Five-star icebreaker

Ponant: cruises through pack ice into uncharted territories

In order to reach areas that have hardly ever been touched by humans approaching from the sea, you have to team up with the best experts and work long and hard to build a double-hull icebreaker which can maneuver even in pack ice under extreme conditions: the luxury cruise operator Ponant is now in the process of building such an icebreaker expedition ship. It will be able to do almost anything – except maybe fly. This is what Ponant stands for as the market leader in expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic.

In 2021, the 150-meter long and 28-meter wide icebreaker will be put into service. The name has already been chosen: “Le Commandant Charcot” – a reference to the famous doctor, Olympic champion and polar researcher Jean-Baptiste Charcot. The ship will feature 135 cabins and suites with a balcony, as well as a theatre and gourmet restaurant – with luxury and great experiences guaranteed. On the agenda are winter expeditions through the pack ice: the first routes, among others along the Northeast Passage in the Arctic of Siberia, have already been scheduled, and reservations are already being accepted via our partner airtours.

Photo: © Ponant – SDI


Five Stars for Athens

Four Seasons has reopened the legendary Astir Palace Hotel

Brigitte Bardot strolled in high heels sandals over the private beach here. Tony Curtis had to get a tie before he was allowed into the hotel restaurant. Frank Sinatra swore by pistachios and coconut milk here, Egypt’s President Sadat asked for the home recipe for the eggplant cream, and the Saudi king had his suite decorated with a full truckload of cut flowers: anyone who boasts such stories belongs to the very elite in the world of luxury hotels.

Whoever boasts this is a legend himself. How wonderful that the legendary Astir Palace Hotel in the Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni has reopened after two years of closure – now under the direction of Four Seasons and after a multimillion-dollar renovation. The chic of the golden days is back, and all the magic has been preserved. The hotel with 303 rooms, suites and bungalows, with three pools and three private beaches on a 30-hectare waterfront property is a 30-minute drive away from the city center, and currently there are opening rates of 20% below the normal price for some dates.

Photo: © Astir Palace Athens


Casual luxury times two

The 7 Pines Ibiza gets a twin in Sardinia

If you have this kind of resort, you just must build a second one: in a pine grove on a cliff above the sea, with private pools, a spectacular restaurant and three yachts for the guests. It would be too bad if it were to remain at just the one. That is why the ‘7 Pines Ibiza’, which opened only in 2018, will get a twin on the north coast of Sardinia – in a different landscape, a similar location, but with the same stylish nonchalance, the same relaxed elegance, this uncontrived chic and a feeling of great liberty and vastness.

The planning is underway, the opening date has not yet been set. Meanwhile, the celebrated flagship at Sant Josep de Sa Talaia on the west coast of Ibiza has entered its second season in May. From the very start, it has been part of Leading Hotels of the World. It disposes of 186 suites, the 1,500-square-meter Pure Seven Spa – and one of the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean: from the terrace of the Cone Club restaurant with its Mediterranean cuisine over the gentle waves to the offshore rock island Es Vedrà. My favorite view this summer!

Photo: © 7Pines Ibiza


Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden

The new jewel of Palma’s hotel heaven

How fortunate that the architects asserted themselves to do it all differently, and that contrary to the original plans, the town palace Can Bordoy in Palma de Mallorca has really been turned into a hotel: one that is truly special, absolutely charming and that in its courtyard boasts the biggest garden of the historic part of town.

There are only 24 suites in the Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, ranging from 45 to 80 square meters, each one in a classy, elegant way with a modern touch. In some of them, ceiling-high curtains separate a free-standing bathtub from the rest of the room. Also part of the hotel are the ‘Bòtanic’, a restaurant lead by chef Andrés Benitez, an outdoor pool in the heart of the city and of course this atmospheric private garden, for hotel guests only. There is even a spa, and its two most beautiful treatment spaces are naturally situated within the garden: it is a discrete, cozy area and it is shielded from view. Only recently has Can Bordoy become the latest jewel of Palma’s hotel heaven: its opening was in December 2018.

Photo: © Can Bordoy


Exploring the Amazon

Aqua Expeditions: via floating boutique hotel through the jungle

It is a rare sight for the red Aras in the trees. Something the last pink fresh water dolphins hardly ever see and the black caimans’ big eyes seldom glance at: humans in long boats, scouting the branches of the Amazon river. And river cruise passengers who, from beneath the white sun sail on deck of their ship, marvel at pristine rainforest through their binoculars. People whose cabins have nothing but a glass wall on the waterside, providing an unparalleled view on this gorgeous verdant landscape.

No wish remains unfulfilled on board the 45-meter-long ‘Aria Amazon’, which has 16 panorama cabins (23sqm each) for up to 32 passengers. Gourmet dining, fitness center, spa; this is about having a great experience with comfort factor, even in one of the most remote regions of the world. It is an unforgettable journey in the form of either a three-, four- or seven-day cruise.

Photo: © Richard Mark Dobson / Aqua Expeditions