Wellington: First City in NZ to be named an International City of Film by UNESCO

New Zealand’s coolest capital, Wellington, has just been named an international City of Film by UNESCO. Wellington is the first city in New Zealand to be designated this title and one of only 17 globally, making them part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Incredible films which have been made in Wellington include Avatar, Planet of the Apes and of course Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Trilogies. However, as stated by Andy Foster, the Mayor of Wellington, this accolade also “recognizes the vibrancy of our entire film community. We’re a place that flocks to events like the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Māoriland Film festival, 48 Hour Film Festival and Roxy5, we have a strong screen education sector and a very talented creative community.”
 

Take a tour through Wellington’s filmmaking history by exploring the following locations where the magic of the movies has been brought to life:
– Wellington Airport: As soon as you land be immediately immersed in Welly’s filmmaking history. Greeting you in the arrival hall are three massive Middle-earth giants – Gandalf and the eagles, Gollum and his fishes, and Smaug the dragon.

– Thunderbirds Are Go Behind the Scenes Experience: Visit the Thunderbirds Are Go shooting stage at Weta Workshop and discover the genuine props, models and miniatures behind the modern-day remake of this popular television series.
– Weta Cave & Weta Studio Tour: The first stop for film buffs and LOTR fans, Weta Cave is the shop front of the multiple Oscar-winning Weta Workshop, the brainchild of Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor.
– Stone Street Studios: Co-owned by the Oscar-winning trio of Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk, Stone Street Studios’ facilities were extensively used by New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers for the production of The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and The Hobbit Trilogy.

– Park Road Post Production: Developed by Sir Peter Jackson for filmmakers, it houses a unique combination of services; from a world-class laboratory, through telecine, digital intermediate and HD post-production, to Academy Award® winning sound post-production.

– Victoria Street: Wellington doubled for a futuristic version of Hong Kong in the film adaptation of acclaimed Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell. Shot at Stone Street Studios, Avalon Studios and on location at Victoria Street in the central city, it was the first time urban New Zealand had been showcased as a sci-fi setting on the silver screen.

– Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa: The film community make their mark on Wellington not just through movies, but also through their art. Izzat Design, whose artists created props for films such as Avatar, The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, has contributed to a range of exhibitions at Te Papa, including recreating seven extinct birds of New Zealand for the Blood, Earth, Fire exhibition.

– Lyall Bay: A cliff face by Lyall Bay, a popular surf beach along Wellington’s rugged South Coast, was the setting for Dunharrow in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. On their days off during filming Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) learned to surf at Lyall Bay.

Source: UNESCO


The Ritz-Carlton hotel: inside The Spa, Perth

Harnessing the natural beauty of Western Australia, the riverfront spa experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Perth is an inspired wellness journey devoted to encouraging relaxation and reflection.

The hotel’s meticulously considered design inspiration flows to the relaxation podium on level five with a hand-built mosaic wall of 1737 tiles featuring as the backdrop of Spa Concierge. In the waiting area, local timber and resin artist creations adorn the carefully chosen products that feature in the treatment experiences, copper throughout the décor symbolises the rich minerals found in Western Australia, and rich blue hues reflect the pristine waters of the coastline.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Perth will lure guests to relax and rejuvenate with bespoke pampering rituals in the four idyllic treatment rooms including a couple’s suite with spa bath, double rain shower and Supreme Court Garden views. Female and male vitality pools with massage jets, relaxation lounges and saunas with floor-to-ceiling windows offer a healing connection to nature, while the state-of-the-art fitness centre and yoga studio provide a truly interconnected approach to guest wellness.

The outdoor heated infinity pool enjoys exquisite views over the Swan River, Elizabeth Quay and city skyline. Guests can surrender to luxurious poolside pampering treatments without leaving the comfort of the sunlounge, while the Ladies and Gentlemen from Songbird will serve culinary and beverage offerings.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Perth is the only Spa in Western Australia to exclusively work with national and international skincare brands, LaGaia Unedited and Biologique Recherche. Both brands have worked collaboratively with the Spa to thoughtfully curate signature pampering rituals with a holistic yet results-driven approach.

One of the signature treatments; the Transformative Kimberley Ritual begins with a bespoke LaGaia Unedited facial, layering the skin with precious crystal quartz tonics, botanicals, essential vitamins and hydrating serums. An aromatic full body scrub and clay mask inspired by the diverse and rugged plains of the Kimberley will detoxify and re-mineralise the most stressed of skins.

Guests looking to alleviate lingering aches and stress will benefit from the Alignment Antidote Massage. This full body muscular and energetic treatment uses ancient pressure point therapy, lymphatic breathing, healing crystals and massage to align and revitalise the body.

For a goal-oriented facial treatment designed to address specific skin concerns, Biologique Recherche delivers active facials prescribed after a Skin Instant Lab diagnosis. 6o and 90-minute treatment options deliver change in the skin, including the Soin Restructurant et Lissant, a reconditioning treatment designed to moisturise and calm stressed, dehydrated, dry and the most sensitive skin types.

Each guest begins their journey with a handmade ceramic cup filled with the spa’s fragrant signature tea. Prepared with healing Australian ingredients to enliven the senses, boost immunity and hydrate the body, the welcome tea is the perfect grounding ritual to ready the mind, body and spirit.

Guests are then asked to choose the scent they would like featured throughout their treatment, whether it be infused into their welcome foot bath, body scrub or massage oil, or inhaled during the lymphatic breathing techniques used in all body treatments. A bespoke foot bath commences each treatment, where the guest’s feet rest upon hand-picked Kimberley river stones and float amongst healing Australian precious elements and botanicals.

The spa journey concludes with a cool, calming Australian organic lavender herbal tincture and superfood offering served in a choice of relaxation lounges. Internal beauty supplements are also available to maintain healthy glowing skin long after treatment, alongside home skincare recommendations.

There are also express treatments available for guests short on time but still looking to be rejuvenated and replenished. For extra privacy, an in-room wellness butler menu can be organised with themed options that include facial rejuvenation, detoxification and sleep assistance.

Source: The Ritz-Carlton


Six Senses Opens on the Legendary Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul - Six Senses Kocatas Mansions

History enriches hospitality at Six Senses Kocataş Mansions, Istanbul – the city where East meets West.

Occupying two beautifully restored heritage mansions, there are just 45 guest rooms and suites showcasing tradition and local flavors with Six Senses touches.

Set overlooking the Bosphorus, the hotel delivers authentic and unique experiences while maintaining a strict observation to environmental purism.

Dining at the hotel includes authentic Turkish cuisine, a delightful courtyard setting and a return to the mansions’ golden era of La Belle Époque. Toro Latin GastroBar by Richard Sandoval is inspired by Pan-Latin and Asian cuisines, with one more amazing restaurant of world celebrity chef, Mehmet Gürs, to open in mid-2020.

Opening Spring 2020, Six Senses Spa brings a new level of wellness offerings to the destination; from a Turkish hammam with Six Senses touches to a holistic anti-aging clinic and personal beauty pods.

The spa is also integral to the Six Senses Integrative Wellness program and Sleep With Six Senses concept. For completion soon after the opening, the vast facility includes an indoor swimming pool, alchemy bar, a fitness center, organic herb garden and a juice bar.

The urban oasis created by Six Senses Kocataş Mansions presents lush landscaping through which meanders a pathway to connect all the facilities including an outdoor pool and offers even more views of the Bosphorus.

Earth Lab – where sustainability is practiced and celebrated, and an open-air cinema will follow shortly. Ideally situated in the city’s northernmost district the hotel appeals to local residents in search of an urban wellness fix and great dining experiences, and also to international travelers who wish to explore the historic city center of Istanbul, which is a 60-minute leisurely boat ride away.

Istanbul’s new international airport is within easy access, with Six Senses Kocataş Mansions being one of the city’s closest upscale properties.

Source: Six Senses


Record-breaking direct New York to Sydney flight touches down

The first non-stop commercial airline flight from New York to Sydney has landed after 19 hours 16 minutes in the air.

A total of 49 passengers and crew were on the flight, which was used to run a series of experiments to assess health and well-being onboard. Data from these experiments will be used help shape the crew rostering and customer service of Qantas’ ultra long haul flights in future – including Project Sunrise.

Tests ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness, through to exercise classes for passengers.

Cabin lighting and in-flight meals were also adjusted in ways that are expected to help reduce jetlag, according to the medical researchers and scientists who have partnered with Qantas.

Arriving in Sydney, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “This is a really significant first for aviation. Hopefully, it’s a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other.

“We know ultra long haul flights pose some extra challenges but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly further. The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way.”

“Night flights usually start with dinner and then lights off. For this flight, we started with lunch and kept the lights on for the first six hours, to match the time of day at our destination. It means you start reducing the jetlag straight away.”

“What’s already clear is how much time you can save. Our regular, one-stop New York to Sydney service (QF12) took off three hours before our direct flight but we arrived a few minutes ahead of it, meaning we saved a significant amount of total travel time by not having to stop,” added Mr Joyce.

Qantas Captain Sean Golding, who led the four pilots operating the service, said: “The flight went really smoothly. Headwinds picked up overnight, which slowed us down to start with, but that was part of our scenario planning. Given how long we were airborne, we were able to keep optimising the flight path to make the best of the conditions.”

“We had a lot of interest from air traffic controllers as we crossed through different airspace because of the uniqueness of this flight. We also had a special sign off and welcome home from the control towers in New York and Sydney, which you don’t get every day.”

“Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service,” said Captain Golding.

Two more research flights are planned as part of the Project Sunrise evaluations – London to Sydney in November and another New York to Sydney in December. Emissions from all research flights will be fully offset. A decision on Project Sunrise is expected by the end of the year.

Source: Qantas


Aqua Expeditions: Australia's Benjamin Cross Named Aqua Blu Consulting Chef

Benjamin Cross is creating a journey of flavours for Aqua Expeditions to complement Aqua Blu’s voyages as Consulting Chef ahead of 16 November 2019 inaugural sailing of this luxury expedition yacht in East Indonesia.

Born in Australia and based in Bali since 2008, Chef Cross boasts a well-travelled culinary background having begun his career working with Australian culinary talents Neil Perry (Rockpool) and Janni Kyritsis (MG Garage) and later co-founding the award-winning Urbane restaurant in Queensland.

Chef Cross then headed for Spain, opening a restaurant and working in Santi Santamaria’s three-Michelin-starred Can Fabes before settling down in Bali where he was appointed Executive Chef of Bali’s premier dining venue, Ku De Ta in 2008.

In 2013, he created Mejeakwi, Ku De Ta’s fine dining concept in Bali, co-founded Hank’s Pizza & Liquor in Seminyak, created Fishbone Local, Mason, and The Back Room with BHG (Brett Hospitality Group) as co-owner and Executive Chef.

For Aqua Blu, Chef Cross will create and oversee more than 100 recipes that together will showcase a refined journey of flavours from Asia to the Middle East, while still reflecting Indonesia’s role as the heart of the global spice trade in the 16th and 17th centuries.

In executing his culinary vision for Aqua Blu, Chef Cross will rely on local ingredients sourced primarily from Bali and East Indonesia, including indigenous spices such as nutmeg and cloves, as well as a wealth of seafood such as giant Papuan prawns sustainably sourced from the Indonesian seas.

“Harnessing the abundant gifts from Indonesia’s land and seas, the goal of my concept is to orchestrate a refined rendition of flavours that have travelled through Indonesia’s fabled sea spice trade route – an amazing confluence of Asian, European and traditional local cooking philosophies and methods,” said Chef Cross.

Chef Cross also sees Aqua Blu as an opportunity to create a larger-than-life culinary experience that complements a five-star cruise journey. “Aqua Expeditions regards authentic cuisine as central to the itinerary, which means that the dining experience on board won’t be just a menu, but a cohesive journey of discovery,” he said.

A recognised global leader in luxury small-ship cruises, Aqua Expeditions explores the world’s most wildlife and culture-rich destinations aboard best-in-class vessels of stylish contemporary design. Aqua Expeditions offers tailored five-star itineraries, a 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio with personalised service, a cuisine experience crafted by acclaimed chefs, and expert-guided activities and excursions.

Aqua Expeditions currently operates river cruise ships, Aria Amazon on the Peruvian Amazon and Aqua Mekong on the Mekong river in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Source: Aqua Expeditions