Top 7 luxury luggage must-haves

Luxury holidays and luxury luggage go hand-in-hand. Here is our selection of some of the finest luggage you could invest in.

Brics luxury travel trolley

Brics luxury travel trolley

1. Best hardcase holdall

The Rimowa Topas Titanium Multiwheel

This lightweight aluminium case is tough German engineering at its finest. The hard outer casing and TSA combination locks will ensure the safety of anything inside and the neat ‘add a bag’ clip mean you can combine Rimowa luggage into one item. Inside the multiple shoe, garment and laundry bags help keep clothes neatly separated.

2. Most stylish carry-on

Formal calf leather ‘country’ bag from Brunello Cucinelli

This beautiful calf leather carry on from Italian luxury brand Brunello Cucinelli is an instant classic echoing a Hemmingway age of travelling adventurers. Beautiful, tough and endlessly useful.

3. The hippest of holdalls

Brics 30” trolley with spinners

Toted by the likes of Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston, high-end Italian luggage brand Brics is the current luggage of choice for Hollywood A-listers. This lightweight, large trolley will stylishly fit all your holiday luggage and, of course, comes with a range of matching accessories.

4. Ultimate luxury travel wallet

Noble Macmillan calfskin travel wallet

Noble Macmillan calfskin travel wallet

Noble Macmillan classic travel wallet

Available in a range of funky colours this soft calfskin leather travel wallet with a silk lining is hand made in Spain. The interior includes separate compartments marked with leather tabs for passport, travel documents etc. Noble Macmillan will even personalise it with your initials or a message of your choice.

5. Best hardcore carry-on

Victorinox Spectra extra-capacity carry-on

From the makers of the Swiss Army Knife comes the ultimate in hard case hand luggage guaranteed to keep all your possessions safe from knocks and drops at the airport. Available in a range of colours including Swiss Army red.

6. Most opulent toiletry case

Louis Vuitton Case with Mirror

There’s just something about Louis Vuitton luggage that exudes old-school glamour and this stunning, durable hard-shell case is no exception. With the traditional LV monogramed canvas and gold brass outside, and mirror and 14 bottle holder on the inside, this will keep all your lotions and creams safe for your journey and then look beautiful in your hotel bathroom throughout your holiday.

Mulberry adjustable iPad sleeve

Mulberry adjustable iPad sleeve

7. Best luxury iPad cover

Mulberry adjustable iPad sleeve

This stylish, functional leather iPad cover from Mulberry is made to house an iPad 2 or 3. The leather case can be flipped over to create a useful display stand, perfect for watching movies or making video calls. Classically unfussy the leather case is bare apart from the Mulberry tree logo. Available in a range of colours.

Going on honeymoon

Enter our name the sea creature competition

Enter our competition to name sea creatures found at Constance Halaveli in the Maldives, and you could win a set of luxury Valmont Fit and Tone body treatments.

Valmont Fit and Tone Body Treatment Set

Valmont Fit and Tone Body Treatment Set

To enter

All you have to do is choose names for our collection of awe-inspiring sea creatures below. Be as creative or quirky as you like.

Then post the names by leaving a comment on this blog post below, on our Facebook page or using our Twitter feed @constancehotels. Remember that if you’re the winner, we need to be able to contact you so include an email address, your Twitter handle or a message on Facebook.

Competition closes on Monday 15 July 2013 at midnight. Winners will be announced here on Wednesday 17 July 2013.

Bonus prize

And as an added bonus, if you post your own photo of a sea creature onto the Constance Facebook wall, we’ll enter you for a prize draw to win one of our sought after Constance USB memory sticks, designed in the shape of a room key in a beautiful black croc leather pouch. Again, winners will be announced on Wednesday 17 July 2013.

1. Name the Scorpion Fish

Scorpion fish at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Give our Scorpion fish a name…

 

2. Name the Green Mantis Shrimp

Green Mantis Shrimp at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

I need a name too…

 

3. Name the White Tip Reef Shark

White Tip Reef Shark at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

… and me…

 

Valmont at Constance Halaveli

At Constance, we’re passionate about diving and proud of the work we do to protect the environment around our hotels for future generations.

The prestigious Swiss skincare brand Valmont, who opened a spa at Halaveli last year, has partnered with us to further support our coral reef regeneration programme at Constance Halaveli.

Since the tsunami in 2004, we have been working hard to encourage marine life to thrive once again in this area. With the help of Valmont, the programme is gathering momentum and we are seeing real progress in coral growth and the regeneration of sea life for which the Maldives is renowned.

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Marine biologist journeys to the Arctic North

Marine biologist Robin Aiello visited Constance Halaveli earlier this year, where she ran a number of dive courses and talks. Currently in the Arctic North, Robin writes about her latest expedition.

Walrus' relaxing in the Arctic

Walrus’ relaxing in the Arctic

Greetings from the far north – the land of polar bears and walrus

I can assure you that right now, having just spent the past 8 hours driving a small rubber boat though thick sea ice in -1°C temperatures, I am dreaming of the warm tropical waters of Halaveli in the Maldives.

Expedition in Svalbard

I am up here in Svalbard, in the far North, above 79º latitude, working as the marine biologist on-board an expedition ship that is spending three months exploring the Arctic. So far, the season has been wonderful.

Polar bears and ice caps

The other day we started the morning with a male polar bear walking leisurely past our ship as we drifted in thick sea ice that spreads out as far as the eye can see. Polar bears are amazing animals with their huge paws, shaggy white coat of fur and piercing black eyes. They are just so regal and elegant – kings of the ice.

A Polar Bear

A Polar Bear

Later in the day we visited a beach with a dozen or so walrus hauled out. They are so funny – they lie for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing, then suddenly one will wiggle around, which starts a whole flurry of activity as they raise their heads, knock into one another with their tusks, until they slowly find a more comfortable position and settle back down to sleep some more.

As beautiful and dramatic as the scenery here is, I cannot wait to return to Halaveli in September to dive and snorkel the amazing reefs.

Find out more

 

 

Polar Bear

Up close and personal

 

Admiring the reflection

Admiring the reflection

 

A stroll on the ice

A stroll on the ice

Constance sommeliers seek out France’s finest wines

Following his successful trip to VinExpo in Bordeaux last month, Constance head sommelier Jerome Faure has been meeting some of France’s finest winemakers to seek out new and exciting wines to add to the Constance wine lists.

Head Sommelier Jerome Fauré at Clos Vougeot

Castle Clos Vougeot

Jerome reveals the highlights of his tour and the exciting wines he’s bringing back with him to the cellars of Constance Hotels and Resorts:

• Domaine Mas Amiel at Rousillon Village

We visited the winemaker Nicolas for a barrel tasting of all his dry white and red wine for Cotes du Roussillon appellation and Maury Sec, followed by a tasting of his vintage red wines (1973-2000) on the Maury appellation. The sweet red wines have the same style of port wine but with more freshness, red and black fruit flavour with elegant and soft tannin. This wine will be a perfect pairing for some mild spicy food such as the deer dry curry served at the Deer Hunter Restaurant at Constance Belle Mare Plage.

• Domaine de la Grange de Pere at Aniane near Montpellier for the VDP L’Herault appellation

This is a domain which has a big reputation in the wine industry. The owner and winemaker Laurent Vaille welcomed us to his cellar. It was great to taste the white and red wines of 2011 from the barrel. Vaille believes it is one of the best vintages he has ever produced. It was a marvellous tasting wine with different grape variety (Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cournoise, Cabernet Sauvignon) and very elegant, red fruit flavour, fine tannin and beautiful freshness. Vaille also makes a very small quantity of white wine with different grape varieties (Roussanne, Marsanne and Chardonnay) which is very rare to get but you can find it on all Constance hotels’ wine lists.

Tasting the Rousseau at Castle Clos Vougeot

Tasting the Rousseau at Castle Clos Vougeot

• Domaine de la Vougeraie at Primeaux Prissey, Burgundy

In 1999 Domaine Vougeraie was born through the combination of five wineries. They believe in biodynamic viticulture so the first place we visited was their garden where they grow herbs for treatment in the vineyard (lemongrass, lavender etc.). After that we had a great tasting with Pierre Vincent, the director and wine maker. Seventy per cent of the production is red with a typical Burgundy style – fresh, without too much acidity and a very fine-valved tannin. The white wines give a beautiful fruity and crisp taste with a minerality, a very soft touch of cotton Charlemagne which gives an elegant taste.

• The famous Castle of Clos Vougeot

We had the great fortune to participate in the famous music and wine event at the Castle of Clos Vougeot. We were able to taste from different references of Burgundian winemakers such as Faiveley, Grivot, Meo-Camuzet, Rousseau, Dujac, Simon Bize and De Montille. After the tasting we attended a beautiful classical music concert followed by a private diner in the Clos Vougeot castle dining room with all the winemakers and the musicians.

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Wine tasting at Grange de Pere

Wine tasting at Grange de Pere

 

Mas Amiel

Mas Amiel

Two-star Belgian chef Lionel Rigolet to cook for guests at Ephélia

At Constance Ephélia, we’re thrilled to be welcoming Michelin starred chef Lionel Rigolet to cook for guests on 19-20 July.

Cyann Restaurant at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles

Cyann Restaurant at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles

Guests dining at Ephélia’s signature restaurant Cyann will be guaranteed an exclusive gastronomic experience when the two-starred chef of Brussels’ Comme Chez Soi visits the resort.

Famous for its modern European cuisine using the highest quality, fresh local produce and cutting edge culinary techniques, Comme Chez Soi has been a high point of Belgian fine-dining since 1926.

Find out more

 

Top 5 music apps and accessories for travelling

If you like your holiday to be set to your own soundtrack, here are 5 essential music apps and accessories to pack or download before you go.

Relaxing at Constance Tsarabanjina

Relaxing at Constance Tsarabanjina

1. For the love of music

Spotify – At home or abroad this music-streaming app is a must-have for music lovers. Not only does it supply free music on demand streamed direct to your mobile device from its vast catalogue (for a small fee you can download music to play offline) but it also manages your existing library, syncing it with its own. The perfect way to access a huge range of music.

2. For the impromptu party
Beats Pill – So you’ve got all this music on your mobile device but what happens when you want to share it with friends?

You simply plug in your Beats Pill, a compact Bluetooth speaker from the inimitable Dr Dre. With four separate speaker drivers fitted inside its compact design the sound on this speaker is crystal clear. As always with Beats by Dre products this one is slick and comes in an choice of three colours.

3. For the music geek

Traktor DJ – For those who aren’t happy just listening to music but want to mix and and make their own, there’s the Traktor DJ for the iPad and iPhone. Mix tracks from your own iTunes library and add effects to produce a cool sound of seriously high quality. This app is sophisticated enough for professionals but simple enough to use for enthusiastic beginners – it even includes tips and teaching techniques and can suggest tunes from your library to pair up to improve your mixes.

Sunlounger on the beach at Constance Lemuria

Sunlounger on the beach at Constance Lemuria

4. For discovering new music

Shazam – You’re sitting in a bar on a foreign shore and the DJ plays the perfect song, capturing the mood of sunshine and good times.

With Shazam you can capture the moment and the song, simply press the button and the app will tell you the song title and band name, it will even connect you to iTunes so you can buy it. Other features include song tagging and a new map so you can see what music is trending around the world.

5. Best for kids

Bloom HD – From ambient musicians Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers comes this beautiful and creative app for kids combining making music and visual art.

Available for the iPad and iPhone the user simply touches the screen to create a musical sound and a corresponding circle of colour appears, they can then mix this with other sounds and other colours. As you would expect from Eno the sound is calm and chilled, there’s even a sleep mode so kids can fall asleep to their own chill out tracks.