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Items filtered by date: January 2018

A Danube River Cruise

  • Published in Travel

IDEAL FOR: Music lovers, cultural trips

Sail through the Heart of Europe

The Danube River cuts through the cultural heartland of Central Europe, originating in Germany’s Black Forest and flowing 1,720 miles through nine other countries before pouring into the Black Sea.

The former frontier of the Roman Empire and a key medieval trade route, the river is strung with historic towns and grand Habsburgian cities, and winds through landscapes of vineyard-planted hills, pastoral meadows and craggy mountains. In this neck of the woods, fairytale castles and storybook villages are ten a penny. And there’s no better way to see it all than from the water.

Danube River cruises combine the calm tranquility of a life in a slow lane with a chance to see all the local highlights. Frequent stops will take in some of Europe’s finest Baroque streetscapes, imperial palace complexes and art collections. Perhaps the biggest cultural draw is the region’s remarkable musical heritage, with classical music icons such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Brahms and Johann Strauss II (the composer of The Blue Danube waltz) connected to this part of the world. When you have had your fill of culture, you can retire to the comfort and quiet of your private cabin.

DO.
Walk in the footsteps of musical virtuosos in Vienna
See the gold and chandelier-adorned interior of the State Opera House and visit composer Bartók’s former home in Budapest
Visit the impeccably restored Melk Abbey, a UNESCO-listed Baroque complex
Explore photogenic Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and a key filming location for The Sound of Music 
Take a walking tour around the charming cobbled lanes of Prague

STAY.

Located in Prague’s picturesque Malá Strana (Lesser Town) district, just a six-minute walk from Charles Bridge, the Nicholas Hotel Residence has just nine rooms and suites. It’s located within an old Rococo palace and though the interior has been given a modern makeover, period features such as timber beams, oak floors and vaulted ceilings, ensure it retains its historic charm.

EAT.

If you think Hungarian cuisine is all hearty peasant fare, be prepared to be surprised at Michelin-starred Onyx in Budapest. The restaurant delivers refined, updated twists on Hungarian specialties, such as goose liver and oxtail consommé, and offers a wonderful wine menu with lots of interesting regional selections.

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A PANTIEL EXCLUSIVE

Sip aperitifs, enjoy dinner and attend a classical concert in a private Viennese neoclassical palace that isn’t open to the general public.


These are only suggestions. We’ll tailor everything to suit your individual interests, budget and schedule.

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An Introduction to India

IDEAL FOR: Culture, sightseeing, foodies

Tour Astonishing India

One of Asia’s largest countries (second only in size to China), India can be as intimidating as it is fascinating, particularly for first-time visitors.

From corn-gold sand beaches to the ice-hatted Himalayan peaks, tiger-inhabited forests to expansive dune-filled deserts, India encompasses an incredible variety of landscapes. It’s also got a wealth of man-made wonders, from ancient temple complexes to colonial-era palaces, bustling bazaars to cutting-edge architectural marvels. Plus, it’s home to an incredibly rich array of people, religions and cultures, each with their own unique traditions, customs, cuisines and beliefs.

On this introductory tour, travelers can put logistical issues aside and focus on getting to know some of the key destinations in this one-of-a-kind country.


DO.
Find remnants of fallen kingdoms in the people-packed megacities of Delhi and Mumbai
Observe worshippers taking a dip at the ghats of the Ganges River in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi
See vestiges of the once-mighty Mughal Empire – including the majestic Taj Mahal – in Agra
Browse Jaipur markets where vendors sell the city’s distinctive bright blue pottery
Float around the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola near the romantic, lake-dotted and palace-littered city of Udaipur

STAY.

Samode Haveli is a peaceful bolthole, hidden away in the heart of the walled city of Jaipur. Spread across a 200-year-old townhouse complex, the hotel has a series of heritage-style rooms. Alcoves and cozy nooks abound and the gorgeous gardens features spouting fountains and hushed courtyards where, in warm weather, guests can dine by candlelight.

EAT.

Indian-born chef Vineet Bhatia takes the reigns at the sea-facing Ziya restaurant in the Oberoi Hotel at Mumbai’s Nariman Point. Bhatia’s team prepare delectable dishes such as grilled ginger-chili lobster and succulent, slow-cooked raan (leg of lamb).

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A PANTIEL EXCLUSIVE

Navigate Mumbai’s legendary street food scene during a private tour with a knowledgeable local guide.


These are only suggestions. We’ll tailor everything to suit your individual interests, budget and schedule.

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An In-Depth Tour of New Zealand

  • Published in Jets

IDEAL FOR: Active vacation, adventure, culture

An Active Break with Breathtaking Scenery

New Zealand may be relatively small, but it punches well above its weight when it comes to visitor attractions. Many of its greatest charms are completely natural, with its dramatic mountainous landscapes, diverse array of wildlife and miles of rugged coast proffering endless bounty for adventurous travelers. Kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, caving, skydiving, bungee-jumping and swimming with dolphins are just a few of the energetic pursuits on offer.

But the urban areas have their allure too, with the historic sites of Christchurch and the multicultural museums of Wellington offering a welcome change of pace. Meanwhile, a guided tour of a Maori village such as Tamaki or Whakarewarewa will take in a host of traditional cultural events and offer a glimpse of yet another dimension to this country’s irresistible character.

DO.
Hike mountain trails that wind past striking glacial lakes in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Spot sperm whales and swim with seals in Kaikoura
Explore the rich cultural and natural history of the Waipoua Forest with a tour led by an expert Maori guide
Take to the wine trail in the country’s vineyard capital, Marlborough
Dine out in the country’s capital city and burgeoning foodie hub, Wellington

STAY.

Hulbert House is a boutique hotel in the heart of Queenstown that brings a colorful twist to classic Victorian style interiors. Elaborately patterned carpets clash with bright flocked wallpaper, while every bedroom is set off with lavish upholstery and a jumbled – but exquisite – array of antique ornaments. Take in great views of lovely Lake Wakatipu from the patio.

EAT.

One establishment that’s been a mainstay of Wellington’s rapidly expanding dining scene for years is the elegant Logan Brown. Housed in a grand listed building, it’s the ideal setting for sampling simple dishes based on locally sourced game and seafood.

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A PANTIEL EXCLUSIVE

Charter a yacht and set sail for the Bay of Islands, where dolphins play along the coastlines of 140 subtropical islands known for their unspoiled beaches.

 

These are only suggestions. We’ll tailor everything to suit your individual interests, budget and schedule.

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AN ARCTIC ADVENTURE

  • Published in Art

IDEAL FOR: Adventure, summer break, wildlife-watching

Embark on the Icy Adventure of a Lifetime

One of the world’s last remaining true frontiers, the Arctic is as enigmatic as they come. But with warming weather patterns threatening this icy region, it is a place to see now rather than later – before it changes irrevocably.

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A Taste of Morocco - A Culinary Tour

IDEAL FOR: Foodies, sightseeing


Discover Mouthwatering Moroccan Flavors

Eating in Morocco is an adventure for the palate. The country’s cuisine is a true mélange, incorporating Arab, Berber, West African and Mediterranean influences. Spices, such as cumin, cinnamon, saffron and perhaps most famously ras el hanout (a spice blend for which many Moroccan cooks have their own secret recipe) play a key role in mealtimes here. As do ceramic tagine pots, which are used to slow-cook meat until fall-apart tender. Accompaniments vary, but commonly include fluffy steamed couscous, khobz (a dense bread) or msmemen (a square-shaped pancake).

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A Private Island Escape

IDEAL FOR: Beach, winter sun, familes

Find your Private-Island Paradise

With its bleach-white sands, luminescent aqua waters and swaying palms, Fiji is pinch-yourself beautiful. There are 322 islands and 522 islets to choose from here, though it’s Fiji’s private island resorts that provide the ultimate away-from-it-all escape.

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A Flying Safari in Namibia

A Unique Vantage Point on a Spectacular Landscape

Though strikingly beautiful, Namibia’s landscapes can seem barren on first sight. In reality, though, even the driest desert plains here often throng with wildlife. It’s just a question of knowing where to look – and how to look. Because Namibia is so vast, the best way of seeing it is from the air. Indeed, some of its most breathtakingly gorgeous areas are almost inaccessible by any other means of transport.

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A Clipper Cruise of Croatia and Greece

IDEAL FOR: Summer sun, cruises

Sail the Med in a Vintage-Style Vessel

The perfect antidote to behemoth liners, smaller and more stylish clipper cruise ships not only allow you to dock at ports inaccessible to their colossal counterparts, but they also allow you to do so in style. Designed to resemble classic 19th-century tall ships, these fully-rigged vessels exude the charm of a bygone era of sailing.

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Cruise Ship Runs Into Southeast Asian Coral Reef

  • Published in Yachts

A cruise ship from British tourism company Noble Caledonia has plowed into a coral reef along the Indonesian island chain of Raja Ampat. The chain and its coral reef had previously been so pristine that it had been considered for a spot among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Now, an estimated 17,000 square feet of the reef has been damaged, and local officials say that it could take up to 10 years for the reef to fully recover. These officials have also stated that the cruise ship’s company should pay for the damage.    

    According to Noble Caledonia, the ship was caught in a low tide and needed a smaller tugboat to help the cruise ship get back in motion. Unfortunate, this caused more damage. The Research Center for Pacific Marine Resources, located at the University of Papua, helped investigate the incident, and noted that the tugboat could have avoided causing more damage by waiting for a high tide. Damage is estimated to cost $1.28-$1.92 million in repair efforts and loss of tourism.
So far in the investigation, researchers know that eight different coral reef groups have been damaged or affected. Coral reefs are incredibly biodiverse ecosystems, and the Raja Amat area is known to have some of the richest biodiversity in the world. The World Wildlife Foundation describes the area as “legendary among experienced scuba divers” and “the richest reef in the world”. Despite damaging an ecosystem with an estimated 10 times as many coral species as the Caribbean, the ship and its passengers sailed away largely unscathed.

    Investigations are still underway. Noble Caledonia has publicly stated that it will cooperate with the investigation, and will incorporate recommended changes into its operating procedures. No word yet if the World Wildlife Foundation’s can still incorporate “richest in the world” in its statement on the Raja Ampat coral reef.

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