Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Seven Wellness Destination Offerings from Health and Fitness Travel

In a continuous search for the best wellness holiday spots around the globe, Health and Fitness Travel, the leading experts in healthy holidays worldwide, have teamed up with new partners to give you even more healthy retreat experiences in 2016. Choose from their seven hottest wellness destinations, from a tropical surf getaway on the exotic island of Bali to a tennis fanatic's dream active escape in sunny Florida. With their own special features and niches, each place can offer you a bespoke holiday to satisfy all of your well-being needs.

Bali: Komune Resort & Beach Club

Escape to a secluded volcanic beach overlooking a world-class surf break on the east coast of Bali at the Komune Resort and Beach Club. Relish in the beach and surf culture vibe as you connect with the adventurous, fun-loving and environmentally friendly team on this active getaway. Tone up with group fitness classes before cleansing with yummy cold pressed juices or centre your mind and body with yoga and relaxing spa treatments to follow. With stylish accommodation to suit all, from hip hotel rooms to spacious suites and lavish beach front villas, everyone can join in the fun at Komune.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 6 nights from $1,825pp or $2,130 for single occupancy. Price includes full board, a wellness program, and transfers.

Thailand: Amatara Resort & Wellness

Anyone who's in for a luxury wellness escape should look no further than in Thailand's premium new destination spa, Amatara Resort and Wellness. Tucked away in the tranquil surroundings of Cape Panwa, this five-star paradise offers a grand 180 degree view of the surrounding coast. Experience a personal journey to your most vibrant self with all-inclusive programs from March 1st that revolve on fitness, relaxation, weight management and building better relationships. Relax by the spa with massages and holistic treatments before enjoying the stunning sea views as you watch the sunset in the comforts of your own private villa.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights from $2,740pp or $3,315 for single occupancy. Price includes full board, a wellness program, and transfers.

Florida: Saddlebrook Resort and Spa

Known for its world-class accommodation and sports training facilities, Saddlebrook Resort stands out as an exceptional place to play and relax. Offering an extensive program that blends golf, tennis and spa, you are sure to enjoy a healthy holiday experience that will enhance your fitness and overall well-being. Let the entire family tag along the fun and excitement as Saddlebrook caters to tennis and golf holidayers of all ages and abilities. With a special teen spa service, young ladies and gents can also expect to have a rejuvenating experience.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights from $1,945pp or $2,480 for single occupancy. Price includes breakfast and a wellness program.

Brazil: Kurotel Longevity Spa and Medical Centre

More than just a simple spa getaway, Kurotel Longevity Spa and Medical Centre offers man benefits to your health and wellness. Working with the philosophy of the European Kur tradition of preventive and rehabilitative medicine, Kurotel designed a range of wellness programs to boost your quality of life. From helping you defeat your smoking habits and cancer recovery therapies to weight control and stress management programs, this healing holiday and its caring team of experts will look after you and equip you with the right tools and knowledge to continue a healthier lifestyle even after your stay.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights from $8,620pp or $9,255 for single occupancy. Price includes breakfast and a wellness program.

Turkey: D-Hotel Maris

Soak up the sun on a luxurious escape at D-Hotel Maris set high-up in the Turkish hillside. Overlooking the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea, you are never short of spectacular sceneries to marvel upon. Explore the crystal clear waters in the five natural beaches surrounding the hotel as you tone up with outdoor fitness activities including circuit training, beach bootcamp and guided biking tours. After a full day of action, wind down in D-Hotel's award winning ESPA and recover with rejuvenating signature spa or Ayurvedic treamtents and Hammam rituals.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights from $2,010pp or $2,395 for single occupancy. Price includes breakfast and a wellness program.

Italy: Ti Sana

Once a noble dwelling in the 18h century, Ti Sana was carefully restored and revived into what is now known as an award-winning wellness spa destination in northern Italy. Find tranquillity in the retreat's serene environment and relax in the privacy of one of Ti Sana's individually decorated suites. Featuring a signature "Healtheatarian" wellness approach, benefit from a combination of organic vegan nutrition, fitness activities and holistic therapies. Modify your own experience as you choose from a variety of programs that focuses on different aspects, including sleep management, weight loss, anti-ageing, stress relief, and detox.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights from $4,505pp or $5,005 for single occupancy. Price includes breakfast and a wellness program.

Portugal: Epic Sana Algarve Hotel

Set on the beautiful Algarve coastline, Epic Sana boasts spectacular views complimenting the retreat's cool and chic accommodation and offers a prime access to stunning local beaches. Explore your natural surroundings on a pleasant stroll in the pine forest on-site with cliff-tops in the background. An idyllic healthy escape, tone up with beach bootcamp workout, rebalance your senses with yoga, or cleanse your body with a thorough detox. Ease into relaxation with a top-notch spa experience in the Sayanna Wellness Centre offering an extensive range of treatments and therapies.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 3 nights from $1,100pp or $2,380 for single occupancy. Price includes breakfast, a wellness program and private transfers.

For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com.au or call 1300 551 353

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Five of the Best of British Nosh

When it comes to British food, it is time to update your knowledge. The nation that invented afternoon tea is a criminally underrated gastronomic destination. From its signature fish ‘n’ chips to Michelin-starred establishments, Britain is packed with culinary delights guaranteed to suit every traveller’s taste and budget. And one of the best places toexperience the best of British food is Northern England.

Not convinced? Here's five picks to relish some hearty food and drinks with warm hospitality to match in Northern England.

Marble Arch, Manchester

Marble Arch, the flagship for Manchester’s finest microbrewery Marble, is one of the best places to sample top-notch craft beer – and especially the dry and pale ales Manchester is famous for. Marble Arch is the quintessential example of British pub culture – a feel good alehouse that is full of laughter, debates and regular ‘irregulars’. Like any good gastro pub, it also has a fantastic menu featuring lots of traditional favourites like a Ploughman’s Plate. So if you are ever in Manchester, make sure you head down and have a pint or two!

Where: 73 Rochdale Road, M4 4HY

The Free Trade Inn - Newcastle

With over 10,000 followers on Twitter, The Free Trade Inn is somewhat of an institution in Newcastle. Self-described as “an absolute dump” on Facebook, it is known for its down-to-earth approach and being one of the oldest and best-loved craft ale pubs in the area. Its stellar location makes a perfect spot for travellers – the up-river view to Newcastle is bulging with iconic buildings and bridges.

Where: Above East Quayside, NE6 1AP

Panoramic 34 - Liverpool

If you think Liverpool is only about football, think again. Over the last few years it has slowly and surely emerged as a significant cultural hub with a buzzing food scene. Current ‘it’ restaurant, Panoramic 34 is perched on the 34thfloor of the city’s West Tower, making it one of the highest restaurants in UK with a 360 view of Liverpool and beyond. For wine lovers, you will be delighted with its unparalleled wine selection.

Where: 34th Floor, West Tower, Brook St, Liverpool L3 9PJ

If you consider yourself a serious foodie, Northern England is a culinary destination not to be missed. Whether you are looking for a tasty budget meal, a fine pint of beer or a memorable dining experience, you will be spoilt for choice. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Philadelphia: first World Heritage City in the United States

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Commerce Director, and the Global Philadelphia Association announced that the City of Philadelphia has become the first World Heritage City in the United States, formally receiving the designation this evening through a vote taken by the XIII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in Arequipa, Peru. The designation comes as the result of a two-year campaign and is expected to enhance the City’s international stature and provide a new growth engine to drive tourism and commerce in the region.

“Today marks the start of a new and exciting chapter in the history of Philadelphia, which is proud to become the first World Heritage City in the United States,” said Mayor Nutter. “As a World Heritage City, Philadelphia is being officially recognized on the global stage for its wealth of contributions to the world as the epicenter of American democracy and for its enduring commitment to preserving the unique historical and cultural assets in our diverse community. As we celebrate this milestone, the next step is to focus on the future and how we can optimize this World Heritage City recognition to attract more people to visit, invest, work, study and live in Philadelphia.”

Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger and John F. Smith, III, Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association, led a delegation of Philadelphia officials to the World Congress that included Sylvie Gallier-Howard, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor; Fernando Trevino, Deputy Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs; and Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of the Global Philadelphia Association.

“From its Colonial history to the present day, Philadelphia has rightfully earned its place as one of greatest cities in the world,” said Deputy Mayor Greenberger. “Becoming a World Heritage City is a reflection of all that we have accomplished and a confirmation of the fact that the best is yet to come as Philadelphia continues to evolve and transform itself.”

John F. Smith III, whose organization, the Global Philadelphia Association, has worked with Mayor Nutter’s Administration on the joint initiative since 2013, said, “Philadelphia is adding another ‘first’ to its distinguished resume as the first World Heritage City in our nation. This opens new doors of opportunity for Philadelphia while raising awareness of the City’s importance in today’s highly competitive global arena.”

Philadelphia’s strong case to become the first World Heritage City in the U.S. began with a revolutionary foundation – the fact that the City is the home of Independence Hall, where America’s Founding Fathers forged democratic ideals into the Declaration of Independence and changed the course of history to give birth to a nation in 1776. It is also where the United States Constitution was written and signed. Independence Hall became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. In 2013, Philadelphia was approved as an Observer Member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Earlier this year, the World Heritage Philadelphia Executive Committee submitted an application to become a Full Member. Philadelphia, the fifth-largest U.S. city, joins 266 other World Heritage Cities in the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

“I am thrilled to welcome Philadelphia into the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Over the last two years, Philadelphia has made an excellent case and is very deserving of becoming the first U.S. City to become a full member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities,” said Denis Ricard, Secretary General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

At a symposium in Philadelphia last month, the Global Philadelphia Association and the City of Philadelphia invited more than one hundred leaders in the public and private sectors to discuss ideas and strategies that could be implemented following the World Heritage City designation. Now, these partners will develop and coordinate a plan of action in the months to come.

“As the birthplace of America, with its rich heritage of history, arts and culture and an ideal location on the Northeast coast of the United States, Philadelphia has so much to offer the world,” said Jack Ferguson, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The World Heritage City designation is a great honor for our City. It further enhances the value of our global brand and will help to attract even more tourists and conventions to Philadelphia.”

Mayor Nutter and the delegation will celebrate this historic designation with a Toast to World Heritage PHL at the Independence Visitors Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday, November 11th at 4pm.

For information about the Organization of World Heritage Cities, visit www.ovpm.org.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Valentine's Day, it's not all chocolates and flowers

Wego explores Valentine's Day around the world

Love spoons, white chocolate and bonfires are just some of the origins of Valentine's Day traditions around the world.

Wego.com, the leading travel search site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East explores some of the more unique backgrounds of traditions for the day that the world celebrates love.

"Valentine's Day is steeped in history and tradition and has evolved in many countries to appear nothing like what our modern day notions of what the day is all about," said Joachim Holte, Chief Marketing Officer, Wego.

"In South Korea it's a popular celebration where the women are responsible for giving gifts from February 14 and continuing through to April," explained Holte. "It's not until March 14 that men return with gifts of their own to their partner. Should you not have a partner by April 14, South Korean singles sadly consume bowls of jajangmyeon (black bean paste noodles)."

Similarly, Japanese women give men gifts of chocolates, sometimes handmade, and the men respond with white chocolate on March 14 (called 'White Day'), as a result of a popular marketing campaign by Japan's national confectionery association in the 1980s, which has since become an annual tradition.

"It's all about chocolate in Japan," said Holte. "The shops overflow with some incredibly creative displays and in true Japanese tradition, each chocolate represents different meanings."

'Giri-choko' which literally means 'the obligation chocolate' is shared with classmates or co-workers; 'tomo-choko', 'the friend's chocolate', which is given with a bit more sincerity to closer friends, and 'hommei-choko', is for your beloved.

In the Philippines, weddings are better when celebrated en masse on Valentine's Day.

"It's become an annual tradition that the government, church or a charitable group, sponsor a group wedding in the Philippines on Valentine's Day, and not just because the country is more romantic than others," said Holte. "Mass rites are particularly helpful to low-income families, yet the yearly celebration now sees up to 4,000 couples join their lives together on February 14."

China has their own Valentine's Day, traditionally falling on the seventh day of the seventh month each year, which in 2016 is August 19. However they still participate in western traditions by exchanging gifts.

"There are some interesting reasons behind what not to give in China on Valentine's Day," Holte continued. "Don't give your partner an umbrella, as the sound of the Chinese symbol for 'umbrella' and 'breaking up' is very similar. Not advisable either to give shoes as a gift as it implies you are sending your love away."

Similarly to China, in Malaysia, they celebrate Valentine's Day on the seventh day of the seventh month, and single women have been known to write their phone numbers on an orange, then cast them into a river hoping their love, and destiny, will find them.

In India, Valentine's Day is a more recent phenomenon, although in West Bengal the festival of Saraswati, which is more closely aligned with learning, is seen as a modern day version of Valentine's Day by the young.

"While rarely acknowledged as a public holiday, a traditional celebration of love and romance is adapted through a variety of translations around the world, even if not always on February 14," Holte said. "Celebrations can be traced back to Roman times and were not originally linked to romance, but instead connects the Saint to the beginning of spring."

"In fact the UK has a wide variety of regional traditions honouring St Valentine. One of the oldest traditions, dating back to the 17th century, is the presenting of an intricately carved Lovespoon in Wales, decorated with symbols of love to show their intended their amazing skills."

"Revenge was the order of the day in France where jilted women would gather to burn images and hurl abuse in huge bonfires. The aggressive ritual became a little too much for the French government who eventually banned the tradition."

Today's singles can take heart, as opportunities now abound on Valentine's Day to find a perfect match.

"If you're single, this can be one of the best times to take a trip," said Holte. "Travel can be one of the most romantic experiences you can undertake and many cities around the world now hold extravagant events for those who are single on Valentine's Day."

London, New York and Sydney in particular are hotspots for exclusive single parties attended by hundreds.

"You never know who you might be seated next to on the plane, bump into at the baggage carousel, or ask for directions," said Holte in conclusion "Travel and romance go hand in hand."

For more information, visit http://www.wego.com/about.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Australian Stories

News you can use
 6 ways to cruise around Australia
Australia has a special connection to the water through its many rivers, reefs and harbours. Cruising is an excellent way to discover the country’s iconic aquatic and coastal destinations and experience the Australian way of life. Spot wildlife as your cruise along small inland rivers, or discover small port towns along the coast line with the help of this guide on Australia.com.
 The Australian Ballet announces 2016 season
Inspired by the theme of transformation, The Australian Ballet’s 2016 season features both classic and contemporary works including the Australian premiere of the Nijinsky masterpiece, CoppĂ©lia, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. The calendar of events starts in Brisbane this February and travels to Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide throughout the year. Find out more here.
 Killer Whale Season now on in Western Australia
Bremer Canyon is home to the largest pod of Killer Whales in the southern hemisphere with up to 100 killer whales coming out to play in February and March. Join a Killer Whale Expedition which runs daily from Bremer Bay, where you can witness this unique phenomenon and spot other marine animals including seabirds, dolphins, sharks, tuna and seals. Find out more here.

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