Travel news: this month (June 2018) in luxury travel

Friday newsletters always feature travel contests, tips, series, or news.

Today (June 29, 2018): June 2018 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:

  1. Six Senses Fiji is now open
  2. Air Tahiti Nui reveals its B787 cabin & livery
  3. Mandarin Oriental will open a resort in Grand Cayman
  4. Boeing is developing a new hypersonic jet concept
  5. Fairmont opens a brand new resort in the Maldives
  6. W Hotels returns to Sydney in 2020
  7. W Hotels will open a retreat in Ibiza
  8. Fiji Airways becomes the first Oneworld connect partner
  9. Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi opens its doors
  10. Emirates will operate the world’s shortest A380 route


1. Six Senses Fiji is now open

Known for its idyllic crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, thick tropical forests and excellent climate, Six Senses Fiji is located in a magnificent secluded bay on Fiji’s Malolo Island. The private golden sand beach frontage stretches over 2,100 feet (650 meters) in length. Six Senses Fiji offers 26 spacious pool bures (villa) all with private plunge pools and the bures range in size from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet (110 to 150 square meters) including interior and exterior space. For families and groups, two- to five-bed­room residences come with pool, kitchen, dining room and generous living spaces, of­fering panoramas and easy access to the re­sort’s facilities. Dining options highlight local ingredients, while a Six Senses Spa offers a layered ap­proach to wellness. The resort also hosts Fiji’s largest off-grid solar power system, reflecting the envi­ronmental emphasis of Six Senses Resorts worldwide. Activities include a wide range of experi­ences such as snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing. Sustainability is reflected throughout the resort which will be 100 per cent solar pow­ered by the largest micro grid in Fiji using Tesla batteries.


2. Air Tahiti Nui reveals its B787 cabin & livery

French Polynesian airline, Air Tahiti Nui, has revealed the new livery and cabin product that will be introduced with the arrival of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. According to the airline, the new “Tahitian Dreamliner” will start operations in November 2018 on its first services between Tahiti and Auckland, New Zealand, and thrice-weekly to Los Angeles. The Tahitian Dreamliner will carry two red lines on its sides representing the flag of French Polynesia. A collection of tattoos will grace the rear portion of the fleet and tells a visual story about Tahiti and its people. All international airplanes are assigned a 2 letter registration code designating its country of origin, and 3 more letters unique to each plane. The carrier used those 3 letters for meaningful Tahitian words: MUA, (forward), NUI (big), VAA (canoe), TOA (warrior). Woven together the fleet names have a hidden meaning: The warrior (TOA) going forward (MUA) in the great (NUI) canoe (VAA). The new Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet will accommodate up to 294 passengers onboard on three different classes, consisting of Poerava Business, Moana Premium, and Moana Economy. Poerava Business will offer a total of 30 seats configured in five rows on a six-abreast (2-2-2) arrangement. The business class cabin has been enhanced with the introduction of a 180-degree full-flat seat with wider storage areas, designed by Rockwell Collins.


3. Mandarin Oriental will open a resort on Grand Cayman

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a luxury resort and residences on Grand Cayman in the Caribbean, currently scheduled to open in 2021. Mandarin Oriental, Grand Cayman will be an exclusive 100-room beachfront resort with 89 branded Residences at Mandarin Oriental. Located 15 minutes from the airport, the resort will be situated on 67 acres at St. James Point, on the southern shore of the island. The site benefits from an elevated position overlooking its own secluded white-sand beach and offers guests and residents a truly private luxury retreat. The spacious, contemporary rooms and suites will all face the sea offering exceptional sunrise and sunset views. There will be five restaurants and bars providing a variety of experiences and views over the ocean. The development will also have its own farm which will provide a ‘farm to table’ dining experience. The resort will feature a range of wellness options including a spacious Spa at Mandarin Oriental, a comprehensive fitness centre, several outdoor swimming pools and tennis courts. Landscaped walking and cycling trails will traverse the 67-acre site and a Beach Club will offer a variety of leisure and water sports activities.


4. Boeing is developing a new hypersonic jet concept

According to CNN, Boeing wants to make a passenger plane that can shuttle customers around the globe at five times the speed of sound. Boeing says the jet could get you anywhere in the world in just one to three hours. With top speeds exceeding 6000 km (3800 mi) per hour, the trek from New York to London, for example, could take 120 minutes. Currently the trip takes around seven hours. Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, says the concept is still in the early stages of development. Key technical challenges will need to be solved before the company will even produce a prototype, Boeing spokesperson Brianna Jackson said Wednesday. It’s possible the concept could become a reality in 20 to 30 years, Jackson said in an email. “Developments takes years to complete, and even more so with a technology that requires additional testing and refinement as we work to understand how it might fit into the market place,” she said. If Boeing’s latest concept is realized it will easily rank among the fastest piloted vehicles ever flown. It would be more than twice as quick as the legendary Concorde, which could make transatlantic flights in under four hours and retired over a decade ago.


5. Fairmont opens a brand-new resort in the Maldives

Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi is a 120 luxury all-villa resort that offers exactly as its name translates – Secret Water Island. The island covers approximately 160,000 sqm (16 hectares) of land and features one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives, while the resort includes a 200 m (656 ft) long swimming pool which traverses the length of the island, a reinvigorating destination spa and an intricate open air bamboo bar created by Balinese artisans who did not use any man-made materials in the structure. The architecture and design are typical of this exotic paradise, with the tastefully designed private water villas taking full advantage of the stunning location. Thatched roofs sit atop whitewashed walls, and the villas are erected on posts that let them hover over the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean, with private jetties offering panoramic views out over the sea. The villas are designed with personal deck areas that are furnished with sun loungers that surround individual plunge pools so guests have the utmost privacy on their vacation. The outdoor areas of the villas are orientated towards the sea, so residents are completely isolated from the other villas.


6. W Hotels returns to Sydney in 2020

The new-build W Sydney hotel will be part of ‘The Ribbon’, an electrifying development designed by the award-winning architect HASSEL that will transform Sydney’s skyline on Darling Harbour. W Sydney will feature 593 stylish guestrooms, suites and serviced apartments. Guests can spend lazy days or wild nights at the Wet Deck, the brand’s iconic pool deck with shimmering, Insta-worthy views of Darling Harbour. A restaurant serving up local flavors as well as two bars, including the brand’s signature see-and-be-seen Living Room, will round out the hotel’s buzzing cocktail and cuisine scene. W Sydney will also be home to the W brand’s signature AWAY Spa , as well as a state-of-the-art fitness, and plenty of event  space (including a grand ballroom) which will set the stage for creative meetings and sparkling social ocassions. The opening of W Sydney will mark the third W in Australia alongside W Brisbane (just opened) and W Melbourne (opening 2020). Together with recent openings like W Amman, W Panama and W Shanghai, the Aussie openings will bring W Hotels close to its goal of 75 hotels by the end of 2020.


7. W Hotels will open a retreat in Ibiza

There is some more exciting news from W Hotels, since the group announced plans to debut a new hotel in Ibiza in summer 2019. W Ibiza will be located in Santa Eulalia del Río, a buzzing beachside neighborhood centrally located to Ibiza’s famous beaches, nightclubs and rural-chic inland attractions. W Ibiza will embrace the destination’s eclectic roots through bold and innovative design, capturing the free spirit of Ibiza whilst elevating the experience to a new level. Three distinct concepts designed for dining, drinking and relaxing will be complemented by a lively rooftop sunset bar and adults only WET Deck (the brand’s signature take on the poolside scene). A second WET Deck will have direct access to the beachfront promenade and the white sands of Santa Eulalia beach, which guests will be able to enjoy from W Ibiza’s very own ‘Chiringuito’, the brands elevated take on the quintessential beach bars of Ibiza. The 162 guestrooms and suites will bring a new level of eclectic luxury to the Isle, with beloved W comforts to ensure guests are fully recharged for the night ahead.


8. Fiji Airways becomes the first Oneworld connect partner

Oneworld launched a new platform for linking up to the world’s premier airline alliance – enabling customers to enjoy more services and benefits across an even more extensive global network. The first airline to join in the new capacity as a oneworld connect partner will be Fiji Airways. The intital oneworld sponsors of Fiji Airways will be all four of oneworld’s original founding members – Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, British Airways and Qantas. Oneworld Governing Board Chairman Pekka Vauramo, CEO of Finnair, said “In the 20 years since oneworld’s conception in 1998, global airline alliances have expanded their breadth to the extent that they now account for 60 per cent of total industry revenues and capacity globally, and 70 per cent of revenues between the world’s top 125 business city airports. In the future, oneworld will target as full members large airlines that have a significant presence in the alliance’s prime target market, providing connections between the world’s leading business centres. Meantime, oneworld connect enables us to bring together more airlines to complement the alliance’s global leaders, so customers can earn rewards and feel recognised while travelling even further.”

Oneworld connect partners will provide select alliance benefits to frequent flyers from any oneworld member airline travelling on their flights, with a more extensive range of benefits offered with their oneworld sponsors:

  • Customers with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline’s frequent flyer programme will be able to use priority check-in desks, where available. Also, customers with Emerald or Sapphire status will be offered priority boarding.
  • Through check-in of passengers and their baggage for journeys including connections between a connect carrier and any of its oneworld sponsors.
  • The ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer rewards, and earn frequent flyer status points, for eligible flights.
  • Access to select lounges at key airports for First or Business Class passengers or those with eligible top-tier frequent flyer status.


9. Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi opens its doors

Hyatt Hotels announced the opening of Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residence Emirates Pearl, the first Grand Hyatt hotel to open in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city, Abu Dhabi. The luxury property combines iconic brand elements and awe-inspiring design and architecture with a central location in the capital that offers easy access to world-class shopping, dining and cultural events. Meticulously designed with bold and vibrant features, the property houses 332 guestrooms, 36 lavish suites, including the Presidential and Palatial Royal Suites, and 60 full-service one and two-bedroom residences, ranging from 968  to 1500 square feet, each thoughtfully conceptualized with key locally inspired details. For those residing in Suite or Club floor, additional exclusivity can be discovered on the 26th floor, as the Grand Club Lounge will provide a luxurious living space with sweeping views of the city’s skyline and the glittering Arabian Gulf. The hotel is home to a variety of signature bars and restaurants, each offering a distinctive culinary journey with the promise of delivering truly memorable dining experiences for hotel guests and locals alike. The hotel also offers a stunning 164 foot outdoor infinity pool and the well-being facilities extend over an entire floor with spacious outdoor terraces, providing a fully immersive well-being experience.


10. Emirates will operate the world’s shortest A380 route

Emirates will be operating a one-off A380 service to Muscat International Airport on 1 July 2018. This special flight of the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft is part of the airline’s celebration of its 25th year of service to Oman this year, and also re-affirms the newly opened airport infrastructure to handle A380 operations. The new passenger terminal at Oman International Airport recently opened its doors in March 2018. The Emirates A380 service will operate as EK 862 and EK 863, departing Dubai at 0825hrs and arriving in Muscat at 0935hrs. The flight will depart Muscat at 1205hrs arriving in Dubai at 1310hrs on the same day. In 1993, Emirates inaugurated its first service to Muscat and since then, has carried more than 4.3 million passengers to and from Oman. The airline started operating with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft with a four weekly services. Today, the airline flies to Muscat with three daily services utilising Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, connecting passengers to over 150 global destinations. The Emirates A380 flying to Muscat will be set in a three-class configuration, with 429 seats in Economy Class on the lower deck, 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper deck. Emirates is the largest operator of A380 aircraft. The airline currently has 103 A380s in service and 59 pending delivery flying to almost 50 destinations.


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