Written by Hermoine Macura - Special to Times of Oman
Eid is a time of celebration and family time – marking the end of the Holy month of Ramadan. It's also a time when many residents in the Gulf choose to travel abroad and some even choosing to extend the break with a summer holiday. Jacqueline Campbell from the Travel Collection explains: "Eid 2013 falls around the summer holiday period and many travellers from the GCC have not taken it as a break but the start of their summer holidays."
Eid trends this year include an increase of visitors to Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. "Interestingly, we have seen that the Arab traveler is choosing to explore more within a country and of course the comfort of luxurious hotels that offer great service in central locations."
Spa and wellness destinations are also becoming popular. "We are seeing more dedicated travel to wellness resorts where travellers are going for weight loss, detox, relaxation from stress." Many hotels are also now offering additional childcare services to cater to wealthy Arabs from the Gulf and large families. Campbell says that many hotels and resorts are developing facilities that cater to a variety of ages rather than a one for all approach. "Depending on the location and the hotel some offer a children's club that includes cooking classes to adventure tours to sporting activities."
Whether you choose to stay within the region or travel abroad, here are the top five Eid destinations for 2013:
1) Amsterdam, Netherlands
Known as the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe. However it's the wealth of culture, history and heritage that makes this city a top Eid destination for art and culture lovers.
A stroll through the heart of Amsterdam and beyond reveals a city that is filled with history and charm, which can easily be discovered by foot.
Must see sights include the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Royal Concertgebouw. And for those who love shopping – the luxury shopping avenues including P.C Hooftstraat and Van Baerlestraat, the charming Vondelpark and the lanes of the Jordaan neighborhood.
Best place to stay:
Standing on the famous site of Amsterdam's former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music, the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam opened at the end of 2011.
This magnificent Neo-Gothic building was originally built at the end of the 19th Century and in its new incarnation; it has been transformed into a contemporary luxury five-star hotel. The
Conservatorium Hotel is a true design hotel and combines historical architecture with modern design.
2) London, England
Featuring a history that traces back over thousands of years, London is the political, economic and cultural capital of Britain and a popular travel destination for many GCC nationals throughout the year.
Noted for its amazing shopping avenues and designer collections, London is more than just Europe's best shopping destination – About one third of London is devoted to parks and open spaces.
London is full of child-friendly attractions, and many – including the Science Museum and Natural History Museum – are free to visit. More than 6,000 restaurants and a bevvy of celebrity chef's make this city a world-class tourist destination.
Best place to stay:
True to its original glamorous spirit, Café Royal has reopened as a luxury 5 star hotel in the heart of central London. With elegant Mayfair to the west and creative Soho to the east, Café Royal hotel is perfectly pos
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