To celebrate the Thai New Year and welcome international travellers back to Thailand, the Governor’s Mansion in Phuket—the largest icon of Sino- Portuguese baroque architecture—was listed on Airbnb for the ultimate limited edition designer stay recently. The majestic heritage building was available on Airbnb for a two-night stay over April 15-17, 2022, welcoming overnight guests for the first time in more than 50 years!
Guests were hosted by popular Phuket-
born model-actress Patricia Tanchanok Good who rose to fame in one of Netflix’s most popular Thai dramas last year, Girl From Nowhere 2, and national ambassador for royal Thai cuisine and Blue Elephant founder, master chef Nooror Somany Steppe. Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, “As Thailand reopens, we are incredibly thrilled to partner with Airbnb to warmly welcome the world back to our country. We invite travellers from around the world to experience the Amazing New Chapter of Thailand under the Visit Thailand Year 2022 programme.”
THE LEELA PALACES, HOTELS AND RESORTS
The Leela Group, with the signing of the Leela Kovalam and the Leela Ashtamudi, both Raviz hotels, in Kerala is all set to expand its footprint in South India.
Spread across a 60-acre canvas of greenery, the Leela Kovalam is India’s only cliff-top beach resort offering scintillating views of the Kovalam shoreline and a pristine beachfront. It also houses four suites at the Kovalam Palace, which was once the summer retreat of the Travancore royal family. The Leela Ashtamudi reflects traditional Nālukettu architecture and offers a magical backwater experience. The resort also offers stay options in houseboats, known as Kettuvallams. “This expansion is in step with the growing demand from the discerning global leisure traveller to experience meaningful and transformative journeys that are an authentic expression of a region’s beauty, heritage, cuisine and culture,” says Anuraag Bhatnagar, chief operating officer, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
For its highly-anticipated Prima Class vessels, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva, the international cruise line has unveiled elevated epicurean experiences with the debut of nine new dining and beverage venues including The Metropolitan Bar, the brand’s first sustainably-focused bar. Making a grand entry on the ships are a new Mediterranean seafood specialty restaurant, Palomar; the new elevated take on the traditional Japanese ‘hibachi-style’ at Hasuki and a new, contemporary sushi house, Nama, that will offer guests elevated sushi and sashimi dishes prepared by master chefs.
The star of the show is The Metropolitan Bar, premiering under the brand’s ‘Sail and Sustain’ programme and featuring responsibly crafted zero-waste cocktails prepared with surplus ingredients while also offering a fully sustainable spirits menu and biodynamic wines. Working with ‘The Drinks Business’ Green Awards 2020 recipient Gerard Bertrand, NCL’s The Metropolitan Bar will showcase more than 20 biodynamic wines produced using organic farming methods.
The airlines’ A380 aircraft returns to India. The world’s largest passenger aircraft will operate on SIA’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) services, complete with the airlines’ redesigned first class suites, from Mumbai and Delhi after a 20-month break.
Sy Yen Chen, general manager India, Singapore Airlines, said, “The return of the A380 to India is a special occasion for us as this superjumbo aircraft has always been a popular choice for our customers. Ever since we resumed operations from India, we have seen steadily growing demand for our VTL flights to Singapore. We are confident that the A380, with its larger seat capacity, will be the preferred choice for our customers seeking comfortable and safe quarantine- free travel to Singapore from both Mumbai and Delhi.” SIA currently operates 48 weekly services from eight cities across India. These include daily VTL services from Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. The routes that the Singapore Airlines’ A380 will now operate on are designated quarantine-free services under Singapore’s VTL arrangements.
Around 60 women will together climb the 4,027-metre Allalinhorn peak in Valais, Switzerland, in June to symbolically form the world’s largest all-female rope team. Switzerland Tourism, the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC), the Swiss Mountain Guide Association (SBV), Saas-Fee/Saastal Tourism and outdoor brand Mammut are planning to set a unique record with the world’s largest all- female rope team. The record attempt will take place between June 15 and 17, 2022. Giving women visibility in mountain and outdoor sports, creating role models and inspiring women to try something new: the 100% Women initiative and associated Peak Challenge were successfully launched on International Women’s Day 2021. This ambitious concept is now continuing into 2022.
Travel brings people together. Despite the pandemic, women from more than 20 countries came to Switzerland for the Peak Challenge last year. Between them, around 700 women climbed all 48 of Switzerland’s 4,000-metre peaks in all-female teams including the Everest twins—Tashi and Nungshi Malik from India. Overall, this was also the first time that female mountaineers and guides undertook a visible, concerted effort of this kind anywhere in the world.