Friday, 15 June 2012

Jumbo Pics


Following the introduction of the photographic hides at the Mashatu Game Reserve late last year, we've been sent amazing feedback from guests and photographers alike about the quality of images they have managed to capture from the very unique perspective of the different hides constructed on the property.

One of the more popular hides is the elephant hide. A re-inforced steel container has been adapted for comfort and sunk into the ground so that occupants are at eye level with ‘terra firma’. This hide is frequented by herds of elephant almost every day, some of which comprise in excess of 60 animals.

Just watch this footage from the elephant hide; and not even a whisper of a mobile...


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Meet the Maldives' latest marine researcher - Olivia the turtle

Four Seasons Maldives just sent us a really sweet turtle story. After a year in Landaa Giraavaru’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre recovering from a nasty head injury, Olivia the Olive Ridley turtle was finally released back into the wild in February 2012, equipped with a satellite-tracking device mounted on her carapace.

She’s loving her second lease of life, having covered a staggering 510 kilometres in her first month alone, and travelled into the middle of the Indian Ocean! The tagging device will enable research into the lesser-known Olive Ridley turtle, some of the world’s smallest sea turtles and one of many species being cared for in Landaa's Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Since 2010, the Rehabilitation Centre has nurtured and cared for nine severely injured turtles, seven of which have been successfully released back to the wild. Its current patients include Sally, a young female Olive Ridley found suffering from multiple lacerations and buoyancy problems, and Clover, a young male Olive Ridley with deep lacerations around his neck.

Olivia was the Centre’s longest-staying resident to date. Now – thanks to her tagging device – she’s set to become its most famous! Watch the video of her emotional released here: after 12 months in the centre, then follow her whereabouts via the regularly updated ‘Olivia-link':

Currently, there are two other turtles, Sally and Clover, that are being nursed in the Four Seasons' Turtle Rehab Centre, one of which will soon receive a satellite tag, kindly sponsored by one of the resort's guests.


Monday, 26 March 2012

Jolly in Hong Kongy!!!

Mary Ann, Business Travel Agent at Colletts Travel, visits Hong Kong for the day!

Follow Mary Ann's short but full fam-trip* to Hong Kong, flying with Hong Kong Airlines
* Familiarisation trip – agent speak for a Jolly in Hong Kongy!!!

MY HONG KONG EXPERIENCE – 22nd – 24th March 2012

Checking in to an eerily quiet terminal, I had to ask the check-in assistant if this was normal for Gatwick North Terminal! Apparently Hong Kong Airlines departing at 9.30pm was the last flight from the terminal hence everything was so quiet. It felt like I was in a library with everyone whispering and the staff busying chatting to each other as there was nothing else to do. Even the security people were just milling around waiting for someone to go through security. Normally the queues of people waiting to go through security are snaking out to the door! I was invited to use the fast track service through security. Any other time this would have been quite useful but not when I was the only one using the service or even going through security at the time!

Travelling with Hong Kong Airlines, passengers are invited to use the No1 Lounge where there is complimentary food, drinks, use of the games room, cinema and business centre – if you wanted to catch up with the latest on Facebook. I found it to be quite noisy but I think this was because all the passengers were in there as there was nothing else to do – no shopping as most of the shops were already closed or about to close. After about 20mins in the lounge it was time to get to gate 52 for boarding. In Hong Kong, passengers are also invited to use the Hong Kong Airlines Lounge which is a lot smaller with a few computers and some complimentary food and drinks.

Never having had the privilege to travel in a premium cabin I didn’t know what to expect. Upon entering the aircraft I walked through part of the Business Premier cabin. These seats are fully flat bed with a 61” pitch and look like the British Airways Club Class seats (from what I have seen in photos). They are 1-2-1 configuration. I made my way to my seat in the Business Classic Cabin. Here the configuration is 2-2-2 with a 51” pitch. With the flight half empty I had 2 seats to myself which is more than enough room for someone of my height – even at full stretch I could not touch the seat in front of me. For someone who thinks that the seat-pitch on a standard economy seat is enough room I was more than happy with the “extra” legroom!

All passengers are given blankets, slippers, pyjamas, headphones and a complimentary luxury amenity bag with Bulgari products. The difference in the two cabins being in the seats, the service – the crew cannot do enough for you and they all speak very good English, the menu, the Wi-Fi limit – 10MB in Business Classic and 20MB in Business Premier and the choice of wines and the bars. The bar in Business Classic is self-service whereas the bar in the Business Premier is manned to help passengers with their order.

I think Business Classic is a great product that I would feel happy and confident in selling to our business and luxury travellers although I would sell the Business Classic as World Traveller Plus/Premium Economy and the Business Premier as a full business class.

Hong Kong Airlines, a good alternative to other airlines.

I arrived into Hong Kong Airport at 5.45pm and took the Airport Express train to Kowloon – it’s only 2 stops away and costs HK$90.00 (approximately £7). From Kowloon station I took a taxi (cost about HK$60.00) to the hotel – Harbour Grand Kowloon. What an experience! All I can say is make sure you fasten your seatbelt! (I did!) because you are in for one hell of a ride.

Check in at the Harbour Grand Kowloon - located in a quiet area by the harbour away from the crowded streets of Tsim Sha Tsui/Nathan Road/Mody Road. The hotel offers a shuttle bus to the centre leaving every 30mins and taking about 10 minutes. The entrance is lovely with a grand stairway which is popular with wedding parties.

As it was the Rugby Seven’s weekend in Hong Kong check-in was a bit sedate, but this added to my eagerness to get out and see the city! After check-in I was met by the assistant sales director Billy Wan who introduced himself and gave a mini tour of the hotel the

I was lucky to receive an upgrade to a Superior Harbour View room, the views out across the harbour to Hong Kong Island were magnificent. Had a shower and was out again this time taking a taxi to the famous Temple Street night market. This is where it all happens. It was buzzing! Full of people just like it was the daytime, considering it was gone past 9pm.

I walked around for about 2 hours ending up at the ladies market after which I took a taxi back to the hotel absolutely exhausted.

The next day I had breakfast and headed down to Nathan/Mody Road for more shopping then off to the Citygate outlet mall in Tung Chung for yet more shopping! Although it is worth noting that shopping in Hong Kong is not as cheap as one would have thought.

If you do get the chance to go to Hong Kong get a Chinese Visa and go across the border to Shenzen (approximately 45 minutes on the train) where the shopping is up to half the price of that in Hong Kong – although be aware of buying fake goods. After this it was time to say goodbye and head to the airport.

The return the flight was a lot fuller with all my fellow Travel agent “Fam Trippers” seated at the back this was a tiring experience but well worth it, both Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong are well worth a visit, just make sure you have more time that I did!!!

Mary Ann Carvalho

Friday, 20 January 2012

Great Idea for Valentines - Golf at Gleneagles

We're really excited at the launch of our new UK luxury collection and are delighted that the landmark Scottish resort, Gleneagles, have agreed to join with us in offering clients this exclusive deal. Until March 31st 2012, double rooms at Gleneagles will be available to book from £215. This rate includes full Scottish breakfast, VAT and unlimited use of The Club, Gleneagles' superb leisure facility. In addition, Colletts Travel clients who book for a stay of 2-nights or longer will be offered the choice of either

  • A private tour of the Gleneagles wine cellars (not normally open to the public) with one of the estate's sommeliers, OR
  • 50% discount on return chauffeur airport transfers from/to Edinburgh Airport (normally £115 each way)

ALSO, bookings made for Sunday - Thursday nights will receive a complimentary upgrade at time of booking.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

The clever way to manage your holiday spending money

CashCase Visa gives you the security and convenience you need when taking money abroad. The reloadable pre-paid card enables you to access your money wherever you are and will hold more than one currency at the same time. You can hold and spend in British Pounds, US Dollars and Euros as if you were using local currency.

You pay a card fee of just £9.99 and then you can load your CashCase™ Visa® Prepaid Card with money from a bank account, by debit card or credit card and even manage your money on-the-go by linking your CashCase card to your mobile phone.

You can use your card wherever Visa is accepted in the UK and abroad. It can also be used at ATMs, to shop online and over the phone.

And especially for Colletts clients, if you book before 15 January 2012 we've got 10 cards to giveaway FREE of charge. Call us on 0844 880 30 40.


Friday, 9 December 2011

From sunny Cape Town back to Boris Bikes

We are now at the airport at the end of our fantastic voyage culminating in this last weekend in Cape Town on the Waterfront. As you know, we were as pleased with Cape Grace as we have been with your other selected "watering holes" and, by comparison with the other 3 locations, rather overwhelmed by its relative size - we haven't used a lift for a week and nor are we used to sharing our meals with more than 2 or 3 other tables!!! However, despite adjusting to urban life, this property lives up to the standards we are now familiar with after receiving the "Mushinda" treatment. (Even the cosy pool area was ideal for wallowing in the heat and we probably resembled those we saw and photographed cooling off in Kruger!!)

It was great meeting you again in person - particularly as we have corresponded for the last 10 months and have so much appreciated your dedication and commitment, to say nothing of your generosity and patience throughout. The quality of your selections have all been exceptional and this level of pampering will be hard to match back in London - it's back to congestion, Boris bikes and winter for us!!
Please extend our thanks to the managers at each location who, together with their dedicated and friendly colleagues, made us so welcome and don't forget those various airport "meeters and greeters" who navigated us through unfamiliar territory so speedily and efficiently. As urban trekkers they were as knowledgeable and skilful as Brett and Jabalena were at Singita!!!

Anyway, having won this prize we probably lost lots of friends out of envy or boredom with our discussion about "the" trip - but as soon as we have announced our return to London and shown the countless photos of life in the Bush, wineries, coast and in the shadow of Table Mountain we are confident that our social life will return and we will then be able to recommend the Mushinda/Collett team and this itinerary - a 'winning' combination!!
It's been a week of high points and contrasts and has whetted our appetite for a return visit - we will just have to keep entering competitions!!!

Very many thanks for making this possible.

Mark & Carolyn
London-bound (and delayed!!!)

PS: feel free to use these ramblings on your blogs, posters, tv campaigns, letterheads and other testimonials - they are genuine and heartfelt and hopefully will encourage others to visit SA and emulate this incredible mission by the Mishons!!!

Another win in Cape Town

Just arrived in Cape Town and yet another "win". Jessica the receptionist at the Cape Grace lived up to the now familiar Mushinda "welcome" that we have been spoilt to receive throughout our amazing voyage and, with Table Mountain in the background, we are about to spend these last few days in Cape Town.
Carolyn is using the Colletts voucher pampering herself, whilst I wish to maintain my "whale scale" food intake record and will enjoy Colletts restaurant voucher! This really is one helluva prize!!!
Adele - you deserve a drink or dinner on us!!!

Regards and yet again many thanks

Mark & Carolyn