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Monday, January 30, 2017

Nanuku named as one of South Pacific's top 25 hotels





Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji has once again been recognised for its superior service receiving a much coveted TripAdviser 'Travelers Choice' award.

Based on reviews and opinions received from literally millions of international travellers, this latest accolade recognises the Pacific Harbour-based resort as being among the top 25 hotels – both large and small - in the South Pacific for its luxury and service elements.

The award builds on a TripAdvisor 'Certificate of Excellence for Superior Service', Nanuku received in 2016.

The resort is again in the running to win a much sought-after 'Best Dining Experience' title at this year's 'Fiji Excellence in Tourism' awards for the second time having won the prestigious award in 2016.

Paying tribute to the Nanuku team for the efforts they go to in ensuring the resort continues to receive these accolades, a delighted Director of Sales & Marketing, Shashita Nand said after client recognition, industry acknowledgement was highly appreciated.

"We are extremely honored to have received this accolade," Ms Nand said.,

"Being recognized as one of the top 25 hotels in the South Pacific is  huge recognition when you take into account the number of luxury resorts and properties in the region these days."


For further information visit https://nanuku.aubergeresorts.com.


Regent Seven Seas Cruises - New 2018-19 Cruises




Set forth on a luxurious journey of a lifetime with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The world's most inclusive luxury cruise line today announced its April 2018 through to April 2019 voyage collection, comprising 113 alluring itineraries aboard Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator, and the newly launched Seven Seas Explorer. These four ships will call at some of the most fascinating destinations in the world, among which are 28 maiden ports and 23 breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage sites. Guests will immerse themselves in cultures, cuisines and traditions with the line's free unlimited shore excursions on all voyages and through included three-night, pre- or post-cruise land programmes on Asia and Africa sailings. Throughout, each staff and crew member delivers exceptional, personalised service to every guest, for which Regent Seven Seas Cruises is world renowned.

World's Most Luxurious Ship Returns to Europe and Inaugurates Africa Voyages

Launched in July 2016 and recognised as the most luxurious ship ever built™, Seven Seas Explorer returns to Europe for a second consecutive summer season in May 2018. The ship will sail throughout the Mediterranean, North and Baltic Seas on 7- to 12-night voyages and make maiden calls at Portimao, Portugal; Lysekil, Sweden; and Bodo and Haugesund, Norway.

Seven Seas Explorer then commences its maiden Africa season on two epic voyages that showcase the continent's west coast, a 24-night, Lisbon (Portugal)-to-Cape Town (South Africa) itinerary, followed by a 15-night, round-trip New Year's voyage. The ship then heads west to South America for its vibrant rhythms, colours and cultures as it rounds the horn to Los Angeles via the western coast.

Chic Mediterranean and Authentic Caribbean

Seven Seas Voyager will also sail the Mediterranean in summer 2018, with many 7-night itineraries that include calls at some of the region's most chic destinations, as well as maiden calls at Korcula and Hvar, Croatia; Saint-Raphael, France; Lipari, Sicily, Italy. The ship will winter in the Caribbean, alternating 7- to 12-night, Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, which travellers can combine to immerse themselves in the region. New Caribbean ports-of-call for the line are picturesque Port Antonio, Jamaica, as well as Charlestown, Nevis, the birthplace of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

Remote Wonders of the Pacific and Australia

Seven Seas Mariner will offer a variety of adventures throughout the Pacific, starting with Alaska in summer 2018. The ship then charts the South Pacific to Asia and Australia, presenting the grand cities and historic, cultural landmarks of the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia, and calling at Broome, and Oarai, Japan, for the first time. From Sydney, travellers can join Seven Seas Mariner on the Grand Aussie Adventure, a new 36-night circumnavigation of the continent, sailing Dec. 15, 2018.

Grand Arctic, Canada and New England, and the World

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' most intimate ship, Seven Seas Navigator, will offer three very distinct programmes, starting with an 89-night, Grand Arctic Splendour voyage that begins and ends in New York. The Grand Artic Splendour voyage is comprised of six sailings that call at 63 non-repeating destinations in Canada and New England, Greenland and Iceland, North and Baltic Seas, as well as into the Arctic Circle to reach the White Sea. On this adventure, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and Archangel, Russia, will be maiden ports.

The ship will then sail a range of unforgettable Canada and New England cruises between New York and Montréal to showcase the autumn foliage and exciting cities of Quebec and the Northeast U.S.

To kick off 2019, Seven Seas Navigator will embark on Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 13th World Cruise, an epic 131-night adventure that calls at 62 unique ports across the Hawaii Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, Asia and the Mediterranean. Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 2019 World Cruise is comprised of seven distinct itineraries, calling at 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and making maiden calls at Kingfisher Bay (Fraser Island), Australia; Makassar (Sulawesi), Indonesia; and Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury cruise line with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 425 destinations around the globe. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a US$125 million fleet wide enhancement programme that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognised as the most luxurious ship ever built™. A leader in luxury cruising, the line's fares include all-suite accommodation, free unlimited shore excursions, free unlimited WIFI, highly personalised service, free unlimited beverages including fine wine and premium spirits, free specialty restaurants,  free pre-paid gratuities and a 1-night pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in concierge-level suites and higher.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' new 2018/19 voyages are now open for reservations. For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or specific itineraries, please contact a professional travel agent; visit www.rssc.com; or call 1300 455 200 (Australia) or 0800 625 692 (New Zealand).

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TripAdvisor reveals top hotels across Australia


Pinetrees Lodge of Lord Howe Island is #1 in Australia;


TripAdvisor®, the travel planning and booking site, today announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice® for Hotels awards. Travellers’ Choice award winners were determined based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide.

In the 15th year of the awards, TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top 7, 607 properties in 109 countries and eight regions worldwide, in the categories of Top Hotels Overall, Luxury, Bargain, Small, Service, B&Bs and Inns, Romance and Family.

“From island resorts, traditional guest houses to heritage hotels, the Travellers’ Choice Hotel Awards highlights the fantastic array of accommodation across Australia and the world for travellers to enjoy”, said Joanne Kershaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “The hallmarks of Travellers’ Choice hotels winners are remarkable service, value and quality. Travellers looking to be inspired with amazing hotels to visit in 2017 should start with these award winners when researching and booking their next holiday on TripAdvisor.”

Australian winner Luke Hanson, co-owner of Pinetrees Lodge said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been named number 1 on TripAdvisor! For a small lodge on Lord Howe Island, we’re mixing it with some serious hotels. While they have an edge on us with pillow menus, lap pools, 24 hour room service and on-demand movies, we have the Lord Howe Island Lagoon, world-class adventure activities, an organic market garden, sensational food and a love for genuine service. It’s TripAdvisor that helps to get our name and reputation out there!”

Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Hotels across Australia:

1.       Pinetrees Lodge – Lord Howe Island – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $929 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($796)
Located on the Lord Howe Lagoon, Pinetrees Lodge is one of Australia’s oldest family businesses. Sixth generation owner Dani Rourke and her husband Luke Hanson, run the largest of the traditional guest houses on Lord Howe, which has provided families, couples, and adventurers with a unique ‘sand between your toes’ holiday since the 1890s.  According to TripAdvisor users, the lodge is widely acknowledged for “excellent food”, “exceptional” service and relaxing spa treatments. Travellers can also discover world-class diving, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, walks and relaxation on one of Australia’s most beautiful islands.
·         Three reasons to book Pinetrees Lodge: Family-friendly lodge, first-class efficient staff, variety of outdoor activities.

2.       Ovolo Woolloomooloo – Sydney, New South Wales – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $368 per night. Most affordable month to visit: January ($280)
Stretched along the longest timber-piled wharf in the world, the hotel is situated over the picturesque Sydney Harbour. Ovolo Woolloomooloo features contemporary design elements and furnishings that complement the original fixtures of a heritage building. Each of the 100 rooms and suites tell a unique Australian story through a series of art pieces infused into the interior design features. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Can’t speak more highly of this little jewel. We had a loft room which was extremely spacious. The staff treated you like family and the "Free Stuff" included - Free Breakfast, Free Happy Hour and Free Mini Bar. So central yet out of the hustle and bustle.”

· Three reasons to book Ovolo Woolloomooloo: Superb location, free mini-bar, unique design features

“TripAdvisor reviews are crucial to us here at Ovolo Woolloomooloo so we can continue to offer the best experience for each and every guest,” said Adam Taloni, General Manager, Ovolo Woolloomooloo. “We are thrilled to see that we have entered the awards for the first time this year and within the top two! A fantastic accolade to start off 2017 for our hotel and all our team members.”

3.       Park Hyatt Sydney – Sydney, New South Wales – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $951 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($848)
The Park Hyatt Sydney is not only located on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours but is also between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The hotel’s architecture, art and design reflect the Australian landscape. Other highlights of the property include floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to private balconies in all their 155 guestrooms, 24-hour butler service and a day spa with rooftop pool and sundeck. “Wonderful hotel and view with fantastic staff. Always receive wonderful service and attention with the highest details. Highly recommended. Always attentive and attending to all your needs. Always my first and only choice when visiting Sydney” commented a TripAdvisor reviewer.

· Three reasons to book Park Hyatt Sydney: Harbour front views, proximity to good local restaurants, 24 hour butler service

4.       Qualia Resort – Hamilton Island – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1,143 per night. Most affordable month to visit: February ($1,010)
Qualia Resort lies at the northern tip of Hamilton Island, in a private hideaway that can only be accessed by guests of the resort. Each of Qualia’s 60 light-filled pavilions faces the water, as well as being surrounded by lush tropical bush land. Everything in the resort has been carefully designed and considered, to make each travellers trip one of pure relaxation and sensory indulgence.  One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Qualia Resort is one of those properties that has great customer service, great food and a great property. You are made to feel like a king and a queen while you are there. The staff are extremely professional towards their work and treat everybody as an individual.” 

· Three reasons to book Qualia Resort: Unique and blissful spa treatments, fine dining, location and atmosphere.

5.       Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour – Darling Harbour, Sydney – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $259 per night. Most affordable month to visit: July ($224)
Only a stone’s throw away from Darling Harbour and designed with Instagrammers in mind, any traveller who stays at the Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour will find plenty of photo opportunities at every corner. Guests can enjoy “comfy beds”, complimentary in-room snacks and breakfast. “This hotel focuses entirely on user experience. I was blown away with the attention to detail from the hip decorations to the inclusion of an Apple TV in every room. This is what every hotel should be like. Thanks for an awesome stay!” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.  

· Three reasons to book Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour: Avant garde design, free happy-hour and mini bar, central location

6.       East Hotel – Canberra – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $194 per night. Most affordable month to visit: January ($170)
Situated between the vibrant hubs of Kingston and Manuka in Canberra's prestigious "Inner South", East is an ideal base for a visit to the capital. If you want to explore the area like a local, cruiser bikes are available complimentary for guests. The hotel also is located in close proximity to restaurants, bars and supermarkets. One TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “Great hotel in a fantastic location. Beds were so comfy, rooms were large and clean, the hotel was within walking or riding distance to restaurants and bars. Being able to borrow bikes was excellent”.

· Three reasons to book East Hotel: Cruiser bikes, complimentary lollies and fruit, ideal location for exploring Canberra

7.       Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments – Kununurra, Western Australia – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $209 per night. Most affordable month to visit: December ($185)
Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments is located amongst beautiful tropical gardens and provides an ideal relaxing environment for a stay in Kununurra. These self-catering apartments offer quality and comfort and are acknowledged as “new, spacious and well appointed” by TripAdvisor users. One reviewer noted that “the apartments have separate living and sleeping areas, kitchen facilities and they have a nice feel. Beds and pillows were comfortable. Definitely the best option in Kununurra.”

· Three reasons to book the Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments: Free Foxtel- including movie channels, complimentary airport transfers, private tropical outdoor shower.

8.       Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort – Cairns, Queensland – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $130 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($108)
Spread across 28 acres of tropical greenery, Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort caters to a variety of travellers and holiday makers with accommodation, camping and caravan options. There are also a variety of activities available for children and the young-at-heart including SPLASH waterpark, an adventure playground and numerous pools and spas. One TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “If you have children and are looking for a place to stay for a family holiday, this is the place for you! Plenty of entertainment for all the children - jumping pillows, pools and the famous waterpark. We have stayed here on multiple occasions and it has always been consistently excellent”.

· Three reasons to book the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort: Family-friendly, complimentary chocolates, outdoor cinema

9.       Primus Hotel Sydney – Sydney, New South Wales – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $283 per night. Most affordable month to visit: January ($235)
Primus Hotel is a heritage hotel, offering guests a stay in what used to be the Sydney Water Board headquarters. Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and in a 1930s Art Deco building, there are hints of history throughout the hotel, with Sydney Water’s insignia on the floor of the lobby entrance and the original bubblers left dotted throughout. Primus also features a signature rooftop pool and bar that is loved by guests from all over the world. “Put simply this is my new go to hotel is Sydney. Truly opulent with magnificent fit out throughout the entire hotel. The reception is a superbly old world fit out. The rooms are spectacular with awesome beds and a superior bathroom. Great gym with free weights and to-die-for pool and open bar area. A must stay” noted one TripAdvisor reviewer

· Three reasons to book Primus Hotel Sydney: Rooftop pool, centrally located, historical building

10.   Big4 Beacon Resort – Queenscliff, Victoria – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $143 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($123).
Big4 Beacon Resort offers a range of luxury cabins, villas and caravans for guests who want the vibe of the Aussie camping ground but without the camping. Located 90 minutes from the Melbourne CBD, the resort offers a day-spa, mountain bike hires for the neighbouring trails and a children’s clubhouse. “Our family has been staying at the Beacon for 28 years and we enjoy our stay more and more each time. Staff are friendly and helpful and we utilise all of the park facilities, even the Mud Day Spa was amazing and to top off our holiday we had a 6pm checkout. With an awesome beach just a short walk across the road our holiday is complete,” noted one TripAdvisor reviewer.

· Three reasons to book Big4 Beacon Resort: Health and Wellbeing packages, free supervised kids activity program, family-friendly

BIG, HUGE, MEGA Waterslide park for the Whitsundays



 

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is thrilled to announce they are building one of Australia's largest resort waterslide parks, with a choice of 13 different twisting and turning water slides to take kids on a whole new adventure.

 

Designed for young families, there will be a fabulous choice of slides with different speeds, heights and lengths. The massive overall area of the waterslide park will be equivalent to an Olympic swimming pool and features mini slides including a frog and an octopus, tipping bucket, water features for toddlers and a 300mm deep splash pool.

 

Owner Greg McKinnon says, "my kids and I have been visiting water parks for years and I wanted to design a children's paradise for the Whitsundays. We've had great fun putting all the elements together. The slides come off two-metre-high elevated platforms, which are linked by bridges, and range in length from 17 metres to 23.2 metres. We have themed the colours of the waterslide park around the beautiful corals of the Great Barrier Reef."

 

With a perfect sub-tropical climate, families will be able to keep their cool and enjoy the entertainment all year round. The height and speed of the slides are designed for maximum enjoyment for young children. Parents will have peace of mind that their children are happily playing in a safe environment with their holiday buddies. The beauty of this new waterslide park facility is that all in-house guests will automatically receive complimentary admission.

 

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is set amidst 26 acres of tropical gardens and already has a 32 metre lagoon style pool with two water slides and fountains along with a host of other facilities including two giant jumping pillows, 18-hole mini golf, outdoor cinema, tennis court, pedal carts and an Animal Park. It is a favourite destination even for local families who can't go past all there is on offer.

 

Construction of the waterslide park has now begun with the stone pitched boundary wall underway, with the entire project expected to be completed by April. The design and construction has been undertaken by a Townsville company, TQ Aquatics, who also built the existing lagoon style resort pool at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort.

 

Go to www.adventurewhitsunday.com.au or phone 1300 640 587 if you would like more information on how to splash out on your next family holiday!

 


 


Thailand Projects Another Increase in Tourism Revenue for 2017


Thailand's appeal as a quality leisure destination continues to increase with tourism revenue for 2017 expected to exceed 2016's record US$46 billion, itself a 12% increase on 2015. The nation has enjoyed considerable growth from the European market, up almost 10 per cent in 2016, with visitors from the Americas increasing by over 13 per cent.

According to TAT Sydney Director, Rujiras Chatchalermkit; “With a continued marketing focus on immersive experiences such as wellness retreats, culinary experiences, eco-tourism and agro-tourism, TAT aims to move from the nation's previous appeal as a budget destination for young full moon party-goers, instead focussing on the increasing global demand for high-end quality tourism product. This focus on quality tourism has seen a move from simply counting visitor numbers to measuring tourism revenue.”

While the death of Thailand's much beloved king caused a temporary pause in the nation's year-round festivities, it's business as usual for most of Thailand's nightlife, festivals and events with only a slight drop in tourism numbers experienced over the short period in which festivities were cancelled out of respect for a nation's mourning.

Festivities have resumed however, with the first big event of the year about to take place. The Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF) returns to Bangkok's Lumpini Park to highlight the fun and fascinating attractions that can be enjoyed by tourists travelling in the kingdom. The Festival, which coincides with Chinese New Year 2017, will be held during 25-29 January, 2017, and is expected to attract over 650,000 visitors with 90 per cent of these visitors predicted to travel in Thailand in 2017. These trips could generate up to 400 million Baht in revenue.

The King's death has however, brought world attention to the many great achievements during his reign, and growing interest in the nation's Royal Projects, which fits well with TAT's focus for 2017 on promoting Creative Tourism through the Unique Thai Local Experiences to create memorable and invaluable holiday experience for tourists.

During his reign, the much-loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej initiated many Royal Projects around the country with an aim to look after Thailand's poorest people, share the country's wealth, and look after Thailand's natural resources.

“These Royal Projects offer tourists a new way of experiencing Thailand and of making a real grassroots connection with the kingdom's diverse people. All the Royal Projects welcome visitors, be it for a few hours or several days, and there is a diverse range of things to do. You could find yourself learning how to make a unique local dish, releasing fish into the Thai seas, feeding cattle or teaching the village children before spending a night under the roof of a local family. It's an experience many visitors will cherish years to come.”

Many major airlines service direct and indirect flights to Thailand, with over 60 direct flights and over 800 indirect flights departing Australia each week for Bangkok or Phuket.

“This capacity makes it easy and flexible for Australian travellers to plan their holiday to Thailand, even during peak holiday periods, another reason the destination remains one of Australia's favourites.”


Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Captain Cook Cruises adds new innovative Catamarans to fleet


SeaLink Travel Group has unveiled its $2 million investment, twin passenger catamarans, "MV Blackwattle Bay and MV Cockle Bay". The catamarans are the first of their kind to join the Captain Cook Cruises Sydney Harbour fleet.

MV Blackwattle Bay and MV Cockle Bay, are an innovative design; light weight, efficient, 12 meter boats which are small and highly maneuverable, and have the capacity to carry 60 passengers. They are low wash and like the rest of the fleet are fuel efficient, eco-friendly, and equipped with the latest technologies to reduce their carbon footprint.

According to Managing Director, SeaLink Travel Group, Jeff Ellison "At a time when Sydney's road congestion is creating significant challenges for both government and commuters, MV Blackwattle Bay and MV Cockle Bay will offer a welcomed solution, opening new inner city routes and offering regular high speed travel to commuters.

The cute twin boats will also operate services for Captain Cook's Hop On Hop Off, White Bay ferry service and act as a regular transport service for conference delegates to the new International Convention Centre, providing them with easy access between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay."

Business Events Sydney Chief Executive, Lyn Lewis-Smith officially launched the vessels in the traditional maritime way, breaking a champagne bottle across the bow.

"Congratulations to BESydney's partner, Captain Cook Cruises on a dedicated Sydney ferry route for conference delegates. I am honoured to take part in the launch of the two new vessels – MV Cockle Bay and MV Blackwattle Bay – that will make our city even more accessible for visitors and locals alike," said Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO, Business Events Sydney.

MV Blackwattle Bay and MV Cockle Bay were designed in Sydney by Incat Crowther and built in Tasmania by Richardson Devine Marine.

These vessels are another example of how SeaLink and Captain Cook Cruises continue to be at the cutting edge of marine transport and innovation and follows the success of the 4, 200 passenger 2nd Generation Rocket Class vessels delivered in 2014 -15.

For further information visit: www.captaincook.com.au

Vibrant Life on Great Barrier Reef [watch]


If you're curious about the state of the Great Barrier Reef north of Cairns, take a minute to dive into the world of Cairns local, Jemma Craig.

Jemma scuba diving the reefs surrounding Raine Island with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.
The 24-year old host on board MV Spoilsport with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions took the chance to document her first scuba dive on the reefs surrounding Raine Island, an area reported last year as being severely affected by coral bleaching.

“I grew up on the Great Barrier Reef, I have worked and dived here for many years and have ventured to the far corners of the Coral Sea in a quest to see more, but nothing; nothing I have ever seen compares to my dive on the reef surrounding Raine Island in December last year,” says Jemma.

“The reef flat is simply covered in beautiful, colourful hard coral, turtles cruising and marine life from one end to the other. I didn't know where to look.



“It was hard for me to comprehend that it was possible for the reef to look that good. I would honestly take a gamble and say it's the most beautiful hard coral site on Planet Earth.

Jemma said diving the reefs off Raine Island was the most life changing experience for her, surprising given she was raised on a coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns.

“The Great Barrier Reef is my home. There is a life force that runs through here, and I feel connected to everything around me.

“I'd like to show people from around the world that the Great Barrier Reef is not dead.

“Through my photography and cinematography, I hope to inspire others to come and witness for themselves the magic I have found here.

“If you have not seen the Great Barrier Reef, do it today and do it as often as possible. There is nothing else like it.

If sharing the video on social media, please tag:

Facebook: Islandjems Imagery
Instagram: @islandjems
Twitter: @islandjems


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Tank Stream Hotel offers great value accommodation for Sydney



One of Sydney’s newest hotels, The Tank Stream hotel, located in the heart of the city’s heritage area, is offering great value accommodation during January for visitors wanting to explore the city and attend the Sydney Festival between 7 and 29 January.

The 4.5 star Tank Stream hotel is one of the best located hotels for the Sydney Festival, being just a short walk from the main Festival event venues in Hyde Park, Sydney Town Hall, The Domain, Barangaroo and Sydney Opera House. With train transport at the hotel’s front door, even venues such as Carriageworks at Redfern and Riverside Theatres at Parramatta are easily accessible.

This year’s Festival is promising an ‘exuberant, exciting and effervescent’ line up of international and Australian concerts, theatre, circus, art, workshops and children’s shows, including many free events.

Accommodation rates at the Tank Stream Hotel are available from just $199 per night through much of January, and include the Tank Steam’s unique ‘all-inclusive concept’, which provides guests with free high speed wi-fi and in-room movies, complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar items and Nespresso coffee.

There is a variety of room styles and sizes, all offering high-class bedding, in room facilities, work areas and ensuite bathrooms.




The Tank Stream officially opened in 2016, providing much needed high-class accommodation in the heart of the city.

The hotel is named after the stream that runs underneath the hotel. It had been a life source for the local Gadigal Aborigines for thousands of years, before Captain Arthur Phillip also saw the benefits of a fresh water source and established the first European colony at Bennelong Point in 1788.

The stream in those days was open, running from a swamp in Hyde Park, down through waterfalls across Bridge Street then out to what is now Circular Quay. While the Tank Stream is now fully covered, a historic Tank Stream walking tour is available to visitors to retrace the development of Sydney through the ages.



A perfect base for short and longer stays in Sydney, the Tank Stream Hotel is surrounded by many of city’s most celebrated restaurants, along with theatres, entertainment venues and the city’s finest shopping.

The hotel’s restaurant Le Petit Flot offers relaxed contemporary bistro style dining with an emphasis on share plates and local produce, and a laneway wine bar is the ideal spot to catch the vibrancy of the city and enjoy classic wines from around the world and light meals. The hotel can also arrange discounted access to nearby fitness centres and parking.

The Tank Stream Hotel is part of the international St Giles Premier Hotel collection, with the Sydney hotel joining St Giles’ hotels in cities such as London, New York, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

Further information & reservations: www.tankstreamhotel.com; T:+61 2 8222 1211 e: reservations@tankstreamhotel.com



Let’s Get into Bed: Hotel Beds




by Roderick Eime
HM - Hotel Management Magazine

Julia Roberts just loves getting into bed. And she’s even prepared to admit as much on the top-rating Oprah Winfrey Show. In particular, she prefers the Four Seasons Hotel variety complete with custom Sealy mattress and double duck down pillow.

Four Seasons Hotel Celebrity Bed
If ever we overlooked the importance of the hotel bed, that priceless piece of PR reminded us of the value of an outstanding mattress and pillow. Hands up everyone who’s stayed in a hotel, even a fancy one, and got up the next morning feeling, well, secondhand because of the mattress. Would you stay there again? Thought so.

And if ever we needed reminding about finicky customers, Tom Butler from NZ’s award-winning Grasmere Lodge, reminded me of just how demanding customers can be.

“This one lady was quite adamant about how her bed was to be made,” says Tom, “she stood over our terrified housekeeper as every minute instruction was delivered; mattress with thin down topper, but sheet first, then second sheet, and so on. Everything had to be just so.”

“I wrote all this down and forwarded to the rest of the lodges on her itinerary who thought I was playing another one of my pranks. ‘No, this is for real’, I said. It all worked out in the end and she was happy, but clearly some people take their sleep very seriously!”

Sleep is the new sex, according to an investigation by Forbes magazine.

"Sleep is something everyone needs and wants," said senior editor Melanie Wells. "We have to have it, and we have trouble getting it these days. And increasingly people are paying a lot of money for relief."

UK Times journalist Susan d’Arcy reports that “the trendy Cotswold House Hotel, in Gloucestershire, has taken the search for slumber to another level, installing a bed that costs £14,000 — and it doesn’t even have a mattress. Instead, the Ammique King comprises almost 10,000 vertical rods, each topped with a plastic cap no bigger than a thumbnail and suspended, snug as sardines, in a wooden box. The rods, covered by three padded sheets, contour precisely to your body, thus providing the appropriate support for a perfect night in the land of nod. According to the hype, the Ammique King can ‘turn your dream of quality sleep into a reality’. So, I’m dreaming about being asleep? Oh, never mind.”

Even though beds may not be the first thing a most hotels promote about itself, savvy operators are well aware of the crucial link between a good nights’ rest and a repeat customer.

Back in 1984, the Four Seasons commissioned a specially designed mattress and matching box spring exclusively for their guests. Once perfected, this superbly comfortable bed was installed in every Four Seasons room worldwide, and became so popular with well-rested clients that the design has been made available for purchase so that guests might re-create the Perfect Sleep in their own homes.

Perfection demands meticulous attention to detail. In developing the ultimate sleep experience, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (and every other Four Seasons Hotel) uses only the finest bed linens, with duvets filled with 100-percent goose down 230TC Cotton and a 290z filling, pillows are 25 per cent duck down, 75 per cent duck feather (small end feather) and sheets are 100 per cent cotton and 300 thread count.

Sally McCann from Sydney’s Four Seasons confirms that customers regularly enquire about taking home one of the specially-made king bed sets after a night on one.

“Andrew Raiss, our Director of Purchasing, even has a form letter to send out to guests who enquire. Because Sealy make each bed to custom order in the USA, we have get payment in advance and it is delivered to the hotel,” says Sally, “Some guests are apparently impressed enough to write a cheque for $6000 – plus delivery.”

Not to be outdone, the W Hotel, for instance, sells a plush Simmons mattress called "The Westin Heavenly Bed." According to New York journalist, Gersh Kuntzman, a king-sized mattress, box spring, frame, pillows, pillow cases and that thing called a duvet will set you back US$3,000.

Westin Heavenly Bed
The hotel claims its "Heavenly Bed" goes headboard-to-headboard with the Four Seasons Hotels' famous "Four Seasons Bed," a souped-up Sealy that costs $2,000 and features 933 individual coils (that's a lot of coils). The Four Seasons in New York sells a dozen a month alone, thanks to recent testimonials by noted bed user Julia Roberts and noted reader Oprah Winfrey.

"We even have one guest who bought one and asked us to store it for him so that every time he stays here, he can sleep on his own bed," said Susan Zaki, the US hotel's purchasing director.

The Sealy bedroom swagger continues with the “Sheraton Sweet Sleeper”, a custom Posturepedic® launched by Starwood in 2003 and now in over 70,000 rooms across the globe. Take home price: $1300.

Even though the Sealy Four Seasons and those for global brands like Starwood, Rydges and Hilton are made offshore, Sealy still caters to the needs of local hoteliers by consulting and manufacturing according to their own wishes.

Sealy of Australia National Commercial Account Manager, Antony Raiteri says, “We have developed an exclusive range of products for other major national customers such as Mirvac and boutique standalone properties like Crown Casino Melbourne, Emporium Hotel Brisbane, and Versace Hotel Gold Coast. As a result this has enabled us to develop commercial bedding products reflecting the latest in technology and performance to the greater accommodation market in Australia.”

Even though it may be funny to imagine upright purchasing managers taking flying leaps onto mattresses to test them out, that’s pretty much what happens. So which one do they come to rest on?

“The Sealy " Posturepedic® Dynasty Range" is our premium offer and almost always where the bouncing stops. This signature range offers customers the most luxurious commercial bedding products in Australian and is preferred by both the five star international hotel chains and the boutique properties.”

Case in point was the recently opened Emporium Hotel, catering to Brisbane’s elite and transiting glitterati. Raiteri recalls this as “a rather intense process of trialling numerous products looking of market trends, speaking to customers and listening to feedback.”

“Being positioned at the very high end and as a boutique property, we wanted a superlative product, “said GM, Peter Savoff, “Sealy were able to deliver us their best available commercial product at a price we could afford.”

Who else sells beds to hotels?

Another Australian brand, Sleepmaker, with seven manufacturing plants and over 500 employees across Australia and New Zealand lists Accor, Toga, Hyatt and Stamford among their A-list of hotel brands. As part of the massive Pacific Brands group, they offer Sleepmaker, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, Lullaby innercell, beds and bunks, Tontine accessories, feather and down accessory products.

Sleepmaker are responsible for the Sofitel 'My Bed'. The approved and preferred standard is provided to all Sofitel properties in Australasia. The most recent installation is Sofitel, Collins Street, Melbourne. Simmons ‘Heavenly Bed’ at Westin is also supplied by Sleepmaker Commercial.

Okay, so you’ve chosen the springs and bedhead, what next?

The Australian Actil Commercial brand and their bed linen assortment have built a solid reputation for servicing the finest hotels, resorts, luxury accommodations, as well as catering for boutique bed and breakfasts and more modest style accommodations.

With 100 per cent cotton sateen and 300 thread count, this is where you should start for your sheets and pillow cases. Collections include St Francis, Peninsula and Azumi.

And the pillow fight?

Again, Sleepmaker Commercial can supply Tontine Fibre and Feather and Down with everything from pillows, mattress protectors and quilts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cathay Pacific new seasonal service to Barcelona in Summer 2017


New four-times weekly operation with the Airbus A350 directly links Hong Kong and the capital of Spain's Catalonia region for the first time; complements current services to Madrid



Cathay Pacific will introduce a new four-times weekly seasonal service (CX321/322) between Hong Kong and Barcelona from 2 July 2017 (subject to government approval), offering travellers an exciting getaway destination and directly linking two of the world's most dynamic cities for the very first time.

The seasonal operation, scheduled to operate throughout the peak travel months until 27 October, complements the airline's existing four-times weekly service to Madrid, meaning Cathay Pacific will soon provide more non-stop flights to Spain from Asia than any other airline.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu said: "Barcelona is a great city for its tourism and rich culture that attracts visitors from around the world. We're excited to offer the first-ever direct link between Hong Kong and Barcelona, which follows the launch of our Madrid service last year. This new summer service reflects our commitment to grow the Cathay Pacific network and offer customers more choice. This further strengthens Hong Kong's status as one of the world's most important aviation hubs."



Renowned for its art, architecture, cuisine and nightlife, Barcelona is home to approximately 1.6 million residents and arguably the world's most famous and successful football team – FC Barcelona. On the back of robust growth in recent times, this vibrant city, and the wider Catalonia region in general, has also established itself as an important business and transportation hub. Strategically located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and boasting numerous beaches within easy reach of the city centre, over 7.5 million tourists visited Barcelona in 2015, a number that looks set to increase thanks to the introduction of Cathay Pacific's new service.

To be operated by Cathay Pacific's state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft, the new service gives both business and leisure passengers the fastest, most direct option to Spain's second most populous city, while also providing passengers from the Iberian Peninsula easier access to key destinations in Asia and Southwest Pacific through the airline's hub in Hong Kong.

Featuring the airline's newest products in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class, the A350 encapsulates Cathay Pacific's brand promise of a Life Well Travelled. In addition to the latest seats and an enhanced inflight entertainment system, the aircraft is Wi-Fi equipped, meaning passengers can stay connected throughout their journey.



Summer in Tasmania: New Lodgings, Epic Adventures and Nature Amplified.

#Tasmania

With new accommodation popping up across the island and exciting new collaborations between some of our most loved tourism experiences, it's time to take a fresh look at Tasmania in summer.




Friday, January 13, 2017

Sydney Welcomes Refurbished Regent Seven Seas Voyager

Today marks the return of Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) to Sydney’s harbour with the newly refurbished Seven Seas Voyager, commencing her 14-night Sydney to Auckland sailing, taking in breathtaking ports including Burnie, Rotorua and Bay of Islands along the way. She will then embark on a 25-night sailing from Auckland to Singapore.



Seven Seas Voyager underwent a massive 25-day refurbishment as part of the brand’s US$125 million fleet-wide refurbishment programme in late 2016. Along with the recently refurbished Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager now boasts the same elegant style and indisputable attention to detail famously featured on Seven Seas Explorer, providing all RSSC ships with a consistent look-and-feel.

Deepening the brand’s commitment to the Australia and New Zealand region, the also newly refurbished Seven Seas Navigator will soon follow Seven Seas Voyager visiting local shores in February and March 2017.

Celebrating a 25-year legacy of providing exquisite service on board the most luxurious fleet in the world and a first year of successful operations of its local contact centre, RSSC is set to announce exclusive offers on selected cruises as part of its 25th anniversary in 2017.

For more specific itinerary details or for general information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit www.RSSC.com, email res.apac@rssc.com , call Australia: 1300 455 200, New Zealand: 0800 625 692, or contact a professional travel agent.


Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line's ship Norwegian Bliss to sail from Miami

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that Norwegian Bliss, the brand's sixteenth ship, will set sail for the Cruise Capital of the World after her inaugural season in Alaska, to seasonal homeport in Miami in November 2018. Beginning on 17 November 2018, Norwegian Bliss will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Bliss’ custom design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodation options including exclusive suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travellers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families travelling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean.



“We are incredibly excited to announce that we are once again bringing our newest and most innovative ship to Miami, with the arrival of Norwegian Bliss in November 2018," said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “As the Caribbean is our most sought-after winter destination, there was no question that Norwegian Bliss would sail from Miami. This incredibly dynamic ship will offer stunning ocean views from almost every venue, spacious and thoughtfully designed accommodation that fit with every cruiser’s needs, and a variety of exciting and engaging venues that will continue Norwegian’s history of innovation in providing the ultimate dining and entertainment experiences at sea.”

En route to Miami following the completion of her Alaska cruising season, Norwegian Bliss will sail one five-day Pacific Coastal sailing from Vancouver to Los Angeles on September 30, with an overnight stay in Vancouver and calls in Victoria, British Columbia and San Francisco. Norwegian Bliss’ seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises will feature calls in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas, adding Ensenada, Mexico on its eight-day itinerary. For those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise experience, Norwegian Bliss will depart Los Angeles on November 3 for a 14-day journey to Miami through the new locks of the recently expanded Panama Canal, with calls in Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica; and Cartagena, Colombia.

The same features that make Norwegian Bliss the ideal ship for the ultimate Alaska experience will also allow guests to experience the Caribbean like never before. The crown jewel of these features is an incredible 180-degree Observation Lounge, located at the front of the ship on deck 15. Spanning 1858 square metres (20,000 square feet), the sprawling Observation Lounge will be a breathtaking experience, offering floor-to-ceiling windows that will be the perfect spot from which to take in the stunning sunset views of the beautiful islands of the Caribbean or the awe-inspiring glaciers and vistas of Alaska. The lounge, designed with rich woods and a silver and gray color palate, will offer an abundance of plush, modern seating including couches and chaise loungers to take in the view, along with a 360-degree polished aluminum and quartz-topped central bar where guests can enjoy fine cocktails and spirits.

In the spirit of Norwegian’s long history of innovation, Norwegian Bliss will have accommodation for everyone on board, with options ranging from staterooms designed for solo travellers, family-friendly connecting staterooms, ultra chic suites and more. Norwegian’s signature ship-within-a-ship concept, The Haven by Norwegian®, will once again adorn the top of the ship with 80 ultra-luxurious suites. The exclusive key-card access three-storey enclave on decks 17 -19 will be a secluded paradise with a private restaurant with outdoor terrace, private lounge with a dedicated mixologist, courtyard area with retractable roof that features a pool, two whirlpools, sauna, spa treatment rooms and sunbathing deck. All suites in the Haven will enjoy the services of a butler and a private concierge, as well as priority access to reservations, VIP embarkation and disembarkation, exclusive reserved seating in the ship's theatre and much more.

Guests staying in The Haven on Norwegian Bliss will take in luxury, style and stunning views with their very own exclusive two-storey Haven Observation Lounge, a brand new feature for The Haven, which will feature expansive 180-degree views from two decks, the same as the ship’s officers’ experience from the Bridge, and beverage service.

Each suite in The Haven by Norwegian® will feature crisp, modern furnishings in rich wood tones, accented by custom stonework, marble-topped nightstands and vanities, and indulgent linens. Suite options will include the largest and most luxurious suites onboard, The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suites, which will have a new look and feel with an indulgent cream and grey colour scheme, include captain’s views and two spacious balconies. Additional Haven suites include The Haven Two-Bedroom Family Villa, The Haven Courtyard Penthouse, The Haven Deluxe Spa Suite, The Haven Forward and Aft-facing Penthouses and the all-new The Haven Suite that can connect with a Balcony stateroom, so large families and groups are able to be accommodated with ease.

Norwegian Bliss will also feature new connecting stateroom options across stateroom categories—ideal for large groups and families travelling together who want to enjoy quality time together at sea. The ship’s 308 Mini-Suites are designed for guests looking to enjoy a little more of a spacious experience at sea featuring larger bathrooms than a standard Balcony stateroom with some offering bathtubs, and a balcony for gazing out to sea. Designed to offer guests near constant views of the sea, Norwegian Bliss will have 1,088 Balcony staterooms that feature plush décor in soothing cool tones, along with a sofa, vanity and desk area and coffee maker. Norwegian Bliss will also include 111 Oceanview staterooms that feature large picturesque windows to take in the spectacular sea views.

Solo travellers can enjoy Norwegian’s popular award-winning Studio staterooms aboard Norwegian Bliss, now with virtual ocean views. The Studio staterooms include thought-out features and amenities designed and priced for solo travellers. The Studio complex is comprised of 82 staterooms, accessible by private keycard-entry with access to a private lounge exclusively for Studio guests with snack service, board games and a member of the Cruise Staff dedicated to leading solo traveller meet ups and activities. All staterooms feature a full-sized bed, a window to the corridor, and separate areas for toilet, sink, and shower. Select Studios connect, perfect for single friends travelling together.

Norwegian Bliss’ also offers 374 Inside staterooms, which include two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed. Select Inside staterooms also have up to two additional Pullman beds to accommodate families. All rooms feature USB plugs.


Traveloscopy | 

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The Expeditionist
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