Melbourne could get 108-storey hotel

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Two major accommodation projects have been announced for Melbourne this week and, if accepted, one could lead to the city having the highest hotel in the southern hemisphere.

Architectural firm Nonda Katsalidis has planned a five-star hotel that will tower 108 storeys above the city.

Nonda Katsalidis, that created the Eureka tower, has designed the proposed Australia 108 building for Southbank that would feature a number of triangular shapes jutting out from the building “inspired by the Southern Cross stars”.

Victoria’s planning minister Matthew Guy will have to make a decision on the Southbank project but already the Melbourne City Council maintains it is too big and inappropriate.

Menwhile United Asia Group hopes to start construction on a proposed 400-apartment mixed-use development on Flemington Rd by the end of 2013.

The $160 million development in North Melbourne will comprise three towers of 13 storeys.

“We are confident based on our initial market response and aim to launch the project by June-September this year,” UAG director Nicole Chow said.

The as yet unnamed project will have four retail outlets on the ground floor totalling 465m².

Some of the building’s 173 one-bedroom and 227 two-bedroom units will overlook an internal garden designed by SJB in association with renowned landscape designer Jack Merlo. It would also have a gymnasium, spa and
sauna facilities at the lower level and a pool, garden and barbecue terrace on the rooftop, Ms Chow said.

UAG’s $95 million, 92-apartment Emblem complex in Hawthorn is expected to be finished in October.

Sick of filling-out Hotel Registration form?

by William Ng

You may have flown around the world and last thing you would like to do is to fill up the registration form that the receptionist is asking you to fill in whenever you check into the hotel.

There are a few ways to escape from filling-up the registration form ahead of your stay.

1) Be part of a hotel loyalty program

If you are part of the hotel’s loyalty program, chances are you would have already registered your details with the brand be it at the desk when they entice you to sign up their loyalty program or you would have registered online. This is one of the step you can escaped from the hassle.

2) Business / Personal name card

If the hotel brand is somewhat new to you or not one of those you would stay regularly, chances are you’re not in their database yet (or that’s not available to you while making your booking). I would give the hotel my business card to skip this hassle if you’re tired and worn out after a long flight. Not only it saves you time, the hotel at least can read everything that has been typewritten out on the card rather than a scribbling hand-writing which might cause them to miss out on certain characters on your details.

MORE LUXURY HOTELS in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will see a few more new addition to its hotel brands with the opening of Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur late 2012. This year, aloft™ Kuala Lumpur will debut in Malaysia early March 2013.

The Artist Impression of the Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Image 1)

WORLD’s FIRST HARRODS HOTEL to open in 2018

In my previous post dated 4th July 2012, I have noted that the World’s so-called 7-star hotel, Harrods Hotel will debut in Kuala Lumpur and this has been firm.

Tradewinds Corp Bhd and Qatar Holding LLC will jointly develop the world’s first Harrods Hotel in Malaysia, which is estimated to cost around RM1 billion.

Qatar Holding, which owns Harrods Group, also has on the drawing board to build Harrods Hotels in London and Italy.

The Artist Impression of the Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Image 2)

The seven-star Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur, which will have more than 30 floors, will feature 250 to 300 hotel rooms and several floors for serviced apartments and retail space.

Two other luxury hotels under construction in Kuala Lumpur are St. Regis at KL Sentral by the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and the 65-storey Four Seasons Place near the Kuala Lumpur City Centre which many of us have heard of its rumours few year back has become a reality now.

It is understood that the cost to build each Harrods Hotel room is RM2.5 million to RM4 million, depending on the size and finishing.

A six-star hotel room costs an average RM2.5 million to build and for five-star hotel rooms, it will cost about RM1.5 million to RM2 million each.

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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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.

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.

AirAsia Japan says Konichiwa with FIRST Airbus A320

AirAsia X continues to shake regional flights in Asia with its new expansion in Japan. A joint venture between AirAsia Bhd and All Nippon Airways, the two airline forms AirAsia Japan Co Ltd officially August 2011. Its formation was announced only months after ANA had announced the formation of Peach, a low-cost airline based at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan.

The airline has just received its first A320 from Airbus in Toulouse, France and it has four other fleets that are on its way. The carrier will begin their commercial services on 1st August 2012 departing Narita International Airport in Tokyo to Sapporo and Fukuoka, and from 3rd August 2012 to Okinawa with an initial fleet of two aircraft.

“We are extremely happy to take delivery of our brand new Airbus A320. Our aim is to provide opportunities for everyone to fly with low fares. With the A320’s cabin comfort and operational reliability, we want to offer better access, in particular for the Japanese travelling public, and make them feel easy to fly,” said AirAsia Japan President Kazuyuki Iwakata.