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Print Edition: Dec 11, 2011

Radisson's USA debut
With a presence in more than 60 countries, the Carlson Group's Radisson chain of hotels has made its American debut in the Windy City.

Occupying 18 floors of Chicago's stunning Aqua skyscraper is the brand new Radisson Blu Aqua hotel. Designed by architect Jeanne Gang, the exterior features undulating waves of concrete. The contemporary design has already won the building numerous awards including Skyscraper of The Year in 2009. Within, public spaces have been planned by Jim Hamilton of Graven Interiors, while Swedish hospitality designer Christian Lundwall has styled the 334 guest rooms and suites. Apart from its eye-catching design, the hotel also offers regular facilities such as an indoor lap pool, an 8,000 sq ft fitness area, two private party suites and even an indoor basketball court and fully-equipped movie theatre. The cherry on the cake is the gargantuan 80,000 sq ft green roof on the penthouse floor. With landscaped gardens, gazebos, fire pits, two outdoor pools, a hot tub, with cabanas and a running track. Incredibly, for all those features, and the view-a night at the hotel isn't totally unaffordable. Special promotional rates start at $160 for a night, with average room rates at around $200. Book now.

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Scraping the sky
The village of Huaxi in China's Jiangsu province is stretching the defnition of communism in more ways than one. For starters, it happens to be one of China's richest villages. With a permanent population of just 2,000, its latest initiative is one of out-and-out extravagance. The locals here decided to finance a skyscraper to celebrate the village's 50th founding day, as proof of their affluence. Soaring 1,076 ft into the clouds, the Longxi International Hotel towers over both the Eiffel Tower and New York's Chrysler building. This record-breaking building cost about $470 million to build. It resembles a three-hulled rocket with a giant gold golf ball at the helm.

Floating greens
Picture this. Three islands somewhere in the middle of the Indian ocean, linked by underwater tunnels and featuring an 18-hole golf course. Giving form to these expansive ambitions is the government of the Maldives. The $320 million project will result in the world's first and only floating golf course. The brainchild of Dutch design firm Waterstudio, this spectacular course will be engineered by floating architecture specialists Dutch Docklands and is expected to be ready by the end of 2013. Incredibly, while the project sounds like it will be extremely resource and energy intensive, the designers promise a zero carbon footprint. The islands will initially be built near shore, either in the middle-east or in India, and will then be floated and anchored into position in the Maldives. Furthermore, the entire course will be powered by solar energy and feature sustainable desalination and water cooling plants; making it completely environment-friendly. A revelation in futuristic design, this project has established the Maldives as a responsible antidote to climate change.

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UK's best restaurant
For the second year in a row, The Ledbury in Notting Hill has been named Best Restaurant in the United Kingdom by the National Restaurant Awards, 2011. Headed by chef Brett Graham, it also holds two Michelin stars. The best way for diners to sample the variety on offer is to order the holistic tasting menu that is priced at 95.

The BT More Playlist
New releases

Adam Lambert, Beg For Mercy The album's hit single is produced by Malcolm Welsford and was recorded before Lambert's American Idol stint. Watch out for it.

Rihanna, Talk That Talk The singer's sixth release reveals a provocative cover and collaborations with several hip-hop biggies in the dance-pop genre.

Korn, The Path Of Totality The new-age metal band's 10th album explores the dubstep genre. Inspired by a solar eclipse, it refers to the importance of being in the right place at the right time.

B.o.B, Strange Clouds The album's lead single of the same name has B.o.B belting out his rhymes and mixing it up with Lil Wayne's sound. A bold synergy.

Mobb Deep, Black Cocaine The band's first release since 2005, this album promises to resurrect hip-hop's roots while staying contemporary

6 things to do this month

1.Art Asia, Miami Running since 2008, Art Asia Miami has positioned itself as a space where international galleries, curators, artists, collectors, and educators can exchange ideas. Focusing on the best of established and emerging artists from Asia, it's on this year from November 30 to December 4.
Website ArtAsiaFair.com

2. Chennai Music Festival The Chennai music and dance festival is a celebration of the performing arts of South India. Held from 9 to 22 December, it will be hosted at at a number of venues across Chennai, including temple premises and heritage bungalows. The extravaganza will showcase artistes from across India.
Website FestivalsOfIndia.in/ChennaiDance/

3. Pune Jazz Utsav Now in its third edition, the Pune Jazz Utsav will take place on the 4th & 5th of December. It will bring together jazz artistes from Mexico, Poland, Germany, Italy and France. This year's line-up includes performers of international acclaim such as the band Jazzkomplott, Teresa Esterada Rodriguez, the Giovanni Guidi Trio, Alex Stuart Trio and the Mateusz Kolakowski Trio.
Website PuneJazzUtsav.com

4. Sunburn Festival Come December and tourists and music junkies from around the world will migrate to Goa's shores to enjoy this electronic music festival which promises international acts, thumping tunes and packed entertainment. December 27 to 29.
Website Sunburn.in

5. Spitalfields Music Earlier called the Spitalfields Festival, this London event is now called Spitalfields Music due to the constantly evolving learning and participation from the surrounding community. Held from December 10 to 25, this year's programme promises the best in early music performance alongside storytelling and drawing room concerts.
Website SpitalfieldsMusic.org

6. Upper crust food show This event is a travelling food and wine show that will next appear in Mumbai. It's the place to be for people in the hospitality industry to network and connect, with several big brands in attendance. It's also a good place for entrants to the industry to find their feet. December 9 to 11.
Website TheUpperCrustShow.com

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