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LETTER

FROM THE

EDITOR

Welcome to the first issue of Details; the all new e-magazine giving you insight and inspiration straight from the travel industry itself. Here at the ITC Luxury Travel HQ we could gab away for hours about our favourite places, ‘must sees’ and all those destinations still on our bucket lists. Between us, the team have been to just about anywhere you could name (there’s proof on page 25!), so what better way to share our experience than by giving you the Details? In this issue, you’ll get a taste of what luxury travel is all about; from the indulgence of small-ship cruising to the decadence of Abu Dhabi. We also have an exclusive recipe, straight from a Michelin-starred chef to you, and some tips on where to stage a mighty romantic proposal - Paris or St Martin? We’ve got a few ideas you may not have thought of! Oh, and do check out the Luxe List on p.17, for some ultra-indulgent treats.

I hope flipping through Details transports you into a land of luxury, and inspires you to see the world for yourself, in the greatest of style... Jennifer Atkinson CEO, ITC Luxury Travel Group


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28. CONTENT 4 – 5

ZEITGEIST

The latest trends, tips, news and views from the world of luxury travel. 6 -7

HOLIDAY S.O.S

Industry insiders answer your holiday dilemmas 8 – 9

A TASTE OF THE OCEAN

Try out a recipe from Peter Island Resort & Spa’s new executive chef 10 – 11

ONE&ONLY

Discover a world of offers with One&Only Resorts 12 – 15

THE NEXT GENERATION

What’s new in the world of luxury small-ship cruising

10.

16

R E V I E W E D : Vila Vita Parc in the Algarve. Find out what we thought.

17

THE LUXE LIST

18 – 19

OUR OFFERS

Save ££££ on Luxury holidays 20 - 23

AMAZING ABU DHABI

Our top 10 things to do in this Emirate state

17.

24 – 25

GIRLS ON FILM

See where our team have been this year 26 – 29

FAMILY FEATURES

Luxury travel with little ones in tow 29 – 35

COME AWAY WITH ME...

6 settings for the perfect proposal

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ZE IT GE IST THE LATEST TRENDS, TIPS, NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE WORLD OF LUXURY TRAVEL…

HOT LIST At this cooler time of year in the UK we love nothing better than a short-haul sunshine escape, and if you’re looking for the same, we suggest you book a last minute holiday to Tenerife. Why? Well, the island has balmy temperatures year round, luxury five-star resorts to indulge you and is just a four hour flight away. If that all sounds tempting, have a read of our Top 10 Reasons to Visit Tenerife.

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A DIVERSE OFFERING Did you know that alongside ITC Luxury Travel, ITC Sports Travel and Horse Racing Abroad, the ITC Luxury Travel Group now encompasses Western & Oriental, Rainbow Tours, Regent Holidays and Villa Select? If you want to learn more about our extensive travel collection, you can now order a copy of the brand new ‘The Portfolio’; which provides a snapshot of our entire offering to give you a taste of the ITC Luxury Travel Group and what we can create just for you. Simply call 01244 355 566 and request your copy today.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT’S DUE We’re incredibly proud of our trophy cabinet here at ITC Luxury Travel, which continues to overflow with every passing year! Recent awards we have been proud to achieve include being named in the final three Businesses of the Year at the Cheshire Business Awards, as well as British Virgin Islands Tourism recognising our support for these idyllic isles.


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WHAT’S NEW With our finger firmly on the pulse of luxury travel, we revel in the opportunity to introduce you to the latest additions to our global portfolio. A few to look out for if you’re seeking something different are South Beach Antigua and NIZUC Resort & Spa in Mexico. Or if you’re looking for something closer to home there’s Six Senses Douro Valley, a sublime new hotel set in the glorious countryside of northern Portugal. Having recently reopened after a significant facelift and now under a new name is Shangri-La Le Touessrok on Mauritius, while the newly improved luxurious bounds of The Sandpiper on Barbados were unveiled in November.

CELEBRITY FAVOURITE “Tetiaroa is beautiful beyond my capacity to describe,” said Marlon Brando of his paradise private island in the South Pacific. Having only opened last year as a luxury holiday destination, this premier escape has already been named winner of a host of top awards, as well as securing celebrity status thanks to a string of notable guests, such as Leonardo Di Caprio. ‘The Godfather of all islands’, as it was deemed by Condé Nast Traveller, The Brando is a five-star choice for an indulgent holiday or super-romantic honeymoon.

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ROARING SUCCESS We were delighted to hear from colleagues in our South Africa Office that two magnificent ex-circus lions had been released at the award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve. Thanks to the Born Free Foundation, brothers Jora and Black will now live out the rest of their days in their natural habitat. Shamwari Group Head of Wildlife and Veterinarian, Dr Johan Joubert said: “I am delighted we have been able to take these animals and offer them a permanent home in the African bush. It is a stark contrast from the trucks in which they were first found. These animals have travelled well and show every sign of settling in and re-establishing some of their natural behaviour.” As one of South Africa’s premier malaria-free game reserves, Shamwari is an excellent choice for a safari experience during your holiday in the country.

3 nights from £1,599 per person based on 2 adults sharing a Luxury Room at Shamwari Long Lee Manor for 3 nights including full board and game drives, return economy class flights and private transfers.


HOLIDAY S.O.S

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Preparing for a holiday can be stressful; there’s a lot to sort out. At ITC, our Travel Specialists and Concierge service are with you all the way. We’ve visited every destination we sell and have fantastic relationships with tourist boards and resorts, so any information we provide will be reliable. With all this expertise at our fingertips, we thought it only right that we share some of it with you in this, the first issue of Detials. So, we’ve asked some of our friends and colleagues to answer your burning travel questions...


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Richard Nurse, ITC South Africa Destination Manager says...

I’m heading to Tenerife this winter and am not sure what the weather will be like and therefore what to pack? What can I expect? Cristina Cunchillos from the Tenerife Tourist Board says...

“Tenerife is warm all year round so even in the winter you can expect temperatures in the low 20s and plenty of sunshine, particularly to the south of the island, so don’t forget your swimwear and sunglasses! It may be a few degrees cooler and slightly more humid in the north but still mild. You may need a light jacket in the evening and something warmer if you are going up Mount Teide, which usually has snow at its summit during the winter months.”

“There are fantastic game reserves/lodges in South Africa that are in malaria-free areas, which is good news for both people that are travelling with children and those who would rather not take prescribed medication for malaria. Some family-friendly options that spring to mind are the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and Shamwari Game Reserve, which has its own Kids on Safari programme. Both of these are in the Eastern Cape, about a 90 minute transfer from Port Elizabeth airport, or an 8 hour drive from Cape Town. South Africa is such a rich destination I’d recommend a few stops along the way; you could visit Robben Island in Cape Town and stay in one of the beautiful towns along the Garden Route. Madikwe Hills is another great option and can be reached in 40 minutes by plane from Johannesburg.”

I’m taking the kids to Sandy Lane, Barbados, for Christmas and they’re worrying Santa will not know they’re there! Help! Katie Sanders, Concierge and Clients Experiences Assistant says…

“You really don’t need to worry, and neither do your little ones; I can guarantee Santa Claus will find them when you’re staying at Sandy Lane! The luxury Barbados hotel really does go all-out at Christmas time; there’s a beautiful tree that children are invited to help decorate and a traditional dinner with all the trimmings. Most importantly for your children, Santa himself pays a very special visit to the hotel every Christmas! Excitingly, his dramatic entrance happens in a different way every year; sometimes it’s a traditional sleigh ride, but once he even parachuted in! However he arrives, though, there are sure to be gifts. In fact, at Sandy Lane every single guest receives an individually selected present on the big day. After you’ve unwrapped all the gifts and the kids have had a photo with Father Christmas, be sure to head to the beach for the annual sandcastle building competition! 01234 56789 0

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I want to go on safari with my kids, but I’m scared about malaria and general safety, can you help?


A TASTE OF THE

OCEAN Hot from the Michelin-star kitchens of London, new Executive Chef Todd Howard has recently arrived on the stunning private island of Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands. Bringing with him a wealth of culinary credentials – including working under Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck; at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze and Hospital Road; and at La Gavroche – Todd has now turned his attention towards creating sumptuous dishes at the luxury resort’s two restaurants. To celebrate his arrival and this, our first issue of Details, we asked Todd to offer a tasty recipe for you to try at home, inspired by the new menus at Peter Island Resort & Spa…

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RECIPE Grilled Octopus, Bulgur Wheat and Harrisa Yoghurt Served 4-6 By Todd Howard FIL M

Peter Island Resort & Spa, British Virgin Islands

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Executive Chef

For the Octopus and garnish

Preparation Method

20 lbs octopus (sounds like a lot but it shrinks down considerably and leftovers are always good!) 3 lemons, zest removed and saved, cut in half, plus additional juice for dressing 2 oranges, zest and juice Juice of 4 limes 5 tsp kosher salt 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 bulb garlic, peeled and thinly sliced 1 ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes 1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger 2 bay leaves ½ bunch flat leaf thyme ½ bunch flat leaf parsley ½ bunch of kale torn into small pieces 8oz baby herb salad

1.

Rub the octopus with half of a lemon, season with salt and leave to macerate for 30 minutes. Juice the second half of the lemon and combine with the orange and lime juices.

2.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until aromatic. Do not brown.

3.

Add the octopus with the citrus juices and rest of flavorings, cover, and turn the heat to low. The octopus will slowly release its liquid.

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Cook for 3 hours until a fork slides through it easily. Allow to cool.

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When you are ready, heat the oil in large high-sided skillet or broad shallow saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add onion, reduce heat to medium-low and stir until golden brown (approx 15 mins). Stir in garlic and cook for 1 further minute.

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Add bulgur, turmeric and cumin and cook, stirring, until the bulgur is coated with oil, (approx 1 minute)

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Add stock, carrot, ginger and salt and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.

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Cover and cook over medium-low heat until all the stock is absorbed (approx 15 mins). Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

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While the bulgur is cooking, prepare the harrisa yoghurt by mixing all ingredients to taste.

For the bulgur wheat 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat, preferably coarse. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 1 cup small diced carrot 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp ground cumin 2 cups chicken stock 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger 1 tsp kosher salt For the harrisa yoghurt 2 pints Greek yoghurt - strain water over night. 1 tbsp harrisa paste 1 tbsp lemon juice zest of 1 lemon 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt

10. To prepare the Octopus for grilling, cut the tentacles into individual pieces through the natural dividing points at the top of the body. Cut out and discard the eyes and the beak at the center where all the legs meet. Slice the head in half and then slice this and the tentacles into 1/4 inch slices. 11. Grill 2 ½ oz of octopus per person and finish by seasoning with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. 12. Wilt the kale with 1 tsp olive oil for about 30 seconds, season with lemon juice and salt. Season the octopus with lemon and olive oil. 13. Assemble your dish, with the bulgur in the middle of each plate, then adding the octopus and scattering the kale around. Add a small mixture of green leaves and herbs on top. Drizzle with olive oil and the harrisa yoghurt. Enjoy!

7 nights staying at Peter Island Resort & Spa is from £1,795 per person based on 2 adults sharing an Ocean View Room, including flights and transfers.

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BAHAMAS • CAPE TOWN • DUBAI • GREAT BARRIER REEF • LOS CABOS • MALDIVES • MAURITIUS • WOLGAN VALLEY


One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas

One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

Two free nights plus complimentary breakfast

40% discount plus complimentary half board, and day pass to Aquaventure waterpark per person

Two free nights plus complimentary half board

7 nights bed & breakfast from £2,945 per person including flights and transfers.

7 nights half board from £3,445 per person including flights and transfers.

Saving up to £725 per person

5 nights half board from £1,199 per person including flights and transfers.

Valid for travel completed between 3 Jan – 19 Mar

Saving up to £320 per person

Valid for travel completed between 9 May – 18 Dec 2016

and 3 Apr – 17 Dec 2016. Book by 1 Aug 2016

Valid for travel completed between 8 May - 30 Sep 2016.

(blackout dates apply). Book by 31 Mar 2016

Saving up to £935 per person

Book by 31 Mar 2016

One&Only Palmilla, Mexico

One&Only The Palm, Dubai

One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius

Two free nights plus complimentary breakfast and transfers

40% discount plus complimentary half board, and day pass to Aquaventure waterpark per person

40% discount plus complimentary half board

7 nights bed & breakfast from £3,495 per person including flights and transfers.

7 nights half board from £1,859 per person including flights and transfers.

Saving up to £1,110 per person

5 nights half board from £1,435 per person including flights and transfers.

Valid for travel completed between 2 Jan - 16 Dec 2016.

Saving up to £460 per person

Valid for travel completed between 6 Jan – 16 Oct and 24

Book by 10 Dec 2016

Valid for travel completed between 8 May - 30 Sep 2016.

Oct – 16 Dec 2016

Saving up to £665 per person

Book by 31 Mar 2016

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N E X T G E N E R A T I O N OF SMALL LUXURY CRUISE SHIPS


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For a long time now cruise holidays have had a somewhat ‘stuffy’ reputation. The very mention of such a voyage can conjure up visions of cavernous cruise-liners packed to the rim with passengers, where pokey cabins and set menus are the norm. Yet in the past decades sleek, innovative, luxury smallship fleets have been attracting more and more adventurous travellers aboard. With three major players in the industry preparing to unveil new ships in the next year or two, it’s clear that this trend is set to continue. But what makes small ship cruising so special? Well according to ITC Luxury Travel Senior Product & Marketing Manager, Helen Tabois, it’s all about space and service:

“I joined Regent Seven Seas Mariner for four days of cruising in the Med this summer and was completely wowed by the sense of space aboard the ship. She was fully booked for the voyage but never felt at all crowded; and the speed and quality of service was evidence of the high staff to guest ratio. The relatively small numbers on board also meant that disembarking for shore excursions was a quick and easy process. I confess I felt a little sorry for those aboard some of the gigantic cruise liners we passed along the way; small ships are definitely the way to cruise in style!”

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What’s more, the smaller capacities of these ships mean they can do things differently from larger liners. The high standards at à la carte restaurants sees dining elevated to levels you’d expect in any luxury hospitality setting. With generous staff-to-guest ratios aboard (almost one to one on many ships), your own interests and tastes can be catered to as well; whether it’s something special in the restaurant or a specific guided tour of a town on your itinerary. So, that’s the attraction of small ship cruising, but what does a ‘small ship’ actually look like? We thought we’d take a sneak peak at three new ships launching in 2016 and 2017, all of which promise new levels of luxury experience...


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SEABOURN ENCORE

REGENT SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER

SILVERSEA’S SILVER MUSE

Lauded as the pinnacle of Seabourn’s innovation so far, a luxurious atmosphere and unprecedented choice is promised aboard the Seabourn Encore. Some 300 suites will provide accommodation that would be at home in any top hotel.

Described by Regent Seven Seas as “intimately spacious”, decadent accommodation on the Seven Seas Explorer will range from Veranda Suites - all with private balcony, marble bathroom and separate sitting area - to the incomparable Regent Suite, which boasts a jaw-dropping 271 square metres of indoor space plus an 89 square metre balcony. And did we mention the private, in-suite spa?

Work on the Silversea Muse began in July 2015, with a steeling cutting ceremony at Ponente shipyard in Genoa. This vessel is seen as an ‘evolution’ of the Silversea model in which boutique ships offer luxurious levels of space but retain a feeling of intimacy.

Still very much in the making, plans for the superlative Seabourn Suites onboard are yet to be unveiled, by we’re assured that these ultra-luxe dwellings won’t disappoint. With entry level Veranda Suites set to offer ocean views, in-room entertainment and luxurious bathrooms, there’s no doubt that the ship’s premium accommodation will be something very special indeed! There are many more impressive touches too. Four dining options have already been announced, with two more speciality venues still to be revealed. Seabourn has recently teamed up with Thomas Keller, the internationally acclaimed chef behind three Michelin-starred restaurants (The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon), to create a host of new dishes for the fleet’s onboard menus. Surely this will make for a very special culinary experience! With Seabourn clearly going from strength to strength, an additional sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, is also planned and scheduled to set sail in 2018. Vital statistics: Capacity: 300 suites Number of decks: 12 Dining venues: 6 Sets sail: Spring 2017

Around the ship there really is something for everyone, from a well-stocked library, to the elegant pool deck. An array of choice will also be on offer at mealtimes, with some eight dining options including new pan-Asian restaurant, Pacific Rim and classic, continental cuisine at the elegant Compass Rose. Another feather in this luxury ship’s hat is the ambitious new Canyon Ranch SpaClub, which aspires to rival the finest onshore spas both in the quality of its facilities and the elegance of its surrounds. The SpaClub will be debuting treatments inspired by the seven seas themselves, including a reviving 100-minute experience that incorporates ingredients sourced from the Arctic Circle and a detoxifying Indian Ocean ritual using Dead Sea salts and rhassoul clay to cleanse tired skin. Bliss! Set to take its maiden voyage on 20 July 2016, Seven Seas Explorer will cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice before commencing an inaugural season that includes 10 amazing Mediterranean itineraries, as well as the ship’s North American and Caribbean debuts.

With work in progress, the fine details on Silversea Muse are still under wraps, but we’ve picked up a few hints along the way. It’s certain that the Encore will feature larger, high-end suites than any of Silversea’s current ships, with another improvement being more options for combining suites, meaning accommodation can be tailored to the requirements and desires of guests. We also know that there will an unprecedented eight restaurants onboard, some of which will be bringing new dining concepts exclusive to Silversea Muse. These is an emphasis on open-air cruising, with a plethora of outdoor venues promised, including three al fresco restaurants and lounge areas. All of this is designed to offer guests a privileged view as they cruise past the world’s most iconic destinations. Vital statistics: Capacity: 596 guests Number of decks: Dining venues: 8 Sets sail: Spring 2017

Vital statistics: Capacity: 750 guests Number of decks: 14 Dining venues: 8 Sets sail: July 2016

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HOTELREVIEW VILA VITA PARC

At ITC Luxury Travel we’re constantly sending teams out to top resorts across the world so that we can maintain the strong industry relationships and bring our clients up-to-the-minute information and the best value there is! In October this year Product Executive Gabrielle Cowley and Travel Specialists Laura Long and Moreno Intranova visited Vila Vita Parc on the Algarve. Here’s what they thought...

Laura says...

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For any special occasion, I’d suggest booking the Cave de Vinhos; an amazing Gothic wine cellar that houses over 11,000 bottles! You can arrange private wine and port tastings here, or even a Portuguese tapas and wine pairing dinner. What a treat!

Moreno says... One thing that really stuck me here was how helpful and friendly the staff were. Everyone has a smile for you and it doesn’t feel forced or formal. I think the key is that a lot of them are really long-serving, so they have the experience and feel proud of the hotel; it’s

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Gabrielle says... I really loved the accommodation here. We stayed in the main hotel building and the rooms were spacious and appointed in a fresh, contemporary style. There’s split-level living and sleeping areas too, making it almost feel like two rooms in one, plus a balcony (or garden on the ground floor) to chill out on. The room also had speakers that you could plug any phone or device into, meaning you can play your own music whilst getting ready for dinner, or just relaxing on the comfy sofas! The modern bathrooms are fab too, with double sinks and amazing rain showers. 01234567890

My overall impression of Vila Vita Parc was that it is a stunning luxury hotel with a relaxed but elegant feel. There are three distinct areas of accommodation over the 54 acre site and I really think there’s something to suit every client. The main hotel building is really impressive and has newly refurbished rooms that will please any discerning traveller. The spacious Oasis Parc is perfect for families, with it’s huge lagoon pool and Oasis Family Suites. Then, tucked away in its own little corner, the Residence is the ultimate chic adult-only enclave with fantastic sea views; this would be a great choice for a romantic escape, or even a honeymoon!

almost like they’re welcoming you to their home! I had a great chat with Ermelinda, a warm and bubbly staff member who really looked after us while we hung out by the pool. The strawberry daiquiris at the swim up bar were also excellent!

If you’re staying here, I’d recommend dinner at Adega restaurant where they serve traditional Portuguese cuisine. I has a fish Cataplana, with monkfish, clams and mussels, which was delicious. Of course, there are six restaurants - including one with two Michelin stars - to choose from, not to mention cafes and bars, so you’re spoilt for choice at Vila Vita Parc.

I think breakfast at Bela Vita Restaurant was a highlight for all three of us. You can sit outside on the terrace, which is perfect for taking in the beautiful manicured gardens and soaking up the morning sunshine. The food was great too, with loads of choice, including omelette and waffle stations. Plus, staff were very attentive, clearing plates quickly and even offering to bring us Champagne. The perfect way to start your day on a luxury escape to the Algarve!

To book your stay at VILA VITA Parc call us on 01244 355 566, or enquire via our website www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk


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LUXE

Whether it’s a treat for yourself or perhaps a gift, we’ve selected a few of our favourite products inspired by the brands used in the ITC Luxury Travel portfolio… 2. Our associate partners Aspinal of London offer a superb range of travel accessories. We love this Large Cabin Case in Black Pebble, £995

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1. The underwater spa at PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi, Maldives, is known as one of the world’s most sought-after locations for a top treatment. Products used include those from Anne Semonin (Mineral Mask, £42)

3. The boutique at the recently reopened One&Only Palmilla, Mexico is the perfect spot to pick up a few high-end souvenirs

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4.

4. Celebrity personal trainer James Duigan offers his famous ‘Bodyism’ and ‘Clean & Lean’ programmes to guests staying at One&Only Reethi Rah. Bodyism Shona hoodie, £160

7. 7. With its outstanding views of Lake Como, the spa at Grand Hotel Tremezzo is an exceptional venue for an ESPA treatment. Men’s Energizing Shower Gel, £20

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5.

5. Renowned as one of the finest destinations for a health and wellbeing break, the spa at The BodyHoliday in St Lucia uses British brand Elemis. Frangipani Monoi Body Oil, £31.50

6. The interiors at Lux* Belle Mare on Mauritius have received rave reviews since their recent update from design guru Kelly Hoppen. Scent One Taupe Candle, £25


LUXURY

UP TO

£2,18

The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua

Hotel Arts Barcelona Barcelona

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

One free night

Early booking discount

30% early booking discount

7 nights half board from £1,765 per person including flights and transfers.

3 nights from £1,035 per person including flights and transfers.

5 nights bed & breakfast from £1,119 per person

Saving up to £540 per person

Saving up to £120 per person

Saving up to 275 per person

Valid for travel completed between 11 May – 31

Valid for travel completed between 1 - 31 May 2016.

Aug 2016.

Book by 29 Feb 2016

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SAVINGS

89

PER PERSON

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, Maldives

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Kasbah Tamadot, Marrakech

Receive 30% discount plus complimentary half board

One free night

Stay 4 nights pay for 3

4 nights bed & breakfast from £1,665 per person including flights and transfers.

4 nights bed & breakfast from £729 per person including flights and transfers.

Saving up to £240 per person

Saving up to £215 per person

Valid for travel completed by 20 Dec 2016. Date exclusions apply

Valid for travel completed between 3 Jan - 17 Mar 2016

7 nights half board from £3,445 per person including flights and transfers Saving up to £1,579 per person Valid for travel completed by 19 Dec 2016 Book by 29 Feb 2016

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A M A Z I N G

Abu Dhabi

The British winter months are a great time to visit, with temperatures hovering around the balmy early to mid 20s and rainfall at a minimum. Also, with a flight time of just 7 hours and varied and convenient schedules to suit, it makes for a superb mid-haul destination for a boost of vitamin D during the darker months back home. From the immense Emirates Palace Hotel, decorated with 1,000 Swarovski crystal chandeliers, to golfers’ favourite, the seaside St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi’s properties are exceptionally lavish. Compared to Dubai, this Emirate - the largest of the seven in the United Arab Emirates - is a touch more culturally minded with plenty of museums to educate the intrigued history enthusiast. But like its neighbour, Abu Dhabi has also embraced the new, with attractions such as its famed Ferrari World Abu Dhabi; the world’s largest indoor theme park. Adrenalin-junkies will love the Formula Rossa - the fastest rollercoaster on the planet at 149 miles per hour - and racing fans eager for more can drive the adjacent Yas Marina Circuit, site of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The recent opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi has also been a forward-thinking move, while for an authentic Arabian experience a desert safari is a ‘must’ for any visitor to the region; with sand skiing, dune bashing and camel riding top of the activities list. So if you’ve never ventured to the region before, here are ten tempting reasons which might just sway you to head to Abu Dhabi for your next luxury holiday:

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1. Beaches Long stretches of golden sands provide the perfect spot for you to enjoy those Abu Dhabi rays, with many resorts boasting their own full-service beaches. At Emirates Palace guests can enjoy a 1.3km private beach for example, as well as the hotel’s very own marina.

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2. Shopping There’s an utter abundance of shopping opportunities in the emirate, from the latest luxury lifestyle hotspot The Galleria on Al Marayah Island, to the traditional markets and spice-filled souks.

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3. Golf Fans of the fairways need look no further than the year-round golf courses of Abu Dhabi. A favourite with ITC Luxury Travel clients is the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, challenging par-72 course designed by Gary Player.

4. Equestrianism Horses have great cultural significance in Abu Dhabi and it’s known for producing some of the world’s best racing horses. The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club has 16 meets a year, or if you’d prefer to ride yourself, there are plenty of guided beach or desert treks available.

5. Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque One of the world’s largest mosques, this feat of religious architecture should be on every visitor to Abu Dhabi’s ‘must see’ list. The Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri resort has superb views of the mosque if you want to photograph it from afar.

6. Yas Waterworld Young and old alike will love the aqua attractions at this fun-filled water park with its 45 slides and rides.

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7. Watersports And if you’re really into your watersports, there’s plenty to tempt you into the waters on Abu Dhabi’s coast. The Concierge team at Emirates Palace can arrange everything from kayaking in the mangroves to snorkelling and catamaran cruises.

8. Etihad Towers For its bars and nightlife, fine dining restaurants, world-class shopping and stunning views, Etihad Towers is very worthy of a visit on your exploration of Abu Dhabi.

9. Spa No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without an indulgent treatment in one of its top spas where you can kick back in exquisite relaxation. The 1,500 square metre Emirates Palace Spa has a traditional Moroccan Hammam and even an ice cave, while the Couples Desert Romance treatment at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is perfect for two.

10. Desert The deserts around Abu Dhabi are truly breathtaking, and to get a real feel for their scale and wildlife we’d recommend a desert safari, which can include a traditional dinner under the stars by firelight.

10 WHERE TO STAY… Whether you’re looking for an indulgent beach escape just for two, or a family-friendly resort with plenty to keep the kids smiling, take a closer look at the Emirates Palace.

SAVE UP TO 25% ON ACCOMMODATION RATES Prices from £1,525 per person based on 2 adults sharing a Coral Room for 5 nights, including daily breakfast, return economy class flights and private transfers Saving up to £345 per person Valid for travel completed between 10 January – 31 March 2016 Book 30 days prior to arrival

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G I R L S

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STAFF TRAVELS

Here at ITC Luxury Travel we pride ourselves on our firsthand knowledge of the destinations we offer. So whether it’s on a work-related trip, or a personal holiday, we encourage staff to visit our luxury hotels and resorts while abroad to familiarise themselves with our portfolio; ensuring that the advice you get when you call is genuine and honest. So here’s a few of the places the team have been to recently…simply click on their image to read all about their ITC experience…

Los Angeles, Tahiti and Bora Bora created the ‘trip of a lifetime’ for Marketing Executive Sarah Garrod


No journey to the Italian Lakes is complete without a night or two at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, says Marketing Manager Joanne Davenport

Chairman’s Club Account Manager Samantha Jackson experienced short-haul luxury in France 01234567890

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Platinum Account Manager Laura Long was completely wowed by the Maldives

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Back in September staff from ITC Luxury Travel, ITC Sports Travel, Deva Travel and Horse Racing Abroad were taken on an all expenses paid weekend to The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, on the island of Tenerife. This celebration of the company’s best ever year saw some 87 members of the team – from the finance department to sales support – whisked to the island for two days of indulgence, including a Gala Dinner with an Oscars-style awards ceremony. As we’re all now ambassadors for this exceptional, 5-star resort, we thought you might like to see some of the photos of our time here…

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Travelling with children can be challenging at the best of times, but if you’re heading long-haul then it can be even harder. That’s why choosing who you travel with is vitally important, to ensure your journey en masse is as relaxing as possible and your is holiday worth the extra miles. A great option whether your kids are tots or teens is to fly with Virgin Atlantic, who offer an excellent selection of family-friendly in-flight amenities for younger passengers. Team this with their convenient flight schedule to some of the world’s best resorts and destinations for kids, and the British airline makes for a superb choice. With that in mind, here are a few family hotspots on the Virgin route which could be just the ticket for your next school holiday:


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With direct flights from both London Gatwick and Manchester, flying to this famous Florida family holiday destination couldn’t be easier with kids in tow. Onboard your Virgin flight younger travellers are treated to their own menu designed by celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale, which offers choices that should appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Favourite dishes include ‘Mum’s chilli con carne’ and ‘Marvellous mac’n’cheese’. Once you’re there, a great ‘all-rounder’ is the new Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World. The facilities ensure down time for parents as well as plenty for kids, such as Explorer Island with its lazy river, and complimentary Kids For All Seasons programme. Grown-ups meanwhile can enjoy a cocktail with a view from the rooftop terrace at Capa Bar while children are cared for by a professional babysitter in your luxurious suite.

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‘Out of the mouths of babes’ the saying goes! So who better to ask about the family-friendly flights offered by Virgin Atlantic than one of their younger passengers?! Jaeda, aged 9, says: “I flew with my Mum and Dad to St Lucia two years ago and it was so lovely. We went to London to get our flight and the stewardess on the plane was really nice to me. There were loads of films to watch and all my favourite TV programmes, plus the food was scrummy! I had macaroni cheese. “At Christmas we’re going to Barbados and I can’t wait to fly on Virgin Atlantic again. They make me feel like a celebrity!”

With its year-round rays and only three hours time difference, Dubai makes for a great family holiday location. Onboard entertainment will keep the kids busy on the 7 hour flight too, with recent movies such as ‘Inside Out’ on the entertainment system, and ‘Frozen Fever’ for wannabe princesses! A parental lock function is available on most flights too, so that you can secure entertainment settings to the appropriate age range for your child. Dubai has no shortage of family-friendly resorts, and one of our favourites is Atlantis the Palm. There’s an overwhelming amount of services and facilities to keep under-18’s happy; from Club Rush for teens to a nanny service for preschoolers. Onsite marine and waterparks are ideal if you’ve got water babies, and for a family experience none of you will forget in a hurry there’s the Dolphin Encounter.

When a long flight such as that to Barbados is on the cards, activities to keep the kids happy are a necessity rather than a luxury. Thankfully when you fly with Virgin your children will be given their own KiD backpacks on their seat, bursting with ways to make the flight go by in a flash. Virgin Atlantic also offers direct flights to the island from both London Gatwick and Manchester, ensuring the journey is as seamless as possible. What’s more, thanks to our destination staff on Barbados, you’ll be greeted straight from the plane, meaning your transition through the airport and to your luxury resort will be exceptionally speedy. ITC Luxury Travel clients are spoilt for choice of where to stay, but if you’re a larger family then we recommend Saint Peter’s Bay which offers masses of space in chic, contemporary apartments. Just a ten minute (free!) water taxi ride away the kids can enjoy the Kids Zone at Port Ferdinand, which includes a toddlers play area and climbing frames. If you are looking for a great value allinclusive property than Crystal Cove by Elegant hotels ticks all the family-freiendly boxes.

COMING SOON! Look out for our Kids In The Med and Kids Beyond the Med brochures due to hit the shelves in January, featuring hotels and resorts that go the extra mile for you and yours.

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COME AWAY WITH

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6 SETTINGS FOR THE PERFECT PROPOSAL

Planning a proposal can feel like a lot of pressure; choosing the right ring and hoping your loved one will say ‘yes’ is enough to play on most people’s minds! But you also want to pick the right place, somewhere to make the moment unforgettably special, whilst also being personal to you. It’s not easy. A holiday can be the perfect setting in which to pop the question; when you have time and energy to enjoy each other’s company to the full. And there are many iconic, romantic destinations with dreamy views to choose from, though some may feel a bit more ‘obvious’ than others. Of course, places like the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building are fantastic choices, but many people want somewhere more unique for this big moment. If you’re in need of inspiration, we’ve got it covered. From the City of Love to the Caribbean Sea, we picked some perfect spots - and some unusual destinations - for this most romantic of occasions.


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New York

The Big Apple is a great place to take a winter break for whatever reason. The weather might be icy cold, but this just means you’ll want to get cosied up by the fire, or sip a warm drink as you stroll down the city streets. And if the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty don’t grab you as locations, there are plenty more ideas out there. Though it’s chilly, a trip to the vintage fairground at Coney Island could be a fun and unexpected way to pop the question. The giant Ferris wheel here will give you some great views over New York, and a very private moment for just you two. If you’d like the views, but prefer to stay in the warm, try a restaurant at altitude in one of the city’s many skyscrapers. Asiate at Mandarin Oriental, New York is a great choice, with French-Japanese fusion cuisine to be enjoyed alongside outstanding vistas out over Manhattan and Central Park. For that bit more intimacy, you can even book a private dining room.

Paris

Nobody knows how many proposals have taken place on the Eiffel Tower, but with thousands of tourists visiting this icon of the City of Love each day, it must have witnessed a fair few. But France’s capital is known for its glorious architecture and manicured parks, so there are a thousand more places to ask that most romantic of questions... From the steps of the Sacre Coeur, you can enjoy magificent views of the entire city, which is particularly lovely after sunset. There are also some hidden corners of greenery in the endlessly crowded city. The tiny Jardin de la Nouvelle France is just a few minutes walk from the Champs-Elysées, but surprisingly quiet; the perfect place to spring a surprise on your true love! But if you’re looking for something less dramatic and more personal, how about a patisserie? Now, here us out! With charming bakeries and cafes on every corner, choose somewhere cute to buy your morning pain au chocolat and coffee, then on your last morning suggest you sit down to eat. The perfect, personal location!

Barbados

This iconic Caribbean island is renowned for its wow-factor, especially along its west side - also known as the Platinum Coast. With some of world’s finest restaurants and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, there’s no better place for a good old fashioned proposal over dinner. We highly recommend The Cliff or The Lone Star for a truly special meal. If you’re booking with ITC, let our Concierge team know in advance and they will be happy to make reservations. If you’re looking for a bit more privacy with your meal, then many hotels here offer idyllic dinners for two right out on the beach. The House by Elegant Hotels is fantastically private, and your personal ambassador will even help you select a ring if you wish! They’ll lay out a beautiful table for you on the shore, where you can both enjoy food from Daphne’s restaurant and watch the sun set. If rugged landscapes more your thing, then head over to the east of the island, where untouched beauty abounds. Get down on one knee on a windswept cliff, or in the heady surrounds of tropical forests further inland.

Want some help? If all this seems totally fantastic but utterly daunting why not speak to someone at ITC Luxury Travel? We can recommend the best hotels, make dinner reservations and even arrange those little extras to make your special moment unforgettable. Good luck!

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y l b a b o r p u o y 3 d n A . . . t ’ n d ha Barcelona

Not known as a winter destination, you’ll find this beautiful city pleasingly quiet in December and still with much to recommend it. The weather will be milder than back home, but not quite up to a candlelit dinner on the beach! Still, there are always luxury hotels like Hotel Arts and W Barcelona, which offer sea views from the comfort of your warm room. For a spectacular back drop for your big moment, head to Plaça Espanya, where you’ll see a beautiful avenue of ponds and fountains leading all the way up to the steps of the Palua Nacional. Find a spot to perch here at sunset on a Friday or Saturday evening and watch the Magic Fountain show; a dazzling display of what can only be described as aquatic fireworks! Huge jets of water are illuminated by hundreds of coloured lights and in a show set to music. If you’re feeling sneaky, try to pretend you’re just stopping to watch the sun go down, then when the event starts there’ll be two pleasant surprises in store!


St Martin

How about a Caribbean proposal that’s a little more off-the-beaten track? St Martin (or St Maarten on the island’s Dutch side) is a holiday destination to rival many of the Caribbean big hitters, with a refined French elegance and outstanding natural beauty to boot. There are some stellar hotels too, like Belmond La Samanna, where you can toast to years of happiness from your ocean view balcony. And where better to pop the question that on Lover’s Beach itself? This tiny, secluded cove is so named because it can only accommodate two people at a time, so there’s no fear of intrusion on your special moment. Do a test-run first or enlist the assistance of a local guide, as this beach is tricky to find, and involves a bit of a walk. But we’re assured it’s well worth the effort! Or if such a remote location doesn’t appeal, how about the Butterfly Farm? Here, the beautiful creatures flutter overhead whilst streams gurgle and the sun beats down. How could they say no??

Dubai

This Emirate may be known for its ultra-modern malls and staggering scale but don’t be fooled; there is plenty of potential for romance here too. What’s more the city’s ‘larger than life’ reputation means obliging staff are always keen to help with as big and bold a statement as you can imagine! Of course the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, is here, but if you’d rather stay on the ground how about a romantic dinner in the desert? Many top hotels offer excursions into the dunes, and will be happy to arrange a private escapade, with first class service all the way. The stars out here are captivating, providing a breathtaking canopy under which to propose. For something a bit more low key, but no less dazzling, wander through the world famous Gold Souk in Deira. What could just be a tourist trip, or some casual window shopping (maybe even a ‘hypothetical’ look at some rings), could turn into a surprise proposal. When your lady spots a ring she loves, you can ask the all-important question and buy the ring as a momento of this special day, as well as a symbol of your new engagement!

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