Thursday 31 March 2011

THAI-Day, 01 April 2011...celebrating 40 years of flights between Australia and Thailand...still Smooth as silk

222527.jpgOn the eve of THAI's 40th Anniversary of the first flight from Bangkok to Sydney, THAI's General Manager for Australia, Khun Korakot Chatasingha, paid tribute to the long-term THAI staff in Australia and the enduring trade partnerships as a key to the Company's continuing success.

"There is no doubt that the secret to THAI's success on the Australian routes is the people we have employed....many of them have been with us for many years, some of them for over 30 years. That dedication is surely unparalleled in any business let alone in the dynamic aviation industry that has seen so many crises, challengers and constant changes over the years. The strength, reliability and support of our people can't be underestimated" proudly noted Mr Chatasingha.

"Secondly, our enduring partnerships with THAI's key trade partners, is another key factor that we acknowledge and appreciate. In most cases, this support has been unwavering regardless of the international financial climate and industry conditions generally. In return, we will always show our full support to these loyal partners into the future.

From a product perspective, THAI has always maintained a high level of hospitality and service as a point of difference and now, with the vision of our Management, the focus will also be on hardware improvement. The long term plan see new aircraft acquisition, refurbishment of existing equipment to improve customer comfort and convenience and the introduction of the Airbus A380 into the fleet from 2012. We are at the start of an exciting evolution plan for THAI and very fitting that we commence this project at an important milestone in the Company's history...the first intercontinental flight to Australia.

Moving forward we will heavily focus our efforts in the digital media area to keep in touch with our loyal customer base but we plan to maintain our primary focus to support our travel industry partners as the first point of contact, to hold us in good stead for the future".

THAI's History in Australia

On the first of April 1971, THAI's inaugural intercontinental route to Australia was launched with a weekly flight from Bangkok via Singapore to Sydney. A Douglas DC-8-62 aircraft – at the time, the world's most advanced long range jetliner – operated every Friday from Sydney to Bangkok.

In 1979, non-stop flights to Europe were launched thanks to the capacity of Boeing's 747-200 Jumbo Jets.

THAI's second Australian city was established with flights to Melbourne in 1980 – 2 flights a week linked with Sydney and using a Douglas DC-10 aircraft; in 1982 a weekly flight was launched to Brisbane, also linked with Sydney.

THAI's Royal Executive Class was introduced in 1983 to set a new standard in inflight business class service.

Australia's first Jumbo Jet aircraft arrived in 1984 to replace the DC-10 aircraft on the Sydney/Brisbane to Bangkok route and in 1985, a weekly flight to Perth was added with seats leased to Qantas.

In 1993, THAI's premier frequent flyer programme, Royal Orchid Plus, was successfully launched. Australia now has the highest membership outside Thailand.


Over the years, there have been many milestones to celebrate in the steady growth and development of THAI in Australia... these include:

the purchase of THAI's Australian Head Office building in Pitt Street Sydney in 1986;the introduction of Sydney/Phuket flights in co-operation with Lauda Air in 1989;the delivery of THAI's first Boeing 747-400 on the Company's 30th Anniversary in 1990;the successful launch of Royal Orchid Plus (THAI's award-winning frequent flyer programme) in 1993;43 consecutive years profit, a feat unmatched in aviation history;and in celebration of THAI's connection with Nepal, Tashi Tenzing's launched a successful Mt Everest expedition that on 23 May 1997, proudly carried THAI's flag to the summit.

Bangkok's global hub, Suvarnabhumi International Airport, was opened in September 2006, transforming the customer experience for THAI travellers into and through Thailand – and also those of the hundreds of airlines serving one of Asia's most important gateways.

World-class facilities including exclusive check-in areas, immigration channels and award-winning lounges for premium travellers, strengthened THAI's position as the largest carrier in the region.

In 2011, THAI flies 46 times every week from 4 on-line cities in Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – non-stop to Thailand.

There are now 18 flights a week between Sydney and Bangkok; double daily flights to/from Melbourne; daily flights from Brisbane* and 7 flights a week from Perth including 4 non-stop flights* between Perth and Thailand's premier resort island of Phuket. The aircraft on all flights between Australia and Thailand offer the latest in inflight comforts and personal entertainment systems for all passengers. *Commencing 19 April 2011

An Airbus A346 with a 3-class Royal First, Royal Silk (Business) and Economy Class configuration operates to Sydney; Boeing 777 2-class Royal Silk and Economy Class to Brisbane and Melbourne; and Airbus A330 2-class to Perth.

Convenient connections through Bangkok with non-stop flights to 13 major cities in Europe strengthens THAI's network, as does its co-operation with Star Alliance partners, Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and SAS to further extend THAI's reach into Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

To celebrate THAI's 40th year flying to Australia, a 40-day Fare Sale has been released to the market with deals to Thailand, Asia, Indochina, India and Europe. Book and ticket by 26 Apr, travel by 30 Nov '11.

Premium Fares for travel in Royal First and Royal Silk Class are also available with bonus free stopovers at a choice of deluxe hotels in Bangkok.

A Phuket Fare promotion is also in place to stimulate business during the promotional '2 for 1' season and also focus Perth's 4 x non-stop weekly services to Phuket. Book/ticket by 31 May, travel by 30 Sep '11.

A special redemption will be released for THAI's Royal Orchid Plus members during April and May and bonus mileage points will also be on offer.

Consumer and trade news will commemorate the event and celebrations for staff and industry partners are also planned.

Passengers travelling on 'THAI-Day' will join the celebrations with specially catered birthday cakes.

For more information about THAI's 40th Anniversary Sale, contact travel agents or THAI on 1300 651 960 or log on to to sign up for THAI's monthly e-news, find THAI on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or read the ROP 'Traveller's Tales' Blog.

More about THAI's Company History

In May 2011, Thai Airways International celebrates the 51st anniversary of its foundation as the national airline of the Kingdom of Thailand. During this past 51 years, THAI has projected the flag and prestige of the nation, as a flying ambassador around the world. It has played a vital role in the development of Thailand's dynamic economy, promoting tourism and trade worldwide and making a major contribution to the commercial and social welfare of the nation. It has also helped to establish Bangkok as the leading aviation hub of Southeast Asia.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Hawaii: Thrilling Activities for the Adventurous Couple

While Hawaii certainly has its fair share of warm sun, white sandy beaches and lazy blue waters, don’t be fooled. There are an abundance of exhilarating activities on every island for those who like to take a ride on the wild side. Check out these exciting options for the adventurous couple:

* Hawaii’s Big Island: View the island’s hidden treasures from a different angle – from up top! Kilauea’s lava flows can only be seen up close via air, and helicopter tours offer daring couples the opportunity to do so.

* Maui: Take a bike ride from Maui’s highest peak, Haleakala Crater, down to sea level and enjoy scenic views along the way! Many tours are available, but couples can take their own trip down the mountain as well.

* Oahu: For the extreme thrill-seeking skydiving types, take the plunge out of a plane above Oahu’s picturesque North Shore! Enjoy panoramic views of the island and an incredible rush of adrenaline as you freefall at 120 miles per hour to paradise below.

* Kauai: Fly through Kauai’s forests and across its rivers in the most unique way possible – by ziplining! Feel the anticipation build up and take the ride of your life with your loved one and experience nature in a truly exciting way.

* Molokai: Trek along one of the best hikes on Molokai – Moaula Falls. This guided hike takes you on a 4.2-mile trip surrounded by native plants and fruits before ending at Moaula Falls, towering at 250 feet. A perfect picture opportunity!

* Lanai: Lanai’s waters are among the most picturesque in the Islands. Go out on your fishing boat and venture off into the blue sea, and you may just get a glimpse of humpback whales in the winter months, turtles, manta rays, and more sea life!

Friday 25 March 2011

Compare Campervan Hire in Australia is the only site listing every campervan hire company in Australia that allows you to read and write reviews about your experiences in rented campervans. It also has the capability to compare prices on campervan companies and make a booking. please visit for more information.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Sail Into a Tropical Sunset and Discover Tahiti by Sea

 Ever since the first intrepid sailors discovered the tropical paradise that is Tahiti and her islands, cruising has promised visitors one of the most spectacular ways to arrive.

Made up of 118 islands and atolls spread across an area the size of Europe, cruising offers a perfect way to explore the characters of Tahiti's distinctly different archipelagos.

Both Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises offer voyages from Australia that include Tahiti, with P&O Cruises' latest addition to its Australian fleet, Pacific Pearl, sailing a 28-night cruise from Sydney on July 1 visiting Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises' Australian-based superliner Dawn Princess will visit the islands of Tahiti twice in 2011, calling at four of the Society islands during her 35-night Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific voyage from Sydney in April as well as visiting Tahiti and Bora Bora again in August during her 104-night world cruise.

A range of international vessels will call in at Tahiti and her islands on world cruise migrations from the Northern Hemisphere, including Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas, Princess Cruises' Sea Princess and Odyssey from boutique cruise line Seabourn which will all visit Tahiti on enroute to Australia from September 2011.

For travellers keen to explore the breadth of Tahiti's unique archipelagoes in luxury, Paul Gauguin Cruises offers all-inclusive voyages of up to two weeks that cruise from Papeete to explore the Society Islands and the far-flung Marquesas as well as calling at Fakarava in the Tuamotus.

The Aranui offers a simpler Tahitian adventure, taking up to 200 passengers on a mixed passenger/cargo ship delivering essentials to the remote Marquesas islands on its regular 14-day route.

Lastly, smaller ships offer passengers the chance to visit picturesque bays and pristine beaches larger ships could not access. Haumana Cruises offers three-to seven-day cruises exploring Rangiroa and her atolls while Nomade Yachting Bora Bora takes just 32 passengers on voyages around the Society Islands in the luxurious Australian-built yacht, Tu Moana.

Ultimate Cruising has 10-night cruise holiday deals around the Society Islands featuring a seven-night all-inclusive voyage with Paul Gauguin visiting Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Taha'a. Plus travellers receive three-nights pre-cruise accommodation in Manava Suite Resort in a garden studio, all airport/ship/hotel transfers on Tahiti and all pre-payable air/cruise and hotel taxes. Prices ex Sydney and Melbourne start from $3899* per person twin share departing June 9, 2011. For more information and to book, call 1300 662 943 or visit

*Subject to availability, conditions apply. Book and pay by April 30, 2011.

Follow Tahiti Tourisme on Facebook at and Twitter

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Perisher introduces revolutionary new 'MyRide' lift ticketing system

In a move set to radically improve  the Australian skiing and snowboarding experience, Australia's favourite ski resort Perisher today announced plans to launch its new 'MyRide' ticketing system in late March which will see guests spending more time riding the mountain.

Using a fully integrated on-line sales platform with RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) technology, the Perisher MyRide initiative will offer skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to buy their lift tickets before they leave home and reload them at the MyRide online store.

Most importantly with MyRide, guests will be able to bypass the ticket office to get 'direct to lift' access meaning more time to experience Perisher's four resort areas.

At the MyRide online store, lesson packages, equipment and clothing hire, plus access to great deals and special offers unique to MyRide Club members will also be available.

By logging onto, guests will also be able to access MyRide Stats which lets them track how much terrain they've covered and how many lifts they've ridden; even comparing these statistics with friends and family. Plus, MyRide Money will allow spending money to be loaded onto lift tickets for retail purchases and conveniences like lunch money for kids.

New automated gates are now being installed across the majority of Perisher's 47 lifts that will scan MyRide lift tickets without the need to display them outside ski jackets, making checking lift tickets quicker.

"Now you'll be able to keep your hands warm and leave your MyRide ticket in your pocket while your ticket is checked. Retain your ticket and reload it at the MyRide online store to skip the ticket office and go direct to the lifts on your next day's skiing.  MyRide is set to greatly improve the experience for Perisher's guests," said Peter Brulisauer CEO at Perisher.

Implementing MyRide across Perisher's four resort areas comes with a two million dollar price tag, utilising technology provided by renowned global secure access solution specialists Resort Technology Partners and SKIDATA. The result will see tickets that can be reloaded again and again and the ability for Perisher to be more flexible with products and pricing.

The newly launched MyRide Club will this year replace the successful Perisher Card program, with new innovative products soon to be introduced, the first of which will be a 5-Day Any-Day lift ticket available from April.

Paradise for peanuts on Malaysias Perhentian Islands

(c) Simon Bracken – Tourism Malaysia Australia
On the North Eastern Coast of Malaysia, near the Thai border, Malaysia's Perhentian Islands are gearing up for a solid season set to kick off on April 1.

Increasingly on the radar of Aussie travellers, the Perhentian Islands are emerging as a 'hot spot' for an affordable, easily accessible beach holiday less than one day travel from Australia.

The two main tourist islands are unspoilt, undeveloped and only open for tourism between April and October. Amazingly, there are no roads, no airports and no way on or off the islands except via a one hour boat ride from nearby Kota Bharu.

Remoteness is part of the appeal, along with fantastic diving and snorkelling. Swimming alongside a turtle can almost be guaranteed.

Backpackers and the budget conscious are being drawn to the smaller of the two islands, Kecil, for its affordable chalets and lively cafe-bars along the beach. Some have compared the island to neighbouring Thailand in years gone by.

Whilst Besar, the larger of the two islands, offers resorts geared toward families and scuba divers with a higher standard of accommodation and a quieter, more relaxed ambience.

Shahrin Mokhtar, director of Tourism Malaysia in Sydney says that the Perhentian Islands are an up and coming destination offering a new and attractive destination for Australians looking for value for money.

"Relatively undiscovered, the Perhentian Islands are really emerging as a popular destination amongst Australians, with a young and lively atmosphere, offering a new island paradise for travellers looking for value for money," said Shahrin.

"With AirAsia offering great value flights to Kuala Lumpur and on to Kota Bharu the destination is really starting to open up to budget conscious travellers and we expect that it will continue to grow as capacity builds."

AirAsia, the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, flies six times daily between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.  AirAsia has daily flights from Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Perth to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

For bookings and more information visit  

For more information about Malaysia visit

Monday 21 March 2011


CRUISECO has released a brochure of P&O Cruises holiday ideas in Europe  for all needs: Azura that's one of the largest ships in the P&O fleet and has the only Single Staterooms in the company's fleet, Ventura that's again one the largest in the fleet with an enormous range of family attractions for everyone from the under-2-years olds to teens and adults, and Adonia that's a smaller, more intimate vessels exclusively for holidaying adults.

Azura and Ventura will sail return cruises from Southampton to destinations as diverse as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Gibraltar (UK,) Greece, France, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Belgium between June and October this year, their cruises ranging from 7- to 17-nights.

Adonia will sail from Savonia to Athens, Athens to Trieste and Trieste to Athens between mid-November and late December this year.

Cruiseco has packaged all these sailings with return airfares and taxes from mainland capitals, and all government fees and taxes; for those sailing aboard Azura and Ventura there are also two hotel-nights pre-cruise in London with breakfasts, and for those aboard Adonia two-nights pre-cruise and two-nights post cruise in ports of boarding and disembarkation.

As an example, a 14-night package on August 31 this year and including 12-nights aboard Ventura from Southampton to Spain, France, Italy, Gibraltar and back to Southampton starts from $6490pp twin-share; for a brochure detailing each ship and their itineraries, and the names of Cruiseco's 200-plus cruise-specialist travel agencies Australia-wide, visit

Hot Deals from Medina Apartment Hotels

Cracking deals across Australia for the whole family from Medina this Easter holidays and beyond.


Medina Executive Wollongong from $165.00 per night*

Room type: one bedroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary in-room movie

Bookings: 02 4250 5000 or

Quote "Easter Family Package - Movie"

*Subject to availability. Quoted rates can be booked from 17/3/2011 – 31/6/2011. Stays between 1/4/2011 – 31/9/2011. Minimum two night stay required, must include a Sunday night. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95.

Medina Executive Wollongong from $299.00 per night*

Room type: two bedroom, two bathroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary parking

Bookings: 02 4250 5000 or

Quote "Family Package - Parking"

*Subject to availability. Valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 – 30/7/2011. Stays from 1/5/2011 – 31/7/2011.

Save 25% off your accommodation at Medina Executive Coogee*

Room type: one bedroom apartment, two bedroom apartment or studio

Easter Bonus: complimentary in-room toy box, complimentary parking and complimentary cot hire

Bookings: 02 9578 6000 or

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*Subject to availability. 25% off room cost only, excludes extras. Valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 – 30/8/2011. Stays from 15/4/2011 - 31/8/2011.

Medina Grand Sydney from $400.00 per night*

Room type: two bedroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary Explore 4 Pass - entitles two adults and two children entry into: Sydney Wildlife World, Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower, OzTrek and Oceanworld Manly, one complimentary movie, half price parking and complimentary cot if required

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Quote "Easter Explore 4 Family Package"

*Subject to availability. Retail value of the Explore 4 Pass is $150.00. Hotel room rate applies for one night only. Remaining nights will be charged at $310.00 per night. One set of tickets per booking, number of tickets cannot be amended. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95. Valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 – 29/6/2011 and stays between 25/4/2011 - 30/6/2011.

Medina Grand Sydney from $310.00 per night*

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*Subject to availability. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95. Valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 – 29/6/2011 and stays between 25/4/2011 - 30/6/2011.

Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney, Crown Street from $190.00 per night*

Room type one bedroom apartment or two bedroom apartment from $225.00 per night

Easter bonus: complimentary movie, baby cot if required and complimentary parking

Bookings: 02 8302 1000 or

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*Subject to availability. Minimum two night stay and must include a Sunday or Monday. Offer valid for stays from 1/4/2011 – 31/9/2011. Booking period 17/3/2011 – 30/6/2011. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95.

Medina Classic Chippendale from $250.00 per night*

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Easter Bonus: complimentary parking and complimentary cot hire if required

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*Subject to availability. Offer valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 – 29/6/2011 and stays from 27/3/2011 – 30/6/2011

Medina Executive Double Bay from $295.00 per night*

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Easter bonus: complimentary bottle of wine, complimentary parking and a complimentary kiddies pack

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*Subject to availability. Valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 – 30/7/2011 and stays from 1/4/2011 – 31/7/2011.

Medina Executive Sydney Central from $165.00 per night*

Room type: one bedroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary in-room movie

Bookings: 02 8396 9800 or

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*Subject to availability. Quoted rates can be booked from 17/3/2011 – 31/6/2011 for stays between 1/4/2011 – 31/9/2011. Minimum two night stay required, must include a Sunday night. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95.

Medina Grand Harbourside from $440.00 per night*

Room type: studio room interconnected with a one bedroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary car parking and complimentary cot hire if required

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Medina Grand Harbourside from $252.00 per night*

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Medina Executive St Kilda from $155.00 per night*

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Easter bonus: complimentary in-room movie

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*Subject to availability. Quoted rates can be booked from 17/3/2011 – 31/6/2011 for stays between 1/4/2011 – 31/9/2011. Minimum two night stay required, must include a Sunday night. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95.

Medina Executive South Yarra from $145.00 per night*

Room type: one bedroom apartment or $200.00 per night in a two bedroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary car parking and late check-out at noon.

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*Subject to availability. Valid for bookings from 17/3/2011 and stays between 1/4/2011 - 30/6/2011.

Medina Grand Melbourne from $200.00 per night*

Room type: one bedroom apartment or $280.00 per night in a two bedroom apartment

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Bookings: 03 9934 0000 or

Quote "Easter Family Package"

*Subject to availability. Quoted rates can be booked from 17/3/2011 – 31/6/2011 for stays between 1/4/2011 – 31/9/2011. Minimum two night stay required, must include a Sunday night. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95.


Medina Executive James Court and Medina Classic Canberra from $250.00 per night*

Room type: two bedroom spa apartment

Easter bonus: An admission pass to Questacon, Cockington Green and the Australian Institute of Sport, late check-out at midday and parking

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*Subject to availability. Two night minimum stay. Offer valid for bookings and stays 17/3/2011 – 31/12/2011.


Medina Executive Brisbane from $157.00 per night*

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Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury from $165.00 per night*

Room type: one bedroom apartment

Easter bonus: complimentary in-room movie

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Quote "Easter Family Package"

*Subject to availability. Quoted rates can be booked from 17/3/2011 – 31/6/2011 for stays between 1/4/2011 – 31/9/2011. Minimum two night stay required, must include a Sunday night. Complimentary movie value up to $14.95.

About Medina Apartment Hotels

Your home away from home

Medina Apartment Hotels are known and loved for their commitment to sleek and classic apartment hotel accommodation. A premier Australian brand with 21 locations across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Canberra and Wollongong; Medina is an ideal option for a getaway, whatever the occasion. Each Medina Apartment Hotel has been designed with elegance and style offering guests their own private space complete with all of the comforts of home and enough room to stretch out – the ideal place to relax or entertain in great city locations.

For more information or to book, visit or phone 1300 MEDINA (633 462).

Adina Apartment Hotels are located in Berlin, Frankfurt, Budapest, Copenhagen & Hamburg

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Friday 18 March 2011

London's historic St Ermin's hotel to re-open as MGallery hotel after a "jolly good" renovation

- With Buckingham Palace at its doorstep, this hotel has the royal touch

Accor will launch its MGallery hotel collection in the UK in April when St.Ermin's in St. James London re-opens following an extensive £30 million transformation and restoration.

Formerly known as Jolly St. Ermins Hotel, the perfectly located hotel (within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament) has had a 'jolly good' upgrade, with the hotel's former Victorian grandeur restored, while also introducing the latest innovations in room technology and guest comforts.

When guests arrive at St. Ermin's Hotel's tree-line courtyard, they are not just entering a luxury hotel they are revisiting history. St Ermin's is built upon the site of a 15th century chapel dedicated to St. Ermin (a derivation of St. Armel.) In mid to late 19th century, Westminster underwent great changes and expansion, resulting in the creation of St. Ermin's Mansions in 1889, the building that now forms the basis of  St. Ermin's Hotel.

In 1899, the mansions were converted into a hotel, involving the redesign of the interiors. This work was undertaken by the famous Victorian theatre designer J.P. Briggs, who created a dramatic collection of reception rooms, including a majestic lobby featuring a white stone staircase, carved balustrade and crystal chandeliers. Even then, the owners of St. Ermin's understood that modern technology enhanced the guest experience, with the installation of telephones in all bedrooms, rather than an antiquated bell system.

St. Ermin's has continued to play an important part in London's history, with 1950's spy Guy Burgess rumoured to have used one of Whitehall's network of tunnels to smuggle important documents from the Foreign Office to St. Ermin's Hotel.

The hotel's dramatic façade and inspirational interiors reflect a long and interesting history that will enter a new era from next month when it debuts Accor's MGallery label in the UK.

The hotel's 331 spacious rooms and suites offer spacious accommodations with crisp bed linens, sumptuous soft furnishings and inviting bathrooms with indulgent White Company products.

St. Ermin's signature restaurant The Caxton Grill serves modern European food in relaxed and genial surroundings. With the installation of the innovative Josper Grill, The Caxton Grill will be leading the way in this new exciting method of grilling meat and fish. The Caxton Bar and The Caxton Terrace, with views overlooking the lush courtyard, are ideal for drinks and light snacks, while St. Ermin's Lobby and Library are the perfect havens from the bustling London streets to partake of freshly brewed coffee, a glass of wine, or St. Ermin's classic Afternoon Tea.

Distinctly London package:

Enjoy the best of the capital for £220.00 per person over a two-day weekend break.

• Two nights bed and breakfast in a Superior room
• Tickets for two people to a top West End Show
• The St. Ermin's classic Afternoon Tea for two people
• Your own City Walking Guide, to help you discover those hidden away gems
• Complimentary London Map
• London guidebook – 'Independent London'

Bookings: via travel agents or via

Thursday 17 March 2011


Cruiseco's newest brochure of the ultimate in luxury cruise ideas with the small- to medium-sized ships of Silversea includes no less than six ships sailing twenty-six itineraries in seven regions of the world between November this year and December 2012 – and all packaged with return air from Australia, 2-nights pre- and 2-nights post-cruise in some of the world's most exclusive hotels, private airport/hotel/ship transfers, shipboard gratuities and all government fees and taxes.

Packages range from 14-to 33-nights embracing Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America (including the Amazon,) the Caribbean and Antarctica. There are even complimentary return transfers into the centre of town in many places, whilst accommodation is all ocean-view suites with beverage cabinets stocked daily with complimentary premium wines, Champagnes and spirits, complimentary 24-hour room service, open-seat dining, and world-class showroom entertainment.

Prices begin from just $7975pp twin-share with all the above inclusions. For a free brochure and names of Cruiseco's cruise-specialist travel agencies Australia-wide visit
FOR those seeking the very best in luxury fly, cruise and stay packages 17-nights from Singapore to Sydney via Bali, Darwin, northern Queensland and Brisbane in December this year begins from just $7975pp twin-share (prices are from mainland capitals, deduct $120pp ex-Perth,) while 17-nights from Auckland to Sydney via five New Zealand ports, Milford and Dusky Sounds, Hobart and 2-days in Melbourne start from $10,550pp twin-share ex-Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane – add $120pp ex-Adelaide and $300pp ex-Perth.

Even an exotic 33-nights fly, cruise and stay from Cape Town to Barcelona  visiting 14-cities in six countries in early 2012 costs from just $17,050pp twin-share (deduct $100 ex-Perth.)

Wednesday 16 March 2011

P&O adds Melbourne as homeport

P&O Cruises releases 2012/13 program

P&O Cruises will operate seven summer cruises homeported out of Melbourne from late next year, as part of its 2012-13 program which has just been released.

The launch is P&O's biggest ever, comprising a "record-breaking" 126 voyages in total, including a large expansion of short breaks.

New ports of call include Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island in South Australia, while as well as Melbourne the homeports include Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle and Auckland.

WA Pacific Sun departures include a series of 12 night cruises to Indonesia, while Pacific Pearl will return to Auckland for five cruises in April and May 2013.

There are two special August 2012 "heritage voyages" planned to mark 80 years since P&O's first Australian cruise, while other highlights include a new four night Christmas shopping cruise from Sydney to Melbourne.

More information in today's Travel Daily.

New Ports and More Short Breaks for P&O Cruises in Record-Breaking 2012-13 Program

Australians love their short breaks so P&O Cruises has delivered, with the cruise line doubling the range of short cruises on offer in its massive new 2012-13 program. 

On sale from March 31, the new program is P&O Cruises' biggest ever and features a record 126 voyages between June 2012 and April 2013, with great value fares from $749* per person for a seven-night cruise from Brisbane and $1199* per person for a 10-night cruise from Sydney. 

The program offers 24 cruises of less than a week, including more of the themed cruises that have proven such a hit with passengers, such as food and wine getaways and comedy cruises. 

Highlights include a three-night Australia Day long weekend cruise from Sydney in January 2013 onboard Pacific Pearl, plus a new four-night Christmas shopping cruise from Sydney to Melbourne in early December on Pacific Sun, with fares on the shopping cruise priced from $649* per person. 

The new program also features two new Australian ports of call, with Pacific Sun visiting Port Lincoln and pristine Kangaroo Island in South Australia on a coastal cruise. Fares start from $899 per person quad share for a nine-night cruise from Fremantle to Sydney departing on October 23, 2012. 

Meanwhile, P&O Cruises has added Melbourne to its line-up of homeports, with the cruise line returning to the Victorian capital to offer seven summer cruises from late 2012, in addition to regular voyages from Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle and Auckland. 

Jenny Lourey, Senior Vice President of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said the new program offered more cruise itineraries than ever before, with destinations ranging from Asia to Tasmania, as well as the Pacific islands. 

"Not only do we offer great places to visit, our ships are a destination in themselves. No matter where you're cruising, the fun begins the moment you step onboard a P&O Cruises' ship," Ms Lourey said.   

"Whatever your age, our ships offer a great range of features to make your holiday memorable - from spectacular aerial circus acts and great kids' clubs through to delicious meals at Luke Mangan's Salt Grill Restaurant and relaxing treatments in the spa." 

The new program also offers travellers front-row seats for the total solar eclipse in November 2012, with Pacific Jewel and Pacific Dawn sailing to the Pacific islands and northern Queensland to ensure the ships offer the best vantage points for the eclipse.  Fares start from $799 per person quad share for a seven-night cruise onboard Pacific Dawn departing November 10, 2012. 

Meanwhile, Brisbane will see 36 cruise holidays on offer onboard Pacific Dawn and Pacific Sun, including 25 of the popular seven-night cruises to the Pacific Islands or exploring the Queensland coastline. Cruises start from $749 per person quad share for a seven-night Queensland cruise onboard Pacific Sun departing July 8, 2012. 

Fremantle will welcome home Pacific Sun for a third season of cruising in 2012, offering a mix of short breaks, Western Australian cruises and longer voyages to Asia between August and October 2012. Twelve-night cruises to Indonesia calling at Bali and Komodo Island are priced from $1099 per person quad share.  

Pacific Pearl will return to Auckland for another season of cruising from New Zealand, sailing five cruises of between three and 15 nights between April and May 2013. Fares start from $1299 per person quad share for a 10-night cruise to the Pacific Islands departing May 8, 2013. 

Australian travellers will also have the chance to celebrate the birth of cruise holidays, with two special voyages planned in August 2012 to mark 175 years since the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company signed its first contract to deliver mail by sea and 80 years since P&O Cruises' first Australian cruise. 

Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel will meet in Sydney Harbour on August 22 and set sail in tandem on special heritage cruises, featuring tailored entertainment including a 175th Anniversary Gala dinner, a heritage art display and fascinating guest speakers. Fares on the nine-night Pacific Jewel cruise start from $1199 per person quad share.  

For more information, contact P&O Cruises on 13 24 94 or visit   

* Fares are quad share. Subject to availability, conditions apply.



15 MARCH 2011: Fiji's most sophisticated address, the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, will present its inaugural music festival A Weekend of Jazz this May.

Created in association with New Zealand's Hawkes Bay Jazz Club, Sofitel's long weekend of jazz will stretch across four days from Friday the 20th until Monday the 23rd of May. A Weekend of Jazz will include live poolside jazz sessions at the Sofitel and at the resort's Breeze Bar. Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa will also host a three-course Gala Dinner event to celebrate a love of all things 'jazz' on Saturday the 21st, and an afternoon of jazz on Sofitel's Fijian Meke Lawn on Sunday afternoon the 22nd.

To help celebrate A Weekend of Jazz, Sofitel has teamed with Talpacific to create a six-night holiday package for the occasion. Packages are priced from A$1,435 ex Brisbane, from A$1,565 ex Sydney and from A$1,595 ex Melbourne (per person twin share and subject to availability).

The experience includes return economy airfares with Pacific Blue to Nadi, return airport transfers, six-nights accommodation at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, breakfast daily, a bottle of sparkling water on arrival and access to the four-day jazz festival including the gala dinner event, plus an escorted day cruise to Tivua Island for a local cultural encounter.

Tivua Island is surrounded by a circle of white sandy beach, popular with nesting turtles and 500 acres of coral gardens. The cruise (aboard the tall ship Ra Marama - a historic Brigantine rig tall ship built for the Governor General of Fiji in 1957) includes guided snorkelling and a glass-bottomed boat experience, use of canoes, a traditional kava ceremony, and tropical buffet lunch, beer, wine and soft drinks whilst on the island.

The package is available for bookings until the 18th of May, and for stays from the 19th until the 25th of May 2011.

To book Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa's Jazz Festival Package call Talpacific on 1300 137 727 or visit For more information about the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa visit

Discover Sofitel on

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


Tuesday 15 March 2011

ubid4rooms' accountant's St Patrick's day deal.


St. Patrick's day is coming and we're excited.

Callum, our Irish accountant insisted we offer another special this week to extend the "luck of the Irish" to all our clients.

So if you haven't tried yet, make Callum happy and try it this week for St Patricks Day - we know if you do, you will return!  

The Easter holidays are around the corner, so make a bid and get an answer within 3 hours, or for the  impatient out there, use "buy now" and still get great deals with instant confirmation.

Read on for our St Pats Special .........

The deal is..............................

For the next 48 hours up to midnight (EST) on St Patricks Day, 17th March, Callum and is  offering: 

A discount of $7.00 per night for bookings of 1 -3 nights.

A discount of $10.00 per night for bookings of 4 - 7 nights.

An amazing discount of  $17.00 PER NIGHT for bookings of 8 nights or more.

(Enter code "STP" in comments field of booking and we will refund discount  overnight).

We want your business and  the above discounts are savings over and above any that you can get by bidding for the room. With our offer you will not get a cheaper rate anywhere and we will guarantee it.

Ubid allows you to book for up to three months in advance so why not book your Easter Holidays with this offer.

Bid or book now on and good luck.

Monday 14 March 2011


Plus win $80,000 worth of prizes for just $1

These days $1 might buy you a bottle of water or a chocolate bar, but it doesn't stretch far – that is unless you stay with Ibis hotels, where just $1 will buy you your choice of either wi-fi internet, parking or breakfast. To celebrate its new $1 deals, Ibis hotels are also giving you the chance to win $80,000 worth of prizes including a Vespa, iPad2s and home entertainment systems – and you don't even have to stay with them to enter.

Ibis is all about giving you great value for money so the $1 offer – for breakfast, wi-fi internet or parking – will make your next stay an even better deal. Rates for Ibis hotels start from as little as $137 per night, and the $1 extras are available for stays from 1 April to 30 June 2011. The free-to-enter competition, however, will offer prizes each month for a year and winners will pay just $1 to take delivery of their prize once their name is drawn.

Ibis hotels have become the worldwide reference point for economy hotels, offering modern, centrally located hotels with value at their core. With 24-hour reception, comfortable bedding and contemporary décor, Ibis hotels are your guarantee of a warm welcome at a great price.

There are currently 14 Ibis hotels in Australia in key city and resort locations including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Townsville and Wollongong. Globally Ibis is one of the fastest-growing brands in the world, with over 860 hotels in 45 countries.

Go to to enter or book.

ibis, the worldwide economy hotel brand of the Accor group, offers consistent quality accommodation and services in all its hotels, for the best local value: a well-designed and fully-equipped bedroom, major hotel services available 24/7 and a wide choice of on-site food and beverage options. The quality of the ibis standard has been recognised by the International Organization for Standardization certification ISO 9001 since 1997. ibis is also the world's first hotel chain to demonstrate its environmental commitment through securing the ISO 14001 certification, which has already been awarded to one third of its hotels.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Japan Tsunami


As many as 250 civilians are feared dead after an earthquake sent a tsunami crashing into the north of Japan earlier.

Many more are missing, with extensive damage reported across the region. Pictures from local television stations show buildings toppling under pressure from a huge wave of water, with cars, boats, and even roads also swallowed up.

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 250 miles from Tokyo at a depth of 20 miles, shaking the capital, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

It was followed by a ten metre wave of water.

The first tremor was recorded at 14:46 local time (05:46 GMT) and was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks.

Seismologists in the country say it is one of the largest earthquakes to hit Japan for at least a century.

Across the Region

Communities across east Asia have been put on high alert following the events in Japan, with evacuations beginning in Taiwan, the Philippines and eastern Russian.

New Zealand and many small Pacific islands – including Tonga and Samoa – could be in danger according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, while warnings were also issued for the west coast of the Americas, from Mexico to Chile.

Indonesia - which saw the coastline of its Aceh region devastated by a huge Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 - was braced for waves up to two metres high.

Hawaii ordered evacuations from coastal areas, and authorities urged residents of the US island territory of Guam to move from low-lying regions.

In Tokyo hundreds of thousands of people are stranded as the transport infrastructure, including the vast Metro system, ground to a halt.

Air Travel

The earthquake has wrought havoc for airlines operating in the region, with many flights into Japan cancelled.

Many airlines - including Malaysian Airlines, British Airways, Virgin, China Southern, Korean Air and Jetstar - have diverted or cancelled flights to destinations in the earthquake area.

International Assistance

Condolences and offers of assistance from around the world have been arriving in Japan.

British prime minister David Cameron said: “We have had a terrible reminder of the destructive power of nature, and everyone should be thinking of that country and their people, and I have asked immediately that our government should look at what we can do to help.”

There are more than 17,000 British nationals resident in Japan, while a further 300,000 UK nationals visit the country each year.

At present there are no reported British casualties.

American president Barack Obama added his voice, stating the United States “stands ready” to come to the assistance of its close ally.

“The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial.

“The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy,” Obama said in a written statement released by the White House.

Friday 11 March 2011

A&K New Small Group Journey to Peru

Peru is in the spotlight this year celebrating the 100th anniversary of the re-discovery of Machu Picchu by American explorer Hiram Bingham. While searching for the lost Inca capital of Vilcabamba, he and his guide stumbled upon the Inca ruins shrouded in jungle vegetation. Arguably the greatest archaeological site in the Americas, the story of Machu Picchu remains a mystery. Some believe it to be the birthplace of the Inca Empire, others a ceremonial centre or military citadel.

The site has a magical location on a mountain ridge high above the raging Urubamba River and thanks to its seclusion remains a relatively intact cultural site. It was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a chance to wander through the ruins marvelling at the perfectly constructed stone walls and gazing over the city from the Sun Gate is one of life's great experiences.

Thousands of artefacts excavated from the site and previously stored at Yale University are being returned to Peru this year and will be housed at Casa Concha in Cusco.

To celebrate the centenary, A&K is launching a small group journey to Peru featuring a tour of Machu Picchu with resident archaeologist Alfredo Mormontoy. There are audiences with other local specialists such as a museum curator, textile expert and inspirational philanthropist. The tour visits Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu staying in the finest hotels throughout.

Tour dates: 11-18 September 2011
Price: $5,670 per person twin share
Single supplement: $1,760 per person

National Attractions Transformed Into Electric Canvas

Onlookers were this evening treated to a preview of the spectacular large-scale lighting projections that will form part of the newest addition to Canberra's event calendar ENLIGHTEN: See Canberra in a whole new light.

ENLIGHTEN will premiere this Friday and will see the stunning foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin transformed into a festive hub, abuzz with an exciting program of major concerts and surrounded by spectacular lighting across the facades of the National Gallery of Australia, Parliament House, the National Library of Australia and the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) at Old Parliament House.

The Electric Canvas, the company responsible for bringing four of Canberra's worldclass national institutions to life through the lighting projections, this evening previewed a small taste of things to come during ENLIGHTEN.

Showcasing a selection of the projections at MoAD at Old Parliament House, Projection Director Peter Milne said event goers could expect to see a series of extremely diverse projections across the four buildings during ENLIGHTEN.

"For example, at MoAD people can expect to see a range of themed projections such as 'Past Prime Ministers', which celebrates the Prime Ministers of Australia who took office in Old Parliament House between 1927 and 1988," Mr Milne said.

"In another projection the rich textures and finishes of the original interiors of Old Parliament House have been applied to the building\'s exterior, transforming it into a beautiful piece of period furniture which we've titled 'Comfortable Couch'.

"But perhaps the most unusual and unexpected image will be the Political Graffiti projection. This projection celebrates the diversity of Australian democracy and onlookers will see MoAD transformed into a typical Australian city wall plastered with political slogans." General Manager of Australian Capital Tourism Simonne Shepherd said visitors can expect to see something truly amazing during ENLIGHTEN.

"The Electric Canvas has been responsible for some of the most memorable lighting displays around the world, including aspects of the Sydney Olympics, Melbourne's Commonwealth Games and last year's Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, so we are expecting visitors to be delighted by what they see projected onto our national attractions during ENLIGHTEN," Ms Shepherd said.

"As part of ENLIGHTEN each lighting display will run from 11 to 19 March, between 8pm and 11.30pm.

"To top it all off ENLIGHTEN's vibrant event hub and purpose built stage at Commonwealth Place will bring everything together with George Benson, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Chris Isaak and INXS, to light up the shores of Lake Burley Griffin over the four evenings," Ms Shepherd said.

ENLIGHTEN tickets are on sale through Ticketek and can be purchased by phoning 13 28 49, from or at the ENLIGHTEN event hub at Commonwealth Place. For more information visit

Titanic, built in Belfast

Titanic Pumphouse (

Unquestionably the most iconic ship on the planet, the Titanic is a Belfast story. Belfast built her, endured her tragic loss, and is now a city celebrating her glory. Evidence of this is the stunning £97 million piece of modern architecture named the ‘Titanic Belfast’ building (currently under construction and due to open in 2012) majestically overlooking the very spot RMS Titanic first glided into the waters of Belfast Lough. For 2011 the city is extending the annual Titanic festival over a two-month period, running from 31 March - 31 May, the 100th anniversary of the ship’s launch. The ‘Titanic 100’ festival will feature a variety of special events, including an exhibition focusing on the fantastic work of the great Irish photographer RJ Welch, Harland & Wolff’s official photographer during the Titanic era. Belfast also promises ‘great things’ in the home of RMS Titanic for the centenary of her maiden voyage in April 2012.

Family Friendly Travel in Galapagos

Galapagos Now Welcomes Families with Young Children With Expanding Inventory of Land-Based Programs and Accommodations

Families with toddlers to tweens, can now comfortably experience the Galapagos that heretofore has been nearly off limits for them because cruise ships often exclude young children and land stays were difficult to come by.

Ecuador's leading hospitality company for active adventure, Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges, offers a variety of land-based itineraries and sufficient multi-island room capacity in five separate lodges to entice active young families.

"My wife and seven-month-old daughter went on several of our island tours recently and the baby just loved seeing the tortoises and birds close up. Noting the fact that most don't allow young children, there is no way she would have ever been able to experience this on a Galapagos cruise ship," said Caleb Hayes, Diving Sales & Operations Manager for the company.

From 2009 to 2010 Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges saw a 32 percent increase in family business, reported Hernan Roads, visionary founder and owner. He expects a similar level of growth this year, pointing out that his properties, based on eco-sensitive, sustainable practices are capturing more attention each year.

"Before us, there was not a brand of hotels or lodges that offered any multi-island consistency in terms of quality, staffing, environmental standards and program and activity flexibility," he said.

The pros of a land-based vacation focus on the fact that the land programs are open to all ages of children, they are run every day and arrivals and departures can be planned on the family's schedule without having to fit a rigid cruise ship departure schedule.

Said Rodas, "We ease parental anxiety by eliminating the worry of 'child overboard' and concerns about the confined space on a ship. We also don't do wet landings where you have to wade ashore or jump on to wet rocks. Additionally, our land-based programs are simply more economical and we are able to meet a family's budget better than cruise options."

There is a 25 per cent discount off the package price for children under age 10. Per person rates begin at $340 per day and are inclusive of deluxe lodging, meals, excursions with English speaking naturalist guides, free Internet wireless service while in Santa Cruz, free use of bikes when in Puerto Ayora and Isabela, all snorkeling gear and 10% service charge.

Rodas recommends for young ones, toddler to age 12 an 8-day/7-night three-island, Full Galapagos Adventure program with only a short navigation from island to island. See:

For older kids ages 12-18 he recommends an 8-day/7-night multi-island, Multi-sport Soft Adventure program encompassing three islands plus biking, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and trekking. See:

Younger children are welcome on any of Red Mangrove's year-round land-based tour programs and for infants, reasonably priced baby-sitting services are also available upon request. For underwater enthusiasts, including families with young children, there are classes and opportunities to learn how to dive with PADI certified instructors. Diving parents also appreciate being able to participate on dive excursions while the little ones are well taken care of ashore.

About Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges

Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges in 2007 introduced a land-based alternative to exploring the Galapagos that heretofore was a cruise-only destination. While it may be best known for its upscale lodging and dive operations in the Galapagos, recent expansion has made it a leader in mainland Ecuador hospitality as well. With upscale waterfront lodges strategically situated on Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana, it is the only company offering high quality, branded accommodations and services on multiple islands in the Galapagos and across mainland Ecuador. Because it is land-based, Red Mangrove can offer a more extensive roster of activities and more flexibility than traditional cruise options.

The customary way to experience Red Mangrove's Galapagos hospitality is to spend a number of nights on each island accessed by small boat and/or aircraft. With 14 guest rooms, Aventura Lodge on Santa Cruz is distinguished by its unique architectural design which blends its mangrove forest and seafront environments tastefully and responsibly. Its location boasts generous views of Puerto Ayora Bay. Separated from the ocean by a white sand, palm-lined beach, Isabela Lodge offers eight rooms outside the sleepy fisherman's village of Puerto Villamil on one of the most volcanically active islands on Earth. Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge is a romantic gathering of 10 private pine cottages just a five minute walk from the village of Puerto Velasco Ibarra (population 150). Red Mangrove Divers Lodge Santa Cruz has 11 rooms near the Red Mangrove Dive Academy. Red Mangrove Isabela Divers Lodge features 5-rooms adjacent to scenic Puerto Villamil. On the mainland coast of Ecuador Samai Lodge with 11 rooms is an inn-and-spa suited for recollection, relaxation and wellness surrounded by the sounds of the jungle and crashing surf.

Contact Information:
Phone: 1.888.254.3190 or 1.402.953.0261
Email Form:

Seoul Best 100 Guide: The Best of Seoul in your Pocket!

The latest edition of Seoul Best 100, a pocket guide of Seoul's top one hundred must see sights has just been released.  The guide gives a great introduction to the best sights of the capital city of Korea and is freely available from Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office.

The pocket zone by zone guide gives detailed information about major tourist attractions such as Seoul's beautiful royal palaces and shrines like Changdeok and the Secret Garden, Deoksu Palace and the Jongmyo Royal Shrine are all in Zone 1.  Also in this zone are sights such as Seoul City Square and top tourist attractions like Insadong, the famous cultural street loved by visitors for its art galleries, handicraft shops, excellent restaurants and famous tea-houses.  The popular street of Samcheongdong with its many cafes and designer shops and galleries is the latest trendy place to be seen in Seoul.
In the centre of the capital is Cheonggyecheon, the 5.8 kilometre stream that runs through the centre of Seoul with its unique bridges and fountains and is a spectacular sight during the Seoul lantern festival.  Also, in Zone 1 for those who love shopping Seoul's south gate (Namdaemun) is a great place to search for a bargain. Selling a wide range of items from clothing to jewellery to Korean handicrafts, foodstuffs, homewares and more the market is a very popular place with shoppers to Seoul.  Nearby is trendy Myeong-dong which is especially lively at night with all its bright lights, designer boutiques and is a place where Seoul's lively young people hang out at night.

Zone 2 of the guide takes you to World Cup Park where Korea reached the semi final of the FIFA World Cup 2002 semi-final match against Germany.  The Hongik University area of Seoul with its trendy nightclubs and markets is a great place to mix with Seoul's youth and see all the latest trends and fashion. 

Zone 3 can take you further out of the city for some fresh mountain air. Visit Mt. Bukhansan or Seoul Forest for a refreshing breath of nature.  Dongdaemun Fashion Town in the eastern part of the city is popular for all night shopping, the shops here close at 5.30am in the morning.  If visiting with children Seoul's Chrildren's Grand Park is a great place to take them to see the huge aviary with over 800 parrots and an aquarium as well as enjoy musical water fountains and fun park rides.

Zone 4 is the southern side of the river with Olympic Park and Lotte World, a massive shopping complex as well as theme park which is great fun for families with young children.  It includes the Seoul Arts Centre, the Kimchi Museum and the famous fashion streets of Apgujeong (Rodeo Street) and Cheongdam-dong Fashion Street.

Zone 5 covers the best of nature with Yeouido Ecological Park and Seoul Grand Park and Zoo.  Get the best view over Seoul city from the 63 Building on Yeouido Island or visit Times Square, the new urban entertainment cultural space with department stores, cinemas,  E-Mart, bookstores and more.

Get your FREE Seoul's Best 100 pocket guide today from the Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office by email: or phone:  02(9251-1717

Thursday 10 March 2011

Retreat to The Westin Melbourne this Easter

Treat yourself to a decadent Easter where chocolate martinis, luxurious accommodation and gourmet SuperFoods breakfasts combine to create a memorable city escape. Retreat to The Westin Melbourne over the Easter long weekend and indulge in a specially created package from just $305 per night.

Chocolate lovers can unwind over a chocolate martini from the hotel's chic Martini Bar or Lobby Lounge before retreating to their Westin signature Heavenly® Bed. To complete the package, refresh and revive with a gourmet SuperFoods buffet breakfast for two in award winning Allegro Restaurant and be sure to ask for a table on the terrace amongst the cosmopolitan tree tops of Collins Street. A late 2pm check out leaves time to explore Melbourne's boutiques, galleries attractions - all on the hotel's doorstep.

For more Easter treats, indulge in a special three course lunch whilst soaking up the smooth sounds of live jazz with Allegro Restaurant's Easter Sunday Jazz Lunch. Replenish the soul over platter style dining before sampling sweet treats from the delightful chocolate dessert buffet.

And because the little things do matter, consider contacting Concierge to assist with additional touches to enhance your stay - from roses or a special bottle of wine, to helping secure that perfect piece of jewellery.

To book the Easter Retreat accommodation package or the Easter Sunday Jazz Lunch, contact The Westin Melbourne on 03 9635 2222 or visit

Top 10 of our Favourite UK Olympic Venues - 500 Days to Go

Olympic Park, East London

The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics may still be a little way away, but work is well under way at the Olympic Park in East London. The site includes the already iconic 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium, the graceful Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome. If you'd like to see the site's dramatic transformation in progress, you can take a tour with knowledgeable Blue Badge Guides. Alternatively get along to the open days from 22-24 July.

Football stadiums, UK-wide

The London 2012 Football competitions will be held at stadiums throughout the country. Catch the games at Hampden Park in Glasgow; Millennium Stadium in Cardiff; Old Trafford in Manchester; St James' Park in Newcastle; Villa Park in Birmingham and Wembley Stadium in London, where the finals will take place. If you want to experience the thrill of British football right now, take a stadium tour or catch a Premier League game.

Horse Guards Parade, London

Beach Volley Ball comes to 10 Downing Street! That's right - the high-energy beach sport will take place on Horse Guards Parade, the parade ground for the Queen's bodyguards that's next door to the Prime Minister's house. It's an unlikely mix, we admit, but one we're very proud of. Head to Horse Guards Parade on 11 June 2011 and 16 June 2012 for Trooping the Colour, the Queen's spectacular birthday ceremony.

Lord's Cricket Ground, London

Lord's Cricket Ground in North West London will be transformed into an Archery range for 2012. Crowds of 6,500 will enjoy the competition with two fields of play inside the stadium. Visit Lords to see the tiny Ashes urn, hotly contested by England and Australia, the stuffed sparrow 'bowled out' by Jahangir Khan and cricketing kit worn by many of the game's greatest players. You can also tour players' dressing rooms and see the famous Lord's Honours Board that records great performances at the ground. And don't forget Lord's is also Britain's most famous venue for county and international cricket!

North Greenwich Arena, London

You probably know the North Greenwich Arena as the O2 Arena. During the Games, it will seat 20,000 spectators for the Basketball final and 16,500 for the Gymnastics. Outside the Olympics, this huge dome by the Thames hosts pop concerts and is home to the British Music Experience, the interactive, immersive celebration of UK pop.
Hyde Park, London

Hyde Park, one of London's Royal Parks, will host the Triathlon course in 2012. Triathlon is among the fastest-growing individual sports in the UK, and thousands of people will line the route to spectate for free during the races. The park itself is one of the largest parks in London, a haven of relaxation in the middle of the city. Don't miss Speakers' Corner where people come to air their views and exercise their right to free speech, and the Diana Fountain, a memorial to Princess Diana.

Weymouth & Portland Harbour, Dorset

Weymouth & Portland Harbour in Dorset, on England's South East coast, will be the venue for the 2012 Sailing and Paralympic Sailing competitions. Weymouth and Portland Harbour provides some of the best natural sailing waters in Britain and during the Games you'll be able to watch the action for free. If you'd like to try sailing yourself you can book a lesson at the world-class Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. This part of Dorset is also on the Jurassic Coast, Britain's first natural World Heritage Site, a stretch of coastline where exposed cliffs and geological wonders give you an insight into millennia of natural history.

Lee Valley White Water Centre, London

The White Water Centre that will host the London 2012 Olympic canoe slalom competition opens to the public on 22 April. It's the only brand new London 2012 venue that non-Olympic competitors will be able to use before the Games. Get in on the action before the pros and try canoeing, kayaking or white water rafting at this state of the art facility in the Lee Valley Park.

Wimbledon, London

Wimbledon in South East London will be used for the Tennis competition at the 2012 Games. Up to 30,000 people will be able to watch the players compete. The sacred turf of Wimbledon's Centre Court has seen some of the greatest tennis matches ever played. Highlights at the club's museum include the Championship Trophies, a 200° cinema screen and a 'walk-through' of the men's dressing room as it was in the 1980s, with John McEnroe.

Greenwich Park, London

Greenwich Park will host the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian competitions, plus the combined running and shooting event of the Modern Pentathlon. The park has got to have one of the best-looking riverside locations in London and is home to the Royal Observatory, the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World, making it the official starting point for each new day and year. Greenwich itself is a World Heritage Site and is also the home to the National Maritime Museum and Christopher Wren's graceful Old Royal Naval College.
For more information on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sports and venues, visit London 2012.

Next Generation Check-In Regional Implementation Begins

Qantas today announced that Next Generation Check-in technology has started rolling out across its regional network.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said this was a significant milestone in the program.

"Next Generation Check-in provides our customers with a smarter, faster check-in experience and we're excited to be delivering this technology for customers in our regional ports," said Mr Joyce.

"When our customers told us that queuing was a point of pain we responded. Next Generation Check-in has been successfully implemented in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne and has dramatically reduced domestic check-in times for customers allowing them to move through the check-in area with speed and ease.

"Twenty-one regional airports, including sixteen QantasLink ports, will receive Next Generation Check-in technology over the next four months," he said.

Albury, Rockhampton, Karratha, Broome, Coffs Harbour and Mackay are the first ports to benefit from the introduction of Q Card Reader technology, and will be shortly followed by Emerald, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland and Port Macquarie.

Mr Joyce said Platinum, Gold and Silver Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members will be checked in within seconds with one touch of their Qantas card on the Q Card Readers.

Q Card Readers will also be installed in Gladstone, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Alice Springs, Newman, Wagga Wagga, Townsville, Launceston, Paraburdoo, Darwin and Cairns.

"From May, Q Bag technology will also be introduced across the regional network.

"The Q Bag Tag is a cutting edge innovation and Qantas is proud to be the first airline to introduce this world-leading technology to our customers."

The Q Bag Tag automatically links customers' luggage with their flight details when scanned by Qantas Customer Service staff.

Next Generation Check-in will be progressively introduced to Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra throughout 2011. The program is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2011.

An online demonstration providing a step-by-step guide to Next Generation Check-in is available on
Note: For breaking Qantas news via Twitter, go to

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