Hotels Raising the Bar on Luxury
A comfortable bed, a room with a view and spot-on service aren’t enough anymore. To lure work-harried travelers, hotels need to go beyond what used to be luxurious extras. Those are now considered the basics as hotels lay on extra perks for the club floors, upgrade amenities and add thoughtful services that give them that memorable edge above the competition.
The PuLi Hotel and Spa in Shanghai has redefined its executive floor concept with The Club, tailored to business travelers, with complimentary GSM mobile phones for citywide coverage and private butler service to lend a hand with everything from personal errands to organizing a daily schedule and transportation. Club guests are guaranteed 24-hour check-in and check-out as well as a personalized in-room minibar and unlimited complimentary laundry and pressing. Visit www.thepuli.com.
Already in-room in about 300 American Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and scheduled worldwide by year’s end, is a new Peter Thomas Roth bath amenity collection designed exclusively for Hilton. The line features vitamin-infused shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash and soaps, including a uniquely designed Massaging Body Bar for a spa-like scrub. Visit www.hilton.com.
At New York’s Benjamin Hotel, a dedicated Sleep Concierge outfits guests with white noise machines and offers 12 different kinds of pillows to ease them off into slumber. Among them is a Cloud Pillow, with 10 million-plus air beads to keep guests’ heads cool throughout the night. Visit www.thebenjamin.com. And if a guest’s luggage doesn’t show up on the belt at Heathrow, the Baggage Emergency Response Squad at The Stafford London by Kempinski will deal with the airline to secure its return, and meanwhile supply underwear and toiletries, as well as priority laundry service upon luggage delivery. Visit www.kempinski.com/london.
Schiphol’s Indoor Park
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) recently opened a post-security Airport Park, a tranquil space that uses technology to create the image of being in a green park. Butterflies are projected on the walls, where photos of parks create a green surrounding and bird songs fill the air. Between flights, passengers can relax in chaise longues amid potted trees or ride stationary bicycles.
In the face of rising fuel costs that have hiked commercial airline rates and surcharges, private aircraft operator Avantair has found practical benefits in being environmentally responsible. Because of sophisticated Piaggio Avanti aircraft’s fuel-efficient technology, the aircraft burns 40 percent less fuel. This allows Avantair to keep its prices consistently below competitors while creating an average of 35 percent fewer carbon emissions. The aircraft is the world’s fastest turboprop, combining the space and luxury of a mid-size jet with the speed of a light jet and even greater efficiency than a traditional turboprop. Visit www.avantair.com.
Upgrades at O’Hare and Minneapolis
Swiss International Air Lines’ first- and business-class guests, along with HON Circle and Star Gold members, are finding more space to meet their varying needs in the renovated SWISS Lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Separate areas now provide a dedicated e-corner equipped with computer work stations and free Internet access, comfortable seats for just relaxing with a magazine or newspaper, a bistro area with bar tables and a lounge buffet with warm and cold selections and fresh fruit. Visit www.swiss.com.
Meanwhile, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Delta’s $2 billion upgrade includes increasing its food and beverage offerings, with 12 new restaurants and fresh markets inspired by local chefs and culinary traditions, along with the integration of Apple iPads throughout the terminal and concierge services designed for frequent flyers.
First to India
Jet Airways will re-introduce first-class service on its twice-weekly flights between Mumbai (BOM) and Newark (EWR) beginning in September. The carrier will begin using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with a three-class configuration that includes private, closed-door suites in first class and seats that convert to 73-inch-long totally flat beds in business class. In other news from Jet Airways, its launch of 15 new daily flights from Hyderabad (HYD) has established the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh as a mini-hub to destinations throughout India, increasing connectivity from southern India to points worldwide. Visit www.jetairways.com.
JAL Non-stop from Boston
Japan Airlines (JAL) is already accepting bookings on its announced service between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) and Boston (BOS) to begin April 22, 2012. The route will operate with Boeing 787-8 aircraft, configured with business- and economy-class cabins. The Boston–Tokyo flight is the first on which JAL will utilize the Dreamliner, as JAL becomes the only carrier to directly link Asia and Boston. Beginning with non-stop service four times a week, the route will become daily from June 1, 2012. American Airlines will codeshare on this flight. Visit www.ar.jal.com.
EVA to Guam, Seoul
EVA Air has launched direct service twice weekly from Taiwan (TPE) to Guam International Airport (GUM), flying Airbus A330-200 aircraft with seating for 250 passengers. At the same time, EVA has teamed with Asiana Airlines to codeshare service between Taipei and Seoul (ICN). The two airlines provide 16 flights weekly, giving travelers more choices for connecting flights between Taiwan and Korea. Visit www.evaair.com.
Amanresorts opens Amanruya this month on Turkey’s Bodrum Peninsula overlooking the Aegean Sea, the 28th property worldwide from the Singapore-based company. Surrounded by pine forests and olive groves, the new property takes its inspiration from the region’s traditional architecture, featuring a village of cottages, each with its own pool and terrace. Amanruya is built of local materials including stone, acajou wood and Turkish marble; and the resort center includes a library, a wine lounge, an art gallery, a spa, four dining pavilions, a marble swimming pool, tennis court and a beach club. Visit www.amanresorts.com/amanruya/home.aspx.
Five Stars in Namibia
Hilton has opened its 31st hotel in Africa and the city’s first 5-star hotel in the Namibian capital of Windhoek. The 150-room property is located near Freedom Square, 20 minutes from Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH). In addition to several dining and bar options, the hotel features a heated lap pool with a sundeck, a wellness center, a 24-hour gym and a Skybar, all located on the rooftop with spectacular views of the city. Visit www .hilton.com.
Renaissance at EWR
Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel has completed a multimillion-dollar renovation that replaced every window in the hotel to make it sound-resistant, installing a system enabling guests to use either heating or air conditioning at any time of year and enlarging all the guestrooms. The property, including its 397 guestrooms, lobby, restaurants, lounges, meeting space, swimming pool and fitness center, was entirely redone, making it the largest and most flexible meeting and event space in the Newark area. Visit www.renais.com
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fairmont President’s Club, Fairmont is extending the “passion-based” experiences it offers members, adding benefits designed around specific travel-related interests. Members can update their profiles to choose themes such as Food & Drink, Arts & Entertainment, Sports & Adventure and Leadership & Philanthropy and receive special access to events like concerts and exclusive wine tastings or programs with sports personalities. New this year is the philanthropy element, enabling members to count volunteer work toward membership status or donate President’s Club points to a charitable partner such as the World Wildlife Fund. Platinum-level members also qualify for additional benefits such as a complimentary round of golf or spa treatment. Visit www.fairmont.com/fpc.
New Balance at Westin
Starwood Preferred Guests staying at Westin hotels can expect to find complimentary loans of New Balance shoes, fitness apparel and accessories at more of their 179 properties within the next few months. The pilot loan program at Westins in Boston, San Francisco, Tokyo, Berlin and six other cities proved so popular that it is being extended brand-wide by the end of the year. Workout gear includes clothing for both men and women, featuring sneakers with disposable insoles, shorts, Capri pants, shirts, socks, even sports bras. Also available are in-room equipment-free workouts, neighborhood running maps and special amenities for those visiting for athletic events such as marathons. Visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, in Killiney, Ireland, 20 minutes from the center of Dublin, has two deals good through Sept. 30. Family Summer Break includes five nights’ lodging for two adults and two children, full Irish breakfasts, dinner two evenings, on-arrival wine and chocolates and a family pass to either Dublin Zoo or Sealife Bray. Summer for Two packages are two-night breaks with full Irish breakfasts, dinner one evening and on-arrival wine and chocolates. A third night with breakfast is free. Fitzpatrick Castle has 113 guestrooms and suites, two restaurants, a swimming pool and a fitness center. Visit www.fitzpatrickcastle.com.
Banyan Tree Bangkok’s City Retreat package, valid through Oct. 15, gives guests access to Banyan Tree Club Lounge privileges including complimentary drinks, snacks and canapés; late check-out; and complimentary 90-minute massage per night of stay, in addition to dinner for two in each of two restaurants and other complimentary gifts and services. Two-night package rates begin at $260 per night. Visit www.banyantree.com.
A Swinging Deal
The 5-star Marcliffe Hotel and Spa offers golfers a sweet deal that combines luxe lodgings with a chance to play three world-renowned courses in Scotland, where the game began. The Swinging Deal features one round of golf each at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, known for challenging courses with diverse links; Murcar Links Golf Club; and Cruden Bay Golf Club, an old-fashioned course on the scenic east coast. Package rates from about $1,000, valid through Oct. 31, include three nights’ accommodations with daily Scottish breakfast and dinner one night. And if golf isn’t enough, the hotel can arrange world-class salmon fishing and other outdoor sports. Visit www.marcliffe.com.
Plan Ahead for Los Cabos
Book 21 days in advance at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Mexico for a four-night stay before Oct. 1 and get the fourth night free. Along with nearby golf courses and the famous Los Cabos sealife, the resort includes a full-service Spa Oasis, an infinity swimming pool with a swim-up bar, a secluded golden-sand beach, tennis courts and children’s facilities. Visit www.hiltonloscabos.com.
Villa specialist Maya Luxe offers guests curated and bespoke accommodations in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This local company works with companies in the region to provide unique itineraries for guests to enjoy, from tequila tastings to cooking classes to in-house spa services. Unlike other rental companies, Maya Luxe caters to a high-end market in which homeowners enjoy a concierge service to help them provide the best experience for guests.
Awareness about fair and sustainable travel continues to grow around the globe, with travelers everywhere considering a destination’s eco-friendly options before visiting. As public consciousness for this important aspect of tourism strengthens, tourists also look beyond just ecotourism and delve deeper into types of travel that allow them to respect the local culture, interact with locals and distribute benefits fairly.
Ah, the romance of train travel ... even commuters feel it. There’s something oh so Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie and Harry Potter about chugging down a track on the way to some wonderful — perhaps even mysterious — destination, your bag neatly tucked above you, a book in your lap, your journey ahead. The scenery outside passes by like a film in fast motion. The seats (comfortable on most global trains, even in second class) feel like super-plush movie theater lounge chairs. Each train car, like a narrow living room, boasts its own mood depending on fellow travelers and the ministrations of attentive staff.
It’s time to start planning your next trip. Take a visual journey through these U.S. locations where historically significant moments in the Civil Rights movement occurred.
Copa Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary by showcasing a Boeing 737-800 NG in an aircraft livery that harkened back to the airline’s look in the 1990s. During that time, Copa Airlines launched an expansion of their network to become the Hub of the Americas®, changing the way to travel to and connect in our Continent.
For the first time ever, visitors and locals in Dublin, Ireland, can immerse themselves in a series of discovery trails through augmented reality. The Dublin Discovery Trails app, developed by Peel X and funded by Failté Ireland and Dublin City Council, brings Dublin’s Docklands to life in a new and unique way. Dublin’s Docklands served as one of the world’s largest docks in the 19th and 20th centuries, in which countless ships entered and exited the port every day. This hub of trade and industry meant many people worked the docklands and interacted with one another daily.
Australia's Whitsunday Islands are an unimaginable destination. As many screensavers or wanderlust-worthy documentaries as you may come across of the 74 continental islands off the central coast of Queensland, located within the Great Barrier Reef
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