Travel Confidential

Travel Confidential

What we’ve overheard this week on the global grapevine…

Singaporeans are mad for designer labels; so it’s fitting that the Vogue Club & Cafe and the GQ Bar will be opening there later this year. Like all the best things in Singapore, the Vogue Club will be set on the rooftop of the lofty Singapore Land Tower, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the city.

In the Swiss Alps, an avalanche of openings in time (fingers crossed) for next ski season. Among the highlights: the super-swank Chedi Andermatt in the Urseren Valley, contemporary Swiss chalet style in local wood, albeit one with an extensive spa and two gourmet restaurants. The mountain-view pool looks particularly tempting.
And the W Verbier hotel will bring its brand of rockstar glamour to an already pretty rockstar ski destination. It’s promising a Michelin-star-winning chef and a helicopter on call for guests; and it’s part of a bigger development, Les Trois Rocs, which will have serviced apartments, all of them roomy and made of Swiss wood and stone.

Since Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel opened on Playa d’en Bossa, it has been the pool-party venue of choice. This summer looks set to be no different. the hotel has expanded with the addition of the eight-storey Ushuaia Tower opening this May, with a steakhouse restaurant, oyster and caviar bar, and the only roof terrace lounge bar in Playa d’en Bossa. Resident DJs for summer 2013 David Guetta and Avicii are bound to keep the island’s glammest partygoers flocking, with tickets now available for the opening party on 25 May 2013 (buy tickets here>>). If the all-day-all-night-long parties leave you weak-kneed, the hotel’s breakfast will sort you out; surely the finest spread on the island (any breakfast with complementary cava gets our thumbs-up).

Opening today (18 March 2013) after a seven-year restoration, a Californian classic in Santa Barbara: El Encanto. The 100-year-old hotel has been restored and updated by the Orient-Express group in sympathetic style to the original architecture. It has 92 individual bunglows set in acres of gardens and decorated in plantation style, each with – among other delights – its own telescope on the deck.

The Middle East is putting on The Ritz this month: The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal opened on Tuesday 12 March, overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. As the name suggests, Venice was the inspiration (the Emirates do so love Italy), with mock-Renaissance detailing inside and out of the 10 buildings (including 532 rooms, 10 restaurants and bars and a ballroom for 900) arranged around a 1,600 square-metre pool and water features inspired by the Italian city (but we’re pretty sure won’t smell like it).

A new resort of suites and villas is being created in the east of the Balearic island. The Park Hyatt Mallorca will be built in the style of a Mallorcan hilltop village, overlooking the medieval town of Arta and the Canyamel coast, and is expected to open in 2015.

The Peruvian Amazonian rainforest is a real adventurer’s destination – until now not easy to get to. But this March small-plane flights are launching: a 45-minute hop from Cusco to the recently re-opened Boca airstrip on the edge of Manu National Park, meaning you no longer have to machete your way through the jungle. It’s all operated responsibly by not-for-profit local outift Crees, which runs trips into the rainforest for sensitive travellers.

Trasierra – more friend’s-country-estate than hotel, every inch hand-restored by its ex-London owners – is putting on a series of retreats this year, including hill yoga, ballet and photography workshops. Arabesques and pirouettes on the plains of Seville… we can feel a Carmen moment coming on…

So many new restaurants, we can’t keep up! Brasserie Chavot has just opened on Conduit Street in Mayfair; Giles Coren tweeted: ‘…for top end posh is the best new thing in London in YEARS… I would book it NOW.’
Get a taste of Turkey at the first INN London festival, which celebrates the culture of Istanbul. The five-day festival takes place in Bloomsbury, in the Grade II-listed Victoria House, 11-15 April. Some of the city’s leading galleries, architects and fashion designers will be taking part, as well as always-covetable coffee-table-book publishers, Assouline; and there will be food to taste and artisan-made accessories to buy.

The Gatsby effect has gone global. The Peninsula Hong Kong hotel, which is 85 years old this year, is going back to its Roaring Twenties roots by throwing Afternoon Tea Dances, every first Sunday of the month. Jitterbugging, Charlestoning or something more sedate, depending on how much cake is consumed.

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