The Connaught Butlers Brush Up With The Arrival of The Bespoke John Lobb Shoeshine Chair in London


The Connaught, the landmark hotel in London’s stylish Mayfair, introduces the John Lobb shoeshine chair, taking its hallmark butler service to the next level. Specially trained by John Lobb at the factory in Northampton, The Connaught butlers are set to raise the bar in the world of polish and shine.
 
Known for their eye for detail, The Connaught butler’s shoeshine experience offers much more than a quick buff. Only the finest John Lobb materials are used including brushes, cloth, wax and polish, and guests are offered a Connaught martini or drink of choice upon arrival to enhance the overall experience.
 
A selection of national and international newspapers and magazines is available, creating some proper downtime, and for the finishing touch, the gentleman’s jacket is whisked away by the valet for a steam press whilst the shoeshine is taking place. The overall experience lasts approximately 30 minutes.
 
The John Lobb shoeshine is available to both hotel guests and visitors and reservations can be made up to 24-hours in advance via email on johnlobb@the-connaught.co.uk.
 
Located on the first floor landing of The Connaught, next to the iconic mahogany staircase, the John Lobb shoeshine chair has been designed by Rena Dumas and the Design Department of her interior design firm RDAI. The chair was developed from the knowledge and practice of the street shoe-shiner, a time-honoured profession but forgotten craft. Economy of movement and the privileged relationship between the shoe-shiner and his customer were both key to the design brief.
 
The shoeshine chair is clad in tobacco coloured buffalo leather, with a distinctively masculine silhouette and sober, carefully streamlined design which were imperative to ensure that, when unattended, the chair could stand handsomely but remain unobtrusive. The wooden stool and toolbox are as integral to the shoeshine experience as the podium itself, which features two precisely placed nickel-plated brass footrests moulded with John Lobb’s initials. Similarly, the chair’s height and proportion have been optimised to create an equal rapport between the shoe-shiner and the customer.
 
The John Lobb shoeshine at The Connaught is priced at £30 per session and reservations can be made via johnlobb@the-connaught.co.uk. Reservations should be made with 24-hour notice and can be booked between the hours of 8.00AM and 9.00PM.

Grand Hyatt Steakhouse is opening at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong


Opening on 21 March 2011, the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse is a 110-seat classic American steakhouse featuring prime cuts of beef from the US, Canada and Japan. The new restaurant also indulges diners with an impressive Seafood and Oyster Bar, an elaborate Salad Bar, a stylish wine room and an intimate cigar tasting room.

Located on the hotel's second floor, the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse is accessible from the hotel driveway, as well as from the Mezzanine level opposite to the Kaetsu Japanese restaurant. The main dining room enjoys view of the hotel lobby. A semi-private dining room accommodating up to eight people and a private room for 12-18 guests are available.

The Steaks
The steaks will be cooked perfectly to the guests' liking in a custom-built broiler heated to over 900ºC searing the outside of the steak and giving it the ultimate flavour.

Head Chef, David Campbell has sourced beef from three different origins:

Canadian Heritage Angus Beef – Spirit River, Alberta
This is AAA-grade beef, with the Heritage Angus Cattle, pasture-raised from birth without antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products under strict guidelines on environmental stewardship. The cattle are allowed to graze freely on the rich grasses as a ruminant should. They are finished on silage prior to slaughter, which creates a product with a fantastic beef flavour, as well as the marbling associated with great steak. All bone-in steaks are of this type.

USDA Prime Nebraska Beef
These cattle are raised in the corn belt of the US, where some of the world's finest beef is reared. The prime grade achieved by this beef is attained by only 2% of the entire stock of US beef. Prime beef is known for its fat marbling and fat is where the flavour is. This translates to juicy, tender and flavourful steaks. Cuts offered include tenderloin, rib-eye, entrecote, rump and flank.

Japanese Kumamoto Wagyu Beef
Kumamoto beef comes from the Red Wagyu cattle which are renowned for their extreme marbling, sweet flavour, fine texture and rich juiciness. The cattle graze on the tender fertile grass in the Aso plains of Kyushu and are pampered throughout their life by listening to music and receiving massages. Its higher percentage of monounsaturated fat than any other beef breed makes it a healthier option. Cuts offered include tenderloin and striploin.

Other than Beef
Excellent alternatives to beef include Dutch veal chops, all-natural rack of US lamb, roasted organic chicken, ocean prawns, line-caught fish and more.

Oyster and Seafood Bar
A freshly shucked selection of oysters from Brittany and Normandy will be served along with Maine lobster, Alaskan King crab legs, prawns and other seasonal fresh seafood. Celebrate special occasions with our premium caviar complemented with champagne. The chef will guide diners through the Oyster and Seafood Bar while discussing the provenance and quality of each item.

Salad Bar
The salad bar will provide a bounty of the freshest produce available, with signature salads offered. For example our Steakhouse Caesar Salad will be prepared fresh to diners' taste at the Salad Bar where guests can also enjoy their choice of greens, condiments and home-made dressings.

The Wine
The hotel's sommelier, Christophe Orlarei has selected over 160 labels of superb international wines and over 600 bottles from around the world. Sixteen different wines are also available by the glass.

For Grand Hyatt Steakhouse reservations, please call 2584 7722.
Second floor, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Hong Kong

Starwood Hotels Launches Comprehensive Online Booking in Chinese

Starwood is the Largest International Hotel Chain to Add this Functionality in a Move that Reflects its Commitment to Expanding Business in China

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced it has added comprehensive, online booking capabilities in Chinese to all of its Starwood-branded websites, including SPG.com. Now, Chinese speakers can use double byte Chinese characters to search for a hotel, make reservations, retrieve booking information or enroll in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. This added capability underscores the importance of China to Starwood's future growth.

On track to be the world's largest tourism market by 2015, China is already Starwood's second largest hotel market with 70 existing hotels and more than 80 in the pipeline. One of every three new Starwood hotels is slated to open in China now through the end of 2011, including new brand flagships for eight of its nine brands. Meanwhile, China continues to lead the growth of the award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest program, representing the second largest market for SPG.

"It is essential that we provide a seamless experience for our Chinese customers, especially at a time when China's heightened appetite for our high-caliber global brands is having a phenomenal impact on our business," said Phil McAveety, Chief Brand Officer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "Starwood is the world's most global hotel company with more than 80% of all future hotels opening outside the United States. By communicating directly with our global customers, we make it easy for them to connect with our brands."

To meet growing demand, Starwood opened the largest Customer Contact Center of any international hotel company operating in China, in 2009. Located in Guangzhou, the center employs more than 160 associates to support Chinese-speaking customers traveling to Starwood's more than 1,000 hotels around the world. Starwood is also the only hospitality company in China that provides 24-hour customer support, 365 days a year, for its Chinese-speaking customers.

"Due to the strong growth of our online customer base in China, we have enhanced our branded websites to offer a superior online experience for Chinese speakers," said Miguel Ko, Chairman & President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Asia Pacific. "Our mission has always been to listen to our customers and to stay ahead of changing trends and needs."

With the addition of Chinese, Starwood now offers websites in eight languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French and Japanese. One fifth of the world's population, or more than one billion people, speak some variety of Chinese.

New South Wales to reap reward of hosting world

Sunday’s arrival of 1,500-plus of the world’s leading experts in the care of critically sick children will generate $8 million for the state economy, and help generate significant networking and research collaboration opportunities.
 
In addition to bringing world’s best practice and international knowledge to Australian-based researchers and practitioners, the 6th World Congress on Pediatric Critical Care (http://www.pcc2011.com) will also provide a global platform to highlight Australian innovation, research capacity, and facilities.
 
Congress Co-Chair Dr David Schell, who is also a staff specialist in the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children’s Paediatric Intensive Care unit, said securing the World Congress for Sydney for the first time was important because it delivered a wealth of long-term as well as short-term benefits, which ultimately would enhance the treatment of critically ill children.
 
“One of the key advantages of participating in a World Congress like this lies not just in the immediate learning but also the long-term bridges which are established between the many paediatric critical care specialists around the world so that we are better able to share ideas, experiences and learnings as to how we can better help kids who are critically ill, and provide even more support for their families,” Dr Schell said.
 
In addition to being the first time the World Congress has been held in Australia, it is also the first time that the event, being held March 13-17, will be jointly hosted by the Paediatric Critical Care Nursing as well as Medical community.
 
Co-Chair Tina Kendrick, the Paediatric Clinical Nurse Consultant with the NSW Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS), said the decision to take a more collaborative approach also made sense.
 
“Clearly critical care nursing staff play an important role in the paediatric intensive care cycle and we’ve structured the workshops and scientific program to accommodate the diversity of skills, interests and experiences of all delegates attending. In Australia our national conference has always been a joint medical and nursing venture, and we hope that this uniquely Australian approach may become standard for this Congress too.”
 
The Congress will also showcase the success of another Australian initiative, the Between the Flags program for deteriorating patients, which is attracting growing global interest.  Developed by NSW’s Clinical Excellence Commission, the program borrows from the iconic Surf Life Saving Australia program and provides a comprehensive and standardised early recognition and rapid response to patients whose condition is deteriorating.
 
With four months still to go to the end of the financial year, Business Events Sydney (BESydney) has secured 50 national and international business events, expected to generate $125.6 million to the economy in the future, a massive 75% increase from the same time last year.
 
BESydney CEO, Jon Hutchison, said this event would deliver immediate and longstanding benefits to NSW and Australia as well as direct economic benefits. “We are thrilled to be working with the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) to bring this Congress to Sydney. The value of holding such an event goes far beyond its theme “One World Sharing Knowledge”, as it plants the seed for expanding local knowledge, growing new networks and assisting in research, funding and development for the industry in the future.”
 
Among the 130 speakers presenting during the 4 day conference at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, are Professor Des Bohn, Chief of Critical Care at Toronto’s Sick Kids, and Professor Joseph Carcillo, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
 
Draeger (http://www.draeger.com/AU/en/) has been announced as the Platinum Sponsor, Phillips (http://www.healthcare.philips.com/au_en/) is the Silver Sponsor while CareFusion (http://www.carefusion.com/) is the Internet Centre Sponsor.
 

Worldhotels Announces Double Digit Growth in 2010

As a result of several successful initiatives and the increasingly positive climate within tourism, Worldhotels can look back on a very successful 2010.  Across its portfolio of 450 hotels (100,000 rooms), Worldhotels increased its room night production by 25 per cent compared to 2009.
 
This result shows that Worldhotels has emerged from the challenging years of economic slowdown stronger than ever, boosting room night production by 18 per cent even better compared to the pre-crisis year 2008.  In addition, the group added a record number of 73 new hotels to its portfolio, many of which were in new destinations.
 
In terms of individual booking channels, the company achieved a double digit growth in room nights across all distribution channels.  For example, Worldhotels was able to increase its room nights booked via the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) by 20 per cent, via call centres by 41 per cent, via its booking engine, Resmaster, by 50 per cent and via its website (worldhotels.com) by 38 per cent.
 
Commenting on the results, Robert Hornman, Managing Director of Worldhotels, said: “2010 turned out to be a year of recovery for the hotel industry, and a particularly successful year for Worldhotels.  Our focus was on driving revenue and growing market share across a number of different markets, business segments and channels and we are very satisfied with our 2010 results.”
 
In 2011, Worldhotels will launch a number of new services for affiliate hotels under its new sales strategy “Fast Forward”.  The first two products, OTA360° and Spider by Worldhotels, will grow the online business potential of the group’s properties while a new tool for meeting planners, Meetings at Worldhotels, is designed to drive the company’s MICE business.  Worldhotels also kicked-off its ambitious expansion plan with a target of adding 80 new hotels to its global portfolio this year.

HBA Challenges Traditional Design Perceptions at Avant-Garde Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou


Global hospitality interior design leaders HBA / Hirsch Bedner Associates set out to “challenge perceptions of hoteliers” with the styling of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, a new architectural landmark, remarkable for both its soaring height (rising to 103 floors) and tapering avant-garde design, in China’s southern provincial capital.
 
HBA won an international competition to design key areas – from the convention centre including four ballrooms to the spa with infinity pool, guest rooms and all but one of the restaurants.  Also included in the design brief were public areas of the office block, occupying the lower two-thirds of the building.
 
Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou is architecturally dramatic; a tapering triangular tower, with an atrium runs down the top third occupied by the hotel. Construction is dynamic, with an arresting structural system and diagonal lattice. This contemporary design is quite different from other Four Seasons properties, which tend to be more conservative.
 
As a result, HBA’s concept was not classical Four Seasons in design, but developed to push the boundaries of design and challenge people’s perceptions.
 
Interior highlights begin in the lobby with an attention-grabbing sculpture and huge, not-to-be-missed screen about half the size of a football pitch. In an intricate woven metal finish, the screen is by an Australian artist and part of a series throughout landing areas in the hotel. In a subtle reference to the hotel’s brand name, the screens are themed around the four seasons; from spring in the basement to fall in the upper reaches.
 
The artwork extends to edgy modern Southern Chinese art with its interesting undercurrent of local artists who are a bit rebellious and continues with the theme of the four seasons – spring in the ground floor and winter on the top floor. In a ‘cloud bar’ on level 100 the artwork is literally inspired by the heavens: pure, white and ethereal.
 
There were two key challenges. First was the inner atrium rising from the sky lobby on level 70 to level 104, passing through restaurants on floors 71-73 and lounges and bars on floor 101.
 
Second was the architect’s unusual structure of angled, raking columns through the public spaces. Even guest rooms and suites have large, angling, tapering columns in the corner, making all 104 of them different, as the building narrows while rising. That meant flexible guestroom plans; allowing for columns intersecting at different points. The only constants were bathrooms and bed positions, to embrace the spectacular view. Floor to ceiling glass windows additionally encourage guests to “look right down”, said Mr Ian Carr, Principal at HBA. “This design is inspired obviously by the 100-stories tall building we were given. We didn’t want to close up the windows and deny the view.”
 
Furniture is predominantly modern Italian, and customised carpets play off elements of nature and culture, as does contemporary Chinese art.
 
The bathrooms are innovatively illuminated by an internal system engineered with modules so the area glows classily. “Everything Four Seasons wants is classy. Nothing trite or glib,” noted Mr Carr. The challenge was bridging the gap between the avant garde building and Four Seasons’ “modern conservatism” style.
 
However, the most dramatic feature – and challenge – was the vast internal atrium, with its dynamic geogrid structural system and tapering design. “Where you check in, you look up and see 35 floors of tapering diagonal glass and it’s quite amazing,” said Mr Carr.
 
This lent itself to create further fractions in interior design, from the handrails in the atrium – custom measured and made for each floor – to a dynamic skylight ocular device at the top, with angular laid black panels creating interesting refraction and reflective surfaces.
 
The effect is magnified in interior corridors, with angled glass deliberately projected slightly outwards to “embrace the height”.  No-where is this sense of height more intense than from a bridge on level 100, with a staircase projecting into the void with glass floors looking down 40 floors below to the lobby.
 
As Mr Carr added: “Overall, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou breaks conventions, coupling luxury with avant garde. The architect created amazing spaces and this building really stands out.”

India’s TAJ Falaknuma Palace

Members of The Leading Hotels of the World prestigious Leaders Club have an opportunity of a lifetime, as they can now experience the newest jewel to join the authentic palaces collection – the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad.
 
As part of The Leading Hotels of the World latest ‘Once in a Lifetime’ experience, select travellers can enjoy a luxurious, two-night stay in the Presidential Suite at the world famous Taj Falaknuma Palace. Recently featured in “Tatler’s 101 Best New Hotels 2011” in UK’s Tatler Travel Guide, the palace is located atop a hillock, overlooking the 400-year-old city and is a testimony to the famed life and times of the former Nizams of Hyderabad.
 
A 60-room private palace since 1884, the palace offers discerning guests a glimpse of the regal and luxurious lifestyle of the Nizams who governed the legendary city of Hyderabad. After ten years of meticulous restoration, it resumes its status as Hyderabad’s most exclusive address, which was the sole preserve of visiting royalty such as King Edward VIII and the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. The Palace is also known as the ‘mirror of the sky’ because at 2000 feet, it was built in the clouds and reflects the ever-changing moods of the sky.
          
A ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Discovery of the newest jewel in the Leading Hotels collection includes:
 
§         A luxurious two night stay in Taj Falaknuma’s Presidential Suite (Nizam Suite) including butler service, private pool, Jacuzzi, private bar and exclusive access to Jiva Spa.
§         Round-trip limousine airport transfers
§         A horse-drawn carriage-ride on the driveway, upon arrival at the palace gates.
§         Daily breakfast on the Jade Terrace, served by your personal butler.
§         Private Champagne tour with the palace historian.
§         A unique dining experience for two, created by the Executive Chef under the stained-glass gazebo.
§         Personal shopper.
§         A rejuvenating 2.5 hour signature treatment per couple by the hotel’s Jiva Spa.
§         Private yoga session with instructor.
 
The ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Discovery of the newest jewel including accommodation at Taj Falaknuma Palace is priced from INR 800,000 (USD17,750) per couple (subject to 5% luxury tax) and available exclusively to Leaders Club members only.  Reservations until March 30, 2011 for stays up to June 30, 2011 – quote ‘Once in a Lifetime’ reservation code ‘X12’.
 
For more information or to enroll in The Leaders Club membership programme please visit www.lhw.com/leadersclub

New developing of Six Senses resort in China


Six Senses Resorts & Spas is delighted to announce that it is to open its first resort in China. The new property will be called Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain.
 
Bernhard Bohnenberger, Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Deputy Chairman said, ‘This is a very proud moment for me and the whole Six Senses team. We couldn’t be more pleased to be developing a new Six Senses resort in this beautiful area of China.’
 
Six Senses is immensely proud of its reputation for creative, innovative design and for the development of award winning luxury resorts of the highest level. As important as luxury is a total commitment to social and ecological responsibility. Supporting and protecting the environment and the local community is at the very core of Six Senses philosophy and an integral part of the design and development process.  All building materials will be sourced locally where possible and be from natural, sustainable sources. Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain will be designed to sit empathetically with the local terrain, complementing the landscape. As with all projects, the development of the resort will follow the strictest guidelines with an aim to achieving LEED certification.
 
Qing Cheng Mountain in Sichuan is a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site and an area of great historical importance in Taoist history. The concept of the resort will embrace Taoist and Chinese architecture and design principals, whilst retaining Six Senses signature of intelligent luxury, a simple and contemporary feel.
 
Six Senses resorts can be found in some of the most sought after areas of outstanding natural beauty in the world – Thailand, Vietnam, Oman and the Maldives. Sitting at the bottom of Qing Cheng Mountain’s 36 peaks and surrounded by woodland and tumbling waterfalls, Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain will be no different. As with every resort, there will be a Six Senses Spa, offering signature Asian treatments along with those inspired by the immediate area.
 
Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain Resort & Spa, a Botanic Sanctuary Property, will open in 2013.

David Campbell – Chef De Cuisine Grand Hyatt Steakhoues

Gordon Fuller, area vice president and general manager of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, is pleased to announce the appointment of Chef David as the chef de cuisine of Grand Hyatt Steakhouse.
 
A Canadian national, Chef David graduated from George Brown College, Toronto with a degree in culinary management in 2000 and commenced his career with Hyatt as kitchen supervisor at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in April 2000.  During 2001 and 2002, Chef David was a pre-opening chef de partie at Spendido, regarded as one of Canada’s top restaurants.  He joined Grand Hyatt Manchester San Diego, as chef de cuisine in 2002.  In 2005, he was appointed the executive chef of Po Pazzo Bar & Grille, an upmarket steakhouse in San Diego.  Before joining Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Chef David was the executive sous chef at Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hawaii.

Chef David has been cooking since the age of 18.  His first restaurant job came more out of chance than anything.  After completing high school, but not ready to commit to a university, Chef David ended up working with some friends at a restaurant in Toronto. That was then he realised that there was a lot more to cooking than merely adding heat to food.   He was highly enthusiastic in discovering cooking and felt committed to building up his professional culinary knowledge.  Chef David truly believes that a well educated kitchen will lead to a better product, and a product that is treated with much more respect.

Chef David is proud of his professional accomplishments opening Po Pazzo (meaning “a little crazy” in Italian) in San Diego as the executive chef.  Within the first year of opening, the restaurant was awarded the critics choice for best steakhouse in San Diego by San Diego magazine, a very influential lifestyle magazine in the area.   This was a great achievement for an independent steakhouse, given that it took on the likes of dominating chains like Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s.

Chef David is highly resourceful.  Apart from his great passion for cooking, he is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Relson Gracie (the Gracie family are the founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) and highly dedicated to martial art.  He is also trained in Judo.  He loves playing guitar, as it is a relief from his hectic life in the kitchen.  Growing up in a musical family, he also loves playing piano, violin and flute.

Chef David is excited to join Grand Hyatt Hong Kong as chef de cuisine of the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse.  He is eager to show that the food he serves reflects the commitment of himself and his team.

Grand Hyatt Steakhouse is a 110-seat classic American steakhouse featuring prime cuts of beef from the US, Canada and Japan.  The new restaurant also indulges diners with an impressive seafood and oyster bar, an elaborate salad bar, a stylish wine room and an intimate cigar room.
For more information, please visit www.hyatt.com
 

United Airlines to Retain Economy Plus, Expand to Continental Aircraft Beginning in 2012

MULTI-YEAR CONVERSION BRINGS ECONOMY PLUS TO THE NEW UNITED

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) today announced that it will retain United’s popular Economy Plus® seating on United flights and expand the option to Continental aircraft beginning in 2012, providing more opportunities for customers to enjoy additional legroom and comfort.

“Our customers value Economy Plus and the additional personal space that it provides,” said Jim Compton, chief revenue officer of United Continental Holdings. “Customers who sit in Economy Plus are significantly more satisfied with their travel experience, as are travelers who choose other options that enable them to tailor their travel to their liking.”

The decision to maintain and expand Economy Plus across the combined fleet marks a significant milestone in the product integration of United and Continental. It also demonstrates the company’s commitment to provide innovative options to customers that enable them to customize their travel experience with superior products they value.

Today, United offers Economy Plus on all 359 mainline aircraft and more than 150 larger regional jets operated by United Express® carriers. When the multi-year conversion process is complete, the company plans to offer Economy Plus on more than 700 mainline aircraft, including all Continental mainline aircraft, as well as larger regional aircraft. When fully deployed, the new United’s fleet will include more than 40,000 Economy Plus seats, providing more than 122,000 Economy Plus seats each day, the largest amount of extra legroom economy seating available to customers of any airline in the world.

United introduced Economy Plus in 1999, offering up to five inches of additional legroom to customers seated in the forward section of United Economy®. Customers with elite status in United’s Mileage Plus and Continental’s OnePass frequent-flyer programs may confirm seat assignments in Economy Plus, when available. Customers may also purchase seat assignments in Economy Plus when making reservations via united.com and continental.com, through a reservation agent, or during the check-in process at home or at the airport.

Continental currently offers extra legroom seats and will continue to offer that option to travelers until those aircraft are reconfigured with Economy Plus seating. OnePass and Mileage Plus elite members may confirm extra legroom seats at no charge, and other customers may purchase seat assignments for extra legroom seats.