Today (October 30, 2015): October luxury travel news.
Every last Friday of the month, you can read our news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:
- Jennifer Aniston wakes up to comfort and luxury on Emirates’ A380
- W Hotels Worldwide makes waves with the debut of the W Amsterdam
- Qatar Airways adds Syndey and Adelaide to its rapidly growing network
- Ultraluxurious Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is now open
- British Airways takes delivery of its first Boeing B787-9
- Four Seasons seasons brings its sensual style to Seoul
- Singapore Airlines will resume the world’s longest flight between NY and Singapore
- Alila Hotels & Resorts opens its 3rd Bali luxury hotel
- Air India to connect Delhi and San Francisco with a non-stop flight
- Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota opens in the Colombian capital
1. Jennifer Aniston wakes up to comfort and luxury on Emirates
Emirates unveiled its highly anticipated television commercial featuring Hollywood actress, director and producer Jennifer Aniston. This marks the first time Emirates has collaborated with an international star in a global digital and TV campaign. The Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning actress showcases her impeccable comedic timing in the global airline’s light-hearted TVC. The ad opens with Aniston looking frantically for the onboard shower and lounge but being mocked and ridiculed by the cabin crew. It turns out to be a nightmare as she wakes up to reality in her own Private Suite in the Emirates First Class cabin before getting acquainted with the airline’s iconic A380 Shower Spa and Onboard Lounge. Emirates has, to date, invested US$20 million in securing TV spots worldwide for this campaign, which will have a 30-second and longer 60-second version.
2. W Hotels Wordwide makes waves with the debut of the W Amsterdam
W Hotels Worldwide, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, debuted in the Netherlands with the highly anticipated opening of W Amsterdam, bringing the W brand’s distinctive New York energy, Whatever/Whenever service mentality, and upbeat programming to the Dutch capital. Just steps away from the vibrant Dam Square and the Royal Palace, the hotel features 238 stylish guestrooms across the two buildings, including 21 suites, 3 WOW suite and two Extreme Wow Suites (the W brand’s reinterpretation of the Presidential Suite). Guests arrive in style when they check in at the rooftop W Lounge, the W brand’s re-interpretation of the traditional hotel lobby, on the sixth floor of the Exchange building. Looking out to the Royal Palace and lively historic centre, the 22 meter Wet Deck is Amsterdam’s first rooftop pool and will be heated in winter.
3. Qatar Airways adds Syndey and Adelaide to its rapidly growing network
Qatar Airways has announced its highly anticipated daily direct services from Doha to Sydney starting from 1st March 2016, as well as a daily service to Adelaide starting early May 2016. Currently, the Doha-based carrier operates daily non-stop flights to Melbourne and Perth with a total of 14 services each week. The Doha-Sydney daily flights will be operated by the Boeing 777-300 aircraft: QR908 will depart Doha at 20:10 and arrive at Sydney at 18:05 (next day), while the return flight QR909 will depart Sydney at 22:20 and arrive Doha at 05:05 (next day). The daily Doha-Adelaide schedule will be flown by the carrier’s flagship Airbyus A350 and represent Australia’s first Airbus A350 service. Flight QR914 from Doha will depart at 8.55pm, arriving into Adelaide at 4.25pm the following day; while the return leg QR915 will be wheels-up from Adelaide at 9:.30pm and reach Doha at 04.50am the next day,
4. Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is now open
The Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is set among 20 hectares of landscaped gardens filled with the scent of 100,000 roses, with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains providing a stunning backdrop. Located just 10 minutes’ drive from the heart of the city and the historic Medina, the hotel offers 54 private villas inspired by Berber and Moorish influences, all with secluded walled gardens, swimming pools and hot tubs, extensive areas for sunbathing and shaded alfresco dining. A further nine spectacular suites, seven with their own rooftop plunge pool, feature panoramic vistas of the gardens and the surrounding countryside. There are a variety of exceptional restaurants and bars, and a world-class spa offering the Group’s renowned signature treatments as well as treatments inspired by Moroccan traditions. The luxury experience is completed by the group’s unparalleled service, allied to the best traditions and hospitality of the Moroccan Kingdom.
5. British Airways takes delivery of its first B787-9
British Airways has taken delivery of its first Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner. It is the first of 22 B787-9s that the airline has on order and will join the eight B787-8s that have already been delivered. BA also has 12 B787-10s on order. The Boeing 787-9 is a mid-size, dual aisle, twin engine jet and Boeing’s most fuel efficient aircraft to date (20% more fuel efficient than the similar sized commercial jets it is designed to replace). Composite materials make up 50% of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wings. The windows are over 30% larger than those on most similarly sized aircraft and the brightness can be adjusted at the touch of a button. Serrated edges on the engine nacelles reduce the noise levels by up to 60% both in- and outside the cabin. The aircraft also features raked wingtips to further improve fuel efficiency. The Boeing 787-9 features an evolution of British Airways’ First cabin, with just 8 seats compared to the usual 14. The first BA B787-9 destination will be Delhi from October, followed by Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Kuala Lumpur and San Jose. To mark the arrival, BA has released a time-lapse video of the B787-9 being built in Seattle.
6. Four Seasons seasons brings its sensual style to Seoul
Constantly surprising, always captivating, Seoul is a city of contrasts, where deep tradition lives in harmony with innovative technology and leading-edge fashion, imaginative pop culture and fiery food, trendsetting style and a playful attitude. Now, in the heart of it all and welcoming the world for the first time, is the new 317 room Four Season Hotel Seoul. The hotel invited some of today’s most creative minds into a world of possibility guided by an unwavering commitment to quality, and the result is truly extraordinary. Sensory delights abound from the finest textures and finishes to the carefully chosen music in each area of the hotel and the signature scent created exclusively for Four Seasons by Lorenzo Villoresi Firenze. The look is a modern reflection of Korean tradition, with light-filled spaces and every modern convenience at hand. More than 160 contemporary artworks feed the soul, while attentive Four Seasons staff ensure every need and want is met.
7. Singapore Airlines to resume world’s longest flight
Singapore Airlines has selected Airbus’ newly launched Ultra-Long Range version of the A350-900 to resume non-stop flights to the US in 2018. Under an amendment to the carrier’s existing order for 63 A350-900s, seven of the aircraft will now be delivered with an Ultra-Long Range capability for flights of up to 19 hours. Optimised for non-stop flights to the US, the aircraft, designated A350-900ULR (Ultra-Long Range), will include a modified fuel system to increase the fuel carrying capacity, an increase in Maximum Take-Off Weight, plus aerodynamic improvements, enabling service to the US West Coast, as well as to New York. Singapore Airlines previously operated non-stop services from its home base to New York and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013 using the A340-500. Once operative, the Singapore-New York and Singapore-Los Angeles flights will take back their top positions in our top 10 list of the longest flights in the world.
8. Alila Hotels & Resorts opens its 3rd Bali luxury hotel
The latest addition to Alila Hotels & Resorts’ Bali collection enjoys an unrivalled beachfront setting along the sophisticated shores of Seminyak, Bali’s upscale resort destination. Renowned for great surfing, legendary sunsets, and glamorous beach clubs, Alila Seminyak is just a few minutes’ walk to Seminyak’s eclectic mix of chic boutiques, galleries, restaurants, cafes and nightspots, making it the hippest location in Bali. The 240 rooms, each an exquisite composite of thoughtfully designed spaces, are housed in four separate buildings throughout the resort. Guests can take the resort’s fully restored vintage 1980 Volkswagen Kombi to different beach venues and beach clubs in the area, where they can party with friends and make pit stops for cocktails and canapés. Alila’s sister hotels, Alila Villas Uluwatu and Alila Villas Soori, feature in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Bali.
9. Air India to connect Delhi and San Francisco with a non-stop flight
India’s national carrier Air India announced that it will connect the capital Delhi to Silicon Valley hub, San Francisco, with a non-stop B777-200LR flight from December 02, 2015. This will be the first non-stop flight to operate on the sector, fulfilling a long-pending demand of Indian IT professionals. San Francisco will become Air India’s fourth destination in the United States. Air India operates daily non-stop flights to New York, Newark and Chicago. The Boeing 777-200 LR (Long Range) flight to and from San Francisco will operate 3 days a week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The Delhi-San Francisco flight will have a convenient early morning departure and arrival. The return flight will have an early morning departure from San Francisco and arrive in Delhi in the afternoon. The flight will offer a 3-cabin configuration, with 8 seats in First Class, 35 seats in Business Class and 195 seats in Economy Class. Photo source: Sean D’Silva.
10. Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota is now open
With its stone columns and handsome brick façade, the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota is housed in a beloved Columbian local landmark. Medellin born and Paris educated architect Santiago Medina Mejia built Casa Medina in 1946, carefully assembling reclaimed floors, columns, paneling and ironwork to create an exclusive enclave of apartments in this fashionable area of Bogota. Recognised for its architectural heritage in 1984 and turned into a hotel in 1988, it soon became the chosen address for the city’s power elite to meet, and a home-away-from-home for an international who’s who from rock stars to industry leaders and heads of state. Now, after an extensive restoration, it reopened as Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota, taking back its place among the finest luxury hotels in the world. Just 62 sophisticated guest rooms and suites – each unique, with colonial-style beamed ceilings and handcrafted doors – exude a sense of composure and calm, in the midst of Colombia’s financial core.