Aussie music in Paris

The didgeridoo makes a distinctive sound all its own. You don’t easily confuse it with other musical instruments.

But you automatically associate the deep, earthy growl of the didgeridoo with outback Australia or with buskers in Sydney, Brisbane or Perth – certainly not glamorous Paris, France.

Imagine our surprise then as we came face to face with didgeridoo music swirling around the butte Montmartre, mingling with the chatter of tourists outside the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur.IMG_0900 We love Paris and, like most people, much of our passion is for the glamour, chic and carefree atmosphere of the City of Light.

With its secluded parks, artists’ studios, cafes and restaurants, Paris exudes romance like no other city we have ever experienced. We soaked it up – the delightful sound of the French language; the early morning smell of coffee and freshly-baked bread; and the colours of the artists and easels on Montmartre – the highest point in the city.

The romanticism of Paris couldn’t get much better. But then, as we paused to admire Sacre-Coeur, the drone of didgeridoo music took us completely by surprise.Sacre-coeur-interior Don’t get us wrong: it wasn’t offensive or overwhelming and didgeridoo music has long been a world sound – certainly not restricted to Australia.

It was just totally unexpected.

Here we were, a world away from ‘down under’, revelling in Parisian art and architecture, cityscape and riverbanks as we had earlier strolled along the Champs-Élysées and the Avenue de la Grande Armée – and ascended the Eiffel Tower. But suddenly, our homeland caught up amid our new-found bohemia.

image010We looked at each other and collapsed in laughter. The didgeridoo music – coming from somewhere below Montmartre – seemed so out-of-place echoing through narrow streets that had changed little since the 1800’s. In fact, when we thought about it, the situation was probably rather apt, given that the didgeridoo is an ancient instrument, possibly as much as 1,500 years old.

This incident made our visit to Sacre-Coeur all the more memorable. The Basilica is certainly stunning. We never tire of this marvellous icon in a city that also boasts wonders like the Palais Garnier opera house; Notre Dame Cathedral; the Louvre museum; and the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.

Credit for photograph of Sacre-Coeur interior:   Nave, apse and altar of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris, France. Date 9 May 2006 Source Own work Author Matthew Clemente

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Mercure hotel at Australia’s Newcastle Airport

Newcastle airport, on Australia’s east coast, has boosted accommodation.

A 95-room Mercure hotel was the first  in the expanding airport precinct, which is a key gateway to Newcastle City and the Hunter region.

AccorHotels says the Mercure Newcastle Airport provides contemporary sound-proofed guest rooms with high speed wireless broadband; blackout blinds; iPod docking stations; Foxtel satellite television; and ‘smart’ TV’s.

The  hotel is the 11th AccorHotel facility in the area – including five in Newcastle itself.

Reservations can be made by either visiting www.accorhotels.com or telephoning 4033 8900 and mentioning ‘Opening Special’.

Hotel news

Accor Australian hotels in hall of fame

Five of Accor’s Australian hotels are included in Trip Advisor’s ‘Hall of Fame’, for performing outstandingly five years in a row.

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The hotels are:

• Quay West Suites Melbourne
• The Sebel Maroochydore
• Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort and Spa
• Pullman Cairns International
• The Sebel Mandurah

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Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer of Accor Hotels Australia, said the group highly valued honest feedback provided by customers through TripAdvisor.

“It’s particularly impressive to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as this award relies on having consistently positive online reviews for five years in a row – a difficult achievement by any measure”.

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TripAdvisor allows travellers to create and read reviews from hotels, restaurants attractions world-wide. The online site has 340 million unique visitors each month and is home to more than 225 million reviews – making it a wealth of information for travellers.

Hotel news

Australian sunrise

The east coast of the Australian mainland is blessed with some of the most stunning natural scenery imaginable.

Pristine white sands and rolling waves makes some of the finest  beaches on the planet.

And never is this wonderland displayed quite like sunrise, when golden rays snake across the Pacific Ocean to illuminate the Australian coastline.

It’s a special time in a special destination.

Newcastle Beach, New South Wales

P1020766Surfers Paradise beach, Queensland

IMG_0803Sydney Harbour, New South Wales

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Palm Cove, Queensland

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons and PeterEdson

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons and Me-myself

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WA’s Vines Resort offers outstanding Easter deal

If you are at a loose end for Easter, why not consider Australia, where a popular resort in the country’s west is offering an enticing deal.IMG_0754

The striking Novotel Vines Resort, in Western Australia’s picturesque Swan Valley, is offering guests  a ‘Pay-for-three-three-nights-and-stay-for-four’ deal over the Easter break.

It’s part of a special Easter attraction, which also includes gourmet treats and an Easter Sunday breakfast attended by the Easter Bunny.

If travellers are feeling game, the Vines’ newest Sunday special is also available throughout autumn in the Vines Cafe – it is called ‘Out for a Duck!’ A roast duck platter with maple glaze, roast autumn root veggies, fresh pomegranate & rocket plus two glasses of SA Merlot is on offer for $60.

On Easter Sunday, Muscats’ famous carvery buffet is served. After that, a day that could be spent touring the magnificent Swan Valley, walking the magnificent natural grounds, tennis, or lazing by the pool.IMG_0755

For golfers, the Easter treats on offer continue, with a deal to play 18 holes with shared use of a buggy on the Ellenbrook course, Vines cap and 3 pack of Vines golf balls, plus you will go into the draw to win a golf bag – all for just $75 per person.

And if you are organized, or one who plans ahead, book in for Mother’s Day, when there will  be a special High Tea.

Full details can be found at www.vines.com.au1980_ho_00_p_346x260

To book the accommodation or above deals please call (08) 9297 3000 or email reservations@vines.com.au

(Some conditions apply and this offer is subject to availability)

travel

Sebel network continues Australian growth

The Sebel hotel and apartment network continues to grow in Australia.

Accor has expanded the Sebel brand in the Australian states of Queensland and Victoria.

In Queensland, the Sebel South Brisbane is situated at 50 Water Street in the state’s capital.

Near the commercial and entertainment hub of Brisbane’s South Bank, the 63-room hotel provides apartment-style accommodation, as well as conference and meeting faciliites – including a boardroom with seating for up to 14.

There’s also a pool, fitness centre and a sky-deck.

Yarrawonga development

In regional Victoria, a $A35M resort-style development is set to be built at the town of Yarrawonga.

Sebel Yarrawonga – a 120-room hhotel and serviced-apartment facility – will overlook Lake Mulwala and is expected to be open in early 2018.image017

Accor says guests will have access to “an impressive complex expected to include a bar and bistro, restaurant, 300-seat conference facility, pool, gymnasium and other health club amenities.

“The waterfront hotel will form the centrepiece of a broader resort and marina complex planned by development company, Lotus Living.”

The Sebel network currently offers 23 properties across Australia and New Zealand, accommodating the Accor group’s apartment portfolio while also maintaining traditional hotels.

For more on the network, visit http://www.thesebel.com

Hotel news

Singapore-Perth route set for daily Scoot flights

Scoot airline is set to introduce daily flights on its Perth-Singapore route.787-9 NPD #240-ZB127

The low-cost carrier will launch the upgraded service from February 1.

Since starting  flights between Perth and Singapore almost a year ago, Scoot has carried almost 150,000 on the service.

Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Wilson, also announced that Perth would be the inaugural destination for Scoot’s 787 Dreamliner from early 2015.

“The 787 us a game-changer for Scoot and will deliver better comfort, a wider selection of amenities – including on-board wifi – while enabling us to maintain great value airfares.

“Our increased frequency gives everyone a greater choice in visiting either Western Australia or Singapore any day of the week.

‘Furthermore, guests travelling from Perth can also enjoy an even greater choice of destinations and seamless connections  beyond Singapore on either Scoot or our partner airline Tigerair”.

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