Today (May 31, 2019): May 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 and aviation. In this issue:
- Six Senses will open a resort in Iceland
- Six Senses announces a property in Costa Rica
- Turkish Airlines reveals new B787 Business Class cabin
- The InterContinental Maldives will open soon
- Air France releases a stunning brand video
- The famous Resort at Pedregal Los Cabos is now managed by Waldorf Astoria
- Japan Airlines takes delivery of its first domestic Airbus A350
- Alila Hotels is joining Hyatt’s loyalty program
- La Compagnie’s first A321neo makes inaugural transatlantic flight
- New flaw discovered on the Boeing 737 Max
1. Six Senses will open a resort in Iceland
With Iceland enjoying clean air, sustainable energy and high national happiness, it is no surprise that Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas choose the country of fire and ice for its next development: Six Senses Össurá Valley. It will be a hub for people passionate about nature, wellness and adventure by day, and indulgent dining, comfortable beds and perhaps a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis by night. The property will be set in a privately-owned valley in Svínhólar, adjacent to the Lón Lagoon, which is separated from the North Atlantic Ocean by a beautiful black sand beach. The valley’s multiple waterfalls and surrounding landscape will lend themselves to out-of-the-ordinary experiences including dog sledging, horseback riding, ice and rock climbing, bird watching and boat trips. The first phase of the project will see the opening of a 70-guestroom resort and private cottages dotted on the surrounding land serving as an icon for sustainable living. Six Senses Össurá Valley is slated to open in 2022.
2. Six Senses announces a property in Costa Rica
There is some more exciting news from the ultraluxe Six Senses group as the company will bring its sustainable and ultra-luxury footprint to the breathtaking 2,300-acre (930-hectare) Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica. Six Senses Papagayo, when completed in 2020, will be unique on the peninsula stretching from the highest point and 360-degree panorama of the Guanacaste archipelago to a forested beachfront dotted with 41 secluded and generously-sized pool villas. The highlight of the resort will be Six Senses wellness programming along with a beautiful spa and fitness center and myriad of activities and inactivities. There will be an organic farm located in the heart of the property including fruit, vegetable and herb gardens inspiring the chef’s menus and signature spa treatments.
3. Turkish Airlines reveals new B787 Business Class cabin
Turkish Airlines has received its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which features the carrier’s all-new Business Class cabins. A modern, traveler-friendly 1-2-1 layout offers all aisle access to Business Class passengers, with seats featuring enhanced privacy panels, personal closed stowage space, self-care mirrors, wide cocktail tables, and 18-inch HD video displays. Suede-like alcantara padding – commonly found in sports cars- is used for the interior trimming of each Business Class seat, adding another welcome touch of luxury and refinement. The cabin’s lighting scenarios are drawing inspiration from the colourful sunsets of Turkey’s central Cappadocia region and idyllic turquoise beaches. Turkish Airlines’ 787-9 Dreamliner routes will include Bali, London, Dubai, Washington, New York, Atlanta, Mexico City, Cancun, Bali, Amsterdam, Delhi, Panama City, and Bogota.
4. InterContinental is about to open a resort in the Maldives
The first luxury IHG property in the Maldives is about to open, with the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort now taking bookings for arrivals from 1st October. The property is located at the southern tip of Raa Atoll, a 35 scenic seaplane journey from the capital Male. Maamunagau island is blessed with a large inner lagoon located to its west, calm waters, amazing sunset views and a pristine white beach. The resort will feature 81 luxurious villas and residences, Besides enjoying the clear lagoon and pristine white beach, guests will have a range of food and beverage offerings to choose from at the resort’s six distinct bar and restaurants, and indulge at a luxurious spa facility. InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is located in a UNESCO reserve and the lagoon is home to over 3000 manta rays.
5. Air France releases a stunning brand video
A few days ago, Air France released a Youtube video – entitled ‘we are Air France’ – paying tribute to the men and women of the company who are passionately committed on a daily basis to offering passengers an exceptional travel experience. The movie is also dedicated to Air France’s customers, who have put their trust in the airline for more than 85 years. Narrated by astronaut & pilot Thomas Pesquet, the video is beautifully done with amazing air-to-air footage of Air France’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. If you can’t get enough of the clip, you can also take a look here behind the scenes of the filming and the message from Anne Rigail, Air France’s CEO, as well as Thomas Pesquet. I will upload my own Air France clip very soon, featuring a trip report in the airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin from Paris to the Maldives.
6. The iconic Resort at Pedregal Los Cabos is now managed by Waldorf Astoria
Waldorf Astoria, Hilton’s iconic luxury hotel brand, announced its debut in Mexico as it assumes operation of the award-winning The Resort at Pedregal, which I reviewed here. Set on 24 acres of dramatic mountains and pristine beaches, the property is known as one of the best hotels in Mexico and will be rebranded to the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal by the end of 2019. “As the brand’s first property to debut in Mexico, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal showcases the brand’s commitment to expanding its luxury portfolio to some of the world’s most sought after destinations,” said Dino Michael, global head of Waldorf Astoria. “We look forward to combining the resort’s exclusive environment and guest-focused comforts with the brand’s commitment to personal service, ensuring our guests have the experience of a lifetime.” Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal will be part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands.
7. Japan Airlines takes delivery of its first domestic Airbus A350
Japan Airlines (JAL) has taken delivery of its first A350 XWB at Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, France. The A350-900 is the first aircraft produced by Airbus for JAL. The milestone event was attended by JAL Representative Director and Chairman Yoshiharu Ueki and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer. Altogether, JAL has ordered 31 A350 XWB aircraft, comprising 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s. Remarkably, JAL will initially operate the A350-900 on high frequency domestic routes, while the larger A350-1000 will fly on the carrier’s long haul international network. The first aircraft will enter service on the airline’s Haneda – Fukuoka route at the start of September. JAL’s A350-900 is configured in a premium three class layout, with 12 seats in First Class, 94 in Class J and 263 in Comfort Economy.
8. Exciting news: Alila Hotels joining Hyatt’s loyalty program
Hyatt Hotels announced the introduction of Alila Hotels into the World of Hyatt loyalty program, allowing World of Hyatt members to enjoy more unique stay options, the ability to earn and redeem points and enjoy in-hotel benefits at 16 participating Alila properties located throughout Asia, Southwest Asia and the U.S. This program addition quickly follows Hyatt’s November 2018 acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality and its recent integration of the Thompson Hotels and Joie de Vivre brands, with the Destination Hotels brand set to follow later this year. Alila is an award-winning brand known for its combination of innovative design and eco-luxury in unique locations, set apart by an unprecedented level of private space, crafted artisanship, personalized hospitality, and bespoke journeys. 16 Alila hotels are joining World of Hyatt beginning June 25, 2019 through July 16, 2019, including:
- Ventana Big Sur – an Alila Resort – Big Sur, California (June 25)
- Alila Solo – Solo (Surakarta), Central Java, Indonesia (June 25)
- Alila Seminyak – Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia (June 25)
- Studios at Alila Seminyak – Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia (June 25)
- Alila Ubud – Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia (June 25)
- Alila Villas Uluwatu – Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia (June 25) (read here my review)
- Alila Villas Koh Russey – Koh Russey, Sihanoukville Province, Cambodia (June 26)
- Alila Bangsar – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (June 26)
- Alila Manggis – Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia (June 26)
- Alila SCBD – Jakarta, Java, Indonesia (June 26)
- Alila Diwa Goa – Salcette, Goa, India (July 15)
- The Diwa Club by Alila – Salcette, Goa, India (July 15)
- Alila Jabal Akhdar – Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman (July 15) (read here my review)
- Alila Fort Bishangarh – Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (July 16)
- Alila Anji – Anji, Zhejiang, China (July 16)
- Alila Wuzhen – Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China (July 16)
9. La Compagnie’s first A321neo makes inaugural transatlantic flight
The first single-aisle A321neo destined for La Compagnie, an exclusively Business Class French airline operating scheduled transatlantic flights, commenced transatlantic services on 6 June from Paris Orly Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport. On lease from GECAS, La Compagnie’s A321neo is powered by CFM International LEAP 1A new generation engines and features a Business Class only cabin with 76 BE Aerospace Diamond seats in a 2 by 2 configuration. For optimal comfort, the seats recline to flat beds and include a comfy overmattress. The cabin also includes a high level of connectivity onboard with unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi. Selected for their outstanding operational efficiency, comfort and range, these new-generation single-aisle aircraft allow the French carrier to benefit from better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs on its transatlantic New York-Paris route. The airline has two new A321neo aircraft on order.
10. New flaw discovered on the Boeing 737 Max
According to CNN, a new flaw has been discovered in the computer system for the Boeing 737 Max that could push the plane downward, an issue that is expected to further delay the aircraft’s return to service. The latest versions of Boeing’s popular jet were grounded in March after two crashes – Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 – that killed 346 people. While the crashes remain under investigation, preliminary reports showed that a new stabilization system pushed both planes into steep nosedives from which the pilots could not recover. Boeing announced it could break the chain of events that led to both crashes by developing a software fix. In simulator tests, USA government pilots now discovered that a microprocessor failure could push the nose of the plane toward the ground. When testing the potential failure of the microprocessor in the simulators, “it was difficult for the test pilots to recover in a matter of seconds,” one of the sources said. “And if you can’t recover in a matter of seconds, that’s an unreasonable risk.” Boeing engineers are now trying to address the issue, which will lead to another delay in recertifying the 737 Max.