Now open: United Places Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

After four years in the making, United Places Botanic Gardens is now open and pioneers a new level of luxury travel accommodation in the city. Combining international vision and local excellence, the hotel is situated in the heart of South Yarra, opposite the leafy parklands of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Derived from the idea of combining a hotel and home – guests in any of the 12 suites will encounter spacious and opulent rooms with premium amenities and personalised butler service.

After four years in the making, United Places Botanic Gardens is now open and pioneers a new level of luxury travel accommodation in the city. Combining international vision and local excellence, the hotel is situated in the heart of South Yarra, opposite the leafy parklands of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Derived from the idea of combining a hotel and home – guests in any of the 12 suites will encounter spacious and opulent rooms with premium amenities and personalised butler service.

After four years in the making, United Places Botanic Gardens is now open and pioneers a new level of luxury travel accommodation in the city. Combining international vision and local excellence, the hotel is situated in the heart of South Yarra, opposite the leafy parklands of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Derived from the idea of combining a hotel and home – guests in any of the 12 suites will encounter spacious and opulent rooms with premium amenities and personalised butler service.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a team of butlers and taken directly to their rooms to be checked-in – overthrowing norms of cluttered reception desks and queues. ‘Butlers will be as present or discreet as the guest would like’, explains General Manager, Marcus Pelham, ‘ensuring their every need is catered to – from valet laundry service to private picnic set-up and everything in-between. Its all about a personal experience and personal space.’

Spanning three floors, there are nine one-bedroom suites and three two-bedroom suites that have large sunken bathtubs overlooking the city’s skyline. ‘Each suite has its own personality and dichotomy of spaces that create theatre and a heightened sensibility. Its all very Melbourne.’ Says Chris McCue, Director of Architecture at CARR.

The ‘extroverts’ (Garden Suites and Penthouses) overlook the moving trees of the Royal Botanic Gardens and connect with the public sphere of passers-by. The ‘introverts’ (Urban Suites and Penthouses) are a private, south-facing retreat with views of the neighbourhood’s historic mansions and red brick industrial apartments.

The interior colour scheme of Garden and Urban facing suites reflect their personality, with green and pink accents respectively. They each have a sumptuous and richly textured material palette, with original designer furniture including the iconic velvet Redondo sofa by Patricia Urquiola and distinctively Australian Scape Chair by Grant Featherston.

Textural embellishments in the suites – velvet drapes, 100% organic cotton sheets, richly coloured hardwood floors, bathroom pods clad in charcoal-tinted one-way mirror – are paired with the homely comforts of a well-equipped kitchen and recessed terrace with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.

Unlike any other hotel in Australia, United Places Botanic Gardens offers guest’s full-sized Santal 33 amenities by cult beauty brand, Le Labo, and is the only hotel globally to offer Sullivan’s Cove Whisky – winner of the World’s Best Whisky 2014 and 2018 – in the minibar.

United Places Botanic Gardens exemplifies excellence in design, service, experience and hospitality at every touch point. Rooms start from $650 per night and include breakfast from Matilda, WiFi and Netflix.

Source: United Places


New art suites of ice & snow created in the year-round open ICEHOTEL

On December 15, the seasonal part of ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland opened. Thousands of overnight guests and day visitors and around 50 weddings later it is time for the seasonal suites to return to its source in Torne River. The year-round part of ICEHOTEL is still standing, and right now, two art suites of ice and snow are being created.

It’s dripping from the roof in the seasonal part of ICEHOTEL. The 35 rooms, hand-chiseled from ice and snow and the 80-meter long Main Hall and Ceremony Hall is now melting back into its source.

– This winter weather has been something extra. Sub-zero degrees from October until Easter and then switched to mild temperatures both days and nights. The quick changes in weather have kick-started the melting process and ICEHOTEL #28 is now melting back into Torne River, says Arne Bergh who is Creative Director at ICEHOTEL and has been following the ice art transforming into water again.

Sleep on ice year-round in newly designed art suites

For those who long after snow, ice and sub-zero degrees, the permanent part of ICEHOTEL remain and welcomes guests year-round. During the spring and summer, the mythical midnight sun glows over forests and watercourses in Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden – while it cools the year-round part of ICEHOTEL, which runs on solar power.

The permanent part of ICEHOTEL is filled with art created from crystal-clear Arctic ice, a contrast towards the greenery outside. The hotel consists of an ice bar, an ice gallery and 20 ice suites, nine of them with private sauna and relax, all individually created and hand-made by artists from all over the world.

Two new art suites are being created

On June 2, 2018, two new art suites will open in the permanent part, and visitors can peek inside and see the creative process in full swing. One of the suites is a Deluxe Suite with a private sauna and relax, and is created by Jens Thoms Ivarsson, previously Creative Director at ICEHOTEL. The suite is called ”Lost & Found” and the design in the suite will be accompanied by an especially composed song by ice sculptor and musician Petri ”Bette” Tuominen.

The other art suite is made by the sculptor and designer Javier Opazo from Chile. The suite, “Téckara”, a language from the northern part of Chile. The suite is named “Téckara” because of the nine pillars that shows the magnificent height from floor to ceiling.

Source: ICE HOTEL


All That Jazz on Norfolk Island

The Norfolk Island Jazz Festival is back again in 2018 featuring a terrific line-up of artists performing in amazing settings, including World Heritage Kingston, providing the perfect and fascinating backdrop for a fun and musical experience for everyone.

Turning up the volume on popular jazz hits will be top acts including Australia’s The Jazz Factory, Stevenson’s Rockets and Jazz 4 You and New Zealand’s Andrew London Trio. There will also be a guest appearance from the local Baunti Byuutis Island Dancers.

Norfolk Island is long-regarded as a wonderful place to holiday with family and friends or escape with a loved one to experience the special warmth and hospitality of the people who call this place home and be immersed in the natural beauty, intriguing history, wonderful dining, countless adventures and relaxing serenity all captured in this tiny piece of paradise.

The Norfolk Island Travel Centre has announced a 7-night Norfolk Island Jazz Festival offer which includes:

·Return economy class ‘seat plus bag’ Air New Zealand airfare to Norfolk Island

·All pre-paid airline taxes

·Arrival meet and greet at island airport

·Return airport transfers on island

·7 nights’ accommodation

·7 days’ car hire

·Half-day island tour

·BONUS shopping card with free gift, mini golf and A Walk In The Wild Rainforest

The Norfolk island Jazz Festival offer is priced per person twin share from $1099 ex-Brisbane 1 – 8 December and $1119 ex-Sydney 30 November – 7 December or 3 – 10 December.

Jazz Packs are priced at $430 per person with reserved seating at all concerts including the Official Opening Concert, an evening performance and dinner Under the Banyan Tree, afternoon performance and lunch at Emily’s Bay and final Evening Party with the Stars Concert plus a souvenir program and gift bag.

Source: Norfolk Island Jazz Festival


Meditation, Music And Movies: Qantas Introduces More Inflight Entertainment

Qantas has introduced inflight meditation and expanded its entertainment offering to give customers more ways to relax inflight.

The airline’s first meditation video series has been specially designed to bring a sense of calm and help customers unwind in the air. The 10-minute guided meditation is set to aerial footage of some of the most beautiful landscapes around Australia. Customers can choose from five different scenes including Australian deserts, bushlands, coasts, forests and locations at twilight as they listen to the meditation.

Qantas has also signed up with Apple Music and Audible, and extended its existing partner content with Stan to give customers free access to more TV programs, movies, songs and digital audiobooks both inflight and on the ground.

Qantas Chief Customer Officer Vanessa Hudson said the expanded inflight entertainment offering opened up more opportunities for customers to enjoy some “me time” during their flight.

“Customers tell us they value being able to take time for themselves inflight and watch a movie or read a book, and now we can help them find a little extra relaxation with guided meditation,” said Ms Hudson.

“Between the special offers from our content providers, programs on seatback screens and Wi-Fi rolling out on domestic aircraft, there will be no shortage of entertainment on board.

“Our customers watched 22 million hours of inflight entertainment last year, so we know a lot of people enjoy being able to catch up on their favourite TV shows when they fly or watch movies they didn’t get to see at the cinema.”

While Apple Music, Audible and Stan are all paid subscription services, they will offer free access to Qantas customers on and off the aircraft.

Customers travelling across the entire Qantas network can download content before their flight via the Qantas App or stream it inflight on selected domestic Wi-Fi aircraft. The offers include:

  • Up to four months free subscription to Apple Music giving Qantas customers access to 45 million songs and Apple Music’s exclusive Beats 1 radio station, featuring shows by music artists including Elton John and Pharrell Williams.
  • One free audiobook per month for the first three months from the full Audible.com.au library of downloadable audiobooks for new Audible customers, featuring new content including The Barefoot Investor written and narrated by Scott Pape and Kick Ass with Mel Robbins written and narrated by motivational speaker, Mel Robbins.
  • Stan, which is currently available on Qantas Wi-Fi enabled aircraft, will now offer three months of unlimited access to TV shows and movies to new Stan customers on all Qantas flights.

Qantas offers around 2,000 hours of inflight entertainment content each month including premiere movies, TV box sets, comedy shows, documentaries, music, games, and kids TV channels. In addition to the 25,000 seat-back in-flight entertainment screens in our fleet, more than 6,000 passengers daily stream shows on the Qantas Entertainment app on their own mobile devices.

Qantas is rolling out Wi-Fi across its domestic fleet of A330s and B737s. Under a partnership with global broadband services provider ViaSat that taps into the nbn™ network, the service features speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional on-board Wi-Fi, giving customers the ability to stream movies, TV shows, the latest news bulletins and sport on domestic flights via the internet.

The meditation video series is available now to view on YouTube and an immersive virtual reality (VR) version can be downloaded before travelling via the Qantas VR App. The video series will be available from June on Qantas inflight entertainment.

The new entertainment partner offers will be available progressively from June 2018.

Source: Qantas


Sheraton on the Park unveils new guestrooms and Club Lounge with $40m renovation

It was 1994. Paul Keating was Australian prime minister, Forrest Gump had us believing life was like a box of chocolates and we were introduced to six Friends from New York. Wet Wet Wet surrounded us all with love and who could forget Liz Hurley in that Versace safety pin dress?

It was also the year Sydney’s first and only five-star hotel on Hyde Park opened. Sheraton on the Park set the benchmark for classic hotels when it welcomed its first guests, offering sophisticated style and personalised service like the city had never seen.

Delivering true hospitality has remained a constant but, ahead of the hotel’s 25th anniversary, Sheraton on the Park will usher in a new era of refined luxury following the completion of a $40million overhaul of its 558 guestrooms and Sheraton Club Lounge.

“We are tremendously excited to introduce our loyal guests to a new level of discreet, luxury accommodation, as well as open our doors to discerning travellers the world over,” said David Fraser, General Manager, Sheraton on the Park. “While we are incredibly proud to celebrate and share this moment, our team remains motivated to achieve our goal in setting new standards of hospitality.”

Led by prominent interior designer Joseph Pang, the new-look hotel combines modern design and classic elegance to provide guests with an elevated experience they are accustomed to in their everyday lives.

In the heart of Sydney’s business district and coveted fashion precinct, a purposeful redesign of the 510 guestrooms and 48 suites has shaped a more refined and residential style with an emphasis on sophisticated, yet approachable luxury.

Inspired by the hotel’s exclusive park side neighbourhood, the new room colour palette of subtle celadon and warm grey creates a sense of calm and rest, with dark stained natural oak timber complemented by plush fabric upholstery and stitched leather work.

Layered spaces define the sleep, work and lounge zones with conventional furniture replaced by modern residential pieces. An open walk-in-robe is reminiscent of a personal shopping experience in high-end fashion boutiques and the new bathroom vanity is a contemporary interpretation of a classic console washstand.

A full height leather upholstered bedhead provides a focal point, a comfy chaise lounge and a collection of framed pictures on the wall add a warm, home away from home touch. Tech-savvy travellers are catered for with USB charging ports, complimentary high-speed wifi, a sizable desk and power business chair, still a must for the corporate crowd.

Cementing the hotel’s position as Sydney’s leading 5-star hotel, all Grand Executive guestrooms and Suites receive complimentary access to the fully refurbished Sheraton Club.

Nestled high above Hyde Park, the unrivalled views across the tree canopy to St Mary’s Cathedral and out to Sydney Harbour evoke those of Central Park in New York and London’s five-star hotels along Park Lane. The uninterrupted city skyline can be enjoyed from inside the intimate lounge or the outdoor terraces.

Elegantly redesigned with a rich and earthy colour scheme, deep brown oak is punctuated by accents of ink blue, complemented with stone and shimmering ceramic tiles. Top quality finishes and stylish furnishing will impress the most esteemed and discerning guests.

An ideal choice for a weekend getaway, staycation or business trip, Sheraton on the Park has fused its classic grandeur and unique location to meet the modern traveller’s expectations for more authentic experiences and personalised service.

This latest renovation is part of an overall commitment by Sheraton on the Park to innovate and transform and follows a $3m renovation of The Gallery, The Conservatory Bar, fitness centre, spa and rooftop terrace late last year.

Source: Sheraton