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10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Athens

MD Staff

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Athens has hit a new stride thanks to a glorious revival in art, food and architecture that has been underway for the last decade. Here, the concierge team at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens offers are ten reasons to fall in love with this flourishing metropolis.

An Epic Heritage: The Parthenon is visible from almost every street corner in central Athens and must be seen up close to appreciate just how imposing these famous and majestic columns are. Fast forward a few millennia and you will find yourself at the Panathenaic Stadium, also made entirely of marble and the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

A City by the Sea: Bon vivants know that you can experience almost everything the Greek islands have to offer in Athens. With some of the most beautiful beaches found along a 31 mile (50 kilometre) coastline, you can enjoy life just as the ancients did, with fresh seafood all year round, while swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea for the majority of the year.

Music and Theatre Beneath the Acropolis: From majestic ballets and arias to ancient Greek tragedies, witnessing a performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (June–October) is something you’ll unlikely forget. Despite being nearly 2,000 years old, the theatre is heralded for its exemplary acoustics.

Temple of Poseidon: Erected in the middle of the 5th century BC and located at the end of the Sounion peninsula, this ancient temple was built to honour Poseidon, god of the sea. A sunset here is one of the most magical in Greece, blanketed by vivid reds and oranges.

Evzones: Rain, hail or shine, the Greek Presidential Guards or Evzones march towards Hellenic Parliament every Sunday morning in a spectacular ceremonial parade that has become synonymous with Athens.

Wines of Athens: As a city surrounded by small historical vineyards, Attica is the largest wine region in Greece, touting talented winemakers who are producing award-winning wines using the indigenous savatiano grape.

An Athenian Way of Life: The weekly farmers markets or laiki agora are an inherent part of Athenian society. Setting up in neighbourhoods all around the city, these food markets allow locals to stock up on fresh produce while socialising within their community. The largest, known as the Varvakeios Markets in downtown Athens, operates daily and offers seasonal harvests and local delicacies.

Byzantine Churches: For anyone that appreciates beauty, the churches in Athens are among the most special in Greece, hailing from the Byzantine era and defined by their tall domes with arched windows. The Church of Panagia Kapnikarea is one of the oldest in Athens, built around 1050 AD. All are welcome to enter and appreciate the rare frescos and beautiful iconography inside.

Art and Culture go hand in hand in Athens beginning with the Acropolis Museum. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ancient city, thousands of sculptures and artefacts found around the Acropolis are displayed and bathed in natural light. At the Museum of Cycladic Art, a stunning collection of Cycladic figurines and ceramics from the 3rd millennium BC can be seen. Over at the National Archaeological Museum, a treasure trove of antiquities await including the gold mask of Agamemnon and the Antikythera Mechanism.

Athens’ New Agora: Athenians received a contemporary agora at the newly opened Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. The Agora, emblematic of the central gathering spaces in ancient Greece, upholds this tradition with regular events held throughout the year. The entire building is a significant addition to modern day Athens and an architectural feat by architect Renzo Piano.

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Travel & Leisure

Pakistan: Next Destination for Nature-Lovers

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Pakistan is country blessed with natural beauty. Diverse topography, climate, people, makes it unique country, worth visiting. Northern part of Pakistan is high altitude are, with K-2 the second highest peak after Mount Everest, may attracts mountaineers, expeditors and those who really believes in adventures. Pakistan possess: World’s largest collection of High Mountain peaks. Around 200 peaks are above 6000 meters high, World’s largest collection of Glaciers (outside Arctic and Antarctic Regions), World’s largest Canal irrigation network, World’s highest Paved Road “Karakorum Highway” (KKH) almost above 4000m from sea-level, part of ancient Silk Route, World’s highest Railroad bridge at Kan Mehtarzai, in Baluchistan province, World’s highest Mud Volcano at Hingol in Baluchistan, World’s most extreme temperatures+50 C in Sibi to -50C in GB.

“The roof of the world” -Deosai National Park is located between Kharmang, Astore and Skardu in Gilgit Baltistan. It has an average elevation of 4,114 meters(13,497 ft) above sea level, making the Deosai Plains second highest plateau in the world. The park protects an area of 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 sq mi). It is well known for its rich flora and fauna of the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe eco region. In spring, it is covered by sweeps of wildflowers and a wide variety of butterflies. Deosai is second highest plateau after Changtang Tibetan Plateau. World Famous Poet said:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”.

– William Wordsworth

Southern part of Pakistan is costal area along the Arabian-Sea, with white sandy beaches and deserts. Tourist from cold areas can enjoy summer during their winter season. Even, during December and January, one can swing in open sea. Warm winter is attraction for those who are fed-up of severe cold in their home towns.

Central part of Pakistan is moderate area, where mostly is plan land and agriculture is the strength of central part, which is also major economic strength of the country.

Pakistan is an old civilization, belongs to several thousand years of rich history, Ghandhara civilization is one of the biggest attraction for those who love archeology and oil civilization. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are signs of oldest civilization of this regions.

Pakistan is equally good attraction for religious tourism. The first-ever Budhist university was in Taxila, in Pakistan. Unfact, the porigin of Budhism was the border areas betewwen Afghanistan and Pakistan, later on spread to India, China, Japan and rest of world. Many Buddhist visit Pakistan religiously.

Sikhs are equally attracted to visit their holy places in Pakistan like: Nankana Sahib, PanjaHasanabdal, and Kartarpura etc.

Pakistan offers local food in variety of manners and rich in culture. Local traditions and hospitality of Pakistani society is much more attraction for nature loving people.

Government of Pakistan has launched e-visa and much more Fridley visa regime to promote tourism. Under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), road network throughout the country has been up-graded or being up-graded soon. Accessibility is much convenient and affordable. Boarding logging is affordable with reason able quality. Law and order situation has improved a lot. In fact, Pakistan was a very peaceful country and tourists consider as paradise in 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. But due Afghan situation, the image of Pakistan was damaged and foreign tourists avoided to travel to Pakistan.

Hope more and more foreigners will visit Pakistan, as it a blessed country with natural beauty, and very much cost effective. What do you plan for your next vacations? Pakistan welcomes you. Be our guest and enjoy our traditional hospitality. Love nature, love Pakistan.

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Travel & Leisure

Only on Langkawi: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Coveted Langkawi Pursuits

MD Staff

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Whether in search of wanderlust, culture, or relaxation, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi showcases a bespoke collection of experiences that captures the warmth of Malaysian culture, combined with a deep sense of place. The Resort, with its prime placement directly on Langkawi’s longest stretch of beach and adjacent to a UNESCO Geopark allows premier access to occasions that few have the opportunity to experience in Southeast Asia, let alone the world.  

Our Front Office Manager, Mr. Indran Santhirasekaran, has offered his five must-see experiences that are only found here on Langkawi:

Mangroves & Eagle Safari – Explore mysterious forests between land and sea on this naturalist-led boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park – home to majestic eagles, mischievous macaques, fish that “walk,” colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Raja & Ratu Ritual – Designed for couples to experience together, this award-winning ritual focuses on three specific chakras – sacral, heart and crown – to maximize emotional and physical connections.

Cycle Adventure & Photography Tour – Pedal and capture your way through rural regions, taking in villages to scenic waterfalls, as you enjoy a photo adventure tour.

Rainforest Trekking – Trek through Langkawi’s pristine rainforest and witness rare wildlife, ancient rock formations, and a scenic waterfall along the adventurous journey.

Lessons in Spice – Immerse yourself in the flavour, fragrance and flair of Malay cuisine. Distinguish local ingredients, sample aromatic spices and discover traditional cooking techniques with our world-class chefs. 

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10 Iconic Must-See Properties to Experience in Hilton’s 100th Year

MD Staff

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Born out of Cisco, Texas, in 1919, Hilton approaches its 100th anniversary in May of this year. In nearly 100 years of hospitality, its hotels around the world have pioneered innovation, shaped communities, become part of the fabric of popular culture and developed into iconic destinations.

Anniversaries are an opportune time to reflect, to look ahead, to celebrate and, of course, to travel. Hilton now has more than 5,600 properties around the world in 113 countries and territories, but these 10 iconic properties top the list as must-see destinations to fully take in Hilton’s 100th year. From culinary and design innovations to regional and historical significance, these hotels are reimagining the travel experience and have played a role in defining not only Hilton’s unique history over the past century, but history itself.

Americas

Conrad Washington, DC

Conrad Hotels & Resorts’ highly anticipated Conrad Washington, DC will welcome guests starting in April 2019. Introducing a new era of hospitality for travelers seeking modern luxury in the heart of the nation’s capital, Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron designed the sleek and contemporary property. The signature restaurant, Estuary, led by “Top Chef” alumni Michael Voltaggio and his brother Bryan Voltaggio, will feature a seasonal menu that highlights the flavors of the nearby Chesapeake Bay area. The property’s unique architecture includes a dedicated rooftop bar featuring panoramic views of the U.S. capitol, which will offer discerning travelers an experience unlike any other in the world’s most influential city.

Caribe Hilton

Named a 2019 Place to Stay by Forbes, rediscover Caribe Hilton, making its debut later this year after a multimillion dollar restoration and reinvention following devastation from 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Famous as the birthplace of the piña colada, the iconic resort has been wowing guests since 1949, when it opened as the first international Hilton hotel. Sip the hotel’s creamy refreshment, now Puerto Rico’s official drink, or explore the views of San Juan’s shoreline from the exclusive, lushly landscaped 17-acre peninsula.

Palmer House – A Hilton Hotel

Experience a working piece of history, and a beautiful one at that, with a stay at the historic Palmer House – A Hilton Hotel. Indulge in a chocolate brownie at the very place where they were invented in 1893 (that’s right, thank Bertha Palmer). Take a grand tour with the resident historian and peruse the hotel museum. The fabled Empire Dining Room, converted to “café society” supper club in 1933, welcomed legendary entertainers including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Liberace and more.

Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

Take in extraordinary views of the city, beach and iconic landmarks from Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana. Opened as a Hilton property in 2017, the beachfront resort marked Hilton’s 100th opening in Latin America. The hotel is located in the famous Copacabana neighborhood, one of Brazil’s most visited destinations. Among the tallest and largest hotels in the area, guests can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city’s three main tourist attractions – Copacabana Beach, the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain, from one of the hotel’s two exclusive pools.

EMEA

Transcorp Hilton Abuja

Discover Nigeria from the flagship of its hospitality industry, the Transcorp Hilton Abuja. Built in a remote location in the ‘80s, the hotel pioneered a bustling community and catalyzed Abuja’s evolution into the thriving capital city it is today. Centrally located in the capital’s commercial district, the award-winning hotel is one of the largest in sub-saharan Africa and serves as a national landmark, having hosted countless heads of state and global events. Whether exploring the busy city, learning about traditional village life at the on-site Abuja handicraft village where artisans display their work or visiting the natural rock formations on the edge of the city, Transcorp Hilton Abuja is a perfect base for travel in Nigeria.

Hilton Frankfurt Airport

Upgrade your airport hotel expectations this year with a stay at the highly awarded Hilton Frankfurt Airport. Awarded “Best Airport Hotel” for Germany, Europe and Internationally – several times over – this Frankfurt hotel combines futuristic design and authentic hospitality and is walking distance to Terminal 1 by sky walk. Designed for comfort and convenience, rooms are decorated in rich, warm colors and offer sound-proof windows, creating a sanctuary for the modern traveler to unwind or catch up on work.

Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus

Situated in the heart of the city, Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus has a storied past spanning six decades. The first international five-star hotel in Turkey, Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus symbolized a new beginning in Istanbul’s social scene and was very important for Conrad Hilton, as a key part in his plans to expand throughout Europe. Take a dip in the pool, designed in the very shape of Conrad Hilton’s footstep, or head to the Lobby Lounge of Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus for high tea, a tradition that became a fixture among the social life of Istanbulites shortly after the hotel’s opening, even inspiring movies of the period.

APAC

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Applauded for its pioneering achievements and sustainable approach to travel, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island was the first resort to offer undersea dining at its restaurant Ithaa, and it is home to THE MURAKA, the first-of-its-kind residence both above and below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Two spas, including one over the sea with glass-floored treatment rooms, offer guests relaxation and rejuvenation. The rare and diverse marine wildlife on show cements Conrad Maldives Rangali Island as one of the premier island destinations worldwide.

Hilton Tokyo

Opened in 1963, this Tokyo staple marked the first hotel of a global brand in Japan and has continued to drive Japanese hospitality forward ever since. Relocated to its current spot in Nishi Shinjuku in the mid-‘80s, Hilton Tokyo has hosted numerous prominent guests from politicians to international rock bands and has introduced a bevy of culinary newness to Japan, including the first sommelier service, the first Chinese all-you-can-eat service in Japan and the first dessert buffet.

Hilton Singapore

An institution in Singapore’s hospitality scene and a foodie’s delight, Hilton Singapore was among the first international hotels to bring its trademark level of service excellence and culinary innovation to the garden city. Hilton Singapore was the first hotel in Asia to achieve Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certifications, assuring seafood dishes with the respective ecolabels have been prepared with sustainably caught and farmed seafood sources. Try the hotel’s Opus Bar & Grill’s prime-cuts that are dry aged in-house, or savor Italian gastronomy with unique Japanese flair at the award-winning il Cielo.

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