(except weekends...unless we find something really, REALLY, good...)
Phuket pearl wins design honours TheLuxury Travel Bible favourite, Indigo Pearl's eye-catching and edgy industrial design has earned it top honours at the recent World Travel Awards in London. Regarded as the 'Oscars' of the travel and tourism industry, the independently owned Phuket resort was hailed as Asia's Leading Design Hotel in 2010. Etihad, the Yachts of Seabourn, and Six Senses Resorts & Spas were among other big winners. For the complete list see www.worldtravelawards.com/.
Focus on the A380
Amidst all the super-hype about the launch of the A380 - and its subsequent grounding by Qantas last week - it's easy to forget what makes these aircraft super-special for long-haul flyers. A recent chat with one of our insiders, a frequent business flier, reaffirmed what we already knew. Read more in Editor's Choice.
Dilmah Tea property joins Relais & Chateaux
Dilmah Tea's Ceylon Tea Trails has become the first Sri Lankan luxury property to join Relais & Chateaux. Selected for its unique character, gourmet cuisine and outstanding service, Ceylon Tea Trails is a four-hour scenic drive away from Colombo and is perched on verdant land 4000ft (1250m) above sea level adjacent to the Central Highlands World Heritage site and a lake. Originally built between 1890 and 1939, each of the retreat's four restored colonial plantation bungalows come with exquisite period furnishings and a manager, chef and butler offering round the clock service. Guest activities include croquet, tennis, spa treatments and of course, high tea. The resort is also a perfect base to climb the Adam's Peak holy mountain as well as visiting Kandy and Nuwara Eliva, which is famous for its 19th century English country architecture. www.teatrails.com/
It may not even be December yet but the festive season in Covent Garden, London is gearing up to be one of the most romantic yet. On 11th November, the Kissing Christmas Tree will be unveiled. This giant interactive installation's 50,000 red and white lights will illuminateevery time a couple puckers up under the mistletoe. To get visitors in the mood for love, The Body Shop will be hosting 'pucker up' stations to get your pout as perfect as Angelina Jolie's.
As well as serving as a visual tribute to love and goodwill Merry Kissmas, brainchild of Paul Cocksedge Studio (together with partner Joana Pinho), aims to raise over £25,000 for youth charity The Prince's Trust, which aims to change the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK.
The Luxury Travel Bible can't wait to visit and try it out!
The Christmas Tree will be switched on from 11 November 2010 - 05 January 2011.
Star of The English Patient, Kristin Scott Thomas, has been officially appointed as the Ambassador for Accor's luxury boutique hotel label, MGallery. Her first role as Ambassador was to launch a new guide for MGallery. More than a directory, the guide, which is available to guests at all MGallery hotels, uncovers the story behind each of the hotels in the collection. The 32 hotels all have a distinctive personality that has been shaped by their history; due to either its prestigious building or the guests who have stayed there, events that have occurred or the location of the hotel. All of the hotels share elegant and original design, both in its exterior and interiors. The MGallery guides will lead travellers in search of new experiences to discover new locations and places.
Kristin Scott Thomas, who divides her time between France, Great Britain and the United States, was heavily involved in the creation of the first MGallery guide. Using her own travel notes she shares with readers some of her favourite travel memories. www.mgallery.com/
Happy birthday Etihad
Many happy returns of the day to Etihad Airways, which celebrates its seventh anniversary today. In that time the airline tells us it has flown over 26 million passengers on more than 180,000 flights to destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Europe, North America, and Asia. Over the same period the airline's fleet has grown to 57 aircraft. Etihad is one of
The Luxury Travel Bible favourites (see our review coming shortly) we think they do business and first class way better than most. The world seems to agree, the airline won a range awards including 'World's Best First Class Airline Seat' and 'World's Best First Class Onboard Catering' in the annual Skytrax survey, as judged by over 18 million air travellers worldwide.
The Chedi Phuket has had a name change, it is now known as The Surin. The newly-dubbed hotel is set on the beach overlooking the clear waters of Pansea Bay, with palm-thatched cottages tucked into tropical gardens and coconut groves. We'll keep you posted on any changes that go along with the new name.
The Luxury Travel Bible is looking forward to eating at The Setai South Beach now that David Werly is the new Executive Chef. Werly has a great culinary track record and comes directly from the Michelin Star, Five Diamond Award AAA Le Cirque at Bellagio in Las Vegas. He trained under Alaine Ducasse and worked at Two-star Michelin Hotel Ritz in Parisand the Two-star Michelin restaurant Le Précatelan Lenotre in Paris. He also held the Executive Chef title at Auberge d'Artzenheim Restaurant in Alsace. We can't wait to see his Miami menu. www.lhw.com, www.setai.com
Male adrenalin junkies only
The rules of the privately-run St Moritz Toboggan Club, state quite clearly that only men can hurl themselves the Cresta Run. Since
The Luxury Travel Bible is an equal opportunity organisation we're not sure how we feel about that one, although frankly what sane woman would want to? Male adrenalin junkies over the age of 18 years of age can ride down the world famous ice run on non-race days. One of the easiest, and most luxurious ways, to get access to the run is to book a Cresta Run Package from the Kulm Hotel St Moritz, which includes 3 nights' B&B accommodation and five rides on the Cresta Run, as well as tuition, equipment and a 25-minute massage, which should come in handy to soothe bumps and bruises if you fall off. We're not sure who will sooth the ego. Since women are not actually banned from the hotel they can book in on the same package as a partner with the Cresta Run element substituted for a CHF400 credit in the hotel's Panorama Spa. Now you're talking.
Over a cocktail with Hall Cannon, owner of Otahuna Lodge a few weeks back we were concerned at what the Canterbury Earthquake had done to his lodge, New Zealand's largest private historic residence. So we are thrilled that Hall reports that in the past five weeks some major accomplishments have been made in a project that is set to take several months. There is still more to come however, including rebuilding the property's many chimneys, replacing damaged roof areas with more than 4000 new shingle roof tiles, correcting faults to the homestead's plastered walls and ceilings and extensive seismic strengthening. All of which means guest can start enjoying the luxuries of Otahuna again on Monday 10 January 2011.
New year's Resolution - be the first to book in to the restored Otahuna Lodge.www.otahuma.co.nz/
iPad Revolution heads to South Africa
The latest boutique property to join the iPad revolution is South Africa's stunning Ellerman House. An iPad in every guest room will make it easier for guests to browse books and magazines and source hotel and destinational information more quickly, says General Manager Nick Dreyer. Plans are afoot to provide virtual tours of the Edwardian-style hotel's new Ellerman Contemporary Gallery with information and images of the artists and their work; as well as interactive guides to the rooms and the hotel's other facilities which include a spa and gym.
Overlooking Cape Town's Bantry Bay with views of the Atlantic Ocean stretching out to Robben Island, the prestigious Relais & Chateau private retreat was listed in Conde Naste's 2010 Gold List and is also a
The Luxury Travel Bible favourite. Watch out for our Top Ten art collection hotels coming soon. www.ellerman.co.za/
Ski in style, Niseko's newest
The Green Leaf Niseko Village will re-open under the YTL Hotels banner in December 2010 following an impressive redesign by New York design firm Champalimaud.
The Luxury Travel Bible loves the art theme of the hotel, we're fond of some culture with our carved turns. We also like the ski-in ski out facilities, the new spa featuring the Green Leaf's celebrated natural onsen and the snow valet services.
For further information please contact YTL Hotels & Resorts in Australia toll free 1800 667731 or internationally www.ytlhotels.com/.
A sublime spa, a new name
Six Senses Resorts & Spas has announced a new name for its Thailand destination spa, which will now be called Six Senses Sanctuary Phuket. The company feels the new name captures the spa's 'core purpose ' of offering intergrated wellness experiences in peaceful, tranquil surroundings. Heck,
The Luxury Travel Bible doesn't much care what it is called we know this spa is good. The name change is also significant because this is the first part of a wider company rebranding for Six Senses, to be unveiled fully next year. In an interesting move, bowing to the demands of 'health conscious parents' the spa is also lowering the guest age to 12 years and above. All together kids say "ommm'... www.sixsenses.com/
Santa Paws is coming to town.
Now we've seen it all. This gets our vote for wackiest Christmas promotion to come across our desk to date... Read more in Luxury Loves.
Designer Charlotte Ronson is bringing fashion to the bedroom and is sexing up the mini-bar, with three uniquely designed condom wrappers. These "sexessories" will available for a limited time in the mini-bars at all Thompson Hotels to promote safer sex. Read more in Luxury Loves.www.thompsonhotels.com/
Breath easy with Hyatt
Congratulations to Hyatt Hotels & Resorts which plans to keep us all pure (they'll have a hard job with some of the
TLTB staff) by introducing hypo-allergenic rooms across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. Good for all of us but especially beneficial to those with asthma or allergies. The
Respire by Hyatt Hypo-Allergenic Rooms, are designed to eliminate up to 98 percent of airborne viruses and bacteria, as well as pollen and other irritants. More than 60 Hyatt hotels in the U.S. currently offer
Respire by Hyatt rooms but the group plans to have 2,000 hypo-allergenic rooms at 125 properties in North America by 2011. Now what about the rest of the world...
The new international terminal at Haneda Airport, Tokyo opens today and all those who bemoan the long haul from Narita Airport into the city centre (and that would be us) will rejoice. We like the look of the new Japanese Teahouse in the shiny new terminal. In gratitude for reduced travelling time Preferred Hotel Group's seven hotels in Tokyo are commemorating the occasion by offering special deals. All the hotels are serviced by the airport limousine from Haneda. So if you want the best rates at: Hotel New Otani, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, Grand Pacific LE DAIBA, Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo ,Royal Park Hotel, Yokohama Royal Park Hotel, Royal Park Shiodome Tower, log onto the website. www.preferredhotels.com/
Tropical island iPads
The iPad marches on...and swims, and relaxes by the pool. Dunk and Bedarra island resorts in Queensland Australia are now both offering iPads for guest use by the hour or the day, less they suffer withdrawals whilst holidaying in paradise. 3G enabled iPads are available for hire from $AUD12.50 an hour on Dunk Island Resort whilst ultra-luxie Bedarra Island Resort offers iPads for complimentary use. www.hideawayresorts.com.au/
A Parisian palace re-opens
Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris re-opened its doors yesterday. After a nearly two year makeover (although not yet beating the time it took the Savoy).This is the first Raffles hotel in Europe and designer Philippe Starck has completely transformed the interior of this old palace hotel into an newly elegant and sensual space. Very French. See the interiors here.
Congratulations are in order to some of our favourite places this week.
Forbes magazine has selected Bloomfield Lodge in far north Queensland as one of the world's top ten remote hotels. Bloomfield Lodge, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, lies at the most northern tip of the world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest where it meets the Great Barrier Reef. Our EIC says she loves the fact that you can only access the lodge via a 45 minute private charter flight from Cairns, landing at a grassy airstrip then crossing Weary Bay by boat to an isolated jetty - now that's a wilderness retreat. See our report coming soon. www.bloomfieldlodge.com.au , www.slh.com/
Far from Blue, pretty happy really
Blue in Sydney, a Taj hotel, has been named Top Hotel in Oceania in the annual Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards . General Manager of
Blue Sydney, Sanjay Umashankar, said of the Award: "It is a great honour to be recognized as the region's top hotel ...the team at Blue Sydney is thrilled to be voted Number 1 and is hugely grateful to our local and international guests for their appreciation". Meanwhile the team at
The Luxury Travel Bible show their appreciation for Blue's Water Bar by regular imbibing cocktails there... www.tajhotels.com/sydney
Singletons welcome on Silversea
We have always said Silverseais one of the best luxury cruise lines in the world. So of course they have the sense to acknowledge that the world isn't all couples and those who are single don't want to spend a fortune to get the very best. Hence, Silversea Cruises has reduced its single supplements on a range of 2011 voyages taking in destinations as varied as the Caribbean, the Orient, Australia, Alaska and the Pacific Coast, Europe, the Middle East and South America. Single travellers booking the luxie Vista, Veranda or Midship Veranda suites on a choice of 25 different voyages can now enjoy single fares starting from just 110 per cent of the double occupancy fare. Guests can also benefit from Shipboard Credits on selected voyages.www.silversea.com/
Flat beds in Asia
We're loving our first look at the sleek FULLY horizontal lines of the new Business Class seats on the SWISS Far East network. Zurich to Hong Kong is the first route to receive them.The seat has been installed in the Airbus 330s and is currently being rolled out across the A340 fleet, so the rest of Asia will get the upgrade by mid 2011 and then the entire long-haul fleet of SWISS will offer the new seat. Those 74 percent who voted
against getting rid of first class in our recent Luxe Pollwill be relieved to know that SWISS will also offer First Class on every long haul flight..
Global praise for luxury lodge
Congratulations to Tower Lodge in the Hunter Valley which has been named best "Global Luxury Lodge" award at the 2010 World Luxury Hotel Awards held at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Thailand over the weekend. A 1,000 hotels were nominated for the awards by participants from 53 countries and Tower Lodge was the only Relais & Châteaux property to receive an accolade during this year's competition, and is infact the only Australian luxury hotel ever to win since the awards commenced in 2006; although we have a few suggestions of other great luxury Aussie lodges if they'd only asked us. "To be announced as the best luxury lodge in the world is a wonderful honour for the entire team at Tower Estate," says Matt Cowley, CEO, Tower Estate. We'll be bringing you more on the12-room Tower Lodge shortly. www.towerestate.com/, www.relaischateaux.com/
The Savoy hotel is open
The Luxury Travel Bible loves its first look at London's newly £220million refurbished The Savoy which opened yesterday. The hotel welcomed its first guest, Stephen Fry at 10.10 am on 10.10.10 and he will also serve as the resident blogger. We are loving the mix of old school glamour and the stunning views of London. The interiors, designed by
TLTB favourite Pierre Yves Rochon, have been resorted to recreate the hotel's main design aestheticsof Edwardian and Art Deco. www.the-savoy.com
The latest Liz sets sail
The Queen will officially name Cunard's new Queen Elizabethcruise ship in Southampton today. The new ship is the third Cunard ship to be named Queen Elizabeth. The first was launched in 1938 by the then Queen Elizabeth - who later became the Queen Mother - with the present Queen, who was then 12, looked on. The Queen launched the second Queen Elizabeth, the QE2 in 1967. She also named the QM2 at Southampton in 2004. The new ship is almost identical to its sister, Queen Victoria, but is more than a third smaller than the QM2 . The new ship will leave on her maiden voyage to the Canary Islands tomorrow.
Glasnost and glitz
The new W St Petersburg is due to open in March 2011. Since Starwood are going to make hotel history with the first W in Eastern Europe we'll forgive them phrases like 'Russian revolution' and 'Tsars of style'. Plus who could resist a bar 'where mingling and cocktails are the new social glasnost'. The hotel is in a great position in the city's cultural centre surrounded by the Winter Palace, the Hermitage and the Mariinsky Theatre.
The Luxury Travel Bible we're always seeking exeptional travel experiences, so this one definitely caught our eye. The Leading Hotels of the World has launched a new series of 'Once in a Lifetime' travel collections starting this month. LHW say thesespecially tailored experiences, open only to those in the Asia-pacific region, will take 'discerning travellers ' (and that's our readers of course) to all corners of the globe, offering a unique opportunity to stay at some of the planet's most prestigious addresses and access some experiences that aren't readily available to the common traveller (and heaven forbid you're ever one of those). A different destination will be revealed by LHW at the beginning of each month and will be available to members of the LHW 'Leaders Club Asia-pacific on a first come, first served basis. First up, a stay at the sublime
Coco Chanel Suite at the Ritz Paris.
of the programme will also include a private tour of Mme Chanel's private apartments on Rue Cambon and the Chanel store on Place Vendôme. The offer is only open to five couples so book now.www.lhw.com/
Tall stories in Miami Calling all basketball players and lofty model types. The extra tall can now rejoice because Miami's epic hotel has special 'Tall Rooms' where vertically-gifted guests can now stretch out in style. The specialty rooms at downtown Miami's Epic Hotel feature extra-long beds and raised shower heads in the bathrooms, the windows have floor to head height views too but that is probably just a coincidence. Thanks to Sterling Travel inc, California for pointing this one out. www.epichotel.com Posted 6/10/10
Black marlin off luxury Lizard Island
The waters off luxurious Lizard Island resort are one of the few areas in the world where you have a chance of catching one of the real giants. Black marlin weighing a massive 1000lb plus have been caught and released off Lizard Island where they come to feed off the tuna and mackerel found in the tropical waters. Why are we telling you this? Because the 24th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic runs from October 16th- 23rd .26. Forty-six anglers from around the world have so far entered, you can too. Be there to bag a big one. www.lizardisland.com.au/
Suite soundtrack in Mallorca
Mallorca's trendy Puro Oasis Urbano will open a new wing in early 2011. The Private Wing will have ten rooms and one suite but
The Luxury Travel Bible is more excited about the Music Studio which is opening next March, since, as anyone who has partied at the hotel already knows, Puro is known for its sound track as much as its suites. For more muso details take a look at our Editor's Choice.
Chris Blackwell's GoldenEye re-opens on November 12 after an extensive refurbishment , 007 would be proud. The resort in Oracabessa, Jamaica where Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond novels has a new lease of life. There are two new restaurants, Le Bar Bizot (where martinis are no doubt shaken ,not stirred) and The Gazebo. The resort will almost double in size with eleven new one-and-two bedroom beach cottages, six -sexy and secluded- lagoon suites (which
The Luxury Travel Bible especially likes) and a seawater infinity pool. Island Outpost, Blackwell's innovative hotel company also owns The Caves Negril , Strawberry Hill and a number of villas dotted around the island. Any suite that has a picture of Ursula Andress in a bikini on the wall (according to artists renderings) has got to be OK with 99 per cent of the world's hetero population. www.islandoutpost.com
The Private Company
The Private Company, a leading supplier of privately owned luxury villas and houses in Bali (and Italy) - now provides exclusive access for Australian travellers wanting to stay at Bali's super luxurious Pantai Lima beachfront estate.
The Luxury Travel Bible readers seeking a dining experience to match their enviable island location can rest assured here. Among the staff of 70 employed to take care of your every need, is executive chef Sebastien Robuchon (nephew and former apprentice of the world famous culinary legend Joel Robuchon).
Pantai Lima, is just 25 minutes by car from Seminyak's shopping, restaurants and nightlife.
Each of the five villas in the complex has its own 100-metre private pool, a large private garden with direct beach access while all bathrooms feature Hermes amenities. Rates start from USD$1350 plus 15.5 per cent tax per night. www.privatevillasandhouses.com
More Bali bliss
Bali will have yet another luxury resort the new W Retreat & Spa in Bali opens its designer doors in Seminyak on December 15. The Luxury Travel Bible especially like the villas with private pools which will make up 79 of the 237 rooms. There will also be a fitness centre, spa, and outdoor pool, You can also wander down to the beach or play golf in a number of nearby locations. All the rooms promise 'oversized tubs,' (we like) rain showers, high-speed internet, and all the high tech toys such as iPod docking stations and flat screen LCD TVs. Also coming November 4 St Regis Bahia Beach Puerto Rico. www.starwoodhotels.com/
Into bed with Virgin
As we flagged in our Q&A with Sir Richard Branson earlier this month Virgin Hotels (as opposed to the limited edtiion retreats) are on their way. It is early days yet and at the moment Virgin is more interested in attracting property owners and investors - asking them if they 'fancy getting into bed with Virgin' - than guests. A 'do disturb 'sign comes after the countdown on the Virgin Hotels just-launched website and we know that first up Branson has his sights set on North American where he is looking for 150-400 room hotels in New York, Miami, LA, San francisco, Boston and Washinton DC. The hotels will be Virgin-ised with contemporary style and signature restaurants and Upper Class passengers should take a good look at the Virgin Clublounges next time they are passing through because that is where the interior design inspiration is coming from. The hotels will be more four than five star but Virgin's target audience is the ' high income, well-educated ,creative class' who is 'comfortable with technology and craves customisation and efficiency'. Sounds like the typical
The Luxury Travel Bible reader to us. Virgin Hotels are looking to acquire up to $US500 million in properties over the next three years so watch this space.www.virginhotels.com/
Hudson hotel shoots from the hip
If it is one of those occasions when you are checking into a hotel without even hand luggage (we don't judge here...), Hudson hotel's (Morgans Hotel Group) new kind of 24hr hotel gift shop
is for you.
The Luxury Travel Bible loves Semi-Automatic, Hudson's giant vending machine stocked with all things luxie. The prototype debuted last year at Morgan's Mondrian South Beach. With the right notes you can buy a Paul Smith toothbrush , a black sequin mini-skirt by Haute Hippie, 24k gold handcuffs, a personal portrait shoot with photographer Ben Watts (brother of Naomi). and an original T-shirt created exclusively for Hudson by artist Chrissie Miller of Sophomore among other things. In short everything
the hip hotel traveller caught on the hop should need.
Oh, and if you want to re-explore your teenage angst there is also a paperback version of Catcher in the Rye. www.morganshotelgroup.com
For the Junior Luxies....
The Benjamin Hotel, New York is catering for all the
Junior Luxies with the launch of its "Winks' Kidzzz Club" junior sleep program. The hotel (known for having America's first and only Sleep Concierge) will provide families with amenities to help children overcome the excited and sometimes unease of travelling and sleeping in a new environment. Available to junior guests aged two to twelve the program includes kid-sized robes available for use at the hotel, use of an iPod pillow programmed with lullabies and audio bedtime stories, use of hotel library of family favourite bedtime books and an official "Winks' Kidzzz Club" Sleep Certificate awarded upon check-out. Accompanying this launch the hotel is offering the "Good Night, Sleep Tight" package which includes the "Winks' Kidzzz Club" as well as four tickets to Central Park Zoo and kids' turn down of milk and cookies. If after all that they are still struggling to nod off Sleep Concierge Anya Orlanska is on hand to offer tips and other sleep enhancements. www.thebenjamin.com/
Etihad Airways wins for in-flight entertainment
Etihad Airways has been awarded the 2010 Avion Award for "Best single achievement in in-flight entertainment" for its E-BOX system. The system, which is available in both English and Arabic, was first introduced to the fleet in August 2009. Not only does it allow passengers to view the entertainment on offer but also receive live text news, communicate seat-to-seat via email and SMS and view personal photos and videos via USB ports installed in all seats. Passengers in First Class and Business can order from the breakfast menu from the E-BOX. First Class passengers also have the option of ordering from the dinner menu from the system. www.etihadairways.com/
The Beach House
Following recent renovations, General Hotels Management (GHM) will reopen the private beach house at The Legian on Seminyak Beach, Bali ias a three-bedroom retreat. Designed and styled by Jaya Ibrahim 'The Beach House' overlooks the breath taking views of the Indian Ocean and the stunning beach, and it has been designed to capitalise on the Balinese sunsets. Guests will be provided with 24-hour personal butlers and use of a private chauffeur driven car within the area plus the option of a private chef.
Restaurant Colette opens
This week looks like it is turning into a big week for restaurant news. Restaurant Colette at Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez is now open. Headed by chef Pierre Gagnaire, winner or three Michelin stars, the restaurant's is named inspired by French writer Sidonie Gabrielle Colette who settled in Saint-Tropez in 1925 (maybe
TLTB will have to do a Top Ten Bestseller Restaurants next). Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez has partnered with Dom Pérignon to create a champagne bar next to the restaurant - perfect for a sophisticated signature champagne cocktail in the French Riviera.
Wolgan Valley award
Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has been named Hotel of the Year Award at the 2010 Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards for Excellence. Emirates' first hospitality development outside Dubai, the A$125 million luxury wilderness resort is between two of Australia's most prominent national parks, bordering the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. IT Occupies just two per cent of a 4,000-acre conservancy reserve, so what you get is isolation, commitment to conservation and five star service. Yes, all up
TLTB thinks the accolade is well deserved. www.wolganvalley.com Posted 15/9/10
Sydney's Restaurant of the Year
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney's Altitude Restaurant has been awarded Restaurant of the Year and its chef de cuisine Steven Krasicki was named Chef of the Year at the Australian Hotels Associations National Awards of Excellence. Altitude Restaurant's award cabinet will soon be straining under the weight of the accolades it has received. This latest award comes weeks after it received One Hat at The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards 2011. The restaurant was praised for its dishes, cheese and wine list and superior service.
TLTB agrees! www.shangri-la.com/
Outstanding chef award
Ben Batterbury, Executive Chef at the True South Dining Room at The Rees Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand took out the award for Outstanding Chef at last night's inaugural Southern Lakes Hospitality Awards. Having eaten Ben's food
The Luxury Travel Bible thinks the award is well-deserved. Those heading NZ way might like to know that other finalists included Peter Gawron, Saffron Restaurant; Martin James, Wai Waterfront Restaurant; Mark Sage, Gibbston Valley Winery; Michael Mohr, Botswana Butchery.
The ultimate private luxury
Split Apple Hideaway a new exclusive-use private residence on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand is due to open its designer-doors to guests from November 2010. The Luxury Travel Bible has been invited for a sneak preview; Bond Villain lair meets extraordinary natural beauty - a killer combination. We'll bring you a full report in our October E-journal. To view this month's issue click here. Posted 10/9/10
LAN announces new routes to South America
The recent announcement of LAN's three new South American routes will no doubt please
The Luxury Travel Bible readers keen to make progress on their 'must-see' travel bucket lists. Hot on the radar from September 16 is the Galapagos Islands. LAN Ecuador will fly daily to the islands (whose endemic wildlife inspired Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution) from Quito. LAN Peru (subject to regulatory approvals) will introduce four weekly flights between Lima and Iguazu Falls - a UNESCO protected natural wonder - from January next year, the same time LAN's flights to the mysterious Easter Island from Lima will take off. Oneworld member LAN flies from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland. www.lan.com
Those looking for somewhere to rest their discerning heads will find comfort on a cruise aboard the Galapagos Explorer II or Eclipse (www.peregrineadventures.com ; www.abercrombiekent.com.au).
Enjoy a refreshing spritz at the Hotel das Cataratas which sits at the foot of the 275 interconnected Iguazu Falls (on the Brazil side) while Easter Island's Posada de Mike Rapu hotel has to be seen to be believed. Posted 9/9/10
Hotel Fort Canning opens October 2010
Fort Canning Park is part of Singapore's heritage now the historical area gets a new lease of life with the opening of Hotel Fort Canning (Hfc) in October 2010. Once used as a base for the British Far East Command during World War II, the property has been sensitively restored by award-winning Singapore architectural company, DP Architects. The 86-room boutique hotel maintains a sense of the old style colonial glamour and the architects have kept many original features including its a multi-columned façade. best of all the hotel is only a short stroll from orchard Road.
The Luxury Travel Bible like the THANN Sanctuary spa at Hfc, the brand's first venture outside of its homeland, Bangkok. The 'Battle Box' World War II bunker where General Percival surrendered Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 is being offered as a 'unique function space' - we always knew the party scene could get rough. The hotel's special opening rates starts from SGD 275 for a deluxe room, valid till the end of 2010.www.hfcsingapore.com/
The Big Screen sails on...
The whole world wants bigger screens. Last month we noted that P&O Cruises had installed a mega-screen on its latest ship Pacific Pearl , which debuts in December. It seems The Luxury Travel Bible weren't the only ones who like the idea because due to what it claims is customer demand P&O now intends to install a giant entertainment screen on its Sydney-based superliner Pacific Jewel this November.
Stretching four metres tall and seven metres wide, the Big Screen will be positioned above Pacific Jewel's pool deck to entertain the ship's 1950 passengers. What happened to just reading a paperback poolside?
Collect a first edition
Waikiki Edition, the first hotel from the brand created by Bill Marriott (Marriott Hotels) and hotel design guru Ian Schrager ,who brought us hotels such as Sanderson , now looks set for an early October opening. We've had no sneak peeks as yet but The Luxury Travel Bible likes the sound of a lobby bar hidden behind a secret passage and a night spot called Crazybox. We also like the free Wi-Fi promised and the specially programmed iPods (with suitably cool sounds no doubt). The hotel-must-have- of-the-moment, iPads, will also be available for guests. Next up after Wakiki is Mexico City then Barcelona, Istanbul and Bangkok, additions to Edition you might say. We'll keep you in the loop. Posted 8/9/10
Peppers goes Gold Coast
Popular for its portfolio of boutique luxury digs in the country or beachside Peppers will break from tradition in search of a little more glitz and glamour to go metro. From November 6 fans of Peppers' Retreats, Resorts & Hotels, will be able to stay in five-star style at Broadbeach on Queensland's Gold Coast. Although not fully operational until March 2011, when the on-site food and beverage outlets and room service will be available, the 505-room property (Peppers' largest) will provide one of the most technologically advanced guest experiences in Australia offering curbside check-in and ipads for guest use.
The Luxury Travel Bible likes quirky touches such as retro scooters to explore the Gold Coast or custom-made surf boards to ride the nearby waves. Among its list of other designer features are Zen gardens, tai chi lawns, and private cinemas. The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will feature a pillow menu, gourmet mini bar and a pre-order gourmet pantry delivery service. www.peppers.com.au/ Posted 7/9/10
The Pullman Dubai opens tomorrow (September 7). As with all hotel openings these days there have been a few false starts..July, August.. but now Dubai's latest luxe offering is here and designer shopaholics of the world will rejoice as the 481 room, 94 suite hotel is directly connected to the Mall of Emirates. While this isn't Accor Hotels' top band branding ( which is of course, Sofitel) it is in a great location.www.malloftheemirates.com/
The latest ship to reign
If a ship bears your name, you might as well be the one who officially christens it. Cunard Line has announced that Her Majesty The Queen will name the company's new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name, at a ceremony in Southampton on Monday 11 October 2010. The Queen launched Cunard's
Queen Elizabeth 2
in 1967 and named the current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. The first time the Queen saw the champagne flow against a ship's hull she was just 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth in September 1938.
Four seasons in the snow Keen skiers (and that's us at The Luxury Travel Bible) will be glad to know that the new Four Seasons Vail is now scheduled to be open by December. Snow-a-holics should book into one of the 121 rooms right now. The hotel has private residences and an exclusive members club. There is also a ski concierge (natch) and a spa which offers special 'high altitude' treatments to sooth those black run bruises. Look out for our Northern Hemisphere luxury-on-snow special coming next month... www.fourseasons.com
There is something romantic about being married at sea. So the launch of P&O Cruises new Ceremonies at Sea program for passengers wanting to tie the knot onboard ship appeals to TLTB. A first for the cruise line, the program offers wedding services, commitment ceremonies and vow renewals on all four P&O Cruises' ships, with P&O Cruises handling everything including those stress-inducing things such as photographers and flowers, with private post-wedding dinners held in the ships' fine dining restaurants. www.pocruises.com.au/
Matakauri Lodge, NZ - now open
The Luxury Travel Bible has been awaiting this one with baited breath for a while now. So we're thrilled to report that the re-styled Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand has just opened its stylish doors. Interior-designed by Virginia Fisher (who also designed Huka Lodge and Grand Provence in SA). Matakauri was acquired last year by US billionaire Julian Robertson who also owns the sublime Kauri Cliffs in Northland and the much-awarded Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay both renowned for their golf courses and their luxurious accommodation. Always keen to book in to new slices of luxury as soon as possible
TLTB is primed to bring you an in-depth report in the next week or so. We'll be heading to Kauri Cliffs too -so watch this space. www.matakauri.co.nz/
Côte D'Azur private pools
For a century, the iconic Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat on the French Côte D'Azur has provided a legendary retreat for tycoons, aristocrats, film stars, politicians, artists and writers. Now the grand dame has been updated with eight new deluxe pool suites in a new waterfront extension designed by architect Luc Svetchine the interior design by Pierre-Yves Rochon (who is always good at 'grand') is sleek and all white, featuring paintings by the famous contemporary artist Elisabeth Stein, reproductions of artwork by Matisse and custom designed white marble furniture. The private pools look over the Mediterranean. We like. www.lhw.com
Exhibition curated by Kit Kemp
Anyone in London this weekend should go along to the Gallery of Contemporary Applied Arts newly-opened exhibition curated by Kit Kemp , Design Director and co-owner of Firmdale Hotels (one of The Luxury Travel Bible's favourite hotel groups) to coincide with the London Design Festival. Anyone who as stayed in any of her hotels, such as Crosby Street NY , The Soho or Charlotte Street London knows Kemp has an enviable eye for interior design. She used her considerable talents to transform the gallery into a Bloomsbury Group inspired drawing room. For the exhibition she has also commissioned one-off work from dozens of top British craftspeople working in the UK today. The exhibition runs from today until 2 October 2010. www.firmdalehotels.com/ , www.caa.org.uk/ Posted 27/8/10
Virgin and Etihad Airways Partnership
Virgin Blue and Etihad Airways announced a partnership today that will
enable Virgin Blue's international arm, V Australia, to launch direct services to Abu Dhabi in 2011. The two airlines will also offer a joint network of more than 100 destinations from October 1, 2010. To mark the partnership Etihad has launched an Australia to Europe and the Middle East fare, inclusive of taxes and charges, from AU$1834 and a variety of other fares including London to Ayers Rock from £947 .Etihad is also launching the Australia Skypass that allows inbound tourists to fly all over Australia and New Zealand on up to six domestic/Tasman sectors from USD$55 per sector.
www.vaustralia.com.au/ , www.etihadairways.com/
Japan's new luxury ski resort
The Luxury Travel Bible readers contemplating sking Niseko, Japan this season simply must book into YTL hotel group's newly renovated Green Leaf Niseko Village, slated for completion in time for the ski season in December 2010, The 200-room Green Leaf Niseko Village, a is billed as a 'YTL Lifestyle Resort'. The multi-billion yen renovation has been masterminded by Alexandra Champalimand and her team at Champalimaud Design (which also had a hand in redesigning suites at The Carlyle, New York and worked on both London's Berkeley and Dorchester hotels). The ski-in, ski-out Green Leaf is the first of YTL's grand redevelopment plan for Niseko Village. www.ytl.com.my/
Solio opens its doors
The Safari Collection'
s newest property Solio has just opened its doors in a dramatic location nestled in the valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains, Solio Lodge is located on the Solio Game Reserve, established in the early 1970s The Reserve is recognised as the most successful private rhino breeding reserve in Kenya and is home to over 74 Black Rhinoceros and 155 White Rhinoceros. The Safari Collection'
s properties are Giraffe Manor, Sasaab and Sala'
s Camp. See more on Solio here.
The latest of the world's luxury hotels to let us know it has embraced the joys of the 'pad is the iconic Ellerman House in Cape Town, South Africa. The luxury hotel will introduce Apple iPads to each of its eleven rooms and private villa over the coming months. It is currently the only hotel in South Africa to offer iPads for guests' use. Visitors will get uninterrupted internet access as well as he chance to read their favorite books and magazines online, up to date information on Cape Town's latest restaurant openings and events and plus 'real time ' (love that buzz-word) hotel updates such as interactive room tours and virtual tours of the hotel's renowned art collection . Plus music compilations, especially tailored to your particular preferences. www.ellerman.co.za/
Race week - sails in the sun
Today marks the start of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Australia's largest offshore keelboat regatta, which runs from 20th - 28th August 2010. More that 200 boats will race from the start-line of the new Hamilton Island Yacht Club. Those in the know stay at the new yacht club villas (or better still buy one) or at Qualia (another The Luxury Travel Bible favourite) More on both of those shortly. www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au/ , www.hamiltonislandyachtclub.com.au/ , www.qualia.com.au/
Glamour comes to Sheraton on the Park
The Luxury Travel Bible joined Sydney's movers and shakers to toast the official opening of Sheraton on the Park's new Conservatory Bar and Terrace. The stylish new bar is part of the $AU250,000 refurbishment of the original bar area. The terrace has stunning views over Hyde Park and a suitably impressive selection of cocktails and a tapas menu if you really must eat too. See Luxury Loves for the photographs. www.starwoodhotels.com/
BA go mobile
This month British Airways will roll out mobile boarding passes sent direct to your iPhone or Blackberry on all its domestic routes. They trialed this on the London-Edinburgh route back in March and are now going national. Some would say a little late. Qantas has had mobile boarding passes on its domestic routes since April as have most of the US airlines. Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS & Virigin Blue also have mobile boarding passes.
The Luxury Travel Bible is still waiting at the terminal for international mobile boarding passes - now, that would make the life of your average global jetsetter SO easy. http://www.ba.com/, http://www.qantas.com/
Taipei is a late Christmas present
The first W hotel in Taiwan is due to open in Taipei on December 28. We're looking forward to the rooftop pool and bar atop the tall tower and the Extreme Wow Suite. It seems to be Taipei month (see earlier news item on Preferred Hotels & Resorts 5/8/10)
The newest in the Art Series Hotels, inspired by iconic Australian artists opens in Melbourne today. The hotel is a homage to the dream -like work of Charles Blackman (b.1928). it joins sister hotels The Cullen and The Olsen to create a trifecta of boutique art hotels in some of the city's coolest locations. T
he Luxury Travel Bible takes a first look. Click here.
As we said, we don't make a habit of working on the weekends but it is worth noting that the historic heritage Palace Wing of Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai reopens today - Sunday - which is also India's Independence Day. the wing was damaged in a terrorist attack in 2008. It is good to see the 1903 Taj flagship property back in all its glory.
Australian island resorts Lizard, Heron and Wilson Islands, and wildeness properties El Questro Wilderness Park and Homestead and Kings Canyon Resort are to get a $AUD20 million facelift from owners Delaware North Parks & Resorts.
Interior design firm Pike Withers has been engaged to creature designs which 'reflect the beauty of each [properties natural surroundings'. First out of the beauty salon are Lizard and Heron islands where a soft refurbishment should be finished within three months.
St Regis Bahia Beach Puerto Rico is set to open on November 4 and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc are billing the hotel as the first new five star Puerto Rico has seen for a while. The 139 rooms are set in a coconut plantation on the edge of the sea. The Caribbean hideaway will feature the signature St Regis butler service and, we are told, 'pleasure is a daily mantra'. We like. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/
Virgins get into bed together
Today Sir Richard Branson ventured into virgin territory and announced that his clutch of Virgin airlines - Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin America, V Australia and Virgin Blue are teaming up to offer each airline's loyalty program members the opportunity to earn miles or points when taking flights on their sister-branded airlines.
The Luxury Travel Bible loves Virgin's international Upper Class, especially the duvets and those natty pyjamas so we'll definitely be earning points. Branson's airlines successfully combine first and business class, to see votes on the fate of first class in the sky
We hear the new Bar Boulud, Michelin-starred Daniel Boulud's restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London is constantly packed. The legendary Heston Blumenthal (of Fat Duck fame) is also due to open a new restaurant at the hotel in October (roast beef ice cream anyone?). What a double whammy.
The Luxury Travel Bible would like to bet this will make Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park the hottest restaurant hotel in town. Book a table now.
August is a busy month for Shangri-La Hotels and resorts, their new hotel Traders Hong Kong opened August 1 (
The Luxury Travel Bible loves the views from the Skybar at Traders Kuala Lumpur so we can't wait to visit HK) and when it opens on August 16 the China World Summit Wing will be the tallest hotel in Beijing situated on the upper floors of the city's newest landmark, the 330-metre tall China World Tower, which soars 81 floors above the China World Trade Centre complex.
Charity begins at home (and away)
William Barron Hilton of Hilton Hotels Corporation and Diane von Furstenberg, designer of Claridges new suites are amongst the billionaires who have pledged 50 per cent of their income to charity. In a pledge brokered by Microsoft's Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, well-known figures will together donate around $433 billion to charity, the largest charitable donation ever. While you may not have billions, we know
TLTB readers are generous spirited with a little to spare so
The Luxury Travel Bible is starting a Philanthropy section where we highlight charities connected in some way with travel which you might care to consider supporting. Watch this space for more coming shortly. Posted 9/8/10
Australia's favourite rock is tamed
Australia's favourite pet rock is a little bit easier to access. Visitors from Los Angeles travelling on V Australia to Sydney or from London flying Virgin Atlantic can now continue on to Ayers Rock Airport (Uluru) with Virgin Blue's new daily direct flights from the harbour city, launched this week. Those who are lucky enough to live in Sydney have no excuse, book your flights now! Once there
The Luxury Travel Bible loves the tented luxury of Longitude 131. We think there is nothing quite like the Australian wilderness.
Taipei, take two
Preferred Hotels & Resorts, a brand of Preferred Hotel Group has announced its second member in Taipei, The Landis Taipei Hotel. The Art deco-design hotel has recently been refurbished and all the 209 guestrooms now boast what the hotel calls 'cutting-edge technology', including complimentary Internet access.
Our Editor in Chief is just back from Singapore, apart from the new Marina Bay Sands (recently reviewed by our Sing. correspondent) she thinks one of the coolest hotels in Singapore is still Naumi from the Small Luxury Hotels portfolio. Hippest touch - complimentary hotel-branded condoms by the bed, beats chocolates on the pillow any day. A full report on Naumi follows shortly. www.naumihotel.com, http://www.slh.com
The Nolitan says a Yes to opening
We've passed through the promises of opening in May, then its soon, soon, soon....but, lo, The Nolitan Hotel in New York's Nolita is now taking web bookings from November 1. Well, all right, the first week is already booked up, but you can't imagine the tiny thrill
The Luxury Travel Bible gets in updating our list of NYC's luxe hotel openings.And watch for the August 16 openings of W Downtown and Gansevoort Park Avenue which will feature a rooftop bar and pool - oh happy summer nights!http://nolitanhotel.com/
(things will be great)
Denver is getting a touch of luxury from later on in the year. The Four Seasons Hotel Denver is now confirming reservations from November 13, 2010. Set in the heart of downtown the hotel will be a landmark at 14th and Arapahoe. This new hotel has a lot to offer guests with its chic design, views of the Rocky Mountains, a downtown location in the heart of local sports, theatre, nightlife and shopping and a stylish rooftop pool terrace. With the service and style you have come to expect from Four Seasons hotels this is one to watch. www.fourseasons.com/
Waldorf=Astoria gets Shangai-ed
The Luxury Travel Bible knows it's been one of those long hotel opening waits ("patience" we chant) but Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on The Bund is now accepting reservations for September 15, 2010 and beyond. Here, the original neo-classical 1911 building that housed the former Shanghai Club has been married with a new tower to bring you, of course, even more views. And rooms - 269, in total, all with walk-in closets (love!). Archival photographs and historic records have helped to recreate the best bits of the original club building - including the 110 feet (33.5 metres) 'Long Bar' - which will house 20 luxurious suites. While the gilt and cream elegance of W=A NYChas also been transported here,
TLTB is unabashedly wistful about the additions of old Shanghai touches such as the sheer curtains that float around canopied beds.
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has been named the Best Spa in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards. Voted for by readers of US Travel and Leisure magazine The Spa was commended just two months after it was named Health Club and Spa facilities of the year at the Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Awards for Excellence. The Spa is known for offering an intimate escape from the busy location in The Rocks that the hotel occupies in Sydney. www.fourseasons.com/sydney
Pharaohs, Pyramids and Kempinski
The land of the Pharaohs and Pyramids has another star attraction with the opening of the Kempinski Nile Hotel this month. Set in the heart of the ancient capital in the Garden City district with views of the river Nile this hotel features 137 rooms and 54 suites have private balconies that overlook the Nile. The hotel offers four restaurants and four bars including The Blue Restaurant and Grill which has no pre-defined menu and all dished are made to order. Pierre
Rochonhas designed the hotel which merges modern technology, high-end spa and dining facilities while paying homage to the style and history of ancient Egypt. www.kempinski.com/cairo
Wine and Design in Mornington Peninsula
Port Phillip Estate winery on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula has been playing host to wine lovers with their Cellar Door & Tasting Room, Restaurant & Deck and Winery and from September, with the opening of six new luxury apartments, these wine-tasting excursions can go on all weekend. All of the apartments feature large bedrooms, living areas, spacious ensuites and stunning views across the vineyard to the bay. The outdoor terraces are perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine after a tiring day of tasting and enjoying the Peninsula.
The Luxury Travel Bible loves the individual contemporary design of each of the apartments.www.portphillipestate.com.au/
Spa with a view
Following its May 2009 opening, Bowood Country House Hotel in Wiltshire, South England, has added to its luxe with a new Tower Spa Suite. Bowood is stately, in the way that it looks like this news should have arrived by messenger on trusted steed instead of Internet, and this new spa suite will gives guests the best vantage point in the hotel with views through large oval windows out across Capability Brown's 2000 acres (809 hectares) Great Park. Decorated in soft greys, blues and silver with a dash of lime by Lady Landsdowne, whose family history at Bowood traces back to 1754, this double treatment room beckons guests (and Spa visitors) to couple up and surrender to an expanded selection of 14 Elemis treatments in Day and Half-Day Spa Packages. Wethinks not too hard to do at all. www.bowood.org/
Suite sleeping by the dock in Newport Harbour
Beautifully combining two great pleasures, Forty 1 Degrees North Hotel and Marina Resort is now open in downtown Newport, Rhode Island - yacht-lovers give praise! While The Luxury Travel Bible doesn't pretend to know what makes a great marina, we do know an elegant room when we see one. Here at Forty 1 Degrees North there are 28 accommodations that vary between guestrooms, suites, cottages and lofts decorated with a sophisticated palette of cool greys, neutrals and metallics. The Cape Cod-style exterior lends itself well to the hotel's eco-conscious design with plenty of French doors, sliding doors and windows for guests to open (turn off that air-con!). And we love, for entirely different reasons, the two-person soaking tub in each room and suite. Oh, and Forty 1 Degrees is another one for the top iPad hotels list. As one of its eco initiatives, each room is equipped with an iPad loaded like an automated concierge along with a selection of daily newspapers. http://www.41north.com/
On The Waterfront - Singapore
Singapore has just gotten its first bayfront hotel. Opening this July, the 100- room Fullerton Bay Hotel by Preferred Hotels and Resorts elegantly squats on Clifford Pier occupying the position of the hisoric Customs House in the heart of the business and cultural district. While public areas draw on a mix of vintage nautical and modern design, the six suites will all reflect a different aspect of Singapore's multi-cultural influences including Chinese, Malay, Indian and Colonial. An 800 bottle-stocked Fine Wine Library promises to occupy our most beloved wine bores, however
The Luxury Travel Bible is busy working out the quickest route to the Lantern bar, set on the rooftop with an 82 feet/25 metres pool and an uninterrupted view. Yes, hotel rooftops, we salute you. Singapore Sling at sunset anyone? http://www.fullertonbayhotel.com/
We all scream for Ice Cream
On July 15 Kimpton Hotels will be hosting a national Ice Cream Social in aid of 'Dress for Success' - an organization devoted to helping women re-enter the workforce. Each of the Kimpton restaurants will feature a signature ice cream developed by Kimpton chefs who have drawn on their own experiences as well as the hotel's environment to create a one-of-a-kind desert experience. Between 5-7pm, Kimpton Hotels guests and locals will be able to enjoy ice cream with all proceeds benefitting the charity. The social is forming part of the month-long celebration, 'Scoop for Success', with $1 from ice cream desserts being donated to 'Dress for Success'. The Luxury Travel Bible likes the sound of Pennsylvania sweet corn ice cream with elephant heart plum and ginger gelato which is available exclusively at Square 1682. adjacent to Hotel Palomar (Philadelphia, PA). http://www.kimptonhotels.com/
Skye high praise
A tiny restaurant on an isolated Scottish island has been chosen as one of the best restaurants in the world. New York Times restaurant critic and Pulitzer prize winning food writer Frank Bruni chose The Three Chimneys restaurant at Colbost on the Isle of Skye as one of his personal favourite dining experiences in an article that appears on www.epicurious.com/he says say dining here is 'An enchanting experience through and through. Some diners come by helicopter from Edinburgh or Glasgow: that's how big a deal this restaurant is in Scotland'. So if you are ever in the area; www.threechimneys.co.uk
Treehotel set for designer sleek opening
For more than a year, the design world has been ever so excited about Treehotel in Harads - now it is almost here. On July 17, this new eco-concept hotel set in the far north of Sweden, 37 miles (60 kilometres) south of the Arctic Circle, will open four individual tree-set rooms which are each the inspired vision of different architects and designers. Set amid pine trees you can choose between the extraordinary nature-reflecting Mirrorcube, the Nest (made like a bird's - stunning), the Blue Cone and the Cabin. For anyone who ever coveted their neighbour's tree house as a child, this stay promises to max up the volume on style, joy and up-close nature, even if it is a little quieter on the uber-luxe front. Hovering around 13 to 20 feet (four to six metres) above the ground, the interiors are more clever modern sleek, with bedroom, living area and toilet unfolding in spaces ranging between 160 to 333 square feet (15 to 30 square metres). There will also be a tree-height breakfast and conference room as well as the first tree sauna. Four more rooms, including a UFO-shaped pod, are set for an October opening, with the total vision set for 24 rooms. As stylishly quirky as ice hotels, Treehotel offers year-round stays. There are moose, reindeer and occasional bear as neighbours but you'll be up there with the birds. http://treehotel.se/
Doha is the place to watch
Doha in Qatar is the place to watch in the Middle East. Luxury hotels are going up faster than you can say 'five star'. Shangri-La Doha, with its prong like towers and high-in-the-sky helipadis due to open in in 2011. Now the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has also announced it plans to open a new luxury hotel and apartments in Doha in 2014. The hotel will feature 160 guestrooms and suites, and 95 fully serviced apartments. Spa lovers will be glad to know there will also be the signature branded the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, a pool and fitness centre. All good timing for the new Doha International Airport, due to open in 2011. http://www.shangrila.com/, http://www.mandarinoriental.com/Posted 8/7/10
Banyan Branches Out
This month sees the opening of the latest offering from Banyan Tree Resorts and Hotels Banyan Tree Samui, on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. The resort will have 78 luxurious villas each with a private pool, set on the hills above Lamai beach. Most impressive of all is the hydrotherapy spa, The Rainforest, the first of its kind on the island. Two cliff-hugging restaurants, The Edge and Saffron, offer contemporary Asian and international cuisine with what banyan call ' a view to sigh for'.
The Luxury Travel Bible especially likes the three extra luxie private dining rooms at Saffron each for exclusive groups of 10. www.banyantree.com
To the Manor Born
Coworth Park, the latest luxury offering from Dorchester Collection is set to open in September. The Georgian manor house estate and spa is set in 240 acres of Royal Berkshire parkland near Ascot. There will be 70 rooms and suites in total (30 in the main house and 40 in the converted stable block and cottages) and two restaurants overseen by renowned Chef John Campbell. It will be the only hotel in the UK to have its own polo fields and stabling for 40 horses. http://www.dorchestercollection.com/
Marrakech's new blend of tradition and contemporary design
Royal Mansour Marrakech recently opened and is already winning fans for celebrating the history and traditions of Marrakech. Set within the walls of the old city and built on 3.5 hectares (8.7 acres) designers worked to authentically represent the look and feel of Morocco. Each of the 53 individually designed riads is set over three floors with the rooms arranged around a central courtyard and feature a living room, bar and outdoor patio. Traditional style has been fused with high-tech gadgets including roof sensors that close automatically at a drop of rain. To ensure privacy and discretion each of the riads has a series of underground tunnels that are accessible only by staff. With service like that we may need to rethink our Top Ten Moroccan Riads.
Karma Resorts are adding another string to their bow as they move into the wine industry. They have announced the launch of their own wine label 'Karma Splash' and the first wine will be an organic Rosé. To support this new venture Karma has appointed sommelier Karim Bendrandame who will be based in Karma Kandara. Bendrandame says, "I think it's a good idea to have our own Clabel. Rose is good choice. Karma Splash Rosé is a fresh, fruity and dynamic wine, which will perfectly match the atmosphere of the resort, as well as the food we serve". If the Rosé is half as good as the resorts
The Luxury Travel Bible is very much looking forward to trying a drop when we are next visiting. http://www.karmaresorts.com/
Sezz it All
The Euro-elite are busy pre-booking themselves into one of the 37 rooms at the new Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez in order to be there when it first opens in mid-July. Visionary hotelier Shahé Kalaidjian (Hotel Sezz Paris) has joined forces with designer Christophe Pillet (who coincidentally recently designed a chair called 'Saint Tropez'), architect Jean-Jacques Ory and landscape designer Christophe Ponceau to bring us a contemporary take on a Provençal village (think traditional stone combined with walls of glass). This was one of the year's openings that Design Hotels founder Claus Sendlinger was most excited about when we interviewed him recently - and frankly so are we. www.designhotels.com , www.hotelsezz.com
Simple as ABC
Pavillon de la Reine on Place de Vosges in the Marais district in Paris is a favourite
The Luxury Travel Bible find, the boutique hotel in a 17th century ivy-covered building is like a private home and we love the wallpaper here almost as much as we do the Hotel Daniel's (not that we're obsessed or anything). Now owner Jerome Chevalier is set to open another hotel, Pavillon des Lettres, in the 8th Arrrondissement in September. Each of the rooms will be identified as a different letter of the alphabet, so there are 26, right. Maybe we should also add this to our Top ten iPad Hotels since each room will have its own iPad too. http://www.pavillon-de-la-reine.com/
UPDATED Champagne and Ice
We love champagne on ice, in the ice ...and the snow
so The Luxury Travel Bible just has to mention The Denman Hotel & Spa's ultimate skiing indulgence, a series of Veuve Clicquot après ski picnics in the snow on the slopes of Thredbo, in Australia's Snowy Mountains. The picnics are part of the inaugural Clicquot in the Snow held in Thredbo from 22 - 25 July.
The Luxury Travel Bible also stayed at Lake Crackenback Resort last week, so we'll be bringing bring you the full Perisher, Snowy Mountains ski report shortly
As we've said before
The Luxury Travel Bible loves the thought that somewhere someone in the world is always skiing. The Chile ski season officially launched this weekend with the opening of Portillo and Chillán. El Colorado has been open since June 3. La Parva, Farellones and Valle Nevado opened on June 19. Villarrica follows soon. We'll be bringing you a Southern Hemisphere Ski Report (Including Chile, NZ & Australia) in our July issue.
The latest designer turning up the heat at historic Claridge's Mayfair is Diane von Furstenberg who unveiled her fashion suites this week to a crowd that included Christian Louboutin, Tom Ford, Natalia Vodianova, Valentino and Madonna. Still very fond of being greeted as 'Highness' as she walks through the Art Deco doors, von Furstenberg has been a guest here since the 70s. "Like many of you I have had affairs in Claridge's, business meetings in Claridge's and many memorable moments here," she said. "If walls could talk these rooms could write books and books and books." While these walls might still be chattering about Kate Moss' reportedly infamous 30th birthday orgy...oops, party....
The Luxury Travel Bible senses DVF's intent on creating rooms that are sensual as well as stylish as she signed off with, "Let's not stop having affairs." We are sure the suites will inspire us all.
Last night our Singapore correspondent attended the grand gala party for the opening of the futuristic Marina Bay Sands which is also home to the amazing Sands SkyPark (opening to the public today
. He reports everyone who was anyone in Singaporean high society was there - including a tuxed-up
The Luxury Travel Bible, naturally. We'll be bringing you a full review of the new Marina Bay Sands Hotel very shortly. http://www.marinabaysands.com/
Bizarrely, children the world over seem to have taken to the
Masterchef TV show with a vengeance. So for all those aspiring mini-chefs out there
The Luxury Travel Bible just has to mention one of our favourite hotel programs for junior luxies, The Peninsula New York's 'Kids in the Kitchen' class that includes a tour of the pastry kitchen and the chance to watch the pastry chef in action. We've road-tasted (sic) a few other luxury hotels kids cooking courses too, so watch this space for more soon. Chocolate crackle anyone? www.peninsula.com
The Savoy Hotel Sets a Date
It has been a
lonnnng time coming with so many potential opening dates we've lost count - July, August ,September . Finally, two and a half years and 100 million pounds later The Savoy, one of London's most famous luxury Hotels has set a re-opening date and with a certain amount of Savoy style it has to be said. Hoping the world will give it a 10 out of 10 for its shiny new look created by
Pierre -Yves Rochon, the hotel (now under Fairmont's mighty wing) will open on 10.10.10. Yes, October 10 is the day we'll all get to see the new Royal Suite, the new River Suites, The Savoy Grill (masterminded by Gordon Ramsey Holdings) and much, much more. If you want to be ahead of the crowd (and what
The Luxury Travel Bible reader doesn't) put another ten in your diary August 10 ,2010 - that's the day The Savoy starts taking forward bookings. We wish GM Kiaran MacDonald and his team all the best in the lead up to the auspicious day www.the-savoy.com
Zen and the Art of Beauty
Fumi Yamamoto is renowned for her Zen facials, described by some as "better than a face lift" and certainly more relaxing. Now Fumi is heading to Karma Kandara in Bali to lead a three day holistic workshop. In
The Luxury Travel Bible's humble opinion Karma Kandara always gives good spa; call us shallow but we also like their on-going 'Moet & Manicures' and 'Pinot & Pedicure' rituals. The 3-night Zen facial Retreat runs from 23 - 25 October 2010 and includes accommodation in a luxury pool villa plus treatments, from USD$2,500.www.karmaresorts.com, www.karma-spas.com
Matakauri Lodge, NZ -
The Luxury Travel Bible has been awaiting this one with baited breath for a while now. August 27 is the scheduled open for the re-styled Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand, interior-designed by Virginia Fisher (who also designed Huka Lodge and Grand Provence in SA ). Matakauri was acquired last year by US billionaire Julian Robertson who also owns the sublime Kauri Cliffs in Northland and the much-awarded Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay both renowned for their golf courses and their luxurious accommodation.
TLTB is primed to bring you an in-depth luxury report soon after opening - so watch this space. www.matakauri.co.nz
Cakes and Champagne
The Luxury Travel Bible is partial to a spot of afternoon tea, especially when it is served in a quintessential English salon. So the new Ruinart and Miller Harris Sensory Tea extravaganza available at Firmdale's West End hotels is very tempting indeed, particularly when the tea is created by perfumer Miller Harris (we're talking fragrant tea with hints of rose or geranium - no boring English breakfast here) and accompanied by a glass of Blanc de Blancs bubbles from the world's oldest champagne house, Ruinart. www.firmdalehotels.com
Big Game off Luxury Lizard Island
The Coral Sea off Lizard Island near the Great Barrier Reef is one of the only known spawning areas on the planet for black marlin. The waters off luxurious Lizard Island resort are one of the few areas in the world where you have a chance of catching one of the real giants. Black marlin weighing a massive 1000lb plus have been caught and released off Lizard Island where they come to feed off the tuna and mackerel found in the tropical waters. Why are we telling you this? Because the 24th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic runs from October 16th- 23rd . Be there to bag a big one. www.lizardisland.com.au
Free Luxury Sports Car
Now there's an offer to be conjured with. There is just one small hitch, to get the batmobile-style supercar complete with twin V12 turbo engines and a top speed of 230mph (370kph) you will have to spend a cool $US24 million+ on a state-of the-art 38 metre superyacht first. Swedish concept design company Strand Craft, in
conjunction with Gray Design, claim the world's oceans will never have seen a more luxurious yacht . They launched the concept a while back but now say that six limited edition yachts are actually going into production. So what does the world's most exclusive superyacht actually look like? Future Luxe has the pictures. Click here to view.
Onboard Eating Extravaganza
The newest Holland America Line Signature-Class ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam sets sail on her maiden voyage on July 4 and we'll be bringing you an in-depth report. In the meantime
The Luxury Travel Bible has always thought that many hours at sea seem to be spent eating so we are delighted that the new ship has seven dining venues (eight if you count in-room) and the variety of food on offer is pretty diverse too. Tea time is a particularly extravagant affair featuring three distinct themes: Traditional Dutch high tea; an Indonesian tea ceremony in homage to the culture of many of the ship's crew and a whimsical cupcake tea which serves 12 different types of cupcakes. What more could one ask? www.hollandamerica.com, www.
Somewhere someone is always skiing
The New Zealand ski season started at the weekend with the opening of the first ski resort Coronet Peak, near Queenstown in the South Island. While Southern Hemisphere skiing can't generally boast the deep snow cover of some of its northern rivals it is nevertheless good to know that somewhere in the world someone is carving turns. New to Coronet Peak this season is the Meadows Express Chairlift which is, according to NZSki's CEO, James Coddington "The only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere"; moving 2000 passengers per hour. Next to open in NZ is Mt Hutt 90 minutes from Christchurch, on Saturday 12 June. Our NZ ski coverage coming shortly ... www.newzealandski.co.nz
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are setting their 'sites' high for the opening of their first hotel in Tibet. Opening in 2012 the hotel will be located in Lhasa, a city set on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau which is the highest region on earth. The 350-room hotel will sit next to the striking mountain landscape of glaciers, valleys and lakes considered sacred by many. Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa will feature contemporary interpretations of traditional Tibetan architecture and use locally produced arts and fabrics and guests will receive Tibetan welcome rituals. Shangri-La will take into consideration the difficulties of such a high altitude with extensive gardens with indigenous plants to increase oxygen levels at the hotel.
The newly opened Palais de Chine Hotel in Taiwan is the latest member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and the first member in Taipei. The hotel, the flagship of the L'Hotel de Chine Group has a Parisian theme with ornate interiors, 286 elegant, Art Deco-inspired guest rooms and a smattering of period pieces and antiques. There is even a French-themed teahouse - called not surprisingly Le Thé - if you are feeling a touch of the Catherine Deneuves coming on. www.preferredhotels.com
Plunge Pools in the Sky
Plunge pools in every room of a city tower block hotel? Pretty unusual, but just one of the innovations from Banyan Tree
for its first combined urban resort and private members club opening in Seoul, South Korea on June 1. With views of Mt. Namsan, Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul is surrounded by green but only 10 minutes from downtown. The hotel is housed in the former Tower Hotel building, designed in 1967 by architect Kim Swoo Geun to commemorate the Korean War so you get a little history with your pampering. Sixteen rooms and suites are exclusively for club members who also get a range of other privileges. www.banyantree.com
Australia's Best Luxury Lodges
The Luxury Travel Bible's favourite properties have banded together to form Luxury Lodges of Australia. The 15 member properties include some great beach, wine or wilderness destinations and all share a common goal; to offer guests an outstanding experience in a luxury lodge with a clear sense of place. All of the lodges in this collection are superb; all are run by independent operators who are dedicated to bringing you something special. Members include: Wolgan Valley; The Louise; Lizard and Bedarra Islands; qualia; Longitude 131; Cape Lodge; Lake House; Spicers Clovelly Estate and Spicers Peak Lodge; Capella Lodge and Southern Ocean Lodge; Arkaba Station, Bamurru Plains and Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef. Once upon a time Australia was second to New Zealand when it came to offering truly luxurious experiences in a natural setting, not any more. We like. We like a lot. Watch out for more of these lodges profiled in TLTB in the coming months. www.luxurylodgesofaustralia.com.au
Paspaley polo lives on
The Luxury Travel Bible is thrilled to hear that following the success of the Paspaley Beach Polo event held at Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia last Sunday (May 23) plans are underway to develop an annual international beach polo festival in Broome; making Australia only the fifth place in the world to do so after the USA, UK,UAE and India. The inaugural event was the initiative of Marilynne Paspaley AM, Founder of Pinctada Hotels & Resorts, and Janek Gazecki of Polo Enterprises Australia and attracted 2,500 spectators and Australia's top professional polo players, led by Australian team captain Glen Gilmore. www.pinctada.com.au
The new ultimate spa at sea?
We're hearing that Seabourn has upped the luxe in the new 11,400 square feet (1059 square metres) spa setting onboard its latest yacht Sojourn.
The Luxury Travel Bible could hardly contain its cruise crush when it recently tippy-toed through the two-storey spa onboard Seabourn Odyssey and found itself in a private outdoor spa villa awash with floaty curtains, day beds and tub, so we can't wait. Sojourn's spa will also have a spa villa as well as adding in new features that include cocooning recliners, a herbal bath facility, an aroma steam bath with salt inhalation and a cabana-style relaxation area. "The Spa at Seabourn on Sojourn will enable guests to combine amazing travel experiences with the best and healthiest luxury spa at sea," says CEO of The Yachts of Seabourn, Pamela Conover. Model icon Twiggy seems a fitting choice to be Sojourn's Godmother and will launch the new yacht on 4 June in a naming ceremony on the Thames before it begins its maiden voyage around the UK on 6 June, 2010. www.seabourn.com
Lufthansa's new A380 brings the ultimate in first class
Billed as the world's largest and most modern commercial aircraft, Lufthansa has followed the wish lists of actual passengers and
designed its new A380 to bring pleasure to the people. First class woos us with a new level of luxe that promises 'best bed in its class' comfort. At 6.8 feet (2.07 metres) x 2.6 feet (80 centimetres), its flat-bed Sumo size says no to hangovers for toes, but it's the well thought-out storage that has
The Luxury Travel Bible clapping its hands. You will be staring at the ceiling instead of any lower-slung overhead baggage bin; this has been given the flick for individual lockable closet and around-bed storage. A moveable screen allows you to determine your own privacy while the sound-absorbing curtains, carpet and cabin brings a whisper quiet to your journey that you've never heard before. We are also rather taken with the bathroom with wash and change areas that have been kept separate from the loos. Lufthansa's A380 is currently flying between Frankfurt and Tokyo with new A380s scheduled for Beijing and Johannesburg routes. www
Anantara brings luxury to Sir Bani Yas Island
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas will manage two new luxury lodges on Sir Bani Yas island in Abu Dhabi. Due to open in late 2010, both resort lodges will offer unique experiences that capitalise on the impressively diverse beach and wildlife blend of Sir Bani Yas Island. The dual launch further serves to fill a niche market on the island, answering to the luxury needs of travellers seeking a more exclusive, intimate style of island living. www.anantara.com
Seven Hotel heaven
The Luxury Travel Bible would forgo champagne for a week to say that it was only seven days to the opening of the uber-sexy Seven Hotel in Paris...alas we are now being told we have to wait until July for its official opening. But, stop press, pass the Billecart, there are advanced bookings upon request available on the hotel's website. To see more of what it is about The Seven Hotel that already has us packing a slinky Dior and Tux (who would have thought?) visit our Luxury Loves section. www.sevenhotelparis.com
Borneo gets a slice of luxury
YTL hotels are heading to Borneo to open two new hotels in 2011. First up a deluxe rainforest resort just off the coast looking at Mount Kinabalu, Pulau Gaya is surrounded by white sand beaches, sheltered coral reefs and protected mangroves. The resort will integrate elements of traditional Sabahan (native of Sabah) architecture and one of YTL's sublime spa villages. About 48 kilometres lies Pulau Tiga, famed for its volcanic mud pools, exotic wildlife and coral reefs. This intimate hideaway will feature 65 sea-front luxury one and two bedroom villas, each with private plunge pools. www.ytlhotels.com
Writing with Keneally at Australian outback's Longitude 131
Already renowned for its glam camp in the desert surrounds of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, VoyagesLongitude 131 is launching its program of 'Weekends with Inspiring Australians'. Pack up your Montblanc and your Camper boots and book now to begin the great novel (or simply a great chat) with legendary Australian author Thomas Keneally on 9 - 11 July, 2010. Read more on this unique 'Writing Under The Stars' with Keneally outback experience and the author's best travel inspirations and adventures in our Destinations section. www.longitude131.com.au
Town Hall Turns Trendy
The old Bethnal Green Town Hall in London's East End has a new lease of life. This grand neo-classic building is now the new Town Hall Hotel & Apartments. It fell into disrepair in the 1980s then along came entrepreneurial hotelier Loh Lik Peng to lavish designer-care on it. Plasterwork has been re-moulded, wood panels restored and marble re-polished all with an added design twist.
The Luxury Travel Bible especially likes like the De Montfort Suite; the old public hall with arched heraldic leaded windows and wood panelling which has been made-over with glass room dividers and ultra-modern balconies. www.designhotels.com
Soccer Fever and Suites
South Africa isn't the only country gearing up for the Soccer world cup. Design Hotels has introduced a 'World Cup Rate' with the chance to get up to half price rooms at its member hotels in soccer-crazed countries such as Italy, Brazil and Germany (26 hotels in all) The room discount increases as the hotel's country advances in the soccer tournament. The discount will start with 10% off the best available rate, and will increase as the country progresses to each new round; which means the semis are worth 40% off and the finals 50% off. So pick a hotel you really like and start cheering for its countries team. Nothing like a little luxury stay to make us loyal to the team. www.designhotels.com
Get Carrie-d away at Shangri-La
To celebrate the launch of the upcoming Sex and the City 2 movie Moët & Chandon have designed four cocktails inspired by Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. Shangri-La Sydney's Blu Bar on 36 will be serving these cocktails, aptly named The Fashionista, The Socialite, The Bombshell and The Player, until 27 June 2010. Of course if you are a stickler for tradition you can still always toast the girls' return with their favourite Cosmopolitans. Moët & Chandon cocktails and a fabulous view over the city - what more could you want?
Grand Prix Glamour goes on.. and on
Australian Mark Webber won the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix yesterday and champagne celebrations continued long into the night. Find out how to be a Formula 1 driver for a day and where the stars stay in our Glitz Guide to Monaco. You can also meet the man behind Monte Carlo's most luxurious hotels in ourExperts
The Hyatt gets Grander
The Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Australia has unveiled its new Grand Club Lounge and Club floors. Following the redevelopment of the public spaces, a floor by floor transformation of the hotel's guest rooms is currently mid-redesign. The hotel's premium suites are the first to be completed.
The Luxury Travel Bible followers will be pleased to note you can book into a brand new club room from June 2010. www.hyatt.com
Exploring the Alaskan Wilderness
Helicopter glacier trekking, sports fishing and bear viewing are just three of the activities on offer on a Holland America Expedition Cruise tour. Holland America are Alaska experts and the new Bears & Wilderness tour features a seven-day Glacier Discovery Cruise and retreats at rustic Redoubt Bay Lodge near Lake Clark National Park and Winterlake Lodge along Alaska's historic Iditarod Trail; both are up-market wilderness lodges run by Carl and Kirsten Dixon (a third, Tutka Bay Lodge, has recently been added to the stable). http://www.hollandamerica.com.au/, http://www.hollandamerica.com/
Salt-y Sea Venture
It is a cruise news kind of day. First up P&O Cruises and Australian chef Luke Mangan's next joint venture is a new 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' restaurant onboard the cruise line's Brisbane-based superliner, Pacific Dawn. (There is already a 'Salt' aboard Pacific Jewel) The open-kitchen style restaurant will debut on the ship's May 29 sailing. www.pocruises.com.au/
A Voyage Fit for Queen
Also out today, news that Queen Mary 2's much anticipated circumnavigation of Australia will go on sale on Tuesday July 13. More than 2500 people have already registered their interest in joining QM2 on her historic voyage in February 2012. Bookings would open at 9am on July 13 for past Cunard Line passengers and people who have previously registered interest in the voyage. On July 14 the general public can book. All of this means that Australians and New Zealanders, who greet each new day before anyone else on the planet will have first dibs on the tickets. The opening of sales in Australia, before other international markets, is a first for Cunard and reflects the expected popularity of the cruise in the local market.
Six Senses is a Winner
Six Senses Hideaway, Zighy Bay, Oman has been voted the 'Middle East's Leading Luxury Beach Resort' and 'Oman's Leading Resort' at the World Travel Awards in a survey conducted amongst 183,000 professionals in the travel and tourism industry (the travel industry 'Oscars' if you will).
The Luxury Travel Bible well remembers hang-gliding into Zighy Bay for the world's most exciting check in; just one of the resort's sublime experiences - it is one of our favourite places too. www.sixsenses.com
A Brave New World at The Berkeley
We love it when traditional hotels embrace new technology and few hotels have as esteemed a tradition as The Berkeley in London's Knightsbridge. Guests who book into the top Berkeley, Conservatory or Chelsea Suites (and that is
The Luxury Travel Bible readers of course) will now receive a complimentary iPad for the duration of their stay. This is a UK first (The Apple iPad is not even officially launched in the UK yet) and is leading the way for hotels worldwide. Most hotels who have embraced the new touch pads have given them to staff rather than guests. Look out for our Top Ten Best iPad Hotels coming shortly. www.maybourne.com
Roof With A View
Just in time for a New York Spring fling,The Surrey on the Upper East Side will be launching its private Rooftop Garden on May 17.
The Luxury Travel Bible has been waiting for this moment ever since it stepped onto the then concrete worksite during winter. While the view back towards Manhattan and across Central park was already dreamy, now tiled, furnished and with garden plants in full bloom this space is set to be one of NYC's smartest sunset spots. Keeping it small and intimate, the Garden will only be open to hotel guests and by private invitation. Butler service will shower them with stylish snacks and drinks that include a specially-designed muddled lemonade. www.thesurrey.com
World's First Armani Hotel
After a delayed opening (even the fashion world can be grounded by an erupting Icelandic volcano) Armani's first hotel has opened its doors, in the world's tallest building, the Burj Kahlifa in Dubai. A fashion hotel in a tall and beautiful model building - how fitting. And while we are talking 'world firsts' apparently Armani Prive nightclub has the world's largest LCD screen. At the opening Giorgio Armani said, "t has long been my dream to have a hotel where... the Armani aesthetic is combined with Italian-style warmth and hospitality. I am thrilled to ... invite my guests in to experience my world". For a look at the first images of the inside of the hotel click here.
This month we feature New York just because there is SO much going on there at the moment. As we said before, for a 'city that never sleeps' it sure is getting a lot of new beds.The latest hotels to announce Big Apple openings are Setai Fifth Avenue and Mondrian SoHo, both scheduled for a November 2010 unveiling. http://setaififthavenue.com/
Up in the Air
The fantastic and futurist Marina Bay Sands complex in Singapore, now open, has a 25,000-room hotel with stunning views over the harbour.
The Luxury Travel Bible particularly likes the Chairman Suite; its master bedroom has not one, but three balconies-with-a view. It has just been announced that the hotel will also have a sublime Banyan Tree Spa on the 55th floor. Ironically this is the first spa on home ground for entrepreneurial Banyan Tree Holdings creators Ho Kwon Ping and Claire Chiang. We also love the Sands SkyPark - an engineering wonder 656 feet (200 metres) up in the air. The three-towered Marina Bay Sands complex includes shops, a casino, conference centre and restaurants. The hotel has had a soft opening , the official launch of all the rooms is May 6. http://www.marinabaysands.com/, www.banyantree.com/
Haute Couture and hotels seem to be obsessed with each other just now. Latest on the metaphorical hotel catwalk is one of France's most famous luxury hotel groups, Lucien Barrière, which has joined forces with Christian Dior to transform a suite at the hotel Majestic Barrière on La Croisette, Cannes. It is marriage made in designer heaven, since Barrière and Christian Dior both stand for a particular kind of French elegance. Each year Dior traditionally takes over a suite at the Majestic so stars who are wearing Dior gowns can be transformed into screen goddesses before they glide up the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival. So what could be more natural than a permanent Christian Dior penthouse?
The bedrooms bear the imprint of the fashion house with shades of Dior grey, Pullman armchairs, bed-heads in trellis style, and a perfect replica of the desk of Monsieur Dior himself. In the dining-room the rotunda recalls the famous ceiling of the Dior boutique on Avenue Montaigne. In the lounge, the sofa's cushions are as pleated as the couturier's signature gowns and flaunt the bright red created by C.D. himself back in 1955. Now all
you need to do dress for the room.
The food onboard Silversea Cruises
is always good but on the cruise line's series of culinary voyages it is possibly even better. The latest chef to throw his white hat in the ring is George Francisco from Jonah's, Whale Beach; Sydney's only Relais & Chateaux property. Francisco will be on board
Silver Shadow's 10 day voyage from Vancouver to San Francisco; which is co-incidentally the chef's home
town. With a name like that where else would he hail from? The cruise departs on 26 June 2010 and Francisco will showcase his French influenced, modern Australian cooking style. Steve Odell, Silversea's senior vice president Asia Pacific, said,"It is a great pleasure to be teaming up with an Australian icon such as Jonah's." Silversea is offering 14 culinary voyages between May 2010 and February 2011. Other guest chefs and sommeliers include Anton Mosimann from Mosimann's private dining club in Belgrave Square, London, Eyvind Hellstrom of Oslo's Bagatelle, Luke Matthews of Chewton Glen, UK and Maggie Harrison of Antica Terra Winery in Oregon. www.silversea.com
Thompson in Toronto
Thompson Toronto, a 102-room hotel set on the edge of the financial and entertainment districts in the art and design 'hood of King West Village, is now slated for a May 2010 opening. This is the latest in a line of speculated openings and you still can't make an online reservation, however we are hearing reports that Toronto's shiny set has been in a flurry over who's who on the list for a VIP key to the hotel's private rooftop bar/pool.
The Luxury Travel Bible has had a soft spot for the Thompson Hotels group since it launched into the boutique accommodation scene with the still-fashionable 60 Thompson Street in SoHo, NYC almost a decade ago, so we'll forgive any run-around with the delays. Meanwhile, it has just been announced that Thompson Seoul will be opening in 2012 along the Han River with an eco-friendly garden space and, yes, another rooftop pool with epic skyline views. www.thompsonhotels.com
Tasmania's New Jewel
A May opening is slated for Saffire Freycinet on Tasmania's rugged East Coast. This is Australia's newest luxury lodge - and what a lodge it is. Architects Morris Nunn and Associates have designed a main building with a dipped roof to frame the Hazard mountains that fill up the view and suites with a series of wave-like roofs to echo the seas below. Floor to ceiling glass offers stunning views of the wide expanse of Great Oyster Bay. This is the latest offering from Pure Tasmania which also has in its stable The Henry Jones Art Hotel and Freycinet Lodge. www.saffire-freycinet.com.au
Pearls of Wisdom
Paspaley pearls and polo are a winning combination in our book so we'll be on the beach for the inaugural Paspaley Beach Polo event in May when Australia's top professional polo players compete for the Paspaley Cup. We are reliably informed by our mates who like a chukka or two that beach polo is also played in Miami, Dubai, Goa and Poole in Dorset ,UK, but nothing beats a Kimberley sunset. Pinctada Cable Beach, Broome's newest 5-star spa resort, is the official hotel for the event if you want to book in next to a 2-goal player, or if you are one. www.pinctada.com.au
Moschino Strike a Pose
Maison Moschino, just opened in Milan, is a flight of extravagant fashion fancy with Moschino skirt-lampshades. rose petals dropping from the ceiling and origami clouds. A fairytale fantasy for adults. The 65-room hotel converted from an 1840s railway station is a collaboration between the fashion house and hotel management company Hotelphilosophy. Fashion is,well, so
fashionable these days darling. Stefano Ugolini President of Hotelphilospophy tells
The Luxury Travel Bible that his new hotel contains "irony" and "surrealism". He goes on, "The style is far from an ordinary thing. It is a unique hotel". Read our report in Hotel Reviews. www.maisonmoschino.com
Louis Vuitton Hotels
While we are on the subject of fashion, Louis Vuitton, under its LVMH banner (which also includes Donna Karan, Moet Hennessy and Guerlain amongst others) is pressing on with plans to manage two new hotels. LVMH Hotel Management already has a hotel, Cheval Blanc, in Courchevel in the French Alps (named after LVMH's Bordeaux winery) and it is likely that the hotels, scheduled to open in Oman and Egypt in 2012, may bear the same brand name. LVMH also has plans to develop a hotel in the beautiful old La Samaritaine department store building in Paris. So soon you will be able to own the luggage AND stay in the hotels. We have visions of LV insignia on everything from toothbrushes to towels and all points inbetween ... watch this space. www.lvmh.com
Update Monaco goes Zen
Monte-Carlo's very own Buddha-Bar opens in May. Since the creation of the first Buddha-Bar in the eighth arrondissement of Paris, fifteen others have opened around the world in London, Dubai, Kiev, Sao Paolo, Beirut, Cairo and, soon, Moscow, Bombay, Washington... so we suppose the capital of glam just had to have one too.Soft amber lights, Buddhist-style artworks and those signature sound tracks will sooth the souls of those lately at the roulette tables. Lost at the casino? Who cares, all together now...ommmmm. www.montecarloresort.com
Posted 18/4/10 Update 29/4/10
Palazzo Versace Dubai
Santo Versace recently visited Dubai to check on his new hotel's progress, scheduled for a late 2010 opening. There will be 169 private residences and 217 hotel rooms based around fountained courtyards. Versace are now working on the designer finishing touches; 100 atisans are crafting 12,000 sq m of mosaic which will be laid in the coming months. Some private residences, complete with Versace homewears, are still for sale so if you have DH 17,706,400 (approx $6million+) why not buy in?
Meanwhile Gianni Versace's actual ex-home in Miami has been made-over into a hotel by someone else. Go figure.
Opening in June in the south building of the legendary Peace Hotel on the Bund in Shanghai is
Swatch Art Peace Hotel. Run by Asia's upmarket YTL Hotels the new offering will have a ground floor boutique to showcases watches from the Swatch Group, a first floor art gallery and seven exclusive guest suites. There will also be 18 workshops for acclaimed artists to live and create in. www.ytlhotels.com/
Damascus is the new Marrakech
Given the popularity of Morrocan riads with luxe lovers it was only a matter of time before the well-travelled and well-informed looked to Syria where the walled old cities and medinas offer the same kind of style. The New York Times dubbed Damascus as the "new Marrakech" in its '31 places to visit in 2010' and more than 30 old houses are up for development . Look out for the 12-room Agenor due to open as a boutique hotel this year. According to Don Duncan from
Marketplace businessman Yaezen Alghawhry has put $6 million into the project. Of course
The Luxury Travel Bible was there before the crowd, read our destination article on Syria. Been there, done that.
The MUSE is an Inspiration
Scheduled for a June 2010 unveiling The MUSE, an intimate new hotel in Provence is on the Route des Plages (beach route) in Ramatuelle on the way to the Saint Tropez. Sometimes a hotel deserves to have its name in capital letters and this one certainly does. On offer are 14 elegant suites, nine with private pool and all with gardens. Inside you'll find custom-made furniture designed by Henryot especially for the hotel and fabrics selected from the Parisian house of Pierre Frey. All amenities in the suites and the spa have been created exclusively for The MUSE in Grasse, where France's' most famous perfumes are created.
Australia's Northern Territory is set to have a new luxury lodge by the end of 2010. Anthology, responsible for the sublime Bay of Fires walk and Quamby Homestead has partnered with Indigenous Business Australia to develop Wildman Wilderness Lodge halfway between Darwin andKakadu. The property is to be designed by Justin Long, the original architect behind Wrotham Park Station Lodge and includes some buildings recycled from Wrotham. It will include an eco-lodge with 15 air-conditioned cabins and up-market safari tent accommodation. Grant Hunt, CEO of Anthology says "I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to add Wildman to our collection. I have been keen to develop this site for a number of years". www.wildmanwildernesslodge.com.au/