Monday, February 29, 2016

Carlton City Singapore

By darmansjah

This hotel’s exquisite furnishings coupled with a laid-back vibe are perfect for the new-generation entrepreneur. Located at the heart of Singapore’s business district near Chinatown, and surrounded by beautifully restore historical shop houses, this brand new hotel offers easy access to the best that the icty has to offer. It’s 386 guestrooms spread across 29 storeys offer spacious deluxe and executive designer rooms and suites, with executive rooms that boast a skyline of the central business district, and that have ergonomic Herman Miller chairs, comfortable posturepedic mattresses and 40-inch tv sets.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Annecy and Talloires

Lake Annecy

Executive summary by Darmansjah

Annecy  is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy (Lac d'Annecy), 35 kilometres (22 miles) south of Geneva.


Starting as the capital of the county of Geneva, after the demisethe counts of Geneva, it became integrated into the House of Savoy's possessions in 1401[clarification needed]. In 1444, it was set up by the Princes of Savoy as the capital of a region covering the possessions of the Genevois, Faucigny and Beaufortain. With the advance of Calvinism in 1535, it became a center for the Counter-Reformation and the bishop's see of Geneva was transferred here.

During the French Revolution the Savoy region was conquered by France. Annecy became attached to the département of Mont Blanc, of which the capital was Chambéry. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1815, it was returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia (heir of the Duchy of Savoy). When Savoy was sold to France in 1860, it became the capital of the new département of Haute-Savoie.

The Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall)

Francis of Sales was born at the nearby castle of Sales in 1567. He was bishop of Annecy from 1602 to 1622.

Annecy was the site of the second round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) talks in 1949.

In 2012, a multiple murder occurred in the Annecy area.

The Fier forms part of the commune's north-western border. The mountains around the town of Annecy are: Le Mont Veyrier, Le Semnoz, La Tournette and the Parmelan.

Main sights

Palais de l'Isle is a castle in the centre of the Thiou canal, built in 1132. It was the primary residence of the Lord of Annecy as early as the 12th century, and later became the Count of Geneva's administrative headquarters, then alternately a courthouse, a mint, and finally a jail from the Middle Ages until 1865 and then again during World War II. The Palais de l'Ile was classified as a Historical Monument in 1900, and today houses a local history museum.

Other sights in Annecy include:

View of the Canal

.The Château d'Annecy (Annecy Castle) was the home of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours, an offshoot of the House of Savoie (12th–16th century). Today, the restored castle houses the Art and History Conservatory of Annecy and the Regional Office of the Alpine Lakes.

.The Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, built in the early 16th century as a Franciscan friary, was the cathedral of Francis de Sales and is home to a number of baroque pieces from the 16th century.

.The rue Sainte-Claire and its romantic arches date from the 17th and 18th centuries.

.The rue royale, with its numerous shops, gardens and the fountain of Saint Jean is the heart of the commercial and political activities of the town.

.The money workshop of the Genevois now houses the Musée de l'Histoire d'Annecy.

.The Church of Saint-Maurice, originally constructed as a church of the Dominican order, has a flamboyant gothic style of the 15th century, and houses some very memorial interesting paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.

.The European Gardens, made just after the annexing of Savoie in 1863, where one can admire the very rich and diverse vegetation.

*The Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge), a beautiful example of the iron architecture typical of the 20th century.

*The Impérial Palace, inaugurated in 1913, with its public gardens, its beach and its casino.

*The Basilique de la Visitation, built in the 20th century, home of the tomb of François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal, offers a magnificent view of the town and the agglomeration.

Talloires is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Due to its marvelous setting on Lake Annecy Talloires has become a popular resort town not only since it has been rediscovered by a privileged society of artists and writers but also since the start of the 21th century[clarification needed] when the place became a world-renowned location.


The Tufts European Center on the Talloires campus 

Talloires is located south of Geneva, Switzerland, on Lake Annecy and 13 km (8.1 mi) from the local "prefecture" Annecy, near the border of Italy. The town is situated in the French Alps, along a bay on the east side of the lake.


The area of Talloires has been settled since Neolithic times. In Roman times, Talloires was a stage on the consular road leading from Milan to Strasbourg; the town is however mentioned for the first time in the 9th century AD. In 1016 an abbey was founded here by King Rudolph III of Burgundy and monks from Savigny and Lyon. The now standing structures of the Abbey were built in 1681.

View of Lake Annecy from Talloires

Talloires' mountainous landscapes and picturesque setting on Lake Annecy, medieval architecture, charming character, and summer and winter sports and activities, have created a small but vibrant tourist industry in the village.

The summer activities in and around the Lake Annecy include sports (golf, water skiing, sailing, trekking in the surrounding Alps, tennis, canyoning, paragliding, horse back riding, and other activities) and events (the annual Fête du Lac and Pyro Concerts). The Tour De France has been staged in the area on several occasions with a time trial stage around the lake. Talloires is also close to famed ski resorts, such as Megève, Espace Diamant, and La Clusaz, less than 30 minutes away.

The village of Talloires is 13 km (8.1 mi) away from Annecy, a larger city and major tourist destination. Annecy is three and a half hours from Paris on the TGV high-speed trains. Geneva International Airport is 50 minutes away on the A43 highway.

The primary business of the town today is tourism, although it is still a complete community in its own right, with a central church, post office, bank, library, and a small general store.

Panoramic sight of Annecy and Lake Annecy

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tinakilly Country House

Executive summary by darmansjah

Built in 1883 and located on an oak-lined avenue, Tinakilly House is a 4-star Victorian mansion set in 7 acres of landscaped gardens with stunning views overlooking the Irish sea. Tinakilly Hotel offers traditional bedrooms with satellite TV, bathrobes and tea/coffee.

Each luxurious and historic room features antique furniture, as well as cosy bathrobes and satellite TV. Some rooms at Tinakilly Country House have sea views, antiques or four-poster beds. There is free Wi-Fi in the public areas.

Boasting 2 AA red rosettes, Tinakilly's Brunel Restaurant offers a fine blend of modern and traditional cuisine using local produce and herbs from their own herb garden.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Amphitheater of Arles

Executive summary by Darmansjah

The Arles Amphitheatre (French: Arènes d'Arles) is a Roman amphitheatre in the southern French town of Arles. This two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. The pronounced towers jutting out from the top are medieval add-ons.

Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting during the Feria d'Arles as well as plays and concerts in summer.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Opera Ball and Hotel Imperial

Executive summary by Darmansjah

The Vienna Opera Ball (Wiener Opernball in German) is an annual Austrian society event which takes place in the building of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria (Wien, Österreich) on the Thursday preceding Ash Wednesday (a religious holiday). Together with the New Year Concert, the Opera Ball is one of the highlights of the Viennese carnival season. The dress code is evening dress: white tie and tails for men; usually floor-length gowns for women.

Each year, almost overnight, the auditorium of the Vienna State Opera is turned into a large ballroom. On the eve of the event, the rows of seats are removed from the stalls, and a new floor, level with the stage, is built.
Vienna Opera Ball, Poster

In a joint venture, ORF and BR broadcast live from the ball for several hours each year.

The Opera Ball was first held in 1935, but was suspended during World War II. It was revived after the war; it has been held annually ever since, with the exception of 1991, when it was cancelled due to the Persian Gulf War. Since 2008, Desirée Treichl-Stürgkh has been the chairman (supervising organizer) of the Vienna Opera Ball.

In recent years, the Opernballdemo, a left-wing demonstration along the Ringstraße against the kind of capitalism represented by, as the protesters see it, many of the well-to-do guests at the Opera Ball, has regularly taken place on the same night. There have been occasional outbreaks of violence.

In 1995 Austrian writer Josef Haslinger published a novel entitled Opernball in which thousands of people are killed in a Neo-Nazi terrorist attack taking place during that society event. The novel was the basis of a 1998 made-for-TV movie by Urs Egger with the same title.

The only ball officially associated with the Vienna Opera Ball is the Dubai Opera Ball. A similar ball takes place in New York City and another in Budapest, but they are not affiliated with the Vienna Opera Ball.

The Hotel Imperial façade is Italian Neo-Renaissance. The top of the building contains a stone balustrade that frames allegorical animals from the Württemberg coat of arms. The main entrance portal contains four statues that are also symbolic. The original portal was wide enough for a two-horse-drawn carriage.

The hotel's interior furnishings highlight the nineteenth century Viennese elegance with ornate marble, hand-carved statues, and massive crystal chandeliers. In the lobby, the Royal Staircase leads up to suites and rooms that are also illuminated by magnificent chandeliers hanging from the high stucco ceilings. The hotel's private balconies offer views of the Altstadt skyline.

The building was designed by architect Arnold Zenetti and built under the direction of Heinrich Adam in 1863. Initially, it was planned as the city palace (Stadtpalais) and residence of Duke Philipp of Württemberg (1838-1917) and his spouse Duchess Marie Therese (1845-1927), née Archduchess of Austria; its original name was Palais Württemberg.The Duke and the Duchess, however, did not enjoy their new home for long. After moved there in 1866, they sold it five years later. For the Universal Exhibition it was converted into a hotel in 1873.In 1928, two stories were added. But the original architecture is still very much in evidence and is an integral part of the luxurious atmosphere.

Over the years, the Hotel Imperial has had numerous famous guests, including Queen Elizabeth II, Charlie Chaplin, and Brangelina. Dignitaries and royalty from around the world stayed at the Imperial. It has had some infamous guests as well. Adolf Hitler, who worked at the hotel as a day laborer during his youthful period as a virtual tramp in Vienna, returned as an honored guest following the 1938 Anschluss. Also, Benito Mussolini stayed at the hotel during World War II but was shepherded through the back door on September 13, 1943, following his spectacular rescue by German paratroopers in Unternehmen Eiche (Operation Oak).

The Imperial was acquired by Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi (CIGA) after Prince Karim Aga Khan acquired the company in 1985 and began expanding its presence—which was purely Italian up to that time—into Spain and Austria. In 1994, the Starwood Hotels and Resorts took over CIGA and transformed it into its brand, The Luxury Collection, an assemblage of historic and venerable hotels in Europe that includes the Imperial.

The Imperial Hotel was partly owned before the war by a Jew, Samuel Schallinger, who was forced to sell in 1938 and died in 1942 at the Theresienstadt camp near Prague.

Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Austrian survivor of the Nazi death camps who dedicated his life to documenting the crimes of the Holocaust, celebrated his 90th birthday at the Imperial Hotel in June 2007 with a fabulous Kosher dinner party. “Look, even the chandeliers are shaking,” said Wiesenthal at the dinner. “Hitler is gone. The Nazis are no more. But we are still here, singing and dancing.”

Today, The Imperial is, perhaps, Vienna's most exclusive five-star hotel. Guests of state typically stay at the hotel, such as the Emperor and Empress of Japan on their visit in 2002.

A speciality of the house is the Imperial Tart or Imperial Torte as its called, which is a chocolate truffle, supposedly based on a secret recipe that is said to have been created by an apprentice cook who fashioned it when Emperor Franz Joseph opened the Hotel in 1873. The confection comes in either a plain pinewood box or a cardboard box (for shipments), each containing a single torte or group of small tortes. Tortes vary in size, from ones that are the size of an individually wrapped candy to others that are the size of a small cake (approximately six inches or fifteen centimeters). A complementary torte box is provided to each guest room and additional boxes can be ordered from the hotel for shipment. Nowadays, torte boxes are sold alongside other Imperial products, such as teas leaves and coffee beans (labelled "Imperial Teas and Coffee") and other varieties of chocolate confections. The Imperial ships its products worldwide, as the chocolates maintain freshness for two months.