Arena Travel Blog

  • News from the Bridge Room in Malta 2018

    Host report by Janette & Toby Mace:

    The db Seabank Resort + Spa is a self-contained resort hotel on the longest sandy beach in Malta, which is edged by a long flat promenade with lovely views over the bay. The hotel itself has the best indoor swimming-pool we’ve seen, fully glazed with views onto the hotel patio - so very bright and ideal for daily aqua-gym!

    We organized a tour to Valletta, European City of Culture 2018, with its love-it-or-hate-it new parliament building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Another popular trip was the harbour cruise and the tour to the breath-taking Mdina, an amazingly uniform and well-preserved collection of local sand-coloured limestone buildings, forming a citadel. From the Fontanelle Gardens cafe on the ramparts there is a panoramic view as far as Valletta.

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  • Hearts & Crafts by our Stitchtopia Experts


    We just adore this lovely bag by Carol. She has personalised and decorated a canvas bag with a simple heart motif making it an adorable Valentines project. She suggested using the bag to add your 'sweethearts' favourite things this Valentine’s day. After all, wrapping paper is so outdated!

    The pattern can be viewed in Carol’s book ’3-minute Crochet’.

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Lanzarote 2018

    Host report by Barry Watts:

    As you approach Lanzarote Airport from seaward there is a hint of golf links looking unnaturally green. Other than this the island of Lanzarote resembles a giant cinder. Leaving the airport, heading south, the island looks barren and as the drive continues it becomes a wild broken landscape of old volcanic peaks and huge solidified lava flows. In this black, red and brown volcanic chaos it seems incongruous to be heading for the Playa Blanca (white beach!) and the name of the Hotel, Rubicon Palace, sounds like one step beyond.


    The hotel is beautiful. The Rubicon Palace has been upgraded to five stars since our last visit and the main entrance hall, in which the Reception sits, is now magnificent. The rooms are spacious and most have glorious sea views across the straits to the island of Fuerteventura to the South.

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  • Whether Burma or Myanmar, what a fascinating country

    Maurice and I have recently returned from three weeks in Myanmar which included most of the itinerary of our Thread Your Way Through Burma tour that departs in November. I was heavily involved in putting the Stitchtopia tour together which led to an urge to see the country for myself. Forgive our ramblings but we thought you might like to know how we got on. Who knows it might whet your appetite to book and go in November!

    We stayed in most of the hotels on the November itinerary and discovered a country with a wealth of diverse textiles and crafts. Our local agent became quite excited about some of the textile interest we found. As a result, we have made a number of enhancements to the tour providing even more opportunity to meet local crafters in this fascinating country where tourism is in its infancy. That means unspoilt, authentic experiences through seeing people genuinely going about their daily lives. Lin Lin our guide showed so much interest in getting your tour right that we have asked him to accompany you throughout.

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Paphos 2018

    Host report by John Barker, Jacquie Corbyn & Andrew Kambites:

    As those in the UK suffered wet and windy weather we were all very lucky to spend Christmas and New Year in the Paphos sunshine. During the first week we had up to 10 tables with guests from Holland and the Lebanon also joining us.

    Notable winners of the championship pairs were Hanna Broomberg and Mike Gentry. Our new Dutch friends Elisabeth & Marika (claiming to be not of our standard) romped home in the consolation pairs. The Swiss Teams was won by the strong foursome of Hanna & Mike, and Claire Vessey & Richard Hillyard. Finally Zeina & Joseph Asmar and Elliot & Beverley Black won the Butler pairs.

    In between the bridge guests swam in the sea, played tennis, petanque and shuffle board (winning 2 bottles of champagne). Many also made the 30 minute walk along the seafront to Paphos harbour and then onto the architectural site to see the ancient mosaics.

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