Today: June 2021 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:
- One&Only opens an ultra-luxe property in Montenegro
- One&Only announces a hotel in Athens, Greece
- Boeing completes successful 737 MAX 10 first flight
- Four Seasons will open a hotel in Osaka, Japan
- Play unveils uniforms and A321neo aircraft livery
- The Ritz-Carlton brand debuts in the Maldives
- Lufthansa rosters A350s and B747-8s on Mallorca routes
- Rosewood announces a hotel in Chongqing, China
- United Airlines intends to buy supersonic aircraft
- Austrian Airlines retires last turboprop aircraft
1. One&Only opens an ultra-luxe property in Montenegro
Located at the entrance of Boka Bay, at the edge of the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, One&Only Portonovi is the ultra-luxury brand’s first outpost in Europe. With its shimmering waters, dramatic mountains and a meandering coastline fringed by lush forest, Boka Bay is one of the most stunning bays in Montenegro, a still undiscovered destination in Europe. With Venetian-inspired architecture meeting state-of-the-art design, the resort offers a wide range of accommodations, from havens for just two to family rooms and suites, and the signature Villa One that will sleep up to seven. Each space features generous indoor and outdoor living to savor mesmerizing views of surrounding bay, gardens and mountains. Three onsite restaurants serve authentic Montenegrin dishes, Asian fusion cuisine in a vibrant pool club setting, and rustic Italian fair respectively. Leisure facilities include six distinct resort pools overlooking spectacular vistas, a private sandy beach, and a high end spa.
2. One&Only announces a hotel in Athens, Greece
Kerzner International Holdings Limited, the owner of ultra-luxury One&Only Resorts, has announced One&Only Aesthesis, which will be developed in Athens, Greece. The 21-hectare beachfront estate, within a 6-hectare forest reserve, is set to open in 2022. Remaining true to the One&Only brand ethos, the resort will celebrate the legendary Athenian Riviera whilst providing stunning, intuitive design. A playful return to nature, the resort will be inspired by the azure waters and the incredible natural surroundings, providing a modern Greek elegance, yet showcasing powerful elements dominant in Greek mythology like fire and water, carved from a palette of natural stone and timber. Like all properties within the One&Only collection, One&Only Aesthesis will place an emphasis on privacy, the ultimate hideaway, with the majority of accommodation being secluded villas with private pools, perfect for couples or families. Hotel facilities will include dining outlets, a beach club, and a Chenot Spa.
3. Boeing completes successful 737 MAX 10 first flight
Boeing’s 737-10, the largest airplane in the 737 MAX family, has completed its first flight. The airplane took off from Renton Field in Renton, Washington, at 10:07 am on June 18th and landed at 12:38 pm at Boeing Field in Seattle. “The airplane performed beautifully,” said 737 Chief Pilot Capt. Jennifer Henderson. “The profile we flew allowed us to test the airplane’s systems, flight controls and handling qualities, all of which checked out exactly as we expected.” The flight was the start of a comprehensive test program for the 737-10. Boeing will work closely with regulators to certify the airplane prior to its scheduled entry into service in 2023. “The 737-10 is an important part of our customers’ fleet plans, giving them more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane,” said Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing. “Our team is committed to delivering an airplane with the highest quality and reliability.” The 737-10 can carry up to 230 passengers. It also incorporates environmental improvements, cutting carbon emissions by 14 percent and reducing noise by 50 percent compared to today’s Next-Generation 737s.
4. Four Seasons will open a hotel in Osaka, Japan
The Four Seasons Hotel Osaka, set to open in 2024, will be located in One Dojima Project, a large-scale redevelopment project in the Kinki region of Osaka. The building will be approximately 195 metres high (49 stories), making it one of the tallest in Osaka City. Four Seasons Hotel Osaka is being designed by award-winning interior designer Gwenael Nicolas of Curiosity, as well as Shinichiro Ogata of SIMPLICITY, and Yasuhiro Koichi of Design Studio Spin. Nikken Sekkei, one of Japan’s leading architectural firms, has been appointed to design the entire building. Otani, the master architect of Nikken Sekkei, has created a graceful design that evokes the image of a sail. Takenaka Corporation, which used to be headquartered in this area, has been selected to construct the building. The 175 guest rooms will boast sophisticated design and a spacious atmosphere. Guests from all over the world will be able to unwind thanks to the highest level of hospitality provided by Four Seasons.
5. Play unveils uniforms and A321neo aircraft livery
The new Icelandic airline Play has unveiled its crew uniforms and aircraft livery, ahead of the launch of its operations later this month. The carrier posted photographs on its Facebook page of its first 192-seat A321neo being painted in a striking red and white livery. Two additional A321 neos are set to join Play’s fleet next month. The carrier has also unveiled the uniform range for its crew members, which were designed by designer couple Gunni Hilmars and Kolla who were keen to tackle a fresh take on what is usually a very traditional line of clothing. The couple says: “We were honored and pleased to get to work with PLAY on this clothing line for their uniforms. We really wanted to throw out all those old ideas about airline uniforms and bring in more comfort. We tried to scrap the constrictive rules often associated with these uniforms and include relaxed fits, stretchy fabrics and of course, shoes meant for working on your feet! The result is a mix of active wear and a fresh uniform.” Plans for the new Icelandic low-cost carrier were first unveiled in 2019, following the collapse of Wow Air. Play is set to launch four flights per week between Reykjavik and London Stansted on June 24, as well as routes to Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris CDG and Tenerife South over the coming weeks.
6. The Ritz-Carlton brand debuts in the Maldives
Easily accessible via a scenic ten-minute seaplane ride, or a 45-minute luxury boat ride from Velana International Airport, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is part of the picturesque Fari Marina with its vibrant Beach Club, charming boutiques and tempting eateries forming the archipelago’s communal heart. Designed by the multi-award winning Kerry Hill Architects, the resort is inspired by its natural surroundings, including the elements of swirling water and ocean breezes, which are incorporated into a design narrative that is rooted in the shape of a circle that also represents the flow of island life. The resort features 100 luxurious one- to three-bedroom villas, either set over crystal clear waters, or nestled along pristine beach coves, each offering spacious living spaces that blur the line between indoors and outdoors with panoramic sliding doors, a sun deck with a private infinity pool and breathtaking views. The resort’s minimalist design is respectful of its visual impact on the environment and draws much of its natural surroundings into the guest experience.
7. Lufthansa rosters A350s and B747-8s on Mallorca routes
According to Business Traveller, Lufthansa will operate widebody aircraft on its routes to Mallorca this summer, following “high summer vacation demand” over the last couple of months. Flights from Frankfurt and Munich would normally be served by A321s, but the carrier said it would deploy its A350 and B747-8 aircraft after it had seen a 25-fold increase in bookings between April and the start of June. Lufthansa’s B747-8 will serve flights from Frankfurt to Palma de Mallorca on four Saturdays in July and August. The Boeing 747’s 88 Business and First class seats will be sold as Business Class, and 276 Economy and Premium Economy seats will be sold as Economy Class. Meanwhile the carrier’s A350 aircraft is currently set to operate on a flight from Munich to Palma de Mallorca on Saturday July 31, and will offer 48 Business Class seats and 245 seats in Economy (including the aircraft’s Premium Economy seating). The B747-8 and A350 flights are now on sale, and Lufthansa said that it would be offsetting the CO2 emissions from these “extraordinary flights”.
8. Rosewood announces a hotel in Chongqing, China
Rosewood Chongqing is set to open in the city’s Central Business District in 2030. Sitting in close proximity to the city center and high-end shopping and dining outlets, as well as multiple transportation hubs including an impressive subway interchange station on site, Rosewood Chongqing will be housed in a new build, mixed-use development and serve as an ideal gateway to the destination’s myriad business, leisure and cultural offerings. The hotel will be housed in a 470 m (1541 ft) tall tower, the tallest building in the city and the twelfth tallest building in the world. Upon completion, the hotel will offer 183 refined accommodations, including 25 spacious suites. Apart from four dining outlets – a bistro, a living room, a Chinese restaurant and a specialty bar, the hotel will also feature Sense, A Rosewood Spa with multiple treatment rooms, a fitness center and an indoor swimming pool to create a serene urban sanctuary in the bustling city center.
9. United Airlines intends to buy supersonic aircraft
United Airlines announced a commercial agreement with Denver-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic to add supersonic aircraft to its global fleet. Under the terms of the agreement, United will purchase 15 of Boom’s ‘Overture’ airliners, once Overture meets United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements, with an option for an additional 35 aircraft. Once operational, Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one, optimized to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It is slated to roll out in 2025, fly in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029. Capable of flying at speeds of Mach 1.7 – twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners – Overture can connect more than 500 destinations in nearly half the time. Among the many future potential routes for United are Newark to London in just three and a half hours, Newark to Frankfurt in four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in just six hours. Overture will also be designed with features such as in-seat entertainment screens, ample personal space, and contactless technology.
10. Austrian Airlines retires last turboprop aircraft
Marking the end of an impressive era, Austrian Airlines operated a passenger flight with a turboprop aircraft for the last time. The Dash 8-Q400 with the registration OE-LGI flew as OS 905/6 from Vienna to Innsbruck and back in May 31st. On 9 April 1980, the story of the Dash began not only in Austria, but all of Europe. At that time, Tyrolean Airways was the first European airline to take delivery of the first Dash 8 predecessor, a De Havilland Canada DHC-7. With its excellent short-landing characteristics, the 50-seat regional aircraft was ideally suited for use at difficult airports such as Innsbruck or Courchevel. From 1985, Tyrolean Airways used the twin-engined successor model Dash 8-100 on flights to Graz, Frankfurt and Zurich. Until the complete takeover of the Tyrolean carrier by Austrian Airlines in 1998, a total of 44 different Dash 8s of the -100, -300 and -400 series flew for Tyrolean. At Austrian Airlines, 18 Dash 8-Q400s were last in service on short-haul routes, for example on flights from Vienna to Milan, Warsaw or Zagreb. After almost 20 years of operation at Austria’s home carrier, this aircraft type alone can boast some impressive figures:
- Over 20 million passengers have flown on the Dash 8-Q400 in the last 20 years.
- The Dash 8-Q400 has flown 237 million kilometers – accident-free. That is 310 flights to the moon and back.
- Austrian’s Dash 8-Q400s have spent a combined 54 years in the air.
- During their career, the aircraft completed more than 520,000 safe landings.
- During their pre-flight checks, the Dash 8-Q400 pilots covered more than 52,000 kilometers on foot – that is 20 circumnavigations of Austria.