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NEWS (Countries Follow the News)

Monaco Kicks Off Summer 2017 with Full Calendar of Events

The Antiques Diva Champagne Brunch at the Paris Flea Market!

Ashford Castle Hosts World's A-List Chefs As Part Of Food on the Edge Symposium

Ireland's Beautifully Restored Ashford Castle Unveils Luxurious New Spa

Crème de la crème of Gothenburg and West Sweden – the top list of exclusive experiences

Italy's Hotel Hassler Roma Announces New "Flavors of a Journey" Culinary Package

Ireland Walk Hike Bike Plans/Supports 8- and 11-Day Walking Tours in County Kerry Over Historic Carriage Route

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy the Midnight Sun in Finland

The New Luxe Hideaway -- Casa Da Calcada -- a Relais & Chateaux Retreat in Portugal

Swedish Art Hotel Launches Haute Couture Suites – Hotel Guests Design Their Own Rooms Made of Ice

AUSTRIA

ARLBERG

Where to Stay

Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) --

of the World ski destinations not offer travellers world-class skiing, but the “championship” level service, comfort and quality synonymous with the luxury brand. The following resort is just a taste of the breathtaking worldwide ski resort hotels that SLH has to offer ski aficionados: 

LECH

Where to Stay

Kristiania Lech Hotel

Over-looking the pretty ski resort village of Lech in the Austrian Alps, Kristiania Lech was opened in 1968 by the gold medallist slalom skier Othmar Schneider and his wife. Since then, the hotel, now run by Othmar’s daughter, has been dedicated to providing the perfect home-base for skiers and guarantees an intimate and personal luxury experience. With the slopes literally at your doorstep and the knowledgeable guidance of the Ski Butler on hand, you can plan you skiing from dawn until dusk. Here you can enjoy the quintessential delights of a true European ski resort. At the end of a busy day, retire to the hotel and enjoy pre-dinner drinks in one of the hotel’s bars - sample excellent Austrian Malts, port and Schnapps before a delicious traditional meal complemented by fine local wines.

For more information, check web site www.slh.com/kristiania) (All ski lifts running)

BELGIUM

What to See & Do

Check Out Belgium's Memorial Interallies in Liege

The Memorial Interallies, a monument built in 1925 by the International Federation of Allied Ex-Servicemen to honor Belgium's sacrifice during the War is composed of several monuments representing eight different nations; Italy, France, Romania, Spain, Greece, Great Britain, Poland, and Russia. In addition to this memorial, the French government also gave the Legion of Honor to the city of Liege in 1914 in recognition of their resistance.

A new memorial center dedicated to the Second World War and to the Battle of the Bulge, the Bastogne War Museum

Located next to the Mardasson Memorial, the new Bastogne War Museum is a striking piece of architecture that's also star-shaped. This brand new building is a fine example of daring architecture and contemporary scenography!

Using up-to-date, interactive displays, the museum track puts the causes, events and consequences of the Second World War in context, through the prism of the Battle of the Bulge. As well as displaying numerous artifacts from the Ardennes offensive, including at least three tanks, the museum is strong on interpretation, explaining the context of the battle and the causes, significance and consequences of the Second World War as a whole.

The vast space is pack with hi-tech, interactive displays and 3D projections, and tells the story of the Battle of the Bulge from the perspective of two soldiers (one American, one German), as well as a local teacher and a teenager who lived through the onslaught that devastated their town. In one recreated scene, visitors will enter a dimly lit tavern to experience the heavy bombing of Bastogne over Christmas 1944.

The "Texas Aggies Go To War" exhibit tells the story of five Aggies, their lives before the war, their experiences from Normandy through the Battle of the Bulge and Bastogne and their return to civilian life.

The Mardasson Memorial

In the form of a five-pointed American star inscribed with the names of all the American states, the Mardasson Memorial was designed by the architect Georges Dedoyard, to honor the memory of the 76,890 American soldiers killed, wounded or missing in the Battle of the Bulge.

Where to Stay

Brussels is becoming more and more affordable and the following hotels are boasting some great deals:

The White Hotel -- on Avenue Louise, starts its prices at 75 €.

Hotel Bloom, close to the Botanical garden, offers a double room from 85 €.

Hotel Aris has a package at 91 € including breakfast and entrance to the Magritte Museum for two people.

Hotel Plaza offers a double room with breakfast & Belgian biscuits at 98 €.

Hotel Ibis Brussels, next to the Grand Place, has a 98 € package which also includes breakfast and 2 entrance tickets to the Magritte Museum.

Chateau de Limelette offers a classic room for   80 €,

Dolce la Hulpe has great summer rates starting from 90 € per night (breakfast included), and Chateau du Lac has a package for two nights including breakfast for 178 €. (photo :

Cool Places to Stay in French-Speaking Wallonia :

Chateau de la Poste, a 19th century castle completely refurbished with modern-style decor has rooms starting at 90€.

La Chamboise, a trendy B&B in a lovely house with a winding staircase from 110 € with breakfast.

La Balade des Gnomes , an imaginative and other-worldly bed and breakfast near Durbuy with themed rooms from 115 €.

L'auberge du notaire, located near Spa, a superb light-filled small hotel, tastefully and unusually decorated from 189 € including breakfast and dinner.

Les Anges, a romantic former clergy-house in a charming Ardennes village from 70 € with breakfast.

Le Castel, a former castle converted into a charming, boutique hotel from 113 € with breakfast.

La Vigie, located in the heart of Spa, was originally built as the home of a sea captain around 1900 and has been entirely renovated and tastefully-decorated with rooms from 105€. The hotel can offer guests aromatherapy massages.

For more charming accommodations, please e-mail info@visitbelgium.com

BRUGES

What to See & Do

Bruges has lots to See & Do

Are you dreaming of getting away? Perhaps a hip city break, a beach holiday or a cultural break? Whatever you’re looking for, Bruges has it. The city has endless delights to offer the discerning traveller.

The streets of Bruges ooze history. Its rich cultural and historical heritage assured the city a place on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. Furthermore, Bruges is compact. It’s so easy to stroll from one highlight to another.

Then there are the numerous green hotspots. The city has lots of small parks plus its real treasure, the “Vesten”: the former ramparts and now a green belt around the city. It’s the perfect place to stretch out on the grass, play with the kids or get your daily run in - just like the locals.

Barely 10 kilometres from Bruges and you’ll find yourself at the coast. There, you can go cycling on dedicated paths or participate in all sorts of beach entertainment. Don’t forget the suncream!

Bruges Various Museums Offer Superb Collections

One of the great charms of the museum collection of the City of Bruges is its splendid diversity: from the Flemish Primitives to contemporary art, from classic ‘fine arts’ to archaeological finds, furniture, silver, folklore… In short, something for everyone!

Groeninge Museum and Arents House

Artistic works from the 15th to 21st century are grouped in the Groeninge Museum and the Arents House.

Brugge Museum

is the museum platform for contemporary arts. The Bruggemuseum (Bruges Museum) is a general title encompassing all the different historical museums: Gruuthuse, the Welcome Church of Our Lady, the Archaeological Museum, the Gentpoort, the Belfry, the Town Hall, the Liberty of Bruges, the Museum of Folklore, the Sint-Janshuis Mill, the Koelewei Mill and the Guido Gezelle Museum. Here you can find a veritable treasure trove of art works and each collection tells the history of Bruges from a different point of view.

Hospitaalmuseum

is the collective name for two historical hospitals: the 8 century old Saint John's Hospital, which is now known as Memling in Sint-Jan museum and O.L.V.-ter-Potterie (Our Lady of the Potteries). Memling in Sint-Jan is famous for its collection of paintings by the great master of the Flemish Primitives, Hans Memling, while Our Lady of the Potteries is better known for its Baroque church and its outstanding silverwork.

Musea Brugge

is the umbrella organization for 16 museums with diverse collections. The locations are subdivided into three groups: the GROENINGE Museum (Artistic Works), the HOSPITAALMUSEUM (historical hospitals with among others the Memling collection) and the BRUGGEMUSEUM (historical museums). Every year, almost 800,000 local and foreign guests visit one or more museums of the City of Bruges.

Musea Brugge is also responsible for Raakvlak (the intermunicipal archaeological service for Bruges and surrounding area) and for the Bruges cultural inheritance department.

Where to Stay in Bruges

Hotel Navarra

Hof Sebrechts

Need some restful greenery to relax in? Bruges has plenty. But the favorite is Hof Sebrechts. It’s not only because this former monastery garden is only a five-minute walk from the hotel, but it’s also cozy and the monumental gateway alone makes it worth a visit. But there are lots of pretty parks as well as gorgeous spots in the greenery of the former ramparts where you can picnic or simply snooze in the sun.. Hotel Navarra also has an indoor pool, Bar des Amis where you can have a late night drink or snack and watch the passerby from this lively square.

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Packages
Bike package
Romantic package
Beer package
Chocolate package

For more information contact Hotel Navarra, located at Sint-Jakobsstraat 41
B-8000 Brugge, Belgium
Tel. +32 (0)50 34 05 61
Fax +32 (0)50 33 67 90
reservations@hotelnavarra.com

CZECH REPUBLIC

PRAGUE

Where to Stay

Mandarin Oriental, Prague   

Mandarin Oriental, Prague is situated in a former Dominican monastery with origins dating back to the 14th Century. To this day, the building carries the features of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The hotel’s 99 spacious guest rooms and suites offer refined residential ambience enhanced by original architectural detail. Equipped with the latest technology, the guest rooms’ design combines restrained elegance with subtle Asian touches. The hotel also includes a holistic Spa located in a former Renaissance chapel, the Essensia restaurant, and Barego bar.     

DENMARK

Where to Eat

Hotel D'Angleterres Marchal Voted Best Restaurant in Denmark

The prestigious Danish Food Guide has voted Marchal at the Hotel d'Angleterre in Copenhagen best restaurant in Denmark. "In a city of remarkable restaurants and considered to host some of the best in the world, this is an extraordinary achievement," says Lucas Johansson, General Manager of the d'Angleterre, "and it is a tribute to Marchal's Executive Chef Ronny Emborg and his team."

Marchal at the d'Angleterre (the name recalls the French barber who opened his restaurant here in 1755) offers an inventive mix of Nordic and French cuisines. Recently re-opened after a two-and-a-half-year renovation of the entire hotel, Marchal has quickly become a local and international favorite, having also garnered a coveted Michelin star - the only hotel restaurant in all of Denmark with that accolade.

Blurring the line between haute cuisine and visual art, Chef Emborg has created at Marchal a new temple of Nordic cuisine with a solid French foundation. Classic with a contemporary twist,  Chef Emborg's menus at Marchal range from simple and perfectly cooked seafood dishes to more inventive traditional Nordic fare like fried pigeon served with truffle purée, fried mushrooms, cornichons, vinegar marmalade and beef glace.

For a full menu and more information on Hotel d'Angleterre and Marchal, visit www.dangleterre.com.

Where to Stay

Hotel D'Angleterre

Located on Copenhagen's Kongens Nytorv (The King's Square), Hotel d'Angleterre has long been the city's address of choice for royalty, statesmen and the illustrious. The d'Angleterre has had an extremely colorful history, from its origins as a restaurant opened in 1755 by Jean Marchal, to its transformation into the d'Angleterre in 1795, the opening of the current building in 1875 and its rebuilding just before World War I. After a short change in ownership, The Remmen Foundation once again re-acquired and closed the storied hotel in 2011. The hotel reopened May 2013, revealing the results of massive remodeling and re-imagining: a lighter and more elegant color palette; 90 spacious rooms & suites (created from the existing 123 rooms); new restaurant Marchal helmed by Michelin-rated Ronny Emborg; Amazing Space d'Angleterre Spa; and Balthazar, Denmark's first Champagne bar.

ENGLAND

LONDON

Where to Stay

The Milestone Hotel:

The award-winning Milestone Hotel is the London flagship of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Also a proud member of the Leading Hotels of The World, the five-star Milestone Hotel is a quintessentially English property in the heart of London boasting luxurious suites and spacious long-stay apartments, fine British dining in Cheneston's Restaurant, charming public areas and an award winning Afternoon Tea menu. This property occupies a prime position with beautiful views over Kensington Palace and Gardens and located just minutes from London's museum district and glamorous shopping area of Knightsbridge.

About the Red Carnation Hotel Collection

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is an award-winning collection of five- and four-star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Florida, South Africa and now Ireland. Each property has its own individual character and unique location that reflects the local environment, culture and cuisine. They all share the qualities that win Red Carnation so many prestigious awards - splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, private art collections, passionate service and loyal staff committed to creating richly rewarding experiences for all their guests. For more information about these award-winning hotels and the rest of the Red Carnation Collection, please go to www.redcarnation.com. 

Mondrian London Has Launched Rooftop Bar 'Rumpus Room'

On October 9, 2014, the glittering launch of Mondrian London's new 1920s-inspired rooftop bar & lounge, Rumpus Room was formed.  Set atop Mondrian London at Sea Containers, overlooking the Thames and the city’s South Bank skyline with 360-views, Rumpus Room is set to make waves when it opens tonight.

The launch party will take place from 9pm at Rumpus Room, Mondrian London, 20 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD.

About Rumpus Room: 

Inspired by the age of hedonism during the 1920s, where Bright Young Things revelled with abandon, evading the paparazzi, and where bohemians and socialites caused a rumpus in the clubs and streets of London, Rumpus Room will offer a new and decadent space to inspire and excite. Designed by DRS under the influence of Tom Dixon, Rumpus Room is the most glamorous of all of Mondrian’s hotel spaces. In keeping with the nautical influence that runs throughout the hotel, Rumpus Room replicates the sensation of being on the ‘top deck’ of the ship, with a lavish bar of brushed gold and elegant and plush raspberry lounge seats.

The high-energy and dramatic bar, sits within a glass box offering 360-degree views of the city, with an outside terrace made for enjoying a classic cocktail whilst admiring a breathtaking view of St Paul’s Cathedral and beyond.  With an extensive and impressive list of Champagnes, classic and specialty cocktails created by resident bar impresario Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana, and a music programme dedicated to bringing the most inspiring and uplifting tunes from an internationally renowned list of DJs, Rumpus Room will come alive as the sun goes down.  Rumpus Room is taking reservations from 10th October on 020 3747 1026 or e-mail to makearumpus@mhgc.com

About Mondrian London

Mondrian London at Sea Containers opened on 30th September 2014. Designed by Design Research Studio under the creative direction of visionary Tom Dixon, the iconic building boasts 359 guestrooms and suites, stunning riverside views, two exciting new bars, an expansive restaurant with private dining rooms, a maritime inspired 56-seat cinema and an exciting new spa concept. Room rates start from £195 per night plus VAT.
For more information on Mondrian London at Sea Containers or to book an upcoming stay at the hotel, please visit: www.mondrianlondon.com

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Offers New Spa Program for Jet Lagged Travelers

In recognition of its many international jet set guests, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has launched a new “Time Traveler” program to help ease the effects of traveling across different time zones, priced at GBP 210 (approx. USD 418).

The newly introduced “Time Traveler” program entails a 50-minute treatment in the morning between 7.30am and 9.30am, and a 50-minute treatment in the evening between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on the same day. The morning treatment begins with an invigorating Oriental Salt Scrub to overcome the sluggishness caused by jet lag by stimulating blood flow to the brain. Firm massage to the feet and lower legs follows to help combat fluid retention and deep vein thrombosis. Focus on the lymphatic system will help to reduce Oedema, the swelling caused by fluid retention often associated with air travel.  Focus on the circulatory system reinvigorates blood flow which will help combat deep vein thrombosis.  In the evening, the program ends with an hour’s soothing massage using aromatherapy oils to help bring about a serene state of relaxation thus aiding a peaceful night’s sleep as guests adjust to the new time zone.

Guests are also encouraged to arrive 30 minutes ahead of their treatment time to make full use of the Heat and Water oasis, access to which is provided at both stages of the “Time Traveler” program, in order to benefit from the healing powers of heat and water. The Heat and Water Oasis includes a Sanarium, Amethyst Crystal Steam Room, Vitality Pool, and Zen Colour Therapy Relaxation Area. The jet lag resolving “Time Traveler” program has been tailored to suit both guests retiring to the hotel’s sumptuous rooms, and local residents for whom limousine transfer can easily be arranged.

This program is subject to availability. For reservations, please contact The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London directly on +44 (0) 207 838 9888 or go to web site www.mandarinoriental.com/london.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Offers Gentlemen In-Room Tailoring Service        

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London is offering gentleman guests an exclusive in-room tailoring service by haute couturier ‘Billionaire Italian Couture’ Creative Director, Angelo Galasso. 

At no additional cost, Angelo Galasso, will provide guests of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park with a personal measure and design consultation in their room or suite. As a mark of distinction, shirts tailored by Angelo Galasso for hotel guests will feature a discreetly embroidered gold fan, Mandarin Oriental’s logo. Guests wearing this shirt will subsequently be granted VIP access to the exclusive ‘Billionaire Club’ in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy. Guests will also be entitled to a guaranteed express five week delivery on made-to-measure suits and shirts (usually ten weeks).    

Terms and conditions:

This offer is part of a range of Exclusive Services available only to guests staying at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London. Room rates at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park start from GBP415 and suites from GBP675 excluding VAT and 5% discretionary service charge. It is recommended that enquiries are made as early as possible.

Reservations can be made by contacting the hotel directly on +44 (0) 207 235 2000, or through Mandarin Oriental’s worldwide sales and reservations offices or the Group’s direct on-line reservations service, www.mandarinoriental.com/london. 

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London Pretty in the City

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has launched ‘Pretty in the City’ an indulgent room package that includes a Daniel Hersheson Blow Dry and Chanel Make Up application, in the comfort and privacy of a sumptuous hotel room.
Allowing guests to sink back and savour every moment cocooned within their luxurious room, a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne will be placed on ice while hair and make up are teased into perfection by a Daniel Hersheson Hair Stylist and Chanel Make Up Artist. Opulent Victorian furnishings, swathes of rich satins and silks, white orchids, indulgent bath accessories, state-of-the-art entertainment systems and the legendary Mandarin Oriental service on tap, provide the perfect setting for this pampering experience.

While the ideal service for guests heading out to attend a glittering, high profile occasion, guests need not leave the hotel to make the most of their glamorous look. The stylish Mandarin Bar is the buzzing epicentre of Knightsbridge nightlife, serving cocktails accompanied by live jazz music until two in the morning. Equally popular, guests may dine at the award-winning Foliage, offering seasonal modern European cuisine in a classic contemporary setting, with stunning views over Hyde Park and immaculate Mandarin Oriental service.

After a fabulous night out, guests can look forward to relaxing in the Spa’s Heat & Water Oasis, a calming and reviving area consisting of a Sanarium, Vitality Pool, Amethyst Crystal Steam Room and Zen Colour Therapy Relaxation Room. For the ultimate in relaxation, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers treatments where East and West blend in harmony in a haven of tranquillity.

Terms and conditions:

Based on double occupancy, the ‘Pretty in the City’ programme is priced from GBP 499.00 + VAT, (approximately USD 998)and includes:
·                    Accommodation in a deluxe king bedded room for one night
·                    Full English Breakfast
·                    One bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne
·                    A full in room makeover by a Chanel Salon makeup artist, per room
·                    In room Blow Dry by a Daniel Hersheson Salon stylist, per room

Rates for the ‘Pretty in the City’ program are based on double occupancy, exclusive of VAT and 5% discretionary service charge, and is subject to availability. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance, and can be made by contacting the hotel directly on +44 (0) 207 235 2000, or through Mandarin Oriental’s worldwide sales and reservations offices or the Group’s direct on-line reservations service, www.mandarinoriental.com/london.

The St. James Hotel and Club at Park Place, St James’

Althoff Hotels opened the St. James Hotel & Club in Mayfair in Spring 2008 following a complete renovation. All rooms and suites have state-of-the-art technology and exquisite furnishings. The design is modelled on a classic British style with masterful design elements.

Bermondsey Square

This boutique hotel is the focal point of the Bermondsey Square regeneration project – an exciting addition to one of London’s most happening areas, with easy access to the City across Tower and London Bridge.  

Grosvenor House Hotel
Major refurbishment complete

Grosvenor House, London’s largest five-star hotel, has been restored to its former glory thanks to a multi-million pound refurbishment program, in which all areas of the hotel underwent major renovation.  

Park Plaza County Hall
Open

Located just south of Westminster Bridge, Park Plaza County Hall offers an exciting and unique mix of culture and convenience across 398 guestrooms. This brand new addition to the regenerated South Bank skyline features a dramatic atrium from the concept restaurant on the mezzanine floor and includes a fully-staffed business centre serving six state-of-the-art meeting rooms, a fitness suite, sauna, steam room, beauty treatment room and a stylish lounge bar.

TRANSPORTATION:

Heathrow Terminal 5

Catering for around 30 million passengers annually, the new Heathrow Terminal 5 will be the new home for British Airways. T5 is the biggest free-standing building in the UK at 40m high, 396m long and 176m wide. It will include 60 aircraft stands, a new air traffic control tower, a 600-bed hotel, a 4,000 space multi-storey car park, a new spur road from the M25, and extensions to the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly Line services. The terminal will have its own dedicated railway station. Its baggage system will be the biggest single-terminal baggage handling system in Europe. Prestigious retailers signed up for T5 include Harrods, Paul Smith and Tiffany, and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is set to open his first airport-based restaurant there.

For more information about what’s on in London see www.visitlondon.com

K West Hotel

K West hotel is offering a My Time Spa package, ideal for those wanting to unwind after a hard days shopping, the package costs $265 per person and includes one night’s accommodation in a deluxe room, a 60 minute spa treatment, full English breakfast and unlimited access to K Spa.

Harvey Nichols Screening

You can even keep up the fashion theme while eating in London. Harvey Nichols will be screening the highlights of the shows just hours after they happen on the screens in the restaurant. Diners can therefore work on their spring fashion wish lists while tucking into breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or just a glass of champagne.

Berkeley Hotel Pret-a-Prtea

How about some beautiful fashion that’s good enough to eat? The Berkeley Hotel offers Pret-a-Portea, a fashionista’s afternoon tea inspired after various fashion collections. The tea comes in the form of a delectable selection of miniature mouth-watering savory skewers, “taster” spoons, elegant canapés plus cakes and biscuits which are in the style of work from the world’s finest designers.

Donovan Bar

As for drinking, London is considered by many to have the most fashionable scene in the world with champagne and cocktail bars found throughout the capital. Many bars are launching their own fashion cocktails to coincide with London Fashion Week. The Donovan Bar at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel, for example, will be unveiling its latest collection of Fashion Cocktails in September which include The New York, The London, The Milan and The Paris.

Metropolitan Hotel's Lobby Lounge

In The Lobby Lounge at The Metropolitan hotel hosts The Lobbyists, a venue for after work drinks which has a different theme each month. During September the theme is fashion, where there will be cocktails created by the designers exhibiting at the hotel during London Fashion Week, various fashion exhibitions, and special guest DJ’s from the world of fashion spinning their favorite catwalk tunes.

Shopping Areas Abound

Fashionable shopping areas can be found throughout London, whatever styles or trends you are into, be it vintage, high street, designer or trendy. With over 40,000 fantastic shops to choose from, London’s streets can become your catwalk. It’s a shopaholic's dream come true and the perfect place to get the ultimate additions to your bursting wardrobe and ensure you are bang on trend.

ABOUT VISIT LONDON

Visit London is the official visitor organization for London. Its role is to promote London as the world’s most exciting city, targeting domestic and overseas leisure and business visitors as well as Londoners. Visit London works in partnership with the Mayor, the London Development Agency and the commercial industry. www.visitlondon.com.

London Goes Al Fresco

Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to get out there and experience the fantastic al fresco dining opportunities London has to offer. While the sun is shining, grab your shades and head to one of the many cafes, bars or restaurants that have outside areas in which you can soak up the rays while enjoying some food and drink. These and many other suggestions can be found on the Visit London web site, www.visitlondon.com.

Even in central London there are a huge number of venues that are taking advantage of every outside space available to provide open-air areas for their customers. In Leicester Square alone there are almost 1,000 seats outside the world renowned hotels, bars and restaurants where you can watch the world and the stars go by. As the home of British cinema, Leicester Square is the perfect place to catch an afternoon matinee, followed by a cappuccino and conversation outside one of the many cafes and bars.

Roof terraces offer great outdoor eating and drinking combined with fantastic views of the city. No. 5 Cavendish Square opened its new roof terrace in June. The wrap-around terrace offers sumptuous views over Marylebone and the West-End and is the ideal way to escape the bustle of the streets below and enjoy a cocktail, after-dinner drink, or canapés. The rooftop at the Trafalgar offers similarly impressive views but this time over Trafalgar Square and the surrounding areas.

Terraces are also a great place to while away a few hours in the sun. Chelsea Physic Garden’s café has a terrace area with seating for 50 and a beautiful view across London’s oldest botanic garden. Perhaps you’ve had a day’s shopping and fancy a chilled glass of wine? The Sheraton Park Tower hotel in Knightsbridge is located just minutes’ walk from Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Sloane Street and has a Parisian-style café, The Terrace at Knightsbride, which is open from breakfast until late and has heaters, enabling guests to dine outside into the evening.

Perhaps one of the most well-known terrace restaurants is the OXO Tower top floor bar, where guests can enjoy extensive views of London as well as their imaginative bar menu and drinks list.

Along the Thames are a multitude of venues that take advantage of their waterfront location and have outside areas that offer magnificent views along the River Thames. The south side of the River offers a multitude of al fresco dining opportunities. Southbank and Bankside are both teaming with restaurants, bars and cafes in which to enjoy a snack or meal with family or friends. At Bankside, The Founder’s Arms pub has an outside terrace with spectacular views of the Thames. Alternative dining options in the area include Pizza Express and The Real Greek. In addition, the redevelopment of the 21 acre Southbank site has a pedestrian area bulging with bars and restaurants.

It doesn’t just have to be at the weekend when you can enjoy an outdoor lunch, there are many places, for example in the City, that have open air areas where workers can have a break from the office and get some fresh air whilst having a business lunch. Dion, situated near to St. Paul’s underground station, boasts of an award-winning wine and champagne list and has a newly extended outside seating area where customers can enjoy views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Another option within the city is the bar at Addendum, at the Apex City of London Hotel.

Alternatively, you could just pack a picnic and enjoy one of London’s many parks. A third of London is made up of green land so you are never too far from a patch of grass on which to stretch out on. Central London parks include Regent’s Park, Hyde Park or St. James Park, alternatively try South London’s Richmond Park which comes complete with herds of deer, Victoria Park in East London, which is host to various fun fairs and music events over the summer or Regent’s Park in North London, which is just a stones throw from London Zoo.

WALKING iTOURS

Guests at The Milestone and ‘41’, two of Red Carnation’s five- star London properties in Central London, have long been accustomed not just to absolute luxury, but also to the last word in thoughtful extras. Now these last words have been added to by the shelfload, with a fabulous idea that will add enormously to guests’ experience of London.

Among the superb amenities in every room, guests will find a state-of-the-art Bose iPod docking station, with complimentary iPods available from reception. As well as being loaded with a massive selection of music from a wide range of genres and a children's audio book, these also include a fascinating selection of London audio walking guides.

Guests are invited to take to the streets, iPod in ear (couples can do the teenage lovers trick of a shared headset, but should watch out for the lamp posts), in order to find out all there is to know about a particular area or attraction. Each about two hours long, the walking tours available cover:

•         City of London – discovering the historic financial centre of Europe
•         Royal London – the palaces, parks, and parade grounds of Britain’s monarchs
•         Temple District – the special world of London’s fascinating and unique legal district
•         Banks of the Thames – from Millennium to Tower Bridge, a river in history
•         West End Night-Life – a vibrant evening jaunt from Piccadilly via Soho to Covent Garden
•         Westminster – the heart of London: Parliament, Whitehall, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square

Also available are expert guides to three of London’s most famous attractions – The Tower of London, The British Museum, and The National Gallery – to help visitors make the most of the myriad treasures each attraction contains. Although pre-loaded onto the iPods in English, the hotels are delighted to download guides in the language of guests’ choice wherever available.

This is a complimentary service to all guests, but to add to the attraction The Milestone Hotel in Kensington is offering a special Walk London deal as its perfect introduction to London. With a night’s accommodation, a glass of chilled Champagne and a fruit platter on arrival, English breakfast for two, a picnic hamper for two, and the use of the hotel’s iPod (with a brand new headset!) loaded with music and tours for the duration of the stay, prices, depending on room type, are from £280 to £800 per room, with extra nights available at special rates. In addition to the above, guests naturally also enjoy the wonderful luxury, comfort, and cuisine of one of Europe’s highest-rated hotels, including its incomparable 24-hour butler service.

For more information and Milestone reservations call the hotel directly at +44 (0) 20 7917 1000 or book online at bookms@rchmail.com.  For ‘41’ reservations call +44 (0)20 7300 0041 or book online at book41@rchmail.com.

For further information on Red Carnation’s stunning collection of five- and four-star luxury boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Geneva, Cape Town, and Palm Beach, visit www.redcarnation.com. Please note that the rates quoted above exclude VAT at the current rate of 17.5%.

Free booklet "Best of British Excellence"

Special one-time only offers and exclusive vacation experiences for Americans traveling to Britain this year are featured in a free booklet called Best of British Excellence. Available from the British Tourist Authority, these deals, available through a card which comes with the booklet, includes personal shopping tours, guided visits around museums and galleries, spa treatments, theater, and dining packages, plus transportation discounts.

The book identifies some of the finest shopping and food experiences throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, among them noted stores and shops in London’s fashionable shopping districts, jewelry, glass and woolen workshops in Scotland, and a world-renowned Irish distillery. In London, cardholders will have a tutored tasting of traditionally made cheeses at Paxton & Whitfield, Britain’s oldest cheese monger and holder of two Royal Warrants; and a complementary tour of the museum and private archives of Smythson, famed for the design and manufacture of leather-bound books, accessories and personalized stationery.

There’s much more. Send for the booklet by contacting the British Tourist Authority, 551 Fifth Avenue, Suite 701, New York 10176 or call 1-877-899-8391.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Offers Gentlemen In-Room Tailoring Service        

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London is offering gentleman guests an exclusive in-room tailoring service by haute couturier ‘Billionaire Italian Couture’ Creative Director, Angelo Galasso. 

At no additional cost, Angelo Galasso, will provide guests of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park with a personal measure and design consultation in their room or suite. As a mark of distinction, shirts tailored by Angelo Galasso for hotel guests will feature a discreetly embroidered gold fan, Mandarin Oriental’s logo. Guests wearing this shirt will subsequently be granted VIP access to the exclusive ‘Billionaire Club’ in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy. Guests will also be entitled to a guaranteed express five week delivery on made-to-measure suits and shirts (usually ten weeks).    
              

A collaboration between Formula One businessman Flavio Briatore and fashion designer Angelo Galasso; Billionaire Italian Couture was established in 2005 to offer haute couture to men. The couture house tailors slick, expertly hand-made suits, shirts, shoes and accessories in luxurious fabrics with obsessive detail in vibrant and classic colours, appealing to both the sartorially classic and the adventurous. Tailored shirts from Billionaire Italian Couture cost from GBP 420 (approximately USD 840) and tailored suits from GBP 2,600 (approximately USD 5,200).

Billionaire Italian Couture Creative Director, Angelo Galasso, said: “I myself have stayed at Mandarin Oriental hotels around the world and know their passion for exceeding guests’ expectations. This service will appeal to those guests who desire the very best in life, and for it to be delivered right to their door.”

General Manager, Christoph Mares, said: “This is the latest in a range of exclusive services we offer guests; experiences they could not find elsewhere. We can open stores outside of normal hours, arrange tours and lessons with experts in their field, and now – one of the finest men’s haute couturiers will consult with our guests in the comfort of their own rooms.”

Terms and conditions:

This offer is part of a range of Exclusive Services available only to guests staying at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London. Room rates at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park start from GBP415 and suites from GBP675 excluding VAT and 5% discretionary service charge. It is recommended that enquiries are made as early as possible.

Reservations can be made by contacting the hotel directly on +44 (0) 207 235 2000, or through Mandarin Oriental’s worldwide sales and reservations offices or the Group’s direct on-line reservations service, www.mandarinoriental.com/london. 

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is the award-winning owner and operator of some of the world’s most prestigious hotels and resorts, currently operating 20 luxury hotels with a further 14 under development in Riviera Maya, Mexico and Hainan Island, China (2007), Barcelona and Boston (2008), Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, Macau, Marrakech, Turks and Caicos and Grand Cayman (2009) and Guangzhou, Taipei and Paris (2010). In total, Mandarin Oriental now operates, or has under development, 9,500 rooms in 20 countries with 15 hotels in Asia, 12 in The Americas and seven in Europe and North Africa.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London Pretty in the City

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has launched ‘Pretty in the City’ an indulgent room package that includes a Daniel Hersheson Blow Dry and Chanel Make Up application, in the comfort and privacy of a sumptuous hotel room.
Allowing guests to sink back and savour every moment cocooned within their luxurious room, a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne will be placed on ice while hair and make up are teased into perfection by a Daniel Hersheson Hair Stylist and Chanel Make Up Artist. Opulent Victorian furnishings, swathes of rich satins and silks, white orchids, indulgent bath accessories, state-of-the-art entertainment systems and the legendary Mandarin Oriental service on tap, provide the perfect setting for this pampering experience.

While the ideal service for guests heading out to attend a glittering, high profile occasion, guests need not leave the hotel to make the most of their glamorous look. The stylish Mandarin Bar is the buzzing epicentre of Knightsbridge nightlife, serving cocktails accompanied by live jazz music until two in the morning. Equally popular, guests may dine at the award-winning Foliage, offering seasonal modern European cuisine in a classic contemporary setting, with stunning views over Hyde Park and immaculate Mandarin Oriental service.

After a fabulous night out, guests can look forward to relaxing in the Spa’s Heat & Water Oasis, a calming and reviving area consisting of a Sanarium, Vitality Pool, Amethyst Crystal Steam Room and Zen Colour Therapy Relaxation Room. For the ultimate in relaxation, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers treatments where East and West blend in harmony in a haven of tranquillity.

Terms and conditions:

Based on double occupancy, the ‘Pretty in the City’ programme is priced from GBP 499.00 + VAT, (approximately USD 998)and includes:
·                    Accommodation in a deluxe king bedded room for one night
·                    Full English Breakfast
·                    One bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne
·                    A full in room makeover by a Chanel Salon makeup artist, per room
·                    In room Blow Dry by a Daniel Hersheson Salon stylist, per room

Rates for the ‘Pretty in the City’ program are based on double occupancy, exclusive of VAT and 5% discretionary service charge, and is subject to availability. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance, and can be made by contacting the hotel directly on +44 (0) 207 235 2000, or through Mandarin Oriental’s worldwide sales and reservations offices or the Group’s direct on-line reservations service, www.mandarinoriental.com/london.

FINLAND 

What to See & Do

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy the Midnight Sun

Summer in Finland is a spectacular time of the year. For those who venture north of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set at all for couple of months, while further south the sun can be visible for almost 24 hours a day during June and July.

That phenomenon, known as The Midnight Sun, is caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis in relation to its orbit around the sun – as a result, at both North and South poles, the sun only sets and rises one day every year.

In Finland, the summer months of June and July are the months where the Midnight Sun is at its strongest but the further north you go, the longer the sun stays above the horizon. In the very northernmost parts you can experience a full midnight sun from May to August. When nights are almost as light as day it is possible to do all the same things that you would do during the day – the biggest difference comes from the incredible change in the nature of the light.

The sun takes on a reddish-yellow color – almost like during sunrise or sunset – and everything around you is bathed in an unimaginably warm, bright light.

Sailing in the Aland Archipelago

Exploring Finnish coastal waters is beautiful at the best of times, but when everything is bathed in an incredibly warm, bright light, a Midnight Sun sail is a whole other experience.  The Åland Archipelago is a unique collection of more than 6,500 islands at the entrance to the Bothnian Gulf in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. Only around 65 of the islands are inhabited and the archipelago’s outer reaches are only accessible by boat, but with the extended daylight hours, there’s more sailing time to reach the more remote islands.

How:
Midnight Sun Sailing has a fleet of over 30 yachts with sizes varying from 26 to 51 feet, with the option of a skipper. A week’s charter for a 27 foot yacht with two cabins (sleeping six) starts from $ 1,150 (850€) without a skipper / $ 3,040 (2,250€) with a skipper. www.midnightsunsailing.fi/

Horse Riding in Northern Lapland

Far north of the Arctic Circle, in the depths of the Sami land of Lapland, the Midnight Sun creates a fairy-tale-like scene across the forested hills and fells. Exploring the Lappish wilderness on horseback is one of the most peaceful and invigorating ways to feel the effect of the Midnight Sun. A two day riding tour from Kamisak Farm leads through the Lappish countryside, across the varying landscape of the Samis, to a wilderness cabin complete with a Finnish sauna to be enjoyed under the golden glow of the Midnight Sun.

How:
Kamisak offers overnight Midnight Sun riding tours from 1 June to 31 October for groups between 2 and 6 people. The excursion, priced from $ 560 (420€) per person, includes helmet, guide service, liability insurance, all meals during the tour and one night’s accommodation in a cabin. www.kamisak.com

A Round of Golf in Oulu

Although golf isn’t the first sport associated with Finland, the game has been growing in popularity since the 1980s with thanks in part to the growth of Midnight Sun tournaments held each summer. Oulu Golf Club, on Finland’s western coast, is the northernmost 36-hole golf course in the world and it’s not uncommon to see players starting their round at 9pm in the evening and playing throughout the night under the Midnight Sun. During the midsummer months, the sun rarely goes below the horizon so the light only dims slightly and since it’s a countryside course, the area is remarkably quiet around midnight, with only the occasional bird singing. Bears have even been spotted during midnight games.

How:
Oulu Golf Club is located in the town of Sanginsuu, 11 miles east of Oulu, and is open 24 hours a day during the midsummer months. Green fees are $ 67 (50 €) a day, which allows you to play as many rounds as you wish in a 24 hour period. golfpiste.com/oulungolfkerho/

Wildlife Watching in Wild Taiga

During the nightless nights, nocturnal animals still wake up to prey in the evening but don’t have their usual shelter of darkness, providing one-of-a-kind opportunities to observe and photograph rarely-seen animals, such as bears, wolves and wolverines. The untouched forests and lakes of Taiga in Eastern Finland are one of Europe's last great wilderness areas, attracting both wildlife and landscape photographers under the Midnight Sun.

How:
Taiga Spirit offers overnight excursions to a special hide in the heart of Wild Taiga, where bears, wolverines, white-tailed eagles and owls are among the wildlife that can be observed and photographed in their natural habitat. Excursions are priced from $ 108 (80€) per person for a night in a hide equipped with a bed, sleeping bag, dry toilet and picnic blanket. www.taigaspirit.com

Sunset Paddling in the Lakeland

Finland is not only known as the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’, but also the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’ (although there are actually over 180,000 of them) so combine the two on a sunset kayak trip in the Lakeland region, which occupies most of central and eastern Finland. Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland and the fourth largest in Europe, represents Finland’s Lake District at its best. With hundreds of islands and broad open waters to explore, the extended daylight mean more time to make the most of the area, while watching the sunset over the watery landscape is a breathtaking experience.

How:
Kolovesi Retkeily Canoe Outfitters rents canoes and sea-kayaks and offers independent and guided trips, both pre-planned and tailor-made, across the protected lake areas. Kayak rental costs from $ 47 (35€) for one day and includes life jackets, one dry bag, and a map for the self-guided routes. www.sealtrail.com

For more information go to Visit Finland USA, Tel. 1-917-863-5484; mail to helena.niskanen@visitfinland.com. Or check out Finland travel and tourism online
at www.visitfinland.com, www.facebook.com/visitfinland or www.twitter.com/ourfinland

Let Your Northern Light Shine!

The solar cycle that affects the magnitude of the Aurora Borealis is at its peak during winter. In other words, it’s a great time for spotting the phenomenon in Finnish Lapland!

- Solar activity varies periodically on an average of 11 years. It is estimated that the Northern Lights are visible up to 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland, from September to April. The Aurora maximum goes on for approximately two years after the solar activity maximum.

-  The next couple of winters in Finland will be ideal for travellers who want to spot the Aurorae, says Manninen.

Where to Catch the Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland

Saariselkä,  Europe’s northernmost holiday resort and a beautiful fell village in northeastern Lapland

-        Let Top Safaris take you out to see the Northern Lights either on snowshoes or a snowmobile http://sivut.saariselka.fi/topsafaris/index.php/en/northernlightssafaris

-        Stay at cosy farmhouse style hotel Kieppi (http://www.hotellikieppi.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=25&lang=en)

-        More on Saariselkä http://www.saariselka.fi/content?set_language=en

Kilpisjärvi , a picturesque village on top of the world by the great fells area in a close vicinity of the Arctic Ocean. The village is an optimal place right in the Aurora zone.

Kilpissafarit (http://www.kilpissafarit.fi/index_eng.html) takes you out to the fells to see the Northern Lights.

-        Stay in Tundrea http://www.tundrea.com/en/tundrea-2/northern-lights/

Ruka,  close to the Arctic Circle and the Russian border

-        Ruka Safaris (http://rukasafaris.fi/en/northern-lights-trips) will sit you in a sled and drive you out to let you concentrate on the marvel up above. Alternatively, grab the handlebar yourself.

-        Stay in ski in, ski out log cabin Kelokoto http://www.kelokoto.fi/

-        More on Ruka http://www.ruka.fi/winter_eng/

Accommodation with Aurora alerts:

Hotel Aurora Chalet, Luosto http://goo.gl/maps/IQYJx

-        The holiday and ski resorts of Pyhä-Luosto (http://www.laplandluosto.fi/) offer a score of winter activities under the Northern Lights

http://www.aurorachalet.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=26&lang=en

Hotel & Igloo Village Kakslauttanen near Saariselkä

Sleep in a glass igloo and marvel at the Aurorae or hop on the Kakslauttanen Panorama bus (http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/en/services/panorama-bus) and go on a hunt!  http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/en/

Bring the Aurorae to your iPhone instantly

Laplication is a free augmented reality app that brings the Northern Lights to the palm of your hand!

Download Laplication: http://itunes.apple.com/fi/app/laplication/id553424031?mt=8#

Laplication video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N54n8nYA4E

Auroras Now! (http://aurora.fmi.fi/public_service/) is a service that helps Aurora watching in Finland.

Visit Finland Aurora video: http://www.visitfinland.com/article/the-northern-lights-sparked-by-the-fox/

Finland's Savonlinna Opera Festival Celebrates 100 Years

It’s a big year for one of the best known Finnish cultural events, the Savonlinna Opera Festival; it’s been 100 years since Aino Ackté, the most illustrious Finnish soprano of her day, made the event happen for the first time.

Already in 1912, the Opera Festival was set amidst the ruins of Olavinlinna Castle in central Savonlinna. Fully restored, Olavinlinna remains the venue to this day, making for one of the most unique opera stages in the world. The atmosphere inside the castle is rivaled only by the spectacular view over Lake Saimaa outside, the largest lake in Finland.

Classics Mixed with Online Opera

For the centenary, festival organizers have decided to go with crowd-pleasers, as the program contains three all-time Savonlinna favorites: Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Verdi’s Aida.

The classics will be complemented with two world premieres: Kimmo Hakola’s La Fenice and the first ever opera created by an online community, namely Free Will.

There’s more to Savonlinna than Opera

Savonlinna lies in the heart of Lakeland, a province known for its natural beauty and several of Finland’s biggest lakes. In fact, Lakeland is Europe’s largest lake district.

Inland cruises, among other activities, are a popular way of enjoying the picturesque scenery of the area in the summer. How about a romantic dinner cruise on Lake Saimaa onboard a steamer? Disembarking at the rear and making your way under the stage to the auditorium while the orchestra tunes up are memories to savor for years to come.

This and other cruise options on Lake Saimaa:

http://www.savonlinna.travel/en/aktiviteettilomaa-saimaalla/risteilyt/

http://www.saimaatravel.fi/en/cruises-from-savonlinna

There’s a range of accommodation to choose from in Savonlinna, from quality hotels to luxury villas and traditional cottages. Accommodation in and around Savonlinna: http://www.savonlinna.travel/en/majoitus/

Get to Savonlinna: Fly to Helsinki. Connecting flights from Helsinki to Savonlinna take around 50 minutes. Round-trip ticket fares start from $ 115 (90 Euros): http://fi-en.flybe.com/

The train ride between Helsinki and Savonlinna takes around 4.5 hours. Round-trip fares start from &115 (90 Euros): http://www.vr.fi/en/index.html

Savonlinna travel: http://www.savonlinna.travel/

Finland travel and tourism online:

www.visitfinland.com; www.facebook.com/visitfinland; www.twitter.com/ourfinland

Visit Arabia Helsinki, a new type of travel destination

The Arabia district of Helsinki, home to design pioneer Arabia, is being redesigned as a travel destination. User-friendliness, design, history and nature are the main themes of the project. http://wdchelsinki2012.fi/en/program

Fiskars Design Village

A series of events in Helsinki and in the charming Fiskars Ironworks village only an hour away from Helsinki. For more information check web site http://wdchelsinki2012.fi/en/program/2011-10-28/fiskars-design-village-2012

New Cultural Centre Sajos – a Bastion of Everything Sámi

The only indigenous people in the EU area, the Sámi, are getting their own cultural centre in Inari, Finnish Lapland. Opened on January 2nd 2012, Sami Cultural Centre Sajos is the headquarters for Sámi culture and administration.

The purpose of Sajos is to preserve and develop Sámi culture and the variety of Sámi languages, to create better possibilities for Sámi business ventures and to manage their cultural self-government.

Sajos is the new home of the Finnish Sámi Parliament and a bastion of multiculturalism. The Centre aims to actively communicate on all issues concerning the Sámi. Sámi traditions run deep in their native area, which covers largely the northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Traditional sources of livelihood include reindeer herding, hunting, fishing and handicraft.

Trivia: The Sámi are known for their mythical tales and a belief in everything having a soul. Sámi shamanism is a well-known concept in Finland. According to Sámi legend, the Northern Lights are caused by a Fox running across the Arctic fells and lighting up the sky with sparks flying from its tail whirling up the snow. The modern Finnish term “revontulet” meaning “the fox’s fires”, derives from this myth.

For more information on Sajos contact sajos@samediggi.fi

Sámi museum and Northern Lapland nature centre Siida is also located in Inari: siida@samimuseum.fi 

Inari travel information:

http://www.laplandfinland.com

tourist.info@inari.fi

The Saariselkä resort and Hotel & Igloo Village Kakslauttanen lie in the vicinity of Inari:

http://www.saariselka.fi

http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/en/

Sajos and other Sámi-related photos: www.imagebank.visitfinland.com

Finland tourism online:

www.visitfinland.com; www.facebook.com/visitfinland; www.twitter.com/ourfinland

Other attractions:

See the amazing Ice Gallery, bathe in the world’s largest smoke sauna, take husky, reindeer and snowmobile rides, get married in (or just pay a visit to) the Snow Chapel, have a drink in the Glass Kota (traditional Lappish tepee with a modern twist), dine in the Ice Restaurant and get something from the souvenir shop!

More on Kakslauttanen:

http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/en/

http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/en/contact/media (

Bookings and queries: hotel@kakslauttanen.fi, +358 16 667 100

Where to Eat in Helsinki

Taste the North in Helsinki’s Local Food Restaurants

In recent years, a score of young chefs armed with pride in Nordic cuisine and a passion for local ingredients have set up their own restaurants in Finnish capital Helsinki. See our tips on where to go foraging for fresh northern flavours on your visit.

Helsinki is a compact city easily explored on foot, which makes discovering its restaurant scene handy to combine with sightseeing or shopping, for example. See below our suggested pit stops when criss-crossing the Finnish capital.

Chef & Sommelier

Situated in the posh area of Eira, a meal at Chef & Sommelier guarantees personal service and several heavenly courses. Organic, handmade and pure are the keywords here – not forgetting cute.

http://chefetsommelier.fi/en/

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/czJ0K

Juuri

Juuri is most famous for its speciality, Sapas, a Finnish take on the famous hors d’oeuvres. Sample the fruits of Finnish nature with these classy finger foods before moving on to the equally wild main courses.

http://www.juuri.fi/en/

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/jF0Hy

Nokka

Restaurant Nokka takes great pride in its ingredients and maintains close relations with local suppliers and small farms. Their awarded Helsinki Menu is great for first-time visitors.

http://www.ravintolanokka.fi/en

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/WdSdi

Olo

Since its inception in 2006, restaurant Olo has been at the top of Helsinki’s dining scene, and its success culminated in a Michelin star in 2011. Modern Nordic cuisine with respect for traditional raw ingredients.

http://www.olo-ravintola.fi/en/home.html

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/Nz6No

Ask

The proprietors of Ask have worked in various top restaurants in town before setting up this newcomer. Seasonal and organic is the name of the game in a beautiful art nouveau setting in the Kruununhaka area.

http://restaurantask.com/

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/RWVYa

Spis

Spis is a small and cosy little restaurant with vegetables at the core of their fresh Nordic ingredients philosophy. Meat and fish are always available, too, as are artisan wines and Nordic beers to drink.

http://spis.fi/philosophy/

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/BL1L2

Teurastamo

The Abattoir by its English moniker, Teurastamo is a slaughterhouse-turned-creative-food-hub. Truly innovative, Teurastamo provides a place for small food related businesses to try out new concepts.

http://teurastamo.com/en/teurastamo.html

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/JQNsx

Eat & Joy / Muuuu Maitobaari

Fancy some Finnish local food products to take back home? Eat & Joy Farmers Market in the Kluuvi Shopping Centre is the place to go shopping. Don’t miss their Muuuu Milk Bar.

http://eatandjoy.fi/eatjoy-farmers-market-and-eatjoy-kluuvi-market-hall

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/ZmZaS

Local food video and article visitfinland.com: http://www.visitfinland.com/article/local-food/

Finland travel and tourism online:

www.visitfinland.com; www.facebook.com/visitfinland; www.twitter.com/ourfinland

Contact in USA:

Helena Niskanen

Visit Finland USA

Tel. +1-917-863-5484

helena.niskanen@visitfinland.com

FRANCE

What to See & Do

The Moorings, the world's premier yacht charter company announces its all-inclusive crewed yacht vacations on the award-winning Moorings 4800 catamaran in Nice.

Complete with a professional captain and gourmet chef, this new charter option offers travelers a carefree way to cruise along the French Riviera. From phenomenal meals to gorgeous attractions, Crewed charters deliver a highly personalized vacation experience built upon the specific needs of each guest.

Aboard The Moorings 4800 – named “Boat of the Year” by Cruising World Magazine – guests will discover a luxurious layout including three double cabins with en-suite baths, a well-appointed saloon with plush seating and a full entertainment center, as well as an aft cockpit where one can dine and drink to a panoramic view of the surroundings.

With a knowledgeable captain to navigate the journey, Crewed charters provide an effortless way to travel between the myriad attractions along the coast of France. Whether it’s the rich nightlife in Monte Carlo, the pristine beaches of St. Tropez or Antibes’ old town charm, guests can visit all of their desired stops without the worry of navigating a new destination.

Before departure, Moorings chefs make it a point to learn their passengers’ dining preferences, then craft a variety of customized meals, hors d’oeuvres and drinks over the course of their charter. From classic French fare to modern culinary favorites, this all-inclusive experience is an ideal complement to the rich culinary traditions of France.

“Nice is really the full package when it comes to a great all-inclusive vacation. The history, the food, the art, the weather—it’s magical how they all come together on this beautiful stretch of coastline,” said Josie Tucci, General Manager of The Moorings. “With a yacht as accommodating as the 4800, you’ve got the perfect way to bring the experience to life. Not only do you get the freedom to explore on your own terms, but a dedicated crew that takes all the stress of traveling away, letting you truly relax and take in everything this cruising ground has to offer.”

Available for booking now, Moorings 4800 Crewed charters in Nice have begun this June. Meet the Nice crew members Mike & Lizzy at www.moorings.com/mike-lizzy. For reservations and additional information, visit www.moorings.com/nice.

About The Moorings:

The world's premier yacht charter company, has delivered unmatched quality, service and attention to detail since 1969. Top of the line sail-it-yourself bareboat yachts, all-inclusive luxury crewed yachts with captain and chef, and innovative power yacht charters are available throughout the world. The Moorings is a proud member of TUI Travel Group®. Your vacation is in safe hands.

A Tour of rungis, the world’s largest market and true belly of Paris

Situated on the outskirts of Paris, not far from Orly airport, the Rungis market is the largest of its kind in the world. Here is where Paris’ best meals begin; and for many critics the difference between a mediocre meal and something otherworldly starts with Rungis and a chef’s ability to secure the finest ingredients.

To learn more about Context visit web site www.contexttravel.com

Context Paris Walking Tour Company Launches Lecture Series

Context Paris, a network of scholars living in Paris who organize weekly walking seminars for the general public, announces the spring launch of a series of lectures and special site visits geared specifically toward English-speaking residents and regular visitors to the city.

The events within the “Out of Context Series” include unique opportunities to visit sites normally closed to the public with curators, architects, and art historians intimately connected with them.

Where to Stay

The Grand- Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat welcomes the new spring season on the Côte d’Azur

The Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat is a rare and exquisite seaside retreat of paradise housed in a grand palatial mansion on the Côte d’Azur, on the tip of the peninsula of Cap-Ferrat, amidst 17 acres of lushly landscaped gardens overlooking the Mediterranean.

This Palace hotel of unparalleled beauty features 73 guestrooms and suites (49 rooms and 24 suites), a private villa, an award-winning spa with products and treatments by Carita and Bellefontaine and an outdoor spa garden with sea views, Michelin starred restaurant Le Cap, in addition to casual dining at La Veranda and sea front dining at Club Dauphin overlooking one of the most beautiful pools in the world.

The Grand- Hôtel is delighted to welcome the 2015 spring season with the following gourmet and spa experiences:

Chef Didier Aniès, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2000, invites you to revisit several Mediterranean classic dishes that make up his new seasonal menu at La Veranda, with elegant all day dining under the cool shade of Aleppo pines trees and evening dining on the mezzanine level.

Pastry Chef Luc Debove, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and world champion in ice creams and frozen desserts, invites you to experience a delicious calorie conscious dessert menu complete with nutritional information so that you can treat your taste buds and still look lovely in your swimsuit.

The Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat continues the tradition of Afternoon Tea as served a century ago when the hotel originally opened. Whole-leaf teas of the finest quality include White Yin Long tea from Anhui, Oolong Peach, Earl Grey and classic English tea served with sandwiches, scones and pastries cooked to perfection. A selection of menus are available and can also be accompanied by champagne. In keeping with tradition, Afternoon Tea is served on the Rotunda.

Le Spa is a haven of peace and tranquility, uniquely situated amidst seventeen acres of fragrant Provençal gardens overlooking the Mediterranean, that complement the power of the sea and the warm rays of the sun in this Côte d’Azur sanctuary dedicated to quiet repose and total indulgence. This season, Le Spa invites you to enjoy our signature treatment by Carita: “The Beautiful Lagoon Treatment,” a precious care for face, body and hair that immerses you in one unique moment of relaxation and pleasure for the senses. €245 1h45.

Cocooning Day:

Candle back massage (30 minutes) and Carita Radiance facial (45 minutes). Prices from €190 (€250 including lunch)

Blissful Day:

Anti-Fatigue remineralising treatment (1h30) including: body scrub, body wrap, body massage. Prices from €235 (€295 including lunch).

The Grand-Hotel invites you to come and enjoy the pleasures of summer. A glass funicular transports hotel guests down the fragrant, rocky slopes to the Grand-Hotel’s Olympic sized heated seawater infinity swimming pool. Enjoy casual sea side dining with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Peninsula Hotels announce the opening of Peninsula Paris--Its Grand Entrance into Europe

Peninsula Paris sits  just steps away from the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue des Champs Elysées at 19 Avenue Kléber in the heart of the elegant 16th arrondissement.

The property is a late 19th century classic French-style building, which first opened in 1908 as the Hotel Majestic. One of Paris’ most famous landmarks, the Majestic “grand hotel” enjoyed 40 years hosting the rich and famous, the titled and tycoons, together with leading lights in the world of the arts, literature and music during the “Belle Epoque” and “Années Folles”, when Paris was at the height of its creativity and glamour. Historical highlights include George Gershwin composing “An American in Paris” while staying at the hotel in 1928, while the Paris Peace Accords, negotiated by Henry Kissinger and bringing the Vietnam War to a close, were signed in 1973 in the salon which is today Le Bar Kléber.

Peninsula have been careful to preserve the heritage, authenticity and the spirit of the building, while setting spectacular new standards in design, luxury and comfort. Interiors have been designed by Henry Leung of Hong Kong-based Chhada Siembieda & Associates Ltd and the architectural restoration spearheaded by Richard Martinet of Affine architecture & interior design, the building has been meticulously restored by teams of French master craftsmen, utilising traditional techniques in use for hundreds of years. 
Exquisitely restored spaces will be complemented by contemporary art installations, furnishings and technology. Dazzling rooftop spaces and private terrace gardens offer 360° views and glamorous extras that will make The Peninsula Paris a decidedly 21st century palace.

BEAUJOLAIS

For a romantic way to usher in the new year, travelers can escape to the stunning Château de Bagnols in the heart of France’s Beaujolais wine country, set among scenic vineyards, forests and rolling hills.  With its towers, moat, honey-colored stone known as pierres dorées and entrance across a drawbridge, Château de Bagnols is one of France's prominent historic monuments and a unique luxury hotel. Guests can snuggle up with a loved one in front of one of the Château’s grand fireplaces, while enjoying a glass of the region’s finest. Château de Bagnols’ New Year in Beaujolais package includes:

For further information and reservations check the Rocco Forte Hotels web site at www.roccofortehotels.com or call The Leading Hotels of the World at 1-800-223-6800.

Rocco Forte Hotels was established in 1996 to create a collection of luxury hotels in Europe. The hotels have individual styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, with each hotel reflecting its nationality and location. The collection is linked together under the Rocco Forte Hotels brand, which guarantees attention to detail, quality and service delivery.

The Rocco Forte Hotels collection includes:
- Hotel de Rome, Berlin
- Hotel de Russie, Rome
- Hotel Savoy, Florence
- The Balmoral, Edinburgh
- The St David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff
- The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
- Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg
- Hotel Amigo, Brussels
- Brown’s Hotel, London
- Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
- Château de Bagnols, en Beaujolais (managed on behalf of Lady Hamlyn)

Chateau de Bagnols Villa Rentals

Want to vacation in sheer luxury? Think aboiut renting an entire 21-room villa and invite a few friends at Château de Bagnols, for only $40,000 - $72,000

Château de Bagnols, with its dazzling views of orchards, vineyards, forests and the rolling green hills of the Beaujolais countryside, is considered France’s finest five-star deluxe château-hotel. The current owner, Lady Helen Hamlyn, discovered it in 1987 in a state of disrepair, and over a five-year period hired 400 specialist builders and craftsmen to restore and convert it into a hotel, now managed by Rocco Forte Hotels. This 13th century estate, with its honey-colored towers, moat and drawbridge entrance, is the perfect place to experience history first-hand and relax in luxury. The hotel’s 21 rooms and suites, adorned by antique tapestries, have been lovingly restored and feature original historic wall paintings. There are plenty of activities outside the Château such as walking, running or cycling through the trails that wind through the vineyards, horseback riding or golfing at one of the three golf courses that are within close proximity to the hotel. 

Enjoy Rocco Forte’s 13th century Château de Bagnols in its entirety, with an exclusive rental package for your family and friends, and spend an unforgettable Christmas together. Also, visit the traditional Christmas markets of the nearby city of Lyon with transfers and a guide.

The rate is $74,298 based on the exclusive use of the Château for two nights with up to 42 guests. Conversion rate to American Dollars as of November 13, 2006 is subject to changes. To purchase, call Château de Bagnols Reservations +33 4 74 71 40 00, or email info@bagnols.com.

Hotel Fouquet's Barriere Offers "Sparis" Spa Package - The Ultimate Indulgence

Hotel Fouquet's Barrière, Paris‚ latest gem on the Champs Elysées, is also home to the equally spectacular U Spa - a calm oasis featuring a cutting edge fitness center, an aqua slimming trail, six massage and cosmetic treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, hammam and one of the largest indoor hotel swimming pools in the city. In order to indulge in what the U Spa has to offer, Hotel Fouquet's Barrière is now offering guests a new deluxe two-night spa package˜fittingly named "Sparis"˜which includes the following:

Personalized spa program with the choice of two Terraké ritual signature treatments (Terraké products are from France and exclusively used at Fouquet's Barrière)

"Fitness Breakfast": hot drinks, organic egg white omelet, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, dried fruits, soy milk and low-fat or soy yogurt, bread assortment and more...

"Fitness Lunch": healthy yet tasty options such as a smoked chicken and endive salad with pecan vinaigrette or a fresh crab salad

Special Terraké kit in the room˜includes an exfoliant, detox gel, vitamin-rich cream and the choice of a mask or serum

Luxurious robes in the room

40 minute personal training session with the hotel's fitness expert

A wide array of innovative and exotic treatments is offered at the U Spa, such as the Red Liana Slimming Treatment, where the body is wrapped in an intensely scented Peruvian red liana and Amazonian berry paste, or the Primeval Sea facial which uses Pacific red seaweed and Atlantic marine extracts to achieve deep, anti-aging hydration. Numerous types of massages, baths, manicures and pedicures, make-up application and waxing procedures are offered as well.

Located where the Champs Elysées meets Avenue Georges V, this five-star-plus hotel opened its doors November 2006 and is the first "palace"-style hotel to open in Paris in almost 80 years˜since the George V was unveiled in 1928. A unique combination of modern-chic and fin-de-siécle grandeur, Hotel Fouquet's Barrière exudes an intimate and posh ambiance that caters to all types of clientèle. Luxurious materials of velvet, mahogany, marble, silk and embroidered leather fuse beautifully with high-tech digital equipment - such as wall mirrors that magically transform themselves into televisions - and a special emphasis is placed on service, with personal butlers assigned to each guest upon arrival.

For more information on Hotel Fouquet's Barrière, visit web site www.fouquets-barriere.com

PARIS

The Antiques Diva Champagne Brunch at the Paris Flea Market!

On January 22nd attemd the Antiques Diva Champagne Brunch at the Paris Flea Market. If you want to send your purchases home, take advantage of discounted shipping rates.

For more information please contact
Andrew Joseph PR
229 west 116
Apt 5B
New York, New York 10026

GERMANY

Live Like a King, Spend as a Pauper

Castles -

former hunting lodges and beautiful manor homes have been turned into bed and breakfast places and even youth hostels. All these castles are pleasant, historic and non-expensive getaways for everybody and definitely a good bargain. Many of these are hidden, but can be accessed through their associations.

The castles and monasteries, manor houses that have joined the Culture and Castles Association, a group of aristocratic families opening up their properties to the public, stand out due to their remarkable authenticity - and they provide timeless accommodations for great value, starting at 60 Euro per night. The services range from bed and breakfast, holiday apartments and wedding facilities to dreamlike locations for meetings and special festivities. www.culture-castles.de

Along the Castle Road, which expands over 600 miles from Mannheim/Heidelberg to Prague, some of the over 70 castles, palaces and castle ruins have been turned into hotels and are offering comfortable and fairy-tale like accommodations. For centuries the buildings have survived the vicissitudes of history and stand as reminders of emperors, kings and princes, of poets and thinkers, robber knights and romantic tales of chivalry. www.burgenstrasse.de

Youth hostels in castles are the essence of great value with a unique experience.

Stahleck Castle -

www.jugendherberge.de in Bacharach near the river Rhine is Germany's prime example of spending like a pauper but living like a king. This 11th century castle houses today one of Germany's top youth hostels with plenty of beds, a warm welcome, and an original medieval view. Prices for an overnight stay can be as low as 20 Euro. Other popular youth hostels can be found in the castles of Nuremberg above the city center www.jugendherberge.de

Altena --

near the Ruhr region www.jugendherberge.de, Ehrenbreitstein near Koblenz www.jugendherberge.de, and Rothenfels in the Main valley www.jugendherberge.de

Regional Focus: Baden Wuerttemberg and its Castles

The state of Baden Wuerttemberg in the southwest of Germany is home to many of the countries finest palaces and the birthplace of its most powerful dynasty: the Hohenzollern, who ruled Prussia and Germany for many centuries. Castles in Baden Wuerttemberg can not only be visited, they also serve as hotels offering their guests truly royal comfort and an unforgettable stay.

A luxury getaway is the

Castle-Hotel Buehlerhoehe.

The Five-Star-Hotel just outside of Baden-Baden is nested at an altitude of 850 meters, overlooking the surrounding wineries. With luxury accommodations, gourmet restaurants and unique flair, this castle hotel is one of Baden Wuerttemberg‚s shining stars and promises an unforgettable stay. www.buehlerhoehe.de

Along the castle road lie other unique hotels: A romantic stay in a real fortress promises

Castle Guttenberg.

Situated on a mountain top overlooking the river Neckar, the guest will not only sleep safe, but comfortable in this building from the 13th century. The castle has a rustic charm and invites the guides to medieval feasts and fares.
www.burg-guttenberg.de

Liebenstein -

the castle hotel is a special treat for all golf-players with its own 27 hole golf course. The castle was build in the 12 century and is situated in close proximity to the river Neckar. With its 24 rooms the hotel promises an intimate experience with personal service. www.liebenstein.com

Other castle hotels in Baden Wuerttemberg are

History is Alive in the Castles of Germany's Magic Cities

Palaces and castles in Germany are all original. There is not just a handful of well-preserved ones, but several hundred from all epochs and of every genre. Taking a quick spin through Germany's nine Magic Cities from Munich in the South to Hamburg in the North, many of the castles host great museums where visitors can explore the past or discover something new.

The City of Munich boasts various glorious palaces, but Nymphenburg, formerly the summer residence of the Bavarian Wittelsbach Dynasty, with its museums is at the top of the city's sights. Among its attractions are King Ludwig I's Gallery of Beauties and the great Hall with lavish Rococo decoration. The Marstallmuseum houses a collection of historic state coaches and gala coupés, ceremonial sleighs and riding equipment. The Porcelain Museum, also called the Bäuml collection, documents the development of the Nymphenburg Porcelain Factory from its foundation in 1747 until 1920. The hunting lodge Amailienburg, located in the Nymphenburg Park, is an exquisite example of rococo and was a present from Elector Karl Albrecht to his wife Amalia. In downtown Munich, the Residenz, the former main castle of the Wittelsbachs, houses fascinating attractions, such as the Antiquarium. The castle has the largest secular Renaissance interior north of the Alps, and the treasury shows Bavaria´s crown jewels. The Residenz had grown from a small moated castle in 1385 to the present castle complex that was finished in 1918. www.muenchen.de

In Stuttgart, the Old Palace stands on the site where Duke Luitolf of Swabia once grazed his horses - the name Stuttgart and the city's coat of arms come from the old German word Stutengarten meaning a stud. With its cloistered courtyard, the palace reflects the splendor of the former ducal town. Nowadays it is home to the Württemberg State Museum where the crown jewels remind visitors that Württemberg was once a kingdom. www.stuttgart-tourist.de

Close to Stuttgart is the residence castle in Ludwigsburg, which was originally built by Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg, the uncle of Carl Eugens father. This castle to the north of Stuttgart, originally a hunting lodge completed by 1733, is one of Germany's largest and most magnificent baroque palaces consisting of 18 buildings set in a 32 hectare park. The castle grounds today are home to the porcelain factory founded in 1758, the garden show ŒBlooming Baroque‚ and the renowned Ludwigsburger castle festival taking place every summer. www.schloss-ludwigsburg.de

Dresden is home to the Zwinger Palace, a lovely baroque building in the heart of the old quarter. It is one of Europe's foremost late-baroque buildings. The Crown Gate with its golden dome has become a famous Dresden landmark. Not only the building itself is impressive, but also the exhibitions housed in the palace's twelve world class museums. www.dresden.de

On the occasion of the city's anniversary in 2006, the Historic Green Vault, the former treasure chamber of August the Strong, has opened its doors in the West Wing of the Palace. Extensive restoration work and partial reconstruction allow the historic interior to shine in new splendor. In harmony with the festive architecture, 3,000 artworks are presented standing freely against a background of richly embellished and mirrored display walls and on ornamental tables. www.dresden.de

In Frankfurt the Emperor's Hall inside the Roemer was once the site of the coronation banquets of German emperors. Although not a castle, it was here where all the kings, dukes and other high-ranking noblemen got together in and elected the Emperor and even established the first democracy in 1848. Today visitors can see the room where the Holy Roman Emperor celebrated after getting elected. Its walls were lined with the 19th Century portraits of 52 German Emperors beginning with Charlemagne and ending with the last Emperor Franz II. www.frankfurt-tourismus.de

Further west, in Düsseldorf, Elector Karl Theodor built his summer residence Castle Benrath in the 18th century. The remarkable ensemble of palace and park forms an architectural synthesis of great cultural-historical importance. The spacious park with a mirroring pond, an English landscape park and French baroque garden invites visitors for a stroll. But in the castle itself there is more to discover: The Natural History Museum in the west wing was opened in 1929 and is still open to the public. The Corps de Logis is in the central building which was erected for the Palatine Elector Carl Theodor and can as well be visited. The east wing houses the Museum for Garden Art and its exhibition ranges from the villas of Greek and Roman history to the Italian Renaissance. www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de

Right outside of Cologne the Augustusburg palace and Falkenlust hunting lodge are amongst the most impressive princely residences in Germany, and have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site sice 1984. Set in 74 hectares of parkland, designed by Girard and Lenne, the foremost late baroque and rococo buildings were built at the beginning of the 18th century by the archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August of Bavaria of the Wittelsbach family. Today the Augustusburg Palace, which was the favorite residence of the archbishop, can be visited all year long and is also home to the most important and comprehensive motorbike collections in Europe. The museum focuses on motorcycle history boasting a wealth of unique exhibits. Falkenlust has been open to the public as a museum for falconry since 1974. The falconer's daily life is presented in a recently fitted-out falconer's workroom. www.augustusburg.eu

Further north, Hannover was the seat of Hannoverian kings as well as to the House of Guelph. The baroque gardens of Herrenhausen are among the largest and most important baroque gardens in Europe today. The unique gardens are a wonderful backdrop for the 'Festival Weeks' in Herrenhausen featuring concerts and musical performances. The International Fireworks Competition during the summer time is the fifth biggest in the world. Marienburg Castle, which is nowadays the residence of King Ernst August of Hannover and his wife Caroline, is located half an hour south of Hannover. It is open to the public for guided tours as well as concerts. www.hannover-tourismus.de

In Hamburg the classical Jenisch house was built at the beginning of the 19th Century and today serves as a branch of the Altonaer Museum. It is located in the beautiful Jenisch-Park beside the river Elbe, and displays historic examples of upper middle class home furnishings from the 16th-19th Centuries in 14 exhibition rooms on several floors. Among them are impressive halls for prestige purposes, which are decorated in the Classical and Biedermeier styles, as well as many pieces of furniture, paintings and crafts from the late renaissance period. The beautiful art nouveau furniture is also worth seeing. www.hamburg-tourism.de

Where to Eat

Classic German cooking conjures up images of heavy fare, but sauerkraut and sausages are not all the German cuisine has to offer. A strong organic movement, European fusion and new young chefs add a light and sophisticated taste to regional dishes.

Germany has an abundance of restaurants using top-quality products and ingredients for a food loving nation. Many chefs insist on using absolutely fresh, preferably free range meats, and organic vegetables coming from local suppliers and food markets. The country is, in fact, a leader in organic farming and food production methods. The dishes are light and are prepared in such a way as to retain their high vitamin and mineral content. On the menu are choices such as lukewarm white asparagus salad and vegetable vinaigrette, potato and cucumber soup, red cabbage salad and many more. Sometimes culinary lovers will even find organic wines to accompany the meal.

Modern German cuisine as well represents a central European fusion of tastes incorporating influences from around the world. Not only recipes and spices of other countries influence the recipes, the dishes also vary according to each German state's culinary tradition and its regional agriculture. Many chefs even specialize in exquisite regional cuisine with an international touch. In Hamburg, for example, the top restaurants Landhaus Scherrer and Jacobs Restaurant add a strong northern German undertone to the menu. In the restaurant Stuttgarter Staeffele and Traube Tonbach in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, gourmands will find handmade Swabian specialties and a selection of more than several hundred regional wines.

To the point, many believe that Germany's modern cuisine remains to be discovered. It is not without pride that Germans will happily point out that restaurants in their country have more than their fare share of Michelin stars and other culinary accolades. To indulge their senses visitors can for example dine at the Castle Hotel Lerbach in Bergisch-Gladbach, the Schwarzwaldstube in Baiersbronn in the Black Forest Region, the Waldhotel Sonnora in the Eiffel region or the Schlossrestaurant Berg, close to Trier. Even the very critical Michelin inspectors rated these restaurants with three stars, a dream of any chef and restaurant.

The Art of Dining with Meissen Porcelain

Before a drop of wine moistens the tongue, the eye already delights in the pleasures of the festive table. From the first course to the espresso, visitors can dine in Meissen's porcelain factory restaurant close to Dresden.

The porcelain factory in Meissen was established at Albrechtsburg Castle in June 1710 and brought fame to the town through the porcelain it exported around the world featuring the hallmark of two blue crossed swords.

As the story goes, King Augustus the Strong ordered his subjects to find a way to manufacture gold. After much experimenting, scholars finally discovered the next best thing - "white gold" or porcelain, which proved a blessing for both the King and Meissen. Today Meissen's craftsmen still produce 175,000 items annually in a new site at the district of Meissen-Triebischtal, close to the original factory in the castle.

A visit to the Meissen porcelain factory is a Œmust‚ for any visitor to the Saxon town. A spectacular wealth and variety of exhibits illustrates the history of porcelain manufacturing and demonstration workshops present the areas of porcelain handicraft. The former porcelain factory, the Albrechtsburg, today houses a museum featuring a permanent exhibition on Meissen porcelain. www.meissen.de

Germany: A Land of Unusual Museums Where Everything is Possible

From science and technology to Easter eggs and everyday life in the former GDR - Germany;s museums have it all. The exhibitions are fun, unique and simply not to be found anywhere else in the world in quite the same way.

In northern Germany, find out how a tornado starts, why soap bubbles shimmer in such a colorful way and why every human being is unique. In the Universum Science Center in Bremen museum which resembles a giant whale surfacing the ocean, science fans can experience hands-on features such as a submarine for deep sea exploration and a special earthquake room. Check web site www.universum-bremen.de

On Lake Constance in southern Germany, a life-size reconstruction of the airship LZ 129 Hindenburg can be explored in the Zeppelin museum at Friedrichshafen. The museum houses the world's largest collection on the history of the airships. Check web site www.zeppelin-museum.de

In Berlin, everyday culture of the former GDR can be found in the city's new interactive GDR museum: Visitors can drive a Trabi, watch original films produced in the old East or smell some authentic East German aromas in pre-fab kitchens. Check web site www.ddr-museum.de

Leipzig too brings the historical experience back to life at the Stasi (secret police) Museum ŒRound Corner‚. The former Leipzig Stasi headquarter building hosts a documentation about the "power and banality" of the former GDR secret police. The building was one of the focal points during the Monday Demonstrations which lead the way to the peaceful revolution preceding German reunification. Check www.runde-ecke-leipzig.de

One hour south, the German Pharmacy Museum in the Heidelberg Castle contains unique pharmaceutical collections dating back four centuries. Check web site www.deutsches-apotheken-museum.de

In the west, just outside of Essen, the German Wallpaper Museum has a collection of historical wall coverings including gold skin wallpapers, flock and oilcloth wallpapers, end-leaf and binding papers, Chinese wallpapers and Tapa wall hangings. Highlights from the history of wall coverings and valuable objects from every continent dating back over the centuries are on display. Check web site www.tapeten-institut.de (German only)

On the Romantic Road, the history of traditional family Christmas celebrations is told in the German Christmas Museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Decorations from different eras, more than 100 Santa Clauses and an unparalleled collection of nutcrackers bring the magic of Christmas to life all through the year. Check web site www.weihnachtsmuseum.de

German Food, beer and wine

German food, beer and wine are in a class by themselves. Gourmets will be surprised by the large variety of food museums reflecting Germany's culinary diversion and specialties.

The German Bread Culture with more than 300 different types of bread, from light wheat bread to grainy black pumpernickel is presented in the Bread Culture Museum in Ulm. Check www.brotmuseum-ulm.de

In the center of Germany in the state of Rhineland Palatine, ŒAll about potato‚ is the motto of a special Museum in Fussgoenheim. Visitors can not only learn about the history and regional dishes, but also about the different species including their names: Linda, Selma and Sieglinde are ideal for salads and Irmgard and Maritta are highly recommended for dumplings. Check web site www.deutsches-kartoffelmuseum.de (German only)

For those who are interested in the story of German beer, the Beer - and Oktoberfestmuseum in Munich or the Brewery Museum in Dortmund are the places to go. Beer lovers can learn about the history and the production of beer, the purity law, and the unique quality of German beer. Check web site www.muenchen.de and www.city.dortmund.de

And what would Germany be without sausage such as Berlin's famous Currywurst? The story of the sausage which is served in thin slices, garnished with ketchup and dusted with a thin layer of curry powder will be the focus in the new Currywurst Museum in Berlin which opening its doors for the first time this summer. Check web site www.currywurstmuseum.de

And that‚s not all - Germany is also host to a Chocolate Museum in Cologne, a Spice Museum in Hamburg, a Salt Museum in Lüneburg, a Sugar Museum in Berlin, a Peppermint Museum in Eichenau, a Horseradish Museum in Nuremberg, a Dumpling Museum in Weimar, and much more. To find more information about this specific museums go to web site www.cometogermany.com

BERLIN

Rocco Forte's Hotel de Rome

Enjoy Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Rome, the newest addition to the Rocco Forte collection. Perfectly located in the heart of this vibrant city, Hotel de Rome is housed in a stunning conversion of an existing building that was once the head office of the Dresdner Bank. If guests are seeking glitz and glamour this New Year’s, then Berlin is the place to be. Hotel de Rome’s New Year’s Eve de Rome package includes:

For further information and reservations please visit the Rocco Forte Hotels website: www.roccofortehotels.com or call The Leading Hotels of the World at 1-800-223-6800.

Rocco Forte Hotels was established in 1996 to create a collection of luxury hotels in Europe. The hotels have individual styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, with each hotel reflecting its nationality and location. The collection is linked together under the Rocco Forte Hotels brand, which guarantees attention to detail, quality and service delivery.

The Rocco Forte Hotels collection includes:
- Hotel de Rome, Berlin
- Hotel de Russie, Rome
- Hotel Savoy, Florence
- The Balmoral, Edinburgh
- The St David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff
- The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
- Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg
- Hotel Amigo, Brussels
- Brown’s Hotel, London
- Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
- Château de Bagnols, en Beaujolais (managed on behalf of Lady Hamlyn)

For more information, check web site www.coburg-tourist.de.

Or, for other inquiries, contact the Information Center at the German National Tourist Office, 122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168-0072; 212-661-7200
or 800-651-7010, or check web site www.news.cometogermany.com.

"Drive Deutschland" New Germany Car Brochure

Germany's new car brochure highlights the diversity and richness of the country's car and motorcycle culture, production facilities, museums, car and motorbike scenic driving routes. History, passion and technology are the defining characteristics of Germany's car industry and its global brands. Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Opel, Porsche and Volkswagen are world famous for their innovation and quality. In the new brochure, "Drive Deutschland" car enthusiasts can read about the more than 25 car museums complete with children's campuses; scenic driving routes; famous Formula 1 race tracks and company theme parks. In 16 colorful and informative pages, the brochure covers car attractions in the north, south, east and west of Germany including museums, state of the art production facilities, their opening hours and websites. There is also a map detailing exactly where all of the various car sites are located in Germany.

Taking a quick spin through Germany, one can start in the North in Wolfsburg with VW's futuristic production center. Children from three to 93 can take driving tests, experience car testing and view the company'‚s fantastic storage silos. For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.autostadt.de.

In Dresden, in the eastern state of Saxony, men in white coats and gloves put together VW's Phaeton, among other models, in the company's completely transparent (glass) factory. For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.glaesernemanufaktur.de In Dresden's city center, visitors can tour the city in Trabants (Trabis) from the former East Germany. For more information, check web site www.trabi-safari.de.

For those who like faster cars, Porsche builds its Cayenne models in Leipzig. Check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or web site www.porsche-leipzig.com, and right nearby is Zaha Hadid's new Central Building for BMW (web site www. news.cometogermany.com or www.bmw-werk-leipzig.de.

Heading west, one hour outside of Frankfurt, the Automobile and Technology Museum in Sinsheim has more than 3,000 exhibits, including vintage cars, racing cars, motorbikes, and even airplanes on display. For more information, check web site www. news.cometogermany.com or www.museum-sinsheim.de In Stuttgart the recently opened futuristic Mercedes Benz Museum has, for the first time, enough room to show the company‚s complete automobile collection. Combine the visit to the new museum with a behind the scenes tour of the Mercedes Benz Plant in Sindelfingen and a visit of the small museums on Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, the inventors of the world‚s first petrol-engined vehicles. Check web site www. news.cometogermany.com or www.mercedes-benz.com. The new Porsche Museum currently being built in Stuttgart is set to bring the history of Porsche to life. The old museum will remain open until the new museum is ready in 2008. For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.porsche.com Driving further south and east to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm in Bavaria, Audi combines both past and future in its two Audi Forums (check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.audi.com. And, one hour south in Munich, BMW looks forward to welcoming visitors to its new center, BMW World, in the spring of 2007. Check web site www. news.cometogermany.com or www.bmw-welt.com. Visitors also will enjoy the extensive car and motor exhibitions at the German Museum in Munich.

In addition to the thrill of the Autobahn, experience the challenge of a Formula 1 Race Track. The Nuerburg Ring, web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.nuerburgring.de and the Hockenheim Ring, web site www.cometogermany.com or www.hockenheimring.de, stage a wide variety of exiting events from Formula 1 and the German Touring Car Championship to the Motorcycle Grand Prix. Courageous car fans can actually take test drives with race car drivers and get behind the wheel themselves.

To order your new brochure or to plan an auto trip to Germany, go to web site www.ComeToGermany.com.
On the runway in Germany's Magic Cities this fall are unusual shopping environments created in elegant promenades, charming passageways, historic buildings and futuristic, glass arcades. The cities of Germany's nine-member city alliance, including Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich and Stuttgart, are brimming with luxurious shopping and trendy fashions in a most unusual variety of market halls, passages and arcades

Berlin's grande dame of shopping, the luxury department store, KaDeWe, takes center stage next year as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. The Kaufhaus des Westens (commonly called KaDeWe), today is the largest department store in continental Europe, and has seen Berlin through good times and bad. With merchandise ranging from high-end international fashion, to home design, from luxury paper goods to beauty products, leather goods, and accessories, there is nothing the sophisticated shopper can‚t find on the store‚s six floors of elegant retail space. For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.kadewe.de.

For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.frankfurt-tourismus.de.

Hamburg's beautiful, glass covered shopping arcades and promenades make it seem that you are outdoors when you are really in. In the city center, there is the glass covered Hanse-viertel where you can enjoy a macchiato or a glass of champagne in between shopping forays. The Gaensemarkt, the Alte Post and the Bleichenhofstrasse, the Jungfernstieg and the Wandelhalle and even the Levantehaus, with its Steiff Teddy Bear Gallery, are exquisite, cosmopolitan arcades with unusual shops, boutiques and delicacies. On October 5th, a new glass covered arcade, the Europa Passage, opened to the public.

For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.hamburg-tourismus.de.

When one thinks of Hannover, one may envision trade fairs or some of the world's greatest horses or Nikki de Saint Phalle, whose sculptures adorn the city's sidewalks. For shopping-lovers, Hannover is all about fun and unusual specialty boutiques especially those along the Georgstrasse between the opera house and the Aegidientorplatz. More alternative shops are those located around the Marktkirche and the Lister Meile shopping street. Every Saturday, bargain hunters scramble for the best deals at the flea market which takes place on the banks of the River Leine.

For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.hannover-tourism.de.

Munich is where the beautiful people go and do beautiful shopping in beautiful stores! But what everyone can enjoy at any budget level are the antiques market and the restored Schrannenhalle. The antiques market in Daglfing is located just outside the city center. It is easily reachable by train and is open every second Sunday of the month. The Schrannenhalle, a former corn market not far from the Frauenkirche, re-opened last year after extensive renovation. The 19th century glass and iron construction was a first in the 1850s and today houses more than 50 market and craftsmen stalls each with its own individual architectural design.

For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.muenchen-tourist.de.

Reputed to be one of Germany's finest market halls, Stuttgart Market Hall was built in Jugendstil design in 1914. This impressive building today is a veritable paradise, full of epicurean delights and stylish and attractive household furnishings and garden equipment. On the ground floor, shopkeepers present their artistically and appetizingly displayed produce at a total of 38 stalls. The great variety of goods is guaranteed by the many different nationalities of the stallholders: 4 are from Italy, 4 from Greece, 2 from Hungary, 1 from Asia, 1 from Iran, 1 from Turkey, 1 from France and 22 from Germany. Its successful combination of specialities from the four corners of the earth, high-class articles for an elegant ambience in the kitchen, house and garden, and tempting catering makes shopping in this historic architecture a special occasion.

For more information, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.stuttgart-tourist.de.

For more information on any of the above, check web site www.news.cometogermany.com or www.magic-cities.com.

Germany's Spas

After an indulgent holiday period, the New Year is the perfect time to detox, pamper and rejuvenate your body, and Germany with its famous spas and natural thermal springs is the ideal place to experience the spa water's curative powers. Spa goers cannot only relax in heated waters to soothe tired muscles and enjoy fresh alpine air at picturesque climatic health resorts, but can also choose from a wide range of massages and beauty treatments for a complete head to toe pampering experience.

Here are some ideas of where to go to relax and be pampered:

The Spa Resort of Baden-Baden

This elegant and internationally renowned town in south-west Germany at the foot of the Black Forest offers relaxation and well-being of the very highest caliber: at the modern Caracalla thermal baths and the historical Friedrichsbad baths, as well as in luxurious properties such as Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa. Exclusive shopping, a world-class casino and the second-largest opera house in Europe, the Festival Theater, are further attractions of Baden-Baden.

For more information, check web site www.baden-baden.de

Bad Homburg - Wellbeing Oasis

Bad Homburg, just outside Frankfurt, is widely regarded as one of the finest spa resorts in Germany. A wealth of spa and leisure facilities include the new "Kur-Royal" day spa and Taunus Thermal Baths where mineral springs have long been used to prevent illness and restore health. Treatments are available for cardiovascular diseases, musculo-skeletal illnesses, rheumatic problems, irregularities of the digestive system, skin diseases, general weakness and convalescence.

For more information, check web site www.bad-homburg.de

Liquid Sound Therapy

Experience Liquid Sound, an out of this world spa experience that combines bathing in healing Dead Sea waters with sound and light therapy. Toskana Thermal Baths in the spa town of Bad Sulza in Thuringia, eastern Germany was the first spa in the world to offer this unusual and remarkable new therapy, which is also available at the Liquidrom Therme Berlin and Toskana Therme, Bad Schandau (close to Dresden).

For more information, check web site www.liquid-sound.com

Steigenberger Hotel

Bad-Reichenhall Spa Package from $449 per person

Stay at the beautiful Steigenberger Hotel in Bad-Reichenhall for 3 nights and indulge in our beauty program that includes a scented Tao bath oil, a facial treatment and Shiatsu massage.

You will also enjoy free use of the pool and sauna. Close to Munich and only a few minutes from historic Berchtesgarten, you will have many options to add to your spa experience.

For more information, check web site www.bad-reichenhall.steigenberger.de

Special Note:

For the latest special offers on packages to Germany check web site
www.ComeToGermany.com

Also, this web site features travel tools and maps that both delight and inform, in addition to the Top Ten Places To Go, Things To Do and Events including the Black Forest, Driving Trabis or watching the Rhine in Flames. And, an interactive map shows some of Germany‚s top destinations, such as Leipzig and Kassel, which plays host this year to the documenta12 art exhibit.

For a chance to win a free trip to Germany, check web site www.news.cometogermanyNOW.com.

Germany is a Mecca for Contemporary Art Lovers

Germany was a hotbed of 20th century art. Its incredible art explosion with the advent of the Jugendstil Movements, the Bauhaus and Expressionism were echoed throughout the country and all over the world. These days, the art and culture scene in Germany is still more than alive and vital. With more than 6000 museums and galleries spread all over the country, Germany is nothing, if culturally rich. But especially a strong contemporary art movement turns Germany into an art Mecca, which shows the present importance of the German art scene. Art schools and German artists, such as Neo Rauch from the Leipzig School, enjoy a worldwide reputation in the art scene.

For more information, check web site www.skulptur-projekte.de

For more information, check web site www.artcologne.de

Special Deals

Relax in the Alpenhof Murnau

Treat yourself to a week in the Alpenhof. Murnau is located about 100 miles south of Munich in a picture book region which was an inspiration for Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke more than 100 years ago. The package comprises: a welcome cocktail, seven nights accommodation including breakfast buffet, and free entrance to the hotel spa area. Prices start at 592 EUR per person for one week.

For more information, check web site www.alpenhof-murnau.com

"Companion Flies Free" Package

Berlin, Munich, Fankfurt - Wherever you go your companion flies free with Delta. Delta Vacations offers a promotion package of five nights or longer to one of the German cities. Two people can fly for the price of one and stay at any one of the participating hotels.

For more information, check web site www.deltavacations.com

For comments and inquiries, contact Victoria Larson, PR Manager, at the German National Tourist Office: phone: 212-661-7200 ext. 223 or email: victoria.larson@d-z-t.com

Events

German National Tourist Office
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168-0072
Tel: (212) 661-7200
Toll-free: (800) 651-7010
Fax: (212) 661-7174
Email: GermanyInfo@d-z-t.com
Internet: www.cometogermany.com

DUSSELDORF

Dusseldorf -- Hidden Jewel on the Rhine

Düsseldorf is not only Germany's second largest business city, but it also has an international reputation as a center for art and culture featuring outstanding museums, theaters, and more than 100 art galleries. The city on the Rhine is also home to various architectural art pieces such as the Benrath Palace and the Media Harbor.

Art treasures of classical modern art, works by the old masters, and contemporary art from all five continents are on display in the Museum Kunst Palast. Highlights of the exhibition include the internationally renown Graphics Collection with a large number of important sketches from the Italian baroque era and the Glass Museum. Altogether the museum presents a total of 500 works from paintings and graphics, over installations and sculptures to photos and book illuminations.

For more information, check web site www.museum-kunst-palast.de

For modern and contemporary art the Duesseldorf Kunsthalle has fascinated visitors with its prefabricated concrete structure and generously dimensioned exhibition halls. Changing exhibitions of contemporary art feature Düsseldorf artists, new talents as well as international artists.

For more information check web site www.kunsthalle-duesseldorf.de

Housed next door, the Museum K20 displaying 20th century art has an extensive modern art collection, including works by Picasso, Klee and Beuys. Since April 2002, the K20 has a younger sibling, the museum for international contemporary art of the 21st century, the K21 Art Collection. This collection is housed in a separate building and has post modern and avant-garde works starting from the late 70s.

For more information check web site www.kunstsammlung.de

The newest ŒKIT‚ (Kunst im Tunnel) on the block‚ is the Düsseldorf art tunnel, literally under the promenade of the Rhine River, where up and coming young artists display their works. Within the first 14 days after its opening this February, over 7000 visitors came to see the artistic works in the KIT.

For more information check web site www.kunst-im-tunnel.de

More than 200 years ago, Benrath Palace was built in the south of Düsseldorf, as a pleasure and hunting palace for the Elector Karl Theodor. Today the Palace houses the Museum of Garden Art and the Museum for Natural History. The palace with its garden is considered one of Europe's rare total works of art of the late rococo period.

For more information check web site www.schloss-benrath.de

More recently created and a piece of art in and of itself is Duesseldorf's Media Harbor representing Duesseldorf's modern site. Famous architects such as Frank O. Gehry, David Chipperfield, Joe Coenen, Steven Holl and Claude Vasconi have made the MediaHarbor a meeting point for connoisseurs of architecture from all over the world. Where just a few years ago a gloomy atmosphere emanated from disused storehouses, renowned companies and cutting edge restaurants and bars as well as an urban beach are now established.

For more information check web site www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de

Twenty minutes outside of Düsseldorf is the Raketenstation Hombroich, a former NATO missile base, which was opened as a cutting edge art colony in September 2004. Art and nature unite in perfect harmony in a private museum set in park and meadowland created by the landscape planner Bernhard Korte. In this idyllic scenery, the artist Erwin Heerich placed 11 pavilions - each a piece of art in itself - to house artistic works. Tadao Ando‚s beautiful glass museum for the Langen Foundation, which comprises about five hundred works of Japanese art and three hundred works of modern Western art including works by Cézanne, Beckmann, Warhol, Rothko, Dubuffet, Bacon and Polke, graces the edge of Hombroich Island creating an oasis of calmrefuge.

For more information check web site www.inselhombroich.de (German only) and www.langenfoundation.de

Dusseldorf Welcome Card

An easy way to discover the Rhine metropolis and its museums is the Düsseldorf WelcomeCard. The discount card includes free ride on public transports, free or reduced entry to many museums and reduced fares for opera, theatre, variety theatre, and boat tours. The Düsseldorf WelcomeCard is valid for 24 hours (9 Euro), 48 hour (14 Euro) or 72 hours (19 Euro) and is available at the Tourist Information offices, many museums, hotels and the ticket offices of the Rheinbahn (public transports).

For more information on the WelcomeCard and Duesseldorf's cultural highlights visit www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de.

Traveling to Germany and Europe via Dusseldorf is very convenient and saves time. Delta Air Lines, Northwest, LTU and Lufthansa offer numerous flights from various destinations within the US to Dusseldorf.

MUNICH

Jakobsplatz Jewish Center

St.-Jakobs-Platz, adjacent to Marienplatz and Viktualienmarkt, is home to a new building complex which includes the Jewish Museum run by the city of Munich, as well as the new Jewish Center run by the Jewish community. Saarbrücken-based architects Wandel Hoefer Lorch, commissioned with the design of the entire complex, have given the three buildings a unified appearance by using the same material on all façades. At the same time, St.-Jakobs-Platz is being redesigned into an arena for urban life that can serve many different purposes.

The Main Synagogue

The cornerstone for Munich’s new main synagogue was laid on November 9, 2003, sixty-five years after the November pogrom and the destruction of the city’s synagogues. Inspired by two recurring architectural forms in the history of Judaism, the temple and the tent, the new synagogue fluctuates between stability and flexibility. These two states significantly govern the actual interior and exterior of the space.

The Community Center

The new multipurpose community center has been created to meet the religious, social and cul-tural needs of a rapidly growing community. With the increased immigration of individuals from the CIS states of the former Soviet Union, the Jewish community has grown to include approximately 9,000 members. The center will provide services that range from a public elementary school, a kindergarten and a youth center, to a community auditorium, kosher restaurant, and the administrative offices and social services department of the Jewish community.

The Jewish Museum

The third building on this site, designed as a freestanding cube, is the Jewish Museum run by the city of Munich. Its transparent ground floor lobby, glazed on all four sides, functions not only as a display window but also as a public space. Here, visitors can find the information desk, museum bookstore, and Café-Bar. The two floors above house our changing exhibitions, Learning Center, and Library. The Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibition is located on the lower level.

Building Owners and Contractors

Synagogue and Community Center:
Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria
Museum and Redesign of St.-Jakobs-Platz:
City of Munich

Architecture

Synagogue, Community Center and Museum:
Wandel Hoefer Lorch Architects, Saarbrücken
Exhibition Design
Martin Kohlbauer, Vienna
Landscape Design (St.-Jakobs-Platz):
Regina Poly, Landscape Architect, Berlin

GREECE

Where to Stay

more soon

HOLLAND

Where to Stay

more soon

HUNGARY

Maverick Hostel & Ensuites, Budapest

Majestic pillars, vaulted ceilings and spiraling staircases are only a few of the breathtaking features in The Maverick Hostel, a royal mansion that has been fully renovated to its original magnificence. Nestled in the heart of Budapest, this old palace-house drapes its guests in stately luxury. Built by the Habsburg dynasty, a monarchy that controlled regions within Europe from the 10th until the early 20th century, the Maverick Hostel provides a rare glimpse into the gilded lifestyle of the noble aristocrat at a peasant‚s price.
http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Maverick-Hostel-and-Ensuites

ICELAND

more soon

IRELAND

Where to Stay

Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort

Adare Manor Named A “Top 10 Hotel in Ireland” By Trip Advisor

Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort, located in County Limerick, Ireland, adjacent to picturesque Adare Village with its thatched-roof cottages, has been named a “Top 10 Hotel in Ireland.” 

The honor was presented by the world’s biggest travel review website, Trip Advisor. Adare Manor, one of Ireland’s most exclusive five star castle resorts, was selected based on the results of Trip Advisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice Awards 2015. The selection was based on millions of guest reviews and opinions collected in a single year from Trip Advisor travelers worldwide.

This accolade comes shortly after Adare Manor was voted a “Top 10 Resort in Europe” as part of the prestigious 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in October. Adare Manor was selected based on the results of Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Survey, which included more than a million votes. 

Additionally, Lonely Planet, the world’s most successful travel publisher of guidebooks and eBooks to almost every destination on the planet, has selected Ireland as a Top 10 Country to Visit in 2015.

“We are so pleased to be featured in the Traveler’s Choice Awards,” said Anita Higgins, general manager. “Every day we strive to provide the finest hospitality experience possible to our guests, and to be recognized as one of Ireland’s Top Hotels due to the positive guest experiences is extremely rewarding for our team. We look forward to welcoming more guests to Adare Manor in 2015.”

Adare Manor Castle, located just 30 minutes from Shannon International Airport, was built in the early 1800s by the Second Earl of Dunraven. The historic castle & manor house, which has hosted US Presidents & First Ladies as well as European Royalty, is surrounded by acres of bucolic parklands, extraordinary formal gardens, the oldest Cedar of Lebenon in the British Isles, and a Victorian Walled Garden. The Irish Castle is a unique “Calendar House” featuring 365 stained glass windows, 52 chimneys, 7 pillars in the lobby for each day of the week and 4 towers for each season. Adare Manor’s magnificent Minstrel’s Gallery - a 132 foot long, 26-1⁄2 foot high expanse inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, is ideal for spectacular social and corporate gatherings and is one of Ireland’s largest and grandest ballrooms. Just beyond Adare Manor’s gates is Adare Village, built by the Second Earl of Dunraven to house the estate’s staff, and today is considered one of Ireland’s most photogenic villages with its thatched-roof cottages.

For further information on the Adare Manor Castle Resort and for reservations, call the USA office: 561-776-5850 or Toll Free: 800-462-3273 (800 –GO – ADARE), email:  adaremanor@aol.com , or visit www.adaremanor.com

About Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort

Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort in Co. Limerick is one of Ireland's leading Five Star castle properties. The 840-acre Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort is the ultimate luxury vacation destination, offering a variety of deluxe accommodations, an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed championship golf course, luxurious spa treatment rooms, world-class dining facilities, fishing, shopping, sightseeing, and a host of other estate activities which will intrigue even the most experienced travellers. It is situated along the River Maigue and next to the village of Adare, one of the most picturesque places to visit in all of Ireland, and just 25 minutes from Shannon International Airport. For more information on Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort and for reservations, visit www.adaremanor.com. Adare Manor is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

Golf Digest Ireland Names Golf Course at Adare Manor“Ireland’s #1 Parkland Course” - Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Course Honored for 9th Consecutive Year

For an unprecedented ninth consecutive year, Golf Digest Ireland has honored the Robert Trent Jones, Sr., course at Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort as the No.1 Parkland Course in Ireland. The internationally acclaimed 18-hole Championship Course has won this prestigious award every year since its inception in 2005.  Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the course is a favorite of professionals, amateurs and celebrities, proudly hosting such prominent events as the Ryder Cup, the JP McManus Invitational Pro Am and the Irish Open.

General Manager Anita Higgins said, “We are thrilled to be named the No. 1 Parkland Course in Ireland yet again, for the 9th year in a row. We have worked hard to maintain our golf facilities to the highest of standards. Our award-winning golf course is a credit to our committed and skilled golf team.” Ms. Higgins continued with, “This award is especially poignant as we look forward to the 20th anniversary of the course in 2015, which will encompass a year of celebratory golfing events sure to tempt all avid golfers.”

Adare Manor’s golf course, which opened in 1995, is set amid magnificent mature trees and incorporates many aquatic features into the course design, including a 14-acre lake anchoring the front nine holes and the River Maigue, which meanders through the entire golf course. The course measures 7,453 yards (the shortest route amounts to 5,082 yards) and occupies 230 acres of lush Irish countryside. The course record of 64 was shot by Lee Westwood during the Irish Open 2008.

Adare Manor Golf Pro Gary Howie stated, “The course is a Robert Trent Jones, Sr., masterpiece, and this prestigious award, received now nine times in a row, is a tribute to his vision and the professionalism of our golf management team. We are extremely honored to receive this award!”

The five-star luxury castle resort holds an array of honors for its unrivalled golf course and club, superb accommodations and fine dining. Most recently, Adare Manor was named a “Top 10 Resort in Europe” as part of the prestigious 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. It has been named one of the “Top 500 Best Hotels in the World” by Travel+Leisure magazine and “Ireland’s Leading Hotel & Golf Resort” by the World Travel Awards.

Just a 30-minute drive from Shannon International Airport, Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort is   ideally located for golfers wishing to test their skills on some of Ireland's greatest courses, while enjoying the luxury accommodations and amenities of historic Adare Manor Castle.   Ballybunion, Lahinch, Tralee, Killarney, Waterville and the Old Head at Kinsale are all just a short drive from Adare Manor.

Adare Manor Castle, which was built in the early 1800s by the Second Earl of Dunraven and has hosted US Presidents & First Ladies as well as European Royalty, is surrounded by acres of bucolic parklands, extraordinary formal gardens, the oldest Cedar of Lebanon in the British Isles, and a Victorian Walled Garden. The Irish Castle is a unique “Calendar House” featuring 365 stained glass windows, 52 chimneys, 7 pillars in the lobby for each day of the week and 4 dramatic turrets for each season of the year. Adare Manor’s magnificent Minstrel’s Gallery - a 132 foot long, 26-1⁄2 foot high expanse was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles and is ideal for spectacular social and corporate gatherings, and is one of Ireland’s largest and grandest ballrooms.

Just beyond Adare Manor Castle’s gates is Adare Village, built by the Second Earl of Dunraven to house the estate’s staff. Today, Adare Village is considered one of Ireland’s most charming and photogenic villages with its storied thatched-roof cottages, picturesque churches, shops and galleries.

For more information on Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort’s golf facilities or golf packages call the USA office: 561-776-5850 / Toll Free: 800-462-3273 (800 –GO – ADARE), email:  adaremanor@aol.com , or visit www.adaremanor.com

Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort Voted “A Top European Resort” and a “Top 100 Hotel in the World” By Travel+Leisure

Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort, located near Limerick and Shannon International Airport, has been honored by readers of Travel+Leisure magazine as one of the “Top Resorts in Europe” and “One of the Top 100 Hotels in the World” for 2014.  Travel+Leisure is the leading luxury consumer travel magazine published in the United States.

For the past ten years, Adare Manor has been honored as one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels in the World. The former castle was until the 1980s the country seat of the Earl of Dunraven. The second Earl also created adjacent Adare Village in the early 1800s to house the estate’s staff. Today Adare Village is one of Ireland’s most cherished and picturesque destinations with its charming thatched-roof cottages. 

In 1987, the Adare Manor Castle was converted into a five star hotel, golf resort and spa. Later Adare Manor added nine two & four bedroom townhouses and 42 exquisite three & four bedroom villas to the resort, which along with the subsequent addition of eight Clubhouse guestrooms in the estate’s Carriage House brought the total resort guestroom count to its current 220.

Adare Manor Castle is a unique “Calendar House,” resplendent with architectural references to the days of the week & year (7 stone columns in the reception hall, 365 stained glass windows), and weeks of the month & year (4 roof-top towers, 52 chimneys).

The estate, through which flows the River Maigue, features an exquisite French formal garden, the oldest Cedar of Lebanon tree in the British Isles dating back to 1645, ancient stone monuments, and a spacious Victorian Walled Garden. Inside are sumptuously appointed staterooms, bedroom chambers & suites, as well as the original carved oak-paneled dining room, the library containing books original to the estate, and the extraordinary Minstrel’s Gallery, one of Ireland’s grandest ballrooms. 

About Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort

Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort in Co. Limerick is one of Ireland's leading Five Star castle properties. The 840-acre Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort is the ultimate luxury vacation destination, offering a variety of deluxe accommodations, an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed championship golf course, luxurious spa treatment rooms, world-class dining facilities, fishing, shopping, sightseeing, and a host of other estate activities which will intrigue even the most experienced travellers. It is situated along the River Maigue and next to the village of Adare, one of the most picturesque places to visit in all of Ireland, and just 25 minutes from Shannon International Airport.

For more information on Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort and for reservations, visit www.adaremanor.com. Adare Manor is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

Lavender Cottage Spa Treat Package

Behind the rustic stone walls of historic Lavender Cottage lies one of Ireland’s most luxurious and acclaimed spas. Renovated and restored with great care in 2012, Lavender Cottage is located on the grounds of the Adare Manor estate, a quiet haven for relaxing and recharging. The Lavender Cottage Spa Treat Package is priced at $463/ €335 per person, and includes:

-          One night’s accommodation in a Classic Room in Adare Manor Castle
-          Full Irish Breakfast
-          Choice of three 20-minute treatments - back, scalp, foot or hand and arm massage, or mini facial.

Adare Manor, which was built in the early 1800s by the Second Earl of Dunraven, has been named one of the World’s Best Hotels. The historic castle & manor house, which has hosted US Presidents & First Ladies as well as European Royalty, is surrounded by acres of bucolic parklands, extraordinary formal gardens, the oldest Cedar of Lebenon in the British Isles, and even a Victorian Walled Garden. The Irish Castle is a unique “Calendar House” featuring 365 stained glass windows, 52 chimneys, 7 pillars in the lobby for each day of the week and 4 towers for each season. Adare Manor’s magnificent Minstrel’s Gallery - a 132 foot long, 26-1⁄2 foot high expanse was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles and is ideal for spectacular social and corporate gatherings, and is one of Ireland’s largest and grandest ballrooms. Just beyond Adare Manor’s gates is Adare Village, built by the Second Earl of Dunraven to house the estate’s staff, and today is considered one of Ireland’s most charming and photogenic villages with its storied thatched-roof cottages.

For further information on the Adare Manor Castle Resort’s Summer Packages and for reservations, call the USA office: 561-776-5850 or Toll Free: 800-462-3273 (800 –GO – ADARE), email:  adaremanor@aol.com , or visit www.adaremanor.com

* Prices may vary somewhat due to fluctuating dollar/euro exchange rates. Packages based on availability

Adare Manor Named “Ireland’s No. 1 Parkland Course” by Golf Digest Ireland

The Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf course at Adare Manor, the luxury resort located near the city of Limerick close to Shannon International Airport, has been named “Ireland’s Number 1 Parklands Course.” The honor came from Golf Digest Ireland magazine. This is the seventh consecutive year Adare Manor received the award.

The internationally acclaimed 18-hole Championship Course at Adare Manor is a world favorite with professionals, amateurs and celebrities, playing proud host to the JP McManus Invitational Pro Am and the Irish Open. The course was opened in 1995, and is set amid magnificent mature trees and incorporating many aquatic features, including a 14-acre lake anchoring the front nine holes and The River Maigue which meanders through the entire golf course. The course record of 64 was shot by Lee Westwood during the Irish Open 2008. The golf course measures 7,453 yards (the shortest route round amounts to 5,082 yards) and occupies 230 acres of lush Irish countryside.

Adare Manor has received several other awards and honors during the past 12 months in addition to Golf Digest, including the Condé Nast Traveler "Best in the World" Gold & Platinum lists, the Condé Nast Traveler "Top Foreign Golf Resort" list, Travel+Leisure magazine's “Top 500 Hotels in the World” award, “Ireland's Leading Hotel” designation by the World Travel Awards, TripAdvisor's “Certificate of Excellence for 2012,” and the property’s selection as a Fodor’s Choice Resort.

The Extraordinary, Historic Adare Manor

Set amid 840 acres of formal gardens and rolling parkland, the Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort offers world-class facilities, which include a variety of accommodations to suit guests’ needs, a magnificent Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed championship golf course, luxurious treatment rooms at Lavender Cottage, several fine restaurants, entertaining bars and many more activities to fill guests’ days and evenings. Whether travelling with family or friends, or if looking for the ultimate corporate retreat, Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort pampers in old-world style.

As rich in beauty as it is in history, Adare Manor is an architectural masterpiece of towers, turrets, and stonework ornamentation surrounded by breathtaking gardens, majestic trees and fascinating ruins dating back over eight hundred years. The legendary 18th-century Manor is perched along the River Maigue and has been lovingly transformed from a private manor house into one of the world's premier luxury resorts, all the while maintaining that special essence, which is so uniquely Adare.

Whether you are staying in one of the Manor's 62 luxurious hotel bedrooms, one of the 46 luxury villas or in one of the charming two or four bedroom Townhouses, guests are certain to spend their stay savouring every possible comfort. Guests can enjoy a candlelit dinner for two in the romantic Oakroom restaurant, casual dining in the Carriage House restaurant or if they wish, entertain their larger gatherings in the regal splendour of the extraordinary Minstrel Gallery, one of Ireland’s grandest ballrooms.

Located just a twenty-five minute drive from Shannon International Airport, Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort is the gateway to Ireland's great Southwest. The resort is ideally located for golfers wishing to test their skills on some of Ireland's greatest courses, while enjoying the experience of playing Adare’s own world-class Robert Trent Jones Sr. course and staying in a luxurious Gothic Manor House. Ballybunion, Lahinch, Tralee, Killarney, Waterville and the Old Head at Kinsale are all just a short drive from Adare in South West Ireland so golfers can play and be sure to be back at the Manor to end their day in stately surroundings.

Ashford Castle

ABOUT ASHFORD CASTLE
Ashford Castle is set on 350 acres in County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, with a spectacular backdrop of woodlands, lake, river, and mountains. It features 83 guestrooms, suites and a Lakeside Cottage, and is renowned for a range of country sports including an equestrian centre, fly fishing, an exclusive nine-hole golf course and Ireland's first school of falconry. Several dining rooms and bars, along with a gracious afternoon tea service are among the amenities. It is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. For more information please visit www.ashfordcastle.com.

Beautifully Restored Ashford Castle Unveils Luxurious New Spa

The recently restored Ashford Castle has unveiled a new spa and gym, firmly securing its place as Ireland's most luxurious year-round destination hotel.  The new spa marks the completion of the two-year restoration and enhancement program at the castle, which reopened in April 2015.

With its fairy-tale setting, range of relaxing treatments, state-of-the-art facilities and breathtaking views of Lough Corrib, The Spa at Ashford Castle provides a sanctuary of calm and serenity inspired by the location and history of this iconic building, parts of which date back to the 13th century.

A striking new bronze conservatory, designed by French architect Philippe Bonino, houses an indoor resistance pool with views across the serene Lough Corrib. Three seashell chandeliers hang here, further enhancing the ambience of the locality and links to the nearby Atlantic coast.

A central design feature is the beautiful Tree of Life mural by celebrated South African ceramic mosaic artist Jane Du Rand, which stretches across an entire wall of the pool area. Drawing inspiration from Irish folklore, the mural centers around an oak tree, which the Celts believed was a cosmic storehouse of wisdom and whose acorns were considered good luck. The woodland creatures in the tree's branches and roots are also found in Celtic mythology.

Decorated in muted greys, greens and creams, The Spa also boasts an invigorating hammam, steam room, manicure and pedicure area, a relaxation suite and an outdoor terrace with views over Ireland's second largest lake.

Five treatment rooms, including a couple's room, offer an extensive range of therapies. Guests can choose from three product lines: organic Irish spa brand, Voya, hailing from nearby County Sligo and based on hand-harvested seaweed; internationally renowned Elemis; and Red Carnation Hotels' very own B|Africa product range, which blends native African plant extracts and elements of the sea with eco-friendly production technologies.

PureFlow™ offers the latest innovations in wellness technology, and this is the first time this fitness program is being offered in Ireland. The procedure is designed to enhance the body's blood flow to make the brain more alert, combat fatigue and help improve endurance, performance and recovery. It is the perfect fit for Ashford Castle's new gym, which offers breathtaking elevated views and is complete with the latest Life Fitness equipment and a personal trainer who will create bespoke sessions according to individual goals.

Expertly designed packages have been devised for the ultimate luxurious spa stay and include:

The Ultimate Ashford Escape Spa Package - prices from €930 (approx. US$1,063)

Two nights' accommodations in a Corrib Standard Room
Breakfast each morning in the George V dining room
Bottle of Champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries in room on arrival
Dinner for two in the George V dining room one evening
Ashford's Signature B|Together Spa Experience -- designed to add positive love energy to relationships
Healthy post-spa lunch served in the Drawing Room
Access to the relaxation pool, steam room and gymnasium

Awaken Your Senses at Ashford Castle Spa Package -  prices from €680 (approx. US$778)

Two nights' accommodations in a Corrib Standard Room
Breakfast each morning in the George V dining room
Dinner for two in Cullen's at the Dungeon one evening
Access to the relaxation pool, steam room and gymnasium
An Ashford iconic Winter Spa Experience: choose one of the following:
Two sessions of PureFlow™
Warmed Spiced Mud Wrap
Ocean Fresh Facial

A full spa menu is available:.

The Spa at Ashford Castle will be run by spa manager Michelle Ryan in close consultation with Toni Tollman, daughter of Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Both Beatrice and Toni Tollman have been an integral part of the design team for Ashford Castle, having overseen its complete restoration, enhancement and renovation. Every guest room, suite and public area has been individually designed and refurbished with carefully sourced antiques, exquisite fabrics, bespoke carpets and original artwork, representing the ultimate in refinement.

For more information about Ashford Castle, please visit www.ashfordcastle.com.

ABOUT ASHFORD CASTLE:
Ashford Castle is set on 350 acres in County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, with a spectacular backdrop of woodlands, lake, river, and mountains. It features 85 guestrooms and is renowned for a range of country sports including an equestrian centre, Ireland's only Orvis-endorsed fishing school, an exclusive nine-hole golf course, newly surfaced tennis courts and Ireland's first school of falconry. Several dining rooms, bar, cinema, billiard room, cigar terrace, wine cellar, spa and gracious afternoon tea service are among the amenities.  It is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. For more information please visit www.ashfordcastle.com.

ABOUT THE RED CARNATION HOTEL COLLECTION:

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is an award-winning collection of five and four star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Florida, South Africa and now Ireland. Each property has its own individual character and unique location that reflects the local environment, culture and cuisine. They all share the qualities that win Red Carnation so many prestigious awards - splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, private art collections, passionate service and loyal staff committed to creating richly rewarding experiences for all their guests. Red Carnation Hotels was listed as number 2 in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2015, having debuted at 72 just three years previously. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is a member of the family-owned The Travel Corporation (TTC) and is renowned and trusted for its outstanding quality, service value, reliability and financial stability. For more information about these award-winning hotels and the rest of the Red Carnation Collection, please go to www.redcarnation.com. For more information about The Travel Corporation please visit www.thetravelcorporation.com.

Ashford Castle Offers new Yoga Package

Ashford Castle, Ireland's most historic five-star castle hotel, is offering a new two-night Royal R&R Yoga Package. Guests can fully relax by participating in a variety of low-key activities, including yoga in the garden, bike rides through the estate's grounds and a full body massage. The property, set along the Lough Corrib River, provides an ideal setting to relax and find one's inner "chi."

Ashford Castle's Royal R&R Yoga Package includes:

Two nights' accommodation in a Deluxe room
Healthy breakfast each morning
Outdoor morning yoga in the garden
Bike tour through Ashford Castle's grounds and the village of Cong
Afternoon yoga in the garden (weather permitting)
One-hour full body massage per person
Dinner for two people on one evening in the George V dining room

For more information, visit www.ashford.ie.

The Five Star Kildare Hotel, Spa & Country Club,

The former Irish manor house, which dates to the early 1800’s, is today one of Ireland’s most treasured resorts. The exquisite K Club is surrounded by stunning gardens, including a 19th Century Walled Garden, 550 acres of mature grounds, formal gardens and river walkways. Private walkways lead guests to secluded areas while two stately white wrought iron bridges, dating to the 19th century, provide safe passage to what is known as 'The Island of Inis Mor' -- an island “folly” situated in the middle of two watery arms of the River Liffey, which flows through the estate en route to Dublin.

A plethora of activities are available at The K Club, including outdoor pursuits such as horse riding, fishing, falconry and world-class golf on two championship Arnold Palmer courses. Guests can also enjoy complimentary art and history tours of the stunning original manor house, which houses an impressive collection of Irish and international art. One of the rooms in the manor house, The Yeat's Room, is home to the largest private collection of Jack B. Yeat's paintings in the country and is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy Morning Coffee or Afternoon Tea. 

Located on the banks of the picturesque River Liffey near the quaint village of Straffan, The K Club provides five star accommodations, dining and recreational opportunities within an estate-like setting. The historic Straffan House, along with the former manor house’s beautifully-blended extensions, offers sumptuous interiors and exquisite antique appointments. Superb service complements the majestic interiors and a priceless art collection, including a replica of The Book of Kells and an intimate collection of artistic masterpieces by Jack B. Yeats. The K Club’s cuisine is the very best, as would be expected of a resort that regularly hosts European Royalty. Just 30 minutes away is one of the world’s great destination cities, Dublin.

Ireland is just 5 hours by air from the US northeast ~ closer than a flight to Los Angeles or San Francisco. 

The magical setting of the resort, the magnificent grounds and stringent attention to detail and service has made the property a firm favorite with golfers, families, business travelers, spa goers and wedding couples. The K Club offers excellent value-added packages for the corporate, leisure and incentive markets. For more information on packages, services or for best available rates offered log on to www.kclub.ie   The K Club is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. For leisure packages available at The K Club and for reservations, call 011-353-6017200 or visit www.kclub.ie. 

About The K Club

The K Club is a multifaceted resort set on 550 acres and on the banks of the River Liffey in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Just 30 minutes from www.dublinairport.com Dublin International Airport and Dublin City Centre, the resort includes a 69-bedroom hotel which is this year’s AA Hotel of the Year; two Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf courses – The Palmer Ryder Cup Course and The Smurfit Palmer Course, The K Spa and several restaurants and bars. The resort has staged 13 European Opens and The Ryder Cup 2006.

Winner of several accolades for both its hotel and golf offerings, The K Club is renowned as one of the world’s premier golfing destinations. Other facilities and activities offered on site include conferencing, fishing, horse riding, archery, wine cellar and art & history tours. There is a dedicated Health and Fitness Club, the extraordinary K Spa, and a Kids Club which runs daily.

The magical setting of the resort, the magnificent grounds and stringent attention to detail and service has made the property a firm favorite with golfers, families, business travelers, spa goers and wedding couples. The K Club offers excellent value-added packages for the corporate, leisure and incentive markets. For more information on packages, services or for best available rates offered log on to www.kclub.ie   The K Club is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

Dromoland Castle

Another 50th First: Dromoland Castle Reveals a Custom Cocktail -- A concoction worth celebrating

Sure, Dromoland Castle has adopted an artisan lager in honor of its first 50 years of bespoke hospitality, and the Celebration Brew is perfect for savoring after a day playing the course at Dromoland Golf & Country Club or taking a Hawk Walk at the School of Falconry. But for those who favor, say, an afternoon at the Spa at Dromoland or a leisurely browse at The Shop at Dromoland, the resort has helpfully concocted a signature cocktail as well ... and is happy to share the recipe.

Dromoland Castle Anniversary Champagne Cocktail

Champagne
A dash of San Germain liqueur; Elderflower liqueur; Apricot brandy; Lychee liquor

Sláinte!

About Dromoland Castle:

Dromoland Castle, located in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, was built in the 16th century.  Majestically set on the shores of Lough Dromoland, it is surrounded by over 450 acres of breathtaking scenery, including a championship parkland golf course.  Lavish interiors, fine food and superb wines complement the deluxe accommodations of the Castle’s 99 guest rooms, while Dromoland Castle Golf and Country Club, an intimate spa and traditional outdoor recreational opportunities ensure a unique guest experience.

The hotel can be contacted at 011 353 61 368144 or 1-800-346-7007; website www.dromoland.ie.  Reservations can be made through the hotel sales@dromoland.ieor through Preferred Hotels & Resorts at 1.800.323.7500 or www.preferredhotels.com.


Dromoland Castle is located at Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland. The hotel can be contacted at 011 353 61 368144 or 1-800-346-7007; website www.dromoland.ie.  Reservations can be made through the hotel at or through Preferred Hotels & Resorts at 1.800.323.7500 or www.preferredhotels.com.

COUNTRY PURSUITS AT CASTLEMARTYR RESORT:
COMPLETE RELAXATION IN CLASSIC SURROUNDINGS
 

A stay at Castlemartyr Resort is always a rewarding and entertaining experience thanks to its historical surroundings, elegant settings, flexible facilities, impeccable service, and 103 luxurious guest rooms.  What could possibly make it even more special?  Why, visiting with family, friends, or colleagues and enjoying a wide range of classic Irish country pursuits, of course.

 
One of the properties of The Dromoland Collection, Castlemartyr Resort is situated in the serene and lovely countryside of southern Ireland.  Constructed by the first Earl of Cork and lovingly restored to its original grandeur, the seventeenth-century manor house re-opened in 2007 to serve as the resort’s centerpiece.  Nearby on the 220 acre estate are the ruins of a storied 800-year-old castle, a rolling meadow, mature woodlands, ancient walled gardens, and a lake graced

withswans. 
 
Other distinctive features of Castlemartyr Resort include the Spa at Castlemartyr, The Bell Tower Restaurant at the Manor House, the stylish and fun Clubhouse at Castlemartyr Resort, and Knights Bar with its renowned Irish whisky collection.  And mere steps away from the manor house is a spectacular new wing of contemporary design – thoroughly modern yet enduringly elegant, from its generously sized and impeccably styled guestrooms to the bravura glass-enclosed spa and pool

center. 
 
And that’s only the beginning of what Catlemartyr has to offer! Guided by the attentive, warm, and discreet staff members for which The Dromoland Collection is renowned, guests have a plethora of county pursuits from which to choose.

Highlights:
 

Golf.  Castlemartyr boasts Ireland’s premier inland links-style golf course, and a one-of-a-kind clubhouse to match, at the Castlemartyr Links Golf Club.  Designed by Ron Kirby and debuted in 2007, the 18 hole Irish Championship par 72 course is surrounded by classic Irish countryside, picturesque and tranquil and dotted by historic sites.  Low greens encourage bump and run play; together with recessed, sometimes hidden bunkers, these features make the Castlemartyr course a fun and creative experience for those accustomed to parkland course play.  Even those highly experienced in links play will find it a fair challenge, however, once Course Superintendent Trevor Norris sets it up to – as he phrases it – “show its teeth.” 

 

Yoga and Fitness.  Castlemartyr’s fitness facilities include generously-sized pools, continuously replenished with sparkling water, and a gymnasium equipped with the latest Technogym fitness equipment.  Both offer stunning views of Castlemartyr’s grounds.  Guests will also enjoy personalized classes or their own routines in the Yoga and Pilates Studio.

 

Fly Casting and Fishing.  Master ghillie Maurice Cahill delights in trading tips, tricks, tidbits of natural history, and tall tales with anglers young and old, novice and expert, as they fish the lake or Kiltha River for trout.  Also available are customized off-site fishing trips, including off-shore fishing trips departing from Youghal Harbour.

 

Target Archery.  A classic Irish pursuit, archery options at Castlemartyr include coaching by an Irish ex-Olympian.  Nock, cock, fletch, vane and quiver are just some of the strange terms guests will learn as they hone their knightly skills within sight of the ruins of Strongbow’s ancient castle.

 

Laser Clay Shooting.  Available at a dedicated shooting range, laser clay shooting provides all of the excitement of a traditional clay pigeon shoot with none of the associated dangers.  Lessons are available for those who have not yet mastered this challenging country pursuit.

 

Walking and Jogging.  Exploring the demesne is a favorite pastime of many guests staying at Castlemartyr Resort.  All sorts of pleasurable surprises await around the next corner, including secret grottos, ancient chapel, formal gardens, and even a Heritage & Garden Trail.  Visitors should be sure to inspect the resort’s front gates, which tell a story without saying a word.

 
Castlemartyr Resort is decidedly kid friendly, even when it comes to the littlest adventurers.  Options for their outdoor entertainment:
 

Pony & Trap Outings. Mr. Roy Daily, the estate’s carriage man, and his Kerryboy ponies provide informative and relaxing tours of the grounds, as well as trip-driving lessons and exhilarating races on the meadow.

 

Bicycling.  Bicycles are available for adults, children, and those who enjoy riding tandem.  Guests need only ask the doorman or reception staff and soon they’re off and rolling, perhaps accompanied by the estate’s resident canine cavorters.

 

Lawn Games.   During the warmer months, Mitchell’s Lawn is an excellent locale for enjoying a variety of lawn games.

 

Stargazing.  A telescope is available for exploring the skies of the Emerald Isle.

 

Country Pursuits at Castlemartyr Resort: a different way to play
 

About Castlemartyr Resort:

Nestled in the unspoiled rolling countryside of East Cork near the ruins of an 800-year-old castle, Castlemartyr Resort’s crowning jewel is a classic 18th century manor house. The Manor has been magnificently restored and elegantly enhanced to offer 109 deluxe guest rooms, gourmet dining, an expansive world-class spa and welcoming, impeccably styled interiors.  Opportunities for outdoor pursuits abound both on the estate, which includes an inland-links-style golf course designed by the renowned Ron Kirby, and in the surrounding region.
 
Castlemartyr Resort is located in Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, Ireland. The hotel can be contacted at: 011 353 21 4219000; website: www.castlemartyrresort.ie. Reservations can be made through the hotel (reception.castlemartyrresort.ie) or through The Dromoland Collection at: www.dromolandcollection.ie.
 

The Dromoland Collection comprises Dromoland Castle and Castlemartyr Resort, two of Ireland’s finest and most celebrated hotels.  The hotels in this collection embody the legendary Dromoland tradition of incomparable hospitality complemented by exquisite surroundings, yet each possesses a distinctive style, character and charm all its own.         

Remodeled Fig Tree Restaurant and Bar at Dromoland Castle

The castle is, of course, world-renowned for its status as perhaps the finest castle resort on the Emerald Isle. And rightly so, as its fine dining, deluxe accommodations, spectacular amenities, wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities, and historic lavish interiors offer relaxation and stimulation alike. All that history means lots of upkeep, however, so management is pleased to have completed this latest project.

“We are quite pleased with the results of the renovation,” said Mark Nolan, General Manager and Managing Director of Dromoland Castle, “particularly because it respects the distinctive identity and function of each room whilst unifying the ambiance with the use of common themes and colours.

The results of the €500,000 are indeed well worth waiting for. Comprising part of the Dromoland Castle Golf and Country Club, the dining facilities include a restaurant that can cater to up to 50 guests, a spacious bar area that seats up to 65, a library, and a lovely patio for al fresco dining and drinking.

The interior design has resulted in spaces that are warm and inviting and linked together by landscape colors and themes, all designed to bring the outdoors in. Established in the entrance hall, tromp l’oeil landscape and tree images flow through to the bar and restaurant, with a cream and soft gold leaf wallpaper as the background. To compliment the wallpaper, the colors for the furniture and carpets are rich warm checks in tomato red, olive green, and claret tones.

The restaurant has a beamed ceiling and subtle lighting, with a rich claret wallpaper etched with finely drawn images of architects’ compasses and rulers in soft charcoal. The blond wooden floor creates a lovely foil. The bar stools are dressed in a fabric of baby ostrich, colored rose and pistachio green much like sorbets. This room will be bright and sunny in the summer, yet warm and rich in the winter. Following through from the bar is a classic and wonderful library/sitting room redolent with richness and the scent of the working fireplace with its stately mantel. The bookends, sofa, and easy chairs are again treated in tones of red and green.

The menus have been redesigned as well: the “checks” theme decorates the menu covers, serving as a background for an image of the golf course. The menu features freshly prepared dishes to suit all palates along with tempting specials of the day. Warm Inagh Goats Cheese Salad with Roast Vegetables & Walnuts or Aged Irish Beef Steaks with Garlic Butter, Grilled Field Mushroom, Tomato, Salad & Fries (creamed pepper sauce on the side), anyone? Even duffers will be in heaven here!

The Fig Tree Restaurant and Bar is open for all day dining
Dromoland Castle: delectable dining, distinctive decor 

About Dromoland Castle:

Dromoland Castle, located in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, was built in the 16th century.  Majestically set on the shores of Lough Dromoland, it is surrounded by over 410 acres of breathtaking scenery, including a championship parkland golf course.  Lavish interiors, fine food and superb wines complement the deluxe accommodations of the Castle’s 99 guest rooms, while Dromoland Castle Golf and Country Club, an intimate spa and traditional outdoor recreational opportunities ensure a unique guest experience.

Dromoland Castle is located at Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland. The hotel can be contacted at 011 353 61 368144 or 1-800-346-7007; website www.dromoland.ie.  Reservations can be made through the hotel sales@dromoland.ie); or through Preferred Hotels & Resorts at 1.800.323.7500 or www.preferredhotels.com.

What to See & Do

A Celtic Heritage Experience

With the eight-day Celtic Kerry Footsteps tour, easy walking in the region known as the Kingdom of Kerry offers an informative introduction to ancient and modern Ireland. Based in the National Park town of Killarney and the friendly market town of Caherciveen, walkers will enjoy the stunning lake, mountain and Atlantic-coast scenery of the southwest of Ireland. The itinerary covers just 3 to 6 miles of flat ground each day, with coastal and inland walks through sub-tropical flora. Physical activity is planned for a maximum of four hours, leaving the remainder of the day open for cultural adventures. Guests may learn about the ancient art of water divining, and take a lesson in playing the bodhran, a traditional Irish drum.

Interesting visits include Killarney, a vibrant town in the heart of the Killarney National Park; 15th-century Ross Castle; and 19th-century Muckross House, with its beautifully landscaped gardens, traditional farms and historic abbey. An Irish whiskey tasting, a jaunting car ride in Killarney, horseback riding and a maze trail by the Atlantic Ocean add to the excitement. There’s also a guided cycle tour of Valentia Island, known as The Treasure Island, fascinating for its unique folkloric experience and distinctive archaeological features. Pub visits set a lively scene for getting to know the locals.

A Trio of Walking Options with Go Ireland

The Kerry Gems tour is based in Glenbeigh, County Kerry, and explores the southwest of Ireland. Four legs of the Kerry Way, featuring ancient coach and butter roads, lead from the Atlantic Ocean along the shores of Dingle Bay and through the wild valleys of Mid Kerry to the Killarney National Park. Moderate walking covers 7 to 11 miles per day with gradual ascents of up to 1,300 feet.

Priced at just €750 per person, double occupancy, this seven-night guided walking vacation includes accommodations in a walking lodge, breakfast and dinner daily, five packed lunches, and more. As an added bonus, the first six people to book on solo dates will each have a room to themselves without having to pay the single supplement. Additional solo travelers may choose to be paired off on a twin-share basis with members of the same sex. Details are available at www.govisitireland.com/solo.html.

Majestic Kerry is a luxurious, multi-center guided walk on The Dingle and Kerry Ways, with accommodations at a selection of elegant manor houses, hotels and guesthouses in villages throughout Kerry. Washed by the Gulf Stream, the southwest of Ireland enjoys a mild climate that promotes rich vegetation, with wild flowers and hedgerows providing lush counterpoint to the rugged, craggy coastline and inland mountains and lakes. This tour gives an opportunity to explore the spectacular landscape, history and archaeology of an area that forms two fingers of land projecting into the Atlantic Ocean—the Dingle and Iveragh Peninsulas in Kerry—using legs of two long-distance walking routes, The Dingle Way and The Kerry Way. Two boat trips explore the Lakes of Killarney and Great Skellig Island, home in the eighth century to Irish monks and now a World Heritage site. Easy walking covers 3 to 6 miles daily, with gradual ascents of up to 825 feet.

About Go Ireland

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Killorglin, in County Kerry, Go Ireland is an innovative tour company specializing in walking, hiking and cycling vacations. Group, independent and custom tours are designed for in-depth insight into the traditions, history, myths and people of Ireland. Group tours are small and international, and are designed to provide a unique travel experience in Ireland. Expert local guides ensure a memorable cultural immersion. Accommodations range from five-star hotels and historic castles to small inns and guesthouses in some of the most beautiful and tranquil spots in the world. Go Ireland can also arrange golf, equestrian, fishing and self-drive tours. A member of ASTA and Walking Cycling Ireland,

Go Ireland is Ireland’s premier adventure travel company. www.govisitireland.com / 800-721-4672.

*CONG, COUNTY MAYO

Ashford Castle Makes the Perfect, Unique Wedding Location


Ashford Castle was originally built as a crenellated castle in the 13th century and rebuilt as a hunting and fishing lodge in the 1800s. As the former estate of the Guinness family, today it is one of the finest and most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland.

According to Monica Feeney, Conference and Banqueting Coordinator, “Wedding parties can take over the entire castle and plan a bespoke wedding tailored to their visions.” Ms. Feeney meets with the bride and groom early on in the process, creates a customized wedding proposal and works with them to craft an event reflective of their personalities.

A bespoke wedding at Ashford Castle also features many value-added amenities including complimentary flower centerpieces for the tables, place cards, a professional makeup artist for the bride and access to all of the hotel's table linens, china and crystal.

Ashford Castle offers a menu of wedding options including:

o     Traditional Irish barbecues by the cottage on the evening before the wedding (in summertime.)

o     Horse and Hound greetings for the guests.

o     Bagpipers who welcome the bride and groom to the Castle and pipe the bride and groom into dinner.

o     Church wedding in the Church of Ireland - on the grounds of Ashford Castle - or in the Catholic Church on the edge of the grounds.

o     Photographs in the formal gardens, by the lake (Lough Corrib,) in the mature woodland or the large open lawns.

o     Special entertainment during the cocktail hour such as a caricaturist doing portraits, a tethered hot air balloon or fireworks coordinated to music following the ceremony.

o     Themes including a medieval banquet, a Middle Eastern evening, an Italian feast, Murder Mystery Nights and all black-tie or all white-tie affairs. The Murder Mystery theme, for example, features a script customized to the bride and groom's story of how they met or a tale they want to tell at a fee of approximately €2,150 exclusive of taxes.

o     Balladeers during dinner or traditional Irish dancers performing sets from Fleet of Flames.

o     Welcome drink reception on the lawn (weather permitting) or under a marquee. Alternatively, smaller wedding parties can enjoy drinks indoors by the Inglenook fireplace as a harpist plays in the background. Larger parties may mingle in the Oak Hall as a string quarter drifts performs from the balcony.

o     For the dinner reception, Ashford Castle can accommodate two styles of weddings: a maximum of 40 people in the intimate Connaught Room or 160 guests in the George “V” dining room. Traditionally, there is a five course set menu comprised of a Starter, Soup, Main Course, Dessert, Tea/Coffee and Petit Fours.

The wedding cake, limousine service, flowers, entertainment and printing can all be arranged through Ashford Castle for additional fees.

Ashford Castle is located in Cong, County Mayo, Ireland. For more information, call 011 353 94 954 6003; Fax: 011 353 94 954 6260; or check web site www.ashford.ie. 

What to See & Do

Ireland Walk Hike Bike Plans/Supports 8- and 11-Day Walking Tours in County Kerry Over Historic Carriage Route

A stage coach route created in 1815 through historic villages and sites in southwestern Ireland’s County Kerry is the destination 200 years later of 8- and 11-day self-guided hikes by native adventure travel specialist Ireland Walk Bike Hike .

Dubbed the Ring of Kerry after the popular 179-km-long circular tourist route of the same name, this is a signature program designed and operated by Ireland Walk Hike Bike, (formerly known as South West Walks Ireland) that was started in 1994 by Linda Woods

This is a self-guided, independent walking tour with guests following a pre-ordained route equipped with detailed route descriptions, maps and pre-arranged accommodations (with full Irish breakfasts) booked in advance by Ireland Walk Hike Bike. Guests have the convenience of 24-hour emergency support and telephone back up. Luggage is moved ahead of the walkers to their next destination.

Depending on how many days they can devote to this hike, guests can enjoy Ring of Kerry 11-Day Self-Guided HIKE from €925 per person double or Ring of Kerry 8-Day Self-Guided HIKE from €749 per person double.

Kerry’s unique character is drawn from its unequalled diversity of land and seascapes while its offshore islands add another dimension to the beauty of the coastline frequently dotted with castles, forts and watchtowers. Warm summers and mild winters produce many sub-tropical and alpine species of flora while the temperate ocean waters, heated by the Gulf Stream, produce magnificent underwater vistas with whales, dolphins, seals and even turtles being frequent visitors.

The Ring of Kerry traces the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula beginning in the Oak Woods of Killarney National Park, followed by the picture-postcard towns of Kenmare, Sneem and Glenbeigh before taking a step back in time at historic Derrynane House.

Guests walk an average of 20 km a day. Access for this holiday can be from Dublin, Cork or Shannon airports with bus and/or train connections available to Killarney year round.

On July 6, 1815, Charles Bianconi introduced his first horse-drawn carriage for passengers in Ireland, thus launching Ireland's public transport system. He was able to establish regular horse-drawn carriage services from major towns and villages. Buses and coaches were commonly called "Bianconi's" well into the 20th century. This route, which precedes railways, is a unique way to travel Ireland seeing the sites that travelers saw 200 years ago.

About County Kerry
Ireland’s fabled County Kerry consists of a series of spectacular mountainous peninsulas divided by deep sea inlets. MacGillycuddy’s Reeks form the centerpiece of the Ring of Kerry, a 179-kilometer circuit from Killarney, via Killorglin, Caherciveen, Waterville, Kenmare and back to Killarney across Moll’s Gap and past Ladies View – one of Ireland’s most famous viewpoints. Weaving between these points is a network of ancient paths that are nearly as old as the land itself, many of which form part of a long-distance track known as the Kerry Way.

The name ‘Kerry’ comes from the Old Irish word Ciarraige meaning the people of Ciar, an early Celtic tribe that settled in the area around 300 BC. In fact, Kerry has an outstanding collection of historical and archaeological sites that date back over 7,000 years, with several ancient forts and numerous early Christian churches. Impossibly green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, completely empty save for small herds of sheep or goats, and at almost every turn there are spectacular views of mist-covered mountains and wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline where deep fissures have been carved, over the eons, by the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Here and there along the coast, pretty fishing villages, such as Caherdaniel and Portmagee, have successfully withstood the elements and offer a picturesque contrast to the verdant hills that surround them. The Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the tip of the peninsula, two rocky peaks rising sheer out of the Atlantic Ocean. Skellig Michael is a world heritage site on account of its 6th century monastery, with beehive huts, oratories and inscribed crosses. Seabirds abound as well. Small Skellig is home to over 40,000 gannets, the second largest colony in the world.

Please contact Ireland Walk Hike Bike for more information on both fully-guided and self-guided trips; Phone: USA/Canada 1 720 316 5973; email: info@irelandwalkhikebike.com, website: www.irelandwalkhikebike.com.

About Ireland Walk Hike Bike
For Linda Woods, Ireland Walk Hike Bike (formerly known as South West Walks Ireland that got its start in 1994) is the realization of a dream - to show people “the real Ireland” the way it should be seen – slowly, intimately and knowledgeably. “With the many changes and challenges that everyone all over the world have to face daily, all of us here in Kerry remain committed to share our love and fascination for Ireland – its history, culture, diversity and humor,” she says.

Merrion Takes A Walk on the Wild Side -- Introducing Hiking in the Wicklow Mountains

Guests at The Merrion, Dublin's most stylish 5-star hotel, may break away from the hotel's luxury and coddling with a hike in the Wicklow Mountains - known as “The Garden of Ireland” - less than an hour's drive from the hotel.

On this trek travelers experience the spectacular mountain scenery and tranquility. The trek begins at 9 a.m. and ranges from seven to nine miles at a moderate pace. Guests may choose to begin or end their trek in the charming valley of Glendalough, featuring two beautiful lakes. The journey includes a visit to the Monastic Settlement with its majestic round tower. Christopher Stacey, an expert mountain guide, accompanies the group and shares the charms of Irish folklore, natural history and wildlife.

The “Footfalls Walking Holidays Package” includes one or two night's accommodation in a double or twin Garden Wing room, full Irish breakfast, a plentiful homemade boxed lunch, all-weather gear including hiking boots and transportation to and from the Wicklow Mountains. The package, valid until November 30, 2007, is €660 per couple for a two-night stay or €385 for a one-night stay, inclusive value added tax and service and subject to availability.

For further information and reservations contact The Merrion: 011 353-1-603-0600; e-mail: reservations@merrionhotel.com or Crown International: 1 800 628-8929 (from the US) or e-mail at info@crownluxurytravel.com. Reservations can also be made through The Leading Hotels of the World at: 1 800 223-6800. The Merrion website is: www.merrionhotel.com; The Crown International website is: www.crownluxurytravel.com and The Leading Hotels of the World website is: www.lhw.com.

Background on The Merrion: Opened in October 1997, The Merrion is Dublin's most luxurious 5-star hotel. The property was created from a row of four meticulously restored Grade One Listed Georgian townhouses and a specially commissioned contemporary Garden Wing. The Merrion offers 123 guestrooms and 20 suites, The Tethra Spa, Ireland's only two-star Michelin restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud, and one of Ireland's largest collections of private art, as well as two landscaped period gardens. The Merrion has been awarded the global “Commitment to Quality Award” by The Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel has also been named among the “50 World's Most Romantic Places” and “World's Best Business Hotels” by Travel + Leisure.

ITALY

Where to Stay

Hotel Hassler Roma

Set atop the Spanish Steps and featuring a panoramic view of the entire city, the Hotel Hassler Roma is owned by President and Managing Director Roberto E. Wirth, fifth generation of a famous Swiss hotelier dynasty. For more than a century, Hotel Hassler Roma continues its legacy as Rome's five-star lodging of choice for the world's elite and discerning travelers. Each of the 96 rooms, 14 of which are suites, is individually designed with an elegant combination of classic and contemporary touches. Highlights include the Michelin-starred panoramic restaurant, Imàgo www.imagorestaurant.com), the Salone Eva and Palm Court restaurant and the Hassler Bar, as well as the neighboring, Hassler-owned Il Palazzetto: a hotel, wine bar and special event space. www.ilpalazzettoroma.com). 

Hotel Hassler Roma Announ ces New "Flavors of a Journey" Culinary Package

Rome's renowned Hotel Hassler Roma has announced a new "Flavors of a Journey" culinary package highlighting the innovative cuisine of Chef Francesco Apreda from the hotel's Michelin-starred Imàgo restaurant. 
 
The centerpiece of the package is a one-of-a-kind tasting menu meticulously created by Chef Apreda (pictured, above left), blending ingredients from around the world that are inspired by his memories and travels (one of the dishes, EVO Salted Cod, Salty Sand Blend, is pictured, above right). Each dish is assigned a different part of the world that has been of particular influence to Chef Apreda (London, Tokyo, Mumbai, Rome, Naples and New York), with each destination characterized by a different taste (Sweet, Umami, Spicy, Bitter, Salty and Sour).
 
The entire package includes:
• Three nights' accommodations for two in a Double Deluxe room
• Daily buffet breakfast for two
• Special "Flavors of a Journey" tasting menu dinner for two at Imàgo
• Sensory massage for two at Hotel Hassler Roma's Amorvero Spa

Priced from €1,721 (approx. US$1,947), the package is available through December 20, 2015.
 
For more information about Hotel Hassler Roma, please visit www.hotelhasslerroma.com.  
 
 ABOUT THE HOTEL HASSLER ROMA:
Set atop the Spanish Steps and featuring a panoramic view of the entire city, Hotel Hassler Roma is owned by President and Managing Director Roberto E. Wirth, fifth generation of a famous Swiss hotelier dynasty. For more than a century, Hotel Hassler Roma continues its legacy as Rome's five-star lodging of choice for the world's elite and discerning travelers. Each of the 96 rooms, 14 of which are suites, are individually designed with an elegant combination of classic and contemporary touches.  Highlights include the Michelin-starred panoramic restaurant, Imàgo, the Salone Eva and Palm Court restaurant and the Hassler Bar, as well as the neighboring, Hassler-owned Il Palazzetto: a hotel, wine bar and special event space and also home to the International Wine Academy of Roma with its extensive calendar of wine tastings and courses.

Ragosta Hotels Collection Celebrated Italy's 150th Unification Anniversary With Cultural Package Highlighting the Northern and Southern Regions

In 1861, the northern and southern regions of Italy were united, turning the global empire into a modern state. To celebrate this milestone, the Amalfi Coast’s www.hotelraito.it Hotel Raito and Relais Paradiso, members of the luxurious www.ragostahotels.com Ragosta Hotels Collection, are proud to feature Unification Package.

From world-renowned gastronomic pleasures highlighting Northern and Southern Italian Cuisine, to exclusive access to cultural regional events in areas including Vietri sul Mare, Naples and Pompeii to celebrate the Italian Unification and world-class hospitality, the packages pay homage to the country’s historic anniversary. For more information on this package and hotels, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Ragosta-Hotels-Collection/129012227137830>  and twitter.com/ragostahotels> .

The Italian Unification, which is referred to as “il Risorgimento” or “The Resurgence,” was a political and social movement that connected the different states of the Italian peninsula to a unified country during the 19th century. The process began at the end of the Napoleonic rule and ended with Franco-Prussian War. The last state joined after World War I. “The 150th Anniversary of Italy’s unification is certainly a significant historic milestone for our country,” said Gianluca Giglio, Managing Director of Ragosta Hotels. “By uniting the different regions of Italy, our country was able to become a global empire offering goods, services and touristic commodities for the world to enjoy. We at Ragosta Hotels are thrilled to mark this anniversary with a signature package.”

In addition to enjoying the very best the hotels have to offer, the hotels will provide exclusive access to select cultural events occurring through the year. Several cultural highlights include a special exhibit each Sunday Morning at the Naples-Capodimonte Museum in which the people and places that brought forth the unification, or guests can view an exhibit on the Risorgmento Period at Palazzo Reale in Naples.

Originally opened in 1958, Hotel Raito continues to be the crown jewel of the Amalfi Coast. After completing a recent renovation the hotel now features Italian-contemporary décor, luxury amenities. Many of the 77 guest rooms and suites offer balconies and terraces with stunning views of the Bay of Salerno and the villages of Vietri sul Mare. Hotel Raito also features the 26-room Seiren Floor, which features a unique selection of additional exclusive offerings. The hotel offers three on-site restaurants featuring formal to casual Mediterranean cuisine.

Opened in August 2009, Relais Paradiso Hotel features 22 spacious guestrooms and suites with panoramic terraces overlooking the pristine Bay of Salerno and the lush landscape of the fragrant and colorful Amalfi Coast. During their stay, guests will enjoy truly personalized service from a welcome Champagne cocktail to personal car transfers to the nearby town of Vietri sul Mare. In addition to its luxurious guestroom accommodations and amenities, the hotel features an expansive outdoor area with suspended gardens, solarium and a panoramic outdoor swimming pool. Dining facilities include a hip yet relaxing Lounge Bar, the Lounge Restaurant, which features Mediterranean cuisine, as well as the Honesty Bar, located in the hotel’s foyer and open 24 hours a day.

For information and reservations contact Ragosta Hotels at www.ragostahotels.com +39 089 763 4111 or Summit Hotels & Resorts at www.summithotels.com. Rates are subject to availability.

What to See & Do

Scholars Offer Walking Tours for Children (And Their Lucky Parents)

Drawing on its network of over thirty scholars and specialists on the ground, and its track record of designing engaging learning experiences for travelers in cities throughout Europe and America, Context announces the expansion of its acclaimed Family Program to Florence.

The program features 2- and 3-hour walking tours of Florence lead by scholars in art history, history, and other disciplines who have been specially trained to work with children and make the monuments and artistic heritage of Florence come alive for them.

The influential parenting magazine Cookie recently praised Context’s family walks, calling the organization’s docents “charismatic guide(s) who can bring the sites to life with stories.”

The organization’s walks in Florence feature a mix of city overviews and in-depth art- and history-themed walking tours. Symbols and Legends of Florence is an interactive treasure hunt in which families search for such traditional symbols of Florence as the lily and the Medici “balls” as they explore the city’s history and architecture. Renaissance Life for Families, a more in-depth walk, focuses on the everyday life of families living during the Renaissance, paying special attention to home life in a visit to the Palazzo Davanzati, a 15th century residence. In Arte Firenze for Families children and their parents explore the Uffizi Gallery with one of Context’s art historians. Further afield, in Siena, the Palio-Siena traces the history of Siena, using the city’s age-old Palio horse race as a thread.

Context’s family walks are led by docents from the Context scholars network who have experience in the educational departments of museums and who have been trained in VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies), a cutting-edge approach to teaching children how to think critically about art. Walks often include didactic techniques such as flashcards, treasure hunts, or drawing exercises.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals—including art historians, writers, architects, and gastronomes—who organize and lead didactic walking seminars across seven cities: Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice, Paris, London, and New York. In May 2006, Travel + Leisure named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs.

A leader in sustainable tourism, learn more about Context by visiting web site www.contexttravel.com

Nativity scene makers in Napoli

Nowhere as in Naples the representation of the Holy Family' is an extremely accurate art. During the 18th century for instance, the 'presepe' became a sophisticated, dramatic scene, full characters with its own singular conventions that have little to do with the Biblical story. These intricate scenes, with figures in wood or terracotta prepared by most important sculptors of the city, were destined not for churches but for the residence of wealthy patrons. These days that ritual lives on in Via San Gregorio Armeno. In the heart of Naples, this narrow street is full with tons of artisan workshops with multicolored window displays and stalls overflowing with Nativity scenes. Also in Naples at the Museo Nazionale di San Martino you can see the "Presepe Cuciniello"- a monumental collection from the 1700's that includes shepherds, angels, and animals.

AREZZO

Discovering the Province of Arezzo

Arezzo and its Province, with its four valleys - Valdichiana, Valtiberina, Valdarno and Casentino – and two rivers (Arno and Tevere), are located in the most eastern part of Tuscany.

The Province’s multicoloured landscape, marked by low hills covered with olive-groves and vine-yards in the west, becomes more mountainous in the north-east, with chestnuts and firs (National Park of Casentinesi Woods, Falterona and Campigna Mountains), and then opens up in the south with the sunny lowland of Valdichiana. Natural wonders, such as Le Balze del Valdarno, defined as “stone cathedrals”, have served over the centuries as background for many artists’ works, including Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces.

Etruscans settled here and left interesting archaeological treasures in Arezzo, Castiglion Fiorentino and Cortona, whose Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the Town of Cortona contains precious objects dating back to said civilization. The area is the homeland of artists such as Masaccio and Piero della Francesca, a Renaissance genius who left many works in Arezzo (his masterpiece La Leggenda della Vera Croce is in the Basilica of San Francesco), in Sansepolcro (the artist’s native town, whose Civic Museum contains some of his art works) and in Monterchi (the magnificent Madonna del Parto).

Other artists who worked in the area include Michelangelo, Signorelli, the great Giorgio Vasari - whose distinguished house can still be visited in Arezzo, where he left an interesting and rich testimony of his art - and Beato Angelico, the Dominican friar who painted one of the most delicate Annunciations (now in the Diocesano Museum) for the town of Cortona. Monks and hermits sought peace and solace in the Casentino woods; among these, Saint Romualdo, who founded the Camaldolesi religious order in Camaldoli in the 11 th century, and Saint Francis, who chose to retire to pray in La Verna Forest, where he received the stigmata in 1224. The Sanctuary still preserves the Franciscan spirituality and artistic grace, as sculpted in the glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia.

The diversity of the area is matched by its many handicraft products: woodworks, gold-work, ceramics, laces, i.e. traditional activities which still express the creativity, history and patient work of artisans engaged in manufacturing marvellous works to be seen and bought in their workshops and exhibitions held every year in small and large centres. The monthly Antiques’ Fair in Arezzo and Cortonantiquaria are two of the most prestigious antiques’ exhibitions in Italy. Food and wine also play an important role, offering flavours and old traditional recipes to be tasted in the trattorie and osterie of our boroughs: chianina meat (a highly-esteemed bovine race which is still bred in Valtiberina), cheese (e.g. pecorino of Casentino), ham (ham of Valdarno and Casentino), chestnuts, honey, the famous wine of Arezzo’s hills, vin santo and much more, to be discovered by touring and visiting the Province of Arezzo. There are many opportunities to experience the history and folklore of Arezzo’s Province, such as the Giostra del Saracino in Arezzo, the Palio della Balestra in Sansepolcro, and the Giostra dell’Archidado in Cortona.

Piero della Francesca -- in and around Arezzo

The itinerary-- through the province of Arezzo, in discovery of the works of Piero della Francesca -- unwinds through the valley of the Tiber, the Valtiberina, taking in the towns of Sansepolcro and Monterchi, birthplace of the artist’s mother, Monna Romana, and the city of Arezzo.

Piero della Francesca was born in Sansepolcro around 1418-20, and the Museo Civico of the town houses four works by the artist. The Polyptych of the Misericordia, tempera on panel, was commissioned from Piero by the Sansepolcro Compagnia of the same name in 1445. The Resurrection is a large fresco painted by Piero della Francesca on the central wall of the Council Chamber. The fresco portraying St. Julian was discovered in 1954 in the old church of Sant’Agostino, later dedicated to Santa Chiara. The detached fresco showing St. Louis, originating from the Palazzo Pretorio, shows the saint dressed in a Franciscan habit with a richly decorated bishop’s cope.

Leaving Sansepolcro the itinerary continues in Monterchi, in the Val Cerfone. For this little town, perched on a hill on the border with Umbria, Piero della Francesca painted the extraordinary fresco of the Madonna del Parto for the ancient church of Santa Maria a Momentana. The itinerary through the homelands of Piero then proceeds to Arezzo where it terminates. The Bacci chapel in the Basilica of San Francesco houses the fresco cycle of the Legend of the True Cross, the masterpiece which the artist painted for the Franciscan church between around 1452 and 1466. In the Cathedral of Arezzo, at the top of the north aisle, is the fresco showing St. Mary Magdalene. One of the most interesting aspects of the works of Piero della Francesca, whether they are frescoes or panel paintings, is the landscape to which the artist devotes ample space in his works. Who has not paused for a moment to observe and submit to the attraction of those natural or architectural backgrounds which are to be found in the frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross in Arezzo or the Resurrection in Sansepolcro? The attraction that this aspect has always exerted, inspiring poets to pen noble verses and writers to impassioned prose, is well-known. Even today, the descriptions of the great travellers could guide the visitor through the works of Piero della Francesca, allowing him to discover that practically nothing has changed.

The beautiful views, the daring foreshortenings, the barren and rocky mountains of the Valtiberina are those described in 1581 by Michel de Montaigne on a journey from Sansepolcro to Arezzo, via the La Scheggia pass, landscapes immortalised in the background to the Resurrection. The Tiber, the river that laps the town of Sansepolcro and appears as a naturalistic element dividing the two armies in the Battle between Constantine and Maxentius in the Arezzo frescoes, is described with particular affection and devotion by the English writer G. M. Trevelyan: “This reach of the great river, where it first leaves its mountains cradle, has a peculiar effect on the imagination...the line of a poplar wood shading the course of the Tiber...a clear stream of the blue and silver eddies”. The ilex-cloaked hills that form the background to the scene showing the Queen of Sheba appears to have been a landscape very dear to Piero, a memory linked to the artist’s childhood between the Val Cerfone and the Val Padonchia, between which was the birthplace of his mother, Monterchi, famous for the celebrated fresco of the Madonna del Parto.

The ploughed fields, the hills seen from the heights of Anghiari appearing like hillocks of colour, shifting with the change of the seasons, are arranged with graceful harmony and give the observer a sense of calm and grace. These are the same sensations that we perceive before the landscape of the Adoration of the Wood in the Arezzo cycle, or in the background of the Resurrection in Sansepolcro.

FLORENCE

Rolex Cup Event

The Rolex Cup, the prestigious event that epitomizes Italy’s sailing tradition is back again with fabulous Capri serving as the set. Organized by Italy’s most famous yacht clubs, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the Yacht Club Capri, this is truly a not-to-be-missed appointment for fans of sailing and the sea.

LUCCA

Cycling Through Lucca

The bicycle and the natural and historical sceneries of evocative beauty form a splendid union - ecological tourism along side visiting the most charming historical and naturalistic places in an area of Tuscany - is what the cycle tourist route project ' The Routes of the Panther' is based on. On the network with this project there are the information offices, farm holidays and equipped receptive structures, businesses that sell specific products, service points, maintenance and custody of the bicycles. Structures where tourists can rent bicycles and satellite navigators.

Bicycling is year-round. For more information, check web site www.panterabike.com

MILAN

Affordable Travel Tips From Milan as Thousands Visit 2015 Expo

Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region and the second most populated city in Italy, has plenty of famous landmarks and sightseeing opportunities as well as great shopping. However, if the fashionable districts of Milan have already lightened your wallet and you still have a few days of your visit left, here are some tips for day trips from Milan for less than €10. Some of the places may be less well known, but they are all fascinating to visit. A large number of  regional, express and high-speed trains connect the Stazione Centrale di Milano (Central Station of Milan) with almost all big Italian cities and towns.

Trains to Bergamo

Take the train from Milan to Bergamo, a medieval hilltop town with rich history, which is located close to Milan and full of things to see. Among them are the Piazza Vecchia, the Palazzo del Comune and the Palazzo della Ragione. The city is divided into upper and lower town – Bergamo Alta – the hilltop medieval city – and Bergamo Bassa – the lower city.

Distance from Milan: 40 km

Duration of the train journey: 1 hour

Cost of the one-way trip: less than €5

Trains to Sirmione

Trains from Milan to Sirmione cover the journey to one of the most popular destinations on Lake Garda for under €10. The town is located on Sirmio peninsula, and thousands of visitors flood into the town each day to view the picturesque peninsula with the castle and Roman ruins.

Distance from Milan: 110 km

Duration of the train journey: 1 and a half hours

Cost of the one-way trip: less than €10

About GoEuro: GoEuro.co.uk is a Berlin-based travel search website for Europe that compares and combines air, rail, bus and car rental options in one click.

For more information y download web site www.goeuro.com

ROME

Exploits in Rome --- Top Tips For Planning a Trip to Italy

Can you fall head over heels in love with a city? If Rome were a woman, she’d seduce you with her ageless beauty, mysterious secrets and her zest for life. If Rome were a man, he’d embrace you with his majestic strength, enduring artistry and romantic charm. It’s a potent combination of romance, relics and ruins that makes Italy one of the top 3 Western European destinations for Americans.

Anthony Capozzoli, author of the new book and CD audio guide, “UNABELLAVISTA ROME: How to Tour Italy,” fell in love with Italy at a young age. His must-see sights always include museum tours.  “I think Rome is a spellbinding city that woos you with a magical elixir of breathtaking art and architecture,” says Capozzoli. “When you try to quantify the number of masterpieces housed in Rome it’s awe inspiring. You don’t have to be an art aficionado to marvel at the gifted work of masters such as Michelangelo.”

Sure, while we love the masterpieces and the sense of history that permeates the air, let’s not ignore Rome’s siren call of fine shopping that beckons fashionistas who crave the supple caress of a fine leather shoe or handbag. Oh, and did we mention the food and the wine? What’s not to love!

“To really explore a city, you need to travel independently and look for the local attractions—not just the tourist traps,” says Capozzoli. “Find a restaurant that looks and smells wonderful then defer to your server’s expertise. That’s how you get the best authentic dishes. The same applies for your entire experience. Just embrace the culture and they’ll want to guide you.”

To truly enjoy Italy, you need to plan accordingly to avoid the common aggravations that can dampen overseas travel. Here are some key tips to make the most of your visit:

· Be respectful and try to speak some Italian; it will inspire locals to guide you

· Buy train tickets/rail passes online (this helps ensure you understand the rail system)

· Book museum reservations online so you don’t waste time standing in line

· Call your credit card company to inform them of your trip ahead of time so they don’t think overseas charges are fraudulent

· When packing, less is more

· Bring an empty duffel bag to carry souvenirs home

· Bring extra digital camera memory cards and/or film and batteries for your camera; they’re expensive in Italy

· Rent a mobile phone if you want to be reached

· Grab your hotel’s card with the phone number and address to help you find your way back; remember to add the major sight or piazza the hotel is near to aid in directions

· Bring electrical adaptors for your hair dryer, iPod, camera or anything that needs electricity

· Keep a color copy of your passport picture page in your money belt; hide your passports in your hotel room or hotel safe

· Consider renting an apartment instead of booking a four star hotel

· Don’t flash your cash and NEVER leave your camera or purse unattended


For more information on Capozzoli's book, UNABELLAVISTA: ROME How to Tour Italy, Guidebook and CD (Bella Industries Publishing 2007; 161 pp. paperback, $18.95) contact your local bookstore or go online at www.amazon.com.

About the author:

Anthony Capozzoli is a Chicago Native whose family hails from Campagna and Sicily. He grew up strongly influenced by his family’s Italian heritage and developed a deep love for Italy. Capozzoli has researched Italy his entire life and he relied on that research to map out an incredible itinerary for his maiden voyage to Rome 6 years ago. When Capozzoli returned home, his friends were so inspired by his visit they asked Capozzoli to plan a trip to Rome for them--with a complete itinerary. What started out as a favor for his friends, grew into something much bigger than Capozzoli ever anticipated. He’s since published “UNABELLAVISTA ROME,” a guidebook for the city of Rome along with a CD audio guide. He’s now working on a second guide book: “UNABELLAVISTA FLORENCE.”

A graduate of the University of Iowa, Capozzoli ultimately plans to divide his time between Italy and the United States.

For more information visit www.unabellavista.com

TUSCANY

ILLA LETIZA

A short walk from a medieval village in Tuscany is a beautifully restored 17th Century villa, set on a hillside overlooking spectacular terraced formal gardens.
The surrounding countryside of olive groves, vineyards, sunflower fields and medieval villages frame your quintessential Tuscan experience. This idyllic retreat accommodates 18 persons in nine bedrooms and is perfect for a family or group of friends. The villa's comfortably elegant interior spans three sprawling floors and retains the original characteristics with barrel-vaulted ceilings, frescoes, antique furnishings and an elevator for easy access. The large formal living room — one of several sitting rooms — features a grand piano and an enormous fireplace. The country kitchen is outfitted to compliment the best of chefs, and several outdoor living areas and a swimming pool offer a variety of options for dining alfresco and other leisurely indulgences. On request professional chefs and other services are available.

Situated in the heart of Tuscany, you'll beright in the middle of it all, with fabulous excursions and day trips to Tuscany's renowned cities and sites just a car ride away including Pisa (30 minutes), Lucca (55 minutes), San Gimignano (90 minutes), Florence (55 minutes), Siena (60 minutes), beaches at Cinque Terre (90 minutes), and the spa with thermal water baths in Bagni di Casciana (15 minutes).
And if you think the location exceeds your expectations, just wait until you experience the personalized service that makes Villas and Apartments Abroad the preferred supplier to the world's savviest travelers.

For more information contact 183 Madison Avenue., Suite 201 • New York, NY 10016 • PH 212.213.6435 • FAX 212.213.8252; e-mail villas@vaanyc.com, or check web sitewww.vaanyc.com

Terme Disaturnia Spa & Golf Resort's Mediterranean Lifestyle Mantra Reverberates in its Inventive On-Site Restaurants

Located at the base of the medieval village of Saturnia, in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma region of Italy, Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort has incorporated the healthful and beneficial properties of the “Mediterranean Lifestyle” in its culinary program at is on-site restaurants Ristorante Aqualuce and Ristorante all’Acquacotta.  

Dishes are rich in antioxidant elements and omega-3, known to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and incorporate the elements of a well-balanced diet including high protein meats and high fiber fruits and vegetables.

Created by Executive Chef Pierluigi Marani, the healthy menus contain fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, meat, fish and olive oil, all of which are abundant in the southern Tuscany region with its close proximity to the Mediterranean waters and farms lands. Providing a sensible diet is a fundamental element in achieving the “Mediterranean Lifestyle,” which is defined as an equal combination of a balanced life, physical activity and a healthy diet.  The promotion of a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle is the philosophy and overall objective of the Terme di Saturnia experience. The resort aims to provide each guest with the core principals of the Mediterranean Lifestyle, which can be incorporated into their daily lives upon departure.  

Terme di Saturnia’s newest restaurant, all’Acquacotta, is the perfect choice for classic Tuscan dining with its selection of traditional and seasonal Tuscan fare such as Crostini Misti Toscani, mixed Tuscan canapés and choices rich in protein including Pappardelle al Sugo di Cinghiale, large egg noodles with wild boar sauce, and Bistecca di Chianina alla Fiorentina, Florentine T-bone steak of “Chianina” beef.  For dessert, pastry chefs Riccardo Cantonetti and Salvatore Longo offer tempestuous selections including Paradiso al Cioccolato in Salsa alla Vaniglia, chocolate cake in vanilla sauce, a selection of Tuscan cheeses accompanied by homemade marmalades and much more.

Ristorante Aqualuce, Terme di Saturnia’s second on-site restaurant, features sophisticated and innovative dishes selected from international, Italian, Tuscan and Vegetarian recipes. From high protein Wild Boar Salami and Black Olives and Melon Cold Soup with Raspberries Vinegar to Coquilles de Saint Jacques with Rice, Curry, Shrimp and Pumpkin Flowers and fresh fish choices with omega-3 to help reduce cholesterol such as Sea Bass with Toasted Bread, Potatoes Mignon and Grill-Fired Leek, this eclectic menu offers cuisine to please even the most discerning palate. In addition, Ristorante Aqualuce offers a special Chef’s Dinner and Spa Menu.  

A true medical spa with a staff of 45 therapists and five medical doctors, Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort features therapies for beauty, stress management and thermal and hydrotherapy treatments based on the area’s unique thermal waters which date back to the Etruscan period. The 3,000-year old thermal pool has been flowing continuously into the natural crater nestled at the center of the resort, containing precious minerals and salts which were found to have healing effects on aches and pains of the ancient Romans.

Terme di Saturnia features a 3,000 year-old thermal pool, 140 guestrooms, including 65 junior suites and eight suites, state-of-the-art spa with 60 treatment rooms, two restaurants, an Aldo Coppola Hair Salon, a conference center with meeting room for up to 250 people, six outdoor and two indoor pools, a replica of a traditional Roman bath house, fitness center, tennis court, putting green and driving range, Cruciani Cashmere Boutique, and an 18-hole golf course that will be completed by the end of 2007.

The property has created the Mediterranean Lifestyle Package featuring cuisine, activities, therapies and treatments along with a program guests can follow.

Mediterranean Lifestyle Package Includes:

Four nights accommodation in a junior suite for two

Breakfast featuring local products served daily

One Specific Face Treatment, Full Body Massage, Four-Hand Massage Shower

Complimentary use of thermal pools, Roman Bath, reserved deckchair in the pool’s park, tennis court, golf-driving range, bikes, gym equipment

Afternoon tour to surrounding towns in Tuscan Maremma

Guided morning hikes

One complimentary bottle of wine served with dinner

One complimentary dinner at the resort’s Tuscan restaurant All’Acquacotta

Welcome gift

Airport transfers

Cost
Mediterranean Lifestyle Package
€ 2,974
$ 4,100*

All guests receive complimentary use of:
·         Use of thermal pools
·         Use of Roman Bath with sauna and steam bath
·         Golf driving range
·         Guided morning hike
·         Use of thermal water falls
·         Reserved deck chair and sun umbrella in the pool’s park
·         Use of the gym, classes not included

Rates are per couple based on a double occupancy for three nights. Rates are subject to availability.

Conversion rates to American Dollars are subject to change. Cost savings are calculated based on standard rates and package contents.

To book a stay at Terme di Saturnia or for more information on the resort visit www.termedisaturnia.com or call +39 0564 600111.

Tuscan Coast and the islands of the Archipelago

how it all started: ...

The sea is one of the principal tourist resources of Tuscany.

That is why, for some time now, the promotional strategies introduced by the various public and private sector operators focus on valorising the coast and the inland area. The wealth of environmental and natural resources, cultural events, opportunities to taste the food and the wine and the important historical and archaeological heritage found here, contribute to creating a new, integrated tourist product.

In 1998, in order to make tourist marketing and communication more effective, the Provinces, the Municipalities of the major cities and Tourist Boards of the Tuscan coast decided to create a promotional project, identifying the “Tuscan Coast” as a new and attractive tourist destination.

what is it: ...

The project aims to promote the Tyrrhenian coast as a unique product capable of enhancing its characteristic features, while simultaneously maintaining and valorising all the diversities of this area, which stretches from the mouth of the Magra river to the border with the Lazio region. The Project has the goal of highlighting the most outstanding cultural, environmental and enogastronomic offerings in terms of tourist appeal and subsequent increase in tourist numbers along the entire Tyrrhenian Coast.

The Tuscan Coast and the islands of the Archipelago has therefore been conceived as an innovative tourist product, which does not represent simply the sum of all the promotional initiatives of the various partners, which, in any case, will continue to have a life of their own, but is capable of valorising the cultural and environmental resources which are most appealing in tourism terms in a coordinated and harmonious way, qualifying a system of highly diversified accommodation and linking the Tuscan coast with the inland area, with its wealth of artistic, historical and natural treasures, through tourist routes and itineraries.

The Tuscan Coast and the islands of the Archipelago, overcoming localism, will satisfy the needs of those seeking diversified and qualified products, will allow greater visibility and competitiveness of the territory on national and international tourist markets and will boost circulation of tourist flows throughout the territory.

The project is coordinated by the Livorno Province and involves the coast and the inland area of the territories of the Tourist Boards of Massa-Carrara, Versilia, Pisa, Livorno, Maremma and the Tuscan Archipelago.

the partners: ...

The institutional partners of the project since 2004 are: Tuscany Region, the ‘Toscana Promozione’ Regional Agency, the five coastal Provinces, the five Chambers of Commerce, the six coastal Tourist Boards (ApT) and the Municipalities of Massa, Carrara, Viareggio, Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto, which have signed a three-year protocol.

In 2003, the institutional partners signed an operating agreement with 13 Tourist Consortia

strategic objectives

·    reacquiring competitiveness on national and international tourist markets

·    creating a quality tourist system on the Tuscan Coast, including through improved quality of the overall offer and the quality/price ratio

·    extending seasonality: “a tourism for all seasons” and lengthening the average stay during high-season periods

·    integrating the “sea as a resource” with the various characteristics and specific features of the inland area, through segmentation of the overall offer into specific products, developing new market niches: environmental, spa and wellness tourism, sports, cultural, food and wine and congressional tourism.

·    increasing the degree of satisfaction and loyalty of the final customer

·    circulation of tourist flows throughout the territory

·    involvement and cooperation of all members of the Project

operating guidelines: ...

On the basis of the most recent strategic operating plans, the Project activities have been focused above all on diversification of the overall offer of the Tuscan Coast into specific products, with reference to the principal products which have been identified as strategic:

seaside tourism

sports tourism

food and wine tourism

cultural/artistic tourism

On the basis of these products, actions have been taken to promote and support marketing through the main channels/means available to the project, i.e.: the www.tuscancoast.com portal; specific publications; promotional videos; co-marketing with low-cost travel companies; promotional actions abroad and in Italy.

The actions abroad have been planned in an attempt to develop a specific project for each country, in which individual initiatives have been integrated in turn and have reinforced the overall visibility of the coastal area.

Spas of Tuscany

In the last few years, Tuscan thermal spas have undergone significant changes, making them global market leaders in their sector. Tuscan spas have a great tradition and provide excellent health benefits for ailments such as rheumatism, breathing difficulties and circulation problems.  An increased sensitivity to wellness is the basis for recent structural and technological innovations.  The great professionalism of our doctors and spa operators has transformed Tuscan spas into world renowned tourist destinations.

Tuscan spas are located in some of Italy’s most beautiful countryside.  Visitors will enjoy not only fine wines and the highest standards of Italian gastronomy but also excursions to nearby sites of cultural and artistic interest.  With competitive prices on several flights to both Pisa and Florence, a short holiday in Tuscany could almost be cheaper than staying at home.

Some of the Tuscan spas draw VIP clientele from around the world, attracted by the excellent quality of their structures and services.  We are all very excited about Terme Villa Borri near Pisa which reopened in April 2007 after a major re-fit.  The most celebrated thermal destination in Tuscany is of course Montecatni , immortalised in Federico Fellini’s famous film “8 1⁄2”, which epitomises the good life or “la dolce vita”.   Located near to Pistoia, Montecatini Terme has many hotels and boasts impressive art nouveau architecture.  British visitors might enjoy a stay in Terme Bagni Di Lucca which ahs been a favourite with the English since the nineteenth century.

If you like the seaside, stay on the Tuscan coast at Terme Della Versilia, Villa Undulna, with an excellent seafood restaurant near to Forte dei Marmi.  If you prefer to enjoy Tuscany’s lovely rolling hills, go further inland to Termi Di Montepulciano or Terme Di Sanfilippo near Siena.  Also near Siena are the big thermal pools of San Giovanni Di Rapolano and Antica Queciolaia.   This is a sensational spa to visit in the winter especially because the waters have a temperature between 35 and 50 degrees.

There have been two new developments.  In September of this year, one of the most elegant spas, Terme Di Chianciano, has inaugurated a new spa for the senses.  The visitor can balance mind and body relaxation in flavored pools, Turkish baths or saunas with thermal showers, scented mud and a large naturopathy centre.

Terme Villa Borri in Casciana Terme near Pisa opened in April 2007.  The spa is located in an eighteenth century patrician villa decorated with exquisite antique frescoes.  Visitors can enjoy the soothing waters of three thermal pools, fireplace massages and special “baths for the soul”.  It is possible to stay in one of 22 holiday apartments decorated in typical Tuscany style with independent kitchen, allowing total freedom and privacy together with the services of a grand hotel with restaurant and private covered parking.

Tuscany’s thermal spas are ideal for an all inclusive stay for 2 or 3 days, midweek or longer periods.  There is a wide range of possibilities. For details and more information, check web site www.termeditoscana.com  with links to individual spa websites.  Life is challenging and stressful enough – a relaxing spa holiday in Tuscany is the ideal opportunity to find serenity and to discover our traditional and harmonious lifestyle.

Hot Air Balloon Experience Across Tuscany With Terme Di Saturnia

Located at the foot of the medieval Tuscan village of Saturnia, Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort is surrounded by picturesque and natural, untamed scenery. The exclusive spa and resort is introducing a new Saturnia Extravagance Package to let guests enjoy the best the spa has to offer, including world-class spa treatments, exclusive use of the 3,000 year old thermal pools and a unique trip in a hot air balloon over the rolling hills of the Tuscan Maremma region of Italy.

The vantage point of a hot air balloon is an ideal and romantic way to experience the Tuscan Maremma, an area known as one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. Floating high above the rolling hills during this two-hour journey, guests will be able to soak in the sights and sounds of Italy’s famed region known for its breath-taking countryside with sprawling vineyards and rolling hills dotted with olive-trees. This unique region offers a range of landscapes from sienna-brown hills, sprawling vineyards, coastal areas, lush mountains, sand dunes, marshlands and forests filled with exquisite hill-top villages, medieval castles, Etruscan necropolises and ancient Roman ruins, all visible from the bird’s eye view of a hot air balloon.

The resort, owned and operated by Manuli Resort S.r.l., features 140 guestrooms, including 65 junior suites and eight suites, state-of-the-art spa with 60 treatment rooms, two restaurants, a conference center with meeting room for up to 250 people, six outdoor and two indoor pools, a replica of a traditional Roman bath house, fitness center, tennis court, practice green, boutique and art gallery, and an 18-hole golf course that will be completed by the end of 2007.

A true medical spa with a staff of 45 therapists and five medical doctors, the spa features therapies for beauty, stress management and thermal and hydrotherapy treatments based on the area’s unique thermal waters which date back to the Etruscan period. The 3,000-year old thermal pool has been flowing continuously into the natural crater nestled at the center of the resort, containing precious minerals and salts which were found to have healing effects on aches and pains of the ancient Romans.

To help guests indulge in the pleasures that Terme di Saturnia offers, the resort is presenting the Saturnia Extravagance Package which pairs therapies and treatments based on the natural and thermal healing waters of the spa with an extravagant adventure through the surrounding region. The three night package includes:

Saturnia Extravagance Package

· Three nights accommodation in a Junior Suite

· Breakfast served in the restaurant daily

· Fruit and Champagne in room upon arrival

· One Specific Face Treatment, Full Body Massage, Four-Hand Massage Shower

· Complimentary use of thermal pools, Roman Bath, tennis court, golf-driving range, guided morning hikes, bikes, gym equipment

· Exclusive hot air balloon trip for two*

Cost

Cost Savings**

Saturnia Extravagance Package

$ 1,547

$ 235 or 13 percent

Rates are per person based on double occupancy with a minimum and maximum stay requirement of three nights

Rates are subject to change
Conversion rate to American Dollarsis subject to changes.

* The flight is subject to change based on inclement weather and will be determined based on the pilot’s discretion. In the event of a cancellation, an alternative activity of the same value will be arranged.

** Cost savings are calculated based on standard rates and package contents

To book the Saturnia Extravagance Package or for more information on the resort web site www.termedisaturnia.com or call +39 0564 600111.


Terme di Saturnia is an exclusive resort and member of Leading Hotels of the World located in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma region of Italy in the medieval village of Saturnia. The resort is owned and operated by Manuli Resort S.r.l. The four-star hotel consists of 140 rooms, which includes 8 suites and 65 junior suites, two restaurants, two bars, fitness center, a meeting room for up to 250 people, and the 3,000-year-old thermal pool nestled in the center of the resort. Terme di Saturnia is a leading spa resort dedicated to providing quality spa treatments and to promote complete well being has 60 rooms for beauty, stress management, thermal and hydrotherapy treatments.

The spa also offers diet and fitness programs.

For more information,check web site www.termedisaturnia.com.

LUXEMBOURG

More soon!

MONACO

Monaco Kicks Off Summer 2017 with Full Calendar of Events

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Monaco kicks off summer with new events, new restaurants and its ever-rich calendar of annual summer programs. Below are highlights of Monaco’s summer calendar of events:

57th MONTE-CARLO TELEVISION FESTIVAL
June 16-20

Since its launch, Monte-Carlo's Television Festival has drawn international stars, producers, directors and presenters from the best-known TV programs.  This year, Dame Helen Mirren, Academy, Emmy and Tony Award winning actress will receive the prestigious Crystal Nymph Award. Helen will be presented with the Award by H.S.H. Prince Albert II, Honorary President of the Festival, during the Golden Nymph Awards Ceremony on June 20 in Monaco. Following the Opening Ceremony on June 16th, the Festival will play host to the Global Premiere Opening Screening of Sony Pictures Television Networks' much anticipated new drama thriller series Absentia, with Stana Katic. Other celebrities set to attend include, Jussie Smollett, Matt Bomer, Paget Brewster, Michael Weatherly, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, star of Lionsgate's Power, and Pamela Anderson. Christina Ricci is judge of the fiction category. There will be a party to acknowledge the 30th Anniversary of The Bold and The Beautiful. www.tvfestival.com/

12th INTERNATIONAL JUMPING MONTE-CARLO
June 23 - 25

Monte-Carlo’s International Show-Jumping event is back on its marks on Port Hercule in the Principality of Monaco. The enchanting Riviera location and luxurious facilities at the Monaco event combine to deliver a stunning experience for families, VIPs, sponsors, owners and riders. www.jumping-monaco.com

MONTE-CARLO SPORTING SUMMER FESTIVAL
June 28 - August 20

Since its creation, the Monte-Carlo Sporting Summer Festival has earned the reputation of bringing the biggest stars to its stage. Backed by more than 150 years of Monte-Carlo magic, the festival and its exceptional programming continue to put Monaco, the Salle des Etoiles, and for the first time, the Opéra Garnier Monte-Carlo, at the top of the summer calendar. Joss Stone, George Benson, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Gérard Depardieu are just some of the entertainers on tap. More information https://en.sportingsummerfestival.com/

NEW! F'AITES DE LA DANSE – MONTE CARLO CASINO DISTRICTÅ°
July 1

On Saturday, July 1st, Monaco will host the first F'AITES DE LA DANSE (Let’s Dance) created by Jean-Christophe Maillot, director and choreographer of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. For eight hours, the entire Casino de Monte-Carlo district will become a huge open-air dance floor. More than 250 artists including professional and amateur dancers will be in attendance to get visitors moving, dancing and learning different dances such as hip hop, pole dancing, retro dancing and more. The event is free with events kicking off at 6 p.m. www.balletsdemontecarlo.com/fr/saison-2016-2017/feaites-danse

NEW! DINNER IN THE SKY – MONTE-CARLOÅ°
July 7-16

From July 7-16, 600 visitors will have the opportunity to go high up to experience a memorable dinner and enjoy an unforgettable view over the Principality of Monaco. Facing the Mediterranean from the terrace of the Monte-Carlo Casino, allow yourself to be overtaken by the magic of a gastronomical dinner at a height of nearly 100 feet! For only 10 days, enjoy cuisine from some of the world’s top Michelin Star rated chefs who will cook in front of 22 guests offering them a unique experience. www.dinnerintheskymontecarlo.com/en/

NEW! “DIRTY DANCING” - THE GRIMALDI FORUM
July 11-15

Loved by filmgoers around the world, this new production of the musical was again adapted for the stage, bringing together the choreographies and tunes including: Time Of My Life, Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby and Do You Love Me? Enjoy a step back in time to the summer of 1964, when Baby vacations with her parents and her older sister at a holiday resort in New York’s Catskill Mountains and meets Johnny Castle, the village’s dance teacher. Enjoy the wonderful summer of their lives, and yours when watching the musical in Monaco.
www.grimaldiforum.com/en/events-schedule-monaco/dirty-dancing

NEW! ANNUAL SUMMER EXHIBITION AT THE GRIMALDI FORUM:
“THE FORBIDDEN CITY IN MONACO – IMPREIAL COURT LIFE IN CHINA

July 14 – September 10

"The Forbidden City in Monaco: Imperial Court Life in China" – jointly curated by Jean-Paul Desroches, honorary general curator, and Wang Yuegong, director of the Imperial Court Life Department at the Forbidden City – will bring together some 200 remarkable exhibits, from the former palace of the emperors and loans from major European and American collections: the Musée Cernuschi and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington. The exhibition will invite visitors into the very heart of an emblematic setting, rooted in China's collective memory and home to a heritage of inestimable value. www.grimaldiforum.com/en/references-events-monaco/the-forbidden-city-in-monaco-imperial-court-life-in-china#.WP5cmPnyvcs

MONTE-CARLO INTERNATIONAL MUSICAL FIREWORKS COMPETITION
July 22 – August 12 (select dates)

A tradition since 1966, this free festival attracts thousands to Port Hercule to view some of the world’s most stunning firework displays. The fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. (or when it gets dark). Each finely-calculated display is paired with musical programming to set the mood for the rest of the night. There is good viewing from several locations: around the port sitting at a café, from the palace area or along the ramparts of Fort Antoine, and just off the Casino Terrace. The festival winner will return on November 18 to create the fireworks display on the evening before the National Holiday. www.monaco-feuxdartifice.mc/en/

For additional information on the Principality and a full calendar of events, please visit: www.visitmonaco.com/us/.

NEW! OCEANOGRAPHIC MUSEUM OF MONACO
BORDERLINE//PHILIPPE PASQUA
Through September 30

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco presents the monographic Borderline Exhibition by the artist Philippe Pasqua. His monumental works, most of which have been tailor-made for this show, will stand alongside the Museum’s mythical collection to create a unique dialogue. Inspired by the architecture and aware of the environmental commitment of the Oceanographic Museum, the artist offers an exhibition that reflects the sincere and multi-faceted personality of the location. Twelve monumental creations, including seven unseen works, occupy the entire space – from the square in the front of the Museum and its panoramic terrace, to the cliff on which the building is perched. www.oceano.mc/en/exhibitions

NEW! THE NEW NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MONACO Å°
Kasper Akhøj, Welcome (To The Teknival)
Through January 8, 2018

The New National Museum of Monaco shares the Principality of Monaco’s heritage and sheds light on contemporary creation through temporary exhibitions in its two locations – Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber. The museum’s new exhibition. On the first floor of the Villa Sauber, the NMNM presents an exhibition by artist Kasper Akhøj dedicated to E-1027, Maison en bord de Mer, the summer hideaway house designed by Eileen Gray for Jean Badovici between 1926 and 1929 in Roquebrune Cap-Martin, at a walking distance from the exhibition venue. Since 2008, Kasper Akhøj has undertaken a research-based work on Eileen Gray's villa E-1027, documenting the process of its restoration through the use of Gray's original portfolio. Welcome (To The Teknival) is so far presented as a set of 59 black and white analogue photographs, based on the original illustrations published in 1929 by Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici in the manner of a remake, respecting the perspective and composition of the original photographs. www.nmnm.mc/

About the Monaco Government Tourist Office in New York

The Monaco Government Tourist Office (www.visitmonaco.com/us) offers personalized tourism advice and information for individuals, group and business travel as well as access to Le Club Diamant Rouge de Monaco for VIP travel membership within the Principality of Monaco.

PORTUGAL

Where to Stay

Try Martinhal This Summer - "Portugal's Leading Family Resort"

Haven't booked your summer vacation yet? How about "Portugal's Leading family resort"? The Telegraph has listed Martinhal as “one of the best unsung beach holiday resorts in Europe" on June 3, 2014! Combine luxury family-friendly facilities at Martinhal Resort with the tranquillity and safety of Martinhal beach, just in front of the resort. There is still some availability for July and August at prices from €302 per night for 2 adults and 1 child plus 1 baby including breakfast.

Please call/ email reservations: +351 282 240 200 or res@martinhal.com for personal attention to your reservations.

What's On at Martinhal This Autumn/Winter?

Looking for a winter sun holiday with golf, surfing, walking or biking or a more relaxing time to de-stress and enjoy the sun and stunning surroundings? Martinhal is a fantastic destination as an alternative to ski holidays or long-haul winter sun destinations and prices are lower too. With one of the most temperate climates all-year round in Europe, daytime temperatures range between 15-19ºC in the winter months.

In addition to the calendar activities from November through to March, Martinhal will organize special events for The Martinhal Triathlon, Yoga, Christmas, New Year and so on. Check the resort's event calendar and pick the dates for your trip!

For more information and bookings please contact the reservations team on res@martinhal.com or +351 282 240 200. Or go to web site www.martinhal.com

The New Luxe Hideaway -- Casa Da Calcada -- a Relais & Chateaux Retreat

This stunner. a former Count's palace,  is set in a majestic landscape, welcoming guests with a blend of classical historic architecture, regal accommodations, a serene spa, and a wealth of activities that allow guests to celebrate the good life just steps away. Their mission is to deliver the true Portuguese experience- therefore you'll find lovely traditional Portuguese dishes and wines in the restaurant, authentic furnishings, locally-produced bath and evening turndown amenities and warm hospitality.

KEY FACTS:
-30 room boutique hotel
-Relais & Chateaux member since 2003
-Michelin-starred chef onsite in restaurant, one of only 2 in northern Portugal
-30 minutes drive from Oporto Airport, 3 hours from Lisbon
-Onsite spa room for massages
-Outdoor swimming pool open May - September
-Vineyard onsite which is open for walking tours and tastings- their signature restaurant proudly serves this wine
-Rooms are beautifully decorated with decorative furnishings, and feature complimentary Wi-Fi, LCD TV, safe, minibar, walk-in closets and more. Presidential Suite available as well.
-Meeting rooms onsite including game room with pool table and card table, a special Garden Room carved out of a wall with large high ceilings, and a museum room.
-Children very welcome, hotel offers a special menu, distinctive amenities and  rooms with sofabeds

WHY VISIT THE DOURO VALLEY?

-The treasured towns of Amarante, Braga and Guimaraes are nearby which provide excellent opportunities for exploration. Guimaraes was the European capital of culture in 2012 and it's 30 minutes from the famed Douro Valley which is ideal for wine tasting.

-Regional activities include gastronomy, museums, wine tastings, mountains (hiking and biking), river cruises, etc. The hotel has special mountain bikes available to take to the mountain for exploration. There is an 18 hole challenging golf course just minutes away- the hotel offers transfers and can arrange tee times and equipment rental.

Agent rates are available. For details e-mail info@trumarketing.com for details**
or check web site www.casadcalcada.com

Corinthia Hotel Lisbon Inaugurates State of the Art Malo Spa

A 3,000 square meter state-of-the-art health spa has been inaugurated at the five-star Corinthia Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal. Corinthia chairman Alfred Pisani officially inaugurated the newly built and fitted spa at a lavish ceremony attended by the mayor of the Junta de Freguesia de Campolide and other dignitaries. The €4 million spa is the largest in any five-star hotel in Lisbon, and offers the widest array of facilities and technologies for relaxation, treatments, well-being, aesthetics and fitness. It will be operated by the internationally-renowned Malo Clinic Health & Wellness, led by its president Paulo Malo, who also attended the inauguration.

This is a stand-alone facility, newly-built in the hotel. Treatment areas consist of 13 fully equipped rooms including a number of Spa Suites, where guests enjoy rituals of massage, pampered by the latest health and beauty technologies. These include non-invasive fat reduction treatments, non-invasive mesotherapy, facial treatments, individual cocoons for weight/volume loss and anti-ageing treatments. The wet area, known as Acqua in Portugal, is the largest of its kind in Lisbon and offers an interactive pool, hydro massage, Vichy showers, a walking circuit, a Roman spa, aqua beds, Jacuzzis, saunas and a hammam. A heated pool is available all year round, as well as a natural solarium, a gymnasium, a spinning room and a hairdressing and beauty lab. The Malo Spa also has a clinical section, combining traditional spa rituals with integrated health care and cosmetic care services that include nutrition programs, plastic surgery and physiotherapy consultation.

About Corinthia Hotel Lisbon  

The 518-room Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, is minutes away from Lisbon’s most important attractions, shopping and nightlife, and offers extensive conference and banqueting facilities and a magnificent Executive Club Sky Lounge for its Executive Club guests - located on the top floor of the hotel, with the city of Lisbon, its 18th Century Aqueduct, and the Monsanto Natural Park as a backdrop. The hotel offers the Típico and Sete Colinas restaurants, with traditional and international cuisine. The Tempus Lounge Bar and the beautiful Terrace Garden are perfect places for relaxation. The Corinthia Hotel Lisbon is owned by Malta-based International Hotel Investments p.l.c. (IHI) and operated by CHI Hotels & Resorts, a joint venture between IHI and the Wyndham Hotel Group of the United States. The hotel forms part of the Wyndham Grand Collection.

RUSSIA

MOSCOW

Where to Eat

Fashion Dining in Moscow -- The Apple Bar & Restaurant of the Golden Apple Boutique Hotel in Moscow opens its doors

A new scene for trendy dining in Moscow is now ready at the Golden Apple, an Avantgarde Superior Boutique Hotel. After its two-month renovation, the Apple Bar & Restaurant is the best kept dining secret in the centre of Moscow.

The Restaurant offers a wide assortment of simple and tasty European dishes with an emphasis on fresh and high quality products. All served in the contemporary atmosphere of harmony and fashion that is typical of the Golden Apple Hotel.

The lunch and dinner menus adjust with seasonal changes and include a choice of genuine gourmet specialties supplemented by an impressive and carefully selected wine list.

With its comfortable and fashionable setting, the Apple Bar is a chic and intimate lounge serving classical and original cocktails prepared by mixing seasonal fruits, berries and herbs. The Apple Bar is an ideal setting for drinks, conversation and people-watching in the very heart of Moscow.

Centrally located near the city's top shopping and dining venues, theatres and art galleries, museums and night clubs, the Golden Apple Hotel offers an unsurpassed hotel experience to the stylish business and leisure traveller.

The Golden Apple Hotel is located at 11 Malaya Dmitrovka Street Moscow 127006 Russia.

About Epoque Hotels:

Epoque Hotels is a collection of worldwide avant-garde, trendy-chic, and luxury-classic boutique hotels based in over 100 destinations. With its 300 hotels in its portfolio, divided in two lines: Avantgarde Line and Epoque Classic, it is rapidly establishing itself as the leading reference in the segment of boutique hotels.
Headquartered in Miami, the Company has also sales offices in Italy, UK and France.

For more information check web site www.epoquehotels.com

ST. PETERSBURG

There's a touch of magic at Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria in St Petersburg.  The city becomes a winter wonderland during the colder months with a dusting of sparkling snow on historic monuments and traditional troika rides through the parks of the tsar’s palaces. Guests of the hotel can stay warm with an authentic Russian vodka in the hotel’s Kandinsky Bar. Hotel Astoria’s New Year’s Eve package includes:

For further information and reservations please visit the Rocco Forte Hotels web sitewww.roccofortehotels.com or call The Leading Hotels of the World at 1-800-223-6800.

Rocco Forte Hotels was established in 1996 to create a collection of luxury hotels in Europe. The hotels have individual styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, with each hotel reflecting its nationality and location. The collection is linked together under the Rocco Forte Hotels brand, which guarantees attention to detail, quality and service delivery.

The Rocco Forte Hotels collection includes:
- Hotel de Rome, Berlin
- Hotel de Russie, Rome
- Hotel Savoy, Florence
- The Balmoral, Edinburgh
- The St David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff
- The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
- Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg
- Hotel Amigo, Brussels
- Brown’s Hotel, London
- Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
- Château de Bagnols, en Beaujolais (managed on behalf of Lady Hamlyn)

SARDINIA

COSTA SMERALDA

An earthly paradise in the northeastern part of Sardinia, Costa Smeralda is a Mediterranean resort whose name is inspired by the emerald color of the sea. Providing an exceptional 34 mile coastline, Costa Smeralda is accessible almost exclusively by sea and is characterized by incredible rock formations and white beaches. It is a true jet and yacht setters paradise.

Where to Stay

Hotel Cala di Volpe Recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine

Starwood’s Hotel Cala di Volpe is considered the symbol of Costa Smeralda, built like an ancient village in one of its most beautiful bays. Hotel Cala di Volpe offers a total of 125 guestrooms and suites are designed in natural wood with textiles in traditional Sardinian style and most of them have beautiful trompe d’oeil paintings and panoramic views. An exclusive two floor Presidential Suite with private pool on the terrace offers a wide range of recreational facilities and an exclusive wine cellar. The hotel offers a private beach, the largest sea-water pool in Europe, and two of the most spectacular restaurants in the area. Recently, Hotel Cala di Volpe was honored with the “Best of Award of Excellence” for having the world’s best wine list according to Wine Spectator. Hotel Cala di Volpe was also recognized in 2005 by Condé Nast Traveler as having the best Mediterranean recipes as well as an extensive selection of cuisine options.

SCOTLAND

EDINBURGH & BEYOND

What to See & Do

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Located next to Edinburgh Castle, this is a great place to larn about Scotch - how it's made, the five steps to appreciating Scotch Whiskey (Color - whether light, gold, bright copper or rich amber); Body (Is it light, medium or full body); Nose (Which aromas do yu recognize when you nose your whisky - is it malty, smoky, fruity, chocolatey); Palate (What characteristics do you notice on the palate. Is it softly sweet, rich and fruity, or peppery & spicy).

We were taken on a lovely, comfortable open-car ride through a tunnel with photos and voices relating how Scotch is made on the guided tour. (Reasonable fee charged). After, we browsed through the world's largest Scotch Whisky collection, had whisky tastings in a huge room; after were given a special "Glencairn Glass" as a souvenier. It has a unique and stylish shape to enhance the enjoyment of single malts and aged blends. The tapering mouth allows an ease of drinking not associated with traditional nosing glasses, while capturing the important bouquet of the whikey. The wide bowl allows the full appreciation of the whisky's color and the solid base is designed to be easy on the hand.

A restaurant is on the premises, as well as a whiskey shop, coffee shop and bar.

We love the glass and our fond memoris of this tour and the entire trip to Scotland.

For more information go to web site www.scotch-whisky-experience.co.uk or info@scotch-whisky-experience.co.uk.

Yes, the Scots are a sociable people. Yes, the Scots have a reputation for being able to turn the most mundane occasion into a fun-infused celebration. And yes, that reputation is well-earned. But when it comes time to do business, the Scots are able to shift focus to that arena with equal enthusiasm.

Take Scotland's accommodations, for instance. They are undeniably welcoming, but they also know how to tend to business groups. There are landmark grand hotels, such as Edinburgh's Balmoral or Caledonian, whose stately facades are a part of the capital city's character. There are elegant country resorts such as Gleneagles or Westin Turnberry that have played host to international dignitaries and PGA legends. All offer state-of-the-art facilities, technical expertise and a level of efficiency that makes even the most demanding attendees feel at home.

Scotland offers an equally diverse array of venues, each as efficient as it is unique.

A whisky distillery can host a VIP tasting. Dine on the Queen's (retired) private ship, the Royal Yacht Britannia. Deliver a presentation in Assembly Hall, a 19th century tiered auditorium that was once home to the Scottish Parliament. Even the Edinburgh Castle itself  can accommodate a business reception. Many of Scotland's outstanding museums, universities and other attractions are available for private functions, as well.

Of course, the thing that will impress you and your attendees most about Scotland are the Scots themselves. It is their embracing spirit–whether participating in business or otherwise–that truly sets Scotland apart.

For more information, contact the Business Tourism Unit, Visit Scotland, Ocean point One, 94 Ocean Drive, Edinburgh EH6 6JH.

Where to Stay

Castle Rock, Edinburgh

Built in 1846 and renovated into a hostel in 1997, Castle Rock is a "grand, old edifice full of art, character and antiquity." Voted the best hostel in Scotland in 2008 and 2009, guests that walk through the door often wonder if they are entering an art gallery or museum instead of a hostel. Located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, one of the most important fortresses in the Kingdom of Scotland since the 12th century and the centerpiece of Edinburgh, Castle Rock provides panoramic views over the country‚s capital city as its rests among the cobbled streets and mysterious gothic buildings of the Old Town.
http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails

The Braes Guest House - Inverness-shire

My husband, I, and our 14 year-old granddaughter stayed here for a few days and truly enjoyed the hospitality Philippe & Teresa de Billot extended.

Situated in its own peaceful gardens on the edge of Spean Bridge, it offers a friendly and relaxing atmosphere, hearty home-cooked food for breakfast, and breathtaking panoramic views towards the Nevis Range mountains. We found it an excellent base from which to explore the magnificent Highland countryside, plus a variety of outdoor activities. Some days we just chose to relax inside and spent our days lounging and reading.

Each unit had En-Suite or private facilities, dinner was available by arrangement, there was a TV lounge, drying facilities, ample parking and we enjoyed the fact that it was completely non-smoking. Open all year, walkers and cyclists are welcome and pick-up service is available.

For more information or reservations, contact the Braes Guest House, Spean Bridge, Invernessshire, PH34 4EU; Phone 01397 712437; E-mail enquiry@thebraes.co.uk or go to web site www.thebraes.co.uk.

SPAIN

Luxury Travel Intelligence Announces that the one-time nonstop flight from New York to Basque Country just got better courtesy of Luxury Travel Intelligence

New York- Luxury and insider-travel lovers are encouraged to "Basque" in a phenomenal opportunity. Luxury Travel Intelligence is teaming up with the exclusive Basque In It initiative to give travelers a special perk in conjunction with the one-time-only nonstop Iberia Airlines flight from New York JFK to Vitoria-Foronda Airport, heart of Basque Country. This flight is paired with exceptional food and wine journeys. Those on board will be part of unique excursions including "pintxo" bar crawls in San Sebastian, visits to the superb Rioja wineries in the region, and tastings with top chefs in the Basque Country.

Luxury Travel Intelligence is a team of luxury travel experts who act as a behind-the-scenes best friend. Traveling to hotels, restaurants and spas all over the world, they scope out and add only the best accommodations to their expansive online database. But that's not all. LTI takes their expertise a step further and discovers insider-style information to provide members with any tiny detail or answer any question they may be wondering about. Upon joining, members receive access to all LTI Reports and Intelligence via a personalized online Members Suite. This trustworthy database ensures the perfect travel experience.

In addition to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the Basque Country, those on board the flight will be given the opportunity to join LTI's exclusive community and receive some bonuses in the process. Customers traveling in business class will receive a free membership to LTI and those in economy class will receive a $300 credit toward LTI services. This opportunity is great for anyone who expects only the very best travel accommodations and services. www.basqueinit.com

For more information on the program and additional details, please contact Gabriella Ribeiro Truman at +1 561 452 4915 or email info@trumarketing.com

BARCELONA

Where to Stay

Hotel Arts Barcelona Introduces Mediterranean Masterpiece with New Arola Brunch

Hotel Arts Barcelona is at the forefront of a new European lifestyle trend of Sunday brunching with the introduction of the new Arola brunch. Hotel Arts Barcelona has introduced an all-encompassing Sunday brunch experience on the terraces of its renowned restaurant, Arola. Considered a longstanding tradition in the US, brunch has recently taken off in Barcelona and is rapidly becoming a weekend ritual for many residents and visitors. As a trendsetter in the industry, Hotel Arts Barcelona has embraced this movement and created an authentic Catalan culinary experience at the ideal Mediterranean location to spend Sundays.

The new brunch will cater to the needs of both experienced epicurean enthusiasts and less gastronomically versed travelers, with its varied dishes and activities to partake in while 'brunching' at Arola. As part of the innovative brunch experience, Arola has crafted an original prix fixe menu for adults and children to highlight the striking flavors of local ingredients. It encompasses signature dishes such as Eggs Benedict by Arola with toast, confit pork jowls and foie gras. Guests will also be tempted to taste other creations of Michelin-starred Chef Sergi Arola, who has succeeded in revitalizing traditional Catalan favorites such as Cuttlefish with black rice and peas.

Aside from its diverse main course menu, the brunch will also feature treats for all ages. Children will be welcomed to indulge in seasonal ice creams and sorbets served from a classic ice-cream cart while an outdoor bar will hold appeal for adults, serving gin & tonics and cocktails made with ingredients sourced from the restaurant's own garden.

Arola' brunch experience stands out amongst a burgeoning trend in Europe with the numerous additional activities and services available onsite. An outdoor area, set up with communal, family-friendly activities like table tennis and foosball, is designed to make for a memorable meal. Set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, with lively tunes spun by a local DJ, Arola is fast becoming the Mediterranean‚s Sunday afternoon brunch forerunner.

Information and reservations: +34 93 483 80 90, artsreservations@ritzcarlton.com
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Barcelona, www.hotelartsbarcelona.com

About Hotel Arts Barcelona
Hotel Arts Barcelona boasts stunning panoramic views from its unique location on the waterfront, in the heart of the city's Olympic Village area. Designed by renowned architect Bruce Graham, Hotel Arts features 44 floors of exposed glass and steel, making it a prominent feature of Barcelona‚s skyline. The waterfront hotel‚s 455 rooms and 28 exclusive duplex Apartments feature sleek, modern design complemented by an impressive 20th century collection of works by contemporary Catalan and Spanish artists. The only hotel in Spain featuring two Michelin-starred chefs, Hotel Arts is one of the premier culinary destinations in Barcelona with Enoteca and Arola restaurants. Guests seeking a serene escape may enjoy signature treatments in the 43rd floor spa. Recognized as one of the top business hotels in Spain, Hotel Arts provides over 3,000 square-feet of function space overlooking the Mediterranean in Arts 41, for board meetings and conferences as well as social events, weddings and celebrations. The hotel offers an additional 24,000 square-feet of function space, with the main meeting space located on the lower ground and second floors. For more information, please visit /www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Barcelona.

About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 86 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an award that originated in 1987. Its purpose is to promote the awareness of quality excellence, recognize quality achievements of companies and publicize successful quality strategies. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company won the award in 1992 and 1999. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.K. 0800 234 000 or visit the company web site at www.ritzcarlton.com. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR).

Grand Hotel Central Barcelona Placed in the Most Fashionable District -- El Born

Grand Hotel Central is a home in the heart of Barcelona, where the comfort and the luxury of a 5-star hotel are combined with a good sense of style and elegance. The hotel has a perfect location between the Gothic Quarter, with its spectacular Cathedral or the ancient city walls, and “El Born”, the most fashionable district.

Despite its humble origins of the Middle Ages, El Born has become into one of the most fashionable places in the city. The district is plenty of boutique shops, design bars and restaurants scattered through its narrow streets. El Born is also plenty of culture. The medieval street, Montcada, is now home of the Picasso Museum and the Textil Museum. In this area you can also find one of the most beautiful churches of the city, the “Catedral del Mar”.

From the Sky Bar, an outdoor space on the roof of the hotel, there is a wonderful swimming pool that offers one of the most breathtaking views of El Born. One of the most exclusive corners of Barcelona, a real urban oasis recommended for those who know how to enjoy the small pleasures of life while savoring an exquisite cocktail to the sounds of gentle music.

About Grand Hotel Central Barcelona

This luxury hotel has 147 exclusive rooms (including 22 suites and 1 grand suite). There is also the private rooftop swimming pool offering fantastic views of the city and the Mediterranean, a well-stocked library specialising in publications about Barcelona with a working area, various meeting rooms, the Fitness Centre, The Gallery - the hotel's own art gallery - and the new café and bar, the City Bar. The hotel also offers gastronomy of the highest quality at the Avalon Restaurant by Ramón Freixa, holder of two Michelin stars.

The head of the entire project is Pau Guardans, businessman and creator of other luxury hotels including the boutique Hotel Único Madrid and the trendy Hotel Miró in Bilbao.

For more information contact the Grand Hotel Central Barcelona | Via Laietana, 30. Barcelona -SPAIN. Tel.:+34 93 295 7900 or web site www.grandhotelcentral.com

About the Grand Hotel Central

This luxury hotel (5 stars) is located in an historic 1920s building which has all the modern-day luxuries. It's in the heart of Barcelona, between the Gothic Quarter and the Born district. As well as the modern bedrooms, the hotel offers a well-stocked library (specializing in books about Barcelona), meeting rooms, The Gallery (an art gallery which can also be used for events), The City Bar (for snacks, cocktails and live music), Avalon (an informal restaurant run by the two Michelin star chef Ramón Freixa), the Wellness Suite (with a range of treatments), the Thermal Suite (with saunas for private use) and a Fitness Centre. The man behind this project is Pau Guardans, the hotelier and creator of other contemporary urban hotels including the Hotel Único Madrid and the trendy Hotel Miró in Bilbao.

Grand Hotel Central Barcelona--A Building With A Rich History

The Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona came about as homage to the Grand Hotels that accommodated distinguished travelers, modernists or art dealers in the main cities of the world during the roaring 20s. More than hotels, these buildings were the activity center of large cities, and the place where tourists stayed for long periods of time to enjoy and, above all, to live life in the city. Travelling by Orient Express or staying in a Grand Hotel was a way of life, where special service and attention to detail made the difference.

The building was built in the 1920s and was one of the first properties on Via Laietana. The architect Adolf Florensa made this building a reference for architectural fashion in Barcelona by adopting the style in fashion at that time: the American commercial style of the first skyscrapers in Chicago.

The rehabilitation project took into consideration the relationship of the central courtyard to the vertical and horizontal distribution of each floor. This design also enables all rooms to be located around the outer perimeter. Full conservation of the facade and its original composition, together with reinforcement of the central courtyard that interconnects the whole building were the starting points for the project.

The building is fully equipped with the latest technological advances to offer guests maximum comfort: temperature control, direct communication with external networks, Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, sunlight control using electric shutters, solar energy and energy recovery are just some of the advances included in the project.

About Grand Hotel Central Barcelona

This luxury hotel has 147 exclusive rooms (including 22 suites and 1 grand suite). There is also the private rooftop swimming pool offering fantastic views of the city and the Mediterranean, a well-stocked library specialising in publications about Barcelona with a working area, various meeting rooms, the Fitness Centre, The Gallery - the hotel's own art gallery - and the new café and bar, the City Bar. The hotel also offers gastronomy of the highest quality at the Avalon Restaurant by Ramón Freixa, holder of two Michelin stars.

The head of the entire project is Pau Guardans, businessman and creator of other luxury hotels including the boutique Hotel Único Madrid and the trendy Hotel Miró in Bilbao.

For more information contact the Grand Hotel Central Barcelona, Via Laietana, 30. Barcelona -SPAIN. Phone: +34 93 295 7900 or web site www.grandhotelcentral.com.

Hotel Espana -- Where Even the Fireplace Is A Work of Art

A full-service superior four-star hotel situated in the heart of Barcelona’s historic district, Hotel España offers something for everyone, from lovers to families to executives. With 82 rooms, an award-winning chef, luxurious accommodations, a fascinating architectural heritage, and welcoming management and staff, this elegant urban retreat charms all who visit.

One of the hotel’s most remarkable elements: the gorgeous fireplace that is the centerpiece of Bar Arnau. Commissioned by celebrated Modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner in 1901 in connection with the hotel’s renovation, the alabaster work of art was created by sculptor Eusebio Arnau. It weighs approximately four tons and measures about six feet by six feet by eight feet. Rendered in chased alabaster created by the great artisan Alfonso Juyol Bachs, the carvings of the piece, which stands 14.40 feet by 9.80 feet, symbolically depict the pleasures of home. At the base, a cat stands to the left, looking towards her kittens frolicking to the right, referencing domesticity and family.

On the shelf are depictions borrowing from Titian’s “The Three Seasons of Man” (1513-1514). To the left is a bas relief sculpture of a woman holding a baby boy; to the right is an elderly man in simple dress. Between them are a group of playful putti. The chimenea is decorated with the crowned two-headed shield of the House of Austria; beneath is a necklace of golden fleece. This heraldic representation refers to the hotel’s former name, Grand Hotel d'Espagne.

Originally a student of physics and the natural sciences, Domènech i Montaner developed an archictural style that displayed a mixture between rationalism and fabulous ornamentation (inspired by Spanish-Arabic architecture) and followed the curvilinear design typical of Art Nouveau. He also specialized in using technically advanced materials and construction solutions, as at Barcelona’s Zoological Museum and Palau de la Música Catalana, where he made extensive use of mosaic, ceramics, and stained glass. Arnau’s huge and fantastically bold yet curvy fireplace was the perfect touch to set off the architect’s renovations.

Located on Calle Sant Pau, Hotel España first opened in 1859 and was enlarged several times. Domènech i Montaner’s renovations earning it an award by the Barcelona City Council for “best establishment decorated in the artistic-ornamental style.” A jewel in the crown of Catalonian modernism, with fascinating mosaics, atria, tiling, and other unique features, it was recently refurbished to allow its architectural and stylistic detail to shine.

About Hotel España:

A sophisticated and stylish four-star superior hotel situated in Barcelona’s historic district, Hotel España has 82 rooms, an award-winning chef, chic and luxurious accommodations, and a fascinating Modernist architectural heritage dating back to 1902. An elegant urban retreat, it is certain to please discriminating travelers visiting one of Spain’s most beautiful cities for either pleasure or business.

Located on Calle Sant Pau, Hotel España is a jewel in the crown of Catalonian modernism. The hotel was recently refurbished to allow its architectural and stylistic detail to shine, install the latest in technology, and refresh the luxurious and comfortable guestrooms. This masterpiece of elegant urbanity is a thoroughly civilized escape destination complete with three dining venues, conference and banqueting rooms, an outdoor terrace, an outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace, a business corner, and Wi-Fi throughout the premises.

Hotel España is located in Barcelona, Spain. The hotel can be contacted at 011.34.93.550.00.00; the website is www.hotelespanya.com. Reservations can be made through the hotel or contactinfo@hotelespanya.com.

The Arrival of Denit: A New Night & Breakfast with Designer Lines in the Heart of Barcelona

Modern, central, economic, comfortable and very functional. These are the characteristics of Denit, a new concept in terms of accommodation night & breakfast that has been created by the Majestic Hotel Group to produce an innovative revolution in Barcelona’s hostelry sector. The philosophy is as simple as convincing: to offer high quality accommodation in a fascinating city at a price that is affordable for anyone.

Hotel Denit is located in an old building that has been totally refurbished in the picturesque Gothic quarter of Barcelona, just a few minutes away from Paseo de Gracia and the famous Ramblas, which make it the ideal starting point to explore the city. Nearby there are important monuments, including the Cathedral, the Teatro del Liceu, the Boquería food market and Casa Batlló, - by the architect Antonio Gaudí. Denit is also very near the aerobús (bus to the airport) and the main train and underground lines.

The 36 rooms will cater perfectly for all the needs of a 21st century traveller. The architects of GCA have designed practical and welcoming bedrooms; without any excesses but, with all the necessary services to secure a comfortable stay. These include plasma TV, soundproof walls, WIFI connexion, iPod high speakers and batteries, etc. The style is bright and minimalist; mostly white and with an intelligent layout to optimise the space available. Above the bed heads hang photographs by the artist Carles Roig depicting original images of fish on a wooden base.

One of the distinctive traits of hotel Denit is that the decoration is avant garde. This can easily be seen in the furniture of both rooms and public areas: lamps by Louis Poulsen y Foscarini, armchairs by Vitra and Zanotta, sofas by De Padova or easy chairs by Fritz Hansen are amongst the pieces by firms of international prestige.

The hotel has a very pleasant dinning room where breakfast is served every morning. The rest of the day, guests can use this space as a multifunctional room to hold small professional meetings or gatherings. There is a very unusual sculpture by the artist Xavier Escribà hanging on the main wall that is very eye catching and gives the room a touch of colour and vitality.

Denit reinvents the traditional concept of a Bed & Breakfast: the aim is to create an innovative establishment with a service that surpasses the mere “accommodation plus breakfast” formula. The hotel has been conceived as a small home where guests can rest, have access to Internet, - there are two computers with connexion in the hall-, or simply chat whilst drinking a shimmering Nespresso coffee. In fact, at the reception desk there is a 24 hour bar-cafeteria service that offers sandwiches, sweets and all kind of drinks.

Thanks to the excellent ratio quality-price, (79 euros per night with breakfast included), Denit is the ideal place for a young, active and urban public, but also for families and people on business trips to Barcelona. All in all, it is ideal for anyone wishing to enjoy to the full one of the world’s most interesting and cosmopolitan cities

For more information on DENIT NIGHT&BREAKFAST BARCELONA contact C/ Estruc, 24-26 + 34 935 454 000; e-mail to :info@denit.com or go to web site www.denit.com

The Hotel Majestic

Preferred Hotels Group has announced that The Hotel Majestic, a five-star luxury property located in downtown Barcelona, Spain, has joined the membership of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Featuring more than 150 exceptional hotels and resorts in the most desirable locations around the world, Preferred Hotels & Resorts is a member of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, which celebrates the individuality of its properties and honors the preferences of its guests.

The prestigious and historic Majestic Hotel, located on “Passeig de Grácia” in the center of the shopping and financial district of the city, became Preferred Hotel Group’s newest member on January 1, 2007, and its first property on the Iberian Peninsula. With 303 elegant rooms, 273 executive rooms, 22 junior suites and eight luxury suites, the hotel is affectionately know as “the Art Hotel,” showcasing an impressive art collection, which guests can admire throughout every corner of the hotel. Equally impressive is the hotel’s list of famed guests, including the Dalai Lama, Jean Paul Belmondo, Catherine Deneuve, Milos Forman, and Latin America’s celebrated novelist, Vargas Llosa.

The Majestic is home to The Drolma, one of Barcelona’s most popular fine dining restaurants, which has consistently been awarded one star by the Michelin Guide since 2002. The Drolma has also been the recipient of “The Best of Dining” Award for the Restaurant with the Best Product in Spain 2002, the Gourmetour Award for the Best Maitre in Spain 2003, and has received three “Suns” in the Campsa since 2004.

Another spectacular amenity to this five-star property is the rooftop swimming pool and bar located on the tenth floor of the hotel. Whether the intention is to unwind with cocktails, or cool off in the pool, the panoramic view from the rooftop is one of the best spots in Barcelona to admire the city.

All Preferred Hotels & Resorts embrace the award-winning Standards of Excellence™, an extensive 1,600 item annual quality assurance program that has been honored with the “Best Practices Champion Award” by Cornell University. This legendary commitment to quality ensures an unparalleled guest experience, from top-tier amenities to superb service.

Preferred Hotel Group is a global leader in the hospitality industry. This creative, cutting-edge company is designed for a new era in travel - an era in which travelers embrace the individuality of distinctive hotels and resorts - yet desire a consistent commitment to excellence. The four brands of Preferred Hotel Group represent a collection of the finest hotels in the world and include Preferred Hotels® & Resorts (www.preferred-boutique.com); Summit Hotels & Resorts (www.summithotels.com); and Sterling Hotels (www.sterlinghotels.com).

For more information, check web site www.preferredhotelgroup.com.

BILBAO

Enjoy A Different Summer at HOTEL MIRÓ BILBAO

Summer is one of the best times of the year to visit Bilbao, a city which offers a wide offer of activities for culture, gastronomy and sports. Located in a strategic point for all wishing to discover the surprising region.

During this period Hotel Miró offers a special promotion Bilbao & Breakfast, which includes double room, buffet breakfast with hot and cold selection, courtesy bar, fitness center and wifi. Starts at 118 euros. 

Culture, nature and sports

Art lovers are in luck with the two exhibits featured at the Guggenheim Museum this summer, Yoko Ono and Georges Braque. Just a short distance from the city by metro one can visit numerous fishing villages to eat a delicious fresh fish, enjoy wonderful beaches, practice surf and paddle surf, or play in one of the area´s many golf courses.

Nature lovers will enjoy Unesco´s Urdaibai´s Biosphere Reserve, one of the most spectacular landscapes and perfect for active tourism.

Aste Nagusia in Bilbao

Aste Nagusia or Semana Grande (Big Week) is the main celebration of the city. Hotel Miró is perfectly located to enjoy the "fiestas", which this year take place from 16-24 August.

They start with the traditional "txupinazo"and the appearance of the event´s icon, the rosy and emblematic Marijaia. The streets fill up with ambiance, the traditional and delicious talo with chorizo (a corn tortilla with chorizo sausage), free concerts and there are magnificent fireworks every night.

About Hotel Miró

Located in front of the famous Guggenheim Museum, the 50-room boutique hotel designed by fashion designer Antonio Miró is in the city´s golden mile. An urban oasis where guests feel like home in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, with a familiar yet very professional service.

Pau Guardans is responsible for the management of the hotel, well known Hotelier creator of other urban luxury hotels like Hotel Único Madrid and Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona.

For more information or reservations contact web site www.guggenheim-bilbao.es

What to See & Do

Hotel Único Madrid, Starting Point From Which to Discover One of Europe's Historic Capitals

A historic 19th Century palazzo houses the 44 rooms of the Único Hotel, the perfect place from which to discover one of the most historic of European cities. Located in the luxurious district of Salamanca, the hotel provides its guests with the ideal setting for those wishing to indulge in art collecting, discover some of the most emblematic sites of the capital, or enjoy several of the shows of the city’s numerous theaters.

Madrid’s notoriety began when King Philip II of Habsburg established his Court at the city in the 16th Century. This decision marked the start of a period of splendor that saw the building of some of the most emblematic sites of the capital, such as the Plaza Mayor and the Gardens of the Parque del Retiro. The 18th Century saw the start of the construction of places that in the future would become the Paseo del Prado, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Museo del Prado or the Botanical Gardens.

A tour of Royal Madrid

The perfect day for guests at the Único Hotel typically begins in the hotel’s secret garden with a delicious breakfast or a magnificent Sunday brunch, both conceived by two-Michelin Star chef Ramón Freixa. Walking down Calle Serrano and past Plaza Colón, going up the Gran Vía and down again towards Ópera, they reach the Plaza de Oriente, one of the most fascinating places in the capital. Here they get a glimpse of the interior of the Royal Palace, a chance to admire its impressive furniture, decoration and art collection. Later in the evening, visitors may walk through the Sabatini Gardens and experience one of the city’s most beautiful sunset views. Their day may then end with a magnificent ballet, opera or music show at the Teatro Real.

And after a gratifying day of getting to know Madrid there is nothing better than to relax at the Único Hotel with a massage or inside one of its comfortable and inviting rooms.

For more information or reservations contact Hotel Único Madrid, Claudio Coello 67. 28001. Madrid. Spain | Tel. +34 91 781 01 73. Or go to web site www.unicohotelmadrid.com | or e-mail info@unicohotelmadrid.com

About Portugal Nature Trails

Portugal Nature Trails is a registered Brand of "Caminhos da Natureza", which is a premier adventure travel tour company offering unsurpassed active tours, specialized in walking, hiking and cycling tours, Guided or Self-Guided. Our guided tours feature talented local guides, handcrafted itineraries, authentic cuisine and cozy accommodations, and an in-depth introduction to local culture.

Customized Adventures offer something really unique. Designed as the ultimate in personalized small-group travel, these are one-of-a-kind experiences tailored for your private group's interests and wishes. We use our years of experience and insider knowledge to help you explore and discover Portuguese ‘off the beaten path' culture and nature. Visit website: www.portugalnaturetrails.com/ or call 1-888-752-0244 (US toll free).

SWEDEN

Where to Stay

Swedish Art Hotel Launches Haute Couture Suites – Hotel Guests Design Their Own Rooms Made of Ice

Co-create your own suite with one of ICEHOTEL’s designers. The hotel, based 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, will offer bespoke suites tailor-made to suit the wishes and tastes of individual clients.  Like a haute couture of travel experiences, creating an experience which is totally unique and personal is in focus.

The suite should express the individual style and taste of the client, and will be made exclusively by order. But achieving that unique edge to travel isn’t the only ambition with this new experience – ICEHOTEL creators are hoping to get the client involved in the design process and bring guests even closer to the ice and the ephemeral art.

- You're invited to express your own design ideas in a forum and experiment with ice as an art material. The beauty of ice is that it only exists briefly and then goes away, it unleashes an incredible creativity in people, says Arne Bergh, Creative Director of ICEHOTEL. He feels that this also makes for the perfect gift for a special occasion or someone since it can be so personal.

The suites, like ICEHOTEL itself, are made of the exclusive natural ice from the river Torne and all the art work inside is original and handmade. Torne is one of the last untouched rivers of Europe and is completely free of pollutants, giving it a premium quality and such clarity that the one meter thick blocks which are harvested from the river are completely transparent and without air bubbles.

Bergh adds that idea kind of brings to mind fashion haute couture, whereby items of clothing are synonymous with pieces of art and each bespoke item is made to order with great attention to craftsmanship and material. Each suite will be made exclusively for the client and after departure; it will be left to return to the river as the springtime sun returns. Once it is gone, clients will be given a bottle containing some of the meltwater, along with the sketches and blueprints for the design, and photographs of the suite.

The price tag is SEK1 485 000 (US$ 231 000), making it one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world. According to CNN, the most expensive hotel rooms in the world come in at around US$65 000. Part of the proceeds will be donated to environmental initiatives in the Baltic Sea, where the river Torne runs into the ocean. In addition, the package includes a face-to-face consultation in the home town of the client, as well as a complimentary stay at ICEHOTEL and chance to participate in the creation of the suite which can take up to two weeks.

Guests will be able to stay in the ice suites during the winter months between December and March. The custom design hotel rooms can be ordered from February 1st at ICEHOTELs site www.icehotel.com

Background on ICEHOTELan annual art project with installations worldwide

ICEHOTEL is an annual art project and the world's first and largest hotel made of ice and snow located in Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. ICEHOTEL rises in a new shape every winter and then melts away in the spring.

ICEHOTEL is a pioneer in ice art and in 2014 it has been 25 years since they built the world's first hotel made of ice and snow. One of the core objectives at ICEHOTEL since the start has been experimenting and developing experiences and art with natural materials – mainly with ice and snow, but also with magnetite and wood.

What to See & Do

Crème de la crème of Gothenburg and West Sweden – the top list of exclusive experiences

Sometimes you just want to spoil yourself and treat yourself to the best! Whether it is something luxurious or maybe even just something difficult to access or that only occurs during a certain time of the year.

Here are the best tips when you want to experience something truly unique – perhaps a once in a lifetime experience.

Oyster and Mussel Adventure in Lysekil

Lysekil, known as ”the city by the sea”, is located in the middle of the archipelago of Bohuslän. The fishing industry has played a huge part in the history of the city of Lysekil and the residents have made their living from the sea.

Book your accommodation at Strandflickornas Havshotell and enjoy a luxurious experience in one of their lavish suites with your own private outdoor Jacuzzi and sauna by the sea. Strandflickornas Havshotell also offers an Oyster and Mussel Adventure on their locally wooden boat Signe from 1952. You will depart from the North Harbour and start by visit the mussel farm and learn how mussels are grown and harvested.. Signe will then take you to one of the few oyster beds in Bohuslän and you will get to harvest your own oysters to be cooked and enjoyed together on a beautiful rock by the shore. A truly unforgettable experience!
www.strandflickorna.se/Bath-pavillion-2.html

Lobster safari with Everts Sjöbod

50% of all lobster in Sweden comes from Grebbestad in Bohuslän. The lobster premier 2015 will take place on the 23rd of September. Experience the excitement together with the brothers Per and Lars who run Everts Sjöbod in Grebbestad. The brothers offer shellfish safaris throughout most of the year – oyster safari and lobster safari. Join the brothers on the water with their charming Bohus cockboat from 1952, help them pull up the cages and learn more about lobsters and Bohuslän. Combine the experience with shellfish in their boathouse from the 19th century, carefully refurbished with tons of unique details and objects. Spend the night in the new part of the boathouse, which consists of 6 rooms with a sea view and shared kitchen.
www.vastsverige.com/en/products/45447/Authentic-Archipelago-Experiences-in-Grebbestad-Everts-Sjobod/

Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant – a different world

Enter a completely different world, enchanted by art, antiques, authentic carpets and a cascade of colors and shapes. Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant is an exclusive lifestyle hotel, inspired by La Belle Époque, with 37 custom made rooms. The restaurant serves high quality food and aims to offer Sweden’s most extensive wine menu. The kitchen is visible from the dining room and serves food – or a glass of wine – all day. There is also a large rooftop terrace with outdoor dining as well as an orangery filled with exotic plants. Dorsia is located in the heart of Gothenburg on Trädgårdsgatan 6.
www.dorsia.se/en/

Upper House Dining and Spa – stunning views

The five star hotel Upper House, located in Gothia Towers second tower, has a luxurious and relaxing spa as well as an amazing restaurant, both with an exceptional view. Upper House Dining is like no other dining experience in Gothenburg. This is truly a high quality food experience. For example, they bake the bread on a hot stone at your table. The restaurant has a six-course menu, which adapts depending on the produce of the day, and there is no à la Carte. There are several smaller dishes, so they usually serve about twenty dishes during a dinner. The restaurant has their own beehive on the roof, as well as their own rooftop farm for herbs and vegetables. A visit at Upper House is more of an experience than just a dinner – the main focus is food and beverage.

Upper House Spa offers two types of spa rituals: either a West Swedish spa experience with scents of raspberry, blueberry, seaweed and heather or an oriental kit with scents of coffee, lime and cardamom. There are also several different treatments, such as a Hamam treatment where you lie down on a piece of black granite and the room is lit by candlelight. The most spectacular part is the outdoor swimming pool 25 stories up!
http://upperhouse.se/

Hoze Restaurant – a tiny gem

Hoze is a tiny, uncompromising gem with only six avaible seats. The trendy sushi restaurant is run by Hoze Serruda, who serves japanese sushi made of Swedish fish. He has been taught by the master chef Fumihiro Hayashi. You can book a table via e-mail and no drop-ins are allowed. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday and offers two different menus – both decided by the chef – with two different seatings. The first menu is a lighter version served at 5 PM, the other one is served at 7 PM. The menu is based on the season as well as Hozes current mood. The restaurant is located on Stigbergsliden 17 in Majorna, Gothenburg.
hozerestaurant.com/

Official tourism sites:

www.westsweden.com
www.goteborg.com

SWITZERLAND

Where to Stay

Zurich's Baur Au Lac Unveils Transformed Lobby Lounge

The renowned Baur au Lac, Zurich's location of choice for the world's elite and jet-setters for 170 years, has just completed a head-to-toe renovation of its lobby lounge, the centerpiece and heart of this iconic, family-owned hotel.  Since the Baur au Lac opened in 1844, "Le Hall," as it is known, has been the meeting place for the international who's who. Major moments in history have taken place within its wood-paneled grandeur. It was in "Le Hall" that Bertha von Suttner convinced industrial magnate Alfred Nobel of the need for a world peace prize. Thomas Mann wrote here. Marc Chagall sketched here. Empress Sissi sipped afternoon tea here. And it was here that Franz Liszt accompanied his son-in-law, Richard Wagner, on the piano for the world premiere of "Die Walküre."  
 
The renovation has transformed "Le Hall" back to its original light-filled guise, a restoration spearheaded by noted architect and designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon; Rochon was also responsible for the Baur au Lac's recent re-imagining of the Pavillon restaurant and the interior decor of the hotel's meeting rooms. 
 
"Le Hall" in 1900
"In the 1950's, 'Le Hall's' original glass roof was covered to install air conditioning," says Andrea Kracht, sixth-generation owner of the hotel, "but now, with a new generation in mind, we decided that 21st-century technology would enable us to restore my ancestors' original glass-roofed splendor and still keep the space air-conditioned."
 
After meticulous research into the architectural history of the building, and in cooperation with Pierre-Yves Rochon and interior designer Frédéric d'Haufayt, an entirely new design concept was created that blended the hotel's history, its present and its future. 
 
"Le Hall" effortlessly combines classical touches - wooden paneling, mirrors and natural stone walls - with contrasting modern elements, like the new polished mahogany and black granite bar. In addition to the rebirth of the glass dome, the entire ceiling of "Le Hall" was raised and a spectacular Empire period chandelier installed, bringing space and light back to the heart of the hotel.  Porcelain Chinese table lamps, gilded Art Deco sconces and floor lamps, concealed spot lights, hand-made wool and silk carpeting, elegant seating areas, historic paintings and an Art Deco fireplace engage the transformation. "One of the most thrilling elements of the new 'Hall,'" says Kracht, "is the prominent addition of two paintings by American artist, Pat Stier, whose random brushstrokes, grid lines and color charts complete the creation of a sophisticated, contemporary and elegant home away from home in the heart of Zurich."
 
Since opening in 1844, the Baur au Lac's "Le Hall" has been at the core of Zurich society, a much favored meeting place for both locals and hotel guests. "And now," says Kracht," this transformation makes 'Le Hall' relevant to a new, less formal generation." The 170-year legacy of the Baur au Lac continues.
 
For more information about the Baur au Lac, visit www.bauraulac.ch.
 
 
ABOUT THE BAUR AU LAC: 
Winner of Condé Nast Traveler's 2013 and 2014 Readers' Choice Awards and named among Robb Report's Top 100 Hotels 2013, Condé Nast Traveler's USA Gold List 2013 and Tripadvisor's Traveler's Choice 2013, the 120-room hotel is a short walk from Zurich's world-famous Bahnhofstrasse, the central Paradeplatz, Lake Zurich and the city's bustling financial district. The hotel recently revamped its Pavillon and Terrasse restaurants and has completed a head-to-toe renovation and high-tech upgrading of all its rooms and suites. The Baur au Lac is also home to the Rive Gauche restaurant, a place to see and be seen in Zurich.

Zurich's Baur Au Lac Expands Its "Chocolate 1844" Gourmet Signature Chocolate CollectionBaur au Lac hotel has expanded its signature "Chocolat 1844" collection with four new selections.

The sixth-generation owner of the Baur au Lac, Andrea Kracht, launched the hotel's chocolate brand in 2012 in collaboration with renowned chocolate producer Barry-Callebaut in Paris. The first variety of "Chocolat 1844" was "Carré noir 70%," which was produced in Switzerland and consists of 70% cocoa. The hotel then added "Carré lait 43%" and is now introducing four new products, including: "Rectangle Lait 43% Noisette," a milk chocolate bar with 43% cocoa and roasted hazelnuts; "Rectangle Noir 70% Amande," a dark chocolate bar with 70% cocoa and caramelized almonds; "Pralinés Classiques," a box of five milk and four dark chocolate pralines; and "Carrés Noir 70% et Lait 43%," a box consisting of a mix of the other three new varieties.

The collection is available for sale in the hotel's gift shop, the Baur au Lac wine shops and Vanity Beauty Shop. It can also be found in various desserts at the hotel's Pavillon and Rive Gauche restaurants.

"Chocolat 1844" refers to the year the Baur au Lac was founded by Mr. Johannes Baur, who was a confectioner before opening the hotel.

For more information, please visit web site www.bauraulac.ch

ABOUT THE BAUR AU LAC:

Winner of Condé Nast Traveler's 2013 Readers' Choice Awards and named among Robb Report's Top 100 Hotels 2013, Condé Nast Traveler's USA Gold List 2013 and Tripadvisor's Traveler's Choice 2013, the 120-room hotel is a short walk from Zurich's world-famous Bahnhofstrasse, the central Paradeplatz, Lake Zurich and the city's bustling financial district. The hotel recently completed an approximately $41 million renovation, revamping its Pavillon and Terrasse restaurants as well as various rooms and suites, and continues to renovate rooms and public spaces on a regular basis. It is also home to the Rive Gauche restaurant, a place to see and be seen in Zurich.

Switzerland's Beau-Rivage Palace Unveils New Bar Serving Bespoke Cocktails

The Beau-Rivage Palace, widely considered one of Switzerland's finest hotels, has unveiled a new bar specializing in unique signature cocktails. Stocked with more than 250 quality spirits, including rarities such as A. E. DOR le signe du temps (only 17 bottles in the world), Havana Club Maximo and White Bowmore 1964, the new bar offers the same level of attention to detail that one experiences while staying at the Beau-Rivage Palace. Each cocktail is an original creation and is served in a unique glass. Ice cubes are carved-to-serve from a large block of ice. Each drink is accompanied by a recipe for the customer to take home. Regular customers can reserve their own personal bottle, which will be stored in a special cupboard to enjoy time and again. And the finishing touch: Once a drink has been prepared, it is lightly sprayed with a regional fruit-flavored eau de vie from an antique perfume atomizer - a nod to Coco Chanel's frequent visits to the bars of the Beau-Rivage Palace.


Designed in partnership with Wilsdon Design Associates and Gorgeous Group, the space exudes a modern-meets-traditional feel that is a hallmark of the hotel. Period tapestry blends with a transparent onyx bar, antique glass vases sit atop metal and oak shelves, and lighting is strategically placed to highlight the space's decorative moldings and pillars.

Future plans call for the construction of a large outdoor terrace, where guests can sip cocktails while overlooking Lake Geneva, adjacent to the hotel.

For more information, please visit www.brp.ch.

About the Beau-Rivage Palace

The Beau-Rivage Palace is situated on 10 acres of private gardens, adjacent to Lake Geneva and with spectacular views of the Swiss Alps. The hotel's award-winning 15,000-square-foot Cinq Mondes Spa contains a fitness room, indoor and outdoor infinity pools, a hot tub, and nine treatment rooms. Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace, the hotel's recently opened two-star Michelin restaurant, features France's only female chef with three Michelin stars. Other restaurants include the Beau-Rivage Café and Le Miyako Lausanne, and amenities include two bars and terraces, two tennis courts and a special program for children.

For more information about the Beau-Rivage Palace, please visit www.brp.ch>www.brp.ch.

Switzerland's Beau-Rivage Palace Unveils Two New Grand Spaces

The Beau-Rivage Palace, set next to the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva and considered one of Europe's finest hotels, recently completed an approximately $11.5 million project, renovating one of its most celebrated spaces, La Rotonde, and creating a connecting, modern glass-enclosed space, La Terrasse.

La Rotonde

The renovation of La Rotonde, which was originally built in 1908 and is classified as a historic monument, required numerous specialists - restorers, painters, tinsmiths, carpenters, metal-workers and statigraphers, to name a few - to successfully bring to life the final vision of the space while complying with the strict regulations required by its unique heritage status.

No detail was overlooked - the original colors that graced its walls in the early 1900s were painstakingly restored through stratigraphy, a process that carefully removes each layer of paint applied over the years. Artwork restorers carefully uncovered the original details of the room's magnificent fresco, while original Gobelin carpets were sent to Basel to be repaired. Light fittings were sent to France for expert work. Over 1,584 pounds of paint and nearly seven pounds of gold leaf were used in the renovation, along with 330 pounds of mastic and 528 pounds of plaster.

The finishing touch: natural light flowing in through the windows of the adjacent La Terrasse, highlighting every splendid detail of the restored space.

La Rotonde is available for private banquets and cocktail receptions.

La Terrasse

Before beginning construction of La Terrasse, approval was required from the Historic Monuments Commission as the Beau-Rivage Palace is a listed building. The project was approved under the determination that the glass structure highlights the original Rotonde façade and because a previous terrace had once existed as an extension of La Rotonde, making the venture a modern expansion of the hotel's rich structural history.

13 large glass panes, each weighing 2,134 pounds, and four smaller ones, each weighing 924 pounds, were installed in a circular form along the length of the space. Together with the roof - which is also made of glass (before, it was zink) - the structure contains more than 16 tons of triple-paned glass (the extra thickness provides sun protection). The result is a space of transparency and lightness: an absolute tour de force!

La Terrasse was once home to the property's Michelin-starred restaurant (the hotel now has a new two-star Michelin restaurant, Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace). It is open on weekdays for breakfast and for Sunday brunch (with a separate children's room). It is also available for use for private events, and can be combined with La Rotonde for larger events.

To know more, visit www.brp.ch.

Happy Birthday, St. Gallus

A hundred years after Gallus had built his monk’s cell, a monastery was set up in the same place. It eventually became one of the most important mediaeval schools of learning in the Western world, and the city of St. Gallen eventually grew around it. 2012 marked the 1,400th anniversary of Gallus’s arrival.

Biking Fun

Enjoy the freedom of cycling on this tour through Switzerland.

Family Hiking

Relax and share your alpine vacation with your loved ones.
Discover Switzerland on nature's many trails and paths.

Chill Festivals On Ice Melt Your Heart at Badrutt's Palace Hotel

The Cresta Run in St Moritz is legendary, but if you get cold feet at the thought of such high drama, how about watching polo, cricket or horse racing on ice with a warm toddy in hand? Ice is not only part of the landscape in this glitzy resort – Lake St Moritz freezes all winter long – it is also the raison d’être for much of the winter entertainment. At Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, cradle of winter sports, events that take place on snow are inherent in the hotel’s celebrated reputation.

Whether watching speed demons hurtling down the Cresta Run (another St Moritz invention), the bob sleigh run, or the White Turf horse race, winter visitors to Badrutt’s Palace Hotel will find much to do on and off the slopes. Those looking to test their own skills on ice can sign up for winter driving lessons at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel.

Of course, the Palace Wellness echoes the chilly theme with its own ice room, a place to cool down after surrendering to the heat of sauna and steam rooms.

About Badrutt’s Palace Hotel

The hotel is a celebration of style, sports, cuisine and fashion, with discreet service and traditional elegance evoking an atmosphere of pampered luxury for all. An ideal destination in both winter and summer, the hotel is located in one of the most challenging ski areas in the world and offers a host of summer alpine activities. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel boasts 135 guestrooms including 35 suites with stunning views of the Swiss Alps. The hotel is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Swiss Historic Hotels.

The Baur Au Lac Introduces The Swisstini

In celebration of its brand-new renovation, the outdoor Terrasse restaurant at Zurich's renowned hotel Baur au Lac is introducing a special end-of-summer cocktail: the Swisstini.

Albeit most delightful while sipped outdoors at the Terrasse overlooking Lake Zurich, a Swisstini on a rooftop in New York or at a pool party in Los Angeles will do as well (just swap the cross for your favorite accent).

To make:
Combine 1 1/3 ounces vodka, 1/2 ounce crème de framboise, 3/4 ounce raspberry purée, 1/5 ounce lime juice and a dash of simple syrup. Shake and pour into chilled martini glasses. For the white cross, use two thin pieces of white chocolate.  Hint: the layer of foam on top keeps the white chocolate afloat. 

About the Baur au Lac
Fresh off a $41 million renovation, the 120-room Baur au Lac is a short walk from Zürich's world-famous Bahnhofstrasse, the central Paradeplatz and the city's bustling financial district. It is also home to newly renovated Pavillion and Terrasse restaurants, as well as Rive Gauche restaurant, a place to see and be seen in Zurich, and is steps from the sparkling waters and boat cruises of Lake Zurich. The Baur au Lac is one of the oldest members of The Leading Hotels of the World. 

For more information and reservations, visit www.bauraulac.ch.

The Post Hotel Weggis Debuts on Majestic Lake Lucerne With An Ultra Cool Concept That Invites 'HIP' Travelers to 'Chill Out' in Style

Cool has arrived in Lucerne, Switzerland with the opening of The Post Hotel Weggis on the banks of majestic Lake Lucerne! The 45-room boutique hotel has created a concept to appeal to younger, hip travelers desiring a unique hospitality product in which to chill out. Located in the heart of historic Weggis, Switzerland along Lake Lucerne and just one hour from Zurich, the Post Hotel (POHO) is centrally located within walking distance of quaint shops and water transport to the city of Lucerne. Its unique position offers unadulterated views of Mounts Rigi and Pilatus and Lake Lucerne from guestroom balconies. The guestrooms are designed for comfort with emphasis on style and chill out amenities such as: PlayStation 3, flat screen televisions, LED-illuminated bathtubs with rain and hand shower heads, Geneva Lab sound systems, high-speed Internet access, iPod docking stations and Bluray Players. 

For exercise enthusiasts, POHO provides the ultimate workout experience in its POHO Gym & Spa featuring workout machines by Technogym. An intimate spa facility designed to incorporate the waters that envelopes the village of Weggis transports guests to a state of total relaxation. The spa features an ice grotto, indoor pool, steam bath, sauna, exhilarating showers, relaxation room and solarium. The spa at POHO is a departure from the standard hotel spa experience in that the theme is the tranquil body of water that is Lake Lucerne. The calmness of the lake has been cleverly captured in the design of the lap pool with unique LED lighting that produces a flickering light when reflected off the pool.

Dining and lounging at POHO is a memorable experience as the dining and bar venues offer design elements of vibrant colors throughout the room. The Weggiser Stübli, established in 1875, seats up to 25 and gives a nod to the local history of the village of Weggis. Its original décor has been masterfully preserved in the spirit of an authentic Swiss dining experience. The Weggiser Stübli is open daily and serves authentic Swiss fare that include an array of fondues, local cheeses, traditional potato rösti and local dessert favorite Crepes Suzette. 

For guests seeking a unique venue in which to enjoy house and lounge music from all over the world, The POHO bar sets the seen in an atmosphere that is cool, hip and vibrant. Baroque style furnishings artfully displayed against a backdrop of mirror, brass and chandeliers. The bar itself is a piece of art and is flanked by cushioned art deco stools that serves up comfort as well as conversation piece. The bar is open in the evenings and serves cocktails, Tapas and light fare.

In addition to the Weggiser Stübli, there are three restaurants and bars: The POHO dining lounge, seating up to 90, and the POHO wine cellar, seating up to 30. In warmer climates guests are treated to an al fresco dining/lounge experience at the POHO Lakeside Terrace along Lake Lucerne, seating up to 100. Rattan seating with overstuffed orange cushions and outdoor umbrellas provides a cosmopolitan and chic environment in which guests enjoy signature cocktails, light fare and live entertainment in the evening. A full service marina with slips for eight vessels measuring up to 30 feet is available along with the POHO Lakeside Center, an aquatic center offering wakeboard, wake skate, water skiing and tube riding. POHO is also ideal for the business traveler offering a total of four meeting rooms measuring up to 109 square meters along with business services. In addition, its sister property, the Park Hotel Weggis offers expansive meeting facilities for social and corporate events along with business services and food and beverage options.

Rates at POHO range from 165.00 to 450.00 CHF. Packages and special offers are available. For information and reservations contact www.poho.ch or 011-41(0) 41 392 2525.

The Post Hotel Weggis (POHO) is a four-star superior contemporary boutique hotel located on the banks of Lake Lucerne opposite stunning views of Mts. Rigi and Pilatus and just 30 minutes from Lucerne and one hour from Zurich. Opened in 2008, the hotel is owned by M20-Immobilien AG and managed by Philipp Musshafen. The property boasts a chill out – urban contemporary lifestyle concept to accommodate a new generation of traveler desiring a hospitality experience that mirrors their lifestyle. Post Hotel Weggis features 45 guestrooms, fine-dining restaurant, wine cellar, the art-deco POHO Bar, lakeside terrace, Weggiser Stübli, POHO Gym & Spa with an indoor pool, sauna, ice grotto, steam bath and waterspouts. It is within walking distance of its five-star superior sister property, the Park Hotel Weggis, a Relais & Château property featuring 53 guestrooms and suites, 3 award-winning restaurants including 15 points Gault Millau and Michelin-starred Gourmet Restaurant Annex, an infinity pool, spa cottages, full-service spa and state-of-the-art meeting facility and Vinothek with 2,600 labels of wine, one of the most extensive collections in Switzerland. 

Lake Lucerne

Switzerland's Park hotel Weggis' Restaurant Annex Receives the Highly-Coveted Michelin Star Rating

The five-star, 53-room Park Hotel Weggis, a Relais & Châteaux property located in the picturesque lakeside Village of Weggis in Central Switzerland on the spectacular Lake Lucerne, is proud to announce that its leading gourmet restaurant, Annex, has been awarded one Michelin star in the 2008 Swiss edition of the renowned Michelin Guide.

Restaurant Annex received the distinguished Michelin star after mastering the five standards set forth by the Michelin Guide including;  excellent quality, mastery of flavor and cooking, value, “personality” of the cuisine and consistency. Although nearly 2,000 restaurants throughout Switzerland were recommended to the world’s most respected dining guide, the highly prestigious honor was bestowed upon only 84 restaurants in Swiss cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Bern and Lucerne.

Under the direction of Chef Renee Rischmeyer, Restaurant Annex offers a vast selection of light and aromatic gourmet cuisine. The restaurant specializes in traditional French culinary faire while blending influences from Asia and the Mediterranean. Signature dishes include Gratinated Scallops on Ox Tail Ragout and Macadamia Nuts and Loup de Mer on Citrus Fruit Risotto with Octopus and Fennel. For his innovative cuisine, Chef Rischmeyer, who directs the Restaurant Annex’s culinary staff, selects market fresh seasonal products to incorporate in each of his dishes. In addition to its exquisite culinary offerings, Park Hotel Weggis also has one of the most exclusive wine lists in Switzerland with approximately 2,600 labels in-house, which are overseen by the award-winning sommelier Christian Bock.
Newly refurbished Park Hotel Weggis offers 53 guestrooms and suites, including the uniquely designed Adara Suites featuring unadulterated views of Lake Lucerne, luxurious baths and amenities, in-room wine coolers and the latest in technology. Tibetan private spa cottages, Tibetan themed spa treatment rooms and therapies and Japanese gardens provide a tranquil respite in which to unwind. The refurbishment features the incorporation of modern day luxury design and style in the original hotel structure that housed the Mark Twain and Queen Victoria Suites. Award-winning fine-dining restaurants,

The Grape, Sparks and The Annex offer fusion cuisine and ambience in an atmosphere of elegance and high style. The signature Aquarius Hall is the perfect venue in which to create unique occasions with its glass panels and specially designed lighting executed in Murano glass by Philippe Starck. A century-old restored Vinothek hosts private wine pairings and approximately 2,600 labels lovingly overseen by award-winning sommelier Christian Bock. The hotel is open year-round.

For information and reservations contact Park Hotel Weggis at www.parkhotelweggis.com or mailto:info@phw.ch> or 011-41-2-41-392-05-05

Rates from CHF 170 ($151 USD) for Parc double room (standard) to CHF 1,000 ($986 USD) for Adara Two-Bedroom suite with lake views and balcony. Rates are per guest per night and include service and VAT but exclude tourist tax of CHF 2.50 ($2.22 USD). U.S. conversion rates as of December 10, 2007 and subject to change. 

The Park Hotel Weggis is a five-star member of Relais & Chateaux situated on the banks of Lake Lucerne just 30 minutes from Lucerne and one hour from Zurich. Founded in 1875 as the Hotel Bellevue by Wilhelm Strassli, the hotel is owned by M20-Immobilien AG and managed by Peter Kämpfer. Hotel Park Weggis features 53 guestrooms and suites, a sparkling wellness facility, private spa cottages, a state-of-the-art event hall, an authentic Vinothek with 2,600 labels of wine, the most extensive in Switzerland and recipient of 2005-2007 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, 3 award-winning restaurants including 15 points Gault Millau Gourmet Restaurant Annex, an infinity pool and is situated in the village of Weggis on Lake Lucerne with views of Mts. Rigi and Pilatus - considered the Mediterranean of Switzerland. Long established as the Jewel on Lake Lucerne the hotel has once again reclaimed its position after an extensive refurbishment program combining its original Art Nouveau façade with a new sleek design, modern day luxury elements and technology.

Park hotel Weggis Special -- Uncork Rare Vintages at Switzerland's Lakeside Gem

Located in the picturesque lakeside Village of Weggis in Central Switzerland with mountain views of Mts. Pilatus and Rigi, the luxury, five-star, 53-room Park Hotel Weggis boasts one of the most extensive wine collections in all of Switzerland. With 2,600 premier wine labels, including absolute rarities, all housed in its authentic Vinothek wine cellar, Park Hotel Weggis provides guests who wish to host both large and small wine functions an unparalleled experience in a truly unique venue and a spectacular location.

Encouraging guests to experience the rich savor of life, Park Hotel Weggis has completed restoration of its exceptional vaulted wine cellar providing an exclusive venue for events. Formerly a storage room with hooks on the ceiling for hanging items, the ancient cellar was carefully restored to its former splendor. The brick lined vaulted cellar includes originally restored walls dating back more than 130 years, and the ceiling in the foyer of the Vinothek is made of original materials gathered from a small farmhouse from the region of Emmental.

The 2,600 labels housed in the cellar are stored according to countries and the storage area is kept at a constant temperature with and humidity to provide ideal storing conditions.

With Christian Bock, award winning sommelier, presiding over the Vinothek, guests are assured private wine functions will be paired with premium wines of the finest vintages. The venue offers small and larger private wine tasting and formal dining options, and can accommodate up to 30 seated guests.

The property also boasts its own wine trade with “Vinothek im Park” or “Vinothek in the Park,” run by managing director Christian Bock, where guests can find rare vintages to add to their own personal collections, or simply select the perfect wine to take home with them. Offering wines from around the world, Vinothek im Park provides a selection of exquisite wines from the highest quality of vineyards across a range of price categories to suit each person’s needs.

The passion and love of wine flows throughout the property, as guests will also delight in sipping fine vintages without having to leave the comfort of their luxurious rooms. In each of the property’s 10 newly constructed Adara suites, a specially constructed wine cabinet offer guests with rarities such as Premier Grand Cru Classé from Bordeaux, Château d’Yquem and the legendary “Grange” Australian wines. In addition to the in-room wine cabinets, the Adara suites feature state-of-the-art technology, signature amenities, generous living areas, custom-designed marble baths with oversized soaking tubs and rain showers along with spacious terraces looking out to Lake Lucerne.

The hotel’s vast wine offerings can be enjoyed in on of the property’s three distinct restaurants, The Grape, Restaurant Annex and Restaurant Sparks. Each offers superb cuisine and unique atmospheres in which to sip the fine vintages. The Grape restaurant features an extensive selection of wines from California’s Napa Valley paired with expertly grilled steaks, Restaurant Annex offers gourmet French cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean influences, and Restaurant Sparks offers light and modern dishes based on a concept uniting art and design with market fresh flavors. Through Vinothek im Park, the wines are also available for guests to make direct purchases and enjoy upon returning home and can be ordered.

In addition to the Adara Suites and three fine-dining restaurants, the recent renovation program included the addition of six private Asian-inspired spa cottages containing treatment area, sauna, whirlpool, blossom bath, Kneipp spring, and solarium and foot bath. The property also offers a full-service spa featuring Tibetan treatments and therapies and Japanese gardens which provide guests with a tranquil respite. To accommodate larger social and banqueting needs aside from the Vinothek, the hotel has added Aquarius Hall, a glass enclosed venue offering the latest technology including a unique lighting system.

Park Hotel Weggis is welcoming discerning travelers to the property with exceptional rates of just CHF 235 ($213USD) for Parc double room (standard) to CHF 1,200 ($1,088 USD) for Adara Two-Bedroom suite with lake views and balcony. Rates are per guest per night and include service and VAT but exclude tourist tax of CHF 2.50 ($2.28 USD).  U.S. conversion rates as of November 27, 2007 and subject to change. Tourist tax subject to change. Rates exclude food and beverage and private spa cottages.

For information and reservations visit www.parkhotelweggis.com, mailto: info@phw.ch>info@phw.ch or 011-41-(0)413920505. To purchase wines through Vinothek im Park visit www.vinpark.ch.        

The Park Hotel Weggis is a five-star member of Relais & Chateaux situated on the banks of Lake Lucerne just 30 minutes from Lucerne and one hour from Zurich. Founded in 1875 as the Hotel Bellevue by Wilhelm Strassli, the hotel is owned by M20-Immobilien AG and managed by Peter Kämpfer. Hotel Park Weggis features 53 guestrooms and suites, a sparkling wellness facility, private spa cottages, a state-of-the-art event hall, an authentic Vinothek with 2,600 labels of wine, the most extensive in Switzerland and recipient of 2005-2007 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, 3 award-winning restaurants including 15 points Gault Millau Gourmet Restaurant Annex, an infinity pool and is situated in the village of Weggis on Lake Lucerne with views of Mts. Rigi and Pilatus - considered the Mediterranean of Switzerland. Long established as the Jewel on Lake Lucerne the hotel has once again reclaimed its position after an extensive refurbishment program combining its original Art Nouveau façade with a new sleek design, modern day luxury elements and technology.

TURKEY

The Marmara Antalya - The World's First and Only Revolving Hotel

The Marmara Antalya - the world's first and only revolving hotel - offers the best view in the house from every room in its revolving building. Perched on the majestic Falez Cliffs in Turkey's southern coast, every room of the resort's 24-room revolving loft offers ever-changing 360-degree panoramic views of the turquoise-blue mediterranean, the Antalyan coastline and the snow-capped Taurus Mountains.

The revolving loft was designed using shipbuilding specifications. It sits atop a special pool system where water drives the mechanisms that are set to turn the building 360-degrees every seven hours-- although it is capable of completing a revolution every three hours. The innovative design earned The Marmara Antalya a "Best Hotel Architecture" nomination from the prestigious Prix Villegiature Awards, which honor the best hotels in Europe.

The 24 guestrooms in the revolving loft have expansive windows, glass doors between the bathroom and bedroom and even bathtubs in the room--all to take full advantage of the magnificent views. The spacious rooms were designed to evoke a sense of comfortable luxury that one would find in a grand yet unpretentious beach home. Featuring the contemporary style of French designer Christian Allart, the color palette and natural fabrics used create a whimsical, casual elegance that blends beautifully with the seaside setting and allows the breathtaking views to be the focal point.

A second 15-story building with 208 guestrooms continues the same elegant and contemporary décor with stationary--but just as spectacular--views of the Mediterranean Sea or the Taurus Mountains.

The Marmara Antalya features a private beach reached via a dramatic 230-ft. stalactite-lined tunnel; a near-Olympic size outdoor pool; The Marmara Spa with traditional Turkish hammam; a fitness center; and a 975-ft. man-made river with adjustable wave height and flow strength for waterpsorts.

A variety of beautiful dining settings are available throughout the resort including the signature Marmara "Tuti" experience which provides a refreshing alternative to the traditionally hushed and reserved atmosphere of public areas in luxury hotels. In a soaring loft-style space that incorporates dining, relaxation and fun, guests find a restaurant, a library, art gallery, a living room, a lounge area and a billiards room, all in an inviting and interactive public area.

The focal points of the room are eight columns, each dedicated to a specific pursuit. There is an a rock-climbing column, art column, a library column, a "swinging chair" column, a web-surfing column, a culinary column called "Sakiz Ana," a spice rack column, and even a graffiti column, for guests to leave their comments. Inside and out, The Marmara Antalya offers an incomparable guest experience and the ideal Mediterranean getaway.

Rates for guest rooms at The Marmara Antalya start at euro 221 for the revolving loft and 161 euro for the main building, based on double occupancy, and includes breakfast. Rates are subject to taxes.

ABOUT THE MARMARA HOTELS & RESIDENCES
The Marmara Hotels & Residences marry the warmth of Turkish hospitality with European style. Turkey's most prestigious hotel collection offers spectacular locations, stunning views, great architecture, and warm service throughout its hotel properties including: The Marmara Istanbul in the heart of Taksim Square, The Marmara Pera in historic old Istanbul, The Marmara Bodrum, a seaside resort on the Aegean coast, The Marmara Antalya, the world's first and only revolving hotel and The Marmara Manhattan, a home away from home in the fashionable Upper East Side neighborhood of New York City.

These hotels operate under the philosophy that "Living Well Is The Best Revenge" thereby offering guests the ULTIMATE luxury experience.

For reservations or additional information, check web site www.themarmarahotels.com

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194, in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066 and visit www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.

LUXURY AND ADVENTURE AWAITS THE VALUE-CONSCIOUS TRAVELER IN TURKEY

U.S. travelers seeking great value in a destination filled with an abundance of culture, history, shopping, delectable food and deluxe accommodations should choose Turkey for their next getaway. Turkey is a magnificent place where one can indulge in exotic luxuries while receiving great value.

With the New Turkish Lira as its currency, Turkey allows U.S. travelers to get more out of every dollar they spend during their visit. With the little boost of spending power – and the relatively inexpensive cost of lodging and traveling through Turkey – travelers can enjoy an experiential holiday without breaking the bank.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of affordable options when looking for a hotel in Turkey. Istanbul, the country’s most popular city for U.S. tourists, has a host of excellent options under and around $100 USD. With its comfortable location in the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahamet district, the Hotel Nomade has rates starting at just $85 a night for a double room. The price includes an authentic Turkish breakfast served outside on the hotel’s spectacular rooftop terrace overlooking the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.

Located on a quiet street in the Sultanahamet district, the Zeynep Sultan Hotel has single rooms. Guests who book online for three nights or more have breakfast, all taxes, and one-way hotel transfers included in the price. At the Hotel Niles Istanbul, double room rates fluctuate year-round between $60 and $75 per night. Rates include tax and open buffet breakfast each morning.

Located on the shimmering Turquoise Coast in the sparkling port of Fethiye, the Belle Vue Hotel boasts rooms that have breathtaking views down over the town and coastline which run around $63 per night. In Antalya, the Royal Wings Hotel is a luxurious property with a scenic, relaxing pool area, situated on the Turkish Riviera. Rooms at the hotel average around $110 per night. While visiting Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, budget travelers can experience five-star hotel quality for a comfortable price at Mega Residence Hotel Ankara, where large, airy rooms and exceptional service offer extraordinary value at the average price of $142 per night.

What to See & Do

From taking in Turkey’s treasures and monuments dating back to antiquity to exploring the country’s spectacular landscape, Turkey has a myriad of options to entertain the budget-conscious traveler. A trip to Istanbul demands a visit to The Grand Bazaar, a maze of some 4,000 shops that sell treasures that make for a memorable trip. The 80 streets of the bazaar will have something for every taste and every budget, ranging from Turkish crafts to world-renowned carpets, ceramics, copper, brassware, antiques, and more. After strolling through the Bazaar, stop at any of the cafés along the Bosphorus, where an unforgettable afternoon alongside one of the world’s most celebrated rivers will cost only the price of cup of coffee. Sit amidst celebrities at The House Café (Ortakoy Meydani, Ph: 090 227 2699), or for a quiet spot, try Bebek Café near the Bebek mosque. The Spice Bazaar, next to the Yeni Mosque at Eminonu, transports visitors to fantasies from the mystical East through enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme, and every other conceivable herb and spice.

Head to the Anatolian region of Turkey to Cappadocia to delight in the surreal landscapes of the Rose Valley, where you can explore the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. Along the Mediterranean coast, relax in the turquoise bays of Fethiye and visit the beaches of Butterfly Valley, where $12 will buy a beautiful water taxi ride to the Blue Lagoon. For culture buffs looking for an inexpensive burst of tradition, be sure to catch a performance of the Whirling Dervishes in the town of Bursa, and experience a visual feast of Turkey’s vibrant and ancient culture.

Where to Eat

Turkey’s multicultural heritage has generated cuisine strong on grilled meats and seafood, salads, fruits and vegetables, rich desserts and tasty local drinks that typically emphasize the natural flavor of its main ingredients, a reflection of the abundance of fresh, high quality foods. Taking time for meals is an important part of Turkish culture, and there are plenty of options for the budget traveler to partake in this cultural pastime. Haci Abdullah is argued by some to be the best traditional restaurant in Istanbul (Sakızag˘acı Cad 17, Ph: 0212 293 8561). Since 1888, this gastronomic institution has been serving all of the traditional favorites, with a happy ending of desserts at affordable prices. For excellent seafood, Develi Marin by the Kalamus Yacht Port has been praised for its delightfully fresh dishes (Munir Nurettin Selcuk Caddesi, Ph: 0090 216 330 7425). For an even more memorable meal, head under the Galata Bridge in Sirkeci-Eminönü where you can savor a traditional Istanbul Fish Sandwich at many of the simple local eateries, or hop right on a fishing boat where fisherman grill freshly caught fish served right on the spot.
For the perfect kebap, try Haci Arif Bey Kebabcısı in Ankara, which has been serving perfectly cooked meats and honey-sweet baklava to generations of loyal clientele (Güniz Sok. 48, Ankara, Kavaklidere, Tel: 0312 467 6730). Recently opened in Spring 2007, Ziggy’s Shop and Café in Ürgüp, Cappadocia already has a loyal following of clients who love dining on the restaurant’s four terraces accompanied by cool jazz music (Tevfik Fikret Caddesi No. 24; Tel 090 384 341 7107). Don’t discount picking à la carte from local markets, which provide tasty and authentic options for a real taste of Turkish cuisine.

With its plethora of complimentary sites and welcoming culture, Turkey offers a paradise that overflows with virtually cost-free or inexpensive opportunities to immerse within the country’s traditions that set it apart from other European destinations. 

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194 or in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, and visit www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.

Great Places/Great Opportunities for Tourists

Once the traditional summer vacation season has passed, the autumn months offer visitors to Turkey glorious weather, fewer crowds, and a line-up of extraordinary events taking place in Istanbul and in the resort cities along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.

This season's "Spotlight" is on the Aegean, and with good reason. If you book a trip that includes this region, you‚ll marvel at the wonder of Ephesus, the exquisite small cities of Kusadasi, Bodrum, and Izmir, the private yachts and wooden Gulettes, and the restorative baths, hot springs and spas. All of these can be enjoyed against the backdrop of steep cliffs dropping down to the clear blue Aegean sea. 

Golfers will find several magnificent courses close to Istanbul and many others along the Mediterranean coast known as the "Turkish Riviera," so I suggest that you read Turkey Tees Off. Not only does the Mediterranean coast provide spectacular golf resorts and challenging championship courses, but golfers and their companions can also visit the ancient preserved cities of Perge, Side and Belek that are nearby. In the town of Ürgüp, located in the Cappadocia region, the new Serinn House hotel (www.serinnhouse.com/) is a fabulous choice for visitors looking for exceptional charm in a unique locale. With only five guest rooms, each luxuriously designed by famed Turkish architect Rfat Ergör, this intimate hotel retains the natural cave-dwelling beauty typical to the Cappadocia region while exuding a stylish modernity. Along with gracious hospitality, the Serinn House offers exquisite views, a convenient location, and lush accommodations worthy of any excursion to this interesting region of Turkey.

Recently refurbished, the Garden House Hotel (www.gardenhouseistanbul.com/) in Istanbul is reminiscent of Istanbulís ancient past, serving as a superb example of 19th Century Ottoman architecture with its wooden exterior and distinctive interior dÈcor. Located in the heart of Istanbulís Sultanahmet district, also known as Old City, the Garden House serves as the ultimate stepping stone for exploring Istanbulís history and charms. Having such modern luxuries as air conditioning, minibars, in-room safes, satellite television, Internet connections and whirlpool bathtubs in each room, the Garden House Hotel grants guests access to Istanbulís typical contradictions; modernity mixed with tradition.  

The newly opened Sisus Hotel (www.sisushotel.com/), situated on the Cesme Peninsula near the Dalyankoy Yacht Marina in Izmir, offers young and old a five-star boutique experience along the coast. Amenities include such luxurious facilities as a health and wellness center complete with Turkish bath, spa therapies, and massage programs, a heated outdoor swimming pool and range of water sports, tennis courts, a billiards room, and the opportunity to join jeep safaris and sightseeing expeditions.

Along the Turkish coastline, the newly renovated five-star Mitsis Ramira Beach Resort (www.mitsishotels.com/Hotels/ramirabeach-hotel/), slightly over two miles from the city of Kos, offers guests 337 contemporary rooms with modern amenities and expansive gardens. Situated on the beach of Psalidi, travelers can expect exceptional service in a secluded environment. Whether relaxing on a sun bed by the Mediterranean or participating in such activities as tennis, windsurfing, beach volleyball or soccer, the Mitsis Ramira offers a great many options to keep each and every guest occupied and pleased.

There are many golf courses throughout Turkey, and for the past decade the numbers have continued to rise. The Belek Borough, or the 'Turkish Riviera' along the Mediterranean coast east of Antalya is a popular destination where accommodations are lavish and golf resorts reign supreme. Avid golfers have a plethora of options in that area. Nature lovers will flock to courses such as the Gloria, set among the pine forests at the foot of the Toros Mountains; the Nobilis Golf Resort, framed by the spectacular wooded scenery along the Belek Acisu River with a course designed by world-renowned architect Dave Thomas; or the National Golf Club just 24 minutes from the Antalya airport and set among pines and lakes, a course designed by European Ryder Cup team member David Feherty. The Tat International Golf Club is a triple threat, with its 27-hole championship course boasting panoramic views of snow-covered mountains, the Mediterranean Sea and numerous lakes. Perge is just an hour away from all of the Belek Boroughís courses, where more Turkish athletic spots including ancient athletic stadiumsólie.

Close to the historic city of Istanbul is one of the oldest golf clubs in Europe; the Istanbul Golf Club, founded in 1895. Also convenient to Istanbul is The Kemer Golf and Country Club. Only a 25-minute drive from the city, The Kemer Golf and Country Club is set in the quiet hills of the Belgrade Forest, where the tranquility of the course is distant from the bustle of the city.

The first Links style course ever to open in Turkey will be unveiled in the fall of 2007 near the ancient Mediterranean town of Side. Overlooking the sea from all perspectives, the 80 hectare site will house two courses: an 18-hole Championship, par-72 course, and a 9-hole Academy, par-27 course. Golf enthusiasts around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy the pleasant weather and views at the coast, along with the challenges of the sea winds blowing off the Mediterranean.

An oasis of grand proportion, with world-renowned courses situated close to the world's most stunning historical and natural sites, Turkey serves as the ultimate golf destination getaway.

Before rapt audiences in both cities, the Whirling Dervishes performed their mysterious and legendary dances which were inspired by the beliefs of Rumi, and which reflect the heart and soul of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. The messages of the Mevlevi sect, as set forth in the teachings of Rumi, promote goodness, charity, peace and tolerance towards all peoples. The anniversary of Rumi's birth and the performances of the Whirling Dervishes served as welcome reminders of those spiritual messages.

Rumi's teachings of goodwill and friendship are most evident in Turkey's outreach to its visitors, thus the connection of the Whirling Dervishes to Turkey's tourism programs. Representing the Ministry of Tourism during the performance tour were Mr. Ozgur Ozarslan, general Director of Promotions and Mr. Levent Demirel, Deputy General Director of Promotions.

News of the performances was carried in Time Out New York, ModernAgent.com and In the Know Traveler, among other media outlets in the U.S.

For information about travel to Turkey call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194 or in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800 and visit www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.

Turkey Offers Exotic Locales for Weddings and Honeymoons

Turkey, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, offers couples an exotic locale with modern amenities. With world-class hotels and resorts, endless sightseeing opportunities, exceptional shopping and thousands of miles of turquoise waters, couples can enjoy privacy, history and luxury in a country that offers it all.
Turkey boasts some of the world’s most extraordinary scenes for an ideal wedding or honeymoon. And with hotel packages that range from intimate and traditional to extravagant and exotic, properties throughout Turkey make that special day, and those afterwards, romantic, convenient and memorable. 

At the Hyatt Regency Istanbul, an entire staff of wedding professionals is on-hand to cater to the bride and groom’s every wish. The Hyatt Regency Istanbul’s wedding package can cater to those who prefer a traditional wedding or one with exotic elements, along with accommodations in a wedding suite on the couple’s wedding night and special wedding amenities.

Once the special day is complete, couples can spend their honeymoon in Istanbul at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, which offers three packages that cater to honeymooners. The Honeymoon/Anniversary Package, Suite Dreams Honeymoon package and Magic Moments package give guests a selection of romantic offerings, from plush accommodations with views of the Bosphorus, a Laveda Signature Body Massage in the Couples Suite, rose petal turndowns, sparkling wine upon arrival, and special meals at the hotel’s Cintemani Restaurant.

Elsewhere in Turkey, couples can choose a wedding on the sun-soaked coastline. The Sea Breeze Hotel in the Mediterranean resort town of Ölüdeniz provides exquisite beachside weddings under the palm-lined beaches of Turkey’s magnificent Turquoise Coast. Sun set photography opportunities are available at the world renowned Blue Lagoon, accessible only by boat. The hotel offers a spectacular dinner feast complete with musical entertainment and Turkish belly dancers and wedding packages that include everything the bride and groom need, including all legal arrangements. 

The Kempinski Dome Belek Hotel in Turkey’s Antalya region offers honeymooners the choice of a lavish two-night, honeymoon stay in a junior-suite or a full week in a deluxe room with a sea view. Both packages include daily breakfast, in-room champagne and fruit toast upon arrival, full body massages, airport transfers, and candlelit 3-5 course dinners, among other special amenities. 

Lavish amenities complemented by breathtaking scenery can be enjoyed on the Turkish Riviera. The Sheraton Voyager Antalya Resort & Spa provides its newlywed guests with a honeymoon cake, sea-view room, congratulatory flower arrangement, luxurious bathrobes, and a 15% discount on extra services throughout the hotel. While at the Titantic Beach and Resort Hotel, newlyweds are greeted with a rose petal-dusted room, fruit basket and sparkling wine and first morning breakfast in bed, along with other additional gifts and amenities. 

Along the Aegean Sea, the resort towns of Bodrum and Marmaris are exclusive destinations to relax and take-in in the beauty of the Turkish coast. At the Elegance Hotel in Marmaris, honeymooners receive discounted rates of up to 25% depending upon the season. The Marmara Bodrum Hotel provides newlyweds with an upgraded sea-view room, fruit basket and snacks, and a local bottle of wine to pair with a romantic dinner at Tufi restaurant.

Further inland, weddings can be arranged over or under the spectacular Cappadocia region of Turkey. With Turkish Heritage Travel weddings, couples can marry in a hot air balloon, floating above the chimney-like rock formations of the Cappadocia landscape, or inside a historical cave church. Various packages are available with options such as a wedding celebratory dinner in a rose-garden with breathtaking views of the Cappadocia valley below.

For newlyweds looking for a one-of-a-kind honeymoon experience, the Goreme House Hotel, tucked in the unusual terrain of Goreme village, is the perfect place to have a true Anatolian experience. Built out of beautiful stone from the Cappadocia region, this quaint hotel awards its newlywed guests with a serene and peaceful environment perfect for the relaxation desired on a honeymoon. The hotel’s suites are carved into cozy caves, complete with Jacuzzis and decorated in traditional Anatolian décor, proving to be the perfect retreat. Honeymooning couples also receive a 10% discount at special restaurants found throughout Goreme.

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194, in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066 and visit web sites www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.

ERZURUM

For more information on winter sport resorts in Turkey, please contact the Youth and Sport General Directorate at +90 (312) 311 0764, Turkish Ski Committee at www.turkski.org or the Federation of International Ski at www.fis-ski.com.

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194, in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066 and visit www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.

KOYNA

Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi

Each year, the commemorative ceremony for Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi begins
as it has for nearly 800 years, with a traditional reading accompanied by the mesmerizing sounds of the ney (reed flute). Following the readings from a poem of praise for Mevlâna, the thrilling dance begins: The barefoot dervishes remove their flowing black cloaks to reveal white robes, before taking position to begin their traditional whirling movements.

The festival is particularly meaningful this year as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has just announced that it will commemorate the 800th anniversary of Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi's birth as one of the celebrations of anniversaries with which UNESCO is associated. For more information, visit www.unesco.org.

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact
the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194, in
Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066 or check web site www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.

WALES

Where to Stay

Wales' Wow-Worthy Accommodation Is Under the Thatch

An authentic Gypsy caravan set in its own acre of riverside meadow, a restored Edwardian railway carriage built as a sleeper coach for the Great Western Railway and a fabulously secluded farmhouse on a 12-acre working sheep farm are among the offerings of Under the Thatch, a Welsh sustainable tourism business with one-of-a-kind, WOW!-worthy accommodation. 

Under the Thatch has 18 completely original, fantastically-affordable self-catering accommodation ranging from woodland log cabins, traditional cottages and 17th-century farmhouses to converted railway carriages and authentic vardos. Package prices start as low as £25 per night. For couples seeking the ultimate in seclusion and romance, it has love nests for two and for those who believe the more, the merrier, it has accommodation comfortably sleeping eight.

The profits from Under the Thatch go to rescuing historic buildings at risk. The company aims to rent its accommodations every night of the year. If the cottages are not booked out of season, Under the Thatch reduces the price until they do book because it believes that the buildings should continue to work for their communities, even in low season. It would rather rent a cottage with no profit being made than have it stand empty.

For more information about Under the Thatch and its special offers on its one-of-a-kind accommodation, visit www.underthethatch.com

The landscape and the ethos of Wales are decidedly green; Visit Wales actively supports green tourism, and it awarded Under the Thatch a Green Dragon Environmental Award in 2006. For more information about planning a trip to” Green Wales” call 1-877-872-1133 or visit www.visitwales.com.

What to See & Do

2016 marks the “Year of Adventure” in Wales, and there’s no shortage of celebrations, activities, events and festivals \

In preparation for the 2017 release of the highly anticipated movie “Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur,” Wales is inviting travelers to catch a glimpse of the various filming locations throughout the country with special themed tours. The adventures continue with exciting new fitness and well-being retreats, culinary tours, celebrations marking the centenary of Welsh-born author Roald Dahl’s birthday, complimentary visits to the Welsh world heritage sites, in addition to new restaurant openings. The adventure awaits, so pack your bags and get ready for an exciting 2016!

St. David’s Day
Celebrate all things Welsh this spring with St. David’s Day celebrations. On March 1, Wales honored the memory of the country’s patron saint in Cardiff, featuring an entire weekend of entertainment, including the annual parade. A rousing mass rendition of the national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, finished the procession outside St. David’s Hall, where visitors can enjoy a special gala concert from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the evening. Afterwards, folks can gather in pubs for a pint while enjoying some authentic Welsh music performances. Visitors who aren’t planning to be in the capital can enjoy the other vibrant parades taking place in Aberystwyth, West Wales and Wrexham and Llandudno, North Wales. Visit www.stdavidsday.org

As an added bonus, the Welsh government’s historic environment service, Cadw, is opening its sites for free access on St. David’s Day. Visitors can explore more than 6,000 years of Welsh history across sites including the magnificent St. David’s Bishop’s Palace (which stands in a grassy hollow next to purple-stoned St. David’s Cathedral), Harlech Castle, Beaumaris Castle and Tintern Abbey. Visit cadw.wales.gov.uk/

Walk in the footsteps of King Arthur
The much anticipated film, “Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur,” primarily filmed in North Wales, is set for release in 2017. With the majority of the action taking place in the beautiful and wild Snowdonia, visitors can now retrace the footsteps of both the legend and the film stars. The national park pays homage to King Arthur, with several places bearing his name, including Cegin Arthur and Ffynnon Arthur. A stone resembling the hoof print of Arthur’s horse Llamrai, can be found on the banks of Lake Barfog, and the lakes, Llyn Llydaw and Llyn Ogwen, have been proposed to be the last resting place of Arthur’s sword Excalibur. To honor the movie, directed by Guy Ritchie and featuring a star-studded cast including Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law and Katie McGrath, there will be themed underground boat rides through King Arthur’s Labyrinth at Corris, as well as custom tours created by guide Amanda Whitehead, bringing to life the locations behind both the film and the legend. Visitors to North Wales can also take a leap of faith on Europe’s longest zip-wire at Penrhyn Slate Quarry, bounce on underground trampolines at Llechwedd Caverns or catch a wave at Surf Snowdonia. Visit www.wales-guide.co.uk/

Snowdonia National Park granted dark sky status
Exciting news for nature lovers – the Snowdonia National Park has become Wales’ second destination to be awarded dark sky status. It joins the Brecon Beacons as one of only ten locations worldwide to be designated as an international dark sky reserve. This status is granted when an area offers extremely high quality stargazing conditions, something very common among this mountain range. The Oakeley Arms Hotel in the heart of Snowdonia is the ideal base from which to stargaze. This historic Welsh inn is set in the beautiful village of Maentwrog and is surrounded by the lush green hills of the Vale of Ffestiniog. Its remote location means light pollution is uncommon and during a clear night, the skies will be twinkling. Visit www.visitwales.com/latest-news/2015/december/snowdoniadarksky

New coastal health and well-being retreat set for spring launch
An exciting new coastal retreat offering health and well-being packages is launching this spring in Aberdovey, Northwest Wales. Set in and around the idyllic Welsh coastal village of Aberdovey and other beautiful spots near the water, SEAcotherapy packages were designed by psychologist Dr. Victoria Galbraith to promote wellness, while embracing nature and the power of the waves. Guests can enjoy a range of accommodation options from luxury properties to extravagant camps, with standard three to five night stays or longer, on the seafront or with countryside views. The retreat focuses on personal development and includes daily mindfulness lessons, group Pilates sessions, stand-up paddle boarding, rock pooling, swimming, pony trekking, and art on the beach. Current dates for the retreats are May 27-30, June 17-20, and July 1-4. Prices start from around $500 (£350) per person. Visit www.seacotherapy.co.uk.

New adventure fitness retreat from Preseli Venture
As the saying goes – if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. This year, Preseli Venture is encouraging people to do just that – challenge themselves on its fitness and adventure weekend retreat for the perfect opportunity to improve mental and physical well-being in the inspiring, wild environment of Pembrokeshire National Park. Participants will get to take part in many fun activities from coasteering and surfing, to strength training and trail running. At the end of each day, attendees can relax with the comfort and hospitality of Preseli Venture’s five star eco-lodge, with healthy meals served throughout the weekend to keep them nourished from inside-out.

A weekend retreat starts from around $381 (£265) per person, including two nights’ accommodation, food from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, two half-day guided adventure sessions, workshops, specialist equipment, minibus transport for all activities and train station transfers for certain trains. Visit www.preseliventure.co.uk/adventure-weekends/fitness-adventure-weekend/

MasterChef finalist launched new Asian restaurant
Acclaimed Welsh chef and former MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen launced his first restaurant in a joint venture with The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, on February 6, 2016.

The restaurant will open in the five star resort’s Manor House and will be its first Asian restaurant, joining six others. Guests will be able to sample fluffy steamed bao buns filled with hoisin duck, succulent sharing platters of Peeking duck and Korean fried chicken. For more information visit www.celtic-manor.com

New exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff
To celebrate the 2016 Year of Adventure in Wales, National Museum Cardiff is hosting extraordinary treasures from popular culture including the hat, whip and jacket of Indiana Jones and crystal skulls, as well as early finds such as pre-Columbian Gold and Egyptian Mummies.

The exhibitions will tell the stories behind great archaeological discoveries from the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Pre-Columbian America and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), some of which have never before been seen in Wales. It will include a whole host of fascinating objects and treasures from ancient worlds as well as more recent ones uncovered in Wales. The exhibition, which debuted on January 26, will open to the public through October 30, 2016. Visit www.museumwales.ac.uk/cardiff/

Diner’s Delight: Indulge in Cardiff Tasting Tours
Experience the capital’s thriving food scene with Loving Welsh Food’s Cardiff Tasting Tours, which started on January 15 and run every Friday through November 25. During the tours, visitors will get to enjoy sightseeing in the city’s center, including the beautiful parks, majestic buildings, the Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium, while getting a taste of traditional Welsh cuisine. Guests will indulge in delicious Welsh cakes, charcuterie, cheeses, seafood, and ales and wines, and discover the best places to eat, drink, and shop. Visit lovingwelshfood.uk/.

Celebrating 100 Years of Roald Dahl
2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, the world’s number one storyteller and author of popular books like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As his country of birth, Wales is proud to play a part in the Roald Dahl 100 Celebrations through a series of events and surprises throughout the year. For World Book Day, on March 3, visitors got to buy Roald Dahl’s book, “The Great Mouse Plot,” at a special rate of $1.44 (£1).

In May, the Hay Festival, which unites writers from around the world to share stories, will be taking place and will offer a range of special programs to honor Roald Dahl. Also, an upcoming major exhibition of the work of one of the world’s best-loved illustrators, Quentin Blake, who famously illustrated many of Roald Dahl’s books, will be held at the National Museum of Wales from July 16 to November 20. Guests will get an inside look at the adventures of his popular creations, including Matilda and the Big Friendly Giant.

The month of July will also give visitors an opportunity to take a magical journey through seven immersive worlds that explore Roald Dahl’s life, characters, and stories at “The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl,” an interactive exhibition opening at the Wales Millennium Center in Cardiff. On September 17 & 18, the biggest arts event, known as City of the Unexpected, will take place on the streets of Cardiff. Produced by Wales Millennium Center and the National Theatre Wales and directed by Nigel Jamieson, the event will include theatrical performances across the city, featuring many of Roald Dahl’s characters. Visit www.visitwales.com/latest-news/2015/july/roalddahl100.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Lintshire's Real Ale Trail (April 23)
Calling all beer-lovers! Wales’ Lintshire's Real Ale Trail is the perfect excuse to discover the charm of authentic Welsh pubs and unique real ales in the country, without having to worry about who's driving! This bus-based Ale festival takes visitors to the most loved proper Welsh pubs through Flintshire's beautiful countryside. Visit www.realaletrailflintshire.co.uk/
For additional events, check out www.VisitWales.com

For more information go to web sites:

www.usa.visitwales.com
www.trade.visitwales.com
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Wales Announces New 2016 tour Lineup: "Year of Adventure" Becons Travelers to Explore Country's Rich Culture, Food and Landscape.

Wales is saying “Croeso” (Welcome!) to the 2016 “The Year of Adventure,” and tour operators across the U.S. have rolled out a robust series of programs and packages for eager globetrotters seeking unparalleled experiences. Inspired by Visit Wales to take on a creative interpretation of “adventure travel,” operators are launching programs that include everything from hard-core thrills to cultural experiences. The new tours perfectly showcase how Wales has become the “go to” locale for travelers in search of experiences outside of their everyday comfort zones. Whether following in the footsteps of one of the country’s official adventure ambassadors, Bear Grylls, by taking on heart-racing activities like scaling the mist-enshrouded summit of Mount Snowdon, or embarking on a softer adventure like exploring Wales’ culinary delights via specialized food and wine safaris, Wales has no shortage of one-of-a-kind activities in store for 2016.

Tenon Tours: Game of Thrones-inspired tour, 4 Nights, from $849 per person - Embark on a journey that transcends worlds and time as you explore the lands of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Tenon Tours’ self-drive explores the many historic sites that served as inspiration for the adventures of George R. R. Martin’s complex world of Westeros. Visitors looking for a shorter jaunt can enjoy a city break with Tenon Tours in Cardiff or Llandudo that offers exciting day excursions to the new Bounce Below (the world’s first underground trampoline park in a former slate mine) and Zip World (the longest and fastest zip line in the northern hemisphere) attractions near Llandudno, or a trip into a formerly working coal mind at the UNESCO World Heritage National Coal Museum outside of Cardiff.

Wilderness Travel: Adventure in Wales, 11 nights, from $6,095 per person - This active hiking and cultural journey brings guests along the stunning trails of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, into the exquisite Wye Valley, and to the haunting ruins of Tintern Abbey. The Welsh are natural storytellers, and participants meet weavers, scholars, a Cistercian monk—even a coracle enthusiast. Meals are wonderfully local, from delightful cheeses and fresh-picked scallops to renowned Welsh lamb. Journeying from the castle-topped ridges of the Brecon Beacons to coastal villages and the mountains of Snowdonia, enjoy overnights in historic coaching inns, a royal country home, and be welcomed by Welsh families for a home-cooked meal.

Special Group Tours, Wales: Land of Song – South, West and North Wales Sampler, 9 nights, from $3,999 per person - On this tour featuring three national parks and the most impressive range of 12th century castles of anywhere in the British Isles, history and culture buffs will explore a wide variety of sites throughout Wales including: Dylan Thomas’ boathouse in Laugharne in South Wales; Pembrokeshire National Park and its mystical standing stones of Pentre Ifan; the seaside Victorian town of Llandudno on the West Coast and the majesty of Snowdonia National Park in the North. This epic journey lets travelers choose which of the many adventures in Wales they want to experience. Learn the inner workings of a historic slate mine or spend the afternoon amidst the soft skeins at the Woolen Center. Shop for gifts in a charming market town or head for the rugged coast with natural geological wonders like the famous “Green Bridge of Wales.” The pinnacle of the tour is its namesake – a heart-stirring performance by a Welsh male voice choir in the ‘land of song.’

Lynott Tours: Great Little Trains of Wales tour, 7 nights, from $1980 per person - Experience the nostalgic pleasures and romance of steam travel whilst exploring the Welsh countryside on this historic railways holiday. Highlights will include the famous narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway. Ride the narrow gauge steam railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. Here you can change for the newly-rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway which runs via Beddgelert to Caernarvon. Enjoy a ride to the summit of Britain’s Highest Railway station on Snowdon, with unsurpassed views, and the LLanberis Lake Railway with its unrivalled views of the mountains of Snowdonia from viewpoints inaccessible by road.

Special Group Tours: Women only Wales, 9 nights from $2899 per person – Special Group Tours offers the ultimate girls’ getaway on its Women Only Wales trip, an adventure that invites travelers to meet local women throughout the country. Meet the ladies of Abergavenny town for tea and learn about the group of 60 women who have worked together for over four years to weave a tapestry that tells the story of this historic market town. The tour takes travelers through the lush well-kept countryside, picturesque villages, fine gardens, medieval castles and quaint, storybook perfect cottages throughout the country.

Lynott Tours: 5-day escorted Snowdonia Tour, 4 nights, from $723 per person - For those eager to journey into Snowdonia’s rich history and Instagram-ready scenery, there’s the 5 day Snowdonia Tour. Climb atop the parapets of Caernarfon Castle, then venture on a 25-mile ride through the beautiful countryside on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland narrow-gauge steam railway. The trip also visits the fantasy Italianate village of Portmeirion, and llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the railway station with the longest name in Britain. The program culminates in Llandudno, a charming Victorian seaside resort, known as the place where Lewis Carroll met Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.

CIE Tours: Taste of Wales and Ireland, 9 nights, from $1878 per person - Travelers will spend five days in North Wales enjoying a variety of activities including a Tudor escapade to discover Henry VIII’s link to the Welsh Pembroke Castle (hint: his dad was born here). Delving into Welsh traditions at a craft center, travelers will enjoy a creative adventure learning the art of hand-carved lovespoons. Journey through colorful coastal villages on the way to St David’s, the smallest city in Britain. The trip also visits the imposing 12th century St David’s Cathedral, named for the patron saint of Wales, to view the magnificent carvings and take a look through the nearby art galleries, craft shops and tea rooms.

Sceptre Tours: Wales Castles, Coasts & Celts, 7 nights from $3984 per person - Discover Wales during a week-long tour beginning and ending in the Capital city of Cardiff, making stops in Pembrokeshire, Conwy and beyond! Travelers will relish a train ride on Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway, one of the Great Little Trains of Wales. Throughout the adventure, visitors will enjoy a variety of tours and experiences, and a range of historical and cultural excursions. Traveling with a small group, groups will taste the food which is putting Wales on the culinary map, meet the local people who make up this friendly country, immerse themselves in the history and learn couple of words in Welsh along the way!

About Visit Wales:
Visit Wales is the New York-based government tourism office for Wales, one of four countries that make up the United Kingdom. A land with 641 castles, 870 miles of walkable coastline, three national parks and award-winning cuisine, Wales offers travelers a variety of activities and different landscapes to explore. The country's Celtic history and ancient language make it a distinctive British destination. For more information on Wales travel, visit www.visitwales.com/americas.

Opulence and Escape: A Bloomingdale's Trip to North Wales

Check-out the on-location photo shoot in North Wales featured in Bloomingdale's fall men's catalogue. Then take a journey inspired by the shoot with "Bloomingdale's: Opulence & Escape," a custom travel package by go-today. The 7-day tour includes stays in the elegant, five-star estates: Chateau Rhianfa and Bodysgallen Hall. While there, you'll discover medieval castles, the Island of Anglesey and the Italianate style village of Portmeirion.

The travel package includes:  
3-night hotel accommodations in Llandudno
2-night hotel accommodations in Anglesey
1-night hotel accommodations in Manchester
7-day car rental with CDW and Theft Protection
7-day Welsh Explorer Pass
Entrance to Welsh Male Voice Choir rehearsal 

Visit the Go Today website to find out more and book your Opulent Escape to Wales
Find out more about North Wales  
 
North Wales isn’t the only place for show-stopping scenery, you’ll find this around every corner in Wales. Discover what Wales has to offer and be inspired for your next trip.   

Southern Wales

Southern Wales is home to our capital city of Cardiff located just two-hours from Central London by train. Here, you’ll find all the flavor of a big city, without the hustle and bustle

Top tips:
Take a guided tour of Cardiff Castle, the lavish medieval castle set in the heart of the city
Visit the National Museum Cardiff, home to the second largest impressionist art collection in the world
Take a stroll around Cardiff Bay – here you’ll find the Wales Millennium Centre, the Doctor Who Experience and a bustling waterfront where you can watch the world go by over a pint of Welsh ale
Visit the best-preserved medieval abbey in Wales, Tintern Abbey
 Taste Welsh wine and take part in a cookery class at Llanerch Vineyard
 
South-West Wales

The stunning coastal landscapes of South-West Wales have inspired literary legends such as Dylan Thomas. And now it’s your turn to let the turquoise shores and seaside hideaways take your breath away.

Top Tips:
Take a stroll along the Wales Cost Path in Pembrokeshire  – Britain’s only Coastal National Park
Visit the picturesque harbor town of Tenby
Learn about the history of Wales Patron Saint at St. David’s Cathedral, one of Wales’ most iconic religious sites
Follow the Dylan Thomas Trails across South West Wales, visiting the locations that inspired one of Wales’ greatest poets
Take a boat trip and look out for bottlenose Dolphins along the Ceredigion Coast
 
  Mid Wales

Mid Wales and The Brecon Beacons has incredible natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage. It’s a destination for all seasons, with National Trails, festivals and pretty spa towns and quaint market towns.

Follow the National Trails in Brecon Beacons National Park
Visit Hay-on-Wye , home to the internationally renowned annual Hay Festival
Sample high tea at the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny
Stargaze at Wales’ first International Dark Sky Reserve in the Brecon Beacons
Taste Welsh Whiskey at Penderyn Distillery, where you can take a tour and sample the products

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) helps people keep it green year-long with residential courses on how to shrink your ecological footprint, give your life a sustainable makeover and learn how green your garden really is. For those dedicated to green living, CAT also offers hands-on learning courses on making one’s own biodiesel, building your own wind turbine and building from strawbales.  Open to the public since 1975, Wales’ Centre for Alternative Technology has earned worldwide recognition as a leader in presenting practical solutions to environmental problems in a fun and informative way. The visitor center has a range of interactive displays on wind, water and solar power, green transport, energy efficiency, ecological building and organic growing. 

Visitors to the Centre for Alternative Technology who want to keep their vacation green can stay at nearby award-winning green B&B’s that serve home-grown, organic vegetarian food; bicycle throughout Mid Wales’ Dyfi Valley and explore nearby nature reserves and beaches.

Visit the Centre for Alternative Technology at web site www.cat.org.uk for a bevy of Green tips for the Holidays and to learn more about saving our planet. You can e-mail your green questions to info@cat.org.uk .

For more information about planning a vacation in Wales of any color, check web site www.visitwales.com or call 800 462 2748.

The Centre for Alternative Technology’s pocket-sized booklet “52 Weeks To Change Your World” makes for a great stocking stuffer. This can be ordered from web site. www.cat.org.uk.

Legend of St. Dwynwen, Welsh Patron St. of Lovers

As legend has it Dwynwen, the prettiest of the Welsh King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters, fell deeply in love with a Welsh prince Maelon Dafodrill, but her father forbade her to marry him. Maelon was so outraged by this that he left her. She begged God for help to make her forget him and was then visited in her sleep by an angel who gave her a sweet drink designed to erase all memory of Maelon and to turn him to ice. When she awoke she prayed to God again for help and was granted three wishes. She wished that Maelon be unfrozen, that she never marry and that God answer all requests made by her on behalf of lovers - all three wishes were fulfilled and she devoted her life to God.

Spring is the Perfect Time to Explore Wales

Spring is a perfect time to explore Wales' bustling cities, rural villages, and quiet country lanes. Don't want to drive? Explore by bus, train, or walking tour. Or take a ride with the postman! En route, visit, a mill, a Roman camp, a new waterfront museum.

When Wales "called all Joneses" to Cardiff’s Millennium Center last November, 1,224 Joneses arrived from all over the world! The result? The Joneses grabbed the Guinness World Record for “largest surname gathering in the world” away from the Norbergs of Sweden. The Norbergs just couldn’t keep up with the Joneses.

So Spring has arrived - probably one of the best seasons in Wales. Year round we see the changing of the seasons and the differences they bring to the landscape, but one constant you can be sure of is the welcome or "Croeso" from the Welsh people. They're a friendly lot and probably a bit inquisitive to go with it. A trip to Wales would not be complete without trying to get to know a few of the locals. A great way to do this is to ride a PostBus or sit in on a Male Voice Choir rehearsal - an unforgettable experience - and who knows, you may get invited down the pub afterwards for a pint.

To find out more about the choirs and where they rehearse, check out homecomingwales.com.

Explore Deep Down in a "Pit Cage"

Don a hard hat and rattle 300 feet into the earth in a "pit cage," the way Welsh coal miners did. See where workers turned out the wool that dressed Europe and where they mined the slate that roofed the world. Stroll through a superb collection of French art, amassed by two ladies from rural Wales. Visit a Roman fort, a living history center, and a high tech waterfront museum.

This spring, a visit could take you from Cardiff all the way to Snowdonia, making stops at the seven museums that together make up the National Museum Wales, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2007.

Along the way, you will learn about Welsh history, from the Celts, through Wales' years as the most remote outpost of the Roman Empire, all the way up to the clanging, clamor and danger of the Industrial Revolution and on to modern times. Special Centenary exhibitions and events abound, admission is free, and by visiting all seven, you will also get a great insight into Wales and it's people.

Escorted Tours and Packages Great Idea

Escorted tours and value-priced packages are both great ways to see the Welsh countryside. Here are some choices, both classic and new:

The Wayfarers' six-day, five-night guided walk, "Snowdonia: Land of Myths & Mountains" takes walkers to a castle; a farm with working border collies; to Portmeiron. Daily walks cover 8 to 10 miles (pick-up van available). Mention this article when you book and receive a CD of Welsh music.

Mountain Travel Sobek has guided "Historic Hikes of North Wales," also focused around Snowdonia. This more intensive trip includes a hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon, Wales' tallest mountain. Mention this article when you book and receive a free North Face duffle bag.

Avanti Destinations offers great values on driving tour packages, which include stays in small, privately owned hotels that belong to the elite Welsh Rarebits hotel group. Packages include three nights accommodations with breakfast, a four-day economy car rental, and a four-day Great British Heritage pass,. From $469 per person, Avanti packages must be booked through a travel agent, contact your local agent or take advantage of the knowledge of our Wales specialists.

For more information on Wales, contact Visit Wales - U.S.A., 551 Fifth Avenue, Suite 701, New York, NY 10176.

Wales’ Brecon Beacons Offers B&B Bargain for Horse & Rider- Hay Included

Legendary Welsh hospitality is expanding with a new program that not only caters to riders, but to their horses too. The Brecon Beacons National Park has introduced the first-ever horse-friendly B&B network beginning with 18 B&B’s offering a warm welcome and great value for horse and rider.

Characteristic of the horse-friendly B&B’s is the Wern, which created a three-day circuit for riders who start at its farm and stay a night at two other farms on the way. Breakfast for its two-legged guests includes locally cured bacon, eggs from the farmyard and home-made jam and lemon curd; its four-legged guests dine on locally-grown grass. For dinner, riders are treated to local lamb or beef and the horse is treated to locally produced haylage and windfall apples in the autumn with “room service” delivering fodder and hard food upon request.

Accommodation for riders is in a double or twin room with natural-fiber bedclothes, and the horses spend the night in the comfort of specialist aubiose (hemp) bedding. The Wern B&B charges £25 for riders and £15 for horses plus an additional £5 for unlimited grazing, similar rates apply to the other B&B’s in the network.

In related news, the Brecon Beacons has joined with the British Horse Society to create a new publication which promotes five new circular routes which travel through some of the park’s most outstanding beauty spots. The pamphlet includes a detailed map and essential riding information.

Regarded as one of the most important geological landscapes in Europe, the Brecon Beacons was the first national park in Britain to be awarded membership in the highly prestigious European Geopark Network. The park, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, rewards riders (and non-riders too) with contrasting landscapes, ranging from windswept uplands and reservoirs to ancient woodlands and waterfalls.

For more information about the Brecon Beacons’ new B&B program for Horse & Rider and to find out more about horse riding in Wales visit www.horseridingbreconbeacons.com or www.equestrianwales.org.uk

The Brecon Beacons, which is one hour from Cardiff and three hours from London, is one of three National Parks in Wales; there is also Snowdonia National Park in the North and Pembrokeshire National Park in the West. To learn more about this Celtic land of singers, poets and rugby players, visit www.visitwales.com

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