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Accor marks its 400th hotel in Australia and the Pacific

Accor marks its 400th hotel in Australia and the Pacific

This milestone for Accor is part of its dynamic Pacific expansion, with 11 new hotels  set to open in next two years in Australia and New Zealand.

Just three decades after entering the Australia/Pacific hotel market, Accor has recently added its 400th hotel, with the launch of The Porter House Hotel - MGallery in Sydney.

Accor's first hotel in the region - Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour (1991) - was a catalyst for the redevelopment of Darling Harbour into Sydney's premier tourism, entertainment and events precinct, and the transformation of the iconic Porter House building into a luxury hotel is set to boost Sydney's CBD revival.

The opening of The Porter House Hotel is part of a large-scale expansion of Accor in the Pacific region, with 11 new hotels and 1,569 rooms scheduled to open before the end of 2023. They include the debut of the 25hours brand in Australia, new airport hotels at Melbourne Airport and Auckland Airport, and another heritage restoration in Sydney, Hotel Morris, which is being created out of the 1929-built former West End Hotel in Pitt Street.

Announcing the 400th hotel milestone, Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry, said it was fitting to celebrate such a major landmark as the hotel industry accelerated towards a full post-pandemic recovery.

Choice Hotels Commences Integration Of Radisson Americas

Choice Hotels Commences Integration Of Radisson Americas

Choice Hotels yesterday announced that it has completed the acquisition of Radisson Hotels Americas.

The acquisition has added approximately 67,000 rooms, expanding its presence in the higher revenue upper upscale and upscale full-service segments, and bolstering its core upper-midscale hospitality segment, particularly in the West Coast and Midwest of the United States.

Radisson Hotels Americas comprises the Radisson franchise agreements, operations and intellectual property in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The transaction adds nine brands, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Radisson RED, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson Inn & Suites and Radisson Collection. Choice Hotels will independently own and control the brands in the Americas.

Choice Hotels has started the process of bringing Radisson hotels in the Americas into the Choice Hotels family. In the future, you’ll be able to find rooms at more than 600 Radisson hotels across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America on and the Choice Hotels mobile app.

I expect the Radisson Americas properties will also be integrated into the loyalty program Choice Privileges around the same time.

Until this process is completed, travellers should continue to book Radisson hotels in the Americas at and through the Radisson call centre at 1-800-333-3333.

The Standard - Iconic Hotel Chain Coming To Melbourne

The Standard - Iconic Hotel Chain Coming To Melbourne

Melbourne’s edgy, inner-city suburb of Fitzroy will soon play host to the Australian debut of global boutique brand, The Standard Hotels.

One of the world’s fastest growing boutique brands, The Standard prides itself on shaking up the establishment and defying convention to deliver a unique experience. The company says its careful consideration of design, detail and service has allowed it to cultivate a reputation or irreverent and playful sensibility.

To be located on Rose Street, The Standard Fitzroy will come to life as a 127-room hotel built over seven levels, with design cues inspired heavily by the local area and its long-standing industrial heritage.

The Standard, Fitzroy will be positioned right in the heart of Fitzroy’s bustling creative community, with a plethora of quirky and niche galleries, boutiques, markets, bars and cafes surrounding the new development. A location that suit well The Standard's youthful, energetic, design-focussed vibe.

Fitzroy’s history of corner pubs, workers cottages, grand housing and industry inspired the approach to the building’s façades. The weathered steel and concrete are robust, timeless materials that sit comfortably straight away and, over time, will add charm as they patina.

The Standard, Fitzroy is on track to open to guests in 2023.

Similar timing also applies to The Standard, Singapore.

Both will supplement the existing portfolio of properties in NYC, Ibiza, Maldives, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Miami Beach and London.

Pssst!  Kimpton Secret Password Valid Through Early September 2022

Pssst! Kimpton Secret Password Valid Through Early September 2022

Now through 5 September 2022, mention the secret password “Stay Cool” at check-in to score perks and other benefits when staying at Kimpton Hotels (which are part of IHG).

Perks range by property, but can be free parking, a free breakfast, or a free room upgrade, etc.

In addition, Kimpton is now offering travellers an “emotional support beverage” at check-in if your arrival flight was cancelled or delayed. Very considerate !

Kimpton is one of our favoured brands. Lovely properties, great service and a few quirks like the above and their very pet-friendly approach for authentic, brand-consistent touches of individualty.

Members of my Barceló, have priority access to Happy Days offers, an exclusive Barcelo­ Hotels event running until 3 August with unique discounts on hotels and resorts.

Get up to 25% off bookings in destinations such as Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.

Plus, get an extra 10% discount by entering the promo code 22HAPPYB10 when making your booking.

Not yet a member, but want to take advantage?  Join my Barcelo first - it's free.

T&C's apply, including restrictions in some hotels and during specific periods. Check offer conditions at Barcelo­.com

Preferred Hotels Promotion - Save 30% When You Book Your Beach & Island Bliss

Preferred Hotels Promotion - Save 30% When You Book Your Beach & Island Bliss

Preferred Hotels & Resorts is running a limited time offer where you can save up to 30% on your next beach or island vacation

Book online with Preferred Hotels' Stay More, Save More offer by December 31, 2022, for travel through March 31, 2023 to save up to 30% on stays of three nights or more at any of 8 beach destinations from California to Maldives.

The participating properties are:

Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club, Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach,  Florida, USA 
NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, Maldives
Coco Bodu Hithi, Maldives
Rancho Santana, Tola, Nicaragua
Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara, California

A great saving for a wonderful, luxury break. I Prefer members also receive their usual perks.

T&C's apply.

How Poor Hotel Selection Can Ruin Enjoyment of a Destination : Hilton “It Matters Where You Stay"

How Poor Hotel Selection Can Ruin Enjoyment of a Destination : Hilton “It Matters Where You Stay"

Hilton is debuting “It Matters Where You Stay”, a new advertising campaign using humor to highlight some of the common but unspoken pitfalls of travel, boldly poking fun at what can go wrong when booking accommodation or on a trip. The campaign will initially launch in the US.

In one of the featured TV spots, the brand pokes fun at what can go wrong when booking online for a vacation rental – depicting a family showing up to a hilariously creepy property that wasn’t exactly as advertised.

Another zeroes in on a unique Hilton feature that addresses a very real pain point of family travel, the importance of securing connected rooms at the time of booking.

A timely reminder that while selecting your destination is important, the accommodation booking can make or break both your enjoyment of it and the memories you will have.

Sometimes, "when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys".

Preferred Hotels Adds 19 Properties To Its Luxurious Portfolio

Preferred Hotels Adds 19 Properties To Its Luxurious Portfolio

Preferred Hotels and Resorts has added 19 new member properties to its global portfolio between April 1 and June 30 this year.

Opening its doors this month, Hotel Per La in Los Angeles will take up residence in the former headquarters of The Bank of Italy—a historic building in downtown Los Angeles. There are 241 guestrooms with custom furnishings and Bellino linens, an art collection with more than 4,000 curated pieces, 10,000 square feet of meetings and event spaces, and a rooftop pool and bar with skyline views. Later this summer, the hotel will launch a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that highlights the building’s past.

Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Cancun – a Tafer Resort is the sister property of Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta. This all-inclusive beachfront property offers 452 suites with private balconies or terraces. There are six dining concepts (and two more set to launch later this summer) and a gourmet hall offering a range of world cuisines with five kitchen stations. Standouts include four family heated pools, an adults-only rooftop pool, holistic treatments by Spa Imagine, and easy access to Playa Mujeres Golf Club. The concierge team can organize excursions to Mayan archeological sites in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences is located on the iconic St. Barbara Bastion in Valletta, Malta. The pet-friendly hotel comprises four "palatial" houses, along with 20 suites and three guestrooms with balconies or terraces. Tip: Some of which have private plunge pools, while all have French windows that frame views of Grand Harbour. Other highlights include ION Harbour, a rooftop restaurant by Michelin-star chef Alex Dilling, spa treatments at Essensi Spa by Iniala, 24-hour gym, cocktail bar and artwork by renowned and emerging Maltese and Gozitan artists.

Grand Hotel San Pietro in Sicily is a restored early 20th-century villa-turned-luxury hotel. It is situated on the site of an ancient Roman road in Taormina. Guests can enjoy 63 guestrooms (some pet-friendly) with views out to the Ionian Sea, an outdoor pool surrounded by gardens, an al fresco restaurant with an expansive terrace, and the Rotonda sul Mare—an intimate patio that serves romantic dinners for two directly above Isola Bella. Other highlights include a spa with a Finnish sauna and steam bath, private boat trips to sea caves and rocky beaches, and guided tours to Mount Etna. Guests can take complimentary shuttle rides to Taormina for designer shopping and dining experiences.

Home to more than 27,000 square feet of spa and wellness space, the Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club is spread across 300 acres of beach with 178 guestrooms, beach suites and multi-bedroom villas offering shared butler services. Luxury facilities include the newly revamped Aurora International Golf Club, and seven restaurants and bars. Guests can enjoy group hikes, pickleball, movie nights on the beach and boat racing–Anguilla’s national sport. This fall, guests will be able to book one of the resort’s fleet of charter jets for direct service to the property from select U.S. airports.

Other member properties that joined Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ global portfolio from April 1 through June 30, 2022, include:

  • Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Nashville, Dallas and Chicago;
  • Preserve Sporting Club & Residences in Richmond, RI;
  • Aspen Meadows Resort;
  • The Laurel Hotel & Spa in Auburn, AL;
  • The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center;
  • Pestana Douro *, Riverside Hotel & Conference Center in Porto, Portugal;
  • HS HOTSSON Hotel Guadalajara Expo;
  • Grand Fiesta Americana Oaxaca;
  • Umiltà 36 in Rome;
  • Hotel Savoia & Jolanda in Venice; and
  • Hotel Golf Chateau de Chailly in France.
Each of these new member hotels participate in the  “I Prefer" loyalty program, where members can earn points redeemable for benefits from eligible stays at over 650 participating hotels and resorts worldwide. You can find details on the program in our Complete Guide to I Prefer, including how to sign up (free of charge).

Bookings for approx. 200 of the 650 properties made through our associated travel agency can be made at the I Prefer Member rate and earn I Prefer points.  All such bookings (at either Member or Best Available rates) receive the following perks at no additional cost:
  • $100 Hotel Credit per Stay (to be used on services such as spa, dining, or selected amenities valued at $100 or more)
  • Breakfast for Two Daily
  • Room Upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Priority Check-in and Check-out (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary in-room internet.
* Pestana Douro also participates in the Pestana Guest loyalty program. The benefits of booking as an I Prefer member are similar to that for members of the "Honor" (top status tier) of Pestana Guest, but with daily breakfast instead of the discounted member room rates. Book through our travel agency and you will also receive the $100 Hotel Credit.

Some very attractive properties have been added to the list of luxury Preferred Hotels portfolio. Many in the Americas, but some especially enticing ones in Europe too.
Decisions, decisions...

Fullerton Hotels Opens Its First Resort and First Property in Hong Kong

Fullerton Hotels Opens Its First Resort and First Property in Hong Kong

The 5-star luxury hotel group Fullerton Hotels and Resorts (best known for The Fullerton Singapore and more recently, The Fullerton Sydney) announced the Early Stage Soft Opening of The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong yesterday. Nestled in the southside of Hong Kong Island with breathtaking views of the South China Sea, the 425-room hotel marks the brand's debut in Hong Kong and its first resort worldwide.

This opening signifies the expansion of the brand known for its heritage conservation efforts and award-winning offerings. 

The waterfront urban resort, a mere 15-minute drive from Hong Kong's Central business district yet worlds away from the city's fast pace, is the ideal holiday retreat.  There is plenty to explore nearby, from taking in the sights and sounds of nature at one of Aberdeen's numerous beaches and leisurely hiking trails, to rediscovering some of Hong Kong's oldest gems at historical temples and fishing market, or experiencing the area's up-and-coming cultural scene through charming local boutiques and exhibitions at neighbouring art galleries.

Committed to sustainability and guests' well-being, the hotel has attained the WELL Pre-certification under the WELL Building Standard™ v2, becoming the first hotel project in Hong Kong and Mainland China to receive this internationally acclaimed recognition. This commitment extends to environmental initiatives including the elimination of single-use plastics, sourcing sustainable seafood, and an in-situ hotel farm.

The Fullerton Ocean Park Hong Kong is set to become an oceanfront culinary destination with five dining concepts, including Jade, the signature Chinese restaurant of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The Cantonese fine dining restaurant will be helmed by the acclaimed Chef Lai Ching Shing. In addition, the Lighthouse Lounge, Lighthouse Café, Satay Inn offer contemporary indoor and al fresco social space for unique dining experiences. Giardino, an oceanfront Italian restaurant, to be located on the 3rd floor with alfresco dining, will soon open later this year. To cater to the demand for meaningful, restorative experiences, the hotel has carefully curated comprehensive wellness retreat offerings to ensure an ultimate resort getaway. A 24-hour gym, luxury spa and the expansive infinity pool with panoramic sea views provide the perfect setting for enriching fitness activities and relaxation.

For weddings and major events, the hotel features a variety of outdoor and indoor event spaces complete with stunning sea views, including a pillar-free ballroom that can accommodate up to 500 guests with a panoramic oceanview pre-function foyer

The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong is a member hotel of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and participates in its loyalty program I Prefer.

As a member of the Preferred Platinum Program, our associated travel agency is able to provide complimentary perks when you book through them (and you also still earn I Prefer points).

Each year Travel + Leisure magazine taps into its readership and invites thousands to complete a survey that rates airlines, spas, hotels, islands and more on many factors. The detailed survey evaluation results in its readers' rankings of the best hospitality has to offer from around the world.

Participants in the survey collected data from late October 2021 through to the end of February 2022. They rated (with a maximum score of 100) hotels, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, etc on numerous characteristics, with the option of rating excellent, above average, average, below average and poor. A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Awards.

This year’s results spanned a whopping 120 categories among hotels, resorts and hospitality brands in cities, countries and regions globally; to spas, favourite global cities, and best islands, cruise lines, tour operators, safari outfitters, airlines, car rental companies and National Parks.

Some key observations:

The overall winner was the super-luxury Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino. Rosewood also had 2 other properties in the top 100. 

Auberge and Shangri-La also both had 3 properties in the top 100.

The groups with the most properties in the top 100 both have Indian roots - Oberoi and Taj both had 6 properties in the list of top 100 hotels. 

While Preferred Hotels owns no hotels of its own, it markets (and offers a loyalty program) for 5 of the top 100 hotels (Pendry Chicago #25, Riggs Washington D.C. #31, Finca Cortesín Hotel Golf & Spa, Málaga #44, Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Lake Como, #53 and Rancho Santana – Tola, Nicaragua, #56). 

Multi-brand Marriott had 4 properties, while Capella, Hilton, Six Senses (IHG), Rocco Forte and Mandarin Oriental each had 2 properties rated in the top 100.

In terms of the Best 25 Hotel Brands in the World, the Accor stable rated very well, with 3 of its brands rated in the top 25 (Raffles #4, Sofitel Legend #6 and Banyan Tree #11). Global Hotels Alliance (GHA) also had 3 of its brands rated in the top 25 (Viceroy #10, Anantara #14 and Capella #17).  

Of the major, multi-brand chains, IHG (Six Senses #19), Hilton (St Regis #24) and Marriott (Luxury Collection #25) each had 1 brand in the top 25.

If you'd like to know more about any of the hotels or brands, our associated Travel Agency is a specialist advisor for Rosewood, Waldorf Astoria, Raffles, Preferred Hotels, Four Seasons, Hyatt, IHG, Conrad and St Regis - able to offer free perks like room upgrades and property credits when you book.

Our congratulations to Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco and all category winners. Far too many to list here entirely, so we list below a selection of the results:

100 Best Hotels in the World

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco (99.25),
Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection (99.22),
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi (99.11),
Pickering House Inn, Wolfeboro (98.95) and
One&Only Reethi Rah (98.93).

25 Best Hotel Brands of the World

Oberoi Hotels & Resorts (97.50),
One&Only Resorts (96.20),
Oetker Collection (96.15),
Raffles Hotels & Resorts (95.5) and
Red Carnation Hotel Collection (95.32).

5 Best Resorts - South Pacific

Namale Resort & Spa, Savusavu, Fiji,
Conrad Bora Bora Nui,
St. Regis Bora Bora Resort,
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora,
InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa.

Best Islands of the World

Ischia, Italy (94.61),
Maldives (94.44),
Bali (92.51),
Milos, Greece (92.50) and
Fiji Islands (92.38).

5 Best International Spas

Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico (95.76),
Sha Wellness Clinic, El Abir, Spain (95.20),
Therme di Saturnia (94.15),
Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa (93.26),
Chable Maroma, Punta Maroma, Mexico (89.90).

25 Best Cities in the World

Oaxaca, Mexico (92.96),
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (91.77),
Ubud, Indonesia (91.73),
Florence (91.06) and
Istanbul (90.97).

Best City Hotels - Europe

Hôtel Madame Rêve, Paris (98.73),
Rosewood Villa Magna, Madrid (98.67),
Portrait Firenze, Florence (98.25),
Raffles Istanbul (98.25) and
Shangri-La at the Shard, London (97.86).

Best City Hotels - Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

The Langham, Melbourne (92.53),
Park Hyatt Sydney (90.40),
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (88.30),
InterContinental Sydney (87.76) and
Shangri-La Sydney (86.40).

Best Islands - Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

Fiji Islands (92.38),
Moorea, French Polynesia (90.24),
Bora Bora, French Polynesia (87.70),
Great Barrier Reef Islands (86.90) and
Tahiti, French Polynesia (83.33).

WorldHotels Adds Four New Luxury Hotels in Europe

WorldHotels Adds Four New Luxury Hotels in Europe

WorldHotels Collection (the luxury arm of Best Western) announced today the expansion of its hotel offerings in premier destinations across Europe. The addition of these 4 new properties is part of the company’s expansion of its footprint in key destinations around the globe.

The latest WorldHotels openings include:

The Crown London Located just 18 minutes from the heart of London’s centre, this Victorian style hotel features flawless suites with stained-glass windows and fireplaces. This modern space is designed to be the perfect sanctuary a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of the City. The property features a contemporary restaurant and a longstanding landmark London pub.

Hotel Mulino di Firenze, Florence, Italy is a beautiful romantic property within close proximity to Florence’s major landmarks, allowing guests to discover both the city and the countryside. Located on the Arno River in Tuscany, the property offers guests exclusively Tuscan stays amongst nature, art, and the food and wine of the region. Guests will enjoy dining at Grano D’Oro Restaurant, which overlooks the Arno and offers outdoor terrace seating in the summer. For visitors seeking tranquility, the Spa features wellness and personized beauty treatments reserved exclusively for hotel guests. Summer is also the perfect time to access the hotel’s solarium area swimming pool complete with deckchairs, sun loungers and umbrellas.

Woughton House Hotel, Milton Keynes, UK is located in a beautiful tranquil setting, unique to the Milton Keynes area. Built in 1844, this Georgian manor house is the perfect getaway with grounds surrounded by greenery and Ouzel Valley Park, which provides guests with endless photo opportunities. Amenities include premium bedding, continental breakfast and Cosy’s lounge bar. There are also multiple dining and entertainment options just a short distance from the hotel.

The Riverside Hotel, Salisbury, UK presents five-star luxury located in the heart of Salisbury, which is best known for its timeless appeal and charm. A contemporary manor house, The Riverside Hotel is filled with character, and is on the grounds of the Avon and Nadder rivers, overlooking the stunning Salisbury Cathedral. The hotel is just a quick walk to the heart of the city, where guests can explore the historic Salisbury Cathedral, Britain’s tallest spire and the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta. The famous Stonehenge is also just a short drive away.

Guests can enjoy the benefits of the WorldHotels Rewards loyalty program when staying at these properties. Learn more about WorldHotels Rewards then join (its free) and register soon to Earn Double Points for stays completed by August 30, 2022.

Jade Mountain Joins Regenerative Travel

Jade Mountain Joins Regenerative Travel

Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia has received Member Hotel Status from the Eco-Luxury community Regenerative Travel as it becomes the latest addition to its portfolio of sustainable hotels.

Jade Mountain is an entirely hand-built hotel in St Lucia where the rooms have no outer walls and are completely open to the ocean and piton views, each with its own private infinity pool or jacuzzi. Some readers may recall Jade Mountain was the hotel featured in the BBC 2 series Amazing Hotels – Life Beyond the Lobby (season 3, episode 4).

Regenerative Travel is a community of independent, luxury hotels that aim to shift the travel industry towards a more regenerative future.

Jade Mountain will receive a bespoke educational curriculum to further its commitment to regeneration. It will also be required to undertake a regular self-assessment and report monthly on 29 indicators aligned with Regenerative Travel’s standards. This assessment holds hotels accountable to its eco-credentials and is a showcase of activism towards a regenerative future.

Jade Mountain has practiced sustainability since its opening in 2006 and has placed emphasis on retaining as much economic benefits in the region as possible. The property takes sustainable steps while educating guests about the culture, history and ecology of the region. For instance, the resort has made its water supply independent from Soufriere so as not to impact the local community. All of the drinking water at Jade Mountain is sourced from the river at Anse Mamin valley, which is then filtered and conditioned at the resort in a special treatment facility. The resort also has its own rainwater-fed water purification plant system and recycles treated sewage water, which irrigates a nursery which, in turn, propagates thousands of tropical plants for landscaping.

Jade Mountain was inspired by the philosophy of building in alignment with Caribbean nature. No machinery was used in its construction; it also has either used all furniture and furnishings made locally or purchased them from local businesses. The property features rugged stone-faced columns, individual bridges and infinity pool suites that overlook the Caribbean Sea.

All members of Jade Mountain’s construction team were from St Lucia and the hotel currently employs a 99 percent local workforce, making them one of the most important employers in the region.

This stunning eco-luxury hotel is also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels program and guests can receive special perks by booking through our affiliated travel agency or as members of SLH Invited. 

Banyan Tree "Branches Out" With 4 Exciting New Properties In Japan

Banyan Tree "Branches Out" With 4 Exciting New Properties In Japan

Banyan Tree Group has announced its expansion into Japan with the introduction of four locations.  Two have already opened, with the others being rolled-out over the next few years.

Banyan Tree Holdings brands include Banyan Tree, Angsana, Cassia, Dhawa and Laguna. The group is well known throughout Asia for its luxury wellness and sustainable ethos, with beautiful villas and resorts, especially in beachside locations.

Members of Accor Live Limitless can use points to make bookings at select Banyan Tree properties.

Both members and non-members can access luxury perks when booking (non award) stays through our travel agency - Rewarding Travel.

Banyan Tree and Angsana are two of our favourite spa/wellness groups, so this expansion into urban and ski-field locations is particularly exciting!

Watch this space...

Opened on 17 June 2022:

Dhawa Yura Kyoto opened its doors on June 17 near Sanjo Ohashi, a bridge that was once the final station of the ancient Tokaido Road from Tokyo. The road served as a route for long-distance voyagers during the Edo period in Japan. The 138-room hotel’s historic ties are reflected in the interior design and artwork, besides an 8lement Spa. 

As the first opening under the group’s newest concept, Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto is a 25-room hotel that also opened on June 17. It is located in front of Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in 1603 during the Tokugawa Shogunate. The new Garrya brand is a concept promising a Zen-like atmosphere along with a focus on well-being and sustainability at a more accessible price point. The first Garrya, the Garrya Huzhou Lucun, opened in Huzhou, China, in 2021, now accomp[anied by the Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto. 

Planned to open 2024:
Located in the Gion and Higashiyama district, Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto will open in spring 2024 as a 52-room luxury, hilltop urban resort. It is touted to be the first and only hotel in Kyoto city to have a Noh stage

Planned to open 2025:
A newly built resort set to open in 2025 in the most popular ski resort destination of Japan, Cassia Hirafu in Niseko will be a stone’s throw from Hirafu ski slope. It will feature 50 rooms and 113 residences that will be available for sale.

Planned to open 2026:
Renowned for its hot spring and views of Mount Fuji, Banyan Tree Ashinoko Hakone is slated to open in 2026, in an area adjacent to Lake Ashino.

NH Hotels officially joins GHA

NH Hotels officially joins GHA

Pictured is the NH Collection Plaza Santiago.

On June 20th, NH Hotels officially joined Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. 

NH Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and brings to the alliance more than 350 properties in 30 countries under three brands – NH Hotels, NH Collection and nhow.

NH Hotel Group is majority-owned by Minor Hotels, a Bangkok-based operator of more than 160 hotels and a GHA shareholder. Minor Hotels’ global family of brands include Anantara, Avani, Elewana Collection, Oaks and Tivoli which were already member brands of the alliance and participate in GHA DISCOVERY.

The move sees the transformation of NH Rewards into the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme, becoming NH DISCOVERY and creating a 21-million-strong global membership. Existing NH Rewards members will retain the value of their points and their other benefits, including Member Rates with up to 10% discount and additional rewards for booking on the NH or GHA websites.

For more details on GHA Discovery, see our Guide to GHA Discovery

A unique feature of the NH Discovery version is that NH Hotels shareholders can upgrade their tier status for attractive benefits.  

Under T&C 4.9 Members of the NH DISCOVERY Programme who are also NH’s Shareholders may upgrade their Tier as follows:

*  To the Gold Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value which is lower than 2,000 Euros; or

*  To the Platinum Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value equal to or greater than 2,000 Euros but lower than 3,000 Euros.

*  To the Titanium Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value equal to or greater than 3,000 Euros. 

The value of a block of shares will be determined considering the number of shares multiplied by their market value. In order to enable the upgrading of a Tier, Members must prove their status as a Shareholder by sending their securities account certificate by email to 

If you are a shareholder of NH Hotels, these upgrades last for as long a you own the requisite value of shares, providing a way of holding tier status without the requirement of stays or spending.

I Prefer Hotel Rewards Program benefits have been enhanced

I Prefer Hotel Rewards Program benefits have been enhanced

Preferred Hotel Group has released a series of updates and enriched benefits to its I Prefer  loyalty program. From the launch of I Prefer Gift Cards and a Stay, Reward, Repeat bonus points offer to the next installment of I Prefer Auctions, an ever-lasting Flexible Member Rate, and the introduction of a new points-plus-cash option to book Reward Nights – these program enhancements reflect Preferred Hotel Group’s commitment to deliver a range of value-rich benefits that cater to the needs of its loyalty members worldwide.   

Highlights of the I Prefer Hotel Rewards loyalty program enhancements include: 

I Prefer Gift Cards with 20% Bonus Value 

I Prefer Gift Cards are now available and can be used towards services, experiences, and stays at hundreds of participating I Prefer hotels and resorts across the globe. As an introductory special, purchasers will receive a 20% Bonus Card with each I Prefer Gift Card purchased now through June 30, 2022. To purchase I Prefer Gift Cards, and take advantage of this special launch offer, visit the  I Prefer Gift Cards site

Stay, Reward, Repeat Offer 
I Prefer members staying one, two, or three consecutive nights will now have the opportunity to earn up to 15,000 I Prefer Bonus Points – which is enough to redeem towards a free Reward Night or other  travel opportunities such as I Prefer Auctions and Reward Certificates. Pre-registration is required and bookings must be made by September 30, 2022, for stays through December 31, 2022. For additional details and to register for this offer, visit the dedicated Stay, Reward, Repeat Offer site. 

I Prefer Reward Nights Plus 
The recent launch of I Prefer Reward Nights Plus invites I Prefer members to book exclusive hotel rates using a combination of points plus cash, while earning points on the cash portion of their rate. For as little as 3,000 points plus cash payment in varying amounts, members can book and enjoy a selection of independent hotel experiences including but not limited to, Hotel Carlton in Antananarivo, Madagascar; Metropole Hotel in Venice, Italy; Royal Plaza on the Scotts in Singapore; NIZUC Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico; The Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles, California; Ohla Eixample in Barcelona, Spain; Hotel Sans Souci in Vienna, Austria; and The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.; with more hotels from desirable global destinations coming soon. To learn more and to book stays at participating properties, members can visit the dedicated I Prefer Reward Nights Plus site. 

Additional program updates include: 

I Prefer Auction to run June 16-22, 2022 
Offering a unique way to bid and win one-of-a-kind travel experiences, the next I Prefer Auction will run June 16-22, 2022 and feature a curated selection of 15 hand-picked experiences available for limited-time bidding. Exclusive to I Prefer members, bids start as low as 12,500 I Prefer Points and include experiences such as a Guatemalan wellness ritual, afternoon tea for two in London, formal Omakase dining in Bangkok, cable cars in San Francisco, a perfect Parisian spa day, rooftop dinner for two in Saint-Tropez, a rebalancing massage in Coastal Italy, and more. Members can view the full list of experiences, and the complete terms and conditions, by visiting the dedicated I Prefer Auctions site. 

Flexible Member Rate  
Recognizing the importance of member-only value and flexibility, Preferred Hotel Group is pleased to announce that the I Prefer Flexible Member Rate is here to stay – members can book enjoy savings of 10% or more on top of the best available rate at more than 300 participating hotels. The flexible rate is also fully cancellable up through the day of arrival, providing travelers with the peace of mind needed if travel plans get disrupted. For additional details and to book, visit the dedicated Flexible Member Rate site

I Prefer is free to join. For more information, read our Guide to the I Prefer program, which contains a link to enrol.

Rocco Forte's "European Grand Tour" - a luxury tour de force

Rocco Forte's "European Grand Tour" - a luxury tour de force

This year, uber luxury group Rocco Forte Hotels is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering immersive experiences inspired by the cities their properties call home. The group is offering a “European Grand Tour” so guests can interact with local artisanal talent while enjoying the best that each city has to offer.

Guests can book individual hotel experiences or opt to fully immerse in the “European Grand Tour”. You can select up to five Rocco Forte Hotels and enhance their itinerary with one or more of the curated experiences (see below).

My favoured five? While it is difficult to narrow down, I think mine are:

  • Villa Igiea, Palermo
  • Masseria Torre Maizza, Puglia
  • Hotel de la Ville, Rome
  • The Charles Hotel, Munich
  • The Balmoral, Edinburgh
What are yours?

Our associated Travel Agency has a strong relationship with Rocco Forte and can offer extra perks at no additional cost. Arrange a time for a complimentary discussion to find out more about the European Grand Tour or any other travel ideas you wish to explore.

The properties participating in the European Grand Tour include:

Villa Igiea in Palermo, Italy has curated an artistic guide to the city through the lens of the aristocratic Florio family, who originally transformed the private estate into a luxury hotel at the start of the 20th century. Guests will discover the history of Palermo through a city-wide tour, including a private tour of the 300-year-old Palazzo Gangi. At the end of the architectural adventure, guests will be greeted with dinner in the hotel’s Louis XVI Hall, named in honor of the Florio family.

Verdura Resort in Sicily has curated a golfing experience. Guests will be welcomed with a personalized gift bag filled with golf equipment. They will also experience a training session with the resort’s PGA coach and enjoy a three-course lunch. They can enjoy treatments at the Irene Forte Spa or stay in one of the private villas.

Guests staying at Hotel de la Ville in Rome can embark on a two-hour guided tour through the dark streets of Rome’s heretics, traitors and ghosts. Crossing through the Sant’Angelo bridge, travelers will learn about Mastro Titta, the official executioner for the Papal States and travel back to the taverns where Caravaggio brawled in the streets and created endless stories still talked about in the modern day.

Masseria Torre Maizza has curated a journey through Puglia on a plate. At the Grandmother’s Table, guests will enjoy a Sunday lunch with Apulian dishes hosted by local mothers and grandmothers. Guests will also have access to the hotel’s nine-hole golf course, private beach club and Irene Forte Spa.

The Balmoral is offering a curated “Scottish Gold” experience in Edinburgh. Guests will have exclusive access to Edinburgh’s jewelers and private access to The Balmoral’s rooftop to view the Clock Tower. The experience begins with a behind-the-scenes visit to Hamilton & Inches, the designers behind Edinburgh’s iconic Balmoral clock. Later, guests can enjoy a whiskey tasting at the Balmoral’s cozy bar, Scotch.

Brown’s Hotel, known as the very first hotel in London, is a short walk away from Buckingham Palace. Brown’s has curated a regal experience where guests can enjoy a curated class with one of the Royal Family’s portrait artists. Guests will also have a chance to sit down for their own personal portrait.

The Charles Hotel in Munich has curated a private night at the museum. Once the doors to the Lenbachhaus museum have closed for the day, contemporary art treasures are exclusively available to guests. The experience is followed by an exclusive dinner among well-known art pieces.

Located on Bebelplatz, Hotel de Rome in Berlin is providing a behind-the-scenes experience at the State Opera, which finishes with champagne and canapes in the Meyerbeer salon. Guests will get exclusive access to this space, usually only accessed by the director of the opera.

Located in the heart of Brussels, Hotel Amigo is offering a curated experience that allows guests to learn about bespoke jewelry from a certified gemologist and private jeweler. As a parting gift, guests will be given a precious stone of their choice. They can even commission a piece of jewelry as a keepsake.

IHG marks 6,000 hotels milestone with new "club" to reward travellers

IHG marks 6,000 hotels milestone with new "club" to reward travellers

IHG is celebrating reaching its 6,000 open hotels milestone  by unveiling the ‘6,000 Club’ and announcing partnerships with major sports and entertainment events. The 6,000 Club features a collection of newly opened hotels around the world.

Hotels in the 6,000 Club will celebrate the occasion in the coming months by surprising select guests with 6,000 IHG One Rewards points.

Some of the hotels in the 6,000 Club are:

*  Six Senses Fort Barwara – a beautiful 14th-century fort in India which was converted to become a sanctuary of well-being after a significant conservation effort

*  Regent Phu Quoc – the first all-suites-and-villas resort under the upper luxury brand in Southeast Asia, located off the southwest coast of Vietnam alongside a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve

*  Kimpton Margot Sydney  – marking the Australian debut for the brand, this art-deco hotel features a rooftop pool, wine bar, and a 1,725-square-foot “Celebrity Suite”

*  voco The Hague – the first for the brand in Netherlands which includes a garden terrace designed by an expert ecologist who created a welcoming space for nature to thrive

*  Atwell Suites Denver Airport - Tower Road – the second hotel to open for IHG’s newest all-suites brand, featuring signature design and adaptable spaces which support longer stays and allow for easy transition between business and leisure

*  Staybridge Suites Al Khobar City - this all-suites hotel is located on the shores of the Arabian Gulf in the heart of the corporate and shopping hub of vibrant Al Khobar

IHG also announced the launch of new "experience" partnerships, providing new ways to redeem IHG One Rewards points and celebrate the universal love of music and sports. Highlights include:

*  The Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Music Midtown, Ohana Festival: While watching live performances, attendees can enjoy exclusive benefits with IHG One Rewards including backstage access and time in VIP Lounges.

*  Major League Soccer

*  European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

More details and images are available for the complete list of 6,000 Club members.

Shangri-La Circle introduces monthly deals for "Members Day" | 6x points on the 6th of each month

Shangri-La Circle introduces monthly deals for "Members Day" | 6x points on the 6th of each month

Further to our note of January 19th, the revamped Shangri-La Circle loyalty program changed effective from 28 April 2022 to have:

  • tier status qualification based on either qualifying nights or tier points earned (effectively amount spent).
  • more flexibility to earn points from stays, F&B, Spa, Wellness and Shangri-La merchandise
  • rewards points will have a fixed earning rate and redemption value.
A new Polaris invitation-only elite tier was also launched.  Benefits include unlimited access to Shangri-La facilities worldwide (even without staying overnight), a dedicated global Polaris concierge, Polaris Discovery experiences, and the ability to gift Diamond status (the highest status tier able to be earned).

Shangri-La Circle has now added an additional benefit for all its members. The new Members Day will see the release of new offers that will only be available for 48 hours on the 6th day of each month, starting at 9am (Hong Kong Time) on the 6th and ending at 9am (Hong Kong Time) on the 8th. 

For the inaugural Members Day, Shangri-La Circle will debut over 20 “staycation” packages bundled with curated dining and wellness experiences that allow guests to personalize their journeys. Members will be rewarded with 6 times the points when they book these offers through the dedicated Members Day website or Shangri-La Circle Mobile App. Additionally, Shangri-La Circle members in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei will receive six times the points when they shop at the Shangri-La Boutique during the 48-hour Members Day offer.

These points can later be used for their next dining experience, weekend getaway or wellness escape.

New members signing up will earn 300 bonus points with their first Shangri-La Circle experience and up to 1,500 additional bonus points with continued spending through July 31, 2022.

T&C's apply, so be sure to read them.

Six Senses Vana opens, providing Health and Healing in the Himalayan Foothills of India

Six Senses Vana opens, providing Health and Healing in the Himalayan Foothills of India

Established Indian destination spa and retreat Vana has been taken over by global hotel group Six Senses.

The property in Dehradun, India, has since been renamed Six Senses Vana. Launched in 2014 it is a 21-acre wellness destination surrounded by clusters of Sal forest, and set within its own mango and lychee orchards. The retreat draws on ancient healing modalities from Ayurveda, Tibetan healing traditions and yoga to create bespoke schedules for every retreat attendee.

Wellness facilities include a Tibetan Healing Centre, Ayurveda Centre, Yogasala, Wellness Centre, spa, private watsu pool, gym, thermal and wet areas, tennis courts, paths for walking and two slate-lined pools – including one on the rooftop with views over the forest and into the hills beyond.

Along with the wellness and spa facilities, Six Senses Vana will also be a Cinema Paradiso, courts for various ball games, and experiences that tap into the retreat’s location to encourage movement and reconnection with nature.

Exhibitions, visiting artists, and performances will also continue to be woven into the retreat’s programming.

The destination features 82 rooms facing either the ancient forest or the garden and yoga temple, plus two restaurants and 55 treatment and consultation rooms.

The new deal will see Six Senses Vana complement the brand’s debut property in India, Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan.  Sadly, neither of the India locations participate in the IHG One Rewards program. Sigh.  Decisions, decisions...

At the time of writing, Six Senses properties that do participate in IHG One Rewards include:

  • Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand.
  • Six Senses Laamu, Maldives.
  • Six Senses Botanique, Brazil.
  • Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam.
  • Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia.
  • Six Senses Fiji.
  • Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles.
  • Six Senses Kaplankaya, Turkey.
  • Six Senses Ibiza, Spain.
  • Six Senses Shaharut, Israel.
  • Six Senses Residences Courchevel, France (bookable now for the next season).
  • Six Senses Kanuhura, Maldives (once it opens later this year).

About Six Senses

Six Senses operates 21 hotels and resorts in 17 countries under the names of Six Senses and Evason and has signed a further 33 properties into the development pipeline. Six Senses maintains a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, emotional hospitality, wellness, and crafted experiences, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat, or urban hotel, the vision remains the same: to reawaken people’s senses so they feel the purpose behind their travels and ultimately reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them. 

In early 2019, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) acquired Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. However, not all Six Senses properies participate in the IHG One Rewards program. 

Six Senses Spas guides guests on their personal path to well-being in all resorts as well as a handful of standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach goes beyond ordinary beauty treatments to offer holistic wellness, integrative medicine, and longevity.

GHA has a promotion for June 2022 - Unlock the Unforgettable - where you can save up to 40% at some destinations within its range of over 30 brands, which include ones we love, such as Anantara, Capella, Corinthia, Kempinski, Niccolo and Viceroy.

Unlock the Unforgettable offers deals right around the globe.  

For example, escape to Australia and NZ with up to 30% off for stays with Oaks booked prior to 31 August and completed prior to 30 September 2022.  Destinations include Brisbane, Port Stevens, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.  Even Auckland and Queenstown !

GHA Discovery is free to join.  Learn more about the program from our Guide to GHA Discovery.

T&C's apply for these offers, so ensure you...

Preferred Hotels has launched a new Stay.Reward.Repeat promotion for I Prefer members to earn up to 15,000 bonus points for three stays each minimum of two nights.

To earn the bonus you must register for this offer then book prior to September 30 for stays completed prior to 31 December 2022.  

How the points add up:

Stay 1: 2,500 bonus points
Stay 2: 5,000 bonus points (7,500 cumulative bonus)
Stay 3: 7,500 bonus points (15,000 cumulative bonus)

The bonus points can be used for free nights and experiences around the world or for other travel opportunities like I Prefer Auctions and Reward Certificates.

T&C's apply.

"Secret" password for One Rewards members to receive a surprise for Kimpton stays

"Secret" password for One Rewards members to receive a surprise for Kimpton stays

Kimpton Hotels have just launched their new Secret Password, “Stay Cool,” valid for stays through September 5, 2022.

IHG One Rewards Members who say these words when checking in are in for a "feel good" surprise that could be anything from a complimentary breakfast or drinks to free parking (it's up to each individual hotel to decide what their offer is, which is part of the fun). 

With locations all around the world, Kimpton is a popular brand with travelers and IHG loyalists thanks to evening happy hours, its “raid the minibar” perk for select guests and the brand's right royal treatment of four-legged guests - Kimpton is famous for being pet-friendly.

You can access IHG’s Kimpton page here.  

Better yet, you can book through our Travel Agent service, (an IHG Lifestyle Collection specialist) to receive advice and support, while still earning IHG One Rewards points.

Simply arrange a time to discuss or drop us a brief email.

Celebrate Global Wellness with Mandarin Oriental's "Intelligent Movement" initiative

Celebrate Global Wellness with Mandarin Oriental's "Intelligent Movement" initiative

Mandarin Oriental has launched a global initiative to celebrate Global Wellness Day on June 11.

As part of Intelligent Movement, selected Mandarin Oriental Spas and Wellness Centres will host various complimentary movement-themed activities, including:

  • Dynamic Stretching Class at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
  • Yoga Workshop at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
  • Mobility & Posture Assessments at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech
  • Hypervolt Massage Workshops at Mandarin Oriental, Paris
  • Movementum Studio Classes at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
Fans of M.O. (Mandarin Oriental's loyalty program) can also enjoy a Spacation at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore and receive:
- Daily breakfast for two.
- 60-minute Oriental Essence massage for two at The Spa.
- 60-minute Meditation with Crystal Bowl Sound Healing Session for two at The Spa.

You can learn more about Intelligent Movement, or more about Mandarin-Oriental's Holistic Spas and Wellness which I personally recommend.

To book and enjoy the benefits of Mandarin Oriental's Intelligent Movement, using our Travel Agent service simply arrange a time to discuss or drop us a brief email.

AMEX / Four Seasons offer - Make the most of the Spend $750, Get $150 Back offer

AMEX / Four Seasons offer - Make the most of the Spend $750, Get $150 Back offer

American Express regularly publishes great travel deals for its cardholders through its Amex Offers portal. Thanks to a new offer, if you’re a cardholder looking to visit a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts property this summer, you’re in luck to save some money on your stay.

Only certain members will be targeted, so be sure to check your Amex Offers on the Amex app or online account to see if you were one of the lucky few. If you see the offer, make sure to click "Add to Card" sooner rather than later as Amex Offers are often capped to a certain amount of cardholders.

To get the $150 back, you’ll need to spend $750 or more at any Four Seasons properties in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Anguilla, or Saint Kitts and Nevis. You don’t need to spend the $750 in 1 single stay; you can have multiple different hotel stays over time, and so long as your charges cumulatively are over $750, you’ll have met the terms of the offer.

If you spend as close to $750 as possible, you’re saving 20%, which is almost unheard of at Four Seasons properties.

In addition to staying at actual hotel properties, you can also stay at Four Seasons Private Retreats, which are very similar to luxurious condominiums in the most desirable of travel spots. These can be located in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Anguilla, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

To be eligible for the offer, you must book your reservation at or through a Four Seasons Preferred Partner such as our travel agency. Email us to sweeten this deal even more, as you will receive at no extra cost, additional perks such as the following:

  • Daily full breakfast for 2 people per bedroom, served in a hotel restaurant or through In-Room Dining
  • Hotel or resort credit of $100 to $200 per stay (guest rooms receive $100 while suites, specialty suites, and private retreats receive $200)
  • Upgrade of one category (based on availability at time of check-in)
  • Complimentary standard Wi-Fi in all guest rooms and premium Wi-Fi in all suites.
Your reservations can’t be through a third party or by other means — these methods will not trigger the offer. It’s also worth noting that you can’t use the offer to purchase gift cards.

Other T&C's also apply, so if you do qualify for this offer, be sure to check them out.

Marriott plans to join Red Sea development with Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Marriott plans to join Red Sea development with Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Marriott today announced it has signed an agreement to debut its luxury Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand off the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Slated to debut in 2023, Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is expected to form part of the new Red Sea destination. Nujuma will be the first property from the brand in the Middle East and joins an exclusive collection of only 5 other Ritz-Carlton Reserves worldwide, located in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

Nujuma will be situated on a pristine set of private islands, which are part of the Red Sea’s Blue Hole cluster of islands. Surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty and designed to blend seamlessly with the environment, the resort is expected to feature 63 one to four bedroom water and beach villas. Plans also include a range of luxurious amenities and exceptional services including a lavish spa, swimming pools, multiple culinary venues, a retail area and a variety of other leisure and entertainment offerings including a Conservation Center.

Marriott Bonvoy members can expect the uber luxury property to be right near the top level of points required for redemptions...perhaps even the very top...

The Red Sea Project is an ambitious regenerative tourism project, covering 28,000 square kilometers on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, of which less than one percent will be developed. The destination is expected to offer a new type of barefoot luxury experience and is being developed with the highest standards of sustainability. The development features an archipelago of more than 90 untouched natural islands, as well as dormant volcanoes, sweeping desert dunes, mountains and wadis, and more than 1,600 cultural heritage sites.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has added 5 new properties to its Considerate Collection

Launched in October 2021, in collaboration with respected sustainable travel and luxury hospitality players, each hotel within the Considerate Collection has been either certified by a GSTC Accredited Certification Body, certified to a GSTC Recognized Standard, or has passed an assessment by the SLH Sustainability Advisory Panel with review by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council - the international, independent, not-for-profit body established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); The new properties are:

Castello di Reschio (Lisciano Niccone, Italy): Adopting an “as nature intended” approach towards the nine farmhouses dotted across a 1,500-hectare country estate, the Bolza family introduced a rewilding program in the Umbrian wilderness which is now filled with roe deer, wild boar and porcupines. While much of what is served is home-grown or foraged, Reschio also relies on a network of hyperlocal suppliers.

Dar Ahlam (Ouarzazate, Morocco): This traditional Moroccan kasbah has been constructed using local materials such as adobe, bamboo and wood from lemon and olive trees, minimizing its energy use by installing solar panels and a water treatment system which makes tap water drinkable in the desert. Guests are immersed in Berber culture, from sleeping beneath the stars in a traditional tent, to sunrise tea ceremonies in the Sahara.

Paradise Cove (Anse La Raie, Mauritius): Overlooking a natural lagoon, this boutique hotel actively contributes towards the marine discovery center. It has also eliminated single-use plastic in the guest experience (swapping slippers made from plastic to coconut straw), and employs “green” staff tracking the resort’s progress in its detailed sustainability report. The property runs a dedicated space within the hotel for guests to discover locally and sustainably made products, from rattan baskets to swimwear made with recycled boat sails.

Amilla Maldives (Baa Atoll, Maldives): Even without its EarthCheck Silver certified status, this Maldivian-owned resort runs a range of eco-activities and initiatives, including a coral propagation project, white-tailed tropicbird breeding program, complimentary bicycles and electric golf buggies.

Aristide Hotel (Syros, Greece): Housed within the former tax residency of the Cyclades, this plastic-free neoclassical mansion uses solar panels to heat its water and offers ceramic amenities. To offset the carbon footprint of their guests, the art-centric hotel runs a re-greening and tree-planting project in partnership with the Cyclades Preservation Fund.

For more details on SLH and its Considerate Collection... 

Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to  join All-Inclusive by Marriott collection

Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to join All-Inclusive by Marriott collection

The trend towards all-inclusive properties continues.

Expected to open in late 2022, Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun is owned and managed by Blue Diamond Resorts and will join the All-Inclusive by Marriott portfolio, which includes close to 30 getaways in 8 locations across the Caribbean and Latin America - current all-inclusive resort locations include Antigua, Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, and St Lucia.

Set to debut in late 2022, the 1,049-room all-inclusive resort is expected to offer experiences including a theatre, bowling alley, water attractions and culinary encounters at a dozen on-property restaurants and nine bars all amidst stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

164 million Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to access the new resort, expanding the reach of the Blue Diamond owned resort.

Marriott International entered the all-inclusive space in 2019 with the acquisition of Elegant Hotels' seven hotels in Barbados. In 2021, the company announced a long-term agreement with Sunwing Travel Group's hotel division, Blue Diamond Resorts, to add 20 hotels into the portfolio

Kempinski to launch World's First Floating Sea Palace Resort

Kempinski to launch World's First Floating Sea Palace Resort

The Kempinski Floating Palace will be anchored off an exclusive stretch of beach on Jumeirah Road, near Dubai Marina and along from The Palm.

The main building of this floating palace, structured in four parts, is connected in the middle by a glass pyramid and offers all the luxury of a 5-star hotel, from exclusive gourmet restaurants, bars, spa, pools to boutiques, banquet areas and the possibility for even larger yachts to sail in and out at the centre of the hotel.

The five-star, pyramid-topped 156-room hotel and connected floating helipad will be the hub, off which 12 floating luxury villas, for rent or purchase, will be grouped. Each villa has two floors, a roof terrace, solar panels, infinity pool and multiple bedrooms, including those for crew and staff.

Crew?  Yes, with each villa, you can cast off and motor away (at 6 nautical miles per hour), like a private houseboat. 

The Kempinski Floating Palace will open in 2023.

Also around this time is the planned opening of the much larger MGallery QE2, located about 30 minutes away, near Dubai Creek - also a floating hotel, but different...

Members of I Prefer - the loyalty program of Preferred Hotels & Resorts will have their travel power boosted by 20% with a Bonus Card for each Gift Card purchased now through June ‌30, ‌2022.

The Bonus Card, delivered separately to the Gift Card, will have an expiry date of 6 months from date of its delivery.

If your redemption is timed to be able to use both cards, members will effectively receive a very handy 16.6% discount.

If you aren't yet an I Prefer member & want to take up the offer, I Prefer is free to join.  See our Complete Guide to IPrefer

Further T&C's apply to the offer...

Miraval Resorts & Spa To Debut First  Property Outside US | Miraval The Red Sea in Saudi Arabia

Miraval Resorts & Spa To Debut First Property Outside US | Miraval The Red Sea in Saudi Arabia

Hyatt announced that its wellness resort brand Miraval will debut Miraval The Red Sea, located on Saudi Arabia’s Shura Island, the central hub of The Red Sea Project.

The new Miraval resort is slated to open as part of the first phase of the Red Sea development. It will be Miraval’s fourth resort and its first outside the U.S. , joining Miraval Arizona, the brand’s original location in Tucson, Ariz.; Miraval Austin, its second location in Austin, Texas; and its newest location, Miraval Berkshires in Lenox, Mass.

Miraval The Red Sea will offer guests 180 guestrooms and suites, including 20 villas. The luxury wellness resort will offer a range of culinary experiences, including a central dining room, the signature Life in Balance Culinary Kitchen, and a marketplace offering mindful and healthful cuisine. Cooking classes and workshops will be offered with a focus on nutrition. There will also be approximately 4,300 square feet of meeting space for wellness-focused activities tailored to improving connections and communication for social and corporate groups.

The Life in Balance Spa will offer 39 treatment rooms and will offer new treatments, destination-inspired experiences, and a series of wellness packages. The resort will have dedicated areas such as a walking trail system, mangrove boardwalk, outdoor adventures, and several specially purposed rooms set up for art, music, wellness lectures and hands-on workshops.

Miraval The Red Sea will join Grand Hyatt The Red Sea, which is also under development, as the second Hyatt-branded hotel within the Red Sea development.