Top International Shopping Destinations

New York

For many people, New York City provides the ultimate shopping experience. In New York you can find all the major department stores, including Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Saks. The most popular areas for shopping are: Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Times Square and Soho. With so much shopping on offer, one way to make the most of a trip is to join a shopping tour. From Premium Outlets to the Garment District, research the variety of tours available online before you travel.


Dubai is home to the largest shopping mall in the world. With a total area of 13 million square feet and an internal floor area of almost six million square feet, the Dubai Mall is home to 1,200 shops, an ice rink, indoor theme park, aquarium and an underwater zoo. The Dubai Mall has held the title of “The World’s Most Visited Shopping and Leisure Destination” for numerous years, attracting over 65 million visitors in 2012.


Tokyo is the place to go for people who are crazy about gadgets and other gizmos! Tokyo has a number of shopping districts. Shinjuku is home to a number of major department stores and electronic outlets. Shibuya is the centre for youth fashion with small boutique and high fashion stores. Odaiba is a shopping and entertainment district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.


Quadrilatero d’Oro – the Golden Rectangle – is four streets dedicated to shopping and is home to some of the biggest fashion brands including Armani, Prada and Versace. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the oldest shopping mall in the world, even if you don’t plan on shopping you should really go just to admire the mall’s architecture. If you’re looking for a bargain, head to Milan in January or July during the sale seasons.


A little closer to home, London has a variety of shopping districts, centres and markets to choose from. Top department stores in London include: Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Selfridges. Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street are popular shopping destinations in London, plus Westfield shopping centres in Shepherds Bush and Stratford City. If you’ve not been to a London market before, Old Spitalfields Market and Camden Lock Market are definitely worth a visit, with a mixture of antiques, art, fashion and gifts.

To Travel Is To Be Addicted

The adrenaline rush of the adventure and exploration that lies ahead is nothing short of amazing. Today, with the world literally at your disposal via the internet and great airlines such “Alitalia miles” travellng has become accessible and affordable.


Rome is considered one of those exotic places to visit that absolutely cannot be compared to any place else. It’s an epitome of rich culture and history worth decades to dwell in. Rome is a city of lights and is easy to reach via an affordable Alitalia flight.

Speaking of traveling to Rome, one of the top places to go would be the Roman Coliseum. Its massive structure stands proud with 80 arched entrances and space to accommodate up to 55,000 people all at one. The huge arena is one of the biggest attractions and is a must visit! And to make the travel more appealing is the incentive of earning miles while being on holiday! Now that’s a treat on its own.

The Roman Forum, along with the Spanish Steps and St. Peters Basilica is only a few of the other most sought out attractions that are available for touring, exploring and experiencing.


Just the name takes you to heaven. If you choose to fly via Alitalia, you will experience a mesmerizing open air museum that will enchant you its history. Again, this airline offers one of the best rates available and the earning miles incentive still exists! It happens to be the most visited places in the world! The Arno River is beautiful and would a perfect way to relax and unwind. And of course, no travel can be complete without shopping, imagine shopping at the romantic Ponte Vecchio. Master pieces by Leonardo Di Vinci is one of the most exquisite experience of all. And if you choose Alitalia, you will be promised a full Italian Renaissance experience.


If you are fond of fashion and feasting this is the place to go! Being the second most popular city in Italy, Milan is known as the Fashion, industrial design and architectural hub to the world. If you are in luck and interested you can have the opportunity of a life time to attend Milan Fashion Week hosted twice a year! Who wouldn’t want to see models walk down the ramp wearing eye opening drop dead gorgeous pieces by Valentino, Gucci and so many more brands. Fashion isn’t the only thing Milan has to offer, its rich history of literature and architecture will continue to leave you speechless, just take the plunge and travel.

Some of the Best Hotels in Milan, Italy

Most of the accommodations in Milan Italy are appropriately designed for business travelers, which means that the charges are high, and the rooms are often bland, with a number of hotels being booked all through the year. It will be a wise move to book in advance, particularly during springtime, in middle of February and again in autumn, towards the end of September, when it’s time for fashion shows. The same is valid during the Salone del Mobile, during April. During August, many hotels pull their shutters down due to the lack of customers. So, you get chance to negotiate the prices during that period. Here are some of the most famous Milan hotels, in no particular order:

Maison Moschino

This is considered to be the first hotel in the fashionable capital of Italy. Located in close proximity to the busy area of Corso Como, Maison Moschino truly conveys the fanciful approach of its trade name. It comprises of 65 rooms in a former nineteenth century train station, bedecked using billowing costumes, which get transformed to headboards, plus beds in the style of tree-trunks that combine with trompe l’oeil forests. Though the standard rooms are smaller, you will be quickly impressed by their looks.

The Gray

Architect Guido Ciompi designed this exclusive boutique hotel, and any design student could learn a lot from its architecture. Behind the artistic fascia of the building, you’ll find 21 separately adorned rooms and suites made using WengĂ© wood for floors. The furniture is made from ebony, and the rooms are furnished with African fabrics along with animal skins. Its two suites come with personal workout rooms and two additional steam rooms with many suspended beds. Le Noir, the hotel’s restaurant on the first floor, offers tables in black lacquer with velvet upholstery, balanced by lighted tables.

Park Hyatt Milano

This is the favorite hotel of the business travelers. It’s hardly a five minutes’ walk from the financial district and stock exchange. The staff of its 24 hour business center is multi-lingual. It provides secretarial services, plus many high-tech boardrooms for conducting meetings. The hotel’s 106 rooms and suits are upstairs. Ed Tuttle, the architect who designed it, included delicate autumnal colors, marble bathrooms, a work desk and Murano glass fixtures, while the upholstery is in velvet and silk.

Carlton Hotel Baglioni

Facing the renowned shopping street Via della Spiga, housing the Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, the Carlton Hotel Baglioni provides five-star comforts. Its 92 rooms and suits are adorned with silk tapestries in warm tones, antique furniture and Murano glass chandeliers. When spending a bit extra, guests are provided with a personal solarium, rosewood parquetry, gazebo, plus a personal roof terrace. Its ground floor houses the famous Baretto al Baglioni restaurant, serving light Milanese cuisine in an ambience of a Victorian clubhouse, with old-fashioned wooden decorations and paintings of the English landscapes.

The Popularity of the Heart-Shaped Engagement Ring Cut

Traditionally not a popular engagement ring cut, the heart-shaped cut tended to be given on less formal occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. However, this special cut, with its unique and unmistakable symbol of love, has been experiencing increasing popularity in engagement ring design.

The heart-shaped diamond is simply a pear-cut diamond with a cleft at the top, but don’t make the mistake of thinking a heart-shaped diamond is anything less than ideal. It is one of the most sought after shapes and also one of the most challenging to create. It takes a very skilled cutter to create a flawless heart-shaped diamond, as even the slightest error could ruin the shape or the shine. The ideal heart diamond is cut at a 1:1 ratio, making it as tall as it is wide, and it should also be symmetrical on both sides, with fifty-nine carefully sculpted facets. One the most popular aspects of this heart-shape is that the diamond does not have to be perfect with no inclusions, as small inclusions in this beautiful cut can be easily hidden to the naked eye.

You shouldn’t be misled into thinking that this engagement ring cut is a modern cut, as it actually has a very long history. It was first mentioned in the correspondence between the infamous Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and Nicodemo in 1463; similarly, the wealthy and powerful Cardinal de Richelieu was known to own a celebrated heart-shaped diamond, weighing twenty carats, back in the 17th century. There is also the mention of a 36 carat heart-shaped diamond called the ‘Heart Diamond’ in a book written in 1655 by the French merchant-traveller, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who famously brought home the Hope Diamond. Perhaps the most interesting historical fact of all is that these specifically designed diamonds were often exchanged between royalty as a symbol of good will and friendship. Mary Queen of Scots sent a heart-shaped diamond ring to Queen Elizabeth, but unfortunately in this case it didn’t seem to have the desired effect. As this cut was an extraordinarily difficult one, especially given the tools the craftsmen used back then, these diamonds were often cherished and valued over all other gems.

Heart shaped diamonds could be said to be popular because of the classically romantic appeal. Both diamonds and hearts have long been a symbol of love and eternity, and what could be better that incorporating both of these together in order to magnify that powerful symbolism? No other engagement ring cut could be more perfect when it comes to choosing that special ring that will represent the rest of your life with that one person.

Cardiff – A Weekend Destination

Splendidly situated betwixt the mountains and the sea, Cardiff is making a big splash with visitors. This capital city is small in size, but big in personality. Weekenders are drawn by its unique character and charms. Some come hoping to rub shoulders with rugby players, spy a dragon or two, take in an ancient castle or join in with a good old singsong, Tom Jones’ style. Aside from those quintessentially Welsh pastimes, Cardiff has much else to offer too.

Making waves since the 15th century, Cardiff is now home to 350,000 people. Set just off the M4 motorway, with its own airport and a centrally located train station, these days the city is within easy reach of just about anywhere. With its emblem of the red dragon in glorious abundance, every sign written in both Welsh and English and a chorus of distinctive lilting voices all about you, once here you know, without a doubt, that you are in the heart of Wales. The buzz of the city comes from music, rugby and a strong, proud sense of national cultural identity. Some even claim that the shopping here is better than in Milan. The city is also brimming with lively nightlife options, from traditional pubs to sophisticated bars, live music and a wide range of clubs for a memorable party night out. Whilst Cardiff has all the cosmopolitan buzz of a capital city, it is compactly set within a small area, making it easy to get about.

Cardiff lies within a stone’s throw of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Black mountains to the North and the South Wales coastline to the South and West. This means that adventurous types, with a penchant for the great outdoors, can schedule in walking, biking, golf, surfing, canoeing and other activities. There are small to middling sized mountains to scale, the largest being Pen y Fan, at a lofty altitude of 886 metres. Coastal towns such as Ogmore-by-Sea offer the very hip challenge of surfing. For cyclists, there are a range of on and off-road options, the most famous being the Taff trail. At 55 miles (93 kilometres) long, it wends its way from Cardiff to the historic market town of Brecon. It largely follows the course of the Taff river and is a mixture of on and off-road sections, requiring either a mountain bike or perhaps a hybrid model to tackle it. Even within the city itself, there is the opportunity to get out on the water of Cardiff bay, in a canoe, kayak, wind-surfer or dinghy. Sticking safely to dry land, there is also the rather lovely and very central Bute park to picnic, lob frisbees and generally laze about in.