Dear G & L traveller

Another year of travelling is almost over and it has been a busy, exciting and sometimes challenging 2010. We've experienced Icelandic volcanoes, six-star cruising, luxury Balinese villas, African safaris, and as you read this, I'm winging my way to Morocco for one last fling before the year's out. Thank you for travelling with G & L and hope to see you in 2011.
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Seabourn Legend
 
Fabulous value on The Yachts of Seabourn - up to 70% off!
 
The Yachts of Seabourn has just announced an amazing sale until November 24 with up to 70% off fares. From Mumbai, Monte Carlo, Santorini and the South China Sea, Seabourn will take you deep into the hearts of must see cities - as well as to hidden harbours beyond a larger ship's reach. Whichever voyage you choose, you're guaranteed an extraordinary experience and exceptional value from one of the world's best small-ship cruise lines. Book by November 24 to take advantage of these special fares. Imagine seven days cruising from Monte Carlo to Rome from USD $2300 per person twin share aboard Seabourn Legend. Bellissimo.
 
   
 
Intimate cruising aboard Seabourn Pride.
 
Fly, Cruise and Stay with Seabourn - two great offers
 
The Yachts of Seabourn has also just released two new packages aboard the luxurious Seabourn Pride.

On offer is two 16-night fly, cruise and stay packages - Hong Kong to Bangkok or Bangkok to Hong Kong. Packages start at $6180 per person twin share and includes:
* Return economy class international airfares from Australia
*12-night luxury cruise aboard the all-inclusive Seabourn Pride
* 2 nights pre or post-cruise accommodation at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford in Hong Kong (incl breakfasts)
*2 nights pre or post-cruise accommodation at The Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok (incl breakfasts)
* Transfers between airport, hotel and port
* Port charges, government fees, gratuities on board and air taxes

Please contact us for more details - cabins will sail away at these prices so be quick.
 
   
 
2011 Earlybirds - bookings closing soon
 
Just a reminder that there are some great earlybird airfares out for 2011. Most of these expire at the end of November so make sure to ring us this week.

Why not combine these airfare deals with some of the great cruises on offer in the Baltic, European rivers, Greek Islands or even the Mediterranean as featured above?
 
   
 
My own private beach and pool
The 18-hole golf course
Sunset
Breakfast at Plantation restaurant
Nice shot
 
Melinda's Favourite Oasis
 
Laucala Island - simply the best

Laucala is simply the most amazing place I have ever visited. It has everything that I want - a perfect location, fully inclusive, close to home, exquisite food, friendly staff, amazing accommodation and a setting to die for including your very own private pool and beach.

There's even an 18-hole championship golf course designed by one of the world's leading golf course designers, David McLay Kidd. Play on your own or with golf pro, Tony Christie, who has played in three British Opens.

With only 25 luxury residences and over 350 staff on this 12sq km island nothing is ever too much trouble. Relax after your round of golf with a Thai massage in the world-class spa, go snorkelling or diving, or maybe take a horse ride along the beach at sunset. Talking of sunsets, why not take a boat out for a few cocktails? Everything is included at Laucala.

You are provided with your own golf buggy to discover the island - there's a choice of five restaurants as well as some amazing bars like the Rock Lounge perched on a cliff with amazing sunset views (my favourite place). After a few champagnes, there is always someone on hand to take you home.

The island is self-sufficient. They grow their own vegetables and herbs, they have their own cows and chickens and there's even a natural spring. They also make all their own oils, soaps and creams as well.

Laucala Island is located off the north-east coast of Fiji and is a 45-minute flight from Nadi Airport aboard Air Laucala's eight-seater aircraft. It is so close to home, less than five hours from the east coast of Australia, so if you feel you deserve a short break and truly want to be spoilt, you should try five nights. Or perhaps you have a special birthday or anniversary coming up?

I did not want to leave this amazing oasis. I have been to many unique places in the world, however Laucala is truly perfect.

Please feel free to give me a call or email melindagregor@gregorlewis.com.au if you would like further details or access to the exclusive deals we are able to offer. Bula Vinaka.
 
   
 
Must-have Luxe guides
iPad? Yes please
 
Christmas gift ideas
 
At G & L we are big fans of Luxe City Guides and you can now order a Bespoke Gift Set of five guides on-line for around $55. You can even choose the gorgeous box they come in. Go to www.luxecityguides.com and click on Bespoke Guides. Our City Guide wish list for 2011 is Barcelona, Venice, New York, Shanghai and Hanoi. The guides are also available as mobile apps, so get shopping.

Talking of apps, we've just discovered the iPad and what a terrific travelling companion this has become. There's no need to cart around a laptop, or sit in dodgy internet cafes to send holiday messages - the iPad has it all. You will need to download some great apps before you go and we suggest The Australian newspaper so you keep up with all the news back home, a world clock, XE currency converter and a translator. Don't forget to download your holiday reading as well. The beauty of the iPad is that you will never have to lug hefty guide books around ever again.
 
   
 
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Hilton Bora Bora
Sofitel Moorea
St Regis Bora Bora
 
Wendy's Polynesian paradise
 
I love to swim in the ocean but have strict criteria about doing this - I like to be able to see what is going to bite me. On a recent visit to Tahiti I quickly discovered this was not going to be a problem in the clear blue waters of French Polynesia.

Air Tahiti Nui fly from Sydney to the capital of Papeete via Auckland. Air Tahiti offer services to the outer islands, while Moorea is easily reached from Papeete by ferry which takes around 40 minutes.

Moorea has some excellent resorts including the InterContinental, Hilton, Sofitel and Pearl and all offer overwater bungalows as well as garden or beach bungalows. Although many people want the overwater experience, the bungalows are worth considering as they are often located closer to the resort's main amenities and some offer private plunge pools. Moorea also has a unique resort called Legends which offers two & three bedroom villas with modern kitchens perfect for families or couples travelling together.

Bora Bora is just over one hour's flight from either Moorea or Papeete and the airport is located on its own motu (low-sand island) with transfers to your resort by speedboat or luxury cruiser. Most resorts are located on private motus that shape the expansive Bora Bora lagoon with its stunning crystal-clear water. There's kayaking, snorkelling, jet skis, and lagoon tours including swimming with the stingrays and sharks.

The InterContinental has two excellent properties. The InterContinental Le Moana is located on Bora Bora island and is a smaller, traditional, boutique-style property. Its larger contemporary sister, the InterContinental Thalasso, boasts the impressive Thalasso Spa – could it get any better than lying on a massage table looking at the marine life through a glass floor while being pampered?

The Hilton at Bora Bora differs from most other resorts as it has a beautiful mountain backdrop but the jewels in the crown are undoubtedly the St Regis and Four Seasons. The standard overwater villa at the St Regis is a mere 144 sq metres with a decadent bathroom larger than most lounge rooms!

French Polynesia offers many stunning resorts and islands with a variety of accommodation standards. Gregor & Lewis, in conjunction with Tahiti Travel Connection, can tailor-make your Tahitian escape to suit your needs and budget.

In spite of my strict criteria about swimming in the ocean, I still got into the water and swam with the sharks ...... amazing!


 
   
 
Westfield Sydney's Cloudy Bay Seafood Co
Sydney's very hot Porteno
Coda, Melbourne
 
These are a few of my favourite things
 
Here are some of my favourites of 2010. Think about visiting one or all of them in 2011.

1. Giant Steps must be close to the best cellar door in Australia. You combine really great wines – look out for Tarraford Pinot Noir and Sexton Chardonnay, brilliant wood-fired pizzas, their own bakery, a cheese room that equals any in the finest deli . . .and you have the ultimate gastronomic one-stop shop. And less than an hour out of Melbourne in Healesville. While you are in Healesville also visit Barrique – probably the best non-capital city wine store in Australia. www.giant-steps.com.au

2. Melbourne food and wine goes from strength to strength. My new favourite restaurant is Coda, right next to the Grand Hyatt (whose re-furb, particularly the business lounge, is great). Coda is run by the team behind the great MoVida with Adam D'Sylva in charge of the mod-Asian food. The vibe is brilliant and so is the duck curry - the best in Australia. Period. www.codarestaurant.com.au

3. While on food in Melbourne the scene just gets better – Longrain Melbourne in many ways now surpasses its sister in Sydney and Neil Perry's new Spice Temple and Waiting Room at Crown add further to the lustre of this now world-class dining destination. Book a private room downstairs at Spice Temple and ask them about their 24 hour specials like the treasure duck . . . .

4. If you fancy a shop then Westfield Sydney is Sydney's latest mecca for not only fashion but for food - Eat Deli Kitchen's reuben sandwich, Justin North's burgers at Charlie & Co and fishead John Susman's gorgeous seafood salads adds up to an offering every bit as good as Gap, sass & bide and all those other fancy fashion labels. If you're a bloke leave the bride downstairs and go upstairs for a burger and a beer .

5. Sydney's Porteno, from the coiffed-crew from Bodega, is seriously hot. This Argentinian grill restaurant in Surry Hills is not only about the charcoaled- roasted whole beasts but there's also a smart South American wine list, a funky bar upstairs for pre- and post-cocktails and just a really great vibe making for a fun night out. You can book for tables of 6 or more and suggest if you want to avoid the queue, book immediately. www.porteno.com.au
 
 
  G & L travellers, Don & Judy Gregor, have just returned from Europe  
   
  Don & Judy Gregor  
  1. Where did you visit? Dubai, Spain, Portugal, France and England.

2. What were the highlights? In Spain, Barcelona for Zara, Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia cathedral, tapas bars, Montserrat and Salamanca, a beautiful university town where we found a lovely, small five-star hotel called 'Don Gregorio'. In Portugal, cheap shopping, our visit to Sintra, a small town called Obidos, Porto and the staff on the riverboat on the Douro. In France, definitely Paris and of course the Rhone river cruise and the places along the way - Arles, Avignon, St Remy, Les Beaux, Viviers night walk, Vienne, Lyon and all the vineyards.

3. You have discovered cruising. What do you look for? In a river cruise we look for interesting places along the way. There is no point just sitting on the boat, you can do that anywhere. On board we expect comfortable (but not spacious) accommodation, plus good food and wine. We love how you unpack just once unlike overland tours.

4. You both love Paris. What are the best things to do and see? Shopping at Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette, the Champs Elysees, wandering around the narrow back streets, strolling around Ile St Louis just behind the Notre Dame and of course the museums. Also, the hop- on-hop-off boat on the river. We definitely noticed that Paris was cheaper than our last visit thanks to the Aussie dollar.

5. Where do you like staying in Paris? Left or right bank? We definitely love St Germaine which is on the left bank. It's more trendy and better value for your money.

6. Any tips for eating in Paris? We loved the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Expensive but worth it.

7. Anything you'd change next time around? We probably won't be going back to the UK!

8. Where to next? China - Beijing, Shanghai and Xian and we may do an ocean cruise in Asia and include Vietnam and Cambodia.

9. Why travel with G & L? Because it is the best travel agency in Australia without doubt.... nothing of course to do with our relationship to the owners, of course!
 
  Gregor & Lewis | 11 Arcadia St, Noosa Heads, Queensland, 4567 Australia
T + 617 5447 4666 | E noosa@gregorlewis.com.au | W www.gregorlewis.com.au