The Peninsula Bangkok Rolls Out Cultural Activities Series

Peninsula Bangkok

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, The Peninsula Bangkok is rolling out a series of curated activities encompassing food and drink, markets, spirituality, wellness, culture and art.

Guests can admire local merchandise at the Tha Kha floating Thai market by wooden paddleboat and visit the Closing Parasol market, stocked with fresh local produce, or receive guided lessons on conservation of the mangroves. Then there’s mud-skiing on a long-tail boat and taking a bike tour that weaves through the crevices of the town, away from overrun tourist destinations; drinking craft beer, visiting coconut plantations, and experiencing Chinese shrines, street markets, and art stretching over 15km and 20km routes.

Guests also have the opportunity to experience Thai ancient culture, with Thai rituals of gifting food parcels to Buddhist monks known as Tak Bart, and receiving Buddha blessings in the Wat Arun temple; learning the art of ancient Sak Yant Tattooing; and making Thai flower garlands. For the health and wellness lovers, experience a Thai Wellness Journey and learn the art of beneficial herbs, energy lines and pressure points on a guided monk tour of a massage school, take part in sunrise yoga at the Gong Wu Shrine, the oldest in Thailand, and on the Bangkok Temple Tour learn the history and symbolism of Thai Buddhism architecture.

For the sport enthusiasts, available to guests is an hour-long private instruction session on the ancient martial art techniques of Muay Thai followed by steam room relaxation. Guests can also enjoy a trip to the Thai country golf club, a luxury 18-hole course.

Taking it up a notch, do some sight-seeing from the skies with a private helicopter tour over the City of Angels, embark on a round-trip private cruise on the River of Kings, and explore the ‘Venice of the East’ historical communities by boat through the inland canals. History buffs will relish a historical tour of the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya complete with a river cruise, or delving into the city culture with a street food night safari, the water festival of Songkran and light festival Krathong, to take place in November.

Crystal Cruises Introduces Combinable Itineraries

Crystal Cruises

The new Grand Journeys itineraries have been created to cater to the growing number of Crystal guests who tend to combine voyages and extend their cruise experience

Crystal Cruises is offering decidedly more choice than ever for luxury travellers as the company unveils dozens of new itineraries for 2020 aboard its award-winning ocean ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The collection of Grand Journeys itineraries is made up of expanded sailings that combine existing 2020 itineraries, allowing guests to curate adventures ranging from 14 to 57 days.

With multiple overnights offered on every extended voyage and nearly no repeating ports, guests can enjoy unique opportunities to explore multiple facets of the destinations they visit and the opportunity to further immerse themselves in the traditions and cultures of each one. Spanning the globe, these voyages cruise both iconic and remote destinations, from the Holy Land and Western and Northern Europe to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

Several Grand Journeys sailings even allow guests to explore multiple parts of the world over the course of one luxury holiday, including a 31-day sojourn that encompasses ports in Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Italian coast; a 49-day quest through the Greek Isles, Israel and the Middle East; and a 57-day route from the British Isles to the Amalfi Coast.

Other extended sailings offer enhanced, comprehensive travel through a singular region, allowing for in-depth exploration, as with a 25-day journey through Scandinavia during the Summer Solstice; an intensive 28-day voyage through the most legendary locales in the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Ionian seas; and a 30-day Far East holiday celebration through Southeast Asia, China and Singapore.

“The Grand Journeys speak directly to the desires of luxury travellers who seek beyond the parameters of a traditional cruise itinerary, as many of our Australian and New Zealand guests crave longer holidays abroad and deeper exploration of new places,” said  Karen Christensen, Crystal’s senior vice president and managing director, Australia & New Zealand. “Often, guests choose to combine voyages to extend their Crystal Experience. With this new collection, we have done the work for them by curating complementary itineraries that best showcase the world’s most fascinating locales.”

The Grand Journeys expanded sailings are now available to book, offering a 5% savings for the combined itineraries and enhancing the all-inclusive luxury of the Crystal Experience.

 

www.crystalcruises.com

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Opens Luxury Island Retreat in Vietnam

InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort Ombra and Oasis pool view
InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort Ombra and Oasis pool view

The sparkling new InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort is in a prime position on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve

Vietnam has welcomed its latest five-star hotel with the opening of the new InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort. Located on pristine Phu Quoc Island – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve off the country’s southwest coast – the resort is thoughtfully designed for families, couples and individual travellers alike.

Set on one of Vietnam’s most beautiful white-sand beaches, this striking luxury retreat offers 459 well-appointed guest rooms, suites and villas, six restaurants and bars, a signature spa, and an array of other upscale resort facilities.

A 15-minute drive from Phu Quoc International Airport and only 20 minutes from the cultural attractions of Duong Dong town, this new destination hotel delivers a sophisticated and cosmopolitan vibe blended with the rustic charm of this little-known island.

Phu Quoc is home to Vietnam’s world-renowned pearl farms, coral reefs rich in marine life, and authentic day and night markets selling local crafts, farm-fresh produce and culinary treats.

Long Beach faces west, offering resort guests panoramic views of fiery sunsets and unspoilt tropical coastline.

Each room, suite and villa offers comfortable and contemporary accommodations, with deep bathtubs, walk-in rain showers, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious balconies.

Gourmet food plays an essential part of the resort’s daily rhythm. Designed by award-winning Australian designer Ashley Sutton, INK 360 is the highest bar in Phu Quoc, offering breathtaking sea and mountain views, sundowner cocktails and delicious tapas-style seafood, caviar and oysters.

Lava is a fine-dining seafood and imported specialty meats restaurant, serving produce cooked on charcoal grills and lava stone and enhanced with aromatic spices and peppers.

Sora & Umi features authentic Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine with the culinary focus on several live cooking stations including robotayaki, teppanyaki and sushi.

For more relaxed and casual dining, the poolside Ombra offers home-made Italian dishes and gelato, while the beachfront Sea Shack serves up toes-in-the-sand tapas, barbecue and grilled comfort food.

Guests can relax and unwind with soothing treatments and natural therapies – all inspired by traditional Asian medicine – in the HARNN Heritage Spa, with its stunning design by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia.

Younger guests are also well catered for at the Planet Trekkers children’s club and dedicated Kids Can Cook cooking school under the guidance of the resort’s team of professional chefs.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring the glamour of the InterContinental lifestyle to Phu Quoc,” says resort general manager Piero Bellizzi.

“The island is a hidden gem and the opening of InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort helps put the destination on the global map for discerning international travellers.”

An opening special offer of A$377 per room per night (minimum two-night stay) includes a A$145 credit at the resort’s restaurants, bars and spa, daily breakfast for two guests, airport transfers, and children under 12 dine free when accompanied by a paying adult.

 

For booking and more details email reservations.icpq@ihg.com or visit intercontinental.com/PhuQuoc.

Fiji’s Likuliku Lagoon Resort Joins National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

Fiji Likuliku Lagoon Resort

The Fijian resort has long been recognised for its efforts in conservation and strides toward sustainability

Fijian owned and multi award-winning Likuliku Lagoon Resort has been accepted as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World (NGULW) – the first and only in Fiji and one of only two in the Pacific.

The resort blazed a trail in 2007 when it opened as the country’s first and only over-water bures/bungalow resort, and its acceptance into the NGULW is a nod to the resort’s efforts in conservation and sustainability. Known for celebrating nature rather than conquering it, Unique Lodges of the World properties support cultural heritage and engagement with local communities, and at Likuliku’s efforts to protect the island’s natural resources including the reef and forest areas mean it is well aligned with National Geographic. The resort aims to offer an authentic, quintessential Fijian experience, and has implemented programs including turtle conservation, coral and clam planting. It also consulted with the local community to install marine protection areas on the island.

Likuliku’s environmental initiatives took a dramatic turn in 2010 when a single Fiji Crested Iguana Brachylophus Vitiensis was found at Likuliku, previously thought to be extinct for 30 years. Ahura Resorts embarked on a major regeneration and restoration program and established the first Dry Forest Nursery in Fiji on the island at Likuliku. The resort then focused on growing 12 particular species that, once planted in a 10m x 10m grid, would provide a prototype Dry Forest suitable for Crested Iguana habitation, now acting as the only facility in the world to hatch iguana eggs in captivity under natural conditions.

Guests who book their experiences at the Likuliku Lagoon Resort through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World www.nationalgeographiclodges.com will also enjoy exclusive, specially-designed eco experiences.

 

nationalgeographiclodges.com

Amankora Introduces Once-in-a-Lifetime Immersive Experiences

Amankora Bhutan

The resort in the Kingdom of Bhutan will roll out a series of unique experiences covering health and wellness, gastronomy and out-of-the ordinary sight-seeing

Aman Resorts, Hotels & Residences was the first to create an international hotel collection within the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan when it opened Amankora in the early 2000s. The sole surviving Buddhist Kingdom, Bhutan is a place of remarkable natural beauty, cultural authenticity and utter purity, and Amankora offers a holiday experience quite unlike any other. The resort’s five intimate lodges – Paro, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, and Thimphu, within the valleys of the Kingdom’s mountainous terrain, are more than just a place to rest your head, they are part of a bigger, more meaningful theme. Guests have the chance to stay in a combination or even all of the lodges, facilitating a ‘kora’ or ‘circular journey’ of discovery throughout central and western Bhutan, as each lodge unveils a unique view and experience of this Kingdom on top of the world.

The resort recently introduced helicopter transfers between lodges, a unique helicopter breakfast experience at Twin Lakes, forest and prayer flag bathing experiences, four new suites, and a swimming pool at Punakha Lodge. And from June until late February Amankora will also be featuring a series of unique experiences, from three Michelin-starred chef residencies at Thimpu Lodge, to immersive wellness retreats, poppy treks and a matsutake trek.

Amankora Helicopter Journeys

Amankora has introduced a new way for guests to travel from lodge-to-lodge. Thousands of metres above the mountains, guests can now wave down to the wildlife below and travel faster than before to their next destination, which will give them more time to explore on the ground. Aman has partnered with Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services to offer Amankora Helicopter Journeys.

 

Michelin-Starred Guest Chefs

A series of culinary nights is coming to the Amankora Thimphu lodge this July, August and September. Three renowned Michelin-starred chefs – Chefs Bryce Shuman, Joshua Brown, and Shinobu Namae – will work with Amankora’s own culinary team to feature a multi-course degustation inspired by the Kingdom’s mountainous environment and abundance of fresh produce.

Dates:

Chef Bryce Shuman – 23rd and 14th July

Chef Joshua Brown – 10th and 11th of August

Chef Shinobu Namae – 14th and 15th September

Breakfast at Twin Lakes

Follow up a night of dining at Amankora Thimphu over at Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mount Jomolhari at Amankora Paro. Then take a helicopter ride over the Paro Valley before coming face-on with panoramic views of the Himalayas at the Bhutan-Tibet border.

The once-in-a-lifetime breakfast spot sits between two turquoise lakes above Jomolhari Base Camp at Jangothang and gives impeccable views of the 7,300-metre monolith. After breakfast, guests can venture to other sacred sites nearby including the Jomolhari Temple, the meditation cave of Milarepa, and the spirit lake of Tsheringma.

 

New Suites and Swimming Pool at Punakha Lodge

At Amanora Punakha, the midpoint of all five lodges, Amankora’s first swimming pool in the Kingdom has opened. The 30-metre infinity pool is surrounded by rice paddies and fruit plantations. It features 360° mountain views and a central location close to all other lodges.

To expand on Amankora Punakha’s small eight-suite lodge, the location has also introduced four brand new suites, marking a welcome addition to the traditional Bhutanese farmhouse near the Mo Chhu River.

Forest and Prayer Flag Bathing Experiences

You can leave your bath towel and bodywash in your lodge when it’s time for a signature Amankora outdoor bathing experience, because bath-time here is less about soapy suds and more about focusing on the present moment, alone in nature. Situated in the Himalayan Forest, the experience is focused on slow and tranquil walking through the pristine wilderness and is inspired by the Japanese phrase shinrin yoku meaning ‘absorbing the forest atmosphere’.

Prayer Flag Bathing focuses on soul-boosting outcomes as well as listening to the sound of prayer flags flapping in the wind. The prayer flags represent the Buddhist belief that prayers can be carried by the wind and that any person touched by the wind will be uplifted. The experience is said to be a deeply calming and spiritual immersion.

 

Wellness Retreats with Visiting Specialists

In September and October renowned wellness experts from around the world will be hosting retreats designed to balance the body and mind through various practices including alternative Tibetan medicine as well as Taoist practice, holistic massages, hot stone baths, Buddhist blessings and personalised spiritual immersion sessions.

Dates:

15th to 22nd September – ‘Enriching Life’ retreat with Dr. Buathon Thienarrom. Includes three nights at Thimphu, four nights at Paro, a 60-minute spa treatment and all meals, road transfers and sightseeing between.

1st to 31st October ­– The Inner Light Immersion retreat. Includes two nights at Thimphu and Punakha, three nights at paro, all meals, three 90-minute specialist therapies, one 60-minute Amankora holistic massage, one 60-minute traditional hot stone bath, a Buddhist blessing ceremony and more.

Poppy Treks and Matsutake Season

The poppy is Bhutan’s national flower and these white, red and pink blooms blossom from June to July. Until July 15 guests of Amankora have the opportunity to view the seasonal display of the poppies while trekking through the remote and untouched Haa Valley. Two or three night accommodation in tents are included as well as two nights at Amankora Thimphu and Amankora Paro lodges.

Dates:

Until 15th July

 

Guests of Amankora will also have the chance to observe and indulge in matsutake mushrooms. In a four-night tour at Thimphu and Paro lodges, both in the Bhutanese wilderness countryside, guests will visit the hamlet where the highly sought-after matsutake mushrooms are traded, and try various meals made from this rare matsutake.

Dates:

1st August to 15th September

 

aman.com

LUX Grand Gaube Mauritius Announces New Wellness Retreat

LUX Resorts Grand Gaube Mauritius

The retreat, to be held in August, will be the resort’s first since it underwent an extensive renovation last year

Following a $42 million refurbishment, the all new LUX Grand Gaube, on the northern coast of Mauritius, has announced its first wellness retreat from 21 – 28 August 2018, with celebrity wellness guru Kamran Bedi, the creator of the Mind Body Method.

Based on pilates training, mindfulness meditations and full body relaxation, guests can experience the seven-night retreat with Kamran and his wellness team.

With over 20 years of experience in professional dance, Kamran Bedi has worked with Lady Gaga and Cheryl Cole, as well as reality shows X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. He is certified in Neuro-Lingustic Programming, Hypnotherapy, Intergral Eye Movement Therapy, mindfulness and pilates, and has used these skills to create a bespoke method for achieving wellness, overcoming anxiety and grief.

The Mind Body Method program features a variety of methods including full body stretching, mat pilates, barre and the exclusive movement on the roller in daily group classes and one private individual or couple’s session.

Various spa treatments are also included to help guests detoxify at the beautiful LUX Me Spa. An on-site Wellness Concierge provides nutritional advice tailored exactly to individual needs, and the spa offers yoga and meditation classes set on one of the island’s most unique spots, set between two beaches with 186 rooms and suites designed by Kelly Hoppen.

LUX Grand Gaube Mauritius Wellness Retreat

Held from 21 August – 28 August, the wellness retreat package includes:

  • Accommodation for seven nights on a full board basis including non-alcoholic beverages
  • Airport transfers
  • Private Mind Body coaching session
  • Private Kayak, Stand-Up Paddle and Fitness session
  • 60-min Detox body wrap or Detox massage
  • 60-min Island style or Asian massage
  • Beauty treatment or a treatment at Murdock London barbershop
  • 90-min signature LUX* Me treatment
  • Veggie Heaven cooking class
  • Group sunset cruise
  • Guided tour outside the hotel grounds
  • Daily group meditations, workshops and complimentary daily classes

Prices start from $3,238 (AUD) per person (based on double occupancy) on a full board basis excl. flights. For more information or to book please visit www.luxresorts.com/luxgrandgaube

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane Creates Riviera-Themed Summer Bar

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane L'Azur Pop-Up Bar
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane L'Azur Pop-Up Bar

The renowned hotel has revealed L’Azur, an exclusive French Riviera-themed hideout

In association with Belvedere Vodka and Dom Pérignon, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane has opened L’Azur, a French Riviera-themed bar complete with a signature drink menu. Guests will get to indulge in The Mule, made from Hennessy VS, falernum cordial, apricot brandy, ginger beer and homemade bitters.

The new bar also features a Les Petites Bouchées menu, which was curated by Executive Chef Romuald Feger from the Italian Amaranto restaurant, also located in the Four Seasons Hotel London. The menu includes a selection of the Chef’s favourites such as La Courgette Fleur and the French classic dessert, La Tarte Tropézienne, an orange blossom and vanilla cream filled brioche.

Guests can sip a Belvedere cocktail or glass of Dom Pérignon and relax in the nautical-themed terrace in the heart of Mayfair. L’Azur was designed with azure hues and oceanic details with lots of space to enjoy the sunlight – when London’s weather permits. The bar features two lounge areas on an upper and lower deck equipped with anchor and compass-printed pillows, decorative buoys and white high-top barstools.

L’Azur is open daily from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and has a no-bookings policy.

For more information visit fourseasons.com/london/dining

Abercrombie & Kent Launches New Around The World Private Jet Journey

Abercrombie & Kent Cultural Private Jet

The new Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet journey will take 50 privileged guests to destinations such as Kyoto, Kathmandu and Abu Dhabi

Provate jet pioneers Abercrombie & Kent have launched a new trans-global experience called ‘Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet’. Accommodating 50 lucky guests, the journey will offer a look into some of the world’s most fascinating cultures, visiting Kyoto, Kathmandu and Abu Dhabi all via the extreme comfort of a privately-chartered Boeing 757-200ER.

The jet contains 50 custom-designed Italian leather seats that open to lie-flat bed and are equipped with a personal massage system, 4-way adjustable headrests and lumbar support. Additional seating enables guests to socialise in comfort, while a full privacy screen and extra-high seat back provide undisturbed rest. An open bar featuring top-shelf wine and spirits in addition to a first-class meal service is available, while utter attentiveness is ensured with a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:7. Amenities on board include Bose noise-cancelling headphones and pre-loaded iPads.

Guests will get to travel back in time with their first stop in Kyoto with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and private geisha performance; then taste the nomadic life in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Nepal offers helicopter views of Mt Everest, while Bhutan affords a glimpse into a traditional culture, along with a trip to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. After stopping in Agra for a royal banquet and sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, guests jet off to Abu Dhabi and the Bedouin encampments found in the otherworldly desert of Wadi Rum and the Treasury of Petra. The journey ends in Taormina, where guests can explore picturesque villages from a vintage Italian sports car.

Private jet travel with A&K is filled with invitation-only events, including a tshechu ceremony, a Bhutanese tradition with masked dancers; traditional contests of archery, wrestling and horsemanship at Mongolia’s Naadam Games; and an exclusive Sicilian welcome party styled after a traditional wedding. Guests personalise their experience with a choice of Design Your Day® options, from relaxing spa treatments to active outdoor excursions.

Trip highlights include a comfortable ger camp in Mongolia and Dwarika’s in Kathmandu, dinner in a 17th century Japanese castle with a welcome by samurai warriors, a Mughal-themed banquet in Agra, and a romantic candlelit desert at “Little Petra”.

Guests travel in small groups of no more than 16, each led by a Tour Manager, assisted by expert local guides who share their personal stories and A&K’s Travelling Bell Boy to manage luggage.

Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet

23-day private jet journey

Tour dates: 12 October-3 November 2019

Double occupancy: US$129,000 per person

Single Supplement: US$16,500

A First Look at Chiva-Som’s New Suites

Chiva-SomThai Pavilion Bedroom
Chiva-SomThai Pavilion Bedroom

The new accommodation is part of a broader refurbishment of the resort, to be completed in 2019

Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand has released the first image renders of its new Thai Pavilion rooms and Suites, which will open in November.

Along with the seven Thai Pavilion Suites and ten Thai Pavilion Rooms, renovations will also occur in the Fitness area, Emerald Room and Orchid Lounge, and follow on from the launch of the new Ocean Rooms and Suites that were completed in January 2017 as part of the resort-wide renovation plan.

To accommodate the refurbishment the 22 year-old resort closed on the 1st May and will re-open 31st October, and will close again for the same period next year before a final launch of the new-look resort in November 2019 showcasing a contemporary Thai interior featuring local materials like teak, silk and bamboo.

With an outdoor terrace, the aesthetic of the new Thai Pavilion Suite will be light and serene with a bedroom and ensuite bathroom spread across 76 square metres. Space will be maximised to give guests an expanded bedroom and living area, including an additional long sofa and study desk; a larger bathroom, with two vanity counters; a new make-up counter and more connecting space for shower room and bathtub; and a larger dressing room with two luggage racks and floor to ceiling wall mirrors to reflect even more light. The ceiling will also be raised to give an airy feel.

The Thai Pavilion Suite will be approximately 107 square metres and will include an outdoor pantry and its own outdoor private sala. This glass-walled private space for around six guests will be set amidst the tranquil gardens making it suitable for private breakfast, lunch and dinner, meditation or just for relaxing.

The wellness resort’s multifaceted renovation will be implemented under the direction of Krip Rojanastien, Chairman and CEO of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, together with Designrealization Siam Co. Ltd.

Chiva-Som was Asia’s first comprehensive wellness resort and is located in the town of Hua Hin, which lies 185 km south of the capital of Bangkok.

Enjoy the Very Best of Europe Flying Emirates

Emirates Airlines

Emirates offering competitive fares to 45 destinations to celebrate end of financial year

With the end of financial year fast approaching, Emirates is offering Australian travelers competitive fares to a range of destinations in its global route network. The fares are available when purchased between 20 June 2018 and 4 July 2018 for select travel times and locations.

 

Economy Class passengers can enjoy fares starting from $1,199 to London, $1,249 to Rome, $1,269 to Paris, $1,349 to Edinburgh and $1,449 to Lisbon.

 

While Business Class passengers can enjoy fares starting from $6,369 to Rome, $6,569 to London $6,409 to Paris, $6,609 to Edinburgh and $6,649 to Lisbon.

 

Emirates is pleased to offer Australian passengers travelling to and from Dubai complimentary ice cream at Dubai International Airport. Available from until 31 August 2018, Emirates customers will be able to enjoy Emperor branded ice cream made in house by Emirates Flight Catering and made up of five flavours: Chocolate, Vanilla, Date & Arabic Coffee, Mango Sorbet and Lemon Sorbet.

 

Emirates passengers of all classes can enjoy up to 20MB of complimentary onboard Wi-Fi, up to 3,500 channels with the latest movies, TV shows, music, audio books and games, as well as gourmet dining and generous baggage allowances.

 

For more information on Emirates, including how to book flights and a complete list of terms and conditions, visit emirates.com/au, contact your local travel agent or call Emirates on 1300 303 777.