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Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas to Open First Resort in India

Led by a team of conservation experts to preserve and protect the original fort structure, the 5.5-acre site is encircled by an imposing 5-foot (1.5 meter) thick rock wall that rises up to 20 feet (6 meters) in some sections. 

Situated 110 km southeast of Jaipur, the first Six Senses Fort Barwara slated to open in 2018 in Rajasthan, India will feature 48 suites, two restaurants, a banquet space and a retail boutique as well as facilities comprising of bar and lounge, 2,800 sqm spa and fitness centre, two swimming pools and kids club.

The project team aims to achieve a five-star green rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) certification for Fort Barwara, which is known as the highest classification of national sustainable design ratings in India.

Perched on top of a 700-year-old fort, in the village of Chauth ka Barwara, Fort Barwara sits directly opposite the temple, Chauth ka Barwara Mandir. In fact, the property was owned by the Rajasthani Royal Family. With a rich history dating back to the 14th century where the Barwara Fort now sits, was constructed by the Chauhans (Indian Rajput caste) in 1734, and was conquered by the Rajawat Dynasty from the Hadas.

During the second world war, Raja Man Singh who came from a noble family of Barwara along with Jaipur State Armed Forces, fought together alongside the British. The former was conferred the title of Rao Bahadur for his service and now his grandson, Prithviraj Singh, is restoring the fort to its previous glory in tandem with Espire Group.

The new Fort Barwara is designed to bring out the reinterpreted experience of the gracious and regal ambiance of the Rajasthan’s royal forts and palaces.

“The historic quinta (wine estate) in Portugal has a rich history dating back to 1464 and we are taking a similar approach with the beautiful Fort Barwara project.” – Six Senses President Bernhard Bohnenberger

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas to open first resort in India

Nestled in locations of incredible natural beauty, the landscapes of the beautiful Fort Barwara have been designed to depict the rich history of the fort, featuring the traditional gardens with water features, and Shekhavati artworks are added to the hotel as well. At the Six Senses Spa, located in the original women’s palace, will offer various ayurveda programmes such as meditation, Six Senses Integrated Wellness programmes and Sleep with Six Senses.

Other attractions include a daily safari drive to the Ranthambhore National Park, which is famous for its tiger population. Just thirty minutes away from Fort Barwara, the 1,400 sq km park is home to a variety of wildlife including a wide variety of trees, plants, birds and reptiles.

Six Senses President Bernhard Bohnenberger added that they are very excited to be working with their partner, Espire Group on this wonderful project, which is a perfect complement to other successful resort portfolio and successful properties in China, Maldives, Oman, Portugal, Seychelles, Thailand and Vietnam. Six Senses Fort Barwara marks the second heritage property that Six Senses will manage.

 

15 luxury hotel suites in Europe from Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Geneva and Berlin

The Royal Penthouse Suite at Hotel President Wilson. Image courtesy of Hotel President Wilson

The Royal Penthouse Suite at Hotel President Wilson. Image courtesy of Hotel President Wilson

We think that where you stay makes half the trip. After all, it is the place you return to after a day of activities and exploring the locale. That is why we have rounded up some of the most comfortable and lavish suites across Europe in cities across the Northwestern region of the continent. Your suite would be the choice space from which to foray into adventures at the Wordsworthian, awe-inspiring natural landscapes of Scotland and explore the city said to have inspired the Harry Potter series. In your suite, you can turn over in your mind the arts, culture and history closely connected with places like the Berlin Wall, the Kronborg Castle, and the Museum Square in Amsterdam. Here are the list of suites that challenge the very definition of suites and luxury.

Amsterdam

It comes as no surprise that hotels in the city keep potential guests informed of their proximity to the Museum Square. After all, the Square houses the key reasons for art fans to visit and revisit the city – the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum. Amsterdam is a city known for its arts and culture, but it does not come short in terms of luxury. As the most expensive suite in the city, The Imperial Suite at Hotel Okura fetches a price of over 10,000 euros per night.

The Imperial Suite at Hotel Okura Amsterdam

The Imperial Suite at Hotel Okura Amsterdam

The Imperial Suite at Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Image courtesy of Hotel Okura Amsterdam

We begin with the most exclusive suite in the city, which also promises privacy. The two-storey, 485 square metres space boasts two spacious bedrooms and two unique bathrooms, a cinema with a 84-inch screen that seats 12, equipment to excite gaming enthusiasts, walk-in closets, and to top it off, a private entrance so you and the people you care about can enter and leave discreetly.

Hotel Okura Amsterdam, Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 678 7111

The Presidential Suite with a view and terrace at NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

The Presidential Suite with a view and terrace at NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

The Presidential Suite with a view and terrace at NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. Image courtesy of NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

If you are looking to bring an animal friend on the trip, it might interest you to know that this very hotel is pet-friendly, and offers guide dogs at no additional cost. The two-level suite houses two bathrooms with a walk-in rain shower and a hot tub, and a rooftop terrace, all of which you can enjoy while admiring views of the Royal Palace and the city’s characteristic symbol: the canal.

NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Dam 9, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 554 9111

The Penthouse Suite at The Conservatorium Hotel

The Penthouse Suite at The Conservatorium Hotel

The Penthouse Suite at The Conservatorium Hotel. Image courtesy of The Conservatorium Hotel

Just two words — Piero Lissoni — alone would make this suite worth the stay, and it has indeed housed many celebrities during their stay in Amsterdam. The 170 square metres suite is the top-tier of three suites that make up the hotel’s Signature collection, all three of which are designed by the Living Divani Italian designer. Expect Persian rugs, a LCD mirror TV in the bathroom and a super-size 80-inch monitor screen in the dining room, easily convertible to an entertainment space. It helps that all this is happening in a building with a history that dates back to the late 1800s.

The Conservatorium Hotel, Van Baerlestraat 27, 1071 AN Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 570 0000

Berlin

In 1946, Winston Churchill gave his iconic ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, with this line that went down in history: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” Nowhere was the Cold War made more clear than in the division of the German capital until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. With hotel brands known for luxury staking their claim in the capital, it is safe to say that centuries-old Berlin is a city where the upmarket meets history, arts and culture.

The Royal Suite at Hotel Adlon Kempinski

The Royal Suite at Hotel Adlon Kempinski | ©moritzhoffmann.com | Image courtesy of Hotel Adlon Kempinski

The 185 square metres suite literally lives up to its name. By selecting the suite, you lodge where Queen Elizabeth II stayed during her visit to Berlin. The suite is furnished with a separate living room and bedroom, a dining room and an entertainment centre, and the elaborate bathroom comes with a jacuzzi and a sauna. There is, of course, also the winning factor that the hotel sits in sight of the Brandenburg Gate.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Unter den Linden 77, 10117 Berlin, Germany, +49 30 2261 0

The Presidential Suite at The Regent Berlin

The Presidential Suite at The Regent Berlin

The Presidential Suite at The Regent Berlin. Image courtesy of The Regent Berlin

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn why celebrities like Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Bruce Willis chose this exact suite during their stay in the German capital. Situated on the eighth floor of the hotel, the 140 to 220 square metre expandable two-room suite provides a fine view of the pretty-as-a-picture Gendarmenmarkt from the balcony. The Gendarmenmarkt square is a must-visit for architectural aficionados, and considered by many locals as the most beautiful spot in Berlin. If there were an award given out for best views in Berlin, The Presidential Suite at the Regent Berlin would likely nail it.

The Regent Berlin, Charlottenstraße 49, 10117 Berlin, Germany, +49 30 20 33 8

The Bel Etage Suite at Das Stue

The Bel Etage Suite at Das Stue

The Bel Etage Suite at Das Stue. Image courtesy of Das Stue website

Like to be spoilt by space? Here is what you can do at Das Stue: ask for The Bel Etage Suite to be connected with three other suites and the Bel Etage Salon. That makes the total space you have to roam about 400 square metres large, with ceilings that are five metres high. Reserve the suite at full price and drive around Das Stue and the rest of Berlin in an Audi limousine or sports car, available for your time in the city entirely free of charge. Be sure to stopover at the nearby beloved park Tiergaten, which houses the Berlin Zoological Garden.

Das Stue, Drakestraße 1, 10787 Berlin, Germany, +49 30 311 722 0

Geneva

Being one of the two cities on the list where you can marvel at the beautiful expanses of natural beauty, Geneva stops time with its famed fountain: the Jet d’Eau. The iconic water feature brings out the charm of Lake Geneva, and serves as an entrance point to the resident mountain of Geneva, Mont Salève. The highest peak in the European Union, the renowned Mont Blanc, is a weekend trip away at the Chamonix Mont Blanc resort. Switzerland is known for its hospitality schools, so expect top-notch service for the amount you are paying.

The Royal Penthouse Suite at Hotel President Wilson

This happens to be the most expensive suite in the world, literally speaking, and we think we know why it costs as much as it does: expansive space. The entire suite spans 12 — indeed, you read 12 — bedrooms and bathrooms, and covers 1,680 square metres over the entirety of the eighth floor. Guests can have a private dinner in the suite’s large terrace overlooking Lake Geneva, take in views of Mont Blanc, work out at a private fitness centre, charm their loved ones with classical music played on a Steinway Grand Piano, and surf through the channels with the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 4-103 LCD screen. If shopping and dining are your prime activities on travels, it might be worth bringing this to your attention: you do not have to leave the hotel to shop Tom Ford or to have Michelin-star fare.

Hotel President Wilson, 47, Quai Wilson, Geneva, 1211, Switzerland, +41 22 906 66 66

The Royal Armleder Suite at Le Richemond

The Royal Armleder Suite at Le Richemond. Image courtesy Le Richemond

The Royal Armleder Suite at Le Richemond. Image courtesy of Le Richemond

The spacious and extravagant penthouse suite is made up of three bedrooms, a living room with a fireplace, a dining room fashioned for private entertaining, a Hamman and rainforest showers. Having a good lookout is important in Geneva, and the suite gives beautiful views of Lake Geneva, Brunswick Gardens, the Alps and Mont Blanc from its terrace. We appreciate the fine touches, like the canapés served in the evening, the bottle of Krug champagne and L’Occitane en Provence toiletries.

Le Richemond, 8-10, Rue Adhémar-Fabri, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, +41 22 715 70 00

The Royal Suite at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues

The Royal Suite at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues

The Royal Suite at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues

The Four Seasons arm of hotels is known for its service with a keen attention to detail, and this hotel is no exception. Guests of the Versailles-inspired Royal suite could ask for the recommendations of a multilingual concierge on experiences in Geneva, or stay in and browse through a 300-movie, 3,000-song entertainment library. Like the previous two suites in Geneva, the Royal Suite promises views of the city’s iconic lake from its terrace. If you are planning on inviting several loved ones along, the suite can be expanded to house five bedrooms.

Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, 33, Quai des Bergues, 1201 Geneva, +41 22 908 70 00

Copenhagen

We are certain that by now, hygge needs no introduction, and this is the city to experience the Danish way of life alongside world-renowned Danish design. With the Danish knack for smart ideas and invention, it is no wonder we are left wondering why other cities do not have wifi in their cabs yet. Watch your pace of life slow as you frolic in the Tivoli Gardens, stop at the must-see The Little Mermaid sculpture and walk round the Kronborg Castle of Hamlet fame. Before and after you step out to these sights, here are some places which spell comfort that you can lounge in.

The Royal Suite at Hotel D’Angleterre

The Royal Suite at Hotel D’Angleterre

The Royal Suite at Hotel D’Angleterre. Image courtesy of Hotel D’Angleterre

Hotel D’Angleterre is lauded as an institution alongside the Royal Danish Theatre and the Charlottenborg Academy. Expandable to 400 square metres to become the largest presidential suite in Copenhagen, the Royal Suite provides views, of course, of the Kongens Nytorv square and is in close proximity to the Nyhavn, known for its signature colourful houses. Again, the finer details stand out to us – guests can expect champagne and handmade chocolates, as well as complimentary airport transfer.

Hotel D’Angleterre, Kongens Nytorv 34, 1050 København K, Denmark, +45 33 12 00 95

The Executive Suite at Nimb Hotel

Suite Louise at Nimb Hotel

The Executive Suite at Nimb Hotel. Image courtesy of Nimb Hotel

If you are looking for a boutique option that is small-dog-friendly, this is the one to go for on the list. Otherwise, being in close proximity of the grounds of Tivoli is good enough reason to stay here. The 1,431 square feet suite of the highest tier in the palatial building is one of only 17 rooms and suites in the hotel, which was voted the world’s top Small Luxury Hotel in 2015. The Executive Suite boasts an open fireplace, a balcony, and a BeoVision 10 television.

Nimb Hotel, Bernstorffsgade 5, 1577 København V, Denmark, +45 88 70 00 00

The Royal Suite at the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel

The Royal Suite at Copenhagen Marriott Hotel. Image courtesy of Copenhagen Marriott Hotel

The Royal Suite at Copenhagen Marriott Hotel. Image courtesy of Copenhagen Marriott Hotel

Set on a private access floor so you and your loved ones can have the space to yourselves, the 170 square metres presidential suite has a separate living room and dining room, a walk-in closet, a library and a study, complete with views of the Copenhagen Harbour Canal. Enjoy round-the-clock room service, access to the executive lounge, and generous food and beverage selections without additional cost, including hors d’oeuvres, continental breakfast and dessert.

Copenhagen Marriott Hotel, Kalvebod Brygge 5, 1560 København V, Denmark, +45 88 33 99 00

Edinburgh

The Scottish capital features beautiful hills such as the Calton, the breathtaking extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat, and quaint cafés  The Elephant House and Spoon  where JK Rowling did some of her writing for the Harry Potter series. If someone you know is not quite sold on the city yet though we trust that you are — scan its festival calendar. Edinburgh is known for festivals covering a diverse range of intellectual pursuits, with highlights such as the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival.

The Scone & Crombie Suite at The Balmoral Hotel

The Scone & Crombie Suite at The Balmoral Hotel

The Scone & Crombie Suite at The Balmoral Hotel. Image courtesy of The Balmoral Hotel website

JK Rowling chose this hotel as the place from which to complete Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the exquisiteness of the interiors might be a great reason why. There are two words we would use to describe the interior of the suite designed by Olga Polizzi: intricately beautiful. With a copious amount of space, the Old Town in sight, elaborate furnishings, and a working fireplace, this suite is where royalty meets fantasy. Guests can enjoy an undeniably Scottish bespoke experience, which could mean a Whisky Journey in Scotch, or convenient fast-track access to the Edinburgh Castle.

The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, UK, +44 131 556 2414

The Suites at Nira Caledonia

One of the only 17 rooms and suites at Nira Caledonia. Image courtesy of Nira Caledonia

The hotel has six plush suites, each with its own unique character. Be sure to ask for one with an in-room jacuzzi. To enjoy nature alongside contemporary amenities and comforts, we suggest a suite with a garden terrace from which you can take in views of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. For literature aficionados, the hotel has an added attraction. Romantic poets’ William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s friend, magazine writer John Wilson, once resided at the address that is now Nira Caledonia.

Nira Caledonia, 6-10 Gloucester Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6EF, UK, +44 131 225 2720

Garden Paradise Suite at G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh

Garden Paradise Suite at G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh

Garden Paradise Suite at G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh. Image courtesy of G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh

For an exemplary experience of Scottish design, lodge in this suite by Edinburgh-based artist and textile designer Hatti Pattisson. The suite promises panoramic views of the Scottish capital. Apart from the hotel’s commitment to a truly Scottish experience within the suite, the hotel is situated near iconic attractions like the Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and The Museum of Scotland. For a luxurious shopping experience, head over to George Street nearby.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh, 1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD, UK, +44 131 220 6666

Correction: In the previous edition of the article, it was stated that the Imperial Suite at Hotel Okura  Amsterdam has two master bedrooms, two spacious ensuite bedrooms and three bathrooms. However, the Imperial Suite has two spacious bedrooms and two unique bathrooms. The accurate number has been reflected above.

Luxury holiday rentals: Airbnb now provides luxurious vacation accommodation options with concierge services

Comfort? Check. Affordability? Check. Airbnb has long been a crowd favourite, offering short-term vacation rentals as the budget-friendly alternative to hotels. The company is reaching out to yet another demographic, expanding its offerings to include luxury retreats that come with concierge services. The news comes following the company’s acquisition of Montreal-based vacation rental company Luxury Retreats, which lists 4,000 homes in 100 destinations around the world. Listings are upscale properties that may include a villa in Tuscany or a seaside retreat in the Turks and Caicos.

While Airbnb’s existing database includes everything from treehouse lodgings to boats and castles, the acquisition is meant to expand Airbnb’s clientele from budget-conscious tourists to wealthier globetrotters for whom money is seldom an object.

“From airbeds in an apartment to castles to villas, Airbnb has always been focused on providing a broad range of amazing experiences and trips,” said co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky in a statement.

“I have spent countless hours with Joe [Poulin, Luxury Retreats CEO] and his team and seen firsthand their passion for delivering amazing hospitality and unforgettable experiences in spectacular places around the world. They share our values and I’m excited to work with the Luxury Retreats team to serve more travellers.”  In the short-term, Luxury Retreats will continue operations as a standalone entity and remain headquartered in Montreal. The listings will gradually be integrated into Airbnb.

Earlier this month, another accommodation site AccorHotels also announced plans to acquire an elite travel broker representing luxury villas around the world. The acquisition of private rental platform Travel Keys would be the latest addition to the group, which also includes private vacation rental services like onefinestay and Squarebreak. This goes to show the widening reach that rental sites similar to Airbnb are gaining in the accommodation and travel industry.

French ski lodge La Bouitte in the French Alps © La Bouitte, Relais & Chateaux

Relais & Chateaux Welcomes 21 Newcomers

Relais & Chateaux touts itself as the standard-bearer for the hotel and restaurant industry, much like the Michelin label. Another 21 properties and restaurants will be able to hang the coveted fleur de lys symbol, designating membership to the group.

The shortlisted properties are all independent and must adhere to distinct criterias characterized as “the soul of the innkeeper,” “celebration of the senses”, and “the art of living”.

The newcomers to the Relais & Chateaux club hail from the US, Colombia, France, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, China, Japan and New Zealand.

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City at his restaurant in New York May 16, 2016. © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City at his restaurant in New York May 16, 2016.
© TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

The latest New York addition, Chef Eric Ripert’s restaurant Le Bernardin, extended its acclaim beyond the three Michelin star it holds. The upscale restaurant regularly tops New York’s best eats lists for its seafood and is one of the hottest tables in town for both locals and tourists alike.

Bread Crusted Red Snapper Saffron “Fideos” Chorizo in Smoked Sweet Paprika Sauce at Le Bernardin © Shimon & Tammar

Bread Crusted Red Snapper Saffron “Fideos” Chorizo in Smoked Sweet Paprika Sauce at Le Bernardin
© Shimon & Tammar

 

Over in France, an alpine ski lodge located in the heart of the Trois Vallees, is the latest chalet to gain admittance into the group. Boasting three Michelin stars, the Hotel Restaurant La Bouitte in the French Alps is a luxury ski lodge designed to reflect its surroundings, with luxurious furnishings set off against rustic wood beams and flooring.

Father and son duo Rene and Maxime Meilleur have also made the country inn one of France’s premier dining destinations for dishes like “veal à la Savoyarde” with cheese polenta and creamy sauce.

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand © Courtesy of Wharekauhau

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand
© Courtesy of Wharekauhau

 

In New Zealand, The Wharekauhau Lodge & Country Estate, a property set on a sheep farm, was given its membership card for offering guests an indulgent stay in a bucolic setting with forests, lakes and rivers.

And over in Japan, travelers looking to stay at an authentic ‘ryokan’ or traditional Japanese inn may want to consider Nishimuraya Honkan in Hyogo which also received Relais & Chateaux’s stamp of approval. With a heritage that stretches back 150 years and seven generations, the inn offers a peaceful retreat amongst bamboo forests and hot springs.

The ryokan also serves traditional kaiseki, a Japanese tasting menu made up of several small plates.

For more Relais & Chateaux properties visit https://www.relaischateaux.com.

Travel: Seoul Much More

Seoul is amazing. Skyscrapers sprout high up into the grey skies, and the intricate architecture of the buildings amazes me as I walk along its bustling streets. Korea is known for its sumptuous food, cheap drinks, and of course, its pop culture dominance. This is probably why Seoul has become a travel hotspot for tourists from all over the world.

Talking about Korean pop culture, the recent hype of the hit TV series, Descendants of the Sun, has brought its lead actor, Song Joong-ki, onto magazine covers, and his face is plastered on billboards, life-sized posters, and even street lamps and tea cups in small coffee houses. This infatuation over Song alone shows how K-pop has such a huge impact on our lives.

However, aside from K-pop and flashy buildings, Seoul has so much more to offer. Venture into F&B establishments located along paths that are less taken, and you might find the most delectable and crispy chimaek (Korean fried chicken). Be adventurous on your next trip to Seoul. Look beyond the malls at Gangnam and explore the small streets and boutique hotels that might just be the best places for comfort food and rest.

Staying In Style

Comfort is of utmost importance when it comes to travelling. Like putting on a pair of shoes with the right size for the right occasion, the accommodation for your stay in Korea should put you at ease. Besides comfort, there’s also no harm in choosing a hotel that is injected with some fun elements. Here are three hotels with unique and interesting concepts that might catch your fancy.

Located near the Sinseol-dong subway station, Hotel Boutique 9 serves a wide range of guests because of its unexpected room themes. You might have heard of hotels with customised suites, but have you heard of a Funny Suite? It comes with a game station (Xbox or PlayStation) of your choice. Other suites include the Garden Suite, which comes with a rooftop garden, as well as the Billiard and Spa Suites.

Rakkojae

Rakkojae

If you have a keen eye for photography, head down to Hotel April. Apart from the big museums in Seoul such as the National Museum of Seoul or the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Hotel April houses its own mini collection of photographic works by local rising photographers.

Given the rich traditions of the Korean culture, Rak-Ko-Jae Hanok Hotel strikes a sweet harmony between the Hanok, traditional Korean architecture, and nature, providing you with an intimate local living experience. With a rich history dating back 130 years, Rak-Ko-Jae was renovated earlier in 2003 by renowned carpenter Young Jin Chung, who embraces the fusion of modernity and traditions, while incorporating nature as one of the key elements in his design.

Shopping in Seoul

Apgujeong

Apgujeong

It is not difficult to know where the top luxury labels and brands are in Seoul, as it is steadily establishing itself as a fashion capital. Stepping out of the Apgujeong subway station, you will be greeted by rows of branded shops. Along the streets of Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong, you will find premier departmental stores and leading luxury brand boutiques that will keep you busy for the entire day.

Sinsadong

Sinsadong

If you are looking to bring home some chic designs from upcoming local designers, head over to the Garosu-gil Road near the Sinsa subway station, which is dotted with small, stylish and artistic shops. Another popular shopping haven is Common Ground, the world’s biggest cargo container pop-up shopping complex. Comprising about 200 containers, the four-storey mall houses an impressive line-up of trendy hipster brands that are on the frontier of the ever-changing Korean fashion industry.

Insadong

Insadong

Love At First BiteGwangjang-Market-Seoul

There’s one thing in Seoul you can’t miss: food. Walking on the streets, you can’t help but be enticed by the aromas coming from the food stalls that line up across the city, as well as the restaurants that park themselves in cosy shophouses. Korean street food remains the crux of Korean cuisine, with mouth-watering favourites such as the tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), hweori gamja (tornado-shaped potato), and chimaek (fried chicken). For those who are more adventurous, there’s the sannakji (octopus sashimi). Other well-known Korean cuisine such as the samgyetang (Ginseng chicken soup), budae jjigae (army stew), and pajeon (pancake) are also ubiquitous in food markets and restaurants.Gwangjang-Market-Seoul-2

But of course, dining out in this day and age is more than just about food and its taste, as our preferences change ever so quickly. We are constantly searching for novel dining experiences that offer a clever play between different elements, and the unexpected fusion of ingredients that produces a combination of flavours that is so delectable that we would fall in love with it at first bite.Gwangjang-Market-Seoul-3

If you have yet to experience dining in the dark, Le Noir at the Vault provides you with just that. An intriguing dining experience, to say the least, it isolates your sense of taste and smell, thereby enhancing your appreciation of its dishes. Alternatively, you can also dine at Ciné de Chef, which is a luxurious combination of movie theatre and gourmet restaurant that allows you to enjoy a premium meal and the latest blockbusters at the same time. Another establishment you may want to try is the Jung Sik Dang restaurant. Its head-chef, Jung Sik Yum, serves up molecular gastronomy using traditional Korean ingredients.Gwangjang-Market-Seoul-4

Celebrating its cultures through its hotels, food, and streets, there is no doubt that Seoul is the ideal destination for a short getaway.

Story Credits

Text by Dewey Sim

This article was first published in Men’s Folio.

Top 10 World Landmarks 2016 Revealed

It is a telling sign of a site’s fame when the sheer volume of tourists actually puts the place itself at risk. Machu Picchu was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and though that helped bolster the famous ruins as an important tourist destination, it also led officials in Peru to impose a 2,500 a day cap on the number of visitors for the Inca Trails. Either way, the fame of the location is still going strong – taking the No. 1 spot in TripAdvisor’s Landmarks of the World ranking for 2016.

That said, if you’re ever planning a trip to the famed mythical site here are a couple of hotels to consider and a few complete tour packages that you might want to look into:

Belmond Sanctuary Lodge

As the only hotel directly next to the Machu Picchu itself, this is definitely high on the list of any of the possible accommodations in the area. You can just wake up and go for a morning stroll and you’ll already be in sight of the ruins. Besides that, they also have a number of amenities, such as massage treatments, massive gardens, and even shamanic wedding vows renewal ceremonies.

Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel

While not being directly located at the site, this luxury hotel boasts of a wide range of possible activities and amenities, as well as a good offering of Peruvian cuisine. Not only are there cooking classes and bar classes (we assume cocktail mixing hands-on types of offerings), but they also perform the shamanic marriage ceremony, and storytelling sessions for traditional tales and myths. The menu at the hotel is prepared by executive chef Carlos Pardo Figueroa Thornberry, who has long standing experience in many renowned restaurants and with many different cuisines. Rooms range from the Sumaq Deluxe rooms all the way up to the Imperial Suites – but no matter what kind of room you go for, the service promises to be impeccable.

Jacada Travel Packages

If you don’t want to have the hassle of doing all the planning yourself, or you want to go for a wider range of sites over in Peru and South America rather than just Machu Picchu, Jacada Travel is willing to land a hand, for a price. They’ll help you tailor an itinerary best fitting your needs – and, most importantly, they’ll also help to keep it private and comfortable.

One of the possible packages involving Machu Picchu is the “Ultra Private Luxury Galapagos Cruise with Exclusive Machu Picchu Adventure” which has a luxury train ride all the way to the ruins as well as a long cruise to explore the Galapagos on a private luxury vessel. Another involves jetting across South America in what else but a private jet.

Hilton and Marriott Top Hotel Rewards Ranking

A new report reveals Hilton and Marriott to be the top hotels in terms of rewarding guests for their loyalty. Looking through the responses of nearly 3,100 consumers in the US, the Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards program tied for first with an overall satisfaction score of 741, out of a maximum 1,000. These were improvements to the brands’ score compared to the previous year, and it also marks the second year that Hilton HHonors has taken the top rank in the report from the market research group J.D. Power.

The report measures customer satisfaction based on six factors: account maintenance and management; ease of redeeming points; ease of earning points; variety of benefits; reward program terms; and customer satisfaction. The overall satisfaction with hotel loyalty programs also spiked across the board, improving from 701 in 2015 to 711 this year.

“At Hilton, customer experience is at the heart of everything we do. Our team members around the world are passionate about delivering impeccable, personalized service to our guests and that is why it’s an honor to once again be recognized by J.D. Power,” said Mark Weinstein, senior vice president and global head of Loyalty & Partnerships, Hilton Worldwide, in an article by BusinessWire.

These are the top hotel rewards programs as ranked by J.D. Power:

1. Hilton HHonors
2. Marriott Rewards
3. IHG Rewards
4. La Quinta Returns
5. Best Western Rewards
6. Choice Privileges
7. Omni Hotel Select Guest
8. Club Carlson
9. Hyatt Gold Passport
10. Fairmont President’s Club

QE2 Birthday Bash: 4 Best London Hotel Suites

Now holding the title as the longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II is set to celebrate yet another milestone in her life. Starting from April all the way through to June, Britain will be partying it up in the most regal way possible for the Queen’s 90th birthday. The celebrations will be located in the Queen’s home base of London and is set to attract tourists from around the world. From May 12 to the 15, Home Park in Windsor Castle will host a pageant dubbed The Celebration that pays tribute to the reigning monarch. Each night will see a 90-minute performance by more than 900 horses and 1,500 horses and performers just for her.

If you were one of the 30,000 people who managed to snag a ticket of two for the event, then you would certainly need to find some accommodation in London. It being her Majesty’s birthday and all, we thought it would only be appropriate for you to live it up like the royals do and nothing less than the best will do. From the perfect bathroom to the finest views, we scoured through the luxury hotels of London to bring you the perfect suites to cater to your every need. We bring you our four picks of luxury hotels and their finest suites fit for a queen.

The Goring HotelThe-Goirng_The-Royal-Suite---Drawing-Room

From the Apsley House to the Victoria Albert Theatre, Westminster Abbey and even Buckingham Palace, The Goring is a stone’s throw away from every major attraction near the Palace. The most luxurious room at The Goring? Well, it happens to be The Royal Suite. This two bedroom, two-reception room suite that offers you some impressive views of London. Glamour is mixed with history in here as every room is decked out with interesting elements from all around Britain. With the help of The Gainsborough Silk Company from Suffolk, the suite is decked out in silks that were commissioned by designer Russell Sage, including one that was originally woven for the Dining Room of the Titanic. Guests can feel cosy in an opulent yet comforting environment.ROYAL-SUITE-MASTER-BEDROOM

With large French doors in every room, guests can enjoy a view of the sunset and the rooftops of London, all from the balcony that runs the entire length of the top floor. My personal favorite aspect of the hotel is the Pintrest-worthy shower that is said to be able to fit six people, which has a near life size portrait of Queen Victoria to keep you company — Royal audience, anyone?The-Goring-Hotel-Royal-Suite-Bathroom

The antique four-poster bed from one of the great houses of Britain is another piece of British history that awaits in the Master bedroom. Proving that the little details go a long way, other antiques such as a Georgian decanter, wooden tea caddies and Nailsea Glass paperweights are also on display.

The CorinthiaRoyal-Penthouse-Lounge-Corinthia-Hotel-London

The Royal Penthouse, that sits on the roof terrace, is one of the many penthouses that The Corinthia. With a panoramic view of London, its no wonder that this is an editorial selection to which we return regularly. Featuring two floors that are connected via a private internal lift, the accommodation seems more like a home than a hotel. From the expansive entrance hall, to the living space, study and oval dining room that can seat 10, the penthouse seems to be made for luxury, with its palatial theme.Royal-Penthouse-Master-Bedroom-(crop)-Corinthia-Hotel-London

Make your way up the grand staircase and you will be greeted by two bedrooms that house king-size beds, with continuing doors that allow you to open-up to two further bedrooms. Apart from the honey onyx and Skros marble of the bathrooms, there are many other features, fixtures and amenities in the penthouse that would make it perfectly suited for a royal encounter. Forget walking down to the spa when you have a private spa suite of your own. It even has a walk-in wine cellar, meaning that you would be able to select only the finest that The Corinthia has to offer right there in your suite.Royal-Penthouse-Main-Bathroom-(landscape)-Corinthia-Hotel-London

The Connaught

From London’s Mayfair district, we bring you The Apartment. This suite spells opulence from the moment you walk through those grand hand-carved doors. The dominant theme that runs through the space is the use of shades associated with royalty. From a personal butler who will be on hand for your every need, to a welcome bottle of Krug champagne, suitably chilled, upon your arrival, guests can expect to be pampered during their stay.

Should the suite be too small for your stay, then simply occupy the whole sixth floor as an exclusive nine-bedroom suite. Timing is never an issue here, with your personal barman, daily breakfast and personal trainer available at any time you choose. In fact, forget about time at all. Even the check out is without a time limit. If that doesn’t impress you, then watch the tour of the suite below, and you’ll be convinced — we know we were.

The LanghamThe-Sterling-Suite-Media-Room

The Sterling Suite at The Langham is another that boasts a private lift. Located at Portland Place, the private lift entrance is one of the two entrances to the secluded Lobby of the suite — which is perfect if you happen to have an Idris Elba, Chris Evans or Angelina Jolie stay at the hotel. Apart from the two main bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, standalone bathtubs and dressing areas, the suite also features a luxurious drawing room, a dining area as well as a Home Theatre lounge for guests.The-Sterling-Suite-Master-Bedroom

The Drawing Room, which sits at the heart of the suite, features a unique dual-tone piano, bespoke fireplace and Butler’s bar. The Master Bedroom, which is described as the pièce de resistance, is made up of a Master Salon living area, Master Bathroom and spacious Dressing Room. Attention to detail is an important part of the suite with hand-painted chinoiserie on silver leaf panels, verre eglomise glass with gilded age details and gold and silver leaf hand-painted finishes as well as marble and antique mirror work. Joining the hand-blown Murano glass fixtures is a 24-hour butler service that will cater to your every need.The-Sterling-Suite-Master-Bathroom

Meet Connie, Robot Concierge at Hilton

The world’s largest hotelier by rooms, Hilton Worldwide Holdings has a new claim to fame: a child-sized robot concierge. Yes this is a real thing that is happening now at the Hilton McLean in Virginia, USA as part of a pilot project with IBM’s supermachine Watson.

Charmingly named after Hilton’s founder Conrad Hilton, “Connie” can be used by guests to field questions on local tourist attractions, dining recommendations, hotel features and amenities at the Hilton McLean.

Connie will greet guests and answer questions using a combination of Watson’s APIs including Dialog, Speech to Text, Text to Speech and Natural Language Classifier.

Believe it or not, Hilton is only the latest hotel to “hire” a robot among its staff, in a worldwide trend that’s aimed at reducing labor costs and capitalizing on the latest technologies.

In 2014, Starwood’s Aloft brand introduced ‘Botlr’ to the front lines, a roving robot used mainly to deliver amenities to guest rooms. Botlr works at the Cupertino location not far from tech giant Apple.

And last year, Japan opened the doors to the world’s first fully automated, robot-staffed hotel with the Henn-na Hotel, where guests check in, check out, get their rooms cleaned and their luggage conveyed by a fleet of blinking, beeping and rolling robots.

eforea Spa

Hilton unveils global spa membership program

eforea Spa

 hopes its new global membership initiative will turn a visit to the spa into an affordable monthly treat rather than an annual indulgence.

The idea is simple, join the club and get a monthly appointment at the Hilton spa closest to your home — be it in a Hilton resort, the Waldorf Astoria or a Double Tree, there are over 400 Hilton properties around the world with the facilities.

READ MORE: HILTON LAUNCHES EFOREA SPA

“We look forward to welcoming new members to Spa Club locations around the world,” said Ryan Crabbe, senior director of global wellness, Hilton Worldwide. “We’re proud to be the first in the industry to offer a flexible, affordable program in response to profound recent cultural interest towards healthier, more balanced living.”

With a six- or 12-month membership, consumers will be able to get a massage or facial once a month at highly reduced rates as well as discounted access to the hotel’s other amenities.

W South Beach bedroom

The best time to book a hotel room revealed

W South Beach bedroom

Agoda has come up with the best times to book a hotel after analyzing prices at 25 of the most popular tourist destinations around the world.

And according to their data, overall, the cheapest time to book hotels is at the beginning of the year, as room rates were below average in 22 of the 25 markets studied by Singapore-based Agoda.com.

THE WORLD’S CLEANEST HOTELS ARE IN TOKYO!

On the other hand, the findings suggest avoiding September and October, which emerged as the most expensive months for hotel rooms.

For the report, authors culled the booking data from millions of guests who used Agoda.com in 2014.

Travelers eyeing a trip to Europe are also advised to visit mid-March, when room rates in Paris, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm and London are about 20 percent less than average.

And if you’re New York or Sydney-bound, book a room in July.

The Bentley Lodge Kitzbuehl

Bentley opens mountain lodge in Austria

The Bentley Lodge Kitzbuehl

Bentley Motors has opened a mountain lodge in Kitzbühel, Austria, and is now accepting private bookings from customers and friends of the brand.

The lodge is a full-serviced and luxuriously furnished chalet in the midst of the Alpine hot spot, located at the foot of the famous Hahnenkammrennen downhill ski race and 500 meters away from the city center.

READ MORE: BENTLEY DESIGNS HOME RANGE

Its design is inspired by the techniques, materials and finishes of Bentley’s car interiors and uses Tyrolean stone pine wood as well as natural stone from the Upper Tauern region.

The Bentley Lodge Kitzbuehl can be booked on bentleymotorslodge.com.

Sheraton Grand

Sheraton Grand officially launched

Sheraton Grand

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has moved to clarify the consumer confusion surrounding what a Sheraton hotel actually represents by launching the Sheraton Grand brand for top-tier properties.

It’s actually a significant development for tourists looking to make the most of a luxury holiday around the world. In this case, travelers will now direct themselves to the “Sheraton Grand” catalog to choose their stays.

This new division guarantees tourists “an exemplary hotel offer.”

Only establishments equipped with extraordinary gyms, spas that dreams are made of and rooms with “sophisticated design and precision workmanship,” and that are in specific locations “ranging from big cities to spectacular beaches,” can be a part of this network of addresses. They must also stand out in customer satisfaction.

100 hotels are set to receive the “Sheraton Grand” label before 2017.

The first to be so designated are the Bangalore Hotel – Brigade Gateway in India, the Beijing Dongcheng Hotel in China, the Sheraton Hotel Dubai, the Sheraton Hotel Edinburgh in Scotland, the Rio Hotel & Resort in Brazil, the Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort in Japan, the Sheraton Sukhumvit in Thailand, the Sheraton Taipei Hotel, the Tokyo Bay Hotel and the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in South Korea.

Château de Versailles Orangerie

New Luxury Hotel Planned for Versailles

Château de Versailles Orangerie

Imagine opening your hotel room window to gaze upon the lavish grounds and famous palace of Versailles after spending a night on the estate itself.

That prospect could soon be reality — at least for some of the wealthier visitors to France — after a government body that manages Versailles put out a tender to build a hotel alongside the fabled grounds.

CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES SAYS NO TO SELFIE STICKS

There are plans for three 17th century buildings on the border of the palace property to be converted into a luxury hotel, according to officials who confirmed a report in the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Guests will have to enter the hotel from a road outside the estate, and not all the rooms will give on to the grounds.

But those that do will have a view across the Versailles gardens and, by craning necks to the right, a bit of the palace.

The company that wins the tender will have operating rights for 60 years, but will have to pay between eight million and 11 million euros to fix up the buildings’ walls and roof, and touch up the interior.

The cash-strapped government has increasingly been forced to turn to the private sector to keep its heritage in a good state.

A source close to the managing body for Versailles said the plan was part of a culture ministry policy “to renovate and add value to historic monuments’ spaces and installing economic activities”.

One of the buildings served as the finance ministry under Louis XV, and up to the Revolution of the late 18th century.

Leading French hotel group AccorHotels, which reportedly is competing in the tender launched two weeks ago, told AFP it was a “logical” choice given its strength in the sector.

It is not the first time a hotel has been planned at the site. In 2010, a company called Ivy International won a 30-year contract to build a 23-room hotel, but failed to go through with the scheme.

intercontinental hong kong

InterContinental Sells Hong Kong Hotel for $938 Million

intercontinental hong kong

InterContinental Hotels Group has agreed to sell its ownership interest in InterContinental Hong Kong to Supreme Key for $938 million.

Supreme Key has made a further commitment to invest in a significant refurbishment of the hotel. This is expected to commence in 2017 and will take place over a period of approximately 18 months.

intercontinental hong kong

IHG will retain a 37-year management contract on the hotel, with three ten-year extension rights, giving an expected contract length of 67 years.

InterContinental Hong Kong infinity pool

The hotel is internationally-acclaimed as one of the world’s most famous hotels, with a five-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide, three Michelin-starred restaurants, and a wide range of meeting and banqueting facilities.

intercontinental hong kong

It is situated on the Kowloon waterfront, with unrivalled panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s skyline. The Hotel opened in 1980 and has 503 guest rooms, including 87 suites, and has been wholly owned by IHG and operated under the InterContinental brand since 2001.

Mandarin Oriental Milan

Mandarin Oriental Opens in Milan

Mandarin Oriental Milan

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the inauguration of The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s newest addition in Milan.

Mandarin Oriental Milan bedroom

The new hotel, located on Via Andegari, features contemporary Italian décor, the work of interior designer Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel Interiors, whose previous projects include the Bulgari Hotel in Dubai.

Mandarin Oriental Milan bathroom

Offering 73 rooms and 31 suites, the hotel is home to the Mandarin Bar and the Seta restaurant, headed by Antonio Guida, and offers a selection of food that fuses Tuscan flavors with French and Asian influences.

Mandarin Oriental Milan bar

The new hotel’s amenities include a spa that’s nearly 10,000 square feet in size, with a gym, indoor pool and hair salon.

Facade Ritz Hotel Place Vendome

The Ritz Paris Takes Reservations [VIDEO]

Travelers can now book rooms at the newly renovated Ritz Paris for dates starting next year.

The reopening of the five-star hotel looks set to roll out at the end of 2015, but travelers wanting to make reservations may have to wait, as bookings are now available for dates starting March 14, 2016.

The Ritz Paris has been undergoing renovations since July 2012, and the project is 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.” Rooms start at $985 per night.

Facade Ritz Hotel Place Vendome

First Six Senses resort opens in Chengdu, China

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, has opened a new property in the Qing Cheng Mountains in Chengdu province, China.

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain spa

Set at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage & Natural Cultural site at Dujiangyan, the Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain offers 113 guest rooms and suites ranging from semi-detached suites in duplex villas with balconies and verandas, to courtyard suites, and garden and pool villas.

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bedroom

A collection of four suites may open on to a central courtyard, enabling them to be individually occupied or grouped into a private community compound for friends and family.

Read More @ adelto.co.uk

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bathroomSix Senses Qing Cheng Mountain suite Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bar  Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bridge

Henn-na Hotel staff

This Japan hotel is almost entirely run by robots

Henn-na Hotel staff

Japan has opened the doors to the world’s first automated, robot-staffed hotel, replacing people with pretty, lifelike lady humanoid receptionists and a bow tie-wearing, dinosaur concierge.

At the Henn-na Hotel, or ‘Strange Hotel,’ guests check in, check out, get their rooms cleaned and their luggage conveyed by a fleet of blinking, beeping and rolling robots that the hotel describes as “warm and friendly.”

Likewise, as part of their aim to feature cutting-edge technology, stays are keyless. Instead, guests enter their rooms via facial recognition technology.

The use of robots and the emphasis on automated services is part of a bigger concept: To reduce labor costs, save energy, reduce waste, and develop a self-sufficient hotel powered by solar energy and machines.

receptionist robots

For example, rooms are conspicuously absent of refrigerators, lights are motion-sensored, and rooms are cooled using an energy-efficient radiant panel air conditioning system.

The hotel is part of the Dutch theme park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo, Nagasaki, and may be expanded across Japan and abroad.

Future plans also include the addition of Chinese and Korean languages to the robots’ repertoire.

Henn-na Hotel bedroom

Other features include a porter robot, that will transport luggage to guest rooms, and a self-serve cafe which serves snacks and drinks from, what else, a vending machine.

Room rates at the Strange Hotel, which features 144 rooms, start at 9,000 JPY ($73 USD) for a single room.

Henn na Hotel

Royal Palms Hotel Restaurant

Expedia Reveals World’s Best-Reviewed Hotels for 2015

Royal Palms Hotel

A three-star, boutique hotel in Bermuda has managed to take the top spot on Expedia’s list of best-reviewed hotels.

Of the 650 properties considered, the Royal Palms Hotel in Bermuda tops the list with 126 verified guests giving the property a 4.9 out of 5 note.

One hundred percent of guests also recommended the property to fellow travelers praising the bed and breakfast-style boutique hotel for its old world charm, friendly service and immaculate rooms.

Royal Palms Hotel Restaurant

In addition to guest satisfaction, winning hotels are those that consistently deliver value for money with competitive pricing, pristine amenities and superior customer service, says Expedia.

Meanwhile, the Royal Palms is the first to point out that their suites are not dripping in gold and crystals, and advise potential guests that awards and accolades are based on guest satisfaction and not its opulence.

Royal Palms Hotel Suite

“…we feel it would be useful to remember that awards are largely based on guest satisfaction which is closely tied to relative value for money and not simply on how ‘ritzy’ a hotel is,” reads an excerpt from their website.

Located near Hamilton, the property consists of two, flamingo pink 19th-century manor houses that reflect Colonial and Bermudian architecture.

Royal Palms Hotel BEdroom

Top 10 hotels on Expedia’s 2015 Insiders’ Select list

1. Royal Palms Hotel, Bermuda
2. Celenga Apartments, Dubrovnik, Croatia
3. Pumilio Mountain & Ocean Hotel, Jaco, Costa Rica
4. Woolleys Classic Suites, Denver, Colorado, USA
5. Dormy Inn Sapporo Annex, Japan
6. B+B Edinburgh, Scotland
7. Hotel Panorama, Maiori, Amalfi Coast, Italy
8. Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa, Koh Phangan, Thailand
9. Hotel Orion Motobu Resort & Spa, Okinawa Island, Japan
10. Best Western Premier Weinebrugge, Bruges, Belgium