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Relax, unwind and rejuvenate yourself with trips of a lifetime

by amit.uniyal 26. June 2015 08:20
Life can sometimes become quite boring. The same old routine day after day makes one weary and instills an yearning for the ultimate bliss, quite far away from the maddening crowds of the city. Why not think of unwinding and rejuvenating yourself with trips of a lifetime? Let us discover the gems of the world that would set your heart fluttering and keep you mesmerized endlessly. Here are some of the amazing places in the world that you should consider visiting at least once. You will indeed treasure the golden moments of your blissful sojourn.

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India – A land of myriad hues

A trip to India is indeed a journey of a lifetime. It is a land of myriad people, cultures and festivals. This country of diverse landscapes is simply mesmerizing. Explore the entire country and you will be amazed by its natural wonders – the stunning backwaters of Kerala, captivating Thar Desert of Rajasthan, the dazzling snow-capped Himalayan ranges in Himachal Pradesh and the majestic rolling hills of North-East states, also popularly called India''s Seven Sisters. These are among the few important regions that should be visited. In fact, this majestic country has many beautiful attractions that seek your attention. India is a real feast for your senses.

Spain's undersung city Madrid great to explore

When it comes to assessing the great-but-strangely-undersung cities in the world, Spain's capital city Madrid is ranked high on the list. The city shouldn''t be missed out in any case while on your European sojourn. The world-class museums, up-to-the-minute boutique shopping, elegant plazas, rooftop nightlife and rejuvenated food scene – these and much more are all there for you to provide an exhilarating experience. The city is also a great starting point to soak up the beauty and natural wonders of the rest of Spain. Don''t forget to get experience of a lifetime when in Madrid!

South Africa – the country of the moment in Dark Continent


South Africa is undoubtedly the country of the moment in the fabled Dark Continent. Some of its key cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg are a must-visit for tourists from around the world. Cape Town is particularly enticing. The rapidly growing craft scene, the  Kirstenbosch Gardens, museums, markets and an enviable food culture – all these will keep you endlessly mesmerized. Above all, South Africa more than anything else abounds in nature''s bounty. Get ready to be amazed with the majestic Zambezi River, awe inspiring Victoria Falls, wildlife reserves, iconic lighthouses, gorgeous sand beaches, and or course, the Cape Winelands which keeps attracting millions of wine connoisseurs from world over.

Get fascinated with Brazil's great Amazonian rainforest

Brazil's key city Rio de Janeiro is on the wish list of all tourists from around the world. The city is renowned for its great Amazonian rainforest, where you will discover more species of flora and fauna than anywhere else in the world. The city is home to the endangered Amazonian dolphin and at least nine kinds of howler monkey. The rainforest-infested mountains and gorgeous beaches are also among the greatest attractions. Brazil forever remains one of the popular eco-tourism destinations in the planet.

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travel guide

Make your trip affordable with simple travel hacks

by amit.uniyal 17. June 2015 04:45

Planning an adventure trip or a vacation involves lots of fine details, and sometimes seems to make your task difficult. But this can be overcome provided you make the best use of simple travel hacks to add the required fun to your sojourn. In fact, travel hacks are essentially meant to reduce your travel cost significantly. There are seldom few that actually use them to their advantage. So, the next time you start planning your vacation, do remember to the best advantage of these travel hacks.

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How to lower the cost of money
This information is particularly for all those going on holidays to an international destination for a month or more. Keeping the credit card always helps. It’s absolutely a vital thing for you. But make sure to carry the points credit card along with you. This is just right for you as it offers rewards. If you are having a cash-back card, it’s simply great as it will help you save on every purchase. 

Apart from the points card, you may also consider carrying right out-of-country travel credit card and debit card. This is though different from points card, but nevertheless good and important. This kind of credit card has quite a low or no foreign exchange fee and also helps you save up to 2.5 percent per transaction. You must open an account with a bank in your country which is a part of the Global ATM Alliance. In case you need to withdraw money, you won’t be charged for withdrawal and can save up to $5 per ATM withdrawal. Further, in some cases a generic loyalty card also helps. The accumulated points would help you in renting cars, buying train tickets and more.

Saving on your flights
There are travel hacks that will help save on your flight tickets. It would be a great idea to gain access to your preferred airline’s loyalty card. Even though you don’t fly frequently, keeping a loyalty card is always good as it can be used whenever you want. Future is always unpredictable, and you simply don’t know when this airline loyalty card will be of use to you.

Here’s yet another important point to consider. Always keep a tab on the cheapest airfares. Keep monitoring for fares for the desired destination you want to travel. The best thing would be to sign up for airline alerts to keep updated regarding discounted fares through emails. Book your tickets only when you get the cheapest fare alert in your email inbox.
 
Saving on sightseeing, food and hotel
If you are on a vacation and plan to visit famous attractions, then there are ways to save significantly. Look for discounts on entry tickets. There are many attractions offering discounts when you book online and in advance. If you remain alert and do the bookings prior to your visit, your trip will become hassle free and easy.

This is equally true with your hotel reservations as well. The moment you have planned your trip, it would be just great if you book your hotel room several weeks or months in advance. Who knows the hotel where you are planning to stay might just offer you a discount! Then, there are some famous restaurants that require you to book your tables in advance. So, it would be a great idea if you make your bookings beforehand.

These are just a few travel hacks that will add fun to your trip by making it easier and hassle free. Do remember to make best use of them and see how your travel costs are significantly lowered.

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travel guide

Best Disneyland off-site hotels worth staying in Anaheim

by amit.uniyal 16. June 2015 07:37
Is Disneyland on your vacation itinerary this summer? It’s undoubtedly a must-see place for all those traveling to Southern California along with their kids. Why not make the most out for your vacation with your family here? Searching for suitable accommodations for your stay during the holidays wouldn’t be difficult at all. Here are some of the best Disneyland off-site hotels in Anaheim you should consider staying during your fun-filled vacation.

Residence Inn Maingate Anaheim
The Residence Inn Maingate Anaheim is situated quite nearby iconic attractions such as Knott’s Berry Farm, Downtown Disney and Disneyland theme park. The location of this budget-friendly hotel is also best suited for visiting many other attractions such as the Angels Stadium, The Block at Orange, Arrowhead Pond and the Movieland Wax Museum. The hotel also offers various amenities to those staying here. These include complimentary buffet breakfast, a whirlpool, a kid-friendly pool, free Wi-Fi, coffee makers, cable, full kitchens, and beds with pillow-top mattresses. A coin operated laundry is also present on site. Pets are also welcome here. The hotel also offers complimentary grocery shopping services and free guest parking as well.

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Sheraton Hotel Anaheim
The Sheraton Hotel Anaheim is situated right in the heart of Orange County, adjacent to Disney’s California Adventure Park. The hotel is quite expansive and spread in 13 acres area. Staying at the hotel makes some attractions easily accessible. These include Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, the Orange County Fairgrounds, Anaheim Hills Golf Course, Chapman University, the Crystal Cathedral and the Angels Stadium. The castle-themed hotel offers a total of 489 guestrooms prominently featuring amenities such as granite-topped vanities, minibars, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds, coffeemakers with Starbucks coffee, refrigerators and free Wi-Fi.
  
Hilton Hotel Anaheim
The Hilton Hotel Anaheim is situated just one block from the Disneyland Resort. Staying here not only offers great value for your money, but also is best suited to visit Disney's California Adventure Park, the Crystal Cathedral and Knott’s Berry Farm. The hotel offers 96 luxurious studio suites and newly-renovated guestrooms. The visitors here are provided with various amenities such as Hilton Serenity Beds, cable TV, Cuisinart coffee makers, high-speed internet access, Health Club, and a fully-equipped fitness center. If you are staying along with your family, cribs or rollaway beds are also available on request.

Ayres Hotel Anaheim
The Ayres Hotel Anaheim is situated adjacent to the Honda Center. Its convenient location makes it easy to reach the Angels Stadium. Staying here at the 4-story kid-friendly hotel is simply great as you will get opportunity to visit Downtown Disney, California Adventure and Knott’s Berry Farm, which are only a short distance away from here. You can look forward to staying at one of the 133 deluxe guestrooms offering many amenities like TVs, mini-refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers, desks, coffee makers, free Wi-Fi, two-poster beds and voicemail. The guests staying at the hotel are also offered complimentary hot and cold breakfast buffet, on-site laundry, a fitness center, whirlpool and a swimming pool.

Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel

The Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel is situated right in the heart of Anaheim. It is a family-friendly hotel. It is easy to see attractions such as Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure while staying here. Downtown Disney is also quite accessible and can be reached within 10 minutes. This budget-friendly hotel offers many facilities to all those staying here. These include on-site laundry, microwave, bunk beds, garden, game rooms for kids, water slides and pools, and free Wi-Fi.

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travel guide

Best Golf Courses in Asia

by amit.uniyal 15. June 2015 08:44

The sport of golf enjoys worldwide appeal. In Asia, the sport’s popularity in recent years has been growing in leaps and bounds. As a result, several Asian countries now play host to several top-notch golf courses. While some of these golf courses are located within exclusive clubs, many are attached to luxurious resorts and welcome day visitors. So if you are visiting a destination in Asia and feel the urge to practice your swing, you may want to venture out to one of the public access courses mentioned on our list.

Golf

Thailand

The ‘land of smiles’ Thailand is home to more than 250 golf courses. Spread over diverse terrains, in Thailand you can tee off in the hills or then soak in stunning water views as you practice your swing on a golf course within a beach resort.

Laguna Phuket Golf Club

The Laguna Phuket Golf Club is one of Thailand’s top golfing resorts. The resort is located on the stunning island of Phuket and is linked to six Laguna group hotels. However, this 18-hole, verdant course is open to day visitors as well. Aside from golf, the club also has tennis courts, a café, a Pro shop and training and practice facilities.

Chiangmai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort

The ancient city of Chiang Mai nestled in the foothills of Northern Thailand offers an 18-hole green course at its Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort.

The course at is open to hotel guests as well as day visitors. The course features firm and fast greens that run between 9.5 and 10.5 on the Stimpmeter(a device used to measure the speed of a golf course).  A Spa, Pro Shop, restaurant, a swimming pool and fitness center are also available at the resort, which features a range of luxurious villas as its accommodation options. Hotel guests enjoy a preferred green rate during their stay.

Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Golf Resort and Spa

Occupying a convenient location near Bangkok’s international airport, the Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Golf Resort and Spa encompasses a scenic Nick Faldo designed 18-hole golf course.  This golf resort has facilities for day and night golfing sessions and the course is suitable for golfers of all levels. The hotel offers all the trimmings of a five starred hotel property and features facilities such as a well-equipped fitness center, a swimming pool, and a full-service spa. The property is an ideal locale for a golfing vacation with family, for it is also within easy access to the city center and a large shopping mall. So if you are busy with a golf session, your fellow vacationers can easily occupy themselves.

Indonesia

Ria Bintan Golf Club

Bintan, the Indonesian resort island lies within easy access of Singapore. Regular ferry services, which traverse the Singapore Strait, transport day tripping golfers from Singapore to the northwest coast of Bintan Island, home to a clutch of resorts. Ria Bintan Golf Club is one such popular golfing haunt. The club offers Gary Player designed 27-hole championship golf course that is made up of an 18-hole Ocean course and a 9-hole Forest course. The club also has a driving range and offers other facilities such as a relaxing spa, a restaurant, a Pro Shop and function rooms. The club’s on-site lodge also has accommodation facilities in case you want to stay for a night or two.

Bali National Golf Club

The Bali National Golf Club is located in the pristine, oceanfront, luxe resort area of the island of Bali. Surrounded by coconut groves and a lush, tropical forest, the Bali National Club offers a recently, renovated verdant 18-hole course.  The famed firm, Nelson, Haworth Golf Course Architects has designed the layout of the course whose 17th hole almost plays out to the surrounding azure waters of the Indian Ocean. The club also features a luxurious clubhouse, a Pro shop, bars and restaurants and villas for hire. Day visitors can hire golf clubs and golfing shoes at the club. The Bali National Golf Club is the host club of many a prestigious golfing tournament all year round.

Malaysia

Malaysia like Thailand abounds with first-rate golf courses where tee times and golfing rates are affordable.  

Mines Resort and Golf Club

Located close to the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, the extravagant Mines Resort and Golf Club features a Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed 18-hole championship course occupying a space that once was a working mine. The course is built around a large man-made lake, which along with the lush, green surroundings plays host to many exotic species of birds. The resort also has a grand clubhouse, a driving range, and a restaurant with a terrace. A variety of accommodation options are available at the Palace of Golden Horses Hotel and the Mines Wellness Hotel located close-by.

Saujana Golf and Country Club

The Saujana Golf and Country Club located just outside Kuala Lumpur city features two award-winning 18-hole golf courses. The Palm Course and the Bunga Raya course both these courses have been designed by famed golf course architect, Ronald Fream. While the Palm course has been fashioned out of a Palm oil plantation and features a craggy landscape, the Bunga Raya course features expansive water bodies set amongst the greens.

Singapore

Marina Bay Golf Course

The Marina Bay Golf Course is Singapore’s only 18-hole public access golf course. Nestled in the shadow of the city-state’s landmark attractions like the Marina Bay Sands complex, the course offers panoramic views of the Singapore skyline. The course has facilities for golfing by day and at night. The complex offers additional on-site amenities like a café, lockers for hire, a Pro shop, a golfing academy, a Spa and oddly enough even a car-detailing center.

Hong Kong

The Kau Sai Chau Golf Course

The Kau Sai Chau golf course operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club is the only public access golf course in Hong Kong. Located on the islet of Kau Sai Chau and accessible by ferry from Sai Kung in the New Territories region of Hong Kong, the club offers three 18-hole golf courses. The Garry Player designed North and South Courses and the Nelson and Haworth designed East Course all offer stunning views of the leafy landscape of Sai Kung and the South China Sea. Other facilities at the club include a floodlit driving range, a practice area, a Pro shop and a café.
    
China

Mission Hills Golf Club

Golf is immensely popular in China. In fact, China is home to the world’s biggest golfing facility, the Mission Hills Golf Club that extends over 80,000 square meters in Shenzhen, a town on the border with Hong Kong. This huge facility also extends into the neighboring areas of Dongguan and Haikou. Mission Hills along with its myriad accommodation and entertainment facilities offers a dozen 18-hole championship golf courses designed by many of the leading lights of the golfing world like Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh, and others.

 

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travel guide

Exploring some of the best rooftop restaurants across the world

by amit.uniyal 10. June 2015 03:11

Are you the quintessential foodie looking out to relish and do something different? Then consider enjoying your meals and drinks at some of the best rooftop restaurants located in different parts of the world. Just imagine the wonderful places where your exploration of these astounding rooftop eateries will take you. If you are ready to follow your passion then it will bring you to magnificent cities such as Paris, Bangkok, London, New York, Vienna and Rome. Let us now take a look into some of the best rooftop restaurants and see what all they have to offer.

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Le Jules Verne, Paris
Let your imagination run riot and get yourself a feeling that you are enjoying your food at the top of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. Yes, this fantasy might just turn out to be a reality as well with a visit to the Le Jules Verne – the official restaurant of this world heritage monument. Eating here is an awesome experience as you soak up the amazing skyline of the City of Lights while being served gourmet meals by the famous chef Alain Ducasse. The Le Jules Verne is undoubtedly among the best places to enjoy fascinating views of the French capital Paris. A voyage of 5 or 6 dishes will directly transport you on a journey of surprises and discovery. The impressive list of 430 different kinds of wines will prompt you to travel to all the wine regions in France. Visiting this astounding rooftop restaurant is surely dream come true for the foodies and tourists alike.

Sixty-Five, New York
The Sixty-Five is a newly-opened rooftop restaurant in New York. It is situated on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It is the best place in the city to enjoy panoramic views of the iconic skyscrapers of Manhattan while relishing your cocktails and bar bites. This sophisticated and stunning lounge is open from Monday to Friday from 5 pm till midnight. The visitors are allowed entry only in business casual dress. Those wearing t-shirts, baseball caps, sneakers, hoodies or other sportswear are barred entry. You can look forward to Parmesan pizza, wagyu sliders, fish tacos, and Passion Fruit Marshmallow, apart from favorite cocktails.

Le Loft, Vienna
Le Loft is a rooftop restaurant situated inside the Sofitel hotel in the artful city of Vienna. The restaurant’s interiors with its tall glass windows and mosaic ceiling are quite welcoming. The gourmet cuisines created with fresh local ingredients are mouthwatering. This amazing rooftop bar-cum-restaurant is the best place to get a stunning 360 degree view over the entire Austrian capital Vienna. This is absolutely a perfect destination for romantics for a candle light dinner. The Le Loft is the most sought after destination in the city and you will require to reserve your table much in advance.
 
Aroma, Rome
Get ready for a fascinating culinary experience at the Aroma, set high above the Roman ruins of the ancient Colosseum. This is the best place in the city to avoid the crowds and enjoy your meals amidst the picturesque backdrop of the astounding world heritage site. The Michelin starred menu at this rooftop restaurant is simply remarkable. You can look forward to savoring delicacies like salmon with pureed fennel or like white truffle ravioli at this one of the best restaurants in Rome. Aroma also boasts of a superbly-stocked cellar with an impressive list of 300 different kinds of wines and spirits. It is undoubtedly a must visit place for all those who want to enjoy their meals and drinks while soaking up the history of the Eternal City.

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Travel Advice

Best Summer Vacation Spots for 2015

by amit.uniyal 4. June 2015 07:03

If you haven’t yet booked this year’s summer vacation, you’ve come to the right place. Here at FareBuzz, we’ve put together the best summer vacation hotspots for 2015. So you don’t need to waste hours upon hours trawling through the internet choosing this year’s top destinations – we’ve already done it for you! All you need to do is decide which one’s right for you.

So whether you prefer beach breaks with maximum sunbathing and water sport opportunities, exiting adventures where you push yourself to the limit, relaxing retreats which require as little from you as possible or city escapes where your sole aims are to get lost in winding narrow streets and window shop, this post should give you all the inspiration you need to start planning your next amazing vacation for summer 2015.

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Barcelona, Spain
With the British Pound and the American Dollar both being incredibly strong against the Euro, there’s never been a better time to take a trip to Europe. Between June and September, the average temperature for Barcelona lies between 72°F and 79°F, making it ideal for travelers who love warm temperatures but can’t stand excessive heat.

This Spanish city is one of the very best locations in Europe for artsy creative types. Here you’ll find iconic pieces of architecture like the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló alongside captivating theatres like the Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catalana and the charismatic Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) where you can lose a whole day just wandering the cobbled streets. For foodies, there are the never-ending lines of tapas bars, high-end cocktail lounges and hand-crafted chocolate shops, whilst sports fans are catered for with Barcelona FC’s Camp Nou and the Museu del Futbol Club Barcelona. Barcelona really is the perfect summer city vacation destination to visit this year, whatever you’re into.

Montreal, Canada
It’s not often Montreal appears on a best vacation destination list, which makes it a fantastic place to go if you want to avoid the crowds. During July and August, the city enjoys pleasantly mild average temperatures of around 70°F, peaking at highs of 79°C in the heat of the daytime.

But it’s not the weather that attracts the tourists the city receives in summer – it’s the amazing festivals it hosts.

Between June and August this year, Montreal is hosting no fewer than 46 festivals. Here’s the pick of the bunch: Grand Prix (June 5th-7th), Le Mondial de la Biére/Beer Festival (June 10th-14th), International Jazz Festival (June 26th – July 5th), Comic-Con (July 3rd-5th), Juste Pour Rire/Just for Laughs (July 11th-25th), St-Jean-sur-Richelieur Hot Air Balloon Festival (August 8th-16th) and the World Film Festival (August 14th-16th). From music and drinks to high-speed racing and comic books – there’s something for everyone.

San Francisco, US
San Francisco is ideal for travelers who hate being stuck indoors and want to spend every moment of their vacation out in the sunshine. Here temperatures are marginally cooler than the other destinations we’ve covered so far – varying between averages of 61°F and 68°F in the daytime – so the heat shouldn’t be so harsh as to make you seek shelter indoors.

Must-do activities include a leisurely stroll around Golden Gate Park, a trip in one of the emblematic yellow cable cars and a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping every few yards to take another selfie to post online and show off to your friends back home. If you want to tie a bit of history into your vacation, make sure you take the time to stop by Alcatraz.

The only downside is that since San Francisco is a really popular summer vacation destination, hotel prices shoot up at this time of year. Keep an eye out for a bargain or book a last-minute deal if you want to save some cash.

Kanazawa, Japan
One of the few cities in Japan to escape with just minor destruction following WWII, Kanazawa is, as a result, brimming with colorful heritage and rich culture that you simply won’t find in many other parts of the country. Visitors to the city at summertime can expect to soak up the sun during their trip, with average temperatures being around 79°C.

But just like Montreal, the weather shouldn’t be what attracts you to Kanazawa – this city is even more of a culture vulture’s haven than Barcelona. From breathtakingly beautiful gardens and welcoming teahouses to majestic temples and the only geisha community outside Kyoto, Kanazawa is a mesmerizing location for travelers who want to delve into Japanese history and traditions.
 
In March 2015, the Hokuriku Shinkansen – a high-speed railway line – was completed, allowing travelers to nip between Tokyo and Kanazawa in two and a half hours instead of the previous four, making it more accessible than ever before.
 
Cuba
In December 2014, President Obama announced that the US plans to re-establish its diplomatic relations with Cuba. So if you want to enjoy the island’s unique charm, you need to go there fast and there’s no better time than this summer. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the founding of Santiago de Cuba, the city will host an out-of-this-world party during the week of July 25th 2015, with late-night partying and a spectacular carnival to be rivaled by Rio.

Even if you’re not a party animal and prefer taking it easy to staying up all night, Cuba will undoubtedly win you over with its picture-perfect golden sandy beaches which give way to sparkling aquamarine waters. Here you can also learn how to roll your own cigar – even if you’re not interested in smoking it – get a bizarre few of Havana through Da Vinci’s Camera Obscura and drink mojitos more delicious and authentic than you’ve ever tasted.

Which of these summer vacation spots piques your interest the most? Or if you’ve already booked your summer vacation this year, where are you going? Leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you!

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travel guide

Best Airport Hotels from Around the World

by amit.uniyal 3. June 2015 03:07

The air travel industry is growing by leaps and bounds. As passenger traffic increases around the world, on ground facilities are also changing to adapt to new demands and needs of travelers. One such growing want is the accommodation of passengers who are required to spend a long duration or even a night at the airport.

Delayed or missed connections, inclement weather, long layovers are a part and parcel of modern day travel. Airports around the globe are gearing up to offer travelers a variety of ‘rest’ options including sleep pods for hire, padded recliners, lounges with shower facilities and full-service hotels.

We examine some of the best hotel options located within or connected to major international airports all over the world. Given the growing number of these hotels, spending a night or a long wait at a major airport doesn’t seem as daunting a prospect as in the past.

 

Airport Hotels from Around the World


North America

Toronto Pearson International Airport
The Sheraton Gateway Hotel is easily accessible via a climate-controlled walkway from terminals 1 and 3 of the Toronto International Airport. Aside from soundproof guest rooms, the hotel also offers amenities like a heated swimming pool; 24-hour fitness center and on-site restaurant and grill SPG members can avail of free Internet access at the hotel.

Vancouver International Airport
The Fairmont is a luxury hotel is located in Vancouver’s International Airport above the US departures terminal. The hotel is completely soundproofed and offers day room packages between the 8am and 8pm. The facilities at this award-winning hotel include a restaurant, bar, an indoor pool and health club, and spa.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
The Grand Hyatt DFW is a luxury hotel attached to Terminal D of the Dallas Fort Worth hotel. The hotel offers a total of 239 rooms and suites and is accessible via Skylink High-Speed train or Terminal Link shuttle services of the airport. The hotel also has a limited number of rooms available for day room access. On offer at the hotel are an array of facilities and services including meeting rooms, laundry services, in-room dining, soda and ice machines and more. The hotel also features restaurants, a café and bar along with a 24-hour rooftop fitness center, a Spa and a heated outdoor pool. The hotel is within proximity to two golf clubs, the Cowboys Golf Club, and the Bear Creek Golf Club.  The Grand Hyatt is not the only hotel located at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, another hotel from the Hyatt brand offering similar facilities; the Hyatt Regency DFW is located adjacent to the airport’s Terminal C.

Boston Logan Airport

The Hilton Boston Logan Airport connects to the Terminals A&C of the Logan airport (International departure and arrival terminals) via a climate-controlled Sky Bridge. The Hilton Boston Logan Airport offers soundproofed guest rooms and suites outfitted with Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs. An indoor pool, fitness center, gift shop, and clothing store, on-site restaurant, bar, and cafe are included in its bouquet of amenities.

Europe

London Heathrow
London’s biggest and busiest airport has two hotels attached to it. The Sofitel, reachable by covered walkway to Terminal 5 and the Hilton Hotel, which connects to Terminal 4 via a covered walkway. The Sofitel Heathrow is a luxury hotel that offers 605 plush rooms and suites outfitted with complimentary Wi-Fi services. The hotel also has three restaurants and two bars and a well-equipped spa apart from facilities for hosting meetings and conferences. Similar luxe accommodations are on offer at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Hotel. The hotel offers 398 well-appointed rooms and has a variety of onsite facilities including a 24-hour fitness center, an indoor pool, a spa, a beauty salon, three restaurants and two bars. One of the hotel's bars is located on the rooftop alongside a man-made beach and is a favorite summertime haunt.

Amsterdam Schiphol
The Mercure Schiphol Terminal Hotel is a comfortable three-star hotel located within the transit area of Lounge 3 of the Schiphol airport. To stay at this Transit hotel, you have to have a ticket for an onward journey for that particular day or the next along your passport.  The rooms all feature en suite bathrooms and offer amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs and so forth. The hotel features a 24-hour self-service restaurant and has an on-site bar.

Frankfurt International Airport
The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel connects to Terminal 1 of the Frankfurt Airport by way of a covered pedestrian bridge. The hotel offers 1008 well-appointed, soundproofed rooms, which can also be reserved on a day basis as well. The hotel offers various categories of rooms geared for single as well as family travelers. All rooms are outfitted with free Internet access for one device. The hotel also features two restaurants, a bar, a cigar lounge and a café and full-service fitness-cum-wellness center.

Paris Charles de Gaulle
Paris’s expansive Charles de Gaulle airport offers as many as five hotels within its environs. While The Hilton Charles de Gaulle and the Novotel CDG Terminal are within walking distance of Terminal 3, the Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel is reachable via a two-minute walk from Terminal 2. All three hotels offer day rooms aside from overnight stays.

Middle East

Dubai International Airport
The Dubai International Airport Hotel is an airside hotel located on the third level of the city’s Sheikh Rashid Terminal. This luxe hotel is accessible from Concourse C in Terminal 1 and Concourse A&B of Terminal 3. The hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites at its three branches. Other facilities on offer at the hotel are a spa, swimming pool and segregated Jacuzzis and steam and sauna rooms.
 
Hamad International Hotel Doha
Doha’s Hamad International Airport has an airside hotel just called the Airport Hotel. The hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites and provides services such as in-room dining. The hotel also has a fitness and wellness center, which is equipped with a swimming pool, gym and squash courts.

Abu Dhabi
The Abu Dhabi International Airport hosts’ two hotels one is located in Terminal 1 and the second; the Premium Inn Hotel is accessible from Terminals 1 and 3, via the Skypark retail corridor. The comfortable rooms at the Premium Inn Abu Dhabi feature free Internet access and are elegantly adorned with modern-day conveniences. The hotel also offers a range of leisure and fitness facilities like a swimming pool, a whirlpool bath, and gyms.

Asia

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
The Louis’Tavern Transit Hotel Dayrooms Suvarnabhumi Airport is onsite at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport on the fourth floor of the International Departure Hall at Concourse G. The hotel offers an assortment of superior rooms and suites that feature free Internet access along with other conveniences. Other facilities include a massage salon, saunas and steam rooms for men and women and a barber and beauty salon and 24-hour restaurant.

Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore’s much-admired Changi Airport offers four transit hotels. These include the Ambassador Transit Hotels at Terminals 1, 2, and 3 and the Crowne Plaza hotel located near Terminal 3. All four hotels located at Changi Airport offer travelers the chance to book rooms for day use.
 
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport has two hotels attached to its premises the Sama-Sama Express, and the Sama-Sama(adjacent to the airport connected via Skybridge). The Sama Sama Express hotel is only available for those travelers who are connecting to onward international flights. Passengers do not need to clear Malaysian Immigration and Customs to gain access to the hotel but have to produce boarding cards for their next flight at check-in.  Both the Sama Sama hotels offer sleek, modern, soundproofed rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi and other necessities such as flat-screen TVs with an array of satellite channels and in room coffee and tea making services. The hotels also offer rooms for day use with a minimum stay requirement of six hours.

Hong Kong International Airport
The Regal Airport Hotel is the transit hotel attached to Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok International Airport.  An air-conditioned walkway connects the airport to Terminal 1. The hotel offers 1,171 well-appointed, soundproofed guest rooms and suites of various grades. On-site, facilities include a spa, restaurants, a business center, and a fitness center.

Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi
New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport hosts the Eaton Smart New Delhi Transit Hotel, which has outlets in both the domestic and international wings of the airport. The hotel offers well-designed rooms outfitted with amenities like free Internet access and LCD TVs with in-room entertainment. The hotel also features a dining lounge, a fitness center, a full-service spa, and business center.

 

Discovering the world’s best underwater sites

by amit.uniyal 14. May 2015 03:02

Exploring the unexplored has always been a fascinating idea for the human beings. Discovering little-known or famous underwater sites is also something that has always been a major source of attraction for snorkelers and scuba divers. Let us now set off on a voyage to explore some of the world’s best underwater sites.

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Underwater Sculpture Park, St. George's, Grenada
The Underwater Sculpture Park was created by Jason de Caires Taylor, an avid diver, sculptor and English artist. It is situated in the Molinere Beausejour Marine Protected Area, right outside St. Georges in Grenada. The Underwater Sculpture Park came into being only after the severe damage suffered by Molinere Bay by storm surge. Jason designed the sculptures in order to help in the regeneration of the area. The sculptures were meant to provide habitat for marine animals and new surfaces would accordingly help the corals to grow. The Underwater Sculpture Park has for the past 4 years since its existence been playing a major role in the regeneration of this area and has also provided it a new dimension. The first new sculpture was placed in the underwater park in February 2010. A new sculpture has been added every year. Most of the sculptures here are based on Amerindian art, culture and spiritual worship. The Underwater Sculpture Park has now become a must-visit attraction for all those visiting Grenada.

Christ of the Abyss, San Fruttuoso, Italy
The Christ of the Abyss is essentially a bronze statue. It was placed 15 meters deep on the bottom of the bay of San Fruttuoso in 1954. San Fruttuoso is situated between Portofino and Camogli inside Portofino's Protected Natural Marine Area in Itlay. It was Duilio Marcante who first conceived the idea of the statue following Dario Gonzatti’s death during a dive in 1950. He was one of the pioneers of scuba diving. The 2.50-meters-high statue of the Christ of the Abyss was built by sculptor Guido Galletti and finally placed in the bay in front of San Fruttuoso on August 22, 1954. The statue of the Christ is showing his hands towards the surface (or heaven) in a sign of peace.
 
The Underwater Room, Manta Resort, Zanzibar
The Underwater Room at Manta Resort in Zanzibar is an exciting, nerve-wrecking experience. For a moment it will seem as though your heartbeat has stopped briefly. The Underwater Room is a floating structure and a remarkable example of Swedish engineering. It has three levels, with each of them offering a unique experience. The room is in the downstairs in the third level. As you enter the room to spend your night you will find a soft double bed surrounded by windows with glass panes offering unparalleled 360 degree views underwater where you can watch the shoals of reef fish swimming around the windows. It will instantly provide you magical and exhilarating feeling. The second level of the Underwater Room is however the landing deck at the sea level. Here you will find bathroom facility and lounge area. A ladder will lead you to the first level up to the roof for lounging. This is simply great for sun worshippers. The Underwater Room is absolutely a must-visit place whenever you plan to spend your vacations in Zanzibar.

Museo Subacuático de Arte, Cancun
The Museo Subacuático de Arte is an enchanting underwater museum situated between Isla Mujeres and Cancún. More than 500 permanent life-size sculptures are prominently featured on the ocean floor. All the sculptures have been designed to appropriately promote marine and coral life. Visitors are first required to take a boat ride in order to reach the museum. They then snorkel above the sculptures, which ranges from a Volkswagen coated with seaweed to groups of people. The monumental underwater museum, which came into being in 2009, is presently one of the most ambitious and largest underwater artificial art attractions in the world. The museum is visited by over 750,000 visitors every year from different parts of the world.

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Tips to remember for your next road trip adventure

by amit.uniyal 13. May 2015 04:56

Are you the one who more often hit the roads for a long haul fun and adventurous ride? For most of them, adventure is just another passion. The quintessential roadies simply love setting off on a sojourn to explore the uncharted territories. This is for sheer fun, new experiences and information. If the craving for adventure is getting the better of you then surely a road trip along with your kids and family is the best way to know the unknown and simultaneously have unlimited fun. Here are some valuable tips for all those who are preparing or ready to embark on a road trip involving several days.

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First things first! Now that you are all set to go on a memorable ride, what should be your first step that should go into your preparation? Whether you will use your recreational vehicle or a car for the road trip, you must ensure that it is perfect working order. An inspection shortly before your trip is a must to make sure that everything is functioning appropriately and in perfect order.

Keep navigation tools handy
Navigation tools are a prerequisite whether you hit out on the roads frequently or for the first time. You must buy a good paper map or make use of smartphone for downloading it. This is essential for finding your destination easily. There many mobile apps available these days that will let you know the interesting sites and the stops that you need to take along your route. Apart from using the maps and guidebooks, you should also make it a point to double check your path from a local. Technology is good, but a confirmation from a human being is surely the best. This is absolutely a good way to save yourself from frustration and wasting time.

Come well equipped with emergency needs
Just imagine a scenario that you are all alone fending for yourself with no help at hand on the route you are taking. If you are not well equipped for any eventuality that might come along your way, it’s simply frustrating. And, you will know this better than others. The best way, of course, is to come fully equipped with the emergency supplies such as a spare tire, extra fuses, at least a quart of motor oil, pillows and sleeping bags (just in case you want to set up camp during night), cell phone along with a charger, emergency tool kit (comprising of duct tape, tire sealant, a multipurpose tool, a flashlight, a knife and jumper cables), a first-aid kit, a credit card, and plenty of cash (in case you are unable to find an ATM on the route). These things are absolutely important to carry along with you to avoid untoward happenings and save from frustration.

Stock up snacks, meals, music and games

A long haul road trip should a pleasurable and memorable experience. So, while driving you should also simultaneously enjoy music, games, snacks and good meals as well. While setting off for your ride, do remember to stock up on meals, snacks and drinks. And, don’t forget to bring along with you travel games and some good music suiting everyone’s tastes. This will not only keep you entertained, but also help save money by choosing to eat your own meals and snacks instead of stopping at fast food joints along your way. A collapsible cooler filled with ice is also an important thing to carry along with you in order to keep your food fresh and beverages cold.

Lastly, here’s the most important thing that you should always take as a precaution. Try to be always realistic. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary stress. Do only as much driving that you can handle. If you think you should call it a day or night, then just don’t hesitate and do it anyway. These are some of the helpful tips that are going to help you prepare well for your road adventure trip and make it more fun and enjoyable.

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Galle -- The jewel of Sri Lanka’s southern coast

by amit.uniyal 12. May 2015 05:19

The capital of Sri Lanka’s southern province, the ocean facing the city of Galle has come into prominence once again. The devastating Asian Tsunami of December 2004 had all but destroyed this ancient trading city, founded by the Portuguese and developed by the Dutch colonists during the 16th century. Over the last ten years, the city has slowly been rebuilt with local and foreign aid. Today, this beautiful port city once again brims with stylish hotels, boutiques, cafes and restaurants especially within its fortified area and is firmly registered on the global travel radar.

Getting to Galle

The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is the primary access point for international travelers to Sri Lanka. Several local tour operators have kiosks at the airport. In order to get to Galle in relative comfort, you can hire a private car at the airport. The travel time to Galle from Colombo is approximately three hours depending on traffic conditions.

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However, if you are looking for a cheaper option to get to Galle, you could use the local train or express bus.

Express buses to Galle leave from Colombo’s Mahagrama bus station every twenty minutes from 5am onwards daily. This bus station is located to the southeast of Colombo city center. Travel by express bus to Galle from Colombo usually takes three hours as well.

To get to Galle by train from Colombo, you need to start your journey from Colombo’s Maradana Station. You’re more likely to secure a seat here than at Colombo Fort Station where the train usually arrives packed. Train tickets for this second-class train journey cannot be reserved in advance, so it makes sense to buy your ticket at Mardana Station, the starting point of this train trip.  There is also a first-class train service for which tickets can be reserved in advance, but this service operates only once a week on Thursdays and departs from Colombo at the ungodly hour of 6.30 AM.

No matter which route you choose, your journey will take you through the lush Lankan countryside, along the coast while you traverse charming whitewashed villages, lush green fields, and dense coconut groves.

Best time to travel to Galle

Sri Lanka like neighboring India has a year round tropical climate with distinct dry and wet seasons. The Southwest monsoon arrives on the island of Sri Lanka during the months of June to September. This period is Sri Lanka’s wet season, a season when torrential rain showers are common. The best time to visit Galle is between December and February when average daily temperatures hover around 27 to 29 C (80 to 82F). During this time, the dry season rainfall is scarce, and breezes from the sea produce an air-conditioning effect on the island.

Attractions

Galle Fort

Galle Fort, a fortified city, built by the Portuguese and then enhanced by the Dutch in the 16th century is the most prominent attraction in Galle. The Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that extends over 36 hectares and contains several ochre colored colonial era buildings that once housed administrative headquarters and homes of the Dutch colonists. Today many of these buildings have been restored and house stylish hotels, boutiques, and cafes. Thick, granite ramparts encircle the fort until today. These ramparts prevented it from being destroyed by the devastating Tsunami of 2004.

The Lighthouse

The Galle Fort lighthouse is one of the first structures that you will spot while exploring the fort city. The lighthouse is one of the fourteen lighthouses that remain in Sri Lanka and is the oldest one on the island. The Galle Fort lighthouse dates back to 1848 though a fire destroyed the original structure in 1936. Its replacement, which stands until today was built in 1949 and rises to a height of 26 meters. Visitors are not allowed to enter the lighthouse but can view it from the outside.  

Flag Rock

Flag Rock located at the southernmost end of the fort is a bastion, which was built on the top of a natural rock outcrop. The Portuguese and the Dutch used to signal approaching ships from this bastion. They used flags as signals during good visibility conditions and fired muskets from nearby Pigeon Island during times of reduced visibility. Today, Flag Rock is the favored locale for a sunset stroll and attracts locals (brave young lads today use flag rock as a diving platform) and tourists alike.

The Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church is located near the new entrance to Galle Fort. This beautiful edifice dates back to 1754, and it stands on the site of an older church built by the Portuguese in 1640. The church is an architectural marvel as the building’s walls support its roof, as there are no pillars located inside the church. The caretaker of the church is often on hand and acts as a guide for sightseers offering insights about the construction of the church. For instance, gravestones from the old Dutch cemetery make up the floor of the church and the organ, is the original instrument that dates back to 1760.

The Dutch Hospital

This large, colonnaded structure, which once served as an infirmary for the European colonists ravaged by tropical diseases has recently been restored and is now a smart shopping and dining destination at Galle Fort.

Galle Cricket Ground

If you follow the game of cricket, you must know the historic Galle cricket ground that is located near Galle Fort. The ground is more than hundred years old, but the tsunami wrecked havoc on the field and surrounding stands and almost wiped them out completely. However, the grounds and stadium have now been restored and are ready to host games once again.

Sea Turtle Hatchery

The small but fascinating Sea Turtle Hatchery is a non-profit organization that works to protect Sri Lanka’s turtle population. Sri Lanka is home to five varieties of turtles, the Olive Ridley, the Loggerhead, the Hawksbill, the Green and the Leatherhead turtle. These turtles come to nest at various locations on the island including Galle. The hatchery aims to protect the turtles of Sri Lanka by collecting and securing the turtle eggs from fishermen and other residents of the area. The hatchery's staffs store the eggs in the hatchery’s onsite incubators and when the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are released into the wild. The hatchery aims to educate the local population who are prone to consuming these precious turtle eggs.

Where to stay

Accommodation choices are abundant in Galle. There are lodgings to suit every travel budget. The UNESCO recognized Galle Fort Hotel, the Amangalla, the Kahanda Kanda, the Fortress and the Fort Printers Hotel are some of the well-known luxury hotels located in Galle. Aside from conventional hotels, travelers can also choose to stay in fully staffed villas and boutique residences for a more intimate stay. Villa Indisch, the Frangipani Tree, and the Turtle Beach House are some of the well-known villa resorts of the Galle Area.

Eat, shop and play

Galle is a coastal city and is known for its beautiful beaches. No matter where you choose to stay, you should rent a tuk tuk and tour the area’s beaches such as Unawatuna, Weligama, Hikkaduwa, and Tangalle.

The narrow, winding streets and colonial edifices of the Galle Fort play host to several chic shops and restaurants. Visit stores like Barefoot and Odel LUV SL two homegrown lifestyle brands that offer stylish clothing, accessories, gift items, cosmetics, local foods and much more at reasonable prices.

Other stores worth perusing include Mimimango, Sithuvilli(artworks and artifacts), Souk 58 and the Dutch Gallery (curios and souvenirs) and Mansion Crafts(local handicrafts). Sri Lanka is famous for its gemstones and many small jewelry stores dot the streets of the Galle Fort. Laksana, Pedlar’s Inn Jewelers, and Jo Jo are some favorite haunts for jewelry shopping at the Galle Fort.  Also worth a visit is the Laksala store (the Government owned souvenir and gift boutique), which is located just outside the main gate of the Galle Fort.

If you need a respite from the relentless Lankan heat, head to the bars at the Amangalla and Galle Fort Hotels. Both these watering holes are favored pit spots during excursions of the Galle Fort Area. Try area restaurants like Mamas Roof  Café( Western and Sri Lankan cuisine), Pedlar’s Inn Café (coffee and casual fare), Serendipity Arts Café  or Nicos@Olanda if you need to grab a bite or want to stop for a coffee or tea.  If you rather eat on the beach, then the beachfront Wijeya Beach Hut, which serves a selection of western eats including wood-oven pizzas, is worth a visit.

 

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