A village of tents in Agafay Desert

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A village of tents in Agafay Desert

A village of tents in Agafay Desert

Marrakech

Not a lot of people know about the nearby Agafay Desert just outside Marrakech. While you won’t find the golden, rolling sand dunes here (it’s a stone desert) you absolutely can have the secluded desert experience complete with a stunning view of the High Atlas Mountains. Plus, it’s close enough to easily be a day trip from Marrakech.

In the middle of a vast field of 21 hectares, the Inara Camp is made with three parts. The high part includes our restaurant “Le Soukoune” which welcomes our external guests for private lunch or dinner and also our new event camp “Les Terrasses d’Agafay”.

Down below the bivouac part welcomes you to live the unique experience of a night in the desert. It is made of 18 luxury tents from 25 to 35m² with a stunning overview of the desert. Each tent has king size bed, living room and separate bathroom with shower (hot water) and toilet. The camp keeps intimacy and respects the tranquillity in order that your desert dream come true.

Included is a visit to the Berber Village – This program is a great opportunity to discover Marrakech’s countryside and to learn about Berber culture, customs and traditions.

You will be invited to the houses of the Berber villages of the High Atlas of Morocco to participate in activities/workshops in total immersion.

Experience moments of pleasure and sharing among this great people who have been able to preserve their identity through time.

A day or night in the Agafay desert is a great way to experience the Moroccan desert without having to travel too far.

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Munich’s Oktoberfest Is Underway for the First Time in 2 Years

Munich’s Oktoberfest Is Underway for the First Time in 2 Years

Munich’s Oktoberfest Is Underway for the First Time in 2 Years

September 22, 2022 

Oktoberfest is officially underway after Munich’s mayor tapped the first keg over the weekend. 

Mayor Dieter Reiter hammered a keg three times, tapping it to the tune of a celebratory countdown on Saturday to officially welcome the festival back for the first time since before the pandemic. The 187th Oktoberfest will take place through Oct. 3 without any pandemic-era restrictions in place.

This momentous Oktoberfest is being celebrated after two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reiter told The Associated Press on Saturday the decision to bring the festivities back “was a good decision.”

“I’m glad that we can finally celebrate together,” Bavarian governor Markus Soeder told the wire service. “There are many who say, ‘Can we, can we not? Is it appropriate now?’ I just want to say one thing: We have two or three difficult years behind us, no one knows exactly what this winter will be like, and we need joie de vivre and strength.”

Oktoberfest was first held in 1810 to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese. In addition to the beer, visitors this year will be treated to historical rides at the Oide Wiesn, which was initially intended to be a one-off event in 2010 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest, but proved so popular it became a tradition in itself.

In past years, Oktoberfest has typically drawn about 6 million visitors per year.

In June, Germany dropped all COVID-19-related travel restrictions, eliminating the need to show proof of vaccination, a negative test, or proof of recovery to enter, according to the German Missions in the United States.

Travelers who head to the country can experience so much more than its beer with Germany’s gorgeous forests, picturesque small towns, and cool upside-down railway. As a bonus: Germany is the best place in the world to work remotely from due to its cybersecurity, economic, and social conditions (and the beer doesn’t hurt).

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Helsinki Design Tour

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Helsinki Design Tour

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Helsinki has been a popular design destination for decades. Almost as if to remind of it – the city celebrated as World Design Capital in the year 2012.

But long gone are the natives such as architects Aalto and Saarinen – while future creative talents now proudly carry on making the Helsinki of 2020 and beyond.

Helsinki is the centre of arts and sciences in Finland. Finnish design is well renowned, and rightly so. Some of the big names include Iittala, Marimekko, Arabia and Artek.

On the walking portion of the tour, visit the boutiques and galleries of the Design District Helsinki and a drive to the Arabia District, the most important design cluster in Finland – the home to the Iittala Arabia porcelain production.

A walking tour of the Arabia factory includes a visit to the Arabia museum, followed by a shopping break in the factory’s shop.

Have a coffee stop on the way in one of design coffee shops!

Kiasma is a museum of contemporary art under the umbrella of the Finnish National Gallery. The basic functions of the museum are organising changing exhibitions and augmenting its collection, along with research and presentation of the works.

The primary focus in the museum collection is on Finnish contemporary art. The collection is also supplemented by commissioning new work.

The collection is presented to the public in annually changing thematic exhibitions. Kiasma was designed by the American architect Steven Holl and
opened to the public in 1998.

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Roam the streets of La Paz in Bolivia

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Roam the streets of La Paz in Bolivia

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August 17, 2022 – Roam the streets of La Paz in Bolivia

The city of La Paz was founded on October 20th, 1548 under the name of La Ciudad de Nuestra Senora de La Paz (The City of Our Lady of Peace).

La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, while Sucre is the constitutional capital and the seat of the Supreme Court. La Paz was established in 1542, and is located in the Andes mountains. Altitude of the city ranges from about 4058 meters (13,313 feet) above sea level in El Alto (where the airport is located) to 3100 meters (10,170 feet) in the lower residential area. It is the highest national capital in the world.

La Paz was built in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu River (now mostly built over), which runs northwest to southeast. The city’s main thoroughfare, which roughly follows the river, changes names over its length, but the central tree-lined section running through the downtown core is called the Prado. La Paz geography (in particular, altitude) reflects society: the lower you go, the more affluent.

While many middle-class pacenos live in high-rise condos near the center, the really rich houses are located in the lower neighborhoods southwest of the Prado. The reason for this division is that the lower you go in the city, the more oxygen there is in the air and the milder the weather is. And looking up from the center, the surrounding hills are plastered with makeshift brick houses of those struggling in the hope of one day reaching the bottom.

In the afternoon panoramic tour. La Paz and its surroundings transport the visitor to a mysterious past, where adventure begins at every corner, on every street; a living history that treasures pre-Hispanic times with all its magical traditions and rituals scattered everywhere.

Indigenous, colonial and contemporary neighborhoods; Indigenous markets, the Witches’ Market and extraordinary landscapes, framed in the majesty of the snow-capped “Illimani”. Also included is a visit to the Valley of the Moon, whose clay formations resemble the face of the moon, as well as a ride on the cable car that offers you a unique view of the city of La Paz, in order to conclude this experience.

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White water rafting – Cajón del Maipo

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White Water Rafting - Cajón del Maipo

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White Water Rafting – Cajón del Maipo

Known for its natural attractions, it is also a place especially frequented by travelers and locals looking for experiences, activities with a touch of adrenaline.Just 55 minutes from the hotel, we find a sector of the valley that will allow us to carry out some of the most entertaining excursions: Paintball, Canopy and Rafting on the Maipo River.

In the morning one of the elections is held, and after a delicious country lunch, they will go on to the second excursion option. Below you will find the details of each alternative, being able to carry out 2 activities of the 3 options:

The experience of transforming for a while with your teammates into actors from the movie “Platoon” (but shooting colours instead of ammunition!), Filling you with adrenaline while you play, compete and have fun with your teammates developing strategies to fulfil the mission. Beat the opposing side! We carry out 3 types of dynamics, according to the experience of the participants. Each participant will have 150 bullets that he will have to manage wisely so as not to miss opportunities for his team.

Launching along a cable between one bank of the Maipo River while we cross a pine and eucalyptus forest is one of the most exciting activities that can be enjoyed in the Maipo River. Our canopy and the traditional zip line offer us that exciting spectacle, at the same time that we feel the wonderful sensation of the wind brushing our faces and we observe the snow-capped peaks and the torrent that runs several meters below. A difficult experience to match.

We will enjoy the beauty of the Maipo river valley and the Chilean Andes from the best angle: that of its waters! It is an experience that you can hardly forget. Its waters vary from degree of difficulty 3 in the autumn-winter season, to degree 4 in the spring-summer season, increasing the excitement.

The first priority is your safety at all times. Your guide leader will give you a safety talk and you will be given the basic techniques of how to paddle in order to be prepared for the rapids. He will also teach you some basic signs and specific words and finally he will answer all your doubts and questions. A security team will accompany you on each trip at all times.

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Explore magical Muscat

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Explore magical Muscat

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Explore magical Muscat

Firstly visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which has one of the biggest 1 piece handmade Iranian carpets in the world weighing 21 tons and can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers. The interior walls are made of Carrara marbles.

Notes: Grand Mosque is open from Saturday to Thursday from 0800 hrs to 1100 hrs only. Ladies visiting the mosque are required to cover their head and not wear shorts, beach wear or sleeveless outfits.

Drive to Old Muscat (where guests can see the Al Alam Palace, the official palace of His Majesty and also Jalali Fort & Mirani Fort). Then visit the Muttrah Souq in the heart of Muscat is a traditional market where guests can find fine souvenirs of local handicrafts from Oman. Enjoy the mixed smells of frankincense, perfume oils, fresh jasmine and spices as you stroll along the narrow alleys.

The tour includes the National Museum of Oman, located in front of Alam Palace, which provides the knowledge, culture, life, and history of Oman.

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design hotel in Oslo

Radisson RED opens new sustainable design hotel in Oslo

design hotel in Oslo

Radisson RED opens new sustainable design hotel in Oslo

July 20, 2022 – Radisson RED opens new sustainable design hotel in Oslo
Set in one of Northern Europe’s leading, sustainability-focused locations, Radisson RED Oslo Økern has opened its doors. The music, art, design, and fashion inspired hotel, features a unique rooftop experience complete with a bar, outdoor terrace, and impressive city views.

Design hotel in Oslo

Situated in the buzzing, new sustainable community of Økern Portal and only 15 minutes from Oslo Central Station, Radisson RED Oslo Økern is part of a large sustainability-focused business area, which includes Northern Europe’s biggest rooftop garden where herbs and vegetables are grown and used by the hotel and wider area’s restaurants. The hotel has been certified with an Excellent rating from BREEAM, one of the world’s leading science-based systems to determine the sustainability of buildings. It considers a building’s low impact design and carbon emissions, adaption to climate change, and ecological value and biodiversity protection. The hotel has an A class energy rating, meaning its energy level will not exceed 140 Kwh/sqm, and it uses rainfall catchers to water its rooftop garden. Additionally, the Økern Portal community has its own energy wells that produce 90% of the heating for the entire development. design hotel in Oslo

The hotel includes 204 guest rooms with artistic details showcasing a playful twist on the conventional through its design concept. The eye-catching entrances of Radisson RED properties contain huge sculptures that relate to the location. At Radisson RED Oslo Økern, this sculpture takes the form of a tiger, recognizing the city’s nickname “Tigerstaden”, or “Tiger City”, believed to be coined by Norwegian poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who used a tiger to represent Oslo in his poetry*. The statue can be found on the rooftop terrace and outside the main entrance.

On the hotel’s 12th floor, guests are treated to a stunning panoramic view of Oslo from the hotel’s restaurant, RED Rooftop bar, and outdoor terrace. At the end of the day, guests can enjoy a well-earned drink and a delicious bite to eat on the terrace and enjoy sounds from a DJ on Fridays and Saturdays. The hotel offers 13 meeting rooms, with the largest room able to accommodate 120 guests, including the perfect breakout space to inspire and spark creativity for meeting delegates.

Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President, Northern & Western Europe at Radisson Hotel Group says: “This is the perfect location for our second Radisson RED property in Norway, following the opening of Radisson RED Oslo Airport earlier this year. Radisson RED’s creative approach works in harmony with Økern Portal’s green spaces and sustainable initiatives, and offers the best city views from its rooftop bar and outdoor terrace.”

Jørgen Holte, General Manager of design hotel in Oslo Radisson RED Oslo Økern comments: “I am proud to open this exciting new hotel concept in Oslo. We know sustainability is a key focus for travellers today and we are always looking to develop innovative hotel experiences. Radisson RED Oslo Økern combines sustainability initiatives, Radisson Hotel Group’s Yes I Can! Service, and Radisson RED’s playful twist on the conventional, which we are sure guests will enjoy.”
With the health and safety of guests and team members as its top priority, Radisson RED Oslo Økern is implementing the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol program. The in-depth cleanliness and disinfection protocols were developed in partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, and are designed to ensure guest safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out.

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Le Beaulieu Reopens

Metropole Hanoi’s Award Winning Le Beaulieu Reopens Following Extensive Refurbishment

Le Beaulieu Reopens

Metropole Hanoi’s Award Winning Le Beaulieu Reopens Following Extensive Refurbishment

July 20, 2022 –

Hanoi, Vietnam — Le Beaulieu, the award-winning modern French fine dining restaurant at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, and its refined al fresco extension La Terrasse have celebrated their reopening following an extensive seven-month refurbishment and are now open for lunch and dinner.

Le Beaulieu Reopens

With an elegant and sophisticated new design, alongside renowned French gastronomy and a wide selection of wines, the signature restaurant at Metropole Hanoi ties together the hotel’s 120-year-old storied past with a contemporary new look that manages to meld the opulent, the classical and the modern in a single scheme that’s long on white, gold and heathery blue-grays.

Le Beaulieu features an elegant and sophisticated new design, alongside renowned French gastronomy and a wide selection of wines
Operating in its current space since 1901, Le Beaulieu is believed to be the oldest continually operating restaurant in Vietnam. And now, after this renovation, the newest.

“Le Beaulieu has long been one of—if not the—preeminent French fine dining experiences in all of Southeast Asia, and we are delighted to welcome diners back to experience these aesthetic and culinary enhancements, which we are confident will win the approval of the most devoted French culinary enthusiasts,” said Metropole Hanoi General Manager William Haandrikman.

La Terrasse, the refined al fresco extension of Le Beaulieu inspired by Parisian sidewalk cafes, promises a brand new ambiance
The new menu at Le Beaulieu continues to spotlight modern French gastronomy with nods to classical French flavors and an emphasis on seasonality and superior ingredients. The restaurant’s inventive approach both to cuisine and service is enhanced by a chef-driven perspective. While there are some traditional French touches, the presentation is stylish, with well-balanced portions and fresh produce from France, Vietnam and elsewhere.

Metropole chefs’ trademark signature dishes and other menu items incorporate storytelling, charm, sophistication and authenticity.

Le Beaulieu’s new look melds the opulent, the classical and the modern in a single scheme
Le Beaulieu boasts one of the most extensive wine collections in Hanoi, featuring more than 600 references and 1,600 bottles, including over 100 Grand Cru Classés and wines from leading chateaux, vintners and wineries from France and around the world. Service staff at Le Beaulieu draw on their wine knowledge and experience to offer pairing recommendations. Other beverages, including cocktails, served from Le Beaulieu’s waiting bar highlight links to France, and there is an emphasis on unique and high-quality “digestifs” for dinner.

Inspired by Parisian sidewalk cafes, La Terrasse also promises a brand new ambiance. An extension of Le Beaulieu and home to refined dining on the hotel’s picturesque outdoor patio, La Terrasse offers a similar menu to that at Le Beaulieu but with additional lighter-fare options, including salades gourmandes, tartines, artisanal sandwiches, starters and more.

Le Beaulieu boasts one of the most extensive wine collections in Hanoi
In April, Metropole Hanoi was awarded a Five-Star rating—the top level of recognition—from Forbes Travel Guide for the third consecutive year. It was also proclaimed one of “Asia’s Top 30 Hotels” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine last year and selected as Hanoi’s No. 1 business hotel by the editors of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific. Metropole Hanoi was also named one of “The 101 Most Incredible Hotels in the World” for 2022 by Fodor’s Travel.

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Hotel Indigo Flushing

Hotel Indigo Flushing opens its doors

Hotel Indigo Flushing

Hotel Indigo Flushing opens its doors

July 20, 2022 –

Hotel Indigo, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury & Lifestyle Collection, has expanded its offering in New York City with the brand’s second opening this year and its fourth property overall in the city. Hotel Indigo Flushing is minutes from Flushing Main Street – an ideal location to explore the bustling international neighborhood.

Hotel Indigo Flushing

The 150-room Hotel Indigo Flushing, managed by Urgo Hotels & Resorts, tells the stories of the community’s rich past and diverse present, weaving its sights, sounds and flavors into the design and guest experience. Flushing’s reputation as a cultural melting pot began centuries ago when it became the setting of the first commercial fruit tree nursery in the U.S., grown with seeds sourced on trade routes between China, the Middle East and Europe. Today, the Taiwanese immigrants who first opened businesses decades ago are joined by international newcomers. Design firm JacksonCreative Group has combined this storytelling with organic materials and finishes in the boutique lifestyle hotel’s interiors.

Guests are welcomed by a dramatic peach blossom tree art piece and a cascading chandelier, reminiscent of rain drops, in the atrium-style lobby. Each of Hotel Indigo Flushing’s urban contemporary guestrooms feature a grey and soft yellow color palette as well as peach blossom murals, creating an airy organic look while hinting at the neighborhood’s past. King Terrace guestrooms feature private terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the city skyline.

The Hotel Indigo brand is known for restaurants and bars that are local gems – lively spaces that lift spirits and foster connection through food and drink. Botanica Bar & Lounge is a serene dining environment featuring an eclectic menu of handcrafted cocktails and bites that reference the neighborhood’s global influences, including Handmade Dim Sum.

Carol Hoeller, Vice President Global Brand Management for Hotel Indigo, commented: “The opening of Hotel Indigo Flushing is an exciting development for the fast-growing Hotel Indigo portfolio. We strive to make locals proud with each new opening, celebrating the neighborhood and becoming part of the community. This hotel demonstrates the best of Flushing, both in the design and guest stay, and will provide travelers with an authentic new experience that empowers them to explore.”

Kevin Chang, General Manager of Hotel Indigo Flushing, added: “At Hotel Indigo, we believe in creating an experience that is as unique as the neighborhood itself. Distinctive design cues inspired by the local history and surrounding influences give guests a flavor of Flushing before heading off to explore all that the vibrant Borough of Queens has to offer for themselves.”

Tennis enthusiasts traveling to the area for the US Open Tennis Championships, for which IHG Hotels & Resorts is the Official Hotel Sponsor, will appreciate Hotel Indigo Flushing’s proximity to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. A short distance to the subway and the Long Island Rail Road, the hotel also offers quick and convenient access to Manhattan.

Hotel Indigo has 133 hotels open globally, with another 119 in the pipeline.* Recent and upcoming openings include Vienna – Naschmarkt in Austria, Brisbane City Centre in Australia, World Trade Center in New York City and The Galapagos in Ecuador.

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St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort unveils new exquisite experiences amidst reopening

St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort unveils new exquisite experiences amidst reopening

July 18, 2022 –

The award-winning five-star property, The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort announces the unveiling of new, exquisite experiences as it resumes operations on July 16, following a brief 45-day closure for a property rejuvenation. The highly anticipated reopening of the Vommuli Island resort welcomes guests back to Maldives’ finest address where the highest standard of luxury hospitality and unforgettable moments await.

St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

With the goal of refining the guest experience, accommodations underwent an attractive refreshment with an installation of new wood, roofs, decks and paint finishes. The appealing property changes were conceived to match and enhance the unparalleled excellence of the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli’s signature services, world-class amenities and superior program offerings.

“We are thrilled to welcome our valued guests back to paradise as we introduce new and opulent innovations to Vommuli Island,” said Vincent Pauchon, General Manager at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. “We have taken this time to thoughtfully reconceive our programming putting a special emphasis on fresh, unique concepts in the health & wellness, lifestyle, food & beverage and sustainability spaces.” St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

Following the property enhancements, guests can expect an elevated and impeccable private island stay that is emblematic of The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli. For added allure, extensions for ALBA beach and all beach villas have been completed. Furthermore, a reef breaker has been installed in the lagoon, creating calmer waters for guests staying in overwater villas, recreational water activities, and to aid in reef rejuvenation, among other purposes.

In addition to the resort’s property updates, the world-renowned Iridium Spa, has introduced an Ayurveda Monsoon Stay package targeting those seeking extravagant wellness offerings complete with opulent, top-of-the-line treatments during the monsoon season, when the benefits of Ayurveda are greater than ever. Debuting on August 3rd, the 7-day and 14-day packages include a variety of innovative services for the body and mind under the guidance of Ayurvedic Physician and Spa Manager, Dr. Sudhi Suresh. The package also includes an expansive array of activities and treatments using herbal plants from the Ayurveda garden that will take guests on a transformative journey. Also included in the package are individual wellness consultations, daily group yoga, aqua aerobics, TRX, Tabata, beach boot camp classes and Ayurvedic sessions such as Abhyanga, Shirodhara and Choornaswedana. Lastly, enlightening wellness workshops, and an indulgent, anti-ageing caviar facial are featured in the Ayurveda Monsoon Stay package.

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli will launch an exclusive Art Retreat. Hosted by Denise Schmitz, founder of We Love Art, the 3-day immersion begins with a welcome orientation and drink followed by sunset cocktails and dinner at Orientale. In addition to intimate painting sessions with Denise, the itinerary includes an array of thoughtful activities, such as sunrise and anti-gravity yoga, relaxing treatments at Iridium Spa, decadent dining, and unforgettable activities including a Turtle Quest and champagne sabering.

Cocktail connoisseurs and travelers alike are sure to appreciate the uniquely distinctive, new Bar Program, set to unveil in August. Featuring a captivating “Violet Hour” ritual and New York-inspired cocktails, the new program pays homage to the legacy and glamor of the original House of Astor. This extraordinary celebration of the art of drinking features a selection of 40 cocktail recipes inspired by five New York neighborhoods, merging the stylish charm of Manhattan with local infusions to create exquisite original creations.

In addition to this enchanting delight, the five-star property is further enriching its impressive culinary concepts with the introduction of a new restaurant concept, T-Pan. The artistic touch of presentations, exquisite ingredients, and the apogee of the art of simplicity are imbued in the gracious art of T-Pan. Located in a serene garden at the ledge of the white sand beach with breathtaking views of the Azure Indian Ocean, epicureans will relish in the wabi sabi Japanese Zen’s Celestial philosophy of appreciating beauty of imperfection, revered subtle nuanced and transience of all elements and journey of discovering the senses. Slated for its grand opening in November, T-Pan will offer Omakase menus with flavors of the finest ingredients from the Maldives and around the globe. Guests can enjoy exquisite Japanese whiskies and the finest collections of gins, beers, and specially curated tasting flights, meticulously directed by the chief mixologist. Teas from Boutique Japanese tea houses and bespoke Sakes from the world-famous Sake house Dassai are also must-have indulgences to be enjoyed above the rest.

The destination’s idyllic, natural environment is elevated by the finest expression of luxury that promises nonpareil relaxation and extraordinary moments. Set on more than 22-acres, the resort’s 77 transcendent villas scattered through the island each offer a plunge pool and private entrance for an unparalleled degree of seclusion and privacy. The premium two- and three-bedroom villas – including the famed John Jacob Astor Estate, the largest overwater villa in the Maldives – are perfectly poised for families and groups looking for a destination retreat to escape to. St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

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Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Caesars Palace Las Vegas to debut new dining concept

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Caesars Palace Las Vegas to debut new dining concept

July 18, 2022 –Caesars Entertainment and Tao Group Hospitality will introduce a new dining concept at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Stanton Social Prime, from Chef Chris Santos. Stanton Social Prime is set to open this winter and will be located adjacent to OMNIA Nightclub, Tao Group’s mega club at the resort.

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

“Chef Chris Santos continues to redefine the dining scene with his creative cuisine and innovative dishes,” said Sean McBurney, Regional President of Caesars Entertainment. “We are eager to continue our partnership with Tao Group Hospitality and welcome Stanton Social Prime to our culinary empire at Caesars Palace.”

This new concept will feature iconic menu items from the original Stanton Social restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side, which marked Santos’ first restaurant project and was known for its spectacular sharable dishes featuring prime meats.

“We are thrilled to build on our existing relationship with Caesars Entertainment while delivering another Tao Hospitality Group dining destination from Chef Chris Santos to Las Vegas,” said Jason Strauss, Co-CEO of Tao Group Hospitality.

“Caesars Palace boasts incredible restaurant offerings, and we are looking forward to adding Stanton Social Prime to its culinary collection,” said Ralph Scamardella, Chief Culinary Officer of Tao Group Hospitality.

Stanton Social Prime joins several impressive epicurean destinations at Caesars Palace including Amalfi by Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay HELL’S KITCHEN, Nobu Restaurant & Lounge, Restaurant Guy Savoy and more.

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Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is most viewed landmark in Middle East

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is most viewed landmark in Middle East

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is the most visited iconic landmark on Street View on Google Maps across the Middle East and North Africa. Today, Google announced the top 10 most visited locations on Street View in the region over the past year.

They are:

  1. Burj Khalifa – UAE
  2. The Kaaba – Saudi Arabia
  3. Giza Necropolis – Egypt
  4. Masjid Al-Haram – Saudi Arabia
  5. The Great Pyramid of Giza – Egypt
  6. Al Masjid an Nabawi – Saudi Arabia
  7. Burj Al Arab – UAE
  8. The Sphinx of Giza – Egypt
  9. The Dubai Fountain – UAE
  10. Dubai International Airport – UAE

Street View offers panoramic, street level imagery of the world, allowing people to experience places, right from their computer or phone. Google uses Street View imagery to capture 360 images of places around the world to help people keep discovering, including the Middle East & North Africa’s diverse landmarks.

Street View was first launched in MENA in 2013 in the UAE and has since helped people explore the region virtually including in Jordan, Tunisia, the UAE and more. The Pyramids of Meroë is one the most recent Street View projects.

Globally, over the last 15 years, Street View cars have travelled over 10 million miles – a distance that circles the entire globe more than 400 times – and have collected more than 220 billion images. On Google Maps Street View, you can also look into historical images for some of these locations  to see how they’ve changed over time.

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Dinner with Dracula?

Dinner with Dracula

Dinner with Dracula

You are in Romania, the country of 1000 myths and legends. You are invited to spend the evening in one of the palaces of Prince Vlad Dracul, better known by the name of Dracula.

In a dark atmosphere where the decoration of the palace is highlighted by subdued lights, a cinema décor opens to your eyes.

Count Dracula is a vampire, an immortal person who feasts on the blood of the living and turns them into vampires.

Dinner with Dracula

Cocktail with mantles and masks . We propose to decorate the room with candles and a coffin.

Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania – built in accordance to Bram Stoker’s imagination, on Borgo Pass where the Irish writer placed the castle of Count Dracula, accommodation, candle lit dinner and a camp fire with all the right stories.

Royal Dinner at Bran Castle – at Queen Marie’s Tea House

Joyfully Masquerade Party – Open bar, delicious dinner and our Ritual of Killing of the Living Dead. 

Sighisoara Medieval Citadel – the best preserved and still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe with a UNESCO World Heritage status, Vlad the Impaler’s birth place.

Bran Castle  also known as Dracula’s Castle, a legendary Transylvanian fortress dating back to 1377. 

Corvinestilor Castle – the greatest Gothic style castle in Romania, Corvinesti. The edifice was built in the 14th Century on the site of a former Roman camp.

Snagov Monastery  where, according to the legend, Vlad was buried after his assassination 

Poienari Fortress – Vlad’s old and faithful citadel perched high on a cliff, more than 1000 stairs to climb.

Vampire Treats: indulge yourself with a Vampire dinner to find out why it’s worth killing for a meal!

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Elizabeth line opens today in London – new railway stops at 41 stations – 10 of them new –

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Elizabeth line opens today

May 24, 2022-  when fully open – add around 10% more capacity to central London’s rail network as well as an estimated £42bn to the UK economy.

High-frequency services connecting to more places – for many the new railway means shorter journey times between popular destinations in the Capital. The travel experience is more comfortable on the spacious trains and in the new and newly refurbished stations.

Opening stage

The Elizabeth line is initially operating as three separate railways – services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels from autumn this year. When the final stage is complete, customers will be able to travel seamlessly from Abbey Wood to Heathrow and Reading, and from Shenfield to Heathrow.

From 24 May 2022 (subject to final safety approvals)

  • Services running as TfL Rail were rebranded as the Elizabeth line
  • The central section opened, adding nine new stations to the TfL network (Bond Street will open to Elizabeth line customers later in 2022)
  • Service starts with 12 trains an hour (a train every 5 minutes) running between Paddington and Abbey Wood from 06:30-23:00, Monday to Saturday.

Work will continue outside those hours, on Sundays (except for the weekend of the Platinum Jubilee, Sunday 5 June 2022) and select full weekends to allow for any testing and software updates. By doing so, we can bring forward the next phase of the Elizabeth line to this autumn. The number of trains running through the central area and direct journeys from the east and west is expected to nearly double in autumn 2022.

The line operates in London as three separate railways, in the east, west and through central London. Elizabeth line customers travelling between:

  • Shenfield and the central section of the route will need to change trains at Liverpool Street, walking to/from the new Elizabeth line Liverpool Street station
  • Reading or Heathrow and the central section will need to change trains at Paddington, walking to/from the new Paddington Elizabeth line station
  • Paddington and Abbey Wood only – no changes needed

    From autumn 2022

    The lines from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels. This means customers travelling:

    • From Reading and Heathrow can travel east all the way to Abbey Wood without changing at Paddington
    • From Shenfield can travel west all the way to Paddington without changing at Liverpool Street

    By May 2023

    • The separate sections of Elizabeth line are fully connected and services run to the final timetable
    • 24 trains an hour will run at the busiest times between Paddington and Whitechapel.

source

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Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Like many historic locales found throughout the Silver State, some of Nevada’s oldest history traces back to areas early explorers and pioneers were drawn to. In the scorching Mojave Desert heat, many pioneers were not drawn to the Spring Mountains for their spectacular scenery or even shady valleys, but for the water supply. The uncharacteristic bevy of natural cold springs in the area are what initially drew people to the picturesque valley in the 1830s, and interestingly enough, continue to do so to this day. 

This lush oasis proved invaluable to exhausted pioneers forging West, following the Spanish Trail. This heavily-depended-upon pioneer stopover proved to be a reliable place to rest and stock up on supplies required for the remainder of their journey West.

By the 1870s, the area had attracted James Wilson and George Anderson, who had recently acquired a large amount of funds after their working ranch was purchased by a former business partner. With deep pockets and serious ambition, Wilson and Anderson took over the property, maintaining the two existing buildings and land. Additionally, James’ wife Annie and her two sons James Jr. and George Jr. occupied the land and expanded the existing cabin on-site during the 1870s. Tragedy struck in the early 1880s when Annie mysteriously vanished and was never seen or heard from again. James also dies in 1906, passing the ranch onto James Jr. and George Jr., who eventually sold the ranch in 1929.

 Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

The next owner of the ranch—Williard George—had even mightier dreams when getting hold of this iconic property. As a big-time fur coat maker for the Hollywood elite, George had plans to purchase the Spring Mountain Ranch and turn it into a chinchilla ranch to support his business. Though not difficult to predict, his grand idea eventually failed and the ranch turned hands again, this time to radio-turned-movie star Chet Lauck.

When the Wilson family originally got hold of the property in the 1870s, the blacksmith shop and original expanded cabin were the only structures on-site, rivaling some of the oldest buildings in the state of Nevada. When Chet Lauck moved on-site, he constructed the main house in 1948, which serves as State Park Headquarters for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area today. By the 1950s, Spring Mountain Ranch commanded the attention of Hollywood stars—both foreign and domestic—due to its alluring remoteness and exotic beauty.

German movie star Vera Krupp honed in on Spring Mountain Ranch State Park property in 1955, after divorcing from coffee guru Alfred Krupp in Germany. With a brand new, immaculately constructed mansion on her hands, Vera was in heaven. Here, she spent her days rockhounding, hosting parties, ranching with the boys, and living life to the fullest in the Spring Mountains until she fell ill and needed to relocate to be closer to adequate medical care. Despite a serious personal interest in selling the property to the Nevada State Parks system in order to preserve the property, Howard Hughes snapped up the Spring Mountain Ranch in 1967.

Visiting Spring Mountain Ranch State Park Today 

Skip the crowds at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and head for Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, which offers the same experiences without thousands of people. With six babbling springs on the property, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park owns all the water rites, and that alone is worth more than all 520 acres of land and all the buildings put together. Crazy, right? Be sure to take notice of the natural amount of water on the property, which is what makes such a deliciously manicured lawn possible for your enjoyment. Think about it: a lawn in the middle of the Mojave Desert? Not exactly something most people living or visiting in the region can enjoy—at Spring Mountain Ranch, this is arguably the largest, though simplest, attraction. 

Reserve a large amphitheater-style area that is equipped to host 200 people, discover amazing hiking loops throughout the park (complete with charming picnic areas with featuring shade, barbecues and tables) and be sure to swing through the historic Main Ranch House for an even more detailed glimpse of the owners who once lived here. Ask about Living History Programs, Summer Theater, and special events like “Yoga on the Lawn” or “Paint with a Ranger” offered throughout the year.

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Fly fishing in Patagonia

Fly fishing in Patagonia

Fly fishing in Patagonia

Patagonia is a wild and unique territory, worn down by enormous masses of ice that shaped its interesting landscapes. It forms one of the most extreme precipitation gradients in the world. From east to west the landscape is very different – it changes from Patagonian steppe to evergreen forest in less than 125 miles (200 km).

It is thought that settlers saw this as an excellent opportunity for the introduction of the voracious Salmonids, which quickly spread and flourished throughout the diverse watercourses of the zone and created a paradise for fly-fishing.

Within the Salmonids, we will mainly find Salmon trutta, known as Fario or the brown trout, coveted by fishermen for its beautiful colors and fierceness. It is also possible to find rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon (Salar salmon), coho salmon, and the mythical king salmon (Chinook).

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Santana ATV in Costa Rica

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Santana ATV in Costa Rica

Santana ATV in Costa Rica

This unique adventure begins once participants arrive at Santana Welcome Center in Brasilito beach.

There, they will receive the equipment and safety instructions to enjoy this adventure to the fullest!
After a short drive on the main road, participants will take several dirt roads through the forest and
drive to some of the most beautiful beaches in the area; like Brasilito, Conchal, los Piratas, Puerto Viejo
and Flamingo.

This unique ride also drives through local villages, where participants will have the possibility to see how people in this area live.

Then, participants will drive to the top a hill where they will enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

During the ride, participants might have the opportunity to see different plant and animal species that live in Guanacaste. Some of the most common animals to see are monkeys, lizards and birds.

Once participants return to the welcome center, they will have a time to relax before taking their transfer back to the hotel.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Operates: Daily.
Departure: Morning and Afternoon
Duration: 2 hrs. 30 min.
Estimated driving time:
10 min. from Westin Playa Conchal & W
Reserva Conchal – each way.
Minimum: 8 ppl.
Maximum: 15 pl. / 15 ATV (6 of this ones are
DBL)
Includes: Deluxe private transportation, certified
TE DMC guide, one bottle of water on the bus,
ATV equipment, local Guides, fruit and bottle of
water at the end of the activity, gratuity for local
guides

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Visit the Gobustan petroglyph reserve in Azerbaijan

Gobustan

Visit the Gobustan petroglyph reserve in Azerbaijan

In a magical hilltop landscape of giant boulders with views across the opal blue Caspian, the Gobustan petroglyph reserve is home to rock drawings
dating back almost 15,000 years. These remarkable open-air ‘gallery’ and interactive museum provide a veritable archive of mankind’s cultural evolution and attracts visitors and researchers from across the globe.

The Unesco-listed Qobustan Petroglyph Reserve protects thousands of stick-figure stone engravings dating back up to 12,000 years. Themes include livestock, wild animals and shamans.

The images were carved into what were probably caves but over time they have crumbled into a craggy chaos of boulders. Even if you have no particular interest in ancient doodles, Qobustan’s eerie landscape and the hilltop views towards distant oil-workings in the turquoise-blue Caspian are still fascinating.

A visit starts 3km west of Qobustan at a state-of-the-art museum, which gives context to what you will see on the mountain ridge 2km above. 

Comparing this with similar ancient designs in Norway led ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl to speculate that Scandinavians might have originated in what is now Azerbaijan.

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape covers three areas of a plateau of rocky boulders rising out of the semi-desert of central Azerbaijan, with an outstanding collection of more than 6,000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 40,000 years of rock art.

The site also features the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials, all reflecting an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period that followed the last Ice Age, from the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The site, which covers an area of 537 ha, is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation.

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Visit the Thonburi Khlongs

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Visit the Thonburi Khlongs

Visit the Thonburi Khlongs

An independent province until it was merged with Bangkok in 1972, Thonburi – the old capital located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River – has largely escaped the modern development.

Its Khlongs network, including Bangkok Noi Khlong and Mon Khlong retains much of its old-world charm.

It is a real discovery of the art of living in Bangkok – of its huts on stilts and its old wooden houses – all at the leisurely pace of a boat sailing through the maze of canals.

The west bank of Chao Phraya River is called Thonburi and it’s the only area of the fast-growing Bangkok that hasn’t been developing with the time. Quite the opposite. It’s still like it used to be, with man-made water canals used as streets, small boats parked by the sides of the local houses that are built right on the water.

Can you imagine that Thonburi was once the capital of Thailand, at the end of the 18th century?

Part of the locals has never wanted to let this piece of history go, so they still live the slow-paced lifestyle.

Not everyone in Thonburi lives wealthy, so circling through the narrow canals allowed me to see fragile huts built right on the water that looked like they’re about to collapse if the wind blows a bit stronger. Some windows didn’t have glass and seemed to have no electricity either.

People here go to work by boat. They buy their fruit and vegetable from the neighbours who use their boats as floating markets.

The kids play on the porch of their homes right above the water. They throw in some bread to attract the fish and then jump in the water to play with them.

In between the houses by the water, there’s so much greenery – large banana trees, palm trees, green bushes. It’s the kind of nature you don’t see that much in Bangkok.

While people live here in different circumstances, they still seem to be happy, as they wave to the tourists from their porches with warm smiles on their faces.

The boat tour on the Thonburi Khlongs

Taking the tour offers a great contrast between the mighty Chao Phraya River and the small 6-meter wide Klongs. Most of the tours usually start at the Phra Arthit boat pier right next to Khao San Road.

The first few minutes the boat rushes between the quite heavy ferry traffic along the river and then it takes a sharp turn into one of the Klongs that connect the new Bangkok with the old one.

Right after the turn, you suddenly find yourself in a totally different environment.

The city noise slowly disappears, the water becomes more peaceful and local homes in size of small wooden boxes on one side of the canal and larger mansions with beautiful yards on the other side reveal themselves.

And most importantly – the air is fresh, the surroundings are quiet and it feels like you’ve entered a serene oasis. The loud noises coming from your boat’s engine are the only things ruining a bit this otherwise blissful environment.

The tour takes you along temples by the canals, a local school, and other establishments just like in every normal town. But in this case, it’s all on the water. Unfortunately, boat drivers usually don’t speak any English, so they won’t be able to give you more information about any of the objects you’ll see along the way.

I also had an old Thai lady approaching us in her small boat, selling cold drinks, snacks and souvenirs, right before we stopped by a temple, where I could throw in the water some snacks for the fish myself, sold to me by a local monk.

Always keep an eye on the boat coasts, as you might notice some monitor lizards sunbathing there.

I was so impressed with the surroundings and how different Thonburi life is from the rest of the Bangkok, that 90-minute tour felt like it’s been only 15 minutes.

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Shopping in Santorini

Shopping in Santorini

Shopping in Santorini

Shopping in Santorini can be great fun. Small shops border the stone streets, while beautiful galleries, quality leather shops and loads of Gold shops sit side by side with local handicrafts and small souvenir shops featuring inexpensive buys.

Even if you are not a fanatical shopper, Santorini’s shopping market -especially in Fira- will prove to be more than tempting. Prices range from the very costly to the preposterously inexpensive.

Compared to Fira’s market, the market in Oia is less flashy and more ethnic and local. The original and ingeniously decorated of shop’s windows will certainly leave an impression on you. The pleasant small shops feature an assortment of artefacts and works of art from several countries and cultures. Similar shops can be found in Fira.

Also, if you wish to buy cosmetics there are a large store in central Fira with a wide range of cosmetics, perfumes and sun protection products.

As you see, there you can find several goods to buy, jewelleries, high quality leather goods and others as woven goods, folk art, and handicrafts. So, do not hesitate to go for Santorini shopping.

The other thing that many people buy on the island is the wine. There are a number of wineries to visit and here you can taste some of Santorini’s famous wines before deciding on your purchase. Other local products such as tomato juice can also be purchased at the wineries.

Shopping in Santorini can be an excellent and unique experience. The biggest economic driver for the island is tourism, which means that there is a large market for local producers, designers, artists, and jewel smiths to create their own unique wares for sale.

Of course, there is a broad variety of souvenir shops all over the island, which tend to sell mass-produced items, similar to those that can be bought throughout Greek tourist destinations. Prices can range from very cheap to the extremely costly, high-quality items you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The shops stay open until late in the evening- especially in the summer season- so you can enjoy searching for the right thing beyond the heat of the day.

Shopping in Santorini

Fira

Fira is the main centre for shopping on the island, as it is the capital. There is a huge variety of places to visit here, with a great diversity of products for sale. Through the centre is a street known as ‘gold street’ for its over 40 jewellers present. Make sure your purchases are truly handmade, as there are many shops which offer unique items which speak to the tradition and history of the island. Such a shop would be ‘Ilias Lalaounis’, where every piece of jewellery has its own story and is inspired deeply by Santorini’s 3,500-year history.

For a more contemporary feel, try Koukla jewelry and crafts. ‘Gorgona’ is both an art and gift shop, which sells its own hand made art, designs into glass and a variety of other artistic gifts which are made by artists on the island. Both Bazaar and Drakkar shops located near to the centre of Fira offer youthful and elegant clothes, bags and accessories from both Greek and international designers. 

For upscale, luxury fashion, try out ‘The White Santorini’, with pieces handcrafted and sewn in Greece by designer Sophia Hatzigeorgiou. Utilizing delicate materials and patterns inspired by the island itself, you can find one branch in Fira and a second in Kamari beach. A perfect place to look for your new outfit before going out for a romantic meal atop the caldera.

Oia

The village of Oia is the site of the famous postcard vistas of Santorini. It’s also one of the best areas for shopping and somewhere you should certainly consider to include in your itinerary. ‘Atlantis Bookshop’ is a must go for anyone who is a fan of reading.

It is owned by people from across Europe and the US who love the island and the history, with a number of volumes that would be very difficult to find elsewhere- particularly if you’re interested in the Cyclades and Greek history.

If you’d like to take home some genuine art by a local then it is worth visiting ‘Galanopoulos’ art gallery. Here you’ll find not only fine art with a specific bent toward home and interior design but also giclee prints on paper or canvas.

There are also mix painting sculptures that utilize local materials- such as stone and earth- and colour palettes. ‘Replica’ is a shop that you can find pieces of fine art inspired by those of antiquity, such as ceramics, pottery, frescoes, and terracotta figurines. ‘Iama’ wine shop is one that started small and has developed into a big name for itself, selling wines from across the island and the rest of the country.

‘Frederika’ is another shop, with globally sought after products, crafted by the artisan who gives her name to the shop. Frederika carves scenes of the island into local pumice stone, reflecting the extreme diversity and complexity of perspectives from every spot in Santorini. This is an age old tradition which has been brought forth elegantly, available for purchase in the shop Finikia, right next to Oia.

Firostefani

Located above the capital of Fira, you will find that Firostefani has the best views of the Caldera, with the added extra height giving you greater distance. The area is typically less crowded than Fira as well, which means greater access to the shops for you. Don’t miss the ‘Art of the Loom’, which has taken old wooden artifacts from the textile factories that were part of the island economy, and crafted them into artistic pieces, as well as practical items and jewelry. ‘Aegean Designs’ is another place to stop by.

Selling handcrafted items on the island itself, and located in a beautiful garden, they retail hand painted linen, wall hangings, jewellery and more, taking deep inspiration from the colours and textures of the Aegean. For more innovative and quirky art pieces, drop into ‘Leoni Schmiedel’, with its excellent view over the caldera and art, featuring materials ever present from Santorini, such as sand, stone and old parchments. Furthermore, the shop/gallery is so ornately decorated, it is like a museum.

Peripheral villages

If you’re down on Kamari beach, one of the biggest hotspots for beach life and shopping, then check out ‘Ammos’ store. Part of the biggest chain on the island, you would have also noticed it in Fira and Oia. Here you can find stylish apparel from international brands, as well as some Greek designers. If you’re passing Vedema resort in Megalochori, be sure to check out luxury fashion boutique ‘Wanderlista’ for a great range of upscale fashion based on locations. And whilst you’re there, ‘Galateas Pottery Studio’ is the perfect place to find unique ceramics that bring a splash of color to any home. 

In Messaria, it’s well worth visiting ‘Spira’, a beautiful sculpture shop that is owned by a long lineage of marble sculptors. You can find a diversity of works made from marble, as well as other local stone, such as kitchen sinks, bathroom flooring, fireplaces, and ornate tiles- all crafted with attention to detail and aesthetics. Keep your eyes open everywhere you go on the island, and you’ll be sure to bring home that something special.

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