Westin Hotels to Debut in the UK

Westin Hotel UK

The Westin London City will open in 2020, with a hotel concept focusing on wellness and nature-inspired design

Marriott International Inc. has announced plans to debut the Westin brand in the United Kingdom with the opening of The Westin London City in 2020. The news comes during a time of great growth for the hotel brand, with recent Westin openings in Australia and upcoming debuts in Malaysia and the Maldives.

Boasting a prime riverfront location in the heart of London, The Westin London City will be a key part of the redevelopment of the former Queensbridge House site, as well as an independently operated destination restaurant. The site stretches from Queenhithe Dock – the oldest in London – and runs north to south, bridging across Upper Thames Street and giving it a prominent position over one of the primary arterial routes through the City of London. Highly visible from the South Bank, the hotel will also benefit from panoramic views over the River Thames and will complete the northern riverbank walkway between the Tower of London and Millennium Bridge.

Led by British architects Dexter Moren Associates, the thoughtfully designed hotel is fluid and sculptural with a wellness and biophilic focus – incorporating natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world. Leaning on the idea that a connection to nature enhances well-being, these natural elements will be incorporated throughout every space in the hotel, and permeate every experience, beginning with checking in.

Upon arrival, guests will enter into an atrium space that is at once open and airy, yet residential and intimate, before heading down the lobby that leads into a riverside bar and restaurant. The eatery will open onto the new public walkway affording spectacular views across the river towards Shakespeare’s Globe and the South Bank.

The hotel’s 220 guest rooms, including 29 suites and a Presidential Suite, are designed to offer guests a nature-inspired respite in the centre of a bustling city, expertly balancing a calming palette of natural colours with contrasting tones, textures and materials.  All rooms will feature Westin’s signature services and amenities, such as the world-renowned Heavenly™ Bed and reviving Heavenly™ Bath experience.

Embodying the brand’s Let’s Rise mantra that empowers guests to take back control of their travel routine through wellness, the hotel will also feature an indoor swimming pool, spa and  fitness studio with state-of-the-art exercise equipment. In addition, the hotel will offer the renowned RunWESTIN program with three and five-mile jogging routes along the riverfront, and the brand’s signature Gear Lending program, allowing guests to pack light and stay fit with New Balance shoes and clothing for guests to use during their stay.

The Westin London City is the latest in a long line of hotels and resorts around the world now implementing health and wellness experiences for guests, in response to a growing social movement calling for more balance, mindfulness and nature in their daily lives, especially among business and leisure travellers  seeking a respite from the stresses of daily life.



New Luxury Boutique Hotel Opens in Melbourne

United Places Botanic Gardens
United Places Botanic Gardens

Located opposite the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra, United Places Botanic Gardens is the latest hotel designed by renowned design firm, CARR, recently of Jackalope fame

Four years in the making, United Places Botanic Gardens is now open, introducing new, design-led luxury to Melbourne’s inner city.

Situated in the heart of South Yarra, the hotel’s modernist yet refined textured concrete façade overlooks 36-hectares of bucolic views thanks to its premium position overlooking the leafy parklands of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens – and this is where the hotel’s appeal merely  begins. The concept for the boutique hotel was derived from the idea of combining a hotel and home, not least because the hotel houses a mere 12 guest suites.

“‘United Places is a creative platform, built upon my very own experiences in design, travel and hospitality. I wanted to create a ‘home’ for the likeminded traveller seeking experiences that celebrate locality,” said property developer Darren Rubenstein who is the man behind United Places – his first hotel project.

To realise his vision for a new accommodation that felt more like home than a hotel, Rubenstein worked with some of Australia’s most esteemed creatives including celebrated design firm, CARR, commissioned for the hotel’s architecture and interiors, and who was also behind the design of award-winning Jackalope in Mornington Peninsula.

Melbourne creative studio, Projects of Imagination is responsible for the hotel’s branding, while award-winning Chef, Scott Pickett, has been selected to steer the culinary direction at the hotel’s ground floor restaurant, Matilda. Complimentary ‘curated breakfast’ will also be served in the restaurant.

Guests will experience a different type of arrival and check in process at United Places, entering the building via a discreet and alluring entrance, a corridor with a minimalist palette of dark metal screening. For those that have stayed at Jackalope, United Places’ moody and super-contemporary ambence will feel familiar.

Guests are then greeted by a team of butlers and taken directly to their rooms to be checked-in – overthrowing norms of cluttered reception desks and queues. “Butlers will be as present or discreet as the guest would like,” explains General Manager, Marcus Pelham, “ensuring their every need is catered to – from valet laundry service to private picnic set-up and everything in-between. Its all about a personal experience and personal space.”

Spanning three floors, there are nine one-bedroom suites and three two-bedroom suites that have large sunken bathtubs overlooking the city’s skyline. The suites themselves are spacious and palpably high-end, featuring rooms premium amenities and United Places’ personalised butler service. The aesthetic is “very Melbourne”, according to Chris McCue, Director of Architecture at CARR, and each suite has its own personality and an interesting use of space that adds to the theatre of the experience.



A Peek at Puerto Rico’s New-Look Ritz Carlton

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will be the first ultra-luxury resort to welcome guests back to Puerto Rico since the hurricanes of 2017

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will officially reopen its doors in October, nearly a year after a series of destructive hurricanes hit the territory in September 2017. The hotel will be the first ultra-luxury resort to welcome guests back to the Caribbean island, and will feature sprawling grounds, 114 beachfront guest rooms and suites as well as a modernised, luxury five-bedroom villa.

Guests can also look forward to a diverse dining offering, with a reimagined signature restaurant and bar, and an updated poolside restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine. For the beach-lovers, you won’t have to tread far for a taste of the ocean, with an Omakase & Ceviche Bar set to open right on the sandy shores.

Spa Botánico, the Reserve’s acclaimed Forbes Five Star spa, will also re-open following an extensive makeover, offering bespoke locally-inspired treatments as well as unique handcrafted products that are made in the on-site apothecary.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve was the second Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world and the first in the Western Hemisphere.

The resort is now accepting bookings for stays from October 1, 2018.



Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como Offers Guests Royal Experience at 18th Century Villa

Villa Sola Cabiati, Lake Como, Italy
Villa Sola Cabiati, Lake Como, Italy

The ‘Royal Style’ special offer gives guests the chance to experience the 18th-century Villa Sola Cabiati all to themselves on an exclusive three-night stay

Historic Belle Époque Grand Hotel Tremezzo on enchanting Lake Como in northern Italy is for the first time offering guests unforgettable overnight accommodation at nearby 18th-century Villa Sola Cabiati for the summer season.

The hotel partnership will give Grand Hotel Tremezzo guests a glimpse at the privilege, elegance and grandeur of the 18th century elite, with the historic residence of the Dukes of Serbelloni available for the hotel’s guests to enjoy exclusively.

Six captivating suites, a large garden and park with swimming pool, and rooms frescoed by pupils of the school of 18th-century Italian painter Tiepolo will be entirely – and only – at the guests’ disposal for candle-lit dinners prepared by a private chef.

In the morning, a classic Venetian motorboat will be at the ready for a private excursion to discover Lake Como. Once back on shore, all the services of Grand Hotel Tremezzo await – just a stone’s throw from the villa – including its luxurious spa, delicious restaurants and refreshing swimming pools.

'Royal Style' Special Offer

An exclusive stay at the Villa Sola Cabiati

Guests of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo can book a minimum three-night stay at the nearby Villa Sola Cabiati as part of their time in Lake Como.

Guests will enjoy:

  • Exclusive use of the Villa and its facilities, including gardens and heated swimming pool
  • Daily à la carte breakfast
  • 24-hour butler service
  • Chamber maid and housekeeper
  • Private chef at disposal for lunch, dinner and snacks, including fine wines
  • High speed wi-fi
  • Private dock
  • Laundry services

Additional complimentary services at Grand Hotel Tremezzo include:

  • Transfers between the Villa and Grand Hotel Tremezzo (max 2 roundtrip transfers per day)
  • Use of the spa facilities (treatments excluded)
  • Use of the tennis court (with the opportunity to book a lesson with a tennis pro)
  • Use of the T Fitness gym
  • Use of the private beach and three heated pools

The Villa is located just a couple of minutes’ driving distance from the hotel.

Villa rates:

Until 7th October: 10,000 Euro + 10% VAT per night

From 7 October – 28 October (end of season), 6,000 EUR + 10% VAT per night

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort Unveils Oceanfront Presidential Pool Villa

SALA Chaweng
SALA 2Br Presidential Pool Villa with Private Infinity Pool Overlooking Beach

The Villa is part of the Phase One launch of SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort in Koh Samui

SALA Chaweng Beach Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand, has unveiled its Oceanfront Two Bedroom Presidential Pool Villa, a 286 square-metre private beachfront masterpiece that’s available for exclusive guest stays, intimate weddings or special celebrations.

The new luxury resort’s highest room category also features a 52 square-metre private infinity pool, steps from the sandy shores of north Chaweng beach, making it one of the largest private pools on offer within a resort on Koh Samui. The pool runs the entire width of the 13.5-metre beach frontage and is framed by a 114 sqm wooden pool deck, shaded by two ancient banyan trees that keep the extensive outdoor lounge and al fresco dining areas naturally cool.

Full-length glass windows along the front of the villa can be drawn open to blur distinction between outdoor and indoor living spaces. Curved archways subtly define the interior spaces and draw references to the curvature of the full moon, a lunar muse that inspired many of the design elements applied around the resort. To follow this overall design thread, the designers handpicked all the lamps, sofa seats, bathtubs, and other decorative items.

A few steps up into the inner sanctum of the villa are two bright and airy bedrooms, each measuring a generous 25 sqm and featuring king-sized beds, walk-in wardrobe areas, and bathrooms with freestanding circular statement bathtubs.

The expansive 30 sqm master bathroom also comes with outdoor shower and bathtub options allowing guests to stay that much closer to the blue skies and sea breezes. As part of the SALA Signature Selections, guests can choose from a variety of scents for bath soaps, shampoos, conditioners, body lotions and pillow types to fine-tune their bespoke experience.

The Villa is part of the Phase One launch of SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort. The Oceanfront Wing comprises 52 pool villas and pool suites sized between 74 square metres and 304 square metres, featuring private pools between 18 square metres and 52 square metres in size. Just in time for summer, a beach bar will open at the resort in July to complement THE TENT Beachfront Restaurant.

The second phase of SALA Samui Chaweng Beach will be completed in 2019 and will comprise 83 rooms, pool villas and pool suites, as well as the SALA Spa and SALA Gym, a garden oasis swimming pool with inviting Garden Pool Bar, plus an open-air show kitchen with an exciting roadside restaurant and bar concept.



The Shangri-La Paris Launches Open-Air Krug Champagne Bar

Bar A Ciel Ouvert By Krug | Photo Credit: Romeo Balancourt
Bar A Ciel Ouvert By Krug | Photo Credit: Romeo Balancourt

The iconic Terrace Room number 410 at the The Shangri-La Hotel, Paris has been specially refurbished to become an open-air bar for the summer season

The “Bar à ciel ouvert by Krug” (Open-air bar by Krug) will open on 7th June at the Shangri-La Hotel Paris for guests to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the capital’s most striking monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, and the Invalides.

Located at the iconic 30-metre squared terrace room number 410 – which has been specially refurbished to cater to an intimate 16-person crowd – guests can enjoy champagne by Krug Grande Cuvée and savoury hors d’oeuvres created by the Palace’s two-Michelin star Chef, Christophe Moret, along with the incredible Paris skyline view.

Le Bar à Ciel Ouvert by Krug

Opening Hours 7th June to 7th October 2018:

Weekdays: 6pm to 11pm
Weekends: 3pm to 11pm
Reservations: +33 1 53 67 19 98


  • 55€ for a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée 166th édition
  • 275€ for a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée 166th édition (max 4 persons – not including snacks)
  • 495€ for a bottle of Krug Rosé (max 4 persons – not including snacks)


Reservation and deposit required for Bastille Day, 14th July.

Allure Palazzi to Open in Kotor Bay, Montenegro

Allure Palazzi Kotor Bay
Kotor Bay

The luxurious Allure Palazzi Kotor Bay in Montenegro will open on 1st June as a five-star beachfront hotel with a marina, decadent accommodations and upmarket dining

The exclusive Allure Palazzi Kotor Bay will open in a few days’ time with a guest experience focusing on seaside living. Featuring a marina, pristine beach, beautiful façades, elegant interiors basking in light, airy communal spaces, and spectacular views of the Bay of Kotor, the hotel comes at a time when Montenegro is burgeoning as one of Europe’s hottest new luxury destinations.

The new Allure Palazzi offers 86 guestrooms, three penthouse suites, two pools, three restaurants, five bars, and picturesque villas exuding European charm with deluxe materials and enchanting sea views of Kotor Bay. With a sandy beach and private marina at guests’ disposal, they can follow the boardwalk tracing the water’s edge, leading to the old-world neighbourhood of Dobrota located just 4km from ancient Kotor.

Thanks to ongoing multimillion-Euro investments from various moguls and multiple superyacht marina projects, Montenegro is in the midst of transformation and is emerging with a strong luxury landscape that is tipped to attract the world’s travelling elite. Luxury hotel chains Hilton and Four Seasons properties are scheduled to arrive in the next few years, and Europe’s first One&Only hotel is set to open as part of the Portonovi yacht facility, dubbed as an ultra-premium lifestyle destination and the new gem of the Mediterranean.

Allure Palazzi Kotor Bay will open on 1st June, and the hotel is currently offering guests who book before May 31st a 20% pre-opening special.


More Australians are Favouring Luxury Holidays

Australians Favouring Luxury Holidays
Intercontinental Perth

New research from InterContinental Hotel & Resorts has revealed that the majority of Australians stay in high-end accommodation when on holiday

The findings from the luxury hotel chain show that some 7,379,000 Australians are choosing a luxury resort or upmarket hotel as their ideal venue for a holiday.

As for what destinations Australians are favouring for their holidays, Queensland triumphed with 34 percent voting it as the best state to holiday in, followed by New South Wales with 18 percent and Victoria with 17 percent to round out the top three.

The report also asked Australians what key features they look for when booking accommodation.

“Two thirds ­– 66 per cent – stated that a convenient location is important and 58 per cent think connectivity (WiFi) is vital. Other important aspects Australians look for include special views ­– 56 percent, room service – 49%, and a decent pool – 49 per cent,” said Leanne Harwood, IHG Managing Director for Australasia and Japan.

A high number of Australians at 65 per cent say the level of service received is very important to them.

However, the research also showed that 32 per cent of Australians are simply too busy with work to take some much-needed rest and relaxation, and over half a million Australians won’t take annual leave due to the stress they will return to if they are away from the office. As a result, Harwood said that many Australians are choosing weekend escapes and stay-cations as a way to hit the reset button without eating into their annual leave.

“We found that 46 per cent of the population are choosing luxury hotels for a relaxing weekend getaway, receiving first class treatment and returning to work refreshed and revitalised. It can be as simple as that.”

The Westin Opens in Perth as Hotel Construction Boom Continues

Westin Perth
Westin Perth Premier King Room

The Westin is the latest hotel to open in Perth, which is currently experiencing a new wave of hotel construction

The Westin Perth has recently opened in the CBD with 368 elegant and thoughtfully designed guest rooms and suites. With a focus on wellness and experience, the hotel features a fitness studio, infinity-edge pool and Spa by Bodhi J. as well as offering food and drinks at The Haven Lounge or Garum.

Located at the corner of Hay and Irwin Streets, on the eastern end of the Perth central business district (CBD) the city’s vibrant shopping and entertainment options are all within easy reach, with Perth’s domestic and international airport terminals only 16 kilometres from the hotel, reached by car in approximately 20 minutes.

The Westin is the latest in a strong series of more than 20 new-build hotels scheduled to open by 2020 in the Western Australian capital, following a $3 billion injection into the hotel sector off the back of the state government’s call in 2012 for 1900 new rooms to be built to keep up with demand, at the time buoyed by the mining boom.

Between 2015 and 2017, the six-star Crown Towers Perth and the Intercontinental, as well as Peppers Kings Square Hotel, independent boutique hotel Tribe Perth, Marriot International’s Aloft Perth, and Alex Hotel all opened, along with award-winning COMO the Treasury.

A further three DoubleTree by Hiltons are under construction across Perth from the waterfront to Northbridge and Fremantle, with the Elizabeth Quay development due for completion in September this year. In 2019, the much-hyped $500 million-dollar Ritz-Carlton Elizabeth Quay will open, with the 204-room hotel being joined by 379 residential apartments as part of The Towers $400 million development. The Dorsett Hotel Perth is committed for 2020.

The opening of the new Westin comes two months after the inaugural non-stop flight between Perth and the UK operated by Qantas. Qatar also recently started operating a route between Perth and Doha, which the West Australian government hopes will bolster state tourism.

Florida Keys Makes Luxury Push With New Hotel Openings

Bungalows Key Largo, Florida Keys

 Florida Keys is soon to get its first luxury-inclusive, adults-only resort

American beach holiday hotspot Florida Keys is set to open three brand new luxury hotels, eight months after catastrophic Hurricane Irma, which hit in August last year.

After extensive hotel closures due to damage caused by the hurricane, the region’s tourism has begun to rebound, and redevelopment is well underway with 1,500 new rooms set to open in the next year in the region. In Key Largo, the Keys’ first luxury-inclusive, adults-only resort, the 135-room Bungalows Key Largo, will open in the American autumn, as well as the 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort, a hotel in Hilton’s Curio Collection. The 199-room Isla Bella Beach Resort, with several restaurants, pools and a marina, near the Seven Mile Bridge, is also scheduled to open in early 2019 and will become one of the largest resorts on the islands.