Travel news: this month (March 2018) in luxury travel

Friday newsletters always feature travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (March 29, 2018): March 2018 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. Aman will open a spectacular new resort in Mexico
  2. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will join Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet
  3. Hyatt announces plans for a Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur hotel
  4. Four Seasons announces plans for an ultra luxe resort in Belize
  5. Singapore Airlines takes delivery of the world’s first Boeing 787-10
  6. Bvlgari set to open a new luxury hotel in Paris in 2020
  7. COMO Hotels & Retreat opens a new spa retreat in Bali
  8. Qantas starts history-making flights direct to London
  9. Rosewood Luang Prabang opens in a lush Laotian forest setting
  10. Brussels Airlines unveils a unique Aerosmurf aircraft

1. Aman will open a spectacular new resort In Mexico

Aman, one of my favorite luxury hotel brands in the world, always creates sanctuaries that provide guests and residents with the feeling they so desire – of solitude, of being away from it all, but yet a sense of belonging. Tucked away where the sea, the wild desert and farmland meet, Aman’s new destination in Mexico will offer a peaceful escape and private oasis at the edge of the Sea of Cortés. Located in Baja’s East Cape, Amanvari, which takes its name from the Sanskrit-derived words for “peace” and “water,” features a resort, private Aman Residences, multiple dining venues, Aman Spa, and its own stretch of white sand beach. Nestled in a delicate ecosystem of estuaries and perched between the sea and sky, Amanvari will be a serene island rising from boundless terrain, allowing the lush flora and fauna to flow uninterrupted below In keeping with Aman’s unique design ethos of ensuring that the destination forms the vision, Amanvari will offer the finest views of the sea and mountains. Seamlessly integrated into the surroundings, each pavilion will offer the utmost seclusion, and the perfect balance of indoor and outdoor living

2. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will join Hawaiian Airlines’ Fleet

Hawaiian Airlines has executed a non-binding ‘Letter of Intent’ for the purchase of 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft with purchase rights for an additional 10 aircraft. The first fuel-efficient, lightweight, passenger-friendly Dreamliner is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2021. Hawaiian has selected the General Electric GEnx engine to power the additions to its fleet. “The Dreamliner combines excellent comfort for our guests with fantastic operational performance and will allow us to continue modernizing our fleet into the next decade,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram. “It has more seating capacity than Hawaiian’s current wide-body fleet, which will allow us to further build upon our successful growth in Asia.” Hawaiian currently operates a mainline fleet of 54 aircraft: 24 Airbus A330-200 and 8 Boeing 767 wide-body aircraft, 2 A321neo and 20 717 narrow-body aircraft. The company selected the 787-9 as part of a competitive bid process that also included the Airbus A330-900.

3. Hyatt announces plans for a Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur hotel

The high-end hotel, designed to meet the needs of the discerning global traveler, will join the city’s prestigious development – the PNB 118 tower. Anticipated to be completed in 2020, the tower is expected to be the tallest skyscraper in Southeast Asia and the third tallest in the world. Set to open in 2021, Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur will offer a one-of-a kind experience for guests as it will occupy the top 17 floors of the 118-floor tower overlooking Stadium Merdeka, Malaysia’s national treasure and a UNESCO heritage site, where the country’s independence was declared in 1957. The hotel will boast 232 guestrooms, including 28 suites and 30 residential apartments. True to the Park Hyatt brand, the hotel is being designed to offer guests warm, intimate experiences, including residentially-inspired spaces such as galleries and libraries. With three on-site restaurants and bars, guests will also be able to experience exceptional food and beverage programs including: a signature restaurant, and a skyline-level bar and restaurant. Grounded in mindfulness, the hotel will provide luxurious wellness offerings including a six-treatment room spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and a swimming pool with city views of Kuala Lumpur.

4. Four Seasons announces plans for a luxury resort in Belize

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s leading luxury hospitality companies, announced plans for the development of Caye Chapel, a private island in the Belize archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage designated Belize Barrier Reef System, the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere. The 280-acre (113 hectare) island is outlined by 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) of white sand beaches and turquoise waters, and is located 16 miles (26 kilometres) from Belize City, either 30 minutes by boat or 10 minutes by flight. The resort will feature 100 guest rooms and suites designed by Studio Caban, including a collection of overwater bungalows. Myriad amenities will include health and wellness facilities, two beach clubs, multiple dining and bar options with sea views, retail outlets, a young residents club, a marina, tennis courts, a 18-hole golf course designed and reinvented by Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa, a Fabien Cousteau nature and conservation institute, a marina and private airstrip.

5. Singapore Airlines takes delivery of world’s first Boeing B787-10

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-10 from the manufacturer’s production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina. SIA’s 787-10s will be used for flights up to eight hours. Osaka and Perth will be the first scheduled destinations to be served by the new aircraft, from May 2018. Prior to the introduction of these services, the aircraft will be operated on selected flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew training purposes. The 787-10s feature SIA’s new regional cabin products, configured with 337 seats in two classes, featuring 36 Business Class and 301 Economy Class seats. Constructed using lightweight composite materials, the 68 m (223 ft) 787-10 is the longest variant of Boeing’s Dreamliner range of aircraft. With exceptional operating efficiency and advanced technology, the newest addition to the airline’s fleet is designed to offer a more tranquil cabin experience. Passengers can look forward to customisable lighting preferences with large electronically dimmable windows, cleaner air, and a quieter and smoother ride.  SIA is the largest customer for the 787-10. Low-cost subsidiary Scoot is already an operator of both 787-8s and 787-9s, making SIA the first airline group in the world to operate all three variants of Boeing’s Dreamliner family of aircraft.

6. Bvlgari set to open a new luxury hotel in Paris in 2020

The Italian jeweler Bvlgari announced that is developing a hotel and resort in Paris, which is expected to open in 2020. The Bvlgari Hotel Paris will open its doors in the prestigious address of 30 Avenue George V. The Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts‘ latest jewel will feature 76 rooms, an Olympic sized pool, bar and restaurant, and a Parisian courtyard. Set on an exquisite corner of the Triangle d’Or, the Hotel will be designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and will combine a classic Parisian Haussmann-style with a contemporary rationalistic façade. “We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location,” said Bulgari’s chief executive officer Jean Christophe Babin, adding that he was “convinced that this new addition will represent an irresistible Roman jeweler hospitality experience in the Parisian upscale hotel market.” The first Bvlgari Hotel opened in Milan in 2004. With Paris and Shanghai, the number rises to eight, including Bali, London, Beijing, Dubai and Moscow, with the latter also due to open in 2020.

7. COMO Hotels & Retreat opens a new spa retreat in Bali

COMO Uma Canggu is the newest addition to COMO Hotels and Resorts. Situated on Bali’s south coast, the beach front destination offers panoramic views of the soft volcanic sand and rolling waves. This luxury resort in Canggu – an area liked for its laid-back beach scene and rippable surf peaks – leaves its guests feeling rested and revived. The resort’s COMO Shambhala Retreat nurtures wellness through daily fitness classes, hands-on healing and holistic therapies. This is complemented by a peaceful night’s sleep within the resort’s contemporary accommodation, featuring stylish rooms, suites and spectacular three-bedroom penthouses with private rooftop pools. COMO Beach Club, a distinctly modern take on the traditional ‘surf scene’, is a place to gather with family and friends to enjoy an eclectic global menu and a soundtrack of live acoustic musicians and DJ sets.

8. Qantas starts history making flight direct to London

Qantas has launched its Perth to London flights, marking the start of the only direct air link between Australia and Europe – and the fastest way of traveling between the two continents. Operated by a Boeing 787-9, the flight reduces total travel time by eliminating stopovers and taking advantage of the most favourable winds on any given day without having to factor in a mid-point in the Middle East or Asia when choosing a flight path. The daily QF9 begins in Melbourne, flying to Perth before then flying non-stop to London. Qantas has adjusted the timing of some domestic services into Perth so that passengers from Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane can join the flight to London. The first flight coincided with the opening of the airline’s new Perth International Transit Lounge featuring jetlag reducing lighting as well as pre-flight stretching classes, and relocating all of the airline’s domestic and international flights into a single terminal at Perth Airport for faster, smoother connections. Qantas passengers can now choose from three routes between Australia and London – the direct Perth-London service on the Dreamliner; a reinstated Sydney-Singapore-London service on the A380; and via Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to London via Dubai with partner Emirates on mix of A380 and 777 aircraft.

9. Rosewood Luang Prabang opens in lush Laotian forest setting

Rosewood Luang Prabang is as an ultra-luxury escape within an idyllic hilltop forest in north central Laos, where guests are able to immerse themselves in the rich cultural history, spiritual heritage and diverse tropical landscape of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, Luang Prabang is known for its well-preserved French colonial architecture and IndoChinese villas, monk communities and gilded temples, rich historical significance, French and Laotian cuisines, and mesmerizingly serene pace of life. Bill Bensley and BENSLEY design studio modelled the property on the concept of a Laotian hill station from the turn of the 20th century, in which a grand and gracious home of a French host would be opened to intrepid adventurers and curious travellers from diverse walks of life who managed to make their way to this magical corner of the world. The 23 accommodations are situated adjacent to a river or waterfall or float above the ground amongst the treetop foliage. They variously include their own private swimming pools, oversized balconies, outdoor wooden bathtubs and other features special to each, yet all provide the experience of immersion in a dense tropical forest. Dining at Rosewood Luang Prabang delves deep into the rich Laotian food culture and chefs place utmost importance on locally sourced and seasonal foods.

10. Brussels Airlines unveils Aerosmurf aircraft

As a proud ambassador of Belgium, Brussels Airlines continues its series of Belgian Icons, aircraft with special designs dedicated to iconic Belgians and revealed Aerosmurf. The Smurfs, who celebrate their 60th birthday this year, are one of Belgium’s most loved comic characters and are sure to be the perfect flying ambassadors for Belgium. Aerosmurf is now bringing the world to Belgium and the best of Belgium to the world, just like the four other Belgian Icons Rackham (Tintin), Magritte, Trident (Red Devils) and Amare (Tomorrowland). The name Aerosmurf is the title of a Smurfs comic album which tells the story of a little Smurf whose dream is to fly. The little Smurf tried several ideas, but none of them work, until he builds a plane. Since then, the little Smurf is known as Aerosmurf. For passengers flying with Aerosmurf the experience continues inside. Little smurf footsteps on the carpet are leading the Aerosmurf guests to their seats, while a Smurfs video and adapted boarding music complete the Smurfs experience. Led by airbrush specialist André Eisele, 14 artists worked 14 days non-stop to paint the design on the plane by hand. They used 28 colors, 420 liters of paint, 24,000 meters of masking tape and 4,500 m² masking paper. Aerosmurf will be part of the Brussels Airlines fleet until 2023.

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