Greek treats, bridge and all that jazz…

By Kate Collins, June 20, 2008
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This year’s New York Jewish Museum annual education visit is “Greece through Jewish Eyes”. Taking in Athens, Delphi, Thessaloniki and other sites, and looking at Jewish settlement in Greece from the third century BCE, the trip will run from September 12 to 22.

Also featuring lectures, cookery demonstrations and meetings with local Jews, it will cost $5,900 (£2,950) for UK participants. This includes 10 nights’ accommodation and breakfast at deluxe hotels, eight other meals, lectures, museum entrance and all transfers, but not flights (001 845-256-0191;  JMtravelinfo@aol.com). 

There is still availability for the Red Sea Jazz Festival taking place in Eilat over the August  Bank Holiday Weekend. The major jazz event in the Middle East, this year’s festival, from August 25-28, features more than 30 concerts in four open-air venues surrounded by festival bars and cafés, plus post-concert jam sessions until dawn at the poolside of the Riviera Hotel (www.redseajazzeilat.com).

Music fans who don’t want to wait until August Bank Holiday can head to the Cap Roig Music Festival in Catalunya, Spain. Running from July 11 to August 24, the line-up includes Paul Anka, Julio Iglesias, Kool and the Gang and many others (www.festival.caproig.cat). Vintage Holidays are offering houses with private pools as a base for festival-goers including Mas Sureda, a six-bedroom house with four bathrooms and air-con. Sleeping 12, it costs from £2,695 for a week (0845 344 0420; www.vintagetravel.co.uk).

Devotees of bridge, and those who fancy winter sunshine, will welcome Isrotel’s 14th annual Red Sea International Bridge Festival, in Eilat from November 13 to 23. Bookable through Isrotel or Israel travel specialists (www.isrotel.co.il/English; 00972-8-6387799).

Singles can pay just a sliver of a single supplement at the luxurious LaSource in Grenada in September with Tropical Skies. One week at the health-oriented LaSource — which reopened this year after extensive renovation — costs from £1,719 per person, all-inclusive in a single room, with flights, transfers and a daily spa treatment. As well as extensive watersports there are three restaurants where guests can dine solo or at a communal table (www.tropicalsky.co.uk; 0870 907 9600).

As award-winning restaurants, stylish bars and smart hotels have opened up along the Atlantic coastline of Newquay, the standard of self-catering accommodation has sky-rocketed, too, while the expansion of Newquay Airport has made the area accessible, even for weekend breaks. Blue Chip Vacations has a wide range of up-scale properties in the area, including Ocean 1, which is perched on a headland with spectacular views, high-spec furnishings, luxury kitchen and en-suite master bedroom. Sleeping four, it costs from £583 for a week in late June (01803 855282; www.bluechipvacations.com).

Singer and DJ Mark Ronson will be one of 100 top, live acts, bands and DJs at a major new music festival taking place near Hythe, Kent, from July 4 to 6. The three-night ZOO8 is being held in the grounds of Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, and music fans looking for affordable accommodation could opt for Kingsdown Holiday Park, a 35-minute drive away, where a three-night self-catering break from July 4 costs £328 for four in a well-equipped Scandinavian-style lodge. Facilities include heated indoor pool and private beach (www.zoothousand.com; 01304 361205; www.kingsdownpark.net).

If you are heading to the increasingly stylish Isle of Wight, the AA has given its “funkiest B&B 2008” award to the Enchanted Manor on the south of the island. A lovingly restored manor house, it has been converted into a boutique retreat with pool and spa. Each luxurious room and suite has a four-poster bed and free-standing roll-top bath. The legendary gourmet breakfast is included in the rate, from £275 per person (based on two sharing), for a three-night weekend break (www.enchantedmanor.co.uk; 01983 730215).

US travel specialist, Bon Voyage, is offering three-night breaks in New York for those who want to be in the city for July 4th celebrations, which include hot-dog eating contests in Coney Island, fireworks over the East River and mega-parades. For those keen on joining the razzmatazz, Bon Voyage’s package departs Heathrow on July 3 and costs £789 per person, based on two sharing. It includes flights, taxes and room-only at the superb four-star Flatotel in mid-town Manhattan (0800 316 0194; www.bon-voyage.co.uk). 

If you have wondered what you are missing by not having access to VIP airport lounges, holiday add-ons site www.trip-extras.com has created a new online VIP lounge booking system where you can view video clips of lounges, revealing serene interiors, free snacks and drinks and facilities like TV, newspapers and Wi-Fi. There is a choice of over 100 lounges worldwide with prices from £13.50 (www.trip-extras.com/airport-lounges).

The sixth annual Tuscan Sun Festival, in Cortona, from August 2 to 10, has just announced that Robert Redford will attend. The ageing Hollywood actor-director is to read poetry over music. Other performers include Bolshoi dancers, violinist Joshua Bell and singer José Cura. The festival is also known for its lifestyle sessions such as cookery demonstrations, wine tasting and art shows. Tickets (from £20) and accommodation packages (three nights from £320) bookable on www.tuscansunfestival.com; 020 8133 5571.

If you are one of the growing band of people who book accommodation online, it is worth a look at bookahotelonline.co.uk. The new user-friendly website offers 52,000 hotels, self catering cottages and villas at competitive prices, featuring destinations from Australia to Malta, Maldives to the USA. The site also offers a secure payment facility for direct bookings, and personal advice by phone — and they will call you back, so no premium phonelines to pay for (www.bookahotelonline.co.uk; 0161 905 2900).

    Last updated: 3:40pm, September 10 2008