A Luxury Hotel At 2,000 Meters To Open In Oman


Boutique Asian hotelier, Alila Hotels & Resorts has revealed its plans to expand into Oman in late 2014 with the opening of Alila Jabal Akhdar.

The resort will be set in the Jabal Akhdar mountain range, a region of the sultanate that has seen limited tourist development, two hours’ drive from the capital Muscat.

Alila Jabal Akhdar will offer 78 rooms, 6 suites and 2 royal suites as well as a hillside restaurant. There will also be a pool, a spa, a fitness center and an event space.

This establishment at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level will offer all its visitors a luxurious retreat in a part of the sultanate that is largely unknown to tourists.

This luxury hotel will be the group’s first establishment in the Middle East. Alila also has plans to open more establishments in Indonesia, China and Europe.

Dubai Hosts Largest Gathering Of Chefs In The World


Dubai hosted 2,847 chefs two weeks ago, breaking the record for the largest gathering of chefs in one place.

It’s a city that boasts a slew of world records, including the tallest building (Burj Khalifa Tower), the largest shopping mall (Dubai Mall) and the largest box of chocolates (a box filled with Kit Kats weighing 1,700 kg).

The city played host to the largest gathering of chefs in one place, stripping Daejon, South Korea of its title by an additional 836 chefs or 2,847 participants in total, a record that was set just eight months earlier.

Held at Meydan racecourse, the world record was achieved as part of an initiative by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Emirates Culinary Guild and was an attempt to bring UAE residents closer to Emirati cuisine.

On the menu at the international event? Emirati sweets like Lokmat El Kadi.

Snow Disruption Set To Continue On Britain’s Roads And Rail


Snow brought widespread disruption to Britain’s trains, planes and roads with the extreme weather expected to last throughout this weekend – and then even into the middle of next week.

Commuters faced significant problems getting in to work and then home again on Friday – with forecasters predicting no let-up for a while yet.

In the capital, more than 170 flights were cancelled at Heathrow airport on Friday after one of its runways had to be closed for de-icing and snow clearance.

UK snowWidespread snow caused disruption on the rail network.

The London Underground was also been affected by the adverse weather, with the Circle and District lines part suspended.

Revised train timetables had been put in place by some train operators, with commuters warned to travel home before 6pm to avoid heavier snowfall. That snow forced more service disruptions on Friday – although the roads were largely quieter as the public heeded warnings to avoid the busiest times.

Delays were reported between London and Bicester North, with trains currently not stopping at stations between Watford Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone

UK snowA police officer stands in the snow outside Downing Street.

Reduced services prompted complaints of overcrowding on trains across the capital, with Eurostar also axing four services between London and Brussels.

Train passengers in central London faced delays of up to 60 minutes to services through Blackfriars station due to a broken-down train.

Network Rail said 85 per cent of trains in London and the south-east had been running on time this morning before the arrival of heavier snowfall.

UK snowA police officer on duty outside Buckingham Palace.

Up to 30cm (1ft) of snow is expected to fall across the country over the next few days, prompting the Met Office to issue its first red severe weather warning for more than two years.

‘There’s going to be quite strong winds which will push the snow into drifts,’ explained MeteoGroup forecaster Laura Caldwell.

‘Over the next 24 hours it is possible that 30cm or slightly more will fall in Wales.

‘Winds will be near galeforce in coastal areas and it could gust up to galeforce around the Scottish isles, which traditionally get the worst winds.’

UK SNOWWorkers clear snow at Heathrow airport.

Cardiff, Bristol and Southampton airports were also closed temporarily with forecasters predicting up to 6cm (2.5in) to fall today alone.

Across the country, roads have also been affected with the M4 closed in both directions between junctions 36 and 37 in Wales.

In Devon a section of the A35 was closed in Honiton while snow also caused a section of the same road to shut in Dorchester.

Top 10 Chocolatiers Around The World


According to National Geographic, five of the top 10 chocolatiers hail from the US, while premium Swiss brand Teuscher owns bragging rights to being the world’s master chocolatier.

In its list of Top 10 Best Chocolatiers in the World, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel reveals its picks for chocolate makers who produce things like “…a single-source dark chocolate bar, a cream or liqueur-filled bonbon, a praline, fruit dipped in chocolate, a truffle, fudge, or some other sinfully delicious treat.”

Topping the list is Swiss chocolate maker Teuscher with a tradition that spans more than 70 years, and which today has locations across the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

The chocolate maker creates more than a hundred varieties and products contain no chemicals, additives or preservatives.

Notably missing from the list, meanwhile, are chocolate houses such as Neuhaus from Belgium, which has been making chocolate since 1857, Parisian chocolate maker Michel Cluizel, and Italian chocolate maker Amedei.

Here are the top 10 chocolatiers 

1. Teuscher – Zurich

2. Vosges Haut-Chocolat – Chicago

3. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker – Berkeley, California

4. Jacques Torres Chocolate – New York

5. Norman Love Confections – Ft. Myers, Florida

6. Valrhona – Tain-l’Hermitage, France

7. Godiva – Brussels

8. Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates-Santa Cruz, California

9. Richart – Paris

10. Puccini Bomboni – Amsterdam

Mercedes Benz Posts New Sales Record In 2012


Luxury German carmaker Mercedes-Benz said on Friday it had achieved record sales in 2012, driven by accelerating growth in China and the United States.

About 1.3 million Mercedes-Benz cars were purchased in 2012, the firm said in its annual sales release, a gain of 4.7 percent on the previous year.

With 274,134 cars sold in the United States (a gain of 11.8 percent), this overtook Germany (261,084 cars sold) as Mercedes-Benz’s main sales market.

Nearly 200,000 Mercedes were sold in China, a gain of 1.5 percent, the firm added.

However, the wider Daimler company has suffered from a difficult environment for the auto industry and was forced to cut its full-year forecasts in October after a disappointing third quarter.

Cat Arrested Over Brazilian Prison Break Plot


A cat has been detained at a Brazilian jail after it was caught creeping through the gates with a saw and a mobile phone strapped to its back.

Eagle-eyed prison guards spotted a white cat crossing the main gate of the prison with its body wrapped with tape.

Upon closer inspection, it appeared the feline was in possession of a mobile phone, drills, an earphone, a memory card, batteries, a phone charger and tiny saws, or files.

Officials confirmed the items could be used to carry out an escape plot, or to communicate with criminals in the city.

There are 263 detainees in the prison in Arapiraca, a city of 215,000 people in the state of Alagoas.

All prisoners are being treated as suspects in the plot, which is being investigated by police.

However, the investigation has hit some hurdles.

‘It’s tough to find out who’s responsible for the action as the cat doesn’t speak,’ a prison spokesperson told local paper Estado de S.Paulo.

cat prison, BrazilItems including a drill, saw and phone were found strapped to a cat entering a Brazilian prison

The cat has been taken to an animal disease center to receive medical care.

The attempted prison break-in took place on New Year’s day, but pictures emerged on Saturday.