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Middle Housewarming, Shanghai

SHANGHAI: The House Collective opens the newest House in the group with an opening offer for guests.

The Middle House opens in April and brings Shanghai to its collection. Here's a visual invite of what to expect.

 

House lobby

 

The Middle House stands in the heart of Shanghai and offers 111 guest rooms and 102 serviced apartments known as The Middle House Residences.

 

Chinese cuisine at Sui Tang Shang

 

Architect Piero Lissoni brings an Italian flourish to the hotel and residences in a blend of intimate luxury and urban sophistication. 

 

Studio 70 bathroom

 

The Middle House is the sixth hotel in Asia from Swire Hotels and the fourth House under Swire Hotels’ award-winning The House Collective.

 

Opening offer

 Between 16 April and 30 June stay at the newest House in the group from RMB 2,500 opening offer which includes stay in a Studio 60 and complimentary breakfast at Cafe Gray Deluxe.

 

Full terms and conditions on the website:

 https://www.themiddlehousehotel.com/en/offers-and-gifts/opening-offer/

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Hola, Cancun!

 

MEXICO: February-March means it’s time to escape the British freeze and cast out for warm climes. But where in the world would blend white-beach luxury in blue-sea tropical surrounds and syncopate hard play with a soft chill? Cancun met our party-relaxation brief with ease. Sat Bal

 

The Brief

Week one of our geographic was to be filled with solar-powered parties in a playful but luxury setting. The Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya answered the call like a natural, living up to its rock credentials.

Week two in Cancun required a change in tempo: privacy, peace and a reclaiming of the soul. Where better than the AAA Five Diamond awarded Secrets Maroma Beach in Riviera Cancun? A blissful recovery on a gold platter - around 45 minutes from the Hard Rock.

 

Hard Rock Hotel (HRH)

A 45-50 minute transfer from Cancun International airport, HRH played to our strengths with its ‘resort within a resort’ concept. The family-friendly Hacienda setting offered a hard-play edge of live music shows and beach frolics while the Heaven complex embraced a more refined adults-only isolation. Combined, the 1,264-room hotel feels vast as evidenced by the scurrying of transfer buggys across the lush palm-lined site.

Adult guests at either resort can wander across to use facilities at either Heaven or Hacienda. Stop press: HRH has announced that from the end of March 2018 Heaven will be managed as a family hotel so it’ll no longer be kids-free.

 

Themes

 

 

The HRH mantra is ‘undeniable excess at every turn’ and the pioneers of excess loom large here. Jimi Hendrix, Bowie, Prince and other legends added a supernatural tinge to the stay, looking down from huge monochrome portraits. Jim Morrison (above) held court in the Hacienda’s Sun Bar, his hair a montage of vinyl records. Elsewhere, Aerosmith’s drum kit and all manner of artist personal effects in display cabinets, persistent  reminders of why this place is called Hard Rock.

 

All-inclusive

It really is - even down to ordering room service. So enjoy the indulgence of ordering up tea and coffee first thing, despite having a perfectly good coffee machine in your suite. The array of restaurants form part of the package too. Neither will you need to pack your favourite duty-free tipple; all top shelf drinks are complimentary as is the mini bar. Where things do cost, such as spa treatments, your complimentary resort credits will offer discounts.

 

Rooms

 

The Bret Michael's Rock Star Suite

 

All rooms are well-appointed with hydro spa tubs, a private balcony/terrace with hammocks and complimentary wi-fi throughout. Views range from garden to the panorama of the Caribbean sea with first-quarter prices starting from circa $300 a night to $2,000 a night for the apex experience.

Upgrade to Rock Royalty status and the fun really starts with VIP pool area and your own personal assistant.

The two-bedroom Rock Star Suite (4991 sq ft) and the Rock Suite Platinum Rooftop Lounge (5,166 sq ft) raise the pinnacles of luxury to levels that bona fide A-listers would surely approve of.

Service is willing and warm, on a par with Asian service, across the board.

 

Beaches & Pools

HRH claims a private white sand beach and invites snorkel and kayak fans alike.

If the beach is your priority we’d suggest spending more time at Secrets Maroma Beach which was more expansive and less busy. At HRH we just missed the 'Spring Break' when hordes of N. Americans fly over to boost the fun.

For adults only, the Central Pool at Heaven is just the ticket for sun, lounge, or cool off with an abundance of cocktails. There’s also a semi Olympic pool, cross current rhythm pool - and, of course, the crystalline Caribbean!

  

Restaurants & Bars

 

 

Hacienda offers seven restaurants including à la carte Asian dishes at Zen, Brazil’s best at Ipanema and hot Mexican at Frida. Caffeto is great for an early pastry breakfast or a late baguette grab. Over at Heaven head to Toro for a rich steak, Le Petit Cochon for French à la carte and Ciao for Italian among the five dining areas.   

For drinks, settle down at Heaven’s Martini Bar or the Sun Bar at Hacienda while Float bar invites the pool. At nightclub Club Heaven, live DJs starts the party around 11pm and take it into the early hours.   

 

Rock Spa

 

 

HRH boasts the largest spa in the Caribbean with 75 treatment rooms. On offer is everything from steam rooms to hydrotherapy current pools. The surroundings are among the most lavish we’ve seen and the view from the pools is inspirational. There’s even a yoga temple!

 

Weather

What's to say? The odd peppering of rainfall in the early hours but every day blazing with sun and skirting 30 degrees. Autumn tends to see the rain.

 

Out and about

Popular excursions range from the Mayan history site of Chichén Itzá to water park fun at Xcaret. Nightclubbers, make  your way to Coco Bongo though the in-house club at Heaven got full and fun too.  Amstar is the local excursion agency of choice but bookings can also be made via the hotel concierge. 

Flying out

UK operators British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook will get you out there in around 11 hours non-stop.

 

To follow: Secrets Maroma Beach reviewed…

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Fab Baker Bros Barbecue All Four Seasons

ALGARVE - Four Seasons Fairways and British TV chefs Tom and Henry Herbert have united to extend the barbecue season. Lucy Kale

The chefs, better known as The Fabulous Baker Brothers, have created a set of ‘WinterGrill Recipe Cards’ with unique recipes for guests of Four Seasons Fairways. The Brothers will also be on site at Four Seasons Fairways in Portugal to host a BBQ Masterclass and small BBQ classes at Four Seasons Fairways from 20 – 23rd February 2018.

This should encourage guests to make good use of the kitchens and bespoke BBQ stations installed in Fairways’ 132 private villas. Four Seasons Fairways lies in Quinta Do Lago and is blessed with Algarve’s year-round sunshine, making al fresco dining a real hit. Guests at the villas can take advantage of either private pools or Jacuzzis.

By April 2018 a €2M refurbishment will have updated Four Seasons Fairways’ clubhouse and central pool, encompassing the resort’s restaurants, bar, pool area and public spaces.

The combination of the venue, family and WinterGrill is a cheery prospect for Henry Herbert who said: “We are already both planning trips back with our families next spring and will be there in February to host our BBQ masterclass.”

The introduction of WinterGrill also ties in perfectly with our #lifeatfairwayscampaign, sharing what life is like in and around our resort,” added Jorge Oliveira, GM, Four Seasons Fairways.

 

See the recipe tutorial - Recipe 1/5: Trouserless Sizzling Prawns

Click the pic...

 

 

BBQ Masterclass week package

(arrivals 16th or 17th February 2018 for 1 week): €1490 

 Four Seasons Fairways tell us this is this package includes:

  • Accommodation for up to 4 guests sharing a villa/apartment
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • BBQ Masterclass event with Tom & Henry (includes the bbq lunch for 4 guests)
  • Return transfers from and to Faro airport

 Price is valid for 4 guests sharing (€ 372.50 per person for the week)

www.fourseasonsfairways.com/winter-grill

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Hard Rock Plans Davos Hotel

DAVOS - Hard Rock International is expanding its hotel portfolio to the Swiss Alps with plans to open Hard Rock Hotel Davos. Chris Page

December 2017 is the anticipated opening date which will see the transformation the 130-year-old building which houses the recently renovated Spenglers Hotel. Hard Rock Hotel Davos honours  Dr. Alexander Spengler and Willem Jan Holsboer both pioneers in medicine and rail engineering,  respectively.

The historic luxury boutique hotel will continue to celebrate its musical moorings thanks to a team of design experts tasked to evolve the venue to the local music scene and the region’s art, style and culture.
“As Hard Rock continues to grow globally, the brand targets expansion in influential cities and
resort destinations around the world, especially in Europe,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of
hotels for Hard Rock International. “Famed for its pristine climate, cultural offerings and vibrant
entertainment scene, Davos is a distinguished destination that draws in tourists from all over.”

The Hard Rock Hotel Davos is situated in the heart of the town, providing easy access to
popular attractions, close to the train station and nearby boutiques and dining options. The hotel
is also walking distance from ski lifts and museums, as well as the city’s convention centre.

 “We are very pleased to welcome the Hard Rock Hotel team in Davos,” said Alessandro Lardi,
president of the board of collaborator International Hospitality Service AG. “The high calibre of the Hard Rock International brand ensures that both Spenglers Hotel and Holsboer Residences – soon to run under the Hard Rock brand – will benefit from the professional expertise and unique music solutions that Hard Rock International offers, combined with style and the region’s culture.”

Andrey Yakunin, co-founder of VIYM, financial and hospitality consult on the deal,
added, “As a hospitality investor with a long-standing track record, I believe Davos provides unique
opportunities for both hoteliers and tourists, as it has a lot to offer to its business and leisure guests in any given season. Therefore, on behalf of our investors in this hospitality asset, I trust this franchise will allow both IHS and Hard Rock International to build a successful and profitable resort, attractive to new guests, including those already loyal to the Hard Rock brand.”

Hard Rock Hotel Davos will feature 111 lavishly redesigned rooms, including 31 serviced one to three bedroom apartments. In addition to three conference rooms for dynamic meeting space, an on-site, historic chapel will also be available for booking, containing a modern sound system, natural acoustics, fully functioning organ and adaptable lighting, ideal for banquets, weddings, private concerts and events.

The restaurant will provide a high-end lobby bar and sophisticated private bar, perfect for private dining and tastings. The hotel will also feature an exclusive rooftop bar for panoramic
360-degree views of the mountains and city.

Guests can enjoy signature brand offerings including The Sound of Your Stay® music amenity program with complimentary vinyl players and records or rock out on a Fender guitar during an in-room jam session, complete with an amp and head phones. Additionally, the property will boast a wellness centre, including a Body Rock® workout facility and a Rock Spa®, complete with the music-infused Rhythm & Motion spa menu, five treatment rooms and a yoga studio.

See: www.hardrockhotels.com.

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Mooring in Mauritius - Review

 

When a country runs at a winter temperature of 24°C you know that its hospitality is also going to be warm. In Mauritius, the hospitality fair sizzles whatever the season, as Sat Bal discovered.  Read more

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Savills - Euro Travel Megatrends Report

 

Global property expert Savills has launched a report which identifies the key trends expected to drive the travel sector by 2030. Abigail Parkin

Its European Hotels Megatrends report predicts that Europe will continue to be the preferred destination for a rising number of ‘silver’ travellers from the EU, Asia and Middle East. These travellers will belie age to opt for more active and sporty getaways by 2030 - in common with younger travellers seeking the same pursuits.

The report sees single holidaymakers across all generations forming a larger share of travellers who will want to meet like-minded people. This is expected to put the onus on hotels to be more accommodating of solo  travellers. It’s partially driven by future traveller confidence in digital connectivity, giving rise to more obscure alternatives in location choice.

Social media will further fuel holidays that allow travellers to “access the inaccessible”. The report goes on to claim that with no new destinations by 2030, travellers will find creative spots that impress their social media followers. It appears that the reward will lie in the risk of uncharted destinations.

Hotel trends are forecast as including facial recognition software across venues to target business travellers, speeding up check-in. Lobbies will offer large, elaborate work/social spaces, with extended food and drink options, as hotels compete with serviced office providers. Also 3D motion technology will allow travellers real-time interaction with colleagues in “immersive” environments. Technology will personalise hotel stays with guests being greeted by their favourite film on TV and their chosen lighting levels as the hotel industry competes with home-sharing platforms.

Ecotourism is expected to rule life by 2030 but without compromising traveller comfort so hotels will need to demonstrate how they minimise their carbon footprint and use fair trade products and support local communities.

George Nicholas, global head of hotels at Savills, said: “Young travellers prioritise ‘experience’ and creating bespoke trips to maximise their leisure time, making them dubious of impersonal hotels and of following well-trodden tourist trails. Alongside this you have the already well-travelled baby boomers who are not willing to compromise on comfort or experience as they grow older. Hotels therefore will need to focus on what they can provide that is truly unique and how they can tailor and personalise their offer, be that for a 22 year old single traveller or a 65 year old couple, to continue to capture their custom in 2030.”

 

 

 

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48 hours in…Sardinia

 

When Delphina Hotels & Resorts challenged us with its motto “5 stelle in libertà” (5-star in total freedom) it was time to pack the Birkenstocks and put Sardinian luxury to the test. From the glamour of Costa Smeralda to the history of Isola Rossa and Badesi, only a two-hour flight lay between London and “libertà” in the crystal waters and white beaches of northern Sardinia. Sat Bal  Read more

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Namaste, Oberoi...

oberoi-india

With 30 luxury hotels to its name The Oberoi Group knows a thing or two about Indian hospitality. Oberoi is now honouring guests booked into its exclusive suites with regal style, from landing at the airport to arrival at their luxurious suites. Sat Bal  

A traditional Indian-style welcome greets guests at the Presidential and Kohinoor suites at The Oberoi, Mumbai; The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur.

Expect to be greeted at the airport and whisked away by your chauffeur for the placing of a sandalwood paste Tikka on your forehead, accompanied by a floral garland around your shoulders. At The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur guests will receive an extra special welcome of a rose petal shower.

So, where to go… 

 

The Presidential Suite at The Oberoi, Mumbai

oberoi-mumbai

Here the Presidential Suite offers  2,056 square feet of luxury. It includes a dining area, two lounge spaces, white marble bathroom and pantry and also features a personal fitness machine, brass telescope, five televisions, grand piano and separate butler’s entrance. It commands panoramic views of the ocean and the Queen’s Necklace – the golden crescent of lights that shine the shoreline.

Stylish in-suite dining with bespoke menus is available, along with private sundowners accompanied by a pianist, as well access to Capital O, an exclusive lounge and bar in the hotel.

Elsewhere, guests can explore Mumbai’s rich colonial history and architecture on a guided tour of the Jehangir Art Gallery, Rajaghai Tower and more. Mumbai’s art quarter can be experienced through the ‘Art Kaleidoscope’ tour will take guests to the Kala Ghoda art quarter.

The Presidential Suite starts from 900,000 INR (approximately £10,490) per night

 

The Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

oberoi-amarvilas

When you’ve cast off the welcome arrival shower of rose petals enjoy instant views of the Taj Mahal from The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, located just 600 metres away from the iconic monument. Mirrored in elements of the Taj Mahal’s Mughal splendour is The Kohinoor Suite, made up of a living room, master bedroom, dining room and private terrace, which offers panoramic views of the Taj Mahal from dawn to dusk. The enchanting suite is adorned with white marble elephants which glow under the golden domed ceilings and mirrored walls, bringing the romance of the outside in.

The Kohinoor Suite start from 900,000 INR (approximately £10,490) per night

 

The Kohinoor Villa at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

oberoi-rajvilas-jaipur

 

Explore the ‘Pink City’ and capital of Rajasthan in your very own hideaway at The Oberoi Rajvilas. The resort is set in an oasis of landscaped gardens filled with exotic birdlife and centred around an 18th century Shiva temple and Haveli (mansion). The hotel offers guests the opportunity to find peace and serenity through chanting with a Hindu priest, mediation and morning yoga. Those looking for ultimate indulgence can book the Kohinoor Villa, located in a discreet enclosure and made up of three buildings featuring a private garden, 20-metre pool and dining pavilion. The two en suite bedrooms feature sunken, white marble bathtubs overlooking the private gardens.

The Kohinoor Villa starts from 900,000 INR (approximately £10,490) per night

 

The Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

oberoi-udaivilas

The ‘City of Lakes’, Udaipur, makes guests feel part of the history at The Oberoi Udaivilas, on the bank of Lake Pichola and sitting on the 200 year-old hunting grounds. As a guest of the Kohinoor Suite, arrive at the hotel jetty, board the hotel boat and sip Chai tea as you sail across the lake to your accommodation.

The Oberoi Udaivilas offers spectacular views across the greenery, sparkling lake and 20-acre wildlife sanctuary with deer and wild boar. The Kohinoor Suite is accessed through a sunlit courtyard and features two bedrooms, dining room, living room, powder room, private pool and dining terrace. Classical Indian décor adorns the suite including gold domed ceilings, elaborate mirror mosaics and hand carved privacy screens, giving guests a taste of traditional Indian home life. Enjoy sundowners by the pool and alfresco dinner accompanied by folk music on the pavilion.

The Kohinoor Suite starts from 950,000 INR (approximately £10,991) per night

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Mandarin Fan Club

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, Reveals 'Our Fans' By Sir Peter Blake

Leading art figure Sir Peter Blake has been commissioned by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group  to create a striking collage which will cover the façade of its Hyde Park, London hotel during part of the hotel’s comprehensive phased renovation. Sat Bal

The immense collage entitled Our Fans, has been created to provide an eye-catching diversion along Knightsbridge. Our Fans, the largest artwork Sir Peter Blake has ever created, is a collage of 100 prominent faces, from Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren to Joanna Lumley and Jenny Packham. All are regular guests at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London as well as fans of the Group’s hotels around the world.

 “Some of my first works were collages of crowds of people; this piece is in the spirit of The Beatles 1967 Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album,” said Sir Peter Blake, the artist responsible for this iconic album cover. It is therefore entirely apt that Sir Paul McCartney and fellow Beatles' bandmate Ringo Starr should feature in the poster, during the 50th anniversary of the album.

“This artwork was very different to my usual way of working”, he said. “A collage is very time consuming and laborious, but this was more a matter of arranging the figures and making them work together - making sure no one had a cut-off shoulder or missing legs - that’s the skill of it. It was an amazing project to work on. Hopefully, people passing by will try to spot celebrities they recognize,” he added.

Displayed prominently on the front of the building, this striking work is a visual treat. “We are delighted to showcase this original piece by such a talented artist in London, the home of our European flagship hotel,” said Jill Kluge, Mandarin Oriental’s group director of brand communications. “ [It] is part of the fabric of London life, and this exciting renovation project is designed to confirm it as one of the leading luxury hotels in the world. Sir Peter Blake’s artistic masterpiece not only pays tribute to the city, but also celebrates the Group’s global reach, in a truly original way,” she added.

Mandarin Oriental’s creative advertising agency, LONDON advertising, created the concept of the poster, and interviewed Sir Peter Blake about this project. Click here to view the interview.

 

Click the title to see our Hong Kong piece :

 

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong – Review

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Hidden Escapes

Six Senses Krabey Island3_hires

 

Travellers who enjoy crafted luxury in unusual holiday locales should take a look at Cambodia and neighbouring areas for lavish openings in 2017

 

Where?

Krabey Island (above), Cambodia and operated by Six Senses.

 What’s on offer?

Six Senses Krabey Island is scheduled to premier in 2017

40 pool villas set around the naturally landscaped 30-acre island.

All villas comprise a living room, master bedroom, ensuite and private plunge pool

Retreat and Reserve villa categories will even offer mini wine cellars.

Indochine will be the resort’s specialty dining restaurant, which will include a communal dining table in front of the show kitchen.

Activities

Hands-on cooking classes will introduce budding chefs to Indochine-inspired cuisine.

The Six Senses Spa includes ancient Cambodian healing traditions, Six Senses Integrative Wellness, detox, yoga and workshops. Alternative treatments, a spa library and juice bar incorporating the island’s fruits and herbs.

A poolside outdoor cinema plays films and plans include an observatory stargazing sessions with expert talks on the universe.

 Alila villas 

Where?

Alila Villas Koh Russey launches early 2017 on the south coast of Sihanoukville.

 

What’s on offer?

 Sought-after white sand beaches, pristine waters, lush tropical scenery and seclusion. Featuring 48 hotels suites, a beachfront swimming pool, five-star restaurant dining, kids’ club and fitness centre.

 

Where?

Early 2017 sees Rosewood Hotels & Resorts bringing a new hotel to the tallest building in Phnom Penh, the Vattanac Capital Tower One.

What’s on offer?

The new hotel will have 148 rooms and suites and 27 luxury serviced residences for long-stay visitors. Views across the city and the fabled Mekong River. Dining options will include a sophisticated bistro, lobby lounge, two specialty restaurants and a sky bar complete with cantilevered terrace. Also to feature a Sense spa.

 

Dok Keow - Elephant

 

Where?

Laos - boating luxury with the Dok Keow.

What’s on offer?

One of Laos’ most luxurious boats, the Dok Keow is ready to cruise the Mekong in style, privacy and comfort. The 28-metre wooden river boat has been crafted to the highest specifications with a large lounge and dining area. Board this year for fine cuisine and cocktails amid the river views before returning to Luang Prabang.

 

Where?

Cambodia’s Angkor Wat brings private tours with leading academic Dr Damien Evans, unavailable to the public.

What’s on offer?

Villa Chandara Siem Reap's first experiential dining venue. Transport to the villa begins by private car and continue on a traditional wooden boat across a 1,000-year-old reservoir to reach the villa. Exotic Khmer cuisine is prepared by a leading local chef.     

 

Luxury travel operator Scott Dunn offers the above and more. Ten-night bespoke Cambodia itineraries from £2,500 per person. This is based on a couple sharing and includes all accommodation, selected experiences, return flights and private transfers.    

Scott Dunn offers a nine night ‘Highlights of Laos’ itinerary from £2,700 per person. This is based on a couple sharing and includes all accommodation, range of experiences, return flights and private transfers.  

  For more experiences see www.scottdunn.com 

 

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