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Want to live like a rock star?

Holiday like an A-Lister in these (relatively) affordable mansions…

complete with movie theatres, games rooms and…

  • TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals has a number of luxury mansions available for rent that don’t have to break the bank
  • They include a nine-bedroom villa in Phuket, a Bali boutique retreat and a contemporary castle in California
  • MailOnline Travel has rounded up some of the best properties that would keep even the fussiest divas happy

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Who hasn’t dreamed of swanning about their own mansion after winning the Lottery at least once? Well it turns out that might not be such an unattainable goal… so long as you’re content to be a rock star for just a week. On TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, there are now a number of huge luxury properties for rent as Discount Holidays © holiday homes that wouldn’t look out of place on MTV Cribs, and if enough friends and family club together, the price per person isn’t too eye-watering.

MailOnline Travel has rounded up some of the best below, including a nine-bedroom villa in Phuket, a boutique retreat village in Bali and a contemporary castle in California.

5 O Clock Somewhere, Florida, USA

This 10,000-square-foot home has eight bedrooms and sits lakeside and next to the beach with sweeping gulf views

This 10,000-square-foot home sits lakeside and is right by the beach with sweeping gulf views. The first floor features a games room with a babyfoot table, pool table, large flat-screen television, full-sized refrigerator and kitchen.

The house has a gourmet kitchen and a games room with a babyfoot table, pool table, large flat screen television, full-sized refrigerator and separate kitchen

Just off of the games room is a large, full outdoor kitchen, complete with a grill, stove top range, wine cooler, flat screen television, and bar seating, plus a pool. Guests have the option of renting a six-person street legal golf cart for excursions around the local area.

A concierge is also on hand to arrange golf, dining, water sports, fishing trips and other services.

Eight bedrooms (sleeps up to 30), from 618 per night.

To find out more click here1.

Slopeside Manor, Colorado, USA

Slopeside Manor, Colorado, has six bedrooms, a games room, a theatre room and a custom-made bowling alley, and it is only 100 steps from the slopes

This 7,000-square-foot property has six bedrooms, including one bunk room, four outdoor living areas, a games room, a theatre room and a custom-made bowling alley. The cinema room is equipped with a nine-foot screen, surround sound, ten leather reclining chairs and a wet bar area, while the outdoor living area has a fire pit and a private hot tub for nine.

This 7,000-square-foot property has a two-storey-tall living room, left, and a games room, plus an outdoor living area with a fire pit and a private hot tub for nine. The kids have a space all their own in the large bunk room that features bean bag chairs and a flat-screen TV with an Xbox system.

The lodge is ideal for skiers as it is located in the Timber Trail neighborhood on Peak 8, adjacent to both the Four O Clock and Trygve s ski runs. It’s just 100 steps from the slopes.

Six bedrooms (sleeps up to 22), from 683 per night.

To find out more click here2.

Luxury apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House

This Sydney apartment, which is within walking distance of the city’s Hyde Park, has incredible 360-degree views of the city

There are a million things to do and see in Sydney, but in an apartment with views over the city like this, there’s a risk of never leaving. It is within walking distance of the city’s Hyde Park and has incredible 360-degree views, with walls of glass to maximise the effect.

With views over the city like this in the living room and one of the bathrooms, there’s a risk of never leaving the apartment

There are four main bedrooms, with a further bedroom in an adjoining staff apartment, plus a spacious entertaining area serviced by a marble cocktail bar. Guests also have access to tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and a gym.

Five bedrooms (sleeps up to 10), from 850 per night.

To find out more click here. 3

Serenity Villa, Phuket, Thailand

Serenity Villa is a nine-bedroom Villa located in the Bang Toa area along the west coast of Phuket

Serenity Villa is a nine-bedroom Villa located in the Bang Toa area along the west coast of Phuket, just minutes from Surin Beach. 4

The contemporary open plan design of the Villa boasts panoramic sea, forest and valley views to be enjoyed, with an infinity pool and outdoor jacuzzi.

The contemporary open plan design of the Villa boasts panoramic sea, forest and valley views and it even has its own movie theatre

There is also a movie theatre with a three-metre screen, a games room, a gym and a bar. The Villa has four staff members, including a manager, two housekeepers and a chef who is on hand to cook two main meals a day.

Nine bedrooms (sleeps up to 20), from 1,138 per night.

To find out more, click here.5

El Cid, Costa del Sol, Spain

Villa El Cid is a ten-bedroom property in a gated community in the Spanish coastal town of Marbella

The property has a gourmet kitchen and heated outdoor and indoor swimming pools, plus a private chef and waiting staff

Villa El Cid is a ten-bedroom property in a private and gated community in the Spanish town of Marbella. Each of the ten individually designed bedrooms has its own en-suite bathroom, safe and television. At extra cost, guests can add staffing services including a private chef and waiting staff.

Ten bedrooms (sleeps up to 20), from 1,218 per night.

To find out more, click here.6

Moonrakers, Cornwall, England

Moonrakers is a luxury self-catering home in Cornwall, set in magnificent gardens with breath-taking sea views

Moonrakers is a luxury self-catering home, set in magnificent gardens with breath-taking sea views. The five-bedroom property can accommodate up to 12 guests, with each room allocated its own en-suite. The owners pride themselves on attention to detail, providing the same mattresses that are used by the royal family, while when the sun shines, there is a large mature garden

The owners pride themselves on attention to detail, providing the same mattresses that are used by the royal family and 100 per cent Egyptian Cotton sheets.

On rainy days, the children can be kept occupied with a Nintendo Wii, a dressing up box and a games room with a table tennis table and pool table, as well as a large selection of board games and puzzles. When the sun shines, there is a large mature garden, a trampoline and a large balcony overlooking the sea.

Five bedrooms (sleeps up to 12), from 1,225 per night.

For more information, click here7.

Laguna Castle, California, USA

This 11,500-square-foot property, with seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, commands a panoramic view of the Saddleback Mountains

This 11,500-square-foot property, with seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, commands a panoramic view of the Saddleback Mountains during the day and city lights at night. Inside the house is a 12-seat theatre, library, subterranean wine cellar, and full-scale piano bar, as well as a steam room, sauna room, gym, two kitchens and two powder rooms.

In the property’s grounds is a miniature golf course, a swimming pool, large chess board, a barbecue island and a hot tub

The house has a 12-seat theatre, library, subterranean wine cellar, and full-scale piano bar to keep guests busy

In the property’s grounds is a stream that runs throughout the grounds, complete with decorative bridge, miniature golf course, a swimming pool, large chess board, a barbecue island and a hot tub. According to the owners, the main gate of the castle was the original west gate of Buckingham palace in London, which was shipped to California together with London Bridge – now in Lake Havasu – around 1970. There is also an attached attached ‘in-law quarters’ with full amenities and a separate kitchen.

Seven bedrooms (sleeps up to 13), from 1,378.

For more information, click here. 8

Hacienda Bali, Bali, Indonesia

This private estate in Bali consists of five separate villas with multiple pools that can sleep up to 28 guests

This private estate in Bali consists of five separate villas with multiple pools that can sleep up to 28 guests. There is round-the-clock service for guests and the estate even has its own staffed restaurant, where breakfast is served every day and an a la carte menu is on offer, as well as a bar. There is round-the-clock service for guests and the estate even has its own staffed restaurant

The boutique retreat also has the facilities and expertise to host weddings and parties for an additional 100 guests.

In-house spa treatments are available and there is a one-hour traditional Balinese massage in the villa for each guest.

Fourteen bedrooms (sleeps up to 28), from 1,931 per night.

For more information, click here9.

Desiree, Campania, Italy

This house in the Amalfi village of Praiano boasts several terraces with sea views and sleeps up to 16 guests

This house in the Amalfi village of Praiano boasts several terraces with sea views, connected through flights of steps to a swimming pool and sunbathing area. The outdoor area of 13,000-square-feet features a shower, a minibar, a barbecue and a pizza oven, and it’s just a 1,500ft walk to the closest beach. The villa has outstanding views over the sea and several large sunbathing areas around the property

Arched windows, columns, antiques and a grand piano give the inside of the property a special touch.

There are eight bedrooms inside the property, several of which have sea views.

Eight bedrooms (sleeps up to 16), from 2,243 per night.

For more information, click here10.

References

  1. ^ here (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  2. ^ here (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  3. ^ here. (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  4. ^ (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  5. ^ here. (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  6. ^ here. (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  7. ^ here (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  8. ^ here. (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  9. ^ here (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)
  10. ^ here (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)

Behind the scenes at Team Sky’s Christmas party, and more cycling videos of the week

Sir Dave Brailsford dressed as Father Christmas and riders eating a normal meal, Team Sky give the fans a look at their Christmas party

Join Santa and his little helpers at the @TeamSky Christmas dinner.

They’ve all been really good boys this year! https://t.co/eFjFRSAVvL12

Team Sky (@TeamSky) December 15, 20153

Even pro riders get to enjoy a decent Christmas meal it seems, as we re shown by the insider s view of Team Sky4 s Christmas party. Sir Dave Brailsford makes an appearance as Father Christmas, no doubt dishing out presents in the form of which races his riders will take on in 2016 and in some cases which they ll get to ride as team leader.

>>> Chris Froome described as close to human peak after physiological data release5

Staff and riders all come together for the meal and celebrate what has been a pretty good year for the British team, even by their own high standards.

Fat bike trail skills

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Motorcycle trials rider Pat Smage turned his hand to fat biking, and this is the impressive results. Riding his local woods he found some lines to try and seems to be having fun doing it.

Banish neck pain

Aches and pains can crop up for some cyclists so this Cycling Weekly video6 shows five exercises that will help loosen up tights muscles. Some discomfort on the bike can be a sign of a poor fit, so have a look at our handlebar height7 and saddle height8 pages to get yours spot on.

Group riding: essential hand signals

Group riding is a great way to find new route and new friends, and is how many of us spend our weekend mornings. Even if you re not part of a club, if you live somewhere with plenty of other cyclists then the chances are you will find yourself riding in a group situation at some point.

It pays to know what the signals the other riders are making mean and how to indicate hazards to those around you9.

Father Chris-mas assembles a bike

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We started on a Christmassy video, so here we end on one too.

Father Chris-mas Hoy is challenged to put one of his own brand bikes together in five minutes; can he manage it?

References

  1. ^ @TeamSky (twitter.com)
  2. ^ https://t.co/eFjFRSAVvL (t.co)
  3. ^ December 15, 2015 (twitter.com)
  4. ^ Team Sky (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ >>> Chris Froome described as close to human peak after physiological data release (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ this Cycling Weekly video (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ handlebar height (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ saddle height (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ how to indicate hazards to those around you (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

Can you protect your holiday against terrorism?

Can You Protect Your <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Against Terrorism?

I know that not everyone feels that way, however, and that can pose problems, especially in a year which has been so blighted by terrorism.

2015 has seen the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris4, museum5 and beach attacks in Tunisia6, a bombing in Bangkok7, and the downing of a plane full of Russian holidaymakers8 in Egypt. And now it is ending with a second wave of atrocities in the French capital.

In the face of such a litany of bad news, reassurance that we all have a far freater chance of being run over while crossing the street than we do of being caught up in a terrorist attack can sound hollow to a nervous traveller. So, if you are worried about terrorism, how do you protect your travelling plans against the impact of an attack?

Mapped: Where in the world is safe for Britons?9

Can You Protect Your <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Against Terrorism?

Most travel and transport companies are helpful and sympathetic towards customers in extreme situations. Those who didn t want to travel to Paris in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, for example, were allowed to postpone bookings at no extra cost. But such offers are usually limited, and nearly all operators are now imposing normal booking conditions.

Since the vast majority of tourists buy cheaper, non-refundable fares, those who are nervous about travelling to Paris in the next few weeks face losing money if they decide to cancel or postpone their trips (although Eurostar10 s conditions are less restrictive than airlines – see below). The terms and conditions for nearly all package holidays are no more flexible – with swingeing charges often applied for cancellations at short notice.

Mapped: Terror threat around the world
Top 10: unusual Discount Holidays © holiday destinations where the terror risk is low 1112

Can You Protect Your <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Against Terrorism?

In fact, overall, independent travellers have no legal grounds to ask for flexibility or a refund from travel companies in the event of a terrorist attack. You are normally also liable to pay for any accommodation you have booked – a hotel, or villa for example – even if you don t use it. Meanwhile, a tour operator is only obliged to allow you to change or cancel without penalty if the Foreign Office advises against travel to your intended destination. Which is true of Tunisia, but not of Paris.

“A tour operator is only obliged to offer a refund if the Foreign Office advises against travel to your intended destination. Which is true of Tunisia, but not of Paris”

Travel insurance13 is not much help. Most policies do not cover disruption caused by war or terrorism. And even those few that do will not refund you the cost of cancelling a Discount Holidays © holiday just because you feel nervous about travelling.

In short, there are no easy answers, but it may help to know where you stand, whether you are an independent traveller, or have booked with a tour operator.

Package holiday

Cancellation policies are expensive and restrictive. But the operator is legally responsible for your safety. Therefore, in really difficult situations, such as the recent evacuations from Tunisia and Egypt, you will have a professional team on hand to look after you if things go wrong while you are away.

When does it pay to book a package holiday?14

Booking independently

You have no-one to look after you, but you can be more flexible by looking for accommodation deals which allow free cancellation (often possible on sites such as booking.com). You could also invest in more expensive flexible fares (some no-frills airlines even offer these).

Note too that Eurostar s cheapest fares do allow you to alter your travelling dates – though you have to pay a fee, and the difference between the original and the new fare.

Find the latest Foreign Office advice at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice15

How we moderate16

References

  1. ^ Follow (twitter.com)
  2. ^ Paris (www.discountholidays.info)
  3. ^ 33 reasons why you must keep visiting Paris (www.discountholidays.info)
  4. ^ Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris (www.discountholidays.info)
  5. ^ museum (www.discountholidays.info)
  6. ^ beach attacks in Tunisia (www.discountholidays.info)
  7. ^ bombing in Bangkok (www.discountholidays.info)
  8. ^ downing of a plane full of Russian holidaymakers (www.discountholidays.info)
  9. ^ Mapped: Where in the world is safe for Britons? (www.discountholidays.info)
  10. ^ Eurostar (www.discountholidays.info)
  11. ^ Mapped: Terror threat around the world (www.discountholidays.info)
  12. ^ Top 10: unusual Discount Holidays © holiday destinations where the terror risk is low (www.discountholidays.info)
  13. ^ Travel insurance (www.discountholidays.info)
  14. ^ When does it pay to book a package holiday? (www.discountholidays.info)
  15. ^ gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice (gov.uk)
  16. ^ How we moderate (my.discountholidays.info)