The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - SU­SAN BUGG

Many cups of tea, glasses of bub­bles and del­i­cate cakes will be savoured the world over in May – let’s just call it Harry and Meghan month – if luxury ho­tels get their way. At Shangri-La Ho­tel, At The Shard, Lon­don (a mouth­ful in it­self ), sweets in­spired by flow­ers grown in the royal gar­dens are be­ing served as part of a Royal Botan­i­cal Af­ter­noon Tea, cel­e­brat­ing the May 19 wed­ding, un­til June 1. And this is a high tea that’s re­ally high: it’s served in Ting restau­rant, on the 35th floor of The Shard. As well as pas­tries and cakes, guests can nib­ble on roast chicken and myr­tle sand­wiches, a trib­ute to Harry’s in­ti­mate pro­posal over a home-cooked roast chicken. If you’re in Lon­don in the next few weeks, the tea will set you back £60 (about $110). The Savoy in Lon­don, a royal haunt for many years, is among Fair­mont ho­tels around the world of­fer­ing com­mem­o­ra­tive teas to cel­e­brate the royal wed­ding.


Mel­bourne is get­ting a new bou­tique ho­tel in June. United Places Botanic Gar­dens in South Yarra will have 12 suites with pre­mium ameni­ties and per­son­alised but­ler ser­vice, but also a wood-fired restau­rant by one of Mel­bourne’s most suc­cess­ful chefs of re­cent years, Scott Pick­ett. Guests get pri­or­ity seat­ing in the restau­rant and will be able to or­der in-room break­fast from a Pick­ett menu, the cost of which is in­cluded in the start­ing room rate of $650 a night.

Span­ning three floors, there are nine one-bed­room suites and three two-bed­room suites with large sunken bath­tubs over­look­ing the city. Luxe em­bel­lish­ments in­clude vel­vet drapes, hard­wood floors, bath­room pods clad in char­coalt­inted one-way mir­ror – teamed with the homely com­forts of a welle­quipped kitchen and ter­race. UNITEDPLACES.COM.AU


Vibe Ho­tels con­tin­ues to ex­pand. The group, part of TFE Ho­tels, has just opened Vibe Ho­tel North Syd­ney in the re­vamped North­point busi­ness precinct, the first of four new ad­dresses it’s adding to its present col­lec­tion of eight. The 187-room ho­tel has a rooftop pool, and a rooftop bar will open later in the year.

The group is build­ing an­other Syd­ney ho­tel in Dar­ling Har­bour, and two more in Queen St, Mel­bourne, and Ar­gyle St, Ho­bart. Vibe’s Gold Coast ho­tel is be­ing re­fur­bished and a new din­ing op­tion be­ing added to its Syd­ney Goul­burn St ho­tel. VIBEHOTELS.COM


Also in Syd­ney, but beach­sidOen, her­itage-listed Ho­tel Rave@sies­sic­nape_team Bondi has un­veiled 12 re­designed bou­tique rooms and suites in­spired by mid-cen­tury de­sign and the beach play­grounds of Cuba and Mi­ami. But that’s not to say the ho­tel doesn’t pay homage to its own fa­mous lOon­cap­tIniot­ner, down to small touches suc@he­ass­capes­naps bath­rooms stocked with skincare prod­ucts by Vanessa Megan, a lo­cal who started off at Bondi Mar­kets.

The ho­tel bars, up­per ter­race and restau­rant have also beenVrIaen­emovaaIl­tesdc.ape Rooms start at $285 for week­nights, $315 on weekends.



En­vi­ron­men­tally-minded cy­clists can join the war against sin­gle-use plas­tics on a spe­cial In­trepid bike trip. The one-off tour – Pelo­ton Against Plas­tic – to run in two legs through June and July, will take trav­ellers through Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land, and will see In­trepid Travel part­ner with grass­roots or­gan­i­sa­tions to com­bat prob­lems with plas­tic waste.

A doco will be filmed along the way with 10 per cent of prof­its from the cy­cling tour go­ing to­ward Cam­bo­dian plas­tic up­cy­cling char­ity Re­hash Trash, which turns roadside rub­bish into func­tional items.

Trav­ellers can choose to join the Pelo­ton Against Plas­tic trip from June 16 to July 12, or opt for the 15day cy­cle of Viet­nam or the 13-day Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land leg. IN­TREPID­TRAVEL.COM/AU/PELO­TON-PLAS­TIC


One of the great Trans-At­lantic cruise lin­ers, the QE2, is now of­fi­cially a float­ing ho­tel. The ship, which has been await­ing trans­for­ma­tion in Dubai since her re­tire­ment from 40 years at sea a decade ago, is now a per­ma­nent fix­ture at the Dubai port of Mina Rashid, where the first stage of her rein­ven­tion as a ho­tel is un­der way.

Some of the 13-deck ho­tel’s re­stored rooms and suites are open for guests, who can go to five of the planned 13 restau­rants and bars, in­clud­ing orig­i­nals such as the Chart Room his­tor­i­cal lounge and bar and the Golden Lion pub. The QE2 will have a grand launch in Oc­to­ber. QE2.COM


Sweets in­spired by flow­ers grown in the royal gar­dens will be served at The Shard, Lon­don, as part of ‘Harry and Meghan month’.

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