Today (December 25, 2020): November 2020 luxury travel news.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas! May this day bring moments of happiness, love and friendship in your life. However, Christmas feels different this year because of the pandemic, and my heart goes out to those who are spending today alone or struggling with the loss of a loved one.
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:
- JW Marriott brand debuts on Australia’s Gold Coast
- Swiss International Air Lines unveils new inflight dining concept
- Aman unveils refurbishment of Amanyara resort, Turks & Caicos
- Air France extends its generous fully flexible ticketing policy
- Raffles announces a hotel in Moscow, Russia
- Emirates receives its 116th Airbus A380
- Four Seasons opens an ultraluxe hotel in Bangkok
- Air Greenland places Christmas order for an A330neo
- The Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts brand is coming to the USA
- Virgin Atlantic bids farewell to its iconic Boeing 747 aircraft
1. JW Marriott brand debuts on Australia’s Gold Coast
Located close to the Gold Coast’s gorgeous golden beaches, unspoilt hinterlands and famous family attractions, the JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa brings a new level of luxury to the beachside city. The new resort’s aesthetic is inspired by its natural surroundings, embodying the beauty and relaxed mood of coastal Queensland. The lobby and public spaces reflect a design narrative inspired by the surrounding landscapes. The 223 guestrooms and suites draw inspiration from their urban beachside context and are designed to appeal to the most discerning traveler. The resort has six new food and beverage venues which offer a diverse range of cuisines, locally sourced produce and sophisticated bar menus. A tropical aquatic area, a resort highlight, includes both a saltwater lagoon and a freshwater pool. For an indulgent experience, the Spa by JW offers thoughtfully customized treatments to provide a holistic approach to wellbeing.
2. Swiss International Air Lines unveils new inflight dining concept
Swiss will be offering its First and Business Class guests on long-haul services from Switzerland new food creations from Canton Fribourg until the end of May 2021, in the latest chapter of its “SWISS Taste of Switzerland” inflight culinary program. The meals have been concocted by Alexandra Müller, head chef at the Romantik Hôtel L’Etoile in Charmey. For SWISS First Class flyers Alexandra Müller has created a selection of starters and main courses that include leek with egg yolk cream and truffle vinaigrette followed by venison with a Cuchaule crust and Botzi pear, a well-known Canton Fribourg delicacy. SWISS long-haul Business Class travelers can look forward to a starter of beef entrecôte tataki with a beetroot-pear salad and Gruyère blue cheese, a main course of braised beef brisket with demi-glace and sweet potato purée, and a twinned a yuzu lemon meringue pie with Canton Fribourg’s famous Gruyère double cream as dessert.
3. Aman unveils refurbishment of Amanyara resort
A Caribbean haven of space and seclusion among Turks & Caicos’ lush coastal surroundings, Amanyara Resort has unveiled a complete refurbishment of its 38 pavilions. Contemporary in design, these pavilions are sensitively integrated into their verdant natural surroundings with views of the ocean, tranquil ponds or coastal vegetation. The spacious pavilions, several of which have their own private pools, have received a complete upgrade with new, custom-made beds. In addition, new furniture for both indoors and outdoors has been added and the bathrooms have been refurbished to include deep soaking stand-alone bathtubs. The upgraded bathroom fixtures also include custom-designed mirrors and contemporary light fittings. In collaboration with global design practice Olson Kundig, the resort’s original and iconic Jean Michel Gathy minimalistic design has been preserved throughout and the pavilions have retained their focus on the integration of the indoors and outdoors.
4. Air France extends its generous fully flexible ticketing policy
In the context of the ongoing health crisis, Air France has extended its current fully flexible ticketing policy, as part of the carrier’s ‘Air France Protect’ program, to enable its customers to book their next trip in complete confidence. If customers wish to cancel their trip, their ticket can now be changed at no extra cost and without proof, on the date and to the destination* of their choice. If they prefer, they can request a refundable credit voucher. These measures, which provide optimal flexibility, apply to all trips up to September 30, 2021. If their flight is cancelled by the airline, customers can choose to postpone their trip to the date and destination of their choice, request a full ticket refund or receive a credit voucher, which is also refundable if not used. Since the start of this crisis, Air France has strengthened its sales teams dedicated to supporting its customers. Close to 700 agents are currently in charge of handling refund and credit voucher requests.
5. Raffles announces a hotel in Moscow, Russia
Located next to the Kremlin, Raffles Moscow is expected to open in the second half of 2022. The breathtaking views offered from the property will feature Red Square, Kremlin ensemble including the picturesque Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed and sights of Moscow’s historical district. Throughout the initial concept design and delivery of the Raffles Moscow project, it has been essential to maintain and preserve the historical character of surrounding facades, a leading design and development principle of the Raffles brand. The hotel will offer 153 exquisite rooms, located over nine floors, including 20 two-bedroom suites, 19 junior suites and two luxurious Presidential suites. Raffles Moscow will also feature five haute dining restaurants, a spa with a real Russian bath and multiple thermal zones, a fitness center, and 25 m (82 ft) swimming pool.
6. Emirates receives its 116th Airbus A380
This month, Emirates has welcomed MSN A6-EVL, its 116th A380. Since its entry into the Emirates fleet 12 years ago, the A380 has been the airline’s flagship and a customer favorite, captivating the imagination of travellers by providing an unmatched travel experience. Signature elements such as A380 onboard lounge and shower spa, continue to be talked about around the world. The Emirates A380 experience remains highly sought after by customers, with many ensuring they book their travel on this aircraft to experience its spaciousness, quietness and comfort across every cabin. Emirates has recently reinstated its iconic products for customers to enjoy, balancing an elevated experience during the pandemic with measures that prioritize the health and wellbeing of passengers. The A380 currently flies to Cairo, Amman, Paris, London, Guangzhou, Manchester and Moscow and recently services have been ramped up to four daily A380s on London Heathrow and daily flights to Moscow.
7. Four Seasons opens an ultraluxe hotel in Bangkok
Created by famous designer Jean-Michel Gathy, the new Four Seasons Bangkok Hotel is located along 200 m(650 ft) of open riverfront just 40 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International Airport along the famed Charoenkrung Road. The magnificent complex integrates successive indoor and outdoor spaces through a series of cascading buildings, courtyards, terraces and water ponds. Art-filled spaces, sophisticated lounges and lush tropical greenery are surrounded by the gentle sounds of water features and inviting open-air terraces. The property offers 299 guest rooms including suites with garden terraces and an extraordinary Presidential Suite; an urban spa with a focus on mind, body and soul; two infinity pools overlooking the river; thoughtful amenities for families including a fully-supervised complimentary kids club; a private boat dock; and world-class culinary offerings.
8. Air Greenland places Christmas order for an A330neo
Air Greenland, the flag-carrier for Greenland, has ordered Airbus’ next generation A330neo widebody aircraft to link the Arctic island with Denmark from end of 2022 onwards and beyond. “We’re pleased to see Air Greenland’s confidence in the A330 and join the growing number of operators who are selecting the A330neo as a logical replacement for their ageing fleets,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. “To imagine the airline’s distinctive red livery set against the Arctic’s environment provides some Christmas cheer at the end of a year that has been harsh for our entire industry.” The A330neo is a new-generation aircraft, building on features popular for the A330 and developed for the latest technology A350. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired ‘Sharklets’, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel-burn per seat than previous-generation competitors.
9. The Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts brand is coming to the USA
Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced plans for Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach, to open in 2024 as the 11th property in the collection and the first ever Bvlgari Hotel in the United States. Located on the waterfront at 100 21st street in Miami Beach with easy access to the beach, the hotel will offer stunning ocean views just a few steps from the exciting Miami Art Deco district. Like all Bvlgari Hotels properties, the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will finalize the restoration and design of the 1950s Modernist property, which is a contributing building located in the National Register Architectural District and was known as a winter getaway destination for the Old Hollywood crowd during the 50s and 60s. Channeling signature Bvlgari glamour, the hotel will be home to 100 rooms, most of them suites, an outdoor pool, spa and fitness facilities and restaurant and bar from Chef Niko Romito.
10. Virgin Atlantic bids farewell to its iconic Boeing 747
This month, Virgin Atlantic opened the cabin doors to its last Boeing 747 for the final time. For one day only, the public was invited for the ultimate 747 experience, including a three course a-la-carte meal in Upper Class, inspired by Virgin Atlantic’s on-board cuisine. Virgin Atlantic pilots, cabin crew and engineers who have worked on the 747 were present to provide first-hand accounts and anecdotes on what life was like on-board the famous jumbo jet. The all-encompassing 747 experience was hosted on December 12th at the airline’s Heathrow hangar. As the airline moves forward to a more sustainable fleet, Virgin Atlantic’s legion of 747s have now ceased operations in favor of cleaner, greener, twin engine aircraft, comprised of the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Each of these new planes is on average 30% more fuel efficient than the four engine aircraft they replaced.