Living it up at Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii

June 24th, 2010

Halekulani is widely acknowledged as one of Hawaii’s most luxurious hotels. Embodying grand elegance, it is situated on Waikiki Beach, within walking distance of shops, recreation spots, restaurants, and the Honolulu night life, and it is located only one mile from the Hawaii Convention Center.

Halekulani Hawaii

Rooms at Halekulani

Each superbly appointed room has a spacious balcony with panoramic views. The hotel is an oasis famous for gracious hospitality, exemplary cuisine, and prompt, polished service.

Dining at Halekulani

La Mer’s neoclassic cuisine combines the influences of the south of France with fresh island ingredients in an elegant ocean-side setting. Orchids serves refined regional dishes, featuring seafood specialties and selections from the rotisserie, with spectacular views of Diamond Head. House Without A Key offers informal ocean-side dining and Hawaiian entertainment at sunset. 24-hour in-room dining is available to all of the guests.

Facilities at Halekulani

There is an outdoor swimming pool and beach, with snorkeling, surfing, sailing, and scuba diving. Golf and tennis facilities are nearby. The fitness room is perfect for all health enthusiasts. Meeting and banquet facilities are available for 25 to 380 people. Business services may also be called upon. In-house laundry and dry-cleaning makes the stay a whole lot easier for the guests. Complimentary admission to selected cultural venues in Honolulu is given to all the guests. Complimentary local telephone calls can also be made use of.

Maldives – Nature at its Best!

June 18th, 2010

Sun, sand and sea, a thousand islands, massive lagoons with different depths and infinite shades of blue and turquoise, dazzling underwater coral gardens; a perfect natural combination for the ideal tropical holiday destination: Maldives. The Maldives is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. Maldives is famous for its natural beauty which includes the blue ocean and white beaches, accompanied by pleasant temperatures.

Visit Maldives

Things to do in Maldives

The Maldives is famed for its rare underwater beauty. The climate of the Maldives is ideal for visitors to get engaged in water sports such as swimming, fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, water-skiing and windsurfing.

The profusion of psychedelic colours and the abundance and variety of life underwater have fascinated divers and snorkellers since Maldives was discovered as a diving destination. The highest level of visibility that one could expect – sometimes exceeding 50 metres – and warm temperatures throughout the year makes diving in the Maldives a delight you would want to experience over and over again.

Maldives has some of the best dive sites in the world and many visit the Maldives repeatedly for the sole purpose of diving. Snorkelling over the shallow reefs of the islands is an ideal way to explore the underwater world. The house reefs of most of the islands are just a few strokes away from the beach. Even the reefs are quite shallow and one may simply walk up to the reef to enjoy its beauty. Snorkelling equipment is available at all the resorts.

Surfing is relatively new to the Maldives, especially compared to more established activities such as scuba diving. For resort-based surfing, it is advisable to choose one of the resorts on the eastern side of North Male Atoll where you could get access to a number of excellent breaks.

A holiday on a cruise boat in the Maldives is often said to be the best way to truly experience the unique splendour and tranquility of this tropical paradise. Holidaying on a cruise boat makes it possible for you to sample many varied dive sites at different atolls and locations and lets you to sample island life and appreciate the unique beauty of different resort islands.

Spinner Dolphins are the most common species in the Maldives. While nothing with wildlife can be absolutely guaranteed, you will never have a better chance to watch wild dolphins playing in their natural environment than right here.

Another activity related to the Maldives is shopping! Exquisite malls with everything from garments to electronics are available especially in the capital, Male.

Places to Visit in Maldives

The well-known elegance and glamour of Hilton is enhanced at Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa. Sited on two islands of the renowned tropical paradise of Maldives, this six-star resort has spectacular water villas that are the best in the Indian Ocean, beach villas, spa water villas with private treatment rooms, over-water spa with glass-floored treatment rooms, restaurants with great menus.

Another place you should not miss is the Laguna Beach Resort which is an ideal getaway for any type of vacation. And if you are travelling with family, the crystal-clear lagoons immediately surrounding the white sands of Laguna Beach Resort are shallow enough for young beach-lovers to enjoy while a few minute’s snorkelling distance away colourful tropical fish swarm over a magnificent house reef.

Maldives, the small gem in the garland of pearls on the Indian Ocean is truly a piece of paradise.

America’s best beaches

June 17th, 2010

America's Top Beaches

Dr Beach, aka Dr Stephen Leatherman, has impeccable seaside credentials, having studied beach erosion for 40 years and completed two national surveys of the American coast. He is the head of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University.

“I’ve been to every beach in the United States and there are around 650 in contention for the prize of top beach – all of which are swimming beaches so nothing is too cold,’ he says. “Beaches remain the number one recreational activity in America.”

Surely the only person on the shore with a clipboard, he judges beaches by an astonishing 50 different criteria from sand colour and softness, wave size and condition of the water to lifeguard protection, views and crime. If it’s too cold, has cars on the beach or just doesn’t look nice, it’s out.

This year’s list of America’s best beaches consisted of the following:

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach Outer Banks, North Carolina

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on Ocracoke Island is 300 yards of beach at the southern end of the Outer Banks, a thin chain of barrier islands along North Carolina’s coast, 26 miles from the mainland.

“I was born in North Carolina, so despite the fact that it’s remote, I estimate I’ve visited Ocracoke about 50 times. This place is my top getaway in the US. You’ve got 14 miles of unspoilt sand, a lovely, quaint village behind it with B&Bs and inns and perfect quiet. You don’t come here for golf or a spa and there’s no McDonald’s.”

Difficulty of access keeps it pure; the drawback is that you’ll need a boat or private plane to get there.

Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida

Accessible only by boat, Caladesi Island State Park sits out in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, more than a mile from Dunedin.

“This is a super, sandy beach with crystal clear water – it’s no surprise the local town is called Clearwater – and it is very shallow with no waves. It’s only accessible by boat, which gives you a great opportunity to talk to the old salts on deck. Also, you often see dolphins.”

Despite being near an urban environment, Caladesi teems with wildlife. There are more than 300 species of bird – “you can see great blue herons and roseate spoonbills” – and rangers stage guided tours. “The only unwanted wildlife are stingrays – just splash about in the water before you go in to scare them off.”

Top Beaches

Coopers Beach Southampton, New York

To get from Penn Station in New York to Coopers Beach, on the eastern tip of Long Island, you have to take the Long Island rail road and change at Hicksville. Upmarket and tranquil, Coopers Beach stretches for seven sandy miles, two miles from Southampton. The town itself has an American colonial feel with few shops selling everything with gingham.

“Southampton is where the billionaires are from; it’s old money. It’s expensive, but you can always stay in a B&B in Riverhead then rent a bike.”

Hanalei Bay Kauai, Hawaii

Hanalei Bay is an impressive horseshoe of white sand. Visit in the early morning to see the surrounding mountains and cliffs reflected in the calm, glassy ocean.

“Kauai is my favourite island. Hanalei’s huge crescent, with mountains and waterfalls all around, is just idyllic. It’s no surprise they filmed South Pacific here.”

Film stars still drop by – last year Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox had a holiday here; Ben Stiller has a house on the island, as does Pierce Brosnan.

“Hanalei village is a funky little place and a real native hangout, with lots of Hawaiian culture. It’s quite rural and very friendly.”

Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod twists like a beckoning finger into the Atlantic. Playground of presidents, playboys and Gordon Brown (who spent his honeymoon here), it still has its fair share of quiet, natural beaches.

“Glacial cliffs fall away to the huge sandy spit that protects Coast Guard Beach and gives the water some extra warmth. Even so, this is the coolest beach, in terms of temperature, in the survey. It’s a great place in fierce heat – it’s known as the ‘free air-con’ of Cape Cod. That’s probably why it’s so popular with Brits.

In the 18th century, lobsters were so plentiful that a law was passed forbidding masters to feed lobster to their slaves or indentured servants more than twice a week.”

Recent wind and wave action have exposed the remains of a 4,000- year-old settlement nearby; its other claim to fame is that the Mayflower inadvertently made landfall before moving on. Twitchers can get their fill of plovers and terns while hearties will be keen on ranger-guided hikes, body-surfing and boogie-boarding.

Hamoa Beach, Hamoa Bay, Hana, West Maui

Getting to this one is pretty hairy.

“You go via the Hana Highway, which is quite an experience. It crosses the sheer side of a mountain and you don’t want to drive when it’s foggy or you’ve had a few beers. Once there, you find a pocket beach that was Hemingway’s favourite. It’s drips with vivid flowers and bougainvillaea.”

At Hamoa, also a favourite of Hawaiians, snorkelling, diving and body surfing are popular.

Tobey Maguire and Cameron Diaz have been spotted there this year; celebrity residents include Kris Kristofferson and Woody Harrelson.

Main Beach, East Hampton, New York

The south coast of Long Island comprises 100 miles of soft white sand known as the Hamptons. Despite huge desirability, there has been little development, so it remains uncrowded, and large dunes hide the green farmland behind Main Beach.

“This is where you’ll see the stars and the new money, with their huge mansions. Even so, it’s surprisingly down to earth and people don’t put on airs – possibly because it is West Coast in feel.”

Famous residents include Steven Spielberg (whose guests have included the Clintons), Puff Daddy and Martha Stewart.

It’s a far cry from the potato farms that once dominated and when visitors included Captain Kidd – hiding his booty.

Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

The first thing that grabs your attention on Coronado Beach is the Hotel Del Coronado, known as the Del. It looks like a giant red spinning top, half buried in the sand. This being America, it’s a National Historic Landmark because it was built as long ago as 1888.

“This is a world-class beach with a Mediterranean-type climate. It’s very flat – ideal for kids – and because of the mica it shines so brightly you need sunglasses. It’s as warm as you’re going to get.”

You can swim, surf, sail, body- board, fish, play beach volleyball, explore tide pools and fly kites.

Lighthouse Point Park Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona is famous for cars on the beach but Lighthouse Point Park is an oasis in the noise and urban chatter.

“This is a lovely spot with great restaurants and a lifeguard, amid a lot of development. You can walk everywhere, and the forest goes right up to the ocean, with Spanish moss hanging from the oak trees.”

Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida

“This beach has the finest, whitest sand in the world. I haven’t seen better – it’s like icing sugar.” The sand gets its fineness and softness because it’s made of quartz rather than coral. The beach, 300m wide, with crystal clear water, is a popular spot for water sports.

“It’s also big on volleyball. There are 20 or 30 courts. Inevitably it’s a great place for girl or boy watching – these people are really fit.”

Welcome to Travel @

June 15th, 2010

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