where business meets luxury
DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014
A PUBLICATION OF
24hrs in Kuala Lumpur
GRAND HYATT ERAWAN BANGKOK HYATT REGENCY HUA HIN
MICA (P) 030/08/2013 PPS 1814/ 01/2013 (025533)
MANILA Vol.1 Issue 6 SGD9.50/RM20 ISSN 2335-6588
ASIA’S RISING DARK HORSE
Airbus 330 series comfortably completes your best flight experience Introducing Garuda Indonesiaâ€™s new Airbus 330 series, flying between Singapore and Jakarta three times daily. Taste a delicious variety of cuisines in a full-bed seat on board our Executive Class. Starting August 18, 2013, we increase our flight frequency up to 9 times daily, so youâ€™ll enjoy the convenience of travelling anytime you want.
Fly comfortably above the rest to 64 destinations worldwide with Garuda Indonesia. Reserve your seat now via our 24-hour Call Center at +65 6250 2888 or visit www.garuda-indonesia.com
Thailand’s annual Yeepeng Lanna cultural event
CONCIERGE 18 What’s on
A round-up of corporate and recreational events in the region
20 News Flash
The latest happenings in regional cities as well as updates in the hospitality and travel industry
BOARDING PASS 30 In Transit
Kuala Lumpur: Smooth Operator
36 City Report
Manila: Inspiring Confidence
Hyat Regency Hua Hin/ The Barai
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok/i.Sawan Residential Spa & Club
Luck and Legacy
60 First Class
The High Life
Empires of the Potamoi
4 Corporate Traveller
Photography Alwin Oh Styling Jerome Awasthi On Him: Green velvet tuxedo jacket by BOSS; White tuxedo shirt by Alfred Dunhill; Silver silk bow tie by Lanvin; Embroidered silver waistcoat by Giorgio Armani; Black tuxedo pants with satin piping by Dolce & Gabbana. On Her: Ruched satin panel dress by Bottega Veneta; Sequinned jacket by Saint Laurent; Snakeskin oversized clutch by Lanvin.
JET-SETTERS 74 Expert
Ivan Breiter, Director for Southeast Asia, Switzerland Tourism
77 Frequent Traveller
Yoshimi Nakajima, Singapore Country Manager, American Express
LUXE COLLECTION 84 Style File
Dress right with stylish ensembles, accessories and grooming products
92 Tech Talk
Walk the talk with the right mobile bluetooth headsets
94 Shopping Report
Bright Lights, Big City
Make a glam statement at year-end parties
A gift gallery of luxury scents and exclusive offerings at the airport
Arrive in sophisticated elegance with the Bentley Flying Spur
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77 92 100
THE PLEASURE OF PARADOX
Pleasure is good. Pleasure is the sustenance of life. Pleasure can even be said to be the pivotal determinant of happiness. Epicurius believed that it is “the beginning and end of a blessed life”, as quoted in the documents of Diogenes Laertius, biographer of the Greek philosophers. Whilst one may think drunken bacchanals and careless carousing is being exhorted here, a hedonistic life is far from what underpins the Epicurean philosophy. Epicurius goes on to exhort: “If one fails to obtain what he desires, he loses by frustration; but if one secures what he desires, he loses by boredom.” This paradox, when understood by wise men, presents immense pleasure in life. We know “epicurean” in modern times to refer to one who is devoted to the pursuit of good food and comfort. But it goes beyond that. A table laden with delectables and a home with plush luxuries are not the defining moments in life; rather it is “the sobriety, honour, justice and wisdom” that imbue life with meaning. The rest are merely accompaniments. Epicurius combines theoretical hedonism with practical asceticism to recommend a life of moderation and a solid system of values which echo Aristotle’s philosophy on happiness. What makes a man happy? According to him, it’s one who values contemplation above all, but part of his happy life will be the “exercise of political virtues and moderate enjoyment of natural human pleasures.” As the year comes to a close, it is an apt time to contemplate one’s achievements and what it means to be successful. And by doing so, hopefully take the path of philanthropy. Business magnates such as Luxasia Group’s Patrick Chong, Eu Yan Sang Malaysia’s Anne Eu and Indonesia Triputra Group’s Theodore Permadi Rachmat make their mark in the spirit of giving, and may they inspire many others to do the same. Giving back to society heralds a focus on returning to the important virtues of life, and similarly, one increasingly hears more of terms like “barefoot luxury” and “eco luxury” which take us back to Mother Nature. I’ve also talked about spiritual luxury and Gaia luxury in the magazine, of which the latter is introduced in our hotel and resort reviews (page 42). In this spirit of generosity and simplicity, the rich and successful create lasting legacies that are more than just about material wealth. Perhaps even that of intellectual luxury, as they hone their analytical skills in entertainment complexes (page 52). And there is no better time than now to celebrate giving, sharing and the renewal of spirit through Christmas. Let us not forget too the cities that have survived natural calamities and terrorism to reinvent themselves with even more bravado and achievements. We look at how New York continues to dazzle as the “Big Apple” (page 94) and why Bangkok will always have a soft spot in our hearts (page 60). Philippines, which has just survived the ravages of Typhoon Haiyan, calls forth its resilient spirit to rebuild themselves – as they rightly should. After all, they have a vision to fulfil as Asia’s rising dark horse – we take a closer look at Manila’s potential (page 36). So, take a giant step forward and make an impact in whatever way you can. Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Esther Faith Lew Group Editor
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THE MALDIVES BY COMO
is abou being he only foo prin in he sand
Maalifushi by COMO is the first luxury resort in the Maldives to open in the pristine Thaa Atoll in the archipelago’s southwest – a new destination with overwater villas, garden suites, and spectacular Japanese, Thai and healthful COMO Shambhala cooking. This is the ultimate private island experience where you will want for nothing and discover everything, from snorkelling off a string of nearby uninhabited islands, to surfing some of the Maldives’ best breaks. Let us nurture and inspire you at our COMO Shambhala Retreat, with massage and yoga, or on diving trips among coral gardens lit up by shafts of sunshine. Here in these turquoise waters, where the sand is white like snow, there’s only nature to disturb your quiet: birdsong in the trees, or the call of dolphin as they dance in front of the bow. For bookings and enquiries, please contact UOB Travel’s lifestyle concierge at +65 6252 6822 or UOBTP-Leisure@UOBgroup.com. Guests making bookings with UOB Travel Planners will receive a complimentary dolphin or sunset cruise for a minimum stay of four nights.
PUBLISHER Cecilia Woo
EDITORIAL Managing Editor Ben Poon Group Editor Esther Faith Lew Editor Derek Rodriguez Associate Editors Natalie Joy Lee, Michelle Yee Writers Adora Wong, Melissa Lorraine Chua, Contributors Jerome Awasthi, Aloysius Chan, Ching and Alwin Oh ART
Senior Creative Director Tommy Hong Art Directors Junlong Loh, Cally Han, Leonard Si Web Content Designer/ Photographer Victor Toh
SALES Singapore Business Director Marie Yeo Senior Business Manager Thomas Leow Business Managers Alice Ng, Nazzarei Chia, Aloysius Chan Malaysia Sales & Marketing Director Jessly Pak Business Manager Rebecca Chiang Senior Sales Executive Jeff Lee Sales Executive Casie Chong MARKETING
Senior Marketing Manager Tasmin Chua Marketing Manager Valerie Low Marketing Executive Helie Cheah Finance Manager Julie Khong
PRODUCTION Production Manager Jovin Low Traffic Executive Lim Le Wei CUSTOMER SERVICE Singapore Customer Service Executive Beth Kwok Malaysia Customer Service Executive Nur Hanizah MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES
Hong Kong/ Indonesia/ Macau/ Thailand - Alice Ng email@example.com Abu Dhabi/ China/ Dubai/ Turkey - Nazzarei Chia firstname.lastname@example.org Australia/ Japan/ South Korea/ Taiwan - Marie Yeo email@example.com
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Corporate Traveller MICA (P) 030/08/2013, ISSN 2335-6588, PPS1814/01/2013 (025533), is published bi-monthly by Regent Media Pte Ltd.
No part of this publication is to be reproduced, stored, transmitted, digitally or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher. The information contained herein is accurate at time of printing. Changes may have occurred since this magazine went to print. Regent Media Pte Ltd and its editors will not be held liable for any damages, loss, injury or inconvenience, arising in connection with the contents of the magazine. Regent Media Pte Ltd will not accept responsibility for unsolicited contributions. Printer: KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd (197801823M)
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WHERE YOU CAN FIND US BOOKSTORES Singapore
AIRLINES & AIRPORT LOUNGES
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GOLF & COUNTRY CLUBS Singapore
Celebrate the season
Savour exquisite Christmas culinary delights together with family, friends and loved ones at our award-winning restaurants and bar - Edge, Keyaki, Hai Tien Lo, Pacific Marketplace, Poolside and Atrium. Alternatively, if you are celebrating at home, our gourmet deli offers take-away festive options such as honey glazed ham, roast beef, roast turkey, log cakes, pralines and other traditional Christmas treats. For dining reservations and enquiries, please speak with us at +65 6826 8240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Buy your festive goodies online now at pacificmarketplace.sg.
Embrace the Pacific panpacific.com
7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square Tel: +65 6336 8111 Toll Free: 1800 7224 342 email@example.com
Hotels and Resorts I Bali Dhaka Jakarta Manila Ningbo Perth Seattle Singapore Suzhou Vancouver Whistler Xiamen New openings: Tianjin (2014)
I Bangkok Ningbo Singapore
Photo by Anek Suwannaphoom/123rf
14 Corporate Traveller
Lights that enlighten Against the scenic backdrop of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Thais and tourists alike flock there yearly to participate in Yeepeng Lanna, a cultural event to offer prayers and to celebrate peace, happiness and meditation by releasing floating lanterns on a full-moon night.
Photo courtesy of The Westin Singapore
CONCIERGE • WHAT’S ON • HOTELS • AVIATION • CRUISES • LEISURE • DEALS 1 Corporate Traveller
Marintec China 2013
The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld
China 3rd to 6th December 2013 Be kept abreast on the industry’s newest ship designs, marine machinery, and port technology at the most distinguished maritime trade show in Asia. To take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, the fair will enable professionals to attend informative seminars and conferences, networking events, and a definitive exhibition.
Singapore Now to 1st January 2014 A tribute to the luxury fashion house’s iconic black coat, the exhibition at the ArtScience Museum has on display over a hundred images of the jacket being worn by some of the biggest names of contemporary culture, 21 of which were recently taken by Lagerfeld. Behold for yourself the versatility of the esteemed piece and be inspired by the various ways a jacket can be styled and draped.
MENOPE 2013 United Arab Emirates 3rd to 5th December 2013 The only show in the Middle East to showcase a wide range of organic goods, some of which are food, cosmetics, and health supplements, MENOPE will enable those into natural living to acquire an international assortment of related products at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Australia 9th to 13th December 2013 Organised by Tourism Australia to highlight some of the country’s choice destinations for business meetings and conferences, Dreamtime is a premier incentive event also aimed at helping international events buyers master strategies to enhance productivity and sales. Participants will arrive in Melbourne but will embark on educational tours to cities like Cairns, Sydney, and Adelaide. 18 Corporate Traveller
Photos courtesy of Olivier Saillant; MENOPE; Marintech China; 123rf
Malaysia International Jewellery Fair â€“ Spring Edition Malaysia 11th to 14th January 2014 Pick out an exquisite collection of diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones from the finest brands and touch base with top jewellery traders, buyers, and appreciators at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The fair is expecting 11,000 visitors and will be catering to the high traffic volume with a pool of 150 exhibitors.
Conceptual Walk Through Hong Kong Now to 31st January 2014 Presented by Espace Louis Vuitton Hong Kong, the art exhibition features 14 works of different mediums by conceptual artists Gao Weigang and Kingsley Ng the fashion houseâ€™s posh store along Canton Road. Some of the noteworthy installations are Superstructure and Spring: Homage to Liang Quan.
Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2014 Photos courtesy of Louis Vuitton Hong Kong; 123rf; Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Hong Kong 6th to 8th January 2014 Gain insight on how to enthrall the Asian entertainment market and develop your regional licensing network in Asia at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Major categories to be exhibited at the one-stop trade show include art and design, celebrities, corporate brands, and fashion and lifestyle.
Salon du Chocolat Seoul Korea 16th to 19th January 2014 Get acquainted with the latest types of chocolate products and confectionary machinery and meet with chocolatiers and chocolate connoisseurs at the COEX Convention Convention & Exhibition Centre. The international trade show welcomed an astounding 35,000 visitors last year and aims to delight chocolate enthusiasts with a fair both bigger and better this time around. Corporate Traveller
NEWS FLASH • HOTELS
THE WESTIN SINGAPORE IS THE PERFECT HOTEL FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS LOOKING FOR CONVENIENCE AND RENEWAL. WITH SPECTACULAR VIEWS OF THE SOUTH CHINA SEA AND THE CITY SKYLINES, COMPLEMENTED BY WESTIN SIGNATURE ELEMENTS, OUR GUESTS CAN LEAVE FEELING BETTER THAN WHEN THEY ARRIVED. Lance J. Ourednik General Manager, The Westin Singapore
The Westin Singapore opens in Singapore Singapore After more than a decade, The Westin has returned to Singapore in November, with the new property conveniently situated in Asia Square in the country’s financial district. Located on the 32nd to 46th levels of Asia Square Tower 2, the upscale hotel will allow guests to enjoy panoramic views overlooking Marina Bay and the city’s skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Westin Singapore houses 305 guest rooms and suites, each tastefully decorated and equipped with signature Westin Heavenly Beds and Westin Heavenly Bath and bath amenities. Other Westin signature elements include amenities such as the Heavenly Spa by Westin; the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, which is equipped with free weights and cardio equipment and offers SuperFoodsRx dishes prepared at the hotel’s gastro pub, Cook & Brew; and the Seasonal Tastes venue that offers five interactive kitchens as well as lunch and dinner buffets.
20 Corporate Traveller
Business travellers will appreciate the hotel’s eight state-of-the-art meeting rooms and two ballrooms with a combined area of 1350sqm that come with event coordinators and pre-function spaces available for meetings, conferences or cocktail style gatherings. The Westin Singapore is currently offering a Renewal Opening package, which includes buffet breakfasts and complimentary high-speed internet access for rooms booked and utilised until end-April 2014. Starwood Preferred Guests can also earn double Starpoints with this offer; rates start at S$345++ per night. The Westin Singapore is the latest addition to the nearly 200 properties managed by Westin Hotels & Resorts. Owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the Westin brand is renowned for its signature services that were designed to bring guests a comfortable and relaxing stay. www.westin.com
Amara Sanctuary Resort spices up meetings Singapore Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa has introduced complimentary 30-minute “Ice Breakers and Fun Workouts” sessions to inject physical activity into meetings held at the resort’s MICE Block. Conducted by professional trainers from the resort’s gym, Aileron Wellness, the sessions cater to groups with a minimum of 20 people, and are designed to boost energy and alertness levels while also encouraging team bonding through a shared activity. Conveniently located on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa, Amara Sanctuary’s stand-alone, two-storey tall MICE Block features seven function rooms of various sizes and one pillar-less Grand Ballroom. www.amarasanctuary.com
Four Seasons opens in Shenzhen China
Five-star comfort at Mövenpick Enshi China Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts recently opened the first international five-star hotel in the city of Enshi, in the province of Hubei, China. Located near the city’s central business district, the hotel is also conveniently located near a train station and the city’s airport. The 14-storey hotel features 240 rooms decorated in the style of the local Tujia and Miao ethnic designs. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and a gym, while the Flower Spa provides guests with quality wellness treatments in its 14 rooms. Mövenpick Hotel Enshi also houses two restaurants, the Lotus Garden, which serves authentic local cuisine; while the other, the Chef Theatre, serves up Swiss specialities. Guests may visit the nearby countryside easily from the hotel; some prominent natural sights include the Enshi Grand Canyon and the Tenglong Caves; those who are interested in the local culture and customs can also visit the nearby Tujia ethnic villages for an immersive cultural experience. www.moevenpick-hotels.com
International Hotelier Four Seasons opened its eighth property in China in September in the city of Shenzhen. Located in the downtown business district of Futian, the hotel is surrounded by office buildings and shopping malls, and is just minutes away from a metro station and Shenzhen’s Convention and Exhibition Centre. Four Seasons Shenzhen offers guests 266 stylish rooms, each equipped with high-speed internet access, large work desks and executive chairs to better cater to business travellers. Those on business can utilise the hotel’s many meeting rooms and the Four Seasons Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 360 people for larger gatherings. There is also an outdoor event space – Terraces – where guests can hold their pre-event reception. www.fourseasons.com Corporate Traveller
NEW FLASH • AVIATION
Changi Airport Group commences construction of Terminal 4 Singapore Singapore’ Changi Airport Group has initiated construction of the upcoming Terminal 4. The new terminal will come with designs and innovations that will raise efficiency levels and provide passengers with a unique and comfortable travel experience. Several of the terminal’s efficiency upgrades are in the form of fast and seamless travel (FAST) initiatives such as self-service kiosks for check-ins and departure-gate boarding, which will shorten
administrative times and allow the airport to reduce the number of active staff required, in accordance with global trends. Designed with nature in mind, the new terminal will utilise natural lighting to enhance the interior ambience, while retail stores will be modelled after traditional Peranakan shop houses for a unique, old Singapore feel. Terminal 4 is expected to be operational in 2017 and will handle 16 million passenger movements a year. www.changiairport.com
British Airways rewards Gold Executive Club members United Kingdom British Airways has launched a lifetime recognition reward system for Gold Members of its Executive Club loyalty programme to thank loyal customers. Gold Members who accumulate 35,000 or more Lifetime Tier Points over the course of their membership will retain their Gold Status with the airline for life. Gold Members in British Airways’ Executive Club programme enjoy a variety of benefits, including the opportunity to reserve the best seats, priority check-in on British Airways and oneworld flights, use of British Airways’ luxury lounges, additional checked baggage allowances as well as exclusive privileges at several of the most luxurious hotels in the world. British Airways flies to more than 150 destinations in 75 countries worldwide, and has carried more than 1.2 billion customers since its inception more than 90 years ago. www.britishairways.com 22 Corporate Traveller
Emirates doubles A380 services to Munich Dubai From March 30, 2014, Emirates will begin utilising its A380 aircraft for flight number EK51/62, currently serviced by a Boeing 777-300ER, bringing up the daily number of Dubai – Munich flights on Airbus A380s to two. The decision was made in recognition of the importance of Munich Airport to the airlines and as a display of Emirates’ commitment to the German market - the second A380 flight will increase passenger capacity on the route by almost 1,800 seats per week. Emirates has carried over 600,000 passengers to and from Munich on the Airbus A380 since being the first foreign carrier to utilise the Airbus A380 for flights in and out of Germany in 2011. www.emirates.com
NEWS FLASH • CRUISES
Costa Cruises launches future flagship Italy
With Bangkok’s status as the world’s most visited city and major aviation hub in Southeast Asia, international passenger traffic for Thailand is projected to grow seven per cent annually between 2012 and 2016.
Costa Diadema, the upcoming flagship of Costa Cruises was launched in Marghera, Italy, for technical testing while work on her interior continues. Costing around €550 million and expected to be delivered on October 2014, the vessel is designed to resemble a beachfront resort and will hold 1,862 cabins and provide guests with luxurious food and wine entertainment. The vessel was launched according to Italian maritime tradition - with the ceremonial breaking of a bottle of champagne against its bow and the welding of a coin to the base of the mainmast for good luck – in a ceremony attended by CEO Michael Thamm and honorary maritime godmother, Ms. Franca Grasso. The Costa Diadema will embark on her maiden voyage with a 1-week itinerary in Winter 2014/15, stopping by Rome and Florence. www.costacruise.com
Tourism New Zealand gears up to attract high-net-worth travellers and the MICE market, backed by an additional NZ$30 million (US$25 million) in its coffers, spread over four years. Jakarta’s flight congestion at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport will be eased in early 2014 as the government plans to open Halim Perdanakusuma Airport and re-direct flights there. At present, Soekarno-Hatta handles 74 flights per hour.
Wiltrans International reintroduces Sojourn cruises Australia Created with travellers residing in Australia who are looking for a luxury cruise holiday around Asia, cruise operator Wiltrans Internation has reintroduced its Sojourn cruise packages that will commence from March to April 2014, taking guests on land tours at various points on their voyage. Taken aboard the Crystal Symphony cruise ship, the Sojourn voyage will feature four departures, Singapore (11 March and 25 March), Hong Kong (8 April) and Beijing (16
April), with the final destination set as Tokyo. Guests may choose to join the cruise at any of the departure locations by taking a flight from Australia and subsequent return flights from their disembarkation points. Cruise fares are all-inclusive and will provide guests with return flights, hotel stays, land tours, wining and dining options, golf clinics, language lessons and much more. www.wiltrans.com.au
Destinations within a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur will be better served by Malaysia Airlines (MAS), commencing with renewed services to Darwin on November 1. Presently providing five-times-weekly services to Darwin, with plans to further increase frequencies, MAS will develop route expansions in Asia Pacific over the next few years. Dalian is set to offer 72-hour, visa-free transits via Zhoushuizi International Airport, making them the sixth city to do so in China after Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing.
NEWS FLASH • LEISURE
An elixir that excites Brunei The restorative effects of spa treatments are no longer limited to day-to-day treatments, thanks to Brunei’s opulent Empire Hotel & Country Club, which has introduced exclusive, anti-ageing elixirs to its in-house relaxation space, The Spa. Made in Switzerland, Valmont products are sourced from the pure, glacial spring waters of the Valais Mountains, combined with the DNA of wild salmon milt to delay the signs of ageing. Vitality of Glaciers treatment for instance, boosts skin’s cellular renewal with inputs of oxygen and nutrients; while Peaks of Firmness treatment includes an intensive lifting massage for smoothening wrinkles. To celebrate the launch, 60-minute facials are now priced at B$200 (S$200). www.theempirehotel.com/spa
The finesse of porcelain Singapore Delicate porcelain art is translated into everyday life thanks to Franz’s new boutique at Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, following the launch of its store at Takashimaya Shopping Centre in August this year. Founded in 2001, the brand reaches out to art lovers and porcelain collectors, marrying inspirations from the Chinese traditional art of porcelain-making (Dunhuang Flying Fairies) with European artistic influences (Art Nouveau). Under-glaze hand painting produces high quality, functional art featuring nature-inspired designs, spanning across tableware to jewellery. With China President Hu Jintao having previously gifted President Barack Obama with Franz Porcelain, consider the Van Gogh Collection this festive season – the late painter’s works are reinterpreted on vases, teapots and cup sets. The official logo of the Dutch Van Gogh Museum is also stamped below for a most unique gift yet. www.franzcollection.com
Taste the world Maldives Medium Rare, the fine dining restaurant at Beach House in Iruveli, Maldives has recently clinched the ‘Award of Excellence’ at the recent 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards, by New York-based Wine Spectactor Magazine. To celebrate its win – which considers the quality of wine programmes, superiority of mature vintages, wine and food pairings, presentation and service – the Maldivian restaurant has rolled out ‘Gastrology’, a progressive wine tasting dinner. Canapés and champagne kick-start the reception, with the resort’s Wine 24 Corporate Traveller
Director, Chu Hoon Stanley Chang, unveiling some hidden secrets at The Cellar, picking from a wine selection of over 380 labels, coming from vineyards across France, Italy, Spain and more new world producers. Pairings will focus on matching parallel flavours, aromas and divergent notes, as guests stroll about the cellar and take in wine briefings. Finish the gourmet adventure at Medium Rare, tucking into a four-course menu based on seasonal produce, matched again by Chang’s selected fine wines. www.beachhousecollection.com
NEWS FLASH • GOURMET
Sky Terrace Level 3, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Road, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Sydney, Australia. Tel: +61 2 9777 9000 Perched atop Sydney’s leading entertainment spot is a newly established rooftop bar with views of the iconic harbour and the city skyline. Although only open every Friday and Saturday evening at present, it will operate every evening during the Sydney Festival, which will take place from 9th to 26th January. Food stations on-site satiate guests with Grilled Sausage with Roasted Peppers, Southern BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Pork Carnitas Taco, Ceviche de Mexico, Dubai Falafel, and various vegetarian options designed to be of fitting accompaniment to the assortment of wines, beers, and cocktails. Classic selections of Mövenpick ice cream are also available to those looking to savour a sweet treat as they soak up the superb ambience sirened by tunes spun by the house DJs.
Summer Palace Level 3, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715. Tel: +65 6725 3288
New York Steakhouse Level 2, JW Marriott Bangkok, 4 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 2, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 656 7700 Deservingly distinguished as one of the choicest steakhouses in the capital of Thailand by connoisseurs of fine fare, the restaurant imports premium meats like Certified Angus Beef and Australian Wagyu Beef from across the globe and cooks them with knifelike precision to serve up meats flavourfully and succulently on point. The five cuts offered are the Fillet Mignon, Rib Eye, Striploin, T-bone and Porterhouse, and many of the wines available can be ordered by the glass. Other star mains include the Surf ‘n’ Turf, which comprises medallions of Angus Beef and of Maine Lobster served with wilted baby spinach, the Snow Fish, the fillet of which is crusted in black pepper and is served with a vegetable broth, and the Rack of Lamb, the Gippsland-imported meat of which is dished up with pearl onions and rosemary jus.
Revel in the royal 8-course Dynasty Feast prepared in accordance with traditional techniques at Regent Singapore’s noteworthy Cantonese restaurant. The Drunken Dong Po Pork, savoury fried pork belly accented with premium Chinese rice wine and gold leaves, is to be washed down with the Double Boiled Treasures Soup, a broth brewed to full flavour with fleshy fish maw, conpoy, sea whelk, black mushrooms, cordyceps, and wolfberries. Chopped conpoy atop a rich concoction of scrambled egg whites and lobster chunks, a dish aptly named Peach Blossoms in the Snow, is adequately contrasted against the Fried Lamb Loin with Spicy Sauce that follows. Bits of century egg and water chestnut inject exceptional texture into the Deep-Fried Imperial Beancurd in Claypot, and a blend of brown sugar, jasmine tea leaves, and XO sauce make up the heart of the Tea-Smoked Soy Chicken. Main dishes end off with Longevity Noodles with Sea Cucumber and Abalone, and are succeeded with a luscious dessert of Lychee Ice Cream with Bird’s Nest – a treat that is sure to satiate and invigorate. www.regenthotels.com Corporate Traveller
NEWS FLASH • DEALS
Exclusive travel deals for UOB Cardmembers Trafalgar Brochure 2014 Trafalgar’s itineraries in 2014 promise new discoveries and new memories of a lifetime. Travellers can expect refreshing and exciting journeys as they uncover unique insights on Europe, USA & Canada or South America – all through the eyes of a local. As your guide takes you through ever changing vivid landscapes, feast to your heart’s content and enjoy the authentic flavours of local delicacies. Gain a new perspective as you take in sweeping views – from glorious cities and oceanic fronts to scented gardens filled with blooming flowers and grape-bearing vineyards. The varying seasons present unique
experiences that tempt you to plan your holidays now. Interested parties enjoy a 10 per cent discount, if payment is made before February 12, 2014. Savings of up to US$775 per person apply. • Family and friends similarly enjoy a 10 percent discount while frequent travellers enjoy a five per cent discount.* • Second trip sign-ups will see 2.5 percent slashed off their packages, while triple sharing bookings enjoy savings.* • UOB Cardmembers are entitled to an additional 12 per cent discount, with complimentary round-trip airport transfer in Singapore or complimentary one-way airport transfer in London.*
Insight Vacations Brochure 2014 Travelling in style is a premise that is often associated with premium itineraries organised by Insight Vacations. Enchanting journeys that present the best indulgence of each locale is up for the taking as the agency ramps up the appeal of its offerings . Uncover the richness of each destination with unique local experiences and priceless sightseeing. You will travel in business class comfort and recharge yourself in luxury hotels that promise a pampering stay. Fine restaurants offering authentic local cuisines will satisfy the wandering gourmand too, as you sample the flavours of Europe, USA and Canada. • Early birds enjoy a 10 per cent discount, if payment is made before February 12, 2014.* • Savings of up to US$690 per person apply. • Single travellers save up to US$2800.* • Frequent travellers and groups of five or more enjoy savings of five per cent, while triple-sharing bookings enjoy additional discount.* 26 Corporate Traveller
Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore* An elegant retreat set in the heart of the city, Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore is your gateway to the city’s premier shopping belt, and a short drive from the Central Business District and Changi International Airport. The newly refurbished five-star business hotel features a refreshed collection of guest rooms, meeting spaces and facilities replete with modern comforts designed to enhance every moment of your stay. An excellent base for business and leisure travellers, you’ll find welcoming accommodations and delicious cuisines – refreshing experiences that celebrate the signature Pan Pacific hospitality. Best rates are guaranteed and includes internet services and breakfast for 2 persons. For UOB Cardmembers, let your UNI$ take you further. Use UNI$ to redeem and offset your holiday. Redemption starts from as low as UNI$1,375 for S$20. For bookings and enquiries, please contact UOB Travel’s lifestyle concierge at +65 6252 6822 or UOBTP-Leisure@ UOBgroup.com.
• Young travellers in the group are entitled to 10 per cent savings as well.* • UOB Cardmembers are entitled to an additional 10 per cent discount.*
Terms and conditions: *All above offers are subject to terms and conditions. *All rooms subject to availability at time of booking. *Other terms and conditions apply.
A THEME-TATION RETREAT WHERE REST & RELAXATION FEATURES GO HIGH-TECH Nestled amidst central Wan Chai and just an eight-minute walk to Causeway Bay MTR underground station on Hong Kong Island, Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong offers a convenient location from which guests may attend to their business activities or shop and sightsee. Being well-connected is of great importance to time-strapped travellers, and the hotel undoubtedly fulfils that criteria, being just a short walk away from Time Square and a 10-minute drive from Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The hotel also has a complimentary shuttle bus service to 15 destinations via five routes.
Apart from its location, Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong also ensures that its guests reside in total comfort by offering them an extensive 11-choice pillow menu, 300-thread count linen and quality duvet to add the plush factor to their slumber. The four-star hotel has 454 guestrooms and suites, with each offering a massage shower, a flat screen HDTV with satellite and cable channels, and an executive work desk. Having recently won the title, â€œBest Themed Hotel of Chinaâ€? in the China Hotel Starlight Awards, Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong prides itself on the array of creatively themed suites.
Fully stocked with a range of massage equipment and purifiers, Osim Suite is sure to pamper both the body and soul after a long day of meetings. A full range of massage equipment is to be expected, ranging from treatments that target the eyes, neck and shoulders, waist and hips, foot and calves. There’s also a body-sizemassage chair that presents the perfect solution for easing tired and tense muscles. To complete your luxury stay, the suite comes with a Sony personal 3D viewer to combine fun entertainment while you enjoy the full body massage.
Proudly known as the first hotel in Hong Kong to feature a theme suite that offers a whole new level of 3D experience, Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong appeals to the tech-savvy traveller who truly appreciates a superb home entertainment system. The spacious 520 sq ft suite indulges guests with BRAVIA Full HD 3D LCD TV screens in both the living room and the master bedroom, a 3D Wireless Blu-ray home theatre system that comes with two pairs of 3D glasses, a 3D transmitter and PlayStation 3. To top it off, Sony Suite also provides a free rental service for SONY’s projector handycam, in the event guests wish to indulge in their creativity.
Apart from the Osim and SONY suites, there’s also the Ocean Park suite, which is furnished with theme park stuffed toys and comes with free admission to Ocean Park; the A-FONTANE suite where guests can expect a relaxing and luxurious slumber with top-quality bed linen; and the Toy Suite, which is perfect for guests with children.
COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL 387 Queen’s Rd E, Hong Kong Tel: +852 3552 1111
www.cosmopolitanhotel.com.hk/ 28 Corporate Traveller
Photo courtesy of The Venetian Macao
BOARDING PASS • IN TRANSIT • CITY REPORT • INSIDER • GETAWAY • FIRST CLASS • WONDERLUST 2 Corporate Traveller
nce known to be an established tin-mining town, Kuala Lumpur (KL) has since evolved into a 21st-century metropolis, offering a rich fusion of Asian cultures and culinary delights, endless shopping options and word-class meeting and convention facilities, contributing to the steady increase in tourist arrivals. Recognised as one of the National Key Economic Areas, the tourism industry remains as one of the key contributors to the country’s economy. Malaysia welcomed 11.6 million tourist arrivals in the first half of 2012 – well on track to reach the Malaysia Tourism
30 Corporate Traveller
Transformation Plan 2020’s goal of 36 million arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts. The capital city of Malaysia continually plays a significant role in achieving these numbers, where based on international visitor arrivals, KL took the eighth spot on the 2013 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, moving up two notches since a year ago. Within Asia KL ranked third, ahead of other developed nations the likes of Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo, with a forecast of receiving 9.2 million visitors in 2013 within KL alone. In response to Kuala Lumpur’s
year-on-year growth, standing at the first line of service is KL International Airport (KLIA), located 50km from KL. As Malaysia’s main international gateway, KLIA has been voted one of the world’s top 10 best airports for the past four consecutive years, awarded by Skytrax. Always striving to better its facilities in handling the increasing influx of foreign visitors both for business and leisure, KLIA is divided into the Main Terminal Building (MTB), Contact Pier (CP, which serves as the domestic and international terminal), and the Satellite Building (SB, serving international flights). All are
SMOOTH OPERATOR Reflecting its country’s role as a cultural bridge between the East and West, Kuala Lumpur International Airport has risen to become one of Asia’s major aviation hubs, a perfect international catchment area looking to a rosier decade ahead. Text by Natalie Joy Lee Photos courtesy of 123rf; uala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA); Plaza Premium Lounge; Natalie Joy Lee
connected by the Aerotrain, operating at three-to-five minute intervals, the journey taking only under two minutes and taking up to 250 passengers at any one time. “Malaysia Airports places great emphasis on continuously enhancing customer experience at all our airports, particularly KLIA through improving our service and facilities standard,” says Y. Bhg. Dato’ Azmi Murad, Senior General Manager (Operations), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB). “Malaysia Airports, in partnership with our business partners, have been striving to expand the retail and F&B
footprint as well as the services available within our airports. Travellers and visitors to our airports can expect more in the days ahead as we welcome more renowned brands and services to KLIA,” adds Puan Faizah Khairuddin, Senior General Manager (Commercial Services), Malaysia Airports. Also, a brand new airport – KLIA2 – is scheduled to be unveiled in May next year, allowing seamless connectivity between low-cost and full-service carriers. Spanning approximately 257,000 sqm in floor area, KLIA2 is designed to cater to a whopping 45 million passengers yearly,
comprising 68 contact gates, eight remote stands, 80 passenger boarding bridges and a retail space of 33,350 sqm to accommodate 225 retail outlets. “The KLIA is well on its way into developing some of the most exciting infrastructure to increase Malaysia’s value as a destination. Apart from the up and coming KLIA2, which will be the largest low-cost carrier airport in Malaysia, the airport site will also witness a new factory outlet centre,” says Ho Yoke Ping, General Manager of Sales & Marketing, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau.
IN TRANSIT 1. KLIA’s glitzy entrance by night, to be enhanced by the upcoming KLIA2 2. Well spaced out information counters across KLIA attend to travellers’ every need 3. Pick up a travel guide for your next trip at the standalone Lonely Planet store 4. Backed by the latest technology, send out mails, do deals and check-in with the touch of a screen 5. Take a breath of fresh air at the lush Jungle Boardwalk
2 TO 4 HOURS: ENGAGE • Duty-Free Shopping
Well spread out across the Main Terminal Building (MTB) and Satellite Building (SB), all traveller needs are catered for, whether shopping for duty free products (Eraman Duty Free and The Zone Duty Free), perfumes & cosmetics (Colours Beauty Boutique), sweet treats (Godiva), timepiece collecting (Swiss Watch Gallery) or jewellery gifting (Habib). International brands are represented by Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Mont Blanc, Aigner, Burberry, TUMI Boutique , Desigual and many more, while Asian designers are also listed with Royal Selangor, Bonia, Charles & Keith and more.
RELAX • KLIA Jungle Boardwalk Get a breath of fresh air, literally, at this alfresco area where an entire rainforest section was transplanted from the jungle and placed straight into the SB.
• Showers Stay refreshed and collected with a quick shower, available at Sama-Sama Express KL International Airport. Located at the SB, next to Gate C5 (Tel: +603 8787 4848). The RM 30 rate includes soap, shampoo and towel, or pay RM 50 for VIP (private shower room with facilities; www.samasamaexpress.com).
• WHSmith Bookstore United Kingdom bookseller, specialist news and travel convenience giant stepped into KLIA late last year, making it the first store based in Southeast Asia. Expect a wide variety of books and magazines, as well as stationery and travel accessories.
• Web Access Kiosks Stay connected, send out e-mails and finalise transactions at the Internet kiosks, available for complimentary usage for all passengers. Find them at the SB, at gates C11-C17, C21-C27, and C31-C37. Wi-Fi is also available free-of-charge across KLIA; though take note that although no registration is required, each session is limited to three hours.
EAT • Food and Beverage True to Malaysia’s multicultural roots, transiting passengers can go for fast food, local grub, high-tea offerings or posh nosh, catering to international palates. For quick bites, food courts are found on the second and fourth levels of MTB, while a taste of home can be found at fast food joints Marrybrown, Delifrance, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King. Other international fares include The Olive Tree (Mediterranean), Fukuya, Harrods, Eden @ KLIA (halal-certified dimsum), 32 Corporate Traveller
• Reflexology & Massage Centre Relax any tensed muscles here with result-specific massages, whether to relax, relieve, healing, rejuvenate or restore. The shortest session takes just 20 minutes (RM75), up to 45 minutes (RM110). Open from 6 am to 12 midnight daily. Located at SB, opposite the aerotrain (tel: +603 8776 2397).
O’Briens and Café Barbera (Sicilian). For those who did not have a chance at local fare, Jalan Alor does street food just like the one found in the heart of KL; KopiTime delivers signature local delights like nasi lemak and laksa; while Jonker Walk Kopitiam epitomises Malay fare at its best, catering traditional Baba Nonya dishes, asam pedas (sour and spicy broth), lempeng (savoury pancakes) and more. To get your grub and pair it with beer too, head to Bones, on level 2 of SB. Tuck into pizzas and other light snacks paired with a cold beer. Sports fans are also free to enjoy the many sports channels airing on the bar’s LED screen.
4 TO 6 HOURS:
6 TO 24 HOURS
ENGAGE • Entertainment Lounges
STAY • Sama-Sama Hotel, KL International Airport
At the Satellite Building, relax in your preferred lounge geared towards news, movies or sports. Located at level 2 at the south, east and north zones respectively, the lounges allow passengers to catch up on football matches, long-time favourite movies, and up-to-date international news on 42-inch LED screens, or simply relax on comfortable sofas while waiting for their flights. Samsung Galaxy Tabs are also available for travellers’ use.
Previously the Pan Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the renamed Sama-Sama Hotel, KL International Airport still offers the same convenience – only a five to 10 minute walk from the Arrivals Hall via a bridge on level two, or by taking the buggy ride service also at Arrivals level two. An airport counter is within plain sight for immediate check in, guests’ luggage moved to the hotel simultaneously as you reach your rooms. The five-star accommodation features 442 newly refurbished rooms and suites across nine floors, aptly furnished with modern amenities. Business guests may wish to consider rooms on the premier floor, where they can utilise the Premier Lounge, press or dry clean two items daily, fax and photocopy important documents, and express check-out service (www.samasamahotels.com).
newspapers, as well as seats for resting. Some lounges may also offer basic business amenities, including computers, Internet and fax machines.
• Plaza Premium Lounge Passengers whose airlines do not have a dedicated lounge at KLIA can head to the Plaza Premium Lounge. Located at the SB, pick from the two-hour (RM128), five-hour (RM 168) or 10 hour (RM 188) day package available from 7am to midnight, or take the night package for those transiting between 12midnight to 6am, going at five-hour (RM 148) or 10-hour (RM 168) options. Included are food and free flow beverages, barista-manned bar, shower stalls, Internet and Wi-Fi, computers and workstations, movie and television selections and sitting areas. Open 24 hours daily, tired travellers may also relax with a neck and shoulder massage (Tel: +603-8787 2323; www. plaza-network.com).
• Sama-Sama Express KL International Airport A spiral staircase or lift takes you to reception, where you can book one of 80 rooms featuring views of the air field and landing strip, or looking out towards the peaceful courtyard. The entire hotel has recently been refurbished with rooms cosy yet functional. Passengers who desire more space can opt for the singular
RELAX • Viewing Gallery Whether for aviation fans or some quiet time, let the rhythm of planes landing and taking off soothe your soul, observing the inner workings of KLIA’s airside area even here. Located at the MTB, providing expansive views of the SB, aerotrain and apron movements.
• Airline Lounges Located within the Satellite Building, on level 2 are seven lounges: MAS Golden Lounge (Malaysia Airlines), Royal Orchid Lounge (Thai Airways), Cathay Pacific Lounge, Silver Kris Lounge (Singapore Airlines), Emirates Lounge, Dynasty Lounge (China Airlines) and Plaza Premium Lounge (see next). Standard facilities include complimentary snacks and beverages, entertainment areas, magazines and
1. Catch up on news, movies and sports at the comfortable lounge at level one 2. Move around KLIA in under two minutes on the Aerotrain 3&4. Pack in a quiet shower, reply emails and have your meal in the luxurious Plaza Premium Lounge Corporate Traveller
IN TRANSIT EAT • Tamarind Hill Restaurant It is easy to sustain a lucid image of the Tamarind Hill as the ideal out-of-city respite. Set within a historic colonial house, and surrounded by an abundance of nature, visitors dining at the Tamarind Hill enjoy the peace away from the hustle and bustle of urban living. Apart from the lovely ambience, the restaurant also offers an extensive menu of delicious Thai and Burmese dishes, such as Mandalay chicken and potato curry, stir-fried chicken with pineapples and cashew nuts, and many more. 1
suite available, which comes with a living room area as well. Business guests may use the lounge and the meeting room, an airy space overlooking the air field. Wi-Fi is available 24 hours daily (www. samasamaexpress.com; tel: +603 8787 3333).
SHOP • Suria KLCC Though opened in 1998, KLCC still remains one of the best places to visit to flex your credit cards, their tenant listing being refreshed yearly to add spice to the mix. Besides housing a number of premium brands, the mall also counts department stores Isetan and Parkson Grand as its tenants. Food options are spread throughout its six storeys and include restaurants, cafes, and food courts. Other than these, KLCC features an aquarium, a 12-screen cinema, an art gallery, and a landscaped park. In the evenings, look out for the nightly water shows outside its main entrance, a favourite gathering spot for locals and a visual spectacle worth investing a few minutes in.
• Pavilion Shopping Centre Pavilion is one of the latest malls in Kuala Lumpur and is on the way to becoming one of the city’s more recognisable landmarks, thanks to the crystal fountain in front of the mall. Fashionistas will find Pavilion a shopping haven; brands present at Pavilion range of high-end labels like Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Gucci and Hermes to affordable fashion brands Forever 21, Fred Perry and Zara. The mall is sectioned thematically into seven precincts for easy navigation, including ‘Tokyo Street’, ‘Fashion Avenue’ and ‘Gourmet Emporium’. 34 Corporate Traveller
• Yut Kee 2
• Starhill Gallery Starhill Gallery’s flamboyant facade is a result of its revamp in 2005. Internally, Starhill Gallery has also changed from a regular mall to one that focuses on luxury brands, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the city. These include names like Dior, Kenzo, Antoinette and Khoon Hooi. The mall also houses a number of reputable restaurants that serve authentic cuisine from around the world.
• Petaling Street When the sun sets, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown transforms into a lively hub of activity and a fascinating place to explore. A whole host of stalls selling replica products, souvenirs, jewellery, knick knacks, and of course all kinds of delicious street food pop-up along Petaling Street at night. Prices are hardly fixed here so some bargaining skill is required if you want to bag a good deal.
A hot favourite among the locals, Yut Kee is one of the oldest coffee shops in Kuala Lumpur. Offering authentic coffee, homemade white toast with generous portions of coconut jam, prawn noodles soup, “roti baba” (a luscious bread pie stuffed with shredded pork and onions), and a whole lot of other yummy dishes, tourists are highly recommended to visit this place at least once during their trip.
• Frangipani Restaurant and Bar Touted as one of the best French restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, Frangipani Restaurant and Bar offers decadent French cuisines including grilled Wagyu beef cheek and roasted skinless duck breasts – all done to perfection. After your meal, adjourn to the bar where you can indulge in delicious cocktails and have a wonderful evening with your friends.
• Madam Kwan’s Serving authentic Malaysian fare since 1977, expect hawker-style fares in a comfortable café setting, quick service and affordable prices with long queues daily. Fool-proof dishes are nasi lemak
MORE TRANSIT TIPS (coconut-flavoured rice with chicken curry), curry fish head and curry mee. For a twist on nasi lemak, the nasi bojari features spice-tossed rice, shredded rendang, assam prawns and fall-off-the-bone drumstick, best finished with an icy chendol, and expertly-done fried banana fritters with vanilla ice-cream (www.madamkwans.com.my).
SEE • Petronas Twin Towers Standing at a whopping 452 metres with 88 storeys, the Petronas Twin Towers used to be the world’s tallest structure until the completion of the Taipei 101. Nonetheless, the colossal spires have become part of KL’s iconic skyline, with Islamic elements dictating the way in which, glass, steel and concrete were used to build the Towers. Follow the crowd up to the Sky Bridge, which connects the two towers at 170m above ground, and offering a bird’s-eye view of the city. This iconic tower also houses several offices including Al Jazeera’s Asian broadcasting centre.
• Look out for the ‘Bluetooth Zone’ sign, where
PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO THE CITY
travellers with bluetooth-enabled phones may
• If getting a car rental, the North-South Central
access free guides with information on shopping
Link Expressway (ELITE) links Kuala Lumpur city to KLIA, taking about a one hour journey. Airport
and dining options at KLIA. • Prayer rooms are available for Muslim
Limo operates four kinds of taxis – budget,
passengers, at the MTB, CP, and SB. Silent
premier limo (Mercedes / Renault), super luxury
rooms are also available at level 5 of the
(Jaguar), or family service (Kia Pregio) at the
departure hall at the MTB, for those who require
Arrivals Hall of the MTB. • The train is another favoured route, Express
a room for prayer or meditation. • Car rentals are easily available, a total of seven
Rail Link Sdn Bhd operates the KLIA Ekspres
companies to choose from including Hertz and
(28 minutes) and the KLIA Transit (35 minutes)
Avis. Located at the Arrival Hall area, between
lines, connecting to the city and terminating at KL City Air Terminal (KL CAT) in KL Sentral.
counters B to C. • A pharmacy and clinic is available should
Bus stations can be found on ground level of
travellers ever require medical assistance.
Block C, the Express Coach towards KL
Purchase over-the-counter medicines at the
Sentral starting at RM 10 for adults (one-way)
pharmacy found at level 5 of the departure hall,
to RM 18 (return) (+603-8787 3894; www.
main terminal building, open daily from 6am to
midnight. Two clinics are open 24 hours daily, one on level 3 at the main terminal building, and
WHERE TO LEAVE YOUR LUGGAGE
the other on level 1 at the east zone at the
• The left luggage facility is found at level 3,
Main Terminal Building, storage rates from RM 18, or locker rental charges from RM 38,
both based on 24-hour charges, even if
• Main Terminal Building (MTB): +603 8776 4386
passengers only need storage for one hour.
/4389 (Departure Hall)
Those who’ve checked in but want to shop
• Contact Pier (CP): +603 8776 0257 / 0219
hands-free may deposit their luggage at the
• Satellite Building (SB): +603 8776 2454
left luggage within SB, on level 1 near gate
• Airport Taxi (from KLIA): +603 8787 3678 (24 hours)
C1. Charges go at RM5 per hour (+603-8776
• KLIA Ekspres: +603 2267 8000
LOCAL ETIQUETTE & NORMS USEFUL FACILITIES
wise to research on your prospective business
transit hours, do make a quick stop to the
partners before entering into negotiations. Also
Visitor Service Centre, manage by Tourism
be aware of cultural customs of diet, prayer and
Malaysia in conjunction with Malaysia Airports and Malaysia Airlines. Located on the third floor of MTB, open 24 hours daily (+603-8776 5651/5647). • The KLIA 1 Touch allows passengers to 4
• As Malaysia is a culturally diverse country, it is
• Those heading out of KLIA to spend their
fasting. • When meeting government personnel, translate one side of your card into Bahasa Malaysia. • Most Malays understand Western ways and welcome with a handshake, though it is safe to
check on flight information via mobile phones,
always allow Malaysians to initiate the greeting
available 24 hours daily and utilising the latest
– especially for ladies. The traditional salam
voice activation technology, available in two languages: English and Malay.
(greeting) is a slight bow with hands to heart. • Intimate behaviour such as hugging and kissing are considered inappropriate. • A predominantly Muslim country, dress respectfully, although in metropolitan cities like Penang and Kuala Lumpur, where a good mix of non-Muslims reside, attitudes are more liberal. • Avoid discussing politics, religion and ethnic issues during pleasantries.
1. The daily night water show outside Suria KLCC 2. High-end shopping in thematic precincts at Pavilion Shopping Centre 3. Pick up souvenirs and get great food at Petaling Street, KL’s Chinatown 4. Madam Kwan’s serves up affordable local fares that deserves a try 5. Dominating KL’s skyline, the Petronas Twin Towers
• Make a point to address questions to senior members of the Malay delegation, even if they don’t speak English too well, as a mark of respect. • When gifting, do not give alcohol or pork items to Muslims. Avoid clocks, and sharp objects as gifts to the Chinese. • During meal times, always use your right hand to pass or receive food, since the left hand is considered unclean (associated with toileting). Corporate Traveller
INSPIRING CONFIDENCE Manilaâ€™s booming economy and new-found stature are reflections of the confidence foreign investors now have in the city.
Photos courtesy of Dreamstime
Text by Derek Rodriguez
36 Corporate Traveller
ot only does Philippines seem immune to the effects of the economic crisis that has struck the rest of the world, recent economic figures posted by the archipelago are nothing short of incredible. Boosted by a booming real estate market and driven by foreign investment and the robust Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, the country posted GDP growth figures of 7.6 percent and 7.5 percent in the first and second quarters of this year respectively, making it the fastest growing economy in Asia. This isnâ€™t just a flash in the pan performance either; the market outlook for 2014 is forecasted to be almost as dazzling.
THE PHILIPPINES, WITH ITS RAPIDLY GROWING MARKET AND STRONG RELATIONS WITH THE US, IS THE PERFECT LOCATION TO LAUNCH THIS EFFORT. Mike Perlis President and CEO of the Forbes Media on the first tower outside the US
Foreign Investment 1. A rendering of the upcoming Forbes Tower in Makati 2. The US$2 billion Manila Bay Resorts project contains malls, homes, a casino and a theme park 3. The City of Dreams will cater to the luxury market 4. Solaire was the first integrated resort to open in Manila Bay
38 Corporate Traveller
Manila’s reputation is a complete turnaround from the times Philippines was viewed as ‘Asia’s sick man’. Currently considered one of the safest bets in the region, Manila’s name now conjures connotations of confidence. In line with this, a joint publication by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC, Emerging Trends in Real Estate
Asia Pacific, puts the rise of Manila’s markets down to the transparency of the government under the Aquino administration as well as its success in luring foreign businesses to its BPO facilities, which are in turn aided by low real estate costs and the availability of skilled workers. One of the most recent entries into Manila is real estate giants Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, who penned a 25-year master franchise agreement with Philippine Sotheby’s International Realty. From its base in Manila (and another soon to be open in Cebu), the company will develop the Sotheby brand in the Philippines and the rest of South East Asia, focusing in particular on the luxury home, apartment, retirement property, prime
Photos courtesy of Forbes Media
resort and vacation residence markets. In stepping into the seat of Philippine Sotheby’s International Realty’s chief executive officer, Philip Mareschal acknowledged the huge opportunities Philippines presents for both local and foreign clients. Another big name set to make its foray into Philippine shores is prominent media group Forbes, who unveiled a partnership with local real estate firm Century Properties to build the Forbes Media Tower in Makati. Forbes selection of Philippines as the site of its first tower outside its home country is a clear nod to the glowing reputation Philippines now enjoys. Announcing Forbes’ plans, Mike Perlis, president and CEO said, “The Philippines, with its rapidly growing market and strong relations with the US, is the perfect location to launch this effort.” The exciting expansion of the property market has had a positive knock-on effect on other areas in Philippines, including tourism. Held for the first time ever, the Philippines Property Awards serves to affirm the importance of the country’s burgeoning property market, showcase the high quality of Philippines’ real estate and provides a platform to reward the best new developments, as nominated by the public and chosen by professionals.
plot of reclaimed land is set to be Manila’s version of Las Vegas, featuring four integrated resorts to date. With these new developments, Manila plans to compete with the other casino cities in the region. Its relative proximity to China, Japan and Korea compared to rivals like Singapore give it a geographical advantage. A flight from Shanghai to
Manila for instance, would take three and a half hours, a good two hours less than it takes to fly to Singapore. The first to open – in March 2013 – was Solaire Resort & Casino, an 8.3ha complex with a five-star hotel, casino, convention facilities and other entertainment options. This was Manila’s second casino resort after Resorts World Manila, which opened its doors in 2009. Slated for a mid-2014 opening, Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams Manila is another large casino development that will arrive in Manila. It aims to cater to the premium markets with luxury hotels and high-end amenities. Said Clarence Chung, chairman and president of Melco Crown Philippines, “The development of City of Dreams Manila is progressing well
Up & Coming Adding impetus to Manila’s development sector in the coming years are branded casino developments that promise to charge up inbound tourism, especially from neighbouring countries. Coined Entertainment City, the 8sqkm
Photos courtesy of Manila Bay Resorts; Melco Crown; Solaire Resorts
and we firmly believe it will play a key role in further enhancing the Philippines as a leading leisure and tourism destination in the region.” The competing Japan-based casino resorts developer Universal Entertainment acquired a 40ha site and a provisional license to operate a casino in 2008, kicking off the US$2 billion Manila Bay Resorts project. Scheduled to be completed in 2015, the sprawling compound will be home to three hotels, a casino with a 30,000sqm floor space, two shopping malls, residential properties, a cinema, an amusement park, and a bevy of dining outlets. Corporate Traveller
CITY REPORT 1. Spiral has garnered a strong following due to its quality and enormous buffet spread 2. The dim sum station at Spiral 3. Only advance bookings are entertained at Isabelo Garden 4. Even the tableware in La Cocina de Tita Moning are antiques 5. On the right night, the atmosphere at Sky Deck is hard to beat
EAT (#11 Isabelo Mendoza St. San Roque, Marikina City. +632 510 6914; www.isabelogarden.com Open every day from 6pm onwards) The fact that it is a reservations-only restaurant should clue you in on the following Isabelo Garden has garnered despite its slightly inaccessible location. The decor is extremely eclectic – seemingly random elements including paintings, empty wine bottles, potted plants, and other knick knacks form a peculiar backdrop. Whether you opt for a table inside or out, every table provides its own unique atmosphere. The specialty dishes are the ones slow cooked over the fireplace like the Roasted Pork Crackling, which requires an order of two days in advance and takes six hours to prepare!
restaurant has taken buffet dining to a whole new level since its inception in 2006. The restaurant is divided in 21 dining ateliers, each offering a different type of food. It is not all about quantity though as the standard of food has guests regularly raving. A large wine selection and live jazz music all contribute to make dinner a truly memorable experience. 2
(Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. cor, Roxas Boulevard Pasay City +632 832 0658) As its name suggests, The Singing Cooks and Waiters restaurant’s claim to fame is the makeshift choir of kitchen staff who belt out rather accomplished renditions of everything from local tunes to Lady Gaga’s latest number. The food served is divine – authentic Filipino food at its very best. If you can’t decide what to choose from the menu, opt for the crab dishes that they are well-known for.
La Cocina de Tita Moning (#315 San Rafael Street, San Miguel District, Manila +632 734 2146, +632 734 2141; www.lacocinadetitamoning.com) A dinner at La Cocina de Tita Moning is not quite a meal; it is better described as a culinary tour that brings you back to the early 20th century. You start with cocktails, followed by a tour of the antique-filled house and only after all that do you start eating.
The Singing Cooks and Waiters
Sky Deck View Bar
Only reservations are entertained at this exclusive restaurant, and menus featuring a selection of Filipino and European cuisine are chosen 24 hours in advance.
(Muralla corner Victoria streets +632 318 5000; www.thebayleaf.com.ph) The views and ambience of Sky Deck View Bar are hard to beat, especially during sunset. Perched on the roof of The Bayleaf Intramuros, the Sky Deck offers a great wine and cocktail menu, live music, and a cosy environment perfectly conducive for murmuring sweet nothings. Happy hour is from 5.30-9pm daily.
40 Corporate Traveller
(Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City 1300 Metro Manila +632 551 5555; spiralmanila.com) If you like buffets, there are no excuses you can give for not visiting Spiral at least once in your lifetime. Sofitel Philippine’s flagship
Photos courtesy of Spiral; Isabelo Garden; La Cocina de Tita Moning; Bayleaf
SHOP Mall Of Asia (J.W. Diokno Boulevard, Mall of Asia Complex +632 556 0680; smmallofasia.com) The mall which was once the largest in Philippines houses all the shops that you are familiar with under one roof. Mango, Zara, Muji, Gong Cha... you name, they have it. Also search for Fully Booked, Manila’s best bookstore chain. The complex is separated into four buildings that are linked by walkways. Most of the shops, and the restaurants, can be found in the main shopping mall. Other facilities within the compound include an Olympic-sized skating rink, an Imax theatre, a convention centre, and a ferris wheel.
large size, there are plans for further expansion to make it the largest in the country. Perhaps the highlight of the mall is the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord on the fifth level of the atrium.
Greenhills Shopping Center (Ortigas Avenue, San Juan +632 721 0572; www.greenhills.com.ph) Practise your bargaining skills at this landmark as you trawl through its labyrinth of independent shops. Most of the shops are grouped by type so it’s
SM Megamall (EDSA corner J. Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City +632 633 5042 to 46; sm-megamall.com) With a land area approaching 21ha and a floor area of 392,000sqm, SM Megamall is a retail mammoth. Despite its already
relatively easy to find your way around. If you’re on the lookout for electronic gadgets, you’ll be glad to know that Greenhills has a large section dedicated to laptops, phones and other IT accessories.
The Silahis Center (744 Calle Real del Palacio +632 527 2111, 13, 14; www.silahis.com) Established in 1966, Sihalis offers locally produced works like handicrafts, ceramics, art pieces, and wooden and rattan furniture. A large part of Sihalis’ business is online and they ship to almost anywhere in the world but the best place to shop for their products is at their showroom in Intramuros. The showroom is split into four different departments. Sihalis Arts and Artifacts sells cultural craftwork; Chang Rong Antique Gallery has oriental ceramics and textiles on display; Tradewind Books sells old and new publications; and Galeria De Las Islas has fine arts and sculptures.
Photos courtesy of 123rf
1. All your familiar stores, and more, can be found at Mall of Asia 2. Countless malls and boutique shops are scattered throughout Manila 3. A local institution, Robinsons Place has been around since the 1980s
(Pedro Gil corner, Adriatico Sts, Ermita www.robinsonsmalls.com) Originally built in the 1980s, Robinsons Place Manila has continued to draw the crowds. Even before opening hours, shoppers start waiting by the doors of the mall. Many of the mall’s shops are mainstays that have been associated with the mall for a long time, and expectedly, the mall’s main tenants are the Robinson branded department store, supermarket, and cinemas. Corporate Traveller
HYATT REGENCY HUA HIN Text by Esther Faith Lew
The newly renovated Presidential Villa features a spacious living room with an extended terrace fronting the foliage
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WE ARE SITUATED IN 5HA OF LUSH TROPICAL GARDENS WITH 250M OF PRIVATE BEACHFRONT, WHICH MAKES IT AN IDEAL SETTING FOR RELAXING YET STIMULATING CORPORATE MEETINGS AS WELL AS TEAM BUILDING AND INCENTIVE GATHERINGS. Sammy Carolus General Manager
Profile A destination that has been associated with the Thai royal family for decades, Hua Hin has long enjoyed the elite status of being sought after by discerning travellers, and till today, is the favoured haunt of the royal family. Located on the beachfront, the hotel offers spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand and a pristine private beach. Guests travelling with their families would be delighted with the family-oriented environment, which has interconnecting free-form pools that flow through beautiful landscaped gardens, with a 22m water slide and other activities offered under Camp Hyatt. Golf enthusiasts will be familiar too, with the Hyatt Open, which has been held for the past three years, and the close proximity of various world-class golf courses.
Front Desk Feminine grace and sweet smiles greeted me when I arrived. Even amidst the dim warm glow of the rustic-style reception area, I could tell that this is one grand dame that has aged extremely well and has done much to remain modern and charming. I was also reassured by the genuine vibes of the staff who attended to me. The hotel grounds are sprawling, with garden paths that wind through lush foliage, which made it feel very peaceful. The Regency Club wing is set away from the main wing, and I strolled past the picturesque pavilion lounge and private swimming pool before I arrived at my ground floor suite.
The tropical luxury of the hotel is complemented by lush landscaping that warrants exploring
exactly where I wanted without worrying about space restrictions or practicality. I sank into the armchair facing the full-length windows; the calming visage of a landscaped pond with overhanging trees greeted me, while
STYLE Modern tropical BUILT December 2001, with refurbished Regency Club facilities in April 2011 and Presidential Villa in December 2012
ROOMS 213; the Regency Club Wing has 3
The Regency Club Deluxe suite is a tasteful reflection of modern Thai décor; its plush materials and sleek lines hint of sophistication that pays homage to comfort. It is a well designed room that makes good solid ergonomic sense; I could place my things
Premiere Suites, 5 Regency Executive Suites, 2 Regency Suites and a 3-bedroom Presidential Villa
SUITES 36. Choice of additional six Residential Spa Cottages on the hotel’s fifth floor, and two Presidential Suites
RATING Five-Star ROOM RATES From 5,500 baht (Hyatt Guestroom) to 57,000 baht (Presidential Villa) Subject to 10% service charge and 7% VAT
ADDRESS 91 Hua Hin – Khao Takiap Road Modern sophistication and rustic charm await in the master bedroom of the Presidential Villa
TEL +66 2254 6200
the pristine beach over yonder beckoned. If time allows after the perfunctory meetings, I recommend dimming the lights, lighting the candle by the bathtub and taking a long soak. I also liked the fact that the hotel is thoughtful in providing specific vanity items for ladies and gentlemen, rather than the usual standard items.
Amenities The likes of home-style Thai cuisine, Italian favourites and seafood specialities present splendid dining options for any occasion, with my favourite being the MacFarland House, a seaside bar and dining Thai pavilion. The ambience alone was well worth it and I especially liked the wide wine selection and the tapas-style menu. It offered a memorable experience and the warm hospitality of our Hyatt Regency hosts.
Summary I was extremely pleased with the level of service offered. I most definitely recommend a stay here as she is constantly upgrading and getting new looks and facilities that cater to the market’s changing tastes. Of note is the Regency Club Lounge, which provides an exclusive area for check-in and check-out as well as lounging with interrupted privacy while enjoying the landscaped garden, pool and beach view. Corporate Traveller
THE BARAI AT HYATT REGENCY HUA HIN Text by Esther Faith Lew
A spa temple that pays homage to holistic healing of all the senses
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TREATMENTS Four Elements compress massages; The Element Journey: a bath, a massage treatment and a meal; Element Rituals: a combination of a bath, a massage, a facial, a body scrub, a body wrap and an aromatherapy treatment; and various massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, pedicures and manicures.
FACILITIES Eight residential spa suites with private plunge pool and tropical garden or with spacious balconies and panoramic sea views; 18 private spa rooms, with outdoor soaking pool, a rain shower and a Thai-style daybed enclave, with en suite changing room and vanity area; a Vichy treatment room and a steam room.
PRODUCTS Fresh Thai herbs, flowers, herbs, spices, fruits and foods such as caviar, Thai sticky rice, black sesame, spirulina and green tea. The opulent outdoor treatment area that bids one to lounge in luxury while being pampered
PRICE RANGE From 3,000 baht to 7,000 baht (from 60-minute spa treatments to a four-hour
THE BARAI IS NOT JUST A SPA – IT OFFERS A JOURNEY OF THE BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT, WITH TREATMENTS THAT ARE RELAXING, RESULTS-ORIENTED AND INSPIRED BY TRADITIONAL THAI HEALTH RITUALS WITH A SUBTLE BLEND OF WESTERN THERAPIES.
package) *Subject to 10% service charge and 7% VAT
ADDRESS 91 Hua Hin – Khao Takiap Road TEL +66 3251 1234
Sammy Carolus General Manager
The Barai has made headlines since opening in 2007, for its spa treatments as well as for its architecture. It has been featured on the top spa lists of Thai and international organisations and publications, with the latest accolade being “Outstanding Performance for a Resort Spa” at Thailand Tourism Awards 2013. Designed by renowned Thai architect Lek Bunnag, The Barai’s inspiration hails from the temple of Angkor Wat, making it a destination spa imbued with symbolic significance.
When I finally entered my treatment room after the mysterious labyrinth, I was enveloped within this dark sacred space, lit by only a thin ray of light that entered through a towering spire. My therapist, Hanoi, with her sweet melodic voice and soft gentle hands set the right mood for it. Then she rang a bell to clean the energy in the room, and the music began: the light airy whisper of nature at work. And then the sensory pleasure began: the compress massage, Luk Prakop, combines the therapy of Thai herbalism with the soothing power of touch. Hanoi’s touch was faultless, allowing me to enjoy the heat from the compress without being unduly bothered. Her massage pressure was medium as requested and I enjoyed a balance of light strokes with deeper kneading that unknotted tension from my shoulders.
ensconced by its meditative ambience. And the healing properties of Thai herbalism is most certainly a highlight, with customised ingredients for treatments grouped under each element of Air, Water, Earth and Fire, complemented by flavourful meals at MacFarland House.
The Barai was designed to emulate another world; one where visitors could leave their realities behind temporarily while they entered a sanctuary. I most certainly felt that way; once I stepped within its walls, I was
My experience matched the accolades the spa has received, and deservedly so. The Barai fulfils its maxim of satisfying guests on all sensory levels: the sight, the sound, the scent, the touch and the taste.
Ambience As I was escorted to my treatment room, I walked past The Barai Suites, which offers an oasis of privacy with its in-suite spa treatments. I walked deeper into the inner sanctum: a tranquility court with a sand and stone court and a water channel flowing through its centre greeted me. Built for yoga and meditation, the court primed my senses and stilled my mind as I continued on my journey through dark and winding corridors that bade me to leave my worries behind.
Different ingredients are specially prepared for each element treatment to maximise its healing properties
GRAND HYATT ERAWAN BANGKOK Text by Natalie Joy Lee
A luxurious and time-tested brand, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok unveils its 374 refurbished rooms and suites
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OUR PEOPLE, NAMELY OUR ASSOCIATES… HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE HOTEL SINCE ITS OPENING [IN 1991], THEREFORE, THEY HAVE BUILT A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR GUESTS BASED ON CARE AND CONCERN. THEY KNOW THE GUESTS WELL, INCLUDING PREFERENCES AND EXPECTATIONS. Private dining room at Tables, Bangkok’s first traditional European restaurant where chefs whip up meals before you
Profile Parked ideally along the bustling business and commercial district of Ratchaprasong, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is a highly sought-after luxury business hotel, its grand façade and grounds having hosted business leaders, dignitaries and discerning leisure travellers since 1991. In keeping with modern times, the hotel has undergone a re-modelling programme since March 2012, spearheaded by renowned US-based interior designer Tony Chi, for a guest experience that delivers elegant charm amidst warm Thai hospitality.
Front Desk High ceilings backed by massive beams and long spiralling stairways create an elaborate sense of space; classy hues of woody brown, gold and white adding to its colonial charm. Check-in and luggage handling is swift thanks to staff already waiting upon arrival, a set of six lifts ensuring minimal waiting time to my room.
Room Review Unveiling 374 newly refurbished guestrooms and suites, guests can expect an entirely new overnight experience from before. Enter into rooms given new clothes of carpet, paint and wallpaper, paired with freshly upholstered furniture and touches of Thai accessories. Warm and cosy like a home away from home, the room allows diversity in how guests prefer to relax – whether lounging on an armchair, leather upholstered bench or the luxuriously huge daybed setup, doubling up as an intimate dining area too.
Richard Greaves General Manager
One-touch lighting systems, LCD flat screen TV, dataports, wireless Internet access and iPod docking stations will please business travellers, while choosing to ease the day’s tensions in the huge marbled bathroom’s tub, or under the luxurious rain-shower – one of the best we’ve tried so far.
needs, supported by sincere Thai hospitality that is, dare I say, unrivalled worldwide. The hotel is conveniently linked via a sky bridge to two sky train stations, and a stone’s throw to the shopping strip that is Central World, Siam Paragon, Central Chidlom and more.
STYLE Luxury business, with traditional and warm
Activities are aplenty – starting with the free-form, chlorine-free outdoor pool with expansive sundeck area, and the Greenhouse fitness studio, courts for tennis and squash available as well. My personal favourite, i.sawan Residential Spa & Club is capable of relaxing any worn-out soul (see review on p.48). Meals are easily settled: dig into award-winning risotto at Spasso Restaurant and Bar, or chill with the hip crowds that swarm Bar @ 494 every evening. Business groups regularly book out Grand Hyatt Erawan’s range of meeting and conference facilities, 14 function rooms covering over 2,259sqm of space and backed by an experienced convention service team. In continuation with the newly renovated homely feel of rooms, ‘The Residence’ business apartments 301 to 305 incorporate stylish wooden floors, designer lighting and furnishings, surrounded by a seven-metre high Loft Kitchen where coffee breaks and meals are freshly served.
touches of Thai hospitality
BUILT 1991 ROOMS 380 SUITES 36. Choice of additional six Residential Spa Cottages on the hotel’s fifth floor, and one Presidential Suite
RATING Five-Star ROOM RATES S$262 (Grand King) to S$880 (Spa Cottage King)
ADDRESS 494 Rajdamri Road, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
TEL +66 2254 1234
Summary Befitting of an international hotelier chain, guests can expect world-class facilities catering to all business and even leisure
‘Campus-style’ business meetings evoke a relaxed and creative atmosphere
i.SAWAN RESIDENTIAL SPA & CLUB Text by Natalie Joy Lee
Quality time is given top priority at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkokâ€™s prestigious i.sawan spa
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I.SAWAN RESIDENTIAL SPA & CLUB PROVIDES RESULTS-DRIVEN SPA PAMPERING...GUESTS WILL FEEL THAT THEY HAVE JUST STEPPED AWAY FROM A TRUE BANGKOK ESCAPE BY OFFERING ULTIMATE RELAXATION AND A PATH TO TOTAL WELLBEING. Richard Greaves General Manager
Profile Like a garden in the sky, the luxurious i.sawan Residential Spa & Club spans an expansive 7,000sqm high above the bustle of busy Bangkok, offering choice of pampering, relaxation, fitness, cuisine and even spa accommodation needs.
The Place Reception smells of lovely aromatherapy oils and sounds of light water flowing past a brook, the area warmly lit with light, and smiles so charismatic of the Thais. My therapist leads the way towards the sun-drenched alfresco courts, pulling out a gigantic umbrella to shade our short walk to my treatment bungalow. The journey is peppered with serene views of the pristine pool and slabs of cool stone encircled by lush greenery, before reaching the tucked-away bungalow.
Experience My therapist takes me through a mini survey to keep check of my body’s physical needs – allergies, sore areas and aches. While gently putting my feet into a
warm, lime and sea salt bath peppered with rose petals, she proceeds to explain my Signature June Jacobs Spa Collection Deluxe Body Treatment. Spanning 90 minutes, my body takes in a papaya enzyme wrap, purposefully laying on a heated bed so the skin thoroughly soaks in the skin-softening benefits. I vaguely remember an expertly kneaded neck and shoulder massage, refreshing lemon sugar body scrub, before my mind drifts away in peaceful slumber.
X Factor Celebrities the likes of Madonna and Eva Longoria have famously gravitated to the oxygen facial line – Intraceuticals – available exclusively at i.sawan. Addressing underlying causes for premature aging concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, the Intraceutical system produces visible brightening and lifting benefits after just one oxygen Infusion, and is safe for sensitive skin. Six residential spa cottages elevate the experience, used first as a treatment room and also consisting of a bedroom, living area, bathroom and private outdoor patio.
Extend your spa experience at one of the six exquisite cottages, a first in Bangkok
TREATMENTS Massages, facials and body treatments are all classified under four categories: purity, energy, harmony, or Thai. Caters also to men, under treatment names beginning with ‘Man Space’
FACILITIES Nine treatment bungalows, six residential spa cottages, Nail Bar, Hair Salon, spa with health and fitness studios, i.sawan pool, The Breezeway (outdoor dining)
PRODUCTS The June Jacobs Spa Collection – natural and organic spa offerings from USA; and Comfort Zone Spa products from Italy
PRICE RANGE S$52 (for nail treatments) to S$1,550 ADDRESS 494 Rajdamri Road, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
TEL +66 2254 1234
Delight in the luxury of quality products, skill and abundance of space, terraces inclusive of an outdoor area for pre/post treatment use
An indication of a spa truly deserving its merits could probably be the fact that this writer deliberately ignored her beeping phone for 90 minutes straight throughout her spa session. Thoroughly befitting its mythical definition as the “fifth level of heaven”, i.sawan Residential Spa & Club seamlessly blends luxury, nature and science. An extensive range of facial treatments, body massages and beauty services are backed by a team of dedicated therapists, who’ll go lengths to ensure a luxurious, renewing experience each time. Corporate Traveller
LUCK & LEGACY Mankind throws down the gauntlet and aims to conquer lady luck with mathematical precision and intellect, a duel that calls upon self-control and focus of the highest level. Text by Esther Faith Lew and Adora Wong Photos courtesy of Marina Bay Sands; Bellagio; The Venetian Macao; Borgata; 123rf
eurons send electrical signals along axons at rapid speed. Synapses fire away. With about as many as 10,000 types of neurons in the human brain, cognitive processing is in heightened mode while engaging in a game of luck at entertainment complexes. Or is it? The power of mathematical logic; the fundamentals of physics; and the logic of deduction all come into play to determine the highest probabilities of winning in a game. For those who live by a code of
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certainty, the game of probability and possible outcomes seems pretty much like a whimsical fancy. But mathematicians and physicists would beg to defer. Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China have even developed quantum gambling machines to study game theories. While it is not likely to see these machines popping up in future entertainment complexes, it is clear that mankind has taken a giant leap forward in understanding and harnessing the volatility of chance right down to fixed formulas.
Gaming then takes on that aura of awe for those who are constantly looking for their next conquest; after all, the skills inherent are testament to a legacy that proclaims, â€œI think, therefore I am.â€? Beyond the allure of gaming, entertainment complexes are also about enjoying family fun in luxurious surroundings, and in this issue, we present five venues that have garnered international repute and have proven themselves to be stalwarts in attracting visitors. We hope they offer glimmers of joy for a memorable year-end distraction.
1. The three-tower Marina Bay Sands is designed by Moshe Safdie and is inspired by card decks 2. The resortâ€™s architecture is significantly influenced by feng shui
WHERE Singapore BUILT 2010 ROOMS 2,561 ROOM RATES S$380 to S$1,830
MARINA BAY SANDS Famed for its Skydeck and infinity pool that seemingly unfolds into the horizon at 55 storeys skyward, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) the architectural superstar of Singapore that is modelled after card decks is considered to be the worldâ€™s costliest resort-based casino. Its 600 tables of 13 game types and 2,500 slot machines ensure that the adventuresome are adequately accommodated, and its well-known entry levy for locals is of little deterrence to native card sharks, if at all. The integrated resort operates a hotel for
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS ArtScience Museum,
high living, a host of big-name shops and restaurants, and an array of full-service exhibition and convention centres to put forth to visitors a first-rate experience that, in Asia, can only be duly rivalled by stalwart counterparts of Macau. Its SkyPark boasts chic dining avenues and an observation deck that has been the setting of several frolicsome music videos by celebrated personalities of contemporary culture. Although a newcomer, the splash Marina Bay Sands has made with its high-rise body of water and its select facilities is anything
Asian Civilisation Museum, Gardens by the Bay, Merlion Park
ADDRESS 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
TEL +65 6688 8868
but small, and whether to play with rolled dices or to take a fancy dip, the landmark will remain as one of the top spots to do both for at least the next decade.
BELLAGIO The Lake Como-inspired carpet joint and resort on the Las Vegas Strip is distinguished for its grandeur and its kaleidoscopic chandelier of 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers across one particular ceiling. A main playing arena to numerous poker stars due to the large table limits and stakes, the casino has organised various World Poker Tour tournaments and will be holding one during the first half of this December. Endowed with a conservatory comprising five seasonal displays, and a gallery of fine art that has exhibited pieces by Claude Monet and Ansel Adams, Bellagio is fronted by a monolithic stretch of pirouetting water fountains that was used as a backdrop in films like 21, Rush Hour 2, and Ocean’s Thirteen – a site of which has surely also been the locale of many a fan photo. It has been the homestead of “O,” an aquatic production by Cirque du Soleil, since its opening and the show can be performed to an audience that number over three thousand a day. With a number of posh nightlife destinations that are ranked as some of the city’s best, the upscale venue ensures that guests down their tipples in nothing but style after scoring some sweet wins.
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WHERE Nevada, United States BUILT 1998 ROOMS 3,950 ROOM RATES US$150 to US$685 NEARBY ATTRACTIONS Shark Reef Aquarium, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Circus Circus, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
ADDRESS 3600 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
TEL +01 702 693 7111
1. Bellagio is noted for its grandeur and glory 2. The slot floor has some 2,400 slot machines to entertain guests 3. The carefully-maintained conservatory allows expansive casts of natural light
THE VENETIAN MACAO Bathed in hues of gold inside and out, the complex encompasses the largest casino in the world with 800 gaming tables and 3,400 slot machines. The flagship casino resort of the illustrious Cotai Strip is owned by Las Vegas Sands and has four themed playing areas – Phoenix, Golden Fish, Imperial House, and Red Dragon – each auspiciously named indubitably so that Chinese punters may identify with the blessings these symbolisms are usually said to bring and perhaps indulge in an additional buy-in, or five. Extolled for spacious and well-supplied rooms, the hotel is a favourite vacation destination of many and offers to patrons choice musical and sporting entertainment at the Cotai Arena; a recent showcase in November featured combats between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, and the stage has presented concerts of many international star performers. The buys and eats visitors can acquire for themselves there are varied and excellent, if not excessive and luxurious, and both medical services and massages can be sought at a day hospital and spa. Although enclosed by a cluster of other dynamic Macanese casino hotels, the Venetian Macao is able to hold its own and will certainly continue to strive at retaining all-round competence in the country and in Asia.
1. Opulence and luxury are synonymous with The Venetian Macao 2. The hotel has a 50,700sqm casino and seats 15,000 at the Cotai Arena
WHERE Macau SAR, China BUILT 2007 ROOMS 3,000 ROOM RATES HK$1,530 to HK$2,250 NEARBY ATTRACTIONS Ruins of St. Paul’s, House of Dancing Waters, City of Dreams Macau, Taipa Village
ADDRESS Strada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n, Taipa, Macau
TEL +853 2882 8888
BORGATA Despite the cloak of controversy it is often draped in, the casino resort by the high-profile business mogul who also conceived Bellagio, Steve Wynn, is regarded as Atlantic City’s champion pick and is recognised for its notable service standards. The enterprise, though only a decade old, has risen through the ranks and emerged as one of the country’s leading domains to both load up and allocate wagers with its 200 gaming tables and 4,000 slot machines. The handsome estate was refurbished just three years after construction to provide guests with a more refined retail and casino experience. However, perhaps more so out of guardianship than of self-preservation, the hotel discourages 1. 4,000 slot machines fill the casino, which together with a retail wing underwent a US$200 million revamp in 2006 2. Borgata and The Water Club, an upscale boutique hotel opened in 2008, are connected
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the sojourns of children and bans their presence from its spa and its five swimming pools. Borgata has, like its sister hideout, had on-screen cameos, and it keeps up with the interests of its target clientele with a variety of international acts rocking out at either the Event Centre or at the Music Box. Gamesters seeking a satisfying bite after a long afternoon by the tables are known to frequent Bobby Flay Steak and Wolfgang Puck American Grille, quality dining options by celebrity restaurateurs which in themselves are prime attractions.
WHERE New Jersey, United States BUILT 2003 ROOMS 2,802 ROOM RATES US$90 to US$470 NEARBY ATTRACTIONS Legends in Concert, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, Steel Pier, Atlantic City Aquarium
ADDRESS One Borgata Way, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 TEL +01 609 317 1000
WHERE Macau SAR, China BUILT 2006 ROOMS 1,014 ROOM RATES HK$2,290 to HK$4,690 NEARBY ATTRACTIONS Largo de Senado, Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre, St. Dominicâ€™s Church, Monte Fort
ADDRESS Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, Macau TEL +853 2888 9966
WYNN MACAU Emblazoned with the esteemed Wynn brand, the luxury integrated resort is a worthy competitor of the Venetian Macao and has 500 gaming tables and 400 slot machines to cater to its elite class of high rollers. The gaming rooms are stately and plush, and are commonly commended by regulars of Macanese casinos. Outfitted with swanky rooms and exceptional dining and shopping options, the hotel enthralls visitors with alternating multimedia showcases such as The Tree of Prosperity and the Dragon of Fortune at its
lobby. The animated exhibits are Chinese emblems of life, riches, and health, and are no doubt exhibited to infuse a blend of feel-good sentiments within the people ready to tempt their fortunes. More than a thousand moon jellyfish from Asian waters glide about a colossal tank in the Encore lobby, and 200 water jets are contrasted against bursts of fire and jewel-coloured lighting to generate a visual marvel at the Performance Lake. Endorsed by authoritative names like Forbes and Michelin, Wynn Macau is a first-class sanctuary that knows how best to capture and tend to the attention of its guests.
2 1. The Performance Lake holds 3,028,000l of water 2. The Dragon of Fortune represents vitality, prosperity, and health 3. Wynn Macau is the first integrated resort in Asia that is Las Vegas-inspired
REFRESH, REVITALISE & RENEW
A wise man once said, “We waste our lives, distracted from our true selves, in endless activity. Meditation is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being.” Seek reprieve from the incessant demands of everyday life and rediscover your true self at The Spa Artisan, where physical rejuvenation is a spiritual craft, and begins with our reconnection to the basics of nature and the human touch. An intimate oasis in the middle of our central business district at the iconic Fullerton Hotel, the luxurious interior features a beautifully landscaped Green Feature Wall and a padi field-inspired pedicure area. The aromatherapy bar also reinforces the purity of nature with organic ingredients that are hand made and customised by skilful ateliers. In addition to its signature massage and body treatments, as well as relaxing manicure and pedicure services, The Spa Artisan is also the first in Asia to feature a PowerSlim Studio. Global Winner of the World Luxury Spa
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Awards 2013 for Best Luxury Boutique Spa and Best Luxury Emerging Spa, The Spa Artisan reflects the perfect harmony of traditional ethos with contemporary technology, harnessing the best of both worlds to give you a truly transcendent experience.
For the weary corporate warrior, PowerSlim is a holistic wellness experience in slimming and rejuvenation. The recipient of a World Patent for its unique synergism of infrared radiation and ionisation, PowerSlim harnesses the benefits of both technologies for a treatment that is the utmost in efficacy and safety. Infrared radiation amps up the body’s metabolic rate and stimulates calorie-burning, while simultaneously increasing collagen production in the dermis layer for beautiful, firm, and dimple-free skin. Ionisation reduces fatigue, giving a much-needed boost to our brains and bodies, heightening concentration and improving our immunity and respiratory
functions. As a result, our bodies find it much easier to regenerate and heal, putting it in a better position to fight off infectious diseases.
PowerSlim Studio Experience
First Time Trial - $98nett (U.P.$298+) 75mins Enriched with negative ions and heated by infrared radiation, the air within the machine helps to relieve fatigue by amplifying blood circulation, eliminating muscular tension and reducing joint stiffness. The private pod also has a television screen and music to keep you entertained during your precious moments of respite. For a more intense slimming experience, you may choose to opt for the Thermal Slim and/or Intense Tone treatments. Thermal Slim is a meticulous formulation of concentrated active ingredients that has been proven to effectively amplify reduction in cellulite and sub-dermal fat tissues. It can be used all over the body, or on targeted areas for that extra
boost in efficacy. Intense Tone is a non-invasive method of intense spot reduction; adhesive electrode pads deliver concentrated electrical pulses that cause muscle tissues to contract, increasing their energy demand and raising their metabolic rate. The pulses also agitate individual fat cells, causing them to release toxins that can be subsequently flushed out to reduce cellulite.
45mins I $112+ We know how rush hour at the gym can be a pain, especially after a long day in the boardroom. The PowerSlim Gym is the perfect solution for those who appreciate an extensive fitness boost that provides overall toning and a balanced workout. Equipped with six infrared filaments and two high-powered ionisers, the patented PowerSlim synergism of infrared and ionisation is cranked up to triple-strength to maximise metabolism and ensure you receive the best workout within a minimal amount of time. Thirty minutes on the cross trainer is equivalent to five hours of exercise! The PowerSlim BOOST treatment session includes an additional application of “Velvet Skin” preparation cream, which works in tandem with PowerSlim to increase cellulite and fat reduction.
Add on to your massage I $48+ PowerSlim is perfect for prepping the body to receive the full benefits of The Spa Artisan’s various massage, scrub, and wrap treatments.
Sink blissfully into your PowerSlim Studio Experience with essential oils that warm and relax the muscles while stimulating your senses, while the deep heat allows for more effective penetration of nutrients and minerals from their botanical blends. If you’re stumped with too many enticing options to choose from, we suggest the exclusive Hamman Spa Journey, which uses products from Red Flower, a New York-based luxury brand in botanicals that is deeply rooted in its commitment to sustainable and cruelty-free sourcing. Scrub away the day’s fatigue with a unique blend of Moroccan mint tea, coffee, olive stones and fresh lemons, while a rich rhassoul clay wrap draws out the body’s impurities. The orange quince steam room mist oxygenates the skin and recharges the mind, leaving you invigorated, renewed, and ready to take on the world.
THE SPA ARTISAN
The Fullerton Hotel 1 Fullerton Square, Mezzanine Floor (M1) Singapore 049178 For Spa Reservations Tel: 6423 1382 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Opening Hours 10am - 10pm, daily PowerSlim Medico
THE HIGH LIFE
When caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, hightail to Bangkok for a dazzling show of glam and gumption that has made the city a hot spot for high flyers. Text by Esther Faith Lew Photos courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Siam Kempinski, nahm, lebua, Vertigo Moon Bar, Bed Supperclub, Grand Hyatt Erawan, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Hua Hin Hills Vineyard and Black Mountain Golf Course
An exquisite menu accompanies the stunning view at lebuaâ€™s Sky Bar
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angkok titillates in many ways. The addiction is obvious; in this maddeningly alluring city that throbs with vibrant chaos and calming charm, its contradictions keep attracting the crowds, be they the gritty adventurer, curious tourist, religious follower, shopaholic, golfer, gourmand or luxury seeker. The city has something for all; amidst the steam is the gleam and what better way to enjoy the luxury that Bangkok has to offer than through this looking glass of contrasts. As Oscar Wilde once said, â€œI can resist anything but temptationâ€?, and this has proven to be true if tourism numbers are anything to go by. Despite having to deal
with political unrest and natural disasters, Thailand has emerged from it, with smiles and guiles intact, and with the glory of being the number one most popular tourist destination in 2013. And they have knocked the grand dame London right off the top in doing so. There is no better time for the nation to celebrate the year-end with a big bang. Its fans most certainly are, flocking to the city to live it up with style and swank in some of the most desirable and luxurious places. The glitz, not the grit, is the highlight. So pack your designer threads and be seen in the right circles. More importantly, make your reservations at the hit list of restaurants and nightspots that guarantee a good time.
FIRST CLASS CULINARY DREAMS Gourmands who travel internationally to feast on the best dishes by Michelin-star chefs will be pleased with the dining scene in Bangkok, which serves up a cosmopolitan cauldron of culinary finesse. The city has attracted outstanding chefs who have placed Bangkok among the upper echelons in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013. Dining and wining options for the elite have never been more exciting. Australian-born David Thompson made an impact in London when Nahm become the first Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. Ranked no. 3 in Asia’s 2013 restaurant list, Thompson’s second Nahm in Bangkok (Ground floor, Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Road; tel: +662 625 3388)
3 1. Lemongrass salad with prawns, crispy squid and pork 2. Durian and sticky white rice 3. Ma hor, a traditional Thai appetiser 4. The modern temple-like interior of nahm impresses, as do its dishes featured above
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has resurrected century-old authentic Thai recipes, served in a space that replicates the interior of an ancient temple. Thomson’s flavours are known to be bold and intense, with no patience for delicate palates. Only those with a penchant for little known but exquisite dishes need book a table here. Expect to be mesmerised by the likes of smoky Chiang Mai-style chilli relish with quail eggs and pork crackling; and southern-style grilled mussels smoked with coconut husks and cooked with curry-infused coconut cream. The Thai royal family and the glamour set apparently grace Gaggan (68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini; tel: +662 652 1700) with their presence on a regular basis. Inspired by humble Indian street food, Gaggan Anand has transformed them into modernist inventions with the aid of molecular gastronomy techniques. Reviews have been raving good, with highlights being the slow-cooked Iberian pork neck topped with a vindaloo curry reduction, and his version of paapidi chaat, which is presented as a spherical yoghurt egg sitting on a wafer. Another modernist, Henrik Yde-Andersen of Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin (991/9 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan; tel: +662 162 9000), has mastered the art of deconstructing Thai classics with flair, serving frozen Thai red curry with lobster with a jug of liquid
nitrogen; and a Danish take on tom yum soup, where diners squeeze “noodles” from a dough-filled syringe into hot, fragrant stock. The restaurant is located within the posh premises of Siam Kempinski Hotel, an apt opulent setting for savouring classic flavours with a futuristic take. To appreciate some art – on the walls and on the plate – head to Eat Me (1/6 Soi Pipat 2 (off Soi Convent), Silom; tel: +662 238 0931), a laid-back restaurant with industrial chic charm that doubles up as an art gallery, with works by international artists. The menu offers creative Australian-style café food such as black chicken with red papaya, toasted coconut and chilli and betel leaf salad, while gorgeous produce such as Tasmanian Pacific oysters with miso and spring onions go a long way in satisfying fussy palates. Manned by New Yorker Tim Butler, the restaurant has impressed the artistic crowd with Pacific Rim food influenced by South-East Asian and Middle Eastern styles. His signature dish is the grilled kurobuta pork loin with cumin, garlic and spiced apple compote.
FLIGHTS OF FANCY Bangkok’s reputation for its street nightlife is legendary, but its glamorous night circuit with world-class mixologists, stylish ambience and stunning views has impressed the affluent jet-setting crowd. Its soaring popularity has spawned a league of trendy nightspots that are perfect for entertaining and relaxing. Here are a few options for the night’s agenda, be it for business or leisure. It has been called “the most stunning rooftop bar” by The New York Times. From its princely height of 820m, Sky Bar (The Dome at lebua, 63rd floor, 1055/42 Silom
Road; tel: +662 624 9555) holds the throne for innovative cocktails, whipped up from a postmodern-style bar that dazzles with its changing array of vivid colours, attracting the well-heeled like a beacon. It is apparently the highest bar of its kind in the world, and has drawn renowned mixologist Ron Ramirez from top hotels and resorts in Dubai and the Maldives. Ramirez created the Hangovertini, originally for the movie the Hangover Part II, and it has now become Thailand’s signature drink. His latest concoctions are designed to seduce the senses and are aptly named Mist,
1. Artistic cuisine and stylish interiors at Sra Bua 2. Breathtaking 360-degree views at Vertigo Moon Bar
Dust and Icicle. Using the technique of culinary mixology, Ramirez uses flavoured ice, foams, liquid nitrogen, gels and mists to create unconventional cocktails with intense flavours that make an artistic impression. His Sky Spring from the Mist series entices with the alluring scent of lavender and is an exotic blend of tequila, lavender, mangosteen and orange liquer, sprayed with lavender-infused gin. Just as creative are the Dust drinks, which feature dehydrated fruits that have been turned into “dusts” for a complex taste and texture, while his Icicle cocktails such as Flirtini perk up the taste buds with mint and Havana rum, melon liquer and pineapple juice, topped with an ice lollipop. For less of a party vibe and a downtempo mood, Vertigo Moon Bar (Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathon Road; tel: +662 679 1200) is a good choice for a quiet sophisticated evening with business associates. Located on the 61st floor of Banyan Tree Bangkok, it is a rooftop alfresco grill and bar – reported to be the first of its kind in Asia – with an outstanding menu of premium seafood and steaks. To whet your appetite for dinner, start with a Vertigo Sunset cocktail, concocted with Malibu and pineapple, cranberry and lime juices. The Thai Sabai is also a refreshing hit, concocted with Mekhong, lime juice, basil leaves and a splash of soda water. Then, soak in the glitter of the cityscape Corporate Traveller
1. The stark postmodern interior of the Bed Supperclub 2. Bangkok’s grand dame of luxury shopping – Siam Paragon 3. Enjoy the nostalgic ambience of the Erawan Tea Room
while relaxing to the sounds of live jazz music. While the extensive list of premium drinks and cocktails is a highlight, the menu too deserves mention if you wish to make it just one stop for the night. Outstanding recommendations include the roasted snow fish, served with warm capers, olive vinaigrette and roasted butternut squash; and the Wagyu tenderloin served with bone marrow, grilled sweet cherry tomato and sautéed mushroom. Presenting a creative experience is Bed Supperclub (Sukhumvit 11, Klongtoey-nua, Wattana; tel: +662 651 3537), which fuses great gastronomy, a stylish ambience and surprising performances to engage guests. Even the building in which it is housed is a talking point; the futuristic elliptical tubular structure is symbolic of cutting-edge architectural innovation. The interiors are designed to provide the ideal experience as a restaurant, bar and night club, with beds lining the restaurant area and
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in a way that offers a good view of the central stage, which is used as a dance floor for parties. It is the weekend special that has drawn guests; there is a four-course surprise menu prepared by award-winning Master Chef Dan Ivarie. It is served together with performances such as a fashion show, a singing or dance act or an artistic performance. There is a new theme every month, with the aim of being always fresh and novel. As a night club, Bed Supperclub impresses, with a sophisticated audiovisual system that complements the cast of talented mixologists and internationally acclaimed DJs. Culture goes chic at this venue as well, with an ongoing variety of art exhibitions and multimedia installations to intrigue the artistic.
STYLE PARADISE Chic, not cheap is the highlight for discerning shoppers who know their brands and trends. Spending by tourists is
on the upsurge, and according to statistics by Mastercard, Bangkok retailers are attracting the well-heeled who splurge on high-end products. With Bangkok’s projected 15.98 million tourists in 2013, compared to London’s 15.96 million and Paris’ 13.92 million, the city’s top shopping malls look set to roll out the red carpet and a warm welcome. Bangkok’s pride and joy, Siam Paragon (991, Rama 1 Rd, Pathumwan; tel: (+662 610 8000) continues to garner international attention – and being the second-most photographed location on Instagram – this grand dame is a one-stop shop for the family, with floors of boutiques such as Hermes, Van Cleef & Arpels and Mikimoto; an entire floor of eateries and a food hall, Paragon Gourmet Market and Department Store, a gymnasium, an edutainment centre, theatres, Kidzania and Siam Ocean World. As the second-largest mall in Southeast Asia, Siam Paragon is the de riguer shopping stop for luxury at its best. Another upscale mall that has lured tourists with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hugo Boss as well as Thailand’s own outstanding labels is Gaysorn (999 Ploenchit Road; Ratchaprasong Junction; tel: +662 656 1149), which enhances its premium shopping experience with a lifestyle consultant team that caters to various demands ranging from conceptual parties to gift sourcing. The team includes Manunsinee Footrakul, who is a qualified celebrity best positioned to guide customers on fashion styles and perfect ensembles. Making new waves in the luxury shopping
1. A perfect high tea of Thai classics and western desserts 2. Savour New Latitude wines at The Sala Wine Bar & Bistro 3. Th sprawling vista of Black Mountain Golf Course
A SIDE SOJOURN After the glitzy affair of wining and dining in vibrant Bangkok, perhaps a change in tempo and scenery would complete the Thai experience. There is no better place to experience another kind of luxury – one that I call Gaia luxury – than in Hua Hin. By association alone, Hua Hin has a royal heritage, being the preferred destination for a resort getaway by King Rama VII in the 1920s. Thereafter, it was often visited by Siam’s nobility and upper-class Thais.
Today, to those in the know, Hua Hin is an exclusive destination to head to for private beaches,
choose to chill at its Sala Wine Bar & Bistro. Wine
luxe resorts and superb seafood. It takes about three
aficionados will discover varietals such as Colombard,
hours or more, depending on traffic, to drive up to Hua
Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Cabernet
Hin, but once there, visitors may linger languorously
Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.
over wine tasting sessions and spa treatments or get active on the golf greens. Hua Hin Hills Vineyard (1 Moo 9, Baan Khork
When in Hua Hin, go for an indulgent spa treatment. With award-winning spa resorts in its midst, a myriad of luxurious options are at hand. At The Barai (91 Hua Hin
Chang Patana, Nong Plup; tel: +66 81 701 0444)
– Khao Takiap Road, tel: +663 252 1234) you will be
offers unique experiences such as enjoying wine and
entering a temple of spa indulgence, spread across more
wildlife in a Land Rover tour of Kuiburi National Park, a
than 1.8ha of beachfront land. It features eight spa suites
vineyard tour to enjoy the best of New Latitude wines
for treatments and overnight stays, 18 treatment rooms,
and wine and tapas pairing sessions. You could also
and a tranquility court and pool area where yoga and meditations are held. Having a spa treatment here is akin
circuit is Erawan Bangkok (494 Ploenchit Road; tel: +662 250 7777), ideally located on the prime corner of Ratchaprasong Square. Positioned as a boutique mall, its offerings are designed to appeal to the sophisticated urban chic, with Urban Kitchen, a collection of restaurants offering 13 ethnic cuisines; world-class fashion and accessory brands; and a wellness and beauty centre. It is worth your while to take a break from shopping at the Erawan Tea Room, which was recognised as one of Asia’s finest restaurants in The Miele Guide 2009/2010. The Thai Afternoon Tea, served from 2.30pm to 6pm, is a signature offering that has received sterling reviews.
to a sacred ritual of holistic cleansing (refer to page 44 for more information). Feeling light and refreshed may inspire one to hit the greens, and there is no better place to do it than at the award-winning Black Mountain Golf Course (565 Moo 7, Nong Hieng Road, Hin Lek Fai; tel: +663 261 866). Voted by Asian Tour players to be “The Host Venue of the Year” in 2010 as well as “Best New Course in Asia Pacific” in its first year since launching in 2007, Black Mountain features an 18-hole, par 72 championship course that caters to players of all levels. Its unique feature lies in the landscaping, which uses native red grass to present a visually interesting hazard for players. For a quick jaunt up to Hua Hin, check the daily train schedules at Hua Lamphong Station. And starting November 15, 2013, Nok Air offers three flights weekly to cater to the weekend holiday traffic. Corporate Traveller
Empires of the
Potamoi Text by Adora Wong Photos by 123rf
Archaic and tireless, these five rivers are celebrated for different reasons, more importantly for their consequential impact on our planet and daily lives.
ymbolic of life, renewal and vitality, rivers sustain existence, facilitate cleansing and are conduits of inexhaustible energy. The age of a river can be surmised from its erosion of the surrounding land, and mature streams generally have calmer waters as they have, over time, levelled out the terrain they course through. Aside from continuously changing the surface of our earth, these arteries of the sphere had leading roles in the development of numerous high-powered civilisations that today still depend on them to thrive.
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The Amazon River has approximately 1,100 tributaries
The Anakonda Amazon has 18 suites and is served by a 25-member crew
Plush sofas in the spacious lounging area allow guests to soak up the views in comfort
ANAKONDA AMAZON CRUISE VESSEL Anakonda -Amazon River Cruise ROOMS 18 suites PORT OF EMBARKATION El Coca, Equador DURATION 4D3N to 8D7N ITINERARY A 8D7N trip includes visits to the Yasuní National Park, Black Water Lagoon, flooded forests, and parrot clay licks
This world’s largest river is responsible for one-fifth of the world’s fresh water source
Denominated by a Spanish explorer after comparing the female warriors he encountered in Marañón Province to the Amazons of Greek mythology, the river spanning across South America is the globe’s largest in volume and accounts for one fifth of the fresh water streaming into the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the richest in biodiversity, with over 3,000 species of aquatic dwellers such as the bull shark and the Amazon river dolphin calling it home, and shadows the Nile as the second longest at a believed 6,400km – a measurement that has been widely contested for years as some scientists
consider the number to be larger. Otherwise known as the River Sea, the Amazon river is titanic in size because of the large-scale rainfall it experiences from being rooted along the equator. The amount of water that discharges into the river in a day is said to be equivalent to the amount New York City utilises over 12 years. Its body of water is a key channel for the transportation of people and goods, and its circumferential rainforests, which produce around 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen, house over 30 million natives from 350 indigenous tribes dependent on the river for survival.
Large lily pads dotted across the river make a whimsical sight
The scenic vista of golden sand dunes glimmering in the distance
Intriguing cities line the shores of the river, making any cruise trip an exciting one with that many disembarkation points
Enjoy glorious sunsets on board while lounging in the pool
Snaking through the African continent at an approximate 6,650km, the world’s longest river sustains the lives of nine nations despite its modest volume. The conflict in its ownership has been
OBEROI HOTELS & RESORTS VESSEL The Oberoi Zahra ROOMS 25 cabins and 2 suites PORT OF EMBARKATION Aswan or Luxor, Egypt DURATION 8D7N ITINERARY A 8D7N trip includes visits to the Aswan High Dam, Temple of Philae, Temple of Kom Ombo, Aswan Botanic Gardens, Temple of Edfu, Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings and Deir el-Medina
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Discover 4,000-year-old Egyptian monuments and relics on your cruise with The Oberoi Zahra
grounds for war among countries, and demand has fast been surpassing supply as a good amount of water is surrendered to evaporation when winding through the agonisingly arid Sahara Desert. The river is formed by two main tributaries, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean-melded Mediterranean Sea. Hailed as the gift of the Nile by Greek historian Herodotus, Egypt would not have prevailed without the river as local rainfall was sporadic. Seasonal flooding of silt-spiked water from Ethiopian highlands made the earth fertile and enabled the cultivation of agriculture in the grand land of sand. Although inundation no longer occurs near Egyptian cities due to the erection of the Aswan Dam, the country still uses the Nile River for farming purposes and remains closely associated with it – the banks of the river now homes 95 per cent of the population though it only takes up five percent of the nation’s land area.
The longest in Asia and the third longest in the world, the 6,300km river located in China tides into the East China Sea, a constituent of the Pacific Ocean. It has been of monumental cultural, economic and agricultural significance to the Middle Kingdom for centuries and its drainage basin, which covers one fifth of the country’s land area and supports a third of the population, produces enough grain to feed half the crowded nation. Over 700 tributaries spill into the river, which nests creatures including the Chinese alligator, Yangtze River dolphin, and Chinese paddlefish. A controversial hydropower project, the Three Gorges Dam in the heart of the Yangtze river generates electricity, reduces floods, and enhances water navigation but alters ecosystems, sets off landslides, and causes the displacement of inhabitants. One can only speculate if the pros outweigh the cons, but since eight-century poet Li Bai had once remarked that travelling across the river was “even harder than climbing the sky,” the introduction of flood control has indubitably made navigation much easier and safer.
Each room on the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is outfitted with a private balcony for enjoying the view at its best
SANCTUARY RETREATS VESSEL Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer ROOMS 38 deluxe cabins, 20 suite cabins, and 4 speciality suites
PORT OF EMBARKATION Chongqing or Yichang, China
DURATION 4D3N to 10D9N ITINERARY A 10D9N trip includes visits to the Three Gorges Dam, Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Shennong Stream, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China
All cabins boast floor-to-ceiling windows for a spacious and luxurious ambience
Many man-made structures embellish the myriad mountains that line the Yangtze River
A cosy cruise experience awaits on board the 12-cabin ABN Sukapha
AMPERSAND TRAVEL VESSEL ABN Sukapha ROOMS 12 cabins PORT OF EMBARKATION Varanasi, India DURATION 17D16N, flights and walking tours included
ITINERARY A 17D16N trip includes visits to Sarnath, Patna, Barh, Nalanda, Monghyr, Bhagalpur, Rajmahal, Siliguri, and Darjeeling
Millions of devout Hindus bathe in the Ganges every year in the belief that their sins will be redeemed
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A fuss-free and homely ambience places passengers at ease as they enjoy the scenery
Deified as the comely goddess Ganga by Hindus, the 2,525km National River of India is a supreme symbol of sanctity and receives some 60,000 visitors daily. Devotees drink, bathe in, and pray to the water for spiritual absolution and bottle it as medicament for kith and kin at death’s door. The river empties into the Bay of Bengal, which is connected to the Indian Ocean, and sustains the lives of 400 million citizens and of animals such as the endangered Ganges River dolphin. Despite its veneration, the Ganges river is notoriously polluted with a mishmash of human and industrial waste – its level of
Thousands of people visit the river every day for multifarious purposes
contamination is three thousand times over the limit of what is risk-free according to World Health Organisation’s standards. In the belief that the departed will as such receive deliverance and direction to heaven, those with pockets deep enough to pay for 700 pounds of wood have deceased relatives cremated, the ashes of which are scattered into the water. Some, including pregnant women, holy men, and children under the age of five are, however, laid out in the river to decompose without first being incinerated, but regardless of the griminess the river is of utmost sacredness to believers.
With sobriquets such as “liquid rainbow” and “the river that ran away from paradise”, the 100km body of water swirling amid the Macarena Mountains of Columbia is known for the potpourri of vivid hues that emerge every September to November. The spectacle occurs when water levels dip during the period between the wet and the dry season and, due to the exposure to sunlight, an extraordinary species of aquatic plant on the riverbed turns a rich red, the colour of which is contrasted by sand of vibrant yellow and green and by waters blue and black. Although the mountain is habitation to a variety of birds, reptiles and primates, no fish exist in Caño Cristales as the sedimentation is inadequate. The river had been closed to the public for several years because of unregulated tourism and of guerilla activity carried out nearby by Colombian rebel group FARC. It reopened in 2009 and at present welcomes guests every July to December. Visitors can now only walk on authorised paths when touring the river and are no longer able to camp or cook at the area.
The Macarena Clavigera blooms into a brilliant crimson when water levels are just right every September to November
The river does not accommodate cruises; visitors will have to first navigate the river Guayabero by boat and then travel on foot to get to Caño Cristales. Tour guides at La Macarena Airport will likely approach It is compulsory to visit Caño Cristales with a guide as the authorities wish to minimise damage to the environment
visitors and engaging the services of one is highly recommended.
Photo courtesy of Switzerland Tourism
• EXPERT • FREQUENT TRAVELLER
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SWISS AND PRECISE Backed by world-class hospitality and world heritage status, Ivan Breiter aims to spotlight Switzerland beyond the snow, skis and cheese. Text by Esther Faith Lew Photos courtesy of Switzerland Tourism
ith hospitality in his blood, Ivan Breiter has dedicated himself to the exacting Swiss standards in the industry that the country is renowned for upon graduating from a Swiss hotel management school. A veteran who honed his skills as a tourism specialist and business economist, Ivanâ€™s affinity with all things tourism-related has blessed him with the instinct for developing sharp marketing strategies. It is a task that Ivan has taken up with precision as the Director for Southeast Asia at Switzerland Tourism, a responsibility he has held since July 2012. Having cut his teeth in Switzerlandâ€™s National Tourism Office for the domestic market and thereon in Toronto for the Canada and Central US markets, Ivan was well-poised for developing the markets in Belgium and Luxumborg in 2006. His vast expertise has paved the way for his task ahead in Singapore. With growing tourism arrivals from the Southeast Asian market, Ivan is leading the charge in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok with a focus on creating more tourism opportunities. Ivan shares his vision and goals with Corporate Traveller in this issue.
As the birthplace of hospitality, how has this reputation influenced the development of quality standards in recent years? If you want to stay at the top in hospitality, you must always cater to your 74 Corporate Traveller
guests and make strong improvements in hard as well as soft factors. Switzerland Tourism, together with its partners, has implemented a quality programme involving more than 1000 certified tourism companies – from the local public bus company to tourist information and to hotels. The “Q” quality label provides a reliable guide for guests. These certified companies pledge quality service, and as a guest, you can rest assured that such establishments are continually engaged in ensuring high quality. Probably one of the best examples as to how we celebrate Switzerland’s long tradition of hospitality is an initiative we launched this year – the “Prix Bienvenu”, which recognises 100 of the most welcoming hotels in Switzerland. These hotels have been selected based on qualified guest experiences from the 12 most important online rating portals and are categorised according to different clusters. You can find out more about these hotels on www.myswitzerland.com/en-MY/ the-100-most-welcoming-hotels-inswitzerland.html
Commonly promoted as a destination for nature lovers, what tourism services should be implemented in order to broaden its appeal? The awe-inspiring landscape of Switzerland is certainly a highlight: The towering mountains, the waterfalls, the lakeside with vineyards, the rural areas with cows grazing, etc, are highlighted in most travel itineraries. Beyond that, cities such as Zurich, Lucerne and Geneva are also some of the most-visited places by
1. The charming UNESCO old town of Bern 2. Restaurants and bistros await in Geneva 3. In front of the Palais des Nations stands the impressive ‘Broken Chair’, a symbol for the fight against landmines and cluster bombs. 4. A Christmas market in the old centre of Lugano
tourists and present many outstanding highlights. Boutique shopping in the old towns of Switzerland is legendary and our art museums are considered gems by many experts, while our music performances are considered world-class as well. Most visitors do not realise that we have a dozen UNESCO World Heritage sites to be discovered, or that you can have hands-on experiences such as yodelling classes, watchmaking or chocolate workshops. Or that a walking tour with snow shoes is a lot of fun. We are continually educating the travel trade and
working with the media to increase awareness of all these other attractions, and by doing so, we will hopefully increase the average length of stay for visitors.
What are the game changers that have placed Switzerland in a more competitive light in recent years? Strong economic development in Southeast Asia has allowed a larger percentage of the population to travel, creating a bigger market that can afford to travel to Switzerland. This development, combined with the extensive growth of mid- and short-haul travellers and Corporate Traveller
EXPERT In considering these plans, what are the challenges that you envision and how do you think they can be minimised?
favourable exchange rates have created demand for Europe travel. On the other hand we see a change in travel pattern as the trend veers toward more focused trips with just one or two countries in the itinerary. Travellers are staying longer in one destination to explore a region thoroughly. All this plays in our favour, as Switzerland is geographically located in the centre of Europe and is perfectly interconnected (to all major tourist attractions) and with our top-notch public transportation system, it is very easy to get around within Switzerland or to combine the tour with Western, Southern, Central or Eastern Europe.
A professional travel agent specialising in Switzerland will be able to advice the customer so that he has the best experience and will return to Switzerland over and over again. Therefore, we have launched an education system for the travel trade and we now have more than 60 trained Switzerland Specialists to manage visitorship. Another initiative is to actively help the travel trade in their itineraries. The best Switzerland tours will receive a quality seal – “Recommended Itinerary” – by the National Tourism Office of Switzerland. This will ensure that visitors receive the best possible experience.
What are the regions that Switzerland Tourism would like to further develop as tourism hot spots? Why? Switzerland comprises 26 relatively independent cantons, and all of them offer different foods, customs, traditional festivals
and their own charms. Depending on the seasons, the best times to travel vary; for example, Zurich in December is beautiful, when the Advent season creates a charming ambience with the first snow, the scent of freshly baked gingerbread and the vibrancy of Christmas markets. I would also like to highlight the eastern part of Switzerland, which paints a lovely picture in spring, when thousands of fruit trees are in full bloom. Lake Geneva offers a beautiful experience during the fall, while the mild climate of Ticino makes it perfect for visitors to explore the region during winter.
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The overnights from Southeast Asian guests more than doubled in the last few years and we are expecting a continued growth rate throughout the region, estimated to be about 15 per cent per year until 2016. Southeast Asia is therefore one of the strongest growing markets for Switzerland in terms of percentage and quantitative figures. We are steadily increasing our staff strength and will now be able to focus even more on the MICE market and to foster partnerships with the travel trade.
With Singapore accounting for about 35 per cent of total arrivals from the regional market, what push factors have been identified to grow this market? We are helping to create exciting itineraries for leisure and incentive trips and developing marketing programmes together with our travel trade partners. We are also present at different events such as the NATAS travel fair, and Swiss Week at Changi Airport in September or at the Singapore Air Show. These efforts will ideally create the right impact in generating more interest from the public. For independent travellers, we have one of the most comprehensive travel portals – MySwitzerland.com – to aid them in planning their trips. The portal allows them to find thousands of videos, suggestions for excursions, event description, etc. And we have of course a strong presence on Facebook.com/ MySwitzerland or Twitter to share interesting highlights.
1. The only collection of its kind in the world can be viewed at the ‘Musee international d’horlogerie’ in La Chaux-de-Fonds 2. A symphonic concert of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana at the Church of San Francesco 3. Majestic winter views of Mount Boglia in Lugano, Ticino
Currently enjoying a booming Southeast Asian market, and with this market expected to grow even further, what are the tourism focal points being considered?
REINVENTING PERCEPTIONS “Don’t leave home without it” is a slogan that suits Yoshimi Nakajima, Singapore Country Manager of American Express just fine, as she jet-sets the world and finds inspiration from her travels. Text by Esther Faith Lew Photos courtesy of American Express; 123rf
ave you been to cities where the energy of the place just draws you in? It can be so compelling that I’m energised by the vibes and I just want to feel it as intensely as I can,” enthuses Yoshimi Nakajima, Singapore Country Manager of American Express. An intrepid traveller who loves to discover new experiences, Yoshimi feeds her senses to the fullest whenever she is in a new city. And that includes appreciating a country’s fine cuisine, which inspires her to recreate dishes from her favourite restaurants. Her discerning taste for fine living has served her well in analysing consumer trends and in strategising campaigns for the consumer card business at American Express. Coupled with a strong vision for innovation, Yoshimi has pioneered key projects in the company since joining the Japan office in 2002. One of the highlights of her American Express career was receiving the Chairman’s Award for Innovation for “The Card for Affluent Women” project and being recognised as the “Outstanding Woman in the Field” in 2010 for her leadership capabilities. Yoshimi was also pivotal in launching Club Essencia in Japan, which caters to the demands of female cardmembers. Her passion in helping women pursue their goals and desires is evident in many of her Corporate Traveller
FREQUENT TRAVELLER 1
VISITORS SHOULD FIND THE TIME TO APPRECIATE THE SEASONAL BEAUTY OF KYOTO; AMERICAN EXPRESS IN JAPAN ORGANISES EXCLUSIVE EVENTS FOR CARDMEMBERS’ ENJOYMENT. 1. Cherry blossom season in Osaka 2. Yoshimi relaxing at Tamarind Hill in Labrador Nature Reserve 3. New York’s trumpet call to all to enjoy Broadway shows 2
endeavours, and she has been a regular speaker at conferences and forums that provide career advice for women. Driven by American Express’ vision of being the world’s most respected service brand, Yoshimi is focusing on rejuvenating the local market and perhaps even reinventing the wheel of perception in attracting cardmembers. In this issue, she shares with us her travel experiences and recommends the best places for entertaining and for leisure.
population in Japan after Tokyo and Yokohama. Osaka has also been the commercial centre of the Kansai region – which includes Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe – of Japan for many centuries. It is easily accessible via Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport, as well as via bullet train. The fact that it’s located in close proximity to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe also endows the city with a great variety of cultural and lifestyle experiences as well as vibrant dining and shopping options. These attractions make Osaka a popular destination for leisure and business travellers.
My most memorable business trip was in New York because… the city truly has a lot to offer. It has the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city with the most impressive skyscrapers, and the vitality of New Yorkers always gives off this exciting energy that I love. Whenever I visit American Express’ HQ in New York on business trips, I try to find the time to go to shops such as Saks at Fifth Avenue, catch a Broadway show or check out the street artists. Some of the subway stations have the best street artists, including jazz musicians. There’s always beautiful scenery to appreciate here, regardless of the season. Not to mention the fact that there’s some of the best Japanese food to be found here outside of Japan; in particular, Nobu, which is outstanding. All these – and more – make the city a great place to visit, even if it’s just for work.
Osaka is a good place for business because... it is the third-largest city by 78 Corporate Traveller
What business protocols or social norms should one take note of?
Compared to their peers in Tokyo, people in Osaka are more friendly, casual and straightforward. They are humorous and often show warm hospitality towards visitors. This means that their conversational styles are different; it would be useful to learn some Osaka-ben (a dialect commonly spoken in Osaka) to break the ice the right way. Because historically Osaka has been a commercial centre, people there greet each other, not by saying “konnichiwa” (good day) as commonly said in Tokyo, but by saying “moukarimakka?”, which literally means “are you making money?”. If a business acquaintance asks you this question, they are not expecting you to tell them how much profit your business is bringing in. You can simply reply by saying
“bochi bochi”, which literally means “so-so”, but is a humble way of saying “I am fine”. A couple of other phrases you would often hear and can easily learn are “ookini”, which means “thank you”; and “maido”, which means “every time”, but in the Osaka-ben context, it also means “thank you”. Getting around is easy too. People in Osaka may not speak English, but if you ask them for directions, they are very eager to help and will very often show you the way themselves. When choosing your accommodation, do consider traditional ryokans, which offer a unique experience. And while you are not required to tip hotel staff, you can choose to tip the ‘okami-san’ or manageress, to show your appreciation when you check into a ryokan. If you prefer international hotel brands, do consider Swissotel Nakai, Osaka, which offers American Express Platinum Card Members in Singapore up to 50 per cent dining savings at six signature restaurants from the complimentary Far Card membership. When going out for meetings, be sure to bring along an address card from your hotel to show your taxi driver your desired destination. And while exploring the streets on your own, do take note that street numbers in Osaka are not necessarily in sequence and locations can be challenging to find. I would advise using a Google map to save you time and to reduce frustration.
Michelin-starred Kaiseki Kappo (multi-course Japanese cuisine) restaurant hidden in a small alley in Kyoto’s Gion district. Its second-generation owner, Chef Katsuyoshi Nagata serves omakase (chef’s recommendation) menus that feature seasonal produce, seafood, poultry and meat. He personalises his dishes to suit each diner’s tastes, and I always enjoy his culinary creations and the specially selected wine. If it is during winter in Osaka, I recommend a fugu (pufferfish) dinner at Yoshiko (1-8-5 Sonezakishinchi, Kita-ku; tel: +816 6345 6696) or Takoyasu (1-15-5, Yuunagi, Minato-ku; tel: +816 6571 1525). Or go to Kobe for its famous and most tender Kobe beef.
to Kyoto and visit the temples and shrines. Kiyomizudera Temple (294 Kiyomizu 1 Chome, Higashiyama Ward; tel: +81 75 551 1234), Kinkakuji (1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward; tel: +81 75 461 0013) and Yasaka Shrine (625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward; tel: +81 75 561 6155) are several of my favourites. Kodaiji Temple (530 Kodaiji-Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku; tel: +81 75 525 0101) is also worth a visit. Entokuin, the sub temple of Kodaiji Temple, features a lounge open exclusively to American Express Gold cardmembers in Japan. Visitors should find the time to appreciate the seasonal beauty of Kyoto; American Express in Japan organises exclusive events for cardmembers to enjoy the scenic sight of autumn leaves and cherry blossoms. During end-November, we held a fall leave viewing at Kenninji Temple coupled with a Noh performance (a classical Japanese musical drama) and tea service by a maiko (an apprentice geisha).
The best shopping can be done at… Hankyu Department Store (8-7 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku; tel: +81 06 6361 1381) in Osaka, which offers a good variety of imported and Japanese brands.
To appreciate art and culture, go to… Nara National Museum (50 Noboriojicho; tel:+81 74 222 7771) and Kyoto National Museum (527 Chayacho, Higashiyama Ward; tel: +81 75 525 2473). The Gion district in Kyoto is also a great place to appreciate traditional Japanese maiko dance performances.
Where would you go to entertain clients for dinner? If it is in Kyoto, my favourite restaurant is Chihana (584 Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku; tel: +81 75 561 2741). It is a
My favourite souvenir from Osaka is… locally brewed sake, Shio Konbu (salted dry seaweed) and chirimen-jako (similar to ikan bilis). It is a must-have for me; the water in Kyoto and Nara is very pure and of high quality, and that makes for good sake. Shio Konbu and chirimen-jako are great to sprinkle on rice or white porridge when you feel like a light meal.
To get yourself refreshed and rejuvenated for a business meeting, you must... take a stroll along shopping streets such as the underground shopping area in the Shinsaibashi area. If you can afford more time, take the train 1
1. Electric vibes and pulsating energy in the Shinsaibashi area 2. The peaceful grounds of Kenninji Temple 3. Culture awaits at Kyoto National Museum Corporate Traveller
The striking vista of Gwanghwamun Plaza
MICE CAN FLY
GROWING IN TANDEM WITH SOUTH KOREA’S OVERWHELMING POPULARITY IN TOURISM MARKETS IS ITS MICE INDUSTRY, WHICH HAS TAKEN OFF TO NEW RECORD LEVELS
Seoul presents a vibrant landscape that blends tradition and modernity
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One small step for mankind, a giant leap for South Korea; and the strides keep getting bigger with every passing moment. Visitors and delegates who have stood on the grounds of this culturally dynamic country are testimony to the figures, especially those churned out by Korea MICE Expo 2012, which recorded 63 per cent more foreign and domestic buyers compared to the previous year’s, 47 per cent more companies and 82 per cent more business meetings. Standing proudly among the giants, South Korea is now placed eighth on the worldwide rankings for international conferences, and the number of worldwide events has
quadrupled over the past four years, according to the Union of International Associations. With the spotlight shining brightly and with no indication of waning, it is time to take heed and pay attention to the offerings of South Korea’s MICE districts. Said Korea Tourism Organization’s (KTO) Director of Singapore Office, Helen Shim, “Korea is a dynamic country with bountiful attractions. We are introducing more new destinations and developing more unique MICE products for the Singapore MICE market. Our three districts definitely offer unique attractions to MICE delegates; Seoul is definitely the perfect city for MICE, while
A warm welcome
Busan is a well-developed resort-style marine city that is just a 2.5 hour train ride from Seoul by KTX train.” At a recent event held at Singapore Marriott Hotel on October 22, KTO launched its MICE initiatives with an “in-flight” experience. Guests of Diners World Travel Meetings & Incentives division were greeted by Korean Air stewardesses who welcomed everyone with gift packs as they made their rounds with inflight trolleys. Thereafter, guests were introduced to the various advantageous facets of the key MICE districts and enjoyed a buffet lunch and a cooking demonstration by Chef Lim Bong Cheol from Sarang – Korean Bistro at Orchard Central.
Busan’s Mediterranean appeal is the highlight of this second-largest city in Korea which is gaining popularity as a tourism venue. Its beautiful coastline with pristine
A Korean Air stewardess attending to guests
beaches, scenic mountains and natural hot springs are stunning to behold and if one were to gaze upon the colourful vista of Gamcheon village with its multi-tiered architectural landscaping, one would undoubtedly dub it as Korea’s Santorini. Busan is home to the Shinsegae Centum City and Busan Exhibition and Convention Center, the district’s biggest commercial area, and it also serves as a touring base to nearby cities such as Gyeongju.
The birthplace of Korea’s democracy, Gwangju is rich in art and culture and is the venue for the Gwangju Biennale, a creative platform for international artists. Its exquisite scenery has also given inspiration to the birth of gasa, a form of Korean classical poetry. Artistic inclinations of the district include diverse cuisines as well – and the tradition of kimchi making is promoted
Time for networking
here, with the Gwangju Kimchi Culture Festival held every late fall. The Kim Daejung Convention Center boasts first-class facilities and is the largest in Gwangju. Its central location in Honam places it well as a convention centre of choice in the locale.
Beyond its K-Pop fame and rising reputation for high-class medical tourism, Seoul is also a dynamic capital city that never sleeps and surprises at every turn with its contrasts of old and new. Be it high-tech skyscrapers or beautiful hanok villages, Seoul’s landscape is fascinating and ever intriguing. The COEX Convention & Exhibition Center is deemed to be Korea’s venue of choice. Located right in the heart of Gangnam, COEX hosts about 200 exhibitions and over 2,000 meetings and events every year, with numbers expected to increase further.
Seoul’s dynamic City Hall
The colourful coastal appeal of Gamcheong Village
Gwangju’s Kimchi Culture Festival in full swing
Enjoy a potpourri of unique cultural and historical experiences in the country that offers a fascinating blend of traditional and contemporary flavours. Cultural tours, historical sites, medical and aesthetics tours, 24-hour shopping, amazing food, the K-pop phenomenon, and so many more await you! Korea Tourism Organization and Korea MICE Bureau take pride in establishing Korea as the premier destination for MICE visitor. For more information and assistance in holding your events in Korea, please contact KTO (Singapore office) at +65-6533 0441 or email: email@example.com
Photo courtesy of IWC Schaffhausen
• STYLE FILE • TECH TALK • SHOPPING REPORT • FASHION • SHOPPING@CHANGI • INDULGENCE
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STYLE FILE Stay in vogue with relaxed fits that feature impeccable tailoring and clean lines
Todâ€™s Add shape to trapeze dresses and loose tops with a slim, pastelcoloured belt (S$640)
Prada Rainbow marbling and a subtle cat eye make the perfect yacht companions (S$400)
Câ€™EST LA VIE Cruise through life with elegance in these holiday-inspired looks.
Gucci Flash your pedicure in these sandals that add a little shimmer to your walk (S$970).
Chanel Nautical stripes bring French Riviera chic to a classic Chanel silhouette (Price unavailable)
Jimmy Choo Easy and breezy, a light silk scarf in sunny shades is the epitome of joie de vivre (Price unavailable) 84 Corporate Traveller
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
If youâ€™re all thumbs when it comes to bow ties, a clipped option is a cheeky alternative that still gets the job done (price unavailable)
Looking polished during formal gatherings is effortless with the right accessories.
Jaquet Droz Simple but full of flair, the Perpetual Calendar Eclipse is a gorgeous mastery of craftsmanship and elegant aesthetics (price unavailable)
BOSS Sleek never looked better than in patent leather, and these pair of lace-ups is certainly testament to that (Price unavailable)
Channel understated elegance with simple cuffs that pull your look together (S$350).
Luscious fabrics amp up the luxe factor while clean and simple silhouettes make a statement
Gucci The Gucci Black Bamboo sunglasses have become an icon of contemporary savoir-faire, much like its new ambassador James Franco (S$880).
SINCERELY YOURS Polished pieces bring decadent style to year-end celebrations. PHOTOGRAPHY CHING STYLING MELISSA LORRAINE CHUA SPECIAL THANKS TO GEORG JENSEN FOR THE PROPS
A. Lange & Sรถhne His: Saxonia Annual Calendar in platinum with black croco strap (S$77,500) Hers: Saxonia Automatic in pink gold and diamonds with brown croco strap (S$60,000)
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Corum His: Golden Bridge in white gold with black croco strap (S$64,842) Hers: Miss Golden Bridge in white gold with black croco strap (S$48,899)
Longines His: Conquest Classic in rose gold and stainless steel (S$5,980) Hers: Conquest Classic in rose gold and stainless steel (S$5,150)
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Corum His: Gold Bridge in white gold with black croco strap (S$xxx) Hers: Miss Golden Bridge in white gold with black croco strap (S$xxx)
Raymond Weil His: Maestro Phase De Lune in steel with black alligator strap (S$3,610) Hers: Lady Maestro Phase De Lune in steel with diamonds and blue alligator strap (price unavailable)
ESTEE LAUDER PORTFOLIO COLOR, HOLIDAY 2013, S$108* With a retail worth of $970, this makeup ‘book’ features the beauty giant’s top-sellers across three panels, including a quick guide to makeup styles. The middle features 30 Pure Color Eye Shadow shades enough to last a year, finished with 15 shades of Pure Color Lipstick tints from sweet candy to wild ginger and scarlet siren. If that’s too much, tone down with
MICHAEL KORS GORGEOUS HOLIDAY SET, S$174
the Pure Color Glosses, the eyeliner also doubling as a brow liner.
The American fashion designer once declared fragrance to be his fingerprint,
Available at all Estee Lauder counters.
‘probably the most intimate thing I will ever create’. Fashionable and timeless as his
* with S$120 purchase
collections, the EDP centres on the rich tuberose plant, intensified with sensuous spices and Moroccan incense. This set unifies the signature scent with a 100ml body lotion tube,100ml spray and 6ml rollerball for easy reapplication. Available at Tangs Orchard.
PUREDKNY A DROP OF
ROSE HOLIDAY SET, S$99 With every flower handpicked from the lush Isparta valley in Turkey, 2500 tons of petals then gently processed, the final scent delivers a rose’s fragrance in its simplest form, soft and beautiful in this 50ml EDP spray and 7ml miniature. Other than utilising 100 per cent recyclable glass and printing their bio-degradable
carton with low-VOC inks, enjoy gifting while helping lift women out of global poverty too – every bottle contains rose purchased from Turkish farmers, majority of which are women. Available at Tangs Orchard.
PENHALIGON’S IRIS PRIMA EDP, S$310 FOR 100ML Master perfumer Alberto Morillas sought to bottle the essence of ballet – from heavy curtain fabrics, deep heat, men dancing to lots of hairspray. A fresh bergamot opens the dance, sparkling pink pepper like a ballerina on pointe. Powdery iris denotes grace as potent jasmine floods over like a sensual tide, before finishing with musky sandalwood, vanilla and benzoin symbolic of ancient theatres. Available at Penhaligon’s Ltd stores.
This festive season, make Christmas gifting a breeze with these gorgeous holiday sets.
CLINIQUE HOLIDAY 2013, S$128 Clinique’s got your skincare needs covered – wherever you are celebrating a wet or dry Christmas this year end. If in Korea, Japan, central Europe or USA,’Moisture Favourites (S$75) features heavyweights Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, All
Text by Natalie Joy Lee
About Eyes Serum and Long Last Glosswear to combat even the driest of winters. Cape Town, the UK and the Mediterranean zone BOBBI BROWN SEQUIN SHIMMER
your skin-saver kit to keep skin moisturised, the power formula
A perpetual advocator for glamorous
also keeping fine lines and saggy skin in check.
styles, Brown’s Holiday Gift Giving
Available at all Clinique counters.
collection unites all things warm, creamy and shimmery, such as this shadow set. 10 eye colours tucked into a slim case, pick a colour for a glistening look, or sweep across the palette for a radiant sheen. Keep the Old Hollywood Mini Brush Set (S$160) in your bag for quick touch-ups. Available at all Bobbi Brown counters.
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spell wet winters, the Repairwear Laser Focus Value Set (S$128)
BRICK EYE PALETTE, S$99
PENHALIGON’S GENTLEMEN’S FRAGRANCE COLLECTION,
ORIGINS MEN’S TRAVEL BUDDIES, S$62 Shaving need ever be painful, Blade Runner® Energizing Shave Cream
S$90 FOR A SET OF 5
going comfortably onto skin, eucalyptus and peppermint exuding fresh
Themed ‘A Songbird’s
whiffs, soothing kakui nut and soybean oil ensuring a smooth shave. In
Christmas’, the fine perfumery’s
case of cuts, Fire Fighter™ To Take The Burn Out of Shaving, is fitted
festive collection took inspiration
with ingredients chamomile, and cucumber to soothe razor-scraped
from traditional Victorian music
skin. Finish with Save the Males™ Multi-Benefit Moisturizer, lightweight
boxes, each tin box featuring
and oil-free to last the day. Continuing with the clever names, revive your
enchanting illustrations of singing
tired body with Skin Diver® Active Charcoal body scrub, Dead Sea salts
COLLECTION, S$545 FOR SET OF 6
mechanical birds. For the gents
and brown sugar sloughing away remnants of dull skin, a system of
From the man who created sleek suits for
is this ornate scent set of 5ml
soybean and olive oils nourishing thereafter.
James Bond, exude the same stylishness
dials: Endymion, Quercus,
Available at all Origins stores.
with this chic set of six 12ml decanters,
Sartorial, Opus 1870 and
bottling the brand’s top selling Private Blend
Blenheim Bouquet. For a hint of
fragrances. Set in a chic brown cross hatch
royalty, the lattermost is a 1902
box emblazoned with a gold Tom Ford
creation named after Blenheim
plaque, pick from Neroli Portofino, Jasmin
Palace, the seat of one of
Rouge, Oud Wood, Tuscan Leather,
England’s most respected
Tobacco Vanille and Noir de Noir. Each scent
bloodlines, , the scent a sharp
begins with a singular strong note – amber,
blend of citrus, lavender and
tobacco, black violet, gardenia. Secondary
sequences of precious ingredients
TOM FORD PRIVATE BLEND DELUXE MINI
accentuate the core notes above, completing
Penhaligon’s Ltd stores.
the eau de parfum. Available at Tangs Orchard.
The quintessentially all-American brand releases their Christmas offering, stored in a sporty camel-hued kit. Refreshing and energetic, Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger cologne spray (50ml) delivers a fruity punch with grapefruit, cranberry and apple, while a base of deep amber, cactus and cotton flower gives the scent a sexy finish. To ensure the scent stays intense all day long, take a prior bath with the Tommy Body Wash (100ml), forming a rich creamy lather for a luxurious rubdown, and leaving the unmistakable after-scent of Tommy Hilfiger’s signature scent.
Shine in all the right ways, with the help of these skin-loving, glow-inducing party-preppers.
HAIR KABUKI LIMITED
POWDER BRUSH, S$58
TOMMY HILFIGER AMERICAN STAR SET, S$70
PARTY PICTURE PERFECT
SHU UEMURA ART OF
Dressed in red, which denotes celebrations in Japan and is also the traditional shade used by Kabuki actors, the brush features a click mechanism for easy dispensation, the powder applied direct onto scalp for oil absorption. Use fingers to massage in, infusing hair’s roots for volume and instant lift. Available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair partner salons, call 1800-838-3388 for listings
Text by Natalie Joy Lee
CRABTREE & EVELYN NOMAD GREAT ESCAPES, S$45 The brand synonymous with blooming English gardens has put together this set for sophisticated gentlemen, featuring Crabtree & Evelyn’s best-selling male fragrance – a musky blend of cedar and sandalwood, with hints of refreshing lemongrass and ginger. Comes with a hair & body wash (50ml), shave cream (50ml), after-shave balm (50ml), and EDT (8ml), perfect for short trips. Available at all Crabtree & Evelyn stores.
PLANTRONICS VOYAGER LEGEND CS (S$319)
In addition to the original industry-leading features of the Voyager series of headsets, the Voyager Legend CS is revamped with a new precision tuned triple-mic, enhanced DSP technology, and three layers of wind noise protection to ensure your voice is clearer and crisper. The Smart Sensor technology adapts to your surroundings and intelligently customises the level of noise cancellation based on the level of ambient noise in the environment. It filters everything from indistinct restaurant murmuring to loud roadside traffic. Intuitive controls on the headset allow you to adjust volume, mute, and answer/end calls with a simple touch. The comfortable and secure fit was a winner in our books; its ergonomic design makes it feel like you’re barely wearing anything at all.
BUSINESS TALKS Stepping out of the office? These Bluetooth headsets will keep you covered.
Text by Melissa Lorraine Chua
VOYAGER LEGEND CS Stamina Comfort Clarity
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PLANTRONICS DISCOVERY 975SE (S$179)
At a mere 8g, the Discovery 975SE is the lightest headset we reviewed. It comes with WindSmart technology that features grooved vents and acoustic fabric to deflect and shield the mics from winds. The AudioIQ2 noise cancellation function also uses dual microphone technology and an adaptive 20-band equaliser for acoustic echo cancellation. However, our favourite feature is the portable charging case, which extends the battery life almost three-fold. This translates into a whopping 15 hours of talk time, making it the most attractive in terms of stamina.
BOSE BLUETOOTH HEADSET SERIES 2 (S$249)
SENNHEISER VMX 200-II (S$169)
Renowned for its noise-cancelling technology, Bose’s proprietary signal processing is evident in the Bluetooth Headset Series 2. The two-microphone system works in tandem to reject background noise, reduce wind interruption, and amplify your voice so both you and the other party hear more of the conversation and less of the environment. Its flexible StayHear tip also curves gently to hook onto your ear for a more secure fit.
The most discreet of our selection, the VMX 200-II boasts trademark VoiceMax technology which uses two in-built microphones that work synergistically to emphasise voice quality and filter external noise. The result – clear and natural speech that sounds like you’re conversing with the other party in person. While all the headsets came with A2DP technology for media streaming, the VMX 200-II’s high quality speakers provided the best audio music experience. We also loved that it comes with a two-year international warranty for additional peace of mind.
AN ICON REDEFINED
To Bang & Olufsen, sound is not just about amazing technology or innovative engineering – it is an entire way of life. The newly released BeoLab 18 (from S$10,000) from its Immaculate Wireless Sound concept is a game changer with astounding acoustic performance, compelling design and uncompromising craftsmanship, a true epitome of the excellence and beauty that is the Bang & Olufsen brand. The BeoLab 18’s bold new design is a re-tweaking of the signature BeoLab 8000 column speakers, and has been amped up with fresh new drivers, amplifiers, and the groundbreaking WISA standard high-fidelity wireless audio for stunningly crystal clear and authentic sound. Available at Bang & Olufsen Grand Hyatt
PERFECT PRESENTATION Epson’s best-selling entry-level range of projectors has been upgraded with innovative technologies that give it the same professional performance as its mid- and high-end models. The EB-S18 (S$699) features new lamps that go up to 3,500 lumens and 3LCD technology with three separate panels that produce full-time colour-accurate projections. Images and movies are streamed smoothly with life-like brilliance, while the Horizontal Keystone Adjuster allows quick correction of distortions caused by uneven projection surfaces. It also offers Mobile High Definition Link Support, Wi-Fi connectivity and direct display from USB to make it the pinnacle of portability and convenience.
Print a borderless 4R photo in 21 seconds, perform basic troubleshooting on technical issues and check your printer’s ink levels – all without even having to be in the same country. With Canon’s sleek new PIXMA MC7170 All-in-One printer (S$299) and a host of exciting features like Access Point Mode, PIXMA Could Link and New Photo Media, it’s now an ease to manage your home office and boost efficiency. The printer’s Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle engineering (FINE) technology and unique Individual Ink Cartridge System also offers flexibility in replacing depleted cartridges and ensures minimal waste. Available at Canon authorised dealers
Available at Epson authorised dealers
SOCIAL MOBILITY With wireless options like these, you’ll never have to worry about being left behind. Text by Melissa Lorraine Chua
With its ability to switch between a laptop, tablet, and desktop PC, the ASUS Transformer Book Trio (from S$1,698) is a revolutionary combination of unmatched flexibility and stellar performance. The 4th Generation Intel Core processor gives seamless multitasking performance and energy efficiency, while the 11.6-inch display with full HD resolution and IPS technology transforms effortlessly into a multi-touch Android 4.2 tablet for enjoyment on-the-go. The Trio also boasts a backlit keyboard, 178-degree viewing angle, SonicMaster stereo audio technology and 720p HD front camera for the ultimate gaming experience. Available at ASUS authorised dealers
BIG CITY Uncover the wild promise of all the beauty and mystery that lie beneath the eternal lights of this sleepless city. Text by Melissa Lorraine Chua Photos courtesy of 123rf
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o countless fashion designers all over the world, New York is the place to be. While fashion took root in New York over a century ago, during which immigrants would flock to the newly industrialised city seeking a better life working in the now-legendary garment district, it only began to truly blossom during the 1940s. Post-World War II, with global social and industrial revolution, the traditional hierarchies between high society and the working class were being overturned, and fashion began to veer further away from handmade haute couture and closer towards ready-to-wear pieces with creative designs, simpler cuts and innovative materials. As Paris could no longer keep up with the demands of the contemporary market, their authority as the world’s fashion house began to crumble, and America quickly rose as one of the most powerful contenders to the throne. The original and innovative designs of Bonnie Cashin, Claire McCardell, and Anne Klein formed the foundations of
modern elegant sportswear, and transformed the boot into a major men’s fashion accessory. Prominent celebrities like Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich paved the way for androgyny in women’s dress with their high-waist wide-leg trousers. During the 1950s, New York stars Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn popularised fitted dresses with nipped-in waists and pencil skirts that accentuated the female hourglass, a provocative move in a conservative time. In 1943, Eleanor Lambert founded New York Press Week, the first organised fashion week in the world, which propelled American designers Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta to the forefront of global fashion. Eventually evolving to become New York Fashion Week in 1993, it has since become one of the most anticipated fashion events of the year. Today, designers still believe that New York is a global fashion hub and possesses an unparalleled transformative power – in addition to gifting the world with iconic designers such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin
Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as dynamic new rising stars like Jason Wu, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karen, and Vera Wang, it has been generating a steady stream of award-winning fresh-faced up-and-comers to watch, including Prabal Gurung, Maria Cornejo, and Yeohlee Teng. Those who love New York will tell you that it is a city of “more” – the buildings are higher, the steaks thicker, the streets wider and the girls prettier than anywhere else in the world. The city is a crucible in which ambitions are forged and cultures are fused, the true epitome of the American Dream. In the words of American poet Walt Whitman, “Give me such shows — give me the streets of Manhattan!” There is a restlessness and vivacity that drives this jack-hammer of a city, and New York is every raw and unadulterated fantasy we have ever harboured, a beautiful enigma, a puzzling paradox of vice and virtue, and the very heart of us all.
This was where it all began – Manhattan has been churning out endless reams of textiles, garments, and production materials since the early 20th century. It is known as the centre of United States fashion, and some might even argue the world. From designing to production to wholesaling, the midtown Manhattan Garment District in particular forms the very core of the Manhattan fashion scene. With the highest concentration of fashion businesses and talents in the city, the Garment District houses showrooms, offices, and production facilities for a wide variety of major fashion labels, including Donna Karen, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, Nicole Miller and Andrew Marc. And while this small, thing little island only forms less than eight percent of the entire area of New York City, it represents almost the entirety of its identity.
Upper East Side Propelled through pop culture and portrayed as the most prestigious area code in the city, the Upper East Side has become synonymous with wealth and extravagance, and quite rightly so. It is home to a majority of the city’s most affluent residences, and houses the famed Madison Avenue, the heart of haute couture in New York. A classic favourite amongst luxury clientele, Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave, between 60th and 61st St) is brimming with lust-have items from posh designers. Designer womenswear labels range from Armani and Alaïa to Zac Posen and Zagliani, while the shoe selection offers a delectable range of Pradas, Manolo Blahniks and signature lipstick Christian Louboutins. Men can also indulge in made-to-measure services at their elegant tailors, while browsing through well-stocked grooming & fragrance counters. Another iconic
1. An aerial view of Lower Manhattan and the Financial District 2. Inside the beautiful sun-lit wings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 3. The elegant façade of The Plaza hotel 4. New York’s heart of haute couture, Madison Avenue
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favourite is the Art Deco landmark of Bloomingdale’s (1000 Third Ave, at 59th St), which has been serving the sophisticated shopper since 1886. Its signature brown bags now hold more “democratically-priced” options like Ted Baker, John Varvatos and Armani Collezioni. Ladies can also look forward to a few edgier options and cult favourites such as Alice + Olivia, Theory and Helmut Lang. For something truly exceptional, head down to Fred Leighton (773 Madison Ave, 66th St). Ardent connoisseurs of vintage and period jewellery, they carry a breathtaking array of ornaments from Victorian and Georgian eras to the more contemporary Edwardian and Art Deco periods, each piece carrying its own
Photos courtesy of Wiki
unique history – whether they had once adorned the crowns of nobility, or glittered on the neck of a Vanderbilt. If you find yourself venturing off the beaten path, you’ll be glad to discover a chocolate haven at La Maison du Chocolat (1018 Madison Ave, between 78th and 79th St). The modest Parisian tea salon offers a wide variety of handmade truffles, chocolates and pastries, best enjoyed whilst indulging in a cup of their heavenly thick hot chocolate. Recharge with lunch at Lexington Candy Shop (1226 Lexington Ave, at 83rd St), a quintessential American diner that has been around since 1925, serving fresh-made sodas, burgers, and all day breakfasts. While you’re resting your feet, take the opportunity to dive into an engrossing tome you’ve just purchased from Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers (939 Lexington Ave, between 68th and 69th St), the foremost authority on what’s hot off the press in just about every field of publishing today. No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St). Within its massive gothic-style walls lay thousands of pieces of human history from all across the globe. Of its permanent exhibits, the Egyptian Art exhibition is arguable the most spectacular, housing the largest and finest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts outside of Cairo, including a life-sized Temple of Dendur from the Roman Period. The museum also boasts an impressive collection of art from Greece, Assyria, Cyprus and China, as well as a comprehensive range of Islamic Art. Culture vultures will also love the Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St) for its iconic rounded architecture and avant-garde displays of modern art.
Tribeca Nestled in Lower Manhattan, Tribeca is one of the few neighbourhoods that have managed to retain the historical cobble-stoned streets and loft apartment buildings that have disappeared from most of the city years ago. A formal industrial district, it has been a budding artist community since the 1970s, and today is replete with a wide variety of galleries, stores, and restaurants that cater to its trendy affluent crowd. It is also the namesake of Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival and the yearly Taste Of Tribeca food festival. When it comes to fashion, the flagship Issey Miyake boutique at 119 Hudson St is a landmark in its own right. While fashion aficionados come for Miyake’s headlining sleek cuts, unique shapes and high-tech textiles, the non-fashion enthusiasts also make pilgrimage to witness Frank Gehry’s awe-inspiring 25-foot high titanium sculpture, aptly named “The Tornado”. Cult status brand Shinola recently opened its latest retail store at 177 Franklin St, comprising a boutique, café and newsstand that reflect its distinctive Made-In-America identity – the brand’s full selection of watches,
bicycles, small leather goods and notebooks are proudly produced locally in Detroit. Designed by David Rockwell, founder of Rockwell Group, the store’s clean minimalist design pays homage to 1930s industrialism, with poured concrete flooring, raw brick walls and exposed ceiling beams to bring texture and character to its gorgeous space. Foodies may choose to check-in at world-renowned Nobu (105 Hudson St) or newly chic Landmarc (179 W. Broadway), but why not try something a little more adventurous? Khe-Yo (157 Duane St) is an exotic new addition to Tribeca’s bustling food scene. Helmed by “Iron Chef” star Marc Forgione and executive chef Soulayphet Schwader, the kitchen serves up Laotian favourites that are as authentic as they get this far from Southeast Asia. Tongue-twisting dishes like Ping-Nok-Noi (bamboo-grilled ginger quail), Ping-Sien-Moo (spare ribs) and duck Laap-Peht (fresh salad) are some of the more popular offerings on the menu, and most plates are accompanied by perfectly crisp and chewy sticky rice balls and the cheekily named Bang-Bang sauce, a devillish concoction of chillies and spices.
Born Karl Anderson, Jr. in Long Island, New York, Michael Kors knew from a very early age that his passion lay in fashion. As a teen, he used to design and sell clothes out of his parents’ basement under the label Iron Butterfly, and was soon discovered by the fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman while working at a boutique across the department store at 57th street. The rest, as they say, is history. Kors established his company in 1981, and has since launched womenswear collections for Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. He was appointed the first ever women’s creative director and ready-to-wear designer for French fashion house Celine in 1997, but subsequently left in 2003 to concentrate on his own line. World-renowned and award-winning, his namesake company now houses a total of three labels – Michael Kors, KORS Michael Kors, and MICHAEL Michael Kors, covering everything from accessories, footwear, and watches, to jewellery, ready-to-wear garments, and fragrance products.
Fall/Winter 2013 Unmistakably urban, with bold graphic lines and electric colours on sporty-chic silhouettes, Michael Kors’ Fall/Winter 2013 collection reflects the attitude and glamour of his beloved city. Clean and cool luxury was reflected in slicked back hair and high ponytails on the runway, with subtle injections of futuristic sexy through strategic slits, belted looks, and structured peplums. Classic tweed and houndstooth are given severe cuts and tight cinches for an authoritative shape, while the eye-catching palette of yellow, orange, and blue remain classy through architectural cuts and clean tailoring.
HISTORICAL HOTELS Touted as the closest thing to a French chateau in New York, The Plaza provides such impeccable white-glove butler service as to make any royal feel right at home. This 1907 French Renaissance-styled landmark is decked in elegant Louis XV-inspired furnishings, and opulently Photos courtesy of Eric Laignel
detailed with 24-carat gold plated sinks and fixtures, floral mosaic walls, veined marbles and exotic woods. Constructed in 1882, The New York Palace is a true architectural gem. Evolving from private the private residence of prominent financier Henry Villard, to offices for the Archdiocese, its prestigious heritage and lavish design have truly made it one of New York’s landmark luxury hotels.
1. An idyllic street in Tribeca 2. The industrial charm and minimalist chic of Shinola’s boutique at 177 Franklin St 3. Michael Kors’ Fall/Winter 2013 advertising campaign Corporate Traveller
I LOVE NEW YORK, EVEN THOUGH IT ISN’T MINE, THE WAY SOMETHING ... BELONGS TO ME BECAUSE I BELONG TO IT. Truman Capote Author of Breakfast At Tiffany’s
BROOKLYN Brooklyn has always been a cultural melting pot, and its fashion scene certainly reflects that. With an eclectic mix of African, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Pakistani, Hispanic and Eastern European communities, the Brooklyn aesthetic has always been somewhat whimsical and eccentric. A firm advocate of “the Brooklyn perspective”, non-profit organisation BK Style Foundation has been organising their own BK Fashion Weekend (now rebranded as Brooklyn Fashion Week) over the last six years, showcasing local aspiring designers that are socially diverse and provocatively artistic. Some notable labels are Draft Minerva, with its deviantly abstract but pragmatic designs inspired by the founder’s background in painting and mixed media, and Vena Cava, a fashion duo
that joined forces since their days in Parsons for their mutual love of vintage silhouettes, producing collections that have been inspired by Japanese and Egyptian history.
Prospect Heights & Fort Greene A bourgeoning residential development, Prospect Heights is a charming neighbourhood of classic pre-war brownstones juxtaposed with modern luxury apartments that cater to the growing population of affluent young New Yorkers who are looking for more family-friendly neighbourhoods. Culture is everywhere to be found in Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, from the world famous Brooklyn Academy of Music and Brooklyn Philharmonic, to the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic
1. The Manhattan Bridge and Empire State Building as seen from Brooklyn 2. Picturesque serenity at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden 3. Beautiful brownstones along Brooklyn Heights 4. Century 21 department store in the Financial District 5. The well-stocked and multilingual Brooklyn Public Library 6. Luxury discount shopping at its best at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
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Garden in Prospect Park. While immersing yourself in the old world charm of the opulent buildings, drop by 1 Of A Find Vintage (633 Vanderbilt Ave) for a well curated collection of inspirational pieces that reflect the uniquely elegant glamour of the mid-20th century. After shopping, visit Beny’s Delice just slightly down the road at 567 Vanderbilt Ave for some authentic cuisine from the South of France and Northern Africa. While they offer classic French fare like Croque Monsieur and fresh croissants, a must-try is their Brick à l’oeuf – a traditional Tunisian
Photos courtesy of Wiki
dish of whole-wheat filo pastry filled with egg and an assortment of ingredients, such as chachouka (a medley of seasoned peppers), spinach, mushroom, crab, or tuna. If you’re in Fort Greene for a business meeting and crave something epicurean but unpretentious, check out Speedy Romeo (376 Classon Ave) for its wood fired pizzas and grilled steaks with house made mozzarella that won enough hearts (and stomachs) to make it to the Michelin Bib Gourmand List 2013.
BoCoCa Not actually a neighbourhood of its own, BoCoCa is an umbrella term used to refer to the adjacent communities of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. Literally the new kids on the block, BoCoCa is an eclectic mix of local artisans and independent entrepreneurs that form a cosy enclave of picturesque streets brimming with diverse shopping options. Article& (198 Smith St, between Baltic and Warren St) specialises in handpicked designer togs from J Brand and Jeffrey Campbell that are well tailored and not-too-edgy for the office. Hip boutique Bird (203 Grand St, between Bedford and Driggs Ave) carries gorgeous threads from labels like Isabel Marant, 3.1 Phillip Lim and
their mixologist’s signature cocktails, the Doc’s & Stormy certainly looks festive with its spicy combination of apply brandy, lime juice, ginger syrup, cinnamon, and Doc’s pumpkin cider.
DID YOU KNOW? • New York City is the safest major city in America. Out of the 25 most populated cities in the United States, New York has the lowest crime rate of them all, and the number is continuing to drop.
• The Teddy Bear is a proud New Yorker. The Brooklyn toymaker who launched his furry creation in 1902 named it after then United States President Theodore Roosevelt. It became so sensational that Roosevelt subsequently used it as the mascot for his
If bargain hunting is your main game, Century 21 department store (22 Cortlandt St, between Broadway and Church St) is the motherlode for discount shopping. A stone’s throw away from the World Trade Centre
re-election campaign. • Measuring 93m from the ground to the tip of its flame, the Statue of Liberty is believed to be the tallest metal statue in the world, and was dedicated by the French as a symbol of friendship on October 28, 1886. • The Walkway Over the Hudson stretches from Poughkeepsie to Highland, and is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world
memorial site in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District, its four floors are crammed with designer goodies just waiting to be unearthed. Rumoured gems include half-price cashmere sweaters and Marc Jacobs shoes, as well as heavily discounted accessories from Prada and Yohji Yamamoto. For those who have a little more time and a little extra padding in their wallets, a trip to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley) will definitely be worth your while. One of the largest outlet shopping centres in the world, you’ll find impressive savings at its wide array of 220 premium labels, including luxury brands like Balenciaga, Burberry, Dior, Gucci, and Versace. 4
Alexander Wang alongside more indie designers like Acne, Apiece Apart, and Wren; they even offer a select range of baby clothes in-store. If you’re feeling a little wicked, the Clover Club (210 Smith St) is the perfect place to imbibe in a spot of liquid brunch. Touted as one of the best bars in America, its handsome façade and plush chocolate banquettes are the perfect setting for some oysters, baked eggs with chorizo and manchego cheese, and an immaculate Bloody Mary. If you’d like to sample some of
Strike a pose and make a statement in sumptuous pieces that bring you from red carpet to cocktail hour Photography Alwin Oh Styling Jerome Awasthi Location Hotel Fort Canning Bentley Continental GTC V8 in Sequin Blue and Bentley Continental GT Speed in Dragon Red courtesy of Wearnes Automotive
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Black slim fitted tuxedo jacket, wing-tipped tuxedo shirt and black & white mix bow tie, all by Dior Homme; Floral pocket pin by Lanvin; Octo steel watch by BVLGARI Corporate Traveller
On Him: Maroon velvet tuxedo jacket, pocket square, white tuxedo shirt and black tuxedo pants, all by Alfred Dunhill; Bowtie patent lace-ups by Lanvin On Her: Embellished black dress by Prada; Snakeskin strappy heels by Louis Vuitton; Weaved clutch and ornamental ring, both by Bottega Veneta
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On Him: Double breasted velvet lapel tuxedo suit, tuxedo pants and embroidered silk scarf, all by Giorgio Armani; Wing-tipped tuxedo shirt, silk bow tie and patent lace-ups, all by Dior Homme On Her: Bow sleeved toga velvet dress by Giorgio Armani; Pointed toe heels by BOSS; Serpenti pink gold earrings with demi pave diamonds, and Serpenti pink gold double coil ring and bracelet with pave diamonds & rubelite head, all by BVLGARI
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AppliquĂŠd wool-blend dress with shoulder pleats by Bottega Veneta; Gold metallic abstract clutch by Saint Laurent; Ornamental necklace by Lanvin
On Him: Checkered print suit and pants, both by BOSS; Blue pin-tucked tuxedo shirt and flower pin, both by Lanvin; HydroConquest watch by Longines On Her: Dior Asymmetric draped cape, pink bustier top and asymmetric draped skirt, all by Dior; Pink mini satchel by Louis Vuitton; Dolce Vita watch by Longines
Styling Assistance Cai Yun Jing Makeup Rick Yang using YSL Beaute Hair Ash Loi @ Estique Salon using Shiseido Professional Models Brice / Mannequin & Martyna /Ave
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DELECTABLE GOODS Put the cherry on the cake of a great trip through a world-class airport by treating yourself to these exclusive travel offerings Text by Melissa Lorraine Chua
JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL™ & ALFRED DUNHILL (Available at DFS liquor stores) When two iconic British luxury houses come together, you can be sure that the result is nothing short of spectacular. Bonded by their mutual passion for pioneering travel, rich heritage, and impeccable craftsmanship, Johnnie Walker and Alfred Dunhill have collaborated to release a limited edition Travel Retail Exclusive Giftpack featuring the signature Alfred Dunhill ‘Chassis’ design with gunmetal accents. The 1L Johnnie Walker Blue Label™ bottle is etched with map contours while the copper finishing draws inspiration from the stills used in whisky distillation. Price available upon application, contact Moët Hennessy Diageo Singapore at tel: +65 6838 0243 for more information
ELIZABETH ARDEN (Available at Perfumes & Cosmetics stores) Perfecting your pout has never been easier with the Elizabeth Arden Holiday Lip Kit (S$49). An exclusive travel retail that comes with a gorgeous mirrored Croco pouch, the kit includes two of Elizabeth Arden’s signature lip-plumping Ceramide Ultra Lipsticks in Coral and Cassis, two lustrous Beautiful Colour Lipglosses in Diamond Gloss and Sweet Pink Gloss, and a dual-ended lip pencil in Taupe and Cocoa Rose for you to mix and match into the perfect shade for any occasion.
Prices are subject to change
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(Available at Perfumes & Cosmetics stores) Change the game and unlock the door to your dreams with the latest chapter in Justin Bieber’s scented story. The Key is an electrifying burst of inspiration, an energetic blend of juicy mandarin, crisp pear, boysenberry and sweet osmanthus blossoms that melds seamlessly into pink jasmine, water lily and peach nectar. The bright bouquet mellows sensually into base notes of exotic musks, precious woods, vanilla, and a tease of raspberry cream, while the bottle’s high gloss white finish and embellished gold accents mirror Justin’s modern and cutting-edge style. S$70.50 for 50ml; S$87 for 100ml
BVLGARI (Available at Perfumes & Cosmetics stores) BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline takes inspiration from the graceful luminosity and feminine purity of the perfect crystal. The radiance of the exotic nashi fruit is delicately balanced by the earthiness of bamboo and balsa wood, which envelop the tender blooming heart of lotus flower. Crisp and effortless, yet vivid and sensual, it is the tinkling laugh of a woman in rapture, the spirited joy of feminine vivacity. S$89.50 for Christmas Set including 65ml EDT and 15ml Jewel Charm EDT
Elegantly seductive and addictively intriguing, BVLGARI Man Extreme lives up to its namesake – a heady, soul-stirring infusion of masculine woodiness and distinctive Mediterranean spice. The lush green accords of pink grapefruit, Calabrian bergamot, and cactus beckon you into its deep heart of white freesia, Guatemalan cardamon, and amber. The scent lingers evocatively with hints of balsa wood, Laotian benzoin, and essence of Vetiver, dubbed the “oil of tranquility” in the East. S$98.50 for Christmas Set including 100ml EDT, 15ml travel spray and 75ml shave balm
BRAUN BÜFFEL (Available at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 Departure Halls / Transit Lounges) The Braun Büffel Fall/Winter collection is a depiction of invigorating passion and joyful romance, an intimate love story that centres on shared happiness and warmth. The SADDLE collection of briefcases and document bags in shades of black and coffee is artfully crafted with sleek but soft lines, and is a reflection of the ruggedly refined modern man. To complement it, the CECI collection is feminine and elegant, a sophisticated contrast of soft Nappa leather and delicate gold hardware. Sleek yet roomy, the four-piece presentation comes in intense purple and rust, as well as classic nude and graphite. From S$409
Prices are subject to change Corporate Traveller
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An engaging and inspiring read, Corporate Traveller provides travel news updates, insightful features on people, destinations, business and culture, as well as the latest happenings in entertainment, leisure and luxury.
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STOCKIST Alfred Dunhill #01-42, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; 6734-8126 Bang & Olufsen #01-05, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10/11/12 Scotts Road; 6737-7500 Bobbi Brown #B2-45, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6509-6576 Bose #01-35, Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard; 6339-0966 BOSS #B2-222, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue; 6634-6297 Bottega Veneta Palais Renaissance #10-01/04, 390 Orchard Road; 6738-2380 Brioni #B1-76, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue; 6688-7528
Dior Homme #01-22, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6509-8828 Dolce & Gabbana #01-24 & #02-12, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6737-2369
BVLGARI #01-08/09, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; 6836-6911
Estée Lauder #02-28, Metro Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; 6735-1472
Chanel #B2-43, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6634-5500
Giorgio Armani #01-19, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6304-1368
Clinique #03-01, Robinsons, Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road; 6334-6422
Gucci #01-38/39, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; 6734-2528
Cortina Watch #01-62/65A, Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard; 6339-1728 Crabtree & Evelyn #B2-16A, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue; 6688-8868
Jimmy Choo #01-10, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; 6735 9880 Lanvin #01-19/20, Hilton Hotel, 581 Orchard Road; 6304-1361
Longines #B1-18, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave; 6634-9893 Louis Vuitton #01-20/24, Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road; 6788-3888
Saint Laurent #01-25, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6735-7378 Sennheiser #03-123, Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard; 6336-5668
Shu Uemura Origins #B2-40/41, ION Orchard, Level 1, Robinsons Raffles City 2 Orchard Turn; 6509-8931 Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road; 6337-6581 Sincere Fine Watches #01-12, Ngee Ann City, Penhaligon’s Ltd 391 Orchard Road; 6733-0618 #01-34, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue; 6688-7520 Tangs Orchard Level 1, Tangs Beauty, Prada 310 Orchard Road; 6737-5500 #01-45/46/46, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; 6735-5715 Tod’s #01-48, Paragon, Raymond Weil Boutique 290 Orchard Road; 6738-3323 #03-31, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road; 6736-0213 Tommy Hilfiger Level 4, Takashimaya S. C., Ngee Salvatore Ferragamo Ann City, 391 Orchard Road; #01-40 & #02-42, Paragon, 6737-6931 290 Orchard Road; 6738-2306
BENTLEY Flying Spur
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Published on Apr 24, 2014
Written to provide an engaging and inspiring read for affluent business travellers, Corporate Traveller comprises key sections that pique re...