Today: August 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:
- Mandarin Oriental opens a new luxury urban resort in Istanbul
- Aeroflot unveils a new Business Class product on its Boeing 777 fleet
- Six Senses Shaharut in Israel is now open
- The St Regis brand makes its debut in China’s coastal city of Qingdao
- W Hotels opens in Philadelphia
- Jetblue begins transatlantic services between New York and London
- Four Seasons New Orleans is now open
- Emirates boosts its service across Europe
- Qantas offers Australians incentives to get vaccinated
- British Airways’ A380s will return to the skies
1. Mandarin Oriental opens a new luxury urban resort in Istanbul
Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul features 100 luxuriously designed guest rooms and suites with stunning views over the Bosphorus and the city skyline. A wide range of stylish restaurants and bars, significant entertainment spaces for social gatherings, and an all-encompassing spa provide an ideal backdrop for leisure and business travel. The hotel is well placed to become one of the city’s best locations for dining and entertaining, introducing the globally renowned Novikov concepts to Istanbul with the main Novikov restaurant directly on the shorefront, a classic Novikov Lounge Bar, a vibrant Bosphorus Lounge with waterfront terrace and the Novikov Pool Bar in a garden oasis. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus offers an extensive range of wellness and beauty therapies and includes luxury treatment rooms, hammams, private relaxation areas, exercise and fitness facilities as well as an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.
2. Aeroflot unveils a new Business Class product on its Boeing 777 fleet
Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot has unveiled its first long-range Boeing 777 aircraft with retrofitted cabin. The new cabin is configured with 28 Super Diamond NG seats equipped with sliding doors in Business Class, 24 seats in Comfort Class and 375 seats in Economy Class. All seats come in high-quality jacquard upholstery. Business class passengers can enjoy individual suites providing high level of privacy. Sliding doors and an extra armrest turn a seat in a private suite fitted with an 18.5-inch HD monitor and 2 m (6.5 ft) full-flat bed. Passengers travelling in all classes of service can enjoy the latest generation Panasonic Ex3 multimedia in-flight entertainment system featuring new film releases and classical movies, audiobooks, games, children’s channel, flight map with city guides (same as onboard А350). High-speed Internet access (up to 30 Мb/sec)* is available on board. Aeroflot will operate the retrofitted Boeing 777 on all popular international and domestic routes, including Dubai, New York, Los-Angeles, Mahe, and Delhi.
3. Six Senses Shaharut in Israel is now open
Six Senses Shaharut is located in the lunar-like Arava Valley in the south of the Negev Desert. With its secluded setting, Six Senses Shaharut aims to bring guests in balance with nature so they can kick back and enjoy traditional desert hospitality and rich Nabataean history delivered with uncompromising eco-conscious care and attention. There are just 60 suites and villas spread across the expansive desert landscape along with a signature spa that offers guests a much-needed place for respite. Designed to integrate into the desert topography and preserve the natural terrain, the villas were built from, and inspired by, local rock and pigments. On-site attractions will include the fascinating Earth Lab, camel stables and an open-air amphitheater. The extraordinary desert setting will present a host of activities from overnight camel camping to extreme sports, hiking, jeep safaris and wine tours.
4. The St Regis brand makes its debut in China’s coastal city of Qingdao
Occupying the 58th to 78th floors of the 369 m (1211 ft) tall Haitian Center, The St Regis Qingdao is the tallest hotel in the region, enthralling guests with panoramic vistas of the Yellow Sea and picturesque coastal scenes. Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, the renowned Singapore based interior design firm, LTW Designworks, subtly infused local Qingdao influences with St Regis’ avant-garde aesthetic. This includes a crystal chandelier inspired by a legendary dress of golden thorns that Caroline Astor, mother of St Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV and doyenne of New York high society in the Gilded Age, wore to one of her famed Midnight Suppers. The hotel features 233 guest rooms, including 30 luxury suites with spectacular ocean views. The St Regis Qingdao also invites guests to embark on multi-sensory culinary journeys at its five distinctive dining outlets and to relax their bodies and minds at its exclusive spa facility.
5. W Hotels opens in Philadelphia
Located in the heart of downtown, the 51-story skyscraper which houses the hotel is a celebration of the city’s street art, musical legacy and historic embrace of originality – as seen through the provocative lens of the W brand. From The Sound of Philadelphia and the city’s legendary 1970s nightlife scene to its famed urban grid richly juxtaposed with vibrant greenspaces, the design of W Philadelphia is as rich and diverse as the city itself. Punctuated throughout the hotel is an extensive artwork collection, much of it exclusively commissioned by the hotel using the talent of local artists. The hotel features 295 guest rooms including 39 suites, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking, panoramic city views. F&B venues include “Stevens’ Prophecy,” a salon adorned with artwork celebrating Hollywood and Philadelphia royalty, Grace Kelly. The hotel also has a fitness center, and a spa on the seventh floor with five treatment rooms, a lounge, beauty bar and DJ set-up for private events.
6. Jetblue begins transatlantic services between New York and London
Jetblue – New York’s Hometown Airline – has officially entered the transatlantic market with new, nonstop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and London Heathrow Airport. The highly anticipated milestone – aimed at shaking up the transatlantic market with the airline’s award-winning service and attractive fares – marks the first time JetBlue has served a destination beyond the 100+ cities it flies to throughout the Americas. With new service in the United Kingdom, JetBlue now flies to 26 countries. JetBlue operates from Heathrow’s newest terminal – Terminal 2 – which offers travelers a modern airport experience with access to dozens of shops and restaurants. Flights between New York-JFK and Heathrow are operated by JetBlue’s new Airbus A321 Long Range (LR) aircraft with 24 redesigned Mint suites, 114 core seats and the sleek and spacious Airspace cabin interior. The airline also confirmed that it will “proactively offset the CO2 emissions from all JetBlue flights to and from London throughout 2021” through carbonfund.org.
7. Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans is now open
Housed within the renovated World Trade Center, the new Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans is located on the Mississippi waterfront next to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, financial center, French Quarter, and Warehouse District, with clear views of both the city and the Mississippi River. A total of 341 beautifully appointed rooms and suites designed by Bill Rooney Studio offer accommodation options suited to each guest’s purpose in the city. In a city that continues to make its mark as one of America’s most renowned culinary destinations, Four Seasons has partnered with acclaimed local chefs to introduce all-new restaurant concepts celebrating the South, as well as a spectacular lobby bar – all primed for celebration. This fall, the hotel will open its crescent-shaped rooftop swimming pool surrounded by inviting lounge chairs, four private cabanas and Mississippi River views; a 24/7 fitness center and an upscale wellness center.
8. Emirates boosts its service across Europe
With clear signals that passenger confidence for international travel is returning, Emirates is advancing its plans to increase services and capacity to make it easier for its customers to connect to and from its extensive European network via Dubai. Responding to a rise in customer demand, Emirates has also brought forward its plans to introduce extra flights and capacity to over 10 European cities, including Birmingham, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Hamburg, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Munich, Rome and Zurich. Many of these cities will be served with daily flights or more. In Germany, Emirates will make it easier for business and leisure customers to connect to its popular gateways by expanding frequencies to daily flights in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, with a total of 50 flights a week by 31 October. Flights between Dusseldorf and Dubai, as well as between Hamburg and Dubai, will also be upgraded to the Emirates A380 to offer more capacity between both cities.
9. Qantas offers Australians incentives to get vaccinated
Qantas has launched a reward campaign for COVID-19 vaccinated Australians to recognize their role in helping the country get out of lockdown. Fully vaccinated Australian-based frequent flyers who are 18 and over will be able to claim their reward through the Qantas App by choosing one of three options: 1000 Qantas points; 15 status credits (which help Frequent Flyers move up between Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers); or a $20 AUD flight discount for Qantas or Jetstar. Members will then be automatically entered into a mega prize draw to win a year’s worth of flights to take off to more than 60 destinations around Australia and free accommodation across 345 Accor hotels, resorts and apartments (including Sofitel, Pullman, Peppers, Mantra, Mercure, Mövenpick, Novotel and Ibis). Winners will also be able to take off to any Qantas and Jetstar international destination when borders start to open. Australians can claim their points, status credits or flight discounts and be automatically entered in the mega prize draw by downloading the Qantas App (via the App Store or through Google Play), using their Medicare app to access and upload their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate and selecting their reward choice.
10. British Airways’ A380s will return to the skies
According to Business Traveller, British Airways’ A380s will soon return to the skies. Lufthansa Technik revealed that its Manila engineering base will continue to support British Airways’ fleet of 12 A380s. The contract has been extended for a minimum of five years and will see British Airways’ A380s being flown to the Philippines for maintenance. Dave Exon, technical director of British Airways, commented: “Safety is at the heart of everything we do and we’re delighted to extend our existing A380 base maintenance contract with Lufthansa Technik as a result of the continued excellent standards of service provided by Lufthansa Technik Philippines.” CEO of Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Elmar Lutter, added: “We are proud to continue our good relationship with British Airways. We remain committed to servicing the A380 in the foreseeable future.” With BA continuing to remove its A380s from storage in Madrid and bringing them to London Heathrow for maintenance tasks, it would appear that the super jumbo’s future remains secure in the fleet.