Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Norwegian Star sails to Europe's top destinations for 2017 - 2018 with Instagram-perfect itineraries

European cruise itineraries for the Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star’s 7-day Greek Isles cruise ensures guests from around the globe are able to experience the world’s trendiest travel hotspots all in one European getaway.

The ultimate Europe bucket list trip starts in Venice, Italy and sails through to the postcard-beautiful islands of Montenegro, Greece and Croatia. Norwegian Star’s most Instagram worthy sailing is available in September and October 2017 and is steeped in history with an abundance of breathtaking scenery.

Norwegian Star’s Greek Isles itinerary appeals to young and active travelers looking for an accessible holiday.


European cruise itineraries for the Norwegian Star

The ultimate photo-worthy holiday begins and ends in Venice, the historical northeastern town renowned for extraordinary architecture and for the Grand Canal.

Guests can enjoy the city at their own leisure and suggested activities include admiring the centuries-old buildings and churches of Venice and dining at a local eatery to become fully immersed in Mediterranean living.

On return, the Norwegian Star offers guests 4-5 hour guided tours that are combined with an airport transfer for the departure flight. Guests can choose from a guided tour of Prato della Valle, Padua's largest square or have a tour of Venice that includes Doges' Palace and Basilica di San Marco


European cruise itineraries for the Norwegian Star

On day two, guests wake up in the coastal town of Kotor in Montenegro. Wedged between large overhanging mountains, this impressive Mediterranean town is one of the best preserved medieval areas in the world.

Stone walls snake up the slopes and the romantic Old Town of Montenegro with its maze of museums, churches, delightful cafes and Venetian palaces.

For the more active guests, a three hour hike up the 1,350 zigzagging steps to the top of the city wall of Montenegro with a dedicated tour guide.


European cruise itineraries for the Norwegian Star

The Norwegian Star then makes her way to Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos. Available activities for guests are varied throughout the three days and include an exciting range of leisure and adventure-packed excursions.

Join the 4 x 4 drive adventure of Corfu’s countryside, or take in the charming blue-and-white village of Oia, followed by a visit to a local winery in Santorini.

European cruise itineraries for the Norwegian Star

Take the walking tour of Mykonos the best known of all the Greek islands with its narrow streets, lively beaches and whitewashed churches.


After spending the sixth day relaxing and indulging in the on board guests will then arrive in the 16th century stone-walled Croatian city of Dubrovnik. Norwegian Star’s exclusive shore excursions include the walking tour of Dubrovnik’s old town and a scenic cable car ride over the beautiful city.

European cruise itineraries for the Norwegian Star

Adventurists can also opt for the three hour off-road buggy adventure tour that combines exploration with local history.

For fans of the hit TV show series, Game of Thrones, Norwegian Star offers a three hour Game of Thrones tour in Croatia to experience the real setting of the fictional focal point of the show, King’s Landing.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The best hotels in the world and the best of luxury travel at ILTM 2017 in Shanghai

Travelife Magazine Managing Editor Ceia Ylagan at ILTM 2017 in Shanghai


The world’s most luxurious travel specialists gathered in the city of Shanghai for the International Luxury Travel Market Asia 2017 (ILTM Asia 2017) last June.

Over 460 exhibitors from 53 countries presented the latest developments in traveling – from luxury hotel accommodations within cosmopolitan cities like Zurich, New York, London and Tokyo; and exclusive islands within the Maldives and Tahiti, to unforgettable tour experiences thoughtfully curated by discerning travel designers.

The best hotels in the world at ILTM 2017 in Shanghai

ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore also announced at the ILTM Asia 2017 Opening Forum the many changes taking place with ILTM Asia.


The first major development is the creation of ILTM China slated for October 2018 in Shanghai. This event will focus on outbound luxury travel from China to accommodate the growing market of luxury travelers within China.

ILTM 2017 in Shanghai


On the other hand, ILTM Tokyo will center on inbound travelers to Japan. And finally, ILTM Singapore will highlight the needs and preferences of luxury travelers from the rest of Asia.

As hundreds of ILTM buyers, exhibitors, and media guests discovered the latest travel innovations during the day, the evenings were filled with exciting social events. ILTM Asia 2017 has raised the expectations for upcoming ILTM events in Asia.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hotel Indigo opens in Seminyak Beach, Bali

Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach in Seminyak, Bali

Seminyak, Bali's most lively and storied village, is the site of the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach. In a village that captures the ancient and modern zeitgeist of Bali in all its colour, energy and lively tradition, curious travelers are the new savvy individualists.




Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach in Seminyak, Bali
As a destination, Bali has always delighted guests with its ability to embrace the modern and traditional with a stylish and youthful zest — and nowhere is this more apparent than in Seminyak, a neighbourhood where the ocean breeze blends a fusion of village gamelan and modern house music.

Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach in Seminyak, Bali
And indeed where in every direction, the visitor can trace the neighbourhood's story of a Cultural Journey in Bali — exploring the local communities and temples of Bali, where Balinese ceremonies and craft work retain the same daily rituals that connect you back to the heritage of the 15th century.

Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach in Seminyak, Bali


The new Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach 289-room  hotel graces Seminyak's Mesari Beach draws inspiration from the flavours, culture and character of its surrounding local neighbourhood, the vibrant and lively Seminyak district.

Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach in Seminyak, Bali
Extending across 4.7 hectares of lush, landscaped grounds, including exotic plantings and beautiful vertical gardens, the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach promises an authentic fusion of enchanting Balinese culture and contemporary creativity fronting the southern stretch of Seminyak.

Here, the best of modern and traditional Balinese design are seamlessly integrated, reflecting the surrounding Seminyak neighbourhood, from its fashion boutiques and world-famous restaurants to its artisanal craftsmanship and architecture.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Breakfasts at Amanemu, the new Aman resort in Japan

Amanemu in Japan

I've just returned from a nice holiday break at Amanemu, which is the second Aman property in Japan. This Aman resort is located in Ise, known for the Ise Shrine, which is one of the most important shrines in Japan.

To get to Amanemu, it's about a two-hour drive or train ride from Nagoya, or a short chartered helicopter ride from Nagoya's Chubu International Airport. I guess you can also take a helicopter from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport, but Chubu International Airport is closer.




Amanemu in Japan

Amanemu is very quiet and serene, so it's the perfect place to get away from it all. Most of the Amanemu villas have a view of the sea and the pearl farms of Ise, except for the entry-level villas which have views of greenery.

Otherwise, the layouts of the villas at Amanemu are the same. There is the one-bedroom Amanemu villa, which is basically half of a duplex, and they are all of the same size and layout, including a hot springs bathtub. The only difference is the view.

Then you have the two-bedroom Amanemu villas which are two bedrooms joined by a living room and a common bath, although each villa is ensuite anyway. The common bath is a hot springs bath while the ensuite baths are not.


Amanemu in Japan

We had a very nice view in our Amanemu villa so we decided to order room service for breakfast and have it out on the terrace. Of course we ordered the Japanese breakfast, but we also ordered Eggs Benedict just because it's become a habit of mine to order Eggs Benedict everywhere I go.

Eggs Benedict at Amanemu in Japan

The Eggs Benedict of Amanemu came with one egg with bacon and one egg with salmon. Everything was delicious and, after a relaxing hot springs bath with the windows wide open, it was the perfect start to another day in my #Travelife.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Of the world's wonderful places and an amazing race from Beijing to Berlin

The best of Ho Chi Minh


This issue’s cover story is based on a recent visit to lively Ho Chi Minh, a vibrant city that's so unpredictable that hawker stalls and rundown dry goods mom and pop shops exist alongside chic Vietnamese boutiques, a beautiful opera house and even The Reverie Saigon, a six-star hotel with equally surprising design.

At Vietnam's six-star hotel, The Reverie Saigon

To discover what's good about Ho Chi Minh – or Saigon, as many old timers have reverted to calling it – the Travelife Magazine team split up in search of all kinds of adventures.

Travelife General Manager Angelica Bayona took our TV crew on a tour of the Ho Chi Minh’s main attractions, and then they all ended up on a wooden boat for a relaxing sail down the Pearl River.

The Travelife Magazine team in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


Meanwhile I hit the streets of Saigon in search of iconic souvenirs, clothes by indie designers, and the best things to bring home from Vietnam.

Souvenirs of Vietnam

One of the brands I stumbled on was Minh Leong, a company that has been making fine Vietnamese porcelain pieces for decades. At one of its branches,  at the Takashimaya Shopping Center, I met Min, great-granddaughter of the founders of Minh Leong, and she showed me the heirloom items she is proudest of.

Vietnamese porcelain


A blue-and-gold dinnerware service was laid out beautifully on a long table in one corner of the store, mixed with pieces from their other collections. “The President of Vietnam has this same dinnerware set,” she told me with a proud smile. I had already been thinking about buying a service for eight, but the idea that the Vienamese head of state was using the very same one for his guests literally “sealed the deal.”

I quickly handed over my credit card before I could change my mind, and with some expert packing I managed to fit everything into my luggage and bring this home.


Architect Galal Mahmoud

In this issue, too, are some wonderful articles featuring truly interesting travels.

The award-winning architect Galal Mahmoud talks about his family holiday home on the Greek island of Mykonos and recalls a visit to Bali that blew him away with new ideas about designing in harmony with nature.


GM Rene Egle of Shangri-la Mactan

It was the stories of Shangri-la Mactan General Manager Rene Egle, however, that literally left me open-mouthed.

Some years back, he took to the road with a replica of a 1936 BMW motorbike, and motored on a road trip from Beijing to Berlin. This is an 11,800 kilometer roadtrip through some of the least traveled places on the planet.

GM Rene Egle of Shangri-la Mactan

It wasn’t really a race, but it certainly felt like it as he and his friends tried to make it to some form of civilization to find shelter before nightfall each day. One of his best memories involves an unexpectedly warm welcome with sausages and vodka in the middle of a rainy night by a small group of villagers in Siberia.

The tales travelers live to tell are indeed wondrous. And this issue will definitely give you many ideas for wonderful adventures of your own.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Delicious dimsum at W Sentosa Cove Singapore

 W Sentosa Cove Singapore

W Singapore is offering a sumptuous variety of dimsum -- Cantonese favourites that are baked, steamed and fried to perfection at the kitchen table -- from July 17 to 27, 2017.




Dim Sum means “touch your heart” and the tradition originated in Canton, in small establishments littering the roadside. These tiny roadside restaurants in Canton served tea along with little eats for travellers or for anybody who needed a place to rest. This experience then gained popularity in many cities, with Hong Kong in particular.

Today, dim sum has become a meal that's shared between friends and families globally -- many of them gather over a table of tiny plates filled with dumplings, buns and savoury pastries.

Dim sum at W Sentosa Cove Singapore


The W Singapore chefs will be serving up a roster of delightful morsels like chicken feet with black bean sauce and shrimp har gao, which are thin, translucent wrappers of wheat starch containing fresh shrimp.

There will also be siew mai, which are cup-shaped dumpling holding a filling of pork, shrimp, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and water chestnuts; selections of roasted duck, pork belly, BBQ honey kurobuta char siew; and signature desserts like egg tarts, which are flaky pastries with a soft, sweet egg custard centre.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Jetwing Hotels opens Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing in Sri Lanka

Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing

Luxury comes to Panadura in Sri Lanka. Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing is an all new property with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. Break away from routine life and bask in Sri Lankan hospitality, an easy alternative as Jie Jie by Jetwing is located one and a half hours away from Colombo.



Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing


Located right by the beach, this tropical escape takes you into a world of its own with its ethnic design and open spaces. Being the largest luxury hotel in Panadura, Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing boasts of 180 rooms overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean or the skyline of the city.

Here, guests can savour many gastronomic delights as the dining options at Jie Jie Beach vary from international cuisine with distinct Southeast Asian flavours via an international restaurant serving buffet meals in local and Western fare, and a Chinese restaurant named Golden Silk that serves authentic Oriental delicacies created by a Chinese chef.

Ubud Writers' Workshop in Bali this October 2017

The 14th Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) will include authors, artists and activists who will lead this year's five-day program of fiery discussions, literary lunches, and powerful performances from October 25 to 29, 2017. The 14th Ubud Writers and Readers Festival will welcome more than 150 speakers from 30 countries, sharing bold ideas and extraordinary stories through the lens of this year's theme, 'Sangakan Paraning Dumadi', or 'Origins'.

From Kalimantan to Canada, Riau to Lucknow, the first lineup reveal of 16 authors and artists is testament to Indonesia's – and the Festival's – famed cultural and artistic diversity.


These include Scotland's king of crime writing, Ian Rankin, alongside Canadian author Madeleine Thien, whose works on diasporic histories have received universal acclaim.

Wrenched from his origins and miraculously finding his way home, the story which inspired the film Lion will be shared by Saroo Brierley, while Malaysian socio-political author and activist Marina Mahathir will reveal how she's inspired thousands to be unbound by the society they're born into.

Leading the discussion on our environmental responsibilities to future generations is internationally-acclaimed climatologist and conservationist Tim Flannery, while Britain's greatest authority on Chinese food, Fuchsia Dunlop, will stir the senses with her explorations in cultural preservation. 


Through its strong focus on the Indonesian literary and artistic landscape, UWRF continues to be the most prominent platform for showcasing the nation's emerging and established writers and artists.

One of Indonesia's most outspoken journalists Leila S Chudori, and prolific author and social commentator Seno Gumira Ajidarma, lead the national lineup.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new 2020 world cruise onboard the Seven Seas Mariner

Regent Seven Seas Mariner

Spanning approximately 33,870 nautical miles across 11 seas in three oceans, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new 2020 world cruise will deliverunforgettable opportunities for luxury travelers seeking to experience the world for the first time – or again.

The all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner will host Regent’s new 2020 Navigate the World cruise, a captivating 131-night itinerary, departing January 24, 2020, roundtrip from San Francisco, to idyllic islands of the South Pacific and ancient cultures of subcontinental India and around the Arabian Peninsula, and then plying the halcyon Mediterranean in springtime and cruising the Caribbean and Central America in early summer.




Seven Seas Mariner’s guests will touch on 30 countries on six continents as they circumnavigate the globe, visiting 36 UNESCO World Heritage sites among a total of 66 ports, 13 in which are overnight stays.

There will also be an exclusive, pre-cruise Gala Dinner Event in San Francisco, as well as revel in three additional authentic shoreside events as they sail the world.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is renowned for our world cruises and sailing aboard Seven Seas Mariner in 2020 will be simply spectacular,” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

He added: “The beautiful Seven Seas Navigator, our most intimate ship, is scheduled to sail Regent’s 2018 and 2019 world cruises. The all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner takes over in 2020 and offers another unforgettable opportunity to travel the world, ensconced in Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ trademark of The Most Inclusive Luxury Experience. "

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anantara Layan Phuket offers an Inner Goddess workshop with lifestyle guru Mel Wells

Wellness and lifestyle guru Mel Wells

The Anantara Layan Phuket Resort is launching a unique wellness retreat in partnership with nutritionist, body coach and the England's Goddess of wellness Mel Wells.

Set amidst the lush oasis of northern Phuket, Anantara Layan invites women from around the world to take part in The Goddess Sanctuary, a four-day retreat offering a private haven to help transform themselves and their relationship with food.



The Anantara Layan


The Goddess Sanctuary retreat, which will be the first for Mel Wells in Thailand. It will encourage emotional, physical and nutritional restoration and relief for women who want to set themselves free of diets and fall in love with their bodies.

Mel will use her certification as a Health and Eating Psychology Coach to help women gently transform their mindset and make peace with food.

Wellness and lifestyle guru Mel Wells

Carefully selected for its location, Anantara Layan will help to bring to life her positive self-love message, encouraging goddess of every type to celebrate themselves and each other in a safe and luxurious environment.

Goddess Retreat with Mel Wells 
Friday 27 – Tuesday 31 October 2017 
The Residences by Anantara, Layan, Phuket 

Join Mel Wells and an intimate group of Goddesses in Phuket for the retreat of a lifetime. Allow yourself to be whisked away to paradise, complete gentle transformational workshops, unwind and learn how to live like a true Goddess. Become your healthiest and happiest self.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

French food at The Parisian Macao

French food at The Parisian Macao

The Parisian Macao in Macao has a restaurant called the French Brasserie that is offering a delicious new promotional dinner menu priced at MOP 480* from now until Aug. 31 to celebrate the best of France's classic South-West cuisine and wine.

The food of the Southwest France is some of the richest and most famous cuisine of France, remaining fundamentally unchanged over hundreds of years.

French food at The Parisian Macao

Incidentally, Brasserie French Executive Chef Daniel Brolese is a native of southwest France and he has crafted a menu of authentic local ingredients and dishes including French food favourites such as foie gras terrine and confit de canard, truffle dishes, slow-cooked cassoulet and Arcachon oysters.


The Parisian Macao

The Parisian Macao is an integrated resort in Macao inspired by the magic and wonder of Paris, the famed “City of Lights.” Featuring a half-scale authentic recreation of the Eiffel Tower, The Parisian Macao offers approximately 3,000 guest rooms and suites and a full array of integrated resort facilities, including meeting space, and restaurants.

It also has the Le SPA'tique, QUBE Kingdom – Kid's Play Zone, the Parisian Health Club, a pool deck, and a 1,200-seat theatre.

The 300,000-square-foot Shoppes at Parisian retail mall offers the latest in fashion and couture in a setting reminiscent of the streets of Paris, with an eclectic mix of street artists, mimes, and buskers heightening the authentic experience. Visitors can stroll among formal gardens, fountains, hedge mazes and reflective pools, and enjoy carousels, arcades and bistros.