THE Moet was flowing at the glamorous Jonah's restaurant at Whale Beach in Sydney recently. And with good reason. When you launch a stylish book brimming with some of the most luxurious holiday properties in the world, you are not going to serve anything less than French bubbles.
Relais & Chateaux launched its much anticipated 2011 guide on November 19 and where better to celebrate the new and expanded famous white book with its distinctive golden fleur de lys logo, than at one of its featured properties?
Jonah's – five-star restaurant and boutique hotel of eight rooms – teeters spectacularly on the cliffs overlooking Sydney's Whale Beach and is the only five-star hotel on Sydney's beaches. It is just one of almost 500 outstanding properties to feature in the book, and is in keeping with the exceptional standard demanded of all Relais & Chateaux properties.
When you consider that Hollywood celebrity Richard Gere is an owner of one of the Relais & Chateaux properties, you have an idea of the benchmark set for entry into this elite association.
Richard Gere's property, Bedford Post Inn in Bedford, New York, comprises eight luxurious rooms, a yoga studio, two restaurants and a bar in tranquil grounds, a perfect escape from the city with the bonus that you may...just may...find Richard Gere himself showing you to your room. (Best not to anticipate that delicious fantasy though.)
Restaurants, lodges, chateaux and boutique hotels that meet the Relais & Chateaux exacting criteria burst with gorgeous colour from almost 700 pages of temptation in the 2011 guide.
Tetsuya Wakuda's Sydney restaurant features opposite a gorgeous spread on Chateau Yering in Victoria's Yarra Valley. In France, Bastide de Capelongue will take you to the heart of Provence between the pretty villages of Menerbes and Lacoste where Chef Edouard Loubet shows his respect for the terroir during cooking classes.
From stately English manors to a Zen hotel in Japan, from a terraced hotel in Santorini to inviting pavilions in Bali, from a thrilling elephant camp in South Africa to a lavish villa in Tuscany....the properties inside the pages of Relais & Chateaux all invite you to step inside a world of uncompromising elegance and extravagance.
As was fitting for the launch of such a prestigious guide in so beautiful a restaurant as Jonah's, we were taken there by sea plane to land smoothly on the waters of Whale Beach to an awaiting launch. Many of Jonah's discerning customers like to arrive this way. It's all about the moments of “being” according to Jaume Tapies, International President of Relais & Chateaux.
At the end of the afternoon, flying over Sydney's northern beaches, looking down on the dramatic cliffs and surging Pacific Ocean before flying over sumptuous cliff-front homes where the lavender pom poms of the Jacaranda trees seemed small and fragile, we felt everything was indeed okay in the world of Relais & Chateaux.
A quarter of a million copies of Relais & Chateau guide have been distributed in 60 countries. For a copy telephone 1300 121 341 or visit www.relaischateaux.com/en/the-guide
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