The Luxury Escapes Hot List: What’s New in the World of Travel

Six Senses opens new resort on a private island in Cambodia

Six Senses has opened its latest resort on a private island in Cambodia. Six Senses Krabey Island has 40 private pool villas on the landscaped 12-hectare island, five kilometres off Ream National Park in the Gulf of Thailand in southern Cambodia. The resort includes two restaurants with menus focused on local produce and seasonality, much of it grown at its own organic farm and herb garden. A complimentary ice-cream parlour serves more than 15 flavours daily. There’s also a spa, rooftop yoga pavilion, indoor aerial yoga studio and meditation cave, jungle fitness circuit and open-air cinema.

Living it up in Las Vegas

Palms Casino Resort has opened a new suite as part of its A$970 million revamp of the Las Vegas property. The Empathy Suite will set you back a cool A$140,000 a night (with a two-night minimum stay) making it one of the world’s most expensive hotel rooms. Designed by world-renowned British artist Damien Hirst, it features many original pieces from his series, including a custom butterfly-motif mosaic tiled cantilevered pool overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The 836-square-metre, two-storey hotel suite (bigger than most blocks of land in Australia’s major cities) includes a 24-hour butler service, chauffeured car and A-list access to the Pearl Concert Theatre and the Palms’ recording studio. There’s a 13-seat curved bar and media/theatre areas, accommodating up to 52 guests, a private healing salt room, and massage and fitness rooms.

Reflecting on Uruguay

Sacromonte Landscape Hotel lives up to its name, with a series of new sustainable cabins set among 100 hectares of stunning landscape in Uruguay, South America. There is also a purpose-built winery and restaurant onsite. The first four cabins opened earlier this year, and the remaining eight cabins will launch in June. Each has a smoked glass façade reflecting the stunning landscape, which you can peruse from your own private plunge pool. Inside it’s all sleek features, with dark stone floors and oak-panelled walls. Grab an off-road electric buggy and venture deep into the vines, or just head for wine tastings
on the hilltop lookout.

Fiji’s Shangri-La completes multi-million-dollar renovation

Fiji’s largest private island resort, The Shangri-La Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island, has completed a two-year A$70 million renovation.
More than a quarter of the 100-hectare private island resort has been dedicated to a new private adults-only area, including an infinity pool, where six fully renovated reef bures open to private lawns. Families haven’t been excluded, with a huge indoor-outdoor kids’ club and separate entertainment zone for teens. The resort is also home to the largest inflatable water park in the South Pacific. Setting itself up as a culinary destination, a significant amount of the investment has gone into six dining experiences, where more than 75 per cent of the produce will be sourced locally.

Soneva’s mission for marine life

Luxury resort Soneva Jani has launched an initiative to save the sea turtles at its property in the Maldives. In the past five years there were 601 recorded turtle entanglements in discarded fishing nets in the Maldives alone. Partnering with the Olive Ridley Project in the Noonu Atoll, it will hire a biologist to monitor turtle nesting and run a rehabilitation centre that will be built on the island to help sick and injured sea turtles regain their health. The biologist will also run regular workshops and activities to help raise awareness about the importance of turtles in the marine environment.

Drone taxi service soon a reality

A new passenger drone taxi service is set to launch next year. VIMANA is producing its first vehicles at the end of this year, and says it’ll be taking flights by the end of 2020. Similarly to how taxi operators function in most countries, cities will lease the aircraft. VIMANA says the cost of flying will initially be in line with a helicopter ride, lowering significantly with economies of scale, bringing the cost of travel to a typical Uber ride. Initially partnering with Germany to produce and launch the aircraft, it will have additional production facilities and operations in the UAE and the United States. Both a two- and four-seater drone will be available to whizz you around town in the fully autonomous aircraft.

World’s first fitness-focused cruise

A new purpose-built ship targeting the ‘active’ is being launched next year. In what’s been described as a world first, Blue World Voyages will have two decks dedicated entirely to fitness, sports and wellness. Training spaces will include a gym, bike station, golf, soccer and hockey simulators, spinning and TRX studios, and a sea water lap pool so guests can do laps in the ocean. The first ship will sail to Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland and Norway. As well as holidaying on board, there are also 24 residences you can buy for 25 years exclusive use, and access whenever you want. They range from 78 to 111 square metres and begin at roughly A$2.8 million. If that’s a little out of your budget, you can stay on board for a week for about A$11,000 for two people, which includes food, house alcohol and some excursions. Blue World Voyages plans to have three ships within five years.

Private island adds vintage yacht

Exclusive resort Thanda Island now has its own vintage yacht. Over the Rainbow of London is a 35-metre, four-berth, meticulously restored
yacht available for cruises off the coast of Tanzania. Originally built for a Scottish magnate, the yacht was previously owned by Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon, requisitioned in the war for coastal patrol, and used as a popular floating casino off Athens. Guests have included Winston Churchill, whose Chinese chair is in the former officers’ salon. The newly refurbished yacht has two decks, a saloon lounge and four cabins. The ship’s captain says it will cruise the Tanzanian coast, dropping anchor so guests can swim in places no one has been to in a decade. There’s also the chance to meet locals whose lives have stayed virtually unchanged for a century, and sail to the Rufiji Delta. Chartering the yacht costs roughly A$91,500 per week.

Melbourne set for take off with United

United Airlines will fly non-stop year round between San Francisco and Melbourne for the first time in October. The flights will operate three times a week on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Earlier this year it also extended its service between San Francisco and Auckland, offering year round flights three times a week.

The move means United now offers the most flights between the US west coast and Australia by a US carrier. It already operates non-stop flights to Sydney
from Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and flys Melbourne to Los Angeles.
United’s CEO Oscar Munoz says the route expansion “solidifies United’s position at San Francisco as the gateway airline serving destinations across the Pacific”.
Meanwhile, the airline has also partnered with cult beauty brand Sunday Riley to produce new amenity kits. United says it chose Sunday Riley based on the brand being a pioneer in green technology and high-performance skincare.

The kits will feature a range of hydrating products, including a lip balm with pomegranate seed oil and shea butter to boost hydration, a face cream, hand cream containing cocoa butter and rosehip seed oil, and a facial cleansing cloth.

Lap of luxury on slow train in Swiss Alps

Want a guaranteed window seat and glass of champagne while you peruse some of the world’s most spectacular scenery? Well, now you can. The Glacier Express, which travels through the Swiss Alps from Zermatt to St Moritz, passing 91 tunnels and more than 291 bridges, has launched a new premium class for luxury travellers called Excellence Class. Surpassing First Class, this means a guaranteed window seat, as well as all-important access to the bar area, wine cabinet, canapes, degustation lunch menu and your own on-train personal guide. At the end (or start) of your trip is also a stay at the iconic Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, with panoramic views over Lake St. Moritz and the Engadin valley. A two-night trip for two people will cost roughly A$3470.

Exclusive excursion into Canadian Rockies

A new helicopter safari in the Canadian Rockies is being launched by luxury wilderness resort Siwash. Located completely off-grid in Cariboo country, the boutique eco-retreat in the Canadian province of British Columbia is surrounded by 32,000 hectares of wilderness, with the Rockies just an hour’s flight east of the ranch. Guests have the option to choose from a variety of experiences including swimming in a glacier-fed lake and landing on a private peak for a picnic. The ranch says it’s the only chopper to venture into these parts of the Rocky Mountains. A return flight costs about A$1650.

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