Ampersand Hot News - Autumn 2018
Autumn is an exciting time of year for the travel world. The month heralds the start of a new season. We love all the reports of the thrilling new openings that land on our desk at this time. We are delighted to share some of the hot news from Shanghai to Sloane Square that's getting us in a frenzy of wanderlust (and just plain lust) here at Ampersand HQ...
1. Jiva Spa Opens at Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
The grand dame of Mumbai hotels has been at the forefront of the city's social life for over a century. Each year seems to bring an exciting new addition to the juggernaut's offerings. Renowned spa brand Jiva have recently opened their doors at the property and offer an unrivalled wellness experience. Indulge in a signature flower-scented body scrub followed by a Pehlwan Malish, the powerful Indian oil massage. Bliss in Bombay!
2. The Machrie Hotel & Links Opening
The sandy dunes of the isle of Islay, Queen of the Hebrides, are the setting for the new launch of Campbell Gray Hotel's latest star: The Machrie Hotel & Links. The 47-room property includes glorious suites and lodges and will be the best base for experiencing island life. Golf, stalking, whisky sampling, aromatherapy treatments and rugged coastal seascapes are all here for the perfect retreat.
3. Phinda Homestead Reopening Autumn 2018
The beautiful private villa Phinda Homestead, set in Southern Africa's Phinda Game Reserve, is to re-open following a two-year transformation. The design is authentic and luxurious, playfully evoking the reserve’s past as a pineapple farm. We love the Zulu basketwork and weaving splashed through the interior. A maximum of eight guests will experience game drives and bush walks through the surrounding private game reserve which boasts all of the big five. Visit local villages, join in conservation projects and track black rhino - life here is an adventure. We are glad to see Phinda Homestead back in action.
4. Relais & Chateaux Welcomes Some of Our Favourite Friends
Well-deserved applause for some of our highly-rated friends who have become part of the Relais & Chateaux constellation. Dev Shree Deogarh, the Rajasthan boutique hotel run by dynamic royal duo Shatrunjai and Bhavna Singh has long been one of our favourite hideaways and has recently become a member.
Further afield, the stunning Rachamankha hotel in the historic heart of Thailand's Chiang Mai has also been recognised and endowed with membership. The 25-room property is a pristine mix of heritage and contemporary design imbued with flair and serenity.
5. Stanley & Livingstone, Victoria Falls Opening
We are delighted by the opening of Victoria Fall's very first boutique property, Stanley & Livingstone. Situated just ten minutes from the magnificent falls - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - the 16-suite hotel is set in lovely gardens next to a private reserve. Guests can take the exhilarating Zambezi Spectacular helicopter experience over the falls with a flip over the nearby Batoka Gorge.
6. Gardener's Cottage, Ballyfin Demesne Opening
Our favourite Irish country house, Ballyfin Demesne, has recently unveiled its first stand-alone property - the charming Gardeners Cottage. Set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, just 1.5-hour drive from Dublin airport, this is a retreat to end all others. Adjacent to the main house, the cottages’ accommodation is spread over two floors and boasts unrivalled views across Ballyfin’s 614 acres of landscaped parkland, walled gardens and 28-acre lake. Open fireplaces dominate the comfortable sitting room. The guest bedroom can either be set up as a double or a twin. A perfect choice for couples seeking privacy with all the luxuries of one of Ireland's most renowned hotels. Sporting amenities include clay pigeon shooting, coarse fishing and tennis alongside the chance to dine on the finest local and seasonal dishes.
7. The PuXuan Hotel & Spa Opening, Beijing
Opening mid-November 2018, within walking distance of the Forbidden City and Beijing's main shopping district, The PuXuan Hotel and Spa will be a splendid addition to this buzzing city. Sister hotel of Shanghai's The Puli Hotel and Spa, the building is set to be an iconic part of the Beijing skyline. The hotel is placed above an art auction house so expect a sophisticated crowd of art collectors and buyers (the 116 rooms even each have a dedicated art safe!).
8. Kahani And Little Kolkata Openings, London
Joining the superb flock of Indian cuisine restaurants that have been opening up across London over the last two years are two more standout gems. Kahani, tucked away behind Sloane Square and opposite the famed Cadogan Hall, is a love song to ex-Tamarind chef Peter Joseph's South Indian heritage. Showcasing the dishes of Tamil Nadu, Kahani (Hindi word for ‘story’) works around the age-old philosophy of communal eating to celebrate, bring people together, break boundaries and share tales. We cannot wait to try the delectable-sounding Chettinad Venison and Malabar Prawn dishes.
This September saw a slice of Calcutta coming to Covent Garden with the opening of Little Kolkata. Co-founders Prabir Chattopadhyay and Biswajit Deb Das have conjured an authentic Bengali menu, centered around Prabir's upbringing in Calcutta and Biswajit’s ancestral roots in Bangladesh. Adventurous dishes include Maacher cutlet, cod served with the typical Calcuttan mustard sauce Kashundi, and Lilish Maacher Deemer, a spiced fish egg from the Hilsa, a very popular fish with Bengalis. Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in the Cardamom coffee brownie with rose ice-cream, which has been inspired by Calcutta's famous Swiss patisserie, Flury’s. Don't miss the Jasmine vodka-infused Indian Summer Garden and Saffron Spritz cocktails.
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