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.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Rising cost of APD hits British Travellers


TripAdvisor flights survey reveals reaction to impending lift on liquid ban and British travellers’ favourite airline 


The results of the 2013 TripAdvisor Flights Survey are in and we at TripAdvisor can reveal British travellers’ attitudes to the continuing rise of Air Passenger Duty (APD), and the impending lift on liquid restrictions in hand-luggage across EU airports. Plus, British Airways is crowned the UK’s favourite airline for the third consecutive year according to TripAdvisor travellers.


APD hits British holiday-makers


As industry campaigners continue to battle against APD, the TripAdvisor survey of over 1,100 respondents reveals that the majority of British travellers are also against it, with 77% citing that APD should be scrapped. With APD set to increase further this coming April, it seems the increasing tax could take its toll on British holiday-makers plans, particularly during these tough economic times – over a quarter of Brits (27%) say that the cost of APD will impact on their travel plans this year. 


Brits unfazed by Liquid ban lift


Also in April, the 100ml limit for any liquids in carry-on luggage is due to be lifted when all EU airports will have equipment capable of screening liquids. Despite the restriction having been in place for traveller safety since 2006, only 17% of Brits claim they will feel less safe without it.

“Flights make up a significant part of the cost of a trip and the results of this research reveal that the ever increasing cost of APD is becoming a real concern for British travellers,” commented TripAdvisor spokesperson, Emma Shaw. “And, while the liquid ban was originally implemented for traveller safety, it seems that the majority of Brits won’t feel any less safe when the restriction is lifted later this year.” 

 

BA still backed by Brits


For the third year in a row, British Airways has been named the UK’s favourite airline. Virgin Atlantic has slipped to third place with easyJet this year beating Branson’s airline to second position. In order, British travellers’ five favourite airlines are:



1.   British Airways


2.   easyJet


3.   Virgin Atlantic


4.   Monarch


5.   Thomson Airways



*Survey carried out on 1,113 British respondents between 8th February15th February.

 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Oscar worthy hotels and restaurants in La La Land


LA’s top rated hotels and restaurants 

It’s officially awards season and Sunday night saw the finest faces of the silver screen grace Hollywood for the 85th Academy Awards. If you’re heading to Tinseltown, where is best to lay your head or grab a bite to eat in the showbiz capital? TripAdvisor has put together a list of the top five hotels and the top five restaurants in Los Angeles according to the TripAdvisor community of reviewers*:

Hotels:


1.    Magic Castle Hotel – Located in Hollywood, this hotel prides itself on its personalised service and offers guests snacks 24 hours a day, all complimentary. It is located just one block from the Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and just five minutes away from the subway, which is just one stop to Universal Studios. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “We stayed at the Magic Castle for three nights and could not have been happier. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff who really went above and beyond to cater to our needs.”
 
 
2.       Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills – Tucked away amidst a leafy residential neighbourhood between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles is newly renovated and is ideally positioned close to LA's top attractions. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “This hotel is extremely comfortable and the staff here are magnificent. They are warm and friendly and bend over backwards to help.”
 
 
3.    Hotel Bel AirNestled on 12-acres in the Bel-Air Estates neighbourhood of Los Angeles, the iconic Hotel Bel-Air has just re-opened after a two year transformation. The newly renovated rooms are designed with themes from the glamorous decades of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “This is by far the best hotel I ever stayed at. Amazing attention to each and every detail by entire staff. The room was immaculate and the grounds were lush and manicured to perfection.”
 
 
4.    The Redbury – The Redbury is situated at the convergence of Hollywood and Vine. Offering spacious guest flats, its design draws on inspiration from the arts, music, fashion and entertainment. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Rooms are very large, funky, and tasteful and the location is great.”

5.    Elan Hotel Los Angeles – Located at the crossroads of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood near the hottest spots in Los Angeles, this hotel has 49 rooms and offers plush bedding, contemporary décor, eco-friendly bath amenities, and complimentary WiFi. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Perfect location for everything, and away from the hustle and noise. The staff are probably the most helpful and friendly I have ever encountered.”
 
Restaurants:

1.       Langer’s – Founded in 1947, Langer's Delicatessen and Restaurant has been open for more than 63 years and claims to serve the best pastrami sandwich in America. It is located across from historic MacArthur Park. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “By far, the best pastrami I've ever had.”
 
 
2.    Café Gratitude – A chain of restaurants, Café Gratitude specialises in gourmet vegan cuisine. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Perfect vegan taste and a very large menu at this value for money restaurant.”
 
 
3.    Getty Center Restaurant – Located in the Getty Centre, a museum which shows art exhibitions, the restaurant has great views of the Santa Monica Mountains. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Like the rest of the Getty Centre, the restaurant is cool, quiet, impeccably finished and economically priced.”
 
 
4.       Providence – This restaurant offers fine dining dishes of seafood and shellfish and is located on Melrose Avenue. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “The tasting menu was delicious and bold. Presentations were great, service wonderful and the wine list divine.”
 
5.    Hoy-Ka Thai Noodle House – Located on Hollywood Boulevard, this restaurant offers an extensive menu of Thai food. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “The food here is totally authentic. The staff are Thai and it shows in the food.”
 

*List is according to TripAdvisor’s popularity index.  Please note the popularity index is dynamic and can change at any time.  List was accurate as of 5 February 2013.

 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Swansea’s Rhossili Bay crowned the UK’s best beach and third best in Europe


TripAdvisor reveals the UK’s, Europe’s and the world’s best beaches

Awards season is upon us, the Brits and Oscars are just around the corner and today we at TripAdvisor announce the winners of the coveted TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Beaches Awards. 

Rhossili Bay in Swansea has been crowned the UK’s number one beach and third best in Europe beating almost every other beach in Spain, Greece and Italy. The Welsh beach even placed in the world’s top 10 above those in Hawaii, the Caribbean and more exotic locations.

Woolacombe Beach in Devon was named the UK’s second best beach while Cornwall’s Porthminster Beach took third place.

“These awards recognise the best beaches in the UK and beyond, according to those that really matter – travellers that have visited these beaches and given them the highest levels of praise,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Huge congratulations to Swansea’s Rhossili Bay for beating many of the most exotic beaches across the globe.”

Swansea beats Sardinia in the seaside stakes

Swansea’s Rhossili Bay is officially the UK’s number one beach, and, taking third place in Europe and 10th in the world just goes to prove that you don’t have to travel thousands of miles for a great beach.  

Rhossili Bay is the largest expanse of white sand on the Gower Peninsula and stretches for three miles. The beach’s vast stretch of sand and towering cliffs make it popular with surfers, paragliders and ramblers. The village of Rhossili is steeped in history and the wreck of the Helvetia, which ran aground on Rhossili Bay in November 1887 can still be seen on the beach today.

Councillor David Phillips, Leader of the City and County of Swansea said, “We are delighted, but not surprised, that Rhossili Bay has been acknowledged by the world’s leading consumer travel website. We hope that many more visitors continue to enjoy its outstanding natural beauty.”
 
Triple win for Dorset

In a triple celebration for Dorset, the county is home to three of the UK’s top 10 beaches: Hengistbury Head in fifth place, Weymouth Beach in seventh and Sandbanks in eighth.

Sicily celebrates world win

Italy’s Rabbit Beach in Sicily has been crowned the number one beach in the world. Situated on the small island of Lampedusa, it is a totally unspoiled nature reserve that can only be accessed by boat and is one of the few rare places in the Mediterranean where loggerhead sea turtles go to lay their eggs. Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos takes the runner up spot.
 
 
 
Click here for the full list of winners http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TravellersChoice-Beaches

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

Friday, 15 February 2013

Top places to lay your head in Marseille



The European Capital of Culture’s top rated hotels

With 2013 well underway, the French city of Marseille has assumed its position as European Capital of Culture. In celebration of this, the city promises plenty for visitors to enjoy throughout the year including circuses, exhibitions, street entertainment, open air concerts and much more.

But apart from being this year’s European Capital of Culture, what else does Marseille have to offer? Well, as one of the oldest cities in France (founded 2,600 years ago), it’s steeped in history so great if you’re a history buff. And, if you’re into watersports, Marseille is the place to be. Plus, boasting over 300 days of sunshine per year, the chance of good weather when visiting the city is highly likely.

If you’re looking to head to Marseille, we at TripAdvisor have put together a list of the top 10 hotels in the city according to our community of reviewers*:

1.    Sofitel Marseille Vieux-PortLocated in the heart of the city’s ancient harbour area, this hotel is inspired by Marseille’s history and marine connections. Touches of the sea can be found throughout and the design evokes a feeling of being inside the cabin of a yacht. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “From the moment we arrived the service was exceptional. The hotel room was excellent with fantastic views of the old port.”
 
 
2.    Music Hotel – Offering an intimate feel with fewer than 20 rooms, this hotel is close to the beach, Marseille Opera House, the Old Port of Marseille, and Vieux Port. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “We couldn't have stayed in a better hotel. Staff were very welcoming, friendly and attentive. We had a great, spacious room with a designer look and feel.”
 
 

3.    Le Ryad – Inspired by Marseille’s North African influences, this hotel is designed with a Moroccan feel. Located just a stone’s throw from the Old Port, it has nine rooms on offer and boasts a courtyard in the centre of the building filled with trees, roses and  a fountain by which guests can enjoy breakfast. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “My experience in Le Ryad was exceptional. The service is first class and the rooms and amenities are wonderful.”
 
 

4.    Residence du VieuxLocated on the south bank of the famous Old Port, this hotel offers stunning views of the waterfront. The rooms have recently been renovated with a chic 50’s retro feel. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “A wonderful hotel in a perfect location. We stayed on the 6th floor and had a great view of the old Port with the Notre-Dame de la Garde beyond.”
 
 

5.    Mama Shelter – This stylish hotel is located in the city centre and its amenities include an iMac with TV, radio, internet, free WiFi access and on-demand movies in room, digital concierge and in-room pamper products. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Love the decor of the hotel, especially the rooms. Super comfortable beds, great bathrooms and good bed linen.”
 
 

6.    Seven Urban Suites Prado – Ideally situated at the heart of Marseille and its business area and only 200m from  the ‘Perier’ metro, the Seven Urban Suites Prado offers both hotel and apartment accommodation. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Our room was immaculately clean and everything was new and contemporary. It is perfect for those who are looking for value-for-money and who wish to have the flexibility of being able to self-cater.”
 
 
7.    Hotel Lutia – This small and intimate hotel is located in the lively city centre offering ten rooms for those looking for a home from home experience. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Friendly service, super clean, lovely big rooms with unbelievably large bathrooms! Flat screen TV, free WiFi, lots of fresh towels every day and the breakfast was plentiful and delicious.”
 
 

8.    Holiday Inn Express Marseille Saint Charles – Conveniently located opposite Marseille's busy Saint Charles rail and metro station, this hotel boasts three tranquil terraces, dotted with leafy shrubs which guests can enjoy meals and drinks from during the summer months. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Great location, very convenient for leisure and business travellers. Our room was spacious and modern with everything we needed.”
 
 

9.    Pullman Marseille Palm Beach – A stylish and contemporary hotel, the Pullman Marseille Palm Beach boasts a pool that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, sauna, whirlpool bath and marine-themed rooms. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “Superb hotel. Room (with sea view) was absolutely lovely, Breakfast was excellent and the staff were very proactive and professional.”
 
 

10. Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port – This hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool with views of Vieux Port, a patio where guests can enjoy a game of bowls and mini-golf and a spa offering a range of treatments. As one TripAdvisor traveller commented, “The location was priceless, right in front of the harbour. The building is very modern and spacious and the breakfast spread was unbelievable – every type of food for every taste.”
 
 


*List is according to TripAdvisor’s popularity index.  Please note the popularity index is dynamic and can change at any time.  List was accurate as of 21 January 2013.

 

 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

First visitors to The Shard give attraction the thumbs up

London’s newest tourist attraction – The Shard - officially opened its 72nd floor viewing platform this month and we at TripAdvisor can reveal that since opening, the hotly anticipated attraction has received an overwhelming positive reception from its visitors.

Despite opening only two weeks ago, over 75 visitors have already submitted reviews on The Shard’s TripAdvisor listing, with the average review rating currently standing at four out of five, ranking it  303 of 801 London attractions*.

The vast majority have rated The Shard ‘good’ or excellent’ on TripAdvisor, with reviews commenting on the incredible views and the customer service they received. One TripAdvisor traveller said, “What an amazing evening. The staff were friendly, happy and very efficient. Once we arrived on the 68th floor the view was amazing. We then walked up to the 72nd floor which was even more `WOW'.”

For the few visitors who judged it as ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’, the most common complaint was in relation to the cost. It seems that the price of £25 per person to book online and £30 to pay on the day is perhaps a little too much to swallow for some.

“After waiting four years for the opening of The Shard, the vast majority of the early-bird visitors who have experienced the attraction have given it the thumbs up. It will be interesting to see how the attraction’s ranking on TripAdvisor performs as more and more people visit and give their verdict,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.




* Ranking correct as of 11th February 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Some of TripAdvisor's top romantic boltholes...


Tired of flowers, chocolates and over-priced set menus?  Break away from the Valentine’s Day clichés and celebrate in style, whether that be in your very own treehouse, castle or private island.  With more than 275,000 properties around the world, TripAdvisor Holiday Rentals can help you find your perfect romantic bolthole.

Whether it’s a beautiful view, total seclusion or over-the-top luxury you’re after, you’ll find it here.  Check out some of TripAdvisor’s top picks for a romantic rendez-vous… 

A penthouse Eiffel Tower view in the City of Love

Sit back, relax, break out the bubbly and enjoy perfect Eiffel Tower views from the privacy of your penthouse terrace.  This luxury apartment features a wrap-around balcony offering panoramic views over Paris, aka the City of Love.   Prices start from £345 per night.  www.tripadvisor.co.uk/2442652



Secluded private island romance in Belize – French Louie Caye

Sheltered behind the Belize Barrier Reef, this private two acre island is available for you exclusively. Located in southern Belize, the island offers a beautiful coral sand beach and is surrounded by some of the finest coral reef in the area. The property comes complete with a caretaker at your service, ready to catch and prepare a seafood dinner and take you on kayak and snorkelling tours. Prices start from £105 per nightwww.tripadvisor.com/1833226



Overlook Juliet’s balcony in Verona – Lavinia Apartment

This luxury apartment is located in La Corte di Giulietta (Juliet’s Court) with a view over Juliet’s legendary balcony.  Finished with antique furnishings, Murano lamps, and frescos, this property is romantic both inside and out.  Prices start from £319 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/2034543
 

Romance fit for royalty – The Fortalice, Scotland

Originally built in 1560, this castle has been painstakingly renovated to maintain its rich history while offering modern comforts.  The property is exquisitely positioned and set against a stunning backdrop of rugged Perthshire countryside. Prices start from £1,594 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/2016072
 

Cosy up in Costa Rica treetops – Treehouse Costa Rica

Just a few moments’ walk from the beach, this treehouse is built into a Banyan tree where you’ll have Howler and white-faced Capuchin monkeys for neighbours.  Relax in your own private pool or enjoy the views from the terrace.  Prices start from £60 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/2327053
 

 
Cliffside views over the legendary Santorini caldera – Lydia cave house
A traditional cave house, built into the Santorini cliffside, Lydia offers beautiful views over the sea and caldera (volcano and cliffs) and boasts an indoor pool.  Lydia is located in Oia, which is renowned for its beautiful sunsets and views.  Prices start from £109 per night.
www.tripadvisor.co.uk/3703374


Infinity pool indulgence  - Cape Town

Peer out over Cape Town’s beautiful Clifton beaches from the luxury of your very own infinity pool.  This luxury villa is secluded and enjoys spectacular views while still being near enough to Cape Town’s highlights, including Camps Bay and the V&A waterfront.  Prices starts from £352 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/2071860



A stroll away from the Bridge of Sighs – Ca Del Doge 1
This cosy apartment is a few moments away from Venice’s Bridge of Sighs.  A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the famous bridge.  Prices start from £82 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/3267532

 
Hilltop romance in a converted windmill- Odemira, Portugal

With gorgeous outdoor space and a rounded bedroom in the roof, this hilltop windmill is truly unique. Situated in an ecological reserve, the mill stands on a hill overlooking the plains that roll their way from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border. The mill is a perfect base for, stargazing, walking and exploring. Prices start from £71 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/1592199
 
Loved-up luxury in Mexico – Canrejo y Toro
 
Lush tropical foliage surrounds this beautifully designed Mexican home.  The property offers peace, luxury and privacy across seven acres of land and 350 feet of oceanfront.  Highlights include an open-air bathroom with stone shower, beach views from private terrace in the bedroom and a pool.  Prices start from £544 per night. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/1876224

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

TRIPADVISOR REVEALS THE UK’S MOST ROMANTIC HOTELS FOR 2013


Cumbrian Hotel is the couples favourite

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might be thinking about whisking your loved one away for a romantic break, but where to go…the Maldives? Paris? What about Cumbria?

Today, we at TripAdvisor are delighted to announce the winners of the 2013 Travellers’ Choice Awards for the Most Romantic Hotels, and the UK has much cause for celebration.

Maldives Darling? No, Cumbria Please

While a romantic break often conjures up thoughts of white sand and turquoise waters, the results of this year’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for the Most Romantic Hotels reveal that there’s no need to venture off to a far flung destination – the UK, and in particular Cumbria, is home to two of the most romantic hotels in the world’s top five.

The Cranleigh Boutique in Bowness-on-Windemere, has been crowned the UK’s most romantic hotel. But, not just rating high for romance in the UK, the Cumbria hotel has also wowed couples to be ranked third most romantic hotel in the world.

Located just a minute’s walk from the shores of Lake Windermere couples can enjoy a Ben de Lisi glass jacuzzi bath, mood lighting and an outdoor hot tub.
 
 
And, just down the road, the Cedar Manor Hotel and Restaurant in Windemere takes the title of second most romantic hotel in the UK and fourth in the world. Built in 1854 as a private country house retreat, private and secluded with views of the stunning Lake District mountainside, this hotel makes for the ideal hideaway for couples wishing to relax and spend some quality time together.


Forget St Valentine, St Ives spells romance

The 14th February celebrates the Roman saint, Valentine and a different kind of saint is now being celebrated for its romantic credentials. St Ives in Cornwall is home to Boskerris Hotel which is the third most romantic hotel in the UK and sixth in Europe. Couples can enjoy a romantic meal on the decked terrace whilst admiring the views across St Ives Bay or share a sunken bath for two in their room
 
 

Lovers’ sanctuary in Santorini

For couples looking to escape the UK, the Anastasis Apartments in Santorini, Greece has been crowned the most romantic hotel in the world. Perched on top of the cliffs of the Caldera, the hotel boasts an infinity swimming pool overlooking the ocean and an outdoor Jacuzzi, providing the perfect romantic setting. La Minerva in Capri, Italy takes the runner up spot.
 
 
 
Click here to check out the full list of winners: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TravelersChoice-Romance