Where the Far East meets the Middle East

A tiny corner of Thailand can be found a lot closer to home than you think, in fact only an approximate 7 hours flying time away – at the Anantara The Palm, Dubai.  Amazing Thai hospitality greets you as soon as you arrive, only around a 45 minute private transfer from Dubai International Airport, and warming and smiling Thai greeting awaits.

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Designed with true Asian flair, Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa offers enchanting beach side accommodation, complemented by cuisine from Asia, the Mediterranean as well as Australia served at four speciality venues. Unwind in one of three turquoise swimming lagoons, enjoy a session at the tennis courts or gyms, or indulge yourself with a choice of treatments at Anantara Spa. The resort also had a kids club and teens club, all adding to the splendour of this idyllic beach side resort destination on the Palm in Dubai.

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The Anatara boasts some splendid accommodation choices, whilst Nick stayed in an a Premier Lagoon Access room, he would highly recommend some of the only over water villas in the UAE and the One Bedroom pool villas.

Premier Lagoon Access Room

Enjoy a refreshing start to your day as you step into the surrounding lagoon pool from your Premier Lagoon Access Room. Then retreat to your private terrace to relax with a book, or gaze at the idyllic scenery while sipping a signature cocktail served pool side from the floating mixologist. After a leisurely day by the pool, indulge in the luxurious comforts of the spacious 47 square metre Premier Lagoon Access Rooms, each one featuring thoughtfully designed stylish furnishings, cool parquet floors and a plush king size bed.

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One Bedroom Beach Pool Villa

Tranquil retreats perched along the shoreline of the Arabian Gulf, the One Bedroom Beach Pool Villas offer the dual advantages of both a private pool and uninterrupted access to the ocean. Enjoy a lavish breakfast served in the comfort of your villa, take a refreshing dip in the private infinity pool or stroll over to the sandy shore and spend your day soaking up the sun. As the sun sets and the city lights illuminate the seascape, unwind on the terrace with a sundowner. Inside, these stylish 85 square metre villas feature exotic, Asian inspired interior décor, rich earthy colours and elegant accents. In addition to the premium service and amenities, a personal villa host will be on hand round the clock, to make every desire a reality.

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One Bedroom Overwater Villa

Leave the world behind and step into a picturesque villa gracefully poised over the tranquil waters of the Arabian Gulf. Envelop yourself in the sky’s azure hues and gentle breeze in the privacy of an Over Water Villa, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Spanning a generous 106 square metres, these villas are the epitome of luxury. Watch as the sun sets over the horizon while you enjoy a private dining experience on the villa deck or unwind in the oversized bathtub while gazing out over the endless panorama. A select number of Over Water Villas also feature a unique glass viewing panel set in the floor, offering new perspectives into the world beneath the ocean.

Taking the guest experience to the next level are the personal villa hosts, who are ready to accommodate any special request and fulfil every desire.

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At present the villas do not allow direct access to the sea, however we understand this is changing shortly – so do ask us about any up-dates that we may have.

Nick had the opportuinty to dine at Mekong – Offering a unique dimension of Asian flavours and charm, Anantara’s specialty restaurant Mekong evokes a feeling of the Far East with a melange of traditional Oriental ingredients. Indulge in a feast for the senses, as you sample the delights of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine on the spectacular ‘rickshaw-style’ seating or intimate round tables. Mekong also caters to tea connoisseurs with an exceptional array of exquisite brews and infusions at its signature Tea Bar, while the discreet private dining room is perfect for intimate celebrations.

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Other dining options within the resort include: – Crescendo – a delightful restaurant offering international cuisine within a dazzling setting. – Bushman’s Australiant Restaurant – for a real hearty meal that reflects the outdoors, and finally The Beach House in its relaxed beach side setting taking in views of the Dubai shoreline, whilst enjoying a signature cocktail, seafood, tapas and pizza.

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For further information concerning the Anantara The Palm, please contact Nick on  0207 720 8484 or email nick@traveldesigners.co.uk

Nick travelled to the Ananatara Dubai, courtesy of the Gloabl Travel Group, Travel 2, Virgin Atlantic and Holiday Extras.

Atlantis Dubai – Where life meets luxury

Where special moments become lifetime memories, the Atlantis The Palm, is truly a destination in its own right, situated on the top of  Palm Island, the now iconic shape of the Atlantis dominates the sky line. Inspired by the ocean and its marine life, everything about Atlantis is larger than life.

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Atlantis was inspired by the idea of offering guests the greatest holiday experience they will ever have. However its not all about adventure,  relax on the 1.4km sandy beach offering amazing views across the Dubai sky line.  Soak up the chill atmosphere of the Nasimi Beach chill out bar – (I would highly recommend pre or post dinner cocktails – sitting on the loungers listening to chill out music and with views across to the night-time sky line ).

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For those with some adventure in mind, check out the Aquaventure Water Park (Free entry for hotel guests) and the Lost Chambers Aquarium .

For those of you looking for a the ultimate in luxury and a totally different experience, why not stay in one of The Signature Underwater Suites,  Nick was lucky enough to take a sneak preview of the Neptune Suite, situated over three floors , the bedroom and bathroom areas are under the water level of the Ambassador lagoon, so whilst relaxing in bed or soaking in the bath tub, you have direct views of the the 65,000 resident mating animals. – This is a suite with a difference and something you will never forget. – For the ultimate suite with a difference it has to be The Neptune Suite.

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Guest rooms, of which 90% are interconnecting, are beautifully appointed and offer the comfort expected of a 5 star resort.  Deluxe Rooms offer partial views of the Arabian Sea or Palm Island. Ocean Deluxe Rooms – breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea.  Palm Beach Deluxe Rooms – a unique view over the beach and across the Palm and the Dubai skyline.

For those looking for some added luxury, why not considering upgrading to The Imperial Club. What makes this special is all the added value benefits. The include exclusive access to the Imperial Club Lounge, complimentary full hot breakfast, all day snacks, afternoon tea and pre-dinner cocktails and canapés. Not to mention a book and video library and complimentary international newspapers and wi-fi. Families with children aged between 3 and 12 will also benefit from daily complimentary access to the Atlantis Kids Club between 10am and 6pm and a play area within the lounge itself.

Dining around with one of the most comprehensive half board packages available in the Middle East. The Atlantis has become a culinary destination. With everything you can imagine from family dining to fine dining.  Over 20 restaurants and bars each offer distinct and different flavours.  From globally acclaimed chefs such as Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatellu, to the bold contemporary setting of Safron, an Asian inspired buffet style restaurant serving over 220 different dishes to Levantine, an authentic Lebanese dinning experience with a panoramic show kitchen and traditional entertainment including a belly dancer and Shisha, there is truly something to suit every taste.

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Aquaventure waterpark is the ultimate fun day out for the entire family. 42 fun filled acres of uphill water slides, rivers, rapids and a 700m beach. For the true thrill seeker the signature 27m near vertical speed slide (and yes its fast – Nick tried it out)  – The leap of faith guarantees to get the adrenalin pumping.

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is a mystical experience with over 20 marine exhibits and over 65,000 marine animals. There is always something new to discover.

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The plenty of marine animal adventures,  you can meet the sharks, feed to sting rays and snorkel of dive in the Ambassador lagoon.

For the ultimate experience, get up close and personal with the dolphins at Dolphin Bay – boasting one of the worlds most sophisticated dolphin habitats in the world . Swimming with the dolphins is a truly memorable life experience.  This is an amazing opportunity to interact with these charismatic creatures.

Also whilst at Atlantis you can experience helicopter tours of the city from the hotels own helipad. This truly a different way to experience Dubai and to see the great expanse of the city and indeed the palms from the air.

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For further information concerning some of amazing offers to the Atlantis Dubai, email Nick , nick@traveldesigners.co.uk or call on 0207 720 8484

Nick travelled to the Atlantis Dubai, courtesy of Global Travel Group, Travel 2, Virgin Atlantic, and Holiday Extras

Affordable Luxury at Hilton Seychelles Labriz

Are you  looking for a last minute tropical island holiday, look no further than the 5* Hilton Seychelles Labriz. Right now, we have amazing savings of up to 40% for stays in June & July. Whether it’s a family holiday, a romantic honeymoon, or an ‘island-hopping’ adventure in Seychelles, take a few moments to look at what we can offer in paradise!

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With 12  years arranging tailor-made holidays to Seychelles, talk to the Exceptional! Travel Designers team on 0207 720 8484 for first-hand, personal knowledge about Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort.

SPECIAL OFFERS AT HILTON SEYCHELLES LABRIZ RESORT & SPA

Late Deal! Save up to 40% for stays to 31 July

Stay a minimum of 7 nights and save a huge 40%. Alternatively, for 6 nights or less, save 35%.
7 nights in a Garden Villa from £1489 per person on Bed & Breakfast, or from £1698pp on Half Board. Save up to £1500 per couple. Price includes return flights with Emirates and all transfers.
But hurry, this discount is only available on a limited number of rooms so Book Now to avoid disappointment! Please contact us for a quotation.
Offer valid: for stays until 31 July 2013. Not combinable with any other offer.

Early Booking Offer

Up to 30% discount!
Book at least 60 days prior to arrival and receive a 30% discount; or, book at least 30 days before arriving and get a 15% discount.
Valid: all year. Minimum stay: 3 nights.

Family Offer

Kids stay Free!
Two children up to 12 years of age stay free on parents meal plan booked when sharing Villa with parents.
Valid for stays: 11 January to 1 March 2013; 10 May to 15 July; and 1 September to 15 October 2013.

Honeymoon Offer

The special Hilton Labriz Honeymoon package offers:
• 50% discount for the bride
• Fruit basket and bottle of sparkling wine in villa on arrival
• Romantic bath experience once during stay
• Pareo for the bride and T-shirt for the groom
Sample Honeymoon Price
7 nights from equivalent of £1639 per person in May/June. Based on Garden Villa on Bed & Breakfast. Save up to £1200 per couple.
Price includes return flights with Etihad Airways, inter-island boat transfers, private car transfers, plus honeymoon offer above.
Minimum stay: 5 nights. Valid all year except 22 December to 9 January

Wedding Offer

5 nights from £1598 per person. Save £1600 per couple. Based on Bed & Breakfast in a Garden Villa.
The Labriz Essence package includes: legal arrangements, registrar fees, marriage certificate, fresh fruit and bottle of Champagne, wedding bouquet, free wedding venue and romantic bath experience and turndown service. Other packages also available.
Price includes return flights from London and all transfers.
Please call us for validity dates.

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Fabulous Dining Options at Labriz Seychelles

Dining at Labriz Seychelles is a sheer delight with a choice of no less than six restaurants, all* available for clients staying on Half Board. The Grann Kaz Plantation House serves traditional Creole cuisine while Portobello provides Italian options. Teppanyaki and Sakura offer Asian flavours, while the main buffet restaurant – Cafe Dauban - has varied themed dinners. There’s also a pizzeria providing lighter choices for lunch.

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Just for Two 

The natural beauty of Silhouette Island makes Hilton Seychelles Labriz the perfect choice for a romantic wedding or honeymoon. As well as a superb choice of villa options, including spacious Deluxe Pool Villas, some just a few steps away from the shore, the resort has a fabulous spa set amidst the giant granite boulders and offering a superb array of treatments & therapies.

For honeymoon couples, the bride receives a 50% discount and there’s also a choice of special wedding packages available.

Great Value for Families

Up to 2 children under 12 years stay free on same board basis as parents at Hilton Labriz when sharing parents villa. This is valid for stays to 15 July & from 1 September to 15 October’13. And, we still have availability for early July so why not contact us for a quotation?

As well as a perfect natural environment for children, with rare fauna and flora and a Giant Tortoise sanctuary, there are many other facilities to keep the children happy – from snorkelling and kayaks, to tennis and a Children’s Club with a daily programme of activities.

For further information contact Lesley on 0207 720 8484 or email lesley@traveldesigners.co.uk

5 Top Tips for dressing little ones this ski season.

Embarking on a ski trip this winter – check out some of our handy tips on how to dress the kids !

No cotton! Even tiny tots sweat, and because cotton absorbs moisture rather than wicking it away it can feel cold next to the skin. Silky polyester or soft non-itchy merino wool should be worn next to the skin in cold weather. Try the one cotton sock and one wool sock test on yourself the next time you go out to play in cold weather!

Layers. Three good layers should be enough for even the most extreme weather conditions. Polyester or wool next to the skin, breathable fleece in the middle and then snow, wind and waterproof outerwear.

Breathability is just as important as insulation especially when activity levels rise. ‘I’m too hot’ can be as problematic as ‘I’m too cold’ when you are on the slopes and you can’t carry stuff around or stash it easily. Investing in high quality insulated outerwear garments that breathe is worthwhile.

Planning and practise makes perfect! Getting a young family ready to ski can potentially be a time consuming and hectic affair.  Our tip is to practise as a family before your holiday, so everyone knows what they should be wearing, why they should be wearing it and how to secure the snow locks and other features. Make it fun not fraught.

Unisex colours can be handed down or sold on more easily. Quality clothing that lasts for more than two children is good for your pocket and good for the planet.

Check out our friends at Polarn P. Pyret fabulous children’s clothes by clicking www.polarnopyret.co.uk

Travel Designers are pleased to be working with Mark Warner to bring you some of the best possible Childcare available on the slopes. Check out our webpage here.

Call us on 0207 720 8484 or email nick@traveldesigners.co.uk to discuss your family ski holiday this year.

 

Sun Resorts Mauritius

Courtesy of our good friends at Kuoni, I was lucky enough to be invited to return to my favourite island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius. Over the next few days I would be experiencing the best of  Sun Resorts products and to take a sneak preview of the recently opened Long Beach and the brand new Ambre Hotel.
One of the benefits of flying with Air Mauritius, was that I  arrived into Mauritius at 8am. The overnight flight was very comfortable and we landed on time. It was nice to feel the heat and see the sun again, after our rather wet summer
The Kuoni ground crew were excellent – friendly, knowledgeable staff and I was one my way to the first hotel -
An attractive resort arranged within palm-flecked manicured gardens and around an elegant plantation-style Manor house, Sugar Beach is host to a spectacular oceanfront lagoon pool and over 500 metres of exquisite beach.
I really liked the superior rooms in the villas, they are ground floor with sea views and some even allow you direct beach access!
Dining options include the main restaurant, Italian à la carte and beachside seafood restaurant. There are selected complimentary watersports, tennis, aerobics, four bars, and a children’s club (4-11 years) with internet café, play area and a teenagers’ club (12-18 years). There is a fully-equipped fitness centre and a superb spa featuring Hammam bath. Guests also enjoy use of the facilities and restaurants at the adjacent La Pirogue hotel. La Pirogue is much more Mauritian in feel and the rooms are quite rustic with single level thatched cottages.
Aura Spa is fabulous and I would definitely recommend booking in for a treatment or 2 during your stay ! You are able to move freely between the 2 resorts and enjoy all of the facilities which really works well.
Being on the West coast of Mauritius, the sunsets are fabulous.
A must “day trip” for anyone visiting Mauritius, is a dolphin watching catamaran cruise, a great way to top up the tan and also see the amazing coastline. The b-b-q lunch was simple but delicious.

New to Mauritius’ stunning east coast, this relaxed resort exudes a tropical island feel and sits in a fantastic location fronting a sprawling white sand beach, with spacious modern rooms, diverse dining and a whole host of leisure facilities.

The range of restaurants and bars includes a buffet-style main restaurant with food stations offering Chinese, Indian, Creole and international cuisine; an authentic Italian restaurant; and a relaxed beach restaurant La Plage serving Mediterranean and Mauritian specialities plus grilled seafood and snacks. The coffee ice cream was delicious!  A soothing spa has four treatment rooms plus a sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and an outdoor treatment area with sea views. Other facilities include a large pool, nightclub, fitness centre, tennis, yoga, Sun Kids’ Club (4-11 years), Sun Generation Club (12-17 years) and access to the championship golf course on Ile aux Cerfs, 20 minutes away. Complimentary watersports include snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing and glass-bottom boat trips. Diving, big game fishing and waterskiing are available at extra cost.

The rooms at Ambre are really great, fresh modern and really of a great size. A sundowner at Coral Bar is a fabulous way to start your evening too.

One of the most recent additions to Mauritius’ east coast, and personally my favourite hotel of the trip, innovative & contemporary Long Beach sits amongst powdery white sands and a tropical lagoon and is the perfect combination of luxurious contemporary design and attractive, traditional Mauritian details.
An urban piazza, The Square forms the focal point of the resort, surrounded by three authentic restaurants with indoor and outdoor dining: Sapori for Italian, Hasu for Japanese and Chopsticks for Chinese. By the beach, a fantastic array of fresh fish is offered at Tides restaurant. Two relaxed bars serve delicious cocktails, plus there is also a poolside bar. Other facilities include three swimming pools, a spa, fitness centre, watersports, climbing wall, tennis courts, table tennis, archery, kids’ club, teens’ club, library, handicraft shops and a small nightclub. A free shuttle service is provided to Le Touessrok golf course where guests enjoy complimentary green fees.
Long Beach suits many with lots of space, you will be sure to find a quiet space just for you. The spa is outstanding and extremely well priced too.
Le Touessrok
Appearing in Condé Nast’s exclusive ‘Gold List’ in 2012, Le Touessrok is one of the signature iconic resorts of Mauritius, featuring lush gardens, a breathtaking lagoon island, championship golf course, ocean views and sweeps of sparkling sand. A favourite for honeymooners and families alike.
The wealth of world class facilities include the main restaurant, Three-Nine-Eight, offering nine different cuisines and eight show kitchens, the contemporary Indian restaurant, Safran, beachside Barlen’s and two bars on the mainland, plus a daytime restaurant and bar on the private hideaway of Ilôt Mangénie, ideal for barefoot lunches and afternoon cocktails. There is also a freeform pool, an adults-only pool, Givenchy Spa, fitness centre, T Club kids’ club, teens’ club, internet café, and complimentary boat transfers to Ilôt Mangénie and to Ile aux Cerfs with its watersports and 18-hole Bernhard Langer championship golf course.
Sherie travelled to Mauritius courtesy of Air Mauritius, Sun Resorts and Kuoni. – For further information to share Sherie’s Mauritius experience – call her on 0207 720 8484 or email sherie@traveldesigners.co.uk.

Heritage and Veranda Resorts Mauritius

Mauritius is truly an Indian Ocean paradise, you can expect paradisiacal sweeps of tranquil white sands, backdrops of rugged, rainforest-carpeted mountains and some of the best hotels in the world.  Lesley was lucky enough to visit the hotels with the Veranda and Heritage Resort family in October 2012. 
Veranda and Heritage resorts offer a range of hotels in Mauritius, ranging  from 3 star plus  to the 5 star plus premium All Inclusive hotels
Each hotel had something different, its own personal style and charm. Which I found very exciting. I hate to send clients to the same old boring chain hotel – This is what I love about Veranda and Heritage, they have allowed each of the hotels to develop its own personality.

A delightful oasis in the heart of bustling Grand Baie, this small and charming property is a Creole paradise of palms and tropical flowers, set beside a white sand beach. Completely renovated in 2010, the Veranda Grand Baie ideal for enjoying the island’s beach life and nightlife.

A friendly and popular hotel, offering great value, a ‘barefoot chic’ theme and stylish, contemporary decor. Kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes and go with the flow.
There are two restaurants and two bars overlooking the lagoon. Senses offers buffet-style cuisine with Mauritian specialties, whilst the Sandy Lane Grill opens for dinner and has a grill station or seafood à la carte menu (extra cost, closed Sundays). Other facilities comprise three inviting swimming pools including a children’s pool and adults-only pool, Seven Colours Wellness Lounge located on the beach, bicycle hire (extra charge) and the Timomo children’s club. Land and water sports include table tennis, snorkelling, pedal boats and kayaking, and evening entertainment ranges from Sega dance shows to live music or DJs.
Heritage The Villas

Built with excellent quality finishes, the villas all have air-conditioned master bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, infinity pools, large verandas, state of the art communications, a barbecue area, a gazebo and landscaped tropical gardens. They are fully furnished and equipped and they offer free internet access and satellite TV channels as well as daily cleaning and 24-hour concierge service.

Each villa includes indoor/outdoor open plan with combined living, dining, kitchen and veranda accommodation, ideal for day and evening casual relaxation. ‘En-suite’ bedrooms have air conditioning, silent plantation style ceiling fans, patio doors and plantation style shutters. The spacious outdoor veranda with an outdoor dining area and a secluded bar includes a bar fridge for cooling one’s preferred beverages.

A private study/TV room with LCD flat screen television, internet, television and alos offers a bouquet of movies on demand and there is a separate barbecue area and a tropical pool with infinity edge and a gazebo offering fantastic views on the ocean over the golf course.  – These villas are extreme luxury and rank as the best on the island.

Nestled amidst a pristine white sand beach, championship golf course and a 2,500 hectare nature reserve, Heritage Le Telfair’s elegant romanticism, beautiful colonial architecture and delectable fine dining truly reinforce its status as a well-deserved member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Three restaurants include Annabella’s, with an innovative chic brasserie menu and river views, and the beachfront Gin’ja offering Pan-Asian inspired cuisine. For gourmet dining, Le Château de Bel Ombre is a beautifully restored 19th Century house overlooking a French style garden and serving local Mauritian cuisine. The Cavendish bar hosts live music, and whiskey connoisseurs will take delight in its menu of 100 single malts. Guests also enjoy the use of two other restaurants in the nearby Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort. Attached to the resort is the 100 hectare, 18-hole Heritage Golf Club golf course (unlimited free green fees for guests, excluding equipment), and the Seven Colours Millesime Collection Spa is a haven of tranquillity. Other facilities include a kids’ club, teens’ club, swimming pool, fitness centre, tennis courts, C Beach Club, and a host of land and watersports from horse riding to mountain biking and scuba diving (some at extra cost).

This truly enchanting hotel has delightfully furnished and decorated sea-facing bedrooms. The romantically named Veranda Paul & Virginie, is based on a mythical story of two young lovers. It is a delightful offering with thatched roofs, stone walls, natural woods and a charm and ambience all of its own. The friendly staff and the generally mellow, laid-back atmosphere will ensure that it is always a clear favourite among our clients.

The picturesque beach restaurant, is literally at the edge of the lapping water and is the perfect spot to enjoy a candlelit romantic dinner. Veranda Paul & Virginie has the added advantage of being just a short drive away from the resort of Grand Baie.

A stylish and contemporary luxury resort on the south coast of the island. Its superb facilities, fine dining and range of activities make Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort an excellent all inclusive choice for golf enthusiasts, spa lovers and families alike.
Dining options comprise two bars and three restaurants at the resort, plus access to an extra seven restaurants within the Domaine de Bel Ombre. There are freeform swimming pools, mountain biking, tennis, a fitness centre, Timomo children’s club (2-11 years), teens’ club (12-17 years), and watersports including sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing. The Seven Colours Spa (18 years and above, extra cost) has 20 treatment rooms and offers individual treatment programmes, with a variety of massages based on the seven colours rituals as well as signature treatments. Guests also enjoy free green fees at the nearby Heritage Golf Club – a magnificent par-72 golf course covering 100 hectares, situated between the mountains and the sea.
Also, don’t forget for guests staying at The Villas, Heritage Awali, or Heritage Le Telfair have access to the amazing C Beach Club. A great way to spend the day or evening chilling and absorbing the fantastic atmosphere and beach lifestyle.
The visit was not just all hotel visits, a particular high point for myself was the cooking class. -

Given the ethnic mixture, it hardly comes as a surprise that there’s a wide variety of cuisines: Chinese, Indian, European and Creole provide a great choice, using the natural resources of this tropical island.

Mutton, chicken, fish, seafood and vegetables are offered in delicious curry sauces. Dishes will appear accompanied by rice and, usually, achards, a variety of vegetable chutneys, and perhaps pickled limes. One of the island’s favourite dishes with visitors is millionnaire’s salad, made from hearts of palm.

If you’re not a spice lover, fish and seafood or freshwater crayfish provide local flavour. Smoked marlin is an island delicacy.

Fresh fruit abounds: lychees, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, papaya, passion fruit and guavas are piled high in the markets and the hotel dining rooms.

For aperitif there are some very good rums, and rum goes into many of the desserts, too. Imported wines are expensive, but local wine (made from imported grape juice) is appreciated by many, as are the island-made beers.

Every hotel that I  visited the food was fabulous ! I suppose a Mauritian winning BBC Masterchef shouldn’t have been such a surprise. I just love Mauritius, the people and Veranda and Heritage Resorts, I can not wait to return.
Lesley travelled to Mauritius courtesy of Air Mauritius and Heritage Resorts. To share Lesley’s Mauritian experience call her on 0207 720 8484 or email lesley@traveldesigners.co.uk 

Air Mauritius fly directly to Mauritius from London Heathrow, regional connections are available via Paris or London. Alternatively British Airways offer a direct flight from London Gatwick and Emirates offer connections via Dubai from London Heathrow, Gatwick ,Birmingham , Manchester , Newcastle and Glasgow.

Mark Warner Opens New Luxury Resort in Greece

Mark Warner are delighted to be opening Levante Beach Resort , a 5 star hotel on the island of Rhodes for summer 2012, built to their very own specifications. This stunning 160 bed hotel has been built in a cool and contemporary style and is located on one of the longest sandy beaches on the island.

Situated right on the beach, in the resort of Afandou, 20kms from Rhodes Town – our new resort has all the facilities one could ask for and all the usual Mark Warner extras. What’s more – direct flights with British Airways will take you there.

The Accommodation

At Levante Beach Resort they have 80 twin/double rooms (30 of which are inter-connecting), 70 family suites and 10 large suites (8 of which have private swimming pools). All come with a balcony or terrace, en-suite, air-conditioning, satellite TV and all are furnished in a contemporary style. Room types include;

Twin rooms (extra child’s bed and cot available)
Interconnecting rooms – Double room (king size bed) & twin room (extra child’s bed and cot available)
Suites – Double room (king size bed)  with living room and 2 sofa beds.
Suites with private pools – Double room (king size bed)  with living room and 2 sofa beds

The Dining

Dining at Levante Beach is offered on a half board basis with breakfast and dinner taken in the main restaurant.  In addition there is an à la carte Asian restaurant right on the beach open every evening for dining at a small supplement. For relaxing drink, the hotel offers 3 bars, the main hotel bar, the pool bar and the chilled out beach bar.

Full board is available at a supplement of £85 per adult and £75 per child per week for those who wish to add lunch.

The Facilities

There are four swimming pools, one of which is an indoor heated pool and one reserved exclusively for adults.  Beach towels are readily available for guest use and there are plenty of sun loungers and shade for all.

Levante Beach offers all the usual Mark Warner activities. Sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and wakeboarding are run from the well equipped watersports centre right on the beach.  Mountain bike hire and guided tours are free of charge and tennis tuition is available from our resident pro’s at the purpose built tennis centre which is home to 6 astroturf, floodlit tennis courts. Racquets and balls are provided free of charge for guest use.

For the children – the spacious and air conditioned childcare centre is ideally situated next door to the main reception area and has been meticulously planned to cater for all age groups.  In addition there is a childrens playground area and childrens pool.

The hotel has its very own spa with full treatment and massage menu, sauna and steam room.

For more information concerning Levante Beach or any Mark Warner property call Travel Designers on 020 7720 8484 or email nick@traveldesigners.co.uk

Angsana Launches Flagship Resort in Phuket

Angsana unveils its flagship resort in Phuket, amidst an enchanting backdrop of relaxed seaside ambience of southern Thailand. The resort is the result of an elaborate refurbishment, which costs a total investment of USD 30 million. This newly launched flagship resort of Angsana is all set to offer a huge array of amenities and activities for the enthusiastic and contemporary travelers.

Located within Bang Tao Bay at Laguna Phuket, Angsana Laguna Phuket is the first integrated resort across Asia. The resort occupies the spot of the former Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket. This chic and stylish resort is considered as the largest Angsana property across Southeast Asia, boasting 409 keys. The resort houses ten different room categories, offering an array of accommodation options. The couple can opt for the 40 square meters Laguna Room, while the family can stay at 45 square meter Laguna Premier Room. Honeymooners can romance in the 88 square meter two story Angsana One Bedroom lofts. The Angsana Two Bedroom Lofts of 112 square meters are generously sized and they are ideal for friends and families with enough room space, offering individual privacy and admired with a roof top terrace.

The 226 square meter Presidential Suite and the 139 square meters Angsana Suite offer extensive view over the lagoons and scenic gardens. Angsana Pool Residences, equipped with three bedrooms spanning 357 square meters is complemented with private pools and picturesque gardens, offering spectacular views of the championship Laguna Phuket golf course. The Angsana Grand Pool Residence spanning 490 square meter is admired with four grand bedrooms, a private kitchen, sundeck and an outdoor sala.

The celebrated dining venue of the resort, Market Place, radiates the essence of a traditional Thai street market and it offers a delectable array of international cuisines. Nestled on a beautiful landscaped patio overlooking the lagoon, Bodega & Grill displays premium char-grilled steaks, roasted fish and seafood prepared in a wood-fire oven. Guests, who want to savor fresh local seafood like Phuket lobster, black crabs and tiger prawns, can visit Baan Talay, which features a live fish tank. The other options for dining include, Poolside, where one can enjoy general alfresco meals. Loy Krathong is also known for offering outstanding sunset cocktails. The Canal bakery, located a few minute boat ride across the lagoon allures guest to relish freshly baked pastries and freshly squeezed juices, complemented with healthy sandwiches and salad.

Angsana resort’s beach club, is admired with spacious sun lounges and luxurious daybeds, the beach club offers a fusion of Thai and Mediterranean cuisine.

There is a Treehouse Kids’ Club in the resort to entertain the children, built over two stories and it also features an unique café, offering activities like arts and crafts classes and interactive story hour. Adjacent to the Kids’ Club is the Thai sala, offering exotic spa treatments for kids, including hair braiding and basic manicures and pedicures.

The club is a major attraction of the kids because it allows children to play with two baby elephants, called Joey and Lucky. Children can also enjoy a stroll along the beach at Bang Tao Bay with the animals or watch them bathing in the Andaman Sea.

The newly introduced Angsana Spa upholds a tropical garden spa concept and it is admired with a cheerful contemporary design. The spa offers rejuvenating treatments based on aromatherapy and provide effective wellness techniques from East and West. The spa equipped with 12 indoor treatment rooms, also features steam room, sauna and a beauty salon. The most innovative treatment offered by the spa is the Bamboo massage. Private yoga classes for children and adults are also on offer and guests can also avail an array of family and kids’ spa packages.

For further information call Travel Designers on 0207 720 8484 or email nick@traveldesigners.co.uk

Magical Egypt – Um ad-Dunya – Mother of the World

As a travel agent, we are offered to attend many events to learn new exciting facts about a particular destination or hotel. One particular destination that inspires me time and time again, is an ancient land that we now know as Egypt.

There has never been a better time to visit Egypt, a country offering fantastic attractions,activities and resorts of a high standard at an outstanding value.

Cairo is a city of extremes. Many of the capitals 18 million or so inhabitants know it as Um ad-Dunya – Mother of the World. Travellers have long been lured by Cairo’s exhilarating blend of cultures, potential for adventure and astonishing past. Apart from the amazing pyramids , why not check out The Citadel, Sultan Hassan Mosque, The Old City Gates and Cairo Tower, these blend with the cultural side of Cairo at The Egyptian Museum, Museum of Islamic Art, Gayer-Anderson Museum and Coptic Quarter.

No luxury stay in Cairo would be complete with out the wonderful Mena House Oberoi – located in the shadow of the pyramids of Giza, this beautiful character property is one of the most famous hotels in Egypt and a favourite with visitors drawn by Egypt’s rich heritage of mosques, churches and temples.

Originally built in 1869, the hotel is located opposite the towering Great Pyramid and is surrounded by 16 hectares of gardens and a soon to be opened golf course.

The Mena House Oberoi has over 400 rooms and suites, all of which are lavishly appointed with traditional furnishings. Whether you choose to stay in the modern Garden wing or in the original Palace wing, I would recommend upgrading to a pyramid-view room.

Looking for a leisurely cruise on the nile ( a must for anyone !!)  why not consider the Oberoi Zahra, it brings a new level of  luxury and comfort to Nile cruising and features just 25 elegantly appointed cabins and two suites. The 7 night itinerary has been carefully designed to combine sightseeing excursions accompanied by the cruiser’s Egyptologists with maximum leisure time to enjoy the onboard spa and wellness centre, which includes four massage suites.

For a completely different cruise experience, why not try a Dahabeya Nile Cruise.  Experience the best that Egypt has to offer aboard a traditional dahabeya. With only six fully air-conditioned cabins and two elegant suites with private terraces , the Sonesta Dahabeya -Amirat offers guests a stylish and intimate insight into the Nile and its monuments. Featuring modern facilities and stylish interiors, the boat has a sun terrace with a jacuzzi and shaded areas with tables and chairs. It is possible for small groups to charter the vessel for exclusive use.

Easily combinable with a beach stay to the Red Sea , Egypt really does offer something for everyone, and our partners Cox and Kings have a range of escorted group or private tours along with tailor made itineraries that we are pleased to be able to offer. For more information please contact us on 0207 720 8484 or email nick@traveldesigners.co.uk

Whats New at Mark Warner this Season…….

A New Beach Resort..Rhodes, Greece

Mark Warner are delighted to be opening Levante Beach our new 5-star resort for 2012 in Rhodes, Greece. This modern and luxurious resort has been custom built to Mark Warner’s winning formula offering superb watersports and tennis, a state of the art childcare centre and fantastic dining. This 200 room hotel will be open from 19th May 2012.Prices start from £765pp

..with free BA upgrades too.

…Perdepera Beach Resort exclusive to Mark Warner

After a successful first season at Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia, Mark Warner are pleased to be able to tell you that this delightful hotel will be exclusively run for Mark Warner guests, with a team of our best chefs looking after the catering, Sardinian style. They’ve also adjusted our offering in our existing resorts and our returning guests will notice some fantastic changes across the programme such as free Mountain biking, better flight times and more destinations served by British Airways flights.
…now in their third year

Specialist tennis weeks are in their third year and are proving to be ever popular. Hosted by two British Davis Cup players and ably supported by their own coaching team, you will be put through your paces with what promised to be an awesome week of tennis. Dates for the weeks are 26 May at San Agostino, Greece and 6th October at Lakitira, Greece.For all those keen sailors and amateurs alike, Mark Warner is hosting a Sailing Regatta Week at San Agostino, Greece on the 16 June. 

Mark Warner’s Club Mark Warner weeks were introduced to giveadult guests the chance to meet other fellow holiday makers, are not surprisingly very popular. Local excursions and group nights out in good company, combined with all the usual Mark Warner activities will make your stay memorable. Club Mark Warner 2012 will be held at both of their Greek resorts; San Agostino on the 16th June and Lakitira on the 5th & 12th May and 22nd & 29th September.

…in France, Italy and Austria

With the papers widely reporting a lack of fresh snow in the mountains of Europe we thought it worth reassuring customers that there’s plenty of great skiing to be had across all higher resorts right now. All Mark Warner ski destinations have been chosen for their snow reliability and so whilst the “powder junkies” may well be waiting on tenterhooks for the latest flurries, those skiers who love to cruise the pistes are enjoying long runs in glorious Spring sunshine as we speak. The lifts are running, the pistes are open and the cafés are bathed in sunlight even though it’s still February!Mark Warner have Chalethotels in all the top ski resorts in France, Italy and Austria; Val d’Isere, Tignes, Les Deux Alpes, La Plagne, Courchevel 1850, Meribel, Courmayeur and St Anton. With February prices from £495 including; flights, transfers, accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner with wine, ski hosting and lift pass collection servic

For further information concerning any Mark Warner resort, please call us on 0207 720 8484 or email lesley@traveldesigners.co.uk