Arena Travel Blog

  • News from the Bridge Room in the Rhine Valley

    Host report by Jacky Baker

    Our first visit to the Rhine Valley saw us staying at the splendid Bellevue Rheinhotel in Boppard, which is situated right on the banks of the imposing river. Boppard is a delightful town, with a central square offering a good variety of pavement cafes and many fine buildings, some of which date back over five hundred years. Its location fairly central in the Upper Middle Rhine is ideal for discovering the region.

    The area known as the “Upper Middle Rhine” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the sixty seven kilometres between Rudesheim and Koblenz is generally recognised to be the most beautiful part of the whole Rhine between the Alps and the North Sea. As our bridge holiday included two river cruises, one South to Rudesheim and the other North to Koblenz and beyond, where the Rhine meets the Moselle, our guests were able to enjoy the wonderful scenery along the whole of this stretch of the river. In addition the local rail station provided fast and efficient services to places such as Koblenz, which offered further scope for exploring the region. Continue reading
  • News from the Bridge Room in Menorca

    Host Report by Pauline and Nigel Durie

    This was our first opportunity to host a holiday for First for Bridge and what a wonderful introduction it was. Thank you Andrew for your guidance and support. La Quinta hotel was splendid and the staff were very welcoming, recognising returning guests and treating them as old friends. This was much appreciated. The hotel’s facilities were a big hit and as the weather was not overly kind at the beginning of the week, the indoor spa pool and extras were well used. The beautiful outdoor pool came into its own by the end of the week. The food was described as outstanding by many of the guests. The courtesy bus into Cuitadella was well used with people enjoying exploring the harbour and the old streets. Some went to the mass in the Cathedral on Sunday morning. Thanks to John Barker for organising activities. The tennis match ended with two of the team suffering minor injuries but was enjoyed by all. The week passed very quickly and bridge honours were shared. Continue reading
  • News from the Bridge Room in Slovenia

    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
  • Report from our textiles trip to India in March

    By Karin Hellaby

    India...no description would ever be adequate! You really do need to see this continent for yourself. This was Arena's first tour to India and my third.

    We started off in Delhi, staying at their top 5* hotel which had been built for King George V's stay in 1911. We were immediately transported to life in luxurious colonial India. From there, we travelled to Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedbad and Mumbai, taking in forts, history, museums, culture, shopping, scenery, life on the streets and of course the most amazing textiles we have ever seen. We had a fantastic guide, whose family were noblemen of the Maharajahs and who asked to guide our tour as he had been collecting and documenting his centuries old family textiles. On coach journeys we could ask him anything about India and on each topic we got a lecture. His knowledge helped make this tour outstanding. Continue reading
  • News from the Bridge Room in Majorca

    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

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