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Finally this week, some good news from Hong Kong! Billed as the highest rooftop bar in the world, Ozone has just launched an epic new cocktail menu that draws inspiration from the five elements of nature — metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Promising a tasting experience that’s worth the journey to the top of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre building in Tsim Sha Tsui, these drinks coupled with sweeping views of…

If you’re a lover of finely detailed and rather dramatic nineteenth century landscape art, like myself, then you might have, at one time or another appreciated the works of the Hudson River School art movement. Their aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism but also focused on three themes of the America in the nineteenth century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. Filled with power and energy, works like A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House,…

Architect Edwin Mintoff has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious design awards: The European Prix Versailles Special Prize for the design of the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour in Senglea, Malta; in the category of Exterior Hotel Design. The Prix Versailles World Architecture and Design Awards are compiled at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, and encompasses several categories, with the winners being selected by…

Benalla Travel’s Fiona Stephens flight-tests Qatar Airways’ Business Class, stopping over in the culturally rich city of Doha, with its wealth of art museums, cultural sites and the unashamedly unique Mondrian Doha hotel. One has high expectations travelling on Qatar Airways’ multiple award winning ‘World’s Best Business Class’. With a focus on putting the passenger’s travel experience first, Qatar has certainly set the benchmark high, with its unparalleled level of service, spacious suites, and the…

Famous for its Gross National Happiness (GNH) – a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan – Six Senses, one of the world’s leading operators of luxury hotels, resorts and spas, tomorrow (March 31, 2019) celebrates the opening of its first three lodges in the Himalayan Kingdom: Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. The lodges seamlessly combine the brand’s commitment to wellness, sustainability and out-of-the-ordinary experiences with the country’s rich culture, warm hospitality and omni-present spirituality. If…

Essentials checks into Saint Petersburg’s oldest restaurant, L’Europe at the Tsarist-era Grand Hotel Europe, to relive its golden heritage and sample some of the finest vodkas and caviar served today. Saint Petersburg’s oldest restaurant, L’Europe, opened in 1905 within the Belmond Grand Hotel Europe. The hotel today retains several unique historic suites that evoke classic turn-of-the-century Tsarist elegance and explain why the hotel once attracted Russia’s aristocracy and well-to-do, including the composer Tchaikovsky. When the…

As Australian travellers return from their European summer sojourns, it’s a sure bet that Italy’s Lake Como is trending on Instagram feeds. A snap from Laglio, where George Clooney keeps a 30-room villa, another of the gold-garnished saffron risotto in the Grand Hotel Tremezzo (above), a third photo of licking gelato while wandering the botanic gardens of Bellagio’s neo-classical Villa Melzi (below). ‘When you look at the sky over Lake Como, it’s clear that God…

In Singapore, conservation goes two ways. One, you get the heritage geeks who insist on salvaging every last crumbling brick, decorative tile and rusty wrought iron railing to preserve the look and feel of a bygone era. Then you have the cool cats who see a historic building, absorb its spirit and are able to recreate it in modern, hip surroundings. The Warehouse Hotel is blessed with owners in the latter category who ensured that…

Design Hotels represents and markets a hand-selected collection of privately owned and operated hotels in hundreds of destinations around the globe. Each is a wholly unique creative expression crafted by individual teams of experienced hoteliers, architects and interior designers. We’ve been seriously impressed by what we’ve seen and experienced while visiting Design Hotels’ many properties locally and around the world, including: Mira Moon Hotel Hong Kong, Limes Hotel Brisbane and Hotel Omm, Barcelona. The Cugó…

In a classic role reversal, an Indian fortress built to guard against threats from outside now welcomes travellers from faraway lands to experience Rajasthan’s hospitality, cuisine and traditions. Words & Additional Photography by Belinda Jackson. Hotel Photography Courtesy of  Alila Hotels & Resorts It’s 500 steps to the Kalka Mata temple in the foothills of the Aravalli Hills, which swing in a wide arc across India’s most colourful state, Rajasthan. ‘Mother give us strength. Mother…

With sparkling, turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, Malolo Island is the classic daydream holiday. The Mamanuca archipelago has long been a sunny playground for winter-white Australians. Its newest, most hotly anticipated opening is Six Senses Fiji, which pulled open the timber doors on its 24 thatched-roof villas in April this year. The hotel group has resorts and spas in far-flung locations such as Portugal’s Douro Valley and the Maldives. This is its first foray into…

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas (Kihavah Huravalhi Island) have just launched SKY, an exclusive over-water observatory, cocktail bar and panorama lounge perched over the island lagoon, adding to their already long list of unique experiences – notably their SEA underwater restaurant and wine cellar. The Maldives are located just above the equator so guests can observe both hemispheres’ stars using the resort’s research-grade 16-inch Meade LX200 telescope mounted on a super-giant field tripod, remote controlled with…

Foodies take note, if you’ve ever been on a tropical island holiday only to find your food and wine choices extremely limited, we have your answer: LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives, situated on the picture-perfect island of Dhidhoofinolhu, one of that nation’s biggest resort islands. In a refurbishment program through September 2016 LUX* Resorts & Hotels entirely reimagined the resort, updating its array of villas and pavilions and adding 10 new restaurants and bars cleverly…

Celebrity Skin: Living it up at the Greenwich Hotel, Varia Karipoff takes a bite of the Big Apple.  There are some truths you won’t know about New York City until you go. In a city where so many of the streets and buildings are familiar from film and television, NYC still has the goods, like a muse, to disconcert, demand your attention and inspire you. I was surprised to find that despite the millions of blinking…

Barcelona’s Hotel Omm’s one-michelin-star restaurant Roca Moo is a wondrous cocoon of art, design and style and is well-positioned, being city central . We are here to sample one of Spain’s most talked-about degustation experiences, and are pleased to be seated ready to explore some of Spain’s best wines and regional food ingredients. Head chef Felip Llufriu is tasked with overseeing the restaurant for Catalonia’s famed Roca brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi whose culinary vision has…

High ceilings, expansive windows and grand rooms have been preserved in one of Stockholm’s most treasured buildings: the former Ateneum girl’s school, built in 1910 and now reborn as a sweetly stylish hotel titled Miss Clara. Architect Gert Wingårdh of Swedish firm Wingårdhs worked carefully to preserve the cherished structure, showcasing the many original Art Nouveau traits of the Hagström & Ekman-designed building while interpreting them in a modern, functional manner. All 92 rooms follow…

Chateau Marmont has a presence like a film canister harbouring a 35mm motion picture reel – it’s not just an object or a building, it contains a Hollywood story. If you are lucky enough to sink into a lounge here, Aperol Spritz in hand, The Birth of the Cool playing, you begin to star in your own melodrama or film noir. Next door to the hotel, at the Bar Marmont, patrons become bit players in…

She’s the talk of London town: award-winning designer Kit Kemp and partner Tim have just announced the launch of their Firmdale Hotels’ eighth property in London, the Ham Yard Hotel. Punchy colours and off-the-wall design elements mixed with a fresh, modern take on English style makes this venue one of Kit’s most impressive. With their keen creative vision Kit and Tim have turned a 0.3-hectare site in Soho into a multidimensional mecca. The purpose-built 91-room…

As we gallop into the year of the horse, Essentials has noticed that jade rabbits seem to be breeding like, well… rabbits. There’s the news of China’s lunar rover Jade Rabbit coming back to life, and the opening of Hong Kong’s luxurious ‘fantasy-land’ Designer Hotel, Mira Moon – an artful creation that celebrates the story of Chang’e, the Chinese Moon Goddess, and her companion the jade rabbit. Jamie Durrant investigates more.   Chinese folklore tells…

Barcelona is a city that feels and appears alive in every sense of the word. Entangled, connected, moving, energetic, in so many ways an uplifting gift. Streets leading from the port are gracefully lined with Middle Eastern date palms, their long fanning green fronds and tall rippled elephant feet-like trunks paint the city with an exotic air of sophistication. Summer evenings for thousands of tourists are lit by the coloured high spraying waters of Font…