Dec 18, 2017 - Kiwiana, heritage, steam punk and luxury have merged at one of Featherston’s most loved historic buildings, which is reopening this week writes Hayley Gastmeier in the Wairarapa Times Age.
In all its glory, The Royal Hotel will be back in business from Wednesday, after an extensive two-year makeover.
Owners Rob Allen and Janelle Harrington bought the prominent Revans St building when it came up for sale in 2015.
The couple has put in considerable effort to ensure the hotel reflects both its own roots, and the history of the town.
Inspired by the town’s rail history, the hotel has tapped into the steam punk genre, while also embracing the coming together of Maori and Pakeha, as well as the town’s military history.
The hotel’s 12 upstairs bedrooms each have its own “personality”, themed on a unique character.
Most have elegant ensuites, in which the basins have been cleverly crafted with vintage sewing machine bases.
The largest room “belongs” to King Tawhiao, who was leader of the Waikato tribes and was the second Maori King.
Other rooms are themed after Victorian writers, such as Jules Verne (author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), classic children’s books, and inspiring people of the past, such as Meri Te Tai Mangakahia, a campaigner for women’s suffrage in New Zealand.
Dec 15, 2017 - Japan Airlines (JAL) and Boom Supersonic have announced a strategic partnership to help to bring back commercial supersonic travel. JAL has made a strategic investment of $10 million in Boom and is collaborating with the company to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.
The Japanese airline also has the option to purchase up to 20 Boom aircraft through a pre-order arrangement.
Boom is developing a new-generation supersonic aircraft, which will fly at Mach 2.2 and will significantly cut flight times. A flight between London and New York, for example, could be cut from 7 hours to just 3 hours and 15 minutes.
“We’ve been working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes for over a year now,” said Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic. “JAL’s passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations. We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers. Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.”
Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines, added: “We are very proud to be working with Boom on the advancement in the commercial aviation industry. Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more time to our valued passengers while emphasising flight safety.”
The joint announcement by Boom and JAL follows an announcement last year that Virgin Group has agreed an option to purchase 10 Boom Supersonic aircraft.
Dec 12, 2017 - Lufthansa has unveiled the concept for its new Business Class cabin, which will debut on the Boeing 777-9 (777X) in 2020. The carrier says Business Class passengers can look forward to lie-flat beds with a length up to 220cm (86.6 inches). Its goal is to provide passengers with the “best and soundest sleep up above the clouds”, and the backrest has been designed to provide the best possible support and comfort, including when lying on your side.
Over 500 Lufthansa customers have provided in-depth support during the development process. Privacy and comfort while sleeping emerged as two of the most important passenger needs on international routes, and Lufthansa says both of these are “handled perfectly” with the new Business Class concept.
“The new, ultra-modern Lufthansa Business Class creates a new global benchmark,” said Harry Hohmeister, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “It offers our passengers a unique travel experience.
“We have consistently and continuously refined our range of premium products for our guests and modernised Lufthansa. Our focus is and has always been on the wishes of our customers and their specific needs. We want to provide them with the perfect travel experience. The new Business Class showcases the full innovative capacity of Lufthansa.”All Business Class passengers on Lufthansa’s 777-9s will have direct aisle access, thanks to the 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 configuration.
The 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 seat configuration will ensure all passengers have direct aisle access, and they will also have more personal and storage space. Passengers will also be able to control the in-flight entertainment system with their personal devices, and wireless device charging will be available.
Depending on their personal needs, passengers will be able to choose between a number of spatial configurations. For instance, they can choose to have an extended-length bed or a seat with twice as much desk space.
Lufthansa has also revealed that new exclusively-developed mattresses will be introduced in the Business Class cabin on long-haul flights from early-2018.
Dec 12, 2017 - Fiji InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has signed a management agreement with Quantum Hi-Tech Group Limited to develop the largest hotel in Fiji, Crowne PlazaÒFiji Wailoaloa Beach.
Opening in 2020, the new 453-room Crowne Plaza Fiji Wailoaloa Beach will boast tranquil ocean views and feature direct access to the beach. The Crowne Plaza Fiji Wailoaloa Beach is located just a short ten-minute drive from Fiji’s main airport, Nadi International Airport.
With its prime beachfront location, leisure travellers will be able to unwind while enjoying unparalleled sunset views from one of the island’s finest beaches, right at their doorstep. Guests can also choose to relax and dine at any of the five restaurant and bar offerings at the resort, including a pool bar and a beach club. The resort will also feature one of the largest conference centres in Fiji, a fully-equipped 24-hour fitness centre, two swimming pools and a Kid’s Club among other exclusive resort facilities.
Rajit Sukumaran, Chief Development Officer, Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), IHG said: “As the most popular travel destination in the South Pacific, the islands of Fiji accounts for close to 40 percent of travel to the South Pacific, a figure that continues to grow annually. In 2017 alone, Fiji recorded an increase of 7.8 percent in the number of international travellers visiting the country. This strong growth potential represents a key opportunity for us to introduce the Crowne Plaza brand to Fiji.” “As the first resort in Fiji for the brand, Crowne Plaza Fiji Wailoaloa Beach complements IHG’s existing portfolio of brands in the South Pacific, allowing us to better meet the different needs of travellers visiting the Fiji. Guests can look forward to a truly immersive travel experience with the Crowne Plaza Fiji Wailoaloa Beach, with such vast, pristine natural beauty that Wailoaloa offers. With panoramic ocean views, we invite guests to take in the exquisite wonders of the island from the comfort of the resort, whether in their rooms or in and around the resort.”
This is the inaugural partnership between IHG and the developer Quantum Hi-Tech Group Limited. Wilson Wang, Chairman, Quantum Hi-Tech Group Limited, said: “We are thrilled to build the largest hotel in Fiji with IHG at such an exciting time for tourism in Fiji. The Crowne Plaza Fiji Wailoaloa Beach fills an existing gap in the local market by providing the best in-class resort facilities and amenities for leisure and corporate travellers, while its choice location allows travellers easy access to the exquisite wonders of Fiji. We’re confident that the Crowne Plaza Fiji Wailoaloa Beach will be well-received when it debuts in 2020.”
IHG is excited to build upon the success of its three properties and two IHG Brands already present in the South Pacific: the award-winning InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn Suva Resort and Holiday Inn Vanuatu. The Crowne Plaza brand enjoys a strong presence the Asia, Middle East and Africa region with 76 hotels and resorts, with another 21 Crowne Plaza hotels and resorts expected to open across the region over the next three to five years. Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global
Travel Dates: Friday 14th of September 2018 until Wednesday 26th of September 2018
Description: Featuring Tim Roxborogh as your host; award winning radio announcer, travel writer & photographer, entertainment writer and cricket commentator.
About Tim RoxboroghTim is an award-winning radio announcer, travel writer and photographer, entertainment writer and cricket commentator from Auckland, New Zealand. He has travelled extensively around the world (with a special passion for the United States) with his articles published more than 100 times in major newspapers and magazines.
Tim described his philosophy on travel to Let’s Travel Magazine in 2016:
“For me, travel is about storytelling. It’s hearing people’s stories and creating your own. It’s the fun you can have when things don’t go entirely to plan. It’s about challenging stereotypes and misconceptions. It’s being unrelentingly curious; of wanting to know what’s down that street, what’s behind that door, what’s around that headland and what the view is like from that mountain”.
Tim has been obsessed with music since before he could walk and has interviewed numerous stars like the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, John Mayer, Hall & Oates and many more. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music history and sees this as a dream trip:
“This will be the tour from Heaven for anyone with a passion for American music and history. From Graceland, to Sun Studios, to seeing Isaac Hayes’24 karat gold-plated Cadillac in Memphis, to the live music scenes of Austin, Houston, Nashville and New Orleans to the cultural landmarks of Atlanta like the King Centre and CNN headquarters, this tour is just incredible.”
Hello Austin!! (2 nights)We begin this unforgettable adventure of some of the American South’s greatest Rock & Roll destinations in Austin, Texas. Long recognised as one of the live music capitals of the world, Austin is a fast-growing, forward thinking metropolis that’s attracting ever-increasing numbers of thinkers, artists and musicians.
To get to Austin we fly into George Bush International Airport in Houston. Once there we’ll be met by our friendly assistant who’ll show us to our private coach. From the airport we drive the 3-4 hours to Austin with a playlist of classic American road-trip songs as personally selected by Tim.
While in Austin, we will enjoy a half-day tour with a highlight being a visit to the stunning HOPE Outdoor Gallery – one of the largest outdoor galleries in the USA. HOPE was developed to provide muralists, graffiti artists and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive and educational messages.
Also included is breakfast at our hotel (the Best Western Plus Austin city or similar) and a 2-course lunch at Launderette – a very funky converted gas station and laundromat (or similar).
There will be enough free time to join Tim in his unquenchable thirst for live music at some of Austin’s bars.
Time to Discover Atlanta (2 nights)Today, we board our flight to Atlanta, one of the most popular destinations of the Southwest and among the most important cities in all of the States. Atlanta is home to fine dining and spectacular shopping as well as rich cultural history (the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.) and must-see attractions (CNN headquarters, the Coca-Cola Museum etc.). All of this in a city that combines Southern charm with world-class sophistication.
While in Atlanta Tim will take you on a half-day of sightseeing, including entrance into The King Centre (Martin Luther King Jr. Centre for Nonviolent Social Change). Established in 1958 by Coretta Scott King, The King Centre is the official living memorial dedicated to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the central figure of the Black Civil Rights movement in the 20th century. Tim has been fascinated, enraged and inspired by this part of American history since childhood and the struggle for equality has been the backdrop behind so much of America’s best music.
For any news junkies, Tim will also get you a behind-the-scenes look at the CNN headquarters, based in Atlanta. This guided walk lets us peek into the newsroom, control room and much more.
Included in our time in Atlanta is breakfast at our hotel (the Hyatt Atlanta Downtown or similar) and a 3-course dinner at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint (or similar).
Music City, Nashville (2 nights)From Atlanta we board our coach (again armed with a road-trip playlist from Tim) and head northward to the state of Tennessee. For Country Music fans and wannabe songwriters the world over, a trip to Nashville is the ultimate pilgrimage since the 1920’s.
On the way to Nashville, we’ll stop off in Lynchburg at the Flight of Jack Daniels Distillery for a tour and tasting of Tennessee’s finest bourbon. Then with a bit of a buzz on, it will be back into the coach and back to Tim’s road-trip favourites as we make our way to Music City.
No American music trip would be complete without a full day filled with the sights and sounds of Nashville. Included in our day is a tour of the iconic Grand Ole Opry. We’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at this grand old lady, walking in the footsteps of some of Nashville’s finest. Listen to live music on Music Row, enter the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and even see the famed RCA Studio B. There will also be time to visit the Johnny Cash Museum and take in the Ryman Auditorium. A full-on day of boot scootin’ boggie!
Included is breakfast at our beautiful historic hotel (the Hotel Indigo or similar). Also, a guaranteed brilliant night out with a 3-course dinner and show at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar (or similar).
Walking in Memphis (2 nights)Put on your blue suede shoes as we board our coach (with another specially selected road-trip playlist by Tim), and head to the land of the Delta Blues, Memphis.
Memphis is a city like no other. Whether it’s blues, jazz, country, gospel or straight out rock & roll, Memphis has it all. Just Beale Street alone is a bucket list destination for any music lover.
While in Memphis, Tim will take you from those Beale Street Bars to Sun Studios for a guided tour of the place where everyone from Elvis and Johnny Cash to U2 and Maroon 5 have recorded. Then it will be onto Stax Museum of American Soul Music where you can gaze in awe at Isaac Hayes’ 24-karat gold-plated Cadillac.
Though of course there’s another reason to visit Memphis and that’s to see Graceland – the former home of the undisputed King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley. Tim can still remember the chills the first time his mum gave him an Elvis tape in the 80’s (he was five-years old) and he’s more than happy to answer any of your trainspottery Elvis-related questions.
But not only will have an audio guided tour of Graceland, our accommodation in Memphis will be the brand-new Guesthouse At Graceland. This enormous Elvis-themed hotel even lets you choose which decade of the King’s career you’d prefer to listen to while in your hotel room.
Included for our Memphis stay is breakfast (fit for a King) at our hotel and an unmissable 3-course dinner at B.B. King’s Blues Club including musical entertainment (or similar)
Welcome to “The Big Easy”, New Orleans (3 nights)Farewelling Memphis, Tim will once again be ready with another road-trip-worthy selection of songs as we board our coach bound for New Orleans. A city that barely needs an introduction, this cultural, culinary and musical melting pot is so rich in things to do that we will spend 3 nights here.
As part of the Memphis – New Orleans road-trip there’s a stop on the way in Clarksdale to visit the museum devoted to the blues, the Delta Blues Museum. Founded by Sid Graves in January 1979, this will whet your appetite for some of the music to come in the Big Easy.
Once in New Orleans, we’ll be treated to a half-day of sightseeing. This will include many of the city’s main sights, including entrance into the famous Lafayette cemetery.
No visit to New Orleans would be complete without the brilliant Cajun Man Swamp Boat tour with live music. This is planned for our final morning prior to our departing the city. By then you will have been left in little doubt as to why New Orleans receives more than 10-million visitors annually.
With New Orleans being such an endlessly fascinating place filled with enough character to suit any and all tastes, you’ll be able to enjoy the first morning to yourself and the third day at leisure. Or feel free to accompany Tim as he revisits some past haunts like the gorgeous Garden District with its opulent homes, lush trees and crumbling footpaths.
Included is breakfast at our primely located hotel (the Omni Royal Crescent or similar – located on the edge of the French Quarter). Our time in New Orleans will continue the trend with an amazing 3-course dinner on the Steamboat Natchez Jazz Cruise (or similar).
Houston, We Are Go! (1 night)Today, we say good bye to New Orleans and head back to Texas and megapolis of Houston. Today’s long drive (approx. 6-hours) will give some time to relax, catch up on some sleep or just talk about the fun times, friendships made and happy memories that will be created during the trip. And yes, Tim will have prepared another singalong road-trip playlist. He might even deliver an impromptu DJ or karaoke session too.
Then for our final night in the States we do what we’ve been doing this entire, amazing, pinch-yourself trip; we head out for some excellent, authentic live music. Tim will take the group to a 3-course honky tonk dinner and live music show at Goode Company Armadillo Palace Texas Bar-B-Q.
As for our hotel, we hunker down in style at what is widely regarded as the premier boutique in Houston, the Hotel Derek Houston Galleria (or similar). Breakfast will be included.
And that will conclude the tour ahead of our flight back to Auckland! What an experience, one which Tim and everyone at Mondo Travel are thrilled you are a part off. Y’all come back now, ya hear!
Twin Share: from $8645* per person.
Single Share: from $11,215* per person.
Pricing is land only as per itinerary. A Non-Refundable deposit of $3000 NZD per person within 3 days of booking. Final balance due no later than 12 July 2018.
Conditions: * It is our policy to present the cost of our flights & holidays inclusive of all airport and government charges. Please accept however that these charges are not within our control, therefore we reserve the right to pass on any increase. Travel agent professional service fees where charged, will be additional to the advertised prices.
Dec 7, 2017 - Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with the airline’s game changing fully enclosed private suites in First Class, as well as refreshed Business and Economy Class cabins, has now entered service, to the delight of customers. The new Emirates cabins were unveiled for the first time at the Dubai Airshow last month, to positive acclaim from visitors at the show who had the opportunity to view the product. It also generated international excitement as consumers around the world viewed the first images, videos, and reviews of Emirates’ latest inflight offering.
Following its Dubai Airshow debut, Emirates’ first 777-300ER with the new cabin products has now begun operating on the Dubai to Brussels route.
While on the ground at Brussels airport, Emirates organised special guided tours to provide its trade and airport partners, VIP guests, and members of the media with a first-hand look at the innovative amenities that the airline provides in all three cabins for its customers.
Watch a cabin tour of key product features
Emirates has a track record of successful innovations that have raised the bar for the industry in terms of inflight customer experience since its launch in 1985. Its fleet of Boeing 777 and Airbus A380s boasts unparalleled entertainment on demand in all classes with its award-winning ice system, and inflight connectivity through in-seat text, email and telephone services, as well as mobile and wi-fi services. Emirates flies four daily A380 services from New Zealand to Dubai and beyond.
Dec 5, 2017 - Millennials are taking more expensive holidays because they believe saving enough money to buy a house is unrealistic, a travel expert has said. Holiday firm Contiki reported a 10% increase in the average amount of money people aged 18 to 35 are spending on trips this year compared with 2016.
It found that young travellers are taking more adventurous and so-called bucket list trips, with increased year-on-year demand for destinations such as New Zealand (up 83%), South America (up 71%), Bali (up 56%) and Vietnam (up 50%).
With a typical first-time home buyer in the UK aged 30, Contiki sales and marketing director Donna Jeavons has noticed a trend in young people prioritising experiences including travel over getting on the property ladder.
She said: "With housing being so expensive, many young people are opting to live in the moment and pursue other goals first, knowing that buying a house could be a little further down the line than it was for previous generations.
"Saving a bit here and there isn't really scratching the surface for millennials, so many are choosing to have the best holiday they can afford instead."
The average age of Contiki customers is 26 and earlier this year the firm introduced specially themed trips to Canada for "avid Instagrammers".
This was in response to research which showed that a section of the youth market is drawn to destinations from where they can upload popular social media posts.
Several other companies have also started selling products aimed at younger travellers.
U by Uniworld will be Europe's first river cruise brand exclusively for young people when it launches in April 2018 with craft beers, mixology classes, street art tours and vintage motor bike rides.
The firm's chief executive Ellen Bettridge said: "We are targeting an active traveller between the ages of 21 and 45, with everything from the decor, dining and cocktail service to the land activities thoughtfully curated to meet the needs of this audience."
Air France's new subsidiary airline aimed at young people, Joon, began operating from Paris on Friday.
It is "designed for our millennial customers" with features such as the ability to stream movies and television shows using smartphones and tablets, crew uniforms with a "chic sportswear look" and a partnership with travel site Airbnb Experiences.
Dominique Wood, an executive vice president at Air France, said: "With Joon, we have created a young and connected brand that will give the group a new impetus."
| An Evening Standard release || December 5, 2017 |||
Strollers Discover Tranquility in the Eye of the International Tourist Storm
12 Nov 2017 - In Antibes it was curious to observe that domestic property prices in the town seemed on a par with those in New Zealand’s rural Hawkes Bay and this unpressured ambience permeates the fabled Cote D’Azur,writes our roaming travel editor, Peter Isaac. If anyone was in a rush then they made sure to keep it to themselves, certainly in the Antibes town square, just a leisurely 10 minute walk from the railway station, which itself radiated a rural line, off-peak, level of activity.
Plenty of bench space in the square ringed with its murmuring cafes.
Plenty of towel space too on the inner town’s own mellow beaches, the ones you encounter before hitting the more substantial one on its outskirts toward the Cap d’Antibes.
Sauntering along the Cap d’Antibes, along the storied Chemin des Douaniers, with itinerant international New Zealand yachtsman - lawyer Zac Foot, (pictured extreme right, Baie des Milliardaires) and particularly evident was the easy-going nature of the French at leisure, and they did give the appearance of being almost entirely French.
Their behaviour being in contrast to their English-speaking counterparts who would have been determinedly striding out on the well maintained yet unostentatious and litter-free Cap foot path with their alpine sticks, or hoarsely panting by in running rig.
A cooling plunge en route in the sumptuously-named Bay of Billionaires, ringed by narrow jagged beaches and vaguely reminiscent of Cornwall’s smugglers coves, and hence one senses the Douaniers, the customs enforcers, appellation here.
As it turned out our swim was rewarded by slices of home-cooked pizza from local fellow beachgoers sympathetic to this incongruous, pallid Anglo duo.
Past the Chateau de la Croe, pre-war refuge of the abdicated Edward V111, before Winston Churchill instructed he and his duchess to hurry to the Atlantic coast where a battleship captained by Louis Mountbatten, his cousin, would pick them up before the Germans did.
The Chateau incidentally, now under restoration by its new owner, another oligarch, but of a different stripe -- Roman Abramovich, proprietor as well of the Chelsea Football Club.
Now on to the Cap itself, doubling back via Eden Roc.
On the other side now, the westerly one, on the Cannes side, ambling into Juan Les Pins which is back-to-back with Antibes.
In an international resort compression sense, it is a bit like starting a walk through Paris and stumbling across Rome too.
Latin language buffs beware though of the revealing shibboleth which even on this accepting coastline separates the dolts from the sophisticates.
It is not “Joo-an” Les Pins, as in the opera,
Or even “Wahn”
It is “Shoo-arng” Les Pins
If Antibes is redolent of the stately 1930s then Juan Les Pins presents a 1950s resort aspect, just a soupcon of repressed raffishness.
At the isthmus neck of the Cap d’ Antibes we turned east back to Antibes traversing a shallow saddle hump via the Chemin des Sables walking through leafy and seemingly deserted streets reminiscent of the verdancy and understated prosperity of the nicer suburbs one finds lining the Pacific.civic shore.
Once returned to the Antibes side of the Cap and a further supply of not terribly crowded sandy beach capacity, another immersion to dissipate the now restored received effects of the afternoon ambient heat.
This was intense it being the height of summer and thus the height of the season.
France is the world’s most visited country. The Riviera, it’s most coveted destination.
All additional proof that if you truly want to get away from it all, as the English like to say, then the most tranquil place to be is in the eye of the seasonal international tourist storm.