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Embraer Private Jets to Feature Skylights

We were enthused to learn that a private manufacturer is actually putting skylights in its planes! This might sound crazy but the best part of air-travel has got to be the view. Whatever class you’re in, and no matter whether you’re flying in a private jet or not, the view is amazing. Having said that, most planes have tiny portholes masquerading as windows, wasting the potential of cruising above the clouds. Well, Brazilian jet builder Embraer’s got something to say about that.

The company has just come up with a new idea on how to furnish their $53 million Lineage 1000E private jets with large skylights and windows by teaming up with yacht designer Patrick Knowles. Embraer dubs this design the “Airship Kyoto”, and it’ll be the first time the concept has been really executed on a large jet that can leap up to 35,000 feet, with pressurized cabins of course.

 

The reference to Japan (Kyoto is not in Brazil, for the geographically challenged) comes from a hypothetical scenario a Japanese customer conceived for a jet: how would you accommodate a customer who wished to sit on the floor at one of those wooden short legged tables (or, in Japanese, chabudai) instead? Well, you’d bring the windows down to their level, and, just like the zen-architecture concepts of Tadao Ando that blends modern structures with natural light, you’d find a way to let the sun in – without depressurizing the whole cabin. This showcases Embraer’s willingness to tailor the entire form of the plane to their customer’s specific needs or culture.

“I’ve always believed that we should be able to execute the customer’s dreams and passions in an airplane” said Jay Beever, VP of interior design, as noted in an article by Wired. The team over at Embraer is ready to jump in with the concept the moment a wealthy enough customer requests it. They’re fully confident they can pull it off while living up to the strict safety requirements of the airline industry.

 

The Lineage was unveiled last year as a luxurious ultra-large executive jet, boasting spacious cabin zones and highly tailored interiors – including capacity for a master suite with a large bed and a walk-in shower. If they actually manage to pull off the natural view as well, they’re sure to set a good precedent in exclusive luxury. In other words, beat that all other makers of jets!

Images courtesy of Embraer

Brave Heart: L.A. ‘Skyslide’ Opens

This isn’t your normal playground slide. For one, it is situated between the 69th and 70th storeys of the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles — did we mention that it is suspended on the outside of the building, leaving close to nothing between you and the ground 1,000-feet below? Furthermore, it’s made out of completely transparent bulletproof (for some reason) glass, giving you a very pretty (some would say pretty sickening) view of the surrounding skyscrapers, as well as the city streets far down below. The Skyslide is located in the OUE Skyspace: the newest open-air observation deck in L.A. that allows for a great panoramic view of the whole city.

The whole slide is around 45 feet long, which makes for a quick but certainly heart-thumping experience. Visitors go down the whole length sitting on a sliding mat, accelerating downwards until landing safely on the shock-absorbant cushioning mattress at the bottom. Don’t worry about the glass not being able to keep hold. It is 1.4 inches thick and strong enough to withstand the weight of the human body.

 

The Skyslide is just one part of the skyscraper’s renovation process. The entire plan is to change the building into “a vibrant business, social and tourist destination”, and around $50 million has been pumped into the project; we assume the slide alone didn’t cost that amount or we would have opened with that! In order to celebrate the launch of the OUE Skyspace, downtown Los Angeles saw performances by Snoop Dogg, Far East Movement, Jessica Sanchez, Niykee Heaton and Raquel Rodriguez in an exciting block party.

Beyond the 2,800 square foot observation deck though, the space is also filled with interactive and education digital installations on storeys 2 and 54 – such as a 360-degree Digital Topography Wall of Los Angeles , an Infinity Mirror, and a Silhouette Wall.

 

You can find out more about the Skyslide over at the OUE Skyspace’s website – if you are brave enough, that is.

5 Rustic Bohemian-Inspired Retreats

It is not only the hard-core bohemians who crave boho-chic style environments. Those who have an eye for the unconventional and the authentic are willing to travel far to enjoy them. Our friends at Form magazine scoured the globe to bring you these five living spaces that will surely satisfy the inner hippie in you.

SAN GIORGIO MYKONOS Greece

 

A short distance from world-famous Paradise Club in the Mykonos and the beaches of Paranga, San Giorgio occupies one of the most scenic spots on the island. Mykonos is famed for its nightlife, picturesque white houses set along quiet alleys and blue seas, and San Giorgio is the place to enjoy the simple pleasures of waking up to sea-views, sharing good food, and soaking up the energy of a crowd dancing under a starry sky.

Architecture & Interior Design: Michael Schickinger, Annabell Kutucu

www.sangiorgio-mykonos.com

HOTEL LA SEMILLA Mexico

 

Having lived in many different countries, Alexis Schärer and Angie Rodriguez have infused their nine-room property with global chic, and a dollop of Mexican flavor with vintage Mexican furniture and fine flea market finds from haciendas in the Yucatan region and elsewhere in Mexico. The establishment’s dominant white palette is also reminiscent of seaside retreats across the globe. Mismatched furniture in many lounging spaces gives the place a relaxed atmosphere. The owners even make or serve breakfast themselves at the Cocina Loft restaurant so that guests feel they’re staying at friends’ home.

Architecture: Angie Rodriguez, Alexis Schärer, and Jaime Ingelmo

Interior Design: Angie Rodriguez, Alexis Schärer, and Andres Ocejo

www.hotellasemilla.com

MAÇAKIZI Turkey

 

Home to a host of designer boutiques, trendy bars and beach clubs, Türkbükü has earned a reputation as the St. Tropez of Turkey. The opening of Maçakizi, which has become a jet-set mecca, has put the coastal town on the international map. Located on a hill with dense olive groves, the 74-room Maçakizi charms with panoramic sea views and understated luxury. Think travertine floors, open plan bathrooms, and rain showers. Facilities include an open-air restaurant, a private beach, swimming pool, fitness centre and spa with a traditional Turkish hammam. On cooler months, guests can dine at the Mediterraneo pavilion—a glass-enclosed area with a fireplace and a view of the bay.

Architecture: Ahmet Alatas

Interior Design: Ayla Emiroglu, Sahir Erozan

www.maçakizi.com

EL OTRO LADO Panama

 

From steamy rainforests to kaleidoscopic coral reefs, the rare is within reach at this remote 8-room, 110-hectare retreat. Relaxation is on generous offer, but exploration of the vicinity is a tantalizing alternative fishing, rainforest tours, and snorkeling are at their best, and highly accessible with one of the hotel’s four motor launches. Social activity centers on the hotel’s restaurant, bar and lounge, Gazebo, with its heady décor of carnival masks, and white couches littered with colorful cushions. The cuisine blends Caribbean ingredients and colonial flavors.

Architecture & Interior Design: Ecléctico

http://www.elotrolado.com.pa

PAPAYA PLAYA PROJECT Mexico

 

With new casitas recently added at Papaya Playa guests have more options for accommodation. This destination 85-room resort hotel on the Caribbean coast of Tulum, Mexico offers access to both the inland jungle and the beach. Guests can dine on locally sourced specialities, and beachside refreshments are served until late. Spa treatments are offered along with yoga, tai chi and meditation sessions, but music is also a strong component of the Papaya experience. The world’s best DJs hold sessions here.

Communal areas—including an amphitheatre on the beach—are created for creative collaboration among guests, and have figured in performances and presentations of music, readings, lectures and more.

Architecture & Interior Design: Design Hotels™ Design Team

www.papayaplayaproject.com

Revamped Peninsula Beijing Boasts Larger Rooms

For those who love sprawling hotel rooms with ample space for everyone’s steamers and trunks, The Peninsula Beijing may be your new home away from home. The hotel now boasts the largest luxury hotel rooms in the Chinese capital since they revamped their 525 rooms to actually create fewer rooms and suites – there are now 230. A small sacrifice really, for luxury. However, ‘small’ is definitely not the name of the game here.

The smallest rooms start at 60 square meters (645 square feet), going against trend in the industry. That is to say, most hotels maximize space to earn as much revenue as possible by creating as many rooms as possible.

With a little inspiration from luxury yachts and a few cultural elements, guests can trust that the rooms are both comfortable and sophisticated. The rooms feature hues of cream while artworks from Chinese artists adorn the walls. Like most luxury yachts, the rooms are fitted with furnishings from luxury Italian designers and a few hand-finished pieces from local designers.

The experience doesn’t stop there. Guests have full control of the lighting, temperature and can even order room service via the tablets that are found on the bedside and on room desks. The most luxurious suite in the hotel is The Loft that commands the top floors of the hotel. Spanning two stories, the suite has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breath-taking views of the city below.

The hotel has created another tier of suites by combining 17 room to create living spaces that measure up to 165 square meters (1,883 square feet). The suites also come with large living and dining spaces, dressing quarters and a master bedroom.

St. Regis Kuala Lumpur Opens Doors

The famous St. Regis brand of hotels has finally touched down in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, providing a new standard of luxury for guests. Well, new in the sense that the city – in fact the country – lacked a St. Regis, which is a shame really as it is among the best Starwood has to offer. Located in the Sentral Precinct, otherwise known as KL Sentral, the 208 rooms and suites of the hotel aims to cater to the heart’s desire of any guest.

The array of suites on offered by the hotel range from 678 to 4,000 square feet, from vanilla guestrooms all the way up to the opulent Royal Suite. It isn’t quite as fancy as the St. Regis Abu Dhabi but more on that in bit. In terms of dining, St. Regis aims to satisfy a wide range of tastes, with a choice of six restaurants and bar spaces, as well as menus from three-Michelin-starred chef Takashi Saito from the Sushi Saito.

As for the rest of the services, you can expect all of the bells and whistles that the St. Regis is well known for. Each room will offer walk-in wardrobes, butler services and complementary daily unpacking, pressing and an in-room coffee and tea service. The Royal Suite, in particular, comes with private elevator access, leading directly into a suite featuring an outdoor terrace, a show kitchen, a massage room, and a gym.

“The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur’s strategic location, tech-forward facilities, and sophisticated services will offer the finest guest experiences imaginable, crafted for today’s luminaries who make our hotels their home away from home,” said Jim Petrus, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. For those familiar with the hotel’s reputation, it promises not to disappoint.

Queen Mary 2: NYC Bound After Costly Facelift

Should any human have required a $132 million makeover, we would have been taken aback – and then we would have written about it too. Given that the Queen Mary 2 is a 148,000 tonne cruise ship, the price tag comes as no surprise. The world’s only ocean, transatlantic liner, also known as the QM2, set sail today from South Hampton, England for New York.

The epic journey is a chance for passengers to enjoy the revamped staterooms (just 50 in total) and restaurants such as the Carinthia Lounge, The Verandah and Kings Court. Having hosted the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill and Tilda Swinton in the past, the liner is one that is full of history, which is no surprise, considering that it is 80 years old.

The atrium of Queen Mary 2.

Over the span of 25 days, one million man-hours went into the refurbishment, which includes approximately 594,000 square feet of new carpeting — the equivalent of 10 football fields. For the extra special touch, the ship was also given a fresh coat of paint…3,900 gallons of paint later and the ship was finally ready.

QM2 is in that very special category of ships, using 40% more steel than regular cruise ships. Although Royal Caribbean’s mammoth liners dwarf the QM2, she is till the largest ocean liner ever built – and the first ship to feature a planetarium.

The QM2, by Cunard, isn’t the only luxury liner to undergo a makeover. Regent Seven Seas Cruises began work this spring on a two-year, $125 million refurbishment project that will renovate the public spaces and redesign some of their suites aboard the Seven Seas Navigator.

And earlier this year, Crystal Cruises announced plans to take over the S.S. United States — a historic ship that holds the title of the world’s fastest luxury liner— and turn it into a modern luxury ship. The S.S. United States has carried luminaries such as Princess Grace of Monaco, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Cary Grant and Coco Chanel.

Dramatic New Cruise Terminal for Miami

Designs have been approved for a new, state-of-the-art cruise terminal at PortMiami following an agreement between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Miami-Dade County, it was announced on June 28.

In a press release, global cruise company Royal Caribbean announced that a new 170,000-square-foot terminal had been approved at the Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami, aka PortMiami. The terminal will also feature a thousand-space car park, loading bays and passenger drop-off points including taxi and bus stops.

Royal Caribbean estimates that the project will have an estimated economic impact of $500 million and generate approximately 4,000 jobs.

 

Broadway Malyan and the approved designs

Winners of the design competition were architectural firm Broadway Malyan, who were selected from five of the most prominent architectural groups from around the world. The selection marks the first time that Broadway Malyan has been chosen for a project in North America. Previous projects include: The Tower, One St. George Wharf, London; Lisbon International Airport, Portugal; New Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq; and Trump Tower, Makati City, the Philippines.

Broadway Malyan’s proposal was selected from the other four firms due to its “creative thinking and cutting-edge design.” Their approved terminal has been called “The Crown of Miami” due to its shape when viewed from the water. From the east or west, the building evokes the letter M (for Miami), and from the terminal the different angles give the impression of “waves rising or ships passing.”

The design also proposes several sustainability-focused features such as rainwater collection and recycling, with the structure produced using simple, cost-effective and efficient materials.

 

Royal Caribbean Cruises invests in Miami waterfront

Royal Caribbean has also announced a further investment at PortMiami in the form of a 20,000-square-foot Innovation Lab next to its headquarters, at an estimated cost of $20 million. The Miami port currently welcomes 750,000 Royal Caribbean passengers annually, which represents around 15 percent of the entire company’s passenger traffic.

Construction of the terminal is expected to begin in early 2017, and operational by late 2018.

 

Unique Suites at Hotel Pitrizza, Sardinia

Overlooking the crystal-clear azure waters of Sardinia, Hotel Pitrizza (a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel) sits in its own cozy corner of Costa Smeralda in a setting of untouched natural splendor. The hotel isn’t new and our focus here is on something called the Unique Suites, which were recently completed. These suites are so-named because no two are identical of course.

 

The suites are designed to blend harmoniously into the surroundings. Keeping the traditional Sardinian style in mind, Hotel Pitrizza used local materials such as wood and granite for a rustic charm. Inside, each suite features a stunning bedroom, with a spacious bathroom, living room, dining area and terrace, all boasting breath-taking views of clear skies, white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters.

 

Hotel Pitrizza also romances with its uncompromising 5-star services. Amenities such as your own private solarium and seawater pool, and 24-hour butler service make the posh seafront hotel your refuge away from home. Starwood Preferred Guests should take note that their privileges definitely come into play here.

 

While you’re there, check out the vibrant Costa Smeralda Season, which kicks off in May with the Porto Cervo Wine & Wine Festival. The extravaganza, which runs through to the end of September, focuses on the best Italian wine and food, with traditional gala dinners and glamorous concerts at the Cala di Volpe attracting international music stars the likes of Elton John and Robbie Williams.

Waldorf Astoria New York Turns Condo in 3 Years

Known worldwide even to those who have never set foot in New York City, the Waldorf Astoria New York is a properly legendary hotel. It introduced the now-common door-to-door room service, invented the Waldorf salad and eggs benedict, and was officially crowned as a New York City landmark in 1993 (a long-overdue honor in our opinion). In 2017, the iconic building will close its doors for an extensive refit so that it can add luxury condominium to its resume by 2020, according to the AFP. Honestly, we are not sure what to think about this news.

Acquired by Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese insurance company, for a grand $1.95 billion (making it the most expensive hotel sale in the world), the current hotel will undergo three years of renovation and reopen as a residential property. Envisioned to take up a full city block in Manhattan, just as the current building does, the majority of its 1,413 rooms will see themselves transformed into residential property, while a select 300 to 500 rooms will remain as hotel accommodations. This is a heritage building, being an official New York city landmark, so we are not sure how this renovation will actually be accomplished.

 

In its 123 years of operation, the Waldorf Astoria New York has seen some of the most illustrious people pass through its doors – Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill and US President Dwight Eisenhower are just a few of its esteemed guests. President Herbert Hoover made it his residence for 30 years after his retirement. The building has also played starring roles in Hollywood, including Godfather III and The Royal Tenenbaums. While the closure of the hotel marks a remarkable end of a chapter, another one is in the process of writing itself in the history books.

This story was written in-house, based on an AFP report and a Wall Street Journal story.

Most Beautiful Island in the World Revealed

Not all islands are created equal, it seems. This year, Maui edges out thousands of the planet’s other islands to claim top spot on TripAdvisor’s annual list. An island in the mid-Pacific and part of the Hawaiian island chain, Maui is beyond paradise with its stunning azure waters and stretches of powder-white sand.

TripAdvisor determines its award winners based on an algorithm that takes into account the traffic and quality of reviews and ratings for the attractions, restaurants and hotels there throughout the year. This year’s award winners are largely contenders in Europe, the Caribbean and Asia.

This year, Santorini clinches top spot for most beautiful island in Europe while Jamaica and Bali top the category in the Caribbean and Asia respectively. Here, we bring you the rest that made the list, with some accommodation ideas that will have you booking that long-awaited holiday, pronto.

Warning: these images will give you serious vacation envy.

 

TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Islands:

1) Maui, Hawaii

2) Santorini, Greece

3) Jamaica

4) Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

5) Bali, Indonesia

6) Majorca, Spain

7) Mauritius

8) Phuket, Thailand

9) Bora Bora, French Polynesia

10) Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui

 

This sprawling 24-acre beach-front hotel is set atop the picturesque Kapalua Bay, with sweeping views of Maui’s northwest coast and neighboring islands. The resort’s many activities range from spectacular helicopter tours of the island to lounging by the Kapalua Beach so there’s something for everyone. Each of the subdued residential-style accommodations feature contemporary island-inspired décor, complete with private lanais so you can experience the spirit of aloha in true luxury.

 

Andronis Luxury Suites, Santorini, Greece

 

Nestled within the jigsaw of houses in Oia, Andronis Luxury Suites boasts an unrivalled view of the Aegean Sea and volcanic islets of Santorini. Inside, the Cycladic-style villa promises unrivalled luxury, with amenities ranging from private waterfalls to a heated infinity pool with incredible views of the Caldera.

Uma by COMO, Ubud, Bali

 

Surrounded by Tjampuhan Valley’s lush greenery, Uma by COMO exudes the charm of a traditional Indonesian village despite its contemporary interior and modern conveniences. The 46-room estate sees narrow paths defined by tall planted walls, private tropical gardens and plenty of light-filled spaces for an authentic Balinese escapade. With holistic, Asian-inspired treatments at the COMO Shambhala Retreat and nutritionally rich menus at Uma Cucina, this resort is a dream for the health-conscious jetsetter.