Bangkok Plans have been revealed for Thailand’s first ski slope, a vast indoor snow dome created by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the billionaire owner of Chang Beer. According to Thai newspaper Khaosod, the 5,000 sq metre “snow town” will cost Bt1bn (£20m) and be part of a larger retail complex called Asiatique Charoen Nakhon. The plans also include a cable car that will travel up to 800 metres, crossing the Chao Phraya River and connecting to an existing shopping mall developed by Sirivadhanabhakdi. Construction is due to start next year. Meanwhile, workers are rushing to complete North Korea’s new multimillion dollar resort at Masik Pass in the east of the country. It received a setback when the sale of chairlifts from Switzerland was blocked by the Swiss government, but three working lifts are promised by the time it opens.
New York The Mandarin Oriental is to launch a new 3,300 sq ft suite – starting at $28,000 per night – amid a flurry of upgrades and relaunches at New York’s top five-star hotels. The Mandarin Oriental’s “Suite 5000”, to be unveiled later this month, has three bedrooms and a dining room for 12. It occupies half of the hotel’s 50th floor, giving views over Central Park and the Hudson. Meanwhile, the St Regis New York on 5th Avenue is to be relaunched on November 1 following a nine-month, $90m renovation. The hotel opened in 1904 in an 18-floor beaux arts building credited with being the city’s first skyscraper. As well as a new gym and restaurant, the hotel’s suites have been redeveloped; the new presidential suite starts at $35,000 per night. Last month the New York Palace revealed the results of its own $140m refurbishment, including a three-floor “Champagne suite” complete with a wine cellar and roof terrace. www.mandarinoriental.com, www.starwoodhotels.com, www.newyorkpalace.com
British Columbia Chris Davenport, one of North America’s best-known extreme skiers, is to host what will be a dream trip for enthusiasts. The 10-day heli-ski trip, starting March 21 next year, will be based at Canadian Mountain Holidays’ remote Gothics lodge, about 50 miles north of Revelstoke. Davenport, who has appeared in more than 30 ski films and achieved numerous first descents, will spend six-and-a-half days heli-skiing with guests (weather permitting). The full package costs £6,765 (children 12-17 half price). www.purepowder.com
Edinburgh The Royal Scotsman, the UK’s only luxury sleeper train, will next year venture beyond Scotland for the first time in many years. The train, operated by Orient-Express Hotels, normally runs trips of between two and seven nights around Scotland, but from August 2014 will also offer a three-night trip from Edinburgh to London. Highlights include a drinks reception at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk estate, a visit to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland and a punting trip in Cambridge. The train sleeps up to 36 in en suite Edwardian-style cabins; the operators describe it as “like a country-house party on wheels”. It costs £3,440 per person. www.orient-express.com