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WINTER 2012I sea&iI33travelnewsA facelift in LAAfter a 24-month refurbishment, Hotel Bel-Air inLos Angeles, US, is back with a bang. Thesuccessful result of a thoughtful and extensiveredesign, the property retains treasured originalfeatures but now also shows off fresh twists. Its103 rooms boast new décor and fittings,furnishing guests with a more luxuriousbase from which to take in the sweeping canyonscenes that surround the hotel. Other notableimprovements include a new spa by La Prairieand a restaurant under the management ofmaster chef Wolfgang Puck. www.hotelbelair.comA FRESH TAKE ON ALPINE ADVENTURENira Hotels & Resorts' latest offering is a perfect retreat for those desiring fresh mountainair, spectacular views, first-class skiing and stylish accommodation. Nestled in thepicture-perfect hamlet of Surlej in Switzerland, Nira Alpina is located just outside St Moritzand offers guests a genuine ski-in, ski-out experience. Nira Alpina's attention to detail -including gourmet sandwiches for skiers eager to spend the day up the mountains,connecting rooms for families and groups, and well-stocked libraries - is set to make it afirm favourite with outdoor adventurers.www.nirahotelsandresorts.com

AMAZING GRACE IN CHINAThe award-winning luxury boutique hotel group Grace Hotels has introduced its elegantsuites to the Asian market. Set in the heart of Beijing's cultural centre, 798 Art District,this hotel offers guests a superb base from which to explore the country's capital. With 30individually styled rooms and suites, a 'Yi House' restaurant offering fantastic modernMediterranean and Asian cuisine, and a bar with an extensive cocktail list, Grace Beijingis rapidly establishing itself as the place to be seen. www.gracebeijing.com 34Isea&iIWINTER 2012ITC's latest addition in IndiaITC Hotels brought a touch of luxury to thesouthern tip of India this winter with theopening of a new property. The 600-room ITCGrand Chola harks back to the grandeur of theChola empire, which once ruled south India. Setin the fascinating city of Chennai, guestscan juggle exploring this dynasty's legacy whilemaking the most of the hotel's exceptionalleisure and spa experiences. Although ITC GrandChola offers a fantastic range of facilities andservices, perhaps what is most impressive aboutthis hotel is that it operates on renewable energy,in line with the group's stringent sustainabilitypolicy, enabling eco-conscious travellers to enjoyluxurious surroundings with a much clearerconscience. www.itchotels.inMaldives' idyll New to Per Aquum's edgy portfolio is a modernresort located over two of the Maldives most pic-turesque islands: Embudhufushi and Olhuveli.The tranquil haven of Niyama can be reached bya 40-minute seaplane ride from the Maldiviancapital Male, and once there guests can enjoy theiconic décor and design for which this hotel groupis renowned, alongside its impressive range offacilities, which include 86 studio suites andpavilions, and an extremely well-equipped andluxurious spa. Those in search of new experiencesshould check out its underwater music club. www.peraquum.com