Thursday 17 April 2014

Things to do and see in Los Angeles

What immediately comes to mind when you think of LA? The majority of people are thinking Hollywood, fame and glamour. This is a huge part of the Los Angeles experience, yet there is so much more to the global metropolis than meets the eye. The question in Los Angeles is not what to do, but where to begin? The city with the second largest population in America is home to many famous attractions in a relatively concentrated space. From Sunset Strip, the cutting edge of the entertainment industry, to many admired architectural landmarks, take your pick. Where Mickey Mouse and Hollywood were born, Los Angeles has been shaping the minds of millions for over 200 years.

Universal Studios Hollywood receives more customers than any other attraction in LA County. It’s no surprise; the Studios are bursting with thrilling theme park rides, shows, a working movie studio, shops and restaurants. The perfect day out for movie enthusiasts, you can personally witness special effects used in some of the greatest action movies like King Kong and the War of the Worlds.

Another extremely popular family attraction is, of course, Disneyland Resort. With 2 theme parks, 3 hotels and 8 different magical lands to explore, there’s no underestimating the enormity of the global Disney phenomenon. If you have young children, you’ll be dragged to Disneyland for sure and even if you don’t, the park is a great day out and fully equipped for all ages.

After a tiring few days roaming around Disneyland, you’ll probably jump at the chance of a relaxing excursion to Catalina Island. Although it’s only 22 miles off the shore of Los Angeles, the distinction between the Island of Catalina and the urban jungle of LA is remarkable. Escape from the bustling madness of city life and catch a ferry to the island, where you can undergo the ultimate experience of a massage on the beach then rent a snorkel to explore the clear blue wonders of the Pacific Ocean. Sounds like a plan to me.

If you fancy a more educational experience, the Getty Centre, a stunning collaboration of art, architecture and gardens could be more suited to your taste. Including the artwork of some of the most influential artists in the world such as Van Gogh, Paul C├ęzanne, Claude Monet and many more, the Getty Centre forms one of LA’s finest cultural destinations. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in western America and holds over 100,000 works from ancient times to modern day.

Wedged between Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip, a 1.7 mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard, holds a fantastic collection of restaurants, nightclubs and bars. Giant Billboards at every corner and common celebrity sightings, Sunset Strip is most definitely a must-see attraction of Los Angeles. The heart of Hollywood is another place to most definitely visit on your holiday in Los Angeles. Explore the Walk of Fame, where over 2,300 celebrities including Elvis and John Lennon, have been commended with a marble-encased brass star and catch a movie premier at one of the most historic Hollywood movie theatres.

Los Angeles clasps a handful of some of the world’s most desirable attractions, just waiting for you to discover. Check out our things to see and do in Los Angeles for even more ideas.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Las Vegas Holidays

With over 150,000 hotel rooms, 15 of the world’s officially biggest hotels and not forgetting the ratio of 8 slot machines to every resident, Las Vegas is truly the ultimate holiday destination. Only in Vegas can you be transported to many different worlds in the space of a few miles along the infamous strip (factually and quite interestingly, the majority of the strip and its hotels are actually outside the limits of the city of Las Vegas, it actually comes under the jurisdiction of Clark County!). With the legalisation of gambling only in 1931 and the construction of the Hoover Dam starting in 1935, Las Vegas has grown in leaps and bounds in a relatively short period of time from a small city to a major tourism, gaming and convention capital.

When thinking about holidays in Las Vegas it automatically gives thoughts about fancy hotels and gambling casinos. Well, it’s true! From the moment you step off the aircraft at the airport, you cannot miss the lights and hear the distinctive chorus of the slot machines, the cheers from the gambling tables (and spectators) and the never ending casinos. The thrill of the game is there and while you may not be Ashley Revell , selling all your possessions , travelling to Las Vegas and betting it all on red, everyone should at least have one flutter (or two) in sin city!

Las Vegas is not just about gaming though; arts and entertainment is also a well-known feature of this metropolis, often dubbed as ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’. The world’s most expensive stage show, EFX, was made and ran in Las Vegas for years. The highest gross box office takings ever was achieved in Las Vegas in 1999 with Barbara Streisand (at the MGM Grand) taking $14,694,750.00 from 12,477 tickets. The Coliseum, a huge purpose built auditorium at Caesar’s Palace (originally designed and built exclusively for Celine Dion) now houses many headline acts including Elton John and Cher.

Trouble may come in picking where to stay; the standard is high and the variety vast. For the value-conscious traveller, it has to be New York New York. Situated on the strip, its architecture evokes New York’s skyline. Featuring a casino and a dozen bars and nightclubs, this resort makes the perfect base from where to explore the city. Whilst here, you must check out the full size theatre currently showing the Cirque du Soleil show Zumanity (a personal favourite of the writer) and the history making ‘The Roller Coaster’ built into the complex! Taking of New York, you can also experience a real life stopover in the big apple either on the flight out or back on either United Airlines or Delta. read more at our East and West Coast Holiday

For the more deluxe experience, the Aria is the place to stay, a triple-a five diamond rated hotel, it is part of the new City Centre complex. It is commonly known as one of the most technologically advanced hotels ever built, renowned for its energy saving policies and technology throughout.

Have you ever heard if you ever get lost in Las Vegas at night, just head towards the light? Well, the Luxor actually has the brightest and most powerful beam of artificial light in the world, so bright it can be seen in space!

In recent years, Las Vegas has become associated with adrenaline fuelled activities to rival any thrill-seeking hot spot in the world. For example, fancy meeting a shark face to face? Mandalay Bay is one of only a select few licensed attractions in the world that dive-certified individuals can scuba dive with the sharks in the tank! However, one of the newest additions to the portfolio is the death defying Sky-jump at the Stratosphere Resort & Casino, a free fall bungee jump from the 108th floor to the ground! Not matter what may take your fancy check out our things to do in Las Vegas for more options and ideas.

Whatever you decide, just remember the wise words spoken ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’!

Monday 7 April 2014

New York Holidays

New York, New York – The Big Apple. Everyone knows the well-known facts, but, where did the term ‘Big Apple’ come from…..well; this is just one of a few ‘little-known’ facts that, for me, make this truly amazing city even more unique! The term, Big Apple, was first popularised by a newspaper editor, John Fitzgerald, who titled his column: Around the Big Apple. He first heard the term, the 'Big Apple', being thrown around by stable boys, which they used to describe New York City as place of monetary abundance and opportunity.

New York, also referred to as the "city that never sleeps." One reason for this nickname is because the city never shuts down. There are activities and venues open at all hours of the day and night. The other reason for the nickname is because the subway system never shuts down except for maintenance. Even then, only part of it is shut down at a time. Even Washington D.C.'s subway system shuts down around the hours of 2am to 5am.

In addition to the current sophistication of the subway system, most people are not aware that the city has many abandoned and hidden subway stations. Beneath City Hall is one of the hidden subway stations. It has been inactive since 1946. Despite being abandoned, the station is an architectural wonder. It boasts high ceilings, skylights, and antique tiling. In-fact, during Pope Benedict XVI’s recent New York visit, it was widely reported that the Pope travelled by “Pope-mobile” through the city, greeting spectators and press. These reports were, of course, completely false. Since soon after the New York subway’s creation, visiting heads of state, high profile celebrities and religious leaders have travelled in special armoured subway cars.
So while one of the Pope’s many look-alikes rode above ground in a sham motorcade on the East Side of Manhattan, the real Benedict XVI was speeding along a downtown IRT express track — on one of his annual trips to withdraw gold from Federal Reserve vaults and to deliver stock market closing averages for the coming year.

The Lower Manhattan Federal Reserve Bank holds over $2 trillion of the world's assets, according to the Federal Reserve website. A substantial portion of these assets are in gold bullion. Six stories or 80 feet below the streets around the bank is the world's largest storage of gold bullion. The bank's vault holds approximately 37 percent of the world's gold, according to the Bundesbank. As of 2012, there are 530,000 gold bars located in the vaults, according to New York Fed. Bundesbank, the Federal Bank of Germany, owns most of the gold stored below the Federal Reserve Bank building. The Federal Reserve Bank actually owns none of the gold it stores. The streets are paved with someone else’s gold!

Holidays in New York can be enjoyed by visiting all five distinct boroughs. Each of the boroughs is separated by a major waterway. The five boroughs are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. Manhattan is what most people think of when they think of New York City. In reality, this is just one portion of New York City. It is where Times Square, Central Park, and most of the major entertainment and shows occur. To be situated here, would be the most convenient for tourists. Some properties that come highly recommended are ‘The Waldorf Astoria’ or the ‘Marriott Marquis’. If you are looking to go on a budget, then perhaps the ‘Broadway Plaza’ or the ‘Skyline’, both very close to all of the main sites of interest, yet not compromising in standard.