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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Abroad with a brush - an exhibition of works by Janet Duff

Abroad with a brush

an exhibition of works by Janet Duff
September 7th - October 25th
Opening Saturday 7th September

Drinks with the artist 3-5pm.
83 old Bells of Line Road, Kurrajong Village
ph: 4573 0988

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cockatoo Island, Buccaneer Archipelago, Western Australia

Cockatoo Island, Buccaneer Archipelago
The Kimberley, Western Australia

Ayers Rock (Uluru) from the air, showing former airport

rock air

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

China Southern Airlines flights from Guangzhou to Cairns

Inline images 1

The announcement of new, direct China Southern Airlines flights from Guangzhou to Cairns is a fantastic boost for northern Queensland tourism businesses, ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani said today.

"Direct China Southern flights will connect Cairns with the third largest city in China and help open up the growing potential of China's return visitor market," Ms Mariani said.

"We know the travelling market is strong out of China, with 100 million Chinese expected to be travelling internationally by 2020; with Australia due to increase its Chinese arrivals by a further 12%, exceeding the million visitor mark over this period.

"With this kind of outbound growth from such a key source market, direct airline capacity to Australia is crucial to our optimising these opportunities.

"Return visitors from China are also on the rise and Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) is in the driver's seat in appealing to the maturing demands of this market with the incredible nature, wildlife and outdoor activities on offer."

Ms Mariani said a shift is occurring in Chinese visitors looking to experience more than group tours to major capital cities can offer them.  These new direct services with China Southern Airlines will help support more travel to regional areas by this burgeoning independent travel market.

"Direct airline access is a vital component in encouraging a growing return market and is highly appealing to independent travellers who are seeking an alternative Australian destination.

"Research currently shows that the independent Chinese market is growing, with less than 28% of Chinese visitors now travelling on a group package tour.

"North Queensland has seen a significant increase in Chinese visitor arrivals over the past three years, up from around 73,000 in 2011 to more than 100,000 in 2012 – and this announcement will further enhance these growing numbers.

"This is a significant win for North Queensland tourism businesses and ATEC congratulates the efforts of Cairns Airport in securing these services for the region.

"The work that has gone into winning these direct services acknowledges the importance of the tourism economy as a strong contributor to both local communities and our overall national export offering.

"With Chinese visitors clearly outspending any other market and forecast to grow by a further 10%, this market is vital to supporting the industry's Tourism 2020 goals.

"The tourism industry is one of the mainstay industries of our economy, delivering significant value at both a state and federal level, and directly employing around half a million Australians.

"Supporting new airline access and greater connectivity with China and other Asian markets is an important step in building on the strong and growing opportunities Australia has as a significant exporter of tourism."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bali Update: Allan Bryne killed, More condoms, Turtle poachers

Om Swastiastu ...

Everyone at Bali Discovery was saddened this week by the death of a remarkable Indonesian dancer and choreographer – I Nyoman Sura, who has died of cancer at 37. Another death, that of New Zealand surfing legend Allan Bryne, also occurred this past week, the result of a traffic mishap.

We also have news on a possible delay in the planned August 14th inauguration of Bali’s new toll way; a update on the delayed start-up of large x-ray machines for surveillance of vehicles passing through the ports of Gilimanuk and Padang Bai; rising indications that money laundering is rife in Bali; and the tale of the beating of a local travel agent by the angry owner and manager of a leading Chinese restaurant in Kuta.

There’s also information on the need for greater use of Condoms among sex workers to stem Bali’s very high rate of new HIV/AIDS infections; the arrest of two men for turtle poaching at Serangan island; the opening of a new Cardiac Care Center at Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital; and news that 31 foreign students are now studying music and dance at Bali’s Institute of Fine Arts (ISI).

Urged on by growing opposition to plans to reclaim parts of Benoa Bay, senior tourism officials issue a call for better and wiser leadership of Bali that prevents the further marginalization of the Balinese people.

We share news on a decline in Balinese exports; tell how the Hard Rock Hotel and Sole Men raised US$39,300 for two desperately needy Balinese families; and provide more information on the Sanur Village Festival coming in September.

The sliding value of the Australian dollars has been “nicely” set off by the concurrent slide in the value of the Indonesian Rupiah. We explain how that works.

We also provide links on worthwhile articles in the international travel press on Bali, including one regarding Bali’s attraction for disabled travelers.

Need dental work? Find out why an increasing number of holiday visitors are flocking to the Island to get quality dental care at bargain prices.

In Hotel news there’s a new appointments to report at The Westin Nusa Dua and The Rimba Resorts.

Aviation coverage looks at private aircraft parking availability for VVIP guest in Bali attending APEC in October and the grounding of an expatriate co-pilot working for Garuda due to suspected drug use.

Catch out editorial addressed to the Governor and the Regent of Badung on the need to be “hard headed” about motorcycles operating on Bali’s new toll road.

Looking Ahead:
Jansz Estate, The Naked Range Wine Dinner at The Laguna Luxury Resort on Friday, August 30
Michelin Chef Christophe Schmitt at Ju-Ma-Na Restaurant at Banyan Tree Resort August 16-24, 2013
On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever – Musical Fund Raiser for the John Fawcett Foundation at The Kejora Villas in Sanur, August 26, 2013.
Blues for the Blues – Music in Support of Bali’s R.O.L.E. Foundation at Tapeo Gastrobar at Kuta Beachwalk August 31, 2013.
Bromo Full & Half-Marathon, East Java Sunday, September 1, 2013.
IETS 2013 – a Conference on E-tourism comes to Bali September 4-6, 2013.
Miss World Competition at the Bali International Convention Center on September 8, 2013.
Sanur Village Festival VIII September 24-28, 2013.
1st Annual International Conference on Animal Training andEnrichment (ATEC) at Bal Safari and Marine Park December 1-5, 2013
Bali and Beyond Travel Fair in Bali June 10-14, 2014


Keep the news coming and advertise your products on Bali Discovery and Bali Update

Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/BaliUpdateEd

Om Çanti Çanti Çanti Om ...

J.M. Daniels, Editor
Bali Update
Bali Discovery Tours

Australia’s leading Canada holiday specialist Sensational Canada

Wondering why Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel has listed Canada as one of the world’s HOTTEST destinations?

According to Lonely Planet, Canada is primed and ready to be explored next year. Whether travelling there in winter or summer, there are plenty of activities and experiences awaiting the unsuspecting visitor.

Australia’s leading Canada holiday specialist Sensational Canada gives you five reasons to quench your curiosity and make you question why Canada isn’t at the top of your ‘hot places to visit’ list for next year.

“We have a range of travel and accommodation packages on request to all these unique and special locations that are unlike anything else you will experience,” Sensational Canada Director Sue Thorley said.


1. King Pacific Lodge – A resort that floats

King Pacific Lodge is a luxury wilderness resort unlike any other, where resort buildings are actually towed to a docking location in a sheltered harbour along the shores of Princess Royal Island during the summer months amid the temperate rainforest of British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific coast. A favourite destination of Kevin Costner and featured in Architectural Digest, the lodge is just two hours north of Vancouver and accessible only by boat or floatplane, and is one of the few Canadian destinations where you can view the Komode bear population.

Key activities include whale watching (where migrating whales actually swim past the lodge), fly fishing, heli-fishing, wildlife viewing and cultural programs in partnership with the indigenous Gitga’at Nation, hiking and kayaking and a day spa. The lodge has no television or mobile coverage but does have wireless internet.


2. Spectacular Sonora - Gourmet, Spa & Adventure Retreat

Sonora Resort, located on Sonora Island in Canada, is a high end luxury resort providing the best in pampering and gourmet experiences with daily degustation menus.

You can also fly to Sonora in the resort’s own helicopter from Vancouver.

The Wellness Centre is among the best in the world, with a fitness room, yoga/pilates studio, gym facilities, sauna, steam-room and three mineral pools.

Activities include golfing at Stoney Creek, a guided Grizzy bear tour, white water rafting, guided All Terrain Vehicle Tours through Holmalco First Nations land discovering wildlife in its natural habitat, a guided Zodiac nature tour, guided drift-boat fly fishing, helicopter fly-fishing and helicopter glacier tours.

The Deluxe Gold Rooms have fireplaces and soaker tubs while the resort offers an outdoor heated pool, hot tubs, steam rooms, tennis court, nine-hole putting green and games room, including virtual golf games and a state-of-the-art movie theatre, plus a stocked Rainbow Fly-Fishing pond.

3. Hiking with Huskies in the Yukon

The immensity of the Yukon landscape provides unparalleled choice for discovery. More than 80% of the Yukon is natural with its spectacular panorama preserved within comprehensive national and territorial parks and other protected areas.

An ideal destination for the adventurous type, Yukon offers spectacular day hikes usually joined by sled dogs, boating on Lake Laberge with visits to sites of historical interest, summer dog team rides, canoeing and lakeside picnics.

Staying at the colourful Bombay Peggy’s at Dawson City, this newly restored building still bears the name of its former Madam. Built during the Gold Rush era it served as a mining company’s headquarters and residence, a family home, brothel, boarding house, art gallery, and now an historic inn and pub.

4. The Okanagan Valley – A golfer’s nirvana

Discover this jewel in central British Columbia with more than 100 vineyards and 75 golf courses, the majestic Monashee mountains, refreshing lakes and rivers, lush orchards all meet to create one of Canada’s most loved golfing, gourmet and vacation destination - The Okanagan Valley.

Ideal for the avid golfer and located within the Okanagan Valley, Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club is a spectacular par 72, 18 hold championship course full of challenging fairways, well-protected greens, woodland glades and absolute cliff-hangers. You will marvel at the scenery around you as you play through tall groves of ponderosa pines and along the very edge of the picturesque canyon. Framed by rugged mountains and crystal sky, Gallagher’s Canyon is your getaway to the quintessential Okanagan golf experience.

Golfing is not all that the Okanagan Valley has to offer. The Mission Hill Winery can be thought of as a refuge from the hurried pace of daily life. You are invited to experience the nature and art of winemaking by walking through their glorious on-site vineyards and visiting their underground cellars. Sample fine wines by the glass, marvel at the vista and reflect on a process that’s almost as old as time itself.
If you’re after a great place to retire from golfing on the lush greens or sampling the highest quality wines, the Hotel Eldorado is the perfect boutique Kelowna hotel in British Columbia. Situated on beautiful Okanagan Lake and just steps from Kelowna's sunny beaches, this boutique hotel has a private boardwalk and marina. With twenty wonderfully intimate guest rooms, convention facilities and a lakeside dining room the Hotel Eldorado offers an atmosphere all of its own.

5. Aurora Borealis – A getaway in the land of the midnight sun

Take part in the Aurora Borealis adventure and experience the northern lights dancing in spectacular multi-coloured displays. You'll have an exclusive, front row seat for nature's own light show after dark.

In late summer, the Aurora often fills the night sky, reflecting off the shimmering waters of Blachford Lake. On crisp winter nights, the Aurora, the moon and the stars light your way on snow covered paths. The northern lights have been in existence since the earth formed an atmosphere, and shine most intensely in this region.

Blachford Lake Lodge sits on a remote jewel of a lake set in Precambrian rock, just 20 minutes by charter aircraft from Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. The spacious, handcrafted log lodge and cabins offer a blend of rustic charm and modern comfort.

Gourmet meals are prepared by talented chefs, and the lounge offers a cozy retreat in the evenings. Embark on a hiking trail or join an authentic dog sled excursion.

For more information or to book any of the listed packages please visit www.sensationalcanada.com or email info@sensationalcanada.com.au or phone 1800 446 302.

Family attractions in Singapore


Tropical paradise meets adventure playground – spoil your family in Singapore

With summer holidays just around the corner, vacation plans are top of mind. But with Mum dreaming of spa treatments and discount designer shopping; Dad hoping for gizmos and golf; and the kids wanting theme parks, animal attractions and underwater adventures, it often seems the only thing everyone can agree on is sun. If this sounds like your predicament, the answer lies just a short flight away on the island nation of Singapore.
Here we provide our top tips to summer fun in the Lion City, so that you can plan a spectacular summer break sure to see the whole family smiling.
1. Get out and about

Singapore offers a raft of outdoor activities that the little ones will love, from national parks and gardens to theme parks and animal attractions, that will see the whole family entertained from dawn to dusk.

Zoo
Enjoy a breakfast feast with the orang utans at the Singapore Zoo before exploring the 28-hectares of “open” zoo, home to more than 3,200 mammals, birds and reptiles. Relax as the kids run rampant at Rainforest@KidzWorld, where they can enjoy pony rides, horse carriage rides, splash around in the water wonderland, or fly down the flying fox. www.zoo.com.sg

Bird Park
Animal lovers of all ages will delight in Jurong Bird Park, home to 9000+ colourful, chattering birds. Feeding the Lorikeets in their loft is a firm favourite with the kids, as is the daily Birds of Prey Show, and Mum and Dad will delight in lunch at the Lodge on Flamingo Lake. www.birdpark.com.sg

Little nature lovers will love exploring the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens while parents wander the breezy paths of the National Orchid Garden. Then settle down for an afternoon picnic.. www.sbg.org.sg

Energetic balls of fun will love East Coast Park with its long stretch of coastline, sparkling waters and winding boardwalk perfect for walking, blading and biking. Mum and Dad can sit back and watch the ships roll into port, while the kids “wheel” up a storm - with roller blades, bikes and skate boards all available for hire. And when hunger calls, East Coast Lagoon Food Village is the perfect place to grab something to eat - while keeping your toes buried in the sand. www.nparks.gov.sg

For those looking for night-time adventure, an incredible experience awaits at the world’s first night zoo – Singapore’s Night Safari. Here you will discover nocturnal creatures as they too enjoy a night under the stars amidst 40-hectares of lush forest.www.nightsafari.com.sg

2. Action and Adventure

Sentosa, Singapore’s island playground, offers a raft of adventure activities. Ride up the hill via the Skyride chairlift before flying down on the Luge, soar through the treetops on the Megazip – the longest and steepest zip wire flying fox in Asia, or immerse yourself in a 4-dimensional wonderland at Sentosa 4D Magix. Head to Underwater World to come face to face with sharks, sting rays and the famed dugong, and while the kids explore Mum can rejuvenate her feet with fish reflexology,where tiny finned ones will nibble dry skin from her tootsies, leaving them smooth as silk. Make sure you check out Sentosa’s brand new Wave House, with its three wave pools catering for everyone from pro-surfers to learners.

Other activities on Sentosa include CineBlast - a state of the art cinema simulation ride, Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom - a must for a budding insect enthusiastic, and the mesmerising Songs of the Sea show. www.sentosa.com.sg

No summer holiday could be complete without a trip to a water-park, and Playground@Big Splash is the perfect place to soak up the summer fun. As well as water attractions it boasts an indoor mini-golf course, inline skating school, and numerous dining, shopping and entertainment facilities. www.playground.com.sg

Offering hours of water slide fun, Wild Wild Wet is a local favourite. With a meandering ‘river’ spanning the perimeter of the park, there’s no need to leave the coolness of the water when venturing from the rapid raft rides to the relaxing wave pools.www.wildwildwet.com

And if all that fun in the sun has got you beat, leave the heat outdoors at Snow City to test your skills at skiing, tubing or the traditional snow ball fight. www.snowcity.com.sg

3. Look, Listen and Learn

A city of contrasts, a trip to Singapore can be as educational as it is entertaining.

To learn about Singapore’s rich cultural history, pop into the new National History Museum. Here you can walk through time discovering Singapore’s past through the eyes of the locals, or explore the Living Galleries with their state-of-the-art interactive touch and smell exhibits. www.nationalmuseum.sg

Engage with the local Chinese, Malay or Peranakan people with a visit to one or all of the ethnic precincts. Soak up Singapore’s spiritual side in Chinatown with its temples, or experience its hectic street markets and food stalls at the Chinatown Night Markets and adjoining Food Street.

Lose yourselves in Little India, where the maze of streets and laneways are crowded with small eateries and shophouses selling everything from silk saris and jewellery to homewares and electronics. Then proceed to the cool of the newly opened Peranakan Musuem, housed in a conserved heritage building.

Or learn more about Singapore’s Malay populace in Kampong Glam and Geylang Serai, where the Malay Heritage Centre and Malay Village provide the perfect starting point to explore the Lion City’s traditional ‘Kampong Days’.www.visitsingapore.com

For the big picture, take a spin on the world’s largest observation wheel – the Singapore Flyer – which offers an educational commentary as you enjoy panoramic views across Singapore and beyond. www.singaporeflyer.sg

4. Eat Up!

After a busy day enjoying the sights and sounds of Singapore, it’s time to indulge in Singapore’s pastime by tucking into a feast. No matter what your appetite desires, Singapore has something to tantalise everyone’s tastebuds – and to suit all budgets. With restaurants and cafes renowned for their children’s menus and kid-friendly attitudes, whether you fancy eating along the Singapore River, in one of the fascinating cultural enclaves, or in a restaurant surrounded by natural flora and fauna, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Absolute must try’s are located in Singapore’s wealth of local hawker cuisine where a full feast can be enjoyed for under $10!. Try traditional favourites such as Laksa, Singapore Chilli Crab, Roti Prata and Ice Desserts from famed food centres like Lau Pau Sat Festival Market – Singapore’s first food centre; Gluttons Bay Food Centre – set alongside the picturesque Marina Bay; or Tiong Bahru Market & Hawker Centre – widely recognised for its delicious local food and fabulous atmosphere.

And as you wander the streets during the day, make sure you sample a S$1 ice-cream from an umbrella street vendor – heavenly!

For further information on Singapore’s family friendly activities, or itinerary suggestions, visit www.visitsingapore.com

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Australia's hottest Instagrammer makes her mark at The Sebel Pier One Sydney


Australia's hottest Instagrammer shacks up at The Sebel Pier One Sydney

 

After having spied Australia's most successful fashion blogger shooting outside The Sebel Pier One Sydney, the hotel has lured Jessica Stein, aka Tuulavintage into blogging, Instagraming and Facebooking to her social network of close to 700,000 followers from the Harbour View Suite at The Sebel Pier One.

 

Taking advantage of Sydney's clear blue skies and calm waters, she has posted a handful of pictures from the bath and balcony of the hotel's new suites and the Instagram image of her toes peeking out from under the doona with the Harbour Bridge just meters away has already amassed over 22,000 likes. 

 

Simon Wanstall, the Operations Manager at The Sebel Pier One Sydney who looks after the hotel's social media accounts thought having Jessica stay and take photos from the hotel was an idea too good to pass up when he saw she was doing a fashion shoot outside the hotel last month.

 

"We have a really loyal and active following on The Sebel Pier One's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts and I knew our followers would be keen to see what style of photo Jessica would produce. The photos we've seen so far from her have been really beautiful and they manage to capture the essence of the hotel. Jessica was thrilled when we offered her the suite for the night and she has been busy shooting fashion editorials from the suite for various publications. It has been exciting to watch".

 

To see more, head to www.instagram.com/tuulavintage and www.instagram.com/thepierone

 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Travel + Leisure Poll Ranks Bangkok as World's Best Tourism City, Chiang Mai 10th Best


Bangkok has been voted the Best City in the World in 2013, according to an Internet survey conducted by Travel + Leisure Magazine, a publication of the American Express Publishing Corporation. Chiang Mai, northern Thailand's largest city, came in at 10th best.

Thailand was the only country that had two cities in the top ten global rankings.

In the Asian cities category, Bangkok topped the list, while Chiang Mai was ranked third.

Bangkok got an overall score of 90.4, beating out other prominent global cities such as Paris, London and New York. Chiang Mai scored 88.15.

This is the third such top-ranked award that Bangkok has picked up this year.

In its 20 Global Destination Cities Index for 2013, MasterCard listed Bangkok as the world's top destination city by international visitor arrivals. It was the first time an Asian city had gained the top spot since the Index was launched in 2010.

TripAdvisor placed Thailand's capital city, Bangkok, at the top of its Travellers' Choice Asia Destinations list of 25 cities, while Chiang Mai was in sixth place.

The Travel + Leisure awards 2013 saw other Thai destinations, hotels and spas also score well.

On the list of the World's Best Islands, Ko Samui was ranked 9th and Phuket ranked 15th. In the Asian islands category, Ko Samui was ranked 4th and Phuket 5th.

Said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, "This is the result of the tireless efforts made by the public and private sectors as well as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration over the last 10 years to 'reinvent' Bangkok and take advantage of its extensive tourism and travel opportunities. Visitors to Bangkok feel it is a truly cosmopolitan city that is a perfect mixture of the old and the new. Its distinctive character is the result of Thailand's long-standing freedom while opening itself to all positive things beyond its borders."

He added, "We are also extremely gratified to see Chiang Mai, Samui and Phuket also gaining recognition thanks to the extensive efforts being made to improve tourism products and services. All these awards will go a long way towards helping the entire travel & tourism industry ensure quality control as we enter what will be a new era of growth."

On the list of World's Best Hotels 2013, three were in Thailand:

Rank 31 Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Rank 43 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rank 69 The Peninsula, Bangkok

On the list of Top City Hotels in Asia, five were in Thailand:

Rank 2 Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Rank 10 The Peninsula, Bangkok
Rank 14 JW Marriott Hotel, Bangkok
Rank 18 Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok
Rank 26 Four Seasons Hotel, Bangkok

On the list of Top Resorts in Asia, two were in Thailand as follows:

Rank 8 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rank 13 Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand

On the list of Top Hotel Spas in Asia, one was in Thailand as follows:

Rank 4 Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa, Chiang Rai, Thailand

On the list of Top International Airlines, one was in Thailand as follows:

Rank 9 Thai Airways International

The World's Best Award 2013 questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel & Leisure in association with ROI Research Inc was made available to subscribers at www.tlworldsbest.com between 1 December 2012 to 1 April 2013.

The complete rankings and survey methodology are available in the August issue of Travel & Leisure and online at http://www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest/2013

Airlie Beach Race Week: A fabulous Whitsunday race day to start event




The Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week started off in magical conditions for all the 110 boats across the 11 divisions.

The breeze was a kind south-east eight to 10 knots inshore and up to 15 knots offshore as PRO Ross Chisholm sent the fleet off on Course 7 around the Double Cones for all, then Armit Island for the bigger, faster boats and then further along to Olden Island for the IRC Racing and OMR Multihulls.

There were plenty of battles today, among the small and big boats, with some of the high achievers falling by the wayside in the soft wind and tricky tides.

First off today was Multihull divisions 1 and 2 signalling the start of the Multihull Australian Championship. With a clear start they slipped nicely across Pioneer Bay to the Mandalay Mark. David Turton's Move It, Julian Griffiths Hot Vindaloo, Mal Richardson's Malice and George Owen's APC Mad Max all showed early form . By the Mandalay Mark, Malice was ahead of APC Mad Max with the smaller boats starting to fall back as the bigger ones settled into the kite run to Double Cones.

It was the 'dark horse', the Sea-Cart 30 Morticia, that took out handicap honours in Division 1 ahead of Malice and APC mad Max.

In Division 2 on handicap it was the 50 foot Fantasia with Andrew Stransky using his light air experience from the Asian racing circuit to place him in first ahead of Phillip Day's Rhythmic and Scott Gralow's Bulletproof.

The IRC Racing Division entrants were tight on the line at the gun. Racked up and heading across at the pin end were Peter Hewson's Storage King Wallop, Peter Mosely's Local Hero, Trevor Bailey's Carbon Credits and Berrnie Van'T Hof's Tulip. The two TP5s, John Woodruff's Frantic and Bob Steel's Quest, stayed closed to each other near the middle of the line. The smaller boats, Brilliant Pearl and Treasure VIII were bunched up at the start boat end.

With the expectation of the breeze abating, Steel thought at the start of the day he would be carrying too many crew for the conditions and would have a real battle on his hands with his arch rival Victoire. But by the end of the 31 mile race and with the breeze holding at about 15 knots outside the islands and down to about eight knots inside. Quest was across the finish line well ahead of Victoire. "We got the gun and I think Frantic was about 10 minutes behind us and Victoire about another 10 minutes. There weren't any challenges out there, just a beautiful day in paradise. We did well. Let's hope we did really well," Steele said.

Steele got his wish with a first on handicap ahead of defending champion Tulip and in third was Howard Piggott's Flying Cloud.

Next off was the Performance Division. The little Thompson 870 Where's Wal? was in the game with Walter Lewin and Matt Allen's Ichi Ban. Howard Spencer's New Zealand entry, Menace, was on its stern as the fleet crossed cleanly. Charles Wallis's Reignition was to weather. At the first cross the Farr 400 Ichi Ban was holding off the MC38 Menace as they tacked away. Ichi Ban kept a cover on Menace.

By the Mandalay Mark, Menace was just in charge of the division with Ichi Ban in among the mix as the battle between Menace and Ichi Ban gained momentum.

"They passed us twice. We passed them twice. We were quite a lot quicker downhill and they were quicker uphill for a while and then vice versa. The boats are very different hull shapes so there is going to be time when we are going to be faster and times when they are going to be faster," Allen said.

Menace's tactician Tom Faire concurred that there was little between the two boats which will ensure their week-long battle will remain close, at least on line honours. "The boats are pretty even. They made some good calls and we made some bad calls. Then they made the bad calls and we made the good calls," Faire said.

Sneaking into first place was Philip Grove's Huntress. Ichi Ban was second, just 29 seconds ahead of Menace on corrected time.

Ahead in the IRC fleet, one of the smaller entrants, Gary McCarthy's Beneteau 34.7 Brilliant Pearl, had their kite on the deck, bare-polling their way downwind, for some costly time.

The Multihulls OMR 3 and Performance divisions were next off and with a clean start they had a lovely leg to the Mandalay Mark. Tony Richardson's Pocahontas was in the lead followed closely by the highly rated Midnight Rain, skippered by Bill Ferguson, and Mike Willcocks's Hot Option.

On handicap, Bernie McErlane's Zippy leads the PHS division. In the OMR Division 3, the top three boats are Pocahontas, Hot Option then Garry Scott's Coco Loco.

Back at the start it was the turn of the Cruising divisions. In Division 1, Rob Date's Scarlett Runner, who is racing just today, lead the fleet and the big Don Algie's Storm 2 off the blocks. At first mark Scarlett Runner, with a cruising crew of just six, increased their distance on the fleet. Next around was Mal Robertson's Eureka II and Brad Ginnivan's Fifty Shades of 50. Back in the fleet and with a small kite was Division 2 defending champion John and Kim Clinton's Holy Cow!.

At the finish of race one, Mike Roper's Ropabull was the leader on handicap ahead of Storm 2 and Eureka II.

Division 2 leader on the first leg was the local boat, Craig Piccinelli's Wobbly Boot followed by Nautical Circle, with Sandringham Yacht Club commodore Chris Carlile on the helm, losing ground as they tried to get the kite hoist under control. Out to port was Nic Cox and Col Thomas's Tribal Elders and Roger Down's True Love.

According to the Trial Edler team it was an America's Cup style start for them. "We just missed the barging buoy by only an inch. But we were also taking no chances as we did a 360, just in case," Thomas said.

Mike Keyte's Beneteau 40 Take Flight finished first on handicap followed by Nautical Circle and David Leslie's Shiraz. Tribal Elder ended up 6th.

Cruising Division 3 and Cruising Non Spinnakers were the next two divisions off cleanly and enjoying the steady breeze. Working towards the finish there was nothing between the two Clubman 8s, Synchronicity and Kameruka.

Barney Army was first home in the division. Skipper Andrew Barney had his family working hard all day. Sons Hayden 10 and Jordan 7, along with his sweet little daughter 4-year-old Ayla , were hiked out on the way upwind with mum Carmen and brother-in-law , big Gaz. We only have Gaz for two days so if it is light enough, we will get Hayden to steer," Barney said. After tying up, the kids were still smiling about the great day and also about the free lemonade at the tent and the chance to go for a swim.

The family had reason to celebrate at the end of the day with a first on handicap ahead of Tom Jordan's Shady Tradie and Rob Davis's Breakaway.

In the Cruising Non Spinnaker it was Nick Small's Huahine ahead of John Galloway's QLD Marine Services. In third on handicap was Dan White's Riff Raff.

In the Sports Boat the skippers kept themselves under control for the first race, starting cleanly. Noel Leigh-Smith's Viper QLD was out to port with Leon Thomas's Guilty Pleasures and Graham Sherring's Stayed Tuned. At the Mandalay Mark John Rae's Vivace was ahead of Jason Ruckert's Mister Magoo, Guilty Pleasures and Brett Whitbread's Crank.

The Mister Magoo team said they were looking "famous" at the top mark, rounding in second place. Then disaster struck as the masthead halyard came untied. "There was no way of getting the spinnaker up so we had to drop the headsail. Then we were 20 minutes behind where we should have been," Ruckert said.

By the finish Whitbread reported, "Crank was first home and Vivace second and then Guilty Pleasures. We were all pretty close, within about three minutes of each other at the finish. It was pretty tame conditions for the Sports Boats," Whitbread said.

On handicap for race one of the series, Leon Thomas's Guilty Pleasures was first to Crank, then Vivace.

Racing continues tomorrow with passage races for IRC Racing, Performance Racing, Cruising Spinnaker and Non Spinnaker, and Performance Multihulls. The Sports Boats and OMR Multihulls will be on Pioneer Bay.

The full results are on - www.airlieraceweek.com

Photos – NZL Howard Spencer's Menace and Matt Allen and Walter Lewin's Ichi Ban have set themselves up for a week-long battle with little to show between the boats, except possibly the handicap.

Photographer – Shirley Wodson, http://shirleywodsonphotography.smugmug.com/

Photos – Airlie Beach Race Week 2013, start of the Multihull divisions 1 and 2 fleets, By Shirley Wodson

Photographer - Shirley Wodson, http://shirleywodsonphotography.smugmug.com/

www.airlieraceweek.com
www.facebook.com/airliebeachraceweek2013
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Tokyo's Landmark, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu




The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is located in a tranquil,
green oasis in downtown Tokyo Akasaka area.
The Capitol Hotel Tokyu - the 29-storey luxury
hotel features 251 guest rooms with panoramic views
of Tokyo's skyline from the 18th to 29th floors.
The guestrooms are spacious with distinct Japanese elements
such as the "shoji' paper screen to divide areas of
the room for privacy and artworks by local artists.
The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, designed by the
world famous architect Kengo Kuma, is adopting
Japanese tradition and culture as its core theme.

World-Famous Architect Kengo Kuma Creates A New 21st Century Icon Reinterpreting Traditional Japanese Architecture

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu  is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

Adopting Japanese tradition and culture as its core theme, the prestigious building distils the very best of traditional Japanese architectural principles in a breathtaking contemporary building which will serve as a new landmark for Tokyo.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is located in a tranquil, green oasis in the downtown Tokyo Akasaka area, overlooking the city's historic Hie Shrine and close to the Prime Minister's official residence.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is on the site of the former Tokyo Hilton Hotel, which was opened in 1963 in preparation for Japan's hosting of The Olympic Games and became the first global chain hotel in Japan. The hotel was then operated as Capitol Tokyu Hotel from 1983 and closed its door in November 2006. It was for years "the" address in Tokyo, and received many international VIPS and celebrities, including The Beatles during their world tour.

The original hotel was demolished to make way for Kengo Kuma's new architectural masterpiece. With latticework-inspired exterior design and graceful interiors, the new 29-storey luxury hotel features 251 guest rooms with panoramic views of Tokyo's skyline from the 18th to 29th floors.

Its luxurious facilities include five restaurants and bars, five banquet spaces and two floors of state of the art fitness and spa facilities, including a 20-metre indoor swimming pool, membership gym and jacuzzi.

Spacious 45 sq m guestrooms invoke the delicate style of traditional Japanese architecture with 'shoji' paper screen divides and artworks by local artists.

There are a total of 13 elegant suites, 4 of them on the 5th floor enabling guests to enjoy the greenery of the landscaped gardens and the picturesque 500-year old Hie Shrine.

A Club Floor on the top three floors includes five types of rooms – Club Deluxe King, Club Premier Corner Twin, Club Premier King, Executive Suite and The Capitol Suite – and incorporates a Library Lounge for breakfast or cocktails exclusively for Club Floor guests.

Signature Japanese Restaurant 'Suiren' features the best of the country's cuisine serving teppan-yaki, sushi and the fine art of kaiseki in the peaceful surroundings of the hotel garden – and in the garden, guests can have traditional tea ceremonies.

Food & beverage venues also include Chinese Restaurant 'Star Hill', All-Day Dining 'ORIGAMI' and 'The Capitol Bar'.

Located in central Tokyo and connected directly to subway stations, the hotel is a convenient venue for events such as weddings, parties, seminars and business meetings. The "Ho'oh" room and Foyer can be combined for spacious banquets and large-scale gatherings.

"The Capitol Hotel Tokyu's unique concept marks a sophisticated new era in Japanese hospitality. It is a new type of luxury hotel in Tokyo that adopts Japanese tradition and culture as its core theme," said General Manager Susumu Togashi.

Architect Kengo Kuma said: "The question is not how you design the building, but how you design the relationship between the outside and the inside. You do not separate spaces with walls, but you use flexible screens, and you aim for an integration of the building with the garden and the woods.

"It's a miracle that such a densely wooded environment still exists in the middle of the city."

Many of the local artworks that adorned the original building are still retained including the famous works of Toko Shinoda at her 40s. The old piece is being showcased at the lobby along with a new piece she just did at the age of 97.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is located within a 10 to 20 minutes subway ride from Tokyo station and the major shopping and dining areas of Ginza, Roppongi, Shinjuku, Shibuya.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

About Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Preferred Hotels & Resorts is the ultimate collection of exceptional hotels and resorts in the most desirable locations around the world. For over forty years, the brand's legendary commitment to quality has ensured an unparalleled guest experience from the best amenities to anticipatory service and elegant sophistication. www.PreferredHotels.com


The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
Telephone:    +81-3-3503-0109
Fax:               +81-3-3503-0877
Email:            capitol.ma@tokyuhotels.co.jp
Address:       2-10-3, Nagata-cho, chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0014, Japan
Website:       www.capitolhoteltokyu.com


Worldhotels Horoscope: The Perfect Hotel for Each Star Sign

Let the stars guide your travels this year – with Worldhotels

Aries loves action, Cancer prefers a romantic atmosphere and Gemini needs people around. When it comes to holidays, the tastes of the 12 star signs couldn't be more diverse. With 450 hotels in 250 destinations and 65 countries, Worldhotels, one of the leading groups for independent hotels, can offer the perfect holiday accommodation for every taste.

Hotel Fort CanningSingapore
 Sagittarius (23 November – 21 December): Adventure and night safari in Singapore
Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore
Sagittarius is an open minded, positive and restless person, always seeking to discover new things and countries. The Hotel Fort Canning is located in the city centre of Singapore and is the perfect address for the Sagittarius to explore one of Asia's most vibrant cities. From here, it's a short hop to Marina Bay to discover new restaurants, dining concepts and pulsing entertainment spots that are creating a buzz in this urban metropolis. Alternatively, for those inclined to discover Mother Nature a stroll around Fort Canning Park unveils lush flora and fauna of this tropical city and the heady scent of spice gardens. Those seeking tranquillity can relax walking through the hotel's greenery or enjoy a glass of wine from the hotel's wine lounge.


Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Capricorn (22 December – 20 January): Outdoor-activities in a serene setting
Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
The stable and tradition loving Capricorn prefers peaceful settings to crowded destinations. On holiday he likes to enjoy the beauty of nature. Sutera Harbour Resort is located within the magnificent scenery of Borneo's Sabah. Spread over 384 acres of sea-front land with the majestic Mount Kinabalu its backdrop, it offers the Capricorn all facets of nature. He can visit the nearby Kinabalu Park and climb its famous mountain, enjoy a day at the beach or board one of the hotel's three unique vessels.

Aquarius (21 January -- 19 February): Fashion and style for free spirits
Édouard 7 Hotel, Paris, France
Aquarius is the most unconventional and extrovert among the twelve star signs. He loves everything extraordinary, be it fancy food, architecture or fashion. The Édouard 7 Hotel in Paris with its exceptional interior design and stylish details is perfect for this star sign. Aquarius will love the hotel's unique couture suites, where lamps look like hats and vases are shaped like hand bags. And if that's still not enough of fashion, he can enjoy shopping in one of Paris numerous boutiques.

Pisces (20 February -- 19 March): Romantic beach getaway
Pacific Beach Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Pisces are very sensitive and introvert individuals who often have difficulties expressing their feelings. They prefer peaceful destinations and enjoy solitarily. At the Pacific Beach Hotel in Honolulu, Pisces find a maritime surrounding and relaxation. They can enjoy diving in the hotel's three-storey indoor oceanarium and mingle with nearly 400 other fish. And after such an exhausting diving session they can relax in the hotel's Laule'a Spa with a traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage.

Aries (20 March – 20 April): Exciting city trip to Rio de Janeiro
Rio Othon Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunbathing and relaxing by the pool does not suit Aries' personality. Being the most active among the zodiac signs, Aries loves action and unusual destinations. The Rio Othon Palace in Rio de Janeiro is the perfect base for him to explore one of Brazil's most exciting cities. After a day of sightseeing, Aries can take a dip in the hotel's heated outdoor pool or enjoy the magnificent view from the rooftop bar. After dark he can dance the night away in one of Rio's many night clubs.

Taurus (21 April – 21 May): Cultural highlights with a spark of wellness
Royal Garden Hotel, London, UK
Taurus is the gourmet among the star signs. He loves the beautiful things in life such as art, cuisine and wellness. Located in the heart of London, overlooking Hyde Park and the adjacent Kensington Park, the Royal Garden Hotel offers the discerning Taurus everything he likes: culinary delights in its famous Min Jiang restaurant with an amazing view over London's skyline, relaxation in its Soma Spa and proximity to the many cultural highlights London the city has to offer.

Gemini (22 May - 21 June): Variety and fun in Sweden's capital
Berns Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden
Gemini is curious, communicative and flexible. He needs variety like he needs the air to breathe. At Berns Hotel, which is part of the famous Stockholm hot spot Berns Salonger, he doesn't even have to leave the building to find a mix of different activities: He can visit the Asian restaurant and dine under magnificent chandeliers, enjoy the view from the summer terrace or spend the nights at the trendy nightclub 2.35:1. If that's not enough, it also offers Stockholm's most famous venues for concerts.

Cancer (22 June – 22 July): Romantic stay at Milan's greenest hotel
Hotel Milano Scala, Milan, Italy
Being the most romantic among the star signs, Cancer loves to get lost in arts and music. His idea of a perfect holiday is to spend hours in an exhibition or to visit a concert. Hotel Milano Scala is located a stone's throw from Milan's cultural landmarks such as the 'Teatro alla Scala' or the 'Duamo'- one of the most stunning Italian Gothic Churches. Each of its 63 rooms features an opera-theme reflected in furniture and artwork. Cancer will also like the fact that it is Milan's first zero-emission hotel.

Leo (23 July – 23 August): Luxury holiday in a glamorous setting
ARIA Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The luxury loving Leo is the star among the zodiac signs. He loves superlatives and only the best is good enough. For this discerning star sign, the ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas is the perfect destination. With 4004 rooms spread over 61 floors, 16 restaurants, ten bars, a nightclub and three pools, the hotel is the embodiment of superlatives. Leo can enjoy a beautiful view over Las Vegas from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the magnificent suites or try his luck in the ARIA's elegant Casino.

Virgo (24 August – 23 September): Spa retreat in lush surroundings
Sagamore - The Art Hotel, Miami Beach, FL, USA
Virgos are very discerning and critical individuals selecting their holiday destination very carefully. Sagamore - The Art Hotel, one of Miami's most prestigious hotels will certainly meet the Virgo's high expectations. At the luxurious all-suite boutique hotel, the health conscious Virgo will enjoy being pampered from head to toe at the famous Rikra beauty bungalow before heading off to one of Miami's attractions such as the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden or the Art Deco Walk.

Libra (24 September – 23 October): Sightseeing and relaxation in Budapest
Continental Hotel Zara, Budapest, Hungary
Libra is characterised best by its elegance, taste and charming personality. On holiday the balanced air sign prefers a mixture between activity and relaxation. Budapest offers the critical Libra a variety of cultural highlights like the UNESCO-World Heritage Sites 'Buda Castle Quarter' and 'Gellert Bath and Hill'. In the four-star superior Continental Hotel Zara, Libra can find relaxation in two interior gardens, massage area and wellness center or enjoy the breathtaking view from the rooftop terrace.

Rihga Royal Hotel OsakaJapan
Scorpio (24 October – 22 November): Exotic trip to the Far East
Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka, Japan
The passionate and enterprising Scorpio is interested in everything new and exotic. For such an adventurous star sign the Rihga Royal Hotel in Osaka is the perfect destination to explore the mysterious Japan. In the hotel's 23 restaurants and bars, Scorpio can explore traditional Eastern dishes from Japan, Korea and China or Western culinary highlights from France or Italy. Those seeking physical activity can workout in the hotel's fitness centre or dive into its beautifully designed indoor pool.

Whether they believe in horoscopes or not, guests can benefit from Worldhotels unrivalled "Two nights and more" offer until 28 February 2011. This special discounted rate includes breakfast and can be booked at worldhotel.com/two-nights-and-more for a minimum stay of two nights. 

Hong Kong's Hullett House - Member of The Leading Hotels of the World


        

Hong Kong's Hullett House, a design-led heritage development comprising an intimate hotel and five restaurants and bars.

The Leading Hotels of the World is an exclusive collection of over 430 of the world's leading independent hotels and resorts, including grand palaces and intimate city hideaways, luxury tented enclaves and expansive self-contained resorts. Established in 1928 by several influential and forward-thinking European hoteliers, it started with 38 founding members.

Hullett House which opened in 2009 and is owned and managed by Hong Kong's Aqua Group, occupies a building which dates back to 1881 as the territory's former Marine Police Headquarters and which sits strategically atop a hill just steps away from the harbour and Hong Kong's famous Star Ferry Kowloon Pier, and is a rare example of magnificent colonial architecture.

At the heart of Hullett House lays the all-suite hotel that promises an intimate guest experience and old fashioned, personal service in each of its ten suites. A true celebration of Hong Kong's rich "East meets West" heritage, the ten sumptuous suites have been each individually designed by owner David Yeo to embody a period of history and highlight the importance of Hong Kong's cultural past from its roots as a colonial outpost of Victorian England through to today's modern Chinese city.


Boasting large private terraces with views over manicured lawns and the surrounding cityscape, guests can stay in a Chinese Imperial suite with hand-painted Qing dynasty murals and a bed fit for an Emperor, an elegant English pastoral suite decorated in restful greens with 26 hand-painted native songbirds, or a vibrant China pop-art suite. All suites offer all modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, rain-head showers and surround sound system.

The bespoke Hong Kong experience extends to the dining table with the House's five restaurants including St. George with its dining room reminiscent of a 19th-century gentlemen's club and fine French cuisine prepared by Michelin-star chef Philippe Orrico, the House's prized Hong Kong Cantonese restaurant Loong Toh Yuen, the Stables Grill, The Parlour and Mariners' Rest.

Hullett House is a celebration of Hong Kong's rich heritage and its colourful past, both architectural and cultural. The design-led heritage development consists of an intimate hotel, five restaurants and bars and a souvenir store. The property and its various elements are all housed within one of the oldest buildings located in the heart of Hong Kong dating back to 1881 and a rare example of magnificent colonial architecture. Hullett House is owned and operated by Aqua Restaurant Group. 

Phuket 'Millionaires Mile' Hideaway Paresa Resort


Luxury soars to new heights at Phuket's stylish new Paresa
Talay Suite's bedroom
The Infinity Pool

The luxury retreat at the island's most sought-after address at Kamala Bay received the 'Winner Award for Nature & the Environment' and 'Best Boutique Accommodation' honour among contestants in Thailand's southern region.

The new Thailand Boutique Awards (www.thailandboutiqueawards.com) recognise the country's boutique hotels of 4 to 50 rooms.

Inspired by southern Thai homes, Paresa Resort collected the honours for Phuket ahead of other destinations in the south, offering "unrivalled indulgence" atop stunning cliff tops amid lush tropical forests and gardens overlooking the Andaman Sea.

Its architecture is a unique reinterpretation of Thai cultural traditions incorporating chic modern Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired organic elements.

Artworks include golden angels inlaid in black, a reference to the Thai translation of Paresa as "Heaven of Heavens". The Paresa experience is completed by discreet yet friendly, warm & welcoming staff named 'Angels'.

Respecting pristine natural surroundings, traditional design with natural timbers and materials complements preservation of magnificent large Banyan trees across the property.

"This results in a seamless transformation from lush external natural surroundings to simple yet luxurious open plan contemporary design," said owner and developer Mr. Poompong Patpongpanit.

Comprising 49 luxurious and elegantly appointed guest suites and villas offering uninterrupted 270° views across the Andaman Sea, Paresa "reflects a newfound respect for the environment and nature", he said.

Paresa's award-winning accommodation ranges from 13 Talay Suites with outdoor balconies to 18 Aqua Pool Suites with private infinity plunge pools; five Dima Spa Suites with private infinity pools, steam rooms and 'island' bathrooms; seven Cliff Pool Villas with cantilevered infinity pools and their own wine cellars; six Cielo Residences with large infinity pools and personal butlers; and five Grand Villas designed for large groups or families, accommodating 8-12 adults.

Paresa General Manager Scot Toon said: "It's a fantastic honour to receive these prestigious awards in only our first year of operation. They reward all our hard work. All the Paresa 'Angels' and I are very proud that we have received this award for the Phuket destination"

The Thailand Boutique Awards were sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and MasterCard, with the aim of promoting tourism and recognition to boutique hotels and resort across the country in six major categories: 1) Architecture, 2) Renovation and Modification, 3) Nature and Environment, 4) Culture, 5) Total Experience, and, 6) Community Traveling.

Paresa wining the best accommodation award for the large southern region is also a win for the destination of Phuket. Showing that Phuket has so much to offer travellers.

Celebrate in the bubbly style of Moët ambassador Scarlett Johansson

Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson has been photographed in a series of publicity shots as the new face of champagne firm Moet & Chandon.



Karma Resorts


Karma Resorts, the stylish group of unique private villa resorts set in five star luxury surroundings.

Karma Kandara, Bali
Karma Kandara, Bali

At Karma Kandara, in Bali's dramatically scenic Uluwatu district, 

Karma Jimbaran, Bali

At Karma Jimbaran, you can have the best of both worlds. 

Karma Samui

In Koh Samui, Karma Samui is offering its own array of fun and entertainment

New Year's Eve with Karma Resorts

Karma Kandara's theme is Earth, Wind and Fire

At Karma Jimbaran, you can enjoy a gala 8 course dinner from Chef Miles Belfield while enjoying a jazz band then if you wish to continue,  head up to Karma Kandara and join the 'After Party' at Nammos Beach Club.

For further information:
http://www.karmaresorts.com/events-calendar/



Karma Jimbaran, Bali

Karma Samui


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