Friday newsletters always feature travel contests, tips, or news.
Today: January 2023 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:
- Six Senses brings wellness and sustainability to the Napa Valley
- Six Senses will open a hotel in Tel Aviv’s iconic Golden Triangle
- Four Seasons announces plan for luxury hotel in Morocco’s capital city
- The ultra-luxe Peninsula Hotel London will open later this year
- Air France unveils 17 partner chefs for 2023
- The Chedi hotel brand will open a mountain resort in Saudi Arabia’s Neom
- The first retrofitted Emirates Airbus A380 enters service
- The Andaz brand debuts in Thailand with the opening of Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach
- Marriott will bring the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve to South America
- Mandarin Oriental will open a luxury resort in Vietnam
1. Six Senses brings wellness and sustainability to the Napa Valley
Six Senses is taking its wellness and sustainability formula to a sanctuary in Napa County, an agricultural haven producing some of the world’s most sought-after wine. Named after the natural thermal Aetna Springs discovered in the 1870s, the original resort thrived until the 1970s as a natural spa destination, with Aetna Mineral Water also sold throughout the American West. Award-winning architecture firm Olson Kundig will work alongside California-based Architectural Resources Group and renowned developer of multiple historic projects, Weller Development Partners, to ensure the structures are preserved and adapted to suit the next chapter in its story. There will be a choice of 95 rooms and suites, including ten tent-style structures, with interiors designed by 1508 London, known for their knowledge and unique capabilities in luxury hospitality. There will also be 16 branded residences, which will be serviced by Six Senses and, alongside all the resort amenities, enjoy access to a dedicated lounge. With a retreat vibe and location, wellness will be front and center in luring guests, and historic mineral springs will be revived with indoor and outdoor thermal experiences and bathing.
2. Six Senses will open a hotel in Tel Aviv’s iconic Golden Triangle
Six Senses Tel Aviv will mix five 110-year-old preservation buildings and sophisticated LEED Platinum sustainability standards for a new tower. The original five buildings date back to 1909 – the early days of Tel Aviv as the world now knows it –and are the best remaining heritage of the Ahuzat Bayit settlement, the first in the city. They will be joined together at the edge of Rothschild Boulevard to stretch across an entire city block between the prestigious Rothschild, Herzel, and Lilienblum Streets. Together they are considered the largest and most important preservation project in Tel Aviv. The heritage buildings will define the base and roots of a modern 42-floor tower. Once complete, it will house the 10-floor, 140-key Six Senses hotel, and 55 stylish and comfortable residences, rising a further 21 floors and serviced by Six Senses. Six Senses Tel Aviv will be an exciting addition to the brand’s Israel portfolio following the 2021 opening of Six Senses Shaharut, a sustainable haven set in the honeycomb dunes of the Negev Desert.
3. Four Seasons announces plan for luxury hotel in Morocco’s capital city
Leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons announced plans for the upcoming Four Seasons Hotel Rabat at Kasr Al Bahr, anticipated to open in 2023. Kasr Al Bahr, meaning “castle of the sea,” was built as a sprawling royal summer palace in the 19th century, later becoming a military hospital prior to closing in 1999. Following extensive renovations of the five-hectare (12-acre) cliffside retreat, the property will usher in a new era for the historic property with 204 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Four Seasons Hotel Rabat at Kasr Al Bahr will feature seven restaurants and lounges; a spa with well-appointed treatment rooms and an indoor pool; several outdoor resort-style pools; as well as expansive conference and event space. The Hotel’s thoughtful restoration has been led by Moroccan-based architect Karim Chakor of META Atelier d’Architecture, while Roger Nazarian and Associates have been selected to lead the property’s interior design, landscaping and more.
4. The ultra-luxe Peninsula Hotel London will open later this year
Situated at Hyde Park Corner, The Peninsula London will occupy one of the city’s most prestigious addresses and is the result of collaborations with numerous British artisans. The newly-built hotel, designed by Hopkins Architects to harmonize with surrounding heritage architecture, will embody a sleek, spacious aesthetic. The property will center around an expansive, off-street courtyard, landscaped by world-renowned designer Enzo Enea in the style of a classic English garden with cascading ivy and wisteria vines, and two 120-year-old Japanese maples (the oldest trees of their kind in Europe). Inside, the hotel’s 190 refined rooms, suites, and public spaces will feature sumptuous appointments by architect Peter Marino, as well as exclusive bespoke offerings from top British artisans, including Jenny Packham, Claude Bosi, Timothy Han and over 40 artists from The Royal Drawing School. Hotel facilities will include several high-end restaurants and a luxurious spa. From its Grosvenor Place entrance, many of London’s most iconic attractions, including Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch, The Royal Parks and Harrods will be within a 15-minute walk.
5. Air France unveils 17 partner chefs for 2023
To mark the Bocuse d’Or 2023 event of which Air France is an official partner, the company has unveiled the names of all the renowned chefs with whom it will be working this year. In 2023, 17 talented chefs promoting French excellence will take turns to sign exceptional dishes in La Première and Business and in airport lounges over the coming months. As the only airline to partner with so many distinguished names in the world of cuisine, Air France is reasserting more than ever its role as ambassador of French fine dining around the world.
- On board long-haul flights from Paris, French Michelin-starred chefs Arnaud Lallement, Régis Marcon, Anne-Sophie Pic, Emmanuel Renaut and Michel Roth will this year take turns to sign exclusive dishes for Air France on the La Première and Business cabin menus. For the very first time, Mauro Colagreco and Thierry Marx will also be contributing their unique skills to this exceptional team of chefs. With vegetarian compositions, red and white meats from France, and fish from sustainable fishing, all the chefs are committed to showcasing the local produce of their regions in France and sharing their culinary heritage and passion.
- In the La Première suites, the company’s most exclusive travel cabins, the Meilleur Ouvrier de France pastry chefs Philippe Urraca and for the first time Angelo Musa will bring an elegant and sweet touch to the menus in this cabin worthy of the finest restaurants.
- Air France also continues to offer menus signed by top French chefs on long-haul flights departing from airports worldwide. The company continues to work with the triple Michelin-starred chef Julien Royer in the La Première and Business cabins on departure from Singapore. Originally from Auvergne, Julien Royer is at the helm of the Odette and Claudine restaurants in Singapore. On departure from Reunion Island, in the Business cabin, the menus are signed by chef Jofrane Dailly from Reunion Island, who works at the Diana Dea Lodge in Sainte-Anne. In 2023, Air France will offer menus signed by chef Olivier Perret on flights departing from Air France’s destinations in Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Quebec and Vancouver). He will focus on offering French gastronomy with fresh ingredients for menus in the Business cabin. Originally from Burgundy, the chef also presides at the restaurant Le Renoir at the Sofitel Montréal Le Carré Doré. Air France intends to further develop its partnership with these exceptional signature chefs, notably on departure from the French Caribbean, USA and Japan.
- On its medium-haul network, in the Business cabin, Servair corporate chef François Adamski, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and Bocuse d’Or winner, signs the lunch or dinner dishes served on board all year round.
- Air France also collaborates with several chefs in its Paris airport lounges. At Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the Alain Ducasse teams have thus created dishes for the Air France La Première lounge. And in the other lounges located in terminal 2 E (halls K, L and M), Ducasse Paris regularly unveils new dishes to be enjoyed among the entire offer. In the lounge located in terminal 2F, François Adamski teams up with talented chefs to sign innovative, seasonal menus. Following in the footsteps of Chloé Charles, Amandine Chaignot will be illustrating her talent for the company’s customers. At Paris-Orly, Guy Martin, who is used to signing the menus served on board Air France flights, will for the first time sign a dish on offer in the long-haul lounge at Orly 3. Finally, in the short-haul lounge at Orly 2, customers will be able to continue to enjoy the choux pastries signed by pastry chef Philippe Urraca.
6. The Chedi hotel brand will open a mountain resort in Saudi Arabia’s Neom
General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM) announced the strategic agreement with NEOM Hotel Development, the developer of a future-centric hospitality ecosystem in the northwest corner of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to manage The Chedi Trojena. GHM is the second hotel partner for Trojena – a unique perennial mountain destination and host venue of the 2029 Asian Winter Games. Nestled within the Slope Residences atop the mountain peaks, The Chedi Trojena will be part of an iconic residential village in one of Trojena’s six distinctive clusters: Gateway, Discover, Valley, Explore, Relax and Fun. The hotel’s location in the Relax Cluster serves as a sanctuary for reflection, recreation, and rejuvenation with world-class wellness program. Its design will blend harmoniously with the surrounding landscape, with nature trail paths and a thoughtful public realm for healthier living. The Slope Residences will offer guests a range of experiences stretching from culinary nourishment, sports and adventure, health, and longevity, as well as restorative and meditative activities, all with uninterrupted views overlooking the Lake of Trojena.
7. The first retrofitted Emirates Airbus A380 enters service
The first Emirates A380 to be completely refurbished under the airline’s US$ 2 billion retrofit program has been deployed on the Dubai-London Heathrow service. The fully refreshed A380 features Emirates’ latest products and interiors across all cabins, including 56 Premium Economy Class seats on the main deck, and new color palettes evident in the carpeting and wall panels. On the upper deck, First and Business Class seats sport Emirates’ latest cream-colored leather upholstery and lighter-toned wood finishing, similar to the airline’s ‘game changer’ product. Emirates’ signature ghaf tree motif also features prominently throughout the interiors, including hand-stencilled panels in the First Class Shower Spa. By 2024, all 67 A380s assigned for refurbishment will have returned to service. Emirates will then begin work on its 53 Boeing 777s earmarked for this project. The airline expects to complete the program in 2025. See the timelapse video below of the retrofit work done on A6-EVM, the first of 120 Emirates aircraft to have completed its refurbishment.
8. The Andaz brand debuts in Thailand with the opening of Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach
Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach is a tranquil oceanfront sanctuary on Tawanron Beach – known as “Sunset Beach” for its magnificent sunset views – located between the popular holiday hub of Jomtien and the charming fishing village of Bang Saray. Surrounded by mature, landscaped gardens with conserved, century-old trees, the distinctively local yet modern design of the resort is inspired by the site’s history as a private estate. Set in low-rise clustered buildings, the 204 rooms, suites, and villas are adorned with locally influenced interiors, walk-in rain showers and a balcony or terrace with a relaxing daybed. The resort’s six distinct restaurants and bars feature local, seasonal, and sustainable produce, including tropical fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices from the onsite organic garden. Three outdoor swimming pools provide endless opportunities for relaxation, including a peaceful lap pool, a freeform family pool, and a beachfront pool overlooking the beautiful beach that sets the stage for sunset cocktails and sparkling DJ parties. Nestled amid the verdant gardens, the resort’s spa offers a luxurious haven of wellness where guests can experience soothing therapies with organic skincare products.
9. Marriott will bring the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve to South America
The Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Maraey, Brazil, will feature 58 unique villas, designed to offer complete privacy and impressive vistas of the ocean and surrounding Atlantic Forest ecosystem. The villas will be fully sustainable, built from natural certified wood, and elevated from the ground, allowing native vegetation and wildlife to thrive. The accommodations will all feature private pools. Resort amenities are expected to include a wellness spa, pools, and culinary venues, in addition to a dedicated leisure and sports area. An Environmental Reference Center and native-regeneration nursery will provide further opportunities for guests to connect with the rich and diverse natural environment. The Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Maraey will join an exclusive collection of only five Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties globally, in destinations including Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Construction is scheduled to start in the second half of this year.
10. Mandarin Oriental will open a luxury resort in Vietnam
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced that it will manage a new resort with branded residences in Phu Yen province, one of Vietnam’s coastal regions of outstanding natural beauty. The project is scheduled to open in 2026 and will be the group’s third property in Vietnam. Mandarin Oriental, Bai Nom will sit on an expansive beach, surrounded by raised plateaus with stunning views of the coastline and the ocean. The architecture and design will incorporate many natural Vietnamese elements and local cultural references. 72 suites and villas, including 25 Residences at Mandarin Oriental, will spread out across the 29-hectare site. Guest accommodation will be located directly on the beach, and dotted through the hills, and feature private terraces and pools. A variety of cuisines will be offered at three restaurant and bars, all with views of the surrounding nature. A Mandarin Oriental Spa will sit on the resort’s cliff top, providing 360-degree views; indoor and outdoor heat and wet experiences, a lap pool and a sunset pavilion for healthy refreshments will be an integral part of the spa experience.
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