Restaurant Review: Vicinity ...
QT Sydney – ...
Cool cards for ...
The essence of ...
Trenz on trend ...
An app to ...
Imagine the world’s most beautiful boutique hotels all hand-picked by travel experts and under the one banner for you to consider when next booking accommodation, be it intrastate, interstate or international. Now imagine some of the world’s most beautiful boutique hotels being offered to you for seven nights at 50% discount… That’s what the Mr & Mrs Smith Global Collection is offering for a limited time only.
The hotel recommendation company with the quirky name already has an excellent reputation of looking after every last detail for their travelling clients. Indeed in 2012, Mr & Mrs Smith won the Condé Nast Traveller for Favourite Travel Website. Check it out at www.mrandmrssmith.com/au and you’ll see why.
But to be offering half-price accommodation in places as far and diverse as Broome to the Bahamas, Cambodia to the Cayman Islands, Indonesia to Italy, shows genuine care for their customers.
Travellers wishing to take advantage of this amazing offer can choose to stay for seven nights at such prestigious hotels as Villa Dubrovnik in Croatia (pictured top of story, just AU$130.17 per night), Anantara Seminyak in Bali (pictured above, AU$226.62 per night), The Prince in Melbourne (rates from $79.50), and the Hotel Crillon le Brave in France (example of room pictured below, AU$172.18 rate).
When you do the math, that’s more affordable than most of the other boutique hotels in your capital city!
Travellers with taste and nous have just under a month to book, and three months to stay so it’s a very exciting offer. And with more than 50 of Mr & Mrs Smith’s hotels offering 50% off stays, you truly are spoilt for choice.
All offers are available exclusively through Mr & Mrs Smith, and must be booked between 18 April and 14 May 2013, for stays until 14 July 2013.
Click here and enter the password ‘Boutique’ or phone the Mr & Mrs Smith Travel Team on 1300 89 66 27 and quote ‘Boutique’
Amidst the factory clearance outlets, the bathroom showrooms and the food warehouses that define the inner city suburb of Alexandria sits an unlikely location for a fresh, innovative restaurant that has captivated the attention of locals and out-of-town diners alike. When the sun goes down and the horde of shoppers, factory workers and transit vans depart, the comforting golden lights of Vicinity come alive creating a buzz that cannot be ignored.
The cleverly lit corner of Bourke Road and Collins Street means Vicinity is immediately noticeable to passers driving by but once up close on foot it’s the size of this stylish and popular eatery that becomes apparent. Make no mistake Vicinity is a large restaurant. Not to the point of overwhelming or being unfamiliar to its clientele but it’s a size that Sydney diners aren’t familiar with. It is entirely possible sitting on the large wooden verandah deck to imagine you’re in another Australian city like Brisbane or Darwin where the size of real estate isn’t so bitterly contested. This spacious restaurant could comfortably seat an entire football team, their entourage, a sizeable amount of fans and still have room leftover. None of which would make the diner feel any less special – and they’re spoilt for choice on where to sit. You can hold a romantic dinner on a small table for two, a catch-up with friends on a table of four, hold a get-together on a larger sized banquet table, or disappear into one of the leather couches in the lounge area. If you’d prefer something more private you can hold an intimate conversation on a small table with tall backed chairs styled on those found in London’s upmarket gentlemen clubs. And once seated on your furniture of choice you’re confronted with a menu which reflects the eclectic mix of style and design that this restaurant embodies.
Vicinity boasts a custom designed spit rotisserie and a wood fried grill which launches a mouthwatering selection of meat and seafood dishes that are succulent and worth the wait. With Italian, Spanish, Asian and a modern Australian take on old-school favourites, this restaurant is a melting pot of cuisines from around the globe. The Vicinity prawn cocktail towers all the way out of its cocktail glass and packs a punch with sharp bursts of tangy flavours nicely contrasted to the pan seared chorizo that is served with a side of apple cider sauce and thankfully a generous helping of fresh bread to mop up with.
A chicken liver parfait is served bush-style in rustic jars, with sourdough lightly toasted to add a superb texture.
Hand-cut chips nestled in a handmade cylindrical cup arrive with mayonnaise and two salts; one pink and one green reveals the attention to detail that comes from this large and impressive kitchen. Determining the precise taste of each salt is no easy feat given how quickly they disappear. The chips are a must-have accompaniment to the mains which always advertise a catch of the day – our night presents a beautifully poached snapper on a velvety cream sauce with a hint of star anise and chili – highly recommended. The grilled sirloin at three hundred and fifty grams, like all things on the menu at Vicinity represents good value and competes with anything from the grills of Sydney’s leading steakhouses. Meanwhile, even the simplest of dishes – like the roasted vine tomatoes with black garlic, sorrel, feta and grilled sourdough – are exquisite to the taste and presented as though for royalty.
On the subject of decadence – to sweets. Five desserts include one clever reinvention. No fashionable self-respecting restaurant in Australia or the UK could overlook the Knickerbocker Glory that delighted diners of all ages in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Now its back in Alexandria, given the Vicinity overhaul with a scrumptious mango sorbet and the playful addition of coconut crumble. Offering some competition to any sweet-toothed connoisseur are the lemon curd meringue lollipops or the wickedly spiced profiteroles with cardamom, ginger ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Service at Vicinity is unhurried and unpretentious, allowing you patrons to enjoy a first-rate dining experience. A tempting menu with something for everyone in a spacious and original interior environment is all the reason you need to give this eatery a try. It’s the perfect place to take that special someone to sample a new-look neighbourhood even if you think you already know it. Google ‘Vicinity’ and you’ll be met with an array of fitting synonyms and definitions. Given the unique location of this restaurant, its title is one well chosen.
Vicinity is situated at 90-96 Bourke Road, Alexandria, NSW.
Bookings and enquiries on (02) 9002 1333.
In sci-fi TV and film of the 1950s and ’60s, it was envisaged that in the third millennium we would have machines not only doing a lot of the work previously reserved for humans, but that these robots and computers would actually be able to converse with us. Sure, we’re well familiar with the fact that technology has advanced so far that a lot of our mundane tasks are now being taken care of by technology (from computerised accounting to slow cookers to RoboVac) and we’re getting used to their desire to talk to us (although the request by our mobile phones of “What would you like to do?” as you accidentally bump it against the table at an important board meeting can be a little embarrassing). But what about technology with attitude that throws in the occasional insult?
Too crude to be true? Think again.
At the very postmodern QT Hotel in Sydney, I entered the lift with two friends and business colleagues and immediately the song Three Is Family began playing. One colleague who’d been here before explained that the lift was sensitive to the number of people it was carrying, and that music with appropriate lyrics according to number played. For example, if there were just two of you in the elevator, you might here a song like Tea For Two, or if you were going solo, some soppy song like the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby (“I look at all the lonely people…”) would be spun, or All By Myself by Eric Carmen. Indeed, upon exiting, the lift’s voice lets out a cackle that you are indeed a loner with no mates. Well, at least on one sad, somewhat inebriated occasion…
But just when you’re exiting the lift feeling a bit ‘Bridget Jones’ but wanting to rage against the machine, genuinely hospitality sets in – that is the QT concierge and consummate bell staff who might ask about your day or night, or check that everything is okay in your room. Indeed, the fittings and décor of this boutique hotel might be cool and sharp, but the hospitality is always warm.
So let’s get into a little of those aesthetic details. Upon entering the lobby, visitors are taken aback by the explicit attention to detail. Not one element of this establishment has been casually overlooked, and everything appears to either have a purpose or looks designed to truly please the senses. The lobby walls are constructed entirely of recycled materials: sturdy vintage suitcases, mini credenzas and filing cabinets, old TVs and stereo speakers, you name it… It’s like the interior architects have banished all thoughts of traditional bricks and mortar to take on a decidedly eco conscience, turning the concept of up-cycling into a visual spectacle of rustic furnishings-come-fittings.
Although you mightn’t believe it in a city as bustling as Sydney, QT is the first five-star hotel to be built in the city’s centre in over a decade. That said, it wasn’t exactly built from the ground up; more-so a remarkable renovation of two iconic heritage buildings – part of the State Theatre, and old shopping haunt Gowings on Market Street. Naturally, with the word ‘heritage’ being key here, there were many challenges placed on QT’s architectural team, Woodhead, and creative builder, Built, in terms of connectivity structurally and for desired results in the interior spaces.
The stone clad exteriors of each building have of course been kept intact but several façades had to be recreated included gargoyles, mounted knights and other sculptures not seen in over 60 years. As for the recycled furniture, equipment and bric-a-brac in the lobby, it certainly wasn’t a case of slapping the goods on top of one another with a bit of superglue. Weighing processes had to be carried out to ensure each piece was suitable for the weight of product it carried above it, and of course found objet like old suitcases had to be filled when proved to be a little too worn.
Woodhead also led the back of house interior design, as well as having turned what could have been a typical inner-city hotel lobby into something altogether fantastical and now . Museum-like, even. It took a year and a half for the team to put together all the pieces, buying from auctions, on eBay and even second-hand poaching during council clean-up time. And the results are stimulating, to say the least.
Put it this way, if you’ve ever had to wait for someone in a hotel lobby and felt itchy feet, the effect is quite the opposite at QT Sydney. Instead you’ll while the minutes away marveling at the décor: a seamstress mannequin here, flashing old Gowings sign there, and furniture that looks like it’s been pilfered from just about every decade of the 20th Century. Indeed, this place is postmodernity at its practical best.
The guest rooms, while also pleasing to the designer eye, are less attention-demanding, which is a good thing. After all, when you’re wanting to get away in a city hotel, or escape from the boardroom if you happen to be staying on business, you want minimalist surrounds in your room – a look that says city slicker style but also home-y. Mocha, chocolate and caramel hues have mostly been used for each room and suite – from the floorboards to the wood paneling; the granite around the bathroom basins to the terracotta walls that surround a stand-alone bath and spacious shower.
In keeping with the eclectic theme of downstairs, there are few bits and bobs of bright colour, mostly tucked behind the thick glass that separates the bathroom from bedroom, giving each piece an art gallery-like quality, and some rooms do have more splashes of colour if guests prefer a brighter look to their surrounds.
Every detail has been looked over by hip interior design firm, Indyk who have made sure ‘pop’ and ‘classic’ themes never clash.
While the bedding is somewhat soft for someone who likes a hard mattress (as for the pillows I have never found a hotel room anywhere in the word that generally uses harder pillows – these are always too mooshy for me), a good night’s sleep was had each night. You’d think with the hotel being slap-bang in the middle of the city, guests would have to content with rowdy bar-goers on the street, but instead sound-proofed glass has blocked out pretty much all that inner-city noise.
With 200 rooms sharing 12 styles, you can count on having a different visual experience during each stay.
Breakfast at QT Sydney is a far more special affair than in most city hotels. The menu boasts exotic interpretations of foods otherwise considered staple in other quarters of the world. The Fish Tortilla, for example, is an Ocean Trout Gravlax (it sounds dirty but means the fish is cured in salt, dill and alcohol) served with avocado mousse, coriander, mint and lime with green chilli optional ($16). Organic Prunes ($10) are served with buffalo ricotta, vanilla and wood-fired almonds. And the Huevos Rancheros ($17) are the best we’ve tried outside of Mexico.
Lunch and dinner in the Gowings Bar & Grill are decidedly more decadent affairs. On the seafood side, you can’t go past the Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna served with fresh horseradish, lemon and sesame grissini ($18). Other ideal starters include Air-Dried Shiro-kin Wagyu Bresaola delivered with a green sauce (yes) of rocket, reggiano and lemon ($24), or the Hot Spanner Crab Cakes served with a salad of palm hearts, aioli and hot sauce ($19).
Mains range from bird (crisp spiced duck, organic herbed chicken or whole roasted quail), to wood-fired white meats (Berkshire pork chop with sides of pan-roasted peppers, zucchini, fennel, eggplant and a zesty rosemary and mustard sauce). Of course, being a restaurant that welcomes many corporate types, beef steak is big on the menu, with varieties ranging from minute rib eye ($31) to Black Angus ($44).
I didn’t get to try the sweets myself (too full, I’m afraid) but I did dip a pistachio and almond finger into my coffee and so rest assured desserts here, too, would be as faultless as the rest of the meal.
Spa aficionados will find QT Sydney’s spaQ as a true sight for weary eyes. If your stay here includes at least one big night out, rest assured that any hangover will be cured in part with one of the many wonderful treatments on offer here. The ‘Weekend Warrior’ treatment, for example, is a fatigue-fighting sequence of spa therapies that begins with an invigorating green tea salt scrub, followed by a massage targeting areas of tension. To finish off, a trusty beauty therapist will provide a facial, focusing on any area you desire – whether your focus is on hyperpigmentation, congestion or fine lines. And if you’d truly like to treat yourself, opt for a signature caviar facial, with protein-rich caviar sure to rejuvenate the skin and a concoction of Chinese botanical antioxidants working to exfoliate and increase collagen production. It’s natures beauty boost, basically.
The spa itself is stunningly decked out in ye-olde-shoppe style – decorated with phrenology busts and lab-like glass equipment. Next door, too, is a deco-themed barber with a haircut and styling menu that caters to women and men. SpaQ is open to the public, so you don’t even need to be staying at QT to enjoy its extensive facilities.
Back to the accommodation side of things, whether you’re visiting Sydney for a couple nights’ stay, or living locally but desiring a dirty weekend in the city, designer darlings ought to put QT Sydney at the top of their accommodation wish-list. Start, maybe, with a booking for lunch, or pop into the vibrant cocktail lounge downstairs for a drink if you happen to be passing by the State Theatre some time. You’ll notice staff members with daring titles on their badges, like Director of Chaos, kitted out in burlesque-like gear. But don’t let the drag kid you. These folks are very helpful, whistling for a cab r directing you to the nearest best discotheque.
Passersby without any knowledge that this heritage corner of Sydney has been turned into a cool hotel, might not appreciate the cacophonous and colour of it all, but one stay and you’re sure to ‘get it’.
QT Hotel is situated at 49 Market Street, Sydney.
Bookings and enquiries on (02) 8262 0000 or visit www.qthotels.com.au.
Rooms are available from $380 per night.
Now that most of us are writing less and less, and instead shooting off a quick email, text message or Facebook post to wish somebody well on a special occasion, we see fewer greeting cards being exchanged.
Lucky for card manufacturers there are some souls left who appreciate the old-fashioned hardcopy card-receiving gesture – including our Mums. But that doesn’t mean we have to go all Hallmark on the special women who brought us into this world. So cool stationery outlet, The Card Shop, is proud to announce the release of a hip selection of Mother’s Day cards, like the one above.
The Card Shop caters to all occasions and is proud to say all its cards are printed locally on recycled stock, ranging from $4.95 to $5.95 (or three cards for $12).
The retail outlet in Warringah Mall, Brookvale, NSW is the first to open this month and the owners are looking forward to an online store and further outlets launching soon.
Being of Sicilian decent, I’m proud of my parents’ island’s rich heritage. Sure, there are some connotations of Sicily that are somewhat disturbing – such as it being the home of Italy’s mafia, and the island having been subjected to thousands of years of various war due to cross-colonisation (it seems all manner of cultures have pillaged and called Sicily home for a time – from the Ancient Greeks to the Arabs, the Germans and Normans to the Spaniards). But stemming from this chequered history is a very colourful multiculture. And Sicily can proudly boast impressive arts – both classical and modern; glorious food; even ardent clubbing, with east coastal city Catania often cited as Italy’s coolest nightlife centre. Check with your local travel agent, and they’ll likely tell you that Sicily is truly the “heart of Italy” even if it is situated at the foot of the nation in the midst of the glorious Mediterranean.
Which brings me to the rich soil that can be found on this land. Due to it, Sicily boasts the finest of produce, most obviously its glorious citrus fruit. So it’s no surprise that Solerno Liqueur, made from blood oranges that are exclusive to the island of Sicily, is one of the finest liqueurs on the international beverage market.
Produced by Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie, who also happens to be the creator of the wonderful Hendrick’s Gin, Solerno is versatile in that it can be enjoyed as a base spirit, a modifying sweetener, or all on its own as an aperitif.
Each blood orange used to create the essence of Solerno has been hand-plucked from trees along the sun-drenched slopes of famed Mt Etna. The result, as you can imagine, is decadently sweet.
Recently, Cream had the pleasure of supping Solerno over lunch at Perth’s Terrace restaurant. Kicking off proceedings with a Solerno & Sparkling cocktail, the liqueur lends itself wonderful to the simplest of cocktails: just one ounce of the blood orange liqueur to four ounces of Prosecco over ice in a tall glass garnished with finely sliced blood orange wheels. Easy, tasty and certainly thirst-quenching on a hot March day.
For something a little more adventurous, mix one ounce of Solerno with an ounce of Hendrick’s Gin, half an ounce of orange juice and three-quarters of lemon juice, an egg white, some soda water and two drops of orange flower water. Voila! It’s the tastiest of citrus beverages dubbed a Blood Orange Fizz.
So ask for Solerno next time your at your local lizard lounge. If the people behind the bar don’t have it, tell them you’ll move on: to Sicily if you have to…
For more recipe ideas visit www.facebook/solernoaustralia.
Having called North Perth home since its inception, Trenz hair and beauty salon has recently made the move from its humble surrounds in North Perth Shopping Plaza to a couple of hundred metres away, on the very hip strip that is Angove Street, right next door to Milkd café.
The salon’s fresh interior was conceived by the Cool, Calm, Collective design group, who have opted for a minimalist approach – the look being clinical but comfortable.
Pristine white walls and polished concrete floors are offset by mocha-and-cream print banquettes scattered with bright orange cushions, while the salon’s star centre-pieces would have to be the Pietranera designer chairs, each one upholstered in faux horse fur print – both at the wash basins and front-of-mirrors, the latter flanked with sturdy brushed metal arms. Suffice to say, these postmodern designer seats alone would make Aussie furniture maker Marc Newson blush with envy.
But to the serious side of business, Trenz not only offers quality haircuts and hair care services for women and men, it now provides an array of beauty treatments that include waxing, bronzing, tanning, tinting, facials and peels.
For more information or to make a booking, call them on (08) 9328 8595.
Trenz is located at 30 Angove Street, North Perth.
Website online soon at www.trenzhairandbeauty.com.au.
Ever needed to hint to your loved one that a little more romance wouldn’t go astray? Do you feel as though it’s only a couple of times a year – if you’re lucky – that your Romeo or Juliet does something very spesh for you?
Then take advantage of a new app from boutique hotel recommendation experts, Mr & Mrs Smith. Via Facebook, the nifty little app lets you send a gentle reminder/unambiguous command to your dearly beloved, either to their timeline or as a private message.
Simply choose a hint (or write your own prose if you’d prefer), pick a suitably spectacular image, and hit send. He or she ought to get the message soon enough.
To try it now, click here. We can’t promise that a romantic destination booking will actually be made by your other half, but at least it sends them in the right direction and gets them thinking of special accommodation ahead!
I’m happy to say that I’ve visited Bali on eight occasions, and have loved it each and every time. My last visit was the lucky eighth, complete with the pleasure of staying at one of the freshly refurbished Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.
Situated atop of Bali’s spectacular southwest coast and set against the stunning Indian Ocean and renowned Tanah Lot Temple, the resort boasts so many amenities and special features that you hardly need step foot outside it to enjoy a rich, memorable holiday.
Let’s start with that temple. Tanah Lot has a lot of history behind it. It’s a great rock formation off the southwest coast of Bali that is home to a spectacular large temple. Balinese for ‘Land in the Sea’, its mysterious shape is due to water erosion where night after night visitors enjoy viewing the ocean tide crashing against its side.
The temple is claimed to be the work of a 15th century priest, Nirartha, who -legend has it – spent a night here and spoke with fisherman, asking them to build a holy place of worship to the Balinese sea gods. The Tanah Lot Temple has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries and has a significant Hindu influence. Study the base of the rocky island-scape and you’ll spot sea snakes said to be poisonous and believed to be the “guards” of the temple, protecting it from evil spirits and intruders. Like Lochness has its sea monster, so too does Tanah Lot. Locals like to tell the tale of a giant serpent that evolved out of Nirartha’s scarf when he founded the island.
A mere 20 kilometres from Denpasar airport, Tanah Lot is easy to get to, and thanks to a resort like Pan Pacific Nirwana, there is everything you could want to feel a part of civilisation while still being surrounded by gorgeous nature.
Set amid 100 hectares of vivid greenery, Pan Pacific Nirwana offers astonishing views of the island’s many volcanic mountains and one very blue Indian Ocean. With 278 rooms – including luxury suites and villas – the resort offers world-class recreational and banquet facilities including spacious indoor and outdoor meeting areas.
Its lush 18-hole world class golf course – designed by Australia’s own Greg Norman – has won so many awards, the resort has lost count. These include Best Course in Asia, Best Course in Indonesia, and the World Travel Award as Indonesia’s Leading Golf Resort.
Now, I’m not much of a golfer myself, so when the marketing director of the resort, Sugeng Purnomo, suggested I book a day to play golf, I simply laughed it off. But then, in the middle of our stay, myself and my travelling companion Denise decided to give it a go – and we’re glad we did.
Novices will be happy to know that there is an endless supply of golf balls to randomly smash with the assurance that you’re not going to whack somebody else in the head – the holes are that far away from one another. They’d also be content to learn that there’s a complete area devoted to golf gumbies (ie: newbies like us).
Though we spent more time on the practice patch then we did on the actual course, we still found the experience an enlightening one and promised to come back and play a whole day next time.
For those not strictly into golf, there’s plenty else to do here: tennis, squash, yoga, gym – the fitness centre is even equipped with video games!
At sunset, bike tours are offered where you get to ride on paths between rice paddy fields, all the way up the coast to revel in the most glorious of sunsets. Alternatively, guests can cycle around the grounds or on the periphery of the resort where smaller temples are peppered, and the occasional sound of chanting might entice you to pull your bike over and meditate for a moment.
The Nirwana Spa is a sanctuary to sooth the body and mind, inspired by the rejuvenating nature of traditional Balinese therapies and using organic, eco-friendly products to make you feel good while being spoilt.
The spa’s professional team offer holistic treatments to guests, from traditional Balinese Ritual massages (starting with a foot wash followed by a full body massage and then wrapped in a blend of traditional Balinese herbs and linen to let the goodness really soak in) to the more involved ‘Nirwana Ritual’ where a combination of exotic ingredients like coconut, avocado, mango, turmeric and sandalwood all play a part in a beautifying and wellbeing process.
We opted for the oddly titled ‘Green Apple Ritual’ where the body is wrapped in linen but not before crushed green apple is lathered all over you. Since green apples are packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants, they’re the perfect choice for an innovative wrap treatment such as this. Prior to the wrap, the body is scrubbed with crystallised apple, as granules work to exfoliate dead skin cells. And following the treatment, essential oils are rubbed over the body to lock in the moisture.
Sure, it all starts to smell a bit like a fruit market, but that’s got to be better than gooey mud.
There’s no better way to follow a blissful massage than spending a couple of hours by the pool, or pools in the case of this resort. With no less than three watering holes to choose from, there’s the option of a huge family pool complete with water slides, but for somewhat more of a private experience, there’s also the poolside bar: shadier and nice and close to some very enticing cocktails inspired by the Pacific. Our favourite would have to be the Tropical Lychee Pear Martini – impossible to stop at just one.
The pool grill offers a wide choice of fresh seafood for lunch, as well as pizzas and even steaks; an ideal way to combine lunch and leisure.
In the afternoons, the resort is proud of its sustainable features and offers small tours to its organic farm from which select produce is incorporated into the menus of its various dining spaces. The Nirwana Spa Organic Café, for example, offers a menu with dishes incorporating all its own freshly grown vegetables, herbs and spices.
A special organic menu is also being devised for the main restaurant, Merica, and we were the first fortunate guests to sample the chef’s fully organic three-course meal.
Starting with an entrée that consisted of a medley of carrot, beet, horseradish and mesclun salad, while the ingredients were simple, this really was the most wholesome produce I’ve ever tasted.
Our mains arrived as an Asiatic take on the popular Italian dish, ravioli a la panna (or ravioli with cream sauce), served with baby tomatoes and a shard of crispy parmisan. The sauce was so light that you’d forgive the cook for having placed so many ravioli on the plate. They were pretty big, so three would have been fine, but I won’t lie, I did manage to finish the whole dish.
Dessert, too, was a glorious combination of organic ingredients, from the rich red berries in the panna cotta to the cocoa in the chocolate that topped its side of fresh cream. So descriptive are the ingredients in just about every dish on the menu, that my travelling partner and I played a game where we began reading menu items completely backwards. We’re sure you’ll agree that “Double-baked Crème Brǔlée with Last Season’s Sweet Marinated Cumquats” and “Cumquats Marinated Sweet Season’s Last with Crème Brǔlée Double-baked” have a similar gourmet twist to them. Go on, try it yourself next time you’re dining in a posh restaurant…
Seriously, though, none of the food at Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort could be faulted. Oh, except for the coffee… For some strange reason (and we won’t mention the brand name here), each time a cup arrived it was always bitterly strong or appeared somewhat diluted. We did have a chat to management about it and they’ve promised to fix up the issue immediately so rest assured even coffee will be great by the time you might venture there.
A great thing we noticed during our entire stay at the Pan Pacific Nirwana is that there was a certain lack of ‘kid’s noise’. Not that the resort shies away from hosting children but they are catered to in a fully decked-out kids club called the ‘Kokokan’ that keeps them busied with everything from pottery to painting, Balinese dance lessons to kid’s yoga. Since many of my friend’s are now in the family way, I’d strongly recommend them bringing their kids along to this resort. The staff work like well-trusted nannies 24/7 which means leaving you and your partner plenty of time to relish in the hotel’s many amenities and avenues of entertainment.
Overall, the Nirwana experience extends far beyond its expansive grounds and rich temple history, with managerial staff always at hand to organise anything from a custom-made tour to provide information like the best spots to visit in nearby Seminyak.
Like I said, everything is here in this one idyllic hideaway, so we doubt you’d want to stay away for very long, anyway.
Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort is situated on Jalan Raya Tanah Lot in Tabanan, Indonesia.
For nightly rates and information visit www.panpacific.com or phone +62 361 815 900.
Images courtesy of the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort and additional photography by Antonino Tati.
Recently, I drew up a list of all the wonderful adventures I’d had on various holidays. From parasailing in Thailand to zip-lining in Fiji, castle-hopping in the English countryside to kayaking in the Whitsundays, hot-air ballooning in the Hunter Valley to fly-fishing in Wales, and sub-scootering in Mauritius to safari-ing in South Africa. In fact, I think I’ve ticked more boxes than those on my original bucket list.
But enough bragging.
To be fair, I then tried to recall mishaps that had occurred on vacation but couldn’t think of any right away (the negative stuff always locks itself away to the back of my mind). After some thought (and hesitantly prying open those mental folders) I remembered the time I’d had cash stolen from a hotel room in Bali, lost a credit card in a Las Vegas casino, and was crammed in a shuttle bus that almost tipped over a dodgy ditch in Delhi. And those are just a couple of my misfortunes. Suddenly a flood of memories returned about friends who’d had unfortunate things happen to them while away: the girlfriend whose car ended up upside down on the edge of a cliff in Rimini; the mate who was pick-pocketed in Paris; and the buddy who broke his leg skiing in New Zealand.
Suffice to say, while we all love to recall great adventures of our travels both domestic and abroad (it’s the stuff of camp fire conversations and Facebook boasting alike), there’s a lot of crap that goes down that we choose not to remember so readily. But we’ve got to admit it, crap happens.
Fortunately, there’s a travel insurance company that takes the worry and some of the sting out of those inevitable mishaps. Virgin Travel Insurance provides peace of mind for travellers on both domestic and international trips, and,despite its very familiar name, they look after you regardless of which airline you fly with.
There’s affordable cover to help solve all manner of holiday dramas: from flight cancellations to lost luggage, misplacement of travel documents to theft of cash, and accidents to assisting with overseas medical bills. Heck, they even provide 24/7 overseas emergency medical assistance that includes access to a specialist team of doctors, registered nurses and support staff. Now that’s special treatment.
Whether you’re travelling on your own, with family, or with friends – on a short domestic trip or a long overseas adventure – there’s a cover option to suit every travel need.
For a travel insurance quote, click here. And as a special offer to Cream readers, enter the Promo Code ‘LUCKY’ before payment on your next Virgin Travel Insurance purchase for your 5% discount. This promo code cannot be used with any other discounts and expires 31 March 2013.
Held at the very cool art space, Revolt in Melbourne, the seventh annual Jagermeister Independent Music Awards was a refreshingly brilliant and fair dinkum night showcasing Aussie music at its rawest and most intriguing.
Walking through the smoke haze and skull graffiti popping from the brick wall at the entrance to the venue, you could already smell the Jager shots and feel the laidback music industry vibe. No pretensions to be had here. It was to be a night of pats on the back for a job well done – recognition for hard work; for the years of playing in crappy backwater pubs and out of the way bars. It was a night to celebrate independence and to recognise raw home-grown talent.
Hosted by the truly seamless MC magician that is Dylan Lewis, the awards kicked off with a heartfelt speech by one of record label Elefant Traks’ founders, Tim Levison (aka: Urthboy), who has pioneered independent music in Australia since 1998. Levison is also a founding member of hip-hop group, The Herd, as well as a music producer. He reiterated the importance of independent record labels in Australia and the passion and dedication that comes with supporting Aussie music and its independent musicians.
Presenters that joined Dylan Lewis on stage included Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougal from Triple J, Oh Mercy lead singer Alexander Gow, Adalita Srsen from Magic Dirt, two halves of Stonefield. and Tim Rogers. Hilarity and high-jinx ensued, as Lewis took a few swigs from his Jager bottle and made it a prerequisite to hug every presenter that came on stage, which lead to some fantastically awkward moments, all luckily captured on Channel V’s recording of the night’s proceedings. Evidently cable television has very lax monitors when it comes to dropping the C bomb, which Dylan did, twice. Needless to say it was very funny and refreshing to know the host could pretty much say whatever the hell he felt like, including whispering under his breath that he was ‘so racist’ when chatting to Jagermeister’s brand manager, who happened to be Czechoslovakian. It’s okay, Dylan, we didn’t understand what he was talking about either.
But I digress. On to the winners! The effervescent and cute-as-a-button, Miss Lanie Lane (above) took out the award for Best Blues & Roots Album for To The Horses, and followed it up with a wonderful performance of her track, Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling In Love With A Cowboy.
Hip-hop outfit Hermitude (accepting award, above) gave a rocking performance of their track, Speak Of The Devil, complete with choreographed dance moves by a group of possibly flash mobsters. They also took away the award for Best Dance/Electronica Album for HyperParadise.
360 (looking very chuffed, above) took out the award for Best Independent Hip-Hop Album, for his second album, Falling & Flying, while The Jezabels won the Best Independent Artist Award for the second year running. The award for Best Independent Label went to Elefant Traks, who, as mentioned previously, manage artists such as Hermitude, The Herd, Sietta and Horroshow.
Chet Faker (aka: Nick Murphy, above) was the night’s only dual winner, taking out the awards for both Best Single/EP for his critically acclaimed Thinking In Textures and Breakthrough Independent Artist. Watch out for this man, as he is a definite star on the rise. With a surprise performance on the night of his beautiful track I’m Into You, Chet Faker is a truly soulful and marvellous performer. A very worthy winner indeed and my new favourite Aussie independent.
Speaking of favourites, the amazing Paul Kelly performed his latest track, and quite frankly he was a genuine highlight of the evening and remains a stalwart figure within the Australian music industry.
And to close the show, Tim Rogers (below) and The Bamboos performed a rollicking version of their track I Got Burned as the night’s proceedings wrapped up in just over an hour. Enough time for everyone in attendance to be eager for the bar to re-open and for the after-party to begin. Until next year, raise your glasses to independent music in Australia, and may your bottle never, ever run dry.
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