Friday, April 20, 2018

Alila Manggis and Alila Solo

IN THE HEART OF ROYAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE


True to its ‘surprisingly different’ concept, Alila’s boutique hotels and resorts in different exotic locations offer guests plenty of uniquely memorable destination experiences.

Given its diverse archipelago of islands, each rich in their own natural and cultural heritage, Indonesia alone offers a wealth of unique experiences. Alila provides the perfect base for exploring two of Indonesia’s most historically and culturally rich destinations – East Bali and Central Java – with a stay at Alila Manggis and Alila Solo respectively, two very distinct locations yet both surrounded by historic royal sites, where centuries-old traditions live on.

Nestled on tranquil Buitan Beach in Manggis, East Bali, between the sea and Mount Agung, Bali’s most sacred mountain, Alila Manggis is ideally placed to explore the island’s unspoilt east, where the steeply rising landscape from coast to mountain creates spectacular scenery. This boutique hotel in Bali is the gateway to the dive islands off the east coast, the mother temple of Besakih and the great water palaces and kingdoms of East Bali. Alila Manggis is also just 10 minutes from Padang Bai where ferries leave for Lombok and other nearby islands.

Located in the heart of the heritage-steeped royal city of Solo, Alila Solo stands on the city’s main commercial avenue, Jl. Slamet Riyadi, where above the city’s tree-lined streets it is surrounded by 360-degrees views of Central Java’s dramatic landscape of volcanoes. The hotel lies within easy reach of many of the city’s main attractions, including the two-centuries-old Sultan’s Palace, the Laweyan Batik district and the famed Pasar Gede
Market.

Besides immersing guests in Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage, these two Alila hotels are famous for being sanctuaries of wellness and relaxation, offering spa treatments to pamper your soul. Explore these signature packages for the ultimate Alila retreat:


Spa Alila Wellness Indulgence at Alila Solo
This is one truly pampering escape that’s all about taking time out to relax, renew and recharge, offering an indulgence of heavenly spa treatments in the peaceful sanctuary of Spa Alila. Days unfold in a series of relaxing rituals that include Balinese, Javanese or reflexology massages, a royal herbal bath, a luxurious body scrub, as well as an Avocado & Coconut hair ‘smoothie’ and head massage, interspersed with invigorating wellness activities, including a private gym session, and daily yoga or Pilates. And when not being spa pampered, simply enjoy soaking up the sunshine by the pool.

For more info, visit: HERE


Complete Hideaway at Alila Manggis
Carefree indulgence is yours to enjoy down by the sea, where you can alternate between poolside relaxation and the sheer blissfulness of unlimited Spa Alila treatments. Forget the world outside as you spoil yourself with your choice of rejuvenating, beautifying and luxuriously pampering spa treatments, calmed by the sound of the ocean waves. Indulge in the ultimate escape relaxed in the knowledge that everything is covered, including return airport transfers, breakfast, lunch and dinner with non-alcoholic beverages at Seasalt restaurant, mini bar selections, as well as crafted Alila experiences.

Whether you opt to explore the wonders of East Bali or immerse in the spirit of Java, Alila Manggis and Alila Solo offer more than enough to satisfy your wanderlust.

For more info, visit: HERE

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Belmond: Extraordinary Travel Experiences in 2018


CRAFTMANSHIP, HERITAGE AND INNOVATION 

Following a series of award-winning design and renovation projects last year, Belmond today reveals details of seven highly distinctive developments across its unique portfolio of hotels, trains and cruises in 2018. 

The launch of three new Art-Deco Grand Suites on board historic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Belmond’s diverse range of designs honour timeless craftsmanship, celebrate heritage and tradition and look to the future working with innovative designers and local materials. 

This year will see the introduction of a new era of exploration and discovery at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in Botswana; celebrate local culture and traditional arts in Mexico with the re-imagination of Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada; the completion of a historical renovation of Belmond Cadogan Hotel in London as well as the opening of the ultimate in beach-chic and relaxed luxury, Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla. 

“When you walk into a Belmond property you can feel the ‘soul’ of the place, and it’s our job to keep the soul and spirit alive with the design concepts. We are working with talented designers to carefully merge the genuine elements of the local culture with a modern-day relevance that resonates with our guest’s lifestyle and aspirations,” comments Joe Ferry, Art & Design Director at Belmond. 

No two properties are the same, but each is influenced by local cultures and traditions and many are strongly connected to the history and heritage of the destination. Belmond’s properties are defined by their authentic designs that stand the test of time; classical and elegant they embrace the unique personality of each destination.


TRADITIONAL CRAFTSMANSHIP – VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS, EUROPE 
Three new private ‘Grand Suites’ launched last week aboard the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, creating new levels of luxury accommodation aboard the historic train. Named after the romantic cities to which the train travels, Paris, Venice and Istanbul; interior designs of each cabin reflect the spirit of each city whilst staying true to the original 1920s Art-Deco design. 

Working with the very best craftsman including a traditional glassblower who has created the spectacular glass sinks and delicate light fixtures and famed mosaicist Jerome Clochard, an expert in the restoration of ancient mosaics, who piece by piece created the stunning patterns using marble, onyx, Venetian granite and Italian glass. Master atelier, Philippe Allemand has created the striking marquetry, an ancient skill that has passed through generations and has worked with the train since its restoration in 1997. The delicate process requires the layering of hundreds and thousands of exotic pieces of wood that are lacquered to create the most luxurious finish. 


MEXICAN MASTERPIECE – BELMOND CASA DE SIERRA NEVADA, MEXICO 
In April 2018, Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, in the heart of Mexico re-emerges from a masterful renovation as a timeless Mexican retreat. This ambitious restoration project carefully protects the property’s original 16th–18th century features whilst finding new and inspiring ways to represent Mexican traditions and modern artisans. 

All 37 rooms and suites have been newly imagined and constructed like a piece of art; pastel pinks, blues and yellows colour the soft furnishings whilst one off pieces of Mexican art hang on the walls and traditional Talavera bathroom tiles, tapestries and bed linens complement the authentic clay floors. Wooden furnishings have been hand-carved using local techniques and kumquats and orange trees are planted in the shady courtyards. 

FASHIONABLE SUITES – BELMOND LA RESIDENCIA, MALLORCA 
Celebrated fashion designer, Matthew Williamson is designing a new colourful and vibrant suite at Belmond La Residencia, Mallorca. Opening in April 2018, ‘Suite 67’ is set to feature Williamson’s signature botanicals and luxe textures, all combined with a rustic decadence. 
Matthew brings his unique interior aesthetic whilst honouring the heritage and traditional Mallorcan feel of the property. Each space will have a distinct mood, balancing contemporary playful designs with eye-catching hues and hand-drawn fauna and floral patterns. The one-bed suite will feature an outdoor snug, private pool and garden, luxurious living space and a vibrant bathroom; set to be one of the most fashionable spaces on the island. 

DESIGNS ON THE MOVE – BELMOND AFLOAT IN FRANCE 
Launching on the waterways of Champagne and Alsace in Summer 2018; two new luxury barges Pivoine and Lilas join the Belmond Afloat in France fleet. Carrying just 8 guests, the new barges are designed with every comfort and detail offering the most luxurious barging experience in France. 

Designed and built in France, both Pivoine and Lilas feature colours and materials that reflect the natural beauty of the landscapes they travel through. Pivoine’s light natural timber finish, terracotta flooring, and elegant white linens link the design to the colours of Champagne. Lilas’ more rustic interiors feature dark woods and rattan chairs, mixed with ironmongery, evocative of the ancient towns and villages of Alsace. Both feature open decks for al-fresco dining with private floating pools. 


GOLDEN AGE OF EXPLORATION – BELMOND SAVUTE ELEPHANT LODGE, BOTSWANA 
This summer, Belmond unveils its new-look Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in the Chobe National Park, following a full redesign by Inge Moore of Muza Lab. Celebrating the golden age of exploration, the designs are inspired by the great explorers of history, from scientists, botanists and adventurers who pioneered a new era in travel. 

Respecting the nature and the wilderness of the region, sustainable design features include the removal of all concrete; the use of eco-friendly composite bamboo decking in the principal areas and the lodge will function on a 95% solar grid system. 
The lodge, which includes 12 tented rooms, spa, lounge, bar and open deck with pool and firepit, will be authentic, timeless explorers retreat with modern luxuries to satisfy today’s curious adventurers. 


ISLAND-CHIC HIDEWAY – BELMOND CAP JULUCA, ANGUILLA 
Opening in November 2018, a new era of beach-chic glamour and relaxed luxury is introduced to Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla, located in the British West Indies on Maundays Bay - one of the most serene white sandy beaches in the Caribbean. 

The unique design, by renowned interior design firm, Rottet Studio, pays homage to the surrounding nature and Anguillan heritage, blending the charms of old-world travel with new world comforts – offering a sanctuary for total escapism. 

A new sea view infinity-edge pool, ‘disappearing spa’, rustic beach bar ‘The Cap Shack’ and elegant restaurants herald a new era for this legendary resort. Colourful botanicals and indigenous plants spill in from the tropical surrounds and blend with new designs and the resort’s signature Greco-Moorish architecture. 

NEW ROMANTIC HERO – BELMOND CADOGAN HOTEL, LONDON 
Completing the year in style, Belmond opens the historic Belmond Cadogan Hotel in the heart of Chelsea, London. The multi-million-dollar refurbishment project preserves the unique heritage of the Queen Anne Style property dating back to 1887 and introduces a new world-class retreat embracing quiet luxury. 

Interior design by GA Design International draws inspiration from the hotel’s original features and rich history and heritage - from Sir Hans Sloane, to Kings of England, artists and writers and the scandalous stories of Oscar Wilde and Lillie Langtry.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Joali: Joy of Living to The Maldives


OPENING SEPTEMBER 2018


Opening this September, the luxurious island retreat Joali will set a new benchmark for glamour and sophistication in the Maldives, celebrating the ‘Joy of Living’ with exquisite craftsmanship, artistry and sustainability at its very core.

Meticulous thought and attention to detail will be prevalent in every facet of Joali’s impeccable offering as it seeks to offer guests of all ages a more unconventional approach to laid-back luxury: from its artful design and architecture, to its carefully curated products, in-the-moment experiences and highly personalised services.


The resort is designed in and around every tree to ensure the preservation of its delicate ecosystem, and situated on Muravandhoo Island in the Raa Atoll, situated in northern Maldives and one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world. Located close to the Equator, Muravandhoo is blessed with brilliant blue waters, unspoilt coral reefs and pristine white-sand beaches, the lush interior abundant with coconut palms.

Joali will comprise 73 elegant private beach and water villas and residences, each inspired by individual stories and featuring artisanal amenities, curated in-room libraries, thoughtful design and select objêts d’art. Four restaurants will serve guests inventive fusion cuisine from across the globe to satisfy the most discerning of palates. There will be a stylish whisky lounge, a Chocolate and Ice Cream store, a curated library, an ESPA Spa and a range of fitness and sports activities on offer. Joali will curate specialised guest experiences aimed to educate and promote greater environmental awareness.

Central to the Joali offering is its exceptional array of art and design evident in all areas of the resort, with the Joali Art Studio & Gallery at the very heart. A rostrum of visiting artists will inspire guests with interactive art projects and nature inspired collections to nourish their creativity. Dotted around the resort are also exquisite works of art and design curated by Joali and created from recycled goods by celebrated young artists. Guests can add to their own art collection and holiday memories at the Store; this will sell distinct textile products, objêts d’art from local and global artists, as well as one-of-a-kind works created at the Studio.

LUXURY VILLAS AND RESIDENCES


There are a variety of two to five room villas available, suitable for couples and families, large or small, with butler service. The Private Ocean Residence will provide guests with 500 sqm of opulent living space across three bedrooms, with three dressing rooms – each with two walk-in wardrobes – and two living rooms. Two stunning infinity pools, a butler and valet service, and an on-call Dhoni complete the offering.

With its premier beachside position, the 500 sqm Private Duplex Beach Residence will have four exquisite bedrooms allowing ample space for up to eight people and also ensuring privacy. There will also be a butler and valet service, a curated library, and a buggy and driver at the guests’ disposal around the clock.

CULINARY ARTS AT JOALI



The dining experiences at Joali have been thoughtfully curated to satisfy the most discerning of foodies, and will include:

  • VANDHOO RESTAURANT – A specially designed dining experience encompassing flavours from across South-East Asia, China, the Mediterranean and the Levant, Guests can enjoy experiential dining, delicious breakfasts and an impressive cellar of hand-picked wines and vintages.

  • HER KITCHEN – A personalised culinary experience for guests to learn how to cook and enjoy local Maldivian recipes. 

  • SAOKE RESTAURANT – Joali chose world-renowned Japanese restaurant architect Noriyoshi Muramatsu to design Saoke Restaurant replete with Kotatsu seating, elegant lounge, and Nikkei cuisine. 

  • BELLINIS RESTAURANT – A true slice of Italy in the Maldives serving Nonna- approved dishes as well as a wide range of Grappa’s, peach Bellini’s and homemade Limoncellos. 

  • THE MURA BAR – With cabanas and infinity pods overlooking the sandy white beach, this is the place to head for exquisite sunset cocktails and light bites. There is also a special whiskey and cigar lounge. 

  • THE CHOCOLATE AND ICE-CREAM STORE – Set to be a big draw for both Joali’s youngest guests, and adults alike, serving a host of artisanal sweet treats. 

  • DESTINATION DINING – A special menu to be enjoyed in one’s villa or residence. 

  • WELLBEING AT JOALI - Achieving wellbeing is the very essence of Joali and holistically they seek to address physical ailments, emotional equilibrium and spiritual consciousness. A Wellbeing programme devised with ESPA will aim to reconnect individuals to themselves in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by the tropical surroundings, a wide range of indulgent treatments will be on offer. A fitness centre will offer expert trainers and expansive views of the ocean and the flora and fauna. Joali’s Flower Garden, a majestic showcase of local plants and flowers with workshops and events, will further inspire guests to expand their own botanical knowledge. 

  • KIDS AT JOALI - Eschewing the usual ‘Kid’s Club’, Joali will offer a host of imaginative activities to engage and entertain younger guests, including native storytelling days with local raconteurs, to interactive treasure hunts around the resort. The dedicated facilities will also include a Kid- friendly kitchen.

WEDDINGS AND HONEYMOONS AT JOALI


The ultimate island wedding and honeymoon destination, Joali’s experienced team will ensure an unforgettable day, from simple sunset nuptials à deux to a grand beachside event.

UNIQUE MOMENTS OF JOALI: BESPOKE ITINERARIES


Joali will create bespoke and exceptional itineraries for its guests; from snorkelling with Manta rays to learning about coral degradation; from wakeboarding, to chartered yacht and Dhoni excursions as well as meeting with local communities. To further encapsulate their take on ‘L’art de Vivre’, Joali has also created a host of ‘unique moments’; these include the Joali Spring Ceremony, a Tree House hideaway, and a dedicated Book Exchange.

For more info, visit JOALI

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Series of Unforgettable Journeys


AMAN TOKYO & AMANEMU



Establishing deep, lasting connections with local communities and cultures around the world has been an intrinsic part of the Aman philosophy ever since the first destination – Amanpuri – opened almost 30 years ago in Phuket. To mark three decades of Aman and truly celebrate this philosophy, Aman’s two Japan destinations – Aman Tokyo and Amanemu – have launched a series of 12 immersive, one-of-a-kind Journeys exclusively for guests.


These Journeys will take guests on adventures that fully utilise the five senses and get to the heart of Japan’s fantastically diverse culture. At the same time, they bond Aman Tokyo and Amanemu even closer to their communities, fostering deep ties with an array of remarkable local artisans. These relationships are symbiotic, and in many cases contribute to the preservation of Japan’s local arts, crafts, cultures and cuisines.

These 12 Journeys take place in the bustling Japan capital and the beautiful Ise Shima region. From an enchanting evening with a geisha at one of Tokyo’s most exclusive traditional ryotei restaurants, to an akoya pearl-cultivating excursion in the heart of stunning Ago Bay, they have been created to deliver memories that will last a lifetime – in essence, allowing guests to touch the fabric of Japan’s cultural identity.






Aman Tokyo Journeys

An enchanting evening with geisha

A visit to Tsurunaka – one of Tokyo’s most exclusive ryotei restaurants – for a captivating evening in the company of a geisha.

A sushi-making masterclass
A unique opportunity for guests to get behind the counter at Iwa Hanare, a superb seven-seat sushi restaurant in the Ginza district.

The art of Iaido swordsmanship
A private session with a master of the katana sword, culminating with guests slicing through a straw target.

The essence of sado and wagashi

A visit to a chashitsu teahouse to experience the Japanese tea ceremony in its true form, with guests preparing their own wagashi sweets to enjoy as a vital part of the ritual.

Up close with the world of sumo
A morning visit to a sumo beya stable to watch the wrestlers undergo a rigorous training session, followed by a trip to the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena.

Unearthing old Edo by rickshaw
A tour by traditional rickshaw of the Edo-period wonders surrounding Aman Tokyo.




Amanemu Journeys

Cultivate your very own akoya pearl
A truly one-of-a-kind experience in which guests cultivate their very own akoya pearl – renowned globally for their lustre – at the water’s edge of beautiful Ago Bay.

An ocean adventure with an ama diver
A unique opportunity to dive with a veteran female ama, followed by a delicious seafood barbeque in an amagoya hut.

Hiking the majestic surrounds of Ise Jingu
A specially created hike through the nation’s holiest region, taking in the summit of Mt. Asama and Kongoshoji temple.

Ise Jingu Grand Shrine and the food of the gods
A culinary tour of Ise Shima, sampling the foods offered daily to the deities at Japan’s most sacred site.

Cycling the peaks and shores of Ise Shima
Two bespoke cycling tours – one moderate, one more challenging – of the spectacular Ise-Shima National Park area.

A trip back in time through Nikenchaya and Kawasaki
A bespoke tour of two remarkably preserved old towns, sampling their architectural and culinary delights.

An enchanting evening with geisha
Geisha are one of Japan’s foremost icons, yet the sphere they inhabit has long been accessible to the privileged few. Theirs is a world filled with music, magic and mystique that unfolds after dark in utmost discretion – so close, yet so far from the reach of many – undoubtedly fueling misconceptions about what it is that these remarkable women do.




In fact, geisha represent the epitome of omotenashi – the Japanese take on hospitality that prioritises the guest above all else. They are masters of beauty, etiquette and a myriad of arts – including traditional games, songs, dance, tea ceremony, flower arrangement and makeup.

Aman Tokyo’s flagship Journey takes guests to Tsurunaka – perhaps the most exclusive traditional ryotei restaurant remaining in the Japan capital – for a truly enchanting evening meal spent in the company of a geisha. Tsurunaka, itself tucked away in one of the few surviving hanamichi (“flower towns”) typically graced by these women, has been a favourite of Tokyo’s political and economic movers and shakers since it was converted into a ryotei in the 1950s.

Architecturally, Tsurunaka is a stunning 20th-century example of thesukiya- zukuri aesthetic. And, in true ryotei style, the establishment is normally only accessible via a system known as ichigensan okotowari – requiring the trusted referral of an existing customer.

In that sense, the person who has been most instrumental in facilitating this Journey is Ikuko – regarded as Japan’s most esteemed living geisha. Born in Kumamoto in 1940, she moved to Tokyo in 1964 and quickly became known as “the most beautiful woman in Akasaka.” She has since gone on to receive an official honour from the Japanese Emperor for her tireless work – becoming the only geisha to receive the Order of the Rising Sun.

Ikuko, speaking on behalf of all the geisha working in the Akasaka hamamichi, says it is their upmost pleasure to show guests of Aman Tokyo the real meaning of Japanese hospitality. “Despite the language barrier, we believe we can demonstrate omotenashi in its fullest sense, interacting through fun, games and gestures. Whichever of us geisha attend to Aman Tokyo guests, our role is simple: When the guests leave, they leave feeling satisfied and full of enjoyment.”

This Journey is a truly unique experience – an evening with real geisha in a beautiful building long cherished by Tokyo’s high society, where traditional games, songs and dance surely abound. A delightful kaiseki course of seasonal cuisine will be served for dinner, along with a selection of sake and other beverages.





A sushi-making masterclass
When it comes to Tokyo’s countless sushi restaurants, it is often the case that the very best is the hardest to find, intentionally tucked down small backstreets or concealed in plain- looking buildings that only the most discerning clientele would know about. This Journey takes Aman Tokyo guests to just such a spot – Ginza Iwa Hanare, a tiny seven-seat sushi restaurant of the highest order, nestled along a quiet street in the upscale Ginza district.

Here, guests have the extremely rare opportunity of getting behind an impeccably designed sushi counter to make their own nigiri under the watchful eye of taisho (master) Katsuaki Suzuki – an affable, Zen-like character who has risen the to the top of the sushi world at the age of just 31, having also made a name for himself in Hong Kong.

The sushi that guests have the opportunity to prepare include shiromi white fish, akami tuna, toro fatty tuna, ikura salmon egg, and uni sea urchin – all sourced from the world-famous Tsukiji fish market a few hundred metres away.

Aside from the quality of the seafood, what elevates sushi to the highest level is hard to define – but watching and learning from Suzuki will surely provide the answer.





The art of Iaido swordsmanship
Iaido is a Japanese martial art of utmost grace – a devotion entirely to the katana sword. It was developed in the 15th or 16th century as a counter to surprise attacks, the aim being to attain the ability to instantly unsheathe the katana, strike down an opponent with a single stroke, place the weapon back in its scabbard, and – most importantly – return to a still mind.

Like so many Japanese arts, Iaido places the pursuit of spiritual perfection above its literal purpose. Practising this martial art is said to improve posture, control, concentration and manners.

This Journey takes place at a school of the Mugairyu discipline of Iaido, developed in Tokyo. In an exclusive private session with Shoun Uetsubara – a 6th-dan Iaido master – guests first learn the basic tenets of samurai etiquette, before practicing six kata sword movements. The 90-minute experience culminates with guests performing a tameshigiri test slice – using a real katana to cut through a straw target.

The essence of sado and wagashi
The sado tea ceremony is one of Japan’s most fundamental cultural practices, rooted in Zen Buddhism. Its four principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility have arguably come to define the Japanese psyche. Sen no Rikyu, one of 16th-century Japan’s most prominent cultural figures, had the biggest influence on sado’s development – placing an appreciation of the seasons, impeccable etiquette and equality at its core. Rikyu popularised the famous wabi-sabi aesthetic, which seeks to find beauty and transience in imperfection, as reflected in the utensils involved in sado.

This exclusive Journey offers Aman Tokyo guests the chance to experience sado in its truest form at an authentic chashitsu teahouse – a beautifully minimal space of traditional tatami flooring and natural materials, enclosed within a bamboo fence. Before the ceremony, guests have the extremely rare opportunity to prepare their own wagashi sweets – a vital element of sado for complementing the flavour of the tea – at the nearby studio of traditional confectioner Rika Wakui.

The exquisite wagashi that Wakui creates are typically shaped to reflect the seasons – for example, a sakura cherry blossom in spring and a momiji Japanese maple leaf in autumn. These delights are made using an array of traditional tools; like the tea ceremony itself, this is a wonderfully tactile experience. The finished wagashi are then taken to the teahouse to be sampled before drinking the tea.

Once inside the teahouse, an expert in sado shows guests the correct etiquette and movements involved in the ceremony, including entering the tearoom, sitting, and interacting with others. The culmination of the experience is the sampling of some extremely fine matcha green tea, prepared and served just as Rikyu intended.




Up close with the world of sumo
Sumo has existed as part of Japan’s Shinto rituals for more than 1,500 years, with the founding of the Japanese race even said to have been the result of a bout between a god and the leader of a rival tribe, who battled over the right to the islands that now form the nation.

As Japan’s national sport, professional sumo – which began in the Edo period (1603-1868) – is deeply ceremonious, with the wrestlers leading extremely regulated and hierarchal lives. The sport’s traditional elements have been superbly maintained to this day – a testament to the remarkable discipline instilled in every sumo wrestler.

This Journey is about experiencing the raw power of sumo up close. In the morning, guests of Aman Tokyo are taken to Ryogoku – the Tokyo district that serves as sumo’s heartland – to observe the wrestlers of a renowned sumo beya stable (a residence in which all sumo are required to live) during a grueling and spirited practice session.

Afterwards, guests can have their picture taken with some of the senior sumo within the stable. The Journey is rounded off with a trip to the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena and museum.





Unearthing old Edo by rickshaw
Aman Tokyo’s east-central location puts it within touching distance of some of the Japan capital’s most culturally important sites – particularly those that came to prominence in the Edo period (1603-1868), when the nation enjoyed rapid cultural and economic development.

To the east, Nihonbashi and its throbbing streets of merchants served as the heartbeat of the nation, with vital trade routes extending to Kyoto and other major cities. And to the west, guests of Aman Tokyo need only glance out of the hotel’s towering windows for a stunning vista of the Imperial Palace and its sprawling gardens directly below – home to the Emperor following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the Imperial Army seized the city, then called Edo, and renamed it Tokyo.

This tour is an exploration of some of these key sites and more – done in true Edo-period style on a beautifully crafted rickshaw, pulled by a supremely fit driver bedecked in the traditional attire of happi thick cotton coat and tabi split-toe shoes. Riding Aman Tokyo’s rickshaw is transportive in more ways than one: not only a delightful and memorable way of getting around the city, but also offering a deeper sense of what life was really like in the Edo period.

The Journey also takes in architectural landmarks such as the Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi department store, the Bank of Japan headquarters and Koami Jinja Shrine. The adventure is completed by a stop for dinner at famed Sushi Kakizaki in downtown Ningyocho.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The City’s Largest Dinner Party


80 Cities Worldwide Host the Annual Legendary Pop-up Culinary Event, Singapore will celebrate its 6th Le Dîner en Blanc on 12 May 2018



The leading summer event in Paris for the past 30 years, the elegant and secret dinner party – Le Dîner en Blanc, is well on its way to Singapore for the 6th edition as the epicurean event of the year! On Saturday, 12 May 2018, Le Dîner en Blanc - Singapore will take place at a secret location.

“Le Dîner en Blanc - Singapore 2017 was a tremendous success and we owed it all to the attending guests, volunteers, and team who made it possible,” says Guillaume Chabrières, Co-host, Le Dîner en Blanc - Singapore. “Over the years, we have seen a rise in the number of guests interested in being part of this exciting yearly event. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Le Dîner en Blanc, and we plan to make the Singapore event one of the biggest celebrations outside of Paris.”

Participation to this unique event happens in three stages: Phase 1 is for members from the previous year; Phase 2 is for guests referred by Phase 1 members; and Phase 3 is for people who are new to the event and have signed up on the waiting list. To have a chance to experience this unique night, people are invited to sign up now at singapore.dinerenblanc.com/register.


Every year in cities around the globe, thousands of people dressed entirely in white will assemble at a secret landmark, equipped with everything they need for an elegant soirée in tow, including folding table and chairs, gourmet picnic food, fine china, silverware, table décor, flowers and white tablecloth. Over the course of the evening, guests will feast and celebrate amidst live music, dance and good company. Many may spend weeks in advance to plan out delicious menus and their white ensemble. Le Dîner en Blanc – Singapore offers guests the perfect occasion to express their unique fashion and style; often in elaborate and creative outfits, fantastical hats, and decorative table settings for a night of fabulous spectacle.

“We are honoured to host Le Dîner en Blanc in Singapore once again and be part of this global epicurean phenomena. The event is now an eagerly-anticipated culinary event of the year. Guests can expect the experience and live entertainment to be again very special. This year, we hope to attract more than 2,000 guests to join in this wonderful pop-up dining experience that is celebrated in almost 80 cities worldwide,” says Alexis Lohyer, Co-host, Le Dîner en Blanc - Singapore.

“Le Dîner en Blanc is more than just an epicurean experience. The event promises to be both picturesque and memorable, as friends, families, and the local community come together for one evening only; and indulge in an elegant meal under the stars dressed to the nines, in all white, no less. Le Dîner en Blanc is a celebration of life, friendships, and community spirit through team effort, good food, and great hospitality,” adds Jasmine Tuan, Co-host, Le Dîner en Blanc - Singapore.


To maintain the uniqueness of Le Dîner en Blanc as well as staying true to tradition, guests must observe certain requirements and follow a few key rules: 1) Once confirmed, each guest’s participation becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions. This is a rain or shine event. 2) Dress code: Elegant and white only. Originality is encouraged as long as it is stylish and tasteful. 3) Table setting: All white! Be creative! 4) Champagne and/or wine. Beer and hard liquor are prohibited. 5) To ensure that the secret location is kept undisclosed until the last minute, guests are to meet at assigned departure locations and will be escorted by Le Dîner en Blanc volunteers. 6) In order to leave the event location as clean as when they arrived, guests are required to leave with all their belongings, leftovers and litters.

Guests are required to bring: 1) A table (70cm x 70cm), two white chairs, white tablecloth, white napkins and biodegradable trash bag in white preferably. 2) A picnic basket comprising fine food and proper stemware and white dinnerware.

For full details, please visit HERE.


About the Hosts of Le Dîner en Blanc - Singapore

The Hosting team behind Le Dîner en Blanc – Singapore is composed of Jasmine Tuan, Alexis Lhoyer and Guillaume Chabrières.

Founder of brand consultancy firm Brandmama and nominee of The Singapore Women’s Weekly “The Great Women of Our Time” Design and Style category in 2012, Jasmine Tuan is a multidisciplinary creative with a keen eye for detail. She is especially passionate about all things fashion, luxury, food, entertainment, travel, and conscious living. A positive spirit who loves spreading good news and great vibes, call on her for any brand conceptualisation, development or enhancement services. Rest assured with this vivacious mama, your brand is in the best hands to be nurtured like a baby.

With a penchant for travel, adventure and a good bottle of wine, Alexis Lhoyer is the founder of Wanderwine and a co-founder at Chab Events. He is a true-blue entrepreneur at heart, but also doubles as a crazy DJ, terrible fencer, world traveller, and amateur chef in his free time. An avid wine advocate with a thirst for fine dining, Alexis is the go-to person for any fine-dining or exceptional events,

The jet-setting CEO and co-founder of Chab Events, Guillaume Chabrières is full of zeal when it comes to creating exceptional event experiences across the globe. From extravagant parties to elegant corporate affairs for the biggest luxury brands, his flair for imaginative ideas knows no boundaries. Standing tall at 2 metres, Guillaume is probably the easiest person to spot in the crowd at Le Dîner en Blanc. Don’t be shy to start a conversation with him if you like to know more about how he can help in crafting your next event, be it for 10 or 10,000 people.


About Le Dîner en Blanc de Paris – 30th Anniversary

On June 3, 2018, Le Dîner en Blanc de Paris will mark its 30th anniversary! Launched in Paris in 1988 by François Pasquier and a handful of friends, Le Dîner en Blanc has become a worldwide epicurean phenomenon. To mark this year special occasion and for the first time in its history, Le Dîner en Blanc enthusiasts from all over the world are invited to take part in this unique soiree by signing up on the waiting list at HERE.


About Dîner en Blanc International

What was a “friends and word-of-mouth only” event has grown into an international sensation celebrated on six continents. While the technology behind the event may have changed over the years, the principles fuelling this fantastic event have not: guests continue to gather at a secret location for the sole purpose of sharing a gourmet meal with good friends in one of their city’s most beautiful public spaces. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Dîner en Blanc International is responsible for developing this secret posh picnic in close to 80 cities in 30 countries around the world. Each event is headed by passionate local organizers who fell in love with the concept and wanted to bring it to their city, giving this rendezvous a local flair. For more info, photos and videos of Dîner en Blanc events from around the world, visit HERE.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Chachara Shares The Mediterranean with Seminyak


EAT. SHARE. EXPERIENCE.


Located down a bamboo-clad alleyway off bustling Jalan Batu Belig, under the watchful eye of a neon monkey, is Chachara, a Mediterranean restaurant and bar with a laid-back, sexy vibe and a spectacular menu that is designed to be shared with friends.


The latest brainchild of ‘El Willy’ Fun F&B Group, with owners Nicola Adamo, Andrea Fasola, Jacopo Sertoli and Janel Kwok, Chachara brings a distinctive quirky Mediterranean flair to Bali with a 1970’s Palm Springs architectural style and the atmosphere of a southern European seaside courtyard. Designed by Barcelona-based MTMDESIGN, Chachara is an eclectic mixture of natural wood and greenery that mirrors the rice paddy surrounds, and unexpected and playful modern twists such as a bright orange kombi-van bar and vibrant neon signage.


“I remain open to what people think of Chachara and the acceptance of a concept that embraces alternative ways of thinking, being and experiencing,” said owner Nicola Adamo. “l love the freedom of Chachara and how everything compliments the concept right down to the way each food is cleverly and instinctively displayed. I like to have no restrictions and to have a place for others who share the freedom to create and express. Also social responsibility is a number one priority for us, with business in second place. We want to give back, whether that is through the use of local products or supplying a forum for artists and entertainers.”


The versatile spaces within Chachara are perfect for any occasion, whether an intimate dinner for two in the atmospheric terrace, a party or corporate function in the private dining space, sharing paella and sangria with family and friends in the large, open courtyard or enjoying an aperitivo in the sleek bar. The carefully curated soundtrack to an evening at Chachara reflects their progressive approach to food and entertainment, with a diverse mix that covers the spectrum from disco to techno and world music, with regular guest DJ’s and special events.


The superb Mediterranean-style menu has been designed for sharing by Chef Willy and the culinary team, combining authentic techniques with explosive innovation. The talented chefs work closely with local farmers, fishermen and producers to source the freshest and finest quality ingredients and whenever possible products are made in-house.


Chachara’s skilful bar team have created a diverse drink menu that perfectly complements the menu, including local and imported wines, aperitivo, Spanish jugs and jarras. The progressive cocktail list is ever evolving but includes classics, favourites and signature creations.

A vivacious fusion of sexy food, vibe and design make Chachara a feast for the senses, with food, drink, music, art and community at its heart.


‘El Willy’ Fun F&B Group was established by Chef Willy (aka Guillermo Trullàs Moreno) and currently operates several highly successful hospitality ventures in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Asia including El Willy Happy Spanish Restaurant, Tomatito Sexy Tapas Bar, El Ocho Cóctel Bar, FoFo by El Willyand La Paloma Sexy Chiringuito Tapas Bar. Chachara brings the Group’s multifarious, passionate style to the Island of the Gods for the first time.