Travel news: this month (January 2022) in luxury travel

Friday newsletters always feature travel conteststips, or news.

Today: January 2022 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:

  1. Hilton opens its Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya, Mexico property
  2. Nobu will open a hotel on the Greek island of Santorini
  3. Emirates’ latest ad features A380 circling Burj Khalifa (spectacular footage!)
  4. Marriott will open its first W Hotel in Greece
  5. Mandarin Oriental opens luxury property in Shenzhen, China
  6. Air France launches new eco-friendly amenity kits in Business Class
  7. Marriott will open two luxury hotels in Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Gate
  8. Lufthansa and SWISS introduce a new Premium Economy Class product
  9. Rosewood Sao Paulo, Brazil is now open
  10. Delta Air Lines builds on a new, more sustainable image

1. Hilton opens its Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya property

In the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful regions, from jungles and beaches to hidden cenotes and colorful flora and fauna, Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya in Mexico is designed to give guests a deep connection with Tulum’s distinctive landscape. Upon entering the lobby, guests pass through ornate wooden doors, engraved by local artisans, and are immediately greeted by sweeping ocean views and an immersive art installation, a nod to ancient Mayan architecture and Tulum’s surroundings. The nature-inspired theme continues throughout the hotel’s 349 thoughtfully designed guest rooms, incorporating organic elements such as stone, wood and metal. Boasting floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic ocean views, guest rooms are designed with calming tones and elegant furnishings, each with their own private balcony and relaxation tub or plunge pools on the ground floor rooms. The resort offers a retreat for guests seeking a transformative getaway, with curated signature restaurants, destination spa, and oceanfront pools.

Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya

2. Nobu will open a hotel on the Greek island of Santorini

Nobu Hospitality, the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu MatsuhisaRobert De Niro, and Meir Teper, announced its first hotel and restaurant in Greece – the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Santorini, scheduled to open in spring 2022. Situated on the island’s captivating northeast coast, the boutique hotel will house a signature Nobu Restaurant, full-service spa, fitness facility, dual-level infinity pool, and five luxurious pool villas, and will offer panoramic views of both the Caldera and Aegean Sea from its unique clifftop location in Imerovigli. Just a 10-minute drive to the charming coastal town of Oia and 20 minutes from Santorini (Thira) International Airport, the hotel will be well-positioned along the famed Oia-Fira hiking trail that runs between Oia and Fira, Santorini’s cosmopolitan capital. Adding to Nobu Hospitality’s European portfolio, the launch of Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Santorini marks the 26th hotel around the world and tenth hotel in the European continent, with properties in Rome, San Sebastián, and Hamburg also in development.

Nobu hotel Santorini

3. Emirates’ latest ad features A380 circling Burj Khalifa (spectacular footage!)

Keeping with Dubai’s ‘nothing is impossible’ spirit, Emirates is soaring up and around the Burj Khalifa for another edition of its viral ad campaign, this time taking it one spectacular step further with the masterful addition of the iconic Expo 2020 Dubai A380. Emirates hit the global headlines and social media feeds of millions in August 2021 when it took its brand message to new heights atop the Burj Khalifa. This time, the brave stuntwoman is standing at the pinnacle of the Burj Khalifa by Emaar once again, holding up message boards with an invitation to visit the world’s greatest show, Expo 2020 Dubai, on the iconic Emirates A380. She then gestures to her ‘friend’, the eye- catching Emirates A380 wearing the Expo 2020 Dubai livery, which gracefully soars in the background as she stands firmly on the spire of the world’s tallest building. The ad also features dynamic aerial views of Dubai and its iconic skyline, and culminates in a flypast over the impressive Al Wasl dome at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

4. Marriott will open its first W Hotel in Greece 

The new W Escape will be located in Navarino Waterfront, the newest integrated resort of Costa Navarino – a prime holiday destination in Messinia, southwest Peloponnese. Designed by renowned Greek architects, Tombazis and Associates Architects, W Costa Navarino will be inspired by the region’s traditional residential areas and set to use local, natural materials such as stone, wood and reed. The distinctive interiors will be led by London-based MKV Design. The retreat is expected to feature 246 stylish rooms, suites, and villas, many with private pools staged in the Bay of Navarino with stunning Ionian Sea views. W Costa Navarino is set to offer five dining venues including a destination beach club overlooking a long sandy shore. Other planned amenities include a sunset bar and the signature W Living Room. Guests will also be able to enjoy experiences and dining at neighboring venues in Costa Navarino including the new Navarino Agora, an open marketplace with retail, street food, open-air cinema and exciting programming throughout the day and night.

W Costa Navarino

5. Mandarin Oriental opens luxury property in Shenzhen, China

Mandarin Oriental has introduced its legendary hospitality to the vibrant southern China city of Shenzhen, with the opening of Mandarin Oriental, Shenzhen. The luxury hotel is located on the upper floors of UpperHills, a striking new 79-storey premium building in the Futian district. Each of the 178 spacious rooms and suites enjoys spectacular parkland and city views and features luxurious marble bathrooms, walk-in closets, and Diptyque toiletries. The Mandarin Club, located on the 78th floor, provides a private experience for guests, with a spacious lounge, dining area and glorious views. The signature Spa offers a range of curated wellness treatments and a hi-tech gymnasium and 20m indoor swimming pool. In keeping with the brand’s reputation for dining excellence, the eight restaurants and bars include a fine dining Cantonese restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Fei while other restaurants feature the cuisines of China, Spain, Japan and France, with the vintage-vibe rooftop MO Bar catering to the city’s sophisticates.

Mandarin Oriental, Shenzhen

6. Air France launches new eco-friendly amenity kits in Business Class

This winter, Air France is offering its long-haul Business Class passengers a new comfort kit. As part of an eco-responsible approach, this kit is the first model made up of 93% recycled material. This sober and elegant kit features the company’s historic winged seahorse emblem, embodying its rich history. It comes in two colours, navy blue and grey. Special thought has also been given to its content. Each kit thus contains the following items:

  •  A toothbrush and pen made of cornstarch, and ear plugs packaged in kraft paper, eliminating the use of plastic;
  • To ensure optimum comfort for customers, the large and soft sleep mask, socks, toothpaste and Clarins cosmetics are still included in the kit.

Passengers traveling in the long-haul Premium Economy Class cabin receive a dark blue kit with a sporty look. The kit features the accent, the symbol of the Air France brand, in a red or blue version. The content of this kit has been adapted in the same spirit:

  •  A toothbrush made of cornstarch and ear plugs packaged in kraft paper
  • A sleep mask and a pair of socks.

In all cabins, the plastic packaging of each kit is now replaced by a tamper-evident seal. In addition, headsets are systematically cleaned and disinfected, allowing Air France to eliminate single-use headphone protectors and their packaging offered previously. Intended as a genuine gift sporting the Air France colors, these kits can be collected and taken home after the trip and used again.

Air France amenity kit

7. Marriott will open two luxury hotels in Saudi’s Diriyah Gate

Marriott signed an agreement with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority to open two luxury hotels as part of the Diriyah project in Saudi Arabia. These two hotels, The Ritz-Carlton and The Luxury Collection, will be located around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif. The properties will bring modern and distinct views on luxury to the historic town of Diriyah, set to become one of the world’s most forthright cultural and heritage cities, according to a press release. The Ritz-Carlton, Diriyah, Riyadh will feature 195 guest rooms and suites, a specialty restaurant, an all-day dining restaurant, meeting rooms, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Ritz Kids, the brand’s children’s club, and its programs are part of the vision, as are a spa and immersive guest programs. It is scheduled to open in 2025. This year, The Luxury Collection in Diriyah, Riyadh, located in the Samhan district, will open with 141 rooms, including 27 suites. Two signature restaurants, an all-day dining restaurant, a coffee and juice bar, a fitness center, a pool and spa, and meeting and event facilities are planned.

marriott diriyah gate

8. Lufthansa and SWISS introduce a new Premium Economy Class product

Following on from the great success of the ZIMmagic (PC-01) Premium Economy seat, Lufthansa Group has selected the new generation of this seat type, the so-called ZIMprivacy (PC-02), from ZIM Aircraft Seating. The highly innovative seat features a variety of high values features enhancing the total passenger experience and comfort. Boasting a mechanical kinematic enclosed within a Fixed Backrest Shell structure, the seat also includes enhanced privacy with an integrated privacy shield creating improved personal space for all passengers. The ZIMprivacy also includes a variety of other amenities such as individually adjustable armrests, cocktail table, single piece meal table, personal reading light, ambient mood lighting and an extra-large IFE screen. The new ZIM PC-02 Premium Economy seat will be installed in SWISS (A340 and B777) in Q1/2022 and will also be installed for Lufthansa in the new B777-9, A350 and B787 in the future.  ZIM Aircraft Seating and Lufthansa Group worked closely with a common team approach very early on in the development phase of the new seats in order to successfully create a unique seat design and enabling an enhanced passenger experience.

lufthansa premium economy

9. Rosewood Sao Paulo, Brazil is now open

Centrally located in the heart of the vibrant city near the lively Avenida Paulista, Rosewood São Paulo is a metropolitan oasis set within the historical enclave of Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century that have been carefully transformed into private residences, high-end stores and entertainment venues. The hotel occupies the historic former hospital, Matarazzo Maternity, as well as a striking new vertical garden tower. The hotel is a love letter to Brazil, with a majority of the design materials both locally sourced and inspired by the country’s diverse culture, and a groundbreaking collection of 450 site-specific artworks, all created in partnership with local artists whose work draws from the multiplicity of the Brazilian experience. Featuring 160 guestrooms and suites along with 100 Private Rosewood Suites available for purchase, the hotel’s luxurious accommodations are spread across the restored Matarazzo Maternity and the vertical garden tower. Facilities include a luxurious spa, 6 dining venues, two pools, a cinema, a music studio, and a rooftop bar.

10. Delta Air Lines builds on a new, more sustainable image

Delta Air Lines is accelerating its efforts to build a more sustainable and people-first future for air travel. Starting this month, the airline will refresh its onboard product offerings with artisan-made amenity kits, recycled bedding, reusable and biodegradable service ware and premium canned wine.

  • Delta has tapped Mexican apparel brand Someone Somewhere to create the amenity kits for customers seated in Delta’s premium Delta One cabin. Someone Somewhere is a Certified B Corporation that combines Mexican traditional handcrafts with innovative products, and Delta’s partnership with the brand has created jobs for more than 250 people in five of Mexico’s most vulnerable states.
  • Delta’s soft, comfortable and premium bedding sets are now made with more than 100 recycled plastic bottles, which will use 25 million recycled bottles annually. The airline is among the first to use 100% recycled polyester (rPET) bedding and – combined with the new use of reusable bedding packaging – will reduce single-use plastic use by up to 260,000 pounds per year.
  • Delta now offers bamboo cutlery for domestic First Class fresh packaged meals and on select international flights. Later this year, all international Main Cabin customers will also see new dishware made from biodegradable material, bamboo cutlery and a premium paper placemat.
  • Delta now serves two new aluminum-canned wines from Imagery Estate Winery, a premium Sonoma winery led by award-winning winemaker Jamie Benziger. Imagery’s wines are also sustainably grown, as certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Allian

Together, the products will reduce onboard single-use plastic consumption by approximately 4.9 million pounds per year – that’s roughly the weight of 1,500 standard-sized cars – and significantly increase Delta’s support of minority- and women-run businesses.

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  1. I wrote about the Nobu hotel in Cabo for my blog. Really an exquisite example of luxury, I could only imagine what the Santorini version will be like!

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