Australia’s Latest Spa

Hamilton Island's Latest Spa

How’s this for off-the-radar?

Spa wumurdaylin (woo-mer-day-lin) just opened in August and it’s the newest full-service day spa on Hamilton Island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The name ‘wumurdaylin’ means dragonfly, a symbol of renewal, freedom, and beauty. With 11 treatment rooms and 3 couples rooms ideal for honeymooners, guests can step off the beach and into a sensory cocoon haven with décor inspired by the surrounding Whitsunday Islands.

The menu includes body cocoon wraps, exfoliations, facials, massages, manis/pedis, and alternative therapies such as naturopath consultations and Reiki treatments.  What makes the spa offerings different is that they incorporate indigenous products that are unique to the Great Barrier Reef and infuse Ancient Aboriginal techniques. This is why we had to share. We’re all about indigenous treatments.

Signature treatments include:

· LI’TYA Susu Dew ‘meaning ‘sea spray’ is a rhythmic body massage, inspired by traditional Australian Aboriginal techniques, which balances and re-aligns energy flow ($140 AUD/hr)

· For Him and Her – in couples treatment rooms, pure spa bliss is guaranteed with a full body massage, oriental head and scalp massage, de-stress foot exfoliation, Moroccan rose and guava hand hydration treatment and a petite spa facial ($510 AUD per couple/2 hrs)

· Mother of Pearl Body Polish – a gentle full body exfoliation treatment that’s rich in marine and plant collagens, crushed mother of pearl, walnut and wattle seed to smooth and refresh tired skin ($160 AUD/hr)

· Mothers-to-be: a nourishing maternal blessing organic honey and cocoa body wrap ($220 AUD/1.5 hours) or a soothing full body pregnancy massage ($120 AUD/hr)

Spa wumurdaylin also uses luxury Australian spa products from Waterlily and LI’TYA as they provide a unique indigenous experience while capturing the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands.   Waterlily delivers authentic aromatherapy spa rituals harnessing the rejuvenating properties of essential oils and all Waterlily products are infused with cold pressed plant oils, anti-aging vitamins, fresh flowers, fruits and herbal concentrates to create a sensory journey for the body, mind and soul. LI’TYA, meaning ‘of the earth’, is an organic premium product range that contains pure botanicals, organic Australia native plants, pure essential oils and natural fragrances with a tread light philosophy.

We would now like to know… when’s the last time you visited the Hamilton island?

www.hamiltonisland.com.au

Best New Travel App

TourWrist Travel App

Check out the world’s first teleportation device.

Imagine experiencing the Vegas strip without ever leaving your couch? A new free app, Tour Wrist, invites you to tour thousands of destinations, hotels and restaurants all over the world with just your iDevice. With over 10,000 downloads in the first two weeks, it has breached the top 30 in entertainment apps for the iPhone. Tampa-based SPARK LABS, the developer, also has contracts in place for nearly 70,000 tours to be added in the next 2-3 weeks.

There’s nothing out there like this and we think it’s an idea sure to take off.

www.TourWrist.com

Southern Comfort

Native Brit and honorary Kentuckian Sarah Ivens, the launch editor of OK! Magazine in America and regular Jaunt Magazine contributor, takes us around the sassy South on a road trip to remember.

Jaunt Magazine Contributor, Sarah Ivens

Grits trampled into the carpet and porters high on Moonshine. That might be the kind of thing you are expecting of a Southern hotel – but things have changed, and things are good.

Not only do the down-home states offer great tourist attractions (and of course great Gumbo and Mint Julips) but they have some remarkable historical hotels which combine world famous Southern hospitality with luxury amenities and 24 hours room service.

The Glenn Hotel - Atlanta

Atlanta is the first stop on our mini adventure. We check-in to the gorgeous Glenn Hotel to find smiley staff and a hot delivery of Georgia’s favorite takeout waiting for us. No, Chick-Fil-A doesn’t need a Colonel to spice it up – it’s delicious enough with their all-natural, homemade lemonade and potato waffles. ‘You are gonna eat good, girl,’ the receptionist warns me – as she helpfully tells us where else to dine (Mary Macs and The Landmark Diner are must-eats and Gladys Knights’ Chicken and Waffles is a great place to people watch on Sundays) and takes us up to our suite.

Unpacked and raring to go, we head for the other great C’s of Atlanta: CNN and The World of Coke. Both companies offer great behind-the-scenes tours, so whether you want to see if you could cut it as a newsreader or become a taste expert for Coca-cola (yes, there are over 100 sodas for you to tease your tongue with), you’ll be amused. Expect to see the CNN stars at some point during your tour – and expect to be scared at the brilliant 4D Coke cinema (at some point during the film, you will get soaked with water and look ridiculous as you try to swat away an imaginary dragonfly. Or at least, I did). As we learnt, you can calm down and dry off back at The Glenn. Their rooftop bar offers great views and a mean Peach Mojito. Hey, we are in the Peach State – it has to be done.

The Glenn from $159/night

www.glennhotel.com

Next stop is Nashville, the home of Country music. Even if you think you don’t like songs about cheating husbands and tractors now, you’ll be singing and dancing to them when you hit downtown’s Broadway – or Honky Tonk Alley as it’s known to locals. I got so excited, I bought a cowboy hat. Find fuel at Jack’s BBQ (don’t miss the Mac ‘n cheese) then walk up and down the strip until you hear a live band that appeals.

Tootie’s offers a little more than just Country – their performers delve into a bit of rock and pop too – and has a party atmosphere every night of the week. If you want to try line dancing (hey, you need to wear in those new cowboy boots, right? Yep, I bought those too), head to The Stage. The moves you see in there are indescribable… let’s just say, there might be a few too many empty Jack Daniels bottles out back. When you’ve lost your voice and your feet ache, take the five minute stroll uphill to The Hermitage. And relax. The hotel has been the premier home-from-home for 100 years now – and the team there will do everything they can to help you get over your crazy partying and playtime. They even have a bath concierge who will discuss your needs then run you the most decadent, dreamy soak of your life, complete with oils, flowers and candles. Sleep will come easily until your tummy rumbles the next morning. Head downstairs to the Capitol Grille for some sweet onion bisque, local beet salad with blue cheese and – you’ve waited long enough – their deliciously tangy shrimp and grits.

Walk off the country cooking with a trip to The Country Music Hall of Fame. Highlights include Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood’s most glamorous stage outfits and Johnny Cash’s guitar.

The Hermitage from $199/night

www.thehermitagehotel.com

The Peabody Memphis

Our trip comes to an end in Memphis, a city with many sad stories to tell but a good soul that makes every visitor want to return. Check in to The Peabody. Not only will you get to sip your Maker’s Mark in the extraordinarily beautiful Grand Lobby, listening to the piano man play classic tunes while watching the famous ducks splash about in the fountains, but the hotel is conveniently placed in the heart of Blues City.

Take a fairy-lit, horse-drawn Cinderella coach, to Beale St. Sample the music – not just in the bars, the streets are full of great singers putting on free shows too – then meander back up towards The Peabody, cross the street and head downstairs into Rendezvous, which is possibly the most famous BBQ joint in America. It may sound strange but do start your meal with the house specialty, a sausage and cheese plate. Dip the delicious meats into a kaleidoscope of sauces and I promise you, you will be craving this weird mix for ever more.

No trip to Memphis is complete without a trip to Graceland. And it is worth the long lines and the $30 entrance fee. Seeing everything from his wedding outfit to his grave is a moving tribute to The King – and if you weren’t an obsessive before, the pan-piped hits will hypnotize you into a state of worship after an hour through those famous musical note gates. A less-known tourist attraction which is just as moving is the brilliant National Civil Rights Museum, set up in the Lorraine Hotel, the place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was tragically assassinated.

Allow at least three hours here. You’ll learn, you’ll cry, you’ll leave wanting to make the world a better place. Not bad for $13.

The Peabody from $199/night

www.peabodymemphis.com

Panama… Pana-ma-ma

Panama's La Amistad Bird Sanctuary

Oh, we sure love la selva and, let’s be real, it’ll always get better if we invest our dollars to visit nature’s finest jungle reserves. That’s what keeps ’em reserves.
Plus, who doesn’t love Central American life?
Great food, warm people, nature, and plenty of crazy history. To that end, this just in from a little birdie’s mouth. Check out:

Panamá, La Amistad Bird Sanctuary
La Amistad was declared by UNESCO to be a Natural World Heritage Site in 1983. Spread out between Panama and Costa Rica, the sanctuary covers a whopping 207,000 hectares of forests on Panamanian soil (of which 95% are located in the province of Bocas del Toro and the other 5% in Chiriquí). One of the most popular attractions of this park is its potential for bird watching, given that about 425 species of the 925 bird species located in Panama have been identified in this area alone. In this amazing natural reserve, travelers can watch the illusive resplendent quetzal and the harpy eagle. The park also offers the opportunity to be in contact with the indigenous communities of the Teribe and explore ecological trails like La Cascada and El Retoño. With an array of ecosystems such as cloud forest, coral reefs, mangrove forests, and the unique paramo, Amistad/Bocas del Toro is rich in biological and cultural diversity: it is the most culturally and ethnically diverse region where Panama’s indigenous Afro-Caribbean, BriBri, Ngöbe, Naso, Cabecar and Latino ethnic groups live. I had a chance to hike into the jungle and have lunch the Bribri. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life  – complete with fresh fish eaten out of a banana leaf.

A Bribri Shaman

La Amistad International Park is also the perfect place for travelers who enjoy river adventures and mountain hikes through dense, humid forests.

The Teribe and Changuinola Rivers are the life blood of this ancient forest and offer endless opportunities for site seeing, forest travel, and adventure. Just remember: this area is located 2000 meters (6,000 ft.) above sea level, its also important to be prepared for the altitude.
How to get there
From Panama City, you can fly (1 hour) or by land (6 hours) to David, the third largest city of Panama and the capital of the province of Chiriqui. Once you’re there, you take a ride to Cerro Punta that is 1 hour from David. From Cerro Punta to the Administration Center of the park (Las Nubes) is another 5 kilometers by car.

Where to stay
Near the park, you can find three towns that provide hotels, banks, health centers, transportation and guides to the different attractions of the park:

Volcan in Chiriqui
Cerro Punta
David City

Here is a list of lodgings at David, unfortunately most of them don’t have a website, but you can contact them and get a quote at the following site: http://panamatoptravel.com/en/ficha_hot.php?idhotel=6

Most of these hotels are 3 or 4 stars, clean, simple accommodations:

Alcala Hotel
Gran Nacional Hotel
Occidental Hotel
Iberia Hotel
Iris Hotel

You can also find more luxurious accommodations such as:

Las Olas Beach Resort

Volcan is a small, beautiful town located in the mountains of the Chiriqui province, just beside the Baru volcano.
In the town of Volcan, you can find hotels like the Bambito Hotel or fully equiped mountain cabins like Las Huacas or Kucikas Cabines.

Bambito Hotel: $264.00/night
Las Huacas Cabines: 1 or 2 bedroom cabins from $85 to $125/night
Kucikas Cabines (Bambito): $70 to $165

Cerro Punta is a small and beautiful village located in the highlands of the Chiriquí Province Cerro Punta, the newest tourism destination of Panama, with amazing landscapes, abundance of natural resources and cool climate. So, with that in mind, here are some other places to visit within the stunning region:
Finca Dracula Orchids Farm
Guadalupe
Los Quetzales Trail
Baru Volcano National Park

Cayman Brac Attack!

Cayman Brac Beach Resort

Insert yourself here.

Much better than that pile of stinky laundry sitting at home and that boss breathing down your neck.

Cayman Brac. You know you wanna piece a this. So what is it, exactly? Well, let us tell you. It’s the largest sister island of Grand Cayman situated 90 miles northeast. Just 12 miles long, this little gem of a daydream offers two sides:  quiet and adventurous.  The west side of the island where the airport is located is flat, while the east offers a steep bluff with a remarkable ancient coral limestone cliff and caves.  The caves on this island were reputed to have been used by Blackbeard to hide his ill-gotten gains plundered from Spanish ships.  Argghhh… and that’s not all! There are 35 heritage sites on the island consisting of forest, beach walks, bird watching hotspots, caves, hurricane refuges, cliff trails and wetlands. Why can’t we just move to these places and become a beach bum already? Ugh. Life ain’t fair, Chicken Little screams.

Well, at least you can go visit and get a piece of it for a nice long vacay. Phew! And now there’s more reason to check it out. New, highly anticipated hotel offerings from a wide variety of accommodations on Cayman Brac are also popping up,  sure to satisfy all ages and interests.

Cayman Brac Beach

The Brac Reef Beach Resort is once again open for business, with an entirely new building, remodeled guest rooms, and five additional junior suites with walk-in showers with dual shower heads, iPod docks, flat screen TVs and upgraded furniture. Porches and balconies have been installed for guests to relax and experience Cayman Brac’s peaceful environment and stunning sunsets too.  We also like the fact that sustainable practices have been implemented with the addition of an electronic guest key to conserve energy and the use of environmentally-friendly cleaning products.  We likey.

Rates start at a reasonable $145.00 US/night.

To get on it and book:

Tel: (800) 594-0843

http://www.bracreef.com/

The Alexander Hotel, Cayman Brac’s most recent development, is also now officially open. This all-suite hotel, located on the south coast of the island, overlooks the Salt Water Pond Bird Sanctuary, just steps from Cayman Brac’s white sand beaches. Furnished in a modern Caribbean style, the Alexander Hotel is ultra chic, with tall ceilings and an open and airy floor plan.

Rates start at $156.00 US/night.

To book, call (345) 948-8222 or visit http://www.alexanderbrac.com/

In addition to fresh new accommodations and restaurants, Cayman Brac offers even more thrill and adventure for dive enthusiasts with the introduction of 13 new dive sites, as part of the Cayman Islands’ ongoing “Dive 365” project which aims to develop and maintain 365 separating moorings, providing Scuba divers a new and beautiful diving choice every day of the year.

So now you have no excuse to veg out or dive Cayman Brac.

http://www.divecayman.ky/dive365/