Today (September 26, 2014): September luxury travel news.
Every last Friday of the month, you can read a news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:
- Raffles opens its Istanbul property
- Opening of the Delano Las Vegas
- Emirates launches daily service to Brussels
- St Regis opens a hotel in Chengdu
- Shangri-La rebrands Traders Hotels as Hotel Jen
- New York City welcomes completed High Line Park
- British Airways returns to Kuala Lumpur
- Hurricane Odile slams into Cabo San Lucas
- Qatar Airways takes delivery of its first A380 aircraft
1. RAFFLES OPENS ITS ISTANBUL PROPERTY
A beacon above the Bosphorus, Raffles’ newest hotel is an oasis of cool overlooking one of the most colourful and exciting cities on earth. Discretely positioned in the stunning Zorlu Center, the hotel mixes natural elements with angular architecture in a sublime combination of ancient and modern. The hotel’s 132 guest rooms and 49 suites are divided into eight categories, from Deluxe Rooms to the Raffles Suite. Every space provides sweeping, panoramic views across the city, airy interiors, and signature Raffles butler service. You can relax by the gorgeous indoor pool and dine on gastronomic delights at two signature restaurants, two bars and lounges, and a patisserie. It’s truly dramatic.
2. OPENING OF THE DELANO LAS VEGAS
Now open in Las Vegas, the Delano offers a new all-suite, smoke-free luxury hotel experience located steps away from Mandalay Bay. Featuring a unique sand-meets-water design, Delano blends signature elements of Delano South Beach with the distinct energy only found on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel offers dynamic social spaces such as Franklin, an eclectic lounge; 3940 Coffee + Tea; and Della’s Kitchen, where “historic farmhouse meets urban kitchen.” The Spa infuses the soothing elements of locally sourced ingredients, drawing inspiration from Morgans Hotel Group’s collection of hotels around the world as well as Delano Las Vegas’ desert locale. Delano Las Vegas is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International.
3. EMIRATES LAUNCHES DAILY SERVICE TO BRUSSELS
Emirates has launched a new daily service to Brussels in Belgium which will see up to 16,000 Emirates customers travelling on the daily Boeing 777-200LR between Dubai and Brussels each month. As the airline’s 145th worldwide route, Emirates estimates that it will deliver a boost to the country’s tourism sector, with Belgium a popular jumping off point for Europe bound travellers from Australasia. Emirates is the only airline offering First Class seats from Brussels to destinations in the Far and Middle East, providing an unrivalled premium experience for elite passengers. Emirates’ new daily flight to Brussels departs Dubai as EK183 at 07:50 and arrives at Brussels International Airport, at 13:15 the same day. The return flight, EK184 will depart at 14:45 and arrives at Dubai International Airport at 23:25 the same day.
4. ST REGIS OPENS A HOTEL IN CHENGDU
St Regis, one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands and managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has opened a property in Chengdu. The 279 room hotel, which stands at 29 storeys tall, marks the brand’s sixth hotel in China, and 33rd worldwide. It also marks a significant milestone for the brand with plans to double the St. Regis portfolio in Greater China in the next five years. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, The St. Regis Chengdu includes 11,840 square feet of meeting spaces and an Iridium Spa. St. Regis is the only luxury hotel in Chengdu to offer both indoor and outdoor swimming pools for in-house guests and St. Regis Athletic Club members. The property is located at the intersection of Chengdu’s business and luxury retail districts, and steps away from Tianfu Square and Chun Xi Roa.
5. SHANGRI-LA REBRANDS ITS TRADERS HOTELS PROPERTIES AS HOTEL JEN
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is rebranding its Traders Hotels properties as Hotel Jen. The change will be rolled-out quickly, a process that started this month in Singapore with the opening of Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway, a property that had originally been earmarked as a Traders property. Shangri-La plans for there to be ten Hotel Jen properties in the Asia-Pacific region by March 2015. The existing Traders Hotels to be rebranded will be those in Hong Kong, Brisbane, Penang, Johor Bahru, Manila, Maldives, Beijing, Shenyan and Singapore. The brand aims to provide guests with “efficiency and care”, particularly through the use of technology, which will include free WiFi and mobile charging stations.
6. NEW YORK WELCOMES COMPLETED HIGH LINE PARK
New York city, state, and federal officials have joined with Friends of the High Line to celebrate the realisation of a dream to preserve the full length of the High Line, from Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, north to 34th Street, where the historic rail line terminates at Hudson Yards. The opening of the northernmost section marks 15 years of advocacy for Friends of the High Line, which began in 1999 when Joshua David and Robert Hammond, two neighbourhood residents, had a vision to preserve the High Line and create a new, innovative public space for New Yorkers and visitors. The High Line Park is a model urban reuse project, one that was distinguished by elected officials, architects, urbanists, artists and advocates alike.
7. ETIHAD AIRWAYS TRAINS ITS FIRST BUTLERS
Etihad Airways announced the start of its butler program as the airline’s first-ever butlers began their training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London. Once trained, the butlers will work on board the airline’s new Airbus A380 aircraft that are coming with three-room cabins called the Residence. The Residence will feature a living room, private shower, and bedroom. The butlers will undergo a three-week course covering food and wine, international protocol and etiquette, VIP guest care, valet skills, and managing travel arrangements. The course is intended to prepare them to cater to the individual tastes and requirements of the Residence cabin’s passengers. The new butlers were previously in-flight chefs or food and beverage managers at the airline.
8. BRITISH AIRWAYS STARTS FLYING TO KUALA LUMPUR (AGAIN)
The UK’s national carrier will operate a direct daily service between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur starting May 27th 2015. It will roster a four-cabin B777-200ER onto the route. The aircraft will contain four cabins with 12 seats in First, 48 in Club World (business), 32 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and 127 in World Traveller (economy). Outbound flight BA033 will depart LHR Terminal 5 daily at 8.15 pm, arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 4 pm local time the following day. Return flight BA034 will take-off from Kuala Lumpur at 11.05 pm and land in London at 05.25 am local time the next day. The airline has given the route the same flight numbers it previously operated with before 2001.
9. HURRICANE ODILE SLAMS INTO CABO SAN LUCAS
A luxury resort favored by celebrities including George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston has been battered by 125mph winds during a devastating storm on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. At 9.45pm on Sunday, the Category 3 storm named Hurricane Odile slammed into the upscale resort of Cabo San Lucas, which is home to sprawling hotels and luxurious beach houses. Winds buffeted shelters, which had been prepared for as many as 30,000 people, as one of the worst storms on record hit the luxury retreats. After the sun rose on Monday, images revealed upturned cars and rubble-strewn streets, as tourists recalled scenes of terror as winds howled through hallways and forced them to flee. Many ultra-luxurious resorts, including Capella Pedregal, One&Only Las Palmillas and Rosewood Las Ventanas, sustained damage from the high winds and rain, and have closed their doors for the weeks to come.
10. QATAR AIRWAYS TAKES DELIVERY OF ITS AIRBUS A380
Qatar Airways yesterday took delivery of its first two A380 aircraft in a ceremony at Airbus’ Hamburg factory this month. The A380 has been much delayed, but the Gulf carrier’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker refused to blame Airbus for the late delivery. Instead, he attributed the delaysto his airline’s commitment to quality. The Qatar Airways A380 has 517 seats with eight in first class, 48 in business and 461 in economy. In reference to competitor Etihad and its recently unveiled A380 onboard products, Al Baker smilingly apologised for the fact that his A380 had “no apartments, residences, no butlers” but instead “had class”. London will be the superjumbo’s inaugural route on October 10, with Paris following in October not November as had been previously reported. Qatar Airways’ third and fourth A380s are currently being fitted-out at the Hamburg site. These will be delivered before the end of 2014 and are part of the ten firm orders and three options the carrier has placed with Airbus.
Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned for Monday when we reveal a new top 10 travel list.