Following its groundbreaking London debut, Standard International, the parent company of The Standard, an American hotel brand known for their taste-making clientele, their pioneering design, and their unrelenting un-standard-ness, announces the opening of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives. The resort is a short sea plane ride away from Male, nestled between the Raaand Baa Atolls, on a naturally protected island. The resort, featuring 115 private pool villas, marks the brand’s first property in Asia. After Sansiri PLC became a majority stakeholder in late 2017, The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives is the company’s next destination within its extensive global pipeline; which includes Koh Samui, Phuket, Hua Hin, Milan, Paris, Lisbon, Bordeaux, Mexico City, and Chicago, to name a few. “It is such a treat within the same year to show the world what The Standard can be in one of the busiest places and one of the most tranquil places on the planet,” said Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International. “What makes me so proud is that despite the vast difference in setting, the culture of both are unmistakably Standard.” While the Maldives has traditionally been a couple’s destination, as always, The Standard has approached the development with a fresh set of eyes. The resort offers an unmatched combination of tranquility, social life and vibrant cultural programming that welcomes groups of friends or singles looking to meet others or just reset and recharge in paradise. The lobby is airy and intimate, and accessible 24-hours a day. Each of the 115 villas features its own private lounge deck and plunge pool, and the six unique culinary offerings range from a beach front BBQ shack serving freshly caught seafood, to our take on Maldivian cuisine that showcases ingredients sourced directly from our island farm. The resort offers guided diving and snorkeling through our naturally protected house reef to sunset boat excursions to uninhabited islands and undiscovered reefs, as well as night fishing and private destination dining. The Standard Spa offers a communal hammam, aroma steam room, daily yoga, personal training and nine private treatment rooms. No Standard experience would be complete without nightlife, from tribal beats at a beach bonfire to a glass bottom nightclub. And a disco ball above your bath tub, for your own private party. Rates from approximately 18,000 THB ($579), including breakfast. Book at standardhotels.com.
The Empire State Building (ESB) today announced the second phase of its top-to-bottom reimagined Observatory Experience. Opening to the public on July 29, 2019, the $165 million project presents the only museum in New York City that is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Located on the second floor of the international icon, the 10,000 sq. ft galleries invite Guests on a journey from the building's construction to its current place in pop culture. Named the most Instagrammed U.S. landmark in a study conducted by Sony Mobile, the new galleries feature immersive and interactive exhibits that fulfill the desire of today's modern traveler to share authentic experiences – all as they make their way to the one-of-a-kind views from the 86th Floor Observatory. Led by experience designer Thinc, with team members IDEO, Squint Opera, Beneville Studios, Diversified., Intersection, Kubik Maltbie, Otis Elevator Company and Tenguerian Model, phase two follows the first phase, a brand-new Observatory entrance at 20 West 34th Street which was completed in August of 2018. The galleries through which visitors travel to experience ESB's famous views from the center of New York City include: The Site in the 1920s: A black-and-white panoramic image depicts the site of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel as construction of the Empire State Building begins. Through building surveyors, Guests can look in and see the New York City streets of the late 1920s come to life in full color. Construction: Inspired by the photography of Lewis Hine, visitors will be transported back in time as hot rivets, and steel beams fly overhead, and the sounds of New York City come alive in surround sound. Visitors can also interact with specially commissioned cast sculptures of construction workers as they work and take their lunch break. Opening Day: The excitement of opening day is palpable with a newsboy announcing the opening of the Empire State Building as he sells his papers on the streets of 1930s New York City Modern Marvel: The Modern Marvel exhibit outlines the specific measures taken to make the Empire State Building a world leader in sustainability and a leading example in energy efficiency. Otis Elevators: Otis delivered the groundbreaking technology that made the towering height of ESB possible. In a dedicated exhibit, Otis showcases not only how the original elevators operated, but teaches visitors about the latest technology installed in the newest elevators, which transport more than 10 million tenants and Observatory Guests each year. Visitors will also walk through a simulation of an actual elevator shaft and feel the energy created by the movement of the cars up close. Urban Campus: Very few visitors to the Empire State Building are aware of what goes on in the nearly 100 floors they don't see. Urban Campus offers a glimpse into some of the major tenant spaces, amenities, and hidden views of the building as experienced by those who work there. The exhibit highlights some of these contemporary internet-age businesses, visible through peepholes that give guests an insider's view of what these high-tech offices
The award-winning tented camp, Capella Ubud, Bali, today unveiled an exclusive weekend with celebrated architect and hospitality designer Bill Bensley, who invites guests to accompany him on a kaleidoscope of activities perfect for art and design enthusiasts. Having created over 200 resorts, hotels and palaces in more than 30 countries, inclusive of Capella Ubud, Bali, Bensley is known for his eclectic flair and for challenging the way that hotels are built and operate, which in Capella Ubud, Bali’s case resulted in the conceptualization of the camp with minimal intervention to the natural environment as well as preserving the rich history and heritage of Indonesia. Guests will be able to join Bill Bensley on a curated art tour through the camp grounds and Bali, participate in a sketch class, a morning run and two dinners, and will receive one personalized, signed copy of Bill Bensley’s coffee table book “Escapism,” and a drawing of the tent that guests will stay in during the weekend. The tent accommodations include high-end amenities and a relaxing 75-minutes Balinese massage. This one-of-kind experience offers guests a truly unique way to experience Bali through the eyes of one of the world’s most iconic designers. Outlined below is a detailed list of the package offerings, combined with the amenities regularly offered at the property: A curated guided art tour through the camp and Bali by Bill Bensley A visit to Neka museum with a private guided tour to explore a large collection of Rudolf Bonnet’s works together with Bill Bensley who is an avid and passionate collector of Bonnet’s works followed by a picnic lunch will served en-route to the Bensley design Studio in Sanur A trip to Bill Bensley’s favorite antique stores on the island. A sketch class and a guided morning run with Bill Bensley One Rijsttafel dinner at Mads Lange and an Omakase dinner at Api Jiwa hosted by Bill Bensley One personalized, signed copy of Bill Bensley’s coffee table book “Escapism” One personalized, a signed drawing of the tent that will be yours during this weekend A 75-minutes Balinese massage per person 3% of percentage of the revenue that is generated by this weekend package will be donated to the Shinta Mani Foundation, an organization founded by Bill Bensley that seeks to improve the lives of Cambodians and Cambodian communities. Capella Ubud, Bali also gives back to the local community by supporting ongoing corporate social responsibilities programs that create employment, preserve the local cultural heritage, procuring local food and beverage products, promoting education, sustainability and preserving the environment. The package is valid for stays from November 1, 2019 – November 3, 2019 at the one-bedroom tents. Rates start from USD 1300 plus 11% tax and 10% service charge per tent, per night. In order for guests to enjoy all of the activities, they must arrive by 11:00 am on November 1, 2019. Reservations are subject to availability. Cancellation fees of 100% of room charge with taxes for the entire stay will apply immediately upon confirmation. Nonrefundable 100% full prepayment is
Whether it’s an unplanned holiday trip, an epic clash to save the world, friends experiencing daily life in the five boroughs or anything in between, storytellers in film and television have long chosen New York City as their setting. No matter your favorite genre, a trip to NYC is an opportunity to see where some of these iconic scenes came to life: For the sitcom lover Friends While Friends was primarily filmed in a studio, the West Village apartment where Rachel, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Ross and Chandler live and hang out is a real building on the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets. At its street level, you will find Mediterranean restaurant The Little Owl in the same space as the Central Perk café where Rachel works and Phoebe famously performs “Smelly Cat”. Additionally, the neighborhood houses a number of prominent Off-Broadway theaters including The Lucille Lortel Theatre, where aspiring actor Joey performs in the show’s earlier seasons. How I Met Your Mother While retracing Ted’s 11-season search for his wife, be sure to grab a drink at McGee’s, the Midtown Manhattan bar that inspired the gang’s go-to spot, MacLarens. Try what Marshall declares to be the best burger in NYC at ‘21’ Club; tour the Columbia University campus where Ted (unwittingly) first meets his wife; and have a legen
lifestyle+travel braves the sweltering summer heat to discover Bangkok's lesser known museums, near and far across the capital, and had a lot of fun in the process of acquiring some culture. 1. PIPIT BANGLAMPHU MUSEUM Thailand’s first printing school (Sangwet Witsayaram Temple Printing School) was recently restored. This sweet modern museum, with well-curated exhibitions and historical tales of the Royal Treasury Department and the Banglamphu community, is the fantastic result. There are two separate buildings. 1.1 Treasury Department Exhibition The first building holds the history of the Royal Treasury Department, which was fortuitously short. Our guide, the lovely and super-knowledgeable, “Gao-you-can-call-me-Kiwi”, does her very best to make land deeds and coins interesting to us… If that floats your boat it is very interesting indeed, with very polished exhibits. 1.2 Banglampu Community Exhibition The real magic happens (for us!) in building two. The wooden building itself, with its shiny teak floors, is colonial-chic gorgeous. Inside there are four exhibits detailing the history and characters of this multi-cultural community that date back to the early days of Rattanakosin. There are models, brilliantly executed murals, videos and interactive displays of famous venues, old shops, artisans, street food and much more, along with the remains of the eponymously named last cork tree. We love it and Kiwi is an absolute star. Phra Sumane Road Chana Songkhram Khet Phra Nakhon Bangkok 10200 T. +66 (0) 2 281 0345-51 ext. 1223, 1224 E. firstname.lastname@example.org | W. banglamphumuseum.treasury.go.th From Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm Tour every 30 minute, last one at 4pm Free admission 2. RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL It gets off to a bit of a bad start. There is a choice of two routes – the longer, more interesting-sounding one being a two-hour guided tour. It is not conducive to our manymuseums- in-one-day mindset. It is not overly aligned with a certain independent spirit. The point being you HAVE to go with a guide for reasons that allude me… but we soldier on. Even after the Basil Fawlty pantomime moment where you pick up the headset and pay the deposit for the headset on opposite sides of the hall. The two-hour tour lasted two minutes when the ‘Thai (a lot of long-winded Thai) first, English later policy’ becomes clear (and the Thai members of our group were the most seriously-interested-in-every-detail people I have ever briefly met). At minute 1.5, much to my friend’s embarrassment, I was sneaking off into the next room, except the door was locked. Finally, we made enough fuss, (impatient farang moment) and were whisked away (much to the great relief of everyone) for our own private tour of ‘route one’. When the Rattanakosin Exhibition got good, it got really good. This is a fantastic interactive museum with models, video and creative displays. The guides are not only well informed, but smart and funny. Beautifully composed, the exhibits tell interesting stories in Thai and English about the art and culture of Bangkok and the Old Town neighbourhoods and the Grand Palace that make up Rattanakosin Island. On the fourth floor there are panoramic views of Loha Prasart and Golden Mount Temples.
Just outside of Tokyo, there are tons of attractions catering very much to almost everyone. The proximity of Chiba to Tokyo makes it a great stop on the way to the city and also makes a perfect place to take a side trip before leaving the country. Last winter I joined Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program for a press tour in Tako, Katori and Kozaki Town, Chiba prefecture. Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program offers free guided tours around the airport. Their tours are great for passengers in transits and tourists who have extra time after exploring Tokyo. The tour started with Michi no Eki Tako Ajisaikan, the roadsidestation in Tako Town with a large facility comprising a restaurant, a service area, and a marketplace offering fresh produce, including the town’s famous Tako-mai rice. You can purchase freshly made rice balls, giant deco sushi rolls and rice cakes, and enjoy a riverside lunch behind the premises. Renting an electric bike was straightforward and probably the best option to reach our next destination, Ten-Suzu, a local tempura restaurant where tempura was served freshly cooked, prepared in front of your eyes. The tour guide showed us to the counter, leaving us with the menu. I glanced over him observing the chef working solo, standing in the kitchen. His movement was unhurried, almost effortless, making the process of batter frying seemed so simple. Each ingredient was cooked separately one by one, delivered to the plate crisp and piping hot. The tempura was light, almost airy and tasted exceptionally good. To round off the meal, we were given rice, miso soup, and pickles with choices of condiments: sea salt, soy sauce and tsuyu for our tempura. To satisfy our sweet tooth we dropped by Shiraishi, a humble shop located just a minute’s walk from the tempura restaurant. Shiraishi offers a casual way to experience traditional Japanese sweets. The shop sold freshly made dango, a Japanese sweet made with rice flour with options including Mitarashi Dango (dango with sweet soy sauce) and Anko Dango (dango with red bean paste). Other desserts on offer were cupcakes, chestnut steamed buns and some classic Japanese bakery. Then we took a ride along the beautiful rice paddies to Nichihon-ji Temple, the tranquil site known for beautiful hydrangeas. According to our guide, it used to be a major training facility for monks where the ancient sutra scrolls were kept. On the second floor, you will find the display of an impressive ancient kimono. The expansive grounds house two Shinto shrines as the temple was built before the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism. While strolling in a small Japanese garden, you will find a pond with lively carps. Before the darkness set in, we headed to Sawara, a small town in Katori City, an off-the-beaten-track attraction lying in a natural waterway known for its cherished ancient townscape. We checked in at Nipponia Sawara Merchant Town Hotel, a restored hotel comfortably located within walking distance from JR Sawara Station. YATA 103, my room, was previously part of a cotton merchant house. The
Located in Tsavo West National Park, the Kenya’s fist, oldest and largest National Park, Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp is set around natural fresh water springs within 35 acres (20,333 sq.km.) of pure untouched wilderness and surrounded by views of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the magnificent Chyulu Hills that is the home of more than 12,000 animal species. Originally opened in 1993 and just had a complete re-build of the entire camp and re-opened in 2015, this luxury tented camp was named ‘Best New Safari Camp by Architectural Digest’ in 2015 and voted as ‘Africa’s Leading Tented Safari Camp’ at the World Travel Awards in 2016. Award Winning Tented Suites Designed to be minimally intrusive, the camp’s 17 luxury suites offer sweeping views of the surrounding landscape, as well as total privacy for guests. The tents’ open-plan design invites the cool breeze that drifts over the nearby natural springs, and brings the sounds and scents of the African bush directly to you. The result is a one-on-one experience with Africa; this is the bush in all of its immediate and unapologetic beauty. The interior design of the tents is reminiscent of the golden days of African safaris. The suites feature indoor and outdo or showers, copper bathtubs, creamy white linen, gentle lighting, beautiful hardwood writing tables, intricate chandeliers, ornately carved chests, vintage carpets, and all the conveniences you would expect of a first-class offering. The People Finch Hattons is run by a passionate and experienced Kenyan team, about 60% of whom have been with the camp for over 15 years and about 40% since the very beginning. The original group joined as construction workers in 1993 and were trained on site. Many of the others contributed to the camp’s massive renovation in 2013. In very symbolic ways, this camp is theirs – they helped to build it from the ground up. Setting the standard in luxury camps, Finch Hattons hospitality has become synonymous with fine dining, exemplary service and outstanding safaris. The Wildlife There are many animals that can be seen right from the comfort of your tent or the camp’s many viewing decks, including hippos, crocodiles, terrapins and baboons. Move a little beyond the camp and you’re likely to see Tsavo’s famous red elephants, as well as lions, leopards, buffalos, hartebeest, zebra, giraffe, oryx, bushbuck, waterbuck and lesser kudu (unique to Tsavo). Tsavo is also home to 500 different species of birds, 260 of which have been spotted in our camp. Things to Do There’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy while you’re at Finch Hattons. Day and night game drives, bush walks, full-day hikes and outings to the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Mzima Springs, Chyulu Hills, Amboseli National Park and Lake Jipe are all on offer. A cultural visit to the Maasai town of Iltilal can also be arranged, where you can observe the traditions of the Maasai people first-hand. If you choose to stay in camp, you can relax on one of their many viewing decks, watch their resident hippos and crocodiles wallow in the nearby springs, or
Bangkok celebrates its 238rd birthday this year. As such a long-running happening city, Bangkok is surely packed with abundant attention-grabbing genres to explore that could actually keep you busy for several days. Let’s discover what Bangkok has on offer and plunge into the “Staycation” trend – where you check in to the city hotels and enjoy their premium services as a treat to yourself without making the effort of travelling outside the city. THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK ❱ STYLE The Okura Prestige Bangkok hotel is a stylish, elegant, luxurious and contemporary five-star hotel located at the heart of Thailand’s capital city. The hotel combines unrivalled levels of comfort and convenience with the warmth and charm always associated with genuine Thai hospitality. ❱ STAY All 240 rooms and suites offer impressive views across the dynamic Bangkok skyline through the triple-glazed e-coated panoramic windows. The rooms combine comfort and luxury with the very latest technological developments designed to impress business and leisure travellers. ❱ SAVOUR Delightful dining choices at Up & Above – the all-day dining venue, Michelin-starred restaurant Elements which is inspired by the famous Michelin two-star Ciel Bleu and the signature Japanese restaurant Yamazato, which has also received an award from Thailand’s best restaurant and the recognition from the Michelin Guide Bangkok. ❱ SENSES Relax in the amazing 25-metre cantilevered pool; keep fit in the state-of-the-art fitness centre; find peace and tranquility at The Okura Spa where the tranquil journey begins with a professional consultation and continues to an elegant, fully-equipped treatment room. Trained therapists use exclusive organic teas in a range of treatments designed to conjure relaxation and well-being. ❱ SCENE The Okura Prestige Bangkok is located in the award-winning Park Ventures Ecoplex building which is situated at the heart of the city’s Central Business District on Wireless Road, close to the embassies of the United Kingdom, United States and Japan. The hotel offers direct access to the city’s BTS SkyTrain network at Phloen Chit station and sits close to major shopping malls and commercial districts. The hotel enjoys easy access to and from the city’s two international airports. THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand T. +66 (0) 2687 9000 F. +66 (0) 2687 9001 W. okurabangkok.com AVANI + RIVERSIDE BANGKOK HOTEL ❱ STYLE Overlooking Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel welcomes discerning global travellers with contemporary style, intuitive service and stunning views across Asia’s most dynamic city. From the rooftop bar and pool at the top of the 26-storey hotel, down to the lobby, Avani+ Riverside Bangkok is a place to relax and unwind, and a base from which to explore nearby neighbourhoods and popular tourist sites along the ‘River of Kings’. ❱ STAY All of the hotel’s 248 stylish guest rooms and suites boast uninterrupted city and river views and all elements are geared towards the promise of a relaxing stay and a good night’s sleep. The neutral décor is a blend of comfort and modernity, natural materials and high-tech equipment, along with extra conveniences. Each of the spacious River View Junior Suites features a bathroom with a view,
Wellness rituals are sensorial journeys that showcase local heritage using native ingredients and traditional massage techniques perfected over centuries. With over 1,100 hotels and resorts in Asia-Pacific, Accor offers a vast collection of rejuvenating spa treatments that are both calming and relaxing for discerning travellers. From Singapore, China, Myanmar, Thailand, The Maldives, India and Australia, these seven locally-inspired rituals advocate the goodness of natural healing therapies, while serving as an amazing window for travellers to experience a taste of the traditions of each destination. “Our guests are increasingly looking for spa treatments that draw on the rituals and mythology of the destinations in which they are travelling,” said Spa Manager of award-winning luxury Swiss Spa, Pürovel Spa & Sport, Ms Elva Zhao. “It is as much about relaxing and rejuvenating the body as it is about learning new experiences and understanding cultures and traditions. Ancient customs and ingredients play a key role in soothing away the stresses of the modern traveller and allow our guests to take a step back from the tensions of today’s busy world.” SINGAPORE MASSAGE AT SWISSÔTEL MERCHANT COURT, SINGAPORE At Swissôtel Merchant Court, Singapore guests can enjoy a spectacular 90-minute spa treatment drawing on Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage. Specifically designed to expel fatigue, daily stresses and tensions, the Singapore Massage focuses on rebalancing energies for the mind and soul. Utilising Chinese, Malay and Indian massage techniques that represent the cultural mix of Singapore, this treatment culminates with the elimination of body heat, which is achieved by stimulating the foot’s reflex zones. WHITE FLANNEL FLOWER SANCTUARY RITUAL AT FAIRMONT RESORT & SPA BLUE MOUNTAINS, MGALLERY BY SOFITEL, AUSTRALIA Standing at the edge of the World Heritage-Listed Blue Mountains, Ubika Day Spa’s treatments are inspired by the seasons and the native wildlife of Australia. The spa menu is designed to hydrate, nourish, restore and regenerate for holistic wellbeing. The White Flannel Flower Sanctuary Ritual is a signature head-to-toe degustation experience that pays tribute to the beauty of the bush . The 105-minute full-body sensory journey includes an Organic Coconut & Jasmine Body Polish, Australian White Flannel Floral Hydrating Cocoon, Baobab & Neroli Facial Massage, Double Face Masque infusion, Peptide+ Multi-Action Serum, Full Body White Flannel Flower Soufflé, and Foot Restoration Massage to leave you feeling completely restored. SERENITY OF THE FIVE ELEMENTS AT SO SOFITEL BANGKOK, THAILAND Serenity of the Five Elements is a 90-minute soothing spa ritual based on the five elements of Wood, Earth, Water, Fire and Metal as well as the renowned Thai folk wisdom treatment called “Tok Sen” to balance all five senses. Tok Sen is an ancient massage technique indigenous to the Lanna region of Northern Thailand and handed down over generations. This ‘tapping of the meridians’ helps to restore the body’s natural balance. In this treatment, Ytsara aromatherapy oil, which represents the water element is applied all over the body and gently pressed with a warm herbal poultice. Heat from the poultice represents the fire element, while therapeutic herbs represent the earth. A small Tok Sen hammer, representing the wood