Latest News from Arena
Latest News from Arena
Host Report by Barry & Maggie Watts
For anyone who has explored the Western Mediterranean resorts, the Slovenian Coast and Istria on the Adriatic are a delightful surprise. It is lush, green and heavily forested. The ‘Karst’ landscape is beautiful and the neat towns and villages are architectural gems with buildings owing their diversity to Roman, Venetian and Austrian empires. Its 47 mile coastline is a picture postcard and the resorts pride themselves on offering a mix of healthy, active and restful holidays.
Portoroz has been known as a health resort since, in the 13th century, monks discovered the healing properties of seawater and sea mud. The Venetians, members of the Habsburg Empire, the French and now the Slovenians have maintained the tradition of the monks. At the end of the 19th century, a shareholders' company was established, which built a spa and health resort. Today, the Grand Hotel Portoroz is one of five luxury hotels that are all joined by a single 1st floor corridor allowing access to a magnificent modern spa on several floors. Continue reading
Host Report by Frances Keene & Liz Farrar
It was our first opportunity to host a First for Bridge Holiday and the first visit to the Hotel Bella Playa which came with a few challenges! As both hosts, director and scorer’s luggage had disappeared into the ether, we soldiered on for two days before our cases arrived in dribs and drabs. However the Hotel Bella Playa and the Manager were exceptionally helpful during our hours of need providing us with bathrobes and toiletries. This was an indication of how obliging they were to us and our guests during our two week stay including assisting with flight problems caused by firstly the French Air Traffic Control strike followed by freak storms in England. Continue reading
Host Report by Jacky Baker
Our holiday in Cyprus in the superb Athena Royal Beach Hotel lived up to all expectations. We have been coming here for a few years now and always get a very warm welcome from the staff, who cannot do enough for you. Good weather, great hotel, good food and good company - what more could you want!
The hotel is situated on a level promenade which runs all the way into Paphos harbour, and there is also a regular, inexpensive bus service which stops just outside our hotel.
The guests also enjoyed the many additional activities on offer, including putting, crazy golf, aqua aerobics, cycling, table tennis and of course our programme of bowling, which consisted of seven free sessions over the fortnight.
There were several excursions available and we had one, exclusive to our group, which took in many of the principal sights of the island.
Our thanks to Pauline Durie, the other member of our team on this occasion, who was a cheerful presence in the bridge room and extremely helpful , and once again to the hotel. We look forward to returning next year. Continue reading
Host Report by Chris & Andy SimmonsMalta is an island between Sicily and North Africa in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. For our first visit we were blessed with lovely sunny weather so guests were able to enjoy the many good value trips to explore the culture and heritage of this special place. Buses were plentiful and extremely cheap so guests could easily go off on their own ventures. Geared up for British tourists the hotel was exceptionally friendly towards our group. Rooms were comfortable and well equipped and staff made a special effort to keep the bridge room serviced with refreshments.
There was lots of choice on offer for meals where guests could book into Brazilian, Italian or Asian specialty restaurants to get something a bit different although the main buffet was magnificent in itself. A nice touch was that on two evenings the hotel gave First For Bridge guests exclusive access to two of these restaurants and opened them early so we could enjoy the experience and still get to bridge on time afterwards. The lobby bar area was popular for post competition discussions and socialising. Late all-inclusive drinks were available including cocktails like the much loved “After 8” or the “db Special”. For the active there were interesting walks to nearby sites like Popeye Village that was created for the film starring Robin Williams, and The Red Tower with magnificent views of Gozo and Comino. Continue reading
We are delighted to advise that all our bridge holidays detailed below in our summer programme have already reached minimum numbers with at least 7 or 8 tables already booked on each one at this early stage.
This means there is no danger of any of the holidays below being cancelled! We are able to confirm your travel arrangements at time of booking or shortly after, and you can then plan your calendar for the months ahead.
Over the last few years First for Bridge have introduced a number of new and interesting destinations to our summer bridge holiday programme. Many of these are from your suggestions. We have included some places that are a bit different and less commercialised. This has really appealed to many of our regular clients looking for somewhere different to go. It has also brought in many new guests to First for Bridge Holidays. Thank you all we really appreciate your custom.
We have included many extras such as excursions to Chambery and Grenoble on our French holiday, two river cruises on the Rhine Valley, and a full day tour of Venice on our Italian holiday
And of course not forgetting the most important part - the bridge! As usual all the holidays offer interesting seminars, varied bridge sessions with duplimated boards and hand records plus Master Points and prizes are awarded.
If you haven’t yet booked a place we do hope you are able to join us! Continue reading
We are thrilled to introduce two brand new venues to our Christmas and New Year Bridge programme - the sunny Algarve, and the Welsh Capital, Cardiff!
Armacao de Pera, Algarve 22 Dec 2016, 7 - 14 nights We have chosen the Holiday Inn, formerly known as the very well reputed Hotel Garbe for our new overseas Christmas & New Year venue.
Situated on the sea front promenade in the resort centre, and leading directly onto an endless sandy beach this hotel understandably is recognised as one of the best located hotels on the Algarve.
I stayed at the hotel for 3 nights this February, and was really impressed with the good food and hospitality. It is a smaller hotel and exceptionally friendly and welcoming. Many of the guests and staff knew each other by name, and one elderly gentleman had returned to the hotel so many times the staff even invited him to their weekly staff lunch! Continue reading
Host report by Jacky BakerThe sun shone down on us nearly every day in Lanzarote and it was lovely to be able to stroll around in temperatures of 23C and swim in the heated outdoor pool at the splendid Hotel Rubicon Palace. The days warmed up early and many of the guests enjoyed breakfast outside - very acceptable in January! Continue reading
We’ve moved! The 31st annual Queen Convention is at Haven Golden Sands Holiday Park in Mablethorpe.
The annual weekend convention is the ‘Crown Jewel’ in the calendar of Queen Fans. The residential non-stop party where Queen fans from all over the world gather, is a jam-packed weekend of events featuring star guest interviews, games, quizzes, fancy dress, a Queen Market Place, charity auction, sports competitions, big screen footage and all things Queen from morning til night! Continue reading
Our claim to the world record for the longest running licensed overseas bridge event has never been refuted! Autumn 2016 will be 45 consecutive years at the Hotel S’Algar at that time of year but equally as impressive, we have also been visiting in May for 17 years. Incredibly, Andrew Kambites has been the bridge director on all the May holidays and returns this year. Bob & Jacky have not been directing/hosting quite as long but are catching up! This very special location has always remained a firm favourite with First for Bridge guests with many coming back year after year to enjoy the tranquility and wonderful ocean front pool and terraces – including the good company of Andrew, Bob & Jacky! Continue reading
Host report by Barry & Maggie WattsWe all left home on a very wet and very gray day. Arriving in Paphos was a complete joy. The sun shone and temperatures rose every day. Breakfast by the pool and looking for shade in December! Swimming in the sea with water at air temperature; bliss. The Athena Beach is a friendly 4 star hotel that that provides everything guests could want. The rooms are spacious and luxurious and the public rooms are well designed for relaxation and entertainment. The food in the three wonderful restaurants was excellent and two weeks wasn’t long enough to sample everything on offer. Continue reading