Luxury Bali Villas

Introduction to Bali

Bali is one of Indonesia’s 17,508 island’s. It is located in the western end of the Lesser Sunda Islands lying in between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Bali’s provincial capital is known as Denpasar and it is located towards the south of the island.

In 2010, the population was recorded as 3,891,000 people. The island is home to Indonesia’s Hindu minority. In the 2000 census, 92.29% of Bali’s population were Balinese Hindus while the rest were Muslims. Bali is also Indonesia’s largest tourist destination and is known for its various art forms which include traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworks and music.

With its varied landscapes of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches to its rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides, Bali always has something to offer for various types of tourists. Its picturesque sceneries together with its deep spiritual and unique culture stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth.

With its world class surfing and diving, historical and archeological attractions and a wide variety of accommodations, Bali is easily one of the most popular island destinations in the world. Bali has consistently won various tourism awards. This is echoed in the quote below:-

“The main asset of Bali tourism is the culture of Bali itself. Because of this, let us all work together to protect and preserve that which draws tourists to Bali.”

Minister of Culture and Tourism – I Gede Ardhika
A procession for a religious ceremony
A procession for a religious ceremony | Source
Regions in Bali

Bali has six regions which are:-

South Bali – This region consists of the Kuta, Bukit Peninsula, Canggu, Denpasar, Jimbaran, Legian, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak and Tanah Lot. This region is the most visited part of the island due to the fact that Denpasar International Airport is located in the region as well as Kuta Beach and Seminyak which are main tourist destinations.

Central Bali – This region consists of Ubud, Bedugul and Tabanan. This region is also known as the cultural hub of Bali. The central mountain range is also located in this region. The highest mountain in this region is Mount Batukaru.

West Bali – This region consists of Negara, Gilimanuk, Medewi Beach, Pemuteran and the West Bali National Park. It is in this location which have ferry trips to Java. For the eco-tourist, the West Bali National Park is located in this region as well.

North Bali – This region consists or Lovina and Singaraja. This region has quiet black beaches. The old capital city of Singaraja or “Lion King” is also located in this region. Singaraja was formerly the Dutch colonial administrative centre for Bali and the Lesser Sunda Islands until 1953. Gedong Kirtya which is located south of the town centre of Singaraja is the only library of lontar manuscripts which are ancient and sacred texts written on the leaves of the rontal palm. This the only library of such kind in the world.

East Bali – This region consists of Amed, Besakih, Candidasa, Kintamani, Klungkung, Mount Agung, Padang Bai & Tirta Gangga. This region is a laid back coastal village flanked by an active volcano as well as the mighty Mount Agung.

Southeastern Islands – This region consists of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. This region is popular for its diving activities.
Mount Agung dominates the landscape of East Bali
Mount Agung dominates the landscape of East Bali | Source
Popular Cities in Bali

Some of the popular cities in Bali are:-

Denpasar – This city is the administratice centre as well as the transport hub for the island.
Candidasa – This is a quiet coastal town which is the gateway to the east coast.
Kuta – This is a surfer’s city and it the most heavily developed area in Bali. There are a lot of shopping centres to cater for the large number of tourist arrivals to this city. This is also the centre of Bali’s nightlife and party culture.
Jimbaran – This is a seaside resort which has nice sheltered beaches as well as seafood restaurants. Jimbaran is located to the south of Kuta.
Legian – This city is located between Kuta and Seminyak. It is also the name of Kuta’s main street.
Lovina – This city is where there are beautiful black volcanic sand beaches and coral reefs.
Sanur – This area has seaside resorts and beaches which are popular with older families.
Seminyak – This is the quieter city which has more upscale beach resorts and villas just north to Legian. It also has a fashionable upscale restaurants and trendy designer bars and dance clubs.
Ubud – This is the centre of art and dance in the foothills. This area has several museums, the monkey forest and lots of arts and craft shops for the tourist.

Sunset at Jimbaran
Sunset at Jimbaran | Source
Villas in Jimbaran

Jimbaran is a thriving fishing village which has white sandy beaches overlooking the bay on Bali’s southern coastline. This city maintains its cultural values and is the place to be to enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Jimbaran Bay is known for its mesmerizing sunsets as well as seafood which are served in cafes along the beach. The villas in this area are reasonably priced as well.

Prices starting from US $ 300.00

Ocean View Frangipani Villa and Spa

This villa has established secluded villas in which privacy is the topmost importance. The villa is filled with flowers and greenery outside the villa balcony. You will also be waking up the chirping of the birds in the morning. In the evenings, it is the candlelight which lights up the sunset. The villas are surrounded by forest which arouses a feeling of ease as time passes slowly to make you liberated from daily chores and at once, your mind, body and soul are relaxed.

Villa Puri Balangan

This villa is located on the top of Balangan Hill. This villas are located about 25 minutes away from the International airport. The villa was originally constructed by an employee from the World Bank. However, the current owners acquired the project the 2007 and completed an extensive renovation project. This villa is exclusive in that this hideaway of three (3) exclusive bedroom villas offer all the lavish accoutrements of a luxury managed villa. The villa boast its own infinity pool, manicured gardens and absolute ocean view.

Prices starting from US $ 400.00

Villa Sur La Colline

Villa Sur La Colline is a tastefully appointed 4-bedroom property designed to embrace the contours of an elevated piece of landscape that captures sweeping views of Jimbaran Bay and Tanjung Benoa. This villa is located in the rugged tropical terrain known as Bukit Ungasan. This villa is also about 20 minutes from the airport and is close the surfing beaches of Padang-Padang, Balangan and Dreamland.

Prices starting from US $ 500.00

Villa Kalyana

Villa Kalyana is a three bedroom retreat with a sprawling natural landscape by a boundary of bamboo trees in the village of Jimbaran. The villas main living room is based on the traditional Javanese joglo with an elevated ceiling of intricate wooden beams. The airport is just 10 minutes drive away. The master bedroom is another Javanese joglo which is designed as an adult sanctuary. Bathed in natural sunlight, this room has its own terrace with direct garden access.

Prices starting from US $ 800.00

Villa Uma Nina

This villa is a newly built private home which is perfectly positioned on top of a hill in Jimbaran. This villa offers spectacular panoramic views of Bali. This villa is about 20 minutes away from the airport and 15 minutes away from Jimbaran Bay. This villa is surrounded by manicured lawns. Upon entering the villa, there is a circular driveway with a large water feature in the centre. The spacious living room has large windows which overlook the gardens and swimming pool.

Prices starting from US $ 900.00

The Jewel Villa

The Jewel Villa is a four bedroom, cliff top villa which sits on “Tiara Nusa” which is a private estate located in the south of Bali. “Tiara Nusa”, when translated, means the “crown of the island”. This villa has stunning panoramas that Bali has to offer. Set on the edge of a cliff within a beautiful tropical garden, every bedroom suite at the villa is named after a precious jewel, ie, Ruby, Amethyst, Sapphire and Emerald. The Sapphire and Emerald suite open to the garden. The Sapphire suite is decorated in deep blue to match the stone to its open air sky bathroom. Emerald is adorned in green and opens out to the green gardens. The Ruby suite is decorated is red and takes on the colours of the flowers in the garden outside. The Amethyst suite is done in lush and regal purple, just like the evening sky that can be seen from the balcony.

Ibiza Wedding Tips, make a cheap wedding in Ibiza

Company or Do it yourself Ibiza Wedding

A wedding in Ibiza can be organized by a company who specalize in weddings, but this usually comes at a high price and over charges for almost everything. Using a wedding planner you should expect everything to be perfect and to your satisfaction. But not everyone has a deep pocket and just a little effort put into your wedding you can do it yourself and save huge amounts of money and meet and comfront the services that will work for you to make a perfect Ibiza wedding.Some things might be common sense others may not be, but we hope the tips help you plan your wedding in Ibiza as smoothly and cost effective to your budget.
Ibiza Wedding – Top 10 tips for a wedding in Ibiza

1. Visit the Island before your wedding, at least 5 months before and research all the services you will need. Talk to the people who provide the services like the person who will make your cake, the catering company, the venue, the celebrant etc… Doing it like this will save you money. A wedding organizer can and will do all this for you but it will come with a high price, compare that too a price of a flight and accommodation you will see yourself save lots of money, and get a better perspective of who you are hiring for your wedding day.

2. The time of year to set your wedding date can save you a lot of money. The season for tourism starts around May and finishes end of October with the best weather being May, June, July, August and September. July and August in Ibiza is peak season and prices of accommodation go up by at least 25%, therefore try to make your wedding date around May or late September when hotels are offering good deals.

3. Where ever you choose your venue to hold your wedding, try to get the accommodation as close as possible. If most your guests are coming from UK or else where they would then not need to hire a car or get Taxis to get to the wedding venue. Also most weddings involve heavy drinking and it’s not advisable for your guests to be driving back to there accommodation after the wedding and taxi fares are not the cheapest in the world. The closer the better.

4. Let your guests know well in advance about your wedding date and its location and even research some accommodation ideas for them, as most weddings that take place on Ibiza are from UK residents, and of course the guests and families would be too, so they need to get to Ibiza. It’s important they can book flights and accommodation earlier and avoid disappointment of being fully booked when the time comes for the wedding day.

5. The cake is one of the most important things for a wedding and should be booked well in advance. Be careful that some venues and restaurants do not know the correct way to store a wedding cake because the temperatures in Ibiza reach well over the 30’s its important to know that a wedding cake cannot be stored in a fridge. Check with the cake maker, they will advise you on the correct way to store the cake before the wedding day. Choosing the right cake maker can make a difference in taste and the way it’s presented.

6. The photographer you hire either in Ibiza or from elsewhere should know the grounds of the venue. Lighting and shadows are important for good photos. He/She should also know the times and schedules of your day so that he/she is in the right places at the right time to catch the best shots. Most good photographers will ask you for this information. Help your photographer to get best results; the photographer should know who is who like the family members so they are aware of those special moments.

7. Unexpected guests or a guest to surprise you on your wedding day should be accounted for; most catering company’s or restaurant venues will calculate the cost by number of persons. Its well worth just going over the intended amount of people expected to be sure that there will be seating and food available for that unexpected guest or even last minute guests.

8. It’s a wise choice to have a selection of different foods for the wedding dinner. Depending on how many guests the odds are that 1 in 5 is a vegetarian. So choose wisely your food so you can keep all your guests happy and not hungry.

9. Make sure you have plenty of shade for your guests at the venue, depending when you have you have your wedding the sun can be extremely hot and you don’t want your guests suffering from the hot temperatures that an average day in Ibiza can produce. I have seen many weddings where all the guests are sat in the sun during the ceremony.

10. Try contacting the accommodation you want to stay in and see if they will give you a discount on organizing a group booking for all your guests. Allot of accommodation on the Island would be very happy to give discounts for big group bookings.
Find the right services in Ibiza

Look for the people and services you can contact direct and cut out the middleman. A resource site for wedding contacts is Ibiza Weddings Spain and for more information about Ibiza and accommodation try Ibiza holidays. There are allot of websites for Ibiza but these above are well established businesses and provide direct contact.You may also be interested in buying VIP club tickets for some of the excellent parties in the summer season of Ibiza.Plenty of club sites can provide you good priced tickets through the season. Another thing to keep in mind is to watch TripAdvisor for other peoples comments about weddings in Ibiza.

Best Bargains In Fifa 12 Ultimate Team

In this hub I will talk about some good players on Fifa 12 Ultimate Team that are available for a good price. These are all Premier League players. If you are looking for non-Premier League bargains I have some in the link below.

Bargains On Fifa 12 Ultimate Team Part 2
The best Fifa 12 Ultimate Team bargain signings from outside the English Premier League.Cheap, good players.

Try the guides on the right- they actually work and have some great tips.

Shay Given

The Aston Villa keeper is about as good as the best 3 Premier League keepers in the world of Fifa 12, Petr Cech, Pepe Reina and Joe Hart, and yet costs about 2,000, whereas the other 3 are between 5-10,000.

He has great shot-stopping and positioning, although a lack of speed so not good if he’s rushing off his line.

Aston Villa/Ireland/GK

Bargain Rating: 5/10


David Luiz

The Chelsea centre-back is one of the fastest in the Premier League, if not the whole of Fifa 12, and although his defense rating is not the highest, he is actually a very decent defender. I have him in my premier league team alongside Terry and he is brilliant. His price varies, but you can pick him up for anywhere between 1500- 4000 and he is well worth it.


Bargian Rating: 7/10

Kyle Walker

Another fast defender, with 93 pace he is one of the fastest players in the Premier League and the fastest Fifa right back. He is very cheap at about 1000 Ultimate Team coins and is a great choice for new Premier League teams that you are just starting.


Bargain Rating: 7.5/10

Cheick Tiote

If you have ever used Yaya Toure or Michael Essien then you will know what to expect with Tiote. He costs 1000-2000 UT coins compared to the more expensive two costing 20,000 and 8,000 respectively, and does a very similar job as a defensive midfielder, a ‘destroyer’ in front of the back four. He does not have the same shooting as the other two, but in most other aspects he is close to them, and worth getting even as a back up.

Newcastle/Ivory Coast/CM

Bargain Rating: 8/10

Gabriel Agbonlahor

Now you have probably heard of this guy a lot, and played against him, as he is one of the most popular players in all of Ultimate Team. The reason for this is he costs under 1000, and has insane pace and strength, making him hard to stop. Personally, in my 433 formation I have tried Tevez, Van Persie, Aguero, Dzeko, Hernandez, and Ba but every time I end up going back to him.

Aston Villa/England/ST

Bargain Rating: 10/10

Daniel Sturridge

A similar player to Agbonlahor, same price but with less pace and more strength. Definitely worth getting, maybe to play alongside each other.


Bargain Rating: 8.5/10

Romelu Lukaku

Basically a young, quick Drogba, so strong on the ball. Can be got for as low as 600-800. A great bargain. The thing with Fifa, and especially Fifa Ultimate Team, is that cheap players with pace are as effective as better players with less pace, so players like Lukaku, Sturridge and in particular Agbonlahor are very useful.

Cheap Self Catering Cyprus Apartments Are Brilliant!

Cheap self catering Cyprus apartments and villa rentals have so much to offer holiday-makers, old and young alike. From the peace and tranquillity of ancient, historic villages to lively coastal resorts, cheap self catering Cyprus apartments or hotels can be found to suit your every requirement. So jump on the cheapest flight to Cyprus you can find online and enjoy a brilliant holiday in guaranteed sunshine.

Look at a map of Cyprus and its strategic location as the stepping stone between Europe and the Middle East becomes apparent. In ancient times the Island was a trading post which led to numerous peoples and civilisations leaving their cultural footprints on the island. These days it is a magnet for visitors staying in the wide range of accommodation available from cheap self catering Cyprus apartments to luxury 5, 6 & even 7 star hotels, and since the accession to the European Union in 2004, for people looking at buying Cyprus property for sale and relocating to the island permanently.

The benefits of buying Cyprus property for sale are many fold; English is the second language, guaranteed sunshine for more than 300 days per year, stunning scenery from beaches to mountains, driving on the left and property prices which are much less than in some other Mediterranean markets. Over recent years, infrastructure projects, technological development, quality construction and materials, comparatively low cost of living, consistent economic growth, a double taxation treaty with UK plus 40 other countries and a legal and banking system based on the UK equivalents, have all contributed to a stable environment in which to invest for the future. Cyprus has the lowest crime rate in EU which is reported to be one tenth of the average rate of most European countries (6% of United Kingdom). People outside of the major towns still don’t often lock their cars or homes.

While the flying time of four and a half hours from UK is longer than all other Mediterranean countries, the fares are coming down due to the advent of more and more ‘no frills’ carriers from many major and regional airports. All reservations can be easily booked online making it easy to find the cheapest flight to Cyprus. Paphos and Larnaca international airports have both been upgraded in the past two years and Larnacas new terminal is due to open in November 2009.

The climate has always been a major plus for visiting and relocating. After to the Canary Islands, Cyprus is the warmest place in Europe, with sunshine for 300 days each year. The West of the island is generally warmer than the East and has better humidity. Temperatures by the sea average around the 32°C (90°F) mark in the summer, whilst inland they can rise significantly higher. The only feasible activities during the high season are lounging by the pools of the cheap self catering Cyprus apartments or hotel or cooling off in the sea. Anything that needs to be done, such as visiting nearby attractions or shopping, is always best left to the beginning or end of the day, which is exactly what the Cypriots do.

Cyprus, In A Pafos Villa Is The Place To Be

In Cyprus a Pafos villa will enjoy great scenery, excellent food and wine, and friendly locals who reserve their warmest welcome for visitors. The island is a fascinating place to visit blessed with great culture, archaeology and tradition and in Cyprus the Pafos villa is situated in a microcosm of all the above. Pafos is one of Cyprus’ most desirable cities, Kato Pafos (Lower Pafos) is the port annex of Pano Pafos (Upper Pafos) and is home to the greatest number of archaeological sites in the area. With its palm tree lined boulevards, beautiful public and private buildings, Pafos is a wonderful place to spend a holiday. There are ample restaurants and watering holes and if you tire of the beach annex you can always retire to Pano Paphos for an afternoon’s stroll or evening meal.

The harbour at Pafos attracts visitors all year round, take the opportunity to walk along the quay and visit the fish restaurants, tavernas or cafes. The view is stunning; you can sit and watch the colourful fishing boats bobbing in the harbour. The castle is all that remains of a much earlier castle dating from 1391, which was demolished by the Venetians, The Ottomans used it for dungeons and the British as a warehouse for salt. The harbour is also a good place to take a boat tour of the surrounding beaches and coastline around to Latchi and Polis in Cyprus.

Polis in Cyprus is on the wide Chrysohou Bay that runs along the north-west sweep of Cyprus. The small town is ideally situated for holidays in Cyprus in a Pafos villa that actually leave you time to relax. Polis is an ideal base for trekking in the Akamas, swimming at a number of nearby beaches, touring the wine-making villages of the Akamas Heights or exploring the wild and under-visited north-west of Cyprus. The jewel of the area is the Akamas National Park, ideal for hiking and less strenuous walks offering spectacular views to both sides of the island and it has to be the main reason for visiting this quieter and less developed region.

Cyprus property for sale has been enjoying a boom since the beginning of the 21st century and the island still represents a sound property investment, with plenty of areas still on the rise. Good Cyprus property for sale including the re-sale market is plentiful and local property prices are often lower than other European countries.
In Cyprus, a Pafos villa in the northwest where development is only about 8 years old the area still retains its agricultural feel.

Wherever you decide to buy in Cyprus, in a Pafos villa the mountains are never more than an hours’ drive away, and it will take you less than half that to get to the many beaches. The island is blessed with hot, dry summers and long, blissfully warm extended springs and autumns. Winters, from November to February, are the rainy season but even then it is rarely cold except in the Troodos Mountains where it snows and there are even a couple of places you can ski.

Uncover Cheap Studio Apartments In Cyprus

Cheap studio apartments in Cyprus are perfect places to stay in while discovering Aphrodite’s Island, which is the mythical birthplace of the Goddess of Love, also Adonis, and home to King Cinyras, Teucer and Pygmalion. This Mediterranean jewel stands at the crossroads of three continents, where East meets West and new experiences wait for you under the brilliant sunshine.

Cheap studio apartments in Cyprus are located all over the island, close to beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountain trails, luxurious hotels and Championship Golf courses. The island offers the perfect golfing holiday destination for those suffering from the winter blues with its 326 days of sunshine, humid climate and being only a four to five hour flights to Cyprus from the UK. There are currently three 18 hole golf courses with Larnaca Golf & Country club and two further in Paphos in the planning stages.

Catering facilities really aren’t a worry whilst staying in cheap studio apartments in Cyprus as there is a great choice of restaurants and tavernas in every resort and village. Cypriot cuisine is a delicious fusion of Turkish, Italian and British influences that create wonderful and tasty menus. Main courses of locally caught fish and farmed meat are often cooked in traditional clay ovens.

For a great holiday, look for cheap studio apartments in Cyprus’s Ayia Napa. This world-famous party capital is just a 40 minute drive from Larnaca airport. The town is a lively mixture of bars, clubs and restaurants to suit every taste and the renowned night life that lasts as long as the most enthusiastic visitor! For a more relaxing experience, the town’s beautiful sandy beaches are perfect for soaking up the sun or enjoying a wide range of beach and water sports.

Cyprus has something for everyone and is the perfect family holiday destination, boat trips around the island are the perfect excursion to soak up the sun, eat fine food and maybe try a spot of snorkelling or scuba diving. For history lovers there are plenty of museums with artefacts from earlier centuries and cultures. Rich in history, there are also monasteries and other archaeological attractions such as The Sanctuary of Apollo. The Troodos Mountains and the Akrotiri Peninsula are really worth getting a cheap car hire in Cyprus to go exploring. For great days out with the kids there are water parks, a camel park, every kind of water sport, horse riding and endless beaches.

Southern Cyprus is an ancient land famous for its archaeological sites and beautiful beaches. Nowadays, after joining the EU in 2004 the island has a new confidence and there has been a subtle shift towards a more sophisticated, international outlook. This has increased the popularity for purchasing Cyprus property for sale for holiday accommodation such as cheap studio apartments in Cyprus as the number of flights to Cyprus from the UK has increased and the fares have come down in real terms. The other major reason and dream for those looking to buy Cyprus property for sale is to relocate permanently to enjoy a life which is relatively stress free in almost endless sunshine.

Looking For Cheap Villa Holidays?

Cheap villa holidays are easy to find these days all over Europe, and offer a more secluded break away than a stay in a hotel.

On a villa holiday, you have your own space for the duration of your stay in which to relax in. You cater for yourself, something you can’t do when staying in a hotel, and you are not in close proximity to other holiday makers.

Depending on the sort of deal you book, hotels can work out more expensive than villa holidays, because you have to pay to eat out for meals, whereas when you’re self catering you can stock up on whatever you need at the local mood market as make your own meals.

You can stock your fridge with beer and wine and enjoy a tipple on your balcony whenever you please, avoiding the high prices of a hotel bar and, depending on the deal you secure, you may even have your own private pool which is so much more enjoyable than sitting around a cramped hotel pool.

It’s easy to secure cheap villa holidays in Europe; with the very reasonably-priced flights available on budget airlines and the flexible holiday dates available, the most difficult part is deciding where to go.

Spain has always been a favourite among the British for cheap villa holidays because not only was the weather practically guaranteed to be excellent, the cost of living was very reasonable too. This has changed somewhat in recent times due to the currency fluctuations which meant the Euro gained in strength against the pound and prices are no longer as cheap.

You can still have a cheap holiday in Spain, just bear in mind that the prices of eating out won’t be as cheap as they were three years ago.

Why not look for cheap holidays in Malta? This island lies in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, and has hot, dry summers. There is also much historical interest to be found on Malta, including ruins and ancient pottery.

Portugal’s Algarve was once a very expensive place to holiday, but is now a popular place for those looking for cheap villas as prices have come down in recent years. It’s a great destination if you’re fond of seafood, as the rugged coastline produced a vast amount of fresh fish that you can find cheaply in local markets; perfect for cooking in your own villa.

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Cheap Villa Holidays: Fun And Affordable

In comparison of cheap villa holidays with something in prestigious hotels, both have their respective standings. Villas simply indicate larger spaces hence an awesome venue to relax with your family or friends. Because budget travelling plans are all around us, it is simply few clicks away into booking a villa. Most villas have their private swimming pool for ultimate relaxation or a lounge bar just several steps away. Unlike hotels where the spaces are limited, grounded villas usually have no boundaries to where you intend to move.

However, inexpensive villas may bring instill negative essence into the thoughts of guests, as they might think that the proprietors have attached strings beneath the alluring offers. But at times when competition is frantic, the owners of these magnificent villas may not have a second option but to reduce the price. They have employees anticipating their wages, monthly rental to be settled and clearly a string of bills with upcoming due dates. With the decline in accommodation fees, not only that they have larger cash flow to attend to the financial constraints, they can eventually broaden their sales.

It is an erroneous act to misjudge the phrase “cheap” because cheap villa holidays do not intentionally reflect poor accommodation services, lousy villas and anything negative that crosses your mind. As most people aim for leisure and relaxation as their primary vacation purpose, villas are the next best choice to enjoy brilliant luxuries with built-in kitchens, modern bathrooms, spacious living areas and comfortable bedrooms. Instead of staying separately and paying extra for hotel rooms, those travelling in a mass should really opt to dwell in a villa.

As a matter of fact, most of the inexpensive villas are now constructed in strategic locations facing panoramic sceneries for comforting views. There are cool terraces for barbeque activities. They are now available throughout all corners of all over world, from Balearic Islands to Spain and Southern Coast of Italy. When you have decided on the ideal destination for your tour, make bookings and discuss about the price, accommodation, or any other personal requests. Especially if you are travelling during the low peak seasons, try to negotiate for a bargain.

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Mobile Health Clinics on the road to eliminate HIV

As we celebrate World Aids Day, a local company, Mobile Health Clinics (MHC), is set to play an integral role in the achievement of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal and stop the HIV epidemic in its tracks by 2030.
The MHC HIV mobile, ready to roll out and start HIV testing in remote areas
The MHC HIV mobile, ready to roll out and start HIV testing in remote areas
click to enlarge
MHC is geared to implement lasting change in the communities it operates in by providing cost effective and efficient mobile HIV testing and treatment facilities to remote rural communities. With their HIV solution, MHC does not only reach people who do not have access to these facilities, but has also shortened the time between a positive diagnosis and initiation of HIV treatment from six weeks to a few hours – a major stride forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

MHC is a subsidiary of Mobile Satellite Technologies (MST), the market leader in the provision and operation of specialised vehicle solutions in southern Africa. Uwe Schön, GM of MHC is confident that with the technical, operational and financial backing of its holding company they have developed an effective HIV solution that addresses several of the problems linked to providing testing and treatment to rural communities and believe they will play an integral part in stopping the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, a goal set out in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) fast track strategy.

CEO of MST, Fernando Acafrao is incredibly excited about the potential change that this branch of the company can implement. “Our HIV project is the solution to give people access to HIV treatment. Mobility is the future in so many ways because of the shortage of skills and bureaucracy,” he says.

Acafrao explains the WHO has identified a range of stipulations that will help eradicate HIV by 2030 and MHC set out to fulfil these stipulations to achieve this goal. By making not only testing available to people in the most rural of areas, but also having the ability to start ARV treatment immediately, MHC eliminates the possibility of mixing up results and addresses the issue of tracking down people to deliver drugs up to six weeks after they have been diagnosed. “We do all the relevant tests like CD4 count, creatinine and can diagnose tuberculosis in 90 minutes instead of six weeks on the bus. Our qualified staff can provide ARVs on the same day. In urban areas, that abbreviation means saving time, in villages with treatment-detouring healthcare shortages, it means saving lives. Taking diagnostics mobile is changing the lives of patients,” he says.

The UNAIDS Fast Track report published in 2014 states that for HIV programmes to be effective, they must reach people on a sustainable basis and address social and structural issues that deter people from accessing services. This is where MHC’s mobile testing and treatment facilities come in. The mobile clinics can test up to 200 people per day and, since receiving accreditation to supply ARVs, have initiated treatment on 50 people in five days. Numbers also show that more men are being tested by the mobile clinics, another major milestone as, historically, male numbers at local clinics are lower because of the stigma still attached to the illness – the mobility of the clinic and the fact that the person doing the testing is not from the community eliminates this issue.

Acafrao concludes and says the MHC HIV solution is not only effective but also cost effective: “This is a unique solution that makes testing and treatment available to those people in the most remote communities. The return on investment is unbelievable. What we’re building here is incredible.”

First Group invests millions in refurbishing flagship properties

At a time when the luxury hospitality industry is enjoying a positive upturn, the First Group is boosting it’s growth with a total investment of R179 million including a massive refurbishment investment of R67 million over the past two years with a further R112 million in the pipeline for completion by 2018.
La Montagne refurbished lounge
La Montagne refurbished lounge
“We have put a great deal of effort into achieving our goals to not only enhance our portfolio, but at the same time to invest in the development of the luxury hospitality industry,” said Donald Lamont, First Group spokesman. “This is an ongoing comprehensive investment programme that will ensure that our properties and service offerings are unique and exciting and that we continue to deliver on our promise of ultimate guest experiences in the country’s most desired locations.”

Flagship properties earmarked for refurbishment

Eight of the Group’s flagship properties have been earmarked for refurbishment that ranges from extensive renovations to the updating of furnishings and fixtures to meet the latest modern design trends.

La Montagne in Ballito boasts an R8 million makeover with an additional R62 million budgeted for further investment over the next four years, giving this popular vacation destination on the KZN north coast a total R70 million upgrade by the year 2020. The recently re-launched Selborne Hotel on the KZN South Coast has also been restored to its former glory after a whopping R28 million luxury refurbishment.

Looking inland, Magalies Park at the Hartbeespoort Dam has received a R1.2 million renovation with another R28 million still to be rolled out over the next two years, which will make this total investment of R40 million, the second biggest in the Group’s portfolio after the La Montagne.

In the Cape, the Riviera Suites showcases a R9 million transformation and will see a total upgrade of R12.2 million by 2018.

The other four flagship properties are Midlands Saddle & Trout with a total investment of R16,7 million, The Palace in Durban with a total investment of R5 million, Bushmen’s Nek in the Underberg with a total investment of R4,6 million and Mount Sierra in Cape Town with a total investment of R6,2 million.

On the international portfolio, Brockwood Hall in Scotland received a £1 million refurbishment.

A bouquet of properties, an extensive range of services

The Group’s property bouquet of over 60 resorts internationally includes hotels, golf villas, resorts, apartments, chalets and all suite properties together presents an extensive range of services. These range from premium leisure and business accommodation, the finest wedding venues, state-of-the-art conferencing facilities, the finest dining experiences, and signature entertainment through to central reservations, property design and management, housekeeping services and holiday rentals among others.

Furthermore, the advantageous global footprint of the First Group brings an exciting interface between global and local leisure industry trends to our doorstep.

This significant investment and commitment to providing sought-after destinations have all the ingredients to being the major draw card that positions the First Group as a first choice destination.