Today: September 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. The big news this month was the announcement of the third Soneva Resort in the Maldives, Soneva Secret, which will open its doors in January 2024. But a lot of other exciting stuff happened as well. In this issue:
- Four Seasons announces a new luxury resort in the Dominican Republic
- The ultra-luxe Aman & One&Only hotel brands are coming to Mykonos, Greece
- Six Senses opens its second property in the Maldives
- Rosewood enters New Zealand with the addition of Robertson Lodges
- Mandarin Oriental, Zurich opens in winter 2023
- The Luxury Collection debuts in Nada, Japan
- Raffles Boston welcomes its first guests
- Lufthansa rebrands Eurowings Discover subsidiary as Discover Airlines
- The Peninsula London opens its doors at Hyde Park Corner
- &Beyond opens its first lodge in Asia
1. Four Seasons announces a new luxury resort in the Dominican Republic
Four Seasons, the world’s most famous luxury hotel brand, announced plans for the development of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Dominican Republic at Tropicalia, a sustainable luxury destination located on a 60-acre (24 hectare) site along the pristine beachfront of Playa Esmeralda in northeastern Dominican Republic, along the southern shores of Samaná Bay. Featuring a tropical modernist design by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld, the resort will set a new standard of natural, sustainable elegance for sophisticated travellers from around the globe. The property will include a 95-key resort and 25 Private Residences of three- and four-bedroom units, all located steps of the beach. A site of breathtaking natural beauty, Tropicalia is the private estate of the Cisneros family featuring a diverse ecosystem of white-sand beaches; crystalline, aquamarine water and coral reefs; mountains, forests, mangroves, lagoons and rivers; a working coconut plantation; and an organic farm. With construction underway, the project is slated to open in early 2026. Currently the Dominican Republic’s most luxurious property is Amanera, so the new Four Seasons property will be a nice addition to the island’s luxury travel market.
2. The ultra-luxe Aman & One&Only hotel brands are coming to Mykonos, Greece
According to Greek City Times, the popular island of Mykonos might soon welcome two new resorts managed by two of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, Aman and One&Only. With Arab funds in excess of 200 million euros, the investment company Monterock International is currently exploring the two new hotel projects. The first project concerns a new – and more advanced in terms of planning – development in Mykonos for a third One&Only Resort in Greece (after two brand new One&Only resorts in Asteria Glyfadas and Kea are expected to open next year). Amounting to more than 81 million euros, the development concerns the functional amalgamation of five neighboring properties in the off-plan area “Kalafati – Kato Vouni” in Mykonos and has the aim of creating a new hotel complex. The other project is for another luxury resort, this time under the signature of the luxury brand of Aman (it will become the second Aman in the country after Amanzoe in the Peloponnese) although very little is known as this time about the concept, except for its location in the Karabetis area. Both the Aman and the One& Only Resort will be set on Mykonos’ southern shores, which are not as developed yet as the island’s western part.
3. Six Senses opens its second property in the Maldives
Six Senses Kanuhura – the Six Senses’ brand second resort in the Maldives, after Six Senses Laamu – is located in one of the most pristine corners of the Lhaviyani Atoll, a 40-minute seaplane ride from the capital Male. The property features 91 beachfront and overwater villas, including 12 new one- and two-bedroom Beach Retreats and the three-bedroom Beach Reserve. The laid-back tropical island feel has inspired the elegant architecture, while the interior design takes its cue from the naturally vibrant colors of the surrounding Maldivian nature. Home to one of the largest natural beaches in the Maldives, the resort encompasses another two white-sand private islands, one for intimate desert island dining and the other for the ultimate castaway escape. The dining outlets, as well as the organic gardens, where a microgreens nursery mingles with the beauty of wild orchids, have been enhanced under the Six Senses ethos. As couples enjoy romantic moments gazing at the sunsets at the new multi-deck Point restaurant and bar, younger guests can discover their creativity or more of the island and marine life at the Grow With Six Senses kids club and teenagers can take refuge at the Island Hideout – a space specifically designed for them.
4. Rosewood enters New Zealand with the addition of Robertson Lodges
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is embarking on a journey to New Zealand with Robertson Lodges, a distinguished collection of three resorts, each offering a unique and luxurious escape. As of December 1, 2023, Rosewood Kauri Cliffs, Rosewood Cape Kidnappers and Rosewood Matakauri will join the Rosewood portfolio. Capturing New Zealand’s unique geography, the three properties provide for the ultimate journey across the North and South Island, together offering access to its expansive coastline, rolling hills, soaring mountains and more. Founded by philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson in 2001, the three resorts have garnered a reputation as some of New Zealand’s top accommodations providing bespoke and warm hospitality set against stunning backdrops. Under Rosewood’s management, the quintessential spirit of each property and the collection at large will live on, reinforced by the brand’s intuitive approach to service and experiential programming. With great respect for the heritage of the properties and the foundation that the Robertson family has built, Rosewood will carefully preserve and sustain the friendly service style and care for native culture that have defined these destinations over the decades.
5. Mandarin Oriental, Zurich will open in winter 2023
Mandarin Oriental Savoy, Zurich will open its doors this winter following a full multi-million-dollar renovation, bringing Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service to the heart of the city. Founded by Johannes Baur in 1838, this iconic property was Zurich’s first grand hotel. Located on the famous Paradeplatz, the hotel lies just steps away from high-end fashion houses, the historic old town and the charming promenade leading to Lake Zurich. Created by respected Paris-based interior designer Tristan Auer, the beautifully curated interiors merge historical details with modern style, using a carefully selected colour palette mirroring the hotel’s surroundings. Many of the 44 rooms and 36 suites offer balconies, terraces or private rooftops, presenting stunning views of the city’s landmarks and the Swiss Alps. The property features several restaurants, including the fine-dining Italian restaurant Orsini and the glamorous, French inspired Savoy Brasserie & Bar. Guests can also unwind in the refined Mandarin Lounge, or enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the new
1838 rooftop bar with a choice of mouth-watering Asian delights.
6. The Luxury Collection debuts in Nada, Japan
The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott’s global hotel portfolio, announced the opening of Shisui, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nara in one of Japan’s most historic leisure destinations. Shisui is nestled in a classical Japanese garden that was once part of the grounds of Kofuku-ji temple, the family temple of the aristocratic Fujiwara clan, which was established in Nara in 710 AD. Renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma conceptualized the overall design direction and interiors of the hotel, breathing new life into traditional Japanese architecture and the beauty of the Yoshiki-en temple garden with modern aesthetics to create a rare luxury stay experience for guests. Floor-to-ceiling windows illuminate the 43 guest rooms and suites with natural daylight, and immerse guests in the beauty of the historic gardens and greenery. Select rooms also feature captivating views of nearby Mount Wakakusa, and for relaxation in luxury and tranquillity, deluxe rooms and suites offer private in-room hot spring or open-air baths. Shisui invites visitors to discover Nara’s rich epicurean traditions with two distinctive restaurants and a bar, which authentically showcase the styles and presentations of the destination’s cuisine
7. Raffles Boston welcomes its first guests
Offering an urban oasis in the heart of Back Bay, Raffles Boston features 147 sumptuous guestrooms and a wide variety of distinct gathering spaces for guests, residents and locals to discover. Upon entering Raffles Boston, guests ascend to the hotel’s 17th floor, where a three-story Sky Lobby awaits, and a Grand Stair, iconic of the Raffles brand, spirals through the atrium. Dining experiences include Amar by Chef George Mendes, the signature restaurant serving modern Portuguese cuisine with influences from Boston’s seafaring culture, the Long Bar & Terrace, a Paolo Ferrari-designed lounge pairing cocktails with sweeping views of the South End, and a Speakeasy offering specially crafted cocktails and small bites. Also on the 17th floor is the Raffles Writer’s Lounge, a signature Raffles space made famous for the esteemed writers and poets who have frequented it within the flagship Raffles Singapore and a number of other Raffles hotels around the world. On the 4th floor, guests will find sanctuary in an exclusive state-of-the-art gym, indoor pool with expansive city views and the prestigious Guerlain Spa at Raffles Boston, featuring treatments in partnership with the renowned Parisian beauty and wellness brand.
8. Lufthansa rebrands Eurowings Discover subsidiary as Discover Airlines
Eurowings Discover is now Discover Airlines. With its new brand identity, the airline emphasizes its position as the Lufthansa Group’s quality leisure carrier in Germany. The Discover Airlines brand stands for the joy of traveling, discovering, and rediscovering beautiful places and experiences. The design has therefore been inspired by colors and elements that awaken memories of holidays as well as the desire to travel. The various shades of blue, the so-called “skylines,” pick up on the colors of the sky, the horizon, and the water, while the sun and beach are reflected in yellow accents. The blue color scheme also stands for quality and the connection to the Lufthansa Group, as Discover Airlines is fully embedded in the Group’s structures at the two hubs of Frankfurt and Munich, complementing the existing offering in the growing segment of private travel. The rebranded subsidiary will grow its fleet to 28 aircraft in 2024, with the addition of five A320s and one A330. Ten A320s and 13 A330s will be based at Frankfurt, operating routes to 33 short and medium-haul, and 17 long-haul destinations, while five A320s will be based at Munich, offering flights to 23 destinations next summer.
9. The Peninsula London opens its doors at Hyde Park Corner
The Peninsula London, the first British hotel from the 157-year-old company, has opened its door between Hyde Park Corner and Wellington Arch. Bringing spectacular new style and luxury to the heart of Belgravia, the newly-built hotel is designed and appointed to embody the finest British craftmanship and artistry, and is just steps away from Buckingham Palace, Knightsbridge and other iconic attractions. The property centres around an expansive, off-street courtyard, landscaped by celebrated designer Enzo Enea with climbing jasmine and wisteria vines, and two 120-year-old Japanese maples (the oldest trees of their kind in Europe). World-renowned architect and designer of interiors Peter Marino has created a calm and refined aesthetic, with light-filled spaces inspired by grand British houses and surrounding nature. The Peninsula London’s 190 spacious guest rooms and suites feature bespoke furnishings, textiles, and original artworks that evoke the feel of chic private residences. World-class dining and drinks can be enjoyed at six stylish restaurants, bars, and lounges. The Peninsula Spa and Wellness Center, opening in November, will offer a diverse array of relaxation and well-being choices – including an extensive menu of mind-body therapies, a results-driven wellness programme, a fully equipped fitness studio, and a 25-m indoor swimming pool.
10. &Beyond opens its first lodge in Asia
Luxury safari company &Beyond has celebrated the launch of its first lodge in Asia, &Beyond Punakha River Lodge, situated in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Situated on the banks of the Mo Chu River in the Punakha Valley, the lodge features six safari-style tented suites, as well as a two-bedroom villa with a private pool and a one-bedroom villa, which boasts a plunge pool / hot tub, depending on the season. Like all &Beyond’s properties, the lodge draws inspiration from its natural surroundings and combines traditional Bhutanese style with a unique twist. Handwoven Bhutanese wool products are used as upholstery, linen detailing and blankets, bringing a touch of bold and bright colour and texture to the simple and unpretentious design. Boasting uninterrupted views of the Himalayas, the lodge site offers easy and unrivalled access to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a site that is a major drawcard for visitors to Punakha. The site also allows &Beyond to offer a variety of activities and experiences that is unmatched in the area, including cycling, river rafting and kayaking, as well as exceptional nature hikes and birding opportunities.