About Luke Durden

Travel and gastronomy are my passions. Love discovering new destinations, hotels, restaurants, wines...Living on the magical island of Majorca and enjoying it!

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Dubai, an authentic oasis on the Persian Gulf coast

Open your eyes and dawn in the most cosmopolitan city in the world and one of the most exclusive. Can you imagine that you could do it with a little snap of your fingers? Something like this is what we have proposed this week in the blog Trips & Hotels: to make you travel by the reading to Dubai, one of the jewels of the UAE and one of the unique destinations that we should all visit at least once in our lives. And what’s more, why not land in the emirates land on your next Easter vacations?

While the most reticent will say that it is nothing more than a city close to the great desert, Dubai is certainly a unique place in the world… Something like an oasis on the Persian Gulf coast where you will find places of extreme beauty and where you can have unrepeatable experiences. The most recommended of them? Let us briefly review why it is one of the most incredible cities in the world:

A constantly evolving skyline

A difference from other cities like New York, Paris or Prague,; Dubai has a profile (aka “skyline”) that is constantly evolving and it’s investment in new buildings is so high (and constant) that year after year it’s executive areas are recreated with new skyscrapers that reach shocking heights and impossible forms.

Those who have visited the city and have stayed in a hotel in Bur Dubai (such as the exclusive Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa) will realize that in addition to the executive buildings themselves, there are several 4-star hotels in Dubai that adopted authentic palace forms. Yes, a way of living our thousand and one nights in the heart of the Arabian Desert.

The small Venice of Dubai

Although it is very close to the Arabian Desert, Dubai has an exclusive coastline where corners take shape, like Dubai Creek. A small Venice on the waters of the Persian Gulf where you can enjoy a ride in charming wooden boats. In addition to being located in one of the oldest areas of the capital, the place is unique for its relaxing atmosphere and its heart-stopping panoramic views.

Ski Dubai

One of the many attractions that Dubai offers is skiing. Skiing? Yes skiing, and nothing less than one of the most relevant indoor slopes in the world. With its more than twenty thousand square meters, these facilities offer a unique experience that very few can resist.

A sun that is born magically

Many will say that the dusk of Dubai is incredible, however we – who have been fortunate enough to experience the sunrise and sunset of the king star – realize that there is nothing like the dawn to appreciate that magic that we like so much in the Arab Emirates. Of course, to have the experience you have to be ready to get up early as it comes.

A route through the best markets on the island of Ibiza

Traditional, historical and full of magic, the island of Ibiza is a unique destination in the world for its colorful, many styles and its free spirit and chameleon. A place of retreat for the main celebrities of the world and a temple of those young people who add to the frenetic rhythm of their summer nights, the white island (as it is known for its many pagesas houses) is a place that marked a before and after in the European hippie culture.

Although it was a community that conquered the island (almost in its entirety) back in the 60s and 70s, the truth is that – with a slightly smaller number of hippiesIbiza keeps intact part of this authentic and characteristic story . The most obvious proof? Its hippie markets, traditional events that take place in different points of the island geography and that should be part of every itinerary on the Balearic island.

Las Dalias, much more than a market to use

Although many take shape in Ibiza, no hippie market impresses as much as Las Dalias does. With nearly a hundred stalls of handmade clothing and artisan products, this market is held every Saturday in Sant Carles de Peralta, a small village located less than 5 kilometers from the IBEROSTAR Santa Eulalia hotel, the best hotel in Santa Eulalia. To discover each one of its spots and to speak with the artisans is, at least, a real one hundred percent Ibizan pleasure.

The hippie market of Punta Arabí

All those who have chosen to stay in rooms in Santa Eulalia will be within walking distance of another outstanding hippie market such as the one held in Punta Arabi. This market, where music and fashion go hand in hand, is ideal to give us some whim or to surprise our people with an artisan detail and there are more than 400 places that take shape in this hippie market.

A return to tradition in Sant Rafel de Forca

Every Thursday, the rural area of Sant Rafel de Forca becomes a lively example of the art of Ibiza. A gathering in which hippie dresses and candles coexist in total harmony with pottery vessels and baskets elaborated by the pageses of the island. The best? Its many stalls of ecological products.

The perfect plan for Valentine’s day: a trip to a boutique hotel

Whether you are more or less romantic, once the date February 14th approaches it’s normal to get that urge to surprise your partner with something nice, romantic and original – even if you don’t really know why… Just a small detail that helps show how you feel about the person you share your life with.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so best choose a good gift for the two of you. Our choice this month couldn’t be any clearer: what about gifting a stay in a boutique hotel on a quick trip to one of the destinations in this country that never cease to amaze. This month we opted for three heavyweights: Madrid, Seville and the eternally beautiful Barcelona.



Sevilla, always authentic and romantic

Few cities in this country are as romantic as Seville, the capital of Andalusia. With its streets and squares full of charm and a culture that is unique of its kind, with a character that makes you fall in love from the first minute, this city is the perfect destination if you want to experience a unique and highly romantic Valentine’s Day.

Out of all the places to visit, the Santa Cruz neighbourhood takes first prize thanks to its beauty and its art. A neighbourhood where we find some of the most romantic boutique hotels in the city, hotels such as the Petit Palace Canalejas.

Madrid for two

Madrid is another destination we recommend for this Valentine’s Day 2017, because of its leisure, history and culture. A city with hotels as beautiful as the Petit Palace Triball where you can enjoy taking unique walks (such as those on offer in the Retiro Park, or along Gran Vía), having romantic dinners in exquisite restaurants, and treating yourself to things you love and other whims.

A Valentine’s Day with a Mediterranean flavour

Walking hand in hand along the beach in Barceloneta, discovering the nooks and crannies of the Barrio Gótico, getting lost in the intricacies of Park Güell and discovering the majestic Montjuïc are some of the things that are always worth doing when you visit Barcelona. A destination that gets even more romantic if you choose a hotel such as the Petit Palace Barcelona.

Fuerteventura, an ideal destination for a holiday in January

It happens to us all, yes don’t we know it. Although we declare (again and again) that we are unconditional fans of winter, the truth is that when the month of January arrives we begin to notice that we have had enough of the low temperatures. Winter is pleasant, that’s true, but it is no less true that we tire of it, in a big way. The solution is simple: how about a beach holiday? Yes, in January and on the beach. Where? That’s easy, in Fuerteventura.

Although they are, together with the summer, the ideal free days to go on holiday  (especially if you want to experience a true “white Christmas”), the truth is that more and more people choose to keep those days off to cross the seas for a few days of holidays in the sun, away from the stress of the city. A holiday that in Fuerteventura becomes a real experience thanks to its 3 main claims. Take note:

A unique climate in our country

While it is obvious, it is worth remembering that the Canary Islands are the only part of our country with temperatures of 23 degrees in the middle of winter. Although they also have windy and intense rainy days (which are few), Fuerteventura is kind to visitors in terms of weather, hence it is the one chosen by the majority of tourists who prefer to choose the Canary Islands in these months.

Much more than gourmet food

They say that the food in the Canary Islands is something worth writing about, because there is such a variety to be recommended. In the archipelago food is cooked as it used to be and that is something that our taste buds notice from the first bite. There is a true range of flavors that you really must try on a trip to Fuerteventura.

Authenticity in the pure state

If something makes the Canary Islands a prominent place in the world is its uniqueness since it is a place faithful to its most ancient traditions and its most authentic customs. A perfect example is the island of Fuerteventura itself, with its typical dishes, its crafts and its picture postcard landscapes.

Hotels in Fuerteventura

Go to Fuerteventura and enjoy a few days of relaxation when you choose a good hotel full of services and with lots of extras such as the hotel IBEROSTAR Playa Fuerteventura Palace, IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas or IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas Park with exclusive locations only a few meters from wonderful beaches such as those to be found on the Jandia peninsula.

FERGUS Hotels, a chain in continuous expansion

They say that the secret of a brand, a company or a project that wants to stand out, lies in knowing how to grow and evolve. In hotel chains (regardless of whether they are large or small, national or international) this is a reality. How many hotel brands have we seen start with a single hotel which then develops to have a presence worldwide?

In this point, the FERGUS Hotels chain marks a before and after. A young but extremely well-prepared hotel chain that has managed to turn its hotel structure into a benchmark in the destinations of Almeria, Mallorca, Ibiza, Barcelona and Girona. With fifteen FERGUS Hotels located in these strategic areas, the brand has announced new projects and a new way of looking at things. For example it has opened hotels as charming and beautiful as the new Fergus Style Palmanova (in Mallorca), one of the latest additions to its fleet.

Strong in the three and four star sector, Fergus Hotels has been able to grow over time thanks to a very clear work philosophy; A philosophy based on quality and direct satisfaction from the customer which is, as is emphasized in its business manifesto, that the brand’s only aim is to make its customers holidays “become exactly what they want and deserve.”

Put a spa in your life at the best price

When talking about those extras that have led Fergus Hotels to be an outstanding chain, it is worth mentioning its popular SPA service. A plus that can be enjoyed by guests staying in hotels with a SPA of the same brand that is available to all those who want to experience a few hours of relaxation, always at the best price and with all the quality of a hotel like the one that we are featuring today.

Thus, Fergus Hotels customers will be able to choose between the benefits offered by  the Fergus Style Mar Mediterrania Spa Centers in Barcelona (with a SPA where the sought after TBS Therapy is available), the Fergus Style Pollensa Park (in the north of Mallorca) and, of course, the spectacular FERGUS Style Palacio Mojacar SPA in Almeria.

Mallorca, an ideal destination for winter sports workouts

Located in the gentlest Mediterranean area and with a climate that remains mild (except for the months of December, January and February, in which the thermometer touches below zero) the island of Mallorca is a perfect holiday destination for families, couples and groups of friends. Mallorca, for its size and shape, is a place where you can enjoy unique panoramas, in which to discover an extensive catalogue of flora and fauna and in which you can practice sports in unique conditions.

Beyond these water sports practiced assiduously in Mallorca (sports such as sailing, kayaking, kite surfing, surfing or paddle surfing, among many others), the island is ideal for athletes from many other disciplines to enjoy high quality workouts in the winter months.


Running in Cala Estancia

On the basis of that practice running in Mallorca is a pleasure to choose the starting point you choose, there is no better place to enjoy the benefits of running than in the area between Palma and El Arenal. This coastal route (halfway between city and country) runs through the areas of Cala Estancia and Playa de Palma and promises not only a unique view but also a flat, continuous and comfortable track in which to practice different speeds.

Cycling by the Tramuntana

To travel to Mallorca in Winter and visit the routes of the Tramuntana is synonymous with coming across lots of cyclists from different parts of the world who choose the island to prepare for the season. Why is this? Its different microclimates, its ups and downs and the many differences between areas make Mallorca perfect for elite cyclists (sprinters or members of international teams) are tested in the same territory.

Hiking from north to south

If the island of Mallorca has anything it is its trails, which are unique and highly beautiful natural paths that are perfect for walkers. With different lengths and degrees of difficulty, the hiking trails of Mallorca are not set in a unique area of the island but run from North to South so do not hesitate to inform yourself about what is best suited to that which you are really looking for.

Hotels in Mallorca for Sports

For those who decide to spend some days relaxing and practicing sport in Majorca, there is nothing better than enjoying a good hotel The aim? Completely endorse to rest without having to worry about anything.

Out of all the hotels in Majorca that are adequate for sports enthusiasts, the Garden Holiday Village hotel by Garden Hotels. A hotel that offers the Garden Sports service, designed to transform sports activities into authentic extrasensorial experiences “made in Majorca”.

Destinations for families looking for Winter sun

Although there are many who see the final weeks of December as the moment in which we activate “blanket, sofa, armchairs and hot wine” as our default mode, for others this Christmas month is the best time to travel and visit destinations that offer us something totally different from what we already have.

 Although it is traditional to travel on these dates with friends, there is nothing like choosing our country’s warmest destinations to spend these dates as a family. Destinations like the Balearic Islands or Canary Islands show their best face when the thermometer drops and are ideal for an alternative holiday. We recommend Ibiza, Lanzarote and the permanently charming island of Tenerife.
A route through Pitïusas
Summery by tradition, the island of Ibiza looks equally beautiful in these winter months in which beach bathing gives way to walking tours and fun sports. Put another way: choosing the biggest of the ‘pitïusas’ in these months of the year is a success, especially if you are hoping to enjoy the sun and the calm of the Balearics as a family.
Along with its many water sports (sailing is among the most popular in winter) and its trekking routes for families, the island is within walking distance of another natural gem of the Balearic Islands: the island of Formentera; a different trip to a place of almost magical natural geography.

 Where to stay in Ibiza? Although there are several family hotels, our recommendation is the Olé Galeón Ibiza.

 Lanzarote and Tenerife with the family
Of the islands that shape the Canaries, Lanzarote and Tenerife are the best options for traveling as a family. On the one hand, the island of Lanzarote is ideal for discovering unique places (such as the house of César Manrique) or fields filled with thousands of cacti originating from the most remote places on the planet.
Although the ascent to Timanfaya, in Lanzarote, is pretty no matter where you look, nothing compares to visiting Mount Teide. Our country’s volcanic gem is one of the most beautiful and impressive excursions that you can do as a family. The best of both destinations is the climate with temperatures exceeding 24 degrees even on these dates.
Where should you stay in Lanzarote and Tenerife? For its quality and its many services for family holidays, this month we recommend the Olé Olivina Lanzarote and the Olé Tropical Tenerife.

Objective: to live the Christmas in the Gran Vía of Madrid

We are almost at Christmas, it is true that few sensations are as charming and mysterious as those that make us think of Christmas, a celebration that reaches us all and each and every one of us participates in his or her own way. Along with the traditional combinations of bells, gifts and good wishes, Christmas cheer shines on us in the same way that it does in our country’s main streets, avenues and squares which overnight are filled with lights and decorations.
Although a lot of our cities look beautiful at this time of year, Madrid takes the prize in variety, spectacular sights and design. Large, authentic and avant-garde, Madrid with its decorated streets and its smell of hot chocolate with churros, is a showcase for the best of Christmas taste that is well worth discovering for all those who want to travel and do something over the next few weeks.
Although Christmas in Madrid reaches every nook, every street and every square, it is the Gran Vía that shines with extra style and that offers unique walks where you can find original gifts to give at Christmas. To put it another way; in Madrid Christmas is lived on the Gran Via.
IBEROSTAR Las Letras Gran Via Madrid

The best lighting in the city

For Madrid locals and for all those who have chosen the capital as a holiday destination, Gran Via is the place to be, like the Rockefeller Center for New Yorkers and the Tuileries for Parisians. This is the place where the Christmas magic is concentrated with spectacular colored lights and carols that transform every corner and every alley into a place of magic and enchantment.

While you can choose any time of day to visit the area, the best time is when it gets dark (about six in the afternoon) when you’ll see why Christmas lighting is so famous in this area.

Gifts for all

In Gran Vía there is everything for everyone, so it’s the place where everyone goes to do their shopping. With traditional shops (those selling fans, leather purses or wooden pipes) and large shops belonging to well-known brands such as H & M, Zara or Primark, Gran Vía is the place to see and be seen, to shop and stroll and the place in Madrid where you can try some other local treats (such as potato ‘tortilla’).

Where to stay in Madrid

For all those who declare themselves unconditional fans of Madrid there is nothing better than opting for one of the hotels located in this part of the city, so to be the most active in these Christmas dates. Although there are really good choices, our recommendation is to opt for the Las Letras Gran Vía hotel, a hotel full of style, famous for its location and with one of the best restaurants on the Gran Via in Madrid.

Near the city’s main gems and with services to suit all tastes (it boasts gyms, free connections and even libraries), the IBEROSTAR Las Letras Gran Vía Hotel offers unique views of Madrid’s main avenue.

Santa Eularia, the most romantic spot on the island of Ibiza

Stroll through its streets adorned with thousands of russet leaves, see the Mediterranean in total calm, enjoy the silence and absorb the pure essence of the White Island. Thus, in a somewhat bucolic way, we could sum up an autumnal trip to Ibiza which is both magical and charming.

 Far from being just a summer destination, and even though it is an ideal haven of peace for all types of travelers, there is nothing better than opting for Ibiza when what is wanted is to enjoy a few romantic days just the two of you as a couple. Which is the best season? The autumn, and which is the best part of the island? Without a doubt, Santa Eulalia del Rio (Santa Eulària des Riu, in Ibiza).
pareja en la playa
Located in the eastern part of Ibiza, Santa Eulalia is one of those places where you can enjoy the island to the fullest and more than ever before: silence, nature, intimacy and charm are just some of its dominant notes. But what should you visit, where should you walk and what mustn’t you miss if you’re a traveler immersed in a romantic getaway? Here are our recommendations for this month from Trips and Hotels:
 1. Puig de Missa: With its mid-sixteenth century church and its flour mills, climbing up to Puig de Missa is an experience. A place where you can breathe the purest air on Ibiza and where you can enjoy unique panoramic views. For something different, why not take a bottle of local wine and a couple of glasses and watch the sunset from your viewpoint. Nothing is more romantic.
2. Strolling through the markets: Hand in hand and with the Ibizan sun as witness, visiting the flea markets on the island that border Santa Eulalia is one of those perfect plans for couples. Those of es Canar and Sant Carles are the best known in the area.
 A walk that you can make last well into the evening and you can finish with a meal or dinner by its exclusive and beautiful marina.
3. Get lost by its coves: Although the Mediterranean is really fresh in the Autumn months, there is nothing like enjoying a romantic stroll along the shore of the most beautiful coves of Santa Eulalia. Although there are a lot, our recommendation is to choose Es Figueral, Cala Nova, Cala Llonga or Cala Martina, which is always beautiful.
An Unequaled Choice for ‘Adults Only’ Travel
Although there are many types of travel (and all are more than respectable), the truth is that – if you are looking for is pure romanticism and relaxation as a couple, there is nothing better than opting for an Adult’s Only Suite in Santa Eulalia.
This Ibizan locality has been chosen by high quality hotels which have created true refuges in which to spend unforgettable days. IBEROSTAR Santa Eulalia is a great example of this and this hotel in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza unites services, leisure and gourmet food in facilities that are worthy of a fairy tale.

Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum is just in front of the Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa. The museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city. We both are located in Al Fahidi historical area at the heart of Bur Dubai.

lobby Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa

4-star hotel in Dubai

The museum is placed at the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in the city, built in 1787 as a defense, but then it turned into an arsenal, it was also used as a prison, and finally, in 1971 it was opened as the official museum of Dubai to exhibit its original heritage.

Visitors have the opportunity  to know Dubai old history, how they interacted with other civilizations. Besides, they can get familiar with the different environments of Dubai: coast, desert, mountain, etc. Urban and rural lives are described through the monuments and remains exhibited in the museum, which is divided into different wings according to the period exhibited. Audio and video are available all over the museum.

As regards the exhibitions, there are many authentic monuments, pottery, weapons, tombs, archaeological finds, jewelry, original models, drawings… A visit to the Dubai Museum is a trip from old to modern Dubai and gives an idea of the city development.

The last stop before leaving the museum through its spiral ramp is the gift shop.

Respecting the facilities, the Dubai Museum offers tourism guidance at no extra charge; although it holds a parking, there are nearby parking areas; the museum is close to Ghubaiba and Fahidi Metro and public bus stations.

Our hotel in Bur Dubai is walking distance from the Dubai Museum, we have maps at guests’ disposal, you only have to ask for them at the hotel’s reception desk, technology lovers can have a look to the map on our official website.

We recommend customers to visit the Dubai Museum for them to experience our heritage.