Travel news: this month (November 2017) in luxury travel

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (November 24, 2017): November 2017 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:

  1. Park Hyatt makes its Caribbean debut with St. Kitts opening
  2. Andaz Singapore opens doors as first Andaz in Southeast Asia
  3. Singapore Airlines introduces new A380 First Class product
  4. Emirates unveils brand new cabins for its Boeing 777 fleet
  5. Aman Resorts is coming to New York City
  6. The Bahama’s legendary Ocean Club becomes a Four Seasons
  7. Rosewood opens its highly anticipated Phuket property
  8. Lufthansa releases sneak preview of B777-9 Business Class seat
  9. Emirates takes delivery of its 100th A380
  10. The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum is now open


1. Park Hyatt makes its Caribbean debut with St. Kitts opening

The Hyatt Hotel Group announced the opening of the first Park Hyatt hotel in the Caribbean, Park Hyatt St. Kitts. Set within Christophe Harbour, the 126-room luxury resort spans the secluded beach of Banana Bay at the foot of St. Kitts’ lush rolling hills and offers unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea and neighboring Nevis. Home to three signature restaurants, indoor and outdoor event spaces, two pools, and other distinct amenities, Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour offers guests a journey of luxurious and intimate experiences. All 78 rooms and 48 suites incorporate local materials and seamlessly intertwine contemporary architecture with colonial design. Each room’s chic, Kittitian-inspired décor showcases views of the Caribbean Sea and the islands beyond, with luxurious touches of peerless quality such as private balconies and terraces, rain-showers and deep soaking tubs. For the ultimate indulgence, the three-bedroom Presidential Villa is equipped with a private infinity pool, wellness area, personal butler and private chef. Offering a wellness sanctuary for restorative peace, the resort is also unveiling the first Miraval Life in Balance Spa in the Caribbean. The spa’s design features natural stone walls with nine treatment rooms, including three couples’ treatment rooms complete with heated private plunge pools and outdoor showers. To encourage guests’ island immersion, Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour offers a series of enriching “journeys” that have been carefully curated to introduce guests to the history, culture and people of the Federation, which until 2005 had sugar production as its dominant industry.

PARK HYATT ST KITTS

2. Andaz Singapore opens doors as first Andaz in Southeast Asia

There’s some more exciting news from the Hyatt Hotel Group, with the opening of the first Andaz hotel in Southeast Asia. Andaz Singapore is housed in DUO, a striking pair of concave skyscrapers, 186m (6101 ft) and 170 m (558 ft) high, clad in a latticework of hexagonal windows. Located at the heart of cultural crossroads, where Kampong Glam, Little India and the Bras Basah Bugis arts and entertainment hub meet, the locally inspired boutique hotel draws inspiration from its lively surroundings – intimate alleyways filled with shop houses in vibrant colours and textures – and weaves this ambience into the hotel to offer guests fresh perspectives of the city. Andaz Singapore houses 342 contemporary guestrooms, including 26 suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows framing stunning views of the city. As with all Andaz hotels, guests can enjoy a complimentary minibar with locally sourced snacks and non-alcoholic drinks that are replenished daily, complimentary Wi-Fi and all-day complimentary refreshments. A number of acclaimed artworks are showcased in the hotel, including color-saturated pieces by Brazilian sculptor André Mendes and remarkable works from local Singaporean artist Ahmad Abu Bakar, New York-based Filipina artist Monica Delgado and Malaysian artist Fauzulyusri Mohd Yusof. Alley on 25 brings Singapore street dining to hotel guests by offering seven alleyway ‘shop houses’ on one floor, from a platter of barbecued snacks from Smoke & Pepper to a steaming bowl of noodles from Auntie’s Wok & Steam or a refreshing shaved ice from Icehaus.

ANDAZ SINGAPORE

3. Singapore Airlines’ new First Class redefines premium air travel

Singapore Airlines unveiled its highly anticipated new First Class product which will be fitted on the first of five new A380 aircraft entering the fleet next month. Retrofit work will also take place on 14 existing aircraft, to ensure product consistency across the Airline’s entire A380 fleet. With six suites tucked spaciously within the front cabin of the upper deck, customers will experience a sense of exclusivity and intimate privacy aboard the A380. Behind its artistically designed sliding door lies a personal oasis complete with lavish furnishing and finishes. Each suite is furnished with a separate full-flat bed with adjustable recline and plush leather chair, enabling customers to lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position. For couples travelling together, the beds in the first two Suites of each aisle can be converted to form a double bed. When not in use, the bed can be stowed completely, creating even more personal space within each Suite. Each seat is upholstered by world-renowned Poltrona Frau in fine leather, and is fully adjustable using an electronic control side panel which can accommodate a variety of sitting and lounging positions. The swivel capability of the chair (between 135 and 270 degrees) with recline up to 45 degrees provides added flexibility for dining and relaxation. Each Suite also has a 32-inch full HD monitor that can swivel for the different viewing angles in seat and bed modes, a full-sized personal wardrobe, customised handbag stowage compartment, amenity box lined with soft leather, specially designed carpet and a feature wall with mood lighting – all exquisitely crafted to give a touch of luxury and intimacy.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES A380 NEW FIRST CLASS SUITE

4. Emirates unveils brand new cabins for its Boeing 777 fleet

Emirates has unveiled completely refreshed interiors for its Boeing 777 aircraft, including its highly anticipated new First Class private suites. With floor to ceiling sliding doors and sleek design features inspired by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Emirates’ new suites takes luxury and privacy to the next level. Offering up to 40 square feet of personal space each, these spacious private suites are laid out in a 1-1-1 configuration and each fully enclosed suite has a floor to ceiling sliding door. The soft leather seat reclines into a fully flat bed and can be placed in a ‘zero-gravity’ position inspired by NASA technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness. The roomy suites also have ample space for passengers to change in the privacy of their suites even after the bed has been made. To ensure all First Class customers have a view, Emirates is introducing the industry’s first virtual windows for suites located in the middle aisle. These virtual windows project the view from outside the aircraft using real-time camera technology. In the other suites, binoculars are available for customers who want to explore the sky outside their windows. Passengers can easily communicate with the cabin crew, or request for room service using the video call function. The suites also come with a service window where customers can be served drinks and canapes undisturbed. Emirates has retained and updated the most popular features of its private suites such as: the personal mini bar for drinks and snacks within each suite; and wireless controls to adjust seating positions, as well as to navigate Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system, ice.

EMIRATES B777 NEW FIRST CLASS SUITE

5. Aman Resorts in coming to New York City

Aman – one the world’s most exclusive hotel brands – has unveiled plans for a new urban sanctuary and an architectural icon in the very heart of Manhattan. Opening its doors in 2020, Aman New York will bring the serenity of Aman to the centre of the western world. Within the gilded grandeur of the Crown Building, 83 rooms and suites will invite guests to experience the Aman way of life, in harmony with the heartbeat of the city. The Crown Building on Fifth Avenue building is one of the most expensive, if not sought-after blocks in the world and has presided since 1921 over the midpoint of Manhattan – the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street – overlooking Central Park. Rising 26 storeys from the boutique-lined street, the building’s windows and terraces look out over the vast sweep of parkland and survey the world’s most recognisable skyline. The fourth through tenth floors of the building will be occupied by the new Aman hotel, while the 11th floor and above will be transformed into 20, Aman-branded residences, crowned with a five-story, near-14,000-square-foot penthouse that will be priced in excess of US$100 million. The new Aman will also encompass an extraordinary three storeys Aman Spa, with a dramatic indoor swimming pool surrounded by fire pits and daybeds as its centrepiece. Two Spa Houses will provide guests with an all-encompassing spa journey, encompassing a double treatment room, sauna and steam rooms, and an outdoor terrace with cabana, daybed and fireplace. It will be Aman’s third property in the USA, after Amangani in Wyoming and Amangiri in Utah.

AMAN NEW YORK

6. The Bahama’s legendary Ocean Club will become a Four Seasons hotel

As of November 30, 2017 the famous Ocean Club property will no longer be a One&Only resort as Four Seasons takes over management, after which the property will be known as The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas. Since opening in 1962, The Ocean Club has hosted the world’s most discerning guests at its picture-perfect location on a 5 mile (8 km) white sand beach along azure waters. In a uniquely secluded setting, extensive, Versailles-inspired lawns and gardens surround a series of low-level buildings housing more than 100 accommodations including several cottages and villas. The resort offers five restaurants and bars, including DUNE by Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten; and leisure facilities encompassing a tranquil spa, three pools and six tennis courts, with access to the adjacent Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club golf course. Several indoor and outdoor event spaces for up to 250 guests are also on-site.  Situated just off the Bahamian capital of Nassau, the property began as the private estate of a Swedish industrialist, later acquired by an American businessman and philanthropist who built the original 52 room hotel and golf course in 1962. In 2014, millions of dollars were invested in room renovations, a new oceanfront pool and world-class restaurants. Guests can look forward to personalised service that only Four Seasons can deliver and a series of enhancements that will introduce a new level of modern luxury while retaining the historic glamour of The Ocean Club as it begins the next chapter in its celebrated history as a Four Seasons.

THE OCEAN CLUB, A FOUR SEASONS RESORT, BAHAMAS

7. Rosewood opens its highly anticipated Phuket resort 

Rosewood Phuket is nestled along a 600-meter beachfront at exquisite Emerald Bay and is the first Asia resort for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. Featuring 71 pavilions and villas, the resort offers a secluded island escape and celebration of the brand’s ‘A Sense of Place’ philosophy, taking inspiration from the natural landscape, diverse cultures and unique sensibilities of this distinctive southern isle. The resort is designed by renowned Melbourne-based BAR Studio, which was the creative force behind the brand’s first Asia property, Rosewood Beijing. The environmentally sensitive, contemporary architecture style utilizes indigenous materials such as stone and timber throughout and features floor-to-ceiling windows in all private and public areas to offer a fully immersive experience of the hillside forest surroundings. The design incorporates sustainable practices, including rain water retention ponds to provide the entire resort water supply, the largest solar renewable energy system for any Phuket hotel and “landscaped” rooftops for energy conservation. Landscaping is handled by Bangkok-based P-Landscape, with a clear focus on the preservation of the natural environment through the retention or careful transplantation of existing trees and indigenous foliage right through to the protection of sacred 150-year-old banyan trees situated in the resort grounds.

ROSEWOOD PHUKET

8. Lufthansa releases sneak preview of B777-9 Business Class seat

Lufthansa has released an image of the carrier’s new Business Class seat which will installed on its brand-new Boeing B777-9 airplanes. According to a tweet on the airline’s official media relations Twitter page, the new seat will offer more privacy, a special shoulder zone for side sleepers, larger monitors, and aisle access for all passengers. The exact Business Class configuration is yet to be confirmed although the carrier has already confirmed that it will eliminate First class from its new B777 planes. Germany’s flagship carrier has 20 of the next-generation Boeing aircraft scheduled for delivery between 2020 and 2025. The B777-9 is a new version of Boeing’s existing 777 aircraft and will be the industry’s largest-ever twin-engine jetliner. Initially, Lufthansa was set to be launch customer of the new Triple Seven subtype, but the company stretched out deliveries of Boeing’s new 777X aircraft, concerned about the cost and size of the big jet as managers reviewed the airline’s fleet needs. Demand for big twin-aisle aircraft has weakened since Lufthansa placed an order for the Boeing model in 2013, as cheaper fuel and an industry-wide glut of smaller, relatively young wide-body planes have upended the economics that had favored larger models for long-range flying. Emirates has now jumped ahead of Lufthansa as launch customer of Boeing’s upcoming jet, which the Middle-Eastern airline currently has orders for 150 of, worth over $76 billion USD.

SNEAK PREVIEW OF LUFTHANSA’S B777-9 BUSINESS CLASS

9. Emirates takes delivery of its 100th Airbus A380

Emirates unveiled a special tribute to the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, with a bespoke livery for its 100th A380 carrying one of his most memorable images. You can watch below the video of the special livery being applied on the 100th A380 in Hamburg.The unique livery is the first time Emirates will feature a customised decal of a well-known public figure, marking the airline’s first initiative for the ‘Year of Zayed’, which commences in 2018, coinciding with the centennial of the birth of the UAE’s founding father. A total of ten Emirates aircraft, five Airbus A380s and five Boeing 777-300ERs, will carry the special livery. The aircraft will carry the distinctive decal of HH Sheikh Zayed beginning in November 2017 and throughout 2018.  His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman & Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said: “His Highness Sheikh Zayed dedicated his life to the building of a prosperous UAE, and we are proud to celebrate his remarkable legacy and honour his memory. Sheikh Zayed left an indelible mark on our home, the UAE, and we hope to help preserve his legacy and spirit, by spreading his message of inspiration, dedication, and leadership around the world as our aircraft take to the skies and circle the globe”. The bespoke decal will cover an area of 480 m² on the A380 and 312 m² on the Boeing 777-300ER, showing one of HH Sheikh Zayed’s most iconic images. All of the aircraft are expected to fly to Emirates’ network of 156 destinations. On average, it will take three days and up to eight staff to install the decals at the Emirates Engineering Aircraft Appearance Centre.


10. Louvre Abu Dhabi is now open

On Saturday 11 November, Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors to the public for the first time. The highly anticipated museum opening welcomed thousands of visitors to see the exceptional architecture and the masterpieces displayed throughout the galleries. Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal museum on Saadiyat Island that exhibits art and artefacts from ancient times to the present day. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum contains 12 chapters in the galleries, special exhibition spaces, a Children’s Museum, auditorium, restaurants, retail and a research centre. Surrounded by the sea, the buildings are connected by waterfront promenades beneath the museum’s stunning dome. The museum has developed a rich collection of works originating from throughout human history and around the world, brought together to highlight universal themes and influences. The collection of exceptional artworks and artefacts is unparalleled anywhere in the region. To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired more than 600 artworks, exhibited alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions. Louvre Abu Dhabi was born out of a unique intergovernmental agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007. As part of the agreement, Louvre Abu Dhabi has access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions, as well as loans from 13 leading French museums for 10 years, and will benefit from special exhibitions organised by these institutions for 15 years.

LOUVRE ABU DHABI

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