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And the winners are in

For many top chefs it’s one of the food world’s greatest guilty pleasures: the hamburger.

It’s a simple dish that’s found everywhere and loved all around the globe. But where can you get the best burger and what’s the secret to turning a handful of minced beef (or something else) in a bun into something special? We asked the culinary elite – chefs laden with Michelin stars and other accolades – for their favourite burgers.

AUSTRALIA

Burger Project, Sydney

Neil Perry of Rockpool Bar & Grill is the big-name chef behind Burger Project, which works with local suppliers. The patty is handmade, 100 per cent grass-fed beef. Try the American with Cape Grim beef, cheese, pickles, onions, mustard, secret sauce and rose mayo or a simple cheeseburger. Chosen by Scott Collins of MEATliquor, London.

Butchers Diner, Melbourne

This 24-hour, hole-in-the wall joint with a counter and stools is a favourite with chefs who enjoy its unfussy food with high-quality ingredients. The hamburger is a 120-gram beef patty with tomato sauce, pickles and mayo in a milk bun. Chosen by Ashley Palmer-Watts, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

Butter, Sydney

Butter is a hybrid sneaker, fried chicken and champagne bar in Surry Hills. If that sounds an unlikely set-up, it is the project of respected chef Julian Cincotta and the team from Thievery restaurant in Sydney. The OG chicken sandwich is not to be missed. Chosen by Josh Niland of Saint Peter, Sydney

Mary’s, Melbourne

This is an outpost of a Sydney chain, with loud music, natural wines and an American vibe. Founders Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham favour local suppliers for their meat and wines and big flavours. The cheeseburger is a must unless you’d prefer the vegan menu. Chosen by Andrew McConnell of Cutler & Co., Melbourne

NEW ZEALAND

Fergburger, Queenstown

New Zealand chef Josh Emett is a big fan: “You will always remember you first Fergburger. First, there’s the long queue, and then the care taken to put them together so they are all picture perfect. I love a bit of avocado and bacon in anything and these burgers never disappoint.” Chosen by Josh Emett of Rātā, Queenstown

CHINA

Honbo, Hong Kong

This homage to the classic American burger joint serves great food. The patties are made with Double Gold American beef from Wisconsin, served in a potato milk bun. The double cheeseburger is the signature option. Chosen by Shane Osborn of Arcane, Hong Kong

DENMARK

Gasoline Grill, Copenhagen

Fresh organic burgers are cooked at this walk-in joint, which is attracting attention far beyond Denmark. Housed in a former petrol station, it has a short menu like a simple roadside grill. It’s worth going off piste with the vegetarian green burger. Chosen by Jamie Lee of Kødbyens Fiskebar, Copenhagen; Clare Smyth of Core by Clare Smyth, London

FRANCE

Badia, Grand Hôtel Thalasso, Saint-Jean-de-Luz

This grand old hotel overlooking the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is an idyllic spot to eat. And Le Burger is particularly good, featuring truffled bread, Charolais ground beef, Basque sheep’s cheese and Espelette pepper ketchup with fries. Chosen by Shane Osborn of Arcane, Hong Kong

Bioburger, Paris

As the name suggests, this Parisian restaurant serves organic burgers and they are full of flavour. One favourite is Le Poivre: a choice of beef or vegetable patty with farmhouse cheddar, tomato, salad, onion jam and pepper sauce. It’s like eating steak au poivre on a bun. Chosen by Greg Marchand of Frenchie, Paris

CAB Comptoir à Burger, Biarritz

This restaurant is located close to Les Halles, the daily market in Biarritz, from which the chefs source the freshest of produce. The buns are cooked to a special recipe and all the sauces are homemade, says Paris-based chef Hélène Darroze.

Try Le Parm, with a parmesan tuile, mozzarella and arugula and pesto with sun-dried tomatoes. Chosen by Hélène Darroze of Hélène Darroze, Paris

INDIA

Swati Snacks, Mumbai

Burgers don’t have to be about a chunk of meat. Try the Vada Pav at this popular vegetarian cafe. Fried potato dumplings are served in buttery soft buns and laced with sinus-clearing spicy chutneys and deep fried green chilis. Not for the faint-hearted. Chosen by Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni, London; Prateek Sadhu of Masque, Mumbai

ITALY

Lucernaio Pub, Ragusa

This pub in Sicily serves an excellent sausage burger with black olives, radicchio, stewed onion and ragusano cheese, says Italian chef Ciccio Sultano, who holds two Michelin stars for his Sicilian haute cuisine. “It’s my go-to order if I am there,” he says. Chosen by Ciccio Sultano of Duomo, Ragusa

JAPAN

MOS Burger, Tokyo

This Japanese chain has been serving burgers adapted to Japanese tastes since 1972. Try the rice burger served with grilled beef, sweet soy and BBQ sauce between patties of compacted rice. The kinpira burger is a great vegan option. Chosen by Hisato Hamada of Wagyumafia, Tokyo

W agyumafia, Tokyo

The cutlet sandwich from Wagyumafia at Nakameguro station is made with thick-sliced pure Kobe beef, breaded and deep fried, sandwiched between two slices of Japanese milk bread with a secret house-made sauce. It harks back to the original burger at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, yet is distinctly Japanese, says three-Michelin star chef Kyle Connaughton.

The prices are something else. The budget (Zabuton) version is 5000 yen ($45.50) rising to 50,000 yen for the Kobe Champion. Chosen by Kyle Connaughton of Singlethread, Healdsburg, California

MEXICO

Hamburguesas al Carbón Torreon

The inexpensive charcoal-grilled burgers at this street stand near Pushkin Garden are world class, according to Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, whose Pujol places at 12 in the current ranking of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Chosen by Enrique Olvera of Pujol, Mexico City

El Rey del Taco, Mexico City

Mexican chef Martha Ortiz prefers tacos to burgers. El Rey del Taco covers both bases with the cheeseburger taco, which features a grilled patty with chihuahua cheese served in flour tortillas with mayo, tomato and avocado. Chosen by Martha Ortiz of Filigrana, Mexico City

PERU

Cafe a Bistro, Lima

The burger comes with coarse ground roast beef, caramelised onions, cheese and a secret sauce. “It is simple and it really is delicious,” says Gastón Acurio, one of the most highly acclaimed chefs in Latin America. Chosen by Gastón Acurio of Astrid & Gastón, Lima

La Lucha Sanguchería, Lima

This casual Peruvian chain serves a great hamburger with double cheese, according to Virgilio Martinez, whose Central, in Lima ranks at No. 6 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. “It has a delicate Peruvian touch of acidity if you add the sauces they suggest – a bit spicy,” he says. Chosen by Virgilio Martinez of Central, Lima

Maido, Lima

You don’t immediately think of hamburgers at Maido, which has been crowned Latin America’s best restaurant for three years in a row. But London-based Sanjay Dwivedi remembers being served a steam bun filled with slowly cooked belly pork, aji rocoto mayonnaise and salsa creole. “It was a match made in heaven,” he says. Chosen by Sanjay Dwivedi of Coya, London

SAUDI ARABIA

One O’ One, Riyadh

An Italian chef admits his expectations were low when he was taken to this burger chain in Riyadh. But he was won over by a small cheeseburger that was so good, he immediately ordered another and then went back the next day. “It was so juicy,” he says. Chosen by Francesco Mazzei of Radici, London

SLOVENIA

Pop’s Place, Ljubljana

This inexpensive burger bar near the castle in central Ljubljana is a hit with both tourists and young Slovenians. Ana Roš, a winner of the World’s Best Female Chef accolade, likes to go there with her kids. All the meat is aged and cut in-house. Chosen by Ana Roš of Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia

SOUTH AFRICA

Buns Out Burgers, Johannesburg

This new joint in suburban Linden is the first of actor and TV celebrity Maps Maponyanes. It has attracted a lot of media attention. There are about a dozen burgers, including vegetarian and vegan options. Quirky names include Is It brie You’re Looking For? Chosen by Lorna Maseko, TV chef

SPAIN

A Fuego Negro, San Sebastián

The Basque city is known for the “pintxos” (small bites) served at informal bars, and chef Elena Arzak goes for the burger pintxos served at A Fuego Negro, where she is a regular. “It is original and unexpected,” she says. Chosen by Elena Arzak of Arzak, San Sebastián

Hamburgueseria Cuchus, Bizkaia

London-based Nieves Barragan fondly recalls the food at this family restaurant in Bizkaia. “It was an elderly lady selling the best burgers – I think she’s handed over to her son now. The burger is like a steak bocadillo. It’s so light, you could eat two.” Chosen by Nieves Barragan of Sabor, London

La Royale, Barcelona

This bar serves a wide range of burgers, including tuna and vegan options. But London-based José Pizarro recommends the Americana with aged beef, tomato sauce, lettuce, cheddar and tomato. “It’s nice and simple but really delicious,” he says. Chosen by José Pizarro of Pizarro, London

ENGLAND

Dinings SW3, London

Restaurateur Scott Collins is a hero among burger fans for his MEATliquor restaurants. But his pick is an unusual one: A native lobster slider with yuzu aioli and pickled shallot. “Expensive, small, perfectly formed and eats as good as it reads,” he says. Chosen by Scott Collins of MEATliquor, London

Eggslut, London

“I am not a massive burger fan,” two-Michelin-star chef Clare Smyth admits, but she makes an exception for an American import, Eggslut, on Portobello Road. “They have a great menu, with the cheeseburger being a bit of a favourite,” she says. Chosen by Clare Smyth of Core by Clare Smyth, London

Hawksmoor, London

Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti is one of the most admired men in the burger business. So where does he go other than the Shack? “I love hitting the bar at Hawksmoor for their burger,” he says. “So many good ones to choose from.” Chosen by Randy Garutti of Shake Shack, New York; José Pizarro of Pizarro, London

Honest Burgers, London

“I love going to Honest Burger, Brixton Market, with my twins at least once a month,” Sanjay Dwivedi says. “I love the simplicity of the restaurant and their consistency. It is innovative and their burger of the month is my preferred choice.” Chosen by Sanjay Dwivedi of Coya, London

MEATliquor, London

“MEATliquor burgers are best,” says London-based Spanish chef Nieves Barragan. They use quality ingredients and the burgers just taste incredible. The green chilli burger is my usual order, or the Dead Hippie if I want something classic.” Chosen by Nieves Barragan of Sabor, London

Patty & Bun, London

This homegrown British chain was born in 2012 and now numbers three-Michelin-star French veteran chef Pierre Koffmann among its fans. “I go there with the kids and it is always good,” he says. He loves the Ari Gold cheeseburger on brioche. Chosen by Pierre Koffmann, formerly of Koffmann’s London

Smith & Wollensky, London

The London outlet of this US steak restaurant chain has a fan in one of the rising stars of London gastronomy, Ollie Dabbous. “Definitely the Butcher Burger,” he says. “This is done just about as well as it can be: The brioche buns are even baked in-house.” Chosen by Ollie Dabbous of Hide, London

The Wolseley, London

This is one of the most fashionable restaurants in London and has been since the day it opened in 2003. Italian chef Francesco Mazzei keeps going back for the Wolseley Hamburger. “It’s the most perfect burger,” he says. “It makes you happy.” Chosen by Francesco Mazzei of Radici, London

United States

Au Cheval, Chicago

This diner, with outlets in New York and Chicago, is famous for its cheeseburger. Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, who orders the double, says: “It’s got layers of good cheese, with a delicious thick piece of bacon and an egg. It’s succulent and elegant at the same time.” Chosen by Gastón Acurio of Astrid & Gastón, Lima

Burger Joint, New York

This cash-only speak-easy-style joint hidden beside the lobby in the Parker Meridien is legendary. It’s dark and moody with great music, and for many chefs it is among the coolest in New York. Jamie Lee from Copenhagen says you can’t go wrong with the cheeseburger. Chosen by Jason Atherton of Pollen Street Social, London; Jamie Lee of Kødbyens Fiskebar, Copenhagen

DB Bistro Moderne, New York

French-born Daniel Boulud is famed for his luxury DB Burger, filled with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle. “DB in NY is excellent and a bite that you will always remember,” says Spanish chef Elena Arzak. French chef Pierre Koffmann is another fan. Chosen by Elena Arzak of Arzak, San Sebastián; Pierre Koffmann, London

Five Guys (various)

This American chain is expanding internationally and has caught the attention of some of London’s finest chefs. Claude Bosi, who holds two Michelin stars, says: “I like the choice of toppings and the meat has good flavour. But the chips are the best.” Chosen by Claude Bosi of Claude Bosi, London; Ashley Palmer-Watts, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

In-N-Out (various)

Chefs love this regional chain founded in California. Claude Bosi praises the great meat patty, light bread and brilliant shakes. “A trip to In-and-Out burger is always a must,” says New Zealand chef Josh Emett, who goes for the Double Double, made with two cheese-topped patties. It’s the same for Randy Garutti: “If I’m in LA, I’ll snag a Double Double.” Chosen by Claude Bosi of Claude Bosi, London; Josh Emett of Rātā, Queenstown, New Zealand; Josh Niland of Saint Peter, Sydney; Martha Ortiz of Filigrana, Mexico City; Randy Garutti of Shake Shack, New York

Joe Junior, New York

Japanese chef Hisato Hamada likes to visit Joe Junior when he is in New York. “I order the beef without cheese,” he says. “For me, the beauty of this burger is in its simplicity. I like that it is unchanged and has a classic soul. It is my definition of America.” Chosen by Hisato Hamada of Wagyumafia, Tokyo

The Loyalist, Chicago

The Dirty Burg is the best burger in the States, Kyle Connaughton reckons. “It’s an incredible blend of chuck, short rib and back on the patty with a soft, absorbent bun loaded with sesame seeds, grilled onions, cheese, house-made pickles, and onion mayo,” he says. “For me, it’s the burger all others are measured by.” Chosen by Kyle Connaughton of Singlethread, Healdsburg, California

Minetta Tavern, New York

Randy Garutti of Shake Shack says: “When I’m not eating a ShackBurger, I love the burger at Minetta Tavern.” Australian-based chef Andrew McConnell orders the Black Label Burger.

Mumbai-based Prateek Sadhu loves the meat and the buns. Chosen by Randy Garutti of Shake Shack; Andrew McConnell of Cutler & Co., Melbourne; Prateek Sadhu of Masque, Mumbai

Roister, Chicago

Chef Daniel Boulud enjoys the A-5 Wagyu burger on the brunch menu at Grant Achatz’s Roister in Chicago. “It’s a delicious combination of fatty beef, aged cheddar and smoked bacon,” he says. Chosen by Daniel Boulud of Daniel, New York

Shake Shack (various)

It’s a rare chef who is not a fan of Shake Shack, where restaurateur Danny Meyer raised the bar for burgers. “It’s my favourite,” says French chef Greg Marchand. “I always go for the SmokeShack (double stack of course) and I also love their cheesy crinkly fries. “I love Shake Shack!” says Thailand’s Thitis Tassanakajohn. “It’s so addictive,” says Jason Atherton. Chosen by Jason Atherton of Pollen Street Social, London; Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni, London; Daniel Boulud of Daniel; Hélène Darroze of Hélène Darroze, Paris; Greg Marchand of Frenchie, Paris; Thitid Tassanakajohn of Le Du, Bangkok

Superiority Burger, New York

Here’s one for the vegetarians with many vegan options. The Superiority Burger features muenster cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, dill and pickle. Superiority is the creation of chef and musician Brooks Headley, former pastry chef at Del Posto. Chosen by Enrique Olvera of Pujol, Mexico City

This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission

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Zurich’s most famous dish: Züri gschnatzlets

In its home city of Zurich, I was once served Züri gschnätzlets twice in one day, for lunch and dinner. I did my best, but I had to admit defeat less than halfway through dinner.

That’s not to say Zurich’s famous preparation of sliced veal in a cream sauce, often served mit rösti (with potato rosti) isn’t delicious – it’s plate-lickingly so – it’s just that it is very rich and very generous in portion size.

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In Zurich you might see it on the menu as either Zurcher geschnetzeltes (High German) or in the local tongue Swiss German, Züri gschnatzle. It’s not an ancient recipe – the first appearance in a cookbook dates to the late 1940s.

How to prepare Züri gschnatzlets

Veal schnitzel is sliced into bite-sized pieces, dusted in flour, and pan-fried with softened onions in butter, then the pan is deglazed with white wine, and cream and stock are added. Mushrooms are a popular addition, as is kidney. Some cooks like to serve this with rice, but in the days I spent in Zurich in the still-balmy start of autumn, I only came across the iconic dish served with rösti.

My second Züri gschnätzlets was served around six hours after the first offering, in the elegant dining room on the first floor of Zunfthaus zur Waag – this baby blue-painted restaurant replete with white shutters looks out over the fairytale-like pedestrianised square Munsterhof in central Zurich.

It’s one the city’s famed guild houses, pertaining to the guild of wool and linen weavers, and its history stretches back to the 13th century. Inside it’s all walnut-panelled walls, parquet floors, white-linen tablecloths and silver service – you can smell the dusty old money but there’s a sense of fun about the place. On certain occasions, the fountain in the square is used to “magically” pour white wine from. It’s a trick involving a keg hidden beneath the fountain, of course, but in the chocolate-box setting of the area around Zurich’s drawcard, the Chagall-windowed Fraumunster cathedral, you will likely almost believe the magic.

Our group of eight had all eaten gschnatzlets in our hotel restaurant at lunchtime, so you can imagine our collective expressions attempting not to look anxious as waitstaff delivered the same dish to our table at Zunfthaus zur Waag.

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Destinations

Atlantis, The Palm prepares for a bumper 2020 ·

Atlantis, The Palm prepares for a bumper 2020

Upon completion of a three-year makeover, Atlantis, The Palm has reported record-breaking 2019 with an average occupancy of 90 per cent. This increase in visits as a result of strong footfall from top source markets as well as from diversified markets and is in line with the tourism strategy set out by Dubai Tourism (DTCM).

Australia continued to be an important market for Atlantis, The Palm, with guest numbers remaining stable throughout 2019. Significantly bookings from the UAE were up by 39 per cent, while Norway experienced a 24 per cent growth in bookings, China an increase of 16 per cent and Russia 14 per cent. Closer to home for the resort, bookings from Saudi Arabia surged by 25 per cent, while bookings from the rest of the resort’s top markets, including the UK, USA and India, remained robust.

“Ahead of Expo 2020 we undertook a programme that has updated our property with contemporary flair, while staying true to the property’s iconic heritage. Revamped and revitalised, it has been stylishly upgraded, while still keeping the soul of Atlantis alive,” said Timothy Kelly, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Atlantis Resorts & Residences. “We are maintaining our focus on customer needs and demands, and constantly evolving, ensuring that each and every experience is unique, with all our visitors making memories that last a lifetime,” he added.

Dubai welcomed 16.73 million visitors in 2019, with Atlantis, The Palm’s diversified portfolio ensuring that more than half a million of these visitors checked into the iconic resort. With next year’s Dubai Expo 2020 projected to attract 25 million visitors over a period of six months, more than 70 per cent of visitors will be coming from outside the UAE, which will have a significant effect on Dubai’s hospitality industry – and Atlantis, The Palm is ready for the influx.

“With Dubai attracting more than 16 million tourists in 2019, more than half a million of these opted to stay at or visit  Atlantis, The Palm, which is testament to the hard work that has been put in to revitalise the resort. We fully expect the year ahead to be a buoyant one and we are looking forward to welcoming even more tourists in 2020,” said Timothy Kelly.

2019 marked a transformative year for the Atlantis, The Palm. To celebrate the completion of a three-year refurbishment programme, the resort recently launched the ‘Atlantis Reimagined’ campaign which seeks to hero the enhanced and invigorated resort. As of December 2019, Atlantis, The Palm saw the completion of the refurbishment programme that has refreshed the entire resort. Following a vigorous competition, UAE based architects WA were selected to refurbish the resorts’ rooms and suites, delivering a contemporary underwater design to provide a fresh look and feel in keeping with the resort’s underwater theme. Integrated technology with sound bars and touch screen panels, oversized flat television screens and bespoke chandeliers are just some of the stand-out features of the spruced up new suites.

Atlantis, The Palm, has also raised the bar of its luxury offering with the relaunch of its Imperial Club service including a brand new 3,091sqm lounge. The stunning new Imperial Club Lounge, located in the East Tower, sits over two floors and can accommodate Imperial Club guests for complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails, and canapés over the course of a day.

Additional refurbished guest areas include The Zone, a teen-only hangout for ages 13 to 17, Plato’s Lounge serving breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and the concierge and VIP check in lounge. Sun loungers located on The Royal Beach, Royal Pool, Zero Entry Pool and all guest towels have also been replaced for a cleaner, more modern look.

The programme has also seen the introduction of four new restaurants including the incredibly successful launch of revolutionary entertainment destination Wavehouse, the opening of the globally celebrated Cantonese fine dining restaurant Hakkasan and the introduction of Atlantis, The Palm’s poolside burger concept Beach Buns. November 2019 also saw the introduction of the cutting-edge  beachside venue WHITE Beach & Restaurant, the new Dubai hotspot complete with a stylish infinity pool for laid-back lounging, with majestic, uninterrupted views of the glittering city skyline. Additionally, all-day-dining restaurant Kaleidoscope received a complete refurbishment in 2018.

In 2020 Atlantis Aquaventure plans to open a third tower. The expansion, which will include nine new attractions including the world’s longest waterslide, will make it one of the largest waterparks in the world.

For further information about Atlantis please call +971 4 426 1000, or visit atlantisthepalm.com

 

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Destinations

Obituary Caribbean hotelier Royston Hopkin

Sir Royston Hopkin, owner and chairman of the luxury Spice
Island Beach Resort in Grenada, has died following complications from heart
surgery. He was 75. 

An icon in the Caribbean tourism and hospitality industry
and the only Caribbean hotelier ever knighted by the Queen of England, Hopkin
had a career that spanned more than 55 years.

He was the recipient of many awards, including Lifetime Achievement
awards from the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean
Tourism Organization, CHTA Hotelier of the Year,  and the 2019 Caribbean Hotel & Resort
Investment Summit.

Hopkin had served as president of the Grenada Hotel and
Tourism Association and was a past president of the CHTA. He had worked as a
volunteer on CHTA’s board of directors and, along with CTO officials, helped
hoteliers and destinations develop their individual products.

He is survived by his wife Betty, four children, four
grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and the entire family of Spice Island
Beach Resort. 

Services are planned for March 5 in Grenada.

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Travel

Air New Zealand joins Nasa for special mission

It’s one small 45-minute flight from Kerikeri to Wellington, but potentially a giant leap for Nasa’s climate science division.

Air New Zealand has partnered with the American space agency as part of a scientific mission to better understand the effect of climate change on the planet.

Carrying Nasa instruments on their fleet of Q300s, Air New Zealand will begin an important data gathering mission at level not currently available to the space agency.

“This is the first time that we’ve ever taken scientific instruments and put them on a commercial airline,” said Professor Chris Ruf, principal investigator for the Nasa mission.

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Cruises

Aurora Expeditions Ramps Up North American Advisor Outreach

Aurora Expeditions continued its efforts to reach out to North American travel advisors with the appointment of Lisa Bertini as national sales manager USA, a new position. The Australian-owned company is broadening its geographic distribution as it added a new expedition ship last year and plans to add another one in 2021.

Bertini will be responsible for driving and developing agent distribution in the U.S. and will be based in Seattle. She joins a dedicated U.S. team that includes George Johns, business development manager. She has over 25 years of experience in the industry with previous service at Virtuoso, Zegrahm Expeditions and Society Expeditions Cruises.

Aurora has made other moves in recent months intended to help North American agents sell its products. That includes the recent release of a 360-degree virtual tour of the Greg Mortimer, the ship that entered the market late last year. This will be an excellent tool, according to Edith Beaudoin, director of sales – the Americas, for agents to use when familiarizing themselves with the new ship to enable them to accurately explain onboard offerings to clients. The virtual tour is live on the website (auroraexpeditions.com.au) and there is an available code that allows agents to embed the virtual tour on their websites as well.

The ship is named after Greg Mortimer who, with his wife Margaret, founded Aurora 28 years ago. Voyages are capped at 120 passengers. While 100 passengers explore on land—following guidelines set by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators—20 can explore the water on kayaks or by diving.

The company recently named its second purpose-built expedition ship, to be delivered in October 2021, after acclaimed marine biologist and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle. She was the first woman to become chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. The vessel, which carries 126, pays tribute to Earle’s longstanding conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife.

Built to world-class polar standards, the Sylvia Earle will launch in October 2021 in Ushuaia, Argentina. In the spirit of exploration, and as part of its commitment to responsible travel, Aurora Expeditions will continue to name its new ships after explorers “who are passionate about their environmental commitment and who share the company’s vision for the future.”

The operator recently announced the 2021/22 program aboard both the Greg Mortimer and the Sylvia Earle. The new programs include, according to Beaudoin, a diverse portfolio of new itineraries and destinations, including Antarctica and the South Sandwich Islands, Ireland and Costa Rica. She said that while polar voyages remain core to the product, there are new itineraries to destinations like Ireland and Costa Rica to provide experiences in other biodiverse places.

The operator will continue to offer its range of adventure activities on all voyages from sea kayaking to rock climbing and polar diving.

An early bird deal on 2021/22 offers a saving of up to 30 percent on new voyages booked and deposited by March 21, 2020, or until sold out.

Working in parallel with Greg Mortimer, a mountaineer, Earle will be channeling her marine-conservation ethos into a fully immersive onboard guest experience, not only in the Polar regions but also in other destinations as the ship sails from south to north and vice-versa.

Both vessels feature the Ulstein-X-VBOW, with the Greg Mortimer the first ship in the world to deploy it. This is an inverted bow design that provides stability and comfort on ocean crossings, cutting through the swells, minimizing vibrations and disturbance and making quicker transits through waves. It also cuts fuel consumption.

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Travel

Winter holiday destination that’s even better in summer

Welcome to Don’t Delay Your Stay, news.com.au’s campaign to support communities hard hit by this summer’s devastating bushfires. Many of these regions rely on tourism, so one of the best ways to help is to visit and spend time in some of the most beautiful parts of our great country.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had to explain to people why in the world my family chooses to spend every summer holiday hanging out in Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

Skifields? Summertime? I get it. It’s confusing.

Sure, the booming popularity of mountain biking has helped spread the word there’s more to this place than snowsports and apres – but to the wider public, it’s still something of a summertime hidden gem.

Far left: me aged two, taking a break on the Mt Kosciuszko walk.Source:Supplied

29 years on: same place, same vibe.Source:Supplied

With 31 years of memories attached to the place, watching so much of the beautiful national park surrounding Thredbo go up in flames – and at one point, coming dangerously close to razing the town – amid a mass evacuation in January was gut-wrenching.

Unlike so many devastated towns, thankfully, this one survived – and my family made sure to stick to our annual pilgrimage up the mountain just a few weeks after the danger passed. Sadly, it was by far the quietest Australia Day weekend we’d ever seen there.

Whether you’ve visited before, or this is the first you’ve heard about summer holidays in the mountains (you’re welcome) – there’s never been a better time to make the scenic journey to the Snowies.

Once you get there, here are all the must-do’s:

Eat and drink

WILDBRUMBY SCHNAPPS DISTILLERY

This local treasure should be at the top of everyone’s list. Located between Thredbo resort and Jindabyne, the distillery – set upon hectares of breathtaking farmland – creates its own homegrown schnapps, vodka and gin right in front of your eyes.

The best part? They offer a free sampling service of their impressively vast range, but be warned: There’s no way you won’t want to buy a bottle of your favourite in the gift shop before you leave (limoncello and butterscotch are personal highlights).

The Alpine Way distillery is surrounded by beautiful farmland.Source:News Corp Australia

They offer free schnapps taste testing.Source:News Corp Australia

Across both summer and winter, the distillery’s Austrian-themed restaurant is usually buzzing, so it’s highly recommended guests book ahead. Once you’re there, opt for Wildbrumby’s famous reuben sandwich, schnitzel burger or the gourmet sausages – and make sure you wash it down with one of their signature drinks, like the “Donner & Blitz”, (chilli schnapps and ginger beer, trust me, it works), bellini cocktail (with homemade peach schnapps) or a simple limoncello on ice.

THE LOCAL PUB, THREDBO

For a relaxed, picturesque and utterly local experience, you can’t beat Thredbo’s local pub.

The large venue boasts pride of place at the front of the resort, with a huge balcony offering panoramic views of the mountain.

The bistro balcony offers up incredible views of the mountain.Source:Supplied

It’s the perfect place to unwind with a cold drink after a hike or play some pool or darts while taking in the scenery. It’s got a low-key family-friendly vibe and serves up hearty Aussie pub dishes and daily specials.

You’re guaranteed to spot the locals’ table – a group who are usually more than willing to regale you with a mountain tale or two.

BLACK BEAR INN

The Black Bear restaurant is a longtime favourite of guests and locals alike – and most nights, its clientele is a pretty even mix of both.

The cuisine is hearty, wholesome, European-inspired fare, like the hugely popular “Trio of Schnitzels” – but make sure you arrive ravenously hungry.

Sunset is the perfect time for a drink on the balcony, and as darkness sweeps across the mountain, the restaurant’s wooden chalet-style interior will have you feeling like you’re tucked away in the Alps.

Sunset from the Black Bear balcony.Source:Supplied

The European-style interior.Source:Supplied

THREDBO BAKERY

Smack bang in the centre of town is Thredbo Bakery, serving up coffee, freshly-baked treats, mouth-watering bacon and egg rolls, salad rolls, sausages, pies, and mini pizzas. One option is to grab a table outside in the sunshine – the other is to take away a packed lunch to eat on a hike or on a picnic.

Pizzas from the bakery at the top of Mt Kosciuszko. Picture: Supplied/Bronte CoySource:Supplied

APRES BAR, THE DENMAN

For atmosphere, the Apres Bar within The Denman is just the right spot for a cosy evening drink.

While it’s decor is certainly visually appealing, it’s the expertise of the cocktail makers behind the bar that’ll keep you coming back.

(Pro tip: Ask the bartender for a “money shot”.)

Longtime Denman barman John is a cocktail whiz.Source:Supplied

EAGLES NEST

At 1937 metres above sea level, Eagles Nest is Australia’s highest restaurant and, needless to say, offers eye-catching views.

There’s cafe-style food, a full bar and six varieties of their famously delicious hot chocolates on the menu at the restaurant, which is open from 9.30am until 3pm every day.

Unless you feel like a steep hike from the village, the best way to get there is by taking the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift.

It’s a great spot to unwind. Picture: Supplied/Bronte CoySource:Supplied

Do

HIKING

I’m not usually one for hiking, but there’s something about the crisp alpine air that makes exploring the pathways around Kosciuszko wildly appealing.

Kosciuszko is a bucket-list trek for any Thredbo visitor – it’s the highest point in Australia and a relatively easy, low-impact walk along a largely metal pathway.

It’s a beautiful, easy walk and appropriate for a wide range of ages. Picture: Supplied/Bronte CoySource:Supplied

But my favourite is Dead Horse Gap – it involves a chairlift ride taking you to the start of the track and leads you down the mountain over about a 2½ hour period.

The rugged terrain is breathtaking and, at times, looks like something straight out of a movie.

Pack a few snacks for the road to enjoy along the way and keep an eye out for local wildlife – you may even catch a glimpse of the notoriously shy wild brumbies.

There are plenty of other walking options, too – more details can be found on Thredbo’s official website.

(Note: You’ll need to buy a chairlift pass for many of the hikes.)

SWIMMING

Thredbo is home to plenty of watering holes, providing an idyllic way to spend a hot summer’s day.

The dam near the entry (via Jindabyne) to the resort is a particularly good swimming spot, especially if you BYO floating devices.

The ultimate swimming spot.Source:Supplied

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Thredbo Mountain Bike Park has established itself as a top mountain biking destination with Australia’s only summer-long chairlift access.

There’s a mix of trails including downhill, flow, all-mountain, cross-country plus skills parks, and with daily lessons available, it’s suitable for first-timers all the way through to more experienced riders.

Mountain biking has become a popular summertime activity in Thredbo. Picture: SuppliedSource:istock

BOBSLED

If you’re looking for an activity the whole family can enjoy – the bobsled is just the ticket.

The 700-metre luge-style track twists and turns its way down the mountain, offering up a view of the village as you whiz by in the bobsled (a cross between a go-kart and a toboggan).

Speed is fairly easy to control, so parents can hop on with their young kids and do it at their own pace – while speed junkies will prefer to fly down at maximum speed.

It’s not cheap, but it’s great fun. A single ride is $10, six rides are $50, 10 rides are $70 and 20 rides are $120, and all can be purchased at Thredbo Sports, located at the bottom of the chairlift.

TENNIS/GOLF

Enjoy a round of nine-hole golf on Australia’s highest golf course, or grab some friends for a spot of tennis at one of the resort’s two available tennis courts.

Not a bad backdrop.Source:Supplied

FLY FISHING

Fishing season runs between the October and June long weekends in Kosciuszko National Park and is a popular activity among both locals and visitors.

Thredbo River is home to some of the wildest trout in Australia and features plenty of peaceful, tranquil fishing spots along its banks.

Whether it’s your first time or you’re just looking to brush up on skills, learn to do it like the pros with one of the resort’s experienced guides.

HORSE-RIDING

Guided rides through the Snowy Mountains region can be enjoyed by all ages and ability levels and range from just a couple of hours to two-day wilderness camping experiences.

As you peacefully meander through the valleys and up the slopes, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Banjo Paterson’s The Man from Snowy River tale.

BREWERY TOUR

If you’re keen to try out the local beer, you’re in luck: There are plenty of brewery options available.

There are two of them in Jindabyne alone: Jindabyne Brewing and Kosciuszko Brewery (at Banjo Paterson Inn), with both offering a hearty range of local beers.

If you venture a little farther to Dalgety (just under an hour’s drive from Thredbo), you’ll come across the charming Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery, which also features wine tasting and an a la carte restaurant.

Stay

THREDBO ALPINE HOTEL

Situated in the heart of the village, the Alpine Hotel is just a couple of hundred metres from the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift – which is open year-round and ferries guests up to the top of the mountain – and Thredbo River. Each room features an ensuite bathroom, and the Cascades’ buffet breakfast is pretty sensational.

Plus, there’s always a vibe in the hotel courtyard, where fire pits and fairy lights make for a relaxed evening hangout spot.

The Alpine Hotel is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the main hub.Source:Supplied

The hotel courtyard is usually buzzing with activity.Source:Supplied

For more information and to book, head to the official website.

LANTERN APARTMENTS

The self-contained four-star Lantern apartments come with a fully-equipped kitchen, barbecue and laundry facilities – perfect for either a romantic couples break or a family stay.

Like many places in Thredbo, the view from the apartment balconies is picturesque – but Lantern’s location a bit higher up the hill makes it just a smidgen more spectacular (and a smidgen more pricey).

Inside one of the Lantern apartments.Source:Supplied

For more information and to book, head to the official website.

THREDBO YOUTH HOSTEL

The significantly more budget-friendly cost of youth hostels is usually the biggest selling point, but in this case it’s the jaw-dropping view from the huge balcony and comfy lodge-style dining room.

The YHA balcony is pretty special.Source:Supplied

The rooms are basic, clean, comfortable YHA fare with the option of private or shared rooms.

For more information and to book, head to the official website.

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Destinations

When in Canada: three legendary stays ·

When in Canada: three legendary stays

Australian travellers exploring Canada this summer are eager to make their accommodation as memorable as the trip itself, clambering to stay in some of the country’s most iconic hotels, whose striking architecture, exclusivity and indulgent service have helped them acquire landmark status. Read on for three legendary Canadian stays.

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland and Labrador
It’s a striking example of world-class innovation.

The magnificent Fogo Island Inn stands on crooked pilotis on the dramatic and rocky north-east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador,  providing panoramic views through its floor-to-ceiling windows, surrounded by whales, seabirds and icebergs.

The island’s people and stories are felt throughout the Inn:  bespoke furniture and fixtures entirely handmade by local carpenters; the textiles– quilts, rugs, pillows – are hand-crafted by island artisans following the centuries-old tradition of “made not bought”.

The pristine, solitary island awakens the senses and inspires creativity.  Enjoy an art workshop, hike the rugged coastal trails and fish for cod the traditional way. Fogo Island Inn embodies the vibrant spirit of the island and passes it on to all who stay there.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
It’s little wonder Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, with its incredible history and beautiful European architecture, is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world. Perched on a hill overlooking the walled city of Old Quebec, it’s one of Canada’s most magnificent buildings.

Discover the unique stories behind eleven of Canada’s Fairmont Hotels  – each of them an historical and architectural monument – and delve into their glamorous past and present glory.

In Victoria, on Vancouver Island, the historic Fairmont Empress smiles down upon the city from her imposing throne on the harbour-front, where she has watched over her subjects since the early 20th century when the hotel was built as a tribute to Queen Victoria. High tea at the Empress is mandatory, a timeless experience taken up by more than 80,000 guests annually.

Stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta and find out why it’s Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies”, or explore turrets reminiscent of a French estate at Ottawa’s landmark Fairmont Château Laurier, next door to the historic Parliament Buildings.

Every illustrious Fairmont has its own distinctive character, but each one serves up the same gracious hospitality and world-class cuisine.

Sparkling Hill Resort, British Columbia
Nothing says luxury like the 3.5 million Swarovski crystals adorning the foyer of Sparkling Hill Resort.

Perched atop a granite bluff overlooking the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia, this high-end spa with its striking contemporary architecture spares no expense to create the ultimate in holistic wellness experiences.

Choose from more than 100 different healing and pampering treatments, including its signature Cryo Cold Chamber. Brace yourself for three minutes in minus 110 degrees Celsius where your nervous and circulatory systems will undergo a boost like no other.

Take in the sweeping landscapes of thriving wine country that surround the resort and feast on locally-sourced farm-to-table creations at the PeakFine Restaurant.

Fair warning: after immersing yourself in this 12,000 square metre spa, with its seven aromatherapy steam rooms, three indoor/outdoor pools and endless treatments, your body, mind and spirit will sparkle like the crystals that festoon the ceiling.

Getting there

Air Canada has direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with connecting flights to central and eastern Canada.

www.keepexploring.com.au

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Transport

United increasing fee for checked bags

United will increase checked bag fees for domestic and short-haul
Caribbean flights, starting with travel beginning March 6. 

The price will be $35 for the first checked bag and $45 for
the second checked bag, up from the current rate of $30 and $40, respectively. 

However, customers who pay their bag fee online before
check-in will continue to pay the current rate. Travelers who booked their
trips prior to Feb. 21 also won’t have to pay the higher fees. 

With the increase to $35 for the first checked bag, United
is following a lead set by JetBlue in January. Other carriers may well follow. 

After JetBlue increased its fee for the first checked bag to
$30 in August 2018, American, Delta, United, Alaska and Hawaiian quickly
followed.

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Destinations

Atlantis, The Palm prepares for a bumper 2020 ·

Atlantis, The Palm prepares for a bumper 2020

Upon completion of a three-year makeover, Atlantis, The Palm has reported record-breaking 2019 with an average occupancy of 90 per cent. This increase in visits as a result of strong footfall from top source markets as well as from diversified markets and is in line with the tourism strategy set out by Dubai Tourism (DTCM).

Australia continued to be an important market for Atlantis, The Palm, with guest numbers remaining stable throughout 2019. Significantly bookings from the UAE were up by 39 per cent, while Norway experienced a 24 per cent growth in bookings, China an increase of 16 per cent and Russia 14 per cent. Closer to home for the resort, bookings from Saudi Arabia surged by 25 per cent, while bookings from the rest of the resort’s top markets, including the UK, USA and India, remained robust.

“Ahead of Expo 2020 we undertook a programme that has updated our property with contemporary flair, while staying true to the property’s iconic heritage. Revamped and revitalised, it has been stylishly upgraded, while still keeping the soul of Atlantis alive,” said Timothy Kelly, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Atlantis Resorts & Residences. “We are maintaining our focus on customer needs and demands, and constantly evolving, ensuring that each and every experience is unique, with all our visitors making memories that last a lifetime,” he added.

Dubai welcomed 16.73 million visitors in 2019, with Atlantis, The Palm’s diversified portfolio ensuring that more than half a million of these visitors checked into the iconic resort. With next year’s Dubai Expo 2020 projected to attract 25 million visitors over a period of six months, more than 70 per cent of visitors will be coming from outside the UAE, which will have a significant effect on Dubai’s hospitality industry – and Atlantis, The Palm is ready for the influx.

“With Dubai attracting more than 16 million tourists in 2019, more than half a million of these opted to stay at or visit  Atlantis, The Palm, which is testament to the hard work that has been put in to revitalise the resort. We fully expect the year ahead to be a buoyant one and we are looking forward to welcoming even more tourists in 2020,” said Timothy Kelly.

2019 marked a transformative year for the Atlantis, The Palm. To celebrate the completion of a three-year refurbishment programme, the resort recently launched the ‘Atlantis Reimagined’ campaign which seeks to hero the enhanced and invigorated resort. As of December 2019, Atlantis, The Palm saw the completion of the refurbishment programme that has refreshed the entire resort. Following a vigorous competition, UAE based architects WA were selected to refurbish the resorts’ rooms and suites, delivering a contemporary underwater design to provide a fresh look and feel in keeping with the resort’s underwater theme. Integrated technology with sound bars and touch screen panels, oversized flat television screens and bespoke chandeliers are just some of the stand-out features of the spruced up new suites.

Atlantis, The Palm, has also raised the bar of its luxury offering with the relaunch of its Imperial Club service including a brand new 3,091sqm lounge. The stunning new Imperial Club Lounge, located in the East Tower, sits over two floors and can accommodate Imperial Club guests for complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails, and canapés over the course of a day.

Additional refurbished guest areas include The Zone, a teen-only hangout for ages 13 to 17, Plato’s Lounge serving breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and the concierge and VIP check in lounge. Sun loungers located on The Royal Beach, Royal Pool, Zero Entry Pool and all guest towels have also been replaced for a cleaner, more modern look.

The programme has also seen the introduction of four new restaurants including the incredibly successful launch of revolutionary entertainment destination Wavehouse, the opening of the globally celebrated Cantonese fine dining restaurant Hakkasan and the introduction of Atlantis, The Palm’s poolside burger concept Beach Buns. November 2019 also saw the introduction of the cutting-edge  beachside venue WHITE Beach & Restaurant, the new Dubai hotspot complete with a stylish infinity pool for laid-back lounging, with majestic, uninterrupted views of the glittering city skyline. Additionally, all-day-dining restaurant Kaleidoscope received a complete refurbishment in 2018.

In 2020 Atlantis Aquaventure plans to open a third tower. The expansion, which will include nine new attractions including the world’s longest waterslide, will make it one of the largest waterparks in the world.

For further information about Atlantis please call +971 4 426 1000, or visit atlantisthepalm.com

 

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