Today (July 29, 2016): July luxury travel news.
Every last Friday of the month, you can read my news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:
- Viceroy Anguilla will reopen as a Four Seasons resort this autumn
- United Airlines launches non-stop service to Auckland, New Zealand
- Canyon Ranch opens it highly anticipated property in Bodrum, Turkey
- Brussels Airlines starts serving fries & Belgian waffles onboard
- The Four Seasons hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, is now open
- A teenager becomes the youngest ever UK airline pilot
- Preview of Mexico’s first resort with overwater bungalows
- Etihad Airways upgrades its New York service to all A380
- Paris Hilton to launch luxury hotels in Dubai, New York and Las Vegas
- Airline offers unlimited Business Class
1. Viceroy Anguilla will reopen as a Four Seasons resort this autumn
Four Seasons, one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, announced that they will take over management of the Viceroy Anguilla resort. Following the resort’s annual closure from August to October, the property will reopen as Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Anguilla, the second resort in the company’s Caribbean collection. The hotel features 166 accommodations including dedicated resort guest rooms, whole-ownership beachfront private residences, and vacation rental units. Offering secluded luxury amid a high-end atmosphere popular with families and celebrities alike, guests and residents of the hotel enjoy access to world-class dining, an excellent spa, a superb spa, and a wide range of pool and watersport activities. Casual yet chic, the property elevates seaside luxury on the island, combining sleek, modern design and stunning natural surroundings with Four Seasons legendary quality and service.
Four Seasons Anguilla (currently still a Viceroy Resort) features in my top 10 list of the world’s most amazing hotel beaches.
2. United Airlines launches non-stop service to Auckland, New Zealand
Traveling between the USA West Coast and the South Pacific just got easier as United Airlines launched a new nonstop service between its premier Pacific gateway at San Francisco International Airport and Auckland, New Zealand. United flight 917 will depart San Francisco at 10:45 p.m. three times weekly, arriving at Auckland International Airport at 6:55 a.m. two days later due to time zone differences (all times local). On the return, flight 916 will depart Auckland at 1:20 p.m. daily, arriving at San Francisco International Airport at 6:40 a.m. the same day. Flying times will be approximately 13 hours westbound and 12 hours, 20 minutes eastbound. United will operate the Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the San Francisco to Auckland inaugural route, which are built using lightweight composites, state-of-the-art engines and an improved aerodynamic design, allowing it to fly farther, faster and more efficiently than similar-sized conventional aircraft.
3. Canyon Ranch opens it highly anticipated Bodrum property
Canyon Ranch opened its first-ever international destination outside the USA, Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort at Kaplankaya, on a spectacular peninsula of the sun-kissed Aegean coast in Turkey. The resort, one of the top 10 best hotels in Bodrum, lies directly on the waterfront in Turgutreis, approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the centre of Bodrum. The two-storey hotel of comprises 66 rooms and suites. This is further complimented by 72 serviced residences. The restaurants and bars are places of entertainment, where the ambience runs from formal to casual and dishes are prepared with the best local products. With indoor & outdoor pools and Purovel Spa & Sport facilities, the resort provides guests with a wide variety of sport and leisure opportunities. Timing is a bit unfortunate though, with all the political problems that Turkey is dealing with right now.
4. Brussels Airlines starts serving fries & Belgian waffles onboard
Belgium – my home country – is known for Tintin, surrealism, Tomorrowland, chocolate and above all… fries, something Brussels Airlines did not offer yet on board, until now. The airline has put fries on its in-flight menu, wíth mayo or ketchup, of course. The Belgian fries are available on all European flights with a duration of over 2 hours. After the fries, another Belgian specialty will be added to the menu: warm Belgian waffles, which are a big hit among foreign travelers. Since years Brussels Airlines makes a big effort to be a flying ambassador for Belgium and to introduce the best of Belgium to foreign customers. For the Belgian customers it is a way to make them feel at home, right from the moment they board their flight. Brussels Airlines serves meals of Belgian Michelin starred chefs on its long distance flights and offers Belgian beers, cheeses and chocolate to its customers. Next to that they have dedicated three aircraft liveries to Belgian icons: Tintin, surrealist painter Magritte and the Red Devils (Belgium’s national football team).
5. The Four Seasons Jakarta, Indonesia, is now open
Ideally situated on Jalan Gatot Subroto within the city’s Central Business District, the all-new Capital Place, an award-winning architectural landmark by César Pelli, is home to leading businesses, and now, the stunning new Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta. From the moment one enters the soaring lobby with its grand staircase lit by a magnificent crystal chandelier, a classical European aesthetic is reflected in the colour palettes, materials and finishes, fine furnishings and sophisticated lighting. Intimately scaled with just 125 accommodations, the all-suites Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta feels as much a luxurious residence as a modern hotel. With its excellent dining options, sumptuously appointed spa and handsome event spaces, it promises to be the preferred address of the city’s elite, as well as business and leisure travellers from around the world.
6. A teenager becomes the youngest ever UK airline pilot
Per Metro UK, Luke Elsworth, 19, was offered a job with easyJet after taking one of the fastest possible routes to becoming qualified. He enrolled in the airline’s pilot training programme at CTC Aviation in Southampton almost as soon as they would accept him – just nine days after turning 18. Mr Elsworth completed the course – which included six months on simulators and a stint flying light aircraft in Arizona, USA – in 18 months and he was appointed as a first officer for easyJet in April. He holds a Multi-Crew Pilot Licence and is the youngest airline pilot in the UK, according to Civil Aviation Authority records. Asked whether he felt it was appropriate for someone of his age to fly passenger jets, Mr Elsworth replied: ‘I don’t see why not. I really want to encourage more younger people to get into it. ‘If you’re good enough to be there, you’ve done the training and you’re suited towards it then I don’t think age really has an impact.’
7. Preview of Mexico’s first resort with overwater bungalows
Per Robb Report, overwater bungalows, a staple of the South Pacific and the Maldives, have made their way to Mexico for the first time ever. El Dorado Maroma, an adults-only resort in Riviera Maya, has added 30 thatched-roof palafitos or overwater bungalows ($665 per adult, per night). Perched above Maroma Beach’s turquoise waters, each suite provides spectacular views, direct access to the Caribbean Sea via a ladder, a private infinity pool, glass-bottom floors for firsthand views of marine life, and an outdoor shower. The bungalows are also part of Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new Connoisseur Collection program that offers guests a personal concierge who can arrange bespoke activities and experiences. The bungalows are scheduled for completion and will be ready for bookings September 1.
8. Etihad Airways upgrades its New York service to all A380
Beginning on June 1, 2017, Etihad Airways will upgrade its second flight between Abu Dhabi and New York JFK to its award-winning A380 aircraft which features The Residence, the only three-room suite available in commercial airline operation, and its award-winning First Apartment cabins (which I reviewed here). The new service will join the airline’s existing daily A380 service, replacing the current daily Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Etihad Airways first began welcoming guests on board its first A380 flight between New York JFK and Abu Dhabi in November 2015. “The response we have received from Etihad Airways guests traveling between Abu Dhabi and New York since we launched the service nearly a decade ago has been phenomenal, and we are delighted to further expand our world-class product for all guests traveling to and from New York,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer.
9. Paris Hilton to launch luxury hotels in Dubai, New York and Las Vegas
Per Forbes, Paris Hilton will soon launch a new line of luxury hotels bearing her name in Dubai, New York and Las Vegas. Paris has parlayed her media fame into a multimillion dollar emperium, with focus on perfumes and fashion. This latest career venture comes after she designed a couple of high-end, trendsetting beach clubs in the Philippines, such as the Paris Beach Club at the Azure Urban Resort Residence. The new hotels will all feature the beach theme that Paris has embraced in the Philippines, with open parks, zen gardens, lap pools with cascading waterfalls, and man-made beaches. Hotel wings will be named after the socialite’s favorite seaside resorts and beaches, such as Bali, St. Barths. Barbados, and Kauai. Paris is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, who founded the Hilton Hotels group, but her hotels will not form part of the wider Hilton group.
10. Airline offers unlimited Business Class
La Compagnie, an all Business Class airline that flies between Paris, London and New York, has made headlines before for its very cheap business class fares. Now, the boutique French carrier is upping the ante by offering the opportunity to fly unlimited Business Class. You have to pay $35,000 once by wire transfer and your L’Unlimited pass is valid for one year from the first booking. As long as a seat is available, you can book it, and you can change or cancel your booking without extra fees until 3 hours before departure (in case of a no-show, a $2,500 penalty will be applied). The offer is limited and only valid for the ten first buyers. When you consider buying a pass, just keep in mind that compared to other transatlantic Business Class products, La Compagnie’s Boeing 757s is not as good: it lacks luxury, doesn’t offer privacy (2-2 layout) and the seats don’t fully recline.