Are you bored with run-of-the-mill package holidays and would love to do something a little more meaningful when you travel? Hands Up Holidays (0800 783 3554/ www.handsuptravel.com) could have just the trip for you. With destinations including Morocco, Peru (below), Mexico and turkey, the new company offers a range of unique holidays for people who want to combine a proper break with some volunteer work. On the nine-day Taste of Thailand In Style trip, which takes in Bangkok's temples and The Bridge over the River Kwai, three days are dedicated to tsunami relief work in Khao Lak province. Price from ₤1,400pp, including meals. British Airways (0870 850 9850/ www.ba.com) offers flights to Bangkok from ₤450.
Taking the phrase "star treatment" to a whole new level, Villazzo (020 8123 3375 / www.villazzo.com) has launched a new hotel concept called VillaHotel. Available at the most exclusive villas in Miami, Aspen, St Tropez and Marbella, you now get to experience your very own private hotel. Whether you choose the five-bedroom VillaHotel Contenta in Miami or the three-bedroom VillaHotel Apartment du Port in St Tropez, Villazzo will supply your own butlers, chefs, beauticians and chauffeurs, as well as a personal hotel manager. Be warned though, you'll be spoilt so rotten you'll want to take all the staff home with you. Prices from €284pp (₤196) per night (six sharing).
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
The Piatra Craiului National Park in Romania is home to thousands of brown bears and wolves, thanks to an exciting new tour from Wildlife Worldwide (0845 130 6892 / www.wildlifeworldwide.com), you now have the chance to observe them in their stunning habitat. Staying in a family-run guesthouse, you'll embark on guided walks into the park stopping by specially designed platform hides to try to spot the bears. You'll also follow tracks of the elusive wolf and visit the Zarnesti Gorge. Price from ₤850pp, including accommodation, all meals, return flights from Heathrow and transfers.
Spice up your iPod with these dazzling new covers (right) from Brief & Sassy (020 8960 9333/ www.briefandsassy.com). Made of fine Italian leather and available in a range of colors such as lilac, pink and silver, each one is hand embossed with a rich gold foiled 1940s vintage print. Great for when you're traveling, it features a protective flap and provides access to the click wheel. There are also matching passport covers available. Now that's traveling in style. Prices: iPod case ₤36.95, passport cover ₤32.95.
ROOM FOR TWO
French may be the language of love, but Italy is the hotspot for romance, with the launch of Room For Romance Italy (Riva Publishing, 15.95). Perfect for courting couples, the guide features over 130 of the country's most intimate B&B, sexiest hotels and most indulgent spas. Whether you choose the stylish Hotel Straf in Milan or to pamper yourself in the Mezzatorre Resort & Spa on the Isle of Ischia (left), you're promised the perfext setting for a passion-packed holiday. To order a copy of the publisher's price (p&p free), contact Express Bookshop (0871 434 6091/ www.expressbookshop.co.uk).
CLASS FOR LESS CASH
A new hotel is opening in Birmingham on March 31 which has been designed to combine high style, luxury and comfort, without breaking the bank. Located in the heart of the city, near the shopping arcade, Mailbox, Nitenite (08458 909009/ www.nitenite.com) has 104 bedrooms, decked out in cherry wood and leather to emulate the feel of a cabin aboard a luxury yacht. You'll also find plasma screen TVs and en-suite bathrooms with spa power showers. Prices from ₤49.95pp per night (two sharing).
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