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The 17 best resorts in the world, according to travelers – Business Insider

If you're looking for the best resorts in the world, go to Africa.

Cond Nast Traveler recently released the results of its 32nd annual Readers' Choice Awards survey, which chronicled travelers' experiences, including unforgettable resorts all over the world.

Read more: The 17 best hotels in the world, according to travelers

In the survey, 600,000 voters provided their thoughts on nearly 10,000 hotels, resorts, and global experiences. The resorts that ultimately made the final cut all share an air of luxury, but they span different price points and destinations.

Here are the top 17 resorts in the world. Safari-inspired travel seemed to be popular this year, with seven out of 17 resorts being African bush resorts. A couple of private islands in the Maldives made the cut, as did a handful of Irish castles. Only one US resort topped the list.

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The 17 best resorts in the world, according to travelers - Business Insider

Royal Caribbean Announces Private Island in the South Pacific – Cruise Critic

(2.50 p.m. AEST) Royal Caribbean has announced the location of the lines newest private island destination 'Perfect Day at Lelepa', in Vanuatu. Set to open in 2022, Perfect Day at Lelepa will be the Southern Hemispheres first private island destination for cruise visitors.

The announcement of the new project was made by Vanuatus Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley.

Salwai and Bayley said the destination will be created in partnership with the community of Vanuatu to showcase the natural beauty and diverse local culture of the island nation as well as provide employment and education opportunities.

Perfect Day at Lelepa will also be built with sustainability features designed to safeguard the islands ecosystems and will be the first carbon neutral private cruise island in the world, with standards for carbon neutrality audited and certified by an independent third-party expert.

We believe our destinations should be sustainably designed, Bayley said. That idea goes beyond simply protecting the ecological features of Lelepa and includes showing respect for the people and traditions that make this a special place.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Salwai said, Vanuatu is a true paradise for both our people and the visitors we welcome to our shores each year. Today marks a major step forward in our island nations close relationship with Royal Caribbean and one that will support sustainable growth for future generations. The Ni-Vanuatu people look forward to welcoming Royal Caribbean guests from around the world to enjoy extraordinary adventures and relaxation during their Perfect Day at Lelepa.

Bayley said, Anyone who has encountered the tremendous natural beauty of Lelepa can understand why it is the perfect setting for Perfect Day. Our guests who travel to the South Pacific are seeking authentic adventures and genuine relaxation, and they will find both here.

Perfect Day at Lelepa will have a different look and feel from Royal Caribbeans Perfect Day at CocoCay (pictured above). Bailey went on to say that guests around the world all have different definitions for their perfect day and all of them are right. He is confident the designers of the first Perfect Day in the South Pacific will create an experience that suits the destination.

Cox Architecture, a sustainable, design-focused contemporary architectural firm based in Australia, will serve as the lead architect on the Perfect Day at Lelepa project which is scheduled to open in three year's time.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Private Island in the South Pacific - Cruise Critic

Would You Buy One of These 5 BC Private Islands For $2.3 Million? – 604 Now

Vancouver, BC is pretty well known for its un-affordable housing.I guess that doesnt include private islands?

Currently, theres not one, or two, or three private islands for sale, theresfive, all under $2.3 million.

Take a look.

Location:Gulf Islands, British Columbia

Price:$2,225,000

Approximate Size: 100 acres

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

This little island is about a 20-minute floatplane ride away from Vancouver International Airport and about 3 miles away from Vancouver Island. At its highest peak, the island reaches an elevation as high as 109 feet.

Location:Gulf Islands, British Columbia

Price:$1,499,000

Approximate Size:8 acres

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Lily Island, located in Silva Bay near Gabriola Island, is much smaller than West Ballenas Island, but it has a lot of beautiful landscapes. The island is mostly undeveloped, which means that its a great place to build a dream home.

Location:Gulf Islands, British Columbia

Price:$1,100,000

Approximate Location:7 acres

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Located just off of Lasqueti Island, Jelina Island is a nature lovers dream. (Most private islands in BC are, if were being honest.) This islands varied topography provides multiple unique lots to built a residence, including ones that allows for whale-spotting!

Location:Gulf Islands

Price:$1,995,000

Approximate Size:9.67 acres

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

On the market for the first time in 50 years, Halibut Island is conveniently located near Victorias Port Sidney Marina and comes with a beautiful soft-gravel beach, as well as multiple naturally-carved sandstone benches.

Location:Discovery Islands, British Columbia

Price:$1,695,000

Approximate Size:50 acres

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

Photo: Colliers Unique Properties

At 50 acres, South Octopus Island offers a tremendous amount of space, as well as privacy. The island comes with a pre-existing dock and cabin thats become a destination for tourists. Its located on the northeast side of Quadra Island and is a short boat-ride away from Herriott Bay, which has access to a BC Ferries terminal.

Well, which would of these would you choose? Or would you rather go even bigger, like the 340-acre Fawn Bluff Cove?

Nonetheless, these islands seem like a better buy than the most expensive condo in downtown Vancouver, and maybe even some new townhouses.

Let us know what you think!

All photos via Colliers Unique Properties.

If you liked this article, you might like our Real Estate section.

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Would You Buy One of These 5 BC Private Islands For $2.3 Million? - 604 Now

Most luxurious Maldive resort cleans up nearby island in support of Parley Maldives initiative – Travel Wires

Parley Maldives is the Maldives branch of Parley for the Oceans, a global collaboration network with a new approach to environmentalism. The mission of Parley is to end today's major ocean threats through creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.

The private island resort of JA Manafaru itself is spectacularly beautiful and unspoilt, sitting in the crystal-clear waters of the most northern point of the Haa Alifu Atoll. Although the ocean and beach areas surrounding the award-winning resort are pristine examples awe-inspiring nature, other islands in the Maldives have issues with waste, particularly non- biodegradable materials like plastic.

Best Dives Maldives, a local diving, excursion and ocean activity company partnered with the JA Manafaru Resort and a local school Hoarafushi School, to undertake a monumental task in cleaning up the western coastline of Marine Protected Area (MPA), Gallandhoo.

The team planned the clean-up with Best Dives, informed guests and arranged resort boats to collect volunteers heading to the island to clean the area. Together more than 50 staff, guests, students and parents filled over 23 jumbo bags of waste in one hour. Marine biologists asserted that Gallandhoo Island looked strikingly different after the team efforts and considerable potential damage to marine life was averted. All the plastic waste collected will be sent to Parley.

To address the fast-growing threat of marine plastic pollution, Parley have devised a strategy that can be scaled across private households, schools, businesses and governments: Parley AIR Avoid, Intercept, Redesign. Guided by these pillars, they advocate avoiding the use of single-use plastics and promoting responsible disposal of single-use plastics. The goal in the Maldives is to boost the protection of the marine ecosystem through collective change. In collaboration with plastic interception partners, Parley has now exported 48 containers of plastic waste from the Maldives, preventing over 800 tons of plastics from entering the oceans. These plastics are recycled and upcycled to help create a new economy of eco-innovation and collaboration, beginning with reducing the use of raw virgin plastics in production processes.

School students and guests were presented with certificates of appreciation for their participation in the JA Manafaru event, and when asked why there was such an issue with plastic waste on Gallandhoo, the students explained there are low levels of understanding for many people regarding the disposal of plastic waste and of the environmental damage it causes.

New General Manager, Karen Merrick commented.

In order to preserve the coral reef, beautiful beaches and sea life, the JA Manafaru team has an ongoing commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability. The hotel no longer uses plastic bottles for drinking water and instead have their own glass bottling plant, which results in a huge reduction in plastic waste.

The JA Manafaru 'House Reef Cleaning' also invites guests to give back in a fun snorkelling and underwater reef-cleaning exercise, which certified divers can join. All items collected are logged so that any notable pollution can be immediately addressed. Other initiatives in planning at JA Manafaru include upgrading the water desalination plant for residual water to be used for landscaping, solar panel installation and a campaign for associates that raises awareness about reducing energy consumption.

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Most luxurious Maldive resort cleans up nearby island in support of Parley Maldives initiative - Travel Wires

Here’s Why This Gorgeous Island In the Maldives Is On Every Celebrities List – ScoopWhoop

Maldives is a regular hot spot for the rich and the famous. From Hollywood celebritiesto world famous athletes to the Bollywood stars, all head to Soneva Fushi in Maldives, for a quite vacation. But, do you know why this island is on top of every celebrities list?

We can think of a million reasons but, isolation is the most prominent one. Soneva Fushi Resorts, is a paradise hidden away from the paparazzi which means, here, it's all about the privacy.

Just look at these beautiful villas. Drop dead gorgeous, aren't they?

For starters, Soneva Fushi is aUNESCO Biosphere Reserve that offers chic, quirky bungalows over-looking the beautiful ocean at the edge of the jungle. This idyllic island offers 25 Robinson Crusoe-style overwater villas and a massive beach house made with recycled materials andeco-friendly amenities. Here, it's all about nature and the natural things!

A 40-minute seaplane ride takes you to Soneva Fushi Island, in Baa Atoll where celebrities are often spotted holidaying. It is also a carbon-neutral,90 percent waste-free resort that is aesthetically pleasing in every sense.

Look at what Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja have been up to lately. We are jealous!

Seems like they believe in the simple philosophy of no shoes, no news and we are totally digging it.

This imaginative hideout belongs to Soneva, a luxury hotel group that owns two private islands in Maldvies. They offer 25 uniquely styled villas that you can choose from, depending on what you prioritize the most.

I am already making plans in my head. Clickhereto make your reservations.

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Here's Why This Gorgeous Island In the Maldives Is On Every Celebrities List - ScoopWhoop

Cheval Blanc Randheli In Maldives Where Barefoot Luxury Meets Raw Nature – Forbes

Are you looking for a meaningful and unique trip? Experience a majestic and unforgettable barefoot stay at Cheval Blanc Randheli in theMaldives.

Cheval Blanc Randheli from above

Cheval Blanc Maisons, part of LVHM group, counts four Maisons in exclusive destinations -Randheli, Courchevel, St Barths, St Tropez, and a fifth will open in Paris next spring. Each Maison has its own identity and celebrates a perfect alchemy between tradition and innovation, local architecture and timeless elegance.

Luxury destinations are the hardest to reach, but a beautifuljourney and once you get there, it becomes a dream come true. Fly to Mal in The Maldives. The archipelago is located in South Asia in the Indian Oceanabout 600 km from India and is composed of 1192 islands with only 187 beinginhabited, which covers an area ofroughly 298 square kilometers. It is one of the most dispersed states in the world.

Cristal clear water

Boarding the Seaplane in Mal

From Paris or London, there are several convenient direct flights with Air France, British Airways or Lufthansa to get there. Once youland in Mal -the capital- a Cheval Blanc Ambassador will greet you and drive you to Cheval Blanc lounge. Get a fresh juice, a shower, put your flip flops and then be ready to board the bespoke seaplane Cheval Blanc for a 40-minute flight north of Mal, bound forNoonu Atoll. An exceptional barefoot holiday has already started!

Arrival at Randheli

Surrounded by infinite blue waters and soft white sand, nothing on the horizon and lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, prestigious French hospitality shines at its best. Here emerald garden jungle meets aquamarine waters. Cheval Blanc Randheli is an extraordinary jewel nestled in Noonu Atoll. So spectacular. This refuge is extremely rich in marine life, lush greenery, exotic flowers and tropical birds. Noonu Atoll shelters nature in abundance. Not only is this green paradisehome to a rich marine life of manta rays, a multitude of dolphins, turtles and other tropical fish,but italso abounds with coconut palms, banyans, exotic flowers and plants and is a haven for tropical birds. The Atoll is home to some Dhandi Fulhu Dhooni, a rare and protected white Maldivian bird. Natural life has been genuinely introduced on this atoll. During a lovely biking ride through the property with Marie Claude Metrot who is in charge of Etiquette and Protocol for LVMH Group, I discovered the incredible genuine work that has been made on an atoll. Nature and its protection is at the center of this sanctuary. The resort strives to preserve the natural balance of its island. Ecology reachesits paroxysm. You will drink locally purified water -through a unique system- from a reusable glass bottle engraved with the logo of Cheval Blanc.

Biking around

Architect Jean Michel Gathy

This exceptional resort designed by Belgium celebrated architect Jean-Michel Gathy consists of a variety of land and over water accommodation. Mr Gathy explained me that what makes this project so special is that there are 45 independent villas and the Owner's Villa set on a private island. Cheval Blanc Randheli features a stylish color palette of white, taupe and oyster grey with touchesof yellow, the hospitality group's signature hue. This beautiful yellow color shinesaround the property from the so-chic attire of the Ambassadors to bag and towel beach, to exquisite candles and hair care by Leonor Grey and a multitude of bathroom amenities packaged Cheval Blanc. Note that their extraordinary scent has been created especially for the resort.Dont forget to take your Island Chic oil in your luggage.

Welcome To Cheval Blanc Randheli

Mr Gathy added that they conceived the resort in synergy with thenatural surroundings: the modern architecture naturally blends with the island's landscape, vegetation and lagoon views. A complete harmony for a total relaxation and inner peace. Just take off your shoes and enjoy an elegant, and refined island barefoot living.

Beach Villa

This place reminded meof my years spentin French Polynesia where I was lucky to spend week-ends in Tetiaora - Marlon Brandos Atoll - before it became this eco-friendlyexceptional resort The Brando. Life on an atoll is so particular. I stayed in one of the 15 Beach Villas facing the lagoon. As soon as you step inside the villa, the lofty cathedral-style ceilings create a strong sense of spaciousness and openness. Framed by seven meter highcrafted doors that can be closed or open to give a connected or intimate space respectively, the villas are furnished with organic materials from the Indian Ocean -teak, rattan, bamboo, thatch and coconut shell. A contrast to the rustic feeling is provided by bright decorations, as well as bespoke design elements and a residential-style medley of artwork throughout the villa. A sculptural art piece by artist Vincent Beaurin hang above the streamlined bathtub.At night, when you are back at your villa from dinner, your majordome willhave prepared a sumptuous bubble bath- every night I have been wondering whatthe surprise bath would be! Incredible.

Inside Beach Villa

My last question to Mr Gathy was howhe woulddescribe Randheli in three words, he replied: "comfortable, elegant and charismatic. Agreed.

The resort includes spectacular main lodge, a large swimming pool, sports facilities, dive center, Le Carroussel kids club, an island only exclusive Guerlain Spa and a tennis island with two courts. Ontop of that , add five restaurants, four bars, and of course ultimate ivory beaches and crystal clear waters.

View over the swimming pool from The White

So what can you do in Randheli? Here are someof my highlights.

Just do nothing. Swim, eat, read, watch sunrises and sunsets and JUST repeat.

Wake up and jump into the warm water at sunrise. Listen and watch the beauty of the island around you. A pure bliss. Just relax and wonder. Take your bike to head to the White restaurant to enjoy an yummy breakfast or have it delivered by your majordome at your private villa. Another plus that makes the resort so special is your dedicated majordome from the first day ofarrival for your entire stay. Thanks to a restricted number of guests, you can enjoy the highest level of comfort and attention. From farniente on the beach to sport and water activities or just biking around the island, life seems to slow down in Randheli.

Dinner at Dyptique

Culinary art culminates at its best. Every desire is satisfied. There are so many options to feast on. From gastronomic dinner at Le 1947 to a succulent Japanese and East Asia dinner at Dyptique -where you are seated in the midst of the action around twin open kitchen and inside a beautiful tropical garden- or even a romantic Italian and Mediterranean seafront evening meal at Deelani, Randheli sets the bar extremelyhigh. For ultimate privacy and coziness, experience barbecue on the beach under the shade at your villa or orderone of the dishes from The Carte Blanche Menu in your room,delivered of course by your majordome.

Guerlain Spa Island

Spa island by Guerlain. I have loved spending time on this tiny haven. A short sail away from the main island on a traditional Maldivian boat the Dhoni made in coconut wood, you will immediately feel the peaceful vibes of Randheli. The island is entirely dedicated to revitalization and wellbeing. The treatment villas are opened onto the lagoon, so you will get massage and facial imagined by Guerlain while listening to the sound of the ocean. Just ask your Spa Ambassador for tailored rejuvenating experiences. Add some heavenly moments by the hamman and jacuzzi to get completely immersed before heading to the Spa Bar. Seated by a spectacular infinity pool and views of the dazzling atoll, the detoxifying menu is so healthy. Sip La Petite Robe Noire mocktail -a clin doeil to Guerlain sexy perfume- prepared with fresh ginger juice, lemon, pineapple and lychee and accompaniedwith grated fresh carrots and papaya salad or a Tahitian tuna coconut style.

Jacuzzi at the relaxing spa area

Yoga experience under the Thai pavilion. Perched above the sea, the yoga pavilion is heavenly located. Yoga teacher Master Puneet is excellent. Puneet really pushes you to find your inner peace and that makes your day even better.

Tennis. Sail fifteen minutes away on the crystal clear water to Randheli's jungle island Maakurandhoo to play tennis. Watch out as you willprobablysee a multitude of dolphins jumping by the boat on early mornings. Not bad isnt it? Yvo, the tennis coach will escort you to the clubhouse in the middle of a jungle garden to get ready for an hour of tennis. Not common to play on an isolated island.

Incredible peaceful sunset

Cheval Blanc Randheli definitelyrevisitsthe codes of ultra-luxury hospitality with bright modernity. This resort shines by its exceptional service and a continuous atmosphere of genuine kindness. You feel so pampered at each instant of your stay. Thank you to the kindest General Manager Renato Chizzola and the entire team for all the surprises and the moments shared which made my stay unforgettable. Travelingis not only about the place you discover butalso about the people you meet. Welcome to the world of Randheli.

The world of Cheval Blanc Randheli

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Cheval Blanc Randheli In Maldives Where Barefoot Luxury Meets Raw Nature - Forbes

Earn 2k a week to stay in luxury homes around the world for HushHush website – Cornwall Live

An exclusive website for some of the world's richest homebuyers wants to hire someone to stay in posh homes around the globe - and pay them 2,000 a week to review them.

The job is aimed at getting testers' opinions together before the properties are listed for sale.

The job advert, posted by HushHush.com, says it is looking to recruit someone on an ad-hoc basis to review each property application it receives. The successful candidate will be required to stay in each property for a week at a time and will be paid 2,000 for each home they review.

Some of the properties already listed on HushHush.com include a luxury Chateau on the French Riviera, a 25-bedroom Spanish villa, an oceanfront home in Floridas exclusive Ocean Reef Club and a 14,000 sq. ft mansion in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood of San Francisco. Properties range in price from 462,250 to 81 million.

Thesite says that the role is needed to ensure all properties meet the requirements of its affluent customers.

The successful candidate will be required to travel to each of the chosen properties and put together a detailed report covering the propertys location, accessibility, style, comfort and suitability for the website.

The job advert states that potential luxury home testers must have no previous criminal convictions, have an up to date passport and be willing to conduct reviews at short notice. Applicants must also demonstrate reliability, a keen eye for detail and the demonstratable writing skills.

After each week-long stay the reviewer will be expected to submit an 800-word account of the property within five days of returning home.

A spokesman said: "Offering one of the most exclusive marketplaces for high net worth individuals and VIP concierge services, HushHush.com connects a growing list of the worlds most wealthy consumers with luxury brands and products. HushHush.com collates some of the best unique luxury products available, from superyachts and hypercars to luxury villas and private islands, and partners with sellers to reach their audience."

The website's founder, Aaron Harpin, said: "HushHush.com is one of the most premium luxury marketplaces in the world, and were passionate about keeping it that way. The volume and high price of the products we list on site means the job of our reviewers and testers is absolutely essential we want our customers to know that every item we offer is of the highest quality.

"Due to an influx of properties for listing on the website, we need a luxury home tester to get on top of the growing stack of approval requests. The ideal candidate will have experience visiting or staying in luxury properties and will be able to demonstrate their ability to write compelling reviews. For many people this may seem like the job of a lifetime, so were expecting quite a few applications."

Potential candidates can apply for the role here.

Read more here:

Earn 2k a week to stay in luxury homes around the world for HushHush website - Cornwall Live

Love Islands Rosie Williams looks unrecognisable as she goes make-up free to reveal her freckles – The Sun

LOVE Island star Rosie Williams has stunned her fans by ditching her make-up and revealing her natural freckles.

The lawyer-turned-reality star, 28, looked incredible in her latest snaps, and many of her fans wasted no time in telling her.

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Rosie captioned the shot "...to those who made a comment yesterday - FRECK OFF! ", after being trolled for her freckles in a previous picture.

The support then came thick and fast, with one fan writing: "I LOVE your freckles!!!!."

Another posted: "Your so gorgous, i really think your freckles are cute and totally make you look gorgous with them or without them. ."

As a third wrote: "Absolutely gorgeous, natural beauty at it's finest. Your freckles are beautiful. I love how real and honest you are. Never change. No matter how much the haters try to grind you down ."

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Rosie documented her time at the luxury Playacar Palace resort in Mexico where she stayed with boyfriend Wayne Davies.

She came under fire in a shot of the couple holding hands and enjoying some bubbly, with one mean follower writing: "Oh noooo too much sun damage."

As a second said: "Your hands look old ."

Last year Rosie said she had "found love" after The Sun exclusively revealed she was dating entrepreneur Wayne.

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Earlier this year 31-year-old Wayne avoided jail after for the death of navy recruit James Edwards, 22, who was run over and killed in Greater Manchester in March 2017.

Davies admitted causing death by careless driving and possessing class A drugs, but was given a 10-month suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

Rosie, who has kept their romance largely private, previously told the Mail Online: "All I want to say is I have a boyfriend.

"I havent said to anyone who he is, I am happy and I have found love.

"Ive known him for about 18 months, so we knew each other before Love Island.

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"When I went onto the show, he was no longer part of my life in a romantic way.

"I dont think he quite liked me being on the show.

"When I came back, it gave us a chance and we started dating again."

The star, who enjoyed a fling with Adam Collard in the villa, continued: "I feel like you are just ready when you are with the right person.

"I am in the position I would like to get married first.

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"Obviously Ive just entered this new crazy world so I want to push my career as much as possible for a couple of years and then hopefully look to settle down."

Got a story? email digishowbiz@the-sun.co.uk or call us direct on 02077824220.

We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.

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Love Islands Rosie Williams looks unrecognisable as she goes make-up free to reveal her freckles - The Sun

Report: Bill Gates had cozier ties with Epstein than he admitted – Virgin Islands Daily News

Bill Gates reportedly had a much closer relationship with Jeffrey Epstein than he previously admitted and once called the wealthy pedophiles lifestyle intriguing.

The worlds second-wealthiest man had numerous meetings with Epstein, including at least three at his opulent Manhattan townhouse, and considered partnering with him in a charitable fundraising plan that could have netted Epstein $30 million in fees, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Gates first struck up his personal and business relationship with Epstein in 2011, when he was already a convicted pedophile.

After meeting Epstein for the first time in a late night gabfest at the mansion, Gates wrote an email to colleagues.

His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me, Gates wrote, according to the Times.

The two men were reportedly joined by a Swedish ex-beauty queen and her 15-year-old daughter .

A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late, Gates reportedly wrote in the message.

A spokeswoman for Gates said he regrets ever meeting Epstein, particularly since Gates eponymous foundation has championed the cause of young womens well-being.

The spokeswoman said that Gates was referring solely to the unique dcor when he mentioned Epsteins intriguing lifestyle not his confessed predilection for sex with young women and girls.

The same mansion where Gates met Epstein played a central role in the accusations against the financier, who hanged himself in jail Aug. 10 while awaiting trial in a sprawling pedophilia scandal.

Epstein was accused of paying dozens of young women and girls for sex at the mansion. Some of the alleged victims say they were raped or trafficked to have sex with him, including at Little St. James, his private island off St. Thomas.

Even the decor that Gatess spokeswoman mentions might have been a clue that Epstein was a less-than-savory partner for a reputable philanthropist like Gates: witnesses have mentioned that Epsteins taste in art included giant photos and paintings of naked young girls.

Two senior employees of Gatess foundation reportedly had even more extensive ties to Epstein.

Melanie Walker, a former aspiring Victorias Secret underwear model, worked in different capacities for Epstein for about 15 years and lived in a building that he owned, starting soon after graduating from college, the paper reported.

She supposedly served as his so-called science adviser for several years.

After joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006, she met with Epstein many times at his mansion.

Boris Nikolic, another top foundation executive, was close friend of Gates and was named as an executor in Epsteins will, a role he refused to accept after Epsteins suicide.

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Report: Bill Gates had cozier ties with Epstein than he admitted - Virgin Islands Daily News

The sexiest ecolodges around the world right now – Cond Nast Traveller India – The Last Word in Travel

Sustainable is a label we see splashed everywhere, from denim jeans and organic cosmetics to investments and software. Once a buzzkill of a buzzword to luxury travellers, hearing that a hotel was eco suggested there might be some scrimping on style and comfort. Thankfully, a new generation of switched-on hoteliers and inspired hospitality brands are making it sexy to be more responsible. Its time to reclassify what luxury means, when it comes to where we rest our heads on a feel-good holiday

Opulent and over-the-top are old hat when it comes to adventuring. Better to splash out on once-in-a-lifetime vacations that have a positive social and environmental impact. All the better if its a ger in the Gobi Desertthats the name for these traditional round yurts covered with felt. This lodge is one for true nomads, not those of the digital variety, as its totally off-grid. It has special practices in place to make the most of the little water it has. Its also in cahoots with scientific research and wildlife monitoring programmes to give back to the Gobi. (Website; doubles from MNT21,50,000 or Rs58,200)

Its rare desert island retreats manage to be so ridiculously spoiling and sybaritic and yet so sensitive to sustainability. No wonder the A-listers love it. It may be the panoramas of the lagoon here, northeast of Tahiti, that are likely to have you swooning, but the scientific smarts of the hotels air-conditioning system are also seductive. At this paradise private-island resort, the 35 carbon-neutral beachfront villas flaunt The Brandos own seawater-cooled inventionpowered by sun rays and coconut oil, SWAC is their cunning AC system. (Website; doubles from XPF4,42,000 or Rs2,93,970 for two nights)

Biodiversity is the siren call of this remarkable ecolodge. Not just a pretty 500-hectare property, its looks and cuisine entice Cape Towns cognoscenti to dine herethough we must underline that the sustainability dashboard of this Long Run member matches function to form and flavour in a truly ingenious way. Its supply chain is carefully monitored and kept to a 50-km radius; free-range piggies on its farm snaffle up organic kitchen waste; and under the lodges Growing the Future programme, fruit and veggies are bought directly from local women. (Website; doubles from ZAR11,500 or Rs55,000)

Smell fragrances free of chemicals; taste organic flavours lovingly cultivated by hand; touch furnishings crafted by artisans, not from a factory. Admire the star-filled skies above from bed through retractable roofs or from your over-the-water swing seat. Then salute the waste and water-filtration initiatives behind the scenes that ensure this is pure guilt-free luxury. Sonu Shivdasanis three barefoot-luxury resorts win awards for their architecture and design, unrivalled guest experiences as well as all that they do to preserve their Maldivian and Thai environments. (Website; doubles from MVR52,500 or Rs2,46,000)

Its taken years to get this Georgian manor house ready for visitors, but it was worth the wait. The interiors are perfection, and the gardens are a lesson in long-sighted conservation. Almost every morsel in either of the refined dining rooms here is sourced from its biodynamic farm. What makes this estate so marvellous is its reverence for nature and the fact that its media-shy billionaire owner never scrimps on the back-of-house eco-activity. The biomass, advanced permaculture system, aerobic digester and thousands of litres of water sourced from their own borehole attest to this. (Website; doubles from 400 or Rs35,000)

This ruler-straight white rectangle cuts a strong silhouette on the edge of Canadas easternmost shoreline. Jutting over the Atlantic coast, with 29 rooms and five art studios, the inn is in fact a change-making social enterprise. Its build had everything as locally sourced as possible. Finding that the only nails that suited its needs were from China, it made its own. The steel frame of the wooden-clad construction is insulated to the max; rainwater is collected for the toilets; and wood-fired boilers and solar panels power the hot water and underfloor heating. (Website; doubles from CAD2,000 or Rs1,10,000)

The 26-room, solar-powered property lies in the south-western edge of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve in Wadi Feynan. A true ecolodge, its design riffs on the caravanserais of the Middle Easts ancient trading days. Sip mint tea with Bedouin people, or shadow a shepherd for the day. A number of hotels promise authentic experiences, but few deliver them with such integrity. Sweeping rooftop views of the desert dont come as dramatic as in this former copper-mining valley. Theres no booze for sundowners, but guests can bring their own. As the fridges run on solar power, it has limited supply and forgoes serving meat. (Website; doubles from JOD145 or Rs15,000)

From manta rays to a kaleidoscopic array of corals, rare underwater species make these islands as compelling as can be for thrill-seeking divers and wildlife adventurers. This archipelago seems remote, but the 20 overwater villas fashioned from driftwood and fallen branches make the journey worth it. The resort raised some US$200,000 in 2018 through donations from guests and working with private businesses and like-minded partners from the scuba- diving industry. The funds went towards Misools work to protect the marine environment and communities of Raja Ampat. (Website; doubles from IDR22,75,000 or Rs12,000)

Get intimate with nature at any of the 10 thatched, stand-alone cabins in this untamed jungle near Gal Oya National Park. The luxury here is that your stay doesnt just insist you switch off (theres no wifi or cell phone reception)time here ensures you disconnect and just enjoy being in Sri Lankas wilderness. Leaving an especially good taste is the fact that every meal is made from just-plucked ingredients grown within grasp. Take hikes up Monkey Mountain and boat safaris along the Senanayake Samudra reservoir, or meet members of the Vedda tribe before their original way of life disappears. (Website; doubles from LKR45,500 or Rs19,000)

This breezy, open-to-the-elements, bamboo resort close to Singapore in the South China Sea is as sexy as it is environmentally conscious. On this adults-only island lodge, whisper sweet nothings to each other as you overlook jungle and ocean from your private poolthe only audience you are likely to have is a pair of hornbills. Its but a short stumble to the restaurant by the waters edge where the menu showcases ingredients from the retreats own farm. Plus you know that a percentage of your room rate is going towards The Island Foundations community-based projects that support education, healthcare and ethical practices. (Website; doubles from IDR48,50,000 or Rs25,000)

When architect Nick Troubetzkoy first conjured up this hotel in 2007, he probably didnt shout about having sustainable in his vernacular. After remodelling Anse Chastanet in St Lucia into an eco resort in the 1970s, amid 600 acres of nature overlooking the Caribbean, it was natural to take his new build to the next level. The visionary, enthralled by St Lucias landscapes and the warmth of its people, dispensed with as many walls, windows and doors as possible when creating his stay. Ruby, emerald, amber and turquoise tiling gives each room its own identity, and walkways lend a futuristic feel. (Website; doubles from XCD3,150 or Rs85,000)

Sister to Lake Gardas chi-chi spa retreat, this new stay is just outside Pinzolos Madonna di Campiglio ski resort. Its impressive to see bio-architecture exist in such harmony with the wooded mountain landscape. As appealing in summer as in the snowy season, hiking, biking and climbing make five-star Lefay Dolomiti a year-round wellness destination. Its rare to be able to give the assurance that advanced spa, detox and well-being programmesfrom osteopathy to Ayurvedaare not just good for you but also the wider world, but having hosts so committed to using renewable energy sources makes that possible. (Website; doubles from 400 or Rs32,000)

Heaven-sent for Instagram, this rustic resort feels like an honourable tribute to its coastal environment. From the tile-roofed casitas to thatched suites and tree houses, you can sense it has sourced all materials from within arms reach. On the Pacific Coast of Mexico, its set in 200 wildlife-rich acres spanning an Aztec archaeological site, a turtle sanctuary as well as a forest and mangrove ecosystem. Well-being is considered not just in terms of the planet as a whole but for you as an individual, thanks to nutritious, organic, veg-heavy dining and yoga and meditation classes. (Website; doubles from MXN5,500 or Rs20,000)

City hotels usually struggle to hold their heads up high when it comes to bragging about eco creds. But this glossy new chain does lots to earn its swagger. Helping them fly that green flag by Brooklyn Bridge Park is a 25ft living wall of figs and ferns in the lobby, reclaimed materials that dominate the interiors and wind-powered electricity. Touches such as an in-room triple-filtered drinking water tap and wittily labelled wooden amenities will woo suckers for sustainability, but the East River views and poster-perfect panoramas of that iconic iron bridgeparticularly from the pool-enhanced 10th-floor rooftophas even the least eco-conscious racing to stay. (Website. com; doubles from US$399 or Rs29,000)

A lot goes into making its six detached ocean-view villas, spa and restaurant kind to both people and place. Since teak is fast-growing and doesnt require wood lacquer or chemicals, it was the preferred building material. The hotel eschewed plastic since the start, always hired locally and supports a number of micro businesses from the area. Its greenhouse provides organic micro greens, kale, peppers, basil and mint and operates the Japanese Takakura composting system. It also donates to an NGO that helped a school in Uvita with new classrooms, teaching material and supplies. (Website; doubles from CRC4,00,000 or Rs50,000)

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The sexiest ecolodges around the world right now - Cond Nast Traveller India - The Last Word in Travel

Here is what Market Street will look like car-less, according to newly approved plan – SF Gate

Renderings from the Better Market Street Project show what the updates on Market Street could look like, including expanded sidewalk areas which will include bike lanes.

Renderings from the Better Market Street Project show what the updates on Market Street could look like, including expanded sidewalk areas which will include bike lanes.

Photo: Better Market Street Project

Renderings from the Better Market Street Project show what the updates on Market Street could look like, including expanded sidewalk areas which will include bike lanes.

Renderings from the Better Market Street Project show what the updates on Market Street could look like, including expanded sidewalk areas which will include bike lanes.

Here is what Market Street will look like car-less, according to newly approved plan

Scroll through the slideshow above to see renderings of what the updated Market Street is projected to look like.

The plan to make Market Street a safer thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists who traverse the street each day has been a work in progress. But on Tuesday afternoon, SFMTA unanimously approved the Better Market Street Project that would push private vehicles off a 2-mile stretch of Market Street.

But what would that exactly look like? Although removing private vehicles including Lyft, Uber and other rideshare options from Market Street should help reduce the amount of traffic and vehicle-involved collisions, Muni buses will continue to operate along on that street, and taxis will be able to use the roadway as an option, as well as paratransit and commercial vehicles.

Market Street is at the heart of our city, and we need to do everything we can to make it a safer, more livable, and more vibrant place for our residents, workers, and visitors, said Mayor London Breed in a released statement. Last year, there were 123 injury collisions on Market Street and the majority involved people walking and biking. Better Market Street and the projects near-term improvements are critical to achieve our Vision Zero goals and ensure everyone can feel safe on our most traveled street.

While Market Street won't be completely free of cars, the approved plan will implement a number of changes.

Here's a breakdown of the plan, according to the presentation to SFMTA on Tuesday:

Those who braved the bustling downtown stretch of Market Street in their cars will be kept off the street between 12th and Steuart streets, with two exceptions: Cars will be able to head east on Market Street between 11th and 10th streets, and Drumm and Steuart streets. Private vehicles and commercial vehicles will also be restricted eastbound from 12th to 11th streets, and westbound from Hayes to Franklin Street.

See the map of the full car-free zones, below:

Vehicle restrictions on Market Street, once the entire Better Market Street plan is in place.

Vehicle restrictions on Market Street, once the entire Better...

Cars will be allowed to cross Market Street on most streets, with some traffic changes in store. Jones Street, north of Market, will become a new two-way street, as will Spear Street, just south of Market. Ellis Street, north of Market, will become a one-way street for cars near Market.Loading zones for commercial vehicles and passengers using rideshare services like Lyft and Uber will be added to a number of cross streets.

Most, but not all, of the car-free zones will be implemented in early 2020 as part of a "quick build implementation" of the Better Market Street Project. Those early car-free zones heading east on Market Street will last from 10th to Main streets, while the westbound closure will be slightly longer, stretching from Steuart Street to Van Ness Avenue. Turn restrictions will happen on Page and Franklin streets, Valencia Street and South Van Ness Avenue, as shown in the map of 2020 changes below:

This map shows the length of Market Street that will be closed to most private vehicles beginning in early 2020.

This map shows the length of Market Street that will be closed to...

The center lanes will be reserved for Muni only, while outer lanes closest to the sidewalks will be turned into open roadway for Muni buses, taxis and commercial vehicles (although commercial loading on Market Street will only be allowed during off-peak hours). In early 2020, a Muni-only lane will be extended east to Main Street.

Closer to Van Ness Avenue, the four lanes will go down to two "Muni and taxi-only lanes" to make way for improved crossings for pedestrians and an "improved bike connection between Market Street and 11th Street."

A new F-line loop will also be built on McAllister and Charles J. Brenham streets, just east of United Nations Plaza to "[enable] short-turns for additional service where ridership is highest." (F-line service will continue on to the Castro area, as before.)

There will be both curbside bus stops at "nearly every block," as well as center transit boarding islands, with plans to upgrade transit stops and make them ADA accessible. Here's how the new roadway is expected to function, as seen this video from San Francisco Public Works, below:

Bicyclists and pedestrians stand to see some of the bigger changes to Market Street, with a widening of the sidewalk from 35 to 37 feet. The red-bricked sidewalks will also be replaced with "gray concrete pavers that are easier to clean and repair," The Chronicle recently reported. Bicycle lanes will now be at sidewalk level, removing them from the roadway and keeping bicyclists from mixing with buses and other vehicles. The bikeway will have a 4-foot buffer that will also separate it from the roadway and will typically by 8 feet wide. The bikeway will be made of an asphalt material to clearly identify it as a bike lane.

Bicyclists will also be given a buffer zone to keep them away from pedestrians, with "flex zones" available for trucks and paratransit vehicles to park on the sidewalk, while still allowing bicyclists to continue around them. There will also be a dedicated bikeway near the transit stops close to Van Ness Avenue, as well as an "improved bike connection" between Market and 11th streets.

"Future generations will see that we had a clear choice," said Brian Wiedenmeier, executive director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition, in a statement. "Today, we chose to redesign our streets in a way that improves safety and stems the bloodshed, and we chose to approve policies like expanding car-free space that encourage more people to walk, bike and take transit. This choice will save lives, and set an example not only for the way we can reimagine streets across our city, but an example of how cities across our country can reimagine theirs."

Phase one of the Better Market Street Project, between Fifth and Eighth streets, will break ground in late 2020 or early 2021, which includes all new infrastructure and the F Market streetcar turnaround loop.

Scroll through the photos in the slideshow above to see renderings of what the updated Market Street is projected to look like.

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Here is what Market Street will look like car-less, according to newly approved plan - SF Gate

Lofoten Islands: Is this Arctic paradise the world’s most beautiful place? – Yachting World

Emily Caruso is blown away by the beauty of Norways Lofoten Islands, which have been described as the worlds most beautiful place

I could already feel the wind pick up while I was sitting at the navstation of the Bowman 57 Oriole as she dug in and started to heel assertively. A reef was needed and first mate Holly Vint peered below decks expectantly.

An arctic gale had been forecast nearby though not for our specific area and I was about to experience another learning curve moment on the effects of topography and localised anomalies in this unique corner of the world. Sailing inside the Arctic Circle, I should have been in full offshore clothing, but the balmy conditions of previous weeks leading up to our recent crew change in Troms had made me complacent.

Reefing Oriole requires work at the mast where the majority of control lines are led, a position that left me vulnerable to every freezing wave that crossed her deck. I wound up drenched, freezing cold and should have been better prepared.

Crew training at the start of the Lofoten voyage

Gabriella Giuffre, an engineer design manager from the UK, managed the helm while the rest of our expedition crew looked on from the safety of the cockpit, appreciating the warmth of the Fladen suits wed been issued with. Comfort zones were being challenged and my own preconceptions of what arctic sailing conditions might involve had been well and truly met.

Oriole was content with her new sail plan and our eclectic crew of expedition sailors pushed on through to our destination port of Nergardsvik, which provided us with perfect shelter from the strong south-westerly winds, which consistently blew more than 30 knots.

The gale made it easy to forget the almost faultless sailing conditions wed encountered on the open stretch of water that brought us south from our previous anchorage on the south of the island of Senja; a stunning and relatively shallow location that allowed plenty of reaction time should the wind shift or increase overnight which it did.

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Close encounters of the rocky kind are normally the stuff of sailors nightmares, but the unique glacial grooves cut into

Congratulations, captain. Dave McKay, one of our regular crew aboard Isbjrn, had those words for me as we dropped anchor

As we approached Nergardsvik harbour, we could see there were few places to come alongside. The new marina to the east was too shallow and so we had only the option of one pontoon end, which was conveniently made available by a departing motorboat. Perfect timing!

The cold, rough weather we experienced just three days and less than 60 miles into our overall expedition was a significant exception to the rule as the Lofoten Islands represent a really interesting climate anomaly. Despite their latitude on the 68th and 69th parallels, the Gulf Stream delivers a relatively temperate climate, making the area the most northerly on the globe to experience average temperatures above freezing.

Add to this the fact that from early May to mid-July the sun doesnt drop below the horizon and here is a truly unique cruising ground which exceeded any expectations I could have imagined.

Helming was a delight during long, sunny days in the Lofotens

The first few days without darkness were novel but after that it became evident that our human behaviours are intrinsically related to the cycle of the sun. Sleeping became difficult and time awareness and normal daily patterns were hard to control.

Seeing the midnight sun for the first time and then constantly every day makes you very aware of the high latitude, despite the balmy temperatures. I couldnt imagine living here between early December and January when there is no rising sun: its easy to see why many of the residents are seasonal, living out the winter back on the mainland and significantly further south.

The Lofoten Islands are famous for their great cod fisheries as the fish also migrate south during winter from the Barents Sea, and cod racks of dried fish heads are a common sight on the islands.

On many occasions throughout our arctic adventure wed anchor and expectantly throw a fishing line over the side. The catch was always abundant and wed often settle down to a dinner of freshly caught cod to supplement the variety of ingredients we had provisioned on board. Theres something idyllic about fishing for your dinner against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, surrounded by the splendour of the Norwegian Fjords.

Our Bowman 57 has a large saloon, which provides a fantastic social setting to share meals and exchange stories. As we dined on cod at anchor in the Sigerfjord many tales were told and toasts given while Oriole held fast in the lee of the surrounding landscape on her trusty 40kg Rocna anchor and plentiful chain.

Maximising the potential for cruising in this part of the world requires a boat equipped to deal with remote and deep anchorages and that can sustain itself for extended periods without relying on the facilities of a fully equipped marina. Our trickiest task was to find fresh water to top up the 1,000lt tank capacity and we carried a lengthy water hose, which proved one of our most valuable assets.

Resources such as fuel and water are available along the way but having to rely on regular refilling could easily mean missing out on some of the most spectacular remote anchorages between harbours.

As we finally reached the Lofoten Island chain the crew became excited as we neared the world famous Trollfjord, the spectacular and much-anticipated high point in the voyage. The wind was as fickle as ever among the soaring rock faces that surrounded us and so we motor-sailed as we ate lunch, spotting sea eagles along the way and admiring every inlet and cove as we made our way south.

Above us the cloud formations danced around the mountain peaks while periodically revealing a blue sky and perfect sunshine, and aboard Oriole crew member Emma produced a stunning lemon drizzle cake that shed baked as we passed through this remarkable landscape.

Orioles Lofoten crew came from various walks of life for the adventure

It was amazing yet reassuring that a place of such incredible natural beauty was so remarkably quiet. Cruise ships regularly navigate this route, incredibly turning 180 within the confines of the fjord walls with a clearance of just a few metres either side. Just a few boat lengths of deep emerald green water separate the snow-capped cliffs, with waterfalls on either side and wooden Norwegian summer houses at the waters edge.

Oriole was respectfully quiet as every one of us absorbed the landscape and the contrast of vibrant green flora alongside the harsh rock faces. The abundance of bird life that occupied the crevices and ledges provided us with endless entertainment and it felt very special to share this environment with its natural inhabitants.

After being completely overwhelmed with the beauty of the Trollfjord, we started to head further south to explore some of the less visited areas of the Lofoten Islands, investigating a variety of anchorages along the way.

Orioles crew shore party at Lille Molle

Our eventual need to top up the water tanks brought us to the picturesque fishing harbour of Skrova. The visitors pontoon was out of space, so we came alongside on a private pontoon belonging to one of the local residents.

It was refreshing to experience a culture that embraces the arrival of visitors. Rather than turning us away, local man Per was happy for us to spend a few nights on his berth and even provided us with the use of a fresh water hose to fill our tanks.

And just a short walk along the adjoining road led to a most unlikely and remarkable artistic display of photographs of the islands, situated in a rocky tunnel (with protective hard hats provided for visitors).

During our stay, the crew found a beach on the north side of the island that could be compared to any tropical paradise, and which provided spectacular views of an anchorage to the north east. We identified the location as Lille Molle and decided to make passage there the following day to anchor and explore.

The tender was inflated and the shore party, led by first mate Holly, set off ashore for a brief evening jaunt to see the rare sight of sea eagles nesting with their young. Next stop, Reine is certainly the most tourist-driven destination that we visited through our voyage and yet it seemed so quiet given the time of year and the exquisite experience that it has to offer.

The village of Reine has been described as the most beautiful place in the world

This little corner of paradise is situated on the island of Moskenesya towards the southern end of the Lofoten chain. Regular ferries from Bod bring summer visitors to this beautiful fishing port and daily boat trips run to different locations within the nearby fjords for ramblers and hikers of all levels of experience.

The small visitors marina was too shallow for our draught but there was just enough pontoon space next to the fishing quay. So we spent a full day in Reine to allow the crew the chance to explore, walking through stunning scenery to picturesque beaches. A few of us even braved the icy waters for a very rapid dip that proved both invigorating and bracing.

From our berth it was a fairly long trek to the nearest supermarket for final victuals but that was no hardship given the scenery and weather. Despite the generally high cost of provisioning in Norway we were able to buy fresh seafood at reasonable prices and came back with an abundance of prawns for our final dinner ahead of our last open water sail back to Bod.

Reine is a tourist destination, though youd hardly know it

Our penultimate night was to be spent at an amazing anchorage at the island of Landegode, Sandvik, just 10 miles from our final destination, and we had a spectacular 65-mile reach back towards the mainland with a flat sea and clear skies as Oriole revelled in the near perfect conditions.

Id chosen the anchorage based on the forecast and had expected to rest in the lee of the rock faces that sat to the north, but instead the breeze accelerated and veered around the cliffs as we made our first approach.

We made a few attempts before I was finally happy to turn off the engine. Thankful for another secure night at anchor we awoke to brilliant sunshine and impressive temperatures as, once again, arctic Norway continued to surprise us.

Sandy beaches and tranquil waters on the island of Landegode

The neighbouring beach was too attractive to resist and we set off ashore in the RIB for a final swim. There were squeals of surprise as the more adventurous crew submersed themselves in the cold water, tactically dodging the odd jellyfish that floated past.

Our crew had a mixed level of experience and background representing a variety of ages and occupations everything from high ranking police officer to a building developer and teacher all of whom were looking to take part in an expedition holiday to push their comfort zones and explore some of the less easily accessible parts of our planet.

Regardless of what expectations or preconceptions each crewmember brought, this part of the world could not fail to deliver a remarkable and unique experience for all.

Oriole lying to anchor at Landegode

Norway is expensive for foreign visitors; your average pint of beer costs around 10 and dining ashore is a rare treat for the majority. The Lofoten Islands are no exception to this. The flip-side is an unbelievable example of Mother Nature at her finest (which the Norwegians manage to sustain whilst still producing 4G phone coverage and impressive accessibility, despite the islands remoteness!).

The flora and fauna are abundant and every day brought another entirely unspoilt vista. The Lofoten Islands simply have to be one of the most beautiful cruising areas in the world, and are certainly a place best explored from the water.

The weeks from mid-May and throughout June will deliver the quietest cruising experiences, with school holidays in Norway bringing more visitors from mid-July to mid-August.

The midnight sun will be visible through this period too and is a phenomenon that should be witnessed by every sailor in their lifetime, as should the wonderful landscapes and seascapes that the Lofoten Islands have to offer.

Be prepared to be self-sustaining to maximise the potential of your visit, given both the price of provisioning locally and the availability of resources in remote locations.

Make the effort, however, and the Lofotens experience will far surpass any preconceptions you may have. This place really is something very special.

First published in the August 2018 edition of Yachting World.

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Lofoten Islands: Is this Arctic paradise the world's most beautiful place? - Yachting World

Unmissable Greek islands: the 14 best islands for holidays and hopping – woman&home

Whether you want to go island hopping or just want a relaxing holiday, these are the best Greek islands for type of trip

Island hopping in Greece is one of the most popular ways to see this European nation, but there are so many to choose from its hard to know where to start. Weve done most of the hard work for you, rounding up the best Greek islands for holidays and island hopping.

Best Greek Island for the whole family

Crete has mass appeal. Its got everything you could want from a Greek island holiday: stunning beaches, excellent resorts, incredible scenery, bucolic villages and a long, fascinating history. Its also the countrys largest island, so theres plenty to keep you occupied if beach bumming isnt your bag.

Active types can hike along canyons, cycling among orchards, kayak on the ocean or simply snorkel in the warm Mediterranean Sea. While history buffs will love the ruins of the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Beach-wise, theres plenty of space to lay down your towel on the islands vast coastline. Beeline for Elafonisi to see pink-tinged sand, Mtala for romance come dusk and Frangokstello for fine sand.

How to get to/from Crete? There are direct flights from most major UK airport to Cretes three airports in Heraklion, Chania and the smaller Sitia. Heraklion and Sitia also have ferry ports, which connect to Santorini, Milos, Kasos and Rhodes.

Where to stay in Crete? There are plenty of hotels and holiday resorts in Crete for all budgets. For something sophisticated try Sensimar Elounda Village Resort & Spa by Aquila, which offers all-inclusive rates and high-end luxury. A more affordable option is Arminda Hotel & Spa a great option for families.

Best Greek island for wild parties & serene village life

With typical Cycladic scenery think dusty hills peppered with pretty whitewashed villages Ios is easy on the eyes. Its also well known for its wild party scene, though, so be prepared for late nights if you go out on the town. But you dont have get into the party mood if something more serene is your scene.

We love Ios for its small village vibes. The islands capital, Chora, is a rival to neighbouring Santorinis scenery whitewashed houses with touches of blue tumbledown a steep hill to a pretty harbour overlooking the Aegean. And it doesnt even have half the crowds, either. There are gorgeous, untouched beaches and majestic seaside churches, as well as the tomb where world-famous poet, Homer, was buried.

Book it: We love Riviera Travels Greek island-hopping cruise which tours the blissful Ionian islands over eight days from 1,499. Find out more information here.

How to get to/from Ios? Fly to Santorini and take a two-hour ferry, or into Athens and take the ferry (runs 4-5 times per week; takes 4-8 hours) from the citys main port, Piraeus. Ferries connect Ios to the likes of Naxos, Anafi, Paros, Milos and Mykonos.

Where to stay in Ios? Small and stylish with a spectacular seaview location, we love Liostasi Hotel & Suites. Rooms are small but come with balconies and the pool overlooks the Aegean Sea. The absolute best accommodation on the island, though, has to be Calilo: think gorgeous marble interiors, a variety of serene outdoor pools, a private beach and a leafy estate with more than 41,000 trees to find shade under. Stay at Calilo for more than 5 days and youll get discounted helicopter transfers, too.

Best Greek island forIntriguing architecture

With resorts and beaches aplenty, Corfu is a crowd-pleaser and its easy to reach, too. But one of the unexpected highlights of this island is exploring the unique architecture throughout its towns. With Venetian, French and British influence behind it, there are some fascinating fortresses, French-style arcades and a few grand palaces worthy of Kings and Queens.

Explore the islands medieval capital Corfu Old Town is a warren of alleyways filled with gift shops and cafes. Or head up to Old Peritha, an ancient mountain village that was abandoned by its residents in the 1960s and is now a gorgeous hideaway with views out to the Ionian islands and neighbouring Albania.

Speaking of Albania, its just a 20 euro ferry ride away, so make your island hopping holiday a border hopping one too with a trip across the sea to this intriguing, former communist country.

How to get to/from Corfu? There are regular direct flights from most major UK airports to Corfu. Ferries also run to and from the Greek mainland, Saranda in Albania, and Bari and Venice in Italy.

Where to stay in Corfu? If you want to soak in the romantic, secluded atmosphere of Old Peritha, stay at the Merchants House a glorious little B&B filled with antiques, run by a kind couple who source as much as possibly locally. For a five-star resort, you cant go wrong with Grecotels Corfu Imperial, which has five private beaches, a large outdoor pool and plenty of dining options.

Best Greek Island for Feeling rich & famous

Hydra has long been a location the well-heeled with celebrity status flock to Leonard Cohen bought a mansion here, and the island found fame thanks to the Michael Cacoyannis film A Girl in Black. And today its still just as popular with the A-listers, having attracted the likes of Eric Clapton and even The Rolling Stones too.

But its not all glitz and glam theres an understated luxury to this island, with its nearly car-free roads and old, crumbling buildings. Walkers will love the island outside of the hottest summer months local maps are available but the coastal path is easy enough to follow without. There are a few old mansions on the island that have now been turned into museums Lazaros Koundouriotis is one of the best, with gorgeous interiors and intriguing objects on display from the islands maritime heyday. Beaches arent spectacular here, but good stretches can be found at pebbly Limniniza and shingle Avlki.

More like this: The best family holiday resorts in Europe according to mums

How to get to/from Hydra? Ferries connect Hydra to the mainland from the port at Piraeus. Boats also run between Hydra and the surrounding islands, including Sptses for day trips.

Where to stay in Hydra? We love the characterful Orloff Boutique Hotel, with its antique furniture and cosy outdoor seating, or the biggest four-star hotel on the island, Bratsera. Theres a pool, cosy bedrooms and glorious mountain views.

Best Greek Island for A great all-rounder

Rhodes has many virtues a beautiful old town, a cosmopolitan resort, stunning sandy beaches and ancient history to boot. This makes it a perfect all-rounder for family holidays or romantic couples getaways.

Active types will love hiking through the Valley of the Butterflies, where thousands of the creatures flit about, attracted to the nectar secreted by the trees. Those seeking retail therapy should head to the Old Town for boutiques and Mandraki for big-name stores, and beach bums will be spoilt for choice by the various stretches of sand that edge this gorgeous isle. Kiotari and smaller Agathi are the best in our books.

Big, brash, late-night parties can be found in Faliraki if that takes your fancy, and quieter, more laid-back life can be experienced in one of the islands may villages such as Apollona or Lardos. Dont forget to taste some local wine, too Rhodes was once one of the largest wine merchants in the Med.

How to get to/from Rhodes? Ryanair fly direct to Rhodes from Stanstead. Ferries connect Rhodes to the mainland from Piraeus 12 times a week, and there are regular boats to the likes of Syros, Tilos, Thira, Kos, Naxos and more.

Where to stay in Rhodes? Family fun can be found at Amathus Beach Hotel, which has four pools, a private beach and big kids pool too. Theres a playground, tennis court, ping pong table and oversized chess, too. For a romantic couples escape, try the adults-only Boutique 5 Hotel & Spa, where sea views and direct beach access make for a dreamy escape.

Best Greek Island for Foodies & philanthropists

Famous for its olive trees and excellent vines, Lesvos has been a foodie hub for centuries. The island is also responsible half of Greeces ouzo output, so anyone with a taste for boozy aniseed will love this little escape.

There are dreamy seaside resorts, beautiful little fishing villages and quaint hilltop towns well worth exploring. But theres a darker side to the island that all visitors should know about. People fleeing conflict from all over the world have come here in search of asylum and better lives, and camps are set up across the island to handle the processing of thousands of refugees.

While tourism to Lesvos has seen a decline in recent years due to the refugee crisis, with hundreds of people landing on its shores daily, the island still needs visitors and you can help the local economy just by going there. If you want to go one step further and make a small difference in the migrant camps, bring some supplies and connect with local volunteer distributors, Attika, who can send them out to those in need.

How to get to/from Lesvos? Ferries run from Piraeus and Kavala in the north on mainland Greece, and there are boat connections betwee the island and Chios, Lemnos, Samos, and Ikaria.

Where to stay in Lesvos? Get your own villa with a private pool at A Luxury Villas, or book into Heliotrope Hotels for sea views, a good-sized pool and beach access.

Best Greek Island for An off-the-beaten-track adventure

Closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece, Chios is a pretty off-the-beaten-track adventure. Head to Kambos, once home to the islands leaders, to see stately mansions of a byegone era, and visit the mastic villages, a collection of 20 settlements where the trees shed the tears of Chios little mastic crystals every August, creating peculiar white, snow-like patterns on the ground.

Anavatos, an abandoned medieval village, is an intriguing and atmospheric day trip, and foodies will love the abundance of citrus fruit. Fresh orange juice in the morning has never tasted so good

More like this: Travel companies that go the extra mile to make your holiday sensational

How to get to/from Chios? Connect to a flight to Chios from Athens or Thessaloniki airports on the mainland, or take a ferry from Piraeus or Lavrio. There are also boat connections to nearby Lesvos, Efstratios, Samos, Ikaria and Tsesme in Turkey.

Where to stay in Chios? Stay in Chios town (Chora) for the best restaurants and bars we love Agora Residence, a collection of serviced apartments and studios inside a renovated 19th-century mansion. For the quiet life, head to Erytha Hotel & Resort where youll get endless sea views and simple but cleanly decorated rooms.

Best Greek Island for Brilliant beaches

Naxos has certainly got one of the finest beaches of all the Greek islands. The entire southwest coast forms one long beach, with numerous resorts and hotels on its shores for a spectacular seaside escape.

In the Kstro area of the main town and youll find plenty to keep you busy for a week, such as the ancient Apollo Temple and an archaeological museum, alongside hopping between coves and beaches. Local food is a highlight here, too, with the small potatoes grown across the island a total hit, alongside all manner of island-produced cheeses.

How to get to/from Naxos? There are regular flights from Athens to Naxos, and BA and easyJet fly to nearby Mykonos which connects via ferry. There are also ferries from Piraeus, Crete and most of the other Cycladic islands too.

Where to stay in Naxos? In Naxos town, we love Nissaki Beach Hotel which has great beach access and bright and breezy decor. Beachfront villas further down the coast are equally lovely at Salinus Naxian.

Best Greek Island for Traditional village life

Famed for its hedonistic nightlife, Mykonos is more than just superclubs and hangovers. There are beautiful beaches and the buzzy little capital, Hora, but its interior is where youll find serene peace and quiet.

Ano Mera is a gorgeous little town in the centre of the island, with whitewashed houses, a taverna-filled main square and the Tourliani Monastery founded in 1537, its a glorious old domed church with a collection of treasures inside.

How to get to/from Mykonos? Direct flights from Athens take just 35 minutes and ferries go from Piraeus and Rafina ports near the city. There are connections islands such as Ios, Crete, Paros, Thira and Tinos.

Where to stay in Mykonos? Hilltop bliss can be found at Amallini Suites near Ano Mera, where theres a pool, beautiful original exposed brick interiors and glorious views out to the ocean. Elia Mykonos Resort by the Sea is a good bet for direct beach access and four-star service.

Best Greek Island for Instagram-worthy views

Better known as Shipwreck Island and Zante, Zakynthos has featured on many a tourist brochure thanks to its enormous, rusting shipwreck on Navagio beach. Theres a viewpoint north of the beach atop precipitous cliffs, looking down on the enormous crumbling hull of the MV Panagiotis, which ran aground in 1980 after reportedly trying to smuggle in tobacco and other illegal products.

Elsewhere on Zakynthos, there are more spectacular views of azure oceans and white sandy beaches. Theres water so clear youll be able to see toes right on the bottom of the ocean floor, and even sulphur springs if you know where to look (tip: head to Xigia beach).

How to get to/from Zakynthos (Zante)? easyJet and Jet2 fly to Zakynthos regularly throughout the spring and summer seasons. Theres also year-round flights from Athens. Ferries travel between most of the Ionian islands, as well as the mainland ports of Patras and Kyllini.

Where to stay on Zakynthos (Zante)? For adults-only fun, book into Lesante Blu, set in a rural spot near the resort town of Tragaki. The pool overlooks the ocean and many rooms have lovely sea views. The food is sensational, too. Diana Palace Hotel has two pools, unusual contemporary decor and is a hit with guests.

Best Greek Island for A breath of fresh air

This little bat-shaped isle in the Dodecanese is tiny. There are fewer than 1,500 residents and it has just two towns to explore. On the northern half of the island youll find the tiny settlement of Analipsi, where there are laid-back beach bars serving fresh juices in the morning and cocktails by night, and beachfront restaurants make for romantic evenings under the stars.

The southern side of the island, Astypalea is the main hub, welcoming ferries from nearby islands and with plenty of tavernas and hotels. Theres an archaeological museum and the ruins of a hilltop castle overlooking the ocean, but the absolute best thing about this island is that its almost entirely smoke-free. Astypalea has become the worlds first Smoke-Free Culture island, meaning the air is extra fresh and youll never need to worry about second-hand smoke.

How to get to/from Astypalea? SkyExpress run flights to Astypalea from Athens, Rhodes, Kos, Santorini and more, and ferries connect the island to Athens main port Piraeus, as well as Kos, Rhodes, Tilos and Symi.

Where to stay on Astypalea? Maltezana Beach Hotel is, as you might expect, right on the beach on the northern half of the island. Theres a great pool and good food in the homely restaurant. The superb Pylaia Boutique Hotel & Spa is the top pick on the south side of the island, tucked away among the hills on the coast, with sea views, minimalist decor and an excellent spa.

Best Greek Island for Sensational views

Santorini really needs no introduction. Weve all seen those stunning shots of whitewashed houses tumbling down towards the rich-blue ocean, with classic Greek Orthodox church domes in view. Santorini is synonymous with luxury, but theres much more to this popular island than Instagrammable views and stunning sunsets.

We love Pyrgos Village, the islands former capital which is now a sleepy little settlement away from the hustle and bustle of Fira and Oia, with cute little tavernas for fresh-fish lunches and a spot of afternoon ouzo. Also dont miss Akrotiri, another little village hidden away on the south coast with a striking red beach backed by ochre-coloured cliffs.

How to get to Santorini? easyJet run non-stop flights to Santorini year-round and British Airways have seasonal flights throughout spring/summer. There are plenty of ferries connecting Santorini to the mainland and islands like Anafi, Ios, Zakynthosm Mykonos, Milos and Naxos.

Where to stay on Santorini? For a hotel with serious character and a luxurious vibe, check into a former convent at Agialos Hotel in Fira. With stunning views over its whitewashed rooftops, youll get the classic Santorini scenery and sunsets alongside contemporary rooms, beautiful food and a small pool. For a more affordable stay, head to Armeni Village Hotel in Oia, which has equally gorgeous sea views and beautiful, minimalist interiors.

Best Greek Island for Beaches aplenty & off-season escapes

Most Greek islands have a good selection of sandy stretches to explore, but on Skiathos there are over 50 beaches to choose from, so youre spoilt for choice here. Thats why its absolutely overrun with visitors from around Europe come summertime. To avoid the crowds, though, come in spring or early summer (May/June are best) or take a late summer sun break and visit from mid September onwards. Temperatures are still in the low 20s even in October.

The islands best beaches include Koukounaris think fine sand, watersports and sunbeds aplenty and the Big and Little Banana beaches, which have spectacular sunset views. On the eastern side of the island, Vromlimnos has a great taverna and plenty of sunbeds and watersports available.

How to get to Skiathos? British Airways has regular flights to Skiathos throughout peak season (June through September), and there are lots of ferries to and from the mainland (Agios Konstantinos on the east coast), as well as surrounding islands like Chora, Volos, Alonissos and Glossa. There are also regular flights from Athens.

Where to stay on Skiathos? For small-scale luxury, book into Skiathos Mystery where chic rooms and rooftop views are accompanied by a great pool and even better service. For something a little more lavish, try Skiathos Princess Hotel, which has plush furnishings and direct access to one of the islands top beaches.

Best Greek Island for Roman ruins & ancient architecture

The beaches on Kos are fantastic, but the highlight on this Aegean isle is the plethora of ancient sites. The Roman Odeon is one of the most important sites on the island, dating back to the second century AD. It has a capacity of 750 and was built to host musical competitions and political debates at the time.

Elsewhere theres the medieval castle of Neratzia, an abandoned town and Byzantine castle in Pyli and the second-century BC temple of Hercules. All of this sits alongside glorious stretches of sand lapped by the warm Mediterranean, and great hiking and biking opportunities. Theres also a host of family-friendly attractions, such as waterparks for the kids. Come in summer to celebrate at the Hippocratia Festival, which involves all manner of traditional dancing, singing, costume and food.

How to get to Kos? Both easyJet and Jet2 have direct flights to Kos, and there are internal flights from Athens with SkyExpress and Olympic. Ferries arrive to Kos from Piraeus, Syros, Rhodes, Naxos, Leros, Astypalea and many more.

Where to stay in Kos? TUIs adults-only resort, Sensimar Palazzo Del Mare, is a gorgeous getaway for anyone seeking a romantic escape. The huge resort has ample pool and sunbed space, and has its own beach. Wellness-focused Diamond Deluxe Hotel has a fantastic spa, indoor and outdoor pools and enjoys glorious sunset views.

Whichever Greek island you choose for your holiday, youre bound to have a spectacular time.

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Unmissable Greek islands: the 14 best islands for holidays and hopping - woman&home

New Documents Reveal How Much Money Epstein Earned After His Conviction – The Ring of Fire Network – The Ring of Fire Network

Via Americas Lawyer:RTs Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to break down a report showing how Jeffrey Epsteins company Southern Trust managed to secure over $200 million in funding even AFTER hed been convicted of pedophilia.

Transcript:

*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:Newly disclosed financial statements reveal the Jeffrey Epsteins company raked in nearly $200 million in revenue after, after he was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution. The documents provide a glimpse into the mysterious finances of the deceased sex offender. RTs, Brigida Santos joins me now from Los Angeles with the story. Brigida, what can you tell me about Epsteins company, this Southern Trust where all this mysterious money seems to be rolling in?

Brigida Santos:Well, Epstein launched Southern Trust in 2012 just years after his 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution. It operated out of an office in the Virgin Islands and allegedly worked on developing a DNA mining service to help pharmaceutical companies reduce the need for clinical trials. The company was Epsteins attempt at rebranding himself and rebuilding his business after his previous company, Financial Trust, suffered massive losses in the financial crash and lost its biggest client. Epstein was also trying to rehabilitate his image after registering as a sex offender. Southern Trust ended up earning him nearly $200 million in revenues over a five year period, despite all the scandals surrounding him.

Mike Papantonio:Yeah. Epstein had this love affair and they seem to have a love, love affair with Epstein, with MIT, Harvard, Yale. Its like, its like theyre, whenever he asked for money or whenever they asked him for money, there was always this access that he was able to build and all of a sudden hes going to be this science guy. But then when you take a look at the interviews that they did with some of these folks involved in these, in these creepy little projects, you understand they all regarded him as a little, as a dope. I mean, somebody who had no insight at all into the scientific issues that, that he was trying to put himself out front on. Who was, who was paying Epstein all this money Brigida?

Brigida Santos:Well, thats a great question. Its still unclear. We dont know what kinds of customers Epstein worked with after switching from Finance to this new alleged DNA research company. What we do know based on the documents is that Epstein likely switched his companys focus to avoid registering with federal securities regulators as required under the Dodd Frank act. Now, if Financial Trust did not manage money, it would not have to register, even though Epstein told officials that the company would still have a financial arm. In 2013 Southern Trust also earned him a 10 year 90% tax break from the Virgin Islands economic development commission. So he really knew how to game the system, go through loopholes and make money work for him.

Mike Papantonio:Well, heres the interesting thing. Any, most of the time, for example, in this law firm, we always want to know who were doing business with. It doesnt take anything but a little bit of due diligence to find out this man wasnt just accused of one incident, he was a pedophile. For all practical purposes, anybody looking into the story knew that he was a pedophile, knew that he had been given a sweet heart deal by the DOJ for no good reason, understood all the facts that he was having sex with 14 year old girls.

And nevertheless, these science organizations thought it was interesting enough to say, hey, lets listen to him. And you know what? Maybe its a two way street. Maybe we get more money from Epstein and we give him money on the back end of it. Its, its, its gonna be interesting to be able to follow this money. Its also been revealed that Epstein secretly owned a second private Island in addition to a little St James in the Caribbean. What can you tell me about that?

Brigida Santos:Epstein acquired his second island known as Great St James Clay after tricking the owner into thinking that the buyer was a Dubai businessman tied to the Royal family. Now Epstein did this because the owner of that Island did not want to do business with Epstein after hearing testimony from underage victim after underage victim. So Epstein set up an opaque limited liability company to secure the $22.5 million sale. The Dubai businessman whose name Epstein used, that man said that he forbid Epstein from using his name on the shell company, but that Epstein did not listen. Now even with these new details, the mystery behind how Epstein made his fortune remains.

Mike Papantonio:Well, you know, the real part of this story thats, its becoming more and more troublesome is its all of these names that were attached to the Epstein ugly, ugly story. Now, after his death, the media, its like the typical corporate media. Theres not a shiny thing there anymore. Theyve revealed the names. You know, weve seen Dershowitz. Weve been seeing Bill Clinton, weve seen Trump. I could go on, you know, Prince Andrew, we can go on forever, but all of a sudden the media is not paying attention to it anymore and thats where the story is.

The, the, the follow-up to this story ought to be, why is it that MIT allowed Epstein to give so much money to MIT after they understood that the guy was a hopeless chronic pedophile that should be in prison? Why did Harvard do that? Why did all these science organizations say, yeah, his moneys just as good even after we knew that he was a pedophile? Its still a mystery to me. Maybe you can shed some light on it, Brigida. Why is it that we have a culture that was so accepting of this disgusting pedophile, simply because he had some money up front? Whats your take?

Brigida Santos:Unfortunately, money does drive everything, especially at these schools. You know, the former director of the MIT media lab said that he would take the money even today, and knowing what he knows about Epstein. It seems like they need this money to do their research and they dont care where it comes from.

Mike Papantonio:Yeah. Well thats sure played out itself on the Epstein story, but this is another angle and that is where is this mysterious $200 million coming from? Whos keeping Epstein alive after they know that hes a disgusting pedophile? Thank you for joining me.

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New Documents Reveal How Much Money Epstein Earned After His Conviction - The Ring of Fire Network - The Ring of Fire Network

How hotels are helping offset your eco guilt – Cond Nast Traveller India – The Last Word in Travel

Wildfires in Greece and Siberia, drought in Australia, floods in Kerala. The drastic impact of climate change is evident the world over. Severely hit by these disasters like every other industry, hospitality also shares the blame for adversely affecting the health of the planet.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization has estimated that hotels worldwide contribute to about 1 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Putting that in context, the Accor group has estimated that its environmental impact is equivalent to that of a city of 5,00,000 inhabitants. And thats one group of hotels with around 4,900 properties globally. Now imagine the impact of 2,00,000 hotels!

A study published in 2018 in Nature Climate Change reveals that between 2009 and 2013, tourisms global carbon footprint increased four times more than previously estimated, accounting for about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The study took into account everything from air travel to hotels and souvenirs.

If the worlds hotels are to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to under 2 C, they will have to reduce carbon emissions by 66 percent come 2030 and by 90 percent by 2050. This, according to the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), a grouping of hospitalitys most powerful companies. All the measures recommended to achieve these goals aim to make businesses sustainable. And hotel owners are responding in small and big waysdoing away with non-recyclable plastic, reusing printer cartridges, adopting renewable energy and reducing portion sizes.

Indian and international hotel groups are now insisting suppliers have certifications from agencies like The Rainforest Alliance, which uses nearly 100 social, environmental and economic criteria to examine a companys policies. The Marine Stewardship Council does just that but on the seafood supply end. In fact, there are over 140 green certifications in useEarthCheck, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Key, Green Growth 2050, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council, among several others. These are applied to everything from construction standards to how ethically a product or ingredient is sourced and are based on a mind-boggling array of factors.

Green Growth 2050 has over 400 indicators covering all aspects of operation from environmental and plastic use to local hiring and workplace health, explains John Roberts, group director of Sustainability & Conservation, Minor Hotels. From the very basic stuff like getting rid of plastic water bottles, which we did when we first became members in 2008, to a whole section on occupational health and safety and human rights now. The list, quite literally, goes on!

The best-known certification, perhaps, is LEED, which is conferred by the US (and now Indian) Green Building Council. In India, properties of ITC Hotels were the first to achieve the highest such rating.

LEED Platinum standards address energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, sustainable site selection and use of sustainable material for construction and consumables, explains Dipak Haksar, chief executive of ITC Hotels and WelcomHotels. More than 53 percent of electrical energy demand is currently met by our own wind and solar farms. More than 50 percent of the paper, stationery and wood is either FSC-certified, sourced locally or recycled. We have reduced water consumption across ITC Hotels by 50 percent over the past five years.

From key cards to toiletries, one of the biggest challenges that a hotelor even the Earthfaces is plastic. Most significantly, single-use items such as straws, which dont disintegrate easily and are not recycled.

Look at the numbers: Marriott Internationalwith over 6,500 hotels worldwideuses over a billion plastic straws, 25 million plastic stirrers and 35 million mini toiletry bottles every year. Almost all of this goes straight to landfills. In 2018, the group announced it was phasing out plastic straws and stirrers and replacing them with more eco-friendly options that would only be provided on request. It has also begun to replace mini toiletry bottles with larger, reusable bottles. A number of other leading hotel brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Hyatt, Accor, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Soneva, ITC and Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), have adopted both these measures.

IHCL has replaced plastic straws across all its properties with paper and bamboo straws, says PV Ramana Murthy, executive vice-president and global head of human resources at IHCL (better known as the Taj group), which has 81 hotels certified by EarthCheck. This helped us eliminate two million plastic straws from the ecosystem. Taj also launched its first zero single-use plastic hotel, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans. Along with its own biogas facility, water-bottling plant, a reservoir for rainwater harvesting and partial solar energy, the resort has partnered with the pollution control board to keep the island plastic-free.

Jean-Michel Casse, chief operating officer, India and South Asia, at Accor, says, Weve stressed how straws are not necessary for drinksF&B directors can design drinks and glassware that dont need straws.

Plastic used in packaging is another scourge that sustainability teams are attempting to resolve. For example, ibis hotels across India are experimenting with boxes and tableware made of bagasse, a sugar cane byproduct thats 100 percent biodegradable. Individual hotels are also making the switch from disposable plastic bathroom amenities to recyclable options. The Hyatt group across North America has removed single-use, non-recyclable earbuds from its fitness centres, replacing them with recyclable versions. Closer home, Pepper Trail in Wayanad and Brijrama Palace in Varanasi have ditched plastic toothbrushes for those made of eco-friendly materials.

Lastly, theres the problem of room key cards made of non-biodegradable PVC. While bigger chains grapple with finding scalable eco-friendly options, standalones are forging ahead. In 2018, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, California, started using keys made of bamboo and embedded with radio- frequency identificationa biodegradable option that encouraged conversations about sustainability with guests.

Agriculture is considered a leading cause for the extinction of wildlife species. Hotels are taking note of scientific studies and moving towards reducing their carbon footprint by buying local produce, choosing eco-labelled condiments and demanding that suppliers only provide cage-free eggs, source nitrate-free pork from farms where the animals are not raised in confinement, deliver ethically-raised beef and bring to the table seafood farmed responsibly.

Marriott International reserves over 70 percent of its spending for vendors who provide eco-certifications and/or are involved in conservation efforts. Similarly, Novotel Bengaluru serves coffee supplied by Black Baza Coffee, a fair trade-focussed agency that connects growers from BR Hills in Karnataka with the marketplace.

But deciding on what makes sense to source isnt always easy, Casse of Accor explains, The major challenge from an operations standpoint is the availability of information for accurate whole-life costing. Where is the product from? How is it made? What is it made from? How far does it travel? How is it packaged? How is it maintained? How much does it cost to maintain? How is it disposed of? What does it break down into? What does that do to the environment? And working out the net positive combination of all of these parameters is extremely difficult.

On the marine front, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, which owns and operates The Peninsula Hotels, has removed ingredients like shark fin from its menu, after concerns that excessive consumption is nudging certain species towards extinction. ITC Hotels, under the guidance of WWF- India and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, has gone a step ahead to remove all endangered species from its offerings.

Farming within kitchens view is another trend thats catching on among hoteliers. With techniques like hydroponics and aeroponics, chefs are using kitchen gardens to grow exotic herbs as well as veggies. The Orlando World Center Marriott partnered with hydroponic farming company HyCube to create a soil- and pesticide-free space that can grow 25,000 plants. Also, apiaries are a huge draw among hotels like Fairmont to not just support endangered bees but to also create their own honey lagers.

Given the challenges, especially for large chains involving thousands of properties, in reducing wastage of energy, water, food and other nature-dependant resources, hotel brands are employing smart technology to make smarter choices. To reduce energy consumption and cooling costs, roofs are tiled or painted with reflective material, walls are built with insulation, and the number and kind of openings, calculated. The Oberoi Group, for instance, uses fly ash, a byproduct of power plants, in its constructions. On the inside, it uses materials with high amounts of recycled content, FSC-certified wood as well as composite wood products.

IHGs QO Amsterdam hotel sourced one-third of the concrete it used from the recently demolished offices of Shell nearby. The facade was built using over 1,600 thermal panels that regulate the indoor temperature based on the climatic conditions outdoors. The hotel also uses an aquifer thermal energy storage system to stock unused heated water underground until it is needed up top, reveals Pascal Gauvin, managing director, India, Middle East and Africa, at IHG.

Apart from building new structures, brands are also adapting existing structures as hotels. The Wick, a former candle and soap factory, opened as a boutique luxury hotel in Hudson, New York, in 2018. Alila Fort Bishangarh in Rajasthan used the shell of an old fort to fashion out very modern digs. In Sri Lanka, Jetwing Vil Uyana regenerated neglected slash-and-burn agricultural land by recreating wetlands and native forests.

In cities like Paris and Mumbai, pollution control norms require hotels to treat discharge before it enters the drainage system. Also, given the harmful effects of cleaning agents on marine ecosystems, The Oberoi relies on biodegradable options and champions the use of natural fertilisers and biopesticides in its gardening and landscaping. In Gulmarg, The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa relies on a sewage treatment plant specially equipped to treat wastewater in sub-zero temperatures.

Also, showerheads that lessen water consumption and sensors for lights and ACs are becoming the norm. Shruti Shibulal, CEO of Tamara Leisure Experiences, told Fortune in an interview that tap aerators had reduced water use at their property by 30 percent.

Hotel chains such as The Oberoi Group, ITC, IHG, Four Seasons, Accor, Hyatt and Marriott are investing in machines that recycle food waste into greywater (used for flushing and watering plants), compost and biofuel. Properties are also employing digital tools to monitor and report resource usage. Emaar Hospitality Group has signed on tech firm Winnow to reduce food waste, aiming to cut consumption by two lakh meals in 2019. Visual recognition cameras and tablet devices quantify whats going into the bin and down the drain to calculate excess.

Theres also a big push towards adopting greener forms of energy. ITC Marathas biogas plant mitigates over 300 tons of greenhouse gases every year. This climate change impact is similar to replacing over 500 (carbon fuel-based) bikes or scooters with electric ones, says ITCs Dipak Haksar.

Both The Oberoi, Gurgaon, and Trident Gurgaon meet all their electricity needs via solar energy. In the Maldives, under threat of rising sea levels, Niyama Private Islands Maldives converts used cooking oil to fuel generators and desalination plants. In Sri Lanka, over 50 percent of Jetwing Hotels energy requirement is met through renewable means, including solar power parks at Jetwing Yala and Jetwing Lake.

Other interesting uses of technology include moves by Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels and Westin Hotels to upcycle linen and create clothing. In 2018, Westin rewove 30,000 pounds of bed linen and terry cloth. The Park Hotels, apart from generating solar energy and harvesting rainwater at its Hyderabad property, offers guests an electric four-wheeler to zip around in. Also, Alila Hotels & Resorts is converting waste plastic into a light green crude oil that will be distilled down to diesel, kerosene and gasoline for reuse across its flagship hotels.

On the environmental front, hotels have been helping keep beaches clean, build coral reefs and protect endangered species. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru works with world-renowned expert Dr Guy Stevens on the Maldivian Manta Ray Project. Its the founding project of the worlds largest manta ray charity, Manta Ray Trust. Meanwhile, using the money guests help save by reusing bath towels, Accor has joined forces with PUR Project in a global reforestation programme.

However, hospitality leaders are realising that long-term sustenance will come from planting ones roots deeperby investing in local communities. Six Senses Fiji focuses on employing locally and also collaborates with an NGO to support the economy by featuring homeware and crafts made by women in remote communities at the resorts villas, restaurants and boutique.

The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Thailand is empowering the next generation of mahouts by providing English teachers in village schools using funds raised by Anantara guests. In the Maldives, where rising global temperatures are accentuating a drinking water crisis, Soneva, apart from running a range of stellar conservation projects, is using its solar-powered desalination plant to supply water to the residents of neighbouring atolls. And in North America, Repeat Roses is giving Marriotts floral arrangement a proper spruce up and then delivering them to hospitals, nursing homes and cancer treatment centres.

In India, the Taj groups collaboration with the Last Wilderness Foundation and the Panna Forest Department is a pioneering example. Taj Safaris Pashan Garh is a lodge near Panna Tiger Reserve where its naturalists mentor youth from the highly marginalised Pardhi community to develop community-based tourist trails. The aim: to prevent the next generation from joining poaching rings.

The uniqueness of the Walk with The Pardhis initiative lies in the fact that the communitys natural entrepreneurial streak and flair for tracking animals and reading the forests are leveraged to create an alternative livelihood path linked to the growing tourism in this region, says PV Ramana Murthy of IHCL. Along with building on their existing strengths and enabling alternative livelihoods, this project also furthers preservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage and wildlife conservation.

The hotel groups attempts to empower marginalised groups also include supporting 14 skill-training centres that impart short courses in hospitality and tourism to the less privileged youth.

Such moves are in keeping with ITPs 2030 goal for the hospitality industry to aid one million youth under 25. Its an important goal given that the International Labour Organization estimates that over 40 percent of the worlds youth is unemployed or lives in poverty. While Hyatt says it plans to recruit 10,000 youth by 2025, Marriott is putting down US$5 million to train and skill those from at-risk and underserved communities.

THE SUM OF IT ALL

By 2017, Marriott Internationalpossibly the worlds largest chain of hotels with over 7,000 propertieshad reduced its carbon intensity (a metric used to measure emission of pollutants) by 8 percent. The goal is to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020. The Hyatt group says it has already achieved its 2020 goal of reducing water use and greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in Asia and the Middle East.

IHGs Pascal Gauvin says utility costs are the second biggest expense of its hotels; Throughout 2018, hotels using our online sustainability platform, IHG Green Engage, avoided costs of US$67 million, he says. John Roberts of Minor Hotels adds that the 10 to 15 percent improved operations by their resorts equate a US$576,000 saving in energy and water costs in the first half of this year.

The conclusion: the hospitality industry is going far beyond replanting coral reefs, funding afforestation and supporting beach clean-up drives. If that isnt good long-term business sense, we dont know what is.

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How hotels are helping offset your eco guilt - Cond Nast Traveller India - The Last Word in Travel

Private Islands of Georgia Private Island Vacation Rentals

The ultimate luxury getaway is waiting for you on the Georgia coast in our untouched preserve of privacy covering 2,000 acres of salt marsh and eight private islands. Vacationing at one of the Private Islands of Georgia properties gives you access to six private islands, each with a distinctive personality, for nature walks, fishing, kayaking, picnicking, bird watching, photography or just relaxing.

Let our Guest Services Team customize your getaway to exceed your expectations for an unplugged family vacation, romantic couples getaway, fishing trip with the guys, or girlfriends weekend that takes you away from it all.

Round trip boat transportation to Eagle Island is included but we encourage you to bring your own boat. Pontoon boat rentals are also available.

Contact us today to reserve your private island getaway.

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Private Islands of Georgia Private Island Vacation Rentals

Vatuvara Private Islands Fiji

Vatuvara Private Islands Fiji Vatuvara Private Islands (VPI) offers conscientious luxury to the discerning traveler with an exclusive experience in the Northern Lau Group of Fiji described as one of the world's most beautiful places. Kaibu Island, home to Vatuvara Private Islands Resort is 324HA (800 acres) with three all-inclusive private Villasavailable.The three secluded and expansive seaside Villashave been meticulously crafted with natural textures and materials creating spacious and comfortably elegant environments.Dinein our two seaside full-service restaurants, where meals are created for you with the freshest ingredients direct from the island's certified organic farms or fished from the surrounding ocean waters, and delivered to your table.Island guests enjoy the diverse water and land activitiesincluding our 4-hole organic certified golf course and putting green. Our marina is ready for any ocean activity, with three boats, fishing, diving, scuba, and snorkeling equipment.Find out more.

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Vatuvara Private Islands Fiji

Vladi Private Islands – Private Islands for Sale, Private …

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Vladi Private Islands - Private Islands for Sale, Private ...

Eagle Island Private Islands of Georgia Private Island …

The true luxury is getting away from it all.

Slow down. Relax and enjoy the peaceful beauty of this private 10-acre island where you and your guests are all that matters.

With round-trip boat transportation provided to your vacation house rental on Eagle Island, the 1,500 square foot wrap-around screened porch and hot tub in front of a burning fireplace (perfect for a romantic weekend) are calling your name. Explore local coastal cuisine from your outdoor kitchen and take in the views of the spectacular Georgia salt marsh.

Travel packages are available. Contact Andy Hill, owner and director of Guest Services for Private Islands of Georgia and Eagle Island, to request your all-inclusive custom getaway package.

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Eagle Island Private Islands of Georgia Private Island ...

Welcome to Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation

27May 27, 201928May 28, 2019All day: Entrepreneurship Workshop for ArtisansAll day: Entrepreneurship Workshop for ArtisansClose

FijiArtsCouncilis planning to organize a Entrepreneurship Workshop for Artisans who are members of the FijiArtsCounciland are Fijian Crafted License Holders through theFijian Crafted Branding Campaignawarded by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism.

The Second Intra-Commonwealth SME Trade Summit(ICSA) will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 28 and 29.

The summit aims to provide a sustainable platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), exporters and importers to share ideas, build awareness of existing global standards, and encourage regional and international investment in areas where Commonwealth countries have competitiveness, but lack capacity.

The Asian Development Bank is partnering with the Fijian Government on a free half-day seminar for private sector and public enterprises to learn more about international commercial arbitration, as Fijis International Arbitration Act 2017 is now in effect.

The seminar will take place from 9:30am to 1:30pm on 28 May 2019 at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, invites you to join us for the launch of a new study which demonstrates how childcare responsibilities impact working parents and their employers in Fiji. The study also identifies opportunities to better support working parents and to expand the supply of childcare services in Fiji. More than 4,500 public sector and private sector employees participated in this study - representing seven (7) Fijian businesses and all Government Ministries

FijiArtsCouncilis planning to organize a Entrepreneurship Workshop for Artisans who are members of the FijiArtsCounciland are Fijian Crafted License Holders through theFijian Crafted Branding Campaignawarded by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism.

The Second Intra-Commonwealth SME Trade Summit(ICSA) will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 28 and 29.

The summit aims to provide a sustainable platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), exporters and importers to share ideas, build awareness of existing global standards, and encourage regional and international investment in areas where Commonwealth countries have competitiveness, but lack capacity.

FijiArtsCouncilis planning to organize a Entrepreneurship Workshop for Artisans who are members of the FijiArtsCounciland are Fijian Crafted License Holders through theFijian Crafted Branding Campaignawarded by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism.

June 5-6, 2019 8:00 am 5:00 pm

Under the overarching theme of Advancing Green Finance through Youth Inclusion, the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI) together with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) are pleased to invite you to the 5th Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI) High-Level Forum to be held from 5 to 6 June 2019 at the Heritage Park Hotel, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The Pacific Islands have been amongst the frontrunners in this area within the AFI network. Since 2016, PIRI members in its meeting in Papua New Guinea articulated the first-of-its-kind regional policy commitment on financial inclusion and climate change. This was further elevated to the AFI network where member institutions formally adopted the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on Financial Inclusion, Climate Change and Green Finance at the AFI Global Policy Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in September 2017. This commitment is a vital contribution in moving towards greener, more sustainable financial sectors.

All participants are required to register with assigned registration codes as below by Friday, 3 May 2019 AFI Online Registration Portal, tentative agenda and logistics note can be found on the registration website.

June 5-6, 2019 8:00 am 5:00 pm

Under the overarching theme of Advancing Green Finance through Youth Inclusion, the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI) together with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) are pleased to invite you to the 5th Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI) High-Level Forum to be held from 5 to 6 June 2019 at the Heritage Park Hotel, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The Pacific Islands have been amongst the frontrunners in this area within the AFI network. Since 2016, PIRI members in its meeting in Papua New Guinea articulated the first-of-its-kind regional policy commitment on financial inclusion and climate change. This was further elevated to the AFI network where member institutions formally adopted the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on Financial Inclusion, Climate Change and Green Finance at the AFI Global Policy Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in September 2017. This commitment is a vital contribution in moving towards greener, more sustainable financial sectors.

All participants are required to register with assigned registration codes as below by Friday, 3 May 2019 AFI Online Registration Portal, tentative agenda and logistics note can be found on the registration website.

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Welcome to Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation


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