Please Note:
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, many of the deals and offers mentioned are not currently available.
Please check with individual suppliers before making travel plans.

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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Live it up with a Brisbane ‘Quilt Experience’ with Oaks Hotels & Resorts



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Oaks Casino Towers poolSince the opening of Brisbane’s exclusive ‘Quilts 1700-1945’ exhibition in June, the Queensland Art Gallery has welcomed thousands of art and history-enthusiasts through its doors, admiring and paying homage to the enchanting collection of hand-crafted British quilts steeped in more than 200 years of history.

And as a key accommodation partner of the exhibition, Oaks Hotels & Resorts has teamed up with the Queensland Art Gallery to offer both locals and visitors to Brisbane the ultimate ‘Quilt Experience’, starting from $169 per night.

Choose between two of Oaks’ premier Brisbane properties – Oaks Casino Towers and Oaks Charlotte Towers – and ‘live it up’ with accommodation in a contemporary, self-contained one-bedroom apartment plus two tickets to the historic exhibition at Queensland Art Gallery.

With both hotels an easy walk from the exhibition and the city’s eclectic choice of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and attractions, Oaks Hotels & Resorts provide the perfect base to enjoy a quintessential ‘Quilts’ escape.

After a day of admiring the stunning compilation of textiles and patchwork, and exploring Brisbane’s unique sights and sounds, unwind in the comfort of Oaks Charlotte Towers or Oaks Casino Towers’ stylish 4.5 star surrounds; soak in the supreme city and river views from your apartment; work out in the fully-equipped gymnasium; enjoy a meal at the many nearby restaurants or take a dip in the onsite lap and plunge pools.

Oaks Hotels & Resorts’ ‘Quilt Experience’ packages are available for booking and travel until the conclusion of the exhibition on22 September 2013.

Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability. Minimum two-night stay. Must book and travel between now and 22 September 2013. Black out dates may apply.

For further information and bookings visit www.oakshotelsresorts.com.

Partners and Children Fly Free To China



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Book one of three Yangtze River group tours from Helen Wong’s Tours’ comprehensive China brochure and your partner will fly FREE from Australia, a saving of $980 per couple.

This money-saving offer also applies to two of the long-time China specialist’s premium group tours from the 2013 program.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel as a family, an additional two FREE air tickets will be extended to two children under 16 years, a saving of $2450 per family of four.

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Senior travellers – over 65 years – save a further $100 per tour.

These latest hot deals apply to the Helen Wong’s Tours 15-day Yangtze Wonders, 18-day Mighty Yangtze and 26-day Splendid Yangtze itineraries for travel, flying exclusively with Cathay Pacific, until November 15, 2013, the sale ending on October 31, 2013 or until sold out.

Prices (pp, twin share) start from $4990, $6220 and $8340 respectively for the first person, the partner prices starting at $4010, $5240 and $7360 respectively.

Book a 14-day China Highlights premium tour and price begins at $6630pp, twin share, a 17-day Supreme China tour from $7830pp, twin share (partner prices from $5650 and $6850 respectively).

“However, you will need to act swiftly to avoid disappointment as these deals are for a short time,” urged founder and managing director Helen Wong.

A leisurely cruise through the breathtaking Three Gorges of the Yangtze aboard luxurious Victoria Cruises is a highlight on four of the five featured itineraries which also visit bustling Shanghai, capital Beijing and Xian, home of the ancient relics, the Army of Terracotta Warriors.

  • Note: All free Cathay Pacific air tickets exclude air taxes and fees which are subject to change.
Details: Helen Wong’s Tours, phone 1300 788 328 or www.helenwongstours.com

VIEW 62 by Paco Roncero Launches Seasonal Menus Featuring Exquisite Nouvelle Cuisine



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VIEW 62 by Paco Roncero, Hong Kong's only revolving restaurant complemented by breathtaking views, continues to delight diners with its Spanish-inspired gastronomic offerings. 

From now diners can enjoy an exciting new contemporary a-la-carte dinner menu featuring innovative nouvelle cuisine and the launch of a new a la carte lunch menu catering to discerning lunchtime diners.  At the same time the restaurant will continue to serve its popular and signature lunch menu “Lunch with a View”, which will change on a weekly basis.

The extensive and inspired new a la carte dinner menu is divided into Tapas (from HK$60), Appetisers (from HK$140), Mains (from HK$280), and Desserts (from HK$110).

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Tapas selection highlights include the flavour sensation of Garlic shrimps, together with Coca bread with “escalivada” and foie gras, while appetisers continue the offerings of premium seafood, such as ocean fresh Lobster salad with apple, ham, mayo, pine-nuts and vegetables, and Scallops with raspberry, pistachio, beetroot and yogurt foam.

Main course options include tempting carnivore favourites, such as Lamb rack with tomato, mozzarella and spinach,Pigeon with apple jelly and truffle puree, and the delicate delights of Red mullet with seafood gnocchi spheres and its consommé.

A deliciously tempting finish comes in many dessert forms including citrus sensation “Sorbete helado de limón al cava”, Lemon coulant nitro with cava, and the spectacular taste combination of Coffee cream, white chocolate & whisky ice-cream and chocolate sponge.

VIEW 62 continues to entice with its new a-la-carte lunch menu and its emphasis on fresh seasonal summer flavours.
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From Appetisers that include internationally famous Ibérico ham "bellota", and Foie gras with apple & ginger sorbet, to Main course selections including traditional Spanish favourite Hake with green pea sauce, anchovies and ibérico ham air, and premier Beef tenderloin with fava beans and iberico potato ravioli, choice is the hardest decision to be made.

Sweet taste sensations complete every meal, with dessert options including the decadent "Bombón helado" with toffe and white chocolate creamy with tonka bean, and Black sesame “charcoal” with lime sorbet.

Catering to Hong Kong discerning lunchtime diners, VIEW 62 by Paco Roncero continues to offer “Lunch with a View” that includes appetisers, mains and desserts ranging from HK$250-HK$350.  Spoiled for choice, diners can select from three appetisers, four mains and three desserts included on the Lunch Set of the week.There is also the choice to finish the meal with the Cheese Platter selection that includes Idiazábal, Mahón, Brie, Manchego, and Valdeón.

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Featured appetiser options include inspired pairings such as "Ajoblanco" with mushrooms and prawns"Campera" salad with tuna belly, and Cauliflower cream with truffle jelly walnuts and trout roe.

Main course selections changes regularly, with selections including Duck leg confit with berries, Roasted lamb shank with vegetablesGaroupa with cava sauce and clams, Chicken roll stuffed with asparagus and ham with potato foamLobster Rice and many more.

Desserts also add a new dimension to the traditional Lunch Set with options including creamy Panacotta with raspberry, tempting Curled chocolate with hazelnut butter, and delicate Pistachio sponge with raspberry sorbet and yogurt soup.

VIEW 62 by Paco Roncero is located at 62nd Floor, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tour New Zealand & Experience Warbirds Over Wanaka Aviation Extravaganza



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For 3 days over Easter, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, becomes centre stage to an extravaganza of aerial action with the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.

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The Warbirds Over Wanaka is one of the four top warbirds airshows in the world. See some of the most famous warbirds join forces with the classic aircraft of yesteryear and the modern jets of today.

Grand Pacific Tours is offering two tour options to take you to this exciting event - choose from either the 13 Day South Island Getaway or the 8 Day South Island Escape.

Each tour includes a 3 Day Gold Pass which includes the best seats at the airshow in a grandstand situated directly in front of the runway, exclusive marquee access with CCTV, a souvenir Gold Cap and Badge, airshow programme, an opportunity to walk the flight line and entry to the Warbirds & Wheels Museum.

As well as the three days of airshow action, travellers will see some of New Zealand's most popular attractions and places, including the world famous Tranzalpine Rail Journey, thrilling Queenstown, and, for those on the 13 Day Tour, historic Larnach Castle and a cruise on the Milford Sound.

"Wanaka is nestled on the shores of a pristine blue lake, amongst the mighty peaks of the Southern Alps, creating a natural amphitheatre ideal for an airshow. This is an event no aviation enthusiast should miss," said Managing Director of Grand Pacific Tours, Peter Harding.

The 13 Day South Island Getaway departs 11 April 2014 and is priced from $3984 (ex SYD, MEL, BNE & OOL).

The 8 Day South Island Escape departs 16 April 2014 and is priced from $3084 per person (ex SYD, MEL, BNE & OOL).

Each tour includes a 3 Day Gold Pass to Warbirds Over Wanaka, airfares, taxes, accommodation, most meals and attractions.

More information can be found at www.grandpacifictours.com or by calling 1800 622 768.

Exotic Encounters in the Avalon World Collection



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Luxury river cruise specialist Avalon Waterways has released a new mini-brochure detailing its most exotic itineraries around the world, on sale with earlybird savings of $300* per couple.

The 2014 Avalon World Collection features 12 different itineraries on the great rivers of Asia, Africa and the Americas, each offering the same levels of service and luxury as Avalon’s European cruises. Aria
The selection includes journeys on the Yangtze, Mekong, Amazon, Nile and Mississippi rivers, as well as among the Galápagos Islands.

Joining Avalon’s program in 2014 is the boutique Amazon explorer Aria, a contemporary 16-suite ship designed for cruising South America’s greatest river in style. The Aria offers three-night cruises as part of an 11-day itinerary from Lima, From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon, priced from $6099* per person twin share (including earlybird offer).

Other choices include the purpose-built Avalon Angkor cruising the Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia.  With just 16 cabins, it is the only luxury ship small enough to sail all the way to Siem Reap and is available as part of a 14-day itinerary Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the River Mekong, priced from $3648* per person twin share (inc earlybird offer).

In China, Avalon offers the newest luxury ships on the Yangtze, the Century Paragon and Century Legend, operating a choice of itineraries that include other highlights such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. They are priced from $3119* per person twin share (inc earlybird offer) for the 11-day Magical China & the Yangtze River.

Avalon’s earlybird discount of $300* per couple is available on all 2014 World Collection cruises booked by September 30, 2013, or until sold out. Further savings are available for early payments, additional tour bookings and Journey’s Club repeat travellers.

For full details and bookings see licensed travel agents, visit www.avalonwaterways.com.au or phone 1300 230 234.

*Prices and special offers subject to availability and conditions.

Nature Meets Nurture at New Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort



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The two-story, full-service spa which opened July 25 is inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Senses Spa incorporates the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theme. Design materials and textures, including natural stone, pebbles and rich woodwork, will “connect with the earth and speak to the serenity and tranquility associated with nature,” according to Ginger Mclean, spa director.

Walt Disney Imagineers incorporated nature throughout the design using a hummingbird motif showcased in wood carvings and furnishings; alongside authentic Native American artwork.Guests are greeted with the soothing sounds of a trickling fountain, branch-like fixtures and soft amber lighting setting the mood for this new oasis for rejuvenation and relaxation. Wood floors, stone details and wood-beamed ceilings bring a warm, organic feel to the newly imagined spa and fitness center.

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Each treatment is guided by one of the spa’s core themes – relax, renew or imagine – each of which will create a custom experience. All the senses are engaged in an ultimate relaxation experience, plus flavorful and soothing elixirs harmonize with the treatment selected.

A completely redesigned space, Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, features 10 treatment rooms offering an array of therapeutic services including water therapy, massage and facials. An intimate couple’s room is ideal for honeymooners, or for those who want to relax and spa together.

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A glass mosaic tile mural featuring hummingbirds in a nature setting takes center stage in the whirlpool room. There’s also heated loungers and a steam room providing relaxation and renewal.  A glass doorway leads guests to three manicure and four pedicure stations, a great way to recharge after a day in the theme parks.

Signature treatments include:

Saratoga Springs Signature Bamboo-Fusion massage 80 min $200
Combining the soothing effects of warm stones and the ancient technique of bamboo massage, this signature Bamboo-Fusion treatment is guaranteed to create a deep state of relaxation. The Bamboo massage technique incorporates bamboo stalks providing deep-tissue work.

Saratoga Springs Signature Revitalizing Blueberry Facial 80 min $195
This unique facial experience incorporates a double mask, hydrating lip treatment, acupressure and facial massage.  Antioxidant and tannin-rich blueberries purify and tighten pores for a luminous, revitalizing youthful glow.

The opening of Senses – A Disney Spa at Saratoga Springs Resort follows the opening of its sister spa,  Senses,  A Disney Spa at the Grand Floridian Resort that opened in December, 2012 featuring 15 treatment rooms. For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/spas.  To book a treatment at either spa, call 407-WDW-SPAS.

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Disney offers additional facilities with traditional salon services, plus a limited menu of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, plus a fitness center to soothe and unwind.  These amenities are a convenient way to get a little “me time” right at your home resort. All five locations are now owned and managed by Disney so that means a whole new menu of relaxing and pampering services with a dash of Disney in décor and guest service.

 Treatment hours are from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. with extended hours on weekends and holidays at Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Olympiad Fitness Center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Study Branches Health Club at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Salon hours are typically 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily at La Vida Health Club and Casa de Belleza Salon at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Ship Shape massage Salon Fitness at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and Ivy Trellis at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Helen Wongs Tours - China Tour offer - free family airfare offer

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Book one of three Yangtze River group tours from Helen Wong's Tours' comprehensive China brochure and your partner will fly FREE* from Australia, a saving of $980 per couple.

This money-saving offer also applies to two of the long-time China specialist's premium group tours from the 2013 program.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel as a family, an additional two FREE air tickets will be extended to two children under 16 years, a saving of $2450 per family of four.

Senior travellers – over 65 years – save a further $100 per tour.

These latest hot deals apply to the Helen Wong's Tours 15-day Yangtze Wonders, 18-day Mighty Yangtze and 26-day Splendid Yangtze itineraries for travel, flying exclusively with Cathay Pacific, until November 15, 2013, the sale ending on October 31, 2013 or until sold out.

Prices (pp, twin share) start from $4990, $6220 and $8340 respectively for the first person, the partner prices starting at $4010, $5240 and $7360 respectively.

Book a 14-day China Highlights premium tour and price begins at $6630pp, twin share, a 17-day Supreme China tour from $7830pp, twin share (partner prices from $5650 and $6850 respectively).

"However, you will need to act swiftly to avoid disappointment as these deals are for a short time," urged founder and managing director Helen Wong.

A leisurely cruise through the breathtaking Three Gorges of the Yangtze aboard luxurious Victoria Cruises is a highlight on four of the five featured itineraries which also visit bustling Shanghai, capital Beijing and Xian, home of the ancient relics, the Army of Terracotta Warriors.

* Note: All free Cathay Pacific air tickets exclude air taxes and fees which are subject to change.

Details: Helen Wong's Tours, phone 1300 788 328 or www.helenwongstours.com

Monday, 29 July 2013

Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran Unlocks Wine And Dine In August





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One of the most talked-about new luxury resorts with its unique and chic contemporary style – Le 
Méridien Bali Jimbaran, unlocks wine and dine program.

This August, Le Méridien signature restaurant and bars features specialty Singaporean Chilli Crab, to Indonesia’s 68 years Merdeka Buffet and a traditional family dining the Balinese way. To unlock more information, visit http://www.lemeridienbalijimbaran.com/dining_offers.

Singaporean Chilli Crab @ Bamboo Chic
Chilli crab is a seafood dish popular in Singapore, commonly served with delectable sweet and savoury tomato with Chilli based sauce. Taste freshly local mud crab, prepared to recipe perfection by our Executive Chef Paul Lewis. Half-kilo of this Singapore’s most popular delicacy at IDR 250.000 net per portion, 
served with free flow of Lemon Grass Iced Tea (available for lunch or dinner).

Merdeka Buffet @ Bamboo Chic

Celebrate Indonesia’s 68 years of independence with flavors, our culinary team head by Executive Chef Paul Lewis is pulling all the stop to prepare a rich selection of cuisine from the Indonesian archipelago. Merdeka Buffet is served at IDR 225.000 net per person and with free flow of iced tea (available for dinner only). Add another IDR 200.000 net per person for free flow of sparkling wine and local beer.


Sunset Discovery Session @ Smoqee Lounge & Sky Bar
Tune in for sunset tapas with any purchase of drinks at Smoqee Sky Bar or hit the dance floor at Smoqee Lounge (every Thursday, Friday and Saturday) with our home-grown DJs featuring: DJ Anastasia, DJ Wilson, DJ Yudi and DJ Cindy and  our with signature cocktails from world renowned mixologist – Joseph Boroski.


World-Renowned Japanese Restaurant Meets Chinese Luxury in Shanghai Hotel



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With a legacy stretching back to 1866 and an iconic status within the Japanese dining scene, Inagiku is one 
of those places that seems impossible to improve upon.

And yet, at its location in the new Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre, the impossible has occurred. 

Combining its luxury accommodations with an eight-course dinner at this legendary restaurant, the Inagiku Japanese Dining Experience Package introduces guests to two remarkable Asian experiences.

Serving premium sashimi, sushi, teppanyaki and the tempura that made the restaurant famous, Inagiku at the Shanghai Marriott is helmed by Chef Mitsuru Tamura, an Osaka-born chef whose passion for arranging flowers appears in his flawless presentations on the plate. Guests who book the dining package will have the chance to see and taste this for themselves during the eight-course dinner for two that is included, along with a deluxe guestroom and breakfast for two daily. Considering that the Inagiku location in Hong Kong is known for lengthy waits just to get a reservation, this package presents one of those rare opportunities to bypass the crowds.

Guests at this business hotel in Shanghai will appreciate Inagiku's luxuriously understated décor, from the streamlined main dining room outfitted with navy blue and blonde woods, to the five private dining suites named after different types of Japanese porcelain. The crisp sleekness of the restaurant offers a calming antidote to the teeming streets outside, especially the nearby Nanjing Road, which is known as China's No. 1 Street.

So what exactly can guests expect to try at this Japanese restaurant in Shanghai? For starters, sea urchin paired with caviar; followed by shrimp cakes, matsutake mushrooms and citrus. From there, sashimi graces the table; crab works its way into egg custard; shrimps are rolled with tofu, pumpkin and eggplant; Australian Wagyu beef shares plate space with foie gras; shrimp tempura cozies up to a rice bowl; and chocolate cake finds an ideal partner in green-tea ice cream. This is one Shanghai hotel deal, in other words, your taste buds will thank you for.

The Inagiku Japanese Dining Experience Package requires a minimum two-night stay and costs RMB 1,780 per night. Of course, after such a memorable meal, guests will be in no hurry to leave, which is why late checkout (subject to availability) is also included. Some great things, it turns out, can indeed become even greater.

Travel Accessories Boutique Arrive Chic Now Offers Mini Travel Gift Sets



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Arrive Chic, the hottest trend in modern travel accessories, is proud to introduce a new line of mini travel gift sets.

The sets are the perfect mix of mini beauty products which make great gifts for any stylish traveler, for a beauty-loving friend, for a busy client or even for a camp counselor at summer's end.

"We have created these sets of mini beauty favorites and have wrapped them up as great travel gifts for those who are on the go!" says owner Ashley Vaccarino. "They are perfect for your carry-on bag, your handbag, or even your pocket as they are all travel-sized."

Some of the mini gift sets offered include:
The Beauty Essentials Set - this set will keep nails, hair and smile looking great on the go with a Tweezerman Mini Zip Nail File, Oscar Blandi travel size dry shampoo powder, and travel size Marvis toothpaste from Italy. Retails for $20.

The Beauty Basics Set - this not-so-basic travel size beauty set includes Tweezerman Mini Zip Nail File, Supergoop! SPF 40 Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Day Cream in 1 oz. travel size for both face & body, and travel size Marvis toothpaste from Italy. Retails for $25.

The Tweezerman Nail & Brow Set - save yourself (or a friend) from a beauty disaster with this kit that includes Tweezermate 10x magnifying mirror with suction cup back, Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezer, and matching Tweezerman Mini Matchbox nail files. Retails for $30.

To see more travel gifts and accessories from Arrive Chic, visit their website http://www.arrivechic.com. All purchases over $150 receive free ground shipping.

Alaska cruise post-tours


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SEVEN full days exploring the amazing wilderness and national parks of Alaska are a unique highlight of the 40-night fly/cruise/tour available from leading on-line cruise operator ecruising.travel

The Kenai Fjords National Park, North America's highest peak Mt McKinley, a motorcoach tour to Talkeetna and rail journey into Denali National Park, gold panning at Fairbanks' Gold Dredge No8 and a sternwheeler riverboat trip down the Chena River are all part of the wonderful touring sector.

The best of Alaska has never been more affordable as your tour takes you past the dazzling glaciers and stunning coastline and into the heart of Alaska with its amazing scenery and wildlife.

Departing on May 1, 2014, the itinerary includes 27 days cruising from Fort Lauderdale to Colombia through the Panama Canal to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver before spending seven nights cruising through Alaska's amazing fjords and bays.

The entire package is priced from $8599 per person twin share and includes return air fares from Sydney, three nights pre-cruise accommodation at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, (plus a night helicopter flight over the Vegas Strip) and three nights at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort before beginning the cruise on board Island Princess.

The deal also includes seven nights' accommodation in Alaska, coach and rail travel with extensive guided sight-seeing, all meals and entertainment throughout the cruise and use of the ship's many facilities.

For more information on this itinerary contact ecruising.travel on 1300 369 848 or check-out www.ecruising.travel


Friday, 26 July 2013

Le Chef Tickles Hong Kong Foodies' Tastebuds with Authentic Galician Fare



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Le Chef, the signature fusion restaurant at Metropark Hotel Wanchai Hong Kong, has once again kept ahead of the dining trend curve by giving Hong Kong an exquiste taste of Galicia, a vibrant region in north-western Spain known internationally as a culinary paradise.

Now a sumptuous array of authentic Galician food is served up at the restaurant, and the master heading the kitchen is Chef Francisco Pazos, the one and only Galician chef in Hong Kong.

Located in the far northwest corner of Spain, Galicia is a historical region where gastronomy is one of its biggest attractions and traditions. The main lure of Galician cuisine lies in its sheer variety, in particular seafood, and the emphasis is always on the quality of the product. Hailing all the way from Galicia, Chef Frank, who joined Le Chef as the Executive Chef this March, is excited to be bringing some of his favourite hometown dishes to Hong Kong, including Clams in Fisherman SauceOctopus Galician Style and Garlic Prawns.

Seafood aside, Galicia is also reputed for its beef, being the origin of some of the best steak dishes in the world. Food critics around the globe often heap praise on the top quality of Rubia Gallega beef from Galicia, of which only ox meat is used for the Steak a Txuleton and Beef Cheek in Red Wine, which are also part of the à la carte menu meticulously designed by Chef Frank.

The Galician menu at Le Chef is recognisable yet original, with many dishes made with special ingredients imported from Galicia and exclusively available at Le Chef. Padrón peppers, for example, are native to Padrón, a quaint little town in Galicia. The most famous produce of Padrón, the peppers have a sweet and mild taste, making for a perfect side dish. Another unique delicacy is Broken Eggs over Perfect Fries, a beautiful homemade dish from a century-old recipe passed on from Chef Frank's grandmother. As the chef proudly says, the dish tastes exactly like how his grandma would make it.

The only Galician chef in Hong Kong, Chef Frank is keen to learn more about Asian culture. Since moving to Hong Kong, he has combined his growing knowledge of Asia with his creativity and adventurous mind in the kitchen, thus creating a host of innovative fusion dishes made with Asian and Western ingredients and cooking methods. Tempura Veggies with Romesco SauceLamb skewers and Iberico Pork Presa with Seafood Sauce are some of the prime examples.


Coming from a warm, lively and jovial nation, Chef Frank believes that good food tastes even better when shared with loved ones. For this, he has created three set menus respectively for two, three and four persons, offering diners a variety of dishes with different flavours and textures. For the five-course Menu for 2, the scrumptious Pa AmbTomaquet with Tuna Mayo and Traditional Spanish Omelette make for a wonderfully light prelude to the award-winning main course – Txuleton, massive prime rib from Galicia served with perfect fries and Padrón peppers for a delicious bite. Menu for 3 carries seven courses including Pa Amb Tomaquet (bread with tomato) with Iberico Ham and Deep Fried Calamari, giving diners a taste of what authentic Galician cuisine is like. Menu for 4 is a hearty 9-course meal that leaves little to be desired. Grilled Prawns with EVOO is in line with the Galician devotion to dazzling seafood dishes, while Garlic Chicken is a feast for all the senses with the melt-in-the-mouth tenderness of the white meat. The three menus, which are available now until 30 September 2013, are respectively priced at HK$980, $1,380 and $1,580 (plus 10% service charge).

Online reservations made two days in advance will enjoy a 5% discount. Visa and Master cardholders are entitled to a 15% exclusive discount offer.

Exploring untouched China in the tropics of Yunnan with Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna



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Straddling the Lancang River and borderingMyanmar and Laos in China’s southernmost region, Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province is one of China’s best kept secrets. 


China’s last Wild Asian Elephants
And among China’s largest ecological system and the country’s best preserved tropical rainforests, sits the newly-opened Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna nestling into the local landscape.

The Resort is an ideal base to explore the very best of the local Dai traditions, nature reserves and wild animals in what is now a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. A series of packages, tours and experiences are offered by the Resort to ensure that guests get the most out of exploring the local area. These include trips to Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, Manfeilong Pagodas, Wild Elephant Valley, a traditional Dai village at Ganlanba plus tea-picking in the mountains, river rafting on the Lancang River(RMB 220 per person) and night cruises on the Mekong River (RMB 300 per person).

Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna offers an ideal base for exploring the very best of Southwest China
Xishuangbanna is home to the last few Asian elephants still in China, a species that only a few hundred years ago roamed across large parts of the country. Day trips from the Resort are available to the vastWild Elephant Valley (RMB 200 per person), a wildlife reserve teeming with oxen, peacocks, monkeys and elephants. The park also offers animal shows, tropical birds and a cable car with views across the whole rainforest.

Day trips to the Single-Tree Forest (RMB 300 per person) near Xishuangbanna offers a chance to live among history by visiting a 900-year-old banyan tree in Daluo Town. The tree covers an area of 120 sqm with over 30 roots anchoring the 70-meter-high tree at the center of the forest. The nearby Menglun Tropical Botanical Gardens (day trips: RMB 300) are also home to the most diverse range of flora and fauna in the region while closer to the hotel, the Xishuangbanna Primitive Forest Park’s (day trips: RMB 180) vast gardens are a great way to spend the afternoon in nature.

One of the most popular experiences offered by the resort is to visit the traditional Dai village atGanlanba (RMB 680 per person for groups of 4 or more). Inside the village, guests can experience a day in the life of a local Dai village through its customs, crafts, cooking and trying the foods from the local area including tropical fruits like coconuts, bananas, pineapples, lychee, jackfruits and oranges. Xishuangbanna is home to 13 ethnic minorities who have lived in tight-knit communities and villages such as Ganlaba for generations, with Jino ethnic minority specifically from this area. There are also shows at night by the town’s Rivers including Naxi culture dance shows and a Lancang River bonfire show.

Short trips can also be taken to the White Menglong Pagodas (RMB 120 per person). Situated on the top of the neighbouring Manfeilong Mountain, the nine white Hinayana pagodas have gold rising roofs housing colorful paintings, sculptures, and other relics. Other pagodas and Buddhist Temples can be seen throughout the region as well as a temple at the heart of the Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna’s grounds.

All of the day trips organized through the hotel include round-trip transport, attraction ticket admission, guide service, lunch and insurance. Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna’s experienced Concierge also offers full ticketing services to all of the local area’s attractions, day trips, car hire and onward travel.

Xishuangbanna is a place with tropical monsoon climate, abundant sunshine and rainfall. It has dry season and wet season each year and the annual average temperature is 21C - a real land without winter. The dry season is from November to April while wet season is from May to October.

Bali's Hot Property Semara Uluwatu offering Great Savings



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Fast becoming one of Bali's most in demand places to stay after Jennifer Hawkins wed here last month. Luxury cliff top property Semara Uluwatu is offering a range of generous discounts on villas and suites, putting the ultimate in Balinese indulgence well within reach for holidaymakers.

On Sale until further notice are Suite rooms at 60% OFF for stays from until 20th December 2013*
Prices including daily breakfast, 20 minute spa treatment, entrance to Finn's Beach Club, gym, tennis, use of putting green and free Wi-Fi start from US$475 ++  in the Garden Terrace Suites per room per night.

For group stays, the villas are even better value than ever, with savings of 50% available from 1st November right up to 31 March 2015*

This reduces the nightly rate to US$1403 ++ per 5-bedroom villa which is suitable for up to 10 adults.
The price includes return airport transfers, car and driver for eight hours daily, welcome amenities gift bag, 20 minute spa treatment, entrance to Finn's Beach Club, gym, tennis, use of putting green and free Wi-Fi.

Each of Semara's seven breathtaking villas offers an exclusive haven of privacy with 30 meters of cliff frontage and private swimming pools overlooking the ocean.

Semara Uluwatu guests enjoy free and preferred access to Finns Beach Club nestled on one the best beaches in Bali offering 180m of pure white sand.

Judged Bali's best new villa for 2012, the retreat also features a helipad, pampering spa and world class services including personal butlers, chefs and drivers.

For bookings or further information visit  http://www.semarauluwatu.com/
++ Subject to 10% service and 10% government tax charge
* Subject to availability and selected dates.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Marina Bay Sands launches Meet and Stay Package



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Meeting planners can now look forward to more incentives and choices when hosting guests at Marina Bay Sands with the integrated resort’s new Meet and Stay Package.

Available for a limited period of time only, this package is tailored for guests who are looking to enhance their meeting experience with more flexibility and options under one roof.


From now till 31 December 2013, groups with a minimum of 20 people can enjoy exclusive hotel rates from S$375++ per person for a Standard Package which includes a one-night stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, a working lunch, morning and afternoon coffee with snacks, as well as complimentary use of meeting facilities. Bookings have to be made before 15 November 2013.

Guests can upgrade their hotel package from as little as S$4 (Value Package) to enjoy a sumptuous international buffet lunch at RISE, located conveniently near their meeting venue. An upgrade of S$10 (Deluxe Package) will further reward guests with an additional snack item for their morning and afternoon coffee breaks, internet access for up to 20 users per day, as well as a secretariat office with refreshments. 

Topping the deal is a S$15 (Premium Package) upgrade that will include free internet access at the hotel and Sands Expo and Convention Centre for every room booked.

Mike Lee, Vice President of Sales for Marina Bay Sands said, “We have put a lot of thought and effort into creating the Meet and Stay Package that we hope will fulfill above and beyond the needs of our valued MICE guests. This initiative is yet another demonstration of our continuous commitment to further enhance the business experience for our guests at Asia’s leading business, leisure and entertainment destination.”

As part of its Sands Eco360 sustainability programme, Marina Bay Sands also ensures meeting planners and clients are given the option to customize their events to match the industry’s sustainability practices, while delivering memorable events. As such, meals included in the Meet and Stay Package also offers sustainable menu options for guests, from the selection of tableware to organic food items and Fair Trade certified beverages.

In a bid to enhance every event experience, Marina Bay Sands has also developed the Marina Bay Sands Meeting Concierge, a customisable app that allows organisers to update their event schedules and make new announcements in real-time to provide attendees with the most current and up-to-date information.

There is also a series of exciting activities lined up for guests in the second half of 2013, including Broadway hit The Phantom of the Opera at the MasterCard Theatres (16 July to 25 August), Essential Eames: A Herman Miller Exhibition (from 29 June to 5 Jan 2014) at ArtScience Museum. These entertainment options and the integrated resort’s existing array of over 60 dining choices will ensure an exceptional experience for meeting delegates.

The Meet and Stay Package is available for booking starting 9 July, and packages start from S$375++ per person. To enjoy this special deal, call +65 6688 8815 or email Up@MarinaBaySands.com to make a reservation before 15 November 2013.


Dusit Makes its Mark on China with dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou



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Dusit Fudu Hotels and Resorts, the joint venture hotel management company between Thailand-based Dusit International and China-based Changzhou Qiao Yu Group, announces the opening of dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou in Jiangsu Province, China on this auspicious date.

The soft opening of dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou marks Dusit Fudu Hotels and Resorts' first project in China, as well as the first Dusit-branded hotel to open in the People's Republic.

With views over West Taihu Lake and conveniently located in the Wujin Hi-Tech Industrial Zone, the hotel will meet the increasing demand for high-end accommodation for business and leisure travellers to the vibrant and prosperous city.

The hotel also offers guests three dining outlets, including: Tian Xiang Lou Chinese Restaurant, showcasing authentic Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisines; Coffee Garden, with international fare served from its signature open-plan kitchen; and The Deli, an elegant all-day bar.

dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou caters to conference and event planners with a 518-sqm pillar-free Grand Ballroom, four multi-function rooms and a 100 sqm foyer. From exclusive board meetings to product launches or corporate-wide celebrations, the hotel is equipped to host a variety of events in the bustling city.

From 23 July through 23 August 2013, guests can enjoy a 30% discount on all room types when booking exclusively through d2bcrsvn@dusitfudu.com

"We are proud to present dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou, the first of many properties to come under the Dusit Fudu Hotels and Resorts management company," says Mr Chen Li Bin, Chairman of Dusit Fudu Hotels and Resorts. "We look forward to developing the Dusit brands here, bringing the gracious hospitality it is synonymous with to the Chinese market."

The management company, whose head office is scheduled to open later this month, expects to operate at least 30 properties throughout China within the next three years, focussing on mid tier and deluxe projects. Its major shareholders include Dusit International, Changzhou Qiao Yu Group and noted hospitality veteran Mr Giovanni Angelini, former CEO of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.

dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou
dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou, Dusit Fudu Hotels and Resorts' first project in China, located in Jiangsu Province
dusitD2 Binhu’s Executive River View Room
dusitD2 Fudu Binhu Hotel Changzhou's Executive River View Room, 55 square metres

P&O Cruises Offer Good Cheer for Getaways over Christmas and New Year



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Holidaymakers will have plenty of reason to celebrate on P&O Cruises’ ships this Christmas and New Year, with cruises packed with fun onboard activities and traditional festivities as well as great destinations. 

Catering for passengers of all ages, the P&O Cruises’ festive voyages range from 9 to 12 nights to make the most of the extended summer holidays and give parents the gift of a great stress-free break.
For Christmas, Santa will be on deck for young and old, with children enjoying special Christmas-themed activities and movies, and adults relaxing as the festivities get underway.

Passengers can forget the hassle of queuing for seafood or cooking a hot roast at home, and instead feast on a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trappings - and no washing up.

New Year’s Eve means it’s time for everyone to party, with celebrations all over the ships, child minding with special kids’ parties and a memorable countdown to the New Year in the Pacific.

P&O Cruises’ Christmas departures include a nine-night round trip cruise from Brisbane on Pacific Dawn with visits to Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Vila and Lifou. Fares start from $1499* per person quad share.

Christmas cruises sailing from Sydney include 10-night cruises departing on December 18 on Pacific Jewel and December 19 on Pacific Pearl, both visiting a raft of Pacific Island ports, with fares from $1399* per person quad share.
New Year’s-themed cruises include a 12-night round trip Pacific Islands voyage sailing from Sydney on December 28, with an appropriate call at Champagne Bay, as well as Noumea, Mystery Island, Vila, Wala and Santo.  Prices start from $1799* per person quad share.

For more information see a licensed travel agent, visit www.pocruises.com.au or call 13 24 94.
*subject to availability, conditions apply..

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

13 Days Hong Kong To Vietnam And Singapore On Seadream II



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A WHOLE 13 days from Hong Kong to Singapore aboard the world’s highest-rated boutique passenger vessel,SeaDream II is selling in March next year from US$8544pp twin-share – almost a third below the originally advertised price a year ago and including all 5-star gourmet dining, wines with lunch and 
dinner, drinks from the open bars, power and sail water-sports (in ports where permitted,) use of a 30-championship course golf simulator, onboard gratuities, and US$845 in port charges and taxes.

The mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II that has just 56 staterooms for a maximum 112 guests served by 95 crew, departs Hong Kong on March 15 and will visit six ports in Vietnam, including an overnight in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon,) visit Tioman Island in Malaysia and have four full days for total relaxation at sea.

Ports, bays and islands visited in Vietnam include Hai Phong for capital Hanoi, Halong Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh and Con Dao Island.

For more details contact Julie Denovan, Director of Business Development Australia and New Zealand (02) 9958 4444, email jdenovan@seadream.com or visit www.seadream.com


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