Today: July 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:
- Six Senses Ibiza, Spain is now open
- Four Seasons opens a resort on the Italian island of Sicily
- British Airways launches digital Covid-19 travel tool
- GHM Resorts plans a Chedi for the Red Sea at El Gouna
- IHG will open an InterContinental Resort in Montenegro
- Airbus delivers first A350 from its China facility
- Viceroy Hotels and Resorts opens its first European property
- United Airlines signs agreement to purchase 19-seater electric aircraft
1. Six Senses Ibiza, Spain is now open
Conceived by architect Jonathan Leitersdorf, Six Senses Ibiza is a year-round destination set in Xarraca bay, a long-hidden secret on Ibiza’s northern tip. Integrated into its contours to enjoy unobstructed sunsets, the property features 116 guest rooms and suites, including one-of-a-kind cave suites built into the cliffs. There are also a handful of Village Residences ideal for large groups or longer-term stays. Powered by its own renewable energy source and with punchy zero waste and zero single-use plastic targets, the resort has sustainability at its core. Six Senses Ibiza offers a comprehensive range of amenities and programming, farm-to-table dining, music, art, sustainable fashion, culture, longevity and wellness. Each experience is inspired by the traditions and values of the island to deliver an intentional destination that provokes meaningful moments of community, spirituality and celebration.
2. Four Seasons opens a resort on the Italian island of Sicily
Just in time for the much-anticipated return of the high season in southern Italy, a landmark hotel is debuting a fresh new look and an invitation to experience it all. San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel is now open. Ideally placed on the hilltop town of Taormina on the eastern shores of Sicily, the resort overlooks the Bay of Taormina and the Ionian Sea. The iconic property features multiple terraces with clear views of the surrounding waters, as well as Mount Etna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel comprises an ancient Dominican convent from the 14th century, as well as a Grand Hotel Wing that was added in 1896. The 111 guest rooms and suites feature original architecture and facades from the historic building. Facilities include a state-of-the-art spa with seven treatment rooms, an indoor pool, a beach club, and the two-Michelin star restaurant, Principe Cerami.
3. British Airways launches digital Covid-19 travel tool
British Airways customers can now check the travel restrictions and entry requirements of any destination the airline flies to on a new interactive map on ba.com. The tool brings together the latest information for over 100 countries, providing thousands of sources, and using millions of data points to stay up to date. Visitors to the page are able to explore the globe to see what travel restrictions each country has in place before booking a trip. There is also a tab which allows customers to indicate whether or not they are vaccinated, which will adjust the results. Jack Smith, British Airways’ Head of Digital said: “We know that travel in this new Covid era can feel overwhelming for our customers, and our job is to make their lives as straightforward as possible. This new tool, which has been tried and is trusted by our joint business partner, American Airlines, will help people navigate the differing entry requirements, to allow for a smooth booking and travel experience.”
4. GHM Resorts plans a Chedi for the Red Sea at El Gouna
The new hotel – The Chedi El Gouna, Red Sea, Egypt – is to be developed on the foundation of an existing, 86-key charming beachfront property. It will be perfected by The Chedi’s signature Asian aesthetics of timeless design. The Chedi El Gouna marks the third collaboration between the Singapore-based hotel group, GHM, and Switzerland-based Orascom Hotels Management. The two groups came together on an initial effort that resulted in The Chedi Andermatt, which in five years has established itself as one of Switzerland’s most sophisticated resort experiences. Orascom and GHM then teamed up to launch The Chedi Luštica Bay on the coast of Montenegro in 2016. El Gouna is Orascom Development´s flagship town. Its architecture pays homage to the aesthetics of the Nubian village and Egyptian countryside. Some 18 hotels, boasting from three to five stars, and two golf courses form the hospitality backbone of a destination otherwise known for its watersports, beaches and boating.
5. IHG will open an InterContinental Resort in Montenegro
Set to open in 2023, InterContinental Resort Amma, Canj will be located on the Biserna Obala (Pearl Coast), part of an unspoiled coastline sheltered by wooded, rocky hills traditionally popular with locals and visitors alike. The resort will offer leisure and business guests a choice of 198 rooms, including 60 suites, alongside a selection of villas and a significant luxury residential development. A sun-drenched swimming pool with its own bar, indoor and outdoor wellness facilities, a fully-equipped fitness centre, and a spa with four treatment rooms and three saunas will ensure every visitor finds a way to rest, relax and unwind during their stay. When it comes to dining, InterContinental Resort Amma, Canj – Montenegro will boast a world-class main restaurant and rooftop bar, as well as a more intimate club lounge. There will be plentiful meeting rooms – including a ballroom – for those guests looking to take care of business, as well as underground parking with 260 spaces.
6. Airbus delivers first A350 from its China facility
Airbus has delivered the first A350 from its widebody completion & delivery center (C&DC ) in Tianjin, China, taking additional steps in the expansion of its global footprint and long-term strategic partnership with China. The A350 was delivered to China Eastern Airlines, the second largest Airbus operator in the world. China Eastern Airlines operates an Airbus fleet of 413 aircraft, including 349 A320 Family aircraft, 55 A330 Family aircraft and nine A350 aircraft. Located at the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Center, the widebody C&DC covers the aircraft completion activities, including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery. The center was inaugurated in 2017 with its capability on A330s, but has now extended its capability to A350 aircraft. The A350 family had currently received 915 firm orders, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.
7. Viceroy Hotels and Resorts opens its first European property
Viceroy has opened its first property in the southeast European country of Serbia, marking the debut of the brand on the continent. Located on Serbia’s largest mountain range, Viceroy Kopaonik is a luxe mountain resort rich in culture, natural beauty and boundless adventure. The impressive 119-room retreat adds a glamorous, West Coast vibe to Serbia’s largest ski resort. With three dining venues, a luxurious full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools and curated off-site guest experiences, Viceroy Kopaonik welcomes locals and guests alike to experience a new world of adventure and contemporary luxury. Designed by world-renowned hospitality design firm, WATG and its interiors studio, Wimberly Interiors, Viceroy Kopaonik reflects the local “Suvo Rudiste” contemporary mountain style and complements the beauty of its surrounding landscape. Showcasing the height of alpine living, the interiors celebrate local culture and craftsmanship with stone, glass, timber and textiles resulting in effortless elegance.
8. United Airlines signs agreement to purchase 19-seater electric aircraft
United Airlines announced that is has invested in electric aircraft startup Heart Aerospace. Heart Aerospace is developing the ES-19, a 19-seat electric aircraft that has the potential to fly customers up to 250 miles before the end of this decade. In addition to this investment, United Airlines has conditionally agreed to purchase 100 ES-19 aircraft, once the aircraft meet United’s safety, business and operating requirements. By utilizing electric motors instead of jet engines, and batteries instead of jet fuel, Heart’s ES-19 aircraft will have zero operational emissions. Seating 19 passengers, the ES-19 aircraft will also be larger than any of its all-electric competitors and will be designed to operate on the same types of batteries used in electric cars. Once operational, the ES-19 could operate on more than 100 of United’s regional routes out of most of its hubs. Some of these routes include Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Purdue University Airport (LAF) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Modesto City-County Airport (MOD).
9. Emirates restarts its flights to Mauritius, as the island reopens to tourism
Emirates has announced it will restart passenger services to Mauritius this summer with two weekly flights from 15 July, as the island-nation gradually re-opens its borders to international tourists. Fully vaccinated travelers can enjoy a relaxing and safe getaway in a list of pre-approved COVID-19 safe resorts across the island. From white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and luscious landscapes – Mauritius remains one the most popular holiday destinations, attracting travellers across the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Emirates’ flights to Mauritius will operate on Thursdays and Saturdays. Starting from 15 July, the route will be served utilizing a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and from 1 August, utilizing the Emirates A380 aircraft. Emirates flight EK 701 will depart Dubai 2:35hrs and arrive in Mauritius at 9:10hrs local time. The return flight will operate on Fridays and Sundays. Emirates flight EK 704 will depart Mauritius at 23:10hrs and arrive in Dubai at 5:45hrs local time, the following day.
10. Qatar Airways introduces a new Business Class Suite for its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners
Qatar Airways has launched its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner passenger aircraft on routes from Doha to Athens, Barcelona, Dammam, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid and Milan. These aircraft feature a the new Adient Ascent Business Class Suite concept. Arranged in a herringbone pattern, in a 1-2-1 configuration, each suite has direct aisle access with a sliding door to ensure the ultimate in privacy and comfort. Passengers seated in adjoining centre suites can slide the privacy panels away at the touch of a button to create their very own enclosed private space. The Business Class Suite, transforms into a 79” fully-flat bed, offering elevated levels of comfort on board. Passengers can relax during their flight, knowing their personal mobile device is stored safely in a dedicated phone holder, equipped with a wireless charging technology that is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. The Business Class Suite is complemented with the airline’s industry-leading onboard service from its award-winning cabin crew.