16 March 2013

Posted by Sally Scott

Insiders Guide: Whitsundays with Jeff Aquilina

Jeff Aquilina atHotel Group  Airline Beach Whitsundays 

We asked Jeff Aquilina, Director of atHotel Group to share his insider tips on what he loves about Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays.

alluxia: What do you love most about living in Airlie Beach?

Jeff: The Whitsundays natural beauty is incredible, the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef are all must visits...

The restaurant that best shows off your region...

Déjà vu Restaurant at Waters Edge Resort the Long Sunday Lunch is a gastrotourism event!  What started out as a chef cooking for his friends on a Sunday, has quickly become a local tradition to experience in the Whitsundays. It begins with a beautiful view, 8 courses of divine food, lots of wine/beer and live entertainment. A great way to meet new friends and locals if you are travelling in the region.  Bookings are essential 07 4948 4309.

When friends are in town I take them for a drink at...

Denman Cellars Beer Café located at the Port of Airlie, with over 100 beers from around the globe available and an interesting tapas menu you are spoilt for choice.

Couples wanting a romantic dinner for two should consider...

Tides Restaurant, with a chic open-air design and an outlook over the beautiful Coral Sea, Tides Restaurant & Bar affords one of Airlie Beach’s most stunning views and delicious food.

The best breakfast spot is...

Sidewalk Café great food and THE best coffee in Airlie Beach.

For the perfect gift or momento, I'd recommend shoppping at...

PAYA is a beautiful boutique nestled at Shingley Beach in Airlie Beach. A locals' favourite, you will find a carefully selected fashion range, sitting alongside gorgeous fashion accessories, stylish jewellery & great homewares and gifts. Always seeking the best fashion has to offer for today's woman who leads a busy life yet always looks stylish & comfortable.

The best markets can be explored at...

Airlie Beach foreshore every Saturday from 6am until 2pm

The best free activity in the region is...

Bicentennial Boardwalk Whitsundays, hugging the shores of the beautiful Coral Sea, the Bicentennial Boardwalk winds along the coastal strip for some 3.7 kms between Airlie Beach Lagoon to Cannonvale Beach.  The Bicentennial Boardwalk winds past Abel Point Marina, one of the main staging points for cruises to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

What's the "Must See" attraction in your region...

According to Tripadvisor, and rightly so, Whitehaven Beach is the number one attraction in the Whitsundays.  Located on Uninhabited Whitsunday Island this beautiful beach is one of the worlds most spectacular.

Our regions best kept secret...

Situated between Proserpine and Airlie Beach is one of the Whitsundays most incredible attractions, the Cedar Creek Falls. The falls offer year round swimming with a natural pool at the base of the waterfall. It’s a perfect day out for everyone as you enjoy the lush flora and fauna surrounding the falls as orchids run wild, strangler figs latch onto rocks and Alexandra palms tower above you. You can also take a walk up and around the falls to get the most amazing view.

Have we tempted you to visit Airlie Beach? alluxia recommends atMarina Shores, atBlue Horizon Resort and atWaterfront Whitsunday Resort for your next holiday.

11 March 2013

Posted by Sally Scott

Culture & Cuisine Canberra style

East Hotel Canberra

As part of Canberra’s centenary celebrations, Alluxia’s Sally Scott checks out our nation’s capital and finds there’s more than just public servants and roundabouts.

2013 is a great time to revisit Canberra and celebrate, with a year long calendar of events and celebrations. While there will be plenty of pomp and ceremony for these events if your style is a little more low key with a hint of luxe here’s our tips for a perfect weekend of culture, food & wine – Happy Birthday Canberra!

Where to eat

Italian & Sons

The offshoot of classic Mezzalira, the Trimboli family opened what is certainly one of Australia’s coolest trattorias. The small open kitchen provides theatre for the evening as the serious chefs prepare woodfired pizzas, perfect pasta and antipasti. There is also a tempting menu of daily dishes teasing you to return.

7 Lonsdale St, Braddon (02) 6162 4888


The award-winning restaurant is best known for its authentic Italian menu, which focuses on seasonal, locally-sourced and sustainable produce, and is divided into a delectable selection of dishes for anytime of the day and doubles as in-house restaurant at Diamant Hotel. The décor has industrial appeal and there are plans afoot to revamp the alfresco area.

1/15 Edinburgh Ave, NewActon Pavilion (02) 6262 8683

Silo Bakery

With a jaw dropping array of pastries, tarts and croissants tempting you on arrival, the long narrow space serves breakfast & lunch and you know anything on the menu involving pastry or break is sure to be a winner.

36 Giles St, Kingston (02) 6260 6060

Out of Town


This restaurant set in an historic stone hotel, 35 minutes from Canberra is the perfect place to enjoy a Sunday lunch. We indulged in slow cooked rubbed lamb rump with toasted barley, goat’s feta, roast garlic, stinging nettle and green pea puree and the menu suggests local wines and beers to match. Just make sure you leave room for dessert…

Cnr Cork & Harp Sts, Gundaroo (02) 6236 8777

Lark Hill Winery

Well worth a visit to Lark Hill and hear about this biodynamic winery owned by Sue & Dave Carpenter. This well established winery was the first to grow and produce gruner veltiner, a white Austrian grape rarely seen in Australia.  The onsite restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy lunch overlooking the vines.

Cnr Bungendore and Joe Rocks Roads, Bungendore (02) 6238 1393

Must See

National Gallery of Australia 

Visit NGA for the fabulous Toulouse-Lautrec – Paris & the Moulin Rouge exhibition showing only in Canberra until 2 April 2013.  The exhibition features 120 works including paintings, drawings and his famous posters. Take a free guided tour to learn more about this artist and his work.

Parkes Place, Parkes

Where to Stay

Diamant Hotel

Diamant Hotel offers luxe for less amid heritage listed buildings that began life as accommodation for single public servants. The compact, but stylish rooms are located in the developing NewActon precinct.

15 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra

East Hotel

Canberra’s newest hotel offers contemporary apartment style rooms and has been lovingly designed and curated with style in mind. The contemporary style of the rooms is beautifully offset with retro furniture creating spacious, light and very comfortable surrounds.  It’s a hotel with personality that you just don’t want to leave.

69 Canberra Ave, Kingston

To view our image gallery of our recent Canberra trip click here

1 February 2013

Posted by Sally Scott

Romantic Getaways to spoil your Valentine

Valentine's Day Romantic Getaway Bells at Killcare Valentine's Day Romantic

Feel like spoiling your loved one with a special Valentine’s Day Romantic Getaway?  If you’re a man who is out to impress, nothing works better than making the effort, together with a little planning to show you care.  Take it beyond the petrol station flowers and sad chocolates from the supermarket and think about quality time with your partner.  So, be organised and plan ahead but we’ve done the hard work for you and here’s our roundup of the most romantic experiences:

Bells at Killcare, Central Coast NSW

What could be better this Valentine’s Day than staying in your own private, romantic, designer cottage at Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel & Spa.  Dine at the multi-award winning onsite restaurant, Manfredi at Bells and enjoy a 4 course set menu with a glass of celebratory Veuve Cliquet for the ladies. Explore the spectacular local beaches or simply retreat to the Bells Day Spa which embodies the East Coast Hamptons elegance that you’ve come to expect of Bells.

 From $600 includes accommodation, dinner and continental breakfast for two.

Valid Thursday 14 February 2013.

Adina Vineyard, Hunter Valley NSW

Celebrate a romantic mini-break to the romantic Hunter Valley and stay onsite at the Adina Vineyard. Settle into Adina’s luxe lodges with panoramic views of rolling vineyards providing a relaxed and romantic getaway.

 From $150 includes overnight accommodation, breakfast basket and bottle of Sparkling.

Valid Thursday 14 February 2013

Calabash Bay Lodge, Berowra Waters NSW

Treat your sweetheart to Valentine’s Day in style at the luxurious water access only Calabash Bay Lodge.  Just 45 minutes from Sydney CBD you’ll be in transported to total seclusion and natural beauty and let the azure water and sandstone cliffs of Berowra Waters seduce you. Proposals optional!

 From $1950  includes two nights accommodation, 3 course candlelight dinner under the stars by personal chef and relaxing massages for two.

Valid 13/14 February 2013

Carriages Country House, Hunter Valley NSW

February is the month of love and fall in love with gourmet food and wine in the Hunter Valley! Unwind in a beautiful Spa Suite and enjoy a chilled bottle of award-winning Chardonnay or Rose on your private terrace. Indulge and rejuvenate at nearby Tea Tree Day Spa and enjoy heavenly pampering.  Wake up to a breakfast hamper at your door each day and take advantage of a late checkout.

 From $549 Overnight accommodation, bottle of chilled Carriages wine, Classic Aroma-Swedish Massage for 2, Country breakfast and & Lindt chocolates, midday checkout. Valued at $685.

Valid midweek, February 2013

Thala Beach Lodge, Port Douglas QLD

Enjoy a little romance in this eco escape haven. Settle into secluded bungalows scattered amongst 145 acres of tropical headland and secluded beaches.

 From $179 includes overnight accommodation, complimentary sparkling wine, chocolates and late checkout.

The Vintry, Hunter Valley NSW

What could be more alluring, sensual and seductive as a wine weekend in the Hunter?  Here’s your opportunity to enjoy exclusive use of this magnificent holiday house, creating the perfect base to explore the wineries including neighbouring Audry Wilkinson.

 From $380 per night includes overnight accommodation in a King Spa Room, cheese & antipasto platter, bottle of Shiraz Noir and complimentary wine tasting session at Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, late checkout til 2pm

Book by 28 February valid for travel until 30 April 2013

Rates and packages are subject to availability. Check out our Valentine’s Day offers here or the entire romantic getaways collection here.

26 January 2013

Posted by Sally Scott

Australia Day: Top 5 Beach Destinations

What could be more Australian than a summer beach holiday?  While many may have fond memories of hot cars, long drives & eye spy back then it was much about the journey as the destination.  Now, architect designed homes & designer furnishings reign supreme as you shake off the sand from a days beach adventure and retire to your designer digs.

Here are our picks of the best beach holiday accommodation this summer:

1. Beach Suites, Byron Bay NSW

Stay in the hedonistic heart of Byron Bay at Beach Suites with its discreet service & sophistication. Opt for a three bedroom penthouse and chillax in your own private rooftop plunge pool overlooking Byron’s Main Beach.

2. Bali at the Bay, Port Stephens, NSW

Just sandy footsteps away from idyllic Shoal Bay Beach & its cute as a button seaside town, rejuvenate mind, body & soul in the peaceful setting of your Bali inspired holiday house.

3. Fairshore Resort, Noosa, QLD

Join the style set at Fairshore Noosa. Fairshore, commands attention; poised in the centre of Hastings Street and with all apartments boasting ocean views.  Don your movie star shades, settle into a daybed and relax.

4. Atlantic Byron Bay, NSW

The décor throughout is inspired by a combination of boutique Caribbean hotels and the surf culture that permeates throughout Byron Bay. Renovated from their origins as beach cottages each guesthouse is connected through a meandering raised wooden pathway for a unique seaside holiday.

 5. Stay Bondi, Bondi Beach NSW

Designed & furnished by Robert Plumb and landscaped by William Dangar, both Bondi 113 & Bondi 100 have raised the bar in holiday beach houses. These three bedroom houses are the perfect luxe family escape.

Click here to check out the entire coastal cool collection.

1 December 2012

Posted by Sally Scott

Group Getaways

Calabash Bay Lodge, Berorwa Waters  Arx Bella Berry  Aussies Beach House Marcoola

Group Getaways are the perfect tonic for unwinding and spending quality time with friends or family.  If you’re always the organiser, finding the perfect group accommodation can be a time consuming and frustrating process.

Never fear, here are our tips for the perfect group getaway holiday houses for rent just a short drive from Brisbane or quick flight away, making them the perfect weekend getaway. Our luxe lodges won’t break the bank. When you divide the cost between friends, you’ll be surprised at the quality & style you can enjoy simply by pooling your cash.

Your group getaway is just a click away…cocktails by the pool anyone?

1. The Vintry, Hunter Valley NSW

The Vintry is the perfect escape to share time with friends. Architecturally designed this luxe bush retreat has four bedrooms all with en-suites and private terraces. The large communal table is perfect for entertaining after a day of wine tasting at Hunter Valley’s best wineries.

2. Arx Bella, Berry NSW

French Champagne & cheese platter on arrival ensures you start relaxing straight away at this luxurious four bedroom house. With chef’s kitchen including walk-in pantry, open fireplace, Bose sound system, multiple entertaining areas ensures you won’t want to leave.  However, you must wander the High Street to browse antique stores, cafes & boutiques in this cute as a button town.

3. Aussie’s Beach House, Marcoola QLD

Delivering a host of unexpected delights this pet-friendly holiday house doesn’t compromise on luxury and style to cater for a family holiday.  With expansive decks for entertaining, gourmet kitchen & boasting five bedrooms you’ll agree this self-catering house can do no wrong.

4. Coolum Retreat, Sunshine Coast QLD

This luxury 5 bedroom holiday house is perfect for family or group celebrations with spacious entertaining areas and dazzling pool, set on a peaceful 5 acres. Take a cooking class at nearby Spirit House to complete your gourmet getaway.

5. Calabash Bay Lodge, Berowa Waters NSW

Relax in style & comfort at the luxurious Calabash Bay Lodge holiday house in Berowra Waters, just 45 mins north of Sydney. With breathtaking views of the Hawkesbury River this 4 bedroom absolute waterfront house invites you to dangle a line, canoe and be as adventurous or relaxed as you wish.

20 August 2012 

Style: Perfect Plane Outfit

Posted by Sally Scott

We asked personal stylist Alison Triffett of Style Counsel Online for the perfect plane outfit for our style conscious travellers. Read her expert blog click here

Travel advice I always give, but usually fail to adhere to myself is to pack light. With Alison’s expert tips, you’ll be sashaying through the terminal with just your carryon and looking elegant and polished.

Alison’s simple style favouring neutrals is enhanced with a splash of colour & her tips for layering for onboard comfort and style are a must.

Bon Voyage!