Luxury

Top 4 African Safari's

Tuesday 29 April 2014 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Looking for something exciting, something unforgettable? Look no further than an all inclusive African Safari. Leave all the worries behind and immerse yourself in nature at its finest. Whether it be by train, car, small group or private safari; let the local tour guides take you up close and personal with animals larger then life. 

We have hand picked the Top 4 Best Safaris, offering you a variety of options for a holiday that suits you and your individual requirements. 


Four African Country Safari -
Fully Accommodated - 23 days from $6225*

• Small Group Departure • Breakfast included daily • Locally Guided • 3 Star Accommodation • Airfares and taxes included • Wildlife, Culture & History

A unique safari visiting four breathtaking countries; South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Enjoy the added comfort of 3 star accommodation, a fully equipped safari vehicle and services of a professional tour leader. All accommodation featured on this safari offers private en-suite facilities.

Full offer details >> 
For bookings and enquires, Click Here >>

African Train Safari -
Johannesburg to Victoria Falls (or vice versa)- 18 days from $7275*

• Unique train journey • Includes breakfast & dinner daily • Inclusive & optional touring daily • Airfares and taxes included

This 18 day journey enables participants to visit six countries in style. The route is carefully crafted to deliver stunning once in a life time experiences on a daily basis. The train travels leisurely between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls, allowing numerous calls at destinations in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. As the tracks unfurl you will gain rare insight into the cultural and geographical cocktail that makes Southern Africa so vibrant and exciting. 

*See full offer details >> 
For bookings and enquires, Click Here >> 

Affordable South Africa
Singles Only Departures - On locally escorted tours of South Africa- No Single Supplement

Adventure Destinations are pleased to announce “Singles Only” departures on some of our best-selling South African guided tours, allowing single passengers to enjoy the company of other solo travelers but still experience the privacy of a single room, without having to pay any single supplements.

All the tours have been carefully planned to experience the absolute best of the chosen destinations. Southern Africa has a well-earned reputation as one of the world’s favourite travel destinations so join a group of likeminded individuals as you journey through Southern Africa, enjoying luxury transport, exquisite accommodation and fine dining. 

*See full offer details >> 
For bookings and enquires, Click Here >> 

Southern Africa - Small Group
Accommodated & Fully Serviced Camping Safaris

Travel on a small group accommodated or fully serviced camping safari that offers an authentic experience for the “young at heart” traveller.

*See full offer details >> 
For bookings and enquires, Click Here >> 

The Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities in the World.

Monday 12 August 2013 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Bruges
A small city with big beauty. Bruges imitates what life would be like in the late middle ages. With medieval architecture and every little hidden gem is a snap shot of a fairytale. This Photogenic little city even puts the postcards to shame.

Florence
Known as the birth place of ‘renaissance’ and the ‘Tuscan capital’, this seductive and romantic city is home to some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The colourful buildings and sunsets in the afternoon will have you wanting to take permit residence in this gorgeous city.

Paris
The heart of France has a long list of beauty. The art, the culture, the food and the museums. Known as the city of light, your heart will skip a beat when you see the Eiffel tower in all its glory. You will not just visit Paris, you will in fact fall in love with this cobbled street beauty.

Lisbon
The capital of Portugal is full of contemporary culture. The locals make you feel at home with their easy-going charm. As an all year round destination, Lisbon makes every season more beautiful then the last.

Venice
‘The city of water’, ‘The city of bridges’, ‘The floating city’, ‘The city of canals’. There is a never ending list of names for Venice, but one that sums it up perfectly for us.. ‘Undoubtably, the most beautiful city built by man’.

Prague
When Mirrored off the Vltava river, you get a sense of just how beautiful and magical this city is. The vibrant city full of culture, music art and countless churches, this enchanted city is one not to be missed.

Rio De Janeiro
Rio De Janerio offers something for everyone. From the breathtaking landscapes, to the laid back beaches. You can relax on the white sands beach or take full advantage of the nightlife, the dancing in the street and the numerous festivals all year round.

Amsterdam
Known as the Venice of the north, this quaint little city is full of beautiful canals, parks and relaxing charm. Amsterdam has a history of non-conformism and known for its progression. Amsterdam is the perfect place for those who just want to enjoy life without the hustle and bustle.

Rome
Rome is where you see history at it finest. With the Colosseum, The Vatican, The Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, and for all of those romantics; why not make a wish in the stunning Trevi Fountain. At every turn you can stumble across magnificent piece of history, and great food.

Budapest
A gorgeous city with a youthful atmosphere. Budapest has a pulsating nightlife. Spending the day walking along the river, and heading to the spas, you can really take in the city’s beauty.
  

A Real life fairytale...

Wednesday 3 July 2013 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

There is one thing that most Fairytales have in common, that is the presence of a Castle. Ever wondered how all the Princesses and Princes felt in their luxury castles? Well wonder no more. We have shortlisted our favourite castles from around the world. Your next holiday could involve dungeons, real life forts, stories of knights and kings. It’s the holiday for all the big kids; the kids at heart. But just be warned, you may have to sell that glass slipper to visit all of these mythical properties.

Neuschwanstein CastleA 19th-Century Romanesque Revival Castle located in Bavaria, Germany. The Neuschwanstein Castle is the ultimate fairytale castle. The surroundings itself are unbelievably beautiful. Used as an inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castles in Disneyland parks, you know it has to be spectacular. The tall towers, and the countless windows, you can imagine Rapunzel throwing down her long hair. Although it may not be possible staying the night, a tour of this remarkable property will be the starting point into creating your very own fairytale castle (even if it is just for the kids in the backyard).

Visit the Neuschwanstein Castle >> 

Château de ChillonSituated on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, with the picturesque alps in the background, its the perfect setting for a fairytale. Built in the 12th-Century and expanded in the 13th, this medieval fortress is filled with history and legends. On a sunny winters day, the sparkles shinning off the lake, the snow on the alps, it no wonder this is where Lord Byron wished to resign.

Visit Château de Chillon >> 


Château du Haut-KoenigsbourgRestored by a specialist in medieval fortification, The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg still today is an accurate model of the prestigious castle; down to the mill, the spiral staircases and the drawbridges. The castles original grandeur has been recreated and is a major piece of European history. The castle has been listed as a Monument of History since 1863. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Alsace in France. Sitting in the midst of the Vosges Mountains, if there happens to be a queue, you’ll be happy with the view.

Visit Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg >> 

Conwy CastleDescribed as the "best preserved suite of medieval private royal chambers in England and Wales", this 13th Century Military architecture is on of the finest Castles in Europe. Although there are many Castles in Europe, not all have played an important role in several wars like the Conwy Castle. The Conway Castle has been well preserved and stands a very proud medieval fortification till this day.

Visit Conwy Castle >> 
 

Bran CastleCommonly known as “Dracula’s Castle”, this beautiful Castle is well off the beaten path. Situated between Transylvania and Wallachia in the lush green mountains, Bran Castle looks like a fairytale in every way. With secret passage ways inside the building and Queen Marie’s furniture that dates back to the 1920’s through out the castle, you will feel like you have taken a step back in time. Sit in the sun in the gorgeous courtyard, and don’t forget to get a priceless picture from the upstairs balcony. The views are worthy of those of Royalty. 



Visit Bran Castle >> 

My Lightening Trip to London

Thursday 11 April 2013 | By William Coulston |

Courtesy of British Airways I had two business class tickets to London last Tuesday on the inaugural 777 flight and I arrived back in Oz yesterday – still not sure what time zone I’m on anyway…… my review

British Airways

This was the inaugural Boeing 777-300 service new aircraft and into Terminal 5 Heathrow

Seats - we had row 12 the two seats together in the middle facing backwards. With the pearlised screen to block out your neighbour on the aisle this became a very nice private space - however we had no perception of anything as we could not see any windows

You also have to climb over the person on the aisle seat when they are sleeping trying very hard not to hit their legs which I did twice!

There were a couple who had the backward facing window seat and the forward facing aisle seat so they face each other and could talk I would probably opt for this next time.

Seat in any position very comfortable - more so than Emirates Business Class seat which I don't like in bed mode and on a par with the Qantas Skybed or United's Business Class seat which I do like

However there is no where to place things like magazines and the seats need a small drinks tray between the seats to put your glass on and save putting your meal tray down. There is a drawer at the bottom of the seat on the side which fits shoes and magazines and assorted odds and ends

Food and beverage

the meals are served on a tray with a cloth which is placed on your tray table

Not stylish enough - I prefer Emirates or Malaysian where a cloth is placed on your tray table then your tray with another linen cloth is placed on that

Salt and pepper in paper sachets not shakers which was disappointing

My main course Sydney to Singapore was terrible and the scrambled eggs into London you could have bounced off the wall, however London via Singapore to Sydney the meals were stunning.

Wine - only sav blanc white or two reds - no chardonnay

Champagne is Tattinger

There is a self service food and wine snack bar which is great on the long sectors

Entertainment - fantastic a huge range of movies etc and the screen is quite large

Flight was full except the last sector I did go and check out Premium Economy and economy Personally I would not pay for Premium as the seats did not look that much bigger than economy (of course depends on the service level) The new First cabin looks stunning and I loved the window treatment 

Airports

Express Path Sydney works very well both for passport and security checks and also on arrival

I did not like Terminal 5 Heathrow – very grey very clinical could have been anywhere –One point to note

Walking into the vast departures check-in hall there is no clear signage where to go if you are Business Class Tell clients to turn right and head for the “First” check-in area at the end of the Hall Business class is just before it.

Airport Lounges

Sydney – Qantas Business Class lounge – full and we struggled to find two seats and as usual no snack food – give me finger sandwiches anytime

Singapore – British Airways own lounge – great showers and good selection of food and wines etc

London Terminal Five – BA Galleries – very hard to get to whoever designed this terminal’s flow must have taken something!

Very Large lounge nicely divided into different spaces the showers are one floor down between the First lounge and the Concorde room

Great view of one runway

Reasonable selection of food being evening the dinner offerings were disappointing and looked un-appetising – curries or pasta and a small salad bar

BA Terminal Five Arrivals Lounge was great and the scrambled eggs and hash browns some of the best I’ve ever had

Easy to find walk out into public arrivals hall take the lift to 3rd floor and its right in front of you

Only downside – no public phone except for a strange credit card phone push button 1 for local calls in the Uk and I kept getting a USA international operator!

Car Transfers

Carey Limousines – very good

The driver was booked for 7am and I had asked them to meet us at the arrivals lounge

At 6.55am the chauffeur walked in to locate us

New black Mercedes E class

Just Airports Limousines

http://www.justairports.com/

I used this company from London City to Heathrow

32 pounds one way which for London is a very cheap price you either pre-pay with a card or pay the driver cash

Booked the car for 5.00pm pickup driver came a tad early

Comfortable 4 seater estate car that would take 3 passengers and 3 cases and bags

Not a limo but clean and comfortable and miles better than battling the London tube at peak hour!

They charge an extra 5 pounds for arrival service plus car parking

Hotels

I stayed one night at the Goring and one night at the Ritz

I also had site inspections and lunch at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park and Claridges

Site inspections and afternoon teas at The Four Seasons and the Savoy

Site inspection at the Stafford

Always book Virtuoso rates at these hotels

If I could take the best of each hotel and mix it together you would have the best in the world 

Best for location– the Ritz, The Stafford and Claridges

The Goring is a five minute walk to Victoria Station or a 20 minute walk past Buckingham Palace to get to Piccadilly

The MO is opposite Harvey Nichols and 5 minutes walk to Harrods

The Savoy is a  2 minute walk to Covent garden


I loved The Goring ( being upgraded to the Belgravia Suite helped! ) a stunning two room suite with silk used as wallpaper

I love the character of the hotel, the staff and the quirkiness

The room light switch - you press one of four buttons –bright, calm, cosy or oohhh!

Best bathroom I have had for ages except it took ten minutes to get the shower to go from either ice cold or boiling to perfect

also the king size bed had a split mattress not the best I’ve slept on 


The Mandarin Oriental is very Victorian in style lots of marble in the lobby area,

Fabulous restaurant very buzzy

The rooms I saw were ok but did not grab


The Stafford

Perfect location in St James

very small uninspiring lobby

loved the bar with an amazing collection of collection of caps

the rooms are spread over the main building and across a courtyard in the mews

some rooms/suites OTT e.g. same wall paper pattern used on the ceiling

I have clients who will only stay here but it did not grab me 

 

Claridges

I would stay here next time as the location is perfect

We had a beautiful lunch with exquisitely served food in the lobby restaurant

Rooms are huge and decorated either in art deco or Edwardian style

We were much fussed over here and felt very special

The Royal Suite I liked but the Ritz Royal Suite is better

The Map room is amazing and is the business centre – a very relaxed place to sit and check your emails

 

The Four Seasons

Stunning

loved this hotel only downside location at Hyde Park Corner -  a bit of a walk to get anywhere

The hotel does have a new black phantom Rolls Royce limo for free use by guests within a mile of the hotel

We were treated to this stunning car which took us back to the Ritz - people stopped and starred when we arrived back at the Ritz!!

Felt very special

Fabulous afternoon tea with Bollinger

fabulous rooms and suites some with terraces on the first floor

there is a stunning arrivals lounge on the top floor with a perfect view across London fro Westminster past the wheel to the new Shard

 

The Ritz

We were upgraded to a Junior Suite - the hotel has smoking floors – which for my travelling partner was great and windows that open which for me was even better

Did I liked it?  Yes however  - It was missing that x factor although the room grew on me

Afternoon Tea was still being served at 8pm in the Palm Court however this is on the side of the lobby and did not intrude

Breakfast in the beautiful restaurant being served by waiters in tails and white tie we did feel like we were royalty – at 7.30 am

We were the only two in the Restaurant – the same at the Goring the morning before – very quiet

Very nice however Goring's breakfast was better and my hollandaise sauce was served cold not warn which was not good

The bathroom was disappointing with plain large white tiles on the floor

Otherwise the suite was delightful - very French in style

 

The Royal Suite is amazing and at 3500 pounds per night not outrageous

I was shown a superior king bed room  perfect marble bathroom so maybe my suite was due for a bathroom upgrade

The banquet conferencing rooms in the adjoining William Kent House were astoundingly beautiful

 

The Savoy

Loved it

Stunning lobby and very switched on staff everyone knew who I was and that a car had been booked to go to Heathrow

Lead in rooms very very small - don't sell - upgrade here

I saw the Maria Callas Suite which had great views over the Thames

Afternoon tea was very nice and the two bars are fabulous

Downside for me is the location - I much prefer being in Mayfair

London

This was my first time back in London in many years - it had not changed - I still love Mayfair

The congestion charge must be working as the traffic was light in the centre of the city

Last Thursday Fortnum and Mason was empty and you could have shot a cannon ball down Regent Street and not hit anybody

That day it was freezing cold and it did snow

The next day - last Friday  - completely different - still very cold but shops full and around Oxford Street and Regent street many many people

Buckingham Palace now has selected evenings when the palace staterooms are open for exclusive viewings at 70 pounds

in April right through to end of the year bookings through the Royal Collections web site

The Tube - Oyster cards cost 5 pounds to buy then you top up. Its cheaper just to buy a paper day ticket

my zone 1-2 cost 8 pounds

Pret a manger shops everywhere offering great value for sandwiches and snacks

Likewise Marks and Spencer food shops offer a great range with price similar or cheaper to here

Petrol is around 1.35 pounds per litre so not cheap if you are self driving

No graffiti and I only saw two people begging the city is clean gleaming and sparkling

In a nutshell that’s my 62 hours last week in London

The Ritz London

Wednesday 10 April 2013 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Already famous for being one of the most prestigious hotels in the world, The Ritz Hotel has received a little more news coverage as of late due to Margret Thatcher, as she was one of The Ritz loyal residents. This magnificent hotel that sets the benchmark by which other hotel are measured, is full of rich history and covered in elegance and style. 

Since 1906 the Hotel has been host to many of the Rich and Famous. This summer The Ritz London is excited to be a participant of the Coronations Festival, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation. 

The Ritz London is offering ‘The Festival Fantastic Program’. 

 

To see full details, Click Here >>
To contact our friendly team and enquire today, Click Here >> 

The Unusual Hotels Around the World....

Monday 11 March 2013 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Dog Park Inn. Cottonwood, Idaho
The largest beagle in the world is not just a landmark for Idaho, but it’s also a Bed and Breakfast. The larger beagle known to the locals as ‘Sweet Willy’ is made out of wood, sleeps 4 guests and offers a barking good time.  

Jules Undersea Lodge. Key Largo, Florida
Originally designed in 1970, Jules’ Undersea Lodge offers the delight of eating, sleeping and living underwater. Whilst enjoying the view from your underwater room, take in how it feels to be on the inside, because soon after you arrive you will be enjoying it from the other side too.  

Tianzi Hotel. China
This 10 story high building that is often mistaken for a statue, stands for good fortune, prosperity and longevity. Built in 2000 it still hold the guinness world record for the biggest image building in the world.

Sandcastle Hotel. Weymouth, United Kingdom.
Sleep under the starry skies, wake up to the rising sun and feel the sand... EVERYWHERE! I personally don’t know a single soul who likes the feeling of sand in their bed, let alone a bed made out of sand, but this is what you get at Sandcastle Hotel, UK. It’s definitely the most practical take on sand sculpting I’ve seen, but in saying that, it’s not necessarily the most comfortable take on the art either 

IKEA Sovhotell. Stockholm, Sweden. 
Capitalising on the expression, ‘shop ‘till you drop’, an IKEA store located within a Stockholm shopping centre, allows customers to do just that. After noting a considerable number of customers stealing some quick zzzz on their bedding displays, IKEA decided to flip the problem on its head. They now offer customers a short stay in the custom built ‘Sleep Hotel’, complete with special pillows, sleeping masks and even headphones. 

The Microcube. Sweden.
Fancy hiding away in the picturesque forests of Sweden? The Microcube Hotel is suspended amongst the trees and includes its very own bathroom and roof terrace, and is almost completely camouflaged with its surrounds.

Ice Hotel. Sweden
Behold the world’s largest hotel made from ice and snow - Shiver me timbers! The entire hotel is quite the construction, with it melting away and being rebuilt each and every year. Visitors sleep on a bed made from ice, and the surrounding furniture also takes this same icy form. With temperatures sitting at around the -5 degrees celsius mark, it’s best you pack something warm! 

Drain Pipe Hotel. Austria.
As unappealing as it may sound, it turns out that this drain pipe hotel option, is one of the more luxurious options we’ve found. Offering its own version of luxury, the pipe is fitted with a queen bed, nightlight and storage space, all set amongst the beautiful mountainside.  

Hobbit Motel. New Zealand.
This quaint little addition started as a working farm, and is now a unique hotel drawing in visitors from across the globe. The self-contained Hobbit rooms aren’t however the only sight on show at Woodlyn Park, they also offer a Train Motel, Plane Motel and Boat Motel - How is one to decide? 

Kumbuk River Resort. Sri Lanka
An Eco-lodge on the banks of a beautiful river, set in the midst of a beautiful wildlife sanctuary. Sounds normal right? It is, until you spot your sleeping quarters for the evening, inside the tummy of an elephant! The 2-story villa takes the shape of an elephant and is the reason for Kumbuk River Resort’s renowned infamy. The combination of the amazing surrounds and the novelty of the accommodation are great reasons to give this hotel a try.   

Smile and Check out The Happiest Cities in the World

Wednesday 20 February 2013 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Rio De Janeiro
With an abundance of outdoor performances, cultural attractions and festivals, the people from the city of the renowned ‘Carnival’, sure know how to be happy. With years worth of culture and a buzzing atmosphere, the city makes everyday living feel like an exciting and adventurous holiday. Locals live in bold colour, they get dressed up and they dance through the streets - It’s a beautiful city brimming with breathtaking colours.

Sydney
Australia is known for their down-to-earth, fun-loving folk, so it’s no surprise that Australia has made the list, two times over. The relaxed vibe, stunning beaches and an array of eateries are just a few of the reasons why the people of Sydney are in spot number two, and are some of the happiest people in the world.

Barcelona
Having fine architecture on your doorstop from the famous figurehead, Antoni Gaudi would be enough to keep a lot of people very pleased. Now add a rich history, great shopping, beaches, as well as endless tapas and sangria, and you have yourself an amazing place to live. With its amazing weather and position as one of Europe's fastest improving Cities, it’s no wonder the people of Barcelona can’t wipe the smiles of their faces.

Amsterdam
Imagine riding around a quaint little city on a stylish vintage bike; taking in the pristine parks, and breath-taking canals; stopping for some melt-in-your-mouth poffertjes and exploring the amazing city which comes alive every evening. This charming place is always entertaining and keeps the locals of Amsterdam an always happy, bunch of people.

Melbourne
Known as Australia’s fashion capital, Melbourne provides a relaxed atmosphere, mixed with strong hints of culture and class. Often referred to as the ‘Garden City’ and home to over 4.1million Melbournians, the city combines a city landscape, with bay-like beaches, diverse cuisine and an abundance of cultural activities. Ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, it’s no wonder Melbourne also made its mark on our happiness scale.

Madrid
The Capital and largest city in Spain is host to many influencers in the European Union, with their taste in fashion, food and fun, second to none. In addition, Madrid offers plenty of museums and culture, mixed with its party lifestyle and flamenco twist. Top off your experience with a visit to their beautifully, well-kept parks... The perfect place to nap under a tree with some Ensalasilla Rusa and do as the locals do, unwind.

San Francisco
From the cable cars, to Fishermans Wharf, everyday in San francisco is like being on the set of a movie; the nightlife, the dining, and the iconic golden gate bridge. People travel far and wide to cross The Big Red Sir Bridge, and the lucky people of San Francisco can take a stroll across it whenever they wish. The very pleased people of San Francisco are so pleased with their town in fact, that they’ve made our top 10 too! 

Rome
A saying I believe all the people of Rome live by “Eat well, Travel often”. With its beautiful surroundings, amazing history, their selection of fine wines, and an array of boutique restaurants bordering every laneway - It’s no wonder the Romans lead the good life.

Paris
The city of love offers more then just a sparkling Eiffel Tower to keep the locals happy. The cheeses, breads and pastries; the beautiful clothes and chic locals, as well as the pebbled pathways and stunning museums... What’s not to be happy about? Did you know however that Parisians also average 10 weeks of holiday time, each and every year? It’s no wonder they’re happier than ever.

Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is an energetic city, filled with energetic people. The city offers a little bit of everything, there’s an abundance of sunshine, it provides highly affordable living and they ensure Sunday’s are set aside for relaxation. They shut down shop, spend time with their family and friends, or simply take it easy.   

Top 10 Cities with the Best Beaches...

Monday 4 February 2013 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Rio Je Janeiro- Brazil
Where age and body shape means nothing, but wearing a one piece will be frowned upon. Rio Je Janeiro is the place to get into that Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
and show off some skin. Indulge in some cheeky cocktails and play a quick game of paddleball.

Miami- USA
Anyone who is a ‘anyone’ is seen at Miami Beach. Your almost assured to see someone famous. Though the Miami Strip comes alive at night, the beach in itself is an event. It’s where the bold and beautiful come to freshen up their tan, or just to flaunt what they’ve got.

Valencia- Spain
Bordered by Tapas bars and endless sangria, a day down on Valencia beach is a day well spent. Enough beach for almost everyone in Valencia, you will have no problem finding a spot. Either spread out your towel and catch some rays, or hire a couple of sun beds and get comfortable.

Santa Cruz- California
Santa Cruz has something for everyone. With the historical amusement park on the broad walk, complete with the old Big Dipper; Surf Spots for the egger big wave surfer; Off-leash dog beaches for all the dog lovers; or you can sit and watch the pelicans dive for food. Santa Cruz makes you feel like a character in your own movie. A definite spot to sit and take in its charms and quirks.

Sydney- Australia
Australia is well know for its beautiful beaches in its every corner, though one city that has ever-growing popularity is Sydney. The Capital of New South Wales continues to draw visitors in with the picturesque beaches, the warm weather, the waves, and the boys in blue protecting the shores of Bondi Beach may be helping too.

Barcelona- Spain
4.2km of sandy beaches to play with, though in the summer time it seems this just isn't enough. Barcelona at anytime of the year is quite busy, though through summer the seaside is more lively and busy then the Autobahn in Germany. If traveling in Summer, once you have your spot, be sure to be in for the long hall. There are many locals walking around selling coconuts and cold beverages so a whole day in the busy paradise is easy done.

Tel Aviv- Israel
The temperatures are hot in Tel Aviv so hitting the water will be a must, but be sure to steer clear of the jellyfish. You’ll come across many people in next to nothing, but usually looking very fashionable. After a nice cool off in the water, find one of the many men walking around with ice creams and popsicles to hit that sweet spot.

Tangier- Morocco
Where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic you’ll discover there is more to do then work on your tan. Take a stroll along the sand or let a camel do all the work for you. This relaxed city is enticing and after a day on its beautiful beaches, treat yourself to some of its fine seafood.



Palawam- Philippines
It hard to choose just one of the many beautiful beaches that the Philippines has to offer, but Palawan has to top the cake. No photo could not do these beaches justice. Whilst relaxing in this postcard location, watch the locals ferrying between the villages or explore some of the jungle surroundings. The scenery will take your breathe away.

Brighton- England
Only an hour away from the fast-paced London City and your in the Beautiful Seaside town of Brighton. Still with all the perks of the big city, such as classy restaurants and bars and clubs, Brighton is relaxed and offers nothing but a good time. The heat may not be the main reason for getting in the water most of the year, but the clear aqua water will be.   

The top 10 Cities in the World for 2013...

Thursday 13 December 2012 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

AmsterdamThis picturesque city is the largest of all cities in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is Vibrant and well known for its diversity. This amazing city mazed with beautiful canals offers an exciting nightlife, festivals all year round, as well as world famous museums and historical sights. The perfect place to unwind, ride a bike, dine on pancakes and enjoy the cobbled canal-side walkways.

For more Information on Amsterdam >> 

San FranciscoSan francisco is located on the West Coast of the United States and is renowned for its cool summers. There is plenty to see and do in this amazing city - Firstly check out the museums, parks and beaches, but secondly, don’t forget the famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and its former prison, as well as China town.

For more information on San Francisco >>

LondonLondon is full of endless landmarks, history and beautiful, well kept parks. There is no shortage of markets, street restaurants and diverse nightlife. London is excitingly noisy, distinctively multicultural and boasts the perfect contrast of a city which remains rich in history whilst promoting innovation and forward movement. The frantic energy within the city is endless, it captures you and is kind enough to take you along for the ride.

For more information on London >>

HamburgHamburg is known as Germany’s Gateway to the the world, this is due to it having the country’s biggest port and the second busiest port in Europe. When in Hamburg make sure you take a stroll around the port, walk through the city centre and around City Hall. If you’re lucky enough to be there at the right time, and you’re able to keep your eyes open, check out ‘Night of Museums’, in which over 50 museums take part to keep the history and culture on-show until 2am. In addition, Hamburg is currently hot on the heels of Berlin as the European capitol of cool, we recommend you jump on the bandwagon ahead of the cool crowd and beat them to the punch!

For more information on Hamburg >> 

Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the perfect mixture of fairy tales, modern day living, smooth jazz and hard bass. It’s hard for the city to be considered a holiday destination alone, and is rather a place of constant discovery. There’s much to see and do in Copenhagen, from day trips to the beach and amusement parks, plus you can also take part in their varied event calendar, including the Copenhagen Jazzfestival, Copenhagen Pride, Night of Culture and the MIX Copenhagen Film Festival. The splendour of this jam packed city is complimented by its intimate surrounds and offers a taste of everything and something for everyone.

For more information on Copenhagen >>

BarcelonaInfamous for partying, it’s likely that Barcelona is atop many other ‘best-of’ party lists, but as a city, we have found it offers visitors with so much more. There’s an abundance of outdoor markets, street entertainment and fiesta’s, shopping, museums, churches and outstanding architecture. At every turn, visitors can marvel at monuments, gardens and buildings, with each telling the historical tale of the city. An ideal place to simply wander, get lost, be amazed and find new wonders with each and every new day. With great food to be found in secluded lane-ways and salty fresh seafood paella by the beach, Barcelona has it all... and then some!

For more information on Barcelona >> 

Hobart Tasmania’s capital city may be the smallest capital city in Australia but it’s rich in natural beauty and amazing landscapes. Hobart is home to the majestic Mount Wellington, many wineries and vineyards, as well as the Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory. A nice way to end your day of activities is to head out on a boat cruise or to enjoy the live music, great atmosphere and delicious food on offer at one of the many local pubs or bars.

For more information on Hobart >> 

Seoul Seoul is South Korea’s Largest city and blends just the right amount of ancient traditions with cutting edge digital technology. There are many breath-taking Buddhist temples, endless street vendors, extraordinary architecture, markets and shrines. Seoul is known for its dynamic trend-setting and non-conformist style, as well as their many activities, including adventure sports, amusement parks and beautiful mountain climbs.

For more information on Seoul >> 

Mexico CityDowntown Mexico City is an urban area filled with Historical buildings and landmarks. Mexico City has also been known as the City of Palaces, due to the large number of stately buildings. Mexico city boats the largest museums in the world, ensuring there’s plenty of history and culture to soak up on your visit.

For more information on Mexico City >> 

Christchurch Christchurch is filled with buildings that show its English Heritage, especially along the Worcester Boulevard. The city is better known as the Garden City, which is well deserved when you see the trees that grow as if in a forest all around the city. After sitting around the Botanical gardens head to the Christchurch art Gallery, pick up some snacks from the farmers markets and get involved in a creative workshop, before ending your evening with a dabble at the Casino.

For more information on Christchurch >> 
  

Bucket list Makers...Riding a Camel

Monday 26 November 2012 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Camels it seems are quite a misunderstood animal, but have been present in Australia’s history since 1860. They were brought here as part of the Bourke and Wills expedition. There are many places in Australia where camel riding has become very popular. From climbing on a camel at dawn and watching the sun rise along Cable beach in Broome, to taking in the sunset in Port Macquarie. Camel riding is a box ticker for all ages and one which should be on everyone’s list.

To discover your closest camel riding location, follow the links below >>
Camel Safari’s- Port Macqaurie
Australian Camel
Camels in Coffs Harbour
The Camel Company
  

Start planning next years trip- 2013 top 10 countries

Tuesday 13 November 2012 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

1. Sri Lanka:Sri Lanka has so much to offer in the way of heritage, culture, pristine views and festivities. This small, tropical and warm island in the Indian Ocean is a must-visit for 2013. Every year in mid April, Sri Lankan's celebrate the Sinhalese and Hindu new year festivals, as well as a symbolic Buddhist festival in August. The festivals consist of cultural dances, decorated elephants, fire and whip-dances, as well as various other cultural celebrations.

Find out more about travel in Sri Lanka >>

2. MontenegroIn terms of size, Montenegro is a small Country but it is filled with overwhelming beauty. It has amazing walled towns; well preserved historic monuments; the second largest canyon in the world and a coast that is just as good, if not better than its well known neighbor Croatia. Montenegro is filled with so much natural beauty that you could get lost for days within its mountainous landscapes or down at the popular glacier lake, Black Lake.

Find out more about travel in Montenegro>>

3. South KoreaOne of South Koreas most popular destinations is its capital Seoul. Seoul has many famous sites including the Seoul Tower and even a Teddy Bear Museum. During mid July also check out the city of Boryeong in Chunchungnam-do where they host a Mud Festival with an abundance of cultural insights. In your spare time South Korea is a great Country for hiking and trekking or learning some famous martial arts like Taekwondo.

Find out what to do in South Korea >>

4. EcuadorEcuador is a small and diverse South American gem. In this amazing country you can come across volcanoes, pacific beaches, blue lakes, greener than green valleys and even the Amazon. The country is well known for its adventure sports such as hiking, horse riding, biking, kayaking and snorkeling. Whilst walking through the many markets and colonial towns it’s evident that the Ecuadorians live a relaxed way of life. They adopt a slower pace, they’re friendly and more than happy to take the time for a chat with a stranger; perhaps in some part, their positive outlook is due to the beautiful plant life and amazing array of native birds which surround them.

Find out more about Ecuador >>

5. Slovakia

Located in Central Europe, Slovakia is a small country with a great and vivid history, as well as an ideal destination for relaxation. The country is filled with well marked hiking tracks, some of which leading to mineral and thermal springs. The country has 9 national parks for you to go and explore, with their castles and chateaux’s another must-see for visitors. For an adventurous and off the beaten track holiday, Slovakia is your answer.

Find out more about Slovakia >>

6. Solomon IslandsThis Island Nation is made up of over 1,000 islands which are separated into 9 main island groups. Situated in the South West of the Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Islands are very humid all year round with the slightly cooler months being June through August. The Solomon Islands are filled with cultural beauty, something which must be taken advantage of on your visit here. Whilst on one of their many islands, try and get hands-on with some of the cultural activities, which are undertaken on a daily basis by the island’s natives. The locals are very friendly and by getting an insight into their way of life your experience will only be even more enriched.

Find out more about Solomon Islands >>

7. IcelandDespite the misleading name, Iceland is generally quite a warm place. Full of plenty of natural beauty, Iceland is absolutely stunning. During the month of June you can soak up as much of this beauty as you like as the sun barely sets, and night fall never really hits. There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained on those long and seemingly endless days, why not try hiking or ice climbing on glaciers, whale watching or visiting the Blue Lagoon, a famous geothermal spa.

Find more about Iceland >>

8. TurkeyTurkey has beautiful beaches, and more history and culture than you could imagine. Turkey is the perfect place to explore and get lost in old ancient ruins and architectural heritage. Turkey is more then 3 times the size of the United Kingdom, so if you do venture to this amazing country be sure to spare plenty of time to make it to all of the notable landmarks, including Gallipoli Cove.

Find out more about Traveling Turkey >>

9. Dominican RepublicDominican Republic is a Caribbean country with warm weather almost all year round. Though a lot of the country consists of rugged highlands and deep valleys, the real beauty is in all its little perks and pleasures. For example, the supremely tasty food which is served in unique outdoor restaurants (ideal for people watching), and also turn into lively venues of an evening; another pleasure, try indulging in the great and inexpensive shopping at the countries capital Santo Domingo; and of course the picturesque beaches, clear water and many beautiful national parks which have made the Caribbean so very famous.

Find out more about Dominican Republic >>

10. MadagascarMadagascar is a very unique island country situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Due to it being so isolated, Madagascar has been found to contain a mix of plants and animals which you can’t find anywhere else in the world. To see some of these rare sights, a visit to Madagascar’s largest reserve, Tsingy de Bemaraha which is a UNESCO heritage site, is a must. While you’re there you should also experience the kayaking, windsurfing and even the deep sea fishing on offer. BUT - Make sure you pick the right time of year to visit or you could be stuck with some serious and heavy rain.

Find out more about Madagascar >>

LauncherOne...

Wednesday 31 October 2012 | By Tahnee Wherritt |

Virgin Galactic's New LauncherOne and Air Launch Rocket are set to transform satellite launch. Also set to be the lowest price in the market.  Virgin Galactic is dedicated to dramatically reducing the price of getting to space. 

Check out the amazing work by Virgin Galactic and keep upto date with all the news! 

Diary of a Leisure Travel Specialist #2

Friday 13 April 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |

William Coulston - Singapore Trip, 2011

PRE-DEPARTURE & STOP OVERS

I flew to Singapore from Sydney, via Kuala Lumpur using Malaysian Airlines, Business class. I checked myself in a day prior to departure and changed my seat allocation on both flights online. Simple process.

The Malaysian check-in and luggage drop at Sydney was opposite the Qantas Business / First counter. It was very fast and efficient and right by the express customs entry point.
 
Malaysian has its own lounge at Sydney airport, which is downstairs next door to the Emirates Lounge. It’s a very comfortable space with a good range of light snacks. You can also order Malaysian style hot food, cooked to order and served at your table.

Terminal 2 in Changi is a very restful place with amazing orchid displays. It was empty at 5.45am, but by 6.15 it was beginning to buzz.
 
The Malaysian lounge in Terminal 2 however, was disappointing. It was merely a plain room with tub chairs, but they did serve a good scrambled egg. Malaysian’s flagship lounge at KLIA in the satellite terminal is excellent, as is the smaller lounge in the main terminal with a great choice of food and beverage.
 
FLIGHTSI was very impressed by my Sydney to KL flight via Boeing 747 - 400. The service was excellent and genuinely friendly, from a very polish cabin crew. The aircraft is in an impeccable condition.

The video system was okay. About 40 movies with many new releases, however all are playing on a loop and are not on demand. The in-flight magazine did specify which video number related to which film so it took a bit of flicking to find the film I wanted to watch.

The seats were very comfortable, however don’t lie flat, rather at a 15 degree angle when in bed mode. The best seats in Business Class are the exit row on the Upper deck.

A highlight was the Satay service on both long flights. Yesterday’s snack service was satay sticks followed by medallions of lobster then cheesecake. A good wine list is also offered. Only a choice of juice is offered pre-take off.

I liked the colours in the Business Class cabin; the table cloths are a light teal green. The white line cloth on the meal tray has scalloped edges, for those who appreciate the minor details.

We had a two hour transit in KL, then a 737 to Singapore. The seats this time around were red flying Jason recliners. For a short flight very late at night, it was nice to see they still served a light meal.

I did find KL International Airport signage very confusing and it took me a while to find the Malaysian Lounge. The train between the two terminals is out of action but there is a continual bus service running. My suitcase was off fast and my car and driver was waiting outside the Customs Hall at Singapore, I was pleased to see.
 
I travelled from KL to Sydney via a Boeing 777. I’m a fan of the 777 and had seat 1D this time. The space between the rows in this Business Class cabin seemed more than on the 747-400. My luggage failed to make the flight and I spent a lot longer in Sydney Airport on arrival than I’d intended.
 
All in all, I would have no hesitation in recommending Malaysian Airlines Business Class, and considering the airfares through to Europe in Business Class are under $6000, it offers amazing value.
 
HOTELSSWISSOTEL THE STAMFORD

By the time I arrived at the hotel it was well past 1am. The check-in was slow even with my Swiss Club Gold membership.

My room, 4751 on the 47th floor was large, comfortable and functional. Very good for a business traveller. Every room has a small balcony. It’s a heart stopping moment when you step out onto your 47th floor balcony and the heavy sliding glass door closes behind you! “William; last seen stuck on a balcony high above the city!” - I was picturing tomorrow’s tabloids.

The breakfast served in Café Swiss left me cold. I ordered room service the following morning for 7.30am. The door bell rang at precisely 7.30am. The charge for an American breakfast SGD$47 was excessive.

The bed had a continental quilt on it. It was too hot for me so I pulled the quilt out of the cover and the cover was too cold. I asked housekeeping for a blanket and sheet instead of the quilt. They put the quilt back in the cover and left the blanket folded neatly on the end of the bed. This was repeated for two days. It took housekeeping until the third day to work out that I wanted; a top sheet and then a blanket on the bed instead of the quilt.

The conference was in the Raffles City Convention Centre, which is between and connected to the Swissotel and the Fairmont Hotel. Apart from a dinner in the ballroom at Raffles Hotel (across the road), I did not leave the Swissotel or the conference centre for three days! Raffles City is very clinical in look and feel.
 
A highlight was a Moet Chandon champagne reception on the Helipad which is the roof of the Swissotel the Stamford – 75th level. Oh by the way, the roof has no railing!!! It took me a good five minutes to climb the last five steps. To get onto the roof you take a lift to the Equinox Bar on the 71st Floor, then you climb up the fire staircase 5 floors to the roof!  I needed a drink after that.


 
Speaking of drinks – expensive. I had a Bacardi and coke in the Equinox Bar and that set me back SGD$21.

FULLERTON HOTEL

A Virtuoso hotel. I was very impressed by the lobby / lounge areas and I loved the pool, which is on the second level facing the city. I also adore the garden area that faces the bay side on the ground floor.

I was in a Quay Room on the 6th floor which had a wonderful balcony and views towards Parliament and the Clark Quay area. The room itself wasn’t overly large. The walls were a soft yellow and the pillows were wonderful.

You need to insert your room key card into the slot just inside the room to make most of the electrics work. It took me a little while to work that one out and why I could not get the curtains to open or close. Maybe the pace of the last three days was numbing the brain.

I had access to the Straits Club (executive lounge). A very nice afternoon tea was served at 4pm and free flowing Moet, open bar and substantial canapés between 6pm and 8pm. My only criticism of the Straits Club is the lack of seat level windows and view, which is out over the river and the city. All the staff I encountered remembered and used my name every time.

My car and driver was waiting on time at 4.30am yesterday morning to drive me back to Changi Airport.

FULLERTON BAY HOTEL

This Virtuoso hotel is a 10 minute walk from the Fullerton via a passageway to One Fullerton then a short walk in the open air. This property is simply stunning.

The photos do not do justice to the attention to detail that the designers have incorporated into the rooms and public spaces. The tiles on the floor from the entrance to reception shimmer.The pool area is amazing – I loved it. The one room I saw I could move into and live in. The safe looks like a Louis Vuitton white travelling trunk.The use of light brown marble and deep brown wood veneers is stunning, too.


 
CAPELLA

Capella is also a Virtuoso hotel, located on Sentosa Island making it roughly a 15-20 minute drive from central Singapore. An old Colonial building is used as the reception area, conference facility and restaurant. A Norman Foster designed curved building is used for accommodation. I saw a Capella Suite and a Constellation Suite (with an outdoor hot tub); both are very modern, large living spaces with views down over the terraced pool area and toward the sea. It’s a shame the sea is full of tankers at anchor, taking away a bit of that resort feeling.

I did not warm to Capella as I found the Foster accommodation wing too modern for my taste. However for clients who want a 5 star deluxe resort away from the hubbub of Singapore city then this is the place to be.
 
MARINA BAY SANDS

You cannot miss this astounding three tower hotel. I only saw the lobby area and the hotel was swarming with people. The Sands Sky Park which is the long structure that tops the three accommodation towers is a resort deck with pools, etc.

However this is also open to locals and tourists. Some of the conference delegates who have seen this hotel said there were long queues waiting to gain access to the Sky Park.
 
SINGAPORE IN GENERALThe city, when I managed to get up to Orchard and Scotts Road, was buzzing. There is a new shopping complex called ION located across the road from the Marriott at the corner of Orchard Road and Scotts Road. It’s filled with designer label stores and fabulous jewelers like Harry Winston. Taxis were very cheap.
 
Singapore has been off the radar recently, particularly as a stopover destination.
It still is a very green, clean and somewhat clinical city. But for shopping and the chance to stay in some stunning hotels, I would recommend a few days on the way to or from Europe or before or after a cruise.
 

Travel Diary - 10 days in Austria

Friday 30 March 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |

12-22 November 2010

FLIGHTS

Emirates A380 Economy Class Sydney to Dubai

Before departing, I had use of the Emirates Lounge in Sydney. I have used this lounge on numerous occasions and it’s always a very comfortable space to sit in with a very nice selection of food and beverages.

On the flight, I had an exit row seat and was very grateful for the extra leg room as the flight was full. The best economy class seats on the A380 are the window seats, the row behind the exit row being 68A, 68K, 81A and 81K. There’s no seat in front of these as the exit row in front is only two seats, so there’s an amazing amount of space! The A380 is a fantastic aircraft; it’s quiet and the air onboard seems fresher than onboard a 747. The service was good, the meal was tasty and I enjoyed a glass of Austrian white wine.

Upon arrival in Dubai I had to queue for half an hour with hundreds of others to pass through security to enter the transit area. The transit area goes on forever and was packed with people. From 5am to 9am seems to be the peak time. For those who do not have access to an airline lounge, there are two basic pay to enter lounges called Marhaba offering light refreshments, however there are no showers in these lounges. I did find showers in the main concourse but there were no towels and I couldn’t locate a facility that sold or provided towels. Marharba services can also arrange escorts to and from the aircraft but from what I understand, there is no queue jumping at security or immigrations. Visit their website for more information >>

B777 Business Class Dubai to Vienna

After being down the back for 14.5 hours, B777 Business Class to Vienna was a treat! Very comfortable seats that form a fully flat bed. The service was excellent from a very professional crew. An amazing desert trolley was presented after the main course. Arrival in Vienna was very easy; no forms, no formalities.

A340 Economy Class Munich to Dubai

On the A340 Economy Class Munich to Dubai, I once again had an exit row seat. A short 5 hour flight with good service.

A380 Business Class Dubai to Sydney Check-in

The A380 Business Class Dubai to Sydney was very comfortable. The lunch service was outstanding; bordering First Class service standards for many airlines. Every course was nicely presented and served individually. The seat converts to a fully flat bed, however I was very uncomfortable with the pillow as the head rest when in bed mode is high and makes the pillow even higher. I did sleep, however be warned, the last two rows of Business Class on the A380 have the “bar” directly behind. The rest of the group I was traveling with were in these seats and did not get a wink of sleep during the 14 hour flight because of the constant chatter and noise from this social area. Though, this bar is a great place to go to sit, stretch and relax away from the main cabin. I could even order a martini if I wished. The Emirates ICE in-seat entertainment system is amazing with a huge range of films, though not many recent releases. Also, you have an in-seat telephone which worked (I phoned home twice from 35,000 feet). Emirates is a premium airline with an outstanding product.

HOTELS

The Imperial Hotel Kartner

In Vienna, I stayed at The Imperial Hotel Kartner. I stayed here on my first visit to Vienna about 13 years ago, too. It still is as sumptuous as it was then and is still the preferred residence of visiting Heads of State. The hotel was built in 1863 as the Vienna Palace of the Prince of Wuttemberg. It became a hotel in 1873. It maintains an efficient and discreet service; the concierge knew my room number and gave me my key each time I returned, before I even asked. The hotel may be over the top for some people; it is all marble, onyx and crystal chandeliers. On this occasion I found my room, even though quite sumptuous, lacking warmth. The formal (hard) settee and chairs were not conducive of flopping down in front of the TV to relax, especially after the long flight from Sydney. The costs were pretty steep as well. I had 4 shirts pressed and 10 items laundered which came to 140 euro! A call to a local Austrian mobile cost me 15 euro.

If you’re interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Rosemarie Regner, Director of Leisure Sales: Rosemarie.regner@starwoodhotels.com >>

Hotel Sacher Philharmonikerstraße

I absolutely love this hotel. Very residential, very sumptuous, yet not “over the top”. The owner of the Sacher Hotels is a lady, which is reflected in the soft furnishings. The rooms and fabrics are gorgeous. I could have easily flopped down on the settee and settled in for a night. I would recommend this as the best in town.

If you're interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Harti-Wagner, Chief of Sales and Marketing: wein@sacher.com >>

The Ring Hotel Karnter

From the outside, the Ring Hotel Kartner looks like an 18th century building. Inside it’s modern and simplistic. It’s worlds away from both the Sacher and the Imperial. A modern Bistro with two original Andy Warhol paintings of Marilyn Monroe. The rooms are comfortable, the design is hip and happening.

If you're interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Roland Hamberger, Director of Sales and Marketing: Sales@grandhotelwein.com >>

Hotel Sacher Schwarzstrasse

Just the one night here in Salzburg. This hotel is located right beside the river; so many of the rooms boast beautiful views of the water, the old town and the castle. My room was very small with an equally small bathroom, however the soft furnishings were wonderful, the bed blissfully comfortable and I could work the TV easily. At the Imperial in Vienna you needed a degree in computer science to operate the TV! I was very impressed when I came back to my room early in the evening. I had unpacked my suitcase and had strewn clothes over the bed. The maid had folded these all up and left them neatly on the chair. She had also hung up all of my jackets. My room service order was beautifully presented. All the staff used my name at all times. If service is key for you, you will love this hotel!

If you're interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Evelyn Wickoff, Director of Sales: ewickoff@sacher.com >>

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The reception and gala dinner in the Great Gallery at Schonbrunn Palace Vienna was the ultimate highlight - it was an amazing night! This is the room where the Austrian Government holds State Dinners for visiting Head of State. Just gazing up at the ceiling above me during dinner was an experience!
  • The Austrian Tourist Office and all the local authorities pulled out all the stops to highlight the best that Austria has to offer.
  • Flying one stop from Australia to Vienna was fantastic!
  • I loved Vienna; the great pride the locals have in their Imperial past is very obvious! It’s a wonderful city to walk around in and just immerse yourself in the culture and history. The shopping is good and the local coffee houses are a treat. I found costs on par with Australia with the current strength of our dollar against the euro.
  • I could open the windows in all of the hotels I stayed in. Now, that’s something I like to see in a hotel!
  • Salzburg; I loved the old village. However even in November there were many tourists in groups (like us), I think it would be swarming with people in summer time.
  • The drive from Salzburg to Innsbruck was really great with amazing scenery!
  • The German high speed ICE train I took (first class) from Innsbruck to Munich last Saturday was on time, clean and efficient.
  • Austria as a destination – I would highly recommend it. A wealth of history, stunning scenery, wonderful cuisine and, being located in the “heart of Europe”, it’s easily accessible.

TripAdvisor Names the World's Top Hotels

Tuesday 24 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |


Image: Garonga Safari, Phalaborwa

Comparison Website TripAdvisor has issued its 10th annual Traveler's Choice Awards list of the world's 25 best hotels, based on millions of rankings. That's right; decided by guests, decided by - you! Here are the top rankings:

Best Hotel in the World:

The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro, Belize

Best Luxury Hotel in the World:

Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo


Image: Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo

Best Bargain in the World:

HueNino Hotel in Hue, Vietnam

Best for Service in the World:

Arcadia Residence in Prague, Czech Republic


Image: Arcadia Residence, Prague

Best B&B and Inn in the World:

The Twenty One in Brighton, England

Best All-Inclusive in the World:

Garonga Safari Camp in Phalaborwa, South Africa


Image: Garonga Safari Camp, Phalaborwa

Best Relaxation and Spa in the World:

BollAnt’s im Park in Bad Sobernheim, Germany

Trendiest Hotel in the World:

Villa Zest Boutique Hotel in Cape Town, S.A.


Image: Villa Zest Hotel, Cape Town

Honeymoon Tips

Tuesday 11 October 2011 | By Maria Boskovski |

You’ll have plenty of time to travel together, but only one honeymoon. Here is a list of honeymoon tips to ensure you make the most of it!

  1. Plan early. Allowing yourself enough time to research and explore your options means you’ll more likely find and do exactly what you want.
  2. Make decisions together. This moment marks the beginning of your life as husband and wife - share it as much as possible.
  3. This is the one holiday where you can really splurge on accommodation - Guilt-Free! Even if you don’t plan to spend much time in your room, you’ll want the time you do spend in your room to be really special.
  4. If you plan to take your spouse’s name, you probably wont have the time to update your passport, driver’s license and other documents before you leave. You may be excited to start using your married name, but if you haven’t legally changed your name, use your maiden name on visas and tickets so they match to avoid delays and complications.
  5. Don’t be shy - speak up and let everyone know that you’re honeymooners! It’s an exciting moment. Not to mention, you will most likely get spoilt with specialty treatment like complimentary champagne and chocolates.
  6. Pack a sense of humour and remember to relax. After an exhausting wedding-planning period and big day, this is a great opportunity for you to sit back and enjoy some stress-free time by each other's side.

If you would like assistance with planning your perfect honeymoon or for more travel advice, contact us today. Have a happy honeymoon lovebirds!

Vietnam and Cambodia

Tuesday 18 May 2010 | By Ros Bulat |

No Longer just for the young

Vietnam and Cambodia are without a doubt the current hot spots for travelers and caters to all travel tastes and ideals. Many years ago the area was probably more suited to adventure travellers, the young and those prepared to give up the comforts of home but no longer…. It really does offer something for everyone.

One great example of this is cruising the mighty Mekong onboard the Mekong Pandaw. It is not only very comfortable, it is also inspirational. Wet season (June – October) is the best time to cruise and experience tapestry of river life.

These small ships can penetrate remote and otherwise inaccessible areas. Whilst you are offered a real adventure experience, travellers are cushioned with incredible comfort, fine dining, great cocktails and choice wines, not to mention extraordinary levels of service.

Cruising upstream between Saigon and Angkor is immensely practical for the traveller as it makes it possible to connect three important destinations on one trip, with easy plane connections at either end: Saigon the exotic Frenchified former capital of South Vietnam, Phnom Penh, the quaint Cambodian capital, and the stupendous World Heritage monuments at Angkor. One need no longer check in and out of hotels and endure bumpy roads to visit these magnificent places. 

A special 13 day Cruise and Tour is offered to perfectly combine the highlights of these magical countries. Starting in Saigon, you have the opportunity to see historic landmarks, such as the former Presidential Palace, Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Museum and finishing in Siem Reap where you experience the famous, and one of the world’s most impressive ruins, Angkor Wat. 

Complete packages including airfares from Australia are available from $4499 per person twin share.
If you have some extra time, or the “Orient of the East” is more to your liking, Hanoi is a great contrast. The people and sights are very different in the North of Vietnam. From Hanoi you can easily visit such places as Halong Bay, where the rock islands and caves jut from the bay like a scene from a James Bond movie – it’s tranquil and majestic! 

Another unique experience is a visit to Sapa. The province is located in the very north, on the Chinese border. The 3 night tour to Sapa includes an overnight in each onboard a private train and a night in Sapa.

No visit to Vietnam is complete without a stopover in Hoi An. Located half way down the east coast, this World Heritage listed town is a step back in time. Don’t let this leave you thinking you cant stay in wonderful accommodation, because you can. In Hoi An you can have your tailoring done in no time at all and at a fraction of the costs of most Asian cities. Take along that favourite piece of clothing that you don’t want to let go of and have them duplicate it. 

An 8 day extension tour of Vietnam to cover Hanoi, Hoi An to Saigon is available before the Mekong cruise from just $1690 per person.

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!    
  

Maldives - A Natural Marvel

Tuesday 11 August 2009 | By Ros Bulat |

Unforgettable 

Located less than 5 hours flight from Singapore this unique and unspoiled archipelago is heaven sent. The Maldives comprises of 1190 low lying coral islands in groups of 26 naturally formed atolls scattered across the equator. Sun, Sand, Surf, and Spa’s, what more can your ask for when looking for that perfect getaway.

Most of the Islands have almost unpronounceable names…. Huvafen Fushi being just one of them. But the experience is unforgettable. Their personal aim is to deliver an experience beyond your wildest dreams.

With only 43 bungalows and Pavilions you don’t have to share your space with many others guests. Although having your own private plunge pools also helps, let alone the opportunity to have a private dinning experience on the rock pools.

What a way to spend that special Wedding Anniversary, like our clients Jeremy and Dell.

“We kept thinking, how this can get any better”… Jeremy and Dell

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!    

A Golfing Holiday, But, One for the Whole Family

Tuesday 4 August 2009 | By Ros Bulat |

One of you is golf mad and the other… not so much.

In fact, one of you, not mentioning which one, couldn’t tell the difference between a 9-iron and a waffle iron. Sound familiar?

Makes planning nearly every holiday a potential battleground.
Why not pick a destination that can cater for all the family?

Almost every resort these days offers access to golf: if not right on-property, then through some convenient arrangement with a nearby course. Some resorts make extra effort to get families golfing together. Within Australia, we have an abundance of amazing Golf Courses, many with extensive resort facilities for the whole family and many just a short distance from home.

Novotel Twin Waters

Built around a private lagoon, Novotel Twin Waters is a tranquil retreat on the Sunshine Coast with activities to suit every member of the family. While the kids are being cared for and entertained at the kids' club, parents can be pampered at the over-water day spa or play a round of golf at the nearby links. 

Dunk Island

Dunk Island, a jewel off the north Queensland coast, is arguably Australia's most beautiful tropical island. Rainforest tumbles onto a white sand beach, while blue butterflies flit in dappled light; meanwhile, the whole family is having a ball, playing golf, riding horses along the beach, or relaxing in the spa. The kids' club provides activities all day long.

Planning on travelling abroad?

In the past some may have considered Hawaii a great place to stop on the way to your destination. Not now! Between the sightseeing, the beach and the shopping, make sure you tee off early to fit it all in. Hawaii is a destination for the whole family. In particular the outer Island of Maui and Kauai, as they are more relaxed than the main Island.

Las Vegas… luckily is open 24 hours! You can now take Las Vegas as a serious destination in its own right. Take in a show, shop till you drop and the people watching is always an eye opener as is the Natural Wonder of the Grand Canyon. Many famous movie stars travel to Las Vegas for a golf holiday to escape from their celebrity status for a few days. For example, Hollywood legends like George Clooney and Matt Damon are both golf players who have been spotted blissfully swinging their golf clubs on Las Vegas golf courses with virtual anonymity to the general public.

And let’s not forget Bali, Thailand, Fiji, New Zealand, Dubai, Ireland and so on. All are fabulous destinations with great activities for both the golfer and non-golfer. For the budding junior golfer, there are many destinations and programmes that cater for them also. 

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!      
  

Orion Cruising

Tuesday 12 May 2009 | By Ros Bulat |

The ultimate of cruising in style

This custom built 5-star luxury vessel is in a class of its own. Build to handle just about any conditions. World Class sophisticated dining and Beverages included is only the start of this experience.

During the summer months its ice-strengthened hull allows the most spectacular expeditions to the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Island. During the winter months enjoy the unspoilt wilderness of the Kimberley’s. During the seasons outside this the various Itineraries range from the Exotic East to the unspoiled remote areas of PNG. Some of the most amazing and rarely seen places on our doorstep.

When our client Ron returned from a recent experience he said it was a fantastic experience,

“Highly recommended for those that want activities, great food and great service!”

Passengers as far as from England say……

"The passenger areas are fitted out more for expeditions to Bond Street than the outback."

Peter Hughes / Daily Telegraph (UK) 15th March, 2008: (Kimberley)

"Orion does expeditions the way Ralph Lauren might do dungarees." 

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!     

Brisbane to Cairns; Silversea Cruises & Virtuoso Australia

Monday 13 April 2009 | By Carol Horlock |

Luxury Cruising on the Silversea proved to be a sheer delight. 

Day 1

Time to set off on my 4 day, 3 night luxury cruise from Brisbane to Cairns. Boarding at Portside Wharf located at Hamilton in Brisbane, passengers were easily able to access the location from Brisbane City - only 20 minutes by Taxi. The facility itself offers a selection of Restaurants, world class shopping, a Cinema and the only “Moevenpick” Ice-cream bar in Brisbane.  

I boarded at around lunch time and was greeted and recognised by name at Reception, then escorted to a Midships Verandah Suite by our Cabin Stewardess who introduced herself as Victoria. The suite featured a large Verandah with patio furniture and a floor to ceiling glass door, sitting area, Queen sized bed, large marble bathroom which included a full sized bath and separate shower plus walk-in wardrobe with personal safe, hairdryer and robes. The suite offered a truly beautiful space of 345 sq ft or 32 m, whilst the “Lead in” category Vista Suites were 287 sq ft or 28 m by comparison.  Similarly, they feature large picture windows and are equally well appointed.

Day 2

Whilst on board we did have the opportunity to view other Suites which offered more space and benefits of Complimentary Butler Services and Laundry services. I was delighted by the consistency across all categories of Suites.

Day 3

The ship anchored off Hayman Island where I took the opportunity to participate in an inspection of the accommodation, arranged privately. For ships passengers who chose to disembark by tender this was a complimentary Silversea experience which included two hospitality rooms, drinks and lunch in the Beach Pavilion. Other excursions, including Seaplane and helicopter flights could be bought directly from the Island.

Hayman offers magnificent views of the Pacific and very blue ocean. A great resort with various Accommodation offerings, including; 7 Wings, Beach, Lagoon Lanai, and Lagoon Wing with very large Apartment style accommodation, Central Lanai, Palm Wing, Pool Lanai and Pool Wing, suited to Families. A tropical Paradise is more suited to Executives or clients wishing to 'get away' without being too isolated. The Island offers a number of Restaurants, Activities, Relaxation options, Spa and Beauty treatments plus Resort and Island shopping.

Back to our accommodation on “The Silver Shadow.”

During our time at sea, we experienced:

  • 4 Restaurants - La Terrazza, The Restaurant, and poolside grill. There is also Le Champagne Wine Restaurant operated by Relais & Chateaux (extra charges apply). In suite dining is freely available.
  • Fitness Centre – excellent equipment and I particularly liked the ability to walk against the waves with a view from my treadmill. The Centre next to the Spa & Beauty Salon offered every service from Aerobics to Personal fitness and wellness sessions (private lessons at an extra cost billed to your onboard account).
  • Entertainment – Varied and included a Magician, Pianist, and String Quartet. There was also Lectures on Board, Bingo, Bridge and a number of activities that Guests could participate in. Silversea Chronicles placed in your Suite each day included all the information and news that one would need to plan the day including, Weather, Sunrise, Sunset and Dress Code for the evening.
  • Clothing – Recommend a range of casual to formal wear dependent on the length of the Cruise. 5-9 days would include 2 formal nights, 10-19 days would be 3 and 20 days would be 4 (you will always be advised). i.e. Formal evenings a Suit for Men can be a lounge suit and Tie (does not have to be a Tuxedo but can be if preferred).

The Ship has:

  • A very well stocked library, board games and cards
  • Email & Internet Access via the Internet Café (cost incurred), or your own laptop
  • Wi-fi locations throughout the ship
  • Business Centre
  • Boutique / Shopping
  • Medical Centre
  • Self Serve Laundry
  • Casino
  • Humidor – SMOKING Policy – Smoking permitted in designated areas of the Bar,
  • Pool area, and outside Panorama Lounge as well as the Humidor
  • Currency, on board, USD$
  • Electrical, 110-220 volt
     

Benefits for Passengers:

The unceremonious and quietly achieved “Wow” factor begins the moment you board Silversea which can be considered as First Class Transport, Accommodation, Service, Food and Beverages. The “all inclusive” fares exceed expectation with the quality provided and with the included gratuities. The “inclusive” pricing is true value for money as everything you desire is available. 

"There is a total feeling of pleasure and relaxation, with the intimacy on board inviting and leading to new friends from all over the Globe. The problem with Silversea is that as far as holidays go, it's as close to perfect as can be - leaving you wanting more and more! "

Staff:

All excelled and nothing was too much trouble for the Staff of Silversea. Even on our short journey and after our first lunch in La Terraza, our favourite foods and Window tables had been noticed by the Maitre D’, Stewards & Stewardesses.

www.Silversea.com

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!  

Tahiti - It's Paradise

Wednesday 8 April 2009 | By Ros Bulat |

When you think of Tahiti, you think of turquoise blue waters, seclusion, and luxury.

Tropical landscapes of crystal clear azure lagoons surrounded by soaring volcanic peaks; of love and romance; of gentle goddesses and fierce warriors, it is the stuff of dreams and legends. The first explorers returned home from here boasting that they had discovered heaven on earth! Tahiti reminds us that life is short and that there is a world of beauty and tranquillity just waiting to be discovered. A truly magical place which is guaranteed to steal a piece of your heart. Marlon Brando loved this place so much; he bought his own private atoll – Tetiatoa. By 2008 you will also be able to enjoy this little piece of luxury, with a 35-villa eco resort being built in the late actors trust, to be aptly named “The Brando”

With an average yearly temperature of 26 degrees– Tahiti is a year round destination. You can find accommodation at all ends of the scale, from your five star luxury to Family-run 'Bed and Breakfast' style pension accommodation.

For those of you who like to 'island hop', what better way to move around than on a cruise? From large ocean liners, to super-yachts to private sailing charters, you just need to unpack once and let someone else 'move the scenery' for you.

Tahiti has been seducing honeymooners, romantics, adventurers and holidaymakers for years. Activities both land and sea are abundant – diving, sailing, windsurfing, swimming with dolphins and sting rays, shark feeding, 4 wheel drive adventures, horseback riding, jeep safaris and of course you can’t beat a round of golf on the majestic setting of Atimaono golf course near Tahiti’s remote and unspoiled peninsular. Tahiti & Her Islands is also home to some of the best surf breaks in the world, not to mention hosting the Billabong Pro Surf tour, among others.

Papeete is your starting point, and the capital of Tahiti, the largest of the 118 islands and atolls that make up French Polynesia. Boasting fabulous restaurants, markets and a lively nightlife. A must do in Papeete is to dine at a colourful roulotte (food wagon) Lining the harbour every evening roulotte’s serve an amazing array of affordable French and International cuisine. If you are a market lover like me don’t miss the public market “Le Marche” with hundreds of stalls filled with traditional Tahitian made crafts

Moorea is located 17 kms northwest of Papeete – a short 10-minute flight, or a 30-minute ferry ride. With breathtaking scenery and magnificent volcanic mountains covered in lush greenery. Be prepared to fall in love with Bora Bora at first sight, lying 259 kms north west of Tahiti in the Leeward Society Islands. This is definitely paradise and must really be seen to be believed!

Tahiti is a truly special place, somewhere you can mix a bit of French Chic with South Pacific charm.

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!      

Singapore, Worth Exploring

Sunday 22 March 2009 | By Stephanie Harms |

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

The hotel is approximately 30 minutes from Changi Airport. It is situated opposite Singapore harbour and is linked to Marina Square Shopping Mail. The new Suntec Singapore and Esplanade are within a few minutes’ walk. The Singapore flyer (equivalent of the London Eye) is 10 minutes stroll and an excellent place to view the amazing city of Singapore and its harbour. Raffles is also only 10 minutes away.

The hotel is modern and stylish yet has a strong Oriental feel to its design. There are 449 luxurious rooms and 78 suites. All rooms are equipped with plasma TV and cable channels, mini bar, DVD player, CD and high speed wired and wireless internet. It has 5 restaurants and an amazing 25 meter pool, fitness centre and of course spa. Everything you would expect and more from a 5 star hotel. The rooms are huge and luxurious and the location is great.

Singapore City

Singapore itself is a vibrant and buzzing city. Definitely a place to explore. Taxis are frequent and reasonable. There are many city tours available which will show you China town including a Chinese temple, Little India, and of course the National Museum of Singapore. If travelling with children the Botanical gardens and the Singapore Zoo offers a great night safari. Sentosa Island offers a beach resort, Universal Studios and the Aquarium is one of the largest in Asia.

Evening: Restaurants and NightlifeThe main areas to head for are Clarkes Quay where you will find the harbour edge lined with an extensive variety of restaurants. There are also music bars and nightclubs. You can also visit the street vendors for a taste of local flavour. Another popular location is Chijmes which is a converted convent school with a great selection of various restaurants in a central outdoor location. For a slightly more exclusive evening you could head for ’Oosh’ for great Japanese or Malaysian cuisine in a lush outdoor setting and private dining. All of these locations can be reached by taxi in approximately 10 minutes. Singapore is very accessible and offers something for everyone  and is a great stop-over destination.

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!  
  

Bangkok, A Sensory City

Sunday 22 March 2009 | By Stephanie Harms |

The Oriental Hotel

Bangkok is a city that attacks the senses it’s noisy, smelly, busy but exciting and vibrant. It takes 45 minutes to transfer to The Oriental hotel. Which is tucked down a typical Bangkok side street which opens up to show the Oriental Hotel. The lobby is a breath taking mix of eclectic modern and traditional furnishings with the most amazing fresh flowers.

There are 258 rooms and 35 suites. The rooms are large and luxurious, featuring a huge marble bathroom, plasma television, mini bar and internet. The beds are enormous and there is a butler on every floor to attend to every room not just the club floor.

But the most amazing aspect of this hotel is its location right on the Chao Phya River. The view from the rooms is amazing and the hotel uses its position to its full potential with terraces, restaurants and breakfast being served on the terrace to make the most of the view.

The hotel boasts some of the most amazing restaurants, including; Japanese, Le Normandie – French, Lord Jims - International Seafood, Ciao – Italian and Sala Rim Naarn a traditional Thai restaurant and cooking school, this is on the opposite side on the river and the hotels launch takes you across. Here you can also book into the hotels famous cooking school or just enjoy a great evening of delicious Thai food and be entertained by the Thai dancers... Oh and the cocktails are definitely worth a try!

After an amazing meal why not go to nearby Sirocco restaurant and bar, located on the 65th floor. Here you can see the lights of Bangkok for miles around you.

By day Bangkok offers shopping galore with Thai silk, tailor-made clothing, handbags, jewellery and of course the huge market of fake and copied items. There are of course the temples and floating markets or why not just experience a Thai massage either at the hotel or at a local parlour where a 2 hour back and neck massage is only AU$ 20.00. You will need it after visiting the great, big Zara store that is also here!! 

We travelled around the city by using the sky rail which saved time by avoiding the congestion. However it is also great fun to jump on a Tuk Tuk if you are feeling really brave - just hold on.

Sadly we only had one day in Bangkok which was not nearly enough. I can’t wait to go back but already I know it’s a great destination for a stopover.

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!  
  

BULA From Fiji

Thursday 5 March 2009 | By Stephanie Harms |

Destination Denarau Island - FIJI

Upon arrival at Nadi airport we were met by Rosie Holidays. You can be sure that you are made to feel very welcome and will relax immediately. Fijians are happy, easy going and have an excellent work ethic, nothing is too much trouble. This was evident no matter if we were in a 5 star luxury hotel or just travelling through Fiji. At all times you are made very welcome and it is clear that your tourism is valued and important to the country.

Denarau island is 20 minutes outside Nadi and well worth the drive, even if you are just there for 1 or 2 nights before connecting to an island. As soon as you cross the bridge to Denarau you can immediately see the standard of the accommodation and general surroundings is much higher than Nadi. The beach here is volcanic but is mixed with manmade sand to lighten the appearance. The other islands in Fiji give you the real white sand experience.

There is a cluster of excellent 5 star properties all sharing the same beach. All of these hotels are serviced by a Bula Bus which goes from each property to the port/marina every 15 minutes and costs 6.00 Fijian Dollars. The Sheraton also offers a complimentary service between its properties. 

Radisson ResortThis has a great beach location and amazing pool area although it is built in a horse shoe shape. Strangely all the rooms face inwards away from the beach and face the pool area which has a huge waterfall/rock formation in the middle and does create quite a bit of noise. The property is good for families as it has large 2 bedded rooms.
Sheraton Fiji Resort and Sheraton VillasThis hotel has recently been refurbished and on arrival you are greeted with fresh flowers, drinks and of course a welcome song. Walking into the beautiful open lobby you know instantly that you are in a 5 star resort with high quality finishes on show everywhere. The hotel is situated right on the beach and offers a great pool area with waiter service on the beach. There are several excellent restaurants with the Flying Fish as its signature. Here you dine on top quality food and wine and have the sand under your feet (no shoe policy). The breakfast restaurant “Feast “offers a great full buffet breakfast and doubles as a more casual evening restaurant. The rooms are large, light and very contemporary. The hotel is only 2 floors high and I would say the majority have full sea view. All of the public areas are spacious contemporary and first class.

The Sheraton VillasThis area of the Sheraton Fiji resort is designed for families with high standard large 2 -3 bed apartments with good kitchen facilities and spacious lounge areas. They have their own lagoon/pool area which is both convenient and large. The children’s club is situated in the Sheraton Fiji resort which is a stroll away and of course as the amazing Fijians are organising it so the children are extremely well looked after and you hear nothing but giggles and squeals of excitement. They also offer babysitting facilities at a local charge.
Leisure facilities are excellent, 18 hole golf course, tennis, amazing spa and even lawn bowls.
The Westin ResortThis is the third hotel that is part of the Starwood property and is completely different. The ambience is predominately local flavour with thatched roofs and dark wood. The pool area is in lots of private sections with lots of greenery to give you a feel of tropical seclusion. It has a great infinity pool, swim up bar and the Heavenly Spa is situated in the Westin which services clients from all three of the Starwood hotels. In fact you can use any of the bars, restaurants, shops or leisure facilities at any of the properties and charge them back to your room. The rooms here are darker and if you want to feel you are staying in a hotel with true local flavour then a first floor room will feel lighter and the views to the beach/sea better.
Sofitel ResortThis hotel was a little disappointing, the lobby area was not impressive and the wow factor was missing. You have to go downstairs to the pool area which was lovely and had a “buzz” about it with lots of water activities; aerobics etc, but after having experienced the Sheraton it felt crowded.

SightseeingThe Bula bus will take you to Port Denarau Shopping Centre and Marina and I would recommend this above Nadi which is a little run down.

Sigatoka River SafariFor a really different experience I recommend this day trip. You travel by coach for 40 minutes and then transfer to a jet boat for a 1 hour journey along the river, passing local Fijians doing their washing in the river and the children playing and fishing. These people really live in a third world country and this is a real eye opener to the way they live. You then visit a village where you can see how they sleep, farm, worship, go to school and live their every day life. This truly is not a commercial experience as they alternate villages and each village is visited only twice a year. You then do share a local meal and drink/dance with the villages. It felt special and we felt very welcome. Then back on the speed boat with lots of twists and turns for fun on the way home. Word of warning you are expected and really cannot refuse to eat the local food and drink, so it may not suit everyone.

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!