Monarch Airlines and Friedrichshafen Airport re-commence Ski routes to the Alps for winter 2013/14

Monarch Airlines will be re-starting its winter ski routes to Friedrichshafen Airport in Southern Germany this winter. Friedrichshafen is fast becoming the ski airport of choice for discerning travellers looking for a reliable and easy transfer to the best ski resorts in the Alps.

Kevin George, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, commented:

“After successfully launching our new scheduled flights to ski destinations last winter 12/13, we are keen to highlight our products and services to ski and snowboard travellers who are beginning to think about their winter holiday for this year. Working with a key ski destination airport such as Friedrichshafen provides our great ski offering to customers.”

Located in Southern Germany, Friedrichshafen, is a skiing gateway to 4 countries from 1 airport. Friedrichshafen Airport is only a 90 minute transfer by coach, car or train to internationally recognised, quality ski resorts throughout Switzerland, Austria, Leichtenstein and Germany including St Anton, Lech, Zürs, and Flims-Laax.

Monarch Airlines’ new regular ski routes from London Gatwick and Manchester will fly direct into Friedrichshafen Airport, in Southern Germany. From December 2013 through to April 2014, Monarch airlines will operate six weekly direct flights from London Gatwick and Manchester Airport to Friedrichshafen.

With convenient flight times, just an hour and a half flight from London and two hours from Manchester, means that same day fly and ski is possible for those flying into the Airport and transferring on to one of the nearby sky resorts.

More than one million people in the UK take a ski holiday every year. Friedrichshafen Airport hopes to benefit from this traffic thanks to Monarch’s ski routes. The airport prides itself on its 30 year record of landing in any weather without delays and its proximity to more than 50 ski resorts across the Alps. Last year alone, over 50,000 ski visitors used Friedrichshafen as their gateway to the Alps.

FDH airport has a handy UK online platform at for accessible information on the Monarch Airlines’ flight schedules into FDH. Monarch operates flights to all seven ski destinations from Manchester and Gatwick Airport and selected ski destination from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford and London Luton Airport, 160 ski resorts are within easy access of these airports, giving UK holiday makers a stress free route to resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Leichtenstein.

Hawaii Tourism Board breathes a breath of fresh air this summer by banning smoking on its idyllic beaches

Credit - Hawaii Tourism Authority, Photographer: Tor Johnson

Credit – Hawaii Tourism Authority, Photographer: Tor Johnson

Gone are the days of polluting cigarette smoke and secondary smoke inhalation for Hawaii’s beaches
Hawaii has signed a new policy to include all of its beaches to be smoke free, allowing holidaymakers to truly enjoy and relax in a healthy and beautiful smoke-free environment, when walking along a Hawaiian pristine talcum powder beach. The policy will be enforced by beach lifeguards and will ensure that the environmental threat to the ocean and eco-system will now be abated.
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, later this year see our list of truly inspiring naturally beautiful beaches perfect for a snorkellers paradise or honeymoon destination for the perfect spot to relax and enjoy.

We’ve compiled a list of the best beaches for you to explore and have unforgettable times on:
•Hawaii Island features some of the most picturesque and varied beach landscapes in the islands, from white sand, black sand and green sand beaches with olivine crystals. Some of the best include: Kolekole Beach Park: Twelve miles north of Hilo on the Hamakua Coast you’ll find this jungle garden by the ocean, with a nearby stream lined with smooth lava rocks and a waterfall. A banyan tree leans over the river with a rope swing. Onekahakaha Beach Park: A favourite with locals, this small, shallow sand-bottomed ocean pool is one the safest swimming areas along the Hilo coast, with tide pools and inlets.

•Maui’s Makena Beach known as “Big Beach” is located south of Wailea near the Makena Beach and Golf Resort and provides a secluded alternative to more crowded beaches in Kaanapali and Lahaina. Nestled between two black-lava outcroppings, Makena offers protection from the trade winds and provides great views of the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe.

•Lanai, Hawaii’s most enticing island is home to The pristine beauty of Hulopoe Bay located on Lanai’s southern coast, Hulopoe Bay greets you with a stunning expanse of pearl-white sand and crystal blue waters. Most of the year, this protected bay fronting the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay is the best spot on the island for snorkelling and swimming.

•Molokai’s hidden gem is has a ‘must-visit’ Papohaku Beach (also known as Three Mile Beach) and discover three miles of soft-sands uninterrupted down Molokai’s west end. One of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches at about 100 yards wide, there’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the “Friendly Island” ambience.

•Oahu, Waikiki beach, located on the Southern shore of Honolulu is most famous for its beaches and every room is just two or three blocks away from the sea. With Leahi (Diamond Head) as your backdrop, the calm waters of Waikiki are perfect for a surfing lesson.

•Kaui, Poipu Beach as you’ve always imagined and dreamed how Hawaii would look – this is it! The inviting waters of Poipu make it very popular with visitors, locals and even local marine life. From December through May, it’s not uncommon to spot humpback whales spouting off shore. Large honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) also swim in these waters. But Poipu Beach is most famous for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that sometimes sunbathe on the shore.

No Need To Pack The Wellies For New York State’s Top 5 Festivals

Thinking of hitting a music festival abroad this summer? Then look no further than New York State’s amazing line up of the biggest and best music festivals. Make like a New Yorker and discover the hidden gems in a music scene beyond Manhattans’ hot and humid city walls. Follow the hipsters in-the-know and head upstate to sample some authentic American festival life…..

•Jazz Lovers will adore the Syracuse Jazz Festival (4 July – 6 July). Multi-award winning, it’s the largest free jazz festival in the north-east of America, and only a 5 hour road trip from JFK airport. Offering a huge variety of artists over three days, its big draw headliners are Kenny G & Donovan. Combine it with a stopover at the beautiful Oneida Lake just north of the town for a chilled out post-festie retreat.

•Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance (18 July – 21 July) offers something rather different in the scenic Finger Lakes region. Originally starting out in life as a benefit to raise money for a local AIDS charity, it has grown so much it now showcases over 60 bands, playing over 4 stages. Expect diverse world music, arts, dancing, and a genuinely chilled-out quirky vibe. Discover something you have never seen or heard before – fancy dress optional!

•Billed as one of the most exciting festivals in the world, the International Celtic Festival (17 August – 18 August) features all of the best from the Emerald Isle crammed into one St Paddy’s style weekend. Situated in Hunter Mountain, a long time favourite music venue in Green County; expect world-class Irish and American bands and plenty of that famous Irish craic’.

•Moe.Down Festival (9 August – 11 August) is into its 14th year and it’s bigger than ever. Located at the picturesque Snow Ridge Ski Resort in upstate New York only 4 hours from the City, and hosted by the band Moe; it’s a bouncy mix of jam music and good old fashioned family fun typical of an all American ho-down.

Don’t get caught out by an English downpour at a festie this summer! Leave your wellies at home, soak up some sunshine and enjoy a genuine all American festival. America As You Like It offer a seven night holiday to New York State from £1099 per person, based on two people travelling including return flights and seven night’s accommodation with car hire. Go to the ‘America as you like it’ website or call 0208 742 8299 to book or visit

Meribel La Coeur de les trois Vallees….a skiers dream

Invited to ski by an instructor friend for a final weekend before the end of the season, in Meribel in Les trois Vallees, how could I resist… flight booked, transfer booked, bags packed.

Despite a slightly shaky start thanks to fog in London, I eventually rocked up in Meribel 24 hours later after being transferred from City Airport to Heathrow via Frankfurt to Geneva.. oh the joys of travel. I arrive into resort to beautiful blue sunny skies and head straight for the slopes, there is still plenty of snow and the pistes are extremely well kept.

This season has seen some of the best snow in recent years in Europe and the ski industry is booming at a time when perhaps economically it could be seeing more  challenging times. Skiers and snowboarders are however, thankfully choosing to take a winter snow sports holiday in there droves and tour operators such as Tui has taken the decision to extend the season by an extra week.

Méribel is a ski resort in the  Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, situated near the town of Moutiers. Meribel has three neighbouring villages in the Les Allues commune: Meribel Centre, Meribel-Mottaret and Meribel Village which is in the heart of the 3 Valleys and interlinked to the largest ski area in the world. Situated at 1,400 km above sea level it was originally founded by a Scotsman Colonel Peter Lindsay in 1936 who was looking for a new winter sports area away from Austria and Germany as the Nazi regime began to grow.  Lindsay used specialised architects Paul Grillo and his partner Christian Durupt, as he wanted to maintain the Savoyard style and control the building development of the resort through his property company.

With so much alpine terrain to choose from it’s hard to decide where to go first, but my guide takes the lead and we head for some easy blue and red runs in La Sauliere. The slopes are fantastic and easy for beginners to navigate as well as intermediates. I even ventured down some mogul fields quite well given it was a while since I’d attempted them.

Meribel by J.M Gouedard.

The 3 Valley’s has some of the best terrain in the Alps, from skiing down through the alpine trees into La Tania and across the mountains to Courchevel it’s beautifully breathtaking. As we ski down towards Courchevel we see the Courchevel airport which was featured in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”, it’s the world’s 7th most dangerous airport due to the short runway only 525 m (1,722 ft) with a gradient of 18.5% and nosedive cliff tops. I can see why it’s dangerous! note to self not to use it, an unlikely possibility as it’s namely Oligarch’s arriving on their Private Lear Jets.

After a morning’s skiing and trying to keep up with L’Instructor and not look too silly (falls x 2, don’t think he noticed) we stopped for lunch. Dining on the slopes is always such a luxury, and “Le Blanchot”  did not fail to impress with its stunning mountain views and gastronomic menu choice. We opted for the more traditional French Savoie dishes of  “Chaud fromage en boite” with potatoes, delicious french bread and salad and a traditional “Savoie rosti”. There is also a skiers ‘ dish of the day’ and a two course ‘skiers menu’ a good way to enjoy “Le Blanchot” without blowing the budget. The service is very good and a great spot for people watching or catching a few rays.

Back in the village and Meribel is thriving, there were lots of people buzzing about, French and Brits out in force together and enjoying their afternoon. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from in the village, apres ski is big business here. We go for Barometer bar which is slightly more relaxed and just off the piste, the atmosphere is fun and everybody seems to be in a good mood.

For dinner we opted for “La Fromagerie”, a cheese shop by day and basement restaurant by night. It was absolutely charming in that very Gallic way, the half wheel of raclette was everything I had been dreaming of with lots of yummy cheese drizzled over gherkins and potatoes.. just goregous. My Seasonnaire was at pains to tell me that whatever I wore to dinner I would need to wash immediately afterwards from the overpowering smell of cheese. It was bad but not as bad as a ‘ Munster Cheese’ smell we had to endure on one car trip back from France, courtesy of my Father.

After a brief but amazing weekend in Meribel I can see why everybody has the ski bug it is just so much fun. I’m certainly planning my next trip out there for 2013/14 season.

Flight from : London City Airport – Geneva 1hr45 with Swiss Air/ British Airways/ Lufthansa

Transfer from: Geneva to Meribel – 3hr (threevalleetransfers –

British Ski & Snowboard School –

Divine Decadence At The Legendary Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St.Moritz, Switzerland

A magical weekend at the “Grande Dame” of  St. Moritz, Badrutt’s Palace hotel. Set in the heart of the Engadin region, 1,856m above sea level, It is one of the prettiest Swiss villages. A  jewel of a winter sports resort with over 350km of ski slopes. Home to the famous “Cresta run”, it plays host every year to the “World Cup Polo on snow ” and  “White Turf weekend” horse racing on ice.


Having always had St.Moritz on my bucket list after a ski season spent in Saas Fee many years ago! The more glamourous ski resorts of Gstaad and St. Moritz have somehow managed to elude me. These are the ski resorts that are destinations and playgrounds for the rich and famous and legendary in their own right. A seasonnaire at heart – for me it is all about the skiing and the snow, although I’m not averse to a little pampering once in a while and staying at the five star Badrutt’s Palace certainly is a taste of a different world.

This legendary  “Grande Dame” is in a class of its own, leading the field in luxury hotels it has played host to European Royal Families since opening its doors in 1896, followed by Hollywood Royalty and today it still plays host to the great and the good of the glitterati. The staff are impeccably mannered and extremely welcoming with generations of  the same families working here, they are clearly very passionate about Badrutt’s Palace hotel and it shows.


I was of course beyond excited to be leaving a rather dull and overcast City airport for Zurich early Friday morning, transported at the other end by an efficient Swiss train service, which naturally ran like clock work. Within 20 minutes of landing we were on our way to Zurich railway and connecting trains to Chur and on through the UNESCO World Heritage site of beautiful snowy landscape and an awe inspiring winter wonderland before arriving in St.Moritz. We were met at the station by a fleet of Badrutt’s Palace porters with impressive Rolls Royce cars, which whisked us up to the hotel in style.. filmstar moi! Oh alright then…


For our very first evening we were invited by the Head Chef of the hotel’s  “Le Restaurant” kitchens to dine at the Chef’s table, a first for me and an absolute delight. Each course was matched to a wine and we were treated to an extensive menu of:

– Cooked Egg whites with Imperial caviar and truffles

– Steamed Scallops and foie gras wrapped in Savoy cabbage with brioche bread

– Pumpkin Cream Soup and Caraway purple potato flower and leek

– Two styles of Venison filet seared with a truffle sauce and braised Veal cheeks in red wine sauce with black truffle shavings

For dessert we had a special surprise in the Patisserie Kitchen with Head Patisserie Chef Stefan Gerber and his team whom created a spectacular fireworks and music display to present every dessert imaginable.


It certainly gave us a good sugar rush to head to the famous “King’s nightclub” dance floor and attempt some cool moves at the ‘ClubHaus’ 80’s evening.  “King’s Club” is situated within the basement of the hotel which proved handy in L.K. Bennett killer heels! This was no ordinary dance floor as the hotel PR informed me its claim to fame is being the richest dance floor in Europe with at least every other guest apparently a billionaire… how could I go wrong?


Next morning we were up early to enjoy breakfast in “Le Restaurant” including a harpist to play some music to us while we ate. Definitely a new one on me, but relaxing all the same as we looked out across the lake before the morning’s ski activities with our Swiss ski instructor’s, John and Aurelia.


A little apprehension had sunk in as we climbed the mountian after a few too many bad moves at “King’s” but once on the slopes, we all started to find our ski legs again, before heading up to the highest pinnacle on the mountain range and indulging in some delicious cheese fondue and fantastic Swiss white wine. Yes Swiss wine! surprisingly delicious and perfect for the cheese fondue.. who knew?


Après-ski in St.Moritz is of course a very stylish affair, so post a few red runs and wobbly mogul attempts after lunch, we took ourselves off  for a Gluhwein and hot vodka or two,  (can you see our common theme here?) hoping to mingle with some of the young, the rich and the beautiful people…


Post  après ski we donned our most glamourous outfits to visit the underground cellars of Badrutt’s Palace, where they hold guests cases of vintage wine and cases and cases of the finest Champagne in preparation for the winter season. Guests can also reserve a table in the romantic wine cellar on request for dinner during the winter and summer.  After a Kir Royale we headed back upstairs to dine in the classical setting of “Le Restaurant” set with beautiful chandeliers and stunning views across the lake. We indulged ourselves once more with foie gras, lobster and Crepes Suzette on this very classic French haute cuisine menu, I could feel my waistline expanding with every delicious mouthful.


Badrutt’s Palace hotel is open in the winter season from the beginning of December to the end of March and reopens for the summer season from the end of June. There are 157 rooms and 37 luxury suites, guests can arrive into St.Moritz by car, train or even private jet if they wish to.

A full programme of season highlights in St.Moritz and at Badrutt’s Palace can be found on the website:  it’s a great destination to savour, experience and enjoy a most luxuriously opulent lifestyle, at least for a lovely weekend!

We travelled from London City airport with Swiss airlines 1hr 50 and the Swiss rail service from Zurich airport to St Moritz – 3hr 30 transfer time into resort.

The Chedi Andermatt: In the heart of the Swiss Alps, Opening Soon

Set in the heart of Switzerland in the Swiss Alps, just 1.5 hours by train from Zurich or two hours from Milan, is Europe’s first Chedi Hotel and Residences development, now nearing completion and set to open to the public by this Winter Season 2013. The resort is already covered in snow and looking spectacular. I’m ready to pack my case and head off to the mountains for a quick annual ski fix.

Designed by world renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston and managed by leading hotel management company GHM, this will be a hotel and residences development that breaks all boundaries and caters for those seeking very high standards of service, location and luxury.

Chedi hotel and Residences Andermatt

Chedi hotel and Residences Andermatt

The Chedi Andermatt promises an elegant mountain haven complemented by all conceivable amenities. Forward thinking investors who are keen to be part of the next generation of luxury hotels have the chance to own a part of this very special property, the first Chedi in Europe.

Buyers from around the world can expect a fully serviced hotel residence that can not only be enjoyed for its myriad lifestyle-enhancing elements, but also for its strong delivery of year round rental yields.

Chedi luxury Andermatt

Chedi luxury Andermatt

Located in a beautiful valley in the mountains, it will allow visitors the freedom of choice across the year from summer climbing, mountain river swimming (if you’re brave enough) a brand new 18 hole golf course to a challenging ski area, which Olympic Ski Champion  and Andermatt local Bernhard Russi, skied every winter as a child. It’s the perfect location for families as a destination for all four seasons, with breathtaking panoramic mountain views.
The amazing Swiss cuisine also sees the valley to table experience come to life in Andermatt and is an indulgent foodie experience. With such an emphasis on locally grown produce, it is no wonder that the food served in Andermatt’s countless restaurants tastes so fresh and authentically Swiss. The region produces some of the best cheese, meat and wine in Switzerland, from the alpine valleys to our tables. In addition to the village’s traditional restaurants there are now some interesting international restaurants to savor and taste when in resort.

If you haven’t already booked your ski trip for this Winter 2013 Season, this could be the perfect excuse to explore a new luxurious destination, visit:

Collezione StarHotel- The Michelangelo New York

On arrival at the Micheangelo hotel in NYC, you are greeted by the friendly and helpful doormen. This is a hotel which oozes elegance, while allowing its guests to feel a home from home ease and comfort.

The hotel is situated in a  convenient location – on one side it is close to Times Square, for the real hustle and bustle and fun side of New York, while on the other side of the hotel it has the Rockefeller Centre only 3 blocks away, not forgetting the Magnolia Bakery, which is opposite and not to be missed (so I’m told!)

The beautiful lobby decor has a Champagne and red colour scheme throughout leading upto the marble reception desk. Staff are extremely gracious and keen to please. We had a light bite and great coffee in the bar area, before checking out the Mezzanine floor and some of the hotel Suites and deluxe standard rooms.

The essence and style of Italy is throughout the rooms, each suite carrying a different theme from neo-gothic black marble, to 193o’s Art Deco style black and white floor tiling.

So if you’re thinking of heading to NYC for a short stay or longer – this would be one for my top ten – Where to Stay in New York! Michelangelo Hotel NYC

The Michelangelo Lobby