Saturday 31 May 2008


A novel way to cruise from Sydney to Thailand is to take the long way, and go south in 5-star luxury.

The super-liner Diamond Princess will sail this unusual itinerary from Sydney to Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Fremantle, Exmouth, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Sihanoukville and Bangkok, and there's plenty of time to budget for it because it's not until February 21 2010 if booked by August 13 this year.

The 116,000 tonne Diamond Princess is one of the largest cruise ships to visit Australia and has a 21-night package that includes 20-nights cruising and a night at the luxurious Banyan Tree Bangkok with port-hotel-airport transfers.

The price starts from $4249pp twin-share including all 5-star onboard Traditional, Anytime, Specialty or Casual dining, nightly entertainment, a huge choice of sporting, social and recreational activities, port charges and government taxes, and air back to Sydney from Bangkok; air taxes and fuel surcharges at time of booking are additional.

For full details phone 1300 369 848 or check-out

ADDITIONAL CRUISE DETAILS: The 2670-passenger Diamond Princess has four pools including a swim-against-the-current, hot tubs, a 9-hole putting course, jogging track, live-stage theatre, casino, internet café, library and a Kids & Teens Club.

As well as Traditional, Anytime, Specialty and Casual Dining, there's a 24-hour buffet, no-charge 24-hour room service, a wine and caviar bar and a choice of formal and casual bars and lounges.

Friday 30 May 2008

Whale Watching with Sunsail in the Whitsundays

Escape to the Whitsundays for some whale watching this winter and stay longer for free, thanks to Sunsail.

Watching these giant mammals frolicking in the warm Whitsunday waters is a magical moment no one ever forgets.

And now Sunsail Yacht Charters is offering holidaymakers additional nights sailing for free during July to take advantage of this amazing experience.

When you book seven nights with Sunsail Yacht Charters – the world's leading sailing holiday company – you only pay for five nights. And when you book 10 nights you only pay for seven.

If you have two weeks to spare sailing around the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands then you will only pay for 10 nights.

Weather in the tropical Whitsundays, off the coast of north Queensland, is considerably warmer during winter than in the more southern states, with average maximum daily temperatures of  23⁰c - 24⁰ c.

The humpback whales head north every year during winter to breed and give birth to their calves in the warmer Whitsunday waters.

Sunsail's marketing manager Kim Lehmann said the special winter deal was aimed at showing holidaymakers just how gorgeous the Whitsundays are at this time of year.  

"Whether you can sail or not, Sunsail has a boat and package to suit everyone who wants a little Queensland sunshine this winter," said Ms Lehmann.

"Whales are an added bonus at this time of year and many guests report sighting these amazing creatures as they frolic in the warm waters."

There are strict regulations governing how close boats can get to these magnificent creatures, which can sometimes play for up to half-an-hour if left to themselves.

The Whitsunday Islands are shielded by the Great Barrier Reef, resulting in calm, protected waters for the whales, which generally appear from mid July to the end of September.

The Whitsundays are a group of 74 islands off the east coast of north Queensland renowned for their excellent sailing, pristine waters, abundant marine life and stunning island scenery.

For more information visit


Winter package priced from $299 per couple per night

Sofitel Werribee Park has launched a new accommodation package to escape the winter blues.

The package includes your choice of luxurious overnight accommodation and $100 worth of credit to use towards some indulgences during your stay. Whether it be a room upgrade, a delicious meal in Joseph's Restaurant, cocktails at the bar or a luxurious body or beauty treatment at LeSpa, the choice is yours...

It also features a complimentary tasting at neighbouring Shadowfax Winery and entry to the lavishly restored historical Mansion.

30 minutes drive southwest of Melbourne, Sofitel Mansion & Spa offers 91 luxurious guestrooms and suites. There is also LeSpa with indoor pool, gym, steam rooms, tennis courts and eight treatment rooms offering an extensive range of indulgent body and beauty treatments, Joseph's Restaurant & Bar, a cosy library with fireplace and the snooker room, as well as Shadowfax Winery which offers wine tastings, cellar door sales, lunches and live jazz on weekends.

Guests of Sofitel Mansion & Spa also have a range of leisure options on their doorstep including an 18-hole golf course, the National Equestrian Centre, Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Victoria State Rose Garden.

The winter package is priced from $299 per couple per night and is valid from 1 June to 31 August 2008, subject to availability.

To make a booking and experience this winter getaway at Sofitel Mansion & Spa, contact 03 9731 4000 or email

Sofitel: re-inventing French elegance in luxury hotels
Sofitel creates unique luxury hotels in the world's most attractive destinations, by the artful blending of its French origins with the very best of local cultures. Sofitel forges a privileged bond between its staff of devoted service professionals and its cosmopolitan guests who expect and appreciate beauty, quality and excellence. Sofitel offers the best of French elegance, from food and wine rituals to bedding, design and personal care products. Hotels where life can be savoured, shared with others, lived in harmony with oneself; transforming every stay into a unique and unforgettable experience.
The Sofitel brand portfolio will offer clear and attractive options adapted to today's more demanding and more versatile consumers.
§ Sofitel Legend: a collection of legendary luxury properties, defining a renewed way of living heritage and palace hotels for inner luxury driven travelers.
§ Sofitel: World-class hotels, with French elegance, blending relationships and pleasures for today's discerning travelers in the upper-upscale segment.
§ So by Sofitel: a new kind of boutique hotel, with style and soul, reconciling design and pleasure for trend conscious consumers.
Discover Sofitel's new website <> with new reservations features

Diamond Experience at Anantara Spa at Emirates Palace

Exclusive Diamond Experience

With Anantara Spa Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

The astonishing Diamond Experience Ritual from Natura Bisse has become available for the first time in the United Arab Emirates at the acclaimed Anantara Spa. Blending Middle Eastern opulence with Asian elegance, Anantara Spa, at the Emirates Palace in Dubai, is the perfect setting for this dynamic and super-effective treatment that works across the five senses to create perfect balance and synergy throughout the body and mind.  

Taken from an ancient ritual of therapeutic healing, the Diamond Experience combines cutting-edge science with pure natural ingredients to deliver spectacular results. Using real diamond dust (from ethical sources), the skin is stimulated, restructured, and soothed allowing the inner beauty that each individual possesses to be unlocked.

The journey to total harmony begins with Diamond Magnetic body exfoliation, a unique peel made from real diamond dust, iron and luminous mud to purify and cleanse the skin. This is then followed by the luxury facial from the Natura Bisse Diamond Collection to smooth the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Based on Gem Therapy and the holistic properties of Magnet Therapy, the Diamond Experience leaves the skin glowing like a magnificent jewel.  

Very popular in Hollywood and extremely successful in Europe, America, and the Far East, this ultimate spa ritual delivers instantly visible results.  

Jittima Wongsiripaiboon, Spa Director for Anantara Spa says, "It is a privilege to offer a world class brand such as Natura Bissé in our spa where our focus is on providing a haven of relaxation and nurturing for all our guests. The exclusive DIAMOND Experience ritual by Natura Bissé will complete the ultimate spa well-being experience offered at Anantara Spa."

The exclusive Diamond Experience is priced at AED1,400++ (Subjected to 10% Service Charge and 6% Tourism Tax)


Anantara: the flow of water without borders. A healing journey through the wisdom of the ages. Rooted in the timeless healing traditions of the world's richest cultures, Anantara Spas are designed to restore balance and harmony between body and mind in an oasis of beauty, grace and tranquillity. Intoxicating aromas of the world's most exotic elixirs and oils are used in treatments designed to deliver radiance, healing and a quiet sense of inner and outer well-being. Discover your private ritual for serenity at Anantara Spa.

The Anantara Spa Experience can currently be found in Thailand's historic seaside resort enclave of Hua Hin, the far northern Golden Triangle region, and to the island of Samui. In 2006, Anantara Spa went global, with the launch of Anantara Spa Maldives, introducing a range of Ayurvedic healing therapies and consultations with a certified practitioner, making the most of our South Asian destination's rich heritage. In 2007 Anantara Emirates Palace marked the launch of the first Anantara Spa in the Middle East with more breathtaking destinations planned across China, Africa, the Middle East and Europe in 2008.

Inspiring passion, personal freedom and an appreciation for the rich cultures of our world – the art of the Anantara Experience.

Families at sea with MSC Cruises


There are many benefits for families who choose to travel with MSC Cruises - the only cruise company entirely dedicated to offering a 'Truly Italian' experience. MSC Cruises can provide the perfect holiday experience; combining family escapes with the opportunity to discover new destinations, with the needs and desires of every age group catered for.

On an MSC Cruise, children under the age of 18 sharing a cabin with their parents can cruise for free throughout the year* – even at peak holiday times.  In addition to this there is a 30% discount on excursions for children under 14, so the whole family can enjoy exploring new destinations.  Customers booking early can also take advantage of great 'Prima Price' rates enjoying discounts on the standard brochure pricing.  Families enjoying 7 night Mediterranean cruises on board MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica and MSC Opera can also take advantage of connecting cabins in category 10 which are available at a supplement.

On board each ship there is a dedicated team catering for the needs of all age groups - including the youngest guests. Throughout the fleet there are special areas exclusively for the under 18's – all are cheerful, colourful, well equipped, safe and have something to amuse children of every age. MSC Cruises ships are completely child friendly, offering daily entertainment and plenty of space for running, exploring, diving, swimming and, most important of all...playing!

In addition, the MSC Club provides specialist entertainers to organise fun activities for teenagers. Younger brothers or sisters will not be left out, as children are divided into two or three groups according to their ages: children from 3 to 9 in the Mini Club, those from 9 to 13 in the Juniors Club, and the over 13s in the Teenagers Club.

MSC Cruises also offers a Teen's Card. This personalised 'credit' card will provide passengers aged 12 to 17 with more freedom of movement and allow them to spend small sums on board. Two options are on offer - from 30 Euros (with a bonus credit of 5 Euros when purchased) and 50 Euros (with a bonus credit of 10 Euros when purchased). These can be used on board like a proper credit card as well as a cruise card. Guests boarding the ship are given a flyer describing all the benefits and an order form. This way, the Teens' Card will be delivered directly to the cabin.

Child friendly menus are also available on board – including Italian favourites such as pasta and pizza as well as numerous tantalizing desserts and snacks to enjoy.  Furthermore, if it's someone's birthday during the cruise, a mouth watering birthday cake will be served at the end of dinner.

Parents can relax in the knowledge that children have been entrusted to expert and friendly staff and even the smallest details taken care of, such as providing sunblock and sunhats. Parents can therefore look to indulge themselves in the spa, unwind with a Turkish bath, enjoy an aromatic massage or session at the fitness centre and then perhaps an evening flutter in the casino, safe in the knowledge their children are being taken care of and having a good time.

With MSC Cruises you can find the perfect holiday for all the family – from a cruise in the western Mediterranean, to a journey amongst the beautiful Greek islands or the fascinating ancient sites of Turkey.  The choice is yours.

For more information, passengers can visit or call 0844 561 1955

Agents can visit

*Paying only for flights and port dues.

About MSC Cruises:

MSC Cruises  currently has a fleet of nine ships: MSC Poesia third flagship of the "Musica" class, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Melody, MSC Rhapsody , cruising in the Mediterranean all year round, Northern Europe, Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and South America. The fleet will increase to 12 ships by 2010. In the winter of 2008 the MSC Fantasia will launch, followed in the spring of 2009 by MSC Splendida. These will be two of the largest ships built by a European ship owner. Then in 2010 MSC Magnifica, the fourth ship in the Musica class will enter service.

MSC Cruises is a partner of the city of Venice and a member of the Club - 'Friends of Venice' as well as one of the supporters for the project 'Venice Blue Flag' which sets the standards for the carbon emissions.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Find Good Karma and Win a Trip to Bangkok with British Airways

Next week, British Airways will team up with Nova and Australia's first online charity gift voucher company, Karma Currency to offer listeners the chance to win a fantastic five-night trip to Bangkok.

Each day during Nova's Drive show, The Wrong Way Home, Akmal, Cal and Ed will invite listeners to register their stories on the website about people who've performed extreme acts of kindness, and why they'd like to 'pay it forward' by giving them a holiday. Akmal, Cal and Ed will judge all entries and the most creative or funniest will win the trip, courtesy of British Airways, to present to the person who performed the original act, thereby generating good karma.

Karma Currency ( allows people to give gift vouchers to friends and family who in turn pass the donation on to the charity of their choice. With hundreds of charities to choose from, you can help protect a rainforest, help fund a cure for cancer, educate a mind, rescue a puppy and lots, lots more.

The competition will run on The Wrong Way Home show with Akmal, Cal and Ed (3.00-6.00pm daily) from 2-6 June.

Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Officially Opens Today

The new Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at Aoraki Mount Cook was today (Thursday 29 May) officially opened by Sir Edmund's widow, June, Lady Hillary Q.S.M.

The date holds particular significance as it also commemorates the 55th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's first ascent of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay as well as the 50th anniversary of the third Hermitage Hotel official opening.

Approximately 180 people attended the official opening, many of whom had personal ties with Sir Edmund. Speakers included Graeme Ayres, son of Sir Edmund's great friend Harry, who taught Sir Edmund the finer details of climbing and climbed extensively with him at Aoraki Mount Cook.

The audience enjoyed performances from Becky Murray, a young opera singer from Tekapo who sang a poem written especially for the occasion, and Mount Cook School children who performed the action song Aoraki E. A flypast to honour Sir Edmund Hillary's memory was performed by Mount Cook ski planes and a team of huskies (direct descendants from Sir Edmund's 1958 Antarctic Expedition) displayed their skills towing a vehicle.

Graeme Ayres spoke on behalf of Lady Hillary congratulating all those involved in creating a facility where the stories of the mountains could be told and celebrated.

"Aoraki Mount Cook is connected to the great and sacred mountains of the world through the high jet stream winds that circulate our planet, but even more so, Aoraki is connected to the mountains and people of the Himalaya and Antarctica through the spirit and achievements of one man - our own Sir Edmund Hillary."

"I want to acknowledge the efforts of the Aoraki Mount Cook Museum Trust and am all too aware of the frustration they went through in attempting to realise their dreams in the late 70s and early 80s so I say to them thank you for carrying the vision. To others, the Davies and Valentine families who had the commitment and to the Callesens who had the drive, congratulations. This combination of vision, commitment and drive are the same elements of achievement required when climbing, you have all climbed your own mountain and are standing at the top today."

Lady Hillary then unveiled the official plaque, which reads:

This plaque commemorates the official opening of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre and the 55th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's first ascent of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Opened by June, Lady Hillary Q.S.M. on Thursday 29 May 2008.

It pays tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008).

A friend and mentor to many, humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers.

"A giant of a man who will always hold a very special place in our hearts.
May his legendary spirit and life's work live on through the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre."
From the community of Aoraki Mount Cook Village.

The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is jointly owned by the Valentine family of Dunedin and Trojan Holdings, owned by the Davies family of Queenstown. Trojan Holdings has a long association with tourism in New Zealand as owner of Ultimate Hikes and majority shareholder of NZSKI.

The visionary who drove the $7.5 million Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre project is Denis Callesen, General Manager of The Hermitage Hotel. Today Mr Davies recognised Mr Callesen's efforts by naming the theatre housed within the Centre the 'Denis Callesen Theatre'.

Mr Callesen said he was delighted to see the project come to fruition.

"This region and the people who have worked, lived or enjoyed recreational pursuits here have played a big part in New Zealand's pioneering history. I have heard many stories and been present for some major milestones so wanted to find a way to share these fascinating stories with others.

"Sir Edmund Hillary spent much time here climbing, socialising and training for various expeditions. Many of us were privileged to meet him and even become a friend.

"Sir Ed was involved in the project every step of the way and has also recorded messages for the Centre which visitors can watch. His passing was a huge loss so we are honoured to be able to celebrate his life on a daily basis by sharing his memories, achievements and legacy. We are proud to support the Himalayan Trust he founded which aids the Sherpa people of the Himalayas."

Designed to educate and entertain all ages, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre takes visitors on the journey of a lifetime through a spectacular state-of-the-art 3D cinematic experience, New Zealand's first full dome digital planetarium, stargazing, museum and Hillary Gallery. It also houses a café and bar with spectacular floor to ceiling views of Aoraki Mount Cook. The café specialises in classic Kiwi fare with a modern twist, and from October the bar will offer guests Sacred Hill wine tastings and cocktails at sunset, a time honoured tradition at The Hermitage.

Visitors can gain unlimited access for a full day to planetarium screenings, the 'Mount Cook Magic' 3D movie and the Museum and Hillary Gallery with an Explorer Pass. Adult ticket prices are NZ$20 (16 years+) and all children (0–16) are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is located adjacent to The Hermitage Hotel in Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village, deep within the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and World Heritage area. The Village is a spectacular 55km drive from the Lake Pukaki / State Highway 8 turn-off and is four hours from Christchurch (272km) and three hours from Queenstown (330km),

For more information please visit

Looking for anonymity away from the paparazzi?

Indulge at Beachcomber's Royal Palm, the most exclusive resort in the Indian Ocean

Are you a movie star, sporting personality or head of state looking for relaxation and anonymity away from the prying public eye? Join a list of personalities such as Nelson Mandela, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Chirac and the Swedish Royal family at Mauritius' ultimate resort – the Royal Palm.

Located just minutes away from Grand Baie on the north west coast of Mauritius, The Royal Palm Provides impeccable service in all areas of the establishment.

Guests are offered transfers from the airport to their suites by Rolls Royce Phantom, BMW X5 or helicopter. All of the suites are of an exceptional standard, ranging from luxury junior suites to three palatial Presidential suites, with each suite offering terraces with spectacular ocean views. The incredible Royal Suite offers individuals luxury beyond their expectations with their own private entrance to the beach, an infinity plunge pool, indoor hammam and private valet service.

Known for having one of the finest tables in the Indian Ocean, Royal Palm meets the highest of gastronomic standards. The hotel's distinguished chefs invite you to sample an inventive menu featuring local fresh products and seafood, European cuisine and Mauritian delights. The hotel's three dining options, La Goelette or Natureaty featuring a fusion of healthy eating or enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere at Le Bar Plage, the resorts beachside restaurant and bar.

For guests wanting to maximise their time at the hotel, there is waterskiing, snorkelling, sailing, tennis and squash. Perhaps, the most calming option is the beach. Further enhancing its reputation as the best hotel in the Indian Ocean, Royal Palm has opened a fully fledged Spa by Clarins to pamper its guests. The natural surroundings are echoed in the Spa's appealing décor. Equipped with four massage rooms, two saunas, two hammams, two balneotherapy rooms and a beauty parlour, the spa also features a pool complete with cascades. Professional therapists can soothe away tensions with fragrant massages followed by a bracing outdoor shower under the sun. The Spa's popular Relax Massage promises to optimise the body's energy levels, and uses techniques developed by reputable beauty brand, Clarins.

Forgotten something? Don your wig and CD sunnies and take a walk to the fashionable village of Grand Bay, which is renowned for its designer boutiques, art galleries, smart coffee shops and trendy restaurants and bars. Shops in the village specialise in stylish beachwear, ceramics and art, cashmere garments and oriental carpets. Jewellery items in gold and diamond are also popular acquisitions.

Luxury such at this starts from $5,639pp for a six night package, ex Syd/Mel. The package Includes: return airfares with Air Mauritius, airport taxes, private car transfers, accommodation, Breakfast daily, dinner each night with a choice of three a la carte restaurants, free water and land sports including waterskiing, nightly entertainment and a leather travel wallet.

By providing such a high standard of living, Royal Palm will ensure that its guests enjoy a holiday of ultimate luxury and sophistication. or call 1800 624 268

Expect the Unexpected With Abercrombie & Kent’s Extreme Adventures Collection

Imagine………..challenging temperatures, soaring altitudes, pounding G forces and barren deserts – this is adventure travel taken to a new stratosphere as innovative, global travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) launches their Extreme Adventures collection of experiential travel options.

With a portfolio of 18 expeditions to chose from, adventure travellers can expect the unexpected and prepare to be exhilarated!

For those looking for a new, exciting experience, this is the portfolio that offers an extensive and exclusive range of stimulating and challenging options. Be prepared to push personal boundaries, harness physical and mental endurance, survive the elements and test individual capability. These itineraries are definitely not for the faint hearted!

Whether in the atmosphere, under water, at altitude or at the end of the earth, A&K's Extreme Adventures begin where others finish. With an elite group of highly trained, skilled and experienced adventure guides at the helm, every experience is set to thrill! Think a mock-dog fight at 4Gs in a Hawker Hunter fighter jet in South Africa; an 18 day trek to the South Pole; diving with whale sharks in Belize; scaling the western breach of Kilimanjaro; dog sledding in the High Arctic or camel trekking with the Bedouin in Jordan's Eastern Desert; any expedition is sure to be a one off, memorable life changing adventure.

A&K introduces Mats Forsberg who has led most of the world's leading polar bear researchers and BBC documentary expeditions into the extreme Arctic wilderness. Mats has explored the region solo on skis and joins our adventurers in Norway on the trail of the polar bear. In East Africa, Toby Fenwick-Wilson leads A&K guests into unknown territory in the deserts of Northern Kenya where he recently finished a walk of 560km. His bush knowledge and sensitivity to tribal cultures make him an instinctive choice for the Uncharted Frontiers adventure. Climbers of Mt. Everest in Nepal will be joined by Pasang Temba Sherpa, one of the area's most sought-after professional trekking guides. He has averaged about four trips a year since 1985 and has unsurpassed trekking experience. In New Zealand, Mark Everard is one of the country's best outdoor guides and joins adventurers on an adrenalin-pumping ride of white water, jetboats, mountain hikes and bungee jumps. These are just a few of the exceptional characters leading A&K's exciting new adventures.

Born of a pioneering spirit nearly half a century ago, A&K has always had a vision and desire for travellers to experience the world in a way few others ever had. Supported by A&K's bedrock of knowledge, expertise and reputation, their Extreme Adventures collection will deliver an extreme experience! To ensure safety and reassurance, each adventure comes with its own rating, ranging from mild to severe. These ratings take into account temperature, topography, altitude and other pertinent factors that may need to be considered to guarantee an amazing, but appropriate, extreme experience.

A&K's Australasian Managing Director, Sujata Raman said, "Abercrombie & Kent is proud to launch Extreme Adventures, another exciting innovation in the world of experiential and extreme travel. This collection is sure to thrill and we urge a visit to to whet that adventure appetite!"


For more information contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800, or visit or

Abercrombie & Kent is the world's leading luxury travel business. Founded as a luxury safari company in Africa in 1962, A&K has grown into an international travel group employing 3000 staff in more than 100 countries. A&K organises private, tailored and escorted travel to every corner of the globe and also has a wholly-owned portfolio of cruise boats, luxury lodges, tented camps, hotels, and all-terrain vehicles. A&K Australia brings the whole gamut of this seamless A&K global commitment to bear on travel arrangements. Whether travelling solo, as a couple, with a family or in an escorted group, A&K should be the first port of call if quality and value is crucial to a holiday. Luxury, learning, adventure, professionalism and attention to detail are the A&K calling cards. Abercrombie & Kent. Inspiring experiences. Visit

Five times A&K has been voted "World's Best Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter" by the readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine. The company was also chosen as "World's Leading Luxury Specialist Tour Operator" by travel professionals from 80,000 travel agencies in over 200 countries at the World Travel Awards in New York. The travel agents who read Recommend Magazine voted A&K "Best Africa/Middle East Tour Operator." Abercrombie & Kent operates in more than 100 countries on all seven continents.

Wednesday 28 May 2008


Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Travel Connection cook up an exquisite package

Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Travel Connection have cooked up an appetizing option for travellers seeking to learn more about the French-influenced cuisine of picturesque Tahiti – as well as experiencing this exquisite destination.

The "Cooking Class in Paradise" package gives travellers the unique opportunity to learn how to cook with a French chef, starting from just AUD $5,150 ex Sydney.

The package includes return Economy Class airfares with award-winning Air Tahiti Nui, plus land transfers, two nights at the Intercontinental Resort Tahiti and five nights at the stunning Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso and Spa.

Accommodation is in an Emerald Overwater Bungalow overlooking Bora Bora's Otemanu Mountain and crystal-clear lagoons, with daily American Breakfast.

A cooking class with a French Chef, for two people, is also provided at this property, where travellers can then indulge in fine gourmet cuisine in the relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere of "Le Reef Restaurant".

The Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso and Spa offers 80 individual units - every one of them an overwater bungalow.  

This package can also be purchased ex Brisbane and Melbourne from AUD $5,320, and ex Adelaide from AUD $5,535.

It is available for travel from 26 August till 15 December 2008 and is priced per person, twin-share including all Australian taxes. Local city tax is not included, packages are limited at these prices and some conditions apply.

Bookings can be made by calling Tahiti Travel Connection on 1300 858 305 or visit to access the "Cooking Class in Paradise" package.  

Air Tahiti Nui has been named the "Best Pacific Airline' for the past five years the global Skytrax Awards for airline excellence. Air Tahiti Nui offers four weekly flights from Sydney to Papeete – two nonstop and two via Auckland.  

For more details about Air Tahiti Nui visit  

USA Falls In Love With The Spirit Of New Zealand: Grasmere Lodge

Select, the marque of excellence in unique accommodation and travel experiences throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and beyond, is proud to announce Tom Butler Co-Director of Grasmere Lodge in New Zealand has won the converted Manakitanga Award, The Spirit of New Zealand Award from the US wholesale , New Zealand Travel Inc.

Each year in May New Zealand Travel Inc. conducts the poll with their travellers to determine their Top 10 New Zealand properties and travel experiences.

Donna Thomas, President of New Zealand Travel Inc said when presenting the award, " Your kindness, service and enthusiasm for New Zealand have been contagious and our clients have fallen in love with the country. Thank you for that!"

Tom Butler's award is given to an individual who went above and beyond the normal service levels to help even the most cynical of travellers fall in love with New Zealand. This award is given to those who strive to preserve the land, the customs and who give deeply of themselves to New Zealand Travel Inc travellers.

Donna Thomas continues, " This award is always given to someone whose love of the country shows in all they do! They take the spirit of generosity and pride of Homeland and it shows in every experience our clients have in their presence. The Manakitanga Award is given to someone who the travellers mention repeatedly for excellent service and love of land. This year our clients repeatedly cited Tom Butler of Grasmere Lodge as someone who made them fall totally in love with New Zealand. His pride in his country, his generosity of sprit showed with every customer even the most hardened ones".

Nestled in the high Southern Alps, Grasmere Lodge is famed for its privacy and total relaxation or adventures that range from skiing and hiking to horse riding. This traditional New Zealand high country station (ranch), set amid 2500-metre peaks, is a haven for those in need of relaxation and a wonderland retreat for those seeking adventure. Set within a fully operational 5,261 hectare sheep, deer and cattle station (ranch), Grasmere Lodge offers a choice of 13 guest rooms and suites, housing just 24 guests amid comforts that include a Jacuzzi in each en-suite bathroom. The Lodge is bordered by Arthur's Pass National Park and Craigieburn Forest Park. Within or near the grounds of the lodge itself, there are five lakes and three rivers.

LOCATION: 1.5 hours from Christchurch International Airport

Select Hotels & Resorts International congratulates Tom Butler on this exceptional award.

Select Member properties for 2008 are:

AUSTRALIA: Q Station, Sydney, NSW: The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW: Lilianfels Blue Mountains
Resort & Spa, Katoomba NSW; Tower Lodge, Hunter Valley, NSW; Kims Beach Hideaway, Toowoon Bay,
NSW; Arajilla Retreat, Lord Howe Island, NSW; Meadowlake Lodge, Milton, NSW; Hotel Lindrum,
Melbourne, VIC; Select Burnham Beeches, Dandenong Ranges, VIC; Hotel Pension Grimus, Mount Buller,
VIC; Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, Kangaroo Island, SA; The Lodge at Tarraleah, Tarraleah, TAS; Couran Cove Island
Resort, South Stradbroke Island, QLD; Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, Mossman, Far North Qld;

NEW ZEALAND: Carrington Resort, Karikari Peninsula, Northland; Kourawhero Country Lodge, North Auckland; Mangapapa Petit Hotel, Hawke's Bay; Select Braemar Lodge and Spa, Hanmer Springs; Grasmere Lodge, Arthur's Pass; Huntley House, Christchurch; Millbrook Resort, Queenstown; The Spire Hotel, Queenstown; Edgewater Resort, Lake Wanaka: Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau;

PACIFIC ISLANDS: Fiji Orchid, Nadi, Fiji; Nukubati Island, Fiji; Toberua Island Resort, Fiji; Royale Takitumu Villas, Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, Tikehau, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia; Manihi Pearl Beach Resort, Manihi, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia

ASIA: Saman Villas, Bentota, Sri Lanka; The Regency Wing of Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka; Mom Tri's Villa Royale, Phuket, Thailand; Veranda Resort and Spa, Hua Hin, Thailand; Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand

MIDDLE EAST: Emirates Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, UAE

A Short Drive to Paradise

If you live in South East Queensland or Northern New South Wales and you haven't stayed at Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, now is the perfect time to indulge in a well-deserved break at this beautiful five star resort.

From 1 June – 31 July, Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is offering special set rates on their Amour and Awaken packages, so the only surprise you'll get is seeing how beautiful this resort really is. Best of all you don't have to drive far to enjoy a luxurious weekend away.

Picture yourself relaxing in the sun sipping a cocktail around the magnificent one-acre beach lagoon pool or enjoying a treatment at Champions Day Spa. Although only a few kilometers from home, you'll feel like you're a million miles away – in paradise.

If you are after romance, the Amour package is $255 per night and includes luxurious accommodation, chocolates and sparkling wine on arrival, breakfast for two and a special 12 noon late check-out.

At $245 per night the Awaken package offers luxurious accommodation and a freshly prepared breakfast for two on your own schedule thanks to a 12 noon late check out.

Situated on the northern end of the Gold Coast, in the exclusive residential resort of Sanctuary Cove, the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel is styled as a 1940's grand Queensland homestead and set amidst lush, tropical gardens and mature palms.

To take advantage of this special offer call Toll Free (within Australia) 13 1234 or +61 7 5530 1234 and quote PROMO CODE WD633.

For more information on the hotel and additional packages visit

About Global Hyatt Corporation
Global Hyatt Corporation, one of the world's premier hotel companies, offers today's travelers more than 750 hotels and resorts (more than 140,000 rooms) in more than 45 countries. The company's affiliates own, operate, manage and franchise Hyatt-branded hotels and resorts under Park Hyatt™, Grand Hyatt™, Hyatt Regency™, Hyatt Resorts™, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place™ and Hyatt Summerfield Suites™ brands, as well as the company's newest global luxury brand, Andaz™, which recently opened its first property in London. Global Hyatt Corporation is also the owner of Hyatt Vacation Ownership, Inc. operator of Hyatt Vacation Club and fractional residential properties and U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc, which franchises Hawthorn Suites and Microtel Inns and Suites. From the U.S. and Canada, reservations for any Hyatt hotel worldwide may be obtained by calling 1-800-233-1234, or logging on to

Entrepreneurs Seek Peak Experiences in Aspen

Mix Business Building with High Adventure in the Mountains of Colorado

Maverick Business Adventures™ Announces August Escape in Aspen

POTOMAC, MD, May 27, 2008 – What do hard-working, successful entrepreneurs pursue when they carve some much needed time off from their busy schedules? How about a long weekend of high adrenaline mountain sports mixed with some high level business building.

Yanik Silver, founder of Maverick Business Adventures, is taking his growing MBA membership group on a Rocky Mountain High in and around Aspen, Colorado Aug. 13-17. For four days up to 30 participants will address the strategy of shooting class IV rapids and negotiating downhill routes on ropes, jeeps and mountain bikes interspersed with a dossier of common challenges like-minded players bring to daily sharing and brainstorming sessions.

This is the third MBA trip of 2008 and it promises to be wet and wild. The first took members off-road race car driving, surfing and whale watching in Baja. The second, based in Las Vegas, featured a zero gravity flight, flightseeing by helicopter into the Grand Canyon and simulated aerial combat in modified fighter planes over the Nevada desert.

"Maybe we should re-dub ourselves the Life List Gang," muses Silver who directs these all-inclusive adventures that encourage members to check off some of life's most extraordinary experiences while congregating with the kinds of energetic brainpower he thinks can bring about real breakthroughs in business thinking.

"We may put issues like running a green business, giving back and how to inspire young entrepreneurs on our Colorado table and chew over these for awhile," Silver says. "It's the entrepreneurs who think out of the box and turn on a dime to get things done. Like me their hands aren't tied by bureaucracy and corporate restraints."

Silver believes that getting outdoors and tackling new challenges provides the right fuel for innovative thinking. Highlights of the Colorado trip include being part of a skilled paddle team rafting the Arkansas River through the Valley of the Fourteeners, a guided introduction to mountaineering and rock climbing, backcountry mountain biking and 4x4 adventuring around Aspen.

The Colorado program cost, per person is $6,768. A membership in MBA's exclusive group begins at $7,500. For more information visit:

A self-described "adventure junkie," maverick internet entrepreneur and self-made millionaire, Silver has found that his own life-changing experiences such as running with the bulls, bungee jumping, sky diving, exotic car road rallies and zero gravity flights have brought a profound sense of accomplishment and led to clarity in ideas, focus and business thinking. This inspired him to create Maverick Business Adventures to allow like-minded entrepreneurs to network and learn from each other in an inspiring environment.

Part of the MBA mission is to also give back to empower future entrepreneurs. MBA achieves this through live and virtual educational products and programs and by donating 5% of all gross revenues to self-sustaining charities members select. In addition, during every MBA trip, the group hosts a session for aspiring high school and college-age entrepreneurs from the local community to share knowledge, answers and advice.

Maverick Business Adventures™ is structured to be an exclusive group and membership is by-application-only, limited to top achievers, CEOs and business owners with proven abilities and success. Silver stresses that the focus is not on corporate team building or motivational development. Instead, members will be invited to join professionally orchestrated, all-inclusive adventure outings that encourage the type of high-level networking and powerful connections that can only occur outside of normal business settings. For details on how to apply for membership in this exclusive group, call 240.744.0165, or you can go online to


Premium Cruise Holidays has a saving of US$2900 per person on a 7-night sailing from Croatia to Venice in August on the world's most highly-rated boutique ship, SeaDream II.

This big saving – enough to pay for the airfare – brings the price down from US$8370 to US$5468 including all 5-star gourmet dining, drinks from the bars, wines with lunches and dinners, nightly cocktail events, use of power and sail watersports and a 50-course golf simulator, and gratuities.

SeaDream II also has an Asian spa, fitness centre, pool and hot-tub; guests will join in Dubrovnik for an overnight there on August 16, sail next afternoon for Croatia's Korcula for another overnight, Hvar, Split, Rab and Rovinj, as well as Piran in Slovenia, and Venice where there is also an overnight aboard.

SeaDream II and "twin-sister" SeaDream I have consistently been rated the world's best boutique ships for Dining, Service and Value and their "yachting, not cruising" ambience gives the 55-couples who sail aboard each and are looked after by 95 crew, the feeling they are sailing with friends on a private mega motor-cruiser.

For full details including airfares phone 1800 266 190 or visit

THE ITINERARY includes medieval villages, walled towns, rustic village areas surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, and the opportunity to taste unique Croatian cuisine.

Optional shore excursions include escorted walking tours of villages and a visit to the home of a private family, kayaking, an off-road buggy safari, river rafting, a visit to an historic palace – and even a search for truffles.

Pangkor Laut and Spa Village launched as international luxury resort and spa brands at The World, Dubai

Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort, Residence & Spa Village, a luxury multi-module resort property being developed on The World, Dubai, was unveiled at a sumptuous gala dinner reception, held at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina this month.

Over 300 people attended the champagne and caviar event, as the luxury resort, modeled after world-renowned Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia, was unveiled to potential investors and the media.

The award-winning Pangkor Laut Resort is managed by YTL Hotels, who have been invited to bring their unique, world-class brand of luxury hospitality to the resort property being developed here in Dubai by licensing the brand name Pangkor Laut to the project and by being appointed as the sole hotel operator to manage and service the 7-star facilities that will be available at Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort, Residence & Spa Village at The World, Dubai.

In addition, YTL Hotels have also licensed their own spa brand name Spa Village for the spa facility of the project, and have similarly been appointed to set up and manage the five-star spa in the Dubai property.

'My associates and I are indeed very honoured to be here to witness this special launch….and very proud to be part of the project team to deliver service excellence to future guests and residents of Pangkor Laut Luxury Residence at The World' said Mr Eric Eoon, Executive Director, Business Development in his opening remarks for the evening. He represented YTL Hotels at the launch event in Dubai, with fellow colleagues Mr Carl Kono, Executive Vice President Operations, YTL Hotels, Mr Jeffrey Mong, Resort Manager, Pangkor Laut Resort, Ms Chik Lai Ping, Spa Division Manager, YTL Hotels and Ms Ming Lee, Marketing Communications Director, YTL Hotels.

City-D Investments Ltd, known for its luxury projects in CIS countries has teamed up with some of the world's renowned companies to develop the Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort, Residence & Spa Village, on Nakheel's prestigious development, The World, located four kilometres off Dubai's luxurious Jumeirah coastline.

Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort, Residence & Spa Village, is built over a 1,600,000 square foot island plot in the heart of The World, and will offer a unique lifestyle package combining luxurious villas, townhouses and apartments; a mouthwatering range of restaurants, leisure facilities and exclusive retail outlets. The resort and spa offers an array of treatments within an environment of total indulgence. It is all set against the backdrop of Dubai's magnificent coastline.

The Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort will offer 120 deluxe guest rooms, 20 fully equipped luxury beachfront villas, shopping gallery, aqua park and an underwater nightclub – a first for Dubai.

The residential component, Pangkor Laut Luxury Residence & Spa Village, was designed to offer an experience of the most luxurious waterfront lifestyle possible. It will offer 92 fully furnished & equipped apartments, 27 attached 3-bedroom villas each with a private swimming pool, 34 independent luxury villas with private marinas, community centre, and Spa Village. Each will be furnished with world famous, branded interior products and fully serviced at the highest levels.

Designed by architect and engineering firm, Agostine and Raphael Group, the resort development will bring together some of the best names in resort conception, fit-out and design, including Bang & Olufsen, Bagnaresi and ABB. All transportation needs will be served by Majesty Yachts.

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Corporation Berhad said, 'I am very pleased that following our success of launching the Starhill Gallery in Dubai, we have attracted many investors to invest with our other brands. I am particularly pleased that Pangkor Laut Resort in Dubai is now firmly established. We look forward to expanding this brand globally.'

About The World, Dubai
Located off the coast of Dubai's most desirable address, and created by Nakheel, Dubai's premier developer, The World is quickly evolving into a one-of-a-kind destination and investment opportunity. The World Islands is made up of 300 islands, each representing a country, ranging in size from 150,000 square feet to 500,000 square feet. Many of the larger, more expensive islands will eventually be resorts, though many of the islands will belong to private residents. The World Islands are located 4 kilometers off the shore of Jumeirah, close to the Palm Jumeirah, between Burj Al Arab and Port Rashid.

About YTL Hotels
YTL Hotels owns and manages a stellar collection of internationally renowned and award-winning resorts and hotels throughout Malaysia and more recently in Bali. YTL Hotels' philosophy is that it does not simply build, own or operate resorts and hotels, but rather designs special and differentiated experiences for its guests. Each of these experiences is created on the fundamental promise of quality, luxury, authenticity and service.

The company continues to expand aggressively, taking its expertise and experience overseas with an eye on forging successful partnerships to develop unique, world-class properties in emerging markets around the world.

Celebrate Your 50th Onboard the Alaska Railroad

Celebrate Your 50th Onboard the Alaska Railroad
Free Day of Rail Travel for those Turning 50 in 2009

ANCHORAGE – Get ready to get carded if you turn 50 years old in 2009. The Alaska Railroad is offering anyone in the world who shares this birthday year with Alaska's statehood anniversary – that'll be 1959 – one free day of rail travel anytime during 2009.

Bookings will be available beginning in the fall of 2008 for the happy birthday program, called "Turn 50 With Us." Call (907) 265-2494 or visit for more details.

"The Alaska Railroad is proud to share a long tradition with the people of Alaska, and what better way to extend our happy birthday wishes than by inviting, as our guests, all those who share this important milestone year," said Susie Kiger, passenger sales and marketing director.

The Alaska Railroad 50th birthday offer is valid for travel in Adventure Class Service on Denali Star, Coastal Classic, Glacier Discovery, Hurricane, and Aurora Winter train, roundtrip or one-way, as long as the travel occurs over the course of one day.

To qualify for the program your birth date must fall on, or be between January 1, 1959 and December 31, 1959. Travel need not occur on the passenger's birthday, just during the birthday year.

The Alaska Railroad has a long history that predates Alaska's admission into the United States on January 3, 1959. For general information about the Alaska Railroad or the history of the Alaska Railroad, visit

The ARRC is a state-owned corporation, wholly self-sustaining without benefit of state subsidy. Revenue generated by the railroad covers all operating costs including employee wages and benefits. The railroad generates revenue through year-round passenger and freight service to communities from Seward to Fairbanks and through its management of Real Estate holdings along the railbelt.

Tuesday 27 May 2008

South Kuta Beach has MIB!

South Kuta Beach-Bali, – The South Kuta Beach strip is becoming increasingly popular with tourists of all nationalities which draws people due to its' array of facilities and activities which include the Discovery Shopping Mall, Waterbom Park and Spa, many restaurants and an assortment of hotel and resort options to match all budgets.

Through the constant efforts, of a select few hoteliers and attractions, which constitute the South Kuta Beach Business Association (SKBBA); the association has been proactive in raising the awareness of the strip through a successful marketing campaign of "All the Fun Under the Sun". In addition to this, concerned for the tourists' safety and comfort, the SKBBA has financed and established a successful pilot scheme for community based policing on the main thoroughfare which is now one of Bali's most popular strips.  

"The objective was to establish a local body consisting of people from the local community who have a better insight into the local area and goings on", commented Urs Klee, Chairman of the SKBBA. "They assist in addressing such issues as illegal commerce on the streets, reducing petty crimes, and generally making tourists feel more comfortable and less hassled when wandering up and down the strip".

The team of nearly 45 personnel are smartly dressed in a black uniform to make them distinguishable and are nicknamed "Men in Black" (MIB). Regular meetings are conducted by the team's coordinator, representatives of the SKBBA and local village chief to discuss issues arising as well as ways to make the South Kuta Beach an even more pleasant environment for tourists to wander in. To support the team, a new team of Beagles are being bred and trained for detection by the Bali Garden Hotel (see picture) and are often seen alongside the Men in Black patrolling the street.

For more information on SKBBA, visit

Mauritius to host Battle of Grand Port reenactment 2010

The Mauritian and French governments will co celebrate the Bicentenary of the Battle of Grand Port with a reenactment of the battle in Mauritius in 2010, Mauritius’ Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Xavier Luc Duval, Minister of Tourism and External Communications said here today.

Mr Duval is in Australia this week leading a 25-member tourism and trade mission which includes functions for a total of 450 travel industry guests in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

In Sydney, the DPM will invite the Australian National Museum to send "Endeavour" to Grand Port 2010 and in Perth propose the reenactment flotilla sail on to Perth.

“The reenactment will be a very colourful event, in a very colourful country,” he said.

Mr Duval also pointed to a more immediate event, the 3rd International Creole Festival late November highlighting the country’s food, fashion, jazz and poetry and concluding with an all-night concert attended by around 100,000 people.

The Battle of Grand Port

The August 1810 battle was Napoleon's ONLY naval battle win. It is inscribed upon the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Eight ships, four French and four British, fought a gruelling battle in the bay of Grand Port in the south east of the island. The sea was red with the blood of hundreds of bodies as 200 canons thundered incessantly for two days. At the end of the battle, two British frigates had been sunk and Napoleon's navy had registered its first and only win.

There were some gallant deeds and the commanders from both sides were wounded and treated by the same surgeon in the same room of a creole mansion which has today been converted into a Naval Museum.

Many Irish deserters fought with the French. When the British took over the island three months later with an overwhelming force, these Irishmen were executed and the uniforms of their officers sent to the King of Madagascar as a token of peace, by the British governor.

This battle is depicted in the novel "Mauritius Command' by Patrick O'Brian, whose other epic "Master and Commander" was masterly interpreted by Russell Crowe.

In the case of the bicentenary celebrations, artistic license will be used as the date of the battle is brought forward to May instead of August. There are two reasons for this. First, the month of August is in winter and the seas are quite formidable in the region. Secondly, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa will be held in the month of June. In order to seize the opportunity offered by the fact that the world media will be on Mauritius’ doorstep, a Meeting of Tall Ships is planned for the month of May in Cape Town. These ships, mainly Sail Training Ships and other large sailing vessels of various nationalities will congregate there. Festivities are planned. The flotilla will then sail to Reunion Island and eventually to Grand Port, Mauritius, where the reenactment will be staged and festivities organised.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism was appointed by Cabinet as the Chairman of an interministerial committee to set up the event. In turn, the Minister of Labour, Employment & Industrial Relations (in whose constituency the event will be staged in) has been appointed as Chairman of the Organising committee of Grand Port 2010.

Mauritius is not just a tiny tropical island - like so many others - it is steeped in history and has a rich maritime past. It appears on the first World Map ever published, in 1502 -- Alberto Cantino's Planisphere. (Only tiny parts of the Americas are shown and certainly no Australia!)

The battle of Grand Port took place only a few months after Matthew Flinders left the island where he had stayed for six years under house arrest. He had landed there at the same time as his French colleague Naturalist Nicolas Baudin. The latter got sick and is buried there.

Another historical link with Australia. La Perouse's wife Eleonore Broudou was a beautiful creole lady he had met in Mauritius. They only lived together for two years in France before he set off for his ill-fated expedition which took him to the Australian shores. When he was mounting his expedition, a 16 year old Artillery Officer applied to join him. La Perouse refused. If the lad had been accepted on board, he would have disappeared at sea like all the other members of the expedition. Instead he went on to face another great destiny. His name: Napoleon Bonaparte.

Details:, tel 03 9685 2600

Monday 26 May 2008




Hertz Australia is offering customers the chance to win one of five luxury holidays at a choice of three exclusive eco-friendly resorts, simply by renting a Toyota Prius hybrid sedan during May, June and July.

The five prizewinners will be able to choose between the tropical seclusion of Voyages Bedarra Island Resort, on the edge of North Queensland's Great Barrier Reef; Voyages Longitude 131, with spectacular views of the magnificent and spiritual Uluru in Central Australia; and Voyages Wrotham Park Lodge, offering a luxury holiday experience deep in the Queensland outback.

"Hertz is Australia's largest operator of Toyota Prius sedans, which can travel up to 1,000 kilometres on one tank of fuel," said Wayne Burgoyne, Director of Sales and Marketing for Hertz Australia. "This special promotion offers the opportunity to travel much further, from green car to green holiday experience in a choice of three fine eco-holiday resorts."

Customers who rent a Toyota Prius from Hertz in Australia between now and 31 July will automatically go into the draw for one of the five luxury holidays.

A minimum rental of one day is required. Toyota Prius sedans are available at selected Hertz locations around Australia. Some conditions apply, including one entry per rental for this promotion.

Hertz has more than 8000 locations in over 150 destinations worldwide, including more than 220 locations in Australia. For more information about Hertz, please visit , call Hertz reservations on 13 30 39 or contact travel agents.

Issued for Hertz Australia by:

Tony Harrington

Asia Pacific Public Relations                                              

Friday 23 May 2008

Learning to sail with Sunsail now even more exciting!

Learning to sail with Australia's leading yacht charter company will now open up even more opportunities thanks to a new alliance.

Sunsail Yacht Charters, based on Hamilton Island, has recently become recognised as a dual-branded Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Yachting Australia Training Centre.

Yachting Australia and the RYA have collaborated to provide a new yacht training program, with the scheme administered by Yachting Australia and delivered to RYA standards.

This means that the sailing qualifications gained are internationally recognised, opening up a whole raft of worldwide work and leisure opportunities.

Sunsail Yacht Charters in the Whitsundays has been offering RYA recognised sailing qualifications for four years through its Sailing School and is currently the third busiest RYA training centre in Australia.

The new Yacht Training Program, which is being rolled out over three years from January 1, 2008 - will take sail training to new levels of professionalism.

"The new program offers international recognition of sailing qualifications, a wider range of supporting resources and courses, a quality management system run to international standards and localised administration," said Sunsail's marketing manager Kim Lehmann.

"Sunsail has been successfully delivering sailing tuition for many years but this new alliance between Yachting Australia and the RYA is taking sail training in Australia to a whole new, exciting level. Under the new training program, the employment possibilities in the yachting sector worldwide are endless."

She said all Sunsail's instructors were experienced and fully qualified and students learnt in a safe and enjoyable environment.

"Sunsail's courses include onboard accommodation and all meals so learning to sail is actually one of the most affordable – and fun – ways to experience the Whitsunday Islands," said Ms Lehmann.

Sunsail Sailing School is offering a discount of 10 per cent off all new sailing course bookings in the Whitsundays undertaken during July 2008.

There are also Sunsail Sailing Schools in Phuket, Thailand, the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Largs and Portsmouth in the UK.

For more information about  Sunsail Yacht Charters visit:


Book four nights in a Deluxe Ocean View room at Aggie Grey's Lagoon Resort and Spa in Samoa, and they'll throw in a fifth night for free, full buffet breakfasts daily and one 15-minute Samoan massage.

With the price starting from just $1469pp twin-share including return air and taxes from Sydney and return airport/resort transfers, this special package is available through until March 31 2009 if booked by June 30 this year, with some seasonal block-out dates and surcharges.

For full details see travel agents, phone 1800 641 803, in Sydney 8236 9900 or visit

Aggie Grey's Lagoon Resort and Spa has an 18-hole championship golf course with clubhouse and "19th hole," a lagoon-side pool, watersports centre, kids club, wedding chapel, beauty treatment spa and conference facilities.

There are 140 first-class guest rooms, with those in the main buildings facing a lagoon with white sand beach and views across to the 'big island' Savaii; traditional high Samoan ceilings and Polynesian artworks and materials feature in public areas, there's a signature restaurant specializing in Polynesian and international dining, a poolside café and two bars.


A 10-night return South Pacific cruise from Sydney aboard one of the finest super-liners to visit Australia, is selling through Creative Cruising from only $1360pp twin-share – just $136 a night inclusive of all gourmet dining, nightly entertainment, a wide choice of onboard sporting facilities, and even tips.

Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas will sail three of these 4-star cruises on November 1 and 22, and again on December 13 visiting Noumea and Poum in New Caledonia, Vila in Vanuatu, the Isle of Pines (New Caledonia,) and back to Sydney.

The 78,000 tonne super-liner carries 2400 guests and has such unique facilities as an indoor/outdoor pool in a Solarium with sliding roof, rock-climbing wall, six whirlpools, themed bars and lounges, and an Adventure Ocean youth club.

For full details – including other Rhapsody of the Seas cruises from Sydney to the South Pacific and to Queensland and the Barrier Reef between November this year and next April – see travel agents, phone 1300 362 599 or visit  


Design Hotels™ opens its eighth global office in Perth, Australia and also welcomes its first Australian member: Limes Hotel in Brisbane.

With this new office in Perth, Design Hotels™ will further strengthen its presence on the Australian continent and in the entire Oceania region. Australia is a popular destination for independent globetrotters but it is also an interesting source market for outbound business and leisure travellers.

“We feel that it is time to approach this continent,” says Iain Ainsworth, Executive Vice President of Design Hotels AG. “The opening of this additional office within the region demonstrates our clear development strategy and marks our commitment to building stronger relations within the marketplace, with new hotels, press and the travel trade.”

Malene Bertelsen has recently joined Design Hotels AG and will head the Perth office as Director of Business Development Oceania. Bertelsen has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry ranging from design-led properties like The Metropolitan in London to traditional grand hotels. “Malene Bertelsen is a hands-on hotel professional with entrepreneurial skills”, says Ainsworth. “She is exactly the person we need to build up our operations in Australia.”

Complementing the new regional office, Design Hotels™ also announces the upcoming opening of Limes Hotel, the group’s first Australian member hotel. Limes Hotel in Brisbane is set to open its doors on 13 June 2008. With its modern aesthetic, hip interiors, fashionable bar and in-house designer cinema, the 21-room Limes Hotel fits right into the happening neighbourhood of Fortitude Valley.

Design Hotels™ represents and markets a hand-picked collection of more than 170 hotels in over 40 countries across the globe. Established in 1993, as the first of its kind, the company offers unparalleled specialist knowledge from conceptual branding through to market trend consultancy and international representation.

The member hotels are independently owned but united by a commitment to individuality, progressive design and cultural authenticity. Design Hotels™ embody the most advanced ideas in the hospitality industry and offer cosmopolitan travellers new options for both travel and inspiration.

Design Hotels™ provides services ranging from public relations and marketing to global sales and revenue & distribution management. As of 2007 the company has an expanded service portfolio to include consultation in hotel development.

The company has its headquarters in Berlin and branches in London, Barcelona, New York, Singapore, Bali, Tokyo and Perth.

Design Hotels™ is a registered trademark of Design Hotels AG (a German Joint Stock Company).

Anantara Spa Hua Hin "5 Day Wellness"

At Anantara Resort & Spa Hua Hin

Pamper yourself in the quiet beauty seaside village, a true retreat to an oasis of tropical scenery and lush gardens. Surrender to a nice warm breeze rusting through palm trees and allow your spirit fly on your relaxing 5 days of wellness at the Anantara Resort Hua Hin.

Anantara 'Well Being' retreat is inclusive of 4 nights stay in the luxurious Superior Lagoon Room with the following daily inclusions: Breakfast Buffet (in-room or at one of our two restaurants of choice), a spa cuisine meal, a glass spa smoothies, an exclusive spa treatment, a yoga session. As well as special lessons to a journey of a Traditional Thai massage lesson and a healthy spa cuisine cooking class plus one of the relaxing Anantara Spa music CDs as a souvenir.  

Indulge your senses with the essence of serenity at our award winning spa by enjoying the treatment package with a choice of variety treatments each day. The best selected different treatments will be offered each day consisting a welcome in-room Bath Ritual, a refresh Thai Herbal Steam plus a choice of Thai or Foot massage, an Ultimate Spa Detox, an Ayurvedic Steam plus Shirodhara Treatment, and a 60 minutes Facial Treatment. The order of the treatments will be to your desire.

A whole new concept of total well being retreat is awaiting you at the Anantara Resort Hua Hin!

"Anantara 5-Day Well Being Retreat" is exclusive rate at THB43,600++ per couple. Available from now until 30th September 2008. For more information and reservation, please contact Anantara Spa Hua Hin (66) 3252 0250 ext: 1803-1804 or email at

Anantara: the flow of water without borders. A healing journey through the wisdom of the ages. Rooted in the timeless healing traditions of the world's richest cultures, Anantara Spas are designed to restore balance and harmony between body and mind in an oasis of beauty, grace and tranquillity. Intoxicating aromas of the world's most exotic elixirs and oils are used in treatments designed to deliver radiance, healing and a quiet sense of inner and outer well-being. Discover your private ritual for serenity at Anantara Spa.

The Anantara Spa Experience can currently be found in Thailand's historic seaside resort enclave of Hua Hin, the far northern Golden Triangle region, and to the island of Samui. In 2006, Anantara Spa went global, with the launch of Anantara Spa Maldives, introducing a range of Ayurvedic healing therapies and consultations with a certified practitioner, making the most of our South Asian destination's rich heritage. In 2007 Anantara Emirates Palace marked the launch of the first Anantara Spa in the Middle East with more breathtaking destinations planned across China, Africa, the Middle East and Europe in 2008.

Inspiring passion, personal freedom and an appreciation for the rich cultures of our world – the art of the Anantara Experience.

Thursday 22 May 2008

'White Gold' falls at NZ ski resorts


Bitterly cold southerly weather has dumped up to 25 cm of snow on the southern ski resort areas which bode well for the opening of the New Zealand season in just a few weeks.

Cardrona Alpine Resort, located on the Crown Range road between Queenstown and Wanaka, reports 25 cms of snow.  The new high speed detachable quad chairlift, known as the Captain's Express, was recently installed, just before the snow fell.

The two ski resorts nearest to Queenstown, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, this afternoon reported over 15 cm of snow, and snow continues to fall.  

Coronet Peak is scheduled to be the first ski area open in New Zealand, on Saturday 7 June. The snow falls create a good start to snow making, due to start next week.  "Snow making will depend on temperatures and how much snow we get out of this storm over the next few days, but it's looking good" says Ski Area Manager Hamish McCrostie.

Coronet Peak have installed 148 new automated snow guns and completely rebuilt their base facility.  This development represents the largest single investment by a ski resort this season - $NZD 30 million.

Treble Cone ski area, located near Wanaka received similar falls.  "With less than six weeks until opening day (June 30th), and summer developments all complete it is great timing and an exciting start for the upcoming season", says Area Manager, Jackie van der Voort.

The Snow Making team started work on the mountain this week and have all thirty snow guns ready to start making snow as early as next week, weather conditions permitting.


New Wilderness Camp opening July 1 set to become an iconic Australian property.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef will bring the concept of 'wild bush luxury' to the Western Australian coast when it opens on July 1, 2008. Taking its inspiration from luxury African safari camps and its sister property, Bamurru Plains in the Northern Territory, Sal Salis is the first property of its style and standard in the Ningaloo region, which is renowned for its 280-kilometre-long fringing reef and as the best place in the world to swim with whale sharks and manta rays.

Sal Salis's five individual, luxury wilderness tents are uniquely situated in the heart of the Cape Range National Park, sheltered among the sand dunes on a deserted stretch of beach where the magnificent corals of the Ningaloo Reef (considered to be comparable or superior in colour, quantity and condition to those of the Great Barrier Reef) are just metres from shore.
Privacy is assured by the property's location, but isolation doesn't preclude creature comforts: each tent is appointed with fine furnishings and linen and the dining room serves the best and freshest Australian produce, beautifully prepared by the resident chef and accompanied by fine wines. The in-camp experience embodies laid-back luxury, and is designed to underpin the extraordinary nature-based activities that can be undertaken in the area.

The Ningaloo Reef is world-famous for its pristine condition and for the massive – but harmless - whale sharks that visit between April and June each year. Excursions to swim with the whale sharks or manta rays, to SCUBA dive and fish can be arranged. From Sal Salis, it's possible to wade in from the beach to snorkel with prolific marine life on one of the world's best coral reefs, in shallow water just metres from shore. Land-based adventures include guided walks into the spectacular gorges of the Cape Range National Park; strolling the deserted beaches or 4WD tours along the coast.

Unusually for a commercial venture, Sal Salis is set in the heart of the Cape Range National Park, which means regular camp 'visitors' include red kangaroos, wallaroos, goannas and emus.
The camp was previously known as Ningaloo Reef Retreat. Charles Carlow, of Bamurru Plains, and Stewart Cranswick (previously of Landela Safaris in Zambia and Zimbabwe) have joined with the previous owner, Paul Wittwer and have undertaken extensive renovation and upgrading to bring the property into the realm of iconic Australian wilderness properties.

"Ningaloo Reef is a pristine wilderness destination that has been crying out for high quality experiential accommodation to support the area's natural attractions. Sal Salis enables us to bring the 'wild bush luxury' concept that we introduced at Bamurru Plains in the Top End to Western Australia's spectacular coast," explains Charles Carlow, founder of Bamurru Plains.
"We are privileged to be operating in one of the world's most extraordinary environments," says Carlow. "We are ensuring that Sal Salis is – and will continue to be – one of Australia's most ecologically-sound properties. We have developed the accommodation and its operations to make zero impact on the surrounding environment and conservation principles guide everything we do."

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef has been developed in line with strict guidelines set down by the Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation. All structures are built on platforms above the ground, which minimises impact on the environment; all power is solar generated and water usage is minimal. Experienced naturalist guides and camp staff communicate the environmental message during guest activities. Plans are underway to turn the camp into a carbon neutral operation in the near future.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef will officially open on July 1. It is located in the north-west cape of Western Australia, an hour's drive south of Exmouth, and has the best access of any property to the World Heritage-nominated Ningaloo Reef. With just five safari tents accommodating 10 guests, the camp combines exclusivity, an authentic wilderness experience and down to earth, laid-back style.

Staying at Sal Salis costs $685 per person, twin share, per night, with a minimum two-night stay, and includes luxury tented accommodation; all meals including selected alcoholic beverages; and many excursions including kayaking, snorkelling, and guided walks. For information or bookings, 1300 790 561 or visit


Premium Cruise Holidays has a rare opportunity for those seeking something very-special in cruise holidaying: book a 20-day fly/cruise package from Singapore to Dubai in April 2009 aboard the ultra-luxury Silver Whisper, and you'll be upgraded at no extra cost to a Verandah Suite if you pay by October 15th this year.

Guests will have two nights pre-cruise in Singapore at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel before Silver Whisper sails 15-nights on April 19 2009 for Malaysia's Port Kelang and Penang, Phuket in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Mormugao (India,) two days and a night in Mumbai, Khasab (Oman) and Dubai where there are two-nights post-cruise at the Al Qasr Madinat Jumeirah Hotel.

Return air and taxes, hotel breakfasts and airport/ship/hotel/airport transfers, gourmet dining and most drinks aboard Silver Whisper are all included in the price, that begins from $15,500pp twin-share.

For full details phone 1800 266 190 to go to

ABOUT SILVER WHISPER: One of the world's finest boutique cruise liners  catering to just 380-guests, Silver Whisper pampers with gourmet dining in a choice of a silver-service open-seating restaurant, a casual indoor/outdoor Terrace Café, or Poolside Grille.

Complimentary Champagne, fine wines, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks are offered throughout the ship, there's no charge for 24-hour room service to suites that are amongst the most spacious at sea, and gratuities are inclusive.

There's a choice of lounges and bars including The Humidor by Davidoff, an outdoor pool, two whirlpools, boutiques, a casino, spa, beauty salon and fitness centre, and computer centre.

Entertainment includes classical performances, elaborate stage shows, on-deck movies under the stars, and talks by chosen experts in their fields.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

$ 30 Million Renovation earns Crete's Elounda Village the coveted Boutique’s Diamond Status

$ 30 Million Renovation earns Crete's Elounda Village the coveted Boutique’s Diamond StatusBoutique Hotels&Resorts International® announced today that the Aquila Elounda Village Resort on Crete has achieved Diamond Collection™ status in the worldwide network of genuine boutique hotels. “We are proud to appoint Elounda Village to a very elite group of hotels that can be considered among the absolute best hotels in the world, Boutique’s Diamond Collection™”, said Martin Buehler, Boutique’s Chairman.
Elounda Village Resort has completed a $30 million renovation, re-furbishing and re-designing guest rooms and suites, restaurants, bars and public areas over the entire resort of 50,000 square meters. Custom-designed to spotlight its singular Cretan location, local style, and unparalleled romantic nature, Elounda Village is the cream of a select crop of world-class boutique resorts.

“Boutique’s Diamond Collection™ has been our goal, and this accomplishment speaks volumes about our commitment to being not just the best boutique hotel on Crete, but among the best boutique hotels in the world. Elounda Village is dedicated to providing the best experience to our guests, helping make memories to last a lifetime”, commented Dimitrios Tsounis, Managing Director of Aquila Hotels& Resorts, and the mastermind behind the project. “Our team has worked hard to attain this status, and this recognition, and our guests are the fortunate ones who will enjoy the fruits of our labors.”

Buehler continued, “Elounda Village has always been a unique resort gem, with amazing views, exceptional service and a true sense of romance, an outstanding luxury resort. As a member of the Diamond Collection™, Elounda Village now takes its place where it belongs, a Boutique Diamond and one of the world’s crown jewels.”


Boutique Hotels&Resorts International® awards a distinct identity to boutique hotels around the world that is recognized by travelers and travel professionals for a genuine boutique lodging experience. To member hotels Boutique is a full service strategic alliance featuring inventive marketing and the very latest in reservation and global distribution technology that gives independent boutique hotels the ability to compete with the major hotel giants. These unique, individual boutique hotels and resorts are showcased in three distinctive Collections: The Diamond Collection™ (discreet world class service), The Emerald Collection™ (the very best in their destination) and The Sapphire Collection™ (distinctive style and décor of locale). Make online reservations and find more information at

Aquila Elounda Village Resort is located on the famous Mirabello Bay, on a secluded beach on Crete’s eastern coast. Seemingly the birthplace of romance, the property feels more like an exclusive luxury village, with four swimming pools, including an infinity pools sporting a waterfall in three levels, 208 luxurious guest rooms, suites, bungalows with shared pools and Maisonettes with private pools. Learn more about true romantic luxury at

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