DESTINATION

Best Places To Visit In Vegas – Minus The Casinos

Just because gambling, boozing and late nights (come early mornings) isn’t your scene doesn’t mean that you should discount visiting Las Vegas on your next trip to the US of A – and here are some reasons why…

RELATED: Spend A Week In Las Vegas

Highroller Ferries Wheel at the LINQ

Situated in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the High Roller is the main feature of a $550 million open-air entertainment district, The LINQ Promenade. The High Roller in Las Vegas isn’t your average Ferris wheel, it’s actually an observation wheel – currently the biggest in the world a staggering 550-feet-tall. It still holds the Guinness World Record for largest observation wheel.

Las Vegas

Grand Canyon by Plane or Helicopter

Definitely a must-do. Take off from Las Vegas Airport on a breathtaking helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. Approximately a 45-minute helicopter flight each way. For something special land deep in the canyon for champagne picnic, and fly low over the famous Las Vegas Strip on your return.

Las Vegas

Lightshow at Fremont Street – Neighbourhood Block Party

Downtown Las Vegas is famous for The Fremont Street Experience, it has been described as a project that blends vintage Las Vegas with high-tech wonder, live entertainment and more to create an attraction that rivals the famed Vegas Strip. It provides an intimate party atmosphere with a laid-back feel. The street experience also features a Viva Vision canopy and light show, zip lining, food trucks and live music. It’s hosted monthly on every second Saturday.

Las Vegas

Shopping Outlets 

OMG, the shopping outlets in Vegas are cray cray, depending where on the strip you are staying outlets are approximately a 15min cab ride or there are regular shuttles/buses that depart from various points on the strip. My favourite is Las Vegas North Premium Outlet which has over a 115 store, with the likes of Burberry, Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Spade New York and many more.

Las Vegas

Sahra Spa and Hammam, The Cosmopolitan 

After you have completed exploring the LINQ Promenade, had your picnic in the Grand Canyon, partied hard at the neighbourhood block party and pretty much maxed out your credit card at the shopping outlets, there is only one last thing to do; experience the luxurious spas The Strip has to offer. My favourite is The Cosmopolitan Sahra Spa and Hammam, one of the newest hotels on The Strip. The hotel itself is understated luxury with a very funky twist, it’s also home to Marquee nightclub. The Sahra Spa and Hamman is a 43,000 square-foot oasis inspired by desert cultures from around the world. With over 25 treatment rooms, luxurious penthouse spa suite and an authentic Turasis of indulgence and rejuvenation. You must try the body wrap!

Picasso at the Bellagio (2 Michelin stars)

The menu is inspired by regional flavours of Spain and France where Pablo Picasso spent much of his like. Highly recommend the White Alba Truffle Menu, the Ravioli of Butternut Squash is to die for, plus the restaurant boost over 1500 of the world’s best European wine. Definitely a treat!

Hotspot: Hakkasan at the MGM Grand 

Not only is Hakkasan one of the greatest nightclubs on the Strip, attracting all my main men Steve Aoki,Calvin Harris and Tiësto but it also has the finest authentic Cantonese cuisine. Their description: “To enter Hakkasan is to enter a different world, a mysterious realm of the senses that exists beyond a hidden passageway. The Hakkasan DNA is all about a relaxed mood with a sensual vibe. The interior design exudes a sultry Shanghai-Chinois chic” – and I would have to agree!

Signature dishes include Stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot and Roasted silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey.

Stir-fry black pepper beef

And if you are just looking for that 2:30am burger and fries, I would highly recommend a visit to Grand Lux Café at the Venetian (the same inventors of The Cheesecake Factory). Their Avocado-Chipotle Cheeseburger definitely hits the spot, (the burger has avocado it’s still healthy)!

By Lisha Singh

Images via kuriositas.com, Google images, Legacy of Taste UK

December 4, 2014

Discover Astoria In Queens, New York

It is no surprise that the ‘Borough of Nations’ (Queens) is home to Astoria, a culturally diverse community known as both a creative neighbourhood full of praiseworthy cultural institutions and a food destination popular for everything from Greek, Italian or Brazilian cuisine.

Faster than you can say Opa! Astoria is easily reached by subway from Midtown Manhattan and is the ideal neighbourhood to sample some of the best Greek food this side of Athens.  A quintessential melting pot, Astoria is home to world-class ethnic restaurants, impressive cultural institutions and green space in Astoria Park.

Must-See Astoria Highlights

  • Socrates Sculpture Park exhibits large-scale sculptures and multimedia installations in its unique outdoor environment, and the park offers family activities, a place to picnic or jog along the East River and panoramic skyline views.
  • Established in 1988, the Museum of the Moving Image offers visitors an understanding and appreciation of the art, technique and history of film, television and digital media. In 2015, the Museum will debut a new Jim Henson gallery that will include nearly 400 puppets, props and costumes donated by The Jim Henson Company and Henson’s family.
  • Founded and designed by the internationally renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, The Noguchi Museum complex is an open-air sculpture garden tucked away inside a converted industrial building that houses a collection of the artist’s life work.
  • Extending from south of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough) to north of the Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park offers visitors panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan. The 60-acre park is equipped with playgrounds, tennis courts, athletic fields, baseball diamonds, pedestrian trails and the largest swimming pool in NYC.
  • Home to a prominent Greek culture, Astoria offers visitors a wealth of Greek cuisine that can be found at Ovelia, Taverna Kyclades, Telly’s Taverna, BZ Grill, MP Taverna and Artopolis Bakery.
  • Astoria’s restaurant scene offers foodies the opportunity to savour international cuisine from around the world. Stop by Malagueta for a taste of Brazil, Mombar for traditional Egyptian fare, Le Gamin Astoria for French delicacies, Piccola Venezia or Trattoria L’Incontro for Italian specialties or Arepas Cafe to tap into the lively atmosphere and delicious treats of Venezuela.
  • At the heart of Astoria’s social scene, microbreweries and beer gardens welcome everyone to taste the City’s best tap selections and enjoy live bands in an open-air casual environment. Whether you are looking for a bit of history (try the 100-year-old Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden), seeking out a brand-new watering hole (The Garden at Studio Square is a good choice) or just looking for the biggest space to fit all your friends (check out SingleCut Beersmiths), you can find a good time year-round in Astoria.
  • Boutique designers offer hard-to-find vintage clothing. Shop jewellery, bags and boots or collections like Pierre Cardin duffels and Diane Von Furstenberg at LoveDay31.

Visitors looking to experience more of Queens can extend their stay at one of the borough’s hotels—from Long Island City, Flushing or the airport areas of LaGuardia and JFK.

Astoria is the third feature in a three-part Neighbourhood x Neighbourhood documentary series. The videos feature a local’s guide to the neighbourhood, focusing on the shops, restaurants, attractions and history, that make every NYC neighbourhood distinct and provide further reasons to get out and explore beyond the well trodden paths. To view the video of Astoria, visit nycgo.com/nxn.

November 21, 2014

4 Reasons To Visit New York City

If the inspiration of almost all of Woody Allen’s films wasn’t captivating enough, or the images of fast-paced city life have you head over heels, it seems that The Big Apple is on everyone’s bucket list. Whether you’re planning an upcoming trip or need a little bit of convincing, below are a few reasons why you should definitely book that one-way ticket.

Sports

Even if you aren’t a face-painting sports fanatic, there is no denying that New York City is home to some of the most iconic teams in the world. Yankees, Giants, Rangers and even the US Open have home games where you can spectate and capture some great pictures for the photo album. The Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex is sprawled out onto a 30-acre lot where visitors can participate in various sports activities as well.

4 Reasons To Visit New York City

Visit: Asphalt Green – 555 E 90th St, New York

Food

New York City is home to an enormous amount of cafés and restaurants which serve up a number of cuisines on a daily basis. From Little Italy to the iconic cronut, there is so much to try in New York City – just be patient and find the time to wait in line. There is definitely a reason why there are Food Tours taking tourists up and down some of the most iconic eateries in the city.

4 Reasons To Visit New York City

Visit: Magnolia Bakery – 401 Bleecker Street (Corner of West 11th St & Bleecker St), New York

Shopping

What better place to spend all of your saving money, right? The city is lined with endless department stores, pop-up’s and specialty boutiques which will no-doubt sell something that you’ve been lusting after. Make like Carrie Bradshaw and visit Lower Manhattan, Chinatown, SoHo and The East Village for some great purchases.

4 Reasons To Visit New York City

Visit: Barneys New York – 660 Madison Avenue, New York

Architecture

NYC is known for it’s sky-scrapers, bridges, art-deco buildings and also it’s iconic monuments such as the Statue of Liberty. The entire city combines new contemporary buildings such as 41 Cooper Sqaure (established in 2009), compared with the pre-war beautiful tree-lined streets of the Upper East Side.

4 Reasons To Visit New York City

Visit: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – 1071 5th Avenue, New York

Images via Aaron Symons, CBS Tampa, Eat This NY, Shop Gotham

July 31, 2014

The World’s Best Beach Hotels Revealed

Each year Conde Nast reveal the 33 best new hotels in the world. With Australia’s gorgeous coastline and booming tourism industry, it was sad to see that none of our fine resorts or hotels made the list. About 510 hotels were evaluated in the categories of Beach, Design, Food, Family, Bargain, Over-the-Top, and Way-Out-There hotels.

The best beach hotels were:

Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii

Mukul Resort, Nicaragua

Nizuc Resort & Spa, Cancun

Point Yamu by Como, Phuket

Salt House Inn, Provincetown

travel, hotels, best of, accommodation, travel guide
Nizuc Resort & Spa, Cancun

Traveler magazine describes the lists criteria as:

“A sense of place: a hotel that celebrates where it is in the world. A sense of personality: a hotel where it feels like every decoration has been hand-chosen by a person, not by a committee. 

“A sense of intuition: a hotel where it feels like your needs are considered before you even know what they are.

“The result is a list that takes you around the world – from Kenya to Los Angeles, St. Petersburg to Phuket – and speaks to the passions and habits of the modern traveler.”

travel, hotels, best of, accommodation, travel guide
Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
April 28, 2014

Only In America: 24-Hour Cupcake ATM

An ATM that dispenses freshly-baked cupcakes? Sounds like a dream come true!

LA’s much-loved Sprinkles bakery has launched the first of its 24-Hour Sprinkles ATMs that are soon to pop up all over the country. Simply scroll through all the flavours (Red Velvet? Chocolate Marshmallow?) then swipe your credit card and watch as a mechanical arm selects your cupcake, which is dispensed in a pretty pink box at the bottom of the ATM, just like cash!

Watch a video of how it works here!

March 7, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a non-stop party city with all the bright light, buzz and bejewelled brilliance you could ever hope for. Read all about it in Lonely Planet’s new Las Vegas Condensed guide. Here’s a peek.Entertainment

If Sin City didn’t invent the 24/7 lifestyle, then it has perfected it. You can catch a world-class stage show around midnight, groove to a globe-trotting DJ until dawn, then catch topnotch comedy or top-fuel drag racing at noon. For its size, Vegas attracts way more than its fair share of headliners. And in recent years haute culture has begun to blossom. The Strip is the obvious all-hours hotspot for shows and clubbing. Residents are more likely to seek solace and let loose on the Eastside around UNLV, at strip clubs on the industrial Westside, at neighborhood bars and ‘locals’ casinos in suburban Summerlin, Green Valley or Henderson. Three free weekly tabloids – the Mercury,

Weekly and CityLife – hit the streets on Thursday and, when combined with the Friday Review-Journal’s Neon insert, collectively offer comprehensive arts and entertainment listings.Gambling

Gambling can be an exhilarating experience – every lucky roll of the dice providing an electric rush of adrenaline – but when it comes to casinos, it’s crucial to consider one thing: the house advantage. For every game (except poker) the house has a statistical winning edge (the ‘percentage’) over the gambler, and for nearly every payout in nearly every game the house ‘holds’ a small portion of the winnings. These amounts vary with the game and with individual bets, but they add up to what’s referred to as a ‘long-term negative expectation’ – or the assurance that over the long haul the gambler will lose everything.

As such, you should approach gambling only as fee-based entertainment and not as a way to fund your children’s education. Understand the game you are playing, don’t bet more than you are prepared to lose, and learn to walk away when you are up.

April 29, 2003

Viva Las Vegas (contd)

In the event that you do decide to shoot the moon, there are three things that you should do:

  • Take some lessons – Free instruction is offered at most casinos; inquire at the main cage.
  • Join a slot club – This is the gaming equivalent of a frequent-flier program: Membership is free and the more you play the more ‘comps’ you earn.
  • Ask to be rated – If playing tables, ask the pit boss to rate your play. Comps are granted based on how much you bet per hand, with $5-10 being the minimum to qualify for free meals.

Got a Problem? Time to Quit?

Free confidential counseling and referrals are available 24/7 from the national Problem Gambler’s Helpline (tel: 800- 522-4700). The local branch of Gamblers Anonymous ( tel: 385-7732; www.gamblersanonymous.org) also staffs a 24/7 hotline.

Production shows

Vegas is a big show – a minimal plot production that typically includes a variety of song, dance and magic numbers. Leaving town without seeing a show is like leaving Paris without seeing Notre Dame.

Bars, Brewpubs and Lounges

Every mega-resort has at least one lounge with varying qualities of free entertainment. Most non-casino bars boast two-for-one happy hours, which generally run 4-6pm or 5-7pm; some are open 24/7/365

Clubs

Nightclubs at The Strip’s mega-resorts are a Hollywood set designer’s dream. Seemingly no expense has been spared to bring Vegas on par with New York and Los Angeles in the area of wildly extravagant clubs. Check out www.vegasafter10.com or www.coolvegas.com for current listings.

Las Vegas Condensed

Andrew Dean Nystrom

1st edition 1 74059 453 3

Due May 2003

128pp, full colour, 10 maps

US$12.99, A$19.80

This informative and savvy guide captures the best that Las Vegas offers in a practical, easy to use format. With opinionated reviews, essentail travel tips and detailed fold-out maps, Las Vegas Condensed has all the information the discerning visitor needs — for a day or a week, for business or for pleasure.

April 29, 2003

Dream Holiday Destinations

In a recent SheSaid competition we asked you to tell us about your dream holiday destination. For some of you it’s a place, for other’s more a state of mind. And while for most of us an exotic international holiday any time soon is plain wishful thinking, there’s no harm in dreaming!Here’s a selection of the best responses…

Sun, cocktails, water, beautiful boys. That’s it. That’s all I want. Oh and shops (of course)! Laura.

Toasting on a beach in Jamaica with some beautiful Jamaican guys drooling over me and me drooling over them. Just me my bikini and my men! Kellie.

Somewhere in the pacific, not too hot, but a moderate 25 degrees, palms everywhere, beach pure white, water glistening, and hot babes to serve my meals. Did I mention a small mall not too far away? Katrina

Has to be the Maldives. Think of endless hot days with white sand beaches and dark muscly local men with tight derrieres. Heaven in paradise. Helen.

Somewhere with sun, fun fabulous friends and fabulous food! I need to escape winter and get some colour to stop everyone calling me Casper! Pega.

Australia – there’s so much to see in our own backyard. I’d love to do a big trip around the country and soak it all up – from the rainforests to the deserts. The people, the weather, the food! Jenny.

Bora Bora, tropical blue water, French/Polynesian hospitality, glass bottom huts over the reef, now all I need is the hunky boyfriend and I’m off! Michele.

My dream holiday spot would be my Mum’s house. I miss her like crazy and can’t wait to go on holidays to see her! Carla.

Rome, Italy. Pizza Pasta Wine and the music. Relaxing in a vineyard in the sun with my partner. Kerry.

My dream holiday destination would have to be Paris. It’s a romantic beautiful city filled with art, history, great food and fabulous shopping what more could you want! Flavia.

Edinburgh … in a warm Scottish pub drinking decent beer with the cold wind howling outside. Erin.

Cuba is my ideal holiday destination, sipping daiquiris all night long dancing away to salsa beats in a hot bar packed with good looking young Latinos. Fay.

I know it doesn’t exist, but I’d love to go to Tolkien’s “Middle-Earth” and holiday with the hobbits. They seem carefree, simple and very, very happy living in the shire. Anh.

Probably the Cadbury Factory in Tasmania. I would have an absolute field day in there. I would not want to leave! Deanne.

December 10, 2002

The Hottest Destinations on the Planet

Perfect Peru

If you’re single in 2002, why not take advantage of your independence and head off to one of the hottest destinations on the planet? Our friends at Lonely Planet have these top travel tips and insider info just for you!South America Get down at Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, be amazed by the Amazon river, and find yourself in an ancient temple in Peru…

Lonely Planet said: “South America seems to be on every twenty-something’s wish-list. I’ve heard great reports about Peru and also less-visited destinations like Bolivia.”

Top tip: How about at language-study schools abroad? It’s cheap and great fun.

Volcanoes of Guatamala

You meet up with locals and other foreigners in a jif and you’ve got the benefit of a base (two to three weeks, maybe more). Destination recommendations: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala – the second city of Guate – a bit off-the-beaten track, but with volcanoes and Mayan hot springs to visit. Or Guanajuato, Mexico – great pedestrian-friendly town in valley, huge international three-week festival comes every October, taxis zip through subterranean tunnels, a big hit with domestic tourists in Mexico. Cuenca, Ecuador, is a great choice too!Buy a copy of South America on a Shoestring from the SheSaid

The coast of Croatia

Bookstore.Croatia Discover a country rich in heritage, history and the natural beauty of unspoilt beaches and hundreds of islands dotted across the Adriatic Sea?

Lonely Planet said: “Islands and beaches to rival Greece, great scuba diving, medieval towns, delicious food, decent wines, lots of activities such as hiking, rock climbing, yachting. The place is bulging with beautiful churches, castles and museums, and there’s probably a festival or carnival every day. It has that ‘something different’ feel which people are often searching for, and it’s safe to travel around. It’s got everything!”

Buy a copy of Lonely Planet:

Happening Havana

from the SheSaid Bookstore.Cuba Get amongst it in the Carribean ? rhythm, soul and some damn fine cigars!

Lonely Planet said: “The history, the beaches, the diving and the not-too-touristy cities”, plus the forests of eastern Cuba recently received World Heritage listing. Meanwhile Barcelona’s appeal lies in its vibrancy, beaches, culture, style, good food and great clubs.

Buy a copy of

Shanghai surprise!

href=”http://www.seekbooks.com.au/featuredbook1.asp?StoreUrl=shesaid&bookid=0864427506&db=au” target=_blank> Lonely Planet: Cuba from the SheSaid Bookstore.Shanghai Be swept up in the hustle and bustle of this ultra-modern city ? 14 million locals can?t be wrong…

Lonely Planet said: “This could be the city of the new millennium… beautiful, cosmopolitan Shanghai. A stroll along the Bund and you could be in any European city. Head down an alley and you’re smack in the middle of the Middle Kingdom.”

Buy a copy of Lonely Planet: Shanghai from the SheSaid Bookstore.

Lonely Planet’s talk2us staff are devoted specifically to answering travel questions, responding to product feedback and making sure travellers? insights and suggestions reach the authors. The most popular branch of Lonely Planet’s content-focused Web sites is the Thorn Tree, an online bulletin board that receives over 5000 posts a day and is a great resource for single travellers. Check out www.lonelyplanet.com.

July 30, 2002

Sydney Style – Shopping and the Sights

The breathtaking Sydney skyline

A perfect weekend in Sydney – a stroll along the harbour, a long, indulgent breakfast in a groovy cafe followed by a spot of shopping. A gourmet coffee to recharge your batteries, the off to the markets, a trawl through second hand stores and browse a book store for hours! Top off you blissful weekend with a dose of culture – get amongst some of coolest art experiences around, all in easy walking distance!Lap up the Harbour in Balmoral

It’s hard to find somewhere more beautiful and serene in Sydney than Balmoral. Sydney Harbour National Park is just begging to

Balmoral views across Sydney Harbour

be explored. Wander along the route from Bradley’s Head, hugging the harbour foreshore and be renergised by the fresh air and breathtaking views. Or if shopping is more your thing, head up to Mosman Village and spend up big with designer labels, five-star delis and heaps of specialty shops. You won’t be disappointed.Find out more about Balmoral

Everything old is new again in Newtown

If you thought King Street Newtown had an amazing array of food to choose from, wait until you see the clothes stores! All the brands you know and love plus, up and coming young designer labels,

Vintage and eclectic style

jeans, street clothes, eveningwear, funky footwear and more! And if second hand is your thing, Newtown is a place where everything old is new again. You can find furniture, clothes, books, denim, and the most shagadelic interior bits and pieces on earth. This is retro heaven, baby!King Street also has it’s fair share of bookstores too, so to satisfy the bibliophile in you, don’t walk past Better Read than Dead, an amazingly cool book store where you can pick up your favourite literature, design books, arty postcards and more. And if you really love books, don’t miss Goulds, a massive,

The Art Gallery of NSW

labyrinth-like book bazaar that you can literally get lost in. Take our word for it…Find our more about Newtown

What’s hot in Woolloomooloo

Basing yourself in Woollomooloo is the perfect place to start your cultural crawl around Sydney. Amble along the harbour then wind up through the divine Royal Botanical Gardens, home to a stunning collection of exotic flora and sumptuous greenery. You can head towards the Art Gallery of NSW where you’ll find world-class exhibitions from indigenous artists to Italian Renaissance painters.

Why not get your dose of culture and a slice of the great outdoors at the same time? How? Follow the Sydney Sculpture Walk starting in the Domain, for a truly unique artistic experience. You can take in the work of some of the world’s best sculptors in the environment that they are meant to be seen – al fresco!

Find out more about Woolloomooloo

Sound good?

Get yourself (and a friend!) to Sydney for a weekend you’ll never forget. Qantas have great 2 nights accommodation packges for 2 starting from $361.28 go to Visit NSW online for more info!

July 16, 2002

America’s Favourite Travel Spots: San Francisco

We look at one the America’s favourite travel spots.

San Francisco has always been one of America’s most enticing destinations. This former goldrush town may not always bask in the sunny weather of its Southern California sisters, but where else can you sample a touch of Asia, a bit of Parisian joie de vivre, a taste of Central America, a hint of Italy and a good dollop of West Coast style and eccentricity in a single day?

San Francisco’s secret weapon is its winning combination of big-city sophistication and small town accessibility. You can always discover something new in this walking town of distinct neighbourhoods from restored Victorians to funky shops to some of the most delicious restaurants in the country.

San Francisco is currently in the throes of a building boom, and formerly decrepit corners of the city are undergoing a metamorphosis. The city is also home to one of America’s most popular icons; The Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll also find the Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Park, the city’s famous cable cars and Chinatown district.

San Francisco’s Neighbourhoods:

Union Square

The centre of tourist activity, Union Square is tucked inside Sutter, Grant, Market, and Mason streets. Big department stores, expensive boutiques, theatres, many exceptional restaurants and the greatest concentration of hotels in San Fran surround the actual square. If you stay here, Chinatown, Nob Hill, the Tenderloin, the Financial District and SoMa are all within walking distance.

Chinatown

This densely packed area is as colourful and exotic as advertised. The Dragon Gate entrance on Grant Ave leads to touristy shops but after you wander up and around Stockton Street you’ll feel as if you’re in another world.

North Beach

North Beach isn’t actually a beach, it’s the former Italian enclave that Chinatown is encroaching upon. This is the place to hop from one cafe to another, to browse for books and Italian poetry and to sample the delectable treats on offer from the various Italian delis and pastry shops. Columbus Avenue is the main thoroughfare and family style restaurants and crowed bars line the streets from Washington to Grant.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Sixteen million tourists per year can’t all be wrong, but this most touristy section of town is all a matter of taste. Located on Bay Street, the former working class piers have been stripped of their glory and turned into a gaudy ode to commercialism.

July 1, 2001

America’s Favourite Travel Spots:San Francisco (Cont’d)

San Francisco’s Neighbourhoods Union Square

The centre of tourist activity, Union Square is tucked inside Sutter, Grant, Market, and Mason streets. Big department stores, expensive boutiques, theatres, many exceptional restaurants and the greatest concentration of hotels in San Fran surround the actual square. If you stay here, Chinatown, Nob Hill, the Tenderloin, the Financial District and SoMa are all within walking distance.

Chinatown:

This densely packed area is as colourful and exotic as advertised. The Dragon Gate entrance on Grant Ave leads to touristy shops but after you wander up and around Stockton Street you’ll feel as if you’re in another world.

North Beach

North Beach isn’t actually a beach, it’s the former Italian enclave that Chinatown is encroaching upon. This is the place to hop from one caf? to another, to browse for books and Italian poetry and to sample the delectable treats on offer from the various Italian delis and pastry shops. Columbus Avenue is the main thoroughfare and family style restaurants and crowed bars line the streets from Washington to Grant.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Sixteen million tourists per year can’t all be wrong, but this most touristy section of town is all a matter of taste. Located on Bay Street, the former working class piers have been stripped of their glory and turned into a gaudy ode to commercialism.

July 1, 2001

Caribbean Dreams – Barbados Travel Guide

Steeped in English tradition and more straightlaced than some of its neighbours, Barbados has been giving the wealthy and famous the royal treatment for centuries.

Known for its posh resorts from Sandy Lane to the Royal Pavilion (think Robyn Leach and ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’), Barbados offers a range of accommodation, whether you’re seeking a chilled getaway at an intimate guesthouse or the frenetic activity of a sprawling resort. You’ll receive the royal treatment from the moment you are greeted at the airport and whisked away to your hotel. And you’ll pay for it too – the star treatment doesn’t come cheap.

Barbados is a favorite destination of an older, British crowd who migrate to the island year after year. This is hardly surprising when you consider the island was under British rule for three centuries until 1966. The place is full of the type of people who dress up for dinner. Dressing up is a must in Barbados and the mood is unmistakably civilized. The British influence is still strong, but the many locals, Bajans, provide the island with an animated dose of culture. The one good thing about the island’s demanding clientele is that the food is of a world class standard. Dining in Barbados is definitely worth dressing up for.

The Best Bits

The Dining Scene:

Chefs on Barbados, unlike those on similar Caribbean islands, are experimental, sophisticated and eager to meet the challenge of demanding palates.

The Service:

You won’t want for attention; you’ll have help at your beck and call.

Safety:

Crime is hardly a concern on this well-heeled island.

On the East Coast:

You’ll see miles of untouched beach along the island’s wildest, hilliest and most beautiful stretch of coast. Bathsheba/Cattlewash beach is the premier destination for surfers keen to lap up the East Coast’s crashing waves. Locals ride the waves here daily but swimming here or anywhere along the Atlantic coast can be extremely dangerous, so you should stick to sightseeing in this area.

On the South Coast:

Here you’ll find medium waves and a young, energetic crowd. The beaches are consistently broad with white, powdery sand; the reef-protected waters are crystal clear and safe for swimming and snorkeling. South coast beaches to check out: Accra, Casuarina, Needham’s Point, Sandy, Bottom Bay and Silver Rock.

On the West Coast:

If you want the calm, magnificently clear Caribbean, head for the west coast, where you’ll find stunning coves and sandy beaches as well as excellent water sports. You can even water ski here. This area is also nicknamed the ‘gold coast’ for it’s unbroken chain of beaches. Beaches to check out: Mullins, Paynes & Bombas.

Read more about this exciting destination in California for Dummies Travel Guide or check out www.dummies.com. The Travel for Dummies series covers many more of the world’s most fabulous cities. The Travel for Dummies series is available from all good book stores nationally.

March 1, 2001