Hagia Sophia to Become Mosque After 85 Years as Museum

 

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After 85 years as a museum, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia will be converted into a mosque. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued the decree to transfer the management of the building from the Ministry of Culture to the Presidency of Religious Affairs last week, sparking criticism in Turkey and worldwide.

Built in 537 CE by the Byzantine emperor Justinian as a Greek Orthodox cathedral, the 1,500-year-old World Heritage Site holds religious and historic significance to both Christians and Muslims in Turkey. It was converted into an Ottoman mosque in 1453 and into a secular museum in 1935 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Today, the Hagia Sophia is one of Turkey’s largest tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors each year.

The Turkish government announced that although Muslim religious services will resume at the site, visitors of all nationalities and faiths are welcome to visit. But what worries art historians and conservationists the most is that Turkish authorities may cover up or remove the centuries-old Byzantine mosaics and Christian iconography that cover the monumental structure.

Since Islam forbids images of people to be displayed in mosques, officials plan to use lights and curtains to cover up the mosaics, Turkey’s head of religious affairs Ali Erbaş said on Turkish TV. After prayer, the paintings will be uncovered for visitors to view.

UNESCO said in a statement on its website that it “regrets the decision of the Turkish authorities, made without prior discussion, and calls for the universal value of World Heritage to be preserved”. “The Hagia Sophia is an architectural masterpiece and a unique testimony to interactions between Europe and Asia over the centuries”, said Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Its status as a museum reflects the universal nature of its heritage, and makes it a powerful symbol for dialogue”.

Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, added, “It is important to avoid any implementing measure, without prior discussion with UNESCO, that would affect physical access to the site, the structure of the buildings, the site’s moveable property, or the site’s management”.

 

 

 

 

Number one Hotel in Paris La Réserve Paris

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Largest and most influential travel magazine brand in the United States, Travel + Leisure Magazine, announced the results of its 24th annual ‘World’s Best Awards’ with La Réserve Paris recognized once again as the ‘Number One Hotel in Paris’.
Every year, the readers of Travel + Leisure, rate their recent experiences with destinations, hotels and resorts, spas, tour operators and safari outfitters, cruise lines and more in the World’s Best Awards survey.

This award is the result of the work accomplished by all the teams at La Réserve Paris, who consistently uphold our values of excellence, simplicity and authenticity.

The Haussmann-style mansion was designed by the iconic Jacques Garcia. Discreetly hidden in the city’s 8th arrondissement, La Réserve Paris has 40 elegantly designed rooms and suites, many of which have balconies with views of Paris monuments, and each room comes with its own personal butler.

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The spa, which is home to a 52-foot indoor pool opened day and night. The hotel’s two restaurants, Le Gabriel and La Pagode de Cos, are helmed by two Michelin-starred chef Jérôme Banctel.

Come into the beautiful world of La Réserve Paris.

 

 

 

Ultima Spa by La Prairie, a journey to perfect well-being.

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If you come from skiing on the slopes of Gstaad, had a day trip or just because you feel like it, treat yourself to a soothing and relaxing break with the various spa services of the Ultima Gstaad Hotel. The Ultima Spa offers an ideal setting for relaxing and recharging your batteries.

Enter the Ultima experience; a journey to perfect well-being.

Ultima Spa, 800 m2 devoted to relaxation. The Ultima Gstaad is home to a treasure: the Ultima Spa, a concentration of luxury, high-end facilities and expert knowledge! You will find here a Sauna, a beautiful Hammam, a 15-metre pool, an indoor and outdoor jacuzzi, 6 treatment and massage rooms, including 1 double booth. You can also find a gym and a detox bar.

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Ultima Spa, a place of exquisite refinement and luxury conducive to total wellness.
The materials and colors play with the purity and modernity to create an incredibly elegant and exclusive atmosphere. Built of teak in the marble floor, bronze perforated ceiling, black marble veined Sahara around the pool, creating subtle plays of light. The treatment rooms have doors covered with bronze and fabric. The fully glazed steam room and sauna are a pure invitation to relax. The locker rooms have a beautiful white Carrara marble. The beauty can be admired on every corner!

For your face and body, the spa works with La Prairie, the Swiss brand of ‘timeless beauty and endless luxury’, known for its high-end anti-aging cellular therapy.
The exclusive La Prairie treatments moisturize, cleanse and rejuvenate your skin, solutions are tailored to your needs and wishes. Choose between a white caviar treatment with firming properties, a hot stone treatment or special treatment for men. An invitation to total well-being! Be guided by Ultima Spa La Prairie team of therapeutic massage spa dedicated to Ultima.

 

La_Prairie_caviarOur beauty salon, located in our wellness area of ​​the hotel, is open daily 24/24.
Our team of expert stylists pamper you and make your hair shine. For an evening, dinner or just if you like, our hairdresser is available to make you even more beautiful.
Our beauty salon services is also available at home for a particular event or for any other request.

The Detox Bar menu offers detox juice from organic fruits and vegetables. Ideal for extending the benefits of a treatment or a workout in their fitness. The Ultima Wellness Spa is a lifestyle.

Come into the wonderful world of Ultima Gstaad.

 

 

 

 

Ultima Collection: the Ultima Crans Montana Chalets

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After its first hotel and residences in Gstaad ‘Ultima Gstaad Hotel, Spa & Residences’ was voted among the best hotels in Switzerland and received the prize of ‘Trendsetter Hotel of the Year’ by GQ Magazine, Ultima launches its collection of homes, hotels and residences. The first edition of the ultra-luxury chalets will be inaugurated this upcoming December in Crans-Montana.

The launch of Ultima Crans-Montana follows in the wake of the opening of our first hotel, Ultima Gstaad, which launched in 2016. This inspired us to expand the Ultima Collection, taking the boutique hotel concept one step further with the addition of two entirely privatised chalets that offer the Ultima service, style and design.

Byron Baciocchi and Max-Hervé George

The people behind Ultima Gstaad, founders Byron Baciocchi and Max-Hervé George, are now adding two new properties to the lavish Ultima Collection with the launch of the Ultima Crans-Montana in Switzerland. Opening this December, in time for the next winter season, these exclusive-use chalets have been designed to bridge the gap between luxury hotels and real estate through their combination of service, privacy and comfort.

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Of the two chalets being introduced, the largest has 11 suites, two of which are master bedrooms, along with a billiards room, yoga studio and fully equipped fitness center. The second chalet is also generously sized with six suites and an open-plan kitchen and dining area.

Emulating the character of the sister property, Ultima Gstaad, Ultima Crans-Montana Chalets will adopt the brand’s unique and opulent style aligning traditional architecture with modern design accents. Think wooden interiors, adorned with soft furnishings and textiles, to complement the contemporary marble bathrooms and bronze chimneys.

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Guests to both chalets will benefit from access to Ultima Collection’s exclusive range of services and amenities including a 1000m2 Spa, a state-of-the-art cinema, a top class private chef and a dedicated concierge service.

The first edition of the ultra-luxury chalets will be inaugurated this upcoming December in Crans-Montana. The complex, located in the altitude of Plateau de Plan-Mayens will consist of two ultra-luxurious chalets, completely private for absolute intimacy. The installation, which started a few months ago, will aim to transform the two properties in accordance with the Ultima standards.

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Perhaps most appealingly, these new chalets sit within the breathtaking Crans-Montana region combining two neighboring resorts on a plateau high above the Rhone Valley with views of the region’s iconic peaks, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. From here you can venture onto the slopes and in summer explore the forest, seek out the swimmable lakes and follow the network of walking trails.

Come into the wonderful world of Ultima Collection

 

 

 

 

 

Gianni Versace’s Miami mansion has been transformed into a luxury hotel

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If you’ve ever wanted to set foot in Gianni Versace’s Miami Beach mansion you’re in luck as the house has just been converted into a new luxury.

Gianni Versace’s Miami mansion was transform into a stunning hotel – Gianni Versace’s is still missed in the fashion world and still serves as inspiration for the upcoming fashion designers. If you are a fan of his work you can now stay at Villa Casa Casuarina, that was recently transformed into a luxury hotel.

With the debut of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the second season of American Crime Story, Ryan Murphy’s anthology series has sparked a renewed interest in serial killer Andrew Cunanan shocking 1997 murder spree, which ended with the murder of the famous fashion designer outside the gates of his house. But while the series rehashes the tragic events, which took place just over 20 years ago, it also gives an in-depth look at Versace’s stunning South Beach villa, which used the Versace mansion as a filming site.

Those wishing to fully immerse themselves in the late designer’s life will have an even greater opportunity to do so following the announcement that his former Miami home has been converted into a new luxury hotel.

Villa Casa Casuarina, the courtyard

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Villa Casuarina / Versace Mansion Miami Beach

Versace was famously murdered on the steps of his sprawling mansion in 1997 and the house has long been a tourist hot spot, and a few times the decor of movies about his life. Now, it will reopen this year as Villa Casa Casuarina, offering visitors to the American city a chance to stay within its walls.

We actually have preserved what Versace created here and just augmented it with some modern touches for the convenience of our hotel guests and restaurant patrons.

Chauncey Copeland, Villa Casa Casuarina Hotel general manager

When Gianni Versace purchased the house in 1992, he also bought the Revere Hotel next door which he later knocked down to accommodate a pool as well as a new south wing for his home. Versace famously invested $32 million into the m.ansion, which had largely fell into disrepair since its 1930 construction. He turned its 24 apartments into ten suites – including bedrooms for his siblings Donatella and Santo, and beloved nieces and nephew Allegra and Daniel. The 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom, gated property is highlighted by a 54-foot long, thousand mosaic pool, lined in 24-karat gold, frescos, ornate statues and an open air courtyard.

In addition to the guestrooms, you also have the restaurant Gianni’s, which ‘offers a delicious blend of Italian and Mediterranean food and wine selections’. Decadent dishes include gnocchi di granchio, with New Orleans blue crab, vermouth wine, shallots, parmigiano-reggiano, truffles, and so much more. The reservations in this restaurant are required especially for dinner

Villa Casa Casuarina, upper terrace and pool deck

Villa Casuarina / Versace Mansion Miami Beach

Villa Casuarina / Versace Mansion Miami Beach

 

Villa Casa Casuarina, Million mosaic pool and loungers

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Villa Casa Casuarina, Gianni’s Restaurant main dining room

Gianni's Restaurant at the Versace Mansion Miami Beach

 

Villa Casa Casuarina, Onyx Bar

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Villa Casa Casuarina, The Villa Suite, formerly Gianni Versace’s room

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Villa Casa Casuarina, The Venus Suite, former Donatella Versace’s room

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The Aviary Suite, formerly Allegra Versace’s room

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Villa Casa Casuarina, view from the rooftop terrace

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Versace and Victor Hotels Miami Beach Florida

Like many international topmodels, Madonna, Elton John and Princess Diana were all friends of Versace and overnight guests at the villa. The fashion designer’s contemporaries like Diane von Fürstenberg and Halston were also frequent visitors, says Copeland. And now you can also be on the guests list.

We seriously can’t get over how stunning The Villa Casa Casuarina is and we can’t imagine what it’s like in real life. We’re definitely adding it to our list of dream places to stay!

The hotel is now open for bookings. Fore more information, visit Vmmiamibeach.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Honeymoon Hot Spot: Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Sandals Royal Caribbean - Montego Bay, Jamaica

Do you love the idea of a tropical beach vacation, but hate the thought of sharing your slice of paradise with mobs of fellow travelers?

Sandals has you covered. The company recently announced a new line-up of individual overwater bungalows that come complete with spacious accommodations, dazzling views and (obviously) boat service to the main resort. These overwater bungalows are the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

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Couples can admire the majestic beauty of the ocean from their private infinity pool and Jacuzzi or either of their two outdoor showers.

Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay is changing the all-inclusive game by adding these overwater bungalows to their private island resort. Perched on a deck floating above turquoise waters, these over-the-water suites feature see-through glass floors for ocean viewing, a private infinity pool and oh yeah, your own private butler.

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Get your best Instagram captions ready, as other amenities include a private infinity pool, glass-bottom floors and a hammock hanging over the clear, brilliant turquoise water. Oh, and a personal butler is included in the package because, at that point, why would it not be? .

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You don’t even need to step outside to appreciate the Caribbean‘s best crystal-clear waters. With see-through glass floors, you can experience the ocean from the comfort of your luxurious suite. These glass floors deliver an immersive journey of the Caribbean’s finest turquoise waters and rich marine life. Lit water ensures you can enjoy the sea anytime day or night. Every suite captures the height of luxury with stylish king-size beds made from teak adorned with soft Egyptian linens and plush pillows for the ultimate sleep experience. Each villa will receive their own personal butler, trained in accordance to the exacting standards of the Guild of Professional Butlers, who provide butlers to nobility and celebrities. 

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Your ultimate Spa to treat your body and mind. Soak in the view while you soak in the tub, to wash of the salt of your skin. Don’t forget your favorite skincare!

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You know you’ve arrived when you’re in an overwater bungalow with your own private butler. Green Ice Tea, please….

Unfortunately, the spectacular suites aren’t exactly budget friendly, staying at one of the heavenly properties, which are located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, will set you back about $4,000 per night. Did we mention it’s also all inclusive?

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Talk about lifestyles of the rich and famous. Until a cheaper option appears, the rest of us plebeians can merely gaze upon them wistfully.

The much-anticipated Over-The Water Suites at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica are available for enjoyment starting November 2016. Sandals Royal Caribbean is now accepting reservations, which will likely sell like hot cakes.

More info at Sandals

 

Hermès Out of Africa

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Hermès has been searching through its archives and has discovered a beautiful luggage case that was specially designed for the Out of Africa author Karen Blixen.

Karen Blixen SafariBaroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke aka Isak Dineson.

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Otherwise known as Isak Dineson, the case was one of two supposedly designed for the writer during the 30s, the first being in 1930 and the second, more complicated version in 1935.

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Reportedly the latter consumed 368 hours of work and is an extraordinarily complicated piece of luggage, truly worthy of an aristocrat facing the demanding African landscape.

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Both pieces feature delicate inlays and engraving, with most pieces finished with a baronesses’ crown and the author’s DBF monogram which stood for Dineson Blixen-Finecke, a combination of her maiden and married names. Her full title was in fact Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke.

As you can see there are a gargantuan amount of little pockets, nooks, crannies and vials that were made to house everything from spirits to smoking accessories, from playing cards to writing instruments, from perfume to sewing items, and from cosmetics to jewellery. She would have rivaled Mary Poppins.

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Sadly and interestingly, the case never seemed to make it to Africa. Blixen left the continent in 1931, (her fledgling coffee plantation at the foot of the N’gong Hills having been hit by drought and financial hardship) and so no one really knows who commissioned the exquisite case for her.

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It’s a beautiful thing and if you’re going on an extended safari, you could do a lot worse than ask Hermès to make a third…

www.hermes.com

Windspeed SkyDeck

f3ae567abaddHoliday season comes close. Wanna take a flight? A seat next to the window? Watch this! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…you, enjoying first class on a luxury airplane, soaring through the clouds in a glass dome attached to the top of an airplane?

If you think that sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, let us assure you it’s not. And it could be a travel option in the near future.

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The aim was to create the next exciting experiential in-flight entertainment for VIP aircraft owners and the airline industry. For the airlines, it could be an additional source of revenue, as passengers could be charged on a pay-per-view basis.

The new seating arrangement concept called SkyDeck was designed by Windspeed Technologies, an aerospace engineering firm. Featuring a ‘safe, semi-exposed’ clear glass dome with a pair of seats inside, SkyDeck would give passengers a 360-degree view of the open sky around them, a true bird’s eye view, if you will.

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Current in-flight entertainment offerings have not changed much over the decades. We wanted to come up with a product that would provide a higher level of entertainment to reduce the boredom of long flights.

Windspeed Technologies

fccb567abae1If this sounds absolutely terrifying to you, keep in mind that Windspeed guarantees the material used for the dome is as strong as the rest of the plane, and will easily survive extreme weather conditions and other impacts, such as birdstrikes:

The SkyDeck will be designed to withstand all load conditions, including flight loads and birdstrike impact loads. The canopy will be made of similar high-strength materials as those used to build the canopies of supersonic fighter jets. We are currently in talks with a major aircraft canopy manufacturer, who will design, build, test and supply the canopies, fully certified and ready-to-install.

There are several combinations of design features that can be incorporated into the Windspeed SkyDeck. For example, either an elevator or a staircase can be incorporated, and either a single- or two-seat platform can be specified. Watch the video below:

While it’s not clear if SkyDeck will be a first class entertainment feature or a pair of lucky passengers’ fligh-long seats, you can be sure that it’ll cost you a pretty penny to spend even a moment in the special seat.

More at Windspeed Technologies

 

Most beautiful beaches

Whitehaven beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

Whitehaven beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

Spring time arrived, and some of us are making plans for holiday. Like most people on earth we love, with a huge capital letter L, the effect of the beach on our senses. The feeling of freedom and relaxation that instantly hits you when you taste the salt in the air, see the waves roll onto the shore and the meditative sounds of a soft whistling wind is enough to cure the stresses of a long day or a bad mood.

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But you have beaches and then you have beautiful beaches. And to make it even more complicated mother nature has created astonishing beaches. Although our beautiful planet offers hundreds of these fantastic locations to visit, we made a small selection that you could add to your bucket list. Mind you, we have added them all to our travel wish lists and can only hope to have the opportunity to see some of them in our lifetime. If you do happen to have any first hand experiences visiting these paradise places, please enlighten us in a comment below.

Pink Elafonisi Beach-Island of Crete, Greece

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Pink Elafonisi Beach-Island of Crete Greece

When you arrive in Chania (or planning to) you will certainly hear the word ‘Elafonissi’. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece that you should definitely visit. Elafonisi which literally translates to Island of Deer is like paradise on earth. No wonder it is marked as a nature reserve. Located off the west coast of Crete, you can wade through the water to reach it. The wonder of this beach can be found in the pink coral sand, caused by crushed powder shells, and crystalline waters which give off a magical exotic effect. What makes it so special? The little sand islets that are formed in the shallow turquoise waters of the sea make it almost look like a lagoon. Let’s book a flight, shall we?

Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico has many beautiful beaches but apparently this one is quite hard to beat. And we understand why. It embraces towering 13 meter high limestone cliffs and the pale silvery sand slopes down into the clear, shallow Caribbean Sea. Let’s not forget the palms and lush vegetation on either side. And how about the old Mayan castle that sits a top of the cliff? Take us away today, we say!

Honokalani Beach, Maui, Hawaii

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Honokalani ‘Black’ Beach, Maui, Hawaii

We love red, but don’t write off black. Not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a beautiful beach but the stark contrast is mesmerizing. Imagine a jet-black beach, lapis lazuli and aquamarine waters and luscious tropical vegetation. You have arrived at Honokalani Beach! The sand is not really sand but actually created by tiny miniature lava pebbles. This is mother nature, wild and unspoiled, at its best with seaside lava tubes and sea caves carved into the lava cliffs along the shore. Yes, we can actually see ourselves lazily dozing in the sun right there. But the million dollar question is of course: when?

Whitehaven beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

Whitehaven beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

Whitehaven beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

Take one look at our feature photo (on top) and you must be sold or otherwise colorblind of some sorts. This is what beach dreams are made of, a paradise on earth. Quite understandably this is the most photographed beach in Australia, that harbors a myriad of beautiful beaches anyway.

Vaadhoo Island by night, Maldives

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Vaadhoo Island by night, Maldives

The Maldives are impressive. Each and every tiny island in this area is. However, the most fantastic thing we have ever seen is the lighted sea by night. And yes we are more than eager to witness this in person, rather sooner than later. The secret to this magical appearance is phytoplankton, marine microbes, which are bioluminescent and emanate the fantastic blue glow. The species create the most romantic natural lighting in the world. Wow, nature is magical and wonderful indeed…

Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

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Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Baia de Sancho in Brazil, which was voted the most beautiful beach in the world this year by Travellers’ choice. We can not possibly understand why, can you? Just kidding of course. Located just off the coast of Recife, the beach can be visited by boat or through a narrow staircase down the cliffs. The beach is in a secluded bay on the main island of the UNESCO protected archipelago, Fernando de Noronha. The sea is rich in corals making it a nature fiesta for divers and snorkelers too. Brazil, we are on our way… as soon as we can… Let’s hope pretty soon….

Playa Estrella, Starfish beach, Boca del Toro, Panama

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Starfish beach, Boca del Toro, Panama

White sandy beaches. Incredibly clear water. Hundreds of bright orange sea stars. These are the ingredients when you arrive at Starfish Beach in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Located on Isla Colon’s North West side, just a short hike from Bocas Del Drago, it is away from the bustle of Bocas town. The aquamarine water is a must for snorkeling and swimming and is safe for young children too because it is almost always calm. We have unanimously decided we want to see the starfish in real life. This beach therefore ranks pretty high. We wonder when, at the soonest, can we fly?

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

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Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Surely not the ideal place to lay down a towel perhaps, but this beautiful coastline, which could be cause to believe in the existence of extra-terrestrial life, has a breathtaking beauty all of its own. Maybe it is the symmetry of the basalt stones or possibly the exact opposite: organized chaos of stone formations. Either way, the polygonal sections of basalt layered on top of each other, were formed by the flow of lava millions of years ago and caused it to end up on the World Heritage Site list. By the way, the only WHS that Northern Ireland can boast about.

Red Seabeach, Panjin, China

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Red Seabeach, Panjin, China

Is it a sea? Not as we know it in terms of sandy beaches and such. But it does consist of shallow seas and tidelands. It ended up on our list anyway because the red seabeach is an astonishing creation of mother nature. The red colour is caused by the Sueda grass species. Its growth cycle starts in April when it is coloured light red, while the colour of the mature species is deep red. Red Seabeach is the biggest wetland and reed marsh in the world and preserves the most completed ecosystem and the biggest wetland known to mankind. More than 260 kinds of birds and 399 kinds of wild animals live in it. We love the colour red, did we mention that before?…

My Blend with Clarins

Le-Royal-Monceau-Raffles-Paris-Outside-2From Paris with Love: Le Royal Monceau-Raffles

When it comes to elite beauty products and treatments there is a brand that always pops up as a symbol of quality: Clarins. I was working ten years for this amazing brand, it’s a love that never will fade away.

We don’t promise you miracles, we promise results

Jacques Courtin-Clarins

The French brand (distributed in 150 countries around the world), has built a reputation along the years not only by doing innovative R&D and being at the forefront, but also by interacting closely with all those women that have trusted Clarins since the beginning. This synergic collaboration has proven to be correct: by listening to women’s needs, Clarins has enriched their lives and developed one of the most successful and admired company.

Nowadays Clarins has grown into a multinational company whose motto “With Clarins, life is more beautiful” gives us the essence of what actually this company is. It was founded in 1954 by Jacques Courtin-Clarins who had a holistic vision for the business of beauty. Along 60 years, the so many products and treatments have crystallized in a new adventure for the brand: the Spa My Blend.

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These spa’s are exclusive not because there are few of them in the world but because of their dedicated, tailored treatments and products only found in these luxurious yet calm and relaxing temples of beauty and well being. In Paris, where the firm was born, there are a couple: one in the recently opened Molitor, and the other one, designed by Philippe Starck, is located in the Royal Monceau-Raffles, a ‘total Starck’ facility where even the glasses have the sign of the most prolific French designer ever.

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Spa My blend by Clarins - Royal Monceau-Raffles 8

Mr. Starck had in mind a place with no gravity, a site where one can wander into the lightness in order to purify oneself upon achieving the spa experience. This white paradise was born over a surface of 1,500 m², a realm of white walls, a lot of (my favorite) Venetian mirrors, veils and stainless steel structures whose purpose is no other but relaxation. The complex has a pristine pool of 23 m –the longest of any Parisian palace–, a Watsu pool, a lounge with cozy coaches, a detoxy bar with seasonal products and a lot of charm. There is a humid area, one for men and one for women, comprising a hamman, sauna, laconium and a surprising sensorial shower where you can bath emulating a tropical storm, for instance.

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If you should judge a hotel by its spa, then the Royal Monceau-Raffles in Paris deserves its five stars, and its recently acquired Palace rating (only six other Paris hotels have the highly-coveted badge of distinction). 

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Spa My blend by Clarins - Royal Monceau-Raffles

Featuring the longest pool in a Paris luxury hotel, the spa at Le Royal Monceau is run by My Blend by Clarins. It also includes a Jacuzzi, hammam, laconium room and sauna over an impressive 1,500 square meter space, all decorated in the purest white from floor to ceilings…  A real haven of relaxation and well-being, where dedicated fitness coaches make sure your personal needs are addressed. 

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Through the looking glass, paraphrasing Lewis Carroll, would be a suitable analogy to describe Spa My Blend at Royal Monceau-Raffles. Specially while in the pool whose middle part has a transparent ceiling ruffled by water, or while in the dressing room whose lockers are made of mirrors replicating ad infinitum any image. For those wanting to exercise the body, there is also a rather well furnished high-tech fitness area, a pilates studio and a series of individual coaching rooms.

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Now, in any spa a key feature is the proposed treatments. And here is the reason why the Royal Monceau-Raffles chose Clarins to run its outstanding spa. The vision of Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins, son of the founder, was that every skin is different, like every genetic code is; so, treatments ought to respond to every skin needs according to age and lifestyle. The line My Blend created by Dr. Courtin-Clarins has over 100 mixtures and 400 night/day personalized combinations created by a Beauty Therapist in situ. At the core of My Blend products there is the so called Cell Synergy anti–ageing complex, a blend of 3 unique peptides that facilitate skin inter–cellular communication, enhance its natural defense and convey skin regeneration.

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To tune up the right skin approach Clarins has developed My Skin Diag, a Clarins’ software to determine your skin’s biological age, algorithm combined with information such as lifestyle and habits, helps the Beauty Therapist to create the most precise blend for the client. Another privilege of the Spa My Blend is the technique for the treatment.

It ensures the facial that ensues is personally tailored to your needs: the ritual includes a gentle cleaning, deep exfoliating, two masks (mine were a clarifying mask followed by a hydrating one), targeted face and eye creams application. Since my main concern was the eye area, my therapist insisted on that zone with  cryo-aesthetic, a healing technique that uses the benefits of cold to relieve congestion and enable the microcirculation.

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All Clarins classics are availble at theSpa My Blend  

The methods are 100% manual, with precise, ancient movements that are appropriate so the skin can better absorb the products applied on it. Including three steps, its aim is to relax, revitalize and regenerate the body. This protocol can last either 90 or 60 minutes, though there are also programmes lasting from 2 to 4 hours that incorporate several treatments. It is worth to mention that among the formulas used there are unexpected substances as the (Clarins famous) blue orchid essence dispersed in oil, celosia extract and even cherry tree leaves extract.

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My Blend uses an in-depth diagnosis based on a questionnaire on your skin and lifestyle to give a personalized recommendation, blending an essential day and night Formula (may your skin be oily, dry and dehydrated, more mature, etc); a Booster (pure active ingredient concentrates) to be added to the essential Formula to answer immediate and urgent beauty needs; and a line of complementary skin care products to enhance the benefits of each Essential Formula and Booster.

Virtuoso, the leading international luxury travel agency network, voted the Spa My Blend at Royal Monceau-Raffles as Best Spa in 2012 in the ‘Best of the Best‘ Awards. The jury justified its choice by quoting that “the hotel spa offers the most alluring environment for rest and rejuvenation, creative and therapeutic treatments, and highly skilled and knowledgeable therapists”. By visiting the place one can feels that in three years since this verdict was issued, the Spa My Blend has maintained the standards by which it was elected ‘Best City Spa 2015′ in Europe by SENSES.

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Luxury is all about personalization. And at the Royal Monceau-Raffles Spa, My Blend by Clarins takes personalization to a new level, bringing a revolutionary concept to the customers. Created by the son of the founder of the world-famous French luxury skincare brand Clarins, My Blend by Clarins offers a unique line of products that can be customized and designed for everyone’s specific skin-care needs.

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From Paris with Love

Le Royal Monceau-Raffles willalways be one of my most favorite Parisian Hotels. Not only a lunch, a high tea, or a night at the Royal Monceau-Raffles,  but definitely, an afternoon at the My Blend Royal Monceau Raffles Spa in Paris is quite an experience. From a relaxing pool session, to a deep facial treatment, with a quite pause in the immaculate lounge area, you will be longing to come back soon enough once your privileged time is over!

My Blend Royal Monceau Raffles Spa
Opening hours:
  • Monday-Saturday: 6:30–22:00; treatments and coaching: 9:00–21:00.
  • Sundays: 7:30–20:30; treatments and coaching: 8:30–20:00.
  • The pool  and fitness area close 15 minutes before the hour.
More of Le Royal Monceau-Raffles soon here on Yakymour