THE signature Matsuhisa martini of Japanese mega chef Nobu is a sure bet with the opening of his first hotel in the Roman-themed Caesars Palace complex in Las Vegas.
Set within the existing Centurion Tower, the 181-room hotel within the hotel has 18 suites of up to five bedrooms.
The sake-themed suite has a media room, billiard table and bar, while the Hakone suite, in reference to the mountains and hot springs in central Japan, has an oversized bath-tub jacuzzi.
Guests can order from the Nobu room-service menu (another first), with talk of a bento box one of the choices delivered to your door.
Naturally, a Nobu restaurant, the largest so far, is attached to the hotel.
Nobu is familiar with the strip, playing the role as businessman Ichikawa in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film Casino starring Robert De Niro, a friend and business partner in the latest venture.
Rooms cost from $US279 ($270) a night. See nobucaesarspalace.com.
Starck's stairway to Bali
Bali regulars, mark your calendar for late 2014 and the slated opening of The Stairs, a dreamy Philippe Starck creation from design to interiors, in Seminyak.
In Starck's first hotel in Indonesia, a 19-metre-wide stairway will lead to 12 villas, each with floor-to-ceiling "glass skin" walls by graffiti artist JonOne, a loft bedroom, personal concierge and one-of-a-kind furniture in each villa.
The public areas will have a patisserie, restaurant with a French influence, mezzanine library, guest pool, spa and gym.
Change as good as a holiday
Sheraton Noosa's distinctive exterior is set for a colour change, from apricot to white, as part of a $10-million upgrade for completion in August.
On popular Hastings Street, all its rooms and Cato's Restaurant will undergo a facelift. Owner Starwood Hotels and Resorts has big plans for its Sheraton brand, with 30 new openings worldwide in the next 12 months. It says more than half will be in China, including the extraordinary ring-shaped Huzhou Hot Spring Resort by architect Yansong Ma, as well as four in Saudi Arabia, two in Turkey and two in Brazil, in anticipation of the World Cup in 2014 and summer Olympics in 2016.
Castle throws down gauntlet
Victoria's Kryal Castle, the place for all young knights and princesses in the 1970s, reopens in March and with it, 17 rooms of a mediaeval persuasion.
On the side of Mount Warrenheip near Ballarat, suites at the castle feature hand-woven French and Belgian tapestries, and guests will have special access to the castle's attractions — jousting, a torture chamber and a dungeon. While the castle officially opens on March 2, rooms are available now from $145 a night.
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