The Travel Lounge podcast is hosted by the travel expert Sarah Slattery and award-winning travel journalist & broadcaster Edward Finn. Ed & Sarah interview guests from across the travel and hospitality industry and bring you the latest tips and tricks to bring the joy back into travel again. Every week we bring you the latest happenings and deals from holidays at home to exciting places and destinations abroad. So... pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple and join us in our exclusive Travel Lounge........ We will call you when your flight is boarding.....
Today, I’m joined by Tik Tok sensation and luxury hotel expert Marcos Toscani.
Marcos is a content creator and founder of @expertoenhoteles. Hailing from Argentina, he focuses exclusively on luxury hotels worldwide. Marcos has been named the Meliá TikTok Luxury Expert, the company's first ambassador on TikTok, after also being named "Visit Mexico's" first luxury tourism ambassador in 2020. His podcast "Hotel Expert" became the most popular podcast about hotels in Spanish only weeks after its launch.
Marcos Toscani and Meliá Hotels International
With almost 400,000 followers on TikTok, Meliá has launched the new channel with a strategic focus on its luxury products. Hotels such as Gran Meliá Iguazu (Argentina), Paradisus Grand Cana (Dominican Republic) and ME Cabo (Mexico) are among the first hotels chosen by Marcos. “As a Hotel Expert, my goal has always been to experience and show first-hand the best luxury hotels in the world, and I’m very excited to start this partnership with Meliá, where I have already started to choose their most amazing hotels, suites and experiences. TikTok is the top emerging platform and is seeing surprising growth, and I’m really happy to be able to bring my point of view to a hotel chain that I admire and that is always one step ahead, this time in my new role as Meliá TikTok Luxury Expert” said Marcos Toscani, Expert in Hotels.
TikTok is a mobile app that started in China and now offers millions of users around the world the chance to share videos. It currently has more than a billion users in 150 countries around the world in 75 languages. Before even opening its own channel on TikTok, Meliá already had more than 12 million views.
Meliá London Kensington
In the heart of fashionable Kensington, this refurbished, 4-star boutique hotel offers Victorian elegance with modern comforts. Gloucester Road Tube Station and London’s museums are just a few minutes’ walk away. Kensington Palace, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge are all just 0.5 miles’ walking distance from Meliá London Kensington Member of Meliá Collection. London tour buses also depart from the hotel's entrance to all of the major attractions. Beautifully appointed, air-conditioned rooms have satellite TV and luxurious, exclusive Dream Beds, custom-designed for the hotel. Guests at the Meliá London Kensington can reach Westminster and the South Bank with just a 10-minute tube ride from Gloucester Road Station. The SW7 restaurant and bar has a sleek, minimalist design with food inspired by traditional British dishes mixed with Mediterranean flavours.
I had a terrific stay here, the staff couldn't do enough for me and it felt like a home from home. I loved the welcome bubbles for guests on arrival and the breakfast was delicious. I flew with Aer Lingus to Heathrow and a quick tube ride on the Piccadilly line had me into Gloucester Road station which was all of two minutes walk to the hotel. A big thanks to Giorgia and all the team for a wonderful stay.
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Ed & Sarah's Stress Free Travel Special - Airport, Baggage & Top Travel Tips
This week we are bringing our listeners some great tips and advice on ways to save time, money and to enjoy stress free travel. How to breeze through airports, avoid baggage problems, save time on queues, save €€€ on airfares and tours.... and much more. These are little secrets of the trade that we have picked up over our many years of travelling. Happy Travels
Lanzarote - A Unique Island
Lanzarote is unlike anywhere else on earth, with its beautiful climate, jaw-dropping scenery and dramatic volcanic history. Three hundred years ago, the island suffered the longest and most brutal volcanic eruption the planet has ever seen - it was a raging cauldron for six years - and yet today Lanzarote is a holiday paradise. On this week's Ambassadors to Spain series
we meet Geraldine Mc Fadden who has lived here for over 14 years. Geraldine tells us about some of her favourite places on Lanzarote like the beautiful fishing village of El Golfo and she reveals the best way to get the most from your holiday on this truly special island. The number one destination for the Irish, Lanzarote has become a go to destination these days with its balmy eternal spring climate, amazing value and award winning wineries. For more information visit www.spain.info or https://turismolanzarote.com/en/. - Geraldine is the General Manager at the Aqua Suites Hotel - https://www.aquasuiteslanzarote.com/ - The tourist board has produced a wonderful video to discover the island - https://youtu.be/IgQjI7yLg2g
Gran Canaria - Island of a Thousand Sunsets.....
In this week's Ambassadors for Spain series we meet Eoin Flynn in Gran Canaria. Here is an island full of surprises with its volcanic landscape, lush pine forests, secret rocky coves and swathes of sand dunes. Year round good weather, historic towns, a calendar of unusual festivals and superlative cuisine and wines. Eoin Flynn moved to Gran Canaria 10 years ago. An Irish International Mountain runner and an english teacher, he reveals the locals insider track on this beautiful Island.
There’s more to Gran Canaria than just great value food and drink and lots of Vitamin Sea and sun. Eoin takes on a trip to a land of lunar vistas high above the clouds. He tells us how to discover the real food and culture of this stunning place. Eoin is also a well known commentator in the media for the best trail running races in the world and specially the famous "Transgrancanaria" over 160 kilometres long - the next one is due to happen on March 4th 2022 - Eoin also tells us about the famous festival which takes place here every September in the local villages with full traditional Canarian dress. There's even a strawberry festival and an avocado festival.
Eoin also tells us about the traditional festival of Our Lady of Rosario de AgüimesThis festival, which takes place in the town of Agüimes in Gran Canaria, attracts a multitude of visitors each year, as it brings one of the oldest Canary Island traditions back to life. This is the “traída del agua y el gofio”, a lively, joyful event that re-enacts the old custom of taking corn, barley, or wheat to the mill to be ground into gofio, a kind of flour that’s used in many different ways and is still an essential part of Canary Island cuisine today. On this day, people head for the mills, and along the way gofio is distributed and there’s music and dancing. Afterwards it’s back to the town, and water is sprinkled down on everyone from the balconies of the houses.
Camino de Gran Canaria?
Did you know that Gran Canaria even has a part of the Camino de Santiago! Check out the www.jacobeogalder.es Yes indeed - 23 hours and 66 kilometres make up the Camino de Santiago in Gran Canaria. A good part of this route was already traveled by the ancient canaries in communications from the south to the north of the island, and later, it was used as a livestock route for cattle, pilgrims and "romeras". For lots of info on Gran Canaria - check out www.spain.info and www.grancanaria.com
Tenerife, an insider guide to the Island of Eternal Spring
This week in our Ambassadors for Spain series we chat to Fiona McAndrew who has lived in Tenerife for over 34 years. Fiona has worked in Tourism for many years in Tenerife and she tells us what a wonderful place Tenerife is and specially how friendly the people are there. Tenerife is famous for its beaches of course, ( 72 listed on the tourist board website at least) on which to stretch out, switch off and get that gorgeous shade of bronze. Tenerife however is a multi-faceted island and everywhere you look there are man-made and natural attractions to be had, from stargazing in Europe’s clearest skies to conquering the planet’s third-largest volcano, and from splashing around in the world’s most popular water park, to getting within touching distance of dolphins in the wild. You can’t get to the very top of Tenerife’s omnipresent volcano, Teide, without a prearranged pass, but you can get to within 600 ft by cable car. The views are spectacular, but it’s the sheer sense of scale that will really take your breath away. What you see above ground is only the tip of what is one of the three largest volcanoes on the planet. Tenerife really has everything and of course is a golf lovers paradise. I recently stayed in the Green Garden Resort and just loved it. Fiona tells us her top tips for her favourite beaches and places to visit. We spoke to Fiona last July and of course travel has fully opened up since then and travel to Tenerife is back with a bang. For full details visit www.spain.info and for Fiona's hotel recommendations visit www.royalgardenvillas.com
Castile and Leon - The Heart and Soul of Spain
We continue our Ambassadors for Spain series this week with Colm Mullen chatting to us from what some refer to as the "Soul of Spain" Castile and León is a treasure trove of historic sites and impressive landscapes.
This is one of the destinations which offers the greatest diversity of natural landscapes in Europe, as well as spectacular monuments, a varied and abundant gastronomy… all this guarantees that this region in the interior of Spain is bound to delight you.
It has a whole host of places which are well worth visiting, including towns like Avila, Salamanca and Segovia (all three World Heritage Cities) and unique attractions such as Burgos Cathedral and the Atapuerca archaeological site, which contains traces of the first settlers in Europe. The famous Way of Saint James also runs through the Castile-León region, and is one of the world's most important pilgrim routes.
Literally dotted with hundreds of mediaeval castles and fortresses. This region is a real witnesses to the area's rich historic and sometimes turbulent past. With its tiny villages, wide open spaces, changing landscapes, and it's historic cities and stunning cathedrals, this is an area for anyone wanting to explore the real Spain. Colm lives in the beautiful city of Valladolid. It’s known for medieval religious sites like the Spanish Gothic San Pablo Church, with a history dating from the 1400s.
Nearby is the Royal Palace, home of Spanish kings in the early 1600s. The National Sculpture Museum occupies a majestic Gothic building. The Christopher Columbus Museum chronicles the life of the Italian explorer, who died in Valladolid in 1506. This was the capital of Spain for a number of years. Castille y Leon is 15% larger than the whole island of Ireland. Colm also spoke to me about the Irish connection with Red Hugh O' Donnell and Philip III - After Kinsale, the Earl of Tyrconnell, Hugh O’Donnell (1571-1602), resolved to come to Valladolid in the hope of persuading King Philip III to send more aid. With him came Redmond Burke, Captain Hugh Mus Mustian, and Flaithri (Florence Conroy), a father of the Franciscan order and O'Donnell's confessor. After eight months waiting in vain until everything should be ready for his return to Ireland with the army which had been promised him, he died in the King’s castle at Simancas, allegedly poisoned by an English agent, more possibly of bubonic plague. His body was conveyed to the King's palace at Valladolid in a four-wheeled hearse, surrounded by countless numbers of the King's state officers, Council, and guards, with luminous torches and bright flambeaux of beautiful wax-light burning on each side of him. He was afterwards interred in the monastery of St. Francis.
The Monastery of St Francis and its tombs were destroyed in the 19th century. In 1991, a plaque was erected at Simancas Castle in commemoration of ‘Red’ Hugh O'Donnell; in 2002, the O’Donnell clan erected a commemorative plaque in a side street of the Valladolid Main Square, next to a ceramic representation of the facade of the monastery. The city of León is one of the most elegant in Spain's region of Castilla y León, filled with grand historic buildings, contemporary museums and even a design by Antoni Gaudí. Here you also have Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Burgos and La Granja. Colm has a wealth of knowledge about this truly unique region and it was a pleasure to have him as our guest this week. For more information on the area please check out www.spain.info
Mr Finn congratulations, your subjects are so useful and easy to understand. thanks.
Useful travel tips
Ed’s travel tips are useful and entertaining