Monday, 15 September 2008

Welcome the Queens

Your FREE travel briefs column for distribution w/c September 15 2008

John Crook

Australia’s classiest hotel celebrates
Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor in the French inspired Spring Street is in celebration mode with a tariff which should excite the VIP in us. The rate celebrates the hotel’s 125th anniversary. CEO David Perry is releasing 125 rooms at just $125, continuing through the remaining months of this year. The rooms are released on the first day of each month for use on Friday and Sunday nights. It is on a first-come, first served basis. Bookings may be made through or telephone (03) 9633 6000.

Welcome the Queens
Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will visit ‘down under’ in 2010 with no less than seven maiden calls in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Both liners will visit Fremantle and Adelaide, whilst Queen Mary 2 will make an inaugural visit to the Whitsundays with Queen Victoria making a maiden call into Albany and then Exmouth. Both will make overnight visits to Sydney with Queen Victoria to make a second visit to Melbourne. Prices on voyages from Australia start from $4039 and that’s for a 17 nights sailing ex Sydney to Cape Town on Queen Mary 2. For the full picture check or ring 13 24 41.

Cruise the Kimberley
Book before December 31 2008 and make a saving of 20% on the seven-day cruise between Broome and Mitchell Plateau. Normally $8,345 per person twin share, the special price has been reduced from $6,676. Check with Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises for inclusions. Telephone (08) 9193 6131 or take a look at

Larry knows we Aussies
The president and ceo of SeaDream Yacht Cluib knows how to attract Australian clients. Larry Pimentel has an all-inclusive pricing policy and that means all drinks from the bar, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail parties, use of a 50-course golf simulator, all power and sail watersports and the clincher is on-board gratuities.
With only 110 guests, and a service crew of 95 this has to be super luxury afloat. By the way, another positive from Larry is that ties are out, no need for suits or ball gowns, just dress country club smart casual. During the northern European summer SeaDream I and II sail the Mediterranean and from November to April it’s the Caribbean. Log onto or see your travel agent.

The sounds, colour and flavour of the Australian bush form part of the experience of Bewong River Retreat which is a short drive from Jervis Bay, Kangaroo Valley and Nowra. From Sydney or Canberra just 2.5 hours drive. Bewong River Retreat is a 4.5 star property with nine self-contained bungalows, each featuring a spa with a full view of the bush, ensuite with double shower, gourmet kitchen, queen bed and large front balcony with BBQ. More details on or telephone 1800 005 125.

Shop ‘til you drop
There’s a three-day Taste of Dubai shopping package on offer from just $335 per person, twin share. The deal is from January 15 to February 15 and the event is the Dubai Shopping Festival. Can you believe this? The package includes accommodation, two breakfasts, half-day Merchants of the City tour, return transfers, meet and assist service at the airport and a handling fee. There is a choice of 29 hotels. Airfares not included,- well, what more would you want for this price ? Try this number 1300 558 987.

Cooking up something special
Here’s the chance to explore the home of Monet, do three cooking classes and explore some of the most beautiful villages and gardens of France. Pay from $7,500 per person twin share and you will have accommodation at Chateau Bosgouet, with six breakfasts, two lunches, six dinners, cooking classes run by Jane Webster, excursions and return transport to Paris. Packages are schedules on July 15 and October 14 in 2009. View www.botanicatravel or for more information telephone 1300 305 202.

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages and prices are subject to change and availability.

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