How to make your holiday a five-star experience

To live a unique, special and unforgettable holiday there is no need to spend thousands of euros, or stay in suites of the most expensive hotels in the country. To have a perfect summer full of exciting experiences is easier and cheaper than you think: just be clear about the destination that we advise, study it in depth and leave the ” inertia” for those who are content with anything.

From among our country’s main destinations, we have chosen three: Mallorca, Fuerteventura and Cadiz. These three places, full of natural beauty, are all acclaimed by foreign and local tourists in the summer months both for location and quality. How can you make the days in these destinations become a highly repeatable experience?

Hunt for and capture Majorcan silence

Mallorca is a quiet island, full of peace and spectacular places that go beyond the bustling capital and the packed beaches. Enjoying that calm is definitely the key to a five-star vacation.

Some trips that can’t be missed from any travel book? The most recommended are: a visit to Port Adriano’s new Marina, tasting the island’s local cuisine, a boat excursion bound for the island of Cabrera or lose yourselves in the coves where only early birds venture to go.

Cabrera Island

Cabrera Island

Fuerteventura and a taste of the exquisite Atlantic

Simply by choosing the island of Fuerteventura is the first step in your journey of discovery that the Canary Island is the perfect holiday retreat and earthly luxury that most people search for when spending their free time. Where is the key that opens this flood of sensations? That’ simple, it is in the tranquility of the most beautiful beaches (like Cofete or the large beaches of Corralejo) and in the variety and quality of its local cuisine.

Cádiz, much more than Andalusian art

One of the wildest, charming and natural destinations that you can visit in summer is Cadiz. Although the beaches and restaurants in the capital tend to be crowded (partly for their quality and low price); there are other areas in the province that offer real luxury, calm and relaxation.

Places such as Zahara, de los Atunes, Valdelagrana or Chiclana de la Frontera. Three  destinations with kilometres of unspoilt beaches and a range of bars that are a real treat.

Where to stay in Mallorca, Fuerteventura and Cadiz?

If we want to enjoy a few days of rest, relaxation and luxury in one of these three destinations, there is nothing better than choosing one of the hotels in the IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resort chain.  So, in Mallorca (in the Santa Ponsa area) relaxation is guaranteed in IBEROSTAR Suites Hotel Jardin del Sol and in its Spa; in Fuerteventura the option to choose is the beautiful IBEROSTAR Fuerteventura Palace.

For those who opt for it, there is nothing better than the IBEROSTAR Royal Andalus, a hotel with a golf course located in the most beautiful and exclusive area of Chiclana de la Frontera.

Urban travellers conquering the big capitals

Urban trips have increased in the last years as trip option for many national tourists. The economic crisis in Spain and the impossibility to invest much money in holidays, but the will to discover places, have resulted in trips to more affordable and closer destinations, generally in the same peninsula, so the fight is less expensive, or you can travel by train or by car.

Destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Salamanca, Cádiz or Bilbao have seen how their hotels are receiving more and more sporadic travellers in search of an experience where they can enjoy the city, gastronomy, culture and leisure for short stays (2 – 4 days). These urban travellers look for quality at special prices. As the stay time is shorter than holidays in beach destinations, they use to always opt for accommodations with extra services –although they could be more expensive- allowing them not only to rest, but also to make the most of the destination and every minute of their days in the city.

They generally opt for hotels in the centre of Madrid with gastronomic experiences and discounts for shows; charming accommodations in Barcelona, where they can enjoy the spaces, design, modernity (and modernism, of course)… But they also look for other alternatives, beyond these two big and emblematic capitals: hotels in the old town of Seville or accommodations in Salamanca right in Plaza Mayor are the most sought-after, so much that you should book long in advance if you really want to enjoy a good hotel at an affordable price.

Travelling for a couple of days to a any city of Spain is fashionable. Many are the urban travellers that plan many trips during the year, taking advantage of special events such as film seasons, theatre and music festivals, concerts by famous international artists, top level sport competitions… Cultural and leisure plans in the destination are clearly one of the main trip motivations. But they are not always specific events, there are also traditional experiences in every city: vermouth in Madrid on Sunday in the Rastro market; enjoying the university atmosphere in Salamanca; contemplating the nights in Granada; discovering the best flamenco tablao in Seville, the Guggenheim in Bilbao…

In this sense, institutional efforts with private initiatives have worked together to create products and experiences that improve the value of a destination and turn it into a place to visit not one time in the life, but many times. For the moment, there are many interesting projects in many big capitals in Spain. Some of them, have gotten almost immediate results, such as Bilbao, which has turned into in urban tourism reference in the north of Spain, because of its gastronomy, contemporary art, its estuary, nature and adventure tourism in its surroundings or mass events such as the BBK Live Music Festival which this year has filled all the hotels in the centre of Bilbao, campsites and apartments.

If we focus on Palma de Majorca, one of the most developed destinations in terms of tourism, we will see that –despite the economic difficulties of the local administration during these years- this city has significantly changed its tourism services, investing on the old town in order to revitalise neighbourhoods situated near to the centre, but not very visited, offering more attractive cultural plans targeted at both national and foreigners, promoting traditional celebrations and organising or supporting quality events. Palma 365 is a project that becomes stronger and stronger, and it is a model to make tourism less dependent on seasonal factors, especially in this destination which is too related to sun and beach holidays since many decades ago.

Hotel trade is also working in the same vein, not only in the Balearic capital –where we find new top level hotels in the centre of Palma– but in most of the Spanish cities. This is the case of the hotels in Seville, which are investing on combining new technologies with more traditional and typical elements of the city culture. There are also business hotels in emblematic areas of the city and new business ways providing spaces more opened to the general public, such as restaurants in hotels where you can book without needing to stay at the hotel.

Palladium Hotel

Palladium Hotel

This has been applied in hotels in the centre of Madrid since a few years ago. Some of the most renowned ones are the Malevich restaurant of Art Gallery Hotel, El Foro bar restaurant of Lealtad Plaza Hotel –with special service for business dinners- El Invernadero restaurant of Embassy Serrano Hotel or Las Letras Hotel’s restaurant, right in La Gran Vía, led by Paco Morales chef.

A similar system has been taken by hotels in Barcelona of Catalonia Hotels chain, which has some outstanding examples such as Barcelona Plaza Hotel. Most of them offer a clear local and Mediterranean gastronomy tendency, without leaving behind options for all tastes, even with special products for diets and intolerances. In these cases, the recommendation is to directly consult to the hotel before booking.

Cádiz is a party

There are so few places in the world where the party essence is as clear as in Cádiz. This Andalusian province, privileged with the highest number of sunny days in Spain and with unique white sand beaches, is an always-lively place. The city of Cádiz and places such as Chiclana are the most active areas during the year, but all the municipalities and neighbourhoods of this region offer that tireless spirit that makes us always to smile.

Lively, dynamic and talkative, Cádiz is a constant party even in this time of the year.  February, carnival month, is the most important month for the people from Cádiz, who fill every corner with chirigotas, bustle, music and dance.

Iberostar Hotels in Cadiz

Hotels in Cadiz

The deep light which characterizes it and covers its entire Atlantic coast is a treasure in these winter months, when the rest of Europe is plenty of coats and blankets, and the grey colour paints the streets since the morning until the night.

A trip to Cádiz is one of the best plans that any traveler can do in this month of February. Take advantage of the carnival, get a long weekend or a holiday and book a spa hotel in Cádiz or a room in the centre of the city. Prices are really affordable in this time of the year and there is a wide range of options since the most visited areas are still in low season.

Bearing in mind that the municipalities of this province are very close to each other, the best accommodation option, is you are looking for quality and economy, are precisely the coastal areas. There are luxury golf hotels in Chiclana that you can now book at good price, but if you want to enjoy the Carnival ambience of the city, hotels in Cádiz have a wide variety of boards, so you can book Room Only and get very affordable rates.

If you want to make the most of the trip, you must pay attention to the transport. Whether you opt for the centre of Cádiz, Chiclana or San Fernando, renting a car is the perfect option to travel the province and visit so wonderful places such as Calas de Conil or Calas de Roche. Some hotels even offer accommodation + car packages, so you have not to worry about it and usually you get best rates when you book all together.

CADIZ: beach destination for 2014

Very few beach destinations exist in Spain like Cadiz: the coast of this Andalusian province is unique when one is looking for a beach paradise, with very little construction and the natural environment practically intact.

Although it is true that the sea is less friendly than that in the Levante area and the wind is stronger along the Atlantic coastline, however, the advantages that the beaches of Cadiz have over the Mediterranean are multiple especially if you are thinking about a romantic getaway surfing or simply a trip with a group of friends.

Hotel in Calas de Conil

Hotel in Calas de Conil

The Cadiz coast has a special charm, more animation, with a young and natural ambience, if you compare it with some of the well-known Mediterranean resorts such as Benidorm, Torremolinos, Fuengirola or Marbella. Cadiz is synonymous with enjoyment because the locals have it in their blood and wherever you go it is impossible to escape this humour which touches everything with a smile.

However, it is also possible to find peace in this area of Cadiz because it is one of the few places along the Spanish coastline where you can switch off, leave behind the frantic city pace and just enjoy the beaches of Cadiz.

This is especially true in areas like Conil de la Frontera, where the coast appears to be a never-ending beach of fine sand submerged by the waves of the Atlantic and bathed in brilliant sunshine almost every day of the year. (It is because of this light and the exceptional highlights that Cadiz is known as the tacita de plata, the silver cup).

Rooms in Cala de Conil

Rooms in Cala de Conil

Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes, los Canos de Meca…….are all first class beach destinations but if you want to relax, your best option is to reserve a hotel in Calas de Conil: rest in a bedroom next to Roche Bays which will be inaugurated for 2014, is an infallible remedy against stress.

Due to the fact that there is limited accommodation in this area it is advisable to book early, in particular if the hotel is in Roche or Nova Santi Petri, to confirm your accommodation and avoid last minute surprises.

The hotels in Calas de Conil are of a medium/high category with a variety of services such as: Free Internet, restaurants, bars, winter and summer swimming pools, spa and wellness areas, water sports and, of course, golf.

In the area there are various high level courses with circuits for experienced players and beginners.