GourMay Delights at InterContinental Hong Kong

477693_num1064415Celebrate Le French GourMay at InterContinental Hong Kong‘s restaurants from 1 – 31 May. Dine at the one Michelin-starred SPOON by Alain Ducasse, with an eight course set menu that showcases the best contemporary French dishes from Executive Chef Stéphane Gortina. These dishes features ingredients from the Mid-Pyrénées, and will include a roasted rack and fillet of land from the Pyrénées region, paired with spring vegetables and ‘Gariguette’ strawberries in warm jus. At the Harbourside, try specialty Foie Gras dishes at a live action station at the restaurant’s dinner buffet, created by French guest chef Lionel Hunckler. His repertoire for this restaurant will showcase pan-fried duck foie gras with mango chutney, and Creme brulée with duck foie gras.

For reservations: spoonbyalainducasse.hk@ihg.com or fb.hongkong@ihg.com.

Fly over Mount Fuji in a Helicopter

Flycation

 

Enjoy what we think is likely to be the most extravagant package in Tokyo, Japan so far. The Helicopter Flycation, as it is known, will include a private helicopter tour of Mount Fuji and is offered by Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. Guests will sit in the Eurocopter Hermès Edition – the seats are calf leather from Hermès – from Tokyo, gazing at the views above the shore line of Sagami Bay and over Lake Ashinoko, before reaching Mount Fuji. Here they will have amazing, close-up views of the mountain before they head back to see the Tokyo SkyTree® tower.

Other perks include a stay in the 100sqm Oriental Suite, a roundtrip limousine transfer from the helipad to the hotel, a bottle of Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne N.V. Prices start from JPY 775,000 or about US$6,491.

Australia’s Largest and most Futuristic Ship

Ovation at Sea

The largest cruise ship in Australia will arrive in the peak summer season from December 2016. Royal Caribbean International will add this – the Ovation of the Seas –  to its current fleet after it has completed its construction in Germany at a cost of US$1b. “It will be the first time any cruise line in the world has home ported a brand new ship in Australia”, said Gavin Smith, regional vice-president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific. The Quantum Class megaliner will be able to carry about 5,000 guests and 1,500 crew, and is the most technologically advanced. These include skydiving onboard a cruise ship via the Ripcord by iFly, or have panoramic views of landmark sights from the North Star aerial observatory. Guests enter a jewel-like capsule, and a robotic arm elevates them high into the sky. Bionic arms will create your perfect cocktail at the Bionic Bar, mixing in perfect time to the tunes played by the resident DJ. Two70 will provide guests with endless entertainment created using robotic video-screens, digital projection, combined with the skills of aerialists and performers. Stay connected with high speed WiFi, use radio frequency wristband technology in place of a key, and book onboard experiences via the dedicated app Royal iQ.

The Ovation will also feature the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, with bumper cars, roller skating, circus school and more activities to keep guests continually entertained. What is perhaps most astounding is that Quantum Class is still more energy-efficient, with the clever hull configuration, engine designs and the latest high efficiency systems and appliances. Fuel consumption and sulfur dioxide emissions will also be greatly reduced.

Register your interest here to be updated with her sailings.

 

3 Amazing Global Cruise Itineraries

Vibe Beach Club onboard Norwegian Escape

Vibe Beach Club onboard Norwegian Escape

Take to the high seas as we round up the best itineraries in 2015 and 2016 for savvy travellers. [Read more…]

10 Wonderfully Indulgent Experiences in Switzerland

Sunset in Zurich

Sunset in Zurich

The most luxurious experiences to try in Switzerland.

The country, perhaps made famous by the film The Sound of Music, is home to several celebrities, including Shania Twain, Phil Collins, Boris Becker and Tina Turner. We round up the luxurious indulgences that travellers can enjoy.

Bespoke Shopping

Purchase a unique timepiece in Geneva with Quintessentially Travel

Purchase a unique timepiece in Geneva with Quintessentially Travel

Purchase the finest Swiss-made watches, so defined when the movements of the watches are encased in Switzerland, and whose final control by the manufacturer occurs in the country. Quintessentially Travel offers guests a three-day On Time in Geneva shopping itinerary, where you’ll stay in the Le Richemonde hotel with an opportunity to select some of the finest Swiss watches at a luxurious VIP watch salon on the Rue du Rhône. The itinerary will cost about US$1,590.

Perfumes in Zurich Atelier by FL Parfums

Perfumes in Zurich Atelier by FL Parfums

Alternatively, meet up with the Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Music Director of the Zurich Opera House in Switzerland. While renowned for his musical repertoire, Fabio Luisi cherishes a second secret passion – perfumery, which he has honed over the years by creating perfumes for friends. These include the use of exotic ingredients like Oman’s frankincense, Ethiopia’s myrrh and sandalwood from India and New Caledonia, to name a few.

His FL Parfums  experience starts with a private invitation to the atelier in Zurich, where you’ll share your preferences, ideas and wishes, exploring different exquisite scents to reveal your personality. The process, which takes at least three months, will result in a tailor-made luxurious perfume in an exclusive Lalique Cristal bottle. Further refills can be ordered as often as you require. His clientele has included a renowned Lady in Switzerland, a famous singer in New York and he is currently creating a Calvados-related perfume for a Calvados distillery in France. The US$350 15mℓ Limited Edition Le Magnifique is encased in Evyan vintage bottles.

Procure a tailored, made-to-measure suit from Alferano, a local company that was founded in 1993. These suits, which would be handmade in Italy, might cost about US$2,273, and take at least four to five weeks to have your shirt, coat or suit to be tailored to your exact specifications and to the greatest quality possible. Appointments can be made at home or office, or at their made-to-measure boutiques at Herren Globus and Jelmoli in Zurich. After the suit is created, a final fitting will be carried out.

Art Basel in Basel 2014

View some of the best art on display at Art Basel, in Basel on 18-21 June 2015. The original show, reputed to be the leading international art show for modern and contemporary art, will have a collection of approximately 300 renowned galleries from around the world. Last year, 285 galleries from 34 countries participated in the event, which attracted a record attendance of 92,000 over the six show days. A self-portrait of Andy Warhol was reportedlyamong the big-ticket purchases last year, sold for a cool US$35m. Secure VIP tickets and visit the exhibitions up to two days earlier. The by-invitation only tickets allow for private viewing on 16 and 17 June.

Seasonal Adventures

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Mountain Biking in Gstaad

In summer, from 14 July to 27 August, children can learn to climb alpine peaks with Backcountry Adventures. The three-day Intro to Summer Alpinism course (about US$525 per person with a minimum of four persons) will include skills like glacier walking, ice and multi-pitch rock climbing, abseiling, belaying and crevasse rescue around Grimentz in Switzerland. Arrange a bespoke off-piste private session with an instructor from the same company, and heli-ski around the area from one of two Swiss ski resorts that has an “in-resort” landing pad.

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Be pulled by Siberian Huskies in Gstaad in the winter

A wide range of adventures are also available at Gstaad in Switzerland, such as mountaineering and climbing in first-class regions from Zweisimmen to the Pays d’Enhaut that’s suitable for a range of athletic levels. Alternatively, visit well-known sights like chocolate factories, a mountain summit 2,002m above sea levels, the Bex salt mines and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Finally, try mountain biking in a region that has specialist bike hotels, 280km of sign-posted routes, 500km of GPS routes, and even lifts that can transport your bicycles up to the mountain stations and even between villages. Celebrities like Madonna, Julie Andrews, Jean Reno and Roger Moore were spotted at the ski resort here to watch the screening of Big Eyes, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. In winter, we recommend going ice-climbing, or gazing down at the amazing scenery of Gstaad on a hot air balloon, paragliding or via helicopter rides. Follow this up with a dog-sleigh trip where you will be pulled by Siberian Huskies, or learn the art of horseback riding.

Indulgent Pampering

Dolder_Grand_Spa_Terrace

Dolder Grand Spa

Also in Zurich lies the Dolder Grand, an award-winning hotel that has an opulent spa. The hotel has reportedly been visited by celebrities like Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey and Mick Jagger. The 4,000sqm oasis is touted to be a sanctuary of relaxation for body and mind, reputed for a comprehensive range This page: Zurich during twilight; Opposite page: The Matterhorn of treatments based on the Dolder Grand Life Balance. We recommend the Vitality day programme (about US$5,012) which includes a Relaxing Moor Mud by Kerstin Florian, paired with personal training, a full cardiovascular checkup that includes an ultrasound, performance diagnostics and training service and a consultation with a sports nutritionist.

Alternatively, be completely rejuvenated with the Beauty day programme (about US$4,395) that includes a Caviar Firming Facial and Body Treatment by La Prairie, a complete blood and hormone count, medical coaching for inner and outer beauty and a medical consultation with the spa’s dermatologist or even a specialist in cosmetic surgery.

Michelin-Starred Eats

Sole caviar, Benoit Villier Crissier

Sole caviar, Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville

Within Switzerland currently lies two, three Michelin-starred restaurants, namely, Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville, helmed by Chef Benoît Violier and Chef Andreas Caminada’s Schloss Schauenstein in Fürstenau. The first is a restaurant that aims to be sustainable, incorporating new and eco-friendly technologies, and sourcing their produce from local producers and using products of biological origin. The tailored Discovery Menu at about US$426 includes dishes like the Frivolous Salt Fondant Covered in Imperial Oscietra Caviar, a duo of silver spiny chardons from Crissier with Richerenches black diamonds, one crunchy and the other ‘Colbert’. Alternatively, try the blue lobster from the island of Bréhat with seasoned romaine lettuce ‘dumplings’.

Located in the smallest city in the world, Fürstenau, is Schloss Schauenstein, a three Michelin-starred restaurant that’s currently on the 43rd spot in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants by San Pellegrino. Outstanding dishes include goose liver with fresh goats’ cheese and maize that has been disguised to resemble ice cream and gazpacho, and the sweet roasted langoustine that’s paired perfectly with a delicate lime mousse and the Amalfi lemon confit. The six-course menu will cost about US$283.

Gruyeres, image courtesy of Artisans of Leisure

Gruyeres, image courtesy of Artisans of Leisure

Alternatively, try the Food & Wine Tour of Switzerland with Artisans of Leisure. The 7-day trip (US$24,700 for two persons) features the best Swiss food and wine experiences, starting with Zurich to sample upscale food shops, continuing on to Basel to try its specialties like laeckerli, a traditional hard spice biscuit that reportedly includes honey, hazelnuts, candied peel – the actual recipe is a secret. Lastly, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Lavaux wine region and visiting a local cheese maker in Gruyeres.

Kimberly Tan is the Managing Editor of INSPIRE Travel magazine. When not indulging in her greatest passion – writing – she embarks on her other passion – travelling – as much as she possibly can.

5 Luxurious Superyachts – and Toys to Match

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Revealing the illustrious list of the newest expensive superyachts  in the world.


Join multi-millionaires and celebrities like Roman Abramnovich, Richard Branson, Tiger Woods, Johnny Depp and Steven Spielberg in the illustrious world of owning your own superyacht. We reveal the most expensive newest superyachts that are currently on the market and some of the luxurious accessories that you can adorn your yacht with. All of the yachts have asking prices starting from just under US$60m and can be individually customised to suit the owner’s preferences. [Read more…]

On The Rail

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Exploring the world’s most adventurous journeys by luxurious and opulent trains. By: Kimberly Tan


[Read more…]

Delectably Green


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Michelin-starred dining paired with sustainably sourced ingredients for indulgent yet guilt-free cuisine


Feast on some top-grade nosh in Michelin-starred restaurants that may also have found their way to the World’s Top 50 Restaurants list by San Pellegrino by virtue of their culinary excellence. Pair this with organic, locally and sustainably sourced ingredients for a truly winning combination of eco-friendly gourmet cuisine. [Read more…]

Uncovering Thai Gems

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Angela Miller revisits the Land of Smiles to unearth some of its best hidden gems.


While cherishing a long-held passion for Thailand and its dynamism, my husband and I were searching for a tailored experience that would reveal a different side to the beloved country. Quintessentially Travel created a thrilling multi-destination itinerary that included helicopter and private jet transfers, gourmet and unique dining options paired with the best cultural sights of Thailand. [Read more…]

Spectacular Gourmet Thrills

Jules Verne - Grenadin de veau ri╠Çti, lC╠ºgumes de saison en blanquette, vrai jus (c) Pierre MonettaWhere dining is more about the complete experience. Kimberly Tan seeks out the most unique dining experiences in the world. [Read more…]

Barefoot Escapes

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Head out onto some of Asia’s most pristine and stunning beaches [Read more…]

Greening Luxury

Maldives-2The low-lying islands of Maldives take steps towards a greener future. [Read more…]

MICE

MICE-3Rounding up the finest meeting venues in Indonesia and Malaysia to suit every meeting style. [Read more…]

Bali Indulgences

AYANA Resort & Spa, Indonesia

We pick our favourite choices for dining, spa treatments, service and activities in the increasingly ritzy island of Bali. [Read more…]

Culinary Greats

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INSPIRE Travel catches up with some of Asia’s best chefs to find out what the defining moment in the careers are, the must-have ingredients for the summer and their favourite bars around Asia. [Read more…]

Playgrounds of The Sea

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The most luxurious cruises to suit every type of traveller. [Read more…]

8 Sensational Beach Destinations

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A round up of the best beach destinations in Europe for intrepid adventures, family bonding, celebrity spotting and more. By Kimberly Tan

[Read more…]

15 Reasons to Visit Maldives

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A popular destination for its stunning beauty and teeming marine life, Angela Miller divulges what she loves about the Maldives.
By: Angela Miller

[Read more…]

Setting Sail

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Private cruising to an activity-filled holiday in Bali, Bintan and Batam. [Read more…]

Brunch Savants

2014-02-28_155938Discerning diners can enjoy spectacular Sunday brunch buffets at the best hotels around Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Thailand.


[Read more…]

Solitary Travel in Maldives

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Bravely venturing where no solo traveller is thought to have gone, Daniel Jensen and Elisa Stevens head to the Maldives to prove that it’s a place of more adventurous substance. [Read more…]

Places to Visit in 2014

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Together with our bespoke expert travel planners, we travel the globe for the best places to satiate the ever-present wanderlust. By Kimberly Tan


The siren call of wanderlust beckons, prompting the avid traveller to look far afield for mysterious and unexplored new lands. Together with experts in the know from Quintessentially Travel, Quotient Travel Planner and Urbane Nomads, we unveil the best destinations of 2014 for various clienteles to embark on the ultimate journey. [Read more…]

Preserving the Pristine

NZ Square

Famed for its almost surreal scenery, and made popular by a blockbuster trilogy, New Zealand is an eco-paradise aimed at cultivating sustainability for a more enduring, pristine future. 

By: Kimberly Tan


As the plane dipped and glided through the mountains, I was struck by the majesty and beauty of the surrounding panoramas, where powdery white snow cloaking its natural and untouched ruggedness was perfectly complemented by azure blue skies and a smattering of low lying clouds. It evoked not only a sense of wonder, but also a possibly primal urge to try and conquer the various mountains. Its pristine beauty has led New Zealand to be featured in several films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Last Samurai and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and visited by Bill Gates, John Travolta and former US President Bill Clinton.

[Read more…]

MICE in Asia

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The most unique MICE venues around Hua Hin, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore.


According to the International Congress and Convention Association rankings in 2012, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand have been ranked within the top seven countries in the Asia Pacific and Middle East to have the most number of meetings. Of these, Singapore placed top for having the most meetings per city, with Seoul and Tokyo at fourth and ninth place respectively. Seoul has hosted prolific international events like the Nuclear Security Summit Seoul 2012 43rd World Intellectual Property Congress, while Tokyo will be hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Singapore has cemented its status as Asia’s Top Convention City for 11 years running. Hua Hin, a favourite with royalty and members of the Thai elite, with first-class infrastructure and accommodation, has been named one of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau’s luxurious MICE destinations. Other than exceptional meeting venues, delegates travelling to these cities can also expect to try some of the best cuisine in the world, and explore bespoke shopping options.

[Read more…]