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Christmas with a Twist: Make a Difference This Festive Season

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It’s that time of the year again — everyone’s favorite holiday and the perfect excuse to indulge in endless feasting and shopping. Instead of opting for conventional festivities, why not celebrate while also clocking in good karma points? Check out these five destinations that are putting their own joyous spin to Christmas and see how you can be part of celebrations that make a difference — a Christmas you certainly will not forget.

1. Embark on an eco-journey in the Maldives

This festive season, Conrad Maldives has put sustainability at the forefront of its holiday celebrations — at the same time that the rest of the world is busy engaging in fast consumerism, this island resort is encouraging its guests to embark on a refreshing eco-journey instead. Their very first Maldivian Artisanal Market (26 December) will host local artists and designers, offering products handmade by Maldivian women or made from natural, organic and sustainably harvested ingredients. You definitely won’t feel guilty buying these goodies, and rest assured that these local artisans will get to keep 100% of the proceeds.

The hotel is also hosting a Christmas tree competition where hotel Team Members will challenge each other to create the most beautiful and sustainable Christmas Tree, made completely with recycled materials! These creative works of art will later be displayed around the resort, and guests can go on a mini scavenger hunt to find them all. Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorites and get some inspiration for your own tree for next year!

2. Go zero-waste in Chengdu

Feast your eyes on a Christmas tree like no other at Hilton Chengdu Chenghua. The hotel is setting up at seven-meter-tall tree, made entirely from recycled plastic bottles — to top things off, team members are powering the tree themselves by riding bicycles to generate electricity. Talk about commitment to a green Christmas. Guests also get to play their part by not using any plastic bottles or disposable amenities — you’ll even be rewarded with an extra 500 Hilton Honors points! Definitely a win-win.

3. Chase the Christmas Train in Japan and Korea

Keep an eye out for the Hilton Christmas Train in Japan and Korea — across properties in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Odawara and Seoul, the popular charity event will make its return to spread some warm Christmas cheer. The train differs from city to city, showcasing beautiful dioramas and displays to take centerstage in the hotel lobby. While serving as an alluring backdrop for your next #instaworthy shot, its main purpose is to rally guests to do good and raise funds for nonprofit organisations and charities. It’s the perfect chance for you to give back this Christmas!

4. Make a sustainability statement in Xiamen

DoubleTree by Hilton Xiamen-Wuyuan Bay is going back to basics with their “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”–themed Christmas while at the same time making a statement with their unique tree. They’re completely redefining conventional designs by constructing their tree out of tables and decorating with plastic items! Be sure to check it out and take pictures with this one-of-a-kind tree. Additionally, the team is setting up an installation of toothbrushes to showcase the effects of collective plastic consumption — you’ll definitely remember to pack your own toothbrush in for the next trip.

5. Explore local alternatives in Indonesia

For the very first time, Hilton Bandung is introducing their very own festive tree — grown from scratch in single-use plastic waste from the hotel. The tree is comprised of smaller, organic plants and serves as a good reminder that we can always consider alternative, local options before rushing to buy new things. Head on to the lobby to learn the whole process and story behind the tree; you may even be inspired to make Christmas gifts of your own!

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Hotels & Resorts

Mandarin Oriental To Debut At Costa Navarino In Spring 2023

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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and TEMES S.A., a leading developer and operator in high-end tourism and real estate, will introduce the first Mandarin Oriental property in Greece, at Costa Navarino – the prime sustainable destination in the Mediterranean – in spring 2023.  

Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino will be located at Navarino Bay, an integrated resort area at Costa Navarino, in the region of Messinia, southwest Peloponnese, amidst a breathtaking 140-hectare natural landscape, overlooking the historic Bay of Navarino. 

The beachfront luxury resort will feature 99 guest rooms, including 48 spacious earth-sheltered pool villas, all with outdoor terraces and stunning sea views, along with five restaurants and bars. Crafted by renowned Greek architects, Tombazis & Associates Architects and K-Studio, the unique design is aligned with Costa Navarino’s sustainable principles, featuring planted roofs blending into the natural topography of the land and the use of local materials.

Additionally, this ultra-premium resort is set to feature a 1,500 m2 spa and fitness center with a stunning 25 m indoor-outdoor pool and sweeping sea views, complemented by state-of-the-art heat experiences and Mandarin Oriental’s signature wellness therapies in specially designed indoor treatment rooms and outdoor pavilions.

“We are delighted to be opening our first property in Greece in Costa Navarino and look forward to sharing this striking combination of unspoiled landscape, olive groves, pristine beaches and authentic Greek culture in the region with our guests,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental. “We are pleased to partner with TEMES, the group that has been responsible for the creation of Costa Navarino as a bourgeoning tourism destination.”

“Mandarin Oriental is renowned for delivering exemplary service and exclusive experiences in some of the most noted properties around the world,” said Achilles V. Constantakopoulos, Chairman of TEMES. “We are proud to have the Group bring their hospitality expertise for the first time to Greece, signifying the further growth of Costa Navarino, which is becoming a top international destination to visit and to live”.

Navarino Bay is already home to The Bay Course, an 18-hole signature golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II, as well as the award-winning earth-sheltered Bay Clubhouse, which harmoniously blends into the lush landscape, overlooking the Bay of Navarino.

Guests of Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino will also benefit from the destination’s other resort areas, and experience a vast range of outdoor activities, from biking and hiking to rock-climbing, tennis and water sports, as well as three more signature golf courses. Additionally, a variety of dining venues and leisure activities are available across Navarino Dunes and Navarino Waterfront.

Moreover, Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino will be adjacent to Navarino Agora, an open marketplace with retail, artisanal street food, open-air cinema, and authentic local experiences by day and night.

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Hotels & Resorts

Marriott International Signs Agreement to Debut W Costa Navarino

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Set to welcome guests this summer, W Costa Navarino will bring detail-driven design and inspiring energy to the new Navarino Waterfront

Marriott International, Inc. today announced it has signed an agreement with TEMES S.A., a leading developer and operator in high end tourism and real estate, to debut the W Hotels Worldwide brand in Greece with the opening of W Costa Navarino. Expected to open in summer 2022, W Costa Navarino is anticipated to mark the latest addition to the ever-expanding W Escapes portfolio in Europe following locations in Spain, Switzerland and Portugal.

The new W Escape will be located in Navarino Waterfront, the newest integrated resort of Costa Navarino – the prime sustainable destination in the Mediterranean. The 13-hectare beachfront destination is located in Messinia, southwest Peloponnese. Designed by renowned Greek architects, Tombazis and Associates Architects, W Costa Navarino is inspired by the region’s traditional residential areas and set to use local, natural materials such as stone, wood and reed. The distinctive interiors will be led by London-based MKV Design. The Escape is expected to feature 246 stylish rooms, suites, and villas, many with private pools staged in the Bay of Navarino with stunning Ionian Sea views.

‘‘We are thrilled to build on our fantastic relationship with TEMES S.A. to open W Costa Navarino, strengthening Marriott International’s presence in this Mediterranean paradise,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “Joining our portfolio of coveted W Escapes around the world, W Costa Navarino will add a distinct take on modern luxury to Navarino Waterfront. We look forward to welcoming free-spirited travelers to this new luxury playground.

W Costa Navarino is set to offer five dining venues including a destination beach club overlooking a long sandy shore, designed by Athens-based K-Studio. The ‘Culinary Square’ is the hotel’s playful take on a deli food market with individual outlets creating a socially driven destination for all day dining. Other planned amenities include a sunset bar and the signature W Living Room. Guests will also be able to enjoy experiences and dining at neighbouring venues in Costa Navarino including the new Navarino Agora, an open marketplace with retail, street food, open-air cinema and exciting programming throughout the day and night.

“W Costa Navarino will generate a unique energy encouraging free expression and connection between a diverse mix of people, whilst respecting and honoring authentic experiences and cultures. In this important chapter for the growth of the destination, we believe W Costa Navarino will significantly contribute to our vision in further establishing Messinia as a top international destination to visit and to live,” said Achilles V. Constantakopoulos, Chairman TEMES S.A.

Tennis courts and a water sports hub are part of the vision for guests to enjoy at W Costa Navarino, along with access to the destination’s four signature golf courses and an array of outdoor programming including biking, hiking, rock-climbing and sailing.

There are currently two Marriott International properties in Costa Navarino— The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, offering travellers and families countless well-being activities and The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, offering exquisite architecture, butler service and epicurean experiences.

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5 Reasons To Go Offline at Four Seasons Resorts in Bali

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Free WiFi is expected at five-star hotels nowadays, and as such it’s a standard inclusion for guests of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. But the paradox of the internet and social media can be a very anti-social holiday where our phones never leave our sides. Here, we present five exclusive Four Seasons experiences that will inspire you to be in the moment. Ranging from water blessings to high-flying yoga and surf tours, you’ll be disconnecting from the internet and reconnecting to each other and the wonderful world around you.   

Can You Keep A Secret? This exclusive temple tour is not on anyone’s bucket list. We ask guests to help us keep it that way, by resisting the urge to post the temple on social media. If you agree, our guide will take you on a scenic three-hour tour from Four Seasons Sayan in an open-air vintage VW through nearby yet untouched rice farming villages. Visit historic sites include a secluded water temple where you are welcome to bathe, or simply to enjoy the serene and undiscovered atmosphere far from selfie sticks.

Learn to surf in the sheltered confines of Jimbaran Bay or take a boat trip to explore Bali’s world-class breaks with Tropicsurf’s coaches and guides. On-site at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, the Tropicsurf philosophy is based on small groups (maximum four people) and avoiding the crowds to take your surfing to the next level, faster. For the ultimate adventure, take Asia’s only heli-surfing tour to ride uncrowded waves in pristine conditions off the east coast of Java.

Bali is home to thousands of beautiful Hindu temples. We invite you to go beyond the most famous landmarks and explore hidden gems like the Goa Gong 9th century cave temple. Open to visitors by appointment only, this natural archaeological site is nearby Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. Our resort priest Ajik Ngurah will be your guide to explore the cave’s shrines and stalactites, and can also arrange a melukat water purification ritual. Not something you want to be holding your phone for!

Discover the beauty of the Ayung – Bali’s longest river and part of the ancient UNESCO World Heritage-listed subak irrigation system. Our guided Four Seasons Private Rafting Adventure takes you through easy rapids flanked by virgin jungle, rice terraces and majestic gorges. Hop out of your raft and let yourself float down a quiet and calm stretch of the river, gazing up into the canopy overhead. Make a riverside landing directly at Four Seasons Sayan, where we’ll be waiting to welcome you back home. 

Experience the intimacy of Trust Yoga, the newest addition to the inspiring wellness program at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. Head to the ocean-front yoga pavilion and partner up with your soul mate, a friend or relative. Take turns being guide and flier, with postures that both require and build trust, strengthening your bond to each other and extending your practice. Our yoga instructor will lead each couple through this joyful 75-minute class, adapting postures to suit all levels. A fun way to connect emotionally and physically to someone special in your life, and a reminder that the best connections are human connections.

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