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Scenic launch their South East Asia River Cruising Earlybirds for 2019…

Building on the highly successful 2018 season, Scenic has released its 2019/2020 South East Asia brochure with an extended program of cruising through Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar on board the luxury all-balcony-suite ships, Scenic Aura and Scenic Spirit.

Designed to encapsulate the essence of South East Asia, Scenic’s small boutique vessels represent a stylish connection between tradition and innovation. They are the most luxurious ships sailing the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers, and have been designed to ensure a world-class experience. Catering for just 68 and 44 guess respectively with an almost 1:1 staff to guest ratio, Scenic Spirit and Scenic Aura offer a uniquely intimate cruise experience and feature world-class facilities. From the Sun Deck and bar, resort-style pool complete with flow jets, sumptuous spa and wellness centre, state of the art gym and beauty salon, and an outdoor cinema – every conceivable need has been catered for.

Scenic Spirit and Scenic Aura are the only ships on the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers to feature the famous Scenic Slumber beds, the only all-balcony suite ships with no porthole cabins, and they feature the largest kitchens of any river going vessel in South East Asia, and on board guest laundry’s. In addition, Scenic Spirit is the only ship on the Mekong to feature a guest elevator, a sauna and steam room, with both an outdoor Jacuzzi and full-sized bath a feature of its Royal Panorama suite. Scenic Aura is the only ship on the Irrawaddy with a Teppanyaki station.

Scenic’s signature Enrich experiences also provide a point of difference, offering once in a lifetime opportunities and special moments not available to the ordinary traveller such as the Angkor Temple Gala Dinner in Siem Reap; or discovering the magic of Shwedagan Pagoda at sunset, Yangon.

The Temples at Bagan, Myanmar

Scenic has included a range of Earlybird offers available until 31 October 2018. Available for a limited time only, the special deals include:

 * Fly Free  – a saving of up to $2,850 per couple – when booking any Mekong journey of 13 days or longer, or any Myanmar journey of 14 days or longer

 * Fly Business Class from $1,495 per person* when booking any RD or RS suite on Scenic Aura or Scenic Spirit for any journey longer than 13 days.

 * Book any Sapphire Deck suite and receive a free suite upgrade on both Scenic Aura and Scenic Spirit on any tour program – save up to $800 per couple

 * Early Booking Discount of $200pp

Scenic’s iconic 13 days Treasures of the Mekong, from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap is priced from just $7,495 per person, and the historic 11 Day Luxury Irrawaddy is from only $5,345 per person.

Scenic is offering free flights to guests that book early (YES, FREE FLIGHTS!) on any Mekong journey of 13 days or longer, or any Myanmar journey of 14 days or longer.

These exceptional 2019 offers will be very popular and available for a limited time only. For more information or to reserve your cabin contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio!

Introducing Emerald Harmony…

Emerald Harmony fuses together contemporary design with Asian-inspired luxury, and will follow Evergreen’s exceptional value price promise: luxury river cruising at great value prices.  Their brand new Star-Ship is being custom built allowing Evergreen to take you to places others can’t on the Mekong River, including the centre of Ho Chi Minh City — an experience unique to Evergreen.

The new Star-Ship features a signature pool, Wellness Area, an Asian-themed Horizon Bar & Lounge with luxurious soft furnishings, the stylish Lotus Lounge, and the Reflections Restaurant, which will offer a locally-inspired menu that showcases native cuisine from the region.

Boasting just 42 Staterooms and Suites, Emerald Harmony will offer four lead-in Emerald Staterooms, 32 Emerald Balcony Suites, four Grand Balcony Suites and two Owner’s Suites, each with a wrap-around terrace featuring a hot tub.

Evergreen will offer three itineraries for you to choose from, including the 13-day Majestic Mekong Discoverer Cruise, taking in Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, the 17-day Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia river cruise and tour, from Hanoi to Siem Reap, and the 21-day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia river cruise and tour, which includes stops at Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue and Siem Reap.

Full details of Emerald Harmony will be released in Evergreen’s dedicated South East Asia brochure in September 2018. Why not register your interest with us, and we can send you the details when they are released!  In the meantime, take a sneak peek via the photo gallery below.


Singita Ebony and Sweni Lodge Combination

It’s been 25 years since Singita first opened the doors to Singita Ebony Lodge, their very first property, and it’s hard to believe how far the company has come since then.

It has been 25 years of welcoming guests to Africa, but more importantly, 25 years of conserving precious, iconic pieces of land so that future generations may also experience the wonders of the African wilderness.

To celebrate this huge milestone Singita’s launched a promotion which gives guests a glimpse at its heritage as well as its future.

Singita Ebony Lodge stands steadfast amongst enormous trees on the banks of the Sand River in the heart of South Africa’s ‘big cat country.’ The lodge takes safari design and style to a new level with a fresh and contemporary interpretation of the classic safari lodge, combining tented camp and bush lodge style. Guests are immersed in nature with huge open spaces and interiors inspired by a combination of local tribal culture and the animal kingdom.

And, tucked away in Kruger National Park region in South Africa on the banks of the Sweni River, Singita Sweni Lodge is a hidden jewel that provides a bold, new African context for contemporary design. With its proximity to the river, guests at Sweni Lodge are treated to up-close sightings of the incredible number of animals and birds that wander down to drink or wallow in the river.

Book a combination of five nights between Singita Ebony and Sweni Lodge and receive one of the nights and one flight per person between the lodges complimentary (minimum 2 nights at each locations).  Valid until 19th December 2018.

Contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio for more information

Why We Still Love Luxury Tree Houses

Whether they recapture the enchantment of childhood fantasy or fulfill an elemental desire to return to nature, tree houses have taken root in luxury travel. Appointed with plush furnishings and perks such as butler service and private chefs, these accommodations reward with a singular sense of removal without having to rough it. Better still, this natural choice can even improve your health. Apparently Tree-house stays are a great benefit to travellers’ mental well-being – they’re a perfect place to clear your mind and embrace the outdoors while also enjoying a true five-star resort. But the health benefits of retreating to nature go beyond simply taking you to your happy place: Studies have unearthed a number of physical boons too. Get well soon with these natural cures for the common hotel stay….

Chewton Glen | New Milton, England

The Yews’ stylish design. Photo by Chewton Glen

It’s well known that spending time in nature decreases the stress hormone cortisol, but recent research also claims that exposure to phytoncides – natural compounds emitted by trees – boosts the body’s immune system. Enter Chewton Glen’s Treetox program, a five-day package available to guests staying in the 72-room hotel’s contemporary Treehouse Suites. Administered by a team of therapists, it includes a one-hour wrap using clay and an infrared blanket to draw out toxins, a two-hour Natura Bissé Zest and Zen treatment, and three private yoga, Pilates, or guided Nordic Walk sessions in New Forest National Park. Don’t forget to plan extra time at the spa for its hydrotherapy pool circuit. As well, the package offers a special menu featuring a juice cleanse and alkaline-based meals (think favoring raw foods and beans over meats, sugars, and processed grains). Guests staying in The Yews – Chewton Glen’s newest and most spacious tree house, added to its three existing aeries last October – also enjoy a full-service kitchen and the option to hire a private chef.

Winvian Farm | Morris, Connecticut

Winvian Farm’s Treehouse cottage. Photo by Winvian Farm

Travelers flock to Winvian Farm to experience its 18 whimsical cottages, ranging from the Library (home to a book-lined, wraparound mezzanine) to the nature lover’s choice: the 780-square-foot Treehouse, stilted 35 feet above the ground. This is no ordinary tree house, it’s a two-story suite with a fireplace on each floor, fully stocked minibar, steam shower, and Jacuzzi. There are plenty of ways to stay active at this 113-acre estate, from biking to canoeing the Bantam River. However, it’s Winvian’s commitment to using ultra-seasonal ingredients that serves as the most impressive health highlight. With its three greenhouses and three acres of organic gardens, guests needn’t look far to witness the seed-to-table circle at this Relais & Châteaux property – the food is incredible!

Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita  | Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita’s jungle gem.. Photo by Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita

While Japanese shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, has become a popular way to sample nature’s restorative powers, water also boasts serious healing properties. Studies show that exposure to ocean water and air, for instance, positively impacts the nervous system, lung health, and skin. At the 13-room Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita, the three-story, butler-serviced Tree House – perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific and ensconced by lush jungle foliage – offers the best of both worlds. Be sure to take a deep cleansing breath on the expansive wood terraces wrapping around this private villa, which is punctuated by a thatched rooftop. The highlight is the private beach that only Tree House guests can access. Another watery retreat can be found just beyond the villa’s doorstep: A waterfall cascades into the Tree House’s trio of private freshwater pools – two of which are temperature controlled.

Lion Sands Game Reserve | Mpumalanga, South Africa

Creature comforts at Lion Sands’ Kingston Treehouse. Photos by Lion Sands Private Game Reserve

Breakthroughs in brain health are big in today’s headlines, and recent findings indicate that activities such as going on safari can actually cause your brain to develop. The thinking: Exposure to novel environments causes new dendrites to form. Pair it with the rush of mood-lifting dopamine from perceived risk, and you have one healthy adventure. However, hearing a lion roar or a hyena cackle possesses little danger when you’re perched in the Kingston Treehouse at Lion Sands. Guests can simply lift the drawbridge of the 645-square-foot sanctuary and sip the Veuve Clicquot chilling in their gourmet picnic basket as the sun sets, safely above ground and semi-encased in glass. Only the glow of lanterns distracts from the bounty of stars overhead in this electricity-free escape, one mile from the main resort. Sojourns in one of the reserve’s three tree houses are an add-on experience to standard stays at the 18-room Lion Sands – the only private reserve to straddle both Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.

Primland | Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Dreamy views from the Cooper’s Hawk Tree House at Primland. Photo by Primland

Conservationists can rest easy in the Cooper’s Hawk Tree House, one of three lofted lodgings at the eco-conscious Primland resort. Built around a tangle of old-growth branches, the cedarwood cabin soars 1,300 feet above the Dan River, offering bird’s-eye views of the Kibler Valley. Despite its opulent interiors fitted with Frette linens and Bulgari bath products, attention gives way to the 564-square-foot deck, where guests can dine alfresco. The 51-room LEED-certified resort goes to great lengths to honour and protect the environment: Elements restaurant features local, sustainable ingredients; rooftops at the lodge are made from recycled tires; and bio filters are in place to help protect the native trout population. Even the Donald Steel-designed golf course collects rain runoff for irrigation and is Audubon certified. Personal health is easily heeded here, too, with hiking, biking, and horseback rides along trails snaking through the 12,000 acres of private land. Test your outdoor acumen with some geocaching or creatively alleviate stress with fly-fishing, sport shooting, or even tomahawk throwing….

So why not forget about a plush hotel room, or a swanky apartment for your next adventure.  Bring out the child in you and live amongst the trees – there’s just no need to omit the creature comforts!  Contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio for more information on these unique experiences…


- Article originally published in Virtuoso Life, June 2018

All Dressed Up, Everywhere to Go

Chance are, you’ve never waked into a five-star hotel to find the owner or general manager – or anyone on staff, really – looking anything less than polished. The world’s sleekest hotels have some of the most fashionable men and women at their helms, who serve as ambassadors for the stylish digs that lie beyond. We called on three impeccably dressed hoteliers in three fashion-forward cities – London, Milan, and New York – for their insight on where to browse, what to buy, and how to pack for a visit. Here’s a look inside their little black books.

Dapper in the UK: Rosewood London’s Michael Bonsor

Michael Bonsor, Managing Director (Rosewood London)

You won’t catch Bonsor in a tracksuit, even on his days off. As he puts it: “I don’t dress down very well.” The sharply dressed Scotsman – whose style icons include Tom Ford and actor Eddie Redmayne – previously held posts at the Four Seasons Hotel New York and Claridge’s before opening the 306-room Rosewood London in 2013.

Go Big: “The idea of visiting a department store is actually quite daunting for me, but I find there’s a lot I can learn at Selfridges and Harrods. I’ll wander around to see how items are styled and presented, then take that back to the hotel. I do occasionally buy something – my last purchase was an Alexander McQueen shirt from Selfridges.”

Favorite Boutiques: “Browns in Mayfair has a huge array of designers from around the world. Dover Street Market in Saint James’s is super cool – it carries Comme des Garçons and other eclectic brands for men who want to take a bit more risk.”

Airplane Uniform: “I typically wear all black or dark jeans with a T-shirt and sweater. I still want air travel to be somewhat glamorous, so I dress smart yet comfortable. I always carry on Bang & Olufsen noise-cancelling headphones and a hydrating cream from SkinCeuticals.”

Classic Souvenir: “A Burberry trench. It’s incredible to see all the colours and styles at the flagship store on Regent Street. They’re all made by hand and lightweight – you can throw one in a carry-on without feeling like you’re lugging around a huge coat.”

Suit Up: “I have two go-to shops for suits. Gieves & Hawkes, at No. 1 Savile Row, has been around since the 1770s, so they really know what they’re doing. Everything is beautifully tailored. The other brand I love is Hackett. They make lovely yet hard-wearing and durable suits – which is exactly what I need because I don’t have a desk job. Some days I’m running up and down stairs, carrying stuff, or packing things.”

Off-Duty Style: “Always Prada jeans. On top, some kind of sweater or shirt from Belstaff. And Lanvin does comfortable, cool trainers that are more formal looking.”

Packing Tips: “A typical London day brings sunshine in the morning and a bit of wet and windy conditions in the afternoon. I recommend layers; if it looks like rain, pack a small umbrella. Generally, though, London is warmer than you might think. And the best way to see the city is to walk, so super-comfortable shoes are essential. ”

Home Goods: “Timothy Oulton makes furniture out of leather and reclaimed materials such as old fishing vessels. I have two chairs inspired by saddles that incorporate real stirrups into the design.”

Dream Purchase: “It always comes down to watches. Should I pay my mortgage, or should I get a watch? I would love one from Patek Philippe, which has a boutique on Bond Street – an area home to many jewellers.”

London Style Pro Tip: “Some people here get excited when the sun comes out, and you’ll see them wearing shorts even when it’s not quite warm enough. I think it looks silly. Leave those for the Caribbean.”


Palazzo Parigi owner Paola Giambelli.

Paola Giambelli, Owner (Palazzo Parigi, Milan)

This glamorous architect and owner of Palazzo Parigi – an 88-room jewel housed in a seventeenth-century building, with interior design by the renowned Pierre-Yves Rochon – loves her home city for its dedication to culture, fashion, and design. It is the birthplace of Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Armani, after all.

Neighborhood Spree: “Quadrilatero della Moda in the Centro Storico district is a well-known area for shopping, especially Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, where you’ll find high-quality brands such as Gucci and Giorgio Armani. It’s really hard to walk by and not fall in love with some of the clothing – they’re like pieces of art.”

Happy Feet: “Whether I have a busy day ahead or I’m going to the theatre or a special event, I always turn to Hermès or Roger Vivier for shoes. They blend fashion, quality, and comfort well. I also can’t forget about the modern touch and elegance of Prada.”

Treasure Hunt: “In the Brera district, Cavalli e Nastri is a must-visit for vintage lovers. From clothing to cutlery, everything in their collection is beautiful – and a throwback through time and style. And don’t miss Robertaebasta, a contemporary art gallery that’s also in Brera.”

Seasonal Style: “Summertime in Milan can be really warm, and many hotels, boutiques, and bars do not set their air-conditioning below 75 degrees. My suggestion is to wear something light and comfortable to enjoy your walk around the city, but pack a sweater for the evening breeze.”

Trim and Proper: “For my male friends, I always recommend a visit to Antica Barbieria Colla. It’s the most famous barbershop in Milan and has been open since 1904.”

What a Gem: “I’m always looking for rare jewellery to add a unique touch. Damiani and Gioielleria Pederzani are two of the oldest stores in town and have some of the most precious and inimitable pieces.”

Outside the Palazzo: “My passion for work absorbs most of my time, but when I’m off duty, ‘elegance’ and ‘comfort’ are two words that come to mind. That means stretch trousers, a cashmere sweater in the cooler months, and a pair of Hermès on my feet.”

How to Dress Like a Local: “Wear flat shoes, natural colours, and light makeup during the day, and high heels, elegant dresses, and jewels in the evening. As far as what to avoid, skip the Panama hats, leather pants, and short skirts with high heels.”


The Mark’s Olivier Lordonnois.

Oliver Lordonnois, General Manager (The Mark, New York City) 

Since 2011, French-born Lordonnois has presided over NYC’s 152-room Mark, a popular retreat for the A-listers attending the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Met Gala. He played a key role in the recent launch of Le Shop, an online boutique with items made exclusively for The Mark, from Frédéric Malle candles to Lingua Franca cashmere sweaters.

Top Shops: “The Armoury in Tribeca is the only U.S. outpost of this Hong Kong-based men’s haberdashery. It’s where I buy fantastic suits from Japanese brand Ring Jacket and shoes from Carmina, which are handmade in Mallorca. In SoHo, London clothier Drake’s is a favourite. Their products perfectly marry the sense of tailoring and casual luxury I always strive to achieve.”

Head Straight to: “Madison Avenue, of course! It really has the best of absolutely everything, yet it remains quaint and picturesque. At Barneys New York, I recently bought a flannel shirt from French brand Cifonelli. The street is also home to John Lobb, one of my favourite brands for shoes. Our butlers at The Mark are John Lobb-certified shoe polishers.”

Local Designer Love: “Todd Snyder perfectly captures New York cool. His boutique, located off Madison Square Park, is also home to a barbershop and a bar. I shop there for casual menswear.”

Style Icon: “Gianni Agnelli, the head of Fiat until 1996. He had such a strong European sensibility, with an effortless elegance that always reminded me of my grandfather.”

Seasonal Style: “Summer in the city can get very hot. I recommend a great pair of tailored shorts or linen pants to stay comfortable but also stylish. A light sweater is good to bring along, as restaurants and museums keep the air-conditioning going strong.”

Packing Advice: “My golden rule is to never check any luggage. I usually pack one suit and one jacket, plus a shirt for every day I’m away.”



 - This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Virtuoso Life. 


11 day train journey through Austria


Travelling by train through Austria is now faster and easier than ever before.

What better way to explore Austria than travelling through stunning mountain scenery, lush alpine meadows, historic towns and picturesque villages. The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) takes you to your favourite vacation destination. Whether you are heading to Salzburg, the city of Mozart and “The Sound of Music”, to Graz, across the famous “Semmering Railway” line, which is part of the UNESCO world heritage or to St. Anton and Bregenz, Austria’s westernmost province.

Discover Austria off the beaten path with this 11-day sample train journey, which takes you from Vienna to the Arlberg via Graz and Salzburg

Day 1 & 2: Vienna

Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning architecture. Famous for its many cultural events, classical concerts, imperial architecture, coffee houses, cosy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm. Visit Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence, with its beautifully tended formal gardens, the Gloriette monument, the Palm House, and the world’s oldest zoo. In the old town don’t miss out on Vienna’s prime landmark, the gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and explore the splendid baroque Belvedere Palace, displaying the largest collection of works by Gustav Klimt.  On your second day in Vienna watch a morning practice at the Spanish Riding School or attend a Vienna Boys’ Choir performance. In the afternoon explore Vienna’s lush art scene and visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the MuseumsQuartier.

The Belvedere Museum, Vienna
Day 3 & 4: Graz
The Graz Fairytale Train

On Day 3, explore the charms of Austria’s second largest city – combine arts, architecture, and culinary highlights. Take the train from Vienna Central Station to Graz (approx. 2h30min). Walk up Schlossberg for great views over the city’s roofscape, visit the Armory, the largest historic arsenal in the world, and get a ticket for the Kunsthaus (Museum of Modern Art), also called the “Friendly Alien”.  On your second day in Graz, find out why it is called “Austria’s Culinary Capital”. Start your day at the Kaiser Josef Markt farmer’s market and try the culinary “sights”. You haven’t fully experienced Graz until you’ve sunk your teeth into at least one of them. There is no way around pumpkin seed oil – drizzled on anything from salads to vanilla ice cream. Visit chocolate manufacturer Zotter just outside of Graz and don’t forget to try a glass of Styria’s home-grown Sauvignon Blanc.

Day 5 & 6: Salzburg

The train from Graz to Salzburg takes about 4 hours – along the gentle hills in Styria to the gateway to the Alps. Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage city, has an unforgettable panorama: Fortress Hohensalzburg and the spires of Salzburg’s 50 churches rise up along the river. Thanks to Mozart’s legacy and the acclaimed Salzburg Festival, the city’s cultural life is rich and star-studded, with classical music. Visit Fortress Hohensalzburg, the unmistakable landmark that defines the Salzburg skyline. Dating to 1077, it endures as the largest preserved castle in central Europe. For a splendid view walk from the Fortress to the Museum of Modern Art on the opposite hill. From here walk down to the Festival District, at the foot of Mönchsberg, with two famous festival halls and the Felsenreitschule.  On your second day explore Salzburg in Mozart’s footsteps. Start your day at legendary Café Tomaselli, walk via Alter Markt over to the Getreidegasse street and visit Mozart’s Birthplace. Afterwards visit the Salzburg Cathedral, where Mozart was baptized and try the original Fürst Mozartkugeln, which has been made from pistachio marzipan, layered in nougat, and dipped in chocolate for more than 130 years.

Hotel Sacher, Saltzburg
Day 7 & 8: Excursions from Salzburg

Take a trip down south to Werfen (approx. 45min) and visit the World of Ice Giants. After the ice caves walk up to Hohenwerfen Fortress to watch the spectacular falconry demonstration. Continue further south to see Central Europe’s tallest waterfalls, the “Krimml Waterfalls”. Hike from the village of Krimml up to the top of the waterfalls (1.5h).  Take an early train from Salzburg to Hallstatt (approx. 2h30min). Hallstatt’s lakeside view may be the Alps’ most famous panorama. Visit the world’s oldest salt mine at the Salzwelten, where humans have mined salt for 7,000 years. For above-ground adventure, punt like a local on Hallstättersee lake in a wooden Fuhr boat. From Hallstatt, you can take the bus back to Salzburg and further explore the stunning Lake District on your way.

Day 9: Innsbruck

From Salzburg take the train to Innsbruck (approx. 2h). “The Capital of the Alps” is nestled in the Nordkette mountains. The Hungerburg Funicular takes you straight from the city centre up to 2,000 metres from where you can enjoy the views of the city and surroundings. Back down in Innsbruck visit the city’s landmark, the Golden Roof and try some Tirolean specialities.

Day 10 & 11: The Arlberg Region

1h15min west of Innsbruck you find yourself in breathtaking nature. Take a direct train from Innsbruck main train station to St. Anton. Famous for skiing during the Winter months, in summer the Arlberg region is the perfect destination to take a breath and hit the reset button on your body, mind, and soul. On your first day, hike to Formarinsee lake, Austria’s most beautiful place in 2015, and finish your day in a mountain hut with traditional Austrian food.  On the last day of your Austria journey explore one of the locals hidden gem, the Verwalltal valley. Regular shuttle buses bring visitors from St. Anton into the Verwalltal valley, where cars are not allowed. Lake Verwall is known for its strong natural energy, making it an ideal spot to recharge, or go on one of the most beautiful hikes of your life and let the mystical Green Ring inspire you. A scenic hiking trail that winds from Lech Zürs over several peaks, invites you to explore its local myths. Artists and story-tellers have created installations along the way that will teach you about the Arlberg’s lore.

The Alberg Region

Are you tempted to try this itinerary out yourself?

Contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio for more information!


 - Text provided courtesy of Rail Plus