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A highly-anticipated Ritz Carlton Reserve, Higashiyama Niseko Village, is now ready to welcome guests to Japan's first-rate winter wonderland of Niseko in the country's northernmost island of Hokkaido, offering an exceptional escape for guests seeking personal and physical exploration. The resort, owned by YTL Hotels, is a stunning ski-in/ski-out property that interweaves the highest level of personalised service and care with the charm of Japan’s local history, culture and cuisine. Higashiyama Niseko Village is only the fifth Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world, and the very first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Japan.  Higashiyama Niseko Village features 50 elegant guest rooms and suites appointed with refined amenities. A sense of cultivated beauty infuses all the spaces in the resort, with natural polished marble, fragrant cedarwood and flame brushed finished granite. Its culinary ethos focuses on the philosophy of “shun”, the celebration of seasonal produce harvested at its peak. Guests can expect delectable cuisine that mirrors the seasons with the finest locally sourced vegetables, prized cuts and seafood served at Yukibana, or quintessential dining experiences at Sushi Nagi that observes the omakase tradition of entrusting the “Itamae”, or head chef, with his delicate creations. Customised cocktails, single malts and local brews may be savoured by the fireplace at Ume Lounge, with an eclectic array of Izakaya-style dishes. Higashiyama Niseko Village is only the fifth Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world, and the very first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Japan. For more information and reservation enquiries, please visit www.ritzcarlton.com/higashiyamanisekovillage or email reservation.higashiyama@ritzcarlton.com. 

In southeastern Vietnam, Azerai Ke Ga Bay, an elegant and secluded oceanfront retreat, is now ready to welcome you to the days of serenity. Boasting elegance in the minimalist design, plus its precious surroundings like pristine ocean, Ke Ga island and soaring sand dunes, this is the place for the getaway of your dream. The 46-key resort, a combination of suites and private-pool suites, succeeds Princess D’Annam Resort & Spa on the same site following an extensive renovation, and is located 180 kilometres east of Ho Chi Minh City on a sweeping five-kilometer white sand beach overlooking the East Sea. Aside from the natural glamour of the setting, the Azerai Spa elevates the pleasure of staying here with 10 private treatment rooms and modern hydrotherapy facilities. The Terrace, The Dining Room and The Living Room provide a variety of dining and lounging options, including both indoor and outdoor settings with views of the beach and relaxed poolfront tables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The culinary team crafts an array of local delicacies, with a focus on plentiful offerings from the sea. Azerai Ke Ga Bay marks the brand’s first beach resort, and follows Azerai La Residence, Hue, a historic city resort overlooking the Perfume River in Vietnam’s former imperial capital, and Azerai Can Tho, a peaceful retreat set on a lush islet in the Mekong Delta. Visit azerai.com/resorts/azerai-ke-ga-bay for more details.

With the Covid-19 pandemic crisis hitting the globe, a new genre of travel has appeared i.e. private, whether individual or group. Lifestyle + Travel has compiled a list of top villas and suites in Thailand for your next holiday in private and in style, as it looks like we will have to live with the ‘new normal’ for quite some time.   Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood Known for its unparalleled luxury meets eco-friendly philosophy, Soneva Kiri nestles within lush rainforest on an unspoiled island with some of the best beaches in Thailand. The Six Bedroom Sunset Ocean View Pool Reserve, a magical haven atop the cliff, spans over 2,928 sqm and caters up to 16 guests with its six bedrooms. The tree house is a dream come true for children, their own realm in a private jungle canopy. There is a separate master bedroom with walk-in dressing area and bathroom with outdoor vanity, blitz shower, steam room and bath. Four further ensuite bedrooms have with indoor and outdoor showers, bath and personalised deck areas. Other enticing features of this haven are the gargantuan swimming pool with its own water slide, gym and steam room, games room, outdoor dining table and oversized cushions on enormous day beds overlooking the water. E. mail@soneva.com / reservations@soneva.com W. soneva.com   Villa Siam at Iniala Beach House, Phang Nga Designed by Eggarat Wongcharit, Villa Siam is an eclectic fantasy inspired by Thai culture and Buddhism in Phang Nga. Eggarat’s extraordinary creations use a modern take on traditional Thai craftsmen’s techniques, and his unique and original work includes beds and sofas suspended from the ceiling by wicker bamboo, as well as a spa inscribed with Buddhist teachings translated into English, located within an ancient golden Thai bell. Intricate wickerwork and glass mosaics grace the rooms, one of which pays tribute to the sacred Buddha with three large illuminated images on the wall behind hanging white sofas, covered in mother of pearl. A wrapped pagoda with traditional Thai weaving expanding over it onto the ceiling ties the room’s contemporary lines with its Thai roots seamlessly together, and the weaving incorporates an elaborate dream catcher facing down upon guests as they walk in. A dining table seats up to six, with a backdrop of playfully-waving cats. E. info@iniala.com W. inialathailand.com   Villa 24 at Samujana, Koh Samui Set on a tranquil, pristine beach of Samui, Villa 24 is the largest of the Samujana villas at an impressive 1,808 sqm. This is a home for a big family or someone with many friends, as it showcases eight bedrooms. Villa 24 has both south and west views over the Gulf of Thailand for enjoying sunrises and sunsets over the ocean. It comes complete with an outdoor dining sala, private gym, cinema, large infinity edge pool and jacuzzi. The friendly Samujana Villa hosts have been handpicked and professionally trained to ensure guest needs are not only met, but exceeded. For fun beyond the villa, Samujana offers an extensive range of land and water experiences from boating excursions on a private sailboat to chauffeured tours

Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse brings you to a whole new GLAMPING experience without having to leave Bangkok! “Surawongse Glamping” has landed in Bangkok for the very first time, transforming the hotel's pool terrace into your one-off outdoor get-together, with the whole space all-to-yourself for ultimate enjoyment with an exquisite choice of indulgent tailored menu and beverages while soaking in splendid views of the glittering city under a starry sky. Open for booking for every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and starting from this 18 December onwards. Priced at THB 2,888++ per person, including dinner and beverages. The package is for 2.30 hours and 2 - 10 persons. For more information and booking, please contact pawika.j@marriott.com or send us Facebook message via www.facebook.com/marriottsurawongse

The month of joy has finally arrived, when the whole country is filled with jolly ambience. Even though a lot has happened in the year of 2020, don't forget to reward yourself for coming through the year gorgeously with one of these special feasts.   Bangkok: Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road To make the festivity even more extraordinary, Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road elevates your experience at various venues on the top of the upscale hotel. Lavish in an exclusive Surprise Me set menu for a surprisingly special price of THB 999 per person at CHAR Restaurant from 1 - 23 December 2020. On 24 and 25 December, experience CHAR's signature culinary moments with a festive five-course set menu including with 1 glass of mulled wine, a most popular holiday drink. Get yourself ready for fantastic 2021 with such great fun at the hotel's infinity pool on the 24th floor, CHAR Restaurant on the 25th floor, and CHAR Rooftop Bar with a special five-course set menu for THB 3,500 per person, featuring Chef Sebastian’s delicious culinary creations and a complimentary countdown drink. Countdown to the new year with unrivalled panorama of the city and electrifying fireworks at CHAR Rooftop Bar, Bangkok's top spot to get lively all night long with famous DJs. Entrance tickets required. Date: 1 - 31 December 2020 Booking: +66 (0) 2 207 4999 ext. 8980 / bangkok.hotelindigo.com / CHARBANGKOK@ihg.com   Bangkok: The House on Sathorn Quaintly elegant The House on Sathorn offers an exclusive feast to pamper your taste buds will your special ones on New Year's Eve. Celebrate the last day of the year with Paii special six-course modern Thai seafood set menu including lobster yellow curry terrine, French razor clam with citrus sauce, tom yum steamed egg with blue swimmer crab and many more at THB 3,200++ per person (additional 5 wines paring at THB 1,800 per person). Date: 31 December 2020 Booking: +66 (0) 2 344 4000 / megatix.in.th/festive2020-wbkk / bf.wbangkok@whotelsworldwide.com   Koh Samui: Banyan Tree Samui Nestled in the secluded hill with a completely private, pristine beach, Banyan Tree Samui invites you to pass the year with unforgettable joy. The resort's all-day dining spot, The Edge, serves a special set menu for New Year's Eve. Before 2021 arrives, beachfront Sands restaurant makes you merry drinks to enjoy along groovy beats by a live DJ and a fire show before witnessing spectacular fireworks to welcome the brand new, better year. Date: 31 December 2020 Booking: www.banyantree.com/en/thailand/samui / reservations-samui@banyantree.com   Chiang Mai: Anantara Chiang Mai Resort The weather is right, the pleasure is yours – Anantara Chiang Mai Resort turns its exquisite self into the stage to celebrate Christmas and to end the year spectacularly. The Restaurant serves magnificent Christmas Eve Dinner, comprising international fares, Thai favourites, and traditional Christmas cuisine by award-winning chefs at THB 2,500 net per person with free flow house wine, local beers, and soft drinks. An all-you-can-eat festive brunch on Christmas Day, serving traditional Christmas fares, by the tranquil Ping River with free flow drinks at THB 2,900 net per person. Rejoice in mouthwatering dishes and enchanting performance of

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives will be ready to welcome guests back to experience the unparalleled stay in a turquoise paradise from 5 December 2020 onwards with heartwarming safety measures. Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat, a gorgeous getaway with your friends, or aquatic adventures, The Standard awaits with special reopening packages. With its 115 overwater and beach villas, you can just unwind at your beautiful room or enjoy vibrant activities such as dancing under the largest disco ball in the Maldives at the Beru Bar, moonlight movie screenings with cocktails on the beach, the acclaimed Standard Hollywood style pool and beach parties, and a lineup of festive Christmas and New Year’s workshops, celebrations and culinary delights. Travelers have been returning to the Maldives in steadily increasing numbers since mid-July due to its successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its remote location and strict health guidelines, set by the Maldivian Ministry of Health, have made it one of the safest remote areas of the world. The Maldives is currently open to visitors from all countries, and travelers will find their journey to be safe and comfortable. A Health Declaration Form must be filled out and submitted online 24 hours prior to their flight, and then visitors must present a negative PCR test issued within 96 hours prior to the departure from their original destination. As The Standard is a "one island, one resort" paradise – all guests will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine. Also, with "The Maldives Border Miles Program", the first loyalty program of its kind in the world, offers travelers discounts, privileges and other offers. To celebrate its reopening, The Standard offers stays at special rates starting at USD 350 per night and flexible worry-free bookings that allow cancellations up to 3 days prior to arrival with no cancellation fees, available for stays until 23 December 2022. Use our HAPPY HIDEAWAY promotion by booking 5 or more villas to enjoy rates at USD 250 per night. Stay for 14 nights at USD 3,000 or 28 nights at USD 5,000 with our STOWAWAY promotion, with an additional 25% discount on food & beverages. Book by 31 December 2020 for these rates at standardhotels.com

Phuket is an island of sophistication with an ever-evolving cultural scene. The recent opening of Living Art Gallery has elevated the local art scene to international level. Set in the centre of Blue Tree, the lifestyle hub of Phuket, the new gallery promises to showcase revolving exhibitions of works by Thai artists of different genres, as well as by designers who work closely with Thai artisanal communities, which the gallery intends to support. Led by Somchat Krainara, The Living Art Gallery will host its inaugural annual festival in Phuket during 26 - 29 November 2020. “Phuket is a tourist destination because of its local attractions. The city has its own charms and characteristics, drawing in visitors from all over the world. The city is incredibly rich in culture, and by bringing art into Phuket I’m hoping it will enhance the art and cultural reputation of the destination -- in other words making Phuket become known as a MICE destination for arts, and creating a truly cultural and creative city,” said Somchat. Both the gallery and the upcoming festival hold on to the same purpose – to provide a platform for emerging Thai artists to showcase their work to an international audience, and to support artisanal communities across Thailand with opportunities to make connections with art lovers, fellow artists and designers, and an international audience.   Living Art Gallery is divided into four zones:   Zone 1: Peranakan Culture (Baba-Yaya) in Phuket Province Inspired by the traditional Peranakan houses of Phuket old town, Awika Samukrsaman – the apparel designer – creates woven textiles in pastel hues that interpret the patterns, colours and symbols of southern Thai culture. Awika has been w orking closely with local communities to preserve the local traditional knowledge of textiles and weaving, while pushing it into a contemporary direction. Within the conceptual Peranakan house, the vivid and intricate embroidered paintings of Sunisa Assawinrungroj are displayed. Stirred by the death of her pet rabbit, Sunisa embroidered delicate rabbits in traditional Phuket dress into these pieces. Hanging in one corner is Rungcheewan Kamvichit’s collection of contemporary tie-dyes, made using fine Thai silk and the rare Shibori tie-dye technique. On the opposite side hang a painting titled Sao Phuket by Sarawut Yasamut which depicts a southern woman carrying a Chinese-style food basket and embraced by flowers native to Phuket and Indonesia. Ongkorn Sinlapangkul is also featured in this zone, with the artist’s special interpretation of the colours and sights of Phuket in two fantastical paintings of a seahorse and woman with a dragon mask.   Zone 2: Forest and Landscape of Phuket The second zone of the gallery takes visitors on a journey through Phuket’s landscape from the viewpoint of artists. It kicks off with a special collection of nature-inspired ceramics crafted by master artisan Professor Somlak Pantiboon, known for his pottery studio Doi Din Dang in Chiang Rai. Also hailing from northern Thailand, but from Chiang Mai, is Likit Tunoud who describes the interaction of humans and nature, and its oftentimes destructive consequences, in intricate ink-on-paper drawings. Adding his influence to this zone is Professor

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) joins forces with ICONSIAM and entrepreneurs along the banks of Chao Phraya River to unite Thai hearts by organizing the mega-phenomenon “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2021” promising to become the most spectacular celebration of Thailand to ring in the New Year, under the concept of "The Wonders of Happiness upon the River", representing hope, faith, prosperity, and happiness. The mega-event will feature  over 20,000 spectacular, eco-friendly fireworks, which are made from Thai sticky rice, that will be lit up along the most beautiful curve of the Chao Phraya River spanning an area of over 1,400 meters and within a distance of over 5 kilometers of the city-wide celebration. Each act signifies auspicious meanings of Big Hope, Believe, Brilliant Life, Beautiful World, Blooming Wealth, Be Together (presented by True Corporation), and Best Begin. In addition to a myriad of entertainments throughout the night of New Year’s Eve by top artists and the avant-garde fireworks, one of the unmissable activities is the “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2021” video and photography contest under the theme of “Magic upon the River”, granting over THB 500,000-worth prizes to the winners. The countdown celebration event will be broadcast live on Thairath TV 32 HD Channel as well as on the online platforms via Facebook pages of ICONSIAM, Thairath Online, Khaosod and TrueID application. ICONSIAM is easily and rapidly accessible via the complete modes of transportation - cars, rails, and boats. The operation of Bangkok’s Gold Line electric rail route in December will also ease the public transportation.

Buzzing among art aficionados all over the town, Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 (BAB 2020), the Thai capital long-awaited contemporary art festival has officially opened its curtain under the theme of "Escape Routes". This time around, the mixed-use real estate projects in the heart of the city, One Bangkok and The PARQ, will join in hosting the event by providing venues on their premises, including The Prelude, BAB Box and BAB Café at The PARQ, for the exhibitions of artworks by several acclaimed international artists. Bringing together a lineup of more than 200 contemporary pieces of art from 82 Thai and international artists, Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 will invite visitors to experience, discover and interpret highly emotive and meaningful pieces of art, which can open our eyes to solutions to global issues that affect societies, economies, politics and the environment. The forms of art displayed at Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 encompass a wide variety of mediums including paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, installation artworks, videos, mixed media projects, and blueprints. The Prelude, BAB Box in One Bangkok and The PARQ are three of the venues for the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 out of a total of 10 landmarks in the city. Some of the highlights on display in The Prelude, BAB Box and The PARQ that no art lover should miss are: The Prelude Dusit Thani Province 1 by Prateep Suthatongthai: This artwork investigates the history of Dusit Thani, a utopian city founded on the vision of King Rama VI. The artist explores the structural plan and meaning of the city, reconstructs its blueprints and recreates old photographs of the city through realistic painting techniques.   BAB Box DO A TO MII Doll 1939, Doll 2020 by Lolay: This installation includes paintings and sculptures that embody the physical conditions of society, the community, the city, the country, and the world. The cyborg characters incarnate symptoms that people worldwide endure from the effects of catastrophes like epidemics, political strife and social conflicts. Martyrs: Earth, Wind, Fire, Air by Bill Viola: The video installation depicts four Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) and their capacity to endure pain and hardships in order to remain faithful to their values, beliefs, and principles. Devi/The River (After Aristide Maillol) by Thanet Awsinsiri: The artwork explores various contexts of the female body as the artist borrows ideas from a world-famous painting Gabrielle Estrées and One of Her Sisters and Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona, reinterpreting them in a way to offer viewers new sensations and perspectives.   The PARQ A Child’s World in the Days of Adults by Narongyot Thongyu: Narongyot Thongyu is invested in “the truth to materials” and revealing their essence. The installation encourages viewers to compare reality with imagination. The artist uses the process of inventing toys as a way to return to his childhood memories. Tooth Clinic by Note Kritsada: Note Kritsada expands on his childhood visits to the dental clinic and takes viewers into a mutually shared experience to open up new perspectives. Rising by Marina Abramović: A VR artwork by Marina