If you love travelling (like we do), we’re sure you still like looking at new hotels or destinations – even while you wait. The good news? There are plenty of new resorts and hotel updates to check out for your future getaways! And, of course, there are some great hotel deals right here in Singapore, with staycations and walking tours to explore too!
The first day of July saw the green light blink on in Phuket, Thailand, with vaccinated foreigners now allowed to visit for a holiday. The scheme is being called the “Phuket Tourism Sandbox” programme, and of course it comes with plenty of precautions and requirements in place. For example, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for more than 14 days but less than a year on the date of arrival; and you have to remain on the resort island for 14 days before leaving. You also have to stay at hotels with Safety & Health Administration Plus certifications. Similar plans are in the pipeline for Krabi and Koh Samui, and Bangkok is looking at 1 October for its “start date”.
Find out more at thecoloursofthailand.com.
Plenty of EL readers will be familiar with Phare, the brilliant Cambodian (non-animal) circus on the outskirts of Siem Reap. With tourism hit hard, the circus has been struggling to keep things ticking over. Still, the ever-inventive team has found a way to continue having an impact. Recently, its 90 circus performers did a live 24-hour circus show, which they broadcast to half a million people online. They’ve won a slew of international awards for the show, including at the prestigious Stevie Awards; plus, Guinness is currently assessing the 24-hour non-stop show for a world record. If confirmed, Phare will become one of only 10 world-record holders in Cambodia. (The others include largest religious structure – Angkor Wat, of course – and biggest sticky bun!)
Food is such a big part of the travel experience, and while we haven’t been able to physically pull up a chair at a trattoria in Rome or enjoy fresh sushi outside the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, we’ve at least been able to google what we love. According to tour operator Trafalgar, countries whose cuisines have been trending on search engines in Singapore over the past year include Suriname in Africa, Nicaragua in South America and Kazakhstan in Asia. Our hottest food trend, though, is ram-don from Korea. Featuring in the Academy Award-winning film Parasite, this noodle dish enjoyed a 6,200 percent rise in searches.
BA is Back
After a half-year hiatus between December 2020 and May this year, British Airways passenger flights between Changi and London Heathrow resumed last month, albeit on a limited schedule. With travel restrictions beginning to ease, more families and friends should soon get the chance to reunite. Meanwhile, BA has partnered with Dettol to keep passengers safe on the ground and in the air, with all planes being completely cleaned from nose to tail on a daily basis. The air on all BA flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters to hospital operating theatre standards.
Fares start from S$1,005 at ba.com.
New & Notable
For the travel planners among you, here’s the latest on hotels and resorts around the world that have just opened or are coming soon.
Another prominent luxury hotel chain has made its debut in the Maldives, with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. And, frankly, we wouldn’t mind being perched on the sun deck of one of its 100 luxury villas this very second! (Or sitting in the private infinity pool.) Accessed via a scenic 10-minute seaplane ride or 45-minute boat ride from the airport at Male, the resort has a Beach Club, a Ritz Kids programme with 30 activities, seven culinary venues (including two that are an eight-minute boat ride away in a traditional dhoni), a dedicated dive centre, and the iconic Ritz-Carlton Spa.
The UK will see a slice of Singapore hit town when Pan Pacific opens its first ever property in Europe on 1 September. A two-minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, and close to Spitalfields, the Barbican and Shoreditch, Pan Pacific London will have 237 rooms and suites, a dedicated wellness floor (with pool, gym, treatment rooms, relaxation pods, mindfulness studio, in-house nutritionist and more), and plenty of hawker-style flavours across five culinary venues. Straits Kitchen, for example, will feature a signature dish of Singapore chilli crab, and also two private dining rooms named Newton and Katong.
panpacificlondon.com | @panpacificlondon
Missing Seminyak? Aren’t we all! If you’re eyeing up Bali as the first place you head to when circumstances allow, then check out newly opened Avani Seminyak Resort, just back from the area’s famed beach hub. With 37 residences and pool villas, and starting rates as low as US$100, including breakfast, this looks like a stylish stay that won’t break the bank. Avani now has over 30 hotels and resorts in Asia and beyond; this is its first property in Indonesia.
The jewel in the crown of the new Meliá Chiang Mai hotel, set to open in the fourth quarter of the year, is its 360-degree rooftop bar – the highest in the mountainous northern Thailand city – on the 22nd floor. It’ll feature two bars connected by a glass bridge, and spectacular views of the famed Doi Suthep Temple to the west. There’ll also be a pair of restaurants, both paying homage to the Spanish origins of the Meliá brand, along with a fitness centre, swimming pool, signature spa and more.
melia.com/en | @meliahtlresorts
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