Christmas at Grand Hotel Zermatterhof

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By Shereen Shabnam

My favourite place in Switzerland, the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof Zermatt, dominated by the Matterhorn is a rare place where everything works in synergy and GCC travellers can enjoy memorable winter stays including a generous breakfast buffet during the festive season at this majestic property.

My favourite memory from my visit is the transfer to and from the Zermatterhof and Zermatt station in a horse-drawn carriage or electric bus on the day of your arrival and departure.

Guests can enjoy a generous breakfast buffet, mineral water and soft drinks from the minibar, Ronnefeldt-Tea, Nespresso coffee machine with capsules, use of the spa, pool, steam bath, saunas, jacuzzi, ice grotto and gym and wireless Internet in the room and in all public areas.

Once you step into the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, hospitality and luxury takes on a whole new meaning. It is a hotel you want to spend time in, meet with other guests and enjoy a hot chocolate while gazing at the Matterhorn.

Zermatt is situated far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life at an altitude of 1,600 metres above sea level. The historic village oozes with charm and the high street is lined with luxury shopping, world-class restaurants and stylish bars.

And Grand Hotel Zermatterhof is where time means something different from what it means in the city. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

For ski enthusiasts, there is no better place than Zermatt to flirt with adventure and enjoy the sport with untouched stunning terrain and a helicopter to give you a lift there. Zermatt is the Alps’ largest heli-skiing destination and offers the best snow with the stunning beauty of the Alps.

Zermatt is a private playground for guests who truly want to get away and indulge in a memorable holiday. 

PEARL YACHTS: THE NEW PEARL 80 MAKES ITS WORLD DEBUT AT FLIBS 2017

The new 24-meter Pearl 80 by Pearl Yachts will make its world debut at the upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, from November 1 to 5. The new flybridge yacht amazes with numerous features, bright and open interiors, and four guest cabins.

Warwick, October 2017. Impressive manoeuvrability and sea keeping, light-filled interiors and a layout that maximises space are just a few of the main features of the new Pearl 80, the elegant flybridge yacht that will be presented for the first time ever this November at the US boat show.

The new Pearl 80 continues the shipyard’s hugely successful design collaboration between naval architect Bill Dixon, who designs the exterior, and designer Kelly Hoppen, who looked after the interior layout. As all the Pearl Yachts models, in fact, the yacht features original Kelly Hoppen interior design, with a plus. The owner has 3 style to choose from: ‘taupe’, ‘studio’ and ‘luxury’, making possible to customise the yacht while retaining the ‘designer’ interior.

The vast outdoor spaces are equalled by the beautiful calm interior literally flooded with light through the stunning side windows, which give the boat a glamorous profile designed to turn heads. The flybridge, aft of the twin seat helm station, has a covered area with sofas, low tables, a bar unit and a classic sun lounging area right in the stern, furnished with refined chaises longues. The area on the main deck that best expresses the yacht’s character is without doubt the elegant saloon, furnished with light colourways and materials. An electrically operated door separates this saloon from the cockpit area, which has a superbly crafted teak/Corian table surrounded by armchairs and sofas. Forward the galley is separated from the saloon by a rise and fall panel allowing privacy if required, the dining area opposite the lower helm and galley is flooded by light from the overhead double windscreen.

The basic layout of the accommodation has four double cabins, two with double beds and two with twin beds (although the twins can convert to doubles), and all are En-suite. The full beam owner’s suite is a class leader and situated in the centre of the yacht, and all are on the lower deck. The furnishing of these settings is reminiscent of the colours and materials of the day area, although each cabin has its own special style. The result is a sophisticated atmosphere that is also warm and welcoming.

In the engine room, two MAN V12 1800 HP engines give the yacht a remarkable top speed of 35 knots and is comfortable cruising between 25-27 knots. The range at this speed is approximately 300 nautical miles. Other features include a Jet ski garage, Hydraulic bathing platform, foredeck lounge, hardtop with sunroof and a hot tub!

Pearl Yachts will be attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2017 – Stand Red Zone DE 2

 

Pascal Tepper inaugurates New Dine-in Bakery and Bistro branch at French Village Riverland Dubai Parks and Resorts

UAE’s popular French Dine-in Bakery and Bistro Brings a New Taste of Freshness to the French Village

Quintessential French Chef Pascal Tepper Meilleur Ouvrier de France inaugurated the opening of his latest Pascal Tepper French Dine-in Bakery and Bistro at the French Village Riverland Dubai Parks and Resorts by cutting a red ribbon with the representative of the Franchise Owner from Global Delicacy Restaurant LLC and French Consulate representative in Dubai UAE. This is not the first Bakery restaurant for the renowned chef who also has several more successful and popular branches of the international chain of Dine-in Bakery and Bistro within the United Arab Emirates.

­Many of the dishes that the guests sampled were constructed from Chef Tepper’s passion for baking and developing new recipes. But the main inspiration was from the menu, resulting in a beautiful finger food spread inclusive of cocktail drinks. Guests received a gift bag while leaving that included delicious freshly baked bread at the Dine-in Bakery and Bistro, a stunning assortment of delicate macaroons and a rich decadent selection of chocolates and dessert pastries.

A baker’s passion for his work is reflected in his bread, and Chef Tepper’s golden crusty oven-fresh bread is a sensory experience alone, especially when complimented with the flaky crunchiness of the beautiful selection of the viennoiserie pastries after the main meal.

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Chef Pascal Tepper Meilleur Ouvrier de France commented of the new opening: “One of my motto’s in life is to always push myself to go farther. I’ve always been inspired to create since I was born to do baking, and when I’m surrounded by fresh ingredients of high quality combined with my love of creating dishes, I take inspiration from my surroundings, nature and colors which all lovingly go into my dishes.” When asked about why he cooks, Chef Tepper responded: “With cooking I feel that I am touching people’s lives and with every new opening of Pascal Tepper we have more of a chance to touch even more lives and enhance people’s senses when it comes to gastronomical satisfaction. After all this is what I am good at coming from a long line of French bakers as I’m a 4th generation baker”.

The inauguration took place at 6 pm followed by a speech. The guests were serenaded with the beautiful melodies of French music before and after being wowed by the skill of a light-fingered magician as they sampled signature dishes including fresh salad, delicate sandwiches with the most delicious fresh fillings and many more dishes loved by many.

Pascal Tepper located in French Village Riverland Dubai Parks and Resorts is the 4th branch in UAE and their strategy is to expand and have more branches across the world.

Please visit Pascal Tepper and enjoy both modern and traditional French dining, from hot and cold dishes to oven-fresh bread, chocolates, freshly baked dessert pastries and many more with a contemporary environment.

 

 

The City of Music – Nashville

The first thing I fell in love with in Nashville, the music city was Nashville’s premier hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & convention center and the beautiful guitar exhibits. I went there to attend an IT conference with Epicor and expected a simple resort but the ambience, excitement and energy of the place made me feel I could live there for years and not get bored.

The beautiful gardens beneath climate-controlled signature glass atriums, the meandering Cumberland River plus an extraordinary selection of dining, shopping and recreation options made me feel like this was more of a getaway and I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere in between the conference.

I walked through various indoor gardens, cascading waterfalls and took a boat ride in the indoor river and still had time for the spa and fitness center. Most times, the lush greenery reminding me of my own country Fiji Islands and made me feel right at home.

Inspired by elements of music everywhere in the resort, I set out to see more of what the rest of Nashvile had to offer. Music is in the DNA of people from Nashville and the award-winning Station Inn is considered to be one of Nashville’s premier venues for bluegrass music. Notable artists have performed at this venue, which is perfect for concerts and jam sessions by up-and-coming artists.

Then there is the Tennessee State Museum that tells the story of the state’s rich history over three floors of the building. Creative visitors will love the Frist Center that hosts Visual Arts displays by local, state and regional artists along with national and international exhibitions.

Music lovers will find the ‘Two Old Hippies’ a haven as a retail store offering a large selection of guitars, music, clothing and other novelty merchandise. The shop has a stage with an organ, several guitars and a drum set as well as lighting and a mixing board in a deco where walls are full of music artefacts and memorabilia.

Alternatively, head to Curb Records, an independent music label founded by Mike Curb. The label’s top recordings include hits by legendary artists. A philanthropist, Curb has been instrumental in restoring historic buildings, including Columbia’s Historic Quonset Hut, a recording studio originally established by Owen Bradley, and the Johnny Cash Museum.

Then there is the music Row, home to several businesses and attractions related to the city’s musical heritage. Considered the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry, the area has the historic RCA Studio B, Columbia’s Historic Quonset Hut, Owen Bradley Park and numerous shops and restaurants. “Musica,” a large bronze statue designed by Alan LeQuire, is the centerpiece of the Music Row Roundabout.

It is all about Music in Nashville. The Musicians Hall of Fame at Historic Nashville Auditorium honors the artists and session musicians who have accompanied legendary performers in a broad range of musical genres, including country, rock, jazz and soul.

Naturally I stopped at the Marathon Motors Factory in the heart of downtown Nashville. This area has an array of music recording studios, numerous shops, studios etc. If you like walking, head to ‘The Gulch’, a historic walkable neighborhood with hip restaurants, eclectic boutiques and vibrant nightlife venues.

In Nashville’s Centennial Park, the Parthenon stands as an exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. You can see the 42-foot gilded sculpture of Athena, and temporary shows and exhibitions.

There is so much to se and do in Nashville but Music is really what makes this city stand apart. I enjoyed Nashville and look forward to going back again.

Beach Paradise – Grand Beach Hotel, Miami

In between meetings in New Orleans and Nashville last month, I took a short break at the Grand Beach Hotel in Miami, which is a new beachfront addition to Miami Beach with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The property is located on Millionaires’ Row, close to the excitement and nightlife of South Beach and easy to get to from both Miami International Airport and Ft. Lauderdale Airport. It was the perfect break and we are delighted to share our thoughts on the property.

I stayed in one of the hotel’s 430 spacious suites that offer a balcony and two full bathrooms. In-room amenities include two flat-screen TVs, complimentary internet access, international Satellite TV, a refrigerator, wet-bar, coffee-maker, iron, safe, work area and had enough space to open two of my suitcases and a carry on comfortably in the space.

In the afternoons, the best thing to do is enjoy the two beachside pools and hot tubs or head to the 7th floor pool overlooking the Atlantic while enjoying Miami’s year-round perfect weather. The best part of the hotel is having access to more than 200 feet of beautiful white sandy tropical beaches on the Atlantic Ocean or if you like working out, head to the hotel’s well-equipped gym.

I opted for the beach experience and was told I had access to two beach chairs and one umbrella under my room included in our daily Resort Fee. It was perfect and the hotels helps to make the most out of your stay in Florida, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, relaxing retreat, convention accommodation, a family escape, or are travelling on business.

The hotel completed an exciting $10 million suite renovation in 2015 hence majority of the suites have been refreshed but a few of the original classic suites remain for nostalgic guests. The refreshed suites feature a sleek modern design dressed in a bright color scheme and vibrant fabrics for an energized fresh appearance, new bedding, new carpeting, new sleeper sofa(s), and carefully recrafted furniture with glass countertops, new artwork, and floor to ceiling shower glass doors.

If you feel like a meal, “Chez Gaston” and the lounges serve culinary delights or tropical refreshments. The Chez Gaston kitchen has been expanded to allow the culinary team to service more guests at a faster pace which complements the recently renovated and extended Espresso Gelato Bar that offers many more food and beverage options than ever before.

You can choose to dine in the privacy of your room with the room delivery services, or leave your Miami Hotel for the entertainment of South Beach, which is what I did to catch up with friends from my last visit to Miami.

The checked out the meeting spaces in the hotel and it had all the latest technology and offered a first class selection of catering options for an exotic Miami Beach meeting, family gathering or social event. A business center and a library are just some of the other amenities offered as services.

Grand Beach Hotel is using the next generation of TravelCLICK’s award-winning booking engine, iStay, which revolutionizes the online booking experience with an enhanced user interface and superior property merchandising to drive higher conversion, increase revenue per stay, and enhance guest satisfaction.

It integrates hotel packages and enhanced stay options on the same screen as room reservations and displays up to six large, compelling photographs per room type hence the best way to get to know the hotel before booking. I certainly enjoyed my stay at the Grand Beach hotel in between two major international conferences and recommend it for a good rest and relaxation venue.

 

Haven of Tranquility: Shangri-La Dubai

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My favourite venue for rest and relaxation, Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai has a new look and feel after its extensive renovation across its public areas including the Lobby Lounge and Dunes Café. The renovation programme has revealed a beautiful and modern, yet classical design and marks a new chapter in the evolution of Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai.

With the aim to create a contemporary haven of elegance that blends modern Arabia with Shangri-La’s legendary hospitality in the heart of Dubai, the hotel’s Lobby Lounge has been extended, whilst Dunes Café has been designed as a more private dining space set aside from the lobby by pods which shield the area discreetly from the hustle and bustle. Steel and gold chandeliers are suspended from the lobby ceilings, whilst a welcoming and open guest arrival lounge provides a warm and uplifting first impression for guests.

The best features from the renovation is the stunning ‘wave’ chandelier designed by bespoke chandelier designers, Lasvit, hangs in the entrance of the hotel and the spectacular chandelier that hangs in the two-storey staircase connecting the lobby and dining outlets.

In the lobby itself, plentiful flashes of gold and ruby red detailing reflect the jewels of traditional Arabian souks. In addition, 4,212 hand-cut, blue, tiger’s eye stone tiles have been pieced together to form the entry walls to the six lobby elevators. The stone is also featured on the tables in the Lobby Lounge. Tiger’s Eye is a semi-precious stone believed to hold soothing qualities and has been introduced to bring a further sense of calm to the surroundings.

The hotel’s impressive, atrium-style lobby area has been designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) the world’s leading hospitality interior design firm. The new layout across the renovated areas of the hotel has been planned in a manner, which enables guests to effortlessly mix work with pleasure. Host a business meeting in the new stylish Lobby Lounge, meet friends for drinks, enjoy Asian High Tea or watch the world go by while having a specialist tea or coffee.

Located on the ground floor, Dunes Café is convenient and perfectly placed for casual dining with friends or business associates. The live open kitchen, featuring numerous culinary styles, is a showcase for the best of international cuisine.

The signature restaurant of Shangri-La Hotels worldwide, Shang Palace, has launched their latest, unbeatable offer at Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai. Every night from Tuesday through Sunday, guests can dine and wine at the award-winning venue and select up to four options from the a la carte menu for a set price of AED 218 per person. To compliment the offer, guests will also receive 50% off of the exquisite wine selection.

Renowned for its Yum Cha, acclaimed Beijing Duck and extensive list of fragrant teas, Shang Palace offers a wide selection of mouth-watering Cantonese and provincial delicacies, complemented by authentic Chinese hospitality. Shang Palace’s unique fusion of a mystical Far Eastern ambiance and the finest cuisine ensures a truly memorable dining experience.

The latest spa offer allows us to escape from our day to day life and find a moment of inner peace by experiencing a new late night treatment in the serenity and calm of CHI, The Spa, which is now open until midnight.

Whether you are a busy traveler, an exhausted businesswomen or a busy mother, this is the way to reclaim some ‘me time’. The spa seamlessly blends the Far East Asian roots of the hotel with Arabian inspiration from local culture for a truly unique experience.

Book a Drift Away body massage, perfect after a long day at work or travelling. The relaxing head-to-toe massage, formulated with a dreamy blend of essential oils is guaranteed to have you drift away. This 60 or 90 minute treatment is complete with a face and scalp massage to smooth frazzled nerves, relaxing the muscles and the mind. With this purchase, guests can also enjoy full access to Health Club and Spa facilities, and receive a complimentary home sleep kit for lasting benefits.

The Shangri-La Dubai remains my favourite place for tranquility and for catching up with friends and family.

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Futuristic Hospitality: Building World Class Hotels

Known for its exemplary service, and unique properties, Habtoor Hospitality, the Middle East’s longest established hospitality group, encompasses the rapidly expanding hotel and entertainments offering. Part of The Al Habtoor Group, the division takes great pride in the fact that whilst its foundations lie in the UAE, Habtoor Hospitality competes on a global scale.

The Group’s growing portfolio includes the flagship Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, two Metropolitan Hotels, with a third, The Metropolitan Sheikh Zayed Road, opening in 2016, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, along with international properties in Beirut, Budapest and the USA.

Al Habtoor Group’s new mega-project, Al Habtoor City, situated in the heart of the city on Sheikh Zayed Road, will play host to some of the division’s most exciting new developments. Under the management of Starwood, 2015 will see the opening of Dubai’s first St. Regis hotel closely followed bythe Westin, Al Habtoor City, as well as the W Hotel brand’s debut in the UAE.

In addition to over 1,600 rooms, including the regions first Bentley Suite, the five star hotel complex will offer a huge array of restaurants and entertainment outlets. The heartbeat of which will be a spectacular, multi-billion dirham, purpose built entertainment theatre with a production from Franco Dragone.

The Al Habtoor Group, Franco Dragone Entertainment and Paris-based designer Jean Rabasse have teamed up to offer the only permanent water-based theatre production between Las Vegas and Macau. The impressive circular theatre auditorium will be 30 meters high and have a capacity of 1,400 unique seats, giving the whole audience a first class view of what promises to be a World class show.

With three additional luxury residential towers featuring 11 exquisite penthouses, this mega development on the banks of the soon to be completed Dubai Water Canal, will be the World’s largest residential and hospitality destination of its kind.

According to Al Habtoor Group Chairman, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, “Al Habtoor City will incorporate more than 3,000 hotel and residential units on one plot. Our project will prove that Dubai is the only place in the world to invest. Al Habtoor City is truly a breathtaking project. It will help boost the economy, provide thousands of jobs and will set a benchmark for future projects of its kind.”

Al Habtoor City’s location rises on thesite where The Metropolitan Hotel once stood. The new boutique 4-star hotel in a new location on Sheikh Zayed Road will comprise indoor and al fresco cafes, an all-day dining restaurant, the renewed Don Corleone Italian Restaurant and English pub, red Lion. Other facilities will include a ballroom, five meeting rooms, rooftop swimming pool and a gymnasium.

The Group’s Chairman, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor mentions, “We started out in the hotel business in 1979 with the metropolitan Hotel, so it is fitting as we celebrate our 45th anniversary that we should revive an established brand that is so much part of our heritage. I feel sure that the new Metropolitan will enjoy the same success as the original one and become embedded in the hearts of Dubai’s residents and visitors alike.”

The most recently announced project from the Al Habtoor Groupwillsee its Hospitality arm operating in a truly unique setting. The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will be a state-of-the-art polo and equestrian community, located in Dubailand. This one-billion dirham development will include an Andalusian-style luxury St. Regis hotel managed by Starwood. In addition there will be a state-ofthe- art polo academy with four polo fields, show jumping and dressage arenas, and a riding school with 500 stables.

 

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