1. Latest news from the luxury travel industry around the world:
- The Shangri-La Shard hotel in Britain finally opened its doors last this week (the hotel had been expected to open last spring). The 202-room hotel, one of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2014, will occupy levels 34 to 52 in the tallest skyscraper of the European Union, the 1,000ft (305m) high The Shard in south London. This is the first Shangri-La hotel in Britain and only the third in Europe, after Paris and Istanbul. Subtle Asian touches in the lobby and lobby lounge reflect Shangri-La’s heritage, while modern and classic art with pieces from a mix of acclaimed Asian and British artists are showcased throughout public areas. The hotel also has three wining and dining venues, a gym, a pool as well as conference facilities.
- Etihad Airways has introduced what will probably become the world’s most exquisite airline cabins on their A380 and B787 planes that join their fleet this December. With a living room, separate bedroom and ensuite bathroom, the Residence on Etihad’s A380 will be the only three-room suite in the sky and will be served by a dedicated butler trained by the Savoy Academy. Pricing for a ticket in the Residence was quoted in the press conference as $20,000 US dollar for a round trip from Abu Dhabi to London. Their first, business and even economy classes all look to be spectacular and will probably outclass most of their competitors. The new business class product makes other carrier’s first class look like economy plus. The first A380 route will be Abu Dhabi to London, and the first B787 route Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf. For more information and images, click here.
- The iconic Westcliff Hotel will reopen under the Four Seasons branding, following extensive refurbishment. Reservation are now accepted starting December 2014. The property is situated within three hectares of landscaped gardens next to Johannesburg Zoo, and will features 117 rooms across nine low-rise buildings. Five modern venues for dining and drinks will create a vibrant social scene. Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg will be the group’s first property in South Africa, joining existing African hotels in Egypt, Morocco, Seychelles and Tanzania.
- The luxurious Dorchester Collection hotels are facing a boycott by celebrities and a lot of negative press. Steven Fry and Ellen DeGeneres were among the first celebrities to raise awareness that the hotels are part owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who has just introduced tough new Sharia laws in his homeland. Among many other punitive measures, the laws call for the stoning to death of homosexuals and women convicted of adultery. Richard Branson, Jay Leno, Sharon Osbourne, Bo Derek, Mia Farrow and Sara Gilbert have since offered their support for the campaign, and nine fashion or entertainment-industry organisations have cancelled their events at Dorchester Collection hotels.
2. Our pick of the best luxury hotel deals:
All these deals are weekly updated on the website as well. We hereby only mention the hotel deals that were added last week:
- Take advantage of the Discover Belmond offer to save 15% off standard rates at Belmond (formerly known as Orient Express) hotels, trains and river cruises wordwide before July 31, 2014.
- Faimont has published discounted rates at many of its properties for members of its loyalty program President’s Club. Joining the program is free, so everybody has access to these great rates. In additon, it launched a promotion that is open to everybody with 20% discounts or free nights at many properties (or 25% discounts for President’s Club members).
- Book a minimum of 2 nights and receive a guaranteed room upgrade with Design Hotels. The lists incudes top properties like Alila Jakarta, The Library Koh Samui, and The Mira Hong Kong.
3. Our pick of the best luxury travel competitions on the internet:
These competitions are weekly updated on the website as well .We hereby only mention the luxury travel competitions that were added last week:
- Get a chance to win a Qatar Airways pajama simply by subscribing to our 3-weekly newsletter. Click here for more info.
- Win a one-night stay with Business Traveller magazine is in a deluxe suite for up to two people at London St Ermin’s hotel, including full English breakfast and choice of the Suite Dreams appealing trip enhancements. Click here to enter the competition.
- Four Seasons gives you the chance to win unforgettable Maui vacation experiences when you a book stay at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea between September 1 and November 30, 2014 (but non-guests are eligible to enter as well). Click here to enter the social media contest.
- In partnership with The Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda and Lady Lux® Swimwear, the Kiwicollection is sending 2 lucky winners to the island of Bermuda for 6 nights of rest and relaxation. Click here to enter the competition.