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Review of Body Tonic retreat at Lou Casteou

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays I peeled off the boxing gloves, poured some ice-cold water over my head and checked the time. It was 11.30am and we were 90 minutes into our morning exercise session with another two hours to go before lunch. My legs were getting wobbly and I was sweating buckets. [&hell... Read more

The best family skiing holiday (with grown-up kids)

By Mark Hodson If you hear the words “family skiing” you will likely think of small children dressed in too many layers, looking vaguely bemused while their stressed-out parents carry armfuls of equipment, scramble around for missing gloves and say things like “HOW much for a spag bol? You a... Read more

Anguilla: so much more than a luxury haven for the rich and famous

By Catherine Leech, Director of 101 Holidays A comfortable place to stay that isn’t a swish hotel and is located on a shelving beach with warm and calm water; restaurants and bars within walking distance; guaranteed sunshine in late November; no jabs or anti-malarials required; a destination where tourist... Read more

Is this the family adventure of a lifetime?

Review of Explore’s Family Indonesian Highlights tour By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays The string of islands that stretch away east of Java are perhaps best known as home to the world’s biggest lizard, the deadly Komodo Dragon. This vicious creature, which grows to 3 metres in length and has b... Read more

High marks for Les Deux-Alpes

By Mark Hodson, Co-founder of 101 Holidays There’s no such thing as a perfect ski resort – you need to decide what’s important for you. Are you looking for value, cosy mountain huts or ear-splitting nightlife? Guaranteed snow or pretty runs through the trees? You simply can’t find everything all... Read more

Eurostar Ski Train to La Plagne

 By Mark Hodson, Co-founder of 101 Holidays Nine years ago I co-founded Snowcarbon, which set out to persuade skiers to forgo the misery of flying and travel to the slopes instead by train. A brilliant idea, but a hard sell. Not because the train isn’t a wonderful way to travel, but because human behavio... Read more

Hotel review: Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush

By Mark Hodson I once shared a flat with another penniless journalist in Shepherd’s Bush. The best thing to say about the neighbourhood was it had good transport links: it was easy to get out of there. But strange things have been happening in the Bush over the past few years: it’s gone upmarket. ... Read more

Alta Badia: the ultimate gourmet ski resort

By Mark Hodson

How far would you travel for a bowl of tripe? I’m half way up a mountain in the Italian Dolomites on a cloudy day in December with the mercury plunging to -8ºC. It’s 11am and I’m peeling off hat, thermals and ski gloves to tuck into the first course of a very […]... Read more

No smartphones: an Alpine adventure with teens

By Mark Hodson Our guide Boris prodded the patchwork of ice and wet snow ahead with a ski pole then turned and said: “Be careful here. Follow my tracks.” A second later, his leg disappeared up to the hip, as he stepped into a narrow crevasse. “So maybe not these exact tracks,” he grinn... Read more

Going with the flow in the Greek Islands

By Mark Hodson Are you somebody that likes to be in control, or are you happy to go with the flow? If pushed, many people would claim the latter, but if we’re honest, it’s not always true. Technology and the fast pace of modern life have put us in control: we have busy diaries, appointments to [&... Read more

Dartmoor rocks: wild hiking, historic pubs and cooking for teenagers

By Mark Hodson I’d never been to Dartmoor. I’d thought of it as a desolate place of mists and mires, the Hounds of the Baskervilles, a prison that dates back to the Napoleonic Wars. I was right, up to a point, and also hugely wrong. One of the UK’s oldest national parks, Dartmoor may be […]... Read more

Upgrade your ski holiday … travel by private jet

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays A skiing holiday can be a great leveller. Whether you stay at a five-star hotel with gold taps or a bunkhouse for backpackers, you’re all sharing the same slopes, the same snow, the same ski lifts. And if you’re heading for the Alps, you’re almost certa... Read more

Explore’s Family Tuscan Active Adventure

By Mark Hodson

“Lie down here on the rocks. Keep your head down. Cross your hands across your chest.” I did as I was told and Davide gave me a firm push. I slid down the rock, freefalling for a brief second, then splashed into a deep pool of icy river water. After a few […]... Read more

Getting under Gozo’s skin

  By Catherine Leech, 101 Holidays

I’ve been to Gozo 20 or more times since 1980 – it’s one of my favourite places on earth and I thought I knew it pretty well. However, a recent walking and cycling holiday around this minuscule Maltese island in the Med has left me feeling I have tru... Read more

Is Seville the sexiest city in Europe?

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays

Is there a more beautiful and seductive city in all Europe than Seville? The capital and cultural heart of Andalucia is not just the perfect antidote to the northern winter, it’s a teasing hint at how different our lives might have looked had we been born in Spain&... Read more

One night of luxury: Review of Lucknam Park

By Catherine Leech, Director, 101 Holidays When I invited my almost 80-year-old mother to join me for a night at the five-star Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, she replied: “£80 per person for dinner – it can never be worth it, even if it has got a Michelin star.” Raised during World War II, my mum is ... Read more

The best part of Mallorca. Just don’t call it posh

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays

In 1929 the artist Joan Miró took his new wife on honeymoon to Mallorca. They headed not to the elegant capital Palma, but to an isolated and little-known fishing village on the north coast of the island, Port de Pollença. In the early part of the 20th Century, the [&... Read more

Valencia: how well do you know Spain’s third city?

By Mark Hodson Many people have visited Spain’s two-big-hitting cities Madrid and Barcelona, but what of its third? Some might struggle even to name it, and fewer still will have actually explored Valencia. I recently spent a fortnight with my family staying in a village called Massalfassar about eight ... Read more

Great Ape! My treetop adventure

By Helena Hodson, age 10 Last weekend I visited Go Ape in Crawley with my mum and dad, and my friend Alex. We had a great day out. Luckily the weather was hot and sunny so we could make the most of our day. Go Ape is a thrilling treetop adventure. You make your way […]... Read more

Is Chamonix the best ski resort in the world?

By Mark Hodson Among the most popular tourist attractions in France is the Aiguille du Midi cable car in the Alpine resort of Chamonix. Last year it clocked up 450,000 visitors. Interestingly, only a brave few of those visitors planned to ski off the top, which sits at a head-spinning 3,777m. Most take the 20... Read more

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore Dubai

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays Dubai – more than any other travel destination – divides opinion. Most people I know either love it or hate it, and that’s just the people who’ve never been. For many holidaymakers Dubai now represents the height of aspirational travel – glamoro... Read more

Jamaica – the ultimate in luxury hotel service?

By Catherine Leech, Director, 101 Holidays In the mid-’90s, the new MD of one of the UK’s luxury tour operators gave a stark and well-publicised warning that service levels in the Caribbean simply didn’t match up to those of the Far East and Indian Ocean – both of which were making (an... Read more

New York – as good as the first time

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays

New York is one of my favourite cities. I’ve been five or six times and once spent a short stint working there. I love the energy, the attitude, the constant change. But I’ll admit something: nothing will ever match the visceral thrill of experiencing the pla... Read more

From wilderness …

 

  … to urban jungle By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays One of the things I love most about travel is contrast. That might be moving from a simple beach hut to a luxury hotel and back again, or stepping out of a gourmet restaurant to eat dessert at a noisy street stall. The […]... Read more

10 things I love about Montreal

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays The French have an expression, “Bien dans sa peau,” which roughly translates as “comfortable in its own skin”. It could be used to describe Montreal, a city that effortlessly combines European flair with American openness. It’s been almost 12 days since we ... Read more

House exchange in Canada: bigger and better

[caption id="attachment_17853" align="alignnone" width="600"] Good deal: we traded a terraced house in London for a large home with pool near Montreal[/caption]

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays When I was working full time for The Sunday Times, I wrote several articles about house swapping, but never tried it myself. Then five years ago I took the plunge. A summer holiday in Montpelier followed in the autumn by a few days in Paris and our family […]... Read more

A return to Egypt: not if but when

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays Exactly one month ago today I was floating down the Nile on a small cruise boat, exploring 4,000-year-old temples and watching timeless riverbank scenes slip slowly past under a scorching desert sun. Egypt is now a different place, torn apart by an alarming new wave of v... Read more

My visit to Warwick Castle

ByHelenaHodson,age9IwentwithmymumanddadtospendadayatWarwickCastleanditwasamazing.Thecastleishugeanddatesbackto1345andtherearelotsofthingstoseeanddo.Herearemytopfive:1.     TheArcher:Hewasdressedinmediaeval[…]... Read more

Trouble in Turkey? Nah, it’s plain sailing

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays I recently returned from a magical week sailing the turquoise seas of south-west Turkey, leaving behind the cosmopolitan port of Bodrum to discover hidden coves and pretty harbours. As I write this – almost a month later – barricades are being set up on the s... Read more

My Trip To Legoland

By Helena Hodson, age 9 Legoland Windsor is bigger and better than ever because of two new attractions – Splash Safari and Drench Towers in Duplo Valley. Last Sunday I went with my best friend Talia and our dads. Even though we arrived at 9.45am and stayed until it closed at 6pm, there was more […]... Read more

Portugal’s Alentejo is a corker

By Amy Donegan “They are cork trees and a huge source of income for Alentejo,” replied our guide José in answer to my query about the strange-looking specimens. Amidst carpets of green, yellow and white flowers, the cork trees are a key feature of the Alentejo landscape. Each tree must be harvest... Read more

Cape Verde – Out of Africa, Brazil and Portugal

By Catherine Leech, Director, 101 Holidays Cape Verde is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations, according to a new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council. And it’s not hard to see why, as I found on a recent visit to one of the islands. Tell most people you are headin... Read more

Stapleford Park hits the mark

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays “Good shot! You took its right wing right off.” Gillian, my wife, turned and grinned as Malcolm Davison – corpulent and ruddy-faced beneath his tweed cap – cracked open the shotgun and reloaded. No animals were harmed in the making of this article. We wer... Read more

Skiing in Klosters: if it’s good enough for William and Harry…

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays The Swiss ski resort of Klosters is famed for its royal connections: Prince Charles has been a regular visitor for most of his life, and he’s often joined on the slopes by Princes William and Harry. But aside from that celebrity tidbit, most British skiers know lit... Read more

How to keep warm at minus 20ºC

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays Cold outside, isn’t it? Well, a bit. Last week I was skiing in the Swiss resort of Klosters where the mercury dropped as low as minus 20ºC. Believe me, that is seriously chilly (hence the frozen beard). I love skiing but I feel the cold, especially in my […... Read more

Perfect start to the ski season in Verbier

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays Ski holidays can be risky: there can be too much snow or not enough snow; people get injured, flights get cancelled. But when everything goes right there is no more exhilarating experience in the world than blasting through a field of knee-deep powder in brilliant sunshi... Read more

The Maldives: up close and unfiltered

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays Instagram, the photo sharing platform, has turned millions of smartphone users into budding photographers with its use of digital filters. But there’s one place on Earth that can’t be improved by adding a filter: the Maldives. A 10-hour flight lands you in a ... Read more

My review of the London Sea Life Aquarium

By Helena Hodson, aged 8 When you go into the SEA LIFE Aquarium, the first thing you have to do is go underground – and it’s right next to the river Thames, so that’s a bit scary! The next thing you have to do is walk across a glass corridor with sharks swimming under your […]... Read more

Trick or Treat at the London Dungeon

By Helena Hodson, aged 8 The London Dungeon has a new character to scare children over the Halloween period – The Trickster. Last week I went to find out just how scary he is, and to experience all the rides. In the London Dungeon you walk through a series of terrifying experiences where different actors [&... Read more

A vintage tour of Portugal’s wine country

By Catherine Leech, Director, 101 Holidays I love how travel can blast away preconceptions – a recent trip to experience the wines, food and quintas of Porto and the Douro Valley has done exactly that. 1. I thought this was the region of Portugal that my parents’ generation went to when they had &... Read more

Up at the O2 review

By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times travel writer and Editor of 101 Holidays Last week saw the opening of a new London attraction: visitors to the O2 Arena can now climb across the roof of the building and gaze out across the city from a viewing platform at 52m. It is known as Up at the […]... Read more

Why you should consider a gulet holiday in Turkey

By Catherine Leech, Director, 101 Holidays I may not have found the perfect holiday, but I believe I have found MY perfect holiday – a week on a gulet in Turkey. Many people have asked me (a) what’s a gulet? and (b) would I like it? First things first, a gulet is a traditional Turkish […]... Read more

Meet the Boss: Robert Kidd, See Scotland Differently

Robert Kidd, with his wife and business partner Heather McKinlay, started the travel company McKinlay Kidd in 2003, having had over 20 years experience working for some of the biggest names in the UK travel industry. Their holidays offer tailormade self-drive, independent holidays and experiences the leng... Read more

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