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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The R.M Williams Weekend at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley



A QUINTESSENTIALLY AUSTRALIAN LUXURY ESCAPE

R.M.WILLIAMS WEEKEND AT EMIRATES ONE&ONLY WOLGAN VALLEY

This May, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and R.M.Williams will curate the ultimate Australian luxury weekend, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Greater Blue Mountains.

Guests will experience unforgettable bushland adventures, stunning local cuisine and wines, campfire tales under starry skies and the spectacular surrounds of Australia’s ultra-luxury eco-resort. They will also gain a unique insight into the world of a truly iconic Australian brand and take home as a memento of their stay; a pair of personally fitted R.M.Williams boots.

Highlights of the weekend include a horse trail riding experience led by Terry Goodear, Head of Heritage and Heartland at R.M.Williams, exploring the magnificent Wolgan Valley landscape, accompanied by his bush tales and folklore. Following an ‘Australian-Inspired’ five-course degustation dinner featuring the finest of local produce paired with award-winning wines, guests will join Mark Muller, Editor in Chief of OUTBACK Magazine, to explore the spectacular night sky via telescope, whilst Mark shares stories of life in the Australian bushland in a truly memorable campfire setting. With the launch of ‘R.M.Williams Bespoke’ in April, guests will have the opportunity to visit the Heritage Boutique and learn about the new service, led by the R.M.Williams team, guests will learn about the custom boot making process, the hundreds of combinations and the different types of exotic and treated leathers you can use to build your own boot including your own sign off. Guests will also have the chance to be fitted for their own pair of Craftsman or Adelaide Boots, included in the weekend package.

The R.M Williams Weekend at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley will take place from Friday 6 May until Sunday 8 May, and includes a two-night stay in an ultra-luxury Heritage Villa with private pool; a horse trail ride and morning tea led by Terry Goodear; an ‘Australian Inspired’ degustation dinner; a campfire and stargazing experience hosted by Mark Muller; a morning learning about the R.M.Williams Bespoke program at the Heritage Boutique; gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily including a select range of local wines and beers; two on-site nature-based activities per day and two pairs of R.M Williams boots.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a unique, ultra-luxury conservation-based resort a scenic 2.5 hour drive from Sydney and located within the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains region. Set on its own private 7,000-acre carbon-neutral wildlife reserve, the resort combines One&Only ultra-luxury style with a quintessentially Australian bush experience and with conservation at its heart.

General Manager of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley James Wyndham says: “We’re inviting our guests to discover what makes Australia truly remarkable over the course of one unforgettable weekend. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and R.M Williams both share a love of nature, heritage and the environment, and the weekend is a chance to share those passions with our guests.”

CEO of R.M Williams Raju Vuppalapati adds, “Escaping inland to explore and appreciate the beauty of Australia has always been at the heart of R.M.Williams. We are so pleased to work with Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley to present this unique experience for people to enjoy, and to share insight into R.M.Williams, one of Australia’s oldest and most loved brands.”

The R.M Williams Experience is priced at $2,480 per villa per night twin-share*



For further information and exclusive bookings for The R.M Williams Weekend Experience please contact Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley on + 61 2 9308 0500 or email reservations@oneandonlywolganvalley.com

Local expertise, produce and celebrities on display at Fine Food Queensland - state's largest food event




Fine Food Queensland, one of the country's largest food events and the sister show of Fine Food Australia, will take place in Brisbane in just under a fortnight, bringing with it a display of some of the country's great producers and talents.

From sustainable packaging to baking secrets, and from large-scale catering to new products such as edible insects and little known bush tucker, this year's show promises to bring the best of the state's producers and businesses to the fore of the food and hospitality industries.

The Talking Food Stage is packed with experts and topics that affect every aspect of the industry, including sustainability, food trends, technology and social media, as well as expert advice on staffing and management. Similarly the baking and pastry stages, and the barista competition, showcase the best of their categories in exciting sessions and contests.




Local and regional Producers and products are also a focus of the event, and Fresh Produce Lane is a showcase of the state's regional fare. This year the area includes the incredible Aqua Botanical made from the freshest produce, straight off the land, making it the first water in the world sourced entirely from fruit and vegetables.

How? Australian farmers grow copious amounts of fresh produce to guarantee a daily supply that feeds families all over the country, and some harvests are more generous than others, meaning not all fruit and vegetables can be sold in the fresh produce market.

Being aware of how much it takes to grow this perfectly fine food, many Australian farmers choose to bring their overabundance of produce to juice manufacturers. When fruit and vegetables are pressed to extract their juices, they produce a large volume of water in parallel as they naturally contain water.

In a drought stricken country like Australia every drop is valued, but until recently the aqueous liquid from juice was not re-useable. AquaBotanical found a way to help the world tap into this unique new water source - by filtering and mineralising the aqueous liquid from juice concentrate.

The end result is a clear and clean tasting water free of sugars, toxins and additives, and has helped fresh produce growers minimise food and water wastage - and garnered the attention of global awards as a result.

Another lovely example is Ugly Duck Preserves which is a boutique food business creating preserves from ugly fruit - that which cannot otherwise be sold due to cosmetic imperfections or oversupply. Working directly with farmers and growers, currently, 80% of the products are also made from spray-free produce with an aim to be 100% spray free within the next few months. No colours or preservatives are ever used.

On stage, local talents such as those of Urbane Restaurant's Andy and Alejandro will share their insights on how to make business sustainable, and reality TV stars are also lining up to take part, with MKR winners Dan and Steph who run a Hervey Bay cafe will be taking part, as will Puerto Taco owners John and Justine who featured on last year's Restaurant Revolution who will discuss the ongoing trend of food trucks, pop-ups, and taking food from the kitchen to the street.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Nanuku’s High Quality Food & Beverage Honoured at Fiji Excellence In Tourism Awards


Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji has beaten off strong opposition from several of Fiji’s top hotels and resorts to claim the prestigious ‘Dining Experience Award’ at the 2016 ANZ Fiji Excellence In Tourism Awards .

The award, viewed by many in the industry as one of the ‘jewels in the crown’ at the annual awards, is major recognition of the very high standards the Pacific Harbour resort has achieved since opening less than two years ago.

The accolade serves as a major entrée for recently-installed General Manager, Mark Stanford who payed tribute to the resort’s Food and Beverage Director, Logan Miller, consulting chef Jacques Raymond and staff.

“We are extremely proud to accept this award,” Mr Stanford said.

“Not only does it reflect both the highest standard of quality and service that our guests have come to expect when staying at Nanuku, it also underlines the F&B department’s dedication and commitment to providing a product that is playing a major role in establishing Fiji as the culinary capital of the South Pacific.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the resort’s now award-winning Kanavata Restaurant And Lounge features world-class cuisine inspired by local ingredients.

Presented with the hallmark passion and authenticity behind every Auberge culinary experience, Nanuku’s all-inclusive guest dining experience ranges from inventively crafted cuisine to familiar comforts with menus inspired by the highest quality and locally sourced ingredients,

Garden fresh, organically grown produce and fresh caught seafood and the finest of imported meats all blend to create a fabulous fusion of both international and Fijian dishes.

Guests even have the option to join staff in visiting local markets, a mud crab farm and catch freshwater prawns as part of the resort’s unique ‘Nanuku Food Safari’ and have those very ingredients prepared by the resort’s culinary team and served for dinner.

Adding an extra layer to a Nanuku epicurean experience, guests can also opt for a private in-villa dining experience complete with personal chef and wait staff.

For more information about Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji, visit http://nanuku.aubergeresorts.com F: www.facebook.com/Nanuku-Auberge-Resort.

pictured (from left to right) Nanuku Auberge resort Fiji’s award winning team – Executive Chef, Pranil Prasad, Food & Beverage Director, Logan Miller and Chef Consultant, Jacques Reymond.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Be Embraced by Mana In New Tahiti Tourisme Campaign


Tahiti Tourisme has launched its latest global campaign and it all comes down to one word – Mana.

The emotive Embraced by Mana campaign hones in on Mana – the lifeforce and spirit of Polynesians – as a single word that evokes the people, culture and lifestyle of Tahiti.

Highlighting the diversity of the destination, from its crystal-clear lagoons to its friendly people and vibrant culture, the new slogan builds on the destination’s brand that positions Tahiti as the world’s preeminent island destination while highlighting the attributes which distinguish it from other popular holiday locations.




Tahiti Tourisme Director Australia New Zealand Robert Thompson said Mana was unique to the Polynesian way of life and a big part of what made Tahiti special.

“Whether visitors want to connect or disconnect, relax or get active, hide or seek, explore underwater or on land, there are many sides to the Islands of Tahiti. But at the core of it all is Mana, which encapsulates all that is remarkable about the destination,” Mr Thompson said.

“Mana is ever-present in Tahiti and whether they know it or not, everyone who visits Tahiti is touched by it. It’s the special aura, energy and power that embraces the Islands of Tahiti and leaves visitors feeling richer and more connected.”

The Embraced by Mana campaign has started rolling out across Tahiti Tourisme websites and social media around the world. The first installment of the campaign can be viewed here.

Follow Tahiti Tourisme on Twitter www.twitter.com/TahitiTourismAU

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tahititourismeaunz/

and Facebook www.facebook.com/TahitiTourismAU or visit www.tahitinow.com.au

Be DISCOVERED at Marble Bar




Following the resounding success of previous events, DISCOVERED at Marble returns in 2016 to find Sydney's best live music act. For the fourth year running, Sydney's best musicians will battle for a much-coveted two-month slot as Marble Bar's resident performer.
DISCOVERED at Marble is a social media driven competition where aspiring live bands and performers are encouraged to upload their demos through Marble Bar's Facebook page from Thursday 24 March. The general public will rule over the contestants' submissions and by their vote select the top five finalists. Voting for DISCOVERED is easy – music fans can simply head to Marble Bar's Facebook page and support their favourite performers online.
The top five acts will then grab their guitars and pull out the drum sticks for a once in a lifetime opportunity performing head to head at Marble Bar in front of an expert jury, VIP stakeholders, media and the MC on Wednesday 4 May. The winner will be discovered by the public's vote in conjunction with that of our team of judges.
The winning act will be rewarded with a two-month residency playing every Wednesday night at Marble Bar from May 2016, valued at $10,000.
Hilton Sydney, General Manager, Ronald van Weezel said:
"Marble Bar and its resident live performances are iconic; there is no other bar like it in the city. DISCOVERED at Marble is aimed at engaging with Sydney's music community and fostering the development of the city's dynamic music scene. In the past four years, we have scouted amazing talent and are already excited to discover what Sydney has on offer this year".
DISCOVERED at Marble competition details:
  • Competition entry opens: 24 March 2016 (upload video to Marble Bar's Facebook)
  • Competition closes: 18 April 2016
  • Voting: 19 – 26 April 2016 (via Marble Bar Facebook page)
  • Top 5 announcement: 27 April 2016
  • Grand Finale: 4 May 2016
Entrants can enter via the Marble Bar Facebook page www.facebook.com/marblebarsydney
*For full competition terms and conditions visit www.facebook.com/marblebarsydney or www.marblebarsydney.com.au
DISCOVERED at Marble presented by Hilton Sydney follows Hilton Hotels & Resorts involvement in some of history's most pivotal music moments. These memories have included Keith Richards and Mick Jagger performing on the 45th floor of Hilton New York (1965), Jimi Hendrix in 1968 performed two sell out concerts at Washington Hilton (located in Washington, D.C.), John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their 'Bed-in for Peace' at Hilton Amsterdam (1969) and the words to the famous 'Imagine' were penned on Hilton New York Stationary in 1971. In 2013 Hilton hits a high note with its involvement in supporting the globes music community including a 25 year partnership as the Official Hotel Partner of the GRAMMY® Awards.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tigerair Australia Celebrates First International Services To Bali



-        New Services Provide Over 6,800 Seats Weekly To The Tigerair Network.

-        Three Inaugural Flights Depart Melbourne, Adelaide And Perth Bound For Bali Today.

Wednesday 23 March 2016: Tigerair Australia today celebrates the airline's inaugural services to Bali, with the departure of its first Bali bound services from Melbourne and Adelaide departing 9:15am and 9:45am and arriving 12:25pm/12:35pm respectively.

The first service from Perth departs at 7:25pm arriving into Denpasar Airport at 11:10pm.

From today, Tigerair Australia will operate daily return flights to Denpasar from Melbourne and Perth, along with five weekly return flights from Adelaide to Denpasar, delivering over 6,800 additional visitor seats weekly through Denpasar Airport.

Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp, who is flying on the inaugural service from Melbourne today, said the airline was excited to be able to launch its first ever international services, providing more value and choice for leisure travellers than ever before.

"This is a significant milestone for Tigerair Australia as we continue to grow in line with consumer demand. Bali is renowned as a popular holiday destination for many Australians looking for an affordable tropical holiday year round and we are confident our new services will prove popular with our core market of leisure travellers."

Customers aboard the first Tigerair international flight will be farewelled in Melbourne with a special Balinese themed check- in experience and greeted on arrival at Denpasar Airport with a traditional Balinese welcome featuring local dancers.

Tigerair Australia is using three recently reconfigured Boeing 737-800 aircraft for its international services. These aircraft feature 180 all economy seats, including five rows of seats with extra legroom (18 seats in the front of the cabin and 12 seats in exit rows).

For the first time, passengers will also be able to access a mix of free and paid wireless inflight entertainment for use on their own devices on-board the new international services.

Tigerair Australia is proud to provide Australians with consistently great value fares both domestically and now also to one of the most popular international leisure destinations. As always the best way to secure a great value fare is to plan ahead and book early.


All is not lost! Keeping track of your stuff



Roderick Eime looks at some new and novel ways to keep your stuff safe

We’ve all been there, that moment when our heart skips a beat and our hair bristles.

You look in your backpack or overnight bag and it’s gone! The camera, the iPhone, the charger, the whatever. And if you anything like me, you spend the next however many hours trying to forensically retrace your steps and actions wondering where it could be.

Now in this age of miraculous technology there are a number of enterprising folks who have come up with ideas to help you trace, locate and hopefully recover lost or (heaven forbid) stolen items.

Here’s a couple that have received attention recently.

TrackR
TrackR

This one is in the techy/clever box. TrackR is a tiny Mission Impossible-sized key ring about the size of a fat 10 cent piece. Simply attach it to your valuable, download and install the smartphone app and if you and your inseparable thing get separated, an alert will be created.

The way it works is that the little TrackR device communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Yep, just like any other Bluetooth device. So if it goes out of range, it alerts you before you jump in your car and head off. Can be a bit tricky if your only device is attached to your only smartphone … but the reverse will work too, so if you have your keys and lose your phone, the device will ring your phone - even if it’s on silent.

You could even use it to track a child or pet and the app will remember the last known location and mark it on a map.

Say it’s on your keys, then the smartphone will also tell you how far away you are (ie getting warmer!) Plus TrackR is building a GPS-connected crowd network so that if another TrackR user is near your lost item, it will alert them. A bit of a long shot at the moment, but nice idea.

You can add numerous devices to be tracked from your phone and be sure to keep the battery in your device fresh, or it will all be for naught. You should also remember the little device does not have it’s own GPS capability. That’s only delivered by the app which uses the smartphone’s GPS feature.

Update: the new TrackR Bravo is an improved version and is thinner and made of metal.

www.thetrackr.com



Tile

A competing device similar to TrackR but not part of this test. Comparable features, but does not currently allow reverse tracking.

www.thetileapp.com

Note: You can track your lost luggage with Lugloc - which uses cellphone coverage and GPS



Simplicity: idtagit
idtagit

In a counter revolutionary move, this innovative company has gone old school by simply using good old-fashioned plastic ID tags. Each special idtagit tag has a unique number, like a serial number, that you can assign to whatever item you want to protect: a phone, camera, bag, whatever.

The idea then is that you create a profile and register the item and tag on the idtagit.com website and if a benevolent soul finds your item, it can be returned to you. A bit like microchipping your cat.

The tags are about key fob size and can be either attached to your key ring or stuck to a flat surface like on your laptop or iPad.

www.idtagit.com



Lost Found Stolen and Missing

Lost Found Stolen Missing Dot Com

Now I have to declare that my octogenarian uncle came up with this idea and created a website that is like the Gumtree for Lost & Found.

It’s taken off like wildfire and folks are using it for anything from lost sporting goods and stolen cars to missing persons and pets. Given that the police are largely ineffective in locating lost and stolen items, sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands and this is one proactive method for people who have, for one reason or another, lost something.

Perhaps a bit limiting if you are on the go and travelling, but a sensible, simple and effective method for communities and neighbourhoods nonetheless.

www.lostfoundstolen.com.au



Take sensible precautions

Of course, prevention is always the preferred strategy and here are some handy tips for travellers.
  • Always make duplicates of your travel documents, passports, cards etc and leave them with a friend or parents. You can store digital copies on your cloud service or send them to yourself in an email.
  • Likewise with valuable items. Photograph your things so you can show someone a picture. “Have you seen this?”
  • When travelling, make sure you take personal security seriously. Wear a money belt and keep a close eye on bags and cases. 
  • Don’t carry more stuff than you need to. If going out to a crowded place, festival or event, just take one card and a bit of cash. Leave the rest in the hotel safe.
  • Learn to recognise danger signs. Avoid dodgy places and people and travel with a friend or in a group where possible.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Aussies Hot for Chile!


According to Contours Travel, more and more Australians are extending their stay in Chile to further explore the country's diverse offerings.

Managing Director of Contours Travel, Ted Dziadkiewicz, says with Santiago as a popular gateway to South America for travellers flying in from Australia, the interest in exploring the city and beyond the city borders is growing.

"Among our clients, Brazil and Peru are still the two most popular destinations in South America, but over the last few years, it's evident that interest in exploring Chile is on a steady rise, not just as an extended stop-over, but also as an end destination," says Ted.

"While hot spots like the Atacama desert, Patagonia and the Lake District remain popular places to visit due to their extraordinary landscapes and experiences, lesser known places including Pucon, Chiloe and Easter Island are increasingly being included in many of our tours and individual tailor-made itineraries," he says. "These places are still very much untouched and authentic with rich histories, well preserved cultures and thriving communities unaffected by western or modern influences; and they very much appeal to many of our discerned travellers who enjoy scraping beneath what's trendy.

Ted adds that as appreciators of good food and wine, many Australian foodies who visit Chile also try to join in the Vendimia wine festival between February and April, where specialty local dishes and some of the country's best wines can be enjoyed.

Even though Chile is great to visit all year round, Ted advises travellers that the best time to visit the south or the Patagonian region is between November and March when the weather is conducive to all of the outdoor activities on offer.

While Contours Travel's portfolio of Chilean tours is growing, the most popular tours include their packages to Santiago and wine valleys, Atacama and the lakes crossing. These tours give travellers an insightful look into some of the country's diverse landscapes and best assets, especially the Andes - from the driest desert up north to Glaciers and fjords down south.

Last year, Chile welcomed 46,010 Australians (up >2% from 2013, which recorded 44,943 visitors).
 

For more information on tours and itineraries for Chile, visit www.contourstravel.com.au.

TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards - World's Top Destinations



TRIPADVISOR RECOGNISES THE WORLD’S BEST DESTINATIONS WITH TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE AWARDS

London Wins Top World Honours

Sydney Secures No. 24 spot on the World List

TripAdvisor®, the travel planning and booking site, today announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice™ awards for destinations, recognising travellers’ favourite places around the world. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period, as well as traveller booking interest on TripAdvisor.

In the South Pacific, Sydney was named the top destination, and the city also took the 24th place in the World list.

“These Travellers’ Choice Destinations are award-winning because they are beloved by our global TripAdvisor community and are ranked based on feedback and booking interest across a 12-month period,” said TripAdvisor’s Director of Communications, Asia Pacific, Janice Lee Fang. “Aussies who are planning to escape the cooler months of the year should consider booking their hotels on TripAdvisor now as there are great reasons to visit and explore these destinations in April.”

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. Stuart Ayres commented on Sydney’s leading position on the Australia list, “Whether visitors are exploring Sydney for the first time or returning to enjoy the city’s new experiences, we are excited to showcase Sydney’s stunning beaches, fantastic food and wine scene and surrounding NSW regions to TripAdvisor travellers.”

Gold Coast Tourism, who is celebrating their newly established top 10 position on the Australia list commented, “We are thrilled that the Gold Coast has been recognised by the global TripAdvisor community in the 2016 Travellers’ Choice Destination awards,” said Gold Coast Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Martin Winter.

“It is a fantastic achievement for our city and a tribute to the great work of our local accommodation providers, tourism attractions and restaurants who deliver excellent customer service and have helped position the Gold Coast second in the Top 10 destinations in Australia,” he said.

TripAdvisor has also identified top-rated hotels and information on upcoming events and attractions to provide guidance on best times to visit and offer travellers more insights about great things to discover in these award-winning destinations.

Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Destinations – World:

(+/- denotes change in ranking year-over-year, destinations with no change are marked accordingly)

1. London, United Kingdom (+5) TripAdvisor average nightly rate1 of all bookable hotels in London: $285One of the world’s most admired destinations, London showcases the perfection collision of history with modern art, fashion, food, and good British ale. A perfect day is different for all types of travellers: culture hounds should hit the Tate Modern and the Royal Opera House. For foodies, try cream tea at Harrods or visit the Urban Food Festival in East London, which occurs every Saturday from noon until midnight. Or a must for music buffs is a wander down Abbey Road.

2. Istanbul*, Turkey (+1) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Istanbul: $128The mosques, bazaars, and Turkish baths of Istanbul could keep travellers in awe of their magnificence and beauty for their entire trip. Many travellers recommend kicking the trip off with the inspiring Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque), which is visible from many view points of the city. Be sure to book your trip in March or April for an opportunity to visit Istanbul’s Tulip Festival.

3. Marrakech, Morocco (-2) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Marrakech: $146The “Red City” of Marrakech is a magical place, brimming with marketplaces, gardens, palaces, and mosques. Exploring the intimate courtyards and plethora of alleyways of the historic Medina can easily eat up a day. Find inner peace at the serene Jardin Majorelle or take in the beauty of one of the city’s historic mosques. If travelling during April, visit the Alwan'Art, an international festival of street performance, featuring acrobats, circus acts and dance crews.

4. Paris, France (+5) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Paris: $236 Titled the ‘City of Love’ for its sheer beauty and love encapsulating essence, Paris is arguably the world's leading tourism destination. The city encompassed with centuries of cultural and political development has brought Paris to host some of the world’s most recognised museums, theatres, monuments and architectural style. Reason to book now: Musical Fountains Show at the Palace of Versailles, March 25 – October 30, 2016.

5. Siem Reap, Cambodia (-3) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Siem Reap: $101Cambodia, and in particular Siem Reap, has become a hugely popular destination over the past two decades, as the country emerged from war and internal conflict and invested in restoring Angkor Wat. Its recommended travellers should invest in either a lesson in national history at the Cambodian Cultural Village, or a lesson in bargaining at the Angkor Night Market, a bonanza of shopping stalls, food vendors, and bars. If travelling in April, visitors will be immersed in the Khmer New Year celebrations, April 13 – 16, 2016.

6. Prague, Czech Republic (-1) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Prague: $122The bohemian allure and fairy-tale features of Prague make it a perfect destination for travellers who want to immerse themselves in culture. Travellers could devote an entire day to exploring Prazsky hrad (Prague Castle), then refuelling over a hearty dinner at a classic Czech taverna. Be sure to visit the city from late February to early April and visit the St. Matthew’s Fair.

7. Rome, Italy (no YoY change) TripAdvisor Average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Rome: $185Reflecting the look and feel of a giant outdoor museum, the city of Rome is reminiscent of a real-life collage of piazzas, open-air markets, and mind-boggling historic sites. Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, have a jaw-dropping moment at the Colosseum and the Pantheon, and fuel up on gelato for an afternoon of shopping at the Campo de’Fiori or Via Veneto. Be amongst the festivities and organise your visit for April 21st for Rome’s birthday celebrations, Festa Natale di Roma.

8. Hanoi, Vietnam (-4) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Hanoi: $114Vietnam's historic and cultural capital Hanoi once known for its French colonial architecture, is forging a contemporary path with travellers choosing the spot as a must visit destination more frequently year on year. Many ancient architectural features are still preserved in the Red River Delta locality, particularly in the fascinating Old Quarter streets. Visit on June 9 and travellers can embrace the country’s Summer Solstice Day (Tet Doan Ngo).

9. New York City, U.S. (+2) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in New York City: $454

The “City That Never Sleeps” is home to thousands of world-class hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and attractions, making it an ideal destination for travellers from all walks of life. To get an inside look at the magnificentMetropolitan Museum of Art before it opens to the public each day, travellers can book the early morningEmptyMet Tour on TripAdvisor. One of the country’s most iconic department stores, Macy’s, hosts the Macy’s Flower Show “America the Beautiful,” in Macy’s Herald Square, and is certainly a must for travellers visiting March 20 – April 3.

10. Ubud (Bali), Indonesia (+5) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Ubud: $182

The village cluster of Ubud is the ideal place to try a famed Balinese massage and soak up the ambience of one of Asia’s top luxury spa destinations. Ubud is also the vivacious centre of Bali’s arts scene, home to a small treasure trove of museums and galleries. If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine book your trip to Ubud May 27-29 2016, and experience innovative chefs and extraordinary local produce at the Ubud Food Festival.

Sydney Opera House lights up for Vivid Sydney

Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Destinations – Australia:

1. Sydney, New South Wales (No YoY change) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Sydney: $236

2. Gold Coast, Queensland (*New) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Gold Coast: $172

3. Melbourne, Victoria (-1) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Melbourne: $195

4. Brisbane, Queensland (-1) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Brisbane: $154

5. Cairns, Queensland (-1) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Cairns: $134

6. Port Douglas, Queensland (-1) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Port Douglas: $188

7. Perth, Western Australia (*New) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Perth: $199

8. Hobart, Tasmania (-2) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Hobart: $192

9. Adelaide, South Australia (No YoY change) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Adelaide: $153

10. Noosa, Queensland (-2) TripAdvisor average nightly rate of all bookable hotels in Noosa: $243

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site**. Travellers can read millions of reviews and opinions and book their next trip at:www.tripadvisor.com.au

From James Bond to Thrill Walks and Flower Trails in Switzerland





While shrills and thrills are part of every Bond production, it is highly unlikely that pretty flower trails would ever make the cut.

However, at the Schilthorn, the Swiss peak featured in the sixth Bond series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (starring Australia's very own George Lazenby), where the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria served as villain Blofeld's headquarters, thrill walks and flower trails go hand in hand with the Bond action.

Bond World 007 and the 007 Walk of Fame opened in the summer 2015, where since opening, fans from around the world have been making their way over to completely immerse themselves in scenes from the iconic movie including an experience in a helicopter simulator in the original chassis of a decommissioned Air Glaciers Alouette III that flew to the Schilthorn on its very last flight.


However, all things Bond aside, that is not all on offer at the Schilthorn. With the best view of the majestic Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, and an unrivalled 360-degree panoramic view of more than 200 peaks in the region, visitors will have two more reasons to visit the region this summer.

Opening in July this year, the Thrill Walk in Birg will draw some attention from adrenaline seekers. A 200 meter long steel bridge will cling to the rock before swinging under the observation deck and below the Birg cable car station. The cliff path will include a variety of sections where one would need to traverse across, climb over or crawl through, including an eight-meter long tunnel area above a 250m drop for the intense mountain experience.

Also being re-introduced around the same time in July is the Flower Trail, a floral discovery trail that is currently undergoing a redesign to better showcase the 150 different alpine flowers in the area including gentians, cyclamen, Alpine roses and varieties of edelweiss. Suitable for visitors of all ages, this colourful trail would be a true feast for the senses and soul.

For more information on Switzerland, visit www.myswitzerland.com.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Travelodge announces Joel Creasey and Rhys Nicholson for Lie Down and Laugh Series


TFE Hotels has recruited some of the funniest names in Australian comedy to promote the new "Refreshingly Simple" philosophy of Travelodge Hotels across Australia and New Zealand.

Perth's Joel Creasey & Newcastle boy Rhys Nicholson will release a hilarious new set of videos from April to bring to life the new, improved Travelodge Hotels brand, which has recently undergone the biggest refresh in the brand's 40-year history.

With a down to earth attitude and an honest sense of humour, these are hotels redesigned for the way we live today. Each of Australia & New Zealand's 17 Travelodge Hotels is now based on a Refreshingly Simple approach, giving travellers more of what they want and less of the things that seem rather pointless.

Australia's 'Acid Tongue Prince' Joel Creasey will be checking in to host a short-video series, in which he will share his travel stories, hints and advice. As one of Australia's hottest comedians, Joel made a name for himself performing sold-out runs at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and with shows at the New York International Fringe Festival. He has been inside his fair share of hotels across the world in recent years and has a huge repertoire of stories to tell, ranging from the good to the bad, to the downright awkward…

Joel said: "Everyone has experienced that intense moment of panic when you've just jumped out of the shower and you hear a knock at the door and, "HOUSEKEEPING". We're going to take a little journey into the world of travel the funnier moments of hotel stays so hopefully, we'll have a few laughs along the way. Stay tuned!"

Joining Joel on the Travelodge guest list is Newcastle's razor-sharp-witted, Rhys Nicholson who burst onto the scene when he won the 2012 Time Out Award for Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival. Though he now lives in Sydney, his hometown will always be extremely close to his heart. Rhys will be filming a travel guide with a twist for visitors to the harbourside city, giving insider hints and tips for making the most of a few days in this often-overlooked part of New South Wales.

"I might have been away from Newcastle for a few years now, but I definitely have fond memories of growing up there. Or maybe I just have memories…" said Rhys. "There's definitely a different side to the city that you can discover if you know where to look, which luckily I do, so I'm looking forward to showing off my roots with my very own travel guide!"


Sunshine Coast Airport takes off as Australia’s fastest growing airport, but airport expansion needed to maintain momentum




The summer of 2015-16 has been a record breaker for Sunshine Coast Airport with passenger numbers growing for the sixth consecutive month, making Sunshine Coast Airport the fastest growing airport in the country.

Over the summer months (December to February) a total of 244,708 passengers used the flight services at Sunshine Coast Airport, representing growth of 19% on the same period 12 months prior.

Increased services by Virgin Australia and Jetstar, the first summer of flights by Air New Zealand, and the start of Qantas services to Sydney all contributed to the strong growth.

Recently released December data from the Commonwealth Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) confirms Sunshine Coast Airport as the fastest growing airport in the country for December, the sixth month running at the top of the chart.

The airport experienced a 17% year on year increase in total passengers for the month of December, with Cairns (8.8%), Alice Springs (8.6%), Hobart (7.2%) and Melbourne (7.2%) rounding out the top five.

Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager Peter Pallot said the airport was continuing to go from strength to strength with February passenger figures a prime example.

"February was a sensational month for the airport and the figures clearly demonstrate the growing popularity of the airport with both locals and visitors," Mr Pallot said

"In what is typically a quiet month, we have had 65,261 passengers pass through our gates. That's a 25% growth rate year on year."

Mr Pallot said capacity on the Melbourne – Sunshine Coast route in February grew by an average of 15% compared to 12 months prior.  The extra seats were eagerly snapped up by passengers with an 18% increase in passenger numbers and strong loads being experienced across the board.

"The Sydney – Sunshine Coast route saw 32% more seats added as a result of additional capacity by Virgin Australia and Jetstar as well as the start of Qantas services," he said.

"Passenger numbers were up 24% year on year with both Virgin Australia and Jetstar recording growth."

Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker said Sunshine Coast Airport was a business unit of council and was not relying on ratepayer funding.

"The $347 million Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project will help grow passengers numbers and support the needs of the growing Sunshine Coast community," Mr Whittaker said.

"It is anticipated it will contribute $4.1 billion to the local economy and result in 3500 fewer dwellings being affected by noise each day, generate more than 2230 jobs and help our export businesses."

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Ambrose welcomed the news of capacity and passenger increases to the Sunshine Coast Airport and the region.

"When we market Sunshine Coast to the rest of Australia, and internationally, one of the biggest selling points is that you can land and be at your destination within 30 minutes, and it is a huge marketing advantage," Mr Ambrose said.

"High-yielding conference and other groups, in particular, want the capacity to fly direct to a destination, and while Sunshine Coast Airport has done a great job in recent years accommodating the growth in airline services, the reality is that we need a major overhaul and upgrade if we are to maintain the momentum.

"Regional destinations are all about competitive advantage.  As soon as a region gets – or loses – a competitive advantage, the tourism situation can change dramatically.

"Investment is being made in regional airports across Australia, and while we may have one of the most enviable destinations in the country, unless we have the infrastructure to support it, we will lose out – and that means income for Sunshine Coast businesses and jobs for Sunshine Coast residents."

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Find your naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast holiday at visitsunshinecoast.com.au

Organise your next business event at businesseventssunshinecoast.com.au

 

Bondi Rescue star returning to Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival!



Reidy surfing back to Julia Creek

After his first trip to Outback Queensland was broadcast to over 700 million viewers worldwide, Bondi Rescue's Andrew 'Reidy' Reid will again fly North to join in the festivities at the 22nd annual Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival, from 15-17 April, 2016.

Reidy said the Dirt n Dust experience was what Australia was all about, and is the reason he made the decision to return to Julia Creek.

"When you travel to places like Julia Creek, you get to experience the real Australia – which isn't something I get to see when I'm stuck in the bubble of Bondi. I love that it's all real people, real fun, and is an absolute breath of fresh air," Reidy said.

"To be completely honest, the part of the Festival I'm most looking forward to is the Fashions on the Field at the horse races. It's the most beautiful women in Australia all dolled up, and gives us the chance to knock back a few drinks after the hard work of the triathlon that morning.

 "I'm not 100 per cent sure if I'll be bringing my bike up with me, so not sure if I'll do the whole Dirt n Dust Triathlon or if I'll be in a team with Robbie Katter again, but will definitely race the tri in some way."

Reidy said the weekend offered something for everyone, and had to be seen to be believed.

"Dirt n Dust offers an experience that you can only get by actually travelling to Julia Creek – experiencing the heat, meeting the personalities, and is what is making me so keen to get back there after losing my Dirt n Dust virginity in 2014," said Reidy.

"I'll be taking part in everything the Festival has to offer, from the cow pat throwing and bog snorkelling, the tri, Australia's Best Butt competition… Although I'm still deciding whether I'll try my luck on the back of a bull. I'll be absolutely throwing myself at the Festival, which is really what Dirt n Dust is all about, just having a go and giving it a crack."

Dirt n Dust Festival Committee President, Stephen Malone, said the relationship formed between the Festival and the Bondi Rescue boys was one that he hoped would continue to grow in the future.

"We're extremely lucky to welcome Reidy back to Julia Creek next month. When the Bondi Boys Outback Adventure documented his first trip to Dirt n Dust with Corey Oliver and Adriel 'Bacon' Young in 2014, we found that city slickers and country folk aren't so different and we've been good mates ever since," Mr Malone said.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase everything that Outback Queensland has to offer not just to Reidy and the Bondi boys, but to the out-of-towners who travel from the coast or from large cities. We have to be doing something right, because each year sees more people return to experience the Festival again and again."

The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival will be held from 15-17 April, 2016. For more information and to register, go to www.dirtndust.com


Multi-million Upgrade to Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club


Traveloscopy editor, Roderick Eime, travelled to Lithgow for a first hand look at the new, 129-year-old ‘Workies’.

The addition of 36 4-star motel-style rooms in a purpose built block adjacent the main building in Tank St, Lithgow, has reinforced the venue as the preeminent MICE, entertainment and dining location in the city.

An art gallery, formal restaurant and multi-purpose entertainment/conference space are also part of the extensive facelift.

Apart from the new accommodations, the new and expansive ‘Showroom’ entertainment space can be configured for small or large meetings, performances or seminars at the drop of a hat.

The Club's GM, Geoff Wheeler, says the newly upgraded facilities are now ready to appeal to customers “across the world, across the state or across the road”.

A recent gala opening saw the official ceremony MCed by Sydney Weekender star and former test cricketer, Mike Whitney, with the TV host proclaiming Lithgow as one of the most welcoming towns he’s visited in the New South Wales.

“Stepping into the club today, I really felt like one of the family,” said Whitney to the packed auditorium, “and that’s what makes this place special. I promise here and now to bring the Sydney Weekender team back to shoot a dedicated episode on Lithgow.”

Exec chef, Tim Standing in the new Esk Restaurant (R Eime)
Additionally, a new executive chef, Tim Standing, has been recruited to launch Esk Restaurant. With years of international experience, Standing is confident he can turn Esk into ‘the’ dining venue in the district.

“Customers will always want to order staple ‘club food’ like steaks and schnitzels,” says Standing, “but we intend to gradually introduce a more contemporary Australian menu featuring locally sourced produce.”

The new renovations are expected to inject new life into the existing MICE facilities by providing greater variety of creative possibilities. The Workies already offers a range of function rooms to suit meetings of between 20 and 200 people. All spaces are fully catered and provide the latest AV technology with free Wi-Fi in each of the Millennium Room, Tuscan Room and Waratah Room.

The Workies also provides a great base for weekend escapes from Sydney and a chance to explore the many attractions of Lithgow like the Small Arms Museum, Zig Zag train and brewery as well as the surprising number of scenic outlooks.

For information on meetings at Lithgow Workmen’s Club, see www.workies.com.au or phone (02) 6350 7777

Friday, March 18, 2016

Explore extraordinary contrasts from guided temples to bustling cities with Silversea



Experience the vast contrasts of Southeast Asia's dynamic cities and quaint fishing villages, ancient temples and dazzling cityscapes aboard Silversea's ultra-luxurious Silver Shadow.  Sailing on a 12-day roundtrip voyage from Singapore, guests can witness the splendid royal cities, bejewelled pagoda, breathtaking cultural monuments and exquisite countryside scenery of this region.


Departing on 31 October 2016, Silver Shadow sails through Malaysia docking at Port Klang, Kuala Lumpar and Penang, Georgetown.  From here, guests cruise to the vibrant city of Phuket, Thailand before arriving Yangon, Myanmar, where Silver Shadow will dock for a three night stay.  With ample time to explore, guests can discover the unique culture, history and stunning landmarks of the city such as the Shwedagon Pagoda, a sacred temple sheathed in solid gold and encrusted with over 5,000 diamonds. 


Returning to Malaysia, guests visit Langkawi, an archipelago made up of 99 islands and renowned for its stunning marine life and lush rainforests, and Malacca, a historic medieval city.  This voyage concludes in Singapore, with guests disembarking on 12 November 2016.    
All 2016 Asia voyages aboard Silver Shadow include: two night pre-cruise hotel stay at the Shangri-La in Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo, transfer from hotel to ship, Silver Shore Select Excursions at every port of call and complimentary WiFi.


Prices are per person, starting from AU$8,850 in a Vista Suite double occupancy.  Guests that book and pay in full before 30 April 2016, will receive a 10% saving (AU$7,965) as part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus.  Silversea fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship.

This voyage is subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com.


Please drive safely over the Easter long weekend


Australian fatalities during Easter more double

by Patricia Haueiss

The thing about Easter is everybody sees it as a longer holiday than it actually is, but it’s only four days so they rush.

Over the Easter long weekend of 2015 the Australian Road Toll Statistics from the Australian Department of Infrastructure show that the number of fatalities more than doubled last year compared to 2014. Plus, on the first and last day of Easter the speed of the cars in fatal crashes is faster than on the Saturday and Sunday. This is not a freak year as the stats for 2014 and 2013 show within the first and last 24 hours of Easter cars in fatal crashes travel around 100km/h On average over the three years this is nearly 30km/h faster than the speeds for crashes during the middle of Easter.

This means the race to come and go from Easter destinations might be a factor. Speed is a major issue on national holidays not just because drivers rush but because of the number of cars on the roads: the crush!



The global car insurer Allianz warns that speeding is a factor in about 30% of road fatalities with no less than 4000 people injured in speed-related incidents per year.

Zvezde Klingenberg co-founder of www.tyroola.com.au, Australia’s largest online tyre retailer, recommends: ‘If you can’t avoid driving during the Easter break then be vigilant, stay within the speed limit and check the state of your car and especially your tyres before you set out. They are the only point of contact between road and your vehicle. New tyres can improve breaking distance up to 30% which could save lifes.’

Here are the stats for the reasons people crash from the Australian Accident Statistics: intoxication 13.5%, falling asleep 11.8% and fatigue 10.9%.Combine these and you have 36.2% of crashes caused by people stretching their physical limits. It is the combination of the rush and the festivities of Easter that put people in a condition where they’re more likely to fall into that third. And this is without speed in the equation!

It is true the Australian road toll has decreased by approximately 500 deaths per decade since the 1970s but did you know the Australian road toll in 2015 was 238 people. Now, the number injured: 6,529. For Easter of the same year, road deaths numbered 20 in just 4 days. Now despite our laws, double demerit points and roadside breath testing, these stats indicate we have a long way to go before safe driving becomes nation-wide by default.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Adelaide’s Mayfair Hotel installs rooftop bee hives


Adelaide's top rated 5-star hotel, the Mayfair Hotel has further embraced its support for the utilisation of local produce and sustainable practices with bee hives having been installed on its roof in what may well be the most luxurious looking hives in town – as is befitting the property.

Bee enthusiast, apiarist and head chef Bethany Finn has applied a strong focus on sustainability and use of local produce across the Mayfair's menus, and oversaw the installation of the hives.  The Mayfair strongly supports the protection of bees and promotion of an increase in hives in both rural and metropolitan regions.  In fact, the Mayfair hives were kept and Bethany's own home whilst the Mayfair made way for their installation at the hotel.­­­ The Mayfair Rooftop Bee hive area also includes a number of plants to act as windbreaks and water.

Mayfair Hotel General Manager Martin Radcliffe said, "We fully support this initiative.  It is the policy of the management of the hotel to be as sustainable as possible in all our practices and we are constantly looking for new initiatives to support this ethos.  Drawing on Bethany's knowledge and skills to create the Mayfair Rooftop Bee is an exciting project.   Bees are such an important part of the plant based food cycle and to assist in the promotion and support of bees and in turn, the role they play in the production of local produce meant the entire project ticked all the boxes for us."

Bee enthusiast, apiarist and head chef Bethany Finn
The bees have had time to settle into their new location a secluded specially designed hive atop Adelaide's most luxurious 5 star boutique hotel.  They've found their 'flight path' which is essentially the route they will always fly to and from the hive to the plants they will pollinate and they are busily producing honeycomb and honey –  they are 'busy bees' so to speak.  

Mayfair honey treat
"Im so excited about this project – I've been training as an apiarist for a while and fully embrace the support by the Mayfair Hotel to do their part to ensure the bee population remains strong" said Mayfair Hotel head chef, Bethany Finn.   "Sadly bee numbers have been dwindling on a global level and if there's no bees to pollinate the plants, we're all in trouble.  That a 5 star hotel in the CBD is supporting a bee initiative that fully managed and operated in house – along with expert guidance of course, is fantastic.  It is great to be adding our very own honey to dishes served up in the Mayflower Restaurant and across the hotel" she said.    

The honey produced by the Mayfair Rooftop Bees will feature throughout the hotel – from the Honey Trap cocktail at HENNESSY, to Honey Pana Cotta for in house banquets.  It will be a most delicious accompaniment to the house made muesli or on toast at the breakfast buffet and in dishes created for the Mayflower Restaurant by Bethany Finn, right through to being a VIP guest gift.  Eventually the hotel is hoping the honey will be available for guests to purchase as a take home memento of the prestige property, and a reminder of fine South Australian produce.

This project has been achieved with the support of some of the Mayfair's primary suppliers who share the hotel's passion in this area, namely Coopers, Wills and Daniel, Bunzl, Holco and Vittoria Coffee.

A Mayfair Secret

In keeping with its 'nothing but the best' ethos, guests wine and dine off Wedgwood crockery and Riedel and Waterford marque crystal glassware

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Voted World's Best Airport Hotel for the Second Consecutive Year


Crowne Plaza Changi Airport has been named World's Best Airport Hotel and Best Airport Hotel in Asia for the second consecutive year at the 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards, held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Cologne, Germany. The hotel had received its first award in 2015. This is a milestone in the young history of the 320-room hotel that is set to expand with the launch of an additional 243 new rooms in Q2/Q3 of 2016.

Established in 1999 when Skytrax launched its first global Airport Customer Satisfaction Survey, the non-profit World Airport Awards are recognized as a global benchmark of excellence in the travel industry.

The 2016 awards for best airport hotels are based on nominations from travellers around the globe. It evaluates key performance indicators in guest satisfaction including overall experience, level of service, room and bathroom cleanliness, quality of food, leisure, fitness and spa facilities, comfort and accessibility to the airport.




"It is indeed a great honour to be named the World's Best Airport Hotel for two consecutive years and we would not have achieved this without the vote of confidence from our guests," says Sunshine Wong, General Manager of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. "We are constantly striving to be a Great Hotel Guests Love. This award is a recognition of our team's hard work, dedication and commitment to delivering the highest service quality we have promised our guests. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our guests for the confidence and support through the years and we look forward to seeing you again when we open our extension of 243 new rooms in a few months time."

According to a representative from Skytrax World Airport Awards, "Crowne Plaza Changi Airport clearly continues to impress and satisfy its guests by retaining this title in 2016, this time by a considerable margin".

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is the only international brand hotel to be located within the immediate vicinity of world-class Changi Airport. The hotel offers unparalleled convenience and accessibility with seamless connectivity to Changi Airport Terminal 3. With the addition of 243 new rooms, the hotel will feature a total of 563 rooms.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is both an urban resort and the perfect hub for corporate and social events, offering contemporary design, innovative services and bespoke meeting spaces. Designed by award-winning architects WOHA, the hotel encapsulates elements of both city and resort hotels. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport also features a beautiful landscaped outdoor pool for long-haul travellers seeking an oasis to relax and rejuvenate before they embark on their next journey.

Winning this award for two consecutive years, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is truly the preferred choice of discerning business and leisure travellers.


WORLD'S BEST AIRPORT HOTELS IN 2016

1.     Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
2.     Regal Airport Hong Kong
3.     Pullman Guangzhou Airport
4.     Hilton Munich Airport
5.     Sofitel Heathrow
6.     Langham Place Beijing
7.     Hilton Frankfurt Airport
8.     Movenpick Hotel Bahrain
9.     Fairmont Vancouver Airport
10.   Grand Hyatt DFW


For more information about the 2016 World Airport Awards, please visit www.worldairportawards.com.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Adelaide’s 5-star boutique Mayfair Hotel - 12 secrets revealed


Adelaide’s 5-star boutique Mayfair Hotel celebrated its first anniversary last month so it’s fitting that it has this month been named one of Trip Advisors 2016 Travellers' Choice winners (placing it in the top 1% on the world’s biggest online travel site). Mayfair Hotel was also named the #1hotel in Adelaide in the Trivago 2015 Hotel Awards late last year and received a booking.com Guest Review Award ranking 9.4 for 2015.

The property opened on 29 January 2015 to much acclaim. Its high standard of service, style and sophistication wrapped in a boutique style property in the heart of the CBD was something Adelaide had lacked for a long time. The size of the hotel also enabled it to feel like a home away from home (albeit a fairly luxurious one). For its regular guests, staff come to know their personal likes and dislikes to ensure a relaxing, comfortable and unforgettable experience is delivered each and every time.

A lot of care, thought and detail went into the making of the Mayfair. 12 months on and here’s 12 secrets revealed....

1. The sheer comfort of the beds is one of the main features commented upon by guests. 30 Australian designed and made mattresses were tested (tough job!) before the Mayfair Luxury Mattress was specifically designed and patented, and yes you can buy one.

2. The Mayflower Restaurant’s rather unique painting played a large part in the entire look and feel of the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. Before development even began, the hotel owner saw the artwork during her travels in New York and it caught her eye as a potential feature piece for the basement restaurant. The artist Cate Parr has also been commissioned by Godiva Belgium, Rita Ora for Adidas, St Regis Hotel, Dubai, Central Park Hotel, NYC and Rolling Stones Tour 2015.

3. The eastern wall of the wine cellar in the Mayflower Restaurant is actually one of the original foundations of King William Street.

4. Because the hotel is situated in the old Colonial Mutual building the building and rooms still retain their unique shape so the wardrobes in each room had to be individually hand made by an Adelaide company to fit the available space.

5. The sophisticated and stylish rooftop bar, HENNESSY opened in December 2015 and features a number of Atelier Versace chairs and a 2m tall Fiorentino modern chandelier featuring 500 crystals.

6. The HENNESSY bar is named after the building’s original architect Jack Hennessy – and not the drink as many may believe.

7. In keeping with its ‘nothing but the best’ ethos, guests wine and dine off Wedgwood crockery and Riedel and Waterford marque crystal glassware.

8. The tiles in HENNESSY and public amenities were hand printed cement tiles from Turkey and the Middle-East in customised designs and colours.

9. Two bee hives were introduced late 2015 by the Mayfair team and Executive Chef Bethany Finn (a training apiarist) to the Mayfair rooftop housing thousands of Ligurian bees in a wonderful garden filled with flowers, a water source and white picket fence. The honey produced by the bees will be used in menu items across the hotel, including the Honey Trap Cocktail, Honey selection at the breakfast buffet, honey desserts and more.

10. When visiting look closely at the doorknobs to the public bathrooms – each is a one-off unique piece featuring an array of animals made from reclaimed brass by Melbourne artist Suzie Stanford. They were a surprise for builders when they arrived (they were expecting brass hands but loved the quirkiness of the animals so they stayed).

11. Guests often comment on the scent in the hotel – it is unique to the hotel and was specially created drawing inspiration from Chanel.

12. The entire concept of Mayfair Hotel project actually started 15 years ago.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

New furry friends are the star attraction at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort




Multi-award winning BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is not resting on its laurels and has added another wonderful new experience for guests. Next time you stay at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort in Airlie Beach you will be able to delight the family with a visit to the unique Animal Park within the resort.

The Animal Park provides over three acres for the animals to freely roam around and guests are able to enter the park and interact with them. Animals include both young and adult alpacas, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens. The lambs, kids and piglets are hugely popular and every animal has a name to match their cheeky personality traits, which their carers love to share with guests of the resort. 

Follow this video link to see some of the park animals https://youtu.be/Q-O-IbxJA1M

From Candy the Mama Alpaca to Molly the Cow and Albert the Pig, guests of the resort can gain an authentic "hands-on" experience of farm animals and children delight in getting up close and personal with the friendly animals. Albert the Pig has the largest personality and chickens Snowflake, Midnight and Ruby are friendly and love to be picked up. Resort guests are able to actively hold, pat and feed these cute farm animals at scheduled times throughout the week.

Owner Greg McKinnon said, "many kids don't have any animals in their life and we wanted to create an old-fashioned animal park so young children could experience the joys of patting and feeding animals. The carers are full of information about each animal and we are all very attached to the over 20 animals we treat just like family pets."

Winner of the 2015 Queensland and Whitsunday Tourism Awards in the 'Caravan and Holiday Park' category and with over 35 major tourism awards to their name, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort captures the essence of the relaxed, Australian lifestyle. The resort has capacity for over 700 guests and offers easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven Beach and a vast array of tours, fishing, boating and other water based activities.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is the favourite Airlie Beach accommodation choice for family holidays and the Animal Park is just one more activity in a host of choices for guests to enjoy. To find out what's happening for your next family holiday go to www.adventurewhitsunday.com.au.

Wyndham Executive Cooks for the Homeless


Wyndham Executive Cooks for Homeless at Queensland's first CEO CookOff

Wyndham customer experience executive, Adam Geneave joined a group of more than 150 business leaders and 50 top Australian chefs to cook for more than 1,300 homeless and vulnerable Australians this week.

Adam Geneave, Vice President of Customer Service at Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific participated in Brisbane's inaugural OzHarvest CEO CookOff on March 7.

The OzHarvest CEO CookOff is the food rescue organisation's flagship annual event, aimed at increasing awareness on food insecurity, homelessness and food wastage in Australia. To date, the business community has raised more than $4 million dollars for this unique charity event.

"It was a humbling experience to participate in Brisbane's inaugural CEO CookOff event. We certainly believe in making a positive contribution to the communities in which our hotels and resorts operate. OzHarvest is a great initiative making a real difference in addressing the issues of poverty, homelessness, hunger and waste," said Adam Geneave of Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific.

Held in conjunction with a corresponding event in Sydney, this year CEOs and senior business executives cooked alongside an exceptional line up of chefs  including QAGOMA's Josue Lopez, TV personality Ben O'Donoghue and Dominique Rizzo at Brisbane's first ever CEO CookOff.

150 high-profile business leaders including Aussie's James Symond, Woolworths' Marketing Director Andrew Hicks, Barangaroo Delivery Authority CEO Craig van der Laan, TFE Hotels CEO Rachel Argaman, Clorox GM Simon Durrant and HOSTPLUS CEO David Elia were split into teams and guided by star chefs to cook and prepare a three-course meal – feeding 1,300 homeless and disadvantaged people across Sydney and Brisbane.

Other companies that participated in the friendly culinary competition include: Goodman+ Property, Virgin Mobile, Macquarie Bank, PwC, Caltex, George Weston Foods and more.

Guests were also treated to a powerfully moving performance by the incredible Bangarra Dance Theatre.

CEO and Founder of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn, encouraged the entire business community to get behind the fundraising efforts and to inspire leadership in corporate social responsibility.

"By taking part in the CEO CookOff, these corporate leaders and companies show that they care for the communities in which they operate. They also show a commitment to making a real difference and impact to the lives of people who are less fortunate," said Ronni Khan.


Wyndham Hotel Group South Pacific

www.wyndhamAP.com

 

Monday, March 7, 2016

New York to the Caribbean aboard Silver Whisper


From the towering skyscrapers of the 'Big Apple' to the secluded shores of the Caribbean islands, sail aboard Silver Whisper on an unforgettable 12-day voyage.

Departing New York on 24 October 2016, Silver Whisper cruises to Hamilton, Bermuda where guests spend three days discovering the natural beauty, Old World charm and historic landmarks of the region.  Silver Whisper then travels to the French West Indies over the next two days offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the luxurious amenities and personalised service aboard, before arriving at Guadeloupe.  Here, indulge in the finest wine, stroll through the quaint streets or join an underwater adventure with a scuba or snorkelling excursion as part of Silversea's optional tours.

Silver Whisper continues her journey to Antigua and Barbuda, where she ports at the capital of St John's, before sailing to lush forest islands of Dominica and the West Indies.  Anchoring at St George's, Grenada, also referred to as the 'Isle of Spice', guests can explore this tropical gem which includes white-sand beaches and beautiful secluded coves.  This voyage then concludes in Bridgetown, Barbados, with guests disembarking on 05 November 2016.

Prices are per person, starting from AU$6,350 in a Vista Suite double occupancy.  Silversea fares also include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ships; one hour of complimentary WiFi per day for each guest and unlimited WiFi for the ship's top suites (Medallion and higher categories) and all gratuities.

This voyage is subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Adventure Steers Royal Caribbean 2017 European Summer Itineraries



Global Cruise Line Announces Ship Itineraries for Travellers Seeking New Destination Experiences

Royal Caribbean International sails into Europe for summer 2017 with itineraries that bring global experiences to the forefront of cruising. Widely regarded as the world's most awarded cruise line, Royal Caribbean will transport adventure-minded travellers to some of the globe's most iconic destinations via six of the brand's distinct ships, together stacking up to deliver the ultimate European summer getaways. Bookings for Europe season are now open

Travellers will venture through the majestic isles of the Eastern and Western Mediterranean on Jewel of the Seas sailing from Italy on seven- and nine-night voyages that visit Greece and Turkey, as well as seven-night sailings through the Western Mediterranean – offered more frequently with additional departures dates in 2017 – visiting France, Spain and Italy. Among the ports-of-call will be Santorini, Greece's live volcanic island cluster that summons visitors to explore its cliff-top whitewashed towns, indulge in its gastronomic splendours, and daydream from its red, white, and black sand beaches. The Greek capital city of Athens will offer a taste of life in the ancient world with exploration through legendary landmarks such as the citadel Acropolis and the temple Parthenon. Turkey's ancient town of Ephesus, dating back to the 10th century BC, will beckon history-lovers with a glimpse at the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. An international capital of faith, art, and history, Rome will treat its guests to an unmatched blend of archeological treasures with modern appeal. While Venice's Grand Canal will guide voyagers through this floating city's bevy of architectural masterpieces and religious sanctuaries, and welcome a mid-day siesta on the steps of its waterfront structures.

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas will host guests on seven-night sailings through the Western Mediterranean, while Brilliance of the Seas navigates eight European destinations with a 12-night itinerary, both departing from Barcelona, Spain. A stroll through this vibrant city will present a lesson in architectural mastery, thanks to Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, while Barcelona's flare for the arts will be highlighted by the country's native Picasso in his namesake museum. Food and wine lovers will take note of the ship's call in Naples, Italy – the birthplace of pizza and ever-popular lemon liquor, limoncello.

A peak inside the city's celebrated royal castles will intrigue the historically-curious, while Royal Caribbean's walking tour will journey through a 19th century underground tunnel, over to the San Carlo Opera House, and to the 17th century Carmignano aqueduct. To the east of Naples, the walled medieval town of Kotor, Montenegro will await exploration, with its plentiful shops, restaurants, piazzas, and palazzos. The cruise line's new Budva Riviera and Beach experience will offer a tranquil getaway to the country's coastal towns and villages, with a stop at Montenegro's award-winning Becici Beach.

Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas will sail the Mediterranean and the Spanish Canary Islands from Southampton, England with itineraries that extend from seven- to 14-nights. Southampton's location allows for an easy city getaway to London, an excursion to the historic Stonehenge site, or the famed Downton Abby estate from the hit BBC television show. Those looking for an adrenaline-inducing experience can seek out the GoApe adventure in 440-acre Itchen Valley Country Park, complete with tunnels, suspended bridges, and zip lines through the treetops. Also on the agenda: Nice, France, the seaside town on the glamourous French Rivera, will bring sun, surf, and the sophistication of the French lifestyle. The local Cours Saley market will present a selection of fresh fruit and vegetable snacks before a hike up the city's Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill), where visitors will find a picturesque point for outdoor picnics and a children's playground amid sweeping views of Nice and its Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). The North African country of Morocco will add an exotic touch with its cultural kaleidoscope that blends Berber, Arabian and European influences. A landing in the resort town of Agadir will grant visitors a relaxed day on the far eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Serenade of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will head to northern Europe with a checklist of ports that includes Copenhagen, Denmark, home to the 100 year old Tivoli Gardens amusement park; Tromso, Norway, located north of the Arctic Circle with an unexpectedly milder climate and peaks for soaking in seasonal views of the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun; sightseeing in the Swedish capital of Stockholm via Royal Caribbean's new paddleboard excursion, taking travellers on a water-based tour along the scenic Karlberg Canal; as well as a day spent cruising the Artic region laden with magnificent glaciers and unique wildlife.

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places