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 of the most breath-taking “rooms with a view”

Dodo's Tower

Eat, sleep, work: the beckoning call of your daily routine. There’s no better time for a change of scenery. But what if we said washing the dishes could actually be relaxing? Or waking up in the morning doesn’t imply your plain bedroom wall is the first thing you see? Here are 5 of the best views from around the world that make even the most mundane tasks enjoyable.

Naivasha, Kenya

A hidden gem in the clouds, this 115 foot tower on the beautiful wildlife estate of Hippo Point offers stunning views of exotic animals and landscapes. From giraffes to flamingos to families of hippos, this airy room allows you to spy on these fascinating creatures roaming around in their natural habitat.

Surat Thani, Thailand

Tired of waking up to loud alarm clocks, the bustling sound of traffic and the pending doom of going to work? A beachside getaway to Suralai in Surat Thani may be just what the doctor ordered. Coastline and mountain views at the foot of your bed welcome you to the dreamy sun and salty sea air, giving you a short break from reality. Do you still want to press the snooze button?

Oinousses, Greece

Basking in Greece’s sunny scenery while listening to the gentle hum of the ocean sounds quite heavenly, am I right? Watch sailboats float amongst the blue ripples and enjoy every slice of this island goodness while dining alfresco at Villa Levanda.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Cook, eat and unfortunately clean. The ever-devastating question of  “Honey, can you clear the table?” haunts all teenager’s dreams. But with this gorgeous view of waving water and purple-pink sunset at Casa Mar y Luna, I don’t think you’ll hear many more squeals of defiance.

Zermatt, Switzerland

For those of you who aren’t natural snow bunnies and wouldn’t gracefully slide down the side of snow-covered mountains, but more or less tumble, there is no need to suffer any longer. With mesmerizing views of the vast Swiss Alps from just outside your window, you don’t even need to leave the warmth of your onesie pajamas and fire-heated living room of Chalet Grace to get lost in this incredible view.

TTG Digital: Who are the next travel leaders of tomorrow?

TTL 2013

Nominate a colleague – or yourself – for TTG and Tui’s new 30 Under 30 today.

TTG and Tui are launching a new hunt to identify the young people in travel most likely to be the highest fliers in the industry tomorrow.

Following the huge success of Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders year one, launched at the ITT conference in Barbados last year, we want to identify a new 30 Under 30 in the travel industry – to raise their profile, to celebrate them, to give them the opportunity to meet some of the senior leaders in travel today, and to network among themselves.

With the heavyweight backing of Tui Travel now behind the project, the exercise will have an even higher profile in travel than before. Some of last year’s leaders have already been promoted within their organisations, while many have been featured in TTG.

The group have enjoyed a series of dinners featuring some of the biggest names in travel – including Tui Travel chief executive Peter Long.
Long said he was delighted to get behind Tomorrow’s Travel Leadersin 2013, adding that it was essential to encourage bright young talent in the industry.

“The more we can grow our talent in the industry the better, and we are excited to be participating,” he declared.

“It’s something we are focused on within our own organisation but we are happy to participate at an industry level as well. With the pace of change, the young people are the ones who are going to make a difference in understanding the changes, particularly in terms of technology.”

Growing Talent

Long, who was 30 himself when he came into the travel industry as financial director of Intasun in 1984, said the key challenge was for travel businesses to retain talented young people in this industry.

“We are an organisation that develops its own talent and we have a huge number of successes who have joined us as graduates and come through the business.

“It was terrific to see the enthusiasm of the young people I met at the Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders dinner this year. Ultimately they are the future and what the more serious leaders have got to do is to facilitate the development of the bright young talent.”

TTG Media brand director Daniel Pearce urged today’s travel leaders to put forward their best young people for the initiative. “All of our first 30 Under 30 have got excellent value from being part of Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders in year one – not least in sparking up some fruitful business relationships among themselves, which are bound to be invaluable as they continue their careers in travel,” he said.

“It’s brilliant to get the full support of the market leader behind the project now and as we enter year two our initiative can’t help but
gain momentum.

“As the long-standing bible of the industry it’s right that TTG should be at the forefront of developing young people in travel. I look forward to seeing which bright young talents from travel will put themselves forward in 2013.”

Invaluable platform

John-Christian Moquette, founder of villa specialist IAVRA, one of last year’s intake, said: “Being one of the partners at a young start-up has many challenges. One of the most difficult things is getting face time with big industry players.

“As one of the Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders group I have been given the opportunity to meet with and learn from many of the industry’s most dynamic trailblazers, often in an intimate environment.

“The 30 Under 30 honour has without a doubt given us an invaluable platform.”

Another of last year’s group, Josh Gregory, product and commercial executive, Cosmos, said he had gained a huge amount from attending last year’s events.

“Being one of TTG’s 30 Under 30 gave me a really comprehensive insight into what the travel industry is all about. The intimate speeches from such high achievers within the industry connected with us all. Each of the guest speakers had very different stories to tell but one point remained consistent: if you know what you want to achieve, and devote the necessary time and effort to it, you will end up being where you want to be. This really resonated with me.

“I could genuinely list pages of what I have learned and gained!”

Spice up 2013 with 5 great Argentine Festivals

Carlos Gardell

With the first six months of the year spent working hard and meeting deadlines, it’s time for a little passion to be added to your life. Why not escape to the southern hemisphere and add a dash of sexy rhythm to your Latin getaway? Although celebrations like the International Festival of Independent Cinema and the South American Music Conference (SAMC) have come and gone, you have yet to miss out on many of Argentina’s cultural dips and turns. Take a look at these 5 great Argentine Festivals:

The Anniversary of Carlos Gardel’s Death (June)

Possibly the most prominent figure in the history of Tango, Carlos Gardel made a strong impact on Argentina’s performing arts. Although he led a legendary life, it was sadly short-lived when he passed away at the young age of 45 in 1935. For a week in June, locals unite and dance the tango in various venues in honor of Gardel – a vibrant experience you will not want to miss.

Argentina’s Independence Day (9th July)

Transform from tourist to local and celebrate in the busy streets of Buenos Aires where parades and barbecues take over. Food, family and friends are the key to this special day of celebration and conversation, so be sure to chat with the natives to learn about their culture and how their country’s independence affects them – an insider’s tour of Argentine life.

Buenos Aires Tango Festival (August)

This nine-day fiesta makes its mark as one of the biggest festivals in Buenos Aires as it awakens the city with the sensual tango. It is home to endless dancing, free classes, concerts, shows and exhibitions. So if you want a true taste of South America’s inspiring traditions, this event is a vital part of your trip.

International Video-Dance Festival (September)

Held at the Ricardo Rojas Cultural Center, this fun and unique festival has been entertaining Argentinians and tourists alike for some 22 years. From the 24th until the 29th of September, this five-day affair hosts screenings, lectures and workshops about dancing as an art form and video-dance specifically – a modern twist on an ancient tradition.

International Festival of Buenos Aires (September)

Every two years, this renowned festival takes place at various venues all across the city with master classes, special talks and even performances from international artists. Yet another event filled with zest, skills and customs to unite residents and travellers.

5 reasons not to miss Ibiza’s Summer party season

Ushuaia Party

There are few places in the world that epitomize sea, sex and sun (or is that ‘sin’) better than the stunning Balearic island of Ibiza. The official birthplace of the ‘rave’, it is not surprising that it has the reputation of being the quintessential clubbing island of the Mediterranean. Ibiza has the beautiful people, the beautiful beaches and plenty of fun to go around year-round. But if you are looking for the ultimate in decadence and debauchery then Ibiza’s Summer party season is when you must go and many of the island’s clubs and venues have special events running right through to the end of August.

And for those that can’t be convinced, here are 5 reasons why a last-minute Ibiza getaway may just be unavoidable.

Experimental Beach Ibiza

Having just opened on 1st May 2013, be one of the first to trial the newest venture from the guys behind the likes of Experimental Cocktail Club Chinatown in London and New York’s Experimental Cocktail Club Lower East Side. Given its patrimony you can be pretty confident that this one is going to be a success. Open from 10am to 1am for drinks, food or just a lazy day at the beach.

Bomba Ibiza

Another new Ibiza venue with a promising pedigree is Cipriani’s latest club Bomba Ibiza. Last year saw the opening of their Ibiza restaurant Downtown Ibiza. And this year’s club opening is certain to offer the glitz and glamour that we have come to expect from the Italian group. The club was to debut on opening weekend, but it has been announced that it will be delayed (date to be revealed soon). But in true Ibiza spirit, to make up for the last-minute postponement, Cipriani’s Downtown Ibiza will be hosting a number of one-off parties over the next few weeks. And they’ve set the standard by kicking off the season with an exclusive set from Disclosure and Fatboy Slim.

Ushuaia Party

Perfectly placed in the 5* Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, the Ushuaia party is renowned for being one of the best outdoor summer events. The opening party, with its stellar international DJ line-up, was touted as the hip and happening place to see and be seen and certainly attracted the island’s VIPs. And with parties held throughout the summer season there will be plenty of opportunities to check out the breathtaking views from the newly built Ushuaia Tower or lounge poolside, sipping your cocktail, while the DJs take to the decks and spin the ultimate Ibiza summer soundtrack.

Ibiza Rocks

Nothing says ‘summer party’ like live music. And Ibiza Rocks, running from 5th June to 18th Aug 2013, always draws the cream of the Rock ‘n’ Roll crop. It is one of the few venues not to launch on opening weekend. So if you haven’t already booked your Ibiza getaway and you needed one more reason to head to the island this year – this is it. Lap up the sun while enjoying an eclectic line-up including Franz Ferdinand, Aluna George, Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding, there’s a little something for everyone.

Nikki Beach Ibiza 

The Nikki Beach Group doesn’t need much of an introduction, much thanks to its notorious St Tropez location that attracts the rich and famous from June to September. But now Nikki Beaches seem to be popping up in every popular sundrenched destination: Koh Samui, Cabo San Lucas, Mallorca, Marbella, Miami, St Barth, and now the buzzing town of Ibiza (launching this summer) – an obvious choice for their newest spot. Located on the East coast of the island on a stunning beachfront property overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Nikki Beach Ibiza will showcase its signature beach club, a restaurant and boutique.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

5 beautiful hot springs from around the world

Nea Kameni

Picture this: a cool summer evening, starry sky, achy feet from a long day of sightseeing and the buzzing feeling of a holiday high. A nighttime swim in an ordinary pool just isn’t cutting it for you, so why not go for something a little more au naturel? Uncover the secrets of a luxurious hot spring hidden in the depths of trees and earth. With wild thermal pools all around the world, your options for a sizzling dip are endless.

Colorado, United States

The state nestled between the mountains is filled with heated waterholes perfect for a summer afternoon or a wintery escape from the snowy slopes. Take Conundrum Hot Springs in Aspen for example. You can hike through 8.5 miles of grand scenery to find yourself immersed in the comforting warmth of this magical hot spring.

New Zealand

This secluded country could be renamed ‘hot pool heaven’ with thermal springs of all varieties popping up from north to south. For starters, a slightly more rustic option is the cloudy hot springs at Ngawha. Sworn by the locals to offer healing benefits, these natural baths have been used to relieve skin rashes and joint pain for centuries. But if you’re not staying up north and prefer a more lush and picturesque experience, The Lost Spring near Whitianga offers waterfalls, forests and a hot spring flowing in from 600 metres below the earth’s surface.

Santorini, Greece

All over the world, people inevitably think of sun, sea and sand when talking about Greece. Its organically lavish ways cease to amaze even the natives. So call me crazy, but I find it hard to be surprised that Santorini offers an experience such as this: a balmy mud bath-hot spring in Nea Kameni. A perfect place to relax and enjoy the calming atmosphere under the blue skies.

Costa Rica

With tour groups guiding you along the Arenal Volcano hike, you can’t help but wonder what treasure awaits you at the end of the trail. And trust us, you will not be disappointed with the final prize: beautiful hot pools surrounded by forest, fresh air and flowers – these warm waterholes are mother earth’s pot of gold.

South of France

For the fifth and final, hot springs may not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of France, but there are wonderful choices for a cozy experience in the great outdoors. Rich with history and extravagant valley views, thermal baths in Bains de Dorres date all the way back to the Roman times. Best history lesson I can think of.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

5 luxury fashion items you can’t go on holiday without

Sunglasses

We all want to look our best when away. We rummage through our wardrobe in search of the pieces that will make us feel as good as the vacation we’re about to embark on. But sometimes if you really want to dress to impress a bit of pre-holiday shopping is in order. So we’ve pulled together some knockout fashion buys to take you from day to night. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or enjoying a fabulous moonlit dinner these luxury items will help you feel your best.

The ultimate sunglasses

Every holiday outfit begins with the shades. Whether you’re strolling through the streets of Capri or catching some winter sun on the slopes of Megeve, a pair of signature lenses is essential. And Linda Farrow sunglasses, with their 1970s heritage, epitomize innovation, and cutting-edge cool. The ‘Double Browline 2′ model in collaboration with designer Prabal Gurung is the standout accessory for any outfit.

The beachwear

Now we are all about the statement jewelry, the statement bag, the statement shoe, but we have found the statement swimwear that will set you apart on the beach this summer. New Australian designers We Are Handsome couple classic styles with awe-inspiring prints that reference the stunning Australian landscape. For the perfect two-piece our pick is ‘The Potion’ string bikini. But if you’re feeling a little less risque then the ‘Garden Deep V One’ one-piece is equally head turning.

The daywear

We are so head-over-heels for the ethically sourced, hand-made creations from Muzungu Sisters that we’ve created a complete look perfect for your summer vacation. Any of their stunning pieces would put you in good standing. But we recommend their Jaipur Short Beads, Yellow Infinity Kaftan I and Oversized Coin Clutch IX. Throw on over your bathing suit and you’re good to go.

The beach shoe

Of course you may want to feel the sand between your toes, but the quintessential Melissa jelly flat will complement your Muzungu Sisters outfit perfectly. Choose the coral-colored Melissa flat from the Melissa Jean + Jason Wu II collaboration. Comfortable, effortless, and who doesn’t need a pair of shoes that can be worn straight into the sea?

The eveningwear

Your beautiful Kaftan could take you through to evening. However, for that special night out we have found the ultimate dress. From Brazilian designer Barbara Casasola‘s Summer 2013 collection, this fuchsia silk crepe cady and georgette long dress with open front skirt and shorts with pocket detail has that wow factor. Pair with Melissa-Vivienne Westwood‘s Anglomania + Melissa Lady Daragon IX high heel in nude with hot pink bow. Chic, sexy and playful – the perfect ensemble to start your night.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

Enjoy a twist on the traditional: vacation in a cave

Cave

A hidden gem with that “special something” is what we all seek to find when planning a holiday. And while traditional or modern decor and endless amenities flood your thoughts, don’t rule out mother earth’s natural architecture. A cavernous dwelling may be off-putting to some, but when you add a dose of cool luxury and quirky charm, caves can be more accommodating than you think.

From underground wine cellars, spas, lounges and swimming coves, a rocky cavern adds the perfect amount of character to even the most standard feature. But let’s not forget about comfort: the natural temperature promises a balanced atmosphere all year round with cool lairs in summer and cosy dens in winter. So remember, not all caves threaten with jagged edges and ceaseless dripping, they can be quite sleek and lavish.

With beautiful cliff-side villas lining the Italian coast, caves are often used as a romantic setting for an al fresco dinner. Or if you’d prefer to hide away in peace, plunge pools and calming lounges in candle lit coves are an ideal way to escape the outside world.

All in all, you may think a cavernous vacation rental sounds a bit wacky, but the organic beauty, peaceful environment and undeniable eccentricity is unbeatable and may just be the “special something” you have always been looking for.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

3 of our favourite markets in which to mingle with the locals

London market

Who doesn’t like a spot of shopping when on holiday? And what better way to feel the pulse of a city and get under the skin of a destination than to mingle in the markets with the locals. A visit to a Parisian antiques fair or a wander through a colourful handicrafts market in India can provide the unique sensory experience that makes your trip extra special. The world is our oyster and there are plenty of gems to be found around the globe. So check out some of our favourite market finds:

London, UK

No one can argue that we are short of fabulous markets in London. There is the tasty Borough Market in Southwark with its cheeses, locally farmed veg and the best lamb burgers in town. Insider’s tip: It’s great for discreet celebrity spotting. Then there’s New Covent Garden’s historic flower market, named after its original location in central London. And we certainly can’t leave out Camden and Portobello for scouting those stellar vintage duds and quality antiques or Spitalfields for the city’s up and coming designs.

Mexico City, Mexico

Head southwest to visit Mexico City’s Mercado de la Merced. La Merced will tantalise your taste buds for four whole blocks as it introduces you to food from all over the country. The market is dazzlingly colourful thanks to dozens of wacky pinatas dangling above the stalls. It offers an exciting journey jostling past mountains of chillis, nopales (cactus paddles), blocks of queso blanco (white cheese), rainbow-coloured blankets, sweet-smelling guavas and fragrant Mexican vanilla.

Tuscany, Italy

For discerning shoppers and those in need of some proper indulgence, head to Tuscany’s designer outlets – our luxury version of the archetypal market. A short drive from Florence and scattered across the Tuscan countryside, three outlets house the creme-de-la-creme of Italian and international couture. At bargain prices (as much as 75% off – and even more during the sales) you can find fabulous pieces from YSL, Valentino, Sergio Rossi, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Marni, Stella McCartney, and La Perla. Gucci is also on site and offers the largest collection. Down the road is the dedicated Prada storehouse offering a wide assortment of clothing, shoes, accessories, and, most importantly, handbags… a small selection of Miu Miu, Helmuth Lang and Church shoes are also available – if you’re lucky!

Not a bad mix. And a little something for everyone. Better start saving those pennies though because we promise you won’t be able to resist.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com

8 ingredients for the coolest vacation home

Everyone has their own recipe for the dream holiday rental. For some it is a sun-quenched, beach side villa, or a chalet nestled between snow covered mountains and a picturesque village, and for others a secluded cottage in the beautiful countryside ticks all the boxes. Yet it is often the little (or big) extras that make a holiday home really extra-ordinary. So we’ve scoured the globe for some out-of-this-world amenities that really put the cherry on top your dream villa vacation.

1. A helipad for the flyer

What is more “celeb status” than arriving at your destination in a private helicopter? Gorgeous views, high-end luxury and maybe a few butterflies in your stomach make this amenity a top choice among vacationers.

2. A home cinema for the film fanatic

When lost in complete relaxation, who wants to leave their holiday home for a late night at the movies? With home-cinemas becoming a popular feature in villas around the world, there is no need to move an inch. From confectionary counters, beverage bars, surround sound systems and lush seating, your at-home film experience will top the charts.

3. Private tennis courts, basketball courts and golf courses for the sports junkie

For all the sports junkies out there, an ideal rental may consist of games and competition right in your backyard (or even in the next room over). You’ll be pleased to know there are many properties with professional athletic courts awaiting your use.

4. A private pier for the sailor

Fancy a boat ride without the chaos of a public marina? A seaside holiday rental with a private pier can be your little secret. Boat lovers or not, you’ll find yourself loving this special feature.

5. A spa for the pamper princess

Without a doubt, this is a favourite for those who are trying to escape their busy lives. From massages, to hammams and saunas, jacuzzis and indoor/outdoor pools, and even fully equipped gyms, a spa located within your rental exceeds most expectations.

6. Caves for the nature lover

Nothing beats nature’s architecture. Some vacation rentals, particularly cliff-side ones, boast beautiful outdoor coves perfect for a night-time, al fresco feast and romantic setting for you and your special someone – you cannot deny the ambience.

7. Music studios and dance floors for the rock star

If you prefer jamming out to a killer album rather than receive a peaceful massage, a property with a music studio or dance floor will sing to your soul and create a harmonic balance of energetic fun and rock roll bliss during your stay.

8. Star observatory towers for the astronomer 

What’s more romantic than staying in a remote location and gazing up at the stars? With top-notch equipment and unbelievable views, a villa with an observatory tower is a wish come true.

Source: www.aluxurytravelblog.com