Friday 19 December 2014

Great Escapes: Mr and Mrs Smith's hotels, and Satu cycles the Wild Atlantic Way...

Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30

Fin the saddle: Satu Vanska-Westgarth
Fin the saddle: Satu Vanska-Westgarth
Geirangerfjord, with Skagfla Farm in foreground
Bag an early bargain - Morocco
The Powerscourt Hotel, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

Stay tuned in travel with Pól Ó Conghaile's weekly column.

DEPARTURES

Three cheers for Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth, now approaching the halfway point on a 2,500km cycle along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Satu, who is undertaking her five-week challenge with the help of Tourism Ireland, set out from Malin Head and plans to finish in Kinsale on September 5. You can check her blog posts from the western seaboard on todestinationunknown.com, or follow her adventures on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #RideWild.

She's pictured here at the start of her ride on Lisfanon Beach, Buncrana, Co Donegal. If you see the distinctive green jacket on a coastal road near you, honk that horn!


ROOM WITH A VIEW

I love it when Mr and Mrs Smith add to their collection. The company specialises in tasty boutique hotels, and one of the latest is The Pig on the Beach in Studland, Dorset.

Set in the hamlet that inspired Noddy's Toytown, the revived 16th-century manor house opened in June, and somehow manages to squeeze treatment rooms, a kitchen garden and conservatory restaurant (try the pork scratchings… affectionately known as 'Piggy bits') in among the cosy, country-house style rooms.

Rates start from €174 per night for a double - although you may wish to upgrade to luxe for their roll-top baths… in the bedrooms; mrandmrssmith.com

DEALS AND STEALS

BARGAIN: Booking ahead is one of the big lessons we learned this summer. Timely, then, that Sunway has an October midterm offer bundling flights and seven nights at the three-star Intouriste Aparthotel in Morocco from €479pp; sunway.ie

SPLASH: Norway isn't a 
destination you'd usually 
associate with American Holidays, but the company has a seven-night fjord departing May 2015 from €1,199pp. The price includes flights from Dublin; americanholidays.com

SMART TRAVEL: Planning on leaving your car at Dublin Airport while you jet off? You can dodge the drive-up charges of up to €9.90 (long-term) and €40 (short-term) per day by booking in advance online. Advance charges start from €4.50 and €9.95 per day 
respectively; 
www.dublinairportcarparking.ie

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