Luxury line Silversea Cruises is dramatically upgrading its culinary experiences on its ships and in destinations with the new S.A.L.T. program, an acronym of Sea and Land Taste.

The program will officially launch in August 2020 when the Silver Moon enters service, but excursions, cooking demonstrations and more are now in the planning stages. is onboard the Silver Muse this week to try out the new culinary activities in the works, and I must say they’re impressive. We’re cruising from Bali to Manila, Philippines, with stops in Borneo and the island of Romblon.

To give an example of the activities, on March 9 we enjoyed an assortment of Balinese breakfast foods—including rice, pork belly, mushrooms and more—at Nusantara Restaurant by Locavore, considered one of the finest restaurants in Asia.

The chefs/owners Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah actually have a research lab where they can experiment with local foods and spices, creating their own miso and kombucha, for instance.

Then they took us on a hike in the Balinese countryside so we could see where they get many of their ingredients, including palm sap, honey and various wild herbs. We walked along rice paddies, past cows and pens of ducks and ended up with an outdoor luncheon feast from Locavore restaurant, including a whole roasted pig.

Bali roast pig
PHOTO: Guests trying Silversea’s new culinary program were treated to a roast pig in Bali. (photo via Theresa Norton)

The next day we met Maya Kerthyasa, a Balinese cooking expert and journalist. She talked about traditional Balinese food and also led the group in making spice paste and other dishes, including the traditional lawar salad.

Needless to say, foodie travelers will appreciate the intensive experiences, which will be offered on a menu so cruisers can choose which excursions and demonstrations they’d like to attend.

The culinary program will also include the S.A.L.T. Lab that will host interactive demonstrations and the S.A.L.T. Bar and S.A.L.T. restaurant which will serve foods reflecting the area in which the ship is sailing.

The S.A.L.T. program is being overseen by Adam Sachs, the former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine and a three-time winner of the prestigious James Beard Journalism Award. He has served as a contributing editor for Bon Appétit and Travel + Leisure.

Making Balinese spice paste
PHOTO: Silversea guests sample the herbs and ingredients used in traditional Balinese dishes. (photo via Theresa Norton)

“My mission in this new role is simply an extension of the approach I’ve always taken as a food and travel writer: to apply an endless curiosity and adventurous appetite to deep-dive explorations of the ingredients, cuisine and rituals of the countries and communities we visit,” Sachs said.

“There’s no better—or more enjoyable—way to engage and understand the world than through the flavors and stories of its food and wine culture and the people and personalities behind it. With our new initiative, the S.A.L.T. project, there will be no better place to explore it all than with Silversea.”

In its second year, ILTM Asia Pacific is gearing up to be the international and Asia Pacific business event for the luxury travel industry. A business opportunity for suppliers and buyers of international luxury travel, ILTM Asia Pacific is an event that will span all sectors, offering new opportunities to engage with the big, the small, the hot spots and the independent experiences created for today’s affluent traveller from across Asia Pacific and around the world.

Set once again in Singapore, ILTM Asia Pacific will help shape the future, updating the industry with trends, research, and personalised content, shaped to support every guest with business opportunities throughout the event taking place from 27th – 30th May 2019.

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Approximately 550 luxury travel suppliers will form the guest list at ILTM Asia Pacific 2019, an Increase of around 10% year on year. Many new exhibitors are participating including Banwa Private Island in the Philippines, Makanyi Private Game Lodge in South Africa, Matetsi Victoria Falls in South Africa, Bahwah Reserve in Indonesia and the Ungasan Clifftop Resort in Bali. They join those returning to support their business objectives from the first edition last year including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Belmond, Kempinski Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Four Seasons as well as destinations including Switzerland, New Zealand, Botswana, Japan and Singapore.

Recent research by Allied Market Research highlights that Asia Pacific’s luxury travel market is showing the fastest international growth (expected to grow by 10% in 2018) owing to the rise in the number of middle-income groups. In addition, according to the latest Euromonitor report on ‘Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel’, domestic trips in particular are booming across the region which is also driving the increase in average expenditure whilst travelling, which is expected to rise by 9%.

An expanded hosted buyer programme at ILTM Asia Pacific will deliver new and returning planners and agencies who will engage with suppliers to create more than 30,000 one-to-one meetings during the show. Discerning buyers from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are invited to explore new creative and seamless itineraries for their high net worth clients.

Simon T Ang of Celebrate Life Travel & Leisure in the Philippines commented:

“Most of my ‘go-to’ luxury suppliers are those I have met at ILTM events through the years and ILTM Asia Pacific last year was a particular highlight with some really fabulous introductions. Very much looking forward to the second edition in May!”

And Kathryn Davies of Hong Kong’s 360 Private Travel added:

“I feel it is important to attend ILTM Asia Pacific to keep up-to-date with the newest products available in luxury travel and learn more about the latest travel trends, but also network with like-minded travel professionals. I am hoping to meet new suppliers as well as reconnect with existing contacts and learn about the way their products have developed in the last 12 months.”

The participant programme this year will support the ILTM theme of Health and Wellness with morning ILTM bay runs and morning yoga in the host hotels. ‘The Retreat’ will be a designated area of the show floor featuring brands showcasing some of the latest products and services in Health and Wellness. All ILTM guests will be given the opportunity to take a well-earned break from their busy appointment schedule to experience The Retreat.

Andy Ventris, Event Manager for ILTM Asia Pacific comments:

“ILTM Asia Pacific is a critical opportunity for luxury brands to reach and interact with agents creating personal experiences for their affluent customers. ILTM’s mutually matched pre-scheduled appointments during the 3 days of the event compliment more meetings during the many parties and receptions across each evening which are at the heart of the show. This year, we are particularly delighted to be welcoming many new faces for the first time too, as we look to increase the business opportunities created by this year’s event.”

Responding to queries by Bloomberg, City Developments’ (CDL) executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng has said that Sentosa should be repositioned as the new Bali. According to the article, Kwek suggested that the government had “forgotten” about the island, after being “touted when it first started for the rich and famous.”

“Subsequently, her parents just forgot about this young lady. I would like to suggest that they should reposition it as the new Bali,” he said.  As such, Kwek explained that the non-residential part of Sentosa can be transformed to be a venue for meetings and conferences. He also said that the hotels in the island, with more expected to launch in years to come, will be able to garner more visitors. According to Kwek, while Bali has become a “congested” location with unpredictable climate and bad traffic, it still manages to attract tourists as a destination.

In a statement to Marketing, a Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) spokesperson said that it is working with various stakeholders to draw up plans for Sentosa and its surrounding areas, in a bid to further enhance Sentosa’s appeal as a “world-class leisure destination” for locals and tourists. The spokesperson added that through this exercise, SDC will strengthen leisure experiences through the curation of attractions, improvement of transport connectivity and enhancement of the beaches and tranquil green ridgeline, while ensuring authentic experience and environmental sustainability.

Addressing the tourism boost in MICE sector, the SDC spokesperson said that the company has placed emphasis on the MICE industry and has been establishing collaborations with MICE-related partners locally and overseas to establish Sentosa as a novel destination.  This will be for both unconventional and unique MICE events, and as an option for high profile events and conferences. Following the two high profile meetings held in Sentosa last year (namely, the Trump-Kim Summit and the Bloomberg New Economy Forum), the spokesperson added that Sentosa has demonstrated the ability to host such events well.

“As an all-encompassing destination with hotels, attractions, restaurants, beaches and various spaces, Sentosa is well placed to curate and deliver unique experiences which we know MICE groups value. This includes customised teambuilding activities to unique sand or sky dining experiences, from displaying corporate logos in a light and water show, to having an exclusive beach party complete with fireworks,” the spokesperson said.

In addition, Far East Hospitality will be launching three hotels in Sentosa as well as an events centre this year, adding to the island’s hotel room inventory and offerings. The spokesperson added that the company aims to bring in the business travellers and launch MICE events. Moreover, earlier this month, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) recorded a growth in visitor arrivals, as 2018 marked as a strong year for Singapore’s tourism sector as core tourism industries of Business Travel and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (BTMICE) and hotels sector.

STB said that it will continue to grow and develop the tourism sector with new offerings and refreshed concepts to ensure Singapore remains an attractive destination.

Is Sentosa’s positioning “forced”?

In a statement to Marketing, Graham Hitchmough, regional chief operations officer of Bonsey Design said that repositioning Sentosa as the “new Bali” will be difficult, given its culture, history and wide-ranging appeal from backpackers to luxe travelers.

“One of Sentosa’s most fundamental issues is its constant craving to be the ‘next something’ – the next Monte Carlo, the next Disneyland, the next Ibiza. It is this constant mindset of fabrication, imitation and reaching to be something that it is patently not, which makes the ‘Sentosa experience’ still feel at times superficial and disconnected,” he said.

Despite the features and attractions, Hitchmough said that the overall packaging and selling of Sentosa seems “forced and self-conscious, with a constant pressure to change its positioning”. He added that Sentosa will do well as a destination, with less “fanciful” marketing and segment strategies.

“Instead, the focus should be on building an accessible, authentic experience that is both a complement and counterpoint to Singapore overall, rather than trying to be something it is not,” Hitchmough said.

Richard Bleasdale, former managing partner of The Observatory International said that published visitor numbers recorded only a third of the annual visitors that Sentosa brings in. According to Bleasdale, Sentosa has already outperformed Bali, however, Bali has a “stronger and clearer” brand image than Sentosa for the majority.

When you think of Bali, the images it conjures are likely more exotic and enticing.

Bleasdale added that in comparison to Bali’s brand image, Sentosa requires work on its brand positioning. He said that although Sentosa owns the concept of “fun”, it seems to post questions for consumers than actually answering to them. He added that this is in contrast with expressions such as “Fun Central”, “Funtasy Island” or even “Funtastic Sentosa”, which are “more compelling and memorable”. However, he said that despite Sentosa’s ownership of fun, Sentosa Cove remains with no clear positioning online and seems to be a challenge.

Nick Foley, president Southeast Asia Pacific and Japan, Landor agreed with Bleasdale that Sentosa’s positioning of the ‘State of fun’ works well and captures the many activities that are offered. However, similar to Bleasdale, Foley said that Sentosa Cove seems to be the “state of vacancy” with many properties quietly up for sale, with rental yields down and several vacant shops and apartments.

“The rich and famous crowd so intent on securing soul-less houses in gated communities, with properties that adorn man-made canals, have well and truly moved on,” he added.

Foley added that the Sentosa should tap on the visitors to Singapore in general. According to Foley, a number of travellers view Singapore as a “stopover”, and that Sentosa should embrace this and seek to attract as many international visitors to the island as possible. However, he was of the view that Sentosa can and will never be the new Bali, adding that Sentosa should “play to its strengths”.

Tapping on the MICE sector

According to Bleasdale, Sentosa’s “fun” positioning can be developed to answer the experiential desires of the MICE industry in unique and memorable ways. He said that separate to the hygiene requirements of suitable meeting/expo space and sufficient accommodation options, the MICE industry is increasingly looking for unique “experiential” themes and destinations.

Meanwhile, Landor’s Foley said that Sentosa has to play to Singapore’s strength of located within the Asia Pacific region. “It is easy to get to, has one of the world’s best airports, no traffic snarls and is both safe and politically stable. Sentosa’s many conference facilities, attractions and premium hotels aligns well with what business travellers and conference organisers are looking for,” he added.

NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Meredith Corporation's (NYSE: MDP, Travel + Leisure released its 14th annual It List, a selection of the best new and renovated hotels in the world. The list is on and in the March issue, available on newsstands today.

Each year, Travel + Leisure editors check in to hundreds of new hotels around the globe in search of the properties that offer a winning alchemy of setting, design, and service. The editors then collaborate with Travel + Leisure's global network of travel writers, contributors, and agents to narrow down the list.  

"Hotels are a prominent part of the travel experience, which is why we devote an entire issue to this topic each year," said Jacqueline Gifford, Editor in Chief of Travel + Leisure. "With more than 70 hotels chosen, from a colorful escape in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to two safari resorts in Namibia, we're excited to share why these properties excite us, how they connect us to people, and the many ways they provide comfort when we're far from home."

Travel + Leisure's It List is as follows:

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island — Desroches Island, Seychelles
Hoanib Valley Camp — Kaokoland, Namibia
Mombo Camp — Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
One&Only Nyungwe House — Gisakura, Rwanda
Omaanda Lodge — Windhoek, Namibia
Zuri Zanzibar — Zanzibar, Tanzania

Amanyangyun — Shanghai
Anantara Quy Nhon Villas — Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Capella Ubud, Bali — Bali, Indonesia
Rosewood Luang Prabang — Luang Prabang, Laos
Shinta Mani Wild — Kirirom National Park, Cambodia
Six Senses Duxton — Singapore
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans — Andaman Islands, India
The Murray — Hong Kong
The Oberoi — New Delhi
Waldorf Astoria Bangkok

Calile Hotel — Brisbane
Paramount House Hotel — Sydney
United Places Botanic Gardens — Melbourne

Belmond Cap Juluca — Maundays Bay, Anguilla
O:LV Fifty Five — San Juan, Puerto Rico
Rosewood Baha Mar — Nassau, Bahamas
Silversands Grenada — Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Skylark Negril Beach Resort — Negril, Jamaica

Awasi Iguazú — Misiones, Argentina
Janeiro — Rio de Janeiro

Bank Hotel — Stockholm
Brach — Paris
Château Lafaurie Peyraguey — Bommes, France
Experimental Chalet — Verbier, Switzerland
Fife Arms — Braemar, Scotland
Heckfield Place — Hampshire, England
Hotel Mamá — Mallorca, Spain
Hotel St. George — Helsinki, Finland
Hotel Vilòn — Rome
Istoria — Santorini, Greece
Katikies Mykonos — Mykonos, Greece
Kettner's Townhouse — London, England
L'Arlatan — Arles, France
Le Barn — Bonnelles, France
L'oscar — London
Lutetia — Paris
Ottantotto Firenze — Italy
Palazzo Bozzi Corso — Lecce, Italy
Quinta da Côrte — Douro Valley, Portugal
Raffles Europejski Warsaw — Warsaw
Retreat at Blue Lagoon — Iceland
Stamba Hotel — Tbilisi, Georgia
University Arms — Cambridge, England
Vista Palazzo — Lake Como, Italy

The Jaffa Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv, Israel

Bungalows Key Largo, Florida
Caldera House — Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Carpenter Hotel — Austin, Texas
Collective Hill Country — Wimberley, Texas
Eaton DC — Washington, D.C.
Francis House — Napa Valley, California
Freehand New York City
Harbor House Inn — Mendocino County, California
Hotel Amparo — San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Hotel Clermont — Atlanta
Hotel Figueroa — Los Angeles
Hotel Joaquin — Laguna Beach, California
Hotel Peter & Paul — New Orleans
Inn at Kenmore Hall — Richmond, Massachusetts
Montage Los Cabos, Mexico
Noelle — Nashville
Palihotel Seattle — Seattle
Perry Lane Hotel — Savannah, Georgia
Sheldon Chalet — Denali National Park, Alaska
Sophy Hyde Park — Chicago
The Hoxton Portland — Portland, Oregon
The Line D.C.Washington, D.C.
The NoMad — Los Angeles

Share your favorites from the list on social media using #TLItList. Follow Travel + Leisure on Twitter: @TravelLeisure; Instagram: @TravelandLeisure; Pinterest: @TravelLeisure; and Facebook:

Travel + Leisure is the preeminent voice for the sophisticated traveler, serving up expert intelligence and the most immersive, inspiring travel lifestyle content anywhere. Travel + Leisure captures the joy of discovering the pleasures the world has to offer—from art and design to shopping and style to food and drink—and offers compelling reasons to get up and go. With a total global audience of more than 16 million, the Travel + Leisure portfolio includes the U.S. flagship and four international editions in China, India, Mexico, and Southeast Asia. The U.S. edition of T+L, which launched in 1971, is the only monthly consumer travel magazine in print in the U.S.; has an authoritative website,; and has an extensive social media following of more than 13 million. Travel + Leisure also encompasses newsletters and media collaborations.

Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) has been committed to service journalism for more than 115 years. Today, Meredith uses multiple distribution platforms—including broadcast television, print, digital, mobile and video—to provide consumers with content they desire and to deliver the messages of its advertising and marketing partners. Meredith's National Media Group reaches 175 million unduplicated American consumers every month, including 80 percent of U.S. Millennial women. Meredith's Local Media Group includes 17 television stations reaching more than 11 percent of U.S. households.

SOURCE Travel + Leisure

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