Cosy Christmas escapes

Christmas

Christmas in Dingle

Seascape

If you are looking for a picture perfect Irish Christmas then look no further than the Dingle Peninsula. Cosy cottages with open fires, well-equipped kitchens for cooking up a festive storm and beautiful countryside for walking off the excesses of the season. Oh and of course, quite a few pubs too if you need a break from all that family time! Whether you are looking for a venue for a large family gathering or want to spend a romantic Christmas à deux here are some of our favourites for your winter getaway:

Atlantic Lodge- Ballydavid– large kitchen, gas stove, spacious, easy walk to the pub

Mountain View- Brandon– fully equipped kitchen, lounge with open fire, large reception space

The Green House- Brandon– hot tub, pizza oven, open plan living space, two-way stove, great walks, pubs

Atlantic Lodge
Atlantic Lodge

Little Liss-Brandon- cute and cosy, open fire, country kitchen, lovely views, easy walk to beach and pub

Seascape – Ballydavid– open fire, wood stove, large kitchen, great views, wheelchair friendly

The Lookout- Ballyferriter- peace and quiet, two living rooms, stove, large kitchen, great walks

Wild Atlantic View- Dunquin– 4 double bedrooms, modern kitchen, feature fireplace, hot tub, great views

Stradbally Cottage- Castlegregory– sleeps up to 10- family friendly, wood stove, conservatory, beach walks

Panorama-Brandon– ideal for Christmas house party- 5 bedrooms, four poster beds, open fire, very private, great views

Noël in Nice

Alouette
Alouette

Let’s be honest, for most of us the key ingredients of a great Christmas are a generous portion of  friends and family, a sprinkling of gorgeous gifts,  lashings of delicious food and a healthy splash of good wine, throw in a bit of festive spirit and sprinkle on the sunshine and it sounds pretty perfect! Nice is a great base for a Christmas break, even if the temperatures drop there is still plenty of sunshine to enjoy from your balcony or during a walk along the promenade. And of course in terms of food and drink you are pretty spoiled for choice. The annual Christmas Village opens this year on 3rd December, lots of lovely little stalls and the vin chaud is a must. If you fancy someone else cooking your Christmas dinner this year then there are restaurants aplenty but booking is essential. If you prefer a traditional French meal à la maison then many of our apartments have great kitchens making it easy to rustle up a festive French feast:

Paradis
Paradis

Le Dome- Old Town– spacious and warm, well equipped kitchen, 2 bathrooms

Paradis- Carré d’Or- stylish, spacious, great location, modern kitchen, romantic break

Françoise- Old Town– cute as a button, sunny balcony, stylish, great kitchen, cosy feel, easy reach of restaurants

Alouette- Old Town-  family friendly, 2 bedrooms, spacious living area and lovely kitchen, heart of the old town

Villa Boron- Mont Boron– the ultimate escape for friends and family, 5 bedrooms, hot tub, indoor pool

Christmas in Cyprus

polytimo-14If you love all the traditions of Christmas but are not so keen on the traditional weather then Cyprus could be a good choice for you.  Unlike in many Mediterranean countries, Christmas is a huge deal in Cyprus with decorations in the streets, seasonal goodies in all the shops and a great festive atmosphere. Restaurants serve a variety of traditional fare from around the world. Evenings are cool so perfect for snuggling round the fireplace, but daytime temperatures are in the 20’s with bright sunshine, ideal for walking, cycling and enjoying the great outdoors, if you are a fan of winter sports there are also some great ski runs in Troodos.

Casa Indy-Fasoula a snug nest with fully equipped kitchen, woodburner, outdoor sauna, quiet village location

Villa Avgoustis- Pachna– Stone villa, covered courtyard, open fire, spacious kitchen

Polytimo & Monadiko-Lefkara– Quiet village location, spacious shared courtyard, open fire, two kitchens, ideal for a family group

 

 

Food glorious food

Food glorious food
Dingle Food Festival
Dingle Food Festival

Farmers markets, taste trails, cookery demos, wine trails, workshops and the chance to meet famous chefs! If this sounds like your thing then head over to Dingle for the annual Food Festival.

Now in it’s tenth year the festival, attracts thousands of visitors from around the world and the whole town goes into a foodie frenzy. There are farmers markets all around the town and a taste trail that takes in over 60 outlets.  If you want some insider tips there are cookery demos from top international chefs in Benners Hotel from 12:00 on Saturday and Sunday. You can also meet them for coffee at the Dingle Whiskey Distillery at 11:30 on Sunday 2nd October. Even if you are not a culinary master, there’s plenty for amateurs too including the special 10th anniversary edition Great Dingle Bake Off- there’s still time to enter as well!

The festival takes place from 30th September to 2nd October and if you fancy joining in this celebration of food we’ve still got limited availability for the weekend, with £100 off your stay!

Most events are free of charge but there will be collection buckets around the town with all money raised going to charity

To book your Dingle food experience, visit our site and use promo code YUMMY100

For more information on the events and festival programme visit http://www.dinglefood.com/index.asp

Meet your best new friend…the Stay YNA App!

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Why drag around a tourist guide book when you can hang out with your new best buddy the Stay YNA App.

Download the Stay YNA App to your android or Iphone and get the best local guides, Blog Updates,reviews and special offers and exclusive discounts. It’s available to download for FREE in your app store and don’t worry if you haven’t booked with us, because it’s available to everyone and the best news is, you can book on line with the new app too.

So if you’re staying with us in France, Cyprus, Ireland or one of our new destinations then you can find the best restaurants and bars and things to do recommended by people that actually live there and find it on google maps! So you won’t waste time eating a bad steak tartare, drinking a less than perfect pint of Guinness or miss out on the best meze on the island because you left your guide book at home! Plus you can get involved too! You can review our reviews or post your own new discoveries. So join team STAY YNA and hang out with your new best buddy the Stay YNA App.

Download and sign up now to be one of the first 100 travellers to receive a £20 gift voucher to spend on your next trip with us.

The Stay YNA App is just a click away…

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Oh…those summer nights

Summer nights at Secret Retreat Polytimo
Summer nights at Secret Retreat Polytimo
Summer nights at Secret Retreat Polytimo

Cyprus summer offers     Nice summer offers

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things about summer is being able to sit outside at night without the need for multiple layers of knitwear! Whilst we in northern Europe certainly benefit from the longer days, balmy nights have been in pretty short supply this year. Watching in vain for a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower through a layer of cloud last night I had a sudden longing for those Mediterranean summer nights. The warm breeze after a long day in the sun, the smell of exotic flowers and the familiar hum of cicadas while enjoying an ice cold glass of something…heaven!

It’s no wonder really that our Mediterranean cousins spend their summer nights wining and dining on the terraces of cafes and restaurants, sipping cocktails in chic beach bars or relaxing on their balconies or in their gardens over dinner with family and friends.

If you feel the need for a few balmy nights of your own, here are our suggestions for the best properties, bars and restaurants for your summer evenings…

Cyprus summer offers        Nice summer offers

Cyprus in summer time is hot, hot hot so you’re going to want to be outside as much as possible. Choose a property by the coast for the sea breezes or in a village in the foothills where temperatures are more moderate. A pool is a plus if you are not near the sea but most important is plenty of outdoor space.

Stay

Secret Retreat- al fresco dining by candlelight
Secret Retreat- al fresco dining by candlelight

Secret Retreat Polytimo and Village Hideaway Monadiko are located in Lefkara Village, at 500m altitude in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, the village has cooler temperatures and less humidity than coastal areas. The houses have air-conditioned bedrooms (a huge plus!) and a gorgeous scented garden, the perfect setting for summer evenings.

 

 

 

Casa Indy- nights by the pool side

Casa Indy really does have it all…this gorgeous stone house is located in Fasoula village, just 10 minutes from Limassol the village enjoys cooler temperatures at night. Casa Indy has a divine pool in a stylish courtyard garden that just begs you to relax and unwind

 

 

 

 

Carmencita- watch the sun sink slowly into the sea
Carmencita- watch the sun sink slowly into the sea

Carmencita is a true gem, located right next to the beach in Limassol in an exclusive complex with large pool and spa. Just a hop and a skip from the beach path for evening strolls and within easy reach of some of Limassol’s best restaurants and bars

See special summer offers for Cyprus

 

 

 

Do

Yacht Club
Yacht Club

The Yacht Club at Limassol Marina is the place to go if you feel like living the high life. OK so you might not own your own luxury yacht just yet but you can always pretend! Open to the water on two sides this is a great place for a light bite, cocktail or glass of wine and a night of people spotting. Top Tip: share a platter and a shisha pipe for a relaxing evening. Find out more

Noa located right on Dasoudi Beach at the Famagusta Nautical Club this is a popular spot for a late coffee, early drink and fresh sea food. Sit in the garden next to the beach and enjoy the sea breeze as it ripples the eucalptus trees. Top Tip: the grilled calamari are my personal favourite but you must try the sea food meze- lots of delicious goodies! Find out more

La Isla
La Isla

La Isla is one of Limassols’ in bars, located in the Ayios Tychonas area of the city, right on the beach this is a great choice for food or drinks. It is open all day until late at night and does get pretty busy so book ahead or get their early. Listen to the sound of the waves on the shore and check out the walkers and cyclists on the beach path. Top Tip: the salads are epic and portions are generous, share a village salad with a selection of spicy calamari, prawns and feta filo parcels! Find out more

Sailor’s Rest at St Raphael Marina is a great choice for a summer dinner. The restaurant is built on a jetty so surrounded by the sea on three sides, there is always a pleasant breeze. The service is friendly and efficient and there is lots of choice; treat yourself to lobster or steak from the fine dining menu, share a gourmet platter or just order from their range of cocktails, enjoy some dips and choose from the extensive shisha menu. Find out more

Proti Stagona is set right in front of the Timou Stavrou Church in Lefkara Village, this tiny bar is popular with young people visiting from Limassol and Nicosia and a great option if you fancy a change of scene. The menu is not vast but they do a great platter with local cheeses and charcuterie and some funky fresh cocktails served in jam jars! Find out more

Place Rossetti
Place Rossetti

In Nice, the historic buildings were designed to keep the sun out so balconies are worth their weight in gold in the old town! While most visitors dream of sitting out on their own private balcony and watching the world go by, the locals can be found out and about enjoying the city’s cafe culture. There is a restaurant, bar or cafe literally on every street corner and the gorgeous squares such as Place Rossetti and Place Garibaldi or the market area at Cours Saleya are packed from early evening onwards. Live like the locals and move away from your air-conditioned apartment and get out into the streets to enjoy the summer Riviera vibe!

Stay

brigitteBrigitte has all you could wish for- air-conditioning, a lovely balcony overlooking a quiet courtyard and is located at the heart of the lively old town. Enjoy a quiet apero on your private balcony and then head off down to Place Rossetti or Cours Saleya to soak up the atmosphere

Dolce Acqua in Villefranche-sur-Mer offers a touch of genuine Riviera luxury. This contemporary 1 bedroom apartment is air-conditioned throughout the stylish interior and boasts a spacious terrace and garden area with views of the nearby harbour

Fresco is a great choice if you really want to experience French life. This stylish apartment is airy and full of light and the traditional balcony enjoys the sun all day. Catch the last rays of the evening and then enjoy a stroll in the nearby Jardin Albert I

Wine time at Sienna
Wine time at Sienna

Sienna enjoys a great location in the popular port area, two generous-sized bedrooms and a spacious balcony, this is a perfect choice for a break with family or friends. Enjoy the chilled bottle of Rosé from your welcome basket in the early evening and then head of for a stroll around the port or dinner along fashionable rue Bonaparte

Rossetti is the place for you if you want to be right at the heart of the action! This 2 bedroom apartment in a period building looks out over Place Rossetti and the cathedral. Although there is no balcony, you really won’t miss it as the lure of the cafes down below will be too strong! You can enjoy your apéritif or nightcap literally on your doorstep and dine on the Cours Saleya or at one of the old towns many fabulous restaurants. You also have the overwhelming temptation of Finocchio’s ice cream stall within your line of vision!

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Distilleries Idéales
Distilleries Idéales

Distilleries Idéales is one of our top choices for an early-evening tipple. At the top of Rue de la Préfecture it is a great spot to stop off at the end of a busy day and enjoy the first rosé of the night, their tasty platters of local chaurcuterie are also worth trying….Find out more

 

 

 

 

Le plongeoir -Nice
Le plongeoir -Nice

Le Plongeoir is certainly unique! Hovering above the sea on a rocky pillar that supports the old diving boards! The restaurant is open for lunch and serves snacks and platters in the afternoon. Dinner is served between 7:30 and 9:30 pm with fine dining options. Imagine tucking into fresh sea bream as you inhale the sea air? Find out more

La Civette du Cours on the famous Cours Saleya is perhaps the most authentic option in this very popular tourist spot. It is a great spot for an apéro as you sit and watch the world go by over a glass of pastis and a bowl of olives. They also serve food all day so if that pastis turns into several and you start feeling peckish fear not, they offer a small selection of snacks and local dishes. Why not try the petits farcis? Find out more

La Terrasse
La Terrasse

Nice is literally just jam-packed with amazing eateries, there is so much to choose from. Avoid the touristy restaurants and ask your local manager for their top tips to really experience the best eats in Nice. We like La Terrasse on the rooftop of Le Meridien, it has amazing views and is a good choice if you want to treat yourself. How about a start of Petrossian caviar followed by organic black Angus steak and then a trio of eclairs to finish? I am getting hungry just writing about it…find out more

 

Have we whet your appetite yet? To plan your own sumptuous summer nights check out our current offers

Nice summer offers    Cyprus summer offers

For one week…and one week only…

Summer holidays
Summer holidays

Summer holidays are well and truly upon us, the schools have broken up, the kids are probably starting to get bored at home….time to plan that summer break!

For one week only we are taking £30 off stays of 3 nights or more in ANY of our Nice apartments…so if your thoughts are turning towards holidays, check out your dates on our live calendar and use promo code ETE30 to get your discounted stay today!

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Nice a week on

Promenade

When the news broke of the dreadful attack on Nice last Thursday night, like the rest of the world, we watched in shock and horror. Following every news bulletin to try to understand what had happened. As the reports flooded in, our first concern of course was our local team and guests and our first priority making contact with them. The relief as our managers checked in throughout the night and following morning and confirmed that all guests were accounted for and safe was palpable. It was also a great comfort to receive messages from past and future guests, expressing their sorrow and reaffirming their love for Nice and determination to return.

One family who were on the Promenade watching the fireworks, decided to leave early, they missed the attack but were caught up in the panic on the streets and told us how they were affected, their feelings of relief to be safe and how they spent the following day laying tributes, lighting candles and talking though the unbelievable events

We mourn with Nice and all those affected, this wonderfully beautiful, welcoming city. Even during the days after the attack was it was friendly and beautiful albeit with the feeling of grief and despair. We will be happy to come back to Nice

Mrs SC- guest in Nice on 14th July

It is still impossible to comprehend such a tragedy and we have been talking to locals and visitors to find out how people are feeling one week on and what this means for one of the most popular tourist destinations in France. The Nice Convention and Tourism Bureau* posted the following statement shortly after the event, their website and social media pages have been flooded with comments from well-wishers and visitors confirming that this atrocity will not stop them from travelling to the city:

Since this tragedy, we have received thousands of messages of affection and support from all over the world, some anonymous, others from professionals telling us the special place Nice holds for them in their hearts….

In spite of the pain, anger and sorrow, we are determined, more than ever, to show that Nice remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Nice Convention and Visitors Bureau

As a destination, Nice is second only to Paris in popularity with around 5 million visitors every year. Tourism is crucial to the local economy and of course local businesses are concerned about the long term impact this event will have. Vangelis Panayiotis, Managing Director of MKG Tourism Consulting told Reuters* that he estimated a decline in visitor numbers this year. Others are more optimistic feeling that unlike some package holiday destinations, there is no identical substitute for Nice, it is a unique city. There is also a feeling among professionals and tourists that this kind of attack could happen anywhere and there is the sense of determination not to let the terrorists “win” by changing plans and altering our lifestyles. Key tourism stakeholders in the UK and Germany have stated that cancellations have been minimal and mostly from guests due to travel out in the first days after the attack.

We won’t allow ourselves to be frightened by these senseless acts of violence. Like the French we will keep on living our lives!

Mr K.H- due to travel to Nice this summer

In the days immediately following the attack a number of large events such as concerts and the jazz festival were cancelled. Whilst there is currently no official advice against travel to France, people are warned to be extra vigilant in public places. The extension by President Hollande of the State of Emergency for another 3 months has also reassured some visitors; meaning a much more visible security presence on the streets.

As in the UK where the terrorism threat is severe, travellers should remain alert and vigilant, especially in places where there is a high concentration of people

ABTA

The attack was followed by three days of official mourning with many businesses choosing to remain closed both as a mark of respect for the victims but also as a time to reflect and come to terms with all that had happened. Guests that were in Nice during these first days found the city much quieter than usual but many of them took the time to pay their own respects and commented on the continuing kindness of the local people.

We have had a lovely time in Nice. Sad due to the atrocity last week but also an experience to see and feel the atmosphere. Moving to walk along the promenade and see the tributes…

Mr. PK- travelled to Nice on 15th July

A week on, Nice is slowly readjusting to “normal” life, the Promenade des Anglais was reopened to traffic on Monday and people are going to the beach. Some local people do feel uncomfortable with signs of enjoyment so close to the scene of tragedy, it is very early days after all but others feel that this is how it has to be, life must continue.
A lot of people are coming every day to the scene of the tragedy to show their respect, to try to understand what happened and to try to “claim back” the Promenade des Anglais…Solidarity, reconstruction and mourning are the three words that come to mind at this time
Mrs IM- local resident

This horrific attack will leave a permanent scar on our beautiful city, people will never forget the events of 14th July 2016. But amidst the sadness, the grief and the anger, there are so many stories of kindness, friendship and bravery from that night and of course so many memories of happier times before and the hope for better times ahead.

 

*Sources: Nice Convention and Tourism Bureau, Reuters, Association of British Travel Agents

Jazz it up

Nice Jazz Festival

jazz musician

Nice offers a great range of cultural and sporting events throughout the year but arguably one of the best gigs in town is the annual jazz festival, this year taking place 16th to 20th July.

The first ever jazz event in Nice was way back in 1948 when no-less personage than the legendary Louis Armstrong headed the bill in the Opera. It would be another 23 years before the next event with a huge reunion in 1971 featuring big names such as Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. The festival has evolved over the years from the Grande Parade du Jazz into the world-renowned Nice Jazz Festival, and many illustrious musicians have taken part from Fats Domino to Chuck Berry, Carlos Santana to Lauryn Hill. Last year’s event attracted over 60,000 fans and we’re sure that this year is going to be even better.

Nice Jazz Festival
Nice Jazz Festival

Taking place in the open-air on the Promenade du Paillon, the 2016 edition will offer music from a wide range of genres, performers will include Robert Plant, Youssou N’Dour and Massive Attack so plenty to enjoy even if you are not a jazz purist. The festival will host events on 6 stages over 5 days with 31 acts! Tickets cost Euro 39 for adults, Euro 17 for children aged 10-16 and the under-tens go free, serious music lovers can also purchase a 5 days pass for Euro 130. Tickets are on sale now daily at Place Massena and can also be booked online at http://www.nicejazzfestival.fr/en/

 

We have limited availability remaining for the Jazz Festival period. Plan your stay now

 

Tradition meets contemporary chic

Relax and enjoy the view
Outdoor dining in the beautiful garden
Outdoor dining in the beautiful garden

The picturesque village of Lefkara in the Larnaca district has been a popular destination for visitors since Venetian times and it’s not hard to see why. Winding cobbled streets, honey-coloured stone, great views of the surrounding valleys and plenty to see and do. In the past many of the traditional houses had sadly fallen into disrepair but recent years have seen an increase in people restoring their family homes to their former glory.

 

 

Master bedroom with original furniture
Master bedroom with original furniture

One such project was undertaken by the Loizides family who have restored their grandmother’s former home in the village retaining its original charm and making it a comfortable space for holidays.  Parts of the building actually date back as far as the 12th century with later 18th century additions. In its time it as been a residence, a stables, olive press, cellar and bank! The property can be rented as a whole comprising 3 bedrooms and ample living space set around a lush courtyard garden or as two separate residences sharing areas of the garden.

 

Open plan kitchen Monadiko
Open plan kitchen Monadiko

Inside the house is full of treasures from the past; a framed copy of the grandparent’s wedding invitation has pride of place in the living room. Upstairs in the master bedroom, the carved and embellished walnut wood wardrobe contained the grandmother’s dowry and was given to her on her marriage. There are other original items too reflecting the history of the house and the family that have lived there for generations, telling a tale of Cyprus village life. These fascinating items have been enhanced with the modern conveniences you would expect from a holiday rental; all the bedrooms now have air-conditioning and there are two fully fitted kitchens and two modern bathrooms.

Eat and enjoy, Cyprus style
Eat and enjoy, Cyprus style

Outside, the secluded courtyard garden is a real haven of tranquility, the perfect space to relax and escape the pressures of fast-paced modern life. There are facilities for outdoor dining and comfortable armchairs on the first floor veranda, the perfect spot for an evening aperitif while the sun goes down!

 

 

 

Relax and enjoy the view
Relax and enjoy the view

Polytimo, meaning “precious” is the larger property and has a double and twin room on the first floor with a kitchen, dining room and living room with fireplace on the ground floor. Monadiko, meaning “unique” has an open plan living space downstairs with a loft room at the top of the sweeping modern staircase which is ideal for families travelling with young children. Both houses open directly onto the garden and if booked separately have defined areas to ensure privacy for all guests.