You Light Up My Life

Posted on Sep 4, 2013 | Comments Off on You Light Up My Life

Neon Museum
Neon Museum 11/12/13 Weddings
LAS VEGAS (September 2013) – When that special “Magic Day” hits on 11/12/13, brides-to-be and their grooms can say “I do” in one of the most remarkable and picturesque locations in Las Vegas: The Neon Museum. Only available on 11/12/13, The Neon Museum is now offering the “Magic Day” wedding package. For this special day, there will only be four slots available for couples.
Considered one of most colorful and sought-after attractions in Las Vegas, the Neon Museum is home to the Neon Boneyard – a collection of more than 150 classic signs from the city’s most celebrated properties—including the Moulin Rouge, the Desert Inn, the Flamingo and the Stardust—which are displayed alongside those from various other bygone hotels, restaurants and businesses. The Boneyard’s two-acre outdoor area encompasses nearly 3,600 square feet and features a partial canopy.
The package includes:
  • 30 minute wedding ceremony for the couple and up to four guests.
  • 30 minute photo opportunity in the Neon Boneyard.
  • One bottle of chilled champagne or sparkling wine, paired with cupcakes that are packaged to go.
  • An exclusive pair of his-and-her Neon Museum-wedding themed shirts.
For more information, go to www.NeonMuseum.org. To book a wedding, reception or other event, contact Events Manager Joel Castillo at jcastillo@neonmuseum.org or call (702) 387-6366.
*Pricing does not include ceremony officiant, catering, floral or photography. All ceremonies are performed by Elegant Vegas Weddings. A list of exclusive vendors for photography, catering, décor and equipment will be provided. A list of recommended florists is available by request. 
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A new sustainable Bedarra Island

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 | Comments Off on A new sustainable Bedarra Island

BED - Point Villa Deck 2

Bedarra Island Resort is renowned for its natural beauty, luxury and exclusivity. When it reopens on the 1st July, 2013 it arguably becomes Australia’s most sustainable island resort.

Since the island was devastated by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011, the Charlton Family acquired the resort and have undertaken extensive renovations to the property, including replacing the island’s services and utilities. Director, Sam Charlton said “Our first initiative was to conduct a sustainability analysis to assess the population density the island could support, particularly in relation to waste, water and energy requirements”. He added “the outcome of this analysis led us to reopen just seven villas (as opposed to the original 16 villas), convert the resort to solar power and close for three months during the wet season”.

Situated on the Great Barrier Reef, just ten kilometres from the coastal township of Mission Beach, nestled amongst the tropical ‘Family Group of Islands’, Bedarra is unquestionably worth protecting.

Traditional operations at the resort were heavily reliant upon diesel and with changes implemented so far, diesel consumption has been reduced by 95%. “The hum and smell of a diesel generator just seemed so inconsistent with the natural beauty of the island” added Charlton “it was an easy choice to upgrade to solar.”

So how was this change to a sustainable future achieved?
• The old generators (3x185KVA) were replaced with an off grid solar system incorporating a 30KW solar panel array, 1-2 days battery energy storage and a small backup 44Kva generator.
• Complete refit of electrical appliances at the resort reducing peak and base electrical loads by 80%.
• Water is now sourced from Bedarra’s granite filtered natural spring and fresh rain water, rather than a diesel powered desalination plant which has now been decommissioned.
• Architectural changes to villas to encourage cross flow ventilation including replacing fixed windows with louvres and the installation of under floor ventilation to capture cooling sea breezes.
• Installation of award winning Haiku fans offering a low energy and high efficiency mechanical ventilation alternative to air conditioning.
• A new twin system bio-cycle wastewater treatment plant has been installed, with sub-terranean reticulation of advanced secondary grade treated effluent, protecting the fringing coral reef from nutrient and phosphate runoff.
• Installing low energy pool pumps combined with ionic pool chlorinators, reducing chemical consumption associated with the pools by 85%.
• Composting of all organic waste for use on the island’s vegetable garden.
• Replacement of water reticulation infrastructure to eliminate water loss.
• Choosing suppliers who minimize their packaging and maximize their use of recyclable materials.

The reduction in population will make guests feel like they have the island to themselves, further enhancing the feeling of privacy, exclusivity and seclusion Bedarra is renowned for.

The Bedarra experience is now more relaxed, more personalized, offers more privacy and is truly the epitome of barefoot luxury. It’s about a beautiful location to relax and enjoy the tranquility, with the added advantage of having a much reduced impact on the natural local environment.

“Reducing our consumption of diesel and simplifying our operation and services has enabled us to offer guests considerably more competitive tariffs than in the past. It also makes the option of hiring the resort exclusively with a small group of friends or family a viable alternative for a holiday you will remember forever” said Charlton.

Bedarra reopens on 1st July, 2013. Room rates are for 1 or 2 guests starting at $990 per villa and are inclusive of all meals, selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and activities. Additional charges apply for reef/fishing charters, diving, scenic helicopter flights and our cellar master list of alcoholic beverages.

bedarra bay

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No More Selfies: Travellers Snap up Holiday Photographers

Posted on May 16, 2013 | Comments Off on No More Selfies: Travellers Snap up Holiday Photographers

Dana McMahanTODAY contributor

May 14, 2013 at 10:07 AM ET

Image: Love in Paris

You in Paris
More travelers are hiring professional photographers to chronicle special trips.

If you think professional photographers only tail the glitterati, think again. A luxury that wouldn’t have occurred to most travelers a few years ago, vacation photography is growing in popularity to capture the trip of a lifetime.

Paris photography instructor Sophie Pasquet has seen a sharp uptick in demand. “A lot of people were asking me if I was doing portraits,” she said, so in 2010 she launched You In Paris, offering visitors photos that feature them in the iconic city. Her vacation portrait business has doubled every year since, and she’s beefed up her roster to six photographers.

Vacationers looking for alternatives to the awkward photos shot by strangers were on the mind of Nicole Smith of Victoria, Canada, when she launched Flytographer in March. Inspired after an acquaintance took photos of Smith and a friend on a trip to Paris that was so special she wanted to “capture it and put in a bottle,” she created a “scrappy start-up” to connect travelers with local photographers.

“Those photos … I got goose bumps and I still do every time I see them because they capture those moments,” she said of the photos from the trip. “I thought, ‘I would pay for this!’ And aside from hunting and pecking on Google, there was no place to go (for this service).

“Business is already booming. I hear all the time: ‘I can’t believe nobody thought of this before!’” she said. “We’re in 18 places right now and we’re getting requests for more.”

Smith handles everything from locating and vetting the photographer to payment and providing the photos. “One customer said it’s the best souvenir they’ve ever gotten – instead of buying trinkets, they have a photo where everyone’s together and having fun and nobody’s missing. It’s kind of priceless.”

Even travelers on a tight budget aren’t out of luck. Flytographer offers a 30-minute package that includes 15 photos with their local photographers for $199. Prices range up to $599. Pasquet, as well, says she wants her portrait session to be accessible. Her most popular option — a two hour, two location shoot — runs €299 (about $387) but she offers a 90-minute option for about $300.

‘Make them giggle’
Though hiring a photographer is popular among vacationers, not everyone is a natural on camera. “It can be intimidating,” Pasquet said. To relax subjects, “we try to make them giggle.”

Smith agrees. “They’re not Kim Kardashian. They’re not comfortable with a camera following them around. So we set up a game plan … We figure out what mood or style they’re looking for so they know what they’re coming into … they kind of have something to do with themselves and that helps ease things for some folks who are shy.”

Pasquet finds that a glass of wine before a shoot may help relax some travelers, but one couple “had too many,” she recalls. “They were quite, quiterelaxed and felt very free. For the photographer it was maybe a bit more challenging to get pictures where they look their best!”

Other than being judicious in your wine consumption, Pasquet offers some advice for making the most out of a photo shoot. It starts with what you pack (leave the bold prints at home). “We tell clients to look at our Pinterest board for ideas on what to wear,” she said. She can also recommend makeup artists for anyone who wants to go all out.

Props give people something to interact with and can put them more at ease; people have brought balloons, umbrellas, even cigars. The ultimate prop may be an engagement ring – Pasquet’s company has shot a number of proposals.

Photographers play a role behind the scenes of travelers’ experience. But it seems they’re not soon forgotten.

“A few weeks ago I received an email with pictures attached,” Pasquet said. “It was from my first engagement. The guy wrote: ‘I don’t know if you ever wonder what happens to the people that you take pictures of, but we got married. These are pictures of our baby.’

“I thought it was so sweet. At some point I was a very small drop in their life.”

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Smoke on the Water: Europa 2 World’s Best Cruise Ship?

Posted on May 11, 2013 | Comments Off on Smoke on the Water: Europa 2 World’s Best Cruise Ship?


What’s the most highly rated cruise ship in the world? If you may start thinking of the ships of cruise lines like Crystal, Silversea or SeaDream you’d be wrong. The “bible” of cruise ratings is Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships and the 2013 edition has, like so many in the past, rated Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa as the pinnacle of cruising perfection.


However, there’s a new kid on the block. This week the German cruise line launched the 516-passenger Europa 2 this week and it’s undertaking shakedown voyages around Europe right now. Space and lightness and close connection to the sea are some of the initial reactions to the ship. It’s largely all inclusive and it’s certainly not cheap and has the greatest ratio of space per passenger of any cruise ship in the world. It has also moved to a more casual atmosphere: “21 knots without a tie” is the clever marketing phrase being used.

E_EUROPA2_Veranda_Suite_02_a03175f5fe H_EUROPA2_Spa_Suite_02_909fef683f

Chances are that Europa will have to give way to Europa 2 when the 2014 Berlitz cruising guide is released in November. For those who can afford it some consideration may be given to the fact that it is a German-language vessel that’s aiming for up to 20 per cent English-language passengers. And, in a typically continental manner smoking is allowed more generally than Australians may be used to. As the cruise line clearly points out: “All the restaurants with the exception of the portside of the terrace of our Yacht Club Restaurant are non-smoking restaurants. The theatre, the Belvedere and the Atrium are also non-smoking areas. In the Jazz Club and in the Sansibar there are smoking and non-smoking sections. Cigars, cigarillos and pipes can only be smoked in the Gentlemen’s Room and in the outside area on the starboard side of the Sansibar. All outside decks with the exception of the Magrodome area are smoking zones. Please use the ashtrays provided. In the interest of all passengers we would ask you not to smoke in the suites. Smoking is allowed on the veranda. Here, too, we kindly ask you to use the ashtrays provided.”


For more information visit www.hl-cruises.com/ships/ms-europa-2/


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