Garden & Villas Resort in Italy launches ‘Places of Elena Ferrante’ package

The volcanic island of Ischia, off the coast of southern Italy, is garnering much attention of late and not just for its spectacular scenery. The ‘Green Island’, as nicknamed by locals, forms part of the backdrop for HBO’s recent critically-acclaimed series “My Brilliant Friend” based on the much-loved Elena Ferrante novel.

Fans of the novel turned TV show will delight in the new ‘Places of Elena Ferrante’ package offered by Garden & Villas Resort when the resort reopens for summer in April 2019.

Using Garden & Villas Resort as a base, this package will transport fans to the real-life locations of Ischia Porto, Ischia Ponte, the Maronti beach and Citara where the lives of characters Lila, Lenù, Dino and Donato Sarratore are forever changed. Guests will also receive a full day pass to the Poseidon Gardens where they can dip their toe in the many thermal pools that give Ischia its moniker of ‘The thermal capital of Europe’.

Package inclusions:

  • 1 guided tour of Ischia (per person) by private car to discover the places of the novel: Ischia Porto, Ischia Ponte, the Maronti beach and Citara where the Poseidon Gardens are located.
  • 1 full-day admission to the Poseidon Gardens (per person) with pools of thermal waters at various temperatures, private beach, unspoiled nature and marvellous terraces on the sea. In case of bad weather conditions, this can be replaced with a dinner at the “Il Corbezzolo” restaurant of the Garden & Villas Resort.
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Wellness centre with fitness area, an indoor thermal pool and Turkish bath
  • semi-Olympic outdoor pool and terrace equipped with sun-beds with towels provided
  • Free Wi-Fi internet connection
  • Mini-bar with complimentary soft drinks
  • Parking
  • The possibility of private beach through a supplement.
  • Check in from 14.00
  • Check out before 11.00

Prices start from € 390.00 per person.  Subject to availability and conditions apply.

Source: Garden & Villas Resort

Individual Traveller Sri Lanka Solo Tour For Men And Women 55+

Individual Traveller has announced an exclusive Sri Lanka Solo Tour for Men and Women 55+ inviting participants to ‘Travel where you’ve never been with friends you’ve never met!’.

The fully-escorted 12-night/13-day tour showcasing intoxicating Sri Lanka and visiting fascinating cities and regions including Colombo, Sigiriya, Kandy and Galle, is being hosted from 9 – 21 September 2019.

As with all Individual Traveller-operated itineraries, this Sri Lankan tour will focus on providing solo travellers with the opportunity to share their holiday experience with likeminded people in a safe and welcoming environment.

Individual Traveller was created for people who travel on their own for whatever reason. The tours have been specifically designed to ensure that travelling solo does not mean travelling alone.

Individual Traveller’s Sri Lanka Solo Tour for Men and Women 55+ is priced AUD9799 per person and includes:

  • 12 nights in a double room for single use (4-star quality hotels)
  • Breakfast daily
  • 3 dinners
  • English speaking guides throughout
  • Transfers
  • All entrance fees
  • Open bar at hotel 5.30 – 6.30pm each evening to mingle with other travellers
  • Porterage
  • 24-hour assistance during the entire trip

SriLankan Airlines is currently offering return airfares from Melbourne to Sri Lanka from $982 in Economy Class and $3580 in Business Class (including taxes).

Individual Traveller Managing Director and Creator, Liz Young, has welcomed Sri Lanka to the product range, saying “We’ve had a lot of interest from our clients about Sri Lanka and we’re very proud of this particular tour”.

“Not only will people get to see the magic of this wonderful country in style but they’ll be able to share their experience with others. The response we’ve had to our other solo tours has been enormous and Sri Lanka is just as popular,” Ms Young said.

Source: Individual Traveller 

Kahanda Kanda Introduces an Ayurvedic Menu

Sri Lanka’s Kahanda Kanda has introduced an Ayurvedic menu designed to encourage optimal health from inside out and complement the resort’s new 4-night Wellness Program.

Based on 5000-year-old Ayurvedic philosophies, the menu incorporates the essential elements of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent and salty in each meal to aid digestion and achieve overall balance.

Dishes such as Sri Lankan Style Pumpkin and Beans Curry; Almonds, Green Bean Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apple and Egg; and Beetroot and Cumin Soup feature on the menu. Each meal incorporates cooked fruit and vegetables making them easier to metabolize and spice for its various therapeutic qualities.

With hydration key to the Ayurvedic diet each meal is accompanied by a carefully selected herbal tea and juice. Aloe Vera, Gotukola, Pomegranate and Hathawariya (Asparagus Gonoclados) juice are part of the breakfast offering along with Ginger and Lime, Mint and Green, Cinnamon and Apple and Hibiscus and Lemon Grass teas.

The menu forms part of a specially devised 4-night wellness program which expertly mixes daily yoga with targeted massage treatments to allow for total mind and body relaxation and rejuvenation. Hatha yoga sessions are mixed with one-on-one practice with a local expert. Massage treatments range from 30-min head and shoulders to local specialty Rice Bundle Massage designed to stimulate brain cells. Prices start at US $2250* in KK Plantation Villas.

Inclusions and Itinerary for Wellness Package:

Day 1
Welcome – Herbal drink
Evening – 1-Hour Relaxation Massage
Dinner – Ayurvedic Menu

Day 2
Morning – 1-Hour Hatha Yoga Session
Breakfast – Ayurvedic Menu
After breakfast 30-minutes Head & Shoulder Massage
Lunch – Ayurvedic Menu
Evening – Body Scrub
Dinner – Ayurvedic Menu

Day 3
Morning – 1-Hour Hatha Yoga Session
Breakfast – Ayurvedic Menu
After breakfast 1-Hour Rice Herbal Bundle Massage
Lunch – Kahanda Kanda
Evening – Kahanda temple visit with Nadeera
Dinner – Ayurvedic Menu

Day 4
Morning – 1-Hour Hatha Yoga Session
Breakfast – Ayurvedic Menu
After breakfast 1-Hour Spot Therapy for Peripheral Nervous
Lunch – KK Beach
Evening – 30-minutes meditation
Dinner – Ayurvedic Menu

Day 5
Breakfast – Ayurvedic Menu

Source:  Kahanda Kanda

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth sails in for a season down under

One of the world’s most famous ships, Cunard’s luxurious Queen Elizabeth arrived in Sydney as part of her record 54-day season in local waters. The call was the first of four visits the stylish 2081-guest ship will make to Sydney over coming weeks as she sails on a series of cruises calling at ports across Australia and New Zealand.

Queen Elizabeth will be a regular visitor to Australia over the next two years, sailing from Sydney and Melbourne next summer for 101 days, and returning in the 2020-21 summer for an unprecedented 118 days. To celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s first season homeported in Australia, Cunard’s well-known bell boys were showing off their new Aussie uniform on board the ship today.

The uniforms are one of the results of a series of exciting partnerships Cunard has formed with Australian companies, including the iconic brand R.M.Williams, legendary hat maker Akubra, award winning Melbourne whisky distillery STARWARD and acclaimed performance troupe Australian Dance Theatre.

A first for the 179-year-old cruise line, the new seven-piece Aussie bell boy uniforms were designed by R.M.Williams – which boasts actor Daniel Craig and US President Bill Clinton among its star-studded clientele – with Australia’s warm summer weather in mind. Celebrating Cunard’s trademark colours of red, black and gold, the stylish ensemble features a red tailored jacket with gold nautical buttons and black cuffs, 100 per cent cotton black twill pants, handmade leather belts and R.M.Williams’ most recognised boots, The Craftsman, in striking Cunard red. The bell boys have also swapped their traditional pillbox hats for custom-made brimmed Akubras, ideal for keeping off the summer sun, during their season in Australia.

Cunard President Simon Palethorpe said: “Over the past decade we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of Australians travelling with Cunard so we wanted to acknowledge the importance of this market not only with Queen Elizabeth’s record deployment Down Under this year, but also with some ground-breaking partnerships.”

“We’re very excited that our bell boys are taking on a modern Australian look while we’re based here over summer, and we think local cruisers will love the opportunity to enjoy a special drop of whisky and some extraordinary Australian dance performances during the season,” Mr Palethorpe said.

R.M.Williams Chief Marketing Officer Mathew Hayward said it had been an honour to
collaborate with Cunard. “The partnership with Cunard was built upon the foundation of two iconic heritage brands that place quality and customer paramount to their experiences. We are proud to celebrate this unique Australian season on board Queen Elizabeth. The new bell boy uniform has been built with purpose, as with all of our product, and maintains the superior quality that’s synonymous with R.M.Williams,” Mr Hayward said.

General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Akubra, Andrew Angus added: “We’re excited that Akubra is part of this special Aussie uniform. Not only do the hats look stylish, they are perfect for Australia’s warm summers.”

The ship’s guests will also enjoy a well-travelled whisky, with Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Australia this month seeing the return of a very special piece of cargo – The Seafarer, a 225- litre barrel of Australian STARWARD whisky. Aged for two years at STARWARD’s Port Melbourne distillery, the barrel was loaded onto Queen Elizabeth last February and has spent 12 months travelling 95,000 nautical miles around the globe on a unique ‘maturation journey’ to create a first-of-its-kind single malt whisky.

Australians can experience this rare whisky for themselves on board Queen Elizabeth during her season Down Under, and at STARWARD’s Port Melbourne distillery. STARWARD Whisky founder David Vitale said the distillery was thrilled to have partnered with Cunard on the epic journey. “Weather and environment are always instrumental in developing the flavour profile of a whisky, so the conditions that The Seafarer has experienced over the past 12 months of maturation make for a truly remarkable drop,” Mr Vitale said.

Cunard’s fourth partnership will come to life when performers from the Australian Dance Theatre take to the stage for the cruise line’s first special event cruise Down Under – a six night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing Melbourne on March 12, 2019. During the voyage the ADT troupe will perform in their first-ever bespoke performance at sea, featuring two exclusive shows adapted from their latest work, The Beginning of Nature.

Guests will be able to polish their own dance moves with movement classes led by ADT performers and the group’s Artistic Director, Garry Stewart, as part of a special itinerary building on the ship’s new wellbeing services.

At 90,900 tonnes, Queen Elizabeth is the second largest ship ever to sail in Cunard’s fleet. Launched in 2010, she is also the youngest in the luxury cruise line’s current trio of Queens with features including more than 10 restaurants and cafés, a Games Deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls, a two-storey library, a ballroom and the three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.

Source: Cunard

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