Here in the News section we like to keep you up to date on all things new in the world of luxury travel. We especially love news that is quirky and fun. If you hear of anything we miss send us an email and it might just get a write up!
Byron at Byron Resort and Spa snapped up by Crystalbrook Collection
Just a few months after the luxury resort Byron at Byron Resort and Spa was listed for sale, Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud has secured the property, adding it to the Crystalbrook Collection family.
The 92-suite resort, set amid 45-acres of subtropical rainforest on the outskirts of the NSW coastal town of Byron Bay, reportedly sold for a cool AU $41.7 million. The addition of Byron at Byron Resort and Spa brings Crystalbrook Collection’s Australian investments operating in Cairns, Port Douglas, Crystalbrook, Byron Bay, Newcastle and Sydney to AU $1 billion.
As well as 92 luxuriously fitted suites, the beachfront resort features an infinity pool, day spa, tennis court and a one-hatted restaurant. A favourite among luxury travellers, the resort is in a prime location for nature walks and waterfalls, pristine beaches and the iconic town of Byron Bay.
For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.
Seabourn Launches Luxury Private Air Charter
Ultra-luxe cruise line, Seabourn, has announced the addition of a luxury private air charter for exclusive transportation to and from ports, and for guests wishing to embark on mid-voyage excursions.
The introduction of Seabourn Private Air has been designed for guests who enjoy luxury, privacy and convenience when they travel. Passengers can expect the highest level of service and amenity access including: access to thousands of airports serving private aviation, WIFI capability, private valet service, catering options, amenities by Seabourn’s signature fragrance partner, Molton Brown, complimentary Montaudon champagne, and so much more.
While there are other luxury cruise lines who have created a similar experience, Seabourn won’t be using a dedicated aircraft. Instead, Seabourn will utilise a global network of operators who adhere to strict international and U.S aviation standards. Based on this, Seabourn Private Air can offer a range of options for passengers and groups. The light charters can carry between 5-8 passengers, mid-size between 7-8 passengers, and heavy private jets between 9-16 passengers. The charters are considered private, meaning the entire jet must be booked and not individual seats.
Seabourn will determine cost based on itinerary and jet size.
For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.
Hamilton Island Guests Now Have Exclusive Access to Heart Island
Heart Reef lagoon is one of Australia’s most beloved reef locations, due to its adorable heart shape. But until recently, travellers could only see the iconic site on a scenic flight. Now, guests of Hamilton Island can now experience unprecedented access to Heart Reef lagoon with the launch of ‘Heart Island’.
‘Heart Island’ has been a project in development for over a decade. With more that $2 million dollars invested in creating a bespoke experience for guests to view the heart-shaped coral formation up close, this is a unique opportunity to bear witness to nature’s beauty.
Take a 30-minute scenic helicopter flight over the Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach before heading to the Great Barrier Reef. After arriving by helicopter to Heart Island, guests will board state-of-the-art glass-bottom boat, designed and customised specifically for Heart Island. From there, the next stop is Heart Reef. After exploring the Heart Reef by boat, guests can snorkel in the neighbouring lagoons.
The Heart Island boat has been designed to be ecologically sustainable and is powered by wind and solar.
Hamilton Island’s Heart Island experience is available for a maximum of 6 people aged 14 and over. The price starts from $999 per person, which includes a return scenic helicopter flight, tour of Heart Reef, snorkelling equipment and light catering.
For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.
Opening Date Announced for the Ritz-Carlton, Perth
The Ritz-Carlton, Perth will welcome guests from 15 November. Marriott International’s ultra-luxury hotel brand, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, has chosen The Elizabeth Quay precinct for this new venture. Connecting the heart of the city to the Swan River, this hotel will set change in motion for Perth’s development as a top Australian destination.
There are 205 rooms, including 18 suites on offer at the Ritz-Carlton, Perth. However, it’s the signature Ritz-Carlton Suite that is the standout. Showing guests that luxury has no bounds, the suite offers floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor balcony overlooking the city and Swan River.
For those needing to relax and rejuvenate, The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers guests access to four treatment rooms, a heated outdoor infinity pool, saunas, a private yoga studio and two outdoor heated vitality pools with massage jets.
Time for a holiday to Australia’s west coast – The Ritz-Carlton, Perth is calling.
Iconic Raffles Hotel Reopens in Singapore
Raffles Singapore embarked on a delicate three-part restoration back in February 2017. The restoration has been fronted by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud and leading global architecture and design firm, Aedas. The iconic hotel has been restored to its former glory, with some exciting luxury additions.
With the addition of three suite options, Raffles now offers nine suite categories for guests to choose from – Studio Suites (new), State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites (new), Promenade Suites (new), Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites.
And it’s not just the suites that are new. The Raffles Arcade has been updated to include new bespoke retail brands, along with new bars and restaurants. Guest can also enjoy some up dated old favourites, like the popular Long Bar (serving the best Singapore Sling in, well, Singapore).
Luxury Hotelier Announces the Opening of French Ski Palace
Mademoiselle Val d’Isère will be the third property in France for luxury hotelier Airelles, following Les Airelles in Courchevel and La Bastide in Gordes. Set to open on the 19 December 2019, Mademoiselle will be the only luxury hotel in Val d’Isère to offer ski in ski out access.
The new five-star hotel sits at an altitude of 1,850m. The hotel design is inspired by the grandiose of the medieval period. Reminiscent of a medieval castle, Mademoiselle will feature nine suites and five private penthouses, each with their own dedicated butler. It will also feature the largest spa in the village, gallery of boutiques and a 70-square-metre cinema.
Loving the Langham
The Langham Hotel known for not only pampering guests but also pooches with doggy menus and divine pink velvet pillows will be opening in the much-anticipated Jewel development next year. This is the first absolute beachfront resort development on the Gold Coast in more than thirty years. It’s rumoured there will be tanning butlers and pink gladioli in all the rooms. Eat your heart out Dame Edna.
More news on the Langham front is the Curtis Bay project on the Great Barrier Reef is to open in 2022 with 58 villas and 12 wilderness tents. One billion dollars will be put into hotels in Roppongi with a roof top onsen and San Francisco with a Retro Piano designed glass tower to be opened in 2023. Jakarta will host a new Langham next year right by the stock exchange and closer to home we are looking forward to the opening of the tower in Auckland in 2021 and Kitchens on Kent on August 26. Book that doggy pedi and facial because luxury awaits (hopefully your best friend can come along too).
The Newest Addition to Sydney’s Luxury Hotel Scene
The first luxury Fullerton Hotel outside Singapore will open in Sydney on 18th of October 2019.
The Fullerton Hotel Sydney can be found at No. 1 Martin Place, right in the heart of Sydney. The five-star hotel will offer the very best in accommodation and service. There are two accommodation options guests can choose from. The first, is in the historic former General Post Office building. The second, can be found in the high-rise Tower wing.
Martin Place is a cultural hub in Sydney with its fine dining, exclusive bars and high-end retail. Less than 15 minutes from the hotel, guests can experience some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks including the Opera House and the historic Rocks area.
This stylishly designed hotel is sure to inspire your next visit to sunny Sydney.
Enjoy ‘Vineotherapy’ at New Queenstown Lodge this December
Located in the beautiful Central Otago region of New Zealand, Gibbston Valley Lodge and Spa is set to welcome guests mid-December 2019. Just 20 minutes from Queenstown Airport, the 24 private villas, central lodge and spa overlook the organic vineyards and the mountains of Gibbston.
Each villa has been designed to maximise modern luxury with extreme comfort. The villas are fitted with a super king sized bed, fireplace, an oversized bathtub, complimentary bicycle use and an individually customised selection of Gibbston Valley wines based on guest preference.
Guest can explore the natural beauty of the area on foot or by bicycle and learn the secrets of the cellar with the ‘Secrets of the Somm’ wine package. For relaxation, the Gibbston Valley Spa offer a range of luxurious treatments and packages, including a ‘Vinotherapy Renewal’ spa treatment. The specialty treatment lasts three glorious hours and includes a 30-minute body scrub, 60-minute massage, and 60-minute facial.
Bee+Hive Launches Sustainable Booking Platform
Bee+Hive have launched a new booking platform changing the face of sustainable tourism. The not-for-profit association brings together luxury hotels and partners, allowing eco-minded travellers the chance to explore sustainable stays and experiences.
Bee+Hive currently has 12 properties across Australia, Brazil, Philippines, Sweden, USA and Zimbabwe. Each property focuses on Bee+Hive’s three key pillars of sustainability – preservation of the local environment and wildlife, experiences that assist in the contribution to the local economy, and experiences that help safeguard local culture and practices.
This new platform aims to continue expanding on a global scale by building a luxury network for bespoke sustainable experiences.
Floating Hotel and Spa to open in the Arctic in 2020
Guests can finally make a reservation at the highly anticipated Arctic Bath floating hotel and spa in Swedish Lapland, due to open early 2020. The hotel is part of a new wave in luxury accommodations, set to redefine the meaning of luxury in a unique and exciting way.
The hotel will integrate four main aspects of wellness into it ethos; proper nutrition, regular exercise, peace of mind, and care of face & body. Guests will have access to pure and locally sourced ingredients, mindfulness and mediation practices, as well as a variety of spa treatments.
There are six detached floating cabins and six additional cabins on land along with the circular-shaped Arctic Bath houses. They include: one spa treatment room, four saunas, an outside cold bath, a hot bath, outdoor and indoor showers and two dressing rooms.
Prices start from SEK 9,600 per room.
California’s Hearst Castle Set to Host Four Exclusive Summer Pool Parties
Hearst Castle in California has not one, but two of the most luxurious pools in the world. And this summer, a select number of people will have the chance bask in their bliss as Hearst Castle hosts four exclusive summer parties.
The outdoor Neptune Pool was recently underwent renovations. The sensational pool displays 20,000 marble tiles and sculptures commissioned by Parisian artist Charles-Georges Cassou. Talk about ‘wow’ factor.
The parties will take place in the outdoor Neptune Pool on August 4, August 24, and September 21. Tickets come in at US $1,250 per person, with a maximum of 40 tickets per night up for grabs.
You can read more about the ’10 Most Luxurious Swimming Pool (you need to know about)’, including Hearst Castle’s Neptune and Roman Pool here.
Spring opening for La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich
Following in the footsteps of La Reserve Paris, Ramatuelle, A La Plage and Geneve, Zurich-based hotel, Eden au Lac, will be joining the La Reserve family this spring.
Reopening as La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich, this elegant hotel has been redesigned under the masterful eye of designer Philippe Starck. After several months of intense redesign, added contemporary flair and luxury finesse of the highest calibre, this 100-year old hotel will be transformed.
Complete with 40 luxury rooms and a destination restaurant and bar, La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich will offer unparalleled excellence to its guests, including a completely tailored experience.
La Reserve is the brainchild of entrepreneur Michel Reybier, who is helping reshape and redesign ‘luxury’ throughout the La Reserve collection.
Cunard Line returns to Alaska for full 2020 season
After making its long-awaited return to Alaska in May 2019, Cunard Line has announced its return to Alaska for a full season in 2020. The UK-based luxury cruise line will head to Alaska from June to September in 2020 on the newly-refurbished ship, Queen Elizabeth.
Featuring destinations along the Northwest Pacific coast of Alaska and British Columbia, guests can experience the narrow waterways of the Inside Passage, the Hubbard Glacier and Sawyer Glacier’s twin fjords, Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm. As well as spending full days in the ports of Ketchikan, Victoria, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and more.
The itineraries to Alaska aren’t the only thing that’s new with Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth. The ship’s recent refurbishment includes a new spa concept, updated public spaces, bars, lounges, and suites, and an enhanced shopping experience.
InterContinental Hayman Island introduces Reef Friendly Sunscreen
In response to World Ocean Day earlier this month, InterContinental Hayman Island has announced a new initiative in its on-going pledge to protect the oceans and Great Barrier Reef.
The luxury hotel is set to open July 1, and will supply all guests with exclusive access to reef-safe sunscreens. The eco-friendly sunscreen, We Are Feel Good Inc., is proudly Australian owned. Unlike many other commercially available sunscreens, We Are Feel Good Inc. use ingredients scientifically proven to prevent harm from the Great Barrier Reef’s eco-system.
The InterContinental Hayman Island are committed to providing a luxury experience to their guests without compromising the beautiful surroundings on land and in the oceans. They have implemented a ban on single-use plastics, an on-island glass to sand crusher (creates a silicone ‘sand’ that can be used in the gardens), in-room motion-detecting thermal technology to reduce energy consumption when guests are out, reusable Hayman Island bottles for purchase and more.
There is no better way to enjoy the immense beauty of the Whitsundays than in eco-luxe style with InterContinental Hayman Island.
Airbnb takes luxury leap
Airbnb opened a door in the world of travel, where people could access budget-friendly accommodation across the globe with ease. Thanks to the recent launch of Airbnb Luxe, now there are thousands of high-end listings available for the discerning traveller.
All properties listed on Airbnb Luxe will be hand-picked by trip designers, with each property expected to pass a 300-plus criterion to qualify. Some of the expected criteria includes: elevated design elements, premium building materials, unique features and chef-grade appliances.
But what sets Airbnb Luxe apart from luxury hotels? All Airbnb Luxe properties with have 24/7 access to personalised trip designer who will ensure the stay, from the moment of booking to departure, has been tailored to the guests needs. Guests can take full advantage of the trip designer who can organise bespoke experiences and activities, coordinate any service from childcare, private chefs, personal trainers and in-house massage treatments.
Most listings average $2000 per night. However, one of the most expensive listings coming in at US $1 million per week, will take you to the lush surroundings of a private island in French Polynesia. With the help of your personal trip designer, Airbnb Luxe offer a unique experience.
Limited edition luxury pop-up designed by Ruinart and Jonathan Anderson
For the second year running, the world’s first established champagne house, Ruinart, will welcome guests to its one-bedroom residence, Hotel 1729 in Notting Hill. Jonathan Anderson, creative director of Loewe, has collaborated with Ruinart to curate an exquisite space inspired by Maison Ruinart and the relationship between the art world and the exclusive champagne house. Art pieces from Kettle’s Yard Art Gallery in Cambridge and Anderson’s personal collection of artworks, can be found throughout the hotel.
The luxury pop-up will welcome guests for a limited one night stay between 4th and 14th July. The one-bedroom hotel is for a maximum of two people per night. This means, across the ten nights the hotel will be open, only 20 people will have to opportunity to book. Talk about exclusivity.
A stay at the Hotel 1729 costs £12,000 and includes chauffeur transfers in partnership with BMW, a one-night stay, dinner, breakfast and a selection of Ruinart cuvée. For residents wishing to share the experience, they can invite up to six guests to share a dining experience at £160 per person.
Baby elephants and a free night at private game reserve
Sir Richard Branson’s Private Game Reserve, Ulusaba, just became the hottest go to luxury destination for 2019, with an exclusive offer of four nights for the price of three.
Guests booking for arrivals before the 30th June or from the 1st November to 21st December 2019, will have access to a free night’s stay when booking for four or more nights at one of the most spectacular gaming lodges in the Sabi Sand Reserve.
The lodge sits on 13,500 hectares of prime game spotting reserve. With twice-daily game drives and safari walks available, guests can see the ‘Big Five’ in their natural environment. Not to mention, the river around Ulusaba Reserve is a favourite hangout spot for the majestic elephant and their babies.
A free night at Ulusaba and baby elephants? Yes please.
Safari and Rock Lodge start | Ulusaba Reserve | From AU $1,160 per person/per night
First Six Senses Resort to Open in Central America
Six Senses has partnered with The Canyon Group to open a new luxury resort in Costa Rica. The resort will be the first Six Senses to open in Central America. Capturing the essence Costa Rica’s ‘pura vida’ (pure life) culture, Six Senses Papagayo focuses heavily on sustainability, preserving the natural surroundings and creating a unique eco luxe hotel for discerning guests.
Spanning 2,300-acres on the Papagayo Peninsula, Six Senses Papagayo is set to unveil 41 pool villas and 31 residencies in 2021. With plenty of pristine coastline to explore, from the stunning beaches to the extensive rainforests, mountains and lakes, Six Senses Paoagayo will be a haven for relaxation.
Six Senses Papagayo is set to include an extensive wellness program, with treatments, a spa, fitness centre and other wellness inspired activities all on offer. The organic farm not only provides fruit, vegetables and herbs to inspire the chef’s menu, but will also be used in the resort’s signature spa treatments.
This anticipated new opening provides a new platform for sustainable travel and a in depth exploration of the beauty Costa Rica has to offer.
Uber is at it again with the unveiling of Uber Air
Uber recently unveiled its first foray into the world of the Great Barrier Reef with ScUber, the underwater ride sharing submarine. Now, it’s taking to the skies with Uber Air.
Melbourne, Australia is set to join Dallas and Los Angeles as the pilot cities to test Uber’s newest technology. Test flights will commence in 2020, followed by commercial operations in 2023. With a design inspired more by drones than helicopters, the newest venture in ride sharing will operate on rechargeable batteries which is expected to use 90% less energy than a helicopter and produce no direct emissions.
The ‘flying taxi’ could be the answer to escaping the on-ground traffic, especially for those notorious for running late for a flight. With a predicted flight time of 10 minutes from the CBD to the Melbourne airport, Uber Air could cut travel time down by up to an hour in peak hour traffic.
Looks like Back to the Future is finally becoming a reality… can hover boards be invented next?
Silversea celebrates 25 years of luxury on the ocean
At the time of its launch in 1994, Silversea was the world’s first all-inclusive luxury (and we do mean luxury) cruise line. Twenty-five years on, Silversea Cruises are celebrating a quarter-century of delivering innovative, luxury cruising experiences to more than half a million guests around the world.
From the days of the first cruise liner in 1994, Silver Cloud, Silversea has taken guests to the most scenic and awe-inspiring corners of the earth. Following the launch of Silverseas Expeditions in 2008, guests have been able to access some of the most exclusive experiences in the world, from the Russian Arctic to the Kimberley Coast.
This year, guests can cross the Northeast Passage from Nome, Alaska to Tromso for the first time with Silversea. Celebrate the milestone of 25-years on the ocean aboard the Silver Explorer and retrace the voyages of Nordenskiöld, Nansen, DeLong and Amundsen throughout the 25-day cruise.
Silver Explorer | Nome – Tromso | 10 August 2019 | 25-days | AU $97,600
Claridge’s London debuts Empress Eugenie Suite
Renowned for its five-star luxury, Claridge’s London have turned up the heat this summer with the unveiling of the new Empress Eugenie Suite.
Since opening in 1812, the iconic Art Deco hotel has been home to royals from all over the world, and even served as the birthplace of Yugoslavian, Crown Prince Alexander II, 1945. The suite is named after Empress Eugenie of France. Empress Eugenie spent a lot of time with Queen Victoria, who referred to the hotel as her ‘winter quarters’ – high praise coming from a queen.
The suite design has taken inspiration from their friendship, from Eugenie’s French and Victoria’s British heritage. The palette combines soft pastel pinks and greys, infused with gold embellishments. Delicate silks and an embroidered headboard, with fabric hand woven by royally commissioned weavers on a 100-year old loom, adorn the room. The room features an original marble fireplace, Louis XV style desk with gilded gold accents and overlooks Brook Mews.
Guests staying in the suite have the unique opportunity to view some of the letters passed between Queen Victoria and Empress Eugenie.
Empress Eugenie Suite | Claridge’s London | from £5,750 per night
The Ultimate Luxury Team-Up
Singita, One&Only and White Desert have teamed up to create a new partnership offering a unique itinerary. Meet the wild animals of Africa and the emperor penguins of Antarctica with the 11-night Adventure to the South itinerary.
Enjoy stays at Singita Lebombo or Sweni Lodge in Kruger National Park and the One&Only Hotel in Cape Town in South Africa, before hopping on a private jet to White Desert’s exclusive Whichaway Camp in Antarctica.
Get up-close-and-personal with the wildlife in Kruger National Park, indulge in world-class dining in Cape Town, and try your hand at ice climbing in Antartica.
Due to depart on 12 November 2019, the 12-day itinerary is set to wow. Prices start at US $67,000 per person.
Australia’s First Igloo Experience
An igloo in Australia? That’s right. Thanks to Alpine Nature Experience, you can spend a cosy night in a kitted-out igloo.
Embark on a unique adventure through the snow gums of Mount Hotham, learn to make authentic French cheese fondue, enjoy a three-course meal, and sleep in a real igloo in Australia’s first (and only) fully sustainable eco-village.
All the igloos are furnished to optimised comfort. However, for those wanting that little bit extra, can stay in a Snowdome. The Snowdome is wood-heated and has a sky view perfect for star gazing.
To really boost the luxury vibe, book the Dinner Plain Onsen package, which includes access to the Onsen warm bath, spa and sauna (yes please).
Prices start at AU $269 per person and runs Wednesday to Sunday from June 15th to September 30th.
From Farmhouse to Luxury Escape
Located on Italy’s Adriatic coast, surrounded by ancient olive groves, lies a 16th century masseria (farmhouse) with all the charm of southern Italy. Masseria Torre Maizza has undergone careful renovations to restore its natural beauty and is the newest addition to the Rocco Forte hotel collection.
Infused with rustic elegance, Masseria Torre Maizza features 40 suites with stunning views of the Apulian countryside. With a 20-metre pool, an exclusive 9-hole golf course, a private beach club and luxurious spa treatments, this luxurious farmhouse is the perfect place to relax. Witness the magic of a Puglian sunset while sipping cocktails on the rooftop bar.
Introducing the world’s first rideshare submarine – scUber. Running from May 27 to June 18, you can explore the Great Barrier Reef in a scUber submarine.
Launched in partnership between Uber and Queensland tourism, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity won’t last long. With dates (and rides) limited, scUber is set to kick off the experience off the coast of Heron Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region on the 27th May, before moving to Agincourt Reef off the coast of Port Douglas followed by the Great Barrier Reef region from 9th June.
Don’t expect Uber cheap prices. And experience as amazing as this one comes with a price tag to match. The experience will cost AU $3,000 and includes pick up and drop off at your location, a scenic helicopter ride and one hour scUber submarine.
Get the VIP treatment at Bali’s hottest new beach club
Finns VIP Beach Club is the ultimate Balinese beach club. Taking ‘beach chic’ to a whole new level, Finns VIP, a new beach club in Bali, are offering guests and travellers exclusive daybed access for almost $12,000.
The prime location isn’t the only reason for the massive price tag. The daybeds themselves are far from ordinary. Designed as ‘islands’ or large circular pods, the daybeds extend from a shallow pool.
Each daybed has a lockable port to store valuables and the USB chargers will keep those devices charged and ready for all the Insta-worthy moments.
With only 16 daybeds available, they are a hot commodity and must be booked in advance.
Paper is out, iPads are in at Auckland’s Crowne Plaza
The Crowne Plaza Auckland have launched a paperless system for guests checking in and out of the hotel. Changing the traditional paper-heavy check-in and check-out process to a mounted iPad, The Crowne Plaza are focusing their efforts on sustainable tourism practices.
The iPad’s will store guest reservation details, which can be checked and signed using a stylus pen at the front desk. After guests have checked in, a billing statement will be sent electronically via email.
The Crowne Plaza expecting to eliminate approximately 500,000 sheets of A4 paper annually.
This sustainable movement follows the hotel’s ‘Greener Stay’ program where guests can opt-out of housekeeping in exchange for IHG Reward Club points, the discontinuation of plastic straws and recently, testing multi-use bathroom amenities to reduce single-use plastics.
After the perfect day? Head to CocoCay.
Royal Caribbean have launched their US $250 million private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. The Bahamas island is only open to passengers on Royal Caribbean cruises.
CocoCay features 13 waterslides including the Devil’s Peak – a 135-foot-tall waterslide – and a 1,600-foot-long zip-line course, wave pool and helium balloon for the prime island views at 450 feet.
Head to ‘Chill Island’ for a bit of R&R and enjoy the islands restaurants, cabanas, and infinity pool.
December will see even more attractions added to the exclusive access island.
Blueberry facials, activated charcoal exfoliation and wellbeing massages – sounds too good to be true? Not for your furry friends.
Located in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, The Fur Salon by Rufus and Coco is taking the pet grooming game to a whole new level. The newly opened salon offers your beloved pets the royal treatment with shampoos, trims, new hairdos, massages, pawdicures and birthday spa day treatment packages.
All products used by Rufus and Coco are high-quality, paraben, soap and sulphate free, PH balanced with a hypoallergenic fragrance.
Disney Themed Brunch coming to Melbourne
Bringing together two great loves, The Magical Brunch is the perfect combination of everyone’s favourite meal and all things Disney.
Although not an official ‘Disney’ brunch, this feast is magical. Dust off your favourite Disney costume and practice your sing-along-skills. The brunch will come to Melbourne, Australia in September 2019. Be sure to let them know any dietary requirements (vegetarian and vegan friendly) so you can enjoy maximum treats.
Prices start at AU $77.50.
A New Ship for Viking in 2020
The year is almost at its halfway point, which means new travel trends and experiences for 2020 are on everyone’s mind. With the launch of their extended 2020 program, Viking have announced a new longship joining its fleet in Egypt.
The ship, Viking Osiris, has been designed specifically for the Nile River and will host up to 82 guests across 41 staterooms. Viking Osiris is sure to delight its guests with its elegant design.
The Viking Osiris will sail from Cairo for the 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids guided tour. Guests will be able to discover the secrets of modern and ancient Egypt onboard the Viking Osiris from September 2020.
The Luxury Lighthouse of La Palma
Calling all Harry Potter fans…
In preparation for International Harry Potter Day (yes, it’s a thing), Hagrid has spruced up his hut.
Inspired by the home of JK Rowling’s fictional character Hagrid, Carol Cavendish has opened the Ground Keeper’s Cottage in North Yorkshire.
This luxe version of Hagrid’s cottage cost £195,000 to build and furnish. Even with the upgrade, the cottage still has a very ‘Hagrid’ feel to it. It comprises of three interlocking circular slate-roofed buildings, two with turrets, and stained glass windows. Inside the cottage, the space has been designed to perfection with dangling baskets, ropes and lanterns. The highlight, is the free-standing copper tub and bespoke copper basin.
Prices start from £195/night
Melbourne Airport has launched a VIP chauffeur treatment in partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Guests can escape the crowded car rental desks and the trek to the carpark, luggage in tow. Instead, guests will be chauffeured away from the domestic or international terminals to their personal valet driver and Mercedes-Benz car.
This exclusive service is offered by Australia’s largest online peer-to-peer car rental service, DriveMyCar, and is available to guests arriving at Melbourne Airport. Choose from A-Class, B-Class, CLA, C-Class, X-Class and GLA vehicles.
Prices start from AU $73/day.
Rest and reset at Calile Hotel
The Goodnight Co. was established by Australian mums, Shea & Danielle. There goals is to help people fall in love with a good sleep. They have designed products from silk pillowcases to homeopathic tinctures. And now, they are taking all their combined knowledge to Calile Hotel with their latest sleep retreat.
The retreat will be held in Brisbane’s Calile Hotel from the 7th to 9th June 2019. It has been designed specifically for corporate and high frequency travellers, to help achieve a better work sleep balance.
The retreat will bring wellness and sleep education practices to attendees. A group of facilitations and experts in the field will speak about how to achieve the perfect sleep, no matter the location. And assist in helping attendees overcome issues like jetlag, late nights and busy schedules.
Throughout the three-day sleep retreat guests will be able to enjoy a two-night stay at the Calile Hotel, meals, specialised workshops, yoga and meditation.
Single AU $2,500 | Twin AU $4,500
Virgin Atlantic reveals Red Velvet
Virgin Atlantic has finally divulged the details of its new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. This long-awaited aircraft, named Red Velvet, features a new upper-class cabin with new suite and social space.
Designed in collaboration with some of Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyers, the new suite offers the largest ever in-flight entertainment screen (18.5″) which can be controlled by guests’ personal devices, every seat faces the window and has deployable privacy screens and, all suites offer a seamless transition from upright to bed.
The social space, called The Loft, is the largest in the airline’s fleet. It has been stylishly designed with guests needs and wants in mind. The space offers Bluetooth headphones which connect to a 32″ screen. Guests can kick back and relax with a show or the lice tail-cam, chat with other flyers or drink and dine in The Loft.
Day dream on Daydream Island
Daydream Island Resort has reopened its doors on 15th April after a 24-month renovation following the devastation caused by Cyclone Debbie in 2017.
The much-loved resort offers 227 stylish suites and rooms overlooking the ocean, pool or gardens. While all the newly renovated rooms are stunning, the Deluxe Room is something else. The light-filled room is made complete with its chic interior design and soothing palette. The suite has been kitted out with a rain shower and Biology amenities, an Australian brand specialising in eco-awareness and environmentally friendly products.
Guests are spoilt for choice with three new restaurants and three new bars to choose from. You can even dine overlooking the resorts signature experience, the Living Reef. The Living Reef is a massive free form coral lagoon. It’s home to over 100 species of fish, coral and invertebrates. Guests can take a guided swim through the lagoon or join the marine team in feeding the baby stingrays and learning about marine animals and ocean conservation.
A night at the museum
In celebration of 30 years of the iconic Pyramid, Airbnb and the Louvre are coming together to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
On the 30th of April, one lucky winner and a guest will be have the rare chance to explore the Louvre after hours on a bespoke art tour where guests can toast to the Mona Lisa while reclining on a Parisian lounge sofa, feast with Venus de Milo and enjoy a concert in Napoleon III’s lavish Apartments. The tour is made complete with a sleepover in the iconic Pyramid of the Louvre.
To be in the running, log onto airbnb.com/louvre before April 12, 2019, by 23:59 pm (CET) in French time or (6:59 EST time) and answer this question: Why would you be the Mona Lisa’s perfect guest?
Party like it’s 1973…
The iconic Hall of Mirrors at the palace of Versailles will host a party that would even put the Queen of France (Marie Antoinette) to shame.
Although the Château de Versailles has hosted classical music concerts, balls and cultural events in the past, this will be its first foray into the festival scene.
The event is being put together by DJ and former Daft Punk manager Busy P, and his record label, Ed Banger Records. A group of renowned DJs in the electronic scene will perform in the famous Hall of Mirrors and the gardens the adjoin the Hall will be transformed into one epic dance floor.
Those really wanting to party like the royals can upgrade to the VIP package for €160, which offers access to a private lounge, an unlimited buffet and champagne.
Fresh Austin Air
Proactive in their goal to help guests create balance through wellbeing and mindfulness, Hyatt unveiled their second Miraval Wellness Resort in Texas earlier this year.
Surrounded by the county’s live oak and cedar trees and overlooking the picturesque Lake Travis, the Miraval spa and wellness resort offers a place centre the mind, body and soul. Set on 220-arces, are 117 guest rooms and suites, a Life in Balance Spa, a 10-arce farm and ranch, and a Life in Balance Culinary Kitchen.
Aligned with the resorts wellness goals, the guestrooms and suites have been designed with a soft, neutral palate, hand-crafted accessories and sleep-enhancing amenities.
The Life in Balance Spa covers 20,000-square feet, with 30 treatment rooms, a spa pool, relaxation rooms, a salon, sauna, steam room and retail boutique. The options to unwind are endless, from body renewal rituals to combining breathing with a floating massage through Pranayama-ḍīna.
They say the kitchen is the heart of the house, and it is true tenfold at Miraval. They have healthy cooking classes and workshops with a focus on plant-based cooking and wheat-free baking.
There is a subtle theme throughout the hotel design, and that is its focus on sustainability which can be seen in the all-natural bath amenities in reusable packaging found in the suites to the Cypress Creek Farm visit offering lessons in sustainable farming practices and responsible agricultural growth.
With cruises on the rise, luxury cruise and expedition liner Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have announced that low-pollutant marine gas oil (MGO) will be used on all routes sailed by the expedition ships.
While the company has always adhered to the use of low-sulphur fuels which are mandatory throughout the Antarctic region, in the past they have also voluntarily used marine gas oil in other ocean areas such as the Artic or Kamchatka, where the fuel laws are not as strict.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have several environmental practices in place, including travelling at an average speed considered to be environmentally-friendly, having the bow thrusters and stabilisers run on environmentally-friendly bio-petroleum, and being equipped with seawater desalination technology to produce clean water.
The HANSEATIC nature, the HANSEATIC inspiration and the BREMEN will gradually make the move to exclusively using low-pollutant marine gas oil from July 2020. Followed by the HANSEATIC spirit, due to join the fleet in 2021.
Viva Las Vegas
Luxury Las Vegas resort The Venetian is ready to give you the world… The resort has launched ‘Want the World Experiences’ designed to give guests over-the-top, exclusive experiences throughout a stay in The Venetian’s ultra-luxe presidential suite.
The suite package will have you arrive on the infamous ‘Strip’ in style, first by private jet, then by Maybach vehicle. The four-night stay in the presidential suite comes complete with a private butler, fully stocked bar, monogrammed red silk pyjamas, Swarovski red crystal-encrusted magnum of Moët Champagne and “a replica of the resort’s signature armillary sphere hand-crafted from artisan chocolate, atop a cake adorned with a 2.5 total carat ruby and diamond necklace and matching 2.47 carat Burma ruby and diamond ring from Bellusso Jewellers”.
But of course, it doesn’t stop there. The package will have you pampered with a Champagne pedicure and a Diamond massage, set your taste buds alight with a four-course dinner and salsa dancing lesson and a personal photographer on hand to document the stay.
Starting at US $450, 000 – you could have the world.
A holiday that makes a difference
Set against the backdrop of northwest Rwanda, in 178-arcres of land on the edge of Volcanoes National Park lie Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House. Already known for their conservation efforts in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, this will be Singita’s first foray into Rwanda and its diverse ecosystem.
Architects and interior designers have taken great care to ensure the project observes the core messaging of Singita and the lodge by carefully selecting locally sourced and produced materials and using traditional building techniques.
There are eight suites in Kwitonda Lodge as well as the four-bedroom villa, Kataza House, each offer startling views of Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes and provide a buffer between agricultural lands and that of the silverback gorillas from which the lodge takes its name.
Guests have the opportunity to go gorilla-trekking where they can meet these remarkable creatures in their own environment, as well as the opportunity to help expand the habitat through tree planting and restoration projects.
Singita’s newest sustainable luxe accommodation is due to open in August 2019. But for those eager to start their conservation holiday, bookings are now open for both Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House.
Up, up and away
Founded by Elon Musk and headed by Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX is set to test-launch the company’s first prototype rocket ship for commercial use to Mars.
The “Test Hopper” won’t be an official launch into space, but a crucial run for the hardware, and for SpaceX, to ensure the full-scale adventure will be a success.
Known as the Starship, the SpaceX rocket is designed reach orbit next year in 2020, take its first crew around the moon in 2023, and finally send star gazers to Mars in 2024.
Musk isn’t the only billionaire working on a commercial space flight, Sir Richard Branson is currently sits ahead of the race with his own test launch of Virgin Galactic late 2018.
A Suite Escape
Hotel Plaza Athénée Paris and Team Break Event have come together to create a tailor-made Escape Game. Glamorously set in one of the hotels signature suites, the life-sized escape game has guests solving riddles and puzzles based around the history of the hotel and one of its most lucrative guests, Mata Hari – WWI spy extraordinaire.
Officially launched on the 15 February 2019, the game has been designed as an interactive experience for hotel guests. A group of 2-8 people are locked in a suite, where they work to solve the riddles in only one hour. When the hour is up, it’s cocktail o’clock. While enjoying victory and a much-deserved cocktail, there’s a 30-minute briefing given by a coach based on the game.
Solve a mystery, have fun and stay at the Hotel Plaza Athénée.
Along the east coast, toward the tip of Queensland, Australia is a raw and inviting paradise. Surrounded by lush rainforests, white sand beaches and azure waters, you can’t help but feel reset; feel grounded.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland have tapped into the power of the north and are inviting Australians to re-ground themselves in 2019. Tourism Tropical North Queensland, with the help of Australian model Samantha Harris have kicked off the 2019 re-grounding campaign known as Feel Grounded, with a tour and some out-of-this-world shots of the region.
With wellness as their top priority, TTNQ are working to de-stress Australians with hiking, biking, swimming, diving and yoga, all in unbelievable locations.
The Feel Grounded campaign will show off the very best of the north including: the luxe new resort ‘Riley’ by Crystalbrook Collection in Cairns, a helicopter ride to Vlasoff Cay for picnics and swimming, Fitzroy and Dunk Island living, the food trails of the Atherton Tablelands and the secluded rock plunge pools on the outskirts of Cairns.
It’s time to #FeelGrounded in North Queensland.
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Today, as I visit the Science Museum I was interested to discover a letter from the Royal Archives, written in 1843 to my great-great-grandfather Prince Albert. Charles Babbage, credited as the world’s first computer pioneer, designed the “Difference Engine”, of which Prince Albert had the opportunity to see a prototype in July 1843. In the letter, Babbage told Queen Victoria and Prince Albert about his invention the “Analytical Engine” upon which the first computer programmes were created by Ada Lovelace, a daughter of Lord Byron. Today, I had the pleasure of learning about children’s computer coding initiatives and it seems fitting to me that I publish this Instagram post, at the Science Museum which has long championed technology, innovation and inspired the next generation of inventors. Elizabeth R. PHOTOS: Supplied by the Royal Archives © Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
In a move that has floored the world, Her Majesty the Queen (you know the one), uploaded her first Instagram post on Thursday the 7th March following a visit to London’s Science Museum.
Upon discovering a letter written to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert from the world’s first computer engineer, Charles Babbage, The Queen felt it was only fitting to make this her first ever Instagram post as a celebration of how far technology has come.
Although the Royal Family’s Instagram has been active since 2013, this was the first post made by the Queen herself. And it seems London’s Science Museum has inspired her more than once to tap into a social platform with the Queen’s previous visit to the museum (2014) followed by her first tweet.
Spa No Detail
Warm tones, wooden and wicker furnishings and a hint of teal. The Crystalbrook Collection Hotel, Riley in Cairns, has announced the opening of Eléme Day Spa. It’s design and products are designed by the natural surroundings, and represent a space for complete relaxation.
Two of the top treatments are:
The Goddess of Infusion – a thermal facial mask using volcanic clay to deeply cleanse and hydrate the skin.
The Great Herculean (shout out to the boys) – a body scrub, massage and facial therapy inspired by your inner superhero.
There are five luxury treatment rooms to choose from. And even a spa safari, which lasts up to five hours working to relax you from your toes to your head.
The spa is a first for the Crystalbrook Collection, but certainly not the last with the incorporation of the spa brand in future openings.
A Star-Studded Stay
What do Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes have in common besides a rumoured love affair? The Beverly Hills Hotel of course! Well… sort of… two new luxury bungalows inspired by the stars have recently been unveiled by the Dorchester Collection hotel.
For generations, the hotel has been a favourite amongst celebrities. Of the 21 bungalows being renovated, five are inspired by some of the hotels most notable guests over the past century.
The other three bungalows are influenced by Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra (unveiled in 2016) and following later in 2019, a Charlie Chaplain inspired bungalow.
Showing off its curves, the Marilyn inspired bungalow is classic, youthful and glamourous. With a Chanel No. 5 fragrance bar, a Champagne Bubble Bath Experience and a Marilyn themed food and drinks menu on the cards, you’ll be feeling like a star in no time.
The Howard Hugh’s styled bungalow is a little more geometric with darker tones and rich wood throughout. There are model aeroplanes and an aviation themes cocktail to be enjoyed in this room.
Although unveiled, the bungalow restoration is still receiving final touches. They are both expected to be ready for guests by July 2019.
J’Adior: An afternoon tea experience
In celebration of the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, Berkeley Hotel has created an afternoon tea experience we never knew we needed. Taking Dior’s iconic designs, Berkeley Hotel’s Prêt-à-Portea has designed a menu inspired by the world of fashion.
In the form of cakes, biscuits, and other sweet treats, afternoon tea diners will be blown away by sugared versions of the 1949 Junon dress worn by Theo Graham, the classic Dior bar jacket, Lady Dior handbags made from red velvet cakes, a classic Miss Dior dress made of white chocolate mousse and a vanilla biscuit and royal icing J’Adior shoe by Maria Grazia Chiuri complete with an edible inscribed ribbon, along with many other edible designs.
The Dior inspired afternoon tea runs from 1pm to 5.30pm daily. This unique experience starts at £58 per person; £68 with a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne, or £74 per person with a glass of rosé champagne. Afternoon tea will never be the same again.
One person’s trash is another person’s ski slope
Major cities produce mass amounts of rubbish daily. But one city has found a way to turn their rubbish into an innovative and fun design.
Inside Copenhill waste treatment plant in Copenhagen, Denmark, an unlikely adventure awaits. The ‘futuristic’ building has an 85-metre-high sloping roof covered in a green material known at neverplast. Despite its green colour neverplast has been design to ski down. That’s right a green, repurposed ski field just 10 minutes from the city.
The plant, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, is just another step forward in the city’s plan to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital. It was designed for the people as something they would be happy to see in their neighbourhood.
Due to open this spring, the recycled ski field is certainly an exciting experience in an unexpected location.
Wine, resorts and residences
The awaited opening of The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley is drawing near. Due to open mid to late 2019, the new resort has officially opened their books.
This new edition to The Four Seasons community, will have you relaxing in total luxury, feeling those first-class vibes and making wine like a pro – it’s North America’s wine capital after all. With an on-site vineyard, ‘vine-to-table’ restaurant and wellness spa, you can expect a holiday made in heaven.
Located at the northern end of Napa, the luxury farmhouse-style accommodations are nestled between the mountains and vineyards.
The resort has 85-guest rooms with single and two-story villas available. There are two pools (adults only and family), restaurants and wine tastings. The event barn and a grand lawn are sure to make this an up and coming hotspot for weddings.
For those wishing to reside rather than resort, can buy a home for around $4.5 million. Homeowners have the chance to collaborate with renowned winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown on custom wine blends and will even have exclusive access to a private wine room.
Winter is coming
We all knew this day would come. Winter has finally come. And it’s come to Replay Lincoln Park in Chicago. The bar is known for its fun pop ups, including Friends, The Office and Rick and Morty. But now there’s a new pop up in town – Game of Thrones.
With only a few months to go before the epic final season is released, Replay has tapped into some Westeroisi vibes. You can expect bulk references to the show with Ommegang Brewery’s Game of Thrones beers Arbor Gold and Fire & Blood, Dothraki themed cocktails, references to the infamous Iron Throne and of course the White Walkers all in play.
There’ll be themes events running over the pop ups duration, including a Red Wedding Feast, trivia nights and a jousting tournament. While the pop up offers free entry, for US $20 you can get the royal treatment as a VIP, just be sure you don’t lose your head, eat poison pie or get burned by a dragon.
The pop up of a lifetime will run until April 14th. So be sure to get you GoT on and may the best person win…
King Tut’s Tomb
After almost a decade of intense restoration, King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber has been restored and has been reopened to the public.
Originally discovered in 1922, the tomb has become one of the most famous tourist attractions today, with thousands of tourists flocking to see the young king and his burial site. But it is the impact of tourists exposing the tomb to carbon monoxide (breath), moisture, along with wearing away the interior through touch, that caused the restoration.
Now, in a remarkable effort of preservation the tomb is equipped with an air filtration and ventilation system, there are new barriers and viewing platforms, lighting modifications and the wall paintings have been restored.
The tomb houses some of the original artifacts from its 1922 discovery, in fact King Tut’s mummy is now on display with visitors even having viewing access to his quartzite sarcophagus.
There are loads of questions surrounding the death of 19-year-old Tutankhamun, some even believe murder. After a visit to his newly opened tomb, maybe you’ll know the answer to this mystery.
Love is in the air
Valentine’s day is just around the corner, love is in the air and a heart-shaped meteoroid went up for auction.
Known as “The Heart of Space”, a heart-shaped space rock went up for auction of 6th February and will stay online for bidding until the 14th of February. Ready to make some lucky person swoon with this unique Valentine’s gift?
The meteoroid that went up in flames as it came crashing to Earth, measures 9 inches (its widest point) and weighs about 10 kg. When the flaming space rock went over Sikhote-Alin Mountains in Siberia back in 1947, its impact wreaked havoc. While it certainly wasn’t a graceful or romantic landing with the meteoroid breaking windows, and knocking over trees, it’s hard not to think about it as a metaphor for love.
The bidding is expected to reach around US$500,000 but when love is in the mix it’s anyone’s game – a bidding war in the name of love.
A secret garden in the Forbidden City
Opening to the public for the first time, is the historic Qianlong Garden. This untouched portion of the Forbidden City is said to be one of the most “exquisitely designed interiors” of Imperial China.
Created for the retirement of China’s longest-reigning sovereign, Qianlong Emperor, who was known for his impeccable taste, the historic complex has been relatively untouched and features a unique architectural design. The complex was meticulously crafted with the best materials and skilled artists and architects of the time.
Decorated with “bamboo marquetry, white jade cartouches, trompe l’oeil paintings, and embroidered satin sitting areas”, this magnificent and well-preserved find is one to witness first hand. Although still in restoration phases, the site aims to be fully open to the public by 2020.
Wheel the World
Machu Picchu is one of the most popular destinations in the world and the heart of the Incan Empire. But until recently, it has been an inaccessible destination for people use wheelchairs. Getting to Machu Picchu is no easy feat, especially with 320 near vertical steps to tackle.
Thanks to two friends, Alvaro Silberstein, who uses a wheelchair, and Camilo Navarro, Machu Picchu, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is now wheelchair-accessible. The Chilean duo have worked together to create Wheel the World, a company offering wheelchair accessible tours to places like Easter Island in Chile, places in Mexico and Peru, now including Machu Picchu.
The specially designed wheelchairs are made from steel and aluminium and stored on site in Peru. The first wheelchair-accessible tour of Machu Picchu is set to officially take off in March 2019.
Branson’s done it again
With a name like the Scarlet Lady, you know Richard Branson’s new Virgin Voyages cruise ship is meant to be a lot of fun… just maybe not for the whole family. The adults only cruise has recently released its “rock star suite” designs bringing a little rebellion to the definition of “luxe”.
Travellers 18 years and older will experience everything from tattoo parlours to luxury spas on board the Scarlett Lady.
Amongst the many restaurant, cuisines and the 24-hour diner, is a ‘test kitchen’. The ‘test kitchen’ gives guests the chance to have some fun. All you have to do is give a list of ingredients to the chef and you’ll be surprised with a meal made from your list.
When your stomach is full and it’s time to relax, you can hit the spa, hydro pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge pool or have a spa treatment. Or if you’d rather hit the athletic centre, you could head to the outdoor training arena and boxing ring complete with ocean views.
At night, you can hit the nightclub (or maybe get that tattoo).
The maiden voyage of this rebellious beauty will be from Miami to the Caribbean in 2020, with Cuba on the list for future journeys.
As far as weird and wonderful locations to camp go, camping under the ocean has to be the winner. Yep, that’s right. The ‘Ocean Space Habitat’ tent (OSH) is the creation of National Geographic explorer Michael Lombardi and Winslow Burleson, an associate professor at New York University.
The OSH was designed to aid in diver safety, especially for those wishing to dive deeper and longer. It works as a base camp. The tent allows divers to have a safe secure mid-point where they can remove their masks, replace their tanks or even have a meal. It works to provide a resting point and a space where divers can decompress before heading back to the surface.
And it’s not just divers who could benefit from this piece of innovative technology, but for rescue missions as well.
Although the tent is still in developmental phases, Lombardi and Burleson are working in collaboration with interested partners to create an affordable commercial option for all, from explorers to recreational divers.
The Stuff Dreams are Made of
It’s like something out of a fairy tale, only if you stay here you won’t get eaten by a witch (well, hopefully not). Built inside the Musee de Sevres, under a dome of glass, is a cottage… made of almost entirely of chocolate. And up to four people can stay there.
The chocolate cottage is the stuff of Willy Wonka’s dreams. Designed my artisan chocolatier Jean-Luc Decluzeau in collaboration with Booking.com, the cottage is delectable work of art. Although everything from the flower basket outside the window to the clock on the wall is edible, guests are not allowed to eat it. But fear not, Decluzeau wouldn’t leave guests without, instead there are plenty of chocolate treats provided and breakfast and dinner served in the chocolate flower garden, next to the chocolate duck pond.
On top of all the chocolatey-goodness, guest staying can experience a chocolate making workshop, where they learn to make mini chocolate chalets.
For die-hard chocolate fans, this truly is a dream come true.
The Hotel of the Future
When it comes to innovative hotel suite designs, nothing beats this. The Autonomous Travel Suite (ATS) designed by Aprilli Design Studio is the hotel suite of the future. This tech-driven, luxury suite has been crafted with the sole purpose of carrying guests on-the-go. The suite is self-driving (which means no tag-in, tag-out system needed) and offers all the luxuries of a hotel room including a bed with memory foam mattress, a work space, kitchen, bathroom, shower and entertainment arena.
Not only that, but the ATS has panoramic smart glass windows (which can be dimmed) giving you views like no other while you’re on the move.
The ATS works by popping in your start and finish point and any stops you’d like to make on the way. And it comes in a range of sizes so all your needs will be met.
If you don’t feel like sleeping in the suite, you can have the best of both worlds and travel between hotels in the ATS then enjoy a stay at a “parent” hotel.
The ATS is still having some details finalised, but is expected to be ready by 2021. We’ll just have to wait patiently for this one, and who knows… maybe it’ll replace domestic air travel?
The Art Journey
Over 16-days, 50 travellers will experience a perfectly curated tour of art and exclusivity. Captain’s Choice have officially announced the launch of their new ‘The Art Journey’ cultural tour. The tour begins in Paris on 14th September 2019. And aims to be an immersive experience.
From Paris to Italy, respected curator Jason Smith (director of Geelong Art Gallery) will host the tour. With his expansive art knowledge, he will take you through an exclusive tour of the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, where you will have a private viewing followed by dinner at the Picasso museum. After, guests board the luxurious Venice Simplon-Orient Express, where the private viewings continue.
And it isn’t just the art and the private viewings that are sure to leave you desperate to be one of the lucky few. A private mascaraed ball will be held in Venice, you’ll experience exquisite food and of course, the luxury accommodations are enough to make you feel like royalty.
Luxury eco resort, formally known as Paradise Bay, has reopened under a new name. After almost 12 months of renovation, the new and improve Elysian Retreat is now welcoming guests.
Located in the Whitsundays, on the southern tip of Long Island, Elysian Retreat is one of the most secluded in the area. Nestled between rainforest and reef, this resort takes luxury to a new level.
In fact, included in your nightly room cost you’ll be treated to three gourmet meals daily including a three-course dinner, all matched perfectly with Australian and New Zealand wines. There are complimentary drinks throughout the day, sunset cocktails, canapés, water sporting equipment and access to the resorts personal boat.
If you’re thinking this one sounds great for the kids, think again. This retreat is adults-only and a place to truly unwind.
A maximum of 20 guests can stay at the resort, which you can book out for an event.
As for the eco part, this is one of Australia’s most sustainable hotels. And it has the awards to prove it.
From the Penthouse Suite to Eiffel Tower Views
After nearly 18 months of renovations, the iconic hotel, Hotel Powers, celebrated its reopening on the 4th of January 2019. To celebrate the opening, the hotels name was given a revamp as well. Welcome to the Hotel Grand Powers.
The hotel, located on corner of Rue Pierre Charron and François-Ier, is now a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It was renovated in its entirety, all to ensure every luxury for its future guests. And when they said everything, they meant it. Renovations included everything from the suites and rooms to dining areas, and even the roof was given an update. Every detail, no matter how small, has been thought of by the team at Grand Powers Paris.
Over 100 years old, the 1920’s hotel has 50 renovated rooms and suites available for guests.
To evoke a soft, gentle atmosphere the colour palette includes powdered pink, blue and celadon. Which are harmoniously combined with the period mouldings and fireplaces, contemporary furnishings and striking oak flooring.
The hotel is equipped with a café open for breakfast through to cocktails, spa with a sauna, Jacuzzi and massage service and exceptional concierge and staff service.
Its location in the Parisian Golden Triangle, close to Champs-Élysées and with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower, along with its recent update, makes this Paris’ new ‘it’ hotel.
The Maltese Eco-Warrior Museum
The recently opened National Museum of Fine Art in Malta signifies a new step in Malta’s museum history. The new art museum called MUŻA is housed in an historic building, located at Auberge d’Italie. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the first Malta Museum was established in 1924. Now, MUŻA showcases over 20,000 works of art.
MUŻA, which stands for Muzew Nazzjonali tal-Arti, (National Museum of Fine Arts), not only works to inspire travellers and locals alike with its engaging artworks, but the museum itself works to promote eco-awareness and sustainability.
The MUŻA project began back in 2014 with an idea. The idea, turned into a proposal which was then developed by a multi-national team with expertise in engineering and both historic and modern architectural design. With an expert team in place, the recently opened museum has been successful in its goal for self-sustainability.
It utilises high energy-efficient power consumables, with natural lighting and renewable sources such as solar panels to help reach a potential zero-carbon footprint.
Although, the word MUŻA is an acronym for Muzew Nazzjonali tal-Arti, it’s also the word for ‘inspiration’ in Maltese. And that is exactly what this museum is, an inspiration and a step forward for art galleries and museums across the globe.
New hotel Ovolo The Valley truly is “Ovolo” (all over) it when it comes to five star luxury. The hotel is the latest in luxury accommodations opening in the city of Brisbane. The hotel is in the diverse, cultural centre of Fortitude Valley.
Opening earlier in December, Ovolo The Valley has already impressed guests with its eclectic design and vibrant colour palette. The hotel might be quirky and fun, but when it comes down to the finer details in regard to luxury it has perfected them to an art form.
The boutique hotel features a roof top swimming pool, a gym and a sauna. For those in need of a boardroom for an important meeting, they have B.I.G., which as you can imagine is appropriately named. Guests can choose from five room styles: Medium, Large, Large Spa, The Valley Suites and Rockstar Suites.
The Rockstar Suites are where it’s at when it comes to luxury living. Guest can expect a king size bed, a separate lounge, bar and dining area featuring a dining table and original art pieces by Daniel R. Watkins and Gerwyn Davies.
To get away from the stock standard ‘luxury’ hotel and enjoy the same luxury with a fun quirky feel, look no further than Brisbane’s Ovolo The Valley.
Retired Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller is part of the Ski Bomber team. A company that gives avid skiers the opportunity to ski on some of the top equipment in skiing. In an effort to expand his plan to build great skis, Bode has set out on a mission to give people of all skills and ages access to elite equipment from skis to poles and jackets.
With the launch of Beyond by Bomber, a ski program providing skiers the chance to ski in some of the most remote and exclusive locations, skiers can experience trips of a lifetime.
The three memberships: Diamond, Black Diamond and Double Black Diamonds all offer and exclusive experience. The Double Black Diamonds will give members their Bomber Skis of choice, a White Glove Concierge service and private access to the Bombers’s Fifth Avenue Penthouse as well as premier access to Bomber Ski events.
Miller has designed a variety of bucket-list experiences that people would otherwise never experience. Talk about a once in a life time experience.
The Race to Space
History has been made. The latest test flight for Virgin Galactic has successfully reached the edge of space and returned to Earth welcomed by a cheering Sir Ricard Branson.
On Thursday 13th December, Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic team and The Spaceship Company sent the passenger rocket ship, SpaceShipTwo into space. The race to send the first fee-paying passenger ship into space between Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos is on. Thanks to Thursdays success Branson is ahead of the game.
This goal has been a long time coming. In 2008, Virgin Galactic had plans to put people in space within 18 months. But with delays and a fatal crash in 2014, the dream has taken a little longer than anticipated.
Thursdays test flight carried two pilots and a mannequin named Annie as their passenger ‘stand in’. SpaceShipTwo took off from Mojave Desert in California and travelled at 2.9 times the speed of sound as it gained height. The ship reached 82.7km.
While the firm’s rivals, SpaceX (Elon Musk) and Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos) have technically ventured further into space, neither have done so with humans on board. Both companies plan to follow in Branson’s footsteps, with crewed missions set for 2019.
More than 600 people have already bought tickets or put down a deposit for a Virgin Galactic flight in the future. The flight costs $250,000 and will last 90-minutes.
With an Ocean View
Europe’s first underwater restaurant is set to open in autumn 2019 at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline. The aptly named restaurant, ‘Under’, offers guests panoramic underwater views and a truly unique dining experience. The restaurant will sit semi-submerged at five and a half metres beneath the North Atlantic Ocean.
The company behind ‘Under’ is the Norwegian founded, international architectural and design firm, Snøhetta. Rather than the half-sunken restaurant building reflecting and aquarium in design, Snøhetta have designed the structure to be incorporated within the marine environment resting directly on the sea bed. The structure has been built to withstand pressure from varying sea conditions and offers guests jaw-dropping views through its massive acrylic windows.
The menu is on par with the magnificence of the structural design. Guests can enjoy appetisers on the mezzanine level before descending a wooden staircase to embark on a culinary journey. ‘Under’ will offer a 15-18 course set menu that will vary seasonally and source only the best local ingredients. Each dish will be paired with a matching wine (or for those not drinking alcohol there is a non-alcoholic pairing option as well).
Before the restaurant has even opened its doors, the waitlist is set for a minimum of six month. Might be time to think ahead, book some flights and make a reservation for this unforgettable dining experience.
All aboard the Glacier Express
Switzerland’s Glacier Express is known as the world’s slowest express train. The journey lasts eight hours where passengers experience panoramic views as they cross 291 bridges and go through 91 tunnels between St Moritz and Zermatt. The popularity of the train journey has taken a luxurious turn. Due to high demand the Glacier Express will offer an ‘Excellence Class’ aboard it’s two new 20-seater coaches.
Lavish in design, the ‘Excellence Class’ coaches will offer the highest level of comfort to its passengers. Each passenger is guaranteed a window seat to enjoy unobstructed views of the remarkable landscape, has access to an exclusive bar known as the Glacier Bar and have their ever need catered for by the personal concierge service on board.
As for the dining, passenger will be offered a regional five-course meal with accompanying wines throughout the journey. Champagne, aperitif, amuse-bouche, coffee, Tea Time and snacks will also be available throughout the day.
‘Excellence Class’ seats can be reserved from 9th December 2018 (with journeys starting from 2nd March 2019). A reservation deposit of CHF 450 must be made at the time of booking.
Mareel Wellness & Beauty is set to launch aboard Cunard’s newly refurbished luxury cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth. The new spa concept has been developed in partnership between Cunard and wellness visionaries, Canyon Ranch.
The new holistic spa treatments will debut aboard the Queen Elizabeth, then extend to Cunard’s other luxury vessels Queen Victoria and Queen Mary across the next twelve months.
The entire spa facility has undergone a lavish revamp to work with the new treatment menu. The spa redesign incorporates ocean hues of blue, green and coral to create an oasis for the guests. The treatment menu aboard the Queen Elizabeth will include mineral-rich seawater and marine-based experiences. Guests can enjoy, the couples’ suite for seaweed bathing rituals, a meditation room and sound therapy facilities.
The products used throughout the spa treatments are sourced and created through socially responsible techniques. The ingredients are of an organic nature and sustainably harvested.
For guests wishing to book spa treatments, this can be done approximately 60 prior to sailing. Note: bookings for spa treatments must be place seven days prior to sailing.
Canada welcomes The St. Regis Toronto
Iconic luxury hotel, St. Regis Hotel and Resorts has announced its Canadian debut, The St. Regis Toronto. The 65-storey hotel is set to have 258 guest rooms, including 124 luxury suites. Guests will experience the bespoke service and modern elegance synonymous with the St Regis name. Those experiencing the luxury suites will be offered unparalleled, customised service, including the brand’s signature butler service. The butler, in collaboration with the new eButler chat will ensure guests can stay in contact at all hours of the day.
The hotel offers guests a culinary experience, with the choice of the LOUIX LOUIS – a grand bar and restaurant on the 31st floor and the lobby-level café, Astor Lounge. The LOUIX LOUIS offers American cuisine with French technique. The interior design draws inspiration from cocktail bars in New York and Paris. The two-storey grand bar offers excellence in its beverage list, which can be enjoyed in the bar itself, an outdoor secret garden overlooking Toronto’s skyline or in a loft space available for private bookings.
To add to the luxury of this new opening, the hotel has designed a spa oasis which includes and infinity-edge lap pool and a fitness centre which offers specialised movement classes including yoga and pilates.
The Parisian Bear
Bears are taking over Parisian neighbourhood suburb, Le Gobelins, with sightings becoming more of late. The bears have been sighted on the street, in cafes and even in hotels. However, there is nothing to fear, the bears are less grizzily and more cuddly.
But where are these bears coming from? Local bookshop owner Phillipe is the man behind the bears. Phillipe has 50 teddy bears in total which he has been placing around the neighbourhood since late October in an effort to bring the community together.
It’s of surprise that now Phillipe is known by name to the whole neighbourhood. For those wanting to join in the neighbourhood fun, it’s time to book a trip to Paris. Phillipe has plans to move the bears around the community up until the La Gallette des Rois celebration on January 6th. How does a teddy bears picnic in Paris sound?
Down to Earth
The very first skyscraper to be built was ten-stories high, which by today’s standards may not seem all that impressive but in 1885 it was. Since then, our obsession with skyscrapers has only grown with each new building designed to be taller than the last – our very own industrial rainforest. However, a new hotel built in Shanghai could be the spark for change in architectural design and reshaping the connection between nature and city. Built in an abandoned quarry this ‘earthscraper’ is a world first.
The Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland (also known as Shimao Quarry Hotel) has 336 rooms across 18 floors. The top two floors sit above ground while the bottom floors are completely submerged by the lake that occupies the quarry. Facilities include a restaurant, a recreation centre offering rock-climbing and bungee jumping and outdoor water sports arena in the quarry with a shopping precinct in developmental stages.
The hotel, located in the Songjiang district, has cost approximately 287.9 million to complete. The hotel has been built vertically along the cliff face of an underground, water-filled quarry and sits at 88-meters deep. Prices for the hotels suites range from $489 – 546 per night.
Once in a Life Time Musical Experience
The concept of experiencing the gritty underbelly of 1960’s New York in Sydney, Australia may seem a little unusual. However, with the combined forces of Handa Opera and acclaimed American director Francesca Zambello, audiences will be transported back to the streets of West Side Story. There is only one stage in Australia that can do a musical like this justice, and that is Opera Australia’s famous over-the-water stage.
Across eight years, Handa Opera have attracted more than 330,000 visitors from all over the world to experience its productions. The outdoor stage is nearly three times larger than any other stage in Australia and seats approximately 3000 people. Audiences can find a range of themed dining and drinking options as well as the exclusive treetop Platinum Club – a pop-up dining room, bar and lounge. In addition to the outstanding performances and dining options, audiences will be treated to nightly fireworks, adding to the magic of the night.
With the Opera House in the background, city lights in the distance and the harbour waters lapping at the edge of the stage, it really will be a once in a life-time musical experience.
The family owned and operated Myconian Collection in Mykonos has a strong reputation when it comes to five-star luxury. There are currently nine existing hotels within the collection spanning over three main locations in Mykonos – Elia Beach, Mykonos Town and Platis Gialos. It has recently been revealed that in 2019, nine properties will become ten.
The tenth hotel in the collection, soon to be known as Panoptis, is currently being transformed from an abandoned fisherman’s home into a luxury nine-bedroom villa near its five sister properties in Elia Beach. It will offer 360 degree views of Mykonos with each bedroom having its own private pool. The boutique hotel can be rented as a whole or individually depending on guest needs.
The current Myconian Collection hotels are part of a global hotel collective, which include affiliations with Design Hotels, Relais & Chateaux, Preferred Hotel Group and Leading Hotels of the World. President and CEO, Vangelis Daktylidis has stated that the new addition to the collection will follow the same path as its sister hotels in joining the global hotel collective.
A Billionaire’s Hideaway
Nestled at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming is a little slice of chalet heaven. The land was fortuitously snapped up six years ago, and after spending more than $100 million dollars on its development, Caldera House is the ultimate luxury chalet for the ultra-wealthy.
The person behind the project is Wesley Evans, co-founder of the Fortress Investment group, co-owner of the Milwaukee Buck and a fan of Jackson Hole. For Evans, Caldera House is not only a practical project investment wise but also serves as a passion project. He has his own winter paradise to escape to.
The suites are decadent to say the least. There are eight suites in total, each the perfect blend of Scandinavian flair and classic American craftsmanship. Whilst the suites share a great deal of similarities, the interiors were designed by different companies to create a unique experience. Half the suites are 1,500 square feet designed with two bedrooms and the other half are more than double the size at 5,000 square feet with four bedrooms. Each suite sizes are designed with a kitchen, living and dining area with all the accouterments.
The hotel opened last year with a soft launch, making this the first official winter season Caldera House will be open. And people are certainly catching on. Almost as soon as the hotels Alpine clubs was announced, memberships flew out the window.
With celebrated Chef Paulie O’Connor in charge of the kitchen and guided experiences by a National Geographic photographer on the cards, Caldera House is ticking all the boxes in design, luxury and premium experience.
A Partnership in Luxury
A partnership has been officially formed between Mercedes Benz Brisbane and the city’s new luxe hotel on James Street, Calile Hotel.
Mercedes Benz will be the hotel’s official vehicle partner where a sleek S-Class will be permanently parked under the arched porte-cochere of the luxury resort showcasing both the car and the hotel. The car will venture from it’s place of pride with James Street’s newest luxury hotel offering guests the chance to bask in a new level of hospitality with the S-Class experience. The car will be used for airport collections and drop offs around town – what better way to arrive at an evening gala than in the Mercedes Benz S-Class.
The partnership is one of mutual recognition for Mercedes Benz and the Calile Hotel, who both pride themselves on the perfect balance of traditional and contemporary design, innovation and luxury.
Glamping in the Galapagos
For an experience both refined and thrilling, Celebrity Cruises have revealed a unique experience for passengers sailing on their new luxury yacht, The Celebrity Flora. The experience will have passengers glamping at sea in the Galapagos Islands surrounded by stars and nature.
The luxury yacht features top deck cabanas by day which convert to double beds by night. However, the experience is not for everyone on board. A maximum of four passengers can book the top deck experience where they will have two private luxury cabanas – one for sleeping and the other for al fresco dining. After a night of gazing at the stars, passengers will be greeted with breakfast in bed and a glorious sunrise over the water.
The Celebrity Flora, is the first ship designed specifically for the Galapagos Islands and will be ready for service on the 26th May 2019. Guest can book both 10-day and 11-day excursions or alternatively can opt for 16-day trips that voyage around both the inner loop and the outer loop of the islands. Whatever you chose be sure to book ahead to include the Galapagos glamping experience.
The Newest Dedications to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, fondly known by fans as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are currently on their Australia and South Pacific tour. The 16-day tour is the first international tour for the newly married couple, which coincides with the Invictus Games.
Whilst in Tonga, Harry and Meghan have dedicated two forest reserves to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy environmental initiative. The initiative, which began in 2015 has 42 of the 53 commonwealth countries in participation. The Queens’ Commonwealth Canopy is focused on uniting the commonwealth countries through a mutual want in conserving our forests for future generations.
“Planting trees and conserving forests helps us in so many ways,” Harry said. “It is a simple but effective way to restore and repair our environment, clean the air and protect habitat.”
The dedication took place at Tupou College, a high school founded in 1866 and believed to be the oldest school in the region. One dedication was made to the last remaining forest on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, and the other on the island of Eua.
Yoga and The Mindful Traveller
Gifts are coming early to Hurawalhi Island Resort. For the month of December, mindful travellers have the unique opportunity to experience Sunset Yoga on Hurawalhi’s private Dream Island beach. The experience is hosted by none other than Youtube fitness guru Meggan Grubb and will take you on a journey of serenity and inner peace.
Meggan teaches a simple yet effective practice which include traditional yoga poses, breathing techniques and a strong focus on the inner self and finding Zen. The modern-age guru has over one million followers on Instagram. Meggan can help you soak up the sunshine, become one with the ocean and perhaps get a snap for your own Instagram.
For those who want to feel the connective flow of the mind and body with nature, then treat yourself to an extra special gift this holiday period at Hurawalhi Island Resort.
Necker Island’s New Look
The private island of billionaire Sir Richard Branson is set to reopen later this month with a shiny new look. Necker Island, located in the British Virgin Islands, is famous for its white sand beaches, perfect weather and its exclusive luxury accommodations.
The current island accommodations and communal areas have been renovated and expanded to include two additional rooms in the Great House which is already home to nine bedrooms, as well as a new family friendly Bunk Room designed specifically for families. The Bunk Room will be bursting with toys, books and video games all in the name of family fun.
While the Great House will be ready to welcome guests by the end of the month, the island renovations won’t stop there. The Bali High complex will open in December with an extended pool and outdoor lounge area, and a private plunge pool which has been installed in each of the Bali Houses. Talk about an all-round luxe revamp.
For a week’s stay in a single room in the Great House prices start at US $31,675 and the Master Suite at US $51,030. For exclusive access to the whole island prices start at US $62,500 per night.
A Dynamic Duo
National Geographic and Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours have banded together to launch a new line of National Geographic River Cruises. Together the duo will combine the all-inclusive luxury of Scenic cruises with National Geographic’s explorative adventurous nature.
The partnership offers several itineraries in Europe including the Rhine, Danube, Main and Moselle Rivers, Holland, Belgium, the Bordeaux region and Douro Valley and in Asia, on the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar.
While floating down the waterways of Europe and South East Asia, guests aboard the Scenic river cruise expeditions will be joined by an expert from National Geographic. With specialist knowledge, photography tips and exciting stories on offer, this partnership will give you a truly unique experience.
Stay in the Supreme Luxury at 22 Rue de Berri
Elsa Schiaparelli was a pioneer of Parisian fashion in the 1920’s and 30’s. She rubbed shoulders with the likes of Salvador Dali, Hubert de Givenchy and Gertrude Stein. In fact, her home in Paris, no. 22 Rue de Berri, was a creative hub where arts, designers and writers gathered.
Schiaparelli was deeply superstitious and thank goodness she was. Her superstitions led her to buy no. 22 Rue de Berri on the spot. Her reasons: The previous owner of 22 Rue de Berri, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte – yes, Bonaparte, the niece of the infamous Napoleon – was a distant relative of Schiaparelli and the property number was 22. Schiaparelli’s favourite number is four, if you add two and two together you get four. With signs like those she simply had to buy.
Now, 22 Rue de Berri has been turned into a 75 room, luxury hotel. The Hôtel de Berri remains authentically Parisian. Influenced by the owner and her guests, within the hotel walls are historical antiques, over 700 works of art including that of Pablo Picasso, more than 50 statues, frescos and even a Dali-inspired lips couch. In the midst of the city, lies a jungle of every shade of green imaginable. The courtyard is something truly magnificent to behold.
The hotel may be new to the hotel scene in Paris, but it remains a historically Parisian experience for those seeking authenticity, luxury and inspiration.
Stand on Top of a Cable Car and See the Alps
In a world first, skiers, hikers and sightseers alike can ride atop the Grande Motte cable car unencumbered by glass walls. Tignes Grande Motte, Savoie recently launched its exciting new venture – world’s largest cable car roof terrace – for those seeking the ultimate view of the Alps.
The cable car base station sits at 3,034m and from there goes up a further 500 over the Grand Motte glacier. The cable car will be operational during the summer and spring months where you will experience striking 360 degree views of Grande Casse and Mont Blanc on top of the roof terrace. Now, before you get too disappointed the roof terrace won’t be open in autumn and winter, just think if icy winds are smacking you in the face how could you enjoy that spectacular view? And at the end of the day the reason you have chosen to stand on top of a cable car roof at 3,500m above sea level (yikes!), is definitely to enjoy the views… and of course to snap that perfect Instagram photo to make everyone jealous back home.
Tignes Grande Motte is a unique and thrilling way to absorb the picturesque landscape.
World’s Best Bar… with a Twist
Located in London’s Southbank on the ground floor of the quirkily named Mondrian London Hotel at Sea Containers, resides the 2018 winner of the World’s Best Bar: Dandelyan.
Created by Ryan Chetiyawardana known as Mr Lyan, Dandelyan offers striking interiors designed renowned British designer Tom Dixon, botanical inspired cocktails and a unique sense of fun and flair. The current cocktail menu ‘Modern Life of Plants’ is divided into three sections: Mint, Grape and Hops. Exciting interpretations on the classics, mocktails as delicious as the cocktails and of course the Dandelyan originals will have your mind buzzing with the task of decision making. To match the moreish cocktails, the interior is something to behold. Visualise leather lavender banquettes, mirrored tables, lush green walls and a dark green marble bar with gold and brass accents – beautifully unique in every way.
All this may sound to die for, however, in a shocking turn of events, whilst Dandelyan was simultaneously named the World’s Best Bar of 2018, it also announced it would be closing its doors for good. Thankfully, there is still time. No date has been revealed as of yet, so you either have two choices: live in denial of its impending closure or get yourself to Dandelyan immediately to savour every last moment.
One of the World’s Longest Hiking Trails Opens in Chile
The highly-anticipated opening of Ruta de los Parques, one of the world’s longest hiking trails in the world, is finally here. Ruta de los Parques, or Route of Parks, is a 2800km route connecting 17 national parks across Chile. This scenic hiking trail runs all the way from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn. Home to a rich and diverse habitat of flora and fauna, stunning lakes and awe inspiring mountain ranges the Route of Parks offers breathing views in every direction.
Prior to the Route of Parks conception, three trails – Southern Way, End of the World Route and the Patagonian Channels – were already in existence in the area. Thanks to a donation of 10 million acres by the Tompkins Conservation, founded by former Patagonia CEO Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Douglas Tompkins the founder of North Face, the three existing trails have been incorporated within the Route of Parks hiking network.
The land donated by Tompkins Conservation had originally been bought in an effort to conserve the area and restore the native wildlife and natural habitat.
Route of Parks is a legacy to Douglas Tompkins and his efforts with Kristine in conservation, sustainability and ecotourism. Named as South America’s Best Destination four years running, it looks as though Chile and the Route of Parks will be making their way to the top of the travel list.
Hayman Island’s One Hundred Million Dollar Renovation
After severe damage caused by Cyclone Debbie in early 2017, Hayman Island will undergo a major 100 million-dollar refurbishment due to be completed in 2019. Mark Electr, resort manager and a man at the forefront of luxury properties and development, has revealed the refurbishment wont simply fix the damage from the cyclone but will reinvent the property.
As the only resort on the 400-hectre island, it is there to impress. There will be two new-build Residences, taking the property from 160 to 166 rooms, as well as a three-bedroom Beach House and 16 new Retreat Rooms. The resorts pools are undergoing refurbishment too, with private pools being added to the Beach House accommodations. Even with the growth and development of the renowned hotel, it will still have the same heart and retain its iconic features such as the Pacific restaurant.
Developing with the times means a new wellness concept and centre is being introduced including offers for spa and beauty treatments.
The new and improved Hayman Island hopes to draw more people to its shores, welcome the much-loved regulars back and provide an exciting experience for all.
American Airlines emBarks on a new journey
In an Australian first, American Airlines have launched the emBark program at Sydney International Airport. With help from Assistance Dogs Australia the program is aimed at providing support to people with physical disabilities, autism, post-traumatic stress and anxiety.
To graduate to an official member of Assistance Dogs Australia, it takes two years of training and approximately $35,000 per pup. This program is to be a final step in the training process for the dogs before they can graduate and are placed with those who need them in a permeant capacity.
Assistance Dogs Australia and American Airlines hope that not only will the program help those who need or want it while at the airport, but they hope it will inspire others to support the training, the work and services provided by these loveable creatures.
Although the program does focus on those who are in need or would like extra assistance, the assistance dogs are not likely to refuse a cuddle, smile or a photo. It seems everyone, including staff, are benefiting from the emBark program and the reduced stress and angst that can come with airports and travel.
Every Tuesday and Thursday the assistance dogs will make an appearance at Sydney International Airport bringing comfort, confidence and smiles to travellers. With that in mind, it looks like Tuesday and Thursday will be the new favourite day to jet off on an adventure.
The Kingdom of Bhutan
Bhutan is the last Himalayan kingdom, making it a mysterious and unique destination. It’s also one of the most expensive destinations in the world to visit due to the $250/day tariff which ensures sustainable tourism for the country.
Bhutan is known for being the Happiest Place on Earth and Six Senses hotels are know for their luxury, conservation efforts and community focus. Bring the two together and they are a force of happiness and luxury, unstoppable.
Six Senses hotels have announced the opening of five intimate lodges in Bhutan, due to open towards the end of 2018. The resort is spread across the landscapes of Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro, with each boasting breath-taking views.
Reflecting the heritage, culture and warmth of Bhutan, each lodge has been individually designed. In fact, with each lodge so vastly different guests are welcome to experience them all with the ultimate Six Senses Bhutan experience on their journey through this striking country.
With the rise of technology and media sharing, travel inspiration and travel envy have never been so high. Especially when social media platform Instagram is involved. The desire to capture picturesque landscapes, moments of joy and expressions of awe at the natural beauty in our world dates much further back than the smart phone. One could argue that paintings were the original Instagram. With Instagram on the mind, travellers are seeking ‘Instagrammable’ destinations more than ever before. Of course, it comes as no surprise that the world’s most Instagrammable hotel can found in the endlessly beautiful Maldives.
Guests are transferred to Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villa via seaplane costing between AUD $1450 and $20265, depending on whether you are inclined to share the plane or travel privately. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villa offers guests a picture perfect experience in its 80 private pool villas. The villas, some on stilts over water and some located backing on to a private beach, start at AUD $2120 (including breakfast).
Anantara Kihavah’s title as the “Most Instagrammable Hotel” is undeniably deserving, which is very apparent upon arrival. The jaw dropping views are enough to be the envy of all those back home, not to mention the underwater restaurant, overwater bar, UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve reefs to snorkel amongst, the observatory and Sky, the night sky viewing deck are all on hand for Instagram perfection.
Luxe Eco Adventure
Tasmanian Walking Company (TWC) has finally announced the launch of its exciting new venture – the Three Capes Lodge Walk. As the newest addition to the Great Walks of Australia collection, the Three Cape Lodge Walk has been highly anticipated for its innovative environmental technologies and unbelievable attention to detail in preserving the natural flora and fauna of the area.
The walk itself is 46km and lasts four days. Unlike any other guided exploration of the Three Capes Track, the Tasmanian Walking Company is the only commercial operator permitted to provide private accommodations with in the Tasman National Park area. As such, the accommodation is not only focused on conservation and environmental sustainability but also on providing its guests with the finest lodgings.
The design for the lodges take inspiration from the striking surrounding landscapes. Featuring, suspended flooring ensures minimal disturbance to the ground, the roof follows the natural contours of the land and the sleeping pods are strategically positioned under the canopy. Not only that but the Tasmanian Walking Company utilises state of the art technologies including Swedish design filters for the shower systems which consume 80% less energy. The system for renewable energy ensures the safety of birds in the area by eliminating rotor tips, which can cause injury, and instead combining PV solar systems with Archimedes wind turbines.
And it’s not just the innovative technologies and striking views that will draw a crowd here. The lodge and its stunning open designs, its seasonal dishes plated using only the best locally sourced ingredients, the Relaxation Pavilion and rejuvenating spa therapist, an outdoor bath in the woodland surrounding and the private boat trip to Denman’s Cove all make the Three Capes Lodge Walk the next exciting bucket list adventure.
Puttin’ on the Ritz
The Ritz-Carlton has a new venture on the horizon and it’s not another hotel. In a world first, The Ritz-Carlton will not only rule the earth in luxury accommodation but with their fleet of luxury yachts, they will rule the sea too.
A maximum of 298 guests will reside in the terraced luxury suites aboard the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. While the Ritz-Carlton is all about luxury, for those wanting to step it up a notch there are two 1,700 sq-ft penthouse suites available, each equiped with a private whirlpool and entertainment suites.
As some of the smallest ultra-luxe yachts in the market, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are able to access smaller ports allowing for exploration. The collection has been styled, designed and kitted out with it’s guests wants, needs and desires in mind, offering a personalised experience.
With the first of three in the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection due to embark on it’s maiden voyage in 2020, its time to start planning. Will it be a Mediterranean round-trip, a Caribbean voyage or a historic Baltic and Northern Europe adventure?
On July 10th 2019, Bentley will celebrate its 100th birthday with a limited edition Mulsanne W.O. edition by Mulliner. There will be a production quantity of only one hundred vehicles, making it one of the most exclusive automotive purchases in the world. The 1930’s designed personal vehicle of Bentley founder, Walter Owen Bentley, was also the last and most innovative he designed for his company. In his honour, each of the limited edition Mulsanne W.O. editions will have a piece of his original 8-Litre car. Accompanied by an inscription detailing the significance, a piece of the original 8-Litre crankshaft will be preserved within a bespoke Mulliner cocktail cabinet.
There will be a public debut at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with deliveries commencing in 2019, for those lucky enough to score one of these exclusive cars. Embodying the spirit of the Bentley 8-Litre, the Mulsanne W.O. edition by Mulliner is a worthy successor.
La Reserve named as Travel and Leisure’s best hotel in both Paris and Europe
Parisians are known for being particularly stylish and perhaps stylishly particular, thus it is little surprise that the number one hotel in Paris, La Reserve has also been named as Europe’s premier address.
La Reserve Hotel & Spa has taken this year’s first place accolades over other elegant competition. One awed reader described the hotel as being “in a class by itself.”
Lea Seguier said, “As ambassador for this incredibly chic property, it is wonderful to be able to share the news of La Reserve being recognised as the number one hotel in Europe and Paris, with Australians. Paris is such a truly incredible city, it is an honour to be considered the number one abode in the French cultural capital.”
La Reserve is located mid-way between Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Avenue Montaigne, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, where the heart of Paris beats. Nestled in a peaceful location, slightly set back from the world’s most beautiful avenue, La Réserve Paris – Hotel and Spa overlooks the Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon and the Concorde obelisk. Just in front, a majestic curtain of trees preserves the intimacy of this place, like an echo of the Elysée gardens nearby.
Michel Reybier’s highly distinctive urban mansion has all the elegance of a 19th century private apartment, where ultra-personalized services can be enjoyed in complete simplicity and discretion.
All around are immense spaces bathed in light, barely muted by the rich fabrics of the hangings. Scattered here and there are beautiful marble fireplaces, and everywhere the joy of vast indoor spaces, typical of Haussmann-style apartments. The noble and generous materials exude a forgotten spirit of generosity. More suites than rooms, a library reserved for guests and their friends, a 16 metre indoor pool (a rarity in Paris), wine cellars in the suites, an inner courtyard with lush greenery echoing the landscaped entrance. At La Réserve Paris – Hotel and Spa, you experience the quintessence of Parisian chic in the Belle Époque.
A Five-Star Flight Experience for $280?
I know what you’re thinking: there is no WAY that a five-star flight experience could possibly cost as little as $280 US. For once, being wrong won’t seem so bad.
AURA is due to launch its ultra luxe flights next year at commercial airline prices. The mission at AURA is to provide private first-class service with the affordability of commercial flights. By AURA planning to operate out of small private airports across major American cities, it will eliminate one of the most frustrating parts of commercial flying – the wait time. With AURA guests can arrive 20 minutes before the flight, no fuss, no stress.
On board there are twenty-nine seats spread over two classes – “FIRST” and “WAVE”. The term FIRST is used in reference to the passengers in the main cabin rather than the assumed meaning “first-class”. Even though FIRST may not refer to “first-class”, guests have more legroom available to them in comparison with first-class commercial fliers. For an absolute premium experience aboard AURA book the WAVE class. Only eight custom Swiss-designed seats are available in WAVE class. The zero-gravity AÏANAWAVE seats were designed in collaboration with sleep psychologists and aero-medical scientists to provide you with an unparalleled flight experience. When it comes to dining FIRST is offered Tapas from around the world and WAVE, well… WAVE class has their own chef. Need I say more?
By paying a $100 monthly Keyholder fee, flight prices will go for as little as $280 one-way. Not wanting to pay a Keyholder fee? No problem. The flight will cost anywhere from $560 one-way rather than $280. Either way, it’s a knock out deal that’s impossible to ignore.
Just a Wee Dram
The 1926 limited edition Macallan Whisky is known as the most expensive bottle of whisky in the world. As the label suggests, the bottles were originally distilled in 1926. It wasn’t until 1986 that the whisky was drained from their oak barrels and bottled.
At the time there were only forty bottles produced. The first twelve bottles, had their labels designed and hand signed by artist Sir Peter Blake, famously know for the album cover artwork of The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The next twelve had labels designed by Italian graphic artist Valerio Adami. As to what happened to the remaining sixteen bottles, supposedly two were sold without labels back in the early 2000’s, some are thought to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan and some offered by Macallan as special releases.
Of the 1926 limited edition bottles, three Peter Blake and two Valerio Adami bottles have surfaced this year after decades of nothing. Two of which were sold in auction. The first bottle was sold at 1.01 million taking it to Guinness Book of World Records status. However, that record swiftly broken by the second bottle of Macallan Whisky selling for 1.1 million dollars in auction.
If you happen to see one of these bad boys floating around, snap it up. You never know when you’ll see another 1926 limited edition Macallan Whisky again.
A Hunk of… Burning Love
A private jet owned by none other than the King of Rock and Roll, is currently up for auction. This is the only Elvis Presley jet, out of three, still owned privately – the other two are owned by The Graceland estate in Memphis. The 1962 Lockheed Jetstar 1329 has certainly seen better days, although the same could be said for Elvis in his lifetime. Despite its run down exterior and the fact it’s currently without an engine as well as some cockpit essentials, the jet has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about it. The plane, being sold ‘as is’, hasn’t been restored or modified since Elvis himself added his own flair. When I say ‘flair’, I really do mean it… Red velvet seats, red shag carpet, woodwork inlays and gold-plated accents were all specifications made by Elvis. With a little imagination and a lot of money, this historical private jet could be restored to its former glory. To bid in the auction go to: IronPlanet
Ultimate Luxury Luggage Collection
Austrian born designer Marc Sadler continues to pave the wave for innovation with his new collection of luxury suitcases. Known as the Bank Collection, the aluminium and leather suitcases are designed to allow travellers to work, sleep and cook on the go. The suitcase trio each holds their own purpose. The Bank Workstation, at £4302, features a small foldout desk and work chair perfect for the business person on the go. The Bank Bedstation, comes in at a little more than the Workstation at £6,060, features a fold-out wooden frame, a sleeping bag, a pillow and even a side compartment to store belongings. While both the Workstation and the Bedstation have been released, the Cookstation is still on the way. It’s said to feature a cooking top, mini-fridge, power supply, cutlery draws and a chopping board. Unbelievably, you can have all that in a neat travel size suitcase… almost too good to be true.
A Walk in the Park
An 18-Month old former guide dog known as Mr Walker, is now the much beloved canine ambassador and Instagram star at Park Hyatt in Melbourne. Park Hyatt set out to make its 5-star luxury accommodation feel a little more residential. Deciding there is no better way to make someone feel at home, than to have a dog running around they got in contact with Guide Dogs Victoria. When Park Hyatt discovered Mr Walker was looking for a change in career they set up an interview and a few tests to make sure he was up to the task. Passing with flying colours, Mr Walker was hired. Mr Walker may still be a pup but he’s a pup who certainly knows the rules, which include the kitchen and restaurant being off limits. This canine concierge attends morning meetings, greets guests, meets with VIPs, poses for pictures and goes for walks. He lives full time at the hotel and doesn’t get reprimanded if he’s found sleeping on the job – what a life.
Remember to check out Mr Walkers Instagram for some adorable pictures.
Sleep with the Fishes…
An underwater hotel suite is opening soon in the Maldives that will put all the over water bungalows to shame. The underwater hotel suite is named The Muraka, meaning “coral” in Dhivehi (the local dialect).This is the second venture in underwater innovation and architecture by Crown Company in the Maldives, who designed the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant about thirteen years ago.
There are two-levels to this underwater paradise. The upper level features: bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bar, a dining room, a powder room, a gym and a deck. The lower room, sitting 16.4 ft below sea level, a bedroom fit for Poseidon himself, living room, bathroom and a spiral staircase leading to the upper level. The underwater room boasts 180 degree views of the Indian Ocean and ocean wildlife. The room, available at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, will cost about $50,000 a night depending on how the underwater experience is customised. The suit can accommodate up to 9 guests. I would definitely be putting my hand up to pay just so I could secure the underwater bedroom…
A new ski hotel, currently in development, will have you skiing from the hotel roof straight onto the slopes of Vallée de Joux in western Switzerland. The sloped roofing of the hotel has been styled to compliment a nearby museum, designed by the same company. Both buildings feature a spiral or zig-zag style roof reflecting the craftsmanship of Swiss watch designs. When Hôtel des Horlogers opens in 2020 it aims to feature two restaurants, a bar, a spa and a conference centre, as well as fifty guest rooms. The combination of ski park architectural influence, luxury hotel design and just a touch of whimsy is sure to draw a crowd as it takes ski accommodation to a whole new level of allure.
A World First: Non-Inflatable Floating Sofa
Greek designers Manos Tsikliotis and Vivian Paraschos are defying gravity with their undeniably innovative invention of non-inflatable floating sofas. As with all good ideas, inspiration struck whilst the pair were chatting over a cup of coffee. Now, their idea is a reality. Using fibreglass materials with marbled texture, the two-metre long sofas of the WAVES collection, are able to float on a wet surface despite weighing as much as a normal everyday sofa. The sofas can be used in the home, on sand or in water (as long as it’s secured). Tsikliotis and Paraschos’ ability to combine comfort, aesthetically pleasing designs and practical use, makes this revolutionary collection of outdoor daybeds a unique must-have product.
Luxury Wellness Spa Grand Opening
Palazzo Ducale Venturi, a five-star medieval palace in Puglia, Italy, is opening its doors. The palace has been exquisitely renovated with the assistance of the Soprintendenza of Cultural Heritage in order to maintain the historical significance of the palace and preserve the countless antique furniture within its walls. Each suite offers a slice of luxury and charm. Whether you are staying in the Ducal Suite with its glorious ceiling frescos, sinking into the comfort of the Deluxe Suite, sitting by the original fireplace in Junior Suite, opening the doors of the Classic Room onto a citrus grove or having a romantic escape to the intimacy of the Abbess Room, you’re bound to feel like Kings and Queens at Palazzo Ducal Venturi.
The grounds are equiped with a fitness and wellness spa. Slipping into the underground heated pool, with hydromassage will have you floating on clouds. You will be given the royal treatment with massages, facials and beauty treatments on offer. The palace is located near four stunning beaches and has its own filtering salt pool in the main garden.
At Palazzo Ducale Venturi you are given an exclusive opportunity to experience the perfect combination historical allure and modern luxury.
Cost: from €360*/night
“Room with a Brew”
For the beer lovers of the world, Independent craft brewer Brewdog has announced the opening of a craft beer hotel in Scotland. Set to open its doors in the first half of 2019, The Doghouse (as it will be called) is said to have beer taps in the rooms, a built-in shower beer fridge and balcony views overlooking the brewery, even rumours of a beer filled hot tub have been circling around! The hotel was completely crowd funded through the Equity for Punks crowd funding initiative which raised over 53 million pounds… not too bad! For something a little different, perhaps a trip to Scotland is in order in 2019?
Pup and Away!
Want to live the high life but can’t bear to leave your favourite furry friend at home? Life Travel in Hong Kong lets you and your pups take to the skies in a private jet. Unlike commercial flights, Life Travel won’t be putting your pup in the hold but instead you can both kick back and relax side by side on the plane. Life Travel offers more than a dozen doggy holidays letting dog lovers have the holiday they’ve always wanted. For a 5-day trip and two pups, the cost is approximately $30,000, which really is nothing compared to the memories that you and your pup will make! Although currently only flying Hong Kong to Japan, talks have already begun in an effort to expand Life Travel internationally. It’s likely to come down to paperwork; if your dog has the right documentation then off you fly. So, for all the dog lovers out there, start packing your bags and prepping your pup for the ultimate bonding holiday.