Travel directory: Summer 2014

Raffles to launch new property in Istanbul; introducing the Four Seasons jet; set-jet to the Game of Thrones locales with Black Tomato; luxury fishing on Lake Geneva with Mandarin Oriental; get a room in Riad Sapphire in Morocco; enjoy discounts at all Rotanas this summer; and special treatment for UAE guests at The Trump SoHo, New York.
A guest bedroom at Raffles Istanbul hotel in Turkey, which will open its doors in September. Courtesy: Raffles Hotels & Resorts
A guest bedroom at Raffles Istanbul hotel in Turkey, which will open its doors in September. Courtesy: Raffles Hotels & Resorts
Raffles Istanbul to open in September

Turkey is a cool - and convenient - destination to escape to during the last wave of summer heat later this year, and Istanbul is a staple favourite. The Raffles group - that saw a slew of hotel openings in recent years - is set to open the doors in the Bosphorus for the first time this September with the launch of Raffles Istanbul. Known for its sleek and modern aesthetic, the Raffles Group has zeroed in on Zorlu Center, the next-generation bazaar and an upcoming hub where "fashion, performance and art converge", as the location for its latest offering. Sitting on the European shore in Besiktassand overlooking the Bosphorus, the Princess Islands and the historic peninsula, the hotel aims to be the perfect embodiment of the "new" face of Istanbul - cutting-edge, eclectic and energetic. In the same vein as Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris, the cultured yet contemporary interiors at Raffles Istanbul will magnify the feel of the surrounding locale and include an extensive collection of locally sourced artwork, sculptures and video installations.

Doubles at Raffles Istanbul are going from ?600 (Dh3,000) per night, Visit to make a reservation or for more details

Introducing the Four Seasons Jet

Sealing its position as luxury-hospitality pioneer, the Four Seasons group launched the industry's first fully branded private-jet experience last month, and will offer bespoke journeys from February 2015. The in-flight staff on the retrofitted Boeing 757 include an on-board concierge, who will be specially trained to offer a distinct Four Seasons travel experience, including coordinating with local Four Seasons concierges in each destination you land at. Reservations aboard the new jet are currently open for three packages. These include: two 24-day, nine-destination Around the World packages in February and then in August next year, one that begins in Los Angeles and ends with a celebratory dinner in London and includes an only-by-private-jet stop at the Taj Mahal in India, and the other that offers stays in three of the newest Four Seasons hotels, plus the brand's first safari lodge in Serengeti, and includes Beijing, Marrakech, the Maldives and Tokyo. There's also the 16-day, six-city Backstage with the Arts package that takes in Europe's most popular museums, performances at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Estates Theatre in Prague and a private gala in the Pavlovsk Palace outside St. Petersburg (April 2015). Each journey includes air travel, ground transportation, planned excursions, all meals and luxurious accommodation exclusively at various Four Seasons.

For more information, visit and follow the #FSJet hashtag for updates and insider glimpses of the Four Seasons Jet

Set-Jet to the Game of Thrones locales with Black Tomato

Westeros. Essos. King's Landing. The Wall. If you can conjure up these places in your mind's eye at first read, chances are you'd like to have a real look, too. The good news is that you can do, now, with Black Tomato's Set-Jetting trips. Game of Thrones headlines a new series of luxury trips that the UK-based travel group has on offer to transport guests to iconic set locations as an ode to their favorite television show. The nine-night holiday, spread over Iceland and Croatia, begins in Dubrovnik - the fictional capital of the Seven Kingdoms with guided tours to Pile Gate and Blackwater Bay - followed by a day's look around Lokrum Island with its eerie House of the Undying in the fictitious city of Qarth. From the coast of Croatia, fly north to the icy expanse that is Iceland - and the treacherous land that lies beyond the Wall. Spend five nights looking around Skaftafell National Park; trekking up the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest icecap in the world outside the arctic regions, and where Jon Snow walked North of the Wall. Take a dip in the bubbling Geysir hot springs and thundering waterfalls of Þingvellir National Park in the Golden Circle, which is the location for the fourth season; and head over the wall to Lake Mývatn, where the wildings roam. Other set-jetting holidays that you can sign up for or customise include Denmark and Sweden (for a look-feel of the Scandinavian dramas The Bridge and The Killing); the English countryside (ideal for Downtown Abbey fans); Manhattan hideaways complete with a 1960s jazz bar (Mad Men, anyone?); and Albuquerque, New Mexico (for a glimpse of the Breaking Bad world of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman).

Available from May to October, the nine-night Game of Thrones trip costs approximately Dh42,000 per person including flights, accommodation and internal transfers. For more information, visit

Luxury Fishing on Lake Geneva summer offer from Mandarin Oriental in Switzerland

Beat the heat with this relaxing summer package offered by Mandarian Oriental, Geneva, that combines a two-night stay in a suite facing the Rhône river along with a private catch-and-release fishing session on Lake Geneva and followed by a gourmet lunch or in the hotel's restaurant. The suite, which comes with a private terrace, has captivating views of the city and snow-capped mountains. The three-hour private tour on the tranquil Lake Geneva, which is home to a wide variety of fish, such as perch, trout, monkfish and pike, will include a company of expert fishermen should you want to further your skills. And the gourmet lunch or dinner in the recently renovated hotel is courtesy its Michelin-starred restaurant. The package also includes a welcome drink and a buffet breakfast, and is valid from May to September for a minimum stay of two nights priced at CHF2,550 (Dh10,550).

To make a reservation, log on to, email or call 00 41 229 090 001

Make the most of Morocco with a room in a riad

If the sun - and an affordable but luxe offer - is what makes up your happy-holiday, check into Riad Sapphire and Spa in shopper-friendly Marrakech. The luxury boutique hotel is a brand new property and the third offering from Chic Riads, a group run by the Marrakech-based experts Barbara and Beryl, who assert that staying in a traditional riad (a large house built around a courtyard with a wrap-around garden) is a must in Morocco. Spread over eight super-comfy suites - one type with a domed ceiling, the other with a pyramid roof - two marble courtyards with fountains, a spa area with a private hammam and a picturesque roof terrace, this riad is designed with a modern, tech-savvy twist (each guest gets a mobile phone with a local number) combined with colonial chic and classic Moroccan architecture. Competitively priced at approximately Dh865 for a suite and Dh1,000 for a superior suite (per night), Riad Sapphire has an introductory 50 per cent discount for bookings from now until August 31 for three nights or more.

Visit for more information

Special treatment for UAE guests in New York

The Trump SoHo New York, a 46-storey tower with 391 guest rooms, more than a third of which are suites offering spectacular views of lower Manhattan, is offering a preferential rate for guests from the UAE, until September 19 and subject to availability. The hotel features slick interiors by the Rockwell group and is situated close to the exclusive shopping district of Soho, and is between the West Village and TriBeCa. The enhanced offer includes complimentary daily breakfast for two, a welcome amenity, and early check in and late check out (based on availability), to its best available rate on premier king, Trump executive king and all suites. Suites feature custom furnishings by Fendi Casa, and all guest rooms and suites have custom-made Italian bedding by Bellino. The hotel can also offer an in-room prayer mat and Koran.

To book, contact George Petkovic at or visit

- Compiled by Panna Munyal

Published: May 13, 2014 04:00 AM


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