Friday, 27 January 2012

Welcome to Paradise - Hot Holiday Websites

paradise holiday

For most of us, January is that time of year where we start to look longingly out of dreary office windows and dream of anywhere but here. I'm sure you're already drifting off and starting to think about your summer holidays...lazy days in the sun, baking hot cities, colourful cocktails. 

It all feels another world away, doesn't it? 

I am a beach bum at heart, and I am already imagining passing my summer on a lilo, coconut cocktail clamped firmly in one hand. I am dreaming of turquoise waters, beaches white as snow and scrumptious local food...

In my search for the perfect getaway, I have stumbled across some brilliant websites I thought I'd share with you. They’re great holiday inspiration for those of you who want to get off the beaten track and find somewhere new.

Here they are:

Rooms for Romance

Since I discovered this site last year, it has become one of my biggest addictions – some of the hotels are absolutely divine. Whether you want huge, roll-top baths, four poster beds, Jacuzzi baths or luxurious spas, you will find it on here.

The website offers customers a collection of luxurious, one-off hotels in countries across the world. You can find anything, from boutique hotels and intimate inns to mountainous retreats and island escapes.

Take your pick…if it is a romantic getaway you are looking for, this website will have it covered.

Ever been to an exotic city and felt you’ve just not quite got the whole experience? Something was missing? Well, what about mixing it up with the locals by staying in their very own home?

Air BnB is a unique website which allows you to search and stay in homes all over the world.  If it’s company you want, you can stay with other people. Or, if you want a bit of TLC, you can book a whole house to yourself.

The idea of this has really taken off thanks to the Olympics. But wherever you want to stay, there’s a place for you on this site.  Better still, it’s incredibly affordable – I found stunning homes in Hawaii for as little as $35 a night and Manhattan lofts from $65. It is brilliant!

fish paella

Like the idea of Air BnB, but hate the idea of intruding in someone’s house for weeks on end? Well, why not try Dine With Locals?

The website pairs up locals with travelers so that you can get to grips with a country’s true culture and scene. I’m a huge believer in getting to know the people rather than the place, and this is perfect for anyone who agrees with me!

If you use this site and book in, you’ll get to enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal of authentic cuisine, all while enjoying a splash of local culture. What’s not to love?

cool camping

Now, for me, the words “cool” and “camping” are not ones which tend to go hand-in-hand. Ever since I was a Brownie and had a bad experience camping (a sheep hijacked my tent in the middle of the night. It headbutted me, I screamed, it ran…it wasn’t good.), I have not been a happy camper.  In fact, I refuse to do it, full-stop.

However, even I have to admit that some of these tents (I’m not sure they can really be called that…they are far too glamorous!) look quite tempting. Check them out! 

luxury hotels

This is one of my all-time favourite websites. It instantly gives me wanderlust…

While these hotels aren’t the cheapest, you will be hard-placed to find anything better or more beautiful. Just take a look at the d├ęcor in some of these places! The headboards, the four posters, the wallpaper…I want my home to look just like one of these hotels.

Anyway, if you do like the look of this website, it is currently free to become a Mr and Mrs Smith Blacksmith member. This means you can get exclusive offers, cashback when you book and free extras at all their hotels.

This genius website offers you holidays at knock-down, members-only prices.  Hotels (including luxury ones) approach them when they have rooms to fill, meaning you get first dibs on all the bargains.

All you have to do is give them your details and they will send you exclusive offers and deals straight to your inbox. Brilliant!

I hope you enjoy searching for your dream getaway as much as I do. Now it's just time to start counting down the days, hours and minutes...

If only we could speed up time, eh?

Sam x