Ask Joan: Your travel dilemmas solved

Yonkers for value New York stays, living it up in Santandar and a place for 25 to stay

Sardinero Beach in Santander

Sardinero Beach in Santander

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 12:22

As two older folk, we would appreciate advice on travel between Dublin and Santander in Spain in April/May. We hope to go for one week. We’d like reasonable accommodation, where one is assured of a night’s sleep and good food . – JC, Dublin
The Ryanair service from Dublin to Santander returns at the beginning of April and prices are good, under €100 at present for early April. Santander is a beautiful coastal city and is a popular place for Spaniards to holiday. The north of Spain has great food and you will find that it is very reasonable to eat out. Most bars have counters laden down with pinxtos or tapas at very reasonable prices, however, always check out the menu, as the hot daily specials are usually the best value

You will find a list of approved hotels here: tourspain.org/santander, with prices from €40 to €70 per night. Prices are reasonable in April – avoid Easter, and you could stay in quality hotels like the Silken Hotels which are very nice four-star properties with rates around €65 for two per night with breakfast.


My husband and I are planning a two week holiday in New York at end of June. We don’t think we can afford hotel/motel accommodation. What is available in a modest apartment/studio that sleeps two, with minimal cooking facilities. Air conditioning is essential. Somewhere close to Yonkers/McLean Ave would be ideal. – M & J, Donegal
There are not a lot of holiday rentals in the Yonkers area even though it is close to New York City.

I have found two properties on airbnb.com in the Yonkers area, see this link: airbnb.ie/rooms/1348970. This apartments costs from €71 per night. The other in nearby Bronxville, airbnb.ie/rooms/1106398 costs from €56 per night.

On vrbo.com I also found a two-bed property in Yonkers from €145 per night. vrbo.com, property number 3534446. Yonkers is a good base, it has the feel of a small town, there plenty of restaurants restaurants and has 30-minute subway access to the city. The Sunday brunch is an institution in Rory Dolan’s on McLean Avenue.


We are a family group of 23 – five families with kids from under one to 19 and elderly parents – who want to take a villa or apartments together in late July/August in the south of France, Italy, Spain or Portugal. Key priorities are a nice pool, access to a beach and nice town. Direct flights from Dublin and proximity to an airport are a must. – MB, Dublin
Finding a place for a big group always takes time. On homeaway.com you can easily find the number that a property sleeps by using the filters. For example there are some ideal properties in the Côte d’Azur area such as a collection of apartments 15 minutes from Nice, Mas Des Lucioles, or a house that Bill Wyman of the Stones built, Vence Rock, near St Paul de Vence (no prices quoted).

Privatevillas.ie has a good collection of houses in the Algarve, many of them are villas on small resorts, some with golf courses. You could rent three together and prices are around €3,000 per week for four-bed villas. James Villas has a big selection of mostly modern properties in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. Some sleep as many as 12, and have private pools. Prices in July go from €2,000 per week upwards, jamesvillas.ie.

Another company worth a look is vintagetravel.co.uk. It has nice properties with pools in a number of ideal locations such as Majorca, Andalucia, Costa Brava.
Send your questions to jscales@irishtimes.com