AM/PM News / January 2024

January 5th, 2024

2023 might be behind us, but we are mindful that global news will continue to have an impact locally and beyond borders. We hope that the new year brings health, peace, happiness – and if we can add a bit of joy through travel, that would fulfill our wish for 2024.

We will continue to focus on news from our favorite destinations, hotels, resorts, trains and ships. Have ideas, thoughts and opinions on what you’d like to read more (or less) about? Drop us a line and let us know.

Destination of the Month: London

Visiting Britain’s capital is exciting no matter what time of year, but this year, the city bursts into 2024 with particular panache, especially when it comes to art and culture. The acclaimed show “Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” (through Feb. 25 at the V&A) is sold out, but The Kensington has a special package that grants guest two tickets, as well as a coffee table book about the style icon who famously said, “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” One presumes the late French designer Thierry Despont would have agreed with this sentiment. Under his tutelage, The Beaumont, one of Mayfair’s most stylish addresses with 29 new rooms and a revamped top suite, The Roosevelt, with gorgeous, Art Deco-inspired interiors.

Across town in the heart of Chelsea, meanwhile, at the Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, star pâtissier Benoît Blin has infused that classic tradition of British tea with signature French flair and a focus on seasonality and unique flavor profiles (look for a la religieuse, cream-filled choux buns that have, incidentally, been a favorite challenge on The Great British Bakeoff). For arguably even more intrigue than even a competitive baking show, L’oscar, the Michel Reybier Hospitality Collection’s boutique property, takes the concept of hotel-as-theater to a new level. Housed in a Baroque-style, Grade-II listed former church, the hotel was reimagined by impresario Jacques Garcia, a lover of dark velvets and mirror-gilded interiors.

If more high-drama is what you’re after, then get thee to the Donmar Warehouse where David Tennent (Dr. Who for fans of his big-screen persona) is busy bringing down the house in the Scottish play. For guaranteed tickets to this show, check in at The Bloomsbury, housed in a redbrick Edwin Lutyens-designed building and infused with literary spiritedness, particularly in the Seamus Heaney Library, home to many first editions and 20th-century classics. The “Macbeth Package” (available until Feb. 10) includes dinner and bubbly for two—useful fortification prior to seeing this intense production.

And if all this urban stimulation has you hankering for a jaunt into the British countryside, mark your calendars: in February, the lovingly restored British Pullman, A Belmond Train, will reprise its extremely popular Moving Murder Mystery experience (calling all sleuths) and, later in the month, travel to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire for a sumptuous lunch at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant there.

ampr Quiz: And the Oscar Goes To…

…well, we don’t know yet but for movie buffs, these film lore–infused hotels should be on your radar. Can you guess the hotel or resort described in the hints below?

  1. This property is where Bob Marley recovered following his attempted assassination in the 70s, an event that will be depicted in the soon-to-be-released movie, One Love.
  2. This languorous movie released in 2003 was set largely in a designer hotel and put director Sofia Coppola and the actress Scarlet Johannson on the map.
  3. The top suite at this hotel on the Italian Riviera honors Ava Gardner, who stayed here while filming Barefoot Contessa.

[A: Island Outpost’s Strawberry Hill in Jamaica B: Lost in Translation, shot at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. C: Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, in Portofino]

Newsflash: Global Hotel Guide for Design Lovers

A new year equals new design resolutions, and where better to gather inspiration than on the road, at those brilliant hotels that pull off that delicate balance between comfort and style. Here are four to keep top-of-mind as you re-envision the places you call home.

This passion project of Wilbert Das (the former Creative Director of Diesel) has grown in scope since it opened in 2009, but at its core, the 13-casa property remains true to its founding principles, committed to sustainability and community impact, as well as cutting-edge design. Its “five-mile radius” philosophy includes all materials, resulting in ultra-creative, locally made furniture and fixtures. Case-in-point: the much-copied eucalyptus shower heads that are stylish and sustainable.

Designed by powerhouse Brazilian duo Fernando and Humberto Campana, this hotel is a marvel of modernity. Look for artworks by heavyweights such as Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger (owner Dakis Joannou is one of the world’s leading collectors of contemporary art) as well as the Campana Brothers’ iconic furniture designs, including their Favela chair.

Located inside the walls of the medina, this hotel remains a show-stopper of a master class in Moroccan architecture, artisanship and gardens. 2024 will see a sister property opening in Casablanca, creating an exciting duo destination for style aficionados and culture seekers.

Mark your calendars for February’s Modernism Week (Feb 15-25) when the city of Palm Springs will host a show with more than 100 dealers, as well as open up iconic homes for tours, talks and events. There is no better place to stay than The Parker Palm Springs, the Jonathan Adler–designed desert oasis set on 13 acres. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a 1960s-era movie set, with throwback glamor, a fabulous restaurant and sexy adults-only swimming pool. In short, a great spot from which to ponder all your design goals for 2024.

Trending: Worth the Long Flight

Let’s face it – the days of glamorous air travel are long gone (unless you can secure a seat in the revamped first classes of a handful of airlines). Luckily, there are also those destinations that transport you as soon as you step off the plane, blissfully overwriting the memories of any discomfort in the getting there. Here are five of these memory lapses.

Bhutan: Go for…the newly opened andBeyond Punakha River Lodge, with six tented suites and incredible access to experiences like rafting, kayaking and hikes with a backdrop of the Himalayas. Getting There: Direct flights from New Delhi, Bangkok (and others)

Maldives: Go for…Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, an eco-luxe resort with a serious angle on sustainability, as evidenced in chef Hari Govindaraj’s comprehensive plant-forward menus. Thanks to a proliferation of activities as well as serene spaces (like the stunning spa), Gili Lankanfushi is great for honeymooners/couples and families. Getting There: Direct flights from Dubai, London, Frankfurt, Bangkok (and others)

Japan: Go for…some of the world’s best snow and skiing, including thirty miles of trails. The ultimate ski-in/ski-out hotel — Park Hyatt Niseko — has suites with terraces and private onsens (hot springs) for soaking in the panoramas. Getting There: Sapporo (the closest airport) is serviced directly from Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul Taipei and Hong Kong (among others)

South Africa: Go for…rediscovering what’s new in Cape Town, an evolving art and fashion city, and check in at the soon-to-turn 125 years Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel. The hotel’s afternoon tea is legendary, in part thanks to Craig Cupido, South Africa’s first expertly-trained tea sommelier who helps select among 60 different varieties. Getting There: Direct flights from New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, London, Frankfurt (among many other)

Singapore: Go for…catching the relaunch of the fabled Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, with 15 restyled carriages that feel more like hotel suites than train compartments. Departing from Singapore and with an itinerary that includes snorkeling in Langkawi, a UNESCO Global Geopark, and a trip to the Taman Negara National Park, one of the world’s most ancient rainforests at 130 million years. Getting There: Direct flights from London, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo (and many others)

Great Expeditions: Slow Travel

Exploring the world’s most delicate ecosystems requires a light touch, which is why Aqua Expeditions embraces a slow, thoughtful way of travel. Charting a luxurious passage on Southeast Asia’s longest river across Cambodia and Vietnam, the 205-foot Aqua Mekong travels at a speed of 6-7 knots, allowing for a slow-paced experience. A three-night Mekong Discovery sailing will either head upriver in Cambodia by exploring the Tonle Sap River, or downriver between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh, while a four-night Explorer cruise will sail upriver from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, past floating villages and gilded pagodas. For a deep-dive into the destination, the seven-night Mekong Expedition cruise includes more time on the Cambodia stretch of the Mekong, which is virtually untouched by tourists.

AM/PM Newsflashes:

  • Costa Rica: Nayara Gardens, the first hotel of the Nayara Resorts group, will reopen in January 2024 following a complete rebuild of all the accommodations. Newly-named Arenal Casitas will feature a private deck and a plunge pool, with indoor and outdoor showers enveloped in the lush surrounding rainforest (which also happens to be a sloth sanctuary). A spa renovation is also in the works.
  • Nantucket: Nantucket’s Cottages at the Boat Basin, overlooking the famous harbor, will unveil a six-month multi-million-dollar renovation in April 2024. Drawing on the island’s rich seafaring history dating back to the 19th century, Nantucket-based designer Audrey Sterk will infuse new life into 29 Cottages, ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom lofts. A dozen of the accommodations, dubbed “Woof Cottages,” will continue to welcome those traveling with pets.
  • Greece: Furniture wunderkind Rick Owens has entered into his first-ever hotel partnership with Kalesma, a suite and villa-only property in Mykonos, Greece. Owens’s effortlessly cool work is displayed in the lobby, while the rooms feature original artwork by Serbian artist Aleksandar Vac, whose ceramics evoke traditional Cycladic minimalistic forms.

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