Gruesome ghouls and where to find them – world’s most haunted locations

1. Jamaica

We begin our frightful tour with the tale of ‘The White Witch of Jamaica’Annie Palmer who is said to haunt Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay. According to the legend she had a notorious reputation as the mistress of house, practicing black magic, torture and voodoo. She was known as ‘The White Witch’ because she enchanted 3 suitors into marrying her and then bumped them off one at a time – Annie also took a series of slaves as lovers then poisoned them once she grew tired of them. The circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery, some believe she was killed in a show down with a powerful voodoo priest, others say she was murdered by one of her slave lovers. There have been ghostly goings at Rose Hall since then with accounts of people hearing whispers, footsteps and wailing voices – even mysterious blood stains appearing on the floors and the face of Annie Palmer in mirrors. There are regular tours of Rose Hall showcasing it’s most odious resident, even a night candle-light tour for bravest ghost hunters.

2. Mexico

Places host to a chilling myth of La LloronaThe Weeping Woman. The tale goes that a beautiful women called Maria drowned her own children in order to be with the man who she loves. He then rejects her, which leads her to drown herself in a river in Mexico City out of despair. It is said that Maria is challenged at the gates of heaven to the whereabouts of her children, and that she is unable to enter until she has found them. Banished from the afterlife she forced to search for her drown children in vain, it is said that she will kidnap and drowned children who resemble her own. Mexican parents still warn their children not to stray too close to the water or La Llorona will be waiting for them. 

3. Poveglia, Venice

Poveglia in The Venetian LagoonItaly is known as the most haunted island in the world, and it’s story sounds like something straight out of a horror movie script. The island has had a long gruesome history it has played host to many bloody battles such as Napoleonic war, plague colonies, and most recently an insane asylum.

Due to Venice’s strict sanitation laws when the black death struck in 14 century, all citizens from nobility to the poor who displayed plague symptoms were sent to be ‘quarantined’ at Poveglia. This in reality was more like a death sentence as the island quickly became overrun with the dead and dying. Mass unmarked graves litter the island overflowing with charred remains – according to local lore the part of the island used for growing food held the most bodies (*shudders). Just when you thought that was enough creepy for one place, Poveglia’s insane asylum built in 1922, was ran by a maverick doctor who was rumored to perform strange and barbaric experiments on his patients. Eventually the doctor himself was driven mad, haunted by the spirits of plague victims, and threw himself from the island bell tower of the asylum. The islands dark history has led to it being completely abandoned since 1960s, even the local fishermen give it a wide birth, for fear that they will catch human bones in their nets. In April this year Poveglia was sold at auction, bought by Italian businessman Luigi Brugnaro who plans to re-develop the islandWe won’t be booking in anytime soon that’s for sure!

4. Malta

Malta is next on our list with the ancient ruins of Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni and it’s hidden secrets. At over 5,000 years old the subterranean structure is the world’s oldest prehistoric temple.  Discovered in 1902 the hypogeum has uncovered many curious objects including over 33,000 human remains found in the sprawling chambers, the deemed victims of Pagen human sacrifice. Most notable of these finds were a collection of elongated skulls, missing the Fossa median, the joint that runs along the top of the skull. This has lead to people claiming that this was the discovery of an alien race due to the nature of the strange remains. Fueling the mystery in 1985 while the skulls were on display in the Archaeological Museum in Valletta, they all disappeared without a trace and have never been recovered. Many people have reported supernatural disturbances in the Hypogeum, in 1940s a group of 30 school children vanished whilst visiting on a school trip. Locals have been said to still hear their screams echoing from underneath the city – the exact location of the suspected collapse has never been found.

5. Santorini, Greece

Forget Transylvania as being the home of vampires, according to Greek superstition it’s the picturesque island of Santorini. Better known as Vrykolakas to the locals, the story goes that Santorini and the surrounding islands were used as exile for suspected vampire corpses. They were rowed across the sea and it is believed that they are unable to cross water once transformed. Unlike the Hollywood stereotypes these vampires aren’t known for drinking the blood of their victims, nor will garlic or sunlight defeat them. More sinister the Vrykolakas would sit on the chest of their pray and crush the life out of them as they slept. The Vrykolakas are said to torment locals by knocking on their doors at night and calling their names, if they didn’t respond at first knock they would move on. If the door was answered the resident is said to die shortly after and join the ranks of the Vrykolakas. Some Santorini locals are still fearful of vampires now, and won’t answer the door until they hear a second knock. 

Decembers top luxury hotels revealed

It’s cold, dark and miserable and all you want to do is escape the winter blues and chase the sun across the globe in pursuit of some winter heat. If you’re missing the sun and long to feel its warmth on your skin we’ve handpicked our top five luxury hotels that will have you digging out your bikini and tempting you to bask in overseas sun.

Sensatori Resort Jamaica, Negril

Sensatori Resort Jamaica is the latest addition to the Thomson Sensatori brand having opened their doors earlier this year. Sat on Jamaica’s world famous Seven Mile Beach the hotel oozes luxury from the pool area, which has been designed by top fashion designer Jonathan Saunders with Bali beds and parasols, to the contemporary Caribbean styled bedrooms.

The hotel delivers all the high quality all inclusive indulgences we’ve come to expect from the Sensatori brand with amazing honeymoon suites with swim up rooms and couples beach massages. The location of this hotel is perfect for those looking for a twin centre break as the Thomson Cruise Platinum ship moves to it new home port of Montego Bay.

In December the temperature average 26°C with 9 hours of sunshine a day. The prices start from £1177 per person flying on the new Dreamliner with Thomson.

Barcelo Asia Gardens, Benidorm

From the moment you step foot inside the Barcelo Asia Gardens it is hard to believe you’re in Benidorm with its Thai styled designs and views of the Sierra Cortina Mountains. This luxurious 5 star hotel blends into its impressive natural environment and will transports to an Asian world due to the 150,000 tropical plants.

No other hotel in Benidorm has been designed to maximise the well-being of the body and mind from the Thai spa to the Balinese styled bedrooms. The flavoursome mix can also be scene in the four restaurants with a mix of international and Asian cuisine.

Benidorm appeals to travellers due to its short flights times from the UK. Temperatures reach 15°C Benidorm and have approximately seven hours of sunshine a day. Prices start at £530 per person

Iberostar Playa Mita, Puerto Vallarta

The hotel opened its all-inclusive doors earlier in 2014, location wise the Iberostar Playa Mita is in one of Mexico’s sophisticated destinations of Puerto Vallarta where it’s all about the swaying palm trees and white silky sand and is a far cry from the hustle of Cancun.

This hotel radiates the luxury you’ve come to expect in the Iberostar brand from its Zen style gardens to the classically designed bedrooms. The restaurants are inspired by international and seafood dishes. A large infinity pool takes advantage of the striking ocean views.

In December you can expect temperatures 28°C with eight hours of sunshine a day. Prices start from £764 per person flying on the new Dreamliner with Thomson

Reef Oasis Blue Bay, Ras Um Sid, Egypt

The 5 star Thomson Platinum Reef Oasis Blue Bay sits on its own stretch of private beach with its own jetty giving way to some excellent snorkelling spots. Diving is extremely popular with the hotel having its own dive school.

What makes the Reef Oasis Blue Bay stand out from the other hotels in the area is its state of the art Thalasso Spa and Wellness Centre. The treatment list includes 12 types of massages including Zen inspired aromatherapy and Ayuryedic massages. At the heart of the hotel an infinity pool serves up views of the Red Sea. If this isn’t enough to tempt you then the dining scene excels on the cuisine front with its Asian, Italian, Indian, seafood and Parisian restaurants.

If you burn easy and find the summer’s heat to uncomfortable then Egypt in December would be ideal for you. During the summer month’s temperatures can soar to 41°C while in December the temperatures reach 24°C and are cooler in the evenings. Prices start from £551 per person

Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach Hotel, Naithon Beach, Phuket

The Thomson A la Carte Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach Hotel is a tranquil and sophisticated hotel that allows guests to check in and chill out. You’ll find first class décor, luxury, service and cuisine at this handpicked hotel. The bedrooms are cutting edge and stylish and have been designed by one of Thailand’s leading interior design companies.

The sumptuous spa will balance your mind, body and soul through traditional Thai massages why you can strengthen the bond between the body and mind in yoga classes in the fitness lounge. Soak up the panoramic views over Nai Thon Beach from the hotels swimming pool.

Temperature can reach 31°C in December although a close sea breeze keeps things comfortable. Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island and has a fantastic beach scene Patong Beach is where the action is with beach parties, Khao Lak has three world class national parks and is a must visit if you’re looking for some adventures. If you want to kick back and relax head to Mai Khao. Prices start from £749 per person

£150 Million EuroMillions jackpot – how would you spend it?

Friday’s eagerly anticipated EuroMillions draw has a mind-boggling £150 million jackpot up for grabs. And this got us thinking… what would we spend the money on?

1. A luxury home

One of the most exclusive addresses in London this, grade II listed terrace house in Belgravia, on sale for a cool £23,995,000. Complete with six double bedroom suites, plus staff accommodation, a grand first floor drawing room, dining room with views over Chester Square, passenger lift, garage, large south facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar. It sounds perfect when can we move in!?


2. An exotic Holiday

See the world with 382 of your friends and family whilst relaxing in the lap of luxury, on the 115-day SilverSea World Cruise. Travelling through 30 countries on The Silver Whisper ship, covering the southern hemisphere through Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Each guests suite is complete with their own personal butler, champagne on tap, Michelin star chefs preparing all meals, on-board spa with botox facilities. You can even choose from a hand-picked selection of 9 different types of pillows to rest your weary head. It would cost approximately £5.5 million to hire the entire ship, bargain!


3. A very impractical car

You could easily afford a fleet of 2014’s most expensive car the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster at £2.8 million. Only 9 of the super cars are in existence, a special edition model to celebrate Lamborghini 50th anniversary. With a 0-60 time well below 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 221mph, its an excellent method of escape from your so-called ‘friends’ after some of your winnings.


4. Private jet

You would also need reliable transport to get about with now – gone are the days of being stuck in traffic jams, late trains or missing buses. A Gulfstream G500 private jet cost around £27 million, a very popular model with the glitterati. You will be able to jet off whenever it takes your fancy.


5. A light snack

Reward yourself after all that spending with a light snack, how about a rare Japanese Densuke Watermelon? Traditionally fruit is given as gifts in Japan and is a high-value luxury item, this year a Densuke Watermelon reached a hefty £2000 at auction.

Wash it down with the world’s most expensive champagne Goût de Diamants (Taste of Diamonds) which retails at whopping £1.2 million per bottle. The special edition bottle is adorned with a dazzling cut Swarovski crystal set in a diamond-shaped pewter design – the back of each bottle boasts another hand-engraved pewter label featuring details of the blend inside. Available in brut, a rosé, a blanc de blancs and a vintage offering.



If you don’t win the jackpot this week fear not, you can still have champagne taste on a lemonade budget with Top Deals. How about 7 nights all inclusive at Clubhotel Riu Marco Polo, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia for £210pp?

 What would you spend £150 million on? Comment below with your answers.

Where to go now: The Autumn guide

As the long nights are drawing in and the temptation to disappear into hibernation increases evermore, we find ourselves searching for Autumnal getaways. We have compiled the ultimate guide of where to go now!

1. Orlando, Florida, USA – Spooky Sights Who does Halloween better than the Americans? It is the home of trick or treating after all. We think that Orlando, Florida is the perfect destination for Halloween lovers – here’s two of our favourite things to do while there. If you’re into horror pop-culture and being chased by fully grown adults in full prosthetics, you might want to try Universal Orlando Resort – Halloween Horror Nights. Running on selected nights from 19th September till 1st November 2014, featuring live re-enactments of your favourite TV shows and films in Universal’s infamous haunted houses. Notably the largest of these is AMC’s The Walking Dead – End Of The Line haunted house, presenting an interactive re-creation of the latest series of the hit TV show for your terror. The Halloween Horror Nights also include live street experiences and shows such as The Purge- Anarchy, Orlando’s most thrilling rides and attractions if you haven’t had you fill of frights.

If this all sounds a bit too ghoulish, Orlando also has the more family-friendly Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to offer. This event is held at Walt Disney World Magical Kingdom Park from the 1st September to the 31st October 2014. Jump at the chance to join in with authentic American ‘trick or treating’ around the park with Micky and the gang, who can resist free candy right? Plus twice a night Micky’s Boo-To-You Halloween parade takes place, led by the gruesome Headless Horseman. Shortly followed by a spooktacular Happy Hallowishes firework display complete with Disney villains.

2. Cancun,  Mexico – Cultural Curiosities Following the spooky theme, Mexico’s Día De Los Muertos or ‘Day of The Dead’ to you and I, takes place every year at midnight on 31st October till 2nd November across the country. Not to be confused with Halloween, Día De Los Muertos celebrates the lives of dead and its origins date back to the Aztecs. San Andres Mixquic located south-east of Mexico City is most famous due to its sizable Day of The Dead celebrations.Traditionally families hold vigils in the Mixquic church’s graveyard for loved ones, decorating the graves with gladiolus, cempasuchil the official flowers of festival. The festival concludes with a spectacular sight of hundreds of candles lining the graves of Mixquic’s church.

For more of a ‘Disneyland’ experience of Día De Los Muertos, head to Cancun.The Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Theme Park holds an annual ‘Festival of Life and Death Traditions’. The celebration marries together Mayan culture with some historical and some not-so-historical re-enactments. Xcaret park hosts a flamboyant artificial-cemetery filled with brightly coloured mausoleums and fully decorated with garlands to attract departed spirits. Xcaret’s celebrations also include a tour of the Mayan Afterworld perfect for scream junkies. When the ghouls jump out at you, they unexpectedly share key-notes of the history of Xibalba, the Mayan afterlife. So you can enjoy getting scared out of your wits with the added bonus of learning your fact of the day.  The outdoor ampthitheatre plays host to the main spectacle of the festivities, Mardi Gras-esque shows headlining towering puppets on stilts and skeleton painted dancers.

3. Marrakech, Morocco – Seeking Sunshine Marrakech still has a pleasant climate at this time of year reaching temperatures of 29°C. So it’s a great destination for those of you who want to avoid central heating for the time being. Djeema el Fna, Marrakech’s central square is a must see for every traveler visiting the city, famed for it’s boisterous stall-holders, snake charmers and bustling atmosphere. At night the square transforms into giant a pop-up restaurant, the ideal location to sample some of Morocco’s celebrated cuisine. We recommend trying some of the freshly squeezed orange juice readily available in the square, it beats plain-old Tropicana any day. The Souks are the best place for some early Christmas shopping, you can snap up some fabulous gifts that wouldn’t look out of place in Liberty Of London’s Oriental Carpet Department. Be prepared to haggle, this doesn’t come easy to us all just channel your inner David Dickinson your efforts will be rewarded by bagging a bargain.