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Home & Away with Robert Walshe The Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the Red Fort – just three evocative names in the plethora of cultural attractions that India has to offer and for the Cultural Voyager a ‘must visit’ country. With this in mind Incredible India has launched its ‘Find What You Seek’ campaign for consumers. The idea is that you will find whatever you are looking for from a holiday in India. The concept will also create an awareness of the destinations and products available which they hope will increase international visitor figures by 12% each year until 2016.

Weekend Hotspot

If you’re going to visit the romantic city of Paris and you have the means, why not do it in true style. It has to be said that this destination has some of the world’s finest, most luxurious places to stay however for me the Four Seasons George V is the jewel in the crown. This recently refurbished stateof-the-art landmark hotel is located a short walk away from the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and the Eiffel Tower. In 1928 the hotel opened for business financed by American Joel Hillman, at a cost of US$31 million. Since then the “George V” has long been a favourite Parisian haunt for the luminaries and icons of the world including US President Dwight D Eisenhower who checked in during the liberation of Paris in 1944. From the world of entertainment celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Gene Kelly, Vivian Leigh, Sophia Loren & John Wayne all passed through while fast forward to my weekend visit I was

on the lookout for Celine Dion who also shared my taste for some French chic at George V! In more recent decades the hotel was purchased by Saudi Prince Alwaleed and following a two-year renovation in collaboration with architect Richard Martinent and interior design wizard Pierre Yvess Rochon reopened as part of Four Seasons in 1998. The renovation has given those involved an incredible opportunity to return the building’s original charm and to reinforce the hotel’s place in the architectural heritage of Paris. The property also displays original features such as tapestries from 17th century Flanders, a 500ft Savonnerie carpet (in La Galerie), antique boulle armoires, Empire consoles, and 18th century marquetry secretaries and an original bay window. The hotel’s original ironwork with its art deco balustrades and feathermotif medallions above the towering glass entrance doors was also restored to its former glory. A total of 245 guest rooms include 61 suites, and 30 have their own private balconies and terraces romantically overlooking the


u Versailles ors at Chatea

n Hall of Mirr

rooftops of one of the most fashionable quarter of Paris. The rooms and bathrooms are fully equipped, luxurious and furnished in a wonderful style reminiscent of the Louis XVI period. These “Deluxe rooms” are larger than other rooms, and have a separated shower in the bathroom. Eight hotel florists import between 14,000 and 17,000 blooms every week from the Netherlands and turn them into major arrangements for the lobby and public areas and 150 smaller bouquets that are used throughout the hotel. The arrangements are works of art, and George V’s floral displays are often described as “sculptures” with new themes introduced weekly. The Four Seasons George V spa offers 11 treatment rooms, a swimming pool, cardiovascular equipment and fitness instruction as well as separate men’s and women’s sauna, whirlpool, hot tub, locker rooms, massage services, relaxation rooms and a health juice bar. In fact Spa Finder, the leading magazine for spas and well being in the USA, has published its annual ranking of the best spas in the world for 2012 awarding George V as Best Spa in y. George V Lobb France, and Best Spa in Four Seasons Europe once again. The

Pet’s Corner...


n Incredible India

dining choices include “Le Cinq” a two star Michelin culinary treat rated among the best restaurants in Paris for cuisine and décor. “La Galerie” for breakfast, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea is also very special and I people watched at” Le Bar “with a glass of my favourite champagne. If you love Parisian shopping and fashion, a huge plus about staying at George V is that you are a stone’s throw from the best shopping in the city. The triangle d’or is the area around Avenue Montaigne, Ave George V, and Rue Francois 1er, where you find the finest Haute Couture in the world. There are so many flagship stores on this street that you will be overwhelmed with shopping possibilities including Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dolce e Gabbana, Prada, Gucci and that’s just for starters ! In a city that has more mu-


Launch 2013

seums than you could ever visit in one trip, the Louvre Museum is the most famous. It’s not only the largest museum here, but also one of the biggest of its kind in the world so be sure to see the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The Musee d’Orsay is home to the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings with masterpieces by Monet, Degas and Renoir. A half hour outside of the city the Palace of Versailles is one of the grandest historical museums on the planet with 18,000 square meters of history & a most famous garden. Versailles is half an hour by rail from the Gare St Lazarre station or the concierge team at Four Seasons can organise private transport. On arrival, make the Eiffel Tower a first stop. Pictures

do not do it justice. The first glimpse of this grand structure leaves you breathless. For independent explorations, the Paris Metro is an easy and convenient way to get around Paris. No matter where you are in Paris there is a Metro station within 550 yards. Aer Lingus depart fly Paris CDG three times daily from Dublin Easyjet depart Belfast International daily or Flybe ex George Best Belfast City via Manchester/Southampton For best hotel rates visit www. Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio Network and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland.

Home and Away Extra Sir Stelios’ new budget African airline FastJet is launched. The pan African low-cost carrier has taken delivery of its first branded Airbus A319 at its base in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Two more are expected to arrive in the next few days ready for the inaugural flight on Thursday. A team of 35 pilots, 65 cabin crew and

seven maintenance specialists are now on the ground preparing for launch. The airline said its website had received over 20,000 hits in its first four days. It will start by operating domestic routes in Tanzania from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza.Later on, it plans to open a second base in Nairobi, then in Ghana and Angola.

with Kathleen Murray

The Christmas budget – and pets Budgets are very tight for many people this year. Christmas is coming, and trying to find ways to fit in money for food much less presents is very hard. If you have pets they also still have to eat. Lots of pets have been abandoned as a result... yet a new wave of pets will cross thresholds as presents at Christmas. This is very worrying. If you are one of those people that is planning on giving someone a pet for Christmas (which I am against) then there are two things to think about very seriously. The first one is “Can the family or person afford to keep the pet after you’ve turned and

gone”? Pets are very costly, vets are costly, food is costly, to mention but a few. They can’t live on fresh air. The second thing is “What kind of life will this animal have”? Do the owners have enough time for it? Will it be a family pet or just shoved out into the back yard with the empty boxes and torn wrapping paper on Boxing Day? In the present financial climate many people have to work as much as they can to make ends meet. Absent or stressed out people do not make good leaders or owners for their pets. Tension in a house can case animals to be anxious and tense also,

often resulting in behaviour or medical problems. When some people are worried, tense or anxious they drink too much and this leaves them unstable and often threatening in the presence of helpless animals. Nobody’s life is perfect. We all do the best we can with what we’ve got and many animals are living in very tense and unpredictable circumstances. Do we need to push more innocent animals into situations like that, just so that we can feel good? Before you give someone an animal, think about the life that this animal will lead. It’s life span on av-

erage (for a cat or dog) is 10 – 17 yrs. Some have shorter lives, some live longer. Small dogs live longer than big dogs. How high are it’s chances of making it to adulthood let alone the end of it’s life? Moving animals from one family to another or whatever causes upset and can often be very traumatic for an animal. Pets should only be moved on if the owner has died or has fallen on hard times etc. This is not the case for many animals. Many pets are indulged and played with when they are young for a while because they are cute and then they are discarded because they have

become unruly and destructive because nobody thought to teach them some basic manners when they first arrived. This is letting an animal down, it is shallow thinking and very downright scary for many animals as they find themselves at the mercy of some one else, maybe worse than the last family. Taking an animal into your life or giving someone an animal to raise and keep as their pet is a very big deal. There is a huge responsibility, there are many

hidden costs on top of the great many that are obvious, and there is guiding this animal so that it turns out well as a pet. It’s behaviour reflects your effort. Some people are “good with animals”, some very definitely need help. Please check your budget, your energy, your teaching skills and your commitment level before you accept an animal into your life.

Home & Away Four Seasons George V  

Travel page River Newspapers Ireland

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