The Luxury Travel Bible - NEWS

Luxury Travel News
Updated daily, except weekends (unless we find something really, really good)

NEWS Maldives' new Beach Bar

Velaa Private Island in the Maldives has revealed its new Beach Bar - and TLTB loves how bright and fun it is! 
Inspired by the owner’s daughter’s dream of opening an ice-cream stand on the island, the bar has been hand painted by contemporary Czech artist, Pasta Oner, whose work celebrates popular culture through vibrant illustration and contrasting colour combinations.
The new Beach Bar has been designed to serve guests bar snacks and creative cocktails between activities or relaxing. The menu includes the ‘Pancha’, a blend of Barbados rum, cherry brandy and cinnamon-infused Amaretto, and ‘Love in the Afternoon’, combining gin and limoncello with pineapple, passion fruit with edible flowers. The snack menu offers dishes such as Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, Greek Salad, Truffle Pizza and Open Sandwiches. 
Velaa Private Island takes exclusivity to the next level with facilities and service that go beyond traditional resorts and features 47 private villas, houses and exclusive residences.

NEWS Celebrating Creole Heritage Month

To celebrate Creole Heritage Month, Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort is hosting a series of activities and entertainment throughout October. Celebratory events, open to all guests,  will take place on the first three Fridays in October, concluding with one full day of celebrations on 28th October.
Locals will be reflecting on creole culture and the importance of preserving the island's beautiful heritage through music, dance and food. 
The program of events to celebrate the richness and diversity of Saint Lucia’s cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage, include;
7th October - Windjammer Landing’s Jammers Beach Deck will come alive with ‘Grand St Lucian Creole Exhibition’, a display of historical artefacts taking guests back through St. Lucia’s  history and the way of life of its ancestors
14th October - Creole Mixology Competition where on-resort mixologists encourage guests to be part of the grand competition, testing their skills using local rums and juices to be crowned the Creole Mixologist. Guests will have the opportunity to sample both the drinks from the competition and a wide selection of St. Lucian rums that will be on display
21st October – The Creole Fashion Show will showcase the cultural innovations of local designers including clothing, bags, hats and jewellery. All modelled by some of St. Lucia’s top runway models in the resort's very own “Creole Fashion Hits the Pool” fashion show
On the 28th October the resort will celebrate St Lucia’s Creole Heritage Month with a full day of activities, from a lineup of traditional entertainment and partaking in the Bamboo bursting demonstration to sampling the delicious St. Lucian cuisine and delicacies
The luxury resort, situated on a steep 60-acre hillside estate on the northside of St Lucia and made up of individual whitewashed villas, resembles an upscale Mediterranean village. The resort offers a secluded feel as the resort and amenities are on a private, golden sanded, palm tree-lined cove beach.

NEWS Cherish Finden's SHIOK! is now open

SHIOK! (pronounced – shook), Pan Pacific London’s new innovative, Singapore influenced pâtisserie from the luxury hotel’s acclaimed pastry chef Cherish Finden, is now open! Located in Devonshire House, the 146-year-old building adjacent to the hotel and in the heart of Pan Pacific London’s estate, SHIOK! will combine the traditional flavours of Finden’s childhood with her signature flare, bringing a taste of Singapore to London in her first standalone retail space.
Ahead of the opening, Cherish said; ’In Singapore the word SHIOK! conveys a feeling of pure pleasure and happiness and this is what I want to capture. The patisserie is going to be somewhere you will want to bring your loved ones, any time throughout the day for an out-of-this-world pastry. I’m so looking forward to Londoners experiencing what we have in store’.
One of the world’s top pastry chefs, Cherish has worked in some of the most prestigious hotel kitchens in the world as well as becoming a household name as a TV Chef.  Cherish first found her passion for pâtisserie in 1991 with her first role at the iconic Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore. Now, almost 30 years later she has returned to the group to take on the role of Executive Pastry Chef at Pan Pacific London, the first European outpost for the collection.

NEWS: Qatar Airways' Exclusive Partnership with Diptyque

Qatar Airways has announced a new collaboration with the Iconic French Perfumer, Diptyque. 
First and Business Class passengers will receive body and face care products packaged in Diptyque branded amenity kits on selected outbound flights from Doha, and bespoke gift boxes featuring Diptyque’s signature oval branding on selected inbound flights to Doha. In line with Qatar Airways’ focus on sustainability, the Diptyque bags are made from vegan leather. 
The luxury Amenity kits will include Nourishing Lip Balm (enriched with roses and violets to soothe and soften the lips), Body Lotion (infused with the scent of orange blossoms, to refresh sleepy skin) and nourishing and replenishing Face Cream (with prickly pear extract to boost radiance). The airline will offer the signature ‘34 Boulevard Saint Germain’ Eau de Toilette or ‘Eau Rose’ Eau de Toilette inside each amenity kit. 
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are the world’s best airline due to our constant innovation in elevating passenger’s experience. We are constantly looking at new ways to enhance our customer’s journey and surpass their expectations. Our customers will be delighted to discover a generous number of items inside the amenity kits, including a choice of Diptyque’s signature fragrances for women and men. Through this exclusive partnership with Diptyque, we have further elevated premium travel, having raised the bar for all other airlines’’.
Qatar Airways first entered its exclusive partnership with the French Perfumer, ‘Diptyque’ in March 2021, offering its washroom products on board and in its Premium lounges at Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Click here to read TLTB's review of Qatar Airways' QSuites 

NEWS Evok Collection x Kalon Partnership

EVOK Collection has announced a partnership with exercise programme Kalon across all of its luxury hotels. During their stay guests will receive unlimited access to Kalon’s online class platform for 72 hours.
Led by Kalon instructors guests can take part in classes from their hotel room and benefit from the method which promises to sculpt your body like a dancer, without having to be one. Among the hundreds of pre-recorded videos led by the Team K dancers, twenty were actually filmed at Evok addresses for total immersion.
Guests can choose their classes according to their difficulty, the desired duration, the area to target, their preferred coach, and language (English or French). All the videos have been made with Paris’s typically small spaces in mind and are therefore ideal for training in your EVOK Collection room. Created by Emma Rigby & Sophie Dibdin-Fourçans, former professional dancers at the Moulin Rouge and the Lido de Paris,  and all the coaches are dancers who have performed at the greatest cabarets in Paris.

NEWS Visiting Chef at Amilla Maldives Resort

Chef Jonny Marsh will be visiting chef at Amilla Maldives Resort from 15th - 29th June. 
As Visiting Chef at Amilla Maldives Resort, Jonny will cook two gala dinners featuring Amilla’s ethical meats and ingredients grown in the island’s fruit and vegetable gardens. He will also hold two masterclasses for guests, one pop-up breakfast featuring a signature wellness dish and will be featured on a live Instagram feed during one Gala Dinner. 
Amilla Maldives is known for its wellness menus which are available alongside the main menus at every restaurant on the island. In 2021, Amilla was winner of Wellness Cuisine of the Year in the Destination Deluxe Awards.
Jonny Marsh is private chef to many of the Premier League’s top players including Manchester United’s Luke Shaw and Kevin De Bruyne, and Manchester City’s Kyle Wallker and Ilkay Gundogen. He began his career at some of the world’s most renowned restaurants and has cooked for celebrities and royalty. At only 18 he was mentored by Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in Oxford, making him the youngest chef to ever be offered this position. Jonny went on to work with some of the most famous chefs in the world including Marco Pierre White and Heston Blumenthal.

NEWS: Matt Moran joins Cunard's new luxury foodie cruise

Cunard has announced that acclaimed chef, restaurateur, TV host and author, Matt Moran will headline the talent program for its inaugural five-day Great Australian Culinary Voyage. While on board Cunard’s first dedicated culinary cruise on board the luxurious Queen Elizabeth Matt will create exclusive dishes for onboard diners and share his passion for Australian food and produce with Cunard guests through talks and interviews.
Award-winning Matt Moran said: “My love for Australia’s food culture and produce runs deep. We are so incredibly lucky in this country with the variety of experiences and ingredients available to us, and the amazing landscapes and destinations we can all access through travel. Cunard’s Great Australian Culinary Journey brings these two elements together in a unique showcase and I’m thrilled to be part of it!”
Alongside Matt, celebrated chefs, wine makers and food critics (to be announced soon) will create a vibrant program of curated events and dinners, demonstrations, interviews, and onshore experiences.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth’s Great Australian Culinary Voyage will celebrate Australia’s unique food and wine culture. Departing from Sydney on 28 January 2023, the 5-night sailing takes in three of Australia’s culinary hotspots, sailing to Melbourne and Burnie (Tasmania), before arriving back in Sydney on 2 February.
Guests will be able to learn about Indigenous ingredients, sample beautiful Australian wines while on board and immerse themselves in the unique local food experiences on bespoke shore excursions.
To read more and to book, please visit: 

NEWS Wheelchair friendly Soneva

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

NEWS Hyatt returns to Queensland

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

NEWS Regent Seven Seas' Woman's Day announcement

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

NEWS Viking Cruises' new sun god

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

NEWS Take another look at Primus Hotel Sydney

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

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

NEWS Shangri-La Doha's grand opening

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

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

NEWS New look at Sheraton Port Douglas

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

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

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

NEWS Sunset feast of food and art at MONA

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

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