Travel The Majestic Canadian Rockies In Luxury

Each major mountain range of the world is known for its scenic splendor and the Canadian Rockies are no exception. The Canadian Rockies are a must-see location for travelers who enjoy the majesty of mountain ranges or for anyone who desires to be counted among the well-traveled world explorers. For over 125 years, savvy travelers have taken advantage of the superior opportunities to view the panoramic scenery of the Canadian Rockies through luxury train excursions.

The historic trains of Royal Canadian Pacific (RCP) offer a luxury travel experience like no other. At the 2006 World Travel Awards ceremony RCP won the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” award, winning over such notable train experiences such as the famed European Orient Express and The Blue Train of South Africa. RCP guests can be assured of five-star luxury service in an intimate atmosphere as only 32 guests are on board each rail excursion. Chartered individual tours can be arranged for the ultimate in privacy and service.

The fully restored railcars hail from the 1920′s, the era of luxury travel of such notable society names as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Churchill and the British Royal Family. Wealthy individuals traveled to the famed lodge on Lake Louise to spend the summer season in the cool natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Travelers seeking the best in luxury travel can relive the elegant lifestyle of the pre-war American and British elite, admiring the unchanged scenery of this majestic part of the world.

The Royal Canadian Pacific train originates in Calgary in the province of Alberta. The tour package includes limousine service between the airport, hotel and train locations as well as gourmet dining experiences in Calgary before and after the tour. RCP provides first-class amenities and service from beginning to end.

Another well-known train service to the highlights of the Canadian Rockies, the Rocky Mountaineer, travels between Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast, to Calgary with stops at the popular tourist destinations of Whistler, British Columbia, and Jasper or Banff in Alberta. Travelers originating or terminating at Vancouver can easily extend their scenic experience with an Alaskan cruise which includes whale watching and spectacular views of Alaska’s famed glaciers.

The Rocky Mountaineer takes a 2-day journey to the national parks at Jasper and Banff and features glass domed bi-level rail cars. Travelers enjoy the panoramic views from the second storey. Gold Leaf Service provides seated first-class dining en-route. Overnight accommodations and dinner are provided at a moderate hotel. While not the award-winning luxury trip of RCP, the Rocky Mountaineer provides an alternate means of reaching the famed tourist spots of the Canadian Rockies from the west coast of Canada.

A knowledgeable travel consultant can combine the train trip with a stay at a luxury resort nestled in the pristine forests of the Canadian Rockies. There are any number of modern first-class premier resorts that provide tourists with upscale accommodations and service nestled in the stunning forests near the numerous clear lakes of the area. Anyone seeking an eco-friendly luxury travel experience in a peaceful and private spot in the world need look no further than a Canadian Rockies adventure.

Cape Town – The 3rd Best City in the World

Vibrant, diverse, colourful and captivating are just some of the adjectives that describe this beautiful city. Set at the edge of the cold Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Cape Floral Kingdom (a World Heritage Site) and adorned with a world-renowned landmark, Table Mountain, Cape Town offers visitors and locals a multifaceted experience. Its not surprising then that Cape Town has been awarded so many accolades:

· 3rd Best City In The World – US Travel And Leisure July 2008

· Best City In Africa & Middle East – US Travel And Leisure July 2008

· 4th Top City In The World – Conde Nast Readers’ Choice October 2008

· Best City In Africa & Middle East – Conde Nast Readers’ Choice October 2008

· 3rd Best City In The Top 10 World Food Cities – Lonely Planet Blue List 2008

· Best Destination, Africa – World Travel Awards May 2008

· Best City To Live In, Africa & Middle East – Mercer Quality Of Living Survey 2008

· One Of The “Places Of A Lifetime” – National Geographic Traveler, July 2008

· One Of The World’s Most Sustainable Cities – Ethisphere Institute, Sept 2008

· Boulder’s Beach: World’s Best Family Beach – UK Telegraph March 2007

· Cleanest City In SA – DEAT Annual Cleanest Metro Awards March 2007

· #1 Uk Long Haul Destination – UK Trends And Spends Survey 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007

· One Of The World’s 5 Bluest Sky Destinations – Expedia.co.uk July 2006

· Favourite Foreign City – UK Telegraph 2004, 2005

· Ideal Travel Destination – Markinor-Sunday Times Top Brands Survey 2005

· Africa’s Leading Destination – World Travel Awards 2008

· Best Tourism Investor City of the Year – AI Tourism Investor Awards 2009

Cape Town offers a diverse menu for everyone: from extreme outdoor adventure activities to the quiet indoors, from budget backpacker accommodation to ultimate 6 star luxury, from cultural to theatrical entertainment and vast gastronomic experiences accompanied by some of the best wines in the world. Cape Town is a destination that for a traveller requires an absolute minimum of 3 nights stay to be able to grasp its diversity.

Cape Town is a popular venue for many international sports events such as the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Race (109km road race), Two Oceans Marathon (56km), the start of the ABSA Cape Epic Mountain Bike Challenge (800km over 8 days with approx 16 000m of climbing!) and the start of the biannual Cape to Rio Yacht Race. Cape Town hosted the 2005 Rugby World Cup and 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. Cape Town is also host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup taking place from 11 June to 11 July 2010. South Africans in general are great sport enthusiasts and Capetonians certainly play their part in this role.

Generally Capetonians are known by the locals of other South African cities to be very laid back and easy going. Compared to the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg for instance where life is upbeat, fast and social, things happen in order and on time. Well, mostly, we need to keep in mind that this is Africa after all! All in all, South Africans are known to be very friendly and welcome travellers from all over the world.

Cape Town is an excellent gateway to the rest of southern Africa and a visit here can be combined with world-renowned wildlife safari destinations such as Sabi Sands Game Reserve west of the Kruger National Park, the Okavango Delta in Botswana or the malaria free Eastern Cape game reserves. Amongst other travel options to combine with your visit to Cape Town is a desert wilderness experience in Namibia or a luxury tropical beach experience in Mozambique.

Having travelled extensively all over southern, east and north Africa and abroad (mostly Europe) I made my home in Cape Town. A home in a city I am very proud of and don’t intend leaving at any cost at this stage of my life.

Cuba Hotel Awards – A Way Through Excellence

Looking for more than good-value hotels in Cuba? Discover a selection of Cuba hotels that have received several prizes and awards, granted by international tour operators and tourism specialists. These leading facilities could be a fine choice for your perfect Cuba holiday or vacation if you trust well-known experts’ criteria.

One of the most prestigious lists of the best hotels worldwide is The Gold List of Condé Nast Traveler. This annual list includes a selection of the hotels around the world that have the best service, rooms, food, ambiance and design, location and leisure facilities. The Saratoga hotel, an Old Havana hotel, received a high rating in the readers’ travel awards 2006 survey, since it was at 24 in the hot list 2006 of the 60 best new hotels in the world within the category “Best for Ambiance/Design”. You can find this distinguished facility in a prime location opposite the Capitol at Havana City. Art lovers will appreciate the Cuban art in all the public spaces of the property and the “mélange” of colonial and contemporary styles at bedrooms and lounges.

If you look further examples of hotel excellence then you should consider theWorld Travel Awards, voted by travel agents worldwide. They were established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the achievements in all sectors of the global travel industry. These awards are regarded as the “Oscars” of the tourism industry by The Wall Street Journal. Cuba hotels winners at 2007 and 2008 were Hotel Nacional de Cuba as Cuba’s Leading Hotel and Sandals Royal Hicacos Resort & Spa was the Leading Resort. A classy Cuban hotel at the Cuban capitol city and a gorgeous beach resort in one of the best beaches of the island and of the Caribbean, these are the choices of tens of thousands of travel experts, such as travel agents and other travel professionals.

Also Thomas Cook, one of the most important tour operators in the world, recently accorded its Marque of Excellence Award to hotel Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, a hotel which received several important prizes in 2008. For those seeking blissful vacations, here you will find a piece of your own paradise. This elegant hotel, located right alongside Playa Esmeralda beach in the province of Holguin, has received for the fifth time the Marque of Excellence Award (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008) due to the quality ratings granted by clients. Since it is a 5-star Ultra All-Inclusive hotel that was conceived for adults over 18 years, it is more suitable for romantic getaways, weddings, honeymoons, events and vacations with group of friends.

Plus, Trip Advisor, the largest travel destinations and tips guide in the Web, granted this hotel in Cuba two Travelers Choice 2008 Awards (The Best All-Inclusive in the World and the Most Romantic Hotel in Latin America and the Caribbean). These popular distinctions in the tourist industry represent the views of millions of travelers that have selected this hotel for its outstanding service.

Moreover, Paradisus Río de Oro hotel received the Gold Medal 2008 Award accorded by clients of First Choice, the leading British wholesale company. Also in 2006, the Paradisus Rio de Oro was awarded the Travelers’ Choice Prize in the category of Most Outstanding Hidden Jewels of the Caribbean. Want a better reason to go there in your next Cuba vacations?

If you prefer more responsible and ecologic hotels then you should try Brisas Guardalavaca. This Cuba hotel has won the important award “Green Planet Award” presented by the European Tour Operator Kuoni. This distinction is given to the hotels contracted by this tour operator with relevant results in terms of Environmental Care. This facility has also received the National Basic Environmental Award presented by the Ministry of Technology and Environment in Cuba. So if your catchphrase is “a better and a greener world is possible” then you should consider Brisas Guardalavaca in the top of your Cuba hotels choices.

Also for environment enthusiasts there is a fine resort at Varadero beach, the Iberostar Tainos hotel, which has won an Environmental Hotel Award in 2004/05. Singles, couples and families will appreciate the good four-star value of this recently built hotel, set on a beautiful stretch of beach surrounded by tropical gardens.

Other Cuba hotels have won international distinctions like Meliá Las Antillas, which was awarded the Primo Neckermann Reisen 2008 Award thanks to the rankings given by clients of the important German tour operator Neckermann, part of Thomas Cook group. This property ranked among the 100 best and most popular hotels in the world in 2008! So if you want to experience a truly unforgettable holiday you should look after this offer, an All-Inclusive Superior 4-star resort especially recommended for weddings, honeymoons, tourist groups and circuits.

Also the magnificent hotel Paradisus Princesa del Mar was granted the Marque of Excellence Award 2007 by leading tour operator Thomas Cook, in recognition of the hotel’s high service standards and quality of its accommodations. What’s important about this award is that clients are the ones who assess the hotels by responding to Thomas Cook’s satisfaction polls, which measure the service, facilities and quality of the accommodations. It is conceived for adults aged 18 and over and it is highly recommended for those who want to spend some time in romantic environments with extraordinary scenic views and total privacy.

Deciding for any holiday is not an easy thing and planning where to stay is sometimes one of the most stressful parts of planning a vacation. So be a wise traveler and follow the expert’s opinion on your next retreats in Cuba.

Edinburgh Voted Top City in the UK in Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards

The Conde Nast magazine portfolio is one of the most prestigious collections of household names, including, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and GQ. Its travel magazine, the Conde Nast Traveller, rates some of the most luxurious and esteemed holiday destinations and accommodations in the world, the results of which culminate in the annual awards events such as the Readers’ Travel Awards.

This year, Turkey came out on top as the overall winner, followed closely by Egypt and Australia in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. In the UK category however, it was Edinburgh which beat off tough competition from London and Liverpool to claim the award for best UK city.

The scoring system is based on “an index of satisfaction with travel facilities and services, scored out of a maximum of 100.” Edinburgh received extremely high marks across the board, most notably in areas such as aesthetics and architecture (93.72), as well as user-friendliness (90.46).

Edinburgh has improved on last year’s performance, when it came 2nd in the same competition. The accolade is not the first time the city has been recognised for its superior visitor experience; in 2008, the capital was named as one of the world’s top 10 cities by travel magazine Wanderlust, and has been voted as the UK’s favourite city break by Guardian/Observer readers for 10 years running.

The only other Scottish city to appear in the top 10 was Glasgow, coming in at number 5. Within top 15 UK business hotel category, the only non-London hotel in the winning bunch was The Balmoral in Edinburgh, a further testament to the esteem in which this glorious city is held.

With a veritable mix of cultural, culinary, and visual splendour, the city’s art galleries, top drawer restaurants, vibrant night-life, and luxury hotels in Edinburgh city centre, it is no wonder it appeals to so many cross sections of society.

The current Edinburgh marketing campaign, ‘This is My Edinburgh’, features a real-life mix of Edinburgh residents and their perspective of their home-town. With the release of the Conde Nast Readers Travel Awards, they have one more aspect to be proud of.

Finding Money for Travel – 3 Steps to Get You on the Road Fast

Some people live paycheck to paycheck. I live trip to trip.

The world calls my name, and I love it. Places I’ve never been, exotic places with unpronounceable names. Water so clear you can see the shadow of the boat, rippling on the sand at the bottom of the sea. An ancient walled castle, crumbling on a craggy hill. Bustling cities flashing in the night or forested roads wandering deep into nowhere… I want them all. I want to breathe the air, walk the paths, meet the people, and eat the food.

Unfortunately, that all takes money. And since I have a limited budget, getting money together for the next adventure is always on my mind.

Here are 3 steps that get me on the road. Use them to fast track your next journey outward.

1. Make it real.

When your heart connects, your travel changes from being a vague “someday, somewhere” into being a real part of your actual future. Suddenly this trip is urgent, pressing. It’s part of what you need to do, to be who you really are. And it’s do-able!

So make it real. Create a Pinterest page, develop a favorites folder, keep items of interest. Think specifics. What time of year would you want to go? Rainy season or dry? Any festivals you want to see? How much of the language can you learn before you go? Cover a poster board with pictures from the places that interest you, travel quotes that interest you. Work on an itinerary, research any dangers. Compare hotels, apartments and hostels. Put a local news site on your toolbar.

Immersion begins now.

2. Get real with money.

You need a realistic financial goal – not one that will leave you stranded or one that will scare you off.

Every trip has three basic money requirements: getting there, staying there, and living there. “Getting there” is usually the biggest expense, but even if you fly, you can often get better deals if you stay focused. The internet is full of good resources for cheap airfares. You can fly into a European hub city on an international carrier, for instance, and then take a low-cost airline to nearby countries. Play with it!

“Sleeping there” can be a huge expense, or it can be cheap, even free, depending on your choices. Willing to work for your room? Stay in hostels, or in an old convent with nuns? You can do it. You just have to do the research.

“Living there” is the cost of your daily life expenses, as you live somewhere else. Eating is part of living there, along with admissions, tips and side trips. Nights out for drinks, buses and rental cars are all part of living there. Explore local sources for in-country trips. They’re often less expensive and more interesting simply because they’re less “Americanized”. Live like a local in an apartment and cook some meals at home. Grocery shopping can be an adventure in another culture!

3. Make friends with your savings.

The money you save is not “money I don’t get to spend.” It’s “the trip I’m getting ready to take.” It’s for you. Own it.

Name your trip – “Bali for New Years”, for instance, or “Eastern Europe with Jack and Ellie”. Make a spreadsheet, or better yet, get an actual ledger or a notebook, and put colored tabs on it. Keep track of your savings in your ledger. When you enter an amount, record it in one of your three basic categories – getting there, sleeping there, or living there. You may want to designate a little for each area, each time you save, or finish one and start on the next – that’s my usual system.

The big amount you put in first, directly from your paycheck – that could be transportation money. The money you make from overtime, or pick up from babysitting for your neighbor’s kid on a Saturday – that could be one night in the over-water bungalow. When you stay home and eat cereal instead of going out with friends, and put the money into your account – that’s dinner on the beach.

To encourage yourself even more, recognize how much you’re saved as you go along. Basic airfare – check. Between country hops – check. Hotel in Singapore – check. Hostel in Bali – check. Romantic dinner on the beach – check. You get the idea.

Naming things helps you remember what really matters. You may want a new car. You may want to go to Vegas with the wedding party. Or out for mid-week dinner and drinks – every week. And those are good things. But you probably can’t do all of them, and still go on that fabulous trip.

You get to decide. If it’s between dinner out tonight or vague travel sometime, we’ll probably choose going out tonight. But if it’s between dinner out tonight, and hitting my hotel goal tonight when I put that $25 into my trip savings, I may very well decide to stay home and eat cereal!

Planning for your favorite things, learning about your new place, seeing your resources build – it’s an exciting part of the trip. And before you know it, you’ll be off to live your adventure in a whole new place.

Dr. Deborah Kukal is a licensed psychologist with a broad sense of her home in the world. She is Board Certified in Health Psychology, and she writes on health, sleep, spirituality and meditation, as well as life enrichment, travel and current events.