5 greaet reasons to visit Malaysia



 



An inspiring mix of wild nature and dynamic cities, Malaysia is a country of inspiring contrasts. It’s strategic trading position has provided a fertile ground for enterprise and exchange, creating stunning architecture, a good modern infrastructure and a welcoming diverse culture. With so many experiences on offer, here we’re sharing our top 5 reasons to visit Malaysia:

Magnificent street food

Malaysian food is like a smorgasbord of the best culinary cultures in Asia. Being in such a strategic location, the Strait of Malacca, the country is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian traditions and each has its own cuisine. The result is incredibly diverse, rich and above all tasty.

Nowhere is this culinary richness more evident than in the amazing food stalls and Kimberly Street in George Town Penang is a great place to start your gastronomic adventure. Among the plethora of options available, there are a few particularly delicious dishes you must try. Penang prawn mee (prawn noodle soup), Lor bak which consists of a variety of foods such as prawn fritters, bean curd wrapped sausages, fried tofu, century eggs, cucumbers (and more depending on your preferences), served with two sauces: Lor Bak black sauce (sweet) and a choice of chilli sauce. Finally, Char koay teow is a scrumptious dish that you shouldn’t miss out on as it’s a local delicacy. There’s also Chinese Dim Sum, Bengali bread and side dishes galore… you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Street Food LTB

Diverse, colonial architecture

Once you’ve relinquished your chopsticks, a gentle walk is in order. George Town in Penang has a variety of UNESCO heritage sites that history enthusiasts will love. Influenced by numerous countries including China, Sumatra, India, Portugal, Netherlands, Britain and Malacca, Malaysia is a conflation of culture and architectural styles. A colonial building adjacent to a Chinese-style mansion across from a bright yellow Hindu temple is the norm.

On the surface it may seem to be a disjointed mix of architecture, art, culture, cuisine and history, but somehow it fuses into one vibrantly eclectic whole. Visit St. George’s Anglican Church having made a detour on the way to visit the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Not happy simply comparing two 19th Century religious buildings? Why not pop to Kuan Yin Teng (Goddess of Mercy), famous for being Penang’s oldest Taoist/Buddhist temple, and which has survived the centuries unscathed? Next, stop off at the Masjid Kapitan Keling Mosque that is just around the corner, the first permanent Muslim institution to have been established in the city.

You might like to wander around Pinang Peranakan Mansion, a museum dedicated to Penang’s Peranakan heritage. Or experience modern Malaysia with a visit to the Hin Bus Depot, now given a new lease of life as an art centre.  You’ll get a feeling of the recent past already made history, with the colourful murals, airy grounds, and a nice café which is an ideal spot to rest your feet. Once the caffeine has done its thing you’d be wise not to miss the street art on offer. The city commissioned a collection of murals featuring 16 international street artists; various motifs from deeply religious symbolism to historical landmarks that represent the local identity, all combined together in artistic expression. But wait, before you go, you still have time to visit Penang’s national park for a gentle walk through the jungle or, if you had a second helping at a late lunch, take the 250-metre-long canopy walk for a view of the forest at sunset.

Architecture LTB

Untouched beaches

Malaysia’s beaches are among the most beautiful. From the innumerable islands to visit, such as Perhentian, Kapas, Redang, Lang Tengah and Tenggol, we have singled out a journey to the stunning Tioman Island. If you plan to let your hair down and relax with nothing to do but soak up the sun and appreciate the surrounding natural beauty, this is the place for you.

Just off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the Tioman Island (within the Mersing Marine Park) is densely forested and sparsely populated. It can be easily be reached by boat and it offers serenity and natural beauty galore.

If you decide to liven things up and interrupt your moment of Zen, the island is surrounded by numerous coral reefs and offers great snorkelling and scuba diving. With beautiful waterfalls in the lush tropical jungle there are several other activities to enjoy too.  Jungle treks are a great way to see the island interior and, depending on your preferences, there are several to choose from. For example, Tekek – Juara trek trail is two hours long (or three and a half hours if crossing from settlement to settlement) or Tekek – Air Batang with its relatively level concrete path which is less demanding. One of the most popular treks would have to be Monkey Beach – Monkey Bay. Walking along Monkey Beach to its northern end, a footpath leads to the side of Monkey Bay which is a gorgeous hourglass indented beach. If you see a family of monkeys, ignore them and don’t offer them any of your food, heroically carried by your water taxi.

Visit Tioman for absolute tranquillity; it is secluded, rustic and overwhelming. For a real break from the hustle and bustle of everyday living, put your smart phone aside (poor Wifi connection will help), forget current affairs and work drama and simply enjoy the tropical fauna and flora of every shade of green imaginable.

Beach LTB

Stunning national parks

Malaysia is home to a 130-million year old rainforest and you can experience this ancient world by visiting the country’s National Parks. Taman Negara is the oldest in Malaysia, established in 1938 as King George V National Park but renamed in 1950 following Malaysian independence. Here, you can walk through rainforest canopies on rope bridges, trek through the forest floor stopping off at idyllic waterfalls and ride along the Tembeling river through both rapids and slow moving waters. Taman also presents an opportunity to visit the indigenous Orang Asli. They have a nomadic way of life and a rich knowledge of their environment and a glimpse into their world is a fascinating experience.

Belum rainforest on the Thai border is another brilliant place for nature enthusiasts. A rather luxurious resort is located amongst the trees overlooking a beautiful lake and it’s a very comfortable base from which to explore.

Tamar Negara LTB

Insightful and comfortable homestays

A visit to Malaysia should certainly involve exploring traditional Malay culture. A brilliant way to do this is to stay in a beautiful longhouse with welcoming Malay hosts. Suka Suka Homestay is between Penang and Perak, situated in lush countryside overlooking a lake. It’s run by Aziz and his family and is composed of a series of private longhouses and a main house, dating back to 1920, where cooking lessons and relaxed activities take place. Your hosts provide guided tours of the nearby village, including a stop at the market for some coffee, and visits to farms. Aziz’s wife prepares mouthwatering traditional dishes across the day and hosts the cooking classes. Aziz is happy to show you how to wear traditional sarongs and tell you old stories that underpin modern Malay culture.

Suka suka homestay



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4 luxury hotels in the Northeast USA that you can travel to by helicopter



 



Traveling regionally can be a chore if you drive or fly commercial. For the discerning traveler, helicopter charters can be immensely convenient and surprisingly affordable. Imagine going through the airport process without the nightmare of security lines and flight delays… getting on a climate-controlled, comfortable, private helicopter that’ll take you directly to your destination… no annoying fellow passengers… just a smooth experience all the way!

Glenmere

Unlike airplanes, helicopters have the wonderful ability to land on private properties such as clients’ backyards, fields or parking lots (all limited to daylight hours for safety). Similarly, many luxury hotels operate helipads or designated landing zones for the convenience of their patrons. On site helicopter landings, although subject to local ordinances, are completely safe if performed by a reputable and experienced operator.

Here are 4 luxury hotels located in the Northeast region of the United States where helicopter landings are allowed and performed regularly for guests on a tight schedule:

Glenmere Mansion

Located in the Lower Hudson Valley in Chester, NY, Glenmere was once the Gilded Age retreat of the Goelet family. Today it’s a premier luxury hotel and a member of Relais and Chateaux. With just 18 guest accommodations, 2 superb restaurants and a full-service spa facility, Glenmere embodies luxury. Helicopters land right in front of the lakeside estate, on the manicured lawn, where guests are welcomed by a butler upon arrival.

Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House, located in the Hudson Valley, has been operated by the same family since its inception in 1869. The Victorian castle resort offers a wealth of year-round outdoor recreational activities, a nine-hole golf course a 30,000 square-foot Spa wing. Over 40 theme programs are presented annually, including culinary classes, music festivals and meditation. Helicopters land on site after a spectacular approach around the mountaintop watchtower.

Blantyre

This romantic country hotel in The Berkshires (Lenox, MA) was once owned by a private family in what was called “the Switzerland of America”. Today it offers luxurious suites and rooms full of history and charm as well as self-contained residences. Dinners are a culinary ritual accompanied by candlelight and live music. Guests arriving by helicopter enjoy the convenience of landing right on the estate.

The Sagamore Resort

This historic AAA Four Diamond resort located in The Adirondacks (Bolton Landing, NY) dates back to the 1880s. The Sagamore offers elegant lakeside accommodations, award-winning dining, a full-service spa and salon and an 18-hole golf course designed by Donald Ross. On site helicopter landings are reserved for guests staying one night or more and take place on the golf course (subject to golf event schedule).

Anna Macsai is Director of Finance and Marketing at Wings Air Helicopters.

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5 reasons why private jet charter is perfect for business travel



 



For anyone who travels by air for business, it’s well appreciated that the actual flights are often simply a huge inconvenience. It frequently turns what should be a straightforward meeting into a completely unnecessary ordeal. Waiting around in lines before the flight, long winded security checks and the inevitable delays that occur at all the wrong times mean you are wasting valuable time that could be far better spent. If you’re a frequent business traveller then you’ll know all too well that the flights get very tedious very quickly. Business travel is the main sector within private air travel and for good reason – it’s convenient, efficient and can also be surprisingly cost effective.

Fly on your schedule

Perhaps the biggest benefit of chartered flights when it comes to business travel, is doing it all on your own schedule. You choose what time you take off and what time you return so you don’t have to worry about not making your flight, or having to wait around for hours to catch a scheduled departure. There are no tailbacks to get into the airport and there’s no searching around to find a parking spot once you finally arrive. You can turn up moments before you’ve arranged to take off without fear of missing your flight. It also works really well if you have multiple appointments in different places in the same day, allowing you to easily jet between them.

private jet charter

Hold full business meetings on the go

Business travel is often done in groups and chartering a flight can be a great solution to make the flight as productive as possible. On an ordinary airline it’s virtually impossible to hold a business meeting on the go, but on a private jet it’s not only possible but an excellent use of time. A chartered flight affords you the space, freedom and privacy to discuss sensitive and important topics, prep for an upcoming meeting and use all of your electrical devices as you wish. Add to this the fact that it can actually be cheaper to charter a jet than book a number of business class seats when you take into account all factors, and you’ll understand why it’s such a common practice.

maximise your time

Maximise your time

Flying in and out of the closest and most convenient airports means that you are able to reduce the amount of wasted time spent travelling to and from out of town runways. There is also no need to go through the laborious check in process and security pat downs, or navigate your way through huge commercial airports. You can often drive straight onto the landing strip and be on your plane in minutes allowing you to carry on working seamlessly and ensure you don’t compromise your productivity.

fly on your schedule

Stay comfortable

It’s important when you’re doing business to feel at your best, and flying privately takes out any of the inconveniences and annoyances that can occur when flying with an airline. Your comfort is the main concern of the crew and pilot and there are no other travellers vying for their attention. You can choose what kind of catering you require and when you want it rather than waiting for an in flight meal to be served. You have the space and freedom to do exactly what you wish whenever you wish and really make yourself as comfortable as possible.

hassle free

Keep it hassle free

Chartered jets are far more reliable than standard airlines and delays are extremely infrequent, so you can all but guarantee you won’t be late for that important meeting. You can use your phone, have access to uninterrupted wifi and generally enjoy a completely office like setting. By eliminating all of the hassles that are associated with airlines you know you’ll have only one focus and will arrive in the right frame of mind when you step off the plane.

Gayle Anderson is Sales Director at Prestige Jets.

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Top 5 golf courses in the Italian Alps



 



It’s hard to envisage a more stunning location for golf than one found amongst the spectacular vistas of the Italian Alps. There are five particularly awe-inspiring courses which all deliver panoramic views and luxurious, bespoke facilities.

Menaggio e Canebbia Golf Club

Created 110 years ago, Menaggio e Cadenabbia Golf Club is Italy’s second oldest golf club. This historic venue has a beautiful setting in Lake Como with wonderful mountain aspects. Its 18 holes are spread across a hilly pre-Alpine landscape, ensuring an invigorating and challenging game. Afterwards, a warm welcome and tasty cuisine awaits at the historic clubhouse.

Menaggio Golf Club

Via Lattea Golf Course

A very special experience awaits during the summer months at the Via Lattea Golf Course in Sestriere. With the notable distinction of being Europe’s highest 18 hole course, it soars above the legendary Italian “Milky Way” ski area. Useful club amenities include a conference room and children’s playground, and despite its dramatic Alpine setting, the course is only of moderate technical difficulty, with broad fairways expertly designed by English pro golfers. Founded back in 1932, and host of the Italian Open in 1936, it also has a good restaurant, La Gargote, on site.

Golf Via Lattea

Arzaga Golf Club

Arzaga Golf Club is renowned for its natural beauty, in a breath-taking setting near Lake Arzaga, with lovely Alpine views. Designed by Jack Nicklaus II and Gary Player. Arzaga golf course pays a great deal of attention to getting luxury details right. The golf carts come complete with waterproof stereo speakers, guaranteeing high quality sound accompaniment of players’ choice for their round, there is a notably well-equipped gold pro shop and the restaurant offers not only fine dining but panoramic views from its large windows. The Arzaga Golf Academy offers formal training to an extremely high quality for those learning or honing their game.

Golf view JN

Asolo Golf Club

Asolo Golf Club, just outside Cavaso del Tomba, is on a grand scale, with a 27 hole course, clubhouse and golf academy. Its exclusive and tranquil setting in Treviso north of Venice was cherry-picked by the Benetton family when they commissioned it, and it was completed 20 years ago. Nestled in the foothills of the Italian Alps, it is distinguished by its water features and traditional stone walls. The restaurant serves up Venetian regional specialities and there is a large outdoor pool with its own bar and solarium.

Asolo Golf Club

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

Perhaps most beguiling of all, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the South Tyrol is an extraordinary place with its own private 18 hole golf course. It has received the outstanding accolade of best chalet in Italy many times, based upon the unique experience, of remarkable quality, which it offers. To enhance the heightened sense of luxury, the property has its own helipad, as well as a spa, outdoor whirlpool bath and meditation zone for relaxation after a long day out enjoying the golf course.

Only completed four and a half years ago, the course at San Lorenzo was designed by renowned American golf course designer Ron Kirby. It is a vertical gold course, which offers a highly challenging and different golfing experience. Though the golf course is new, the chalet dates back to the sixteenth century and offers exquisite food, interiors and amenities.

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

These five singular courses together offer a spectrum of year-round pleasure in one of Italy’s most alluring regions.

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Director of Passepartout Homes Ltd.

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5 of the best private island resorts in the world



 



Finding a holiday spot that offers utter seclusion and perfect relaxation is not as easy as you might think. If you want a piece of paradise all to yourself then a private island is the only place to go. Read my guide to the top 5 private island resorts.

Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah

The first private island in the Four Seasons portfolio, this is also currently the world’s only exclusive-use UNESCO hideaway. Set over five-acres of golden sand and crystal clear waters, the 7 bedrooms are split across a beach villa, a water villa and mezzanine suites, offering island living with polished service. If having this island to yourself isn’t enough, you can also make use of Voavah Summer, a 19-metre luxury yacht that you can call your own.

Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah

The Brando, French Polynesia

The French Polynesian island of Tetiaroa offers everything you would want from your own private island experience. Luxurious elements sit alongside environmental consciousness and sustainability to create one of the finest eco-friendly resorts in the world. The Brando offers 35 one, two and three bedroom beachfront villas, where you can experience private island living without taking over the whole island. With two restaurants overseen by a two Michelin starred chef from Paris and a spa with a name that translates to ‘Soul’, The Brando will give you ample opportunity to sooth your own soul.

The Brando

Dolphin Island, Fiji

The beautiful Dolphin Island offers a private retreat for a maximum of eight guests on an exclusive-use basis. Spread over 14 acres, the rooms at Dolphin Island are split between three cabins (called bures), with an extra hilltop ‘sleep-out bure’ with walls open to the elements, ideal for a romantic getaway. Dolphin Island offers rustic luxury at its best, where you can fish, dive, snorkel, sail or simply relax on your own private hideaway.

Dolphin Island Fiji

Musha Cay, Bahamas

Musha Cay is a private-island resort in the out-islands of the Exumas in the Bahamas offering an exclusive-use hideaway for up to 24 guests. Owned by illusionist David Copperfield, the island is a wild mini-archipelago with luxurious rooms, stunning beaches and a programme of magical activates including discovering a secret village and the treasures of Copperfield Bay.

Musha Cay Bahamas

Six Senses Zil Pasyon

The Seychelles is already home to some fabulous private island resorts (North Island and Fregate, for example) but the latest arrival is the Six Senses Pasyon, which opened in October 2016 on the island of Félicité. The 652-acre island features the 30 villas and 17 private residences, with 2/3rds of the island left to its natural habitat and beauty. Key features of the resort include the signature oceanfront the Six Senses Spa and the Trouloulou Kid’s Villa, an interactive camp just for children.

Six Senses Zil Pasyon

Emyr Thomas is the Founder and Director of Bon Vivant.

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Under the radar day-trips in Costa Rica



 



When you think of activities in Costa Rica, you probably think of ziplining, surfing, hiking, bird watching, sunbathing, and seeing sloths (if you’re lucky!). But this small Central American country has more than just forests and beaches to offer visitors. Check out a few of our favorite lesser-known activities in Costa Rica:

Oxcart Parade (Desfile de Bueyes)

If you have not experienced the beauty of the Costa Rican decorated oxcart, you haven’t really seen Costa Rica! In 2005, UNESCO declared this tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (basically an intangible World Heritage Site). Oxcart parades are a chance to see hundreds of ox herders, faithful oxen, and brightly colored carts all in one place.

ox cart

Where: Various towns; major ones in San Jose and San Antonio de Escazu

When: San Jose’s parade is in November, and Escazu’s is in March, for National Ox Herder Day.

How to get there: Both parades are easily accessible via bus or taxi from San Jose or the airport.

What’s nearby: Museo de Arte Costarricense (Museum of Costa Rican Art)

Territorio de Zaguates (Land of Strays)

Imagine a place where hundreds of stray dogs roam free. Now imagine those same dogs healthy, spayed and neutered, and well-fed. Sounds like heaven? For dog lovers, Territorio de Zaguates, or Land of Strays, is just that – heaven on earth. This immense no-kill dog shelter in the mountains is home to some 800 mutts, most of them former street dogs and all of them up for adoption.

zaguates

Where: Santa Barbara de Heredia, in the mountains of Heredia province

When: Tourists and locals alike are welcome to experience this canine wonderland, but only during official tours which are held approximately once a month on weekends.

How to get there: On tour days, a shuttle is available from Alajuela, about ten minutes from the airport. For upcoming tour dates and complete driving directions in English, see their Facebook page: Territorio de Zaguates Oficial.

What’s nearby: Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn

Sanatorio Duran

If you are a fan of ghost stories and unusual historical sites, then Sanatorio Duran might be up your alley. This former tuberculosis hospital has long been the subject of urban legends about the patients that spent their last days there. Allowed to fall into disrepair, for many years the facility was not available for tours and was only visited by those sneaking in to confirm the rumors of resident spirits. Recently it was opened to the public, so if you’re brave enough, check it out for yourself!

sanatorio-duran

Where: Prusia, Cartago Province

When: Open from 8am to 4pm. To confirm before your trip, call +506 2240-3016.

How to get there: Sanatorio Duran is about 1.5 hours from the airport and 1 hour from San Jose. From Cartago, take Highway 291 east towards Irazu Volcano. After Potrero Cerrado, look for a left-turn sign for Prusia, then continue 500 meters to the site.

What’s nearby: Irazu Volcano National Park

Rob Harper is the Director of Business Development for Namu Travel Group.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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Punta Mita, Mexico Trip Report | Just Back From


Playa Careyeros in the Mexican Riviera Nayarit – Photo by Bridget Kapinus

March 30, 2017 | By Andrew Harper Staff

Travel advisor Bridget Kapinus just returned from four days in Punta Mita, Mexico, where she stayed at Harper-recommended Casa de Mita. Situated on Playa Careyeros in the Mexican Riviera Nayarit, her oceanside villa was the perfect base for day-trips, fine food and, above all, wonderful service.

View of the main house from the pool at Casa de Mita

Casa de Mita

Overall impressions: The property is small, but everyone is so amazingly friendly. If you want privacy and a laid-back relaxing experience, this is the place to go. The traditional Mexican décor, mouthwatering food and gracious staff make you never want to leave. Plus they have three little dogs on the property that are happy to hang out with you in the sun.

Insider’s tip: Casa de Mita is about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. If you want to explore beyond the property, the hotel will let you borrow the complimentary house car to visit nearby towns.

Guacamole at Casa de Mita

Adriana Vizcaino

Favorite moment: Singing happy birthday to Lalo, the night manager, with the other guests! We enjoyed it as much as he did.

You can’t stop thinking about: The guacamole. I don’t think I have ever had as much guac as I have here, nor any as good.

Favorite meal or meal(s): Every meal! Everything is so fresh and, whenever possible, homemade. I never ate a thing I didn’t enjoy.

Dinner and margaritas at Casa de Mita

Adriana Vizcaino

Favorite restaurants, museums or sightseeing: Just walking up and down the beach here was fantastic. You can see birds, fish and blue skies. Rarely do you run into more than a couple of people.

Where or what to drink: Margaritas at the pool bar! Those are the specialty.

Neighborhood to explore: Sayulita, a little town about 15 minutes away. It has food, drinks and a local market.

A glimpse at one of the interesting paintings in the rooms at Casa de Mita

Adriana Vizcaíno

Day-trip suggestions: You may not think of Mexico for whale watching, but it’s wonderful between December and March. Some of the guests saw more than a dozen humpbacks!

Surprising fact or tidbit: The vast majority of the staff have worked at Casa de Mita for more than 10 years! They love it there, and it’s no surprise why! Also, the paintings in the rooms can be, how shall I say, interesting.

Good to know: No children under 16 are allowed.

Souvenir I brought back: A smile and a tan! I just wish the sun would have come back with me!

What to pack: Sunscreen! It gets sunny and hot!

Anything else? Once you go you will want to return. I wasn’t surprised to find that all the other guests during my stay were repeat visitors.

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Italy’s top 5 places to disconnect and disappear



 



Sometimes the best way a luxury travel advisor can help you is to make you disappear. It is shocking, I know, and counterintuitive. While most of the times I help travelers to see and been seen in the right places, there are times when I simple say NO to this. What you really want is an escape from civilization. Over the years I’ve advised my travelers to say NO to the crowd and the routine way of travel for a short while. NO to Amalfi Coast during the touristic peak hours. NO to the nice, centrally located hotels that are annoyingly noisy. And No to be in the crowd while you are on your “off” time.

I challenge you to travel in these Italy’s top 3 secret hideaways to block out all the crowds, noises, and have some quality time for yourself. This is the real luxury – to relax, rest, and feel the simple good things while in close contact with nature. By saying NO to modernity, you are saying YES to a happier you.

1. Eremito, somewhere in Umbria

Here is THE place to detest modern technology and do a digital detox. This 17th-century, convent-turned property is found in the middle of a massive lush forest, somewhere in Umbria. No telephone, no Wi-Fi, no television, no air conditioner (great weather here anyway). Here is the place to detest modern technology and do a digital detox.

You’ll wake up in a room with minimal decoration, bare stone vaults, and wooden bookshelves. You’ll hear Gregorian chant on your way to the candle-lit lounge, where you sit on pads to meditate or just do nothing. Food is all prepared with homegrown ingredients and described as “divinely cooked.” It’s a pilgrimage place for someone who wants to disconnect for real.

eremito

2. Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Musuem, Assisi

Also built out of an ancient monastery, this place is a little less extreme than Eremito. You can still feel the town life of Assisi (hometown of Saint Francis), yet the area’s mystic ambience is unbeatable. Surrounded by mildly curved mountains and a lavender field, the whole property is soaked in lavender’s aromatic smell. It is easy to spend days just marveling the monastery’s simple architecture and the mountain views here.

Have I mentioned the spa yet? This place is named as a “Spa Museum” for legitimate reasons –you get to experience the real Roman bath while admiring the six limestone pillars of the first century AD surrounding the pool.

nun

3. Monastero Santa Rosa, the Amalfi Coast

This is my ultimate secret for you in Amalfi Coast – stay here, and you’ll see why soon. At least movie star Sofia Loren saw it. This place is right beside her old villa.

Perched on a spectacular cliff between Amalfi town and Positano, this monastery-turned-hotel isolates itself from all the masses in this extremely touristic region. The Mediterranean Sea breeze and the ancient bell sound are going to be the only things you hear.

While the masses are lining up in front of gelato stores in the town on the other side, you are “al-fresco” dining in a tranquil terrace overlooking the intensely blue water. The dramatic costal landscape full of towering cliffs arrests your eyes. The abundant scent of lemon and rosemary soothes your senses. People have told me that they have redefined “good life” after having been here.

monastero santa rosa

4. Poecylia, remote part of Sardinia

This bright-colored resort is a wild childhood dream coming true. Located in a remote part of Sardinia, which is already remote from Italy’s main peninsula, this resort was originally photographer Piero Giaculli’s meditation sanctuary. Featuring amazing views of stargazing, gentle sea wind, rustic houses painted in rough brushstrokes, Poecylia has a sense of child-like charm.

This is the perfect escape for adults who have a child living within them. Colorful art, island exploration, and pebble beach are the main focus here. It exudes such a special sense of joie de vivre and naiveté.

poecylia resort

5. Adler Mountain, the Dolomites

Mountain lovers need to mark down this lodge as their new favorite. You’ll enter an upland pasture in the jagged Dolomites mountain. I personally recommend clients to come here during winter, and experience the jingling sleigh rides through the snow-covered countryside. Simply magic. Clients always say they find the perfect “Nordic” experience here, where they can ski all day long and immerse themselves in rocky landscape. In no-snow seasons, this incredibly beautiful area is also perfect for horse riding, Alpine golfing, and endless walking trails to see spectacular views of the Dolomites.

Oh, don’t forget to try the specialty omelet with meadow herbs here, which is their regional niche plate you won’t find anywhere else. So fresh.

adler mountain lodge

Paul Lewis is Managing Director at Luxo Italia.

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Best Cheese Shops in the World


Cheese counter at Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco – Flickr/djjewelz

March 28, 2017 | By Andrew Harper Staff

Perhaps with a self-serving eye, I read of a recent study that concluded cheese is good for you. I don’t recall the specifics, but it doesn’t matter. Having done my own research, I’ve known this for years! Here are a few places where I’ve conducted my field tests: 9 of the best cheese shops in the world.

Selection of cheeses and condiments at Murray’s Cheese Shop in New York

Flickr/edsel_

I have been shopping at Murray’s for decades. I well remember the original location, at the corner of Bleecker and Cornelia streets in Greenwich Village, founded in 1940 by Murray Greenberg. The shop is now across the street on Bleecker and under the ownership of Rob Kaufelt, the son of a grocer who transformed Murray’s into a $250 million business. The shop’s selection covers the world, and the staff knows its wares. In fact, much of the cheese is aged in a climate-controlled bunker under the shop and overseen by a dedicated “cave master.” While the shop itself is quaint, Murray’s has a brisk mail-order business, over 240 cheese stands within Kroger supermarkets nationwide and a branch inside Grand Central Terminal, which is great for commuters.

Murray’s Cheese
254 Bleecker St., New York

Some of the many cheeses available at Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco

Flickr/advencap

Cowgirl Creamery grew out of a passion for cheese shared by two friends, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, who had deep roots in the San Francisco restaurant industry and a lifelong love of food. At this inviting shop, located in the bustling Ferry Building Marketplace, you can get the best of Cowgirl cheeses along with a wide selection of artisanal cheeses from all over America and Europe.

Cowgirl Creamery
One Embarcadero, No. 17, San Francisco

Wall of cheeses at Barthélémy, Paris

Flickr/natekoechley

Barthélémy is another longtime personal favorite. I can remember having owner Nicole Barthélémy vacuum seal my purchases for carry-on so they wouldn’t offend fellow passengers. Located in the Saint Germain neighborhood, this charming shop is the most famous fromagerie in Paris, and for good reason. Having dedicated her life to cheese, Madame Barthélémy aims to satisfy her customers by offering samples and constructing the perfect made-to-order cheese board.

51 Rue Grenelle, 75007 Paris

Wheels of cheese in front of De Kaaskamer, Amsterdam

Flickr/ammichaels

Hundreds of varieties of cheese reach to the ceiling in this wonderful shop, where you can buy whole wheels or more convenient wedges. The owners work closely with local farmers to make sure they get the best and freshest selections. Besides traditional Dutch cheeses like Gouda, Frisian and Leyden, you can also choose from a wide selection of olives, salads and wines to create an incredible cheese-centric picnic.

De Kaaskamer
Runstraat 7 1016 GJ, Amsterdam

A few of the 300 cured meats at La Tradizione, Rome

La Tradizione

La Tradizione is more than a cheese shop, it’s a food lover’s paradise offering more than 400 cheeses from around the world and 300 cured meats from Italy and Spain. Founded in 1980, the shop is now run by Francesco Praticò and Stefano Lobina, who carry on the tradition of bringing to Rome the best selection of artisan cheeses, meats and hard-to-find products. It’s a joy to shop here.

La Tradizione
Via Cipro, 8/e – 00136 – Roma

Behind-the-counter action at Neal’s Yard Dairy, London

Flickr/franksteiner

What started in 1979 as a cheesemaker’s shop has become one of the most highly regarded cheese purveyors in the world, selling more than 1 million pounds of cheese each year. Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden (there is also a shop near Borough Market) works carefully with producers from all over Britain and Ireland to get the very best, and then handles it with the utmost care. It was here that I had my first taste of what I consider to be the finest cheddar in the world, made by Montgomery.

Neal’s Yard Dairy
17 Shorts Gardens, London

Cheeses being aged at Formaggi Ocello in Sydney

Flick/richardwinchell

Having opened in 2001, Formaggi Ocello is a relative newcomer on this list. Located in Surry hills, it is recognized for having perhaps the best and largest selection of Italian, French and Australian farmhouse cheeses in the country. The staff combs the world looking for the best products, which are aged in the shop’s own facility.

Formaggi Ocello
Bourke Street, Surry Hills Sydney 2010

Interior of Welschland in Zurich

Welschland

Here you will find a selection of the finest cheese as well as some of the best meat products made in Switzerland, from Neuchâtel ham to saucisse au choux (cabbage sausage). The shop is also known for its selection of breads, and the house-made fondue, a mixture of three Grèyeres and eight Vacherins, is considered the best in Zurich.

Welschland
Zweierstrasse 56, 8004 Zurich

Located in a former butter factory, this Gothic Quarter shop celebrates the wonderful cheeses of Spain and Catalan, like queso de ovejo, which are not as well known to Americans as they should be. Owner and founder Katherine McLaughlin, who opened Formatgeria La Seu in 2000, personally oversees the selections, which are from small farms all over the country.

Formatgeria La Seu
Carrer Dagueria 16, 08002 Barcelona

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Dubai dream yacht trips: an unforgettable, affordable experience



 



Set in the exotic Arabian Gulf, surrounded by sand-dunes, Dubai is a luxurious pleasure-dome that is wonderfully obsessed with fashion and style. The sun-soaked adult playground is a constantly innovative land where soaring skyscrapers create spectacular skylines, in a city that seems to have an endless imagination when it comes to entertainment.

Its futuristic appeal and audacious architecture can be traced back to the opening act of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum: the World Trade Centre, which is essentially a lattice fashioned out of ivory. Perhaps an opening act that in retrospect was predictive of what was to come – the creation of one of the planet’s most fashionable destinations.

Dubai burj-al-ara

All that glitters is not gold…

The majestic metropolis also has a rich culture, which can be experienced in the city’s bustling souks. Head into the glittering gold souk and enjoy a simple Oriental pleasure: haggling for gold. When evening falls, you can savour sunset from the vantage point of a camel’s back. Or experience another aspect of Dubai’s Bedouin culture by enjoying some falconry.

Dubai culture falconry

The list of possibilities in Dubai is almost endless. Sand-skiing, sky-diving, 4WD desert safaris, world-class golf, camel and horse-racing are just a few of the umpteen options. The sunshine is glorious, the spas are sumptuous and the designer boutiques are decadent.

How little or much you experience in this high-rise oasis is very much up to you, but one thing is for sure, you won’t want to miss out on Dubai appreciated from the perfect perspective of the Gulf’s warm blue waters. When you see this glamorous city from the sea, you’ll definitely realise that all that glitters is not gold, as the sun sparkles on this amazing creation, that is Dubai!

A perspective and experience you’re sure not to forget

Imagine seeing Dubai from your own dream yacht. You don’t even need to have any nautical experience and surprisingly, you don’t need to break the bank! Taking a Royal 44 yacht as an example, which has a capacity for 10 people – the hourly rate is 699 AED which works out around £152 per hour, that is only just over £15 per person. You need to book a minimum of two hours with the innovative provider of the service, CharterClick.

yacht hire Dubai

All you have to do is choose your yacht or speedboat model, pay with a credit card from the comfort of your own home or hotel, and then it’s time to wave at the superyacht owners as you cruise on by. Captain and crew are provided with all boats, so no nautical experience is necessary.

The views from the perspective of your own yacht are absolutely spectacular, and its an experience that you’re sure not to forget. Of course some of us could imagine nothing better than a deep sea fishing trip in a Gulf.

Sights and routes

What you choose to see is entirely up to you, as are the routes; which can vary from a couple of hours to a few days. In fact if you decide to opt for a couple of days, you can head off on your own yacht exploring neighbouring countries like Oman and Qatar, or other Emirates.

Yachts Dubai Charterclick

A few hours is also enough to give you some amazing angles on the city, such as the incredible archway of Atlantis. Check out the Palm Jumeirah landmarks and what new development is taking place in Dubai, as you navigate your way around.

Just taking in that stunning Downtown skyline is an ultimate vista that really deserves to be appreciated from a boat. Get perfect shots of the Burj Khalifa, and if you’re sailing between 8pm and 10pm, you’ll be able to sail under the canal’s waterfall. Enjoy sumptuous views of the strip of summer palaces, and check out the world’s largest artificial archipelago: the World Islands. Much like the city itself, the possibilities are almost endless.

How can I book my own yacht?

It’s as simple as a couple of clicks, when you head over to the CharterClick website. Over there you’ll be given a choice of snazzy, sleek vessels with their hourly rates. The website is totally transparent. The prices you see are the rates that have been given directly by the boat owners.

charter yacht Dubai

Essentially CharterClick is like using a system such as Booking.com. It’s a super convenient vessel booking service. Currently there’s no other company in the United Arab Emirates that offer a comparable service.

Before the launch of CharterClick, to book a yacht or speedboat in the UAE, you would have had to trawl through a variety of websites. Then you would have had to call the company, to try to confirm availability along with trying to figure out the final price, not to mention the fact that you would most likely have had to pay cash when picking up the boat.

CharterClick do not add mark up on the vessels. They offer simplicity of service, convenience and transparency. Simply choose your dream yacht, enter the date and time you wish to book it for and pay online. It’s all done from the comfort of your own sofa! Watch this space, as very soon CharterClick will be offering the same service in Abu Dhabi and other fantastic destinations.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by CharterClick.



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