Recension: Scenic Group unveils its new 100 passenger super yacht
The all-inclusive luxury ocean and river cruise company has announced that the Emerald Azzurra will join its ever-expanding fleet this July.
The Azzurra is 110 metres (360 feet) long and will be able to accommodate up to 100 guests in 50 cabins. The yacht will sail the Red Sea, Adriatic Sea and Mediterranean over a 12-monthy booking period. It is the first vessel to be launched for the groups new Emerald Yacht Cruises brand. The state-of-the-art super yacht will complement Emerald Waterways’ fleet of river ships. There are seven in Europe, with an eighth – Emerald Luna – on the way this year. The Emerald Harmony currently sails the mighty Mekong River.
The Emerald Azzurra will call on multiple ports in Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Spain, and Turkey. Due to its relatively compact size, the Azzurra will be able to access smaller ports and harbours while still calling in on the more popular destinations.
No expense has been spared in making the Azzurra the premier luxury passenger yacht in the Mediterranean this year. Nearly ninety percent of all guestrooms will have a balcony and the cabins start at 27 square metres (285 square feet) in area. The yacht offers a gym, spa, wellness centre and a platform from where guests can launch themselves into the sea to swim, snorkel or paddleboard. Azzurra carries three tenders and two Zodiacs for shore landings and transfers.
In keeping with the brands’ inclusive pricing structure, sailings on Emerald Azzurra will include breakfast and lunch buffets stocked with fresh, locally sourced ingredients; fine á la carte dining at dinner; complimentary sommelier-paired wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner; all onboard gratuities; transfers to and from the airport; port charges; and all taxes.
Recension: Japan readies itself for an explosion in tourism
With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics still very much in play for this Summer, the country is preparing to welcome participants, spectators, and indeed a perceived increase number of tourists from around the world.
After Tokyo won the race to host in games in September 2013, a plan was put into place to increase the number of hotel rooms available in the capital and other Japanese cities. In the five years prior to 2020, the number of visitors to Japan nearly tripled to 30 million. Post-Olympiad, Japan is hoping that this surge in tourism will only continue.
Next month, the Fauchon Hotel Kyoto is set to open. Fauchon is the famous French luxury gourmet company which was founded in Paris in 1886. In 2018, it opened the beautiful boutique Fauchon L’Hôtel Paris on the Place de la Madeleine. It has been a huge success for the group, and it is hoping to replicate this success in Kyoto before embarking on a journey to open branded hotels around the world. Fauchon Hotel Kyoto is located in the centre of the city, in the Shimogyo-ku district – close to Shijo Kawaramachi, Gion, Matsubara Bridge and the Kamo River. The hotel will feature just 59 rooms & suites, Le Spa and restaurants & bars including an haute French-Japanese restaurant – Grand Café Fauchon and a tearoom – Salon De Thé. Fauchon’s bright pink branding is visible throughout the property.
Over in Mie Prefecture (equidistant from Osaka and Kyoto), a Danish-Japanese designed and built luxury “healing” resort is close to start welcoming affluent guests looking to enjoy the Nordic concept of hygge. Named the Nordisk Hygge Circles, this sustainable luxury outdoor glamping resort will offer the feeling of living contently in the moment.
The glampsite will consist of three main areas: a rest area with reservable circular cabins and glamping tents, a ”learning field” for nature-inspired excursions and workshops, and an area where guests can pitch their own tents – although it is expected that most guests will rely on the resort to fully accommodate and feed them. The Nordisk Hygge Circles sits at the base of a mountain near powerful, cascading waterfalls in the Ugakei nature park. ‘At Nordisk, we believe that nature is a luxury that is free for all, and that spending time outside simply improves your life,’ says Erik J Møller, CEO and owner of Nordisk. ‘We act according to this view in Japan and see the Japanese consumers agreeing with us to a very large extent.
Staying in the great outdoors and indeed with the tag of sustainable luxury, the Treeful Treehouse Sustainable Resort is also due to start welcoming guests. Located close to Nago city – in the north of Okinawa island – the resort features über-designed treehouses.
One of them is in the shape of an egg and was constructed by a boat-builder. Another is suspended in the trees and boasts a sleek contemporary interior with 360-degree views over the forest in which it is hidden and the River Genka which has the cleanest, clearest river water in Japan. All the electricity in the resort is harvested from the sun’s rays and in the spirit of the project, an abandoned old watermill has been reconditioned and now provides the whole site with fresh water. Impressively, some of the treehouses are wheelchair accessible.
Finally, in a few weeks, the world’s only luxury “kimono retreat hotel” will open in Yamagata Prefecture. Although 300 kilometres from Tokyo, fashionistas – both Japanese and from abroad – are expected to flock tothe NIPPONIA Shirataka Former Okuyama House. The property was once owned by Japan’s most respected silk-production family. The hotel will offer just 8 guestrooms – although the property comprises of five buildings and will span over 8,000 square metres. Guests will be able to learn the intricacies of Japan’s kimono culture. They will also be able to immerse themselves in traditional local craft activities. The Okuyama House was a large family home that was left to wrack and ruin. It was snapped up by Nipponia – a Japanese luxury hotel group that renovates buildings that are of national importance. This act of commercial/cultural endeavour is known as kominka.
Recension: JAL unveils its new inflight amenities
In 1958, seven years after its inaugural flight, Japan Airlines (JAL) adopted the tsurumaru or “crane circle” as its livery. The logo – which features a crane bird with its wings forming a circle around its head – was chosen as it was deemed to be the perfect symbol for JAL. The crane mates for life (loyalty) and it flies high for miles without tiring (strength). The symbol was dropped for a decade but reintroduced in 2011 after a corporate restructure and it has remained ever since.
The airline – also known as Nikko – has just unveiled its new inflight amenities and they all revolve around tsurumaru. Tasked with bringing a contemporary but still respectful look to the domestic and international in-flight amenities, the uber-trendy Japanese design house Nendo swung into action. It came up with the idea of integrating the lines and geometries of a red folded paper crane – a symbol of peace, prayer, and hospitality – as the principal design for the remit.
To this end, blankets, napkins, and tablecloths feature the birds head in the form of red triangles in the corners, while small red tags are visible on the edges of the pillows, pyjamas, eye masks, slippers, and cutlery bands. The trays, menu cards and pouches are printed lightly with paper crane motifs.
Nendo used seven tones of grey in its designs – the darkest grey (a calming warm grey) denotes First Class, the lightest Economy and the middle hue is resplendent in Business Class – giving it a contemporary and sharp look. A very neutral grey was chosen to fit seamlessly into any class, and was used in the packaging for masks, earplugs, tissues, toothbrushes, and other consumables.
The Nendo-designed amenities look fabulous and will surely end up being as much collected as used by passengers.
Recension: Four Seasons celebrates its record tally of Michelin stars
The Four Seasons luxury hotel & resort group just carries on breaking records. Not only does its flagship Asia property hold more Michelin stars than any hotel in the world, but Four Seasons also holds more culinary honours than any other hospitality group. The Toronto-based company is basking in the accolades handed down by the world’s foremost authority in haute cuisine.
As it currently stands, Four Seasons holds 27 Michelin stars across 19 of its international restaurants. An unprecedented eight of these stars are held at the Four Seasons Hong Kong.
The Michelin Guide for France 2021 was the latest edition of the gastronomic bible to heap plaudits on Four Seasons properties. The Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris retained the maximum three stars for Le Cinq – under the leadership of Chef Christian Le Squer. It also holds single stars for its “sustainable” restaurant Le George (Chef Simone Zanoni) and L’Orangerie (Chef Alan Taudon). The Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris is the only “palace” hotel in Europe to hold five stars.
Elsewhere in France, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel has earned a single star for Le Cap – a triumph for Chef Yoric Tieche and Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, A Four Seasons Hotel in Megève retained its star for Prima – which is credited to the outrageous talent of Chef Nicolas Hensinger. Formerly a pupil of the late, great masterchef Benoit Violier of L’Hotel de Ville de Crissier in Switzerland, Hensinger has the pedigree to climb to the very peak of gastronomic excellence.
The latest Michelin Guide Hong and Macau saw Zi Yat Heen at Four Seasons Hotel Macau retain its single star, but the “star” of the show is still its Hong Kong sister-property. The Chinese haute cuisine restaurant – Lung King Heen retained its three stars – a triumph for the affable Chef Tak, Chef Guillaume Galliot’s French dining experience Caprice still boasts three stars – with the Sushi Saito Japanese restaurant holds two stars for Chef Masashi Kubota.
Despite stars in its restaurants from London to Los Angeles and Seoul to Singapore, the Four Seasons strives to offer the same level of brilliance in its restaurants as it does in its service and guestrooms.
Recension: The world’s finest underwater dining experiences
- In 2005, a resort in the Maldives created a unique dining experience that turned it into one of the most popular Indian Ocean destinations. Its dining under the surface of the sea concept has been copied many times, but its popularity has not diminished. Additionally, there are a plethora of top restaurants that are surrounded by enormous aquarium tanks – giving the illusion of eating with the fishes. Now haute cuisine has moved from land to under-the-sea and the finest exponent in the world can be found in Scandinavian waters.
- UNDER – 1 Michelin star – Norway
There are ten Michelin-star winning restaurants in Norway but one – Under – is attracting gourmands from all over the world. They are travelling to Lindesnes – 370 kilometres from Oslo by car – not only for the cuisine but the experience itself. Diners enjoy their meals 4.5 metres (15 feet) under the North Atlantic Ocean.
The purpose-built restaurant sits on a bleak landscape on the south coast of Norway with the incredible dining room under the surface of the water. The only thing keeping the diners from the cold ocean are windows constructed of large, thick reinforced sheets of acrylic. The room itself is Scandi to the hilt – understated primal elegance – making the “view” – and indeed the cuisine – the stars of the show. The Danish Head Chef – Nicolai Ellitsgaard – uses local ingredients – mainly from the waters around Under for his culinary creations. His specialties include crab, lobster and seaweed.
ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT – Maldives
Opened in April 2005, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant earned the accolade of the world’s first all-glass underwater restaurant. It sits 5 metres (16 feet) under the sea – with the warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean providing up to 14 diners incredible views of “life under the sea”. The 45 square metres (480 square feet) restaurant is a huge draw for the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Ithaa (which translates as mother of pearl in Dhivehi) serves European with Asian influenced cuisine. The resort once turned the restaurant into a guestroom – the ultimate underwater sleeping experience without having to get wet!
SUBSIX – Niyama Private Islands – Maldives
Once one of the most exclusive nightclubs in the world, Subsix is now a restaurant that offers diners fine cuisine and views that takes the breath away. Subsix sits six metres (20 feet) under the surface of the Indian Ocean – 500 metres from the beach of the Niyama private island Resort. Diners can only reach Subsix by boat from the island. They then descend a three-tier staircase into a room like no other. The ceiling of Subsix is dominated by waves of Capiz shells and the soft anemone chairs that sit around the low tables are a delight. Yes, you can quaff fine champagne and gorge on haute cuisine, but it is the vista from the floor to ceiling windows that will remain with you for years to come. The reef that sits in front of Subsix is teaming with parrot fish, eels, groupers and over 90 species of coral. The ever-changing scenery is simply mesmerising …
AL MAHARA – The Burj Al Arab – Dubai, UAE
The underwater dining experience at arguably the world’s greatest hotel starts with a submarine journey. Diners are “transported” to Al Mahara in unique fashion and waiting for them is a fantastic dining room which is coupled with cuisine from a multi-Michelin-star winning chef, who specialises in seafood. The dining room is dominated by a floor to ceiling aquarium which gives guests the illusion that they are underwater. Located in Dubai’s most luxurious hotel, Al Mahara (“oyster shell” in Arabic) is beautifully furnished and tables by the windows are highly sought after.
The cuisine is designed and prepared under the watchful eyes of the French-South Korean Chef Kim Joinié-Maurin who has won three Michelin stars for his cooking so far in his short but illustrious career. The menu is dominated by lobster, crab, Hokkaido scallops and Loch Fyne Oysters. Chef’s signature dish is a king crab salad with green herbs in a daikon ravioli with honey & sherry vinaigrette. While Al Mahara is technically not “underwater”, it is an incredible experience and is a must for any gastronome visiting Dubai.
L’OCEANOGRAPHIC SUBMARINO RESTAURANT – Valencia, Spain
Oceanogràfic Valencia is the largest aquarium in Europe and one of the top tourist attractions in Spain. The park boasts sharks, dolphins, seals, whales, and hundreds of other species, but more importantly, it is also one of the most successful aquatic conservation and education centres in the world. Its Submarino restaurant is one of the most popular in Valencia – not only to due to the cuisine but also its surroundings – a giant marine habitat that contains over 10,000 fish. Diners can enjoy salmon tartare, paella Valenciana and amazing desserts while being distracted by the fish that busily swim by with inquiring looks. It can be a family experience or a more intimate one.
BusinessClass.com suggests that visitors to Valencia stay in The Caro Hotel which is housed in a 19th-century palace in the centre of the city – just 200 metres from Valencia’s ornate Cathedral.
8 Undersea Restaurant – Hurawalhi Resort, Maldives
Sea – Anantara Kihavah Resort, Maldives
M6m – Minus Six meters – Ozen Life – Maadhoo, Maldives
Recension: Restaurant wins a Michelin-star just six weeks after opening
In what is believed to be a record, the Michelin Guide has awarded K at Kulm Hotel St. Moritz a single star – incredibly – less than two months after it opened.
This amazing feat has much to do with Chef Patron – Mauro Colagreco – who holds three Michelin-stars for his South of France masterpiece – Mirazur – which gained its ultimate gastronomical recognition in 2019.
K at Kulm Hotel St. Moritz opened on December 22nd, 2020. It offers only dinner service from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive and will host its last sitting for this season on March 13th.
On awarding The K by Mauro Colagreco its star, The Michelin Guide commented, “Unfortunately, this tasteful restaurant in the elegant Kulm Hotel St. Moritz is only open in the winter season. A great pity, as this restaurant is home to the multi-faceted, perfectly balanced and always unexpected cuisine of the Argentine culinary grandmaster Mauro Colagreco, renowned thanks to his 3-star restaurant Mirazur in Menton on the Côte d’Azur”.
Italian Argentine chef, Colagreco, cut his teeth in the world of haute cuisine as a pupil of first Bernard Loiseau, then Alain Ducasse and finally Guy Martin. His pedigree cannot be better.
Colagreco’s food philosophy centres around freshness, simplicity, balance of colour and bringing out authentic flavours. One of his star ingredients is the humble lemon, which makes anchovy fillets set on a bed of fried anchovy skeletons “pop and sing”, while “luxus beta vulgaris” is a signature dish that combines salt-encrusted beetroot with Oscietra caviar cream.
Opened in 1856, The Kulm Hotel St. Moritz was the first hotel to be built in this affluent Swiss town. It features 164 rooms & suites, five restaurants (including The K by Mauro Colagreco) and the superb Kulm Spa St. Between December and February, the hotel is the ultimate address in this high-society winter sports resort-town. In the Summer, St. Moritz is a haven for artists, sunworshippers, and hikers.
St. Moritz is located 200 kilometres from Zurich and 175 kilometres from Milan – accessible from both cities by road, train, and helicopter.
Recension: Bahrain airport unveils its new billion dollar terminal
The Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain has finally opened its new international airport terminal.
At 204,000 square metres in area (39 soccer pitches), the terminal is four times the size of the old facility and cost around USD 1.1 billion.
The airport is the hub for Bahrain’s flag carrier, Gulf Air and is located on Muharraq Island less than 10 kilometres from the capital city of Manama.
Over 30 carriers fly into Bahrain but Gulf Air handles over a third of the nearly 10 million passengers that currently use the airport every year. The new terminal has a capacity to handle up to 14 million passengers per year.
The new terminal boasts 104 airside check-in desks – with many dedicated to premium cabins or elite status cardholders. There are two premium lounges – The Pearl Lounge which is open to non-Gulf Air passengers and the Falcon Gold Lounge – an amazing new luxury lounge for the airline’s Black, Gold and Silver Falconflyer members. The Falcon Gold Lounge is open around the clock and has a capacity for over 400 passengers at any given time. On offer are prayer space, shower rooms, children’s area, pool table, games console area, quiet space and a live cooking station complete with a fresh food & beverage concept.
The terminal offers enhanced Duty-Free shopping, art galleries, restaurants and its architecture & interior design is very much in keeping with that of the Kingdom.
Aircraft have been flying to and from Bahrain since 1927, when the Kingdom boasted the only international airport in the Gulf. In 1950, an airport terminal was built on Muharraq Island. Most of the flights from Bahrain are to the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Oman – with its main long-haul routes to London, Mumbai, and Frankfurt.
This week, Gulf Air welcomed its second Airbus A321neoLR – designed with the special 70thanniversary Golden Falcon livery and offering 16 new flat-bed Falcon Golden seats. Fifteen more A321s are on order – with 8 offering flat-beds in the premium cabin.
Recension: En tillfredsställande och djurvänlig vistelse på Scandic Foresta
Recension: The Woodward hotel prepares to open in Geneva
In one of the most highly anticipated openings of the year, The Woodward Hotel is set to dazzle the “Peace Capital”. The tenth Masterpiece Hotel – part of the Baden-Baden based Oetker Collection – The Woodward is a 26 all-suite property that sits on the shores of Lake Geneva and boasts superb views of Mont Blanc and Jet d’Eau.
The hotel will feature two famed international restaurants – L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Jardinier – the vegetable-focused success from the talent of Michelin-starred chef, Alain Verzeroli. The Woodward will also offer a tea-room, two bars and a private cigar & digestif lounge. Guests will enjoy exclusive use of the 1,200 square metre (13,000 square feet) Spa by Maison Guerlain. It will offer six wellness suites – including one for couples – and a dedicated men’s area. The Spa will also boast a state-of-the-art gym, two saunas, two steam-rooms, two Swedish baths, a hot tub and a 21-metre (69 foot) indoor swimming pool – the lengthiest in Geneva.
The hotel is located on Quai Wilson (named after Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States) and was constructed in 1901 by the French architect François Durel, complete with its post-Haussman style façade. Originally from Lyon, Durel and fellow Genevan architect Eugène Corte were involved in the regeneration of the right bank of Geneva between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
The building itself was once a bank and was reimagined into The Woodward Hotel by the legendary French designer Pierre Yves-Rochon. Rochon is credited for the innovative designs of many international luxury hotels and resorts including The Savoy in London, The Peninsula in Shanghai, and the Four Seasons George V in Paris.
The Woodward is the first all-suite hotel in Geneva. 21 of its suites enjoy unfettered vistas of Lac Léman. They are all individually designed with marble fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and bookcases being their signatures. The Presidential Suite is designed in elegant ivory tones and offers panoramic lake views from every room. It is completed with a private dining room and loggia. The Royal Suite is accessed by a private lift and designed to resemble a chic Parisian apartment.
The Woodward will be a roaring success in the Geneva but will be in competition with the well-established Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Mandarin Oriental and Hotel d’Angleterre.
Recension: En lounge skräddarsydd för affärsresenären