Tag Archives: Best of the Best

Botanica Luxury Estate in Phuket

Botanica Luxury Estate in Phuket

Botanica Luxury Estate is pleased to offer overseas buyers and investors very flexible payment plans through a five-year Rental Programme. When the custom-built residence completes, Botanica Luxury will rise on the most desirable address in Phuket.

Currently under construction, the development will comprise 21 elite residences with bespoke villas and areas of 265 to 700 sqm to accommodate up to five bedrooms. The luxury development is just a close proximity to the pristine Bangtao or Laguna neighbourhood, offering plenty of boutique shops and restaurants along the 8 km stretch of white sand.

Designed by AAP Architecture, the firm has been involved in the development of private homes on Phuket for over 12 years and the architectural designs thus far, have attracted onlookers to pause and fully immerse in the sanctuary living environment that evokes peace and calmness, and relish the beautiful mountain scenery.

Perhaps, the Botanica Luxury is the grandest villa ever designed by the architectural firm, consistently pushing boundaries and bringing vibrancy to every landscape they design and custom build.

Each villa centres around a natural stone tiled pool. (Botanica Villas Phuket)

The villa features a free-flowing floorplan that is capped by a vaulted, teak wood ceiling and framed by concertina glass doors. (Botanica Villas Phuket)

The transom windows above the glass doors allow the light to flow into the house and give added elegance to the main area of the home. (Botanica Villas Phuket)

The tile flooring in the home area matches that on the terrace for a seamless transition to the outdoors. (Botanica Villas Phuket)


5 Best Castles Europe

Invest in These: 5 Top Castles, Europe 2016

There is no better place than Europe to admire some of the most majestic castles in the world. Once theaters of war and conflict, houses of the powerful, those medieval palaces are -for the most part- still standing and ready to reveal their oldest secrets. Palace Magazine selected five of the most beautiful castles currently for sale across the continent so you can start writing your own fairytale now.

1) Italy: Medieval Castle Near Siena – $31.13 million (above)

This castle dates back to the 12th century and despite multiple alterations and extensions it retains the appearance of a true fortress. Set on 360 hectares, the estate includes restored farmhouses, olive groves, vineyards and views stretching all the way to Siena. The 40,000 sq. ft. main castle has 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, original frescoes and fireplaces. Available through Sotheby’s Realty.

2) Ireland: Glin Castle – $7.27 millionGlin Castle

This plush castle near Limerick has been in the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, for over 700 years. The property features 21 bedrooms and superb interiors with decorative plasterwork and notable collections of Irish furniture and paintings. Set on the waterfront and within 23 acres of gardens that seamlessly link to the wider parkland estate and woodlands. Available through Christie’s International Real Estate.

3) Spain: 13th Century Castle – $16.27 million13th Century Castle

Located in western Spain near the border to Portugal, this impressive castle includes over 1,000 acres of land and hunting grounds for wild boar and deer. The property was built in 1275, but has been fully refurbished and includes six bedrooms, nine reception rooms and a small museum. Available through Moulin International Real Estate.

4) Scotland: Earlshall Castle – $6.48 millionEarlshall Castle

Located in Leuchars, Fife, near St. Andrews, this stately 16th century castle features 10 bedrooms, eight reception rooms, a grand dining room, several outbuildings and a five-car garage. The property is set on 34 acres and has a celebrated walled garden designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. A number of renowned golf courses are located nearby. Available through Savills.

5) France: Castle Uzes – Price Upon RequestCastle Uzes

This picturesque 12th century castle in the south of France boasts over 8,600 sq. ft. of living space with 31 rooms, inner and outer courtyards, a roof garden and a swimming pool. The property has been fully restored, but retains original features like a Louis XIV fireplace, 17th century frescoes and coffered ceilings. Available through Sotheby’s Realty.

This article was first published in Palace Magazine.

Chef Corey Lee Named Top Chef 2016

Chef Corey Lee, best known for his triple Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Benu, has been named chef of the year 2016 by editors of the popular food blog Eater.com.

For the seventh annual Eater Awards, editors shone the spotlight on the players who made the biggest impact on the US food scene over the last year.

More than his singular menu at Benu or his equally popular bistro Monsieur Benjamin, it is for his ambitious project “In Situ” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that editors bestowed Lee with the title of chef of the year.

Part gastronomic exhibit, part unique dining experience, “In Situ” replicates dishes from some of the top Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe, allowing visitors to embark on a culinary world tour without leaving the city.

For the exhibit, Lee worked with participating chefs to recreate their signature dishes. The rotating menu features the cuisine of some of the most influential chefs around the world, including Massimo Bottura, whose Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana is the current titleholder of the world’s best restaurant; René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen; Albert Adria of Tickets in Barcelona; Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in Yountville; and Seiji Yamamoto of RyuGin in Osaka among dozens of others.

But in true Lee style, Eater food writer Bill Addison points out that, “Rather than mere mimicry, the result is akin to a choreographer interpreting a benchmark ballet. And like a work of art, the food is as wonderful to look at as it is to savor. With the debut of In Situ, it’s clear Lee is an unstoppable genius.”

The title of most beautiful restaurant of the year for 2016 goes to celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s eatery Gwen in Los Angeles, described as a “high-ceilinged beauty.”

The Art Deco-style dining room blends rustic and industrial elements, and features a European-style butcher shop that greets diners as they enter the restaurant.

“Designed by brothers Evan and Oliver Haslegrave of hOme Studios, the place feels very much like a gussied up movie set from ‘The Matrix’ or ‘Gattaca,’ blending elements of steampunk, Art Deco, and gothic interiors,” wrote LA editor Matthew Kang.

Val Thorens Named World’s Best Ski Resort 2016

Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens in France, has been named the world’s best ski resort for the third time, just a week before its official opening of the season.

It is a big boost for Val Thorens, which was momentarily knocked off its perch last year when the title went to Austrian ski resort Kitzbuehel.

But at the fourth edition of the World Ski Awards which was held over the weekend, the mythic ski destination reclaimed its crown thanks to continued efforts to innovate and diversify their offerings, organizers say. In 2011, for example, the French resort was the first to equip the ski area with free wifi.

“With its ever-present pioneering spirit, breath-taking natural environment, remarkable amount of sunshine and exceptional snow conditions, it is both unique and cosmopolitan, boasting a lively, sociable and welcoming atmosphere,” reads the World Ski Awards website.

Winners of the awards are determined by votes cast by leaders in the ski industry such as senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents, the media and the general public. For the 2016 edition, about 1.6 million votes were cast online from 85 different countries.

While Val Thorens took the biggest award of the night, resorts across Europe, Canada, Japan and even the Middle East took a few world awards as well this year.

The W Verbier in Switzerland, for example, took the award for world’s best ski hotel, while the world’s best ski chalet went to Bighorn at Revelstoke Mountain in Canada.

Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort sprawled across 3,000 square meters of artificial snow, took the title of world’s best indoor ski resort.

Meanwhile, this year Val Thorens has launched another innovative service designed to improve traffic on the ski slopes. Beginning this year, skiers can consult monitors that will post traffic information on different hills in real-time.

Also new this year, skiers will be able to choose from a slew of new restaurants and hotels including the four-star hotel Le Fahrenheit Seven and a sustainably built guest house called La Datcha that can accommodate 15 people and includes two movie theaters, two wine cellars, pool, hammam and Jacuzzi, along with new beer and wine bars.

The Val Thorens grand opening is November 26 – 27.

Here are some of the big winners of the World Ski Awards 2016:

  • World’s Best Ski Resort 2016: Val Thorens (France)
  • World’s Best Freestyle Resort 2016: LAAX, (Switzerland)
  • World’s Best Ski Hotel 2016: W Verbier (Switzerland)
  • World’s Best New Ski Hotel 2016: The Westin Rusutsu Resort (Japan)
  • World’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2016: The Vale Niseko (Japan)
  • World’s Best New Ski Chalet 2016: Chalet Pont du Cam (France)
  • World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort 2016: Ski Dubai (UAE)
  • World’s Best Ski Tour Operator 2016: Sunweb

Top 10 US Hotels Revealed: Trivago

Why Ferrari 250 GTO Could Set Auction Record

Koenigsegg One:1 photo

Koenigsegg Wins Science Prize with FreeValve Engine

Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg makes vehicles that are as brilliant as they are unnecessary so we were a little perplexed to learn that the company had won the 2016 Popular Science Grand Award. The thing about proper science is that you can’t just throw together a bunch of turbochargers, add a dash of extra horsepower and expect recognition. On the flipside, building a beautiful vehicle gets you nowhere just as quickly. No, the mad genius Christian von Koenigsegg won this accolade for his company through the cam-free internal combustion engine it pioneered.

To be clear, we applaud all efforts to engineer better cars and that is what Koenigsegg has done by effectively ditching the camshaft. This is no small matter because the camshaft has been an integral part of the internal combustion engine since, well, at least 100 years.

Christian von Koenigsegg was considered crazy for wanting to start his own supercar company, completely from scratch. But when his first car was finished in 2002, people quickly started changing their opinion. And 14 years later, the Swedish entrepreneur and inventor has proven himself an automotive genius, delivering innovations with his tiny committed team that some of the world’s most storied and established brands are struggling to keep up with.

Therefore it should seem obvious that the Koenigsegg FreeValve engine, which made its debut this year in a Chinese Qoros concept car, should be hailed as one of the biggest innovations of 2016.

Taking the place of the camshaft is a hydraulic actuator system that controls how the engine breathes. This new system allows each valve on the engine to be opened or closed independently, at a unique moment and for a unique amount of time. Theoretically, this could mean the eradication of every inefficiency inherent in the camshaft system. So, to make a long story shorter, this is a big deal. Motor Authority has a great video from Engineering Explained for those of you who want to learn more.

Koenigsegg Wins Science Prize with FreeValve Engine

The McLaren 570S Coupé

Beaten into second place on the Popular Science list is the McLaren 570S which was singled out because it is, in the publication’s opinion, the first truly usable supercar. Despite sitting low to the ground, having 562hp on tap and a 200mph+ top speed, it can be driven comfortably in real-world situations.

The top three is rounded out by the Chevrolet Bolt EV which makes the list for being the first true electric car for the people thanks to its ability to cover 238 miles on a single charge and costing just $37,495 before grants or subsidies.

Elsewhere in the list there are awards for the new Mercedes E-Class (eighth place) for its cutting-edge car-to-car communication system that relays live road and weather conditions in seconds to other Mercedes cars; and for the Audi SQ7 TDi.

Ranked in fifth place, the premium SUV makes this year’s cut for its innovative lag-free turbo system that uses two traditional turbos plus a third, electrically powered compressor that spools up instantaneously regardless of engine revolutions or exhaust gases. It makes a diesel feel as responsive as a gasoline engine.

Koenigsegg Wins Science Prize with FreeValve Engine

The New Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Viceroy Bali

Viceroy Bali Named Best in Asia: Prix Villégiature

The Prix Villégiature Awards 2016 winners have been announced, highlighting the best hotels across the world, including the Viceroy Bali as the best in Asia. Europe is a bit more complicated, as we’ll see below and other stories.

In any case, big winners this year include La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa, which was awarded the Best Hotel in Europe; it was also recognized for Best Service in a hotel of less than 80 rooms in Europe (yes there is a separate prize for the more than 80 rooms range but we’ll get to that in a bit).

The TIGMIZA Hotel Restaurant Spa, Marrakesh, Morocco, picked up the Best Hotel in Africa. The Mamilla Hotel (Jerusalem, Israel) was named as the Best Hotel in the Middle East. Just incidentally, because we love good design here, the Hotel Valverde in Lisbon picked up the prize for Best Interior Design in a hotel in Europe.

For dining, Best Restaurant in a hotel in Europe went to Paris’s Hotel Lancaster, for chef Julien Roucheteau’s La Table du Lancaster, while the Best Bar award went to The American Bar at The Savoy, London. Speaking of which, The Savoy, also picked up Best Service for a hotel of more than 80 rooms in Europe. And for those looking for a different way to relax, the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo boasts the Best Spa in a hotel in Europe.

The Oetker Collection picked up the prize for Best Hotel Group in Europe, while Best Resort in Europe was awarded to Evian, France’s Hotel Royal.

For a full list of winners head to the Prix Villégiature website.

Terminal 3 Singapore Changi airport

Top 10 Traveler-Endorsed Airports

Have you ever visited an airport on a layover that you wished would last longer? Travelers who have found themselves in Singapore’s Changi Airport won’t find this question odd. The 2016 edition of the Airports Survey carried out by Sleeping in Airports bears out the truth of this, with Changi claiming the top spot.

This result is of course unremarkable because Changi Airport is the clear consensus favorite. Earlier this year, Skytrax and ASQ had already declared Changi King of the Skies, as it were. In fact, there hasn’t been a credible threat to Changi’s position in years. Helping it retain its top ranking are its butterfly and orchid gardens, cinema experiences, street food halls and free foot massages. Joining Changi at the top are two more Asian airports, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo. All three were recognized for being efficient, clean, fun and friendly. Skytrax had Incheon and Changi tied for first place.

“What ultimately unites these terminals together is that coming to them is the opposite of a chore,” editors of Sleeping in Airports write.

“Rather, passengers are often found wishing their layover could continue for just a little longer so that they can check out the IMAX theater, the aquarium, the indoor jungle, the multi-story slide, the spa, or something that they haven’t even thought of yet.”

For the survey, travelers were asked to rank their experiences based on factors such as comfort, services, food options, immigration and security, customer service and cleanliness.

Of note, the only airport in North America to crack the top 10 list is the Vancouver International Airport in Canada.

Here are the top 10 airports in the Sleeping in Airports survey:

  • 1. Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
  • 2. Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
  • 3. Haneda International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4. Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 5. Munich International Airport, Germany
  • 6. Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan
  • 7. Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, Canada
  • 8. Helsinki Airport, Finland
  • 9. Tallinn Airport, Estonia
  • 10. Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland

Irish Mansion Revealed as World’s Best Hotel 2016

CN Traveler magazine’s 29th Readers’ Choice Awards named Ballyfin Demesne hotel in Ireland as the world’s best hotel 2016. The hotel gained worldwide attention for being Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s honeymoon resort, thanks to its refined elegance.

Commonly called Ireland’s Downton Abbey, the Ballyfin Demesne is a country house that was reopened in 2011, following nine years of renovation to restore its former grandeur. Irish art and antiques, Irish mahogany, and French chandeliers adorn the interior of the mansion. The 614-acre estate also consists of a wood, a lake, and extensive gardens. It only has 20 rooms though so exclusivity is guaranteed. 

Salon of the Ballyfin Demesne​ Hotel, Ireland © Ballyfin Demesne​ Hotel

Salon of the Ballyfin Demesne​ Hotel, Ireland
© Ballyfin Demesne​ Hotel

The 29th edition of CN Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards recognized the best of travel as voted by its 300,000 readers and curated by its editors. Nabbing the second spot on the list of world’s best hotels is COMO The Treasury, Perth, Australia followed by Hotel Matilda, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Here are the top 10 winners of the year:

1. Ballyfin Demesne, Co. Laois, Ireland

2. COMO The Treasury, Perth, Australia

3. Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

4. Umaid Bhawan Palace (Taj), Jodhpur, India

5. Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Dorset, England

6. Virgin Hotels Chicago, IL

7. Waterford Castle, Co. Waterford England

8. Hotel Unique, São Paulo, Brazil

9. The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo, Ireland

10. Hotel Il Pellicano, Tuscany, Italy

For more results, visit http://www.cntraveler.com/travel-awards/readers-choice-awards.

Top Luxury Travel Destination Revealed

Italy leads the list of top luxury travel destinations for the coming 12 months in a survey put together by the Travel Leaders Group. Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group (TLG), commented that Italy is popular among “affluent travelers who are seeking authentic, enriching experiences paired with a multitude of very high-end accommodations.”

So what do luxury travelers expect when they explore the world? According to TLG, affluent holidaymakers expect fine dining, private concierge-level access, spas, butler service, and a personalized or private check-in and check-out. “That’s important for industry partners to recognize,” said Gail Grimmett, President of Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group.

Italy and Africa had already been on the radar of luxury travelers, as has the United StatesAside from Italy, other top-ranked luxury travel destinations include European river cruises, the United States, Mediterranean cruises, and Australia. Iceland, New Zealand, and Cuba are also recognized in the list as a destination with growing interest. Here is the full list:

1. Italy

2. European river cruise

3. United States

4. Mediterranean cruise

5. Australia

6. Mexico

7. Ireland

8. Caribbean cruise

9. France

10. England (Tie)

10. Iceland (Tie)

11. South Africa

12. New Zealand

13. Jamaica

14. Costa Rica

15. Cuba

Chef Virgilio Martinez of Central restaurant, Lima, Peru © Central

Best Restaurant Latin America: Central, Peru

For the third consecutive year, Chef Virgilio Martinez’s Central restaurant, Lima, Peru is honored as Latin America’s Best Restaurant, as listed by Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Central presents a unique menu where dishes are labeled by the altitude at which the ingredients are found, spanning from 20 meters below to 4,100 meters above sea level. Diners are taken to a vertical tour of Peru through the culinary experience.

The dish “Marine Soil” (labeled 20 meters below sea level) features a medley of clams, pepino melons, and sweet lemon. Meanwhile, its polar opposite “Aija High Mountain” (labeled 4,100 above sea level) captures the concept of Andes mountains, with ingredients of huacatay, “pamper petals and moraya”.

"Green Highlands" at Central restaurant in Lima, Peru © Central

“Green Highlands” at Central restaurant in Lima, Peru © Central

Brazil, Peru, and Argentina tied for the most number of restaurants inside the top 50 list, with nine addresses each. Panama and Paraguay also made the top 50 list (the first of the year) for Maito (36) and Colorada Gastro (47), respectively.

The awards event held at Mexico CIty also recognized Enrique Olvera’s Mexico City restaurant Pujol with the inaugural Art of Hospitality Award. The Chef’s Choice award went to Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain of Pangea in Monterrey, Mexico. The ranking is based on the votes of 252 members of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

Here are the top 10 restaurants on the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list:

  • 1. Central, Lima, Peru
  • 2. Maido, Lima, Peru
  • 3. D.O.M. Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 4. Borago, Santiago, Chile
  • 5. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 6. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 7. Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru
  • 8. Mani, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 9. Tegui, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 10. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The most beautiful restaurant in all London is a German gymnasium… Well, the German Gymnasium, in fact. This stunning two-story restaurant served in a former life as England’s first purpose-built gym and helped to host London’s first National Olympic Games in 1866. In a twist that might be hard to understand, the German brasserie has been named the most beautiful eatery at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016.

The German Gymnasium, located in the heart of King’s Cross in London, was named the overall winner at the eighth annual event, which shines the spotlight on the most beautifully designed spaces around the world.

Lovers of good design will appreciate the German Gymnasium as it pays respectful homage to its heritage in preserving original details like the climbing hooks in the ceiling and cast steel columns.

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The building was completed in 1865 and was funded from London’s Germany community for the German Gymnastics Society.

Designed by Conran & Partners, the restaurant is described as a modern interpretation of a classic brasserie with German overtones. Warm walnut timber paneling and black and grey distressed leather upholstery are set off against fresh, contemporary accents like an occasional pink and red tone. The space features two bars, first floor restaurant, Grand Cafe and outdoor terrace.

The menu is likewise a celebration of the landmark’s German roots under the culinary vision of chef Bjoern Wassmuth, who has created a menu featuring a few classic Mittel-European dishes like schnitzel, currywurst, sauerkraut and strudels.

The Black Forest menu features black forest ham, truffled potato soup, venison “Baden Baden” with Spatzle and lingonberries and a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and chantilly called the “Danube.”


In the category of best overall bar design, the Blue Wave bar in Barcelona was given the top honor. Designed by El Equipo Creativo, the interior is conceived to evoke a wave about to break.

Located on the water’s edge in the Barcelona Port, designers used reflective elements and ceramic tile in various shades of blue and white to harken sea foam, sea waves and light.

Here are the international winners of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016:

  • Best Overall Restaurant: German Gymnasium, London, UK designed by Conran & Partners
  • Best Overall Bar: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo

Regional winners:

  • Best Restaurant North America: Torafuku, Vancouver, Canada, by Scott & Scott Architects
  • Best Bar North America: Kat & Theo, New York, USA by Aviva Collective
  • Best Restaurant Europe: Les Bains, Paris, France, RDAI
  • Best Bar Europe: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo
  • Best Bar Asia: Foxglove, Hong Kong, NCDA
  • Best Restaurant Asia: Shugaa, Bangkok, Thailand, Party Space Design
  • Best Restaurant Australia & Pacific: So 9, Sydney, Australia, Brand Works
  • Best Bar Australia & Pacific Bar: Pink Moon Saloon, Adelaide, Australia, Sans-Arc Studio
  • Best Bar Middle East Africa: News Cafe, Johannesburg, South Africa, Studio A
  • Best Restaurant Middle East & Africa Restaurant: Jo Grilled Food, Tehran, Iran, White Rhino Design Group
First Female Bartender Named World’s Best

First Female Bartender Named World’s Best

A bartender from Paris has become the first female to claim the lofty title of “World’s Best Bartender” at a major competition in Miami.

Jennifer Le Nechet of Cafe Moderne in the French capital beat out 10,000 bartenders from around the world after dominating the final challenge of the weeklong World Class competition in Miami: creating a pop-up bar in just 24 hours.

Le Nechet’s concept, a Steampunk-themed pop-up, had the wow factor needed to give her the leading edge over her five rivals from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Japan and Taiwan.

“Jennifer just nailed it in the Superstar Pool Party showing all the skills you could want in a bartender, and her pop-up bar blew us all away with its cool Steampunk theme and twist on classic cocktails with homemade emulsions, cola and organic ingredients,” said judge Alex Kratena, a mixologist who has been called the best international bartender who helped the Artesian in London score the title of world’s best bar when he was at the helm.

Le Nechet is one of the main personalities behind Café Moderne, a low-key watering hole for locals living in the 11th arrondissement, which attracts patrons as much for the cafe’s signature meatballs as it does for her cocktails.

“I’m completely blown away,” she said in a statement. “It’s such an honor to take home the title of World’s Best Bartender, especially when competing against such talent from around the world. This week has inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of flavors and to explore how all the senses can be engaged through cocktails.”

As the winner, Le Nechet will travel the world as a Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador – host of the event – judging competitions and taking her cocktail wizardry around the world.

Kiln Embers

Kiln Embers Triumphs at Whiskies of the World Awards

You may not be familiar with the name but Kiln Embers is a limited edition bottle created for lovers of smoky and peaty whisky. It has taken the top prize at the Whiskies of the World Awards.

Kiln Embers, from independent Scottish bottler Wemyss Malts, was named Best in Show at the second annual event held in Austin, Texas recently.

A panel of 17 judges blind taste-tested whiskies on a 100-point basis with a focus on aromatics, flavor and finish.

With a limited global release of 12,000 bottles, the Kiln Embers was developed as a smokier addition to the distiller’s range, blended with double the amount of smoky Islay malt whisky than its sister whisky Peat Chimney.

The Kiln Embers is non-chill-filtered with a 46 percent abv. The distiller’s tasting notes describe the nose as “snuffed smoke” mingling with salted lemons and sweet cure bacon, while oats and orange peel “toast over embers and heathery peat on the palate.”

The result, says Wemyss Malts, is a sweet smoky finish.

Another winner that stands out on the list is Amrut Distilleries in India, which won a gold award for their Amrut Fusion and a silver award for its Amrut Single Malt.

The Kiln Embers was released last year. For the full list of award winners, visit http://whiskiesoftheworld.com/awards/

Kiln Ember Triumphs at Whiskies of the World Awards

Look Out for These: Paris Motor Show Highlights

Look Out for These: Paris Motor Show Highlights

We say these are highlights to look out for at the 2016 Paris Motor Show but they are more like a road map, with projected milestones. Although there is obviously going to be an amplified buzz about electric propulsion (no bookmaker would take bets against at this point), expect battery-powered cars to be present for the most part in purely conceptual form at this year’s show. This leaves plenty of opportunity for crossovers, coupés and convertibles to generate a current of excitement. Having said that, technological advances in the auto industry are hardly limited to batteries and one particular idea, about the user experience, will be making an appearance at the Paris Motor Show.

A UX Concept

As cars move from being a simple form of personal transportation to potentially being the digital hub of the connected consumer and his or her equally connected home, so too does the definition of its user experience. Its systems have to be as fun and immersive to use as the driving experience is keen.

Therefore the Lexus UX Concept is an aggressively styled crossover on the outside – one that takes the company’s current design language and projects it into the next decade – and a simple-to-use supercomputer on the inside.

Look Out for These: Paris Motor Show Highlights

Interior of the Lexus UX Concept

The crossover is also the starting point for Mercedes’ show car, an electrified SUV that will be able to compete with the recently launched Model X in terms of luxury, technology and range.

Crossovers for All

As exciting as these models promise to be, it will be conventionally powered, real-world production vehicles that will hog the limelight at this year’s show. And, as the SUV continues on its journey to becoming the car of choice for all motorists, no matter what their transport needs, it should come as little surprise that most of the new cars on show at this year’s event will be of the high-sided variety.

Audi will be showing off the new Q5, BMW will be unveiling the conceptual outline of the X2, a coupé version of its entry-level X1 SUV and Mercedes will be displaying the GLC Coupé AMG 43 4Matic.

There will be more mass-market crossovers on show too, including the Skoda Kodiaq, a long-wheelbase version of the VW Tiguan and the Toyota C-HR.

But the biggest off road-inspired new vehicle will be the Land Rover Discovery. It promises class leading connected technology and benchmark setting all-terrain performance. After all Land Rover is the world’s only mainstream carmaker that deals exclusively in SUV models and it is therefore under the most pressure to raise the bar.

Supercar Debuts

Meanwhile, Mercedes will be showing off the AMG GT Roadster, the convertible take on its current flagship sportscar. Taking things up a gear further will be the world debut of the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T, a V8, turbocharged version of its four-seat shooting brake. There’s also a possibility that Ferrari will use this year’s show to debut the Apperta, an open top version of its Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid hypercar.

Not to be outdone, Porsche will be showcasing the Panamera, its own family sportscar in petrol and hybrid forms and potentially in shooting brake specification too.

The 2016 Paris Motor Show opens its doors to the press September 28 and 29, and the public from October 1.

Look Out for These: Paris Motor Show Highlights

Will the new 2017 Porsche Panamera be joined by a shooting break version at this year’s event?

French Chef of the Year: Christian Le Squer

French Chef of the Year: Christian Le Squer

Chef Christian Le Squer, who gave Paris another triple Michelin-starred restaurant earlier this year with Le Cinq restaurant at the Four Seasons George V, has been voted chef of the year by his confreres.

For the 30th edition of Le Chef magazine’s “Chef of the Year” awards, Le Squer took the coveted title after elevating Le Cinq to the exclusive three Michelin-starred club within about a year of taking over the reins of the kitchen.

The award is pitched as the only one of its kind in France for being voted upon by fellow chefs in the industry.

This year, about 6,000 industry chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers and maitres d’hotels were invited to cast votes for their outstanding peers.

It comes as little surprise that Le Squer would take this year’s honor, given the amount of buzz generated following his takeover of the iconic dining destination.

The ambitious chef made no secret of his single-minded vision for the restaurant, proclaiming it his personal and professional mission to give it a third star.

His strategy was to do what he does best: classic French fare executed with masterful techniques honed at his previous post as chef of the Pavillon Ledoyen, where he also earned three Michelin stars.

French Chef of the Year: Christian Le Squer

While the menu at Le Cinq changes seasonally, some of his signature dishes include the turbot with truffled fingerling potato emulsion, crispy prawns from Bretagne and citrus emulsion, and whipped oysters.

The chef describes his cuisine as: “flavors, concentrated and moving.”

Likewise, Le Squer has also made it a priority to become active on social media, spending about an hour a day engaging with fans and sharing recipes.

Pastry chefs across France also expressed their admiration for Nina Metayer of Le Grand Restaurant in Paris, voting her the pastry chef of 2016 for her elegantly turned out desserts.

On Monday night, more than 900 guests – including 400 Michelin-starred chefs – gathered at a gala event at the Lido on the Champs-Elysées to honor this year’s winners and fete the magazine’s 30th anniversary.

Here are the winners:

Chef of the year: Christian Le Squer, for Le Cinq, Paris

Pastry chef of the year: Nina Metayer, Le Grand Restaurant, Paris

Sommelier of the year: Baptiste Cavagna, La Pyramide, Vienne

Service award: Francois Pipala, Paul Bocuse, Collonges au Mont d’Or

Best Restaurants in the world: Opentable announced the top places to eat in United States and CanadaTop US, Canada Restaurants Revealed: OpenTable

California leads OpenTable’s list of the 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America, dominating the leaderboard with 17 addresses on the list.

The online restaurant reservation site released the latest edition of its list for the US, after looking at the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

After California, New York landed nine spots on the list, followed by Pennsylvania (8), Virginia (6), and Illinois and New Jersey with five each.

The most popular cuisines in the US are French, Italian, Asian, Hawaiian, Israeli and Persian.

A Canadian version of the list was also released, with Ontario leading the scoreboard with 45 addresses, followed by Alberta (22) and British Columbia and Quebec with 14 each.

Canadian diners are particularly fond of Italian fare, which emerged the most popular type of cuisine followed by Canadian and French.

For the full lists, which are in alphabetical order, visit OpenTable.

Peterhof-Grand-Palace-St. Petersburg-Russia

St Petersburg Named Best Cruise Destination

The world’s cruise travelers have spoken and they have named St. Petersburg, Russia, the best cruise destination for 2016. Website Cruise Critic’s first cruise destination awards gave the former imperial Russian city top marks for art, history and architecture. Peter the Great would have been pleased.

Cruise Critic’s awards are based on consumer ratings submitted with reviews on the site. Paris was rated the best river cruise destination (that’s for the Seine, which is navigable by ocean-going vessels up to Rouen), while San Francisco took the title of best cruise destination in North America.

Here are some of the big winners:

  • Top-rated Alaska Port: Glacier Bay
  • Top-rated Asia & South Pacific Port: Mystery Island
  • Top-rated Australia & New Zealand Port: Sydney
  • Top-rated Baltic & Scandinavia Port: St. Petersburg
  • Top-rated Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda Port: St. Maarten
  • Top-rated Southern Caribbean Port: Bonaire
  • Top-rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Port: Cozumel
  • Top-rated British Isles & Western Europe Port: Amsterdam
  • Top-rated Eastern Mediterranean Port: Venice
  • Top-rated European River Port: Paris
  • Top-rated Western Mediterranean Port: Barcelona
  • Top-rated Hawaii Port: Kauai
  • Top-rated Mexican Riviera & South America Port: Puerto Vallarta
  • Top-rated U.S. & Canada Port: San Francisco
  • Top-rated Cruise Line Private Island: Castaway Cay

For the full list of winners visit http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/destination-awards/.

World's Fastest Tri-Copter Drone Debuts YI Erida

World’s Fastest Tri-Copter Drone Debuts

When it makes it global debut at InterDrone in Las Vegas, the YI Erida will be the first consumer-targeted drone to boast a carbon fiber construction, 4K video and a top speed of 75mph.

The new drone combines commercial specifications with the simplicity and ease of use expected by consumers and its makers believe it could be the device that brings professional grade performance to the masses at an affordable price.

“We are solving three of the biggest barriers to widespread drone adoption: overly complex products, lack of consumer accessibility and short flight time,” said YI Technology CEO Sean Da. “[It] features the most advanced technology in a simple and intuitive operating system at a competitive price point.”

By constructing the body completely from carbon fiber, the YI Erida is durable yet light and this lack of weight means it’s agile, easy to maneuver and gentle on battery life. Initial tests show that as well as hitting 75mph (120km/h) it can remain airborne for 40 minutes.

The three sets of rotors fold down so that the drone is easy to transport when not in the air and as it doesn’t need a separate remote controller – it’s all operated via a smartphone app – packing it for a short trip shouldn’t be a hassle.

The final selling point is that it is the only drone in the marketplace that comes with an integrated YI Technology action cam capable of filming in full 4K resolution at 30 frames per second and for up to 120 minutes at a time. As well as automatically capturing moving images, the camera has a host of manual controls for professional photographers and videographers for capturing specific types of static or moving image.

“Our drone is the culmination of decades of expertise and experience in imaging and aeronautics with a focus on producing a drone that addresses the shortcomings of current market leaders, to exceed the industry standard,” said Da.

As for exactly how much the YI Erida will cost, although the company claims it will be competitive and affordable, the actual figure won’t be announced until later this year.

The 2016 InterDrone International Drone Conference and Exhibition, runs September 2-7 at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas.