Trailblaze Through 2019: Explore 20 Alternative Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List

Looking for inspiration for your 2019 bucket list? Take a look at these different cities around the world and how to explore them like a local. The USA takes the lead with six destinations, with the UK, Denmark, Finland, and Portugal all featuring in the top ten overall. have researched the best places to visit, comparing metrics such as a city hipster index, cost, and the number of Instagram posts.

Seattle, WA – A modern metropolis, with acres of parkland, Seattle takes number one for versatility. No visit is complete without dining at the vibrant Pike Place Market. With 492,000 Instagram posts about the market, try their famous clam chowder or fresh seafood from the various vendors.

Portland, OR – For lovers of art, local breweries, and coffee, Portland is the place to be. Know as the city’s ‘living room’, Pioneer Courthouse Square is one of the coolest destinations on the list. With live music and food trucks, there’s something to do all year round.

Brighton and Hove, UK – If you love the sea, eccentricity, and festivals, Brighton may be the destination for you. Take a trip to the not-for-profit, Marlborough Pub & Theatre, for a tasty English roast and a pint, or if it’s sunny you can head to the shore and enjoy some traditional fish and chips – be careful of the seagulls though.

Copenhagen, Denmark – You can’t have a bucket list unless you’ve ticked one Scandinavian city off the map, and Christiania is the perfect place if you’re looking for something different. With around 166,000 Instagram posts, this Freetown boasts colourful houses and an alternative hippy society.

Miami, FL – Visit the Wynwood Yard, one of Miami’s coolest neighbourhoods, brimming with galleries, dive bars, and quirky shops. You can also see the local community gathering together to enjoy tasty vegan food and live music.

Orlando, FL – Everybody thinks of Disneyworld when you mention Orlando, but there’s so much more to this wonderful city. Lake Eola Park is one of the more scenic places to visit, with farmers markets, beer gardens, and if you’re feeling romantic a trip on a swan boat.

Lisbon, Portugal – As Portugal’s hipster capital, you’ll walk through cobbled streets, historic centres and visit unique galleries, cocktail bars, and restaurants. Take a trip to Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, to enjoy a hilltop view of a sunset over the city.

Pittsburgh, PA – This may not be the first place you think of for a bucket list, but with over 35,000 Instagram posts, Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and botanical gardens are worth a visit all year round.

Helsinki, Finland – There’s plenty of amazing things to see in Finland’s capital, especially Temppeliaukio Church which is built from solid rock. Don’t worry if you’re not religious as anyone can visit this stunning church, with plenty of live shows taking place, so you can enjoy the surreal acoustics of a rockin’ church.

Spokane, WA – If you love history and natural beauty, Spokane is the perfect addition to your 2019 bucket list. Kendall Yards Night Market is located on the river gorge, with vendors selling the best fresh produce, organic goods and live music for entertainment each week.

Highlighting the unfamiliar and undiscovered hotspots that might not feature on the everyday travellers’ itinerary – the study revealed exactly how to explore the world through the eyes of the locals who live there – rather than following and visiting the most popular and packed locations.

Some of the key locations include:

Temppeliaukio Church (Helsinki, Finland) – Known as the ‘Rock Church’, this architectural beauty is built directly into an excavated rock face. Making it one of the most pretty and peculiar places on the list for potential visitors!

daTerra (Porto, Portugal) – Known by locals as the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the city, daTerra is loved by veggies and meat-eaters alike.

Pike Place Market (Seattle, WA, USA) – Found in the heart of Seattle’s Downtown, Pike Place Market is the original farmers market. Covering several city blocks, there’s plenty to be found for tourists.

Source: Compare The Market 

Move over Arias and Logies, the Aussie awards crediting the best sausage roll and regional Chinese

leading online travel site Wotif has announced the winners of the people’s choice 2019 Uniquely Aussie Awards – recognising Australia’s most loved travel experiences across six iconically Aussie categories.

After a three-week voting period that reinforced just how proud Aussies are of their local haunts, six winners have been named. Thousands of nominations from Aussies across the country brought to light Australia’s true-blue larrikin spirit, combined with a touch of healthy local business rivalry.

  • NSW dominated this year’s awards, taking out three of the coveted six awards, with QLD claiming two of the top spots and VIC rounding out the award winners
  • It’s apparent the Aussie servo station is home to some of Australia’s best sauso rolls, with “Servo”, “7Eleven” and “BP Mudgee” among those nominated
  • ‘Best Swimming Spot’ was the most popular category, followed closely by ‘Best Fish and Chips’ proving a swim, followed by a serving of potato scallops is arguably one of Aussie finest pastimes
  • “Clean toilets”, “fresh tucker” and Aussies’ endearing love of “Big Things” were also just some of the many essentials making up the ‘Best Roadside Pit Stop’

With more Aussies travelling domestically than ever before (overnight domestic travel reached a record 102.7 million (up 7%) in 2018), Wotif sought to bring to life the quintessentially Aussie experiences that make travelling around Australia so unique – the beach side fish and chips, the obligatory roadside pitstop or the delicious family banquet at the local Chinese restaurant, all before hitting the hay at the local motel or bed and breakfast.

Wotif 2019 Uniquely Aussie Award Winners – 

  • Best Roadside Pitstop: The Famous Berry Donut Van, Berry (NSW) – Famous isn’t just in the name. So good that Aussies are going out of their way to detour past it, The Famous Berry Donut Van and a generous serving of cinnamon donuts is a must when visiting NSW’s South Coast.
  • Best Sausage Roll: Bourke Street Bakery (NSW) – If it’s one thing Aussies know, it’s a good sausage roll. The best, even and after 14 years in the business, Sydney favourite, Bourke Street Bakery continues to transform the much-loved Aussie snack into a cult favourite.
  • Best Main Street: Hastings Street, Noosa (QLD) – At the heart of Noosa, this beachside strip is packed with delicious foodie hotspots and local boutiques. The epicentre of one of Australia’s most frequented getaway destinations, Hastings Street’s laid back charm is what makes it the people’s choice for visitors and locals alike.
  • Best Regional Chinese Restaurant: Toi Shan, Bendigo (VIC) – As one of the oldest regional Chinese restaurants in Australia, there’s no question Toi Shan know their stuff. Serving up Aussie favourites for over 110 years, drop by this Bendigo restaurant for your next spring roll fix.
  • Best Fish and Chips: Pelican Rocks Café, Greenwell Point (NSW) – After being crowned the best fish and chips in NSW two years running, our friends at Pelican Rocks are no strangers to the spotlight when it comes to showing off their perfectly battered seafood favourites.
  • Best Swimming Spot: Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast (QLD) – Perfectly framed by Palm Beach on one side and Burleigh Heads National Park on the other, it’s no wonder Tallebudgera Creek’s sparkling waters have been named the best place for a dip in Oz.

Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch said: “They’re the unique experiences we’ve all come to love and associate with a local getaway. You can’t argue with the people’s choice and we’re thrilled to be able to shine a spotlight on these deserving local businesses and experiences, for all of Australia to enjoy.”

“Wotif’s remains focused on helping Aussies explore more of their backyard and in announcing the winners of the Uniquely Aussie Awards, we hope to inspire Aussies to discover more of Oz, with tips direct from those who know Australia best – the thousands of holiday-makers around the country.

Source: Wotif

Qantas unveils design of new first class lounge in Singapore using virtual reality

Qantas is using virtual reality (VR) in the development of its new First Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport, which is set to open at the end of 2019.

Industrial designer David Caon and his team have created an immersive virtual reality representation of the design concept, providing a better way for Qantas to preview and fine tune lounges. A similar approach is being used for the airline’s upgrade of its A380 cabins.

Qantas is working with David Caon in collaboration with Akin Atelier, to build a First Lounge for 240 customers, offering a luxurious design and premium dining inspired by Singapore’s vibrant culture. The new lounge is being designed to suit transit travellers with shower facilities, a la carte dining including an open kitchen, a cocktail bar and plenty of device charging stations.

Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said VR gives the airline a completely new way to make sure a lounge meets customer needs well before the build begins.

“While we already use VR technology to promote destinations, this is the first time we have used it to better understand a lounge design. Being able to immerse ourselves in a virtual lounge gives us a more accurate sense of space and an understanding of how it will look to scale,” said Ms Webster.

“We know Qantas customers like to dine in the lounge to maximise sleep onboard, so the layout will offer generous and comfortable seating options, ideal for eating, working or relaxing.”

“As Qantas’ largest hub outside of Australia, Singapore is an extremely important part of our network. There is strong demand for travel in premium cabins to Singapore and we are looking forward to complementing the First class experience with a new lounge.”

Unveiling detail of the interiors today, designer David Caon said a neutral colour palette, luxurious materials and leafy green highlights will make customers feel relaxed as soon as they enter the lounge.

“The interiors achieve a synergy with other Qantas First Lounges on the network, using key materials like marble and oak from the Sydney flagship lounge, combined with finishes reflecting the lively culture of Singapore,” said Mr Caon.

“With a continued focus on wellness, we’ll be looking at including the latest advances in light technology, allowing passengers to better synchronise their body clocks with future time zones.

David Caon said using Virtual Reality has revolutionised the design process between designer and client.

“Virtual reality brings the 2D drawings and photos to life, and for this project in particular, it has sped up the consultation process between our design team and Qantas,” said Mr Caon.

The Qantas First Lounge in Singapore is expected to open in late 2019, while the existing Business Lounge will be expanded and is due to open mid-year. The overall lounge capacity in Singapore will increase by 60 percent, and combined, the First and Business Lounges will offer seating for more than 800 customers.

Qantas operates over 50 return services in to and out of Changi Airport each week, making it one of the largest foreign airlines to operate out of the Singapore airport. From Singapore, Jetstar Group operates 298 weekly return flights to 26 destinations.

In addition to Qantas’ investment in Singapore, the airline recently announced it will upgrade its lounges in Tokyo, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart.

David Caon said using Virtual Reality has revolutionised the design process between designer and client.

“Virtual reality brings the 2D drawings and photos to life, and for this project in particular, it has sped up the consultation process between our design team and Qantas,” said Mr Caon.

Source: Qantas 

Twenty Grosvenor Square Appoints Purple London

Purple has been appointed to handle the PR for Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence, the first ever standalone Four Seasons Private Residences.

Located on one of London’s finest squares in the heart of Mayfair, the landmark address of historical significance will offer 37 luxurious residences, masterfully designed by Finchatton and serviced by Four Seasons with an incredible suite of amenities. Twenty Grosvenor Square will combine the best of hotel services and private ownership, setting a new standard in London luxury real-estate.

Once the Headquarters of the US Naval Forces in Europe, and from where General Dwight Eisenhower orchestrated the D-Day landings during the Second World War, Twenty Grosvenor Square is rich in history.

The residences – a combination three, four and five bedroom apartments – are inspired by the building’s historic past and include luxurious design features such as elegant classical drawing rooms, soaring ceilings, media rooms, family and catering kitchens, and separate access for staff.

The 250,000 square prestigious development will also provide a private wine cellar, a spa with a 25m swimming pool, a treatment suite with steam room and sauna, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, crèche, games room, a cinema, business suite, a garden room and landscaped courtyard gardens.

Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence will be complete in the first half of 2019.

Source: Twenty Grosvenor Square

Revamped Hayman Island prepares to welcome guests from 1 July.

The most anticipated hotel opening of 2019 is almost here. Reservations are now open, and the excitement is building as Hayman Island by InterContinental prepares to welcome guests to Australia’s most iconic island resort from 1 July.

Located on a pristine 400-hectare private island, the 166-room luxury resort has undergone a spectacular, multi-million-dollar refurbishment to ensure guests will experience a truly immersive stay in one of the world’s most unique and iconic destinations. Managed by InterContinental Hotels Group® (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, the resort will introduce a fresh concept of immersive luxury to travellers, offering a truly unique stay experience for those who will touch-down on Hayman’s unforgettable shores. It will feature new, world-class restaurants and bars alongside a plethora of bespoke experiences for guests including a new spa and unrivalled meetings and event spaces.

Nestled in the world-renowned surrounds of the Whitsundays, Hayman Island by InterContinental will invite guests to enjoy stunning on-island experiences and all the private oasis has to offer: from secluded beach coves and jet ski adventures, to iconic seaplane rides boasting breath-taking views of the Great Barrier Reef. Hayman Island by InterContinental is guaranteed to have something to suit all travellers, from the adventurer to the luxuriously laid back.

Mark Eletr, Resort Manager at Hayman Island by InterContinental says: “Opening our unique paradise in the Whitsundays to the world under InterContinental’s trusted brand is a true privilege. Hayman Island continues to capture the hearts of domestic and international travellers and we are thrilled to announce that on 1 July our doors will open and a new chapter of immersive luxury awaits”.

The resort has announced that five innovative dining experiences will be revealed for guests to enjoy and experience on-island, inspired by fresh Queensland flavours with a contemporary menu design. From poolside, luxurious fare to exciting and bold evening dining, the new offerings will delight and surprise guests, catering to a range of ages and lifestyles.

The room configurations will encompass 166 stylish accommodation options across three distinct wings, spanning from luxurious suites and beachfront villas to lagoon and poolside rooms. The newly built Beach House is an exquisite addition to the accommodation selection, offering guests a private slice of Hayman heaven with three suites and multiple private pools. In addition to the hotel, a new collection of once-in-a-lifetime, luxury private residences will be available to rent for those who want to experience a more private piece of paradise on Hayman Island. Perched on the hilltops of the island overlooking its iconic bay the stunning properties, whilst being fully private, will also have full access to all the resort has to offer, ensuring each guest is fully immersed into island life.

Hayman Island by InterContinental will also be a meetings and events paradise, offering exceptional meetings and events options in its idyllic Whitsundays location. For corporate events there is a selection of stunning indoor and outdoor spaces that can house meetings for 10 to 300 delegates. For weddings, Hayman Island has an on-island chapel and bespoke experiences will be crafted utilising the property’s stunning ceremony and reception locations. Completing the immersive on-island experience is a brand-new luxury spa with 13 treatment rooms, an all-new resort boutique, world-class kids club and state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Located on the northernmost point in the Whitsunday Islands, Hayman Island by InterContinental is accessible via either luxury vessel, helicopter or seaplane.

Source: Hayman Island by InterContinental