LIT­TLE BLACK BOOK

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

MATTHEWD. Upchurch, CEO of global travel-in­dus­try net­work Vir­tu­oso, has been ex­plor­ing the world since a child­hood spent criss­cross­ing Europe and ven­tur­ing on sa­fari in Africa. More: vir­tu­oso.com. Des­per­ate to get back to: The 19th-cen­tury Ha­cienda de San An­to­nio in western Mex­ico. Its 25 suites are set on a work­ing cat­tle ranch and cof­fee plan­ta­tion, with the Colima vol­cano as its back­drop. Every­thing is or­gan­i­cally grown, and the food is in­cred­i­ble. Ul­ti­mate eco-ad­ven­ture: A four-day Mana Ca­noe Trail ad­ven­ture down the Zam­bezi River with Wilder­ness Sa­faris is an ideal way to ob­serve DEALS OF THE WEEK Mel­bourne magic: Save more than 60 per cent on a two-night Gourmet De­light pack­age at Park Hy­att Mel­bourne in a Park King room, in­clud­ing a com­pli­men­tary $100 restau­rant voucher; from $298 a night twin­share un­til Jan­uary 12. The fives­tar ho­tel is lo­cated in the CBD, next to Fitzroy Gar­dens. More: 1300 887 979; wo­tif.com/ho­tel. ele­phants and hip­pos in their nat­u­ral environment. Invit­ing culi­nary desti­na­tion: Alinea restau­rant in Chicago (1723 North Hal­sted St) for an ex­cit­ing gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence (book ahead). Most mem­o­rable splurge: My wife and I were mar­ried at North Antarc­tic hop: Act fast for a 35 per cent cut on World Ex­pe­di­tions’ voy­ages to the icy south, in­clud­ing a 14-day Em­peror and King Pen­guin cruise de­part­ing Ushuaia on Novem­ber 20; from $US7404 for a su­pe­rior cabin, in­clud­ing flight from Port Stan­ley (Falk­land Is­lands) to San­ti­ago. More: world­ex­pe­di­tions.com. Is­land in the Sey­chelles. (Prince Wil­liam and Cather­ine, Duchess of Cam­bridge, hon­ey­mooned there ear­lier this year.) It’s an in­cred­i­ble place, with 11 se­cluded vil­las. Most dis­tinc­tive ho­tels: Mon­tage Deer Val­ley, Park City, Utah, has an in­cred­i­ble in­door-out­door kids’ pro­gram that’s great for fam­i­lies. The Ritz-Carl­ton, Hong Kong, the world’s tallest ho­tel, is fas­ci­nat­ing in its de­sign. Best travel tip: Use a pro­fes­sional travel ad­viser. Whether it’s man­ag­ing your fi­nances, do­ing your taxes, what­ever the ser­vice, the idea is the same — you hire an ex­pert. Win­ter won­der­land: Join Odyssey’s cul­tural dis­cov­ery of Prague, Vi­enna, Bu­dapest and south­ern Bo­hemia on a 21-night tour de­part­ing Aus­tralia on De­cem­ber 26; from $11,650 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing re­turn econ­omy air­fares, ac­com­mo­da­tion, most meals and all sight­see­ing. More: 1300 888 225; odyssey­travel.com.au.

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