Philanthropy has always been at the core of V&VPR — this has underscored the way we approach our business, from a robust client portfolio of brands that advocate for responsible travel and sustainability, to putting aside hours to volunteer as a team for charitable organisations and non-profits. This year, we are taking this mission one step further, and we are delighted to have partnered on a pro-bono basis with Limitless.
Limitless is a non-profit organization that was founded to help youths in Singapore build hope, find worth, and live destiny-driven lives. Founded by Asher Low in 2016, Limitless strives to offer support to young people who may feel powerless as a result of any number of psychological and societal factors, including poverty, mental illness and social inequality.
According to international statistics, depression is an epidemic, with teenagers and youths in their early twenties being especially vulnerable. Almost 8% of teenagers are affected by depression, with suicide being the second leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide. Extensive research has also pointed to the fact that a third of young people struggling with depression do not seek help. Left untreated, depression can lead to other issues, including eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
Through a series of outreach programmes, education, social work, counselling, and mentorship, the Limitless team are aiming to reach youths from all walks of life to inspire, empower and equip them to live purposeful, fulfilled, and happy lives.
The V&VPR team are looking forward to supporting the team at Limitless with their media and communications strategy. If you would like to find out more about their cause and how you can help, please visit https://www.limitless.sg
With an increasing number of companies mandating a work from home policy, employees are now tasked with a new challenge – to remain just as efficient outside of their regular working environment. Here are a few of V&VPR’s top tips to stay productive:
- Get dressed and stick to your routine
Nothing says “it’s a work day” like a regular morning routine, so why should working at home be any different? Stick to the rhythm of a normal work day and get dressed to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
- Create a workspace
As tempting as it might seem, avoid working in bed and set up a designated workspace. This will help maintain a good sitting posture, avoid any distractions and most importantly, leave the work behind at the end of the day.
- Set boundaries with others at home
For people living with families, partners or roommates, working from home without distractions can be a challenge. Let them know about the new arrangement and set specific working hours during which you prefer not to be disturbed.
- Take a break and get moving!
Take a 15-minute break every 75 to 90 minutes and ideally, this break doesn’t include any screen time. Some of our favourite suggestions include exercise outdoors, doing a home workout or having a tea-break with a friend. Popular fitness gurus Cassey Ho and Kayla Itsines have created short at-home workouts that are ideal for times like these.
- Stay in contact with colleagues
Make sure to check in with your team regularly through messaging platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp, or even video calls on Skype or FaceTime. Keeping each other updated is a good way to ensure everyone remains united and on the ball, even when physically apart.
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the recent travel restrictions enforced, many of us are looking to support Singapore-based hotels for a staycation, or two! Here are V&VPR’s favourite staycation packages:
Located in Singapore’s bustling Chinatown, Six Senses Maxwell is set in a block of heritage shophouses and boasts a state-of-the-art spa, gym and a rooftop pool. The Weekend Great Escape offer includes daily breakfast, 30% off a-la-carte menu items and 30% off select treatments at Spa Pods.
The boutique riverfront hotel is situated on buzzy Robertson Quay and offers guests the perfect staycation. The Weekend Special Offer includes complementary use of Tokyo Bike’s for guests to discover the sophisticated neighbourhood and enjoy the vibrant dining and lifestyle offerings on the hotel’s doorstep. Guests will also enjoy breakfast at Marcello, full access to the gym and lap-pool and late check out on Sunday – to enjoy an afternoon stroll along the river.
Located on Sentosa, Capella is the ideal sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city life. The property resides on 30 acres of lush rainforest and is a serene destination to relax and rejuvenate. The new Sentosa Golf Getaway allows guests to enjoy a round of golf at the award-winning Sentosa Golf Club, voted the “World’s Best Golf Club”, before retreating to the privacy and luxury of Capella Singapore. Specifically tailored for couples, the Perfect Time for Two package allows guests to pamper themselves with a rejuvenating spa retreat at the property’s award-winning Auriga Spa. The getaway is complemented with delicious breakfast at The Knolls, and cocktails at Bob’s Bar with stunning views of the South-China Sea.
Singapore’s most famous landmark, and for many a bucket-list hotel with its picturesque infinity swimming pool, Marina Bay Sands is offering an exquisite staycation package. The bundle includes a complimentary room upgrade, early check in, breakfast at RISE restaurant, Spago Bar & Lounge, Adrift or in-room dining, access to the famous swimming pool and 1-for-1 cocktails at Adrift. This offer is also inclusive of free cancellation – allowing guests to book with confidence.
Sustainable eating has become the biggest trend over the last couple of years. Eating sustainably urges us to choose foods that are healthful to our bodies and the environment. There are plenty of restaurants in Hong Kong that are taking a sustainable-approach, here are a few of V&VPR’s favourite haunts in Hong Kong:
Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers.
A restaurant that pays tribute to a new-world culture that celebrates diversity, juxtaposition and a melting pot of influences, John Anthony pushes the boundaries by fusing Chinese food with a Western twist. The restaurant is eco-friendly, with sustainability included in every aspect of the design – from upcycling plastic into coasters, menus made from recycled paper and floor tiles made out of reclaimed terracotta from old Chinese village houses. The wines are all from environmentally responsible vineyards, and spirits from distillers that focus on craft distilling. The kitchen uses a food composting system to reduce its waste, and menus are curated with fresh ingredients from ethical suppliers.
MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting.
Potato Head is home to various original lifestyle concepts, including authentic Indonesian restaurant Kaum. The culinary collective has developed engaging relationships with ethnic tribes and small-scale producers in Indonesia to craft a menu that showcases genuine flavours that reflect Indonesia’s heritage
Oolaa is a chic restaurant and bar that debuted in Hong Kong in 2009. Serving a selection of tasty seafood dishes that are all MSC Certified, Oolaa ensures sustainable practices using responsibly sourced ingredients.
The world of luxury is changing and wealthy consumers are becoming active participants to save our world from extinction. As a result, luxury travel brands are changing with the times to become more sustainable. Protecting the environment is paramount in high-end experiential travel and MATTER’s 2019 report promotes how travel brands can adapt to survive and remain connected with their consumers through three main trends:
Consumers seek self-fulfilment through the new sustainable luxury
There is a growing demand of luxury sustainable travel due to a developing demographic of socially conscious, high-net-worth consumers who are increasingly rejecting overt displays of wealth in favour of inconspicuous and responsible consumption. These elite customers value green, inconspicuous luxury and are driven by self-fulfilment and personalised experiences. And so, luxury travel and hospitality is being redefined to incorporate artisanship, authenticity and sustainability, as well as ethical living. Experience and transformation have become the new currency for these next-gen jetsetters, who seek self-fulfilment through green travel, while ‘doing good’ for people and the planet.
Future consumers will invest more in sustainable luxury travel
High-net-worth wealth is transferring into younger hands at a fast rate. According to the study, 72% of Millennials and Gen Zs would pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to social and environmental change. Therefore, these consumers are more willing to invest in sustainable luxury travel and value green brands more than their predecessors. The young elite are reshaping philanthropy by seeking more ways to give back, and the travel industry is supporting their mission through new initiatives from one-off donations to long-term initiatives and volunteering.
Successful luxury travel brands will make sustainability part of the guest experience
Innovators in luxury hospitality are stepping up to environmental and social challenges, by putting sustainability at the centre of their business model and guest experience. From addressing the rise in veganism to rethinking waste, luxury hotels and resorts are honing their offer to attract future guests. Eco-tourism and conservation brand Singita allows guests to take part in sustainable and community initiatives when on safari, guests can leave a legacy from holidaying with Singita and contribute to their 100 year purpose to preserve and protect the African wilderness for future generations.
To download the report in full, please visit MATTER’s website.
As with any international city, London is awash with traditional tourist sites, from crowded cosy pubs to its famous landmark buildings and vast museums. If you’re planning a trip across the pond to London anytime soon, here are some of V&VPR’s favourite cultural attractions to add to your itinerary.
Whether you’re looking for art or architecture, a visit to London is not complete without an excursion to ‘the world’s leading and largest museum of art and design’ – the infamous Victoria & Albert Museum. The museum has over 2.27 million objects on permanent exhibition; from furniture, fashion and jewellery to ceramics, theatre, sculpture and paintings, you’ll be agog at the treasures within.
Kensington Palace sits parallel to Hyde Park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. As a place of residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th Century, it is a treasure trove of royal paintings, items, wardrobes and interiors. The Orangery, situated in the grounds of the palace, is the ideal location for a cup of tea after exploring the exhibitions.
The Tower of London & Tower Bridge
The Tower of London is at the heart of much of Britain’s history, William the Conqueror built this London fortress in the 1070s and now, nearly 1000 years on, the Tower still fascinates and horrifies residents and tourists alike with its rich and complex history. Home to the Crown Jewels, recognisable Yeoman Warder’s and the pampered ravens, the Tower of London is a must-see when in the capital. From the Tower, visitors can also see what is arguably the most famous bridge in the world.
The world’s largest antiques market, Portobello Road Market in West London features over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible you could ever imagine. Whether it be from tiny trinkets to one-of-a-kind antique furnishings, Portobello Road Market has something for everyone.
On Friday 7th February, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits hosted a preview event in Singapore for their exquisite range of lovingly crafted alcohol-free, classic spirits.
Ruby Warrington, author of Sober Curious and founder of the movement, was present to share her personal experiences, assess the history of drinking, and help re-evaluate our perception of alcohol.
The sober curiosity movement has seen a sharp increase in traction over the last few years, as people have become more in-tune with their own personal wellness journeys. It has been increasingly reported that Gen Z is the least-boozy generation to date, with more pressure at school and work being cited as the main reasons behind this change.
But what exactly is sober curiosity?
According to Ruby, it’s exactly that – to be curious about sobriety:
“[Being sober curious] means, literally, to choose to question, or get curious about, every impulse, invitation, and expectation to drink, versus mindlessly going along with the dominant drinking culture.”- Ruby Warrington
Often, Ruby argues, we drink on autopilot, with the expectation to drink at social occasions being firmly rooted in society. The sober curiosity movement encourages a judgement-free exploration of one’s relationship with alcohol and conscious drinking.
Drinking is socially ingrained
From weddings and birthday parties to work events and holidays, we commemorate many of life’s greatest moments or achievements with alcohol, with Champagne in particular being synonymous with celebration. Often, people declaring that they are abstaining is met with resistance by other members of the party, or else it is assumed that there is an underlying reason – namely pregnancy or alcoholism – behind the decision.
A rise in month-long sober social experiments such as ‘Dry January’ and ‘Sober October’ are becoming more commonplace, suggesting that people are looking for an ‘excuse’ not to drink, but how can the movement shift these mindsets and allow sober curiosity to become accepted, as opposed to reinforcing the notion that you either drink or you don’t.
So, what’s the alternative? Living sober curiously
The movement towards sober consciousness has inspired the creation of and market for viable non-alcoholic alternatives, which offer those opting out of booze a tasty, ‘grown-up’ tipple to enjoy. Brands such as Lyre’s are paving the way, lowering the ‘barrier to entry’ for the sober curious club and creating a talking point, bringing the questions of sobriety to the forefront of the conversation.
Every Lyre’s spirit is designed to look, taste and sashay around the palate just as its alcoholic counterpart might, whilst allowing drinkers to remain clear-headed and in control. Lyre’s will be available in Singapore from mid-March, and we can’t wait!
For more information on Lyre’s, and to take a look at their full range and recipe suggestions, visit their website.
If you are interested to learn more about Ruby Warrington and her journey towards sober curiosity, you can purchase her book ‘Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Deep Connection, and Limitless Presence Awaiting Us All On The Other Side of Alcohol’ here.
Mr & Mrs Smith latest report Modern Love details a shift from the outdated concept of a romantic trip with champagne, chocolate, rose petals and couples’ massages and onto a rousing notion of romantic travel – becoming more innovative, more exciting and more sensual with new experiences, surprise and plenty of wonder.
- In this new era of dismantled norms, changing perceptions, political melodrama and planetary peri, the senior team at Mr & Mrs Smith have worked with future strategic consultancy firm The Future Laboratory to determine the changing norms of romantic travel. From destination spas, back-to-nature rooms and psychoactive pleasure pursuits to peakends, self-romantic getaways and workcations, the tenets of the romantic trip will have definitively changed and expanded within the next decade: The hospitality industry will embrace a younger generation of couples, singles and polycules who seek meaning, pleasure and purpose through their travels.
- Hotels will become more conscious, with adaptable luxury personalised to their own unique concepts of romance to introduce moments of wonder, connection and intimacy into traveller’s lives.
- Although some guests will still indulge in the classic notions of romantic travel with candle-lit dinners and jacuzzis, the majority of travellers will look to reinforce their bonds by strengthening the communities in the neighbourhoods they visit to leave a positive impact on the destinations in which they go to.
- Single travellers will be open to serendipitous situationships when they travel. And as the working world becomes inherently more flexible, mid- weekers, peakends and workcations will become the go-to model for couples’ rest and recuperation.
- Within a decade, there will be plenty of new ways to indulge and rekindle romantic partnerships. Brands will embrace the cultural and social shifts that will represent this era of new romanticism, transforming romantic travel from something standard to a passionate, rekindling exploration from which, once experienced, there will be no going back.
As the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV continues to spread across the globe, the travel industry has taken a hit. In an attempt to curb transmission, the World Health Organisation has issued a ‘do not travel’ advisory for China, and more commercial airlines have suspended or services in and out of the country.
Outside of China, too, many companies and individuals are cancelling or postponing travel plans for fear of being infected, with the travel industry losing millions of dollars as a result. Inbound travel to countries such as Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam is being heavily impacted by the lack of outbound travel from China, which poses the question: how can hotels and other travel companies minimise the long-term impact of the virus?
- Slash prices: whilst it can be tempting to try and out-price, it’s vital that luxury hotels remember that the outbreak is temporary, and will not last forever. Lowering rates is damaging to brand equity and positioning, and can be detrimental in the long run
- Believe fake news: tabloid press and social media tend to indulge mass hysteria in times of crisis, and it’s vital for companies to remain calm and avoid speculation. Refer to the World Health Organisation and the local authorities for reliable updates
- Overreact or underprepare: whilst hysteria and panic will be detrimental, it’s also important to have contingency plans in place, so these are ready to implement if required. Consider the potential repercussions on operations should the situation worsen and be prepared to respond
- Appeal to the local market: with business and leisure travel being largely kept to a minimum, it’s important to address the local market in the immediate future, who are likely to be seeking new experiences closer to home
- Plan ahead: it’s important to have a crisis communications system prepared in case of worst-case scenario, including social media responses, media statements, and guest communications
- Strategise for recovery: use this time to relook at your 2020 Marketing Strategy so that you are ready to actively promote your brand when the time is right. People’s general attitudes towards travel are likely to have altered, so now is a time to reassure and inspire
A version of this has been featured on PR Week.
Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for authentic and immersive experiences, and the search for spiritual travel is also growing. This concept allows guests to focus on their inner exploration to examine themselves, and self-reflect.
We’ve outlined a list of our favourite itineraries that will allow active travellers to embark on an eye-opening off-the-beaten-track journey of self-discovery this year.
The Kumano Kodō is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the Kii Hantō, the largest peninsula of Japan. The routes are registered as UNESCO World Heritage and played an integral part of the pilgrimage process, as pilgrims undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification. Walking the sacred Kumano Kodo is a fantastic way to experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano’s spiritual countryside, offering an immersion into more than a thousand years of Buddhist history.
Committed to maintaining excellence in the craft of hospitality, Capella Hotels & Resorts have launched Capella Curates. The series has been carefully cultivated by the expert team in each locale, to offer exclusive adventures, meeting interesting characters, experiencing whimsical traditions, and the opportunity to hone unexplored skills.
Capella Ubud’s Confined to Quarters is a life-changing Capella Curates experience, whereby couples can escape the humdrum of daily life with 24-hours spent in total solitude within their uniquely styled tent. The day begins with a traditional Balinese blessing ritual and yoga session, enabling guests to reconnect with one another and refocus. After a restful night’s sleep, made possible by the day spent in solitude, guests can take part in a sunrise purification ritual at the property’s Wos River Temple – a profoundly spiritual process designed to leave a lasting feeling of calm and positivity.
Scott Dunn’s itineraries to Bhutan capture the pure energy and spirituality of one of the last true unspoilt countries on earth. As a Himalayan Kingdom of stunning natural beauty, travellers will discover the awe-inspiring sights – from lush-green rice paddies running alongside fast-flowing glacial rivers to the endless forested-mountains and the snow-capped peaks beyond.
Bhutan carefully manages the numbers of tourists to the country in order to preserve its unique culture and traditions, and so a trip to Bhutan ensures a remarkable vacation with a first-hand, intimate look into the secrets of this extraordinary country. A Week in Bhutan introduces the spiritual and cultural highlights, from experiencing the fascinating capital of Thimphu, home to Bhutan’s national animal in the Takin Preserve, to trekking towards Taktsang Goemba or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro. Tailored to travellers who wish to be accompanied, all itineraries in Bhutan are escorted by a driver and specialist guide.