Visitor Information

The Grand Central Partnership (a business-improvement district) has installed a number of information booths in and around Grand Central Terminal (there’s one near Vanderbilt Avenue and East 43rd Street). They’re loaded with maps and helpful brochures on attractions throughout the city and staffed by friendly, knowledgeable, multilingual New Yorkers.

NYC & Company runs Official NYC Information Centers at Macy’s as well as in Lower Manhattan at City Hall Park, South Street Seaport, and in Chinatown, at the triangle where Canal, Walker, and Baxter streets meet. Its official visitor guide and map, both downloadable from NYC & Company’s website as well as in hard copies available around town, are both very useful.

The Downtown Alliance has information on the area encompassing City Hall south to Battery Park, and from the East River to West Street. For a free booklet listing New York City attractions and tour packages, contact the New York State Division of Tourism.

Las Vegas Girls Only Hot Spot

I can’t sing. But here I am at a karaoke bar in Las Vegas with my normally reserved sister-in-law and her sister, belting out “Sweet Caroline” as fellow patrons wince and my bride-to-be niece, Carrie, squirms in embarrassment.

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Those of us at the microphone don’t care. We’re in Vegas, baby! Even my sister-in-law’s 80-something mom is letting loose. Earlier that day, she’d bought all of us tacky necklaces with flashing lights. And when we hit the casinos to play blackjack and roulette, we had a hard time pulling her away from the slot machines. In fact, she was the one who inspired this multigenerational, all-women family trip to celebrate Carrie’s upcoming wedding.

The spa at our resort, the upscale Bellagio, which is famed for its dancing fountains, curtains off an area in its salon for women celebrating special occasions. (You can sip champagne while getting manis and pedis.) For the female shopaholic, there’s everything from the high-end Shops at Crystals mall and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace to the bargain hunter’s paradise of Las Vegas North Premium Outlets and the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, featured on TV’s Pawn Stars.

And there’s no shortage of male strip clubs such as Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under, where the adventuresome can ogle well-toned, oily-chested hunks who dance for an excited and enthusiastic female crowd.

Then, of course, there’s the food. In this rising culinary destination, the choices are mouthwatering, and they run the gamut — from wallet-friendly burger joints to the fanciest gourmet bistros. One of our favorite splurges was dinner at Andrea’s, Steve Wynn’s tony eatery at the Encore resort that is named for his second wife. I’m not sure what we liked the most: the edgy gold-and-cream decor, the menu that included specialty cocktails and delicious sushi or the fact that George Clooney has reportedly dined there.

But the undisputed highlight of our trip was at the Planet Hollywood resort, where we enrolled in a Stripper 101 class taught by an exotic dancer. It included a loosen-up cocktail and a hilarious lesson in pole dancing. Our bride-to-be picked up the moves easily enough, but the older part of our posse discovered that all that dipping and twirling requires limbs more limber than we possess. But who cares? The howls of laughter the class provided were more than worth the price of admission.

Suffice it to say that visiting Vegas with the girls can be as addictive as gambling. When I saw my sister-in-law afterward, she told me she wants us to go back and nail “Sweet Caroline.” Meanwhile, someone in our party — I’m not saying who, out of respect for the Vegas code — keeps that Stripper 101 diploma displayed in her bedroom.

Travel Tips

  • Pack comfy footwear — not toe-scrunching stilettos. It can be a long walk from a megaresort’s front door to a restaurant or show venue.
  • Buy day passes to use the saunas, steam rooms and fitness centers at top spas such as the Spa Bellagio, Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian and the Palazzo, or Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace.
  • Enjoy free entertainment while shopping, such as weekend runway shows at the Fashion Show mall or a faux rain forest at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops.
  • Book your stay at a no-gaming, no-smoking property, such as Vdara or Trump International Hotel, if you want to get to your room without trekking through a smoky casino.

Peer to peer accommodation services change travel patterns in many ways

Have you ever used Airbnb or other peer-to-peer accommodation services when travelling? If yes, you are likely to travel more than you used to, you choose your destination from among a wider set of alternatives, and you are more active in your destination.

Peer-to-peer accommodation services such as Airbnb have changed travel patterns in many ways, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland and Washington State University. The study provides new insight into how the availability and use of peer-to-peer accommodation services affect travel patterns. The findings were published in Journal of Travel Research.

The study found that tourists are interested in peer-to-peer accommodation services due to social and financial reasons. Users of peer-to-peer accommodation services are often in social interaction with their hosts, and peer-to-peer accommodation services are a cost-effective alternative to, for example, hotels.

Financial savings achieved by using peer-to-peer accommodation services make it possible to broaden the selection of destinations and the number of trips, while the social aspects inspire people to travel more in general and to stay in their destination for a longer period of time. Financial savings — together with tips from hosts — also increase tourists’ activeness in their destination.

From the viewpoint of destinations, the findings are extremely positive. The availability of peer-to-peer accommodation services in the destination increases the number of tourists, makes them stay for a longer period and increases the demand for tourism-related services and activities.

Extensive US and Finnish data

An extensive set of tourist data was collected for the study both in Finland and in the US.

In Finland, 1,246 persons took part in an online panel, and 295 of them had used peer-to-peer accommodation services. In the US, 799 persons completed an online survey, and 155 of them had used peer-to-peer accommodation services. The study focused on respondents who had used peer-to-peer accommodation services.

The popularity of peer-to-peer accommodation services has witnessed rapid growth throughout the world. For example, Airbnb offers accommodation services in 190 countries and in more than 34,000 cities. There are over 60 million Airbnb users around the world, and its popularity is not showing any signs of decline.

Where to Get an American Thanksgiving Outside the U.S.

Traveling overseas come late November? Doesn’t mean you’ll miss a traditional turkey dinner.

Thanksgiving has long been one of the most celebrated American holidays: marked by everything from turkey to pumpkin pie, from football to the Macy’s Day Parade, and from being thankful to being stuffed, there’s something for everyone. While the day’s festivities can be hard to replicate outside of the U.S., certain restaurants around the world have taken it upon themselves to try—and its something we’re thankful for.

Read on for our ever-expanding list, or jump ahead to your city of interest: Beijing; Berlin; Cape Town; Copenhagen; London; Melbourne; Milan; Paris; Shanghai; Vancouver; Seoul; and Tokyo

 

Beijing

If you think traveling in China means missing Thanksgiving, think again. The large number of American expats living in Beijing ensures that a surprising number of turkey dinners and promotions pop up every November at restaurants, hotels, and breweries. Here are 10 places to celebrate Thanksgiving there this year.

The Big Smoke Bistro

This popular Xingfucun brasserie is pulling out all the stops, serving a honey agave-glazed turkey with red wine gravy. Turkey portions are available for small tables of two or three people all the way up to groups of 14. Sides, like the portobello and chorizo stuffing with pretzel crumble, and the jalapeño mac n’ cheese topped with garlic crumbs, cost extra ($5-$7) each and are suitable for sharing between two to three people.

For dessert, there’s pumpkin empanada with salted caramel ice cream topped with peppercorn honey. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, or a pint of Jing A craft beer (from$28 for a small turkey for two to three; Lee World Building, 57 Xingfucun Middle Rd., Chaoyang District; 86 10 6416 2683)

FEAST by EAST Beijing

If you’re planning to visit 798 Art District, FEAST’s Thanksgiving dinner would make the perfect end to the day. Located on the second floor of a stylish business hotel, the airy all-day restaurant is hosting a relatively restrained and reasonably priced affair, with pumpkin soup to start, roast turkey with chestnut and herbed bread stuffing for the main event, and pecan pie for dessert ($30 per person; 22 Jiuxianqiao N Rd., Chaoyang District; 86 10 8426 0888).

Great Leap Brewing

For the fifth year running, Great Leap is throwing a Thanksgiving bash “with socialist principles,” as put by founder Carl Setzer. The original Doujiao Hutong branch will be the scene of a potluck where the brewery supplies a deep-fried turkey and guests bring sides (free for anyone who brings a side to share; 6 Doujiao Hutong, Dongcheng District; 86 10 5717 1399).

Jing A

Craft brewery Jing A and the cheekily named “nonkosher delicatessen” Traitor Zhou’s are teaming up for Thanksgiving with a laid-back spread of fried chicken and Cajun-style side dishes. Guests can sit either inside the Jing A Taproom or in the 1949 Hidden City courtyard just outside the brewery. There will be two dinner services—one from 6 to 8 p.m. and another from 8 p.m. to late (from $126 per person;86 10 6501 8883)

Capital M

With sweeping views of Qianmen, the venerable Capital M will leave you in no doubt that you’re celebrating a quintessentially American holiday in China. Though pricing and menu were unconfirmed by publication time, dinner will be a special affair if last year’s three-course menu is anything to go by (call for price; 86 10 6702 2727).

The Local

Sanlitun’s The Local is one of the few places in the city to have both vegetarian and non-turkey options for Thankgiving. Though this year’s menu and prices haven’t been confirmed yet, owner and manager Kenn Bermel assured T+L it’s happening. Last year, there was a choice of turkey, roast prime rib or beef, or eggplant lasagna.

The Westin Beijing Financial Street

For Thanksgiving, the Westin is hosting a lavish Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey, honey-glazed ham, chestnut and mushroom soup, beef tenderloin with cream cheese polenta, cinnamon pumpkin pie, and more ($61 per person)

The Orchard

Located in the sleepy village of Hegezhuang, The Orchard is far removed—both geographically and conceptually—from the other venues on this list. Much of the produce used in the restaurant’s popular Sunday brunches is grown on site. For this celebration, The Orchard will host a dinner buffet with roast turkey with all the trimmings and a variety of sides. After dinner, guests can walk it all off with a stroll around the koi pond ($55 per person; Hegezhuang Village, Chaoyang District; 86 10 6433 6270)

Lily’s American Diner

Ah, Lily’s. What would expats do without this cheap, reliable American-style diner? For the low price of $29, you get a plate of genuine imported U.S. turkey with gravy, sides (including mashed potatoes), dessert (apple pie, pumpkin pie, brownie, or cheesecake), and a glass of red or white wine.

The Brickyard

Last but not least, nothing says Thanksgiving in Beijing like a turkey dinner at the foot of the Great Wall. Stylish eco-retreat The Brickyard has two options: a standalone Thanksgiving dinner and a dine-and-stay package. Dinner highlights roast turkey with all the trimmings, a dessert buffet, live jazz, and a supervised kids’ playroom. A bus service will be available to dinner guests (from $61 per person)

 

—Sijia Chen

Want to know more about the above? Read the full scoop here.

Berlin

Midtown Grill

 

Head to Berlin’s Midtown Grill, which specializes in steak, chops and seafood, but turns out a mean celebratory feast come November: think a buffet of crispy, buttery stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy, and more. For $130, you can also take your gala to go and host your very own holiday—without all of the prep work.

—Katharine LaGrave

Cape Town

Savoy Cabbage

 

Enjoy a riff on classic holiday fare at the award-winning Savoy Cabbage, one of Cape Town’s most beautiful restaurants: once scheduled for demolition, the space today largely comprises exposed beams, large windows and bricks from three different centuries. For around $30, you’ll be treated to canapés, chowder, fudge, spiced pumpkin crème brulee, and have your pick of roasted turkey breast with sausage and stuffing or root vegetable risotto with cranberry sauce.

—Katharine LaGrave

Copenhagen

MadMad Mad Bodega

Break bread with strangers at Copenhagen’s MadMad Mad Bodega, whose Turkey Day festivities are not just a meal, but an event: learn about the history of Thanksgiving and its traditional foods, try arts and crafts by making an old-fashioned turkey hand, and give thanks, in a group, before digging in family-style to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pies and trimmings. With an emphasis on local, seasonal and organic products, a meal at MadMad Mad’s won’t make you feel as guilty about going back for more.

—Katharine LaGrave

London

Thanksgiving might be a U.S. holiday, but just as most things tend to travel across the pond, its celebrations have, too, with more and more London restaurants giving nod to this one with dedicated Thanksgiving menus full of all-American flavors. Come November 26, no Londoner will struggle to get a slice of pumpkin pie. Pleasing both expats and keen adopters of the holiday alike, we’ve rounded up a guide to the very best places to celebrate the holiday in London this year.

Big Easy, Covent Garden

Big Easy is somewhere you go hungry and leave stuffed. This Thanksgiving, it’s going to be doing itself proud. The relaxed venue is the perfect place to with a group, to indulge in what it’s calling “the ultimate Thanksgiving feast.” The $46 menu includes butternut squash soup, farm-to-table herb-roasted turkey with southern slow cooked gravy, Grandma Emma’s apple cranberry chutney, sweet potato mash, green bean casserole, and coleslaw. Save room for dessert though, for it’s the American favorite: key lime pie.

The Blues Kitchen, Camden

The Blues Kitchen feels admirably American at the best of times, with a menu full of Texan barbecue and a bourbon collection of size, but it’s really amping things up by hosting an all-singing, all-dancing Thanksgiving party. From 12 p.m. to 1 a.m., a traditional three-course meal with all the trimmings ($46) will be served, alongside free-flowing pumpkin ale and bourbon cocktails, and live rhythm ‘n’ blues that’ll have you on your feet all night.

Hotel Chantelle, Marylebone

It would be wrong for London’s newest New York import to let the holiday go by without a bang. Whilst the Marylebone restaurant is keeping its Thanksgiving offering under wraps for now, we know it will be family-style dining, where there’s sure to be turkey, yams, and of course, plenty of bourbon cocktails rolling right through to close at 3 a.m.

Hubbard and Bell, Holborn

Hubbard and Bell, the Brooklyn-esque diner in The Hoxton Holborn, will be serving family-style fare this year, with its shareable Bring Me Food menu. Starters include venison carpaccio and kale Caesar salad; mains feature smoked turkey with sprouts and pickled cranberry, and roast beef with baby beets. Come dessert, it’s all about the pumpkin and pecan pie (though proud Brits can show some love to their turf with a classic British cheese plate).

Courtesy of Melt Room

Melt Room, Soho

Melt Room (pictured, above) is offering nostalgic New York expats a taste of home with a specially crafted Thanksgiving cheese melt. The gourmet sourdough sandwich packs a punch, with pulled turkey, roast sweet potato, stuffing, and Monterey jack cheese, and is served with a side of cranberry sauce.

Mount Street Deli, Mayfair

Serving up an array of American delights for those on-the-go, on November 26 Mount Street Deli will be getting in on the action. Swing by to pick up some creamy crab chowder, a turkey ballotine sandwich, or roasted Brussels sprout salad with sweet potato, green beans, cranberries, and a maple-pecan dressing. Similarly, home-baked pumpkin pie will be the perfect 4 p.m. refuel.

The Narrow, Limehouse

The Narrow (pictured, top), a restaurant that offers quintessential views of London’s Thames, is putting on a classic American spread. A $54 three-course menu features herb-stuffed turkey with honey roasted root vegetables, pigs in blankets, cornbread, and cranberry sauce. For dessert, it’s pecan pie, served with boozy bourbon vanilla ice cream.

The Richmond, London Fields

If you’re not planning on going all out for Thanksgiving but want to give a nod to the holiday, make that nod a slice of pumpkin pie at The Richmond. The oyster bar and restaurant is one of East London’s most stylish new eateries, and speaking from experience, we can say with confidence that its pumpkin pie is as good as its tuna tartare.

Sea Containers at Mondrian London, South Bank

Sea Containers at Mondrian London on the South Bank is dishing up a delight this with a $100 tasting menu, devised by New York chef Seamus Mullen. It features autumnal American flavors, with the likes of roasted celeriac soup with winter truffles, maple glazed ham, roasted norfolk turkey, and pumpkin pie cheesecake. Soak up the spirit while overlooking the beauty of the Thames.

—Alice Tate

Want to know more about the above? Read the full scoop here.

HIX Mayfair

 

Dine in London luxury at the HIX Mayfair, a restaurant from celebrated chef and restaurateur Mark Hix housed in Brown’s Hotel. Founded nearly 180 years ago by Lord Byron’s butler, Brown’s Hotel is the city’s oldest hotel: according to its history, it was here that Alexander Graham Bell made Britain’s first ever telephone call. Unsurprisingly, traditional Thanksgiving fare at HIX’s comes with an upscale twist: think Portland Crab and sweetcorn broth, free-range turkey with autumn greens and cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie with Peruvian Gold chocolate.

—Katharine LaGrave

Melbourne

In the southern hemisphere it can be difficult to find turkey, cranberry, and all the trimmings until you’ve reached Christmas Day. Thankfully, Misty Singer, a former Arizonan, has had the Thanksgiving holiday covered for the past 10 years.

Misty’s Diner

Her restaurant, Misty’s Diner, feels like it has been dropped straight out the 1950s into the suburb of Prahran, about four miles from Melbourne’s city center. This year, on November 26, at least 150 guests (about half of them expat Americans) will take a seat in the red and green booths, watched over by images of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, and pay $36 for the all-you-can-eat buffet of turkey, smoked ham, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, mashed potato and gravy, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, cornbread, and all the other trimmings.

 

“We also have all the pies you can imagine, including pumpkin and pecan, and everyone eats far too much,” Singer says. To provide the full, authentic Thanksgiving experience, the restaurant will also show the NFL on the big screen. There is one thing about Thanksgiving Misty can’t control, and that’s the weather: by the end of November, temperatures in Melbourne will have reached a sultry 78ºF.

—Carrie Hutchinson

Milan

California Bakery

Though turkey isn’t a standard offering on Italian menus, the country known for its cuisine and hospitality keeps visiting Americans in mind come fall.

In Milan, the casual restaurant California Bakery will offer a special Thanksgiving dinner at three of its Milan locations on November 26, starting at 9 p.m. The set menu includes a radicchio salad with mushrooms and artichoke carpaccio; pumpkin and chestnut soup; turkey with prune stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce; sweet potatoes; sautéed spinach; and a choice of triple chocolate pumpkin pie or apple and frangipane pie.

Water, a glass of prosecco, and a glass of wine are also included. There is a kids’ menu (hamburger, french fries, and a brownie) for $10, while the adult menu costs $61 for dining in, and or $44 for takeout. The dinner is available at the Viale Premuda, Corso Garibaldi, and Sant’Ambrogio locations. Reservations required.

Paris

Breakfast in America

 

Dig in at Paris’s Breakfast in America, which has been dishing out classic diner fare since it was first opened by Connecticut native Craig Carlson in 2003. Now with three outposts in the French capital, Breakfast in America has become as renowned for its blueberry pancakes as it has for its annual Thanksgiving dinner: For approximately $40, diners receive an aperitif, starter, turkey plate with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce, and a choice of homemade apple, pumpkin or pecan pie.

—Katharine LaGrave

Shanghai

Although Shanghai probably wouldn’t be the first destination springing to mind for most travelers when considering where to spend Thanksgiving, the city has a glut of restaurants offering traditional and contemporary festive meals that leave diners thankful for, well, America. Make sure to book in advance for one of these authentic Thanksgiving lunches or dinners.

Bubba’s

Bubba’s Texas-Style Barbeque & Salon is once again apple-wood smoking its delicious turkeys. Guests can dine at one of their two Shanghai locations for a dinner buffet that includes traditional sides such as corn chowder, cornbread stuffing, and pumpkin pie.

Liquid Laundry

The American gastropub Liquid Laundry is offering a four-course tasting menu. Highlights include foie gras with a chestnut sauce, deep fried turkey, and maple-candied yams with marshmallow. The bar has also brewed a special beer for the occasion, the Good Gourd Y’all, a dry Saison ABV with notes of seasonal spices.

Boxing Cat Brewery

Sister chain, Boxing Cat Brewery, has also created a special brew for the festive period, called Smashed Pumpkin, with pumpkin additions and pumpkin pie spices. All three restaurants in the BCB chain will be hosting buffet dinners with free flow on their craft beer and house pours. There will be two separate dinner sittings throughout the evening.

Wishbone

The popular French-style rotisserie joint Wishbone (888-3 Changde Road, near Changping Road. Tel: +86 021 6257 8511) will create their version of an American-style Thanksgiving. Sticking to what they do best, slow-roasted chicken, the restaurant takes an alternative twist to Thanksgiving with the addition of crunchy, deep-fried, pulled pork mac and cheese, smoked bacon gravy, and sweet potato Banoffee pie with hawthorn syrup and a shot of Jameson. The restaurant’s other classic sides, such as okra and cherry tomatoes with lemon parsley vinaigrette, roast pumpkin and tahini, and asparagus with slow poached egg and Parmesan, will also be on the set menu.

Egg

All-day-breakfast restaurant, Egg (12 Xiangyang Bei Road, near Julu Road), will let their guests eat turkey for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The cute coffee shop and eatery will be serving the bird with mashed potato waffles, gravy, and pickled cranberry relish.

Grand Brasserie

If looking for a traditional yet decadent Thanksgiving buffet, the warm and inviting setting of Grand Brasserie at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund has the service and standards to live up to the highest of expectations. With a smart dress code, the traditional dinner buffet, with turkey, will be served to the delightfully smooth sounds of the resident Jazz band.

Cachet Restaurant

Thanksgiving buffet dinner at the chic and sophisticated Cachet Restaurant in The Langham Shanghai, Xintiandi will be a traditional affair. The buffet will naturally feature a roast turkey, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin mash, and honey glazed carrots with gravy and cranberry sauce.

The Brew

Possibly the most family friendly option on the list, The Brew at the Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai, will offer family-style lunches and dinners with a golden-roasted turkey main course, along with buffet appetizers and desserts—guaranteed to keep the kids, and the young at heart, entertained.

—Nyima Pratten

Vancouver

Vancouver celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving in October, but that doesn’t mean the city’s restaurants overlook the American rendition completely. This year, four elegant spots will lure American diners craving a traditional meal come November 26. We got the details on what they plan to serve.

Ancora

This lovely waterfront restaurant is just a few months old and features a view of Granville Island. Light and bright, it sports a raised ceiling of paneled glass looking over a sleek and uncluttered dining room. This year, their dinner menu will offer turkey two ways: brown butter-roasted breast and jus-glazed leg served with vegetables. Dessert will be the smooth, decadent Ancora chocolate bar ($45 per person).

Bacchus

The restaurant at the luxury Wedgewood Hotel & Spa has a tradition of offering an American Thanksgiving dinner every year. This November, the menu includes butternut squash soup made from local produce, and roasted, free-range turkey with cranberry compote, stuffing, and potatoes ($57 per person). Amid the lush dining room with intricately woven rugs, velvet-covered settees, and oversize oil pantings on the walls, it will feel like a true event.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

The historic Rosewood Hotel Georgia will offer a turkey plate with the traditional trimmings at their 1927 Lobby Lounge. The Turkey Day dinner will also be available for in-room dining for those staying at the hotel (call for price).

Yew Seafood + Bar

Located inside the Four Seasons hotel, the expansive and contemporary Yew will offer a turkey duo of Fraser Valley turkey breast and leg confit, served with vegetables and stuffing. Things start off with a pumpkin soup, and there are seafood and beef options on the menu, too, but don’t forget to save room for the traditional pies ready for dessert ($45 per person).

 

—Aileen Torres-Bennett

Want to know more about the above? Read the full scoop here.

Seoul

Suji’s

 

Take on the Thanksgiving buffet at Suji’s, a New York-style restaurant and deli celebrated year-round by expats in Seoul for its bagels, pastrami and roast beef. For roughly $50, you can gorge yourself on everything from the traditional (roast turkey, roast beef, mashed potatoes, herb stuffing) to the novel (seafood chowder, Spanish canapés, and nachos). With two seatings and a two-hour window, you’re bound to get your fill.

—Katharine LaGrave

Tokyo

Beacon

Try Tokyo’s take on the American holiday at Beacon, a sleek wood and glass space that delivers elegant interpretations of Turkey Day classics. Start with parsnip soup and homemade bacon, and smoked scallops and crispy prosciutto, farro, apple, mushroom salad before moving on to the main event: roast turkey with a stuffing of chorizo, dried cherries and pecans. Dessert is an ode to the pumpkin, with diners receiving both pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin gelato to finish off the meal.

Christmas and New Year at Vila Vita Parc

If you’re searching for an extraordinary destination to spend the festive season, or looking to find an exceptional restaurant for your special celebration meal, then read on….

The Five Star Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa in Porches was built with supreme luxury in mind. Set on a clifftop, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Resort boasts an outstanding range of top class facilities and aims to provide its guests and visitors with the best possible experience.

This Christmas and New Year Vila Vita Parc has created an excellent programme of events, including a unique New Year Package, designed to be enjoyed by everyone. From hot chocolate by the fireplace and a special visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, to the ultimate in gourmet dining experiences and a spectacular firework display to help you see in 2016.

Here’s what’s in store

Guaranteed to put a smile on young faces (and some older ones too) Santa Claus will be visiting Vila Vita Parc at 4pm on Christmas Eve, with a sack full of surprises, plus hot chocolate and cake will be served by the fireplace. But don’t overdo the cake! Christmas dinner is at 7pm in the Bela Vita Restaurant, or you can opt for the Gourmet Dinner in Vila Vita’s Ocean Restaurant, which currently boasts two Michelin stars. The dress code for both is evening chic.

The big day

Christmas lunch at Vila Vita is scheduled for 12.30pm. Again you have two choices: dine in the Biergarten Restaurant or, if you prefer traditional fare, the Bela Vita Restaurant promises la crème de la crème of Christmas roast dinners.

If you’d rather dine a little later, the Adega Restaurant will be offering their A la Carte menu from 6pm, or you can choose to indulge in a special Christmas dinner with wine pairing in the intimacy of the Wine Cellar.

Christmas prices

  • Bela Vita Christmas Eve: Adults €65.00. Children are entitled to 50% discount (4-12 years).
  • Ocean Christmas Eve: Adults €180.00.
  • Biergarten Christmas Day: Adults €25.00. Children are entitled to 50% discount (4-12 years).
  • Bela Vita Christmas Day: Adults €75.00. Children are entitled to 50% discount (4-12 years).
  • Adega Christmas Day Night: A la Carte.
  • Wine Cellar Christmas Day Night (maximum 12 people): Adults €100.00. Children are entitled to 50% discount (4-12 years).

See in 2016 in Style

Vila Vita’s packed programme of New Year events will leave you spoilt for choice. From a fun-themed party for the kids to a six-course gala dinner, firework display and more. Plus, the Resort has created a unique New Year Package which includes the best of everything Vila Vita style.

The count down

Start counting down at 6pm with Annabella’s Kids Park fun-themed party. Especially for the younger ‘revellers’, it’s designed to ‘get the party started’ for children from four years of age.

Also at 6pm, the Adega Restaurant will be presenting a superb New Year’s Eve menu and there will be live music too. If a gourmet dinner at the Michelin Starred Ocean Restaurant is more your bag, then don your black tie and evening wear and prepare for a seven-course banquet at 7pm. If you have the kids with you, then you might want to opt for the more casual atmosphere of The Biergarten Restaurant, where dinner will be served at 7.30pm.

New Year’s Eve cocktails will be shaken and stirred in the Oasis Bar at 7pm and Vila Vita’s Grand Ball kicks off at 7.45pm. This black tie event comprises a six-course Gala Dinner, live entertainment, music and dancing, as you continue the countdown to midnight. When the clock strikes the hour, a spectacular firework display will light up the New Year sky, but the party doesn’t stop there – the fireworks will be followed by a disco and late night buffet.

When the party’s over…

…it’s time to chill out. Vila Vita will be serving a buffet breakfast between 7.30am and 10.30am. But if that’s a tad too early for you on New Year’s Day, there’s no need to hurry – New Year’s Day Brunch will be available from 12 Noon to 2.30pm.

New Year prices

  • Adega New Year´s Eve Menu with live music: Adults €145.00. Children are entitled to 50% discount (4-12 years).
  • Biergarten New Year´s Eve Dinner with music: Adults €38.00. Children are entitled to 50% discount (4-12 years).
  • Ocean Black Tie Seven-Course Gourmet Dinner: Guests and Non-Guests €275.00 per adult
  • New Year’s Eve Ball: Guests: €285.00 per adult (includes New Year´s Day Brunch). Non-Guests: € 250.00 per adult Children are entitled to 50% discount (6-12 years).

The full package

New Year will only happen once in 2016, so you’re entitled to make a real occasion of it. To help you, Vila Vita has put together a unique package which balances fine dining with relaxation and leisure – it really is the full package!

Between 29th December and 2nd January you are invited to stay at the Resort and enjoy the following perfect blend of activities:

  • Daily buffet breakfast in the restaurant.
  • Special festive luxury in your room on arrival.
  • Vila Vita Grand New Year´s Eve Ball.
  • New Year´s Day Brunch.
  • One 50 minute anti-stress massage, in the Vital Spa.
  • Free use of the swimming pools, Jacuzzi, saunas and steam bath.
  • 9-hole Pitch & Putt golf course.
  • 18-hole Putting Green (clubs and balls are available at a charge).
  • 18-hole crazy golf.

Package prices

Single occupancy from €280.00 per room, per night.

Double occupancy from €400.00 per room, per night.

The package is applicable for a 3 night stay in a Deluxe room. Rates include VAT and service charge.

Additional nights can be booked at Best Available Rates.

Gastronomic highlights

Throughout the festive season, there’s an opportunity to tantalise your taste buds with Vila Vita’s Gastronomic Highlights. From champagne and cocktails, caviar and salmon, oysters, tapas or an extra special afternoon tea – it’s all on the menu.

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa is the ideal choice for a festive winter break, a special celebration, or simply to spoil yourself and those you love. Find out more about this quality Resort here. [new window]

See the Vila Vita website or contact the Resort for full terms and conditions applicable to the events featured in this article.

Caprivi

Far down in the heart of the Southern Africa lies the Caprivi region – a unique, enchanting and inspiring destination that will make you forget about your daily worries. Hazel, a recent visitor on the Chobe Princess houseboat, formerly known as the Pride of the Zambezi, docked on the Chobe River, describes her river safari experience best when she says, “The world and its problems were not our concern for four fabulous days – it was just us and Africa as it should be experienced!”

What makes the Caprivi such a special place?

An avid birder will certainly be astounded by the abundance and variety of birdlife in the Caprivi region. The twitching and chirping that can be heard in the air mixed with a selection of colours, shapes and sizes, can only be described with one word; bewildering.“The Caprivi is a total paradise!  I am a devout twitcher (birder) so five lifers (birds I have never identified before) in four days was just the ultimate,” Hazel explains. The Caprivi birdlife ranges from the grand Fish Eagle to the elegant Giant Kingsfisher and anything in between.

Fish Eagle

However, birds are not the only aspect that astonishes a visitor in this Southern African wildlife wonderland. A variety of beautiful creatures, including thousands of elephants, inhabit the Chobe National Park and the neighbouring Caprivi region. Hazel continues to describe his houseboat experience, “Not that birds were all that interested me – getting up so close to elephants, hippos, crocodiles and buffalo was just so very special.”

Indeed, this unique destination at the bottom of Africa is where you can see one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the whole of Africa. Watch the elephants cross the river in huge herds, hear the grandiose roar of a lion, spot a hippo partly submerged in the water or see the shy leopard climb up a tree – whatever the sight, Caprivi will not leave a wildlife lover dissatisfied.

Pair the abundance of birdlife and wildlife with the tranquil, serene surroundings of the Chobe River and take in the spirit of Africa, like Mother Nature would expect of you.

Our Top 10 Montenegro experiences for 2015

White Water Rafting on Tara River

The River Tara is the longest and most beautiful river in Montenegro. Its canyon is world famous being the second deepest in the world after The Grand Canyon!  It is also known throughout Montenegro as ‘The Pearl of the Mountains’ with water that is drinkable along its entire flow.

Tara is also really interesting for its extreme sports. First of all rafting! Rafting is really popular as for the locals same for the tourists. There are plenty of companies and agencies who can offer you to go rafting, but the main and the most important thing for you to know is who are the professionals. You can not go with anybody, because this could be dangerous, and in that case you would prefer to have a pro next to you. Advice, for choosing the agency to go rafting with, you can get from the Local Tourism Boards, when you are in Montenegro, or you can contact us. There are different kinds of offer, and those mostly depend on the length of the rafting. There are:one-day rafting (12 or 30 km long) from 9:30 am – 2 pm or from 2 pm – 5 pm or two day rafting (75 km long). If you decide for longer one you will stay one night in the rafting camp, eating national food and hanging out with the locals. Rafting can be tremendously fun and you need to be an adventurer spirit to like it. On the spot where it starts you get all the equipment needed: special suit, helmet, special shoes etc. Remember, water is freezing even in the middle of the summer, so you need to put on all the equipment you get from the organizer. Everyone joining one rafting boat needs to work hard as a part of the team, to make one rafting success. Price is 35 € per person with breakfast and lunch included if you choose one day rafting. If you are staying over the night in the camp, then you pay for the accommodation too.

Lekki Leisure Lake

Have you ever found yourself with time on your hands, and wondering what do to with yourself over the weekend in Lagos? Maybe you havent mapped out what kind of activities you would be involved in? Well if you are outdoors type who doesnt mind getting a little wet then look no further.

The Lekki Leisure Lake situated along the Lekki Peninsular in Lagos,  is where you want to be. This is a family oriented resort located beside the Vantage beach Hotel, and packed  with very exciting activities.

Courtesy Lekki Leisure Lake

To give you a little idea..

  • There are the Quad Bikes that navigates you through a designated beach track. These bikes are open for use for anyone above age 12. The dirt tracks are safe enough to race on with family and friends which can be a great laugh.
  • Pedal Boats on the lake are a great way for families, or couples to bask in the sun while having fun also. Pedal Boats allow at maximum of 4 persons or a minimum of 2.
  • Pontoon Boat allows you a closer view of the beautiful yet natural lekki penisular and its environs in the compnay loved ones or goups and is a great  way to cruise along the lake.
  • Jet skiing under the guidance of an instructor is the real adventure especially as you feel the adrenaline rush. This is pure fun that literally leaves you shaken up as well as refreshed, gagging for more.
  • The Wave boat  accommodate 6 persons and isideal for small groups be warned it design for great funit navigates the waters on a jet ski so goes very fast.

Courtesy Lekki Leisure Lake

You want to enjoy your time at Lekki Leisure lake to the fullest, especially with all the perfectly safe fun activities to be had. However getting a feel of value for money  largely depends on your pocket.  The resort operates a pay as you system, so you can choose to buy more time for maximum excitement, or spend in moderation.

In our opinion the fees arent cheap but probably one of the only locations in Lagos that offers this amount of fun.

Opening Times and Fees

The resort  is opened only on weekends and public holidays from 12noon – 9pm with an entrance fee of N1,000.00 (One thousand naira only) for adults and N500.00 (Five hundred naira only) for children under age 10. Please be ware that pets as well as bringing in food and drinks is prohibited.

Once in the resort there are fees for each activity for adults only. So as a guide activities like:-

Jet Skiis  attract a fee of N5,000.00 for 15minutes use if unaccompanied by an instructor. If not accompanied by an instructor, the fee is N3,000.00 for 15minutes use.  A compulsory refundable deposit of N15,000.00 must be paid before going on this ride.

Water Craft, Floats, Quad bikes, Boats prices range from N500 – N2500 per person.

Food and Drink

There is foods and drinks menu so you wont be hungry or thirsty while at the resort.

Safety

The resort operates within the guidlines of a documented satefy policy.

Courtesy Lekki Leisure Lake

So If on the look out for something to do, or wondering what are some of the things to do in Lagos, you can take a further look at the Lekki Leisure Lake’s website to learn more and see if its right for you.

Come Compete In Rote Surfing Rote Island to come alive with surfers

The government of Rote Ndao district in East Nusa Tenggara has confirmed the participation of surfers from 18 countries in an international surfing event at Nembrala Beach in Rote Island in November this year. At least 100 surfers are expected take part in the event, many with families or partners in tow.

Bo’a-Nembrala Development Committee decided that the surfing event will take place in the second or third week of November.

“Surfers and tourists from 18 countries in Asia, Europe, and America will come to Rote Island for the international surfing event in November, and this is an opportunity for us to introduce Indonesian tourism.

Arrangements have been coordinated with the East Nusa Tenggara Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency to ensure favorable weather and perfect waves for the international surfing event in Rote Island will be occurring.

“We are going to hold another meeting in August to prepare for this international event, and therefore, we have handed over the task to the Bo’a-Nembrala Development Committee to make the best possible preparations.”

In the meantime, East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Tourism Office Chief Marius Ardu Jelamu expressed his complete support for the international surfing event at Nembrala Beach in Rote Island.

“We must be ready from now on to conduct repair and restoration work in the city and other tourist spots in order to attract the tourists and surfers who will come to participate in the international event,” Marius remarked.

Marius noted that East Nusa Tenggara has several tourist attractions such as beautiful beaches, tourism villages, superb underwater life and the local culture.

“After participating in the international surfing event, the surfers and tourists will not return home directly. They will certainly stay on for several days to visit the other tourist attractions of Rote and Kupang across the water,” Marius pointed out.

The south west coast of Rote is home to an array of world class surfing locations, from long winding lefts, to bone crushing rights. The western orientation of Nemberala Bay offers exposure to the same south and south-west swells that pound the Indonesian shoreline from March to November, while its orientation ensures offshore conditions all day in the prevailing South East trades, with light to variable conditions in early and late season and stiffer winds in July and August. All the main spots are within easy access of Anugerah Beach Resort, either by boat or by land.

Rote surf slide

Diving and Marine LIfe

The island of Rote is also one of Indonesia’s new frontiers in dive exploration, home to a diverse array of dive sites all around its expansive coastline, combined with a handful of offshore islands, all bursting with new spots to explore. Despite the prevailing south-west swell in dry season, there is always somewhere to go within an hour’s boat ride from Nemberala, and clients can add diving to the fantastic selection of activities that already exist on this tropical island jewel.

Anugerah Surf and Dive Resort offers the only dive school on the island, with a full range of dive courses, equipment and facilities, including dive boats, a training pool and PADI certified instructors. Rote is the ideal place to enjoy a complete ocean experience.

Rated **** by WorldDivingReview

The family owned Anugerah Surf and Dive Resort has been accommodating surfers since 1995. It has become the most popular resort on Rote, due to the friendly atmosphere, personal service, unequalled location and reasonable prices. Anugerah means “Blessed” or “Grace” and the expression is highly appropriate, for guests and owners alike, who are blessed indeed to spend time in this truly unique corner of the world.

The Oriental Pearl Tower

The Oriental Pearl Tower stands by the bank of Huangpu River. It is in the centre of Lujiazui, opposite to the Bund which is famous for its grand buildings of various architectural styles. The tower is 468 meters high. It is the highest TV Tower in Asia and is the third highest one in the world. The designers magically set the eleven beautiful spheres of various sizes up from the green grassland to the blue sky with two giant spheres shining like two rubies. The whole design is rich in poetic and pictorial splendor, which gives the tourists the impression that pearls of various sizes are dropping onto the emerald plate.

The Oriental Pearl Tower consists of three big columns which are 9 meters in diameter, the space module, the upper sphere, the lower sphere, five small spheres, tower base and the square. In the tower, there is a double-decked elevator which can hold fifty people at a time and two speed elevator which can run at speed of 7 meters second. These two elevators are the only ones of their kinds in China. The tower is equipped with three-dimensional lighting installation, which makes the whole tower very colorful and beautiful.

The sight-seeing floor in the brilliant upper sphere is 263 meters high and 45 meters in diameter. It is the best place to get a bird’s-eye view of Shanghai. When it is sunny, it is really relaxed and happy to have the distant views of the Sheshan, the Chongming Island and the Changjiang River. In the upper sphere, there are also the Revolving Restaurant, the Disco Hall, the Piano Bar (which are 267 meters high) and twenty KTV rooms (which are 271 meter high), The Restaurant revolves one circle an hour.

The Space module, which towers into the sky, has Sight-seeing Floor, Conference Hall and Coffee Bar in it. They are at the height of 350 meters. They are elegant and luxurious, enjoying exceptional advantages.

The Oriental Pearl Science Fantasy World has many wonderful and exciting entertainment items for both the young and the old.

The sight-seeing floor in the brilliant upper sphere is 263 meters high and 45 meters in diameter. It is the best place to get a bird’s-eye view of Shanghai. When it is sunny, it is really relaxed and happy to have the distant views of the Sheshan, the Chongming Island and the Changjiang River. In the upper sphere, there are also the Revolving Restaurant, the Disco Hall, the Piano Bar (which are 267 meters high) and twenty KTV rooms (which are 271 meter high), The Restaurant revolves one circle an hour.

The Space module, which towers into the sky, has Sight-seeing Floor, Conference Hall and Coffee Bar in it. They are at the height of 350 meters. They are elegant and luxurious, enjoying exceptional advantages.

The Oriental Pearl Science Fantasy World has many wonderful and exciting entertainment items for both the young and the old.

The entertainment list includes Journey through the Forest Trip on the South Pole, Travel in the Fancies, Diney Theatre, Laser Theatre, Bliss Square, Three-dimensional Movie and Hot Balloon. The Oriental Pearl Emporium Super-store Co., Ltd has an area of 18,000 square meters. It sells clothes, arts and crafts products, gold and silver articles, leather goods and foods. The tourists can have the fun of going shopping and tasting various foods while they are having the sight-seeing.

The Oriental Pearl Tower is a multifunctional body with sight-seeing,restaurant, shopping, entertainment, hotel, radio and TV transmissions. It has already become one of the symbolic buildings and tourism resorts in Shanghai and it is honored as one of the ten best views in Shanghai.