Friday, July 29, 2011

Hyatt Regency Coolum has a fantastic package deal for you!

Hyatt Regency Coolum is offering a world of choice this September holiday period with its fantastic Explore Package, ideal for couples, families, friends, spa lovers, golfers and foodies alike.

Priced from $390* per night for two adults in a King Room, or from $510* per night for two adults and two children in a two-bedroom villa, the Explore Package offers great value with a Freedom of Choice voucher that can be exchanged for a variety of indulgent activities and extras.

Guests will receive one voucher per adult, per night which can be exchanged for one of the following:

- unlimited golf green fees for a day
- a 60-minute spa treatment
- a 60-minute professional golf or tennis lesson
- Camp Hyatt sessions for the kids (2 x 2.5 hrs, or 1 x 5hr session)
- a three-course à la carte dinner in a Village Square restaurant
- bike hire for the duration of your stay
- two bottles of premium wine
- a picnic hamper for two
- a Hyatt Regency Coolum golf shirt and cap
- car hire for one day (conditions apply).

The Explore Package also includes continental breakfast, weekday group golf clinics, adult entry to the Spa, tennis court hire and daily shuttle to Noosa.

Hyatt Regency Coolum is the perfect location for a holiday, set beside a pristine beach just ten minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport and only 90 minutes from Brisbane Airport.  There are countless bike tracks to explore over 150 hectares of lush surroundings, nine pools, tennis courts, the Spa, an Australian PGA Championship golf course and a range of fantastic kids’ activities at Camp Hyatt.

*Packages are subject to availability, conditions and some blackout dates apply. For full details and bookings contact Hyatt Regency Coolum on 1800 COOLUM (266 586) or visit their website and quote CLM027.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Soho Beach House - Miami

Have you seen all those photos of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes holidaying in Miami with their daughter Suri, while Tom films his much hyped role as Stacie Jaxx in the musical Rock of Ages? Well those stylish digs you see, the pool, the lounge, all that beach influenced chic ... that's Soho Beach House. We're taking a little sneak inside the doors of one of the world's most prestigious small luxury hotels, as part of the Soho House Group, which spans the most stylish of global locales and demands membership (if you please) or, without that, at least some serious pull and sway to get yourself a reservation staying in these "it" suites. 
And you'll be sure to be mingling with the rich, the famous, and the infamous. Soho Beach House is a 16-story oceanfront tower, now converted to a private members club, hotel and spa on the site of the Sovereign Hotel. There are two pools, indoor and outdoor dining, secluded gardens, and the popular restaurant Cecconi's open to the public. And all overlooking the ocean and with it's own private beach. Miami is the playground of wealth and celebrity with good reason ... it's got all the glamour and glitz, and there is no other address quite like the Soho Beach House to really make yourself known on the local scene. This is where you come to be a part of a lifestyle. Not so hard to picture yourself swanning around, cocktail in hand, is it?

Monday, July 25, 2011


Have you ever been to Spain? If you are one of the lucky travellers to experience this amazing country, you would be well familiar with the gastronomic delights that await you, from the smallest tapas bar to the rustic country kitchens and the finest restaurants. And one of the best things about Spanish cuisine is just how much it is designed for sharing - making this one of the best cuisines of the world to adapt to dinner parties and long table dining with friends and family. We were blessed to spend an incredible week in Barcelona last year, and are counting down the days for a much longed for return to the city and our own 'gourmet pilgrim' out in to the rest of this beautiful country. But for now, we have this gem of a cook book to bring the taste of Spain in to the home.
The Gourmet Pilgrim series is a favourite for cookbook pleasures, because of the well researched and tantalising recipes and stunning visual journeys in to the different cuisines of countries around the world. Last year we spent hours lovingly preparing Italian treats that mama would be proud of, thanks to Gourmet Pilgrim 'Italy'. This season, it is the food of Spain that has our mouth watering, and our eyes looking larger than any belly could ever be! 
The second book in this extraordinary culinary adventure series explores the unique food from the regions of Spain, and features over 184 recipes compiled by expert food writers and chefs, along with beautiful photography and cultural references about this captivating cuisine and the passionate Spanish lifestyle. And all bound in the signature Gourmet Pilgrim collectable galletas tin ... something to treasure for the avid gourmand. 
Gourmet Pilgrim: Spain can be found through all good bookstores ($69.95) and through the Gourmet Pilgrim website.

The Scene - our guide to the best bars, clubs and global hotspots

A collection of some of the coolest bars and clubs from around the globe, as featured in the 'The Scene' in the latest issue of Holidays for Couples magazine, OUT NOW!


A combination of art gallery and club space, Club MUSÉE is a modern nightclub that marries culture, creativity and the coolest music from around the world. Designed by creative director and designer Parolio of Madrid's Parolio & Euphoria Lab, this super sleek space is all black glass and mirrors, visually stunning furniture and and a giant LED video screen flashing  installations and artist's work, with an evolving and ever changing calender of events and showings year round. It's like drama, theatre and play all mashed up in to one of the most extraordinary nightlife addresses in a city that is famed for high fashion and cutting edge trends. Certainly one of the hippest places to party in Spain.


It's a city that is rapidly becoming one of the most spectacular destinations in the UAE, so when Abu Dhabi welcomed the Yas Hotel, expectations were high for a distinctive and exciting concept. And it delivers. The Yas Hotel is a work of art, and it's also become a hub of great nightlife options, like the Skylite Lounge. For one of the city's hottest destinations for a good time after the sun sets, head to the hotel's roof deck, with it's outdoor seating, specialty cocktails, a superb appetizers menu and one of the most stunning views of the Yas Marina. This is where some of the most sought after djs line up to play, so you're guaranteed to mingle with the 'It' crowd. Table bookings are recommended, contact or phone +971 (0)2 65600 600. NOTE: We've just got word that Skylite is closed for summer, with parties recommencing at this hot spot in September 2011.


Beach Republic has the perfect mix of sexy sophistication in an ideal tropical setting, where the days are all about laid back chic, and the ambient grooves of guest djs and live music accompany the champagne and cocktails as the sun sets. Designed with a modern exotic aesthetic in mind, and located right on one of the quieter corners of beautiful Lamai Beach, you can lounge on oversized daybeds or in your own private cabana with a sweeping view of the ocean, graze on gourmet mediterranean cuisine and tapas by Executive Chef Martin Selby, and enjoy languid hours in the two swimming pools. Or get along to the Ultimate Sunday Brunch Club which starts at 11.30 am and carries through to 3.30 pm, with the sweet tunes of the popular chillout session carrying you through to the evening hours. 


Talk about turning the bowling alley in to something cool! The Spare Room on the mezzanine level of the storied, historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel puts a bowling alley together with a lounge bar, an unlikely combination that has become the new playground for the hip and the famous. The design harks back to vintage affluence, with a speakeasy, gaming parlour vibe - think cocktails and whisky sipped over a game of dominoes. If you're in town and looking for that special, unique place to kick back as the night falls, The Spare Room offers a transport back to a time in Hollywood when civilised illegality reigned supreme. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 6pm - 2am. Reservations are encouraged (local phone 323.769.7296).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Banyan Tree unveils a new spa at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Set to be the tallest Banyan Tree Spa on the 55th level of the spectacular Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Banyan Tree Spa Marina Bay Sands opens up a world of tranquility and calm in the heart of town. In typical Banyan Tree fashion, this debut spa in the renowned chain's hometown offers an oasis of calm and sensual Asian-inspired pampering treatments to enliven and enrich the body, mind and heart. Themed on the Tree of Life design, the 1,213 square meters urban spa offers its suite of distinctive treatments in 15 uniquely designed rooms with panoramic views. Earthy tones, textured materials, sleek sophistication and a holistically themed menu embraces the Banyan Tree's philosophy of a tropical garden spa setting with a contemporary twist - a style that this award winning company has made it's trademark.
Exclusive to Singapore, all treatment room names are inspired by Orchid - the national flower of Singapore while the signature treatment - Harmony Banyan harnesses the power of the Orchid. This 180-minute indulgent session massage is performed by two therapists who synchronise in physique and movements to bring about a harmonious sense of well-being. An Orchid Scrub, Harmony Banyan massage using specially concocted Orchid massage oil, Head & Foot massage and Therapeutic Orchid Bath will melt away tensions, and nourish the body.
Or you may choose to indulge in the unique 180-minute session Royal Banyan, formulated with the high stresses of city-dwellers in mind. The Royal Banyan Herbal Pouch Massage, which uses East-meets-West massage techniques and a herbal pouch dipped in warm Sesame Oil, is designed to soothe muscular tension and improve blood circulation.
There's also a unique Banyan Tree Spa innovation, the 180-minute session Tropical Rainmist experience, which is a rejuvenating combination of Rainmist Steam Bath and cascading Rain Shower to uplift your senses as a prelude to the luxurious body treatment that follows.
Marina Bay Sands is a favourite haunt for the Holidays for Couples team when in Singapore. And now we have even more reason to hang around a little while longer, to be pampered in pure, luxurious Banyan Tree style. Bliss!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Taste the delights of 'Little Korea' with Maeve O'Meara

Here's a little something different to do while visiting Sydney! If you're a bit of a foodie and keen to learn more about Korean cuisine and cooking, join forces with local cooking tour specialist Maeve O'Meara for her Korean Gourmet Walking Safaris. You will visit the heart of Little Korea in Eastwood on a guided journey with Maeve and Korean cooking teacher Heather Jeong, enjoying some of the great tastes of Korea through visits to a number of food businesses.  Start with a Korean coffee and cooking demonstration,  then learn the building blocks of this delicious, healthy cuisine, discovering butchers and bakers, fresh produce shops and more. Learn about bulgogi (BBQ beef) and the Korean style of barbecuing which is easy to do at home; banchan – the many vegetable side dishes, delicious sashimi, unusual Korean cakes, even beauty products!  Then finish with a many course lunch at the top restaurant in the area.
The Korean Gourmet Walking Safaris are schedule to run on Saturday 13 August, Saturday 15 October, Saturday 19 November and Saturday 25 June, 2012. Cost for the tour program is $115 per person and bookings can be made via their website.

Take an Arctic adventure with Peregrine's new cruises

Think hot air ballooning over the North Pole; hiking to see the Northern Lights in Greenland, or cruising to the top of the world in the most powerful icebreaker on earth for a truly unique and memorable travel experience! If you're keen to do an adventure challenge together, you may like to check out the latest Arctic cruise schedule with Peregrine Adventures
Greenland is the best place on earth to see the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights – one of nature’s most spectacular shows. Peregrine’s new 14-day East Greenland Explorer trip aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, is timed to coincide with the optimum atmospheric conditions for viewing the Lights.
Departing from Reykjavik, Iceland, the cruise explores the east coast of Greenland, including iceberg-choked fjords, glaciers and Inuit settlements. The focus is on hiking, with a variety of half and full-day hikes through the immense wilderness, with the chance of seeing all manner of wildlife, including Polar Bear and Musk Ox.
The 14-day cruise departs on September 16, 2012 and costs from $7750 per person, twin-share, cruise only.  Or for bookings made by September 30, prices start at $6795.
Possibly the only thing more ‘out there’ than cruising aboard the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker to the North Pole is jumping into a wicker basket and floating over the ice in a hot air balloon. It’s arguably the most ‘exclusive’ adventure on earth: few humans will ever do it as it’s only open to a total of 100 people.
Peregrine have a whole range of fantastic adventures to be a part of, all details can be found on their website, or see your travel agent or phone the Peregrine Travel Centre on 1300 854 500. Guaranteed to be a trip you will both remember and cherish forever, in a land that is truly, stunning in scope and breathtaking in landscape.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saffire's Coastal Table food and wine event

Foodies and gourmands should head to Saffire Freycinet on Tasmania's spectacular Freycinet Peninsula from August 24-27 for a unique exploration of fine food and wine. Bringing together top chefs from Tasmania and New South Wales, Saffire’s Coastal Table will highlight the best in Tasmanian seasonal produce, with dinners featuring the unmistakable flair of chefs Anthony Milroy and Monique Maul (Lochiel House), Luke Burgess (Garagistes) and Saffire’s own Hugh Whitehouse. The event will also feature a lunch of local cheeses and salmon with Henry Jones Art Hotel Executive Chef and culinary Olympian Andre Kropp.
Each night, guests will rest their heads (and stomachs!) in Saffire’s award-winning luxurious suites, each with views over the spectacular Great Oyster Bay and Hazards Mountains on the Freycinet Peninsula.
And no Saffire culinary experience would be complete without a visit to the source - tasting locally grown Pacific oysters fresh off the oyster beds, or sampling the internationally acclaimed wines of Freycinet Vineyard.
Priced from: $5250 per suite (Deluxe Suite, maximum two people), including all meals and Saffire’s Coastal Table experiences, may we suggest you book now to avoid missing out!

Dream Destination: Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi

Our 'Dream Destination' for this week is the enchanting, mystical Qasr Al Sarab desert resort by Anantara, floating like a jewel in the sand of the legendary Liwa Desert of Abu Dhabi's Empty Quarter. An oasis of of pure luxury for discerning travellers, Qasr Al Sarab is decked out to the max in the quintessential splendour of Middle Eastern fabrics and local artifacts, with each room, villa and suite featuring rich interiors and sweeping views of a stunning and foreboding landscape. The Liwa Desert is one of the largest uninterrupted sand deserts in the world, and with dunes stretching out as far as the eye can see, dotted with grazing wildlife, this place is nothing short of breathtaking! 
There are ten Royal villas at Qasr Al Sarab that offer the absolute ultimate in indulgence and romance. Sublime Arabian decor, king size bed, separate living and dining area, oversized bathtub, rain shower, private plunge pool, terrace with shaded daybeds and al fresco dining area, your own personal butler ... really, need we go on?
Filling your time here is not difficult - we would say it's more like pure pleasure! You can take to the sands riding atop a camel, join a guided desert walk, dine on the finest Middle Eastern cuisine and modern gastronomic delights at one of the four restaurants and cafes, bathe and be pampered at the traditional Hammam healing baths and spa, or simply lounging by the pool with that incredible backdrop to wash over the senses. A stay at Qasr Al Sarab is like living an fairytale - and the whole 'Arabian Nights' charm of a romantic holiday in a palatial and luxurious desert palace is more than a little lust worthy, isn't it?!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Warm up the cool months in Vanuatu

Australians know that, when the cooler months sets in, it's a great time to pack up and head to the nearest tropical locale - and Vanuatu is a convenient and stunning place to put at the top of your travel list! Luckily for us, this is also a peak time on the local events and festival calender. So if you're ready and keen to book your tickets and accommodation now, you can pack your bags knowing the cultural fun is well taken care of. From traditional village celebrations, to exhilarating sporting events, Vanuatu’s festivals and events offer travellers a unique opportunity to engage with authentic Vanuatu culture and customs during their getaway. Two top events planned for the month of August are the 'Back to My roots' festival, and the Nalawan festival. But there's a whole calender of different festivals you can be a part of in the coming months, and each will bring you in close contact with a culture and a people who are beautiful, warm and embracing.

The 'Back To My Roots' festival takes place each year on Ambrym, 10 - 12th August in 2011.  During the event, some of the most influential cultural practices and dance, exhibitions of art, and beliefs are presented to the public. Traditional dances, demonstrations of magic and other activities that belong to the people of Ambrym are the central attraction, but visitors can also visit traditional villages and sacred land terminals and sites such as old cemeteries, hike through the forest, or visit the cascades, taboo caves or twin volcanoes Marum and Benbow. Further information is available through Napong Norbert on +678 540 0508.

The Nalawan Festival will take place on 11-13 August 2011 at Labo Village in Malekula’s South West Bay. A spectacular Nukofo custom dance will kick off the celebrations, including grade-taking ceremonies, cultural displays and an eye opening village tour, which will allow you to try your hand in traditional food preparation and partake in local craft. The festival is a rare opportunity for adventurous travellers to witness the rich tradition and customs of Malekula’s South West Bay and get an authentic insight into Vanuatu life. The two-day event is priced at 5,000VT per adult (approx. AUD $54) and 2,500VT per child (approx. AUD $27). Nalawan Festival reservations are advised and can be made by calling Willie Isno on +678 5366 168 or Yegor Makhiboroda on +678 5617845.

For more information on Vanuatu’s festival and sporting calendar go to Vanuatu's travel website here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dream Destination: Kamalaya, Koh Samui

Our dream destination for today is Kamalaya, Thailand's award winning Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa, found on the picture perfect tropical island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. A truly spiritual retreat, yet created with the utmost of luxury and comfort in mind, Kamalaya offers yoga, detox and health programs that make for a life-enriching holiday to nurture the body, mind and soul. And all of this to be found at one of our favourite island destinations in South East Asia makes this a seriously enticing option for the next big trip to Thailand!
Centred around a monk's meditation cave that has served generations of Buddhist monks, Kamalaya is set over a hillside that is dotted with cosy rooms, sea view and pool suites and villas, beach front villas, and the incredible Rock Top Villa which is built in to the rocks to fully embrace nature on two levels. Kamalaya has a team of naturopaths and lifestyle specialists on hand to tailor your personalised wellness experience - be it detox, yoga, stress and burnout, fitness, weight control ... or just simple, complete relaxation. 
For couples seeking peace and time out, to really embrace the serenity together that comes with a healthy lifestyle in a pristine environment, Kamalaya presents a unique opportunity. This is the kind of place where you can both re-connect with yourself and with each other, on a very different energetic level. And taking that peace of mind and an open heart home with you can only nourish and nurture your relationship. 

Evason Ma'In Hot Springs, Jordan

The stunning location of Evason Ma'in Hot Springs, in the dramatic terrain of the Ma'in Valley of Jordan, offers a little slice of exotic escape in a place that is rich with history. Lying 264 metres below sea level and set like a hidden oasis in amongst towering rock, cliffs and arid landscape, everything about this place defines the luxury Middle East resort and spa experience. Evason Ma’in Hot Springs comprises 94 rooms and suites, plus two elegant Royal Suites and one Honeymoon Suite located on the top floor of the resort providing almost 360 degree views of the waterfall. A stay here is an indulgence, a place to relax and be pampered, all whilst enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the hot spring waterfall. The thermal mineral springs of this area are where Herod the Great was said to have bathed and where people have come for centuries to take the medicinal waters. Naturally, the resort also offers some amazing spa treatments too.
And for the more intrepid souls, there are some fantastic, tailored experiences to chose from, with adventure based activities that take in the local area, to religious and historic tours of Jordan's holy sites, monuments and cities from the era of Romans to Nabateans - many of which have have shaped the world we know today. 
For a truly memorable experience, you can have Evason Ma'in  create a private Hafla Ma'In - in arabic meaning "party" or social gathering - for just you and your love, at one of the many unique locations around the waterfalls and surrounding mountains. Think champagne and gourmet nibbles while watching the sun set over the desert ... intoxicating, mystical, magical. And very, very romantic! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sono, Portside - contemporary Japanese in Brisbane

Brisbane dining has a lot going for it, as any local will tell you - and if you're in the city and looking for award winning cuisine in a spectacular setting, you might like to check out Sono Restaurant at Portside. Located on the Brisbane River in Hamilton, Sono boasts spectacular views and an atmosphere of refined elegance. Sono Restaurant Portside incorporates the best of authentic Japanese culture and cuisine with modern, contemporary luxuries. Since the venues inception in 2007, it has made a dramatic impact on Australian dining with its exceptional contemporary menu and commitment to Japanese traditions. Head Chef,  Massayuki Naki, trained for 10 years in Japan to perfect the art of cutting Kingfish - he ensures the fish used at Sono is of the highest quality, sourcing the very best, fresh fish from all over Australia, even going as far to flying it in daily, direct from the suppliers. And with that incredible view to accompany your meal (we're thinking romance!), dining at Sono Restaurant Portside is sure to be a experience. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Big dreams come true with Small Luxury Hotels

Experience pearl farming in Phuket…hunt out truffles in France…learn the oriental art of calligraphy in China.  For 20 years, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has been offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences in spectacular locations and unique properties across the globe.  Now, SLH is inviting guests to ‘Be Inspired’.  The passionate team at SLH has gone to the ends of the earth and returned laden with an abundance of activities and adventures for guests to experience on their dream holiday.  All this is compiled in the new brochure, ‘Be Inspired’, which launches this month.  For a sneak preview go to their online brochure hereAll experiences can be booked directly with SLH.  To book online or call the reservation number on +65 6232 5060.