As the world works together to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Capella Hotels and Resorts pledges to support the youths of their community with the launch of their Capella Youth initiative, just ahead of the festive season. 

Focused on empowering younger generations to create a better tomorrow, the Capella Youth initiative Is an ongoing programme, whereby each property within the esteemed portfolio will work with long-term charitable partners to give back to the community. The initiative was born out of the recognition that opportunity arises from education. Now, more than ever, the Capella Hotels and Resorts team wishes to galvanise their local communities and enable them to thrive for years to come. 

Capella Singapore 

Capella Singapore is making this festive season all the more special by working with the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) on two unique initiatives, which will allow guests to support a worthy cause while standing a chance to spend the festive season at Capella Singapore with their loved ones. Working synergistically with Association for Persons with Special Needs (ASPN), the property empowers youths to harness their full potential through curated mentorship opportunities. 

Capella Singapore’s first festive initiative will be an online auction to raise funds for APSN, whereby guests will be able to bid online to win an exclusive staycation package over the festive season, which will include seasonal epicurean experiences. Four stays are up for grabs, with two on Christmas Eve and two on New Year’s Eve. In addition to the online auction, Capella Singapore will be inviting long-stay residents and colleagues to play ‘Secret Santa,’ and ensure that the children protected by APSN receive a special gift this year. 

Capella Bangkok 

Having welcomed its first guests in October this year, Capella Bangkok is committed to a longterm partnership with “Wat Wang Pla Cheed” school in Nakhon Nayok district. In December, Capella Bangkok will kickstart the collaboration by supporting the renovation of the school’s canteen, with members of the culinary team curating a healthy menu for the students. 

Guests of Capella Bangkok are invited to support the initiative over the festive season by purchasing star ornaments, which will adorn the hotel’s Christmas tree. 

Capella Ubud  

Throughout December, Capella Ubud, Bali pledges to donate 5% of room revenue from direct bookings to the English for a Brighter Future initiative, which supports elementary students and youths in the Keliki village with complimentary English language classes.

As English is the language of tourism in Bali, Capella Ubud hopes to enrich the lives of the local children and nurture them to become the hospitality leaders of tomorrow. Students are empowered to take charge of their education by collecting plastic waste in the neighbourhood in exchange for a place in the classroom; this, in turn, fosters love and respect for the environment. Proceeds from recycling the discarded plastic bottles are reinvested to purchase school books and further educational tools for the community.

Capella Shanghai   

Capella Shanghai is kickstarting a collaboration with Shanghai Young Bakers, an empowering charitable initiative that provides French bakery training to marginalised Chinese youths who have been forced to drop out of school due to family circumstances and are unable to find stable employment. 

Capella Shanghai is offering two 10-week internships, whereby students will receive one-on-one mentorship from Executive Chef Romain Chapel of one-Michelin-star le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire. Over the festive season, a portion of all proceeds from Capella Shanghai’s Boulangerie will also be donated to Shanghai Young Bakers. 

With the long-awaited Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble launching this weekend, we share V&VPR’s favourite places to eat, sleep and play in the Fragrant Harbour to help you create your ideal itinerary.

Our favourite places to stay

The Upper House is an urban wellness destination nestled between Hong Kong’s skyscrapers with a 24-hour gym, yoga and fitness classes on a stunning lawn and in-room treatments using organic Bamford products. The spacious baths overlooking the city skyline is the ultimate cherry on top for a relaxing stay.

The Langham, Hong Kong is renowned for its trademark European Luxury and its great location in the heart of the city. The property features 498 stylishly appointed rooms and suites that exude an undeniable timeless elegance.

L’hotel Island South, Hong Kong’s first Geopark Hotel, brings guests to the quaint Southern District on Hong Kong Island, where the richness of nature serves a stunning backdrop to their contemporary ocean inspired rooms. Inspired by the style of the boutique hotel, the 37-storey modern Hotel offers 432 spacious guestrooms and suites that redefine conventional notions of comfort, service and style.

Soaring over Victoria Harbour, Rosewood Hong Kong is a new centre of gravity on the Kowloon waterfront; the crown jewel of the Victoria Dockside arts and design district. The 413-room vertical estate offers eight restaurants and lounges complemented by recreational facilities including Asaya, a fitness centre and swimming pool and standout meetings and event space.

Our favourite restaurants, bars and cafes

Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers. 

MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting. 

A Modern European grand café of the 21st century, Café Gray Deluxe is a Hong Kong institution famed for killer views and locally inspired continental cooking. They also do some of the city’s best non-alcoholic cocktails, including Empty Pocket with black tea, lemon, passionfruit, elderflower and red dates.

Ranked 33rd in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Lobster Bar & Grill offers a creative take on your usual non-alcoholic beverages. The Cranky Crusta is a blend of Lyre’s American Malt, Seedlip spice, fresh lemon juice, orange marmalade and pineapple gum syrup, while Reds Are Roses features Seedlip grove 42, Lyre’s Dry Vermouth, red rose shrub, chamomile tea and cherry syrup.

Nailing both their beans selection and café aesthetic, NOC Coffee Co serves up fragrant coffee and nutritious food at their impeccably-designed outlets in Sai Ying Pun, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tin Hau and Whampoa. 

Our favourite cultural and nature spots

Located on Po Fook Hill at Pai Tau Village sits one of Hong Kong’s most famous Buddhist temples. The temple was founded in 1949 by the Reverend Yuet Kai and completed in 1957, renowned for housing over 12,000 of statues of Buddha, with no two exactly the same.

A crossing of Victoria Harbour on a Star Ferry has been named by the National Geographic of Traveler as one of the “fifty places of a lifetime”. Take the trip at night to soak in the panoramic views of Hong Kong’s glimmering skyline. 

For something relatively easy with stunning views, head to Dragon’s Back. Located in Shek O, in the south-east of Hong Kong Island, the Dragon’s Back meanders through Shek O Country Park, with gorgeous vistas of the beaches below and the South China Sea.

The highest peak in Hong Kong at 957 metres, Tai Mo Shan is renowned for its breath-taking sunrises. Head off before dawn to catch the sun’s slow ascent as its rays light up the city.

Ideal for more seasoned trekkers, this hike will take you along the east coast of Sai Kung Country Park past four stunning beaches: Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan and Tung Wan. You’ll be rewarded with uninterrupted views of turquoise clear waters, lush greenery and sparkling white sand.

Our favourite places for a workout

PURE Yoga is dedicated to serving the yoga community in Asia by offering diverse yoga practices – Vinyasa, Hatha, Hot, Wall Rope Yoga, Pre-Natal and more. Try a class with Patrick or Jenny and you can opt for a complimentary trial if you’re only in town for a few days. 

H-Kore’s unique training methods will ensure that all your fitness needs are met. Try the MegaKore classes which are 45 minute Lagree Fitness classes performed on the state of the art Megaformer machine will strengthen and tone your whole body.

Asia’s first articulation of the new wave of indoor cycling, XYZ is the best spinning experience in the city, designed to help you escape the intensity of day-to-day life, reset your compass and engage with your sense of purpose.

Cracking open a bottle of wine after a hard day. Enjoying a relaxing beer on the beach as the sun goes down. Popping the Champagne cork to celebrate some good news. Alcohol is oft associated with some of life’s biggest occasions, however, an increasing focus on health and wellbeing has caused many to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol.

This growing trend for a no-alcohol or low-alcohol life has inspired the creation of viable non-alcoholic alternatives, which offer those opting out of booze a tasty and healthier alternative. Rather than going all-out with a glass of sparkling water, non-drinkers can now enjoy craft spirits and aperitifs that are just as (if not more) delicious as alcohol. Some of the key players are already available in Singapore. 

With over a decade of experience within the Asia Pacific drinks industry, Lyre’s Regional Asia Manager Rachel Ling is optimistic about Singapore’s growing non-alcoholic drinks movement: “While there is still some level of education to be done both with consumers and in the industry, we’re seeing an increasing number of great bars offering non-alcoholic cocktails that differ significantly from your standard mocktail. Far from a sugary drink that tastes nothing like a cocktail, non-alcoholic Lyre’s cocktails look, taste and sashay around the palate just like the original alcoholic version. Bartenders in Singapore are becoming increasingly comfortable with whipping up non-alcoholic cocktails, especially as you don’t have to change the recipes at all when you use Lyre’s spirits. Through the amazing non-alcoholic drinks that the bars come up with, consumers are then presented with these unforgettable taste experiences which is enough to educate and convince them.”

Melati

Crafted from 26 individually selected Asian botanicals, Singapore-based Melati was designed as a restorative non-alcoholic aperitif. A complex palate-setter, Melati is at once refreshingly fruity, floral, and spicy. With a classic spritz serve, drinkers can build one-part Melati and one-part tonic or soda water in a wine glass over ice, garnishing with an orange slice. Melati can also be combined with alcohol to create a low ABV cocktail.

Lyre’s

Non-alcoholic spirits brand Lyre’s has crafted the world’s most comprehensive range of alcohol-free spirits and liquors, revolutionising the way we drink. Whether it’s a boozy brunch, laidback happy hour or a special celebration, the Australian-based brand places emphasis on the freedom of being able to opt for a low or no ABV tipple, no matter the occasion. With that in mind, Lyre’s has teamed up with some of Singapore’s favourite drinking spots – Manhattan, Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall and DON HO – to create inspiring non-alcoholic cocktails and offer guests an entirely different drinking experience. Indulge in the Vega from Manhattan which showcases the Lyre’s American Malt mixed with clarified apple juice, chamomile ole Saccharum and lapsang souchong tea, the Isn’t Life Grape, which is a mix of Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso, white grapes, red wine vinegar, egg white and soda or the Grapefruit Spritzer with Lyre’s Italian Spritz, grapefruit, grapefruit soda and olives. 

Big Drop

Whether you’re looking to cut down, cut out or just try something new, Big Drop has crafted a great beer for any beer lover. These alcohol-free craft beers are of the highest quality of care, skill and innovation. Known for having bolder, hoppier flavours, it’s all about thinking outside the box to brew what beer drinkers love. Opt for the alcohol-free craft lager, which is vegan-friendly and gluten-free. The libation features light herbal and floral hop aromas, a hint of caramel with peppered spiciness on the palate and a touch of orange at the end.

McGuigan Zero

Responding to global moderation trends and consumers seeking alcohol-free alternatives, McGuigan’s winemakers set out to find a way to make generous fruit-forward and balanced wine, just with the alcohol removed. The result is McGuigan Zero, a range of zero-alcohol wines featuring the same high-quality and varietal characteristics you would expect from full-strength wine, free from alcohol yet full in flavour.

Having spent more than enough time indoors this year, we’re all itching to get out and about, and what better place to start than our gorgeous, wildlife-filled Garden City?

To help you embrace the Great Outdoors, and discover a new side to Singapore, we’ve rounded up our favourite weekend activities that are sure to work up a sweat.

Glide around MacRitchie Reservoir 

Had enough of hiking and trekking around Singapore’s oldest reservoir? Why not try kayaking upon MacRitchie’s calm waters

Kayaking will not only make you work up a sweat, but also turn your stress down a notch, and give you the chance to enjoy a change of scenery featuring monitor lizards and monkeys. For those experienced in kayaking, venture far and wide around the reservoir, while first-timers or inexperienced boaters should opt for the large area cornered off near the Paddle Lodge to prevent sailing adrift. Book in advance for weekends as the kayaks sell out fast! 

The Paddle Lodge offers a range of different kayaks from $12 per hour, including solo vessels and double kayaks for you to enjoy the water with a friend. For more information or to reserve a kayak call 6258 0057.  

Enjoy the serenity of the sea at Constant Wind

Offering a multitude of water sports, Constant Wind on Singapore’s East Coast is a water sports hub, ideal for aqua addicts. From stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, powerboating and sailing, enthusiasts can sign up to a lesson with an experienced instructor or rent the equipment for a few hours. 

Rates start from $27 for one hour on the weekend and $20 for an hour during weekdays. For those who don’t want to get wet, we recommend booking a Laser Bahia — at 16 feet, these dinghies can comfortably fit up to five people and you sit out of the water. For more information, or to book your slot on the water, please call 6445 5108. 

Cycle around Pulau Ubin from Singapore 

As we’re currently unable to venture out of Singapore, Pulau Ubin is the perfect way to ‘jump ship’ and discover an area away from home. Shaped like a boomerang, the island is home to Singapore’s last kampungs — reminiscent of our Garden City back in the 1960s — and also includes Chek Jawa Wetlands, a rich ecosystem, which can be explored on a boardwalk or via kayaking. Situated only a 15-minute bumboat ride from Changi Village Ferry Terminal, Pulau Ubin is a hub of recreational activities and an entire island ripe for discovery. 

Featuring all sorts of tropical wildlife (watch out for monkeys on the road!), dense vegetation and quarries, Pulau Ubin offers Instagramers a variety of photo spots for taking pictures, as well as plenty to look at and admire. In our experience, Pulau Ubin is best enjoyed on a bicycle — bring your own or rent one there. Enjoy venturing across the island on foot, or on two wheels, and remember to take plenty of water and mosquito repellent with you. 

Get off-the-beaten-track 

The vast mangrove forest at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is about as far away from ‘normal life’ in Singapore as it gets. Situated in the Northwestern part of the island, visitors can venture through the pathways and discover an impressive array of wildlife including monitor lizards, and a selection of birds such as egrets, hornbills and crocodiles. Indeed, Sungei Buloh’s wetlands is home to the estuarine crocodile which are critically endangered and on the danger list of Singapore’s threatened animals due to habitat loss and sadly, poaching.  

What are your favourite off-the-track adventures in The Little Red Dot? 

In a year where very few of us are travelling much outside a few miles of our home, V&VPR is honoured to see 12 of our clients ranking among the top hotels in the Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards – and there is one very good reason why these properties were amongst the chosen few. 

With travel planning off the cards, this year has been a time for the industry to pause and reset, evaluating what is truly important. Despite a tumultuous 2020, the teams at Capella Hotels and Resorts, Singita, and Swire Hotels have each made a conscious effort to better their local and international communities, through a range of initiatives designed to make the post-pandemic world a slightly better place. 

Capella Hotels and Resorts: Properties within the Capella Hotels and Resorts portfolio launched a number of CSR initiatives, such as a ‘Solitude in Nature’ experience at Capella Ubud – a portion of the funds from which were donated to local families in the Keliki village who had been impacted by the pandemic – and complimentary stays for healthcare professionals at Capella Shanghai.  

Singita: Sadly, the halt in tourism is having a devastating ripple effect on conservation efforts across Africa. Throughout this period, Singita’s conservation teams and partners are ensuring their ongoing conservation and community programmes continue to thrive, making sure that areas, animals and surrounding community are happy and safe, with anti-poaching canine units and fundraising efforts for the relocation of endangered rhinos. 

Swire Hotels: Continuing their CSR efforts this year, Swire Hotels launched several new initiatives; The Upper House worked with Foodlink Foundation to help reduce hunger as well as the pressure on Hong Kong’s landfills, whilst The Opposite House launched a ‘Top Sanlitun Picks’ initiative to shine a spotlight on local independent businesses during these trying times. 

The awards are compiled by Condé Nast Traveler readers, who rate each property according to their personal experiences. Particularly in 2020, the awards highlight the restorative and transformative power of travel. 

We cannot wait to return to these wonderful properties. 

The full Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards Results can be found here

With weekend getaways off the cards for now, we’re embracing this new normal of exploring our own backyard and have realized that a day out is always more fun with our fur kids in tow! From green spaces where your dog can let off some steam, to pet-friendly restaurants and hotels, we’ve rounded up the best spots to give your pup a taste of a ‘Singapoliday’.  

Pup-friendly Hotels

Capella Singapore

Capella Singapore is one of the most luxurious pet-friendly hotels that welcomes small- to medium-sized pets (one pet up to approximately 6kg per guestroom, suite or villa). Well-known for their unparalleled personalised hospitality, it’s no different when it comes to your beloved family pet. Pet amenities include include pet bed, treats, toys, pee-pad and bowl.

Regent Singapore

Regent Singapore offers a five-star staycation experience for you and your four-legged friend. Plush bed, gourmet treats and chew toys galore. The Regent Pet Staycation package also comes with $100 in-room dining credit and a customised pet welcome amenity kit. Don’t forget to take your pup for a morning stroll at the iconic Singapore Botanic Gardens, which sits close to the property.

Restaurants & Cafes For Dog Lovers

Tanjong Beach Club

Pooches are allowed on the sun-soaked stretch of sand, which Tanjong Beach Club is perched on. The closest we’re getting to a Bali beach club; this tropical spot is the perfect place to catch some rays and for your pet to meet some fur friends. 

Ménage Café

Nestled in Bishan, Ménage Café offers grub for both pets and their parents to allow them to bond over mealtimes. Humans can opt for signatures such as the Fish & Chips or the Spicy Crabmeat Linguine, while pups will delight in sous vide meat with brown rice and broccoli.  

Parks and Dog Runs

Bishan Park Dog Run

Located in central Singapore, the Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Dog Run comprises of two fenced up areas, one for small and medium-sized dogs and one for large-sized dogs. One of the larger dog runs in the city, the 2,100 square meters area will allow your dog to get its fill of exercise. The dog runs here are well equipped with gravel footpaths, bench seating and water taps to keep your pets hydrated.

Jurong Lake Gardens Dog Run

Jurong Lake Gardens is one of Singapore’s biggest public dog runs; the 2,200-square-metre grass field is large enough for big dogs to run freely. Your pet will love the grass mounds that provide natural obstacles to slalom around.

Circuit breaker was a glorious time for delivery dining; satisfying that craving in the comfort of your pj’s all while supporting local? Sounds like a dream. Well into phase 2, most of our favourite restaurants have reopened their doors, filled with diners desperate for a good restaurant meal (while adhering to safe distancing, of course). Yet, there are many who would still rather opt for a meal at home either for convenience or safety reasons. When you’re not in the mood to cook, opt for these restaurants that are open for dine-in and still do delivery.  

Shake Shack Singapore

Shake Shack, known for its succulent ShackBurgers, crinkle cut fries, craft beer and frozen custard, has made waves in Singapore since its arrival in 2019, with its fourth Shack soon to open in bustling Suntec City. The modern day “roadside” burger stand also recently announced that on top of the option to dine-in, it would now be delivering from its Jewel Changi, Neil Road and Orchard Road Shacks.

Yàn

Yàn offers unpretentious, authentic Cantonese cuisine. Located within the National Gallery Singapore, guests are treated to a fine repertoire of flavourful Cantonese dishes that are guaranteed to excite. They also offer free islandwide delivery, self-collection and drive-through pickup for ultimate convenience.

Candlenut

The world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut serves refined Peranakan cuisine that preserves the essence and complexities of traditional food. Order delivery or dine-in atop Dempsey Hill, enclosed in lush greenery.

Bar Cicheti

Tucked in a charming corner of Singapore’s Keong Saik enclave, Bar Cicheti honours the tradition of a daily Italian meal—pasta and wine. The joint is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, serving dine-in, takeout and delivery. Table reservations are highly recommended and order ahead for curb-side pick-up. They deliver islandwide from $10 with no minimum spend.

Artichoke

Helmed by Bjorn Shen, Artichoke offers Middle Eastern-inspired dishes in the heart of Singapore’s Arts and Heritage district. Dine-in, deliveries and takeaways are available –– you can even order via WhatsApp!

Staycations are the new vacations, and we’ve seen an influx in locals taking ‘Singapolidays’ right in our backyard. As guests are spending more time within the resort during their staycation, Capella Singapore has created a holistic and comprehensive program of activities that will allow guests to try something new every day. Each activity encapsulates the unparalleled ‘Capella Hospitality’ and serves to truly make guests’ stay unforgettable. 

Designed by the dedicated Capella Culturist team, the series of programmes and rituals celebrate heritage, arts, gastronomy and wellness – there’s something for every type of staycationer. Ranging from Family Yoga to a Boba Milk Tea building workshop, each experience is specially tailored to allow you to discover another side of Singapore.

Family Staycation

Parents looking for a family-friendly staycation will be delighted at the host of activities for their little ones at Capella Singapore. From scavenger hunts to arts and craft workshops such as canvas painting and Peranakan pattern handicraft, these activities will allow the entire family to unleash their creativity while spending quality time together. On Sunday, families can join the Revitalising Yoga Class, led by the resident yoga expert. Budding chefs can also take part in the Little Stars Culinary Workshop, with the choice between making cake pops and decorating cookies and cupcakes. 

Foodie Getaway

Highlighting the property’s extensive culinary offerings, the Capella Culturist team have crafted immersive experiences for foodies such as the unique Build Your Own Boba class; guests will get the chance to recreate a delicious brown sugar bubble milk tea, complete with Capella Singapore’s own bespoke Navegante tea. Those looking for a more refined experience can indulge in the Tea Time at The Living Room, where a selection of afternoon tea treats and beverages await or the Rum Appreciation session, where the team at Bob’s Bar will showcase the age-old history of rum, its importance to seafarers and introduce the spirit’s distinctive characteristics. 

Cultural Escape

The new programming also features a host of creative and cultural activities, aimed to allow locals to delve deeper into Capella Singapore’s rich history. The Heritage and Art Tour takes guests around the majestic bungalows built in the 1880s for British officers of the Royal Artillery, highlighting the riveting stories behind the art pieces displayed throughout the resort as well as the five heritage trees within the resort’s compound that are over a hundred years old. Led by the floral craftsmen that have overseen the arrangements for countless of iconic Capella Singapore weddings, the Floral Styling Workshop takes guests through the basics of creating the ideal bouquet, tapping onto each individual’s creative flair.

For more information about Capella Singapore, you can visit https://www.capellahotels.com/en/capella-singapore

Capella Singapore is dedicated to maintaining the highest hygiene standards to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their guests. To learn more about their commitment to safety practices, please visit their website.

As we have experienced first-hand, the ‘new normal’ is marked by unprecedented uncertainty. For PR professionals in the travel industry, this means that storytelling in a post-pandemic world will have to grapple with unpredictability and the upheaval of emotions in society. Consumers will be drawn to stories that address this new normal, yet also point to a more hopeful future, stressing how they can be a part of it. This is a great time for brands to assert themselves, refocusing on what matters most.

The V&VPR team share our top tips on how brands can navigate these challenging times:

Determine what readers and journalists want

Aside from putting out amazing products and packages, there is a new expectation placed on brands to be more in tune with current trends and social issues. This is especially important to ensure your brand is always adapting, as the media landscape is ever-changing and must be consistently monitored. When the pandemic started to pick up pace around the world, scheduled stories on travel trends for 2020 immediately went out the window. Instead, brands had to look ahead and anticipate new trends that would arise in the new normal as a result of COVID-19, including a rising demand for personal wellbeing and social responsibility.

Appeal to and connect with a more eco-conscious and culture-conscious audience

What matters to you? The Earth is in need of love now more than ever. Sustainability is not just a choice, but a moral imperative, and consumers have begun to realise this. The same goes with culture-conscious choices, like the need for racial representation and gender equality. The most effective stories arise when the beliefs and motivations of your brand resonate with the desires and lifestyle of your consumers. This does not mean that brands have to hop on the bandwagon for every trend, but highlights the importance of maintaining your brand identity through combining it with the news around the world that matter to your target audience.

Highlight how your brand ties into the consumer’s journey

Cookie-cutter experiences will be less desirable, and meaningful content and experiences will hold more impact in the new normal, especially as consumers become more mindful of the privilege it is to buy or travel. What are your brand values, and how can you set up touch points for consumers to interact with your brand so that they know exactly who you are and what you stand for?

Think outside the box

What are you able to offer that stands out from the crowd? Do your research, gather your team, and think of something different. A great way to come up with new ideas is through the free association technique where random ideas are thrown out in an attempt to force connection between your current questions or challenge –– this usually results in ideas far separate from the mainstream.

Read the rest of our blog here.

While we won’t be travelling for the foreseeable future, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your first trip once international travel is a reality again. Of course, that first trip will have to be a trip of a lifetime and if it’s not on the ‘gram, did it really happen? Undeniably, this generation of travellers curate their itineraries like they do their feed. From stunning nature views to breath-taking architecture — there’s no Instagrammable destination quite like Sydney. You have the sand, surf, city and nature all rolled into one amazing, unforgettable destination. Bookmark these locations for your next visit, you’re going to want to get them all.

1. Bondi Icebergs

Sydney is renowned for its incredible ocean pools but none are as iconic as Bondi Icebergs. The 50 metre stretch of turquoise is set against the backdrop of the expansive ocean and crashing waves, and is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re getting a shot in the water or a bird’s eye view from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Icebergs is arguably the most photogenic pool in the world and worth a visit. 

2. Bronte Bath Viewpoint

Already captured your iconic Bondi Icebergs shot? Why not do the scenic Bondi to Bronte Walk and get yourself to the Bronte Baths? Nestled between the well-loved Bondi and Coogee beaches in Sydney’s east, Bronte Beach is where the locals go. The hidden gem is a pictorial haven, offering balmy seaside parks for picnics, a crystal-clear aquatic reserve for snorkelling and diving, as well as an ocean pool for protected swimming. Built into the rocky cliffside in 1887, the Bronte Baths can be found at the beach’s southern headland and travellers can access the panoramic viewpoint by heading to the end of the walkway and climbing up the rocks. From the semi-shaded cove, soak in the sweeping views of the bay and the ocean horizon; early birds will be rewarded with a remarkable sunrise. 

3. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair 

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair has some of the best views of Sydney’s iconic skyline – you’ll be able to get the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge all in one frame for that money shot. Located east of the Sydney Opera House on the edge of The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, you can set up picnic rugs alongside the western side of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and if you’re there at dusk, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the sun setting behind the Sydney Opera House. This is a sight for sore eyes, and one sure to satisfy your followers and get the likes rolling in. 

4. Manly Wormhole

One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the Queenscliff Tunnel, also known as the Manly Wormhole. The tunnel is said to have been dug out a century ago by local fishermen as a shortcut between Freshwater Beach and Manly. Follow in the fishermen’s footsteps down the 50-metre long tunnel that burrows straight through the cliff. There will be a few boulders to climb over but the view of the expansive ocean framed beautifully by the opening of the tunnel is truly worth the trip. Budding geologists can also appreciate the rock formations and cross-section of the rock layers along the way.

5.  Queen Victoria Building

Dating back to 1898, the Queen Victoria Building replaced the original Sydney markets on the site and spans an entire block along George Street. The elaborate Romanesque architecture – with its semi-circular arches, stained glass windows and mighty domes – was planned specifically to employ many out-of-work craftsmen during the recession. Now, these heritage architectural features make the landmark hard to miss as you walk down George Street and its many nooks and crannies provide a magnificent backdrop for that perfect Instagram shot. 

6. Wendy’s Secret Garden

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a popular spot for locals. Nestled in the Lavender Bay Parklands, the garden is a whimsical oasis that allows you to escape the busy city and get a good dose of the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Get lost amongst the towering foliage, lush plantings and meandering paths, while stopping for the occasional artwork and sculpture along the way. The myriad of green tones and pops of colours from the native flowers will have you snapping away. 

7. Forgotten Songs, Angel Place

An ethereal cluster of over a hundred cages is suspended above Angel Place, a pedestrian lane that runs between George Street and Pitt Street. The creator of this artwork, Michael Thomas Hill, explains how the striking installation explores how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to co-exist with increased urbanisation. Once you’ve captured your shot, take a second to listen to the bird calls, which change as day shifts to night.

8.  Paddington Reservoir 

A short drive from the CBD, the Paddington Reservoir is a heritage-listed public park. Built in the early 1800s, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1914 and has since then been transformed into a Romanesque sunken garden with a lake of contemplation at its centre, a hanging garden canopy around the perimeter and an eastern chamber left empty but for the wall art. The preservation of much of its original architecture – think towering archways, brick and iron structures – make for a rustic Instagrammable spot.  

9. Bare Island, La Perouse

One of the many hidden gems in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Bare Island is a small atoll that houses a 19th-century fort and old wooden footbridge connecting the island to the mainland. With dreamy coastal views of Botany Bay, this photo spot is the perfect blend of history and nature. Fun fact: the fort features in Mission: Impossible 2 as the hideout of villain Sean Ambrose.  

10. Green Square Library

Boasting floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with a multicolour array of books, Green Square Library seems to have been made for the ‘gram. Besides the impressive rainbow book wall, the library also has reading nooks tucked within the bookshelves, as well as 40 skylights to make sure you get all the natural light you need for your shot and your reading! The photogenic library is a short 15 minute train trip from Circular Quay and is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.