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Layne Beachley Resilience Series Underway

Wyndham Ambassador Layne Beachley began her 2017 employee workshop series on the Gold Coast early recently.

The series emphasises resilience, with the first workshop taking place at the Gold Coast Corporate Centre early this month. The workshops will continue, visiting six resort sites around Australia and the Corporate Centre again later this year.

Designed to help employees improve their resilience in their professional and private lives, the first workshop was very well received by the participating employees.

We look forward to seeing what else Layne brings in further workshops in 2017!

 

 

Wyndham Surabaya Opens in Indonesia

Wyndham Hotel Group has introduced its namesake Wyndham® brand to Indonesia’s second largest city with the opening of Wyndham Surabaya on Friday, 24 February 2017.

The 292-room upscale hotel, formerly known as Pullman Surabaya City Centre, joins the Wyndham family under a new management agreement with owners PT Gloria Ramayana Inter Hotel.

Located on the island of Java, Wyndham Surabaya marks Wyndham Hotel Group’s sixth hotel in Indonesia and the second to open in just two months following the addition of the beachfront Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort in Bali. The hospitality giant is making waves across South East Asia and the Pacific Rim, adding 27 hotels in 2016 and recently celebrating its 100th hotel milestone in the region.

Citing rising demand due to relaxation of tourist visa regulations, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry recently revealed their goal of attracting 15 million international visitors in 2017, a 25% increase from 2016.

“Tourism in Indonesia has risen sharply over the years and Surabaya’s expanding industrial and business sectors, growing economy, and improved infrastructure are driving the demand for quality, branded hotels,“ said Barry Robinson, President and Managing Director of Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim.

“With a prime location near Surabaya’s business centre and major retail precinct, Wyndham Surabaya is extremely desirable for travellers looking for an extraordinary stay in the heart of the city.”

He added, “We are laser-focused on growing the Wyndham footprint, offering travellers more options in leading business and leisure destinations like Indonesia. Our Wyndham brand connects with guests in major urban and resort destinations by delivering comfort that exceeds expectations with the tailored services and amenities expected at a world-class hotel.”

Wyndham Surabaya is located along the lively Jalan Basuki Rahmat Boulevard in the heart of Surabaya’s financial centre and minutes from Tunjungan Plaza, the city’s largest shopping mall. As Java’s commercial hub and the gateway to many of the island’s historical and natural attractions, Surabaya is becoming an increasingly popular destination among Indonesian and Asian travellers.

Each of Wyndham Surabaya’s guest rooms features warm and contemporary furnishings, Asian design elements, breathtaking views of the city skyline, a bath tub and separate shower room. The hotel also offers two-bedroom apartments and Presidential Suites with a spacious 283m2 of living space.

Wyndham Surabaya Guest Room

Wyndham Surabaya Guest Room

Premium amenities include free wireless internet access throughout the hotel, an outdoor pool, a wellness centre with a sauna and hot tub, and a day spa. The hotel will undergo a renovation this year to introduce refreshing new food and beverage concepts.

Wyndham Surabaya Lobby

Wyndham Surabaya Lobby

The hotel’s nine venues for meetings and events can accommodate up to 750 people. All rooms enjoy natural daylight and come with comprehensive conferencing and banqueting services.

All Wyndham Hotel Group properties in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim participate in Wyndham Rewards®, the simple-to-use, revolutionary loyalty program from Wyndham Hotel Group that offers members a generous points earning structure along with a flat, free-night redemption rate. Information is available at www.wyndhamrewards.com.

Deluxe Room rates start from USD85 a night. For general enquiries or reservations, please email reservations@wyndhamsurabaya.com or call +85 (031) 535 1555.

Ramada Rotorua Appoints New Resort Manager

Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific is pleased to announce the appointment of Salen Rattan as the new Resort Manager for Ramada Rotorua.

Prior to his new role, Salen held the position of Assistant Resort Manager at Wyndham Resort Denarau Island in Fiji for almost seven years and worked as its Maintenance Manager and Project Manager for an additional nine years. Salen will now lead day-to-day operations at the Lake Rotorua resort, which features 78 self-contained apartments and facilities including an outdoor pool and spa, tennis court, gym, barbeque areas and a private boat ramp and berth.

Over 16 years at Wyndham Resort Denarau Island, Salen has set exceptional customer service standards for himself and the resort, built key relationships both inside and outside the resort, and gained extensive experience in budgeting, training and recruitment.

Salen has also been recognised several times by his industry peers including through two prestigious President’s Council accolades with Wyndham, along with the Award for Excellence in Customer Service at the Australian Holiday and Timeshare Ownership Council (ATHOC) 2016 Awards. Wyndham’s Senior Vice President Resort Operations and Property Development, Matt Taplin, said Salen is a skilled leader who stands out because of his loyalty and consummate professionalism.

“Due to its fast nature, hospitality can be seen as a transient profession, so it is refreshing to find someone with Salen’s passion for the industry and a drive to continually set himself higher benchmarks in customer service delivery,” Mr Taplin said. “We are delighted to appoint him as Resort Manager of Ramada Rotorua.”

Just 20 minutes from Rotorua City and three hours from Auckland, Ramada Rotorua is ideally positioned on the tranquil shores of Lake Rotorua and the Ohau Channel, an accessible distance from the many natural wonders in the vicinity of the lake. The resort’s self-contained apartments come complete with fully-equipped kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and outdoor decks.

Proudest Wyndham Moment

In celebration of the opening of its 100th hotel in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim late last year, Wyndham put a call out to its employees to share their proudest moment with the company, with some great prizes in various categories on offer for the selected winners.

The winner of the Individual Category was Ida Bagus Putu Alit Dwi Antara, Commis Chef at Ramada Bali Sunset Road Kuta, who shared this story: (more…)

Stay at a Family Paradise with Wyndham!

Located in the vibrant heart of the Gold Coast, Wyndham Hotel Surfers Paradise was thrilled to be mentioned in a recent guide by Expedia for family holidays on the Gold Coast!

We are in an ideal location if you wish to explore all that the area has to offer, with a child-friendly atmosphere and convenient amenities to help make your family holiday even more stress-free and enjoyable.

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Our hotel boasts many facilities that will keep you and your family entertained. Our apartments come equipped with a kitchenette, so you can whip up a breakfast to fuel your day of adventure. Parents love our barbecue facilities for a convenient and good value dinner or, if you don’t feel like cooking, we also have an on-site café and bar.

The hotel features a stunning outdoor swimming pool – perfect for cooling down after a day of walking, and heated in winter.

The hotel is also very close to all Gold Coast attractions and places of interest, making it a top choice for families. We are only a 10-minute drive from Sea World, 25-minutes to Warner Bros. Movie World Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World and Dreamworld theme parks, while the Q1 observation deck and Cavill Mall are less than 5-minutes’ walk away.

Ideally located, child-friendly and with handy facilities on-site, Wyndham Surfers Paradise was delighted to be featured in the Expedia article on Gold Coast Family Holidays.

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Wyndham Surfers Paradise is a mixed-use hotel, containing apartments owned by WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham, as well as apartments owned by Wyndham Hotel Group. 

 

Singapore: Asia’s City In a Garden

By Annie Lyon

With its modern cityscape that features new-age architectural megastructures and countless skyscrapers, Singapore isn’t the first place that comes to mind when planning a back-to-nature style holiday. But this forward-thinking country is sometimes referred to as ‘a city in a garden’ – and for good reason!

Packed into Singapore’s compact 718.3 square kilometres is a surprising amount of greenery including more than 300 parks, four nature reserves and two extensive native tree conservation zones, all linked by a 200-kilometre park connector network. In a refreshing display of the beauty of nature in an urban setting, the streets are lined with trees and even the bridges and overpasses are draped in bright flowers.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay

Caring for the environment is an official way of life in Singapore. The country’s clean and green campaign stems back to 1963 when then Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, planted a mempat tree in Farrer Circus as a symbol of his commitment to biodiversity and preserving the country’s natural heritage. This vision has played a guiding role in Singapore’s urban development plan, with environmentally-friendly building principles (such as the rule that there must be 0.8 hectares of park space per 1,000 population) still strictly adhered to today.

If you like the great outdoors but have never considered Singapore for an outdoorsy getaway, think again. This lush country is more jungle than concrete jungle and your two Associate Resorts* – Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park, both in Novena – are perfectly positioned to enjoy all of the natural delights on offer.

Gardens by the Bay

Everyone who visits Singapore will leave with a slightly different list of ‘must-see’ attractions but you can bet that Gardens by the Bay appears in most people’s top five! Located on the waterfront next to the Marina Reservoir, the sprawling gardens boast manicured lawns, landscaped gardens and tropical palm trees, and play a key role in the country’s clean and green campaign.

True to Singapore’s creativity and innovation, Gardens by the Bay is a landmark of artistry and futuristic horticulture. Not your typical garden, it features a scattering of 16-storey ‘supertrees’ that are made from environmentally sustainable functions and materials including photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy. At dusk, spread a picnic blanket on the grass and lie back to enjoy Garden Rhapsody, a dazzling light show accompanied by music that takes place nightly in the canopy of the supertrees.

Garden Rhapsody at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Garden Rhapsody at Gardens by the Bay

Be sure to also check out Gardens by the Bay’s other key attraction – two giant domes that artificially replicate different environments. The Flower Dome imitates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like California and Spain and houses more than 32,000 plants, while the misty Cloud Forest takes you 2,000 metres above sea level to the tropical highlands of a 35-metre mountain covered in lush vegetation and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Pulau Ubin

Singapore’s warm, humid climate conjures fantasies of a trip to the beach and luckily a ten-minute boat trip (for just SGD$2.50 each way) from Changi Ferry Terminal takes you to the tropical paradise of Pulau Ubin. According to local folklore, the island was formed hundreds of years ago when a pig, elephant and frog challenged each other to swim across the straits between Singapore and Malaysia. The animals agreed that those who failed to reach Johor in Malaysia would turn into a rock. Unfortunately all three animals overestimated their swimming capabilities and the elephant and pig drowned, reappearing as Pulau Ubin. The frog didn’t make it much further and is today remembered as the nearby rock formation, Pulau Sekudu.

This quiet, uncrowded island is not only a great way to escape the heat, it is also the ultimate day-trip destination for nature lovers and exercise enthusiasts. Home to a variety of environments including lush rainforest, cool mangroves and sandy beaches, the best way to see the island is either on foot or on bike, although taxi drivers are also available.

Birds

Birds

Follow the bike paths and explore untouched reservoirs and the island’s permanent residents’ humble Sensory Garden, where you’ll find thriving herb and vegetable beds. Don’t forget to pack your camera because you’re bound to spot native wildlife including wild boars, monkeys and birds along the way.

Visit the tourist information centre to learn about the island’s history and enjoy stunning views back over Singapore from the coastal boardwalk that snakes its way along the stunning beachfront. Refuel with a modest but delicious lunch and refreshing beer at the island’s one restaurant before returning to the mainland.

Pulau Ubin boardwalk, Singapore

Boardwalk at Pulau Ubin

MacRitchie Reservoir

Approximately four kilometres from Ramada and Days Hotels is Singapore’s oldest reservoir, which is enclosed by tranquil gardens and parks and an expansive nature and animal reserve. MacRitchie Reservoir is the perfect spot for a morning picnic on the grassy banks of the water followed by a spot of fishing or kayaking.

For the more intrepid travellers, the park includes an 11-kilometre rainforest walk known as the MacRitchie Trails, where wild monkeys, squirrels and water dragons abound. The two highest points within the park are connected by a 250-metre free-standing suspension bridge, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the lush rainforest canopy. Not a single high-rise is visible from within the park, making it easy to forget you’re in one of the most densely populated cities in the world!

 

Hiking trail, Singapore Zoo

Hiking trail at Singapore Zoo

*Associate Resorts are an additional benefit offered by Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific (“the Developer”), and provide more destinations for eligible WorldMark South Pacific Club Owners throughout Asia and the South Pacific. Associate Resorts are not owned by WorldMark South Pacific Club, but have been selected by the Developer to provide the choice of additional destinations and accommodation type. Eligible Privileges by Wyndham members are granted access to an extended number of Associate Resorts and may have access to extended booking windows for Associate Resorts through the Privileges by Wyndham program. The Developer may remove or modify access to Associate Resorts without notice at any time.

On the Tail of the East Coast Whales

By Chris Logan

Whales are a treasured part of the South Pacific’s offering to tourists. Millions of visitors come to australia every year with the intention of seeing these majestic sea creatures first hand. This growing enthusiasm has made whale watching an emerging multi-million dollar industry.

Perhaps seeing whales in real life is the only way to fully comprehend how big they are. Grown humpback whales – those typically seen along Australia’s East Coast – can reach up to 16 metres long, about the same length as a semitrailer. They can weigh between 40 to 45 tonnes. Meanwhile, newborns are four to six metres long – the length of a car – and about the same weight.

It is difficult for a human to fathom the volume of food required to keep creatures that size moving. A matured whale can eat up to two tonnes of krill every day, while calves drink the equivalent of 500 litres of milk per day.

The whale trail

Even the humpback whale migration is one of epic proportions. Pods of whales travel about 5,000km during the winter, from the Southern Ocean to the warmer Pacific waters off North Queensland for calving, before returning south during the spring. Southern right whales also make their pilgrimage from the cool Antarctic region to the New South Wales north coast at about the same time.

There are several prime points along the East Coast for watching the annual migration of these gentle giants. Port Stephens, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast and Far North Queensland are among the best of them.

Whale underwater

Far North Queensland

The best time for seeing whales off Far North Queensland is between July and August. The window is shorter here because the whales spend a good portion of the season travelling to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area for calving before returning south. Humpbacks and dwarf minke whales can be seen on the reef and lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of the legendary white humpback, Migaloo, who has made the trip since 1991.

Reef tours leave from Port Douglas Marina, a short drive from Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific at Ramada Port Douglas. Some specialist whale watching tours also depart from Cairns.

Visit www.poseidon-cruises.com.au/whales

Migaloo

Gold Coast

While the Gold Coast’s famed high-rises are the best vantage points to spot a whale from land, humpbacks frolic just minutes by boat from the coastline. The city’s operators leave from a variety of points, but those starting from Surfers Paradise are easily accessible from Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Surfers Paradise. The Coast’s new light rail runs right past the hotel and makes travelling the city simpler than ever.

The most successful Gold Coast operators boast of a 99-100% success rate for whale sightings. It is easy to find an operator promising a full refund or a return trip out on the ocean if no whales are sighted.

Visit www.whalesinparadise.com.au

On the Tail of the East Coast Whales

Coffs Harbour

Whale watching operators at Coffs Harbour promise tours that are all activity: the whales come close to the coast and the operators have boats that can quickly change direction and move in the water. They follow the action as it happens and their small craft make for a more intimate experience that feels more adventure than tour.

Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Coffs Harbour is just a ten-minute drive from the whale watching operators, or a short walk from the beach where you may be able to spot one of the giant creatures breaching.

Visit www.pacificexplorer.com.au or www.jettydive.com.au/whale-watching-coffs-harbour

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Port Macquarie

As one of Australia’s easternmost points, Port Macquarie is arguably the place along the trail where the whales draw closest to land. The Coastal Walk in Kattang Nature Reserve provides excellent vantage points. Boating trips out to see the whales are often shorter because their route hugs the coastline.

Three major operators call Port Macquarie home and, because of the numerous whales and their proximity to the coastline, now have improved and expanded services. The operators’ luxury cruisers and jet boats offer the ultimate whale watching experience.

WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham Port Macquarie is just 3km from the cast-off point.

Visit www.portjet.com.au or www.cruiseterminal.com.au for local tours.

Port Stephens

There are plenty of ideal onshore spots to see passing whales in Port Stephens’ beautifully clear waters. Wyndham Vacation Resorts at Ramada Resort Shoal Bay is located just two minutes’ drive from Tomaree National Park where the elevated Tomaree Head offers a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Other excellent spots for seeing whales are Boat Harbour, Anna Bay and Fisherman’s Bay – all about 15km from the resort.

Whale watching cruises run from Nelson Bay, just 3km from the resort. Operators here tend to stay open year round because the area has resident pods of bottlenose dolphins.

Visit www.moonshadow.com.au for tour information.

Whales at Shoal Bay

National guidelines for interacting with whales

  • Do not travel within 300m in front or behind or whale, or within 100m of either side
  • Give whales the choice to interact
  • Move away from any that are clearly disturbed
  • Do not encourage bow riding (when creatures surf the wake from a boat)
  • Avoid making too much noise
  • Avoid approaching pods with calves

Did you know?

Indigenous Australians have a lengthy association with whales. The giant sea creatures appear in Aboriginal rock engravings and paintings and are prominent characters in Indigenous Dreamtime stories. For more read our Indigenous Story on Whales

 

This article was originally published in Destinations Magazine, Issue 2, 2016. 

Indigenous story on whales

By Chris Logan

Indigenous Australians have a lengthy association with whales. The giant sea creatures appear in ancient rock carvings and paintings and are prominent characters in Aboriginal people’s stories of the Dreamtime.

The whale is also a totem – a family or clan emblem – for several groups of Aboriginal people, including the Darkinjung people of the New South Wales Central Coast, based just north of Sydney.

Whale breaching

Stranded whales were important to Aboriginal People. Whale bones were used for their shelters, weapons and utensils while the blubber had uses for varnishing tools and weapons. They also ate the meat from stranded whales.

Aboriginal People have also been passionate defenders of whales. In 2007, the Woppaburra People of the Keppel Islands in Central Queensland, wrote to the Emperor of Japan requesting a cessation of the slaughter of humpback whales – their spiritual totem.

Whale underwater

To read  more, the following links contain dreaming stories featuring whales:
www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/cultureheritage/illawarraAboriginalHistoryPoster.pdf
www.environment.sa.gov.au/files/sharedassets/public/marine_parks/whale_gabmp.pdf

What Does the Future Look Like for Hotels?

By Chris Logan

Accommodation and travel evolve with changes to our way of life. Visit any metropolis and you will find it easy to tell the traditional or heritage-listed hotels from newly-minted additions.

Visions of the future are set to challenge the status quo when it comes to hotels and resorts. They propose changes to everything, including levels of service, hotel shapes, building materials, colour schemes and even traditional location. Some of these design and service concepts for future hotels are close to reality, while others need more time.

However, at the heart of any evolution is a demand from people for more or different experiences. Consequently, it is our WorldMark South Pacific Club Owners who ultimately determine the shape of our products and the experiences offered by Wyndham.

Getting close

Today’s travellers are increasingly demanding unique, high-quality experiences. Many futuristic hotel designs aim to make the inaccessible into a readily accessible experience for their guests. Water and underwater hotels and resorts are an example of a hospitality offering that can put guests in the midst of previously unreachable places. The MORPHotel, designed by Gianluca Santosuosso, will be one. Using the human spine as inspiration, the architect envisages a floating hotel capable of adapting to weather conditions as it moves slowly across oceans, from port to port, exploring. The intention is for some of the luxury rooms to be able to detach and traverse the vicinity around the structure, within a safe distance.

MORPHotel

Courtesy of Gianluca Santosuosso

Environmentally responsible

As the world becomes more conscious of environmental degradation, holiday makers want to ensure their resort stay leaves as little damage as possible. Bringing guests into a pristine environment raises a range of sustainability questions and floating hotels are an answer put forward by architects who care deeply about the issue. Architect Jean-Marie Massuad has proposed an airship capable of sailing over environmentally-sensitive landscapes without damaging them. If achieved, the “Manned Cloud” could allow travellers to not just see the previously unseen, but cover incredible distances without leaving their hotel.

Manned Cloud Hotel

Courtesy of Jean-Marie Massuad

Portable

Architect Margot Krasojevic’s portable hotel

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

The hotel of the future may always be on the move. Generally, people want to cut down on superfluous travel and there’s no better way to do that than have a hotel come to them. Architect Margot Krasojevic’s portable hotel will be able to park alongside a private jet, allowing a traveller to arrive in just moments, with a canopy even blocking out any rain. It is not difficult to imagine that there could one day be a larger concept for more people.

Streamlined internals

Just as the hotel’s location and sustainability credentials are being shaped by the tastes of guests, so will the inside of rooms. Hotel rooms today offer an emphasis on natural light, flat screen TVs, air conditioning and internet connectivity. Some experts believe the future will involve larger bathrooms and minimalistic, streamlined furniture.

Responsive

As technology becomes more pervasive, travellers expect to have more control over their environment and experiences. Experts suggest guests will one day be able to influence everything in their room via their own mobile phone or device and, with apps, this could be a possibility quite soon.

Robotics

Technology companies are confidently predicting that robots have great potential in the services industry. Autonomous robots, like this one from Savioke, have already hit the market and creators are hoping to experience a widespread take-up in hospitality and services. The pictured model is capable of delivering requests like towels to guests and doesn’t need a monetary tip! Another idea that has recently received some attention is for room service carts that alert staff when they have been returned to a corridor.

Autonomous robots from Savioke

Courtesy of Savioke

It is an exciting time to travel and technology has the potential to make travel quicker and even more luxurious, provided of course that it does not replace the genuine, warm, friendly service that only humans can deliver.

How would you like hotels and resorts to look and feel in the future? Tell us your thoughts below.

This article was originally published in Destinations Magazine, Issue 1, 2016.