Today (April 26, 2019): April 2019 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:
- Virgin Atlantic reveals new A350 Business Class seat
- Four Seasons Athens is now open
- Four Seasons announces a new private jet experience
- Mandarin Oriental announces an Istanbul luxury hotel
- Delta Air Lines refurbishes Business Class cabin on its Boeing 767s
- Iconic TWA hotel at New York’s JFK airport will open next month
- Hawaiian Airlines reveals new Boeing 787 Business Class seat
- W Hotels announces a second property in Bali
- The St Regis Hong Kong is now open
- United Airlines unveils a new aircraft livery
1. Virgin Atlantic reveals new Business Class seat
Virgin Atlantic has unveiled details of its long-awaited Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which includes an entirely new Upper Class cabin featuring a brand new suite. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, every suite faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens. All suites will transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed. The suite will boasts Virgin Atlantic’s largest ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5”and features intuitive new system, controllable by passengers’ own personal device. The A350 Business Class cabin will also feature a new bar known as The Loft. As the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, it’s designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends. The first A350 will take to the skies in August, as it flies from London Heathrow to New York JFK, followed by other services to JFK later in the year. Virgin Atlantic has ordered a total of 12 Airbus A350-1000, with them all scheduled to join the fleet by 2021.
2. Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens is now open
Inspired by the historic glamour of the original Astir Palace Hotel, the fully updated 300-room Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens is nestled amid 74 acres (30 hectares) of lush seaside landscape on the shores of the Athenian Riviera. Located on a peninsula just 30 minutes from Athens city centre, the property is the ideal choice for travelers who want to experience the best of ancient and modern Greece. The resort offers an amazing array of leisure facilities, including three private beaches strung together by a thousand foot (300 meter) boardwalk, three pools (free-form family pool, sleek infinity pool and indoor lap pool), five tennis courts, myriad watersports from windsurfing to sea kayaking plus a sunset sail every evening, an onsite basketball court and a golf club just steps away, extensive trails for jogging and walking, a fully-supervised complimentary Kids for All Seasons program housed in its own facility, boat access and even a helipad.
3. Four Seasons announces a new private jet experience
Built to replace the current Boeing 757 aircraft, the new Four Seasons A321LR aircraft will offer a modern, enriching and interactive flight experience, thanks to meticulous construction and thoughtful Four Seasons design. Offering the widest and tallest cabin in its class, key features will include a new spacious lounge area that invites socializing among guests, and also becomes the stage for a series of Four Seasons artisans to showcase their talents and craft in interactive workshops. Guests will have the opportunity to meet and learn from Four Seasons master chefs and mixologists, wellness experts and arts and culture aficionados for an enriching in-flight experience. With only 48 custom handcrafted seats designed by Optimares, with leather from Italian producer Poltrona Frau, the spacious interior will also allow guests to socialize more easily while seated. New purpose-built personal ottomans at each seat will encourage interaction and comfortable face-to-face connections.
4. Mandarin Oriental announces an Istanbul luxury hotel
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a luxury hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. The project, which also features branded residences, is scheduled to open in 2022. The new development will comprise three standalone towers and will be located in the exclusive Etiler residential area, close to the city’s central business district. One of the towers will house Mandarin Oriental Etiler, Istanbul with 158 guestrooms and suites and 16 serviced apartments. The remaining two towers will house 251 luxurious Residences at Mandarin Oriental. The hotel will have three restaurants and bars, and a selection of adaptable meeting spaces with outdoor areas and terraces, ideal for hosting both business and leisure events. There will also be a spa and fitness centre, offering the Group’s award-winning signature wellness programs as well as locally inspired treatments. The hotel will have both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.
5. Delta Air Lines refurbishes Business Class cabin on its B767s
Delta is currently installing its Business Class seats with sliding doors (Delta One Suites) on most of its wide-body aircraft including the Airbus A350, the Boeing B777 and the soon to be delivered A330-900neo. However, in November 2019, the USA airline will introduce fully refurbished Boeing 767-400s, featuring a different Business Class seat concept without sliding doors. In a video about its transatlantic expansion, Delta provides the first glimpse of the new 767-400. The reconfigured planes will feature 34 Business Class seats in one cabin (rather than the current 40 seats). Delta’s refreshed 764-400 aircraft will also feature the new wireless IFE system developed by Delta Flight Products with seat-back entertainment screens in every cabin and thoughtful touches like full-spectrum LED ambient lighting and memory foam cushions throughout the aircraft for added comfort. The refurbished B767-400 aircraft will mainly fly on the routes between London and the USA East Coast.
6. Iconic TWA hotel at New York’s JFK airport will open next month
7. Hawaiian Airlines reveals new B787 Business Class seat
According to FlightGlobal, Adient Aerospace will supply the Business Class seats for Hawaiian Airlines’ new Boeing 787-9 aircraft scheduled to enter the airline’s transpacific route network in 2021. Hawaiian‘s senior vice-president of marketing Avi Mannis says the airline’s requirements are very different to those of most other airlines because such a large proportion of its business class travellers are flying to or from vacation. “The challenge for us is that we are in a leisure market, and most lie-flat seats are designed for business travelers,” he says. “Our demographics are very different, with more honeymooners and other couples, and often children.” The airline looked for a product that offered “flexibility with partitions that allowed passengers to create private or shared experiences”, he adds. Although the island carrier is not yet revealing the configurations of its new Dreamliners, an image of the new seat was revealed:
8. W Hotels announces a second property in Bali
W Hotels, part of Marriott, announced the W Bali – Ubud, which is set to bring W’s bold design, signature Whatever/Whenever service and innovative programming to the cultural heart of Bali. Perched on a hilltop with unobstructed views of the Tanggayuda Valley, W Bali – Ubud will reinvent the Ubud experience with eclectic, surprising art and design set amongst a versatile vibe that is at once laid back and social. Upon entering the hotel, guests will be immersed in modern interpretations of traditional Balinese art styles with works from local artists, that lead to breath-taking lounges perfect for soaking in spectacular jungle sunsets as sounds of cool beats drift through the air. The hotel will offer 100 inspired guestrooms, including 10 villas with private swimming pools. Guests will be able to soak up the sun at two pools – one featuring terraced pools inspired by the rice paddles historically used in the region and another a designated quiet pool for peaceful relaxation and downtime.
9. The St Regis Hong Kong is now open
Opening in Wan Chai, a dynamic hub with both commercial and cultural aspects, Hong Kong’s latest luxury hotel is just steps from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and Golden Bauhinia Square, and minutes by car to Admiralty, Lan Kwai Fong in Central, and Victoria Peak. A residentially inspired retreat designed for business travelers and culture seekers, the 27-story St. Regis Hong Kong offers 129 exquisitely appointed guest rooms and suites. Each guestroom features warm, inviting touches where discerning guests experience the signature St. Regis style living, with impeccable service meeting effortless luxury. Guests are invited to indulge in French haute cuisine in L’Envol or signature Cantonese cuisine in Run restaurant, led by renowned chef Hung Chi-Kwong. The St. Regis Hong Kong also boasts an outdoor verandah, heated swimming pool and poolside bar as well as a health club with a spa treatment room among other luxurious amenities.
10. United Airlines unveils a new aircraft livery
United Airlines is introducing a modernized aircraft livery, which will bring a refreshed look to its fleet. The design is a visual representation of United’s ongoing brand evolution while staying true to the history it has developed over the past 93 years of proudly serving customers around the world. Three shades of blue – Rhapsody Blue, United Blue and Sky Blue – are used throughout the design in a way that pays respect to United’s heritage while bringing a more modern energy. The airline is keeping its iconic globe logo on the aircraft tail, which represents the carrier’s expansive route network of reaching 355 destinations in nearly 60 countries. The tail will be updated with a gradient in the three shades of blue, while the logo will now appear predominantly in Sky Blue. The engines and wingtips are also being painted United Blue. United’s name will appear larger on the aircraft body and the lower half of the body will be painted Runway Gray. United’s mission of “Connecting people. Uniting the world.” will also be painted near the door of each aircraft.