VALENTINE’S Day is on the horizon and it is time to show clients your trump cards. Customers know they can book a dull airport hotel through agents, complete with easy motorway access and early-morning transfer buses. But let’s face it, that’s hardly going to get the flames of passion burning.
Give your shop window the lust factor and cash in on one of the busiest weekends of the year by showcasing the hotels that are to the travel industry what Viagra is to the medical profession.
Here are Travel Weekly’s suggestions for where to send clients you just have to tell to get a room:
1. Wood Hall Hotel, Yorkshire
Romance factor: gold sleigh beds and rooms overlooking the Wharfe Valley greet couples at this Georgian mansion in the Yorkshire countryside. This luxurious bolthole has recently undergone a £3 million refurbishment and is decorated using marble, leather, silks and satins. And there’s plenty to do outdoors. Guests can go fishing and shooting, play golf or take in the gardens.
Selling point: this isn’t just for rural pursuits. With Leeds, Harrogate and York less than 15 miles away, it provides a welcome respite for weekend shoppers, too.
Sample product: prices lead in at £210 for a standard double room including full English breakfast, on a twin-share basis. For weekends either side of Valentine’s Day this includes a bottle of house champagne. Book through a GDS or at the hotel’s sales office on 01937 587271 or see handpicked.co.uk/woodhall. Agents will be paid 8% commission.
2. Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, Bath
Romance factor: clients looking to sweep a loved one off their feet Mr Darcy-style should head to the splendid Georgian city of Bath. This hotel is less than a five-minute stroll from the city centre over Pulteney Bridge – one of only four in the world lined with shops on both sides. After a day of serious shopping, relax in the traditional elegance of the rooms stocked with Molton Brown toiletries before dinner in the Vellore Restaurant, which has two AA rosettes.
Selling point: the Lottery-funded multi-million pound spa being built in Bath’s city centre still isn’t finished, but this hotel offers top-notch pampering in its new Thermal Suite that includes an ice room, rock sauna and infrared heat cabin.
Sample product: Superbreak offers the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel on Valentine’s Day from £112.50 per person per night, including a full breakfast.
3. The Morrison Hotel, Dublin
Romance factor: couples can snuggle up in Frette linen sheets after supping late night cocktails at the Lobo Bar in this ultra-hip Dublin hotel. The hotel was designed by John Rocha and everything screams style, from the Aveda toiletries to the iPod docking stations. Recently refurbished, there are now an additional 48 bedrooms, taking the total to 138. The relaxed and fun atmosphere make it fashionable without being too pretentious.
Selling point: overlooking the River Liffey and near the funky shops and top restaurants of Dublin, this hotel is ideal for red-hot lovers looking for a dose of cool.
Sample product: prices lead in at e285 for a superior queen-size room. Visit Morrisonhotel.ie. The hotel pays 8% commission to agents.
4. Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire
Romance factor: this is a Grade II-listed castle complete with turrets and ivy-clad walls. Wales’ National Portrait Gallery is housed in its folly and the grounds are set in rolling Welsh countryside. None of the actual bedrooms is in the castle but there is purpose-built accommodation in the castle grounds, decorated in a classic, elegant style.
Selling point: there’s plenty for lovers to do during the day over the Valentine’s weekend and evening entertainment includes a Masquerade Ball.
Sample product: Warner Breaks offers a three-night break from February 10 from £210 per person, twin-share. This includes the Masquerade Ball with live music and tribute acts. Up-sells include £27 per person for a Royale Room with spa bath and four-poster bed. Alternatively sell a wine celebration add-on £19.95, including two bottles of wine, chocolates, a basket of fruit, and the use of luxury bath robes.
5. The Grove, Hertfordshire
Romance factor: get your clients to splash out on the Presidential Suite and their bed for the night will be a Perspex four-poster complete with cream ostrich features. Alternatively, book the Piano Suite where a professional pianist serenades the occupants. The hotel’s 300 acres of countryside means plenty of outdoor fun, plus the award winning Sequoia spa features a vitality pool with therapeutic saline water, hydrotherapy jets, a crystal steam room, and tropical-rain and cold-mist showers.
Selling point: the Seventh Heaven Valentine’s Package may cost £2,350 for two, including the Presidential Suite, but this A-list favourite also has a few rooms for anybody looking for a luxury treat at D-list prices.
Sample product: a one-night Valentine’s package in the West Wing starts at £345 for two, including a bottle of champagne, chocolates and a small gift for the lady on arrival, as well as breakfast and dinner in The Glasshouse restaurant. Call the hotel’s reservations department on 01923 807807 or e-mail email@example.com. The hotel pays 8% commission to agents making the booking.
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