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Today: December 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. In this issue:
- Final B747 leaves Boeing’s Everett Factory
- Iberia unveils new A350 business class seat with sliding door
- Soneva Unlimited is now available across all Soneva Resorts in the Maldives and Thailand
- Naviva, a Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico is now open
- Air Greenland becomes third operator of A330-800 neo
- Waldorf Astoria will open a hotel in London’s Admiralty Arch
- The St Regis Jakarta, Indonesia, welcomes its first guests
- Conrad debuts in Morocco with the opening of Conrad Rabat Arzana
- Capella Hotels will open a hotel in Sydney, Australia, in March 2023
1. Final B747 leaves Boeing’s Everett Factory
The last Boeing 747 left Boeing’s widebody factory in advance of its delivery to Atlas Air in early 2023. It has been 50 years since the first Boeing 747 was delivered to Pan Am, and more than 1500 of the iconic aircraft have been built since then. Its ability to carry more than 500 passengers on longhaul routes truly opened the age of modern jet travel, bringing with it new possibilities and destinations. The four-engine jet features a distinctive upper deck shape, which has earned it the nickname Jumbo Jet. “For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly changed the world. We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come,” said Kim Smith, Boeing Vice President and general manager, 747 and 767 Programs. The 747 has played a key role in Boeing’s history of aerospace leadership:
- Production of the 747, the world’s first twin-aisle airplane, began in 1967 and spanned 54 years, during which a total of 1,574 airplanes were built.
- At 250 ft 2 in (76.2 m), the 747-8 is the longest commercial aircraft in service. At typical cruising speeds, the 747-8 travels roughly the length of three FIFA soccer fields or NFL football fields, per second.
- The final airplane is a 747-8 Freighter. This model has a revenue payload of 133.1 tonnes, enough to transport 10,699 solid-gold bars or approximately 19 million ping-pong balls or golf balls.
2. Iberia unveils new A350 business class seat with sliding door
Iberia is the first airline to take delivery of A350 aircraft with a new Airbus standard, which incorporates improvements that increase its operational efficiency and customer comfort, with wider cabins. This new-generation aircraft, equipped with the latest technology and designed to fly with maximum efficiency, is built with the most sustainable materials on the market and in this new standard, the weight has also been reduced by one ton. Specifically, the new Iberia A350 boasts new flap positions that allow the pilot to select the optimal configuration for each takeoff; and the retraction of the landing gear is faster, which allows the airplane to reach a configuration that presents less aerodynamic resistance faster. This new aircraft also comes with sliding doors in Business Class, providing a more private and exclusive personal space for each passenger. All seats in this cabin have direct access to the aisle and in the central ones – known as honeymoon seats – there is an automatic divider. The seat, which has articulated leather headrests and more storage for personal items, converts to a fully flat bed, which is 5 cm (2 inches) longer than the current Iberia Business Class seat. The number of each seat is projected on the aisle floor, to make them easier to find in the dark.
3. Soneva Unlimited is now available across all Soneva Resorts in the Maldives and Thailand
Soneva has expanded its indulgent all-inclusive Soneva Unlimited offer across its portfolio of award-winning luxury resorts. With all services and experiences included in the daily rate, guests staying at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand can now endlessly enjoy every facet of the resorts to their heart’s desire. The luxurious, one-of-a-kind offer includes unlimited dining and alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks across all bars, restaurants and In-Villa Dining, as well as exclusive dinners with award-winning visiting chefs, and fine wines from the Soneva Unlimited list. The offer also extends to experiences ranging from water sports and adventures to Soneva’s signature Conscious Experiences and invigorating spa treatments and healing therapies by visiting world-renowned specialists. Also included in the offer is a dedicated Barefoot Guardian, daily laundry service and daily replenishment of the invilla minibar. The all-inclusive Soneva Unlimited offer is priced at USD 880 per adult, per day and USD 440 per child, per day at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives. At Soneva Kiri in Thailand, the offer is priced at USD 710 per adult, per day and USD 355 per child, per day. The daily rates for Soneva Unlimited are applicable to all guests staying in the same villa.
4. Naviva, a Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico is now open
A luxury tented resort as unique as nature itself, Naviva, A Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico is now welcoming guests to a world where the deep, green jungle is the backdrop for a profoundly personalized retreat. With just 15 luxury tents surrounded by 48 forested acres (19 hectares) on the edge of a private peninsula, Naviva is an adult-only sanctuary that harnesses nature to create an environment that fosters community, personal growth and appreciation for local heritage. Deviating from traditional hotel wellness offerings, Naviva offers a series of intimate spaces including two spa pods tucked away in the lush forest, a traditional Mexican temazcal or “house of heat,” an outdoor gym, a serene jungle oasis at the Alma Pool and a private 575 ft (175 m) expanse of pristine Pacific beachfront – a calming place to practice yoga or mindfulness. Guests can enjoy signature Naviva experiences that bring the character, heritage and expertise of local talent and tradition to the forefront, such as visiting award-winning local artist Jose Juan Esparza at his private home and studio, nocturnal forest bathing, sound therapy and breathwork.
5. Air Greenland becomes third operator of A330-800 neo
Air Greenland has taken delivery of an A330-800 widebody aircraft, becoming the latest operator of the type. The A330neo will replace previous generation aircraft in the company’s fleet, reducing operating cost, improving environmental efficiency while offering an unrivalled passenger experience. Air Greenland’s A330neo will comfortably accommodate 305 passengers, featuring 42 Premium class seats and 263 Economy class seats. To underline Air Greenland’s sustainability strategy the delivery flight was powered by a 30 percent blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Air Greenland will first deploy the A330neo between the arctic island and Denmark, adding North American and European routes at a later date. The A330neo features the award-winning Airspace cabin, providing passengers with a high level of comfort, ambience and design. This includes offering more personal space, larger overhead bins, a new lighting system, and the ability to offer the latest in-flight entertainment systems and full connectivity. The A330neo is the new generation version of the popular A330 widebody. Incorporating the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, new wings and a range of aerodynamic innovations, the aircraft offers a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The A330-800 is capable of flying 8 150 nm / 15 094 km non-stop.
6. EDITION Hotels announces global expansion plan
Under the new leadership of Josh Fluhr, Senior Vice President and Global Managing Director, EDITION Hotels is driving global expansion with the portfolio expected to double in size to 30 properties by 2027. With 15 hotels currently open worldwide, EDITION Hotels expects five new properties to launch in 2023, with four in new destinations including Rome, Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Kanai, Singapore, and Jeddah, along with a second Tokyo location in Ginza. EDITION Hotels’ ongoing expansion is slated to continue into 2024 and beyond, with hotel signings this year in several primary destinations, including Lake Como and the Red Sea. The luxury lifestyle brand also unveils the evolution of its groundbreaking concept with the introduction of standalone luxury residences in Miami Edgewater and Fort Lauderdale, anticipated to launch in 2026 and 2027 respectively. EDITION is a collection of individualized hotels, seamlessly balancing great design and true innovation while combining personal modern luxury service with compelling restaurants, bars, and entertainment concepts. Each EDITION property delivers a lifestyle experience all under one roof, reflecting the best of the cultural and social milieu of its location and of the time.
7. Waldorf Astoria will open a hotel in London’s Admiralty Arch
Plans are underway to convert Admiralty Arch, one of London’s most iconic historical landmarks, into a luxury hotel under the Waldorf Astoria brand. The building, originally commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of Queen Victoria, stands proudly at the end of The Mall opposite Buckingham Palace, offering unparalleled views of the Palace in one direction and across Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square in the other. Throughout its history, Admiralty Arch has been home to leading figures of state and society, from Sir Winston Churchill – whose office was based within the arch when he was First Sea Lord of the Admiralty – to the author of the James Bond spy novels, Ian Fleming. To this day, Admiralty Arch plays an integral role in many ceremonial occasions, serving as the gateway to The Mall and linking the processional route to Buckingham Palace for events such as royal weddings, funerals and next year, the coronation of King Charles III. The hotel’s design and characteristics, now incorporating an increased room count and exclusive spa, will pay homage to the building’s historical significance, drawing inspiration from its storied past to create an exquisite experience for guests.
8. The St Regis Jakarta, Indonesia, welcomes its first guests
The St Regis Jakarta is situated within the Golden Triangle of Jakarta, which extends from Central to South Jakarta and is one of the fastest-evolving central business districts in the Asia Pacific region. The property is ideally located within an exclusive enclave comprised of foreign embassies, government, and commercial spaces as well as upscale retail, and is an easy 45-minute drive from Soekarno Hatta International Airport. The design of the hotel, conceptualized by the award-winning New York-based interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, was inspired by Indonesia’s rich musical traditions. Outdoor spaces, including the hotel’s entrance and swimming pool, feature artworks by renowned landscape architect Bill Bensley, with the theme of “Discovery.” The 282 exquisitely appointed guest rooms, including 28 spacious suites, each featuring a private balcony. Meticulously created by the renowned G.A. Design team, the guest rooms reflect contemporary luxury and feature thoughtful touches throughout, such as custom-made cushions accented with embedded batik motifs by Indonesian designer, Iwan Tirta. Facilities at the hotel include several restaurants and bars, a fitness center with the latest Technogym equipment, and a spa offering treatments with ingredients from the volcanic mountains of Java.
9. Conrad debuts in Morocco with the opening of Conrad Rabat Arzana
Located north of Harhouara, 15 minutes from the corniche and 35 minutes from Rabat Salé Airport, the 120-guest room Conrad Rabat Arzana‘s prime location close to the city’s cultural center provides convenient access to historic tourist attractions such as Mausoleum Med V, Old Medina, Moorish Gardens and The Zoo of Rabat. The bold and contemporary design of the hotel taps into the rich cultural identity, landscape, and history of the imperial city of Rabat. Guests are welcomed to the hotel’s grand lobby featuring curated artworks, plush fabrics, and ornate marble – overlooking breathtaking pool and ocean views. Each guest room and suite is designed as a modern sanctuary to enjoy exclusivity and comfort in palettes of rich cream, deep pine, blue hues and soft earth tones. The hotel spa spans two floors and features six luxuriously appointed wellness rooms, offering tailored experiences, including a spacious spa suite complete with a private bathroom, treatment space, relaxation, and outdoor terrace. The spa also features a Moroccan hammam, multi-sensorial thermal experiences, a quiet relaxation area, lounging sun deck with a relaxation pool on the terrace, and a beauty salon. There are also two on-site restaurants: a sushi venue and a traditional brasserie.
10. Capella Hotels will open a hotel in Sydney, Australia, in March 2023
Capella Hotels and Resorts announced the highly anticipated opening of their first Australian property in March 2023. The 192 guest room Capella Sydney Hotel will the culmination of a stunning transformation of the heritage listed Department of Education Building into a luxury hotel that will welcome guests and patrons for the first time in the building’s history. Occupying an entire city block, encircled by Loftus, Bridge and Young Streets, the character-filled building is nestled in close proximity to Sydney’s commercial, arts and cultural districts and at the heart of Sydney’s latest retail and hospitality precinct. Paying homage to the city’s rich history, the reimagined stylish and contemporary interiors juxtapose the old-world heritage charm, creating a serene atmosphere and a peaceful escape from the bustling city surroundings. The ground level of Capella Sydney will be home to multiple food and beverage offerings. With an all-encompassing approach to well-being, Capella Sydney’s offering will include the Auriga Spa, a swimming pool positioned under a large heritage lantern (skylight), a fitness center and yoga platform.
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