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Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Edition - May 2018

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n a recent news article on, we reported that business travellers in
Asia were the most likely to forego adding leisure travel to their business trips. According
to the study, by travel management company Egencia, this was due to employees
worrying that their boss would disapprove.
While I can understand people grimacing at the term “bleisure”, the concept, surely, is to
be welcomed with open arms.
There’s a tide of change in the way we view the work/life balance, driven by the
millennial vanguard. Dismiss them as entitled snowflakes if you like, but I think they’re
right: work hard, yes, but play hard too. Nobody is at their most productive if they’re
burned out, stressed and anxious. As the saying goes: a happy employee is a good employee.
Besides, I’ve long believed travel is an excellent educator – exploring new cultures helps
us to connect with the world, understand different points of view, develop our knowledge
and ultimately grow as people… and what employer is not looking for those traits?
Happily, it does seem as though I’m preaching to the converted. In our latest online poll,
“Are you planning to take a ‘bleisure’ trip in the next six months”, an overwhelming 84 per
cent of you voted yes.
To that large majority, I say keep up the good work! For some inspiration, check out our
feature “Stay well in Singapore” on page 34, where we look at the hotels in Singapore geared up
for exactly this purpose. In “Weekend treats” on page 58, we invite you to spend some extra
time in Hong Kong after your next work trip to enjoy one of the city’s famous brunches.
See you there!
Tamsin Cocks Editor
As the Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMacau Bridge prepares to open,
we reveal its record-breaking
features and the anticipated boost
for the region (page 28)
The B747 “Queen of the
Skies” looks set to relinquish her
crown, and what will become of
the “game-changing” A380?
(page 42)
Skimping on the cost of hotel
rooms by booking via online
travel agents could cost you in
the long run, says columnist
Derek Picot (page 62)
Luxury models, pioneering
concept watches and how to
invest in growing your own
timepiece collection without
paying the market price (page 52)
M AY 2 0 1 8
A former editor of AsiaSpa magazine, Catharine
Nicol continues to be a devoted follower of the
latest wellness trends and is an authority on all
things spa-related. In this issue, she rounds up hotels
in Singapore that offer the best of both worlds for
business travellers looking for quality down time
during their stay; page 34
Jeremy Tredinnick is consulting editor of
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific. During more than
35 years of travel he’s observed some epic arguments
between travellers on planes (and trains and
automobiles), but fairly quickly learned to hold his own
temper in closed-in spaces. In this issue he discusses the
many flashpoints for onboard fury; page 64
Jazreen Deboo is a freelance journalist and regular
contributor to Business Traveller India, writing about
the latest trends in luxury, lifestyle and travel.
Her particular interests include fashion, watches and
filmmaking. In this issue, she handpicks some of the
iconic timepieces showcased at Salon International
de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva; page 52
Last month, columnist and veteran hotelier
Derek Picot divulged the sneaky ways hotels are
looking to recoup declining profits by instating
extra charges. He returns in this issue to discuss
why cheaper rates advertised on online travel agent
booking sites might not be as good a deal as
they seem; page 62
M AY 2 0 1 8
Managing director Julian Gregory
Editorial director Tom Otley
Director Peggy Teo
Editor Tamsin Cocks
Consulting editor Jeremy Tredinnick
Online editor Craig Bright
Staff writer Valerian Ho
Art director Loretta Lam
Designer Julia Yau
Contributors David Churchill, Jazreen Deboo, Akanksha Maker,
Catharine Nicol, Derek Picot
General manager sales Juliet Lim
Regional sales directors Gracy Siu, Iris Yeung, Queenie Kwong
Circulation manager Allan Chan
Assistant marketing & events manager Cherrie Wong
Admin & production manager Renee Chiu
Editorial tel +852 2594 9393
Advertising tel +852 2594 9300
Tel +852 2594 9318
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific is published 10
times a year at the address at right. The magazine
is entirely independent of all commercial interests
within the travel industry. All rights reserved in
respect of all articles, illustrations, photography,
etc, published in Business Traveller Asia-Pacific
anywhere in the world. Reproductions or
imitations are expressly forbidden without
the permission of the publishers. Unsolicited
contributions will not be accepted for publication
and Business Traveller Asia-Pacific accepts no
responsibility for loss of or damage to them.
The opinions expressed by contributors are not
necessarily those of the publishers, who cannot
accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.
Member Audit Bureau of Circulations
M AY 2 0 1 8
In the US, Business Traveler is published at 11
Ryerson Place, 201 Pompton Plains, New Jersey
07444, tel 1 973 839 6200, fax 1 973 839 4390.
In Germany, Business Traveller is published at
Schulstrasse 34, 80634 Munich, tel 49 891 3014
3215, fax 49 891 3014 3211. In Poland, Business
Traveller is published at 16 Tamka Str, apt 4,
00-349 Warsaw, tel 48 22 455 38 14. In Denmark,
Business Traveller is published at Mariendalsvej
28, 2000 Frederiksberg, tel 45 3311 4413,
fax 45 3311 4414. In Hungary, Business Traveller
is published at 1074 Budapest, Munkas utca 9,
tel 36 1266 5853. In the Middle East, Business
Traveller Middle East is published jointly by
Motivate Publishing, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE,
tel 9714 282 4060, and Perry Publications.
In Africa, Business Traveller Africa is published
by Future Publishing (Pty) Ltd, PO Box 3355,
Rivonia 2128, South Africa, tel 27 11 803 2040.
In Russia, Business Traveller is published at Ul.
M. Raskovoy, 34-14, 127005 Moscow, tel 7 495 662
44 39. In India, Business Traveller is published at
20 Vaswani Mansion, 120 Dinshaw Vachna Road,
Churchgate, Mumbai 400020, tel 91 22 2281
5538. In the Netherlands, Business Traveller is
published at Arendstraat 19, 1,223 RE Hilversum,
tel 31 35 672 8853.
© 2018 Panacea Publishing International
ISSN 0255-7312
Panacea Publishing Asia Ltd
Regional Head Office:
Suite 405, Chinachem Exchange Square,
1 Hoi Wan Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
tel +852 2594 9300 fax +852 25196846
Panacea Asia Pte Ltd
Singapore Office:
Spaces City Hall, 410 North Bridge Road,
Singapore 188726
tel +65 6407 7300 fax +65 6407 7251
Printing by: Apex Print Ltd,
11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial
Estate, Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong
SINGAPORE AIRLINES has unveiled its new regional
business class product, debuting on the world’s first Boeing
787-10 Dreamliner aircraft, which the airline took delivery
of in late March. Based on the Stelia Opal model, the new
seats offer direct aisle access with a staggered 1-2-1 layout
THE PHILIPPINES’ President Duterte has branded
popular holiday island Boracay “a cesspool” and ordered it be
temporarily closed down while sewage facilities are built and
illegal structures torn down.
From April 26, the area became a no-go zone for tourists,
and airlines and ferries have suspended their services to
the destination.
Famed for its picture-perfect White Beach, Boracay attracted
more than two million visitors in 2017, earning the country over
US$1 billion in revenue. To enforce the unpopular decision, riot
police have been drated in to keep tourists away, and residents
of Boracay will be required to carry new identity cards.
M AY 2 0 1 8
and 76-inch (193cm) fully flat beds. The
staggered format allows the footwell to be
positioned directly in front of the seat, rather
than to the side as in its other business
class seats.
Singapore Airlines has 49 B787-10
Dreamliners on order that, along with its
medium-haul Airbus A350s, will form the
entirety of its regional fleet.
MORE THAN 90 vintage and classic cars will be on show at
the Fullerton Heritage Precinct this summer. The three-day
Fullerton Concours d’Elegance (June 29–July 1) is a celebration
of the iconic Fullerton Building’s 90th anniversary. Formerly
Singapore’s General Post Office, the grand dame is now home to
The Fullerton Hotel. Classic car lovers can salivate over beauties
such as a 1934 Austin Seven Ulster Special, 1961 Rolls-Royce
Silver Cloud II and 1967 Lamborghini Miura. The festival will also
feature gala dinners, live music performances, art and cultural
exhibitions, workshops, family activities, luxury yacht displays and
special cocktails and menu items at The Fullerton Hotel. Ticket
prices range from S$9.90 (US$8) for a day pass to S$190 (US$145)
for the three-day VIP Gold pass.
opened a luxury retreat in the forests of
Luang Prabang, in north-central Laos –
just a ten-minute drive from the airport.
Surrounded by waterfalls, rivers and
lush vegetation, there are 23 guestrooms
including luxury tented villas. A highlight
of the property is the Great House,
with a grand open-air terrace and large
daybeds overlooking the beautiful vista.
Guests can experience Laotian farm-totable dining and dishes influenced by
the cuisine of historic royal courts at the
on-site restaurant.
M AY 2 0 1 8
Together at last
A passenger was kicked of an IndiGo flight from
Lucknow to Bengaluru after he complained about
there being an excessive number of mosquitoes
inside the cabin. The passenger claims he was
manhandled by crew and threatened, though the
airline claims the man was acting belligerently,
which led to ground security removing him from
the aircraft.
A 65-year-old woman caused a portion of
Brisbane Airport to be cordoned of last month
after she wrote the words “Bomb to Brisbane” on
her luggage. The woman, who was travelling from
Mumbai, had mistakenly written “Bomb” rather
than “BOM”, Mumbai’s airport code.
A passenger on board a Lion Air flight from
Jakarta to Padang was so convinced he could
“see and feel” danger that he donned a life vest
six times throughout the flight, despite cabin crew
removing and stowing the life jacket on multiple
occasions. The flight landed at its intended
destination without incident.
A Syrian man has spent more than a month
living in the transit section of Kuala Lumpur
International Airport. Hassan al-Kontar was
deported from the UAE to Malaysia in 2017, where
he was initially given a three-month visa, but was
blacklisted for “overstaying”. Following a failed
attempt to travel to Cambodia, he was sent back
to Malaysia on March 7 this year and has been
living at the airport ever since.
International has
finally unveiled
plans for the
merging of its
three loyalty
programmes –
Marriott Rewards,
The Ritz-Carlton
Rewards, and
Starwood Preferred
Guest (SPG). Over
the next 12 months, a single currency will be created (with current SPG
Starpoints to be multiplied by three during the conversion).
Moving forward, members will earn ten points for every US$1 spent at
hotels and five points per US$1 spent at extended-stay brands. Meanwhile,
Silver Elite status will be earned after ten nights (at any property), with
Gold Elite after 25 nights, Platinum Elite after 50 nights, Platinum Premier
Elite after 75 nights, and finally Ambassador for those surpassing 100
nights and US$20,000 of spend.
Members will be able to combine their accounts under one (as yet
unnamed) platform starting from August.
AIRBUS and Zodiac have revealed designs for lower-deck
sleeping modules designed to fit inside the cargo
compartments of the A330 and A350 families of aircraft. The
bunk bed-style berths, expected to be available by 2020, are
a similar concept to crew rest areas currently in place on
the A380, and would offer a new level of passenger comfort.
Designers are also working on other applications for the
pods, such as a play area for kids, and the compartments
are intended to be easily interchangeable with regular cargo
containers – possibly within the time frame of a typical
turnaround. The provision of sleeper compartments on the
A350 XWB airliner is also being studied.
An Air China flight bound for Beijing was forced
to make an unscheduled landing in Zhengzhou
after a passenger used a fountain pen to hold a
flight attendant hostage. According to police, the
41-year-old man had a history of mental illness
and sufered a sudden psychological episode.
M AY 2 0 1 8
FOR one night only, renowned illusionist Stefan
Leyshon will dazzle diners at The Connaught
Room of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong with an
evening of levitation, mind reading and other
classic magic tricks. The French magician was
the youngest member to be admitted into the
Magic Circle aged 14, and The Secret Dinner
show on June 8 will be his debut performance
in Asia. Meanwhile, guests will enjoy a
gastronomic three-course menu of “Foie gras,
Beef and Apple”, together with sommelierselected champagne and wine pairings. Tickets
cost HK$2,888 (US$368), with the cocktail
reception starting at 7.30pm.
“Demon Chef” Alvin Leung, famous for his
three-Michelin-starred restaurant
Bo Innovation, has launched a Singapore
branch of his restaurant Forbidden Duck.
The venue opened last month and is
located at the Marina Bay Financial
Centre. As the name suggests, the food
focuses on classic dishes such as the
restaurant’s signature slow-cooked
Peking-style duck, and seafood rice in
aromatic duck soup. A selection of
dim sum and other traditional
Cantonese dishes will
also be available.
Get a taste of the Americas at new bar-grill
Panamericana in the Sentosa Golf Club.
The colonial-chic restaurant, accentuated
with Georgian tiles and chevron furnishings,
ofers views over the Singapore Strait and
a lush golf course. From the brick-encased
asador comes a selection of grill dishes
including chilli-glazed Colombian chicken
and salt-crusted baked trout, with street
food-style snacks such as empanadas
and tostadas also on the menu. Wash
this down with a selection of premium
spirits and Americana cocktails such as
the Champagne and Absinthe Colada.
Cloaked behind a thick velvet curtain in
the Intercontinental Singapore Robertson
Quay is sultry new Italian cocktail bar
Marcello. Designed by leading New York
firm AvroKO, the deli-by-day becomes a
lively bar at night, with hidden walls and
an antique bar. High-quality Italian craft
cocktails include the Smoked Black Olive
Negroni (gin, Italian vermouth & bitter,
smoked black olives) and Milano Fizz
(homemade lemon sherbet, Italian bitter,
prosecco). Bar snacks feature stufed
dried dates, charred octopus
and trufle arancini.
M AY 2 0 1 8
Air Belgium, a start-up airline
based out of Brussels South
Charleroi Airport, launched its
first route at the end of April – a
non-stop, three-class service to
Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Airlines will begin
flying to Moscow this month
with flights operating three
times a week from May 18 until
October 27, 2018.
Philippine Airlines plans to
launch four new non-stop
international services this year
between Manila and
New York, New Delhi, Mumbai
and Sapporo.
Emirates has dropped one of its
three daily flights between Dubai
and Jakarta as the airline looks
to reposition its capacity to other
routes in its network.
Etihad has announced it is
to suspend flights between
Abu Dhabi and Perth effective
from the start of October,
and between Abu Dhabi and
Edinburgh from the same date.
HK Express will operate its final
Hong Kong-Kunming flight on
August 1 this year following a
review of the market and a need
to better optimise its network.
In March, Boeing
the 10,000th
737 to come
of the
jet aircraft
line (for
In 2003, Frederick Finn
claimed this title after
racking up 13,900,000
miles via regular
air miles
commutes between
flown by a
London and New
Jersey, USA. He also
holds the passenger
record for the most
supersonic flights, having
made 714 Atlantic crossings
on Concorde.
Cole Kugel, from the
US, was born
one year before
the legendary
Wright Brothers
took to the
skies, on March
14, 1902. He
earned his pilot’s
licence in 1945 and kept
flying until his last flight
in 2007, aged 105. He died
the same year.
In February this year, Julie
Berry and Lasey Stewart
teamed up to break
Fastest time
the record for visiting
to visit all
every continent,
stopping at Sydney,
Dubai, Cairo,
Frankfurt, Toronto,
Santiago, Punta Arenas
and Antarctica in 92 hours.
Opened earlier
this year, the
Hotel in
Dubai is
now the
tallest hotel
in the world at
356.33 metres. It has
528 rooms going up
to the 71st floor.
Zimbabwe’s 16
were oficially
recognised by
with the
Guinness World
most oficial
Records in 2013,
consisting of
Chewa, Chibarwe,
English, Kalanga,
Koisan, Nambya, Ndau,
Ndebele, Shangani,
Shona, sign language,
Sotho, Tonga, Tswana,
Venda and Xhosa.
M AY 2 0 1 8
This month’s competition has two prizes up for grabs, with each winner
getting a two-night stay in a Premier Room, inclusive of daily breakfast.
THIS MONTH’S prizes come
from the Hongqiao Jin Jiang Hotel in
Shanghai. Conveniently located
between downtown Shanghai and
Hongqiao International Airport, the
Hongqiao Jin Jiang Hotel features 587
rooms and suites offering an elegant,
contemporary atmosphere with subtle
traditional Chinese touches. Guests
have seven F&B offerings to choose
from, serving Japanese, Chinese, Italian
and international cuisine, as well as the
elegant Chelsea Bar for a quiet cocktail.
hose looking to relax can head to the
Health Club, featuring a state-of-theart gym, an indoor swimming pool,
sauna and massage facilities.
For more details and to enter,
Jimmy Ang each won a two-night stay in a Standard Room at Two MacDonnell Road in
Hong Kong.
Show of hands
British Airways has unveiled the pricing for its new Hand Baggage Only
(HBO) fares, which it says will be up to £60 (US$85) cheaper than standard
return fares. These new “Basic” fares will include in-light meals, as well as a
two-piece hand baggage allowance, but no check-in allowance. The past few
months have seen a wave of announcements from airlines that they will begin
offering their own HBO fares, though these are primarily set to be available
on transatlantic routes. British Airways’ new Basic fares, however, will
also include some Asian destinations, with one-way fares starting at £210
(US$298) to Delhi, £228 (US$324) to Hong Kong and £230 (US$327)
to Singapore (excluding tax and surcharges).
M AY 2 0 1 8
The Royal Pacific
Hotel and
Towers, Hong
Kong has launched
a 30th anniversary
package, including
three nights’
airport limousine
transfer, champagne and
chocolate on arrival, daily buffet breakfast
for two, complimentary Australian set
dinner at Pierside Bar & Restaurant, and a
complimentary fourth night’s stay for guests
if it is their birthday month. The package rate
starts from HK$3,520 (US$448) per night and
is valid until October 31, 2018.
The St Regis Macao has a Stay
Exquisite package offering
accommodation in a
deluxe room, daily
breakfast or lunch
for two at The
Manor, Bloody Mary
welcome drinks for
two at The St Regis
Bar, afternoon tea set
for two at the bar, plus
either one-way Cotai Water
Jet first class ferry tickets for two,
or HK$300 (US$38) hotel credit on dining or
spa treatments. The package rate starts from
HK$1,898 (US$242) per night and is valid
until June 30, 2018.
Shangri-La Jakarta is
running a One-bedroom
Suite Privilege
package, ofering
accommodation in
a suite; 20 per cent
off F&B and spa
treatments; access
to the Horizon
Club with breakfast,
afternoon tea and evening
cocktails, suit-pressing service
upon arrival; usage of the private meeting
room; express check-in and checkout; and
breakfast for two at Satoo. The package rate
starts from US$250 per night and is valid until
December 31, 2018.
Make an Entrance
Guests at the Prince Hotel can now experience a stunning new welcome
with the hotel’s recently refurbished lobby
whole new definition of
modern sophistication awaits
travellers at the Prince Hotel in
Hong Kong, with a completely
refreshed arrival experience in the form
of the hotel’s brand-new lobby space.
Designed by award-winning Hong
Kong-based architecture and interior
design firm ARK Associates Limited, the
lobby welcomes guests into the property
as they enter through a dramatic doubleheight glass box from bustling Canton
Road in the heart of Hong Kong’s Tsim
Sha Tsui district.
During the day, the stunning entrance
is bathed in an abundance of natural
sunlight, while in the evening, the lobby
is illuminated by a medley of sculptural
lighting installations crafted from irregular
metal rods.
Dressed in velvet, the lounge's colour
scheme ofers a calming palette of
Aegean ocean blues to mirror the marine
views of nearby Victoria Harbour.
Black mirrors line the lobby ceiling, to
add to the feeling of even more space,
while dark timbers, richly veined
marbles and sophisticated metal screens
provide a mixture of natural and modern
patterns throughout.
“We are delighted to welcome our
guests from around the world in our
spectacular new modern lobby,” said
Dalip Singh, General Manager of Marco
Polo Hotels – Hong Kong.
“With comforts and highly attentive
service provided by our excellent team,
Prince Hotel is dedicated to ensuring
that each of our guests enjoys the most
wonderful and memorable time in Hong
Kong from the moment they arrive.”
Located on the doorsteps of the China
Ferry Terminal and Harbour City, Hong
Kong’s largest retail complex with more
than 450 shops, Prince Hotel ofers
a total of 394 guestrooms and suites
each designed with a range of business
facilities and services. Among the most
notable are complimentary Handy
smartphones that guests can take with
them outside the hotel to ensure they
always have data connectivity.
Outside its rooms, Prince Hotel ofers
a warm and welcoming cosy dining
experience in the form of add@Prince,
the property’s all-day-dining restaurant
on level 3 that serves speciality cuisines
ranging from Cantonese and Japanese
to pan-Asian delicacies.
Guests wishing to explore the nearby
surrounds of Tsim Sha Tsui, meanwhile,
have access to some of the city’s
most popular landmarks, including the
Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Space
Museum, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre
and the 1881 Heritage cultural and
shopping landmark, all located just a
short walk from the hotel.
Prince Hotel, Harbour City, Tsim Sha
Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; tel: +852
2113 1888;
M AY 2 0 1 8
Star letter
On March 27, 2018 I checked in to the
Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. Everything went
smoothly, I was in my room in no time and
I was told that my luggage would be brought
to my room.
Ater perhaps ten minutes, my luggage had still
not arrived, so I called reception. The receptionist
apologised and my luggage was delivered just a
few minutes later.
Ater some time, I got a call from the duty
manager who told me that they wanted to deliver
drinks to my room and asked me to open the door.
I was a bit surprised by the call and didn’t really
understand what it was about, but went to open
the door anyway. Standing there was a butler
holding a tray with a large bottle of champagne in
a bucket and a hand-written card.
It took me a few seconds to realise that the
champagne was to apologise for the delay in
delivering my luggage. I was very pleasantly
surprised, but explained to the butler that I wasn’t
drinking alcohol.
I thanked him for this nice gesture and took
the card on the tray, but told him I would not
take the champagne. A minute later, the duty
manager called again and insisted that they
wanted to apologise for the delay by sending me
any drink I would like.
I thanked her again, told her that the card was
more than enough, and that I did not see the
delay as a problem anyway.
Shangri-La definitely takes small details
very seriously.
Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, Bangkok
CH 12302BK
This month’s Star
Letter winner
will receive a
sporty pair of
Charmant Perfect
Comfort frames,
which feature a
memory function
to maintain
shape and heatsensitive nose
pads to adapt to
individual noses.
For your chance
to win the
Star Letter, email
us at editorial@
businesstraveller and
include your full
postal address
and daytime
number. We
reserve the right
to edit letters.
On December 12, 2017 I travelled on Malaysia
Airlines (MAB) from Medan (KNO) to Bangkok
(BKK) via Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on a full-fare
business class ticket. There was a connection time of
65 minutes at KUL, which is legal – otherwise
I couldn’t have booked it on the website.
The morning KNO-KUL leg was a little
tardy due to an inbound flight and I expressed my
concern to the ground staff at KNO. They informed
me it would be the same aircraft to BKK ater KUL.
We arrived at KUL ten minutes behind schedule, but
as I’d been told, it was indeed the same aircrat to BKK
with a different light number. When I arrived at the
gate I asked the ground staff to make sure my luggage
was properly transferred, as I needed it for an evening
presentation in BKK. The staff member looked at the
computer and replied “Hot transfer, it was loaded”.
Unsurprisingly, the KUL-BKK flight was further
delayed, arriving in BKK behind schedule. I then
waited for almost an hour at the carousel to discover
that my “Hot transferred and loaded” luggage was
still at KUL. here were no MAB staff at BKK so I
had to deal with third-party ground staff – wasting
more time and thus missing my presentation.
I did finally receive my luggage at my hotel around
2200, but what a disastrous performance from
MAB – part of the Oneworld alliance. First, no
on-time performance, second, can’t transfer luggage
when the same aircraft is being used, and third,
after contacting customer relations I got very weak
reasoning and no service recovery.
Rudy Yamin, US
M A L AY S I A A I R L I N E S R E S P O N D S :
Malaysia Airlines apologises to Mr Yamin for the
experience he encountered with the airline during
his journey. We have investigated this incident
further and found that due to operational reasons,
M AY 2 0 1 8
the aircraft used from Medan to Kuala Lumpur was not deployed
for the Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok leg as informed by the ground staf.
As a result, Mr Yamin’s baggage was not able to be transferred in
time for the last leg of his journey.
Malaysia Airlines provides an interim payment for passengers
who are non-residents at the arriving station should their baggage
not be restored within 24 hours and Mr Yamin’s baggage was
delivered to him in less than six hours after arrival of the flight.
However, if Mr Yamin had made any purchase for basic amenities
while awaiting the arrival of the baggage and has receipts to
substantiate the claim, we can consider reimbursing him as
mandated under the Montreal Convention.
Notwithstanding that, Malaysia Airlines truly regrets this
shortfall in our service and we apologise. As the airline undergoes
transformation inside-out, we have embarked on a series of
product and service improvement initiatives to give our customers
a far more superior experience and seamless travels with us. This is
an ongoing journey with many bumps along the road, nevertheless
we are determined to make all these initiatives materialise so our
guests will not feel short-changed by our service delivery.
Once again we deeply regret the less than satisfactory
experience encountered by Mr Yamin.
I have flown to Marrakech almost every month since 2005, mainly
in BA’s Club Europe. Though I have enjoyed the standard Club
Europe meals for a long time, I began making special meal requests
for a bit of variety.
There is an impressive list of 13 options, including Low Fat,
Kosher, Asian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Low Salt, Muslim, Low Calorie
and Hindu. My Vegetarian meal was a lovely chickpea curry.
My Muslim meal – I expected a halal meat curry – was another
chickpea curry. My Hindu meal was also a chickpea curry, despite
the abundance of tasty dishes offered in Indian cuisine.
I am now too anxious to book either a Low Fat, Diabetic or
Vegan meal, for fear it will be the same chickpea curry. I feel
dismayed that special meal requests are now so “unspecial”.
N. Haris, London
We are pleased to provide customers who have specific dietary
requirements with a choice of 13 special meals and, on occasion,
the same meal is ofered across more than one special meal option
if it caters to more than one dietary requirement. On board our
flights we always ofer at least two meal options for customers to
choose from, if they haven’t pre-selected one of our special meal
options. We are currently reviewing our special meals and looking
to introduce more variety in the near future.
When attending a dinner at a banquet, you entrust your coat to an
attendant at the cloakroom. You are given a ticket and you cannot
expect to get your coat back unless you provide the ticket. This is to
ensure no one else can walk off with your coat. Why does the same
not apply for our checked bags, which are worth far more?
We check our bags in at our originating airport, and receive a
ticket with a barcode and identifier. Yet when we arrive
at our destination airport, airlines allow anyone to help
themself at the baggage carousel, and to walk off with our
luggage. There is no obligation for passengers to provide
proof of ownership with a ticket, or via a scan at a barrier to
prove the correct bag has been taken.
My suitcase has gone astray from time to time. Sometimes
a fellow passenger has taken my bag from the carousel in
error, a frustrating and avoidable accident for both of us.
Any system that could prevent such errors would, of course,
also stop passenger bags being stolen in the same manner.
In my opinion [this system] is reckless, negligent and
irresponsible. I would ask all travellers to demand that our
airlines take responsibility, to ensure our personal belongings
are guarded at all times while in the care of airlines, from the
moment we check in, until our luggage is returned to us at
our destination. Please join me in a campaign for change.
Samuel Halpern, UK
I read with interest your article “Taken to the Cleaners”
[ Jan/Feb edition]. I’ve always wondered how hotels price
laundry and assumed that they use the same formula as drug
companies: think of a price and quadruple it. From your
article, it seems I was more or less correct. The reason is
simply that most people like to wear clean clothes, and if you
must use the hotel laundry to achieve that aim, you will.
Personally, I avoid using hotel laundry, Googling
laundrettes ahead of time or staying in hotels with washing
machines. I have also availed myself of FedEx Ground in
the US, sending a bag of clothes ahead of time to the hotel,
since it works out cheaper than using their laundry.
I’m planning a leisure trip to the UK next summer, and will
travel via Amsterdam for a night, thus adding an extra day of
laundry. I’ve been looking at options, and I’m delighted to
see there are several companies in London that will pick up
and deliver laundry for a fraction of the hotel cost.
Is it worth the extra hassle of trying to find cheaper
laundry? Obviously the answer is yes, and partly on
principle. I’d like to conclude with the observation that
companies may well have happily paid for hotel laundry in
the past, but for independent business travellers (a growing
trend) this is not the case. I suspect that just as phones
in hotel rooms have become all but obsolete, so will the
need for hotel laundry as the new generation of laundry
collection and delivery services grows.
Thank you for your informative letter. It made me smile
when I read that you were Fedexing your clothes around
the US. I wondered if you started with an empty suitcase
and returned home with it full, or vice versa. You are, of
course, quite right in refusing to pay exorbitant prices,
but I think it will be some time before hoteliers reluctantly
wave goodbye to this revenue source. Perhaps, like some
kinds of disposable paper underwear, we will in time all be
wearing disposable paper shirts…
M AY 2 0 1 8
Join the debate
SQ has always thought their product
was a “cut above” everyone else. True or
false really makes no diference as they
can charge what they want and will still
make money. But I think they do ofer a
very good, consistent product.
Whilst this is not something that
impacts me personally, it is clearly a
very big problem for those who rely
on this type of service. One question
in my mind currently is where does
the responsibility lie? Is it the airline
(very probably), the ground handler
(very probably), or the airport operator
(unlikely)? I think it essential that
responsibility for, let’s say, getting
a wheelchair to the gate is clearly
established as this, in itself, will help
minimise the frequency with which
unfortunate events occur.
I am hoping that one of the forum’s
experts can explain the reasoning behind
Singapore Airlines’ decision to charge a
surcharge for flying in its A380 aircraft
given that other airlines flying the A380
do not see the need to impose a surcharge.
I am not fluent in the jargon, but once
you reach the “choose flights” stage of the
Star Alliance planner, if you have chosen
an SQ flight then you must click on
flight details. You will then be shown the
type of aircraft used. If it is an A380 you
will be told that a surcharge must be paid
and what the amount is. The surcharge
does not apply to one-way or round trips
operated by Singapore Airlines, only to
Star Alliance RTW (round the world)
itineraries and the surcharge applies even
if the only aircraft operated on the route
by Singapore Airlines is an A380.
The current Star Alliance RTW fares have
become a joke… when these fares started
they were great value at not much more
than £1,000 [US$1,427] plus taxes and
allowed 29 sectors and stopovers. Now
sectors and stopovers are half that and
the price has almost tripled…
The Star Alliance website says that
for RTW fares, there is a surcharge on
Singapore Airlines First Class on the
A380 and Business Class on the A380
and 777-300ER... It wouldn’t be the first
time that Singapore Airlines sought an
exception to the standard rules for a
product it believes to be exceptional.
The A380 SIA product is highly sought
after by all passengers who have flown
it, so imposing a surcharge on a highly
popular product is the best commercial
practice by any revenue management
team (in my eyes).
Another reason is the yield or revenue
per sector. I suspect a revenue-conscious
airline like SIA would dislike taking part
in these complex RTW routings because
the yield they might earn for a particular
sector will probably be much lower than
it would earn normally (from a point-topoint passenger). That plus the fact that
SIA ofers a superior premium product
would, I believe, answer your question.
When I worked for airlines we were
almost completely reliant on the
handling agent, so the airline is not
necessarily to blame.
I am a wheelchair user and unable
to walk long distances. I have used
three airlines in recent months: British
Airways from Glasgow to London
Heathrow, All Nippon Airways from
Heathrow to Haneda and then Japan
Airlines from Haneda to Sapporo. They
were absolutely spot on. I’ve never seen
such excellent service or friendlier cabin
crew from all three airlines.
P O S T J O N AT H A N C O H E N 0 9
I have recently seen a lot of negative
publicity about the way certain airlines
treat passengers with varying degrees of
disability who nevertheless are able to fly
either on their own or with carers. I have
chosen not to post links about specific
airlines as I do not want it to turn into
one of those threads that relentlessly
beats up one or two airlines. Rather than
focus on the bad I am hoping that this
thread can bring out the good by giving
details of carriers who go the extra mile
for disabled passengers?
My husband is severely sight impaired
and our experience has been very poor
with Easyjet. They expect us to pay
for our seat allocations if we want to
guarantee that we sit together.
BA perform much better at this. They
allow us to choose seats free of charge
at the time of booking and are very
attentive on board.
M AY 2 0 1 8
Prepare for the
Grand Hyatt Shanghai’s Amane
Karazawa reveals her favourite
things about the hotel
Amane Karazawa is Area Director of
Sales and Marketing at Hyatt Corporation
and Executive Assistant Manager
at Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Q: What are the unique features that
make Grand Hyatt Shanghai stand out
from the crowd?
After 19 years in the market, Grand Hyatt
Shanghai has built a strong reputation by
hosting various large events, including
the Special Olympics charity dinner, the
Shanghai International TV Festival, and
many more. It has also welcomed many
politicians and celebrities, from former
US president Bill Clinton and Prime
Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong
to Hugh Jackman and Kylie Minogue. As
a landmark hotel in Shanghai, providing
extraordinary service and experience
to guests is our first priority. The rich
experience that we provide has become
an intrinsic part of why guests choose
our hotel.
Another key factor to success is our
outstanding service team, which is well
trained with comprehensive hospitality
knowledge and an enthusiasm for
excellence. We attach vital importance
to critical details, and each staf member
is expected to show care and hospitality,
wear a warm smile, make helpful
gestures and look sincere.
Q: If I needed to host a casual business
meeting at Grand Hyatt Shanghai,
what would you recommend?
We have various meeting and events
spaces that are capable of hosting
diferent events. For a small casual
meeting, I would suggest Polaris,
which is located on the 53rd floor and
features breathtaking city views. It’s also
designed with a sofa area to create a
more relaxing environment. With regard
to service, our experienced event planner
will work out a detailed itinerary with the
organiser, arranging tailor-made cofee
breaks, seating arrangements, etc.
Q: When you want to relax, which of
the hotel’s leisure facilities do you
head to first?
Patio, of course. Beneath the breathtaking
atrium spiralling 33 floors up to the building’s
crown, Patio makes for a spectacular
setting for afternoon tea, drinks and snacks.
Bars” by CNN Travel. Step into this bar
and you’ll be amazed by the magnificent
Bund view; it’s a great place to relax after
a long day. Outside the hotel I like bars
along the Bund, not only because of the
views, but for the city vibes they create,
which always make your night glamorous.
Q: Which is your favourite spot for a
drink in the evening?
In the hotel I always go to Cloud 9, a sky
bar located on the 87th floor which has also
been acclaimed as one of “Asia’s Highest
Q: How would you describe Grand
Hyatt Shanghai in three words?
Extraordinary, bold, worldly.
M AY 2 0 1 8
M AY 2 0 1 8
our man-made islands, a
22.9-kilometre-long stainless-steel
bridge weighing some 400,000
tonnes, and the longest submerged
sea tunnel in the world… this is
the new Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMacau Bridge (HZMB), soon to
be the world’s longest cross-sea bridge and
the jewel in the crown of a new wave of
developments aimed at fostering greater
integration between the cities of the Pearl
River Delta (PRD).
The HZMB project – which totals 55
kilometres in length – began construction
in December 2012 as part of a joint effort
by Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese
mainland, though the idea for a connection
across the Lingding Channel that separates
the cities was originally floated back in
1983. Fast-forward 35 years and the bridge
is nearly complete, with the opening slated
before the end of June.
The beneits of the HZMB will be
twofold: a reduction in transportation
times, and economic integration. In 2015,
the PRD region accounted for 4.3 per cent
of China’s total population and 9.1 per cent
of its GDP, according to the Hong Kong
Trade and Development Council. With the
Western PRD reachable in three hours from
Hong Kong, its attractiveness for external
investment will be given a handsome boost.
The HZMB Authority projects that
daily passenger flow across the bridge will
be about 56,000 people when it first opens,
increasing to 230,000 by 2035. Between
90 and 140 buses, operated by a subsidiary
of Hong Kong-based Shun Tak Holdings
that currently runs the Hong Kong-Macau
TurboJet ferry service, will run daily between
all three border checkpoints (every five
minutes during peak hours). Fares are
expected to be HK$80 (US$10) to get to
Zhuhai – significantly lower than the current
HK$220 (US$28) ferry and HK$130
(US$17) coach costs using different routes.
M AY 2 0 1 8
The long-awaited opening of the
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
heralds a wave of initiatives
aimed at increasing connectivity
throughout the Pearl River Delta
The HZMB has been a major undertaking.
Starting from Hong Kong, the bridge begins
at the Hong Kong Border Crossing Facilities
on an artificial island to the west of Lantau
Island adjacent to Hong Kong International
Airport (HKIA). From here the
12-kilometre-long Hong Kong Link Road
runs west out into the Lingding Channel to
the edge of the Hong Kong border.
The bridge then connects with a second
artificial island that leads into the sea
tunnel – a necessity to avoid obstructing
the nearly 4,000 ships that use the channel
daily – which extends 6.7 kilometres
under the channel at a depth of 40 metres
before emerging once again at a third
artificial island. This then leads on to the
main 22.9-kilometre stretch of the bridge,
comprising a total of 2,156 connected box
girders that cross the rest of the channel
to the Zhuhai-Macau Boundary Crossing
Facilities on the northeastern edge of Macau.
A further Zhuhai Link Road extends
beyond this into the Chinese mainland.
It’s worth noting that drivers in Macau,
Hong Kong and mainland China don’t
share the same trafic rules – Macau and
Hong Kong drive on the left side of the
road, UK style, but the mainland follows
the US by driving on the right. Earlier this
year the HZMB Authority declared that the
entire bridge will follow mainland China’s
trafic rules, meaning all vehicles will have
M AY 2 0 1 8
to keep to the right while on the
bridge. Additionally, all tolls
will have to be paid in renminbi,
regardless of origin or destination
– though you’ll be able to pay using
non-cash options such as bankcards,
electronic wallets such as Alipay
and WeChat Pay, and Autopay, which
already exists for bridge and tunnel toll
collection in Hong Kong.
It certainly hasn’t all been smooth sailing
for the bridge’s development. Originally
slated to open in 2016, the project has been
plagued by delays and despite its expected
opening this year, at time of writing it
still doesn’t have a definitive launch date.
Beset by workplace accidents as well as
investigations into corruption surrounding
contractors faking concrete test results,
which led to further construction problems,
the overall cost of the bridge has exceeded
the initial budget by at least HK$11.8
billion (US$1.5 billion) – around 30 per
cent more than the original HK$38 billion
(US$4.8 billion) projected cost.
However, provided the bridge does
indeed open this year, the gains will be seen
across the three terminus cities immediately.
For example, many of Macau’s food imports
and other supplies come via Hong Kong –
currently a journey of up to a day. Once the
bridge is open though, this will be reduced
to about 30 minutes.
Of course trade will be bolstered
by greater interconnectivity across the
Lingding Channel, but travellers and
corporate event delegates also stand to
benefit. Speaking with our sister publication
Mix Meetings last year, Stephane de
Montgros, co-founder and director of
Riviera Events, noted that the bridge would
open up facilities across all three cities to
tourists and event organisers.
“Leveraging the resources that the
three areas have in terms of quality
accommodation, creative food and beverage,
entertaining activities and world-class event
spaces, will contribute to establishing South
China as the leading destination for MICE
[meetings, incentives, conferences and
exhibitions] events in Asia,” he said.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT: The Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMacau Bridge takes shape; Jiangmen in the PRD; a
map of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link; undersea
tunnel construction; and modern toll collection
“We have no doubt the
Trade will be
governments of the different
bolstered by the
areas will continue to upgrade
bridge but travellers
the border crossing experience,
which will be key in ofering
and event delegates
a pleasant and smooth
will beneit too
experience when travelling
between the three areas. The
rollout of the e-gate system
develop a Greater Bay
for both locals and foreigners [in 2016] has
Area that will comprise
been a fantastic improvement.”
cities across Guangdong
Other facilities designed to
province including
capitalise on the increased
Guangzhou, Shenzhen,
cross-flow of travellers include
Foshan, Zhongshan,
the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok
Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhaoqing
Link (TM-CLKL), a dual
and Jiangmen… the latter’s local
carriageway connecting the
government, in preparation, plans to
Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities at
invest some RMB100 billion (US$15.9
Hong Kong airport to the city’s Tuen Mun
billion) for new industrial and property
district on the western edge of the Kowloon
development to help integrate with its more
Peninsula, which will improve access to
developed neighbour cities.
the airport for travellers coming from the
Some sectors though do not stand to
Shenzhen border.
gain from the opening of the bridge, most
Then there’s the new SkyCity mixednotably the ferry companies, who are
use complex at HKIA, set to open in
adapting to the likely hit to their business.
2020 between Terminal 2 and AsiaWorldSome operators like Zhuhai High Speed
Expo, that will include retail, dining,
Passenger Ferry Co are adjusting their
entertainment and commercial space, plus
strategies, planning to upgrade and focus
a second 1,000-room airport property from
more on marine tourism. Others, such
Regal Hotels Group.
as Cotai WaterJet, are partnering with
As well as providing an economic
airlines to offer their own form of enhanced
boost to Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau,
connectivity across the channel. In February
China’s government has broader plans to
this year Cotai WaterJet entered into a
codeshare agreement with Cathay Pacific
(CX) that enables travellers to book a
single itinerary through to Macau’s Taipa
Ferry Terminal on one of six daily ferries
via the SkyPier at HKIA. As with air route
codeshares, this means you can check your
luggage all the way through to the final
destination in Macau. Initially open to
those travelling from Australia, Canada,
New Zealand, Singapore and the US, the
service is set to roll out across additional
international markets in future.
The SkyPier itself connects to nine ports
scattered throughout the Pearl River Delta
(including Macau), with approximately 90
ferry trips operating each day between these
ports and the airport. “SkyPier also provides
upstream check-in services for sea-to-air
passengers from Macau,” said a spokesperson
for the Airport Authority of Hong Kong.
This feature is particularly geared towards
incentive groups travelling to and from
Macau via Hong Kong, especially when it
comes to improved check-in procedures for
travellers departing Macau.
M AY 2 0 1 8
55 kilometres
TUNNEL: 6.7 kilometres
ROAD: 12 kilometres
ROAD: 13.4 kilometres
30 minutes
45 minutes
Between 90 and 140 buses daily
FROM TOP: Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge; HKIA
Third Runway proposal showing connectivity
upgrades; and a Macau-bound ferry in Hong Kong
Back in Hong Kong, the Airport
Authority also has initiatives that enable
event organisers to set up dedicated
meet-and-greet counters for delegates in
the terminal area, along with setting up
dedicated containers for handling baggage
for large groups, thus speeding up the
baggage-handling process.
“If a conference is held in Macau and the
group is using SkyPier ferries, the Airport
Authority can make special arrangements
with ferry operators, including chartering
ferries tailored to the flight arrival time,
shortening times at Hong Kong airport,”
the spokesperson added.
M AY 2 0 1 8
These enhancements all make sense
HK$80 (US$10)
and add value, but it’s the HZMB that
still forms the backbone of HKIA’s plan
to become the major hub connecting the
Peak hours – every five minutes;
PRD with the rest of the world. With this
non-peak hours – every 10-15 minutes;
in mind, it is developing an Intermodal
night service – every 15-30 minutes
Transfer Terminal (ITT) at the airport that
will connect to the Hong Kong Boundary
TOLL: Cars RMB200 (US$32);
Crossing Facilities via a bonded bridge.
trucks RMB200-300 (US$32-48)
The proposed location of the ITT is
currently to the south of the SkyPier and
will operate in a similar fashion,
primarily serving tourists to and
from Macau and Zhuhai who ly
The HZMB forms
in and out of HKIA. Passengers
the backbone of
coming from the western PRD via
the HZMB will be able to enter the
HKIA’s plan to
airport in one or two minutes from
become the major
the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing
hub for the PRD
Facilities without needing to go
through extra border checks.
With travel time from Zhuhai to
HKIA set to improve dramatically – from
four hours to just 45 minutes – there’s every
chance the HZMB will indeed bring
about the Pearl River Delta integration
that its proponents have long been
touting. When it finally does open,
that is…
Break-out Café
Lounge Style Setup
Catering Truck
“Dai Pai Dong”
Make your dream event come true
Grand Hyatt Macau, situated in Macau’s City of Dreams, has all the ingredients
for spectacular events, formal gatherings and laid-back, alfresco soirées
rand Hyatt Macau comprises
two wave-inspired towers
within the City of Dreams –
renowned for its innovative
culinary and creative excellence, an
important element that enhances each
delegate's experience at the hotel.
The hotel aims to plan and host
the finest meetings and incentives,
complemented by award-winning
products and services, pioneering food
and beverages and a commitment to
quality. Grand Hyatt Macau is the ideal
partner to collaborate with to ensure
successful and memorable events.
The event space spans almost 8,000
square metres, including a colossal Grand
Ballroom and Salão do Teatro, the
only ballroom in Macau encompassing
a theatre-style show kitchen. There are
eight flexible, intelligently structured
conference and meeting Salons, suitable
for gatherings of between 40 and 100,
complete with two nearby residential-style
Salon Lounges for breakout receptions.
In addition to the wonderful array
of venue choices, the Grand Club
Private Dining Rooms, with advanced
information technology infrastructure and
an Experience Centre equipped with
360-degree audiovisual projector, also
provide the perfect backdrops for private
dining or meetings. For events that are
more informal, the outdoor marquee on the
Pool Deck is an ideal alfresco location.
For epicures, Grand Hyatt Macau features
mezza9 Macau, a vibrant eatery with indoor
and outdoor seating featuring theatrical
show kitchens; Beijing Kitchen, specialising
in authentic northern Chinese cuisine;
and the Lobby Lounge, an ideal venue for
meeting friends with live band performances.
The hotel also features a 40-metre,
temperature-controlled outdoor pool, four
outdoor hot tubs, a comprehensive 24-hour
fitness centre, outdoor tennis court and
Isala Spa, ofering a combination of single
and couples private treatment suites.
If these facilities aren’t tempting enough,
Grand Hyatt Macau has a few other secret
weapons up its sleeve. These include
newly installed LED walls to enhance any
event, themed cofee breaks to engage
delegates and encourage networking, plus
Grand Hyatt Macau has a special Residential
Meeting Package available, priced from
HK$2,199 (US$280) per person per night,
which includes the following privileges:
ǚ - 2- *! Ơ + - )/ !*- /#
guaranteed and total amount
ǚ ) )$"#/LJ. *((*/$*) $) Grand Deluxe room
ǚ 0''ǒ4 ( /$)" +&"
ǚ $'4 - &!./
ǚ # ( *Ɩ - &
ǚ *(+'$( )/-4 .$")/ ($)$refreshments (per room per night)
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services (per room per night)
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a dedicated event app to maximise the
value for all attendees and make event
planners’ jobs a breeze.
Grand Hyatt Macau, City of Dreams,
Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau SAR,
China; tel: +853 8868 1234; macau.
M AY 2 0 1 8
A luxury spa is
just part of what
makes for a
relaxing hotel stay
Vitality Pool
at ESPA by
Resorts World
ingapore has long been leading the Asian Green City Index. The city
welcomes you with almost as much greenery as steel and glass, thanks
to regulations stating developers must replace the same amount of
vegetation their building displaces... and the tropical climate, which
does the rest naturally.
Many of Singapore’s hotels follow suit, not only practising
renewable and sustainable initiatives, but also piling on amenities to
help fuel guests’ wellbeing.
Proximity to nature, innovative exercise, mind-body practices and
plant-focused diets are just some of today’s wellness must-dos that hotel guests
will ind in abundance. It’s the ideal opportunity to boost your physical, mental
and spiritual energy, and return home feeling even better than when you left.
A prime example, PARKROYAL on Pickering is an architectural breath
of fresh air. More like a series of vertical flowerbeds than a hotel, the curvy
architecture is designed like tiers of rice fields sprouting lush tropical plants at
every turn. Spaciousness rules, whether in the rooms, the brilliantly hip Orchid
Club Lounge, the lobby or on the wellness floor. he fifth floor is devoted to
wellness – it’s home to the gym, the pool (flanked by birdcage-shaped cabanas)
and the 300-metre garden walk that skirts the circumference of the hotel.
Here too, the hushed, dim interiors of St Gregory Spa are ideal for switching
off from the day. The Elemis Well-Being Massage starts with a body brushing
that wakes up every nerve end – great for jet lag – followed by a massage that
addresses aches and pains by loosening muscles. The vigorous Chinese-style Tui
Na Massage is an award-winner, plus there’s a full menu of 15- or 30-minute
express treatments – ideal when time is at a premium.
he Suite Life package combines a luxury pick-up rom a Singapore location, a
one-night suite stay with arrival champagne and strawberries, an hour’s massage for
two at St Gregory Spa and bufet dinner at Lime restaurant rom S$698 (US$533).
On arrival at the loty sky lobby of The Westin
Singapore, take a deep breath – the subtle hint of white
tea is fresh and calming. Kick-start your morning by
jumping into the loaned New Balance kit and follow the
running map (5km or 8km routes available), join Run
Concierge Eddie on Thursdays or Saturdays for a guided
jog, or retreat to the air-conditioned gym. Alternatively,
laps in the infinity pool offer fabulous city and sea views.
Refuel with The Juicery drinks and superfood breakfasts
– there are superfood dishes available throughout the day
and in-room too. And after a day of meetings, calm your
brain with the lavender and chamomile Sleep Well Balm.
If you can, carve out time for a Heavenly Spa by Westin
treatment. Set aside at least 15 minutes for the mini hydro
playground, comprising an experience shower, whirlpool
and aromatherapy steam room, where the warmth will start
to loosen muscles and calm the mind. To continue the job,
the Heavenly Massage includes a hot compress for the back
to deeply relax those typically tense muscles. If strapped
for time, try the 25-minute Renewal Ritual for a soothing
scalp and shoulder massage, or the weekday Spa-Licious
Lunch, an ideal wellness combo of 30-minute massage plus
energising SuperFoodsRx set meal in the executive club.
The Exclusive Weekend Perks deal includes
complimentary access to Heavenly Spa by Westin and
lie-in riendly breakfasts at Daily Treats until 3pm, plus 15
per cent savings and dining privileges for SPG members.
Prepaid rates start rom S$530 (US$404).
Singapore welcomes you with almost as much
greenery as steel and glass, thanks to enlightened
building regulations and the lush tropical climate
JW Marriott;
and The Westin
The JW Marriott South Beach’s Foster + Partnersdesigned, 634-room hotel keeps things young and
fun, with wavy architecture framing unique views of
the city, art everywhere, and two alfresco lap pools
perfectly positioned at the Ebb6 and Flow18 sky gardens.
In-room, your health is addressed by Behind the Barre,
tempting you to join two dancers from The Joffrey Ballet
in a workout of core strength, stretching and the Barre
method, with real pop-up classes to look out for too.
The beautiful grey-blue Spa by JW includes two
express treatment pods, where you can grab a 15-minute
power shoulder and back massage while you lose
yourself in the news or maybe a quick hit of Netflix.
Meanwhile, the spa menu divides treatments into
Calm, Indulge, Invigorate and Renew sections: the Jet
Lag Cure massage can be found in Invigorate, the deep
cleansing and brightening Refinery Essential Facial
for men in Renew, the Eyelift treatment in Indulge,
and the Sleep Deeply pre-bed massage in Calm. Every
section has two or three express treatments too, lasting
anywhere between 12 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, to luxuriously de-stress, head to the
stunning Banyan Tree Spa. Life-size Trees of Life
welcome you, Indonesian vines line the corridors to
your room and the interior serenity is enhanced by
eagle-eye views of the city from the 55th floor. Make
the most of your time with the 90-minute Master
Therapist treatment where, following a consultation,
the top therapist will spontaneously deliver exactly what
your body and mind need. Alternatively, 30-minute
treatments span neck and shoulders, back, hand or foot
release, delivering intense rejuvenation for fast wellness.
A Rejuvenating Staycation includes daily breakfast, spa
facility access and 30-minute head, shoulder and lower
back massage alongside your Thursday to Sunday room
night, for two. Rates start rom S$300 (US$230).
The infinity pool on the horizontal slab that spans the
wicket-shaped Marina Bay Sands is an Instagrammer’s
holy grail and just one of the ways the 2,561-room hotel
adds wellbeing to your day. Wake up to Sunrise Yoga,
or work out at the 24-hour Banyan Tree Fitness Club,
then pick up a raw kale green juice at SweetSpot Café.
Choose a veggie or vegan dish from one of the many
food outlets for lunch, with herbs grown in the hotel’s
50-species herb garden. For a duvet dinner, dial room
service where the Harvest menu features sustainably
sourced, healthy menus. And if you’re organising
meetings, buy in to their Meet Green, Live Well
programme (think energy bars and fruit snacks, healthy
lunch menus, post-lunch fitness programmes and even
networking while cycling).
In my opinion, the jewel in the Grand Hyatt
Singapore’s crown is Oasis. A resort-like hideaway, this
poolside café looks onto a turquoise and palm-filled
escape, quiet save for the occasional splash or tapbounce-tap of a tennis ball. The kale salad is a winner,
with some of the greens on your plate coming from
the hotel’s rooftop organic garden and the rest from
its Cameron Highlands farm, just over the border in
Malaysia. Throughout the hotel the restaurant outlets
focus on organic produce and MSC and ASC certified
seafood. Leftovers are either carefully packaged for
Kerbside Gourmet’s needy families or fed to their
“digester machine” and turned into fertiliser.
Groups have fantastic wellness options with “power
hour” morning boot camps, yoga and meditation
sessions, as well as healthy coffee and lunch breaks. Yoga,
tennis, badminton, kinesis training and steam and sauna
are available to all, as is the stunning Damai Spa. Follow
your therapist down the corridor, which shines with
calming blue light as you pass by, as if you’re making its
day. Inside, the ESPA treatments include the 45-minute
Muscle Reviver, which can leave you invigorated or
relaxed, as well as 30-minute treatments like the express
facial, foot relaxer or back, neck and shoulder massage,
and of course longer deep tissue treatments that get into
the core of chronic aches and pains.
A popular property for corporate groups, thanks
to its airy meeting spaces and sizeable dining outlets,
is the Sofitel Sentosa. Here, guests really are in the
heart of the tropics, surrounded by trees dropping
pink frangipani blossoms on the green lawns where
multicoloured peacocks parade.
Yoga and tai chi is complimentary on Saturday mornings,
but mats and DVDs can be requested anytime for in-room
sessions, the gym offers various classes such as Pilates, and
nearby golf course rounds can easily be reserved.
The best place to treat your body with great nutrition
is The Garden, the in-house restaurant next to the spa’s
pool. Devoted to conscious dining, top of the menu is
their Salad Construction, where you can mix and match
your favourite greens, grains and legumes, alongside
Japanese-influenced starters, wraps and gluten-free
mains, healthy desserts and detox juices.
But first, detox at SO Spa, where the Spa Garden is
an alfresco wonderland of labyrinth walks, waterfall
pools, mud baths and a peaceful lap pool for serious
unwinding. Inside, numerous spa treatments include
the Jet Lag Recovery scrub, ideal for sloughing off the
effects of long-haul travel, followed by a rejuvenating
massage. Alternatively, try the 30-minute hammam or
express head massage for speedy rejuvenation.
It’s impossible to talk about wellness in Singapore
without mentioning the ESPA by Resorts World Sentosa.
A theme park of wellness, the spa offers a gym, Zen Studio
for yoga and tai chi, a steam, sauna and ice fountain
inside, with hot and cool onsen-style pools outside.
Relax in the tea lounge before the famous soap
scrub and massage in the domed marble hammam or
head to the treatment rooms upstairs for a facial. Post
treatment, the sleep pods are sorely tempting, or stroll
over to Tangerine for delicious nutrition courtesy of the
Californian chef, who can cook up mini miracles thanks
to her extensive vegan and vegetarian experience.
Lifestyle Retreat options include Fit for Life, Weight
Management, Intro to Detox and De-Stress programmes,
with consultations leading to therapies and nutritious
meals. Stay in a Beach Villa on-site or at the Equarius hotel
next door. Rates start rom around S$948 (US$724).
Proving you don’t need to be a spa hotel to deliver
quality wellness, Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s rooms
can be transformed into a gym, an artist’s studio and a
spa. Wake up and unpack your Virgin Active goody bag
consisting of a yoga mat, resistance band and foam roller,
and follow the instructions for your choice of easy or
full-on workout. Get back from your meetings and pick
up the colouring book and a crayon to let your brain
freewheel as you channel your inner four-year-old. Last
Following a short consultation, the resident
Traditional Chinese Doctor can determine your
body’s current health status and needs
thing at night, run a bath and lick through the 101 Ways
to Live Well book on the bath rack, perfectly placed next
to a wine glass… This is all in addition to the beautifully
landscaped gardens, pool, gym, running map and more.
Singapore City
Centre; and
Six Senses
Newly opened Six Senses on Duxton, the brand’s
first urban hotel, is a riot of black and gold courtesy of
design genius Anouska Hempel. A heritage shop house,
the interiors feature a series of corridors and staircases
leading to rooms that feature singing bowls (you’ll be
taught how to make them sing), organic mattress, linens
and amenities, and, thanks to their no plastics protocol,
glass bottles of complimentary in-house bottled water.
Downstairs, you’ll have passed the resident Traditional
Chinese Doctor, responsible for the delicious welcome
tonic. Following a short consultation he can determine
your body’s current health status and needs, and advise
the most appropriate dishes for you on Chef Sebastian’s
menus. While there’s no spa here, start your Thursdays
and Sundays with complimentary yoga, which takes
place daily in the nearby garden, or pick up a jogging
map from reception and explore your surroundings.
The main
sights of
easily fit
into an
M AY 2 0 1 8
Shwedagon Pagoda
Built sometime between the
6th and 10th centuries AD, the
Shwedagon Pagoda is an unmissable
sight in Yangon – quite literally.
Emblazoned in gold and standing
atop Singuttara Hill, the pagoda is
the tallest structure in Yangon at 99
metres, with strict rules prohibiting
the development of buildings
higher than the top of the stupa.
While this sacred site can be visited
throughout the day, sunset is the
best time to go, so you can watch as
lights slowly illuminate the golden
pagoda until it is shining in the
darkness. he more adventurous can
also choose to get there just ater
5am, another magical time where
you will be able to observe locals
and monks praying and performing
rituals as the sun slowly rises. Open
4am-10pm daily; entrance US$8;
Mingalarbar Balloon
While Shwedagon Pagoda is the
highest building in Yangon, to get
an actual panoramic view of the
city head over to the Mingalarbar
Balloon. From the pagoda’s south
exit turn left on U Htaung Bo Road
and a ive-minute walk towards
Kandawgyi Lake will bring you to
the balloon. Rather than using
hot air to ascend and descend, the
Mingalarbar Balloon is filled with
helium. Staf members simply extend
the steel cable that tethers the balloon
to the ground and up it goes to
around 120 metres. Rides typically
last about 30 minutes, however this is
a highly weather-dependent activity.
Even a small breeze can send the
balloon swaying back and forth more
than some people may be comfortable
with, so be cautious if you’re spooked
by heights. However, staff will waste
no time in bringing the balloon
down if the wind gets too strong
(refunds are given for anyone
queueing if the balloon is
grounded). Tours run between
10am and 6pm (sunset views are
recommended); US$22 per person;
Bogyoke Aung San Market
Located a 15-minute taxi ride away
(around 5,000 kyat/US$4-5), just
off Shwedagon Pagoda Road in the
centre of the city, is one of Yangon’s
most popular attractions: Bogyoke
Aung San Market. This sprawling
covered market is immediately
identifiable by the large white dome
that stands atop the entrance; it’s the
perfect place to find local handicrafts
and goods, notably jewellery such as
jade, art and textiles. More modern
twists on traditional wares can also be
found at Yangoods, a local company
founded by French designers that
sells bags, paintings and other crafts
inspired by 1930s and 40s Burmese
iconography. his is also a good
place to taste local cuisine, with
a few eateries selling local noodle
dishes. Open 10.30am-5pm; closed
on Mondays and public holidays;
4 Maha Bandula Park/
Strand Road
Few cities in Asia have retained
as many colonial-era buildings as
Yangon, and while many are in sore
need of maintenance, the city’s
downtown area is an essential part
of any itinerary. Start with Maha
Bandula Park, a ive-minute taxi
ride southeast of Bogyoke Aung
San Market or 15-minute stroll.
Surrounding the Independence
Monument in the centre of the park
are some of the city’s most historic
buildings, including City Hall and
the former High Court building.
From there, head south to Strand
Road, where you’ll see numerous
embassies as well as the famous
Strand Hotel, founded in 1901 by
the Sarkies Brothers.
The Teak Bar
Circle back round in the direction of
Aung San Market for a well-deserved
drink. Opened in December last year,
the Pan Pacific Yangon has two key
selling points: its central business
district location and its height.
Standing only slightly shorter than
Shwedagon Pagoda, the hotel offers
far better city views, with the elevated
Teak Bar offering an outdoor terrace
from which you can get great views
of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church
across the road and the pagoda off
in the distance. Sunset is a great time
to head up to the bar and watch the
blood-red sun setting in the distance,
while the weather cools significantly,
making this alfresco drinks spot all
the more enjoyable. Try the signature
cocktails, which incorporate local
touches ranging from chilli to
lemongrass, then head up to the
Pool Bar on the W floor where the
skyline becomes the backdrop for
the hotel’s impressive infinity pool. BT
M AY 2 0 1 8
Are Airbus and Boeing’s super-sized aircraft heading for the scrap heap?
hen Singapore International Airlines
(SIA) became the first carrier to
operate the Airbus A380 “superjumbo”
commercially in October 2007, it
was heralded as the start of a new
generation of giant, long-haul aircraft
that would reshape the way we travelled
by air. After all, it was the world’s largest
commercial airliner with the capacity to carry up to 800
passengers, eclipsing the previous “Queen of the Skies”,
the Boeing 747 jumbo.
Yet in October 2017 – a decade after it first flew
commercially – the giant A380 aircraft, that had made
an epic maiden voyage from Singapore to Sydney,
was dispatched to a small airport between the towns
of Lourdes and Tarbes in the French Pyrenees while
its future was determined. SIA had decided to return
the aircraft to the German leasing company Dr Peters
Group that owned the superjumbo rather than extend
its lease, especially since it had newer A380s on order.
A Delta Boeing 747
But the outlook for the A380 is not promising. Malaysia
Airlines (MAB), for example, stopped all scheduled
services on its six-strong A380 fleet in March after
failing to sell the aircraft to other carriers. The reason,
analysts suggest, is that following Malaysia Airline’s twin
aircraft disasters in 2014, the airline struggles to fill the
494 seats available on its superjumbos.
Instead, MAB is planning to reconfigure the
A380 aircraft cabins from their present layout to a
“high-density” 700-seater, providing services for Islamic
pilgrim travellers from ASEAN countries to Mecca
in Saudi Arabia. A new subsidiary is being set up to
manage this operation, due to start next year under the
name “Project Amal” (or Project Hope).
The uncertainty about future prospects for the
A380 is hitting sales. Until recently, the manufacturer
had received no new orders for the superjumbo in the
past two years – although there are 100 aircraft still
under order from previous years. Airbus has already
announced production cuts: from the 27 built in 2015
to a target of just 12 this year, and only eight in 2019. In
March, Airbus confirmed it would be further reducing
Ten years is not old in terms of modern jetliners’
this figure to just six per year from 2020 onwards.
lifespans, which often extend to 20 years or more –
On the same day, Virgin Atlantic finally pulled the
many Boeing 747s are still in service at this age or older.
plug on an order for six A380s that it made more than
This makes the SIA decision all the more surprising to
a decade ago, after realising the aircraft had no place in
some observers. Oten, however, the aircraft are sold on
its f leet, which primarily comprises smaller wide-body
to smaller carriers unable to afford the many millions
aircraft. Recent reports have also revealed that both Air
of dollars a new long-haul jet costs. A Boeing 737-700,
France and Qantas have cancelled orders of the A380.
for example, is listed on the manufacturer’s website at
The most enthusiastic cheerleader for the A380
US$82.4 million brand new, although a second-hand
is Emirates, which operates the largest f leet of the
1991 equivalent is on sale for just US$6 million.
superjumbos with 100 aircraft in service (the 100th
Yet given the A380’s comparatively short time in
A380 was delivered last November).
service, the key question is whether a second-hand
The Dubai-based carrier had been widely expected to
market for the superjumbos can be established, especially
announce another deal at the Dubai Air
since three more unwanted A380s
Show that same month to buy a further
are also due to be parked at Tarbes–
Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport shortly.
In 2007 the A380 was tranche of A380s, adding to the 46 it
still had on order, but the airline instead
Meanwhile, the four Rolls-Royce
heralded as the start
ordered 40 of Boeing’s latest version (10)
engines on the former SIA aircraft are
of its successful mid-sized Dreamliner
reportedly being offered for short-term
of a new generation
rental to airlines in need of replacements
of aircrat that would 787 aircraft for just over US$15 billion.
Sir Tim Clark, Emirates’ president,
while their own superjumbo engines
reshape air travel
made clear that new A380 orders
undergo routine maintenance.
depended on Airbus committing to
Dr Peters is confident that, as more
maintain production for “the next ten
A380 leases are returned to it, a secondto 15 years, which is vital to us”, with the
hand market will emerge. Its CEO, Anselm Gehling,
airline not wanting to be left stranded if
is reportedly in discussions with a number of
the production plug is pulled in the face
potential buyers for Singapore’s A380,
of lacklustre sales.
including British Airways (which already
In January, Airbus CEO John Leahy stated
has ten A380s) as well as low-cost Asian
that it was likely the A380 programme would
airlines. Another option is to cannibalise
be forced to shut down if it was unable to secure an
the aircraft for spare parts.
M AY 2 0 1 8
Emirates’ 100th
A380 delivery;
Singapore Airlines
A380 suite; and
retro uniforms on
United’s final B747
M AY 2 0 1 8
agreement with Emirates. At the 11th hour, the companies
was last November, when it flew from San Francisco to
managed to come to an agreement, and in January the
Honolulu in homage to the aircraft’s debut on the route
A380 programme received a lifeline order with Emirates
way back in the summer of 1970. On the last service,
signing a memorandum of understanding to acquire
flight attendants wore “retro” uniforms of the period
up to 36 more superjumbos – 20 on firm order and an
and the in-flight menu was 1970s-inspired.
option for 16 more – with deliveries set to begin in 2020.
United’s president Scott Kirby told the airline’s
Speaking about the deal, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al
employees that it was a “bittersweet milestone – the
Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman, said: “We’ve made no
jumbo jet with its unmistakable silhouette once
secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for
represented the state-of-the-art in air travel.” But in
Emirates. Our customers love it, and we’ve been able
modern aviation, he added, “there are more fuel-efficient,
to deploy it on different missions across our network,
cost-effective and reliable wide-body aircraft that provide
giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix.
an updated in-flight experience on long-haul flights.”
“This order will provide stability to
Delta became one of the launch
the A380 production line. We will
airlines for the jumbo, taking delivery
continue to work closely with Airbus
of its first 747 in 1970 and starting US
Both Boeing and
to further enhance the aircraft and
services in 1971. But it never really fully
Airbus insist
onboard products, so as to offer our
embraced the giant plane, especially as
passengers the best possible experience.”
it reportedly found difficulties filling
their massive
the aircraft’s 370-seat configuration on
“pachyderms” have
domestic flights. By 1974, it decided to
a viable future
While the A380’s future seemingly rests
sell its five 747s, and focused instead on
on how Airbus manages its relationship
the smaller Lockheed L-1011 TriStar
with its biggest customer, the outlook
with 298 seats.
for the much-admired Boeing 747 is cloudier. Two
Yet when in late 2008 it took over
of America’s leading legacy carriers – United
Northwest Airlines, it also acquired its
Airlines and Delta Air Lines – have both
fleet of 747-400 jumbos and continued
recently stopped flying their B747s (400
to fly them, eventually “warming” to the
series) after three decades during which the
iconic aircraft. After the final commercial
jumbo ruled the long-haul air routes.
flight from South Korea’s Seoul Incheon airport
United’s final B747 passenger flight
to Detroit in December, for example, it took the
aircraft on a “farewell tour” around the US
for employees, both current and former, along
with leading US sports teams.
Members of its frequent flyer SkyMiles
programme were also able to bid (with their
loyalty points) for a chance to join these flights.
Delta’s last 747 was flown to its final resting place
in an Arizona “boneyard” in January this year.
Although Boeing is no longer producing new 747400 series passenger aircraft, it still makes the 747-8
cargo version, which is supported for the next couple
of years at least by a 14-strong order from delivery
company UPS, with a further 14 on option. The US Air
Force is also acquiring two 747-8s as the basis for the
new presidential aircraft Air Force One, due to come
into service in 2024.
But the writing is clearly on the wall for the jumbo,
especially as Boeing has stopped making replacement
parts for the earlier variants. British Airways, which at
present is the world’s largest operator of the 747-400,
has already reduced its 747 fleet from 57 to 36 and is
planning further cuts.
British Airways’ chief financial oficer Steve Gunning
revealed at an investor event in November 2017 (held
by parent company IAG) that half the 747-400 fleet will
be withdrawn by 2021 with the final exit in 2024. He
said that new-generation twin-engine jets from Boeing
and Airbus were 30 per cent more fuel-efficient than
the 747s, offering potential savings of £156 million
(US$221 million) a year.
Although British Airways also operates a dozen A380s,
there seems little likelihood that United or Delta – or
any other US carrier – will now embrace the superjumbo.
Out of the 13 airlines that fly the A380, only three –
Air France, BA and Lufthansa – are not located in the
Middle East or the Asia-Pacific region. But while Boeing
is counting on newer versions of its 737 Max, 777 and
787 (Dreamliner) aircraft helping to fill the gap left by
the phasing out of the 747, Airbus is keeping up the
pressure, especially with new variants of its successful
A350 XWB programme. These “extra wide-body”
airliners are built with lighter composite materials for
wings and fuselage, able to fly for up to 19 hours with
greater fuel efficiency than conventional aircraft.
Aviation has been a dynamic, changing business
almost from the day the Wright Brothers made their
historic first flight. When Boeing introduced the 747
in the 1970s it revolutionised long-haul travel, opening
up the world to a new generation of travellers, both
for business and leisure. The A380 could have had the
same game-changing impact, with its huge capacity
and extended range, yet somehow it never quite
seemed to match up to the high expectations
for it.
But in one respect at least, the advent
of the jumbo was key to the emergence
of the modern airport strategy adopted
in most major cities around the
world – the hub-and-spoke model
favoured especially by US airports, but
increasingly adopted globally (Hong
Kong is a notable Asian proponent). This
was based on the premise that travellers
should be transported in giant aircraft to a
central hub and would then travel onwards to
their final airport destination in smaller aircraft.
This hub-and-spoke template succeeded the
traditional model of flying point-to-point which many
travellers – especially those on business – prefer given
the extra hassle and potential for delays and lost luggage
that changing planes entails. Studies in the US and EU
suggest the point-to-point model is more efficient for
both passengers and airlines, although governments and
regulatory bodies are not so sure.
Yet Airbus remains largely committed to hub-andspoke, unsurprisingly given that the A380 was developed
for it. Heathrow’s hoped-for expansion is based on this
concept, although it is already the world’s “most connected”
international airport, according to the latest rankings of
global megahubs collated by aviation data agency OAG.
Europe dominates the rankings, with Frankfurt and
Amsterdam airports in second and third places. Chicago
O’Hare International Airport is ranked fourth.
Fears that the era of extra-large, long-haul aircraft
has peaked may be wide of the mark. Both Boeing and
Airbus insist their massive “pachyderms” have a viable
future – but that was said, too, about Concorde.
M AY 2 0 1 8
he big news in 2016 in the world of hotels
was the merger of Marriott and Starwood
to create a company with 30-plus hotel
brands. Although there were many reasons
for the merger, streamlining the number of
hotel brands wasn’t one of them. Sheraton
and Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton
and Courtyard by Marriott, Luxury Collection and
Autograph Collection all continue as before, with
no amalgamation.
Roll on to 2018, and the number of brands
increases weekly. It’s fair to say that no business
traveller wakes up in the morning and says to
themself, “I really wish someone would invent a
new hotel brand.” However, the hotel chains keep
on creating them. At a recent Global CEO panel
where the bosses of Wyndham Hotels Group,
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Accorhotels,
Hilton and Choice Hotels were
represented, they alone had more than
If brands are a
90 hotel brands between them, and no
promise, why do
one disagreed with the assertion that
there would probably be 100 between
we so oten feel
them within the next year.
let down by that
Sébastien Bazin, the forthright and
sometimes outspoken chairman and
CEO of Accorhotels, said that he had
been “dead wrong” in believing brands
would gradually become less important.
In fact, he thought they were “more
important than ever”.
The reason? “Brands are like a group of
friends. For every occasion you can count
on them for a different purpose, and that’s
what people want. It’s a shortcut in a very crowded
to expa d
while b sily
launchi g
new brands.
But is this a
good thing
for guests?
world. Brands matter.” Bazin added, “You talk to
the online travel agents [OTAs] and they will tell
you that the conversion factor is twice as much for
a branded hotel than a non-branded hotel, because
it matters to customers. They recognise it, they
feel more comfortable, they know what to expect.
Whether you have too many brands isn’t the point,
you just have to make sure you differentiate the
experience, the promise between each of the brands,
because they have to be different.”
This approach seems to be spreading. For many
years, IHG had comparatively few brands – Holiday
Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza and
Intercontinental being the best known. But IHG
currently has 15 brands, having launched Avid last
year in the US (75 newly built hotels have signed up
to join), buying the Regent Hotels luxury brand in
March 2018 and announcing plans for what hoteliers
call a “conversion brand”.
A conversion brand is typically a brand that can
be used to “reflag” an existing hotel – Doubletree
by Hilton would be an example. IHG has yet to
announce the name of this new brand, but it is
coming, and great things are predicted for it along
with a “development pipeline” of lesser-known
brands, such as Hualuxe (seven hotels opened so far,
with 21 in that pipeline) and Even hotels (eight so far,
12 in development). Kenneth Macpherson, IHG’s
chief executive oficer of Europe, Middle East, Africa
and Asia has nearly 1,000 hotels open in his region
alone. He said the expansion wasn’t just about new
brands. It was also about “strengthening core brands”
we know well, such as Crowne Plaza.
What’s it all about?
“To link curious, millennial-minded travellers with
authentic local experiences in vibrant cities and resort
destinations worldwide.”
Who’s it from?
Dusit International
Four debut properties will open in 2019, including
Cebu, Philippines; Yangon, Myanmar; and two in
Bangkok, Thailand.
What you should know:
A sustainable, community-focused concept, with each
property designed to reflect the culture and heritage of
its location through collaborations with local artisans.
What’s it all about?
“A high-quality midscale brand that champions the
everyday traveller with the basics done exceptionally
well at a fair price.”
Who’s it from?
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)
The first Avid hotel will open in Oklahoma City–Quail
Springs, US, in Q3 this year.
What you should know:
The brand is promising to deliver consistency, with
all new-build properties, a clear and simple booking
system, rooms designed for sound sleep, and
high-quality breakfast. Guests can also expect vibrant
communal social and work areas with a price point
expected to be about US$10-15 less than the group’s
Holiday Inn Express brand.
M AY 2 0 1 8
Asai Hotels
bar; and
Avani+ Luang
“We’ve been working very hard with leading
designers such as Conran [Design Group] to create a
Crowne Plaza to meet the needs of modern business
and leisure travellers. When people travel, their down
time is so important. hey don’t want a stuffy hotel,
they want it to be engaging, to allow them to live
when travelling and to have a lexibility for when they
want to work,” Macpherson says.
As far as the new brands are concerned, like
the “old” ones, “They are all targeting different
guests on different occasions. It’s not just about
having lots of brands, it’s about having distinctively
positioned brands that meet a set of needs for guests,”
Macpherson says. Of course, this begs the question,
“How many brands are too many?” The answer from
the hotels is that the limit is less about what the
customer can understand and more about the internal
resources of the hotel chains.
“The brands are a promise to guests,” says
Macpherson. “So you’ve got to have the resources
to invest in those brands so they provide a return to
investors – those people who put their capital into
them – and to meet the needs of guests.”
If brands are a promise, why do we so often feel let
down by that promise? According to the hoteliers,
that’s more of a legacy issue, and one which brands
are dealing with, firstly by expelling properties
whose owners will not pay to keep up standards, and
secondly by improving branding. The CEO of IHG,
Keith Barr, says that the hotel industry has become
better at branding than it was ten years ago, and that
part of the reason is technology and the benefits it has
brought consumers.
“We have had to get better because of the
transparency brought on by social media, but also
because if we introduce a new brand, we work with
owners and developers to make sure we are offering
something of interest to them. With Avid we had an
What’s it all about?
“Each Avani+ property will tell its own unique story so
that guests will discover a little something extra, from
architecture to design to location and beyond.”
Who’s it from?
Minor Hotel Group
AVANI+ Luang Prabang opened in March 2018.
What you should know:
Avani+ is a brand extension of Avani (launched in
2011), to distinguish properties that hit a new level of
luxury in terms of style, design and facilities. This will
include speciality restaurants, cool bar concepts and
innovation in the digital space.
advisory committee [helping establish]
what are the core issues we are trying to
solve [such as] how is the room going
to be cleaned, how is it going to be
maintained?” Barr says. IHG exited
a number of contracts, with Barr
saying the company had removed
more hotels from its portfolio than
some chains currently have in their
entire portfolio.
For Carlson Rezidor, the importance
of branding was demonstrated by
renaming itself Radisson Hotels, and also
adding consistency across its brands. Its luxury
“Collection” brand, Quorvus, has now been renamed
the Radisson Collection. It also announced an
intention to “rebrand or reposition” some 500
properties in the 1,400-strong group. Federico J
González, president and CEO, told me that “over
the next five years [we will increase] from 80,000
to 100,000 hotel rooms; a net gain of 20,000; but
actually we will see more than 10,000 exit if they
are not in good shape, or the owner has no plans
[to invest].”
Radisson is the 11th largest hotel group in the
world and has eight hotel brands, with more than
1,400 hotels in operation or under development.
In the next five years, the group says it will expand
“only organically”, meaning not by acquiring other
hotel companies.
For all the talk of having brands for different
“guest occasions”, they also help power the growth of
the hotel companies themselves. That’s important,
according to Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham,
the world’s largest hotel company with 8,400 hotels
across 20 brands, including Ramada and Days Inn.
What’s it all about?
“Designed specifically for the modern
business traveller, for whom the
conventional boundaries of work and
play no longer exist.”
Who’s it from?
Rosewood Hotel Group
First one opening in China later
this year.
What you should know:
The upscale brand focuses on the “new
generation of business traveller” and
promises to blend business and lifestyle.
Traditional hotel facilities and services will be
“reimagined” with a focus on communal and social
spaces, lifestyle and functionality.
What’s it all about?
“Created to challenge the status quo without
compromising style and excellence. TIN Hotels
will seamlessly integrate with its surroundings and
Who’s it from?
General Hotel Management (GHM)
The first TIN Hotel will debut in Lhasa, Tibet in 2020.
What you should know:
Guests are promised a “unique experience”, with an
immersion in the life, art and culture of the surrounding
community. This will include sensitive design themes
(TIN Hotel Lhasa will feature authentic Himalayan art),
contributions from local artisans and an event calendar
of cultural and social events.
M AY 2 0 1 8
What’s it all about?
“Serviced apartments by millennials for millennials. A new
co-living concept that connects like-minded travellers
while setting the stage for jetsetters and trendsetters to
‘live their freedom’ in a dynamic environment.”
Who’s it from?
The Ascott Limited
The first Lyf will open in Shenzhen later this year,
followed by Dalian (2019), two properties in Singapore
(2020) and Cebu (2021).
What you should know:
Typical features will include communal “Connect”
working spaces that can be used for workshops or
social gatherings; “Wash & Hang” laundry facilities with
foosball tables; and social kitchens with communal
cooking spaces and regular classes.
What’s it all about?
“A completely redefined serviced apartment experience
catering to global nomads to add a new dimension to
urban city stays.”
Who’s it from?
Oakwood Asia Pacific
Oakwood Studios Singapore opened in October 2017.
What you should know:
Stays at Oakwood Studios should be “memorable and
fun”. Guests are encouraged to customise their stay by
moving furniture, meeting guests in the shared kitchen
spaces or socialising in residents’ lounges.
Compiled by Valerian Ho
M AY 2 0 1 8
spaces at
“The cost of keeping up with technology, or cyber
security – the money you have to spend to make sure
you have the best system, that’s why platform matters
and size matters,” Ballotti says. “Size and scale helps
in terms of how much leverage you have when you are
negotiating contracts, and your loyalty programme
helps drive savings for everyone. The ultimate
measure is your share of occupancy that is coming
through the loyalty platform. It lowers the cost of
acquiring the guest for owners because it’s not coming
with a 10 or 20 per cent commission, and so you want
the best technology platform available.”
It’s not just large hotel companies creating (or
acquiring) new brands. There are smaller companies
creating innovative chains, with Citizen M being
one that many admire. Nevertheless, Sébastien Bazin
makes a point about these smaller brands: “These
interesting funky trendy brands, they are sexy from
year one to year five, and they maybe grow to 25
properties, and then they aren’t as trendy as they once
were. They don’t have the loyalty from customers, they
don’t have the bookings, so they pay big percentages
to the OTAs, and they are not happy about it, and
then they start to look for an umbrella and they come
to talk to the big operators.”
t the 28th year of the Salon
International de la Haute
Horlogerie (SIHH), 34
exhibitors showcased iconic
timepieces to collectors,
horologists and media from
around the world. The grand
m ng event took place in January
i ar in the Swiss capital. Here are
hlights of what was exhibited
at the watch fair.
Iconic timepieces showcased at Salon
International de la Haute Horlogerie 2018
PRICE: HK$141,000 ( US$17,963 )
At SIHH this year, Vacheron Constantin debuted
an entirely new collection called FiftySix Day-Date
inspired by its vintage models but contemporary
in feel and design. Indications on the metal dial
include hours, minutes, hand-type date, centre
seconds, power reserve, and hand-type day of
the week. The model is powered by the Vacheron
Constantin calibre 2475SC/2, which provides a
40-hour power reserve. The automatic timepiece
features 27 jewels.
PRICE: US$36,600
In 1883, Austrian watchmaker Josef Pallweber
manufactured the first so-called “Pallweber pocket
watches”. The hours and minutes were displayed
in a digital format — large numbers on rotating
discs. This year, International Watch Company
(IWC) commemorates the milestone with the IWC
Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”, limited to
500 pieces. The watch is slim at only 12mm thick,
and has a manual-winding movement.
PRICE: €139,000 ( US$171,290 )
A Lange & Söhne has launched its first triple
rattrapante (split-seconds chronograph)
chronograph. The most distinctive feature of the
watch is that it allows multi-hour comparative time
measurements. It uses additional hands to stop,
lap and reference time of events. With a 55-hour
power reserve, A Lange & Söhne says this is “the
first and only split-seconds chronograph in the
world that can measure additive and comparative
times for as long as 12 hours” and ”is in a league
of its own”. This limited edition of 100 pieces has a
silver dial encased in 18k white gold.
PRICE: US$12,600
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the
original Polaris Memovox watch that was created
in 1968. This 1,000-piece limited edition features
what its makers call “an iconic triangle”: the
centre of the dial has a rotating disc with a small
triangle, which is the alarm. On pulling and turning
the crown located at the second hour, the disk
rotates to align the triangle with the desired time.
The case back is engraved with a diving helmet,
replicating the symbol etched on the original
model, plus a “50th anniversary” inscription.
M AY 2 0 1 8
PRICE: US$85,000
This year, Parmigiani has revived its Kalpa
collection with the Kalpa Chronor, also known
for its tonneau shape. It functions like the first
watch movement created by Michel Parmigiani in
1998 — “a shaped movement PF110” — to mirror
the curves of the watch’s body. Kalpa Chronor is
powered by an all-gold, self-winding integrated
chronograph movement — the PF365 movement.
It oscillates at a high frequency of 36,000
vibrations per hour to achieve a reading accuracy
of one tenth of a second.
M AY 2 0 1 8
PRICE: SFR52,500 ( US$54,283 )
Girard-Perregaux’s enchanting Cat’s Eye
collection has been adorning women’s wrists
for over a decade. Its latest launch, the Day and
Night is a high jewellery timepiece featuring a
dark blue aventurine dial, studded with 149, 52
and 14 brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial, case
and buckle respectively. The precious stones on
the dial are meant to signify stars in the night
sky. The watch is powered by a self-winding
mechanism and has a 46-hour power reserve.
The special window depicts the night sky, in
which the shape of the moon and sun changes
as the day advances.
PRICE: US$8,600
Panerai’s Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic collection
is the thinnest and smallest Panerai creation,
with a thickness of no more than 11.2mm and a
case diameter of 38mm. The model also comes
in 42mm and 45mm sizes. It features minimalist
lines and a redesign of the original Luminor model.
The model launched at SIHH this year is made
from AISI 316L stainless steel, a steel alloy with
“corrosion resistance” properties. The anthracite
dial with “satiné soleil” finish has large, bright
hour markers and figures. It also has the 1956
Panerai patented winding crown “protected by the
classic bridge device with lever”.
Breaking a world record, Piaget has created the
thinnest hand-wound watch in the world at only
2mm overall thickness. After four years of research
and development, and the filing of five patents,
Piaget finally unveiled the Altiplano Ultimate Concept
Watch to the world. The timepiece is a product
of precision engineering and high design. A
high-tech cobalt-based alloy makes it possible to
be uniquely thin but durable. The commitment to
thinness continues in its 1.1mm strap, and the main
plate and case back are treated with black PVD.
PRICE: US$112,000
At a flick of the wrist, gold beads encased within
the watch move across the surface of the dial to
create a panther motif for a few seconds before
settling back at the bottom. This model comes in
a 37mm 18k pink gold case with 45 brilliant-cut
diamonds totalling 1.64 carats. There are three
diferent dial colours to choose from: red, green,
and black. The model’s gold-finish steel appleshaped hands feature on a black lacquer dial and
are powered by the manually wound calibre 430
MC. The watch features a shiny black alligatorskin strap, with an additional strap in burgundy
alligator skin. The red and green variants of the
timepiece are limited editions each with only 100
pieces available.
PRICE: €111,000 ( US$136, 779 )
The Richard Mille RM 07-01 has a gem-studded dial
with curves and a tonneau-shaped case design.
Following the lines on the case, the bracelet’s
many micro-blasted, satin-brushed and polished
links are built in harmony with it. The bracelet is
available in red gold or white gold. The watch
has a calibre CRMA2 skeletonise automatic
movement with hours, minutes and an adjustable
rotor geometry. The movement is fully visible
through the back and partially through the front.
Set with diamonds, the dial is made of onyx and
red gold.
M AY 2 0 1 8
How to invest in your
dream watch collection
M AY 2 0 1 8
he Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
(SIHH) is one of the most exclusive events
for serious watch collectors, industry
professionals and the watch Maisons alike.
But not every watch enthusiast can scoot off
to Switzerland to scout the next timepiece
for their collection. Also, as savvy watch
collectors will know, snapping up the latest trends at
market price is not necessarily the smartest move.
The pre-owned market – once a dirty word – is
starting to thrive, as serious collectors have realised the
merits. The most obvious, perhaps, is the chance to bag
a bargain, but the pre-owned market also gives collectors
the chance to find rare pieces no longer available in
normal retail channels.
Samuel Lee, co-founder and chairman of Watchbox
Asia, says: “The pre-owned market has become much
hotter recently, particularly with a lot of brands looking
to the 60s and 70s for inspiration right now. People
like historical models because there’s a story there.
Nowadays, if you go shopping in Dubai, London or
Hong Kong – they’re all selling the same thing. It’s
becoming less and less interesting for people. It’s also
about exclusivity: there’s only a certain number of pieces
from that period still in good condition, so to be able to
find them is a great opportunity.
“Of course there are different types of customers.
Some like the short term; they follow the trends, see the
advertising and want to buy immediately and are happy
to pay the premium for this. But others see it like a piece
of art. And just like art, if you pick the right product,
and think long term, it’s a good investment.”
Headquartered in the US, Watchbox offers the single
largest platform for collectors to buy, sell and trade their
timepieces. The company was formed by a group of watch
experts including Tay Liam Wee, former managing director
of Sincere Watches, Danny Govberg, CEO of Govberg
Jewelers, and former private equity professonal Justin Reis.
In 2017, they launched the Asian arm of the business
with Samuel Lee – the former head of Elegant Watch &
Jewellery – as director, hoping to unlock the vast amounts
of dormant wealth in the region. Lee says: “Between
our directors, we’ve sold US$5 billion worth of watches
in Asia alone, and they’re just sitting in people’s safes.
There’s no liquidity in the market if people don’t realise
the value of their collection or have a legitimate way to
trade in their watches for something new.”
One of the turning points in the pre-owned market
has been the transition from a slightly shady business
played out on stages like eBay, to a platform offering
confidence and security to customers. Watchbox opened
a luxury Collectors Lounge in Hong Kong’s Central
where enthusiasts can visit, speak to the experts and get
advice on growing their collections. They also own all
the inventory (currently around 3,000 timepieces with
one selling roughly every eight minutes) and put each
piece through a thorough inspection process which
means they are able to offer a 15-month warranty.
The WatchBox
App; and
Watchbox Hong
Kong Collectors
Lounge in
Duddell Street
Lee says: “When you’re dealing with high-value
items, it’s important to have that trust in the white
glove service. But we also pride ourselves on being
very modern in combining technology and offering an
omnichannel approach to make it as easy and accessible
for customers as possible.”
Unlike auction houses, which maybe operate once
or twice a year, Watchbox offers a 24/7 service with
website, app, phone, Whatsapp and the Collectors
Lounge. The app in particular allows customers to view
and manage their collections in an asset management
portfolio format, with live values calculated via an
aggregation of the company’s sales data, auction results,
former listings, etc. Customers can easily click to buy,
trade or sell – though no transaction is completed
without human contact.
Moving forward, Watchbox is also preparing to
launch an augmented reality function, where users will
be able to see how a watch physically looks on the wrist,
to aid decision-making.
M AY 2 0 1 8
M AY 2 0 1 8
Extend your
business trip
in Hong Kong
to experience
one of the city ’s
famous brunch
runch – that delicious portmanteau of
breakfast and lunch – is the ideal weekend
activity, particularly in a high-powered
business city like Hong Kong. With a
mimosa in hand at 12pm it’s easy to push
boardroom stresses to the back of your
mind, not to mention the joys of gourmet
food enjoyed over a leisurely few hours
whilst socialising in a fancy setting.
claimed that credit for this inspired activity
goes to Guy Beringer, who concocted “brunch” as the
perfect cure for a hangover, or as he more eloquently put
it in his 1985 piece for Hunter’s Weekly: “By eliminating
the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would
make life lighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would
promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch
is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling.
It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisied
with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the
worries and the cobwebs of the week.”
Quite right. Next time you’re at brunch, raise a toast
to Guy Beringer and his hangover. Here we’ve sampled
some of the best options in Hong Kong, so next time
you’re in town for business, consider extending your stay
over the weekend and be sure to experience a brunch.
at Aqua
Japanese and
Italian dishes
CUISINE: Japanese/Italian
BE ST FOR: he view
Perched on the 29th-30th floors of One Peking in
Tsim Tsa Tsui, Aqua offers one of the best views in town,
with floor-to-ceiling windows facing Hong Kong’s
famous skyline. The restaurant is almost dauntingly
stylish, decked in greys, leather and chrome details; if
you don’t want to be out-dressed by the furniture (or
the well-heeled brunch crowd) make sure you’re wearing
your Sunday best.
The set menu for sharing is an interesting fusion of
East and West, with two separate kitchens preparing
Japanese and Italian cuisine. It may sound like an odd
pairing, but somehow the transition from doughnut
amuse-bouches, through to eggs Benedict, a decadent
sashimi platter, truffle risotto, slow-cooked wagyu
beef cheek and prawn tempura works a treat. he set
is finished with a sweet platter featuring temptations
including homemade tiramisu and yuzu panacotta.
In the meantime, you can enjoy free-flow Veuve
Clicquot (or Dom Perignon for a cool HK$2,000/
US$254 per person extra) plus a range of cocktails,
including miniature espresso martinis. Service is
attentive with waiters sporting secret agent-style
earpieces to keep things running smoothly.
PRICE: From HK$598 (US$76) plus 10 per cent
service charge, including free-flow Veuve Clicquot
champagne and cocktails.
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 12pm-4pm
(last food order 3pm).
CONTACT: Aqua, 29/30F, One Peking, Tsim Sha Tsui;
+852 3427 2288;
CUISINE: BBQ Surf & Turf/European
BE ST FOR: Alfresco pool-side setting
The secret oasis on the 11th floor of the Grand Hyatt
Hong Kong offers a rare opportunity to enjoy alfresco
M AY 2 0 1 8
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 11.30am-3pm
(weather permitting).
CONTACT: 11/F Grand Hyatt Hong Kong,
1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai; +852 2584 7722;
dining in a leafy
garden setting
next to a lagoonshaped pool.
you can’t dive in
(unless you’re a
hotel guest) but the
bufet options will
keep you busy.
For the healthconscious, the
salad selection is
on point, with
plenty of inventive
combinations such as kale with apple, parmesan and
toasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted beetroot with orange,
chives and toasted almonds. Seafood lovers will also have
their fill, with fresh lobsters, prawns and mussels on ice,
plus a vibrant seafood paella or grilled salmon. Over at
the live barbecue station, meat-eaters can let loose with
carnivorous highlights from roast lamb to barbecued
pork, chicken, sausages and more, with grilled vegetables
to break up the meat-fest.
The sinful selection of dessert offerings is almost
too pretty to eat, with tantalising options ranging from
artfully presented strawberry lollipops to miniature
cupcakes and chocolate chip meringue cookies.
Try a delicious mango smoothie to ease into the
morning, and then kick off the weekend in style with
free-flow Chandon Brut and end with a latté to ward
off post-brunch fatigue. (Classic cocktails Kir Royale
and Bellini’s are also included in the additional drinks
package, alongside beer and wines.)
PRICE: HK$538 (US$69) plus HK$218 (US$28)
alcohol package (plus 10 per cent service charge).
M AY 2 0 1 8
CUISINE: Seafood/International
BE ST FOR: Oyster fans
A classic hotel setting, the stylish interiors of Whisk at
The Mira are the work of Miami-based designer Charles
Allem, and diners can also enjoy views over the tropical
courtyard, Vibes.
Perhaps the highlight of this decadent brunch option
is unlimited oysters, (though the shucking station
suggests enjoying three at a time to prevent long queues).
Next to the oysters are perennial crowd-pleasers such as
snow crab legs on ice, fresh mussels and a selection of
sashimi and sushi rice.
At the manned BBQ station, diners will find
Cantonese favourite roast suckling pig with a garlic gravy,
blow-torched Japanese wagyu beef with homemade
teriyaki sauce, and delicate portions of foie gras. hree
choices from the à la carte menu (including brunch
must-haves lobster and eggs Benedict) are also available.
Be sure to leave space for afters: an entire secret room
is dedicated to a medley of creative dessert options,
alongside cheese and biscuits. If you’ve opted for the
drinks package (which includes free-flow champagne,
wine and day-friendly cocktails such as Bloody Marys
and mimosas), this will be served alongside a sweet
tawny port for the perfect finish.
For those searching for the ultimate decadence, Whisk
has launched an extra-special quarterly brunch featuring
unlimited French-farmed sturgeon caviar and
free-flowing champagne. Mark the dates in your diary
now: June 17, September 16 and December 23.
PRICE: HK$788 (US$100) plus HK$250 (US$32)
alcohol package (plus 10 per cent service charge).
HOURS: Sunday 12pm-3pm.
CONTACT: 5/F, The Mira Hong Kong, Mira Place,
118-130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2368 1111;
TOP: Oysters
at Whisk at
the Mira;
harbour views
from Kerry
Hotel’s Red
Sugar; Zuma’s
deal; and
serenity at
Grand Hyatt
Hong Kong
CUISINE: New York-style Italian
BE ST FOR: Outrageous entertainment
On the last Saturday of every month, Italian restaurant
Carbone, housed in the LKF Tower, transforms itself
to present The Fiasco – an unforgettable brunch
experience. Diners leave the daylight far behind as they
enter the dark, sultry 1920s-themed interior. Carbone
has worked hard to create an air of mystery around its
extravaganza, and we’re not going to spoil the surprise.
But as a taster, expect ruthless gangsters and their
molls running amok, with performances from sassy
songstresses and risqué dancers. Do bring your dancing
shoes, and perhaps a bulletproof vest…
Oh, and the food: nimble waiters weave in and out of
the fracas, serving up sharing-style, set-course dishes of
New York-style Italian favourites from beef carpaccio to
hearty rigatoni pastas. Wash this down with a free-flow
package of prosecco and house wines, or champagne
and house spirits. It’s an eye-watering price tag, but an
experience you’ll never forget.
PRICE: HK$900 (US$115) plus HK$450 (US$57)
or $600 (US$76) drinks packages (plus 10 per cent
service charge).
HOURS: Last Saturday of the month, 12.30pm-3.30pm.
CONTACT: 9/F LFK Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central;
+852 2593 2593;
The highest bar in the world is an automatic box ticker, with a new
menu from Chef De Cuisine Roberto Riveros Leyton promising
tantalising treats at Ozone’s Ultimate Dom Pérignon Brunch.
Entertainment is provided by DJ & Trumpeter Kai Djuric – and keep a
look out for special events.
Sundays 12pm-3pm; HK$1,388 (US$177) plus 10 per cent service
charge, including free-flowing 2009 Dom Pérignon champagne; Level
118, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon;
+852 2263 2270;
CUISINE: Japanese
BE ST FOR: Premium Japanese fare
Any budding brunch hobbyists worth their salt will
have heard of the legendary Zuma brunches (if not
attended once or several times). Located in the prestigious
Landmark building, the experience begins with a descent
down a grand, spiral staircase into a large, airy restaurant.
Along one side is the delectable buffet, tended by an army
of chefs who rapidly replace the slabs of sashimi and nigiri
sushi rolls, the crispy-fried squid and miso soup, the sliced
hamachi and salad greens.
An à la carte menu features further delights from
grilled teriyaki salmon to marinated lamb chops and
spicy beef tenderloin, finished off by a mountainous
platter of desserts to share… don’t arrive without
an appetite. To wash down the gourmet affair,
Zuma offers free-flow packages featuring Ruinart
champagne, wine, beer or juices.
PRICE: HK$548 (US$70), or HK$688/888
(US$88/113) with alcoholic drinks packages
(plus 10 per cent service charge).
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm, strict
two-hour reservations.
CONTACT: Landmark, Level 5 & 6,
15 Queen’s Road Central; +852 3657 6388;
For a wallet-friendly option, the new home-style menu at Mercato by
Jean-Georges promises hearty Italian-style à la carte favourites such
as veal Milanese and parmesan lemon risotto, plus brunch staples of
avocado on toast. Clinching the deal is a two-hour free-flow prosecco
deal for an unbeatable HK$198 (US$25) or Mumm champagne for
HK$258 (US$33).
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 12pm-3pm; 8/F, California
Tower, 32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central; +852 3706 856;
The brand-new Red Sugar Sunday Brunch
(launched at the end of March) is set in a
rooftop garden with unobstructed views
of Victoria Harbour. Perusing the menu of
duck foie gras terrine, Boston lobster salad,
seared miso cod and a boozy liquid nitro
ice cream to finish is making us hungry!
Sunday 12pm-3pm; HK$638 (US$81)
plus 10 per cent service charge, inclusive of
free-flow drinks; 7/F, Kerry Hotel Hong Kong,
38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon;
+852 22525246;
Lobsters, crab legs, blue mussels, imported sashimi and an infinite
supply of various caviar – head to the Caviar Weekend Brunch at
PLAYT for a seafood celebration. International hot dishes and brunch
items such as French crêpes are also on the menu, alongside free-flow
sparkling wine and fresh juice.
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 11.45am-2.30pm; HK$358
(US$46) plus 10 per cent service charge; 310 Gloucester Road,
Causeway Bay; +852 2839 3311;
You know you’re in good hands with a hotel brunch, and the Conrad’s
Champagne Brunch on the Eighth sounds particularly tempting with
standalone live cooking stations as well as dishes from Nicholini’s and
Brasserie on the Eighth, and premium selections from the hotel’s Wine
and Cheese Library. The “Brunch of Surprise” cart roaming the dining
room is also piquing our interest. Add one or two (or three) “holidayappropriate” cocktails, or a glass of Perrier-Jouet, and we’re sold.
Sunday 11am-3pm; HK$838 (US$106) plus 10 per cent service
charge; 88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 2521 3838;
M AY 2 0 1 8
Why paying a little more
can be a good idea
Comparison sites aren’t always the best place to book hotels.
Derek Picot on why booking direct can result in a better deal
M AY 2 0 1 8
started to consolidate to compete, in an
attempt to control the market better.
Marriott has bought Starwood; Accor
has purchased Fairmont, Raffles and now
Mantra in Australia. Intercontinental Hotels
Group and Wyndham are also aggressively
acquisitive. I predict that as hotel brands
gain city-centre control, sites such as will be left to market only the
more obscure hotels in secondary locations.
The hotel chains’ aim is to sell rooms
exclusively on their own websites and drive
consumers to hotel brand loyalty.
While a high degree of industry
consolidation is still some way off, the chains
and the independent hotels are creating
attractive deals for those who book direct.
OTA contracts insist that hotels guarantee
that they are getting the lowest price, but
contracts allow hotels to offer “add ons” on an
exclusive basis via their own website. These
include invitations to the bar, two dinners
for the price of one, happy hour drinks with
canapés, early check-ins or free wifi. You may
well also find some of these offers if you join
the hotel chain loyalty scheme.
Anyone who books via OTAs should
consider the following. Having selected your
hotel on the OTA site, look at the hotel’s own
website and cross-check the price. If the OTA
prices are cheaper, see if the hotel offers a
lowest price guarantee. Be aware that benefits
might accrue by joining the hotel’s loyalty
scheme. A final word of advice: always be nice
to the front desk staff – not just because you
should anyway, but because they can improve
your stay. Ask for a great room; you could
even stoop to saying it’s your anniversary. But
don’t tell them it’s your birthday – they can
check that on your passport. BT
veryone wants the best price
this is not an international regulation, and
when buying a hotel room, but
so travellers are advised that caveat emptor –
you oten get what you pay for.
buyer beware – applies.
Comparison sites and online
travel agents (OTAs) offer a
useful service, allowing consumers to priceSo why are rooms booked through OTAs
check accommodation easily. And no one in
sometimes disappointing? Most hotels
the hotel business really likes them.
segment their inventory (the industry term
he main demand for OTAs – or
for rooms), and charge staged premiums for
“third-party operators” (TPOs), as hotels
things such as a balcony, sea view, mountain
refer to them – comes from individuals
view, east view, west view or in fact any view,
who are spending their own or their own
and label the rooms as such. Then there
company’s money. But many independent
remain those rooms that are perhaps less
travellers tell of disappointment upon
desirable, with features less appealing to
arrival when the room they have booked
promote. They should really be called “next
through an OTA overlooks a kitchen
to the elevator” or “room overlooking the
extractor fan, or has been converted from
fire escape”. These sit at the bottom of the
the housekeeper’s broom cupboard.
inventory and are given the cheapest rates.
The booking process can seem easy and
The reason hotels aren’t enamoured
prices cheap via an OTA, but all may not
with bookings made via OTAs is easy
be as it seems. There is pressure to buy, as
to understand. Online travel agents and
OTAs create the impression that the last
third-party operators such as Booking.
rooms are quickly selling
com and Expedia receive a
out. In reality, this may
commission for bookings
be referring only to those
made through them. Rates
The chains and the
rooms allocated to the
vary, but they usually
independent hotels
OTA’s site, with rooms still
start at 10 per cent and
are creating attractive can be as high as 25 per
available at the hotel; hotels
cease to sell via third-party
cent. Total internet-driven
deals for those who
sites when demand picks up.
business accounts for at
book direct
Advertised discounts can
least one-third of almost
also be misleading, especially
any hotel’s business,
where comparison prices
but perhaps less than a
may be using high midweek
quarter of that one-third
rates against a low weekend
is generated by the hotel
tariff. In the UK, regulation
operator’s own website; the
stipulates that to advertise a
OTAs can take a big chunk
out of the profit margin.
discount, the higher price must
In response to the threat from
have been available for at least
OTAs, hospitality companies have
28 days prior. Unfortunately,
Rules of conduct
The question of onboard etiquette can lead to incendiary debate
M AY 2 0 1 8
do check that the tray has been taken and
window shade function – our resulting
then recline my seat as slowly as possible.)
research showed that many airline crews
Then there’s seat sprawl, when your
use it to darken the entire cabin straight
footwell is invaded or elbows jab your ribs
after a meal service, regardless of the time of
(I issue a swift but polite rebuke); the
day outside or at the destination, or indeed
irritating circumstance of friends/colleagues
the complaints of passengers who want to
reserving window and aisle seats then
alleviate jet lag by operating on “destination
talking across a middle seat passenger
time” from the moment they board the
(they really should be willing to swap seats);
plane (my personal preference).
and the taking off of shoes when slippers
One BTAP reader weighed in thus: “If
are not available and foot odour is a
there is sunlight outside when it is daylight
personal problem (a tricky issue… as is
at the destination, I open my blind to read
general body odour, both of which are
and to help adjust my time clock. [If a] crew
unintentional and can
member asks me to close it,
be largely out of the
I refuse. If another passenger
Avoiding onboard
perpetrator’s control).
complains I invite him/her
Another highly
to use the eyeshades provided
debated element of
by the airline so both of us
opens the door
coach class travel is
can comfortably exercise our
for overbearing or
armrest etiquette – the
different freedoms.”
argument being that the
The fact is that personal
calculating characters
middle seat passenger
space is at a premium on
should have preferential
a plane – especially in
access to both armrests on
economy cabins. Almost
either side, since the aisle seat passenger
everyone actively avoids
onboard confrontation –
gets added leg-stretching
but this opens the door for
options and the window
overbearing, calculating or
seat occupier has the
aggressive characters to get what
fuselage wall to lean against
(this sounds generally
they want, even when it clearly goes
against commonly accepted rules and
fair, but is unlikely to be
practice in shared public places. As I’ve
learned over the years, standing up to them
But it’s probably control of the window
can create a toxic atmosphere that lingers
shade – should it be up or down, and does
for the rest of the flight – unwise in such a
the customer in the window seat really have
small space – so leaving the crew to reason
full control over its position? – that leads
with them is clearly the best course. After
to the most arguments between passengers.
all, they are trained to deal with irritable
Adding fuel to the fire, I recall a letter to
idiots and self-serving bullies… and no
this magazine complaining about the B787
doubt they’ve seen it all before. BT
Dreamliner’s facility to override individual
t was in the economy cabin on a
chock-full Air India flight from
London to Sydney via Bombay
(yes, it was that long ago). A slightly
sweet, acrid smell woke me from my
uncomfortable slumber, slumped as I was in
the seat, my head twisted awkwardly, chin
on collarbone. Nose twitching, I opened
my eyes to reveal brightly painted toenails
offsetting lines of grime that striated a bare
foot positioned on my armrest mere inches
from my face. The leg disappeared into the
gap between my row’s seats, and turning I
saw an Indian lady staring back placidly at
me from the seat behind.
Despite my obvious revulsion, pointing
and head-shaking, she made no move
to extricate her pungent extremity, and
eventually I called the flight attendant, who
explained that this was not permitted and
instructed the woman to remove her foot.
Unfortunately for me, she couldn’t seem
to understand why this was necessary, was
furious about it, and spent the final four
hours of the flight sporadically kicking the
back of my seat.
In the intervening 30-plus years, air travel
has grown massively in volume, and in many
ways passengers are more sophisticated in
their understanding of “correct” behaviour
whilst in the close confines of a plane’s long
metal tube.
And yet online forums, dinner parties
and pubs are full of animated discussions
about who was right or wrong in this or that
onboard situation. There’s the old favourite
on seat-back recline: should you warn the
person behind when you are about to recline
your seat, or wait till the meal is over and
trays collected? (Personally I don’t warn, but
&2$67$/ &<35(66
6($ )(11(/
Into The Unchar ted
Malaysia Airlines
A350 business class
Shangri-La Colombo
Wifi prices on
Asia-Pacific airlines
Marriott Hotel Manila
Airport lounges
M AY 2 0 1 8
Malaysia Airlines A350-900
business class
B A C K G R O U N D This was the inaugural
flight of the A350 on this route. The airline
has leased six A350s, with the intention
for the double-daily departures from
London to Kuala Lumpur to be served by
a combination of A350 and A380 aircraft.
L O U N G E There are separate business
and first class lounges, both with good
views over Heathrow airport including the
stands where Malaysia Airlines’ aircraft are
parked. The lounges are comfortable, clean
and attractively decorated, but dated
and due for a refresh. The bar service and
food selection are impressive, though.
B O A R D I N G Boarding was nearby at
Gate 5A. Before take-of, we were ofered
a choice of drinks, including champagne,
and hot towels.
T H E S E A T The A350 has four new
first class seats, 35 business class seats
and 247 economy class seats. There are
two business class cabins; one with 22
M AY 2 0 1 8
seats and one with 13 seats behind. I was in
a window seat (10A) in the rear cabin. The
Thompson Vantage XL seats are covered
in a grey fabric, while the cabin décor is
quite neutral. A blue duvet was already at
the seat, as was a Bulgari black amenity
bag containing flight socks, toothbrush and
toothpaste, as well as Bulgari products.
All seats have full automation with
presets for sitting, relaxing or sleeping. A
power point in the seat caters for EU, US
or UK plugs. The A350 is also equipped
with wifi – I chose the US$20 for 150MB
package, which lasted the entire flight.
The seat has an extra belt that goes
over your shoulder and which I’ve always
understood needs to be used for takeof and landing. We weren’t shown how
to use this, nor were we given a safety
demonstration, either on the IFE system or
by the crew upon take-of. I hope this was
just an oversight on the inaugural flight.
B E S T S E A T Nearly every seat in
business class is diferent, from the
window seats, which alternate position –
being either close to the aisle or against
the window – to the middle seats, some
of which have a side table. Seats also
have difering amounts of storage space,
depending on where they are located.
In the rear business cabin, the best
seats are 9K, which is a throne seat with
storage on both sides; then my seat, 10A
– a window seat that has the side table
between it and the aisle. The seats in the
centre of the cabin have alternating side
tables, so one passenger loses the table
while the other gains it. In the back row –
row 11 – it’s slightly more equitable, since
both passengers lose out and have to make
the best of it by sharing a centre console.
If travelling on your own go for a window
seat, preferably the single throne one; but,
failing that, one on the other side of the
cabin close to the window. Avoid the centre
seats, and if are you assigned one, try to
choose one with a side table; though if
you don’t have the seat map to hand,
picking a better option won’t be easy.
You can find a plan of the cabins on the
Malaysia Airlines website (see right).
T H E F L I G H T We were prompt in
pushing away and there were no delays in
getting airborne, with the pilot telling us
that the flight time would be 12 hours
and that there was a possibility we might
arrive early. Menus were then passed
around. Service begins in the front cabin,
so we were served a little later in the rear
cabin, though the flight attendants fast.
The supper was served from 2230, about
60 minutes after take-of, beginning with
a choice of chicken or beef satay (you
can have both). This was delicious, as was
the main meal that followed. There was a
wide choice of dishes, all of which looked
tasty. I had a duck salad starter and then
a chicken biryani accompanied by a curry
of pea, cauliflower and peppers, garnished
The aircraft, direct
aisle seating and wifi.
The fabulous food – you get
that on all Malaysia Airlines
long-haul flights.
Internet rates for a flexible
return business class flight
in June start from £3,174
180 degrees
London–Kuala Lumpur
12 hours
◆ To read a review of the return flight on the A380 in
business class visit
with onions, cashew nuts and mint raita.
Drinks were Comte Audoin de Dampierre
Grande Cuvée NV Bouzy champagne and
good white and red selections. For those
who didn’t want a full meal, or didn’t want
it then, there was also the choice of a “Dine
Anytime” menu of various snacks.
At seat 10A I had suficient room that
when the food was served I could place
my laptop back into my bag at my feet and
eat, while keeping various devices charging
on the side table along with the drinks.
Between courses, which are brought
separately, I could get the laptop out and
continue to work, placing the tray on the
side table and the devices in the locker to
one side of the arm rest. This was perfect
because I needed to work but also wanted
to eat, as well as relax and sleep for the
maximum amount of time.
Around midnight I was ready to sleep.
The seat reclines fully flat and comes with
a cover that you hook over the headrest
before reclining the seat to keep it in place.
There is also a small pillow and a blanket
that’s like a slim duvet. The temperature in
the cabin was cold for the first hour but a
few passengers asked for it to be turned up
and, afterwards, it was comfortable or even
on the warm side. The seat is quite narrow
at under 60cm, though you can lower the
armrest to create a little more width. This
is easier on those window seats closer
to the window, such as 10A, because you
don’t have the fear of your arm falling out of
bed and being caught by a passing trolley.
The footwell doesn’t have a lot of room,
but I found it easy to sleep once I had the
earplugs in and eye mask on.
Some time towards morning the fasten
seat belt sign came on, and it mostly stayed
on for the next 2-3 hours. The second meal
service was disturbed because of this, with
firstly no hot drinks, and then just as the
trolley was coming through the cabin there
was an immediate instruction from the pilot
for the flight attendants to take their seats,
which they did in the business class seats
around us, trolley still in the aisle.
The selection for the second meal was a
smoothie, fruit, cereals, bread and a choice
of nasi lemak, mushroom omelette or
Nearly every seat in
business class is diferent,
from the window seats to
the aisle and middle seats
Belgian wafles. I chose the nasi lemak (rice
cooked in coconut milk), which came with
a Malaysian beef curry and other trimmings
such as peanuts and fried fish plus half a
boiled egg. It was very filling.
A R R I V A L As promised by the captain,
we arrived into KL about 40 minutes
early. There was no delay disembarking.
I used the transit train to head to
immigration for my next flight, a return
to London on the A380.
V E R D I C T This is a very good business
class ofering, with delicious food that
raises it above many competitors. My seat
was comfortable, if not outstanding (it
is a standard business class seat as
mentioned above), and it felt quite narrow;
though this sensation is, ironically, made
worse in first class by the addition of the
doors – something I know the airline is
considering doing something about.
I would fly with Malaysia again very
happily (and of course did, back to the UK
on its other aircraft on this route). The staf
are friendly, almost informally so, but with
a refreshing willingness for you to enjoy
the service, the journey, and Malaysia as
a destination. Tom Otley
M AY 2 0 1 8
A taste of luxury with
authentic Sri Lankan
B A C K G R O U N D Shangri-La Hotels and
Resorts has two properties in Sri Lanka:
Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort and
Spa opened in June 2016, and Shangri-La
Colombo opened in December 2017.
Great F&B and the
Horizon Club Lounge’s
many pluses.
W H E R E I S I T ? The hotel overlooks
Colombo’s Galle Face Green promenade.
It is walking distance from some of the
city’s main attractions such as the Dutch
Hospital Precinct. Colombo International
Airport is a 45-minute drive away.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? The hotel was in its
pre-opening stage the morning I checked
in. A winding pathway lined with greenery
guided my vehicle to the entrance of this
32-storey property. Designed by New Yorkbased Handel Architects, the interior décor
is replete with gold and bronze hues. The
hotel’s signature floral chandelier welcomes
you at the entrance. This elaborate light
installation is the opening salvo in a theme
that continues throughout the property –
the hotel uses elements inspired by the
natural beauty of Sri Lanka, fused with
modern design sensibilities. An example of
this is a life-size metal sculpture of an infant
elephant that graces the hotel’s lobby,
commissioned from celebrated Chinese
artist Man Fung-Yi.
R O O M S The most striking aspect of my
42 sqm Deluxe Ocean View room on the
24th floor was its floor-to-ceiling glass
windows that ofer uninterrupted views of
Galle Face Green and the Indian Ocean. It
features a signature Shangri-La bed with
a 300-threadcount lightweight duvet that
gave me a peaceful night’s sleep. Refined
materials such as marble and silk add
elegance to the room. The work desk faces
the bed and is equipped with charging
sockets including a LAN port. Partially
carpeted, the room is decorated in teal and
brown, in keeping with the hotel’s reference
to Sri Lanka’s natural beauty. An iHome
dock is placed beside the bed, which I
used to play music and charge my phone.
I enjoyed my morning green teas on the
M AY 2 0 1 8
lounger beside the window. The marble
bathroom with a separate bathtub and
shower area is equipped with Spa Ceylon
bath amenities. Other room categories
include Deluxe Lake View, Premier Balcony
and Premier Ocean View rooms. Horizon
Club Lake View and Horizon Club Ocean
View rooms on the top three floors ofer
access to the Horizon Club Lounge on the
32nd floor. Just like Horizon Club Lounges
across Shangri-La hotels, guests here have
access to a number of benefits. These
include in-room check-in, breakfast, sunset
cocktails and canapés at the lounge, a
dedicated Club Concierge, private meeting
rooms and, of course, a bird’s-eye view
of Galle Face Green. Suite types are
Executive, Specialty and the Shangri-La
suite. The hotel is also home to 41 serviced
apartments. Wifi is free across the property.
F O O D A N D D R I N K Table One is an
all-day dining restaurant that features
attractive show kitchens serving a range
of cuisines including Sri Lankan, Chinese,
Indian and Middle Eastern. I enjoyed
traditional Sri Lankan hoppers here with
a selection of lip-smacking chutneys.
Lunch was at Shang Palace, the authentic
Chinese restaurant that’s a signature of
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. Here I
relished its yum cha menu, which included
a memorable Peking duck that was roasted
in a custom-made duck oven then carved
table-side. Capital Bar and Grill is a retroclassic grill lounge that’s divided into a blue
room and a white room ofering diferent
ambiences. The high tea experience at the
Sapphyr Lounge at the lobby level was
accompanied by the hotel’s tea sommelier.
It is known for its jewel-shaped treats.
The hotel
uses elements
inspired by
the natural
beauty of Sri
Lanka, fused
with modern
Internet rates for a
midweek stay in a
Deluxe Lake View
room in June start from
US$247 including tax
and surcharges.
1 Galle Face, Colombo
00200; +94 117 888 288;
Kaema Sutra is the hotel’s Sri Lankan
tapas-style restaurant (still in its opening
stage when I visited). There is also a
Pool Bar set alongside the hotel’s
swimming pool.
M E E T I N G S Shangri-La Colombo is
positioned to draw in events business
with elaborate meeting spaces that sprawl
across 3,500 sqm. The hotel houses the
largest pillarless ballroom in Sri Lanka
— the Shangri-La Ballroom — that can
accommodate up to 1,500 people. There is
also the Lotus Ballroom (470 sqm) which
is beside three breakout rooms — Ginger,
Safron and Tamarind — amongst other
spaces including an outdoor events venue
on the fourth floor.
L E I S U R E A 24-hour fitness centre, a
swimming pool where I enjoyed a brief
swim, vitality pools, steam rooms and CHI,
The Spa are all available.
V E R D I C T A modern business hotel with
great facilities that amp up the luxury level
on a work trip. Akanksha Maker
Marriott Hotel
Event groups wanting a
complete service, and
leisure guests requiring
proximity to the airport.
The Deck on the West
Wing’s roof.
B A C K G R O U N D The original eight-storey
building opened in 2009, followed by a
second meeting complex. In early 2017 the
13-storey West Wing opened.
W H E R E I S I T ? In Newport City,
within sight of Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino
International; however, busy roads and
elevated expressways lie in the way, so either
a Php300 (US$6) cab ride or the free shuttle
bus from Bay 12 will get you there in 5-10
minutes. (A skybridge across to the airport
is being built.) A car into downtown Manila
takes 30-60 minutes plus, trafic dependent.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? There is a single
entrance from the road, where armed
security guards check all vehicles. The
main building and West Wing have their
own entrances where your bags are
checked with snifer dogs, and you must
pass through an electronic scanner every
time you enter the hotel. Once inside, the
mood changes to smiling, helpful staf and
high-ceilinged public spaces.
R O O M S There are 521 rooms and 49
suites split between three categories in
the main building and five in the new West
Wing. Rooms on the north side of the latter
have balconies from which you can enjoy
views across a golf course.
I was in a Premium room on the south
side – the view is less impressive, facing
the back of the Marriott Grand Ballroom
building, but at 46 sqm it’s spacious, with
parquet flooring, brown and beige décor,
and leatherette detailing. Bright artworks
help give it a summery feel.
The round, white-marble table isn’t ideal
for spreading out papers, but functional
enough to work, with two white leather/
metal chairs, a sensor desk lamp and phone.
A Nespresso machine and free
shoeshine service were valued additions
to the amenities, and a nice touch was
the two waste bins – for recyclable/nonrecyclable items – which is in keeping with
the brand’s eco-conscious mission (bed
linen is also only changed every third day
unless you request otherwise).
The bathroom was large and well
equipped with Thann bathroom products
and a great walk-in shower. Piped-in audio
allows you to watch TV through the glass
partition whilst soaking in the tub.
L O U N G E On the second floor of the West
Wing, the Executive Lounge is a large,
open-plan space where you can enjoy a
quiet breakfast in the morning, snacks and
refreshments all day and cocktails in the
evening. Near the entrance is a meeting
room, and a small business room kitted out
with both a PC and Mac.
F O O D A N D D R I N K The Marriott Café
on the ground floor of the main building is
an all-day dining restaurant, with à la carte
and bufet dining in the evening. Next to
it is Cru Steakhouse (open 6pm-10.30pm),
and there’s also the more casual Crema
cofee shop and Mian Asian noodle bar.
Still Whisky and Tea Lounge is located in
the West Wing’s lobby area, as is Man Ho,
ofering up Cantonese cuisine for lunch and
dinner (there are six private rooms).
M E E T I N G S There are 49 event spaces
throughout the hotel both indoor and
Internet rates for a
Premium room in midJune start from Php14,784
(US$284) including tax
and surcharges.
The hotel
focuses on
MICE but
doesn’t stint
on luxury,
2 Resorts Drive,
Pasay City,
and ofers very
Metro Manila 1309;
high levels
+63 2 988 9999;
of service
outdoor (around 960,000 sqm). The
majority of these are spread over three
floors in a separate building, linked via
skybridge to the main building and West
Wing. The flagship 2,600 sqm Grand
Ballroom can host 4,000-plus for a cocktail
reception. A business centre in the main
building’s lobby ofers secretarial services
and computers/printers (open 7am-9pm).
L E I S U R E On the second floor of the main
building are two outdoor pools as well as
steam/sauna rooms and a large gym. Also
on this level is Quan Spa (open 10am-1am)
with eight treatment rooms. The top floor
of the West Wing boasts steam and sauna
facilities plus another well-equipped fitness
room. The rooftop pool (open 6am-10pm) is
20 metres long and surrounded by decking,
with some loungers within the pool itself.
V E R D I C T This comfortable hotel focuses
on MICE clientele but doesn’t stint on
luxury. It’s conveniently close to the airport,
with very high levels of service and a wide
range of business and leisure facilities.
Jeremy Tredinnick
M AY 2 0 1 8
SilverKris Lounge,
First Class
SilverKris Lounge,
First Class
B A C K G R O U N D Singapore Airlines (SIA) has two SilverKris
lounges at Changi Airport – one in Terminal 2 and one in Terminal
3 – both with separate business and first class areas. In T3 the
lounge is located on Level 3 – a short walk to the left after clearing
immigration, towards the “A” gates.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? Attached to the business class lounge, the
smaller first class area is quite a diferent space. Noticeably quieter
– ergo a better working environment – it is also brighter, with tall
windows facing out onto the tarmac complemented by an overall
lighter colour scheme.
There are three main zones in the lounge – two seating areas
separated by a dividing wall, and a dining area, plus shower
facilities. There’s also The Private Room, an exclusive space that’s
only available for travellers flying out on SIA first class. (Star
Alliance first class passengers and Solitaire PPS members can also
access the lounge).
The seating is comfortable, but if you’re looking to do some work
they can be a little impractical, as there’s no table in front of you
and the majority of seats don’t have any nearby charging stations
(also an issue with the business class lounge).
There’s an extensive selection of hot and cold bufet dishes, plus
a live cooking station where guests can order from a selection of
three freshly cooked dishes, which I recommend. However, it’s a
shame there is not a larger a la carte selection.
V E R D I C T A spacious and quiet lounge that’s a good place to rest,
grab a pre-flight bite and freshen up. Minor changes could make
it more convenient as a workspace, but its exclusivity makes it an
appropriate first class experience. Craig Bright
M AY 2 0 1 8
B A C K G R O U N D There are two SilverKris lounges in
Terminal 2B at Heathrow, both of which are approaching
their third anniversary. At reception you’ll either be directed
to the left for first class or the right for business class.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? It’s a long walk over to T2B where
the lounge is located, but you can ask for a shuttle buggy if
you need it (and I imagine there are plenty of people who
do). Both lounges were developed by the interior design
firm Ong&Ong, and feature a “home away from home”
theme. There are several distinct areas for sitting, working,
dining and privacy, and there are a couple of shower
cubicles for passenger use at the far end. On entering the
lounge there’s a seated area to your left partially obscured
by some decorative batik screens. There’s also a wine
counter, which is self-service, though you have to try hard
to serve yourself since the staf are so helpful.
The main part of the lounge is a sitting area, mostly with
individual chairs either facing into the lounge or towards the
window. It isn’t a particularly innovative or exciting design,
quite traditional in fact. In terms of wow, it is well behind
both the Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways lounges at
Heathrow. Nevertheless, it has good service and everything
you need, including a good choice of food and wine.
V E R D I C T I was in the lounge for about 90 minutes
before the flight. It was lovely and quiet, with a view over to
what was once Terminal 1, I suppose. There’s certainly a lot
of construction work going on. Tom Otley
The Qantas London
B A C K G R O U N D The lounge opened last November, located
airside beyond the shops as you walk through to the gates.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? The lounge is split over two levels with
views out onto the airfield. The ground floor hosts the dining
area and gin cocktail bar, as well as some sitting areas, while
the upper floor has a round cocktail bar and more options for
dining or just relaxing. Capacity stretches to more than 230
passengers, but there’s no segmentation between business
and first. The lounge is popular with top-tier cardholders in the
Oneworld programme, which means a lot of BA flyers use it.
The design is the same as that of Qantas’s international
lounges in Hong Kong, Singapore and Brisbane, with the
food and interior design by Woods Bagot taking inspiration
from the local region. The interiors are intended to “reflect
London at twilight with deep greens and rich blues throughout
the furniture, while warm-coloured timbers, stone and brass
represent the historic architecture of the city”. The upstairs
lounge has a marble bar beneath a brass chandelier serving
cocktails designed by “the Qantas Rockpool Mixologists”. The
ground floor gin bar serves both Australian and British gins,
one Oz gin even containing green ants.
Menus are “designed by Rockpool with a Sofitel service
experience” and the dining room ofers an à la carte menu.
There’s a “Quench” hydration station with tisane, fruit-infused
and sparkling water, whilst business facilities include wifi,
flexible workspaces and workstations, and six shower suites.
V E R D I C T This is a very good lounge. I think the Cathay
Pacific one at Heathrow is marginally better simply because
of the division between first and business there, but this is
a superb addition to the lounges at Terminal 3 and a great
way to start a flight to Singapore or Australia (among other
destinations). Tom Otley
American Express
Centurion Lounge
B A C K G R O U N D Terminal D at Houston isn’t short of lounges,
but walking towards the United/Star Alliance Lounge I saw
signs for the Centurion Lounge, lots of them, and decided to
investigate. I realised before too long why there are so many
signs –you could work in terminal D for a week and still not know
where the Centurion Lounge is, so well hidden is its entrance. To
save you much frustration: it’s accessed via a lift/elevator, behind
a duty-free shop. The elevator takes you down to a mezzanine
level and at the end of a long corridor you find the lounge.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? A pleasant surprise from start to finish.
Receptionists at lounges spend most of the day refusing
passengers entry, and for that reason often become quite
fierce over the years. Well not here. The lady on reception
could not have been friendlier, especially since I couldn’t find
my Platinum American Express card, and then couldn’t find
my passport or boarding card, two things that are generally
considered essential in an airport terminal.
The lounge is a big space, split into several distinct areas – the
most distinct of which is the kids’ play area, which is behind fulllength floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The decoration on the walls
is of suitcases, which works well, and this continued behind the
well-stocked bar, where polite bar staf mixed drinks and chatted
with customers, while live sport played on the large TV screen.
The restaurant, meanwhile, had a delicious selection of food,
and a great bar with a cocktail list, wine list, beers on tap as well
as bottled beers. It was the sort of place that, were it not for the
rather bright lighting, could have been the bar of a four-star hotel.
V E R D I C T A simply excellent lounge – and an impressive
benefit for Platinum (and Centurion) cardholders. Tom Otley
M AY 2 0 1 8
Staying connected
Which Asia-Pacific airlines offer in-flight wifi and how much does it cost?
or some
the advent
of in-flight
wifi is seen as
a curse – the
death of a oncelegitimate excuse
to escape emails
and disconnect for
a while.
For others (60
per cent according
to the European
Aviation Network’s
annual survey) it
is now seen as a
necessity. Then
again, in an informal
online poll of
Business Traveller
readers, only 19 per
cent of respondents
said they actually
purchase wifi during
a flight.
Perhaps this is
because offering
a strong internet
connection at a
competitive price is
something airlines
are still working out.
Regardless of your
position, one thing’s
for sure: in-f light
wifi is here to stay.
Here we look at
the wifi packages
currently available
on Asia-Pacific’s
biggest carriers.
Air China
Air Asia
r Free
first 100 passengers per flight to register
passengers must pre-apply
Select Air Asia flights with the AK code
Cathay Pacific
China Airlines
China Eastern
China Southern
Garuda Indonesia
Hainan Airlines
Japan Airlines
Malaysia Airlines
Philippine Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Thai Airways
Xiamen Air
*No data limit
Shanghai to JFK, SFO, LAX, ORD, YYZ, YVR
(other destinations on select flights)
*Free for first class
*Free for first class
International routes; free for irst class
Free on all domestic routes for all classes
Flights with myPal
"MM"BOETFMFDU#&3* Free 100MB for Suites
and first class, 30MB for business and PPS Club members
"MM"BOETFMFDU#&3* Free 100MB for Suites
and first class, 30MB for business and PPS Club members
*Must be requested before flight
M AY 2 0 1 8
Журналы и газеты
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Business Traveller, journal
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