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.

Journey to Equilibrium – Nayara Resorts Launches Sukha Wellness Retreats

October 23rd, 2023

Nayara Resorts, nestled in the heart of the Costa Rican rainforest, just launched two new holistic wellness retreats scheduled for August 12-18 and October 9-15. The six-night retreats offer an opportunity to reset and recharge surrounded by the serene rainforest surroundings.

Guests will immerse themselves in a range of activities, including yoga, sound healing, and sunset meditation, all conducted in outdoor pavilions cantilevered over the rainforest. In addition to the activities, guests have spa treatments and access to the wellness amenities, including the thermal mineral hot springs.

The wellness retreat industry has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, as individuals seek respite from the daily grind. Nayara’s retreats align perfectly with this trend, grounded in the scientifically-proven benefits of nature.

“Our retreats draw inspiration from the Sanskrit term ‘sukha,’ representing ‘equilibrium.’ They are thoughtfully curated to help guests reconnect with nature and rediscover their inner essence,” explains Jonathan Rojas, Marketing Manager. “Each retreat coincides with the New Moon, symbolizing new beginnings. Additionally, our October retreat offers a rare chance to witness the spectacular annular solar eclipse, known as the ‘ring of fire.’”

“Nayara’s retreats go beyond mere activities; they focus on nourishment too,” adds Constanza Navarro, Sales & Marketing Director. “Our award-winning culinary team has thoughtfully crafted a menu featuring locally sourced, organic ingredients, guaranteeing a healthy and authentic dining experience.”

Nayara’s wellness retreats promise a transformative journey towards enhanced health and balance. As spots are limited and demand is expected to be high, interested individuals are urged to secure their reservations promptly

Guests can book HERE

Castle Spa opens at Dromoland Castle

July 25th, 2023

Nestled within the historic stone walls of County Clare’s most iconic estate, the newly opened Castle Spa at Dromoland is a beauty and wellness sanctuary inspired by the property’s 500 acres of manicured flower-covered grounds as well as the estate’s former chatelaine, Lady Ethel, who presided over the castle in the early 20th century.

The reborn spa spans 320 square feet and six treatment rooms and incorporates revitalizing, science- and nature-backed therapies from three award-winning female-owned brands: celebrity-favorite skin care line Dr. Barbara Sturm (the first hotel in Ireland to offer these exclusive treatments), the plant-based Irish brand SEABODY, and the bio-nutritional British range OSKIA. Several treatments are exclusive to the hotel, including the SEABODY Beauty and Wellness Spa Experience, which harnesses the power of hardworking marine-based nutraceuticals harvested from Ireland’s Atlantic Coastline to optimize the skin’s health and vitality.

With original stone walls and sumptuous details like cashmere blankets designed by Ireland’s KDK Sisters and spa robes from Dublin-based designer Deborah Veale, the glamorous cocoon-like space is steeped in place. Spa refreshments feature mint, strawberries, and other botanicals from the garden, and a dedicated relaxation room, The Whisper Room, offers a guided 20-minute meditation through Lady Ethel’s favorite hidden corners of the castle’s rose gardens with the sounds of birds and trickling water as an aural backdrop. There’s also an Amber and Quartz Crystal Bed for boosting the immune system, detoxifying the body, and encouraging physical and mental relaxation.

Handpicked as one of the spa’s trios of brands for its cutting-edge and anti-inflammatory ethos, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s skin-healing philosophy delivers non-surgical, anti-aging treatments that rejuvenate stressed skin. Driven by advanced ingredient-science and a philosophy of healing rather than acting aggressively towards the skin, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s products are free of synthetic fragrances, harsh preservatives, and mineral oils. Signature treatments include the #SturmGlow facial to increase blood and oxygen flow while toning and defining facial muscles, and the anti-gravity Super Anti-Aging treatment to achieve a sculpted effect.

Four state-of-the-art treatments from SEABODY deliver proprietary potent biomolecule complexes into an immersive 360-degree body, beauty, and wellness experience. The SEABODY Rebalance is a transformative therapy involving breathwork, full-body exfoliation, and a detoxing cold-pressed sea gel body mask; the Touch Facial uses Gua Sha facial massage techniques; the Connect Full Body Massage incorporates wave-like massage techniques; and the Dromoland SEABODY Signature combines a deep-back massage, a touch facial, and Gua Sha stones.

The third brand is OSKIA, an award-winning, results-driven vegan skincare brand founded in the UK, with treatments such as an Illuminating Facial, a Warm Oil Massage, a Vitamin Body Glow using fine pink Himalayan salt, fruit enzymes, and starflower oil.


Aqua Expeditions Offers Savings on Select Summer Indonesia Departures

June 27th, 2023

The summer months are the perfect time to set sail for the remote islands of East Indonesia, where the dry season (April-October) means dependable weather with guaranteed sun and no crowds. To kick off the season, Aqua Expeditions is offering 20 percent off sailings on Aqua Blu —the first ever long-range ocean explorer yacht permanently based in the region—on seven-night Indonesia itineraries from through August 26, 2023. It’s the perfect way to discover the most undiscovered tropical corners of the Komodo National Park without the challenges of organizing a private charter.

Aptly described as a floating boutique hotel, Aqua Blu has only 15 contemporary designed rooms with sea views. Guests will enjoy five-star itineraries and services during their adventure at sea, including an exclusive 1:1 crew-to-guest-ratio. Small group activities and excursions for all ages, including hikes across active volcanoes, daily scuba dives, kayaking and paddleboarding are all led by passionate naturalist guides. Innovative cuisine is designed by consulting chef Benjamin Cross, drawing on inspiration from Indonesia’s fabled spice route. Menu highlights include the 48-hour roasted beef short rib, organic Javanese prawns and freshly caught grilled fish with Balinese sambal. A new dedicated vegan menu is also now available.

Departing from Bali and Flores, the seven-night Komodo voyages will circle the three main islands and 26 islets that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Komodo National Park, home to prehistoric creatures like the famous Komodo dragon, the largest lizard species on Earth. The region is also a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise, with 1,000 species of marine life like manta rays, sea turtles, and nearly 300 species of coral. Guests will have the rare opportunity to swim with whale sharks, which originated an estimated 60 million years ago. Clocking in at 40 feet in length, the creatures are considered the ocean’s friendly giant. On land, there will be wildlife spotting opportunities like witnessing the tens of thousands fruit bats that take flight come nightfall.

Rates for a seven-night Aqua Blu expedition cruise with applied ‘Indonesian Summer Special’ rates start at $12,740 per person, based on double occupancy. The offer is available for select category one design suites. The rate includes all meals onboard; selected house wines, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages; excursions; national party entry fee; activity equipment; and laundry.

A Legend in the Making: Milaroca, a Belmond Hotel, Riviera Nayarit Opening 2025

June 27th, 2023

JUNE 2023 – Belmond, the visionary leader in luxury travel, has entered into a management agreement with Cora Pacific Development, led by entrepreneur duo Barbara Machen and Rosetta Getty, for Milaroca, A Belmond Hotel, Riviera Nayarit on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Designed by a team of interior maestros, with curation by creative director Getty, Milaroca will be consciously and sensitively built from the ground up.

The signing of an agreement to manage Milaroca further strengthens Belmond’s commitment to Mexico, with its reach now extending to the country’s western region. Milaroca will join two other Belmond properties in Mexico – Casa de Sierra Nevada, a former convent built in 16th century located in the country’s heartland of San Miguel de Allende, and the reimagined Maroma in Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula which will reopen its doors this August following a complete renovation.

“We have the incredible opportunity to craft a legend of the future with the best partners we could have asked for,” said Roeland Vos, President & CEO of Belmond. “With utmost respect to Riviera Nayarit’s multicultural history, abundant nature and the region’s carefree spirit, Milaroca will encapsulate the essence of contemporary lifestyle, creating a destination for today’s thriving creative community – a new legendary scene where new traditions are made, and long-lived rituals are celebrated.”

Barbara Machen and Rosetta Getty said of the announcement, “Our families have been traveling together to this beautiful area of Mexico for many years. As entrepreneurs and creatives ourselves we understand the importance of the destination that inspire, and we want to share our magical experience; a place for connection, to be returned to year after year, enjoyed by family, friends and peers from around the world, a true home away from home. Milaroca will be like no other resort, and Belmond is the only hospitality brand that truly creates unique luxury experiences in this way. We could not have asked for a better partner.

Consciously Crafted Houses

Immersed in lush mountainous jungle and pearly-white beach stretching over 2 kilometers along Riviera Nayarit, Milaroca will be a new haven for creative minds. Led by Waldo’s Designs and Clements Design, the property’s aesthetic will draw inspiration from the region’s breathtaking beauty, storied native culture, and the bohemian spirit of nearby San Pancho and Sayulita villages.

Milaroca will adopt low-density and non-invasive building practices. Each of the 57 guest pavilions will be a welcoming discovery with a unique collection of contemporary custom-made furniture and crafted objects from local artisans and Mexico’s most exciting contemporary artists. Every detail will be carefully considered, with interiors maintaining an intuitive symbiosis with the outdoor spaces and surrounding jungle.

Curated Creative Community and Cultural Calendar of Celebrations

Milaroca will be a buzzing unique scene for curious minds interested in the latest movements in art, fashion and music: a progressive space for tastemakers, visionaries, and artisans to come together to exchange dialogues and ignite new ideas. Guests will connect with the cultures of the Riviera Nayarit through on- and off-site programming.

Milaroca will bring together the most interesting multi-disciplinary individuals with events, galas and global festivities, drawing inspiration from the cultures of celebrations and rituals rooted in the Cora and Huichol communities. Hosted by Milaroca’s founders, the seasonal soirees – from the New Year’s Eve celebration to the annual summer party, promise to make headlines around the world.

An Invitation to be part of the Legend: Private Villas at Milaroca

Milaroca will introduce a “by invitation-only” opportunity to own one of 27 uniquely-designed private villas serviced by Belmond. These villas will be part of a thriving creative community and will enjoy Milaroca’s coveted facilities, vibrant cultural programming and the in-residence service and experiences crafted by Belmond’s unrivaled hospitality – centered in warmth, attentiveness, intimacy and personalization.


June 5th, 2023

Park Hyatt Niseko launches partnership with Nikka Whiskey, Park Hyatt Kyoto celebrates the Gion Matsuri festival, and Park Hyatt Tokyo launches summer menus

Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono, Japan’s premier mountain resort in Niseko, Hokkaido, has launched a partnership with Nikka Whisky, a distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, offering guests a peek into the art of Japanese whiskey making. The new, two-night package offered June 23-25 and July 7-9, will offer guests:

·         A Yoichi distillery tour

o    A private tour of Yoichi Distillery in Hokkaido to learn the fine art of Japanese whiskey making. The chief blender, Mr. Ozaki, will accompany the tour, and guests will have the chance to see private areas not open to the general public. The Yoichi Distillery is Nikka’s first distillery, built in 1934. The founder of Nikka Whisky, Masataka Taketsuru, often referred to as the “Father of Japanese Whisky” chose the town of Yoichi in Hokkaido because of the similar environmental conditions to Scotland, where he learned whiskey-making.

·         An immersive Teppan dinner with specially curated whiskey pairing

o    The hotel’s signature restaurant will serve a lavish Teppan dinner featuring dishes carefully tailored to pair with the Nikka whiskies. Locally sourced Hokkaido delicacies such as sea urchin and Ezo abalone cooked by the Teppan chef at the counter paired with a refreshing highball made with NIKKA SESSION or a limited edition Miyagikyo whiskey with a peaty aroma. Along with the Hokkaido yellowtail dish with herb butter sauce, three different single malt Yoichi whiskies are planned to be provided to experience making a custom blend.

·         A special whiskey-themed Pierre Hermé Paris Afternoon Tea

·         A barbecue dinner made to savor Hokkaido’s finest ingredients with an open bar featuring a selection of Nikka Whisky products, with their chief blender, Mr. Ozaki, in attendance. A special barbecue will be set up in the Chapel Garden (weather permitting) for dinner.

·         A lunch at The Lounge

·         Daily breakfast


Happening in Kyoto…

The legendary Gion Matsuri festival, one of the most famous festivals in Japan, dating back to 1869 takes place in Kyoto in July. Park Hyatt Kyoto guests have preferred seating at some of the festival events, such as “Yoi-yama” street party event, the procession of mikoshi, etc. On-property highlights include a Japanese tea pairing at the exquisitely renovated Kyoyamato, a traditional Japanese restaurant run by a seventh-generation Kyoto family, complete with a Soyotei teahouse from the Edo era. Plus, a guided tour of the grounds led by a Shinto priest, and a seated Zazen meditation at nearby temples that are off-limits to the general public.


Happening in Tokyo…

Each of Park Hyatt Tokyo’s restaurants are offering special menus for summer.

·         Kozue, the traditional Japanese restaurant, will have a “Bounty of the Sea” menu from July 7-August 6 showcasing the freshest seafood caught in Hakodate, Hokkaido, transported by train, and plated on the same day.

·         New York Grill will offer Matsusaka beef and Australian black truffles. Matsusaka beef is known for its delicate marbling and buttery tenderness and has been carefully raised in Mie Prefecture for centuries.

·         Girandole’s French Riviera theme will be offered July 7-31 and include Provençal dishes such as bouillabaisse, Niçoise salad, and Pissaladière.



Terraces for Spring

May 2nd, 2023


The Beaumont

The Beaumont’s new Terrace offers alfresco drinking and dining for the first time at the property, in an enclosed outdoor terrace overlooking Brown Hart Gardens. With 1920s-style rattan armchairs and cafe tables enfolded by lush greenery, The Terrace serves drinks alongside salads, sandwiches and light bites from 8am to 8pm, and can be covered and heated in colder weather.

The Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury

Dalloway Terrace, named for Mrs. Dalloway in the Virginia Woolf novel, is an elegant, poetic and quintessentially English space. Fully heated, this year-round destination restaurant and bar offers the peace and charm of a secluded secret garden in the winter, and a light, elegant and beautiful al fresco space in the spring and summer months. Light breakfasts, brunch, afternoon tea and all-day favorites make up the Dalloway Terrace menu, with a range of cocktails and wines also available.


The Pembroke, The Dupont Circle

The airy Pembroke restaurant situated in the bustling heart of Dupont Circle features American and international classics with the option of al fresco dining. The Pembroke’s beautiful design by Martin Brudnizki features plush velvet coral-toned banquettes around glossy marble tables, cream-paneled walls with playful artwork, and boasts panoramic views of the neighborhood, while its seasonal terrace offers al fresco dining from spring to fall.


La Muña, La Réserve Eden au Lac

La Muña is the crown jewel of La Réserve Eden au Lac, serving Japanese Peruvian specialties alongside an extensive wine and sake list. Accessible via the glass elevator in the hotel lobby, the rooftop overlooks the city of Zurich and offers unique 360-degree views of the lake. One of the two outdoor terraces can be entirely privatized. Whether out in the sun or under the large umbrellas, guests can enjoy a relaxed yet festive atmosphere while looking out over Lake Zurich with the Alps in the distance.


Azimuth, Almanac Barcelona

At the Azimuth rooftop bar at Almanac Barcelona, mingle with locals while taking in views of La Sagrada Familia and Mount Tibidabo. The panoramic rooftop terrace also features a guest-only pool for cooling off in the summer. On Fridays and Saturday nights, enjoy live music or a DJ for the perfect chill summer vibe.

Belmond’s Royal Scotsman Unveils Dior Spa and Themed Journeys for 2023

April 5th, 2023

Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train Unveils New Dior Spa and Themed Journeys for 2023 Season

Marking the start of its 2023 season, Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland, the country’s only luxury sleeper train, announces a long-term partnership with Dior Beauty to create the Dior Spa Royal Scotsman and launches two new expert-led adventure and culinary themed journeys through the Highlands.

Dior Spa Royal Scotsman

A cocoon of serenity on the rails, the Dior Spa Royal Scotsman blends two iconic Houses for an incomparable well-being escape inspired by Scotland’s ephemeral beauty. An homage to Christian Dior’s love for Scotland – where he hosted his first fashion show in 1955 – the new Dior Spa Royal Scotsman is housed in one of the train’s plush carriages with two lacquered treatment rooms, restyled with Dior’s iconic burgundy toile de Jouy motif. The new bespoke menu features three tailor-made treatments devised by the French Maison’s wellness experts to cater to the specific needs of train travel and can be enjoyed before or after an outdoor excursion. The D-Travel body massage (30 minutes / one hour) is a deep, slow massage that eliminates toxins, releases tensions, and relieves pain. Inspired by the Scottish seasons, the D-Elements full body treatment (one hour) begins with the application of semi-precious hot stones on the back to create a sense of warmth, followed by massage strokes that simulate a cooling breeze. Bain Dior body mist and hot oshibori, recreating the country’s drifting mists, end the treatment on a calming note. For the face, the D-Highlands treatment (one hour) is inspired by Kobido facial massage techniques and enhanced with the Dior Prestige line, resulting in a rejuvenating facial that sculpts the face’s features and improves the skin’s appearance.

New Journey: Highland Survival Adventure

The new three-night Highland Survival Adventure journey, June 30-July 3, 2023, is designed with adrenaline-seekers in mind as they connect to nature far from the stresses of everyday life. Traveling roundtrip from Edinburgh, the itinerary features several outdoor challenges in some of the most secluded locations in the Western Highlands. Led by WILDNIS’ guides – former Royal Marines Sergeant, George MacHardy and seasoned survivalist, Eliza Brown – the Royal Scotsman guests will explore the indigenous flora and fauna, take part in a modern-day Royal Marines Commando Assault Training program, and feast on an al fresco lunch prepared by WILDNIS’ chef and ‘field to plate’ cuisine advocate, Tom Byrom. On the third day, guests will put their skills to the test rappelling down a cascading waterfall followed by a reinvigorating wild swim session. Back on the train for the final night onboard, guests will dine on Scottish delicacies as Royal Scotsman makes its way back to Edinburgh. Rates start at $8,750 per person on an all-inclusive basis.

New Journey: A Taste of Scotland with Tom Kitchin

From September 4-6, 2023, the Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin, one of Scotland’s most celebrated culinary stars, will host a two-night journey through the Scottish Highlands. Allowing guests to delve deeper into the region’s indigenous produce, Tom Kitchin will showcase his ‘From Nature-to-Plate’ culinary philosophy as the train journeys from Edinburgh to Boat of Garten, Inverness, Dundee and back to the capital. Guests will enjoy several meals with Chef Kitchin including a welcome four-course dinner, a barbecue lunch in Cairngorms National Park, and a Gala dinner to close out the journey. Highlights also include an exclusive wine masterclass with local wine merchants, L’Art du Vin, in the train’s Observation Car and a tour and expert-led whisky tasting at Benromach distillery. Rates start at $6,690 per person on an all-inclusive basis.

Space to Watch

Two new Grand Suites by interior designer Tristan Auer are set to join the rake in May 2024 with ensuite bathrooms, double beds, and private living area. Grand Suite guests will also enjoy added amenities including private transfers to and from the train and one spa treatment in the train’s dedicated spa carriage. Rates will start at $7,500 per person on an all-inclusive basis.

For more information, please visit


Belmond has been a pioneer of luxury travel for 46 years, building a passion for authentic escapes into a portfolio of one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the world’s most inspiring destinations.


Since the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani in Venice in 1976, Belmond has continued to perpetuate the legendary art of travel, taking discerning global travellers on breathtaking journeys. Its portfolio extends across 24 countries with 50 remarkable properties that include the illustrious Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train, remote beach retreats like Cap Juluca in Anguilla, Italian hideaways such as Splendido in Portofino, or unrivalled gateways to world natural wonders such as Hotel das Cataratas inside Brazil’s Iguazu National Park. From trains to river barges, safari lodges to hotels, each unique property offers an incomparable experience with its own story to tell. The essence of the Belmond brand is built upon its heritage, craftsmanship and genuine, authentic service. Belmond sees its role as custodians of timeless heritage, dedicated to preserving its assets through sensitive ongoing restoration plans. Belmond is part of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.





November 9th, 2022

PONANT is collaborating with Smithsonian Journeys on a series of co-branded sailings for 2023 and 2024. Each of the itineraries will be led by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts—whether an art historian, a solar astrophysicist, or an international relations expert—whose expertise and knowledge will shed new light on a destination and deepen travelers’ immersion in place.

Among the new sailings is a nine-day circumnavigation of Sicily on Le Champlain, April 14-22, 2024.  Departing from Valletta, the capital of Malta, the itinerary includes visits to well-preserved Greek ruins, impressive Norman cathedrals, active volcanoes, and a handful of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, giving travelers a sense of these country’s ancient civilizations and cultural riches. On-board discussions by Smithsonian Journeys Experts will complement the excursions, adding important context and illuminating perspectives.

Like Sicily, Malta has also been ruled by various civilizations throughout history, making the destination a fascinating jumping-off point. From Valletta, Le Champlain will make its way to the smaller Maltese island of Gozo to see the megalithic temples of Ġgantija and an adjoining archaeological museum, plus red-sand beaches and a crystal-clear sea. Then it’s on to the southwestern coast of Sicily, home to the seaside commune of Porto Empedocle and the UNESCO-recognized Temple Valley, an archaeological site with temples dedicated to Zeus and other mythological gods. Rounding the western tip of the island, the ship will arrive in Trapani for an excursion into the countryside, the ancient Doric temple of Segesta, and the medieval hilltop commune of Erice. From there, it’s on to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and one of Europe’s most vibrant and up-and-coming cities, where Byzantine mosaics and baroque churches exist alongside chic artisan studios and trendy restaurants. There, activities range from a tour of the Capella Palatina, a Byzantine-Arab-Norman structure with dazzling mosaics and magnificent inlaid marble floors and walls, or a drive to nearby Monreale to explore its famed Norman cathedral.

Just north of Sicily is Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian islands, characterized by lava stone quarries, a dramatic coastline, and a castle within a fortified citadel. After a visit here, travelers will sail north to Stromboli, taking in panoramic vistas of the active volcano, before crossing through the Strait of Messina to arrive at Taormina, the so-called St. Tropez of Sicily. There, visit a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna — the largest active volcano in Europe— or tour Taormina town with its historic Greek Theater which looks out to the dazzling coastline.

The final port of call is Syracuse, colonized by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C. and one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world, where guests will visit the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus and the 15,000-seat Greek theater.

Rates start at $6,500 per person.

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PONANT’s “Explore to Inspire” mission is centered around exploration to better understand, learn, share and protect. For more than 30 years, PONANT has been committed to more responsible tourism and voyages of exploration which have meaning. The French-flagged fleet comprises 13 small capacity ships equipped with state of the art environmentally friendly equipment. With PONANT, exploration is refined, authentic and a source of inspiration. The company sails to the Arctic and the Antarctic as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Asia, Oceania and South Pacific, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. For more information, visit or call 1-844-747-2873 or contact your travel advisor.

About the Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries.  Two of the 21 museums – the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum – are in the early planning stages. The total number of objects, works of art, and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

About Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys is part of Smithsonian Enterprises, a division of the Smithsonian which oversees the institution’s commercial activities, including the Smithsonian Channel, which is available in over 55 million households globally; the retail operation, which includes 35 museum and airport stores, food concessions; an E-commerce business,, and Smithsonian magazine, which reaches more than 8 million monthly readers, consumer and education licensing, and books. Smithsonian Journeys is a global leader in cultural travel for diverse audiences, offering unique, expert-led trips on all seven continents. In addition to ocean cruises with PONANT, Smithsonian Journeys offers small-group land journeys, river cruises, active journeys, cultural stays, private jet trips, tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler, and student travel programs. For more information visit or call 1-855-330-1542.



Belmond to Debut Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne in May 2023

October 10th, 2022



Top-deck lifestyle, bespoke itineraries and an exclusive partnership with Maison Ruinart take travelers deeper into the effervescence of Champagne

October 10, 2022 – Belmond is delighted to announce the launch of a luxury barge, part of its unmatched French collection: Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne. Debuting in May 2023, Coquelicot will take guests on a cinematic journey of Champagne in partnership with Maison Ruinart, the world’s oldest champagne house. Featuring three spacious cabins with ensuite facilities, an indoor salon with a champagne bar, and an extensive outdoor deck, Coquelicot will set a new standard of sophistication for slow-paced sailing in France. Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat is available for week-long private charters starting from €82,000 (approximately $79,500).

Designed by successful French duo, Humbert & Poyet, Coquelicot, formerly the Hirondelle barge, will boast three double cabins with marble ensuite bathrooms and an indoor lounge with a champagne bar – stocked with a curated selection of the guests’ preferred labels. The vessel’s top deck will be the social center for guests to unwind as they meander the calm waterways. Framed by potted local herbs and indigenous wildflowers that root the space in the locale, the deck features two seating lounges, an open kitchen and a shaded dining area to enjoy a menu inspired by seasonal ingredients from trusted local suppliers.

To complement the ever-changing views and create an intimate sanctuary on the water, the barge’s interiors and exteriors will capture the essence of Champagne, with nods to the region’s hues and character. Local fabrics in earthy tones and raw materials will honor Champagne’s agricultural heritage, while fluted walls, decadent interiors and pieces of art will pay homage to the land’s glorious present. Coquelicot’s namesake, the red poppy, will be found in subtle references such as the hand-cut red marble side tables and the tone-on-tone hand-painted petals that line the hallway, while the lounge’s skylight is a celebration of Champagne’s water mapping legacy.

Elevating the river barge journey, Belmond has partnered with Maison Ruinart to offer exclusive access to the first established House of Champagne with a private tasting lunch by Chef In Residence Valérie Radou and guided tours of the historic Taissy vineyard to discover the brand’s latest sustainability initiatives. Guests will disembark Coquelicot for unrivaled access to Taissy vineyard, which has been referenced as early as 1733 in the Maison’s archives. Immersed in the hillsides of the Champagne region, Maison Ruinart, in partnership with Reforest’Action and the University of Reims, launched a pioneering viti-forestry project in 2021 to preserve and regenerate forests in order to restore biodiversity. Also dotting the grounds is a new art installation by German visual artist Nils-Udo, a pioneer of land art. A technical tasting of iconic Maison Ruinart cuvées, led by a Maison Ambassador, will conclude the morning experience in the vineyard.

Back on board, Belmond guests will be treated to a private five-course tasting lunch by Maison Ruinart’s Chef In Residence Valérie Radou and Coquelicot Head Chef. It will be the first time Maison Ruinart’s Chef will be cooking a private ‘four hands’ lunch outside of Maison Ruinart. A true lesson in French art de vivre, this dining experience includes five seasonal dishes inspired by regional cuisine and paired with prestigious cuvées such as Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Dom Ruinart Rosé. Framed by the idyllic landscape and in the comfort and privacy of their own luxury boat, guests will delve deep into the world of Maison Ruinart, as their ambassador reveals the story, characteristics and technical aspects of each bottle.

Personal Guest Experience Executives will help craft customized itineraries depending on guest preferences. Whether an art-focused tour of Champagne, a historic voyage through the mighty castles, an active adventure on two wheels or a series of epicurean visits to Europe’s most celebrated and most secret wine producers, guests will have the liberty to design their own journey and marvel at the region’s treasures at their own pace. Alternate an al fresco soirée on the top deck with an off-board Michelin-starred restaurant experience or a less inhibited dinner in one of the quaint villages scattered across the region. The all-inclusive journeys include table d’hóte meals, complimentary beverages, all planned excursions escorted by a private guide, and transfer from Paris to the barge. Helicopter transfers from Paris are also available upon request.

Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne is part of Les Bateaux Belmond, the brand’s unrivaled collection of boats in France. The fleet includes: Alouette, A Belmond Boat, Canal Du Midi; Pivoine, A Belmond Boat, Camargue; Napoléon, A Belmond Boat, Provence; Amaryllis, A Belmond Boat, Burgundy; Fleur De Lys, A Belmond Boat, Burgundy; Lilas, A Belmond Boat, Burgundy.

To book or for further information, please visit or call +44 (0)20 7921 4000.

Renderings of the new barges are available here.


About Belmond

Belmond has been a pioneer of exceptional luxury travel for over 46 years, building a passion for authentic escapes into a portfolio of one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the world’s most inspiring destinations.

Since the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani in Venice in 1976, Belmond has continued to perpetuate the legendary art of travel, taking discerning global travellers on breathtaking journeys. Its portfolio extends across 24 countries with 50 remarkable properties that include the illustrious Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train, remote beach retreats like Cap Juluca in Anguilla, Italian hideaways such as Splendido in Portofino, or unrivalled gateways to world natural wonders such as Hotel das Cataratas inside Brazil’s Iguassu National Park. From trains to river barges, safari lodges to hotels, each unique property offers an incomparable experience with its own story to tell. The essence of the Belmond brand is built upon its heritage, craftsmanship and genuine, authentic service. Belmond sees its role as custodians of timeless heritage, dedicated to preserving its assets through sensitive ongoing restoration plans. Belmond is part of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
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