Dear G & L traveller

This month, we visit two of the most wonderful and wackiest cities on earth – I've just returned from Dubai, while Stu spent a week in Las Vegas via the hottest hotel on earth, the SLS in LA. We'll give you the latest on what's going on in both cities including where to eat, stay, shop and even play golf, while we continue to share some of the best travel deals on earth.
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Angels also look good in green
 
US Masters Golf April 2010
 
Imagine walking alongside Tiger or Angel before heading into a VIP hospitality suite right on the course at Augusta? It's true. Gregor & Lewis can secure the toughest tickets to get in sport: the US Masters Golf. The 2010 package includes accommodation at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead and two rounds of golf at Reynolds Plantation courses. Call us by 30 June for amazing early-bird deals and go find yourself a green jacket.
 
   
 
Seniors get packing
 
Emirates are offering Business Class Seniors Companion return airfares ex- Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne to Europe from $5330 per person including taxes and chauffeur-driven transfers. Two people must travel together on all sectors and one of those people must be at least 60 years of age. Fares are valid for travel until 30 November 2009 and must be booked and ticketed by 30 June 2009.

For non-seniors, the Business Class fare ex-Brisbane or Melbourne is from $6330 per person including taxes and chauffeur-driven transfers. This fare is valid for one person travelling. Fares from Sydney are around $400 more. These fares must be booked and ticketed by 30 June 2009.

For both of these Business Class specials, Emirates will throw in one night's accommodation in Dubai at the five-star Address Hotel for travel prior to 15 September 2009 for all new bookings. See below for Melinda's must-do Dubai for some pointers on this great city.
 
   
 
Asia return from under $800!
 
Singapore Airlines have some amazing special return economy class airfares ex-Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth to many Asian cities including Phuket, Chaing Mai, Siem Reap, Saigon, Bali, Hong Kong and Shanghai from $799, including taxes. Travel dates are from 01 July to 30 November and must be booked and ticketed by 26 June 2009.

Singapore Airlines also has great specials out in Economy and Business Class to most of their destinations including Europe. These special fares must also be booked and ticketed by 26 June 2009.
 
   
 
Cunard's Queen Victoria
 
2010 Cunard World Cruise Voyages just released
 
New rates have just been released on Queen Mary and Queen Victoria's 2010 World Cruise sectors. These January and February 2010 deals include voyages from San Francisco to Sydney, and Sydney to Singapore. Check out www.gregorlewis.com.au for the latest deals on the queens of the seas.
 
   
 
Pandaw river cruising
 
Vietnam to Cambodia by steamer
 
The Pandaw is a luxurious replicate colonial steamer that will take you from Saigon, along the Mekong River to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Only 60 passengers will join you on this 11-day all-inclusive Asian odyssey. Accommodation, airfares and all meals are included and if you book by 27 June, you will save $1000 per person twin share, or $1500 a single on selected departure dates. Prices start from $4369 per person (without the discount), twin share, for departure between October 2009 and September 2010.
 
   
 
Cruise Amsterdam to Budapest via Vienna – two for one!
 
Cruise the magnificent waterways between Amsterdam and Budapest aboard the luxurious Avalon Imagery and get two fares for the price of one! We have two departure dates. This 15-day cruise departs 16 August 2009 with prices from $5,529 for two people or 27 September with prices from $5415 for two people. Incredible value.
 
   
 
Kristen with backdrop of Burj Al Arab
The incredible Atlantis Resort
Melinda and Jo enjoy sunset in the desert
 
Melinda's must-do Dubai
 
Whether it's a 24-hour stopover or week-long getaway en route to Europe or Africa, Dubai has become de rigeur. And with Emirates flying daily from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, you'd be mad not add it to your hit list. Here's Melinda's must-do Dubai.

Dune Dinner Safari - join the convoy of 4WDs that hit Dubai's desert every afternoon. It all begins with a desert bash and ends with champagne at sunset. In between there's camel rides, henna painting, belly dancers and an Arabian BBQ all in a traditional Bedouin camp in the middle of the desert.

Visit Grosvenor House - this stunning hotel complex offers more than just a bed. Seek out 10 restaurants and bars complete with Michelin-stars and celebrity chefs. Buddha Bar is the Dubai bar and Bar 44 has 360-degree views.

Afternoon tea at Burj Al Arab - situated on Jumeirah Beach, this hotel is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Very few people actually make it through the doors of this hotel – make sure you are one of them.

Wild Wadi Water Park – the ultimate wet 'n' wild and home to the world's first uphill waterslide, this park offers 30 rides and attractions. Designed to emulate an Arabian wadi or oasis, it's perfect for escaping the heat. Or hit Aquaventure, located at the new Atlantis Resort on Palm Island. Don't miss Lost Chambers, a maze of underwater halls and tunnels exploring the mysterious ruins of Atlantis.

Arabian falconry display - falconry is one of the world's most ancient sports, and out in the desert you can witness the techniques originally used in training and hunting with falcons.

Retail therapy - Dubai Mall has over 1200 stores and is revolutionising shopping. Visit their indoor Ice Rink, Aquarium or the Underwater Zoo. If you still aren't shopped out head to Mall of the Emirates. Here you'll find Ski Dubai, an indoor ski slope on 22,500 square metres of real snow. All equipment can be hired on site and there are professional instructors.

Emirates is currently offering a kids fly, stay, eat and play for free special (conditions apply). Call Gregor & Lewis for details - Melinda, Kristen and Jo have all recently visted Dubai.
 
   
 
Broome by bike
Wendy and Murray explore Kakadu
 
Wendy makes a comeback
 
Some of you may remember Wendy Hopping who worked with us during 2006-7. Well, after a year doing what we all want to do – a nine month 'glamping' tour of Australia – she's back and we're delighted.

Wendy began her career in the travel industry in London in 1982 and has pretty much covered all bases from consultant to office manager, to teaching travel and tourism at TAFE and private colleges.

A self-confessed 'plane spotter', Wendy has had a long fascination with commercial aviation and the 'who, what, where, why, when factor' - who flies where, what type of aircraft, cabin and service do they offer, when do they fly and why should we recommend them to our clients. Wendy loves working with airfares and enjoys coming up with the best solution for her clients, regardless of how complex or straight forward the journey.

She loves Asia as a travel destination and lists Nepal and Laos as all-time favourite destinations. Welcome back on deck, Wendy.
 
   
 
TPC Golf Course
Bellagio by night
Cher at Caesar's Palace
Ringside at Prime, Bellagio
Welcome to Nevada, Stu
Golfing Gregor
Glenby in the pink at Penny's
Boys on tour
Glenby in his prime, at Prime
Poolside at the SLS
 
Vegas Baby, Vegas
 
While the rest of us were working, Stu was working his way around Vegas and LA. Here's the wash-up.

Getting there
With typically chirpy Virgin service and brand-spanking new planes, V Australia is is genuinely exciting and the Premium Economy offering is certainly worth considering. Business has lay-flat beds as good as any. Remember, departing from LAX, there's nothing to do and nowhere to shop or drink before you board on your way home. Buy up big in Vegas.

First stop: Los Angeles
Right up near the Beverley Centre and not far from Melrose, the SLS Hotel at 465 La Cienega Blvd (www.slshotels.com) is the hippest new hotel in LA. Designed by Philippe Starck and sporting the grooviest Spanish chef in the US, Jose Andres, the SLS is hotter right now than Vegas in July. OK you wouldn't really want to be over 50, but if you want to see the hip and happening types in LA, then stay at this place. It offers great service, terrific food, an awesome rooftop pool bar, cleverly designed rooms and character that simply is best summed up as 'whimsical'. SLS is a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection so if you are a Starwood preferred guest – even better.

If you want a brilliant meal in LA, there is a Korean BBQ place, Woo Lae Oak, (www.woolaeoakbh.com) across the road from the SLS that positively changed my mind about Korean food. It's a serious celeb haunt and thoroughly delicious. Another great spot, particularly for lunch, is Comme Ca (www.commecarestaurant.com) up the road on Melrose. The second restaurant of chef du jour, David Myers, whose restaurant Sona is widely considered among the top 10 in LA, this is a place where a cool cocktail, the plat du jour and a good old fashioned perve at the botox surrounding you, is a top way to pass the time.

Bar Marmont (www.chateaumarmont.com) on Sunset at the foot of the famous Chateau Marmont Hotel (the preferred haunt of Sean Penn, Baz Luhrmann and every other auteur on a visit), is a great place for a drink and a burger. We would call it upmarket pub food, but the cocktails are better. The decor and vibe of the place, however, is seriously, seriously brilliant. The place looks like it's been there 60 years – it hasn't. Great joint.

Onwards to Vegas
If you plan to drive from LA to Vegas (about five hours), then stop about 2 hours in at Penny's Diner – dead set the best burger and shake in the quintessential silver-van diner. Don't confuse it with Peggy Sue's - drive a further mile to Penny's.

So what gives in Vegas these days? Well everything is big, getting bigger and with the City Centre development approaching completion (it's only the single largest development in Vegas history) biggest and best just got bigger and better again. In City Centre, you will find a new Mandarin Oriental (opening Dec 09) that will surely be some sort of stylish oasis amongst the Vegas madhouse. At the moment in the accommodation stakes, Wynn and Encore are at the top of the tree, style-wise, followed by the Palazzo, while Bellagio feels a bit mid-market these days – the rooms, even in the Spa Tower, reminded me of fading five-star glory.

But back to Palazzo where there is now a raft of seriously terrific restaurants. Dos Caminos (www.brguestrestaurants.com) does Mexican food like you've never seen in Australia. Also at Palazzo, legendary New York Iron Chef, Mario Batali, also has the excellent CarneVino (www.carnevino.com) – the best damn parmesan wafers at the bar I've ever tasted – and Coopers Vintage on the beer list! Also Morels French Steakhouse, with a terrific terrace looking down the Strip, is a great place for steak frites and a Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada is the West Coast's best beer, a real pale-ale style.

If you want a great steak, you should eat at Prime at the Bellagio (www.bellagio.com) and try to secure a table on the patio by the amazing lake. You know all about the water show but until you've see it 15 times, while eating a Prime Five Peppercorn New York Cut steak and drinking Syrah from the Napa, you get the feeling you probably haven't really lived.

I sat on the patio with a great chef and about four bites into his steak he buried his head in his hands and declared it the best steak he'd ever tasted. He'd also seen Cher that night at Caesar's so it was a big night for the boy! Cher was terrific but everybody says if Bette Midler is on, you simply must see her. Cirque du Soleil's 'O' at Bellagio is still reeling them in and the most popular of the Cirque shows in town. That said, my mail is that La Reve at Wynn, created by one of the former Cirque stars, might be close to the best show in Vegas.

During the day we golfed. So if you are a golfer there are two courses you must play: TPC Las Vegas and Paiute's Wolf Course. Our group of eight voted TPC the best of the four we played – huge canyons all over the place, some truly stunning holes, but the clincher was brilliant and friendly service and without question the best golf cart burger any of us have ever tasted.

Rio Secco is also worth a visit but we'd suggest you stay away from Bear's Best. Despite being rated among Vegas' 10 best courses (as were the other three, deservedly) Bear's Best really disappointed us. They had cored and sanded the greens and not told us, service in the Pro Shop was abrupt and unfriendly and not-a-drinks-cart-to-be seen in 40-plus temperatures. There's plenty better.

Shopping. The Premium Outlet Centre at 875 Grand Central Parkway is still worth visiting and if for some reason you win big on the craps table and need to buy the wife or girlfriend a pair of Manolo's, please note they are available only in a shoe store at Wynn . . trust me I looked everywhere. The Chanel store at Bellagio should do the job and save you the walk .. if only I'd known!

And finally make sure you spend a night in Old Vegas if just to see the Fremont Street Experience. We quite literally stumbled upon it and all of a sudden the roof over the street lit up with an oversized Freddie Mercury and 'We Will Rock You' came at us from all angles. If the cart next to me hadn't been selling $3 Coronas I might have fainted! Old Vegas is funny, it's now a second class destination still hankering for the high-life – definitely worth a visit – you will see a lot of tracksuits but hey the beer is a hell of a lot cheaper than uptown.

In conclusion – well its Vegas Baby, Vegas. If you think big is better and if you have any sort of vice, then Vegas is simply the place to indulge it. And never forget that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
 
 
  Gillian Martin, PR Exec & John Martin, Actor - Spanish Captain Feathersword & Johnny Props  
   
  Happy honeymooners: Gillian and John at Nexus Resort, Borneo  
  Why travel with Gregor & Lewis?
We had never been to Asia together and were a bit unsure of where to go, who to stay with and what to see. Gregor & Lewis helped us plan the entire itinerary and get the best value for our money. It was so great to have an agent that had been to the destination before and could give legitimate advice. It was convenient too - the team at G&L prompted us to get everything organised on time and they sent us all of our info in one document so all we had to do was follow the itinerary.

Destination

Borneo Malaysia - Kota Kinabalu

Why
We knew very little of Borneo, but we suspected we would be able to enjoy a combination of adventure, cultural entertainment, relaxation and a little luxury at the five-star resort.

Top things to do
See the orangutans, visit the Aussie war memorial for the Sandakan Death March, a gin and tonic at the Sunset Bar and a resort spa treatment – amazing.

Things not to do
Depends how adventurous you are and how strong your stomach is, but we couldn't try the seafood at the Kota Kinabalu markets. It is handled differently over there and we weren't sure how long anything had been out or if it had been refrigerated. The local restaurants still have deliciously fresh seafood that you can trust will stay down and not ruin your trip. The shellfish is to die for.

Favourite hotel while away
Nexus Resort - the perfect balance of luxury and relaxation. The service is amazing and the locals so friendly. They remembered our names, our preferred drinks and which of the five restaurants we had dinner at the previous night - it absolutely blew us away. It was the perfect location, too, and we practically had our own beach.

What do you eat in Borneo
Seafood - Indian, Malaysian or Chinese-style. Borneo Malaysia is such a combination of all three cultures and the menu reaps all the benefits! Try the laksa. You'll never enjoy anything so amazing for $3Aus.

What not to eat
Western food - there is too much else to try. Although we did order a cheeky steak sandwich and chips via room service late in the second week. Some cravings must be indulged.

Advice for honeymooners
Go there! It has to be the most affordable way to enjoy such a cultural wonderland and luxury at the same time. It's probably best not to go in the wet season (January-March) although it only rains for a couple of hours in the afternoon (perfect for honeymooners!).

To get to Kota Kinabalu, you have to fly via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. We recommend making the most of it and staying a couple of nights in your stop-over city. We stayed with friends in Singapore and had a great time celebrating Chinese New Year!

Packing tips
Swimmers, sarongs for the girls and insect repellent. You don't need to take malaria tablets but the insects are rife in the beautiful rainforests that surround Kota Kinabalu.

Souvenirs
Traditional silk that you drape over a hand-carved wooden rod and hang on your wall. Ours is hanging proudly in the lounge room.

Most memorable moment
The orangutans - they're so amazing to watch and it is devastating to think they're diminishing. They have very child-like mannerisms - really cheeky and playful and just beautiful. The Bornese are doing a fantastic job of balancing conservation and tourism.

The second most memorable moment was the luck we had on the flight home. G&L had registered us with Singapore Airlines as honeymooners and they upgraded us to Business class - our first experience ever. John drank G & Ts all the way home and I staved off jet lag by sleeping on the flat beds.

Least memorable
The insects.

Next destination
John has to go to New York for work in October so I get to tag along. Our dream destination after that is Argentina! John lived there for a year straight after school and speaks Spanish fluently. We were 'email buddies' while he was over there and would love to go there together now as a married couple. John also wants to go to South Africa for the World Cup, but he's dreaming!
 
   
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