Jeju Family Escape

Jeju Family Escape

Set within an integrated resort comprising a theme park, gaming facilities, and a variety of high-end retail outlets, Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World has opened as Ascott’s first property on South Korea’s Jeju Island. Located close to the island’s tourist attractions, such as the O’Sulloc Tea Museum, Halla Mountain, and Jeju Aerospace Museum, the new 344-unit hotel is designed for travelling families, offering expansive three-bedroom units with thoughtfully-furnished interiors. Each unit has a well-equipped kitchen, separate living and dining areas, a balcony, a wine chiller, a washing machine and dishwasher, and a centralised home automation system. Other facilities include a clubhouse with lobby lounge, fully-equipped gymnasium and sauna, a restaurant offering international cuisine, and a children’s playroom. In addition, the Ascott Lifestyle programme offers cultural, gastronomical, community and wellness activities that suit travellers of all persuasions. www.the-ascott.com
IMAGE: Ascott

Alaskan Adventure

Luxury cruise line Cunard has unveiled its January to May 2019 programme, Oceans of Discovery, which will include a return to Alaska for the first time in 20 years, and a total of 21 new ports of call. During the January to May cruise season, Cunard’s iconic flagship Queen Mary 2, and sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, will call at 109 ports in 49 different countries, including Boracay in the Philippines, Akita in Japan, and Goa in India. Queen Elizabeth will undertake her first-ever Alaskan voyage to cross the North Pacific and Gulf of Alaska en route to Vancouver, offering cruisers a unique and inspiring experience with breath-taking Alpine views. In addition, Queen Victoria will operate the line’s only full circumnavigation in 2019; the World Voyage by Cunard is a 107-night experience that cruises from South America and Asia to South Africa, before returning to Southampton. www.cunard.com
IMAGE: Cunard

New Island Lodge in Tasmania

Friends and families can now make a holiday to Tasmania’s Picnic Island, one of Australia’s few private freehold islands, with the unveiling of a newly-constructed copper clad lodge that is now available for private rentals for up to ten guests. Designed by Tasmanian architect John Latham, this unique island retreat features a modern beachfront shack design, with bedroom flooring made with California redwood planks from a 98-year-old tree, and stunning views of The Hazards, a granite mountain range. Only a short 10-minute boat trip from the picturesque Coles Bay township, the island’s guests can also take a tour around the Freycinet Peninsula by local water taxi. In addition to its famous little penguin colony, the island is also popular with a range of wildlife, including sea eagles, shearwaters, dolphins, seals and whales. Activities available in the area range from sailing and fishing to kayaking and quad biking. www.picnicisland.com.au
IMAGE: Picnic Island

New Nagoya Playground

Families with children aged two to 12 should pay a visit to Nagoya’s newly opened outdoor theme park, Legoland Japan. Comprising interactive and adventurous activities for the whole family, including exciting rides and Lego model creations, the new park features seven themed areas offering over 40 attractions and shows, as well as a construction made with 17 million blocks and 10,000 Lego models. While offering kids exciting first-time experiences, including a ride on a dragon and exploring ancient ruins, the theme park also boasts Miniland, which showcases the scenery and cityscapes of 10 famous destinations across Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya, all recreated in miniture using 10 million Lego blocks. www.legoland.jp
IMAGE: Legoland

Cruising the East

Following the company’s increased capacity across Asia in recent years, with Costa Serena’s deployed in 2015 and Costa Fortuna in 2016, Costa Cruises has welcomed its innovatively-restyled Costa neoRomantica as the fifth Costa ship based in Asia. Until October 2017, Costa neoRomantica, which accommodates up to 1,800 guests, will depart from Fukuoka on itineraries ranging from four-night to seven-nights, cruising to fascinating destinations like Sokcho and Busan in Korea; Vladivostok in Russia; and Hakodate, Sakata, Maizuru and Sakaiminato in Japan. The US$115 million renovation has seen the ship revamped with contemporary interior designs from a collaboration between Swedish architectural firm Tillberg Design and London-based hotel and spa company Syntax. www.costaasia.com
IMAGE: Costa neoRomantica

New Heritage Sites in China

The forested area of Hubei Shennongjia in central China and Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape in the southwest of the country have been recently added to Unesco’s World Heritage list. Hubei Shennongjia, consisting of Shennongding and Badong county to the west and Laojunshan to the east, is one of three centres of biodiversity in China, and its large tracts of primary forest are home to many rare and endangered animal species, including the Chinese giant salamander, golden snub-nosed monkey, clouded leopard and Asian black bear. The Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape comprises karst, riverine and tableland formations, and includes 38 rock art sites dating from 1,800 to 2,500-years. These cliff paintings depict the life and rituals of the ancient Luoyue people, once prevalent across southern China, while the site is the only remaining evidence of this bronze drum culture remaining today. http://whc.unesco.org
IMAGE: Shennongjia

Gems of Japan

Genting Dream, the first ship of Dream Cruises, has begun her maiden voyage to Okinawa, Japan, from her dual homeports in Hong Kong and Nansha, marking the official debut of the ship’s Island Gems of Japan summer itinerary. The six-day, five-night cruise sails to the islands in southern Japan, offering views of scenic and cultural wonders, experienced from the comfort of a luxurious integrated resort at sea. The trip first brings travellers to Naha, the capital of Okinawa, home to a selection of modern restaurants and shops offering local specialty products; and the Unesco World heritage site of Shuri-jō, a restored palace that was once the home of Ryūkyū royalty. From there the ship journeys to Miyakojima, said to be the most beautiful island in Japan, with white sand beaches and clear, cobalt waters famed for their “50 shades of blue”. Guests cruising with Genting Dream this summer will also be able to experience the underwater world in a state-of-the-art onboard submersible. www.dreamcruiseline.com
IMAGE: Dream Cruises

Winos and Rhinos

Savour some of the world’s finest wines while adventuring at Safari West, an authentic African lodge located in Sonoma County, California, which has recently rolled out a new “Royal Winos and Rhinos Safari Experience”. Combining an African-styled adventure with wine pairing, the new programme combines a wildlife experience with some of the finest vintages paired with artisan treats. Guests will be escorted by safari guide on an exploration of the lodge’s 162-hectare wildlife preserve, inhabited by hundreds of safari animals, and will learn about the wildlife species, their ancestral homelands, and the problems they face in the modern world. Guests will then stop at the Watusi Overlook to enjoy a carefully-curated tasting of traditional Sonoma County wines, making for a perfect day of family fun with an exceptional culinary twist. www.safariwest.com
IMAGE: Royal Safari

First Class at Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line has unveiled the line’s first purpose-built ship for the Chinese market, Norwegian Joy, which is set to debut in China this summer. At 167,725-gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, the new cruise ship is designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences, with a multitude of VIP accommodations, including The Haven by Norwegian, the line’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, which boasts an all-new Haven Observation Lounge featuring panoramic views. A new accommodation category, The Concierge level, will provide premium guests with an exclusive Concierge Observation Lounge and larger balcony staterooms. Innovative activities onboard the ship will include a first-at-sea two-level competitive racetrack located on the top deck, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology, and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion. www.ncl.com
IMAGE: Norwegian Joy

Oceania Oasis

Nestled on the secluded beaches of Momi Bay on the western coast of Viti Levu, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay has opened as the brand’s first hotel in the country. This South Pacific island paradise, surrounded by 20 hectares of man-made lagoons, has a Fijian-inspired design with a modern twist, and offers 114 Bure Villas, 22 of which are overwater villas with sun decks. The 136 Deluxe Rooms, which boasts dynamic interiors reflecting the vibrant local culture, can be made interconnected, perfect for families and friends. The Health Club offers a range of on-site activities, such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and tennis, while adventure-seekers can take a short boat ride to Cloud Break Surf to enjoy a zip-lining experience, the Sebeto hot springs, and mineral-rich mud baths. Located a 45-minute drive from Nadi International Airport, the resort is within easy reach of attractions like Nadi Town and Denarau Island. www.fijimarriott.com
IMAGE: Momi Bay

Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort

The brand’s first property in Europe, the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, formerly Tivoli Victoria Algarve Resort, has debuted on southern Portugal’s Algarve coast. Nestled amongst orange groves and undulating wetlands, the resort’s 280 newly-upgraded guestrooms overlook picturesque gardens, swimming pools and the fairways of the Arnold Palmer-designed Oceânico Golf Course. Each boast soft design touches reflecting the natural woods and fibres of the region. Guests staying at the Presidential Suite will enjoy a terrace with a private dining area, a new jacuzzi and a sundeck. Wellness-conscious travellers can indulge in a traditional Thai massage at the newly-renovated Anantara Spa; while palate explorers can savour the freshest seafood at the new lunchtime restaurant, Ria. There will also be a new Adventurers Crèche and an Adventurers Kids Club fully-equipped for cooking classroom, an open air cinema, and an adventure safaris. http://vilamoura.anantara.com/
IMAGE: Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort

Shoreside Serenity

Check into Cape and Kantary Hotels’ newest luxurious five-star property, Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi. Cradled on the small island of Koh Yao Noi in the centre of Phang Nga Bay, near Phuket, the speedboat-accessible resort is surrounded by lush rainforest and sapphire blue waters, creating a sense of comfort and serenity complementing the getaway’s intimate atmosphere, spacious accommodation, and exceptional service. There are luxurious rooms across three categories, Deluxe, Pool Villa, and Robinson Crusoe Suite, while facilities including a fine dining restaurant serving modern Thai and international cuisines; an organic garden that supplies the resort’s kitchens; a five-star spa; and an infinity pool. Activities available on the island include snorkelling, kayaking, classic car rides, and batik painting. www.capekuduhotel.com
IMAGE: Cape Kudu Hotel

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