Sun, skiing and sleep
GO ASK JOAN:Your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES
Could you recommend a quiet hotel for me and my mum in central Dublin (which still has some charm left)? I need to be quite near the Luas green line. We would like to avoid hotels with nightclubs and bad soundproofing as I’m quite ill and need my sleep. On the other hand, we don’t want to be somewhere we can’t go down to the lounge for a drink. KW, Cork
The first hotel that comes to mind is Brooks Hotel on Drury Street. It is charming, well managed and has a lovely bar and guest sitting room. It is in an area that is busy at the weekends, so ask for a room at the back. sinnotthotels.com. Around the corner from Brooks is the Drury Court Hotel and Bar Bia. drurycourthotel.ie. It has excellent rates from €59-€99 per night, again ask for a room at the back. Both of these hotels are a five-minute walk from the Luas at St Stephen’s Green.
On Kildare Street, again about five minutes walk from the Luas, is the famous Buswells Hotel. It is an old-style property with a nice bar where you can people-watch for politicos. The Hilton Charlemont Hotel is two stops from St Stephen’s Green on the Luas and while a modern property, is nice and comfortable. You would also have the benefit of walks along the Grand Canal. See hilton.com/Dublin.
Can you tell me where would be a good area to go for cross-country skiing as a beginner in Europe? I can see lots of articles about downhill but none about the other. KM, Dublin.
Cross-country skiing is available in many resorts across Europe – in Austria, St Johann, Kitzbuhel and the Skiwelt area; Kanderstag in Switzerland; Chamonix and the Les Trois Vallées in France; Lillehammer, Geilo and Trysil in Norway, and Ruka in Finland. Austria is probably the best value for a beginner.
Ski tour operators can book any of these places for you as a package. Try topflight.ie, crystalski.ieand directski.ie. From the UK, inntravel.co.ukarranges cross-country skiing packages to Austria, Switzerland, Norway and Finland. It also has a three-day package, if you just want to try it out.
We are a family of six with children ranging from seven to 16. I am organising a family holiday in July. We would like to have a holiday where the kids have plenty to occupy themselves on site and an opportunity to meet other children, but are not keen on campsite/mobile home options. We have a budget of approximately €4,000 and would like to avoid very busy resorts. Ideal locations would be the Algarve, Italy or Spain, but we are open to suggestions. KH, Dublin.
July is high season everywhere and prices are quite steep for a family of six. Most of the well-known tour operators are coming in at €850 upwards for a two-week holiday in July. The best value for your family would be in Portugal or Spain.
Clickandgo.comhas two weeks in July at the Vita Sol Park apartments in Lagos on the Algarve within your budget in a two- or three-bedroom apartment. Lagos is busy, but not as busy as other resorts on the Algarve. Vita Sol Park is just outside the town, but close enough to get to the beach. Vita Sol Park has swimming pools, tennis courts and on site restaurants and bar. See clickandgo.com.
I also had a look at what lowcostholidays.iecould provide for your family in Spain, and Nerja would seem a good place for you. It is a lovely resort area with nice beaches and the famous caves of Nerja. It is also an ideal place to hire bikes and to go walking, though watch out for the heat in July. Two weeks in the Las Rosas de Capistrano apartments in the town centre with flights, baggage and transfers will cost in the region of €3,700.