Today (January 30, 2015): January 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:
- Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is now open
- Rosewood to manage Castiglion Del Bosco
- British Airways restructures its frequent flyer program
- Virgin Hotel “lands” in Chicago
- Virgin Hotel launches new app Lucy
- Fairmont opens its Jakarta property
- The first ultraluxurious Cabo resort reopens after the hurricane devastation
- Hyatt Introduces new full service lifestyle brand : Hyatt Centric
BANANA ISLAND RESORT DOHA BY ANANTARA IS NOW OPEN
Located 20 minutes from the heart of Qatar’s vibrant capital by a luxury yacht ferry, the new Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is located on its own island that feels a world away. It is a hideaway in true Arabian luxury with 141 rooms, suites, pool villas and over water villas setting the mood for romance and unforgettable holidays with family and friends. Guests can bask on the private 800 metre beach and refresh themselves in the 100 metre long lagoon pool, or master the waves in the surf pool and enjoy a wide range of water sports. Leisure options include bowling, golf and beach games by day, and VIP cinema at night. Culinary temptations showcase sumptuous Middle Eastern culture, refined Italian tastes and delectable world flavours, savoured with prestigious marina and tranquil sea views, shisha and signature mocktails at sunset, and fine dining under the stars overlooking Doha’s regal skyline.
ROSEWOOD TO MANAGE CASTIGLION DEL BOSCO
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed to manage Castiglion del Bosco, the bucolic Italian resort located in Montalcino, Tuscany. Founded by Massimo Ferragamo, the resort is set within one of the oldest and best–preserved estates in Italy and is located in the heart of Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort now bears the name Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. “Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is a celebration of the beauty, landscape and rich gastronomic heritage of Tuscany,” says Radha Arora, president of Rosewood. “It is also the perfect illustration of Rosewood’s trademark A Sense of Place philosophy. Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo have created a world–class resort that is authentic, stylish and historic. We look forward to working with them to build on their success and to invite a new audience to discover Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco”.
BRITISH AIRWAYS RESTRUCTURES ITS FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM
British Airways has announced big changes to its frequent flyer program (Executive Club). For tickets booked after April 28th, new rules have been introduced for earning both Avios and tier points, and also for spending Avios. The news is consistent with industry moves to more directly align customer rewards with spend, as seen at Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Emirates. James Hillier, British Airways’s manager of Executive Club, says the changes are necessary to allow members of the programme to have a better chance to redeem the Avios they have earned: “We listened to our customers. We are committed to opening up more opportunities for our customers to spend their Avios on British Airways, and to be as transparent as possible to allow both earning and redeeming within the programme”. The changes, which can be read here, affect both the rate at which Avios are earned by members, and also the rate at which tier points are earned.
VIRGIN HOTEL “LANDS” IN CHICAGO
Richard Branson’s first hotel has opened its doors in Chicago with the launch of the Virgin Hotels brand, which he describes as “beautiful, comfortable, fun hotels for guests and give them what they want and need while being gentle on their wallet”. The hotel brand offers free Wi-Fi (at unlimited bandwidth) and has eliminated early check-in fees, late check-out fees, room service delivery charges, business centre transactions, and other services that have caused frustration for travelers. The brand’s Chicago flagship is in the heart of the Loop district in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building, a 26-story Art Deco structure. It has 250 guest rooms, including 40 suites and two penthouses. The brand retained many of the building’s original features, including, a beautiful 1920s oak Cigar Bar that serves as the hotel’s front desk, ornate brass elevator doors, and the original mail slot and chute serving all floors.The Virgin Chicago features on our list of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2015.
VIRGIN HOTELS LAUNCHES NEW APP ‘LUCY’
In addition to the opening of its Chicago property, Virgin Hotels has also introduced Lucy, its mobile app that allows guests to integrate their device into their hotel experience. Lucy gives users a customised stay by transforming their digital ecosystem into a personal hotel assistant. Functions include the ability to make reservations, check in, adjust room climate, stream personal content onto guest televisions, and transform a guest’s smart phone into the TV remote. Guests are also be able to use to the app to reach the front desk or dining outlets and live chat with staff or other guests via the hotel’s chat room and message center. The mobile app will also be linked to the recently announced Virgin Hotels preference program, The Know. Lucy is free and can be downloaded by visiting virginhotels.com, the App Store or Google Play.
FAIRMONT OPENS IT JAKARTA PROPERTY
The new Fairmont Jakarta is located in Senayan, with very close proximity to the Indonesia Stock Exchange, Jakarta Convention Center and linked directly to one of the city’s most stylish shopping venues, Plaza Senayan and Office Towers. The hotel has 374 spacious guestrooms and 114 Fairmont branded suites. Each room is remarkably spacious, complete with premium amenities that are essential to both business and leisure travelers, including the Fairmont Gold, Fairmont’s exclusive lifestyle hotel experience. Additional features and amenities to the urban hotel include a number of lounges and several restaurants featuring a variety of culinary offerings. The hotel’s signature Willow Stream Spa is among the city’s most luxurious retreats with 900 square meters of soothing surroundings featuring 9 fully equipped treatment rooms, and an outdoor swimming pool.
The Fairmont Jakarta features on our list of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2015.
THE FIRST ULTRALUXURIOUS CABO RESORT REOPENS AFTER THE HURRICANE DEVASTATION
The Resort at Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is set to reopen this weekend, after extensive renovations which were necessary when Hurricane Odile had its way with the resort area in September. It is the first ultra-luxurious resort in the Cabo area to reopen after the devastation caused by the hurricane: Esperanza (an Auberge Resort), Las Palmillas (a One&Only Resort) and Las Ventanas (a Rosewood Resort) are still dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane and have pushed back their opening date for March 1st, March 15th and May 15th respectively. The Resort at Pedregal was formerly managed by Capella Hotels & Resorts, but after a bit of a legal tussle and a very public media war, it looks like Capella has backed down and the property has taken on a new identity as The Resort at Pedregal. Not changing is the personal assistant program for which the brand is very well-known . While it remains to see how the property will deal with the hurricane and media damage, its location, carved into a cliff on 24 mountainside and pristine oceanfront acres, remain sspectacular.
Click here to read our review of The Resort at Pedregal (we visited it while it was still known as Capella Pedregal).
HYATT INTRODUCES NEW FULL SERVICE LIFESTYLE BRAND – HYATT CENTRIC
Hyatt Hotels introduced a new full-service lifestyle brand called Hyatt Centric for business and leisure travelers. The launch marks the sixth brand Hyatt has introduced since 2006, and offers Hyatt the opportunity to again set the standard by using its distinctive approach to empathetic engagement with guests leading to innovation. The Hyatt Centric name was inspired by the brand’s mission of putting its guest at the center of the action in the best destinations. True to its promise, more than 15 Hyatt Centric locations, comprised of open and previously announced hotels, will debut this summer in the heart of some of the world’s most popular cities, including New York, Paris, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami. There will be spaces like The Corner, where guests can “work, socialise and peruse a curated collection of local books and magazines”, and a bar and restaurant area. Room service will be a “knock ‘n’ drop service, which will allow guests to enjoy gourmet food in their rooms without formal delivery”.