LATEST NEWS FROM OUR CLIENTS
30 JUNE 2020
EXPLORING HAMBURG’S URBAN SHORE & LAKESIDE LUXURY AT THE FONTENAY HOTEL
Hamburg is a cosmopolitan city close to nature and perfect for a long weekend of exploring on foot, by bike or even on the water. At Hamburg’s heart lies a natural ‘green lung’; the glimmering Lake Alster and the lush parkland that skirts it. Located on this urban shoreline is The Fontenay, a lakeside luxury hotel opened in March 2018 that represents the perfect balance between nature and urban living. The hotel is welcoming back guests this summer with an array of suggested activities that combine city culture with al fresco living.
The Japanese call Hamburg ‘the green city in the woods’ – and not without reason: 27% of the city comprises natural areas. From The Fontenay, it is a 20-minute walk along the banks of Lake Alster into the city centre, with its ‘barista triangle’ area, independent shops and cultural attractions, including the historic waterfront HafenCity. The entire lake can be circumnavigated on foot in just over two hours, or longer if visitors linger over cafes, museums and piers en-route. The Fontenay also has bicycles to borrow to explore further afield up the Elbe River to the beach at Elbe. Guided cycle tours can be booked through The Fontenay’s concierge.
Lake Alster itself provides the perfect way to get a different view on Hamburg from the water. There are a huge variety of modes of transport, from canoes, pedal boats, sailboats, rowing boats, Venetian gondolas and even a Dragon boat for larger groups. ‘SUP the City’ tours can be arranged to explore the lake and the Alster canals, where you can observe villas and homes not usually visible to tourists. For a nautical ‘drive thru’, cafes can be found with serving hatches onto the water serving passing rowing boats traditional plum cake and a refreshing beer.
Those who don’t have sea legs can explore Hamburg on foot using a map supplied by The Fontenay, or perhaps taking an alternative guided walking tour, such as a two-hour street art tour. 2020 is the 60th anniversary of The Beatles in Hamburg and heritage tours can be arranged through the hotel’s concierge, exploring the story of the city’s music scene, a rich learning ground where The Beatles first refined their sound and became the band we know today.
Designed to be a reflection of modern Hamburg and the natural urban shoreline that surrounds it, The Fontenay has a free-flowing, sculptural architecture, contemporary interiors and luxury living spaces. Each of its 130 rooms has a spacious balcony, many with views of Lake Alster. Al fresco living continues with a beautiful summer terrace with tables under the trees for all-day dining at Parkview restaurant.
Meanwhile on the roof, a 20m-indoor/outdoor-infinity pool merges into the waters of the lake. Also on the roof is a large 500 m² outdoor bar terrace with a 320° view of the Hamburg skyline. All five of Hamburg’s main churches, the inner and outer Alster Lake, the Elbphilarmonie and the Town Hall can all be seen from here.
British Airways and Eurowings currently offer direct flights from London to Hamburg.
11 JUNE 2020
NIZUC RESORT & SPA LAUNCHES ‘HAND OVER HEART’ ONLINE AUCTION OF LUXURY TRAVEL EXPERIENCES TO BENEFIT STAFF
NIZUC Resort & Spa in Mexico will reopen to guests on 17 June, 2020 with new health and safety protocols in place throughout the hotel, estate and NIZUC Spa by ESPA. The hotel has also launched an online ‘Hand Over Heart’ auction of travel experiences to bid on, with 100% of proceeds being donated to the resort staff through a newly created Employee Relief Fund.
“We wanted to do something to give back to our employees who have been so impacted by the current pandemic, as they are the heart and soul of NIZUC,” said Jaime Jaramillo, Managing Director of NIZUC Resort & Spa. “We hope that our guests will enjoy personally or gift to a loved one these really wonderful experiences, while knowing that their donation will go a long way in helping the staff who have made their stay so special.”
Bidding for each ‘Hand Over Heart’ auction package begins at USD $200 (from GBP 158) and include:
- Two-night stay in the Presidential Suite, complete with a cooking lesson from Chef Eduardo Torres and a NIZUC Romance spa day for two
- Two-night stay in the NIZUC Villa, which comes with a tasting menu by Chef Alicia Padilla at Indochine Asian Restaurant and a Spa Day for two
- Cava Dom Pérignon Culinary Experience for six people
- Menu Pairing by Chef Eduardo Torres with wines from Cava Santo Tomas
- Spa Day at NIZUC Spa by ESPA for two, which includes four treatments and a champagne lunch
To view the full list of auction items and to bid on one of these packages, visit the auction website here. Bids can be made up until 11pm on 30 June 2020.
To ensure a safe and comfortable environment for guests and employees, NIZUC Resort & Spa has implemented new measures throughout the resort in accordance with recommendations from the World Health Organisation and the Center for Disease Control (USA). With 29 acres of natural beachfront estate for guests to explore, two beaches and the majority of suites having their own private pool, NIZUC naturally lends itself to distancing.
New measures include temperature screenings on arrival for guests and other visitors, daily temperature checks for staff, and guest baggage will be sanitised before being delivered to the suite. Elevator capacity within the resort will be limited to two people at a time. In the resort’s six gastronomic restaurants, tables will be spaced to allow for distancing and menus will be available to view via NIZUC’s app. For those preferring to dine in their room, an expanded menu of contactless in-suite dining is available. To view the new protocols for both NIZUC Resort & Spa and NIZUC Spa by ESPA, visit their website.
NIZUC Resort & Spa is welcoming back guests from 17 June 2020 with a Best Guaranteed Rate from US $590 (from GBP 467) per night plus tax and service, which includes a food & beverage resort credit up to US $120 (from GBP 95) per night. This offer is valid for bookings made from now until 31stAugust 2020, for travel between 17 June and 19 December 2020. Bookings can be made at www.nizuc.com
30 APRIL 2020
VIRTUAL WELLNESS RESIDENCIES FROM NIZUC RESORT & SPA
Luxury Mexican spa resort, NIZUC Resort & Spa, has partnered with performance coach, Artur Zolkiewicz, and international breathwork and mindfulness coach, Artur Paulins, to bring their wellness programme to those in isolation with a virtual wellness residency of pre-recorded practices and live classes.
Head over to NIZUC’s Instagram account or their blog, find a quiet space and work out alongside Artur Zolkiewicz as he takes viewers through a sequence of stretching & strengthening exercises inspired by his residency at NIZUC last year. With postures like the bird dog, crab, beast crawl & side clam, you would be mistaken for thinking you were already back on the beach. NIZUC guests will have met renowned performance coach, Artur Zolkiewicz, during his last residency at NIZUC Resort & Spa in September 2019. Artur will be returning to Mexico later this year, but until guests can return to this little corner of paradise, he has filmed an introductory warm-up and three exercise circuits for NIZUC guests to try at home.
These NIZUC at Home strengthening and stretching practices from Artur will be complemented by three mindful breathing practices filmed exclusively for NIZUC by international breathwork and mindfulness coach, Artur Paulins. Each breathwork sequence, entitled ‘Breath of Fire’, ‘Coherence Breath’ and ‘Square Breathing’, is intended to bring calm, stillness, inner strength and contentment.
These will be followed by two more filmed exercise practices from Artur posted over the coming weeks and will culminate in a live class on NIZUC’s Instagram page at 6pm BST on 11 May. Artur Paulins will then lead a virtual mindful breathing class on NIZUC’s Instagram page at 6pm BST on 25 May. The filmed exercise circuits and breathing sequences are designed to be viewed independently or can be put together to create a longer practice at home. The live classes will be available to replay on Instagram for 24 hours after each class ends.
6 MARCH 2020
NIZUC RESORT & SPA NAMED ‘MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE HOTEL IN THE WORLD’ BY LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR
NIZUC won against 64 luxury resorts across the world in the publication’s bracket-style reader’s choice competition
Mexico’s NIZUC Resort & Spa has today been named ‘Most Instragrammable Hotel in the World’ by Luxury Travel Advisor. Over 400,000 votes were cast by the magazine’s readers from around the world during six rounds of the bracket-style (or tournament-style) competition, which began on 15 March 2020.
“We’ve always known that NIZUC offers something special to our guests, and we’re thrilled that Luxury Travel Advisor’s readers agree,” said Jaime Jaramillo, Managing Director of NIZUC Resort & Spa. “From our picturesque infinity pools and turquoise waters to our stunning spa and unique design, anyone looking for that perfect picture would not be hard-pressed to discover it around every corner at our resort.”
NIZUC is a five-star AAA Five Diamond resort situated on the beaches of Punta Nizuc in Cancun, Mexico and is just a short 15-minute drive from the international airport. With influences from the local environment, NIZUC fuses Asian architectural forms with Mexican materials and Mayan iconography to create an intimate and luxurious atmosphere. Travellers will enjoy the resort’s tropical and lush landscape, multiple infinity pools, swim-up bar and two private beaches that offer the perfect backdrop for any photo.
With sweeping views of the turquoise waters of the Mexican-Caribbean, six world-class restaurants and award-winning spa by ESPA, NIZUC has become a top wedding destination for couples in Mexico as the resort effortlessly lends itself to create the perfect backdrop that newlyweds, friends and family will never forget. In 2019, the resort hosted the world-renowned Engage! Conference bringing together industry professionals to experience all it has to offer.
NIZUC Spa is the first ESPA-branded spa in the region, offering an all-encompassing luxurious experience. Guests can enjoy the signature NIZUC Thermal Experience, followed by innovative treatments designed to relax mind, body and soul inspired by Mayan mindfulness. In addition, the resort’s wellness program features daily fitness classes ranging from paddleboard yoga and cycling to Zumba and core training.
As the world practices social distancing, home-bound travellers can still get a taste of NIZUC Resort & Spa by tuning into the resort’s live beach cam while sitting back with a home-made margarita and taking in the colourful sunset.
Full announcement article here.
18 SEPTEMBER 2019
THE STRAND YANGON ANNOUNCES COLLABORATION WITH AUGUSTINE
Unlocking the Secrets of Myanmar’s 20th century arts & crafts
A stylish urban classic for over a century, The Strand Yangon first opened its doors to writers, raconteurs, explorers and adventurers in 1901. The luxury heritage hotel has been collaborating with another of Myanmar’s famous names, Augustine, since the early 1960s, when Mr Augustine first sourced rare and beautiful objects from Myanmar’s history for the hotel. This summer, The Strand Yangon celebrated that successful relationship with the opening of Augustine At The Strand, a new boutique located just off the hotel’s marble lobby, specialising in exceptional and sought-after items that exemplify the finest in Myanmar craftsmanship dating from the 1900s onwards.
Collated by Augustine owner, Mark Augustine, the Items on sale at Augustine At The Strand are objects pre-owned post-1900, the era the hotel first opened, with an emphasis on items that have been hand-made by traditional artisans using rare techniques and featuring typical elements such as gold leaf, lacquer and teak wood.
Mark and his father, Augustine’s founder, Mr Augustine, have always had a close relationship with Strand Hotel that stretches back over 55 years. They collaborated with the Strand during both of its major renovations in the early 1990s and again in 2016, sourcing many items now found in the lobby, including various large pieces of lacquer ware and gilded wood carvings.
“Here at the Strand, we are privileged to be the guardians of this beautiful building’s history and, likewise, Mark and his father have become stewards to a century of Myanmar’s artisan crafts. By opening this shop, we have brought the experts right to our guests, who can ensure the provenance of each item, help source particular items and assist with any paperwork such as certificates of authenticity, thereby preserving and ensuring the longevity of Myanmar arts and crafts,” commented Hotel Manager, Barthélémy Durand.
If guests are unable find the exact item they desire, the Augustine team can arrange for them to visit their original shop and warehouse in nearby Kamayut Township, which is a treasure trove of carvings from workshops in Mandalay, gilded statues, mid-century furniture, exquisite lacquer ware from artisans in Bagan and beautifully worked silver.
The Strand’s contribution to Yangon’s historical and cultural heritage was recognised in February 2019 when it become the first hotel to receive a commemorative Blue Plaque from the Yangon Heritage Trust, which is now on display under the entrance portico. www.hotelthestrand.com
30 JULY 2019
FIVE WAYS TO STAY FIT ON YOUR SUMMER HOLIDAY BY CELEBRITY PERFORMANCE COACH, ARTUR ZOLKIEWICZ
Renowned international performance coach, Artur Zolkiewicz, will be hosting a weeklong residency at NIZUC Resort & Spa on the Mexican Caribbean coast from 19-25 September 2019. Ahead of his trip, which will coincide with World Wellness Weekend, Artur has shared his top five tips on how we can all stay healthy and adapt our fitness regimes while on holiday this summer.
Artur says, “Ever more travellers want to keep fit during their holiday. For some, going away is no longer all about indulging and being horizontal 24/7. It’s often a time to concentrate on ourselves – time to get in better shape and think about health and diet. Travelling can negatively impact your health and fitness routines, be it your diet, exercise regime or sleep. The temptation to indulge is greater than ever and it’s always easy to justify another drink by the pool. However, taking care of your health and fitness while on holiday will make you feel better, allow you to relax more and set you up for a better start when you get back home.”
Here are Artur’s five tips for enjoying your holiday while staying on top of your health and training.
1. Create a routine
There are so many things you can do to keep active on holiday. Say you’re going on holiday for a week and you’re staying at a beautiful hotel. I’m more than certain that there is going to be a nice gym, too. If you want to stay on top of your fitness, get into the habit of doing some work in the morning before hitting the nice breakfast buffet. Even if you don’t have access to a gym, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can still do a wide variety of body weight exercises elsewhere. It’s a good excuse to mix up your training and try something different. If you’re close to the beach, go and train barefoot in the sand. Not only will it give you a tough and different workout, it will also add new stimulus to your training and keep your body guessing. Surprising your body by moving differently is a good way to induce new adaptations. Starting your day with a workout will hopefully help you to set your mind right and guide you towards better choices for breakfast. Also by completing your workout first thing in the morning, you will have a whole day free to do whatever you want to do – tan, sightsee or whatever else it is that you fancy doing on holiday! Even lying by the pool is topping up your vital Vitamin D!
2) Nail your breakfast
I can’t stress this one enough. Making the right choices for breakfast will have a physical and mental effect on your body. They will save you from overeating for the rest of the day and help you to avoid the temptation of not-so-wise nutritional choices. If you wake up early to work out, have an espresso or a green tea before you train. Save the breakfast for after your workout, you won’t feel too heavy when working out and your body will be able to use the nutrients more efficiently. If you need to eat before working out, make sure it’s something light. I recommend training on an empty stomach unless you intend to go really hard and really long! Generally speaking a good breakfast would consist of a good serving of protein and some healthy fats. Starting your day with a meal consisting of protein and fat will fill you up for longer and make sure that you won’t want to snack. Eggs, avocado and smoked salmon is a great breakfast option rich in protein and good fats. Another good option is to go with a balanced breakfast that consists of a serving of protein, healthy fats and some slow releasing carbohydrates. My go-to is often porridge with some berries and nuts or nut butter and scrambled eggs. Or if I’m staying at a hotel on vacation, my particular breakfast pleasure is the freshly prepared omelette station – much less boring than simple scrambled eggs.
I don’t know about you, but I love exploring new places by foot. I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in 16 cities and the first thing I do when I arrive at a new destination is to get walking and exploring the neighbourhood. You get to meet local people, find amazing restaurants serving local cuisine and most importantly, you get a lot of movement in whilst enjoying all the good bits of travelling. Walking is a very underestimated form of exercise. It’s a low impact, fun and healthy way to get your cardiovascular activity done when on holiday. Try and utilise other forms of movement which are normally not accessible to you back at home – work out on the beach (the sand will make it so much harder!) or get a pre-breakfast swim in!
4) Leave the stress at home!
This is your time. Focus on sleeping better, eating more mindfully, practicing meditation and other relaxation techniques, or have a massage. De-stressing can have a huge impact on how your body stores and processes fat. The less stress hormone (cortisol) your body produces, the more likely you’re going to come back from holiday looking better than before! Cortisol promotes body fat and makes it harder to lose weight, especially around your stomach. We get better quality sleep when we’re away and sleep is one of the most fundamental factors for fat-loss and muscle building. Good quality sleep will help your body to secrete less of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which is the primary hunger hormone and causes you to feel hungry even when you don’t need to eat. So relax!
5) Choose places that allow you to stay fit
Many hotels now do an amazing job offering their guests great gym facilities and access to some amazing performance coaches. If you’re planning to go on holiday in September and didn’t decide where to go yet, I have an idea for you – come and see me in Cancun at the amazing NIZUC Resort & Spa. In addition to a class a day, you’ll get the chance to enjoy two private beaches overseeing the Caribbean Sea and you will also be able to book me for personal training sessions. See you there! www.nizuc.com
22 JULY 2019
EXPERIENCE BAGAN’S HERITAGE TRAIL WITH THE STRAND CRUISE
Exploring UNESCO’s Latest World Heritage Site with Myanmar’s Premier Heritage Hotel & Cruise
With the news announced last week that UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has named the ancient temple city of Bagan in Myanmar (Burma) as one of 29 new cultural and natural sites inscribed into its World Heritage List, there has never been a better time to follow in the footsteps of intrepid adventurers and discover what makes this ancient temple city so magical. The Strand name has been synonymous with luxury hospitality in Myanmar for over a century and The Strand Cruise is uniquely positioned to offer a true insight into the sights and sounds, myths and legends, and tastes of Bagan.
One of the best ways to explore many of Myanmar’s former kingdoms is by sailing the Ayeyarwady River, a golden thread through the country along which the ancient capitals of Bagan, Ava, Mingun and Mandalay are strung like jewels. The Strand Cruise is an intimate 25-cabin luxury river cruise ship that recreates the style and soul of its namesake sister property, The Strand Yangon, afloat. The ship sails the Ayeyarwady River on three- and four-night itineraries that begin in or end in Bagan. Itineraries are fully a la carte, with passengers allocated a guide and driver so that they can follow a recommended shore excursion itinerary including the highlights of each port, or follow their own path to discover sites they may have read about.
In Bagan, The Strand Cruise’s itinerary begins with breakfast in the tranquil gardens of one of Myanmar’s oldest lacquer ware workshops, where this ancient craft is practiced using techniques first discovered in the region in the 11th century. Following breakfast, passengers begin to explore the sheer magnificence and architectural splendour of some of Bagan’s 2,500 temples stupas, pagodas and monasteries, many dating from the 10th century. Highlights include the Ananda Temple and the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda, an original construction built by King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Empire.
Following lunch on board the sundeck of The Strand Cruise, moored nearby, passengers set forth to explore more of Bagan, including the Sulamani Temple, regarded as one of the most refined within the heritage site, reflected in its direct translation as ‘crowning jewel’; and the renowned Gubyaukgyi Temple, built in 1113, famed for its murals lining the main hall.
Passengers return to the ship for a sundowner or to try the famed Strand Sour cocktail, created decades ago at the Sarkies Bar at The Strand Yangon and favoured by many writers and raconteurs of the 20th century. The evening continues with a traditional cultural show on board given by visiting artists, singers and puppeteers depicting myths and tales of old Bagan, followed by a gastronomic dinner featuring classic Myanmar and Asian dishes.
Executive Chef Daeng loves the market in Bagan and while the ship is moored, ensures he takes on board the best local ingredients for dinner, including fresh vegetables and spices for Laphet Thoke, Myanmar’s most famous salad of pickled tea leaves, beans, peanuts, fried garlic and dried shrimp; Kahyan Thee Thoke, a wonderfully intense roasted eggplant salad with crispy garlic, fresh coriander, peanuts and sesame seeds with a garlic, fish sauce and lime juice dressing; and Mohingha, Myanmar’s national dish of fish soup made with rice noodles and topped with crispy fritters and a boiled egg.
The following morning, passengers have the option to rise early and see the sun emerge over the horizon to bathe Bagan in a golden glow from a hot air balloon floating above thousands of ancient stupas. Following a magical 24 hours exploring Bagan, The Strand Cruise finally sets sail upriver, passing landscapes and village life along the river banks reminiscent of the days Rudyard Kipling and other intrepid explorers visited this untouched landscape.
Myanmar (or Burma as it was known at the time) was one of the first countries in South East Asia to open up to international tourism in the early 20th century. As the new century dawned, travellers and explorers began arriving in Yangon by steam ship and later by air, drawn to Myanmar for it’s incredibly rich and well preserved heritage, its fascinating and diverse culture, and to experience for themselves the grand vistas of Bagan that they had heard tale of from explorers before them.
This first influx of weary travellers would head straight for The Strand Yangon in search of a cool drink and a large, airy suite. Established in 1901 as Burma’s finest hostelry, this beautiful heritage hotel is still the perfect place to start experiencing Myanmar’s cultural past. Classic but never old-fashioned, a visit to The Strand remains a ‘must do’ for visitors to Yangon, who walk in the footsteps of famous guests such as George Orwell, Noël Coward and Rudyard Kipling by taking afternoon tea at The Strand Café or swapping tales of adventure over a Strand Sour cocktail in the Sarkies Bar. If these walls could talk, they would tell tales of the explorers, adventurers and raconteurs who have passed through the Strand’s revolving doors, as well as the highs and lows of the city itself.
The Strand’s contribution to Yangon’s historical and cultural heritage was recognised earlier this year when it become the first hotel to receive a commemorative blue plaque from the Yangon Heritage Trust, which is now on display under the entrance portico. The plaque states that The Strand Yangon is the oldest hotel in the city, often referred to affectionately as Yangon’s ‘grande dame’, having played host to royalty, writers, raconteurs and weary travellers alike for more than a century.
Yet despite its recognised place in Myanmar’s history, The Strand Yangon has constantly evolved. In 2016 the hotel underwent a restoration project that preserved the heritage at its heart while creating a more relaxed and glamorous setting for modern-day travellers. Local artisans restored original antiques and architectural detailing; the latest technology installed; and the hotel’s décor given contemporary twist. A recent and very welcome addition to the Strand is an outdoor swimming pool, encircled with shady pool cabanas, as well as an al fresco dining terrace, therapy rooms, gym and private garden with cooling palms. www.thestrandcruise.com
10 JUNE 2019
PRIVATE POOLS AND PAELLA PARTIES – CASTELL SON CLARET INVITES GUESTS TO DIVE INTO SUMMER WITH THREE LUXURIOUS NEW POOL SUITES
Castell Son Claret, a nineteenth century castle, hotel and estate located 30-minutes from Palma in Mallorca’s UNESCO World Heritage listed countryside,has revealed three new pool suites just in time for Summer 2019. For those guests who can’t take their eyes off the view, the hotel has also introduced a menu of in-suite activities that can be enjoyed poolside, including lunching like a local with their own paella party.
Surrounded by extensive gardens where the air is heavy with the scent of bergamot, grapefruit, orange, rose and jasmine, these spectacular new suites are cocooned in nature. Each suite has a fresh design and modern interior, while outside is a 10m2 pool, surrounded by a sundeck fringed by a private garden, guaranteeing absolute tranquillity. The layout of each suite has been orientated to ensure that far-reaching views of the countryside and Tramuntana mountain range just beyond can be glimpsed from every angle.
“Here at Castell Son Claret we like to take the time to listen to our guests and evolve the hotel sensitively according to their desires. What they were telling us was that they wanted more privacy, more tranquillity and the opportunity to live immersed in our beautiful gardens. The idea of having the services of a five-star hotel while feeling that you have the freedom and flexibility of your own private country villa was one that came across very strongly,” commented Björn Spade, Managing Director of Castell Son Claret. “The development of these new suites is part of a schedule of improvements to the estate implemented as part of our fifth anniversary celebrations and will bring the total number of suites and rooms at Castell Son Claret to 41 within the 123-hectare estate.”
New for Summer 2019, Castell Son Claret has also introduced a menu of activities that guests can experience without having to leave their own suite. One such experience is lunching like a local with a paella party poolside. The Castell gastronomic team will deliver to each suite freshly made paella for two in thetraditional circular pan, along with a bottle of chilled wine and dessert so that guests don’t have to move a muscle and can enjoy a leisurely lunch that stretches out into the entire afternoon. A paella party is priced from Euro 96 for two people.
For a private and intimate social gathering, the Castell team can also organise an informal feuerring or barbecue party for guests and their family and friends in a selected spot of the garden or estate. The feuerring is the modern equivalent of a fire pit over which fresh meat and vegetables can be grilled. A dedicated team from Castell will look after the group all evening, keeping the embers of the fire alight and festooning surrounding trees with lights. Background music and some good Spanish wines ensure life is celebrated through this sociable get-together.
More energetic guests who want to work up an appetite can now explore the Mallorca’s peaceful bays, scenic mountains and local tapas bars on one of Castell Son Claret’s new electric bikes, available to borrow from reception.
Pool Suites at Castell Son Claret are priced from Euro 1,045 per room per night including breakfast, tax and service. www.castellsonclaret.com
22 MARCH 2019
BRAZILIAN LUXURY TRAVEL ASSOCIATION SHARES LATEST TRENDS IN LUXURY TRAVEL TO BRAZIL
Luxury tourism from the UK to Brazil has never been hotter, and with the news just announced that Virgin Atlantic will launch daily flights on their Dreamliner fleet between London Heathrow and São Paulo in 2020, the spotlight is back on the destination. The first and only association dedicated entirely to Brazilian luxury travel, Brazilian Luxury Travel Association (BLTA) is a collaboration of 38 of the country’s finest hotels, resorts, lodges and tour operators and as such, has its finger firmly on the pulse of the latest trends in luxury travel to Brazil. Ahead of an international roadshow of 20 BLTA partners beginning in London on 11 April 2019, BLTA president, Martin Frankenberg, shares his tips to what’s new in luxury to Brazil.
INTERNATIONAL LUXURY HOTEL BRANDS EXPANDING INTO BRAZIL
Many of the globe’s most iconic luxury hotel brands are expanding their operations with new properties in Brazil. Within the last two years, both Oetker Collection and Four Seasons have opened hotels in São Paulo, and Fairmont will open a property in Rio de Janeiro in the coming months. Elsewhere, Anantara will debut its first hotel in South America later this year on the Atlantic coast on the Maraú Peninsula in Bahia. Six Senses has also announced plans to open its first hotel in South America in the state of Alagoas in 2021. Frankenberg anticipates that all these properties will join BLTA as the come online.
STRONG GROWTH IN BRAZILIAN LUXURY HOTEL BRANDS
Fasano Hotels, long regarded as Brazil’s main luxury hotel group, has opened three new hotels in the last year in Angra dos Reis, Belo Horizonte and Salvador, with a fourth scheduled to open in Trancoso during 2019. Emiliano also has expansion plans.
INBOUND LUXURY TRAVEL TRENDS
Many BLTA member hotels have noted that they are receiving many more clients from all over the world looking for celebration travel, from couples looking for memorable honeymoons to tribes of friends or family celebrating a landmark birthday or anniversary. In terms of popular destinations within Brazil, the beaches and Rio de Janeiro have long been on the wish list of international travellers, but BLTA members are seeing a rise in demand for nature destinations, with the Pantanal and Amazon regions, being in higher demand at the moment.
“Our mission is to strengthen luxury travel to Brazil through experience excellence aligned with the values of the global luxury travel industry and to genuinely and creatively promote the image of a contemporary and sustainable country abroad, while reflecting Brazil’s hospitable and creative DNA in everything we do,” said Simone Scorsato. “This translates to unique tours that reveal a country ready to welcome discerning travellers from around the world. We believe that by 2020, Brazil will be in a leading position in the luxury travel sector in Latin America.” www.blta.com.br
19 FEBRUARY 2019
YANGON’S ICONIC STRAND BECOMES THE FIRST HOTEL TO BE HONOURED BY THE YANGON HERITAGE TRUST
The Strand Yangon has become the first hotel to receive a commemorative blue plaque from the Yangon Heritage Trust in acknowledgement of its significance in the historical and cultural heritage of Yangon. The Strand Yangon has been a city landmark since it was first founded in 1901 as a luxury hostelry to accommodate the first influx of international travellers arriving in South East Asia by steam ship and later by air.
The recently renovated 32-suite hotel is highly acclaimed as one of South East Asia’s leading luxury hotels and one of its most architecturally beautiful. Classic but never old-fashioned, a visit to The Strand Yangon is a ‘must do’ for visitors to Yangon, who are invited to walk in the footsteps of famous guests such as George Orwell, Noël Coward and Rudyard Kipling by taking afternoon tea at The Strand Café, cooling off with one of the famous Strand Sour cocktails in the Sarkies Bar or checking into one of its beautifully appointed suites.
On display under the portico at the entrance to the hotel, the blue plaque states that The Strand Yangon was established in 1901 by the Sarkies brothers and is the oldest hotel in the city, often referred to affectionately as Yangon’s ‘grande dame’, having played host to royalty, writers, raconteurs and weary travellers alike for more than a century.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the installation of the blue plaque was held at The Strand Yangon on 7 February 2019, attended by Yangon’s Chief Minister, U Phyo Min Thein, and the Yangon Heritage Trust’s Vice Chairman and Director, Daw Moe Moe Lwin, amongst other tourism ministers and members of the Yangon City Development Committee.
Commenting at the ceremony, Suki Singh, Vice President Operations, Myanmar for GCP Hospitality, operators of The Strand Yangon, said, “We are honoured that The Strand Yangon is the first hotel to be the recipient of a blue plaque from the Yangon Heritage Trust and that the Strand’s history is being commemorated with this internationally recognised symbol of cultural significance.”
Singh continued, “The entire Strand team considers itself fortunate to be the guardian of this beautiful building and thereby to over a century of Yangon heritage. If the walls of the hotel could talk, they would tell tales of the adventurers, explorers, writers and raconteurs who have passed through its doors, as well as the highs and lows of the city we live in. We look forward to preserving this piece of Yangon heritage for future generations of hoteliers and travellers.”
Despite its recognised place in Myanmar’s history, The Strand Yangon has constantly evolved to meet the expectations of modern luxury travellers. In 2016 the hotel underwent a six-month restoration project that preserved the heritage at its heart while creating a more relaxed, refined and glamorous setting for 21st century travellers. Local artisans restored original antiques and architectural detailing; the latest technology installed; and the hotel’s décor given contemporary twist through a refreshed colour palette and subtle decorative details. The renovation was completed with the addition ofa new outdoor swimming pool, dining terrace, therapy rooms, gym and private garden.
The Strand Yangon is the 27th building or historical site in Yangon to be commemorated by a blue plaque, and the first hotel to receive such an honour. The Yangon Heritage Trust’s blue plaques are permanent signs installed on heritage buildings and locations to commemorate a link between those buildings and places and a famous person, event or landmark, serving as a historical marker. The objective for installing blue plaques is for people to understand the cultural value of established heritage sites and also to discover lessor known heritage sites. The Blue Plaque Project is supported by the Yangon City Development Committee and implemented by the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT). YHT believes that Blue Plaques are one of the most effective and visible means to celebrate Yangon’s rich history. With their direct appeal to the public, they will make Yangon’s history accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. www.yangonheritagetrust.org
29 MAY 2018
INCA RAIL INTRODUCES ‘THE PRIVATE’ TRAIN CARRIAGE FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE & EXCLUSIVE JOURNEY TO MACHU PICCHU
Tribal travellers, extended families and groups of up to eight now have the option to exclusively hire an entire luxury train carriage for their private use for the journey of a lifetime to Machu Picchu. Inca Rail has recently introduced The Private service, a completely remodelled and refurbished parlour car that has been spaciously designed for exclusive use, complete with its own bar, open balcony, lounge seating area, upholstered armchairs and dining tables placed next to wide, UV protected windows.
Operating on the route between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, The Private comes with two butlers and a chef, who will prepare a tasting menu using the finest local ingredients paired with South America’s best wines. After checking in for their journey at Inca Rail’s newly opened VIP waiting lounge at Ollantaytambo station, passengers boarding The Private are welcome a with a bottle of champagne as the train departs for the 90 minute journey to Machu Picchu. As their private chef readies their meal, travellers can step out onto the train’s open balcony to drink in the fresh air and views of the Urubamba River and soaring Andes mountain range.
Meals on board are prepared by a dedicated chef for The Private and sample dishes include a smoked trout satay seasoned with lemon verbena, with a hint of creamed coconut and curry; a Peruvian yellow potato gnocchi seasoned with Andean herbs and a chilli cream sauce; and a classic Peruvian chocolate mousse served with cocoa nibs. After their meal, guests can continue to enjoy the open bar stocked with many well-known drinks brands, as they are entertained with live music.
The Private carriage can operate daily according the Inca Rail’s scheduled services and can accommodate up to eight passengers. A round-trip from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu costs USD 10,000 (from GBP 7,400) and one-way is USD 6,000 (from GBP 4,440). Rate includes exclusive use of the carriage, welcome champagne, open bar, tasting menu with the best wines of the region and a private transfer from the train station to Machu Picchu citadel.
Commenting on the introduction of The Private service, Armando Pareja, Chief Executive Officer of Inca Rail said, “The introduction of The Private is another step in our plan to transform the trip to Machu Picchu for all our passengers from a simple rail journey into an unforgettable experience on the most up-to-date fleet in the country. Every aspect of The Private, from the colourful textiles we use for the décor to the ingredients in our food is intended to evoke the colours and flavours of the Andean culture.”
Inca Rail is investing approximately USD 12 million in upgrading its entire train fleet and services, meaning it will soon have the most modern train service operating in Peru. The launch of The Private follows the introduction of a new train service by Inca Rail, The 360° Machu Picchu Train, Peru’s most scenic trainthat commenced operations on 1stMarch 2018. The 360° Machu Picchu Train has been custom-designed with dome-like high visibility panoramic windows to give passengers the best possible views of the dramatic landscape through which they pass. The train is also fully inter-connecting, freeing passengers to move between carriages to an open-air observation area at the centre of the train, and has all the connectivity that modern travellers demand, including USB ports at each seat for charging smartphones and other devices. The360° Machu Picchu Train service operates a once a day round trip between Poroy (the station for departures from Cusco), Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, and twice a day round trip between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu.
Passengers also have the choice to travel to Machu Picchu in style and luxury aboard The First Class train, Inca Rail’s premium level service. In late 2017, new carriages were introduced to this fleet in a custom design layout. Operating four times a day, the First Class train seats up to 60 passengers in two dining carriages, between which is a luxurious bar car, offering live music, refreshments and an outdoor observation balcony. Passengers dine at tables with comfortable leather chairs and enjoy a gourmet menu prepared using Andean ingredients including trout, quinoa, potato and gold berry, accompanied by a selection of South American wines. Included in the cost of the First Class train is use of a new VIP waiting lounge at Ollantaytambo station, with refreshments, live music and luggage storage facilities. The First Class service operates a once a day round trip between Poroy (the station for departures from Cusco), Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, and once a day round trip between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Inca Rail also operates The Voyager service between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu departing five times a day from each location. Tickets for all Inca Rail’s services can be booked online at www.incarail.com
19 MARCH 2018
NEW LUXURY HOTEL, THE FONTENAY, OPENS IN HAMBURG
The Fontenay, a striking new five-star luxury hotel located in the heart of Hamburg, has opened. Considered to be Germany’s most anticipated luxury hotel opening of the past two decades, the 130 room privately owned hotel occupies 14,000m² of prime real estate on the shores of Lake Alster. The Fontenay is set to become a true modern classic, reflecting modern Hamburg and collaborating with many local partners in the city, such as Montblanc, JOOP! and the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where the hotel will be offering guests special accommodation packages for upcoming performances.
Designed as an urban luxury resort, The Fontenay is a bold and visionary sustainable building, covered with 1,700 linear metres of white porcelain tiles that reflect the shimmering waters of the lake and the fluid lines of the park that surround the hotel. The fascinating sculptural architecture comprises three intersecting circles. Thanks to 14,000 m2 of windows, the entire building is exceptionally bright and offers incredible views of the parkland, lake and city beyond the glass.
“Everyone has worked with absolute passion on this project and The Fontenay’s opening marks a significant milestone for us,” says owner, Klaus-Michael Kühne. “I feel very close to my hometown of Hamburg and I hope that The Fontenay will excite not only the people of Hamburg and Germany, but add to the appeal of Hamburg as a cultural and gastronomic destination for international visitors.”
Hamburg is an elegant and vibrant city that reflects a modern, dynamic Germany and is considered to be its newest culture capital. The city has recently become a haven for architecture and design aficionados with the arrival of Zaha Hadid’s promenade along the Elbe and the historic Speicherstadt, the 19th Century Warehouse District, which made the UNESCO World Heritage List. Hamburg is also home to the recently opened and much anticipated Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbphilharmonie concert hall, a 360-foot-tall glass structure which sits atop an old warehouse, its roof evoking the city’s maritime past.
The Fontenay has partnered with the Elbphilharmonie concert hall to curate special two-night packages to performances throughout the year that include accommodation, category 1 seats, private transfers to the concert hall, and champagne back at the Fontenay Bar following the performance. Upcoming dates include the Tunhalle Orchester Zürich & Igor Levit on 11 April 2018, and British composer, Max Richter, on 9 June 2018. Packages are priced from Euro 1,609 per room for two nights based on double occupancy.
The Fontenay’s other Hamburg collaborations:
- At check-in, guests will find pens and desk pads from Montblanc, a company founded in Hamburg in 1906
- The Fontenay’s sales team has been attired in business dresses and suits from the cult modern German fashion label, JOOP! which has its showroom in the hotel’s neighbourhood
- The hotel’s library is filled with more than 1,000 books chosen in cooperation with Hamburg’s Felix Jud Bookshop, founded in 1923
- The hotel has sponsored 30 trees at the Bey Orchard in the Altes Land that will provide guests with various heritage apple varieties
- At The Fontenay Bar, the hotel has partnered up with Ratsherrn, an innovative local brewery that specialises in craft beers, to create ‘The Fontenay Pilsner No. 10’
The 43m² Fontenay Deluxe Rooms are priced from Euro 355 per room (from GBP 310) per night on a room only basis and includes WIFI, non-alcoholic beverages from the mini-bar, tax and service. Reservations for The Fontenay can be made online at www.thefontenay.de, via email at email@example.com, through your preferred travel professional, or by calling +49 40 605 6605 850. Direct flights to Hamburg operate from many UK hubs, including London Heathrow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol.
8 MARCH 2018
INCA RAIL INAUGURATES PERU’S MOST SCENIC TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU
Travellers and explorers venturing to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu will have a greater choice of train travel available to them from this week following the inaugural of a new service by Inca Rail, the 360° Machu Picchu Train, which began operations on 1st March 2018. The 360° Machu Picchu Train is Peru’s most scenic train, offering dome-like high visibility panoramic windows with in-built UV protection.
A tourist service for the modern day explorer looking for an authentic journey to the Lost Citadel, the 360° Machu Picchu Train’s windows have been custom-designed to give passengers the best possible views, allowing them to fully appreciate the soaring Andes mountain range above them as they journey to and from Machu Picchu. Another highlight of the new service will be that, unlike most existing services on the route, the carriages of the 360° Machu Picchu Train will be fully inter-connecting, freeing passengers to move between carriages to an open-air observation area at the centre of the train, from which they can step out and breathe in the crisp mountain air and take photos of the dramatic landscape.
The 360° Machu Picchu Train will also have all the connectivity that modern travellers demand, including USB ports at each seat for charging smartphones and other devices. By summer 2018, passengers will be able to download a GPS activated app at the start of their journey, which will give information on the culture, history and countryside passing by the windows. An on-board trolley service will be enhanced with local offerings, with a light snack or light lunch offered during the journey that will change with the seasons and reflect the regions through which the train passes. Organic juices pressed from fruit and vegetables grown in the Sacred Valley will enhance gastronomic experience.
Custom-designed by Inca Rail, the 360° Machu Picchu Train service will consist of two sets of three new carriages, carrying up to 248 passengers a day on two routes between Poroy and Machu Picchu, and between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. The 360° Machu Picchu Train is bookable on www.incarail.com and is priced from USD 78 (from GBP 56) per person one way during low season, rising according to the season.
The launch of the 360° Machu Picchu Train follows the recent complete upgrade of Inca Rail’s premium level First Class fleet. As part of this project, new carriages were introduced to a new custom design layout, increasing passenger comfort and doubling capacity. Operating four times a day, the First Class train seats up to 60 passengers in two dining carriages, between which is a luxurious bar car, offering live music, refreshments and an outdoor observation balcony. Passengers dine at tables with comfortable leather chairs and enjoy a gourmet menu prepared using Andean ingredients including trout, quinoa, potato and gold berry, accompanied by a selection of South American wines. Included in the cost of the First Class train is use of a new VIP waiting lounge at Ollantaytambo station, with refreshments, live music and luggage storage facilities.
The First Class service operates a once a day round trip between Poroy (the station for departures from Cusco), Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, and once a day round trip between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Inca Rail also operates the Voyager service between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu departing five times a day from each location.
29 JANUARY 2018
SUMAQ MACHU PICCHU HOTEL OFFERS TRAVELLERS CULTURAL WELLNESS EXPERIENCES TO AWAKEN & NOURISH THE MIND, BODY & SOUL
Spectacularly located on the banks of the Vilcanota River at the foot of Peru’s ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel is offering a variety of wellness experiences both on and off-property that allow guests to connect with the cosmic energy of ancient Peruvian civilisations, while touring nearby natural and cultural sites. From healing spa treatments using indigenous Andean plants and herbs, to cleansing ceremonies bathed in nature and mystical culture, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers travellers to Machu Picchu the opportunity to awaken and nourish mind, body and soul.
Within the hotel’s Aqlla spa, the focus is on offering a menu of treatments that incorporate local ingredients and curative Peruvian traditions. Highlights include the Sabai Massage for Body & Face; a 60-minute pinda-style massage that uses warmed compresses loaded with 32 natural medicinal herbs, such as sage, lemon grass, fennel, thyme, eucalyptus, green tea, Andean mint, horsetail and bergamot. The heated pindas open the skin’s pores, allowing the healing herbs to absorb into the epidermis.
The Incas have been using pink salt from Maras, a town near Cusco, for millennia for its energy boosting, high-mineral content. The Maras Body Massage has adapted this powerhouse salt as a therapeutic natural scrub. The 90-minute treatment begins with an exfoliating salt scrub, followed by a body mask of papaya, lemon and lettuce that leaves a prolonged refreshing sensation. The treatment concludes with a relaxing massage with Andean herbal oils with medicinal attributes, including chamomile, eucalyptus and lemon grass.
Other treatments using indigenous ingredients include the Body Massage with Coca and Muña Essential Oils, which uses two time-honoured healing plants of Peru’s ancient Inca culture; Muña, renowned for being a digestive aid, as well as its soothing and calming effects on aches, pains and arthritis; and Coca leaves, loaded with vitamins, protein, calcium, iron and fibre that help to counter the effects of high altitude in the Andes. The Deep-Hydration Cleansing Facial with Quinoa taps the nutritional benefits of the quinoa to prevent premature aging of sensitive and dehydrated skin. The Andean powerhouse grain – loaded with amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients – has been used for its health benefits for thousands of years in Peru and was the nucleus of the Inca diet.
Beyond the spa, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers spiritual and wellness experiences that connect with the cosmic energy of ancient Peruvian civilisations, while touring nearby natural and cultural sites. During the full day Machu Picchu Mystical Tour, guests will visit the historic sanctuary with a local shaman who uses his natural gifts to help them discover the spiritual side of Machu Picchu. After delving into the culture and history of the sanctuary with a tour guide, participants will gain an in-depth knowledge from the shaman of the natural energy sources that surround Machu Picchu, as well as its magical connections to Pachamama or Mother Earth. During the visit, the shaman will lead a cleansing session, while back at the hotel in the evening; travellers will participate in a private coca leaf reading.
Back at the hotel, guests can participate in a one-hour Payment to the Earth Ritual on the hotel’s private terrace. This traditional practice of making offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, has been passed down from the time of the Incas, as Ancient Peruvians held Pachamama sacred. This ritual remains a part of daily life for many locals in surrounding regions of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. With a shaman and private interpreter as guides, guests can discover a realm beyond the physical world and become more open to emotional and spiritual healing. Coca, which is a traditional Peruvian symbol of community and respect, plays a significant role in the ceremony.
Rooms at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel start from USD 602.80 per room per night (from GBP 427) based on double occupancy and including buffet breakfast, lunch or dinner, luggage assistance between the hotel and Aguas Calientes train station, mini bar, Wi-Fi, a Pisco Sour cocktail, welcome drink and snacks. The hotel offers complimentary activities for guests such as a culinary demonstration, mini-chef cooking lesson for children and Andean Tales evening story telling. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.sumaqhotelperu.com
9 NOVEMBER 2017
A DESIGN CLASSIC FOR MODERN MYANMAR – THE STORY BEHIND THE CREATION OF HOTEL G YANGON
Hotel G Yangon opened just months ago, but this lifestyle hotel with big personality has already made an impact on the creative scene in Myanmar’s most vibrant city, providing a trendy urban venue for the local crowd and a contemporary residence with understated glamour for international travellers. As Yangon’s newest lifestyle hotel, Hotel G Yangon’s design ethos fuses contemporary design and modern ideas, incorporating the local traditions, culture and heritage of the site it occupies.
Hotel G Yangon has evolved from the foundations of one of the oldest hotels in town, the Thamada Hotel, which had been in operation for over 60 years. During the building of Hotel G Yangon, the bones of the building were preserved, while giving the entire building façade and the interior of the hotel an upgrade and reboot. One of the many beautiful design features kept from the Thamada was the original teak parquet flooring that now throughout the hotel.
In a homage to the vibrant entertainment neighbourhood that surrounds it, the walls of Babett Eatery & Wine Bar are decorated with framed prints of original posters advertising the old Burmese films screened in the cinema next door to Hotel G Yangon, which first opened in 1958 and is still in operation. Babett is also accented with Burmese decorative items sourced from the nearby Maung Maung Antique shop in Yangon.
Like Babett, Hotel G Yangon has styled its 85 guest rooms with cool finds and traditional crafts with a contemporary twist. Bedrooms have been designed in wood tones that contrast with vividly coloured walls and artworks with a modern graphic take on Myanmar’s design heritage. With the help of their friends at the social enterprise design collective, Hla Day (which means Beautiful in Burmese), Hotel G Yangon has decked rooms with treasures produced by local boutique businesses and traditional craftsmen throughout Myanmar.
All of these products are available to buy in the G Shop in the open-plan lobby adjacent to the Babett Eatery & Wine Bar, so guests can sip, shop and make a difference. The profits of each purchase will help Hla Day fund essential business and design training to support the long-term livelihoods of the producers, so guests can be sure that their purchase is helping a likeminded creative soul turn their passion into a successful business
Items for sale found in the rooms and public areas of Hotel G Yangon combine traditional techniques with modern ideas. Many of them made from recycled products, like the plastic beach bags made by Chu Chu Plastics, or sourced through sustainable partnerships with other producers, such as the notebooks and wallets made by people with physical and mental disabilities from longyi material traditionally weaved by hand. Eagle eyed guests will spot the brightly coloured paper mache animals all over the hotel. This animal parade includes woodpeckers, elephants, giraffes and tigers, and is made by a local producer who started his business in 2009 after making toys for his son. Even the art of the walls is for sale. The graphic screen prints canvases on the walls include artwork from vintage Burmese coffee adverts and are produced Pann Nann Ein, a local foundation dedicated to helping persons with disabilities to have a full life through engaging in creative livelihoods. www.hotelgyangon.com