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Seven hotel restaurants, seven set menus at an affordable price. Sounds like a decent challenge? Then make your way to Bangkok, where seven downtown hotels are taking part in the Taste It All festival.
Taste It All is an annual festival, that used to take place on just one day, but this year – with “Imperial Delight” as the theme – it has been extended through 30 November.
The seven restaurants taking part are:
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While we’ve struggled on the holiday cheer front so far, a few minutes in the lobby of the hotel on Brook Street may have managed to help even us get into that festive feeling. The 8-metre tall tree is the centerpiece of the decoration throughout the lobby and public spaces, which, together with candles here and there and soft lighting, is hard to resist for even the most cynical of spirits.
Creating a new hotel in a listed building in a centuries-old setting like Bath isn’t an easy task. Throw in the addition of a new wing and direct access to the original Roman thermal springs, and you’re looking at one thing: a delayed opening.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, which we first talked about just over three years ago, was meant to open earlier this year, but we now understand it will arrive in “spring 2015”. While we wait, there are some beautiful renderings on the hotel website to explore, starting with the above of “Spa Village Bath”, where you will start your visit “with a circuit that includes dipping in three natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, traditional and infrared saunas, steam room, an ice chamber and elegant relaxation areas”. It does look rather spectacular, doesn’t it?
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Back in April, Four Seasons Hotels announced their own branded 757 private jet with three exquisite journeys beginning in February. But in case you didn't make enough money this year to afford one of the $100,000+ flights, which also include accommodations, meals, excursions and ground transportations, there's always 2016.
Four Seasons has announced their 2016 journeys, starting at $100,000. They are:
· Timeless Discoveries: An Around the World Journey: January 26 - February 18. USD $125,000. Flies to Los Angeles, Kona, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Chiang Mai, Taj Mahal and Mumbai, Prague, and London
· International Intrigue: An Around the World Journey: April 14 - May 7. USD $125,000. Flies to Seattle, Tokyo, Beijing, Maldives , Serengeti, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Marrakech and Boston
· Extraordinary Adventures: An Around the World Journey: September 17 - October 11. USD $130,000. Flies to Austin, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Sydney, Langkawi, Mauritius, Serengeti, Petra and the Dead Sea and Lisbon.
· Cultural Escape: Europe, Middle East and Africa: November 4 - 22. USD $100,000. Flies to London, Petra and the Dead Sea, Dubai, Seychelles, Serengeti, Florence and London.
[Photo: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts]
We feel so much better now! Forget the disappointing images from inside St. Regis San Clemente Palace in Venice; we finally have some renderings that show what the hotel will look like following its €25 million renovation.
Gone are the golden-hued walls, the dark wood, and, most importantly, that wonky bed skirt. Instead, we have much lighter décor, a purely white bed, a beautiful coffee table, and a few pops of blue in the furniture and pillow. The Grand Deluxe room above has a low headboard and statement mirror, while the one below goes for something with a bit more flourish and replaces the blue accents with green.
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We may have known that The Lanesborough London was going for a full-scale renovation (including auctioning off all furniture and trinkets from inside the hotel), but in a surprising twist on the road to its reopening next year, it will no longer be a St. Regis Hotel, but become part of the super-posh Oetker Collection instead.
That means a whole range of things: an exit for St. Regis from the London market, Starwood being one property down (Luxury Collection’s Park Tower is a few minutes west, Sheraton Park Lane a few minutes east), and Oetker Collection debuting another major capital property in addition to its Parisian palace Le Bristol (the seven other hotels lean towards resorts, like the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc).
Along with the announcement, we have a first glimpse of the Albert Pinto-designed interiors, with a rendering of a suite above. While brand new, the interiors look to stay true to the Regency era the hotel took its design cues from before. The suite brings in red / burgundy tones, while a room rendering below goes for a warm green.
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There are many reasons why we’d recommend a trip to Tanzania: the scenery, the wildlife, the outdoor showers, we could go on. And if a trip in your eyes is only complete if it includes some beach time, then the island of Zanzibar (technically an archipelago) is only a short flight away.
From early next year, you can stay at the new Park Hyatt Zanzibar, right on the beach in Stone Town, the historic centre of Zanzibar City. Above a rendering of the 67-room hotel, but you can spy a real-life snap on the hotel’s Facebook page.
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It sounds like the best idea ever – a 19th century “sea fort” in the Solent, off England’s Isle of Wight, being transformed into a “luxury citadel on the sea” (AKA a 22-room hotel). But you’ll have to wait to see whether it’s as good as it sounds, because No Man’s Fort failed to open last week as scheduled, and has failed to provide a new date.
The ‘citadel in the sea’ is set to have 22 bedrooms, a museum, cabaret club, spa, laser quest arena, rooftop garden and pool, and two helicopter pads (for just 22 bedrooms, you can see who they’re aiming at). There’s not much about the rooms, yet, other than a few photos on the website, but we’d imagine they’ll be suitably luxurious.
The fort once housed soldiers, and was then turned into a luxury property – but this is the third sea fort for new owners Clarenco. Or rather, it will be once it opens – according to the BBC, there’s not yet any furniture in the hotel, due to “issues with construction of the landing stage”.
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Now that One&Only Hayman Island is up and running (the $80 million renovation wrapped up this summer), the brand is moving on to add another Australian property to its portfolio: it will manage Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa for owner Emirates from early next year.
Yes, that is Emirates as in the airline, with the hotel officially becoming Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. A few hours’ drive northwest of Sydney, Wolgan Valley lies within the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, built around an 1832 Heritage Homestead. There are 40 freestanding suites, each with private pool and outdoor terrace.
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Verdura Resort in Sicily
We knew a couple of months ago that Rocco Forte was sniffing around Venice, but plans really are coming to fruition now. Last week, it was announced that Forte is getting a $95m cash injection from Italian investors (in return for 23 percent of the company) – which he’ll use to open hotels in Venice, Milan, Naples (YES) and Sicily.
It gets better. In an upbeat interview with Il Giornale, in which he says that luxury travel will save Italy's economy, Forte said this:
We want to create a network of uber-luxury hotels in Italy – one that’ll be capable of attracting travellers wanting to rediscover the Grand Tour, that was so tantalizing to the aristocrats of the 18th and 19th centuries.
According to Forte, they’re currently sifting through potential sites in Venice, Milan and Naples. He is also “convinced of the unexplored potential of Sicily” (where they already have one resort outside, Verdura, in Sciacca). Taormina or Siracuse are on the hitlist there. Paris, New York, Moscow and the Middle East are priorities after Italy.
That’s an additional 125 hotels where you can get online without incurring an annoying daily fee, ranging from an historic palace in Jaipur (above Rambagh Palace) to the Pierre in New York. The change covers Taj Hotels, Vivanta by Taj, Gateway Hotels, and Ginger, for the duration of your stay on up to three devices.
The set up sounds very much like what we’ve seen at Four Seasons, with basic internet for emails, social media, and surfing the web included. If you need higher bandwidth, or want to connect further devices, you can upgrade to a “premium tier” for a fee.
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We are, of course, spa fanatics at HotelChatter, but if we had to pick just one skincare brand that we would chase to the ends of the earth, it'd almost certainly be Ila, a supremely decadent UK brand that calls itself "beyond organic" because it really is something more than a box-ticking exercise - it uses "wild-harvested" biodynamic ingredients from artisan sources around the globe, and Ila products are genuinely unlike any you've used before.
Ila has been hovering around hotel spa land for a couple of years now, but it has just opened its first standalone spa - or Ila Only, as it calls it - at Raas in Jodhpur, India. Treatments are pretty affordable, starting from 2800INR, or $46. Oh, and the treatment rooms look divine.