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The Hoshinoya Kyoto brings the Edo period of nobility alive in exquisite luxury

Adventure, CITY, STAY

“Domo arigato,” I say to the taxi driver who smiles, bows twice and says “Hai. Hai.” I wheel my bag along a pathway by the Ooi river just over the Togetsukyo bridge heaving with crowds of tourists who clot in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. Some are in rent-a-kimino taking selfies, others are in school uniform giggling and smiling and then there’s the occasional western tourist biting into a Miffy shaped donut.

This side of the bridge is much quieter. My quest is to find the private boat ramp for the Hoshinoya Kyoto. I see the sign just ahead written in English and Japanese and stop and breathe a sigh of relief. ‘No. No. This way,’ says a Japanese man with a camera hung around his neck gesturing downstream. I smile. Perhaps I should have donned a pair of Blahniks and a flowy Camilla for this journey. “You have to be a very special Japanese person to stay at the Hoshinoya,” my taxi driver confided before he dropped me off.

Image courtesy of Hoshinoya Kyoto

Flower baths and Balinese bells in a ‘glamboo’ retreat

EARTH, Inspiration, Lifestyle, STAY

On the banks of the Ayung river, bounded on one side by an ancient nutmeg forest and on the other by the village of Mambal, lies Fivelements Retreat Bali, a luxurious eco-sanctuary that puts the glam into bamboo. This is the perfect place to get healthy and go back to nature in comfort and style. 

Sakti Dining Room at Fivelements Healing Center. The soaring roofline, sculpted from bamboo and thatch, resembles a banana leaf, symbol of nourishment.
Image courtesy of Djuna Ivereigh, Fivelements

In the Pink at the Langham Melbourne

Inspiration, Lifestyle, STAY, Travel

I have a room at the Langham. It’s on the twenty-second floor. So, it’s going to be a great stay. Twenty-two is my birth date and my special number along with seven which is the number you get when you add up my whole birthdate. And my room is 2217. Zero seven would be better but 2217 is pretty auspicious.

Image courtesy of Langham Melbourne

At Home with Sir Richard Branson

Adventure, Inspiration, STAY

Private islands, Moroccan magic and African safaris; discover a world of luxury with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Limited Edition (VLE). Travel to the world’s most spectacular destinations across the British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Kenya, Mallorca, Swiss Alps and Morocco. Sir Richard Branson has hand-selected each luxury hotel and destination retreat to ensure a truly unique experience.

Discover your next home away from home with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Limited Edition below.

For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.

How I Overcame my Snake Phobia at Aro-ha NZ

EARTH, STAY, Vegan

I hate snakes. I hate them so much that when I was 38, I learnt to surf, jumped out of a plane (Point Break style) and crossed the Gobi desert with just one can of coke. Ok I might be exaggerating about the can of coke. Despite my feats that year, I couldn’t eat one of those jelly snake lollies. (Although I did eat a squirm – no big jelly head.) So when I land in Queenstown, New Zealand where the scariest thing is a hungry bird called a kea, snakes are nowhere in my thoughts. That is until I meet Adam at Aro-ha.

Image courtesy of Aro-ha

Meditation with Monkeys at Bagus Jati, Bali

Adventure, EARTH, Inspiration, STAY

High up in the misty forests of central Bali, far from the crowded cities with their bright lights and traffic snarls, is the tiny village of Jati — just a handful of houses amid rice terraces and market gardens on a small road that leads, eventually, to Mount Batur. 

Image courtesy of Bagus Jati Health and Wellbeing Retreat

Where to Stay in the ‘Pink City’: Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra Toulouse

Lifestyle, STAY, Travel

The Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra is one of the most popular hotels in Toulouse, and it’s easy to see why. This lavishly appointed four-star boutique hotel exudes charm and character. The Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra is ideally located in the heart of Toulouse on the famous Place du Capitole. And it offers the perfect base for guests to explore the highlights and monuments of Toulouse with ease. There is no better place to stay when exploring the ‘Pink City’.

Image courtesy of Grand Hôtel de l’Opéra

Hotel Adlon Kempinski

Inspiration, Lifestyle, STAY

Luxury knows no bounds when it comes to the Hotel Adlon Kempinski. The original Hotel Adlon built in 1907, was one of the most famous luxury hotel across Europe. Despite large portions of the hotel being destroyed in 1945, the Hotel Adlon has remained strong through its redevelopment and reopening as the Hotel Adlon Kempinski, in 1997. Situated just two minutes’ walk from Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the hotel offers its guests elegance and glamour.

A view from the top: Brandenberg Gate and Hotel Adlon Kempinski.
Image courtesy of Hotel Adlon Kempinski

Tailor-Made Luxury at Schlosshotel Berlin by Patrick Hellmann

Lifestyle, STAY, Travel

After being in Berlin for a few days, I find myself needing to retreat from the city’s bustling and wild centre. Whether it’s the jet lag finally catching up with me or the knowledge I’ll soon be surrounded more by nature than people, I feel a sleepy smile creep across my face as the bus bumps along*. Thanking the driver, who seems surprised by the interaction (I’m sure my German isn’t that bad…), I leave the bus behind. A short walk along the house-lined streets, my suitcase following diligently behind me, and the Schlosshotel Berlin by Patrick Hellmann comes into view. I have found my oasis.

*I have terrible sense of direction so I prefer to take transport and walk to help get my bearings. Guests with a better sense of direction than I, can organise a limousine transfer, luxury van or book an experience with the Rolls-Royce Ghost, all with a chauffeur.

Patrick Hellmann Schlosshotel from the leafy street
Image courtesy of Schlosshotel Berlin by Patrick Hellmann

The Hotel Zoo Berlin

Lifestyle, STAY, Travel

Blink and you might miss it. I look out the window of my taxi as we slow to a stop. The driver points toward a small entrance nestled between Hugo Boss and an Apple Store. He says, “es ist da”, which I manage to understand despite my limited (or rather non-existent) German. I walk toward the entrance of the Hotel Zoo Berlin, suitcase in tow.

Catwalk at the Hotel Zoo Berlin.
Image courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin.
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