Friday, March 31, 2017

Banyan Tree Phuket Spa Sanctuary Pool Villas and Wellness Packages

The spa pool villas at Banyan Tree Phuket

This post is about the Banyan Tree Phuket Spa Sanctuary Pool Villas and Wellness Packages.

For a holistically satisfying experience, Banyan Tree Phuket Spa Sanctuary is offering a brand new selection of specially tailored wellness packages, exclusively for guests staying in its Spa Sanctuary Pool Villas spanning 550 square meters.


The spa pool villas at Banyan Tree Phuket

Each experience is designed to combine a luxury holiday in Phuket with a healing touch for both body and mind.

 Available for booking and stay until October 31, 2017, the Banyan Tree Phuket Spa Sanctuary Wellness Packages allow guests to let go of all urban stresses while immersing in any of the six unique journeys for attainment of physical, mental and spiritual peace: Nourishment, Healing Heart, Centering, Keeping Fit, Enlightenment and Traditional Healing

True wellness means being at peace with one's surroundings, and each spa sanctuary pool villa at the Banyan Tree Phuket Spa Sanctuary provides a magnificent and expansive setting complete with a private pool, massage Sala, and a delightful view of the resort's private lagoon.



The spa pool villas at Banyan Tree Phuket

The journey of Nourishment includes specially prepared detox juices to cleanse and purify, along with cooking workshops and nutritional education throughout the stay. This package helps guests to maintain a healthy diet, while a soothing Balinese spa treatment refreshes the body to bring guests a sense of deeper peace.



The spa pool villas at Banyan Tree Phuket

The Healing Heart Package sets the mind and heart at ease with sunrise body stretching sessions and a turn-down bath every evening.

Tranquil meditation sessions and a selection of tender massages helps to boost the healing process, allowing guests to better connect with their inner self. The essential concept of Centering uses organic drinks, life coaching, yoga sessions, meditation and massage to help guests forget about the troubles of the world. This package helps ground guest's mind and spirit on what truly matters to their wellbeing.



The Keeping Fit Package helps to tone the muscles and revitalise the mind. A morning energy-booster helps prepare guests for meeting guests' personal trainer, and undertaking guests' morning jog, yoga, and water exercise.

A sports massage is included to help guests cool down gently, and keep guests body in shape for active living.



The spa pool villas at Banyan Tree Phuket
The Enlightenment Package engages your mind to sharpen your acuity and bring you closer to your personal interests.

A variety of activities such as cooking classes, market visits, tree planting experiences and special floral arrangement lessons will cultivate healthy interests, with a turndown tea offering to encourage peaceful reflection. An additional foot and back massage wakes up the senses, and is included to accompany the two massages already included in the package.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1

Weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1

This post, written by Patricia Cendana of the Travelife editorial team, is about a weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1. 

Boracay Henann Prime Beach Resort only had its soft opening last November, but it has already garnered the attention of travelers to Boracay, locals and foreigners alike.

Weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1
Given that numerous Henann resorts are found throughout Station 2 of Boracay, the Henann Group of Resorts is proud to present the newly launched Henann Prime Beach Resort as the first in the brand to have a beachfront found in Station 1, where the atmosphere is more relaxing and quiet.


Weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1
The Boracay Henann Prime Beach Resort itself maintains an elegantly minimalist and relaxing coastal design, from the rooms to the Sea Salt restaurant. The Sea Salt restaurant al fresco all-day dining restaurant in Boracay offers sumptuous and Instagram-worthy dishes.

Weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1

Try the Panay Island Pizza with its fresh shrimp toppings, or the Uni Spaghetti that has a creamy twist to its seafood flavours.

For dessert, take a bite out of the generous slice of the Matcha Cheesecake.


Weekend in Boracay at the new Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station 1
As of now, 104 of the 144 rooms of Henann Prime Beach Resort are ready to receive guests.

The Beach Wing of the Boracay Henann Prime Beach Resort is aptly named as the rooms located in wing are near the beachfront of the property. The East Wing of the Boracay Henann Prime Beach Resort, on the other hand, is located by the main road, making it convenient to take a tricycle or hotel shuttle going to Station 2 or 3.


The Hennan Prime Beach Resort in Boracay

Regular guests of the Henann Group of Resorts can expect its signature room with direct access to the pool from the Henann Prime Beach Resort as well, making it a luxurious convenience for guests.

Guests can also take a dip into the two swimming pools of Henann Prime Beach Resort. The remaining 40 rooms, along with the fitness gym and the third swimming pool, are expected to open by October 2017.

The team, living a #Travelife as always, definitely enjoyed their weekend stay at the lovely Henann Prime Beach Resort and look forward to its grand opening.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Chocolate festival at the W Singapore

The Chocolate Festival at W Singapore - Sentosa Cove

W Singapore - Sentosa Cove is offering a buffet spread called Choco Loco, the kitchen table's first 'chocolate' buffet. The chocolate buffet will be held from April 17 to 27.

Chocolate is familiar to many as an ingredient for rich, decadent desserts. But it also lends its silkiness and complexity to a variety of savoury concoctions. The team at the kitchen table employs the use of the finest chocolates available along with unique cooking techniques.

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And the best part is that you can enjoy views of the marina from the W Singapore - Sentosa Cove while savouring imaginative creations like:

Spinach Pear Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette
White Chocolate and Ginger Chicken
Catalan Beef Stew with Rioja
Cinnamon and Chocolate 
Dark Chocolate and Lemongrass-crusted Sea Bass 
with Spiced Chocolate Oil

W Singapore - Sentosa Cove is also offering a range of 20 different chocolate desserts including Salted Caramel and Milk Chocolate Pana Cotta and White Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding.

Of Flavours & Spices in the new issue of Travelife Magazine

Living a #Travelife in Tel Aviv, Israel

This cover story in this new issue of Travelife Magazine was shot in Tel Aviv, Israel’s most modern city and an interesting fusion of cultures and inspirations that has remained relatively under-the-radar because of the prominence of Jerusalem, just an hour away, in world history, religion and politics.


Michelle Barrera 
Cover model

Tracey Heppner

Special thanks to 
Israeli Ambassador Effie Matityau and the Embassy of Israel
Mano Alemi and Asia Travel & Tours
Turkish Airlines


Cover girl and columnist Michelle Barrera, ace photographer Tracey Heppner and I had a grand time discovering the ins and outs of Tel Aviv by the sea, and I hope our enthusiasm for our great finds and life-changing experiences comes across clearly in our photos and stories.

Read about the best new places to visit in Tel Aviv, as well as a very special dinner followed by a poignant show in ancient Jaffa port that had us in tears.

Michelle Barrera was the ultimate multi-tasker on this trip as she posed for the cover and our fashion pages, and also wrote the cover story on Tel Aviv -- a city that she says touched her soul.


Meanwhile, in her regular column Wanderlust, she literally traipses across the globe to southern Japan, and in this issue she writes a story on her adventures in Kyushu.

Columnist Dondi Joseph also continues with the second part of his sailing trip to Svaalbard in Norway, which is practically the end of the world. His captivating tale, begun in our previous issue, has seriously made me consider undertaking an adventure cruise of my own.


Speaking of adventures, South African Ambassador Martin Slabber discusses the best things to do and see in South Africa, and most of these have to do with the great outdoors. South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, in my opinion, and the spectacular range of its natural attractions ensures that visitors will want to keep on returning.

I’ve been to South Africa five times, and I’m certainly spoiling for an excuse and company for a sixth trip.


Meanwhile Managing Editor Ceia Ylagan, an avid Japanophile, gives readers some excellent reasons to visit Osaka this July and August for the colorful summer festivals and rituals of Japan.

Osaka is already one of Japan’s top destinations, and the Japanese summer is an especially enjoyable time to visit because there’s something happening in every district practically every weekend.


On the other hand, Travelife General Manager Angelica Bayona headed for Europe last autumn to test-drive a tour of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Estonia that takes in the top attractions of these three cities in one week.

It is possible to see almost everything and still get adequate shopping time via a well-planned package tour, she concluded, and she even got an afternoon of shopping in Finland included in her itinerary as well.

Park Hyatt Moscow

I was also recently in Moscow, an enigmatic city that I have come to love. It’s mysterious, enchanting, somber and lively all at the same time, so it’s never boring.

And my story on my first foray into a Russian steambath and a stay at one of Moscow's top hotels last autumn appears within these pages.


Finally, we have a feature on the world’s best day trips, selected for you so that you’ll know where to go in this wonderful world. You’ll find so many ideas for trips this 2017 within this issue. Enjoy reading and planning for your next #Travelife.

NH Hotel Group Switches Off Its Lights During Earth Hour

The NH Hotel in Berlin

For the ninth consecutive year, NH Hotel Group will support the WWF Global Initiative Earth Hour, switching off the lights of the facades of all NH hotels all over the world. With this gesture, which will be made by the  NH Hotel Group between 830 PM and 930 PM on Saturday, March 25, the NH Hotel Group is demonstrating its firm commitment to respecting and protecting the environment in which it runs its business.


Earth Hour is an initiative led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), supported every year by hundreds of millions of people all over the world, joining their voices for the protection of the environment.

Since its creation in 2007, over 7,000 cities have taken part in Earth Hour, enabling millions of people, companies and governments to join voices to demonstrate that a future based on clean energy is possible.


The NH Hotel Group is a consolidated multinational operator and one of the world's leading urban hotel groups.

The NH Hotel Group operates close to 400 hotels with almost 60,000 rooms in 30 countries across Europe, America and Africa, including top city destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Munich, New York, Rome and Vienna.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The electronics ban on airlines flying to the US and UK from Middle East

The United States and the United Kingdon are banning passengers travelling to their countries from nine Middle East destination from bringing any device bigger than a smartphone on board.


The devices that cannot be carried onboard flights include:

Portable DVD players
Electronic gaming devices
Travel printers or scanners

These will have to be check in with your luggage. Medical devices needed on board will still allowed in your handcarry.


These are the 10 international airports covered by the United States ban:

Cairo, Egypt
Dubai,  United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Istanbul, Turkey
Doha, Qatar
Amman, Jordan
Kuwait City
Casablanca, Morocco
Jeddah & Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


The nine airlines affected by the ban are:

Emirates Airline
Etihad Airways
Kuwait Airways
Qatar Airways
Royal Air Maroc
Royal Jordanian Airlines
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Turkish Airlines.

Meanwhile, the restrictions for passengers on 14 airlines flying into the United Kingdom apply to flights from the following destinations:

Saudi Arabia

Healthy food at Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings

Healthy food at Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings

In celebration of Vitality Day on March 21, 2017, Swissôtel Sydney has re-launched their Vitality Meetings offering, featuring a new menu concept by Executive Chef Joshua Askew.

Exclusive to Swissôtel Sydney, the new Vitality Meetings offering features strategically scheduled meal breaks for delegates to enjoy nutritious dishes packed-full of superfoods. This program has proven to improve delegates' mental capabilities, increase motivation, defuse stress and magnify memory.


Healthy food at Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings

“We have created a range of healthy dishes that delegates will not only enjoy eating but also provide them with the sustenance needed to get them through the day. Something as simple as quinoa is rich in oxygen-carrying iron and contains only 222 calories per serve, while proteins such as low-GI beans, fish and chicken, are stocked full of essential amino acids which will keep the stomach satisfied and the brain alert for longer" said Swissotel Sydney Executive Chef Joshua Askew

The Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings Menu includes the following:


Healthy food at Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings

This new initiative is offered to all delegates on arrival as a booster to kick-start the day.

With options such as low-fat yoghurt smoothies, fruit juice shots infused with Swissôtel Sydney's very own rooftop honey and spirulina, wheatgrass and acai booster shots, delegates will be ready for the day.


Healthy food at Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings

Timed just before lunch when delegates begin to get restless, this mid-morning break has been altered to introduce low-fructose fruits such as honeydew, rock melon, kiwifruit and pears as well as high-fibre granola and compote yoghurts.


Choose from a daily alternating menu from either a hot or cold working lunch. Hot items include delicacies such as miso glazed barramundi with stir fried vegetables and grilled lamb chops with roasted carrots and salsa verde, while cold options feature healthy smoked turkey baguettes with cranberry, brie and lettuce and tuna avocado wraps.

Healthy food at Swissotel Sydney Vitality Meetings



It is all about sweet offerings for the last break of the day and this is what will keep the delegates going throughout the afternoon.

Dark chocolate mousse slice, raspberry cup, champagne jelly with fresh berries and matcha friands are just some of the tempting treats on offer.

With the concept of wellbeing integrated throughout the entire hotel, meeting delegates can also benefit from the Swissotel Sydney Vitality Corner – a space designed and equipped outside the meeting room with yoga mats, exercise stretch bands and gym balls accompanied with energy muesli bars, fruit bowls and bottled water for use during their scheduled breaks.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New sandwiches at Main St. Deli of the Langham Hotel in Hong Kong

Main St. Deli of the Langham Hotel in Hong Kong 

Regarded as one of the first authentic New York-style delis in Hong Kong, Main St. Deli at The Langham in Hong Kong reanimates its modern spirit with a playful emoji burger menu for a fun tasting experience.

All made to order burgers with high-quality ingredients and served with home fries or salad, guests can choose from a range of burgers that include the Australian Wagyu M5, Southern Fried Chicken, Battered or Grilled Fish, and the O.M.G. Veggie.


The menu also features new dishes such as the Soft Shell Crab Bao made of crispy soft shell crab, fried quail egg, red cabbage, pickles and coriander stuffed in a soft bun; and the Baja-style Soft Fish Tacos wrapped with sole fish, avocado, cilantro, lime, tomatoes, purple cabbage and Baja dressing.

For serious eaters, The Ugly Duckling presents a generous serving of curly fries and smoked duck breast topped with black truffle, parmesan cheese and house gravy.


There is also The Steak Caprese with succulent grilled Australian strip loin steak, grilled U.S. bacon, mozzarella cheese, romaine lettuce, basil and balsamic reduction sandwiched in a choice of Turkish sesame or grilled marble rye bread.

At the same time, guests at Main St. Deli of The Langham Hotel in Hong Kong will still be able to reminisce over a few classic favourites like the traditional Reuben Sandwich and the Matzah Ball Soup, as well as the signature deli shakes and ice cream floats.

Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World at the Venetian Macao

Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars

It was a chilly minus 8 degrees Celsius, but that didn't cool the enthusiasm of scores of visitors at the opening ceremony of Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars, Asia's largest indoor frozen wonderland, at the The Venetian Macao's Cotai Expo from March 16 – July 9, 2017.


Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars

The opening ceremony saw enthusiastic children performing kung fu under the instructions of Kung Fu Panda himself at The Venetian Macao's Cotai Expo Hall F, where Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars will be open to the public 11 AM – 8 PM daily, with last admission at 730 PM.

Now in its fifth triumphant year, Ice World is organised by Sands Resorts Macao with participation from Heilongjiang Provincial Ice Fun World Culture Communication Co. Ltd, and supported by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). 


Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars

This unique event sees thousands of blocks of multi-coloured ice skillfully carved into amazingly detailed sculptures by a team of expert ice sculpture craftsmen from Harbin in northern China.

This year's show includes a host of colourful DreamWorks Animation characters from “Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar,” “Shrek,” “How To Train Your Dragon,” “The Croods” and “Trolls,” vibrantly brought to life with dazzling lights and stunning sound effects.

In addition to the seven ice sculpture zones at the Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars, additions including themed games and savoury snacks, merchandise, merchandise and character meet-and-greets.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ghosts in hotel rooms

Everyone loves a good ghost story even if they know it’ll give them nightmares later – and I’m no exception. There’s something thrilling about listening to someone else’s tales of eerie moans and white apparitions in the company of friends, knowing these aren’t happening to you.


However, the fear factor takes on an entirely different, more spine-chilling dimension when you’re in a strange and ancient land. And especially when the ghost is literally sharing your hotel room. 


Ghost stories are especially plentiful in Europe. In Europe, every other building is at least 300 years old and countless people have lived, died – and even been murdered - within their walls.

Lots of buildings in France and England even have plaques on their walls saying something like "XXX died here in XXX," when a famous person is known to have died in that house. It's very interesting from a historical viewpoint, but certainly not if you're wary of ghosts.

My cousin, who claims to have a third eye that enables her to see spirits, recently recalled checking into a hotel in Bordeaux, France. She said she saw images of people from the past all along the hotel corridor, as she was walking to her room. “They all looked pale and were lined up against the wall expressionless,” she told me.

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Most Europeans I’ve spoken to don’t seem to care much about having to live with spirits long gone. They even put up patiently with the idiosyncrasies of the ghosts - taking everything in with an amused air. Perhaps banging doors and footsteps on the second floor are as much a part of their lives as cable television and the internet.

Some Asian visitors however, still prefer to stay away from anything other-worldly. I certainly do. Many years ago, I checked into a small hotel in Innsbruck, Austria which had all its walls painted black. The somber atmosphere should have foretold of eerie occurrences but I naively chalked this up to a taste for the avant-garde and a penchant for dark colors.

In the middle of the night, however, the radio in this Innsbruck hotel began blaring at full blast. Startled out of my sleep, I immediately shut it off. Later, amidst the fog of a waking dream, it came on again. The skeptical might attribute this to faulty wiring but who really knows?

And why did the radio only turn on at midnight?


Another summer, I was staying alone at one of Venice’s top hotels and very much enjoying a room filled with antiques and facing the Grand Canal. However, again, in the middle of the night, I awoke with a jolt, feeling incredibly hot and suffocated.

I automatically assumed it was the air conditioning and so I called the front desk to complain about the air-conditioning.

 The night clerk arrived within minutes, white as a sheet. Without explanation, he moved me to another room where I promptly resumed a comfortable rest. I thought it odd that he hadn’t even bothered to check the room’s cooling system, but soon forgot about this.

I stayed on for a few more days, walking around Venice and making the rounds of my favorite shops. Later, I found out from one of the young men at the concierge desk - who I bumped into at a Venice pizzeria one evening - that my first hotel room was known to be haunted, and that guests often complained feeling suffocated while sleeping there.

That's why the night clerk looked like he'd literally seen a ghost...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards for 2017 in Melbourne, Australia

Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia

The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards for 2017 will take place at the world's first public countdown and screening of the prestigious event at Federation Square in Melbourne on Wednesday, April 5.

The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards countdown and live screening is free and open to everyone. Bringing together several of the city's well-known attributes, a picnic-themed Federation Square will play host to an evening of entertainment, featuring comedians from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (29 March - 23 April), live music curated by Music Victoria, and dinner options from some of Melbourne's best food trucks – all serving up Victorian produce. 

The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards for 2017

Melbourne is only the third international city to host The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, following in the footsteps of London and New York. Brought to Australia by Tourism Australia in partnership with Visit Victoria, the week-long events program includes the main gala industry event, ticketed public events, and touring options around regional Victoria for the invited chefs and international food media.

“The world's culinary elite will descend on Melbourne this April, and with them, an invaluable opportunity to share our stories through our talented chefs, our world-class restaurants, and our unique regional settings. With hundreds of foodie events around town and our free The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards live-streaming event at Federation Square - everyone is invited to join in the celebrations, “said Peter Bingeman, Chief Executive Officer, Visit Victoria.