Gillian Rhys
Gillian Rhys
Gillian Rhys has contributed to the SCMP for a decade. She has been an editor at the BBC, LUXE City Guides and delicious magazine and has written about travel and lifestyle for the likes of the Robb Report,, Australian Financial Review and the UK’s FT, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and the Evening Standard. She lives in London after several years in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Some are cartoon animals, others drawn from myth or fantasy, still others take pride of place in hotels, like dragon Lucky George. Tourism mascots that succeed are seared in the travelling public’s imagination.

A Hong Kong-Singapore rivalry has been teed up with The Peninsula and Raffles both recently opening in London. Here’s the lowdown on their rooms, suites, prices, restaurants, bars and fitness centres.

From where David and Victoria Beckham stayed on their first holiday to the fairy-tale castle they got married in to their ski resort of choice, five hotels the power couple have visited that you can stay at too.

Touring musical superstars such as Taylor Swift, Beyonce, BTS and Blackpink are aiding the growth of music tourism, when people combine seeing their idols perform with tourist attractions and shopping.


A murder mystery experience on a luxury British Pullman train is cleverly conceived, perfectly acted and comes with a delicious five-course lunch to boot.

The chef’s selection at Sushi Kanesaka in London – the newest outpost of a Japanese chef who has several Michelin-star venues in Tokyo – will be the most expensive set menu in the UK.

Logan Roy and the children vying to take over his business empire in HBO’s Succession – Kendall, Roman and Shiv – were filmed at some of the most luxurious hotels and holiday rentals in the US and Europe.

The House of Lords in Britain’s Houses of Parliament opens its Peers’ Dining Room to the public for a few days every year, and this writer enjoyed a very British three-course meal.

Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is sure to spark interest in the real-life queen, wife of Britain’s King George III. We look at places in and around London where you can follow in her footsteps.

Netflix’s You returns with anti-hero Joe now living in London. Here are some of the most impressive places to visit featured in season 4, from the city’s oldest church to a medieval market.


Opening in spring 2023, The Peninsula London will feature 190 guest rooms and suites, and several bars and restaurants, including Canton Blue, inspired by a Hong Kong trading junk.

Asian hotel brands including Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula, Raffles and Six Senses are about to arrive in London, and all will bring wellness facilities with them.

The Captain’s House at Castle of Mey in Scotland, favourite of the late Queen Elizabeth’s mother, converted barns at King Charles’ Welsh farm, the Garden House at Sandringham – all these and more are available to rent for holidays.

An iconic London landmark, Battersea Power Station produced electricity for 50 years until 1983. After lying dormant for 40 years, a Malaysian group has reinvented it as a retail and leisure destination.

As tours open for the first time since 2019, we visit the 19 splendid State Rooms where the British royal family meets and entertains official visitors, with tickets priced £30 per adult.

The Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s final completed novel was filmed across a range of charming and picturesque places in England, many of which the public can visit.

The Old War Office (The OWO) in London’s Whitehall has long been a filming location for James Bond movies. Now it is being turned into the Raffles London luxury hotel.

From more focus on sustainability and local experiences to staying in one place for longer, hotel guests have shifted their expectations during the pandemic, Dorsett president Winnie Chiu says.

All the privacy you want and deluxe hotel service too? Forget self-catering – a new breed of luxury holiday companies rents out private residences that come with top chefs, yoga instructors and housekeeping staff.

Autumn in Wales, from director Rahila Ali, unfolds against a backdrop of bucolic riversides, stone-walled cottages, colourful seaside houses and castle ruins.

The Peninsula’s opening in Kowloon in 1928 was met with scorn, but from Hong Kong a global luxury hotel brand grew, and it’s not the only one. The city’s location, talent and cosmopolitanism make it the ideal base.

Did a French barman create the Bloody Mary in Paris in 1921 or in New York in 1934? Was the first Singapore Sling poured at the Long Bar of the Raffles hotel in Singapore as claimed?

With The Wolseley’s operator Corbin & King going into administration, Jeremy King says the ‘scattergun’ approach of its Thai majority owner to expanding in Asia was ‘completely inappropriate’.

HBO period drama The Gilded Age was partly filmed on location, using exterior shots of Hudson Valley towns and New York’s Central Park and the interiors of Rhode Island mansions, many of which you can visit.

The Duchess of Argyll spent a fortune restoring Inveraray Castle in western Scotland, now full of secret doors, ancient weapons and priceless artwork. Oh, and it was in Downton Abbey, too.

An ‘immersive pop-up’ recreation of Carrie’s New York apartment in the British capital to mark the launch of the Sex and the City revival series And Just Like That ... was a big weekend draw. The Post joined a tour

Interior designer Tara Bernerd talks us through how she completed preparations for the Hari Hong Kong hotel’s opening remotely from lockdown in London.

A variety of locations in the UK and Spain’s volcanic Canary Islands stood in for the Amazon rainforest, Alaska, ancient Mesopotamia and the Australian Outback.