Saturday, July 31, 2010


From 27th July until 29th September 2010 all our London properties are offering A Royal Day Out package that includes tickets to see behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace. You'll tour the Royal Mews, see the amazing wealth of paintings in the Queen's Gallery and experience the stupendous State Rooms, lavishly furnished with some of the greatest art treasures from the Royal Collection. At The Egerton House Hotel, The Milestone and The Chesterfield Mayfair, we also have our Enchanted Palace package, available until 31st December, that gives another fascinating insight into the lives and loves, secrets and scandals of those for whom Kensington Palace was home. See stunning installations featuring famous fashion designers and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, Diana's gowns, the bedroom where Victoria learnt she was to be Queen, and much more. Royal Day Out - prices from £185.00 per night excl. VAT for two adults sharing a Classic Double Room.Enchanted Palace - prices from £206.00 per night excl. VAT for two adults sharing a Classic Double Room.

ur Discover Guernsey package at The Old Government House Hotel and Spa provides the perfect opportunity to experience the delights of this charmingly unspoilt island with its wealth of history and heritage.The setting, with its breathtaking coastline, winding country lanes and relaxed way of life, is truly idyllic, while the hotel itself makes for the perfect escape, with an irresistible combination of sweeping sea views, exemplary service, delicious cuisine and its own relaxing spa and pool. With two day car hire included, you can explore the island at your own pace. Combined travel and hotel packages also available.Discover Guernsey - prices from £276.00 per night for two adults sharing a Classic Double Room for a minimum of two nights. Travel and hotel packages from £329.00 per person for two nights.

Delicious discoveries await you at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa with our intriguing Adventures in Food package.Guests are invited to experience the ancient art of food foraging (searching the seashore and hedgerows for free edible delights) with renowned expert John Wright, featured in the TV show River Cottage. John will guide guests throughout the day, then our award-winning chef Steven Titman, will work his magic to transform these delicacies into a mouth-watering dinner to delight the palate, accompanied by wines from the exceptional cellar created by our world famous sommelier, Eric Zwiebel.Adventures in Food - prices from £385.00 per night incl. VAT for two adults sharing a Classic Double Room for two nights. Selected dates available.

The magnificent, unique locations of each of our three five-star hotels offer their guests a window into the culture, history, heritage and natural beauty of South Africa; the rainbow nation!Choose from The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the towering mountains, The Oyster Box, the Grand Dame of Umhlanga Rocks near Durban, and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat in the Western Cape, voted Best Hotel in the World. Guests will receive an extra luxurious night with our compliments, when staying four nights or more until 30th September 2010! With an offer like this you might be tempted to visit them all and enjoy three very different experiences offered by this amazingly rich and diverse destination.One More Night - prices from ZAR 1,938.75 per night incl. tax for two adults sharing a Classic Double Room for four nights.

For the seventh consecutive year guests at Hotel d'Angleterre will have the pleasure of discovering the exciting flavours of northwest India. Five chefs from the Michelin starred Tamarind Restaurant in London will be flown over especially to prepare acclaimed Executive Chef Alfred Prasad's finest selection of modern Indian delicacies for a two-week extravaganza between 26th July and 6th August 2010.With the tantalising Tamarind package guests can enjoy an enchanting Indian evening then retire to a luxurious room with with spectacular views across Lake Geneva to Mont Blanc.Tamarind - prices from CHF 670.00 per night incl. tax for two adults sharing a Classic Double Room for one night.

Discover the cultural delights of Palm Beach's two most renowned cultural attractions, the Norton Museum of Art and the Flagler Museum and Mansion, followed by an evening at The Chesterfield Palm Beach, complete with Romantic Interlude Dinner with the Nights and the Museums package.The Norton is internationally known for its distinguished permanent collection featuring American, Chinese, European and Contemporary art, as well as Photography. The Flagler, a spectacular Gilded Age mansion built by larger-than-life industrialist Henry Flagler who epitomised the energy and vision which made America what it is today.Nights and the Museums - prices from $246.00 per night excl. tax for two adults sharing a Superior Queen Room for one night.Whether you're spoiling a loved one or thanking a friend nothing is more welcome than Red Carnation Gift Experience Vouchers - you're treating them to splendid luxury and exceptional service at one of our uniquely desirable family-run hotels.Choose from a tempting selection of experiences such as food and wine discovery evenings in Dorset with one of the world's finest Sommeliers, traditional afternoon teas, relaxing and rejuvenating spa days in South Africa, romantic getaways for two in London, monetary vouchers to spend when visiting a hotel - and much more.Our gift vouchers are beautifully presented with a personalised voucher and brochure wallet which can be sent directly to the recipient by post, email or can be purchased within our hotels.

250ml corn or glucose syrup250g granulated sugar 1 tablespoon white vinegar1 tablespoon baking soda, sieved1 litre vanilla ice creamDissolve the syrup, sugar and vinegar over a medium heat. Turn the heat up high and boil until the syrup turns to a light caramel colour.Take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda, then pour the mix into a high-sided baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Leave to cool and harden. Do not refrigerate! Once hardened, this brittle, crunchy slab becomes your honeycomb base.Slightly soften the vanilla ice cream in a chilled ceramic bowl. Carefully break the honeycomb slab into various sizes, none more than 2cm square, and quickly fold half into the ice cream mould or back into the original ice cream container and freeze again. Keep the remaining honeycomb in an air tight container for topping when serving.A Life in Food, Beatrice Tollman's celebration of recipes from our family to yours is available to order now.Experience the best Red Carnation Hotels has to offer and indulge yourself at any one of our thirteen five and four star family-run boutique hotels around the globe.Win one of five Red Carnation Gift Experience Vouchers and choose one of many unique moments from a wide assortment of luxurious treats. It could be an Afternoon Tea for two at our award winning Milestone Hotel in London, a romantic overnight stay overlooking Lake Geneva or a Spa treatment at The Twelve Apostles, the choice really is yours!Simply visit our competition page and choose the gift experience from the hotel you'd most like to visit and we will then enter your name in the draw to win one of five vouchers. For a little inspiration visit our Gift Experience page. Please note travel is not included.

From the Red Carnation Hotel Group



Could I ever forget standing on a bouncing boat deck within a stone's throw of the mighty Niagara Falls as it plunged onto the rocks ahead of our seemingly flimsy craft? NO, NEVER.

As we approached what must be one of the wonders of the world, I clutched at my billowing blue plastic rain cape and tried to drag the hood, streaming with water, over my head. In a vain attempt to prevent further water gushing down the front of my blouse and into my bra, I squeezed the plastic together around my neck. My shoes were filled with water. Each time I moved my feet there was a loud sucking squelch. Hair, like sodden rats tails whipped around my face. It was like being out in a blustering gale with a violent rainstorm in progress.

Ahead of me, all I could see was a sheet of white foaming water. Just inches from my face a vaporous mass rose eerily from the foot of the Falls. Swirling churning waves crashed around our little boat as we approached ever closer. The booming roar of sound was deafening.Then suddenly, out of the whirling maelstrom of water and mist, our guide's voice, like a pronouncement from the underworld - he was using a loudspeaker for there would be no other way to hear him - boomed out across our heads. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WITNESS THE NIAGARA FALLS.

For a moment, we the humbled onlookers were struck silent by the imminent death-dealing vision that confronted us. And then, when it seemed that we were headed right into that foaming curtain, the ‘Maid of the Mist,’ like a majestic queen, turned slowly and moved without haste into more peaceful waters.

Within minutes, with seagulls swooping and diving in an aerial ballet around our boat, all that remained of that awesome experience was a chemical after-taste from the water still dripping from my hair.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Toronto, ON (July 13, 2010) -- Travelling on the island of Ireland has just gotten even easier and more affordable thanks to the extension of the Golden Trekker initiative into Northern Ireland. Launched July 1, Tourism Ireland is helping Canadians over the age of 66 travel by rail in Northern Ireland for FREE thanks to the Translink NI Railway’s Golden Trekker Smartcard scheme.

“Tourism Ireland is thrilled to help bring Canadian passengers into Northern Ireland where they can explore the many wonders of the region”, says Jayne Shackleford, Manager of Tourism Ireland in Canada. “This is just one more of the many reasons why 2010 is the perfect year to visit Ireland.”

To avail of the Northern Ireland rail pass, passengers must call the dedicated toll-free hotline and provide a Tourism Ireland agent with their first and last name, date of birth, passport number or National Identity Card number, number of warrants, Golden Trekker Pass commencement date, country of residence and email address. Passes must be booked a minimum of 48 hours before the traveller’s arrival in Ireland and travellers will receive a Golden Trekker confirmation number from their Tourism Ireland agent once the booking is processed.

Upon arrival in Ireland, passes can be picked up by presenting the Golden Trekker confirmation document and Passport/National Identity Card at the Translink NI Railway station specified when the pass was originally booked. Each pass is valid for seven consecutive days from first use with each traveller being allowed a maximum of two passes (for a total number of 14 days of travel per passenger; passes must be booked by September 30, 2010; all travel must be completed by October 21, 2010).

Travellers can call Tourism Ireland’s consumer hotline at 1 800 SHAMROCK (7426 7625) or email to book a pass for the republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

From now until December 17th. No stay restrictions. All stays include complimentary beach lounge chairs, Continental Breakfast, cable TV, wifi and maid service. NO resort fees.
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For the environmentally conscious traveler, Grenada is the perfect vacation option with many hiking trails, pristine beaches, rainforests, waterfalls and sustainable activities to take-part in.

One of the gems of the Caribbean, Grenada is a part of the Windward Islands, located about 100 miles north of Venezuela. The temperature on the Island ranges from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit year round. With its unique vegetation, topography and diverse wildlife, the country has gone to great lengths to protect this stunning natural environment.

“As Grenadians, we are extremely proud of our beautiful and sustainable island,” said William Joseph, Director of Tourism for the Grenada Board of Tourism. “I hope that visitors take the opportunity to experience the diversity of Grenada, from its lush rainforests and secluded beaches to its natural waterfalls.”

The development in Grenada has been unobtrusive; none of the Island’s hotels (that are all family owned with no large hotel chains on the Island) exceed the height of the palm trees, allowing for unobstructed views of the beaches and beautiful surroundings.

One ninth of the land mass is dedicated to wildlife sanctuaries and rainforest parks.

If you are looking to discover beaches, you’ve come to the right spot. Dotted with small bays and inlets, Grenada and Carriacou are full of stunning white and black sand beaches and with over 40+ dive sites, it is home to some of the best diving in the Caribbean. The world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park can be found here and the sculptures that have been submerged have helped to regenerate marine life. For those looking for further active exploration and adventure there are many other options on land that exist.

Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve is one of the Island’s most popular locations for bird watching, hiking and trekking. Located in the interior of the Island, up in the mountains, the area is home to several ecological subsystems. Stop by the Grand Etang Lake during your visit to the park, located at 531 meters above sea level, it is a water-filled crater from one of the Island’s extinct volcanoes. During a visit to the Park you’re likely to see a variety of animals and species of birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see the mona monkey while hiking in the Grand Etang. This small primate was first introduced to Grenada from West Africa during the time of slavery. Hikes through Grand Etang can range in length from 15 minutes to a number of hours. Visit La Sagesse Nature Centre, on Grenada’s south-west coast, for some of the best bird watching on the island. The government protects the mangrove swamps found along the beaches of La Sagesse, in order to maintain their natural wildlife and vegetation.

For a different perspective, go river tubing and spend time floating down the Bathazar River, while taking in the lush vegetation as you glide along. For a truly unique experience, watch the majestic leatherback turtles as they lay their eggs on Levera Beach, a protected area from May to September. Turtle watching can be arranged through Ocean Spirits, a not-for-profit established in 1999 to protect Grenada’s turtles. For those looking to get outdoors and experience an island with so much on offer in terms of natural wonders, no other country can compare to Grenada, ‘the Spice of the Caribbean.’

 How to Get to Grenada from Canada: Grenada can be reached via Air Canada Vacations that operates a seasonal direct flight from Toronto to Grenada (Sunday departure with easy connections from major Canadian gateways available at from December until April. AC operates year round daily flights from Toronto to Barbados (Saturday & Sunday departure from Montreal) with connections on LIAT to Grenada. Caribbean Airlines operate regularly scheduled flights from Toronto to Barbados and Trinidad with connections on LIAT to Grenada. GG Tours operates a seasonal summer charter services from July through to September with a weekly direct flight from Toronto to Grenada, as well as Titan Tours West Jet operates a flight from Toronto to Barbados with connections on LIAT to Grenada year round.

Posted by Anne Gordon


Until September 6The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia has brought a new First Nations experience to downtown Vancouver’s Stanley Park, transforming a section of the park into Klahowya Village and the park’s miniature train into the "Spirit Catcher" train experience. "Klahowya" is a common and universal greeting that means ‘welcome,’ ‘how are you?’ or ‘goodbye’ in the Chinook Jargon of the Pacific Northwest. Attractions in Klahowya Village include a 40-foot teepee; a traditional canoe carving area (where a 20-foot canoe is being carved in the traditional Coast Salish style); a stage featuring daily Aboriginal performers (live dancing at noon, 2pm and 4pm); an artisan village with live demonstrations such as weaving and carving; a totem and sculpture park; and a food concession that includes Aboriginal fare such as BBQ salmon, bannock, pemmican and soapberry beverages. Admission to Klahowya Village is free, with the Spirit Catcher train costing just $11 for adults and $7 for children. The village will be open for visitors until September 6 with plans to be open again next summer.

This summer, The Fish House in Stanley Park is offering a special three-course Aboriginal-inspired "Klahowya Menu" in honour of the new Klahowya Village. Priced at $48 for three courses, the menu pays homage to the ingredients and cooking techniques used by the native peoples of this region. The menu, offered until September 6, includes a cold-smoked bison carpaccio appetizer (with mountain cranberry compote and pickled milkweed pods), a cedar-planked wild sockeye salmon main dish, and an elderberry swirl cheesecake for dessert. The meal can be paired with wines from British Columbia’s Nk’Mip Cellars, North America’s first Aboriginal owned and operated winery.
Thanks to the City of Vancouver’s street food pilot program (running July 31, 2010 to April 30, 2011), 17 new food-vending locations and concepts have been announced for Vancouver’s streets. The city received close to 800 applications with food offerings from an estimated 21 countries and cultural backgrounds. "We’ve got a world-class city and people want a world-class street food scene to match," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "As we head into the heart of the summer season and welcome visitors to Vancouver, our city will be more alive and inviting with the new foods vendors will bring to our streets," Mayor Robertson added. The city’s plan stipulates that vendors should begin operations by July 31, menu offerings should be nutritional and healthy, and vendors should have a plan to manage waste. While not all details are confirmed, options may include a dim sum cart, burritos, Southern BBQ and Korean food.
Five new bee hives have been created by the students of Emily Carr University of Art & Design and Capilano University’s IDEA Program for the 400,000 honeybees that reside in the Fairmont Waterfront’s rooftop garden. The art hives are entitled: Bee Dance (incorporating Coast Salish style and reminiscent of a ritual bee dance); Hive Amber (with an original concept of encasing a bee motif in amber); A Bee’s Experience (designed to echo an Emily Dickinson poem, an apple tree and the artist’s concept of the existence of bees); Flight of the Bumblebee (inspired by the intricate flight path of bees); and Beauty and the Bees (a creative take on a garden theme with bright florals). The Fairmont Waterfront anticipates over 600 pounds of honey will be produced by their bees for the 2010 season. Unlike many parts of the world where "colony collapse disorder" is a concern, the hotel’s resident bees are thriving. Guests of the hotel are invited to join weekly garden and hive tours conducted by the hotel’s director of housekeeping and resident beekeeper, Graeme Evans. The hotel’s rooftop garden has over 60 varieties of herbs, edible blooms, fruits and vegetables, and the hotel’s executive chef, Patrick Dore, harvests the fresh produce and honey for use in the hotel’s restaurant and bar. Guests can book a "Birds and the Bees" package that includes one night, breakfast, a honey-themed welcome amenity and a personalized herb garden/beehive tour. Package starts at $269, based on double occupancy.
National Geographic has named Vancouver in their "Top 10 Beach Cities" list. According to the magazine’s website, "Canada's most adventurous metropolis [Vancouver] is home to 10 beaches, from the family centric Jericho to the clothing-optional Wreck Beach, many of which offer commanding views of the Vancouver skyline and majestic North Shore Mountains." The magazine ranked Vancouver 10th after Barcelona, Cape Town, Honolulu, Nice, Miami, Rio, Santa Monica, Sydney and Tel Aviv.
British Columbia is blessed with an abundance of locally grown and produced fruit, vegetables, honey, meats, seafood, mushrooms, wine and craft beer. Local chefs, farmers, artisans and diners all value the importance of celebrating this local bounty. The following three festivals are just a sample of culinary events held during the harvest season.Lower Mainland Feast of Fields – August 29Feast of Fields is a gourmet wandering harvest festival and fundraiser that highlights the connection between farm folk, city folk and chefs. With wine glass and linen napkin in hand, visitors roam the farm sampling the best of British Columbia from chefs, vintners, brewers, farmers and food artisans from around the province. Tickets are $85 and must be purchased in advance (proceeds go towards the Farm Folk/City Folk Society). The event will be held at Wellbrook Winery on Bremner Farm in Delta from 1pm to 5pm.
Fort Langley Cranberry Festival – October 9Did you know that British Columbia is the third largest producer of cranberries in the world? The village of Fort Langley hosts the annual Cranberry Festival featuring cranberry vendors, live music, entertainment, prizes, a pancake breakfast, food vendors, a market, and a canoe regatta on the Bedford Channel. The festival is a free community event and is attended by approximately 15,000 to 20,000 visitors each year.
UBC Apple Festival – October 16 and 17The UBC Apple Festival celebrates one of British Columbia’s favourite fruits. Held at the University of British Columbia’s Botanical Garden each October, this is a family event for all ages. With many heritage, new, and "tried and true" varieties available, one of the most popular activities at the festival is apple tasting. For a $3 tasting fee, you can taste up to 60 varieties of apples, such as "Grimes Golden" and "Ambrosia". There are also demonstrations of grafting and cider-pressing, a children’s corner and the chance to enjoy apple pie, cider and other apple treats. Entrance fee is $2 for adults and free for anyone under 12.
September 9 to 19; September 23 to 26 (Pick of the Fringe)Most performances at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival are anything but mainstream. More than 80 groups from around the world present 600 shows over 11 days on a variety of indoor and outdoor stages (most of the venues are on Granville Island; however the festival takes over interteresting venues all around the city). The big attraction is that few, if any, of these works will make it to the big stages in town, so it’s best to get out and see them while you can. Following the main festival, catch the "Pick of the Fringe" from September 23 to 26 on Granville Island, a round-up of the festival’s most popular acts.
September 30 to October 15Both in terms of admissions and number of films screened (149,135 and 379 respectively in 2009), the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is one of the five largest film festivals in North America. VIFF screens films from 80 countries on 10 screens at four Vancouver theatres. The international line-up includes the pick of the world’s top film festivals and many undiscovered gems. There are three main things that make Vancouver’s film festival unique: 1) the largest selection of East Asian films outside of that region; 2) one of the biggest showcases of Canadian film in the world; and 3) a large and important non-fiction program (42 per cent of feature films were documentaries in 2009). Attracting a large, attentive and enthusiastic audience of film lovers, the festival remains accessible, friendly and culturally diverse. The full program will be available online as of September 12.

It feels more like an island retreat than a big city suburb. The tiny community of Deep Cove, built along the rugged shores of a Pacific Ocean inlet, is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. In that short drive, however, a cityscape of high-rises and busy streets gives way to snow-capped mountains, glacial fjords and a pristine and largely untouched wilderness.The town of Deep Cove itself is little more than a picturesque Main Street – complete with ice cream parlours and fish ‘n’ chips shops – and a small cluster of surrounding homes and apartments. The big draw is the waterfront. Main Street dead-ends at a grassy complex of parks bordering the calm blue waters of Indian Arm, a fjord that extends more than 20 kilometres into the Coast Mountains.Surrounding the small downtown are thousands of hectares of alpine forest, spilling down from mountain peaks to the shores of Indian Arm. Several trails wind their way into the wilderness, including a branch of British Columbia’s famous Baden-Powell trail that starts near town and climbs to a lookout point known as Quarry Rock. The hike takes 1.5 hours round-trip and offers stunning views.Another way to explore the area is by boat. Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak offers rentals by the hour or day, as well as lessons and guided tours. Out on the water, you can see seals, uninhabited islands, towering waterfalls spilling from the cliffs along the shore, and colonies of translucent jellyfish. Paddling up to a raging river, surrounded by nothing but pines, it’s hard to believe you’re a mere 13 kilometres from the city.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Located in Vancouver, one of Canada's loveliest cities, and within just a 10 minutes walk of each other are two world class hotels, both part of the Fairmont luxury hotel chain.

Like two beautiful sisters competing for the attention of suitors, the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel have equal but vastly differing attractions.

The Fairmont Vancouver Hotel has a dignified elegance that comes with age. With a vibrant history it is truly a cosmopolitan gathering place for people who enjoy and expect the best. Located at the very heart of the city its rooms are stylish and guests are indulged with a spa, a health club, restaurants and designer shops: Guicci, Louis Vuitton and Snowflake.

Different but equally attractive is the Fairmont Waterfront, a modern 'lass', all glitz, glass and glamour. Located on the waterfront and close to many of Vancouver's tourist attractions its views of the mountains and the harbour are stunning.

Each of the hotels has a mascot. Mavis, resident at the Fairmont Vancouver, is a pampered and petted cream Lab. She wanders at will through the public rooms eliciting love and attention from all who meet her. Guests are encouraged to take her for walks, but signing her out is part of the deal. Holly, also a cream Lab, is the Fairmont Waterfront mascot. Her function is to Meet and Greet all arriving guest and this she does with admirable flair adding a homey feel to a grand establishment.

Having teamed up with the Vancouver Aquarium to attract more butterflies to the city, the Fairmont Vancouver is presently planting up all its window boxes with butterfly attracting plants. Vancouver was once home to 185 different species of butterflies and 'Project Butterfly' has been set up to attract these beautiful and useful insects back into the downtown area.

At the Fairmont Waterfront on one of the upper levels close to the swimming pool is a herb garden. In parterred gardens edged with neatly trimmed box hedges, lavender, basil, alpine strawberries chocolate mint, calendula and other fragrant delights grow in bushy splendour. Espaliered apples weave their way across a lattice fence. Shannon Walsh-Wrightson who hails from New Zealand is the hotel's very popular Executive Chef and this is his garden. To sample his culinary talents a gourmet meal in 'Herons Restaurant is an absolute must. The favourite quote of this extremely tall and handsome man is “Assumption is the mother of all screw ups”. His height, I am told, interfered with his original plan to become an F16 pilot and what he likes best about his job is “Invitations to wine tastings and Thomas Hass chocolate samples”. too.

When visiting Fairmont Waterfront guests can sign up for an Eagle Safari. Individual safaris arranged in partnership with Canadian Outback Adventures are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the end of November through to mid-February. This is prime time for eagle watching and following a trip down the Squamish River, visitors have seen up to 3,000 bald eagles in a day. For groups of 4 or more, safaris can be arranged during the week. Costs only C$459 (US$413) plus tax. Includes one night's accommodation for 2 in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel together with a buffet breakfast, binoculars, transportation and the Eagle Safari. For reservations call 1-800-441-1414.

For more information about the Fairmont Hotels visit


Located just 7 miles from the city of Jaipur, the 11th century Amber Fort is one of Rajasthan's most fascinating historic attractions. In my opinion it ranks in beauty and atmosphere with the most impressive sites that Rajasthan has to offer.
Surrounded by the Aravalli hills this massive stone structure served in the 16th century as a pleasure palace for maharajas returning from battle. In its tranquil Persian inspired gardens the battle weary warriors recouped their energies for further campaigns.
Like the maharajas of old, approaching the upper reaches of this fort through seven fortified gates, riding on the back of a painted, caparisoned elephant, is an experience that one is not likely to forget. On the towering walls surrounding the fort, Hanuman monkeys clutching infants to their breasts, perch in casual abandon. On the banks of the lake far below colourfully dressed Indian women gather on the ghat to wash their clothes. In another direction meticulously laid out spice gardens on raised platforms in the lake tempt the viewer to investigate further.
One should not be deceived by the fort's forbidding exterior. Its interior is filled with treasure and beauty. On a visit my husband, James, and I were invited into the maharaja's bedroom where a massive four-poster bed dominated a space that resembled a jewelled cave. Every inch of the walls and ceiling were covered in tiny mirrors.
Our guide, a wizened old Indian man, lit a lantern then the candles on the posts at each corner of the bed.After a story about the maharajah who once claimed this room as his own, the old man grasped the lantern, then swinging it to and fro sang in a tremulous high voice that well-loved nursery rhyme. “Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are......”We stood entranced, and I must admit powerfully moved by the song and the beauty as each of thousands of tiny mirrors caught the moving light of candles and lantern, twinkling like stars in that magical room.


Today Granville Island in Vancouver (Canada) is a vastly different place to what it was in the early 1900s. A century ago the island was largely industrial, dominated by sawmills and factories. Today it is the venue for a public market that supplies the locals with mountains of fruit and vegetables, home-baked cakes and pastries, German sausage, fresh and potted flowers, bread, a huge variety of cheeses, and of course fish fresh from the oceans around Vancouver. We wandered through the market on a Saturday morning and ended up sitting in the sun under a parasol munching on hot dogs dripping with mustard and tomato ketchup while being entertained by a raucous busker. Close-by yachts and motor boats drifted past while thousands, it seemed, lolled in the sun enjoying a Saturday out on the town.Granville Island Market is not just a place for food shoppers. There is a Kid's Market designed specifically to entertain and entice the young, A South American flute player with his tiny children rolling about at his feet, held me in thrall with an unbelievably haunting rendition of South American folk music. An African American woman belted out gospel in a tiny space flanked on one side by Gorgonzola Stuffed Olives and on the other by a stand displaying a Double Chocolate Cheesecake. Galleries devoted to the arts and crafts of all nations pulled in collectors. And mingling with the crowds, clowns got up to their usual mischief.The Granville Island Market is at 1689 Johnston Street, Granville Island, Vancouver.
From Anne at 'World Travel with Anne'


Throughout the summer England's folk dancers, the ‘Morris Men’, can be seen in cities and villages across the land celebrating a tradition that goes back centuries.On this particular morning, mingling with crowds, the men are dressed in traditional costume; white embroidered smocks and trousers, heavy boots or clogs with jingling bells around their legs. Headgear - depending on which dance group they belong to - are floppy felt hats, 'bowlers', black top hats and straw hats, each encircled with garlands of fresh lilac, daffodils, peach blossom and summer roses. For extra flourish, pheasant or peacock feathers are mixed in with the flowers.A musician strikes up a tune on his fiddle; an impromptu dance by the Morris Men, handkerchiefs waving, bells jingling, sets off a rhythmic hand-clapping. Beside me, 'Jack in the Green', a time-honoured figure who accompanies the Morris Men on their dances, stands motionless. I sense that I am under scrutiny. The man is invisible beneath a tree-shaped arrangement of netting woven with fresh-picked greenery. I lift my camera to photograph and am startled by a voice that comes from deep within the foliage, “When am I going to see the photos you took of us last time Anne Gordon?” Pushing the leaves aside I peer into the dappled shade of a leafy hide-out. It is Peter Lund, a professor from Oxford University who has loaned me a book on the history of the Morris Dancers. He laughs at my astonishment.But life is not always so amusing for the Morris dancers. One group I know of, was sued because an over zealous dancer, carried away by the moment, whacked one of the onlookers with an inflated pig's bladder. I doubt that he caused much harm, but in today’s litigious society, restitution was demanded and the group subsequently crumbled under the resultant debt.
From Anne with 'World Travel with Anne'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


A splash of brilliance beneath cloud covered mountains, Lahaina, Maui's favourite tourist village with over 2 million visitors a year occupies a sheltered shoreline on the leeward coast of the island.

Overlooking a harbour once crowded with whaling ships is the Pioneer Inn. Built in 1901 by George Freeland, a Canadian Mountie, the Inn is one of Lahaina's oldest and best known buildings. Just a few steps from its front door visitors can board the daily ferry to the islands of Lanai and Molokai, join a group for sport fishing or snorkelling, embark on a whale watching cruise, or set off on an underwater adventure in a submarine.

Arrayed with a fascinating collection of whaling memorabilia and a sign from its more riotous days instructing guests that “Women is not allow in you room” and “If you burn you bed you going out”, the Inn's public rooms provide a glimpse into Lahaina's historic past.

A close look at the stairway leading to the upper floors reveals a small peephole on one of the steps. In bygone days gamblers and the local ladies of ill repute going each going about their business in a den beneath the stairs, had a lookout posted at the peephole to alert them to incipient raids.

In this same Inn, during the filming of a Hollywood extravaganza many years ago, a romantic twosome, Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn, shared a quaint old-fashioned bedroom with a glorious view across the watery 'Lahaina Road' to the island of Molokai. Earlier still, in 1906 ex Queen Liliuokalani – deposed by the American government – paid a visit to Lahaina and she too stayed in the Pioneer Inn.

In spite of the Inn's upmarket image there are still those mouth-dropping moments when a man, not too long ago, rode into the bar on horseback and demanded a drink, only to be removed for being drunk and disorderly.

Pioneer Inn Reservations: 1 800 457 5457, e-mail:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


TORONTO (July 26, 2010) – Looking for a great deal on autumn travel? Fall to Barbados is the perfect reason to escape to this lush Caribbean island – offering travelers a destination rich in history, culture, food, music, and a passion for living life to its fullest. Now through August 15, 2010, book an experiential Barbados vacation for travel between September 1 and December 18, 2010. The Fall to Barbados package is guaranteed to leave memories that last a lifetime, without breaking the bank. For more information and to book visit,

This special package invites visitors to customize vacations directly with their travel agent, selecting options from a full range of the very best hotels, attractions and activities available on island. Fall to Barbados offers a truly unforgettable Caribbean experience at an exceptionally low rate, proving there has never been a better time to visit Barbados.

Visitors on the Fall to Barbados program can take advantage of the following:

Booking credit of up to CDN $300* per booking
Complimentary breakfast daily at participating EP Hotels
Buy one and get 2nd at 25% or more off at participating ground activities
One free day car rental on minimal 3-day rental
One Barbados Gourmet Card - 20% off at participating restaurants - per booking
*Per Booking Credit - $150, $200 or $300 (depending on hotel).

Further information on the 2010 Fall to Barbados package and a list of participating hotels, restaurants and attractions can be found at or by calling the Barbados Tourism Authority at 1(800) 268-9122. For reservations, consumers should contact their preferred travel agent.

Getting there:

Air Canada offers seven direct flights weekly from Toronto to Barbados and one direct flight a week from Montreal. Flights are on sale at

WestJet has service to Barbados with five non-stop flights weekly from Toronto. Book online at

About Barbados
The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes, including The Crane beach, St. Philips, voted one of the world’s sexiest beaches for 2008 by Barbados is the first and only Zagat-rated Caribbean island with numerous internationally renowned chefs who masterfully put signature spins on local delicacies and traditions. Barbados is also an ideal stage for world-class events and has hosted numerous athletic championships, including the ICC Cricket World Cup Final 2007 and the 2006 PGA World Golf Championship-The Barbados World Cup. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas to quaint bed and breakfasts to award-winning five-star resorts. The newly renovated Grantley Adams International Airport offers even more non-stop and direct service from a growing number of U.S. cities via newly-launched Jet Blue, American Airlines, Delta and US Airways, making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean. Barbados was voted #8 in the World by Trip Advisor’s ‘2008 Travelers Choice Destination Awards’ in its Top 100 Destinations category. Follow the Barbados beat and catch up on the latest news via the Barbados Facebook page at and Twitter at For more information on travel to Barbados, visit, or contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at 1.800.221.9831.


Media contact:
Dagmara Grabowski
Weber Shandwick
(416) 642-7904

Celebrity Chefs Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai and Tim Love to Headline November Festival

Toronto, ON (May 24, 2010) – In partnership with Travel + Leisure, FOOD & WINE, Departures and Executive Travel magazines, the Barbados Tourism Authority today unveils November 19-22, 2010 as the dates for its first annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival. The four-day epicurean festival will feature culinary masters Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai and Tim Love who will travel to the Caribbean island of Barbados to provide first-hand cooking demonstrations and sessions for locals and visitors alike. Full festival details and travel packages to be announced in early June. For more information visit

The culinary capital of the Caribbean and the only Caribbean island to be Zagat-rated, Barbados provides an ideal epicurean stop for the coveted Food & Wine festival which will be hosted by Travel + Leisure magazine’s Features Editor Niloufar Motamed and will have wine seminars curated by Ray Isle, FOOD & WINE wine editor and wine expert Anthony Giglio.
In addition, celebrity chef and head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series “Top Chef” Tom Colicchio will be joined by culinary superstars Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai and Tim Love, as well as local Barbadian culinary talent bringing their collective expertise to the masses through chef demonstrations, tasting events and interactive sessions.
“The Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival provides an ideal platform to showcase our island’s gastronomic excellence,” said David M. Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Authority. “We are honored to partner with American Express Publishing and to welcome some of the industry’s leading chefs and wine experts to our beautiful island to participate in this world-class culinary event.”
The eastern-most of the Caribbean islands, and situated outside the traditional hurricane belt, Barbados was formed by the collision of the Atlantic crystal and Caribbean plates, which created a volcanic eruption to create this country of contrasts; from serene Caribbean waters and coral beaches for sunbathers and swimmers to an Atlantic coastline ideal for surfers and sailors. A truly authentic Caribbean destination, mixing European sophistication and culture with nature and heritage sites, culinary excellence, and romance, offering small and affordable guest houses, luxurious villas, all-inclusive resorts, family-friendly hotels, and boutique escapes – there is definitely something for everyone in Barbados.

About Barbados
The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes, including The Crane beach, St. Philips, voted one of the world’s sexiest beaches for 2008 by Barbados is the first and only Zagat-rated Caribbean island with numerous internationally renowned chefs who masterfully put signature spins on local delicacies and traditions. Barbados is also an ideal stage for world-class events and has hosted numerous athletic championships, including the ICC Cricket World Cup Final 2007 and the 2006 PGA World Golf Championship-The Barbados World Cup. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas to quaint bed and breakfasts to award-winning five-star resorts. The newly renovated Grantley Adams International Airport offers non-stop and direct service from a Toronto daily on Air Canada and 9 times weekly in the winter and 2 flights weekly out of Montreal. WestJet commenced service November 2, 2009 with 5 flights weekly via Toronto. Barbados was voted #8 in the World by Trip Advisor’s ‘2008 Travelers Choice Destination Awards’ in its Top 100 Destinations category. Follow the Barbados Beat and catch up on the latest news via the Barbados Facebook page at and Twitter at For more information on travel to Barbados, visit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


On our last evening on Kangaroo Island off the coast of Australia, we stopped off at the small village of Kingscote for the nightly feeding of the pelicans. At exactly 5 pm John, a self-appointed pelican feeder, pulled up beside the rocky shoreline in his small ute (truck) accompanied by a powerful aroma of fish. For nine years, rain, hail and shine, John has fed the pelicans with a dedication to be admired.

Dressed in a sloppy sweater, he donned long waterproof fisherman's pants and slapped a squashed partially brimmed greasy hat on his head. “We don't want any unpleasant surprises even if it is supposed to be lucky,” he quipped in his Aussie drawl. Carrying his pails laden with powerfully odorous fish down to the waters edge, he dodged impatient seabirds as they dive-bombed him in their hurry to feed.

Just then, looking up I was amazed to see huge flocks of pelicans sweeping in over the cliffs at the edge of the bay. With their legs tucked neatly under them they approached, then dived like guided missiles straight into the feeding circle.

As the 'guests' arrived for dinner, clouds of gulls swooped in to take fishy chunks from John's outstretched hand. He entertained us with an amusing and occasionally ribald commentary while a group of pelicans like well-bred ladies stood in a row in front of him waiting their turn to feed. Others, impatient, snatched and grabbed. As far as they were concerned John's rubber-gloved fingers were part of the meal.

It is not surprising that this captivating show has earned John an international reputation. Letters from all over the world addressed simply to 'John, the Pelican Man, Australia' arrive on his doorstep regularly.


Built in 1604 in the Loire Valley in France, the Chateau de Cheverny has been occupied for six centuries by the same family. The Orangerie on the estate was the hiding place during World War 11 for many of France's art treasures including the Mona Lisa.

Today one of Cheverny's most popular attractions are the seventy hounds kept at the chateau for stag hunting. The dogs are a cross between the English Foxhound and the French Poitou, their main assets are their large feet and endurance. The dog's 5 pm feeding time each day is a macabre but fascinating spectacle. Trained to obey by experts, these dogs can stand within feet of a mound of odorous meat, and although very vocal, will not touch the feast until given the word. The hound masters responsible for caring for the dogs know each canine's name and they have absolute control over what is an excitable pack with a killer instinct.

Stag hunting is a popular sport in France. The National Forestry allows the cull of 30 animals each year at Cheverny. Needless to say the French are delighted about the ban on hunting in the United Kingdom and they are more than happy to host the wealthy English hunters.

Visit for more information