2018 is off to a flyer, with yet more travel destination experiences being offered and new cruise ships taking to the high seas. Just recently saw the exciting launches of the Crystal Debussy and Viking Sun, with Symphony of the Seas and Norwegian Bliss also taking to the waters very soon. Luxury small ship expedition cruising seems to be the hot topic at the moment as we look forward to the launches of 4 boutique expedition ships from Ponant, and the stunning new Scenic Eclipse.
Here at Travel Masters and The Travel Studio we have also had a memorable start to 2018, collecting the Brand Support Award at the recent CruiseCo Awards, along with a nomination for Agency Promotion of the Year at the 2017 CLIA Awards for our annual Cruise Sale Day. We have a new member of the team join us at Travel Masters as we welcome Liz to the agency. Liz comes to us with over 20 years’ experience in the Travel Industry and lists North America and Europe as her specialist destinations. There is so much happening in the world or travel currently, so this edition of the Wanderings has been stretched out to 12 pages full of travel ideas and inspiration to help you plan your next holiday. Don’t forget to follow our Facebook page for the latest news.
Julie & Neil
Contact us today and speak to our Travel Advisers about special offers and destination ideas featured in the Wanderings, and let us help you plan your next dream holiday!
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With its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and home to a culture whose origins and evolution are still largely unknown, Easter Island is an attractive and mysterious destination. A mild year-round climate allows for walking the island’s geography and traveling along the coast of numerous “Ahus” that are home to the gigantic sculptures called “Moai”. Who, when and why were these sculptures created? It is a mystery. It is presumed that the island has been inhabited since the earliest centuries of our times, and the Moai are hundreds of years old. It is possible that the first tribes came from the Marquesas Islands and settled there during the 4th century A.D, but nothing else has been deducted from the difficult and scarce early archaeological findings. It is also known that numerous tribes have lived on the island and have fought amongst themselves, razing much of the territory in the process. It is not known why they destroyed the majority of the Moai.
Located 8 km from Hanga Roa, on a 9.6 km2 plot of land, unsuitable for agriculture and containing no archaeological remains, explora Rapa Nui is located in a privileged location from which to explore the island. With over 30 explorations, either on foot, bike riding or on a boat, explora Rapa Nui offer guests a deep exploration experience that includes visiting places that are even unknown to some locals and feeling the history of the Rapa Nui culture with its landscape and archaeological remains.
All explorations provided at explora Rapa Nui have cultural shades, are always led by a local guide trained at the Explora Hotel’s School of Guides, and are made in groups of a maximum of eight people. They include hikes and bike explorations among archaeological remains, volcanoes, beaches, prairies, and cliffs as well as snorkeling and scuba diving explorations where we explore under the world’s most pristine sea waters.
All guests at the explora Rapa Nui have the possibility of choosing different explorations every day. These explorations have different lengths and difficulty levels. Full day explorations give you the privilege of having lunch at the seaside or at Anakena beach, just to name a few examples, while those that take half a day allow you to return to explora Rapa Nui to choose a second exploration during the afternoon.
The 30 rooms of explora Rapa Nui are designed to take full advantage of the silence, privacy, and spaciousness of the surrounding landscape, ensuring deep rest after a long day of exploration. At explora, they actively seek disconnection from everyday routine, which is why the rooms are not equipped with televisions or Wi-Fi, which is only available in the hotel’s common areas.
All meals have been designed to enable you to perform various explorations and still feel light, agile, and healthy. All dishes are always accompanied by a superb Chilean wine, although they also carry a menu of Premium wines for those that would like to try other alternatives.
Your stay at explora Rapa Nui is all inclusive – all meals with drinks (including lunches whilst on excursions), exploration activities, open bar and transfers to/from the nearby Mata Vari Airport. A five night duration is recommended to enjoy the full experience of explora Rapa Nui.
EXCLUSIVE AMENITIES – Book with Travel Masters & The Travel Studio and receive the following Virtuoso Amenities:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- $100 USD equivalent Gift Card to be utilized during stay valid in the shop store only (no cash value if not redeemed in full) Original hand crafted
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Contact us today and speak to our Travel Advisers for rates and availability, and let us help you plan your dream Easter Island experience.
You don’t need to be attending a wellness retreat to want to bring a sense of balance to your trip. Many travellers are increasingly looking for ways to add healthy activities to their vacation, keep up their fitness regimens, and return home feeling better than ever. Whether you’re visiting Vancouver for an active vacation and looking for conscious choices, or in the city on business and looking for some “me time,” Vancouver has plenty of options that are good for the mind and the body.
Walking the City
Even though the food in Vancouver is excellent, you might find you return home a little thinner than you left. Why? Because Vancouver is such a walk able city, you’ll find yourself clocking a surprising number of miles as you stroll between attractions, dining, shopping and diverse neighbourhoods! The city’s downtown core is compact, measuring just 2 km (1.2 miles) across at the widest point. Once you arrive at your hotel, there’s a good chance that you might never see the inside of a car. For instance, from the Vancouver Convention Centre (next to the cruise terminal and a good number of hotels), a walk into Stanley Park is just 20 minutes, Robson Street shopping is 10 minutes away, and the historic neighbourhood of Gastown is 5 minutes east.
In Vancouver, getting active is a great way to get in some sightseeing! If you’re staying downtown, you’re still no more than a 20-minute walk away from losing yourself among ancient rain forest on a relaxing hike in Stanley Park. The city’s seawall is a favourite attraction and the perfect excuse for a day spent strolling or cycling. Further afield, you’ll find provincial forests, municipal parks, and greenways that provide excellent hiking opportunities for all ages and abilities – try Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, Deep Cove’s trails overlooking the fjord, and Pacific Spirit Regional Park on the edge of the University of British Columbia’s campus. Those that prefer two wheels to two feet will love the bike lanes that criss-cross Vancouver, making a bicycle a great way to travel between attractions throughout the day. More intrepid types will want to explore the North Shore – the home of freestyle mountain biking! Other active options include urban kayaking around False Creek for a different perspective on the bustling city, stand-up paddle boarding from English Bay or Kitsilano Beach, or a kayaking tour up Indian Arm for a tranquil nature experience less than an hour from the city.
From gluten-free to vegan, Vancouver has long been open to different diets, but in the past few years, conscious dining has really come into its own. To some, it means a purely plant-based menu, while to others, it means local, seasonal dishes that offer a connection to farmers, growers and fishermen. While almost every restaurant will offer enticing vegetarian choices, spots like The Acorn and Zend Conscious Lounge are acclaimed for their all-vegetarian menus. The birthplace of the 100-Mile Diet, Vancouver’s restaurants flaunt their local credentials whenever possible—places like Burdock & Co., YEW Restaurant and West Restaurant are great options. And seafood fans will want to look for the Ocean Wise symbol on menus through the city, denoting a sustainably-sourced choice.
A well-chosen treatment can add a sense of balance to even the most hectic travel itinerary. There’s no shortage of spas in Vancouver where you can be massaged, wrapped, slathered, indulged and primped, from clinics that specialize in treating sore muscles, through to luxurious spas where you’ll want to hang out all day. You’ll find spaces catering to guys looking for a little pampering, spas that focus on treatments and techniques from around Asia, packages to revive you in the face of jet lag, and others that lull you into a relaxed state. For a true sense of place, try an “only in BC” treatment using local elements such as West Coast seaweed and cedar steam. But whatever you choose, you’re sure to emerge as your best self.
With a focus on living a balanced lifestyle, Vancouverites were early adopters of yoga – after all, this is the home town of yoga-wear giant Lululemon! If you’re the sort to travel with your own mat, you’ll find plenty of green spaces for you to grab a few “oms” while you’re here. But if you would prefer to join a class, you’ll have no problem finding one – it’s said that 1,500 classes are offered in Vancouver each week! Lululemon is a great resource for finding local studios offering an exhaustive schedule of practice styles. Vancouver-based chain YYoga has two locations on the downtown peninsula: one on Burrard Street and another in Yaletown, while another option close to downtown is One Yoga in Gastown.
Pushing Your Limits
Whether running a marathon, cycling up a mountain, or taking part in a triathlon, many travellers are looking for ways to participate in active pursuits when they’re in a destination; you might even be hoping to build your vacation around one! Vancouver’s mild climate means there are running events every weekend throughout the year, but highlights include the Vancouver Sun Run 10K (April), BMO Vancouver Marathon (May), Scotiabank Half Marathon (Jun), and Lululemon’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon (Aug). Cyclists might plan on entering the Whistler GranFondo (Sep) – an epic 122 km (76 mile) road ride from Vancouver up to the mountain resort of Whistler, while for all-rounders, the Subaru 5i50 Vancouver Triathlon (Sep) could be the perfect challenge.
Vancouver is truly one of the worlds great cities, and in addition to being a destination of it own, it is also the gateway to the Canadian Rockies and the Inside Passage of Alaska. Why not speak to Travel Masters or The Travel Studio about how you can make your journey to Vancouver (and beyond) a wonderful experience…
Raffles Singapore announces its up-coming reopening that is planned for the second half of 2018. Since February 2017, the iconic heritage hotel has embarked on a careful and sensitive phased restoration. Its reopening will see the introduction of exquisite new suite categories, vibrant lifestyle experiences and refreshed dining concepts.
New suite categories
For more than a century, Raffles Singapore has offered its well-travelled guests luxurious all-suite accommodations. The restoration will update its distinctive suites with new amenities and technology while maintaining the sense of space and colonial ambience.
When Raffles Singapore reopens, it will have three new suite categories: Residence Suites, Promenade Suites and Studio Suites. The total suite count increases from its existing 103 suites to 115 suites.
The new Residence Suites, comprising four 1-bedroom and one 2-bedroom suites, will be located in the Raffles Arcade and are named after famous local cinemas during the early to mid-1900s. This is in homage to the days when the neighbourhood was known as “The Place of Cinemas”. Suites names are Alhambra Suite, Diamond Suite, Marlborough Suite, Odeon Suite and Theatre Royal Suite.
Intimately nestled in the front-most corner of the Main Building are two new Promenade Suites that overlook Beach Road. A tribute to the late 1800s era when Raffles Singapore faced the beachfront, the suites will be named Lady Mountbatten Suite and Lady Sophia Suite, which were converted from existing boardrooms.
The new Studio Suites that are being added aim to complement the array of suites in the Main Building, enveloped by the colonial charm of the Grand Lobby.
Raffles Arcade: A lifestyle destination for the community and Singapore
Once reopened, the Raffles Arcade will showcase social spaces and a variety of lifestyle experiences. This includes a refreshed Raffles Gift Shop that will house a History Gallery to illustrate the heritage of Raffles Singapore. The Arcade will also be home to a brand-new Raffles Spa, a holistic sanctuary for hotel residents and the community to escape the bustle of the city.
Signature dining experiences at Raffles
Signature restaurants and bars since the 1900s, Long Bar, Tiffin Room and Writers Bar, will continue to be a distinct part of Raffles Singapore dining experiences when the hotel reopens.
Home of the Singapore Sling for over a hundred years, the Long Bar’s plantation-inspired décor will be refreshed, and the famous Long Bar counter restored. Visitors and guests will be welcomed to continue the tradition of throwing peanuts on the floor as they sip on a chilled glass of hand-shaken Singapore Sling.
A part of Raffles’ history since 1892, Tiffin Room will continue to serve up delectable North Indian cuisine. Offering authentic specialties served in Tiffin boxes, it will also present an interactive dining experience with tableside service by chefs, complete with freshly ground spices to enhance the occasion. The restored interior décor includes reinstating the wooden floorboards in Tiffin Room to bring back features from the early 1900s based on research by our heritage consultants.
Furthermore, the signature Afternoon Tea will now be served at the new lounge in the Grand Lobby, allowing guests to enjoy a quintessential Raffles dining experience amidst the soft daylight streaming in from the skylight.
Established as a tribute to famous writers that have come through the doors of Raffles Singapore over the years, Writers Bar will be expanded to a full bar and be the place for bespoke cocktails, discreet elegance and intimate conversations.
New event spaces for weddings and social gatherings
Jubilee Hall has been converted into a new 300-guest ballroom, named Jubilee Ballroom as a tribute to the Jubilee Theatre, originally a cinema in the 1930s at the same location. Elegant and sophisticated in hues of cream and gold, complimented with an air-conditioned pre-event foyer, the Jubilee Ballroom will be the ideal venue for weddings and social galas.
All other event spaces will be refreshed, including the East India Room, Casuarina Suite as well as outdoor venues Palm Garden, The Lawn and Gazebo. The previous ballroom has been renamed Palm Ballroom as a nod to the Travellers Palm, the emblem of Raffles. All event spaces will also have striking lighting elements and the latest audio-visual technology, to be relevant for today’s social galas and events.
The restoration of Raffles Singapore is supported by award-winning interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, who has worked on numerous restoration projects around the world.
Raffles Singapore is due to reopen for the second half of 2018, so if you are planning a trip to Singapore and would like to step back in time and enjoy one of the world iconic hotels, contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio and we’ll make sure you have a chilled Singapore Sling handed to you on arrival!
Reach the Geographic North Pole, complete an Arctic Ocean crossing, discover Greenland’s extreme North East or probe the icy wilderness of Antarctica…beginning in 2021, PONANT will be taking guests in the footsteps of the great polar explorers aboard a next-generation luxury icebreaker—the first of its kind in the world of cruising.
With a refined on board ambience and luxury services – never before available in the far extremes of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres – with the new icebreaker vessel Ponant provides not just cruises, but true expedition polar odysseys.
The new Ice Breaker will be the first ever PC2 Polar Class luxury cruise ship, this hybrid electric icebreaker powered by Liquified Natural Gas, at the cutting edge of technology, will be a real pioneer in terms of environmental protection.
Drawing on more than two decades of experience in sensitive regions, Ponant is the only cruise company in the world to design its future itineraries in-house, with its own expedition teams. Thanks to exploratory visits, Environmental Impact Assessments and the protocols developed by the company, the itineraries of the Ponant Icebreaker will be established with the greatest respect for the environment.
Itineraries are still in development, but contact Travel Masters on 1800 672 988 to register your interest, and we’ll contact you as soon as the itineraries are released!
The St Regis Singapore, the arbiters of luxury and refinement, is now sharing the enthusiasm for the fine arts and culture by offering private access to the world’s premier collections.
Housing one of the finest private art collections in South East Asia, The St. Regis Singapore offers exclusive access to museum quality art in an exquisite ambience. The collection showcases over 70 original works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and prints by internationally renowned artists. Curated to complement and enhance the Chinoiserie décor, artists ranging from Pablo Picasso to Georgette Chen were selected to represent both western and eastern influences, as well as traditions that characterise the sophisticated city of Singapore. Singaporean artistic talents are also honoured and displayed in prominent areas of the hotel grounds to showcase the distinctive Singaporean Arts, to give the local community and foreign visitors to Singapore, a sense of the flourishing art scene emerging within the garden state. The works of pioneering Nanyang Artists Cheong Soo Pieng, Georgette Chen, and Chen Wen Hsi represent the style that influenced many artistic movements in Singapore. The Nanyang approach focused on a merging of western techniques in oil painting with the unique brushstrokes inspired by traditional Chinese calligraphy and imagery.
The St. Regis Singapore art collection also presents contemporary Singaporean artists including Eng Tow, Lim Joo Hong, and Chen Ke Zhan. The works of these contemporary leaders demonstrate the progressive spirit of the city in taking the influence of these pioneering artists, creating works that are significant and continue to escalate the prominence of Singapore on the international art scene.
The 2001 Venice Biennale’s Singaporean Pavilion representative, Chen Ke Zhan, was commissioned to do a number of large works for the hotel reception. His work, Golden Landscape, is located near the hotel entrance to greet guests with its majestic and tranquil beauty.
The St. Regis Singapore’s exterior is enhanced by a number of eminent pieces marking the influential address. Columbian Figurative artist, Fernando Botero’s Reclining Woman, smiles and greets guests to their home-away-from-home as they alight from the St. Regis Bentleys. The late Singaporean abstract artist Anthony Poon’s architectural wave sculptures line the street for the enjoyment of those strolling by the hotel. Poon’s Sense Surround, the crimson, steel sculptures commissioned for The St. Regis Singapore, were some of the last art works that he completed before his passing in 2006. To enhance the guests experience at The St. Regis Singapore, the art collection is not only in the public areas of the hotel. Many of the luxurious suites contain original art works to complement the plush furnishings. The Presidential Suite features art by American abstract expressionist painters like Mark Tobey and Sam Francis, as well as French expressionist Marc Chagall, among other art works.
Tranquility and sanctuary are the inspiration of Taiwan’s leading contemporary artist Li Chen, whose Float to Sukhavati creates an ambiance of pure bliss. The cherubic-like Buddha rests peacefully on top of a metallic cloud inspiring onlookers to relax poolside or linger at specialty Italian restaurant, LaBrezza.
Extraordinary works of art awaits diners in the award-winning fine Cantonese restaurant Yan Ting. A series of stunning canvases depicting the four seasons are by collaborating Singaporean artists Joseph Lim, Phoebe Yang and Zhang Chunlei. Nearby is a treasured fan painting by Chinese artist Qi Baishi, most well known for being a self taught painter that resisted the influence of western techniques and remained true to traditional techniques of the Ming and Qing Dynasty arts.
An abode of refined sophistication awaits in Astor Bar, where guests can revel in the world of Pablo Picasso as they ease the stress of the day with a signature Chili Padi Mary. Picasso’s Toros Series of 10 lithographs on the art of the bullfighting line the walls of the bar. Picasso’s passion for life is manifested in his works, depicting the art and sport that is full of cultural tradition and history.
It is appropriate that Picasso’s fervent works adorn the Astor Bar; his vivacious spirit for life led to his famous last words – a toast of “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know that I can’t drink anymore”.
The St. Regis Singapore’s commitment to the arts goes beyond the art collection, with events that bring aficionados access to one-of-a-kind events in the world of arts and culture. Delight in a complimentary tour of the exceptional art collection, by our St. Regis Butlers, with “The Art of Living”, conducted daily at 6pm at The St. Regis Singapore.
So why not include a stay at the fantastic St.Regis hotel on your next trip or stopover in Singapore. Contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio for more information…
Zegrahm Expeditions, a world leader in small-ship cruising and overland adventures, is thrilled to announce its 2019 expedition line-up. Zegrahm has crafted 37 unique expeditions, including 14 brand-new itineraries, that will allow modern-day explorers to pursue their passion for exploration, learning, and adventure.
Zegrahm’s line-up will take guests to all seven continents to experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Some of Zegrahm’s new expeditions will allow travellers to:
- View Gorillas of the Congo up close and watch them interact with each other; plus, find other rare forest species not found on typical safaris, including chimpanzees, pygmy hippos, forest buffalo, and the elusive bongo.
- Go In Search of Snow Leopards in the Himalayas, as well as ibex, blue sheep, foxes, and wolves; and at morning and night, soak in the magnificent mountains views from the comfort of the Snow Leopard Lodge.
- Cruise along the Bay of Bengal and enjoy the cultural and natural treasures that this region has to offer; from pilgrimaging to the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda to observing thousands of olive ridley sea turtles nesting at Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
- Voyage along the Path of the Vikings, from Reykjavik to Quebec, and along the way cruise past chiseled fjords and glittering glaciers, meet friendly locals in Tasiilaq, and watch for beluga whales in Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.
In celebration of its 2019 expedition line-up, Zegrahm is offering Early Booking Savings on select trips. Guests who book by January 31, 2018 will save 5% off the published rate. Plus, past guests will save an additional 5%, for a combined 10% savings. Zegrahm is also waiving supplement fees for solo travellers on select expeditions.
“Our expert team of field leaders and program managers have created another extraordinary line-up of itineraries that will allow guests to cross both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, visit signature destinations like Japan and Botswana, and experience a variety of brand-new itineraries such as the Iberian Peninsula and Western Australia,” said Zegrahm President Van Perry. “We’re also pleased to be able to offer Early Booking Savings and No Solo Supplement in celebration of launching another exciting year of expedition travel.”
For more details on Zegrahm Expeditions amazing array of adventures, contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio today…
With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, has announced a full schedule of festivities. Home to Europe’s largest private art collection, the hotel’s artistic flair can also be seen throughout its Christmas offering this year, from an elegantly decorated tree to the culinary magic of three-Michelin starred chef Heinz Beck, to creative cocktails and delicious brunch served with savoury panettone, the latest creation of Chef Fabio Boschero.
Artistic Cocktails at the Tiepolo Lounge & Terrace
Guests can kick off the celebrations in style with cocktails served at Tiepolo Lounge & Terrace on Christmas Eve, surrounded by Venetian art. Inspired by the hotel’s private art collection, Rome Cavalieri’s mixologists have skilfully blended together floral and citrus aromas to delicious effect. Each cocktail will be served with canapés including a slice of delicious panettone, created by Executive Chef Fabio Boschero. Boschero has melded culinary precision with artistic flair to create two savory panettone made with either truffles or “cacio e pepe” (Roman cheese and pepper).
L’Uliveto Restaurant and and Ice Sculpting Brunch
Continuing in the creative festive spirit, guests can celebrate with brunches over the Christmas period, promising culinary specialties, including the delicious salty panettone, and free flowing wine and bubbly, accompanied with performances from a variety of artists including ice sculpting, live music and drawing.
Culinary Magic by Chef Heinz Beck
La Pergola, Rome’s only three Michelin starred restaurant, promises a spectacular culinary display this Christmas, with a range of innovative delights curated by Chef Heinz Beck. Guests can feast on a decadent and creative seven course menu on Christmas Eve featuring smoked scallop tartare and John Dory fish in a liquorish crust with parsnip purée and black truffle. The menu is accompanied with matching fine wines and live piano music.
The evening of Christmas Day also promises a delicious banquet at La Pergola, featuring inventive and playful creations from Heinz Beck including lobster in spicy ‘nduja crust, smoked capon consommé, cod with broccoli and salt cod snow and ending with Christmas pudding for dessert.
Festive Fun for Little VIPs
Rome Cavalieri’s IT Kids Club will be open on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and will provide a range of exclusive experiences for little VIPs led by professional performers , whilst parents can enjoy the sights and sounds of Rome or the resort’s phenomenal facilities. Father Christmas will also arrive on his sleigh at Rome Cavalieri at 1pm on Christmas Day, bursting with presents for the little VIPs.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display
Rome Cavalieri promises an unforgettable setting to see in the New Year, with live music from 7:30pm and a dazzling firework display over the Eternal City at midnight. La Pergola restaurant will play host to a magnificent dinner courtesy of Chef Heinz Beck who is sure to further surprise guests with his culinary magic and mastery. The menu features dishes such as duck foie gras, carpaccio of scallops and filet of venison paired with a selection of fine wines and champagne.
The Art of Beauty at the Cavalieri Grand Spa Club
For a holiday of total bliss amidst the Christmas hustle and bustle, guests can treat themselves or a loved one to a luxurious spa treatment at Rome Cavalieri’s Grand Club Spa. The “24K golden treat” on Christmas Day, the “Ultimate Ritual” on New Year’s Eve and the “Platinum Wish” on New Year’s Day will leave you with a festive glow to ring in the New Year in great style!
So if Christmas in Rome sounds perfect for you, there can be no better way to enjoy it than a stay at the Rome Cavalieri Hotel. Contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio today for more information…