Monthly Archives: May 2016

Tips to find the romantic island

Looking for a getaway with sun-kissed beaches, bright blue skies and perfect weather? Just south of India lies the beautiful island nation of Maldives, a chain of 1,200 breathtaking, coral islands. The Maldives’ crystal-clear waters and luxury resorts attract globetrotters near and far.

Famous for its gorgeous blue lagoons, picturesque beaches and extensive reefs, its islands only rise 1.8 meters (six feet) above sea level.

The best time to visit is during the dry season from December to March. Since there’s so much to discover around these scenic islands, we’ve listed our top picks you can’t miss should you be planning an adventure in this tropical paradise.

Where To Stay

Choosing a local island

The most popular of the local islands, Maafushi, has an array of restaurants and souvenir shops. Here you’ll find pristine white-sand beaches and can partake in watersports, excursions and island hopping.

If you’re looking for total peace and tranquility, Fulidhoo is for you. The somewhat remote island is stunning, and you might not see another tourist the entire time you’re there.

Resorts

With deluxe villas perched over some of the bluest water you’ve ever seen, top-notch dining, lavish fitness and wellness centres and exciting adventure packages, a stay at one of the many private island resorts is sure to be memorable. It’s worth noting that resort restaurants are the only areas where alcohol is permitted on the Islands.

What to Do 

Boating Excursions and Watersports

It’s no surprise that some of the best adventures in the Maldives begin at sea. Watch the sun disappear beneath the horizon as you toast with your loved one on one of the island’s many sunset cruises. These excursions are a great way to spot sea life as you wind down from another day spent in paradise.

More than 20 different whale and dolphin species have been spotted in the surrounding waters. If you’re lucky, as you cruise along, pods of dolphins will entertain you as they jump out of the water to ride in your wake. Most resorts can assist you with planning your watersport activities.

For the thrill-seekers, the Maldives offer watersports aplenty such as banana boat rides, parasailing, kayaking, catamaran sailing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, SEABOB rentals, snorkeling and jet ski safaris.

Whether it’s being face to face with a grey reef shark, spotting a tiny brightly coloured flatworm or the sight of the awesome manta ray, you’ll have the chance to see it all on a diving trip in the Maldives.

What to Eat

Maldivian cuisine is a mix of Arabic, Indian and Sri Lankan influences. As it’s in the middle of the Indian Ocean, seafood and fruit (specifically coconut which is incorporated into almost every meal) is in abundance. Tuna is the most common fish of the island: Skipjack tuna, little tunny, and yellowfin tuna are favourites.

Considering its Indian influence, most dishes use a spicy curry. A few authentic dishes that foodies won’t want to miss out on include Mas Huni (a smoked tuna dish with coconut often served for breakfast), Theluli Mas (spicy fried fish made with curry and tomato paste) and Bis Keemiya (pastry filled with tuna and hard boiled egg).

If there’s one restaurant to try in in the Maldives, it’s Ithaa Undersea Restaurant in the Conrad Maldives Randheli Resort. The world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant is one of a kind. As you dine 16 feet below sea level, take in 180-degree views as coral gardens and sea life come to life. The menu includes contemporary European cuisine in a six-course set dinner menu.

Tips to find the best place to play casinos

Described by Forbes as “Vegas on steroids”, Macau is known for its opulent casinos, but there is so much more to the city than meets the eye.

Macau is rich in history and home to an eclectic mix of museums, top-notch resorts, adrenaline junky activities and unique cuisine.

If you’re planning to make a trip and want to see what’s beyond the slot machines, check out our guide to Macau.

Where to stay

There are a whole host of casino-affiliated hotels to choose from, but if you’re looking for something more low-key, the chic Mandarin Oriental Macau is the place for you.

This five-star resort is known for its impeccable service, outstanding restaurants, a tranquil spa and wellness centre and 213 luxurious rooms and suites. Does it sound like we’re leaving something off the list? You guessed it—there’s no casino.

Other great options to consider include Banyan Tree Macau (complete with in-room luxury pamper experiences and a manmade beach with metre high waves), Grand Coloane Resort Macau (for seclusion and a spot of golf at the nearby Macau Golf and Country Club), and Pousada de São Tiago (a boutique hotel which is a converted 17th-century fortress).

Get your adrenalin going

While you may get a rush from playing poker, there’s plenty of ways to get your blood pumping outside of Macau’s casinos. For those with a sense of adventure, you can jump off the city’s tallest building, AJ Hackett Macau Tower, to complete the world’s highest bungee jump.

For those who don’t want to take the plunge, but still want to tread on the wild side, opt for the Skywalk. This option lets you make your way around the perimeter of the tower whilst strapped into a harness. Your bravery will be rewarded with the best view of Macau.

Explore Macau’s rich history

The architecture in Macau, harking back to its former Portuguese colonial days, is truly unique and definitely worth exploring. Venturing away from the expansive resorts and into the nearby villages is recommended to anyone looking to experience the city’s preserved Portuguese culture.

Senado Square is paved with traditional Portuguese mosaics and a gorgeous fountain in the centre. This square used to be the official civic square years ago when Macau was still a colony, but today it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions.

About ten minutes’ walk from Senado Square are the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Dating back to 1602, this church was destroyed in a fire in 1845 but the façade of the building still stands today.

Adjacent to the ruins you’ll find the Macau Museum. This is the place to go to learn about Macau’s history. Browse through interactive exhibits to get a full overview of Macau’s past and how it came to be what it is today.

Discover Macau’s eclectic cuisine

Drawing from both Asian and Portuguese influences, there are several specialties that will tantalise your taste buds.

First on the list is the traditional Portuguese Egg Tart. This rich, flaky pastry filled with egg custard and a caramelised top will leave you feeling like you’ve hit the jackpot. While they’re found on almost every corner and at every restaurant, we suggest sampling one at Lord Stow’s Bakery.

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, stop by the Mandarin Oriental Macau’s restaurant Vida Rica. A fusion of French, Cantonese and Portuguese, its most popular dishes include caviar wrapped in lobster jelly with avocado and mango sauce, Alaskan spider crab and its extensive dim sum selection.

Teenagers Tips When Travelling

As your kids leave their tweens and enter their teens, travelling together may require a different approach in order for the entire family to stay sane while travelling.

Our personal travel managers have put together a list of helpful tips to ensure your teenagers are as excited about your next holiday as you are.

  1. Involve them in the planning process

Although some teenagers may respond with the iconic “whatever”, it’s important to give them the reins in some way. Discuss the destination with them or have them choose the activities for a day. This not only teaches teenagers about compromise, but also the more involved they are, the more enthusiastic and engaged they’ll be.

  1. Choose accommodation wisely

If your budget allows, try to give your teenager some privacy when holidaying together. This may mean more than one tent, or separate hotel rooms.

  1. Let them pack their own bags

Giving your teenager the opportunity to pack his or her own bags is a great way to teach accountability and help them feel more independent. So long as the weight restriction isn’t exceeded, understanding how to pack efficiently, and carrying around what you’ve packed, is a great learning experience.

  1. Fuel their adrenalin

When planning your holiday, aim to include some activities that will release some of their energy and fuel their adrenaline. Depending on their age, jet boating, scuba diving or zip lining are all great ways for the whole family to experience something new, while involving the teens in something they can brag about to their friends.

  1. Accept the smart phone, but take action to avoid ‘roaming’ fees

It can be frustrating always seeing your teenager looking down at a screen, particularly when there’s something more exciting going on in real life. However, if asking them to leave their electronics at home doesn’t work, you can compromise on periods of time when screen time is acceptable. For gamers, work with them to come up with times like these that suit everyone. As well as this, be sure to turn off all roaming and international services, only connect to trusted hotel Wi-Fi networks or even purchase a local SIM card. After all, they’ll never ditch the digital world entirely.

  1. Take time to relax

Sleeping in seems to be a prerequisite of becoming a teenager. If possible, avoid activities really early in the morning, and let them have a little sleep in every now and then. Depending on their age and where you’re visiting, letting your teen stay back in the hotel while you explore lets them (and you) have a bit ‘me time’.

Tips to find sweet culinary

images (12)“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” went the song from the twenties and for many, no holiday would be complete without the frozen dessert. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the best ice creams from around the world. Contact your personal travel manager to organise your next “sweet” trip.

Ice Cream City, Tokyo, Japan

Ice Cream City consists of a variety of stands, selling over 300 flavours so you’re never stuck for choice.

The Japanese are not known to shy away from the weird and wonderful and their take on ice cream is no exception. Some of the flavours like Wasabi and Green Tea are typically Japanese and distinctly tasty, while others such as whale and octopus are a scoop too far.

Helados Scannapieco, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Scannapieco family has been making ice cream for over 70 years and have the craft down to a fine art.

The Italian family’s menu includes over 50 flavours, from the classic to the exceptional. The chocolate flavour is a shade darker than the average, with a much higher cocoa content and the lemon champagne and cinnamon are hard to go past.

Glace, Sydney, Australia

You don’t have to travel oversees to enjoy the perfect scoop. Glace is the brainchild of Marilyn Lean and has built a solid reputation amongst Australia’s finest chefs.

As well as a delectable ice cream range that includes strawberry pistachio and rose petal, Glace boasts an entire range of ice cream based desserts from petit fours to entire ice cream cakes.

I Scream, Kingston, Jamaica

Located within Devon House, an 11-acre property declared a national monument in 1990; I Scream has become a Jamaican institution.

The flavours run from the traditional to those that typify the Caribbean, like coconut, mango and soursop. There’s also a thirst quenching beer flavour made from Jamaican ale called ‘Devon Stout’. Admission into the estate includes a tour of the house and extensive gardens, just don’t get ice cream on the antique carpets.

Capogiro Gelato, Philadelphia, USA

According to Capogiro they don’t sell ice cream, but a range of Gelato and Sorbetto. It all goes down the same way and Capogiro’s frozen desserts go down with the best of them.

Established by Italian immigrants in the heart of Philadelphia, Capogiro’s menu changes daily. The pick of the bunch, at the time of writing, include the delicious infusions of Champagne Mango and Bourbon Butterscotch.