GIUSEPPE CIPRIANI How to build a global empire
MONTE-CARLO CALLING Société des Bains de Mer has big plans
LUXE UNDER CANVAS The world’s best luxury tented camps
Let the Games begin
Health is wealth at Viva Mayr
Euro chic in Germany’s business hub
Mary Gostelow loves Miami
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Contents July 2011
On the cover 42 London 2012 The English capital is set for a 12-month party in the buildup to the London 2012 Olympic Games
52 Luxe under canvas Nick Walton discovers that spending a night in the great outdoors doesn’t mean roughing it
60 Fairytale state Monaco’s Société des Bains de Mer prepares to bring Monte-Carlo style to the Middle East
Monaco style Life is a nonstop party on the French Riviera
Perched high on the grassy knolls of Sentosa Island, set amid thirty acres of rolling hills, the Contemporary Manors at Capella Singapore provide a sophisticated haven for guests. Relax in 391 square metres of contemporary luxury hidden away in lush tropical gardens, with your own private pool and driveway. The intimate surroundings create a warm environment for families and couples looking to escape the city and immerse themselves in the hospitality of Capella. Even if you’re visiting for business, it’s sure to be a pleasure, as our personal assistants tend to your every need. For hotel reservations, call +65 6377 888 or visit capellahotels.com
I X TA PA
CABO SAN LUCAS MEXICO
In the news 18 Retrospective In the winners’ circle at the Monaco Grand Prix 20 Europe Airbus reveals what air travel will look like in 2050 22 Middle East & Africa Bahrain’s F1 hopes come to an end 26 Asia & Oceania Turkmenistan’s plans for a tourism revolution 30 Americas The Empire State Building celebrates its 80th birthday 34 Trends New travel and tourism concepts making the news 38 Interview Giuseppe Cipriani on the growth of his luxury empire
Insider 68 Diary Out and about this month? Don’t miss these events 70 Spend it The latest itineraries from the world’s top hotels 74 Debut Keeping tabs on the latest hotel openings around the world 76 Suite dreams Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt 78 Connoisseur Mary Gostelow makes herself at home in Miami 80 Album Jessica Hudson, co-founder, Chic Collection Travel 82 Final Word Dr Harald Stossier, owner of Viva Mayr Medical Spa
Letter from the Editor Five years ago, the publishing teaM at Wnn limited waited with bated breath for the first ever issue of Destinations of the World News to arrive from the printers. Three months after the idea to launch a magazine was born, the first edition was ready. It was July 2006. The world and the media industry have been turned upside down several times since then, but we are proud to report that we are not only still standing, we continue to excel. The stunning cover image on the inaugural issue was carefully crafted by artist sandra ‘Drasan’ nitti, who was commissioned to create the piece exclusively for the publication. The brief demanded something that reflected everything the magazine would become – striking, elegant, rich and unique. After countless transatlantic telephone calls, the masterpiece was complete. It’s fitting that the cover story on our first ever issue – now a collectors’ edition – was about Beijing’s preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games, an in-depth look at how the Chinese Dragon was paving the way for a major boost in tourist arrivals ahead of the event. Five years later, we take a look forward at how London is gearing up for the london 2012 olympic and paralympic games (page 42) and how visitors can best indulge themselves in the 12 months leading up to the event. New hotels and beautifully refurbished old ones are preparing for guests, the theatres of the West end are taking bookings for some of its top shows, and the city’s most famous shops are offering visitors ultimate luxury shopping experiences. June 2012 marks Queen elizabeth ii’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years on the British throne, so it’s also fitting that last month was our 60th issue. Destinations of the World News underwent a major repositioning in 2009, when the title changed from a hard-hitting travel trade-focused magazine to a luxury consumer title, with a new distribution network made up of affluent travellers in first and business class airport lounges around the world.
The content of the magazine changed in accordance with the new readership, but we have maintained our commitment to the travel business, as you can see from Christian Sylt’s piece on Monaco on page 60, in which he talks to société des bains de Mer chairman and managing director bernard lambert about the company’s ambitious expansion plans. Today our readership represents the frontline of luxury travel; the ladies and gentlemen who fly around the world exploring the most sought-after destinations, the most exclusive resorts, and the most comfortable means of travel. With an increasing number of airlines, airports and private jet companies opening up new destinations all the time, the world truly is getting smaller. But wherever we are in another five years’ time, one thing is for sure – Destinations of the World News will continue to bring you the latest insights into the world of luxury travel.
Joe Mortimer Editor email@example.com
a star is born The first ever edition of Destinations of the World News was published in July 2006
5 YEARS AND 60 ISSUES OF TRAVEL EXCELLENCE. MORE THAN 1000 STUNNING DESTINATIONS. ENDLESS TRAVEL INSPIRATION. DISTRIBUTED IN 100 OF THE WORLD’S TOP PREMIUM AIRPORT LOUNGES.
We know travel like no one else
Contributors July 2011, Issue 61
Destinations of the World News editor Joe Mortimer has spent the last five years in Dubai writing about travel, from the colourful streets of Buenos Aires to the skyscrapers of Shanghai. Although he now calls Dubai home, he loves to return to his native UK every year, and enjoys few things more than catching up with friends on London’s South Bank. Find out what’s in store in the English capital over the next 12 months in the buildup to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in our cover story on page 42.
Nick Walton writes on travel for a number of publications from his base in Hong Kong and has been a regular contributor to Destinations of the World News since his debut last year. This month, Nick spent several nights under the stars researching a story on luxury tented camps and discovered that the great outdoors can actually be quite hospitable when draped in rich fabrics and loaded with designer amenities. Read about his top tented luxury experiences in ‘Under the canvas’ on page 52.
Publisher Anna Zhukov firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Editor Andy Round email@example.com Editor Joe Mortimer firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor Caitlin Cheadle email@example.com Assistant Online Editor Nicci Perides firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Manager Karla Toledo email@example.com Assistant Sales Manager Andrea Tsiachtsiri firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Kris Karacinski email@example.com Multimedia Director Salimah Hirji firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Art Director Fami Bakkar email@example.com Multimedia Executive Vandita Gaurang firstname.lastname@example.org United Kingdom Sales Representative David Hammond email@example.com Circulation department firstname.lastname@example.org Cover image Olympic athlete - Getty
Jan Stannies, 38, writes about aviation, hotels, travelling and culture for publications in Germany, Switzerland and the UAE. After living in Dubai for several years he recently returned to his hometown of Hamburg, Germany, where he works as editor for the FVW Mediengruppe. Jan visited Sir Rocco Forte’s Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt last month, a wonderfully restored property in the heart of Germany’s financial capital, where he discovered that peace and harmony can be found even in the biggest of cities. Read his story on page 76.
Christian Sylt has been writing about the leisure tourism industry since 2001 and currently writes for the Daily Telegraph, Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers. He also specialises in reporting on the sports tourism sector, with a particular emphasis on the economic impact of Formula 1. For this issue he turned his attention to Monaco, where a Royal Wedding and the ambitious international expansion of Monte-Carlo SBM are set to put the country permanently back on the map. Read his story on page 60.
International Commercial Representations Destinations of the World News’ network of international advertising sales and editorial representatives are based in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America. Destinations of the World News is published monthly by WNN Limited and distributed globally to the world’s premier airport lounges, our subscriber network and a select number of five-star hotels in the UAE. The title Destinations of the World News is a registered trademark and the publisher reserves all rights. All material in Destinations of the World News is compiled from sources believed to be reliable and articles reflect the personal opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the publisher. Destinations of the World News is not responsible for omissions or errors that result from misrepresentation of information to the publisher. Advertisers assume all liability for their advertising content. All rights of the owner and the producer of this conceptual development and artwork design are reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be imitated, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of WNN Limited. Principal Offices WNN Limited, Reuters Building 1, Office 106, Dubai Media City, PO Box 500661, Dubai, UAE Tel +971 4 3910680 Fax +971 4 3910688 WNN limited, 31 Archbishop Kyprianou Street, 3036, PO Box 51234, zip 3503, Limassol, Cyprus To subscribe to Destinations of the World News at an annual rate of $99 visit the website at www.dotwnews.com and hit SUBSCRIBE. Images used in Destinations of the World News are provided by Gallo Images/Getty Images/Corbis/iStockphoto/ Photolibrary unless stated otherwise. DOTW News is printed by J G Cassoulides & Sons Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus and Al Nisr Publishing, Dubai, UAE
title Retrospective Sectiony
December July 2010 2010 dotwnews.com dotwnews.com
Sectiony title Retrospective
ebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates in style with his teammates after winning the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit. The Monaco leg is the most demanding of all the F1 circuits, due to its being held on the streets of MonteCarlo, with the racecourse providing plenty of challenging twists, turns and elevations. As a result it is also one of the most dangerous and therefore slowest races – and also one of the most suspenseful. Each year visitors from around the world flock to Monaco, the world’s second smallest country, to watch the Monaco Grand Prix. Tickets are hard to come by, so many residents rent out their terraces and balconies to visitors.
However prices are not cheap, and people will pay up to €140,000 (US$200,000) for a viewing deck. Another option for those who didn’t manage to get tickets for the grandstand is to book a meal on the terrace of one of the street-side restaurants, however prices are much steeper during the races, and patrons can expect to pay around €500 (US$700) for lunch with a view on race day. Several of Monaco’s most luxurious hotels have views of the circuit, but you’ll have to book well in advance if you want to secure a room. The most famous of these hotels is the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo in Casino Square. Another way to watch the races is, of course, by yacht – luxury vessels full of celebrities and the superwealthy crowd the marinas of Monte-Carlo during the Monaco F1 every year.
AIRBUS S.A.S 2010 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED EIAI
The future of air travel revealed The future of air travel may not be on most of our minds while we fly, but at European airline manufacturer Airbus, the future is just around the corner. The company unveiled the Airbus Concept Plane at last month’s Paris Airshow in the latest instalment of The Future by Airbus – an ongoing campaign that paints Airbus’ vision of aviation in the year 2050. The futuristic-looking plane and its Concept Cabin are packed with high-tech features designed to make the journey as important as the destination in 2050. In appearance, the 2050 aircraft looks like a cross between a new Airbus A350 and a spaceship. Designers found inspiration in the skeletal structure of birds, allowing them to come up with a bionic structure that is strong in key areas. An intelligent cabin wall membrane will control air temperature and can be made transparent to provide passengers with unobstructed views outside the aircraft. On the inside, the plane looks more like the control deck of the Starship Enterprise, with an integrated ‘neural network’ that will create an “intelligent interface between
passenger and plane”. According to Airbus, it will identify and respond to passenger needs and include features such as seats that will change according to your body shape. The standard first/business/economy cabin layout will be replaced with personalised zones, offering a new kind of onboard experience. Airlines will be able to kit out their aircraft as they wish, creating varied price differentials depending on the levels of service in each zone. Guests will be able to enjoy luxuries such as games of virtual golf and virtual shopping in an “interactive zone”, and vitamin and antioxidantenriched air, mood lighting and aromatherapy in a “vitalising zone”. For business travellers, a “smart tech zone” will provide all the func-
tionality of an office or conference room while flying at 45,000 feet. “Our research shows that passengers of 2050 will expect a seamless travel experience while also caring for the environment,” said Charles Champion, executive vice president engineering, Airbus. “The Airbus Concept Cabin is designed with that in mind, and shows that the journey can be as much a voyage of discovery as the destination. Whichever flight experience is chosen, the passenger of 2050 will step out of the Airbus Concept Cabin feeling revitalised and enriched.” The Concept Cabin will also be 100 percent recyclable, and will feature self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibres.
The latest in luxury travel… France awards top hotels new title
and Plaza Athénée (the latter two both Dorchester Collection hotels), have all been awarded the prestigious Palace classification. L’Hotel du Palais in Biarritz and Les Airelles and Le Cheval Blanc in Courchevel also received the award, while Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat was the only hotel on the Côte d’Azur to receive the accolade. The hotels awarded with the Palace honour were chosen by a panel of ten, including members of the media,
architectural experts and hotel industry leaders. Although it has been used by many French hotels over the years, the Palace category was made official last year by the government of France. Hotels bearing the Palace honour will receive special plaques to denote the classification, the first of which was added to the façade of Le Bristol hotel in Paris. The rating is valid for five years and other hotels are expected to be added to the list over time.
PHOTO: Rolex/ Carlo Borlenghi
eiGht of France’s top fivestar hotels have been awarded with the new classification of ‘Palace’, a title created to recognise the country’s most celebrated hotels of distinction. Factors taken into consideration when deciding on which hotels should receive the prestigious title included location, architecture, size of rooms, number of suites, historical significance, food and beverage outlets, amenities and service. In Paris, Le Bristol, Park Hyatt Vendome, Le Meurice
Drive your Ferrari to London for a weekend overhaul (the car, not you). The Berkeley’s Ferrari Atelier – a tie-up with luxury motorcar retailer H.R. Owen and Ferrari – cleans and titivates the car, and you get two nights overnight with spa treatments. It’s the first standalone Ferrari workshop outside Ferrari’s hometown, Maranello. For guests with money to burn, the new H.R. Owen Ferrari flagship, opening this summer, will offer clients a custom design service where they will be able to create their new Ferrari to their taste. If you happen to be in Moscow and feel like cavorting with Italy’s A-List, Fortevillage Resort has a 38-seat Yak-42 that will make a return trip between Vnukova 3 and the new executive jet terminal at Cagliari-Elmas in Sardinia every Saturday all summer long. Next time you’re in Chicago, take an art and culture boat trip along the shore of Lake Michigan and Chicago River, right to the heart of the Windy City. Cruises on the M/V Chicago’s First Lady have experts from the Chicago Architecture Foundation aboard to explain the sights along the way. You board at the 1920-vintage Wrigley Building - a Graham, Anderson, Probst & White pastiche of Seville Cathedral’s Giralda Tower. Along the way you see Trump Tower, by architect Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; the distinctivelytwisted Aqua building by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang; and Boeing Headquarters, designed in 1988 for Morton Salt Company by Perkins+Will. (architecture.org) Celebrate ahead of the pack – Moët & Chandon has introduced Möet Ice Imperial in a fabulous all-white bottle. It’s meant to be drunk over ice. Buy a Moët Party Pack, and you’ll get three bottles of champagne, six Möet-logo plastic wine glasses and a white ice bucket.
Rolex Volcano Race 2011 It was a neck and neck finish at the final stages of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, where competitors raced along the 400-nautical miles of the inaugural Rolex Volcano Race 2011. Starting in Gaeta, the race passed Capri and Stromboli, one of Italy’s three active volcanoes. On their return sailors and VIPs partied with Rolex executives at the exclusive La Canzone del Mare.
By Mary Gostelow
Middle East & Africa
Know before you go
Dubai’s tourism board has launched a guide for tourists that lists important legal and cultural taboos. Among the “don’ts” section are acts that could result in hefty penalties or jail time if tourists are caught perpetrating them. Things like being drunk in public, taking drugs, public displays of affection and dancing in the streets, swearing and aggressive behaviour are all outlawed according to Dubai’s decency laws. The guide has been created in association with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in a bid to curb indecent behaviour.
IATA under fire
Qatar Airways’ outspoken CEO Akbar al Baker lashed out at airline industry body IATA (International Air Transport Association) last month, questioning the organisation’s spending and decision-making process. Al Baker accused IATA of being “run for the few, by the few,” at a meeting in Singapore and lambasted its lack of transparency. He questioned IATA’s US$18 million travel budget and $58 million data processing and IT expenditure, plus the recent “surprise” nomination of rival Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan to a new seat on the IATA board.
Blue flag beaches
Abu Dhabi’s Corniche has been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag certification for clean, environmentally sustainable beaches and marinas. The award is given to beaches that excel in 32 areas, including environmental management, information and education, water quality, public safety and services. Abu Dhabi is the first Arab capital to join the programme and earn Blue Flag status. The certification was awarded by the Emirates Wildlife Society – World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF), the national coordinator in the UAE for the Blue Flag Programme.
Bahrain’s Formula 1 hopes are dashed Hopes of rescheduling the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in October have been dashed, after Formula 1 racing teams expressed concerns about the unexpected change in the annual racing calendar. The high-profile event – the first Formula 1 Grand Prix ever to be held in the Middle East – was supposed to open the 2011 F1 season on March 13, but was cancelled due to civil unrest, which rocked the Gulf state earlier this year. “Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30th in line with the World Motor Sport Council’s decision, it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision,” said Zayed R Alzayani, chairman of Bahrain International Circuit. There was a brief moment of hope for Bahrain last month when F1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone revealed that the event could be rescheduled to take place on October 30, but the decision was reversed due to opposition from racing teams citing logistical obstacles and insurance reasons. “Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar season detract
from the enjoyment of F1 for either drivers, teams or supporters,” Alzayani continued. “We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season.” Bahrain has successfully staged seven F1 Grand Prix, which are watched by an estimated 300 million people worldwide.
estimated $116.8 million of income from visitor spending on accommodation, food and beverage, shopping, and travel, the study showed. The event brought in $13.8 million from ticket sales and $36.7 million in merchandise, food and beverage sales at the Bahrain International Circuit. Bahraini stakeholders hoped that rescheduling the race would restore investors’ confidence in Bahrain after civil unrest made global frontpage headlines in February.
“Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar season detract from the enjoyment of F1 for either drivers, teams or supporters” The Grand Prix is estimated to contribute some US$600 million to the Bahraini economy every year, making it the most important annual event for Bahrain’s burgeoning leisure tourism industry. The 2008 Grand Prix in Bahrain attracted almost 100,000 spectators and generated US$600 million for the economy, according to a study commissioned by the Bahraini government. The race generated an
The news is also a blow to Bahraini F1 fans, who were pushing for the event to be rescheduled. More than 15,000 people signed the ‘Bring Back Formula 1 Grand Prix’ campaign, launched by a group of 25 Bahraini motorsport enthusiasts. The inaugural Indian Grand Prix will go ahead as planned on October 30. Ecclestone told the BBC he hoped F1 would return to Bahrain in the future.
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Middle East & Africa
“A lot of them find it easy to move across because their relatives are there. It’s a bit like having a problem in your street, and your mum lives in the next street, so you go and visit your mum” Reem Haddad, director of Syria’s state TV network, puts a positive spin on the news that thousands of Syrians are pouring into Turkey to flee a clampdown on antigovernment protests.
“Previously most of aviation’s congestion problems have existed on the ground, now the biggest strategic threat to the growth of aviation is in the air”
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths speaking at the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) AGM in Bangkok. Griffiths said air travel is expected to double by 2025, and that limited air capacity was the biggest threat to aviation growth.
“We have Africa’s longest coast, more Roman ruins than anywhere except Italy, and strong solar energy potential” Esam Abdel Aziz Fatouri, the head of treasury at Libya’s Wahda Bank, talking to the Financial Times about Libya’s huge potential for tourism investment.
The star-studded opening party for the new Missoni Hotel Kuwait was a fitting introduction to the designer hotel – Missoni’s second luxury property. The hotel offers the first designer accommodation in Kuwait, a city that struggles with a huge undersupply of hotel rooms. Pictured are Rezidor CEO Kurt Ritter, Adwan Al Adwani, vice chairman for Al Tijaria Commercial Real Estate Company (owners of the hotel), and fashion designer and Missoni co-founder Rosita Missoni.
Eastern Mangroves: green Abu Dhabi Abu DhAbi has been widely acclaimed among travel authorities as ‘one to watch’, with numerous ambitious tourism projects reshaping the UAE capital’s tourism landscape. In early 2012, the first phase of the new Eastern Mangroves luxury lifestyle development will open to the public, at the centre of which is a luxurious new Anantara resort hotel – a 224-room and suite property overlooking eight square kilometres of pristine mangrove forest. The Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa will be the third Abu Dhabi property for the Thailand-based company, which already runs the Desert Islands Resort & Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island and Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort in the vast deserts of Liwa. The rest of the Eastern Mangroves – a 1.2km project being developed by the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) – will feature a 30-berth marina, retail outlets, dining options and 220 premium apartments in eight distinctive buildings. TDIC started work on the Eastern Mangroves project almost four years ago, and has been involved with the
careful protection and expansion of the area ever since. The master developer has planted 60,000 new saplings and increased the flow of water into the mangrove forests, which are home to 200 species of fish and 50 species of bird. TDIC’s acting CEO James Pringle said the development would offer a whole new experience for residents and visitors to Abu Dhabi: “If you look at the apartments that are facing over the mangroves, you have an 8.5 square kilometre panoramic view
of the mangroves, looking out across the water as far as Saadiyat Island,” he explained. “For the business traveller coming into Abu Dhabi or the resident that is working here – to come home and have that kind of vista is a very calming experience. You are in a city but you are at the edge of this vast ecosystem looking over it.” The hotel, marina and retail section will be open in January 2012, followed by the residential units in the second quarter.
Asia & Oceania
Food for thought
Aman’s Amankora lodges in Bhutan, which uses local ingredients wherever possible, has introduced several dishes containing yak meat, which is 95 percent fat-free, rich in Omega 3 oils and has 40 percent more protein than beef. Guests of the resort can enjoy yak carpaccio, Asian spiced yak broth and yak burgers. The meat is said to be mild in flavour and is likened to ‘a delicate lean beef’.
Ask the right way
Anantara Resorts are offering guests their services in planning the ultimate wedding proposal. How about popping the question with a ring brought to you by the resort’s baby elephant, Phil, dinner for two at the Anantara Maldives’ underwater restaurant, SEA, or a champagne picnic on a tropical beach enclosed by a vertical cliff face?
Watch your mouth
A new legislation approved in the state of Victoria in Australia will allow police to be able to issue on-the-spot fines of up to AU$240 (US$252) to anyone using offensive words or phrases in public.
Hot to shop
The Great Singapore Sale runs until July 24, offering visitors a discount of up to 70 percent on clothes, jewellery and accessories in retail outlets across the country, from the department stores of Orchard Road to the new The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and even the small boutique shops in neighbourhoods like Haji Lane in the city’s Muslim district.
Thailand’s bustling capital is set to welcome two more luxury properties by next year, following the St Regis Bangkok’s April opening. The Sofitel So Bangkok will open in early 2012, and the W Hotel Bangkok in mid-2012.
The way forward Ashgabat’s Cultural Center is part of the government’s ambitious tourism plan
Turkmenistan: the Dubai of Central Asia? Oil and gas-rich Turkmenistan, bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the Caspian Sea, now has its sights set firmly on tourism, with grandiose plans to become ‘the Dubai of Central Asia.’ The story goes that former Turkmenistan president Saparmurat Niyazov visited the thriving tourist resort of Antalya, Turkey a few years before his death in 2006 and was so impressed with the mass tourism model, he decided it was high time to bring a tourism growth plan to his own country – he chose Dubai as his model. His successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, took the reigns after Niyazov’s death and went ahead with plans to build a massive tourism complex on the coast of the Caspian Sea. The Avaza Complex, which will exceed US$5 billion in costs by the time it is complete in 2020, was planned to open in three stages: the first stage opened in June 2009, but according to the few who have so far visited, it still has a long way to go. Stretched over 50 square kilometres of beachfront, the resort features 60 high-rise hotels, villas, an artificial island, an eight-kil-
ometre man-made river, an amusement park, sports facilities, a business centre, a sports stadium, health centre, shopping mall – and a new airport which has just been completed, built for the sole purpose of transporting visitors to Avaza. The artificial island, built in the shape of a crab and linked to the shore with an isthmus, will be joined by two more artificial islands in the near future. There is also a ‘dancing fountain’ similar to the dancing Dubai Fountain at Dubai Mall, and plans are in effect to build a further 15 hotels and an aqua park. Though the Avaza Complex is still far from completion and its success as a tourist attraction has yet to be seen, the fact remains that the country is in the throes of huge economic growth due to its rich natural resources of oil, gas and cotton. French luxury hotel chain Sofitel has recently ventured into Turkmenistan, opening the five-star Sofitel Ashgabat Oguzkent, in the city of Ashgabat, in May. The property caters to business and leisure travellers, offering fine dining restaurants and trendy bars – a rarity in Turkmenistan, which often draws comparisons to North Korea in terms of its isolation and authoritative leaders.
FRENCH & ORIENTAL… SO YOU
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Asia & Oceania
“[Chinese] travellers... now want their travel agents to tell them which are the recommended big brands, and will then make the choice themselves”
Sun Bo, president of Beijingbased luxury travel agency Sun Pala comments on China’s evolving travel needs.
“The RitzCarlton and Four Seasons will open in 2014, and more (five-star hotels) will come up in the near future” Hiroaki Kakinuma, director of the tourism promotion division of Kyoto’s Industry and Tourism Bureau.
“We are delighted to be signing not just our first resort in Japan, but also the first internallybranded luxury hotel in Okinawa” Herve Humler, president and COO of The Ritz-Carlton comments on the refurbishment of the existing Kise Bettei Hotel & Spa, set to open as the RitzCarlton, Okinawa in 2012.
The line of duty The attendants on the new Beijing – Shanghai High-Speed Railway make a public appearance at Shanghai Hongqlao Railway Station. The project, which cost over US$32 billion, has 24 stations, 22 tunnels and 244 bridges, with trains running at approximately 350 km/hour, allowing passengers to travel from Beijing to Shanghai or vice versa in 4.8 hours. The 400 attendants are all between ages 19 and 22, are all associate degree holders, and all stand at a height of approximately 165cm.
ILTM Asia: new luxury takes us back to our roots A report released at the International Luxury Travel Market in Shanghai in June highlighted the changing luxury travel market, taking into account the recession and the increasing demand from emerging markets such as China, Russia, the Middle East and India. Whereas luxury travel was once reserved for an older elite class and confined to grand hotels in bustling cities, the shifting economic climate has opened up the door for a new kind of luxury traveller. ILTM Asia’s ‘The Future of Luxury Travel’ report outlines four distinct groups of travellers that are shaping the future of the luxury travel market: the independentminded (seeking the authentic and personalised), the explorer (seek-
the Mirrorcube The luxury treehouse concept has already taken off in Sweden
ing incredible experiences at limitless budgets), candidates to luxury (seeking high-quality, high-service), and streetwise purchasers (younger, social media experts). The luxury travel trends that have emerged through the recession reflect these changes in consumer demands, and new luxury travel opportunities that focus not just
on five-star hotels, but the luxury experience as a whole, have begun to flood the market. Luxury tented camps, luxury tree houses and luxury safaris are just some of the options available to travellers. Often these resorts and packages focus on bringing travellers closer to nature, without sacrificing luxuries like running water, gourmet food, attentive service, high-end amenities and mod cons. Travel booking websites have also evolved to meet consumer demand, with companies like Black Tomato seeing huge profit growth during the recession. Clearly marketed at a younger, trendier consumer, packages are categorised by experience, including, ‘some bustle’, ‘to disappear’ and ‘to pulsate’.
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MJ lives on
Travelling acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soliel will kick off its US$57 million Michael Jackson, The Immortal World Tour in October in Montreal, Canada. The tour will move on to New York, Miami, Los Angeles and eventually Las Vegas, where it will open the Mandalay Bay hotel’s brand new Jacksonthemed attraction, which includes a lounge, interactive memorabilia museum and a theatre designed to replicate the iconic Neverland Ranch, where Michael spent his last days.
Canada and the US roll out the red carpet for royal couple’s visit
Camping in NYC
Sleeping outdoors in the city doesn’t usually bring the word ‘holiday’ to mind, but that’s set to change, as America’s largest urban campground is currently under development in New York City at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennet Field, a former airport once used by pilot Emilia Earhart and director Howard Hughes. The campground will grow over the next two years to comprise up to 600 campsites.
Vegas in style
If you’re flying to Vegas, you may as well do it right. BA has introduced first class on its daily flights to Las Vegas from London. The airline’s first class individual suites offer passengers such delights as their own wardrobe, a leatherbound writing desk, 15-inch in-flight entertainment screen, and a ‘buddy’ seat that enables guests to dine with each other in their cabins.
Mexico gets luxurious
Despite the recent declines in tourism as a result of the ongoing drug wars, Mexico is set to welcome a number of new luxury properties by 2014, including the W Santa Fe, the W Mexico City, the Courtyard by Marriott Mexico City, and the DoubleTree by Hilton Mexico City Airport.
national treasure The royal couple will celebrate Canada’s 144th birthday on July 1 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Prince William and his new bride Catherine’s visit to Canada this month sees them partaking in Canada Day festivities in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, before journeying to Prince Edward Island, Montreal, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, and finally heading to the coast of California for a few days. Hotels were seeing the positive effect of the visit months beforehand, with most downtown Ottawa properties reporting in May that they were at 100 percent occupancy during the couple’s visit. “We’re sold out”, said David Smythe of Ottawa’s five-star Lord Elgin Hotel – located a short stroll from Parliament Hill, where the royal couple will celebrate Canada’s 144th birthday with the nation on July 1. “When people call our reservation line they’re asking about Canada Day, William and Kate, how close we are to Parliament Hill and where is the best place to stand to see the royal couple.”
Hospitality businesses have been quick to capitalise on the opportunity of an influx in tourists, and many new luxury holiday products are being rolled out in time for the tour and the summer months, when Canada’s climate is favourable. In late May Air Canada increased its weekly flight routes from London to Montreal and from Dublin to Toronto, and a new scenic train route from Quebec City to Le Massif de Charlevoix will launch in September. British Columbian rail group Rocky Mountaineer has launched its new luxury train facilities that will transport passengers from BC through the Rocky Mountains and on to Alberta. New luxury properties preparing to accept extra guests include the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, which opened in February of this year, and the Rosewood Georgia hotel, a refurbished 5-star property in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
Meanwhile hoteliers are preparing for the visit by brushing up on their royal protocol. Royal guests are to be addressed by staff as “Your Royal Highness” during the first interaction, and “Sir” or “Ma’am” thereafter. Rooms occupied by royal members are blocked off by security provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Most upscale hotels, for example the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, where HRH Queen Elizabeth took tea during her Golden Jubilee celebration in 2002, keep a special set of dishware especially for royal visits. Meanwhile the US is enthusiastic about the couple’s July visit, banking on the tourism it will hopefully bring to boost its struggling economy. William and Catherine are to be greeted by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when they arrive in California, where they are to spend two days visiting the Los Angeles area.
Silversea invites special guests on world cruise On January 6, 2012 Silversea cruise line’s Silver Whisper will embark on a 115-day world cruise, giving travellers the chance to interact with some very special guests along the way. Passengers will embark in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the 115-day journey, which will visit 45 ports in 27 countries from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, the Far East, Arabia and Europe, ending in Monte Carlo. Bill Bryson, author of the international bestseller A Short History of Nearly Everything and winner of the Aventis Prize, will host Voyage 4203, March 3 – 14, from Singapore to Shanghai. Other guests of honour include Hugh Downs, former co-anchor of American news programme 20/20, who will host Voyage 4203, January 23 – February 5, from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town; James Bradley, World War II scholar and best-selling author of Flags of our Fathers, who will host Voyage 4207, March 14 – 26, Shangahi – Bangkok; and Robin Hanbury-Tenison, O.B.E., named by the Sunday Times as “the greatest explorer of the past 20 years”, who will host Voyage 4202, January 7- 23, Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro. Steve Tucker, Silversea’s vice president of field sales for North America, said, “We searched the globe to find just the right professors and distinguished personalities to share their knowledge and insights. The result is an impeccable enrichment roster that is sure to enhance our guests’ travel experience.” Find out more online at www.silversea.com.
Photo: NYC & Company/Jen Davis
An icon turns 80 On May 1, 1931 US President Herbert Hoover stood before a crowd and pressed a button, illuminating the Empire State building for the first time and symbolising the nation’s perseverance through the Great Depression. Today the building remains the city’s tallest – and was the world’s tallest for nearly 40 years. Builder John Jacob Raskob allegedly asked Empire’s architect William Lamb, “How high can you make it so it won’t fall down?” during planning stages in the late 1920s, when the stock market was at its peak. Construction began only months after the crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression era. Immigrant workers, mostly European and Mohawk Indian, worked tirelessly to finish the building, beginning as early as 3.30am and toiling away until 4.30pm every day.
the month in numbers
The number of rooms in the new YOTEL NYC, which inhabits part of Related Company’s 60-storey LEEDSilver complex, located in the heart of Manhattan at West 42nd Street and 10th Avenue in Times Square.
The number of itinerary changes Carnival Cruise Lines has had to make to its routes so far in 2011, in the wake of natural disasters in Japan and New Zealand and the civil unrest in the Middle East.
The number of US guests to visit Abu Dhabi last year, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, a 16 percent rise on 2009, making America Abu Dhabi’s thirdlargest international source market for hotel guests.
Destinations: go global Uk
Small is kinda beautiful
travelodge may be better known for its big boxy budget accommodation, but we’re intrigued by its most recent business model. Basically the company has started snapping up small properties – offices, pubs, shops and even snooker halls – and converting them into small hotels with between 20 to 40 rooms each. What’s clever about the concept is that they are in über expensive districts – like central London Fulham or edinburgh’s famous Rose street – where it’s impossible to get planning permission for a new hotel, but there are properties ripe for a little conversion. interesting, eh? the company plans to roll out the idea in 100 ‘prime locations’ by 2020. “By downsizing our hotel building requirements we open up hundreds of development opportunities,” says tL’s boss Guy Parson.
Nuclear power theme park
so what exactly do you do if your local neighbourhood power plant, erm, runs out of steam? if you are Chernobyl, you’re abandoned like some dangerous dog (which basically you are), but if you are the Kalkar nuclear Plant in Germany, you are converted into an amusement park. Really. With rides and everything. apparently even sections of the plant have been incorporated into the experience (there’s a huge swing inside an old cooling tower) and the park has attracted 600,000 (it’s been around a while, but it’s news to us). What will be interesting to see is what happens as more and more nuclear power stations go offline in the wake of the Japanese disaster. Kalkar Nuclear Plant the former German power station is now an amusement park
Like comics? Get to Lyon, France, where the largest comic book in the world sits along the Rhone River. at one km long, it was created by 11 writers and 111 artists, and the story is easy to understand. “it’s about a tarzanlike character who has a passion for drawing,” said a spokesartist for the emile Cohl Drawing school in Lyon.
the Yotel in new York is building exactly the right sort of staff you need. the hotel opened last month, and its big selling point is that a robot – a Yobot, no less – has been employed to store luggage in guest lockers. excellent PR stunt, huge Youtube following and a major hit in the blogosphere. at least it doesn’t moan about tips.
school runs, crèche pick-ups, babysitting drop-offs and juggling the commute to and from work can be like Mission impossible, only without the help of Mr tom Cruise. over in France the rail company snCF has come up with a cunning solution that might be the answer to harassed parents’ prayers; crèches in rail stations. experimental childcare centres have started in Roanne, Paris-nord and ermont-eaubonne and proved to be so successful that six more stations are adopting the idea. Children from 10 weeks to four years can be accommodated.
A weekend away or a summer vacation is all about memories and at the 5 star Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, weâ€™ve got you covered. With Dubaiâ€™s friendliest staff and an Arabic theme, we know itâ€™s the kids that really count. Stay & Play at the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel this summer from AED 395 and receive the following beneďŹ ts: Ă?Ăż$ININGĂżANDĂżSHOPPINGĂżDISCOUNTSĂżANDĂż-ALLĂżSHUTTLES Ă?Ăż#OMPLEMENTARYĂżACCESSĂżTOĂżTHEĂż+IDSĂż#LUB Ă?Ăż&REEĂż)CEĂżCREAMĂżĂżSOFTĂżDRINKSĂżFORĂżTHEĂżKIDS *Terms and Conditions apply. Offer valid until 30th August 2011. Rate is per room per night and subject to 10% municipality fees and 10% service charge.
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Create new summer memories from AED 395
HOT Pillow menu Coming to a hotel bed near you: soft pillow designs from UPHAA in the shape of logs, floppy discs, Tetrix blocks, Facebook and Twitter icons – even TV remotes. Dead end At the Thai temple of Wat Prommanee there are nine coffins in which visitors can relax and listen to chants and music for 90 seconds.
Destinations of the World News’ version of a cool airport experience is one where we don’t have to go scrambling under carpet for a laptop charge, the coffee doesn’t taste like E. coli and the faraway departure gate is at least in the same timezone as the city it purports to serve. So, major hat-tip to those clever folks at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam: not only do they host regular art exhibitions, but now they’ve gone and installed a park smack bang in the heart of the airport. It’s just beyond passport control and features what it describes as ‘mixed reality’. What this means in reality is a load of butterflies and images of parks projected onto airport
You know about car sharing: you have a car, a couple of spare seats and want to cut the cost of petrol with folks travelling in the same direction as you. Well, imagine the same concept applied to private jets. Simple, eh? All you need is the network to make it happen. And that’s where socialflights.com comes in. Basically, you outline where you want to fly on their site, other users say, “Hey, how great is that. I want to go there too,” and before you know it you’re onboard a Gulfstream with a bunch of others sharing the price of the fuel. And the pilot’s wages and the in-flight movie subscription. And perhaps a glass of bubbly or two. The company claims that it recently flew 90 football fans to Jacksonville in Florida from Jackson in Mississippi on three jets, and the price was just US$350 per passenger. Score.
walls complete with soundtracks of animals and children laughing. But of course they didn’t stop there. Among a fine range of shrubbery, flowers and hedgerows are comfortable chairs, an outdoor park café, picnic benches, and what is described as a ‘130-year-old tree rescued from its former habitat.’ But what we most love is the ‘sustainable’ mobile charger bicycle. PHOTO: Royal Jet
Park and fly
We like smart marketing lines, and ‘London’s calling’ on the side of London cabs, sponsored by Vodafone, is this month’s favourite (even if it makes Joe Strummer turn in his grave). The company is using the cabs to flag up its payment-bytext message service and also offers passengers the chance to recharge their phone while on the move. You’ll see them outside Heathrow, Gatwick and in the city. There’s no cost for either the charge or the payment service and the texts are free. July 2011
Spa out In the Azerbaijan town of Naftalan the town clinic offers crude oil baths. Just add 35 gallons of the stuff, warm to 40 degrees and add human. Boil for 10 minutes… you couldn’t make it up.
NOT Stick your neck out Newest restaurant in Tokyo? The Vampire Café in Ginza. It’s all Dracula, baroque music, coffins, skull decorations and crucifixes. Goth isn’t dead. Sadly. Hot stuff Or maybe not. Weird museum of the month award goes to Richard Porter and his collection of 5,000 thermometers. He’s just opened a museum to put them in. Clever boy.
Pay the cab by phone
Scared away Cambodia’s most unlikely tourist attraction? Scarecrows brandishing handguns, AK-47s and other dangerous weapons. Apparently they also scare off spirits, in line with ancient tradition.
Get dolled up Or maybe you’d rather not. The Grand Hotel Savola in the Italian Alps has opened a series of Barbie Suites to bring out the little girl inside all of us… almost as tempting as Japan’s Hello Kitty theme park. Fatal attraction The town of Aokigahara in Japan is the country’s suicide black spot because of its impenetrable forest and reference in the best-selling Complete Manual of Suicide. “Perhaps we should give in and just call it ‘suicide city’,” said the mayor.
IntervIew Giuseppe Cipriani Born to lead Giuseppe Cipriani is the third generation of the famed Venetian family and the Principal of Cipriani Group
Basic instinct With a reputation for hosting glitzy parties, a penchant for fast cars and a tabloid scandal to boot, hospitality tycoon Giuseppe Cipriani has had a colourful rise to the top - but he knows luxury lies in simplicity Interview: Caitlin Cheadle
ith two generations of restaurateurs preceding him, Giuseppe Cipriani’s move into the family business was inevitable. His grandfather’s foray into hospitality began when he lent Harry Pickering, a regular at the bar he worked at, a sizeable sum of money because he could no longer afford his favourite martinis. The two later opened the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1931, which became a regular haunt for the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin, and was also the birthplace of the Bellini and Beef Carpaccio. Giuseppe’s father Arrigo brought Harry’s Bar to New York in 1985, and today the Cipriani umbrella includes restaurants in New York, London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi, plus hotels in Beverly Hills, Venice and soon, Sao Paulo. But his success hasn’t been without obstacles – here he tells DOTW News why sticking to your vision is the only way to succeed in the face of adversity. Did you attend the recent opening of Mr. C hotel in Beverly Hills? Yes, I was there. It’s a fantastic property that really exceeded my expectations. I think the product itself is great; the restaurants and the hotel, too. Hopefully it’s the first of many projects to come because it really is something that I think is missing in the market. It’s fun, fresh, with great service – but it’s very true to itself. I think we met all our expectations, if not more. It is run by my sons, Ignazio and Maggio. They really finished the project and they did it according to their vision. Our business is four generations old now, so they know what makes a good product and they’ve done very well. They are very professional and I am very impressed. Where will you open next? For now, the Mr. C concept will remain in the United States. There are a couple more cities within the US we are looking at. As far as the next Cipriani hotel, we are looking at Sao Paulo. Maybe in a year-and-a-half to two years – we bought a piece of land a long time ago and now we are building it. It will be a hotel and a restaurant, and I want it to be the number-one hotel in Sao Paulo. Have you always known that you would take on the family business? Not really, but I don’t think I had the choice [laughs]. It’s not something that you plan but sometimes it’s something that you’re faced with and so you just go with it.
Club with a view Allure by Cipriani overlooks the glowing Yas Hotel and Yas Marina Circuit
“You can’t really worry too much about what other people are saying about you. Do things the best you can and usually the results will be favourable” You opened Cipriani restaurant at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi last year. Are there any plans to open a Cipriani hotel in the Middle East? There are plans, nothing is concrete yet, but we are talking to our partners there and examining opportunities. But the Middle East and Abu Dhabi especially are something that we are definitely keeping in mind. If there is an opportunity then we will look at it very seriously. We are also working on a restaurant in Moscow. It’s not finalised yet, but we are very close. What impact did the recession have on your business ventures? It had a huge impact. Our business was down 30 percent. It has been very difficult. I guess recessions are also good in the way that you start looking more at the details of your company; you start saving in areas that you were overlooking when things were going well. At the end of the day, you usually come out of a recession in better shape for future growth. So recessions sometimes are actually good. I think you realise that some of the things you do and the expenses that you incur are not necessary
and you start cutting in the right places. Always take a step back and look at where you can save and where you can be profitable. At the end of the day, a company has to be profitable. What does it take to build a global brand and how do you avoid expanding too quickly? [Laughs] It takes four generations! It’s really all about service; as long as you keep the service in mind, then it’s easy. The moment you start compromising your core values, that’s when things get sloppy. So the challenge is really to stick to your beliefs without looking at what other people are doing. What is your personal definition of luxury? Lack of imposition. Luxury is something beautiful and easy, without having anything imposed on you. It has to let the spirit feel free. It’s freedom and simplicity. Simple things are usually more appreciated. We always try to complicate life with difficult things, but luxury is something that should always come flawlessly. The best service you can get is the service you don’t perceive.
Master plan Giuseppe Cipriani has grown his family’s business into a global empire
Your restaurants have a large celebrity following. How did Cipriani become associated with celebrities and how do you maintain those relationships? It’s really about leaving people alone. We don’t deliberately cultivate any celebrity following. I guess they come because they are left alone. We don’t contact the press, we don’t put them in the newspapers, so people and celebrities feel like they can come and not be bothered with what usually happens to them in other places. A large part of what you do and building up your brand has revolved around social functions and being out and about in the public eye. How do you maintain a work/life balance? I don’t like much to go to functions. I work a lot, so that’s what I like doing. I like to entertain guests and friends on a daily basis in our restaurants. There’s so much to do that I don’t really get around to other places, so there’s not really enough time to be going out all the time to other public events. What do you think is the most important skill to have as an entrepreneur? You have to be able to criticise yourself and be objective about whether what you are doing feels right. The less you deviate from your plans, the better. We all have to have a plan. There are many things that happen and you have to adjust your plan, but it’s never good to change your plan. And you should be critical of your mistakes. We all make them, and you have to learn from them and understand when you’ve made them. And then you correct them. I think you do it almost on a daily basis. It’s part of your routine; it’s looking back and seeing what you’re doing wrong. It’s true of life in general, but with work especially. What is a typical day like for you? That depends on how the night went. We own a few nightclubs and the restaurant business means you stay up late. Every day is different.
May 2011 dotwnews.com July
There have been some tabloid rumours linking Cipriani with several prominent New York crime families; how do you move beyond that kind of negative attention? You can’t. This is why they are called rumours. They get into the press and then they leave and then sometimes they come back in again. It’s something that you have to live with and you can’t really control. The best thing is to just go ahead with your plan and make sure that your plan works. You can’t really worry too much about what other people are saying about you. Do things the best you can and usually the results will be favourable.
Easy luxury The elegant interior of Cipriani Yas Island
“Luxury is something beautiful and easy, without having anything imposed on you. It has to let the spirit feel free” What is your proudest achievement so far? It can be difficult to work generation after generation – my father worked with his father, I worked with my father, and now my sons are working with me – with no jealousy. To be able to work in a family without interfering with one another too much and to maintain a close relationship is difficult, but we do it very well. We let each other make our own decisions and that is why we’ve been able to work generation after generation.
his favourite martinis. My grandfather asked him why and he told him it was because he couldn’t afford them, so my grandfather lent him some money. Harry didn’t come back for some months, during which time my grandmother almost divorced my grandfather for giving away their money. Eventually Harry came back with the borrowed money [plus 30,000 Lire], and they opened Harry’s Bar together. It was a good decision; we always say that if there were credit cards at that time, Harry’s Bar wouldn’t be there.
What do you do to switch off? I race cars. For that you have to keep in shape mentally and physically.
What possessed him to lend someone he barely knew the money? I don’t know, but it was a gut feeling – he was very generous and he always went with how he felt about people. I was reading an interview in an Italian paper, and they mentioned my grandfather and credit, and how with credit they were all able to drink in Harry’s Bar at that time. Even Hemingway had credit at my grandfather’s place.
Is it true your grandfather lent a bar customer he barely knew 10,000 Lire (US$5,000)? Yes, it’s true. He was a bartender in the 1920s and he had this customer, Harry Pickering, who had run out of money and he stopped ordering
The festivities kick-started by the Royal Wedding earlier this year are set to continue for the next 12 months, in the buildup to the largest sporting event the world has ever seen Words: Joe Mortimer
Shaftesbury Avenue With its red buses and iconic landmarks, London is full of aesthetic appeal
here is something in the air in London – a palpable sense of excitement that started to build a few weeks before the wedding of Britain’s favourite royal couple, Prince William and Catherine Middleton (now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) which hasn’t shown any sign of fading since. Walking along the South Bank of the Thames on a sunny June morning, passing the British Film Institute and the Millennium Bridge on the way towards the Tate Modern, there’s a charge to the atmosphere that hints of bottled excitement – a sense of anticipation scarcely concealed under London’s polished sheen. The bunting may have been removed from the lampposts and the street parties have died down, but the celebrations are just beginning and the next 12 months promise a crown jewel-encrusted lineup of events to celebrate one of the most exciting periods in modern British history. This month marks exactly one year until the Olympic Torch arrives in London, after a long journey from Land’s End, signalling the beginning of the world’s largest-ever sporting event, the London 2012 Olympic Games, on July 27. The 2012 instalment of the Games will be the third time the Olympics have been held in London – more times than any other city. The global event, watched by billions of people every year, was first staged in the UK in 1908, then again in post-war 1948. The Olympic Park is currently the largest construction site in Europe, but in a year’s time, it will be transformed into the temporary heart of England, connected to the city by the new Olympic Javelin line, a high-speed shuttle service that will transport thousands of spectators from London’s St. Pancras Station to Stratford International Station in Olympic Park in just seven minutes. Four billion people are expected to tune into the event, which will attract 15,000 athletes, 20,000 members of the media and an estimated 5.5 million day trippers, plus 500,000 overnight visitors to the city. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has made nine million tickets available for Olympic events, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Six weeks before the Games start, Britain will celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years since she was crowned queen and making her the second British monarch, along with Queen Victoria (who ruled from 1837 until 1901), in history to have reigned for 60 years.
“An impressive collection of new five-star hotels have already opened their doors this year, with names like Four Seasons and Corinthia adding to London’s already accomplished luxury hotel room portfolio” The official Jubilee Weekend lasts from June 2-5, 2012, a long weekend that will see celebrations centred around Buckingham Palace spread out across London, all showcasing the best of British tradition. “The pageantry is a fantastic sell because you can actually go and see it – it is not just something that happens once every 30 years and privately,” says Sandie Dawe, CEO of UK tourism board VisitBritain. “The Guard changes every day and the trooping of the colours happens every year. The Royal Mews is always open, where you can see the horses and carriages and you can visit the palaces – it is all there, all the time.” That’s all still a long way off – the opportunity to promote Britain in the year-long lead-up to the Games has not been overlooked by the country’s tourism industry. Hotels, tour operators, transport providers and the national tourism board are all cashing in on the opportunity to market London and the rest of the UK. VisitBritain has just launched its celebrity ambassador campaign –Britain, You’re Invited – in which top UK stars including Dame Judy Dench, actors Dev Patel and Rupert Everett, former supermodel Twiggy and chef Jamie Oliver promote their favourite parts of Britain.
But as far as we’re concerned, if you don’t at least stop off in the capital in the next 12 months, you’ll be missing out on what promises to be the greatest celebration of the century. The Olympic celebrations will be centred around the Cultural Olympiad Festival 2012, a 12-week arts festival featuring some of the world’s finest artists. The festival takes place throughout the UK and wraps up on September 9, the final day of the Paralympics Games. For Brits, catching a glimpse of the Olympic Torch Relay as it travels around Britain will be one of the highlights of the summer, and since the torch will pass within “a one-hour journey of 95 percent of the population”, according to LOCOG, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to get involved. The Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK on May 18, and then embark on a 70-day journey around the country, with concerts and festivals each night as it makes its way from Land’s End to London. The carnival spirit is contagious – every art gallery, museum and exhibition space in town is planning a year of back-to-back events: organisers are putting together festivals in celebration of British culture and hotel companies are rushing to finish new properties or refurbish old ones in time to get in on the action.
Meanwhile, stores like Harrods are creating exclusive services for clients, and shops are stocking their shelves with red, white and blue designs and colourful Union Flags. “The Royal Wedding was almost a dress rehearsal for what’s happening next year. It’s going to be quite unique and special,” says Laurence Bresh, marketing director of VisitBritain. A PLACE TO STAY In historically rich cities like London, you don’t expect major change overnight. The bustling restaurant and music scenes might vary according to the whims of the young and trendy set from month to month, with new restaurants and clubs opening on a weekly basis, but in a city where many of the most successful hotels are historical institutions that have been welcoming guests for a hundred years or more, you expect things to tick along a steady rate, perhaps with the odd new hotel opening here and there every few years. Horse Guards Parade outside Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Not so in London, it seems. An impressive collection of new five-star hotels have already opened their doors this year, with international names like Four Seasons and Corinthia adding to London’s already accomplished luxury hotel room portfolio, and existing properties like The Savoy and St. Pancras Renaissance completing extensive refurbishment programmes. The latter, a Grade 1 listed building that was originally designed by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1873, has undergone an extensive refurbishment and restoration that recaptures the golden age of European rail travel. Expect gold leaf ceilings, grand stairwells and a gothic revival façade on the stunning North London landmark, which also provides guests with stone’s throw access to Eurostar rail services to France and Belgium. Down by the River Thames, the former Metropole Hotel has reopened as Corinthia Hotel London, and has already become a destination in itself. The £300 million (US$492 million) 300-room property is dripping in contemporary luxury, with bold colours and sleek design throughout. Since it opened earlier this year, the Corinthia has hosted a number of A-list events including a star-studded opening gala evening, and Marcus Wareing’s acclaimed restaurant, The Gilbert Scott, attracts a who’s who of London every night of the week.
The Dorchester Collection has also cemented its name among the London greats with a second property in the city – 45 Park Lane – a design-driven hotel with 45 rooms and a large penthouse in the heart of Mayfair overlooking Hyde Park, just next door to sister hotel The Dorchester. At W London – the ultra-modern Leicester Square hotel designed by architects Jestico + Whiles – designers and fashionable types hang out at the destination lobby bar and restaurant all week long. The party is set to continue over the next two years, with a new 202-room Shangri-La Hotel set to occupy floors 34 to 52 of the iconic 70-storey Shard building on the south bank of the Thames, and the 36-suite luxury townhouse, The Wellesley, situated in a former Knightsbridge jazz venue, planned for November 2012. There is also an exhausting list of reasons to revisit some of London’s favourite hotels over the next 12 months, and it has nothing to do with the Olympics. The Chuan Spa at The Langham opened earlier this year to huge fanfare, immediately celebrated as the only spa in the city to incorporate the principles of traditional Chinese medicine into its treatments and décor.
St. Pancras Renaissance The beautifully restored building recaptures the golden age of rail travel
A hotel that needs no introduction is The Goring – the 101-year-old property chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge and her family for the night before the Royal Wedding on April 29 – and there are several reasons to visit. First of all is the new Royal Suite – an antique-filled haven of classical elegance with furnishings and amenities literally designed for a princess. Rates start from £5,000 (US$8,200) for a night in the sought-after suite, but that includes a range of value-adds including London Airport pick-up, private decanter bar, personalised bathrobe, slippers and stationery and a daily supply of sweets created by the hotel’s pastry chef. The second reason is the recent arrival of The Goring Beach. Owner Jeremy Goring invited Basil Charles – proprietor of the hugely acclaimed Basil’s Bar in the Caribbean resort island of Mustique – to come to London to set up shop in the gardens of The Goring. Six tonnes of sand, three fishing boats and a thatched-roof bar have been shipped in to help recreate the feet-in-thesand luxury of Mustique in the heart of London until the end of September. The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park became the centre of foodie attention earlier this year with the opening of culinary alcheTea time The traditions principles that mist Heston Blumenthal’s newand restaurant, govern the tea-makng process Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. date back thousands of years
Haute cuisine Diners savour the best views in the city with Richard Corrigan at the London Food Festival 2010
Legend has it that within eight hours of opening the telephone line for reservations, the hot new restaurant, which celebrates the revival of traditional British recipes, had secured more than 3,000 bookings, filling its reservation book for the next three months. The only way you can beat the queues (unless you have Heston on speed-dial, we presume) is to book in for the Dinner by Heston package at the hotel, which guarantees a table for two as well as a couple of nights in a Deluxe Park Suite (starting from US$2,839). WINE AND DINE Modern British fare is as diverse as London’s cosmopolitan populace, with influences from every corner of the globe adding colour and flavour to the city’s culinary scene. The last few years have seen a fierce battle being fought between dishes for the coveted title of Britain’s most popular food, with pizza and curry still duking it out for the number-one spot. Whatever type of cuisine you’re looking for, you can be assured that the quality of the ingredients is a cut above. An increasing number of restaurants are embracing the government’s ‘Buy British’ campaign, which means the food on your plate has been grown or produced within the UK to high organic standards. “England is one great big garden,” says chef Rob Rees, who was awarded an MBE for services to the food industry in 2006 and dedicates his time to creating a better food culture in Britain and promoting British cuisine around the world. He believes that the growing number of celebrity chefs opening restaurants means the quality of food will continue to rise, with the prestige of having one’s name on the door providing an added incentive to ensure quality is unrivalled. Britain’s food renaissance will be celebrated throughout the year with a series of festivals showcasing the best of British cuisine. Feast on the Bridge will see London’s Southwark Bridge turned into a two-day food festival from September 10-11, with food from some of the UK’s best sustainable producers on show, as well as workshops, baking and live music.
DESIGNER SHOPPING HARRODS London’s most famous store, acquired by the Qatari royal family for £1.5bn ($2.4bn) last year has undergone something of a face-lift. The London landmark has been delighting discerning customers since Charles Henry Harrod began his trading career as a grocer and tea-merchant in 1834, and the store now covers seven floors and has more than 330 departments. New additions include the Men’s Shoe Salon –the largest in Europe. Famous names including Paul Smith, Tom Ford, Ralph Laurent and Jimmy Choo will be available in the 8,000 square foot retail space, which will also feature a made-to-order service from selected brands including Bally, Magnanni and Santoni, where customers will be able to select the colour, material, lining and soles, creating the ultimate in bespoke footwear. By Appointment – Personal Shopping and Beyond is the store’s personal shopper service, which provides customers with a private consultant who will help them locate whatever their hearts desire, from next season’s outfits to private jets and designer watches. A new Wine Shop that opened in December has already won the hearts of many of London’s connoisseurs, with rare vintages available in The Wine Vault and a tasting room and bar to allow you to try the wines in the company of the resident expert before you decide what to buy. www.harrodsestates.com
“The Royal Wedding was almost a dress rehearsal for what’s happening next year. It’s going to be quite unique and special” The London Restaurant Festival runs throughout the city in early October, celebrating the diversity of modern British cuisine with offers galore, and the BBC Good Food Show takes place in London Olympia from November 23-27, where Britain’s top chefs will put on shows and cooking demonstrations for foodies from all over the world. If you’re looking for a truly British experience, follow a good meal by going to see a show. London’s West End has been the home of grand theatrical performances since the 16th Century, and the city’s theatres now attract 14.3 million visitors per year. Long-running shows such as The Mousetrap (first performed in 1952) and Les Misérables (1985) are still going strong, while new performances such as Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked (2006) have had as much success in London as they have in the US.
Although some of the shows have remained the same, London’s theatres have evolved considerably, offering guests five-star experiences before, during and after the show. The London Palladium pioneered the introduction of private dining options during live performances, and now offers a range of hospitality packages, from vintage champagne and canapés served by a private butler, to hand-dived scallops from Scotland’s west coast prepared by your private chef. There are less fancy options too, for dining, sleeping and entertainment, but in the spirit of celebration, we strongly recommend living London to the full over the next 12 months. It’s not going anywhere, but it has never been this full of life. Read the full interview with VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe at dotwnews.com
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Sheraton The Park Lane Hotel
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
Houses of Parliament, River Thames, London
The Langham, London
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The Savoy, London
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Star-gazing in style There is no need to sacrifice creature comforts at Australiaâ€™s Selous Game Reserve
Luxury under the canvas
As distinguished travellers seek new and exciting experiences, the notion of camping has been given a dusting-off and a lavish new look WORDS: Nick Walton
e’re spoilt as travellers; we’ve had the infinity pools and the high-rise hotels, the rooftop bars and the decadent day spas. But it wasn’t enough. Now, as true experiential travellers, we want our hotel rooms perched in trees or under the sea, carved from ice or pitched in the middle of a game park. Here we give you a glimpse at some of the most luxurious tented camps.
Selous Game Reserve Share star-lit nights with wildlife on Tanzania’s Rufiji River
When we think of white tents and campfires, we often think of Africa. Under a canopy of stars, and with natural beauty all around, tented camps have long been associated with exploration into Africa’s wide open savannahs, and Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, located west of Dar es Salaam, epitomises that fantastic African experience. At almost twice the size of Belgium and four times larger than the famed Serengeti, Selous is a destination in itself, home to over half of Tanzania’s elephant population, while the Rufiji River, which runs through the park, houses the nation’s largest crocodile and hippo populations. When they’re not on a safari, guests can relax in the luxurious camp grounds, complete with spacious tents with en suite bathrooms, lavish outdoor hot water showers, ceiling fans and king-sized beds. There are two swimming pools, a well-stocked bar and a communal dining area, where the finest cuisine is served while guests regale each other with stories of the day’s exploration. www.selous.com
In South Africa, another great tented experience takes place in Zululand. The eight double-sized tents of the Thula Thula Game Reserve & Safari Lodge each boast ceiling fans, lavish linens, spacious sun decks, four-poster beds and private bathrooms with Victorian bathtubs and views across the Enseleni River, the perfect spot to soak the after-hours away with a glass of chilled wine. After a day discovering Thula Thula’s residents, which include elephants, buffalos, rhinoceroses, leopards, giraffes, zebras, hyenas, crocodiles, kudus, and wildebeests, enjoy a traditional braai under the stars with your fellow guests, and listen to the stories of the trackers and rangers. From US$223 twin share www.thulathula.com
Thula Thula Game Reserve Adventure-packed days and magical nights at Zululand’s top safari lodge
SAL SALIS A great Australian tented experience can be found on the deserted West Coast. Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park. Boasting nine spacious wilderness tents, each situated just metres from the water’s edge and some of the world’s greatest fringing coastal coral reefs, guests share this ultimate beach camp with red kangaroo and Butcherbirds, while the surrounding seas are popular with humpback whales. Each tent comes with 100 percent, 500-count cotton linen, a pillow menu, en suite bathroom and of course, stunning sea views. A main camp building acts as dining room, library and general meeting place for guests as they share stunning sunsets over a cocktail and stellar Australian cuisine with a hint of bush tucker influence. From US$766 per person, per night, twin share, inclusive of drinks and meals www.salsalis.com.au
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Aussie hospitality at its best in the Cape Range national Park
Longitude 131 Be at one with nature at Ayers Rock
Australia’s best-known luxury camping experience takes place at the foot of the world heritage listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Longitude 131° boasts just 15 luxurious sail-like tented suites, each of which faces the world-famous Ayers Rock, known as Uluru in the local Aboriginal tongue. Guests divide their time between spiritual tours around the famed rock with local guides, viewing rock art, both ancient and contemporary, and learning traditional painting styles at the nearby cultural centre, with dawn on camel treks, and meals of gourmet “bush tucker” under the Milky Way. For the more adventurous, there are also helicopter tours and Harley Davidson trips through the desert on offer. Each of the 15 tents features air conditioning and expansive viewing windows to make the most of those outback sunrises. From US$3,682, twin share, all-inclusive www.longitude131.com.au
FOUR SEASONS GOLDEN TRIANGLE One of the world’s best-known luxury tented camps can be found in Thailand’s Golden Triangle, at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai. Guests can learn to ride some of the 31-strong herd of elephants on hand, many saved from the streets of Bangkok, on two- or three-night all inclusive packages. The camp’s 15 “tents” – essentially canvas stretched over spacious wooden frames, complete with polished teak floors, sundecks and new custombuilt timber hot tubs – offer complete privacy, with the resort itself only accessible by boat. You’re alone with nature – there is no television or room service – but you can soak in the camp’s granite boulder swimming pool and Jacuzzi high above the meandering Ruak River, and for early risers, a suspension bridge, which sways 18 metres above the San Valley, is a stunning spot for dawn photography. Two nights from US$4,334 per room, twin share www.fourseasons.com/goldentriangle
Four Seasons Tented Camp Enjoy some time alone with nature in a private tent above the Ruak River in Chiang Rai
dotwnews.com July 2011
PORONUI LODGE Further south in New Zealand, guests staying at Poronui Lodge, 40 minutes’ drive from Taupo in the North Island, can finish off their stay in the Lodge’s simplistic but authentic Safari Camp. Located on the banks of the Mohaka River, the three-tent setup is situated at a famed trout fishing site. Anglers would have to trek 20km through the surrounding ranges, looking to catch local brown and rainbow trout, but all you’ll have to do is wake up and step outside. With a canvas roof and solid walls and floor, the camp can withstand the temperamental New Zealand weather while still offering that great outdoors connection – especially when you cook the catch of the day on the camp’s gas BBQ under the stars. Two nights from US$1,196, twin share inclusive of meals, activities (fly fishing, hunting etc) and wine. www.poronui.co.nz Poronui Lodge Wilderness tamed in New Zealand’s North Island
Three Camel Lodge Tented luxury in the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert
THREE CAMEL LODGE On the opposite end of the spectrum, go to where living under tents never went out of fashion. The Three Camel Lodge is located in the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, and utilises traditional Buddhist design and building techniques, as well as state-of-the-art ecologically sustainable practices, to create an eco-lodge that captures the essence of Mongolia’s desertlands. The 30 tents (gers) are heated by wood stoves and powered by solar panels, and when the dinner bell rings, you’ll be feasting on seasonal Mongolian and western cuisine sourced from local community producers. The lodge offers a wide range of activities, including desert camel treks, climbing in the Gobi-Altai Mountains and fossil excavation with a local expert from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. From US$80 per night www.threecamellodge.com 56
The inspiration is all around
Turtle island – South Nilandhe Atoll – Exciting lagoon & reef 40 minutes by scenic seaplane – Beach villas & InOcean villas – Angsana Spa – Kids Club
Angsana Velavaru – the story’s yours Tel: +960 676 0028 n email@example.com n www.angsana.com
Australia n China n India n Indonesia n Laos n Maldives n Mauritius n Morocco n Thailand
BANYAN TREE MADIVARU MALDIVES If camping in the tropics with a cold pina colada never far from reach is more your thing, then head for the lagoon-bordered tented encampment of Banyan Tree Madivaru Maldives Resort & Spa. Located in the southwest North Ari Atoll of the Maldives, this opulent camp features just six free-standing pool “villas” – each of which is actually made up of three spacious, tented structures. The tent trio comprises sleeping, bathing and living spaces and surrounds a private pool. The resort is 30 minutes from Malé by seaplane or overnight when sailing on the resort’s restored schooner, and was the first tented camping experience in the Maldives. If you don’t want to lounge the days away poolside, a series of excursions, including dolphin cruises, snorkelling trips and sunset sailing on the resort’s Turkish Gulet vessel Madi are included in the tariff. From US$2,000 per night, all-inclusive www.banyantree.com/madivaru
BANYAN TREE AL WADI Following the success of its tented villas in the Maldives, Banyan Tree transported the concept to the UAE, where the Banyan Tree Al Wadi provides guests with five-star luxury in the heart of the Arabian desert. The Bedouin-style Al Khaimah and Al Sahari tented pool villas offer 253 sq m of luxury living, with daybeds and sunloungers dotted around the private pools. Designed with privacy in mind, the only other guests you’ll see while floating in your pool are members of the local wildlife. Villas are draped in rich fabrics, creating an intimate, romantic environment. The desert resort also features the region’s largest hydrotherapy spa – a 3,960 sq m Asian-inspired facility – a 60-hectare nature reserve, private beach club and an 18-hole championship golf course. www.banyantree.com
Banyan Tree Madivaru The exclusive resort features just six private villas
Banyan Tree Al Wadi The tented pool villas in Ras al Khaimah create the perfect romantic desert experience
Anantara’s Desert Islands Resort & Spa on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island is adding two luxurious tented lodges. Al Sahel Lodge and Al Yamm Lodge, each comprising 30 luxury villas, will be located in different parts of the 4,100 hectare island – one overlooking the calm waters of the Arabian Gulf and one in the middle of the island, which is home to more than 5,000 free-roaming animals, including gazelles and Arabian Oryx. www.anantara.com
W Retreat & Spa - Maldives
Banyan Tree Maldives Madivaru, North Ari Atoll
Jumeirah Vittaveli, Maldives
Angsana Velavaru Dhaalu Atoll Maldives
Angsana Ihuru, North MalĂŠ Atoll
Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi Resort & Spa
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Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
The fairyTale sTaTe Monaco is famous for Formula One, James Bond and baccarat, but its biggest selling point this year may be its heritage WORDS: Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid
Sovereign wealth Royal splendour in the Prince’s Palace
Roll with it Every night’s a celebration at the Casino de Monte-Carlo
Racing ahead A Formula 1 car speeds past SBM’s Hotel de Paris at the Monaco Grand Prix
here’s nothing like a royal wedding to draw attention to a country and drive its tourism to new heights. The biggest benefits are usually felt by the capital city or local area where the event takes place rather than the country overall. However, if ever there was an exception to this rule, it is Monaco, where the ruling Prince Albert will marry his fiancée Charlene Wittstock this month. It is set to give a glow to the fortunes of the entire country. It only takes a few moments of being in Monaco to realise just how tiny the Mediterranean state really is. At under two square kilometres it is small enough to fit inside London’s Hyde Park and it is crammed with banks, boutiques and high-rise apartments. Lack of land is so acute in Monaco that its railway station had to be relocated underground to permit construction of 150,000 square metres of buildings above. Sandwiched between France and Italy, Monaco doesn’t have much room to expand and there is good reason why its neighbours won’t give ground to it. Monaco’s storied history began in 1297 when Francois Grimaldi seized a Genoese fortress on what is now the rock of MonteCarlo. This gave it control of the 1.95 square
“Destinations don’t come much more opulent than Monaco. The most dramatic race of the F1 season snakes through its spotless streets every year. Shopping centres are adorned with chandeliers” kilometre tract of land, but it took more than 550 years for Monaco to become a powerhouse of a principality. In 1863 Monaco opened the doors to its historic Grand Casino, the first in Europe, and within just three years it had made so much money that direct taxation of Monaco’s residents was abolished. The upshot is that although there are just 6,687 native Monegasque citizens, Monaco has 31,109 residents. They are exempt from all taxes on income and personal wealth and stretch from celebrities such as Sir Roger Moore and Shirley Bassey to business luminaries like easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Using the income from his well-heeled casino customers, Prince Albert’s father, Monaco’s late Prince Rainier, developed a luxury tourism industry. It gave Monaco a radiant glow and the state’s size only adds to this exclusivity.
Destinations don’t come much more opulent than Monaco. The most dramatic race of the F1 season snakes through its spotless streets every year. Shopping centres are adorned with chandeliers and cascading fountains abound. Classical music is even piped to the pavements from carefully concealed speakers while automatic sprinklers water the roadside palm trees, which are wrapped in garlands of dazzling fairy lights. However Monaco didn’t achieve true fairytale status until 1956, when Prince Rainier married American actress Grace Kelly. Despite her untimely death in a car accident in 1982, their marriage cemented Monaco’s link with glitz and glamour and it is still hard to avoid. Buildings and streets in Monaco are named after Grace Kelly, while roadside panels with faded pictures show the historic public duties that she performed at each spot. Prince Albert’s wedding
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Monaco City Auckland Luxe
City spirit Life is all around you at Casino Place – the glamorous heart of Monaco
Time for reflection Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix
will tap into this interest, and one company is expected to make the greatest gain. Monaco’s biggest company is the state’s leisure operator, Société des Bains de Mer (SBM). Founded 148 years ago, SBM has a monopoly concession to run Monaco’s casinos until 2027. It owns five of them as well as 32 restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, opera house, tennis club and several of the Riviera’s trendiest nightclubs. Its four hotels include the world-renowned Hermitage and the Hôtel de Paris, where rooms average €500 (US$718) per night. “Definitely we do expect an increase in tourism and visitors during this year, and the years after, because of our sovereign wedding,” says SBM’s chief executive Bernard Lambert. He adds, “we believe that the focus on Monaco has already started in view of the visitor movements in Monaco since Easter.” Classically-trained at Nice’s hotel school, Lambert cut his teeth working for the luxury Meurice chain before spending nearly 30 years at Le Méridien, rising to become CEO of the global hotel company. He took over the top job at SBM in 2002 and immediately got to work on shaking off Monaco’s greying image. Monaco’s new direction is epitomised by the Monte Carlo Bay hotel. The 334-room art deco structure swung open its doors in 2005 at a cost of €200 million (US$287m) and was the first new hotel SBM had opened in 75 years. It sits on 10 acres of reclaimed land and looks like it would be more at home in Las Vegas than on the Riviera. Belle époque balustrades have been replaced by a more minimalist style dripping with glitzy touches. It has Europe’s first sand-bottomed swimming lagoon and a fountain choreographed
“Monaco’s opulence alone isn’t enough to guarantee it will fend off competition from European resorts gifted with gaming deregulation and others far afield, which are being opened up to low-cost travel” to classical music. Crucially, its casino is the only one inside an SBM hotel with no table games. With an average rate of just over half that charged by the Hôtel de Paris, the Bay has made Monaco more accessible and Lambert says that it has “a younger and more family-orientated crowd.” However this was only part one of a plan to bring the state into the 21st century. Monaco’s opulence alone isn’t enough to guarantee it will fend off competition from European resorts gifted with gaming deregulation and others farther afield, which are being opened up by low-cost travel. “Dubai is a competitor – on the French Riviera, Cannes has the promenade and we don’t have that. Also, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest,” says Lambert. He is taking the fight right to their doorsteps and, with space at a premium in Monaco, he needed to literally think outside the box to do it. “We want to become a global luxury leisure brand,” says Lambert, and in December 2008 he announced SBM’s first ever international expansion. In 2013 the first SBM-managed hotel outside Monaco will open – a 93-suite, five-star resort and spa in Marrakech. It will be called ‘Jawhar (the jewel), by Monte-Carlo SBM’ but there is much more to it than just branding.
In addition to the branding in the name and the obligatory in-room SBM directory, there will also be more innovative marketing such as having signature dishes from its chefs in Monaco on the restaurant menu. “Marrakech is close enough to us and is a destination for short breaks from all over Europe, so it’s a good window for us for promotion,” explains Lambert. Indeed, although it is two years away from completion, Lambert has already been so impressed with the feedback about the project that he recently signed two more management contracts. These hotels will open in around two years’ time on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, where a museum run by the French Louvre is being built alongside a €290m (US$417m) Guggenheim Museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. “We have finalised two management contracts for Abu Dhabi on the museums island,” says Lambert, explaining that they will be “a Monte-Carlo Beach Club, such as the one here, and a 200-bedroom hotel next to the museums.” Building a replica of the Beach Hotel is perhaps the most direct way of advertising Monaco. Built in 1928, the Beach Hotel is located on a
Jimmy’z Monte-Carlo One of the hottest nightspots in town
“The situation with the worldwide economy will offer opportunities we had never thought of” secluded bay on the outskirts of the principality and looks like it has come straight from the pages of an Agatha Christie thriller, with terracotta-coloured walls and awnings over each of the room windows. The hotel is steeped in history, as it has been home to celebrities such as Eva Peron, who stayed there in 1947 during her Rainbow Tour of Europe to promote Argentinian interests. A replica will be a bold statement of SBM’s intent to become a global brand, but Lambert isn’t stopping there. He has a long shopping list for further expansion: “Our objective is to have a flag in London and then in Paris,” he says, adding that although the majority of the deals are likely to be management contracts, SBM may acquire a hotel outright. The Monegasque State holds 69.5 percent of SBM’s share capital, with the majority of the remainder traded on Paris’ Euronext exchange at a market capitalisation of €535m ($768m). It has even more than this – a total of €800m ($1.15bn) – to fund expansion and Lambert’s aim is to have a collection of 15 hotels over the next ten years. “We have cash and we have a €160m ($230m) line of credit that we haven’t touched in the last five years because business has been extremely good,” he says. But with the economy still in recovery mode, could SBM be cashing in its chips too early? Lambert is confident that international development and investment is a strategy for coping with the downturn. He believes that SBM’s risk is mitigated since it will own very few hotels. “To tell you the truth,” he adds, “today the situation with the worldwide economy will offer opportunities we had never thought of...deals are going to become cheaper than a year ago.” The reward could be well worth the risk since the ultimate objective is to drive more guests to Monaco through what Lambert refers to as ‘windows’ around the world. He forecasts that once it is open, Jawhar in Marrakech will bring SBM an additional 10 percent of revenue over the following four years. It will be a welcome boost. Although revenue from SBM’s hotels rose by 10 percent in the year to 31 March 2011, there was a 14 percent fall in casino takings, making up more than half of the company’s total turnover. It led to SBM’s overall revenue dropping three percent to €361.7m ($519m) with operating profit tumbling 58 percent to €21.7m ($31.2m) due to the decline in the high margin casino takings. They are still being affected by a smoking ban, which was introduced to Monaco in November 2008. In response, Lambert is taking gambling outdoors for the first time in Monaco’s history.
Saadiyat Island Société des Bains de Mer’s first venture outside of Monaco is an exclusive beach club in Abu Dhabi
Monte-Carlo Bay Sweeping views of the two square kilometre city-state
“As we have completed the phase one of our renovation with the additional outdoor gaming terrace and additional marketing funds in new markets, we believe that we should get better revenues in the medium term.” On the hotel side of its business, SBM has been well-positioned to weather the downturn. “No nationality accounts
for more than 15 percent, which contributes to mitigate the risks,” says Lambert, adding that green shoots are coming from Asia and Southeast Asia. This month’s wedding is likely to attract even more regions to Monaco. The spotlight will be back on the state, and this time the whole world will be watching along with Hollywood.
Demystifying Africa – the next frontier
Africa – With Change Comes Opportunity… Over the last few years, there has been considerable growth throughout Africa driven by governments diversifying from a mineral-based economy. With tourism at the heart, providing jobs for local communities, Africa offers a wealth of investment opportunities and many international hotel brands are opening hotels throughout the continent. Join HICA in Morocco and find out what the changing landscape means for the investment community, where the potential hotspots lie and what the prospects are.
Speakers and Programme HICA in Morocco will present a line up of world class speakers. A selection of confirmed participants includes: •
HE Yassir Zenagui, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, Kingdom of Morocco – listen to how Morocco is changing the face of tourism.
Yann Caillere, Deputy CEO EMEA Sofitel Worldwide, Accor – how Accor is making such a success of their African pipeline.
Ed Fuller, President and Managing Director, Marriott International – global operators diving into Africa.
Bill Heinecke, Chairman and CEO, Minor International Plc – the ‘Richard Branson’ of Thailand and how he survives and succeeds on obstacles confronting growth.
Omar Kabbaj, Owner, Hyatt Regency Casablanca – the host of HICA and hear from an owner’s perspective.
Nenad Pacek, President and Co-founder, CEEMEA Group – one of the world’s leading authorities on emerging markets and listen to what they are advising business leaders on opportunities in Africa.
Chris Luebkeman, Director, Global Foresight + Innovation, Arup – a global design and engineering firm and a leading creative force behind many of the world’s most innovative projects and structures. Hear how they are transforming Africa?
Otto J. Stehlik, Chairman, Protea Hotels – how Protea has succeeded to become the dominant player.
Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Morocco Platinum Sponsors Accor Corinthia Hotels Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels Marriott Gold Sponsors Actif Invest ALHIF Alliances Anantara France Horwath HTL H Partners Hyatt Interedec Madaëf Starwood Hotels and Resorts T Capital Tourism & Leisure W Hospitality Group Supporters ANIT Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne World Travel & Tourism Council
IN ASSOCIATION WITH:
HICA is a ground breaking event for Africa. For Morocco to attract this calibre of conference, will help support and deliver our vision for tourism in the region. For the rest of Africa it will help build a better appreciation of the potential within the continent. HE YASSIR ZENAGUI, MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HANDICRAFT, KINGDOM OF MOROCCO
For further information on HICA visit www.africa-conference.com Or for sponsorship enquiries, please contact: Matthew Weihs on + () or firstname.lastname@example.org
July 1, Canada, nation-wide
Join the newly-married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, for one of the biggest celebrations of the nation’s 144th birthday. Traditionally there are parades, concerts, a changing of the guards ceremony, RCMP (Mountie) procession and fireworks on Parliament Hill, where the National Parliament Building sits beside the Ottawa River, and this year, with the Royal couple participating, festivities are apt to be extra special. In Vancouver, crowds gather at the downtown waterfront to party, plus there are Canada Day cruises and a magnificent display of fireworks over the Burrard Inlet. Montreal promises parades, family activities in its Old Port, a traditional ‘mega-cake’ and motocross demos. Toronto will have multiple concerts on the day, with acts like Weezer set to perform. A great time to visit as there’s something for everyone. 68
Independence Day July 4, USA, nation-wide
New York city is your best bet for the ultimate Fourth of July experience – expect parades, fancy dress parties, picnics, cruises – the works. All this is capped off with the spectacular Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, as well as the 235th birthday of the USA. In LA you can celebrate in style with a pool-party at celeb favourite the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. In Las Vegas, the city’s notorious pool parties will be raging throughout the July 4th long weekend – guaranteed to be full to the brim with visitors from all over the US and beyond. For an authentically American celebration, head to the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, where a parade will take place along Constitution Avenue, followed by one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country, over the backdrop of Capitol Hill.
July 8 – 17, Calgary, Canada
Another stop on the royal couple’s tour of Canada, the Calgary Stampede is the much-loved annual rodeo show that takes over the capital of Canadian cattle country, Calgary, every summer for 10 days. It’s basically a city-wide celebration of all things cowboy, with tournament-style rodeo competitions including bareback, bullriding, saddle bronc riding, and, for those aged 8 -12, wild pony taming. Day and night the streets are lined with parties and bars overflow with partygoers, many of whom have driven from across Canada and the US to partake in the festivities. When you’re not watching the rodeo, there are concerts happening throughout the central city and a giant amusement park featuring a host of rides and games is set up every year. Afterparties rage into the wee morning hours, and to dine? Try the deep-fried Pop Tarts.
Photo: Ottawa Tourism
Photo: Lionel Flusin - Montreux Jazz Festival Foundation
July 14, France and beyond
This pride-fuelled event, also known as Fete Nationale, commemorates the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison on July 14, 1789, what is today regarded by the French as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation. In Paris on July 14, the Champs-Elysees is lined with flags and symbols of French patriotism, and the French Military Parade, which has taken place every year on July 14 since 1880, marches down the street, lead by cadets from the military schools and followed by infantry troops, modern troops and aircraft of the Patrouille de France performing acrobatics above. The French president also holds an annual garden party at the Palais de l’Elysee. At 10.30pm, a fireworks show will illuminate the Eiffel Tower in Paris, while in other parts of the country, communal meals, dances, balls and fireworks shows will also take place.
Photo: Chris Bolin
Tuscan Sun Festival
July 30 – Aug 7, Cortona, Italy
A cultural feast for all the senses, the Tuscan Sun Festival brings together the greatest talents in visual arts, music, theatre, food and wine in the beautiful Medieval town of Cortona, in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany. Highlights this year include musical performances by Oscar-winning composer Bacalov, and theatre performances featuring Sharon Stone and Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons. For foodies, there is a notto-be-missed wine tasting and dinner hosted by Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of Wine Spectator, James Suckling, at the Michelin-starred Relais Il Falconiere, situated in the picturesque Baracchi vineyard. Treat your eyes to a host of art exhibitions and get lost in the glamorous crowds milling about a stunning backdrop of fragrant vineyards, lazy sunsets and plenty of wine tasting.
Montreux Jazz Festival
July 1 -16, Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Held on the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva, this is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in Europe and the second largest in the world after the Montreal Jazz Festival, attracting some 300,000 visitors every year. While the original event was almost exclusively jazz performances, these days it welcomes genres of all types, including rock, hip hop, classical, and of course, jazz. There’s a great lineup of performers at Montreux 2011, including BB King, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Naughty by Nature and Seal. Though it lasts over two weeks, you’ll want to stay even longer once you’re by the beautiful turquoise Lake Geneva, surrounded by rolling green hills and mountains. If you have some extra time, take a detour to the alps for a quintessentially Swiss experience. dotwnews.com
Shanti Maurice The lush hideaway is nestled in an idyllic horseshoe cove
Solitaire at Madivaru When it comes to exclusivity, Banyan Tree Madivaru in the Maldives has got you covered. The picturesque resort comprises just six tented pool villas on one intimate private island, surrounded my miles of turquoise Indian Ocean. Eschew the formality of dining in a restaurant and have the chef accompany you to a sandbank in the lagoon to prepare you a freshly-cooked seafood feast. Book four villas for three consecutive nights before October 31 and get the entire island to yourself, with the freedom to roam the beaches knowing you won’t bump into anyone but your own party, and the full attention of the resort’s staff, including a butler for each villa. A dedicated resort host will meet you on arrival and introduce you your chef, who will prepare all the meals throughout your stay. Enjoy a 90-minute spa session for two people for every villa booked, plus complimentary activities such as snorkelling, wind surfing and a ride on the resort’s catamaran. Cost: US$2,285 per villa, per night. Book four villas and the island is yours. From: Until October 31. www.banyantree.com/en/madivaru
Private paradise Banyan Tree Madivaru has just six luxury tented villas
Barefoot in Baros While many new Maldives resorts are entirely focused on the product, award-winning boutique property Baros is much more focused on spirit, destination and experience. The resort is located on a tropical island just 25 minutes by boat from Malé, saving guests precious time between arriving in the Indian Ocean Archipelago and burying their feet in the perfect white sand. The natural setting is sublime, with the turquoise waters of the island’s lagoon ringed by a reef full of colourful marine life, and the tropical plants and gardens of the island creating a perfect escape from the concrete jungle. Spend your days idling away the time in the Palm Garden, swinging in a hammock in the shade of the palms with a cool cocktail, or enjoying the resort’s sumptuous villas, made from natural stone, tropical wood and coconut, either perched on stilts over the waters of the lagoon or nestled amid the lush greenery by the beach. GCC residents who book four nights will be upgraded to a higher standard villa and receive a complimentary 30-minute massage. Cost: From US$825 per night (minimum four nights). From: July 25 to August 31. www.baros.com
From luxury trains to Antarctic adventures and Indian Ocean retreats, we’ve got your travel needs covered in this month’s roundup of the best new itineraries *All prices are subject to change. Please contact the listed companies for further information.
On island time Embrace the spirit of the Maldives at Baros
Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat Situated in the heart of a vast green estate in Saint Jean de Cap Ferrat, the eponymous Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat is the only hotel on the Côte d’Azur to have been awarded France’s new ‘Palace’ rating, putting it among the top eight properties in the country. There can be few more spectacular places to spend the summer months than Cap Ferrat, where Mediterranean breezes blow gently through the acres of forested woodland, lulling guests into a mellow state of indolence. The hotel’s ‘Total Experience’ package combines five-star hospitality with a chance for guests to explore more of the Cap, with a two nights stay in a superior ‘Sea-view’ or ‘Pinewood’ room, a three-course dinner at La Véranda restaurant, American breakfast and a choice of spa treatments per person. Choose from a one-hour massage, a 45-minute facial or a duo one-hour massage at the Grand Salon. Guests also receive exclusive entry passes for the stunning Greek Villa Kerylos and the Villa and Gardens Ephrussi de Rothschild – two of the Côte d’Azur’s most enchanting waterside palaces. Cost: from EUR 1,080 (US$1,532). From: open-ended. www.grand-hotel-cap-ferrat.com
Spend five nights in the idyllic Mauritian resort of Shanti Maurice and be treated to three exclusive excursions that will bring you even closer to the magical world of South Mauritius. The award-winning resort is nestled in a horseshoe cove on the largely untouched southern coast of Mauritius, where Indian, African, French and Chinese influences blend together for a unique cultural cocktail. Shanti Maurice’s concierge has suggested three unforgettable itineraries for guests booking the Discover Mauritius package. Spend a half-day visiting Casela Park, where you’ll take a mini-safari among lions, zebra, deer and antelope in the tropical Yemen reserve. The next day, visit La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes, where you’ll see giant tortoises, crocodiles and a collection of butterflies and insects, before heading onward to the colonial mansion St Aubin, where, after lunch, you can visit the greenhouse, vanilla and rum house. Finally, enjoy the beauty of the southwest coast of Mauritius from the deck of a catamaran as you head out to Ile aux Benitiers, accompanied by schools of dolphins. Cost: Junior Suites start from EUR510 (US$748) per night, based on a minimum of five nights and double occupancy. Luxury Villas start from EUR 1,125 ($1,649) per night. From: Until October 2011. www.shantimaurice.com
Mediterranean chic Acres of greenery at Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat
Adventures in Arabia If you like your travel experiences luxurious yet not straight from the pages of a brochure, Arabian Adventures might have something for you. The Dubai-based destination management company has launched a new Exclusive Collection of tailor-made excursions for discerning Dubai-bound travellers. The company promises luxurious yet off-the-beaten-track experiences, such as access to visit private family stables and camel farms belonging to local families. Arabian Adventures aims to provide visitors with greater insight to local culture and traditions, as well as a new set of ideas for the next trip to the UAE or Oman. There are also new takes on Dubai staples such as hot air balloon rides, desert excursions and cruises on the Arabian Gulf, and the company has introduced a series of experiential itineraries such as spending a day as a conservationist or trying your hand at preparing Arabian cuisine. Cost: Visit a local Sheikh’s camel farm from US$524 for two people, Arabic cookery day from $812. Contact: +971 4 303 4888. www.arabian-adventures.com
Golden Age If you’ve ever dreamed about the Golden Age of rail travel, when every journey was an experience to be cherished, then this one’s for you. Board the original Orient Express train in London and travel through the heart of Europe to Venice over the course of two entirely indulgent days. Board the British Pullman train at London Victoria Station and start your trans-European journey with brunch and a Bellini as you travel through the south of England and cross the Channel. In France, board the blue and gold carriages of the Continental Wagons-Lits, where a personal steward will escort you to your private cabin. In the restaurant, enjoy a four-course meal prepared by French chefs, followed by a night of cold drinks and cool tunes in the bar carriage. Spend the next day soaking up the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps and the Italian Dolomites in the afternoon. Visit the boutique before the train crosses the Venetian Lagoon and pulls into Santa Lucia station in Venice. Cost: From AED 10,350 (US$2,818) per person. From: Now until the end of 2011. www.dnatatravel.com
Sail away in Antarctica The White Continent of Antarctica is one of the last great unexplored parts of the planet – a world of snow and ice that is home to penguins, fur seals, humpback whales and orcas. Antarctica is certainly the final frontier when it comes to travel experiences and usually involves several days at sea crossing from Tierra del Fuego, but Antarctic Dream’s new ‘Fly and sail’ itinerary cuts three days off the travel time by flying guests to or from the Antarctic Peninsula. The one-and-ahalf-hour flight from Punta Arenas in Chile also gives guests the opportunity to see the magical land from the air, and return by sea through the fabled Drake Passage. The seven-night itinerary aboard the 80-passenger expedition cruise ship features daily zodiac raft excursions, kayaking expeditions, lectures, presentations, workshops and special guests, including photographers, wildlife experts and award-winning scientists. Cost: From US$9,500. From: November 1, 2012. www.antarcticdream.com
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TURN THE PAGE NOW! â€Śthen this is your new favourite spot. Visit Media One Hotel and experience a hip new lifestyle with modern rooms, vibrant dining outlets and an eclectic scene.
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Media One Hotel, PO Box 121818, Dubai Media City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates T +971 4 427 1000 F +971 4 427 1001 E email@example.com W www.mediaonehotel.com
The Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal Playa Conchal, Costa Rica
Starwood Hotels’ first all-inclusive resort, the Westin Playa Conchal, is centred around a lagoon-style pool and adjacent to the Robert Trent Jones II golf facility, selected as one of the top 25 foreign golf resorts in 2010 by Conde Nast Traveller. The former Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort has been taken over and renovated extensively, and guests will now be greeted by lush gardens, 406 luxurious suites and thatch-roof bungalows with beautiful views. Several restaurants will feature both local and international cuisine, and nightly entertainment will liven up the atmosphere after dark. Over 6,500 square feet of meeting and banquet facilities are available, making the resort the perfect venue for weddings, banquets and business conferences. Westin Playa Conchal features a top-rated golf course and al fresco dining
Parisian chic Mandarin Oriental, Paris blends art deco and oriental decor
Mandarin Oriental, Paris Paris, France
Situated in the heart of the city, close to the Garnier Opera, the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens, this beautiful art deco building now houses 138 luxurious rooms combining Parisian elegance with art deco finishes and oriental details. A tranquil indoor garden fills the hotel’s interior, where guests can relax and dine. Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx is a gourmet French restaurant with modern touches, while the all-day Camelia serves authentic cuisine and is suitable for large 74
groups of guests. At Counter, meals are prepared at live cooking stations, and Bar 8 offers innovative drinks with seating in the garden. For a touch of French delicacy, the Cake Shop serves a host of French pastries and sweets. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris is one of the largest spas in the city at 900 square metres, and offers Mandarin Oriental’s exclusive holistic beauty treatments and massages. An indoor pool is open year-round for guests, and business facilities equipped with modern fixtures are perfect for private functions.
Keeping you abreast of the latest hotel openings
Urban retreat Zen in the city at Shangri-La Manzhouli
Shangri-La Hotel, Manzhouli Manzhouli, China
In the city of Manzhouli in northeast China, which shares a border with Russia and is China’s busiest land port entry, is the newest Shangri-La property, a short walk from the main shopping district, 20 minutes from the airport and a five-minute drive from the railway station. The 235-room hotel takes influence from its surroundings with Chinese, Mongolian and Russian accents throughout. Rooms offer views of the city, Xiaobei Lake and the mountains, and for dining, guests can choose from Cantonese and Northern Chinese cuisine at Shang Palace or traditional Russian cuisine at Salt and Bread. The elegant Lobby Lounge features sweeping views of Xiaobei Lake, with daily piano performances at teatime. Over 4,000 square metres of hotel meeting and banqueting facilities accommodate over 1,500.
Casa de La Flora Phang Nga, Thailand
A sleek design hotel situated on the shores of Khao Lak, the 36 cube villas of the Casa de La Flora are tiered back from the coastline and set in lush vegetation, each featuring a private infinity pool and striking sea views from large glass facades and private terraces. The on-site ‘Dream-Maker’ gets to know each guest individually to help fulfil their wishes and desires while on holiday, whether it be a romantic dinner for two or a private bath in the villa. Casa de La Flora is committed to maintaining an eco-friendly Beach sleek Casa de La Flora brings cuttingedge style to chilled-out Thailand
environment, and pools are chemical-free, while furniture is made of teakwood and recycled aluminium. A library, shop, bar and spa round out the property to ensure each guest can relax any way they please, whether in-villa or venturing out to the lush grounds and secluded beach. La Aryana restaurant is steps from the beach and features Thai and international cuisine, and four treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room surround a large infinity pool on the public grounds.
Chill Sundeck meets sea at Mui Ne Resort & Spa
Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa Vietnam
Located 198 kilometres northeast of Ho Chi Minh City on the southeast coast of Vietnam and situated on a pristine slice of beach surrounded by mountains and sand dunes, Anantara Mui Ne promises to be the ideal luxury getaway. Guests will have a choice of rooms and suites ranging from 42 square metres to 178 square metres, and 20 pool villas offer private swimming pools and views of the gardens, lagoon, pool or beachfront. Lush tropical gardens surround an expansive pool, where guests can unwind after a visit to the Anantara spa, offering a range of beauty and wellness treatments. Guests can also relax in the reading lounge, stocked with books, magazines and DVDs. For some adventure, the nearby beaches are ideal for kite surfing and windsurfing. dotwnews.com
At home in Frankfurt Villa Kennedy in Germanyâ€™s financial hub usually welcomes senior executives and celebrities, but itâ€™s also prepared for little ones, says Jan Stannies
t the cornerstone-laying ceremony of Villa Kennedy in 2003, the mayor of Frankfurt, Petra Roth, said in her speech that she was happy to have the “first luxury hotel” in her town. Actually, there is no shortage of five-star hotels in Germany’s financial hub. Unfortunately, some of their general managers attended the event, and turned stonefaced when they heard the mayor’s faux pas. Though the hotel is one of more than a dozen luxury five-star-properties in town, it is unique in so many ways. Having been to Frankfurt multiple times, I never spent a single night south of the Main River, because almost all other upscale hotels are either located in the northern part of the city – where the financial district, shopping malls, exhibition centres and central train station are – or around the airport. The Villa Kennedy is roughly halfway, in the quiet district, Sachsenhausen, which is famous for museums, bars and traditional cider houses. The main building of the hotel impresses with a palace-like historic façade carved from sandstone. Built in 1904, Villa Speyer was once home to the family of banker Georg Speyer and later to a research institute, before it was turned into a hotel. The original wooden stairs and ceilings in the lobby still radiate the old world charm of the early 20th century. One of the conference rooms still has the original wooden window shutters that are operated by a crank handle. It is probably these details that motivated hotelier Sir Rocco Forte to add this gem to his collection of luxury properties. It is difficult to tell when exactly you enter the three newly-built wings of the hotel, which are home to most of the 163 rooms and suites, because London-based architect Demetri Porphyrios has used original façade materials and adopted the fanciful gothic-renaissance style of the historic Villa Speyer. Interior designer Martin Brudnizki and Rocco Forte Hotels’ director of design, Olga Polizzi, have added “minimalist deluxe” interiors such as large antique pink sofas, and the lobby is filled with works by Axel Crieger, who has composed photolike images showing John F. Kennedy. Business travellers are the core target group, but the hotel is well prepared for families. As we enter Suite 101, the baby bed is already in place, and a changing table and an extra bin greet us in the bathroom. The toddler-sized bathrobe and slippers are heart-warming extras; fortunately our little boy is too young to be interested in DVDs or the Play Station, which are available on request. More important for adults are the pillow menu, the espresso machine, two flat-screen TVs and the complimentary pressing service. Beige and brown tones dominate the suite’s interior, deliberately disturbed by colourful elements like cushions and floral arrangements. We enjoyed the calm and functional atmosphere, but other guests might expect more opulence and decadence from one of the most expensive hotels in Frankfurt.
The important bit What: Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt Location: Kennedyallee 70, 60596 Frankfurt, Germany Cost: from US$331 per night Web: www.villakennedy.com
If you have EUR 8,000 (US$11,500) to spare, check in for a night in one of the largest Presidential Suites in Europe. The windows of the 326 square metre suite are of course bullet-proof, the bathroom is equipped with heated flooring and there is a TV in the bathtub. A chimney and a grand piano in the living room make you feel almost at home. Broadway veteran Liza Minelli was the first guest to stay here, and celebrities like Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Pink, Robbie Williams and Bruce Willis followed in the five years the hotel has been open. The German national football team also meets at the Villa Kennedy before departing to international matches, so it is no surprise to see a club executive and a first division coach sitting at JFK’s Bar. It is a sunny day, so we decide to take a seat in the idyllic inner courtyard for a drink. Following a global trend, bartenders here are called “mixologists” and create immortal concoctions as well as modern inventions of cocktail science. The hotel’s signature drink (blackberry with a touch of vanilla, vodka and champagne) is a good companion to relax under the huge Canadian Oak Tree, which had to be lifted by a crane into the courtyard. The same goes for the spa area. I had planned to save the beautiful pool and sauna for late afternoon after my massage treatment, but after the physiotherapist finishes her work on my unfit limbs, I regret my decision. My body is now simply too relaxed to sweat in the steam or gym, and I am resigned to lounging instead. Next time I should opt for a Thai massage or an Ayurvedic treatment, which are also offered at the spa. It is worth noting that the hotel even has a partnership with a nearby private clinic that specialises in internal medicine and health checkups. This kind of service is especially popular with guests from the Middle East, says Dr. Ulrich Mondorf, who counts 80 patients from the Gulf region alone. Just one more reason to extend your stay a few nights longer.
The Setai South Beach Million dollar views from the pool deck of the Penthouse Suite
iami has old, new and unique when it comes to hotels. There is something for everyone, from top CEOs through to the timeaplenty cruise clientele waiting to board one of the dozen megaships that patiently wait at Miami Cruise Terminal to transport yet another 3,000 or more vacationers heading for a holiday of a lifetime, descending, for a few hours, on yet another overwhelmed Caribbean island. The 20-floor Mandarin Oriental Brickell Key resembles a massive white cruise ship about to glide into the Atlantic, with general manager Jorge Gonzalez at the helm, and it sits on an island, Claughton Island, connected by a hundred-yard bridge from Brickell Avenue at 8th Avenue. Some of its 329 rooms enhance the cruiseisland feel; the 885 square foot Brickell Suites have spacious terraces running the longest length of their slightly curved overall shape. Look far out to sea, or look down, at the hotel’s curvilinear pool and, beyond, the 1.6-mile jogging track that circumnavigates the whole of Claughton Island and the hotel’s half-acre white sandy beach. Yes, this is a hotel for the fit: the Technogym is open 24 hours (interestingly, it is reached out-of-hours via the bar) and the jogging maps provided go up to 3.3 miles. Bedrooms are sleek and cool, with natural wood, pale taupe walls and pale apple green headboards. By contrast, designers Hirsch Bedner seem to have used a wide palette in public areas. You will love this hotel if you are addicted to citrus hues, with its hints of reds and eastern artworks throughout. There is also a day-glo selection of irresistible silk goods in the glass-front Shanghai Tang store in the main lobby, and you’d do well to try Didier Pouzier’s cooking in Azul. Try the mixed seafood ceviche with tostones (twice-fried plantains) and avocado, followed by Sakemarinated black cod with Japanese hotpot and pickled mushrooms. (mandarinoriental.com)
Lifestyle and luxury commentator
“Look far out to sea, or look down, at the hotel’s curvilinear pool and, beyond, the 1.6 mile jogging track that circumnavigates the whole of Claughton Island and the hotel’s half-acre white sandy beach”
An insider’s view of the world’s most luxurious hotels The all-white Tides South Beach, run by Kathryn Garrett and several other managers, is one of the most distinctive of South Beach’s Ocean Drive architectural beauties, designed by L. Murray Dixon 80 years ago. Finished in 1936, it soars up through ten floors. The 2,000 sq ft Tides Suite takes up the whole of the top floor, and you have a rooftop terrace as well. Inside, there are plain plaster walls and ceilings, an open-sided full kitchen and two en-suite bedrooms. During the day, much of the on-site activity of the 45-suite hotel seems to take place around the mezzanine pool, on a large rear terrace away from prying outsiders (there is a small gym near it). As dusk falls, the centre of attention moves to the ground-floor La Marea. If the weather is inclement, dine inside, in a room decorated with 183 faux giant tortoiseshells. Ninety percent of the time, however, lounging, drinking and dining moves out to tables cunningly set on the front terrace and steps: try a Fresh Napoleon caprese salad, and go on to the bestselling main course – braised 18-hour black Angus short rib with risotto Milanese. (tidesouthbeach.com) Some of the most memorable dining in the entire area is at The Setai South Beach (pictured above), on Collins, one block in from Ocean Drive, presided over by general manager Hansjoerg Meier. You can dine with up to 13 friends in a granite-lined wine room surrounded by magnificent bottles, or outside in semi-sunken eating areas set into a double-tennis-court-sized ornamental pool. Alternatively, choose one of The Restaurant’s fascinating inside areas – try sitting at a table that branches out at right angles from the kitchen so that you can almost reach over and help with the preparation, if compelled. There are lots of clever things about The Setai, which is another 1930s-vintage building brought magnificently up to date. As well as the seven-floor original, there is an adjacent, 40-floor glass block of residential suites, some of which go into the hotel letting pool. The main block’s 77 rooms are typical of designers Jean-Michel Gathy and Jaya Ibrahim. The typical 600 sq ft area is all greys and browns accented with teak floors, the bathroom with a black bathtub is open to the main room, and you have Khmer statues and best-ever Dux beds from Sweden. The spa is sensational and, unusually, there are three parallel 90-ft outdoor pools: one is 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees C), and the two other more-popular pools at 85 and 95 degrees. If you can pull yourself away from this cutting-edge environment, borrow one of the hotel’s cream retro bikes, complete with oversize wicker basket, and head off to explore Collins and its generous retail options. (setai.com)
PERFECT SUMMER GETAWAYS Take time-off this summer and visit one of Danat Hotels & Resorts luxurious coastal or desert hotels and resorts at sensational prices beginning at Dhs 299*. Our Summer Getaways start from 1st June through to the end of August 2011. Al Raha Beach Hotel Purchase in advance Dhs 399** Including buffet breakfast Dhs 599** Including buffet breakfast & Dhs 200 of cash-back vouchers to be used in the restaurants Everyday stopovers Dhs 555* Including buffet breakfast Dhs 699* Including buffet breakfast & Dhs 200 of cash-back vouchers to be used in the restaurants For more information, call 02 508 0555 Danat Al Ain Resort Everyday stopovers Dhs 299* Room only Dhs 399* Including buffet breakfast Dhs 749* Villa, including buffet breakfast For more information, call 03 704 6000
Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort Everyday stopovers Dhs 499* Including buffet breakfast for 2-adults & 2-children under 6-years For more information, call 02 801 2211 Tilal Liwa Hotel Everyday stopovers Dhs 499* Including buffet breakfast For more information, call 02 894 6111 Sands Hotel Weekend stopovers Dhs 325* Including buffet breakfast Weekday stopovers Dhs 350* Including buffet breakfast For more information, call 02 615 6666 Dhafra Beach Hotel Everyday stopovers Dhs 399* Including buffet breakfast for 2-adults & 2-children under 6-years For more information, call 02 801 2000
*All rates are subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee • ** 3-days advance purchase – No refund • Valid from 1 June until the end of August 2011• Offer valid for UAE/GCC residents only • Two children under 12’s sharing parents room stay free of charge • Payment by credit card or cash only • Rooms are subject to availability as per the terms and conditions of the package • A child policy applies • Certain conditions may vary for each hotel, check with reservations at the time of booking. Terms & Conditions apply
Danat Hotels & Resorts is a Division of National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (NCT&H) PO Box 6942, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates T. +971 2 409 9999 | F. +971 2 409 9990 | E. firstname.lastname@example.org | www.danathotels.com
ALBUM: Jessica Hudson
co-founder, Chic Collection Travel
aving grown up on the beaches of Dubai and South Africa, Jessica caught the travel bug at an early age and has since tried, tested and inspected her way around the world’s most luxurious hotels and beautiful hideaways, designing bespoke holidays for the wealthy and well-known. After working for luxury tour operators Abercrombie & Kent in the UK and Exsus Travel in New York, she co-founded boutique hotel travel specialist company Chic Collection Travel in 2008 (www.chiccollection.travel), holding star-studded launch parties in London, New York and Dubai. Now based full-time in Dubai with her lawyer/polo player husband, rarely a month goes by when Jessica is not packing her bags and jetting off to get a glimpse of the latest and greatest chic boutique hotels around the globe. Here she shares a few of her favourite getaways with Destinations of the World News.
Florence, Italy I love Florence for its beautiful architecture, history, art and fashion, and when I go I shop till I drop. Villa Mangiacane overlooking Florence is my favourite retreat to relax by the pool after a day exploring the city, and it has the most beautiful gardens full of roses, lemon trees and olive groves. The views over the vineyards and rooftops of Florence are stunning, and each room is unique with a different design.
I love Lamu Island off the Kenyan Coast as it is so laid-back, with just dhows and donkeys to get around and no cars on the island. Shela Village has some fantastic art galleries and designer boutiques – Aman Gallery and Anna Trzebinski are my favourite fashion finds. The Majlis Resort does the best sushi and is a great spot for mojitos at sundown. For a true island hideaway, I love Manda Bay, with its beach bandas scattered under palm trees right on the edge of the sea.
The ancient walled city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan is one of my latest discoveries for the best markets and jewellery-hunting in India. I love stylish boutique hotel Raas Haveli, with its amazing views of the Mehrangarh Fort towering above, and their turquoise tuk-tuk that whisks you around the city. The hotel is a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets outside and the food there is fantastic. Head to the magical Umaid Bhawan Palace for afternoon tea and an elephant polo match.
“Villa Mangiacane overlooking Florence has the most beautiful gardens full of roses, lemon trees and olive groves”
Galle, Sri Lanka
Cape Town, South Africa
I love southern Sri Lanka for a tropical escape and for its wild unspoilt beaches. My favourite hangout is Kahanda Kanda, surrounded by tea plantations and palm jungles. The Peacock Suite is my favourite, with ceiling-to-floor glass windows so you can lie in bed and watch the monkeys and peacocks in the forest below. Explore Galle Fort for chic boutiques and quaint streets; Bare Foot, KK Collection and Paradise Road are where I stock up on textiles and interiors for our home.
Cape Town will always be my favourite city – hanging out on Camps Bay and vintage clothes shopping on Kloof Street – and I love heading out to the Winelands. Delaire Graff Lodge is my favourite place to stay for its breathtaking views over the vineyards. For fresh air and rugged coastal walks, I love staying at Birkenhead House in Hermanus, just outside of Cape Town. It’s my dream beach house and the owner, Liz Biden, has an amazing collection of art.
I went to Bali on my honeymoon and fell in love with Ubud, nestled in the hills and surrounded by rice paddy fields. We stayed at the very chic boutique hotel Uma Ubud, and I loved their Como Shambhala Spa. I will never forget yoga at sunset overlooking the jungle and temples below, and our bike rides through the local villages. There was so much to see, though it was hard to tear ourselves away from our suite with private plunge pool and the most incredible views of the jungles.
Heavenly healing Austria, but then you can do additional education in complementary fields. I got the opportunity to work in a clinic, and to work with some great doctors, including Dr Mayr himself, founder of the Mayr Therapy.
What is Mayr Therapy?
Dr Harald Stossier, owner, Viva Mayr luxury medi-spa, Austria
Why did you switch from a career in electrical engineering to medicine? I wasn’t happy being in such a technical field, so I went to university to look at what might be right for me. I decided to go for medicine, and to focus on the complementary field rather than mainstream medicine. I have a degree as a general practitioner, which is necessary to get a license to start your own practice in
It’s based on four principles. The first is rest and simplification. We advise people to lie down, to sleep more and to relax. Rest in the evening means eating less but also eating in the right way; slowing down so that the digestive system has the chance to work properly. The second principle is to cleanse. The surface of the intestine is not only for the absorption of food but for the elimination of toxins, so we use Epsom salts to cleanse. The third is changing eating habits – eating slowly and chewing properly. The last is supplementation. We look at vitamin, mineral and trace element deficiencies and then supply people with the proper support they need.
What is a typical day at the spa like for guests?
Why did you decide to open the Viva Mayr spa?
In the morning we do some light gymnastics before breakfast, depending on the type of therapy. Then we do massages, herbal baths, exercises, colonic therapy – whatever will be beneficial to the individual. Then we have lunch. Then in the afternoon, perhaps treatments or relaxation therapy, or maybe they’ll want to sit at the beach at the lake or go biking. There are some medical lectures after dinner, and then everyone goes to bed at 9pm.
I was working in a similar field in medicine, but I wanted to do it a little bit differently and more independently. So I found a place, and investors and the possibility to do it. I think anyone who got the opportunity to do it would say yes.
Why is it important to have luxurious surroundings when you’re doing a wellbeing programme? It’s about keeping all the other distractions to a minimum, so that you can have the time and space to rest. You can’t do that in a busy city like Dubai or London. What people lose in the city is rhythm. If someone is completely burnt out, they have no chance to regulate their system.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy looking at what the main problems of the client are as a general practitioner, then looking into different fields for the tools to diagnose the problems and treat them. And of course I enjoy helping people, and guiding them through the self-healing process.
Why is it good to skip dinner? If you skip dinner once a week, your digestive system has a chance to do its job. You will feel better. To read the full interview with Dr Harald Stossier, visit dotwnews.com
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Published on Jun 30, 2011
The five-year anniversary edition is jammed packed with interviews, reviews and news. Join Joe Mortimer in London, try a spot of luxury camp...