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Great Escapes: Smith Hotel Awards, Christmas Markets, and Dublin Airport takes off...

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Dublin Airport is set to take off with 19 new destinations.

Dublin Airport is set to take off with 19 new destinations.

Best in the world: Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

Best in the world: Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

Prague: ideal destination for a Christmas market.

Prague: ideal destination for a Christmas market.

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Dublin Airport is set to take off with 19 new destinations.

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

Departures

Dublin Airport  is set to take off in 2015. Several weeks ago, the airport - which is on target to top 21.5 million customers this year - announced 19 new routes for winter.

Among the new departures for 2015 are a direct Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Washington DC, an SAS route to Gothenburg, Finnair's new flight to Helsinki, and direct connections to LA and Addis Ababa courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines. WOW, the Icelandic carrier, starts flying from Dublin to Reykjavik next June.

The new routes are in addition to a host of added capacity from Ryanair and Aer Lingus... so buckle your seatbelts for a bumper year.

Room with a view

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Best in the world: Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

Best in the world: Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

Best in the world: Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa


Brazil's Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa  is the world's best boutique hotel.

That's according to boutique hotel website Mr & Mrs Smith, at any rate, which recently named the Brazilian beauty its Best Smith Hotel 2014.

The hotel, set in the historic main square of Trancoso, welcomes guests ranging from the Brazilian elite to style-savvy visitors from the US and Europe. It boasts 10 private casas, a come-to-me spa, nifty beachside location "and the sort of interiors that wouldn't look out of place in Wallpaper*," it adds.

The balance between luxury and laid-back is hard to pull off, but Uxua appears to have gotten it right. Rates from €265 approx.

www.mrandmrssmith.com

Deals & Steals

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Prague: ideal destination for a Christmas market.

Prague: ideal destination for a Christmas market.

Prague: ideal destination for a Christmas market.


BARGAIN:
Fancy a Christmas market? Lead-in prices are surprisingly low this year, with Best4Travel offering three nights in Prague (above) from €225pp, departing December 1st. www.best4travel.ie

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SPLASH: Travel Counsellors has a week at the 5-star Dreams Riviera Cancun from €1,750 (all-inclusive) for travel next May. Book by December 1st. www.travelcounsellors.ie

STAYCATION: The Sheraton Athlone Hotel has one night's B&B for two adults and two kids (under 12), from €160, including a 20pc spa discount and €20 off dinner for the parents. www.sheratonathlonehotel.com

SMART TRAVEL: Supervalu is selling travel insurance. A basic family package, for a family with private medical insurance (winter sports excluded) starts from €56 - or 15c a day. www.supervalutravelinsurance.ie


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