My Brunch Date with MasterChef Australia Season 4 WINNER

From L-R: Andy Allen (NSW), myself and Ben Milbourne (Tasmania)

I am sure many of you would remember my brunch date with two of the then MasterChef’s Top 12 recently early this month and yesterday’s Grand Finale saw Andy Allen from Newcastle, NSW crowned the MasterChef Australia (Season 4) WINNER!

As for Ben Milbourne from Tasmania, he was on the 5th spot overall. Congratulations Andy and Ben respectively. Will get in contact with you guys to celebrate your victory.


10 Tips for a Successful Business Trip in Paris

Donut Monday

10. Prior to leaving refrain from complaining to others that you have to take yet another business trip to Paris. You will get zero sympathy and a 12% chance someone punches you in the face

9. That 2 star hotel your company booked for you which is quite “charming” and is moments away from getting a 3 star upgrade is guaranteed to be dump. If in doubt send a work colleague a day ahead of you. You can borrow mine if needed. This is Mike. I now call him Recon Mike.

8. Forget trying to pretend you’re really French. French purposely named their cities so that non-natives cannot properly pronounce them. It’s not “Reims”, it’s “Reeeiiiiuuuummmmeeeesss”

7. No business meeting will start until the room is represented by atleast one Philippe, a Pascal, 2 Oliviers and a Gaspard. And Gaspard is on vacation until September

6. Showing up for a…

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Singapore Airlines adds 2nd super jumbo to Melbourne


Singapore Airlines, one of the World’s best airline has just completed all its Airbus A380 delivery with the 19th and last A380 (I hope it is not their last of the last) slated for the Singapore-Melbourne route in August.

The second superjumbo will operate on SQ218 out of Singapore on 16th August and likewise on SQ217 on a return flight back to Singapore on 17th August. Currently, the airline operates on Boeing 777-300ER and that leaves only SQ237/238 on this fleet.

These are the flights of SIN-MEL route:

SQ217 SIN0955 – 1915MEL 388 D
SQ227 SIN2100 – 0620+1MEL 388 D
SQ237 SIN2355 – 0915+1MEL 773 D

SQ218 MEL0005 – 0555SIN 388 D
SQ238 MEL1025 – 1615SIN 773 D
SQ228 MEL1545 – 2145SIN 388 D

Singapore Airlines basically hinted that they will “increase our presence Down Under with as many A380 as possible” quoting Mr. Subhas Menon’s interview with the Sydney Morning Herald interview late last month.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences

C’est Magnifique (It’s magnificent!) is what I can sum up about the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences in Miami, Florida.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort features 243 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites, as well as 245 residences, in three all-glass towers rising 27 stories above an expansive stretch of beach. The resort also boasts a sprawling 14,000 square foot Remède Spa, J&G Grill inspired by world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and signature St. Regis Butler service.

According to Forbes, the hotel was listed as the one of the 10 most anticipated hotel openings of 2012. “I am thrilled to welcome guests to The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort; our debut is an exciting moment for both the St. Regis brand and the Bal Harbour community,” says General Manager Marco Selva. “The opening of this property has forever changed the resort landscape, and we are pleased to offer our guests a truly unforgettable experience through the hallmarks of the St. Regis brand – bespoke service, signature butler service, exceptional amenities and world-class dining.”

Featuring an expansive art collection, and striking, glamorous design by world renowned interiors firm Yabu Pushelberg, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s guestrooms and suites feature full ocean views as the rooms have been masterfully designed to take advantage of one of the destination’s most spectacular amenities – azure blue ocean, for as far as the eye can see. Antique mirroring can be found throughout the property and a striking ceiling rosette detail, a signature of Yabu Pushelberg, is repeated throughout the public spaces. Godflower marble, quarried exclusively for the resort, can be found on all of the floors on the ground level; the rich, dark marble is framed by white marble in dramatic fashion and accented with teal flower-like shapes, giving the rare marble its name. Guests staying at the resort delight in the small details and thoughtful design of the entire property, from bas relief gingko leaves and flowers found on the wall leading into The St. Regis Bar and the private wine vault room, to the one-of-a-kind West African Movinque wood found throughout the resort, which has been inlaid with silver trim to emphasize contrast between the soft white panels and the natural, blonde, tiger grain finishes of the wood. Large walk-in closets complete with mirrored drawers, spa bathrooms and expansive outdoor terraces are some of the highlights guests will enjoy in every guestroom and suite. The resort’s guestrooms reflect a contemporary style with Art Deco elements, a nod to Morris Lapidus, the legendary architect of neo-baroque modern Miami. The rooms are designed to serve as a sanctuary of relaxation with cool blues, grays, mirrored surfaces and details in the carpets, fabrics and wall coverings which reference the destination, from coral branches to sea-life. Additionally, throughout the 14,000 square foot Remède Spa, the sea-inspired motifs continue, with detailed mosaic tile work forming coral outlines and coral etched glass found throughout the spa.

Guest bedroom

St. Regis’ commitment to art and design is prominently featured throughout. The resort’s art collection is contemporary in nature, offering guests a glimpse at both thought-provoking and modern pieces from Sawada Hirotoshi, Candida Hofer and Miami-based artist Santiago Rubino, among others. One of the key pieces is a mural by Miami-based graffiti artist Santiago Rubino, who has created “Eyes of the Stars,” a focal point in The St. Regis Bar. The mural is a hallmark for the St. Regis brand, referencing the brand’s New York flagship where Maxfield Parrish’s iconic King Cole Mural — commissioned by St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor — is displayed.

Guest room balcony

J&G Grill Bar

J&G Grill is The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s signature restaurant conceived by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and under the helm of Chef de Cuisine Richard Gras. It is a blend of Contemporary American cuisine with Asian and French accents. The menu contains “fan favorites” from Chef Vongerichten’s restaurants around the world, such as The Mark and Spice Market, which Chef Gras accents with locally-sourced foods, including: fresh fish, vegetables and fruits from South Miami farms. J&G Grill offers magnificent views of the Bal Harbour beach promenade and cerulean blue Atlantic beyond, which enhance guests’ lunch and dinner experience. Additionally, the remarkable Yabu Pushelberg-designed temperature-controlled Wine Vault houses one of the largest wine collections in South Florida boasting 2,500 bottles of wine.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort also features an oceanfront grill for casual dining called Fresco focused on South American-influenced cuisine, as well as Atlantico, a breakfast and lunch restaurant, with Mediterranean influence and a focus on seafood. Poolside cabana and beach services complement the resort’s private beach and pools, including an adults-only pool area with exclusive day cabanas.

The newest Remède Spa, exclusive to St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, features 14,000 square feet of blissful surroundings including 12 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, men’s and women’s lounges, sauna and steam rooms, and a high tech fitness center with an ocean view. Offering the latest in treatments, the tranquil spa allows customized indulgence that surpasses the discerning tastes of St. Regis guests. The newest Remède Spa, exclusive to St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, features 14,000 square feet of blissful surroundings including 12 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, men’s and women’s lounges, sauna and steam rooms, and a high tech fitness center with an ocean view. Offering the latest in treatments, the tranquil spa allows customized indulgence that surpasses the discerning tastes of St. Regis guests. Within the Remède Spa is the intimate Prive Salon where Jordan Charron Foucher and Eduardo Bravo provide a bespoke salon experience for discerning clients. Haircuts, polished blow outs, color, seven customized treatments, glamorous up-dos and consultations are just a few of the services offered. A St. Regis Children’s Club is also on-site to cater to the resort’s youngest guests, complete with educational programs and interactive games as well as an innovative teen program with exciting excursions.

The Residences at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort offer exceptional private residences at the exclusive beachfront property. The spacious two and three bedroom residences feature innovative designs, state-of-the-art kitchens, and private balconies boasting large outdoor living areas and breathtaking ocean views. Residents enjoy access to all of the incredible amenities of the Resort.

Emirates to debut City of Churches flights in November 2012

Emirates will debut its presence in the City of Churches beginning 1 November 2012 up to four times a week on its Boeing 777-300ER and it will increase it to daily beginning 1 Feburary 2013.

The flight will depart out of Adelaide at 10.45pm every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, reaching  Dubai International Airport at 5.25am the next day. It is a gamble especially Adelaide has a curfew of its airspace by 11:00pm every night.

The flight out of Dubai to Adelaide on EK440 will depart 1.55am for arrival into Adelaide at 8.45pm the very same day itself.

Emirates will also boost its current double-daily Perth service to a triple-daily from 1 March 2013.

The new EK422/423 service will start on 1 December with five extra flights per week before stepping into daily from March next year.

It’ll leave Perth at 3.30pm and reach Dubai at 10.25pm, with the return leg out of DXB at 9.45pm for arrival into Perth at 12.25pm the next day.

That comes on top of the introduction of a daily A380 services from Melbourne, says Emirates Airline CEO Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

“The addition of Adelaide to our network and the boost to our Perth operations demonstrates our commitment to investment and growth in our Australian operations and highlights the economic strength and global demand for the two cities as business, leisure and investment destinations.”

The World’s First Harrods Hotel To Open In Kuala Lumpur

YES, you see it right. While we all know Harrods is a huge British luxury retailer from London, now the brand has another huge dream which is to turn the Harrods brand into a global brand.

What’s more of having a store like Harrods within the hotel itself? The experience can never be the same when the British luxury brand wholly owned by Qatar Holding and Malaysian-based company Jerantas Sdn Bhd will invest RM2 billion (approximately USD$ 635 million). Construction will start next year on the world’s first Harrod’s hotel in Kuala Lumpur, in the Bukit Bintang shopping district, says Bloomberg.

The building will house 300 hotel rooms, apartments, and, of course, retail outlets—most likely full of stuff we couldn’t afford back in London and probably still won’t be able to afford. But it’s still fun to look!

Qatar Holding has long-term plans to open Harrod’s hotels in London, New York, Paris, and Sardinia. And if that last one has you scratching your head, it’s because Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda in fact belongs to the company. And for now, the idea is to develop hotels only on land they already own.

P.S. I just miss my shopping in Harrods in Knightsbridge district in summer last year. Now, I can even shop in Kuala Lumpur itself.

Las Vegas Sands eyes South Korea Integrated Resort

Another Las Vegas in the East? No, not Macau or Singapore anymore. Las Vegas Sands (LVS) today announced in Seoul that they are thinking of opening its next Asian integrated resort in South Korea, adding to the four it has in Macau and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the Seoul MICE Forum yesterday, Marina Bay Sands president & CEO, George Tanasijevich, revealed that LVS was already in discussions with the South Korean government and private entities to enter the market.

According to Tanasijevich, South Korea had the characteristsics to be successful in supporting IR development due to its geographical location, robust infrastructure, positive image among travellers, and educated work force.

Even though he declined to reveal which locations LVS had its sights on, Seoul and Busan are believed to be on the shortlist.