Hidden Jewels Unveiled in the Hills of Phuket…..

The Residences at Anantara Phuket Layan

Every once in a while, you walk into a space so brilliantly put together and thought out that it leaves you speechless. The newly unveiled Residences at Anantara Phuket Layan are a true design triumph carved into the quiet Layan hillside – a project sustainably carried out so that no trees were cut down in its creation.
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These fifteen three to seven bedroom Residences are vast – beautiful rooms with high ceilings and sumptuous beds that seem to have no end. The shared social spaces are elegant and perfect for all sorts of occasions – whether it be a formal dinner in the airy dining room, to a laid back barbecue next to the pool. The Residences also come with their own butler and private chef making a stay here the absolute epitome of luxury in the comfort of a totally private space, away from prying eyes.

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The stunning infinity pools are a joy and days can be enjoyed doing laps up and down them or just cooling off and taking in the views out to sea.

All Residences guests have access all facilities at the Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa, a gorgeous property at the bottom of the hill with two brilliant dining options – Dee Plee (keep a few hours free to indulge in the glorious breakfast) and Sala Layan.

A room dedicated to cured meats and cheese

A room dedicated to cured meats and cheese

Yumm

Yumm

Superfood Corner at breakfast

Superfood Corner at breakfast

For something really special, book one of Anantara’s signature design concept, Dining by Design – we had Dining by Design dinner on the beach, lit by the light of the stars above and lanterns leading all the way to our romantic spot in front of the sea.

Dining by Design at Anantara Phuket Layan

Dining by Design at Anantara Phuket Layan

A Pool with Diamonds

A Pool with Diamonds at The Residences

Nightly rates at Anantara Phuket Layan Resort and Spa start from £670 on a B&B basis. For information on rates at The Residences, please get in touch with the Grifco team.

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Grifco PR!

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Grifco PR is sharing inspirational stories and asking for some words of wisdom from five of the fantastic women we are proud to work with around the world.

Tracy Bamber, Strategic Sales Manager for Wilderness Safaris

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2016 is an incredibly special year for Tracy, as she celebrates 21 years of working at luxury safari operator, Wilderness Safaris and will be competing in her 10th Comrades Marathon, a huge achievement in ultra-marathon running, particularly for someone who became a runner by accident!

After taking up running to get back into shape, Tracy went head first into the Two Ocean Marathons, one of the toughest in the world, after making a bet with a colleague who didn’t believe she could finish the gruelling route.

“He looked at me and laughed, saying, ‘You’ll never be able to do it – it’s one of the toughest marathons.’ His words immediately challenged me and I was determined to prove to him that I could do anything I wanted to do! At this stage of the evening he’d had a few drinks and I suggested that we bet on it! He said that I would not be able to complete it, while I said I would – the bet was on… I challenged him to pay me £900 if I completed the run. This money would go to Children in the Wilderness.”

In her first year of running Tracy raised around £3665 and since then she has run 10 consecutive Two Oceans Marathons, known as the ‘world’s most beautiful ultra-marathon’ and has finished nine consecutive Comrades Marathons, ‘the ultimate human race’.

What makes Tracy’s achievements even more special is that she has raised more than £45,780 for charities in Africa through her running, supporting Children in the Wilderness, the Starfish Greathearts Foundation and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust.

To read more about Tracy’s inspirational running and charity fundraising visit www.wilderness-safaris.com/blog/posts/my-big-year-an-interview-with-tracy-bamber

Lorena Puica, Founder of iamYiam.com

Lorena Puica

Lorena’s journey from leaving home in Romania at the age of 17 with 300 euros in her pocket, to founding her own social wellbeing hub, iamYiam.com, via the world of finance is remarkable.

Serious health problems led Lorena to turn her back on traditional medicine and discover the benefits of natural health. Last year, she left her City job to set up online natural health and wellbeing hub, iamYiam.com, whose aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people by 2025. A bold statement indeed, but Lorena is not one to shy away from a challenge!

At only 31 years old, Lorena has gained four degrees in finance and business, published a book on microfinance at the age of 26 and gained eight years of investment management business development and strategy experience across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. She speaks four languages and not only pushes her mental boundaries but also her physical ones.

Last February, she ran seven marathons in seven continents in 10 days finishing in Antarctica (world record pending!). She has also climbed Kilimanjaro in four days and her first ever extreme adventure was walking 861km in 19 days (about 46km per day – without any rest days).

iamYiam.com is set to be a game changer for the wellness industry and Lorena is definitely an entrepreneur to watch. Hailed the Airbnb of Natural Health Experiences, iamYiam.com brings together quality practitioners of natural health in London (e.g. meditation, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition etc.) with consumers and makes it easy to book the best experience for exactly their needs and goals.

Denise Leicester, Founder of ila

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A qualified nurse, aromatherapist, yoga teacher and yogic healer, Denise’s hands-on experience extends from the rural communities of India to the Dubai royal family, and spans Eastern and South American healing traditions.

In 2005 Denise developed a unique concept of wellbeing that addressed the inner essence through the skin, an absolutely pure product range created in complete harmony with nature and delivered with conscious, healing intent.

She spent the first 12 months of the company’s inception researching, travelling and sourcing the purest ingredients from the most ethical international farmers and growers- simple but extraordinary people who inspired her with their deep love of the earth.

From women of the ancient Berber tribe in Morocco to a co-operative of farmers in India, Denise champions the extraordinary tribes and indigenous communities who ‘hold the world’ for us and reminds us how vital it is for us to truly vale and support them if existence is to continue.

Debrah Dhugga, Managing Director of DUKES LONDON and the soon to open DUKES DUBAI (September 2016)


debrahDebrah Dhugga, Managing Director of the luxury Hotel Group DUKES, is one of the few female MDs in the hospitality industry. Already, this makes Debrah extra aware of the importance of her position and the extent of her influence on fellow women, especially younger generations. Debrah’s dedication to this cause is clear in her recent placement on the Northern Power Women’s Top 50 Power List, along with previous recognition such as the Business Women Mentor of the Year Award back in 2013.

In the past, Debrah has taken pride in mentoring students under the Savoy Educational Trust mentorship programme and has encouraged mentoring and support of female managers as a founder of the Leading Ladies of London networking club. More recently, Debrah hosted a lunch at DUKES for the Women in Journalism initiative, showing her support of females in positions of success and power in industries wider than just hospitality.

As well as wishing to impart her wisdom and experience on younger generations and mentees, and to lead the way in diversifying the work place, Debrah easily relates to fellow successful female businesswomen from across the world. As the head of an ever expanding luxury hotel brand, soon to open its doors in Dubai, Debrah flies all over the globe on business. Drawing on personal experience as a frequent solo female business traveller, she created the Duchess Rooms at DUKES, a unique category of luxury accommodation that caters solely to the solo female traveller. With pampering toiletries from REN, female amenities, and a personal welcome note from Debrah herself, this is the dream set up for any female traveller, serving to make business or leisure trips that little bit easier for women travelling alone.

We’d like to extend our admiration to Debrah for all the work she has done and continues to do to celebrate the place of women in her own industry, and in the wider business world.

And last but not least…we couldn’t forget our own MD at Grifco, Claire Griffin!

Claire Griffin, Managing Director of Grifco PR

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Claire wanted to run a boutique PR company that nurtured the needs of its travel clients. In May 2012 she set up Grifco, which now has over 45 of the top travel, spa and beauty clients in the world.

Claire has 24 years’ experience in luxury PR working on high-profile global campaigns, but she started out, armed with a degree in Law and American Studies, as a journalist for The Chester Chronicle & Evening Leader.

She moved into public relations in 1990 with one of the UK’s biggest PR agencies, the Grayling Company, and three years later took up a role as Account Director at Barclay Stratton PR. Always up for an adventure, Claire jumped at a fantastic opportunity to work in Sydney as Communications Director for one of Australia’s leading law firms, Allen’s.

On her return to the UK in 1998, Claire ran, developed and grew business for Columbus Communications, sister company to ZFL (now named PRCO), looking after accounts including Four Seasons Hotels Worldwide, Mediterranean Experience, Cap Juluca in Anguilla and Rome Cavalieri Hilton.

When she is not heading up the Grifco team, Claire is busy being a mother to two young boys. We admire how she effortlessly manages to juggle work and family life, proving (to an office full of women) that you can have both! In her down time, Claire enjoys spending time with her boys, or going for a run along the River Thames.

Happy International Women’s Day from the Grifco PR team x

Hidden Cornwall: A Weekend with Natural Retreats, Trewhiddle

When you live in a city as chaotic as London, there comes a point when you start to yearn for the smell of crisp, fresh air and the sound of nothing but the birds chirping in the trees above. Enter Natural Retreats, Trewhiddle.

Located just a little over a mile from St, Austell train station in South Cornwall sits a divine property in a peaceful valley that comprises of luxury 2, 3, and 4 bedroom self catered villas. We arrived at our destination safe, sound and happy to be in a comfortable environment after our train journey. One of the first things that got my attention as soon as we arrived at the property was how unbelievably quiet it was. I stepped out onto the wooden balcony of my private villa and closed my eyes. It took a whole thirty seconds until I heard the soft sounds of rustling trees in the distance – talk about solitude!

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Our first port of call was some authentic Cornish tapas; carefully put together by Angels in the Kitchen Kristen and Sarah. Angels in the Kitchen is a local in-house catering service, offering local produce cooked in the privacy of your own home.

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The next morning we awoke to birdsong, ready for a day out exploring what the Southern region of Cornwall had to offer. After a morning of archery on-site at the Natural Retreats Trewhiddle property, we made our way down to the harbour and enjoyed some of the freshest seafood that I had ever tasted. It was almost as if the fish and mussels had been plucked from the ocean just minutes before we had arrived.

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Then it was on to our highly anticipated kayaking adventure along the River Fowey. We had a wonderful tour guide named Ken, who had a wealth of knowledge about the local area, which made our journey so enjoyable and added that little something extra to our afternoon activity.The scenery along the River Fowey is positively breathtaking, offering the type of picturesque setting that make you want to take out your smartphone and snap a picture whilst almost capsizing your beloved kayak in the process

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We arrived back on dry land, with slightly tender upper arms but ready to get back on the road and indulge in a second serving of Cornwall’s fine culinary offerings. We dined at Wreckers in Charlestown Harbour that evening, and besides from offering delicious meals at reasonable prices, we also learnt the true meaning of Cornish hospitality when the waiters offered to drive us the two miles back to Trewhiddle due to a lack of taxi service in the area that evening.

Natural Retreats also offers a gorgeous Handpicked portfolio, including a collection of characterful and intricate homes for rent, each a little different to the last

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Front view 2

Balcony view

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What a lovely introduction to what this quirky town has to offer! Sadly my stay in Trewhiddle only lasted one weekend, but I will most definitely be back to visit the friendly team at Natural Retreats soon to make some more unforgettable memories. Until next time…

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36 hours in Chengdu

I was lucky enough to visit Chengdu this autumn with Dorsett Hotels & Resorts. Set on the western edge of the Sichuan basin, China’s forth city is not only thriving with cultural history and world-class cuisine, it is also the gateway to the country’s most magnificent natural wonders, not least, 80% of the world’s panda population. Unlike its bigger sister cities such as Beijing, Chengdu boasts a far more jovial rhythm, a captivating local culture and a plethora of tourist attractions.

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Giant Pandas playing in the early morning sunshine

Vibe

Despite being home to more than 14 million people, Chengdu is notably laidback. Whittle away the afternoon in one of the many traditional teahouses (do as the locals do, and try your hand at a game of mah-jong) or take a wander down Wide & Narrow Alleys, stopping to try local delicacies such as Dragon’s beard candy (a delicious Chinese sweet similar to spun sugar) as I did.

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Street food and culinary delights at Wide & Narrow Alley

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Wander

….down Jinli, an ever-popular and vibrant street, Jinli’s history can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty of 221BC. Soak up the atmosphere, inhale the spicy and irresistible aromas wafting up from tea stalls, and take your pick from one of the many Sichuan snacks, or xiaochi. Everything is rustled up on the spot and this place is the only street in town that you’ll get anywhere close to trying Chengdu’s 5,000-plus specialities, from rice glueballs to wontons and boiled dumplings.

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Beautiful tree decorations on Jinli Street

Ignite the taste buds

…with a Chengdu hotpot. The capital of the Sichuan Province, Chengdu has the highest density of restaurants and teahouses of any city in the world – some 42,000 at the latest estimate. Food crazes blaze across the gourmet scene like prairie fires, but the hotpot has been a longstanding Sichuan delicacy and is here to stay. With good reason, Unesco designated Chengdu the first City of Gastronomy in Asia, ahead of Singapore, Tokyo and Singapore in 2010.

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Sizzling Sichuan hotpot

Dine like a king

…at Yu’s Kitchen. This magical restaurant is by reservation only. Referred to by Fuchsia Dunlop as China’s answer to El Bulli, manage to secure one of the six tables as we did and you won’t be disappointed as chef Yu Bo delights the senses with an idiosyncratic display of gourmet Chinese dishes. Marvel at the beautifully-presented plates on the 32-course tasting menu, from alligator to truffle to edible ‘calligraphy brushes’ with sweet tomato dipping ‘ink’, all washed down with spherified jasmin tea.

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Just one of the dishes on the 32-course tasting menu at Yu’s Kitchen

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Our table at Yu’s Kitchen

Drink

…Tea. Natural wonders and food aside, it’s not just tea aficionados that should experience one of Chengdu’s greatest traditions – the teahouse. Traditionally synonymous with cards and mah-jong, discover these inviting houses nestled among the quieter corners of the city, perfect for a chrysanthemum or flowering osmanthus tea – a show in itself!

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Tea and spice markets

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Too many tea infusions to choose from

Cuddle

…A panda! These cute furry friends are the city’s main attraction, and the Giant Panda Research Base is an easy taxi journey (6 miles) from downtown Chengdu. Encompassing a vast 600 acres, this panda mecca is home to Giant Pandas and Red Pandas. The latter, smaller in size and rather endearing to watch as they happily played among the grass at breakfast time. Go at dawn when the pandas are most active, rolling around and climbing trees. For a hefty fee (circa £95) you can even cuddle one!

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Young Red Panda cub

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Just chillin’

& if you’re lucky

…catch a glimpse of the utterly adorable baby panda cubs, like we did!

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Little baby pandas, born just one week prior to our visit

Sleep

…In the comfiest beds in town. The beautiful Dorsett Grand Chengdu is perfect for those keen to explore both the city and surrounding areas. Fresh off the plane, the large bathtub and array of delicious lotions and potions made for a welcome night’s sleep as I dove face-first into this cloud of a bed on the 39th floor. With the curtains drawn, the room is enveloped in complete darkness guaranteeing even the most troubled sleeper an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

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Spacious, airy bedrooms and irresistibly comfortable beds at Dorsett Grand Chengdu

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Beautiful interior design in the lobby at Dorsett Grand Chengdu

Location is also hard to beat when it comes to Dorsett Grand Chengdu. Ideally situated in the lively Luoma Market area of the city, the hotel is just moments from the bustling Chunxi Road and renowned Chengdu sports centre. Metro stations just across the road render exploring the city cost-effective an hassle-free.

www.dorsetthotels.com/chengdu

Getting There

Many airlines fly from London to Chengdu, and BA launched a direct flight route from London Heathrow just earlier this year. Flight time: under 11 hours.

 

In Search Of Elephant

Before I arrived at Ngoma Safari Lodge, Brian, the fantastic Director of Operations for Africa Albida, told me about his last stay there, and how he had three lions for company on his terrace one night when he was in bed. Cue crouching by my window in the middle of the night just in case I caught a feline glimpse. No such luck for me, but then I was more excited about spotting another animal here in this corner of Botswana…ELEPHANT! And I was not disappointed!

The Camp

Perched up on the edge of a valley with amazing views of Chobe’s open plains teeming with wildlife, Ngoma has pride position. These shots are taken in the green season, when the ground is lush and the baby animals are out and about. In a few months, the picture below will be transformed by a huge lake that takes over this part of the Caprivi strip opposite the camp. Amazing to imagine!

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The 8 private suites here are a real treat – elegant, super spacious and beautifully designed they are open plan with one of the comfiest beds I’ve ever slept in, facing windows all along the room and that incredible view.

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Outside you have your own private terrace with dining area, cooling sit pool facing the plains, sun loungers and outdoor rain shower. You even get your laundry done for no extra charge – really useful on safari when you’re dusty and hot.

It’s tempting to while away your stay on your terrace!

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There is a central lodge that looks like it has come straight off the pages of House & Garden, with lots of gorgeous little details. The lodge is open to the outdoors facing the plains, with a split level terrace surrounding a baobab tree and small pool for relaxation with a view. Curl up with a book in the library area or sample the cook’s amazing home-made mango ice cream at the dinner table.

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Breakfast is so delicious at Ngoma

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This is a wild camp – guests aren’t allowed to leave their rooms after dark without being accompanied by one of the team due to the wild game that roam the area. This is mainly to avoid guests surprising an elephant that could be standing quietly behind the undergrowth! John and Babs manage the camp beautifully and are fantastically knowledgeable and friendly hosts who ensure a very personal service to their guests.

Chobe

Ngoma sits in northern Botswana’s Chobe National Park, home to one of Africa’s largest concentrations of game and in particular elephant. It’s elephant central. And even in the green season I was rewarded with amazing sightings of hippo, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, impala, baboon, mongoose and more.

Having driven over the border from Victoria Falls, a two hour drive, we set out on a relaxing river safari along the Zambezi where we spotted hippo bobbing about, the most beautiful bird life, crocodiles, and my first glimpses of the elephant of Chobe. Sometime soon Ngoma are going to offer canoeing too and well as walking safaris.

After a picnic lunch in the bush, it was time to swap boat for trusty Land rover and explore the lesser visited areas of the National Park – couldn’t resist sharing a few snaps here…

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For more information visit www.africaalbidatourism.com

 

Victoria Falls Is Back!

The plane from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls was full on our recent visit – a good sign that tourism numbers to the small town in Zimbabwe are growing. After recent positive signs of rising tourist numbers, Victoria Falls is set to receive a new international landing strip next year at its airport, heralding major growth in tourism from around the world. I visited recently to see for myself.

I was lucky enough to stay at Africa Albida’s Victoria Falls Safari Club, a new boutique property in the grounds of the famous Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Just a few minutes’ drive to the iconic waterfall, the Club has one of the best locations in Victoria Falls, set slightly away from town overlooking a wilderness landscape teeming with wildlife.

Victoria Falls Safari Club has its own chicly-decorated reception lounge and terrace with private game-viewing deck – I loved the cute design details like this fab leather chandelier:

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It feels luxurious and exclusive – there are only 16 Club rooms and 4 Suites, all with a modern, light and airy feel and gorgeous views from floor to ceiling windows that open onto a private terrace. Guests of the Club have their own dedicated Manager to ensure their stay is seamless, and can enjoy all the facilities of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge too, including the Buffalo Bar, a beautiful spot made for sunset viewing and G&T drinking, the MaKuwa-Kuwa restaurant, the library, mini Spa and swimming pools.

Super comfy bed in my open-plan Suite:

bedRoom with a view:

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Take a dip in the pool with a cold beer and watch the wildlife at the waterhole:

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There is a complimentary shuttle service from the Club to the Falls themselves, running until 10pm so you can catch the spectacle of the world’s largest waterfall pretty much at any time of day or evening. Easy to access with lots of viewing points along its course it’s a fantastic sight to behold. Bring a raincoat and waterproof cover for cameras and phones as you get soaked with the spray from some of the best view-points! Exhilarating and beautiful, by all accounts it beats Niagara hands down.

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Life revolves around the magnificent Zambezi in Victoria Falls, and another must-do during a trip here is to get out on the water. Lots of companies operate boat rides – Victoria Falls Safari Club arranged tickets for the Zambezi Queen, a lovely three tiered boat. The top deck is swish – stylishly kitted out and with endless cocktails and canapés, it’s an amazing place to chill out, admire the sunset and spot hippos bobbing about below.

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If I’d had more time in Victoria Falls I would have gone White Water Rafting – it’s one of the best places on earth to do this adrenaline sport amongst others. Africa’s answer to Queenstown in New Zealand, there’s loads going on for the adventurous. Bungee jumping from the bridge opposite the Falls, zip lining, gorge swinging…so our tip is to stay a bit longer to really make the most of your Victoria Falls experience. But I had other plans, and was heading to Botswana in the morning…

 Check out www.africaalbidatourism.com for more information

A chance encounter with West Lowland Gorilla, in Odazala-Kokoua National Park, with Wilderness Collection

Ever come face to face with a Western Lowland Gorilla… No? Neither have we!

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Well, here are two exciting new videos of chance encounters with Western Lowland Gorilla from the lucky people who have at Wilderness Collection’s Odazala-Kokoua Camp.

Watch as a group of privileged tourists, exploring deep within the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, encounter a large group of Western Lowland Gorillas, a very rare sighting -certainly not one that we can say we have ever come across!

As the group drive between the Wilderness Collection’s Ngaga Camp and Lango Camp, the endangered species are stopped in their tracks sensing the unusual activity of human form and the strange sight of a car. See for yourself how the mother gorilla moves across the dirt path to safety with her infant, with the rest of her family following. It’s clear that these charismatic creatures find human life a curious and intriguing proposition as neither gorilla knows how to react to human form.

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The second video shows a different group of the endangered Jupiter Group, Western Lowland Gorilla, in a similar area near Wilderness Collection’s Ngaga Camp. The captivating species can be seen being led by the male gorilla – quite the alpha male! His loyal family of infants follow in his footsteps; but not before taking a long hard stare at the human movement! Listen out for the gorillas’ grunting – it’s a sign of their curiosity of human form, but also acts as warning signals to fellow gorillas.

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For the modern thrill-seeking traveller, Wilderness Collection’s Odzala-Kokoua camp presents a once in a life time opportunity. The thrill of observing one of our closest relatives in the wild while exploring a thriving rainforest ecosystem is a privilege to say the least.  Even on camera there is clearly an aura of adventure and discovery, so we can only imagine what it would be like to experience this first hand.

Odzala-Kokoua National Park, in the heart of the sparsely populated Congo Basin, is part of the world’s second largest expanse of tropical rainforests. It is no surprise that the rainforest attracts Africa’s densest population of Western Lowland Gorillas and significant populations of forest elephant – it really is a fine example of an untouched natural habitat. It is in fact renowned as the richest forest block in central Africa for primates, with eleven diurnal species recorded.

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As if the rare gorilla sightings aren’t enough, the unique experience also offers rides along lush river systems, game drives in the savannah, and time spent at the productive forest clearings. Wow!

To find out more about the endangered Jupiter Group, Western Lowland Gorillas, visit www.odzala-kokoua.com

For more information about Wilderness Collection visit

www.wilderness-collection.com

 

The Success of Golf for Kids at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius

All about Sebastien Ollivier….

Golf with a view

Golf with a view

Step into our lives…  Sebastien Ollivier, the handsome, French 36 year old golf pro who has been at Beachcomber’s Paradis Hotel & Golf Club since 2006 and has built up a superb team of four golf pro instructors to help the guests of Paradis Hotel.

Sebastien Ollivier.... The Golf Pro at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius

Sebastien Ollivier…. The Golf Pro at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius

Sebastien is modest to a tee…. In fact when asked what his highest achievement has been to date he does not reel off accolades of prizes but tells us that teaching a young Mauritian hotel cleaner and ball “picker upper” to play golf to a high level is his biggest achievement to date. In fact the man in question is now one of the most popular golf pros at Paradis Hotel. Sebastien has a scratch handicap so we knew as did the other guests that children are in very capable hands! In fact Sebastien has won 12 Grand Prix Golf Championships when he was an amateur so capable hands is an understatement!

Sebastien has recently launched the Junior Golf Academy at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius and shared some top tips on what he likes to teach children:

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Heading off to golf! Don’t forget hats, sunglasses collared shirts and trainers.. all required to play on this Spectacular golf course.

  1. Teach children a good grip, good balance and good fluidity
  2. Don’t make them try to hit the ball too hard
  3. Have fun with them, encourage and support the children
  4. Show them that where the club goes the ball goes
  5. Come with friends..the golf academy takes a maximum of 6 children in one lesson so this keeps it very affordable
  6. Explain the rules of a round of golf including golf etiquette
Let the lesson begin...

Let the lesson begin…

A drive in the golf buggy to tour the golf course and talk through the rules and golf etiquette.

A drive in the golf buggy to tour the golf course and talk through the rules and golf etiquette

Sebastien – What do you suggest families do if they want their children to try golf?

“Think about booking a one hour lesson for your children with an instructor and see how you go… “

First lesson Sebastien teaches is that concentration is key to control the ball.

First lesson Sebastien teaches is that concentration is key to control the ball.

Sebastien teaches the children top tips in order to build confidence and skill!

Sebastien teaches the children top tips in order to build confidence and skill!

Sebastien commented that year after year children come back and play with instructors who they have played with for 7 or 10 years. Even on holiday at a resort golf course the guests improve. The Junior Golf Academy is a one week programme. It is 3 hours long each day and the children get a picture and souvenir at the end of it. This is good for children aged 6 – 12 but the one hour lesson is a good starting point for children from 4 years up.

Practice makes perfect!

Practice makes perfect!

Sebastian – What is your main goal?

Longer term I would love to see Paradis build a smaller golf course with 3 or 4 holes specifically for children. It would take a 40 to 50 minute journey to play. Watch this space…

What is most impressive about the golf at Paradis?

 

Impressive Views

Impressive Views

The location. Beach and sea around the course which is located on the stunning Le Morne peninsula. Paradis’ Championship course is any golfer’s dream. Set amongst spectacular scenery, the fairways and greens curl along the shoreline of the bay against a backdrop of the majestic mountains. Built within the resort’s grounds, the 18-hole Par 72 golf course stretches along 5,924 metres with much of the creative design attributed to international golf legend, Tony Johnstone.

What’s the cost?

30 minute lessons at the Junior Golf Academy are just £25 per person including complimentary green fees for under 12s. Children enrolled in the Paradis Bob Marlin mini-club will also enjoy a free taster session every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with a short introduction to the game by resort’s golf professionals.

Beachcomber Tours (www.beachcombertours.co.uk; 01483 445 621) offers 7 nights from £1,360 per person based on two adults and two children (under 12) sharing a Junior Suite on a half-board basis including Economy flights with Air Mauritius and private transfers. Travel between 01 June and 30 September and green fees on the superb Paradis Golf Course are free for all ages. You can pre book golf lessons before you travel or at the resort

Grifco PR 2013 Hot List

Happy New Year! And welcome to 2013. Where’s on your travel wish list for the year ahead? The deserted plains of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast… a stunning infinity pool with views over the Mediterranean Sea in a never rented before villa… the hottest new luxury hotel in New York? Read on for a snap shot of the newest locations and experiences we’re most excited about for 2013.

New Openings – 2013’s hottest new places to stay

Wilderness Collection To Open Segera Retreat, Kenya – March 2013

Segera is a tangible example of successful multiple land-use efforts. With the support of the Zeitz Foundation, it is at the forefront of change in Kenya; its mission is to achieve a healthy, holistic balance of the 4Cs central to the Wilderness Collection ethos (conservation, community, culture and commerce), leading to the creation of a sustainable Long Run Destination (Global Ecosphere Retreat® certified) that contributes to the vision of an ecosphere in the healthiest possible state.

Expect exceptional service in the five private two-storey villas of wood and thatch that gaze out over the Laikipia plateau towards the spectacular Mount Kenya and which play host to guests seeking to reconnect with nature and embrace a new way of viewing man’s relationship with the natural world. Segera is accepting reservations from 23rd March 2013 onwards.

Holidays Please (www.holidaysplease.co.uk/safari) has a seven-night stay at Segera from £5,513 pp, including return BA flights from LHR, private transfers and full board with most drinks and all activities.

Wilderness Safaris Open Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia – June 2013

Wilderness Safaris is opening Hoanib Skeleton Coast in June, located on the Hoanib River within a private concession straddling the Palmwag area and Skeleton Coast National Park, in one of the most remote areas of the Kaokoveld. This exclusive camp, comprising eight units (including one family unit), will be a Classic Camp with all the attendant luxuries and amenities Wilderness Safaris are known for. For the first time, forays into the Hoanib floodplains (previously restricted inside the Skeleton Coast National Park) can be undertaken. www.wilderness-safaris.com

Park Hyatt New York To Open – 2013

Park Hyatt New York will be located at 157 West 57th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue, across from Carnegie Hall. The 210-room hotel will be part of a 90-story mixed-use tower that will also feature 135 Thomas Juul-Hansen-designed luxury condominiums with breathtaking views of Central Park and the New York skyline.  In addition to a distinctive bar and restaurant and 5,000 square feet of retail space, the property will include a premier meeting facility with a grand ballroom and distinctive event space, as well as a lavish spa, fitness centre, and indoor swimming pool in a three-story aerie at the top of the hotel. The world-class hotel will reflect Park Hyatt’s intimate and understated elegance with interiors designed by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg. www.parkhyatt.com

Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Cambodia To Open – 2013

Park Hyatt Siem Reap will be situated nearby the renowned 12th century ruins of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site that researchers believe was one of the largest preindustrial cities in the world. The hotel will be a re-branded and totally renovated Hotel De La Paix Siem Reap, currently one of the country’s top-rated hotels. www.parkhyatt.com

Andaz Tokyo To Open – 2014

Andaz Tokyo will be the fourth Hyatt-branded hotel to open in Tokyo and the ninth to be established in Japan. With the Japanese launch of the Andaz brand in Toranomon, the birthplace of Mori Building, the two companies affirm their shared commitment to bringing gracious, unscripted service to an urban revitalization project that is focused on providing inventive programs and venues for inspired interactions between residents and visitors alike. www.andaz.com

Scott Williams Introduces New Portfolio Of Extraordinary Houses In Turkey

New for 2013, luxury villa specialist Scott Williams has introduced an exclusive collection of holiday homes on the Bodrum Peninsula in Turkey to its growing portfolio of dazzling handpicked hideaways.

NEW Houses for 2013 include:

The Loft House, Bodrum Peninsula, Sleeps 4

The Loft House on the Bodrum Peninsula is straight off the pages of a luxury interiors magazine, situated in one of the most exclusive areas on the Peninsula with Turbuku, the San Tropez of Turkey, just a short drive away.  The villa commands stunning sea views from its idyllic hill top position, with whitewashed walls and the chicest contemporary design features including concrete floors, double height ceilings and huge glass and steel windows.

Prices start at €3,500 per week (approx. £2,850) excluding flights and transfers. www.scottwilliams.co.uk

John O’Groats Hotel To Re-open – Summer 2013

Following a huge £6 million regeneration project of the area in 2012, Natural Retreats has opened of 23 standalone Residences, plus a brand new Outfitters activity and retail centre and co-operative Storehouse, selling produce and goods from local businesses including Old Pulteney Malt Scotch Whisky, freshly baked bread and speciality cheese.

Not forgetting its historic roots, Natural Retreats will also be renovating the classic John O’Groats hotel – opening in late summer 2013 – which this year will be celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Natural Retreats (www.naturalretreats.com; 0844 384 3166) offers four-nights in a 3 Bedroom Residence in John O’Groats from £420.

Waldorf Astoria Berlin – Opened December 2012

Setting a new standard in luxury for Berlin and the wider German market, the new Waldorf Astoria Berlin marries the timeless elegance of the legendary flagship, Waldorf=Astoria New York, with a unique design inspired by the City‘s vibrant and contemporary personality. Featuring 232 luxury guestrooms and suites, the hotel sits within the spectacular new Zoofenster skyscraper, designed by renowned German architect, Professor Christoph Mäckler. www.waldorfastoriaberlin.com

Majestic Kuala Lumpur – Opened December 2012

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur opened its doors on the 1st December 2012 and includes the iconic Hotel Majestic building, documented as a national heritage site under the Antiquities Act.  Built in the 1930s, the original hotel became one of the great landmarks of Kuala Lumpur in its time. The hotel was the place for glamorous social events, government receptions and the residence for prominent international visitors. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is positioned to share the glamour, heritage and success of its predecessor. www.majestickl.com

Andaz Amsterdam – Opened October 2012

2013 marks many historic anniversaries for Amsterdam such as 400 years of Amsterdam’s canals or 125 years of the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam’s famous concert hall, making Amsterdam a top destination for 2013 – and where else to stay other than the new cooler than cool Andaz Amsterdam? Based on the premise that the hotel should beat with the same heart as the city, the unique flavors of Amsterdam are embedded in the property’s adventurous design concept brought to life through the vision of local and legendary interior and product designer, Marcel Wanders. Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht is the first Hyatt hotel in the Netherlands and the ninth addition to the Andaz brand.

Rooms are available from EUR325 per night. Reservations for Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht may be made by calling +31 20 – 523 1234 or by visiting amsterdam.prinsengracht.andaz.com.

New Experiences – Must. Try. Now.

Tom Aikens’ Michelin Master Class at Royal Palm, Mauritius – 25 – 27 March 2013

Headlining act of the London restaurant scene and the youngest chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars, Tom Aikens will be cooking up a storm at the prestigious Royal Palm in Mauritius from 25th  – 27th  March 2013. For three days only, Tom will be presenting his innovative and creative style of modern French cookery that has been made famous at his Michelin starred Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea. Guests will be able to partake in a series of one-off Master Classes and sit down to private four-course dinners cooked by the celebrity chef, over the three nights.

The Tom Aikens Master Class Week is available to book exclusively through Beachcomber Tours (www.beachcombertours.co.uk; 01483 445 685) from £3,950 per person. Price includes 7 nights at Royal Palm based on two sharing on a half-board basis including Economy flights from London Heathrow, private transfers and Tom Aikens Master Class participation as detailed above.

Martini Master Classes at DUKES ST JAMES LONDON

Learn to make the perfect Martini in the famous DUKES bar; the location where Ian Fleming was inspired to write the James Bond line ‘shaken not stirred’, with the new Martini Master Classes at DUKES ST. JAMES LONDON.

Master Class students will learn to recreate the legendary DUKES Martini and other classic recipes with head barman and martini guru, Alessandro Palazzi, who will share his in-depth knowledge of each drink and its ingredients’ origins. After perfecting their martini making skills guests can relax, unwind and enjoy the taste of their hard work accompanied by some delicious canapés.

Master classes are held Monday to Friday from 3pm-5pm and can be booked for private events and cost just £95 per person. Groups of 4-8 people can attend each class. Nightly rates in a Dukes room at DUKES ST JAMES LONDON start from £270 inclusive of VAT. For more information please call 020 7491 4840 or visit www.dukeshotel.com

New Guerlain Spa Now Open at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Edinburgh

With three bespoke treatment rooms and a team of highly trained Beauty Coaches, a visit to the UK’s first Guerlain spa will be a unique and personal experience to local residents and hotel guests. Open as of January 2013, the spa is a sanctuary of luxury and relaxation where guests will experience sensorial, indulgent and cutting edge treatments from Guerlain, one of the world’s most luxurious Spa brands.

Nightly rates start at £209 per night inc VAT, room only at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. For further information or to make a reservation, please call +44 (0) 131 222 888; www.thecaledonian.waldorfastoria.com

Green Leaf Niseko Village, Japan – Snow Lounge Installation

The Niseko Village ski resort is celebrating Japan’s top ski resort’s 30th anniversary with great fanfare this year by revealing its all-new outdoor art installation Snow Lounge, created by renowned artist Hirohiko Takenaka. Named ‘Snow Lounge @ Flame’s”, the venue is the talk of the town, both as an architectural point of interest and as an après-ski watering hole. Sculpted from pure powder snow with a cavern like feel, the snow and ice installation will be illuminated from within, casting a magical glow inside and around, as the play of escaping lights entice patrons to enter. The Niseko season runs until April 2013.

Inside Japan Tours offer a 7 night package including 5 nights at Green Leaf and 2 in Tokyo from £1,993pp based on two sharing. www.insidejapantours.com

Andaz Liverpool Street London Re-Invents Afternoon Tea With The Winter Club Sandwich

Following the success and rave reviews of the ‘Eggcentric’ installation during London Design Festival and September’s ‘Scrap Lab’ sustainable dinners, created by food designer Linda Monique, Andaz Liverpool Street hotel is delighted to announce the new seasonal Winter Club Sandwich, designed exclusively for the hotel by Monique. Monique’s latest seasonal creation is a mind bending sweet take on a savoury hotel classic, which will be available for a limited time only at the hotel’s glorious 1901 restaurant from 1st January – 31st March 2013.

The Winter Club Sandwich is priced at £10 per sandwich. www.andaz.com

New 2013 Chocolate Tasting Menu at Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Famed for its outstanding natural beauty and wealth of organic, tropical flavours, St Lucia is home to some of the Caribbean’s most bountiful cacao plantations – brought to life by Jade Mountain’s annual Chocolate Festival. Held at the award-winning resort every December, the last event led by Chef Allen Susse has spawned a daring new menu, launched in January 2013 to excite the senses. 

Nightly rates at Jade Mountain start at US$ 1,275 per Sanctuary.  Price is based on two persons sharing a Sky, Star, Moon, Sun or Galaxy Jacuzzi Suite. All rates are subject to 8% tax and 10% service charges www.jademountain.com

Twitching At Sani Resort, Halkidiki, Greece

Sani Resort has its own Wetland Sanctuary and is now offering guided bird watching tours for the brilliant price of £13pp which includes a donation to the sanctuary. Guests can now view species such as Osprey, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Avocet, Montagu’s Harrier, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Willow Warbler, Northern Wheatear, the Pipit, the Sombre Tit, the Robin and the Woodchat Shrike, guided by a professional. www.saniresort.com

Purchase Your Very Own Natural Retreats Property

Award winning luxury self-catering company Natural Retreats has released a portfolio of exclusive holiday homes to buy for the first time. Spurred by the overwhelming interest about ownership from guests holidaying at its various UK locations, Natural Retreats has released 20 fully-furnished, panoramic sea view properties available to purchase off-plan on the breath-taking Llŷn Peninsula in Wales, and another 12 key-ready luxury apartments at Fistral Beach, Cornwall – all with a 999 year lease for generations to enjoy. More properties will be coming on sale in 2013.

www.naturalretreatsresidences.com

The Oracle Retreat Returns to Spa Village Tembok Bali – 16th – 26th March 2013 and October 2013

Spa Village Tembok Bali is a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity. In March, Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali will hold its Oracle Retreat, teaching self-care practices which restore the body, mind and soul, leaving one feeling renewed and replenished. Two options are available: the Full Retreat, commencing March 16 to 26, 2013 and the Mini Retreats from March 16 to 21 or March 20 to 26, 2013.

The Oracle Retreat invites guests to learn life-changing skills and techniques through a variety of activities and excursions such as life workshops, ‘5-element form’, yoga, meditation and holistic aromatherapy. Internationally renowned wellness practitioners will guide participants on the path to achieve true inner happiness through transformation; this year’s Oracle Facilitators include Diana Manilova –psychic healer and author, Marc Cofer –guiding in brain training, Dewi Hopley –aroma and holistic massage therapist and Sharron Hopley – host for the programme and movement specialist.

  • Mini Retreat (16th – 21st March or 20th – 26th March 2013) is priced at US$1,400 (*£870) per person based on two sharing.
  • Full Retreat (16th – 26th March 2013) is priced at US$2,750 (*£1,760) per person based on two sharing.
  • October 2013 TBC

www.ytlhotels.com

Gent’s Grooming At Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

To mark the start of 2013, 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is pleased to introduce a brand new Beauty and Care for HIM treatment. All elements of the treatment have been adapted for men. The facial – a Niance Men Power Facial – is crafted to provide resilience and firmness to the weary man, including facial and neck massage, breathing exercises for deep relaxation as well as cleansing, peeling, mask and serum; even extending to hands and arms to deliver a fully refreshed appearance and feeling. Each massage, manicure and pedicure is tailored to the needs of every individual – following a full consultation beforehand.

Experience the indulgent Beauty and Care for HIM at 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland for £297 per person. www.resortragaz.com

Champneys Launch 2013 Boot-Camp Series to Champion UK Sporting Legacy

Champneys has announced a brand new Boot Camp menu to include a new focus on sports such as hockey, swimming, tennis, cycling and the triathlon, accompanying more traditional weight loss and fitness Boot Camps stretching across all levels.

Champneys is partnering with 80s elite athlete, four-time world record breaker and fitness extraordinaire Daley Thompson, CBE to bring an intensive fitness weekender to the table. With 2-3 classes every hour, Daley’s course includes everything from Circuits and Spinning to Aerobics and Zumba to whip guests back into shape throughout an intensive, but fun, fitness weekend.

Where? Champneys Tring Dates: 1st February and 5th April 2013 Available from: £649 pp (2 days)

Other Boot Camps include Triathalon, Tennis, Cycling and Swimming. Contact www.champneys.com for bookings and further details.

New BA Flight Route to Lanzarote

Travellers can enjoy greater flexibility when planning their luxury holiday to Lanzarote with the launch of a new BA flight route to the sun kissed Canary Island. From 31 March 2013, there will be two new BA flights per week departing from London Gatwick to Lanzarote.

The fabulous five-star Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort is situated in Playa Blanca, a pretty and tranquil spot on the Canary Island of Lanzarote. The luxurious suites, impeccable service, Kikoland kids club, Thalasso-therapy spa and gourmet dining options make the Princesa Yaiza the ideal getaway for young, old, honeymooners and families alike.

Sovereign Luxury Travel (0844 415 1936; www.sovereign.com) is offering a 15% early booking discount and an online discount- 7 nights from £2,579 per family of 3 on a bed and breakfast basis, departing on the 4th August 2013. Price includes BA return flights from London Gatwick and private transfers. Saving up to £1,089 per family of 3

The Silent Beach at Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum

This blissful property on the Aegean Coast of Turkey is excited to announce the launch of its Silent Beach, a secluded haven where silence really does mean bliss. The Silent Beach will be located next to the blue flag sandy beach that Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay prides itself on. Tucked away amongst the trees, this really will be the perfect spot for guests wanting to enjoy the pace and quiet. The beach will not only offer guests a ‘no noise zone’ but also beach bar service straight to their sunbed…what more could you want! www.kempinski.com/bodrum

Hotel de Toiras & Villa Clarisse Launch Own Wine Label

Two beautiful boutique properties on the Ile de Re, France.  Hotel de Toiras is a much loved, 17th century former shop owner’s residence. Its sister property, Villa Clarisse opened in May 2011 and has made the perfect second addition to the delightful port of Saint Martin de Re. New for 2013 is the launch a selection of acclaimed wines from Chateau Clarisse, the owner, Olivia Le Calvez boutique vineyard located in the Saint Emilion region of France. www.hotel-de-toiras.com

New Polo Bar at Desert Palm, by Per AQUUM, Dubai

New Polo Bar offering guests an Al Fresco causal alternative to enjoy a glass of chilled champagne whilst savouring tapas and creative dishes from the food menu. Overlooking Desert Palm’s main polo field guests can enjoy watching the sport of Kings – Polo, twice a week between October to May and live entertainment.  www.peraquum.com

New Marine Biology Classes at NIYAMA, by Per AQUUM, Maldives

Newly opened NIYAMA has added a new experience to the Maldives and 2013 looks set to bring more excitement to the Indian Ocean hot spot. From Tribal, the very cool campfire style dining experience, to Edge and Subsix, the fabulous overwater restaurant and underwater music club, everything at Niyama has a quirky spin. Guests will be able to take part in marine biology lessons in the world’s first underwater music club, Subsix – the perfect way to learn about marine life without get wet! www.peraquum.com

New SpaQuarium Experience at Huvafen Fushi, by Per AQUUM, Maldives

Recently renovated and completed in August 2012, Huvafen Fushi is now offering its “SpaQuarium” to guests. Discover underwater marine life at night as the hotel opens its underwater Spa at night to enable guests to see hunting jackfish, lionfish and coral polyps catching plankton under moonlight. Sip Champagne and nibble on fruit skewers while the Resident Marine Biologist takes you down to the SpaReef to see below the sea in a relaxing way! www.peraquum.com

New Company – The eBay Of Caribbean Holidays! The Caribbean Hotel Company By ITC Classics

ITC Classics has just launched the Caribbean Hotel Company, revolutionising the way price conscious travellers book holidays to the Caribbean. Using ‘make a bid’ technology, customers simply browse a handpicked selection of over 200 four and five star hotels, select their ideal Caribbean holiday and place their bid… then wait to see if they have been successful. This is the eBay of Caribbean holidays! Visit www.thecaribbeanhotelcompany.co.uk and you may snap up a better bargain than you’d hoped. Holidays include hotel accommodation and all are ABTA protected.

New Boat – Xenia & Faye at The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua

The Inn’s Italian owners Enzo and Suzanna Addari have bought Italian style and flair to the property (his flair and her style). For 2013 the owners will be enabling their guests the use of their beautiful Dutch yacht, Xenia & Faye. Built in Holland in 1962 and lovingly restored by the owners, guests can charter this 26 metre yacht for the day or even spend a romantic night on board (three cabins – sleeping up to five guests). Private chartering of Xenia & Faye starts from $1700 USD for a full day. www.theinn.ag

New for January 2013: The Spa at Marti By Spa Soul – Marti Istanbul

Located on the top floor of the Marti Istanbul Hotel, this beautifully designed and spacious facility (850 square metres) comprises five treatment rooms, separate men/women quarters each with private sauna and steam room, two traditional Turkish Hammams and a vast Roman Bath, generous relaxation areas and more. SpaSoul, with its international team of therapists, uses carefully selected products for a large selection of treatments tailored to suit individual needs and preferences.  www.martiistanbul.com

Anne Sémonin Launch Revolutionary New Skin Renewal Treatment

The Parisian beauty experts at Anne Sémonin will be launching a revolutionary new Skin Renewal treatment for 2013. Years in the making, the new treatment erases the signs of time using an exclusive 4-step made-to-measure peeling technique. The treatment will be available at all Anne Sémonin spas world-wide…more details to come soon! www.annesemonin.com

Conrad Algarve – New Spa and Little C Palace Children’s Club Opened November 2012

The innovative new spa at Conrad Algarve is a sanctuary where guests can enjoy a ‘Luxurious Journey to a Better You’. Embracing the Conrad philosophy of ‘The Luxury Of Being Yourself’, the locally-inspired spa is a haven of relaxation. Here guests will enjoy state of the art techniques and effective, indulgent tailor-made treatments from Aromatherapy Associates and Intraceuticals. The spa is also home to the technology friendly Elixir Lounge, a comfortable ‘living space’ that has been created for guests to enjoy the Conrad concept of unrivalled connections. With research showing that many spa visitors find it unsettling to switch off or leave technology behind when enjoying spa time, Conrad Algarve Spa allows guests to stay connected by mobile and internet, whilst keeping phones on silent.

Not just for adults, Conrad Algarve features a specially created children’s activity menu designed by children, for children. The new ‘Little C Palace’ children’s club is suitable for children aged three to 12 and offers a bespoke holiday for younger guests, with a variety of activities to choose from including treasure hunts, baby yoga and mock-tail making. www.conradalgarve.com

Happy Birthday!

Rome Cavalieri Celebrates 50th Anniversary

50 years ago, Rome Cavalieri opened its doors and became one of the Eternal City’s leading properties. To celebrate the big 5-0 in 2013, the hotel will be launching an exciting series of packages and special events including a Roman Shopping Holiday package, a chance to whizz around Rome in electric cars, and a new children’s experience including a visit to an artisan ice cream maker and mind-boggling Museo Explora. www.romecavalieri.com

Two Seychelles Resorts Celebrate 10th Birthday

North Island, the ultimate barefoot island turns 10 years old in 2013 and will be celebrating in style. Watch this space for more details from the tropical paradise!

www.north-island.com

Part of Beachcomber Hotels, Sainte Anne Resort & Spa also celebrates its 10th year in 2013 and will be marking the occasion with a new package, details to be announced shortly.

www.sainteanne-resort.com

New Clients – Welcome To…

GVI

GVI runs over 100 volunteer projects in 25 countries, in the fields of environmental research, conservation, education and community development. The organisation sends over 3,000 volunteers away every year, and is one of the most well respected and prominent international volunteering organisations in the world. From wildlife conservation in South Africa to community development programmes in Costa Rica, GVI welcomes volunteers from 18-70 years of age from all corners of the globe. www.gvi.co.uk

 -ends-

Please contact the Grifco PR team for more information on 0207 385 7090 or email: Claire Griffin Claire@grifcopr.com; Emma Powell Emma@grifcopr.com; Hannah Summers Hannah@grifcopr.com; Charlotte Hill Charlotte@grifcopr.com; Nadia Walford Nadia@grifcopr.com; Charlie Fox Charlie@grifcopr.com.

The X Factor At Anse Chastanet, St Lucia

Did you spot the hotel resort in tonight’s episode of X Factor? Tulisa Contostavlos, and her entourage chose to film and scrutinise her contestant’s vocal talent in style at the gorgeous Anse Chastanet, St Lucia. We spoke with Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet owner, Karolin Troubetzkoy, who gave us the exclusive insight into Tulisa and the X Factor’s experience filming at Anse Chastanet.

“When you’re holidaying at Jade Mountain St Lucia, things tend to be pretty quiet as everyone is either relaxing in their infinity pool, exploring the ocean floor, scuba diving, zip lining, mountain biking, or experiencing a variety of other activities. So when guests heard a squeal of excitement break the calm serenity of the resort, there was a huge temptation to peer through sanctuary doors to see what all the commotion was about. There in front of the resort was Tulisa and her entourage.”  Had X Factor really come to Anse Chastanet? Guests holidays suddenly were all about keeping up with the goings on of the X Factor!

THE DIARY

Day 1

Several lucky guests had dinner at Trou au Diable, the delicious beach restaurant at Anse Chastanet, where they sat next to the judges. The contestants were off to bed early after dinner whilst guests danced away into the night at Anse Chastanet as the local steel band continued to entertain into the wee hours.

Day 2

Guests could see the camera crew filming Tulisa crossing the bridge into her sanctuary as the contestants were being filmed walking up and down the beach. In the afternoon the contestants had more hard work ahead of them as the judges were dispatched off on a half day yacht cruise around the glorious Pitons.

Day 3

Everyone had had a great time down at the beach with standing room only in the beachbar! On the way to breakfast guests were serenaded by the contestants as they warmed up (singing that is). And hey, there was a new face at breakfast: Dermot O’Leary arrived! But we couldn’t hang around… Zip wiring, diving and spa treatments await!

For the faint hearted that want to appear ‘warrior brave’– the Zip Wire at Morne Coubaril Estate is just the ticket, picturesque with views over the Pitons, Mount Gimie (highest peak in St Lucia at just over 3,000 ft), lush rainforest and water traps.

A return to Jade Mountain and X Factor was in full swing as contestants; one by one nervously climb the steps to the Jade Mountain Club and eventually up to the Celestial Terrace for the make or break moment.

Day 4

The crew we hear were up for a 3am breakfast – the last day and results day – a real dilemma for us – half want to go to the beach and half want to see who’s got through – eventually some sort of compromise is reached: for the first 4 hours we stay indoors sneaking a peak and  the last 2 we head down to the beach from our top floor sanctuary while still occasionally craning our necks for a view. So there it is we’ve seen it: 2 are clearly through, 2 are inconsolable and in true X Factor fashion 2 wouldn’t tell! By 1.30pm it’s all over and they’re on their way back to the airport. Later we catch up with the gossip – some of which must be of course is said in the old travel saying: what happens away, stays away! But now we know who really did get through and one of the unlucky ones who through floods of tears confessed her love for Anse Chastanet and promises this is where she is to be married!

So I will leave the surprise of who ended up going through to tonight’s episode, I for one will enjoy revisiting the beauty that was Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain in St Lucia.