Monday, March 15, 2010

The Miele Guide 2009/2010 is Available at Apple App Store Now!

(Hong Kong – March 15, 2010) Dine and travel with great taste with The Miele Guide’s new iPhone application. Asia’s first independent dining guide, The Miele Guide has quickly become one of the most trusted resources for foodies interested in eating in Asia. It is now also the handiest, with the new iPhone application launched on 24 February 2010. It is available for download via the Apple App Store at the reasonable price of just US$4.99.

“One of the things that we kept hearing, from chefs and restaurateurs to business travellers and students, was that there should be a mobile version of The Miele Guide,” says co-founder and Ate Media Director Aun Koh. “Even though the printed version is already in a pretty portable format, fans and friends kept saying that they wanted something they could use on their phones, and that was searchable and highly intuitive. Well, that’s exactly what we’ve done, with the help of some really great developers.”

The new must-have for foodies and travellers in or coming to Asia, The Miele Guide iPhone application provides iPhone users full access to the latest edition of The Miele Guide (in this case the 2009/2010 edition), whenever they want and wherever they are. Users will be able to search through detailed profiles of Asia’s best 450 restaurants, which include reviews and restaurant details such as its website, phone number, opening hours, and the accepted methods of payment.

Functionality and simplicity were priorities in developing this stylish new application. A range of flexible search options makes finding restaurants a breeze. Users can search by the restaurant’s name, its ranking in the guide, location (city and country) or by cuisine. Calling a restaurant is just one tap away, and so too is opening up a restaurant’s website or finding it on the application’s preloaded maps.

Users will love this application’s ability to plug into the iPhone’s geolocation capabilities. With the application, foodies on the go will be able to detect their current location and get recommendations for nearby restaurants.

Tapping on the ‘Map Views’ feature will then offer up easy to use directions on how to get to these restaurants. Further, through the application’s preloaded maps, users can, without having to eat up data charges, search for restaurants in any Asian city using the iPhone’s Map View, choosing where to eat based on location.

The application also has a favourites’ function, which allows users to quickly highlight and recall restaurants they love or want to visit.

The Miele Guide iPhone application was developed by Singapore-based programmers The Dumpling Dimension. The Dumpling Dimension excels in creating innovative apps and games for the iPhone. Jonathan Zhan, one of The Dumpling Dimension’s founders, said, “The Miele Guide iPhone application is the perfect resource for foodies within Asia. We’ve tried to make it as user-friendly as possible while also maintaining the integrity of both The Miele Guide’s and Miele’s brands. We’re also already working with Ate Media on plans to upgrade the App with more features over the coming year.”

“The Miele Guide iPhone app is just one of many new steps we are taking to bring our content and our restaurant profiles to wider audiences,” shares Associate Publisher Priscilla Tan. “We are in talks to potentially develop a TV show. We’re already developing a Blackberry application, which will launch in the coming months. And we’re even looking at culinary festivals and conferences built around The Miele Guide. At the end of the day, The Miele Guide can be so much more than just a restaurant ratings system. It can and will be the very best platform through which to showcase excellence in Asia’s gastronomic scene.”

The Miele Guide iPhone Application retails at US$4.99 on the Apple App Store via iTunes. It currently provides the contents of the 2009/2010 edition. Food aficionados with a BlackBerry can also look forward to downloading The Miele Guide Blackberry application on their smart phones in June 2010.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

suzie Gets busy!

(Hong Kong, March 12, 2010) – One of Hong Kong’s most anticipated new restaurants by the creators of legendary nightspot dragon-i has finally come to the city with the opening of busy suzie.

The unique round shaped robatayaki restaurant and lounge bar is housed in a former lighthouse building, where Hong Kong’s typhoon warning signals were hoisted and which is the towering highlight of the historic Marine Police headquarters conversion, Heritage 1881, in Tsim Sha Tsui,

buzy suzie was conceived by dragon-i founder Gilbert Yeung to be a world-class but fun dining experience, with stylish interiors to match, created by husband and wife duo Patrick Gilles and Dorothee Boissier.

Previously lead designers under design legends Philippe Starck and Christian Liaigre, their previous works include restaurants Buddakan (New York), Cha Cha Moon (London) and Hakkasan (Istanbul).

The unique culinary experience at buzy suzie boasts the freshest Japanese delights and an enviably extensive sake menu within an ultra-stylish contemporary Asian-fusion environment.

Robatayaki, which originates from Sendai, the largest city in northeastern Japan, is derived from simple beach restaurants where fishermen cooked their catch over an open fire with only an oar as a cooking utensil.

Robata chefs today still use a wooden paddle to pass food to customers, thus the name busy suzie, a play on words of the Chinese table-top servery tool, the Lazy Susan, which acts as a dumbwaiter for diners who spin it around to serve themselves their chosen dishes.

But the atmosphere in the highly theatrical environment of buzy suzie is far from lazy but jovial and boisterous as chefs and waiters shout orders between each other

“We wanted to create an environment that was lively, fun and upbeat – somewhere that would naturally put you in an uplifted mood before a night out on the town,” said Gilbert Yeung.

Only the finest and freshest ingredients are flown in daily from Japan for chef Tonoyama Mitsuo to create authentic cuisine with his handpicked team of Japanese chefs – a culinary group that took him six months to bring together.

The result is that busy suzie’s a la carte menu speaks for itself. Robatayaki dishes tantalise the taste buds with signatures such as the tasty Miyazaki A5 Beef Sirloin Skewers, Chicken Skewer from Yamaguchi as well as fresh seafood items such as the unique Kinki Fish. A wide range of options including a selection of signature appetizers, sushi & sashimi, tempuras, Japanese vegetables and enticing hot dishes also grace the menu. Whilst set menus are also available for guests to try the best of what busy suzie has to offer.

The sake menu is also considered the most extensive quality sake offering that Hong Kong has ever seen, with the creators proud to say their house sake is better than the usual standard from many top Japanese restaurants. The cold sake is Yukinobosha Yamahai Honjyozo, with the hot known as Suishin Junmaishu Komenokiwami.

Matching the sleek interiors by Gilles and Boissier, even the waitstaff have a modern urban look created by well-known Hong Kong fashion designer Joseph Lee keeping with the upscale ambience and carefully styled ambience by world lighting gurus Isometrix.

For those savvy business travelers stopping by HK, busy suzie also offers an unbeatable lunch experience with a huge array of set lunch options with highlights including the Seafood Robatayaki Set, Australian Wagyu Beef tenderloin set, Sushi with Soba set as well as Teriyaki sets.

For a Japanese dining experience that fuses high-end cuisine with a unique tradition and the unmistakable urban chic style of dragon-i, look no further than busy suzie.

For reservations, please call (852) 2369 0077.
busy suzie is at:
Shop 209, 1881 Heritage,
2A Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui,
Kowloon,
Hong Kong

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Exotic Spring Escapes with Orient-Express Hotels in Asia

(Hong Kong, March 09, 2010) -- Exotic luxury experiences are on offer over the Easter and spring holiday season at six sublime Orient-Express resorts in Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Luang Prabang, – Voted World’s Top Destination by ‘Wanderlust’

In its latest survey, Wanderlust names Luang Prabang in Laos, the world’s favourite travel destination making it a must see for those seeking to discover what captivates the hearts and imagination of today’s travellers.

And what better base for a visit to this exquisite World Heritage town than La Résidence Phou Vao, a luxury spa hotel by Orient-Express with breathtaking mountain views of the town.

La Résidence Phou Vao offers a series of travel packages including an Spring package which is available March 1-31. Priced at US$1,245 for three nights in a Deluxe Garden View room, or US$1,326 for Mountain View room, the escape is highlighted by a Mekong river sunset cruise and two hours of complimentary spa pampering, along with tea tasting and daily breakfast, plus airport transfers.

The cruise is the ultimate in Lao tranquility, aboard a traditional private boat visiting historic temples before experiencing a breathtaking sunset overlooking Luang Prabang and the Mekong river.

For more information on this and other inclusive travel offers such as Great Affordable, Lao Cultural Experience, Stay Another Day and a Romantic Escape in Laos, visit:
www.laresidencephouvao.com

Cambodia’s Angkor Wat – Wonder of the Ancient World

Spring is the ideal time for a visit to one of the great wonders of the ancient world, the UNESCO World Heritage temple complex of Angkor Wat. The Cambodian New Year falls on April 13 and provides an opportunity to experience the country’s colourful, traditional water festival.

La Résidence d'Angkor hotel is an intimate luxury retreat right in the heart of the town of Siem Reap and just a short ride from the famous temples of Angkor Wat.

A ‘Water Festival’ package from April 9-18 includes a private car and tour guide for exploring the complex, with a sunset tour to Tonle Sap Lake for a monk blessing, sunset drinks and an hour of spa meditation, plus dinner for two in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, daily buffet breakfast and airport transfers. The package is priced at US$280 a night, for at least three nights.

Alternatively, pampering beloved by Cambodian kings and queens, the Kong Kea Spa Ritual, a sensory experience using local organic products, is the highlight of another package at La Résidence d'Angkor. Priced at US$323 a night, for at least two nights, it also includes meditation with a monk plus daily breakfast, dinner and airport transfers.

For more information on this and other inclusive travel offers such as the Great Affordable Escape, visit www.residencedangkor.com

Koh Samui – Thai Island Paradise

Napasai in Koh Samui, located on the island’s fashionable north shore, is now reborn with a fresh new look and feel following the refurbishment of its suites, beachfront villas and private pool residences. Also part of the new look is an upgrade of Napasai’s stunning landscaped gardens, the island’s largest private beach and the opening of a cliff top sunset bar.

Thailand’s New Year Water Festival is a great reason to visit this magical island, as visitors get to enjoy the island at its most animated and immerse themselves in the cultural traditions. Napasai is celebrating ‘Songkran’ from April 9-18 with rates from US$260 a night, for at least three nights.

The package includes free transfers to town to participate in the water festival at leisure, with a Thai massage at the spa also included, plus a monk blessing ceremony, complimentary dinner, daily breakfast and airport transfers. Based on a four-person occupancy, the price for a Garden Villa Suite is US$415 and US$840 for a Private Pool Residence.

For golfers, Napasai offers a ‘Golf on the The Island’ package with nearby Santiburi 18-hole championship golf course. The package includes private transfers to the golf course, green fees, caddies and a golf cart for two. Relax after the game and experience body oil massages and a Royal Thai Dinner on the terrace of Napasai’s Lai Thai Restaurant.

For details on other packages on offer such as the Great Affordable Escape, Romantic Escape, Pure Bliss at Napasai and Family Package, visit www.napasai.com

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ in Bali

In her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert discovers her happiest self among the paddy fields of Bali.

Ubud Hanging Gardens- a haven of peace and tranquillity amid rice terraces of Bali’s spiritual and culture heart Ubud, is recreating the experience with its own ‘Eat, Pray, Love Package’, immersing guests in the culture and arts of Ubud, while secrets of Balinese well-being at the spa.

The perfect opportunity to escape, relax and unwind includes a VIP airport welcome, with a Balinese dinner at a Hindu temple followed by a blessing ceremony at the Holy Water Temple.

Daily breakfast for two is also included, along with complimentary mountain bikes and shuttle service to Ubud. Based on double occupancy for at least two nights, the price is US$425

Beachside Bali at its Most Beautiful

Jimbaran Puri Bali- a luxury resort on the beachfront of Jimbaran Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Bali, is perfect for those looking for a private space to relax and unwind.

The resort’s ‘Bali Escape’ package combines spa pampering to reawaken your senses with exquisite Balinese cuisine -- the perfect destination for an exotic escape.

The package includes a tailor made full-day private tour with a personal driver, visiting the Uluwatu Temple and a thrilling kecak dance, along with daily break-fast buffet for two, dinner for two and VIP airport welcome. Rates based on double occupancy for at least three nights start at US$295.

Other inclusive stays such as the Bali Discovery combines a stay at the Jimbaran Puri Bali and Ubud Hanging Gardens and showcases the best that Bali has to offer, for a minimum of four nights. Visit: www.ubudhanginggardens.com and www.jimbaranpuribali.com


Burmese Days of Cultural Relaxation

Discover the wonders of Yangon which have captivated travellers for centuries. Master carpenters at The Governor’s Residence Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, have restored the hotel’s wooden features to their pristine glory.

Built in 1920, The Governor's Residence is an imposing Burmese two-story mansion built as the official home of one of the governor's from the southern states of the country. It is surrounded by a verdant lotus garden which is overlooked by the hotel's many glorious verandas. The hotel emanates style and history in a delightful setting.

Experience the “Garden City of the East” with the Short Break in Yangon package valid from March 2009. Enjoy a daily full American breakfast, a set lunch at the terrace of Mandalay Restaurant or by the pool, complimentary two-way airport transfers as well as a tailor made tour of Yangon. Priced at US$170 per night, this package is available from 30 March 2009 - April 2010

For other packages such as the Water Festival Package, please visit, http://www.governorsresidence.com

Taipei’s Elegant New Boutique Art Hotel – Hotel Éclat

(Taipei, 9 March, 2010) – Discreetly located in a quiet part of Taipei’s most fashionable district, Da-An, is Hotel Éclat, an eclectic, elegant new boutique art hotel which is the first new luxury hotel to open in the city for many years.

The French word “Éclat” literally means “glorious accomplishment and honour”, and this aptly describes this stylish, avant-garde new hotel with lavish furnishings, priceless artworks, eclectic contemporary design and among the most opulent guest room amenities of any hotel anywhere.

A member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the 60-room hotel is owned and conceived by sophisticated Hong Kong entrepreneur George Wong, who created and owns the legendary luxury apartment complex Hong Kong Parkview. The hotel features much of his personal art and furniture collection, and even his own personal collections of vintage fine wines and priceless rare Chinese mao tai liquor.

The hotel is designed by Charles Robertson of LKF designers Limited, whose work includes stylish projects such as the ultra cool Le Meridien Cyberport Hotel in Hong Kong, Starworld Hotel & Casino in Macau and Four Seasons Shanghai.

Discreetly scented with bamboo and lotus fragrance, the elegant Éclat Lounge sets the tone and features two original Salvador Dali sculptures worth over several million US$ each, lavish velvet sofas and drapes and vast glass hanging light sculptures in various shades of purple by noted Czech glass artist Jitka Skuhravá, Lasvit. Afternoon tea at The Éclat Lounge has already become a “must do” for those in the know in Taipei.

All 60 guest rooms are luxuriously equipped with state-of-the-art luxury amenities including 42-inch LCD televisions and internet TV keyboards, Bang & Olufsen CD and audio systems, Nespresso coffee machines, Montblanc desk sets and pens, Philippe Starck desk chairs, Riedel glassware and Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries featuring not the usual three but seven different amenities.

A unique glass wall divides the walk in rainforest shower from the living area and can be frosted or defrosted at the touch of a switch, and every room features an original work by Chinese contemporary artist Tang Yuen Hei.

Bed lines are also of the highest quality, and there is a choice of ten different pillow types from the pillow menu.

The signature Éclat Suite – already the choice of celebrities visiting Taipei – includes a lighted marble dining table, Swarovski chandeliers, Murano glass sculptures and a Hasten bed from Sweden favoured by royalty and costing a cool US$48,000.

For dining, Éclat Lounge serves breakfast, business lunches and traditional English afternoon tea, and offers an a la carte menu throughout the day. Guests may descend the marble staircase to the elegant basement level, where a remarkable restaurant with a European flair will open in the first half of 2010, complete with fascinating artworks.

The elegant George Bar, cosy and discreet, is the perfect place to enjoy an expertly mixed cocktail over a few tapas early evening, or for a quiet rendezvous late into the night

Hotel Éclat’s location could not be better. The hotel is in the heart of the fashionable Da-An district just minutes from the world famous landmark tower Taipei 101, the Tun Hua South Rd luxury shopping district, Taipei’s famous 24-hour Eslite bookstore, and cool nightspots such as the Anhe Road bar street and Taipei’s most chic night club Room 18, which Hotel Éclat’s guests can enjoy complimentary entrance to.

Guests also enjoy complimentary access to California Fitness gym and preferential rates at the nearby Shiseido Qi Spa.

For further information, please visit www.eclathotels.com/taipei.

WITH AN OPEN HEART, RIEDEL WELCOMES THREE NEW DECANTERS INTO THE BLACK TIE COLLECTION

Striking. Alluring. Desirable. For 250-plus years Riedel Crystal’s collections have become known for pushing the limits; offering ground-breaking ideas and award winning designs that enhance wine enjoyment. At the heart of the matter is Riedel’s newest introduction, three lead crystal, mouth-blown decanters to make your pulse race. Clearly, Riedel’s most romantic decanters to date, Smile, Touch and Bliss retail for $195/each.

From a company where beauty and utility go hand-in-hand, these lustrous decanters are not only stunning works of art, but practical pieces for everyday use that engage the senses with their dramatic design. “Lately, Riedel has been moving towards more organic shapes and subjects,” explains Maximilian Riedel, 11th generation and CEO of Riedel Crystal America. “We have designed decanters that reflect the grace of birds in flight; and created the Eve decanter, whose twists and turns mimic that of the famed serpentine in the age-old tale,” he says. “Now we move to a physical representation of human emotions; it’s a natural evolution.”

With its soft curves, Smile’s sultry form makes this decanter a superb addition to any collection. The decanter’s inverted heart-shaped base makes it effortless to hold in the palm of the hand and easy to pour. Starting from the narrow opening at the top, Black Tie’s signature tuxedo line descends dramatically to the bottom.

Seemingly defying gravity, Touch rests confidently on an asymmetrically bulb-shaped base and features a ridge that tapers into an elegantly angled neck. This ridge, adorned with a chic ribbon of black crystal, effectively acts as an integrated handle, guaranteeing a comfortable grip in the hand.

A labor of love, Bliss displays a rotund foundation with an off-center heart stamped from each side, thus compressing the crystal into a thin pane of solid glass. This innovative design forces the wine to pool around the element while providing a place for the fingers to rest as the wine flows out of the decanter into a waiting glass. Like the rest of the collection, Bliss is dressed up with a black tuxedo stripe that extends gracefully from top to bottom.

Skillfully created by the master glass-blowers at Riedel, the newest members of the Black Tie collection were especially designed to provide the user with a comfortable resting place for the hand on the base of each vessel, rather than the more delicate neck area. This thoughtful feature ensures that the decanters can be confidently and securely held during service while keeping fingerprints to a minimum. “Smile, Touch and Bliss are emotionally accessible pieces that allow you a more pleasurable wine experience through their handling,” Georg Riedel, 10th generation and global head of Riedel Crystal explains. “The names say it all – the way these shapes feel and are held evoke joy, and that is exactly what you should feel when enjoying wine.”

All three daring decanters stand 14 -3/8 inches tall, are mouth-blown and formed by hand without the use of molds, making each a unique work of art and marvelous additions to Riedel’s Black Tie collection.

Visit www.riedelwebstore.com for a complete selection of all Riedel glassware and decanters.