Today (September 28, 2018): September 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:
- Soneva announces partnership with the MICHELIN guide
- Mandarin Oriental will open a hotel in Moscow
- EVA Air reveals new Business Class for its Boeing 787
- Six Senses opens a stunning new resort in Bali
- British Airways drastically improves its catering
- Edition Hotels open Barcelona property
- Emirates seeks Etihad takeover to create world’s largest airline
- Four Seasons Sao Paulo in Brazil will open next month
- Turkish Airlines introduces new elegant cabin crew uniforms
- Norwegian axes Singapore in favour of Latin American expansion
1. Soneva announces partnership with the MICHELIN guide
Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator and my favorite hotel brand in the world, has announced a unique partnership with the MICHELIN Guide for 20 dinner events which will be hosted at its resorts in the Maldives and Thailand. The dinners, which run from August 2018 until mid 2019, are part of Soneva’s Festival of Colour, a celebration of Soneva’s diverse array of visiting experts and designed to offer unique guest experiences. Throughout the festival, some of the world’s most celebrated and decorated chefs, all of whom have come from Michelin starred restaurants, will be hosting highly exclusive dinner events at Soneva properties, each for a maximum of eight resort guests at a time. It is the first time that the MICHELIN Guide has done any kind of event in the Maldives. The partnership is also designed to appeal to the international foodie scene and cement Soneva’s reputation as an epicurean destination. A full list of all visiting chefs can be found here.
Contact me for a complimentary upgrade + resort credit + one experience at each Soneva resort.
2. Mandarin Oriental will open a hotel in Moscow
Slated to open in 2021, Mandarin Oriental Moscow will have a prime riverfront location on the Sofiyskaya embankment in the heart of the city, directly facing the Kremlin. The hotel will be well located for business and leisure travellers with access to many of the city’s tourist attractions, historic sites and business districts. The boutique property will feature 65 guestrooms and suites, two restaurants, a lounge bar, and spa and wellness facilities including a 25 m (82 ft) indoor swimming pool. The project will also house 137 ‘Residences at Mandarin Oriental’, which will be the first branded luxury residential development in Moscow. Pierre-Yves Rochon Studio has been appointed as the interior designer, alongside Sergey Skuratov Architects.
3. EVA Air reveals new Business Class for its Boeing 787
Next month, EVA Air will take delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner. To celebrate the occasion, EVA introduces a new Business Class seat, that is 23 in (58,4 cm) wide and reclines into a flat-bed position that can stretch out to as much as 76 in (193 cm) long, enabling passengers to lie down, get comfortable and sleep on long-haul flights. EVA created more comfortable personal spaces by equipping its redesigned seats with adjustable privacy panels and generous built-in storage cabinets. The airline upgraded the in-flight entertainment systems with 18 in HD touchscreen monitors, the latest noise-canceling headphones, extra-large fold-out tables for dining or work, auxiliary outlets and USB ports for recharging personal devices. Below is a Youtube clip of the new cabin.
4. Six Senses opens a stunning new resort in Bali
The newly opened Six Senses Uluwatu Resort is set in Pecatu in the southernmost tip of Bali which is the home of “Pura Uluwatu”, the sacred temple considered one of the island’s core spiritual pillars. The beautiful cliff-top Balinese-inspired Uluwatu resort offers uninterrupted ocean views from every angle. The resort comprises 103 suites and villas, inspired by local design, embracing nature and offering every creature comfort. The Six Senses Spa features locally inspired specialty treatments, multi-day integrated wellness programs and complimentary morning yoga sessions. The resort features multiple swimming pools, an open air event venue, function space, three restaurants including a chef’s table, a cooking school and an extensive organic garden and farm.
5. British Airways drastically improves its catering
As many readers of my blog may know, I am not a fan of British Airways’ awful onboard food (as you can read in my trip report here). However, there’s good news on the horizon! According to Business Traveller, British Airways will use Do&Co catering on all outbound service from Heathrow. Vienna-based Do&Co has a good reputation as a high-end caterer, and has handled the catering for Austrian Airlines for over a decade (Austrian tops my list of the world’s best airlines for onboard food). The firm already provides the catering for BA’s Club World and First cabins on the Heathrow-JFK route, and was also responsible for developing the new menus for Club World on this service. BA currently uses Gate Gourmet for all other catering on flights departing Heathrow, but from October the carrier will begin a phased switch over to new Do&Co menus, with all outbound services in all classes expected to be covered by early 2020.
6. Edition Hotels open Barcelona property
The Barcelona EDITION boasts an enviable locale in El Born, the city’s creative hub in the centre of the famed Ciutat Vella district. As with each of its predecessors, The Barcelona EDITION has all the trademarks of the EDITION brand (which is owned by Marriott): lasting comfort, extraordinary style and an exceptional level of service in a uniquely individual environment. Under the creative direction of Ian Schrager, alongside the famed Spanish interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán the hotel brings together, in a subtle synergy, the integrity and character of a historic environment with a simple, sophisticated design sensibility, creating a seamless blend of charisma and ease. With 100 rooms and suites, three restaurants, two bars, a roof terrace with plunge pool and a buzzing lobby, the hotel offers a dynamic social hub where guests and visitors can work, relax, socialise and dine all under one roof.
7. Emirates seeks Etihad takeover to create world’s largest airline
Bloomberg is reporting that Emirates is in early talks to take over Etihad‘s airline assets, which would create the world’s largest airline by passenger traffic. The talks, which are at a preliminary stage, would see Emirates acquire the main airline business of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, which would keep its maintenance arm, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is confidential. The negotiations could yet fall through, they said. Both airlines initially declined to comment, before later denying that any talks were underway. Were a transaction to go ahead the enlarged airline operation would be bigger than that of American Airlines. Any deal would require the blessing of the rulers of the richest sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates. The airlines have traditionally been arch rivals, with their hubs competing to attract the same transfer passengers making long-distance trips between Asia and the West.
8. Four Seasons Sao Paulo in Brazil will open next month
The countdown is on to the grand opening of Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas, as the hotel has opened its reservations books and confirms arrivals beginning October 15, 2018. The hotel’s address on Avenida Nações Unidas (Avenue United Nations) places guests just steps from corporate offices, plus shopping, entertainment and South America’s best medical facilities. The domestic Congonhas-São Paulo Airport is just 20 minutes away, and São Paulo International Airport is about one hour by car. Located amid the leafy green spaces along the Pinheiros river in southern Sao Paulo, the all-new 29-storey tower will include the 258-room hotel as well as 84 Four Seasons private residences designed by Studio Arthur Casas, along with restaurants, spa, meeting rooms and other facilities.
9. Turkish Airlines introduces new elegant cabin crew uniforms
In celebration of 85 successful years, Turkish Airlines has unveiled a fresh look with a new uniform specially designed for its cabin crew. The new uniforms will begin to be used following the opening of the Istanbul New Airport, the “new home” of the flag carrier airline. Inspired by many classic elements of Turkish design and culture, the new uniforms incorporate traditional patterns found in artisanal glassware, ceramics and calligraphy with contemporary textures and details. The collection combines shapes and colours found in Istanbul Bosphorus with a new ‘flow detail’, created to symbolise the effortless and dynamic energy flowing through Turkey’s most dynamic city as an intersection between East and West. The global airline, which flies to more countries than any other, paired up with Milan-based Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta to create the dynamic new uniform design heralding a new era and brand identity for the national flag-carrier.
10. Norwegian axes Singapore in favour of Latin American expansion
According to FlightGlobal, low-cost carrier Norwegian will drop its London to Singapore route and begin B787 service from London Gatwick to Rio de Janeiro in 2019. Norwegian entered the South American market earlier this year, beginning flights between London Gatwick and Buenos Aires with a 787 in February. The move was a precursor to domestic flights in Argentina that are set to launch next month, with B737 service to Bariloche, Cordoba, Iguazu, Mendoza, Neuquen and Salta. The carrier is looking at basing some of its Airbus A321LRs, which begin arriving in late 2019, in Argentina to serve international routes within the continent. The carrier is also looking at connecting some of its long-haul bases in Southern Europe, for example Barcelona and Madrid, to South America, says Kjos, adding that there is a lot of “flow” between these markets. “It’s extremely expensive to fly on some of the routes there,” he says. “They deserve to pay lower fares.”