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

Norfolk Island Releases Jazz Festival Special Offer

Norfolk Island Jazz Festival

To celebrate the 2018 Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, Norfolk Island Travel Centre has announced a 7-night offer that includes return airfares and a half-day island tour

The Norfolk Island Jazz Festival is back again in 2018 featuring a strong line-up of artists performing in beautiful settings such as the World Heritage Kingston. Turning up the volume on popular jazz festival will be select top acts including Australia’s The Jazz Factory, Stevenson’s Rockets and Jazz 4 You, and New Zealand’s Andrew London Trio. Joining them will also be a guest appearance from the local Baunti Byuutis Island Dancers.

In celebration of the Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, the Norfolk Island Travel Centre has announced a 7-night offer for visitors, which includes:

  • Return economy class ‘seat plus bag’ Air New Zealand airfare to Norfolk Island
  • All pre-paid airline taxes
  • Arrival meet and greet at island airport
  • Return airport transfers on island
  • 7 nights’ accommodation
  • 7 days’ car hire
  • Half-day island tour
  • BONUS shopping card with free gift, mini golf and A Walk In The Wild Rainforest

The Norfolk Island Jazz Festival Offer

Prices are per person, twin share from:

  • $1099 departing Brisbane between 1st and 8th December
  • $1119 departing Sydney between 30th November and 7th December, as well as 3rd to 10th December

Jazz Packs are priced at $430 per person with reserved seating at all concerts including the Official Opening Concert, an evening performance and dinner Under the Banyan Tree, afternoon performance and lunch at Emily’s Bay and final Evening Party with the Stars Concert plus a souvenir program and gift bag.

 

For bookings contact Christan Davies at Norfolk Island Travel Centre on  christan@travelcentre.nf.

Switzerland Tourism Launches Pop-Up Hotels for the Summer

Pop-Up Hotel Lausanne
Pop-Up Hotel Lausanne

The pop-up hotels are located in eleven cities across Switzerland, and are available only for the summer season

With the appeal of pop-up bars, restaurants and shops not waning any time soon, Switzerland Tourism has taken it up a notch with its series of pop-up hotels it has just launched across the country.

As part of the tourism body’s city campaign, Swiss Urban Feel, these pop-up hotels, located in eleven major cities throughout Switzerland, will provide guests with new and unusual hotel experiences, while encouraging them to see almost untouched, and sometimes unknown, tourist paths.

The concept was conceived by Switzerland Tourism after their research findings showed that 25% of the 21,000 overnight visitors from 130 countries interviewed were after “hidden” places. Also taken into consideration was the fact that urban tourism in the country is booming, having increased by 50.5% in major cities since 2000 as recorded by the Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland.

While various locations were hand-picked for this program, selected hoteliers have been contracted to furbish and service the rooms, ensuring guests the promise of high quality Swiss hospitality.

 

The eleven pop-up hotels are located in:

 

Full of character, history and countless tales, travellers should note that these pop-up hotels will only run for the three-month summer period ending August. Priced from AU$200 per night, bookings can be made directly via MySwitzerland.com/popup.

The 2018 Gold List: The World’s Best Hotels, Destinations and Experiences

Gold List Awards 2018

We know you’ve been waiting patiently to find out the world’s best in luxury travel, and so finally, here are the winners and finalists in the 2018 Gold List, as voted by you. Drumroll, please…

Qualia Resort, Hamilton Island
Qualia Resort, Hamilton Island
Ayana Resort Bali
Ayana Resort Bali
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat - Sunrise view
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat - Sunrise view
Qantas
Qantas
Etihad First Class Lounge
Etihad First Class Lounge
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Amalfi Coast, Italy

BEST COUNTRY

Winner

Italy

 

Finalists

France

New Zealand

Australia

United Kingdom

Thailand

Fiji

United States

Switzerland

Canada

Japan

Vietnam

Spain

Singapore

Germany

Greece

South Africa

Silversea Silver Spirit
Silversea Silver Spirit

Winner

Paris

 

Finalists

New York

London

Rome

Singapore

Venice

Florence

Barcelona

Hong Kong

Prague

Amsterdam

Tokyo

Winner

Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada

 

Finalists

Aspen, Colorado

Vail, Colorado

Queenstown, New Zealand

St Moritz, Switzerland

Snowmass, Colorado

Courchevel, France

Thredbo, NSW

Falls Creek, VIC

Winner

Yarra Valley, VIC

 

Finalists

Hunter Valley, NSW

Margaret River, WA

Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Barossa Valley, SA

Orange, NSW

Winner

Marlborough

 

Finalists

Hawke’s Bay

Central Otago

Waiheke Island, Auckland

Martinborough

Luxury Travel Issue 74 – Winter

LUXURY TRAVEL

WINTER 2018 ON SALE NOW

Take a Photographic Tour of Vivid with Hyatt Regency Sydney

Hyatt Regency / Canon Australia Click Capture Create, Vivid Sydney
Hyatt Regency / Canon Australia Click Capture Create, Vivid Sydney

The Hyatt Regency Sydney and Canon Australia have teamed up to offer guests a photographic tour of Vivid

In celebration of Vivid Sydney, taking place from May 25 to June 16, Hyatt Regency Sydney is offering hotel guests and visitors a range of Vivid Experiences to light up their senses. Over three weekends from May 24, Hyatt Regency Sydney and Canon Australia invite photography enthusiasts to take part in ‘Click, Capture, Create’ – an exclusive experience of the Vivid Light display at Darling Harbour and Barangaroo.

Teaming up with a Canon Collective Ambassador who’ll guide them throughout the photographic tour, guests will also having access to high quality Canon equipment to shoot with and an unprecedented vantage point overlooking Darling Harbour. Upon return to the hotel, light refreshments will be served in The Gallery, whilst each participant selects their best shots to be printed on-site as their take-home gift.

From May 28 to June 16, a VIVID Celebration will be on show at The Gallery, celebrating the exceptional photographic work of the Canon Collective Ambassadors. The exhibition is free to view, with sales from the prints supporting Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off the Streets charity.

For another ideal vantage point of Vivid, Zephyr Skybar – with its panoramic views of Darling Harbour – will also be joining in on the festivities, offering the Vivid G&T with its 78 Degrees lavender infused gin, spiced blueberry syrup, fresh lemon, butterfly pea and topped with Mediterranean Fever Tree tonic.

 

The tour costs $299 per person and runs from 4:00pm to 8:00pm Thursday to Saturday.

Spaces are limited, to book head to this address or phone 8099 1234.

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.

The Fullerton Concours d’Elegance is Coming to the Fullerton Hotel Singapore

Fullerton Concours, Singapore
Fullerton Concours, Singapore

The inaugural Fullerton Concours d’Elegance, a prestigious three-day automotive celebration, is set to transform The Fullerton Heritage precinct in Singapore from 29th June to 1st July, 2018

Singapore National Monument, the Fullerton Building – home to The Fullerton Hotel Singapore – is celebrating its 90th anniversary with the inaugural launch of Fullerton Concours d’Elegance – a prestigious automotive event taking centre stage in The Fullerton Heritage precinct in 2018. Visitors will have the chance to view over 90 vintage, classic and super cars from all over the world, while a repertoire of year-round events and promotions continue all over Singapore. Gourmet dishes served by The Fullerton Hotel Singapore Culinary Team and award-winning chefs will be on offer, as well as plenty of music performances and art installations, gala dinners, after-parties, charity car convoys, attracting an expected 30,000 local and international visitors to Singapore.

The Fullerton Concours d’Elegance will celebrate the best in collector and car design with an unprecedented tribute to automotive excellence. The event will showcase some of the finest examples of pre-war and post-war collector cars in terms of history, craftsmanship, power and technology. Restored vintage cars from the 1920s, antique cars from the 1930s, classic cars from the 1970s, and modern marvels will be prominently displayed along the picturesque waterfront at Clifford Square and Clifford Pier, in the iconic Fullerton Hotel Singapore and at Fullerton Square.

With four competition classes: Pre  and Post-World War II, Open Top and Modern Classics, highlights include the classic 1934 Austin Seven Ulster Special, which boasts an aluminium body with no doors, a 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II from the hotel’s recently restored Rolls Royce fleet, and the legendary Lamborghini Miura previously owned by Don Miura himself. Visitors will be the first in the region to see the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge and 2018 Ferrari Portofino. Additionally, innovative electric car prototypes created by the students from Nanyang Technological University will be displayed at One Fullerton.

Visitors can also take part in the judging process by voting for their favourite car on the Fullerton Concours d’Elegance website. All qualified votes will be entered into a lucky draw on 1st July and three winners will receive dining vouchers at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

For foodies, the Fullerton Hotel Singapore Culinary Team will also work closely with award-winning chefs to offer a bespoke dining extravaganza of perennial Singapore favourites and Peranakan delights, reflective of the city state’s cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures. In addition to the visual spectacle at the event, visitors will be able to sample food from various Kombi food trucks located throughout The Fullerton Heritage precinct.

The Fullerton Concours d'Elegance

  • Admission to the Fullerton Concours d’Elegance starts from S$9.90 for a Single-Day Pass. Gold Passes are also available for access to VIP areas and the after-party at Lantern in The Fullerton Bay Hotel. Children under five years old will enjoy free admission.
  • For more information about the car list, to vote for your favourite cars and purchase tickets, please visit fullertonconcours.com.

First Luxury Hawai’i Guide for Australians Released

Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Luxury Hawaii Guide
Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Hawai'i, USA

Discerning holidaymakers will now have more information at their fingertips than ever before with the release of the first Luxury Hawai‘i guide in Australia

Sydney-based Explore Media, which has also been producing the annual 100-page Discover Hawai‘i guide for the past decade, has released a 36-page luxury guide to Hawai’i in Australia for the first time. It also publishes a Romance Hawai‘i guide for those planning weddings and honeymoons, a Family Hawai‘i guide and Meet Hawai‘i guide for business tourism professionals working across the meeting, incentives, conference and events markets.

Filled with inspiring images, the luxury guide outlines the best five-star hotels and resorts to stay, fine dining restaurants to book, high-end shopping precincts, VIP tours and the ultimate spa treatments across the four main Hawaiian Islands. It also offers practical information, including which airlines fly to Hawai‘i, how to get around, the best times to go, visa requirements and tips on tipping.

To view the full electronic version of the Luxury Hawai‘i guide click here.

Hit the big time

It was just five days before the most powerful man in the world was coming to town. The best works of art were being frantically plucked from two public and five private collections across the city to adorn the rather plain walls of the Will Rogers suite on the 13th floor of the then Hotel Texas. The daughter of notable publisher Amon Carter, Ruth Carter Johnson, was tasked with gathering some of the world’s most prized works of art, strapping pieces by such artists as Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso into the front seat of her car underneath a seatbelt to transport to the hotel in Fort Worth, Texas.

On the morning of 22 November 1963, the First Lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy, noticed the works of art and the catalogue which had been printed in their honour, having arrived fatigued the previous evening. “Isn’t that sweet Jack?” the First Lady reportedly said to her husband, President John F. Kennedy. “They’ve just stripped their whole museum of all their treasures to brighten up this dingy hotel suite”. In gratitude, the pair decided to phone the first person listed in the catalogue, Mrs J. Lee Johnson III who would receive the last ever phone call made by the President – within hours, he was shot in Dealey Plaza Dallas in the same spot where the city of Dallas had been founded in 1841.

Despite the inescapable association of Dallas with the events of that November day over 50 years ago, it is the warm-hearted and hospitable nature of the Fort Worth and Dallas locals which lives on – as does a highly impressive arts culture. You may associate Dallas with cowboy boots, Tex Mex food, the Depository building or even J.R Ewing from the TV series Dallas, but in the ninth largest city in the US, there’s a surprising amount to be uncovered by the discerning luxury traveller. The city, in particular downtown, has reinvented itself with a growth in urban development that has seen hotels, restaurants and infrastructure burgeon. Close by, Fort Worth, just a 35-minute drive by car, is the fastest-growing city in the United States.

Dallas/Fort Worth airport is the world’s fourth busiest airport and presents a gateway to another 50 US destinations. Qantas flies direct on a 15-hour flight, recently introducing its A380 on the route, the world’s longest – so there’s every opportunity for Australians to access these two cities and their contrasts. A concentration of wealth in Dallas and also Fort Worth sees some 20 Dallas-Fort Worth residents among the 400 richest Americans, according to the Forbes 400 list of The Richest People in America.

Accordingly, the stay and play options are suitably geared to wealthy travellers. Art galleries, cigar lounges, wine bars, star-rated restaurants, spa treatments, premium shopping and natural attractions are just some of the reasons to get a little lost in Dallas where they like to say, “Big Things Happen”. The city had become the financial hub of the south very early, at one time being the third largest producer of cotton in the world. Almost a country unto itself, Texas is the only US state that has ever been an independent country – The Republic of Texas existed from 1836 to 1846. 

There’s no attempt to hide the historic events of that fateful day on 22 November 1963 but nor has the city, to its credit, tried to sensationalise it. The John Fitzgerald Memorial in the West End Historic District in Downtown Dallas was erected in 1970 and designed by noted architect Philip Johnson. The cenotaph complied with Jackie Kennedy’s wishes for something stark yet simple.  It’s a moving and serene place to visit and at night, specially designed lighting provides the illusion that the structure is ‘floating’ above ground.

Within walking distance is Dealey Plaza. My local tour guide, Rebecca Koenigs from Discover Dallas says that many visitors often comment they feel the setting is so familiar – as the film footage of the shooting has been so engraved in our consciousness. The Book Depository building is where the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, using a rifle he purchased by mail order for $12.78 from Chicago, fired his fatal shots from the sixth floor. The excellent Sixth Floor Museum has a discrete entrance at the rear of the building. Allow at least two hours here among the 500 daily visitors for a fascinating look into JFK’s Presidency and a snapshot of 1960s America. In Fort Worth, another memorial stands outside the former Texan Hotel (now a Hilton Hotel) where the President spent his last evening surrounded by that prized local art collection.

The vision that the Kennedy’s had for a culturally-enriched America seems to have found its embodiment in The Dallas Arts District – the country’s largest urban arts district spanning 19 blocks. World-renowned museums offer a large range of free activities all within walking distance with such spaces as the Winspear Opera House, the Nasher Sculpture Centre with its tranquil sculpture garden and the Crow Collection of Asian Art. A new addition to the district is the Klyde Warren Park which connects the arts district to downtown with lawn games and an outdoor library.

The smell of leather, the sounds of country and western and the tastes of local Texan Shiner beer greet visitors at Wild Bill’s Western Store. Owner “Wild Bill” exudes the true Texan entrepreneurial spirit when he truthfully declares, “If you got the money honey, I got the time”. Bill has been making boots and hats since he was 11 years old and was responsible for providing custom-made hats and boots to the original cast of the TV series Dallas. Today, he welcomes stars such as Chuck Norris, Elton John and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just be warned, you may not get out of here without pledging your allegiance to Bill and Texas – nor without noticing the “We don’t dial 911” slogan t-shirts and magnets with guns and a map of Texas.

Boots for Scootin’

Elegant building facades and frontages stand proud in the downtown district – where clothing retailer Neiman Marcus, founded in 1907, is still the best place in Dallas for upmarket and exclusive retail therapy. The other investment opportunity the Marcus family considered at the time, but ultimately rejected was the “unknown” soft drink Coca-Cola.  At NorthPark, a premium shopping outlet, you can also find Neiman Marcus along with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Valentino, Cartier and Kate Spade. 

Dallas locals claim the Margarita cocktail, made from tequila, triple sec and lime or lemon juice, was invented in a bar on Greenville Street. The exact origins of the cocktail are disputed but today, any Dallas bar worth its salt serves a decent Margarita. A stylish version can be enjoyed at CBD Provisions Restaurant at the contemporary The Joule Hotel in Main Street. You can sip drinks and tapas as you overlook the hotel’s art exhibition site right across the road where art installations are regularly rotated. At the time of my visit, a giant eye by multimedia artist Tony Tasset was in direct view. Cigar and rum enthusiasts might wish to venture to The Havana Social Club Cigar and Rum Bar in Olive Street – with a selection of fine cigars and rums – and reportedly one of the best mojitos in Dallas.

You won’t need to drink on an empty stomach – because food is another Big thing that happens here. After taking in 360-degree views of the city and beyond from the GeO Deck of Reunion Tower, you can dine in the Cloud Nine café or the more upmarket Five Sixty, both by Wolfgang Puck and overlooking the entire city. For other star-rated Dallas restaurants, venture to The Mansion, Stampede 66 by Stephan Pyles for modern Texas cuisine; and also Barter, the 2014 winner of Tastemaster Awards Best New Restaurant.

A taste of touring

It’s the colour I notice first as I slide behind the wheel of the convertible Ferrari California T for a leisurely two-hour drive from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. The car’s California Rosso colour (an optional $20,500 special paint) has a subdued maroon tint that catches the sunlight, reflecting magenta sparkles from its glossy exterior. I’m naively relieved it isn’t blood-red, hoping to attract less attention. However, people smile, wave, admire – one man gives a thumbs-up. This is a Ferrari, after all, designed to stand out from the pack.

Before long, I’m hitting my stride in this luxury sports car, supremely comfortable in the beige tradizione leather interior, roof down on a beautiful winter’s day. The ‘prancing horse’ guides me effortlessly along the freeway in sports mode, and I become ever more at ease with the 3.8L twin turbo V8 engine power of this burgundy-coloured beast beneath my fingers. I have a cream pashmina draped around my face and neck, although I hardly need it for warmth, as even though it is winter, the heated seats and the low-set design create a cocoon-like effect. However, the scarf stays as I imagine myself a vintage movie star, perhaps from California, out touring on the weekend.

The LED navigation display tracks our course. Our destination: Hermitage Road in Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley. We’re booked in for lunch at Restaurant Botanica at luxury getaway Spicers Vineyards Estate. Driving into the tranquil heart of vineyards and country estates, I shift the car into ‘comfort’ mode so as not to disrupt the serenity.

Arriving, we tuck the Ferrari safely away, with the help of the rear parking sensors, and settle in for lunch. Botanica’s natural interiors are warm, inviting and cosy, the large windows giving views of the vines and the dramatic escarpments of the Brokenback Mountains. As restaurant manager Clare seats us, I’m more than ready to relax and sample the modern European creations of head chef Josh Duncan.
Botanica sources many herbs and vegetables from its own kitchen garden. After a serve of the house-made sourdough bread (a traditional recipe from San Francisco using organic stone flours), it’s time for our entrée. The Chef’s Garden salad (made from a collection of organic root spring vegetables and globe artichoke) resembles a bouquet of flowers, a bursting rainbow of colour and flavour.

The wine list is curated by Belinda and Mark Stapleton, (managing director and director/executive chef, respectively) who manage both the restaurant and accommodation to the standard for which the Spicers Retreats are renowned. The wine list is naturally made up of some of the Hunter’s best vignerons including Tyrrell’s, Thomas Wines, Scarborough and Brokenwood. From their own vines, Spicers also make a small batch of house wines utilising some of the region’s best winemakers.

Our mains follow, herb-roasted lamb rump and duck breast with white bean jus. They have a hearty appeal. For dessert, we cannot go past the milk chocolate, parfait, coffee, orange and fudge, artfully presented (as is the vanilla sabayon with cocoa and buttermilk) on a tiny tower of kiwi and strawberries.

Chatting with Josh Duncan as other patrons head outside to play bocce on the lawn, I remark there’s a refinement to his cuisine where despite the wintery ingredients, you’re not overwhelmed. “There’s a fundamental lightness to my technique,” he explains. “That’s why we’re here, to challenge ourselves.” Previously, Josh has worked at the renowned Burj Al Arab and at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai, at two Michelin-starred St Hubertus in Italy, and as head chef at One&Only Hayman Island. With his family based in nearby Nelson Bay and with a new baby, he loves being close to home, with the opportunity to carve his own niche at the restaurant.

For a full weekend, an overnight stay at Spicers puts you among the best cellar doors in the Hunter Valley. If you want to give the Ferrari a well-earned rest, Spicers can organise a personalised and private wine tour.

However, after your drive, you might prefer to relax with a treatment at onsite Spa Anise – or just unwind by the fireplace in the luxury spa suites.