Dear G&L Traveller

With Spring upon us, now is the time to be planning your travel in 2014, why not get inspiration by joining us at our inaugural Luxury Cruise Day in October (details below). The team will be holding the fort in September for a couple of weeks while I am off to Europe for some R&R in San Sebastian and a Mediterranean cruise.

Adios!
» MELINDA'S MARKETPLACE
» HOME AND AWAY
» DESTINATION
» STU'S CORNER
» Q&A WITH G&L
   
 
 
G&L Awardsas
 
Melinda recently attended the Cruiseco National Conference in Vancouver, where Gregor & Lewis came away with two major awards. G & L were awarded the Top Sales Agent Australia for Silversea and the Brand Loyalty Award with Cruiseco.
 
   
 
 
Luxury Cruise Day
 
In celebration of our cruise awards, G & L are holding their very first Luxury Cruise Day on Tuesday, 01 October starting at 2pm. Seven of the finest cruise lines will have representatives giving presentations on the day with the opportunity to chat with each of them. We will be serving drinks and canapes at the end of the day. RSVP is essential as we believe we will have an overwhelming response. We will also be giving away prizes including a G & L travel voucher for AUD$1000 to be used on a new booking for any one of the seven cruise lines.

The cruise lines participating in this event are Silversea, Seabourn, Crystal, Oceania , Azamara, Regent Seven Seas & Seadream. For further details please call 1300GREGOR or email noosa@gregorlewis.com.au and save the date in your calendar!
 
   
 
 
Early Bird Airfares
 
Early bird airfares for 2014 should be out in early October, so keep your eyes peeled for our email. If you are thinking of travelling next year you must take advantage of these wonderful deals.
 
   
 
 
Amenity packs
 
Are you like many travellers who stash airline amenity kits and toiletries from hotels, but never end up using them? Here is an opportunity to give them a needy home. Please drop any unused kits into the G & L office and we will make sure they go to a local charity, The Shack Nambour.
 
   
 
Wendy & Murray
 
South of France, South Africa and Shanghai
 
A few of the G & L team have been on the road. Wendy attended the Tauck Achievers River Cruise in the South of France in May. Wendy and her husband enjoyed the four night cruise from Lyon and is a huge fan of river cruising in this area, so give her a call if river cruising is on your travel agenda.

Kristen has been over in South Africa attending INDABA, the world's largest trade show in Africa, where she met many of our contacts on this amazing continent. In June, Kristen also attended the International Luxury Travel Mart in Shanghai where she was able to meet a lot of the owners of the onsite companies we use globally, as well as many of the small luxury boutique hotels of the world.
 
   
 
Melinda in Whistler
Remembering Winter Olympics 2010
 
Skiing Anyone?
 
If you are keen skier or looking for somewhere to go for your first skiing trip then why not try Whistler in Canada, just under a two hour drive from Vancouver. I spent Easter at Whistler this year, where the weather was superb and the skiing conditions still great late in the season. It is easy to ski-in ski-out of Whistler and even if you are not a skier there are plenty of other activities on offer. There is a wide variety of restaurants and bars in the lovely village, as well as good shopping. One of the world's best ice-cream parlours, COWS, is here which had a long queue whether you wandered by in the middle of the day, afternoon or after dinner. And yes the ice-cream was so good I queued two days running!
 
   
 
Wendy about to embark Azamara Quest
Seville
Snow on deck Beijing
Roger taking in the sights
Shovelling snow on the Great Wall
 
Boutique Cruising
 
Azamara is a boutique cruise line with just two sister ships, the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest, each with a passenger capacity of 694.

Both Roger and Wendy had the pleasure of cruising on Azamara earlier this year, with Roger cruising in Asia on Journey and Wendy cruising along the Mediterranean coastline on Quest. With a relaxed atmosphere and country club casual attire, there are no formalities on board. The staff are a delight and nothing is ever too much trouble.

Roger visited numerous ports in Asia including Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Min City, Halong Bay, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, Seoul and ending in Beijing with a visit to the Great Wall. It was truly a voyage of amazing contrasts.

Wendy visited the ports of Nice, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Grenada and farewelled the ship in the Guadalquivir River in Seville. Seville is located 80km from the Atlantic Ocean, so being aboard a small ship like Quest, which can make it through one of the bridges with what seems like centimetres to spare, was incredible.

Quest and Journey are small enough to visit and dock in many places that larger cruise ships are unable to. Being in Monte Carlo and Nice, docked beside mega-yachts of the rich and famous was a treat. In Ho Chi Min City the ship sailed right up the river docking in the heart of town, the same was true of Bangkok and Shanghai. Another point of difference with Azamara is the longer stays in some ports. Two full days in Barcelona, docked within walking distance of Las Ramblas was very convenient.

New to Azamara this year is the inclusion of alcohol throughout your voyage and an 'Azamazing Evening' on every cruise. Wendy was able to participate in a visit to the Cordorniu wine caves in Barcelona where the family has been producing sparkling wine for hundreds of years with 70 million bottles currently stored underground. In addition to the tour of the caves, the evening also included spectacular Flamenco dancing and tapas and wines, a truly Azamazing evening!

Food choices are plentiful, with the main dining room, an outdoor eating area and two specialty restaurants (surcharges apply).

Azamara operate cruises in Europe, Asia and the Americas and really does offer great value for money. Give Roger or Wendy a call on 1300GREGOR or email rogerkoller@gregorlewis.com.au or wendyhopping@gregorlewis.com.au for further details.

 
   
 
Top of Table Mountain
Table Mountain Cable Car
Cape of Good Hope
Penquin of Boulder Beach
V&A Waterfront
Boarding the iconic Blue Train
 
Cape Town, Mother City of Africa
 
When people think of travelling to Africa images of safaris, wild animals and amazing landscapes dance in their heads. With so much to choose from, the cities are often overlooked – but on a recent trip to South Africa a journey to Cape Town would prove to me why the cities are the place to be and just what all the fuss is about.

We arrived into Cape Town to spectacular weather and clear blue skies – perfect for a visit to Table Mountain. We arrived and were quickly on our way to the top aboard the Table Mountain cable car. The cable car has 360-degree views and a rotating floor so everyone can enjoy the ride. When you arrive at the top your breath is taken away by the magnificent views across Cape Town and the bay. A trip to this prominent landmark is a must do.

For those interested in history take a ferry ride to Robben Island. This prison was once home to Nelson Mandela (for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars) and is now a tourist attraction where you can learn the history of the island and hear firsthand accounts of prisoner's daily life from tour guides who were once incarcerated there. Read Mandela's autobiography Walk to Freedom if you are at all interested in the amazing history of this great man.

To get out of the city take a trip to the Cape Peninsula. This nature reserve is home to the Cape of Good Hope – the southern-most tip of Africa. Here you will experience spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding cliff faces, as well as coming face to face with baboons, ostriches and a variety of bird life.

For nature lovers a stop at Boulders Beach is a must. Boulders Beach is home to a colony of African Penguins who have made a life in the sheltered bay in the inlets between granite boulders. A boardwalk has been built to get you right up close to these amazing animals, without interfering with their delicate environment.

If you are after a bargain visit Green Market Square. This historic square in the centre of town is an informal flea market trading African souvenirs, crafts and curios.

Cape Town is best known for it's harbour right in the heart of the city. Here you will find hotels, dining, shopping, street performers, markets and craft stalls. The V & A Waterfront is the place to go for tourists and locals and is a hive of activity day and night.

No trip to Cape Town is complete without a visit to the surrounding wine lands of Franschhoek or Stellenbosch. These picturesque towns have the feel of a small village and are located just under an hours drive from Cape Town. Whether on a day trip or spending a couple of nights, the wine lands has something to offer everyone – world class restaurants, Cape wines, fishing, hiking, art, music, galleries and antique shops.

Our journey was completed in style as we departed Cape Town on board the iconic Blue Train to Pretoria. This moving five star hotel really is luxurious and it is understandable why a trip aboard is on so many people's bucket list. From the fine dining menu and vast selection of wines, to the butler service in your well-appointed suite, everything is taken care of for you. Inside the lounge carriage or observation car you can sit back in comfort and watch the scenic countryside go by, or relax in your suite that can be converted from a lounge area to a bedroom within minutes. The staff were extremely friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Drinks and food flowed aboard the train from morning till night – and all that was left for us to do was relax and enjoy.

For more information on South Africa call the office on 1300GREGOR, or email kristencahill@gregorlewis.com.au
 
   
 
Mr Yoshitake
Amazing food halls
Plastic food shop
Tsukiji fish markets
Tenichi tempura
Stu at local ramen house
 
Lost in Translation
 
Tokyo is awesome – as most readers will know. On a recent four day visit to Tokyo, Stu and Sal discovered a few cool things that might add a little extra to your next trip.

A lot of the guide books steer you away from Shinjuku but we found it one of the best places in the whole city for craziness, shopping and weird and wonderful eating. We stayed at the Park Hyatt, yes the one in Lost in Translation and yes, we LOVED it. It is really tranquil, it is set back a bit from the hustle and YES the New York Bar on the top floor is still a pretty groovy place to have a drink on a Friday night, listening to some dead cool classic piano bar standards. And it's not as expensive as you might think. But beware; just because you are a guest at the hotel doesn't guarantee you a spot, so go early.

We had a few pretty amazing dining experiences, but for mine the undoubted highlight was Sushi Yoshitake. This place has three Michelin stars and just eight seats. Our mate Tetsuya said it was his favourite in Tokyo and that was good enough for us. Incredible, simply unbelievable food. You need to love raw fish and you need to be prepared to try everything (including abalone liver!). For mine it was one of the great dining experiences of my life. Warning, this joint is really difficult to find and on the third floor of a non-descript building in Ginza so go there with some time to spare and some really good directions written in Japanese. Your booking will need to be done by your hotel concierge quite a few weeks or months in advance of your intended visit. We also ate at Narisawa, the hottest restaurant in Asia and Tokyo's only top ten entrant on the world's Top 50 restaurant list. It was pretty amazing but a few elements made us think we could be sitting in Chicago, San Sebastian, Melbourne or New York. Edible moss anyone? Wine list of cult bio-dynamic wines? But it was terrific and if you want the sharpest of the cutting edge then you must go there.

My favourite shop, hands down, was Tokyo Hands – it just was an amazing experience and I could have stayed there for hours and I HATE shopping. Also there is an immense Uniqlo store adjacent in Shinjuku that spans seven floors and stocks almost every single thing from handyman gear to underwear to great wines – crazy stuff.

The food halls in the department stores are everything you are told about. Simply amazing. Our favourite by a whisper was at Isetan but the one at Mitsukoshi was also amazing. The best menswear (and women's wear) was at Isetan but the greatest men's shoe department I have ever seen was somewhat frustrating as any shoe size over European 44 is hard to find. Beware large men.

Here are some other destinations to think about:

* Kappaboshi – a whole street dedicated to kitchenware, including shops just dedicated to plastic food
* Tsukiji fish markets – the auction is between 5-6am but there is still plenty to see if you don't make it this early. The laneways adjacent are full of great eating places and make sure to find the actual markets themselves and also the fruit and vegetable markets, as well.
* Eat at a tempura restaurant (Tenichi group is excellent), a yakitori like Birdland (Ginza branch), an izakaya, a sushi restaurant, a sukiyaki place and buy a ramen from a vending machine, or the world-famous Ippudo ramen house.
* TIPS: the subway is easy and not expensive. Tokyo is huge so taxis become expensive; don't go anywhere without a plan/destination written in Japanese; find yen, not all ATMs dispense money from an Aussie card
 
 
  On safari with G&L clients Brian and Carole Folbigg  
   
  Brian and Carole dining in style  
   
  Lion at Chiefs Camp  
   
  Meeting the locals  
   
  Leopard at Londolozi  
   
  Giraffe's at Chiefs Camp  
   
  On safari in Chiefs Camp  
  You can't go to Africa without doing one safari, or several. We limited ourselves to two, plus Victoria Falls. The camps chosen for us by G & L were perfect: Four days at Chiefs Camp in Botswana was a nice introduction to an African safari. From the very first greeting song to the final farewell, we found the staff and management an absolute pleasure. The game viewing was excellent. We saw almost everything we wanted to see and in large quantities: there were herds of elephants, prides of lions, zeals of zebras, towers of giraffes. The list goes on.

Getting from Botswana to Victoria Falls was an adventure in itself, travelling in a single engine Cessna, crossing the Zambezi in an aluminium dinghy, going through border crossings in tin sheds, and being greeted at the Royal Livingston Hotel by a man dressed in a long dress with matching cap. The electric fence and jagged rocks to deter Zambezi crocodiles really got our attention as did the monkeys that commandeered the guest's hammocks, or the zebras and giraffes that roamed freely in the grounds.

Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa is everything you could want in the form of a luxury safari. Londolozi comprises five camps, three of which have 10 suites whilst others are more private with only three suites. All are within close walking distance of each other, yet totally private and standalone. They each have their own lounges, pools, dining facilities, staff and chefs. There is a gym, shared by all lodges.

We stayed at the Relais & Chateaux listed Pioneer camp. The common areas can only be described as understated elegance. Our suite was enormous and luxurious with everything you could possibly ask for. We had such a fabulous time here. Our guide and tracker were excellent, as were the staff and management. Interestingly, their blog contains countless accolades from former guests, many of whom return for a second or third stay.

To experience an Africa adventure for yourself call the office on 1300GREGOR or email noosa@gregorlewis.com.au
 
  Gregor & Lewis | 11 Arcadia St, Noosa Heads, Queensland, 4567 Australia
T + 617 5447 4666 | E noosa@gregorlewis.com.au | W www.gregorlewis.com.au