favourite with viewers, fans of the show are clearly intrigued by the hotel. Given the calamities seen on screen, perhaps a visit to The Grosvenor is a step too far for many, so checking out the over 100 reviews written by TripAdvisor guests is the next best thing – explaining the huge rise in interest,” commented TripAdvisor spokesperson, Emma Shaw.

The Grosvenor Hotel, Torquay is ranked number 64 of 103 Torquay hotels has an average rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.**


*Data based on session counts to the Grosvenor Hotel, Torquay listing page on Tripadvisor.co.uk Sunday 30th December 2012 – Tuesday 1st January 2013 compared with Sunday 23rd December 2012 – Tuesday 25th December 2012.

**Based on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index


TripAdvisor Announces Nine Additional Cities to City Guides App

After TripAdvisor travellers were given the opportunity to nominate and vote for their favourite cities to be included in the TripAdvisor City Guides App, we are delighted to announce the winning cities.

The TripAdvisor City Guides app allows travellers convenient smartphone access to detailed destination information including traveller reviews on hotels, restaurants and attractions, as well as suggested itineraries and interactive walking tours.  All the content is available offline, so there’s no need to pay for expensive overseas roaming charges.

The 9 new cities (added to the existing 51 cities) are:

·         Munich

·         Birmingham

·         Kyoto

·         Stockholm

·         Lisbon

·         Brussels

·         Melbourne

·         Moscow

·         Helsinki

To download the free app, please visit Google’s Android Market or Apple’s App Store. More information about the City Guides App and other TripAdvisor mobile offerings can be found at www.tripadvisor.co.uk/apps.


Friday, 4 January 2013

British travellers frustrated with rise in rail fares

Over half less likely to travel by train for a UK holiday as a result

On returning back to work following the Christmas break, many of us will have been faced with a hike in rail fares – a harsh reality given the fact that January can be a tough month after the expense of Christmas.

The average fare reportedly rose by 4.2% and many commuters will now be faced with a hefty increase in their annual ticket price.

But it’s not just commuters who are riled by the price hike; we at TripAdvisor polled our users and found that while the increase in rail fares tends to mainly affect passengers who purchase seasonal tickets for travelling into work, British travellers are put off using trains for UK holidays as a result of the rise.

The poll of over 5,000* British travellers revealed that over half of respondents (52%) are less likely to travel by train for a UK holiday. In addition, the poll revealed that a further 35% would not consider travelling by train anyway regardless of the fares rise.

“While it may be a case of perception, British travellers are clearly frustrated with the ever-rising cost of travelling on the UK’s rail network,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. This increase in fares may mean that the stay-cation loses its appeal and travellers opt for a holiday abroad with a low-cost flight to get them there. This will be a shame for our tourism industry which has seen such a boost following the 2012 ‘Jubilympics’.”

* Survey carried out on 5,332 British Travellers, between 17th August – 24th August 2012.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

More than a quarter of Brits set to increase their holiday spend this year

Now firmly into the first week of 2013 and back to work following the Christmas break, the travel sales have begun and booking a holiday to escape the January blues will be on the cards for many of us.

With the economic difficulty of 2012 now behind us, we at TripAdvisor have polled our users to find out how British budgets are measuring up when it comes to planning holidays for 2013.

The TripAdvisor research, of over 5,500 British travellers, revealed that over a quarter of Brits (27%) intend for their holiday budget to increase this year, compared to that of 2012. A further 42% expect their holiday spend to remain the same this year, while 31% expect to see a decrease in their holiday spend.

“It’s encouraging to see that over two-thirds of British Travellers expect their holiday budgets to either remain the same or increase this year. Whether it’s due to a healthier economy or Brits simply refusing to sacrifice a holiday, it’s good to see such an optimistic outlook for the travel industry in 2013,” commented TripAdvisor spokesperson, Emma Shaw.

* Survey carried out on 5,602 British Travellers, between 9th November – 15th November 2012.


New research from TripAdvisor shows that travellers can save up to 70% in some of Europe’s most expensive ski destinations* by staying in a holiday rental in the 2012/2013 ski season.

Earlier this year, TripAdvisor’s TripIndex Ski identified the most expensive and affordable ski destinations in Europe for the current season.  Those looking for ‘home from home’ experience in some of the priciest ski spots can opt for a holiday rental, saving them hundreds of pounds on accommodation costs in destinations like Verbier, Courchevel and Meribel.

The new research looks at the average weekly cost of a hotel room, as well as the average weekly cost of a bedroom in a holiday rental in each destination.  It shows the biggest savings in Meribel, where travelers opting for a holiday rental can save 70% on accommodation costs, followed by Courchevel at 67% and Ischgl at 64%.

Holiday rental** and hotel costs*** in some of Europe’s most expensive ski destinations (15 December 2012 – 15 April 2013)

Average weekly cost of one bedroom in a holiday rental
Average weekly cost of a hotel room
Savings by staying in a holiday rental









TripAdvisor Holiday Rentals has thousands of holiday rentals in ski destinations around the world.  For more information, go to www.TripAdvisor.co.uk/vacationrentals

*According to the 2012 TripAdvisor TripIndex Ski: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/InfoCenter-a_ctr.tripindex_UK_2012

** Prices in this table indicate the average cost of a bedroom in a vacation rental in each area for date range 15 December 2012 - 15 April 2013.  Average prices were calculated using rates from one, two and three bedroom vacation rental properties as listed in each area on TripAdvisor. On average, prices from more than 120 vacation rental properties were taken into the calculation for each destination.

*** Hotel prices shown specify the average per room per night cost of a hotel found on TripAdvisor (via partner booking sites such as online travel agencies and direct hotel suppliers) within a five mile radius of the destination for date range 15 December 2012 - 15 April 2013, as outlined in TripIndex Ski. On average, 59 hotels were included in the calculations for each destination in TripIndex Ski