4 Jamaican treasures for your perfect winter holiday

Dunn's River Falls

If brisk chills and winter flurries don’t tickle your fancy, then warmth and sunshine in Jamaica may be perfect for you and your loved ones this winter season. But with an island filled with endless entertainment, where do you even begin? From musicians’ homes to river safaris and natural watering holes, here are 4 of the best attractions that may help push your holiday plans in the right direction.

The Bob Marley Mausoleum, Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish

The effortlessly cool voice of reggae star Bob Marley can be heard from radios all over the world, setting the mood for a seamless getaway. Located in Nine Mile, the Bob Marley Mausoleum allows you to crawl inside the legend’s mind by wandering through his house and hometown. Run by the Marley clan and filled with old guitars, awards and photographs, you won’t miss a beat of this man’s interesting life.

Dunn’s River Falls, Ocho Rios

With thousands of tourists visiting each year, this grand waterfall is one sight that is too beautiful to miss. Climb up the slippery rocks and splash around in the sparkling pools to get a feel for one of Jamaica’s most stunning natural treasures. Hidden away in bushy forestry, you’ll feel as though you’ve discovered a forgotten gem.

Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio

A peaceful dip in this crystal clear lagoon is the perfect recipe for a relaxing afternoon in paradise. With the punching contrast of blue water and green trees, you’ll never want to leave. But if nature’s allure isn’t quite enough to draw you in, you may be interested to know this attraction has been the location for many Hollywood movies including the 1980’s film Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields.

Black River Safari, Saint Elizabeth’s Parish

And finally, for those adventurists craving a calm, yet thrilling boat ride, I suggest you try the Black River Safari. As you glide peacefully along the murky water you can admire the Jamaican wildlife and beautiful scenery. But the main attraction of all is the creeping crocodiles that often swim right up to the boat! All the while your tour guides will enthral you with captivating facts about the island’s exquisite environment and animals, until you realize it’s unfortunately docking time.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

5 international festivals to enjoy in the cooler seasons

Winter Wonderland in London

After months of summer loving, the brisk shivers of autumn and winter greet us harshly. The warm sun slips away and the once lively leaves fall to the ground. But whip out your gloves and puffer jackets because the fun has yet to cease. Here are 5 fantastic festivals from around the world that make the cold seasons even cooler.

Winter Wonderland in London, England

Every year from the end of November to the beginning of January, London’s Hyde Park hosts a Winter festival filled with holiday cheer and family fun. From exhilarating rides, a sky-high ferris wheel, cozy food and beer taverns, endless games and classic ice-skating, this famous city welcomes Winter Wonderland’s small town charm. (22nd November 2013 – 5th January 2014)

Carnival of Viareggio, Viareggio, Italy

First held in 1873, this February tradition drips with Italian allure. Held along the local beach on the Viareggio Avenue, floats and masks make their way through the parade. The paper mache faces depicting popular people (such as politicians and sports superstars) were created to express their refusal for paying the high taxes that were forced upon them. This flamboyant festival will keep you hooked with bright colours and a hint of historical rebellion. (Dates to be announced)

Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

Known as the world’s largest fair, Germany’s annual tradition is one to remember. With beer tents, music, costumes, and dancing, this massive sixteen-day party roars with excitement. And let’s not forget about the new rides adding to this year’s fun! You’ll be able to scream your heart out on the Odyssee, the highest transportable free fall tower Sky Fall (70 meters), the Cobra loopingride and the Pirate Adventure. A perfect dose of adrenaline and ale to warm you right up. (21st September – 6th October 2013)

Winter’s Eve Festival, New York City, USA

Held in Lincoln Square, this yearly ode to winter brings families together in one of America’s favourite cities. Kicking off with a tree lighting ceremony and continuing with great music, delicious food and endless entertainment, we promise you won’t find yourself feeling bored. If you’re lucky, snow flurries may just set the mood to perfection on this chilly December evening. (2nd December 2013)

Fashion Week – Paris, Milan, New York and London

For those of you who prefer chic, sophisticated events, International Fashion Week oozes with glamour. Top-end designers, impeccable taste and timeless trends will keep you wanting more. Based in some of the hottest destinations, fashionistas all around the world can experience these packed-full days of style. (New York Fasion Week: 5th – 12th September 2013, London Fashion Week: 13th – 17th September 2013, Milan Fashion Week: 18th – 23rd September 2013, Paris Fashion Week: 24th September – 2nd October 2013)

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

The new taste of Asia brings spice to Beirut

JAI

The hottest thing to pop up in Beirut’s Clemenceau district is a new delivery and catering kitchen called JAI. The blood, sweat and tears of Beiruti-born Chef Wael Lazkani, Jai offers a little taste of South East Asia in the heart of Beirut. It officially launched in February 2013 and has fast become a firm favourite for locals looking for a fresh, unique (and well-priced) alternative to the usual Lebanese fare. The rare restaurant concept of a large, one-room kitchen open to the street allows passers-by to experience first-hand Asian cooking at its finest. Open from 11am to 11pm, JAI will deliver anywhere in the Beirut Municipal Area within 45 min. But for a really special experience call and reserve the chef’s table.

After working in Michelin star restaurants in Montreal, London and Geneva, Chef Lazkani returned to Lebanon to realize his dream of introducing a new culinary experience to the Lebanese community with a special emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and genuine flavours. After 3 years of intensive South East Asian recipe studies and ingredient research Jai Kitchen was born. JAI’s menu takes you on a tour of Asia, tantalizing your taste buds with dishes from India, Thailand, Vietnam and China. And Chef Lazkani has made sure to include all of the Asian favourites.

This Summer’s most popular dishes are: the Raita and poppadoms – crispy poppadoms with a fresh chickpea, cucumber and mint raita; three shrimp summer rolls – rice wraps with shrimp, noodles, lettuce and herbs served with sweet chilli sauce; spicy Thai beef salad – grilled beef fillet with lettuce, green onions, herbs and a spicy vinaigrette; and Singapore noodles – classic thin rice noodle dish with dry mild curry, shrimp and chicken.

So if you’re looking for a little something different when visiting Beirut, make sure you give JAI a call. If the locals have JAI’s number on speed-dial, than any discerning traveller should as well.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

5 of the best off-season luxury rental destinations

Saying farewell to the holiday season always leaves travelers feeling a little blue. The warmth turns to cold and you long for a vacation after your vacation. But keep your chin up; there are plenty of go-to places for off-season stays that will warm the cockles of your heart and save you a few pennies to boot.

Australia

If your heart doesn’t simply yearn for the summer sun and bikini-clad beaches, there are many beautiful regions of the great land down under worth visiting in the cooler months.

Sydney

This popular city is buzzing year-round but the winter months certainly offer a bit of respite from the summer crowds. If the low-season flight prices aren’t enticing enough, why not book for June and see what Sydney’s Film Festival has to offer. And when you’re ready to put your feet up and enjoy the luxurious life, the city offers a selection of elegant rental apartments with harbor views and just a stone’s throw from all the action.

Kangaroo Island

Although a stunning destination from season to season, the wildlife really comes alive in the winter months from June to August. From koalas and kangaroos to Waders and Ospreys, there will be much to witness for all you animal-lovers. And following an active day of wildlife spotting, a peaceful promenade along the beach of your private villa on the coast could suit your needs perfectly.

Prices range from AU$2765 to AU$19225 per week.

Mauritius

This is the ideal location for any summer bird that loves the beach. With its lovely warm water and extraordinary marine life, Mauritius is a top destination for year-round scuba diving.

Affordable holidays don’t necessarily mean a party of two. The most reasonable villas in Mauritius can be rented for under EUR 1300 per week for 6 guests. It’s certainly not difficult to find a dream villa by the sea with beautiful views. You simply cannot go wrong with a vacation rental on this unspoiled island oasis.

Prices range from €1246 to €25410 per week.

Italy

La vita e bella even in the off-season with festivities of all sorts to keep you thoroughly entertained. From chocolate and wine to history and religion, there is always something to celebrate. And for the picture perfect stay choose from an elegant Venetian apartment or cosy Tuscan villa and live like a local.

The best off-season celebrations:

January – New Year’s celebrations, Feast days of San Antonio Abate, Woodcarver’s Fair

February – Italian Carnival, festival on Saint Agatha’s Feast Day (in Sicily)
October – Fall food festivals, wine harvest celebrations, chocolate, chestnut and truffle tastings.

November – Truffle fairs and Rome music festivals. Simple and pretty 2 bedroom apartments are perfect for a lush city getaway.

December – Snuggle up in a warm and traditional Umbrian or Tuscan villa after a long day of Christmas celebrations, the wild boar festival in Tuscany or the gospel music events in Umbria.

Prices range from €541 to €130,000 per week.

South Africa

With a broad selection of high-end rentals in Cape Town, tourists will never have far to travel after hours of intrigue and fun. With the coast on your doorstep and an endless choice of historical attractions to visit (museums, Cape Town Castle, South African National Gallery, etc), this is a go-to destination whether it’s peak season or not. Offering a wide-range of luxurious beach side villas or modern and hip apartments in the city’s center South Africa is a dream getaway for every traveler.

Prices range from 5,250 ZAR to 679,420 ZAR per week.

New York

One of the best cities in America, New York is a bottomless pit of excitement. With shopping on 5th Avenue and theatres in Times Square, the fun does not cease in the Big Apple.

Key attractions include: The Empire State Building, Double-decker bus tours of the city, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), Rockefeller Center and the Cathedral of St John the Divine. If the weather is chilly, keep in mind that there are countless restaurants and cafes to warm your bones after a brisk winter walk down the streets of Manhattan. Or if you prefer to retreat back to a rental for a quick nap, there are many urban-cool apartments ranging in style, size and price.

Prices from $1,134 to $12,233 per week.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

And now 4003!

Our Product Team have been on fire approving some amazing properties across the globe. In the last two weeks alone new vacation rentals from Switzerland, Italy, Jamaica, British Virgin Islands, St Bart’s, New York and London have gone live. Get inspired…

IAVRA’s founding partner John-Christian Moquette chosen as one of Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders

 

We are just a little bit proud at IAVRA HQ! Last week, TTG and partners C&M Recruitment, Guonman Hotels and the ITT announced their top 30 highest fliers in travel under 30. And one of our very own founding partners was given the nod. John-Christian had the pleasure of meeting with the other young fliers at the TTG offices in London. Bring together a group of young, dynamic and like-minded travel leaders and there is no doubt that exciting things are on the horizon. Watch this space for news from the events due to take place over the next few months.

IAVRA’s Valentine’s Day picks

As we all know, Valentine’s Day is coming up soon.  For many, this means strong feelings in either a positive or a negative way.

Some of us are romantics who love Valentine’s Day, celebrating wholeheartedly with pink champagne, nibbling on chocolate and sending red roses to their loved ones, whilst for others is a day of anxiety and loneliness. There are also cynics who think Valentine’s is just a day for business to earn big bucks.  What’s your opinion?

Our staff at IAVRA are a bunch of romantics so I asked them some questions about their Valentine’s opinions.

What is the best way to celebrate Valentine’s?

JC- “With friends if you’re single and at home with the one you love if you’re attached.”

Tianna- “With all your friends (couples and singletons alike). Make it a potluck so everyone can take part. Don’t forget the red wine and of course chocolate cake for desert. One big love fest is the way to go.”

Yasmine- “Doing something you love with someone you love.”

Sally- “Celebrating all forms of love – friends or lovers!”

Filippa- “The most important thing is to celebrate with someone you love, either friends, family or your love partner.”

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