Today (July 30, 2015): July 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:
- Aman to launch new resort in the Dominican Republic.
- SWISS unveils the cabin product for its new flagship Boeing 777-300ER.
- Mandarin Oriental announces second property in Beijing.
- Vietnam Airlines’ first Airbus A350 takes to the sky.
- Second tallest building in the world will have a 5-star hotel.
- Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal, is now open.
- The W brand is coming to Costa Rica.
- Singapore’s iconic Ku De Ta rooftop undergoes big makeover.
- The Lanesborough London reopened following an extensive renovation.
- Alila announces its debut in central Java.
1. AMAN TO LAUNCH NEW RESORT IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Aman, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, announced the launch of Amanera, scheduled to debut in the Dominican Republic during the fourth quarter of 2015. Overlooking Playa Grande beach from its cliff-top setting, the new Aman resort will be surrounded by verdant jungle and backed by the island’s dramatic Cordillera Septentrional mountain range. Presenting the first fully-integrated Aman Golf Course, the resort will be located alongside the lauded fairways and greens of Playa Grande. Amanera will have 25 free-standing Casitas, that all come with flat bio-diverse roofs and extraordinary views. Thirteen casitas will have a private pool.
2. SWISS UNVEILS THE CABIN PRODUCT FOR ITS NEW FLAGSHIP BOEING 777-300ER
SWISS will be ushering-in a new era in the history of its long-haul aircraft fleet next January with the arrival of the first of its nine new Boeing 777-300ERs that will feature totally redesigned cabin interiors. The 8 SWISS First seats will be transformable into the occupant’s own private suite that includes a 32-inch screen, the largest in the industry. SWISS First guests will also enjoy electrically adjustable window blinds and their own personal wardrobe. The 62 lie-flat Business class seats are an enhanced and refined version of SWISS’ current seats (click here for my review). From the 2016 summer schedules onwards, the new aircraft will be deployed primarily on services to Hong Kong, Bangkok and Los Angeles.
3. MANDARIN ORIENTAL ANNOUNCES SECOND PROPERTY IN BEIJING
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a second luxury property in the heart of Beijing, scheduled to open in 2017. Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing will be located on the top two floors of the prestigious WF CENTRAL, commanding outstanding views of several famous landmarks in the capital. The hotel is designed by world-renowned architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, and will feature garden terraces intended to capture the intimacy of a grand courtyard residence, ideal for guests to socialize, entertain and relax in. All 74 luxurious guestrooms and suites will be spacious and elegantly styled, and many will have excellent views of the Forbidden City.
4. VIETNAM AIRLINES FIRST AIRBUS A350 TAKES TO THE SKY
The first Airbus A350 for Vietnam Airlines has completed its first flight in Toulouse, bearing the airline’s distinctive blue and gold lotus livery. The aircraft is now in the final phase of production, including cabin completion, as well as further ground and flight tests. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in the middle of the year. Vietnam Airlines will become the second airline in the world to fly the A350 and the first airline in Asia to operate 2 newest Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 at the same time. Vietnam Airlines will acquire 14 A350s, including ten on order from Airbus and four under lease agreements. The carrier will operate its A350 fleet on premium long haul routes, beginning with services between Hanoi and Paris.
5. SECOND TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD WILL HAVE A FIVE STAR HOTEL
The 632 metres (2,073 ft) tall Shanghai Tower is currently the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world, surpassed only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The skyscraper is projected to open to the public within a few weeks. There will be a 120th-floor observation deck, offices, restaurants, cafes, “sky lobbies” (areas open to the public) and a five-star hotel, the 258-room Shanghai Tower J-Hotel, that will occupy floors 84-110 and become one of the world’s highest hotels. The hotel will be managed by Jin Jiang, China’s leading hotel group, and will join the portfolio of the leading hotels of the world, meaning stiff competition for the current best luxury hotels in Shanghai.
6. SIX SENSES DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL, IS NOW OPEN
True to its heritage of creating exceptional guest experiences in places of incredible beauty, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas unveiled its first resort in Europe, the Six Senses Douro Valley. Located in the beautiful Portuguese UNESCO World Heritage area of the Douro Valley, the property is touched with the romance of 19th century architecture wedded to contemporary interiors reflecting the inimitable Six Senses style. The resort covers 8 hectares (20 acres) and comprises 57 guest accommodations. With a décor of light greys and sandy tones,the glamorous rooms incorporate eco-friendly materials blending nature with Portuguese traditional design. The resort features on our list of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2015.
7. THE W BRAND IS COMING TO COSTA RICA
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced to debut the iconic W brand in Costa Rica. W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal will be the brand’s first tropical escape in Latin America, redefining the local luxury resort experience with its cutting-edge design, energetic DNA and Whatever/Whenever service philosophy, all set against a backdrop of spectacular shorelines, vast volcanoes and magnificent mountain ranges. Following the recent successful opening of W Bogota, Starwood will now bring the W brand to Panama in 2017, followed by Costa Rica in 2019. The beachside escape will feature 151 guestrooms and suites for ultimate relaxation and indulgence.
8. SINGAPORE’S ICONIC KU DE TA ROOFTOP UNDERGOES BIG MAKEOVER
According to CNBC, Ku De Ta – the swanky bar perched on the boat-shaped rooftop of Singapore’s iconic casino resort Marina Bay Sands – is undergoing an extreme makeover, including a name change. Now called Ce La Vi, the nightspot will go through a major refurbishment this summer as its owner L Capital Asia, the private-equity fund backed by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, looks to enhance the customer experience and cement its position as a leading “adult playground.” The name is a play on the French phrase, ‘c’est la vie’ which means ‘this is life’. Ce La Vi features on our top 10 list of the most spectacular hotel rooftops in the world.
9. THE LANESBOROUGH LONDON REOPENED FOLLOWING AN EXTENSIVE RENOVATION
The Lanesborough in London reopened this month following an extensive renovation project that will see it regain its position as one of London’s finest residence. The 93-room iconic hotel is now managed by Oetker Collection, the prestigious portfolio of ‘masterpiece hotels” including Le Bristol Paris, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the South of France and Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, amongst others. The renovation honours the building’s architectural heritage as one of London’s most revered Regency landmarks. It embodies the signature style that has become synonymous with The Lanesborough, whilst incorporating the latest in contemporary luxury and technological innovations.
10. ALILA ANNOUNCES ITS DEBUT IN CENTRAL JAVA
Alila Hotels & Resorts is announced one of its most exciting openings in recent years – Alila Solo, in Surakarta Central Java, will be unveiled in October 2015 as the city’s first luxury hotel of international standard. An urban retreat that’s both tradition-inspired and technology-driven, Alila Solo is poised to claim an iconic position in Surakarta’s skyline, offering culturally-rich encounters and resort-inspired facilities within a city oasis. Furthermore, the hotel will set new benchmarks as home to the city’s largest event space and unmatched rooftop bar, a lavish lifestyle venue to wine, dine and socialise. The 255 rooms and suites – all with wonderful city views – will meld modern style with subtle Javanese nuances.