Based in Greenstone Hill

Natalie Matthews

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It's Nice To Meet You

Travel is the Ultimate Inspiration!

Welcome to my homepage. I am proud to say that I am an Independent Travel Counsellor based in Johannesburg and have been in the travel industry for over 25 years, specialising largely in the leisure travel market.

Working from home as a Travel Professional allows me the freedom and flexibility to meet my clients personal travel needs at any time of the day. My existing client base has been built up largely though client referrals which I believe has come from my ability in being able to tailor-make packages with individual yet professional attention along with me being accessible 24/7 which is a huge advantage in this industry.

I communicate with over 1,900 Travel Counsellors located around the world who can put me in touch with “local” information, and who can provide me with a hotel or restaurant recommendation to make your trip an adventure of a life time, I have access to over 700,000 hotels worldwide, a vast choice of tour operators, airlines, transfers, car rental and visa companies as well as travel insurance.

Working in travel has also afforded me many wonderful opportunities to travel and see the world over the years, experiencing many different cultures as well as many methods of travel which have all added to my expertise. Some of the destinations I have been fortunate enough to travel to include; the UK, Ireland, Europe, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Israel, Kenya, Mombasa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Reunion, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Washington, Walt Disney World Orlando and Turkey with many more still on the agenda!

I believe that the more of our world we see, the richer we become!

I hope that I can unlock your passion and enthusiasm for travel and I look forward to every new enquiry that comes my way!

Looking forward to the next adventure.


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Cape Town Inspiration


Cape Town is known for its beaches, beautiful nature, food and wine routes, loads of hidden gems and exquisite lesser-known locales.

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Here's why you can rely on me, a Business Travel Counsellor to help you navigate a new travel landscape.

A World of Good Awaits


Many magical destinations are desperate for us to explore them once again!



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Is life not better with more Experiences??

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I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

"Exploring the Emerald Isle: A Journey through Ireland"

21 July 2023

Our self drive trip to Ireland in June exposed us to enchanting landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures. The Journey began in The Ancient East - Kilkenny, a medieval city boasting a well-preserved castle and a lively arts scene. We were fortunate enough to catch a Final Match of Hurling, their traditional sport which is considered as the fastest field sport in the whole world, in a quaint little pub and celebrated in style with the Locals! History and Heritage - Cork and the Rock of Cashel were our stops for Day 2. Cork is a city filled with historic sites, culinary delights, and a vibrant arts scene while a visit to the Rock of Cashel, an ancient fortress and a symbol of Ireland's medieval past will make you feel like you have been transported back in time! The Cliffs of Moher - A Natural Wonder! No trip to Ireland is complete without witnessing the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher. We stood at the edge of these dramatic cliffs and gazed out over the vast Atlantic Ocean - a truly humbling experience. Next on our list was Galway, a charming city brimming with traditional Irish music, colorful streets and delicious Irish Meals. Our last stop was Dublin - The dynamic capital city of Ireland. We celebrated our first night with a live Depeche Mode Concert in the gardens on Malahide Castle and on our second day we dove into the bustling streets filled with friendly locals, lively pubs, and historic landmarks like Trinity College and Dublin Castle. We also explored the Temple Bar area, shopped along Grafton Street, explored the Guinness Storehouse for a taste of Ireland's iconic beverage as well as the Jameson Distillery for a tasting of their famous Whiskey, Ginger and Lime cocktail as well as a Coffee Martini or two! Ireland has left us mesmerized and enchanted. We certainly hope to return and one day & create more memories that will last a lifetime. Slán go fóill! (Goodbye for now!)

Western Cape Road Trip 2020

11 January 2021

My family and I completed a 2-week road trip from Johannesburg all the way through the Karoo & Eastern Cape up to the Western Cape and I can honestly say that we live in an incredibly picturesque country with ever-changing dramatic landscape to explore! Our stops included the historic town of Nieu-Bethesda where we stayed on a working farm and got to explore the quaint little town including the sculptures at the famous Owl House. We then travelled through the majestic mountain pass of Prince Alfred down to the Garden Route where we stayed in Knysna for two nights enjoying seafood at the harbour & Knysna lagoon. We had a spectacular sundowner at the Heads before our adrenaline kick the next day which was a Ziplining excursion through the Knysna Gorges! Not for the faint-hearted but definitely worth the thrill! Our trip then took us along the coast and sprawling farmlands to Stanford where we stayed on another beautiful farm near Hermanus to unwind and enjoy long walks and kayaking on the dam. Next, we headed towards Stellenbosch for some wine tasting and a quick strawberry picking session. We then finally headed towards the West Coast for some much-needed beach time. Our accommodation along the West Coast was in two beautiful family beach houses, one in Langebaan and the other in Yzerfontein. Both towns are unique in their own way, but we thoroughly enjoyed what each one had to offer before travelling back home along Route 62. This route took us through many little historic towns which we stopped to explore along the way. Riebeek Kasteel, Darling, Montague, Barrydale & Graaff Reinet to name a few. We have such a diverse country with so many accommodation options and various activities that you can include in your travels! I absolutely loved every part of our adventure and learning so much about our countryside. If you're a foodie then I highly recommend the Authentic West Coast Restaurant called Muisboskerm who serve up a continuous array of dishes from their outdoor kitchen, whilst you savour the views of the ocean and notorious seagulls hanging around. Diesel & Cream in Barrydale also has the most amazing milkshakes, especially the Red Velvet one, the best way to end a holiday!

Washington DC - A State of Historical Surprises

25 January 2022

When we decided to include a 3-Day Stopover in Washington DC after our week in Orlando, I certainly did not expect to be completely enthralled with all that the City had to offer us. From the abundance of Historial and Modern Museums to the Culinary delights & picturesque character of Georgetown. Our first activity had to be the popular Hop-On Hop-Off Bus so that we could orientate ourselves before we walked the length and breadth of the National Mall where we could enter the various Smithsonian Museums at leisure. Arlington Cemetry & the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum were two of the most humbling experiences during our trip. Our absolute favourite activity was hiring a couple of scooters where we rode up and down the National Mall once again, this time stopping off at the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool as well as the White House for a few photo opportunities! We also managed to squeeze in an inside tour of Capitol Hill as well as a quick visit to the Spy Museum and ended our journey at Union Station for our rail trip up to New York. The Historical Buildings & Memorial sights of Washington DC are nothing short of impressive, I feel that there is still so much more to experience and cannot wait for our second visit!

Hong Kong - Seeing the Unseen May '19

14 June 2019

Hong Kong is such a vibrant, colourful destination with so many sights, sounds and smells that entice you to experience something different at any given moment. We spent a ‘long weekend’ in Hong Kong at the end of May, the weather was hot, humid with frequent short showers but this did not deter us in the least. On arrival at Hong Kong Airport it is advisable to purchase an ‘Octopus’ card which will allow you to travel on most of the public transport systems, including the airport express, busses, trains and ferries. You can purchase a card for HK$150 and then top it up at any 7/11 as you travel and use up your credit, the 7/11's are located on almost every street corner. Once we had collected our baggage and bought our Octopus Cards we followed the signage to the Airport Express Train which took us directly from the airport to Kowloon Station and from there we hopped on one of the hotel busses that took us to our hotel on Kowloon. There are about four bus routes stopping at various hotels so it is best to do some research and find out which one will stop at your hotel or nearby, otherwise there are clearly marked maps for each bus route at the station. Our hotel the Eaton was centrally located on Nathan Road in Kowloon and was within easy walking distance to the Ladies Market and Temple Street Market, as well as the Mong Kok shopping district. The room was comfortable and the staff were amazing. The hotel also offers popular food court where guests can enjoy various dishes of the local cuisine and a full on breakfast in the mornings. Nathan Road also takes you straight down to the Promenade where you can walk along the waters edge and take in the sights of Hong Kong Island across the bay. The Ferries also depart from here and take you across to Hong Kong Island within 15 minutes. Hong Kong Island is where the central Business District is and many of the skyscrapers. It also boasts the World's longest outdoor escalator. We loved hopping on and off the ‘Ding Ding’s’ or Trams as they stop along the main shopping routes on the island. Unfortunately the Peak Tram was out of service during our visit so we opted for one of the Busses taking tourists up to the top of Victoria Peak and we were certainly not disappointed with the views along the way. Once on top of the Peak you can walk along a 3.5km walking trail with various outlook posts over Victoria Bay or what most visitors do is to go to the top of the Sky Terrace which gives you a 360 degree view over Victoria Bay. You can also grab a drink and a bite to eat at the top of the peak as there are various eateries to choose from. On our third day we took a local bus from Kowloon to Lantau Island where we then took a panoramic trip on the cable car which ascends 6 meters per second and offers spectacular views over Lantau Island, the airport and villages below. At the top you can visit the Tian Tan Buddha, the tallest outdoor statue of a seated Budha as well as the Po Lin Monastery. It was a great morning out and probably one of the most thrilling and scenic cable car rides I have every experienced! Lantau Island is also the location of Hong Kongs Disneyland for families wanting to escape into the world of make believe. Other areas and sightseeing that we managed to fit into our jam packed weekend included a trip to Stanley Market and a brief stop in Aberdeen which are both located on the other side of Hong Kong Island. We also had a lovely visit to Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Gardens which is a public park located in the middle of the bustling city. It was such a peaceful contrast to the all the concrete buildings surrounding the gardens. The park also offers visitors an insight into how all the wooden temples and monasteries were built back in the day with their unique architectural skills as well as the beautifully manicured gardens with large of a variety of bonsais on display. All in all, I can highly recommend Hong Kong as a stopover on your way to the East or Aus / New Zealand. I would suggest staying for a minimum of 3 nights to be able to visit all the major tourist attractions and still shop!

Sensational Seychelles

26 September 2018

The Seychelles Islands, being only a 4-hour flight away from Johannesburg, definitely has to be on any island holiday bucket list! The main island of Mahe boasts the smallest Capital City of the world being Victoria. The streets are clean and bustling with happy and friendly people. The little market is a gem in the city centre for all your shopping needs, the city even boasts a 'little Big Ben' clock tower. Beau Vallon Bay is one of the main beaches on the island, offering soft, white powdery sand and beautiful sunrises. Take a stroll along the promenade and immerse yourself in one of the local bars or restaurants. I would highly recommend an island-hopping holiday to enjoy the many islands. A short flight of 15 minutes or ferry trip of just under an hour will take you across to the second biggest island of Praslin where the beaches are even more amazing with natural boulders, the softest sand and turquoise waters. Located on Praslin is also the Natural World Heritage site of Vallee De Mai where you can learn all about the Coco de Mer Palm Tree, some of them are over 25 meters high, which is truly spectacular! Amongst all the beautiful palms you might be fortunate enough to spot the famous Seychelles Black Parrot. Other islands are also easily accessible by ferry. The Seychelles offers a range of hotel accommodation from 3 Star to 5 Star, boutique to resort styles and of course you can cruise around the islands as well, either by Catamaran or a small cruise liner. There are numerous water activities as well as land activities that you can include in any trip, or just sit back, relax with a cocktail and enjoy the splendor of the Seychelles. There is so much to offer!

Uk / UAE Celebration

14 July 2020

Not only were we celebrating 20 years of Marriage, but I was also celebrating 20 years of being in the Travel Industry and what better way than an impromptu trip to the UK to see our all-time favorite rock band U2 live in London. This was followed by a road trip through the English countryside up to Scotland and ending with a blast on the fastest roller coaster in Abu Dhabi! While in London, we based ourselves in a small B&B just off Kings Cross which was a perfect location to get to the city centre by foot or metro. It was a great base from where we could take in all the sights and sounds in full. I highly recommend purchasing a Visitor Oyster Card on arrival at Heathrow Airport as this will take you straight into the heart of London and for £15 it should last you 2 - 3 days on the tube and using local busses. Another bonus is that it never expires so you can top it up on your next visit too. Our trip was not for the feint hearted as it was during one of the hottest months in the UK and UAE! London was experiencing a heat wave at the time. This however did not stop us from visiting all the famous landmarks that London had to offer. We also included a private Harry Potter Tour for the kids and a bird’s eye view of the city from the London Eye. The highlight of our 5 days was undoubtedly being able to see U2's Joshua Tree Tour live at Twickenham. This was our third time seeing this amazing band and they sure did not disappoint! After 5 fun filled days in London, we hired a car to begin our road trip up to Edinburgh, we stopped in Cambridge along the way and overnighted in York to learn about their rich history and taste some traditional yorkshire pudding! On our way to Edinburgh we stopped off at the iconic Alnwick Castle, home to many Harry Potter-inspired events including the dragon quest and has an exciting history. While in Edinburgh we had to visit the castle and enjoy the festivities by walking up and down Princes Street and around the Royal mile which is the main shopping district of Edinburgh. The streets are filled with live performances, Christmas shops and medieval architecture. We absolutely loved the countryside of Scotland and spent a day or two visiting various castles and tourist spots. Finally it was time to leave the UK and head for even more heat on our final stop in the UAE. Here we based ourselves in Abu Dhabi and stayed in the Radisson Blue Hotel on Yas Island as we just had to be close to the Yas Marina F1 Circuit and Ferrari World! Staying here meant that we could make use of the complimentary shuttle bus which stopped at all the tourist spots on the island. Our kids loved Ferrari World and especially their experience on the fastest roller coaster. Being there in their peak summer season meant that there weren't many tourists and we were able to experience a ride 2 or 3 times without the long queues. Another highlight was the chance to hire bicycles and ride around the F1 Racetrack at Yas Marina. This is free of charge on certain days and you need only register online before hand - great tip! On our last couple of days, we hired a car and ventured into Dubai to see how much more the city has developed since our last visit and it did not disappoint! As a surprise my family arranged the Dolphin Encounter Experience for me on our day trip to Atlantis the Palm which has been on my bucket list for many years and was truly a humbling experience where I was able to see and touch a dolphin up close! The rest of the day was spent enjoying the thrills of the water slides at Aquaventure Waterpark, top tip in summer is always to wear flip flops! Our other stops included Dubai Mall as well as the Burj Khalifa which is an incredible sight in Downtown Dubai, especially at night when the water fountains are on display. We did not go on the 4x4 Desert Dune Experience on this trip as we had done this a couple of years back but I highly recommend that you include this if it is your first time in Dubai. The UAE is certainly not a cheap holiday destination but it is well worth a stopover for a few days. We mostly ate out at the Food Courts which are located in all the Malls and bought fresh food & water at the local Carrefour Grocery shops as they were so much more reasonably priced than eating at our hotel. We flew with Emirates which we absolutely loved, the cabins are spacious and their service, food and entertainment on-board are all of a superior quality in my opinion! Life is not always about things but more about experiences, never stop travelling!

New Years Cruise aboard the MSC Sinfonia

27 September 2017

What better way to end off a hard working year with a bang! The 11 night New Years Cruise aboard the MSC Sinfonia will tick all your boxes in terms of entertainment & relaxation. To begin with I would recommend booking either an outside cabin with a view or alternatively the spacious Balcony Cabins where you have an outdoor balcony to welcome the fresh air and scenery. Teenagers can also be booked in a cabin next door to adults on a special 'Tandem' rate, Senior Citizens also receive discounts as do children sharing with adults. Secondly the VIP or Fastpass at check-in is also a must to avoid all the queues and your next consideration should be the various drinks packages which may also be pre booked. Optional extras include WiFi, flights and airport transfers. Onboard there is an endless selection of meal options at the various restaurants, the main buffet area offering easy access to almost all day dining whilst for a more refined experience you have the option of dining at one of the main restaurants. Each morning you will also receive a daily newsletter advising of all the Entertainment offered on the day so you can plan exactly how you would like to spend your time. Docking at each of the destinations being either Reunion or Mauritius is a seamless process. You can opt to book an excursion through MSC Cruises or alternatively for those who are more adventurous you can hop in a cab and explore the island on your own. Reunion's main beach is not too far away, their roads and infrastructure is impeccable and they offer so many outdoor activities & little picnic spots or cafes where you can enjoy a coffee & pastry. The Helicopter Flip over the cirques is absolutely breathtaking not to mention the viewpoint at their active Volcano! Docking in Port Louis, Mauritius is within walking distance to the Le Coudan Waterfront where you will be able to shop and catch a bite to eat. Alternatively, Grand Baie is about a 15-20 minute drive where you walk along the bay, book a water excursion or visit the little market to shop for souvenirs etc. New Years Eve on the boat is an absolute blast. Normally they host an outdoor party on the top deck around the pool with a massive buffet of food as well as music and entertainment to last throughout the night. You will also celebrate 3 New Years Eve countdowns, one being for SA, the other for Italy (as the boat is Italian) & one for the local time zone you are in. Come to think of it, you might need a holiday after this holiday!

Magical Mauritius with Beachcomber

01 March 2016

After spending a week in Mauritius on a memorable Educational with Beachcomber Tours, I experienced all that the island has to offer from sunshine, humidity, cyclonic weather activity to perfect sunshine once again and the most friendly faces of the locals. Our trip began checking in at the British Airways counter for our flight from OR Tambo to Mauritius with the full use of their Business Club Lounge prior to boarding where cappuccino's and breakfast snacks were in abundance. On arrival in Mauritius we were met by the ever friendly staff of Maurtourico who transferred us to the 5 Star Deluxe Resort of Dinarobin located right under the majestic Le Morne mountain in the South West of the island. Dinarobin is luxurious in every way with the rooms set out in six separate tranquil crescents, which each have their own private pool area over and above the main restaurant and pool area. They even have an 'adults only' crescent for those looking for a little slice of peace and quiet. We were then treated to dinner at the main restaurant L'Harmonie where we had a huge variety of foods to choose from, most of us choosing oysters, fresh fish and prawns. Dinarobin has 3 other restaurant areas to choose from including an adults only restaurant, dedicated to fine dining as well as a variety of rooms from Junior Suites to Club Senior Beachfront Suites and Family Suites. Dinarobin guests also have full use of all the facilities at Paradis Resort next door. With that in mind, the following morning we were transferred to the 5 Star Superior Paradis Resort via golf carts. Also set underneath the picturesque Le Morne Mountain, with kilometres of soft white sandy beach where watersports such as kite surfing, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking etc are extremely popular. Over and above the many water sport options is their 18 hole championship golf course, four restaurant options as well as full use of all the facilities at Dinarobin. Rooms range from Deluxe to beachfront suites as well as villas which are perfect for families sharing accommodation together. Our third day brought us to the ever popular 5 Star Superior Trou Aux Biches Resort, located close to Grand Baie and along one of the islands finest beaches. Different dining themes are offered at six restaurants, including one Thai and one Indian speciality restaurant. The beachfront suite with private plunge pool is an unbeatable room choice with direct access onto the beach! Lastly, a wide variety of water sports are on offer including probably the best kids club in my opinion. On our fourth day we transferred further down the coast to the 4 Star Le Victoria Hotel. Also set on the West Coast with long sandy beaches which borders a marine park for optimal snorkelling opportunities and amazing sunsets. Le Victoria is renowned for their spacious rooms as well as the variety of activities and entertainment that they have on offer. Another day and another hotel. We ventured up the coast and into Grand Baie for a spot of shopping in the local market before checking into the 4 Star Le Mauricia Hotel. Located in the heart of Grand Baie means that guests are within walking distance to the vibe and activity of the local shops, restaurants and bars. I was pleasantly surprised with Le Mauricia's soft refurbs that they have undertaken. The hotel has a distinct Nautical feel to it with ship replicas dotting the open spaces throughout the lounges and restaurants. Their buffet spread was also one of the best quality and variety that we had during our stay. However, as they are located in Grand Baie, their swimming beach area is slightly on the small side, but guests can also take a shuttle trip up to their sister hotel Le Canonnier and spend the day there swimming, snorkelling etc. With that in mind, our next over night was at the 4 Star Le Canonnier Hotel, located just around the bay from Le Mauricia. Le Canonnier's unique peninsular location in the North offers the opportunity to see both sunrise as well as sunsets. It is a historical hotel with a 'Treehouse' Spa built within a 200 year old Banyan Tree and an Old Lighthouse dating back to the 1600's where they have now accommodated the kids club for a spot of fun and adventure. Their Honeymoon Apartments are extremely spacious, located on the ground floor with direct access to the beach. Another great room choice would be their Superior Sea View Rooms whilst the 'Le Navigator' restaurant offers the most amazing sea views and cuisine for a late afternoon, early evening meal. Our last two days were spent further south at the 5 Star Shandrani Resort & Spa, with its close proximity to the airport allows for quick and easy transfers on your arrival and departure days. Shandrani is located in a Marine National Park which means that the quality of snorkelling from the hotel is of a high standard and they offer a Sailing Club, Dive Centre as well as a Sports & Nature programme. They also have a wide variety of other water and land activities including a 9 hole golf course and an alfresco spa by Clarins. I loved Shandrani in that their rooms are spacious, they have 3 beaches to choose from, each with their own scenery and ambience so you never feel over crowded. They also have a variety of sea facing rooms from Superior to family apartments, ideal for larger families. All in all, a fantastic first hand experience at each and every property. The Beachcomber Properties really have something to offer each and every type of family. If you are planning a trip to Mauritius speak to me so that I can suggest that property that would best suit you.

Mauritius on a Spoil!

28 August 2013

How fortunate to have visited Mauritius for the 6th time and it never ceases to amaze me with its beauty and friendly atmosphere! On this particular trip I was able to visit and stay at a range of hotels from 3 Star to 5 Star Plus! The 3 Star Hotels that really stood out for me would be the Recif Attitude, an intimate boutique style hotel located right on the beach in the North West of the Island, close enough to the little village of Grand Baie. This hotel boasts a restaurant & bar with uninterrupted views of the sea. It also has a stunning rim flow pool which gives you the impression that you are floating in the ocean. The rooms are comfortable and decorated in a modern / contemporary style. The second 3 Star Hotel that I loved was the Emeraude Beach, located on the East Coast of the island. This is also a small intimate hotel with a real personal touch. The rooms are tastefully decorated, and the hotel is located across a quiet road to the most beautiful stretch of white sandy beach. Be sure to grab a cocktail from Coco, the resident beach barman serving up all sorts of delightful drinks from his beach cart. I would definitely recommend these two hotels to first time travellers to Mauritius who are looking for top value for their money. In the 4 Star category would be the Heritage Awali Resort, located on the South Coast of the island. This hotel has a real island/African feel to it with a wonderful orange and cinnamon aroma floating through the air as you arrive. This is definitely a family hotel with a great kids club and beach club offering all the water sports for those active family members or the Seven Colours Spa to unwind. The hotel has a stunning stretch of beach in front and is actually located right next door to the 5 Star Heritage Le Telfair (one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”) which means that they share their amenities such as the restaurants and the 18 hole championship Golf Club. Heritage Le Telfair has a Colonial feel to it which is represented in the décor and architecture. Their rooms are exceptionally spacious, golf is free and a breakfast or dinner at the 100 year old Chateau de Bel Ombre should be at the top of anyone’s list. Also part of the Heritage Resorts is the Heritage Villas, a home away from home as they say. These are privately owned villas that are located around the golf course. There are two, three & four bed roomed villas, stylishly decorated with their own kitchen, dining room, patio, splash pool and their very own golf cart to get around. To top them off, they each have their own private chef to cool for you! Lastly, was the most amazing Resort that I have had the pleasure to stay at, the exclusive 5 Star St Regis Resort. It is located on the South West of the island, along a pristine stretch of fine white sand with an overwhelming sense of tranquillity. Each unit has their own private butler service, attention to detail is impeccable, from the luxurious rooms, through to the 6 gourmet restaurants & spa. A truly gracious resort, perfect for Honeymoon Couples, romantic getaways or a luxury family adventure!

Tantilizing Thailand

22 July 2013

Thailand - one of the most compelling trips that I have ever been on. My experience began with Thai Airways, a seamless check-in and an enjoyable flight to follow. After an 11 and a half hour flight we began to see the sun rising over Bangkok. As we made our descent we could see little islands popping out of the bay area and wetlands began to appear making way for the Metropolis City of Bangkok! True excitement was in the air! Our airport transfer to the Chatrium Riverside Hotel took just over 45 minutes allowing us a sneak preview of the city. The Chatrium Riverside is a 4 Star hotel located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, our superior rooms had the most amazing views of the daily activities on the river and at night it came alive with lights and music as the various Ferries and Dinner Cruises that went by. Our room was also equipped with a small kitchenette. The Hotel has a complimentary Ferry directly to the Main Pier, where we caught a local ferry up the river taking us past Wat Arun Temple as well as the Grand Palace. We had an exciting morning of exploration, traveling by Ferry, Tuk Tuk, Taxi's and even navigated the Skyrail with ease. After a quick visit & inspection of the 5 Star Amari Watergate Hotel located right in the heart of the shopping district, we stopped by the MBK Shopping Mall for bargain shopping, from clothing to accessories and electronics. Getting back to our hotel was extremely easy, hopping onto the Skyrail again; we stopped at the Main Pier and were able to catch the Hotel Ferry directly to our hotel. On our second day in Bangkok we decided to explore the well-known Chatachak Weekend Market. There are over 8000 stalls and they are well worth a visit. After shopping up a storm we stopped at a local pub for refreshments before heading back into Bangkok and onto the Central World Mall for more shopping. On our second night we caught a Ferry from the Chatrium Riverside to a local restaurant / bar area called Asiatech. Here we were able to sample some local dishes as well as browse through a few more shops before packing up for our onward trip to Phuket. The next morning we caught an early flight from Bangkok to Phuket, on arrival in Phuket it had been raining but this did not deter our adventures. We checked into a Superior Pool View Room at the Banthai Beach Hotel located in the heart of Patong. Patong is an extremely busy area and this hotel is a little gem tucked away from all the hustle and bustle. While in Phuket we enjoyed a speedboat trip to the famous James Bond Island which included lunch in a typical Gypsy Village and our first swim in the Andaman Sea. The following day we had a site inspection of the Amari Coral Hotel, a luxury hotel tucked away at the end of Patong with its own secluded beach and an amazing Spa with uninterrupted views of the ocean. In the evening we took a stroll down Bangla Road, not recommended for families with young children but interesting to say the least. We also ate at the local restaurants and stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe. From Phuket we hopped onto a Ferry and headed towards Phi Phi Island which took just over an hour and a half. On arrival on Tonsai in Phi Phi we were collected by a local Long Tail boat belonging to our next hotel, the luxurious Outrigger Phi Phi Resort. This resort is absolutely amazing, it has an expansive stretch of beach, calm & clear waters to swim & snorkel in, hammocks hanging in between palm trees, and this was a true island experience where we could relax to our hearts content! The accommodation at the hotel consisted of individual thatched bungalows - typical Thai style. The hotel has various options for dining, there is even a local village behind the hotel that comes alive at night with restaurants and bars. You can also hire a local Long Tail Boat to take you back into Tonsai for more shopping or snorkelling and island hopping trips. You could also visit the dive centre located at the hotel. All in all Thailand has exceeded my expectations with its diversity, culture and beauty. From the bustling city of Bangkok to the friendly people and tropical islands, I will definitely return for more exploration and adventures!

Las Vegas In a Week!

05 March 2013

You can only imagine my level of excitement after learning that I had been invited to travel to Las Vegas! I was quite impressed with the International flight on Delta Airlines from Johannesburg to Atlanta, the aircraft was in a good condition, the seats were spacious and services on-board were excellent. Check in was easy and our transit in Atlanta through to Las Vegas was seamless. During our 5 night stay, we were fortunate enough to stay at the Flamingo Hotel which is one of the most centrally located hotels on the Strip! I loved the Art Deco feel about it and its history involving the well-known mobster "Bugsy Siegel". Note that check in is only from 4pm. Our “Fab” room was modern and spacious; it had a great view of the Strip and the Bellagio Hotel & Fountains. The Hotel also offers the “Go” rooms which are slightly more modern with a separate shower and bath. I had the opportunity to visit a few other hotels in the area namely Planet Hollywood: This is a great choice for the South African Market, it is central, modern and very Vegas with each room having a specific Hollywood movie theme and artefact from that movie. I also visited The Paris Hotel: This hotel is very European with stunning bedrooms, great central location as well. I loved the Sugar Factory shop and restaurant located just outside along the strip! I also visited Ceasars: This is a stunning hotel for upmarket guests. With the 6 different towers of rooms, the choice is endless. The rooms and bathrooms are extremely spacious. I had the opportunity to walk along the North and South Strip on different days, going into all the different hotels, casinos and shopping malls. We watched the Bellagio Fountains all the time which has to be on top of your must do list! We also went to the Outlet Mall North where we were able to do some bargain shopping before being dropped off by a taxi at Freemont Street. Here we took a leisurely walk through the Boulevard, shopping and watching stages being set up for evening entertainment. We continued to walk down the Las Vegas Boulevard towards the Strip. Here we got to see all the little Wedding Chapels and even witnessed a wedding or two. There are shows at almost every hotel, day and night. If you do want to catch the popular ones it is imperative that you book well in advance. Alternatively, there are "half price" ticket kiosks around every corner, advertising shows at discount rates on the day of sale. Getting around Las Vegas is extremely easy, in my opinion, walking is the best option as this enables you to experience all that Vegas has to offer. However, there is also the local bus system as well as the taxis. The Monorail is also an option. The present monorail (Phase 1 of the overall project) begins at the MGM Grand Hotel near the south end of The Strip, and runs roughly parallel to the Strip on its eastern side. The monorail passes next to the Convention Center and the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, both with stations, and it ends at the Sahara Hotel at the north end of the Strip. The ride takes about fifteen minutes to travel its total distance of 3.9 miles (6.3 km). The Grand Canyon West Rim Tour is a great option if you are visiting the Canyon for the first time as the Tour Bus will take you past Boulder City before heading into the Canyon and later it will pass by Hoover Dam for a photo opportunity when returning to your hotel. Our Tour took us to the lookout point where we could also walk along the Skywalk which is a glass-bottom "U"-shaped bridge that overlooks the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Note that the Skywalk is not included in the tour price and costs up to US$35 additional, depending on which photo package you opt for as you are not allowed to take along your own cameras whilst on the Skywalk. I would also highly recommend the Heli Flips into the Canyon, these can be done from the location of the Skywalk or alternatively from Las Vegas. Overall my experience of Las Vegas was more than I can ever have imagined. It is such a great destination as an add-on to any US itinerary, and is well worth the visit! A few words of advice....If you aim to leave Las Vegas with a small fortune, go there with a large one!!


29 May 2012

We were extremely fortunate to be able to hold our Annual Travel Counsellors Conference at the Beautiful 5 Star Shandrani Resort & Spa. Shandrani is best known for its 5 Star All Inclusive packages, located just 15 minutes from the airport, you arrive in no time to enjoy this stunning hotel. Shandrani consists of 327 Rooms in total that includes 110 Superior Rooms, 69 Superior Beachfront Rooms, 108 Deluxe Rooms, 36 Family Apartments, 2 Senior Suites and 2 Family Suites. It is a great resort for both the businessman and families alike. It also has 5 Restaurants for a variety of dining, a Spa & Wellness Centre with treatments by Clarins, two large swimming pools with their own bars, a kids mini club and a 9 Hole Golf Course. Their Serenity Plus package is an absolute bonus and would include the following: • Breakfast at a choice of 2 restaurants • Lunch at a choice of 3 restaurants • Dinner at a choice of up to 5 restaurants (subject to seasonality) • Unlimited imported wines, local and imported spirits & French champagne by the glass during the inclusive hours of the Serenity Plus package • Unlimited soft drinks, fruit juices & bottled water • Snacks at all bars between 15:00 - 17:00 • Pancakes between 15:00 - 17:00 • Mini bar - soft drinks, fruit juices, water, beer & wine (replenished once a day) • Beach & poolside service • Room service (tray charge is applicable) • One complimentary 45 minute massage per adult per stay (minimum 4 night stay) • Free and unlimited access to a 9 hole mashie course • Free bicycles • Free collective lessons for golf, tennis & aerobics as per hotel schedule Clients will be entitled to the applicable fully inclusive package from the time of arrival until the time of departure, regardless of official check in & check-out times. We really enjoyed our stay at Shandrani with functions every night at a different venue. The food was outstanding and facilities were superb! We also had the opportunity to visit an intimate Boutique style Hotel called the Astorea Beach Hotel. Astroea Beach is situated along the South East coast of Mauritius at Pointe d’Esny, near the historical village of Mahebourg and a mere 15 minutes drive from the airport. This amazing little property with its picture perfect beach, only consists of 16 rooms, catering for both couples and families. Because of the size of the hotel each and every guest receives personal attention in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. They cater for all your food and beverage needs from local to international cuisine and no request will go unnoticed. The Astorea is a sister hotel to the 4 Star Le Preskil Beach Hotel, located just 10 minutes away and guests from the Astorea are welcome to use any of the facilities at Le Preskil. Le Preskil is a larger hotel located on their own private peninsula. Their facilities include an amazing new Spa, a Health Club, two swimming pools, a poolside bar, a steak house and their own private Catamaran. Packages also range from Half Board to All Inclusive. All in all, Mauritius is still one of the best holiday destinations for South Africans. The weather in May is still gorgeous so you can escape the winter chills of Johannesburg and take advantage of the specials that usually transpire during our winter months. A few of my colleagues were able to visit other properties such as Club Med so please feel free to contact me should you require any first hand recommendations. Best regards Natalie

The Spice Island of Zanzibar

18 November 2011

I can honestly say that Zanzibar is an Island that has something to offer everybody. From soft sandy white beaches, to a range of water sports, cultural tours, shopping, spa's and the list goes on. We flew with 1Time Airlines who have direct flights to Zanzibar every Saturday and Tuesday which means that you could easily go over for a quick break of 3/4 nights or extend to 7/10 nights. After obtaining a visa on arrival for US$50 we were whisked away by our Ground Handler through the middle of Stone Town to our first Hotel inspection at the 4 Star Serena Hotel, located on the water's edge with a panoramic view of the ocean and nearby islands. The Serena Hotel has an old world charm to it with an original wooden staircases and door frames with a definite Arabic / Indian influence. It is a perfect stopover hotel if you are wanting to explore Stone Town. Our walking tour of Stone Town was extremely interesting, winding our way through narrow streets while our guide explained the history of the buildings and the famous wooden carved doors. We also paid a visit to the Anglican Church erected by Sir David Livingstone after the abolishment of slavery. Our first night was spent and the newly built 5 Star Seacliff Resort, located just outside of Stone Town. Their rooms are extremely spacious with tropical gardens, a rim flow pool & a wooden jetty where they offer sundowners over the ocean every night. Their beach is slightly further away from the hotel, they also offer mountain bike hire, horseback riding & a squash court over and above the normal non-motorised water-sports as well as a free transfer into Stone Town with every 3 nights spent at the hotel. Our second day we travelled to the East of the Island where we stayed over night at the 4 Star Neptune Pwani Resort & Spa. I loved everything about this hotel, it has a real resort feel with stunning Swahili style rooms, all have unbelievable views of the ocean. Another perfect resort for families and couples alike with daily entertainment and an animation team, you can end your day with a cocktail at their pool bar or a relaxing spa treatment. On our third day we travelled to the North of the Island to view a few 5 Star properties. First on our list was La Gemma Dell'Est. This is a fairly large hotel but the biggest advantage is their beach. It is not affected by the tides as with the East Coast of Zanzibar, therefore guests can swim at any time of the day. With a range of watersports, an Mvua Spa and immaculate gardens, this hotel is well recommended. Located within La Gemma Dell'Est is the exclusive Star of the East Hotel. Extremely upmarket and serene, all villas are modern & contemporary African style, each villa has a private garden with plunge pool and jacuzzi and a personal butler service. Our next visit was at the Doubletree by Hilton Resort. This hotel is slightly more intimate with each room offering a sea or pool view with private balconies. Again a range of water-sports are offered, however this hotel is affected by the low and high tides. After lunch we paid a visit to the 5 Star Diamonds Dream of Zanzibar and the 3 Star Mapenzi Beach Resort, both located on the East Coast of the Island. Diamonds Dream is a fairly large hotel with the rooms located on a hill top overlooking the entertainment / restaurant areas. It does however have a beautiful beach, again affected by the low & high tides, as does Mapenzi Beach. Mapenzi's rooms are more of a Bungalow style, having a few bungalows located right on the beach. Mapenzi has a great range of water-sports and activities, perfect for the family getaway. Our last night was spent at the 4 Star Azanzi Beach Hotel (South African owned), this boutique style hotel had a very welcoming homely & intimate feel to it. Wooden walkways line the rooms down to the pool & restaurant / bar areas located right on the beach. Azanzi have their own dive centre located at the hotel as well as their own boat for sunsets, a rubber dingy for diving and snorkelling trips and very unique glass bottom canoes. They also offer kite surfing along the beach over and above the normal water-sports. This hotel is popular with Honeymoon couples or divers alike and is another property that is on the top of my "To Stay" list. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further info. Regards Natalie

My trip to Mauritius

09 December 2009

I was fortunate enough in November to be invited on a 5 night trip to Mauritius with The Holiday Factory, one of our approved suppliers to view a few of their properties. We flew on Air Mauritius and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at their aircraft, having last flown with them 13 years ago! Their aircraft was modern, with touch screens behind each seat and the service was excellent. Our first two nights were spent at the La Plantation Resort, a 4 Star Deluxe property located just North of Grand Baie on the West Coast. We stayed in a Superior room and it has a sea view. The hotel is well managed; even a few South Africans were on the Management, Food & Beverage team. The beach is lovely and is located in a bay. The hotel offers all the non-motorised water sports as well as the glass bottom boats, water skiing and wake boarding is on offer. The Spa is a must for honeymooners or couples and for those looking for some TLC! On our third day we visited the 5 Star Grand Mauritian Hotel. This hotel is fairly new and is located just down the road from La Plantation. This property is amazing! With the design and layout you hardly realise just how big it is. They have a slightly longer beach with separate areas for bathing and the water sports. I would recommend this hotel for the discerning traveller who is looking for their slice of luxury with peace and quiet. We then had lunch at the 4 Star Deluxe Intercontinental Hotel situated next door. This is also a new property with beautiful beach areas, a fantastic kiddies club for families and it has a great spa and gym area. Our next two nights were spent at the 4 Star Indian Resort. It is located close to Le Morne on the South West Coast. This is a vibey hotel with a great atmosphere and it has everything that a family would look for, for a perfect Mauritian holiday. Lastly we visited the 4 Star Ambre, located on the East Coast. This hotel offers very much the same layout as the Indian Resort and it has all the facilities that a family would need including a beautiful long stretch of beach. All in all there is a hotel in Mauritius to suite any requirement. Just give me a call or email me so that I can offer you the best hotel to suite your needs! Regards Natalie

Blue Train Experience

23 June 2009

I have just experienced one of the most luxurious adventures our Country has to offer, a trip aboard the Blue Train with an additional two nights in Cape Town. Our journey began on a Monday morning, a professional check in followed by an escort to our Deluxe Cabin with the luxury of a personal Butler at our beck and call. Brunch, consisting of a 3 course meal accompanied by our choice of beverage and followed by a cheese platter. This is either served at 10h30 or 12h30. High tea is served at 15h30 consisting of jam scones with cream, chocolate cake, cucumber and salmon sandwiches to name but a few. Time onboard the train may be spent in your cabin taking in the scenery or at any of the two lounges. Usually the train stops in Kimberley for a Museum excursion around 5pm, but unfortunately we had a few electrical faults on our line and were unable to disembark in Kimberley for the Tour. Not to be discouraged, our time was taken up in the Lounge Cabin meeting other guests from all over the world! Dinner is then either served at 19h30 or 21h15, again a culinary experience of 3/4 courses and drinks all inclusive. On awakening on Tuesday morning we were greeted with the most amazing scenery, sunny skies, green rolling hills and mountains in the back drop. We arrived in Cape Town around midday and proceeded to collect our hired car. Our itinerary for the day included a leisurely drive down to Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town, followed by lunch at the Black Marlin Restaurant which came well recommended with their seafood menu and setting. Our hotel for the following two nights was the Bantry Bay Luxury Suites. The location was easily accessible to the Waterfront, the many restaurants along Camps Bay as well as the highways. We spent the entire day on Wednesday discovering various Wine Estates in and around Stellenbosch. Some superb Estates we visited included Tokara, Thelema and Delaire. Delaire in particular were extremely welcoming and have a restaurant overlooking the valley, ideal for lunch! I can highly recommend the entire trip for that special occasion, whether it a Birthday or Anniversary Celebration I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. Please don't hesitate to call me to find out more! Best regards Natalie

Discovering Dubai

28 April 2009

I was very fortunate to be able to visit Dubai in September 2008. I had been hard at work finding the most suitable destination for my family where every one of us would be able to enjoy an aspect of an exciting new Destination. Dubai was the ultimate option, having excellent weather during September, stunning swimming beaches, an exciting water park and of course an abundance of shopping malls and markets. We flew direct to Dubai on Emirates Airlines which was perfect for the kids; they have so many movies and gaming options onboard. Their service and food was exceptional. Arriving in Dubai at 05:00 am did not allow for us to check into our room at the renowned "wave-shaped" Deluxe Jumeirah Beach Hotel, but this was not a problem at all. We were able to store our luggage, the hotel gave us a mobile phone and allowed us to take the kids to the Wild Wadi Water Park located a few steps away. When our room was ready we received a call from the hotel and we were allowed to check in by mid-day. The Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels that we had the pleasure to stay in, located on its own private beach, fantastic facilities including 4 swimming pools and a sports club. Our room also had a spectacular view of the famous Burj Al Arab. Our rate included an International Breakfast which meant that the variety was endless! We spent 7 nights in Dubai, soaking up the sun beside the pool or at the Wild Wadi Water Park as we had free access being guests at the Jumeirah. The evenings were spent at the Malls or markets. We also had a free shuttle to a Diamond Souk and two of the malls, one of which has an indoor ski slope. The highlight of our trip was the 4x4 Dinner Dune Safari, a "must" when visiting Dubai. We were collected from our hotel in the late afternoon and taken into the dessert, once there we were treated to the exhilarating experience of driving up and down the dunes before stopping for sundowners as we watched the sunset, then off to an authentic Arabian dinner in traditional Bedu tents before returning back to our hotel. Dubai is truly an amazing, dynamic city. So many changes are taking place that I am sure if we were to visit again there would be so much more to enjoy. We had an unforgettable holiday and I would not hesitate to recommend it whether you are travelling for leisure or business. Dubai has it all from sun, sea, sand, to unbeatable shopping, golf and culture!

My customer stories

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Hi Natalie We are back safely and rested from our amazing trip. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your effort and assistance with arranging the trip for us. From start to finish everything was perfect. The pre-booking of seats on our flights helped a lot as we had an open seat next to us for 3 out of our 4 flights which made a world of difference on the long flights. I will and have already recommended you to friends to book any trip nationally or internationally with you. And I will most definitely use you again in future. Once again thanks a million and enjoy your boat cruise.

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Hi Natalie Our trip was wonderful - a dream come true for me. Your bookings were perfect - in fact everything went off without a hitch. You can plan the same trip for anyone wanting to go to Italy, and hopefully for us again. I would recommend this same trip to anyone who is planning to go to Italy, we saw everything plus much more than we expected!

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It was awesome – I loved the personal touch at Thorntree – you feel very special and they organise everything and keep you updated. Thanx a million for your contribution to a fabulous funny moon!

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