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Monday, March 5, 2018

Introducing Trisara Phuket - Divine Destinations

Trisara Phuket, awarded World’s Best Resort Cuisine by the discerning readers of the Gallivanter’s Guide, is launching an immersive culinary experience that takes guests on an exhilarating foraging discovery by private yacht and into heritage homes to meet local Phuketian “Mamas” who share authentic recipes that have been passed down the generations.

During the 4-days stay in one of the resort’s breathtaking Ocean View Pool Villas, guests will stroll down to the resort’s secluded beach to meet Executive Chef Chalermchai Prakobkitand, also known as Chef Kla, who joined Trisara since its opening and has worked alongside Michelin-star chefs from around the globe. Together they will step onboard a luxury cruising yacht from Trisara’s dedicated jetty, cruise along Phuket’s West Coast and finally arrive at Koh Racha, a tropical island South of Phuket known for its abundance of Sailfish, Tuna, and Mackerel. Following hours of fishing and intermittent snorkelling in Koh Racha’s crystal clear waters, guests join an onboard Thai cooking class with Chef Kla using the freshly caught fish before returning back to Trisara.

Another day, guest head into Old Phuket Town for a local market visit during which they collect fresh morning glory, lemon grass, okra and other seasonal produce before heading to a beautiful heritage mansion to meet one of Trisara’s “Mamas”, a name given to the handful of loveable mothers, grandmothers and local personalities who shared their secret and often long-forgotten recipes with Trisara’s culinary team as part of the relaunch of Seafood, Trisara’s Thai oceanfront restaurant. Following a “Mama” inspired lunch, guests will stroll around Phuket Old Town’s beautiful heritage buildings and galleries before heading back to the resort, where a sumptuous poolside BBQ awaits them in their private villa.

On Day 3 Chef Jimmy, sous chef at the resort’s recently launched restaurant PRU and Thailand’s contestant for the San Pellegrino Young Chef Award 2017 takes the lead during a trip to Pru Jumpa, Trisara’s 150-acre land dotted with natural lakes, wild forests and a flourishing farm. Guests will forage for local ingredients in the wild and pick fresh herbs, vegetables and eggs from the farm. The same evening, Chef Jimmy prepares a 6-course tasting menu at PRU with the foraged ingredients, paired with exclusive wines.

Trisara’s Culinary Foraging Experience is available from now until 31 March 2018. For reservations or inquiries, visit or email

For the less adventurous, yet culinary inclined travelers, Trisara offers the Full Board Ocean View Experience when staying in one of the resort’s two to seven bedroom pool residences, including meals at the resort’s oceanfront restaurants “The Deck” and “Seafood at Trisara” as well as in-villa private dining in the comfort of the expansive ocean view villas. For more information, please visit

About Trisara:

Trisara, in Sanskrit “The Garden in The Third Heaven” is Phuket Island's most special resort experience. Wrapped in a tropical forest and exotic gardens, the 60 spacious ocean facing pool villas and 2-6 bedroom private residences all embrace our own quiet bay on Phuket's sophisticated and natural northwestern coastline, just 15 minutes from Phuket Airport.

All pool villas, suites and private residences are designed with simple, rich interiors and enjoy a wonderful sense of privacy.

Attention to detail defines the experience throughout the property, including unique natural grey marble infinity pools in all villas and suites, which overflow toward the Andaman Sea and its spectacular year-round sunsets.

Renowned for authentic dining experiences, spa treatments and imaginative experiences, Trisara and our guests are cared for by a team of warm Thai staff who regard hospitality as a joy.

Trisara was opened in 2004 by Montara Hospitality Group, a hospitality management group owned by the Pattamasaevi family.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Felix Hotel by 8Hotels Takes Off in Sydney's Airport Precinct

Ascending Over Sydney's Airport Accommodation Options

·       Turning the perception of the airport hotel on its head, Felix Hotel guests will check-in on the top floor penthouse, rather than a ground floor lobby

·       Felix Hotel takes its design cues from the 1960's, indicative of the thrill and glamour of the Golden Era of air travel

·       The penthouse features a super-stylish cocktail bar, 24-hour food shop, outdoor rooftop cinema and one of the best views of the Sydney Domestic Airports runways

·       Built with the digital nomad in mind, the hotel has fast and easy to connect Wi-Fi, 1,000 USB ports and a Sky Lounge with communal and solo workspaces

After opening its doors on 1 February 2018, today marks the official take off for Felix Hotel by 8Hotels – a hotel that has set a new benchmark for Australian airport accommodation.  

The 150-room hotel has been designed in collaboration with Cressida Kennedy from Space Control, to capture a modern urban aesthetic, with a generous nod to the 1960s Golden Era of flying – think Catch Me If You Can cool, with a touch of Mad Menand Pan Am allure.

The high-flying theme runs throughout the hotel from conference rooms, Boeing and Airbus to suite categories, Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class. All rooms are fitted out with state of the art 55-inch TVs, power rain showers and blackout curtains. There are also pet-friendly and family suites available.

Convenient and fast, the 24-hour Food Shop has a range of locally sourced gourmet grab-and-go food and drink options that guests can charge to their room with a swipe of the key. The cocktail bar serves up classic cocktails and premium local and international beer, wine and spirits. There is also a 24-hour gym, Felix Athletic Club, and self-service laundry.

"We are thrilled to bring Felix Hotel to Sydney and see this property elevating the airport hotel precinct. Answering to every need of our guests, from the digital nomad to the everyday leisure traveller, Felix Hotel is a cutting-edge alternative to the average airport hotel." Says Paul Fischmann, Founder and CEO of 8Hotels.

In a game-changing partnership with private jet provider Fly Airly, Felix Hotel has developed high flying accommodation packages. The Jet Setter package has been designed for interstate or international companies that want to fly their teams by private jet for a conference at Felix Hotel. For leisure guests who want a taste of the high life, the Sky's the Limit packages incorporates a two-hour scenic flight over Sydney on board a lavish private jet.

Felix Hotel was designed and developed and is operated by 8Hotels, the boutique hotel group that are always ahead of the game in terms of meeting modern consumer needs, having previously launched 1888 - the first Instagram Hotel and The Ultimo - the first Astrology Hotel.

The hotel is located just a 7-minute walk, or 2-minute drive, from the Sydney Domestic Airport and a short drive from the International terminal.

Cathay Pacific’s new lounge at Hong Kong opens 22 March

Arrive Early at The Deck: Cathay Pacific's new lounge experience at Hong Kong International Airport opens 22 March

An open-ceiling verandah, panoramic views of the apron and a designer setting creates the ultimate oasis of serenity and warmth

Cathay Pacific today unveiled The Deck, the airline's newest lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, giving customers another great reason to arrive early, relax and pamper themselves before their flight.

Located close to gate 16 in Terminal 1 and designed in the signature style of Cathay Pacific's award-winning lounges in Hong Kong and across its network, The Deck, which opens its doors to passengers on 22 March, emulates a "contemporary living room" environment of understated luxury, helping customers to feel at ease and providing a sense of well-being.

Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo said: "The Deck builds on the formula that has made our other new lounges around the world so popular with our customers.

"Investing in experiences that our customers value and consider important is at the heart of our product and service philosophy, and helps us differentiate ourselves from any other airline. We look forward to welcoming the lounge's first passengers."

The Noodle Bar

Like our other lounges, the dining experience is at the heart of The Deck, with the Main Lounge providing a range of self-service, freshly made international offerings. Not to be missed at The Deck is The Noodle Bar – an iconic favourite among Cathay Pacific customers.

Passengers who yearn for a taste of Hong Kong can choose from a selection of local classics, including wonton noodles in a hearty broth, fish ball noodles and a variety of dim sum and buns. Ready-to-order Asian delights, such as dan dan noodles and Japanese-style vegetarian noodles, are also available.

The Terrace

The Deck is distinct from Cathay Pacific's other lounges at its home in Hong Kong for the fact that it sits on a balcony on the eastern side of the terminal building.

From The Terrace, an open-ceiling L-shaped verandah featuring both table and individual seating, lounge visitors can take in panoramic views of the airport's apron, taxi-ways and northern runway whilst enjoying their choice from a wide variety of drinks and dining options.

At 823 square metres, The Deck has seating for 180 passengers and is fitted with designer furniture and lighting carefully selected for practicality, comfort and privacy, while the use of natural materials, plenty of greenery and artworks by local artists add to the lounge's welcoming atmosphere.

The lounge is further equipped with a relaxation room zone featuring bespoke Solo chairs, as well as eight shower suites, washroom facilities and a range of comfortable seating throughout.

The Deck will join Cathay Pacific's other lounges at HKIA – including The Bridge, The Pier Business and First Class lounges, The Wing Business and First Class lounges and The Arrival – in providing customers with a Life Well Travelled experience. Meanwhile, The Cabin will close on 30 April.

For more information click here.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tropical Treks Great Cooloola Walk

Renowned small-group trekking specialists, Tropical Treks, will offer the new Great Cooloola Walk guided trek on a fortnightly basis starting from Sunday 22 April to Sunday, 23 September 2018.

The 88km, 5-day/4-night, fully-guided, self-sufficient trek, links the Noosa Northshore to Rainbow Beach via the 500,000 year old Cooloola Sandmass and its unique dune, water, and vegetation systems.

Experienced Tropical Treks guides will lead the tours highlighting the many rare and native animals inhabiting the Sandmass, including Ground Parrots, Feathertailed Gliders, Koalas and Wallabies, along with rich flora and myriad wildflowers. Humpback whales can be seen as they migrate up the coast during the winter months.

Groups are limited to six and the package includes all camping equipment, meals and drinks along the trek. Nightly accommodation is in four walkers’ camps, which offer tranquil camping experiences with toilets and freshwater.

Cooloola is the word of the local Aboriginal Gubbi Gubbi people, meaning “the sound the wind makes as it whispers through the branches of the trees”. The heritage and culture of the Gubbi Gubbi people is a major feature of the commentary provided throughout the guided trek.

A moderate level of fitness is required for the trek. Participants are required to pitch their own tents but the schedule allows plenty of time to relax, bird watch, encounter wildlife and appreciate the scenery and the amazing night skies. The weather throughout the six month period is mild and generally dry, making it ideal for trekking.

The trek starts at Noosa North Shore, with a night’s pre-trek accommodation included in the package. Noosa can be reached via Sunshine Coast Airport (30 minutes drive) or Brisbane Airport (two hours drive). Transfers are included in the package.


ALL INCLUSIVE FARE: $1595.00 incl. GST per person. Inclusions:• All camp gear, equipment, meals and drinks on the walk.• Camp gear: 75 lt. backpack, screen tent/fly, 3/4 length 'Thermarest" self-inflating mattress, sleeping bag, liner and pillow and walking poles.• 1 night pre-walk accommodation, nibbles, drinks and dinner at Noosa Northshore• Transfers from Noosa to Noosa Northshore accommodation• Celebration lunch, including drinks, at Rainbow Beach.• Transfers from Rainbow Beach to Noosa after celebration lunch (Day 5)• Guide• Camping permits• Topographic map, Queensland Govt.

BRING-YOUR-OWN-GEAR OPTION: $1095.00 incl. GST per person. Inclusions:• Provide own camp gear, equipment, meals and drinks on the walk.• Pre-walk Welcome BBQ nibbles, drinks and dinner/meeting at Noosa Northshore. Mandatory attendance. Make your own way or we can arrange return transfers.• Transfers from Noosa accommodation to the start of the walk on Day 1• Celebration lunch, including drinks, at Rainbow Beach.• Transfers from Rainbow Beach to Noosa after celebration lunch (Day 5)• Guide• Camping permits
Special rates are available for bookings of six guests.

Walks depart fortnightly between:Week 1: Sunday, 22 April 2018 and Week 12: Sunday, 23 September 2018.

Full details:
Further information:Stephen Grainger Tropical Treks Guided Bush Walks & Birdwatching Tours
M: +61- (0)459 996 171

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

TripAdvisor's Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Beaches in Australia

TripAdvisor®, the travel planning and booking site, today announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice® awards for Beaches in Australia and the world.

For the first time, Sydneysiders’ favourite Manly Beach took the #1 spot in Australia whilst six beaches in Queensland made it into the Australia top 10 list. Globally, the gorgeous Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos was rated as the best beach in the world by TripAdvisor reviewers.

“There are few things that Australians love more than a day out at the beach and for those planning a beachside getaway before summer officially comes to a close, TripAdvisor has identified the top award-winning beaches across Australia,” said Grant Colquhoun, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “We have also listed top-rated nearby great value hotels that will enable travellers to enjoy a fantastic beachfront holiday.”

Member for Manly James Griffin said this accolade is well-deserved recognition for what is now officially Australia’s best beach. “Manly is loved by locals and visitors from across the globe so it’s no surprise to see our beach named the number one beach in the country, thanks to its stunning coastline, waterside bars and restaurants, picturesque walking tracks and direct access by ferry from Sydney’s CBD,” Mr Griffin said.

“Manly attracts around 2.3 million visitors each year and with the inaugural Vissla Sydney Surf Pro kicking-off this weekend, now is the perfect time to visit our beautiful beachside suburbs.”

Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Beaches in Australia:

(Excerpts in quotes below from TripAdvisor reviewers)

1. Manly Beach – Sydney, NSW

Coming in first is nothing new to Manly Beach – it was first beach in Australia to allow daylight swimming in 1903, hosted the world’s earliest surfing championship back in 1964 and now taking the number one spot. Reviewers say it’s a “must-see” when in Sydney and travellers can take the ferry service from Circular Quay and spend the afternoon taking in the “breath-taking” views or strolling along Corso, for plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Quest Manly, from $261 per night on TripAdvisor

2. Surfers Paradise Beach – Surfers Paradise, QLD

Surfer’s Paradise Beach is one of Australia’s most iconic and visited tourist attraction, known for its “crystal clear waters” and “great sandy beach”. Reviewers recommend it as a picnic spot and taking a stroll down the esplanade for the magnificent city skylines. Vigilant lifeguards keep the beach safe and ensure that beach-goers swim within the safe zones.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Peppers Soul, from $326 per night on TripAdvisor

Whitehaven Beach – Whitsunday Island, QLD

Stretching over seven kilometres, Whitehaven beach is the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. The beach gives a whole new meaning to soft, white sandy beach with 98 percent pure white silica sands, making it “one of the purest in the world”. Travellers highly recommend making a climb up to the Hill Inlet lookout for views of “swirls of pure white sand, crystal turquoise water and little islands of coral reefs around it”.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Whitsunday Apartments Hamilton Island, from $304 per night on TripAdvisor

Noosa Main Beach – Noosa, QLD

Home to one of Noosa’s best surf locations, Noosa Main Beach is “great for first time surfers” thanks to its “gentle waves and plenty of life savers”. As one of the very few beaches along Australia's eastern coastline that faces north, the waters are warm and calm most of the year around. Travellers can head to the nearby Hasting Street, a vibrant area with cafes, bars and restaurants, after a day of relaxation under the sun.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Netanya Noosa, from $342 per night on TripAdvisor

Bondi Beach – Sydney, NSW

World-renowned Bondi Beach is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches, located just eight kilometres or a short bus ride away from the city centre. Visitors to Sydney's famous eastern shoreline will be delighted with Bondi’s “lovely sweeping curve”, “mesmerising waves” and lively sun seekers. Travellers recommend going on a coastal walk from Bondi to Congee to be “rewarded with great scenery and a pleasant walk”.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: QT Bondi, from $317 per night on TripAdvisor

Four Mile Beach – Port Douglas, QLD

Stretching over four miles of white sand and glistening water, reviewers say Four Mile Beach is “one of the most iconic beaches in tropical north Queensland”. Travellers can expect warm waters, tropical weather and a coastline fringed with palm trees at the main beach of Port Douglas. Swimmers are advised to stay within the netted area which keeps the section of the beach free of sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Peninsula Boutique Hotel, from $352 per night on TripAdvisor

Cable Beach – Broome, WA

Cable Beach is said to be “one of the most scenic beaches in the world”, with its rich red ochre dunes, white sand and clear turquoise waters. Named after the telegraph cable laid between Broome and Java in 1889, the beach remains relatively uncrowded even during the peak season between May and October. A “must-do on everyone’s bucket list”, travellers can relax over beers whilst watching the sun set into the Indian Ocean.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, from $175 per night on TripAdvisor

Mooloolaba Beach – Mooloolaba, QLD

Mooloolaba Beach is the one of the safest of the Sunshine Coast beaches as its north-facing location ensures near-perfect and safe water conditions all year round. The gentle waves makes the “beautiful and clean” beach popular for swimming, boogie boards and body surfing. A favourite among families, the rock pools along the beach have “all sorts of interesting creatures for children to observe safely”.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Mantra Mooloolaba Beach Resort, from $191 per night on TripAdvisor

Burleigh Heads Beach – Burleigh Heads, QLD

Located on the Southern end of Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads is famous for its “perfect” surfing conditions and laid back Australian atmosphere. Loved by locals and tourists alike, the beach is a great spot for swimming in protected waters. It is also close to Burleigh Head National Park, where travellers can “spot some wildlife and capture great scenic shots of the coastline”.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Burleigh Mediterranean Resort, from $352 per night on TripAdvisor

Turquoise Bay – Exmouth, WA

Experience “turquoise waters and white sand” at Turquoise Bay, one of Western Australia’s most beautiful beaches. The beach is within metres of the renowned Ningaloo Reef making it the perfect spot for snorkelling amongst a rich biodiversity of marine life including “colourful corals and fishes, octopuses and see turtles.” The bay is also popular for drift snorkelling, where beachgoers swim out to the reef on the southern end of the beach and let the current wash them north to the sand bar.

Beachfront best value hotel nearby: Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort, from $163 per night on TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has awarded 355 beaches overall, including the top 25 in the world and local lists for Asia, Europe, Africa, South Pacific, South America, Middle East, Caribbean, Central America, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. Award winners were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.

For the complete list of Travellers’ Choice Beach award-winners for 2018, as well as the latest reviews and candid traveller photos, visit: Travellers can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #TravellersChoice.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Call for Federal Government to establish an airlines ombudsman

Consumer group CHOICE is calling on the Federal Government to establish an airline ombudsman that is funded by the industry as new research shows travellers are getting increasingly fed up with unresolved complaints.

The latest data from CHOICE’s flight delays and cancellations tool,, has found that Jetstar was the worst offender when it comes to leaving their passengers stuck at the gate, with 40% of total complaints.[1]

Qantas made up 26% of total complaints, while Virgin Australia had 20%.

“The data also found that 30% of passengers who complained weren’t given a reason for the delay or cancellation, or weren’t sure why they were left grounded,” says CHOICE Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.

7% of passengers were left stranded by their airline overnight.

CHOICE has identified numerous issues with airline complaints handling, including restrictions on the ability for consumers to seek remedies when something goes wrong.

“We know that most passengers won’t take up a fight with the airline when something goes wrong because they’ve been conditioned for years that they won’t get compensation,” says Mr Godfrey.

CHOICE found the main reasons passengers do not make a complaint are because they doubt that complaints will achieve anything (37%) and there is a perception that the complaint process is a hassle (34%).[2]

Consumers who want to take their complaint all the way face a number of problems:
  • The Airline Customer Advocate is unable to independently enforce its decisions, leaving passengers in the lurch when the airline refuses to compensate them
  • Consumers would have to take court action in the federal court system – facing thousands of dollars in filing fees
“The airline industry is failing to keep travellers grievance free. That’s why we’re calling on the Federal Government to establish an airline ombudsman which can actually regulate the industry,” says Mr Godfrey.

"What we need is an ombudsman with teeth who can actually call these airlines to account."

CHOICE’s pre-budget submission to the Federal Government also calls on the establishment of a fixed flight delays and cancellation compensation scheme, which will see passengers fairly compensated when the airline makes a mistake.

“The industry should provide fixed financial compensation to travellers who have flights cancelled for reasons within the airline’s control,” says Mr Godfrey.

“An industry-wide system of standardised compensation already exists in the European Union so it’s hardly a stretch for Australian consumers to get the same guarantees for a service they paid for.”

To lodge an airline complaint visit:

[1] More than 1100 eligible complaints logged at from July 2016 to February 2018
[2] CHOICE, September 2017, ‘Australian Consumers in the Travel Market – Annual travel trends report – phase 4 of the CHOICE travel project’, available at

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Top Ten Hotels in Thailand Named

DestinAsian Readers’ Choice Awards 2018

  1. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
  2. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok 
  3. Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel 
  4. Banyan Tree Bangkok 
  5. Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok 
  6. Banyan Tree Phuket 
  7. Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa 
  8. Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui 
  9. The St. Regis Bangkok 
  10. The Peninsula Bangkok 
DestinAsian publisher Ronald Liem commented “We see the Readers’ Choice Awards as a litmus test of how travel industry brands are doing in our home region. After rolling out a system of country-wide rankings in last year’s edition, we have continued that approach, and it’s wonderful to see finalists representing both major cities and more idyllic holiday destinations.”

This year’s poll was conducted between August and October 2017. The voting process involved naming a winner in each of 31 different categories including hotels and resorts, service residences, spas, airlines, airports, and destinations. Optional comments about the winners’ standout attributes shed light on characteristics that readers deem the most important: friendliness of staff and services, convenient location, modern facilities, quality of dining options, comfort, and excellence in design.

Additionally, Bangkok was voted as the “Best City Destination in the Asia Pacific” for the third consecutive year.

The full results will appear in the February/March 2018 print issue of the magazine.

The DestinAsian Media Group began operations in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2001 and apart from DestinAsian itself, now publishes several lifestyle publications including DestinAsian Indonesia, Prestige Indonesia, and DA MAN.

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