LID LIFTS ON LUXE

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - SU­SAN BUGG

The Com­mon­wealth Games open­ing cer­e­mony on April 4 marks the be­gin­ning of the big­gest sport­ing event the Gold Coast has ever hosted. But be­fore then, cham­pagne corks will be pop­ping and cam­eras flash­ing for the big re­veal on the cen­tre­piece of The Star Gold Coast’s trans­for­ma­tion.

March 22 has been set as the of­fi­cial open­ing date of The Dar­ling, the 17-storey lux­ury ho­tel that’s been tak­ing shape at the Broad­beach com­plex, which many peo­ple still recog­nise by its for­mer name, Jupiters. The ritzy new ac­com­mo­da­tion will have 57 suites, start­ing from base-level Jewel Suites and 21 larger Stel­lar Suites. But the ul­ti­mate are the seven Pent­house Suites, some with deluxe spa rooms, or a choice of bil­liard, me­dia or ex­er­cise room. The rooftop is the set­ting for an in­fin­ity pool and Nine­teen at The Star, a restau­rant and bar which is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gold Coast restau­ra­teur Si­mon Gloftis and en­ter­tain­ment iden­tity Billy Cross.

It’s billed as one of the places to be dur­ing the Games from April 4-15, when the ho­tel will host nightly themed events, gi­ant screens will show the ac­tion and ath­letes will make spe­cial ap­pear­ances. Though con­nected to neigh­bour­ing The Star, The Dar­ling is a stand-alone prop­erty with its own grand en­trance. It is a sis­ter prop­erty to The Star in Syd­ney, which re­cently re­ceived its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive five-star rat­ing from Forbes Travel Guide. (Crown Tow­ers in Mel­bourne also scored five stars.) Rates for post-Com­mon­wealth Games stays at The Dar­ling Broad­beach will be re­leased when on­line book­ings open later this month.

Next door, the Star has opened a new day spa, Azure Spa & Fit­ness, open to the pub­lic as well as guests.

ROYAL LIVES INVIT­ING

Be pre­pared, as the royal wed­ding on May 19 draws nearer, for a del­uge of of­fers from the UK for ways to have a re­gal ex­pe­ri­ence of your own. In Scot­land, Ed­in­burgh’s Dun­stane Houses – an 1852 town­house ho­tel which was ren­o­vated last year – has a ded­i­cated “Live like a Royal” pack­age to cel­e­brate the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The $656-a-night pack­age in­cludes a royal-themed af­ter­noon tea with the Queen’s favourite cu­cum­ber sand­wiches, a day tour of the city’s royal hotspots and a Scot­tish din­ner and whisky tast­ing with the ho­tel’s res­i­dent con­nois­seur. THEDUNSTANE.COM

LOV­ING RE­GAL STYLE

Still on royal wed­dings. Their style, any­way. A “Wil­liam and Kate Pack­age” is among a suite of new celebrity-themed wed­ding plans launched by TFE ho­tels to cel­e­brate mar­riage equal­ity. The pack­age, avail­abe at Ren­dezvous ho­tels in Mel­bourne and Scarborough, WA, in­cludes a black-tie din­ner mod­elled on the royal cou­ple’s Buck­ing­ham Palace nuptials, with a can­dlelit walk­way, in­door fire­works, a band, pink cham­pagne and peach belli­nis.

Cou­ples who love the lime­light can choose an El­ton John and David Fur­nish deal, and those look­ing for some­thing more in­ti­mate can model their cel­e­bra­tion on the wed­ding of Ellen DeGeneres and Por­tia de Rossi, ve­gan menu in­cluded.

JA­PAN SKI BOOST

The Ja­panese ski sea­son isn’t over yet, but al­ready there’s an en­tic­ing rea­son – onsen ad­dic­tion aside – for skiers to re­turn in 2018-2019.

Hold­ers of the Epic Aus­tralia Pass, which al­ready con­nects Per­isher in the NSW snow­fields with Vail Re­sorts in the US and Canada, can ski or snow­board for five con­sec­u­tive days next sea­son at nine re­sorts in the Hakuba Val­ley, west of Tokyo and its in­ter­na­tional air­ports.

The Ja­panese ad­di­tions bring the num­ber of re­sorts un­der the Epic Pass to 24. The pass is $839. Hol­i­day black­outs re­quire an up­grade to ski on cer­tain dates in the US and Canada but no black­out dates ap­ply in Ja­pan. EPICAUSTRALIAPASS.COM.AU

BRUNEL’S JOUR­NEY TRACKED

Train travel afi­ciona­dos who have be­come mildly ob­sessed with for­mer UK pol­lie Michael Por­tillo’s Great Bri­tish Rail­way Jour­neys on SBS TV (and the Euro­pean se­ries, even the re­peats) will be in­ter­ested in a mu­seum that is about to open in the west of Eng­land.

In one re­cently re­peated episode, Por­tillo re-cov­ered the tracks – dou­ble pun in­tended – of master en­gi­neer of the Great Western Rail­way, Isam­bard King­dom Brunel.

Brunel is known as the man who built Bri­tain, and a mu­seum ex­plor­ing his life and legacy is open­ing in Bris­tol on March 23.

The project, Be­ing Brunel, brings to­gether the world’s most sig­nif­i­cant col­lec­tion on the 19th-cen­tury master en­gi­neer in­clud­ing 150 per­sonal arte­facts. Vis­i­tors will step into a re-cre­ation of the draw­ing of­fice, com­plete with scent, where Brunel and his team worked on fi­nal de­signs for the SS Great Bri­tain – the first iron ship to cross the At­lantic in 1843 – which is al­ready an at­trac­tion on the Bris­tol wa­ter­front. SSGREATBRITAIN.ORG

DID YOU KNOW?

Free lux­ury hol­i­days to Tan­za­nia, Hawaii and Greece, and Golden Door Spa retreats, were in the goodie bags given to Academy Award nom­i­nees in the A-list act­ing and di­rect­ing cat­e­gories at the Os­cars last week­end.

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