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

Qantas Orders More Dreamliners and Sets Date to Farewell Jumbos

Qantas has today announced an order for six additional Boeing 787-9s to fly on its international network, bringing its fleet of Dreamliners to 14 by the end of 2020.

The arrival of the new aircraft will enable the airline to accelerate retirement of its last six Boeing 747s – an aircraft type that has been in its fleet in various forms since 1971.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the announcement was an important moment for the national carrier. “This really is the end of one era and the start of another. The jumbo has been the backbone of Qantas International for more than 40 years and we’ve flown almost every type that Boeing built. It’s fitting that its retirement is going to coincide with our centenary in 2020,” Mr Joyce said.

“Over the years, each new version of the 747 allowed Qantas to fly further and improve what we offered passengers. The Dreamliners are now doing the same thing.”

“The 787 has better economics and a longer range, and its already opened up new routes like Perth to London. With a larger fleet of Dreamliners, we’ll be looking at destinations in the Americas, Asia, South Africa and Europe.”

“By the end of 2020 we’ll have farewelled the 747, finished upgrading the cabins of our A380s, and welcomed our fourteenth 787. That’s a great proposition for our customers and creates some really exciting opportunities for our people,” added Mr Joyce.

Qantas expects to invest in an additional 787 simulator to assist with training more of its pilots to operate the new aircraft. This comes on top of the Qantas Group Pilot Academy opening in 2019.

Interiors of the additional 787s will feature the same configuration as the existing aircraft. The Qantas Dreamliner carries fewer passengers than the larger 747 (236 seats vs 364) and has a greater focus on Business and Premium Economy seating.

However, the reduced maintenance needs of the 787 plus more efficient aircraft patterning and reduced payload restrictions on long routes mean the actual impact on overall capacity for Qantas International is expected to be negligible. The Dreamliner burns approximately 20 per cent less fuel.

To date, Qantas has taken delivery of four 787-9s with a further four due to arrive by the end of 2018. The six announced today will arrive between late 2019 and mid-to-late 2020.

There are currently ten 747-400s left in the fleet and these will be steadily retired between July this year and the end of 2020.  Qantas received the last of its 747s new from Boeing in 2003, which will be 17 years old at time of retirement.

Source: Qantas

Bondi lifeguard Bruce 'Hoppo' Hopkins and singer Prinnie Stevens open Atlantis Sanya, in South China Sea

China’s first Atlantis resort, located in Sanya, officially opened on 28 April 2018. The build was a four year and close to US$2 billion project.

The launch of Atlantis Sanya comes only two months after Hainan Airline announced the introduction of a new direct Airbus A330 flights between Sydney and Haikou Meilan International Airports.

The opening night of Atlantis Sanya featured Bondi lifeguard Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, one of the world’s most recognised lifeguards, and VIPs from retail, travel, film and real estate industries. A musical extravaganza, featuring renowned Australian theatre artist Prinnie Stevens as Queen Atlantia and created exclusively for Atlantis Sanya’s opening night, brought the myth of Atlantis to life. Chinese singer songwriter Jane Zhang serenaded guests at the outdoor dining area on Atlantis Sanya’s beach as fireworks lit of Sanya’s skyline.

Over 80 high profile international firms have assisted in bringing the design of Atlantis Sanya to life. The world-class interiors are a result of collaboration between Jeffrey Beers International (JBI) and Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), evoking images of the sea and immersing guests in an otherworldly experience of marine life.

Atlantis Sanya’s innovative design blends modern aesthetics and sea-inspired imagery with elements from Sanya’s rich culture, giving the resort the enchanting look and feel of an aquatic paradise. The resort features artwork by local Chinese artists and the furnishings feature Hainan province’s native hardwoods that evoke a luxury feel.

Just over nine hours flight time from Sydney and around ten hours from Perth, Atlantis Sanya has been designed as a modern interpretation of the mythical city of Atlantis. Towering over Sanya as the new tourist icon of the South China Sea, the new resort features five uniquely-designed Underwater Suites, a now globally-recognised feature of the Atlantis brand.

Overlooking the South China Sea, Atlantis Sanya boasts one of the largest open-air aquariums in the world, The Ambassador Lagoon. It features a unique underwater habitat, home to more than 86,000 species of marine life, mesmerising visitors as they journey to discover the mythical heart of Atlantis. The resort’s 1,314 guest rooms and 154 suites not only offer spectacular island and coastal vistas, but also serene views of life below the waves, from five uniquely-designed underwater suites – the first guest experience of its kind in China.

At the heart of Atlantis Sanya is the Lost Chambers Aquarium, which allows visitors to immerse themselves in the calming mysteries of the ocean and learn more about the richness and diversity of its inhabitants.

For more thrill-seeking guests, the gravity-defying waterslides at Aquaventure Waterpark promise fun for the entire family. This expansive 200,000 square metre waterpark is the first in China to open every day of the year. Guests will experience adrenaline-pumping waterslides that catapult riders through shark-filled lagoons, or take a tumultuous ride on the Rapids River. Younger children will love Splashers, a child-friendly water playground packed with under-the-sea themed fun, featuring elaborate water games, slides and more.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Atlantis Sanya into our family as not only the first Atlantis resort in China, but also a proud first step into the Asia Pacific region,” said Serge Zaalof, COO, Atlantis Resorts & Residences. “Atlantis Sanya marks the next generation of Atlantis resorts, offering unrivalled family entertainment, world-class culinary choice and unforgettable guest experiences,” concluded Zaalof.

Located on the Haitang Bay National Coast and due to fully open on April 28, 2018, Atlantis Sanya is the first Atlantis resort in China, joining the flagship Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai as well as The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai and Atlantis, Ko Olina in Hawaii, both currently in development. Atlantis Sanya is set to become a globally-recognised travel destination and the premier resort in Sanya, Hainan Island.

Hainan Airlines will fly an Airbus A330 on the new route twice a week, with the added convenience of a visa on arrival.

Source: Atlantis Sanya

InsideJapan - Autumn Leaves Are The New Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom season in Japan is almost a case of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”.

Every accolade is merited of this bucket-list experience, but as the leaves dissipate in ethereal pearl-hued showers, attention turns to the lesser known, but arguably as stunning sibling of the flora world  – leaf peeping.

Known asKoyo’, autumn leaf viewing lasts for nearly three months, the ‘Koyo front’ descending the length of Japan from October. Palettes of warm colour spark around Tokyo and Kyoto into early December and although overlooked by western travellers for the pink blossom, the vermillion leaves are just as impressive, creating a blaze of colour up mountainsides and temple gardens across Japan.

Co-founder of InsideJapan Tours, Alastair Donnelly, says, “The spectacle is arguably more enjoyable than the cherry blossom as although very popular with Japanese, the Koyo period is not so well known abroad and a lot less busy. During the peak Koyo period, the weather is more often than not, dry, sunny and quite warm during the day making it a great time of year to travel to Japan.” 

To further tempt, here are InsideJapan Tour’s top reasons to enjoy one of Japan’s most spectacular natural phenomena.


Lovely leaves – The mountains, canyons and temples are already impressive, only enhanced by the blazing Japanese Acer (maple) trees.  Japan is 70% mountains, but many visitors head to the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto over the mountains. Autumn is perfect for venturing into the Japanese Alps with the leaves cutting kaleidoscopic swathes to mountain peaks.

Lose the crowd – Less people visit Japan in autumn than spring for the cherry blossom. Although not as quiet as winter, noticeably fewer people travel in November and December to Kyoto with the leaves turning late in the year.

Benign Weather – Autumn weather is generally good in Japan – dry, sunny and quite warm during the day. There is less unpredictability with weather during the season offering picture perfect scenery….a lot of the time.

Autumn Feasting – The food often reflects the seasons in Japan. A good bowl of hot Nabe accompanied by a special autumn beer is the perfect leaf peeping recovery. There are other foods that come into season during autumn such as sweet potato, Matsutake mushrooms and ‘Saba’ Mackerel is at its best.

Festival Season – Apart from leaf-arama, you’ll also catch major cultural festivals (matsuri) such as Kyoto’s Jidai Matsuri (22 October) , a celebration of Japan’s feudal history with processions of performers dressed in samurai costume parading through the streets. Also in Kyoto, witness the beautiful Gion Geisha dances from 1-10 November, each telling a story to the accompaniment of the shamisen (Japanese guitar). On 15 November, children across the country dress up in kimonos to celebrate the Shichi-go-san festival that marks a coming of age at 3, 5 and 7 years.

InsideJapan Tours Top Leaf Peeping Itineraries

The 13 night ‘Autumn Splendour’ self-guided adventure heads from Tokyo to Kyoto, via Nikko and the Japanese Alps and the Kamikochi national park. The best done from late October right through November to catch the best of the leaves. 13 nights of traditional and modern accommodation is included with all transport between all destinations in Japan, breakfast every day, some evening meals, private guiding in Tokyo and Kyoto, a tea ceremony experience in Kyoto a cycle tour in Takayama and more. Costs from AUD$4810pp (based on two sharing and excluding international flights).

The 13 night Classic Japan small group tour heads into the Kamikochi National Park and takes in Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond. All accommodation and transport between destinations within Japan are included, with daily breakfast and seven evening meals, afternoon tea with a Geisha in Kyoto, Tokyo and Hakone transport passes, luggage forwarding, the full time services of a tour leader and much more. It costs AUD$6640pp (excluding international flights).

Source: Inside Japan Tours

Tahiti Air Charter launches in paradise

Get ready to fly high in The Islands of Tahiti as a new private seaplane company launches this month. After years spent in maritime transportation in the region, the Degage family has launched the commercial Tahiti Air Charter – also becoming the first French seaplane airline in 50 years.

Based in Raiatea, which is just 20 minutes from Bora Bora by plane, Tahiti Air Charter will offer flights and day tours over and around Bora Bora and the Society Islands. Plans for the Charter includes private inter-island charters, flights over Bora Bora and Tupai (the heart-shaped island), and full-day excursions to discover more hidden islands including Taha’a and Maupiti.

With a capacity of 8 passengers and the ability to land on both land and water, the Cessna 208 caravan amphibian used by Tahiti Air Charter is known as one of the quietest in its class. The ideal transport for a perfect and exclusive getaway in The Islands of Tahiti, Tahiti Air Charter flights will provide security, comfort and modernity.

With water landing areas mainly located in the Society Islands, the objective of Tahiti Air Charter is to expand this capacity and its air fleet in order to serve the sustainable development of tourism in French Polynesia.

Flights commence from this week. Visit and for more information.

Source: Tahiti Tourisme