Dear G & L traveller

Welcome to our first G & L postcard. Our aim is to fill you in on the latest hotels, hotspots and holidays, keep you up-to-date with best deals on the planet and what's happening around the globe. We also hope you take us up on our very special FREE offer from Australian Gourmet Traveller. Have a great Christmas and New Year and safe travels.
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Book now for your FREE subscriptions
 
Amazing offer from G & L and Australian Gourmet Traveller
 
To celebrate the launch of the G & L postcard, all new bookings deposited by 31 January 2009, with a minimum value of $1000, will receive a FREE six-month subscription to Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine AND Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine. So not only do we book your holiday, we also send you away with fabulous reading material. Nice one G & L.
 
   
 
Up with the birds
 
2009 early bird airfares to Europe are on sale now with some great savings in both economy and business class. Emirates have a return economy class, low-season fare to Paris from as little as $1700 per person including all taxes (ex-Brisbane and Melbourne). They are even offering business class fares to Europe for under $7500 per person including taxes, chauffeur-driven transfers and a lie-flat bed, also in low season (ex-Brisbane only). Ring us for more fares - remember, the early bird gets the worm.

 
   
 
Cruise Control
 
Royal Caribbean cruises have just announced incredible deals aboard their gorgeous ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, from only $946 per person. There are seven sailings ex-Sydney to choose from including Tasmania, New Zealand and the South Pacific, departing January to April 2009. You can even circumnavigate Australia. Rhapsody of the Seas is also known as the 'ship of light' as it features close to 8000 metres of glass canopies, skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows. This offer is not being advertised until next week, so get in fast. Call us now or click here for a flyer www.gregorlewis.com.au/pdf/rhapsody.pdf.
 
   
 
 
Who is Gregor & Lewis?
 
There's nothing quite like acknowledgement from your customers and your peers, so when Luxury Travel magazine released its Gold List on December 9 this year we were thrilled and a little bit overwhelmed by the fact that we had been chosen as No.5 in Australia's Top 20 Travel Professionals. Let's be honest we would have been happy just to make the list as we've only been trading as Gregor & Lewis since July this year. Above us only sit legends of the industry including Mary Rossi and Abercrombie & Kent and congratulations to them – we hope one day to be able to emulate your longevity and professionalism. So thank you to our current clients who voted for us and welcome to our new clients who will hopefully learn to love us really soon.

So who are we? Based in Noosa and with a loyal customer base spread throughout Australasia, Gregor & Lewis is family-run, privately owned and led by Melinda Gregor, a dedicated travel professional who has over 20 years experience in the business. Stuart Gregor, who runs Liquid Ideas, a specialist public relations business, and wife Sally Lewis, a former journalist with a background in food, wine and travel, are also partners. Read more about G & L at www.gregorlewis.com.au.
 
   
 
Viva Virtuoso
 
Each year, G & L makes the trek to Las Vegas for the Virtuoso Travel Mart. It's a great opportunity to catch-up with the owners and managers of some of the most exclusive hotels in the world. Building relationships for our clients is what Travel Mart (and G & L ) is all about and this year 4000 people took part, including 800 suppliers. Here's a rundown on G & L's favourite Italian Virtuoso properties. We love living la dolce vita.

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze – Florence. A newly-opened art-filled Renaissance palazzo with spa and centuries-old private park.

Hotel Londra Palace– Venice. Set on a magical waterfront location near St Mark's Square, this small hotel was built in 1860 but offers a new-world charm thanks to a doting manager and gorgeous furnishings.

Villa d'Este – Lake Como. A truly a legendary resort, this lake-front palace is also one of the most romantic spots in the world. Just ask George Clooney, a future G & L traveller. We wish.
 
   
 
Music to our ears - pan flutes
Heavens above - Machu Picchu
 
Tango with G & L in South America
 
In October 2009, G & L is hosting its very first bespoke tour to South America. Melinda Gregor, G & L's MD and South American expert, will be taking a small group of 16-24 people on an amazing 27-day tour. Highlights include: 3 nights in Rio de Janeiro, 4 nights in Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, scenic Patagonian lakes district crossing from Argentina to Chile, the Amazon, 2 nights in the scenic Sacred Valley to acclimatise before visiting Machu Picchu and Cuzco, overnight in Aguas Calientes to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu without the crowds, 3 nights in Cuzco staying at the famous Monasterio Hotel (owned by Orient Express and formally a convent), a spectacular train journey through the Andes from Cuzco to Juliaca and a day on Lake Titicaca where we will visit the islands made from reeds. Click here for a brochure or call Melinda for further details.
 
   
 
Australia, of course
 
With the Aussie dollar falling in the last couple of months, it's a great opportunity to travel a little bit closer to home. If you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer and have plenty of points you're finding hard to redeem on international flights, there is often good availability from east coast cities to Perth, Broome or New Zealand. Here's some great offers to make you fall in love with Australia, the country, all over again.
 
   
 
Kimberley does it again
 
Want to be a Kimberley junkie? Another Kimberley tour has come our way for just $1987 per person for six nights including all accommodation - just add airfares. This six-night adventure will have you channelling Hugh and Nicole as you visit Kununurra (where the crew were based), the Bungle Bungle range, El Questro Wilderness Park and a cruise up the gorgeous Ord River.
 
   
 
Federer, Nadal, Pete Murray - Oz Open 09
 
Yes, Australia's most famous sporting event, the Australian Open, is on in Melbourne 19 January - 1 February. Melinda is our resident tennis fan and she's come up with some great packages to get you fanatics fired up. Packages include two nights' accommodation and a minimum of two single session tickets, with many hotels to choose from. Imagine seeing Federer vs Nadal and Pete Murray in concert? Now that's a grand slam.
 
   
 
Dinner is served
The Matrix drops anchor at the stunning KIng Cascade
 
Kimberley Calling
 
There's no hotter place on the planet right now than WA's Kimberley. Not only did Nicole and Hugh visit in 08, our very own Australian, G & L's Melinda Gregor, experienced the rugged beauty of the Kimberley coastline aboard the Matrix, one of several cruising vessels available. The Matrix is a luxurious purpose-built catamaran that takes just six couples and operates one- or two-week cruises from Broome to the Hunter River or Wyndham. You'll visit icons such as the Horizontal Falls, Montgomery Reef, King Cascade and King George Falls. Imagine fishing for barra, swimming in billabongs and waterfalls and discovering Aboriginal rock-art before coming home to five-star meals prepared by the Matrix's own personal chef? G & L will even customise your trip – why not spend a few days in Broome before boarding, then visit El Questro, Lake Argyle and the Bungle Bungle range when the cruise has ended?
 
   
 
Stu's Anti-Travel Tips
 
I hate travel tips. I hate smug, smooth-skinned travellers who always remember toothbrushes and have miracle ways to de-crush a dinner suit. Clever, carry-on baggage-carrying, queue-jumping, clever types who always have a better room, a better seat, an upgraded car, an ironed shirt and the best table in the restaurant.

G & L will give you all the tips to help you be one of them – I just wish they could help me. I am a naturally disastrous traveller – if it can go wrong, it will. So starting this newsletter, I will be asking you to suffer for your travel, which, of course, means travel that you've NOT booked through Gregor & Lewis.

After all, we know that it's the mishaps on a trip that make them truly memorable. I mean who wants to go on a trip where everything goes according to plan? So, I want to hear about the bloke who went to the airport in the wrong country, the Fawlty Towers B & B in the Cotswolds. I want the Uzbekistan Air story, the missed connections, the chattering seat buddy, the 10-hour hike to nowhere - all the holiday-from-hell stories.

Send them in to noosa@gregorlewis.com.au and each newsletter I will run one of yours and one of mine. The funniest each newsletter will win a superb bottle of Donny GoodMac Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 with which you can drown your sorrows and plan your next trip using Australia's best, bespoke travel advisors at Gregor & Lewis.

Cheers, Stu
 
   
 
To market to market - Barcelona's La Boqueria
Audrey Gregor checks out Hediard's famous red-packaged goodies
 
10 Food Destinations to Dine For
 
Sal loves lists. Best, worst, most famous. So each postcard we'll list Sal's Top Ten of globetrotting . You might agree, you probably won't, but if you travel, these top tens will have you salivating.

1. La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
These are Barcelona's famed food markets just off Las Ramblas. Think extraordinary seafood, incredible cheeses and bull fresh from last night's fight.
2. Perigord region, France
Duck, duck and more duck but go for pan-fried foie gras for the best meal on the planet.
3. Spaghetti alla vongole, Amalfi Coast, Italy
A steaming bowl of spag with clams, garlic and chilli is heaven in paradise.
4. NSW Far South Coast, Australia
You can have your Pacific and your French belon oysters. Just give me a dozen natural from Merimbula, Wapengo or Tathra.
5. Lupa, New York
This is star-chef Mario Batali's very casual trattoria in SoHo. Who would thought a platter of cold meat could be so stunning?
6. Pizza, Napoli, Italy
You can't just have one. These flaky discs are best simply with tomato, mozzarella and a sprinkling of basil. Yum.
7. Place de la Madeleine, Paris
Here you'll find the haute-couture of Paris' food shops - Fauchon, Hediard, Maille.
8. Dim sum, Hong Kong
You literally can't go wrong, anywhere.
9. Tsukiji Fish Markets, Tokyo
I haven't been but I really want to go. Stu?
10. Le Crieur de Vin, Sens, France
This Burgundian bistro, underneath the two-starred Michelin restaurant, La Madeleine, is the most memorable meal I have shared with my husband. Forest mushrooms, pinot noir and Stu, and all for less than $150.

Please note that conditions may apply, prices may change and offers are subject to availabity for all of the material contained in this newsletter.

 
 
  Tobie Puttock, G&L customer, celebrity chef  
   
  Tobie Puttock hit the slopes in New Zealand with the help of G&L  
  Favourite destination
Anywhere I haven't been yet

Favourite hotel
Babington House, Somerset, England

Favourite restaurant in Australia
Iceberg's, Bondi and Fifteen Melbourne, of course.

And overseas
Petrelle, Paris

Trip you would most like to take
Heli skiing in the Himalayas

Best shopping
Paris

Important things to pack
iPod, camera, laptop, Bose QC3, undies

Travel tips
Don't be scared but be streetwise, be adventurous

In-flight distractions
Sleeping

Must-have in-room dining
Club sandwich, free water

What's on your iPOD
About 20,000 songs

Top travel gripe
Long check-in times, bad hotel service, missed wake up calls

Most memorable travelling moment
Where to start?

Tobie is Executive chef at Fifteen Melbourne, stars with Matt Skinner on Lifestyle FOOD's Tobie & Matt and is an author. Tobie's latest book, Italian Local (Penguin), is out now at all good bookstores for $49.95.
 
  Gregor & Lewis | 11 Arcadia St, Noosa Heads, Queensland, 4567 Australia
T + 617 5447 4666 | E noosa@gregorlewis.com.au | W www.gregorlewis.com.au