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Latest News * USA * Tauck A Room With A View * Our Favourite Beaches Team Trips: South Africa & Greece


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Welcome to our latest newsletter! will read about both of these.They also feature many other destinations around the world and have a fabulous European river cruising programme which Sue, our cruise specialist, experienced last year. We regularly get asked where to go for the best beaches in the world. With this in mind we have put together a feature on some of our favourites. These are just a selection so if you really are a total ‘beach junkie’ then talk to us and we can help you choose your paradise destination, whatever your requirements. There is nothing better than having a gin The expression ‘time flies’ seems more and tonic on your balcony or terrace whilst apparent than ever this year as I cannot believe watching the sunset and if you get a wonderful that we are more than mid-way through the view then even better, so we have included a section on our favourite ‘rooms with a view’ year already! I do hope you will enjoy our latest which we hope will be of interest. We always try and keep our product newsletter, which will give you some ideas and inspiration for your future holiday plans. knowledge fresh so we can give up to date Our destination feature this time around is and expert advice for our clients and so far the less discovered areas of the USA. You will this year the team have been to Croatia, Italy, read about New England and the wonderful Turkey, Greece, British Virgin Islands and surrounding areas, along with the Deep South South Africa. Read about Jo’s lovely weekend incorporating the magical music areas of in Halkidiki and Anne’s amazing adventure in Nashville and Charleston.The scenic National South Africa. I do hope that you enjoy the newsletter. Parks of the USA make a fabulous vacation, and then finally we have featured the glorious The team and myself look forward to being of service to you soon. islands of Hawaii. Please do also like us on Facebook or follow For over 90 years Tauck have been offering the highest level of standards and service for us on Twitter for lots more holiday inspiration escorted touring in the USA and I am delighted and the latest deals.You can access these through to say that they have asked us to highlight two our website www.ashdowntravel.co.uk Kind regards, Nick Samuels, Director of their best-selling tours. As well as traditional nick@ashdowntravel.co.uk touring they also offer family adventure so you

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Belmond have for many years operated some of the world’s most luxurious train journeys: the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Eastern & Oriental Express, to name but a few. Launching in 2016 will be the Belmond Grand Hibernian the world’s first luxury train experience around Ireland. Based in and out of Dublin there will be a choice of 3 itineraries: a 2 night, a 4 night, or the Grand 6 night option. This will be a fabulous way of exploring the splendours of Ireland and will no doubt be very popular. For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts new openings are always highly anticipated! When you couple this with the glamour of the French Riviera it is even more exciting and now the Four Seasons Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat is open! After a major refurbishment programme this luxury hotel really is going to be one of the ‘must stay’ places on the Cote D’Azur. Catering for couples and families alike this property oozes French Chic with traditional glamour for a very elegant & stylish French vacation. Ashdown Travel is one of a handful of UK preferred partners for Four Seasons and our clients receive lots of extras such as welcome amenities and room upgrades subject to availability.

2016 sees a number of the major cruise lines bringing new ships to the market which as always are big news for cruise aficionados! Regent Seven Seas Cruises sees the launch of Seven Seas Explorer which at 56,000 tonnes and only 750 passengers will boast one of the highest space per passenger ratio of any ship afloat! Oceania Cruises latest gem will see Sirena enter service in April 2016. Renowned for their outstanding food and service Sirena will carry up to 684 passengers who will have choices of many varying itineraries including a November Panama Canal transit. Royal Caribbean will have 2 new ships launch in 2016. The Ovation of the Seas at 168,000 tonnes will offer all the full range of facilities and activities expected on a large ship and Harmony of the Seas the third in the Oasis class and carrying over 6,000 passengers will continue to astound and delight both new and experienced cruisers. They shatter preconceived notions of what cruising can be and continue to offer outstanding value for money!


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USA: NEW ENGLAND

Hawaii’s cobalt blue ocean and spectacular sunrises and sunsets provide the perfect backdrop for island getaways. Everything here feels easy-going and casual, bursting with genuine aloha and fun for everyone, not to mention a great choice of resorts teeming with amenities and outdoor pursuits. Made up of six islands across a 500 mile archipelago, Hawaii has long been a popular destination for all types of traveller, from active families and groups to couples seeking a touch of romance. All can delight in the rich island culture, striking scenery, eclectic flavours and multitude of attractions, exploring verdant jungles, lava fields and waterfalls, or partaking in a vast array of land and watersports. Be sure to visit Hawaii, also known as the ‘Big Island’, where you will find rich natural beauty including the world’s most active volcanoes, lush rainforests, snow-capped mountaintops and beautiful black sand beaches. On Oahu, discover the famous Waikiki Beach, witnessing surfers conquering crashing waves, or go

to the beaches of Maui to spot humpback whales and play golf on championship courses. The vast chasms of Waimea Canyon can be found on Kauai, an island with 50 miles of glorious beaches and dotted with historic towns where no buildings are higher than a coconut tree. The people and local life on these colourful islands are equally vibrant and with so much to explore, your time here is sure to be memorable. With so much to see, why not ascend to new heights on a helicopter tour over the islands, touching down for private remote barbecues and secluded valley landings. Witness bubbling volcanoes and hidden waterfalls nestled within the island interior or crashing waves against the coastline. During this exciting excursion, Hawaii will reveal itself to you in a way you would never see by land. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the islands are excellently placed to also combine with trips to mainland USA as part of a multi-centre holiday tailored to suit you.

Image Credit:Vermont Dept of Tourism and Marketing

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New England, birthplace of America, nestled in the northeast corner of the USA comprises the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, each different in character, landscape and history.With a longstanding tradition of providing friendly hospitality, wherever you stay in New England you are guaranteed a warm welcome, especially in the charming country hotels and historic inns scattered throughout the region. Head out into the great outdoors and discover an unspoilt USA of picturesque rivers and lakes, towering forests, miles of rugged beaches, mountain ranges with hiking and skiing trails and make the most of the abundant natural beauty. We suggest a few nights at Woodstock Inn, Vermont. This large property is still quite traditional, with gorgeous cosy guest rooms and suites. The facilities here are almost endless, including an amazing spa, and games room. It also has its own golf course and a vast fitness centre offering everything from an indoor pool to mountain biking and its own Nordic sports centre. Take in the small town character of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, each attracting visitors who are drawn to the delightful historical buildings, fresh seafood restaurants, sailing scene and whale watching opportunities. We love Chatham Bars Inn, Cape Cod, right on the elbow of the Cape. It’s a large beachfront property with a great choice

of room and suite categories, many with stunning ocean views. It has a great range of facilities including a large pool close to the long sandy beach. With nearly 5000 miles of coastline, New England boasts ample water-sports and activities, with almost endless scope for fishing, swimming, surfing, sailing and sunbathing. Visit these quaint fishing villages and coastal resorts with elegant yachts bobbing in the harbour or venture into the low-lying rural hills, which are peppered with picture-postcard architecture, antique shops and white-steeple churches set on emerald green landscapes. While the inland ‘Berkshires’ region is a haven for culture enthusiasts, coastal spots also boast cultural calendars brimming with events, including film festivals and theatre productions, blues jams in Maine, folk festivals in Newport and Lowell and classical music in Rockport. Boston, the gateway to New England, is one of the country’s oldest cities and features a blend of European culture with modern day America. In this historic city everything is within easy walking distance and is home to a fantastic range of hotels in all of the most popular areas, such as Back Bay, Copley Square and Downtown. Opt to experience the breath-taking ‘leaf peeping’ Autumn foliage during late September and October, when New England’s forests and tree-lined streets are aflame with autumnal reds and golden hues.


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USA:DEEP SOUTH

U S A : N AT I O N A L PA R K S Yosemite

The Deep South is known for being steeped in history, its warm Southern hospitality, and its blend of cultures from French, African, and Spanish influences. This can be experienced in an array of cuisine from Cajun and Creole flavours, gumbo, barbeques, jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, hominy grits, fried chicken, pecan pies, the mouth-watering list goes on.. It’s the place to go if you are interested in music and want to immerse yourself in blues, jazz, and country tunes. There are live music events and festivals year-round, most famously Mardi Gras which will be in New Orleans in January next year. A performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is a must for all music lovers as is the Country Music Hall of Fame. No visit to the area would be complete without a stop at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.Visit the home of Elvis, as well the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Rock‘n’Soul Museum. Step back in time to sites from the American Civil War and from more recent times, as many of the events in the Civil Rights movement are honoured with museums and attractions in the area. In Birmingham, Alabama you can follow in the footsteps of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr and visit the Civil Rights Institute.

There are nearly 200 miles of coastline in South Carolina including 60 miles of picturesque beaches along Myrtle Beach’s ‘Grand Strand’. With sands of another kind, the state is also home to numerous championship golf courses. In historic Charleston you can enjoy a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride around the city and we recommend staying in its heart at Belmond Charleston Place, steps from the open-air market and an array of excellent restaurants, not least the hotel’s own Charleston Grill where world-class jazz music meets delicious cuisine. An Old Town Trolley is a fun way to see the pretty city of Savannah with its old architecture, civil war history, spooky cemeteries, quaint squares and many historic homes. Natchez, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi, gives visitors a glimpse of the past with its beautifully preserved Antebellum homes. And in New Orleans you can visit old plantation homes, and explore the French Quarter with its narrow cobblestone streets. Steamboat cruises can be taken on the Mississippi including jazz cruises with a Creole buffet. You can even get up close to some alligators walking the boardwalks at the Barataria Preserve, part of the Jean Lafitte National Park.

One of the most popular National Parks to include in an itinerary is Yosemite National Park which lies about 160 miles east of San Francisco. Its varied landscape ranges from glacial rock formations to towering sequoias. The most famous feature is the Half Dome, a 5000ft high granite peak rising dramatically from the valley floor, and its location in Yosemite Valley is the most visited part of the Park. The waterfalls are also a huge highlight, fed by the snow melt, they are particularly dramatic in the Spring. For the lucky few, keep an eye out for Black Bear and Golden Eagles!! Tours can be taken on foot, horseback, or by bike and accommodation can be either be just outside the park such as the Yosemite View Lodge or if you book early enough, the Ahwahnee Hotel actually inside the Park.

Zion & Bryce National Park Only 70 or so miles apart, these two parks are “must-see’s” when in the Canyonlands area of the States. At the heart of Zion National Park, is the

Zion Canyon carved by the Virgin River, more than 2000ft deep in places. The pink sandstone cliffs tower above you and the river itself forms a natural corridor for hikers and famous routes include the Angels Landing, Subway and The Narrows. Bryce Canyon is one of the most unique and arresting parks in the area with its bright red and orange towering pillars in a series of amphitheaters. Officially their name are ‘hoodoos’ and they have been formed from frost, water and wind erosion over the millennia. In reality they seem to defy explanation and leave visitors wide eyed in wonder!

Yellowstone National Park Established in 1872, Yellowstone claims its place as America’s oldest and favourite National Park. It is home to bubbling mud pools, hot springs and over 300 geysers such as Old Faithful, as well as grizzly bears, wolves, elk and bison. There are over 1000 miles of trails so be sure to stay more than a couple of days to really enjoy it to its full.


A S H D OW N TAU C K : U S A At Tauck we aim to offer the best luxury travel experience for our clients, on land, sea, and river. It’s easy to see the world’s sights, to stand in long lines and push through the crowds. But that’s not good enough for us. We believe that travel should be easy and fun. It should be worth your time and the price you paid. It should transform and above all, it should be beyond the ordinary. Travel should be life changing, eye opening,

AMERCIA’S CANYONLANDS Departures April – October 2016 7 nights From £2,090 per person (plus flights) Stay at sought after lodges in the heart of the parks. Enjoy an ecological talk on the Grand Canyon’s rim by geology expert, a private Lake Powell dinner cruise onboard a yacht, an interpretive lecture on Southwestern ecology, a float trip

exciting, and engaging for all ages... Tauck’s family holidays are designed to spark a passion, inspire a sense of wonder, and enrich understanding, and when these experiences are shared with loved ones, they bring you closer together. At Tauck we take care of every detail of your holiday so you can do, see, and be together as a family... making memories that will last forever. Here are some of our top USA tours:

on the Colorado River, aerial sightseeing over Rainbow Bridge, a private cruise and guided tour to view colourful slot Canyons, Bryce Canyon’s Hoodoo’s and a final night in Las Vegas. Enjoy an additional complimentary night at Four Seasons Scottsdale before the tour and take advantage of a further additional night pre or post with compliments of Tauck.

BRIDGES ALASKA CALL OF THE WILD Departures in June, July & August 2016 From Double £2,890 per person,Triple £2,690 pp, or Quad £2,640 per person (plus flights) Travel by land, sea and air on this incredible Alaska Tour which is designed for every member of your family. Your travels begin in Anchorage, then its off to the Northern interior for a jet boat ride, a wilderness hike, a GEO-caching treasure hunt and two nights at a wilderness lodge. Meet Alaskan huskies at a dog sled training facility and soar above the foothills of Mt. McKinley on a flight seeing adventure. Travel to Alaska’s alpine playground in

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Kenai for two nights and enjoy activates such as kayaking , river rafting, and guided wilderness hiking. Cruise the Kenai Fjords with a naturalist, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre to meet animals being rehabilitated from Moose to Grizzly bears and pan for gold at Crow Creek Mine. Enjoy one free night pre or post with the compliments of Tauck.

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For one of the best views in Paris, head to the Shangri-la Hotel Paris and stay in an Eiffel Tower View room. For a special occasion book a room with a terrace for an even better vantage point.

To stay in the heart ofVenice and enjoy superb views we love Ca’Sagredo’s Grand Canal Double rooms allowing you to you watch the world go by and the gondolas glide past.

Central Park in New York is a glorious oasis of greenery in the heart of the city that never sleeps. The Trump International Hotel & Tower New York’s Executive Park View suites have floor to ceiling windows so you have uninterrupted views of its expanse. To overlook one of the most iconic harbours in the world it has to be the Deluxe Full Harbour View rooms at the Four Seasons Sydney. The hotel is steps from Circular Quay and also has one of the biggest outdoor pools of the Sydney deluxe hotels.

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the only hotel in the Iguassu National Park and the Deluxe Falls View rooms look out to the magnificent Iguassu Falls.

With its ever changing colour palette, it’s worth upgrading to a room overlooking Uluru (Ayers Rock) and these are available at Voyages Desert Garden Hotel in the Deluxe Rock View room category.

For breath-taking views of one of the most romantic buildings in the world, built as a symbol of love, stay in a Premier room with Balcony at Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra.

The imposing landmark of Table Mountain can be seen from the Marina Rise Mountain View rooms at One&Only Cape Town, just a stone’s throw from the fashionable V&A Waterfront.

Hong Kong’s ever changing skyline is best seen from Kowloon to the Island and where better to see it than from the historic Peninsula Hong Kong in one of their Grand Deluxe Harbour View rooms.

For a truly unique vista from your bed, try one of the 8 glass fronted suites at Leopard Hills, in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve and look out at the African Bushveld and see the game refreshing themselves at the watering hole nearby.


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O U R FAVO U R I T E B E AC H E S

O U R FAVO U R I T E B E AC H E S

The Maldives is known worldwide for its beautiful beaches. One of our favourites is at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in the Baa Atoll. Its whiter than white pure soft sand beaches are framed by the turquoise waves of the Indian Ocean. A snorkelers and divers paradise!

When the sun sets over the water at Meads Bay in Anguilla it is a soulsoothing sight to see. Meads Bay is truly one of the most visually impressive, wide and expansive beaches. With so many dining and accommodation options, it is no wonder it’s one of the islands most widely loved top beaches. One of our favourite beaches downunder has to be Whitehaven in the Whitsundays National Park. With 98% pure white silica, it’s a near luminescent colour gently flowing into crystal clear warm azure waters. It is only reached by boat (or helicopter!) making it even more exclusive!

Swaying palm trees, crystal clear waters and the colourful coral reefs of Jamaica all add to the charm and beauty of Negril’s 7 mile beach. The soft white sand gently meets the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, perfect for a morning jog or leisurely walk.

Santa Margherita di Pula on the southern side of the beautiful island of Sardinia boasts a long soft sandy beach with pinkish hues. The water is a mix of all tones of blue and is shallow making it perfect for families with children where they can play along the water’s edge.

The Nam Hai sits on Ha My Beach a stunningly picturesque and unspoilt stretch of the renowned China Beach in Vietnam, with calm tropical shores set amongst Vietnam’s richest cultural heritage.

One of the most delightful beaches in the Seychelles is Anse Georgette, located in the north-west of Praslin. Only accessible via the ocean, or (with permission) via the Lémuria Resort, visitors can find round granite boulders, white sand, and a wide beach, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Armacao de Pera on Portugal’s Algarve, famous for its picturesque rock formations and cliff patterns has a long, clean sandy beach washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is very popular with windsurfers, kite surfers, and bathers enjoying the waves.

The intimate oceanfront Setai Resort faces the clear blue waters and white sand beaches of South Beach, Miami backed by the iconic art deco buildings, stunning chic hotels, and very long boardwalk which is excellent for a morning power walk!

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is tucked away in a corner of the Yucatan jungle set on a very wide, pristine stretch of white sand on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Backed by towering coconut palms, this beach is renowned for being one of the best in the area.


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TEAM TRIP : SOUTH AFRICA

TEAM TRIP : SOUTH AFRICA

As I caught sight of Cape Town out of the window, the tedium of our long journey from London melted away as I wondered what new experiences this trip to South Africa would have to offer. 90 minutes later, champagne glass in hand, I gazed out over the autumnal winelands around the Grand Roche in Paarl and let the view do the talking. A member of Small Leading Hotels of the World, this 28 room 5* boutique hotel is all about personal service and attention to detail from the General Manager Anja and her team, and is also home to an award winning restaurant, Bosman’s. Dinner that first evening set the bar high... Next day we headed to the winelands of Franschhoek and the newly remodelled Mont Rochelle, now part of Virgin Limited Edition owned by Richard Branson. The hotel setting is

just beautiful, and the rooms fresh and welcoming, and of course it would have been rude to refuse the opportunity for a wine tasting at their farm! From the winelands we headed south to the whaling coast and the unique eco-lodge called Grootbos. I have always recommended Grootbos to clients ever since visiting 14 years ago, and the experiences gained here will always be treasured. Various activities such as horseriding, birdwatching and nature, marine and coastal drives and walks are included in their rates and in season, the landbased whale watching is superb. Back in Cape Town we visited Table Mountain under clear sunny skies with superb views of Camps Bay, Bantry Bay and the city. Staying at the luxurious Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel was a delight, the gardens and pool area a real bonus

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in a city hotel. Famous of course for ‘Afternoon Tea at the Nellie’, and home to the fine dining restaurant Planet; the hotel has embraced the developing area of restaurants and shops around it by providing guests with a walking map of the immediate local area and happily make recommendations for guests. Time for our final stop...safari at Kapama. A short 2 hour flight from Cape Town to Hoedspruit and we arrived. There are four different lodges at Kapama, a style to suit all travellers, and transfers take 20-40 minutes, but you can’t think of this journey as a transfer, it is your first game drive! And we saw eagle, giraffe, zebra and hornbill... indeed it was the diversity of wildlife we saw over the 2 days that was fantastic. We missed leopard from the Big Five, but I can’t be disappointed

when we saw hyena, jackal, mongoose, hippo, warthog, the African cat Civet, wildebeest, waterbuck, various antelope, vultures – and I could go on and on!! Highlights? Many! Dinner of the week has to go to Grande Roche, which was quite exceptional. The setting of Mont Rochelle in Franschoek was gorgeous. Sunset over Walker Bay at Grootbos was simply stunning, but the experience of the week? Our encounter with a pride of lions as night fell on safari, with our guide JP and tracker Michael at Kapama. Magic!! All in all a quite inspirational week, which for me captured a true snapshot of the diversity this country has to offer, and just left me feeling I must go back. Thank you Dragonfly Africa, what a great trip! (By Anne)

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A S H D OW N T EA M T R I P S Danai Beach, Halkidiki by Jo I was lucky enough to be invited to this luxurious hideaway, Halkidiki, in the Aegean Peninsula in May. Surrounded by Mediterranean pine trees, lush gardens, white sandy beaches, clean turquoise waters and blue skies it was idyllic. All the suites and villas have their own luxurious style. Expect the highest level of service from all areas of the hotel. The staff are extremely attentive and will cater to your every need, even down to cleaning your sunglasses for you! The gardens and the woods around the resort make it feel very relaxing, with fantastic views of the sea from the balconies and terraces. There is plenty of choice for places to eat and the food is amazing! Relax and enjoy your breakfast on the terrace overlooking the sea.

The Sea Horse Grill restaurant by the beach offers fresh fish, meats, vegetables and Greek salads, plus BBQ specialities. Greek nights with their live band and traditional costume dressed dancers are a must! After dinner enjoy a drink in the relaxing Sea Side Bar where you can order a variety of different cocktails while watching the wonderful sunsets. For the more active person, the hotel provides a variety of activities for you. Water sports, water aerobics, tennis, mountain biking, fishing and golf, then to the complete opposite and being pampered in the hotels own spa! I can thoroughly recommend the massages!! The hotel also has its own wine cellar and can arrange wine tasting sessions for you. An onsite children’s club for children aged 4 months to 12 years, will keep your children entertained while you relax! A stay at the Danai Beach Resort & Villas is a truly amazing experience!

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