Viking Officially Opens Reservations for New Mississippi River Cruises

 Viking has today opened reservations to the public for its inaugural Mississippi River cruises, launching 2022. The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul.

Currently scheduled ports of call on Viking’s new Mississippi River cruises comprise seven U.S. states: Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St. Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St. Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St. Paul).

As part of an exclusive preview promised by Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen, past Viking guests have been able to book the new Mississippi River cruises since 30 March 2020 and some departure dates are already nearly or completely sold out. As of today, all inaugural sailings of Viking Mississippi‘s 2022-2023 season are now available to the public for booking.

“At a time where many of us are at home, looking for inspiration to travel in the future, I am pleased to introduce a new, modern way to explore this great river. We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we got our start 23 years ago—first on the rivers of Russia and then in Europe. Since then, many people have come to appreciate the unique exploration that comes with river cruising—but currently there are very few options to do so on American rivers,” said Hagen when the new Mississippi River cruises were announced on March 30, 2020.

“Our guests are curious travellers, and they continue to tell us that the Mississippi is the river they most want to sail with us. No other waterway has played such an important role in America’s history, commerce and culture.”

The highly anticipated announcement of Viking’s arrival on the Mississippi is the most recent milestone as the company continues to expand its fleet and destination-focused travel offerings. In January 2020 the company unveiled Viking Expeditions, with the first 378-guest purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, launching in January 2022 on voyages to Antarctica and then North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic.

Viking Mississippi

Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages.

Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region.

Highlights of the new ship include:

Rendering of the Viking Mississippi – Seating area on the Bow in front of the Explorer’s Lounge.

·       All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from an unparalleled seven spacious stateroom categories that range from 268 sq. ft to 1,024 sq. ft: Veranda, French Balcony, Deluxe Veranda, Penthouse Veranda, Penthouse Jr. Suite, Terrace Suite and Explorer Suite. All staterooms feature a private veranda or French balcony, king-size bed with luxury linens, large flat-screen interactive TV, mini-bar, large glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and 24-hour room service.

 

·       Viking Suites: Viking Mississippi will have some of the largest true suites on the river, with every suite featuring two rooms and a full-size veranda off the spacious sitting room. Guests in Penthouse Jr. Suites (400 sq. ft.) and Terrace Suites (425 sq. ft.) receive early stateroom access; expanded double-sink bathroom; mini-bar with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily; welcome champagne; and laundry, pressing and shoe shine services. Guests in the expansive Explorer Suites (657 sq. ft. to 1,024 sq. ft) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package.

·       Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow: Familiar to Viking’s ocean guests as one of the most popular onboard public spaces, Viking Mississippi will also feature an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship. The sun-filled, two-story Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, a unique outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where guests can relax and enjoy ever-changing riverside views 

·       River Café: From American classics to Mamsen’s Norwegian specialties, this indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck will offer alternative restaurant dining in a casual al fresco setting.  

·       Aquavit Terrace: A public space beloved by many of Viking’s ocean and river guests, Viking Mississippi will also feature a revolutionary Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space ideal for an American barbecue experience. Combined with the River Café, the Aquavit Terrace will provide the most al fresco dining options on the Mississippi. 

·       Sun Terrace with Infinity Plunge Pool: Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Mississippi will have a glass-backed pool experience at the aft, allowing guests to take a dip while fully surrounded by their destination.

·       The Living Room: Clean Scandinavian design paired with American influences, the Living Room on Deck 1 is designed for socializing, relaxing and entertainment. Nearby, the quiet corner of The Library, is a perfect place to discover a new book.

·       The Restaurant: This main dining venue on Deck 1 will serve daily-changing menus featuring delicious regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

·       Full 360-Degree Promenade Deck: Guests can stroll the entire ship outside on Deck 1, stretching their legs while viewing scenic landscape and regional wildlife.

·       Enrichment On Board and On Shore: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking creating “the thinking person’s cruise.” A focus on cultural enrichment on board Viking Mississippi means that guests will enjoy Destination Performances that represent the most iconic music of the region—as well as Guest Lecturers that shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more. And only The Viking Way of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Privileged Access, Local Life and Working World experiences, opening doors to places otherwise difficult to visit. On Viking’s Mississippi River itineraries, guests may choose to take a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou; visit a working farm in Quad Cities; or immerse themselves in Cajun culture during a Privileged Access excursion to the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University. 

·       Sustainable Features: Solar panels, LED lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light and an energy-efficient hybrid propulsion system will make Viking Mississippi the most environmentally friendly passenger ship on the Mississippi River.

·       Viking Inclusive Value: Every Mississippi River cruise fare includes everything guests need, with no surprises or hidden fees. Cruise fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all gratuities, port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service, lectures, alternative dining at no extra charge, self-service launderettes, 24-hour room service and free Wi-Fi.

2022-2023 Viking Mississippi Inaugural Voyages 

  • America’s Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul or v.v)—From pristine farms nestled in rolling terrain to steep bluff rising from tributaries dotted with wooded islands, the Upper Mississippi offers a rich tapestry of beauty upon every turn of the river. This journey introduces you to the unforgettable experience of the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers. Hear stories of settlers migrating west; learn about Lewis & Clark, Mark Twain, John Deere and the Amish and Norwegian migrations; experience the regional music like polka and Norwegian folk; and taste reginal cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese. Priced from AUD$6,995pp, twin share.
  • Heart of the Delta (8 days; New Orleans to Memphis or v.v.)—This journey on the Lower Mississippi is infused with American history, culture and heritage. Tour the area where the migrating French and Acadians settled; immerse yourself in the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement; discover the music of the South—jazz, blues and gospel; and experience the life and food culture of the south, from Cajun and Creole to the famed “dry” Memphis BBQ. Priced from AUD$5,695pp, twin share.
  • Southern Celebration (8 days; New Orleans–Vicksburg–New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, visit the historic homes of Louisiana and Mississippi; learn about Civil War history, touring sites like Vicksburg National Military Park; and discover the excitement and unique flavors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Priced from AUD$5,795pp, twin share.
  • America’s Great River (15 days; New Orleans to St. Paul or v.v.)—Experience nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River on this incredible journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost reaches of the U.S. Relax and enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this leisurely voyage. Enjoy southern charm and beautifully preserved homes in Natchez; retrace the steps of Civil Rights leaders in Memphis; ascend the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; and visit “The Norwegian Valley” in La Crosse. Priced from AUD$14,595pp, twin share.

For additional information, visit vikingcruises.com.au or phone 138 747 (AU) | 0800 447 913 (NZ).

RIMOWA TRAVELS

RIMOWA TRAVELS TO VENICE BEACH FOR A BEACH-INSPIRED COLLABORATION WITH GARRETT LEIGHT’S EYEWEAR BRAND GLCO

Marked by a shared passion for craftsmanship and expertise, RIMOWA and indie eyewear brand Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO) join forces to release a special edition collection inspired by the sun-soaked surf culture and psychedelic art scene of the Californian coast.

“We’re excited to team up with Garrett Leight to launch RIMOWA’s first-ever eyewear collaboration,” said Alexandre Arnault, CEO of RIMOWA. “As long-time fans of Garrett Leight California Optical, we were thrilled to develop this exclusive Venice Beach-inspired beach set together coinciding with the California brand’s 10th anniversary.”

In just ten years, Garrett Leight’s eyewear brand has gained a loyal cult following of its own including some of the most recognizable global tastemakers. Blending old and new, iconic and innovative, Garrett Leight California Optical brings a fresh perspective to classically tailored eyewear. Using only the highest quality materials, Garrett Leight California Optical frames are carefully designed at their studio in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles and manufactured with cutting edge technology, attention to detail, and skilled hand detailing.

“I always look for best-in-class partners to collaborate with, and there’s truly no one better than RIMOWA when it comes to luggage. Sunglasses are an important accessory for any traveller, so partnering with them to create this experiential package for our consumers felt very organic,” said Garrett Leight, Founder & CEO of GLCO. “Paying homage to our California heritage and the legendary eras that inspired this collaboration is a perfect way to celebrate our ten years in business.”

The exclusive eyewear collaboration includes six pairs of expertly crafted sunglasses, two luggage sticker sets and a limited-edition RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical Essential Cabin Suitcase in white gloss. Inside the suitcase, customers will find a pair of RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical Gold sunglasses and a complete line of beach-ready accessories, including a beach towel, surf wax, the limited-edition luggage sticker sets, and a luggage tag specially crafted for this partnership.

Captured in a campaign written and directed by Dave Franco that celebrates the lifestyle and culture of Venice Beach, the special edition eyewear collection includes six sunglass designs, including three metal and three acetate frames. Lens colours vary from sepia, green, blue or black. Each pair of RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical sunglasses comes housed in a unique co-branded grooved sunglasses case.

Available starting from March 12, 2020, the RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical sunglasses (HK$3,220 each) and the RIMOWA x Garrett Leight California Optical Essential Suitcase (HK$8,850) will be available in select retail stores and online at RIMOWA.com and GarrettLeight.com.

 

4 health and wellness tips to help you travel safe and well

We all know that most people are scared to travel during this time, but for those that do have to, what can they do to ensure a safer and more enjoyable air travel? We present to you 4 health and wellness tips designed to help your readers travel safe and well!

  1. Healthier meals onboard

The dry environment within an aircraft cabin often makes dehydration a problem, leading to fatigue, headaches and nausea. Onboard its longest Perth-London flights, Australian national carrier Qantas has developed a series new dishes featuring delicious ingredients that have added benefits of hydration, such as green leafy vegetables, cucumber, strawberries and celery. To learn all about the new menu.

  1. Health booster beverages & fine wine selection for relaxation

When consumed in moderation, alcohol can offer travellers some much-needed relaxation and promote healthy sleep. With an award-winning wine selection that includes the likes ofGiant Steps Tarraford Vineyard Syrah (2018), Shaw and Smith Lenswood Vineyard Chardonnay (2017), and Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, the Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers are proud to present an exceptional selection of wine from boutique producers to iconic brands from across Australia, New Zealand and Champagne.

For customers that don’t fancy the booze, there’s a bespoke herbal tea, which encourages relaxation developed especially for Qantas by Dilmah, made from lemon verbena chamomile and lemongrass. Meanwhile, a hot chocolate bedtime drink with the combination of warm milk and chocolate containing the sleep inducing amino acid Tryptophan help prompt the body’s sleep cycle, while an organic kombucha by Remedy is full of natural probiotics that assist with digestion.

  1. Amenities to promote healthy sleep inflight

From soft-cotton sleepwear designed by renowned Aussie fashion designer Martin Grant to indulgent male and female amenity kits filled with bespoke ASPAR products by Aurora Spa, the Qantas sleep experience in First Class is built around the airline’s anticipation of everything its passengers may require throughout their journey. The bedding down service with Sheridan bedding, a pillow menu, and 100% cotton woven throw, duvet and memory foam mattress are your ticket to a truly peaceful sleep.

  1. Active movement & inflight exercise

Maintaining movement and stretching can work wonders in keeping the body active during a flight, and this was something that travellers took part in last year onboard Qantas’ ultra-long-haul research flights.

Season of Slow Adventures with Champagne

Belmond announces a new season of ‘slow adventures with Champagne’ on some of its fabled trains and cruises Belmond British PullmanBelmond Grand Hibernian and Belmond Afloat in France. From a pop-up pub on the rails in Ireland to travelling in the upmost style to some of the UK’s most celebrated events of ‘The Season’ and a 12 Michelin-starred culinary week on Belmond Afloat in France.

THE BEST OF BRITISH – ‘THE SEASON’

Belmond British Pullman toasts the British social season with the launch of four new journeys to some of society’s most prestigious events: Royal Ascot, Guards Polo Club’s Royal Windsor Cup Final, Glyndebourne and ‘Glorious Goodwood’.

The luxury train is set to transport guests in style between London’s Victoria Station in the comfort and luxury of the storied vintage 1920s and 1930s carriages. Delectable cuisine is served by liveried stewards before arriving at the coveted events.

First out of the starting gate in 2020, Belmond British Pullman’s heads to Royal Ascot for the penultimate day of the legendary racing week; on midsummer’s day on 21st June 2020, the train travels to Windsor for the final of the prestigious ‘Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Windsor Cup’ at Guards Polo Club. Belmond British Pullman then gently gallops on to Goodwood Racecourse for ‘Glorious Goodwood’ on 31st July 2020. The final furlong of Belmond’s social season on the rails celebrates 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, at the legendary Glyndebourne Festival for an exceptional performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio.

 

BESPOKE IRISH HOSPITALITY

Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland’s only luxury sleeper train introduces new personalised experiences that takes guests off the rails and into the heart of Ireland’s eclectic and adventurous landscape. Guests can now tailor their experience by choosing from a range of activities whether seeking adventure, getting close to nature or immersing in the rich Celtic culture, myths and legends – from kayaking at sunset on the lake at Killarney, paddle boarding across Clew Bay, kissing the blarney stone at Blarney Castle, horse riding on the beach in Carrowholly or exploring foodie Galway.

New for 2020 – Belmond bring the warmth and craic of traditional hospitality direct to the rails with a ‘pop-up’ pub in the traditional style of a ‘Shebeen – once known as an illicit inn’. Popping up along the route to offer a taste of traditional Ireland, music, Guinness and dancing.

 

CRUISING ALONG THE ‘MICHELIN’ STARRED WATERWAYS

Belmond Afloat in France announces its most decadent offering to date with the launch of its new “Epicurean Burgundy: A 12-star cruise”. Cruising through Burgundy and Beaujolais, from St-Jean-de-Losne to Lyon, guests are invited to dine at a different Michelin- starred restaurant each day – experiencing a total of 12 stars throughout the week.

The cruise departs on 9th August 2020 for seven days aboard Belmond Napoléon and sees guests experience six different Michelin-starred restaurants throughout the week ranging from one Michelin-starred to those that have been awarded the highest accolade of three. Three-starred Georges Blanc, Eric Pras’ Maison Lameloise and Jean Michel Lorain’s La Côte Saint-Jacques are all stops on this Gastronomic adventure.

Emirates to Offer Complimentary Hotel Accommodation and Free Excess Baggage Allowance for Travellers to Dubai

Book special fares and enjoy an unforgettable journey to amazing city of Dubai

What better way to kick start the New Year than with a visit to the dynamic city of Dubai? This winter, Emirates is offering a chance for travellers from Hong Kong to explore more of Dubai for less. If visiting Dubai is on your bucket list, Emirates is giving travelers a compelling reason to book a trip now. During this limited time offer, travelers are able to enjoy great fares, loaded with added-value perks, in addition to acomplimentary 2-night hotel stay in the heart of Dubai and 10kg free excess baggage allowance for local travellers.

A visit to Dubai is a must, being named one of the world’s best cities for travellers to visit in 2020 by Lonely Planet. Known for its unique combination of iconic attractions, entertainment destinations, outdoor and cultural offerings, as well as picturesque skylines and architecture, Dubai is a traveller’s paradise and there’s no better time to visit than now.

In the promotion which runs from 2-15 December 2019, return fares to Dubai start at HKD 2,999 in Economy Class and at HKD 16,990 in Business Class and are valid for travel between 5-27 December 2019 and 3 January-31 May 2020. Economy Class passengers who book flights within the promotional period can enjoy two nights’ accommodation at either Rove at the Park or Rove Healthcare City; while First Class and Business Class passengers who book flights during the same period can enjoy two nights’ accommodation at either the Address Sky View or Address Dubai Mall.

When booking the flight tickets on emirates.com/hk, travellers simply need to enter the promotional code, FEDUBAI, before making payment. The complimentary hotel stay will then be booked and confirmed. The hotel offer is on a room-only and single or double-occupancy basis, with up to one child under 12 years old sharing the same room for Economy Class travel and up to two children under 12 years for Business Class or First Class bookings. The offer includes taxes and is subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.

Emirates passengers will also be able to enjoy 10kg of free extra baggage allowance when travelling to Dubai during the promotional period (5-27 December 2019 and 3 January-31 May 2020), alleviating the stress of packing and leaving more room for shopping. As an ideal stopover and holiday destination, Dubai boasts a unique mix of eclectic buildings, iconic landmarks, delicious international cuisine, as well as world-class shopping. With the Dubai Shopping Festival 2020 happening from 26 December 2019 until 1 February 2020, travellers can now worry less and shop more with the additional baggage allowance on their return journey. What’s more is that visitors can stretch their travel budget with My Emirates Pass – a seasonal pass that turns an Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership package – allowing customers to redeem discounts and special benefits in over 500 locations across the UAE. Travellers flying to and through Dubai between 1 January and 31 March 2020 can avail the offer and enjoy up to 30% off on retail outlets and up to 50% off on leisure activities by simply presenting their boarding pass and a valid form of identification.

With door-to-door chauffeur service to and from the airport in over 75 cities worldwide, luxury on-ground lounges and on board enhancements, First and Business Class travellers Fly Better with a seamless travel experience.Passengers traveling on the Boeing 777 Business Class enjoy unprecedented levels of comfort with wider and more ergonomic seats that recline into a lie-flat position for a restful sleep. Kick back, relax and choose from up to 4,500 channels of the latest TV and on-demand content in multiple languages with Emirates’ award-winning ice inflight entertainment system. As the perfect living space, the A380 Business Class offers travellers their own personal minibar and with the A380 Onboard Lounge, where they can choose to enjoy their ride in private, or network, and relax in a fully-flat bed with cosy mattress and blanket.

Economy Class travellers can also experience the comforts of flying with Emirates’ unique offering that is loaded with extra value. Amenity kits ensure that passengers arrive feeling refreshed, and environmentally-friendly soft fleece blankets make family traveling with children feel cosy at home. Inflight meal services, inspired by destination, are served to children first, ensuring that they are attended to. Young flyers will be nothing short of inspired with the non-stop entertainment on board, featuring the latest cartoons, animated movies and Disney classics. Ignite the wanderlust in young travellers with Emirates’ Lonely Planet Kids packs, filled with interesting trivia facts and creative craft.

For more information on Emirates, including how to book flights and a complete list of terms and conditions for this offer, visit emirates.hk/en/dubaipush.

Heritage Line Pushes Boat Out With Special Offer on Mekong Journey

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM. Heritage Line, one of Asia’s leading boutique cruise operators, is pushing out the boat by offering a huge discount on one of its signature lower Mekong journeys.

An epic 7-day voyage linking Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s vibrant southern hub, and Siem Reap, the gateway to the iconic World Heritage temples of Angkor in Cambodia, “The Lost Civilization” itinerary ranks as one of Southeast Asia’s most memorable river journeys.

And for a limited time, travellers can enjoy a 20% reduction on selected sailings on one of two of the operator’s exquisite vessels: Heritage Line Jahan and Heritage Line Jayavarman, both of which offer gourmet cuisine, inimitable décor and outfitting and a wide selection of tailored on-and-off boat experiences.

Departures run between 18 January and 25 April 2020. Bookings can be made between now and 15 February 2020. See here for more information on departures that qualify for the discount.

PIMALAI RESORT

Pimalai Resort & Spa, the luxurious and natural retreat on pure shores of Koh Lanta, has unveiled a series of stunning packages for the remainder of 2019 and 2020, offering a variety of different ways to experience the resort’s exquisite amenities and idyllic environment in one of the world’s most desirable destinations.

Five fantastic options are available from 1st November to 20th December 2019 and 11th January to 30thApril 2020. The three-night Secret Sanctuary package invites guests to stay in a spacious deluxe room or a spectacular one-, two- or three-bedroom pool villa, creating options for intimate getaways or family vacations. This enticing offer also includes an à la carte dinner, a one-hour aromatic massage, and a half-day island excursion to beautiful Koh Rok with a barbecue lunch, or a four-hour sunset cruise to Koh Haa with snorkelling, canapés and drinks. Prices start at THB 39,180 based on double occupancy and include breakfast, airport transfers, tax and service charge. These services are included in all Pimalai’s packages.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alternatively, The Ultimate Dream is ideal for extended romantic breaks. From THB 78,700, this promotion features five nights in a choice of rooms or pool villas, plus an à la carte dinner, a three-hour signature Royal Koo Rak massage, an island excursion and a private candlelit dinner on the resort’s soft and secluded sandy beach. And keen scuba divers can explore the enthralling underwater world with a three-night Diving Package, which includes accommodation in a deluxe room or one-bedroom pool villa and an à la carte dinner, plus a full-day diving excursion to Koh Haa (two dives), full equipment rental and national marine park fees. This package’s price starts at THB 41,190.

Throughout this entire period (1st November to 30th April 2020*), Pimalai invites couples to celebrate their wedding or honeymoon in paradise with a choice of offers. From THB 95,900, the two-night Wedding Package allows brides and grooms to experience the tropical island wedding they always dreamed of, with indulgent accommodation and a barefoot beachfront ceremony overlooking the azure Andaman Sea. For newly-weds, the two-night Honeymoon Package promises pure relaxation, including an à la carte dinner, a one-hour aromatic massage, sunset cocktails and a bottle of sparkling wine. Rates start at THB 26,520 for a Deluxe room.

“At Pimalai, we understand that all of our wonderful guests are different, so we have designed a series of packages that reflect their varied needs and interests. Whether you’re seeking an exotic escape with your loved one, an activity-filled adventure, a relaxing family holiday, or even a dream wedding or honeymoon, we can cater to your needs. With such an amazing array of amenities, including delectable dining, a serene spa and enticing offshore islands just waiting to be explored, Pimalai’s packages will help you create memories that last a lifetime,” said Patrice Landrein, Pimalai’s general manager.

Pimalai is a small slice of heaven, where the azure sea meets the white sand, surrounded by verdant jungle. While it feels a million miles away from the tourist bustle, this luxury resort is easily accessible and comes fully equipped with iconic facilities, including world-class restaurants and the stunning Pimalai Spa.

For more information and to book your perfect package at Pimalai, please visit www.pimalai.com, email reservation@pimalai.com or call +66 (0) 2320 5500.

Soneva

Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator, recently unveiled its calendar of events and visiting experts, chefs, athletes and wellness practitioners for the festive season. Guests at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives, and those at Soneva Kiri in Thailand can indulge their senses with a range of activities, experiences, tastings, culinary events and performances from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day and beyond.

To celebrate the beginning of 2020, Soneva’s iconic New Year’s Eve Journeys are once again taking place at each resort on December 31. Expect winding, torch-lit paths with live cooking stations where guests can sample international flavours and sip on innovative and refreshing cocktail creations. Magicians, acrobats and musicians provide the entertainment, before the night culminates in a spectacular countdown to the New Year. DJs will be at each resort, spinning tunes into the early morning hours, beginning 2020 with a bang. This year, each resort will be hosting a Junior MasterChef competition for Soneva’s younger guests to show off their skills in the kitchen. The winner of each competition will take away a Soneva holiday.

Soneva Fushi

Chef Tim Raue (December 25, 2019 – January 8, 2020), from the Netflix show Chef’s Table and Chef Bart de Pooter (December 10-23) will heat up the intimate chef’s table, Once Upon a Table, with their renowned cuisine.

Mikael Silvestre and Karina LeBlanc (December 20-24) are returning to the resort for the second edition of their Festive Football Camp. Children and teenagers can learn ball skills, strategy, and the psychological and emotional sides of the ‘beautiful game’. The former world No. 4 men’s singles tennis player, Jonas Björkman (December 15-26) will be hosting a limited number of one-on-one coaching sessions for guests. Lana Murphy, who has won 10 gold medals at the Swedish ballroom dancing championships, returns to Soneva Fushi for complimentary group dance lessons or private lessons for a fee. This year, Lana will be hosting a dancing competition for children and teenagers on New Year’s Eve. Each of the contestants will be given complimentary lessons in the lead up to the competition.

Lovers of history will be able to meet and learn from Oxford’s Professor of Global History and author of ‘The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World’, Peter Frankopan (December 14-22). Explore the night skies with Lars Christensen (December 20-28), the award-winning astronomer and science communicator who has been responsible for communication from the Hubble Space Telescope, ALMA, and La Silla, to name a few.

Celebrate Christmas Eve with cocktails on the sandbank, numerous pop-up specialty bars, Champagne and caviar tastings, and wine dinners are perfect for indulgences. Soneva Fushi’s younger guests can take part in Soneva’s Junior MasterChef competition. Two rounds of contestants will see three from each round making it to the final cook off. The dishes will be judged by none other than Chef Tim Raue, Chef Sobah (a World Chef Association Judge), and Chef Kevin Fawkes (Iron Chef, Thailand), the winner will walk away with a holiday at Soneva.Soneva Jani

Guests can reap the benefits of Roger Moore’s (December 13, 2019 – January 3, 2020) blend of Eastern and Western healing therapies. Roger was named one of the top eight ‘Therapists in the World Worth Travelling For’ in Tatler Traveller’s ‘Little Black Book’. Roger spends his time travelling between Asia and Europe while consulting for private clients, captains of industry and celebrities.  Bill Curry (November 10, 2019 – February 1, 2020) lends his expertise in Reiki, Deep Tissue Fusion massage and meditation to guests, helping them reduce stress and heal.

All guests are encouraged to take part in decorating Soneva Jani’s Christmas tree. Dine in the Dark, Champagne tastings and wine pairings, and degustation menus round out the culinary offerings. A family treasure hunt on the island, sandcastle building, eco-friendly surfing lessons, cooking lessons and more are available to fill the holidays with fun.

Soneva Kiri

Chef Massimo Camia (December 10-17), brings his passion for cooking and serving authentic Italian food made using seasonal ingredients to the island of Koh Kood.  Valter Fissore (December 10-17) will introduce guests to the Elvio Cogno winery, which produces the principle wines of the Langhe region. With four Barolo labels, Elvio Cogno is known for creating wines that are famous the world over for their elegance, texture and balance. Both Massimo and the Elvio Cogno winery are based in the province of Cuneo.

Butterball turkey, stuffing and chipolatas are the highlights of the Christmas Eve dinner that will feature everyone’s favourite Christmas dishes. Between the main events, guests at Soneva Kiri can enjoy cooking Master Classes for sushi, sashimi and plant-based cuisine, as well as learning to make truffles with the resident chocolatier. Pop-up dinners featuring Middle Eastern and Japanese cuisine are sure to tempt taste buds, while on North Beach, themed lunches take place almost every day. Explore the island of Koh Kood and its crystal-clear waters, while for the children there are cake decorating and milkshake workshops to keep them entertained.

 

Aspen Snowmass Winter 2019/20

As winter approaches, Aspen Snowmass prepares for the upcoming ski season with a new restaurant, season pass deals, new events, and expanded offerings.

 

At Snowmass, Sam’s, a new Italian restaurant, will debut this winter as a sit-down lunch offering. The large Snowmass Base Village Development continues into the next phase with the opening of The Collective, a new community center as well as additional retail and dining options.

 

For events, Aspen Snowmass sees the return of ski racing in March with both the U.S. Alpine Tech Championships and NASTAR National Championships.

 

In hospitality, The Little Nell heads into the winter season with a recent renovation and celebrates its 30th anniversary and the Limelight Hotel Snowmass enters its second winter season.

 

Expanded resort offerings include new adult clinics, bigger rewards on the Aspen Snowmass app and an additional Four Mountain Sports Store in the new W Hotel.

 

On the sustainability front, Aspen Snowmass partners with Taiga Motors to test out a new electric snowmobile, raises entry level pay to $15 per hour and prints all trail maps on stone paper helping with deforestation.

 

“After last season’s record snowfall we have a lot of momentum going into the 2019-20 season,” says Katie Ertl, senior vice president of mountain operations for Aspen Snowmass. “Along with big projects like the remodel of Sam’s restaurant and new snowmaking a bit further up on Lover’s Lane at Buttermilk, our expert employees have been hard at work maintaining the mountains with other projects such as new gear box rebuilds on four lifts, snowmaking replacement lines on Highlands and Snowmass, along with mowing/brush cutting grass on ski runs in anticipation of ski season. We are curious to see what this winter brings and look forward to rolling out the red carpet once again for our guests, passholders and locals.”

 

The following details what’s new at Aspen Snowmass for the coming winter 2019/20 season.

 

 

Snowmass Base Village Development Continues

Located at the base of Snowmass Ski Area in the heart of Snowmass Village, Colo., the Snowmass Base Village (SBV) development is a $600 million mountain-resort development, currently the largest under construction in North America. The first phase of construction was completed last fall and included the new Limelight Hotel Snowmass, ski-in/ski-out residences, public events plaza with ice skating rink, fire pits, and community building. This winter, The Collective, a new community center will open in December 2019 with a new restaurant and bar as well as a community and game lounge. The new One Snowmass building will include additional retail and dining options.

  • The Collective

Continuing the expansion of the Snowmass Base Village, a new community center, called The Collective, will open in December 2019. The space will include a new restaurant concept, titled Mix6, by award-winning Aspen chef Martin Oswald. Oswald brings his 35-year culinary expertise to Snowmass with a fast-casual style restaurant that invites diners to mix and match up to six seasonal ingredients cooked from scratch every day. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner. Right next to Mix6, MoxiBar will offer inventive cocktails, craft beers, and renowned wines. A new community lounge will debut in The Collective featuring entertainment, speakers and live music throughout the year from local organizations such as Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Belly Up, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Thunder River Theatre Company, Aspen Film and more.

  • New One Snowmass Building Opens Retail and Dining Options

JÜS Snowmass will debut with its second location (the first located downtown Aspen), with hand-crafted cold-pressed juice blends, smoothies and dairy-free drinks. The menu will also include healthy breakfast options such as smoothie bowls, burritos and bagels with lunchtime selections including wraps, sandwiches and salads. A new yoga studio, King Yoga, will open in partnership with local yogi Aaron King and will offer daily yoga classes available to the public. Eye Pieces, a Colorado-based optical boutique, will also be opening in One Snowmass. Straight Line Studio presented by local artist Kelly Peters will open as a community-based art studio and gallery. Lastly, a full service Salon and Spa will be available with haircuts, manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.

  • Limelight Hotel Snowmass

The Limelight Hotel Snowmass opened December 2018 with 99 hotel rooms and 11 for-sale condominiums, plus a new restaurant, a children’s game area as well as a five-story climbing wall that is open to the public and the tallest of its kind in the state. Modeled after the company’s existing properties in Aspen, Colo. and Ketchum, Idaho, the hotel is located adjacent to Snowmass Mountain’s

Elk Camp Gondola providing ski-in/ski-out access. The new hotel property remains consistent with the Limelight brand featuring amenities and extras such as an expanded continental breakfast, après ski deals in the Lounge, live music, adventure activities such as First Tracks and Inside Tracks, a ski concierge as well as pet-friendly rooms. For more information, visitwww.limelighthotels.com/snowmass.

 

For more information about the Snowmass Base Village development, visit www.allinsnowmass.com.

 

Hospitality

 

The Little Nell Remodel and 30th Anniversary Celebration

The Little Nell is Aspen’s only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond, ski-in/ski-out hotel located just steps from Aspen Mountain. Recently, the illustrious hotel underwent an interior renovation of the living room, lobby and the après-ski bar called Chair 9. The renovation, which took place Spring of 2019, created a modern, art-centric aesthetic from international renowned design firm Champalimaud. Simultaneously, Ajax Tavern, a ski-in/ski-out restaurant located inside The Little Nell, was renovated by Rowland + Broughton, an architecture and interior design firm based out of Aspen/Denver, which resulted in brightening the bistro interior and upgrading the patio. This Thanksgiving, The Little Nell is also celebrating its 30th Anniversary. Commemorative events and happenings will take place throughout the 2019/20 winter season in honor of the 30th anniversary. More information to come. www.thelittlenell.com

 

New Sam’s Restaurant on Snowmass

Aspen Snowmass introduces Sam’s, a new Italian restaurant located at 10,620 ft. at the top of Sam’s Knob on Snowmass. The new restaurant features a modern Italian concept that will offer diners sweeping views of the Elk Mountains and a sophisticated but lively food experience. The $2.5 million remodel features an open bar area, live-action kitchen, fireplace with relaxed seating and a stylish deck. An added slipper room will greet diners with the option to remove ski boots and slip into a pair of comfy slippers. Sam’s will feature a curated wine list and signature cocktails such as the negroni spritz. The new restaurant will open in November 2019. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com/sams.

 

Events

 

Ski Racing Returns to Aspen Snowmass with 2020 and 2022 U.S. Alpine Tech Championships

Aspen Snowmass, in collaboration with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard and Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club (AVSC), will host the 2020 U.S. Alpine Tech Championships Mar. 28-31 at Snowmass and Aspen Highlands. The agreement also ensures the return of the U.S. Alpine Tech Championships to Aspen Snowmass in March of 2022. Tech Championships include the disciplines of men’s and women’s slalom, giant slalom and parallel slalom. The last time Aspen Snowmass hosted a U.S. Alpine Tech Championships was 60 years ago, but ski racing runs deep in the Roaring Fork Valley, as the resort not only hosted the first World Championships outside of Europe in 1950, but has been a continuous stop on the World Cup circuit for both the men and women. Aspen also hosted the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals.

 

Aspen Snowmass to Also Host 2020 and 2021 NASTAR National Championships

Prior to hosting the U.S. Alpine Tech Championships, Aspen Snowmass will host the 2020 and 2021 NASTAR National Championships at Snowmass Mar. 24-28, 2020 and Mar. 23-27, 2021. NASTAR is a youth feeder program for the U.S. Ski Team, and U.S. Ski Team athletes set the pace for NASTAR. For the first time, both events will be at the same venue, allowing the top recreational racers to have the unique opportunity to compete side-by-side with the best American alpine ski racing athletes. More than 50,000 racers will compete at 100 resorts across the country to qualify for a spot at the National Championships. Recreational racers compete within their age and ability group to earn a National Championship title and place in the final, Race of Champions. Each National Champion carries their handicap into the race to compete for the overall win. For more information about the NASTAR National Championships, visitwww.nastar.com/national-championships.

 

Rental/Retail

 

New Four Mountain Sports Rental Shop to be Located in the New W Hotel
A new 730-square foot Four Mountain Sports rental shop will be located in the new W Hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The store will offer skis and snowboards for rent as well as for-purchase accessories such as goggles, gloves, hats and more. Four Mountain Sports will be the first in the industry to offer MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) technology for rental helmets. Four Mountain Sports also offers top-of-the-line Dynafit alpine touring rentals at all locations, including at the new W Hotel store. For more information, visitwww.aspensnowmass.com/rentals.

 

Sustainable PHANTOM Base Treatment Used on all Four Mountain Sports Rental Skis and Snowboards
PHANTOM is a permanent, one-time application, waxless base treatment that eliminates the future need for waxing skis and snowboards. The base treatment uses a timed polymerization process that permanently penetrates the entire thickness of the base material with powerful go-fast fluoro compositions designed to operate across all snow temperatures. It’s a one-time application that is also safe for the environment compared to traditional waxes. Cured PHANTOM doesn’t cause biological damage, and doesn’t present any long-term environmental risks.

 

Sustainability

 

New Agreement with Taiga Motors

For the 2019-20 winter season, Aspen Snowmass enters a new agreement with Taiga Motors that will introduce an electric snowmobile to the resort with the goal of efficiently accelerating the transition to more sustainable mountain operations vehicles. Aspen Snowmass was selected to participate in the Flagship Partner Program which gives rights to test out a new, Taiga Motors electric snowmobile. The program helps showcase the commitment of ski resort brands leading the charge towards increased winter sports sustainability. Taiga recognizes the value of working hand-in-hand with partners to gather product feedback and better shape the future of snowmobiling.

 

2019/20 Aspen Snowmass Trails Maps Being Printed on Stone Paper

This season, all of Aspen Snowmass’ trail maps are being printed on paper made from stone rather than the traditional pulp paper. Stone paper uses ground up waste rock as the primary content instead of tree fiber and is the environmentally responsible alternative to paper made from wood pulp or synthetic paper. It is much better for the environment as it reuses waste minerals versus cutting down trees. Also, production of the paper requires far less energy which results in lower CO2 emissions, manufacturing does not pollute waterways with toxins like traditional pulp mills and it does not cause deforestation. For more information about stone paper, visit http://stonepaperinfo.com/.

 

To read the latest Aspen Snowmass sustainability report, visit https://www.aspensnowmass.com/we-are-different/sustainability-reports.

 

Ski and Snowboard Schools

 

New Adult Clinics

Aspen Snowmass introduces the new offering of Adult Clinics built for intermediate to expert skiers looking to refine and hone their skiing and snowboarding skills. More than a lesson, the adult clinics utilize professional coaches from the Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen Snowmass to work on skills such as refining carved turns, mastering moguls, or conquering steeper terrain.

 

Technology

 

Aspen Snowmass App—Bigger Rewards

The Aspen Snowmass App offers a convenient way for guests to access mountain conditions, tracked skier days, interactive mapping of a guest’s movement, year-over-year stats for vertical feet and Highland Bowl laps, as well as information about activities, lift tickets, lessons and more. New this year, the App will offer bigger rewards. Updated app benefits include a $15 food & beverage credit valid at on-mountain restaurants, $10 credit at Four Mountain Sports, $25 off Ski and Snowboard School lessons as well as exclusive access to all things Aspen Snowmass. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com/app.

 

Winter Operations

Aspen Mountain

Opening: Nov. 28, 2019

Closing: Apr. 19, 2020

Aspen Highlands

Opening: Dec. 7, 2019

Closing: Apr. 12, 2020

Buttermilk

Opening: Dec. 7, 2019

Closing: Apr. 5, 2020

Snowmass

Opening: Nov. 28, 2019

Closing: Apr. 19, 2020

 

Deals

 

Season Pass Products with Access to Aspen Snowmass

 

The Ikon Pass

The Ikon Pass is the new standard in season passes, connecting skiers and riders to some of the most iconic mountains across the globe with access to more than 84,000 acres of terrain at 41 premier ski and ride destinations. Aspen Snowmass is pleased to be a part of the pass product with 7-day combined access when purchasing the Ikon Pass (no black-out dates), and 5-day combined access when purchasing the Ikon Base Pass (black-out dates included). New this year, the IKON pass adds Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colo. and Zermatt, Switzerland to its list of ski resorts. Additionally, all 2019-2020 Premier Adult, Chamber, Senior, and Parent Passes include a complimentary Ikon Base Pass. For a detailed list of Ikon Pass resorts as well as further information, visit www.ikonpass.com.

 

The Mountain Collective

The Mountain Collective™ heads into the 2019-20 season adding Arapahoe Basin to its roster of resorts. With the addition of A-Basin, 2019-20 passholders will receive two days at each of the collective destinations, including Aspen Snowmass, bringing the total ski days available from full partners to 36 days at 18 unique destinations. In addition to being able to ski or ride at 18 leading destinations, extra benefits available to Mountain Collective passholders include exclusive lodging deals and a complimentary, one-year Protect Our Winters (protectourwinters.org) membership. For further information, visit www.MountainCollective.com.

 

The Magical Margaret River

A long weekend to Western Australia’s jewel in the crown, the Margaret River region, just got a whole lot easier for Melbourne foodies, surfers and nature-lovers – with Jetstar this week announcing that direct flights between Melbourne and Busselton-Margaret River will commence on March 25 next year.

The flights will depart Tullamarine at 8am (AEST) on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, arriving at the recently upgraded Busselton Airport at 10am local time. From there, the wonders of the Margaret River region are upon you.

From a long lunch and cellar door tasting at one of the many world-renowned wineries, to a hike along the stunning Cape to Cape coastal track; a surf at one of the world’s most consistent surf breaks, or luxury spa treatment overlooking the Indian Ocean as whale’s frolic before your eyes (seriously!) and so many more hidden gems to uncover…you’ll soon see why Lonely Planet named this part of the world the number one destination to visit in Asia-Pacific this year.

In exciting news for holiday-makers, it’s the first time East Coast Australia has had direct air access to South West WA. Standard fares with Jetstarstart from just $139 one-way, so there’s never been an easier or more affordable time to head West.

From a fun-filled long weekend, to an extended stay to unwind and reconnect –MargaretRiver.com has everything you need to start planning your ultimate South West adventure. New itineraries can be found here: https://www.margaretriver.com/itineraries/

And why not plan your trip to coincide with one of the many impressive and diverse events on the annual South West calendar. More event details and inspiring ways to fill your days in Margaret River can be found here: www.australiassouthwest.com/region/margaret-river-region

2020 Calendar of Events

MarchEmergence Creative Festival – a creative playground for one of the world’s most inspiring “anti-conferences”.

May: Margaret River Open Studios – Australia’s biggest free art event.

April: Margaret River Pro – grab some mates, and head down to Surfers Point, Prevelly to watch the best surfers in the world battle it out.

MayMargaret River Readers and Writers Festival

JuneJazz By the Bay

JulyCabin Fever Festival – You’ll find winter feasts, rich wines, magnificent parties, live music and a wilderness that grows from the inside out.

AugustCinefestOz – Australia’s Premier Film Festival, awarding Australia’s Greatest Film Prize.

October:

Strings Attached – a 3 day festival for players, makers and enthusiasts.

Cape to Cape MTB – Australia’s largest, longest running and most popular four day MTB stage race. This iconic riding experience includes access to stunning private trails, vineyard visits, brewery finishes and some of the warmest hospitality the region has to offer.

November: Western Australia Gourmet Escape – A gourmet celebration of fresh food and fine wine, featuring celebrity chefs, immersive experiences and exclusive culinary delights in ridiculously picturesque locations.

2021

January: Leeuwin Concert –  a highlight in Australia’s social and cultural calendar. Visitors from all over Australia and abroad make the pilgrimage to the Margaret River Estate to enjoy the music of the industry’s greatest performers set against the backdrop of the majestic Karri forest.

February: 

Busselton Jetty Swim – The premier 3.6km ocean swim around the iconic Busselton Jetty attracting over 3,300 competitors from around the world each year.

South West Craft Beer Fest – not only blessed with beautiful wines and picturesque beaches, the region is also home to a large number of award-winning craft breweries. Sip and savour the best golden nectar the South West has to offer.

Be sure to follow the #MelbstoMargs journey on social media in the lead-up to the inaugural flight departure on March 25, 2020. #margaretriver #AustraliasSouthWest #ThisisWA #JetstarAustralia #BusseltonMargaretRiverAirport #Busselton