Holidaymakers on an airliner in Menorca were expecting a lengthy wait when they were told there was a technical problem and an engineer would have to be flown in from the UK.
But a passenger came forward, identified himself as a qualified aircraft engineer and repaired the fault. As a result, the flight touched down in Glasgow only 35 minutes behind schedule.
A spokeswoman for the carrier, Thomas Cook, said the company had followed strict procedures to make sure the man had been qualified to work on the airliner, a Boeing 757-200. He was actually employed by another airline, Thomsonfly, which has a reciprocal maintenance agreement with Thomas Cook.
One of the holidaymakers, Keith Lomax, said that when the man came back on board after his unscheduled work-shift, there was a round of applause. “It was reassuring to know the person who had fixed it was still on the aeroplane,” he added.
by Andy Moreton
Menorca is a charming holiday spot, the middle-sized island of the Spanish Balearics that also include Majorca and Ibiza. If you’re thinking of a sunshine break, try the quaint and historic Hotel Rural Biniarroca, bookable through Luxique.
Property developers on Spain’s holiday coasts were already feeling the pinch well before the present credit crunch.
Hundreds of estate agency offices have closed in the past year since the bubble burst on a construction boom that had been powering Spain’s economy for some ten years.
One company on the Costa del Sol recently resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to sell new homes – offering two for the price of one.
At the Malaga property fair, the company said that buyers of one of its £620,000 ($1 million) beachside homes would also get a one-bedroom flat at a golf resort.
Organisers of the fair reported a significant drop in exhibitors at this year’s event and added that the price of homes on offer had fallen by up to 20 per cent from last year.
The President of Spain’s Association of Constructors and Developers, Guillermo Chicote, said the industry desperately needed government help to aid its recovery. “If the government doesn’t react, this situation could last for another three or four years,” he said.
Even super-rich celebrities are not immune to the property squeeze in Spain. David and Victoria Beckham have apparently been trying to sell their luxury villa in the capital, Madrid, since last year when the couple moved to the US. The price has reportedly come down from £5 million ($8.6 million) to £3 million ($5.2 million).
The five-room villa in the chic suburb of La Moraleja is ‘incredible’ according to the selling agent. It includes two acres of land, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a small soccer pitch and a children’s playground.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers a selection of luxury and boutique hotels throughout Spain, including two boutique hotels in Malaga and 12 luxury hotels in the Costa del Sol region.
Our friends at the excellent Conde Nast Traveller magazine have just announced the results of their readers’ survey on the world’s best holidays and hotels.
Voted the most popular leisure hotel in Europe was La Residencia in Majorca, which was lovingly and luxuriously fashioned from two 17th Century farmhouses. It was where Lord (Andrew) Lloyd Webber put up the guests for his glittering 60th birthday party earlier this year.
For the Middle East and Africa, the Chedi Muscat in Oman came out on top. Clearly its guests share the hotel’s claim that it’s ‘an oasis of mysticism and luxury.’
In the UK, The Grove in Hertfordshire on the outskirts of London was the most popular choice. It scored highly not only for its leisure facilities (it boasts one of the finest new golf courses in Europe) but also for its value for money.
In the Overseas Business Hotel category, five of the top 20 were in Dubai. But out in front was the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower in Mumbai, described in Luxique’s guide as simply ‘The Grand Dame of India.’
And the island that consistently tops luxury holiday polls for its beaches and facilities is the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Luxique offers a choice of ten fabulous luxury hotels in Maldives.
by Andy Moreton
British and German tourists share many a Mediterranean hotspot each summer - sometimes, it has to be said, uneasily. A long-running cliché persists about the Germans rising at dawn to lay towels on sun-loungers.
Recently, a British businessman on holiday with his family on the Greek island of Kos found that the activities and entertainment offered at his hotel were available only in German.
He took the holiday company to court and was awarded £750 ($1470) in compensation. The judge agreed that the firm’s brochure had misled him by failing to make it clear that the hotel catered for a mainly German clientele.
Now, Germany’s top-selling newspaper, Bild, has responded with a few choice remarks about drunken, sunburned Britons. It also advised German tourists to avoid six European resorts particularly popular with British holidaymakers: the Bay of Palma in Majorca; San Antonio in Ibiza; Playa de las Americas in Tenerife; Ayia Napa in Cyprus, Faliraki in Rhodes and Malia in Crete.
And it adds: “You don’t want to be on holiday with us? No problem, we’ll play football without you in the summer.”
Ouch – that’s really below the belt. The finals of the European soccer championships are taking place in Switzerland and Austria at the moment - England famously failed to qualify.
by Andy Moreton
La Residencia on the west coast of Majorca is an exclusive 17th century hideaway set on a hilltop in 30 acres of olive and citrus groves. Here at Luxique we’ve described it as “a gem of a hotel.”
We’re pleased to say that this has been endorsed by none other than the musical maestro, (Lord) Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s apparently one of his favourite hotels and this is where he put up his 60 star guests for his 60th birthday party last weekend. Old friends who had been close to him throughout his career arrived by a specially chartered private jet. Heading the guest list was Sir Michael Caine, who was sharing the birthday celebration as he’d just turned 75. The actual party was being held at a restaurant in the village of Deia.
At La Residencia, the Music of the Night was no doubt helped along by the unique Steinway piano dating from 1887 that the hotel bought and restored to its former glory. Apparently there was much jockeying among the guests for who should get the honour of performing.
Majorca has long been a destination enjoyed by millions of Brits on cut-price package holidays. It’s safe to say there was nothing cut-price about the Lloyd Webber weekend. Hello magazine put the cost of the four-day bash at £5 million. The composer laughs: “If I was spending that much, I’d expect to be buying the hotel and the jet.”
by Andy Moreton