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NEWS Wheelchair friendly Soneva

Congratulations to Soneva Jani, the award-winning resort in the Maldives’ Noonu Atoll, for  introducing a mobility-friendly Water Reserve to its portfolio of luxurious private villas. Specially designed for guests using wheelchairs and mobility aids, the two-bedroom overwater villa was launched as part of Chapter Two,  a new era for the resort that includes 27 new Water Reserves, new dining destinations and a new Wellness Centre. The vast, 772 sqm. (8,309 sq.ft) Two Bedroom Water Reserve has an open-plan living space on the ground floor ensuring ease of movement for wheelchair users. On request, the large TV lounge can be converted into a wheelchair-friendly bedroom. A wheelchair-friendly ramp allows easy access to the villa’s spectacular outdoor terrace which features a large, freshwater swimming pool.

NEWS Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets opens today

Opening today (March 1) is the first Indigo hotel in Australia, Indigo Adelaide Markets. The IHG Hotels & Resorts lifestyle brand is one of The Luxury Travel Bible’s favourite boutique brands because the hotels always combine funky design with innovative ideas to create a true spirit of place; Indigo Adelaide Markets is no exception. Housed on the site of a former textile factory, the property’s 'Raw and Refined' design ethos celebrates the neighbourhood’s commercial past blending heritage-listed and modern architecture. Public spaces feature terracotta brick archways mimicking those in Adelaide Central Market and street art-inspired murals by Australian collage artists such as Tristan Kerr – there’s also a subtle pink theme in the hotel. And if you look closely at the lapels of the staff and you’ll see badges that look like pink board shorts. these are all references to seventies South Australian Premier, Don Dunstan, who declared for diversity by standing outside Parliament House sporting a pair of bright pink short shorts, a pop of pink in a sea of grey suits. Like the flamboyant Duncan, Indigo is never bland or boring. Like Duncan it embraces local culture. You’ll taste that in the local sourced food and the cool roof top bar with local gins, wine and craft beer. Intrigued yet? Wear a pop of pink and check in!
We’re pleased to report that this is only the first flurry in the Indigo invasion. The brand will soon feature in other state capitals with Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, in the old Tattersalls building, all in the pipeline. www.hotelindigo.com/storiesforthecurious

NEWS Hotel X launches in Brisbane

Today IHG Hotels and Resorts, launch their world-first luxury lifestyle precinct, Hotel X in the heart of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Originally intended to be an Indigo hotel, the property was given the X-factor and a new branding worthy of its luxie lifestyle offerings. Hotel X’s white geometric façade says it all, especially when you see it lit-up and gleaming at night. The interiors also have the X-factor, the 146 rooms ar also sleek and chic featuring more geometric patterns and artwork by Justin Nicholas. Add to this state of the art appliances from Dyson and GHD plus Karl Lagerfeld amenities  and its pretty perfect.
Brisbane’s dining scene will also have two new venues housed in the hotel from the culinary award winning Ghanem Group  (think, Donna Chang, Boom Boom Izakaya, Blackbird Bar and Grill and Byblos), one is a French bistro, the other will be poolside on the rooftop. More to be revealed soon. The hotel is close to the Valley’s vibrant nightlife and popular Howard Smith Wharves. What we like best? The one-bedroom suites with their free-standing tub and floor-to-ceiling windows. Hotelx.com.au

NEWS: W Hotels opens in Melbourne

Melbour has a new, and very cool, hotel offering. W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, has opened the doors to Melbourne’s first luxury lifestyle hotel – W Melbourne – at 408 Flinders Lane. In the heart of an eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne brings the community’s iconic laneway culture and emerging music scene to life. Inspired by the contrasts of the city, the hotel slowly reveals itself to visitors as guests peel back layers to unearth the unique personality of each space.

"It was a natural choice for us to launch our second W hotel in Australia in one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities," said Sean Hunt, Area Vice President, Marriott International. “With its bold style, energizing nightlife and great appetite for what’s new and next, Melbourne is a brilliant new addition to our luxury portfolio, and solidifies our confidence in the travel recovery here in Australia."  Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem brings innovation and brand storytelling to life by drawing on the city's diverse and contrasting character, W Melbourne’s design inspiration is translated into vignettes of Melbourne’s streetscapes.  What do we like best? The promise of the WOW suit and the gorgeous sinuous curves of the Curious cocktail bar and the funky pool area. ./www.marriott.com.au/hotels/travel/melwh-w-melbourne/

NEWS Aman launches Fine Fragrance

If you can’t travel to an Aman resort, at least you can be transported there through your sense of smell. Today  (December 1) Aman launches Fine Fragrance, a range of sophisticated scents, each echoing the distinct character of Aman’s unique destinations. The inaugural Aman Fine Fragrance collection launches with five eau de parfums which provide a sensory journey to awaken Aman memories through one of the most powerful senses. Created by master perfumer Jacques Chabert, the collection of gender-neutral scents are inspired by both existing and forthcoming resorts and hotels, with ALTA influenced by Aman New York and serving as an early insight into what will be Aman’s second urban location. To strengthen memory recall, each fragrance bottle visually reflects its associated Aman destination through the subtle use of colour with its own specially selected tone is inspired by the resort’s local environment and cultural significant hues. Available online via the Aman Shop and the resort boutiques, the five-scents are ready to order now, with two-further scents set to launch in Spring 2021. www.aman.com

NEWS Smile, you’re on a ski lift

ASPEN Snowmass is known for its innovative lift ticket art and each year we look forward to what they’ll come up with next. This year skiers and boarders at Aspen Snowmass won't be able to help smiling when they look at their lift ticket and in this pandemic world a little cheering up goes a long way. The 2020-21 Lift Ticket Art is FriendsWithYou, a collaborative series by artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III. The FriendsWithYou lift ticket art emphasizes unity, optimism, joy and kindness. The colourful imagery featuring clouds, rainbows and vivid colours will brighten the slopes this season. “While talking to our guests and community this fall, one thing has become exceedingly evident, skiing and riding feels more vital than ever, and so does lifting one another up and sparking joy in the little things,” says Mike Kaplan, president and CEO, Aspen Snowmass. We couldn’t agree more. www.aspensnowmass.com

NEWS Small Luxury Hotels of the World rewards heroes

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has announced its 500 nominated winners of its global campaign #SLHFORHEROES, rewarding 1,000 room nights to those on the frontline who have supported their communities through the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. The #SLHFORHEROES campaign recognised those that went above and beyond to help others during the Coronavirus outbreak. Whether in heathcare , charities or volunteering. Winners have each been rewarded with a two-night stay at one of the 520 Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties. In addition to the two nights, winners will further unlock additional hidden extras once their reservation is confirmed at a participating hotel. These extras, generously donated by SLH hotels in support of the campaign, include spa treatments, airport transfers, surfing lessons, private tours, dinners and extra nights. “We are immensely heartened by the stories told by members of the public on behalf of their nominees. There really is an enormous sense of gratitude for those around the world who have worked tirelessly in the face of the pandemic”, says Richard Hyde, Managing Director of SLH. www.slh.com

NEWS Rocco Forte opens in Rome

We’ve been waiting for this one and finally the day has arrived.  Forte Hotels unveiled their second hotel in Rome yesterday. The 104-room Hotel de la Ville is in a renovated historical 18-century palazzo in the heart of Rome, right atop the Spanish Steps with sweeping views of the Eternal City. Designer Tommaso Ziffer, in collaboration with Olga Polizzi, Director of Design for Rocco Forte Hotels, was inspired by The Grand Tour of the 18th century when English and German nobles collected pieces of art during their cultural journeys to European cities. Ziffer has recreated a contemporary retrospective of The Grand Tour by working with local artisans, recreating the opulence of the 18th century through handmade wallpaper from local designers Rubelli and Dedar, rich Italian fabrics and historic tapestries from Zardi & Zardi.  At the heart of the hotel is the e courtyard, fusing three buildings into one, the courtyard design has been lifted by George Carter, a designer who specializes in creating gardens inspired by the simple geometry of 17th and 18th centuries. To keep within the Grand Tour concept, obelisks and black and gold touches bestow romantic feel. TLTB readers will love the magnificent Suite de la Ville accessed by a private elevator; the hotel's crown jewel is furnished with a curated collection of contemporary and antique furniture and its own collection of art, it boasts two panoramic terraces. See Forte's other new italian hotel HERE.  www.roccofortehotels.com 

NEWS The Newest Place to be SEEN in Bangkok

Bangkok’s newest rooftop playground has opened on the 26th Floor of Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel. With stunning views over the skyline, gourmet food, innovative mixology and great music, SEEN Restaurant & Bar is already making an impact on Bangkok’s nightlife scene.
The globally inspired menu, led by Executive Chef Alexandre Castaldi, features dishes such as hand rolled, black truffle infused sushi and tomahawk steak. Award-winning Head Mixologist Mochammad Fadli curates a wide range of cocktails, wines and Champagnes.
The best time is to arrive at sunset to catch unrivalled views of the Chao Phraya and then to stay after dark to party to beats spun by a roster of jet-setting DJs selected by Music Director, Scotty B.
Originating in Sao Paolo then Lisbon, SEEN Bangkok is the third SEEN Restaurant & Bar from Portuguese celebrity chef, Olivier da Costa.

NEWS Hyatt returns to Queensland

Hyatt announced today plans for the first ever Hyatt hotel in the Brisbane area, marking the return of a Hyatt branded hotel to Queensland. Located in the Woolloongabba suburb, the Hyatt Place hotel is expected to open in 2023 at the internationally award-winning and state-of-the-art $700M million South City Square precinct. Hyatt Place Brisbane South City Square hotel is expected to feature 170 rooms and provide guests with a stylish and seamless experience, including a rooftop pool and bar, a 24-hour grab-and-go food market, as well as a café, lobby lounge and fitness centre.   David Udell, Hyatt’s group president, Asia Pacific, signed the agreement with Pellicano and Perri Projects – the joint-venture development partners behind South City Square – at Grand Hyatt Melbourne on Tuesday, 30 April, ahead of the Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition.  "We’re proud to work with Pellicano and Perri Projects to bring the Hyatt Place brand to Brisbane for the first time, marking Hyatt’s return to the Queensland market and into a dynamic and fast-emerging community,” said Mr. Udell. “Woolloongabba is a hotspot for major sporting, entertainment, tourism, commercial and medical areas in Brisbane, and we look forward to giving professionals and leisure travellers a relaxed, high-quality hotel experience within South City Square’s vibrant, inner-city lifestyle hub.”   South City Square will also be home to 850 architecturally designed apartments. www.hyatt.com

NEWS: Velaa Private Island's New Jewellery collections

Velaa Private Island has launched two new jewellery collections, inspired by the colours and style of the luxury location.
Owners Radka and Jiri Smejc worked with renowned artist Frédéric Béziat of Maison Atelier Loréedubois to create the exclusively designed collections that pair high-end jewellery with the beauty of the Maldives.
The first limited-edition collection captures the distinctive white sands and cerulean sea, and consists of just 10 designs including a bespoke, one of a kind. Pieces include the Ocean Lagoon Blue Ring crafted with tanzanite, diamonds and 18 carat white gold, Parrot Earrings with pear dropped diamonds and the Tropical Garden Bracelet created with emeralds and tsavorites, 18 carat white gold, ebony and eight round cut diamonds.
The second collection, ‘The Turtle Anniversary Collection’ is an ongoing collection that is available for guests to purchase on the island. Inspired by the sea turtles that flock each year to Velaa Private Island to nest and hatch, the signature line is designed around the shape of a turtle as a signature motif. www.velaaisland.com

NEWS: X2 opens new pool villas

Southeast Asia boutique hospitality brand, X2 Resorts, is opening the first all-pool villa resort in Bang Saray on Thailand’s east coast. X2 Pattaya Oceanphere is just 450 sandy metres from the shoreline. The boutique resort will offer 59 one-bedroom pool villas and spacious two-bedroom duplex pool villas, all designed in a unique, geometric style that resembles rice terraces gently cascading towards the seafront. Each of these contemporary villas comes fully equipped with tropical living spaces, bathrooms, a kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows, an outdoor sala, terrace and private pool. The resort’s spectacular rooftop pool is the perfect place to enjoy a sunset cocktail, while the second-level Ocean Bistro specialises in modern Thai and fusion cuisine. With its unspoilt stretches of sand, Bang Saray is an idyllic destination for beach lovers and its seafront restaurants serve up the “catch of the day” at local prices. Bang Saray Walking Street Market sells authentic Thai products, rather than the usual tourist titbits. www.x2resorts.com/resorts/pattaya-oceanphere

NEWS Singapore Airlines and COMO Shambala partner

Wellness in the air as well as on the ground is becoming incresingly important for frequent travellers. Singapore Airlines and Singapore-based wellness brand COMO Shambhala (part of the COMO Group), are taking wellness to new heights with a new parntership. The initial phase of the partnership will see COMO Shambhala’s award-winning wellness cuisine introduced on selected Singapore Airlines flights departing Singapore in the second half of this year, using seasonal and sustainable ingredients each with their own nutrition profile, this style of cooking aims to inspire the palate with memorable and delicious flavours, marrying healthy eating with pleasurable gastronomy. The inclusion of co-developed wellness dishes will progressively be made available in SIA’s Book the Cook service. In addition, a new wellness menu featuring specially curated dishes will be introduced. Future collaborations may also extend to on-board amenities, as well as in-flight entertainment content relating to wellness, among others.
“It’s an exciting moment for the COMO Group, as this collaboration marks the coming together of the world's most awarded airline and COMO’s passion for holistic wellness and nutritious cuisine that has been at the heart of our brand offering since the beginning of COMO Shambhala and COMO Hotels and Resorts” added Mr Olivier Jolivet, CEO of the COMO Group. www.singaporeair.com , www.como.com

NEWS Regent Seven Seas' Woman's Day announcement

Congratulations to Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the leading luxury ocean cruise line,which  today (International Women's Day) announced that Captain Serena Melani will helm the cruise line’s newest ship, Seven Seas SplendorTM, making her the first woman in cruise industry history to captain a new cruise ship at launch.  Captain Melani, 45, began her nautical career at age 16 as a cadet while attending school working on cargo ships in her hometown of Livorno, Italy, along the Tirrenian Sea in the Tuscany region. After graduating from Nautical College in 1993, she was one of only a few females to hold roles of increasing responsibilities on oil tankers, cargo and container vessels. She became the company’s first female Master Captain in 2016 and has led Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator during her tenure. “Captain Melani has distinguished herself as a trailblazer in the maritime and cruise industries,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “She is an international role model and admired by our guests and crew. We are proud to appoint Captain Melani as the industry’s first female captain to deliver a new cruise ship and look forward to her many future successes leading Seven Seas Splendor in the years ahead.”“There is a growing number of very talented female captains emerging in our industry, and we’re proud to be pioneers for those women who aspire to lead the Bridge,” Captain Melani said. “Exploring the world and leading ship teams has been a love of mine. I’ve always believed in the motto that the cure for everything resides in salt water -- sweat, tears and the sea.”   www.RSSC.com

NEWS Nine suite Palazzo opens

In an era defined by excess, an invitation to embrace absence becomes an intoxicating proposition. And it’s this principle that guides the concept of Palazzo Daniele, a nine-suite property housed in the 150-year-old former family palazzo of art philanthropist Francesco Petrucci. Set in the village of Gagliano del Capo and opening April 15th, the residence has returned to its core essentials, where exposed walls bear the cracks of time and monastic beds take centre stage, augmenting the grandeur of the original ceiling frescoes and mosaic flooring. The sister property of G-Rough in Rome, Palazzo Daniele is a tangible embodiment of the spirit of Gabriele Salini’s GS Collection of hotels, merging the very best of Italian art, design, and gastronomy in an authentic, organic setting. www.designhotels.com/palazzo-daniele

NEWS The new resort raising the bar in the Maldives

Opening today (February 1) is a resort which will redefine what we expect from the Maldives. No traditional grass roofed bures here - just sophistication and style.  LUX* North Male Atoll blends super-yacht panache with a South Beach pulse. There are 67 over-sized double-storey, penthouse residences each with private pool created by Singaporean design house Miaja inspired by the curves and finish of a luxury boat and its sails. It has taken years to perfect this resort on Olhahali, a six-hectare island fringed by white-sandy beaches but the results are worth it.  Each of the residences sits right on the beach or over the water with living areas that are at least 350 sqm. These breezy, spacious villas feature rooftop relaxing areas, large sun terraces and stylish interiors with wide windows.
Restaurant choices include Barium, the secluded private dining room with underwater fish tank and INTI restaurant where Chef Gaston, the Maldives’ only Peruvian chef, prepares smoked guacamole, ceviche and aged meats, GLO showcases the best of European classics,  Beach Rouge and Josper charcoal grill have views over the infinity pool — all sound-tracked by a live DJ. An over-the-lagoon spa has water treatments inspired by dolphins.  There is also a spectacular reef right off the beach, a PADI dive centre and all manner of watersports.  Put this one on your 2019 wish list -  now. luxresorts.com

NEWS Resort helps you play tennis like Nadal

Sani Resort and Rafa Nadal have announced Greece’s first Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, operational when the hotel opens for the season this April. Guests of all ages and levels can learn to play tennis like a pro on one of eight brand new clay courts, with expert coaches on hand to provide tailormade programmes, crafted and developed by Rafa Nadal and his coaching staff. Knowledge is power and Sani Resort is determined to provide the highest training standards possible. Each tennis coach has been through extensive training at the Rafa Nadal Training Academy in Mallorca, promising the training that is passed on to guests is worthy of a Grand Slam title. The tennis programmes will cover everything from Nadal’s technical skills and physical preparation, to his personal values and mental training, based on Nadal’s professional tennis experience over the past 15 years. Talking of the new partnership, Rafa Nadal says: “I’m very happy that we are officially announcing the opening of a new Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre in Greece as it consolidates the Academy’s global expansion project. I’m sure this partnership will be a success, particularly for tennis fans, who I would like to invite to come and enjoy this wonderful facility, starting from April”.  The new tennis development will enhance Sani Resort’s already exceptional sports facilities, which to date include: a partnership with Chelsea FC Foundation launched in 2018; a recently added KTM bike club; a water-ski academy taught by instructors certified by British Water Ski & Wakeboard; and a sailing academy which offers intensive nine-hour courses with professional instructors. www.saniresort.gr

NEWS Viking Cruises' new sun god

Viking Cruises today announced the launch of their new ship, Viking Ra with guests setting sail on a new Egypt itinerary, Pharaohs & Pyramids in March 2018. The all-suite Viking Ra has 24 suites and accommodating 48 guests, reflecting Viking’s award-winning Scandinavian design and intimate sailing experience.  Viking Ra, named in honour of the Egyptian sun god Ra, will feature three suite stateroom categories, as well as an onboard spa, two Jacuzzis and an outdoor pool. Designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, the ship combines elegant Scandinavian design with local design influences, including geometric Arabic patterns and terrazzo floors. The onboard dining, bar and lounge will include both regional and international cuisine, with Viking’s Culture Curriculum available onboard including: world-class lectures on history and art, informative port talks and enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians."We are excited to announce our new ship, Viking Ra, in Egypt”. With her introduction, we will be the first and only Western company to own and operate a ship on the Nile, with Viking staff to guarantee the delivery of our award-winning service”, said Michelle Black, Managing Director of Viking Cruises Australia and New Zealand. “As we continue to grow our river fleet and provide new itineraries, we look forward to providing our guests with even more choice to explore the world in ‘the Viking way’.” www.viking.com

NEWS Take another look at Primus Hotel Sydney

The recently opened Primus Hotel Sydney is one of Australia’s best examples of Art Deco architecture and design. The December down-town opening marked the completion of a heritage-sensitive refit of the original 1930s Pitt Street building which was formerly The Sydney Water Board headquarters. With 172 guest rooms and suites, soaring lobby space, rooftop pool and bar, adjoining restaurant and an impressive a Presidential Suite, Primus Hotel Sydney is one of the city’s most interesting hotels deign-wise. 

We’re loving the commanding lobby with its towering ceilings, white marble floor and amazing eight metre high red, scagliola columns.  Head for the cocktail bar or hang out in the grand seating area with plush velvet sofas and leather armchairs.


NEWS Shangri-La Doha's grand opening

Shangri-La Hotel, Doha celebrates its grand opening yesterday with Doha’s most eminent gathering for the event.  His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, The Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior for the State of Qatar and many local dignitaries attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony. A life-sized portrait of His Royal Highness the Emir and His Royal Highness the Father Emir was also unveiled.

The gleaming 50-storey hotel is located in the commercial district of West Bay and designed to resemble a falcon’s head in recognition of Qatari falconry – the country’s historic and elite pastime . Inside it is a fusion of Aian and Arab styles and it is also adorned with museum-quality art pieces which are on loan from the Sheikh Faisal Collection.  Shopping fanatics will be gal dot know that  Shangri-La Hotel, Doha offers a direct link to the City Centre Mall, the city’s largest mall, and is only five minutes from the waterfront promenade. www.shangrila.com

NEWS New look at Sheraton Port Douglas

Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort has unveiled the first phase of its fresh new look with 146 of the resort’s 294 rooms now fully refurbished, restyled, and back in inventory The resort  embarked on an extensive AUD$40 million  renovation in May 2015 and the new look celebrates coastal living with match the driftwood timber floors, stone topped mini bars and the natural wooden furnishings.

The new Mirage Resort Rooms, Lagoon Rooms and Studio Suites have crisp, fresh textures and furnishings inspired by the tropical north Queensland surroundings. Splashes of ocean –inspiredl turquoise green inject colour into the white ,bright rooms.  Romantic canopied bedheads and indoor/outdoor balconies with luxurious daybeds encourage gusts to relax.

An exciting element of the refurbishment project is the creation and launch of 41 unique Lagoon Edge Rooms and 12 Lagoon Edge Studio Suites. From their private balconies, these new rooms and suites offer guests great views and direct access to the resort’s refreshing, saltwater lagoon swimming pools.


NEWS Sunset feast of food and art at MONA

The Golden Hour  is a new experience from Australia’s most out-there art gallery, Mona in Tasmania. A rooftop show in which light and space are harnessed by James Turrell –“kind of what God would do if He decided to build a gazebo” . in a  45-minute sunset sequence, Amarna (2015), which turns the sky supernatural colours. Combine this with a roodtop glass of sparkling then retire to the Wine Bar for a communal dining experience. Chef Vince Trim fires up his Heavy Metal Kitchen to deliver a rotating menu of roasted whole meats, wood-fired vegetables, smoked seafood and char-grilled goodness. Made with fresh Tasmanian ingredients. it’s a curated dinner party that will have you sharing  food and conversation with the stranger on your left. The Golden Hour is open to the public from Wednesday 21 October, and every Wednesday and Thursday evening thereafter. Closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Bookings are essential. Groups or singles welcome. Blankets provided for cooler evenings under Amarna (2015).  www.mona.net.au

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