Best Private Island Getaways (III)

Category: Travel Blog

Best Private Island Getaways (III)

For many travelers, their idea of a perfect vacation is a secluded spot away from the rest of the world. These vacationers prefer to be close to nature, isolation and utter relaxation. If this kind of destination appeals to you, we've picked out the best private island gateways. The following islands all have one thing in common: peace and quiet.


5. Best Private Island Gateways: Medjumbe Private Island— Mozambique

Set among the secluded islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, Medjumbe Private Island is the perfect getaway for those who love the outdoors. The exclusive retreat is comprised of just 13 thatched chalets all with beautiful ocean views. The diving in the warm Indian Ocean waters is ideal — the stunning coral reef and pristine marine environment are nearly undiscovered by the diving world. The Quirimbas Archipelago also offers some of the best game fishing in the world, with opportunities to hook Kingfish, Barracuda, Dorado, Queenfish, Serra, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna and Sailfish. Kayaking allows guests to glide with the local dolphins and watch the visiting whales from August to November. This beautiful country, full of rich cultural history, is one of the world's best-kept secrets. While the resort aims to fulfill the wishes of guests, they equally aim to fulfill the needs of the surrounding environment; the conservation of the indigenous environment, and the implementation of community development.


6. Best Private Island Gateways: Ometepe Island — Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua is one of the wonders of the Western Hemisphere. One hundred miles long and as much as 46 miles wide, it is the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Freshwater sharks and tuna, and the extremely rare sawfish swim in these waters. Out in the lake, accessible only by ferry, lies the magical island of Ometepe. The island is composed of two volcanoes and an isthmus that connects them. Trails up the volcanoes Conception and Madera lead the curious explorer through fields of plantains, sugar cane and coffee to a lush rainforest. Pre-Columbian petroglyphs and sculptures dot the island, reminding visitors of prior civilizations. There is also a cloud forest, one of the rarest ecosystems on earth, on Volcano Madera, and down in its caldera, a cold crater lake where the cries of howler monkeys echo out of the mists. Afterwards, spend some time on a beautiful island beach, relaxed and undisturbed except by the breeze in the palms.

Most Important Temples to Visit in China (V)

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Le Shan


Le Shan is the home of the world's largest Buddha, an incredible 233 feet (71m) high. Carved out of a cliff at the confluence of the Min and Dadu rivers, the statue depicts a seated Maitreya (future) Buddha; It was started by the monk Haitang in 713. 


Haitang began the project to subdue the currents where the rivers met and reputedly gouged out one (or both) of his eyes in order to convince donors of his sincerity. The project was eventually finished in 803, after Haitang's death. 


You can also visit Wuyou Temple and an archeology museum here.


Buses run to Le Shan from Chengdu (two hours) and Emei Shan (one hour).



Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Shuanglin Temple


A short bike ride (4.3 miles / 7km) away from Pingyao is this temple, most notable for its Song and Yuan dynasty statuary. In addition to all the bodhisattvas, arhats and guardians, there are also unusual statues here depicting common worshippers. 


The temple was originally founded in the 6th century; most of the buildings now date from the 16th century or later.

Best Hotels in Milan, Italy (IV)

A city like Milan offers hundreds of accommodations, ranging from hotels to hostels. Normally it should be no problem to find a place, except when a big fair is going on. In this series of the best hotels in Milan, Italy, we carefully selected a range of accommodations to meet your needs, and in general the not too expensive ones. We chose those that are rated by clients to be good value for money.


12. Hotel Felice Casati (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – Sleeping near the park)

This Best Western hotel is located north of the Giardini Pubblici, not far from the city center and from the main shopping areas. The hotel has recently renovated all 99 of its spacious rooms.

Facilities at Hotel Felice Casati include: international newspapers, free luggage storage, 24 hour concierge, car parking available 100 m from the Hotel with fixed rates and valet service, meeting facilities, free Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel, porter, smoking rooms, laundry / valet service, spa services nearby, terrace bar open from 6 until 11 pm, buffet breakfast, limited hours room.

All rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV, a minibar and coffee / tea preparation possibility.

You will get a 10% discount with the MilanoCard.


13. Hotel Major (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy)

The Hotel Major Best Western is located rather far out of city center, in the southeast direction past Porta Romana. It offers 60 soundproof rooms, with special business and family accommodations.

Facilities at Hotel Major include: internet Wi-Fi access in rooms and common areas, newspapers available in public areas, international TV channels, business point station with computer, scanner and printer, early breakfast buffet with coffee available from 5:00 am, fast check-out on request for quick departure and safes for laptops at reception.

All the rooms are equipped with satellite TV, minibar, individually adjustable air conditioning and hairdryer. 

You will obtain a 10% discount with the MilanoCard.


14. Hotel Ritter (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – A classic in the art district)

The 88-room Ritter Hotel is situated in the historic-artistic Brera district, only 10 minutes away from city center. 

The Ritter offers spacious rooms with a surface of over 16 square meters.

Services and facilities At Hotel Ritter include: direct-dial phone, color TV with satellite programs, pay-per-view TV, air-conditioning, mini-bar, safe, laundry service, elevator, garage, hair dryer, limousine service.

Discover the Secrets of South Beach, Miami

Don’t be daunted by the shirtless set — even foodies, art lovers, and band geeks can find their scene in Miami’s hottest district.


1. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: FLAGLER MEMORIAL ISLAND

Half a mile from South Beach, this three-acre, man-made island in Biscayne Bay has remained totally undeveloped, and is only reachable by private boat, Jet Ski, or, the best way, South Beach Kayak’s Fool Moon tour. On Saturdays closest to the full moon, kayakers embark on a sunset tour of the bay islands, ending with s’mores over a beach bonfire. Depart from Maurice Gibb


2. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: MONTY’S RAW BAR

With its no-frills tiki hut and plastic chairs, you’d never guess you were at the Miami Beach Marina, home to multimillion-dollar yachts. Have a cold one and a slice of key lime pie as you watch the boats set sail.


3. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: MY CEVICHE

Skip the long line at Joe’s Stone Crab for James Beard nominee Samuel Gorenstein’s fresh spin on seafood.

Despite the chef’s pedigree, it’s take-out or delivery only, so the best way to enjoy the ceviche (octopus, fish, or shrimp) is a picnic in nearby South


4. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Think South Beach is only about art deco? Step inside Florida International University’s design museum, where movements such as modernism and art nouveau are well represented in the 120,000 pieces of furniture, posters, and textiles from 1885 to 1945. And the onsite shop is a trove of usable gifts: retro cardboard suitcases, Mondrian-inspired boxes, or a USB drive based on the 1929 Wrestler statue in the lobby.


5. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: DAVID’S CAFE

Locals looking for a taste of old Miami amid the glitz swear by the Cuban sandwiches and cafés con leche at this 24-hour spot, opened by Cuban immigrants in 1977 in a former Jewish deli.


6. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: MIAMI BEACH SOUNDSCAPE

Next to Frank Gehry’s New World Center symphony hall is a two-and-a-half acre park that brings Mozart to the masses via its live Wallcast series: Select concerts are projected onto a 7,000-square-foot wall, while 167 speakers around the park mimic the sound inside the hall.


7. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: RIVIERA HOTEL SOUTH BEACH

This hotel, situated in an art deco building two blocks from the sand, added 50 rooms in May. A chic palette of dark hardwood floors, crisp white sheets, and tangerine accent pillows belie the great price point.


The World’s Most Unique Hotels (II)

Spend the night curled up like a hamster in a mound of straw beside your wheel or hunker down in an old prison with hardwood beds and spartan facilities. The trend for offbeat accommodation continues to grow. Travelers have become tired of the generic blandness of hotel rooms with their predictable layout and minibar. They demand something different. From luxury to deprivation, there is certainly plenty of variety in the unique hotel market. Let's take a look at a few of the more interesting options available around the world.



The World’s Most Unique Hotels: The Capsule Hotel


The Capsule Hotel on The Hague in the Netherlands definitely falls into the deprivation end of the unique hotel spectrum. The accommodation is a TEMP which is a totally enclosed propelled craft designed to be used by survivors of an oil-rig disaster. These little orange pods afloat The Hague have a quaint 70s Sci-Fi appeal but are definitely not for the claustrophobic. Each of the pods is a mere 12 square meters containing a simple hammock while the deluxe version has a toilet and a sheepskin throw. People seem to find bobbing about without a creature comfort appealing as the capsules are popular and the company is expanding further afield.



The World’s Most Unique Hotels: The Art Museum Hotel


Ever wanted to live within a work of art? Well now you can at the Art Museum Hotel in the Sicilian seaside village of Castel di Tusa, 20 kilometers from Cefalu. Twenty of the 40 rooms have been created by leading European contemporary artists fashioning the space from a variety of materials—wood, paper, copper—working with textures and color to make unique rooms. You can choose to change your mom each day to inhabit a new vision. Beyond the hotel's ultra modern interior is the sea and the old traditional architecture of the Sicilian village. The hotel has its own sculpture garden and the outdoor Regional Museum of Sculpture in nearby. This is an art lover's destination for sure.



The World’s Most Unique Hotels: The Huettenpalastin Berlin


Finally, for a whacky Berlin option try the Huettenpalastin Berlin. Here you can relive childhood camping trips within the spacious interior of an old modernist vacuum cleaner factory. Temperatures are kept balmy all year round, and you can bed down in a retro caravan with 'outdoor' dining table and barbecue. The Huetenpalast is the brain child of the Agency for Everything which nicely sums up the unique hotel ethos.




Top 10 Destinations in South America (I): Santiago, Chile

Ole! Besides salsa, sombreros and tequila, South America is a feast for one’s senses, with something for every kind of traveler. The continent is a patchwork of remarkable sceneries, with its snowcapped massifs, dangerous jungles, dreamlike deserts and spectacular mountain ranges, with many of its wonders remaining largely undiscovered.


South America offers rich experiences to travelers seeking natural wonders, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Any of these ten destinations would make a fascinating trip on its own, or you could combine some or all of them for a memorable tour.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Santiago, Chile


Santiago de Chile, the capital city of Chile, sits squarely within the central valley of the country.


Santiago makes an ideal winter holiday destination for ski lovers, thanks to Valle Nevado. With nearly 3,000 hectares of skiable domain, it’s the largest skiing spot in South America. If you're planning to travel to Santiago in summer, you can go hiking or do a picnic at the same location. Consider using the Mirador chairlift to take you all the way up to the top, where you can also sign up for more fun activities like horseback riding, going trekking with guides, and even rock climbing.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Santiago, Chile


Architecture lovers will fall head over heels for the city's neoclassical architecture, long winding streets decked with numerous art deco, neo-gothic and other famous style buildings. Start with the Plaza de Armas, the city's historic center, to view some of the best heritage architecture. Do not miss the National History Museum and the Central Post Office here. Take in a little bit of architecture and history together by paying a visit to Pablo Neruda's house in Santiago. If you want a little more of the poet, check out his houses in Valaparaiso and Isla Negro as well.


For the lazy holiday lovers, Santiago offers tours to hot springs at Banos Colina, the Fine Arts Museum, the bohemian Barrio Bellavista. The nightlife at Barrio Bellavista is best experienced in the many bars here, especially after midnight. You can even sample delicious late night street food in this area.


Top 10 Destinations in South America: Santiago, Chile


The best part about Santiago is its bicycle-friendly streets, so you can pedal all over the city to explore its culture.


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California (III)

Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, located in Southern California. If you’ve planned a tour of the Central California Coast, then Santa Barbara is definitely the best overnight destination. This articles series will reveal everything you need to know about lodging in Santa Barbara, California:


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: El Capitan Canyon Resort – Upscale camping by the beach


Want to commune with nature but don't want to pitch a tent? Sleep on comfy beds with linens and duvets in safari tents or cedar cabins, sprinkled along the banks of El Capitan Creek. 


The 300-acre site includes a pool, spa treatment area (book a massage beneath the oaks and sycamores), a market stocked with gourmet foods and hiking trails. El Capitan State Beach sits just below the resort near the mouth of the creek. 


On Saturday evenings, May through September, guests and visitors gather on the green for outdoor blues, jazz and bluegrass concerts. Admission is free to overnight guests; you can buy barbecue dinner for $18 per person ($12 per child). 


Traditional camping is available at the resort's sister property next door, Ocean Mesa Campground.



Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: El Encanto – Luxurious hillside hideaway


El Encanto dates back to 1915 and is one of Santa Barbara's most iconic and beloved properties. Over the decades, the peaceful retreat in a residential area in the hills above the Mission has welcomed many a celebrity, from Hedy Lamarr and President F.D. Roosevelt to Barbra Streisand and Prince Michael of Kent. Legions of locals have also come here to enjoy some of SB's most stunning views while dining and imbibing on the hillside terraces. 


Orient-Express, Ltd. purchased the 7-acre property in 2004 and poured more than $100 million to restore it to its original glory and then some. The 92 rooms and suites include two bungalow types: Craftsman and Mission. 


Stroll along paths through the colorful gardens, hang out in the spa facility and gaze at the ocean below while standing in the infinity pool. Even if you don't stay here, follow local tradition and come for sunset drinks or a meal in the Restaurant & Bar at El Encanto.


Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Solvang Gardens – Green retreat, inside and out


In the last decade, Solvang Gardens Lodge remodeled the entire property, room by room. 


The owners recently changed the name to Solvang Gardens — A Boutique Country Inn. It's now a sparkling collection of buildings, including as small spa, set amid well-tended English gardens. It's also a county-certified Green Business.


Many of the 24 rooms have marble baths, and some have stone fireplaces, microwaves, and fridges. Rates include Wi-Fi and continental breakfast. This is a good and fairly affordable choice if you want to park your car and walk around Solvang.


Cheap Travel Hunter Guide – Krakow, Poland

For many centuries Krakow has been the capital of Poland and the country’s largest city. Polish rulers resided at Wawel Castle. The royal court moved to Warsaw in 1609, after parliamentary sessions and the election of
kings began to take place
there. Until the collapse of the First Republic, however, Krakow continued to be regarded as the official capital. Deprived of its former status, the city suffered a deep crisis in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Despite all the past upheavals, Krakow has retained its magnificence. It is more than 400 years since it ceased to be the seat of national government, and yet the city maintains its leading role in preserving Polish national identity. Wawel, the seat of Polish kings, the Cathedral that bore witness to their coronations and houses their tombs, as well as the Paulite Church “On the Rock” in whose crypt prominent Poles are buried, belong to the most treasured national heritage. The 600-year-old Jagiellonian University, formerly known as the Academy of Krakow, is the oldest and one of the most important universities in the country and a pillar of Polish culture.

Bearing in mind the small population of Krakow (approximately 760,000), visitors may be surprised by the great number of theatres, cabarets, concert halls and art galleries, which are always popular with regular audiences.

All polish medieval cities suffered badly during World War II. Luckily, the losses were minimal for Krakow.

With its rich heritage, Krakow is certainly the place to go for those interested in old Polish art. For many years the city’s architectural treasures were in a state of neglect, hidden beneath peeling plaster, cracking paint and layers of dirt caused by pollution, although many buildings have now been renovated and returned to their former splendor.

Krakow is different than other large European cities where the historical centers have been transformed into open-air museums. The medieval Market Square remains at the heart of today’s city. It is the venue for some of the most important events and the traditional meeting place for locals, visitors and all who enjoy Krakow’s unique atmosphere and heritage.

Eiffel Tower – The Most Amazing Tourist Attraction in Paris

Eiffel Tower – The Most Amazing Tourist Attraction in Paris (French: La Tour Eiffel) is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after Gustave Eiffel, who designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris. More than 6.98 million people visited it in 2011. The tower is 1.063 feet tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building.


The tower has three levels open for visitors. The first and second level are with restaurants, while the third level is observatory's upper platform, 906 feet above the ground – the highest accessible to the public in Europe. To climb from ground level to the first level, you need to ascend 300 steps. Eiffel Tower – the most amazing tourist attraction in Paris was inaugurated in 1889 at the same time with the first Exposition: "The 1889 Exposition".


The tower itself is located at the intersection of the Quai Branly and Pont d'lena. More than 250 million people have visited the tower since 1889, and in 2012 there were 6.180.000 visitors. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited monument in the world. The tower's restaurants, "Le 58 tour Eiffel", on the first floor and "Le Jules Verne", a gourmet restaurant on the second floor are the most visited restaurants in the Paris. These restaurants have one star in the Michelin Red Guide, ran by the multi-Michelin star chef, Alain Ducasse. The iron structure of the Eiffel Tower weighs about 7.300 tons, while the entire structure including the non-metal components is approximately 10.000 tons. Depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by up to 18cm because of thermal expansion of the metal on the side facing the sun.


The Eiffel Tower is the most amazing tourist attraction in Paris, and because it’s so big, wind forces are of great importance. Many people were shocked by its daring shape. People thought that the Eiffel Tower was created without any regard to engineering, however Gustave and his engineers, as experienced bridge builders, understood the importance of wind forces. If they wanted to create the tallest building in the world, they had to be certain it would withstand against powerful winds. And the Eiffel Tower does.

Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast (II)

From the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, the United States east coast offers up some of the world's most spectacular beaches. Dotted along its sandy shore are wonderful towns and exciting regions playing host to millions of visitors each year. Though there are hundreds of beach towns scattered across America, here are six that are among the most popular from the coast of Maine to the shores of the Gulf.


3. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Cape Cod, Massachusetts — Whether traveling through the town of Falmouth, Brewster, Orleans, or Provincetown, "The Cape" is the place to be in New England between the months of May and September. From Nantucket Sound to Cape Cod Bay, this strip of paradise, located off the mainland of Massachusetts, has dozens of public beaches, charming Bed & Breakfast lodging, and incredible seafood restaurants. Located in Brewster, is the Ocean Edge Resort. Known as one of the Cape's premiere resorts, it offers accommodations ranging from one-room units to multi-bed condos, for nearly every kind of visitor. Tennis courts, a golf course just down the road, and a sand beach stretched out along the tranquil Cape Cod Bay, are just a few of its amenities. Traveling out to the tip of the Cape brings tourists to the hip town of Provincetown. Its narrow streets, eclectic restaurants and bars, and quaint stores create a special kind of magic. One of Cape Cod's most treasured locales is the National Seashore. Created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, nearly 40 miles of Cape Cod's shoreline facing the Atlantic Ocean is preserved in its pristine condition, the way Mother Nature meant it to be. A cool thing to do while at the National Seashore is to take one of the dune buggy rides over the miles of sand dunes. This is still possible because the tour was in existence before President Kennedy's declaration, which grandfathered the company in It is truly a fantastic experience, with tours leaving out of Provincetown daily. Experience Cape Cod yourself, and you will likely see why so many end up making the region an annual visit.


4. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Sarasota / Siesta Key, Florida —Siesta Key is annually given the distinction as one of the best beaches in the world. For those that live in Sarasota or just vacation there, Siesta Key is the gathering place for all to celebrate everything that is good about the Florida Gulf coast and its much-desired lifestyle. What makes Siesta Key so special is its vast stretch of public beaches. On the north end of Siesta Key you'll find an area called Siesta Key Village. These three or four blocks are full of quaint shops and casual restaurants that beg you to relax and enjoy the day. For boating enthusiasts, the south end of Siesta Key is where the local marina is located. So whether you want to spend the day on Sarasota Bay or lounge on the sand of the Gulf of Mexico, Siesta Key may be calling your name.