- Published:October 2, 2012 8:23 am
One of the great pleasures of international travel is the chance to enjoy the “high life” at a luxury hotel. When it comes to staying in style, Rio de Janeiro compares well with the world’s other great cities.
- Published:October 1, 2012 8:23 pm
Winter, it’s coming. The days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping. If the thought of your winter boots and a chunky knit make you want to spill your soup, then it’s time to take action and treat yourself to a luxury holiday.
- Author:Miki Mo
- Published:July 27, 2015 10:00 pm
Famous for its cherry blossoms, hectic streets and bright lights, Tokyo is a city that changes dramatically throughout the year with long, hot, humid summers giving way to hazy autumn days and crisp cold winters.
This constantly changing climate means that no two trips to Tokyo will ever be the same, with both natural and manmade attractions changing season by season.
To ensure you get the best of Tokyo whenever you decide to visit, here’s a quick guide to the seasonal highlights of this mega metropolis.
Attracting visitors from all corners of the globe, Tokyo’s cherry trees in full blossom are an incredible sight to see.
Though the exact time these magnificent trees burst into bloom changes year by year, in general the flowers begin to appear in late march and can continue all the way into June.
There are several places in the city offering spectacular views of the trees, with Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen and Chidorigafuchi among the most popular.
With temperatures regularly exceeding 30˚C and humidity often above 75%, summers in Tokyo are hot and humid. And when it is hot outside, there are few things the residents of Tokyo like to do more than throw a good party.
With a variety of festivals and events taking place throughout the summer, it’s an action-packed time to visit the city.
From the giant water fight that takes place at the Fukagawa Hachiman Festival to the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, the oldest of its kind in the world, if you visit Tokyo in the summer months, be prepared to have a great time.
If spring time in Tokyo is all about flowers, autumn is all about leaves as the trees in the city’s many ornamental gardens and parks erupt in a spectacular display of autumn foliage.
From bright yellows and oranges to deeps reds and browns, the magnificent display of autumnal leaves is a truly unforgettable sight.
Though you’ll be able to see some fantastic trees as you travel around the city, head to Rikugien, Koishikawa Korakuen or Mount Takao for a truly breath-taking view.
Snow might be rare in Tokyo but come late November and December the city’s streets come alive with incredible festive light displays and an array of illuminated shrines.
Though Japan doesn’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, this doesn’t stop it from going all out when it comes to illuminations and there are some breath-taking displays to be seen throughout the city.
From Rappongi Hills to Midtown, different parts of the city seem to compete with each other to see who can produce the most dazzling illuminations.
The most popular locations can become very busy on the 24th December, so try to go before if possible.
Boasting a wealth of attractions throughout the year, fantastic shopping and an array of luxury hotels, Tokyo is undeniably one of the world’s great destinations.
Why not book yourself a trip now and see what all the fuss is about?
- Published:June 27, 2015 6:53 pm
The state of Utah is full of destinations where you and your family can entertain yourselves and find adventure. The area’s terrain varies from city to city and place-to-place, so you can always find plenty of outdoor distractions.
The summer months are a time when the state comes alive. There are so many activities to participate in it may be difficult to choose.
Utah is known for some of the greatest hiking in its region of the country; the scenery is very picturesque and offers some great hiking trails. One of the best places to hike is Zion National Forest.
The red rock is beautiful and pristine, and adds a beautiful backdrop to canyon vistas. A very popular Zion hike is Angel’s Landing, which leads to one of the highest climbable points in the entire park.
This trip is not for the faint of heart; half of the trail is lined with a chain for grabbing and stabilizing. It thins down to a size that requires single file lines toward the top.
However, it is very safe, as long as you are paying close attention to the designated path and safety notifications along the way. Once hikers reach the top of Angel’s Landing, the challenge of the ascent becomes worth it.
It offers probably the most gorgeous view in all of Zion National Forest. This hike is best done in early summer, when temperatures have not yet reached high levels, but the snow has almost or completely melted.
Another area that offers plenty of trails is the Provo Canyon; this is the area where the famous Sundance Resort is located, for good reason. The scenery there is comparable to what one might find on a visit to the Swiss Alps.
There are beautiful, snow covered cascades and lush trees almost everywhere you look. One of the most popular hikes in this area is Mount Timpanogos.
This is another trip that is not for beginners; though it is about a moderate level of intensity, the ascent and descent together can often take an entire day. However, the views and scenery get more and more beautiful as one climbs.
Other gorgeous areas for this activity are Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, which are located closer to Salt Lake City. The summer months are also a great time to boat on the many bodies of water available, including water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, and wake surfing.
Utah is a rock climber’s paradise, and is known for some of the best routes on the west side of the United States. There are plenty of places to do so, but one of the most popular is Moab.
The rock found there is different than any other place in the state, and there are some really interesting and thrilling routes available for climbers of all different levels of experience. Those that wish to spend time in the outdoors, but are not big on danger or adventure, can take advantage of all that the City of Salt Lake has to offer.
Downtown is filled with beautiful historical sites and tons of places to shop. Outside festivals and concert series usually go on throughout the spring and summer months, so there is almost always something entertaining available for you or your family.
The city was founded by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, and is the main headquarters for all of the administration that must be done. Because of this, there are plenty of beautiful buildings and interesting sites to visit.
Early members of the church built many of the architectural wonders of the city. Though summer time offers a great number of distractions, warm weather is not what this area is known for.
It is a prime location for skiers, snowboarders, and any number of winter athletes. Some of the best resorts in the country are located in Utah, right around the Salt Lake City area.
Resorts like Brighton, Alta, Snowbird, and Park City give winter enthusiasts a place to take part in their craft and view the lovely vistas that Utah has to offer. Those that visit may wish to stay in one of these resorts, or stay in a vacation rental or lodge up in the picturesque mountains.
No matter when you go or what you do there, the state of Utah is a great destination. With all of the excitement available, you may have a difficult time deciding what to do first!
- Author:Miki Mo
- Published:May 11, 2015 8:36 pm
For my family, we’re always searching new ways to explore the great outdoors. My partner and I often take our children for hikes along trails. While these walks are fun for the family, we were starting to look for new adventures because we wanted to try a unique and thrilling way to experience the outdoors. After considerable research, my partner and I found the perfect solution. A volunteer vacation to beautiful South Africa was the next big adventure for me and my family.
Through an accredited volunteer organization, we were able to pick a program that fit the family’s interest. Since we are committed animal lovers and have two house cats, we chose to live with cheetahs. This program connected us with a cheetah sanctuary dedicated to the rehabilitation of these beautiful and vulnerable animals.
As soon as we arrived at the airport, a friendly guide was there to welcome us and drive us to the 10 000 hectare reserve. While en route, he entertained all of our questions with patience (we had a lot!) and made sure to make us feel like we had made the right decision to come to South Africa to help these cheetahs. When we arrived at the sanctuary, we were introduced to the team that would train us and then were given a tour of the wonderful accommodations.
The very next day started with an early morning full of training with the resident veterinarians and handlers, so that we could care for the cheetahs properly and safely. Every guide was especially clear and engaging, and made our security a priority. It made all of us feel very special. I could also tell how dedicated they were to the animals, as they were proud about how their sanctuary was saving cheetahs from poachers. Hunting is a terrible, inhumane act that is illegal in most countries of Africa; however, it is still a huge problem.
Our day-to-day activities include general upkeep of the sanctuary and care of the cheetahs, so we had ample opportunity to interact with these amazing creatures. It’s almost indescribable, our experience. It was such a unique way to see the beautiful South African landscape and to see such magnificent animals. To know that we – while having the time of our lives – were providing essential sanctuary from poachers warmed our hearts.
Since we’ve been back we haven’t stopped talking about how rewarding and interesting our volunteer vacation through Volunteer South Africa was. All of our friends and neighbours know that our next vacation willbe through them again. My whole family has visited their website, and by clicking Volunteersa.com/projects we learned that this organization provides several different packages that focus on living with different endangered animals. It also provides the opportunity to work with disenfranchised children who are stuck in local hospitals. We’re not quite sure which package we’ll sign up for next, but we know that whatever we choose, we’ll have an amazing time making a real difference in the world.
- Published:April 21, 2015 6:30 pm
In 1962, the Drifters released ‘Up on the Roof’, a B-side single that eventually topped the charts before going on to be recorded by multiple artists through the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It is a song that might be playing in your head in the knowledge that London’s rooftop nightclubs are preparing for their annual openings.
There is no better way to enjoy those warm London nights than spending a few hours with your best friends overlooking the city at a posh rooftop bar. In fact, rooftop clubbing is extremely popular in the capital. So much so that clubs all over the city without rooftop venues are feverishly working to get something going.
In anticipation of the annual rooftop season, here are a few suggestions for clubs courtesy of Velvet PR, the club guest list specialist.
The Sky Garden
The Sky Garden tops our list because it is open all year – not just the summer months. That notwithstanding, it is also London’s highest public garden offering spectacular views of the entire city. If you are interested in just enjoying drinks with friends, the Skypod Bar offers a relaxing lounge environment that includes small tables and chairs along with couches and bar seating. The floor to ceiling glass means your view is never obstructed.
If your idea of a good night out includes a fine dining experience, the Sky Garden does not disappoint. Make reservations at the Fenchurch Street Bar and Grill, located on the top floor of the building, or the more relaxed Darwin Brasserie. After dinner, take a long and relaxing stroll through the lush greenery of the garden. You may forget you are walking indoors!
Dalston Roof Park
Dalston Roof Park looks nothing more than a typical English garden set atop a four-story building. However, dig around a little and you’ll find there’s a lot going on. By day, the park is used by sun worshippers, families with their kids, and community groups looking to enjoy a park-like setting in the middle of London. At night, however, Dalston Roof Park comes alive with music, dancing and drinks.
Dalston Roof Park’s nightlife centres on the 40ft Brewery and their well-known Bootstrap brews. You can only get these incredible beers during the summer months, so make sure you get to Dalston Roof Park at least once this year. You can also purchase a £5 membership, good for the entire summer, giving you access to special events including free film screenings, concerts, and more.
Bloom Gin Bar
The Bloom Gin sits high atop the Trafalgar Hotel in Trafalgar Square. This excellent venue used to be known as ‘Vista'; it may be one you are already familiar with. This is a small and intimate venue with plenty of wicker, manicured herb gardens, and magnificent views of London icons such as Big Ben and the London Eye. Be aware though – the Bloom Gin is about laid-back sophistication. This is by no means an electro-music dance club where you and your friends will be clubbing the night away. Here it is all about purposeful relaxation.
The Roof Gardens
The world renowned Roof Gardens of Kensington covers 6,000 square metres at the top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street. You can enjoy the gardens on their own, and you can even enjoy a meal on the seventh floor Babylon Restaurant on any night of the week. However, if you want access to The Club, you have to be a member. The Club is an exclusive venue offering live music, dancing, and drinks on weekends only.
You’ll know the Virgin-owned Club is a swanky place when you see bouncers at the door checking attire. They do not allow anyone in who is not dressed for success. How do you know what proper attire is? The Club has a simple motto: no effort, no entrance.
If you are the kind of person looking for a great outdoor venue that does not have a dress code or require a membership, the summertime bar at the top of Frank’s Café is just what you are looking for. This very popular nightspot sits atop the Peckham Car Park on Rye Lane. It was originally opened in 2007 as part of a summer art sculpture exhibition. Over the last eight years, it has become one of the most popular rooftop venues in London. Expect big crowds here.
England’s capital is always a great place for the best nightlife in Europe. During the summer, nightlife gets even better thanks to the many rooftop bars and nightclubs. If you have never done a rooftop before, it is something you need to do this summer. There is nothing quite like spending a few hours relaxing with your friends and taking in some great views!
- Published:January 27, 2015 9:28 am
There is no doubt that Sicily has some of the best and most pristine beaches in the world. Surrounded by the crystal blue Mediterranean, the island has a plethora of stunning beaches and beachfront properties, making it a great place to take a relaxing vacation. The water is swimmable almost all year round and there are even some natural springs to enjoy during the colder months. If you want to have a truly relaxing stay in Sicily then find one of the many beachfront holiday homes to rent and take a real vacation on the magical isle.
- Published:October 21, 2014 7:26 pm
Whether it’s your first holiday together, honeymoon or anniversary, a holiday to one of the world’s most romantic destinations is sure to put that spark to your relationship. Think white sandy beaches, endless sunsets and crystal clear waters against a backdrop of luxury. There’s nothing more romantic than the thought of spending quality time with your loved one in a stunning location, surrounded by culture and natural beauty. Create memories that will last a lifetime with a special break for just the two of you and experience some of the world’s most beautiful and breath-taking resorts.
With its exotic, breath-taking landscape and fabulous resorts, it is hardly a surprise that the Maldives remain a firm favourite with A-list celebrities. A range of amazing activities await you, from the relaxing indulgence of spas and picturesque lagoons to a range of water sports for those couples with a sense of adventure. With a variety of stunning locations to suit everyone, the Maldives is the choice destination for couples in search of a holiday with a touch of class and glamour. Romantic evening walks along the beach await you, with plentiful bars and restaurants to enjoy each other’s company.
- Published:October 21, 2014 9:42 am
Provence is a region in the South of France that stretches from the left bank of the lower Rhone River to the west of the Italian border on the east. So beautiful is the region, it was the first province the Romans made their own beyond the Alps. Still a popular tourist destination to this day, here’s what to see and where to go while you’re there.
Must See Attractions
Perhaps the best place to see the remains of the once Roman province is the city of Nimes. The Romans built amphitheatres across the region but the Arena of Nimes is particularly well-preserved example, and use to be home to crowds of 20,0000 chanting for their favourite gladiator or charioteer.
- Published:September 18, 2014 12:52 pm
The great British staycation is seemingly becoming ever popular, but unlike the British holidays of days gone by, things have changed enormously. Think less camping and more glamping, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors whilst coming home to comfort and better yet, electricity. With so much stunning scenery on offer, it’s understandable why.
Whether you’re planning a week in the incredible Scottish Highlands, several days in the inspiring Lake District or a weekend in the gorgeous Norfolk countryside, there are plenty of ideas for accommodation, food and activities that guarantee you will have a decadent countryside getaway.
- Published:September 12, 2014 10:39 am
- Published:September 12, 2014 10:35 am
With the cost of the average British wedding now costing £18,000, it’s now more important than ever to ensure you have considered every choice and option available to you before your special day. You don’t want to look back on your wedding day and wish that you’d done something differently, and so the planning of your wedding can now be a very difficult job if you’re not sure where to begin.