Whale Shark Encounters at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

Raffles Maldives Meradhoo adds exciting new experience to their plethora of once-in-a-lifetime activities available on-island

This year, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo invites marine-life enthusiasts to marvel at the sight of whale sharks in the healthy reefs of the Gaafu Alifu Atoll.  The new experience will take guests out on a traditional Dhoni across the warm Indian Ocean to meet the magnificent spotted sharks which are up to 12 metres in length.

Guests can embark on this bespoke journey and expect to encounter up to three whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. The Raffles marine-life biologist will be on-hand to equant guests with the incredible creatures, as well as identify passing sea life – including turtles, dolphins, and manta rays, all rich in the vast expanse of ocean.

Raffles Maldives Meradhoo has been welcoming travellers in search of true tranquillity and complete escapism since its opening in 2019, and offers access to some of the most pristine reefs in the Maldives.
A Marine Butler is available to every guest and will happily lead snorkelling tours of the resort’s two remarkable and endlessly fascinating house reefs. Gaafu Alifu atoll is one of the world’s largest and deepest atolls and the astoundingly clear, blissfully warm waters immediately surrounding the Raffles resort teem with a kaleidoscope of colourful fish.

The Whale Shark Encounter at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is available to book from January 2021 and is USD 500++ per person (rate is subject to 10% service charge and 12% government taxes).  

The two-hour encounter starts in the evening and include an extensive array of canapés and beverages.

www.raffles.com

When and Where to See Queensland Thrive

With the new year comes a calendar full of new wild adventures as Queensland’s flora and fauna residents gear up to put on one magnificent show in 2021. So, get out your date planners and diaries because here’s when and where you can watch nature thrive in the Sunshine State throughout the year:

January

Turtle season continues with baby turtle hatchings

The turtle season in Queensland officially kicks off in November when thousands of female turtles make their annual pilgrimage to Queensland beaches to lay their eggs, but January to March is the ‘grand finale’. The first three months of the year mark turtle hatching season when the baby turtles dig their way to the surface before scurrying across the sand to the deep blue. Turtle hatchings can be seen all along the coast, but keep an eye on the sand when you visit the likes of Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Lady Elliot Island, Fitzroy Island, Green Island and of course Mon Repos, near Bundaberg, to catch a glimpse of this turtley-awesome showcase of new life.

March

Cuteness overload: koala joey season

As the state animal emblem, the koala is synonymous with Queensland, meaning there’s no better place to see koala joeys make their entrance into the world. Koala breeding takes place between September and March, and after developing in their mother’s pouch for several months, joeys start to emerge from around March onwards. Welcome these cuddly creatures into the world at one of Queensland’s wildlife sanctuaries or get up close and personal with an adult koala with a koala cuddle encounter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

May

May, the month of the manta ray

Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is the place to be if you want to get up close and personal with the ‘birds of the sea’, also known as the magnificent manta ray. The best time of year to see manta rays is May to August when the rays come out to play in larger numbers thanks to cooler water temperatures. See them in actionalong the Queensland coastline from the Whitsundays to North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) and out to Lady Elliot Island – often referred to as the home of manta rays due to the abundant population that call the lagoon home.

June

Annual humpback whale migration to the world first Whale Heritage Site

There’s no better vantage point to observe the annual humpback whale migration than Queensland’s Hervey Bay. The humpback whale migration season runs from June to November with around 25,000 humpback whales descending on Queensland’s warm waters to mate before heading back to Antarctica with their newborn calves. On their return journey, these magnificent marine mammals pull in for a pit stop at Hervey Bay, earning this calm body of water between the mainland and Fraser Island the title as the world’s first Whale Heritage Site. Visitors can take an exhilarating whale watching tour from Hervey Bay plus other locations along the Queensland coast including Mooloolaba, Redcliffe, Moreton Island and the Gold Coast, or for a closer look you can even swim with the whales.

June and July… it’s time to come eye to eye with the minke whales

Whales just can’t get enough of Queensland with the Ribbon Reefs off the coast of Cooktown playing host to the elusive minke whale for just two months of the year (June and July). No one knows from where or why they come, but what we do know is that the Great Barrier Reef is the only predictable known gathering in the world, and Queensland is the only place in Australia where you can swim with these curious creatures. After the first recordings of the minke whales by locals in the 1980s, a Code of Practice was developed for tourism vessels to ensure it is always the whales who are in charge of the interaction. Minke whales are very inquisitive animals and they’ll often swim right up next to you as you float on the surface for a literal ‘eye to eye’ experience. Encounters range from day tours to multi-day trips and should be booked in advance as spots are limited.

October

Queensland blooms in wildflower season

The Western Downs region outside of Brisbane, transforms into a drive-by gallery of colourful wildflowers that bloom after the September rain. Admire the purple Boronia and pink and yellow Grevillea amongst an array of other vibrant natives, when you embark on a self-drive tour from the country town of Miles and travel through a spectacular piece of living art.

Jacarandas paint the skyline lavender

Look to the October skies and be treated to a spectacular palette of purple as the towering jacaranda trees celebrate spring. You don’t need to travel far from the major cities and towns to walk among the blooms with Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and southern Queensland countryside all turning on a spectacular jacaranda display. If staying close to Brisbane city, head to New Farm Park for a picnic beneath the pastel purple canopies or wander through a carpet of lavender at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus. Alternatively, see the jacarandas in bloom all year round in one of the Sunshine State’s most iconic paintings, Under the Jacaranda, when you visit the Queensland Art Gallery.

Sitting under the jacaranda trees

November

Coral spawning phenomenon takes over the Great Barrier Reef

Each year around the November full moon, the world’s biggest reproductive show takes place on the Great Barrier Reef, when a synchronized boom of billions of sperm and eggs explode in a phenomenon known as coral spawning. The event lasts just a few nights and although scientists can predict when it may occur, they can never guarantee the exact time and place, making this the “Everest of natural events” to see. Dive operators along the Great Barrier Reef offer tailored trips ranging from overnight dive tours to multi-day liveaboard experiences. Find out more about the 2020 coral spawning event, one of the biggest in recent years, and discover how you can witness this incredible event in 2021.

The start of turtle season begins with nesting mums

Queensland’s famous turtle season officially starts in November when thousands of mother turtles make their way to the sandy shores of the Queensland coast to lay their eggs at the very same spot where they hatched all those years ago. Nesting season runs from November through to January after which the highly anticipated hatching season begins. Quietly watch nesting at turtle-havens such Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Lady Elliot Island, Fitzroy Island, Green Island and as part of a Turtle Encounter Tour at Mon Repos.

December

Go batty at Bat Cleft

Follow the Bat-Signal to Queensland’s Capricorn region and uncover one of only five recorded little bent-wing bat maternity sites in Australia when you visit Bat Cleft. Located within the Mount Etna Caves National Park just north of Rockhampton, Bat Cleft is home to 80 per cent of Australia’s known population of breeding females, making the area a hub for spotting bats in the wild. Between December and January, visitors have the rare opportunity to see up to 180,000 bats swarm out of the caves at sunset to catch their dinner, a la insect. The three hour torchlight tour is held three nights a week on Monday, Friday and Saturday and must be booked ahead of your visit.

The World’s Most Instagrammed Waterfalls

REVEALED: The World’s Most Instagrammed Waterfalls

  • Niagara Falls maintains its worldwide recognition as the most Instagrammed waterfall with 4 million hashtags
  • Iguazú Falls in Argentina claims second place with just over a million posts
  • Iceland’s Gullfoss is the third most Instagrammed at 329,576 Insta hashtags
  • 59% of social media users are prepared to break travel restrictions to visit their dream destination
  • Angel Falls may be the tallest waterfall but it falls short on Instagram, placing in 20th

While millions are still constrained by lockdowns and Covid-19, social media has been a haven to explore the world from the comfort of our homes. With searches for ‘travel destinations’ up 100%*, it even allows us to plan future holidays.

Interested in tourist hotspots, Showerstoyou.co.uk were keen to discover which waterfalls are the most popular on social media. After collating the number of Instagram hashtags per waterfall, they can now reveal all!

THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR WATERFALLS

In first place, Niagara Falls is the world’s most Instagrammed waterfall. While one of the smallest by size (51m), it appears the famed romantic destination hasn’t lost its appeal, raking in a total of 3,397,431 hashtags.

In second place is Iguazú Falls. Argentina’s Wonder of the World had its hashtag shared an incredible 1,005,532 times on Instagram and is a sight to see once overseas travel is allowed.

Gullfoss claims the third most popular waterfall on social media. One of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions, physically and figuratively, it boasts 329,576 hashtags on Instagram.

In fourth is the famous Victoria Falls in Zambia (286,410 hashtags) and Skógafoss in Iceland (255,519 hashtags) in fifth – tourism in the near future to both should help their countries’ economies bounce back.

Completing the top ten most popular waterfalls to visit are:

  1. Multnomah Falls (USA) – 251,639 hashtags
  2. Yosemite Falls (USA) – 190,185 hashtags
  3. Seljalandsfoss (Iceland) – 163,914 hashtags
  4. Bridalveil Fall (USA) – 147,678 hashtags
  5. Snoqualmie Falls (USA) – 131,475 hashtags

Flipping the results, whilst it may be the tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela falls short and lands in 20th place – the Wonder of the World clocks just under 30,000 Instagram hashtags to date (29,659).

Also of less influence on social media are Peru’s Gocta Falls in 19th (36,810 hashtags) and Switzerland’s Rhine Falls in 18th place(44,065 hashtags).

For all waterfalls in the top 20, please refer to the graphic above for further information.

HOW BADLY DO WE WANT TO TRAVEL?

With travel restrictions differing from country to country, Showerstoyou.co.uk were also intrigued to discover how far people are willing to go to quench their sightseeing needs.

In a flash survey of 3,296 people, a whopping 59% stated they are willing to flout restrictions to visit somewhere they’ve always wanted to go.

33% said they are worried they won’t ever be able to visit locations on their bucket lists, and finally 24% said they had or are considering paying for a virtual tour experience.

https://www.showerstoyou.co.uk/.

Langham Nymphenburg Residence

Handmade Porcelain, Modern Interior and Ground-Breaking Design: the Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich Makes Its Debut Following a Two-Year Reimagination

With an unrivalled location featuring a direct view of the majestic 490-acre imperial estate of Nymphenburg Palace, unique handcrafted artworks in every room, and interiors that are elegantly appointed, The Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich is a defining milestone for The Langham Hotels and Resorts’ expanding European portfolio. Steeped in royal Bavarian history and set in the grounds of the world-renowned Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, the new residence offers luxurious comfort, privacy and exclusiveness that is peerless.

For over two years, the 18th century manor was meticulously restored and revived as a bespoke private residence for guests. Inhabiting a spacious 9,000 square feet, The Langham features seven bathrooms, four bedrooms, three living rooms, an airy dining room, a fully-equipped kitchen, fitness centre, conference suite, home cinema and wine cellar.  The private sun-dappled terrace allows guests to relax in the middle of a beautifully landscaped garden and further offers enough space to seat 100 guests, if it is desired to organise an exclusive outdoor event.

The Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich exemplifies the ideal asset to expand our footprint in Europe and build the presence of our luxury brand,” says Stefan Leser, chief executive officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “The residence will provide the services and amenities of a luxury hotel stay with the personalised touches of a private home.  Our guests will have ample space, privacy and exclusivity, alongside the full complement of The Langham signature services in a beautiful regal setting.”

Leser adds: “The deep-rooted passion to craftsmanship and excellence shared by Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg and The Langham Hotels and Resorts will create a splendid private retreat for our guests. I truly believe this remarkable residence will play host to countless celebratory moments and the level of personalisation will be second to none.”

Munich-based interior design firm Mang Mauritz Design has created an elevated and tasteful living experience for The Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich that is complemented by the lighting design of Lichtkompetenz from Zurich. Wall fixtures in the shape of graceful flowers illuminate the staircase and crystal chandeliers drape from the bedroom ceilings. The kitchen features a customised design by Dross & Schaffer with appliances by Gaggenau. The rooms have been thoughtfully conceived and furnished with elegantly comfortable furniture from Walter Knoll and Donghia, vivid textiles by Jim Thompson, bedlinen by Frette, plush silk carpets by Jan Kath and stylish cashmere blankets from Allude, all of which were hand-selected to match the colour palette of each room.

Befitting this palatial setting, specially curated pieces from the Nymphenburg workshop, renowned for exquisite avant-garde and tailor-made designs for four centuries, have been selected and custom-tailored specifically for the Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich. The Nymphenburg porcelain is not only featured in the exquisite dinnerware and tableware collection, but also in each bathroom, as well as in the decorative art pieces that are showcased in all the guestrooms, each of which highlights a distinctive design scheme.

The Ladies’ Room features soft pastels and is decorated with vintage bird cages, each housing different porcelain birds from the Nymphenburg Collection. The Gentlemen’s Room, designed in darker tones, features dogs as its primary theme, underscored by the decorative artworks. The Blue Room on the upper floor presents a beautiful dark blue backdrop complete with a painted starry sky with dazzling constellations on the side wall.  Not to be outdone, the colourful children’s bedroom showcases a lively circus theme, with wallpaper by Cole & Son and a collection of animal figurines to spark the imaginations of the younger guests. With windows overlooking the garden, this room is bathed in natural light and offers glimpses of the beautiful creations at the porcelain manufactory.

All seven bathrooms, including the two restrooms, are inspired by unique motifs that express a delightful sense of playful whimsy. In one bathroom, butterflies flutter across the walls and are featured both inside the washbasins and on the lamps, while another conjures up the ambiance of an aquarium, with hand-painted goldfish swimming across the porcelain tiles. A third bathroom recreates the lush setting of a safari with a relief in pâte-sur-pâte technique. The Royal Bavarian Spa on the first floor provides a truly regal setting, with a traditional blue-and-white colour scheme enhanced by delicate 24-carat gold detailing hand-painted views of royal Bavarian castles such as Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau and Herrenchiemsee. The private wellness-room and sauna built by Corso Saunamanufaktur draws inspiration from the patterns of Dominikus Auliczeks’ famous Pearl tableware which was designed in 1792 and has been produced by Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg to this day.

From the dining room on the ground floor, guests enjoy a direct view over the magnificent estate to Nymphenburg Palace. The dining table, which seats up to 12 guests, is framed by two sculptures by Damien Hirst and illuminated by a Lindsey Adelman chandelier of brushed gold combined with the finest Nymphenburg porcelain.

The living room on the floor above offers an even better stunning view of the palace and is fitted out with wall-to-wall shelves displaying a curated collection of Nymphenburg’s most impressive porcelain pieces. Not forgotten are the audiophiles who will be aurally gratified with the arresting sounds emanating from the unrivalled Sennheiser electrostatic headphone system in the room. The home cinema on the second floor, furnished with an inviting lounge, comfortable armchairs by Walter Knoll and a large screen, is perfect for private viewings. Guests may maintain their fitness regime in the gym furnished with Technogym equipment and includes an en-suite spa-bathroom comprising a treatment cabin.

For more information about The Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich, please visit https://www.langhamresidences.com/en/the-langham/nymphenburg/or email LRMUC.info@langhamhotels.com.

Regent Elevates Guest Experience with Suite Upgrade

Regent Seven Seas Cruises® has enhanced luxury travel with the launch of its Elevate Your Experience offer, where guests can choose to sail Alaska, Northern Europe or the Mediterranean with a FREE Two-Category Suite Upgrade, up to a Penthouse Suite, on select 2021 voyages.

Travellers can relax and unwind in their embarkation city with a FREE 1-Night Pre-Cruise Hotel Stay when they upgrade to a Concierge Suite. Or they can upgrade to a luxuriously-appointed Penthouse Suite and enjoy additional perks and amenities, including a personal butler.

A Reduced 10% Deposit is also applicable to bookings under the offer, affording more freedom and flexibility for those planning their 2021 holidays.

“With Elevate Your Experience we have taken the unrivalled experience found across our fleet to new levels,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Whether sailing Alaska, Northern Europe or the Mediterranean, guests can savour incredible value and the heightened in- suite service-levels of a Free Suite Upgrade, relishing in an elevated luxury experience.”

Additionally, Regent Reassurance, which allows travellers to cancel for any reason up to 15 days prior to departure date and receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit, has been extended to all bookings made by September 30, 2020, for all voyages departing through October 31, 2021.

Elevate Your Experience applies to bookings made by September 30, 2020.

Experiences Elevated at Sea and on Land

Regent Seven Seas Cruises not only takes their guests to the destination, they show it to them with FREE unlimited shore excursions in every port, as well as providing the choice for even more in-depth exploration with Regent Choice shore excursions, Small Group Tours, Go Local Tours, Gourmet Explorer Tours and Wellness Tours.

The luxury cruise line aims to pique pent-up wanderlust with carefully selected, must-do highlights in destinations featured in its Elevate Your Experience offer.

Alaska

With a peaceful tranquillity that contrasts with a rugged and wild terrain, the majestic Alaskan wilderness offers spell-binding and unforgettable exploration across over 150 shore excursions in nine Alaskan ports. Hiking glaciers, kayaking, panning for gold and more are all possible, but Alaska truly shines when getting up close and personal with some of its most famous residents.

Whales, eagles, wolves, deer and otters are just a fraction of the wildlife that may be encountered, but possibly the most exciting beast that can be observed is the mighty bear. In Ketchikan, a Regent Choice shore excursion takes guests on a bear-spotting mission by air and land. After taking in the breath-taking landscape courtesy of a floatplane, guests land in Neets Bay, which is followed by a hike into the Tongass National Forest, where bears are often found feasting on wild salmon

The Mediterranean

Culture and cuisine are always on the menu in the Mediterranean and their influences throughout history have been captured by Regent in more than 850 shore excursions in 83 ports. Artistry of all kinds from architecture to music to culinary delights are celebrated in this sun-drenched part of the world with a multitude of options for the travelling epicurean in each and every port that is visited. Get lost in the spice markets of Istanbul, Turkey in the East; enjoy a day at a relaxed fishing village close to Porto, Portugal in the West; or, in Provence, France, enjoy an extraordinary lunch paired with local fine wines as part of a Food & Wine Trails tour of the La Cavale estate.

Then there are the world-class museums which abound at every turn. The Small Group tour of the renowned Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain is a must for culture vultures interested in the works by giants of Pop Art, Minimalism, Arte Povera and Conceptual Art. The building is a work of art in its own right.

Northern Europe

Undiscovered gems of remote ports to remarkably modern cities pepper this wonderfully eclectic part of the world. Regent has curated over 450 shore excursion options in 55 ports from Iceland to Russia. They include meeting Shetland Ponies, in Lerwick, Scotland, after discovering the ruins of 17th century castle, and visiting Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and other important historical sites in Berlin, via Warnemunde, Germany.

The jewel in the crown of Northern Europe however is arguably the incredible scenery in and around the fjords of Norway and a highly recommended free shore excursion is the Flam Railway to Vatnahalsen. The incredible feat of engineering, which includes 20 corkscrewing tunnels, elevates up to 866 metres in just 20 kilometres, and travels through magnificent mountain scenery, through ravines and past waterfalls, rivers and snow-capped mountains.

To learn more, please visit RSSC.com, call Singapore 800-616-7097 / India 0008-0004-01055 / Hong Kong and Rest of Asia +852 2165 6020, or contact a professional travel advisor.

Famous Instagrammable Natural Wonders

The World’s Most Instagrammed Natural Wonders

  • The number one most picturesque natural wonder has been revealed to be the Yosemite National Park in the US, with approximately five million Instagram hashtags.
  • The famous Niagara Falls in Canada comes second with just over 6 million hashtags posted in September 2020.
  • The Sahara Desert is fourth, with more than 2 million Instagram hashtags in total.
  • Part of Europe’s second-largest river, the Danube Delta, is ranked the fifth most Instagrammable natural wonder of the world.

Whilst beauty is subjective, people have always been compelled to create and surround themselves by it, from buildings such as the Duomo Cathedral in Milano, to landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. However, before mankind started using their hands and brains to create and innovate, nature has been doing so for millions of years before us.

With that in mind, SaveOnEnergy sought to find out which are the most picturesque natural wonders around the world. To determine which destinations should be included in the study, SaveOnEnergy surveyed 2,230 respondents and asked them to name which natural wonder they most want to visit around the world. The top 15 most common answers were then ranked using the social media platform Instagram by counting how many times each destination has been tagged in total.

The top 5 most Instagrammed natural wonders are:

Yosemite National Park (4,934,924 hashtags), Niagara Falls (4,607,444 hashtags), Grand Canyon (4,137,161 hashtags), Sahara Desert(2,249,047 hashtags) and Danube Delta (1,638,573).

The number one most picturesque natural wonder has been revealed to be the Yosemite National Park in the US, with approximately five million Instagram hashtags. According to Wikipedia, around four million people visit Yosemite each year, and with an area of 748,436 acres (3,028.81 km2) they have plenty to see (and take pictures of).

The famous Niagara Falls in Canada comes second with just over 4.6 million hashtags posted in September 2020. The three waterfalls that form Niagara Falls are not only a place for sightseeing, they are also a valuable source of hydroelectric power, making this natural beauty incredibly valuable to people.

In third place we have another US-based site, none other than the Grand Canyon (over 4.1 million hashtags). As the name suggests, this place is not only beautiful but huge, up to 277 miles (446 km) long and 18 miles (29 km) wide, and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters) according to Wikipedia.

The Sahara Desert is fourth, with more than 2.2 million Instagram hashtags in total. Connecting to 11 African countries, the desert takes up a third of the entire continent!

Part of Europe’s second-largest river, the Danube Delta is ranked the 5th most Instagrammable natural wonder of the world, with over 1.6 million hashtags. Whilst the river is passing through 10 countries, the greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania (3,446 square km of a total 4,152 square km), before draining into the Black Sea. There you can find some of the rarest species of flora and fauna, making the Danube Delta very special.

https://www.saveonenergy.com/uk/most-instagrammable-natural-wonders/

Image Credit for Danube Delta: aaltair/ShutterstockShutterstock

LUX | Exclusive Island Buyout

EXCLUSIVE ISLAND BUYOUT – LUX* NORTH MALÉ ATOLL RESORT AND VILLAS WELCOMES GUESTS BACK TO A SAFE SANCTUARY FROM 15 JULY

LUX* North Malé Atoll Resort & Villas provides an exclusive sanctuary for holidaymakers to enjoy their summer holiday while staying safe with an Island Buy Out Package. Starting at USD 180,000, the package includes roundtrip transfers in a speedboat from the airport as well as daily breakfast, lunch and dinner at any of the resort’s three fabulous restaurants.

Guests will have the run of the spectacular six-hectare island with 67 one- and two-bedroom Beach and Overwater Villas, as well as two of the three-bedroom LUX* Retreats located on the beach and overwater with a private dock.

Discover delightful pop-up treats that LUX* Resorts & Hotels are known for – a movie under the stars; homemade ice creams or sorbets at ICI or uncover secret messages hidden in bottles all over the island.

The surf season is now in full swing with the nation’s most thrilling waves just a mere 40-minute speedboat ride away. The resort even has its own seasonal surf spot, The LUX* Break, which is 5-minute jet ski ride away. After a day of riding the waves, head back to the resort for a spa treatment at LUX* Me Spa and relax with a range of immune-boosting spa treatments.

For those looking for a slower lifestyle, the surrounding atolls and reefs are perfect to explore on the resort’s luxury Lagoon 40 Catamaran with bespoke excursions including shaded picnics on your very own sandbank, or jet ski cruises to explore the neighbourhood.

Carefully crafted gastronomic journeys to satisfy all palates awaits. Glow restaurant dishes up international flavours throughout the day; while INTI, the speciality dinner restaurant, serves up Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Beach Rouge offers a tapas-style Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and a delectable steakhouse menu for dinner.

For people celebrating a special occasion or milestone, the resort’s dedicated events team will be on hand to curate unforgettable moments with floating champagne breakfasts or vow renewal ceremonies with your closest and dearest for a supplement.

“Imagine a pristine island in the middle of the Indian ocean all to yourself, and to add to that, we have multiple dive sites, private surf spots and a sandbank only within five minutes from the resort. This is ideal for any traveller looking to social distance in style, whether it is a family reunion, a celebration or a well-deserved getaway” said John Rogers, General Manager of LUX* North Malé Atoll Resort and Villas.

Collective Care: The Lux Collective’s enhanced global hygiene and sanitisation measures

In addition to recommendations by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the Maldives, the resort’s heightened safety and hygiene practices, known as Collective Care, include hospital-grade cleaning, HACCP certified food & safety standards, minimal contact services such as QR code menus for restaurants and spa, à la carte dining and an in-resort doctor.

The Island Buy-Out Package is available until 31 October 2021 and includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as 60 minutes roundtrip transfers to Velana International Airport, from USD180,000 nett per night for a minimum of 3 nights. Rate is subject to USD6 green tax per person per night.

LUX* North Male Atoll Resort & Villas is now open for reservations for stays from 15 July 2020.

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact the Reservations Team at stay@luxnorthmale.com, call +960 668 2600 or visit www.luxresorts.com

 

Japan’s Favourite Hot Spring Town is celebrating 1,300 Years

Kinosaki Onsen, Japan’s Best Hot Spring Town, is celebrating its 1,300th anniversary this year. The charming village, known for its serene ambiance and its authentic old Japan allure, has been a local favourite since the 8th century when hot springs were discovered in the area.

And whilst wellness and relaxation have remained the obvious drawcards luring local and international visitors every year, Visit Kinosaki points out that the Kinosaki Onsen experience is about way more than simple wellness pleasures.

“Kinosaki Onsen is so much more than just a hot spring town. The town’s 1,300 years of history can be felt at every turn, from the quaint willow-lined streets, its original architecture and heritage to the unique traditions of the locals – it’s a place that will make you step back in time” says Alison Roberts-Brown, former long-term Japan resident and Director of Tourism Garden, representative of Visit Kinosaki in Australia.

The history of Kinosaki Onsen began with a Buddhist monk named Dochi Shonin who travelled the country to help the suffering and ill. His travels eventually brought him to Kinosaki Onsen, where he was instructed by the local oracle to pray for 1,000 days to save the people from suffering. On the 1,000th day, hot spring water came forth. This hot spring water soon became famous throughout the region and the country for its incredible healing powers. Eventually, word reached the emperor of the time. After confirming the authenticity of Kinosaki’s onsen, he gave the title of Guardian Temple of Kinosaki Onsen to the temple erected by Dochi Shonin for the protection of Kinosaki, its hot spring waters, and its people. This temple, called Onsenji Temple, houses a designated national treasure that is only fully displayed once every 33 years for three years at a time (Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu or 11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy in English) and can currently be seen on display in the temple until April 2021.

For the 1300th anniversary, various facilities throughout Kinosaki Onsen are offering special events/items, including special menus at select restaurants, a stamp rally, and limited-edition sake & sweets.

There are very few onsen in Japan that are as old as Kinosaki and have an actual recorded founding date. Kinosaki has been found noted in various historical documents that can authenticate its founding date to 720 AD.

Every year on April 23rd and 24th, a festival called Onsen Festival is held to commemorate Dochi Shonin. The Buddhist monks from Onsenji Temple walk around town to each of the seven public onsen to pray for safety and prosperity of Kinosaki Onsen. This year, due to the coronavirus, just one of these monks performed the rituals at each onsen. In addition to praying to Dochi Shonin, he included a prayer regarding the coronavirus, praying for it to cease soon.

While COVID-19 is keeping folks around the world at home, Visit Kinosaki will be posting photos and videos, as well as live videos of the area in a new corner called ‘Virtual Travel’ on Visit Kinosaki’s Facebook and Instagram pages, so that you can virtually travel while the world is navigating towards a brighter future. Kinosaki Onsen and Toyooka City have been preparing to make the return to travel as safe as possible with new guidelines and efforts. When the time is right to travel again, Visit Kinosaki would love for you to come and celebrate the town’s anniversary.

For more information, visit https://visitkinosaki.com/

 

RESORT DAY PASS EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO THE WESTIN RESORT NUSA DUA, BALI

To ensure that more people have the opportunity to enjoy its renewing facilities, The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali has launched an exclusive Resort Day Pass.

The Resort Day Pass will enable non-staying guests to access the resort’s swimming pools including the kids water slide and the adjacent stretch of white sand beach from 7AM to 7PM with complimentary use of towels and sun-loungers.

The Resort Day Pass is available at only at IDR 400,000 subject to 21% tax and service per person and it includes Westin signature Sangria. Guest will also be able to enjoy Food & Beverage credit with the same value at the Resort’s dining venues including the beachfront Ikan Restaurant. This Resort Day Pass will be a perfect weekend getaway with family as it offers free access for kids below 12 years as well as welcome beverage for kid and ice cream hours. Should guests wish to enhance their relaxing moment, the offer also includes access to Tennis Court and the use of bicycle.

Visitors bearing a Resort Day Pass are welcome to unwind in true tropical style and order refreshments as they please. Food and drinks from outside are not permitted.

For more information, please visit the website www.westinnusaduabali.com or follow the resort’s social media channels Facebookwww.facebook.com/westinbali and  www.instagram.com/westinbali.

 

Red Carnation Hotels Honoured in 25th Travel + Leisure 2020 World’s Best Awards

Ashford Castle named No.1 Resort Hotel in the UK & Ireland, The Oyster Box ranked No.1 Top Resort Hotel in Africa

 

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is honoured to have two of the jewels in its collection awarded number one in their regions in the 25th anniversary Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. Ashford Castle was named ‘No. 1 Resort Hotel in the United Kingdom and Ireland’ and The Oyster Box, Durban’s most beloved hotel, hit the No. 1 spot in the ‘Top Resort Hotels in Africa’ category.

Furthermore, Red Carnation Hotels was listed as number four in the ‘Top 25 Hotel Brands in the World’ and London’s illustrious Milestone Hotel & Residences in Kensington was also listed as number three in the ‘Top London City Hotel’ category.

The awards, voted for by readers of Travel + Leisure, judge hotels on a variety of characteristics including their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and value. With excellence at the heart of everything the collection does, Red Carnation and its individual properties have always scored highly in the awards, year on year. The hotels are landmarks of history and tradition, each lovingly and individually designed with an abundance of original art, antiques and handcrafted furniture. Generous hospitality, passionate staff and world-class dining are also the hallmarks of every stay at Red Carnation. Under the direction of President & Founder, Mrs Beatrice Tollman, the collection also works tirelessly to deliver sustainable luxury and to protect the natural and cultural heritage in each location of its 20 properties around the world.

Ashford Castle is exceptional in every sense. The remarkable, 800-year old property is widely recognised as Ireland’s top castle destination and was once home to the Guinness family. Set in 350 acres of woodland on the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo, the multi award-winning hotel offers exquisite interiors with unique artwork and sumptuous fabrics adorning each of its 83 individually designed rooms. Guests can enjoy extraordinary dining experiences, myriad estate activities including Ireland’s first School of Falconry, an indoor cinema and a state-of-the-art spa.

With all the charm of a bygone era, Durban’s 86-room Oyster Box is the epitome of modern elegance and comfort. Considered a national treasure, South Africa’s most cherished hotel stands majestically on Umhlanga’s beachfront, overlooking the Indian Ocean and the iconic Umhlanga lighthouse. Renowned for exceptional cuisine and the hottest spots in town for sundowners, the hotel’s facilities also include an award-winning Spa, two swimming pools and a 24-seater movie theatre.

The Milestone Hotel & Residences has an enviable location in London’s royal borough, opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens, and just a short stroll from the Royal Albert Hall and many of the city’s finest museums. This elegant and historic hotel blends old world charm, beautiful and rich furnishings and exquisite original artworks with outstanding cuisine, an unmissable afternoon tea and an experienced and passionate team who truly embody the Red Carnation philosophy: “no request is too large, no detail is too small”.

Jonathan Raggett, Managing Director of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, said:

“We are incredibly honoured to have been recognised in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards again this year. Our teams work tirelessly to deliver unsurpassed guest experiences every day and these accolades are a testament to their hard work and dedication, and to the vision of our President & Founder, Mrs Tollman, whose lifelong pursuit of excellence and passion for hospitality is the life blood of Red Carnation Hotels. To see Ashford Castle and The Oyster Box top the lists in their respective categories and to have the wider collection so highly rated within the top hotel brands in the world makes each and every one of us extremely proud, and I would like to thank Travel + Leisure‘s readers for all of their support.”

In a further success for the TTC family of brands, Red Carnation Hotels’ sister companies Uniworld and U by Uniworld this year took home the second and third spots in the top river cruise category.

For more information about Red Carnation Hotels please visit www.redcarnationhotels.com. For details about Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Awards please visit www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest.