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YOU can guarantee that any gathering of the #luxetribe at an ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) event will always highlight the very best of luxury travel. And ILTM Asia Pacific, held for the first time in Singapore last month was no exception.  The Luxury Travel Bible trawled the event for the most exciting hotels and destinations which should be on your radar this year. Some are famous, some are insider secrets, all are worth a visit. So book that biz class seat and enjoy.

The Lutetia

1. One of the stars of ILTM was The Lutetia which re-opens its fabled doors this month (June). When the Taittinger family, of the famed Champagne brand, bought the Lutetia in the 1950s, it became a hangout for musicians and artists, including the French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and the sculptor César. So the hotel has a very special place in the hearts of Parisians, especially those who frequented the St. Germain-des-Pres area on the Left bank of Paris where the hotel is situated. When Georgi Akirov’s The Set hotel group took over, the notable French architect Jean-Michele Wilmotte, (himself a long-time patron of the Lutetia) was hired to transform the faded hotel without spoiling its history. So for example, the hotel’s cream facade, stained glass windows and the frescoed ceiling in Bar Josephine were all restored. Today the grand palace hotel has 184 beautifully designed bedrooms and suites, including seven signature suites, one wtih a large oak desk designed in honour of the St Germain writers, and another with a terrace with 360 degree views of Paris.The famous Brasserie reopens in September, with the three-Michelin-starred French chef Gerald Passedat, (of Le Petit Nice, Marseille) overseeing the cuisine. A new swimming pool and expansive spa complete the transformation. www.hotellutetia.com
See our Top Ten hotels piece on Lutetia HERE 


2. The newly opened Six Senses Duxton was the hotel that luxury aficionados wanted to head to after hours.The Anouska Hempel-designed boutique hotel in historic China town is the hotel that Singapore needed, a welcome relief from skyscraper luxury. Already its restaurant and moody bar are attracting the Asian cool-crowd. TLTB can report the food is fabulous, the walls are sesame-black and Hempel’s own golden pots fill the lobby. Coming next to Singapore; Six Senses Maxwell opening in October 2018. www.sixsenses.com

  Six Senses Duxton

3. In a world first, the new Nauka Vilas, a one-suite traditional wooden ship with 8 crew will launch in September 2018 to offer a very private way to explore the unique heritage of the Holy Ganges. Woven into themed journeys using the best suites in the best hotels across Rajasthan, Bhutan and the Andaman Islands, travellers will have the chance to immerse themselves in a transformational journey of the mind, body and soul. The new vessel comes from Aqua Indica pioneers of experiential cruising along the river Ganges. The company also created the larger Ganges Voyager I & II and is the first and only luxury river ship cruise operator in the Indian Sub-continent. www.exoticheritagegroup.com
4. Also much anticipated is the new Waldorf Astoria Bangkok which opens in September 2018. Interiors are by the talented André Fu, (know for his designs for Upper House Hong Kong) though AvroKO has done eatertainment, which includes steaks-and-seafood Bull & Bear and a 57th floor rooftop Champagne Bar (there's a 17th floor outdoor pool, with a giant fishtail coming out of it, and the gym is 24/7). www.waldorfastoria.com

  The Muraka

5. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island's impressive The Muraka Villa opens in November 2018: ‘Muraka’ means coral in the native language of Dhivehi. The two-floor structure, is being billed as the first underwater villa because it has a submerged bedroom. On the upper floors there is a master and twin-bed sleeping areas, an open-plan living area and space for a butler’s room and security. There's also a private infinity pool, and wide, sunrise-facing deck. The villa is being created by New Zealander Mike Murphy of M.J. Murphy aquarium engineering. www.conradmaldives.com

6. Polar adventure specialist Quark Expeditions will be launching a state of the art new ship in 2020.The new $130 million, 200-passenger expedition ship will be specially designed for operation in the polar regions with two helidecks and 20 zodiacs, "This ship will be more than just a ship - it will be an unrivalled operational base for polar expeditions", says Andrew White, Quark Expeditions president. “With this new ship, in the hands of the most experienced expedition team in the industry, we will get you off the ship and into nature further, faster and safer than ever before." www.quarkexpeditions.com

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Hilary Doling 15/6/18
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