February 2010

February 2010

  • February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel
  • February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel
  • February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Editorial

Editorial, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

It is essential for any business involved in the travel and tourism industry to be innovative as well as keeping abreast of the latest trends and ideas. When we read recently about one large hotel chain's latest customer service facility though we decided that it was probably not something that many of our guests would need, apart perhaps from those enjoying our Italian ski holidays.

A certain international hotel chain is trialling a bed warming service in three of its UK hotels from the end of January as a measure to counter against the particularly chilly weather conditions experienced recently.

So what makes this service so different? Is it a hot water bottle being popped into the bed? No. An electric blanket then? No, not that either.

This is a human bed warming service! Willing staff, dressed from head to toe in all-in-one fleecy sleeper suits and equipped with a thermometer will hop into bed for 5 minutes to take the chill off the sheets before the guest retires for the night.

Editorial, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Experts at the Edinburgh Sleep Centre explained that a warm bed, ideally around 20-24 degrees Celsius, will help encourage sleep, whereas a cold bed can make dropping off more difficult.

This quirky idea may well be the ultimate answer to a good night sleep when guests come in from the cold, and it certainly isn’t lacking in the human touch. However, try as we might we’re having trouble getting away from the “Goldilocks syndrome”… who’s been sleeping in MY bed?!

Holiday Inspirations

Holiday Inspirations, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Kalkan calling

This month we thought we would travel east to Turkey, and in particular to the picturesque Ottoman town of Kalkan on the Lycian coast.

Holiday Inspirations, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Although very aware of and geared up for tourism Kalkan remains unspoilt. It is a fascinating place, steeped in history, with many of its old buildings still well maintained, being the subject of preservation orders and having ‘listed building’ status.

Holiday Inspirations, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The area was first settled by both Greek and Turkish residents some 200 years ago. For many years it was an important trading point, playing host to many cargo ships laden with everything from silk and cotton to olive oil and flour, destined for the far reaches of the Ottoman Empire.

During the 1920s most of the town’s Greek populace moved away and the town went through a troubled time with a dwindling population and little employment. However, in the 1960s it was ‘discovered’ by the yachting fraternity and re-established itself, this time as an idyllic holiday destination.

Holiday Inspirations, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The Kalkan of today offers a stress free holiday with something for just about everyone. It’s whitewashed houses and fascinating little shops line the narrow streets that lead to the harbour side, whilst behind the town are the majestic Taurus Mountains. Famous for its food, Kalkan boasts around one hundred restaurants offering a huge variety of taste-bud temptations, including traditional Turkish cuisine and fresh fish caught by local fishermen.

Holiday Inspirations, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Thursday is market day and a wonderful opportunity to find some holiday bargains, whilst everyday can be a beach day. (Look out too for the food stalls serving some amazing local foods!) The gorgeous beaches of Patara and Kapatus are nearby and can be reached by water taxi if you prefer not to drive, whilst Kalkan has its own small blue flag beach not far from the harbour. Watersports are abundant both on the water and beneath it, as the coastline is just right for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Within a 2 hour drive you can discover for yourself the amazing tombs hewn out of the rock face near Myra and the spectacular ancient Lycian city of Arycanda (Arykanda) that nestles on a mountain slope and provides some of the most breathtaking views in the region.

But if you fancy something completely different, head for the Saklikent Gorge. At 20km in length it is the longest gorge in Turkey and the second largest in Europe. Apart from the lovely walks in an environment that remains cool, even on the hottest summer day, and some interesting cafes suspended over the cool running waters, Saklikent Gorge is famous for river tubing. Spend 45 minutes bobbing down the gorge sitting in a large inflatable ring with a paddle and a big grin for company - what a great way to spend an summer afternoon!

Travel Tip: Phone Home

Travel Tip: Phone Home, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The Agni Travel phone bill was huge.
During the summer months, our mobile phone bills, alone, exceeded 1000 Euros per month. We have now found a solution which has saved us a fortune and you can benefit too! When on holiday you can phone home for a fraction of the usual 'roaming' charges.
The reason?
Most of our calls were to international phones or mobiles.
The Solution?
We now use a call back system.
The Savings?
Our bills for international calls are 1/10th or less! On mobiles, our bills are 1/5th.

How does it work?
1) You call a special telephone number from anywhere in the world, then hang up. (You are not charged as it will not connect.)
2) Your phone will ring. Answer it.
3)Enter the number you want to call.
4) The number you are calling will then ring in the usual way.

The Charges

Examples
A Holiday in Greece: phoning from a UK mobile (while logged into Vodafone Greece) and the call charge is just 13.9p per min.
A Holiday in Turkey: phoning from a UK mobile (while logged into TurkCell Turkey) and the call charge is just 6.3p per min.

Please remember that if you are using your mobile on holiday, you may incur roaming charges. (This is when your mobile provider charges you to receive calls.)
Even so, this system is much cheaper than outbound calls. Saving you money on all calls made.

£5 FREE Credit Offer to Agni Members

Sign up and quote 'Agni' and you will receive £5 of FREE credit to your account!

Sign Up Now for your free credit: Cheap Calls While on Holiday

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Agni Antics

Agni Antics, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Our Concierge aka Mr Fixit

Do you know what, exactly, a concierge is? The name originates from the French “comte des cierges”, which loosely means “the keeper of the candles”. It was a term used to describe a servant employed to look after the needs of visiting noblemen during the medieval period. Over the years it became synonymous with the keeper of keys at public buildings, especially hotels. But in today’s society it is reverting to it’s original meaning, that being someone who looks after the needs and whims of guests and visitors.

Here at Agni we like to think we do all we possibly can to ensure you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. For any little issues, such as locking yourself out of your accommodation, we have local representatives, but the person ultimately responsible for keeping the smile on our guests’ faces is our head of concierge, Paul Hobbs.

Agni Antics, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Paul’s no stranger to the hospitality industry. He has followed the same career path since leaving school in the mid ‘80s. His wealth of experience includes several years of cruising the Atlantic on luxury liners before going on to specialise in his passion for all things Greek.

These days Paul is based on Corfu, but knows pretty much all there is to know about what makes a great holiday in any of our Greek island and Turkish destinations. Looking for the best seafood restaurant in the area? Ask Paul. Day trips and taxis? Ask Paul. Flowers, champagne and a large cuddly toy waiting for you on your arrival? That’ll be Paul.

Agni Antics, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Over the years Paul has become a font of knowledge and hugely resourceful. He admits though that even he cannot please all of the people all of the time. Some years ago he took a phone call from a highly irate guest. “Your brochure clearly states that the villa has sea views!” bawled the guest. “Yes sir, and it has” replied Paul, feeling slightly bemused. “Rubbish man, there’s a damn great olive tree blocking my line of vision” came the retort. This particular difficulty was overcome by moving the gentleman’s balcony chair a couple of feet to the right, but it did cause a moment of worry for our hard working concierge.

More recently he took a call from a very agitated young mother who was staying in a lovely villa that occupied a tranquil rural location. “It’s not good enough” she wailed. “You must get it stopped immediately, I insist on it.” “Stop what madam?” asked Paul. “The racket” came her terse reply. “My children are being kept awake at night and I’m shattered”. Poor Paul was still none the wiser. Had an illegal rave been set up in the next valley he wondered or maybe, heaven forbid, building work had started nearby?

It took a little while to get to the bottom of the matter, but eventually Paul discovered that the objects of his guest’s complaint were the cicadas chirruping and clicking in the surrounding trees! Sometimes even the most capable concierge is unable to completely resolve a problem.

However, throughout his career Paul has made many friends and few, if any, enemies thanks to his "can do" attitude and friendly demeanour. He remembers one elderly widower who was a regular visitor when Paul and his wife worked on the cruise liners. Sadly, one spring they received a letter from the gentleman's son explaining that his father had passed on. Saddened by the news they were also surprised to read that they had been remembered in his will. Surprise turned to amusement though when they discovered that they'd been left the gentleman's late wife's collection of handbags.

Agni Antics, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel

So there you have it. A concierge is the man (or woman) who can. They are the Mr or Mrs Fixit and all round facilitator. Headed by Paul, Agni Travel has an excellent holiday support network, and as an added bonus we have no shortage of handbags!

Agni Travel Property Feature

Special Offer

To launch our exciting new Turkish Villa Selection we are offering the following villas at 2 weeks for the price of 1 for holidays taken in May or June. (Conditions apply, subject to availability, and on bookings made before 1st March 2010)

Agni Travel Property Feature, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Villa Lara

Brand new and finished to a very high standard, Villa Lara is a spacious and well proportioned two bedroomed villa that occupies a commanding position on the Kas peninsula overlooking the sea and the mountains opposite. Villa Lara

Agni Travel Property Feature, February 2010, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Villa Palm Tree

Located in a quiet residential lane, but within easy reach of the thriving family resort of Hisaronu, Villa Palm Tree is a superb, brand new three bedroomed property.
With a large private pool, and spectacular views of the Babadag mountains forming a dramatic backdrop, guests could be forgiven for not wanting to wander far from this stylish accommodation. However, the nearby beach and lagoon at Oludeniz, considered by many to be the best coastal area in Turkey, may be sufficient to lure them from their luxury surroundings, albeit just for a little while. Villa Palm Tree

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