Today (July 31, 2020): July 2020 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:
- Rosewood will open a hotel on the Italian island of Sardinia
- Rosewood Shanghai will break ground in 2022
- Boeing announces the end of the Boeing 747 production
- British Airways is retiring its entire Boeing 747 fleet with immediate effect
- IHG debuts its InterContinental brand in Vietnam’s Halong Bay
- Emirates makes COVID-19 testing mandatory for passengers
- The Ritz-Carlton opens a new hotel in Nikko, Japan
- Mandarin Oriental announces a property in Vienna
- Bulgari is opening a brand new luxury hotel in Rome
- None of Cathay Pacific’s pilots or cabin crew have tested positive for COVID-19
1. Rosewood will open a hotel on the Italian island of Sardinia
Embarking on a new chapter of its European expansion, Rosewood – one of the most exclusive hotel brands in the world – will open an ultraluxe hotel on Sardinia in 2022. Rosewood Porto Cervo will be located in Costa Smeralda, Italy’s jet-set destination, known for its stunning white sand beaches and turquoise water. The three-story hotel will feature 65 guest rooms, including 26 suites, all complemented by spectacular 180-degree ocean views of the Mediterranean Sea and thoughtful amenities, which are finely tuned to the desires of today’s affluential explorers. A modern oasis, the resort’s serene design aesthetic will exude a captivating estate-style atmosphere coupled with personalized services and exceptional privacy. Guests will be able to stroll through the resort’s lush gardens and along alluring coastlines, spend their afternoons basking by the outdoor pool, and take advantage of the resort’s private pier to conveniently access Porto Cervo town by boat.
2. Rosewood Shanghai will break ground in 2022
There is some more exciting news from the Rosewood Hotel Group with the announcement of The Rosewood Shanghai, a new hotel in mainland China set to break ground in 2022, with an expected opening in 2028. Occupying prime real estate within a mixed-use project designed by renowned international studio Foster + Partners, Rosewood Shanghai is set to transform the city skyline. Occupying the top floors of the site’s landmark building, which will be one of the tallest complexes in the city’s Puxi district at 320 m (1050 ft), the hotel will deliver unique design conceived to showcase its expansive views of the metropolis. In keeping with the brand’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy, the destination’s storied history, rich culture and dynamic spirit will serve as additional inspiration for the property’s design ethos and bespoke programming. The hotel will offer 200 rooms & suites, a Rosewood spa, and five restaurants & bars.
3. Boeing announces the end of the Boeing 747 production
Boeing has confirmed it will end production of its iconic B747 jumbo aircraft in 2022. The decision was confirmed in a letter by Boeing’s president and CEO Dave Calhoun to his employees addressing aerospace market realities.”The reality is the pandemic’s impact on the aviation sector continues to be severe,” said Calhoun. “Though some fliers are returning slowly to the air, their numbers remain far lower than 2019, with airline revenues likewise reduced. This pressure on our commercial customers means they are delaying jet purchases, slowing deliveries, deferring elective maintenance, retiring older aircraft and reducing spend – all of which affects our business and, ultimately, our bottom line. While there have been some encouraging signs, we estimate it will take around three years to return to 2019 passenger levels.” Boeing has around 16 B747s still to deliver, all of which are freighter versions of the aircraft. Korean Air and Lufthansa operate the largest passenger fleets of the latest B747-8 variant.
4. British Airways is retiring its entire Boeing 747 fleet with immediate effect
British Airways announced, with great sadness, that its fleet of 31 Boeing 747 aircraft, fondly known as ‘The Queen of the Skies’, will be retired with immediate effect as a result of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until 24. Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “This is not how we wanted or expected to have to say goodbye to our incredible fleet of 747 aircraft. It is a heart-breaking decision to have to make. So many people, including many thousands of our colleagues past and present, have spent countless hours on and with these wonderful planes. They will always hold a special place in our hearts at British Airways.” BOAC operated its first 747 London to New York service on 14th April 1971 and in July 1989 the first British Airways 747-400, the aircraft type the airline still flies today, took to the skies. At one point British Airways operated 57 Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
5. IHG debuts its InterContinental brand in Vietnam’s Halong Bay
Slated to open in 2023, the InterContinental Halong Bay Resort will draw inspiration from its beachfront location in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes more than 1,600 islands and inlets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Being Halong Bay’s first international luxury resort, the property sets itself apart with immersive resort facilities, complete with its very own private beach and an enviable view of Halong Bay’s famous limestone karst structures. InterContinental Halong Bay Resort will feature 175 guest rooms while InterContinental Residences Halong Bay will be made up of 60 apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms, and 41 villas. Guests and residents alike will be able to enjoy five restaurant and bar outlets, four pools, a gym, kids club and spa. Event hosts will find the property’s six meeting rooms well-equipped to facilitate any occasion.
6. Emirates makes COVID-19 testing mandatory for passengers
As of August 1, 2020, all passengers traveling to, from, or through Dubai International Airport will be required to show a negative coronavirus test result:
- This applies to citizens, residents, and tourists, regardless of whether they are holidaying in Dubai, ending their journey in Dubai, or just transiting through the airport
- This doesn’t apply to children under 12, or those with “moderate to severe disabilities”
- The negative COVID-19 certificate from a PCR test must have been from within the 96 hours leading up to travel
While this ensures the health and safety of all travelers and the Dubai and Emirates community, this will prove a logistical challenge for many, given how hard it is to find a doctor and a lab in a foreign country and also to receive the results within the required timeframe. On a positive note, Emirates has committed to cover COVID-19 related medical expenses, free of cost, should passengers be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel while they are away from home. This cover is immediately effective for customers flying on Emirates until 31 October 2020 (first flight to be completed on or before 31 October 2020), and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey.
7. The Ritz-Carlton opens a new hotel in Nikko, Japan
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced the opening of the latest hotel to join its luxury Asia Pacific portfolio, The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko. The property is set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for richly decorated shrines and temples. Perched along Lake Chuzenji and Mount Nantai, guests can easily access prominent scenic attractions, such as Nikko National Park, where the hotel is located. Taking cues from its picturesque surroundings, the hotel articulates graceful Japanese design through a modern lens to bring the natural beauty of Nikko indoors. Earthy materials such as woods and stones permeate the property and are enhanced by streaming natural light. The hotel’s 94 spacious guest rooms and suites all feature a private balcony that flows seamlessly with a lounge area, offering an expanded space for guests to take in the striking scenery surrounding the hotel. The property also offers four distinct dining experiences and an urban sanctuary of wellness.
8. Mandarin Oriental announces a property in Vienna
Mandarin Oriental Vienna – set to open in 2023 – will be housed in a heritage building that originally served as the city’s commercial law court from 1912 to 2003. The hotel will be located in a peaceful street in District One of Vienna within easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions. The conversion of the property is already underway, and the restoration will preserve many of the building’s original design elements. On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites surrounding a courtyard in the centre of the property, incorporating a restaurant, bar and outdoor garden. The property will also house a Spa at Mandarin Oriental featuring a series of treatment rooms, a swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre. A range of adaptable banqueting and meeting spaces will be available for events and social occasions.
9. Bulgari is opening a brand new luxury hotel in Rome
Opening in 2022, Bvlgari Hotel Roma will be an exceptional homage to the home of Bvlgari and its greatest source of inspiration. The Hotel will be located in the heart of the Campo Marzio neighborhood, minutes from the Spanish Steps, Via del Corso and the Bvlgari flagship on Via Condotti. The new Bvlgari Hotel Roma will occupy a magnificent modernist building from the 1930s that faces two of Rome’s most iconic landmarks: the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus, the first Roman Imperator. Like all Bvlgari Hotels properties, the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will be in charge of both the restoration of the building and the interior design of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which will count over 100 rooms, most of them suites, as well as the prestigious Il Ristorante curated by Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito and The Bvlgari Bar.
10. None of Cathay Pacific’s pilots or cabin crew have tested positive for COVID-19
In response to media enquiries, Cathay Pacific‘s Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer Greg Hughes said: “Since April, more than 3,200 voluntary and mandatory tests have been taken by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon pilots and cabin crew. None of these have come back positive, and none of our operating crew have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. This demonstrates that our aircrew are extremely diligent when it comes to adhering to social distancing rules and protecting themselves.” Cathay Pacific will continue to ensure non-Hong Kong-based crew remain in designated hotels only and practize social distancing measures during their stay in Hong Kong. The same applies to Hong Kong-based crew during their stay in foreign countries. All crew members will also follow all the requirements for medical surveillance: maintaining good personal hygiene, measuring their temperature regularly, watching for symptoms and wearing a mask when commuting for duty flights.