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Waldorf Astoria Debuts in South East Asia

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Credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Located within the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok today announces the hotel’s official opening in the heart of Bangkok. Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is the latest addition to the portfolio of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton (NYSE: HLT)’s luxury brand of iconic hotels. The landmark hotel is owned by MQDC (Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited) and managed by Hilton.

“With Asia Pacific enjoying a golden age of travel, we are witnessing unprecedented demand for our brands and are creating some of the world’s greatest luxury hotels,” said Alan Watts, president, Hilton, Asia Pacific. “As the first Waldorf Astoria in South East Asia, the opening of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok adds a much-anticipated chapter to the brand’s story in Asia. It builds on our series of iconic Waldorf Astoria hotels in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, while prefacing the arrival of additional unforgettable Waldorf Astoria hotels in the near future.”

Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is located by the bustling Ratchaprasong intersection, within walking distance of renowned shopping precincts. Just a few minutes’ stroll to the Erawan Shrine, the luxurious Gaysorn Village mall and both lines of the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain, the hotel is ideally positioned for guests to immerse themselves in the city’s colorful culture. Other highlights within a 10- to 25-minute drive include the Charoenkrung Creative District, the iconic Grand Palace and the city’s beautiful flower market.

“From Waldorf Astoria New York to Waldorf Astoria Chengdu, the Waldorf Astoria brand has a long-standing legacy of defining the hospitality experience for the modern-day traveler,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “We truly believe that the opening of the new, landmark Waldorf Astoria Bangkok will not only redefine the luxury hospitality landscape throughout South East Asia, it will create unforgettable experiences for our guests that will last a lifetime.”

Credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Award-winning architect André Fu and his design studio AFSO designed the main hotel. Globally recognized for their work, which range from modern hospitality projects and art spaces to high-profile fashion collaborations, AFSO has artistically curated a holistic Waldorf Astoria Bangkok hotel experience that unites the building’s contemporary architecture with Thai artisanal tradition. Conceptualized to embrace the gracious Thai spirit in an elegant setting, the 171 residential-style, spacious and luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites feature spa-inspired bathrooms and marble bathtubs.

The hotel’s crown jewel spans the top three floors from levels 55 to 57, comprising three distinctive, artistically curated dining outlets by world-renowned design and concept firm AvroKO. Exuding glamour and luxury, the opulent interiors of Bull & Bear, The Loft and Champagne Bar showcase a nod towards the Waldorf Astoria legacy, all accompanied by sweeping views of the city.

“We are thrilled to be adding Waldorf Astoria Bangkok to our rapidly expanding luxury portfolio here in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “As we continue to debut contemporary and iconic hotels in landmark destinations all over the world, we consider it a true honour to introduce our brand to a city as vibrant as Bangkok. We look forward to showcasing our signature True Waldorf Service, the personalized, graceful service that has become synonymous with our brand.”

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is primed to be a dining destination in itself. The property features three unique restaurant concepts, a lounge and two bars, including:

Front Room, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is helmed by acclaimed Chef Fae Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, who brings her experience of working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to present an elegant blend of “new Nordic” and Thai flavors in a relaxed setting.

The Brasserie, located on the upper lobby, is a lively destination that offers stunning views of the city. Using locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant serves traditional French brasserie fare daily from breakfast through dinner.

Peacock Alley, which sits on the same level as The Brasserie, is an ideal lounge for picturesque afternoon teas and light meals. Modeled after the New York original, Peacock Alley presents a menu of delectable homemade pastries and refreshments throughout the day.

Bull & Bear on level 55 specializes in grilled meats and seafood, and features a live raw bar along with a custom-made grill designed for smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Eye-catching art deco-inspired interiors, upbeat vibes and dazzling views make Bull & Bear the perfect place to socialize, celebrate and indulge.

The Loft on level 56 is a glamorous, New York-inspired bar, steeped in the romance of art nouveau. Taking inspiration from the original 1935 Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, artisanal spirits and forgotten cocktails are crafted to the modern palate using a great collection of house-made ingredients, accompanied by gourmet bar bites.

The Champagne Bar, located at the hotel’s peak on level 57, offers an intimate and inspirational environment, designed with meticulous attention to detail. An exquisite list of fine champagnes, handcrafted cocktails and one of the best views of Bangkok combine to create the ultimate setting for a spectacular evening out. Accessible only to the most discerning of guests, the exclusive bar is primed to be one of the most desirable spots in the city.

Arguably the most striking feature of the property is the 730-square-meter Magnolia Ballroom on level 10, which offers a stunning and sophisticated setting for weddings and social events. A statement sweeping staircase provides an unforgettable photography backdrop and an impactful arrival experience. With an impressive 8-meter-high ceiling, the ballroom accommodates up to 700 guests standing or 330 guests seated, and it is set to be one of Bangkok’s most sought-after event venues.

Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 14 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app.

Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is located at 151 Ratchadamri Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.

Hotels

Westin Hotels & Resorts to Debut in Maldives

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Westin Hotels & Resorts today announced the anticipated opening of the brand’s first hotel in the Republic of Maldives with the opening of The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort. Developed by Belluna Co. Ltd, Japan and Asia Capital PLC, Sri Lanka, The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort heralds the Westin brand’s wellness positioning in the Maldivian oasis.

“We are thrilled to introduce the Westin brand to the Maldives, strengthening our presence in Asia Pacific,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand and Marketing, Marriott International Asia Pacific. “The opening of The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort is a significant addition to our portfolio underscoring a transformative and meaningful wellness proposition for travelers, who are increasingly prioritizing well-being even while on the road.”

Stunning Location
Nestled on a beautiful coral island in the Baa Atoll, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site, guests of The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort will experience a tranquil escape with uninterrupted ocean and pristine turquoise lagoon views. From the atoll’s most desirable locale, guests are in close proximity to landmarks such as the Hanifaru Bay, which is known for the largest gathering of manta rays globally.

“We look forward to welcoming our guests to discover the charm of the Maldives while at the same time enjoy the unparalleled level of service,” said Brendan Corcoran, General Manager at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort. “Along with the Westin brand’s focus on wellness, we trust that every guest will feel exceptionally relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated during and after their stays.”

Marine Inspired Décor and Modern Appointed Villas
Led by award-winning Milan-based architects PEIA Associati, the resort’s design takes inspiration from the ocean with a visionary approach towards environmental sustainability. All elements of the resort’s design take inspiration from the environment from the use of natural materials, such as unique shells to the movement and flow of marine life including sea turtles and whale sharks, providing guests with a link to the region’s exceptional enchantment. An aerial view of The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort reveals an outline in the shape of a fish, a distinctive reflection of the beauty of surrounding marine life; while the arrival jetty is structured to resemble clamshells and the oceans’ waves.

The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort features 70 villas and suites, 41 on island and 29 overwater. Each villa is shaped with an eco-friendly double roofing to create the perfect natural ventilation. Outdoor rainforest showers are a distinctive feature. Poised over the sea on stilts and with an area of almost 200 square meters each, the overwater suites are among the largest a resort has to offer in the Baa Atoll region.

Refined Venues, Elevated Experiences
The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort presents three unique dining experiences. The Pearl is the resort’s specialty restaurant and is ideal for indulging in exquisite Japanese cuisine with exceptional ocean views The restaurant offers a refined Japanese menu with a focus on seafood and fresh local ingredients. The all-day dining experience at Island Kitchen stays true to the Westin brand’s Eat Well brand pillar through a balanced menu combining Chinese, Indian and Maldivian fare. At Hawker, guests can sample authentic Asian street food with a live kitchen in a casual bustling atmosphere. Adjacent to the Library and overlooking the azure blue Indian Ocean, Sunset Bar is a relaxed lounge serving tapas and imaginative cocktails.

More Ways to Recharge
The idyllic resort also features Westin’s signature branded spa concept, the Heavenly Spa by Westin™ with the latest in beauty treatments. The design of the Spa area exudes an intimate and serene ambience that allows guests to reflect on their destination, including a spacious treatment suite for two with a Jacuzzi and panoramic ocean views. Guests can stay active with the 24-hour WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio sprawled across two levels that features weight machines, free weights, and cardio equipment that faces personal flat-screen televisions; and outdoor pool and recreation ground with tennis, volleyball, basketball options.

Designed to cater to the way modern families travel, the Westin Family Kids Club® offers reimagined family experiences that are tied back to the brand’s wellness positioning for young guests between the ages of 4 – 12 years. Some of the activities includes nature walks, family-style runs and water activities. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort is also well-equipped to play host to distinguished ceremonies or vows renewal with its multifunctional event spaces.

Directly from the beach, guests can explore the house reef with colorful corals and be surrounded by thousands of tropical fish. Miriandhoo is a Turtle sanctuary, and guests can easily and often see turtles nesting along the white beaches. Reef sharks, lionfish, manta rays and often whale sharks all reside in the Baa Atoll. The stunning experience of the underwater world can be explored while snorkeling, diving, fishing and parasailing.

Additional on-site facilities of the resort include a PADI dive centre and a boutique store.

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Legacy Meets Modern Luxury with the Reopening of Al Bustan Palace

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Marking a new era in its legacy, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel reopens following a period of extensive enhancements that includes redesigned rooms and suites, refreshed Ritz Kids experiences, and new culinary options. An iconic symbol of Omani culture and hospitality, the palace hotel has been reimagined to embrace the needs of families and the modern global traveler, offering new and inspiring experiences that bridge heritage with state of the art technology and modern design.

“Oman continues to welcome record numbers of international visitors thanks to our commitment to offering world-class experiences for the modern global traveler that honor and celebrate our beautiful natural surroundings, rich culture and history,” commented H.E. Maitha bint Saif Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Tourism of the Sultanate of Oman. “The renovation of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel fully supports this vision and we are confident that the hotel will continue to contribute to the Sultanate’s thriving tourism industry.”

Royal Estates Royal Court Affairs in Oman carried out the design of most of the refurbishment works, while renowned luxury integrated design firm WATG and affiliated design studio Wimberly Interiors provided some of the other architecture and interior renovation under the supervision of the Royal Estates. Undergoing a dramatic transformation, the Palace’s hotel rooms and suites seamlessly combine decor inspired by Oman’s culture and heritage with refined design and state-of-the-art technology. While the rooms retain their original elegance, an enhanced level of modern luxury is now provided by rich furnishings, lush materials and neutral metallic tones. New artwork pays homage to Oman’s artisans with contemporary digital prints incorporating images of traditional Omani silverware, jewelry, khanjars, and coffee pots.

“Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel has been an iconic property in Oman for more than 30 years and we are delighted to introduce the newly reimaged hotel to the local and global community,” said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader for The Ritz-Carlton. “With our established and expanding presence in the Sultanate, we remain committed to being a part of Oman’s development and look forward to setting new hospitality benchmarks across the country.”

Capturing Oman’s spirit of adventure and its love of the outdoors, the hotel presents a refreshed Ritz Kids program and a new outdoor Family Aqua Land.  Ideal for families and multigenerational travel, young adventurers can now ride a zipline, splash through their own dedicated pool, or slide from a large Omani traditional boat, all surrounded by lush gardens, golden sands and sensational views of Al Hajar Mountains.

A variety of enriching dining experiences can now also be enjoyed on the shores of the Gulf of Oman. With a newly extended two-level terrace providing dazzling views of the fifty meters long infinity pool and the ocean, Al Khiran Kitchen highlights the best of the country’s natural beauty alongside cuisine that showcases the freshest local produce and flavors from farms across the Sultanate. Beach Pavilion Bar & Grill captures the spirit of the surrounding sea with an expansive deck overlooking the seafront and features simple yet elegant, locally-inspired seafood dishes and grills. Already celebrated as one of Oman’s finest Asian restaurants, China Mood nowoffers an elegant terrace from which to enjoy its authentic Chinese cuisine and unique tea sommelier show.

The Grand Ballroom and meeting rooms have also undergone a renovation, making Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Muscat’s premier destination for the most prestigious wedding celebrations and events.  The new event experience has been created to touch on guests’ five senses and incorporates modern technology with the very best of Omani hospitality, alongside the legendary Ritz-Carlton service.

True to its commitment to the people of Oman, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, welcomes visitors who wish to spend a day at the hotel with a Beach Day Pass that offers access to the private beachfront and facilities. Recreation Memberships have also been re-created for residents and families who wish to enjoy exclusive, year-round access to the hotel’s palatial facilities and beachfront.

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Chinese Heritage Meets The New Generation Of Luxury With The Opening Of The Shanghai EDITION

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Times change, people change, cultures change. Few cities move as fast or adapt as quickly as Shanghai. Ian Schrager, the inventor and innovator of the boutique hotel concept, now brings the modern luxury of the EDITION Hotels brand to Shanghai. “This is a new kind of hotel in China that the city of Shanghai didn’t know it needed.” Schrager says.

Following the success of the EDITION Hotels in London, New York, Sanya, China and Miami Beach, The Shanghai EDITION represents a new kind of innovation and authenticity in luxury travel; a modern oasis of comfort at the heart of one of the world’s most populous cities. By understanding that a hotel is more than just a place to sleep—it’s a hub, a meeting place, a culture of commerce, work, life and play—Schrager creates not just a hotel but a seamlessly integrated experience, a small city within a city. It’s an international ethos with a local product: World-renowned architects, designers, chefs, mixologists, fabricators and artisans have come together at the meeting point of unmistakable Shanghai culture. This one-of-a-kind modern meeting point innovates and extends the very concept of hotel: dining, recreation, entertainment, work, relaxation, meeting point and landmark in one.

With The Shanghai EDITION, Schrager has married the best of the old world and the new. The result of an ambitious and imaginative development, combining two very distinct yet complementary buildings, The Shanghai EDITION will be housed in one of the city’s finest buildings; the former headquarters of Shanghai Power Company on Nanjing Road, along the tree-lined Huang Pu River port on the Bund. This Art Deco monument houses the public area of the hotel, comprising a magnificent lobby, Michelin starred Chef Jason Atherton’s new restaurant, Shanghai Tavern, and a world class spa as well as multiple bars, night club, rooftop and meeting and event areas. As well as being updated and renovated, the heritage-protected historical building now flows into the state-of-the-art skyscraper development, designed to coexist and harmonize with the historical structure, while bringing it into the present day. This multi-dimensional space creates a synergy, designed for movement and flow. In the new tower, 145 rooms and suites, many with unrivalled views of the Bund, will be accompanied by an array of wining and dining spaces, including HIYA, a new Japanese restaurant by Jason Atherton on the 27th floor and Shanghai’s stylish incarnation of Punch Room, the sophisticated cocktail lounge first made famous at The London EDITION and ROOF, a garden rooftop bar with 360 degree views of Shanghai.

The historical pedigree of the development and renovation are rich. As well as the local heritage of the Shanghai Power building, the public spaces were created with an eye to an old-world sensibility; the likes of a traditional, English country estate or the quintessential London private gentleman’s club.

Yet, it was essential that the hotel’s spaces and interiors were infused with a contemporary, sophisticated design vernacular. In Schrager’s signature style, The Shanghai EDITION possesses a dynamic fusion of old and new, embodied by the dual nature of the buildings’ development. The striking Lobby and main entrance to The Shanghai EDITION features a centerpiece light custom designed by the French architectural and decorative designer Eric Schmitt. The glowing sphere, held delicately in the grasp of gently curved metal prongs, hangs elegantly like a piece of jewelry in the center of the lobby. The atmospherically designed space includes a programmable LED feature on the underside of a cantilevered canopy, which welcomes guests in from the cobblestone driveway. The 9.5 meter high Grey stone walls establish sense of grandeur and solidity in contrast with rich walnut fittings which provide a sense of intimacy and warmth. This dichotomy is a signature of the EDITION brand. In keeping with Ian Schrager’s philosophy of the hotel lobby as ‘a new kind of gathering place’, the Lobby Bar, one of nine in The Shanghai EDITION is inset with a bespoke plaster relief artwork inspired by carvings typically observed on Shikumen (stone-gated) housing, which is unique to the fast-disappearing, traditional Shanghai urban typology.

The 145 guest rooms and suites at The Shanghai EDITION bring laid-back modern luxury to a new era. Every room features the conveniences travelers and revelers have come to expect and rely on. State-of-the-art beds are adorned with imported luxury Anichini linens and unique and custom designed furniture with carefully selected textiles. The bathrooms are finished in white marble, detailed in contrasting black metal, with custom-scented Le Labo amenities as standard. The slanted windows, all of which give breathtaking views of Shanghai and The Bund, add to the feeling of insulated calm within the rooms. The walls and floor of the bedroom and living areas are clad in light oak, creating a sense of warmth and domesticity.

Beyond the home-away-from-home accommodation, guest amenities raise the stakes of contemporary hotel offerings. On level 5, the swimming pool has been modelled as though carved from a solid mass of Pietra Serena from an ancient Roman mountainside, and overlooking the urban landscape. The gym, meanwhile, on level 7, does away with the crowded utilitarian standard of contemporary gyms, and combines wellness and holistic design into the need for physical exertion, open 24 hours. The state-of-the-art gym equipment was selected, no expenses spared, by renowned fitness experts, and installed on a smoked oak skin that lines the floor and walls. The indoor gym gives onto a large outdoor terrace, where guest can rest, meditate and practice tai chi, yoga, and cardio against an urban backdrop.

On the 27th floor of the skyscraper sits Jason Atherton’s HIYA a Japanese lzakaya-inspired restaurant, designed by Neri & Hu. Meaning ‘Clouds in the Sky’ HIYA is slick, sophisticated and glamorous, taking cues from Atherton’s London restaurant, Sosharu, to become a nighttime destination for Shanghai’s elite. Rising up the grand spiral staircase from the Shanghai incarnation of The London EDITION’s award- winning Punch Room, a modern reincarnation of London’s 19th-century private clubs, and on the Mezzanine is the ROOF. As guests enter the Roof they behold one of the most spectacular panoramic views of Pudong from the Bund. The main bar and high seating is enclosed within a wooden trellis intertwined with climbing ivy, where an open-air lounge area offers guests a comfortable and intimate setting for casual drinks with a view. From here, a range of EDITION’s classic and innovative libations will be served, focusing on champagne and champagne-based cocktails.

The threshold that connects the heritage building and the postmodern tower is the Urban Lobby. Acting as a portal between the accommodation section and the public entertainment sections of The Shanghai EDITION, this magnificent space is home to a hanging garden, its lush greenery suspended from the ceiling. The back wall is covered by an awe-inspiring 7-story antique mirror, sourced and refurbished specially for this space, heightening the spatial illusion that one is walking beneath a floating, indoor forest. As a spectacular centerpiece to the contemporary space, the bronze spiral staircase winds continuously down three floors from the rooftop garden, giving access to a spectacular 3-level eating and drinking area with commanding views of the Bund.

The heritage building accessed through the hotel’s Urban Lobby and through a separate public entrance plays host to multi-level experience for dining, drinking, dancing and amenities starting with Shanghai Tavern, Jason Atherton’s all-day dining, brasserie style restaurant located on the first level. Drawing on Elliot Hazzard’s period architecture and magnificent coffered ceiling, the design seeks to reference the layers of history behind the Shanghai Power Company Building; a communal space that has been interior designed for pocketed intimacy. One floor above hosts Canton Disco, a traditional Cantonese restaurant concept by the celebrated Black Sheep Group, with a contemporary update at its fore. The high energy atmosphere, addictive cuisine and unpretentious service paints a perfect picture of modern Shanghai throughout the main dining room as well as the five exclusive private rooms. The next level provides a dedicated multi-purpose space for meetings and events for up to 200 guests  followed by the Club Room on level 5- a gentleman’s club-inspired lounge area that exudes a sense of warmth and exclusivity. The sophisticated Club Room features two indulgent lounge areas, with a nine-seat bar as well as a screening room and a KTV karaoke room.

The Spa at The Shanghai EDITION on level 6 reflects a sophisticated approach to beauty, wellness and wellbeing with an inspired blend of luxury and comfort. The Spa features a total of 6 treatment rooms and suites, manicure and pedicure services, sauna, an expansive relaxation area with fully equipped bar and a retail boutique. Showcasing the best wellness and beauty practices, The Spa delivers authentic Asian treatment inspired by western rituals featuring top-shelf products by Amala and Intraceuticals – designed exclusively for EDITION’s well-travelled and elegant guests.

Level 7 plays host to the brand new nightspot: Electric Circus, a fresh kind of club and VIP lounge for Shanghai. Conceived in the Studio 54 tradition, with its dramatic lighting, otherworldly interior and signature EDITION cocktail mixology, Electric Circus will play host to some of the world’s top DJs and performers, destined to become an unmissable venue in the Shanghai nightlife scene. For discerning guests requiring the utmost in discretion, Electric Circus houses the city’s ultimate private room with its own dual-access private entrances to maintain privacy.

On the magnificent rooftop, situated on the 8th level   of the modern building, sits a fully landscaped Roof Garden, a perfect oasis, and one of few urban green spaces in Shanghai. Composed of a patchwork of brick and lawn terraces of differing heights, the roof garden mixes Chinese greenery with luscious, tropical horticulture. The richly planted rooftop features an under-the-stars movie theatre, a games area for lawn bowls and croquet, daybed seating, as well as the service of a full bar with, food and snacks on the roof.

The Shanghai EDITION distills the most central and desired services with precision, doing away with the obsolete, dated baggage of the prim, regulated hotel environment. This highly stylised hotel functions as a “home away from home,” catering to the modern-day traveler by providing comfort and ease with refinement: now a signature that defines the EDITION brand.

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