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Canal St Travel Expert

Introducing Gary Manners, your Canal St travel Expert.Online booking has changed the industry tremendously, but the personal touch can always provide added confidence together with many added value aspects to your trip.

Contact him today and ask about your plans.Happy to oblige and share many years of experience.

Nevis a Caribbean Paradise. Read more about this hideaway..

I recently visited this wonderful Caribbean Island, having visited many of the larger Islands during my 25 years in Travel and found this a breath of fresh air. If you need any information or recommendations, please let me know. I loved this island and called it my “Caribbean Hideaway”

We travelled over on the local ferry from the terminal at St Kitts, and it took about 45 minutes to get over. You can get back on the fast jet boat if you have less time.

Charlestown is a very interesting place to visit. Lots of shops, and plenty of Georgian-style buildings still remain. There’s a charming lack of modernisation of Charlestown, and local efforts are underway to preserve the original buildings.

During my time in Nevis I got to visit the following hotels staying at the Four Seasons, a Luxury 5 Star Hotel with wonderful facilities, sea views and different room types.

One thing I did notice during touring Nevis which was quite amazing was the difference between the beaches on the North and Western parts of the islands. I found them much superior, less crowded and often empty compared to the beaches of South and Eastern parts, and of course clean and free to be used by everyone!

Travel around the Island is quite easy with quiet roads and very little in the way of traffic jams or road rage.

Nisbet Beach on the north coast is well maintained and surrounded by palm trees. It’s largely frequented by guests at Nisbet Beach Resort Hotel but everyone is welcome. Its gentle ocean breezes make it a popular place to spend a relaxing day. On the day I visited a group of cruise customers who had just arrived. Located in 30 lush acres, this is the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn located on a beach. Its magnificent lawns lead down to the soft sands and the sea. The setting is beautiful and elegant.

There are 38 luxurious lemon-coloured cottages, each surrounded by almost a quarter acre of land to ensure peace and privacy. Dining is highly prized with no less than three Caribbean restaurants serving gourmet food with a local flavour and a global influence. Thursday nights feature popular beachside barbecues and a local steel band.

Personal pampering is also on the menu and a visit to the Palms Spa is a perfect complement to your stay at this relaxed hotel. Facilities include three restaurants, two bars, freshwater pool, tennis court, snorkelling, boutique, croquet and complimentary laundry.

Newcastle beaches were stunning, clean and my favourite ones. On the northern side of the island, this beach gets its name from the nearby village of Newcastle. It’s mostly covered with soft, yellow sand and is a nice spot to relax. It’s also a great place to visit on a Saturday and enjoy the atmosphere as the fishermen sell their fresh catches that day. Be sure to sample the local BBQ… wonderful!

Herberts Beach isn’t far from the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club. Herbert’s Beach is renowned for its many reefs teeming with spectacular marine life. Naturally this makes it a magnet for snorkellers. The beach is close to where the Atlantic Ocean begins on the windward side of the island.

Nevis is a very elegant and romantic venue for a wedding. You can choose from picturesque churches, historic plantations, soft, sandy beaches or beautiful tropical gardens. All will make your special day a memorable occasion. I will give you all the help you need in arranging a perfect Wedding or Honeymoon and will guide you through the simple formalities.

Just some of the things to do whilst visiting Nevis include touring the Heritage Trail, turtle monitoring and swimming. Golf facilities on Nevis are world class with the main course being the Robert Trent Jones II 18-hole, par 71 course at the Four Seasons Resort.

The waters around Nevis are teeming with game fish like tuna, barracuda, sailfish, blue marlin, wahoo and mahi mahi. You can see a lot cycling in Nevis. Remember the island is only 36 square miles in size and there is a 20 mile main road that runs round it.

All in all a wonderful “Caribbean Hideaway”! I can thoroughly recommend both the historical and cultural interest of the island along with the superb North and West coast beaches and hotels.

Published on - Thu, 08 Nov 2018

South Africa With a Touch of Luxury Gary Manners recommends..

I have recently been looking at a fantastic itinerary for some of my customers wanting to visit South Africa, and really felt I wanted to share this with you too. I based the travel dates on Mid May to Mid June a really good time to see the Big 5 and get the best weather too.

This wonderful Itinerary around South Africa, begins in Johannesburg and takes in Ulusaba in Kruger National Park and Key points around the Eastern and Western Cape including Pretoria, Capetown and Stellanbosch, this gives the opportunity to visit the Famous “Garden Route” and experience Wine Tasting and amazing scenery right out of the Film “Born Free”, and which is best experienced on a Self Drive Touring option which I can arrange.

They also manage to pull in an overnight journey from Pretoria to Capetown on the Iconic “Blue Train” which is a wonderful link between the Northern Points and East and West Capes and breathtaking scenery of central parts of South Africa on a 27 hour Colonial Journey back in time.

The Journey begins with flights from the UK served by British Airways and Virgin into Johannesburg travelling overnight and arriving into Johannesburg around 730am, giving you plenty of time to connect with the internal South African Airways flights to the 5 Star Ulusaba Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park.

Ulusaba has its own private Air Strip and is owned and operated to and Excellent standard by Sir Richard Branson. (Virgin Brand Creator and Megastar)

We have opted for the 3 night All inclusive Safari Option based on the Ulusaba Game Lodge-River Room with Plunge Pool with everything you could wish for and much much more, its a wonderful place …

Built tree house style and very private there are four River Rooms, with two rooms offering private plunge pools. All are very spacious with snuggling seating areas and striking views of the river bed or bush. Ideal for those celebrating or enjoying a romantic escape as these rooms are secluded and tucked between jackalberry trees. Three of the River Rooms are accessible by swing bridge and are a short walk from the main Lodge.

The treehouse viewing deck overlooking the Xikwenga Dam is a great place to get even further into the bush to see where the hippos and elephants come to bathe. Ulusaba has a fantastic Spa offering every type of Spa Treatment you can think of.

From bush games, safari walks and cocktails by the pool, there’s no shortage of things to do during the day.

You might not be a morning person but it’s certainly worth getting out of bed for this. Your morning starts with freshly baked goodies and tea and coffee to help get started. Your Ranger and Tracker will meet you and your morning adventure begins. As sun rises you’ll be treated to the beauty of the African bush. This is generally the best time to spot the wildlife, as the temperature is cool and the animals are still very active, including the big cats, which will be returning from a night of hunting. We don’t want to give too much away, so just remember to set your alarm.

All your meals are included and with at least six chances to eat, from fine dining , room service or an intimate meal for two on your private balcony you won’t go hungry.

The next part of the journey after our flight from Ulusaba back to Johannesburg is a 45 minute private transfer to Pretoria which can be arranged directly from the Airport to all the main Hotels in Pretoria, we opted to stay in the Sheraton Pretoria on a bed and breakfast basis.

This hotel offers everything you would expect of a 4 Star City Hotel including Room and Suites, Health Club and Spa, Magnolia Restaurant and Tiffin Bar and lounge for your afternoon tea and cakes..wonderful.

The next day sees early breakfast and our journey to Pretoria Main Train Station for our Iconic Colonial Journey back in time on the “Blue Train” to Capetown, we have packed our best Suits, Dickie Bows and Ball Gowns for an experience of a lifetime and that feeling of anticipation of what we are going to see and experience over the next 24 hours.

The route between Pretoria and Cape Town is a 27-hour journey of 1 600 kilometres (994 miles), through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent.

We have opted for the Deluxe Carriage and all our meals are included and they certainly live up to their 5 Star rating.

Your De Luxe Suite will forever alter your definition of what style and class entail. From your elegant and relaxing lounge during the day, it transforms into a subtly-lit bedroom of indulgence during the night, with goose-down and 100 per cent percale-cotton bedding, from your individually-controlled air-conditioning system, under-floor heating, opulent marble and gold-fitted bathroom, its scented bath salts and plush monogrammed towels, to the electronic entertainment options on offer. And then, of course, all this accompanied by the ever-changing vistas of the African countryside…

The highlight of the evening is of course getting all dressed up for a wonderful meal on this amazing train and historic journey to Capetown.

On board chefs regularly refresh their menus to intrigue and tantalise your palate, as they prepare their signature dishes using the freshest of local ingredients. From Karoo lamb, ostrich and venison, to Knysna oysters and other award-winning Cape cultivars. All presented in delicate crystal or on fine china, all contributing to the ultimate experience of “The Blue Train”.

En route to Cape Town there is a stopover and excursion in Kimberley, where we take a step back in time to the days of the diamond rush.

After Departing our Carriages and leaving the “Blue Train” behind we have waiting for us our Vehicle a Mitsubishi ASX hired for 5 days for the final part of our journey from Capetown to Stellanbosch taking in the Wine Region and experiencing two more wonderful locations, a must see part of South Africa.

In Capetown we have opted for the Radisson Blu Waterfront and have a Business Class room on bed and breakfast again this is a fantastic hotel offering every first class facility.

the Radisson Blu Hotel also offers easy access to popular destinations like Table Mountain and Robben Island.

From Capetown we travel to the final hotel in Stellanbosch, the Oude Werf, Cape Winelands oldest and most famous Hotel.

Oude Werf has 58 rooms in three luxury styles, set across the hotel property. Most are centred on our poolside gardens or in our historic inn-house. All rooms have been extensively renovated or are newly built, incorporating modern features.

Finally our journey see us dropping our car back at Capetown Airport and making our way back to the airport for our flight back to the UK - what a wonderful itinerary to have provided for my customers and a real insight into what South Africa has to offer. Its a destination on a huge scale offering every type of holiday type and standard - I can honestly say its a trip of a lifetime.

More here

Published on - Mon, 05 Nov 2018

Frenetic, fun and fascinating – Southeast Asia is a force to be reckoned with!

Intrepid Asia Blog

For first-time or solo travellers, it can be a touch overwhelming and that’s why joining a small group tour is a great idea. Exploring with  Travel Counsellors allows you to see the local side of Southeast Asia, enjoy a hassle-free adventure and experience a perfectly balanced itinerary along with unbeatable value for money.

Throughout the month of November, Travel Counsellors are offering 10-30% OFF all their holidays in Southeast Asia. So, if you’re wanting to travel, here’s a handful of spots to consider.

For the active adventurers

Better known for its beautiful beaches, Thailand is an unexpected active traveller’s paradise. Whether you are keen to kayak down the infamous River Kwai, surrounded by lush forest and astonishing mountain vistas. Want to see a different side to bustling Chiang Mai with a few days spent cycling through local neighbourhoods and getting a window into everyday life. Or, set hearts pumping on a 3-day trek through the enlightening hilltribe villages of the north – you can do it all!

For the foodie followers

Home to one of the freshest and most fragrant cuisines on the planet, Vietnam is a dream for anyone searching for a food-focused break. On a street food tour of Hanoi, you can discover the best spots in town to sample northern dishes like pho and bun cha. During a trip to Hoi An, why not visit a local herb garden and take part in a hands-on cooking class. And, in Ho Chi Minh City youo can tuck into a meal at KOTO café, an inspiring initiative offering hospitality training to disadvantaged teens.

For the culture cravers

A lengthy and at times devastating history has coloured the character of Cambodia. From the awe-inspiring Khmer ruins at the Angkor Wat temple complex, with their intricately carved facades. To the heart-breaking Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. There’s a lot to be learned about this small Southeast Asian nation. Other captivating cultural activities include the floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake outside Siem Reap, enabling you to interact with locals who call this place home.  

For the wildlife wanderers

Hidden away in the steamy jungles of Malaysian Borneo live all manner of captivating creatures. You will love cruising down the Kinabatangan River in search of brightly-billed birds, pocketsize pygmy elephants and cleverly camouflaged crocs. They’ll relish their visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre for a rare opportunity to see these unique animals in action. And, th delight in dropping by the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to watch these gentle giants hanging around.

Call Gary on 0161 826 7430

Personal Travel Specialist at Travel Counsellors

Published on - Sat, 03 Nov 2018

Ever been to Brussels? Its a great alternative to Berlin or Amsterdam.

Brussels for the LGBT Traveller

By Guest Contributor POLARI TRAVELLER

Brussels is Belgium’s capital and home to the headquarters of the European Union. The ornate Grand-Place at the heart of the city has shops and cafes inside 17th-century guildhouses, and the intricate Gothic Hôtel de Ville (town hall) with its distinctive bell tower.Its charm and cultural acivities are well known and all are easily accessable. Whilst the city is all of these things, it also provides so much more for the LGBT traveller.

The scene here, whilst much smaller than in Manchester, is similar in that most of the venues are quite close to each other and are located within easy walking distance of the Grand Place and indeed each other. Le Baroque and The Station are actually opposite each other and with the former catering for a highly visible Bear clientele in the main, the latter has a more mixed crowd of all types, ages and looks.You takes your pick..

One of the highlights and a real discovery is la Boule Rouge. A small intimate bar/diner nestled just a short walk from The Grand Place, which attracts a nice balance of tourists and local LGBT community by day and at night. An added bonus for us, was the La Diva Live Show every Friday when you can dine from 19h à la carte or just a drink after 22h, with FREE ENTRY!

The Drag performers (led by the hugely talented La Diva herself) are all high end and perform live in several languages. Costumes too are magnificent. Watch out for the lovely Sugar Love, often in residence, who works with and promotes her artists via her You Tube.

Then there is is famous La Reserve Bar, which was once voted the friendliest Gay Bar in the world.Quite a claim of course, but with its owners Ronnie and Petter always in attendance, as well as a loyal and long serving management team, who create a super atmosphere at all times.Open everyday,La Reserve is definitely for an older crowd (and their friends/admirers) with a mixed music policy as varied as Plastic Bertrand ( who remembers ca plane pour moi ?) Adele right through to erstwhile Eurovision favs from the last 40 years.
A must visit for any Mancs visitor. 

The Trans community is visible at many of the bars and whilst Women have their own places to go, these are less obvious (in common with most cities across Europe) with details on the link below.

Brussels also has a vibrant and highly visible Bear/leather scene too.
The main focus of this is the popular Stamm Bar which boasts the city’s only dark room.This apart, the venue has a lovely, friendly vibe and is busy most nights from 9pm until very late.

For the guys, the two main saunas are very different and equally appealing depending on your taste. Oasis is traditional, grand and large (we thought it could have been an Embassy of some description) sauna with a definite mature feel to it. Macho on the other hand, is more contemporary and has a wider range in customers including a large ethnic clientele. Again choice is the key.

Beyond the LGBT attractions this city has great charm, is not overly expensive, and is both easy to get around and in the main very friendly and English is widely spoken, so should not prove an issue.

Travel is an important area to look into carefully. Brussels actually has 2 Airports which are approximately 80km apart. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CHECK WHICH ONE YOU ARE FLYING TO/FROM. Some budget carriers such as Ryanair use Brussels South Charleroi Airport, which has no train service a limited bus service and whilst there is no shortage of cabs, they can be up to £160 from/to the city centre. . We highly recommend that your next mini break be to De Bruxelles.

Why not check out the Brussels getaway that our travel partner Jon Fletcher of Cruise Holidays UK has designed exclusively for Canal St card members. 

Other useful links 

The Station

La Boule Rouge Macho Sauna

Oasis Sauna

La Demence 

Le Baroque Silly Lilly

Published on - Mon, 23 Jan 2017