Big Fat Hotel Wrap

Vanessa Bussoletti

There’s nothing like a jam-packed hotel wrap to bring some life to your Thursday. Read on, dear readers, and feel the enlightenment.

Four Points by Sheraton, Melbourne Docklands now open for business


After an official unveiling by Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, The Right Hon Robert Doyle this week, guests have begun checking in to the new 273 room property in the bustling Docklands precinct.

The four star hotel forms part of the new Marina Tower development at New Quay and offers the largest inventory of guest rooms and meeting space in the area.
It has a 7th floor Sky Lounge complete with 25-metre heated outdoor pool, jacuzzi and vast pool deck with impressive city views, as well as a sleek and welcoming lobby and lounge bar that’s set to serve Four Points Best Brews program of local beers, boutique ciders and brews. There is 500sqm of function space catering for up to 200 guests and a relaxed all day restaurant called Dock 18.

To celebrate its opening Four Points by Sheraton, Melbourne Docklands is offering a special rate starting from $199 per night for stays between 28 March and 28 September, 2017, subject to availability. Buffet breakfast for two, High Speed Internet Access, complimentary access to the fitness centre, pool and spa and double SPG Starpoints are included.

Accor Hotels to extend its footprint in the Northern Territory

Private Poolside

AccorHotels is pleased to announce Chifley Alice Springs Resort will join its network on in July 2017 at which time the hotel will rebrand to Mercure Alice Springs Resort.

The 139-room resort is currently undergoing a $2 million upgrade of its rooms and facilities, which will see new bathrooms and bedroom fittings installed across its standard rooms, as well as floor-to-ceiling artworks that reflect the history of the Alice Springs region in all rooms. The hotel will also be updating the swimming pool and its garden surrounds, as well as an outdoor amphitheatre which will pose as a multipurpose venue for conferencing and events.

Mercure Alice Springs Resort is located five minutes’ walk to Alice Springs town centre. The hotel’s facilities include Barra on Todd restaurant and bar, a swimming pool, a gym and three function rooms. Free wifi is available to guests resort-wide.

The Kerry Hotel opens in Hong Kong on Victoria Harbour Front 

Set to open on 28 April along the shoreline of Hung Hom Bay on Victoria Harbour is Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong. The new build 16-storey hotel is the first to open on the Kowloon waterfront since 1995 and will inspire lifestyle pursuits with its outdoor living spaces, distinctive dining options, business and meeting services, as well as family activities.

The fourth Hong Kong property of the luxury hotel group Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is centrally located with 546 rooms and will be the city’s first urban resort.

Over 60% of the hotel’s guest rooms feature panoramic views of the Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island skyline. The hotel has five different restaurant options; Hung Tong, Big Bay Cafe, Lobby Lounge, Red Sugar and Dockyard, For recreation there is a wide selection of fitness equipment, a 25-metre outdoor infinity swimming pool which is heated in winter, Jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna and spa facilities.

From now until 31 July 2017, guests booking the exclusive opening offer will enjoy the following benefits:

  • A choice of complimentary upgrade to the next room category or complimentary breakfast buffet for two persons per day or 20 % off the Best Available Rate
  • Two complimentary drinks at Red Sugar per stay
  • Complimentary minibar upon arrival

To find out more click here.

Ayers Rock Resort’s Desert Gardens Hotel launches complete refurbishment 

Deluxe Rock View Room at Desert Gardens Hotel

Desert Gardens Hotel at Ayers Rock Resort has had the complete refurbishment of guestrooms, restaurants and the hotel bar in a modern Indigenous-inspired design.

Located centrally within Ayers Rock Resort, Desert Gardens Hotel offers 218 elegant guestrooms including Garden View Rooms, Desert Deluxe Rooms and Deluxe Rock View Rooms with panoramic views of Uluru. Taking inspiration from the hotel’s garden setting amongst magnificent ghost gums, Desert Gardens’ new guestrooms feature a light décor which creates a sense of space and calm. A boutique carpet design has been specifically created, inspired by the pattern that dappled light makes under a tree canopy.

New dining destinations have also been revealed. Taking its name from the Pitjantjatjara word for desert quandong, Mangata Bistro & Bar serves a delicious buffet breakfast and, for lunch and dinner, a diverse range of light meals showcasing the finest Australian produce with highlights of native Australian bush tucker flavours throughout. The contemporary indoor area features an aged timber flooring which flows seamlessly to an outdoor terrace, surrounded by the native greens of the iconic gardens of the hotel.

Arnguli Grill & Restaurant, Ayers Rock Resort’s premier à la carte dining location, takes its name from the Pitjantjatjara word for bush plum. Located in the shadows of the hotel’s ghost gums, overlooking the central pool and garden, the restaurant offers quality Australian produce featuring native Indigenous flavours and a signature grill selection. Open daily for dinner, Arnguli’s outback-inspired interiors feature distinctive Indigenous artefacts and a dramatic patterned carpet inspired by local vegetation.

Desert Gardens Hotel amenities also include a swimming pool, extensive native gardens, Mingkiri Arts Gallery, in-room dining service, 24-hour reception and concierge.

For bookings contact or 1300 134 044.

Open Studio Good Friday Appeal at The Larwill Studio

ARTSERIES_The Larwill Studio Lobby

On Friday 14 April from 10am – 1pm, in conjunction with the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, The Larwill Studio will be throwing open their doors, giving you the opportunity to check out Parkville’s newest digs and donate to the Good Friday Appeal. With a focus on The Art of Wellbeing, The Larwill Studio encourages guests to take time out of their day for a healthy dose of escapism.

For every room booked on the night of Good Friday, The Larwill Studio will donate $20 of the booking to Royal Children’s Hospital.

When: Friday 14th April 10am-1pm

Where: The Larwill Studio 48 Flemington Rd, Parkville VIC


  • Animal petting zoo
  • Arts and crafts table
  • Face painting
  • Oversized ball pit
  • Smith + Singleton will have coffee and refreshments on offer
  • Guessing Competition: smart car filled with Cadbury eggs in the trunk – guests are invited to guess the figure and the closest guess will win a David Larwill print. 2nd prize will win a sleepover in a Workspace King

Cost: All activities require a gold coin donation to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal

For more information visit: or call 03 9032 9111

Shangri-La and Taj Hotel Palaces Resorts Safaris officially launched “Warmer Welcomes”

On the 28 March an exclusive reception at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, Acting President of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Madhu Rao and Rakesh Sarna, MD and CEO Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris officially launched “Warmer Welcomes” – the integration of Shangri-La’s Golden Circle and Taj’s InnerCircle loyalty programmes across a portfolio of over 200 hotels under the Shangri-La and Taj brands.

A first for the hotel industry – “Warmer Welcomes” is a leading partnership offering members of Shangri-La Golden Circle and Taj InnerCircle loyalty programmes reciprocal benefits and the opportunity to earn their preferred loyalty currency when staying at any Shangri-La or Taj property located in 131 destinations in China, India, South East Asia, the Middle East, United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and The Americas.

In addition to enjoying personal recognition, guests can instantly convert points to redeem awards and benefits from either programme.

For details and reservations, please visit or

Preferred Hotels & Resorts Enhances iPrefer Hotel Rewards Program with Launch of Mobile App and Members-Only Rates 

In response to consumers’ increasing desires to manage travel plans directly from their smartphones – and make sure they are getting the best deal while doing so – Preferred Hotels & Resorts today launched a mobile app and member rate program as a major enhancement to its points-based hotel rewards program, iPrefer.

In celebration, Preferred Hotels & Resorts is gifting 25,000 bonus points to iPrefer members who make a booking within the app by April 21, 2017! The iPrefer app is available for iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Member Rate Program

Preferred Hotels & Resorts has also launched a member rate program that invites iPrefer members to access savings of three percent or higher on top of the best available rate whenever they book stays at hundreds of participating hotels directly through iPrefer channels. 

With a portfolio of more than 600 distinctive hotels and resorts worldwide, iPrefer offers the benefits of a robust points-based loyalty program with access to endless authentic travel experiences that suit every travel need or desire – whether it’s a glamorous lakeside getaway at Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy; a ski getaway at the newly opened Limelight Hotel Ketchum in Sun Valley, Idaho; a cultural exploration at The Opposite House in Beijing; or a luxury business travel retreat to Palazzo Versace Dubai.

Complimentary to join, iPrefer rewards loyal travellers with points that can be exchanged for Reward Certificates redeemable towards free nights and other on-property expenditures.

In addition to receiving 10 points for every US$1 spent on net room reservations booked through eligible channels, members receive additional benefits based on their tier status – Insider and Elite – such as priority early check-in/late check-out, room upgrade based on availability, and complimentary Internet. To date, more than 1.8 million travellers have enrolled in iPrefer.

To join iPrefer, download the app, access member rates, or find more information, click here.

Liku’alofa Beach Resort – Tonga

LBR- Island Night - 3 - 2016

Eye 4 Travel wish to advise that  Liku’alofa Beach Resort have recently done a complete refurbishment of all of their 15 fales. All have been freshly repainted with new décor and new bedding along with new bed spreads have been added . All windows have had new insect screens installed and the bathrooms have had new toilets added as well. Mike Geary adds that it’s great to see a little resort of this size in Tonga re-investing money back in to improving services & facilities for their valued guests. He says that this is a great little place to head if you’re wanting to get off the beaten track and seeking a more authentic Tongan experience – delicious hearty local meals and warm hearted local staff. AND if you travel July through to October you’ll get to swim with the whales too!!

They also run one of the best Cultural night & dinner shows you’ll ever witness . These happen at the resort every Wednesday & Friday night, 7- 9pm and costs just TOP$40 per adult ( approximately $24 AUD ).



Major Aussie airports to trial drone-monitoring technology

by Huntley Mitchell

Were you hoping to test out the new drone you got for Christmas by taking it for a spin over your local airport? Well, you may want to think again after reading this.




“We are moving away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach”: Etihad’s Sarah Built

by Ali Coulton

The airline’s general manager for Australia and New Zealand tells Travel Weekly about the airline’s new brand platform and direction for 2019.




Qantas Frequent Flyer offers tips to help members reach their points potential

Travel Weekly recently developed its own points system for staff, with 100 on offer today for whoever can do a headstand the longest while holding a cup of tea.




Flight forced to make emergency landing after shirtless man starts brawl

Witnesses said the passenger had been drinking heavily. We’ve been known to indulge in a mid-flight bevy or six, but we’ve never managed to cause an emergency landing.



Travel Agents

Scenic honours its top agents at ‘Night of Stars’ gala event

Did you attend Scenic’s Night of Stars event over the weekend, but got too inebriated to remember if you actually won anything? Find out here.




Bird sneaks onto London bound Singapore Airlines flight

An opportunistic Javan Mynah managed to score itself a free spot in business class. We have much to learn from our avian friends.



Travel Agents

Luxury Gold introduces new agent incentive for India

Were ‘double your sales’ and ‘visit India’ on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Be prepared to tick them off the list thanks to this news.




Bali to introduce entry tax for tourists

This news has inspired us to impose a similar system in the Travel Weekly office. You’ll now need to bring us a box of cupcakes if you want to get through the door.




Big fat airline wrap

Today’s wrap is brought to you by a number of Google searches, urgent press releases and some bitter morning coffee from across the road.




Mexican Airline brilliantly trolls Americans in Twisted advertising campaign

This travel advertisement has a bit of everything: dim-witted folk, politics and a spot of swearing too. What’s not to love, we ask?




Rome mayor settles coin-throwing row involving famous Trevi Fountain

The mayor of Rome has settled a row over water fountain money. However, it’s not known whether said row involved water pistols or pool noodles.




Man cops RCL ban after jumping from cruise ship

Meanwhile, our colleagues have banned us from eating at our desk because the mess is becoming a “health hazard”. We will be taking the matter up with Fair Work later today.