Friday, February 25, 2011

Ayers Rock



With its amazing colours and sheer beauty, Uluru is a fabulous honeymoon destination right here in Australia and with Ayers Rock Resort located just 18km away from Uluru, you are sure to find accommodation that suits the type of experience you want without blowing your budget. 

Ayers Rock Resort provides a variety of accommodation options for every possible taste and budget - from the premium Sails in the Desert, and award winning Desert Gardens Hotel, to the self contained Emu Walk Apartments, the modern Lost Camel Hotel, the authentic Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge to the ultimate luxury wilderness camp of Longitude 131°. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Santa Teresa Hotel



Tropical, Design, Ethnic, Chic...

Set in a burst of tropical rain forest on a former coffee plantation, the Santa Teresa Hotel opened in January 2009 as a design-forward hotel paying homage to Brazil’s multicultural roots.

A historical coffee plantation mansion, located in the most noble area of Santa Teresa – cultural and historical heart of Rio de Janeiro – the boutique hotel was restored with charm and sophistication as an exclusive reference of Brazilian Tropical Design.

More than an extraordinary hotel, the Hotel Santa Teresa offers peace-of-mind and safety to all guests with tropical gardens, panoramic pools, complete Natura SPA, a lounge bar classified as the most romantic in Rio de Janeiro and Térèze Restaurant with Franco-Brazilian gastronomy by Chef Damien Montecer.

The decoration and architecture design of the hotel was inspired by the golden ages of coffee and cocoa, in the search for sophistication and elegance through the use of noble and ecological material from the land and culture of Brazil. Burnt cement, bordeaux or golden slate, red and dark tropical woods, banana tree fiber and other tropical adorning blend with contemporary design by Sergio Rodrigues, Rock Lane, Studio Vitty, Zemog and Oficina de Agosto.

A thematic journey to the lands and roots of ethnic Brazil, the Xingu and Tupi Guarani Indians, Afro-Brazilian traditions and culture, offerings of Maranhão, St. Jorge Ogum, art work from Pernambuco and handicrafts from Piauí, sacred and mystical art from Bahia and the origins of Rio de Janeiro.

From all rooms and the gardens, panoramic views of the city, the harbor and bay of Rio.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pretty Beach House


 
 
 

Looking for the perfect weekend escape just outside of Sydney? Pretty Beach House is an exclusive food-lovers Hamptons-esque private beach house resort that takes the concept of weekend getaway to a new level.
 
Pretty Beach House is a private guesthouse situated 100 kilometres north of Sydney on the Bouddi Peninsula. The property is set high on the escarpment above Pretty Beach and nestled into the Bouddi National Park. Guests are welcomed as if in a private home, where all meals, snacks and drinks, including wines and champagnes, are included as part of the hospitality. 

With only three, one-bedroom pavilions surrounding the Main House on the 7.5-acre property, guests are offered privacy with around-the-clock service. The pavilions Treetops, Bayview and Hideaway have views through a mass of ancient angophoras and native eucalypts down onto the sparkling Brisbane Waters. 

Visit Pretty Beach House for more information.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Relais & Châteaux Welcomes Seven New Hotels in Asia



The famous travel bible, the Relais & Chateaux 2011 Guide, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, ushering in an auspicious new decade for an association which brings together almost 500 exceptional properties from across the planet. In late 2010 the group welcomed a record 36 new members to its 2011 hotel and restaurant association – in 6 new destinations (Estonia, Peru, Chile, Laos, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu) and in 6 new cities (Washington DC, San Diego, Shanghai, Kobe, and Casablanca). Additionally, in January four new dream properties and eight new Grands Chefs joined Relais & Châteaux.

Seven of Relais & Chateaux’s new hotels and restaurants are located in South East Asia and China, having only just opened their doors:

Le Sun Chine in Shanghai, China (pictured)
The former Sun family home has been converted into an elegant hotel and is one of the few remaining historic residences in Shanghai’s French Concession area. Balconies with columns, antique furniture, embroidered hangings and high ceilings with fans conjure the heyday of 1930s Shanghai. Visit www.relaischateaux.com/sunchine

Villa Samadhi in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A private urban retreat just minutes from the city centre. Bumbung, the laid-back rustic rooftop tea lounge is premeditated for chill-out sundowns away from KL's urban drone. Select suites feature fully-equipped kitchens where the chef creates personalized menus. Visit www.japamalaresorts.com/villa-samadhi

Satri House in Luang Prabang, Laos
This intimate garden hotel sits on a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of a lush and leafy garden town. Built at the turn of the last century as the residence of Prince Soupha-nouvong, its current owner carries on the tradition of hospitality of the ancient kings of Laos. Visit www.relaischateaux.com/satri

Supanniga Home in Khon Kaen, Thailand
A tranquil getaway set amid 12ha of lush cultivated greenery. Each flower and tree was planted by the home’s owner for her desire to create a beautiful place of serenity. Delight in a tea ceremony in the magnificent treehouse and enjoy the peace of the gardens from a contemporary suite that opens to nature. Visit www.relaischateaux.com/supanniga

Family Li Imperial Cuisine in Shanghai, China
Ivan Li, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, set his restaurant in the heart of buzzing Shanghai, where the Li family has recreated the culinary atmosphere of Imperial China. Guests are able to relive the legend of the emperors of China through their centuries old cuisine. Visit www.relaischateaux.com/imperialcuisine

La Villa Mathis in Bali, Indonesia
A serene and romantic escape set on 1.2 ha far away from the city bustle. The hotel is made up of four villas with 17 rooms. Guests have the opportunity of dining wherever they like including the intimate restaurant, Nuits Baroques, or anywhere on the estate. Visit www.relaischateaux.com/mathis

Jing's Residence in Shan Xi Province, China 
The former residence of a Qing Dynasty silk merchant, Jing’s is a renovated 260-year old courtyard mansion. The stunning property reflects the status of the residence during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Visit www.relaischateaux.com/jing
 
About Relais & Châteaux:
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive group of independent hotels around the world known for exquisite settings and the highest culinary standards.The guide book now features 500 of the finest charming hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries.

The group is famous for such luminary chefs as Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller, Albert Roux and Tetsuya Wakuda as well as its stable of magnificent converted castles, clifftop lodges, charming countryside inns and ski chalets from Provence to Lake Como to New Zealand.

The Relais & Chateaux ambassador is Richard Gere, whose hotel The Bedford Inn, in New York State, was accepted as a member of Relais & Chateaux in 2010.

Established in France in 1954, the association’s mission is to spread its “unique art de vivre” across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character. Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for, and a personal commitment to, ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony, an unforgettable celebration of the senses.

From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers all the stops on the finest route for discovering each special place and country.
 
Information and reservations:
From within Australia 1300 121 341
From within New Zealand 0800 540 008

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 Countries that will Change Your Life


 Overlooking Jodhpur. India is a country you can't wait to leave - and can't wait to get back to. Photo: Huw Jones/Lonely Planet

Read on below for a fabulous article from the SMH Backpacker Blog… This a great blog for all things travel…

Some holiday destinations are good for just that: holidays. Getting away from it all. You turn up, have a little look around, drink a few beers, buy a few souvenirs, and go home. It’s nice, but it’s not going to rock your world. It’s not going to change who you are, or how you look at the world. And that’s fine. But travel can be a lot more than that. If you’re looking for a country that will change your life, then these are the places to start.

Laos
Depends where you go really. Head to Vang Vieng for a token day’s tubing, and your life will be changed by the fact you now have a new best day of your life. Head to Phonsavan and learn about the atrocities committed during the Vietnam War, and you’ll never look at the USA the same way again. To be honest, the whole country is an amazing eye-opener.

Mexico
One thing’s become clear through this kerfuffle about the Top Gear presenters slagging off Mexicans: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have never been to Mexico. Forget the clichés: it’s a country of rich history, fantastic people and great food. That discovery is life-changing enough.

Japan
Wow. So this is how a society works when everything… well, works. The streets are clean because people don’t litter. The trains turn up on time because they’re well designed and well run. The food is healthy because it’s fresh. The locals are friendly and helpful because that’s the way they’re taught to be. Makes you wonder…

India
It will either change your life for the better or for the worse, but one thing’s certain: no one leaves India unchanged. It’s beguiling, frustrating, amazing, annoying, and always interesting. All you want to do while you’re there is leave. All you want to do once you’ve left is go back.

South Africa
It might be me over-romanticising things, but there just seems to be something different in the air in southern Africa. The country bleeds history, and the game parks are amazing, but there’s something more to it I can’t put my finger on. A childhood of Wilbur Smith novels might have something to do with this fascination.

Germany
You want life-changing? Walk around Dachau or Mauthausen, the former Nazi concentration camps. Walk through the Topography of Terror in Berlin. Walk the length of the East Side Gallery. Then have a look around you and think about how the country has transformed itself.

Brazil
Brazil runs the full gamut: gigantic cities you can’t even begin to wrap your head around; deserted beaches that stretch on forever; the joy of a packed football stadium; the violence of a Sao Paulo backstreet. With its huge size and hundreds of cultures and landscapes it feels like a world within a country – always changing, and endlessly interesting.

Uganda
I arrived in Uganda knowing about one thing: Idi Amin. I hadn’t even thought about the mountain gorillas. I hadn’t considered rafting the Nile. I didn’t know about the rolling green hills, or the cows with the hilariously big horns. Add the amazingly welcoming people, and you have a place that will stay with you forever.

China
Pay a visit to your average Chinese toilet, and you’ll say a silent thank-you for every clean crapper you encounter for the rest of your life. But there’s much more you’ll never forget about China for better reasons: the Great Wall, the great food, the friendly people, the shopping malls the size of Newcastle… Did I mention the food?

Cambodia
South-East Asian people are the nicest in the world. Discuss. The cliché is that you’ll be humbled by the locals’ generosity. I dunno if that’s totally true, but the middle class Aussies whingeing about the flood relief levy would be made to feel embarrassingly petty by a brush with your average Cambodian. Some have almost nothing, but would give almost anything. (Others, unfortunately, may attempt to rob you. At least it keeps you on your toes.) 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Critics' Choice: Chef's Hats Restaurants



Below is a list of the most highly commended Chef's hats restaurants in Australia, so no matter where you are traveling, you are sure to find fabulous restaurants near you.

New South Wales

Rockpool

107 George Street, The Rocks | +61 2 9252 1888
When you book at Rockpool, the reservations manager as often as not double-checks: “This is Rockpool, sir, not Rockpool Bar & Grill?” It’s easy to think the almost 22-year-old flagship of Neil Perry’s restaurant empire has been eclipsed by its bigger, fancier younger sibling. Yet the original remains the creative engine.

Marque

4/5 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills | +61 2 9332 2225
The first time The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide honoured Marque with its top rating of three chef’s toques, chef Mark Best was typically laconic in his acceptance speech: “What took you so long?” Accolades are now commonplace for the 10-year-old restaurant – at the last SMH ceremony, Best accepted the Restaurant of the Year gong via video.

Sepia

201 Sussex Street, Sydney | +61 2 9283 1990
Greek wine. Murray cod. Port Lincoln squid. Japanese citrus fruits. Such are the seemingly disparate elements that can come into play over the course of a meal at Sepia, yet the cooking here, ultimately, is really about a Japanese-inspired philosophy of harmony and seamlessness.

Lochiel House

1259 Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong Heights | +61 2 4567 7754
The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2011 named Lochiel House its Regional Restaurant of the Year, but we’d like to give it a prize for being the best reason to take Bells Line of Road next time you’re driving through the Blue Mountains. Then again, Tony Milroy’s food is probably worth a trip in itself regardless.
 
Queensland

Ortiga

446 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley | +61 7 3852 1155
The well-fed scribes at Gourmet Traveller called it the nation’s best new restaurant and the Courier Mail gave it the double whammy of Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year (for Pablo Tordesillas). Apart from the serious talent in the kitchen, there has been an investment here in getting things right, whether it’s putting together a floor team that’s pleasant, efficient and informed, or a wine list that has sparkle as well as depth.

Nu Nu

123 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove | +61 7 4059 1880
Reading the Nu Nu menu, you get the impression proprietors Nick Holloway and Jason Rowbottom might be just a little bit silly. Sure, Nu Nu was named the Courier Mail’s 2011 Regional Restaurant of the Year, but how many of the other contenders offered cocktails such as the Chicky Chicky Chow Chow and the Ohh Yeah?
Northern Territory

Moorish Cafe

37 Knuckey Street, Darwin | +61 8 8981 0010
The 2010 Gold Plate award for Best Informal Dining confirmed what savvy Darwinites already know: Moorish Cafe is the goods, especially for a group. The food is loosely Mediterranean and North African, with an admirable focus on local seafood. If the main meals, which always include a tagine of the day, don’t tempt you, there’s bound to be a tapas or three to suit..

Evoo

Skycity Darwin, Gilruth Avenue, The Gardens | +61 8 8943 8888
Evoo must be doing something right: it has now won its second Gold Plate Restaurant of the Year award in a row, as well as picking up this year’s gongs for Best Fine Dining and Best Hotel Restaurant. It offers an experience worth dressing up for, which is often hard to find in the casual north.
 

Victoria

Attica

74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea | +61 3 9530 0111
Even before being one of the four Australian restaurants – and the only Melburnian – to make San Pellegrino’s prestigious World’s Best 100 Restaurants list in 2010, Attica wasn’t the easiest place to secure a table. Ben Shewry’s meticulously realised, gorgeously plated food, combined with a sharply directed wine list and charming service, always meant Attica’s dining room regularly nudged capacity...

Embrasse

312 Drummond Street, Carlton | +61 3 9347 3312
Embrasse scored not one but two gongs in the 2010 Restaurant & Catering Victoria awards, with owner/chef Nic Poelaert winning Chef of the Year and his gem of a modern French restaurant given the nod for Best European Restaurant. There’s a lightness of touch and an almost ethereal freshness to Poelaert’s cooking...

Cutler & Co

55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy | +61 3 9419 4888
Anointed by Gourmet Traveller as its 2011 Restaurant of the Year, Cutler & Co was given the nod not just because it’s a unique, beautifully designed space with one of the best chefs in the country, Andrew McConnell, at the helm, but because it injects a welcome sense of playfulness into the dining experience...

Scopri

191 Nicholson Street, Carlton | +61 3 9347 8252
New owners and a change of name saw Carlton institution Arrivederci morph into Scopri last year – and score an award from The Age Good Food Guide for Best BYO Restaurant. Certainly the expertly cooked take on classic and modern Italian dishes in these comfortable surrounds would be a good place to bring a treasured bottle of wine, but Scopri’s list, particularly its Italian collection, is no neglected afterthought...
 
South Australia

Chianti Classico

160 Hutt Street, Adelaide | +61 8 8232 7955
For many of its 25 years, Chianti has been winning awards, but perhaps most telling is for “most popular” in the 2009 Restaurant & Catering SA awards. It’s a place where the whole package comes together: good cooking from non-Italian chef Tobias Gush under the eagle eye of a nonna or two; attentive service; an excellent wine list with an especially good range of Tuscan reds; and one of Adelaide’s best corner locations...

Dhaba at the Spice Kitchen

252 Kensington Road, Leabrook | +61 8 8431 4288
Adelaide seems to be the Indian restaurant capital of Australia, with three restaurants named Australia’s best in successive national awards. The Spice Kitchen, which describes itself as a dhaba (Hindi for a casual roadside eatery), is one of the latest, though its claim to fame really started 22 years ago when spice queen Ragini Dey opened what was then an unassuming casual eatery...
 
Western Australia

Aquarium Chinese

202 Great Eastern Highway, Ascot | +61 8 9478 1868 
The best Chinese in the Restaurant & Catering WA awards 2009 and 2010 is housed in a large, new room with all the comforts of fine dining. There are two sections to the menu – one that caters to Western tastes and a second that offers more exotic dishes: Sichuan duck feet, stewed beef brisket, chilli pepper-fried whitebait...

Divido 
170 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn | +61 8 9443 7373
Jason Jujnovich’s small 60-seater has won a coveted star in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide and is ranked third in the west. It’s a sensibly tiny menu with five light and fresh starters, three entrees (often risotto or fresh pasta dishes) and four mains from the wood-fired oven...
 
Australian Capital Territory

Pulp Kitchen

Shop 1, Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie | +61 2 6257 4334
Local scribes attest that suburban dining in the national capital doesn’t get better than this, with the Canberra Times voting it the city’s best restaurant. It’s not fine dining – the rough polished-concrete floors, corrugated iron, and aged wooden tables attest to that. Instead, Pulp Kitchen has won over hearts and minds with an unabashed dedication to fine bistro cuisine...

Mezzalira

55 London Circuit, Civic | +61 2 6230 0025
Italian and Sons in Braddon may be generating all the buzz lately, but the Trimboli brothers’ flagship Mezzalira also continues to win plaudits (Best Italian Restaurant in the ACT/Southern NSW Restaurant & Catering Awards 2009). The cuisine has kept better pace with the times than the primary-coloured space complete with late-’90s feature walls...
 
Tasmania

The Red Velvet Lounge

24 Mary Street, Cygnet | +61 3 6295 0466
The Red Velvet Lounge National awards are rare for Tasmanian restaurants, which makes Steve Cumper’s recent award as Australian Country Style magazine’s Country Chef of the Year a significant achievement. For most of the week, his Red Velvet Lounge is a relaxed country cafe in the charming village of Cygnet, south of Hobart...

Source Qantas The Australian Way January 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sentosa Private Villa & Spa

Bali is a very popular choice for honeymooners and Sentosa Private Villas and Spa Bali is a world class contemporary and luxurious private villa resort in Seminyak, on the southwest coast of Bali. Each one of the 43 private villas boasts a swimming pool and idyllic tropical gardens.

 
 
 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Peru Adventures with Inkaterra



For over 35 years, Inkaterra has introduced travelers to Peru with the goal of protecting the environment and promoting the country's native cultures. Tens of thousands of visitors come to Inkaterra to discover the country, see the rainforest and, of course make the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu. Inkaterra offers three unique properties: the Reserva Amazonica, which offers jungle treks through the rainforest; the grand La Casona in Cusco; and the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, from which travelers can launch visits to the ancient city.
 
Inkaterra presents a completely personalised travel experience with tailored, exclusive trips designed according to your whim, dream or desire. Visit Inkaterra to start planning your journey today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mecure Kuta – Bali


 
 
 
 

Located at the heart of Kuta and surrounded by famous night spots and shopping centres, Mercure Kuta Bali offers affordable comfort with beautiful Kuta sunsets views. Boasting 130 guest rooms, Mercure Kuta Bali is a fabulous place to stay when visiting the sights of Bali…

Thursday, February 3, 2011

8Hotels



 
Planning a trip to Paris and looking for a great place to stay? 8Hotels has launched a fabulous new collection of beautiful boutique apartments. Offering a quintessentially Parisian experience, each residence combines apartment style living with hotel services and are the ideal location for a leisurely break, corporate visit or family holiday.

Visit 8Hotels

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Magnolia Bakery



If you are ever in New York you must visit the world-famous Magnolia Bakery. From scrumptious cheesecakes and cupcakes to delectable pies and brownies, Magnolia Bakery cooks everything from scratch the traditional way… yummmy!! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eco resorts in the Maldives


Lovers of luxury are spoilt for choice when it comes to first-class island escapes in the Maldives – 90 luxury resorts all providing privacy and top-class hospitality in spectacular five-star surrounds. Tourism turned up late to the Maldives, a nation stretching over 800km of atolls in two main groups (north and south). The first luxury resort opened only in 1995, but it is now a destination hotter than the equatorial sun that beats down on the loved-up couples, jet-set veterans and A-listers who flock there.

Alila Villas Hadahaa, Maldives

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

The palm-fringed, icing-sugar sand beaches and dazzling turquoise waters took a beating in 2004 when the Boxing Day tsunami tore through the country, severely damaging many of the resorts. The destruction of the islands and surrounding coral reefs revealed just how vulnerable the lowest lying nation on Earth is to environmental disasters. Rising seas and global warming could threaten the Maldives with the prospect of being underwater by early next century.

President Mohamed Nasheed recently declared his vision for the Maldives to be carbon neutral by 2020. It was a big call, but with tourism being the main industry, many resorts have reopened as even glossier versions of their former selves, albeit with a much stronger focus on ecotourism.

Doing more than paying lip service to protecting their environment, many of the resorts have already achieved serious eco credentials from the tourism industry’s environmental watchdog, EarthCheck. It is paying dividends, enticing a new breed of traveller who has realised that doing his or her bit for the environment doesn’t have to mean scrimping on life’s luxuries.

Stay

Alila Villas Hadahaa | The most recent green resort opened in August 2009. Set on a remote island 400km south of Male and 10km from its nearest neighbour, Hadahaa is creating quite a stir. The slick design was created by award-winning architects who can now claim credit for building the first resort in the country to rigorous EarthCheck standards. There are 36 island villas (20 with plunge pools) and 14 super-sleek over-water bungalows, built wherever possible from local materials, with design and construction guided by environmental impact. Rainwater harvesting and a waste-treatment plan help reduce the carbon footprint...

Soneva Fushi Six Senses | The birthplace of barefoot luxury, Soneva Fushi’s Robinson Crusoe-style hideaway is a magical island maze of footbridges above the gardens with pools and pavilions that seem to grow out of the lush jungle surrounds. Part of the Six Senses portfolio, it is the creation of Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, who opened their flagship resort in 1995. Their philosophy is simple: taking people back to nature luxuriously. At what is now one of the world’s most exclusive escapes with a swag of awards, the eco-luxe experience begins on arrival. Shoes are stashed in an unbleached, organic cotton bag and not seen again until the time of departure...

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu | A 25-minute seaplane journey from the capital, Male, this resort keeps prices low while offering five-star rustic chic. DK isn’t flashy. Its charm creeps up on you thanks to the seclusion of the bungalows and pared-back comfort of the 98 compact villas, which feature four-poster beds, outdoor showers and soaring thatched roofs. Better still, there is no television or wi-fi in the rooms. Twelve lagoon villas and two 154sq m top-of-the-line Sunset Lagoon villas allow glimpses of fish below; or take in the spectacular Maldivian sunsets from private splash pools and decks...

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru | This exclusive hideaway is among the leaders in eco-luxury travel and offers first-rate, unobtrusive hospitality. Vabbinfaru – which in Maldivian means “round island circled by a coral reef” – has 48 rooms constructed from sustainable materials. They range from the high-end beachfront villas to deluxe and cheaper ocean-view villas, which are tucked behind them. The food is exceptional and dinner options include the beachfront restaurant or a romantic table for two on the beach with water lapping at your feet. Anyone who has stayed at Banyan Tree resorts will know they are among the best for spa treatments...

Soneva Gili | Long before eco-luxe travel was in vogue, Soneva Gili by Six Senses was practising it. With 45 spacious suites and villas built on stilts over the glorious blue water, every spot makes the most of this hideaway’s natural beauty. A haven for celebrities, the tranquil resort offers all the mod cons that guests demand, but does so with sustainability at the fore. Renewable forest timber and traditional fabrics on the sumptuous day beds are in line with its eco-chic theme. Villas are huge, with over-water terrace and rooftop patio...

Angsana IhuruSnorkellers and divers will relish this small island luxury retreat, where guests can almost roll out of bed and into turquoise waters awash with fish. Don mask and fins and be distracted for hours on the resort’s house reef, touted as one of the best in the Maldives. The resort’s coral regeneration program has ensured guests are treated to an underwater kaleidoscope of colour, as well as myriad marine life including turtles, dolphins and the occasional (harmless, we’re assured) reef shark...

Taj Exotica & SpaAt less than 1km long and just 50m wide, this island, with its faultless beaches set in one of the only clear sand lagoons in the Maldives, will seduce you before you’ve even arrived. Just 15 minutes by boat from the mainland, Taj Exotica is surrounded by shallow waters and dotted with 64 air- conditioned villas – some with plunge pools – and an over-water presidential suite. The entry-level villas are all over water and have first-class touches including large marble bathrooms with tubs providing postcard-perfect sea views; cool, dark woods in soothing creams and caramels; and outdoor plunge pools perched above the lagoon...

Coco Palm Bodu HithiOpened in 2006, the boomerang-shaped younger sister of Dhuni Kolhu smacks you with wow factor from the moment you set foot on the island. Even entry-level beach villas have a private outdoor courtyard with an extravagant plunge pool. Coco Palm Resorts, as part of the Coco Collection, which has three resorts in the Maldives, has committed itself to fast-tracking its eco responsibilities and at Bodu Hithi a marine biologist has embarked on a three-year coral-rejuvenation program. An infinity pool, myriad top-class restaurants and a spectacular house reef are just some of the reasons the resort was awarded the title of Best Luxury Island Resort at this year’s World Luxury Travel Hotel Awards...

Source Qantas The Australian Way February 2011


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