Alpine Attractions Zermatt

By Shereen Shabnam

My favourite place in Switzerland is Zermatt, situated far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life at an altitude of 1,600 metres above sea level. The historic village oozes with charm and the high street is lined with luxury shopping, world-class restaurants and local gatherings post the day’s adventures.

I usually stay at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof Zermatt, which is more like a second home for me in Zermatt because of the warmth of the staff, the hotel location and the fact that I can see the Matterhorn from my bed as I wake up in the morning.

Dominated by the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a rare place where everything works in synergy and GCC travellers can enjoy memorable summer and winter stays that includes a generous breakfast buffet during the festive season at this majestic property.

My favourite memory from my visit is the transfer to and from the Zermatterhof and Zermatt station in a horse-drawn carriage – most places use an electric bus on the day of your arrival and departure but I always inform the desk on my preference before arrival.

Guests at the Zermatterhof can enjoy a generous breakfast buffet, mineral water and soft drinks from the minibar, Ronnefeldt-Tea, Nespresso coffee machine with capsules, use of the spa, pool, steam bath, saunas, jacuzzi, ice grotto and gym and wireless Internet in the room and in all public areas.

Once you step into the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, hospitality and luxury takes on a whole new meaning. It is a hotel you want to spend time in, meet with other guests and enjoy a hot chocolate while gazing at the Matterhorn.

And Grand Hotel Zermatterhof is where time means something different from what it means in the city. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

For ski enthusiasts, there is no better place than Zermatt to flirt with adventure and enjoy the sport with untouched stunning terrain and a helicopter to give you a lift there. Zermatt is the Alps’ largest heli-skiing destination and offers the best snow with the stunning beauty of the Alps.

My last visit to Zermatt was with family so we did more exploring of the mountains, train rides to closer viewing points of the Matterhorn and the highlight for my teen was the Glacier Palace.

The Glacier Palace was filled with sparkling ice sculptures enchanting visitors with artworks carved into different designs. It is a fairy-tale palace deep under the perennial snows leading through the glacier to sites such as a glacier crevasse and an ice toboggan run.

Zermatt is a private playground for guests who truly want to get away and indulge in a memorable holiday. For me, it is always a destination I go to when I am in Switzerland.

 

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Seeking the Sun – Lanzarote

By Shereen Shabnam

Lanzaroteis the perfect weather destination for holiday seekers almost all year round with diverse landscapesthat range fromvolcanic caves, lava lakes and craters, sandy beaches and transparent waters.

The natural heritage areas, dramatic landscapes, bustling tourist towns, parks and long sandy beaches makes Lanzarote an island of exceptional beauty and an ideal place to visit. If you are a nature lover, drop in at the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, (Timanfaya National Park) which is one of the island’s greatest tourist attractions.

With excellent year-round climate and unique landscape, Lanzarote allows sun and the beach lovers to enjoy a series of activities likediving,surfing, windsurfing, swimming and kite surfing. It is a paradise for surferswith powerful waves and on calm days, visitors can dive anywhere in Lanzarote.

If you really enjoy surfing, head to Famara Beachwhere both beginners and advanced surfers gather and head to the sea to get practice. Sailingin Lanzarote is also perfect in the summer when the island receivesTrade Winds, ensuring you can sail without risk and enjoy the full experience of being out on the water.

The weather in Lanzarote is perfect for hiking, running, golfing, trekking, bikingand much more when exploring the local outskirts. The cycle network routes to suit all levels of bikers who can enjoy the view the island offers of volcanoes and unique landscapes. Runners can enjoy trails through mountains as they come across wild coasts, cliffs and nature trails as well as shops and cafes to enjoy local food.

If you enjoy golfing, Lanzaroteis known for enjoying each hole against an unbelievable backdrop formed by sea and volcanoes.  Golf can be played year-round in favourable climatic conditions, thanks to the island’s average temperature of 22°C. The two golf courses in Lanzarote are built in perfect harmony with the landscape and close to beaches, restaurants and other leisure activities.

Families can enjoy spectacular crystal-clear waters and superb stretches of white, golden and black sand. Popular beaches are Papagayo, Puerto del Carmen and Matagorda, Famara, Arrieta, Caleton Blanco, Orzola and the island of La Graciosa.

Because of the lush vegetation and natural resources, food in Lanzarote is fresh and mostly organic and visitors can try local traditional cuisine contemporary gastronomic dishes featuring fresh seafood, vegetables and meat.

If you are my type of a holidaymaker who makes spas a reason to go on holiday, you will not be disappointed in Lanzarote which has serene and sophisticated wellness centres, spas and thalassotherapy with massages and treatments that help your mind and body reach unwind and relax.

If you like celebrations, the traditional festivals and the famous Carnival should be perfect for you and on a smaller scale, the popular markets held every Sunday morning are fun with food and music.

Another place to go with children is The Atlantic Museum, the first underwater art museum in Europe that has a large artificial reef formed by 300 sculptures made with the neutral pH concrete that will in time increase marine biomass.

For nature lovers, Cueva de los Verdes is a fascinating cave to visit, created by the eruptions of the La Corona Volcano and The Cactus Garden is perfect for walks. Then there is the Mirador del Río, whichhas a balcony from where spectacular views over the Chinijo Archipelago can be enjoyed.

If you have time, the island of La Graciosa is a must visit as it is the most distinctive island in the Canaries, with only 600 inhabitants and is an idyllic destination full of peace, nature and serenity both in the popular areas and by its many beaches. Lanzarote is indeed a destination that has all one needs in one place for visitors of all ages.

 

 

 

Ghaya Grand Hotel Launches Festive Season Offer

 

By Natasha Dury

The season of love, reunion and festivity is in full swing. Feel the true spirit of Christmas and New Year at Ghaya Grand Hotel Dubai, with a variety of delightful options to make your celebrations with family and friends extra special. Enjoy the season’s most delicious treats in dazzling settings surrounded by the best dishes on display. Those celebrating at home can take advantage of the hotel’s superb ‘Tom Turkey Promotion’, for less time spent on cooking and more time to entertain the guests!

The perfect festive selection at Ghaya Grand Hotel, in multiple restaurant options, has a cuisine to suit every taste, so come, join and celebrate this season with your family and friends!

24th December, 2018 (MONDAY)
Christmas Eve at Red Diamond – 6pm to 11pm
– Lavish International Buffet Dinner, including a live cooking station, starters and desserts
– AED 150 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 75 per child ( aged between 6 – 12 years)

25th December, 2018 (TUESDAY)
Christmas Day Brunch at FUSION – 12:30 pm to 4 pm
–  Lavish Buffet Brunch with live cooking stations, including Seafood, Chinese, Italian, Sushi and Indian, starters and desserts
– AED 165 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 75 per child (aged between 6 -12 years)

31st December, 2017 (MONDAY)
– NYE Gala Dinner at Red Diamond & Fusion -7 pm until 12 midnight
– Extravagant brunch held exclusively in Red Diamond and Fusion restaurants, offering guests a wide selection of dishes to choose from both restaurants, with a central desserts counter, offering enticing cakes and desserts
– Buffet dinner with live cooking stations, including Chinese, Italian, Sushi and Indian
– AED 299 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 145 per child (aged between 6 -12 years)

Turkey Take Away
From 7th December 2018 until 7th January 2019
7kg Turkey –serving 5 to 6 person for AED 320, with trimmings and sauces AED 420
9kg  Turkey – serving 8 to 10 person for AED 440, with trimmings and sauces AED 540
**Orders to be placed 72 hours in advance**

7th January, 2018 (MONDAY)
Orthodox Christmas Red Diamond – 6pm – 11pm
– Lavish International Buffet Dinner, including a live cooking station, starters and desserts
– AED 125 per person inclusive of beverages
– AED 60 per child ( aged between 6 – 12 years)

REFERENCE: Ghaya Grand Hotel neighborhood districts
Jebel Ali District (Mena Jebel Ali, Jebel Ali 1-3, Jebel Ali Industrial 1-2, Me-aisem 1-2, Dubai Investment Park 1-2, International Media Production Zone)
Madinat Al Maktoum District (Madinat Al Mataar)
Dubai Land District (Al Hebiah 1-5, Al Yufrah 1-2, Al Yalayis 1-5, Umm Nahad 1-4, Wadi Al Safa 2, Wadi Al Safa 4-7, Dubai Sports City, Dubai Motor City)
Hadaeq Mohammad Bin Rashid District (Al Thaniya 1-5, Al Quoz 1-4, Al Barsha 1-3, Al Quoz Industrial 1-4, Al Merkadh, Al Barsha South 1-5, Hadaeq Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, Nad Al Sheba 1, Sadi Al Safa 3, Jumeirah Village Circle)

Lap of Luxury – Gstaad

By Shereen Shabnam

After a few days of rest and relaxation in Zermatt, Switzerland, I was keen to introduce my teenager who loves snow and cold weather to Gstaad. After exploring numerous parts of the country using the Swiss Pass on the way to Gstaad, before venturing to Gstaad, we arrived to a quaint railway station where our driver was waiting to take us to Huus Gstaad, which is one of the most welcoming and homely hotels in the area.

Gstaas is a playground for holidaymakers who prefer a touch of exclusivity for their holiday experiences in a unique landscape that is full of tradition, sports, delectable cuisine and culture. A walk around the town is the perfect antidote to cheer oneself up while trying out hand made chocolates and local cheese platters.

To many, Gstaad is known as a major ski resort and a popular destination amongst high society and the international jet set but it is a perfect place for adventure tourism as well.

While my teenager enjoyed river rafting thanks to the wonderful staff of the Huus Gstaad Hotel, my favourite part of the visit was going up the mountains for tobogganing, watching my daughter try different games and inhaling the fresh crisp air that makes the lungs feel good.

The countryside in Gstaad offers a versatile and diverse sports programme with hiking, mountain biking, paragliding and golf. Gstaad is also a wellness destination and guarantees an unsurpassed variety of leisure activities, spas, healthy cuisine, sports centres and indoor swimming pools.

Set amongst soaring mountains and prestigious international boarding schools, Gstaad is a popular holiday destination for royalty and celebrities. Cable cars connect surrounding ski areas such as Wispile and Rinderberg, with hundreds of kilometers of all-level pistes and cross-country trails.

We started our journey at the centre of Gstaad, which is the most popular and fell in love with the shortest “shopping mile” in Switzerland. With luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, luxury chalets, the car-free resort was a delight as we walked along the picturesque promenade and tried some of the local delicacies.  explored the local galleriesand exclusive shops.

Retail therapy in Gstaad is a delight with designer stores that include Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chopard, Brunello Cucinelli, Prada, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, and Cartier as well as boutiques that stock labels such as Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Tod’s, Burberry, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs.

Food lovers will be happy to note that Gstaad is also a paradise for fine diners, with more than 100 restaurants ranging from cosy raclette restaurants to acclaimed gourmet venues. Our most memorable meal was a five-course meal at Ultima Gstaad.

Leaving Gstaad is not easy as the wonderful views from cosy terraces, the picturesque mountains, fresh alpine air, gourmet cuisine, indoor games near warm fireplaces and outdoor adventures leaves an imprint on the heart and soul.

Each time I visualise a perfect holiday now, my mind wanders to the warmth of the staff and the cosy lobby area of Huus Gstaad and this ultimate hospitality is what makes it a destination that attracts visitors back to the beautiful alpine heaven more than once.

 

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #traveladdict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

Natural Perfection – Sun Siyam Iru Fushi – Maldives

By Shereen Shabnam

There are very few countries in the world that come close to the beauty of my home country Fiji Islands and theRepublic of Maldives is one of few that does come close. Located in the Indian Ocean, Maldives has 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atollswith almost 400,000 inhabitants.

We recently ventured into Maldives to visit the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, a paradise resort known for luxury, romance, water sports, picturesque clear blue sea and tropical bliss. Being an islander I love the sun, sand and sea when on holiday and the marine world in Maldives is known for its beauty, especially the coral reefs that are home to a variety of marine ecosystems.

During my first two days at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, I explored the cool and contemporary spaces, stylish interiors, and beautiful gardens around the island. I was offered water based activities such as scuba diving, fishing, swimming, water skiing, wind surfing and snorkeling but I opted for a sting ray feeding experience and a boat ride to spot dolphins at play – both experiences were magical.

Guests at Iru Fushi can enjoy the unspoilt islands of Noonu Atoll, where Maldivian past life is reflected with boat builders working meticulously sanding wood to reveal a silken finish, children being educated about local marine species and farming of fruits and organic vegetables.

My room was a water villa on stilts with a small glass on the floor that gave me a view of the area below serving as personal coral garden and natural aquarium. The area felt like having a large natural swimming pool that protected me from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents beyond the villas. Close by, other guests enjoyed walking on the soft sand and sun bathing before jumping into the crystal clear waters.

Spas are my weakness and the resort offers a 20-room tropical spa with an enormous range of treatments, including massages, relaxation therapies and facials set in a tranquil environment. It is the perfect place for a beauty break.I enjoyed walking barefoot along the cobbled paths; the white sands and watched the palm trees as they gently leaned into the breeze after my massage session.

While waiting for my flight, I waited at the hotel’s private lounge near the airport where I tried a refreshing welcome drink, a quick snack and a short shoulder massage. Designed to be the one of the best airport lounges in the Maldives, the spacious private lounge can be used by guests arriving to The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi.  The lounge also has a children’s play room, outdoor balcony, free WiFi, computer stations as well as showers and changing facilities.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s Deluxe Beach has Villas with Pool, Pool Beach Villas, Sunset Horizon Water Villas or Infinity Water Villas. The resort features 221 luxury oceanfront villas, including 70 over-water bungalows, 14 restaurant and bar choices with a wide range of activities.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi is 45 minutes seaplane journey from the capital, Malé, where Velana International Airport is located. Guests are met by a uniformed team member on arrival and then taken on a 10-minute drive by shuttle to the seaplane terminal to the designated seaplane lounge while waiting for the seaplane boarding call.

Visit Sun Siyam Iru Fushi and take in its vibrant local life, which has been influenced by various cultures and yet remains unique and a perfect holiday destination with relaxing days that are long and sun-filled and nights that are exciting and energetic. I just wish I could experience this mesmerizing award-winning resort for longer.

EXCEPTIONAL HOSPITALITY AND FAMILY TRADITIONS – WHITE STALLION RANCH

By Shereen Shabnam

As the world gets more accessible to travellers, destinations sought are no longer just limited to beaches and cities. Highlands, cruises, ranches are becoming more popular and our current favourite is the White Stallion Ranch.

The personal touch and hospitality of this traditional dude ranch is carefully blended with the service and amenities of a fine resort where guests can reconnect with nature, family, friends and serenity. Adventure seekers can ride through the unspoiled desert and the rugged mountains.

With a warm, welcoming atmosphere, the ranch has been the Hollywood filmmakers for years as a backdrop in Western feature films and later, as the location for the television series High Chaparral.

The guest rooms at the ranch and The Hacienda, a lovely and private four-bedroom, three-bathroom home are spacious and charming, perfect for larger families or small groups. Every guest room has a private patio with views of the cactus gardens, mountains, or corrals.  Amenities include eco-friendly soaps, shampoos and lotions, hair dryers, mini-refrigerators and personal safes in all rooms.

A premium advantage of a vacation at White Stallion Ranch is that all the cooking is done for guests with a variety of meal options using the freshest, quality ingredients in home-style recipes.

The breakfast includes a cooked-to-order menu as well as an extensive continental buffet. Lunch and dinner buffets are also available with snacks all day including fresh fruit, chips and salsa, peanuts and a homemade trail mix.  For drinks, guests can have coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate, hot and cold teas and lemonade through the day.

Among activities at the ranch, the riding program is one of the focal points, with a large herd of hand picked horses and knowledgeable wranglers to guide the riding adventures.

Guests can also enjoy guided rock climbing, hiking, tennis, basketball, the game room, movie theater, swimming pool, hot tub, gift shop, spa, exercise room or just relaxing on one of the many charming patios with mountain views.

White Stallion Ranch was originally built in the 1900’s and began as a cattle ranch. The original property was constructed of Mexican adobe brick made of mud and straw. During renovation, wire and horseshoes were found in the walls. A small part of the original adobe is on display in the dining room, the original building on the ranch.

As a sought after destination that is also an attraction, the White Stallion Ranch has won many accolades and is recognised for service excellence and value. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and recognised among the fifteen best hotels in Tucson in 2017 by US News and World Report and holds the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence since 2015 to this year.

The current owners maintain the traditions of the West with many of the original buildings still in use. They have added sunken tennis courts, a movie theater, a new pool and hot tub area with a serenity patio, lighted sport courts a spa area and fitness center. They have also established one of the largest privately owned herds of horses in Arizona and a large herd of cattle.

New ranch holiday seekers should start with the best and the White Stallion Ranch is the perfect venue to get a glimpse into the ranch lifestyle.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #traveladdict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam