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Luxury travel news from around the world (May 2024)

Our latest round-up of luxury travel news highlights a wide variety of new and exciting happenings. From Ritz-Carlton Reserve debuting its first Middle East property, Nujuma, on Ummahat Island, to Hyatt introducing ATONA, a modern hot spring ryokan brand in Japan, there’s all manner of things going on in the world of luxury travel. Read on to discover more.

Four Seasons Private Jet Experience reveals itineraries for 2026

Leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons introduces its lineup of 2026 Private Jet Journeys, offering discerning travellers new opportunities to explore the world’s most intriguing destinations. These immersive itineraries go beyond onboard jet travel and luxury accommodations, encompassing bespoke local experiences from bold culinary to wellness offerings plus cultural and adventure expeditions. Delivered by a dedicated concierge, journey team, and local experts, these transformative travel experiences are designed to inspire.

There are six new itineraries for 2026 and these include: African Wonders – December 29, 2025 to January 10, 2026 (13 days); Asia Unveiled – January 14 to 29, 2026 and March 28 to April 12, 2026 (16 days); Timeless Encounters – February 2 to 23, 2026 (22 days); Ancient Explorer – March 4 to 26, 2026 (23 days); and International Intrigue – April 14 to May 04, 2026 (21 days).

New luxury resort destined for Indonesia: Anantara Dragon Seseh Bali Resort

Global hotel owner and operator Minor Hotels is announcing the signing of an agreement to manage a new-build resort and branded residences on the Indonesian island of Bali. Opening in 2027, the Anantara Dragon Seseh Bali Resort will be the first luxury beachfront resort on Seseh Beach and the third Anantara Hotels & Resorts property in Bali.

The Anantara Dragon Seseh Bali Resort is located on the black volcanic shores of Seseh Beach, a short drive from southern coast hotspots Canggu and Seminyak and an hour from Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). The property’s striking architecture, a creation of renowned British architect John Dawes, draws inspiration from the mystical Barong of Bali, a dragon-like guardian, lending the complex a sense of strength and grace with a touch of fantasy. The 216 keys, a mix of lead-in rooms and suites ranging from 52sqm to 120sqm, offer a serene sanctuary by the ocean. The Cocoon Residences blend nature and modern elegance, providing harmony between the interior and exterior and stunning views of the sunrise and sunset over the Indian Ocean.

VIVID Sydney Moonlight Sea Kayaking Experience

For a unique and spectacular view of Barani and the other stunning Vivid installations in Darling Harbour, elevate your Vivid Sydney experience by joining the team from Sydney Harbour Kayaks on a 90-minute sea kayaking tour. Beginning and ending at the Australian National Maritime Museum, kayaks, witness the mesmerizing transformation of Sydney as it bursts into a dazzling display of lights, all from the comfort of your floating perch. These guided kayaking expeditions offer a rare opportunity to traverse Darling Harbour on a moonlit escapade, granting you an unparalleled, crowd-free perspective of Sydney’s VIVID Festival.

Ritz-Carlton Reserve opens first Middle East property in style

Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the Middle East was unveiled today on Ummahat Island in the tranquil waters of The Red Sea. The private island retreat is nestled within the captivating Blue Hole cluster of islands, where pristine coral reefs thrive beneath the surface and the celestial canopy above paints an endless tapestry of stars.

Nujuma – inspired by the meaning of ‘stars’ in Arabic – invites travellers to embark on an unchartered journey to one of the world’s most secluded and protected archipelagos. Here, amidst the azure expanse, guests are beckoned to explore and immerse themselves in the region’s culture and traditions.

ATONA: The new luxury hot spring ryokan (Japanese-style inn) brand

Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Kiraku, Inc. have announced that ATONA, the modern hot spring ryokan (Japanese-style inn) brand, will open properties in Yufu, Yakushima, and Hakone. The ATONA brand was announced in 2022 under a joint venture between a Hyatt affiliate and Kiraku, a Japanese company dedicated to preserving valuable assets for future generations. The first ATONA ryokans are slated to open in 2026 across some of Japan’s top hot spring destinations and areas of natural beauty.

Qatar Airways named ‘Airline of the Year’

Qatar Airways has been named the ‘Airline of the Year’ for 2024 by the leading industry organisation, Airline Ratings. In addition to the ‘Airline of the Year’ accolade, Qatar Airways has also won ‘Best Business Class’ for the fifth consecutive year, as well as ‘Best Catering’.

The yearly Airline Ratings awards include several key categories: ‘Best In-flight Entertainment’ and ‘Best Catering’, ‘Best Cabin Crew’, ‘Best Environmental Airline’, and ‘Regional Airline of the Year’. Airlines are assessed based on various criteria including fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, safety rating, product rating, innovation, and forward fleet orders.

Sanlorenzo launches first superyacht with green methanol fuel cell system

Pioneers in maritime sustainability, Sanlorenzo and has just achieved a significant milestone in its journey towards carbon neutrality with the launch of the first unit of its 50Steel last weekend – the world’s first superyacht with a Green Methanol Reformer Fuel Cell system, capable of powering the onboard hotel systems with zero emissions, revolutionising the industry’s approach to sustainability – in collaboration with Siemens Energy.

The Suite Life: Celebrity Cruises elevates ‘The Retreat’ experience

Celebrity Cruises® takes the suite life to new heights with new premium and personalized enhancements for The Retreat, providing the most elevated experience at sea. Offering more perks and amenities than ever before, The Retreat isn’t just a suite. It’s the most elevated experience at sea, period.

Best country in the world for birdwatching

Colombia —the second most biodiverse country in the world— has 1,966 bird species, 20% of the world’s total, and way more than other countries such as Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, India, and Indonesia. A few days ago, the largest birding event organized by Cornell’s University Ornithology Lab occurred, reuniting scientific and amateur birdwatching communities worldwide. This contest proved, once more, why Colombia is the #1 country in bird diversity on the planet.

Silversea launches new world cruise

Silversea, the leading ultra-luxury and expedition cruise travel brand, has unveiled its richest voyage ever for its World Cruise 2027, The Three Oceans. Silver Dawn, one of the smallest world-cruising ships, will depart Los Angeles on January 8 and arrive in Copenhagen on June 7, 2027, calling in 80 destinations – more than any voyage in the brand’s history – in 35 countries on five continents, including 20 new calls for a Silversea World Cruise and 11 overnights.

Designed by Silversea’s leading destination experts, the 149-day voyage will unlock the unique cultures, histories, and ideas of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans, connecting over 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offering longer in port than any other World Cruise. A series of bespoke events, offering exclusive access to tailor-made experiences in true Silversea style, will enhance the voyage for guests.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts debuts in Bahrain, the ‘Pearl of the Gulf’

Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s global luxury hotel brand, have announced the opening of Conrad Bahrain Financial Harbour, signifying the debut of the brand in Bahrain.

Situated in the state-of-the-art SAYACORP Tower, Conrad Bahrain Financial Harbour is in the heart of downtown Manama, just minutes away from key attractions and business venues such as Bahrain Financial Harbour, Bahrain World Trade Centre and The Avenues – Bahrain.

First Banyan Tree Resort and Residences announced for the Caribbean

Rockwell Island Development Group (RIDGE), alongside its owner and developer Rafael Reyes, announces Banyan Tree Bimini Resort & Residences, an unmatched private luxury destination, set to shape refined living in Bimini, Bahamas. RIDGE has amassed a world-class team for this endeavor in Bimini, including five-star, global hospitality brand, Banyan Tree, who is overseeing resort management and the rental program for private residences, world-renowned architectural practice Oppenheim Architecture, who is leading design efforts for the entire development, and OFFICIAL, who is responsible for marketing in the United States. Sales and construction have already begun, and the first five complete residences will be delivered in early 2025.

British Airways launches winter flights to Tromsø in Norway

British Airways will launch its first ever flight to Tromsø, Norway, this winter. Operating from 1 December 2024, Tromsø will become the airline’s most northernly destination globally and is available for customers to book now.

The Norwegian city is known as being one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis, thanks to its central position in the northern lights’ oval. With average winter temperatures ranging from 0°C to -5°C, the destination’s abundant snowfall also lends itself to winter activities including skiing, mountaineering and whale watching.

Mandarin Oriental to open urban oasis in the heart of Rome

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced the development of an exceptional luxury property in the centre of Rome, scheduled to open in 2026. This urban oasis will bring the Group’s Italian portfolio to five; complementing its existing properties in Milan and Lake Como, as well as the recent announcements of Cortina and Porto Cervo. Partner in the project is Merope Asset Management a prime Italian Real Estate investment and development company.

Mandarin Oriental, Rome will create a unique experience in the city, as the hotel will be housed in ten 19th-century villas, originally built as homes for prosperous Romans, surrounded by lush landscaped gardens. Guests and visitors will be able to stroll in the calm surroundings of this tranquil, private neighbourhood, while being only steps away from the city’s major attractions and archaeological sites.

The launch of The First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel in Dubai

Tribute Portfolio – part of Marriott Bonvoy’s growing collection of characterful, independent hotels – welcomes its first hotel in the Middle East with the launch of The First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel in Dubai. Offering the ultimate urban escape within the emerging Jumeriah Village Circle (JVC) neighbourhood, the hotel marries the bustling energy of city life with the tranquil allure of a beach retreat.

The First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle captures the essence of Dubai’s contemporary pulse and provides easy access to key landmarks and attractions including world-class sports venues and golf courses such as The Els Club and Jumeriah Golf Estates, which hosts the DP World Tour Championship. The JVC district community-centric design fosters a sense of belonging, with a wide range of amenities including parks, schools, and recreational facilities for residents and visitors alike.

Michelin Guide lands in Los Cabos, Mexico

The Michelin Guide has now arrived in Mexico for the first time ever. Leading the way for sustainability, Los Cabos has been recognised by the MICHELIN Guide with two Green Stars and 1 Michelin star, further cementing its reputation for standout, produce-led, farm-to-table dining. This marks a major step forward for the destination, to be recognised on this global platform as a gastronomical hot spot and a must for environment conscious food-lovers.

One MICHELIN Star has been awarded to Cocina de Autor, alongside two Green Stars at Flora’s Field Kitchen and Acre, plus 14 recommendations, following its launch in Mexico.

Atzaró Cape Town launches as a small luxury hotel

Atzaró Group, the leading international luxury hospitality brand born in Ibiza, is proud to announce the launch of Atzaró Cape Town as a small luxury hotel opening in June 2024. With an unparalleled location at the foot of Table Mountain and on the edge of the city, Atzaró Cape Town has spectacular far-reaching views, in harmony with nature and the city alive with culture.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Madison Downtown set to open

Embassy Suites by Hilton Madison Downtown, a 262-room hotel with all two-room suites, is set to open next month at 231 S. Pinckney St. The hotel is developed and built by Mortenson and managed by Raymond Management Company. Located, just steps away from the Monona Terrace, Lake Monona, Wisconsin State Capitol and numerous restaurants, the hotel also offers 2,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, as well as a 24-hour fitness center, an open-air atrium and is pet-friendly.

Hotels across Germany are filling up for UEFA Euro 2024

With the summer months fast approaching, sports fans are looking at the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship, which kicks off on Friday, 14 June. Set to take place across multiple locations in Germany, the annual football tournament is expected to affect hotel performance just as much as football fans across the continent. Utilizing Forward STAR data, the markets are already showing spikes in hotel bookings on and around the match dates.

Drones to remove garbage from Mount Everest

The Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality will test out “heavy lifter drones” to carry garbage down from Mount Everest, including bags of fecal matter that the municipality recently mandated climbers remove from the mountain. The work is a little controversial as using drones may hinder the livelihood of high altitude support staff who are hired by guides to bring rubbish down from the mountain.

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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. No real surprise about the Ritz-Carlton Reserve opening on the Red Sea. There’s a gap in the market for nature meets serenity in The Middle East.

    A lot of new openings in this round-up. Looking back, the pandemic now seems to have been a very small bump in the road for the luxury travel industry.

  2. Qatar named Airline of the Year.

    Is that even a story?

    Qatar, in my opinion, is definitely the best airline I use and have been for a long time.

  3. Although people make snide comments about the superrich’s mega yachts, it’s where a lot of the green development goes on. It’s what gives Sanlorenzo the R & D budget to push boundaries.

  4. Opening modern ryokans, making the experience more luxurious and more accessible, could be a stroke of genius by ATONA. They certainly seem committed to a big and long-term investment.

  5. How private is the Four Seasons Private Jet experience? That looks like a big jet in the background. And what sort of prices are we talking about?

  6. Plenty of evidence here that the luxury travel market continues to grow be it cruises, hotels or private jets.

    Investors are exhibiting bags of confidence in the industry’s future ability to grow capacity.

  7. Huge, brave step for the Banyan Tree heading into new territory.

    They’ve always impressed me when I’ve stayed with them in Asia. No reason why they shouldn’t do equally as well in the New World.

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