OFF Paris Seine: Paris’ hottest dig

Offering views of the Seine and the city, Paris has got its first floating hotel, OFF Paris Seine. With it’s trendy interiors and stunning location, this one is a must visit.

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This hotel poses as the unique amalgamation of a French riviera setting, interspersed with historical sights and Parisian culture.

With 58 rooms and 4 suites, this is the latest hotel, Paris has to offer. The USP is its choice of views.  You have the luxury of choice of having a view of the Seine and its banks and the historic Austerlitz railway station or to gaze at barges sailing down the Seine.

 

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The rest of the hotel discreetly contours the Seine with elegant zinc roofs that slant skywards and open up the façade whilst a central glass ceiling lets in natural light into the heart of the vessel.

With great views and a unique way of living on the riverfront, this hotel should be on everyone’s list.

Travel Diaries – Honeymoon Edition

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After planning the magnanimous event of one’s life, that is the wedding: right from the venue, the dress to the flowers and even invites, the last thing is to scout for new and exciting destinations for the honeymoon. These are some of the best places to visit for newlyweds. Honeymoon pressure is real, and these are the picks for this year’s hottest destinations and romantic getaways.

  1. Tanzania

Serengeti National Park

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This is for those honeymooners who, like to completely douse themselves in nature sprinkled with a bit of adventure and serenity.

When you start planning your Serengeti adventure, you’ll soon learn about “the Big Five.” These are the five most popular animals to search for while on your African safari: the lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros.

“Big” doesn’t have to do with size. The term originated with big game hunters, who deemed these the most challenging large animals to corner and shoot. But in the Serengeti National Park, the only shooting is done with a camera!

Nonetheless, the Big Five still maintain their allure. When you’re out on game drives, your safari guide will help you check off your sightings of these sought-after animals. You’re likely to spot some of them right at Four Seasons Safari Lodge. They might come for a drink at our two watering holes, or stroll by while you’re relaxing on your guest room’s private sundeck.

Check out the Four Seasons Safari Lodge. Wake up every morning to a parade of elephants at the watering hole before a dip in the pool, a visit to the spa, or heading out on a game drive across the Plains. The recent launch of their Honeymoon Package, which includes upgrades like a candlelit dinner and complimentary massage, makes this top notch stay that much sweeter.

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For more information visit http://www.fourseasons.com/serengeti/

Best Time to Go: June-October, the region’s rain seasons typically fall between March and May, November and December.

Hydra: The New Island Hotspot in Greece

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A mix of international art circuit hotspot and the unconventional bohemian, Hydra is the new Greek island to visit.

The port – a perfect horseshoe – backs into a high amphitheatre dotted with 18th-century mariners’ mansions painted citrine, picked out now by the morning sun. It is a Rip Van Winkle town, cute-warm and coiled around dazzling-bright labyrinths of steep steps and slender streets.

The unique part is that there are no street names on Hydra either. You simply set off and see what lies around the next corner. Flora’s café, perhaps, in a bright square full of lemon trees, with its pots of exquisite cold rice pudding spiced with cinnamon. Or a sweet supermarket where the freezer bursts hilariously with octopus tentacles and the honey comes in tins stacked in a quivering 10ft pyramid.

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It is the ultimate relaxation destination, known to but a few visitors.

But no activity on Hydra compares to a trip out in a boat. The island is only 50 kilometres square and completely riveting when seen from the water, despite not being particularly lush or landscaped with the comely vines and olive trees of other Greek islands. Still, whichever way you turn, the impact is captivating.

Check out the Bratsera Hotel for a slice of Greek Island life.

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Slice of Southern India – Kovalam!

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Once a calm fishing village clustered around its crescent beaches, Kovalam today is Kerala’s most developed resort. The main stretch, Lighthouse Beach, is touristy with hotels and restaurants built up along the shore, while Hawa Beach to the north is usually crowded with day-trippers heading straight from the taxi stand to the sand. Neither beach is particularly clean, but at less than 15km from the capital it’s a convenient place to have some fun by the sea, there’s some promising surf, and it makes a good base for ayurvedic treatments and yoga courses.

About 2km further north, Samudra Beach has several upmarket resorts, restaurants and a peaceful but steep beach.
There are a large number of beach resorts in and around Kovalam. The sea port of Vizhinjam is about 3 km away and famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a mosque. The Proposed International Trans shipment Terminal at Vizhinjam is also close to Kovalam.

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Kovalam was among the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. It still has a high status among tourists, who arrive mostly from Europe and Israel.Kovalam is finding a new significance in the light of several Ayurvedic salons, and recuperation and regeneration resorts which provide a wide variety of Ayurvedic treatments for tourists.

One of the most notable places to stay is the Leela Kovalam. The decor is an adaptation of the traditional south Indian architecture sprinkled with modern amenities.

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Enjoy this largely unperturbed part of India and get whim of the sun, sand and beaches. 

Travel Diaries – Friday

Zen Lovers: Machu Picchu

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The 15th-century Inca ruins at Machu Picchu make up a panoramic citadel that is so hauntingly beautiful, you can’t help but find your inner peace just looking at it. Deep in the Sacred Valley, you’ll marvel at the simultaneous wonders of both human innovation and Mother Earth.

For many visitors to Peru and even South America, a visit to the Inca city of Machu Picchu is the long-anticipated highpoint of their trip. In a spectacular location, it’s the best-known archaeological site on the continent. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century. In the high season, from late May until early September, 2500 people arrive daily. Despite this great tourist influx, the site manages to retain an air of grandeur and mystery, and is a must for all visitors to Peru.

A great place to stay at is the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.

 

Travel Diaries – Thursday

FOR DESIGN LOVERS – OSLO, NORWAY

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If you’re a design fanatic, Oslo belongs at the top of your summer travel list. The Norwegian city is known for its architecture, museums, open spaces, and contemporary shops. Practically every room you enter will be a unique (and Instagrammable) design moment.

To the rest of the world, Norway is where Mother Nature has created one of her finest works of art. Against such a wonderful natural canvas, it’s easy to forget that man can also be artistic, and many a visitor has been left surprised to discover that Oslo is home to world-class museums and galleries rivalling anywhere else on the European art trail.

But even here Mother Nature has managed to make her mark, and Oslo is fringed with forests, hills and lakes awash with opportunities for hiking, cycling, skiing and boating.

Add to this mix a thriving cafe and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, nightlife options ranging from opera to indie rock, and a large and visible immigrant community who add their own colourful touch to the city and the result is a thoroughly intoxicating place in which to forget about the fjords for a while.

Oslo Opera House is a must visit.

The place to stay at is the Continental Hotel, Oslo

 

Travel Diaries – Thursday

TOKYO – RETAIL THERAPY LOVERS

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Yoking past and future, Tokyo dazzles with its traditional culture and passion for everything new.

Tokyo may be forever reaching into the future but you can still see traces of the shogun’s capital on the kabuki stage, at a sumo tournament or under the cherry blossoms. It’s a modern city built on old patterns, and in the shadows of skyscrapers you can find anachronistic wooden shanty bars and quiet alleys, raucous traditional festivals and lantern-lit yakitori (grilled chicken) stands. In older neighbourhoods you can shop for handicrafts made just as they have been for centuries, or wander down cobblestone lanes where geisha once tread.

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Tokyo is full of shopping haunts for basically any kind of consumer. If you’re looking to go big with some retail therapy, a trip to the vivid city might be just the exotic change of pace you need. Whether you’re looking for streamlined, well-designed home goods, quirky souvenirs, or some standout fashion picks that you won’t find stateside, you’ll find them here.

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From giant robots to saucer-eyed school girls to a certain, ubiquitous kitty, Japanese pop culture is a phenomenon that has reached far around the world. Tokyo is the country’s pop culture laboratory, where new trends grow legs. Come see the latest looks bubbling out of the backstreets of Harajuku, the hottest pop stars projected on the giant video screens in Shibuya, or the newest anime and manga flying off the shelves in Akihabara. Or just pop ’round to the nearest convenience store to pick up treats in wacky flavours emblazoned with cute characters.

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Check out the Aman, Four Seasons or the Mandarin Oriental for the luxury experience.