Top Luxury Offerings in Western Australia‏

August 29, 2014 on 10:08 am | In Australia, Beachbooker, Cabinweb, Western | Comments Off

Sometimes, you have to travel the distance to Experience Extraordinary…
What defines luxury? Palatial castles, dripping in gold? Custom-made Bentleys driven by your own, personal chauffeur? We’d like to think that luxury is defined by extraordinary experiences not meant for the masses, but for those willing to go the distance for something truly unique and spectacular. The diamonds of Western Australia are found under a billion sparkling stars that blanket an endless, midnight sky (although we have the priceless gem variety as well!) in the world’s southern hemisphere. The Bentleys are found in the form or private jets that take visitors to their luxurious accommodations, found in the middle of no fewer than 1 million acres of wilderness and along stretches of white, sandy beaches and extraordinary reefs. Priceless treasures grow right from the soil, from exotic black truffles to premium grapes made into world-class wines. Gold is found everywhere, from the mines in Kalgoorlie to the endless hours of gleaming, golden sunshine in the capital city of Perth. Western Australia’s definition of luxury is to have an experience like no other, in a place overflowing with natural riches unlike any other destination in the world.

Top Luxury Accommodations

From starry nights in one of the most remote regions on earth, to the barefoot luxury of a coastal enclave, WA offers world-class lodging for the upscale traveler

El Questro, The Kimberley
This Wilderness Park totals an incredible one million acres in size, and boasts some of the region’s most lavish accommodations. The location also grants easy access to some of the best attractions in The Kimberley such as the Bungle Bungles, Lake Argyle and Ord Valley River, which is teaming with Australian wildlife and boasts unforgettable landscapes. Guests staying in The Chamberlin Suite can gaze onto the magnificent sunset from their wrap-around veranda or from the luxury of a grand, claw-foot tub surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. Three Cliff Side Retreats offer uninterrupted views of the Chamberlin River and a garden rain shower, surrounded by stone walls that provide complete privacy.

The Berkeley River Lodge, The Kimberley
Experience the stunning landscape of the Kimberley’s true wilderness in ultimate luxury. Each of the 22 private villas offer sweeping, 180-degree views, while the main lodge is the perfect place to take a dip in the pool. Those looking for a more adventurous stay can opt to take a private helicopter for a day of fishing for Barramundi, ending their day with a secluded picnic of gourmet fare prepared by renowned chef Paul Seymour.

Cape Lodge, Margaret River
A favorite of celebrities, Cape Lodge is a five-star hotel located in the heart of Western Australia’s premium wine region, Margaret River. Guests can enjoy Executive Chef Michael Elfwing’s world-class, award winning cuisine – voted #4 on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Best of Food” Gold List – and sip premium wines at the source, all against the backdrop of acres of picturesque vineyards. While all of the rooms are beautifully appointed, The Vineyard Residence is the ultimate in luxury, with a Master Suite, two King bedrooms, a guest house, a private lake and putting green on three, gorgeous acres.

Sal Salis, Coral Coast
With luxury safari tents on a private beach just steps away from the Ningaloo Reef, Sal Salis is where the outback meets the reef in grand style. With the philosophy of ‘Wild Bush Luxury,’ Sal Salis is designed to expose guests to the abundance of the natural wonders found in the region. Swimming with Whale Sharks, guided gorge walks, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking further expose guests to the spectacular natural beauty of Ningaloo Reef and its surroundings. Sal Salis is Barefoot Luxury at its finest.
The Richardson Hotel, Perth

The indulgent, ESPA-designed treatments at The Spa at The Richardson and the elaborate tasting menus at Perth’s most glamorous dining destination, Opus One, are just two of the reasons why The Richardson Hotel is Perth’s leading, 5-star boutique hotel. Although located within a short drive to some of the city’s most alluring sites, The Richardson’s spacious accommodations, superb service and understated elegance may be too captivating to leave!

Faraway Bay, The Kimberley
Located at the edge of the Kimberley coastline is the unique Faraway Bay. A breathtaking 70-minute flight from Kununurra, Faraway Bay is only accessible by air and sea. Providing unrivalled luxury for a bush camp, Faraway Bay has eight spacious cabins which dot the natural bush landscape, offering privacy and 180-degree views of the spectacular cliff-lined bay. Guests can go bird watching, explore ancient Aboriginal Art, spend a day exploring the King George River, and explore the surrounding wilderness of the untouched environment. Visit Faraway Bay and book today!
Top Luxury Experiences/Tours

From private air tours to luxury outback experiences, Western Australia offers unforgettable experiences to travelers who are seeking adventure and luxury
Walk into Luxury, Cape to Cape Track, Margaret River

Walk into Luxury will offer visitors a new option to the Margaret River wine region offering an extraordinary experience on the Cape to Cape track with all the amenities. Walk into Luxury is more than just a walk-the all-inclusive packages are complete with post-walk massages, exclusive food and wine experiences, luxury accommodations at award-winning resorts, and a host of other upscale embellishments. Voted as one of Australia’s top ten tracks, the Cape to Cape track is a spectacular and varied section of coastline featuring pristine beaches, limestone cliffs, coastal bush land, wildlife and the famed Boranup Karri forest.

To book, contact Nikki King at

Bill Peach Journeys, Western Australia & Beyond
The Great Southern AirCruise departs October 20, 2014 and is a fantastic 12 days of exploring the South West and Golden Outback. On this luxurious trip, visitors will travel via private aircraft to Kalgoorlie, Perth, Margaret River, Albany, Esperance, Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island. The itinerary highlights Australia’s many varied landscapes, from East to West, encompassing a wonderful combination of wildflowers and wildlife. Contact:  or call + 1-630-758-0108.

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, The Kimberely
Discover how the rare Australian South Sea Pearl is produced at Cygnet Bay Farm, the oldest operating pearl farm in Western Australia. Go behind the scenes and learn how the family-owned and operated pearl farm forged a niche in the South Sea Pearling industry in Australia’s remote North West region. Cygnet Bay Pearl offers an extensive range of land, sea and air tours; to book, visit Cygnet Bay Pearls.
Cruise the Kimberley with North Star Cruises, The Kimberley
Australia’s North West is one of the world’s last true wilderness areas and home to The Kimberley, a region abundant with iconic outback landscapes and rugged wilderness areas. Embark on the 13-night “Kimberley Ultimate” cruise, during which guests can witness the mighty King George Falls, the ancient rock paintings in the caves of Jar Island before soaring in a helicopter to witness the stunning Eagle Falls. The Kimberley Ultimate offers a captivating blend of adventure, luxury and service for the elite traveler. To book, visit North Star Cruises.

Top Upscale Dining

Western Australia is a destination of culinary riches, boasting pristine, locally-sourced produce, seafood and world-class wines

Restaurant Amuse, Perth
Awarded Restaurant of the Year by the Australian Hotels Association, this fine dining establishment created innovative tasting menus dictated by what is freshest each season. Owners Hadleigh and Carolynn Troy’s strong ties with local growers ensures only the best, seasonal produce will be served in Restaurant Amuse’s elegant, serene setting.
Voyager Estate, Margaret River

The restaurant of this stunning estate winery is manned by Executive Chef Nigel Harvey, who creates menus highlighting the magical marriage between food and wine that is well-paired. MUST DO: The Discovery Menu invites diners to come on a journey that reveals the Voyager Estate story through six beautifully paired courses will inform and leave your palate singing. Alternatively, the Vintage Menu encourages guests to choose courses from a seasonal menu.

Nobu, Perth
The Master of Japanese cuisine, Nobu Matsuhisa, brings his signature fusion cuisine to the Crown Perth Hotel. Several omakase menus can be savored along with views of Swan River and Perth’s majestic skyline in the main dining room or one of two, private rooms, complete with private balconies and restrooms.

The Club Restaurant, Broome
This award-winning restaurant is one of several fine dining offerings at the Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa features exquisite artwork, a Club Deck for pre-dinner aperitifs and an Italian-inspired menu of gourmet delights. The menu highlights local ingredients such as Broome Pearl Meat and Cone Bay Barramundi, while the extensive wine list offers diners top bottles from around the globe.

Vasse Felix, Margaret River
The restaurant of this celebrated winery offers modern, Australian cuisine in a stunning, viticultural setting. Executive Chef Aaron Carr’s travels to Europe and Asia has influenced his cuisine, which helped the restaurant wine multiple awards including “Top 100 Restaurant” in Australian Gourmet Traveller and “Hot 50 Australian Restaurants” from The Weekend Australian.

Top Luxurious Gift Ideas

Known as the “Treasure Chest of the West,” Western Australia’s abundance of natural treasures will please even the most discerning shopper

Argyle Pink Diamonds
The Kimberley is home to one of the world largest diamond mines which produces this exquisite and rare pink diamond. For the ultimate experience, charter a private jet to the mine and choose the perfect sparkler for that very special someone. Private charters available from Edwards Aviation Australia and Aviair.

Broome Pearls
There’s a reason why Broome is referred to as the “Pearl of the North” – it’s the pearling capital of Australia! Cruise to a local pearl farm to get a first-hand look at how South Sea pearls, among the worlds most coveted, are cultured or visit Paspaley’s luxurious boutique in Broome. Not traveling to Broome? See these stunning pearls in Perth at Kailis Australian Pearls.

Kalgoorlie Gold
Home to the “Golden Mile,” the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth in the world, the Kalgoorlie Goldfields is the largest gold-producing region in the country. Feel the spirit of the gold rush pioneers and explore the area via four-wheel drive, or visit the Super Pit, the biggest gold open pit mine in the country.

Black Truffles
Manjimup, located in the Margaret River region, produces more of the world’s black truffles than the rest of Australia combined. Enjoy these sumptuous delicacies at many restaurants throughout the country, including The Truffle & Wine Co which specializes in tours featuring truffle hunts and exports truffles to some of the most prestigious restaurants around the world.

Indigenous Art Work and Artifacts
Collectable art from one of the world’s oldest cultures feature ancient dot painting to modern pieces of work. Artefacts include aboriginal tools and musical instruments, including the incredible didgeridoo which come in many striking designs. For authentic, cultural experiences, tours and artwork visit the Western Australia Indigenous Tourism Council website.

Extraordinary Deals

From the Outback to the Sea with COX & KINGS
10 DAYS & 9 NIGHTS / private journey; Perth, Ningaloo Reef & The Kimberley. Begin your travels in the sun-kissed, modern city of Perth where you’ll discover Kings Park botanical gardens and immerse yourself in the area’s maritime past in the charms of Fremantle. Head north to the remote Coral Coast where you’ll stay in barefoot luxury at Sal Salis beachside safari camp and experience the world’s largest fringing coral reef, Ningaloo – home to vibrant corals, manta rays, friendly whale sharks, dugongs, giant sea turtles and tropical fish. Next, you’ll head to The Kimberley, Australia’s last great wilderness where you’ll spend two days exploring its rugged ancient landscapes at El Questro. From the Outback to the Sea, this tour helps guests explore the best of Western Australia. To book, contact COX & KINGS at 1-800-999-1758, or email

Special offer: Book before September 1 and a pair of UGG boots are yours for free!
Learn About Wine’s Meet Us in Australia

This is an epicurean tour for food and wine lovers! Explore Margaret River region, celebrated for premium wines, black truffles and other gourmet delights, guided by Sommelier and Wine Educator Ian Blackburn. Trip includes stays at top hotels, including the Cape Lodge, multiple winery visits, activities such as canoeing and a visit to the Australia Aborigine Museum and world-class dining at top restaurants in the region.

Event Spotlight
Anzac Albany, Oct 30-Nov2
This special, commemorative event marks 100 years since the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force set sail from Albany in 1914 to fight in World War I. Events include a Ceremonial Sunset Commemorative Service, a free public concert by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Princess Royal Harbour Lights, a lighting and pyrotechnics show.

Upcoming Events

Staircase to the Moon, Mar-Oct:
Just a couple of months left to experience this natural phenomenon! When the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at extremely low tide, it creates the optical illusion of a staircase reaching for the moon.
Wildflower Season, Jul-Nov:

Western Australia is home to over 12,000 species of wildflowers, 60% of those cannot be found anywhere in the world! Take in the breathtaking beauty of these unique and beautiful specimens at events such as the Hidden Treasures Great Southern Bloom Festival, or book a tour: Perth’s Best Flower Tour via Australian Pinnacle Tours and the Wildflower Tour from Country Escapes WA Tours are great choices. For more information, download our 2014 Wildflower Guide.
Little Penguins, Sep-Jun:

Did you know WA has their very own Penguin Island? It’s less than one hour from the capital city of Perth, and is a great destination to meet little penguins, and swim with dolphins and sea lions. Click here to book a Rockingham Wild Adventures tour.
A Taste of Broome, Sep 12:

This monthly event showcases music, media, dance, food, arts and crafts, tradition and heritage of this multicultural community. Purchase tickets here.
Australasian Safari, Sep 19-27:
Competitors from all over the world compete in one of the toughest and most challenging motor events on earth.
Perth International, Oct 23-26:
The country’s premier golf event returns, with top international golfers, including Jason Dufner, Jin Jeong, Victor Dubuisson and Brett Rumford, battling for to lay claim to the AUD $2 million purse.

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The Chelsea Harbour Hotel Launches New Harbourside Afternoon Tea‏

August 29, 2014 on 10:03 am | In Beachbooker, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowLONDON – The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is delighted to launch two NEW luxurious afternoon tea menus.

In an idyllic setting overlooking Chelsea Harbour Marina and the River Thames, The Harbour Bar and Terrace is located within London’s only five star all-suite hotel.

Enjoy a traditional British afternoon tea with classic mouth-watering scones. Take your pick from a myriad of sweet indulgences such as strawberry panacotta, pistachio sponge cake and classic sandwiches with a modern twist including smoked salmon, lemon and coriander and spiced red pepper hummus. With a range of classic loose leaf teas and herbal infusions on hand or even a glass of champagne, this is certainly an afternoon treat to remember, accompanied by one of the most spectacular and exclusive views in London.

Traditional Afternoon Tea is £25 per person, whilst the Champagne Afternoon Tea, which includes a glass of Tattinger champagne, is £35 per person. Afternoon Tea is available daily between 3pm-6pm and guests can choose to enjoy it in either The Harbour Bar, on the terrace, or in Chelsea Riverside Brasserie.

Afternoon Tea is no longer limited to ladies who lunch, with the launch of The NEW Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea. From 1st September 2014, The Harbour Bar and Terrace will offer a more masculine take on the traditional concept. With crispy pancetta or smoked Applewood cheddar scones and a selection of sweet and savoury offerings such as Beef Steak and Guinness Pie, Wild Boar Mini Burgers and Real Ale Carrot Cake, this will surely satisfy the cravings of the manliest of men! Fear not ladies, if you prefer to choose the gentleman’s afternoon tea with the Whiskey and Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake, we wouldn’t blame you! The Gentleman’s Afternoon tea starts at £25 per person.

With no restrictions on maximum group size, feel free to get group of friends or family together to enjoy this unique afternoon tea. If however you are planning a party of 12 or more, booking is essential and please contact the hotel beforehand to discuss the various group options available.

To book or for further details visit  or call 0207 300 8403.

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New Tours in Aruba

August 29, 2014 on 10:01 am | In Adventure Travel, Aruba Bonaire Curacao, Beachbooker, Caribbean | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowDe Palm Tours offers new Cycle & Snorkel Adventure.

De Palm Tours

New Cycle & Snorkel Tour

In preparation for De Palm’s new off-road Cycle & Snorkel Adventure, some members of the management team were the so-called talent for the tour video and photo shoot. Together with a video production team and their new Trek Fuel EX 6 and Trek Lush mountain bikes, they went to the north coast for the start of the tour. Though the official tour will start at the Natural Bridge, the shoot began at Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins. The tour guide and bikers rode along the coast to Alto Vista Chapel, followed closely by a Land Rover with a camera crew. Like real actors, they had to bike the same path over and over again, climb hills twice, bike past the cameraman in the middle of the road, and pose for beautiful shots along the way.

The tour itself will follow the coastline up to the Arashi area where it will come to an end with a dip in the crystal clear water. Here participants will have a moment to snorkel (equipment provided), swim or just relax. The tour started this past April.

Kukoo Kunuku bus offers Dinner & Nightlife tour and Pub Krawl tour.

Kukoo Kunuku bus offers Dinner & Nightlife tour and Pub Krawl tour.

Kukoo Kunuku
Now is the time to hop on board the Kukoo Kunuku bus for either the Dinner & Nightlife tour or the Pub Krawl. They have been entertaining guests and locals in Aruba for over 20 years and know how to do it right!

Every month, birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons, engagements, bachelorette parties, girls’ getaways, spring break and all kinds of creative milestones are celebrated on the Kukoo Kunuku bus. It is the perfect choice for an outing with an incentive trip or convention, such as the recent Aruba Meets Europe event for international tourism partners.

But you don’t need a special celebration to hop on board the Kukoo Kunuku. You can even plan out your own private island tour complete with great Caribbean music and maracas to shake along the way. The Kukoo Kunuku offers many packages along with the Dinner & Nightlife tour & Pub Krawls.

Aruba Motorcycle Tours offer tours on Harley Davidsons.

Aruba Motorcycle Tours offer tours on Harley Davidsons.

Aruba Motorcycle Tours
Aruba Motorcycle Tours owners, Arjen Hof and Lucienne Hof-Kalis, have been living in Aruba for more than 15 years. Arjen, known as “the Harley doctor,” opened his own shop in 2011, The Bike Clinic.

“We offer daily Harley island tours for small groups in the morning, as well as in the afternoon with experienced tour guides. If that’s not your thing and you prefer to tour the island by yourself, that’s not a problem with our rental offers. Either way, you will enjoy riding through the endless variety of island landscapes Aruba has to offer,” says Hof and Hof-Kalis.

Aruba Motorcycle Tours offer a choice of four different types of Harley Davidsons, all well-maintained and clean: Harley Davidson Roadking—an excellent bike for the experienced rider; Harley Davidson Heritage Softail—a smooth ride, with easy handling; Harley Davidson Dyna—a powerful bike with a sporty riding position; and Harley Davidson Sportster—a powerful bike that’s easy to handle and great for short tours, mostly used by women. They also provide free pick-up and drop-off service.

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Make Family-Time Extra Special With A Trip To Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort

August 29, 2014 on 9:59 am | In Beachbooker, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowLocated on one of the island’s most beautiful stretches of golden sandy beach, Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort in Lanzarote is an idyllic family destination. And that means families of all ages and sizes! Beautiful suites, impeccable service and a wonderfully friendly atmosphere make this hotel the perfect destination for all. From children to grandparents, everyone is catered for, with junior football classes, six swimming pools and an exciting variety of restaurants. Princesa Yaiza is a truly multi-generational holiday destination.

For The Kids…

Kikoland Passports

Princesa Yaiza warmly welcomes children of all ages and strives to ensure that they have the most fun possible during their holiday. That is why the kid’s club at the hotel goes above and beyond the norm. Upon arrival, youngsters are given their very own Kikoland passport and are set an exciting challenge – to get the whole booklet stamped before the end of the holiday. In order to get these stamps, children work their way through a variety of hotel activities, from traditional tapas-making classes to dancing with the hotel’s friendly mascot Kiko at the mini disco.

Football Classes

While the older generations are happy to relax by the pool, children’s energy rarely seems to abate. Let them burn off some steam in the hotel’s football classes, run by the Lanzarote Soccer School. Kids can perfect their fancy footwork with inspiring coaches, playing five-a-side games with other junior hotel guests. Children will even receive their very own Princesa Yaiza football t-shirt to ensure that they truly look and feel the part, as well as a certificate at the end of their trip as a memento of their hard work.

For The Parents…

The Thalasso Spa

The luxurious Thalasso Spa is pure indulgence. For relaxation and some well-deserved me-time, parents can enjoy facials, massages and all sorts of treatments sure to leave them feeling wonderfully refreshed. The impressive spa has recently introduced luxury brand Aromatherapy Associates to their tempting spa menu, promising guests the highest quality of pampering. With couples’ treatments available, there is ample opportunity for parents to enjoy some down-time together while the children are well cared for in the hotel’s extensive kid’s club.

For The Grandparents…

Explore The Local Area

While it may seem tempting to spend the whole holiday in the luxury confines of the hotel, the island beyond is well worth exploring. The nearby village of Playa Blanca is scenic and charming, and offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional Canarian lifestyle. Marina Rubicon plays host to an inviting local market twice weekly, offering all sorts of home-grown treats, from quirky handmade goods to delicious local cuisine. Live like a local and enjoy delicious al-fresco seafood dining, all the while soaking up the wonderful island atmosphere.

For a taste of history, Castillo de las Coloradas stands on the peninsula of Punta del Aquila, just east of the marina. This impressive watchtower was built between 1741 and 1744, offering sound protection to the island. Along with old churches and the dormant volcano, Montana Roja, the island is steeped in fascinating history.

And Something For The Whole Family…

Gourmet Master Classes

With eight delicious restaurants, Princesa Yaiza is a truly impressive culinary destination. The dining options are universally child friendly, offering copious amounts of enjoyable family time. Rather than simply enjoying a delicious meal in one of the beautiful restaurants, budding chefs are given the chance to learn the tricks of the trade and cook up a storm themselves. One of the most exciting offerings is the tapas workshop, where guests can learn all about the skills and secrets behind the art of this traditional cuisine. Under the watchful eye of the hotel’s Head Chef, Carlos Perez, guests will prepare and present a delectable tasting menu using exotic ingredients and industry-insider techniques.

7 nights at Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort ( / +34 928 519 300) in Connecting Rooms costs £4,242 for 4 adults and 2 children on a Bed & Breakfast basis from 2nd November 2014. British Airways

0844 493 0787) flights operate from London Gatwick to Lanzarote and start from £234 return on these dates.

7 nights at Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort (  / +34 928 519 300) in Connecting Rooms costs £3,542 for 4 adults and 2 children on a Bed & Breakfast basis from 16th October 2014. EasyJet (  / 0843 506 9856) flights operate from London Gatwick to Lanzarote and start from £170 return on these dates.

3 nights at Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort (  / +34 928 519 300) in Connecting Rooms costs £1,445 for 4 adults and 2 children on a Bed & Breakfast basis from 18th December 2014. British Airways ( / 0844 493 0787) flights operate from London Gatwick to Lanzarote and start from £290 return on these dates.

To book visit or call +34 928 519 300

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Abu Dhabi Tourism to Launch Social Hotel Rating System

August 29, 2014 on 9:46 am | In Abu Dhabi, Beachbooker, Middle East | Comments Off

An Amsterdam-based startup called Olery signed a deal with the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority to provide the technological backbone of a new system of hotel classification and performance rating based on social media.

The technology compares the star rating of the hotel with guest reviews using a system Olery calls its Guest Experience Index. The system will draw guest reviews from sites such as TripAdvisor,, Expedia and

If the guest ratings at any hotel fall below a certain point, the system will alert the tourism authority so it can look into the matter, and if necessary take action as part of an overall program to maintain high standards in the region.

The system will also maintain an ongoing performance review hotel monitoring system that produces monthly reports. And it will provide an interactive dashboard that will provide the capacity for a real-time overview of performance of any hotel.

The system will go live in the first quarter of 2014.

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August 29, 2014 on 9:42 am | In Beachbooker, Caribbean, Cruise Boats, Dine Drink | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowToday, Oceania Cruises announced another expansion to its popular Culinary Discovery Tours by unveiling new experiences for St. Lucia and Antigua that are set to debut during the upcoming Caribbean season aboard Riviera. Already widely recognized as the cruise line for foodies, Culinary Discovery Tours provide Oceania Cruises guests with epicurean interests a unique opportunity to explore local food markets, vineyards, farms and restaurants with a knowledgeable chef from the Bon Appétit Culinary Center.

“Culinary traditions are often at the heart of many cultures and with our Culinary Discover Tours, we’re able to provide our guests with unique opportunities to share in those traditions firsthand,” explained Kathryn Kelly, Director of Culinary Enrichment for Oceania Cruises. “With our new tours in St. Lucia and Antigua, guests spend time in the kitchen with local culinary experts learning about the spices, fruits, vegetables and cooking customs that have influenced Caribbean cuisine for centuries. Our goal is for guests to leave the tour with new culinary skills, satisfied taste buds and a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culinary traditions found in the Caribbean”

The new Culinary Discovery Tours will be offered during the “Holidays In The Tropics” sailing that departs Miami on Dec. 23 and on two “Island Paradise” voyages embarking in early 2015. Highlights from the new Culinary Discovery Tours include:

St. Lucia – Spices Cooking Studio

After assembling at the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, guests begin the tour with a scenic drive through Rodney Bay Village to a magnificent private estate situated on the grounds of a former sugar cane plantation on the Atlantic side of the island. Guests explore an expansive herb garden at the estate before heading to inside the home for some hands-on cooking instruction. Using fresh, local ingredients, guests will prepare a menu of authentic Saint Lucian cuisine while learning about the subtleties of flavor and historical influences from the chef. Once the cooking process is complete, guests will enjoy their creations while taking in the natural vistas surrounding the property. On the return drive to the pier, guests will stop at the bustling open-air Castries Market, where farmers have brought locally grown fruits, vegetables and spices to market for nearly 100 years.

Antigua – Market Visit & Cooking Demo

Guests will enjoy a short ride to the center of downtown St. John’s and walk the local market with their Bon Appétit Culinary Center chef, who will show them a wide variety of typical local fruits such as breadfruit, mangoes, sour sap and dasheen. Afterwards, guests will make the short, but scenic, journey through the city of St. John’s to the charming Villas at Sunset Lane boutique hotel and cooking school owned by renowned Chef Jacquie, who will invite the guests into her kitchen to help prepare lunch. Chef Jacquie shops daily from local organic farmers and will share her secrets for shopping and eating seasonally. Following a hands-on cooking demonstration, guests will enjoy local, seasonal favorites for lunch while overlooking the beachfront property. After lunch, guests can go for a stroll on the private beach or relax at the property and perhaps peruse a book from Jacquie’s extensive library.

For more information about Oceania Cruises or the Culinary Discovery Tours, guests can visit, call 855-OCEANIA or contact a professional travel agent.

About Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises® offers the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations and exceptional personalized service, all for an extraordinary value. Known for its unique and destination-rich itineraries that appeal to the seasoned traveler, Oceania Cruises calls on more than 330 ports across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Americas aboard five award-winning mid-size ships: the 684-guest Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, and the 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera.

About Prestige Cruise Holdings

Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) is the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. PCH manages select assets in Apollo Management’s cruise investment portfolio and is led by Chairman & CEO Frank J. Del Rio and President & COO Kunal S. Kamlani. PCH is the market leader in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the cruise industry with over 6,400 berths between the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

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Greece Continues Its Tourism Revival

August 29, 2014 on 9:41 am | In Beachbooker, Greece | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowA new show of posters of Greek tourism, ranging from the 1930s to the present day, offers a little perspective on the not-so wine dark seas that Greece finds itself in now. The exhibition entitled “A journey in time through art,” put up by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) in Melbourne and Canberra, is a great reminder of how much this beautiful country has done for tourism over the decades. Things are beginning to look up for Greece, though the Greek people probably have stiff necks from so much time spent looking up from the red ink sea they’re cast adrift in.

A 0.6 percent growth in 2013 will provide the country with its first annual growth since 2007. With Greek unemployment at a crippling rate of 27 percent, tourism has been the lone bright star in the firmament. In fact, Greece believes it will surpass a record 19 million visitors this year, an increase that has created some 50,000 much needed new jobs.

The country’s previous high water mark was 2008’s 17 million visitors. The government has opened its arms to outside investments and that’s led to several new luxury hotels that are bringing in just the kind of high spending, low impact tourists that Greek Tourism Minister, Olga Kefalogianni has called for.

Spending tourists are the target. The best spending markets are Australians who spend €1,420 on land per vacation, Canadians at €1,207 and Americans at €1,098. Russian travelers had been a big boon also, spending €1,005, per visit, but Russian outbound travel has taken a precipitous drop thanks largely to new sources of oil, a spiraling ruble and Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian adventure. Russian arrivals are expected to fall top 1.1 million from last year’s 1.3 million. While this hurts Greek tourism, which represents about 16 percent of Greek GDP, it appears that more traditional Greek markets will be filling the breach.

The Mediterranean news agency ANSAmed reports that the optimistic 2014 arrival forecasts come from the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE). SETE based its projections on the January through July growth rate of 16.5 percent over the first seven months of 2013. Between January and July about 8.1 million arrivals came to Greece.

Especially encouraging is the 31 percent arrivals rebound at Athens airport. Many European travelers had been avoiding the capital and taking direct flights into such gates as Chania (22.9 percent), Mykonos (39.9 percent), Santorini (6.7 percent) and Kalamata (62.5 percent). The avoidance of Athens by European travelers has put a strain on the smaller island airports.

The economic environment has attracted investment in both new hotels and in renovations of existing properties. In recent years we have seen large multi-dimensional luxury resorts like the Costa Navarino, a year-round golf destination that opened in 2010 with two five-star Starwood-managed hotels; Amanresorts’ 38-suite Amazone near Porto Heli on the Peloponnese peninsula, which opened in 2012; 22-room Iconic Santorini, a boutique cave hotel that opened in April in Santorini; and others.

The latest developments include the family friendly Royal Minoan Beach Club at Villea Village in Crete operated by Karma Royal Group’s Royal Resorts brand. Located on Crete’s southeastern coast, the resort features a number of apartment units sleeping two persons, or one-bedroom and combination apartment units with sleeping, dining and lounge areas, fully equipped kitchenettes and more.

Under its new name, the MarBella Corfu (previously The Marbella Beach Hotel) has emerged after three years of renovation that have completely transformed the hotel. The hotel, a fixture for 40 years on Corfu, promises to uphold the values associated with a family-owned hotel as it enters its “next chapter.” Located with a view of the Ionian Sea, the hotel positions itself as a luxury family property.

All of the hotel’s 384 rooms have been overhauled and re-designed. The two-bed family suites feature spacious family rooms with direct access to the gardens, offering a safe family environment, interconnecting rooms and a new, purpose built Crèche & Kids Club. The restaurants and public areas have also been transformed.

Kefalogianni’s advocacy for less red tape on foreign investment is hitting some resistance with the European Union who are characterizing it as an unfair competitive edge that violates EU regulation. Fair or unfair, the approach is attracting interest from such international hoteliers as Four Seasons which has an interest in managing properties in Athens and the Peloponnese

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How You Can Fly Beneath the Fijian Waves

August 29, 2014 on 9:24 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Fiji Islands, Pacific Islands | Comments Off

Travelers to Fiji tend to be either honeymooners or scuba divers, but a new experience makes it possible to marry both groups. As the world’s first resort to offer beneath the sea journeys on the DeepFlight Super Falcon submersible craft, Fiji’s Laucala Island is literally giving non-diving honeymooners a chance to soar beneath waves, but they’ll have to do it one at a time as the craft has room for one aqua-chauffeur and one guest. Priced at $2,000 per hour, the experience can only take the highest rollers into the depths.

Don’t confuse the DeepFlight Super Falcon with one of those lugubrious bathospheric whales that make plodding coach treks through coral reefs around the world. This craft is sleek and fast, in fact it looks like a jet. “This exhilarating underwater flight provides an unparalleled adventure in the beautiful waters of Fiji, with 360 degree views of magnificent coral reefs, abundant fish, amongst other marine life,” said Laucala Island General Manager Andrew Thomson.

Laucala Island, once a playground for Malcolm Forbes, now belongs to Dietrich Mateschitz, C.E.O. of Red Bull drink company. The 3,200 acre island features 25 villas as well as the freedom to experience a variety of activities with spontaneity, ranging from pro golfing to beachside horseback riding to watersports and more.

The resort has been out front among Fijian resorts in lifting the destination’s culinary standards. The resort uses authentic Fijian food with Executive Chef, Anthony Healy, foraging local forests for ingredients for the resort’s kitchen. The resort’s main restaurant, Plantation House, features Healy’s daily menus that are based solely upon what’s been collected and received from fishermen earlier that same morning.

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Fish the Great Barrier Reef in Luxury

August 29, 2014 on 9:18 am | In Adventure Travel, Australia, Beachbooker, New South Wales, Pacific Islands, Queensland, Sydney | Comments Off

Luxury Fishing Off the Great Barrier Reef

Anglers on the North End of Queensland can find luxury fishing at the end of their rods on board the 68-foot, multi-million dollar, three-level yacht Blue Martini.

The yacht can be reached via helicopter transfers and sails with a personal chef out of Port Douglas.

Far North Sports Fishing offers both day and live-aboard charters from Port Douglas to Lizard Island and up into the far north chasing giant trevally, black marlin and barramundi. Rates begin at $8,000 per group per day with a four-day minimum.

New Ship Offers Indian River Cruising

The ABN Rajmahal launched in Calcutta last week as the latest addition to the Assam Bengal fleet. The 22-cabin vessel’s extra-shallow draught allows it to run City of Light seven-night cruises between Patna and Varanasi in August and September when river conditions permit.

During the winter, the ABN Rajmahal will run cruises on the Hugli and the Ganges with her maiden commercial voyage scheduled for Feb. 15.

The company’s Hugli and Ganges cruises feature one-way rail travel between Calcutta and Farakka at the beginning or end of the cruise.

Silversea’s Silver Discovery Begins Sailing Northern Australia

Silversea’s expedition ship, the Silver Discoverer will launch her inaugural season on a cruise from Darwin to Broome, and vice versa, during the Kimberley’s waterfall season.

Silversea will offer complimentary roundtrip flights from any Australian capital city to join Silver Discoverer from domestic ports.

A small expedition ship of 128 guests, the all-suites Silver Discoverer features butler service; fine dining with complimentary champagne, wine and spirits; excursions including a bonus scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle.

Halong Bay by Air

A new seaplane service will start in Vietnam’s Halong Bay in April, with sightseeing options, air taxi and other private hire services.

Halong Bay is a UNESCO-listed destination that is home to thousands of limestone karsts and small islands. Hai Au Airlines will start the service with two seaplanes.

The 12-seat aircraft will fly sightseeing flights lasting between 15 and 50 minutes.

The flights, using a Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX aircraft, are designed as a shorter alternative or as an enhancement to the Halong Bay cruise option.

Phuket’s Newest Hotel with 3 Michelin Star Chef

August 29, 2014 on 9:16 am | In Asia, Beachbooker, Thailand | Comments Off

Phuket Welcomes Newest Luxury Hotel, Iniala Beach House

10-suite retreat boasts impressive credentials in design, gastronomy and art

PHUKET, THAILAND – The exclusive Iniala Beach House is now open and accepting reservations in Phuket, Thailand, enabling guests to experience the whimsical property and luxury amenities firsthand. Each villa comes with its own spa and personal therapist and is uniquely decorated by world-renowned designers, while three-star Michelin Chef Eneko Atxa from Spain oversees the on-property restaurant Aziamendi. Situated on Natai Beach just 20 minutes north of Phuket Airport, Iniala Beach House has unobstructed views of the beach and the Andaman Sea.

Villas and Design
Iniala is comprised of three villas (each with three suites), and one spectacular Iniala penthouse suite. The residence is a masterpiece of design fusing traditional Thai architecture with organic, contemporary forms. World-renowned designers of the villas include The Campana Brothers of Brazil, A-Cero from Spain, Joseph Walsh of Ireland, Mark Brazier-Jones and Graham Lamb from Britain and Thailand’s Eggarat Wongcharit. Every bedroom and living space is completely different, a unique expression from these masters of contemporary design.

Villa Siam is designed by Eggarat Wongcharit and is a maximalist fantasy inspired by Thai culture and Buddhism; includes beds and sofas hanging from the ceiling by wicker bamboo. The villa’s own spa is located within an ancient Thai bell, with Buddhist teachings inscribed in the walls.

Villa Bianca combines the designs of A-Cero of Spain, comprising abstract explosions of art while two of the bedrooms represent giant seashells. Philosophy of Design of Russia has created a conceptual room based around the most famous of Russian icons, the Matryoshka. It is a playful set of dolls decreasing in size, placed one inside the other and this is reflected in the villa – populated with sleek and modern versions of the doll.

The Collectors Villa is a compendium of leading contemporary design, including remarkable work by The Campana Brothers of Brazil. Ceramic, adorned public spaces are at the heart of the villa, while Mother of Pearl and Bronze shine in the spa and the 22-seat private cinema inside is a Campana classic. The bedrooms within the Collectors Villa are each as individual and eclectic as the artists who have conceived them. Elegant and sunny from Spain’s Jaime Hayon; a symphony of ash wood and stone from Ireland’s Joseph Walsh; and a sensual

boudoir from New Zealand’s Mark Brazier-Jones.

The Iniala Penthouse is a collaboration between founder Mark Weingard and Iniala’s Chief Design Director, British-born Graham Lamb. It is futuristic, innovative, surreal and sexy. The Penthouse concept is that of a holistic environment – upon entering the room, guests take off their shoes as if they were entering a desertscape. The floor melts beneath their feet like sand. The bed extends from the ceiling, while the bathing area is sunken like an oasis in the Sahara.

Additionally, the penthouse includes two separate sanctuaries, one for adults and one for children. The Island of Iniala, designed by American Chris Jones is a space for children of all ages. The space is intended to inspire adventure — fairytales of pirates and jungles and includes a kitchen where children can learn to cook with the help of Iniala chefs.

The Playhouse, for adults only, is a fully-equipped private gymnasium complete with a boxing ring inspired by heroes of sport and art, alongside a bar, billiards and more.

Mark Weingard, founder of Iniala, commented: “Iniala is not just a retreat to relax in by the beach in Phuket – it is also a temple of global design, art and gastronomy. I am delighted that some of the world’s foremost creative leaders are creating Iniala Beach House – the ultimate place to stay in Asia. This is just the start of Iniala around the world as we develop a fresh, innovative Residence that will be a joy to stay in and dine in.”

The restaurant at Iniala is called Aziamendi and is overseen by Eneko Atxa, the youngest chef to have ever received 3-Michelin Stars in Spain. Eneko’s creatively crafted cuisine seduces the senses. He has created a new concept for Aziamendi, overlooking the Natai River, combining his traditional European techniques with the best of local Thai ingredients. Signature dishes include Bonsai Tree of juicy cherry tomatoes, Truffled Egg, Foie Gras Ash, Mushroom Tea, Snapper with morning glory and petits fours including white chocolate with mint and cloud.

At the core of Iniala is a big heart. Iniala has a strong charitable philosophy with 10% of all room revenues, and 5% of other revenues, going to charity. The Inspirasia Foundation was set up by Iniala’s owner 10 years ago and is committed to funding exceptional health, disability and education projects across Thailand, Indonesia and India.

The Iniala Beach House is available for private hire from US $80,000 per week. Individual villas and the Iniala Penthouse Suite are also available for hire from US $21,000 per week.

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