Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picturesque Philippines

The Philippines is your ultimate destination for a great vacation. An archipelago of 7,107 islands, it is located between the Philippine Sea in the east, the South China Sea in the west and the Celebes Sea in the south. It lies in the region called the Ring of Fire, characterized by a number of active volcanoes, including the Taal in the middle of Taal Lake, the Mayon in Legaspi City and the dormant Mount Apo in Davao.

Boracay, a butterfly-shaped island at the tip of Panay’s north-eastern coast, is home to White Beach - a 4-km strip of beautiful white sand rated as ‘the finest beach in the world’. On this beautiful island, you could pamper yourself with a luxurious massage at the spa or on the beach, or opt for spa therapy and yoga lessons at Mandala Spa and Villas, located just 5 minutes from the beach. Experience the thrill of the Banana Boat ride, explore the boutique shops around the island, check out the exciting nightlife or simply relax amidst the tropical atmosphere of sun, sea and sand.

Cebu is another fabulous island that boasts of rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges. Experience Mactan, a coral island in the heart of Cebu, home to the most pulsating nightlife in Asia. Easily accessible is Bohol, a unique island blessed with marvellous white beaches, colourful underwater marine life, dense forests, rich wildlife and a fascinating touch of Spanish influence. Visit a manmade mahogany forest and be introduced to the Tarsier – the world’s smallest monkey. Another must-see in Bohol is the famous Chocolate Hills - a collection of over 1,250 uniformly shaped hills between 30 and 50 meters high.

El Nido in the province of Palawan, the island of the Gods, is home to hidden lagoons, a palm forest, orchids and secluded, incredibly romantic resorts. A luxury kayaking safari is the best way to explore the El Nido and Bacuit Bay area. It is one of the most beautiful parts of Asia, where sheer karst rock formations drop down into the deep blue surrounding waters. Stunning white beaches and coves compete with mangroves, jungle, spectacular reefs and corals for attention. Spend your days kayaking, snorkelling, photographing and experiencing the amazing bio-diversity, including rare and unusual marine life, flora and flora.

Another must-see destination is Caluit Island, where you could explore numerous species of exotic African and Palawan endemic flora and fauna at the Games Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. Coron Island with its pristine Banol Beach and picturesque Cayangan Lake is truly inviting. Sink your feet into the powdered sugar-like sand. Take a dip in the invigorating Maquinit Hot Springs. Another amazing experience is the Tubbataha Reef, home to one of the best corals in the world. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and diving or snorkelling amidst the colourful corals reefs is a truly breathtaking experience.

The gateway to the Philippines is through Manila, the capital city with a Spanish body but a truly Philippino heart. Check out the old part of the city; take in the picturesque city of Tagaytay and the magnificent Taal Lake with its active island volcano. Shop to your heart’s content...from bargain basement finds to haute couture, Metro Manila is undisputedly a shoppers’ paradise. The shopping malls are one-stop centres where you can shop, dine and check out the recreation facilities. Native arts and crafts are among the best buys, and ready-to-wear clothes, embroidered apparel, women’s accessories, household furnishings and uniquely Filipino souvenirs are tempting.

Be it beaches, wildlife, marine life, shopping, dining or nightlife, the Philippines has it all. Come and experience the islands - a dozen holidays rolled into one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tantalizing Tahiti

Tahiti is a land of timeless beauty and ancient culture. Intoxicating scents, azure lagoons, palm-shaded beaches, Polynesian beauties... Tahiti and her islands are indeed a place beyond the ordinary. Moorea charms with her emerald mountains and sandy shores. Bora Bora captivates with her gentle lagoons of an unimaginable palette of blues and turquoises. Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a offer lush vanilla plantations and ancient maraes. Rangiroa and the Tuamotus beckon divers with their untouched coral reefs and schools of marine life. The remote Marquesas enchant adventurers with its rugged cliffs and soaring mountain peaks. Tahiti is truly tantalizing - a world apart from all other tropical island vacations!

Tempting Tahiti is a suggested itinerary for a short holiday. This can be an extension to your holiday in Australia or New Zealand. Mercury Travels offers customized holidays to Tahiti and other tantalizing destinations. Come and see Tahiti the way you want you to.

TEMPTING TAHITIPapeete/Moorea (4 nights/5 days)
Day 1 – Arrive PapeeteMaeva! Upon arrival at Papeete airport, you are met and transferred to the hotel in Papeete. Overnight in Papeete.
Day 2 – Papeete/MooreaWake up to a lazy breakfast followed by a city tour of Papeete by coach. Later in the day, take a half hour catamaran ride to Moorea. On arrival, you are transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax at the beach or the pool. You could also spend time snorkelling and admiring the fabulous undersea life this reef has to offer you! Overnight in Moorea.
Day 3 – MooreaYou are taken by coach on a Circle Island Tour to see the gorgeous sights of Moorea including Cook’s Bay, Opunohu Bay and the Belvédère lookout. Spend the rest of the day on the white sands or in the pool. Overnight in Moorea.
Day 4 – MooreaYou have the whole day to pamper yourself with the various amenities available at your resort. Swim, snorkel or simply relax by the sea and soak in the ambience! Overnight in Moorea.
Day 5 – Moorea/Depart PapeeteAfter breakfast, you will be escorted back to the dock for a catamaran ride to Papeete, where you are transferred to the airport for your onward flight back home.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where taste and beauty meet: Piedmont

The past and future meet in Piedmont. Innovation and new technology coexist with extraordinary natural beauty and landscapes, an array of cultural events and a vast offering of leisure activities. A gastronomic academy, the region’s historical and artistic heritage and its craft traditions stand side by side amongst research centres, higher education and industrial districts. In fact, in Piedmont, the host of the XX Olympic Winter Games, innovation and tradition coexist and strengthen each other.

Nestled in the northwest corner of Italy, Piedmont will undoubtedly surprise you with the charm of its ancient pleasures and its modern lifestyle, with a broad range of opportunities to satisfy the most diverse tastes and desires. Historical cities like Turin that are rich in art and culture; breathtaking mountains that are a trekker’s paradise; national parks and lakes, make Piedmont a haven of natural splendour.

Turin, the capital city of the Piedmont region, is located at a convenient one-hour travel distance from Milan. Blessed with a splendid view of the snow-crusted Alps and a fascinating stretch of the River Po, Turin is a little paradise on earth.

The city of Turin and its surroundings is a treasure trove of artistic and architectonic heritage spanning from Roman times. Indeed, the entire region is studded with seventeenth-century jewels. Splendid examples of Baroque architecture are the Royal Palaces and include the Reggia di Venaria, the Palazzina di Stupinigi, the Royal Palace, the Castles of Moncalieri and Racconigi: summer residences and hunting lodges, exceptional examples of pomp and wealth, they were declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1997.

Hot wheels enthusiasts would love to spend time at the Museum of the Automobile which has one of the world’s greatest collections of antique cars. While in Turin, another must-visit is the Mole Antonelliana, a building that is the symbol of the city, which has been converted into a unique National Cinema Museum - one of a kind in the world.

Piedmont is blessed with quaint mountain villages, rolling hills, fertile farmland and fabulous vineyards. A must-visit town is Barolo, a 90-minute drive from Turin, famed for the Marchesi di Barolo vineyard. Indulge in some great wine tasting at this100-acre large vineyard that produces a wide selection of world-famous red wines such as Barbera, Nebbiolo, Barolo, Barbaresco and sparkling white wines such as Asti Spumante and La Volta Brut.

Located a short 45-minute drive from Barolo is the quaint medieval town of Alba famed for its white truffles. Alba is also home to the confectionery group Ferrero, famed worldwide for its chocolates. Some of the other must-visit towns are Asti – famed for its sparkling white wines; Acqui Terme – where you can pamper yourself in the hot sulphur springs; Ivrea – the town of the hilarious Battle of Oranges; and Varallo – a delight for white-water rafters and kayakers.
No trip to Piedmont is complete without a trip to Lake Maggiore, the second largest lake in Italy and one of Italy’s best kept secrets. You could take a trip to the picturesque Borromean Islands viz. Isola dei Pescatori, Isola Bella and Isola Madre in the Italian part of Lake Maggiore.

Piedmont is famous among gourmands worldwide for its cuisine and red wines. On the hills, to the south of Turin, grow the plump and dark Nebbiolo grape, from which the highly regarded Barolo and Barbaresco wines are made. Other gastronomic delights are the cheeses and handmade chocolate of ancient tradition.

The cultural offering in Piedmont includes events ranging from music - classical, contemporary and avant-garde music, jazz and ethnic sounds, as well as the prolific electronic music scene – to theatre, ballet and cinema. Many festivals take place at locations of exceptional architectural or natural beauty, like historic piazzas and courtyards, abbeys and churches, castles, fortresses or the parks of stately homes. Piedmont hosts highly popular, internationally-famous events, like the Triennale, the International Book Fair, the Torino Film Festival and the Alba International Film Festival.

Piedmont is indeed a region that is worth visiting and experiencing!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A red haute honeymoon

Katie Holmes said, “Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase”.
A honeymoon destination is chosen with great care, keeping in mind the need for privacy amidst beautiful locales and luxurious accommodation, making the voyage a once in a lifetime experience. While on the subject, a destination that comes to mind is Sentosa, that’s translates to peace and tranquility in Malay.
Begin the most important journey of your wedded life at Sentosa, a tropical island located at the Southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Just 15 minutes off the coast from Singapore, Sentosa is a unique blend of leisure and recreational facilities, attractions, fine dining, sea sports, and adventure escapades. Add to that luxurious hotel accommodations, spas, and island resorts. Revel in lush greenery, be enthralled with breathtaking views of the South China Sea, laze on the cliff top or be pampered with impeccable service, the island resort will make your honeymoon a uniquely memorable experience.
With a variety of hotels ranging from seven-star hotels to chalets and spa boutiques, there is an option to suit every budget. Capella Singapore ensures that your honeymoon is like none other. The hotel’s peaceful setting on a knoll features a masterfully restored colonial building forming the centrepiece for its modern architecture and contemporary art surrounding. The award-winning Rasa Sentosa Resort, by Shangri-La is another great destination for a tropical getaway. The only beachfront resort in Singapore, it is set on the glistening Siloso Beach. With seven hotels, the island is a luxury paradise for amorous honeymooners.
One of Asia's best kept secrets, Spa Botanica is located at The Sentosa Resort & Spa. This romantic retreat offers beautiful gardens, outdoor mud pools, pavilions and Galaxy Steam baths, pampering you with a tinge of modern and traditional health and beauty practices. The Royal Suite will revitalize and pamper couples with the reviving aroma of the seven jet shower. An all time favorite is the King's Bath, a 450 kg bath tub hand-tooled meticulously from cast bronze to retain the warmth of sensuous milk, floral or herbal baths.
Collect exotic beach shells and play with the surf on your feet at Sentosa’s three beaches, Tanjong Beach, Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach. These beaches also double up as ideal settings for delectable gourmet cuisine. Visit Trapizza on Siloso beach and watch the beautiful sun setting on the far horizon. At the edge of Palawan Beach, Braise serves unique cuisines, based on the French philosophy of natural seasonal flavors, enhanced by modern culinary technique with the freshest possible ingredients. Barnacles Restaurant & Bar is a contemporary and stylish lifestyle venue serving both Western dishes and Chinese specialties and offering panoramic views of the South China Sea. Setting new standards for beach parties and nightlife with its music and Ibiza pedigree, Café del Mar at Sentosa reinvents the beach party culture and is set to become the iconic spot in beach life and entertainment in this city.
Need a lesson in love? Get naughty at the Nature Walk at Sentosa Nature Discovery. Let the birds and the bees and the humdrum of the trees tempt you to get wicked and tease your partner. Meander through a secondary rainforest, and have a closer look at Sentosa's flora and fauna. Maybe the infectious love-bug will bite you, numbing your senses and leaving only your heart alive to beat for your beloved.
Check out Siloso Beach’s latest lifestyle attraction, Wave House Sentosa! Offering exhilarating rides akin to the Wave Houses found in North America, Chile and South Africa, thrill seekers can look to make a wild splash and get their adrenaline fix whether surfing the tube, jumping waves or performing gravity defying flips and stunts. And for those itching for some retail therapy, drive 10 minutes into Singapore, a city that has topped the Country Brand Index Survey as the Best Destination for Shopping.
Honeymoon experiences in Sentosa are truly experiences of a lifetime! An unrivalled location, promising a magical ambience and all the elements of romance and indulgence are the right ingredients for a truly memorable holiday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Savouring Singapore

In cosmopolitan and multicultural Singapore, you can expect nothing less than a melange of flavours and experiences from around the globe. It’s not just East-meets-West, but is a collection of cultures, tastes and culinary exploits. The most popular way to enjoy the rich culture of flavours is at Singapore’s greatest culinary institution – the hawker centres!

A hawker centre is a collection of stalls selling food at very reasonable prices, in an open-air arrangement. Here hundreds of stalls prepare a staggering variety of food, all under stringent health inspection. Among the din of clanging trays, the shouted orders, the tropical heat, and wonderful smells of spices is a gastronomic and cultural experience that can be had only in Singapore. Visit Chinatown Complex Temporary Market & Food Centre, East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Geylang Serai Market, Golden Mile Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Maxwell Food Centre, Newton Food Centre, Zion Riverside Food Centre and Glutton’s Bay for this no-frills experience that’s common in Singapore and unique in Asia. Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Chinese cuisines and re-blended into Pacific Rim fusions at its most glorious.

Surrounded by water, Singapore probably has the best waterfront dining in Asia. Alfresco dining at Boat Quay is a heady not to be missed experience. Once Singapore’s busiest port, Boat Quay has been transformed into a popular hangout with chic cafés, high-end restaurants, yuppie pubs and designer galleries. This picturesque, busy stretch offers great views of the Singapore River and part of the colonial district. Clarke Quay is Singapore's only riverside festival village combining dining, shopping and entertainment. On the 23,000 square-metre site are five blocks of building housing and shophouses, restored to their original 19th century style. This area has a spread of specialty restaurants, themed pubs and wine bars. Across the river lies a range of exciting dining experience at the Riverside Point.

Pick up a culinary tip or two at some of the culinary academies in Singapore. Whether it is local, Asian, Middle Eastern or European cuisine, there's something for everyone and is a sure way of spicing up your holiday. We recommend Shermay's Cooking School, where cookbook author, Shermay, teaches cooking in her own demonstration kitchen. Although the main focus of her school is to teach Nonya cuisine based on her grandmother's traditional recipes; French cuisine, home-style Chinese and desserts are also taught. Classes are designed to make cooking easy and fun for novice as well as advanced chefs.

At-sunrice is a culinary centre dedicated to promoting pan-Asian cuisine, culinary skills and craftware. It offers cooking demonstration and tasting classes to actual hands-on cooking classes. Pick from a variety of short courses such as "quick cooking for dinner parties" and "Asian cooking class". Besides being poised to make its culinary stand as a fine dining bistro, the Coriander Leaf strives to establish itself as a culinary school. Coriander Leaf emphasises home cooking. The half-day culinary courses in a studio setting highlight the best in South Asian, South-East Asian, Middle Eastern and fusion cooking.

More than a cooking school, the prestigious Raffles Culinary Academy also conducts lifestyle classes covering a range of topics such as wines and etiquette, how to plan a party, home dining, as well as lessons on oyster and foie gras appreciation. If you are looking for cooking classes in the comfort of a Singapore home, Cookery Magic is your choice, as it offers a wide variety of classes in Malay, Indian, Mediterranean, Vegetarian and baking amongst many others.

Take a food tour to unravel the rich heritage and food culture in Singapore! The Makansutra Food Safari Tour seeks to reveal and share the great colour and taste of Singapore’s food culture. Embark on a whirlwind whiz to taste, sample and eat some of the best dishes around here. Besides the popular local hawker fare, like chicken rice, laksa, bak kut teh or rojak, the Food Safari can also include a dining experience that incorporates the top and award winning local restaurants serving both Asian and modern international cuisine. A Food Host will be at hand to regale the colourful story of the local food and its culture.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Singapore: Treated with care!

Pamper yourself in a lavish spa, shop at the world’s finest boutiques, grab great seats to a hot new show, or enjoy the Singapore skyline from your penthouse suite in the sky! Luxurious, opulent and sprawling hotels are usually complemented with exotic, state-of-the-art spas that indulge your senses and soothe your nerves.

The singular locale of Capella Singapore ensures that a vacation on Sentosa Island is like none other. The South China Sea is your backyard. The Auriga Spa at the resort takes a holistic approach to wellness offering four signature treatments designed to reflect the varying energies of the lunar cycle, which correspond to our four seasons. The New Moon mirrors winters - a season to rest, reflect and gain new strength. The Waxing Moon harbours the characteristics of spring - the best time to sow the seeds and nourish the earth. The Full Moon denotes the summer in bloom - it is the time of harvest. Lastly, The Waning Moon is autumn - a time to cleanse the body and earth, to give space for new life and to commence the cycle again.

Located on level 5 of The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, their 528-square-metre spa comprises four luxurious treatment rooms, a Couples’ Suite, a Shiatsu room, a private Relaxation Lounge and a Mind and Body yoga studio. The innovative and restorative treatments at The Oriental Spa merge both ancient and modern techniques and philosophies from around the world, using 100 percent pure essential oils and herbs. They aspire to provide each guest with a personalized sensory journey, focussing on the six senses. With exotic oriental interiors and authentic spa rituals from skilled therapists, The Oriental Spa presents its guests with a complete luxury spa indulgence experience.

Escape now to the sublime tranquillity of The Asian Spa, located at The Fullerton Hotel. This heritage hotel boasts a perfect union of panoramic city views and tantalizing spa treatments. It offers facilities like private couple’s spa suites, exquisite treatment rooms and reviving steam baths. Enjoy sheer romance while luxuriating together in the private Jacuzzi with a Fragrant Bath of Flowers or a Dead Sea Salts Minerals Bath, a relaxing bath treatment rich in mineral salts and trace elements.

ESTHEVA, recently voted as Top Day Spa in the Best of Singapore, has won it thrice in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Their platter of spa treatments range from Face Care Spa, Bridal Spas, and Couples Spas etc. with the Bridal Spa treatments taking care of your beauty and make-over needs as you prepare yourself for holy matrimony beginning with being the Dream Bride. Their best-loved honey and chocolate-inspired spa package for couples is naughty and suggestive and is offered in their luxuriously appointed VIP Couple Suites. Their ‘ladies' night out’ packages are a series of Spa Nights packages for women who want to just spend time by themselves.

Spa Botanica was voted among the best in the global spa scene by Conde Nast Traveller UK. Located at The Sentosa Resort & Spa on Singapore's Sentosa Island this is a delightfully idyllic retreat for couples, offering beautiful gardens, outdoor mud pools, pavilions and galaxy steam baths. Surrender to the peace and tranquillity of a private garden pavilion where fragrant flowers sweetly scent the air. Their treatments are offered in natural surroundings, sometimes in outdoor massage pavilions. A revitalizing soak in a sweet-smelling frangipani filled tub and an elixir of calming tea completes the cycle of blissful reawakening.

An enchanting experience awaits you at The Retreat Spa & Thalasso. Let the Golden Scrub, Golden Bath, Golden Wrap and a sculpting body massage gently revitalise you and moisturize your body with their minerals in floral essential oils. Sojourn to a romantic setting and bask in each other's love while you renew your body, mind and spirit. An unforgettable experience indeed! Indeed, Singapore provides the perfect setting for a romantic holiday. Each moment spent in Singapore will create memories to last, woven together with wonderful experiences to cherish for a lifetime.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shopping for a wedding

Planning your wedding trousseau? Then Singapore is a place to be. Singapore offers the latest fashion selections - from elegant bridal gowns and couture cocktail dresses to weekend club wear and cutting edge everyday wear. Singapore is a shopper's heaven and the shopping places range from air-conditioned shopping malls, huge department stores and hotel arcades to market stalls, night bazaars and alleys. There is a variety of premium quality goods found in Singapore’s bustling commercial centers. Contemporary shopping complexes along high-energy Orchard Road boast dazzling international selections, while some of the best bargains can be found in the suburban housing estates. It is arguably the most popular shopping paradise in Asia.

Browse through the vast amount of fashion boutiques where you can get clothes, shoes, jewellery and electronics at great prices. Be sure to check out Orchard Road which is the Mecca of shopping in Singapore. Nothing beats Arab Street for trousseau shopping. You can spend hours here browsing for fabrics – Chantilly Lace from France, French Chiffons, Gossamer Lace from Holland and Scotland vying for shelf space with delicate, gold-embroidered organzas. This locality is a trade secret amongst the Indian designers who source fabric for sarees and lehengas to weave magical ensembles.

While you are here for shopping, try your hands on the exclusive scent making workshop at Sentuers. Learn how perfumes are created from scratch...just in 2 hours! Find out the secrets of blending essential oils and aroma compounds to create scents at a hands-on interactive perfume class. You can build your own personalized scent with more that 80 perfume raw materials and have it blended into anything from oil based scents to shower gels. A perfume that brings out the fragrance of your love can be a perfect gift for your fiancé.

There’s enough choice to spin the head of any jewellery fan, from the stupendously luxurious jewellery houses like Chopard, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Bulgari to the value for money shops like Larry, Mondial. Try your hand at the local jewellery labels like Soo Kee, Kee Jwa and TainPo to add a Singaporean touch to your beautiful trousseau.

Spice up your life and surprise your partner with the sexy lingerie which will put your night on fire! The lingerie stores in Singapore have a wide range of exciting sets which is specially designed for you to take control and create different moods for love. A bride looking for everything from sexy swimsuits, sensual nightwear to romantic lingerie will find a wide range in Singapore-wear that combines feminity, flamboyance, graphics and colors. Visit the Lingerie Galleria at the Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade to check a delicious selection of lingerie, sleepwear and resort and swimwear. They carry sexy lace creations like La Perla from Italy and France. And some of the finest lingerie brands including Cotton Club, Eres, Triumph, Marvel, Lise Charmel and Exilia. Also check out Tannlines in Paragon and Wisma Atria who specialize in swimwear and "active wear". The store has the Wahine swimwear label, Aztec Rose surf-inspired apparel, Running Bare active wear and more. Don't miss the lingerie sections of stores like Takashimaya, Robinsons, Metro, and John Little and Tangs.

Visit My Dream Wedding to personalize your wedding needs. It is one of the major bridal shops and services in Singapore. It provides a wide array of custom design services for the wedding day which is probably the biggest day of your life. Whether it is the wedding gowns or wedding themes, this shop is the ultimate destination. A stop at Tras Street is a must for those looking for a grand wedding to cherish for all.

Singapore indeed is an ideal destination where you can buy everything under the sun to match all your wedding needs. Plan Singapore as your trousseau shopping destination and get home the finest collection for your wedding!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A romantic culinary experience

Looking for that perfect romantic paradise filled with tropical beaches, distinctive culture, charming warmth with tantalizing culinary experience? Come to Singapore, and witness a perfect romantic getaway that is meticulously designed for couples who demand only the very best! Each experience includes luxurious accommodations, blissful spa treatments, uncommon activities and pampering service so you can focus on what is most important – that someone special. And if you are one of those food buffs who love to taste a variety of cuisine in a unique setup, then Singapore is a place to be! The isle offers a sumptuous gastronomy experience….and that too in truly Singapore style.

Visit Jewel Box, to spend some quality time with your love, situated 90m above sea level; it offers unparalleled view of Singapore’s city skyline, harbour and its surrounding islands. Enjoy ethereal ambience and intimate dining experiences at any one of the restaurants in the complex like The Altivo Bar and Faber Rock. The privacy and tranquility of nature and the spectacular views leave an indelible impression on any romantic duo.

Do visit Singapore Botanical Garden if you love to explore an exquisite French culinary experience. With a breathtaking setting in an outdoor terrace, just 12 tables, and a total capacity of 42, it's perfect for romantic moments. At night a huge chandelier casts a romantic glow over the upstairs balcony. Ask for one of the three tables on the glassed-in terrace. At dinner, choose between a seven-course "Menu Dégustation" and the chef's "Renaissance Menu", a 14-course extravanganza. With so many thrills, this is certainly the prettiest place to dine in Singapore!

If you are one of those who prefer to witness romantic sunset and star-studded skies on your menu, visit Top of the 'M' Revolving Restaurant as they offer luxurious continental dinner menu which does enough justice to the magnificent surroundings. Be serenaded by the strolling musicians who stop by tables occasionally to entertain, with their repertoire of songs. City lights spill into its dim interiors, merging with the orange glow of candlelight. Marble floors with beautiful leather chairs set the perfect stage for a night of romantic dining. Watch the world go pass dining in this restaurant that revolves 360 degrees around, offering you a spectacular bird's eye view of Singapore.

Clink your wine-glasses amidst the gothic charm of CHIJMES. This bustling enclave of retail shops, restaurants, and nightspots, was once an old convent and school. With its gothic architecture, stained glass windows, manicured lawns and paved courtyards, CHIJMES is exquisitely romantic. Feel the enchanting mood over a romantic dinner at Maison de Fontaine. Sit in the cool breezy courtyard and go starry-eye over the homemade duck pâté with foie gras d'Oie and the soufflé with Grand Marnier, surrounded by cascading fountains and the faint strains of music. Or indulge yourself with Italian food sitting in the romantic gazebo of Pizzeria Giardino. There are many other restaurants to choose from, you won't be disappointed.

Think you've tried just about every dining experience in Singapore? You may be in for a surprise when you visit Singapore Flyer. It offers "the world's first fine culinary dining experience in the skies". Experience a three-course meal with full butler service set amidst a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Singapore's night skies. Each capsule is restricted to only 10 diners, making it ideal for a romantic night. If that's not intimate enough, you can book an exclusive, private capsule (from two to 10 guests), truly unique! Isn’t it?

Unique is the word that best captures Singapore, the food capital of Asia and a true heaven for the gastronomically inclined soul. In almost every corner of the island, you will find an endless variety of food, served hot or cold, at any hour of the day (or night), with unique fine dining setting. Come and enjoy countless fascinating experiences with your partner and take away memories that are uniquely Singapore. Don't Miss!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A lifetime of togetherness

Honeymoons are about creating memories that will last a lifetime! Every couple dreams of a honeymoon that will be an unforgettable experience. What could be more romantic than spending it in stunningly beautiful Switzerland?

Switzerland captivates with its breathtaking mountains, Alpine villages, fairytale castles, lakeside chalets, chocolates and beautiful cultured cities. The Swiss Alps are what romantic dreams are made of. Abounding with awe-inspiring glaciers, they provide a spectacular backdrop for some picturesque villages with traditional painted houses.

South of the Alps is the Mediterranean ambience of beaches with palm trees, outdoor cafés, promenades and quaint houses with stone-dotted roofs. The new thrives with the old in the rich cultural cities of Zurich, Bern, Geneva and Basel. Stroll with your loved one through the city streets, taking in the medieval arcades with modern boutiques; modern architecture within easy reach of the Roman ruins, Medieval castles and Baroque cathedrals.

Whether it’s skiing down glaciers or walking the hills, cable car riding up Alpine mountain peaks or driving across breathtaking vistas, indulging in chic European shopping or relaxing at cosmopolitan cafés, Switzerland is the perfect destination for an unforgettable honeymoon.

Of course, you have many other options for your dream honeymoon. You could choose to cuddle up in the La Plume hotel in South Africa’s ostrich capital Oudtshoorn or taste the high life at stylish hotels like the Mount Nelson or the Table Bay in Cape Town. Else escape to a luxurious game lodge in the deep forests of Africa. Experience a bubble bath in the bush or sip sundowners while the waters of a stray Masai stream in Kenya, tickles your toes.

Spend an idyllic time of togetherness in picturesque Philippines, soaking in blue water at White Beach - the finest beach in the world, enjoying the amazing flora and fauna, and the fabulous islands of Boracay, Bohol and Cebu. Stroll with your loved one across Egypt’s historic and cultured city of Cairo, gaze at the mammoth Pyramids, scuba dive in the Red Sea, drive on the Bahariya desert road towards the Bahariya Oasis, enjoy a romantic cruises down the Nile on a luxurious river boat, spend a night at the grand opera and dine at luxury five star restaurants.
Have a relaxed honeymoon in the beautiful English countryside. Stay at opulent mansions like the Ston Easton Park in Bath and the Buckland Manor near Broadway. Visit Stratford upon Avon, Warwick - Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Cotswolds and of course, London.

Laze around on the softest, whitest sand at the fabulous resorts on the beautiful islands of Mauritius or Maldives. Experience the high life at the chic Six Senses resorts at Phuket in Thailand or at the luxurious all-inclusive Club Med resorts around the world. Romance your loved one in magical Malaysia.

A beautiful cruise down the azure Mediterranean waters, watching multi-hued sunsets and bustling ports of call is a great option for a delightful honeymoon. A cruise is a luxurious floating resort with incredible food, world-class entertainment and endless activities. It provides you with a complete vacation in one convenient, all-inclusive package. Just lie back and do whatever you like - relax on the deck, enjoy the choicest food, check out the entertainment, sleep as long as you like and wake up in someplace new. You could choose to combine a cruise vacation with a land holiday customized to your requirements.

Mercury Travels promises you a honeymoon of a lifetime – guaranteed to bring you closer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Magical Macau

Macau is a place where the east meets west. Experience the fascinating blend of 400 years of Portuguese influence and 3,000 years of Chinese influence in the architecture, cuisine and customs.
A former Portuguese colony, Macau was handed back to China in December 1999. Comprising a total area of 29.2 sq km, it consists of a peninsula and two islands. Though small, it is full of history, culture, shopping and entertainment. The central focus is the busySenado Square. This very Mediterranean town square is surrounded by some of Macau's most famous buildings, including the Leal Senado (Loyal Senate Building) and the church of St. Dominic.

Overlooking the busy town centre from their hillside perches are the ever-impressive Ruins of St. Paul’s and the historic Mount Fortress that offers a commanding view of the cityscape. TheMuseum of Macau, located within the fort enclosure, is great for some more of that essential Macanese history.

If you love history, you could also visit the St Anthony Church built with bamboo in 1560 and the ever-lively A-Ma Temple. Many say the name ‘Macau’ was derived from the Chinese ‘A-Ma-Gau’ meaning ‘Bay of A-Ma’, referring to A-Ma Temple. Another must-see is the imposing Guia Fortress, within which lie the Guia Chapel and Guia Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the coast of China. The city also boasts of many other fine churches, old Chinese houses and colonial Portuguese mansions.

Another unique attraction of Macau is the theme park Fisherman’s Wharf. Three major themes of the complex are: Dynasty Wharf, East meets West Wharf and Legend Wharf. The Dynasty Wharf encapsulates Chinese history and culture in the form of traditional items sold in the exhibition. East meets West Wharf has Vulcania, a 40m tall replica volcano which 'erupts' every evening and inside of which the 'River of Fire' white-water and 'Dragon Quest' rollercoaster rides are housed. The exterior of Vulcania includes walkways styled on the Potala Palace in LhasaTibet. The Legend Wharf comprises a complex of 150 shops, hotels, restaurants and a casino themed on coastal towns including Miami, Cape Town,New Orleans, Amsterdam, Venice, Spain, Portugal and the Italian Riviera.

With many world-class entertainment complexes, Macau is today the entertainment capital of Asia. Home to gaming since the mid 19th century, it boasts of grand and luxurious casinos that put Las Vegas to shame. Other entertainment options include golf, spas, horseracing, greyhound racing and abundant nightlife. One of the highlights is the Macau Grand Prix with races around a 3.8 miles circuit around the picturesque city.

Macau’s Grand Prix draws international crowd to Macau every November. It is the ‘World’s only International Street Circuit’ race which features both car and motorcycle races. Over 200 competitors comprising World’s Formula 3 and racing drivers, as well as road and endurance racing motorcycle drivers, descend on Macau for participating in the Grand Prix.
Shopping is a key element of central city life. St. Dominic's Marketfills the alleyways off the Senado Square. Other roads leading off the square are full of shops selling everything from factory overruns to the designer gear. The items one can buy here range from clothes, silk, jewellery, toys, electronic gadgets, antiques, porcelain, watches and cashmere shawls. Gold shops by the dozen line the main thoroughfare running between the square and the Leal Senado.
Shopping, along with the unique ambience that is a mix of the contemporary and the Colonial period, makes Macau an ideal tourist destination. With time it has successfully evolved and adapted to other cultures and lifestyle.

If a quick vacation is what you need, Macau is an ideal destination. With little or no pre-travel formalities, you could plan an exciting holiday to Macau easily and conveniently. It is a mere half an hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong. Flight connections into Hong Kong are good and there is no visa required for holidaying in Macau.

A holiday in Macau is truly spectacular and entertaining. Experience Macau on a holiday that is specially crafted just for you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Italian Journey

Timeless cities, magnificent art, sculpture and architecture, bewitching medieval villages, fabulous food, great wine – Italy captivates you from the word go. Its cities boast imposing cathedrals, beautiful palaces and bustling piazzas. The countryside offers you spectacular landscapes and stunning scenery of medieval hill towns set among the lush fruit groves of orange, lemon, olive and chestnut. The amazing gastronomic delights of fresh fruit, seafood, pasta and pizza and fine wine from its vineyards, truly makes Italy the land of la dolce vita!
Italy is a country of diverse experiences. You could spend a lifetime admiring at the multitude of Italy’s wonders and still have more to be in awe of. A land blessed with millennia of history, the most legendary works of art, food and wine that awakens the senses, pristine mountains, peaceful lakesides and a stunning coastline, Italy has it all.

The ancient sun-warmed land pulses with secrets and messages from a rich and enigmatic past. In Italy one peels back the centuries even as one explores a country wreathed in myth and legend. Time has left behind an indelible imprint. The nation has spawned intellectual giants in the fields of literature, art, and science. Homer, Virgil, Dante, Columbus, Michelangelo, Vivaldi, etc have held the world in thrall for centuries and continue to do so even today.

When it comes to art, Italy is a veritable open-air museum. The Rennaisance period, with its creative spirit, left its mark on the cities of Florence, Rome, Venice, Milan, Naples and other smaller, with works by great Renaissance artists such as Leonardo de Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raffaello. The splendour of Baroque architecture is visible throughout the country - in the grandeur of the buildings and intricately decorated churches. The great archaeological wealth of the country includes the unique and fascinating valley of the Temples in Agrigento - one of the most magnificent testimonies of the ancient Greek civilization in Sicily, or the mysteries of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Campania, or of the Etruscan civilisation around Tuscia, in Lazio. Moreover, there are around 3000 museums scattered throughout the country.

The Italian peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea with its boot-like shape kicking the island of Sicily is covered in large parts by mountains. While the Dolomite range that extends across northern Italy is a part of the Alps, the Apennine mountains run down the centre of Italy, stretching from north to south, dividing the east and west coasts. The Italian Alps protected the country in ancient times from barbaric invasions and the imposing Monte Bianco is the highest peak in the country.

Romantic and scenic, Italy’s Lake District is a visual delight making it a perennial draw. The beautiful countryside, lush Mediterranean vegetation and the mild climate make the lake areas with their villages, towns and resorts amongst the most thriving holiday destinations in Italy. Studded with grand country houses and tourist resorts, each lake has its own story to tell and its distinct allure.

Italy’s coastline is striking and diverse. From lively beaches each presenting a distinct local flavour to completely untreaded shores, to mystifying grottoes, to overpowering cliffs dropping into the emerald expanse sweeping at their feet, they offer an unforgettable experience.
It is said that nowhere is Italian life more seductive than in the kitchen and at the table. Italian food is not just an art but has soul as well! It engages your senses of taste, smell, sight and touch and titillates your palate with the flavours of the traditional cooking styles of its many regions.
In the words of Giuseppe Verdi, “You may have the universe if I may have Italy”. Italy is magical yet modern, old world yet fashionable, charming yet chic. Come and experience the romance and splendour of Italy.