Luxury travel news from around the world (April 2024)

There is a great deal of news to report this month from the world of luxury travel. Whether its cutting-edge marina developments, a new sustainable resort in the Caribbean or a whole new Michelin grading system for accommodation rather than restaurants… and a whole lot more besides. Read on to learn about some interesting developments from across the globe.

Setting new standards for luxury marinas

Suntex Marina Investors, a leading player in the luxury marina industry, has partnered with Centerbridge Partners in a joint venture worth over $1.25 billion. This collaboration aims to acquire and develop marinas across the US, focusing on high-end experiences and prime locations. As part of the agreement, Suntex will allocate funds for new acquisitions, capital improvements at existing facilities, and groundbreaking development projects, setting a new standard for luxury marinas.

Approved Experiences launches next-generation mobile application

Approved Experiences, the latest venture of the Approved Jets private aviation brokerage and concierge, has launched a new app, to appeal to the next generation of high net worth individuals

Utilising the Approved Experiences app, browsers have access to an exclusive social club for the elite, empty leg private aviation charters, an exclusive news content feed, a marketplace for luxury experiences (private aviation, luxury villa rentals, yachts, etc.), and real-time access to a concierge service that can efficiently arrange luxury car travel, yachting, fine dining experiences, private aviation, hotel and villa rentals – all from a smartphone.

IHG Hotels & Resorts brings Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants to Lisbon

IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, announces the signing of Kimpton Lisbon, the first Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants property in the Portuguese capital. Set to open its doors in early 2025, the boutique luxury hotel marks the second Kimpton to come to Portugal, following the signing of Kimpton Algarve São Rafael Atlántico in late 2023.

Food and travel journalists pick their best culinary cruise experiences for Food & Wine Magazine

Food & Wine Magazine, a culinary powerhouse in North America, has published their prestigious Global Tastemakers 2024 List. Topping the list in their top cruises for food and drink is Silversea, with – in order – Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, Hurtigruten/HX, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Viking Cruises, Virgin Voyages and AmaWaterways making up the remaining 10. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is recorded as a ‘plus one’ at the end of the article.

Thornbury Castle retains 3 AA Rosettes & 4 Red Stars

The magnificent 16th-century Thornbury Castlea hotel which we reviewed only last month – has maintained its prestigious 3 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence and 4 Red Stars for outstanding service and hotel operations. The AA Rosette award, established in 1956, represents the premier nationwide standard for evaluating the quality of food served in restaurants and hotels. The team of highly experienced inspectors assesses establishments throughout the UK.

Bentley Motors’ most visually striking SUV to date, the Bentayga S Black Edition

Bentley Motors today announces the company’s most visually striking SUV to date, the Bentayga S Black Edition. Identified by the first application of black-tinted wings to a Bentley in 105 years, the S Black Edition combines vivid accent colours, rich black detailing and confidence-inspiring chassis technology, revealing the darker side of the Bentayga.

Six Senses makes a splash with first Caribbean resort

Six Senses La Sagesse, the first Caribbean venture of the luxury lifestyle brand, is opening its doors on Grenada’s stunning south coast. Boasting 56 pool suites and 15 villas, the resort offers guests breathtaking views, local dining experiences, and world-class wellness facilities, all while maintaining a strong commitment to sustainability and the support of community-driven projects.

New to Botswana: Jack’s Private Camp in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Natural Selection has announced the debut of Jack’s Private Camp in Botswana‘s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, a two-bedroom under-canvas villa that promises an unparalleled African safari experience. Tailored for multi-generational travellers and adventurous families, the camp offers privacy and flexibility, with a central living area, Wi-Fi access, private chef and butler, and a dedicated 4×4 game drive vehicle and guide. Guests will not only be able to enjoy bespoke safari adventures, but also immerse themselves in the camp’s timeless landscape, supporting Natural Selection’s conservation-driven ethos.

Paws for Purpose at Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach

Nestled on Bali’s most vibrant beachfront, Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach is offering spay and neuter services for cats and dogs in the community, along with educational seminars and sharing sessions. Guests can also participate in “Paw Yoga”, a relaxing practice that includes bonding sessions with furry companions, with the contributions supporting their neutering initiative.

La Dolce Vita Orient Express set to take European luxury rail travel by storm

The Orient Express La Dolce Vita is a luxury rail tourism project conceived by Arsenale S.p.A. and Orient Express, part of the Accor Group. It welcomes its first passengers in 2024 with the train crossing Italy from north to south via six iconic itineraries. The itineraries have been designed to create exclusive travel experiences while revealing the jewels of Italy, from the wonders of the Alps to the paradisiacal beaches of the South, from the beauty of Venice to Rome or Palermo. As of 2024, the brand’s first hotels – Orient Express La Minerva in Rome and Orient Express Palazzo Donà Giovannelli in Venice – will welcome Orient Express La Dolce Vita passengers, and new routes with international destinations will be added.

Liberty Hotels & Resorts launches brand new five-star Turkish resort

Liberty Hotels & Resorts announces the launch of a brand new 5-star hotel, Liberty Signa, ready for the May-November season. Offering guests unfiltered access to the Turkish Aegean coast with private beachfront, the family-friendly resort has an extensive range of activities and amenities for all, from carnivals and magic shows, to adult-only pools and luxurious dining across its 8 restaurants. Bookings are now open for May 2024.

Michelin evaluates luxury hotels with new Key grading system

Michelin‘s new Key ranking system has honored 189 exceptional French hotels, with 24 receiving the highest “Three Keys” distinction. The rating system mirrors Michelin’s renowned restaurant star system and recognises hotels that offer extraordinary experiences, local character and individuality. The esteemed list includes palace hotels, country accommodations, and boutique hotels, and Michelin plans to reveal top luxury hotels in the U.S., Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea throughout 2024.

Crafting Dreams in New York City with Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton‘s Crafting Dreams event in New York City is offering an exclusive, immersive journey through the brand’s exquisite craftsmanship and artistic innovation, showcasing rare and iconic pieces, including haute couture gowns, fine jewelry, and high-end watches, while allowing guests to engage with artisans and personalise their LV items.

Building upon the immersive experience, Louis Vuitton has transformed the seven-story Park Avenue townhouse, usually home to the Spanish royal family, with signature Malletage details. This exhibition marks the debut of exclusive pieces in the US that include the Millionaires Speedy 40, designed by Pharrell Williams, and the Capucines Trunk. As guests explore the intricacies of the brand’s craftsmanship, they are offered a unique glimpse into the world of Louis Vuitton.

Emerald Kaia – a next-generation luxury ocean yacht

Scenic Group has revealed plans for Emerald Kaia, a next-generation luxury ocean yacht that will join the Emerald Cruises fleet in April 2026. The third addition to their collection, Emerald Kaia will accommodate 128 guests in 64 spacious state rooms, offering enhanced amenities and a commitment to innovative, sustainable cruising experiences.

Fincantieri delivers Queen Anne to Cunard

Queen Anne, the latest addition to the esteemed Cunard fleet, has been officially delivered and marks a new era in luxury maritime travel. The delivery ceremony, held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Venice, was attended by distinguished guests, including government officials and key executives from both Cunard and Fincantieri.

Queen Anne, the 249th Cunard-flagged ship and the third built by Fincantieri, will set sail for Southampton, her port of departure, arriving on April 27 before embarking on her seven-night maiden voyage to Lisbon on May 3. With a capacity to accommodate 3000 guests across 14 decks and spanning 114,000 tons, the ship promises an unparalleled onboard experience, offering travellers a wide array of entertainment, dining, and bar options. 

Aston Martin opens new showroom at luxury hotel in Tokyo

Aston Martin has further solidified its luxury status by opening a high-end showroom within The Peninsula Tokyo hotel in the prestigious Ginza district. This two-story space is the first Asian showroom to fully embrace the brand’s refreshed corporate identity, featuring a customer lounge where visitors can design their own Aston Martin and a large digital media wall. The showroom is part of Aston Martin’s ongoing investment in enhancing customer experiences and its global ultra-luxury retail strategy.

Hennessy’s guided tours in Cognac win ‘Best Innovation’ award at the 2024 Wine Tourism Awards

The 2024 winners of Wine Tourism Awards have just been announced and Hennessy is proud to have won the ‘Best Innovation’ award, a special prize that celebrates the vineyards and Maisons offering wine tourism experiences that truly stand out from the rest of the industry.

The praise follows the successful launch in 2023 of ‘Mobilis’, an immersive virtual reality installation celebrating Maison Hennessy’s time-honoured craftsmanship and history, built in one of its historical cellars in Cognac. Created by French artists Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas, the 19-minute VR experience was inspired by the expressive sketches doodled by founder Richard Hennessy on his blotting paper, in 1765. It offers visitors a mesmerising blend of poetry and cutting-edge technology.

Exclusive Santorini retreat with celebrity trainer Amolia Cesar at Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort in partnership with Travelgems are excited to reveal this year’s empowering fitness retreat with celebrity trainer Amoila Cesar. Designed to regenerate the mind and body in six days with research proven activities, guests can expect life transforming methods and habits that they can adopt on a day-to-day basis long after they depart.

WTTC projects tourism’s global economic contribution to set new records 

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is projecting a record-breaking year for Travel & Tourism in 2024, with the sector’s global economic contribution set to reach an all-time high of $11.1 trillion.  According to the global tourism body’s 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR), Travel & Tourism will contribute an additional $770BN over its previous record, stamping its authority as a global economic powerhouse, generating one in every 10 dollars worldwide. As the global sector soars past its pre-pandemic prosperity, WTTC expects 142 countries of 185 analysed will be outperforming previous national records.

In partnership with Oxford Economic, WTTC’s latest EIR showcases a sector briming with opportunities, underpinning almost 348MN jobs globally. This represents an increase of more than 13.6MN jobs compared to its highest point in 2019. International visitor spending is expected to come within touching distance of the 2019 peak, to reach $1.89TN, while domestic tourists are forecast to spend more than in any year on record to hit $5.4TN.

World of Hyatt adds more than 700 boutique and luxury hotels and villas

Hyatt’s acquisition of the Mr & Mrs Smith collection means it has added more than 700 boutique and luxury hotels and villas to its World of Hyatt points program. This means members can earn and redeem points at unique destinations worldwide, including new countries like Namibia, Fiji and the British Virgin Islands. This adds to Hyatt’s commitment to offer diverse and meaningful travel experiences to its members.

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Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. The hook-up between a Japanese hotel and an Aston Martin dealer’s an interesting one. We might be seeing more of that sort of alliance.

  2. From these stories and recent posts, it seems that the luxury yacht market is becoming more and more popular.

  3. I had a meal about 3 months ago at Thornbury Castle hotel’s restaurant and it was probably the best meal that I’ve had so far this year.

    Those 3 AA rosettes are thoroughly deserved. It’s a great historic setting and the service is impeccable.

  4. Good to see the weekly luxury travel news back. Even if all of this is beyond my budget it’s fascinating to see where the travel industry is heading.

  5. Cunard’s Queen Anne is in my opinion about the right size. I’ve done 5,000 plus passengers and that’s too big, less than 2,000 and you feel the waves,

  6. Pandemic? What pandemic? There is so much happening in luxury travel that it’s amazing how quickly most of the industry has shown its resilience and bounced back.

  7. In my experience, the food and wine that I’ve enjoyed on cruises has almost always been outstanding. It couldn’t have been easy choosing between them. Then again it must have been very enjoyable judging.

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