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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Most Anticipated Hotel Openings in SE Asia for 2020

Banyan Tree Krabi

Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd, one of Asia's foremost luxury hotel groups, has announced plans to open a new resort in Krabi in the second quarter of 2020. Currently under development in a serene location on Tubkaek Beach, a scenic 45-minute drive from Krabi Airport, Banyan Tree Krabi fronts powdery white sands and the shallow-shelved coast of the Andaman Sea. The new Thai resort will offer 72 pool suites and villas, among them seven 2-bedroom options and one three-bedroom villa. Facilities include all-day dining, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, a beach club, a kids' club, and a fitness center. In keeping with Banyan Tree's holistic branding, the resort will also host a rainforest-themed spa.

Fusion Suites Vung Tau

Fusion's newest hotel, Fusion Suites Vung Tau, is set to open in January in southern Vietnam's popular coastal playground. The new 21-storey property features 171 well-appointed suites and apartments, a multitude of dining options, a spa, yoga studio, and a rooftop infinity pool. The property offers views of the ocean, and complements the setting with playful interiors dressed in sea green, ocean blue, and a wide range of ocean-inspired hues in between. The same sense of whimsy informs the building's complex facade with pastel-coloured glass panels that zig-zag upwards. For dining options the hotel has the Fresh restaurant (open all-day), a rooftop bar, and market stalls in the lobby. The property's 12 treatment room spa is inspired by the sea and features signature therapies based around salt. Conveniently located in the heart of Vung Tau, the hotel is just a short trip by boat or road from Ho Chi Minh City.

Tanah Gajah, a resort by Hadiprana

On January 1, 2020, The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud will return to its roots as it becomes Tanah Gajah, a resort by Hadiprana and the flagship property of a new hospitality group Hadiprana Hospitality. The property was first built in the 1980s as a holiday home for legendary Indonesian architect and designer, Hendra Hadiprana, and his family. The family retreat was then transformed into an idyllic resort set among the rice paddies of Ubud under GHM's management. Intimate, yet spacious, the five-hectare property features twenty art-filled accommodation options, ranging from one bedroom suites with open air bathrooms and lotus pond views, to a one-of-a-kind two bedroom estate with a private pool. The Restaurant is set to reopen as The Tempayan, named for the large traditional earthenware jars that decorate the heart of the dining destination amid the rice paddies. A new tapas lounge, Panen Padi, will open in a prime location with a view of tranquil swan ponds on one side and lush fields unfolding on the other. The ceiling of the restored building will be adorned with a traditional Balinese painting that shares Hendra Hadiprana's life story. Hadiprana's original presence is felt at the property, with a myriad of sculptures, antiques, and artwork that the collector picked up over the years adorning all corners of the site. Plans are also in motion for expanding on the array of authentic experiences on offer to guests.

Azerai Ke Ga Bay

The luxurious and secluded oceanfront retreat Azerai Ke Ga Bay is set to open on Apr. 1, 2020 as the third property in Vietnam in Azerai Resorts' growing portfolio. The 55-room resort, which will succeed Princess D'Annam Resort & Spa on the same site following a six-month renovation, is located 180km east of Saigon on a sweeping, five-kilometer white sand beach on the South China Sea. Framed to the north by Hon Ba Island, with its historic 1899-built colonial French lighthouse, and to the south by soaring sand dunes, the property cultivates one of the most naturally splendid oceanfront settings in the country. The guest rooms, suites and villas evoke a contemporary aesthetic defined by elegant and simple design, with many units boasting either plunge pools or more spacious private pools. Azerai Ke Ga Bay marks the brand's first beach resort, and follows Azerai La Residence, Hue, a historic city hotel overlooking the Perfume River in Vietnam's former imperial capital, and Azerai Can Tho, a tropical retreat set on a peaceful islet in the Mekong Delta. Azerai was formed by hotelier Adrian Zecha.

Ancient Hue

When people refer to a room being "fit for a king", they are usually talking figuratively. Not so in the case of Ancient Hue, a luxury boutique complex of authentic nha ruong (garden homes) about to be unveiled in Hue, Vietnam's former royal capital. The five ancient royal houses at the resort were originally used as dwellings for members of the extended imperial families: relatives of the emperors who used to preside over the nation. Beautifully restored by skilled Vietnamese artisans, the garden homes feature an exquisite fusion of traditional charm and contemporary luxury. Ancient Hue is owned and was conceived by Trails of Indochina, one of Southeast Asia's leading boutique tour operators. Indeed, the property is a passion project for Trails of Indochina founder John Tue Nguyen, who is originally from Hue. "Ancient Hue is a way for me to leave some kind of legacy," he says. "Hue is like nowhere else in Vietnam. The original charm is intact. With Ancient Hue we are trying to ensure that the city's heritage and character is preserved."

See here for details.

Friday, December 20, 2019

#Philippines: Look past Bohol's Chocolate Hills for more

#itsmorefuninthePhilippines #Philippines

While most tourists visit the province of Bohol to see the world-famous Chocolate Hills, many are often surprised at the diversity of attractions on offer. The Philippines Department of Tourism encourages travellers to allow plenty of time to discover the picturesque landscapes, white sand beaches, rich culture and jungle activities in what is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Philippines.

Ms Norjamin Delos Reyes, Tourism Attaché at Philippine Department of Tourism Australia and New Zealand said,

"Bohol is the friendly heart of the Visayas. Not many people know that it is also among one of the worlds' most popular tourist destinations which is largely due to the variety of attractions on offer. In addition to the Chocolate Hills, which is on many peoples' bucket list, travellers will be thrilled to find picturesque jungle adventures, ziplining, waterfall climbing, cave exploring, and river cruising, all of which will get the heart racing!"

The Chocolate Hills are a group of unusually shaped hills located in the middle of Bohol. This extraordinary landscape is unique to the small island and mystery still surrounds how the Chocolate Hills were formed. During the rainy season, they are lush and green but at the end of the dry season, the grass turns from green to brown, giving the hills their name. Whilst this is the most popular destination in Bohol, there are many more things to discover.

Loboc River Cruise

The Loboc River is a popular sightseeing destination in Bohol. The best way to explore this must-visit attraction is to take a river cruise on board on one of the many vessels on offer. The boats resemble large floating houses and travellers will often enjoy a buffet lunch, live music and dancing.

Panglao Island

Panglao Island is a hub for all activities and there are many resorts, hotels, and restaurants on offer in the area. A beautiful beach getaway, Pangalao island is known for its white sand beaches and world-class diving sites and travellers will not be disappointed with the amount of exploring to be done, including sunset spots, cliff jumps and the chance to swim with turtles.

Hinagdanan Cave

The Hinagdanan Cave is one of the many wondrous caves in the island province of Bohol. Located on the northern coastline of Panglao Island, the cave is accessible by a staircase leading down to a whole new world below. Features of the cave include incredible stalagmite pinnacles and turquoise pools, offering travellers the chance to experience natural enchanting beauty.

Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park

Located near the Chocolate Hills, Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park is the perfect place for those with a love of heights, nature, and adrenaline. Travellers are able to fly through the jungle on an exhilarating zipline course which goes over the jungle, the river and gives a view of the Chocolate Hills.

Dimiao Twin Waterfalls

Around 25 metres tall, Dimiao Falls is a twin set of falls which flow down limestone rocks and into a large pool formed at the base. One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Philippines, the falls are perfect for swimming and cliff jumping, complete with cool turquoise waters.

For more information, visit Tourism Philippines at Follow Tourism Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Europe on a Budget with UTracks

From Portugal to the Balkans, seven active breaks for 2020 that will not break the bank

Travel to some of Europe's most iconic landscapes – from the rainbow-painted Cinque Terre villages to Cappadocia's lunar scenery

New in Spain: Follow one of the oldest Camino routes to Santiago de Compostela

Planning an active break for 2020 but are on a tight budget?

From Portugal to Turkey, European active holiday specialist UTracks offers below seven of the best itineraries that will set you back less than $1000 per person.

Goulburn Australia unveils new Destination Guide


The 2020 Goulburn Australia Destination Guide was officially unveiled at an exclusive after-hours industry event, held at the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre on Wednesday, 18th December 2019.

The Guide has been designed to complement the new Goulburn Australia destination website – – which was officially launched on the same night.

Featuring fresh new imagery and copy, both assets provide visitors, new residents and locals with a comprehensive and definitive guide to Goulburn and the wider Tablelands region.

Acting Team Leader Marketing, Andri Parlett, who oversaw the project, is excited to see the Destination Guide come to fruition.

"This is the most extensive edition ever produced for the Goulburn region. We have introduced four new sections: Family Fun, Wellness, Occasions, as well as a Canberra Region Tablelands section; and have included more contemporary imagery than ever before to create the feeling of a premium country lifestyle magazine."

"A new Goulburn CBD map has been included, as well as an updated City map with complete street index. Another new element is utilising symbols to indicate which accommodation properties are pet-friendly and accessible within the 'Stay' section".

The Destination Guide is an essential marketing tool that is used daily by visitors and potential new residents, and it is often the bridge between budding interest and taking action. It assists in decision-making and planning by providing information on the wide range of experiences and services available in and around Goulburn.

Council's Marketing and Events Unit will distribute 90,000 copies of the Guides over the next two years. The publication is also available online at

This official guide to the region is always in demand, being distributed at around 60 other NSW Accredited Visitor Information Centres and local and regional tourism operators, as well as through direct requests from consumers received as a result of Council's destination marketing campaigns.

Boxes of Destination Guides are also now available for collection from the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Balloons Over Bagan Marks Milestone in the Sky

Myanmar’s favorite travel experience celebrates its 20th anniversary

Look at any travel story or poster promoting tourism in Myanmar and chances are it will feature one of two iconic images - the shimmering golden stupa of Shwedagon Pagoda, or a hot-air balloon drifting celestially over the ancient temples of Bagan at sunrise.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Explore Every Day with Lonely Planet's 365 Daily Prompts to Refresh Your Life

With Explore Every Day, Lonely Planet presents an idea a day to refresh your life.

You don’t have to travel far to discover a world of new experiences in Explore Every Day, published this month. From new ways to connect with friends, family and the community, to appreciating art and unleashing your creative side, Lonely Planet shows you how to explore new cultures, meet new people and have amazing adventures – every day.

"Think of this book not as a simple guide to fun things to do, but as an act of rebellion. As a stand against the forces that hold us back from exploring our creativity, our adventurousness and our communities." author Alex Leviton writes in her Introduction. "You don’t need to fly to the Maldives and stay in an above-water bungalow or trek through the Himalayas for months on end to awaken that sense of adventure or connection."

"You have no excuse, either," Alex continues. "Some of these prompts take an actual, literal minute ('breathe deeply'), others a full day or more ('living-room camping') but most take anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour. The vast majority of them are completely or almost free."

"These 365 prompts (plus one leap prompt, of course) offer a dozen different types of archetypal experiences," Alex says. "Do you want to connect with family ('call a relative'), friends ('hide a note for a mate') or your community ('use your volunteer skills')? Do you want to appreciate art ('mural walking tour') or would you rather create something yourself ('draw a map of your town')? You can editorialise your home town ('a travel-writing assignment') or just use your imagination ('dedicate today to your favourite person in history'). And yes, you can even recast your housework as fun ('turn a chore into a game')."

"When we think back to what gave us that spark of joy during the day, was it that time you spent on social media or reading the news?," Alex asks. "Or was it the dusty orange sunset you saw on the way home, or that conversation you had with a new colleague? We can’t take away the former (well, we do try: 'unfollow one social media account'; and 'don’t read any news today') but this book will help remind you to do more of the latter."

About the author: Lonely Planet author, sometimes start-up director and creative coach Alex Leviton has been advocating for more creativity, exploration, and play for almost 20 years. Since getting a master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley, she’s contributed to dozens of Lonely Planet titles, done stand-up comedy, mentored teen poets, led travel writing workshops around the world, and performed Improv badly. However, her favourite thing is to help others find their creative voice. Find her at

Published: December 2019
ISBN: 9781788686358
Price: AU$14.99 / NZ$16.99

Friday, December 13, 2019

Bench Africa Launches Ladies Only Tour in Kenya

Bench Africa is expanding and going after one of travel's most significant markets by launching a ladies-only itinerary in Kenya.

Setting off from Kenya's capital, Nairobi on 16 June 2020, the 'Explore Kenya – Escorted Ladies Safari' is an immersive escape over ten days and incorporates wildlife, culture and adventure, and they are welcoming women of all ages.

Highlights include a safari in the world famous Masai Mara and Tsavo East National Park to witness ochre-red elephants in their herds. Enjoy a stay in Amboseli to see the sweeping savannas against the backdrop of Kilimanjaro and Lake Naivasha for its spectacular scenery and birdlife.

Bench Africa, General Manager commented that, "We have seen a significant rise in female solo travellers in the last 12 months, and have already received great interest in this carefully designed tour. What makes this itinerary so unique is that we've done away with the single supplement so it is still entirely affordable if you're travelling on your own. This classic journey will be unforgettable and a chance to do it with the camaraderie and support of a small group of ladies of all ages."

The trip is priced from $5,495 per person. And as a bonus, Bench Africa is waiving the single supplement for solo travellers.

1300 AFRICA (237 422)

Instagram: bench_africa
Twitter: @BenchAfrica

Monday, December 9, 2019

Macao Festive Season 2020

Macao is celebrating the festive season with the largest display of lighting and three-dimensional mapping to decorate the city's streets, squares and its fine examples of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

To further highlight the Asian city's love of festivals, a giant fireworks display will light up the skies on Sunday, December 22 to commemorate the centre's 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.

This significant fireworks display has been based on the theme of "Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Return of Macao to the Motherland," and will be divided into four chapters, launched with the Sai Van Bridge as the central axis and spanning from Macao to neighbouring Zhuhai on mainland China.

Among the highlights will be 600 drones which will form the pictures of a Macao lotus, the iconic Ruins of St Paul's, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge, and a "handshake" between Macao and Zhuhai.

"The evening event will be something very special for the people of Macao," said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand), "As an indication of the scale and significance of the celebrations, 160,000 shots of fireworks will light up the sky over the 30 minutes," she said.

As locals and visiting holidaymakers go in search of bargains on their annual Christmas shopping spree, much of the historic east-meets-west city has been brought to life at night through a kaleidoscope of colours for the largest Macao Light Festival to be held in event's five years' history.

This month-long festival – until December 31 – has been expanded to include four specially designed luminous walking routes. The overall program includes mind boggling projection mapping, light installations, interactive games and other forms of activities. Interest will centre on Nam Van Lake and its 30-metre Floating Wonder projection, a 12-metre high inflatable Mak Mak, Macao's tourism mascot, and a projected Mak Mak Parade.

"The festival's aim is to draw visitors to different districts of the city for an appreciation of Macao by night," said Helen. "Everyone has a chance to learn about the local culture and history from innovative angles shaped by the light artistry," she said. Last Sunday (December 8), Macao hosted its annual multi-cultural street fair – the Macao International Parade – featuring entertainment and colourfully decorated floats of all shapes and sizes.

Organised by the Macao Cultural Affairs Bureau and originally named "the 'Parade through Macao, Latin City", this free street event was created to provide local arts groups a performance platform alongside invited international performing groups. It was a time for them to express their creativity skills while showcasing a diverse culture.

While this month's 9th Macao Shopping Festival carries the theme "Way to go Shopping", be prepared to go in many directions in search of a bargain on Christmas goodies and the latest designer label items. There are surprises galore. Head across to Macao's tiny Taipa Village and you will find a few surprises at a Christmas pop up store "My Merry X'mas! Taipa Village Christmas Fair." The store features more than 100 locally sourced Christmas products and promotes local craftsmanship.

DETAILS: Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia), phone +61 2 9264 1488 or check out

Monday, December 2, 2019

Plan a 'Shop-Cation' Road-Trip to Central NSW Before Christmas

Are you planning Christmas? Businesses in Central NSW are encouraging Sydney-siders to take a 'shop-cation' road-trip to stock up on quality, home-made gifts, and buy from the bush, rather than mass-produced goods from overseas.

Central NSW Tourism has researched the best boutiques, retailers, producers and Christmas markets to help you plan a 'shop-cation' road-trip before Christmas, or jump online and buy direct. The region begins just two-hours' drive West from Sydney and includes Oberon, Bathurst, Orange, Cowra, Millthorpe and Parkes.

Fill your empty boot with home-made jewellery, patchwork quilts, baskets, toys, antiques, bags, ceramics, clothing, honey, wine and relishes; and of course, the friendliest customer service.
  • Beeline Beewares - Gifts from the Beehive - owned and operated by Frank and Jenny 'The Lazy Bee and the Double D Ranch'products include honeycomb, beeswax candles, lip balms and balms.  
  • Unearthed Homewares - an ever-changing range of premium and affordable lifestyle products, including gorgeous art, furniture, cushions and rugs. Stocking brands such as Juju & Co, Woolf Leather, French Country, Mayvn, Peppermint Grove.
  • Finns Store - a piece of Canowindra's history, the iconic Finns Store is situated in the main street of Canowindra. Finns Store has been fully renovated and now sells fabulous gifts, jewellery, women's clothing, unique furniture and incredible coffee & light meals.
  • Penelope Haddrill Hats- luxury handmade hats, made from the highest quality materials, such as unique millinery summer panamas, straw hats, winter fedoras and race hats.
  • The Hall Condo – specialising in men's clothing such as jackets and leisurewear, they also stock gifts like ceramic travel coffee mugs, women's and children's wear.
  • Angus Barrett Saddlery – quality made saddlery and leather goods such as bags, wallets, belt, cases dog collars etc. All products are designed to work and made to last
  • Beekeepers Inn - a huge variety of locally produced honey with a café, brewery and farm-shop.
  • The Corner Store Gallery – host regular 'pop-up-shops' by local artisans such as Fiona Schofiled Millinery and The Journey Person Handmade.
  • Jan Parlett's Country Experience – the most magical Christmas store with displays, ornaments, decorations and Christmas trees. There are also homewares, gift lines, prints and signs.
  • Grenfell Furniture– an extensive collection of furniture, bedding, home wares, gifts, and clothing. Unique, hard to find pieces are at exceptional prices and mostly handcrafted.
  • Grenfell Shoes – specialising in quality shoes made to last, as well as handbags, luggage and accessories, owner Maria provides exceptional service and an online store.
  • Woolerina – beautiful quality, ethically made merino wool clothing including singlets, jumpers, jackets and dresses for the whole family, made with love and designed to last
  • Made of Fridays – a gorgeous gift, art and design store with regular Christmas workshops. A great place for hats, pots, jewellery, books and clothing.
  • Ooshka - a baby, kids, homewares and lifestyle boutique, with a love for all things unique, there are gorgeous soft toys, colourful clothes and accessories for mumma.
  • Wholesome Blend - perfect for the heathy foodie, selling natural and organic products, healthy snacks, organic coffee, produce and various pantry items.
  • Coopers Antiques – where every item has a story, Coopers sell a huge variety of furniture, curios, artwork, lighting and jewellery, sourced from estates, auctions and private collections.
  • The Long Arm Farm Café and Produce – the best place to buy from local farms including a variety of pork produce such as bacon, hams and hocks, local truffles, jams, relishes and recycled timber crafts.
  • King's Antiques & Collectables – full of English antiques, collectables, old wares, decorative items, vintage tea-wares and Goddard's Polish. Indulge your secret love of Antiques Roadshow and explore with owners Martin and Judy King.
  • Arts Gallery - The Tablelands Artists Co-operative Gallery opened in 2018 and sells amazing locally produced artworks, pottery, pastels, oils, acrylics, photography, etchings, watercolours, textiles, jewellery and accessories.
A Few Christmas Markets
  • Bathurst Outdoor Expo and Christmas Markets, 16-17 November. An annual event with a wide variety of exhibitors filling the three beautiful pavilions of the Bathurst Showground. Enjoy the festival atmosphere with food and market stalls, entertainment and rides.
  • Oberon Farmers Christmas Market, 7 December. Buy direct from the stalls of local businesses selling beeswax candles, patchwork quilts, beautiful chopping boards, craft and produce.
  • Cowra Christmas Street Festival6 December.Enjoy over 100 market stalls selling everything including local produce, crafts, homewares, clothing, jewellery, delicious food and more.
  • Forbes Christmas CarnivalFriday 13 December. There will be a fantastic array of market stalls, food and beverage stalls, activities for children, jumping castle, dancing, giant games, stage entertainment and musicians
  • Millfest Street Festival, 14 December. An end of year street festival in Millthorpe's historic Pym Street with live music, stalls, local wine, beer and food.
Central NSW includes Oberon, Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.
To plan your shop-cation roadtrip to Central NSW go to

Traveloscopy | 

Veriu opens at Sydney’s Green Square

Leading innovator in the apartment hotel and micro-apartment space, Veriu launched its new, state-of-the-art hotel yesterday, in Sydney’s newest urban town centre – Green Square.

The launch marks another welcome addition to the rapidly evolving Green Square precinct, and is Veriu’s fifth property in Australia, joining a stylish collection of boutique and loft-inspired hotels & suites in Camperdown, Broadway, Randwick and Central Sydney.

With Veriu leading the charge in micro-apartment innovation, CEO Zed Sanjana is delighted to offer guests another exceptional property, this time drawing inspiration from a new and vibrant district.

“We’re really excited to be launching another unique micro apartment hotel, our fifth in the Sydney market, in one of the inner city’s most strategically important industrial and office precincts, at the convergence of Alexandria, Rosebery, Zetland, Beaconsfield and Waterloo. The opening of Veriu Green Square strengthens our footing into the micro-apartment hotel space; using clever and innovative design, our apartments can offer our guests great versatility with spaces for sleeping, sitting, a kitchenette and shelving for storage, surpassing the traditional hotel room in terms of flexibility and making it the perfect accommodation option for our core target, the short and long stay corporate traveller. Green Square is a fast-emerging precinct, where we know this hotel will satisfy the growing demand of corporate and leisure travellers searching for boutique, design-driven, flexible accommodation in a location not currently well supplied in terms of hotels and serviced apartments.”

The Veriu Hotels & Suites brand is set to grow exponentially in the next three years, with Veriu announcing its plans for interstate expansion earlier this year. Veriu will launch into Victoria from 2022 with two projects in Melbourne – the first, Veriu Collingwood, in partnership with Gurner TM, followed by Veriu Queen Victoria Market with Melbourne-based developer PDG Corporation. Together, the two Victorian additions will increase the portfolio to about 600 rooms and apartments operating or in development under the Veriu Brand.

Guests staying at Veriu Green Square will have access to the full suite of top-notch offerings and amenities for which the brand has become increasingly synonymous, delivered with its signature quality and innovative style. As with Veriu’s other 4 properties, the hotel features cleverly configured and contemporary spaces, ranging from sophisticated Hotel Suites (including Accessible Hotel Suites for those with limited mobility) to Studio Micro-Apartments perfectly ‘suited and booted’ for longer stay solo travellers, to Family Micro-Apartments designed to sleep four people comfortably.

Veriu Green Square’s appeal is not just confined to the hotel’s accommodation offering. On-site Italian restaurant, Freddie Green’s, is shaping up to become the destination for big flavour Italian dishes made with fresh, locally sourced produce. With a menu designed by one of Sydney’s most respected chefs, James Metcalfe of JRM Hospitality, Freddie Green’s will provide both Veriu’s guests and local residents with a little taste of Italy right on their doorstep.

The new 144-room hotel is built on the original Australian store site of luxury auto trader, Mercedes-Benz, close to the heart of the new town centre. The hotel was designed by award winning architect, Ashkan Mostaghim, inspired by the history of the site, with various elements paying tribute to the luxury car brand and its products.

Boasting a 6 Star Green Star Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, the newly minted suburb of Green Square is expected to undergo rapid expansion in the next few years, with the City of Sydney committing $540 million over the next decade to create world-class community facilities including an innovative new library and plaza, an aquatic centre, a creative hub and more.

Ideally located just two train stops from Sydney Domestic Airport Station, Veriu Green Square also offers direct access to Sydney CBD, only minutes away. With rooms and suites designed to allow guests to ‘live smarter’, not to mention a uniquely cool reception ‘desk’, lobby lounge bar, on-site gym, dedicated workspaces and conference room, the hotel is expected to appeal to both business and leisure travellers looking to settle in Veriu’s latest neighbourhood hotel.

Bookings for Veriu Green Square are now open. To book, visit

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Colorado welcomes early snowfalls

Snowstorms at the weekend delivered a welcome cover of powder at several resorts across Colorado that are scheduled to open this week, with further heavy snow continuing ahead of Thanksgiving tomorrow (28 November). Aspen Mountain and Snowmass’ openings were brought forward by five days to Saturday 23 November with top to bottom skiing and riding, whilst locals in Telluride were revelling in a Bluebird Day on Saturday after 15 inches of snow was received from one storm, ahead of opening day this Thursday. Skiers and boarders everywhere are hopeful this is a sign of another great season to come for Colorado’s 28 ski areas and resorts.

Aspen Mountain opened on Saturday with 3,200 vertical feet of top to bottom skiing and riding serviced by the Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express, and Bell Mountain Chair. Runs include Bellissimo, Upper Copper, Deer Park, Dipsy Doodle, Easy Chair, One and Two Leaf, Pumphouse, Silver Bell, Blondie’s, Pussyfoot Silver Dip and Spar Gultch. This new terrain will add 88 new acres of skiing and riding, bringing the total acreage to 148 on Aspen Mountain. The Sundeck restaurant and Ajax Tavern is open with food and beverage options. Aspen Mountain lifts are running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are scheduled to open Saturday 7 December.)

Snowmass, which also opened early at the weekend, offers a total of 60 acres of terrain with skiing and riding from the Village Express midway unload point along Upper Scooper to Lower Hal’s Hollow to the bottom of Fanny Hill, as well as at Elk Camp Meadows accessed by the Elk Camp Gondola. The Breathtaker Alpine Coaster is now up-and-running and the Elk Camp Restaurant is also open with food and beverages. The Village Express lift is operating from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with the Elk Camp Gondola running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Beaver Creek opened on Saturday 23 November, ahead of its scheduled 27 November opening date, with more than 70 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain accessed by two lifts – Centennial Express Lift and Haymeadow Express Gondola – which commenced at 9:00 a.m. The Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School also began with Spruce Saddle and the Ice Cream Parlour now open daily for on-mountain eats.

Telluride is starting the season with 35 inches of snow in the past week, with more on the way ahead of its official opening day on Thursday 28 November. More than one foot fell on Saturday alone as locals celebrated a Bluebird day in the mountain town and a further foot of fresh powder last night. Lifts in the resort will being turning today ahead of its Thanksgiving opening.

Vail, which officially opened for the 19.20 season on 16 November, has also announced that trails off Northwoods Express and Sourdough Express are now open (as of Monday 25 November), for a total of 360 skiable acres, 29 open trails and 5 chairlifts.

Steamboat was originally scheduled to open on Saturday 23 November, with the opening day brought forward by one week to 15 November, signaling the resort’s earliest opening in 50 years. The season commenced with the Christie Peak Express featuring 50 acres, 1,100 vertical feet and 10 trails including Sitz, Sitzback, Jess’ Cut-Off, Vogue, lower Short Cut, Stampede, Boulevard, upper Giggle Gulch and Right O Way, as well as Desperado Carpet and select features in Lil’ Rodeo Terrain Park. Lessons are available with Steamboat SnowSports School and the Outlaw Mountain Coaster in action. The new Steamboat gondola was also opened on Sunday 24 November, which increases capacities and decreases ride times.

Other ski areas and resorts in Colorado opening this week include Crested Butte and Purgatory today (27 November) and Echo Mountain on 29 November.

This wave of resort openings follows many record-breaking early openings this season, with Arapahoe Basin opening on 11 October; Monarch celebrating its earliest opening since 1969 on 1 November, Winter Park having its earliest opening on record on 2 November following 40 inches of snow in October. Keystone and Breckenridge both had the snowiest October on record with 48 inches at Breckenridge (which opened 8 November) and 44 inches at Keystone (which opened 1 November).

For more information about Snow’s Perfect State, Colorado, and its 28 ski areas, visit

New sustainable events initiative launched to protect the reef

New initiative recognises the importance of the natural environment by the sector

Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef have today launched a new initiative at their annual Sell TNQ event. The new program, named 'Nurturing Nature', sees five Cairns' hotels commit to donating $5 per delegate to local environmental and wildlife causes for events booked and held in participating hotels next year. The program is part of larger efforts to nurture the natural environment on which the local business events sector is built on.

"Without our natural environment in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, we wouldn't have a visitor economy or business events sector. This new program is one of many ways the industry is giving back to local environmental causes whilst providing another way for delegates to leave a legacy," commented Rosie Douglas, General Manager of Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef.

Hilton Cairns, Pullman Cairns International, Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Riley, A Crystalbrook Collection Resort and Shangri-La The Marina Cairns are all taking part in an effort to shine a light on the sustainability credentials of hosting a business event in Cairns. The donations per conference attendee will go to one of four locally based charities including Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Tropical Animal Rehabilitation Centre and North Queensland Wildlife Trust.

In addition to the donation from each hotel, the properties undertake their own initiatives to conserve energy, water, shop local and give back to the local community. Hilton Cairns have a ban on plastic straws, single use plastic, soap aid and is piloting a number of other initiatives for the hotel group in the Asia-Pacific region. The Crystalbrook Collection boasts recycled wooden key cards, paperless check-in and check-out and coat hangers made from recycled cardboard. Low food miles is the mantra for their restaurants with the Crystalbrook Station beef farmed just a three-hour drive away.

Douglas continued to outline the environmental sustainability credentials of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef saying: "In Cairns, one of the most notable factors for conferences is the fact delegates can reduce their footprints significantly compared to other destinations. Our airport is a short drive to the city centre and once here, delegates can move from venue-to-venue on foot or take an electric bus," she said.

To take part, conferences need to have a minimum of 20 attendees and they must book and have their event within 2020 although Douglas says some exceptions might apply if planners speak directly to participating venues.

For more information on the initiative visit

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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