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Friday, November 25, 2016

Finnair adds Bocuse d’Or candidate as its new Signature Menu chef



 

 

 

 Eero Vottonen

 

 

 

Finnair has announced a new partnership with Finnish Chef Eero Vottonen for the airline's latest Signature Menu collaboration. The Signature Menu cooperation with Eero Vottonen will bring true Nordic elements to Finnair's long-haul business class customers flying out of Helsinki to all destinations as of 11 January 2017.

 

Last year, Eero Vottonen was selected as Finland's candidate for the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition taking place in Lyon, France in 2017. The Bocuse D'Or is arguably the biggest culinary competition in the world, bringing 24 chefs from different countries to compete on the international stage. During his career, Vottonen has worked in the top kitchens of Finland including restaurants such as Chez Dominique, Luomo, G.W. Sundmans and Olo.

 

"Eero has fast become one of the best chefs in Scandinavia and we are very excited to offer our long-haul business class passengers with his exceptional food," said Finnair Head of In-Flight Service, Maarit Keränen.

 

"With next year marking Finland's centennial anniversary, it's a great opportunity for us to collaborate with Finland's candidate for the Bocuse d'Or competition. We'd like to wish Eero all the best as he sets his sights on the final preparations for the prestigious event in January."

 

"Throughout the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to have the chance to work with many top chefs and I've learned a wide variety of ways and views on food through these experiences," said Eero Vottonen.

 

"The philosophy I bring to cooking is actually quite simple, the flavour always comes first and I want to use quality ingredients that are sourced from nearby suppliers."

 

Finnair flies between Asia, Europe and North America with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki, carrying more than nine million passengers annually and connecting 17 cities in Asia and 3 cities in North America with more than 60 destinations in Europe.

 

Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners and was named Best International Airline – Offline Carrier in the prestigious AFTA National Travel Industry Awards in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.  

 

finnair.com/au


Monday, November 14, 2016

Celebrity Solstice $11 Million Modern Luxury Makeover




Australia's highest rated ship returns better than ever, boasting a brand new Tiffany & Co. boutique

Celebrity Solstice is already Australia's highest rated* cruise ship, and today she arrives in Sydney more stunning than ever following a multimillion-dollar makeover - including Australia's first Tiffany & Co. store at sea.

Australians will be amongst the very first guests to experience the new and improved Celebrity Solstice. The Sydney-based ship offers even more modern luxuries to revitalise the bodies, minds and spirits of her guests – and a holiday onboard is eleven million times more fun.




"We've added more of the things that Australian guests love," says Adam Armstrong, managing director, Celebrity Cruises Australia.

"Throughout the ship, guests will find new features and fresh touches that have been carefully designed with luxurious, modern travel in mind. We've invested so significantly in Celebrity Solstice, home-ported in Sydney between October and April, so our Australian guests can feel relaxed, refreshed and revitalised after a holiday onboard, and leave feeling like a million dollars," Armstrong concluded.

Highlights of Celebrity Solstice's revitalisation include:

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. will sail on Celebrity for the first time. You'll find the distinctive Tiffany Blue Box®—which has contained gifts befitting life's most important occasions for almost two centuries—in a special boutique exclusively on Celebrity Solstice. The legendary jeweller will offer its exclusive designs, the ultimate symbols of style and taste, with tax-free and duty-free savings.

Lawn Club Cabanas

Six brand new alcove-style cabanas border the real grass lawn for additional seating and relaxation space. Guests can adjust the cabanas to their preferred view throughout the day, whether it be out to sea or towards the outdoor movie screen, and enjoy service from a private butler, chilled towels and fresh fruit ice-blocks to cool off on hot summer days

A new outdoor cinema and 'A Taste of Film'

A large movie screen has been added to The Lawn Club where guests can watch movies in the open, sitting on real grass in the middle of the ocean – it's an experience only Celebrity Cruises can provide. In addition, Celebrity Solstice will offer a gastronomic and cinema adventure, "A Taste of Film" which pairs big-screen movies that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests' taste buds. Celebrity Solstice will feature 'The 100 Foot Journey' and 'Chef'.

Sushi on Five:




Celebrity's hotly anticipated newest dining experience takes the place of Bistro on Five and feature an expertly crafted à la carte menu, curated by sushi chef Yoshikazu "Yoshi" Okada. Sushi on Five will offer hand-rolled sushi, fresh tableside grated wasabi, house-made soy sauce, Asian-inspired cocktails, Japanese beers and premium sakes, plus an array of mouth-watering starters and entrees.

Photo Gallery:

Guests can now have easier access to keepsakes of their time onboard. Celebrity Solstice's Photo Gallery received a full modern luxury makeover – out are the traditional panel display of printed photos and now the ship has 25 state-of-the-art touch screen kiosks, where guests are able to use facial recognition technology to view their professional photos taken throughout their cruise and purchase a variety of photo formats. Guests are able to download their purchased photos direct to their mobile device at any time during their cruise, and instantly share their cruise memories with friends and family back home via social networking, email or messaging.

Other updates include an expansive Art Gallery featuring a dedicated auction location with contemporary art lining the freshly renovated space, while suites received modern luxury enhancements such as lavish new patio furniture added to the balconies.




This summer cruise season, the newly revitalised Celebrity Solstice offers a series of picturesque itineraries with calls to the green natural oasis of New Zealand, the exotic escape of Indonesia, and to sought-after destinations across Australia.

Fares start at AU$1529 for a balcony stateroom on a seven-night South Pacific Getaway cruise, departing from Sydney on 13 April 2017. The cruise will call at the pristine island of Lifou in the Loyalty Islands and vibrant Noumea in New Caledonia, before returning to Sydney. Guests who book before 30 November 2016 will enjoy savings of up to $400 per person, and up to US$300 onboard credit per stateroom, plus Oceanview bookings and above receive a free Classic Beverage Package, as part of Celebrity's Global Cruise Sale.

For more information about Celebrity Cruises or to book a cruise, visit www.celebritycruises.com.au, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Whitsundays has been named the ‘Best Destination’ in Australia

#queensland 




The Whitsundays has been named the 'Best Destination' in Australia, thanks to tens of thousands of backpackers selecting the Whitsundays as their favourite region.

The prestigious award was presented at the 2016 Golden Backpack Awards, which were held on the Gold Coast last night.

The Whitsundays' Great Barrier Reef was also awarded 'Best Visitor Attraction', with the judges' comments acknowledging the Whitsundays' reef tours had seen the largest number of visitors throughout the year.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer Craig Turner said he was extremely proud to see the Whitsundays recognised as the best within the backpacker and adventure tourism sector.

"These awards are a true testament to the hard work and determination our tourism operators put into their products and indeed the region's tourism sector.

"I commend all of our backpacker and adventure tourism operators for their continued commitment to provide exceptional customer service and unique holiday experiences that set the Whitsundays apart from the rest," Mr Turner said.

The Golden Backpack Awards are now in their 21st year and are Australasia's biggest independent backpacker and adventure industry awards.

Further information and a full list of the winners will soon be available at http://www.goldenbackpackawards.com.au.

www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au

Macau ups Michelin Star dining

MACAO’S reputation for serving quality cuisine has jumped a few more notches with news that 19 restaurants earned star ratings in the recently released 2017 edition of the “Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau”.

While the Grand Lisboa’s two premier restaurants – Robuschon au Dome and The Eight – maintained their three-star billings, Chinese eatery Feng Wei Ju and Japanese restaurant Mizumi jumped from one to two stars.

Feng Wei Ju specialises in Chuan-Xiang cuisine, a spice-heavy cuisine from the regions of Sichuan and Hunan and one of the eight major cuisines of China.

Mizumi is helmed by three renowned Japanese chefs and flies in fresh produce from Japan daily.

Their elevation meant that Macao now boasted five restaurants with the two stars, the pair joining the established Golden Flower, Jade Dragon and The Tasting Room.

Food for thought is that the one-star rating list grew to 12 with three Cantonese restaurants - Lai Heen, Ying and Pearl Dragon – earning the star for the first time.

They joined restaurants King, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, Shinji, Terrazza, The Golden Peacock, The Kitchen, Tim’s Kitchen, Zi Yat Heen, and Cantonese fine dining eatery Wing Lei, located inside the Wynn Macau.

In addition, Macao boasted 12 Bib Gourmand Michelin rated restaurants, recognised for their high quality affordable street food offerings.

Among those listed was Lord Stow’s Bakery, renowned for its creation of Portuguese-style egg tarts. Fong Kei Pastelaria, which has sold pastries for more than 120 years, and Mok Yee Kei, where durian ice cream is said to have originated, also made the grade.

“With the opening of new international hotels such as The Wynn Palace, Studio City and The Parisian we can see a few more restaurants aiming for star ratings,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand).

“Early next year, we will also see the highly-anticipated Louis XIII open, along with the MGM Cotai, thus offering more restaurant options worth considering,” she said.

Details: Macao Government Tourism Office, phone (02) 9264 1488 or www.visitmacao.com.au


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel Offers a Brand New Outlook over the River of Kings



Rising above the banks of Bangkok’s picturesque Chao Phraya River, the world’s first purpose designed AVANI hotel, AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel, offers a smooth blend of contemporary style, modern warmth and stunning views across Asia’s most dynamic city.

From the top of the 26-storey hotel at the rooftop bar and pool, to the lobby, AVANI Riverside gives guests a place to relax and unwind, and a base to start exploring nearby neighborhoods and popular tourist sites along the ‘River of Kings’.

On arrival guests are immediately greeted by an arresting view of the Chao Phraya River from the vast lobby, located on the eleventh floor. The open plan design blends reception, lounge, meeting, chill out and restaurant spaces. The interiors are spacious, the driving ethos is modernity, fused with comfort and great craftsmanship.

The interconnected communal spaces encapsulate the idea of mixing business with pleasure. Whether checking in or checking emails, here guests can connect with fellow travellers. The Long Bar serves a variety of refreshments, guests can enjoy sunrise breakfast or sunset dinner at Skyline and The Pantry serves a mix of comfort food and artisanal deli snacks around the clock. In addition the lobby also includes a secluded space for meetings or catching up with friends.

All of the hotel’s 248 stylish guest rooms and suites, boast uninterrupted city and river views and attention has been given to guests wellbeing with all the elements required for a relaxing stay and a good night’s sleep.

The neutral décor is a blend of comfort and modernity, natural materials and high-tech equipment, along with extra conveniences such as a rain shower, dedicated work station with free WiFi and a media hub docking station. Each of the spacious River View Junior Suites features a bathroom with a view, outfitted with a freestanding tub where guests can soak whilst taking in the ever-changing river scene below and the glittering Bangkok skyline.

Reaching new heights, the rooftop space on the 26th floor is the ideal place to take in uninterrupted views of the city while relaxing at the infinity pool, enjoying a sundowner or hosting a business dinner in style. Alongside the impressive pool is a living wall, both lying parallel to the river, giving a sense of continuity. A multi-purpose sunken lounge area located in the middle of the terrace has a retractable roof providing sunlight or shade, whatever the mood.

At the other end of the terrace is ATTITUDE, Bangkok’s newest rooftop hot spot to see and be seen. Different areas of the restaurant and bar, intimate or collective, are designed for socialising and include an indoor lounge with a DJ booth, an open show kitchen, wine wall and outdoor lounge-style restaurant and bar. Cocktails are courtesy of a world class mixologist, with the creative cocktail menu split into “House Alternatives”, “Historically Classic” and “Mixology Interfusions” where you’ll find new cocktails such as the Molecule of Love, a mellow blend of Chambord raspberry liqueur, Malibu and strawberry flavoured caviar pearls to make it pop.

Exercise is a great way to recover from jet lag or blow off some steam and the gym offers a world class river view. AVANIFIT features the latest cardio equipment enabling guests to maintain their usual workout routines.

Contemporary, pure and relaxed, AVANISPA offers a tailored experience focusing on guests physical needs such as the signature touch treatment; a soothing oil massage coupled with stretching techniques.

AVANI Riverside raises the bar for conferences and meetings in Bangkok. The new multi-purpose events complex on the 10th floor offers over 4,500 sqm of flexible space for gala banquets for up to 1,300 guests or small intimate meetings and every option in between. It also offers an open kitchen - a highlight for any wedding, party or business function.

The hotel’s riverside location makes all of Bangkok’s attractions easily accessible. Shuttle boat services link to the Asiatique night market and entertainment complex, and also the BTS Skytrain at the central Saphan Taksin boat pier for swift connections to major commercial, shopping and entertainment districts. For those who prefer not to stray too far, Riverside Plaza adjoins AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel offering a variety of restaurants, bars and shops.

AVANI Riverside gives the modern traveller a space to stay, work, meet and relax while encouraging them to embrace their #AVANIattitude.

For more information of AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel please contact +66 (0) 2431 9100 or email reservations at riverside.bangkok@avanihotels.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Campaign Encourages Aussies to Fly Smarter with AirAsia



 

In conjunction with its 9th anniversary in Australia, award-winning low-cost airline AirAsia has taken the wraps off its latest campaign to help educate consumers about how they can 'Fly Smarter' with AirAsia.

The airline has unveiled a series of short videos where a brand personality shares insider knowledge on the not often talked about lengths that AirAsia goes to keep costs low for long haul travel to Asia. The savings are passed directly back to customers in the form of low fares, but never at the expense of legroom, comfort, convenience or safety standards.

AirAsia Head of Marketing for Australia Linda Na said, "Our new campaign will appeal to Aussies who choose to Fly Smarter, to save money on their flight and spend the savings at their destination.

"There is a common misconception that low cost airlines cut corners to offer low fares. We are able to offer low fares because of our meticulous low cost management measures and by carrying only what passengers need and choose.

"We're a business that is focused on offering a great travel experience for the real travelling public who, like us, are focused on flying for less rather than first class luxuries, which are experienced by few. All savings are passed back to passengers in the form of low fares. Every decision is made with the budget cost traveller in mind.

"It's all about flying smarter to offer low fares."

Considerations underpinning the campaign show:

  • How AirAsia operates a modern fleet of aircraft and is able to keep planes as light as possible, which saves on fuel costs.
  • An AirAsia Airbus A330 economy seats has the same legroom as expensive airline A330 economy seats.
  • Having no first class and less business class space and more room for economy mean more passengers travelling on the aircraft, which splits fuel amongst more passengers.
  • AirAsia's tablet inflight entertainment cuts out heavy seatback hardware and wiring, which adds to fuel costs even when the seat is flying empty. Instead passengers can choose to BYO device loaded with the content they want to watch, or hire AirAsia's light entertainment and enjoy the fuel cost savings.
  • Pay as you go means crews aren't handing out unnecessary extras, which means less waste for AirAsia and passengers.

The series of videos, which are stored in an online content hub and backed by a digital marketing campaign, show a number of examples which illustrate this low cost efficiency.

E.g. AirAsia's personality bobs up in the economy seating area.


MAN: AirAsia don't have a first class cabin.

Which means more room for economy, so fuel costs are split amongst more people.

MAN: Do you 'really' want to pay for someone else's champagne?

SUPER:  AirAsia. Fly smarter.


From Australia, AirAsia X flies daily to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Perth (14 flights per week) Sydney (17 flights per week), Melbourne (18 flights per week), Gold Coast (11 flights per week) and Auckland (7 flights per week).

AirAsia Indonesia flies up to four times daily to Denpasar, Bali from Perth and four times weekly from Darwin.

World's largest cruises ships meet at sea


Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the Seas, struck a chord over the weekend, greeting each other at sea for the first and possibly only time. In a meeting of unprecedented proportions, the three record-breaking sisters came together to celebrate the U.S. arrival of Harmony of the Seas on the eve of the ship's debut in her new permanent homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Oasis-class ships are architectural and engineering marvels, boasting industry-changing and unexpected onboard experiences. Each ship features seven themed neighbourhoods – a distinctive feature of the Oasis-class ships – and a number of spectacular amenities, adventures and thrills, including the lush and tranquil Central Park with nearly 12,000 plants and trees, FlowRider surf simulators; a thrilling 25 metre long zip line that races guests nine-decks in the air, luxurious multi-level loft suites with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, the outdoor AquaTheater that hosts dazzling high-diving, aquatic and acrobatic performances, a Boardwalk with a hand-carved carousel, and The Rising Tide Bar, the first moving bar at sea.

The newest and youngest of the three ships, Harmony of the Seas, officially claimed the title of world's largest cruise ship, beating her sisters by a mere 30 centimetres in length and nearly 1,700 gross registered tons. The ship features a bold lineup of new thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, including VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Harmony combines the iconic seven neighbourhood concept with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities and offerings that will appeal to guests of all ages. From The Ultimate Abyss, a dramatic 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease, sophisticated dining in venues ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Royal Caribbean's whimsical restaurant Wonderland, which is a unique culinary adventure for the senses, and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for everyone onboard Harmony of the Seas.  

The world's largest cruise ship now joins her sister ships Oasis of the Seas homeported in Port Canaveral, and Allure of the Seas homeported in Port Everglades, sailing from the east coast of Florida. Harmony offers seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, providing new adventures from the islands of the Caribbean to the shores of Mexico.

For further information or to book a Royal Caribbean cruise, visit www.royalcaribbean.com.au, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.

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