Monday, November 29, 2010

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Launches a Global Gift Card

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has launched a global Gift Card, offering an ideal way to delight friends and family with a gift of luxurious and legendary experiences. The Gift Card is a great Christmas or wedding gift - either to give or to receive! If you are planning your wedding and honeymoon, let your guests know about the Mandarin Oriental Gift Card as a wishing well alternative.

The Mandarin Oriental Gift Card is available in denominations ranging from USD 50 to USD 10,000, and can be redeemed for hotel accommodation, indulgent spa treatments, Michelin-starred dining and more.

Mandarin Oriental Gift Cards can be purchased year round online, and at all Mandarin Oriental hotels worldwide. There is no expiry date, and the cards can be used at any participating Mandarin Oriental hotel regardless of the place of purchase. All cards are stylishly presented in an attractive gift folio and can also be delivered with a special personalised message to any location around the world.

“We are delighted to have been able to create the opportunity for our guests to offer the ‘gift’ of Mandarin Oriental globally, and hope the cards will be a treat to both give and to receive,” said Michael Hobson, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Mandarin Oriental Gift Cards are a natural extension of our luxury brand, offering flexibility and a range of delightful experiences in which to indulge worldwide,” he added.

To give the gift of Mandarin Oriental go to to purchase online, or visit any Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kristin Scott Thomas becomes the ambassador of the MGallery collection

Kristin Scott Thomas becomes ambassador of the MGallery label and signs the first guide of the collection. Kristin Scott Thomas invites you to take a walk into "the land of the exceptional"… A unique journey that will lead you to discover remarkable places.

The MGallery collection is now represented by a charismatic ambassador: Kristin Scott Thomas, an actress with an international career and a rich and diverse filmography. Discover the 1st guide to the MGallery collection As the new ambassador of the MGallery label, the actress endorses the 1st guide to this collection of hotels, each with its own exceptional personality.

Available to guests in each hotel of the collection, the guide is a true invitation to travel and escape. Kristin Scott Thomas presents it exclusively to you…

The actress was involved in the creation of the first MGallery guide. Through her travel notes, Kristin Scott Thomas also shares with readers a few of her many memories… City neighbourhoods to discover, specialties to savour, moments of life to share... 

Visit MGallery

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mandarin Oriental Achieves Top Accolades in Forbes Five & Four Star Awards

Mandarin Oriental, New York
The Bride's Diary would like to congratulate the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, who have attained exceptionally high rankings in the annual ‘Oscars’ of the hotel industry: the Forbes Five & Four Star Awards.

According to Forbes, standards for Forbes Five Star Award certifications are exact, and few properties meet them. Within the industry, these awards are highly coveted and highly respected. Of the more than 3,000 hotels Forbes Travel Guide rates, only 54 achieve Forbes Five Star Award status, and only 20 spas have achieved the Forbes Five Star Award.

Three hotels within the Group, two of them located in Hong Kong, achieved certifications in both the hotel and spa category: Mandarin Oriental, New York, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

In addition, out of a total of only 20 Forbes Five Star Spas worldwide, six are Spas at Mandarin Oriental, more than any other hotel company. The list includes one of the Group’s newest additions, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas which opened in December, 2009. Together with New York, and both hotels in Hong Kong, the other Mandarin Oriental Five Star Spas are located at Mandarin Oriental, Boston and Mandarin Oriental, Miami.

“We are delighted to see so many of our properties included in this prestigious list,” said Andrew Hirst, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Operations Director, Asia. “It is a testament to our hotels award-winning service and attention to detail which we aim to deliver each and every day.”

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Forbes Travel Guide’s (formerly Mobil Travel Guide) Star Awards ratings process is based on more than 750 standardized criteria for hotels, restaurants and spas worldwide, making it the most rigorous and comprehensive in the industry. To achieve Forbes Travel Guide Four and Five Star status, properties must meet or exceed the bar-setting service standards, which are determined through an unannounced, undercover service evaluation conducted by Forbes Travel Guide’s expert inspectors.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Tropical Oasis at Peppers Palm Bay

Set amongst tropical palms in a secluded corner of Long Island, Peppers Palm Bay overlooks the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays, offering a intimate, romantic honeymoon getaway.

Featuring an exclusive 25 cabins and catering only for over 14 year olds, Peppers Palm Bay is an island oasis promoting serenity and pampering in an elegant, natural setting. 

Located only 20 minutes by boat from Shute Harbour near Airlie Beach and an easy transfer from Hamilton Island, Peppers Palm Bay offers very private, deluxe style accommodation including 25 secluded cabins, bures, bungalows and suites. Almost all accommodation leads directly onto the private beach and boasts views of the stunning Whitsundays while a small number are nestled amongst the tropical gardens.

The Peppers Palm Bay Honeymoon Package includes three nights accommodation for two people, complimentary welcome drink on arrival, bottle of chilled Australian sparkling wine in room on arrival, a la carte breakfast daily, three course a la carte dinner for two each evening, use of non-motorised water sports, endota day spa one hour massage per person, and return transfers from Shute Harbour to Peppers Palm Bay.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Honeymoon Perfection with The Romance Package at Brampton Island

From the emerald greens of the Island's National Park, the azure blues of the surrounding waters, to its golden beaches and colourful coral gardens just off shore, Brampton Island's style is vibrant and easy going. It's hard not to be captivated by the beauty of this classic Queensland Island, lying at the southern entrance of the Whitsunday Passage, off Mackay.

The Romance Package at Brampton Island is perfect for your honeymoon. You and your new husband can enjoy some time alone with a private picnic hamper drop off to one of Bramptons 12 beautiful beaches. Spend the rest of your days relaxing by the pool or take a guided jet ski tour. Book in for your massages for the afternoon and dine enjoying the Sea Salt romantic dining experience over an eight course degustation meal with wine.

Your romance package includes: 

• 5 nights accommodation
• Bottle of Sparking wine on arrival (per room)
• Full buffet breakfast daily
• Spa consultation on arrival
• 2 hours worth of indulgent spa treatments for the happy couple
• Many non-motorised water sports and island activities
• Late checkout of 12.00 noon

Brampton Island is all about fun, relaxation and pure escapism. The island has a rhythm that is its own as there are activities to enjoy at every imaginable tempo. 

From fast and fun like water skiing, sail boarding, snorkelling, catamaran sailing, guided Jet Ski tour around the island, chip and putt golf, tennis, archery and fishing; to a slower, more leisurely beat - relaxing by the pool with a cocktail, indulging in a pampering massage, or just doing nothing at all!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Uncover the Best Places in Hong Kong with Mandarin Oriental and Luxe City Guides

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong and the hip travel resource, LUXE City Guides are delighted to offer a weekend getaway bursting with exclusive treats including champagne, gourmet dining, beauty benefits, plus a range of insider tips on where to go in Hong Kong. Located in Central, right in the centre of this

action-packed city, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s LUXE City Retreat takes the guesswork out of what to do and where to go next for the most style-savvy travellers.

Exotic Hong Kong is defined by teeming masses where east-meets-west in a cacophony of dazzling skyscrapers, flagship designer stores and a fabulous dining and party scene. Keeping in the know is easy when guests take advantage of Mandarin Oriental’s LUXE City Retreat, which comes with an array of insider's delights.

The Mandarin Oriental LUXE City Retreat rates start from HKD4,800, require a minimum two-night stay and include:

• Daily continental breakfast for two in either The Clipper Lounge or Café Causette
• A complimentary bottle of welcome champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries
• Gourmet set dinner for two in Michelin starred Pierre for two on one evening
• HKD 1,000 credit at either Mandarin Spa or Mandarin Barber per room per stay
• Complimentary LUXE City Guide to Hong Kong on mobile/print version
• Complimentary late check-out until 4:00 pm

With Hong Kong a famous gastronomic wonderland, no weekend retreat would be complete without sampling some exclusive dining. LUXE City Retreat guests can duck under the velvet rope and hot-foot it onto the VIP list at Pierre, the hotel's one Michelin star restaurant to experience the uniquely creative cuisine of three Michelin Star chef Pierre Gagnaire, where a tailored set menu has been designed to wow.

The package also offers a complimentary LUXE City Guide to fast-track guests further into the world of hip Hong Kong. All the secrets of the city are packed into the guide's bite-sized entries, available in hard copy or via mobile download*. A late check out until 4:00 pm allows guests to maximise their explorations.

The LUXE City Retreat is available till 15 March 2011. The offer requires a two night minimum stay with beginning rates of HKD4,800. The package can be booked online at, reserved via phone at +852 2820-4202 quoting LLCTA0 or via email

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Christmas Extravagance at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

Experience yuletide joy this festive season with Mandarin Oriental, Singapore’s Festive Extravagance room package. Available from 1 to 30 December 2010, the package features accommodation in one of the hotel’s luxurious Harbour Suite rooms combined with a cable car ride and dining experience at The Jewel Box - Singapore’s iconic hilltop destination, making for a joyous and festive holiday experience.

Nestled in lush tropical rainforest, The Jewel Box is a lifestyle destination with dining and shopping, located atop Mount Faber, where guests can enjoy stunning views of Singapore’s harbour and city skyline. During a month-long celebration during the holidays, guests visiting The Jewel Box will be treated to the annual Jewel Christmas Music Light show, where a specially choreographed light and sound display will be shown alongside one of the world’s tallest artificial Christmas trees festooned with 12,000 energy-saving LED lights and 180,000 metres of cable.

The Festive Extravagance package is priced at SGD 3,788 and includes:

• Two-nights accommodation in the hotel’s Harbour Suite with panoramic views of Marina Harbour and Singapore’s city skyline.
• Round-trip airport transfers by Mercedes-Benz limousine.

• Complimentary benefits at The Oriental Club including champagne breakfast, all-day soft beverages, afternoon tea, evening cocktails with hors d’oeuvres and more.

• Exquisite festive surprises and a bottle of champagne upon arrival.

• Return limousine transfers to The Jewel Box.

• Round-trip cable car ride in the lavish Swarovski Crystal-ornamented VIP Jewelled Cabin, with 360-degree bird’s eye view of Singapore, the harbour, sea and Sentosa Four-course set dinner for two persons including one bottle of champagne at Black Opal, a classic Continental-European restaurant located at The Jewel Box.

The package requires a minimum two-night stay and is available from 1 to 30 December 2010. For reservations, please call +65 6885 3030 or e-mail Rates are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Weird Bars and Restaurants

Red Sea Star

Just when you think you are in touch with all the cool new places, it turns out you haven’t really seen it all! Brisbane’s iconic Regatta Hotel has made it into Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Weird Bars and Restaurants….. and it’s the Only Australian inclusion! See number 8.

1. Hobbit House, Manila, Philippines
This Tolkien-themed bar and restaurant in the Philippines bills itself as "the world's only bar owned and staffed by hobbits" - actually a team of dwarves and midgets. The decor is charming and rustic, with wood panelling and folksy flourishes, and tall people will need to bend over double to fit through the doorways. The Hobbit House is renowned for the quality of its live music. There is live music every night; for reservations, the menu and a map, visit

2. Red Sea Star, Eilat, Israel
The Red Sea Star is a bit like Stromberg's underwater lair in the 1977 James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me - which is unsurprising considering that it is 5m below the Red Sea in Israel. The interior of this bar-restaurant feels somewhat reminiscent of a mermaid's lounge, with fishy fantasy motifs - including jellyfish-shaped stools and starfish-shaped lights - and huge windows through which curious (or possibly vengeful) fish and other marine creatures eyeball the customers eyeballing their seafood platters. If you crane your neck, you might see a ship overhead from time to time. Landlubbers will be relieved to find the rooftop Metro Bar is open 7pm-3am, the underwater bar opens from 10am; details at

3. Le Refuge Des Fondues, Paris, France 
Don't despair if you can't get into that posh Parisian restaurant - this place will take anyone (space permitting). It is tiny and the walls are covered with graffiti (add your own). Only fondues are served, and there are just two tables, which are very long. Diners sit cheek by jowl - those on the inner seats have to scramble over the table when they want to leave. One of the bonuses is that you will meet lots of people; in fact, it is pretty hard not to when you go planting your boot into someone's dinner in your rush to make the toilet after one baby bottle too many (that is what their wine comes in).

4. Giger bar, Chur & Château St Germain, Switzerland
The Swiss graphic artist HR Giger is perhaps most famous for creating the eponymous creature in the sci-fi /horror flick Alien, along with the film's overall ambience of nightmare and dread. Giger invented the concept of "biomechanoids", a hellish fusion of machine and utterly alien intelligence, and that precisely describes the decor of these bars in Switzerland. Interiors are dark and oppressive - it feels like you are in the tomb where Alien's doomed space travellers first encountered their demonic nemesis. The seats impart a horrible sensation, like you're sitting in the slimy monster's lap.

5. Depeche Mode Baar, Tallinn, Estonia
The most bizarre aspect of this tribute bar is the band it chose to honour. This dark corner of Estonia is filled with black-clad, rake-thin Depeche Mode fans sipping on Master & Servant or Personal Jesus cocktails while listening to the band's cold melancholia. Autographed photos, DM artwork and tour memorabilia line the walls, while video screens play continuous Mode videos. A bleak hell for some; sweet heaven for others.

6. Albatross, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo's tiny Albatross is in the barfilled Shomben Yokocho (Piss Alley; all the bars share the same toilets). You would be hard pressed to cram more than 10 bodies in here. There are three levels, including an art gallery, and the place is so skinny there is a hole in the upper floors through which the bar staff pass your drinks. If you do not breathe out, do not scratch your head and make sure you watch your step (people have been known to fall through the drinks hole), then you will have a fine old time.

7. Nasa, Bangalore, India
Bar staff resplendent in spacesuits; space-shuttle-style decor; spacey tags: "Fuel Tank" for the bar, 'Humanoid Disposal' for the toilets; laser-light shows; tables attached to rocket fins; images of the earth seen from orbit through portholes on the walls... The only thing missing from this ode to the Infinite Vacuum in India is a dodgy heat-protection shield, although the cocktails can supply the blinding flash (and the stars before your eyes).

8. Regatta Hotel, Brisbane, Australia
The male toilets in this Australian joint are billed as the "loo with a view". The back wall of the urinal is a huge one-way mirror and many a chap has been caught out entering here for the first time, drunk and unaware, getting down to business then looking up in horror to find a passer-by seemingly fixated on you know what. Relax: you can see them, but they can't see you. How soon before a bar reverses the opticals?

9. Red Room, San Francisco, US
It is all red, every bit of it: floors, walls, ceiling, bottles and glasses, chairs, couches, curtains... your face after a few drinks. After a few more drinks, you might think you are trapped in a David Lynch nightmare dream sequence, where everyone talks backwards, your arms are on back to front, and funny little men do strange contortionist dances that defy time, space and gravity.

10. Marton, Taipei, Taiwan 
Marton in Taiwan is not for the squeamish, given that it is themed after commodes; potties; the john; the loo; the dunny; throne; porcelain bus; can; bog... Plates are toilet-bowl shaped (Asian squat or Western sit). Can you drink lemon squash from a toilet bowl? A cheers of "bottoms up" would be appropriate. Naturally, chairs are shaped like toilets, and there is urinal art (although no Duchamp). The only thing missing is "toilet lollies".