Five ‘5 Star’ Sydney Hotels

1. Four Seasons Sydney

Four Seasons Sydney

Stunningly situated overlooking Sydney Harbour, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney puts you near the city’s vibrant shopping and business centres. Take in dramatic harbour views, discover Sydney’s best restaurants, and explore the famous Rocks district. “Spoil yourself with Sydney’s best luxury accommodation decorated in contemporary grand-luxe style. Relax in a luxurious room or suite that overlooks the Sydney skyline, George Street or Walsh Bay, unwind in a City Harbour-View Room that overlooks Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay, or treat yourself to full harbour-view accommodations that offer dramatic panoramas of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Walsh Bay. The views are exquisite. The style is Four Seasons.”

2. The Langham Sydney

The Langham Sydney

Experience a tradition of luxury and service that dates back to Europe’s original grand hotel in London; The Langham. The Langham, Sydney blends the modern charm and attention to detail of a boutique Sydney hotel, with the timeless elegance and refined sophistication that are hallmarks of the Langham heritage. Recently voted 2013 Conde Nast Traveller Gold List, The Langham is the ideal 5 Star luxury accommodation in Sydney.

The legendary service of The Langham, Hotel Sydney positions it as a jewel amongst Sydney accommodation. The discreet and quiet location on the border of the historic Rocks district offers a city haven for a relaxing Sydney getaway or business visit.

Allow us to introduce you to the many wonders of The Langham Sydney hotel with our Sydney accommodation packages. Experience our remarkable features and facilities, many of them unique to us. Savour the grand british tradition of Tiffin Afternoon Tea or pamper yourself in luxury at The Day Spa featuring our famous 20m subterranean swimming pool.

You can count on luxury at its best at The Langham, Sydney hotel.

3. Shangri-La Sydney

Shangri-La Sydney

One of the most famous sights in the world greets you as you awake from the soothing comforts of your luxurious bed. The stunning Opera House glows a pearlescent white against the blue of the sky and the sea, while the Harbour Bridge stands majestically for all to see. The city is a palette of exuberant colours, all vying for your attention. Such is the spectacle from your room at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.

You walk the narrow, winding streets and discover Sydney’s vibrant history, and pick up interesting items at the quaint shops along the way. Eventually, you find yourself at the famous Queen Victoria Building. Delicate stained glass cast incandescent sunrays on the building’s two masterpieces – the Royal Clock and the Great Australian Clock – which amaze you with their intricate craftsmanship.

In need of respite after a long day, you return to the hotel with a spa treatment in mind. A private suite awaits you at CHI, The Spa, where you feel the tensions release and the aches wash away as you enter an undivided paradise.

The luxurious spa treatment ends just in time for dinner. You pick Altitude Restaurant from the plethora of dining choices in the hotel. Aside from an impressive night view, the restaurant delights you with a spectacular parade of thoughtfully crafted dishes, giving you the ultimate sensory satisfaction. Sipping the last bit of red wine, you recline in your seat and admire the city beneath you.

4. Park Hyatt Sydney

Park Hyatt Sydney

Park Hyatt Sydney combines the traditional values of courtesy, care and comfort with Park Hyatt’s discreet residential and sophisticated style. Whether your visit to the hotel is for an important meeting or a relaxing weekend away, Park Hyatt Sydney offers a wide range of guest services that will make your stay memorable.

 Park Hyatt Sydney brings modern luxury to the edge of Sydney Harbour. This intimate hotel is on the harbor-front between the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.Each room at Park Hyatt Hotel Sydney features luxury furnishings and fittings, plush carpets, designer lighting and the latest technology.Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto private balconies. Modern bathrooms provide complete flexibility, with the choice of remaining private from the main bedroom, or transforming into an open-plan design.The hotel’s dedicated team of butlers provides 24-hour personalized service for all guests. Specially commissioned paintings and artwork by Australian artists are on display.Park Hyatt Sydney is less than a 10-minute walk from Circular Quay. Sydney International Airport is a 25-minute drive from the property.

5. InterContinental Sydney

Sydney Intercontinental

Overlooking the world’s most stunning harbour, this Sydney hotel is a true expression of luxury. Guests can enjoy picturesque views from contemporary suites or the heated indoor swimming pool on the 31st floor. Experience one of the finest restaurants in Sydney at Cafe Opera, serving European and Australian cuisine made from fresh local produce. Near the hotel, explore the The Rocks, stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens or browse the designer boutiques at the Queen Victoria Building.

A ‘Must Try’ in Australia

If you want the full experience of being an Australian local you must try the Australian delicasy, Vegemite!

Vegimite

Vegemite is a dark brown Australian food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives developed in 1922.

Vegemite is an acquired taste; probably best spread lightly. Its taste can best be described as salty with a subtle bitterness (although honestly this is one product that defies description).

It is lightly spread on toast or crackers with some butter. It can also be spread on toast with peanut butter or cheese slices or spread on toast with eggs and sometimes used to flavor soup stocks.

vegemite

Destination: SYDNEY

Yup, that Sydney!
Sydney’s laid-back outdoor lifestyle and physical allure make it one of the world’s top cities to visit and live in. The stunning harbour provides a dramatic backdrop for the city’s famous icons – the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydneysiders are a friendly, energetic bunch with a positive approach to life.

Sydney is Australia’s only global city. It’s a city with a genuine sense of style, a love of sport and celebrations including New Year’s EveMardi Gras, the Sydney Festival, and the Sydney International Art Series.

You’ll find plenty of things to see and do in Sydney. Sydney Harbour is a natural playground, and the views are world-class. There’s a wide-ranging cultural life, a dynamic food scene and vibrant cityscape of outstanding contemporary and colonial architecture. Iconic beaches – most notably Bondi and Manly – and five major national parks deliver unforgettable outdoor experiences.

My List of Things to Do:

1. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge:

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One of the most exciting ways to experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge is to climb to the top of it!  Exhilarating and utterly unforgettable, BridgeClimb gives you the incredible opportunity to walk to the summit of the bridge and enjoy one of the world’s most spectacular views.

There are four ways to the top: The Bridge Climb, The Discovery Climb, The Express Climb, and The Mandarin Climb. Each route is available at all time of day except for the Mandarin Climb which is only available during the day. The times are Dawn, Twilight, Day or Night. Check out more at: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

2. Take Surfing Lessons:

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Sydney’s known for its cool surf lifestyle which can be enjoyed any time of the year. Take advantage of the city’s temperate climate and great waves to learn how to surf at one of the many accredited surf schools from Palm Beach to Cronulla. There are around 70 surf beaches in Sydney so you’ve got plenty of choice when it comes to location.

Many people also recommend Lets Go Surfing School in Bondi Beach for it’s beginner lessons and great waves.

3. Tour the Sydney Opera House:

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Discover the stories, history and magic of Sydney Opera House with an incredible guided tour taking you underneath the world famous sails.

Follow our friendly guide inside the World Heritage masterpiece, home to 1000 rooms, 300 corridors and hundreds of stories and secrets. Step inside the inspired theatres where more than 1600 performances come to life each year, and learn how Danish architect Jorn Utzon’s groundbreaking design and vision for a world class performing arts venue came into existence.

The Sydney Opera House Access Tour is operated daily at 12pm and is designed for patrons with limited mobility. Book here

Four Must Try Restaurants in Rome

Here are four restaurants you must try while visiting Rome!

1. Il Convivio di Troianai

Il Convivio di Troianai      The Troiani brothers, Massimo, Giuseppe and Angelo opened Convivio at its original address in Via dell’Orso in 1990. Today it is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the city. It is a place for special occasions with its elegant rooms and beautiful tableware. The menu is an exciting mixture of old and new. Many of the traditional Roman favourites are given a new twist, such as “new style” boneless oxtail with celeriac puree, and Angelo combines seasonal ingredients with panache in his new creations. This is great designer food and people are encouraged to order a series of half portions to create their own tasting menu. Most of the great wines are present on the wine list and Massimo is happy to suggest different glasses of wine to go with each dish ordered.

• Vicolo dei Soldati 31, +39 06 686 9432, ilconviviotroiani.com. Closed for lunch and Sun. Average €120 (theguardian.uk)

2. La Tavernaccia

La Tavernaccia

Family-run, frequented mainly by locals and cheerfully chaotic, but the service is warm and friendly and the food is good Roman fare. Start with garlic bruschetta served with prosciutto, sliced by hand, and then try one of the excellent traditional pastas. This is a place to order family-style lasagna when available and then one of the prepared main dishes, although the grilled meat and fish are equally good. Vegetables in season are on the menu and there are a few homemade desserts. The wine list is small, but carefully chosen with fair prices. At dinner, the pizzaiolo is busy working away at his corner oven. The summer sees tables outside on the pavement.
• Via Giovanni di Castel Bolognese 63, +39 06 581 2792,latavernaccia.com. Closed Wed. Average €25 (theguardian.uk)

3. L’Archeologia

L'Archeologia

This former post house opposite the catacombs on the old Appian Way is a warm, welcoming restaurant with its open fire and walls lined with wine. In warmer months meals are served in the beautiful garden with its 300-year-old wisteria and Roman remains. The extensive menu satisfies all tastes and is a good mixture of traditional and new. There is excellent grilled meat served with a wide choice of sauces using olive oil from the Sabine hills, and the very fresh fish appears in an interesting way at every course. The antipasti selection ranges from cheese and salami to vegetables and seafood, while the very fertile area just south of Rome – the Ciociaria – inspires several pasta dishes.
• L’Archeologia, Via Appia Antica 139, +39 06 788 0494, larcheologia.it.Closed Tue. Average €60 (theguardian.uk)

4. Roma Sparita

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A gem tucked away in one of the most beautiful piazzas in Trastevere, surrounded by fading ochre and terracotta buildings. As the name suggests it is a survivor of a side of Rome that has almost disappeared and represents an oasis in a desert of bad food. In summer the tables are set out in the piazza and one can sit with a glass of wine enjoying the simple dishes of la cucina romana. The menu is short but most people come for the delicious cacio e pepe pasta, made with pecorino cheese and black pepper, served on a crisp shell of Parmigiano and thecozze alla marinara – mussels with garlic, chilli pepper and a hint of tomato.
• Piazza di Santa Cecilia 24, +39 06 580 0757, romasparita.com. Closed Sun and Mon at lunch. Average €25 (theguardian.uk)

Five “5 Star” Hotels in Rome

Top Five “5 Star” Hotels in Rome

1. Hotel Splendide Royal Roma

Hotel Splendide Royal Roma

The Hotel Splendide Royal in Rome is a luxury five star hotel, designed to be royal and luxurious.

The Hotel is located in the noble centre of Rome, a city which historically was and is once again an intersection of cultures and communication.

After more than one year of re-structuring, this 19th century palace once headquarters of the Roman Maronite community – only a stroll away from Via Veneto – today it is a luxury hotel and, in its own way, a symbol of the changes taking place within the Capital City’s fine tradition of hospitality.

The hotel is “toutcourt”, full of that warmth and familiarity found usually only among friends. Guests appreciate the richness in style and the wide spaces – in distinct contrast with the typical present-day minimalism governing most new hotels’ interior decor and design.

2. Regina Hotel Baglioni

Regina Hotel Baglioni

Once home to Queen Margherita of Savoy, Regina Hotel Baglioni cuts a stately figure on the Via Veneto, the backdrop to Fellini’s 1960 classic La Dolce Vita. Soaring floor-to-ceiling marble gleams in the lobby, and gilded mirrors reflect the light from the hand-blown Murano chandeliers. Elsewhere, typically Italian flourishes throw down a playful gauntlet to architectural simplicity, with bold splashes of color, patterned wallpaper and a variety of textured fabrics.

The Regina Hotel Baglioni is situated on the strategic, central Via Veneto, a stone’s throw from the Villa Borghese, Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti, the famous fashion street.

A meeting place beloved of the international jet-set, this hotel in Rome has a magnificent selection of rooms in original Art Deco style.

The Brunello Lounge & Restaurant’s distinguishing features are its atmosphere of refined design, the unusual arrangements and innovative menu using ingredients of superior quality.

3. The Aldrovandi Villa Borghese

Aldrovandi Villa Borghese

Superbly located within Rome’s most upscale residential area, between the green expanse of the Borghese gardens and the historical reminiscences of Valle Giulia and the Borghese Gallery, the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese is one of the most desirable premises in Rome within walking distance from extraordinary venues as the Spanish Steps and Via Veneto.

This grand 19th-century ivory villa dressed in marble and dripping chandeliers is an independent, family run property, recently refurbished to render it one of the undisputed sought-after addresses in Rome. A former convent with its own private park of colourful exotic vegetation, outdoor heated pool and garden fine-dining, this palatial retreat radiates its distinctive atmosphere full of history and rich traditions.

An elegant and graceful oasis of endless relax where guests can indulge in the soothing atmosphere and incomparable amenities of a resort while staying in the heart of the city.

4. The Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel

Parco dei Principi Hotel

The Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & SPA is in a privileged location in the exclusive Parioli district, next to the Villa Borghese park and surrounded by a stunning botanical garden: a true oasis in the heart of Rome. The hotel, which was designed by the famous architect Giò Ponti, was built in 1964 and recently got a facelift inspired by the sumptuous and elaborate style of the patrician villas of Rome’s late-17th-century nobility.

The refined boiserie in the hall, the stunning gilded stuccowork, the fabrics, colours, precious furnishings and old paintings are tasteful touches which have made the Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & SPA one of the capital’s most elegant and comfortable hotels.

5. Hotel Lord Byron

Hotel Lord Byron

A few steps from the luxurious Villa Borghese and the chic shopping of Via Veneto, the exclusive Hotel Lord Byron, once a patrician villa, provides the best of both worlds: Vicinity to the bustling Eternal City’s main attractions and the opportunity to relax in a secluded environment surrounded by the staff’s attentive and discrete attention.

Exquisitely renovated to reveal its original splendor, the luxury Hotel Lord Byron features discrete open lounges, delicate ornaments throughout elegant rooms, tastefully furnished suites and an exclusive world-reputed gourmet restaurant.

The Hotel Lord Byron facilities along with their devoted personnel, are dedicated to guests’ service and comfort.

Savour a journey in Rome through the peace and tranquility offered by the distinguished rooms and suites of this past time villa. From the minibar to the Wifi connection, all the amenities required are available.
Accompanying its fine visitors, the Hotel Lord Byron offers a high level of quality facilities that enhance its reputation. A 24-hour Concierge assistance, a Limousine transfer service or in room dining capabilities are just a few examples among a vast choice.
The restaurant Sapori del Lord Byron and Il Salotto lounge & Wine Bar are irreplaceable ingredients of this luxury Hotel and suggest a wide range of delicious Italian specialties along with the finest wines in a romantic and cosy atmosphere.

Destination: ROME

colosseum-rome

Rome is the capital city of Italy, it’s history spans more than two and a half thousand years since its legendary founding in 753 BC. Rome is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe. It is referred to as “The Eternal City”, a notion expressed by ancient Roman poets and writers.

Things to Do and See in Rome:

1. The Trevi Fountain:

trevi

The Trevi fountain, inspired by Roman triumphal arches, is the largest  and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome (standing 25.9 meters high and 19.8 meters wide).
In 1629, Pope Urban VIII, asked Bernini to sketch possible renovations of the fountain, finding it insufficiently theatrical. After the Pope’s death the project was abandoned. Bernini’s lasting contribution was to situate the fountain from the other side of the square to face the Quirinal Palace (so that the Pope could see and enjoy it).
The Trevi Fountain as we know it today, was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and competed in 1762.

Trevi Fountain is  situated in the Trevi square (piazza di Trevi), within walking distance from the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona.

Tradition has it a coin thrown into the water guarantees a visitor’s return to Rome.

2. The Spanish Steps:

Italy Rome view of the Spanish Steps at dawn

The famous Spanish Steps lead from the Piazza di Spagna up to the Trinita Church. The staircase was constructed between 1723 and 1725 in the Roman Baroque style and is the longest and widest in Europe. The design is an elegant series of ramps with 138 steps in a fan or butterfly wing shape. In May, they are particularly beautiful when the ramps of the staircase are covered in spring flowers.

Architecture aside, what makes the Spanish Steps a favorite spot to hang out is the people watching. It’s a place for tourists and locals to sit and enjoy the spectacle of Rome life.

The adjacent Piazza di Spagna is surrounded by wonderful tea rooms and cafes as well as being adjacent to some of the best shopping streets in Rome.

3. The Roman Forum:

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) was the central area of the city around which ancient Rome developed. Here was where commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. Space where religious activities were conducted and the communal hearth of the city.

The Roman Forum was designed by the architect Vitruvius with proportions 3:2 (length to width). For centuries, the Forum Romanum was the site of the city’s most important public buildings, such as the Arch of Septimius Severus, built in AD203 and the Roman Forum Rostra or platforms for public speeches. The reliefs on the triple arch represented many of Rome’s victories over oriental tribes and the Rostra was decorated with prows of warships captured during battles. The Roman Forum became the spectacular showcase of the Roman Empire filled with beautiful statues and architecture.

The main sight of the Forum include the Arch of Titus (Arco di Tito), the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta, and the church of San Luca e Martina. These are all linked by the Sacra Via, the main road through the Forum.

4. The Pantheon:

Pantheon

Along with the Colosseum, the Pantheon is one of Rome’s iconic sights. A striking 2000-year-old temple (now a church), it is the city’s best-preserved ancient monument and one of the most influential buildings in the Western world. The greying, pock-marked exterior might look its age, but inside it’s a different story and it’s an exhilarating experience to pass through its towering bronze doors and have your vision directed upwards to the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.

However, the real fascination of the Pantheon lies in its massive dimensions and extraordinary dome. Considered the Romans’ most important architectural achievement, it was the largest dome in the world until the 15th century and is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. Its harmonious appearance is due to a precisely calibrated symmetry – its diameter is exactly equal to the Pantheon’s interior height of 43.3m. Light enters through the oculus, an 8.7m opening in the dome that also served as a symbolic connection between the temple and the gods. Rainwater enters but drains away through 22 almost-invisible holes in the sloping marble floor. (lonleyplanet.com)

5. St. Peter’s Basilica:

St. Peters Bisilica

In Vatican City, a city of astounding churches, St Peter’s Basilica outdazzles them all. Awe-inspiringly huge, rich and spectacular, it’s a monument to centuries of artistic genius. On a busy day, around 20,000 visitors pass through here. If you want to be one of them, remember to dress appropriately – no shorts, miniskirts or bare shoulders. If you want to hire an audioguide (€5), they’re available at a desk in the cloakroom to the right of the entrance. Free English-language guided tours of the basilica are run from the Vatican tourist office, the Centro Servizi Pellegrini e Turisti, at 9.45am on Tuesday and Thursday and at 2.15pm every afternoon between Monday and Friday. (lonleyplanet.com)

6. The Vatican Museums:

vatican Museum

Visiting the Vatican Museums is an unforgettable experience that requires strength, stamina and patience. You’ll need to be on top of your game to endure the inevitable queues – if not for a ticket then for the security checks – and enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the world’s great museum complexes.

Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century and enlarged by successive pontiffs, the museums are housed in what is known collectively as the Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano. This massive 5.5-hectare complex consists of two palaces – the Vatican palace nearest St Peter’s and the Belvedere Palace – joined by two long galleries. On the inside are three courtyards: the Cortile della Pigna, the Cortile della Biblioteca, and, to the south, the Cortile del Belvedere.

You’ll never manage to explore the whole complex in one go – you’d need several hours just for the highlights – so it pays to be selective. There are several suggested itineraries, or you can go it alone and make up your own route.

Each gallery contains priceless treasures, but for a whistlestop tour get to the Pinacoteca, the Museo Pio-Clementino, Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms) and the Sistine Chapel. On the whole exhibits are not well labelled so you might find it useful to hire an audioguide (€7) or buy the Guide to the Vatican Museums and City (€10). There are also authorised guided tours (adult/concession €30/25), bookable on the Vatican’s online ticket office. The museums are well equipped for visitors with disabilities: there are four suggested itineraries, lifts and specially fitted toilets. Wheelchairs can also be reserved in advance – fax 06 698 85 433. Parents with young children can take prams into the museums. (lonleyplanet.com)

Best Gelato in Venice

Gelato

Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, derived from the Latin word “gelātus”. Gelato is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavoring such as fresh fruit and nut purees.

gelato

1) Boutique del Gelato- 

Most Venetians agree that some of the city’s best gelato is served in this tiny outlet on busy salizzada San Lio. Be prepared to be patient though, because there’s always a huge crowd waiting to be served. See it as quality assurance – it’s worth the wait.

Address

Castello 5727,
salizzada San Lio

Area Venice

Transport Vaporetto Rialto

Telephone 041 522 3283

2) Alaska Gelateria-Sorbetteria- 

Carlo Pistacchi is passionate about making ice-cream and experimenting with new flavours using only the freshest natural ingredients. Stick to tried and true choices such as hazelnut or yoghurt, or branch out to sample seasonally changing exotic flavours, such as artichoke, fennel, asparagus or ginger. Multiple visits are in order, not only to experience a variety of flavours but also fully to enjoy the antics of AS Roma-supporter Carlo.

Address

Santa Croce 1159,
calle larga dei Bari

Area Venice

Transport Vaporetto Riva de Biasio

Telephone 041 715 211

3) Gelateria Lo Squero- 

Simone Sambo makes some of the finest ice-cream in Venice. He’s hard-pressed to pinpoint a favourite flavour, but can happily rattle off those in in his current repertoire – which always depends on the freshest ingredients available. His mousse series (blueberry, strawberry, chocolate and hazelnut, among others) is so light and creamy, it’s served in a waffle cone so it doesn’t fly away.

Address

Dorsoduro 989-90,
fondamenta Nani

Area Venice

Transport Vaporetto Accademia or Zattere

Telephone mobile 347 269 7921

 4) Grom-

Founded in Turin and spreading as far as New York, the Grom gelato empire has now reached Venice, serving their trademark ice-cream made with high-quality ingredients such as sfusato lemon from Amalfi, tonda gentile hazelnut from Lombardy, and pistachios from Bronte in Sicily. Note, though, that at €2.50 a scoop, the price is almost double that of any other gelateria in town.

Address

Dorsoduro 2761,
campo San Barnaba

Area Venice

Transport Vaporetto Ca’ Rezzonico

Telephone 041 099 1751

Grom