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Singapore’s tourism businesses are currently reopening under the government’s SG Clean Quality Mark. While looks like Australians won’t be jumping on Asian flights any time in the very near future, it’s worth noting that Singapore’s tourism businesses are currently reopening primarily to a domestic market. Nearly 30 of its key attractions are now open, including the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, the new Jewel Changi Airport’s Canopy Park attractions, Raffles Hotel and Tiong…

From clock towers to afternoon tea towers, The Fullerton Hotel Sydney lives up to high expectations. Was there ever a drink more intrinsically linked to a city than the Singapore Sling? The pineapple, the maraschino cherry, the gin… Mix it wrong and it’s a write-off of sugared-up cough medicine. But mix it right and you’re transported straight back to the streets of Little India flicking through saris in a street stall and photographing the eye-popping…

It’s a frigid winter afternoon in the Southern Highlands and the Wingello Village Store is closing. ‘Come back tomorrow,’ calls a chirpy adolescent through the diminishing space in the door jam. ‘We serve good breakfast.’ Then he’s gone. The warmth inside is palpable even through the window. There’s a wall papered with newspaper clippings: local celebrities and feats of heroism. Shelves are filled with cutesy-kitsch teapots and homemade biscuits in big glass jars. An open…

Steve Graves is one of High Country Victoria’s most respected and awarded builders. His company Bright Alpine Builders has a long history of working with select-grade Australian hardwood timbers, crafting beautiful buildings which combine a carefully chosen range of structural components such as local granite, steel, concrete block, brick and other modern composites. The commercial accommodation and retail development, Art House Townhouses, situated in the CBD heart of Bright, Victoria, is a recently completed project…

For those lucky enough to either make a road trip or book newly-launched Qantas flights from Sydney to Byron Bay this winter, a recently opened boutique hotel choice awaits. The Surf House (boutique hostel/hotel) strikes a new balance in beachside accommodation, marrying comfortable private suites with some shared rooms, open-plan backpacker-styled living spaces and open-air rooftop bar. Located in the heart of Byron Bay town centre, just a few streets back from Main Beach, The…

As Melbourne grapples with the increase in confirmed corona virus cases and selected postcode reintroduced lockdowns, regional NSW is set to reboot its tourism industry with an announcement today from Qantas celebrating the launch of two new routes to regional NSW. The first Qantas flight between Sydney and Byron Bay (Ballina) in 15 years departed today and the airline has confirmed its first ever flights to Orange will begin on July 20. This comes at…

Unlike other ski resorts, Victoria’s Dinner Plain has a year-round community with a life of its own, and it’s quintessentially Australian. There are no fences and the houses are designed with the old cattlemen’s huts in mind. When people walk around the village, they regain their sense of freedom. Entering the village by crossing the cattle grid signals one’s arrival – it’s time to shed some stress and unwind in style true opulent Bond villain…

If you’re keen to get skiing on mountain this year, take a step back and read the fine print before leaving home, as Victoria’s alpine resorts are preparing for a very different start this winter season. While overnight stays are possible within Victorian resorts, visitor facilities at Mt Buller, Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Stirling, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain are likely to be limited as tobogganing, downhill and cross country skiing is not…

Looking for the ultimate cure to your lockdown isolation blues? Step inside High Country Victoria’s just opened contemporary, architect design accommodation properties: Art House Townhouses, Bright. 
Situated in the heart of Bright’s food, wine and distillery district, these five luxury appointed townhouses offer a new standard in designer comforts married with individual collections of fine Australian art prints produced by celebrated contemporary artists Margie Sheppard and Dean Bowen, plus key works by  John Olsen. Exteriors…

Dare to dream – we suggest you do it. For us, simply imagining a time in the future when it’s again safe to jump on a plane, dine with friends and explore the world’s gifts is very much worth the mental exercise – to keep our hopes alive. In memory of some of our favourite destinations, dining experiences and unique world beverages, here’s a list of the international (and local) travel destinations we miss the…

Barcelona is a city that feels and appears alive in every sense of the word. Entangled, connected, moving, energetic, in so many ways an uplifting gift. Streets leading from the port are gracefully lined with Middle Eastern date palms, their long fanning green fronds and tall rippled elephant feet-like trunks paint the city with an exotic air of sophistication. Summer evenings for thousands of tourists are lit by the coloured high spraying waters of Font…

TFE Hotels and Hume Partners Property will launch Australia’s very first cross-laminated timber (CLT) hotel and the tallest timber adaptive-reuse project in the country, Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne Southbank, later this year. Just six months out from opening, the 220-room Bates Smart-designed apartment hotel, at the intersection of Southbank Boulevard and City Road in Melbourne, is set to turn heads for its edgy and beautiful architectural smarts; and warm hearts for its forward thinking sustainable…

Belinda Jackson checks into a Lapland-inspired hotel in Helsinki’s chic Design District. During winter, snow-laden winds sweep across lakes and tundras of Finnish Lapland, freezing all in their wake. Reindeer forage for lichen in the chilled earth, and the brief minutes the sun rises above the horizon are bookended by a deep blue twilight that heralds the return of the polar night. A thousand kilometres south, there’s no snow on the footpaths of the Finnish…

Quest Albury on Townsend has taken the art hotel concept several steps further by partnering with leading Victorian art gallery Aboriginal Exhibitions. The new partnership sees a display of more than 170 original pantings and prints within a series of hotel gallery spaces. Also recently launched are the new Studio Art Suites – a collection of four premium rooms that include original paintings from celebrated Lockhart River (Cape York) artists: Fiona Omeenyo, Patrick Butcher Jnr,…

Having opened in 1929, Sydney’s northern beaches clifftop icon Jonah’s Whale Beach will this January celebrate a 91 year milestone with an invitation only exclusive event with invitees including some of Australia’s biggest names in business, philanthropy, politics, sport and media. Jonah’s is well regarded for its continued focus in delivering fine cuisine paired with a glorious expansive Pacific Ocean backdrop. However it’s the extensive wine list spanning over 80 pages of award-wining gems that…

New Australian hotel group Veriu is carving out a fine niche in the boutique accommodation market. We check in, to check out, the ‘millennial modern meets 1920s Hollywood’ gentrification of Sydney’s Wentworth House, reimagined as Veriu Central. With Australia’s increasing demand in smaller-scale boutique hotel experiences comes a gentrification of inner urban historic properties; and with this we should be thankful. These previously forgotten gems of our cities are often well positioned, offering great convenience…

It’s never too early to practice and perfect your Christmas offerings, and we feel this traditional Christmas eggnog recipe, served chilled OR warm, by Hilton Brisbane’s Executive Chef, Matthew Wood is one to get down pat. ‘Eggnog is the quintessential Christmas drink. A rich, frothy, and stiff alcoholic punch of sorts that always reminds me of sitting near a warm fire while the weather outside turns sour. However serving it as as cold drink makes…

Freeman on Ford is Beechworth’s first, and only five star accommodation, having remained so for the past 15 years. Accredited with numerous national awards for excellence, including winning Trip Advisor’s coveted award for Australia’s best bed and breakfast in 2013. Part of its charm is the individually decorated rooms and suites, well known for providing an unmatched level of luxurious respite within its central Beechworth location. We step inside one of the two 1930s deluxe…

Hot on the heels of its Brisbane The Fantauzzo hotel launch, Accor this week opened the doors to its ninth Art Series hotel, The Adnate. But does its 27 story high rise feature mural stack up against the artist’s best? According to Accor, the new 250-room CBD Hay Street hotel promises to inspire guests with ‘the art of dreaming big’ with a main exterior façade spray-painted with a multicultural portraiture mega mural by world-renowned Australian…

The heart of Victoria’s High Country new boutique accommodation operator Big Sky Retreats has just launched a new premium home stay: Big Sky Ridgeview, located in the popular mountainous tourist town of Bright. Designed to encourage longer stays and a retreat to nature without sacrificing an inch of luxury, Big Sky Ridgeview, is one of a select new group of year-round Australian holiday stays that raise-the-bar in terms of features, quality and creative design. Set…

Finally this week, some good news from Hong Kong! Billed as the highest rooftop bar in the world, Ozone has just launched an epic new cocktail menu that draws inspiration from the five elements of nature — metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Promising a tasting experience that’s worth the journey to the top of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre building in Tsim Sha Tsui, these drinks coupled with sweeping views of…

At a time when uber cool black hotel interiors are the order of the day, Brisbane’s new Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo uses black in wonderful context. Some might consider it slightly mood zapping, but we think it’s black and charcoal colour scheme that you’ll love, accentuating the art and amplifying the raw story telling of Australian painter Vincent Fantauzzo. Tucked snugly underneath Brisbane’s Story Bridge and providing a powerful visual backdrop to the…

Essentials’ favourite High Country pub, the Harrietville Snowline Hotel, has recently boosted its appeal by hosting large group and corporate team-building events that leverage the pub’s unique contacts and knowledge of High Country adventure and lifestyle activities. Recent hosted weekend retreats, including one for Melbourne accounting firm Bluerock, have seen groups of up to 100 take to the nearby mountains and trails for challenges including skiing, cycling and rope activities; plus excursions to breweries and…

If you’re a lover of finely detailed and rather dramatic nineteenth century landscape art, like myself, then you might have, at one time or another appreciated the works of the Hudson River School art movement. Their aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism but also focused on three themes of the America in the nineteenth century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. Filled with power and energy, works like A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House,…

Architect Edwin Mintoff has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious design awards: The European Prix Versailles Special Prize for the design of the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour in Senglea, Malta; in the category of Exterior Hotel Design. The Prix Versailles World Architecture and Design Awards are compiled at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, and encompasses several categories, with the winners being selected by…

Rural retreat hunters are spoilt with a swag of stylish new properties away from the bright lights. Back roads are back, as slow travel establishes as one of today’s key travel trends in a world that never hits the off button. With plenty of sparse spaces across the country, Australia’s regions have responded to the demand for dalliance. Kimo Estate is set on a 2800 acre farm, looking out to the Murrambidgee River. Owners Emila…

An historic cattle station in rural NSW is probably not where you’d expect to find a trove of contemporary sculpture and art. But the 124-acre Mona Farm, first established in 1836, is an uncommon find. Situated an hour west of Canberra, the farm was the home of ship’s surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson, who lent his name to the town that would grow beside it. Walk through the elm forest and across swathes of lawn to…

Queensland’s Whitsunday archipelago comprises 74 islands: here are three of its new and revitalised stars. Elysian Retreat A brand new build on Long Island, Elysian is just 1km off the Queensland coast, south of Shute Harbour: it’s reached only by helicopter from the airstrips at Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach. With a focus on wellness, daily yoga and organic spa treatments, there are only 20 guests on the secluded retreat at any time, and only…

The sun beats down on the banana trees, their sheet-like leaves dancing in the tropical breeze. The water in the pool sits somewhere between pleasantly warm and refreshingly cool. We swim to the bar at the end of the pool, sit on the submerged stools and order a drink with lots of ice and tropical fruit. We look out over a forest of steel and glass towers while several floors below office workers hit the…

Contemporary quality is the best way to describe this 5 star urban oasis, situated just a stone’s throw from the World Heritage listed Parramatta Park with its 85 hectares of grasslands, mature trees, gardens and river frontage. And though nearby prestigious Church Street offers a wealth of shopping experiences and cultural exchange of food offerings – an enticing mix of Egyptian, Italian, Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines, (inclusive of dozens of Halal options); no doubt…