Today: May 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:
- Mandarin Oriental will open a second hotel in London this winter
- Alila Kothaifaru Maldives opens in the scenic Raa Atoll
- Jet Airways India will resume operations in September
- Miami’s famous The Raleigh Hotel will become a Rosewood
- Rosewood will open a Red Sea resort in Saudi Arabia
- Marriott will bring the First Ritz-Carlton Reserve to the Middle East
- The InterContinental brand will debut on the Greek island of Crete
- All Nippon Airways Airbus A380 returns to the skies
- Hyatt announces plans for first Andaz hotel in Mexico City
1. Air France unveils new Business Class seat with sliding door
Air France unveiled its new long-haul Business Class seat, which will be progressively rolled out on 12 Boeing 777-300s as from September 2022. The new seat’s design is based on the 3 “F”s: Full Flat, meaning that the seat transforms into a real bed almost 2 m (6.5 ft) long; Full Access, providing all passengers direct access to the aisle; and Full Privacy, ensuring optimal privacy. A new sliding door allows passengers to create a totally private space, out of sight from the other passengers in the cabin. To create a greater sense of privacy for passengers traveling together, the seats located in the centre of the cabin are now equipped with a central panel that can be lowered by pressing it down, thus creating a convivial space in which to make the most of the flight together. The seat also features a wide 17.3-inch 4K High-Definition anti-glare screen with a noise-reducing headset, a new Bluetooth connection allowing passengers to use their own headphones and several electric sockets.
2. Mandarin Oriental will open a second hotel in London this winter
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is expanding its presence in London with the opening of Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, London this winter. Sitting on historic Hanover Square, in the heart of London’s most stylish neighborhoods, where fashion, media, art, and business intersect, the new property is a discreet, sleek and intimate sister property to the award-winning Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (the talent behind the Lloyd’s building and the ‘Cheesegrater’ in London, as well as the Pompidou Center in Paris), the building’s design has a rich historic context. The property will comprise 50 guestrooms and 78 private residences, offering hotel guests and residents an oasis of calm and Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service alongside a vibrant atmosphere in the public spaces. It will house the first namesake Akira Back restaurant in the UK from Michelin Star award winning Chef Akira Back, as well as his ‘ABar Lounge’ concept. There will also be an urban spa, focussed on renewal and recalibration.
3. Alila Kothaifaru Maldives opens in the scenic Raa Atoll
Housed on a 27.6 acre (11.2 hectare) island, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives can be reached via a 45-minute seaplane journey from the Maldives’ capital Malé. As one of the deeper atolls in the archipelago, the Raa Atoll offers abundant snorkeling and diving options to discover its rich marine life, from colorful corals to manta rays and sharks. The resort’s elegant minimalist architecture by Singapore-based Studiogoto encompasses terraced pavilions, villas and a treetop spa that are carefully integrated into the existing landscape to immerse guests in the picturesque natural surroundings. The low-rise structures and contemporary interiors feature open-air spaces and a calming palette of island-inspired colors and textures, creating an idyllic setting for complete relaxation and connection with nature. There are 80 pool villas, of which 44 are along the beach and 36 are perched overwater with direct access to the sea. The property offers a delightful variety of culinary experiences including Seasalt, the resort’s beachside all-day dining restaurant, and Umami, which offers Japanese-inspired menus.
4. Jet Airways India will resume operations in September
According to Bloomberg, Jet Airways India, the erstwhile bankrupt carrier undergoing a court-monitored resolution, is expected to return to the skies in September as competition in India’s cutthroat air travel market intensifies with new entrants. Jet Airways got its flying license from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation after successful proving flights – or test flights with aviation regulator officials on board – over two days earlier this week, the airline said in a statement Friday. The flying permit validated the airline’s operational readiness, marking its revival in a “new avatar with fresh funding, changed ownership, and new management,” according to the statement. Jet Airways will unveil its plans for fleet, network, a loyalty program and the overall product in the coming weeks, according to the statement. The carrier will also announce its senior management next week and begin hiring for operational roles with former Jet Airways staff getting preference, it said in the statement.
5. Miami’s famous The Raleigh Hotel will become a Rosewood
Miami Beach’s historic hotel The Raleigh will become a Rosewood hotel in 2025. The Rosewood Hotel Group has partnered with real estate firm SHVO to restore the ocean front property in the city’s virbrant Art Deco district, which has been closed since 2017. Originally constructed in the 1940s by Miami architect Lawrence Murray Dixon, The Raleigh will be complemented with the addition of its two historic neighbors, the Richmond and South Seas Hotels, with each building’s historic Art Deco facade restored and integrated within the ultra-luxury hotel. The re-imagined, three-acre retreat will feature three distinct components designed by famed architect Peter Marino:
- A 60 room and suite hotel managed by Rosewood, entirely restored and elegantly modernized with ultra-luxury service and amenities.
- Rosewood Residences Miami Beach, a newly constructed 17-story oceanfront tower featuring 44 residences and timeless architecture.
- A private member’s club offering beachfront dining and leisure.
Working closely with the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board, the Rosewood’s comprehensive and meticulous restoration plans are now underway and include Miami’s most iconic swimming pool known for its curvaceous design and tropical foliage, designated the most beautiful pool in America by Time Magazine.
6. Rosewood will open a Red Sea resort in Saudi Arabia
Located along Saudi Arabia’s west coast on Shura Island, the Rosewood Red Sea Resort will be part of The Red Sea destination, which is comprised of 22 islands, a stunning marina offering a yacht club, commercial retail and dining options, as well as an 18-hole championship golf course. This new development is poised to be one of Saudi Arabia’s top cultural and lifestyle destinations, appealing to international visitors and local citizens through a mix of leisure elements. Rosewood Red Sea will boast 149 guest rooms and suites. Elevated food and beverage offerings will include three restaurants, two lounges, a signature Manor Club and a central hub featuring authentic eateries. Additional recreational spaces will include event pavilions and Asaya, Rosewood’s integrative well-being concept consisting of seven treatment rooms, a gym, two movement studios and a yoga pavilion.
7. Marriott will bring the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve to the Middle East
Marriott has also signed an agreement with The Red Sea Development Company to debut its distinguished Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand in the Red Sea destination on Saudi Arabia’s west coast. Slated to debut in 2023, Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will be situated on a pristine set of private islands, which are part of the Red Sea’s Blue Hole cluster of islands. Surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty and designed to blend seamlessly with the environment, the resort is expected to feature 63 one to four bedroom water and beach villas. Plans also include a range of luxurious amenities and exceptional services including a lavish spa, swimming pools, multiple culinary venues, a retail area and a variety of other leisure and entertainment offerings including a Conservation Center. The destination is also expected to include 18 Ritz-Carlton Reserve branded residences, offering owners a one-of-a-kind living experience.
8. The InterContinental brand will debut on the Greek island of Crete
Set to open in spring 2023, the InterContinental Resort Crete will feature 205 guest rooms, all boasting private verandas – and half featuring private jacuzzies – as guests are offered the brand’s signature slice of InterContinental life while enjoying their stay in one of Europe’s leading resort destinations. Providing idyllic views over Mirabello Bay, the hotel may be directly accessed from a seafront promenade, making it the only property in Agios Nikolaos to offer such great accessibility to its guests. It is ideally located less than an hour’s drive from Crete’s capital Heraklion, and Heraklion International Airport. When it comes to relaxing, the hotel will offer something for every guest with four restaurants, three bars and a range of facilities including a pool terrace, indoor spa, infinity pool deck and rooftop pool. There will also be a wellness and fitness leisure centre, while those looking to work can visit the extensive, fully equipped range of meeting spaces.
9. All Nippon Airways Airbus A380 returns to the skies
All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline for nine consecutive years, will resume operations of its Airbus A380 “FLYING HONU” for flights between Japan and Hawaii beginning July 1 as international passenger demand continues its recovery. ANA’s FLYING HONU fleet is made up of three Airbus A380 aircraft, the first of which entered service in May 2019 and is painted in blue to represent the Hawaiian blue sky. The second FLYING HONU is emerald green which is inspired by the crystal clear water of the Hawaiian ocean. Finally, the third FLYING HONU features livery in orange inspired by the Hawaiian sunset. ANA will also increase the flight frequency on the Tokyo Haneda – Honolulu route from May, and from July 1 together with the Tokyo Narita – Honolulu route, the flight frequency between Tokyo and Hawaii will be further increased to deliver flights on a daily basis.
10. Hyatt announces plans for first Andaz hotel in Mexico City
Situated within the expansive, architecturally significant I421 mixed-use complex, Andaz Condesa Mexico City will be an inspiring destination resort featuring 213 guestrooms and 20 suites, a fitness center, spa, and state-of-the-art meeting and event facilities catering to both international and domestic business and leisure guests. To complement the area’s thriving culinary scene, the property will offer four distinct food and beverage outlets. Additionally, Andaz Condesa Mexico City will offer one of the city’s tallest rooftop pools with brilliant views of the city’s historic landmarks. As the second Andaz hotel in Mexico, the opening of Andaz Condesa Mexico City will build upon the success of Andaz Mayakoba, which opened in 2016. The hotel is expected to open in late 2022.