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CEO Ben Taechaubol discusses Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok

Developed by Country Development Group, the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a premier 73-storey residential tower meant to define luxury waterfront living.

Developed by Country Development Group, the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a premier 73-storey residential tower meant to define luxury waterfront living.

Considered as Bangkok’s last remaining waterfront golden site, the Chao Phraya Estate encompasses over 14 acres (35-2-68 rai) of prime land along its majestic namesake river. Strategically positioned at its heart, the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok.

Developed by Country Group Development, the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a premier 73-storey residential tower meant to define luxury waterfront living. Compared to comparable “super luxury” Bangkok real estate developments, the Four Seasons Private Residences is the only luxury real estate development with unprecedented accessibility from the main road as well as 350 metres of waterfront real estate. It is currently, the world’s largest Four Seasons Private Residences.


Introducing Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River

Every unit at the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a corner unit. Thus, to say it elevates luxury waterfront living to new heights is not hyperbole. The super luxurious condominium not only draws inspiration from its spectacular waterfront locale, every unit also features unobstructed panoramic river and city views across all 355 residences, as well as enhanced services from its two neighbouring world-class hotels – Capella and naturally, the Four Seasons.

The iconic 73-storey residential tower Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok stands over more than 14 acres of prime waterfront real estate, making the opulent Bangkok luxury development along the Chao Phraya River, one of, if not the most exclusive residential address, with a world class brand name to boot – the legendary Four Seasons and with the brand, the lauded 5-star service which combines to create a lifestyle beyond First class.

Spanning some 350 metres from main road to waterfront, the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is centrally located with quick access to the expressway

Spanning some 350 metres from main road to waterfront, the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is centrally located with quick access to the expressway

Bangkok’s record breaking gridlock is well known and interested parties in the mixed use luxury city resort condo might be concerned but after talking to experts, perhaps we can allay some concerns. Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok is centrally located with quick access to the expressway, 5 minutes from Bangkok’s Central Business District and 20 minutes by car in heavy traffic to the city’s city’s most sought after shopping destinations, restaurants and attractions. Designed to create a lifestyle unlike any other, Bangkok’s first ultra-luxury Branded Residences combine with the best in hotel-inspired amenities, smart home functionality and the communal environment of being neighboured with two world-class hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River and Capella Hotel Bangkok. The 32 billion baht development by Country Group Development PCL (CGD) and Four Seasons Hotels is certainly the first of its kind in Asia.

Luxuo was invited to view the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River where we toured and actual unit, following which we met Country Group Development CEO Ben Taechaubol for a dinner cruise down Bangkok’s most culturally, socially, and historically most significant river.

Every unit at the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a corner unit. Thus, to say it elevates luxury waterfront living to new heights is not hyperbole

Every unit at the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a corner unit. Thus, to say it elevates luxury waterfront living to new heights is not hyperbole

CEO Ben Taechaubol discusses Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok

How does Four Seasons Residences compare to the Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz Carlton Mahanakhon?

Here’s the breakdown of the overall real estate market: Bangkok city planning means there’s the mid tier, the luxury and then the super luxury segment, driven by the quality that the developer invests in. With a luxury real estate, you typically get a good location, a great Thai architect, provide him with reasonable specifications, and that itself gets you to the luxury standard. Beyond this price point, you will start to see international designers, architects and specifications similar to benchmarks used by the Four Seasons Residences Bangkok. Usually, you will see it as part of a mixed use project rather than a single condominium – more often than not, it’s a branded residence because you’re trying to elevate the development. In addition, it’s also the mixed use concept which makes it unique.

In the Ritz Carlton Mahanakhon, you’ve got a small retail section, heavy on F&B, you get the residences and the hotel with an observatory in a single tower and that gives you a certain lifestyle in the heart of the city. For the Mandarin, the location on the Thonburi side of the river, the residences are beside a large retail concept for convenience, paired with branded hospitality service. The Mandarin hotel itself is across the river and thus, it’s a different relationship in context of the Four Seasons Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River; we are the one integrated concept with a much larger resort footprint and the concept behind it was not just luxury and residential living: It’s two legendary hotels together, Capella and Four Seasons, combined to offer a certain luxury waterfront lifestyle.

The Four Seasons Residences Bangkok is not about paramount transportation convenience but ultimate luxury. To me, this makes us clearly differentiated and unique from the competition.

The super luxurious condominium not only draws inspiration from its spectacular waterfront locale, every unit also features unobstructed panoramic river and city views across all 355 residences

The super luxurious condominium not only draws inspiration from its spectacular waterfront locale, every unit also features unobstructed panoramic river and city views across all 355 residences


How is this waterfront in Bangkok different from that of the other cities?

With a plot of this size, we had to consider what our definition of luxury waterfront living was and how we were going to use the space. Where I grew up, my home was on Sydney Harbour and from my observation, the Bangkok Chao Phraya river is special for two reasons. First, it has a rich cultural heritage. There are some magnificent waterways in San Francisco but not all of them are as culturally rich, the Chao Praya revolves around traditions and festivities. In collaboration with how dynamic and busy the river is, there’s a vibrant, chaotic energy to it, reflecting Bangkok city. The River Thames would be slower paced in comparison. So we defined our concept of luxury waterfront living in Bangkok as a “resort in the city” – a 20 minute drive into town or a 5 stop train ride. Second, Thailand is synonymous with great hospitality, best represented by its people. So if you want luxury waterfront living steeped in service and hospitality, that to me is a great way to live in Thailand. We simply layered on the components for hospitality – the resort concept with hotels. We weren’t going to complicate the brief by putting in commercial or retail components. We didn’t max out the space to what is allowed with the plot ratio and made the conscious decision to look at the value rather than the development size. The result is that Four Seasons Residences Bangkok on the Chao Praya is fairly low density.

Why is it the right time to launch this project?

At the time, it was the largest project. Today, it’s the third largest. Size aside, an opportunity like that hadn’t arisen in decades. We simply had to seize it. There’s quite a lot of land on the Thonburi side of the river, one can acquire a large plot fairly easily. On the Bangkok side, it’s a completely different story. and perceived as differently. A lot of the real estate development in Bangkok has been Eastbound and there’s been less of a reason to expand Westbound. If you took the cluster of luxury hotels on the Bangkok side of the Chao Phraya, you’ve got the Mandarin, the symbolic market leader. You’ve got the Shangri-la. The Shangri-la was the most recent 5-star hotel built on the Bangkok side and it is over 30 years old. The Oriental is well over 150 years old. The plot of land we have today is 7x the size of the leading Mandarin Oriental, 3.5x larger than the Shangri-la. With those properties, you had to travel down the side streets to get from the road to the river, roughly 350 metres. The Four Seasons Residences Bangkok stretches from the main road to the river and so when an opportunity like this developed, we were left with no good reason not to take it.

The units at Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok come with some built-in fixtures like wardrobes, alcove shelves and full suite kitchen amenities.

The units at Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok come with some built-in fixtures like wardrobes, alcove shelves and full suite kitchen amenities.

Why do you believe the Bangkok luxury real estate market has such staying power despite the political instability?

We have political instability but its very much a domestic matter. Even at the height of the tension, it’s still concentrated in a few areas, so it’s not like the whole city shuts down. There were instances where they took it too far and it affected the airport but that was heavily criticised and they lost support. Bangkok is a resilient city, even at the peak of political instability, there were only small drops where three months later, tourist arrivals were back to an all-time high. Overall, the instability doesn’t affect tourists and its overall targeted at local officials.

In terms of investments, there’s been a lot of business stability over the last few years thanks to a lull in political activism. The last three years have been doing quite well.

With almost 70% of the units sold, a common refrain from your Executive Director is that Hong Kong has been very good to the Four Seasons Residences Bangkok, does this imply that the majority of the sales has been going to Hong Kong natives or Chinese nationals investing?

Some of our international buyers are foreigners living in Thailand but when we analysed the data, we discovered that it was Hong Kong natives rather than Chinese natives residing in Hong Kong. We have marketed the most in Hong Kong because it’s been very well received there due to the value of the currency in Bangkok as well as the fact that the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok resonates with them because they’re accustomed to luxury waterfront living.

We’ve been there four times and we’ve reached new record highs each time. We have a lot of Chinese clients are well but China requires a far more disperse strategy due to its geographic size.

Why are you not as aggressive in Singapore as you are in Hong Kong?

We plan to go to Singapore. It takes a lot of extensive planning and we need the right selling partner. This has been the key to our success. In places like Taipei, Thai developers have refrained from going there because there’s some uncertainty but we’ve found success there as well. We have a lot of Singaporean clients as well but because they’re so familiar with the city, they’re already buying through our local intermediaries.

How does Country Development Group decide new projects?

Our investment mandate is not just luxury. We invest in few projects of significant size in multiple sectors. We deal only with high quality. We don’t land bank either, our concepts are carved out with very specific intentions which is why the location we sought out had to be very hospitality friendly. Our next project will be mixed use with a residential component.

Financial Times estimated 5% worth of annual rental yields, would you evaluate this as conservative or optimistic?

I believe it’s fairly conservative. The thing is that yields are higher when the initial price point is smaller, thus i think it’s conservative for the smaller units and on the larger units, you’d probably see 3.5%. I don’t think people who are buying into Four Seasons Residences Bangkok are looking for rental yield anyway, but on capital gains, the yields will be higher on the bigger units. Something particularly interesting is that we have one of Bangkok’s Top 3 international schools nearby, as a result, rental demand is really strong. Not only is it higher but there’s ample new demand every year.

From an investment standpoint, some critics are saying you’re better of putting the same amount of money you’d pay for a Four Seasons Bangkok residence in REITS and get 8 to 10%. What is your counter argument to such a proposition?

It’s comparing apples to oranges. I think our clients are incredibly wealthy and they already have allocations towards stocks and bonds etc, an important asset class is real estate. When you’re looking luxury real estate, it’s each for their own, while we’re not claiming to be the highest rental yields or largest capital gains, that is not the play. Our investors are looking for something of exceptional quality and rarity. Our buyers know that they are purchasing something which cannot be replicated. There are many copycats in Bangkok, simply look at all the real estate condominium developments clustered around BTS stations, all of a similar size. There’s only one Four Seasons Residence Bangkok at Chao Phraya River. When it’s this rare, the prices go up higher. This concept can never be replicated with this location – a site like this has not cropped up in 100 years, nor with such a brand, nor with sucha  design philosophy.

How did you manage to convince Capella and Four Seasons to co-exist at the same site?

It’s not unusual to have brands co-existing in one plot but in our case, our concept was planned with a strategy and role for the two hotels and how they would supplement the residences. The Four Seasons Private Residences is an urban resort, 500 keys, quite sizeable for a 5-star hotel with a positioning at the top of the market. Bangkok is the global number 1 tourist destination purely by tourist numbers and this positioning is important, especially when beside the largest Four Seasons Residences in the world today. Supplementing this vision, we looked for a team of likeminded professionals with clear positioning and we found this with Capella, an all suites type hotel with 100  keys and its very complimentary to one another.

What’s the traffic situation going to be like with 355 keys for the residences alone, not even counting the hotel traffic?

There are many developments popping out in Bangkok. There 4 lanes but the large roads are not common in Sukhumvit. What’s important is your proximity to the expressway. For super luxury, proximity to a skytrain is good to have but not vital. We’re one of the few Bangkok luxury real estate projects that offer a river shuttle which will take you to a skytrain and connect you to Siam Paragon in 9 minutes.

Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok Amenities and Specs

  • Designed by the internationally renowned duo Hamiltons International and BAMO
  • Featuring a range of floor plans, from 115sqm, 2-bedroom residence to a 1,050sqm penthouse
  • Enjoy shared facilities like the River Lounge and the Amenities Deck to swim in a contemporary infinity pool that faces the iconic river, indulge in a tranquil session of yoga and Pilates at the state-of-the-art fitness studios, unwind in the private cabanas.
  • The all-exclusive lavish Four Seasons Club triplex, over 1,300 sqm large with facilities for music lessons, private tuition, children’s play area, glass walled wine room for rare spirits, a golf simulator, a billiards table and theatrette.

Available units starting from ฿ 35,000,000. Visit www.chaophrayaestate.com

Resort to These: 5 Paradise Spas

Set amidst soaring mountains and azure waters, these spas are probably the closest you’ll get to experiencing paradise. They might be off the grid but we think the service and breathtaking views are worth every bit the hassle of flight transfers.

Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldivescheval-Blanc-paradise-found-LO

Accessible by a traditional boat known as a dhoni, this spa has six massage cabins and two Orchidée Villas, the latter a collaboration with Guerlain. Those familiar with the resort but not the spa should take note that the spa is off on its own island, which is unsurprising for the Maldives. So even at the secluded Cheval Blanc, on Noonu Atoll, you can achieve new levels of privacy and peace of mind here.

Cheval Blanc Randheli


The resort known as Amangiri is legendary; it is rated 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor and earns a 9 out of 10 score at Mrandmrssmith. The spa offers something truly exotic for Asian travelers: Navajo and Hopi treatments and the splendour of the American Southwest. Spanning 25,000 sq ft, the spa offers massages, scrubs, wraps and flotation therapy in its many pavilions, rooms and terraces.Amangiri-Paradise-Found-LO

This Canyon Point Utah resort is set in the midst of stunning desert topography, as you can see here.


Aqua DomeAqua-Dome-paradise-found-LO-3

This thermal resort in Austria has more than five themed sauna rooms. Shown here is the aptly named The Barn Sauna, designed to look like an old-fashioned stable with its wooden beams and lamps. No horsey smells here though, just essential oils (infused in the hay!) and a comfortingly warm environment.Aqua-Dome-paradise-found-LO-2

The Aqua Dome boasts 12 pools, including river basins, basin pools and even activity pools, which give you an Instagramable view of the Ötztal Alps.Aqua-Dome-paradise-found-LO

With a view like that, what else can you do but lounge around the whole day? The resort is in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for 2015, if such accolades matter to you.

Aqua Dome

Four Seasons Resort SeychellesFour-Season-Paradise-Found-LO

They call this an island refuge. We’re not refuting that claim. The Seychelles are already one of the most isolated places on earth and have only been occupied by humans since 1770, with no indigenous peoples. As such, it is one of the rare places that you can easily visit that is also relatively untouched by human activity. Four-Season-Paradise-Found-LO-2

One of the highlights on the menu at the Four Seasons spa here is the Starlight Massage. It is administered on the rooftop after sunset and, while the tight knots in your muscles are skilfully kneaded away, you soak in the sounds of the Indian Ocean and the night breeze.

Four Seasons Resort, Seychelles

Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di GardaLefay-paradise-found-Lo-2

This resort, located in Brescia (northwest Italy), scores full marks from TripAdvisor and a quick Google search reveals under 150,000 results. In short, it is amazing and not that many people know about it. Besides pools and sauna rooms, the spa has two relaxation rooms, including the Sunset Relaxation Area, shown here (above).Lefay-paradise-found-Lo

You’ll find this resort on Lake Garda (that’s Lago di Garda in english) in an 11-hectare natural park surrounded by hills and olive trees.

Lefay Resort & Spa

A version of this story, written by Pearlyn Tham, was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016

Do you feel the panic building up inside? What about the uncertainty? We know exactly what you’re going through. We are just two sleeps away from Mother’s Day in Singapore and still clueless as to what we should get dear mum. We know the go-to gift is a reservation at her favorite restaurant, but why not your one-and-only mum something she can look back on with fond memories.

As we brain-stormed about ideas in the office (Go Teamwork!), we agreed that mothers do not simply fit one mold. With their various interests and lifestyles in mind, we set out on a mission to find options for the woman who has, for many years, put you first. We present you with our gift guide to Mother’s Day that is sure to win you brownie points with dear ol’ Mum.

For the FashionistaYSL-BO-OPIUM-MINAUD.-PLEXINAP-418593_JA74O_8097_A-SGD2490

Whether she’s out for a night on the town with her friends or heading out for dinner with the family, mum always makes sure that she looks her best. For someone who has her own personal style and hates bulky accessories, I would pick the Saint Laurent Opium Minaudière. The Opium Minaudière is an elegant and stylish clutch that I’m sure she would love to add to her wardrobe. Plus, I think the rope straps and leather tassels are an interesting touch.

Robbie Wilson, Deputy Editor (Yacht Style & PALACE) 

For the Jet-SetterRS1361_Aman-at-Summer-Palace---Swimming-Pool

For something truly special, I would go with the best trip of a lifetime and there happen to be two such options this year, one from Aman Resorts and the other from Four Seasons.

This is just what the doctor ordered in terms of kicking back and having the world at your feet, private jet included. For mothers who are always putting other people’s needs before their own, this is a great getaway. Also, it is a proper tale to tell the grandkids about.

Ashok Soman, Associate Publisher (Luxuo)

For the Athletic MumSwarovski-Fitness-Tracker-Mothers-day

When you think about it, mothers – especially new ones – are like Ironman participants. They run after the kids, wheel the young ones around while gracefully completing the 5,736 errands at home and at work, and swim in an ocean of mixed emotions (mostly frustration and despair, tinged with love). So, really, most – if not all – mothers are uber-active women.

Which is why the versatile and very elegant Swarovski Activity Tracking Jewelry Collection, designed in collaboration with Misfit, is the perfect treat for the modern, active mum. There couldn’t be a more chic way for her to track her physical activity than with the beguiling Activity Crystal, which syncs to her smartphone wirelessly. Swap out the sport band for a Slake bracelet, and she’s ready for that critical meeting with important clients or that hard-to-come-by night out with Hubby away from the kids. She works hard enough. Let her do it in exquisite style, at least.

Justin Cheong, Deputy Editor (L’Officiel Singapore)

For the Jewelry AddictTiffany-Co-tourmaline-Mothers-Day

You can never go wrong with a beautiful creation from Tiffany & Co. Naturally, I gravitated towards the Blue Book collection and got lost in the many designs available. Somehow, I managed to narrow it down to one and I have to say, I am proud of myself. The cushion-cut green tourmaline ring with round diamonds would certainly be an eye-catching accessory for her to own and it would be a thank you to the woman who has endured my tantrums, and been my shoulder to cry on. If that doesn’t bring a smile to her face then I’m not sure what will.

Vimidamini Haridasan, Digital Writer

For the Beauty Junkieren_instant_bea.26112173008.h0

For all the stress, tears and wrinkles, I’ve inflicted upon her over the years, I think mom would really appreciate a good eye care regimen. Cult skincare label Ren’s “Instant Bright Beauty Shot Eyelift” is a new gel-serum that promises to dramatically lessen crow’s feet while brightening dark circles with its potent formula of Hyaluronans. Hopefully that puts the sparkle back into her eyes!

Shatricia Nair, Digital Writer

Private Jet Tours from Aman, Four Seasons

Sometimes we really deserve to set ourselves up for a long airborne journey far from the madding clutter of everyday life. For that, Aman and Four Seasons have you fully covered with their respective travel packages. Whether it is exploring the cultural depth of Asia in the comfortable privacy of a Gulfstream G200 private jet, or being brought on a gastronomic journey with the help of star chef Rene Redzepi, you can be sure that these trips will be fully worth your (considerable) while. We are not sure if this is part of some larger trend of hotel groups organizing tours of multiple properties but we do like it when luxury brands really think outside the box.

Aman Summer Palace

Aman Summer Palace

With a limit of just eight guests on the Gulfstream G200, Aman’s Private Jet Expedition allows for a nice space of your own, or with your loved one, while visiting some of the key cradles of Asian civilization. The trip stretches across China, Bhutan, India, and Sri Lanka, where guests will be able to stay at the eight Aman resorts in these countries. In order to maximize the intimacy of the situation, all touring is set to be with a private car, driver, and guide for each day – though guests will have the occasion to come together in the evening for cocktail parties and special dinners. It’ll run through 9-26 October 2016. We are sure that Aman Junkies (as fans of the resort are known) will probably already have booked this up but here are the details anyway.

Amanbagh - Dinner at Small Chhatri

Amanbagh – Dinner at Small Chhatri

The trip will start in urban Beijing, where guests can discover its world heritage sites while staying over at the Aman Summer Palace. Later they’ll shift over to Amandayan and be able to experience the rural beauty of Lijiang. Next up is Amankora Paro and Amankora Thimpu in Bhutan, the country well-known for its spirituality, natural beauty and, of course, for being relatively unknown. After Bhutan is the oasis-like Amanbagh in India’s Aravalli Hills, as well as the tented Aman-i-Khas located on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park. Finally, Sri Lanka beckons with the colonial charm of Amangalla located in Galle Fort, and, the Bawa-esque beachside resort Amanwella. All this adds up to perhaps the perfect exploration of the diversity of Asian cultures while being able to stay at a host of resorts – each with their own special cultural aesthetic. The whole trip is priced at $63,888 per person ($127,776 per couple).

Amanwella Swimming Pool

Amanwella Swimming Pool

At $135,000 per person, Four Seasons’ “Culinary Discoveries” aims to focus exclusively on the gastronomical side of things. Yes we know gastronomical is not a real word but at that price, you can call it whatever you want. Running from May 27 to June 14 2017, the trip goes through nine dining capitals and stops at some of the most exclusive restaurants out there. The flight itself will be aboard a private Boeing 757 configured to seat 52 passengers. Every guest is also gifted with Bose noise-canceling headphones and iPads, rather than normal earbuds and seatback entertainment.

Culinary Discoveries with Four Seasons

Culinary Discoveries with Four Seasons

The three week itinerary scrolls through looking into ancient Korean temple cuisine, exploring the street food and markets of Hong Kong and Thailand, going on foraging tours with the chefs at the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, and ending in Paris with a farewell dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Other locations on the way include Mumbai, Florence, Lisbon, and Tokyo. Along the way, guests will participate in a series of hosted talks and conversations about the past, present and future of food and its intersection with creativity, innovation and community.

The Boeing 757

The Boeing 757

“From our team’s travels across Scandinavia to relocating our restaurant to Tokyo and Sydney, our international journeys have helped expand our minds and our tastes, and influenced the creativity of the Noma kitchen. We look forward to working with Four Seasons to help develop their first-ever Culinary Discoveries journey, and to create an experience that is truly memorable” said Redzepi.

You can check out more details over that Aman’s website here, or Four Seasons’ website here.

Dubai property Burj Khalifa

Insight: Appeal of Designer Apartments in Asia

Visitors to the recently completed Milano Residences in the Philippines will be greeted by its slick facade, before coming face to face with the lobby’s main draw – a Versace Home bubble sofa. Next to the statement piece is a sunburst coffee table with a crystal top, also Versace. All at once, touches of the Italian fashion mainstay unravel, in the black leather of dining chairs, steel chrome tables, and even the estate’s porcelain and silver tableware.

The $68 million, 340-unit Century Properties development is the brand’s first residential foray into Asia where designer brand properties have started to take flight, fuelled by demand from locals and expatriates alike.

Residents who opt to have their units in Manila designed by Versace Home are given exclusive access to the brand’s fine home collection, encompassing essentials from furniture to linens and pillows.

“The Versace world is not just expressed in fashion, but in the full spectrum of art and creativity,” said chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris, during an interview given shortly after the property’s launch in 2011. “From our love of beauty come tailor-made interior design services and home furnishings that tell of a genuine lifestyle – one that truly shows what ‘Made in Italy’ is all about.”

Ferraris added: “Milano residents will enjoy substantial value and will be proud of owning both an incredible investment and a symbol of a lifestyle never before seen in Manila.” By the start of 2015, the developer had sold 95% of 3,000 units across six projects slated for completion last year, including the Versace branded Milano Residences.

Why are labels having designs on property?

“Experiential luxury is growing faster than personal goods luxury and homes are a good bridge between the two worlds,” explained Mario Ortelli, senior research analyst at luxury asset management firm Sanford C Bernstein. “Designer homes are products you can live in.”

A growing demand for design brand residences in Asia suggests that buyers see property linked to fashion labels as stable, or at least, as stable as those linked with hotel chains and celebrity designers, translating into more gains across the board.

Labels also get an extra avenue to market their products, ranging from cosmetics to spa necessities and fragrances. It is no wonder more names are jumping on the Asian property bandwagon.

In June 2015, the Giorgio Armani Group signed a partnership agreement with Chinese real estate company Smart Hero Group for a residential project in Beijing.

Armani Casa will design the common areas, amenities and a few luxury apartments in a development targeted at integrating a modern aesthetic with the traditional concept of harmony between man and nature. It is expected to open by the end of 2017.

“The branded property sector is on an upward push,” said property developer John Hitchcox, who has worked with Philippe Stark, Kate Moss and Jade Jagger.

“I expect rivals will want to outdo Versace with even bigger and more flamboyant plans for homes,” Hitchcox added.

John Hooks, former deputy chairman of Giorgio Armani and group president of Ralph Lauren Europe, who is now CEO of the fashion holding company Pacific Global Management concurs. “We use modern, often Apple-designed products. We work in modern offices in modern buildings. We go on holiday in modern boutique hotels,” Hooks says. “Small wonder many consumers want modern at home, too. It’s what they know and are comfortable with, and homes are all about comfort,” he adds.

Priced Acquisition

As with branded accessories and apparel, association comes with a price tag.

Fendi Chateau Residences, Miami

Fendi Chateau Residences, Miami

At Miami’s Fendi Château Residences, a two-storey penthouse – which includes 7,000 sq. ft. of interior space, 2,000 sq. ft. of terraces and a rooftop pool – costs a whopping $25 million.

Besides having a private elevator, the penthouse is laced with customised Fendi Casa kitchen cabinets, Gaggenau appliances and Italian Calacata marble in bathrooms. The price of an oceanfront residence starts at $6 million, according to, well, us (Editor’s Note: The Palace team referenced the linked story in writing this article, which has now come full circle).

In the case of a dwelling in Milano Residences, where some units boast private wading pools, the figure is placed at a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million.

This is a fraction of what a designer brand unit costs in Miami and just about the average of condominium lodging in land scarce Singapore, but extravagant for an abode in the still-rapidly developing Philippines.  Branded properties are not exclusively tagged to fashion bigwigs; they are traditionally associated with reputed developers and celebrity designers.

Milano Residences, Manila

Milano Residences, Manila

Buying into brands

Buyers are biting, and are likely to fork out 20% to 30% more for a branded property than a less glitzy equivalent, said Joanna Leverett, Savills’ head of international new developments.

“These developments tend to see a similar premium for rentals and on resale, so buyers feel confident their purchase will hold its value. They also increasingly prefer this hassle-free option compared with a standalone Tuscan farmhouse or southern French villa,” she explained.

Going by the trend of good returns, it is possible that Asian buyers are cashing in for investment purposes.

Luxury estate prices in the world’s major cities are set to continue slowing, from 3% in 2015 to 1.7% in 2016, according to the latest Knight Frank Prime Cities Forecast. The report mainly attributed this to China’s economic slowdown.

Hong Kong is expected to be the worst performing market with a price fall of 5%, followed by Singapore, where prices will probably fall by 3.3% in 2016.

St. Regis Residences, Singapore

St. Regis Residences, Singapore

Forking out extra for a branded home also ensures that buyers, should they choose to make the property their home, live in a lap of luxury. Units such as those in Singapore’s St Regis Residences offer butler services.

For those looking to keep an eye on their supercars, a pad in Reignwood Hamilton Scotts comes with a private garage that lifts cars to a resident’s living room. This does not come cheap. Renting costs $11,000 a month, while buyers can expect to pay $1,640 – $2,625/sq. ft.

Developing on profits

The benefits on tying up with an established brand extends to developers too. A report by C9 Hotelworks, a Phuket-based hospitality and property consultancy forecasted in October 2015 that more developers will strive for international hotel group affiliations.

This is “given the demonstrated brand premium in selling prices between 20% – 30% and the connection with associated hospitality assets,” the report added.

Four Seasons Private Residences, Bangkok

Four Seasons Private Residences, Bangkok

The hotel residences market in Southeast Asia is valued at $16 billion. This consists of 28,000 branded units spread over 120 projects. According to the same report, the number of developments could be influenced by land sale prices. Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam were at the top of the table.

Land prices in Singapore averaged more than $25,000/sq. ft. – the highest in the region. Even so, demand for units in the South Beach Residences condominium, eclectically conceptualized by reputed French designer Philippe Stark, has not wavered. The 190 luxury apartments are expected to be completed in the first half of 2016.

Story Credits
Text by Tina Chopra

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Test: All Porsche Langkawi Driving Dreams

Nothing says style and luxury quite like Porsche in the world of automobiles. As part of its Driving Dreams campaign, I travelled to Langkawi Island to come up-close and personal with Porsche’s latest crop, a stunning range that runs the gamut from the bachelor-approved 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet to the newest incarnation of the ever-popular Cayenne S. The location was the dreamy Four Seasons Resort, just right by the picturesque and seemingly boundless Andaman Sea, the perfect location considering the occasion at hand. After all, it is entirely acceptable, and common, I’d think, for speed enthusiasts to dream about cruising in a Porsche.

To get behind the mechanics of the latest range, one had to get behind the wheel. I was presented with an incredible collection of cars: 911 Turbo, 911 Carrera GTS, 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet, 911 Targa 4, Boxster GTS, Cayman GTS, Cayenne S E-Hybrid, Cayenne S, Cayenne Diesel, Panamera S E-Hybrid, Panamera 4, Macan Turbo and Macan S. If you’re car-obsessed, seeing these beauties lined up in a row, one after another, is like waking up on Christmas morning. How can a girl choose? When it comes to Porsche, however, beauty isn’t just skin-deep.

The model wears Ruched lambskin leather dress with cutouts from Celine The car featured, is a 911 Carrera GTS in Carmine Red

The model wears Ruched lambskin leather dress with cutouts from Celine
The car featured, is a 911 Carrera GTS in Carmine Red

“Intelligent performance has been the driving force for Porsche to develop our cars with focus in addressing mobility and connectivity topics. Evidently, Porsche is working on this with the first battery-powered four seat concept car, the Mission E with over 600 hp, over 500 kilometre driving range and around 15 minutes’ charging time to reach an 80 per cent charge of electrical energy,” explained Martin Limpert, the managing director of Porsche Asia Pacific. “With pioneering technologies that combine performance and efficiency, Porsche continues to build the sportiest cars in the segment and strengthening the position as the world’s most successful manufacturer of exclusive sports cars.”

After taking in the splendour of all 14 of the cars before me, it was time to put them to the test. The order of business was to take them across Langkawi Island, a nearly 200-kilometre journey through the villages and past iconic landmarks, from the lighthouse at Pantai Cenang to the breathtaking Gunung Raya, the island’s tallest mountain.

The model wears a Cotton-poplin shirt, wool-gabardine blazer, wool-twill tuxedo pants, silk bow and wide-brimmed felt hat from Saint Laurent. The car featured is a 911 Carrera GTS and Panamera 4 in Carmine Red

The model wears a Cotton-poplin shirt, wool-gabardine blazer, wool-twill tuxedo pants, silk bow and wide-brimmed felt hat from Saint Laurent.
The car featured is a 911 Carrera GTS and Panamera 4 in Carmine Red

My first model was the Panamera S E-Hybrid. Aside from clean and ultra sleek leather-covered interiors, which is expected, since this is Porsche we’re talking about, the first thing you’d notice is how audibly absent the engine is. You sort of have to check that it’s on and even then you’re unconvinced. That’s the fossil-free battery talking – or rather, not talking – the Panamera S E-Hybrid’s crowning glory that’s not only remarkably quiet, but also lasts up to about 35 kilometres on the road entirely on its own with a maximum speed of 135km/h, all while emitting just 71 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Needing only 2.3 hours to be fully charged, the beauty of the S E-Hybrid is its ability to draw power from conventional sockets.

It takes a longer time, for sure, but it means you get to power up even when you’re away from your garage. Charging when you’re actually on the road works too, owing to the brake energy recovery system and the combustion engine, which is hardly shabby itself, by the way, enabling a maximum speed of 270km/h. When you combine the two, the Panamera goes from 0 to 100km/h in just a little over 5 seconds. The adaptive air suspension made for a soothing ride too, even when it came to the winding roads near the hillier regions of Langkawi Island. The Panamera S E-Hybrid may be the more practical and spacious one of Porsche’s newest offerings, but it still packs power when the time comes for it.

The test-drive with the Panamera S E-Hybrid came to a halt at the Datai Golf Club, one of tumbling pastures with borrowed drama from the rain that had just passed and the lush forests on its periphery, a very fitting scenario for my next model – the Cayenne S. For someone who grew up in SUVs, this one was right up my alley.

The model wears a nylon jacket and drawstring trousers from Louis Vuitton; Patent platform stilettos from Saint Laurent. The car featured is a 911 Carrera GTS in Carmine Red

The model wears a nylon jacket and drawstring trousers from Louis Vuitton; Patent platform stilettos from Saint Laurent.
The car featured is a 911 Carrera GTS in Carmine Red

The Cayenne has remained one of Porsche’s popular kids since its introduction in 2002, and it’s easy to see why. It’s huge on the inside, even more so than the Panamera, but it still behaves like a Porsche. The refreshed version is much sleeker and stylish too, kudos to Porsche, rendering a certain lightness to the stocky car. Like the Panamera, sans the electric motor, the Cayenne S runs on a V6, accelerates to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and goes up all the way to 259km/h. For its build, it’s an impressive score. You see, speed really isn’t a problem for Porsche, even for the bigger vehicles. The Cayenne S is one of the lucky ones endowed with a Sport Plus button, a feature to remind you that you’re in a sports car. The engine becomes more responsive, the steering more direct, the damping harder. The effect and thrill are immediate. There’s even a performance display on the dashboard to track lap times. What’s perhaps most satisfying about the Cayenne S, to me at least, was how it handled curves, bends and even hills with swiftness and ease, again, rather unexpected for its size.

Alas, my journey across Langkawi Island came to its inevitable end, though not without a little surprise. I was presented with a quiz that would determine my “dream car” from Porsche. My result? The 911 Turbo in Jet Black Metallic, one sick ride that I think even Bruce Wayne would ditch his Batmobile for on an off day. It’s all beautiful curves with a maximum speed of a whooping 315km/h, the fastest of the lot. This was a surprise, considering my affinity with SUVs. (Okay fine, so I tweaked my responses just a bit so that I’ll get something super sleek. But hey, this is about picking my dream car, isn’t it?)

This story first appeared in the December/January 2015 edition of L’Officiel.

Story credits

Text by Candice Chua

Images by Richard Chen

Styling by Wei Lun Tok

Affluent Travelers Favor Hotels with Gyms: Report

According to the results of the 2016 Luxury Travel Report prepared by consultancy firm Resonance, fitness centers are twice as important to America’s richest travelers compared with regular travelers (40 percent versus 20). While the results here are only for one nationality, hotel operators everywhere will want to see how this relates to the one-percenters of the world. For example, Euromonitor reports that the spa market is thriving in China, with all travelers.

For the Resonance survey, 1,667 Americans travelers in the top one percent and five percent of household income and net worth were interviewed.

Compared to the 60 percent of regular US travelers who say they use the health and fitness facilities at the gym, the survey found that among the top one percent, that figure jumps to 78 percent.

Over the years, hotel chains have been responding in kind, helping frequent flyers and business travelers maintain their health on the road.

One of the best examples is the EVEN hotels chain, a brand centered entirely on wellness and health. Every room is designed to include a designated ‘gym zone,’ and comes with a yoga mat, exercise ball, foam roller, resistance bands, and library of fitness videos.

Runners who stay at select Westin hotels can also participate in a running program with a resident running concierge who will take guests on 5-mile runs (8 km) around the city. Guests who forget their shoes can borrow a pair of New Balance runners for the nominal fee of $5.

Likewise, the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts hosts will lend out workout kits that include fitness apparel, yoga mats, stretch bands and running shoes.

The Trump Hotel Collection also lends out Under Armour-branded gear and offers a low-calorie menu for health buffs.

The luxury hotel brand that gets the stamp of approval for its spa and fitness facilities from the world’s most finicky, one percent guests? The Four Seasons.

Likewise, while 31 percent of US consumers will travel to participate in an athletic competition, that number spikes to 46 percent among the wealthy.

Travel Habits of America’s Wealthiest Revealed

We have to say that we find this report detailing the favorite destinations of America’s most affluent surprising. It turns out that Mongolia, Iceland and Tasmania are not relevant to this most sought-after set because they prefer Mexico and Canada. In other words, destinations just across the border!

More than 1,660 people earning a household income of $200,000 or having a net worth of $2 million were surveyed and 26 percent chose Mexico as a preferred destination, with Italy and Canada tied for second at 24 percent.

For the report, international travel and tourism consultancy group Resonance Consultancy analyzed the data and discovered, among other things, that compared with the average American traveler, who takes about five trips a year, the top five percent of richest Americans take about 14 trips a year, divided roughly between business and leisure trips.

Likewise, while the typical traveler will spend an average of $1,347 per person, per vacation, the affluent traveler will spend about $3,115. This is also surprising considering it is just over double the average while the wealth of the individuals in question is many times more than that. That means that the top five percent spend an average per trip just over twice what the remaining 95 percent spend. Well, not all the 95 percent travel at all of course and over the course of 14 trips, the country’s wealthiest spend just over $43,000 in total while everyone else spends just $6,735.

With that kind of budget, that means reserving stays at high-end hotels such as the Four Seasons and Hilton, which are the preferred brands of the wealthiest one percent. Looks like the big brands are very much still the winners here, having earned the spend of the nation’s wealthiest.

And while the middle-class and more budget-conscious traveler may spend hours on end shopping for flight and hotel deals online, analysts found that wealthy travelers are more likely to book directly with a hotel or airline.

Well, if anyone is interested in alternatives, we have reported on a few here and here.

Here are the top 10 travel destinations among America’s top one percent:

  • Mexico (26%)
  • Canada (24%)
  • Italy (24%)
  • England (22%)
  • France (22%)
  • Germany (14%)
  • Bahamas (14%)
  • Anguilla (13%)
  • Australia (12%)
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (11%)

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP.

13 Hotels We are Waiting for in 2016

From the highly anticipated opening of a Toy Story-themed hotel at Shanghai Disney, to the grand reopening of two iconic Parisian landmarks, 2016 will be a big year for the luxury hotel market. While tens of thousands of new properties will open their doors for the first time in 2016, here is a selection of properties that are noteworthy for raising the bar in luxury, marking a milestone, or helping to transform the local tourism landscape.


In the last few years, Paris saw the temporary shuttering of two of its most iconic and luxurious hotels, the Ritz Paris and Hotel Crillon. This year, they will compete for attention as both are slated to re-open their doors after extensive and lengthy renovations.

Ritz Paris (March, 2016)

The hotel has been undergoing renovations since July 2012 – the biggest makeover in the hotel’s 117 year-old history. The refurbishment includes a new spa by luxury fashion brand Chanel, called “Chanel au Ritz Paris.” The hotel began accepting reservations for stays starting March 14, 2016.

Hotel de Crillon, Paris (2016)

With a history dating back to 1758, the Hotel Crillon (pictured above) is a veritable institution in Paris, located at Place de la Concorde where the Champs-Elysees begins. In 2013, it was announced that Rosewood Hotels & Resorts would take over the management of the property. The restoration will entail a contemporary overhaul led by Lebanese artistic director Aline d’Amman and architect Richard Martinet. It was also announced that Karl Lagerfeld has been commissioned to design two suites. An exact opening date has yet to be disclosed.

Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, London (First quarter of 2016)

Nobu Hospitality (pictured below), co-owned by Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro, has announced plans to open its first European hotel in London’s trendy Shoreditch area in 2016. Expected to open in the first quarter of the year, the hotel’s five storeys are fractured into angular balconies and cantilevered steel beams using printed layered, glass and reflective facades to play with reflection and light. The hotel will be comprised of 156 rooms while the dining options will be helmed by chef Matsuhisa.

Il Sereno Lake Como, Italy (Spring 2016)

This five-star boutique hotel will be the sister establishment of the luxurious Le Sereno Saint Barths. Located 6 km from the center of Como and 50 minutes from Milan, the design of the new 30-room hotel has been overseen by Patricia Urquiola, who has focused on natural materials to create an aesthetic that is both timeless and full of character, intimate and casual. Urquiola’s studio will also design the interior of the ferry that will shuttle guests around the lake. Room rates will range from 600 to 4500 euros.

nobu shoreditch

Nobu Hotel


The Oberoi Marrakech (Third quarter of 2016)

Located 20 minutes from the city center, the luxurious property is built within 25 acres of citrus orchards and ancient olive groves. Each villa and suite comes with a private pool and views of the Atlas mountains, while rooms are spacious, modern and feature handcrafted Moroccan design features. The brand’s signature spa is built on a private island on a lake within the orchard, and offers Ayurvedic and Moroccan-inspired treatments. Facilities also include Moroccan hammams, yoga studio and outdoor pavilion.


Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown (mid-2016)

Billed as the little sister to its flagship New York property in Midtown, the second Four Seasons hotel will open in the Tribeca district, a short stroll from the new World Trade Center, Wall Street and the Soho neighborhood and serve as a dual residential and hotel property. The 185 rooms are designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Dining will be provided by Wolfgang Puck and his CUT steakhouse restaurant and bar.

The James Hotel, Los Angeles (2016)

Once construction is complete in 2016, The James Hotel will open the doors to the first new ground-up hotel in West Hollywood in 30 years. The boutique property will open in the heart of Sunset Strip at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards, and house 286 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop and lobby bar. The LA location will be the third for the brand after locations in Chicago and New York. The brand’s philosophy embraces wellness, sustainability, local art and culture.

Il Sereno Lake Como

Il Sereno Lake Como

Middle East

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016)

Located in the heart of the new Central Business District, the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island will mark the first hotel for the chain in the Emirati capital. The property will open along a stretch of prime waterfront, and house a retro-modern Chicago steakhouse, cocktail bar, and poolside restaurant. Along with 200 rooms, the property will also feature 124 private and serviced residences.

St. Regis Cairo, Egypt (October 2016)

Organized as two towers, the St. Regis will house 292 lavish rooms that includes 63 suites. The mixed use property will also offer 99 guest apartments and 117 residences. Located on the north end of Corniche Road, rooms will offer views of the Nile River and in proximity to the pyramids and retail area.


Wynn Palace Cotai, Macau (June 25, 2016)

Originally scheduled to open in March 2016, the ambitious Wynn Palace Cotai will be delayed by another three months for a set date of June 25. The $4.1 billion, floral-themed property features 1,700 rooms spanning 28 storeys, and an artificial lake. To enter the grounds, guests will board air-conditioned SkyCabs that cross the 8-acre Performance Lake into the heart of the resort. Like its predecessors, the Wynn Palace will house an opulent spa, salon, luxury retailers and gourmet dining restaurants.

Mandarin Oriental, Bali (End of 2016)

Located on the southern Bukit peninsula, the luxury hotel group’s newest property will be built on elevated terraces to offer commanding views of the Indian Ocean. The resort will be comprised of 97 villas, each with a private pool and 24 guestrooms. The signature restaurant will be a cliff-top, cantilevered dining space with sweeping ocean views. Guests will also be able to indulge in luxurious spa services that include Balinese treatments.

Shanghai Disney (Spring 2016)

After experiencing construction delays, the opening of Disney’s third theme park in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo is expected to open its pearly gates in spring. When it does, the park will also open the doors to two highly anticipated themed hotels, The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and a Toy Story Hotel. Not particularly encouraging is the image supplied for this story but we digress! At the Art Nouveau-inspired Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, guests will be greeted by bronze statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, while Toy Story fans will find Woody and Buzz Lightyear at the hotel courtyard.

Rosewood Phuket (2016)

To open on Emerald Bay in Western Phuket, the luxury property will be comprised of 80 villas and 32 residences that are designed to blend in with its natural hillside forest surroundings. Retractable glass walls will provide guests with unobstructed views of their environment, while garden rooftops and cantilevered structures will help the villas meld with the landscape. Dining options include a rustic Thai seafood eatery on the beach, poolside eatery, bistro and terrace bar, while a Sense spa will feature six spa villas and a swimming pool.

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai Disney

Saudi Arabia to build world’s tallest tower

When completed, Jeddah tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will be the world’s tallest tower at a full one kilometer high. Plans to build the tower are forging ahead after funds for the final phase of the US$2.2 billion project were secured earlier this week.

The Middle East is set, once more, to become home to another record-breaking feat of architecture and engineering with the completion of the Jeddah Tower (previously called the Kingdom Tower), which will soar above the cloud line at 3,280 feet. When completed, this tower will eclipse the current title-holder, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai by 173 meters (568 feet).

Earlier this week the Saudi government announced that a financing deal between the developer, the Jeddah Economic Company, and Alinma Investment had been signed, giving the project the final green light.


Set to open in the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the tower will be a mixed-use building and feature a seven-storey Four Seasons hotel with 200 rooms; seven storeys of office space; 121 serviced apartments; 318 different types of housing units; and the world’s highest observatory at 660 meters above ground.

Inspired by its desert surroundings, the tower, designed by designers Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is meant to evoke the “folded fronds of a young desert plant” shooting up from the ground.

The idea is to represent new life, and new development around the record-breaking project.

Servicing the 170 storeys, however, requires a sophisticated elevator system. A total of 59 elevators, five double-deck elevators, and 12 escalators will help visitors move about the monster building. Elevators that shuttle visitors to the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second.

And the sky terrace, which will open on the 157th floor, will open out into the clouds from the penthouse floor.

Construction of the first 26 floors is complete.

Meanwhile, the Jeddah Tower forms part of a larger project, Jeddah Economic City, a modern community that will span 5.3 million square meters and serve as a business and tourism hotspot.

The waterfront district will feature a luxury shopping mall, luxury hotels, open spaces, residential and business areas and a seaside promenade.

The Jeddah Tower is set for completion in 2020.

Hotel Cap Ferrat

Four Seasons to Manage Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat

Hotel Cap Ferrat

Four Seasons expands its footprint in France to include the iconic Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel as of May 8, 2015.

The iconic 73-room property has played host to world leaders, monarchs and artists from around the globe during its 100-year history.

Cap Ferrat villa

The hotel is uniquely positioned on the French Riviera. It sits on the tranquil Peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, spread across 7 hectares (17 acres) surrounded by gardens lush with lavender and citrus trees.

The property has funicular access to the seafront and panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Cap Ferrat

The hotel embodies French elegance in combination with modern design elements and luxuriously appointed rooms designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, the designer also behind Four Seasons Hotel George V.

The accommodations also include sumptuous suites, some with a private terrace and infinity pool for the ultimate in comfort and luxury.

Cap Ferrat inifnity pool

Guests can dine at one of three world-class restaurants, including the legendary Club Dauphin serving up a regionally-inspired menu in a casual setting by the heated seawater pool overlooking the Mediterranean.

For relaxation, guests can visit the exclusive spa, which includes 8 treatment rooms, a gym, indoor pool, sauna, steam rooms and much more.

Club Dauphin

Four Seasons currently operates 94 properties in 39 countries. 

More Info: www.grand-hotel-cap-ferrat.com

Four Seasons Private Jet

Four Seasons unveils luxury private jet [VIDEO]

Four Seasons has just revealed its completed private jet that it announced last year.

This Boeing 757, equipped with a Rolls Royce motor, has seats for 52 passengers and has been luxuriously customized by a host of designers.

The reclining white leather seats were handcrafted by Italian VIP aircraft seating manufacturer Iacobucci.

Four Seasons Private Jet

The blankets are made from soft Mongolian cashmere and were commissioned exclusively for the plane. Beneath your feet, a bespoke hand-woven woolen carpet made in Amsterdam.

The crew is made up of ten people, including an Executive Chef, a Sous Chef, a Four Seasons Concierge and a Global Guest Services Manager.

Four Seasons Private Jet Interiors

“Our aim is to recreate the hotel experience on the Four Seasons Private Jet, which means creating innovative meals using fresh ingredients, served on the finest tableware and linens, all with impeccable Four Seasons service. The only real difference is that occasionally we have to do a little juggling when there’s turbulence!” says the airline’s chef Kerry Sear.

Four Seasons offers new around the world trips for 2016

Four Seasons Private Jet Dining

Prices start at $69,000 to tour Europe and $119,000 for a trip around of the world. The hotel group is quick to point out that 80% of tickets for trips in 2015 have been sold. The price includes air travel, ground transfers, excursions, and full room and board in Four Seasons hotels.

The itineraries for 2016 have already been decided, and the year will begin with what Four Seasons has branded “Timeless Discoveries: An Around the World Journey.” From January 16 to February 18, the private jet will successively set down in Los Angeles, Kona, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Chiang Mai, Mumbai, Prague and finally London.

Bose headphones

The following itinerary, referred to as “International Intrigue,” will visit eight destinations on four continents from April 14 to May 7.

Nobu Doha at The Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa to open restaurant in Qatar

Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa is expanding his restaurant empire and will be adding Qatar to his footprint in the Middle East, when he opens Nobu Doha at the .

Set to open by the end of the year, the 26,000-square-foot (2,400 square meter) space will be Matsuhisa’s largest restaurant.

Diners will be seated across three levels including a rooftop lounge, an interior dining area, a sushi counter and two private dining rooms, all of which can seat more than 300 people.


Four seasons Doha

The restaurant will be the second Nobu in the Middle East, following the opening of one at the Atlantis in Dubai in 2008.

The menu at Nobu Doha will use local ingredients such as exotic spices and fresh seafood from the Arabian Gulf, like black-streaked monocle bream and orange-spotted trevally.


Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

Matsuhisa has been credited with being among the pioneers of Nikkei cuisine — a mash-up of Japanese, Peruvian and Latin American flavors like Japanese-influenced ceviche and sashimi tacos.

The Japanese chef owes some of his popularity to actor Robert De Niro, who is an investor in the Nobu empire.

Four Seasons food truck

Four Seasons food truck to hit US East Coast

Four Seasons food truck

Luxury hotel chain the  has launched its second Food Truck tour which will roll out across the Eastern Seaboard in the US serving up local favorites like lobster rolls and pastrami sandwiches.

The mobile restaurant will make its way from Boston to Miami this fall, offering regional specialties created by local Four Seasons chefs.


The truck will spend up to six days in each destination throughout the tour, serving lobster rolls in Boston, for example, pastrami sliders in New York and Savannah crab cake sandwiches in Atlanta.

A portion of sales will be donated to a local charity for causes like breast cancer, education, and pediatric cancer research.\


The Four Seasons Taste Truck Tour

You can find recipes and follow the food truck on fourseasons.com/food-trucks with the hashtag #FSFoodTruck on Twitter and Instagram.

September 15-20: Boston, MA
September 22-27: Philadelphia, PA
September 29 – October 4: New York, NY
October 6-11: Baltimore, MD
October 13-18: Washington, DC
October 20-25: Atlanta, GA
October 27-28: Orlando, FL
October 30 – November 4: Palm Beach, FL
November 6-11: Miami, FL


Beverly Wilshire Exterior

Beverly Hills hotel launches ‘Pretty Woman’ package

Beverly Wilshire Exterior

The  hotel in Beverly Hills has launched a weekend package that allows guests to recreate key moments from the movie “Pretty Woman”.

As the primary filming location for the 1990 film, the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire played a supporting role to the movie that catapulted Julia Roberts to meteoric stardom in her Cinderella-esque role as the street-walking prostitute turned love interest for rich business tycoon Edward, played by Richard Gere.

Beverly Presidential Living Room

The weekend package for two includes a stay at the Pretty Woman Suite — the Presidential Suite — where guests can don their headphones, draw a bubble bath and sing the Prince song “Kiss” at the top of their lungs.

Located steps from the iconic Rodeo Drive, the package starts with a personal shopping consultation at luxury boutiques.

Beverly Hills Shopping

Then, guests are chauffeured in a Rolls-Royce to the gardens of the Greystone Mansion, an historic site and premier event destination in Beverly Hills, for an al fresco meal inspired by the picnic scene in the movie.

They’ll also receive professional styling in their suite before being ferried to either the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts or the LA Opera.

Beverly Presidential Bedroom

More info: www.fourseasons.com

Four Seasons Resort Orlando bedroom

Four Seasons resort opens at Walt Disney World Florida

Four Seasons Resort Orlando park

This hotel isn’t for families who take three-day road trips to Disney World and eat roadside meals of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The  Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is for children who are already accustomed to sleeping on premium sheets and who will dream of meeting Mickey Mouse in plush beds and luxurious suites.

Opened over the weekend, the luxury hotel at Walt Disney World Resort is located minutes from Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando Walt Disney World

Rooms are billed as the largest in Orlando, each with a furnished terrace, many of which offer unobstructed views of the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park.

The hotel chain has created its first nine-bedroom suite on the top floor in the Royal Suite. The 16th floor can also be hired out exclusively.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando bedroom

The resort has also developed its own on-site theme park, dubbed Explorer Island, a five-acre water park that features water jets, pool, water slides, climbing wall and video gaming center.

Little VIP guests also have the privilege of sharing breakfast with Disney characters like Goofy and pals and having the moment immortalized by a professional photographer.

Adult entertainment includes a golf course, full service spa and restaurants.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando

Four Seasons Dubai Jumeirah Beach

Four Seasons Dubai to launch in time for Christmas

Four Seasons Dubai Jumeirah Beach

The already saturated luxury market in Dubai is about get more crowded with the opening of a new Four Seasons hotel.

The 14-acre resort has a Spanish-Mediterranean feel with Arabian accents and the 237-room hotel offers panoramic sea views and large balconies.

The lobby (pictured below) is capped by an octagonal dome finished with gold leaf and no expense has been spared – even the handrails in the elevators are made of Murano glass.

Four Seasons Dubai lobby

Rooms include marble flooring, walk-in closets, customizable beds and a luxurious bathroom covered in sheets of silver leaves.

Presidential Suites boast their own media room and private gym, whilst the Royal Suite has a butler’s room and a grand living room with its own piano.

Within the Resort’s gardens are two outdoor, free-form swimming pools, in addition to the indoor pool in the spa and fitness complex.

Set amid lush gardens, both the family-friendly Active Pool and the Quiet Pool shimmer with white and gold mosaic tiles beneath towering palms.

Four Seasons Dubai stairs

Day villas will be available to reserve and will include a private sun terrace plus mini bar and flatscreen TV in an air-conditioned interior.

There is a beachfront watersports center that offers activities like kayaking and paddleboarding, large enough to host catamarans and dinghies.

At five stories, the new hotel is comparatively low rise amid the city’s soaring towers, in keeping with the surrounding coastal community.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Dubai At Jumeirah Beach

The hotel is scheduled to open on 1 November 2014, and is now confirming arrivals from 1 December 2014.

Four Seasons Villa

Four Seasons Hotels launches vacation rental website

Four Seasons Villa

Four Seasons has launched a luxury vacation rental site that offers private villas, residences and holiday homes in response to the growing popularity of Airbnb, FlipKey, VRBO and other short term rental booking sites.

The new vacation rental portal includes upscale properties, urban residences, and resort villas around the world with fully equipped kitchens, and large indoor and outdoor spaces. Currently, the site has 13 properties in the Americas and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.


Four Seasons Vacation Rental

With each reservation, guests can also book a private chef or chauffeur, and request services such as a fully stocked fridge, housekeeping, fitness facilities, and a childproofed home before arrival.

“We’re seeing a steady increase in multi-generational and small group travel, guests who want to get away with children, grandparents or groups of friends to celebrate holidays or mark special moments.”

“And these guests are looking at residential options,” said Jose Soriano, VP, Worldwide Residential Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Four Seasons Vacation Rental Website

Hotel Royal Tulip

Hotels trying to score with soccer fans

Hotel Royal Tulip

A few forward-thinking hoteliers are doing their soccer fan guests a major solid by launching World Cup-themed menus, opening special viewing lounges and broadcasting games live.

Guests staying at select Four Seasons properties, for instance, can rest assured that they won’t go thirsty or hungry while watching a match.

At the Singapore property, chefs have created a special in-room menu service that will help put fans in the spirit of the game and ensure they don’t miss a second of the match.

England fans, for instance, can order up a fish and chip sandwich; Spain supporters munch on spicy chorizo lomo and Iberico ham, while Mexico fans tuck into pulled pork tacos.


In Miami, soccer fans are invited to the hotel’s Edge Copa Lounge, which for one month will be dedicated to the World Cup games, with multiple TVs, foosball tables, and Caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail.

Likewise, over in India, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai has created a FIFA-themed menu that includes dishes like the Messi Messi, Red Fury, Samba Special and Swiss Connection, reports The Economic Times.

And in Doha, major hotels like the Crowne Plaza, Doha Marriott Hotel, and Ritz-Carlton Doha will also screen matches and throw World Cup-themed parties for their guests.

Koh Samui Thai boxing

Four Seasons creating experiential travel packages

Koh Samui Thai boxing

In what is dubbed the “Get Away, Get More” program, the Four Seasons hotel chain has created travel itineraries that offer guests unique, hyper-local cultural and educational experiences.

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, for example, has created a “Twilight in Budapest” experience that explores the spine-tingling story of Vlad III, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

After a limousine-guided tour of the city, participants will visit the hilltop Visegrad Castle, where the 15th century warrior, known as Vlad the Impaler for impaling his victims on giant spears, was kept prisoner for 12 years.

At the Koh Samui outpost in Thailand, guests can also try muay thai or Thai boxing under the guidance of a former world champion.

The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has created a full-day excursion into the Australian Outback that includes a bushwalk tour led by an indigenous guide and encounters with native animals like koalas and kangaroos.

It’s become a widely used marketing strategy in the luxury hotel industry: promises of rich, once in a lifetime travel experiences!