Today (October 26, 2018): October 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:
- Singapore Airlines launches world’s longest flight
- Rosewood Hotels to open its first property in the Philippines
- KLM and Qantas will code share on Europe-Australia routes
- Westin Hotels & Resorts debuts in the Maldives
- Nordic carrier Primera Air abruptly ceases operations
- Hyatt acquires Two Road Hospitality
- British Airways starts flying to Charlestone
- Six Senses Krabey Island in Cambodia premiers in December
- Miami will gets its first Waldorf Astoria hotel
- St Regis debuts in Zhuhai, China’s premier tourist destination
1. Singapore Airlines launches world’s longest flight
Singapore Airlines has launched the world’s longest commercial flight, between Singapore and New York. The first new non-stop flight between Singapore and New York departed Changi International Airport on 11 October 2018 at 11.37pm (SIN time) and arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport a day later, at 5.29 am (US Eastern time). The flight duration was 17 hours 52 minutes and operated by the all-new Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range). Customers on the world’s longest flight were treated with a comfortable and relaxing traveling experience with special wellness cuisines curated by chefs and nutritionists from Canyon Ranch, a leader in healthy living and wellness, in addition to Singapore Airlines’ own meal selections and creations by its international culinary panel of chefs. Singapore Airlines is the world’s first customer for the new A350-900ULR, with seven firm orders with Airbus. The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats. Below, you can watch my Business Class trip report in a Singapore Airlines A350 aircraft.
2. Rosewood Hotels to open its first property in the Philippines
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will open the Rosewood Hermana Mayor in 2023 as the brand’s first property in the Philippines. The ultra-luxury resort, located on pristine and private Hermana Mayor island situated off the western coast of the main island of Luzon, will be an exciting addition to Rosewood’s expanding Asia Pacific portfolio and collection of exclusive resort destinations worldwide. With a private airstrip, Rosewood Hermana Mayor will be 40 minutes by plane from Manila and one hour and 40 minutes from Hong Kong. The island will also be easily accessible by boat. With miles of immaculate white sand beach, the family-owned island has been used exclusively as a private vacation getaway over the last 60 years, hosting family members, friends, prominent guests, royalty and heads of state. Rosewood Hermana Mayor will be composed of 128 spacious, thoughtfully appointed villas and pavilion-style guestrooms in addition to Rosewood Residences for private ownership. All accommodations will be designed to blend seamlessly into the island’s lush tropical setting and offer expansive sea views.
3. KLM and Qantas will code share on Europe-Australia routes
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (member of SkyTeam) and Qantas (member of OneWorld) have signed a code-sharing agreement, allowing both airlines to expand their networks substantially. For KLM passengers, this means they can fly from anywhere in the world, on a single ticket, with full baggage transfers, via Singapore to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. The code-share begins on 31 October 2018. KLM will attach its flightnumber to daily flights between Singapore and the four key Australian destinations listed above. Qantas will attach its QF code to KLM flights between Amsterdam and Singapore. Pieter Elbers – KLM President & CEO – said: “We are very pleased with this new code-sharing agreement with Qantas. Australia is an important destination for business and leisure travellers, which is why Qantas is such an important partner.” According to Alison Webster, International CEO Qantas, this code-share provides customers with more choice of how they travel between Australia and Europe and more opportunities to earn status credits. Watch below my Business Class trip report onboard a KLM Boeing 777.
4. Westin Hotels & Resorts debuts in Maldives
Westin Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of the brand’s first hotel in the Republic of Maldives, the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort. Developed by Belluna Co. Ltd, Japan and Asia Capital PLC, Sri Lanka, the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort heralds the Westin brand’s wellness positioning in the Maldivian oasis. Nestled on a beautiful coral island in the Baa Atoll, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site, guests of the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort will experience a tranquil escape with uninterrupted ocean and pristine turquoise lagoon views. All elements of the resort’s design take inspiration from the environment from the use of natural materials, such as unique shells to the movement and flow of marine life including sea turtles and whale sharks, providing guests with a link to the region’s exceptional enchantment. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort features 70 villas and suites, 41 on island and 29 overwater. The property features 3 dining venues and a Westin’s signature branded spa concept, the Heavenly Spa by Westin.
5. Nordic carrier Primera Air abruptly ceases operations
On October 2nd, Nordic carrier Primera Air grounded all its flights and entered bankruptcy. The carrier began scheduled operations in 2009, although it had only recently expanded into the low-cost, long-haul market, with the launch and announcement of flights between between the USA East Coast and London, Brussels, Berlin and Madrid. The airline blames the bankruptcy on the late delivery of Airbus A320 neo aircraft. Passengers were stranded in airports all over the world, with the following statement on the carrier’s website being the only communication from the company:
Airline Primera Air and IATA codes PF and 6F have been suspended as of today, October 2nd, 2018. On behalf of Primera Air team, we would like to thank you for your loyalty. On this sad day we are saying Goodbye to all of you. Please visit primeraair.com for further updates in next few days. Tour Operator passengers are kindly suggested to address their Tour Operators and Agents for further information and actions.
Kindly understand that the usual options for contacts (via email or phone) can not be offered any longer.
Primera Air team
6. Hyatt acquires Two Road Hospitality
Hyatt Hotels announced an agreement to acquire Two Roads Hospitality, an international lifestyle hotel management company with a unique collection of distinctive brands, properties and a robust development pipeline around the globe. Through the addition of Two Roads, its established lifestyle brands and the management agreements for the majority of its 85 properties in eight countries, Hyatt will expand its brand presence into 23 new markets while enhancing its offerings in lifestyle hotel experiences and wellbeing. With Two Roads and its distinctive collection of lifestyle hotels, resorts and vacation residences, Hyatt will offer an expanded and more powerful portfolio of brands with best-in-class offerings to deliver compelling experiences and benefits for guests and World of Hyatt members, expand its relationship with valued hotel owners, and drive growth for shareholders. While Two roads Hospitality may sound unfamiliar to most of you, it does have several wel know hotel brands in its portfolio (which is fantastic news for World of Hyatt members), such as all Alila Hotels (with spectacular hotels in Indonsia and Oman, among others) and Thompson Hotels. Below, you can watch one of my older clips, featuring a full tour of the spectacular Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel in Oman.
7. British Airways starts flying to Charlestone
From April 4, 2019, British Airways will launch a two-per-week summer service with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner from Heathrow, Terminal 5 and will be the only airline flying direct between Europe and the southern USA city. The new route will take the number of US destinations the airline flies to from London next summer up to 29, and the number of daily flights offered by British Airways and American Airlines as part of their transatlantic joint business up to around 73 per day. The airline is also launching a four per week service to Pittsburgh from April 2019. Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: “You can’t help but get sucked in to the old-world charm of Charleston; its cobblestone streets, colourful houses and historical buildings make it a unique city. Recently we launched flights to Nashville and New Orleans and earlier this year announced a new route to Pittsburgh. Travelling to the states is as popular as ever, so we’re really pleased to be adding this charming city to our extensive global network and giving customers even more choice of holiday destinations.” Boeing has a factory in Charleston where they are currently building the 787-10 Dreamliner. British Airways will take delivery of 12 new Boeing 787-10s between 2020 and 2023. Below is my clip of Busines Class flight experience onboard British Airways’ B787.
8. Six Senses Krabey Island in Cambodia premiers in December
Six Senses – one of my favorite hotel brands in the world – announced that reservations are being accepted at Six Senses Krabey Island following confirmation that the resort is on track for its scheduled opening. Six Senses Krabey Island is set on a 30-acre (12-hectare) private tropical island located 3 miles (5 kilometers) off Ream National Park in southern Cambodia. The resort will features 40 private pool villas that exemplify a commitment to using sustainable materials while embracing modern technology for guest wellness and comfort. The villas’ highlights will include green living roofs, sun decks with infinity plunge pools and rain showers. The resort will includes two unique restaurants with menus focused on quality local produce and seasonality to create Khmer and Southeast Asian cuisine together with international dishes. There will also be a sunset bar and an ice cream parlor. The expansive Six Senses spa is inspired by the sacred Khmer Kbal Spean River and will offer a wide range of holistic rejuvenation and beauty treatments plus Six Senses Integrated Wellness.
9. Miami will gets its first Waldorf Astoria hotel
The Waldorf Astoria brand will enter the Miami market at 300 Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami will consist of a five-star hotel, private residences, retail and top culinary destinations. Rising 1,049 ft (320 m) above Biscayne Bay as one of the tallest hotel and residential towers along the East Coast, the exemplary architecture is set to transform the Miami skyline. The development was designed by architect Sieger Suarez and conceptual architect Carlos Ott. The project is a joint venture between the New York-based Property Markets Group (PMG), Toronto’s Greybrook Realty Partners and the Miami-based S2 Development. “We are thrilled to bring the rich history and heritage of this hotel brand to Miami,” said Ryan Shear, principal of PMG. “The city continues to thrive as a top global destination with increasing arts, culture, tourism, fashion and luxury brands. This partnership is a major milestone for Miami’s real estate and hospitality industries.”
10. St Regis debuts in Zhuhai, China’s premier tourist destination
Overlooking the stunning Wanzai shoreline and just a short ferry ride from bustling Macau, The St. Regis Zuhai occupies floors 41 to 72 of the Zhuhai Tower, the city’s newest landmark in the business district. Palm tree-lined coastlines and easy access to alluring islands have made Zhuhai a popular travel destination, while its location on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta has made it a key economic city in Southern China. The hotel features 251 elegant guest rooms, including 34 suites and a 1,100 square-meter presidential suite. All guest rooms have panoramic views of the waterways of the Greater Bay area, as well as the historical landscapes and bridge structures of Macau and Zhuhai. Designed by Wilson Associates, each guest room features glamourous touches, including a diamond pattern which pays tribute to the brand’s founding patroness, Caroline Astor, who loved the precious stone. The hotel offers an epicurean journey in its five distinctive restaurants and bars, guided by Ramon Turmo, a veteran of luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants. There’s also an Iridium Spa on the 68th floor.