Friday, December 24, 2010

Season's Greetings from The Bride's Diary Team!

The Bride's Diary Team extends our very best wishes for the Festive Season to all our readers and clients. Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year celebration.

We have absolutely loved working on our website and publications throughout 2010. It has been great to keep in touch with our members through the bridal buzz message boards and to receive your fantastic feedback. Thank you for the many wonderful compliments we have received to our fabulous new editions of The Bride's Diary. We love it too!

We look forward to a wonderful 2011 filled with exciting new additions to our publications and online features!

Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in The Bride's Diary.

Once again, have a wonderful festive season.

Warm regards,

The Bride's Diary Team

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Marry Me Abroad Sets Sail in the Whitsundays

Host a luxury wedding in the Whitsunday islands with the help of Marry Me Abroad!

Get married on a remote beach amongst the spectacular Whitsunday Islands and have your reception aboard an elegant 65ft classic sailing yacht!

Fly in by seaplane to meet the yacht at your chosen secluded beach destination, hold your ceremony on the warm sand, the turquoise water lapping at the beach.

Enjoy Champagne and canapés on the wide decks of our flagship vessel, then as the sun is setting sail over the crystal clear waters, between the islands to your luxury tropical honeymoon haven.

For more information contact the friendly Marry Me Abroad team:

Phone: 1300 553 573 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

When a Holiday Park employs a “Groups & Events Manager” you know they are starting to play in a different league. The multi award winning BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday is so much more than just a Holiday Park it is becoming a destination in it’s own right and the word is out that it is a great place for groups to stay as well.

Newly appointed Groups & Events Manager Jodie Talbot says, “we are getting more and more enquiries from wedding groups, social groups, conferences and family reunions. With a strong focus on customer service and adding value we wanted to ensure that one person co-ordinated everything from the group booking through to the actual stay to make the experience as seamless as possible. The fantastic part of my job is that I will be working with people to help create special, happy events in a fantastic environment!”

Adventure Whitsunday is a perfect location for families and friends to stay all-together for a weekend event or even tack on a family holiday. With the increased popularity of the Whitsundays as a wedding destination, Adventure Whitsunday has established itself as a preferred destination for friends and family searching for quality in every sense of the word and can confidently boast that you won’t find a larger range of accommodation to suit any budget anywhere else in the Whitsundays. Once the formalities are over, there’s still time for everyone to enjoy all the facilities at the Resort. Likewise, companies looking for a family-focused conference venue find everything they need at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday.

With over 40 tastefully decorated, self-contained cabins from open plan style through to luxury 4.5 star 3 bedroom condos, 120 caravan and camping sites set amongst 26 acres of lush tropical gardens the facilities are on par with any island resort topped with a great social atmosphere. 

An array of facilities and services include a lagoon-style swimming pool, water slides, giant jumping pillow, pedal karts, full-size tennis court, mini-golf, adventure playground, basketball, volleyball, badminton, bocce and table tennis. On top of all that the only Kid’s Club on the mainland, full-time Activities Co-ordinator and a year-round Activity Schedule means there is plenty to do for every age and visitor combined with genuinely warm and friendly staff. The Park has capacity for 600 guests and is located in Airlie Beach and has easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands and a vast array of trips, water activities and truly memorable Australian holiday adventures. 

For more information on bookings please email Jodie at or visit

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Escape! Great Holiday Deals...

The Haven Bali

Overseas holidays offer a world of variety. Whether you prefer relaxing on a tropical island, experiencing a new culture, having fun with the family or just taking a break from it all, this week's international airfares from Escape Travel are a great place to start your next trip! Fly your dollar further with flights to Bali, London, Los Angeles, Phuket and Bangkok or add a hot accommodation deal to your airfare!

There are domestic and international accommodation packages and flights available, including our favourites:

• Sydney Break - 3 nights from $179 at BreakFree on George - stylish apartment style accomodation in the heart of the CBD.

• Hamilton Island - 3 nights from $455 in the romantic and affordable Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows.

• Bali Indulgence - Airfare + 5 nights from $670 staying at The Haven Bali, a 4.5 star property.

Visit  Escape Travel for details and more great deals!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo Attains #1 Ranking in Institutional Investor's 2010 World's Best Hotels

The Bride's Diary sends our congratulations to Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, who have achieved extraordinary high marks in the 30th annual “World’s Best Hotels” rankings in the November issue of Institutional Investor magazine. Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo took the coveted number one spot, as ‘Best Hotel in the World’. Mandarin Oriental, New York was voted third best hotel worldwide, and a further nine Mandarin Oriental properties were ranked in Top 100 list. In addition, Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Geneva were also voted as the ‘Best Hotels’ in their respective cities.

Institutional Investor’s exclusive rankings of the Top 100 hotels are determined by scores from an elite group of voters – CEOs and other senior executives from the U.S., Asia and Europe. Respondents were asked to rate hotels on rooms, service, food/dining, location and overall design. The recognition awarded to Mandarin Oriental properties in this prestigious publication, is a testament to the Group’s continued  commitment to excellence.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel Gives Tips on Top Summer Holiday Rates

With Summer holidays kicking in and belts being tightened this year more than ever, Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel has offered top tips on how to access the best Summer hotel rates, and really enjoy your break no matter how long or short it may be!

As one of the most awarded hotels in the country since it opened its intricately designed doors in June 2007, the Emporium Hotel is boutique and prides itself on ensuring the experience of every guest is ‘exquisite’. Here are some tips on how to find the best Summer hotel rates, and make the most of your break.....

• Book in advance – hotels often have different rate structures, and reward guests for booking in advance with discounted and incentive rates.

• Sunday Stays – for those looking to escape on a great rate, Sundays can be a terrific option. It’s often a quieter day of the week for hotels and therefore rooms can be offered at a lower price.
• Summer Packages – look for hotels with Summer packages, this is the season for great package options so take advantage!
• Research online – a lot of great hotel rates can be found direct through the hotel’s own website or through booking sites such as,, or
• Don’t take second best – if it’s an escape that you are looking for, book a hotel that suits your needs and don’t forgo luxury or location for a cheaper rate, you’ll wish you didn’t!
Emporium Hotel recently announced its Endless Summer Accommodation Package for those looking for short escapes rather than extended vacations. The package features overnight accommodation in a King Suite along with all the in-room accessories which have made the hotel famous, as well as one of the following wonderful experiences to personalise the summer stay ... chocolate dipped strawberries delivered to the suite; premium sparkling wine, a complimentary room upgrade* or valet parking. Emporium’s Endless Summer Accommodation package is priced from $225* per room per night and is valid from December 19 through to January 31, 2011. Conditions apply.

The hotel has also created the ultimate girls’ night for those in need of some old-school luxury and me-time!! So now there’s the perfect excuse to get your best girlfriend - or all your girlfriends – and experience the luxurious and indulgent Sleeping Beauties Package at Emporium Hotel! The Sleeping Beauties package is priced from $249* twin share per person per night and features accommodation in the exquisite King Spa Suite, bottle of French Champagne with chocolate dipped strawberries, thirty minute massage per person and a SLIP Pure Silk sleep eye mask, so your beauty sleep isn’t interrupted.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Hilton Worldwide Receives Global Vision Award for Corporate Greening

Hilton New York City

The Bride's Diary would like to congratulate Hilton Worldwide for their efforts in going green! Their eco-friendly and sustainable practices have been acknowledged with a 2010 Global Vision Award from Travel + Leisure. Recognising the outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations that are working to preserve the world's natural and man-made treasures, Travel + Leisure honored Hilton Worldwide with the award in the Corporate Greening category for the company's new LightStay sustainability tracking system.

“We are honored to receive a Travel + Leisure 2010 Global Vision Award," said Paul Brown, president of global brands and commercial services, Hilton Worldwide."LightStay was developed to improve individual hotel performance while decreasing the company's overall impact on the environment, and we are thrilled that our efforts are allowing us to continually provide our guests with the best sustainable lodging options. LightStay is an example of how Hilton Worldwide will continue to look for opportunities to address the environmental, economic, social and cultural issues that impact the world around us."

Hilton Worldwide was selected as a Travel + Leisure 2010 Global Vision Awards winner by a group of distinguished jurors, including the following: Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund; Dr. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel-Prize-winning economist; Tony Williams, senior vice president of resorts and projects at Emirates Hotels & Resorts; Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes; Jake Kheel, environmental director for Grupo Puntacana; Louie Psihoyos, Oscar-winning documentarian; and Liya Kebede, model and goodwill ambassador to the World Health Organization.

With the implementation of LightStay, Hilton Worldwide and its portfolio of hotel brands recently became the first major multi-brand company in the hospitality industry to require property-level measurement of sustainability. LightStay specifically analyzes performance across 200 operational practices, such as housekeeping, paper product usage, food waste, chemical storage, air quality and transportation. In addition to its function as a measurement system, LightStay provides a"meeting impact calculator" that calculates the environmental impact of any meeting or conference held at a property.

By December 31, 2011 all of the more than 3,600 properties within Hilton Worldwide's global portfolio of hotel brands will implement LightStay. More than 300 hotels currently using LightStay were recently welcomed into the"green hotel" programs of two leading online travel agencies, Expedia and Travelocity.

LightStay underwent two years of rigorous internal testing before being unveiled to the public in April 2010 along with the first full year of findings from 2009. According to the testing results, 1,300 Hilton Worldwide properties using the system conserved enough energy to power 5,700 homes for a year, saved enough water to fill more than 650 Olympic-size pools and reduced carbon output equivalent to taking 34,865 cars off the road. Reductions in water and energy use also translated into dollars saved for hotel owners, with estimated savings of more than $29 million in utility costs in 2009.

For more information about Hilton Worldwide's LightStay program, please visit

Travel + Leisure's 2010 Global Vision Awards, with reports on all 19 winners and insights from the jury, are featured in the November issue of Travel + Leisure and on now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

C'est La Vie Sundays at Palazzo Versace

Mix, mingle and shake on hot Summer Sundays with Vie Bar at Palazzo Versace stirring up the social scene with their new C'est La Vie Sundays from 3pm. DJ Aaron Whittaker spins the decks on the deck and summer cocktails and icy cold beverages shake up the mood. C'est La Vie Sundays at Vie creates a French Rivera playground vibe with cabana daybeds, ottoman lounges with the backdrop of the coast's sparkling Broadwater and Marina.

What: C’est La Vie Sundays
Why: For chilled tunes from DJ Aaron Whittaker, chilled thirst quenching beverages, and to chill out on cabana daybeds
Where: Vie Bar + Restaurant, Palazzo Versace, Sea World Drive, Main Beach, QLD, 4217
When: Every Spring/ Summer Sunday from 3pm

Bookings are not required

For more information on Palazzo Versace phone 07 5509 8000 or visit

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Launches a Global Gift Card

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has launched a global Gift Card, offering an ideal way to delight friends and family with a gift of luxurious and legendary experiences. The Gift Card is a great Christmas or wedding gift - either to give or to receive! If you are planning your wedding and honeymoon, let your guests know about the Mandarin Oriental Gift Card as a wishing well alternative.

The Mandarin Oriental Gift Card is available in denominations ranging from USD 50 to USD 10,000, and can be redeemed for hotel accommodation, indulgent spa treatments, Michelin-starred dining and more.

Mandarin Oriental Gift Cards can be purchased year round online, and at all Mandarin Oriental hotels worldwide. There is no expiry date, and the cards can be used at any participating Mandarin Oriental hotel regardless of the place of purchase. All cards are stylishly presented in an attractive gift folio and can also be delivered with a special personalised message to any location around the world.

“We are delighted to have been able to create the opportunity for our guests to offer the ‘gift’ of Mandarin Oriental globally, and hope the cards will be a treat to both give and to receive,” said Michael Hobson, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Mandarin Oriental Gift Cards are a natural extension of our luxury brand, offering flexibility and a range of delightful experiences in which to indulge worldwide,” he added.

To give the gift of Mandarin Oriental go to to purchase online, or visit any Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kristin Scott Thomas becomes the ambassador of the MGallery collection

Kristin Scott Thomas becomes ambassador of the MGallery label and signs the first guide of the collection. Kristin Scott Thomas invites you to take a walk into "the land of the exceptional"… A unique journey that will lead you to discover remarkable places.

The MGallery collection is now represented by a charismatic ambassador: Kristin Scott Thomas, an actress with an international career and a rich and diverse filmography. Discover the 1st guide to the MGallery collection As the new ambassador of the MGallery label, the actress endorses the 1st guide to this collection of hotels, each with its own exceptional personality.

Available to guests in each hotel of the collection, the guide is a true invitation to travel and escape. Kristin Scott Thomas presents it exclusively to you…

The actress was involved in the creation of the first MGallery guide. Through her travel notes, Kristin Scott Thomas also shares with readers a few of her many memories… City neighbourhoods to discover, specialties to savour, moments of life to share... 

Visit MGallery

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mandarin Oriental Achieves Top Accolades in Forbes Five & Four Star Awards

Mandarin Oriental, New York
The Bride's Diary would like to congratulate the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, who have attained exceptionally high rankings in the annual ‘Oscars’ of the hotel industry: the Forbes Five & Four Star Awards.

According to Forbes, standards for Forbes Five Star Award certifications are exact, and few properties meet them. Within the industry, these awards are highly coveted and highly respected. Of the more than 3,000 hotels Forbes Travel Guide rates, only 54 achieve Forbes Five Star Award status, and only 20 spas have achieved the Forbes Five Star Award.

Three hotels within the Group, two of them located in Hong Kong, achieved certifications in both the hotel and spa category: Mandarin Oriental, New York, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

In addition, out of a total of only 20 Forbes Five Star Spas worldwide, six are Spas at Mandarin Oriental, more than any other hotel company. The list includes one of the Group’s newest additions, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas which opened in December, 2009. Together with New York, and both hotels in Hong Kong, the other Mandarin Oriental Five Star Spas are located at Mandarin Oriental, Boston and Mandarin Oriental, Miami.

“We are delighted to see so many of our properties included in this prestigious list,” said Andrew Hirst, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Operations Director, Asia. “It is a testament to our hotels award-winning service and attention to detail which we aim to deliver each and every day.”

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Forbes Travel Guide’s (formerly Mobil Travel Guide) Star Awards ratings process is based on more than 750 standardized criteria for hotels, restaurants and spas worldwide, making it the most rigorous and comprehensive in the industry. To achieve Forbes Travel Guide Four and Five Star status, properties must meet or exceed the bar-setting service standards, which are determined through an unannounced, undercover service evaluation conducted by Forbes Travel Guide’s expert inspectors.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Tropical Oasis at Peppers Palm Bay

Set amongst tropical palms in a secluded corner of Long Island, Peppers Palm Bay overlooks the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays, offering a intimate, romantic honeymoon getaway.

Featuring an exclusive 25 cabins and catering only for over 14 year olds, Peppers Palm Bay is an island oasis promoting serenity and pampering in an elegant, natural setting. 

Located only 20 minutes by boat from Shute Harbour near Airlie Beach and an easy transfer from Hamilton Island, Peppers Palm Bay offers very private, deluxe style accommodation including 25 secluded cabins, bures, bungalows and suites. Almost all accommodation leads directly onto the private beach and boasts views of the stunning Whitsundays while a small number are nestled amongst the tropical gardens.

The Peppers Palm Bay Honeymoon Package includes three nights accommodation for two people, complimentary welcome drink on arrival, bottle of chilled Australian sparkling wine in room on arrival, a la carte breakfast daily, three course a la carte dinner for two each evening, use of non-motorised water sports, endota day spa one hour massage per person, and return transfers from Shute Harbour to Peppers Palm Bay.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Honeymoon Perfection with The Romance Package at Brampton Island

From the emerald greens of the Island's National Park, the azure blues of the surrounding waters, to its golden beaches and colourful coral gardens just off shore, Brampton Island's style is vibrant and easy going. It's hard not to be captivated by the beauty of this classic Queensland Island, lying at the southern entrance of the Whitsunday Passage, off Mackay.

The Romance Package at Brampton Island is perfect for your honeymoon. You and your new husband can enjoy some time alone with a private picnic hamper drop off to one of Bramptons 12 beautiful beaches. Spend the rest of your days relaxing by the pool or take a guided jet ski tour. Book in for your massages for the afternoon and dine enjoying the Sea Salt romantic dining experience over an eight course degustation meal with wine.

Your romance package includes: 

• 5 nights accommodation
• Bottle of Sparking wine on arrival (per room)
• Full buffet breakfast daily
• Spa consultation on arrival
• 2 hours worth of indulgent spa treatments for the happy couple
• Many non-motorised water sports and island activities
• Late checkout of 12.00 noon

Brampton Island is all about fun, relaxation and pure escapism. The island has a rhythm that is its own as there are activities to enjoy at every imaginable tempo. 

From fast and fun like water skiing, sail boarding, snorkelling, catamaran sailing, guided Jet Ski tour around the island, chip and putt golf, tennis, archery and fishing; to a slower, more leisurely beat - relaxing by the pool with a cocktail, indulging in a pampering massage, or just doing nothing at all!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Uncover the Best Places in Hong Kong with Mandarin Oriental and Luxe City Guides

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong and the hip travel resource, LUXE City Guides are delighted to offer a weekend getaway bursting with exclusive treats including champagne, gourmet dining, beauty benefits, plus a range of insider tips on where to go in Hong Kong. Located in Central, right in the centre of this

action-packed city, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s LUXE City Retreat takes the guesswork out of what to do and where to go next for the most style-savvy travellers.

Exotic Hong Kong is defined by teeming masses where east-meets-west in a cacophony of dazzling skyscrapers, flagship designer stores and a fabulous dining and party scene. Keeping in the know is easy when guests take advantage of Mandarin Oriental’s LUXE City Retreat, which comes with an array of insider's delights.

The Mandarin Oriental LUXE City Retreat rates start from HKD4,800, require a minimum two-night stay and include:

• Daily continental breakfast for two in either The Clipper Lounge or Café Causette
• A complimentary bottle of welcome champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries
• Gourmet set dinner for two in Michelin starred Pierre for two on one evening
• HKD 1,000 credit at either Mandarin Spa or Mandarin Barber per room per stay
• Complimentary LUXE City Guide to Hong Kong on mobile/print version
• Complimentary late check-out until 4:00 pm

With Hong Kong a famous gastronomic wonderland, no weekend retreat would be complete without sampling some exclusive dining. LUXE City Retreat guests can duck under the velvet rope and hot-foot it onto the VIP list at Pierre, the hotel's one Michelin star restaurant to experience the uniquely creative cuisine of three Michelin Star chef Pierre Gagnaire, where a tailored set menu has been designed to wow.

The package also offers a complimentary LUXE City Guide to fast-track guests further into the world of hip Hong Kong. All the secrets of the city are packed into the guide's bite-sized entries, available in hard copy or via mobile download*. A late check out until 4:00 pm allows guests to maximise their explorations.

The LUXE City Retreat is available till 15 March 2011. The offer requires a two night minimum stay with beginning rates of HKD4,800. The package can be booked online at, reserved via phone at +852 2820-4202 quoting LLCTA0 or via email

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Christmas Extravagance at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

Experience yuletide joy this festive season with Mandarin Oriental, Singapore’s Festive Extravagance room package. Available from 1 to 30 December 2010, the package features accommodation in one of the hotel’s luxurious Harbour Suite rooms combined with a cable car ride and dining experience at The Jewel Box - Singapore’s iconic hilltop destination, making for a joyous and festive holiday experience.

Nestled in lush tropical rainforest, The Jewel Box is a lifestyle destination with dining and shopping, located atop Mount Faber, where guests can enjoy stunning views of Singapore’s harbour and city skyline. During a month-long celebration during the holidays, guests visiting The Jewel Box will be treated to the annual Jewel Christmas Music Light show, where a specially choreographed light and sound display will be shown alongside one of the world’s tallest artificial Christmas trees festooned with 12,000 energy-saving LED lights and 180,000 metres of cable.

The Festive Extravagance package is priced at SGD 3,788 and includes:

• Two-nights accommodation in the hotel’s Harbour Suite with panoramic views of Marina Harbour and Singapore’s city skyline.
• Round-trip airport transfers by Mercedes-Benz limousine.

• Complimentary benefits at The Oriental Club including champagne breakfast, all-day soft beverages, afternoon tea, evening cocktails with hors d’oeuvres and more.

• Exquisite festive surprises and a bottle of champagne upon arrival.

• Return limousine transfers to The Jewel Box.

• Round-trip cable car ride in the lavish Swarovski Crystal-ornamented VIP Jewelled Cabin, with 360-degree bird’s eye view of Singapore, the harbour, sea and Sentosa Four-course set dinner for two persons including one bottle of champagne at Black Opal, a classic Continental-European restaurant located at The Jewel Box.

The package requires a minimum two-night stay and is available from 1 to 30 December 2010. For reservations, please call +65 6885 3030 or e-mail Rates are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Weird Bars and Restaurants

Red Sea Star

Just when you think you are in touch with all the cool new places, it turns out you haven’t really seen it all! Brisbane’s iconic Regatta Hotel has made it into Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Weird Bars and Restaurants….. and it’s the Only Australian inclusion! See number 8.

1. Hobbit House, Manila, Philippines
This Tolkien-themed bar and restaurant in the Philippines bills itself as "the world's only bar owned and staffed by hobbits" - actually a team of dwarves and midgets. The decor is charming and rustic, with wood panelling and folksy flourishes, and tall people will need to bend over double to fit through the doorways. The Hobbit House is renowned for the quality of its live music. There is live music every night; for reservations, the menu and a map, visit

2. Red Sea Star, Eilat, Israel
The Red Sea Star is a bit like Stromberg's underwater lair in the 1977 James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me - which is unsurprising considering that it is 5m below the Red Sea in Israel. The interior of this bar-restaurant feels somewhat reminiscent of a mermaid's lounge, with fishy fantasy motifs - including jellyfish-shaped stools and starfish-shaped lights - and huge windows through which curious (or possibly vengeful) fish and other marine creatures eyeball the customers eyeballing their seafood platters. If you crane your neck, you might see a ship overhead from time to time. Landlubbers will be relieved to find the rooftop Metro Bar is open 7pm-3am, the underwater bar opens from 10am; details at

3. Le Refuge Des Fondues, Paris, France 
Don't despair if you can't get into that posh Parisian restaurant - this place will take anyone (space permitting). It is tiny and the walls are covered with graffiti (add your own). Only fondues are served, and there are just two tables, which are very long. Diners sit cheek by jowl - those on the inner seats have to scramble over the table when they want to leave. One of the bonuses is that you will meet lots of people; in fact, it is pretty hard not to when you go planting your boot into someone's dinner in your rush to make the toilet after one baby bottle too many (that is what their wine comes in).

4. Giger bar, Chur & Château St Germain, Switzerland
The Swiss graphic artist HR Giger is perhaps most famous for creating the eponymous creature in the sci-fi /horror flick Alien, along with the film's overall ambience of nightmare and dread. Giger invented the concept of "biomechanoids", a hellish fusion of machine and utterly alien intelligence, and that precisely describes the decor of these bars in Switzerland. Interiors are dark and oppressive - it feels like you are in the tomb where Alien's doomed space travellers first encountered their demonic nemesis. The seats impart a horrible sensation, like you're sitting in the slimy monster's lap.

5. Depeche Mode Baar, Tallinn, Estonia
The most bizarre aspect of this tribute bar is the band it chose to honour. This dark corner of Estonia is filled with black-clad, rake-thin Depeche Mode fans sipping on Master & Servant or Personal Jesus cocktails while listening to the band's cold melancholia. Autographed photos, DM artwork and tour memorabilia line the walls, while video screens play continuous Mode videos. A bleak hell for some; sweet heaven for others.

6. Albatross, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo's tiny Albatross is in the barfilled Shomben Yokocho (Piss Alley; all the bars share the same toilets). You would be hard pressed to cram more than 10 bodies in here. There are three levels, including an art gallery, and the place is so skinny there is a hole in the upper floors through which the bar staff pass your drinks. If you do not breathe out, do not scratch your head and make sure you watch your step (people have been known to fall through the drinks hole), then you will have a fine old time.

7. Nasa, Bangalore, India
Bar staff resplendent in spacesuits; space-shuttle-style decor; spacey tags: "Fuel Tank" for the bar, 'Humanoid Disposal' for the toilets; laser-light shows; tables attached to rocket fins; images of the earth seen from orbit through portholes on the walls... The only thing missing from this ode to the Infinite Vacuum in India is a dodgy heat-protection shield, although the cocktails can supply the blinding flash (and the stars before your eyes).

8. Regatta Hotel, Brisbane, Australia
The male toilets in this Australian joint are billed as the "loo with a view". The back wall of the urinal is a huge one-way mirror and many a chap has been caught out entering here for the first time, drunk and unaware, getting down to business then looking up in horror to find a passer-by seemingly fixated on you know what. Relax: you can see them, but they can't see you. How soon before a bar reverses the opticals?

9. Red Room, San Francisco, US
It is all red, every bit of it: floors, walls, ceiling, bottles and glasses, chairs, couches, curtains... your face after a few drinks. After a few more drinks, you might think you are trapped in a David Lynch nightmare dream sequence, where everyone talks backwards, your arms are on back to front, and funny little men do strange contortionist dances that defy time, space and gravity.

10. Marton, Taipei, Taiwan 
Marton in Taiwan is not for the squeamish, given that it is themed after commodes; potties; the john; the loo; the dunny; throne; porcelain bus; can; bog... Plates are toilet-bowl shaped (Asian squat or Western sit). Can you drink lemon squash from a toilet bowl? A cheers of "bottoms up" would be appropriate. Naturally, chairs are shaped like toilets, and there is urinal art (although no Duchamp). The only thing missing is "toilet lollies".

Friday, October 29, 2010

Luxe City Guides launches 10 more travel guides for iphone

10 more of the hugely popular Luxe City Guides are now available to download to iPhones, making 20 in the Luxe City Guides Mobile range to choose from. LUXE. Smart stuff for busy people.

Luxe City Guides Mobile can now take you to the best of the best of  Barcelona, Florence, Tokyo, Berlin, Beijing, Seoul, Venice, Dubai, Istanbul and Los Angeles, as well as New York, Hong Kong, Paris, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Rome, Bali, Sydney and Bangkok. And all for an introductory price of US$5.99.

With over 1 million guides sold to date, Luxe City Guides are already a trusted source for reliable, ultra researched travel information covering everything from hotels and restaurants, to spas and bars. And now Luxe City Guides just got a whole lot more convenient. Employing local editors and contributors, Luxe lists over 400 ideas to fast track you right to the essence of a city, including to local artisans and craftsman. You will never get stuck on the homogenised high street with LUXE and now the guides are available straight to your phone. How glamvenient is that!

Want to avoid the touristy celeb-spotting sites and sup at prime tables where the city’s stylish residents really hang out in Los Angeles? Want perfect cocktails in funky modern speakeasy or charisma-stacked old bars in New York? Luxe City Guides Mobile has got it covered.

Or maybe you’re heading to Europe. Would you like to discover the scorching art scene making Berlin the epicentre of cool? Or perhaps you want to be personally guided through Barcelona’s famous Gaudi architecture by an expert?

Luxe City Guides Mobile apps are packed full of extra features. You can check out rich content anytime, save your favourites, arrange and build personal itineraries and navigate with the handy online and offline maps plus clickable websites and touch dial telephone numbers. How cool is that?

And what’s more, each app comes with a year of free updates sent directly to your mobile. And when the year is up, re-subscription is half price. Check them out now!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Otahuna Lodge Earthquake Restoration

Following the Canterbury Earthquake of 4 September, a sweeping restoration program is underway at New Zealand’s largest private historic residence, Otahuna Lodge.

Owner Hall Cannon says that in the past five weeks some major accomplishments have been made in a project that is set to take several months. However, in order to ensure that all necessary works can be undertaken to restore the property to its previous condition the decision has been made to keep Otahuna closed until Monday, 10 January 2011.

The progress of works has been swift – it is the most advanced restoration of a heritage building in Canterbury and has the full support of local councils and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

It involves rebuilding the property’s many chimneys, replacing damaged roof areas, correcting faults to the homestead’s plastered walls and ceilings and extensive seismic strengthening.

More than 4000 slate roof shingles — as close a match as possible to the originals — have already been installed. Sophisticated engineering and architectural solutions have been approved for the rebuild of all of the property’s damaged chimneys. Interior works are being undertaken by some of the nation’s most respected historic conservation specialists.

Mr Cannon says he is very pleased with the progress of works at the Lodge. “An earthquake of this scope and magnitude was an unprecedented event for Otahuna and New Zealand,” he says. “However, I have every confidence that we have assembled the best team in the business to help us restore the Lodge to its former condition and prepare for its soon re-opening.”

The Lodge team remains in place during the closure to help restore the property and prepare for future guests. "We are accepting forward bookings but in the interim we are working closely with our peer properties throughout New Zealand to re-accommodate our guests during this extraordinary situation," Cannon said.

Information will be regularly posted on and For further information contact Otahuna Lodge on +64 3 329 6333 or

Monday, October 25, 2010

Discover the Real Fiji from $629

Discover the real Fiji over 3 nights with a Captain Cook Cruise - spectacular beaches, crystal clear waters, warm and friendly culture. Small ship cruises to the Yasawa Islands are designed to offer guests an authentic and personal experience. Wake each day to idyllic sites and exclusive destinations. Snorkel over magnificent coral reefs and experience the culture first hand at traditional island villages and handicraft markets. Extra cruising comforts include a swimming pool, extensive outdoor leisure decks and day spa.


  • 3 night Captain Cook Cruise of the Southern Yasawa Islands, Fiji, in a Twin share Cabin.
  • All meals as per itinerary.
  • Daily island stopovers and water activities.
  • Guided island and village tours.
  • Snorkelling tours.
  • Use of snorkelling equipment and mini gym.
  • Entertainment.
  • Child minding during meals times (under 7 years of age).
  • 24 hour self-service tea and coffee bar.
  • BONUS 38% discount on rates.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Regatta Hotel to Celebrate 2010 Melbourne Cup in Grand Style

Her bars and ornate iron-laced verandas hold memories of almost 130 years of celebratory drinks.. and on Tuesday, November 2 a whole chapter of new memories will be created when the famous Regatta Hotel celebrates the mighty Melbourne Cup with three fanciful events.
So... if you can’t be trackside, be riverside and watch the race that stops the nation at Brisbane’s First Lady of the Brisbane River, The Regatta Hotel...

Racing at The Winterford Room 

All the glamour of a trackside marquee will be recreated riverside in the surrounds of the exclusive Winterford Room for the afternoon. The panoramic views of the Brisbane River and the city skyline will take a back seat to the fully themed room and three-course dining experience (stand up cocktail style) featuring fresh Mooloolaba prawns, grilled snapper and pork medallions, a four-hour beverage package, great prizes, TAB facilities, a big screen plus live MC and entertainment. Priced at $75 per person, this is a sure winner.

A Day at the Races, Regatta Style - Boatshed Restaurant Lunch 

A gorgeously themed three-course seated luncheon will be hosted by Mark Forbes featuring a four-hour beverage package and priced at $120 per person. In his best form yet, head chef Walter Wilson will reap handsome dividends with menu options including fresh seafood platters of Moreton Bay Bugs, Snapper Spring Rolls and Salmon Rillettes for entree; Sirloin Steak served with Truffle Mash, Roasted Field Mushrooms and Veil Jus for the main; and rounding up the pack is a delicious cheese platter including Australian Triple Cream Brie, Tasmanian Blue and Vintage Chedder.

There will be best dressed prizes up for grabs, live coverage of the race, Variety Club QLD sweeps, prizes and full TAB facilities. Bookings are essential on (07) 3871 9533

In the Thick of the Pack - Main Bar 

Bringing with it much of the fashion and flare that will feature at race courses all over the country, the main bar area will be open to the general public and will not require bookings, however patrons are urged to arrive early to find a seat and order from the main bar or street cafe menu to watch the race.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Deluxe Retreats in Tasmania

With their often glorious isolation, gourmet supplies and adventurous design, Kendall Hill for Qantas Travel Insider explores Tasmania’s deluxe retreats. 


From evocative outback homesteads to the idyllic island resorts of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia can lay claim to some of the world’s most indulgent holiday options. But perhaps no single state can match the depth of decadence now on offer in Tasmania. In typically low-key but determined fashion, the island state has gradually distinguished itself as a destination of deluxe, architecturally inspiring and environmentally caring accommodation – often combining all of the above qualities in one address.

In recent months, more than half-a-dozen dazzling properties have debuted, including a cliff-side penthouse with boundless sex appeal; a refined country lodge where gastronomy, game fishing and golf are on the menu; and a lavish but intimate destination hotel on the doorstep of the Freycinet National Park. Add to this line-up a hilltop love nest with an artistic bent; a historic coach-house reborn as a glamorous inn and French cooking school; and the sensational forms of the MONA pavilions beside Hobart’s Derwent River. It is obvious Tasmania has far exceeded its share of exceptional lodgings. The only drawback to a stay at any of its stellar new retreats is finding the time and inclination to get out and explore the island’s renowned wine, food and nature trails.

Visit Travel Insider to explore the following great stays in Tasmania:

Saffire On a crisp, still Freycinet morning the view from Saffire’s 20 sumptuous suites is superb. The pink granite bulk of The Hazards, the glassy expanse of Coles Bay and the boundless sky are framed by glass, and the elevated sleeping platform means you can enjoy the show without leaving your king-sized bed.

Bruny Shore Native fauna abounds at this isolated property near the northern tip of Bruny Island. Arrive at dusk and drive in on an unsealed road alive with quolls, echidnas, Bennetts wallabies and pademelons.

The Winged House Is it a bird? Is it a plane? The Winged House looks a lot like a hang-glider poised for take-off, but it’s anchored to Table Cape in Tasmania’s north-west.

Mona Pavilions The 60-year-old Moorilla vineyard, Hobart’s oldest, has had a glamorous makeover courtesy of star Melbourne architects Fender Katsalidis.

The Lair Architect Rick Bzowy knows how to make an unforgettable first impression. On arrival at his $2.5m dream property, high on a hill overlooking Great Oyster Bay, he slides away the glass walls of The Lair to reveal a sleek platform with a sweeping 200-degree panorama of the east coast from Freycinet to Maria Island.

• Rocky Hills Retreat This couples-only retreat is a white peppermint gum-fringed sanctuary on the peak of a hill above Great Oyster Bay. The mood here is glorious isolation, but definitely not deprivation. Designed and decorated by developer Brett Torossi, whose elegant Avalon Coastal Retreat is one of Tasmania’s best beach houses, Rocky Hills is sophisticated, but also fun.

Red Feather Inn Once a Georgian coach-house watering weary travellers on the road to Launceston, the Red Feather Inn has come a long way from its convict-built roots.

The Priory Sister property to Hobart’s award-winning Islington Hotel, the 1848 Priory is a gothic Tudor pile on Adelaide Hill in the historic village of Bothwell, about an hour’s drive from Hobart. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

W Retreat & Spa Bali Seminyak

Om Swastiastu. Welcome – Become a part of all that is now and dive into surreal fantasy of
W Retreat & Spa Bali-Seminyak, the NEWEST playground on this captivating island. On the legendary beaches of Seminyak, experience the juxtaposition of fascinating Balinese mythology within the W brand’s uber chic exuberance.

There are a range of accommodation options, Including: 

• Retreats with 64 sq. meters of space, signature W bed with 350 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down comforter, BOSE® sound system, iPod docking station, high-speed wireless internet access, Bliss® Spa bathroom amenities, deep soaking bathtubs, rainforest shower, Wicked Munchie Box™ and mini-bar, flat screen LCD TV, IP phone and voicemail.

Marvelous Suite with 127 sq. meters of space where you can marvel in an odyssey of space - a large balcony overlooking the ocean and the Retreat, spacious terrazzo bathroom bathed with natural skylight, separate dining, study and entertainment space, plus spacious walk-in wardrobe.

WOW Suite with 274 sq. meters of space. Live in the WOW ! A breathtaking panorama of the ocean with views toward the famous Bali sunset, large terrazzo bathroom with natural skylight and steam rooms, separate dining, study and entertainment space.

Extreme WOW Suite with 532 sq. meters od space. This enormous 2-level suite on the highest floors of the Retreat with stunning views of the ocean boasts a sprawling living room, lounge, dining room, dedicated kitchen and state-of-the-art Kinesis workout training system. Master bedroom comes with a stellar Bang + Olufsen surround sound entertainment system and a master bathroom separated by a catwalk. Sink into a sensual outdoor water bed and ocean spa massage beds as you take-in the beauty of the sunset.

The restaurant and bar options are amazing and include:

Starfish Bloo overlooks the Indian ocean and beach. Chef Jack Yoss shares a culinary vision inspired from his adventures and life experiences, evident in his unique approach to Pan Asian cuisine. Sunsets are free.

Ice Bubbles, frozen cocktails, tempting tapas, freshly shucked oysters and caviar flirt with your senses. Mingle with our mixologists, mix with fellow jetsetter and be part of the sensual transition into night.

Fire The dramatic kitchen awakens for breakfast, and sizzles at sunset. This inviting grill restaurant features fire cooked prime meats and sea-fresh seafood. An unpretentious environment with chefs in action - this is where you become part of the drama of the kitchen!

WooBar Eat, drink, flirt and play here – a three-storey epicentre of partly al-fresco fun in the sun – or at sunset. Sightsee and sip from the sky deck atop the club and boogie to international DJs spinning mixes.

1 Below Some occasions are best kept intimate. A private room for a romantic interlude or for intimate parties of up to 16. Want more? A personal Wine Guru and Chef will design an epicurean journey, just for you.

Cellar The secret dining room for 6 “behind the velvet rope” in our premium wine cellar. A selection of tasting degustations and wine flights can be designed to your tastes. Be an insider.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Iconic Sheraton on the Park Unveils the Ultimate Terrace Spa Suite

Sheraton on the Park introduces its newly renovated Terrace Spa Suite overlooking the Hyde Park. Designed to meet the discerning needs of travellers, this suite has a fresh and contemporary interior emphasising residential comfort and modern living.

Sheraton on the Park is renowned for our high standards of quality and personal service, our exceptional guestrooms and suites, health club and refined dining facilities allow us to offer our guests the best experience in the city .” said Mr Sean Hunt, Regional Vice President for Starwood Pacific Hotels and Managing Director of Sheraton on the Park. “As the last part of a 5-year, $40 million enhancement here at the Sheraton on the Park, the Terrace Spa Suite is the culmination of a unique renovation, which enhances Sheraton on the Park’s reputation as the Celebrity and VIP’s hotel of choice.”

Located on level 21 and covering up to 90sqm, the Terrace Spa Suite is luxuriously inviting and accentuates the softness and comfort of its space through the use of colours and elegant furniture. This unique suite features, custom designed furnishings made from rich chocolate timber with sumptuous fabrics of bronze, gold and warm touches of teal and the contemporary amenities you would expect, such as a tailor-made writing desk, high speed internet access, state-of-the-art electronics including two flat screen TVs and DVD Player, and some features you might not expect such as a guest bathroom, spacious walk-in wardrobe, and access to a private terrace overlooking Hyde Park. More impressively, this suite boasts an opulent spa bath in the large en-suite marble bathroom with individual shower and toilet. Guests feel right at home in this residential yet glamorous retreat.

Incorporating chic, modern tones, this newly enhanced suite still maintains the classic elegance and style associated with the signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper king sized bed. The modern design combined with luxurious and contemporary furnishings creates a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience as well as a sense of status for hotel guests.

The Terrace Spa Suite is the favoured room for honeymoons, anniversary celebrations, and memorable occasions. For those guests who want an exclusive and truly luxurious experience, there is only one of this room type. For room reservations, please contact our Reservation Department by calling 02 9286 6000 and speak to one of the Reservations agents, or email

Visit Sheraton on the Park

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stylish "Up-cycled" Vintage Honeymoon Luggage Set

Here at The Bride's Diary we are always on the lookout for those little extras that will make your wedding and honeymoon aboslutely unique and special. We were thrilled when we discovered this adorable vintage luggage set with a hand painted lady and sparrow on BrightWall's Etsy store.

The luggage set is a beautiful metallic pink/lavender color and is in great shape with a few minor scratches and stains. The two pieces consist of a large suitcase, and a little train case for all your goodies. The suitcase has a retractible handle and four wheels to make carrying it around that much easier. It even has a compartment for your wet towels or bathing suits. Imagine how stylish and very Jackie O you will look on your honeymoon!