Today (June 26, 2015): June 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:
- Starwood brings the iconic St Regis brand to the Maldives
- American and Qantas add new flights between the United States and Australia
- JW Marriott Macau and The Ritz-Carlton, Macau set new standard for luxury
- Qatar Airways unveils three US A350 destinations
- Four Seasons launches its mobile app
- Alitalia reveals new Business Class product
- &Beyond Benguerra Island Lodge reopens after refurbishment
- Emirates to launch 4th Italian gateway
- Carmelo Resort & Spa in Uruguay joins the Hyatt family
- Lufthansa offers First Class passengers Porsche 911 experience
1. STARWOOD BRINGS THE ICONIC ST. REGIS BRAND TO THE MALDIVES
Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced the signing of an agreement with Residency Resorts Malé Private Limited, part of the Chennai-based leading property developer, Appaswamy Group, to debut the renowned St Regis brand in the Maldives. Set to open in 2016, The St. Regis Vommuli Resort, Maldives will bring the brand’s hallmark luxury services to one of the world’s most magnificent destinations, ideally situated on the private Vommuli Island in the Dhaalu Atoll. A 40-minute seaplane ride southwest from the Republic’s capital city Malé, the resort will be located on a private atoll spanning more than 20 acres, surrounded by unspoiled beaches and a secluded lagoon with sparkling turquoise waters. The resort will feature 77 luxuriously appointed private villas, all with a distinct contemporary design scheme inspired by the island’s natural materials and color palette. Guests will have access to a tranquil spa with six private treatment rooms; an infinity swimming pool; state of the art fitness center and yoga space; as well as a dive and activity center. With an all-day dining restaurant, three specialty restaurants and a signature bar, The St. Regis Vommuli Resort will also offer guests rich culinary experiences.
2. AMERICAN AND QANTAS ADD NEW FLIGHTS BETWEEN THE USA AND AUSTRALIA
American Airlines and Qantas Airways plan to significantly expand their joint business by adding new service between the U.S. and Australia, providing their customers with expanded options when traveling between the two regions. Through this enhanced alliance, American will begin operating a daily, nonstop flight between LAX and SYD on Dec. 17, 2015, further strengthening its global network and its world-class LAX hub. Qantas will begin operating service between SYD and SFO, expanding the airlines’ joint network to another key market for business and leisure customers. Services will initially operate on peak days and ramp up to six times per week in January 2016. “Qantas has been a fantastic partner through oneworld and our joint business relationship, and strengthening those ties has provided us with a solid foundation to introduce American-operated flights into the Australian region,” said Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of American Airlines. American’s new service between Los Angeles and Sydney will be operated with the state-of-the-art, three-class Boeing 777-300ER (click here to read our review).
3. JW MARRIOTT AND THE RITZ-CARLTON SET NEW STANDARD FOR LUXURY IN MACAU
Marriott International, Inc. marked a new milestone this month with the opening of JW Marriott Hotel Macau and The Ritz-Carlton, Macau in the thriving Special Administrative Region (S.A.R) of Macau in South China. The properties are located within one of the world’s most spectacular destinations, Galaxy Macau, which provides easy access to a host of leisure and entertainment options, including premium shopping, exquisite dining, world-class entertainment events and multi-functional meeting spaces. Guests are invited to embark on an urban escape at Asia’s largest JW Marriott property or revel in the finest personal service and unforgettable experiences at the first all-suite hotel by The Ritz-Carlton. “The two hotels – each with their distinct brand identities – are sure to enhance the Macau experience and will redefine the meaning of luxury in the region,” said Rauf Malik, Vice President of Operations at JW Marriott Hotel Macau and The Ritz-Carlton, Macau. The JW Marriott has 1015 rooms while the Ritz-Carlton features over 250 suites on the top floors of the integrated resort.
4. QATAR AIRWAYS UNVEILS THREE US A350 DESTINATIONS
Qatar Airways, the global launch customer of the A350 XWB, has announced that Philadelphia will be the first destination it will fly to in the USA using the state-of-the-art aircraft, followed by New York JFK and Boston. The carrier plans to begin operating an A350 on its daily service from Doha’s world-class Hamad International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport from 1st January 2016. The date will coincide with the launch of services to Los Angeles, one of three new Qatar Airways destinations in the US for 2016. Starting on 1st March 2016 and 16th March 2016, the A350 will fly on one daily flight to New York and also to Boston; meaning three of Qatar Airways’ US destinations will all be served by the A350. CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “Philadelphia is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the US and is an important international business hub that is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies. “With the launch of the new A350 service from January 1 next year, Qatar Airways will be further strengthening its position in Philadelphia and the US overall as an airline offering passengers a world-class travel experience.”
5. FOUR SEASONS LAUNCHES ITS MOBILE APP
Long the leader in personalised service in the luxury hospitality industry, Four Seasons is now offering guests an opportunity to customise their stay on the go with a new, multi-functional, content-rich global app. With just a few taps, travellers can access a wide array of services and personal options wherever and whenever they wish. “With this innovative new App, Four Seasons continues to enhance the guest experience, setting the standard in luxury digital service delivery,” says Allen Smith, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Developed based on guest insights and extensive testing, the Four Seasons App is user-friendly and feature-rich, with the services guests have told us they most desire, such as checking in and out with ease.” Functions and features of the new Four Seasons App include features such as check in, check out, order room service, turndown service from housekeeping, restaurant & spa reservations, and special requests such as extra pillows, forgot-to-pack toiletries or baby gear. Currently in English, a custom version in Chinese is set to launch in August and an Arabic version shortly after that.
6. ALITALIA REVEALS NEW BUSINESS CLASS PRODUCT
Built around a new concept of exclusivity, Alitalia’s new Business Class introduces a restaurant-style ‘Dine Anytime’ service. Italian meals will be served at a time requested by the guest and will be served course by course and delivered by hand, removing the need for an aisle trolley and providing a bespoke dining experience. Another new culinary feature in Business Class is the Spuntino menu, which features a selection of delicious snacks that can be enjoyed throughout the flight. The cuisine and beverage offering reflects the finest Italian culinary traditions, using original and seasonal ingredients and accompanied by fine wines from Italy and around the world, selected by Alitalia’s own sommeliers. Inflight tableware features Richard Ginori fine bone china and stylish silverware. A turndown service is to be offered on all Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 flights featuring Alitalia’s fully lie-flat Business Class seats. A bedtime beverage will be offered and wakeup and breakfast time established with the guest. Seats in Business Class will be upholstered in fine leather by Italian furniture-maker Poltrona Frau, intricately stitched, and reminiscent of the interiors luxury sports cars. Lighter secondary colour shades are used to enhance the feeling of superior quality and elegance.
7. &BEYOND BENGUERRA ISLAND LODGE, MOZAMBIQUE, REOPENS AFTER REFURBISHMENT
Luxury experiential travel company &Beyond reopened its Mozambican island retreat, &Benguerra Island, after an extensive rebuild and refurbishment. The lodge’s elegant new design, which reflects both the island’s African and Portuguese heritage, adds to its exceptional location alongside a permanent deep water channel. Situated on the second largest island in the sunny Bazaruto Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, the lodge is set in a protected marine conservation area and offers pristine beaches and unspoiled coral reefs teeming with marine life. Spread out along warm, golden sands, every room and guest area at &Beyond Benguerra Island opens out onto a spectacle of sparkling ocean waters. Set among a lush island forest, ten casinhas and two cabanas admit cooling sea breezes through wooden shutters and glazed windows and doors that fold back to frame the magnificent views. Set under thatch, both casinhas and cabanas boast elegant four-poster beds with white linen canopies and comfortable day beds.
8. EMIRATES TO LAUNCH NEW ITALIAN GATEWAY
Emirates will start a daily service to Bologna, Italy, from 3rd November 2015. The capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna will be Emirates’ fourth Italian destination bringing Emirates’ weekly flights to Italy to 56. Set to be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER in a three class configuration (click here to read our review), Emirates will offer the only long-haul wide-bodied service to and from Bologna. The new flight will add 5040 international seats per week to and from the city, enabling customers in Bologna and the surrounding region to conveniently access key Emirates destinations in the Far East, Middle East, Africa and West Asia. Known as the ‘European Capital of Culture’ Bologna is a vibrant economic and tourism centre as well as being the perfect stepping off point for travellers looking to explore the neighboring cities of Florence, Verona, Parma and Pisa. “We have been committed to Italy for over 23 years and in that time we have played an important role in increasing opportunities for business and tourism across the country” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.
9. CARMELO RESORT & SPA IN URUGUAY JOINS THE HYATT FAMILY
Formerly managed by Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Carmelo Resort & Spa in Uruguay will be rebranded as a Hyatt Hotel. Located in Carmelo, Uruguay, the luxury resort is nestled on the banks of the Rio de la Plata river, and is strategically situated for guests to enjoy the natural surroundings of southwest Uruguay. The 44-guestroom resort incorporates Asian and South American design touches, including the use of imported woods, that, when combined, create a rich holistic zen retreat environment for guests, all the while maintaining authentic Uruguayan hospitality and terroir. Each of the resort’s exquisitely appointed 24 bi-level suites and 20 detached villas are designed for travelers to live and luxuriate in. All accommodations offer a private terrace for outdoor living and private dining, and stunning views of the surrounding area that includes a eucalyptus forest, pine groves, vineyards, and the famed Rio de la Plata. Consistently recognized as one of Latin America’s top luxury hotels, Carmelo Resort & Spa has garnered honors from major publications including Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Top 100 Resorts and Hotels” and Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Hotels/Resorts in South America,” among many other consumer and industry awards.
10. LUFTHANSA OFFERS FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS PORSCHE 911 EXPERIENCE
Lufthansa First Class passengers and Lufthansa Private Jet guests can now enliven the waiting time before their next take-off with a special experience – by taking a Porsche 911 or Panamera for a spin through Munich, the sub-Alpine landscape or Lower Bavaria. The Porsche First Class Excitement offer is available for all Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian Airlines passengers, Lufthansa HON Circle members or Lufthansa Private Jet guests who possess a valid First Class boarding ticket for that day. “With Lufthansa First Class, we offer our customers the highest travel quality. This is suitably complemented by the exclusive offer from Porsche, which turns the waiting period before take-off into a luxurious experience”, says Thomas Klühr, the Lufthansa Passage Executive Board member for Finances & Munich Hub. And this is how it works: The Lufthansa First Class Personal Assistant arranges the car rental. Passengers can book their sports car online before the flight, or make a spontaneous on-the-spot decision as long as the chosen offer is available. Back at the airport, your First Class flight starts as usual. A limousine takes passengers straight to the apron position beside the aircraft.
Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned for Monday when we reveal a new top 10 travel list.