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Mauritius Cleared For Holidays

MAURITIUS Its government has removed sanitary containment and cleared the way for visits to Mauritius. Lucy Reid 

Mauritius is now preparing for its first visitors since the virus prompted strict containment measures and gradual border closures. It’s reported that no local instances of Covid-19 have been recorded since April 26th.

It cites the backing of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the implementation of compulsory measures undertaken by the Tourism Authority of Mauritius in its readiness to open the Indian Ocean’s most popular tourist destination.

Click our Mauritius review:   

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British Airways Boosts Holiday Flights

LONDON British Airways is to increase its flight frequency for holiday spots from Gatwick. Mick Hyare

Cancun, St Lucia and Cape Town are set for extra flights this winter in a rostering that offers nine weekly flights to St Lucia, with extra services on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

This follows news that Virgin Atlantic is dropping St Lucia from its Gatwick schedule in June after some 20 years.

From December, British Airways will also boost its LGW-Cancun route with an extra weekly Sunday flight, taking the total to six per week.

From 10 January 2021, there will also be two extra flights a week to Cape Town making it a total of 19 from London.

Adam Carson, British Airways’ MD at Gatwick, said: “We know our customers crave some winter warmth as these are incredibly popular destinations. To make it even easier to get there we’re increasing the number of flights to St Lucia, Cancun and Cape Town from London Gatwick and we’ve put them on days that work well to maximise travellers’ time and annual leave.”

Our review: Hard Rock Resort in Cancun
...and Secrets Maroma Beach, Cancun
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Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

PARIS The change of season and the end of last year's yellow vest protests made Paris a perfect weekend prospect - especially when the stay was at the exclusive Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal.  Sat Bal

The hotel is more intimate than its name suggests: 57 rooms and 11 suites set in imposing 18th-century architecture. Apt too that the hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group which itself features over 500 small, but perfectly formed, boutique venues around the world.

PURPOSE

A weekend of partying. Where better to disport ourselves than the Panoramic Suite? The most luxurious suite in this maison took up the strain with panache. Its versatility also makes it ideal for business stays and families.

LOCATION

Very Paris, but located away from the noisy bustle thanks to the hotel’s position by the neighbouring gardens of Palais Royal. Yet the Louvre, Place Vendôme and Palais Garner are an easy stroll away.

DESIGN

This elegant five-star hotel was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon whose design portfolio includes the likes of the Four Seasons Hotel George V and the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris. The artwork is imposing on arrival into the lobby where Hellenistic sculptures add to the guest greeting. Hangings and fabrics come from the expertise of Pierre Frey with furnishings by Philippe Hurel and lighting by Delisle.

PANORAMIC SUITE

This is the best suite in the house, edging past the Royal Suite, and was the perfect venue for our party stay. Its exclusivity was made immediately obvious by our own private elevator which whisked us to the seventh floor.

The first real impression was made on the terrace outside the suite. With the Eiffel Tower clearly visible to the left of us and the Louvre and Palais Royal gardens in our sights, the Panoramic Suite certainly lived up to its name! The Palace of Versailles might have been out of our panorama but the "Sun King" feel prevailed nonetheless.

The usual guest view from the seventh floor - avec Eiffel Tower

We made instant use of the expansive terrace which was flooded by sun and, soon enough, with bottles of France’s best. Nearly 300 sq ft of space and an assortment of loungers, tables and chairs easily held 15 people here. Let the party commence!

Our view from our seventh floor terrace - Vive la France!

The feeling of seclusion and privacy here meant that there we no qualms about plugging in sound systems unintrusively.

The Panoramic Suite also features a private dining room in the lounge area and king beds beyond for when sleep becomes a necessity.

It has to be said that the circa £3,500-plus that secured this suite over the weekend will get you ‘Paris space’ ie. more compact than apex suites in other cities and the Panoramic will thus only sleep two adults and two kids. The rest of the rooms in the hotel follow suit with Paris space and start at around £350. Yet the upside is that all rooms, suites and leisure spaces come with a finesse that is unequivocally…Paris.

As if to emphasise the sunny day, shafts of daylight set the marble bathroom aglow, amply furnished with double sink, bath and shower in the Panoramic.

STAFF AND SERVICE

The lounge bar

Staff joyfully aided and abetted our seventh-floor shenanigans, encouraging us Brits to make merry. The warmth and courtesy percolated down to the lobby. Special mention must also be made of Leon, the French-sounding Englishman, who presided over the intimate hotel lounge bar and swapped tales of Birmingham and tricks with gin.

Le Lulli restaurant is headed by Jean-Baptiste Orieux whose exquisite dishes are made from local and seasonal ingredients.   

Elsewhere, Wi-Fi comes free and accomplished ‘Clefs d’or’ concierge caters for all whims. There’s also a Carita spa, Turkish bath and fitness centre. There are also special services for families and children.

GRAND HÔTEL DU PALAIS ROYAL

4 rue de Valois, Paris, FR, 75001

33-142-961535

www.grandhoteldupalaisroyal.com

www.slh.com

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Screen Actors Guild Awards

LOS ANGELES It was all smiles at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards with a roll call of Hollywood names in attendance at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020. Laura Booth

Brad Pitt and former wife Jennifer Aniston (below) crossed paths, and smiles, backstage after winning awards. He: best supporting actor for his part as a stuntman in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. She: best actress in The Morning Show.

Wifey opts for vintage Dior by John Galliano

Briton, Phobe Waller-Bridge also toasted success in LA with best actress in for Fleabag.

But it was South Korean film Parasite that happily confounded pundits by winning the best ensemble cast award, ahead of Hollywood's biggest stars. Its SAG award sets it up as a big prospect for the Oscars next month.

(L-R) Meryl Streep (standing), Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern (standing)

Picking up his statuette, Brad Pitt joshed that he would have to update his Tinder profile with news of his SAG Award. Of his role as Cliff Booth he joked: 'It was a difficult part - a guy who takes his shirt off, gets high and doesn't get on with his wife. It was a big stretch...'

(L-R) Margot Robbie, Zoë Kravitz, Meryl Streep, and Charlize Theron

Best supporting actress went to Laura Dern for Marriage Story putting her in pole position for an Oscar. Scarlett Johansson (below) shimmered in a teal Armani Privé gown for her outstanding female actor in a leading role award in Marriage Story.

Elsewhere, Peter Dinklage was crowned best actor in a drama series for Game of Thrones, while Tony Shalhoub won best actor in a comedy series for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

The Irishman star Robert De Niro picked up lifetime achievement award and picked up the rhetoric on Donald Trump's 'blatant misuse of power' adding, 'But we're in such a dire situation and it's so deeply concerning to me and so many others, I have to say something. '

Robert De Niro accepts the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award from Leonardo DiCaprio

... and gets congratulated by old pal Al Pacino

Renée Zellweger (best actress) wears Maison Margiela with Jennifer Lopez in a Georges Hobeika black gown - and $9 million of Harry Winston jewellery inc 73.55 carat (count 'em!) diamond necklace set in platinum

Cliff Booth and Leonardo DiCaprio, maybe

Charlize Theron and Quentin Tarantino. Definitely

Pics : Getty Images

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Rebel Way Secures $50M Financing

LOS ANGELES Rebel Way Entertainment made its financing announcement to herald the launch of the production company by the Globus father and son team. Mick Hyare

Producer and distributor Yoram Globus (pictured), former president of MGM and The Cannon Group, and son Ori have the thriller ‘Tension’ in production now. The film has been written by Scott Milam and directed by the SAW horror franchise director Darren Lynn Bousman.

Yoram Globus has famously empowered names such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, among many others. His films are household title with a roll-call including ‘Barfly’, ‘Runaway Train’ and ‘Superman IV’. Ori Globus joined his father inThe Globus Group’s production and distribution division and led Rebel Way Entertainment’s financing, slate, and talent signing. 

Tension, the film, is based on a live theatre immersive adventure called Tension Experience and follows the misfortunes of four friends in a game that goes wrong during an extreme immersive Halloween horror experience.  

Other Rebel Way projects include ‘The Boxer’, a film based on the novel ‘The Boxer's Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps,’ a true story written by Nathan Shapow, Bob Harris and Mike Shapow.

Another true story feature film is also being adapted from ‘The Shadow of Truth’ documentary currently airing on Netflix, written by Ari Pines and Yotam Guendelman while ‘The Mark’ features a female-led cast and is set in a juvenile detention center.

‘Tarot’, ‘VR’ and ‘Reincarnation’ also join the development slate.  

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Kayls Debuts Single

LOS ANGELES ‘Drive Away’ is the debut single released today by Indie pop artist Kayls. And it’s here, below, for the delectation of our UK/Euro listeners.

Think shimmering pool lights, post-midnight trips in Ferraris across the Pacific Coast Highway , heartbreak and muffins. The track, produced by Bambor Leany, trips with pop melodies and hallucinogenic rogue beats.

“I want songs to be fun and rebellious like stealing a neon orange Lambo on a Sunday afternoon to go eat strawberry ice cream in a lime silk gown,’ said the LA-based artist. ‘I think there’s a huge void in songs right now and I want to fill it with magic mushrooms, candied violet perfume and 808s.”

We’d go along with that!

Bambor Leany, one of the few female pop producers in the industry, threw in the creative aggression and escapism to take her paradigm into a supra-structure of song that shakes off the current.

Expect more from Kayls with an EP planned for release in 2020.

Kayls’ creative splurge sees her design all of her promo-wardrobe, including that in the song’s forthcoming video.”  She co-designed her gold and ruby mushroom jewellery with Vogue-featured Jonne Amaya. 

Hell, her grandfather even performed with Sonny & Cher and opened for Dolly Parton!

So, take a listen here …

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MTV AWARDS EMA IN SEVILLE

SEVILLE After flying to so many European cities for the MTV EMAs it was good to be in Seville for last night’s show. It was opened by omnipresent superstar Dua Lipa who led the way for a roll call of female award winners. Sat Bal

We watched as a huge yellow wall of dancers accompanied Dua Lipa in her debut global stage performance of “Don’t Start Now” at the show venue - the FIBES Conference & Exhibition Centre

Global Icons Green Day earlier played to thousands of hardcore fans in the legendary Plaza de España on Saturday night with an epic performance of their new single “Father of All” and punk classic “Basket Case.”

Dua Lipa opens the show

 “Best New” and “Best Push” nominee Mabel singing “Don’t Call Me Up.” The daughter of Neneh Cherry performed from atop a huge purple phone, complete with a solo dance break, lasers and violet lighting.

Surrounded by a cascade of lights, Niall Horan performed a dynamic version of “Nice to Meet Ya.”

MTV EMA Host Becky G teamed up with Akon for the first global performance of their  smash “Como No.” The duo rolled down the runway-like stage on gliding carnival floats.

Halsey's horseplay at EMA

Show host Becky G performed a medley of her hits surrounded by flames including “24/7,” “Sin Pijama” and “Mayores” on the stage, illuminated by glistening lasers and UV lighting.

Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X came away empty-handed, despite a clutch of  nominations.

Halsey lit up the EMA stage in her own “Halsey World” setting for an intimate version of “Graveyard,” setting fire to her carousel horse.

The singing sensation doubled as a fashion siren, sporting five looks over her successful night. Her fourth look, below, comprised a striking Zimmerman cropped shirt in artsy collage mash print and matching maxi skirt with side split. Metallic silver stilettos completed the ensemble.

Halsey might have exhibited confidence in wardrobe but was stunned to win Best Pop at the MTV EMAs over pop superstars such as Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.

She told us on collecting the gong: 'I don't know where to stand. I didn't think I was going to get this. I feel so lucky to be making pop music at a time where pop music is so special. There are so many different genres all blending together."

Local hero and global sensation Rosalía, accompanied by 52 dancers against a pyramid of red chairs, gave a powerful flamenco/hip-hop hybrid dance number to “Di Mi Nombre.”

Liam G gets Rock Icon

NCT 127, the first K-Pop group to perform on the global MTV stage, delivered an electrifying performance of their hit “Highway to Heaven.”

The first-ever MTV EMA Rock Icon winner Liam Gallagher closed the show with a breathtaking performance of his new single “Once” and anthemic hit “Wonderwall” complete with string instruments and a band.

His award acceptance comment was "to recognise MTV for recognising my brilliance."

Backed by an all-female orchestra, pop phenomenon Ava Max delivered a unique rendition of her global hits “Torn” leading into “Sweet but Psycho” that ran the length of the EMAs’ runway-style stage. 

FULL LIST OF “2019 MTV EMA” WINNERS

BEST VIDEO

Taylor Swift                                   

BEST ARTIST

*Shawn Mendes

BEST SONG

*Billie Eilish                                      

BEST COLLABORATION

*Rosalía, J Balvin                             

BEST NEW

*Billie Eilish

BEST POP

*Halsey

BEST LIVE

*BTS

BEST ROCK

*Green Day

BEST HIP-HOP

*Nicki Minaj

BEST ALTERNATIVE

*FKA Twigs

BEST ELECTRONIC

*Martin Garrix

BEST PUSH

*Ava Max

BEST WORLD STAGE

*Muse               Bilbao, Spain 2018

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Gulfstream G700 Takes Flight

GEORGIA The Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., this week announced the unveiling of its new flagship, the Gulfstream G700 claiming it's ‘the most spacious, best-performing aircraft in the business-jet industry.’ 

Chris Page

The G700 blends proven ultralong-range, speed and performance with flight-deck innovation and cutting-edge cabin creation to offer customers an unprecedented aircraft experience.

Gulfstream President Mark Burns revealed a full-scale mock-up of the G700 and showed a video of the aircraft taxiing under its own power at Gulfstream headquarters at the reveal in Savannah.

‘This announcement is the biggest news in business aviation history and is the result of the investments General Dynamics made to develop Gulfstream technology for Gulfstream products,’ said Burns. ‘Thanks to our nearly 18,000 employees around the world, the G700 is continuing a long Gulfstream tradition: raising the bar for ourselves and the industry.”

Gulfstream also announced Qatar Airways as the launch customer for its new private jet which has a purchase agreement of 10 new G700 jets for its charter service, Qatar Executive. List price per jet is $75 million.

 “We are excited to be the launch customer of the G700, the largest business jet in the industry, and are looking forward to the aircraft joining our fleet,” said His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar Airways. “Qatar Executive’s customers have extremely high standards, and this aircraft will help us meet their requirements by delivering unrivalled performance that complements our excellence in customer service.”

The G700 boasts business aviation’s largest cabin and can fly further faster than any competitor in the business jet industry. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the G700 can fly 7,500 nautical miles/13,890 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 6,400 nm/11,853 km at Mach 0.90.

It features the Gulfstream Symmetry Flight DeckTM with active control sidesticks and the most extensive use of touch-screen technology in the industry.

The G700 cabin offers an extra-large ‘ultragalley’ with lounge or crew compartment, up to five living areas and a large, bespoke master bedroom with en suite master bath. The aircraft also features an all-new, Gulfstream-developed revolutionary circadian lighting system that can recreate sunrise and sunset across time zones.

With 20 panoramic windows and the Gulfstream cabin environment of 100 percent fresh air, low cabin altitude and whisper-quiet sound levels, the G700 promotes in-flight wellness and greatly reduces the physical impact of traveling halfway around the world nonstop. 

Design Innovation

On board, passengers can also enjoy six-place dining or conference space. The Gulfstream ‘Cabin Experience’ promotes and enhances wellness through 20 Gulfstream panoramic oval windows, the largest in the industry; the industry’s lowest cabin altitude, 100 percent fresh air and a whisper-quiet cabin.

The aircraft introduces revolutionary benefits to business-jet travel with the most advanced circadian lighting system in aviation. The Gulfstream-developed technology recreates sunrise and sunset through thousands of white and amber LEDs, gently coaxing passengers into their new time zone and greatly reducing the physical impact of traveling halfway around the world nonstop.

Safety And Performance

The G700 features the award-winning Symmetry Flight Deck and other new safety advancements. Along with active-control sidesticks and the industry’s most extensive use of touch-screen technology, the flight deck also comes standard with another Gulfstream award-winner, the Predictive Landing Performance System.

The system gives pilots advanced warning of potential runway excursions so they can adjust approaches or go around. The G700 Symmetry Flight Deck also comes standard with Gulfstream’s Enhanced Flight Vision System and Synthetic Vision on dual head-up displays.

The aircraft offers excellent takeoff and landing performance and can operate easily at weight-restricted, short-runway and high-altitude airports.

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The London Wing

LONDON This week sees the opening of an exclusive women-only private members’ club. The Wing opens in Fitzrovia, a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus. Abigail Parkin  

It’s safe to assume that the London debut is highly anticipated given The Wing’s huge waiting lists in America where founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan located the club  in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston.  

The Wing London occupies a five-storey townhouse with interiors by in-house designer Laetitia Gorra. The Wing will provide a space for women to work, meet and socialise amid its pastel tones and hexagonal work tables. 

Given its pro-women concept the extensive library features female authors only and an all-women art gallery.

Brands are high-end with the beauty room stocked with Chanel products and a tea parlour offering Dashwood teas. The cafe and bar serves a menu devised by female chefs too.

There's also a checkerboard roof terrace from where guests can take a detached view of London's bustle. 

Founding members range from Emilia Clarke to Alexa Chung, so expect the  company to be of a certain calibre and creativity.  

The place to do so could be one of the club's many events. support groups for small business owners; business development and financial planning workshops; yoga classes with Jessica Skye; intros to coding and bike maintenance; and networking and community happy hours and breakfasts. 

Membership - from £170 a month or £1,836 a one year for one site

Full access membership - from £240 a month or £2592. 

See full specifics at  https://www.the-wing.com/spaces/london/

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Brad at Breitling Cinema

LOS ANGELES Guests received a surprised visitor at the Breitling Summit in Beverly Hills.

Screen icon Brad Pitt dropped in at the Breitling Summit in the Wetherly Garden of the Four Seasons Hotel LA at Beverly Hills.

Unknown to many attendees, Brad Pitt is a member of the Swiss watch brand’s Cinema Squad.

Earlier in the day, Breitling focused on its products, starting with the
launch of the new Avenger collection and also presented the Aviator 8
Mosquito watch honoring a truly unique and iconic piece of aviation history, the de Havilland Mosquito.

Breitling has redesigned the Avenger which joins two other collections – the Aviator 8 and the iconic Navitimer – in Breitling’s Air universe and marks an evolution of the brand’s pilot’s watches, once again confirming its status as the world’s leading manufacturer of aviation-related watches.

The Breitling Aviator 8 Mosquito recalls the design values of the onboard instruments designed by Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department and those of the Ref. 765 AVI – the Co-Pilot – whose bold look, rotating bezel, and impressive legibility with oversized Arabic numerals made it a favorite among aviators. 

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