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Monday, October 15, 2018

Soneva make luxury getaways with the whole family in mind

World-leading luxury resort Soneva has seen a 30% increase in family bookings since 2016 - this is largely due to its array of family-centred experiences and child-friendly facilities at the resorts located in the Maldives in Thailand.

The Den, Soneva's children's club, can be found at each of the resorts. Central to the Den is the philosophy of 'free play', where daily activities can be customised. This helps foster a sense of independence and caters to the curiosity of young minds. Activities include cooking classes, play time in the Lego and dress-up rooms, movie screenings, reading from the library, learning to play musical instruments, arts and crafts, learning Dhivehi or Thai (depending on the locations), and learning about nature, recycling and conservation. The roster of activities and experiences changes each week to keep the children entertained.

When it comes to activities for the whole family Soneva has a varied selection of experiences to choose from such as joint tasting evening where adults explore the wines of the world and children enjoy ice cream and chocolate pairings. Excursions to deserted islands with guided snorkelling and gourmet picnics can be arranged, while dolphin spotting cruises, the Observatory and private screenings at Soneva's al fresco Cinema Paradiso bring the entire family together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wickaninnish Inn #1 Resort in Canada - Conde Nast Traveler's 2018 Readers' Choice Award

Condé Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 31st annual Readers' Choice Awards with the Wickaninnish Inn recognized as the # 1 RESORT in CANADA.

"We are thrilled and honoured to be acknowledged as one of the best hotels in the world, and the top resort in Canada, among such esteemed company," said Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director at the Wickaninnish Inn. "We are proud of every award we receive, but this one feels more personal because the recognition comes directly from our guests. There's much for our team to be proud of."

Nearly half a million Condé Nast Traveler readers submitted a recording-breaking number of responses rating their travel experiences to provide a full snapshot of where and how we travel today.

Released online today, the 2018 Readers' Choice Awards provides an impressive list of illustrious locations and outstanding resorts in a variety of categories.

This is the third time the Wickaninnish Inn has received Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Award, taking the number one spot in both 2013 and 2014, and the second award from Condé Nast this year. In January 2018, the Wickaninnish Inn was given the Gold List Award which highlights the editors' favourite hotels from the best across the globe.

A notable addition to the Wickaninnish Inn since last winning the top resort in Canada award is the creation of Howard's Wine Cellar. The first of its kind on the West Coast, this temperature-controlled space divided by floor-to-ceiling glass has transformed the Inn's ability to showcase its impressive wine selection, which offers hundreds of exceptional labels curated from regional vineyards and from wine producers around the world. The Wickaninnish Inn also shared the celebrated cuisine of The Pointe Restaurant with the release of their first cookbook in 2018 The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature's Edge.

The Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as "the best of the best of travel."

The 2018 Readers' Choice Awards are published exclusively on Condé Nast Traveler's website at and celebrated in the November issue on newsstands nationwide on October 16.

About the Wickaninnish Inn

Perched on the western edge of Vancouver Island, the Wickaninnish Inn is an iconic year-round destination. Combining elegant accommodation and refined dining in spectacular natural surroundings, the Wickaninnish Inn is a haven on Vancouver Island's wild and rugged coastline. A Relais & Châteaux property since 1997, the Wickaninnish Inn is owned and managed by the McDiarmid family of Tofino, and is exclusively located on beautiful Chesterman Beach. Each oceanfront guestroom is designed to AAA/CAA Five Diamond standards, welcoming guests with a beach or ocean viewscape, gas fireplace, soaker tub with view, local art and an individual balcony. The Pointe Restaurant boasts 240-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, and an innovative culinary program which supports local suppliers and sustainable harvesting practices. The award-winning Ancient Cedars Spa provides an exceptional menu of services to promote wellness and relaxation. For more information, please visit

Instagram: @wickinnbc Twitter: @wickinnbc  Facebook: Wickaninnish Inn #WickInn #RelaisChateaux #WickaninnishCookbook #petthebook #explorebc

Lonely Planet's "Amazing Train Journeys"

Four Australian rail trips named among the 60 showcased in Lonely Planet's Amazing Train Journeys

The golden age of railroads may be in the past, but train travel is experiencing a 21st-century renaissance. High-speed rails and new long-distance routes have put trains back on the map, and rail journeys back onto travel bucket lists.

Lonely Planet's new book Amazing Train Journeys (published this month, AU$39.99) spotlights 60 of the world's greatest, most memorable routes, as selected by its train-loving travel experts. Each trip featured includes a summary, ticket and distance information, tips, highlights, photos, an illustrated map and a timeline of stops.

"Here at Lonely Planet, we have always had a soft spot for trains," Editorial Director Tom Hall writes in his introduction to the book. "We're excited to bring our passion to the pages of Amazing Train Journeys. Whether you prefer high-speed or deliberately go-slow, we hope readers will be inspired to get out on the rails again."

From epic international routes to commuter lines to classic heritage railroad tracks, Amazing Train Journeys takes readers through mountain peaks, scenic countryside and past dramatic coastlines, beautifully illustrating the advantages and freedom unique to travelling by rail.

Australia is represented in the book by four rail trips: The Ghan, South Coast Line, West Coast Wilderness Railway and Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Other top routes showcased in the book include:

●      Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa
●      The Sunset Limited, USA
●      The Darjeeling Toy Train, India
●      Settle to Carlisle, UK
●      The TranzAlpine, New Zealand

Amazing Train Journeys by Lonely Planet
Foreword by Mark Smith (The Man in Seat 61)
Published October 2018 | AU$39.99 | 1st Edition
240mm x 185mm | 304 pages | Hardback | ISBN: 978-1787014305

Peru's lesser known Inca ruins in danger of overtourism, warns Peru expert

The magnificent and remote 'lost' Inca ruins of Choquequirao are on borrowed time, with plans for cable car access set to elevate one of the country's lesser-known attractions to prominence – and change forever its peaceful and quiet ambience.

Hidden Inca ruins headed for Disneyland-ish popularity, warns Peru trekking expert

The magnificent and remote 'lost' Inca ruins of Choquequirao are on borrowed time, warns Peru trekking expert, Andreas Holland, with plans for cable car access set to elevate Choquequirao's popularity – and change forever its peaceful and quiet ambience.

According to Andreas Holland, who has lived and operated treks and adventures in Peru for more than 30 years, several of Peru's attractions are on the cusp of major change.

"The Peruvian Government is moving to protect some of its attractions from overtourism," Holland said, "and the fact that more and more travellers are open to alternative treks to the well known Inca Trail means there remain plenty of destinations to experience Peru away from the crowds."

"Remoteness helps preserve harder to reach places, so trekkers have the best chance to accessing these highlights," he said.  "Choquequirao has been on World Expeditions' Peru itineraries for many years, yet it remains comparatively unknown, because of the difficulty getting there – but that is set to change."

Holland, who is well known as one of the world's most experienced Latin America experts, is World Expeditions' guest presenter at its South America Road Show, a series of free information nights, to be held around the country in October and November.

World Expeditions operates introductory cultural tours, bike excursions and exhilarating treks in South America and the Road Show will explain how it's possible to:

• Walk to Machu Picchu without a permit
• Join unique adventures in Peru's sacred mountains, including Salcantay and Humantay
• Undertake a challenging trek in the Huayhuash, Blanca & Vilcabamba Ranges
• Explore the spectacular Chimu & Moche archaeological sites in Northern Peru
• Dine out on Peru's remarkable and now world-famous cuisine
• Hike Patagonia 'W Trek' and many other walks
• Take a jungle walk in the heart of the Amazon rainforest
• Cruise the Galapagos Island for unique wildlife experiences

Register now for your place for the events to be held from 6pm in Brisbane on Wednesday, 17 Oct 2018, in Canberra on Thursday, 18 October 2018, in Adelaide on Wednesday, 24 October, in Perth on Thursday, 25 October, in Sydney on Tuesday, 30 October 2018 and Melbourne on Thursday, 1 November.

More information at or call 1300 720 000.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Three new ships for Silversea Cruises

New Evolution Class adds two ultra-luxury vessels to fleet. 

Silver Origin, a 100-guest ship, will sail Galapagos Islands itineraries

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) and Silversea Cruises today announced agreements to build three new ships for Silversea Cruises, the ultra-luxury and expedition cruise brand that recently joined the RCL family.

Silversea signed a memorandum of understanding with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build two new vessels in a new "Evolution Class." The first Evolution-class ship is expected to deliver in 2022.

Silversea also signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilder Shipyard De Hoop to construct a new expedition vessel, named Silver Origin, that will serve the Galapagos Islands itinerary currently sailed by Silver Galapagos. The new ship is expected for delivery in March 2020.

"We are delighted to have entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft on the Silver Evolution series and De Hoop for Silver Origin," says Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea's Executive Chairman. "With our guests in mind, we are pushing the boundaries of ultra-luxury cruising, as well as expedition cruising in the Galápagos Islands and beyond, redefining the concept of immersive travel."

"We are excited to get to work helping Silversea grow and realise its ambitions," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which finalised its two-thirds acquisition of Silversea earlier this year. "There is tremendous potential in the ultra-luxury and expedition markets of the cruise industry, and we believe discerning travellers will embrace the exciting designs Silversea is imagining for them."

"We are very happy to build these new ships for Silversea Cruises. Together with Silversea we will create a new generation of environmentally friendly ships in the ultra-luxury cruise market," said Tim Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft.

"We are excited and proud to receive this order," said Patrick A.B.M. Janssens MA, CEO, Shipyard De Hoop. "It is not only about building the best small expedition cruise vessel, but also about building and maintaining a high-quality partnership with Royal Caribbean and Silversea."

The agreements are subject to certain contingencies which are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chiva-Som - Countdown to Reopening


The much-anticipated re-opening of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Hua Hin on 1 November 2018 is on schedule with this acclaimed Thailand property nearing completion of its current refurbishment program which commenced in May for the temporary period of closure.

New and refreshed guest experiences will include the unveiling of more spacious Thai Pavilions in a contemporary Thai style and stunning new Thai Pavilion Suite accommodation featuring a glass-walled private space for around six guests, set amidst the tranquil gardens and suitable for private breakfast, lunch and dinner, meditation or just for relaxing. Glass doors, automatic blinds and insect screens in an outdoor private sala can be kept open or closed, in either case offering beautiful views of the surrounding lake and gardens.

The Emerald Room will be brighter to give a fresh and relaxing ambience inside or on the terrace for breakfast, lunch and dinner while The Orchid Lounge will offer a new layout and style that includes a juice bar and live music corner as guests enjoy an extensive choice of mocktails, teas and other refreshments.

The Fitness Centre will feature a new reception area, dedicated stretching area, new equipment and refunctional exercise studio whilst the Library and Guest Relations area are being given a new look and feel.

This expansive period of refurbishment, which continues next year with Chiva-Som again to be closed from May through October, is being overseen by Chairman and CEO of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Mr Krip Rojanastien, who together with Designrealization Siam co. ltd, one of the world's most respected architecture forms, has developed a modern and fresh take on Asia's much-loved classic.

Chiva-Som is a popular destination for Australians offering guests a total lifestyle transformation to achieve wellness and longevity and will continue to present a full range of health and wellness Speciality Retreats, integrating naturopathic and conventional medicines, including A Taste of Chiva-Som, Art of Detox, Optimal Performance, Spa Wellbeing, Yoga for Life, Fitness, Natural Renewal, Sustainable Weight Management, Cell Vitality, Cranial Relief, Emotional Wellbeing and Tension Release.

All components are set and overseen by expert health professionals including consulting doctors, naturopaths, fitness instructors, spa therapists, nutritionists and alternative health practitioners.

Reservations are available to book throughout from 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019 when Chiva-Som will again close temporarily for the next phase of refurbishment for re-opening 1 November 2019.

For Chiva-Som bookings in Australia contact your travel agent or a Chiva-Som Specialist on 1300 857 437.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Coral Crusaders to help Great Barrier Reef

A Coral Crusaders campaign has been launched to expand an Australian-first program on the Great Barrier Reef that helps accelerate the recovery of high-value reefs damaged by coral bleaching.

The not-for-profit Reef Restoration Foundation has established Australia's first ocean-based coral nursery and successfully completed the inaugural cycle of harvesting, growing and planting coral at Fitzroy Island near Cairns.

Chief Executive Officer Stewart Christie invited the public to join the Coral Crusaders campaign and be the first generation to adopt coral grown on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

"Reef Restoration has worked with scientists to establish the Fitzroy Island nursery where corals harvested from reefs that survived two years of high water temperatures are attached to underwater coral trees and grown for around eight months before being transplanted on a nearby degraded reef," he said.

"Most Australians have a deep affinity for the Great Barrier Reef and are seeking tangible actions to make a difference so the Foundation is inviting individuals, community groups and the corporate sector to adopt the coral we grow.

"Your tax deductible investment will combine with those of other Coral Crusaders to create a multiplier effect and allow ocean-based coral nurseries to be established on high-value reefs throughout the Great Barrier Reef.

"It could be $50 to Care for a Coral, $500 to Build a Branch or $10,000 to Tend a Tree, while some may consider investing in a new nursery, regenerating a reef, or making a smaller donation.

"Coral trees already have been sponsored by Oris watches, Cairns education tour company Small World Journeys, Japanese travel agency JTB and marine tourism consultant Gempearl.

"We have a small army of experienced divers who volunteer their time to care for the Fitzroy Island coral nursery, but only experienced divers can assist in this process.

"Allowing coral adoption will give more people the opportunity to be part of the generation of action and restoration on the Great Barrier Reef demonstrating that many small actions can combine to create tangible positive impacts.

"The survival and future of coral reefs are reliant on taking action to address climate change, improve water quality and to regenerate damaged reefs to give them the best chance of survival.

"Reef Restoration Foundation's goal is to grow 25,000 new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2021 as part of our vision to accelerate the recovery of damaged high-value reefs and strengthen the Reef's resilience."

The Coral Crusaders initiative coincides with a NAB social media brand campaign launched this week to raise awareness of how NAB is "Working with the people who make a better Australia" through their community partnerships. Reef Restoration Foundation is a proud recipient of a NAB Foundation Sustainable Regions grant and part of the social media campaign at

Become a Coral Crusader at and follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at and

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