Photography: National Geographic Announces Winners of the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

Selected from thousands of entries, an underwater photo of sardine migration on the Wild Coast of South Africa has been selected as the grand-prize winner of the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. The photo, titled “Sardine Run,” was captured by Greg Lecoeur of Nice, France. He has won a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors.

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Greg Lecoeur – 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

The judges for the contest were National Geographic magazine’s senior photo editor of natural history assignments, Kathy Moran, and National Geographic photographers Joe Riis and Jim Brandenburg, both of whom have been widely published for their natural history photojournalism. Contestants submitted photographs in four categories — Action, Landscape, Animal Portraits and Environmental Issues — through National Geographic’s photography community, Your Shot.

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Varun Aditya, of Tamil Nadu, India, placed first in the Animal Portraits category for a photo of a snake

Lecoeur took the photo in June 2015 after waiting two weeks to witness the natural predation on sardines captured in the photo.

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Vadim Balakin, of Sverdlovsk, Russia, placed first in the Environmental Issues category for a photo of polar bear remains in Norway. “These polar bear remains have been discovered at one of the islands of Northern Svalbard. Unfortunately we do not know definitely whether the bear died from starving or aging, but more likely if we see the good teeth status – from starving . They say nowadays such remains to be founded very often – global warming and ice situation influence the polar bear population a lot. Svalbard, Norway, august 2014 Svalbard, Norway, august 2014

During the sardine migration along the Wild Coast of South Africa, millions of sardines are preyed upon by marine predators such as dolphins, marine birds, sharks, whales, penguins, sailfishes and sea lions. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques to create and drive bait balls to the surface,” Lecouer said. “In recent years, probably due to overfishing and climate change, the annual sardine run has become more and more unpredictable.”

Varun Aditya, of Tamil Nadu, India, placed first in the Animal Portraits category for a photo of a snake; Vadim Balakin, of Sverdlovsk, Russia, placed first in the Environmental Issues category for a photo of polar bear remains in Norway; and Jacob Kapetein of Gerland, Netherlands, placed first in the Landscape category for a photo of a small beech tree in a river. Lecoeur’s photo won the Action category.

All of the winning photos, along with the honorable mentions, may be viewed at natgeo.com/photocontest.

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The Largest Cake Expo, The Americas Cake Fair, in North and South America Rolls Into Orlando October 13-15, 2017

Food Network Star Duff Goldman And Other World-Renowned Celebrities To Appear At The International Celebration Of Caketheamericascakefair-logo2017_160824

More than 10,000 baking industry professionals and consumer cake enthusiasts from around the world will descend on Central Florida next October when The Americas Cake Fair (Cake Fair) makes its sweet return to the area. The Americas’ largest and most dynamic trade and consumer show for the pastry, bakery, sugar art and chocolate industries will be held October 13-15 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The event is hosted by Satin Ice, which is made by Satin Fine Foods, Inc., an industry-leading manufacturer distributing its premium range of cake decorating products to more than 60 countries worldwide. Pre-registration is now open to receive event updates and special offers.

The highly anticipated international show will once again convene a passionate group of baking professionals, industry buyers, pastry chefs, cake artists, retail bakers, hobbyists and everyday foodies for a three-day celebration of cake, chocolate and sugar artistry. The inaugural Americas Cake Fair – the first show of its kind in North and South America held here in 2015 and became an immediate sensation among professionals and consumers, alike._mg_8889_b

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Cakes on display from the Live Global Cake and Chocolate Challenges, where international teams and individuals, respectively, battled for top honors.

Internationally popular pastry chef and television personality Duff Goldman, star of Food Network reality shows Ace of Cakes, Duff Till Dawn, and Holiday Baking Championship, among others, will delight attendees during his stage appearances on Saturday and Sunday. Other world-renowned cake industry celebrities scheduled to present throughout the weekend include Mich Turner, whose clientele includes The Queen of England, Madonna and David Beckham; and pastry genius Ron Ben-Israel, named “the Manolo Blahnik of wedding cakes” by The New York Times.

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The Sugar Arts Fashion Show, with models strutting the runway adorned by cake costumes and edible ensembles

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Marquee Openings Across Europe Mark a Milestone Year for Marriott International’s The Luxury Collection

Luxury Brand Accelerates Growth By Reaffirming Its Presence In London And Paris, Opening Its First Ever Ski Resort In Cortina, As Well As Entering The Armenian Capital Yerevan

The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott International, Inc., announced the signings of five flagship properties for the brand: the internationally-renowned boutique hotel The Wellesley and the exclusive The Westbury in London, Hôtel de Berri, a new alluring hotel in the heart of Paris, Cristallo Resort & Spa in Cortina, Italy, the first ski resort of the collection, and The Alexander in Yerevan, marking the brand’s debut in Armenia. These illustrious additions to the portfolio will further strengthen the brand’s presence in Europe, with 2017 on target to be another milestone year for The Luxury Collection, one of Marriott International’s luxury brands.tlc-logo

Over the last few years, we have seen a seismic growth in luxury travel,” said Satya Anand, Chief Operations Officer, Luxury & Southern Europe, Marriott International.Together with the owners of these five new Luxury Collection hotels we are working towards meeting the increasing demand for luxury accommodations and offering our guests an extraordinary collection of luxury experiences in established and up-and-coming European destinations.”

The Luxury Collection® brand is comprised of world-renowned hotels and resorts offering unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories. For the global explorer, The Luxury Collection offers a gateway to the world’s most exciting and desirable destinations. Each hotel and resort is a unique and cherished expression of its location; a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures. Originated in 1906 under the CIGA® brand as a collection of Europe’s most celebrated and iconic properties, today The Luxury Collection brand is a glittering ensemble, recently surpassing 100 of the world’s finest hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries. All of these hotels, many of them centuries old, are internationally recognized as being among the world’s finest.

Marriott International has the strongest team of luxury talent in the industry, with boundless creative energy. This, combined with The Luxury Collection’s remarkable global growth strategy, consolidates our position as the leading hospitality company serving the luxury consumer”, said Mitzi Gaskins, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “Europe offers tremendous potential and we are committed to increasing our footprint significantly with the world’s finest luxury hotels over the next few years. Our goal is to open 12 Luxury Collection hotels globally by the end of 2017, and with these five additions in Europe, we are well on track.”

The Wellesley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Knightsbridge, London

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The Wellesley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Knightsbridge, London – The hotel’s interior Art Deco style (Photo: Business Wire)

An intimate and refined hotel converted from a luxurious 1920s townhouse, The Wellesley is ideally situated in the prestigious area of Knightsbridge, overlooking Hyde Park and steps away from London’s finest boutiques and acclaimed restaurants. Hotel guests have the opportunity to explore London in the hotel’s Rolls Royce and access 24-hour Butler service to suit their needs, lifestyle and expectations. Famed for its exquisite style and impeccable service, The Wellesley features 36 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites, with many offering panoramic views over the London Skyline. The hotel’s interior design is timeless with a sophisticated Art Deco style; bronze doors unveil a shimmering marble lobby highlighted by crystal chandeliers while the elegant guestrooms combine beautiful 1920s-inspired design with the latest modern amenities. Indulgent culinary venues include the Oval Restaurant; Crystal Bar, which features a vast selection of whisky, cognac and Armagnac; Jazz Lounge where guests can enjoy weekly live jazz performances; and the exceptional Cigar Terrace, an exclusive heated terrace complete with bespoke walk-in humidor and a connoisseur’s selection of the finest cigars. The Wellesley will become London’s third Luxury Collection Hotel when it joins the brand, slated for the first half of 2017. Continue reading

Now Taking Reservations: Hilton Bali Resort Welcomes Guests in the Heart of Nusa Dua

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Debuts in Bali with Stunning Cliff-Top Getaway

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Hilton Bali Resort Aerial View

Hilton Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Hilton Bali Resort, which joins 130 distinguished resort properties across the Hilton portfolio located in some of the world’s most sought-after destinations. Designed for travelers seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, Hilton Bali Resort (located at Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, Bali, Indonesia) brings breathtaking views, extensive recreation facilities and magnificent event space to the Nusa Dua Beach enclave on Bali’s southern peninsula.

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Hilton Bali Resort Pool Aerial View

Hilton Bali Resort is a significant addition to our flagship brand portfolio, bringing Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ renowned hospitality to one of the world’s premier island destinations,” said Sean Wooden, vice president, brand management, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “Hilton continues to deliver world-class service and product innovations that meet the changing needs of discerning travelers and Hilton Bali Resort is well positioned to deliver exceptional experiences to every guest, every time.

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HiltonBali Resort Hotel Front Desk Lobby

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Hilton Bali Resort Lobby Bar

Hilton Bali Resort is situated atop a 40-meter cliff in the prestigious Nusa Dua area of Bali’s southern peninsula. Hilton Bali Resort is set within a lush 28-acre compound. Each of its 389 guest rooms and suites combine modern amenities with local Balinese charm and feature private balconies and terraces overlooking the Indian Ocean or the hotel gardens. Guests may also choose to stay in one of 19 exclusive villas which feature a private plunge pool, gazebo, separate living area, round-the-clock butler service and access to the private Nusa Dua Villa Lounge, or an Executive Room, which has access to the Executive Lounge. Hilton Bali Resort’s extensive recreational facilities boast four interconnecting swimming pools including an adult-only pool, a sand lagoon, a 30-meter waterslide and a Jungle Kid’s Club with indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and a 360-degree observation deck. In addition, guests may enjoy a sun deck, sauna, hot tub and gym, as well as a Mandara Spa, three indoor tennis courts and a retail outlet.

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Hilton Bali Resort’s Kupu-Kupu Amphitheater

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Hilton Bali Resort Executive Lounge

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Hilton Bali Resort’s Multi-Funtion Banquet Room

While offering direct access to one of the most picturesque beaches on the island, the property is also within 1.3 kilometers of the 18-hole Bali National Golf Course and various watersports centers, and 3.7 kilometers from the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center. Ngurah Rai International Airport and the Kuta shopping district are also approximately 15 kilometers from the hotel via the Mandara toll road.

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Nusa Dua One Bedroom Villa

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Nusa Dua One Bedroom Villa

Hilton Bali Resort is a testament to the confidence we have in this stunning resort destination and our deep commitment to serving the burgeoning market of Indonesia. This opening marks our fifth property in Indonesia and third in Bali alongside Conrad Bali and Hilton Garden Inn Bali – Ngurah Rai Airport,” said William Costley, vice president, operations, South East Asia & India, Hilton. “The location makes the hotel a great base for travelers visiting Bali, and positions us well to capture opportunities from Bali’s rising inbound and domestic tourism.” Continue reading