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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Québec Hôtel de Glace - ice hotel

In its 19th season, the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) in Valcartier Vacation Village nature abounds with its new theme: Hotel Gardens. From snow gardens to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the nature theme has opened up countless opportunities for artists and artisans taking part in designing the ephemeral hotel’s entire new theme. To impress its visitors, the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) will cover over 42,000 ft2—that’s 40% more surface area than last year—and will feature both the largest bar and biggest lobby to date.

An inspiring theme

Artistic director Pierre L’Heureux is behind the unique concept for 2019. “Landscape art inspired the aesthetics for the Hôtel de Glace’s (Ice Hotel) 19th edition. We’re exploring a winter garden concept, among others, to make it a place where nature, including winter, can create charming, pleasant, and comfortable spaces."

Erected on the Valcartier Vacation Village site for a third year, the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) offers a unique experience to nearly 100,000 visitors each year. "The Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) is now part of the amazing experience that Valcartier Vacation Village offers its winter visitors. Through combining the unique sensory experience of the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) with the comfort and charm of a stay at Hôtel Valcartier, we promise our guests an unforgettable experience," explains Sylvain Lauzon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Calypso Valcartier Group. "This year, for the first time ever, the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) lobby is curved; it’s an architectural innovation and an exciting challenge that our technical team has handled brilliantly. This new feature is in line with the Valcartier Vacation Village tradition of innovation.”

On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) has outdone itself yet again. This winter, 42 rooms and theme suites will host guests who have come to enjoy a peaceful, quiet night at the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel). Year after year, around fifty artists and sculptors shape the snow and ice for more than a month to create a magical universe comprising a chapel, several bars, a huge indoor slide, an impressive chandelier, and the various rooms with furniture entirely made of ice, where close to 4,000 people come to spend the night.

Events throughout the entire season

From the end of December until March 24, we invite visitors from all over the world to marvel and celebrate winter at North America’s one and only Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel). We have a special evening planned on December 31 to ring in 2019 in style, and come December 27th, visitors will be able to spend the night in a room carved entirely from snow and ice.

To mark the close of the artists’ work and highlight the official opening of the 2019 edition, the Grande Soirée Inaugurale Desjardins—a must for all Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) visitors—will take place on January 18. The festivities, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., will feature entertainment, a pop/rock concert, and colourful fireworks. On this same night, we will announce the three winners of the ephemeral architectural competition.

Several other events will also be added to the winter activity schedule, including those organized in collaboration with the Quebec Winter Carnival. Details will be announced on both the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) and Valcartier Vacation Village social media accounts.

It's winter in Valcartier!

The winter season kicks off this Saturday, December 15, at Valcartier Vacation Village. The slides and skating trails will once again delight both children and adults, while Bora Park, will continue to offer its visitors a unique tropical experience in Eastern Canada throughout the winter. For information, visit

Friday, December 21, 2018

Banyan Tree Expansion: 26 New Hotel Signings

Banyan Tree Group, the leading international operator and developer of premium resorts, hotels, residences and spas, announces its continuing global expansion with the successful signing during 2018, of 26 hotel agreements for its four brands. These are in addition to the current 48 hotels in operation at end 2018, and seven new hotels slated to open in 2019.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

ibis Sydney World Square unveils $4million new look

Experience summer in Sydney from $224* per night

Australia's largest hotel operator, AccorHotels, has unveiled a new-look ibis Sydney World Square, following an impressive $4million refurbishment of the premium economy hotel, completed just in time for summer in Sydney.

Surrounded by Sydney CBD's vibrant entertainment and shopping precincts, ibis Sydney World Square have completely refurbished all 166 guestrooms with ambient lighting, an earthy colour palate reflected in the choice of textiles and paint selection and modern bathrooms. All public areas, including the lobby and restaurant have also been refurbished.

ibis Sydney World Square General Manager, Michelle Taylor, said "We are excited to introduce the new-look ibis Sydney World Square to a new clientele of cost-conscious travellers seeking a comfortable yet stylish accommodation option in a convenient Sydney location.

"Now is a good time to book and experience summer in Sydney in the lead up to the festive season with rates starting from $224* per night."

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel's heritage listed iBistro or gather at iBar located on ground level to relax over a drink or two with friends. Other hotel features available only at ibis Sydney World Square include a 24-hour gym and business centre.

Guests staying at ibis Sydney World Square are located within easy reach of many of Sydney's most famous attractions, including Darling Harbour, Chinatown, Cockle Bay Wharf, The Star casino, The Rocks, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Public transport is also easily accessible, with buses, trains and light rail services right on the doorstep.

ibis Sydney World Square is located at 382 -384 Pitt Street Sydney.

To book, visit

Sydney Harbour’s First On-Demand Ferry Service

#Sydney #VisitNSW

Forget timetables, transport cards and traffic. In a first for Sydney Harbour, Captain Cook Cruises is bringing the ferry to you, when you need it, with a new on-demand ferry service. The service operates between Elizabeth Bay, Garden Island and Circular Quay via a new hailing app AHOY.

Like popular ride sharing services, AHOY allows customers to locate their ferry, hail a ride and then track the ferries journey and time until it arrives, all on your mobile device.

According to Captain Cook Cruises, General Manager, Anthony Haworth, "we are very excited to launch this new on-demand ferry service for Elizabeth Bay commuters."

"With Uber proving so popular we thought why not translate this success to the water and start an on-demand ferry service."

"After meeting with Elizabeth Bay residents and receiving their positive feedback and support, we are confident it will be a success. We hope Elizabeth Bay is the first of many on-demand ferry services in the future." Continues Mr Haworth.

The on-demand ferry service operates Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays, between Elizabeth Bay Marina, Garden Island Wharf and Circular Quay during peak-commuter times of 6.30am to 9.15am and 4.15pm to 7.30pm.

Captain Cook Cruises new and versatile "tubby-class" ferries will service the new route.

The small 12-meter Tubby's have been purpose built to operate a high frequency, low cost service. They are light weight, low wash, efficient, highly manoeuvrable, and have the capacity to carry up to 60 passengers. Like all the Captain Cook Cruises fleet the Tubby's are fuel efficient, eco-friendly, and equipped with the latest technologies to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Elizabeth Bay on-demand Ferry service is priced at $7.50 per adult and $5.00 per child (5-14 years) one-way. Our pre-purchase TravelPass offers discounts to $5.90 per trip. Payment options including Opal Pay, credit card, cash or via the Captain Cook Cruises app.

For further information visit:  

AccorHotels debuts World-First Luxurious Orient Express Hotel in Bangkok King Power Mahanakhon


Orient Express is embarking on an amazing journey

The legend of travel returns, connecting East and West and past to future

AccorHotels is proud to announce the first Orient Express hotel will open in the landmark King Power Mahanakhon Building in Bangkok. Imprinted in both history and imagination, the Orient Express brand has been reinvented for the future, with a vision to build a collection of prestigious hotels, steeped in tradition, myth and adventure.

Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels said: "Orient Express has always acted as a passport between worlds and a trip on these legendary trains was historical, touristic and cinematic with an inimitable experience. This linking of Occident and Orient, of history and modernity, and of curiosity and cultures will be a hallmark of the new Orient Express Hotels and we are excited to bring back this spirit of luxurious adventure to today's modern travellers."

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha Chief Executive Officer of King Power Group said, "The launch of the world's first Orient Express Hotel at King Power Mahanakhon truly completes our vision of creating an extraordinary landmark that celebrates the city and adds a new milestone to Thailand and the world's hospitality industry, while further elevating Thailand to a truly world-class destination.

"King Power Mahanakhon seeks for all of its projects to be different, impressive and distinct, exuding excellence in every dimension. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world, and placing Thailand's tourism scene on the global stage through a landmark that combines exceptional hospitality, award-winning cuisine, a unique shopping experience and Bangkok's spectacular views."

"We are proud to bring the multicultural heritage, mystery and exoticism of the legendary Orient Express brand to Bangkok" said Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO AccorHotels Asia Pacific. "Orient Express redefined rail travel in the 1900s, introducing the first sleeper cars linking West to East and delivering unprecedented levels of comfort and dining. We look forward to bringing this same luxury and refinement to the new incarnation of Orient Express hotels."

The original Orient Express trains were famous for the highest standards of fine craftsmanship, the newest innovations and the most exquisite dining and so Orient Express Mahanakhon Bangkok will bring together the best names in these fields to reinterpret the art of luxury travel.

Esteemed designer Tristan Auer has been tasked with reimagining the Art Deco stylings and plant motifs of the original Orient Express carriages into a modern skyscraper in the heart of a bustling metropolis. The sumptuous bedrooms and exquisite bathrooms will bring new levels of style and luxury to Bangkok.

Two signature restaurants will include Mott 32 on level 2 and Mahanathi by David Thompson on level 5 of the hotel. David Thompson is known worldwide for his skills and expertise in Thai cuisine and culinary. Thompson has established award-winning restaurants across the world, Nahm in London and Bangkok, Long Chim in Asia and Australia and Aaharn in Hong Kong. Famed Mott 32, will also bring an exceptional modern Cantonese dining experience to the city with a contemporary restaurant and cocktail bar in Orient Express Mahanakhon Bangkok. Mott 32 is named after 32 Mott Street in New York - the site of NYC's first Chinese convenience store, which opened in 1851 and is now a vibrant Chinatown in the city.

Within the complex is the recently launched Mahanakhon SkyWalk, Thailand's highest observation deck on levels 74, 75 and 78, while a King Power Duty Free and Retail occupies levels 1 to 4. A rooftop restaurant and bar on level 76 will also provide some of the best views in Thailand, making the King Power Mahanakhon Building the epicenter of Bangkok's social scene, just as the Orient Express was the place to meet the most fascinating people at the beginning of the 20th century.

For over 135 years, Orient Express has inspired authors, artists and film directors, with famous guests including Josephine Baker, Albert Einstein, Coco Chanel, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich and Mata Hari. Agatha Christie made the trains even more famous with her eponymous novel Murder on the Orient Express, while Albert Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes and James Bond's From Russia with Love further immortalised the Orient Express name in the popular imagination.

Another hallmark of the Orient Express has always been the excellence of its staff and the prestige of the uniform. These signatures will also be present in all Orient Express Hotels, setting the highest standards in impeccable service for the industry.

Orient Express Mahanakhon Bangkok will feature 154 rooms including 9 suites and 2 penthouses, as well as an entire floor devoted to wellness including an outdoor pool and jacuzzi plus signature Orient Express Spa by Guerlain. Guests will have access to the building's spectacular rooftop observation deck and rooftop bar, all rooms will provide stunning views over the Far East 'City of Angels'. At 78 storeys, King Power Mahanakhon Building is currently the tallest building in Bangkok and a visual landmark thanks to its dramatic exterior, which is encased in a glass curtain with cuboid spiral cut-outs that give it a pixelated appearance.

The hotel will open in the last quarter of 2019, 136 years after the Orient Express took its maiden voyage from Paris.

AccorHotels and SNCF Group signed a strategic partnership in 2017 to develop Orient Express hotels after AccorHotels acquired a 50% stake in the share capital of the brand. SNCF retains ownership of the seven original Orient Express carriages, which have been restored and now provide a new and exceptional setting for the organization of events in collaboration with Potel & Chabot. Both groups are committed to preserving, promoting and sharing the heritage connected with the legendary brand.

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit or Or join and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Out with the pokies. Byron's Beach Hotel opens 'Green Room'.



Sydney, December 19th 2018 — Australian hotelier, John van Haandel announces the launch of Green Room, a bar and dining room with a distinct nod to Byron Bay's unique ecosystem and environment designed by architect Kelvin Ho, at the renowned Beach Hotel.

In a progressive move to enhance the local Byron Bay community and its hospitality offering, van Haandel's famed Beach Hotel has made an impactful statement by removing their historically profitable poker-machines in favour of a locally inspired Green Room environment and dining room with a menu curated by Food Director, David Moyle.

Green Room has been redesigned by hospitality architect, Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier, to create a relaxed yet sophisticated interior featuring minted green stucco-rendered walls, native Australian recycled timbers and exposed red brick walls — echoing the native surrounds and heritage of the landmark hotel. Ho says of the space, "This is a contemporary space whereby the community feels immediately comfortable."

The name Green Room is derived from the hotel's entirely eco-friendly and sustainable design, practices and overall philosophy. Both, Green Room and Beach Hotel proudly divert 90% of the venues waste from becoming landfill.

In keeping with the hotel's strong live music heritage, Green Room also references the countless musicians and live acts the hotel has fostered over its 25 year history, as well as the barrel of a Byron Bay wave and the cascading foliage that surrounds each guest.

Owner, John van Haandel says, "We're proud of Green Room — a smart, inclusive and relaxed food and beverage space for locals an visitors with a conscious affiliation to sustainable practices. This is a new era for the Beachy!"

Designed to share, Food Director David Moyle has curated a cleverly simple menu that utilises locally sourced produce, seafood, poultry and meats supporting Byron's local farmers and growers. Shane Morritt, Beach Hotel Kitchen Manager, recommends the freshly shucked oysters from the region with finger lime dressing; the rye bites (three serves with an assortment of toppings) are simple and flavoursome as well as the local Burrata and Cooper Shoot tomato salad.

Green Room's perfectly curated drinks menu comprises of natural and organic wines by Jilly Wines (on tap) produced in nearby Clunes, New South Wales, and a range of cleverly crafted cocktails, which use locally sourced spirits including the award-winning Cape Byron gin label, Brookie's

Green Room at the Beach Hotel is open seven days from 3:00pm until late.

Beach Hotel is open every day from 8am. The mood of the hotel changes throughout the day to accommodate the changing needs of guests. From excellent coffee and breakfasts to after-surf pub lunches, family dinners, cocktails with friends or private holiday accommodation (25 rooms) and now Green Room, all are catered for – and just metres from Byron's iconic shoreline.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Banyan Tree Bangkok’s high-altitude rooftop chill bar

Banyan Tree Bangkok is proud to announce that its popular rooftop chill venue Moon Bar is again welcoming guests following completion of extensive renovations that include a number of stunning new features and a dramatic re-positioning to the opposite side of its rooftop perch.

Highly acclaimed bar – which shares Banyan Tree’s 61st-floor rooftop sky zone with Vertigo Restaurant – has undergone a complete design transformation. The ground-up architectural modernising treatment includes a dramatic diamond-form bar as well as the “Moon Walk”, a glass “bridge” vista point where couples can enjoy the breath-taking city views. Fresh cocktail offerings will also be debuted.

The massive makeover is a significant evolution step for Moon Bar, one intended to build upon its international and industry recognition. “Because Moon Bar has become a Bangkok nightlife icon, we felt the time was right for a big upgrade to redefine the ambience as more exiting and vibrant” explained General Manager, Ms. Nopparat Aumpa.

While according to GM Nopparat, Moon Bar’s new look is intended to appeal to Bangkok visitors as well as discerning locals and expats, the well-established venue already enjoys a measure of international renown having been named one of the World’s Top 10 Rooftop Bars 2018 by Conde Nast Traveller.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Announcing Africa Safari Experts

Introducing Africa Safari Experts - From gorilla encounters in Uganda to community tours in Zambia, new Australian travel brand promises the very best of African experiences and adventures

Travel professional Wendy Buckley had been working in the industry for more than two decades when she first visited Kenya in 1997. It was the start of an enduring love affair with Africa and, in the 20 years since that first visit, she's travelled extensively throughout the continent to countries including Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Wendy was so drawn to the region that she moved to Zambia in 2016 and spent two years living and working as a safari manager in a camp at the gateway to South Luangwa National Park. Looking back on the experience she says it gave her firsthand experience of local culture, life in a remote African village and what it's like to be a traveller on safari. She also developed new skills working on the frontline of the hospitality industry and hosting safari guests from all over the world.

She returned to Australia early in 2018, passionate about sharing her love for and knowledge of Africa, and launched new travel brand, Africa Safari Experts. Wendy is a fully licensed Australian travel agent and Virtuoso member and is able to provide clients with personal destination and product expertise plus the many benefits of her extensive network of suppliers and local contacts.

Africa Safari Experts offers a selection of tailor-made all-inclusive packages in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Egypt, Mauritius and Madagascar. They also create bespoke itineraries tailored to meet a client's brief and budget. Guests can enjoy classic African safari experiences, remote wilderness adventures, walking safaris, photography tours, private group self-drive itineraries, community encounters, bespoke family itineraries, canoeing and trekking, tours of world-class wineries, activities for thrill seekers and more.

The company is committed to ecotourism and contributes directly to the protection of endangered African wildlife and local communities through its conservation and community tours. Travelling with Africa Safari Experts enables travellers to experience and support local protection programs as well as the custodianship of the local people.

Wendy says Africa Safari Experts aims to create experiences that exceed all expectations.

'Whether your dream is to ride horseback through the Masai Mara, galloping after the zebra that cut across your path, stopping for sundowners under the shade of an acacia tree and falling asleep to the sounds of the African bush or to wake at midnight and make the final ascent to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to watch the sunrise, we can help make it happen. Our qualified and highly experienced guides and scouts can take clients walking amongst lions, elephants and leopards in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park or bring them face to face with a mountain gorilla in Uganda. Africa is brimful of unique wildlife, landscapes and cultural experiences and we help our clients find them.

'We pride ourselves on our commitment to meeting and exceeding client expectations through our attention to detail, communication, honesty, networks, training and strong relationships with suppliers across Africa. We aim to deliver a world-class experience for every client.'

For more information, enquiries or bookings visit:

Africa Safari Experts is committed to supporting local communities, protection of the wildlife and the planet for generations to come.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Peregrine Adventures new Limited Edition experiences for 2019 and 2020.

From Christmas in Bethlehem to a one-off tour marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Peregrine Adventures has revealed a suite of new Limited Edition experiences in 2019 and 2020.

With only one or two departures on each trip, Peregrine's Limited Edition tours live up to their name, offering only a small group of 12 or less travellers the chance to join each special experience.

Brett Mitchell said Peregrine's Limited Edition tours were not the sort of trips you would find in an app or guidebook.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Own a car? It can make you at least $2500 a year, guaranteed

DriveMyCar offers car owners a unique way to make thousands of dollars on the side - by renting their car out to other people

DriveMyCar (, Australia’s leading peer-to-peer car rental marketplace, has announced an industry leading guarantee for car owners who rent out their cars the platform.

DriveMyCar guarantees that car owners will earn a minimum of $2,500 in rental income in the first 12 months, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

While the guaranteed income is $2,500, car owners have the potential to earn up to $1,750 per month depending on the value of their car. A car valued at $24,000, for example, could earn the owner $840 per month, or $10,080 per year.

Chris Noone, CEO of DriveMyCar, said “With 2019 fast approaching, it’s a good time to get your finances in order. If you have a car that you only use occasionally, or not at all, DriveMyCar lets you earn money from a car that may be costing you money. Our sharing economy platform offers a simple, secure and effective way to rent your car out to others, and with a guarantee of at least $2,500, it’s never been easier to clear debts or save for a much-needed holiday.”

To be eligible for the owner’s guarantee, the following criteria need to be satisfied:
  • The car must be less than six years old at the start of the guarantee period
  • The maximum odometer reading is 100,000km
  • The car is located within 15km of the Sydney CBD or 10km of the Melbourne CBD
  • The car is available for at least 300 days in the 12-month guarantee period
The safety of vehicles rented out through DriveMyCar is paramount. The platform facilitates the process on behalf of owners, including a credit check, providing a formal rental agreement, collecting the payment and security deposit, and providing insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance.

“If you own a car, this is one of the easiest ways you can make some extra cash on the side. We’ve already paid out $8 million to car owners in Australia, and we’re looking forward to paying out a lot more in 2019,” added Mr Noone.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Colombia & Chile with George Negus: mindful travel in an era of ‘fake news’

World Expeditions has launched a new “Travel for the Mind Colombia & Chile with George Negus” itinerary for 2019, following on from his highly successful 2018 journey through Jordan, Israel & the Occupied Territories.

George Negus’s exciting new Travel for the Mind itinerary will take travellers behind the headlines to discover the phenomenal changes that are unfolding in these once-troubled countries, as they emerge from the political and military struggles of the past.

According to World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari, creating the Travel for the Mind itineraries with a seasoned professional traveller and journalist like George Negus and his partner Kirsty Cockburn, has proven to be incredibly popular with travellers.

“George Negus has had a lasting impact on Australian television viewers for a reason,” Sue said.

“Feedback from the travellers, who have joined our Travel for the Mind itineraries, recounts George’s wonderful capacity to explain, engage and explore as he travels, and the way he makes it possible for them to swiftly educate themselves and gain a deeper understanding of countries that have dominated global headlines for a whole generation.

“They describe the Travel for the Mind experience as an ‘innovative way to provide unfiltered information to everyday people’.

“This, in an era of fake news, is an extraordinary concept.”

“Travel for the Mind” itineraries are specially crafted by George Negus, drawing on his extensive experience and the valuable contacts made during his 30 plus years travelling the globe as a journalist.

“These itineraries are designed for the culturally, socially, politically and religiously curious travellers, giving them the chance to explore, question and probe and ultimately to leave these destinations with their own story to tell and a greater understanding of where they’ve been and the lives of those they have met,” George said.

“These journeys are like journalism without a television camera and a smaller but no less critical audience.”

George Negus describes Colombia as a new opportunity for Australians to comfortably traverse a geographically beautiful and incredibly diverse country and to gain a real appreciation of the phenomenal changes that have taken place since the historic Peace Agreement in November 2016 ended a half-century-long conflict.

“Once off-limits to visitors due to security issues, Colombia is enjoying increased political stability and a rise in tourism following the collapse of the key major drug cartels that had previously created security issues limiting access for tourists to many of its most extraordinary regions,” he said.

“Now it’s become a rare good news story, with striking architectural beauty, preserved colonial towns and largely unspoilt natural wonders waiting to be explored.

“And in Chile, tourism has in fact flourished since 2006, increasing 300 per cent after decades of economic collapse from similar political instability caused by long dictatorships,” he said.

Priced from $9990 per person (twin share), Travel for the Mind Colombia & Chile with George Negus departs from Bogota, Colombia, and finishes in Santiago, Chile with an optional escorted extension to the remarkable Atacama Desert.

A vast and incredibly diverse country, Colombia dominates the 18-day itinerary which ends in the Chilean capital, Santiago. Highlights include:

· Discovering Street Art with a lot to say about a changing South America
· Exploring the well-preserved colonial towns of Villa de Levya, Cartagena and Barichara
· Undertaking a river journey along the Rio Magdalena to the UNESCO protected site of remote Mompox
· Meeting young Colombians turning their country around with business ventures like the
· La Palma y el Tucan coffee farm
· Travelling through the Colombian Andes
· Traversing the urban innovations that have caught the world’s attention in Medellin, former home of Pablo Escobar’s notorious drug cartels
· Enjoying an Ancestral lunch at renowned Peumayen in Santiago

The itinerary includes breakfast and accommodation in specially selected unique boutique hotels, 10 lunches and 10 dinners, internal flights in Colombia, private transfers and tours, an English speaking guide throughout Colombia, local site guides, entrance fees and boat transport.

More information at

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places