Friday newsletters always feature travel contests, tips, or news.
Today: February 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:
- Finnair introduces a new and unique Business Class seat
- Four Seasons announces a hotel in Melbourne, Australia
- Qatar Airways unveils a retro livery aircraft to celebrate its 25th anniversary
- Mandarin Oriental will open a private island resort in the Maldives
- Mandarin Oriental announces a new hotel in Costa Navarino, Greece
- The Six Senses hotel brand is coming to Dubai, UAE
- Hyatt will open a resort in Santorini, Greece, this spring
- An Airbus A380 will be converted into a luxury hotel
- The world’s biggest cruise ship is making its debut
- Qatar Airways will adopt Avios as rewards currency
1. Finnair introduces a new and unique Business Class seat
Business Class travel takes a leap forward with Finnair’s new Business Class cabin and the spacious new Collins Aerospace AirLounge seat. Finnair is the launch customer for this new and innovative seating concept that is to be rolled out across Finnair’s entire long-haul fleet of A330s and A350s. The seat’s innovative fixed contoured shell with no recline enables a wide variety of sitting and sleeping positions: you can sit at different angles, rest your feet on the ottoman or use infill panels to create a large flat surface. A mattress and duvet turn the space into a comfortable bed, and you can use the cushy pillows to relax in a variety of sitting positions. The high cocoon like shell of the seat provides privacy, while the divider between central seats can be lowered when travelling with a companion. The seat’s clean lines and the dark, comforting color scheme follow Finnair’s Nordic design style that is visible also in Finnair’s lounges in the non-Schengen area at Helsinki Airport.
2. Four Seasons announces a hotel in Melbourne, Australia
Award-winning Melbourne property developer, Beulah, announced that Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a global leader in luxury hospitality, has been chosen to manage the hotel within its new AUD 2.7 billion development, STH BNK By Beulah. On track to become Australia’s tallest tower, STH BNK By Beulah is also set to become the tallest vertical garden in the world, setting a precedent for future skyscrapers to incorporate the natural environment. The vertical garden will reach a total of 5.5 km (3.4 mi), the length of Melbourne’s famed The Tan running track nearly 1.5 times over. Four Seasons Hotel Melbourne will include 210 rooms, crowning the western tower of STH BNK By Beulah, and will see guests arrive via a sky lobby situated on the 63rd floor, boasting panoramic views over Melbourne’s city skyline. The hotel will also offer a world-class integrated health and wellness experience, a sprawling rooftop restaurant and bar and multiple event spaces.
3. Mandarin Oriental will open a private island resort in the Maldives
Scheduled to open in 2025, the Mandarin Oriental Maldives will stretch across three private islands on Bolidhuffaru Reef in South Male Atoll, accessed by an easy 20-minute speedboat ride from Male’s Velana international airport. The accommodation will comprise 120 stand-alone villas, made up of 56 overwater villas and 64 beachfront villas, including 10 branded Residences at Mandarin Oriental. The villas will be some of the largest in the market, each providing exclusivity and seclusion, with private pools and sweeping ocean views. Six dining outlets, including three speciality restaurants and a sunset bar, will ensure that guests have a varied choice of venues during their stay. In addition, creative indoor and outdoor event space will provide unique locations for meetings, social gatherings and weddings. Spacious wellness facilities will be located in the resort’s tropical gardens, and will include 12 treatment suites, vitality pools, sauna and steam rooms as well as a beauty salon.
4. Mandarin Oriental announces a new hotel in Costa Navarino, Greece
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a new luxury hotel in Costa Navarino, scheduled to open in Spring 2023. The brand’s first property in Greece, Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino will be located on the southwest coast of the Peloponnese, one of the most unspoiled and breath-taking landscapes in the Mediterranean, and 45 minutes’ drive from Kalamata International Airport. The beachfront resort will be part of Costa Navarino, a well-established tourism destination. It will comprise 99 guest rooms, including 48 pool villas, all with outdoor terraces and sea views, along with five restaurants and bars. The wellness facilities will feature a stunning indoor-outdoor pool with magnificent bay views. The guest experience will be further enhanced by its proximity to the destination’s leisure activities, water sports, biking and rock-climbing, as well as four signature golf courses designed by Bernhard Langer, Robert Trent Jones II and José María Olazábal.
5. The Six Senses hotel brand is coming to Dubai, UAE
Six Senses will mark its entry into the UAE market with a LEED-certified 61-room hotel and 162 branded residences along a private stretch of beach on Palm Jumeirah’s West Crescent in Dubai. The strategic location speaks to the rich cultural and historical links between Dubai and one of its most precious natural resources: coral reefs and the ecosystems they support. Community and ceremony will be foremost at Six Senses The Palm, Dubai, enhanced by cultural and social spaces such as restaurants, bars, pool, kids’ club, games room, library, function rooms, and meeting rooms. At the core of the resort will be a social and wellness club, offering a longevity clinic, IV lounge, biohacking room, massage circuit pool, squash court, working spaces and Six Senses Spa, which will also be inspired by the textured coral reefs under the sea. The resort’s main pools and sun decks will be banked by undulating native planting, flowing down to the beach.
6. Qatar Airways unveils a retro livery aircraft to celebrate its 25th anniversary
Qatar Airways welcomed a nostalgic flashback to its early days of operation with the delivery of a Boeing 777-300 aircraft painted in the award-winning airline’s retro livery design as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. The aircraft made its retro livery debut operating as Flight QR 0041 from Hamad International Airport, Doha, to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, and will become a familiar sight on a variety of other Qatar Airways routes over the coming 12 months, celebrating 25 years of excellence for the award-winning airline during its milestone year. As the world’s fastest-growing global airline, with one of the youngest, most technologically-advanced fleet of aircraft in the skies to date, Qatar Airways has undergone a dramatic transformation since its creation as a small regional carrier serving a small number of destinations in 1997, into one of the world’s leading global airlines.
7. Hyatt will open a resort in Santorini, Greece, this spring
Expected to open in 2022 in time for the summer season, the Magma Resort Santorini will join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio as the first Hyatt-affiliated resort in the Greek islands, featuring 59 guestrooms, including 24 suites. Nestled among traditional old vineyards, the resort will be located on the lava-made slopes of Vourvoulos, in close proximity to picturesque lava sand beaches on the northeast part of the island and popular cosmopolitan destinations such as Fira and Oia, known for its Instagram-worthy sunsets. Magma Resort Santorini will resemble a re-imagined traditional Cycladic dwelling by incorporating a sustainable yet modern exterior design that seamlessly integrates the lava-made and stone elements with the overall island’s ambience. All 59 guestrooms and suites, 46 of which will feature private pools and hot tubs, will enjoy unobstructed views of the Aegean Sea and Anafi Island.
8. An Airbus A380 will be converted into a luxury hotel
According to Aerotime Hub, Frédéric Deleuze, a former Airbus engineer, intends to transform an Airbus A380 aircraft originally planned for dismantling into a luxury hotel. The hotel will be placed in the airport’s northern terminal at Toulouse-Blagnac (TLS). The future hotel will have 31 rooms, including two suites. Located in the fuselage, three room types will be on offer: standard rooms for two people, deluxe rooms for three or four guests, and suites. One of the suite rooms will be fitted in the A380 cockpit and the other will be at the rear of the plane across two floors connected by the original staircase. A 60-seat restaurant with a terrace offering a view of the largest passenger jet will also be a part of the hotel complex. Several historic planes have been rescued from aviation graveyards in recent years. British Airways said in 2020 that it would convert its final Boeing 747 aeroplane into a theater and educational facility for kids. In 2021, Emirates recycled its retired Airbus A380 into aviation collectibles.
9. The world’s biggest cruise ship is making its debut
The world’s large cruise ship – Royal Caribbean International’s Wonder of the Seas – will first set sail on a 7-night cruise to the Caribbean on March 4, 2022, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Vacationers of all ages have in store a combination of new adventures and returning favorites across eight unique neighborhoods. Highlights include the eighth neighborhood, a Royal Caribbean first, named the Suite Neighborhood; new southern restaurant and bar The Mason Jar, serving up southern staples and new twists on classics for brunch, dinner and the late night; and Wonder Playscape, an all-new interactive outdoor play area. Also on deck are signature experiences like The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; the FlowRidersurf simulator; rock-climbing walls; and the Central Park neighborhood lined with more than 20,000 real plants.
10. Qatar Airways will adopt Avios as rewards currency
Qatar Airways has announced that it will be adopting Avios as the reward currency for all its Privilege Club worldwide from late March 2022. All Privilege Club members will experience a seamless transition into the loyalty program’s new reward currency, Avios, with their existing Qmiles balances changing automatically to Avios on a 1:1 ratio basis. Privilege Club members will be able to collect and spend Avios in the same way they did with Qmiles, and “will receive additional information directly to their nominated email addresses”. The amount of Avios required to book an award ticket will not differ to the amount of Qmiles previously required. Additionally, there will be no change in the expiration date with the transition to Avios. Avios is currently the reward currency for loyalty programs of the airlines British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling.
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It’s a 20 minute speed boat ride from Male but the photo suggests a seaplane