Welcome to Kanoo Travel UK

Kanoo Travel, a franchise partner of American Express Travel Services, specialise in tailormade luxury holidays for the discerning traveller.

Welcome to our blog pages, here you'll find reports from our staff on their holidays and trips which might give you a great idea for your next trip. We'll also update the pages with our latest offers and deals.

Kanoo Travel can be contacted on 0800 458 3412. Or visit us online at http://www.kanootravel.co.uk/

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Harry Down Under!

On the 20th of November, Harish Chandegra, a travel consultant from our Haymarket branch in London was a guest of QANTAS and tour operator Travel 2 on a 10 day educational trip to Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, and the Wine Valleys of South Australia. Here is his report of the trip

20 Nov – Met up group at the Qantas ticket desk, host Gemma Pinder introduced the group and checked in economy. Very easy check in with baggage checked through to Melbourne as flight via Hong Kong.
Through security took approximately 45 minutes and into duty free shops and refreshments.

Qantas Business lounge at Terminal 3, which we did not get to sample.

At gates for flight - music to our ears – Have just been upgraded to Business Class!

Once onboard the aircraft I sat in the Upper deck and the configuration was 2 x 2 and on main deck 2 x 3 x 2 for Boeing 747.
Very comfortable lumbar seats that recline to 170 degrees, (virtually flat) with personal entertainment system. Hostess took the order for breakfast and lunch from an extensive carefully selected menu, and asked if this was required at any specific time. Time to relax and enjoy the long flight to Melbourne with a short stopover in Hong Kong, barely got time to stretch our legs and were on board the plane again.

21 Nov – Arrive in Melbourne at 2150 hrs, and it is raining heavily.
Very swiftly and easily through customs and met by local transfer company Sunbus and transferred to The Mantra Hotel for overnight stay, reached the hotel at 2330.

The Mantra is a comfortable 3-4 Star accommodation in the heart of the city with a choice of restaurants and bars nearby. Too late to venture further, just time for a quick night cap in one of the local bars.

22 Nov – Following breakfast checked out and met by Natural Treasures guide for the Great Ocean Road trip on route to Adelaide. Still raining and got a short city tour of Melbourne as we exit the city in a North Western direction and onto the Great Ocean Road. We travel through vast volcanic plains passing through the small towns of Geelong and Bells Beach and observe Eastern Kangaroos in the wild as our journey continues along the scenic cliff hanging section of the ocean road and are enlightened by the history.

We stop for lunch at Lorne, a small quaint sea side town and cruise along the spectacular road passing Kennett River where we got to see some Koalas in the wild. Onwards to Great Otway National Park, where we have a guided walk in the rainforest.
We arrive at Beach Point self contained Ocean Villas with spectacular views over Apollo Bay for our evening accommodation. These self contained villas are a great place to relax and unwind for a couple of days. The accommodation is basic but clean. (Website http://www.beachpoint.com.au/) No restaurants on site but there are several available a short drive from the villas.

Three Apostles, Great Ocean Road

23 Nov – Following breakfast we carry on along the Great Ocean Road through The Otway Ranges onto the Shipwreck coast where the 12 Apostles are. These are icons of Australian natural beauty and we saw the stacks as they are lit by the morning sun. Highlight was taking a short helicopter ride over the Apostles with some breathtaking views. We proceed to Loch Ard Gorge site of the famous shipwreck site. After lunch in a small fishing town of Port Campbell we see the limestone formations of London Bridge, Bay of Islands and Martyrs.

Our journey continued through Warrnambool and onto a visit to Tower Hill Game reserve to see Kangaroos and Emus living within an extinct crater. Our day ends when we arrive at Chardonnay Lodge, a vineyard that offers some fine Wine sampling and overnight stay, which is basic and clean. The restaurant offers some fine cuisine and for the more adventurous some Kangaroo meat.

24 Nov – Following breakfast we take a long drive through the Coonawara Wine region stopping briefly for lunch in a small town called Keith. This is a long tiring day as we drive towards Adelaide as we finally arrive in the evening and check in at The Majestic Roof Garden hotel. This is a 4 star hotel in the heart of the city close to the Business District. Good, clean comfortable accommodation for regular travellers and offers plenty of restaurants and bars nearby.

Barossa Valley Vineyards

25 Nov – Following breakfast and check out we are collected at the Hotel by APT Tours for a day tour of the Barossa Valley wine growing region and get to sample some fine wines at various vineyards in the area including Wolf Blass. We get a little insight into how the wines are made and a small tour of the Vineyard. Our day ends and accommodation at the Mercure Grosvenor Adelaide for a 2 night stay. Hotel is very basic and is more suitable to a budget traveller. Rooms do need refurbishment but the location is good on North Terrace, opposite the train station and close to malls for shopping.

26 Nov – Following breakfast we are picked up by APT tours for a half day city tour and some chocolate sampling at Australian fine chocolatiers, Haig’s.
We have a hosted dinner at The Intercontinental, opposite the Mercure. This is a 5 star deluxe property next to the convention centre and opposite the Adelaide Cricket ground.

27 Nov – Picked up at the hotel by Smartcar Australia and transferred to Adelaide airport for a short 20 minute flight to Kangaroo Island. On arrival we are met by APT Tours for a guided tour of the island in search of some fascinating wildlife. We have a guided beach walk at Seal Bay where we get to see some seals at close range. We have a gourmet picnic in the wild bush, which was an experience, trying to dodge the ants and other insects while trying to enjoy our lunch. After lunch we explore the North coast but due to weather conditions did not get to see much.
Overnight accommodation at The Kangaroo Island Lodge, a 3 star property that offers good clean basic accommodation and has a lovely restaurant that offers some fine dining which was sampled by all.

28 Nov – Following check out and we discover the natural wonders of Flinders Chase National Park and get to see the unique geological formation of Admirals arch, a spectacular archway formed by the sea. Enjoy another bush picnic and explore the Rocky River region and Hanson Bay in search of more Koalas and Wallabies in the wild. Our tour concludes with a hairy Ferry crossing back to Cape Jarvis on the mainland and then a 2 hour coach ride to Adelaide where overnight accommodation is at The Grand Chancellor.

This is a 4 star property in the heart of shopping district and offers a good standard of accommodation with large rooms, within proximity of restaurants and bars and is of very good value.

29 Nov – Following check out and luggage storage time for some last minute shopping and transfer back to the airport for the long haul back via Melbourne and Hong Kong for London. Economy for the short flight to Melbourne and thankfully got upgraded all the way back to London which was more than required for some good rest after a hectic week living out of a suitcase.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Australia with a fantastic group, and would like to thank QANTAS for the upgrades!!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Great Holiday Ideas - December 2009

Christmas is on the horizon, and taking up most of our thoughts here at Kanoo Travel, but we've taken a break from decorating the tree and singing Christmas carols to bring you the following holidays, many of which have early booking discounts if reserved before the end of December. Why not steal a march on the rest of the country and get your 2010 break sorted early, and enjoy a stress free January?
So, get ahead, call our expert Travel Consultants on 0800 458 3412.

View our latest newsletter here

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Dawn Thornton's Australian Adventure

Dawn Thornton, a team leader at the Kanoo/American Express office in Bristol recently visited Australia as a guest of QANTAS Holidays. Here is her report of the trip...

For more information about Kanoo Travel's Australia Deals click here

Qantas Holidays VIP Trip to Australia, Tasmania & Hong Kong

Monday 21 September
Meet the group and the Qantas Holidays Escort, Wayne Newton at Heathrow Airport, always a bit nervous and anxious, but everyone was really nice and soon relaxed.

Flight departs for Melbourne via Singapore and Sydney onboard the new Airbus A380 flew economy to Singapore and Business class to Sydney.

Arrive in Melbourne Tuesday 22 September
Overnight,at the Crown Promenade Hotel. Straight out on the town a few drinks at the Crowne Casino which is attached to the Hotel.

Melbourne - Australia's second largest city and the capital of Victoria. Melbourne is a vibrant, multicultural centre, renowned for the arts, a dynamic food culture, cutting-edge architecture, brilliant shopping and its passion for sport.

Wednesday 23 September
Site Inspection Crowne Complex

Metropole - Very modern property 658 rooms Inclusive of 33 suites which exudes luxury.

Crown Towers Hotel - located on the southern Bank of the Yarra River in Melbourne. 482 rooms have spectacular views over the city and Port Phillip Bay. Luxurious rooms with all the latest technology offering a high standard of service.

Crowne Promenade Hotel - Hosted breakfast in the Conservatory Restaurant.

Transfer from the hotel to the Hertz depot to collect ours cars. We met Kevin from Hertz - great guy, and then drove to the Yarra Valley.

Quick detour and a stop off at Ramsey Street, had my photo taken outside Mrs Mangel’s house, & you’ll all be sad to hear that bouncer is no longer with us ahhhhhh

Arrived at the Sebel Heritage Lodge
Located only 45 minutes from Melbourne - A deluxe country style resort, Includes two 18 hole signature golf courses. 102 spacious rooms with a huge range of activities.

Depart for the day on luxury buses for the 20 minute drive to the Domaine Chandon winery. We had a guided tour through the winery that shows how the wine is made followed by several glasses of bubbly!!!

Yerring Farm - It's an old hay shed situated at the top of a hill, a rustic cellar door which has fantastic views over the vineyards, orchards. We tasted many a glass of Yering farm wines!

Hosted lunch at the Yering Station Vineyards one of Victorias first vineyards, recognised for numerous awards. I'm now an expert - pour the wine, swirl the glass which allows the flavours to develop, sniff it, finally taste it, and take a large mouthful! gargle around your mouth and swallow... and then try the next one....

Arrive at the Yering Gorge Cottages - Premium self contained cottages set in a private nature reserve located on the banks of the Yarra river. Ultra modern cottages, one, and two bedroom cottages ideal for families and couples sharing. Each cottage has a balcony from which you have awesome views of the Yarra River and Kangaroos feeding outside your window.

Depart the Sebel Lodge Taxis have been arranged to take us to the Chateau Yering Historic House. - A luxury 5* hotel with period fittings offering luxury accommodation and fine dining. A Victorian mansion on 250 acres, boarders the Yarra river, it has 32 individual suites. Met by Sue O'Brien the general manager of the hotel for site inspection and hosted dinner at their Eleanor’s restaurant.

Alarm set to go Hot Air ballooning - unfortunately the weather was too bad.

Drove to the Koala Conservation on Phillip Island

Visit the Koala Conservation centre - Phillip Island
Meet the Koala's face to face see them in their natural environment. Learn about their lives and take some amazing photos.

We made our arrangements for Lunch in Cowes - Phillip island main settlement.
Must try their fish and chips.

5 minute walk to Cowes pier to meet Captain John Dickie.

Board the Wildlife cruise - This takes you around Phillip Island, you get to see the fur seals in their natural surroundings, get close up where and take pictures.

Return to the Jetty and drive to Nobbies

The Nobbies centre is marine attraction, it has interactive displays and cameras which allow you to zoom in on the seals and take pictures then get them printed at the kiosk.
Also very educational you learn out the seals, and other marine life. And of course time for shopping.

Met the ranger at the Phillip Island Nature park, he provides us with our headsets so we can listen and learn about the penguins we are about to see.

Get to the viewing area to see the penguins arrival at dusk; a long wait but well worth it "no cameras" don't want to scare the little penguins......

Driver to Dinner at Harrys on the Esplande
Unfortunately didn't make it there - tiredness (jetlag) had crept up on me so off to bed for me.......I was told the food was very good and good night had by all.

Overnight at the All Seasons Eco Resort
Comprises of 211 Villas scattered over 65 acres all designed with the environment and efficiency. Wouldn't recommend you arrive in the dark very hard to find you villa!!!

Friday 25 September

Drive to Mornington peninsular - a scenic resort region with it's wineries, golf courses, restaurants’ and art galleries.

Horseback ride
Two hour ride to T'Gallant for some wine tasting - very nervous as I haven’t ridden a horse in years asked for the smallest and slowest horse. Got kitted up in our riding outfits and off we went, really enjoyed it. Tied the horses to trees, in for wine tasting and back on with the ride EASY!

Lunch at Montalto
Set in a 50 acre natural amphitheatre on the gorgeous Mornington Peninsular. The food was sumptuous very popular with the locals, we got to sample yet more wine! And brought some delicious olive oil from their shop.

Arrive at the Peninsula Hot Springs
Met Charles Davidson the owner of Hot Springs found deep in the Mornington peninsular.Thermal Pools – Seven public hot spring pools and baths are available and offer visitors a variety of bathing experiences. The indoor public hot spring pool captures sweeping views over the lakes and grasslands – a perfect place to enjoy the hot spring waters.

They also have spa Services which include a full range of treatments from Kodo full body massages to facials, mud treatments, foot and hand treatments and ancient healing stone therapy.

Drive to Peppers Moonah Links resort
A comprehensive golf resort, it has 92 rooms, it also has a relaxing spa and offers fine dining as well as other onsite facilities such as tennis and gym and mountain bike hire.

Dinner at Pebbles Restaurant

Saturday 26 September

Trip to the local market where I purchased my pair of UGG boots from a women who sold them out of the back of her car I'm sure there the real deal !!!

Drive to Melbourne airport drop the cars back at the Hertz depot and fly to Tasmania.

Arrive at Davenport airport pick up our cars and drive to Cradle Mountain

First port of call stop at the local pub and pick up supplies, Victoria had a big football match that day so the pub was full of locals who had been watching the game and had had a few on board ! High six sprung to mind!!

Our flight had been delayed so we drove through the mountains in the dark, snow sleet and suicidal wallabies!! An adventure but got there in the end straight to the bar for a well deserved drink or two!!!

Cradle Mountain
A very unique wildlife experience, Set discreetly within this wilderness setting, Cradle Mountain Lodge offers 4 different types of private timber cabins, from the contemporary Pencil Pine Cabins, to the luxurious King Billy Suites. Each provides every comfort you could need.

Dinner overnight at the Highland restaurant would recommend the wallaby

Sunday 27 September

Dove Lake Walk -
A fairly easy grade makes this walk suitable for all ages and fitness levels, focusing on Cradle Mountain, temperate rainforests and sub alpine plant communities. See Cradle Mountain in all its glory and learn about the action of past glaciers on the landscape.

Duration - 3 Hours
Grade - Easy - if it wasn't raining, sleet, and freezing temperatures... but very beautiful

Nocturnal tour - see some local nocturnal wildlife on the "nocturnal animal night viewing tour" and maybe even see a Tasmanian devil (unfortunately we didn't see one)

Monday 28 September

Drive to Launceston 1.55 hrs
Hosted lunch and inspection at the Peppers seaport Launceston

Located where the North and South Esk River meet to become the Tamar River.
Just a five minute walk from Launceston’s town centre,
Accommodation includes 60 deluxe rooms and suites with views overlooking the Seaport marina or the historic town and the mountains beyond. All our suites feature balconies with stunning scenic views. 1400 Drive to Freycinet Lodge 2.5 hrs

Uniquely located within the Freycinet National Park, Freycinet Lodge is just 2 1/2 hours’ drive from Launceston or Hobart. With sweeping views of the bay, it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax. - Stylish yet simple, the cabins are designed to impart welcoming familiarity and warmth without the intrusion of telephones or television.

Hosted Dinner a the Bay Restaurant at lodge - recommend the Oysters

Tuesday 29 September

Drive to the jetty - Coles bay (5 mins)

Wineglass bay Cruise -Join Rastus the dolphin spotting dog and his passionate crew as they take you to the world famous Wineglass Bay, Taste freshly shucked oysters still dripping from the sea served with a sample of Tasmania’s finest champagne and cheese
Rastus the dolphin spotting dog was very sick on this cruise!!! Hope he's better.

Drive to Hobart 2.5hrs
Be sure to follow the signs and not the sat nav it took us off road through land slides and roads which had disappeared under a river!!! all part of the fun.

Arrive at the Grand Mecure Hadleys Hotel in Hobart.Situated in the heart of the City The fully restored 71 room hotel features an atrium style restaurant and bar, and also caters for conferences, dinner functions and weddings.

Walk to Henry Jones Hotel for Dinner
Site inspection first Henry Jones is Australia's first art hotel. Situated on Hobarts waterfront a former jam factory it has now been transformed into a first class hotel. All the suites/rooms have stunning views with superb ultra modern all glass translucent bathrooms with special lighting effects a simply perfect place to stay.

Hosted dinner at the Henry Jones

Wednesday 30 September

Tasman Island Cruise & Port Arthur Tour
3 hour Eco Adventure Cruise Includes Morning tea and lunch all transport and cruise.This world class eco-adventure cruise travels along the spectacular coastline of the Tasman National Park between Port Arthur and Eaglehawk Neck, southern Tasmania.

One of the highlights of the cruise is Tasman Island, a great landmark of the Southern Ocean – its slender white lighthouse is still a beacon for seafarers entering Storm Bay including during the famous annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Be sure to sit up at the front, for more of a thrill seeking ride (seatbelts provided)

Dinner at the WestPoint Casino
we met the Tourism Tasmania networking event, we met suppliers, hoteliers etc.. lots of contacts and recommendations Luxurious, comfortable, stunning views - we have an extensive accommodation range to suite everyone. Australia’s first casino opened here at Wrest Point in 1973 – and the fun and action hasn’t stopped since! Our boutique casino has all the popular table games, gaming machines and our VIP gaming area. Our friendly croupiers will help you get the hang of playing, whether you’re keen to try your luck at Blackjack, Roulette, Texas Hold’em Poker or any of the other games.

Overnight at the Mecure.

Thursday 01 October
0945 check out and drive to Hobart Paddle Tour

1030 - Tour Departs Get a different perspective on one of the world’s most beautiful harbour cities on the Hobart Paddle. On this relaxed, two-hour tour you’ll experience a journey of fun, serenity and some of the best fish and chips you’ve ever tasted. Very surreal sat in a Kayak eating fish and chips.

Drive to Hobart airport
Drop the cars at the Hertz depot
Fly to Melbourne/ Hong Kong

Friday 2 October

Arrive in Hong Kong met by Steve a Tour East Representative
Check in at the Kowloon Shangri La
Award winning hotel conveniently located near to the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping/train station.

The Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong has 700 of the city’s largest and most elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites. Decorated with contemporary art, marble bathrooms, soothing earth-tone fabrics and sleek furnishings, each room also offers floor-to-ceiling bay windows with sweeping views of Victoria Harbour or the Hong Kong city skyline.

Half day Hong Kong Island Tour
Visit to Stanley Market where you will find an interesting array of little shops selling silk garments, sportswear, art, Chinese costume jewellery and souvenirs. Aberdeen You will see the famous Jumbo Boat Restaurant made well known by a James Bond movie. It is a fun boating trip not to be missed. Including a one way Peak Tram where you can get panoramic views over Hong Kong a must.

Set lunch at the Tien Yi Chinese Restaurant located at the peak

Dinner at the Langham Hotel Hong Kong
The Langham Hong Kong presents a refined European-style haven in the heart of the bustling Tsimshatsui shopping and tourism district. With gracious charm and polished five star luxury, Langham Hotel Hong Kong is the only Hong Kong hotel that can claim the legendary heritage of the original grand hotel.

Dinner at the, Bostonian Restaurant.

Out on the town in Lan Kwai Fong The area is home to a several British-style pubs, and bars. Bars here close when you leave, with several serving 24 hours a day, of course we only popped there for a nightcap and an early night!!

Saturday 3 October

We went to the Shangri La Island Hotel The Island Shangri-La Hong Kong, a welcoming Hong Kong luxury hotel retreat in the heart of the city, soars 56 floors above Hong Kong's most prestigious shopping, cultural and business addresses, with memorable views of the Peak and Victoria Harbour
It has an outdoor pool, nice to laze around swim and sunbathe a well deserved rest had by all....by me anyway
Celebrations also took place on the streets of Hong Kong large crowds gather on the waterfront to celebrate the 60th Anniversary China celebrates 60 years of communist rule.

City and Harbour Tour

Your evening starts with an exciting ascent by bullet elevator to Hong Kong's famous Revolving 66 Restaurant, located on the 62nd floor of one of Hong Kong's tallest buildings. You'll enjoy a delicious buffet dinner in the Revolving Dining Room, perched 700 feet (210 meters) above Hong Kong. The restaurant has unobstructed, 360-degree panoramic views of Hong Kong's lights and harbour. This unforgettable view has to be seen to be believed!
After dinner, you'll join the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong as you stroll along the busy, narrow lanes of the exciting Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon. To complete your evening, you'll then take a relaxing 55-minute harbour cruise on a Chinese junk style. Drinks are unlimited on board while you witness the mesmerizing reflections of Hong Kong's gorgeous multicoloured neon lights mirrored in the harbour’s waters.

A quick night cap at in a local bar ready for out flight home

Sunday 4 October
Fly home to Heathrow

Sad to be going home had a great time, fantastic Group, a trip I will never forget