Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Dive'n'Movies Return to Wet'n'Wild!

Turn at day at Wet'n'Wild into a night at the movies at Australia's premier water theme park.

The ever popular Dive'n'Movies will return to Wet'n'Wild Saturday 4 December with a brilliant line-up of recent release family movies. Play all day on the slides and then stay for a flick while you chill out on a tube in the Wave Pool or relax on a deck chair enjoying the balmy summer evening. There's no better way to enjoy summer than with this ultimate outdoor movie experience.

Dive'n'Movies will screen at sunset each Saturday in December and nightly 27 December to 25 January 2011 and they're always fun for the whole family with only the most popular movies being selectively chosen to entertain the crowds.

Dive'n'Movies, proudly presented by Streets Ice Cream, are included in general admission to the park, so that's over 10 fun-filled hours at Wet'n'Wild making it the best value for money family entertainment on the Gold Coast.

For even better value purchase a National VIP Pass for only $99.99 per person. That way you can have unlimited fun at Wet'n'Wild, Sea World and Movie World until 30 June 2011. And with Dive'n'Movies returning to Wet'n'Wild you've got your night time entertainment taken care of too.

Visit to check out the Dive'n'Movie schedule and grab your tickets, then join us at Wet'n'Wild to enjoy a great day...and night out!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Pinctada Cable Beach Named Best Luxury Accommodation in WA

Pinctada Cable Beach, the flagship of Marilynne Paspaley AM's Pinctada Hotels & Resorts, won the best Luxury Accommodation award at The Western Australian Tourism Awards last night, capping an exciting two months for the hotel group based in the unique Kimberley landscape of northwest Australia.

Pinctada Cable Beach, in the famous Kimberley pearling town of Broome, opened just over a year ago in August 2009.  Marilynne Paspaley obtained a builder's licence so she could develop the 5-star spa resort in keeping with her vision to create a hotel that respects and reflects its Kimberley destination while offering an unforgettable tourism experience. 

After accepting last night's award at Perth's Burswood Entertainment Complex, Marilynne said she was both humbled and delighted by the industry's acknowledgement of her approach to 'luxury' travel.

"This award belongs to the entire Pinctada team because people are the essence of the Pinctada Cable Beach experience," she said. "In developing Pinctada Cable Beach, I wanted to create an intimate and comfortable environment that respects and reflects the Kimberley destination, but while I provided the 'bricks and mortar', it is people who nurture our guest experience.  I am lucky at Pinctada Cable Beach to work alongside people who understand that the greatest luxury we can offer our guests is an experience that allows them to truly relax, to reconnect with themselves and each other – and, to connect to the extraordinary Kimberley landscape.  To me, these are the elements that combine to make a memorable travel experience." 

Last night's honour is the fourth prestigious award Pinctada Cable Beach has won during the past two months.  In September, Pinctada Cable Beach was named Australia's Best Resort Style Accommodation at the AHA National Awards for Excellence and its signature restaurant, SELENE Brasserie was also honoured as the best country restaurant in Western Australia (WA) at The West Australian Good Food Guide Awards. Earlier this month Pinctada Cable Beach was named WA's Best Marketed Accommodation Hotel at the AHA WA Aon Awards for Excellence.

This month has also seen the launch of Australia's first international beach polo festival, incorporating Paspaley Beach Polo, in Broome next May – Pinctada Hotels & Resorts is the major sponsor of the event and Pinctada Cable Beach is the official hotel.   Marilynne Paspaley is a co-founder of Paspaley Beach Polo with Janek Gazecki of Polo Enterprises Australia.

Capping a busy few months for the hotel group, this week Pinctada Hotels & Resorts was named as the preferred proponent to develop a new hotel on Perth's iconic Rottnest Island. 

About Pinctada Cable Beach

Pinctada Cable Beach is a $33 million development and the first full service hotel to be built in Broome for two decades, offering a world-class day spa, an asymmetrical feature pool, meditative gardens, graciously sized guests rooms, a guest fitness room and dining and bar venues including SELENE Brasserie, BRIZO Pool Bar and NYX Bar.  The intimate 72-room 5-star spa resort reflects the colours and textures of the Kimberley landscape and pays homage to the rich heritage and eclectic culture of the famous pearling town of Broome.

The design of Pinctada Cable Beach also celebrates Broome's tropical climate, capturing natural light and featuring flow-through ventilation in all guest rooms and public venues, which not only enhances enjoyment of the Broome climate, but also takes advantage of prevailing breezes, reducing energy consumption. Louvers and overhead fans are a key feature of the resort. Other resource-saving measures at Pinctada Cable Beach include grey water treatment, solar water heating and intelligent power management that includes daylight harvesting. Landscaping, by Jamie Durie's Patio Landscape Architecture and Design, features mainly native plants that use minimal water and are drought tolerant.

Pinctada Hotels & Resorts' portfolio of bespoke hotels in distinctive Australian landscapes also includes Pinctada Kimberley Grande, a homestead-style resort in the East Kimberley town of Kununurra, and Pinctada McAlpine House, a century-old former Master Pearler's home in Broome which incorporates the five-bedroom villa Captain Kennedy House. 

Media Contact:  For further information or to arrange interviews or obtain photographs, please contact Mary-Anne Dibbs on +61 428 619 510 or


2010 Pinctada Cable Beach Spa Resort: Winner AHA National Awards For Excellence – Best Resort Style Accommodation

2010 SELENE Brasserie, Pinctada Cable Beach Spa Resort:  Finalist AHA National Awards For Excellence - Best Restaurant, Accommodation Division

2009 Pinctada Cable Beach Spa Resort:  Winner WA AHA Aon Awards for Excellence - Regional Accommodation Hotel/Resort of the Year
2009 SELENE Brasserie, Pinctada Cable Beach:  Winner WA AHA Aon Awards for Excellence - Accommodation Hotel/Resort Restaurant Award
2009 McAlpine House: #3 Most Romantic Australian Retreats, Susan Kurosawa & Michelle Rowe, The Australian February 28, 2009
2008 McAlpine House: Winner WA AHA Aon Awards for Excellence - Regional Boutique Accommodation Hotel/Resort of the Year

Friday, 19 November 2010

Gourmet Walking Holidays - Indulgence Minus the Guilt

Let's face it, those 5 minutes climbing up the stairs to the ancient citadel aren't going to cut it. Staggering from wine bar to wine bar doesn't count as exercise! Anyone suffering from a love affair with the gastronomic delights of their holiday destination, risks coming home with more than they bargained for. And we're not talking luggage here!

Luckily there is a way around it. Gourmet walking holidays are on the up. Combine hiking during the day with a strong focus on local cuisine at night and you've got a perfect partnership. Pay your dues during the day, enjoying the vistas while 'toiling' through the countryside, work up that appetite and burn those calories. In the evening it's time to yield the rewards and indulge in the local fare. Another glass of wine? Yes of course, I've been good today!

Australia's own Food and Wine Travel is now offering gourmet walking holidays for the European summer season (April - September 2011).

A cross section of active walking holidays with plenty of room for wining and dining:

* Walking and fine dining in Suffolk, UK
* Volterra and the Marema - Secret Tuscany
* Italy - Mont Blanc & Alpine Meadows - Gran Paradiso Val D'Aosta
* Parma, Tuscany & Cinque Terre Coast - Prosciutto and Parmesan, Pilgrims and Poets
* The Jewels of Piedmont - A Celebration of Slow Food
* Tuscany & Umbria - In the Footsteps of Francis of Assisi
* A week in Tuscany - Chianti, Castles and Tuscan cooking

For more information on these itineraries contact Karen Ridge at Food and Wine Travel and visit

Celebrate a White Christmas at Warner Bros. Movie World!

For the first time ever Warner Bros. Movie World will become a Christmas wonderland featuring an amazing array of family entertainment for eight magical night time events in December.

Movie World General Manager Bob White said that the 'White Christmas' events will feature loads of family entertainment including snow falling in Main Street, a spectacular display of one million fairy lights and an enchanting ice-skating show performed by Looney Tunes characters in true Movie World style.

"The Movie World White Christmas event is like nothing we have ever done before; the park will be transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland with a dazzling Christmas Parade full of colour and light, all under a glistening white snowy sky.

"Additionally, 'White Christmas' will feature heaps of family entertainment including rides, Christmas Carollers, a special Polar Express 4-D screening and of course Santa Claus.

"As a special Christmas gift to our valued guests, all VIP Pass holders will be entitled to one free entry into White Christmas, so it's the perfect time to get a VIP Pass if you haven't already purchased one", he said.

The White Christmas evening event will run from 6pm to 10pm on the following nights:

* Thursday 9 December
* Friday 10 December
* Saturday 11 December
* Sunday 12 December
* Thursday 16 December
* Friday 17 December
* Saturday 18 December
* Sunday 19 December

White Christmas tickets are $39.99 for adults, children and pensioners. For the best value theme park pass including one free entry into White Christmas, purchase a VIP Pass* for just $99.99 and receive unlimited entry to Movie World, Sea World and Wet'n'Wild until June 30, 2011.

Celebrate this Christmas in spectacular Movie World style! Visit or call 133 FUN^.
^ $4.95 booking fee applies per transaction through and $5.95 booking fee applies per transaction through 133 FUN.

Thursday, 18 November 2010


The Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit has launched the "On Cloud 9" promotion in celebration of its hotel opening this month. Guests can enjoy a vibrant and contemporary stay at the hotel, starting at a special offer rate of only THB 2,999 for a superior room. This promotion is valid from now to January 31, 2011.

The "On Cloud 9" opening offer from just THB 2,999 includes a complimentary breakfast for two at Mauve, an all-day dining restaurant. Guests also enjoy a 20 percent discount on all other meals at the restaurant. More benefits include a complimentary late check-out at 3pm*, free internet, an upgrade to a studio deluxe room for an extra THB 400 or an upgrade to a one-bedroom suite for just THB 800. 

Located in downtown Bangkok in the midst of business, premier shopping and entertainment centers, the Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit is a short walking distance to Nana Skytrain and Sukhumvit MRT stations, making it an ideal choice to explore the city's many attractions.

"With 150 stylish guestrooms and suites, the hotel offers a fresh, vibrant and contemporary ambience, making the guest stay a memorable one. Addressing the needs of business, leisure and extended stay travelers, all rooms offer an on-line entertainment and state-of-the-art wireless multi-media system. Guests also enjoy complimentary high speed internet access in guestrooms and public areas," said Mark Bulmer, general manager, Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit. 

For dining and entertainment, Mauve all-day dining serves global delights from western grill to exotic Indian fare, gourmet pizza and Thai cuisine. Mauve features a flexible space with its main dining, semi-private dining area, a gourmet bar and an outdoor patio terrace for formal and casual dining. Exotic cocktails and tapas are served at asqu Lounge & Bar, a chic setting perfect for drinks and entertainment, while Aromas bakeshop and deli offers freshly baked pastries and cakes. The Rooftop provides a relaxing setting for casual al fresco dining by the pool.

Guests can enjoy recreational facilities located on the hotel roof top, including an outdoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi and a fully-equipped fitness center. The hotel also features meeting and banquet space for small to medium size events and a business center.

For reservations, please contact Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit, 23/2 Sukhumvit 13, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand at Telephone +66 2 645 4999; Fax: +66 2 645 4888; or


* Upon request and subject to availability.

Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa voted "Australasia's Leading Villas".

The bubbly is flowing in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Resort Hotel group after they have walked away with one of the major awards in the 2010 World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Ceremony held last night at The Claridges Delhi, India.

Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa (managed by Pacific Resort) was voted "Australasia's Leading Villas" for its second year running. This regional award automatically qualifies Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa for the ultimate accolade, the "World's Leading" award in the World Grand Final at London's Grosvenor House on the 7th November 2010.

The World Travel Awards event coinciding with the closure of the XIX Commonwealth Games in India has been tagged 'the Oscars of the travel industry' by the Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global tourism and travel industry.

"This is a great honour, to have Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa recognised as Australasia's Leading Villas, especially when you look at the stiff competition around us in today's luxury travel market," says Pacific Resort CEO - Greg Stanaway, "There is no shortage of beautifully designed, luxuriously-appointed resorts, and these accolades place the Cook Islands firmly on the map for every visitor to the region. We strive to go beyond our amazing facilities, to welcome our guests with a unique experience that is firmly grounded in the traditional warm hospitality, discreet service and friendliness of the Cook Islands people."

These coveted awards follow a long list of other awards bestowed on the Pacific Resort Cook Islands group in recent months. Among others, Pacific Resort Aitutaki made the Top 10 Hotels in the South Pacific for Luxury & Romance in the 2010 Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards, Pacific Resort Rarotonga was awarded a high distinction for "Environmental Program of the Year" at the 2010 HM Awards and Michael Shah voted "South Pacific General Manager of the Year" at the same awards.

This recent win means that the Cook Islands based Pacific Resort Hotel group will have two of its three properties represented at the 2010 World Travel Awards Grand Final event in London next month, with Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa (finalist in the Villa category) joining Pacific Resort Aitutaki the reigning "World's Leading Boutique Island Resort".

Log on to for more information about Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa.

Behind Orion's Expeditions to Borneo

While some MD's can reel off seat pitch and others their wine list of preference for various airlines, the colourful layers of immigration stamps in Sarina Bratton's battered passport hint at adventures behind business trips of a different nature, to places where frequent flyer points are unheard of.

In preparation for inaugural visits in 2011 by the expedition cruise ship Orion II, Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, recently returned from a scouting expedition to Borneo. Accompanied by Expedition Leader Mick Fogg, Sarina spent days trekking, researching and exploring parts of Borneo to finalise bespoke shore activities that Orion's guests will experience in August and September next year.

One such exploration, in one of the oldest jungle eco-systems remaining on earth, involves venturing in local boats up the Kinabatangan River. This is the ideal way to view an impressive eco system at work - river system abutted by thick rainforest and extensive wildlife all interlinked. Home to orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, hornbills, crocodiles and endangered Bornean pygmy elephants, this Rudyard Kipling-esque setting is one of just two places on the planet where you can see 10 species of primate.

"This visit to Borneo exceeded all my expectations on every level" enthused Sarina. "The wildlife is quite simply amazing - orangutans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys are just the beginning. Unfortunately much of the natural habitat has been impacted by logging, plantations, even poaching, so part of the reason behind my visit was to open discussions with a number of wildlife rehabilitation organizations at Camp Leakey, Samboja Lestari and Sepilok to see how we can meaningfully assist with rehabilitating orangutans and other endangered wildlife. I am confident that our guests will want to embrace the programs we initiate, and that the awareness we create will assist these NGOs with improved outcomes for the animals in their care".

"Beyond the wildlife experiences and National Parks we will visit, our guests will also have the chance to stay overnight in a rainforest lodge retreat, snorkel with manta rays, scuba dive, see historically important World War II sites at Labuan and Sandakan and enjoy cultural interaction with the wonderful, gentle, locals with their longhouses and ancient traditions".

"We have released four separate expedition itineraries featuring Borneo in 2011 - each offering something out of the ordinary in this remarkable and rarely visited destination. I am very excited to be able to take Orion's guests there in a responsible, controlled manner, to help contribute to the local tourism industry in a sustainable way".

Background information
Nestled in the heart of the Malay Archipelago, Borneo is the third largest Island in the world. The southern two-thirds of the island is divided into the four provinces of West, Central, South and East Kalimantan. The northern coast is divided into the states of Sarawak and Sabah. The tiny nation of Brunei is wedged between these two Malaysian states. Borneo is home to the world's oldest tropical rainforests which, until recently, covered the entire island. Since 1950 almost 50% of the Island has been cleared to satisfy the western world's appetite for cheap timber and palm oil.

Borneo is amongst the planet's most biologically diverse ecosystems with 15,000 plants (400 only recently discovered), 222 species of mammals, 420 resident birds, 100 amphibians and 394 species of fish. Borneo falls within the "Coral Triangle', with 500 species of reef building corals, a global epicentre of marine biodiversity - the WWF has put this region on the top of its list for marine conservation.

Orion II 10 night voyages to Borneo in 2011;
Rajahs, Riches & Rainforests - Voyage of Discovery
2011 Departures - August 21 & 31- Kota Kinabalu / Singapore and v.v.

Visit some of the key destinations in Malaysian Borneo, from the famous Bako National Park to the remote islands of Palau Tiga. The Semengoh Wildlife centre for orangutans, near Kuching, provides an opportunity to view, first hand, one of our closest relatives. The national parks of Tanjung Datu, Bako and Similajau provide a snapshot of the diverse ecosystems that once covered the entire island, and now provide refuge for the abundant wildlife. In addition, a visit to the Sarawak Cultural Village, near Kuching, will expand our understanding of the people of Borneo, and our visit to Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei highlights the diversity of cultures embedded through the island.

Secrets of Sabah - Voyage of Discovery
2011 Departure - September 10 - Kota Kinabalu / Tawau

Explore some seldom visited and very remote islands to take advantage of the marine diversity that exists in the heart of the coral triangle. Visit the key destinations of Sandakan and the Kinabatangan River. Described as Malaysia's gift to the earth, the Kinabatangan is a wildlife mecca and we immerse ourselves deep within its beauty with an inclusive overnight stay in the rainforest lodges of Sukau. We have the chance to view, wild orangutans, Proboscis monkeys, macaques, Bornean pygmy elephants and countless bird species as we journey along the river. We will explore the tragic history of the WWII Sandakan Death Marches, where only 6 survived from the initial 6,000 participants.

Across the Wallace Line - Voyage of Discovery
2011 Departure - September 20- Tawau / Bali (Benoa)

From the clear tropical waters of the Derawan Islands to the remote Kutai National Park, our expedition will take us down the seldom visited eastern side of Borneo. Visit Samboja Lestari to view the reforestation projects and rehabilitation of the orangutans near Balikpapan. Cross the famous Wallace Line, named after the 19th century British naturalist, and take an overnight journey through Lore Lindu National Park, the Bada Valley and the ancient and mystical Toraja Land in Sulawesi. Finish the journey with an insight into the ancient Goan Kingdom and the more recent Dutch history of Makassar.

Camp Leakey - Faces in the Forest - Voyage of Discovery
2011 Departures - September 30 & December 29
2012 Departure - January 8 - Singapore / Bali (Benoa) and v.v.

Exciting destinations await as we voyage along the southern and western coastlines of Borneo. From isolated tropical islands to diverse National Parks, our itinerary will showcase some of Borneo's undiscovered jewels. The landmark Camp Leakey in Tanjung Puting National Park will be a highlight, allowing us the opportunity to view the rehabilitation of the ex-captive orangutans. Tanjung Puting is one of the great wonders of Borneo and is a wildlife mecca. We also visit Tanjung Datu, Gunung Palung and Bako National Parks to examine the complexity of ecosystems that once covered the entire Island.

PLEASE NOTE: some aspects of these itineraries may change as arrangements are finalised. Check for latest updates on

Pricing onboard all Orion and Orion II voyages is in Australian dollars. Orion's voyages to Borneo all start and finish in places with easy international flight access.

Fares Guide:
Early booking savings available

2011 Borneo Expedition 10 night fares begin from $8,150 per person for an Ocean View Suite/Category B. Junior Suites from $11,300 per person and Penthouse Suites with balcony are $16,400 per person

Expedition fares per person twin occupancy include accommodation, all meals, landings, port charges, gratuities and selected activities ashore.

About Orion Expedition Cruises;
Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities. With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 passengers Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Orion Expedition Cruises' itineraries for 2011 will include 49 voyages to 17 countries and more than 170 remote and exotic destinations stretching from Antarctica to the Russian Far East including Borneo, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and the Inland Sea of Japan (onboard Orion II) and Australia's Kimberley coast and Arnhem Land, New Zealand and the Sub Antarctic islands and Papua New Guinea (onboard Orion).

Nakiska Opens Longest Ski Vertical, Most Lifts, and Most Runs in the Canadian Rockies!

With close to 40cm of snowfall over the last 48hrs, Nakiska Ski Resort plans to have more terrain and more lifts open this weekend for the second weekend of early operations in the 2010-11 ski season.

The forecast predicts more light snow throughout the week in addition to ideal snowmaking temperatures, perfect for Alberta's Largest Snowmaking System! With snowmaking fully underway on the lower mountain and the combination of natural and man-made snow, Nakiska will potentially have a total of 8 runs open, with top to bottom skiing accessed by the Silver and Gold Chair Express. Skiers and snowboarders will get to enjoy over 2,555ft of vertical this weekend - the most in the Canadian Rockies!

In addition, Nakiska's Minute Maid Learning Area will be open with access from Alberta's Longest Magic Carpet, the Monster Carpet!

The TELUS Winter Sports School pros will also be available for ski and snowboard instruction. Weekend operations will be from 9:00am to 4:00pm, both Saturday and Sunday. Check with for more details.

Nakiska's iSki Card offers a great daily lift ticket value with an additional $10 OFF current lift ticket prices (RCR Kids' Club cardholders receive $5 OFF) - iSki card now on sale at SportChek and Sport Mart, online at:, at Nakiska Ski Resort, and at the RCR Calgary Office - 1505, 17th Ave SW

The iSki card also offers 1 FREE DAY to use anytime in the 2010-11 ski season at Nakiska and a bonus discount of $8 OFF a day lift ticket at Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort. Only $39.95 + GST. More details at

About Nakiska
Nakiska is famous for its world-class grooming, training facilities and close proximity to Calgary. Known as "Calgary's Closest Mountain", Nakiska was the site of the alpine events of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games and is part of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) Family. RCR is one of the largest ski resort owners/operators in North America, owning five ski resorts across Canada, including Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta; and Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham in Québec. RCR aims to provide each and every guest the best vacation and recreation experience possible.

Tiger Woods' Return to Melbourne Was a Win for Tourism

This November, Melbourne's accommodation hotels felt like they'd scored a hole in one, following strong occupancy and performance in their hotels largely due to visitation to the 2010 JB Were Australian Masters.

The participation of arguably the world's best golfer, Tiger Woods, at the 2010 JB Were Australian Masters continued to attract robust visitation from interstate and overseas guests, which, in turn helped Melbourne hotels achieve exceptional occupancies.

Chairman of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), Victoria Accommodation division, Peter Crinis, stated,
"whilst there was not quite the same hype as last year, Tiger Woods' appearance at this year's 2010 JB Were Australian Masters did help attract visitors from both overseas and interstate, many of whom chose to stay at Melbourne hotels. This extra boost the Victorian economy has been significant."

Not only did Tiger Woods' visit make an impact on hotel performances, but also benefited hotel suppliers such as linen companies, butchers, bakers, florists as well as restaurants, airlines, taxis, retailers and more.

"The AHA congratulates the Victorian Government, in particular, Minister for Tourism, Tim Holding and the Victorian Major Events Corporation for having the foresight and vision to secure Tiger Woods' return to Victoria. Furthermore, events such as the 2010 JB Were Australian Masters also contribute to generate employment opportunities for many Victorians," continued Crinis.

The AHA also cites that the extensive local, interstate and worldwide media coverage will encourage visitation to Victoria.

"The flow-on effect from events such as the 2010 JB Were Australian Masters also helps hotel owners and operators make strategic business decisions such as investment into new and existing hotels and deciding to undergo hotel refurbishments and renovations to ensure that Melbourne is viewed by visitors as a world class destination," concluded Crinis.

Whilst Tiger Woods did not win the 2010 JB Were Australian Masters this year, Tiger Woods' visit reaped rewards for Melbourne.

2011 Australian Wildlife Roadkill Calendar

Looking for a unique Christmas gift this year? Go no further than the just-released Australian Wildlife Roadkill calendar, from Wild Discovery Guides.

Sure to be a talking point around the Christmas tree, the calendar features 12 colour images of roadkill around Australia.

"It's quirky, but not too gruesome," says Australian naturalist Len Zell, who wrote the popular glove-box guide book Australian Wildlife Roadkill, on which the calendar is based.

"Here's a chance to hang something really different on the back of your toilet door, in the shed, or wherever you choose - we expect that the kitchen won't be the most favoured choice for most people."

While the calendar is a novelty, the issue of roadkill is a serious one, especially as many Australians prepare for holiday road-trips over the summer. Zell's book outlines how to avoid, deal with, and identify roadkill.

The calendar features images collected over many years travelling throughout Australia, from a Wedge-tailed Eagle in Western Australia to a wombat in New South Wales, a Tasmanian Devil, and the cover shot of a Red Kangaroo on the Birdsville Development Road.

Images can be viewed, and calendars ordered online at The calendar is priced at $14.95 (plus $2 postage in Australia, or $5 overseas). It is A4 size, spiral bound, with a large square format.

The book retails for $19.95, and a book/calendar package is available for $30 including postage.

Wild Discovery Guides is a small, independent Australian publishing company founded in 2000 by Len Zell to publish quality travel guides aimed at travellers with a keen interest in learning more about the natural world in the destinations they visit. It also has an online magazine dedicated to nature-based travel and wildlife and environmental issues,

Penguin Encounter Sneak Peek at Sea World!

Sea World's newest animal exhibit 'Penguin Encounter' is nearing completion and media are invited to experience a sneak peek of the $15M attraction before the Penguins arrive.

Penguin Encounter will be an amazing frozen world, home to the world's second largest penguin species, the King penguin which stands almost one meter tall, as well as the agile Gentoo Penguin.

The exhibit, which will open on 26 December 2010 will feature icy rock formations and a crystal clear pool, with spacious elevated and underwater viewing areas for guests.

As the exhibit will be under strict quarantine regulations when the penguins arrive, this will be the only opportunity for media to enter the exhibit where the penguins will live. Vision and stills of the King and Gentoo penguins will be provided to the media upon arrival at Sea World.


Date: Friday 19 November 2010

Time: 9am (meet Renee Soutar at Reception)

Opportunities: This will be media's only opportunity to get on the exhibit where the King and Gentoo Penguins will reside due to strict quarantine restrictions

Vision & Stills: Media will be provided with vision and stills of King and Gentoo Penguins filmed in a similar exhibit in New Zealand

Clothing: Media will need to wear closed in shoes due to the snow. The exhibit will be at 2 degrees, so a jacket is recommended.

Interviews: Trevor Long - Sea World Director of Marine Sciences

"Time To Celebrate"... in the Style of Scarlett Johansson and Moët Chandon

Celebrate the summer festive season in the bubbly style of Moët ambassador Scarlett Johansson, with Sofitel's "Time to Celebrate" Moët & Chandon holiday package.

Enjoy luxury overnight accommodation at Sofitel Brisbane Central, complimentary breakfast for two at Thyme2 interactive restaurant, complimentary self-car parking, a guaranteed late checkout of 1pm and a complimentary bottle of Moët Chandon Nectar Champagne; which will have you celebrating in movie style glamour, no matter what the occasion may be!

"Time to Celebrate" Moët & Chandon holiday packages start from just $250* per night in a superior room.

* "Time to Celebrate" Moët & Chandon holiday package available for stays from 17th December 2010 until 31st January 2011, excluding Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. Subject to availability and bookings are essential.


There is no better way to continue your Moët celebrations than by treating your tastebuds to one of the many dining options at Sofitel Brisbane Central.

The multi award winning Prive249, led by Chef de Cuisine Mathieu Astier, offers diners a refreshing summer menu of king prawns with goat curd, beetroot and roasted walnuts, quail and foie gras, as well as valrhona chocolate desserts; a chocoholic's guilty pleasure.

Ideal for intimate Christmas parties and dinner events, Prive249's exclusive group Christmas packages kick off with the "pop" of Moët, so that your guests may toast in true celebrity style.

Available from November 8th until December 23rd 2010, bookings of 6 or more guests at prive249 will enjoy a complimentary Oscietra Caviar Amuse Bouche and a complimentary glass of Moët Chandon for each guest.

For Reservations and full details on group bookings please contact the hotel;
07 3835 3535 or visit

For those seeking a vibrant and lavish affair on Christmas Day, be sure to reserve your place at Sofitel's Ballroom Le Grand Christmas Day extravaganza.

The menu offers mouth-watering market fresh seafood including king prawns, Moreton bay bugs, crabs and oysters, sushi and sashimi, a carvery station of turkey, pork and ham and a selection of popular favourites including roasted vegetables, tandoori chicken, lamb and barramundi. To conclude, a wickedly tempting array of tartlets, brûlée, Christmas plum pudding, stollen and fruit mince pies will ensure dessert lovers are left more than satisfied.

Guests of Ballroom Le Grand will enjoy party bon bons, antics from Bumbles the Balloonatic, a visit from special guest Santa Claus and entertainment by The Elements; one of Brisbane's most popular music groups.

Full beverage package is included and consists of wine, sparkling, a range of selected beers and soft drinks. Sofitel is offering an Early Bird* special available until December 8th 2010, of $199.00 adults and $99.00 children (aged 5-12 years).

*Early Bird special for Ballroom Le Grand Christmas Day Lunch applicable for bookings of 10 full paying customers or more and available until Wednesday 8th December 2010. Includes full beverage package.

Renowned for its imposing arrival and breathtaking views, Sofitel Brisbane Central's reputation as the leading choice in luxury accommodation is absolutely deserved. The hotel features 429 guest rooms, an acclaimed luxury spa retreat, heated pool, SoFit gymnasium, Club Sofitel - one of the largest club lounges in Australia, Cuvée Lounge Bar, two restaurants; Thyme² Interactive Restaurant and Privé 249, as well as Harlequin Jack Bar and Gaming Lounge.

Sofitel Brisbane Central is walking distance to major shopping centre's, Eagle Street Pier, The Brisbane River, Southbank Parklands and Convention Centre. The hotel has direct access to Central Station providing convenient transport to domestic and international airports, Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Sofitel, World Class Hotels & French Elegance
Sofitel is the only French luxury hotel brand with a presence on five continents, in more than 50 countries. Sofitel offers contemporary hotels and resorts adapted to today's more demanding and more versatile consumers who expect and appreciate beauty, quality and excellence. Whether situated in the heart of a major city like Paris, New York or Bangkok, or nestled away in a country landscape in French Polynesia or Brazil, each Sofitel property offers a genuine experience of the French art de vivre.
Discover Sofitel on

Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel Joins Summit Hotels & Resorts

Summit's first hotel in Vietnam offers 618 guestrooms and sophisticated meeting facilities.

Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi's Newest and Largest Hotel, Joins Summit Hotels & Resorts

HONG KONG – November 2010 – Summit Hotels & Resorts, a brand of Preferred Hotel Group that includes more than 150 internationally acclaimed hotels and resorts that celebrate local luxury worldwide, is pleased to announce its first member in Vietnam – Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel in Hanoi.

Located in the western section of Hanoi City in the upcoming business area of Cau Giay District, the new Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel is the closest hotel to the National Convention Center. Furthermore, the 618-room European-style hotel debuts as the largest hotel in Vietnam and is part of the new Charmvit Grand Plaza complex, which encompasses high-end retail and an office tower.

The hotel's convention facilities are the city's largest and most sophisticated. Its Millennium Ballroom seats up to 1,200 guests with computerized lighting, sound equipment, simultaneous translation booths, and a movable stage. There are also 20 function rooms of varying sizes with state-of-the-art equipment. Catering specifically to business travelers, Executive Club offers wireless Internet, breakfast and cocktails, personalized concierge service, and use of a boardroom.

The 3,700-square-meter Grand Plaza Fitness Club is the largest in Hanoi, offering a fully equipped fitness center, a one-of-a-kind indoor jogging track, an indoor heated swimming pool, saunas, an indoor electronic golf range, as well as a spa. Five food and beverage outlets offer a wide range of Asian cuisines, including a lounge for cocktails and live entertainment.

The hotel recently hosted President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia during the 17th ASEAN Summit in October 2010.

"We have been looking for the right partner in Vietnam, and the new Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel is a great addition to our portfolio with its extensive offerings for both the leisure and business sector and its location within a mixed-use complex," said Mark Simmons, area managing director, Asia, for Preferred Hotel Group.

"Being the largest hotel development in Hanoi, we are excited and honored to be the first hotel in Vietnam to partner with Preferred Hotel Group, under the Summit Hotels & Resorts brand," said Kim Hee Soo, chief executive officer of Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel. "Their strong global presence will assist us to be competitive with major international markets entering into Hanoi."

Special Opening Offer – Valid through 15 February 2011
20% off Best Available Rate Plus Breakfast and Internet
Rates from US$120

About Summit Hotels & Resorts
Summit Hotels & Resorts is a member of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, which also includes Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Boutique, Sterling Hotels, and Historic Hotels of America. For reservations and a complete description of the Summit Hotels & Resorts collection, please visit

Summit Hotels & Resorts guests are eligible to enroll in the I Prefer™ Guest Benefit Program, featuring benefits such as early check-in/late check-out, space-available upgrades, and more. For more information, visit

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


DESIGNED BY MUSIC CRUISES AUSTRALIA and bookable only through Cruiseco Travel Agents, is a 3-night cruise out of Sydney in November next year aboard Rhapsody of the Seas. Guests won't be the least concerned they're on a ''cruise to nowhere', as they'll be in a world of their own, being entertained by ten of the world's best Elvis Tribute Artists.

Visiting international cruise liner Rhapsody of the Seas will sail out of Sydney on November 24 2011 priced from only $980pp twin share in an Ocean view stateroom or $788pp twin-share in an Interior stateroom. Guests will receive entry to all shows by these world-favourite "The King" tribute artists in the ship's showrooms and lounges, and all meals in a choice of venues from fine-dining to casual café-style.

And while the emphasis will be on rock 'n roll, denim, sequins and blue suede shoes, there'll be plenty of other options between shows and performances. Rhapsody the Seas has two pools, one outdoor under a retractable roof, six whirlpools, a rock-climbing wall, day spa and fitness centre, a shopping atrium, a range of themed bars, a casino and youth facilities.

Often called "The Ship of Light" because she features nearly a hectare of glass canopies, skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, she will depart Sydney at 10pm on Thursday November 24 2011 and arrive back on Sunday morning November 27 after three nights "cruising to nowhere" and paying tribute to The King.

For full details and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies visit

Experience of a Lifetime at Gallipoli

Conservation Volunteers Australia has been appointed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs to manage volunteer involvement in the 2011 Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli, Turkey. This is an exciting, and strictly limited, chance to be a part of the team delivering the commemorative services. The 2011 program is the 6th consecutive one managed by Conservation Volunteers.

Volunteers will take part in the Dawn Service near Anzac Cove, the Australian service at Lone Pine and the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair. Volunteers will fulfill a range of roles including handing out information packs and providing assistance to visitors and those with special needs.

Team Leader, Graeme Hickingbotham, said "To experience the Gallipoli peninsula on Anzac Day is special for Australians and New Zealanders. It is made even more special through being part of a team of volunteers at the commemorative services. This experience will stay with you for a lifetime."

"We would love to hear from adult volunteers who feel they can assist with the program. Volunteers with some experience in caring for elderly or disabled visitors are very welcome, though this is not essential. We are also hoping to include some younger volunteers in the team if possible (minimum age is 18)."

Program dates: 19th - 30th April 11.
Program fee: $5,090 inclusive of return international airfares departing, Syd/Mel/Bris/Perth, all meals, hotel accommodation, coach and ferry transportation, battlefield visits, project leaders and some recreational activities.

For more information visit or freecall 1800 032 501.

For more information about Anzac Day commemorations visit

About Conservation Volunteers
Conservation Volunteers was founded in Australia in 1982, and expanded operations to New Zealand in 2006. Involving over 10,000 volunteers every year, Conservation Volunteers is a leader in delivery of practical conservation programs, community involvement and a range of training programs.

Conservation Volunteers has offices in 30 locations around Australia and New Zealand, and offers volunteer opportunities every week of the year. Conservation Volunteers has been recognised with many significant awards, including the United Nations' Environment Program Global 500, 6 Banksia Environmental Foundation Awards, and Ecotourism Australia's Ecotourism Award 2009.

Conservation Volunteers Australia is a Registered Training Organisation.
For more information, visit: /

Crown Gifts Online Store Expands to Become the Easiest Way to Shop This Christmas

This year, shopping for gifts has never been easier with the expansion of Crown's online store, The newly improved website features a host of ideas for everyone from stocking fillers to luxury experiences for those that already have it all. Spa devotees, foodlovers, avid home cooks, and hotel aficionados alike will be thrilled to receive an exclusive gift from Crown Gifts this festive season.

Crown Melbourne now boasts three premium hotels across the Southbank entertainment precinct all offering a range of enticing packages. A luxury stay at Crown Towers, Crown Promenade Hotel or Crown Metropol is a gift that any person would love to receive this Christmas. All packages can be purchased online as well as a variety of other outstanding gift ideas for the home or individual. has a strictly limited number of packages which include an autographed copy of either Nobu Matsuhisa's famous cookbook or Neil Perry's cookbook, Balance and Harmony, as well as overnight accommodation in a deluxe room at Crown Towers and a $100.00 gift voucher towards a memorable meal at either the award winning Rockpool Bar & Grill or accolade-laden and celebrity hangout, Nobu Melbourne. Both packages are available at for $585.00 each.

In the unlikely event loved ones, family members or friends already own signed copies by two of the world's best cooks, gift certificates for Crown Towers, Crown Promenade Hotel and Crown Metropol or for any of Crown's restaurants including $100.00 vouchers to Rockpool Bar & Grill, Silks, Number 8 restaurant and wine bar and many more are also available.

For those who would like extreme pampering for Christmas, Crown Spa has a celebration package that leaves no skin un-touched. This package includes a body treatment, manicure, pedicure, wash and blow wave and 30 minutes of aromatherapy spa time for $635.00.

Located high in the sky at Crown Metropol, Isika day spa, also has treatments available to purchase online. Select from a range of treatments and products from around the world including Isika's newest product line, direct from Italy, Comfort Zone.

Shoppers can add to gifts already selected by purchasing a voucher from Crown's two day spas, Crown Spa and Isika, also available on Vouchers can be purchased to the value of $50.00 or $100.00.

Crown hotels are known for their home-away-from-home feeling, so what better way to recreate that experience than with a gift from the exclusive home collection on Opulent gifts include Crown's famed bathrobes made in three different fabrics, velour, micro fibre and waffle-weave. Duck and feather down mix doonas and pillows are high in demand after experiencing that perfect night's sleep and come complete with pillow protectors. Crown's extensive home collection will make anyone's home feel like a first class setting.

Out of ideas for the all-important Kris Kringle present or more significant stocking fillers? Gift certificates are available from just $50.00 that can be redeemed at any of Crown's restaurants including: Silks, Breezes, Koko, Number 8 restaurant and wine bar, Nobu, the brasserie, JJ's Bar and Grill or the Conservatory. Vouchers for accommodation, food and beverage or the spas at Crown can be purchased as Christmas gifts, giving the receiver the choice of a selection of Crown restaurants, hotels, and other goodies to purchase.

Crown Gifts is a one stop shop for Christmas 2010. Gifts may be purchased at

All gifts are presented in stunning presentation boxes and may be purchased at

For more information on any of Crown's hotels, spas or restaurants please visit and follow the links.


Crown's Three Hotels are Giving Guests an Extra Night Free This Summer with 'Stay For Three Pay For Two' Packages

Summer is heating up at Crown's three luxurious hotels, Crown Towers, Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade Hotel with 'stay for three pay for two' packages that make planning that all important summer holiday a breeze. Guests will enjoy a third night free of charge when taking advantage of this limited offer. All packages are available 7 days of the week - valid until 9 January 2011 for as low as $598.00.

Crown Towers, a mecca for high-end luxury, is offering three nights accommodation in the hotel's upgraded deluxe rooms for $798.00. Guests of Crown Towers have access to the hotel's iconic 25 metre pool, tennis courts and gymnasium. Guests can indulge in a treatment at Crown Spa during their stay, with therapists able to perform a selection of treatments in the privacy of guests' rooms for an additional fee.

Crown Metropol's offer includes three nights accommodation in a Luxe Room for $700.00. Since opening in April 2010, Crown Metropol has quickly made a name for itself as a leader in modern luxury. The 658 room hotel offers everything guests expect from a Crown property including a day spa and gym located on the 27th floor, executive guest lounge '28' and the highest level of technology featured in each room.

The uber cool Crown Promenade Hotel's 'stay for three pay for two' package offers accommodation in a standard room for $598.00. Crown Promenade Hotel is stylish, chic and a modern, minimalist's dream. The hotel features spacious rooms with breathtaking views of Melbourne's Yarra River, Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne's CBD. Guests can indulge in contemporary bistro cuisine with a visit to the newly renovated Mesh restaurant and sip on classic cocktails at Tonic bar or relax and unwind at The Deck, which features an indoor pool, two outdoor deck areas, steam room and gymnasium.

Packages can be booked at any of the three hotels by contacting hotel reservations on +61 3 9292 6868 or by visiting

With more restaurant accolades under one roof than anywhere else in Melbourne, the precinct has just added yet another premium dining destination. The just-opened Spice Temple, the sister restaurant to Neil Perry's Sydney based outpost is a must-try for all food lovers and wine connoisseurs alike. It boasts a modern Chinese menu inspired by the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunnan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang and a tightly edited wine list of precisely 100 wines.

Alongside the premium restaurants, guests will find many exclusive bars from which to choose including The Waiting Room, located in the lobby of Crown Towers, making it the perfect location for some pre dinner drinks.

Summer hot spot, Breezes, is known for its barbeques, and this year is no different. Guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful views from the terrace whilst indulging in a three course meal including sides and a glass of house wine or draught beer for only $57.00 per person. Ideally located on level three of Crown Towers, Breezes is the perfect location to witness the famed Crown brigades erupt and the perfect way to spend a balmy summer evening. This offer is available on Friday and Saturday nights only until March 26 2011.

The summer months hotel packages offer exceptional value and the perfect excuse to take advantage of the summer sales, live entertainment and provide an opportunity to trial some of Crown's new dining venues.

Terms and conditions apply, for more information please visit

For restaurant reservations, diners can contact +61 3 9292 5777 or book online at and follow the links.

Reservations for Spice Temple can be made by calling +61 3 8679 1888. Inquiries for The Waiting Room may be made by contacting +61 3 8679 1800

Pirouette into Canberra with Novotel for Ballets Russes: The Art of Costume at the National Gallery of Australia

The National capital will again play host to a premiere cultural event with the Ballets Russes: The Art of Costume exhibition opening at the National Gallery of Australia on 10 December, and Novotel Canberra is offering special ticket and accommodation packages to the event throughout summer.

Visit and select the 'Summer Special Rate' to book the Novotel Canberra Ballets Russes: The Art of Costume package. Prices start from $188 per room per night, including full buffet breakfast and tickets to the exhibition for two people. Bookings must be made 7 days in advance and offer is valid for the duration of the exhibition until 20 March 2011.

Following the success of the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition, direct from the Musee d'Orsay earlier this year, the National Gallery has again been chosen to showcase a European cultural extravaganza. One of the world's richest collections of costumes from the famed Ballets Russes will be on display with 140 costumes from 34 productions between 1909 to 1939.

At the 29 May 1913 premiere of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes's Le sacre du printemps, the creative fusion of Igor Stravinsky's score, Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography and Nicholas Roerich's design exploded into the theatre. The orchestra had barely embarked upon Stravinsky's now-famous primitive, syncopated passages when the audience erupted into a riot. Shouting turned into fist fighting. The police had to be called. Stravinsky retreated backstage. Nijinsky continued bellowing counts to the dancers. Later, it was revealed that it had not only been the music that had set the audience off, but the choreography and the costumes. Afterwards, Diaghilev claimed that the scandal was just what he wanted.

Rich in both controversy and unique, ornate design, the Ballets Russes exhibition will delight both seasoned art and culture lovers or those who simply enjoy the beauty of design and performance.

Novotel Canberra completed a multi-million dollar refurbishment earlier this year including the addition of two new storeys - adding a further 89 rooms to the hotel's inventory, a restyling of all current rooms, new and vibrant public areas, an expanded and more inviting lobby and the brand new One Restaurant & Bar.

Novotel Canberra is the city's premier 4.5-star hotel and offers Canberra's best leisure facilities with a large indoor pool, spa, sauna and gym complex which is fully enclosed for the cooler winter months.

19-Nights Super-Liner Fly, Cruise and Stay Beijing to Singapore

A 16-night cruise from Beijing to Singapore aboard super-liner Diamond Princess visiting five Asian countries, and with two-nights pre-cruise in Beijing including a full day tour to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and China's Olympic Village, and a night post-cruise in Singapore, is selling through from an extraordinarily low $3479pp quad-share and from $3939pp twin-share with cabin upgrades on selected categories.

And this value-price also includes return airfares and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide, all transfers in Beijing and Singapore and port charges and taxes.

The 116,000-tonne Diamond Princess will sail from Beijing's port of Tianjin on March 3 2011, visiting Pusan, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Koh Samui on her way to Singapore.

Passengers have a choice of Traditional, Anytime, Speciality and 24-hour l Dining in a range of formal and casual venues, complimentary in-room dining service, and a wide choice of lounges and bars.

There are four pools - one of them swim-against-the-tide - hot tubs, spa, gym and fitness area, 9-hole putting course and a jogging track, as well as showroom entertainment, big screen cinema, a casino, library, 24-hour internet café, and kids and teen clubs.

For full details phone toll-free 1300 369 848 or visit

Passionate About Pinot Packages at Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa

One of the most picturesque wine regions in the world, Queenstown, New Zealand, will again play host to the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration from the 27th until the 29th of January 2011 - an event that has established itself as a must-do date on the international Pinot Noir calendar.

To celebrate a love of all things 'pinot', the Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa has launched a 'Central Otago Pinot Noir' package for wine lovers visiting the South Island during the event.

Priced from AU$590 per couple (NZ$750) the package includes one-night at the Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa located in the heart of the city with a welcome bottle of Central Otago wine on arrival.

Guests will also enjoy a five-course degustation dinner with matching Central Otago wines to accompany, concluding with a Central Otago cheese and dessert wine.

The offer is available for sale now and for travel between the 21st and 29th of January 2011 (subject to availability). To make a reservation or find out more, email and quote "Pinot Noir Festival"
Motivated by a desire to reinvent and elevate the guest arrival experience, Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa recently completed a $2 million renovation and upgrade. The result is a transformed hotel, featuring a fresh new lobby and lounge with a resplendent reception enclave that invokes both the panache of Paris and warm hospitality inherent to any Queenstown stay.
The hotel's ground level upgrade extends to incorporate a leisure business centre and intimate meeting space and the new Left Bank Café - part French kitchen, part tea room - open for breakfast and lunch in charming Parisian style.
The second phase of the hotel's renovation will conclude in Autumn 2011, revealing a new bar, private club lounge and designer gymnasium. For more information visit

Sofitel, World Class Hotels & French Elegance
Sofitel is the only French luxury hotel brand with a presence on five continents with 130 addresses, in almost 40 countries (more than 30 000 rooms). Sofitel offers contemporary hotels and resorts adapted to today's more demanding and more versatile consumers who expect and appreciate beauty, quality and excellence. Whether situated in the heart of a major city like Paris, London, New York or Beijing, or nestled away in a country landscape in Morocco, Egypt, Fiji Islands or Thailand, each Sofitel property offers a genuine experience of the French "art de vivre".
Discover Sofitel on

Discover A|Club at Sofitel, the new worldwide Accor loyalty program on

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Royal style in Seminyak as MGallery launches label in Bali

The MGallery Label to debut on the mystical island of Bali

MGallery Label first for the 'Island of the Gods' - and heralds the arrival of 'the art of staying'

MGallery, the boutique label of the global hotel group Accor, debuted on the island of Bali on November 1, launching The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali (formerly Sofitel Bali Seminyak).  The hotel is ideally located on Seminyak Beach wedged between the cosmopolitan, urban Seminyak and the Indian Ocean

The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali offers guests the tranquility of 4.5 hectares of lush jungle gardens interspersed with 128 guest rooms and 17 deluxe villas.  The gardens provide resort guests with a place for respite and natural space and which can be explored via pathways that meander through the beach side resort, in the style of a traditional Balinese village, ending on the sands of Seminyak Beach.

Step from the serenity of the resort's tropical gardens into the street-scape of contemporary shopping and many of Bali's best restaurants and bars that have gravitated to the Seminyak area.

Stephane Bryer, General Manager of The Royal Beach Seminyak said, "I am delighted to be bringing the MGallery 'art of staying' philosophy to this extraordinary hotel.  The very rich Balinese culture provides abundant inspiration in influencing the design of the resort and services that will shape the experience for resort guests."

The MGallery collection consists of a selection of upscale hotels, each one with a striking personality and each telling a story that guests experience through the hotels special features and characteristics.  The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali is in every sense an expression of the mystical Island of Bali, visible through the architecture and style and complimented by the services which have been inspired by the Hindu rituals of Balinese culture.

Faithful to their pleasure based philosophy promoting the discovery of new delights, all hotels within the MGallery collection believe that escapes should be enhanced through gastronomy.  The Royal Beach Seminyak delivers authentic Balinese and Indonesian dishes flavoured with the intense native spices that are abundant and provide Indonesia the mantle of the "Spice Isle'.  Dining experiences at the resort include a breakfast which is served poolside and where the freshest of local fruit and produce are combined with classically western dishes providing for an abundant, hearty and grand meal.

Accommodation at the resort is contemporary and blends modern plush comfort with Balinese accents.  From the soothing and calming comfort of the specifically designed bedding to the L'Occitane bathroom amenities, guests will discover a place for serenity, calm and pleasure.

The private pool villas provide space, extraordinary comfort, ultimate privacy and the services of a personal butler.  One and two bedroom villas, all with private swimming pools and jacuzzis, are surrounded by frangipani plants providing a natural fragrance that guests will remember well after their holiday.

Bali is the birth place of many spa rituals that are performed as a part of treatments the world over.  Namaya Spa offers an array of indulgent therapeutic treatments designed to free the mind, heel the body and find ultimate relaxation.   

The Royal Beach Seminyak joins a collection of hotels around the world from the finest of pedigrees, and on November 5th, Kristin Scott Thomas, s

tar of the multi Academy Award winning film The English Patient, Kristin Scott Thomas, was officially appointed as the Ambassador for Accor's luxury boutique hotel label, MGallery.

Promotional offer

Located at Bali's second highest peak, Batukaru Volcano is revered by Balinese Hindu's and nowhere more so than at Batukaru Temple.  This visit and tour of this working temple or Pura as it is known by Balinese will enable you to stimulate all of the senses of sight, sound and scent as locals engage in their traditional rituals.  After leaving the temple you will stop at Jatiluwih, where amongst the rice paddies you will enjoy a picnic lunch.  Departing the hotel at 9am and returning at 4pm this tour will enable you to see both urban and rural life of Bali and take in some of the islands beauty.  This full day excursion is priced at Rp 550,000 net per person with a minimum of two persons for guests of The Royal Beach Seminyak. 

For reservations visit

MGallery is a collection of upscale hotels that are remarkable in their personality. They will appeal to individual travelers looking for distinctive services or seeking a place with a true soul.

Whether located downtown or in prime tourist areas, each hotel in the collection offers a distinctive setting in which guests will enjoy an original hotel experience reflecting a philosophy of pleasure.

Launched in September 2008 by Accor, it now extends to the five continents with 30 properties and will comprise more than 40 hotels by year-end 2010.

More information about the hotels in the MGallery collection is available on the website.

Pacific Resort Cook Islands boast the Best Island Villas and Resort in the World.

The bubbly is flowing once again in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) after walking away with awards for the "World's Leading Boutique Island Resort" and "World's Leading Island Villas" at the 2010 World Travel Awards Grand Final event held last night at London's Grosvenor House.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki has been voted "World's Leading Boutique Island Resort" for the third consecutive year, while Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa, Rarotonga has been voted "World's Leading Island Villas".

 Hailed as "The Oscars of the Travel Industry" by the Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards is recognised worldwide as the ultimate travel accolade. WTA 2010 nominations featured 5,000 companies in 1,000 categories across 162 countries. The winners were selected by thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide who have been voting online.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, said: "This year, like the last, continues to challenge every strata of travel and tourism. However tonight's World Travel Awards winners see struggle not as sign of weakness or failure, but as an opportunity for growth and renewal, and a chance to put their business model through the ultimate test."

He added: "By combining flair and ambition with savvy business acumen, these organisations are spearheading the worldwide recovery of travel and tourism. In doing so they are also reinforcing our industry's role as one of the mainstays of the global economy."

Pacific Resort chief executive officer Greg Stanaway says this award is considered to be the ultimate achievement for the Pacific Resort Hotel Group and for the Cook Islands.

Stanaway was quick to share the accolades with all involved saying that "we are seeing the results of a total team effort, the success of Pacific Resort Aitutaki and Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa owes much to all of the people involved in the experience that is a visit to the Cook Islands, it is our team and the people of the Cook Islands who underpin the success of these outstanding properties".

Log on to for more information about Pacific Resort Hotel Group - Cook Islands.

Experience New York City like a Newyorker during your next trip to the City

Stay in a lovely and charming apartment in the center of Manhattan.

Situated in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and Upper West Side, perhaps the most centrally located neighborhoods in all of New York City. Our elegant apartments are strategically located. At a walking distance to the Times Square, Central Park, Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center.

The rentals will make you feel at home: dining area with table and chairs, full kitchen supplied with various appliances; fully equipped bathroom. Our centrally located cozy rentals comfortably accommodates from 2 to 8 people.

LCD TV, DVD player, high speed Internet and basic cable TV to enjoy your New York experience. Laundry facilities and dry cleaners in some of the buildings.

The Subway is located 1/2 or 2 blocks from the buildings. The properties are located a walking distance of many famous New York City sites. These apartments are suitable for business travelers, couples and families alike. You got a friend in the city. We are here to make sure your stay is enjoyable and memorable. Stay at your "friends place" in Manhattan.

Why to pay outrageous hotels prices and the inconvenience of having to split your family among different hotel rooms when traveling together... Instead, take advantage of having a home away from home and stay together. It's a wonderful experience and it's a more budget friendly option. Save money in accommodations and spend it by shopping and enjoying the city.

Monday, 15 November 2010


ONE of UNESCO's most spectacular yet least-visited World Heritage sites, Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen is a highlight of an unusual 33-day tour with Far Horizons to Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Somaliland, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates in October of next year.

With a unique wealth of plant and animal life that's earned it the sobriquet "Galapagos in the Indian Ocean," Socotra has some 800 plant species of which over a third are not found anywhere else in the world, colourful bird life including the Socotran Buzzard that was discovered only in July this year, and coral reefs with over 700 species of fish and more than 300 of crustaceans.

Its 3,800 square kilometres also boast astonishing cave systems, pristine beaches, forests of rare Pomegranates, and endemic Dragon Blood trees and Desert Roses.

The 33-day tour features stays of 1- to 3-nights in sixteen cities and towns, with daily excursions led by English-speaking expert guides and with Socotra Island featuring a 2-night stay.

Other highlights of the tour include 4000 year old cave paintings, Oman's Grand Canyon, the southern terminal of the Spice Road, Prophet Job's Tomb, historic palaces, fortresses and mosques, the Rift Valley that's 153-metres below sea level, a volcano, Harar that's considered the fourth most holy city in the world, silversmiths at work and even a weekly Friday cattle auction.

Prices start from $24,100pp twin-share including return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, all meals, daily excursions, entry fees, guides and gratuities. Details 1800 083 141 or

Stay with Toga's Stars of Undercover Boss!

Toga Hospitality is offering special rates at each of the hotels seen on Undercover Boss...

Undercover Boss Australia featuring Toga Hospitality screens Monday 15th November, 9.30pm on TEN

Rachel Argaman, CEO of Toga Hospitality, recently revealed that she had been working undercover at Vibe Hotels, Medina Apartment Hotels and Travelodge Hotels. Tonight, her experience will feature in the brand new hit series Undercover Boss Australia.

Her undercover mission saw her cleaning rooms, checking in guests, preparing guest meals, setting up for conferences and so much more! Tune in to see what happened...

Argaman left the comfort of the office and her home to learn and experience first hand what the company can do to improve each and every guest experience and to ensure that Toga Hospitality is, and remains, a compelling place to work as well as to stay.

To celebrate, Toga Hospitality is offering great rates across each of the hotels shown in the episode!

Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne from $149*
Relish the convenience of staying in the heart of all the action of Melbourne. This hotel blends the zest of the Vibe Hotels brand with the beautiful façade of a heritage building. Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne is located only a short stroll from the hub of Collins Street.

Vibe Hotel North Sydney from $179*
Vibe Hotel North Sydney is a unique Sydney hotel offering chic accommodation on the doorstep of Sydney's unforgettable harbour. Restaurants and cafes abound in this little village which also offers easy access to stunning beaches and swanky suburbs. Plus don't miss the killer view!

Medina Grand Sydney from $143*
Enjoy all that Sydney has to offer - entertainment, nightlife and world class shopping - all on the door step of Medina Grand Sydney. The hotel has 144 one, two and three bedroom serviced apartments as well as studio rooms; your ideal home away from home to relax or entertain in a new location.

Travelodge Docklands from $90*
Travelodge Docklands is Toga's newest Melbourne hotel, ideally located in the new Docklands waterfront precinct. Travelodge Docklands provides the perfect base for exploring all of Melbourne's exciting and cool attractions and culture.

Travelodge Southbank from $119*
Travelodge Southbank is the perfect launch pad for experiencing all that Melbourne has to offer. Restaurants, cafes, shopping and galleries are just a quick walk away as are Melbourne's tourist attractions.

Of her experience, Rachel Argaman said: "Companies don't succeed; people do - at Toga Hospitality, we follow this as our mantra. The reason I wanted to be involved in Undercover Boss was to look at our business through the eyes of our Front Line Team. This was a true learning curve! I had lots of fun and have learnt vital lessons which will translate into real solutions for our business and our people so that we can better serve our guests and our team!"

The episode of Undercover Boss Australia featuring Toga Hospitality screens Monday 15th November at 9.30pm on TEN.

*Starting rates. Rates subject to availability. Excludes peak periods.

Latest News from BreakFree Resorts

A summary of the latest news and hot deals from BreakFree Hotels, Resorts and Apartments...

What's New:

WATER WISE: BreakFree on Hindley is having water saving devices installed in kitchens and bathrooms with an aim to help the environment. The overall water saving should reach a worthwhile 2,295,003 litres a year according to an audit on the property, reports General Manager Darren Ward.

FEAST FESTIVAL: November 13 to 28 will see the annual Feast Festival come to life. The festival, Australia's largest gay and lesbian arts and cultural event, features a diverse array of music, theatre, film, art culture and more. BreakFree on Hindley has your accommodation covered, located right in the heart of the party precinct for a taste of the nightlife action to make the most of the festival. All Studios and Apartments feature a private balcony or courtyard, plus on-site facilities include a restaurant and bar, 24-hour reception and room service. Call 132 007 or your local travel agent or visit for additional information.

TRADING PLACES: With the recent resignation of Jason Isbester as General Manager of BreakFree Noosa International, after two-and-a-half years of making significant improvements across a broad spectrum of areas, the new Resort Manager for BreakFree Noosa International is being announced. One of the Sunshine Coast's rising stars in hospitality, Alan Golley, has been appointed as Jason's replacement, coming from Front Office Manager at BreakFree Alexandra Beach Resort, where he has demonstrated a strong work ethic and gained a great deal of experience across many facets of the business.

TASTY TEMPTATIONS: The new Aloha Restaurant and Bar is welcoming guests and locals alike at BreakFree South Pacific in Noosa, with some tasty menu selections. Open for breakfast on the weekend, lunch everyday and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, Aloha offers a fresh dining option for the coastal holiday town. From the $10 lunch specials of Dukkah Crusted Dory with Chips and Salad, to divine dinner choices of Almond and Mint Encrusted Rack of Lamb, Poached Atlantic Salmon in Champagne, Caper and Lemon Cream Sauce, or Fresh Pacific Oysters, there's something to tempt everyone. Call 07 5455 6669 or visit for additional information. Aloha is located on-site at BreakFree South Pacific, 179 Weyba Road, Noosa.

SAVOUR SPRING: The inviting Pavillion Restaurant & Bar at BreakFree Rainbow Shores, set on the beautiful Rainbow Beach, has a new Spring Menu to savour, and increased it's trading hours to five days a week for lunch and dinner, between Tuesday and Saturday. New temptations on the menu range from healthy salads to filling main meals, vegetarian options, seafood and delicious desserts, plus special choices for children.

Hot Deals:

MERRY HOLIDAYS: BreakFree Alexandra Beach at Alexandra Headland is feeling very merry this coming Christmas holidays and has set some super accommodation rates for six different sized accommodation options during the traditional high tourism season. From December 25 through to January 9, stay a minimum of three nights at the popular BreakFree Alexandra Beach from $218 per night in a Studio through to $443 per night for three bedrooms. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

COMPLIMENTERY NIGHT: Listen! Can you hear the beach calling you for a great break away? Relax with BreakFree on the Sunshine Coast with some great special deals on offer until December 24. Stay for three nights but only pay for two from $128* per night in a Studio Room at BreakFree Alexandra Beach, at Alexandra Headland, or pay for three nights and have a fourth night's accommodation free, from $140 for a one bedroom apartment at BreakFree South Pacific, Caloundra. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

FEEL THE RHYTHM: Byron Bay's first ever Annual Reggae Festival is set to spread the soothing sounds of reggae on December 4 at The Brewery across three stages, for 12 hours, not to mention a Reggae Lounge Cinema and Caribbean meals to enjoy. Relax and unwind during your stay in Byron Bay with comfy accommodation at BreakFree Eco Beach from $213* per night in a Studio room for a minimum of two nights, with facilities including a pool and spa and located just a short walk to the hub of the popular coastal holiday town. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information. Click here for festival information.

WITH COMPLIMENTS: Head to the picturesque Hervey Bay for short break and a bonus night free, when you book accommodation with BreakFree Great Sandy Straits for a minimum of three nights. Pay for three nights, but stay for four up until December 24, from $116* per night for a Studio Room at the popular resort, which offers exclusive beachfront access, uninterrupted views of the bay and marina. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

THIRD NIGHT FREE: Coffs Harbour is calling anyone who's in the mood for some fantastic accommodation for free. Choose to stay at BreakFree Aanuka Beach for at least two nights and receive a third night for free, from $255* per night for a two bedroom Spa Villa. Valid until December 24. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

FREE 'N EASY: Stay in holiday heaven on the Gold Coast for four nights, but only pay for three, with two fantastic deals on offer until December 24. Stay a minimum three nights and receive the fourth free at BreakFree Cosmopolitan in Surfers Paradise, from $119* per night for a one bedroom apartment. Or choose to stay a minimum of three nights and get a fourth night free at BreakFree Diamond Beach in Broadbeach, from $215* per night for a two bedroom apartment. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

RACE READY: The Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Surf Ironman Series, Ironwoman Series and Legends Series featuring the country's best Surf Life Saving athletes is on again with the first of five rounds taking place at Currumbin on November 21. Both the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series and the Ironwoman Series will feature 20 athletes each, while the Legends Series will pit teams of three wily veterans against each other for a chance to relive past glories. Stay close to all the action with BreakFree accommodation just a short drive north, from $149 per night in one bedroom at BreakFree Peninsula in Surfers Paradise, or from $136 per night at BreakFree Diamond Beach in Broadbeach. A minimum stay of two nights is required. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING: Searching for that perfect Christmas gift is made easy with BreakFree's special rate for one night at BreakFree Heritage on Little Bourke in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. Located next to Myer and David Jones and a short stroll to Bourke Street Mall, the hotel is the perfect location to base yourself to shop until you drop. Visit the famous Myer Christmas Windows display, a Melbourne tradition of more than 50 years. Stay at BreakFree Heritage on Little Bourke in a one bedroom apartment from $159* per night, including breakfast. Call 132 007 or visit for additional information.

Skyrocketing Aussie dollar means now is the time to experience ultra luxury in remarkable Rotorua at Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua

-Live like a king at award winning Lake Okareka Lodge – for a prince's price-

With the Australian dollar at an all-time high (AUD$1 = NZ$1.27 as at 15/11/10), now is the time to enjoy the absolute pinnacle of New Zealand hospitality (and a secret of discerning travellers) – the five-star Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua.

Ideally situated a 15 minute scenic drive from fascinating Rotorua, this ultra-luxury lodge is widely recognised as New Zealand's iconic exclusive boutique property – and has been voted 'New Zealand's Leading Resort" at the World Travel Awards 2010[1], one of the "Top 10 places in the world to propose"[2], and the world's "Best Country House[3]".

Whether you're planning a romantic escape, private celebration or just an indulgent getaway, now is the time to live like a king – for about 30% less given the strength of the Aussie dollar – and experience sheer opulence amidst breathtaking natural surrounds.

Each and every guest at Lake Okareka Lodge – there are never more than nine – is treated like royalty with discreet 24-hour butler/concierge service, an internationally-trained personal chef and access to stunning private beaches, spa treatments, library/den with grand piano, climate-controlled wine cellar and onsite helipad.

Accommodation is sumptuous, with all three suites lavishly decorated and fully equipped with every conceivable amenity. The unique tastes and whims of each guest are catered for: you can enjoy formal five-course dining in the elegant dining room and play golf nearby, or enjoy fly fishing and forest walks and take your meals outdoors under the stars for a more casual ambience.

Those with a penchant for aquatic activities will be spoilt for choice. The Lodge's extensive facilities include a private jetty which is ideal for trout fishing or as a launch pad for watersports including water skiing, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. Those seeking more of an adrenaline rush will enjoy white water rafting and jet boating on the thrilling Kaituna River.

Rotorua is the spiritual home of the Maori people, and the area offers many opportunities to learn about their vibrant culture, as well as to explore world-renowned natural geothermal phenomena including bubbling mud pools, hot mineral spring and spectacular geysers.

Alternatively, you need never leave the Lodge. Curl up with a book from the library on your private balcony with stunning lake views, enjoy a massage, meander around the lake's edge in blissful seclusion, then stroll back to the lounge for pre-dinner drinks and delectable canapés.

Fact File:

How to get there

Air New Zealand fly's direct to Rotorua from Sydney -


Suite costs start from NZ$1800 + GST per night for a Garden Suite


Tel: (64) 7362 8026
Fax: (64) 7362 8023

For more information on Lake Okareka Lodge visit

[1] Launched in 1992, the World Travel Awards recognise excellence in the international travel and tourism industry
[2] 2010
[3] World Luxury Hotel Awards 2009

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