Luxury Hotels

Prime Air – Rotterdam – Maldives – London – Virtuoso – SixSenses

How refreshing to hear of a new airline at a time when anything that flies, and is not part of nature, is in danger of being grounded. But there are two exceptions.  One is El Al, which has already initiated the Tel Aviv-Abu Dhabi route (the outbound flight was LY971, in honour of the telephone dialling code for UAE, and the return flight was LY972, for the same reason). The other airborne story of note is Amazon Prime Air. Yes, that is right: Amazon’s planned drone delivery service was designated two days ago, by the Federal Aviation Administration FAA of the USA, as an ‘air carrier’.

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Girlahead says the Netherlands is more than Amsterdam.  Rotterdam, for instance, is a mere 32 minutes away by InterCity or Thalys train, and, once there, you have Unilever headquarters, canals and charming streets but a shortage of luxury hotels – on TripAdvisor, the three properties listed are headed by Hotel Mainport, at £110 a night, 23% more expensive than either Hilton Rotterdam or Marriott Rotterdam. You do find masses of culture, and we love the idea of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s new art exhibition, a partnership with Rotterdam Ahoy. You can only visit the exhibition by electric car (rent one on-site) – it is housed in a vast dark space the size of two football pitches. You drive to each of the 40 artworks, with sound being used to bridge the windscreen-shaped gap between you and the exhibit.

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Tempted for some Maldivian magic? See the image, above, from COMO Cocoa Island. The 33-villa beauty, which re-opened January 2020 after a renovation by Singapore-based Lekker Architects, has opened its doors yet again.  Girlahead always found this Makunufushi resort, in South Male Atoll, an ideal spot for airy relaxation – a perfect ambience for reading the next Solzenitzen tome.  GM is Oscar Perez.

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Talking of hotel bosses, Franck Arnold is moving from Ritz-Carlton Toronto to The Savoy, in London.  No, that icon of the capital is sadly not yet re-open but you can see behind-the-scenes stories to whet the luxury appetite on a forthcoming five-part series on ITV. Set to start screening in the third week of this month, the series has been produced by one of the hotel’s own celebrity culinarians, Gordon Ramsay.

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Sustainability was the focus of Virtuoso’s Under One Sky, part of the virtual Virtuoso Travel Week VTW. Under One Sky, hosted by Virtuoso Vice Chairman and Sustainability Strategist Jessica Hall Upchurch, underscored Virtuoso’s dedication to making sustainability a greater factor in consumer choice. The pandemic has led to a tipping point where travellers’ heightened level of awareness makes sustainability not just good practice but good business. The panel was sponsored by andBeyond and the Monaco Government Tourist Office.

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Six Senses has signed the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the UN Environment Programme and UN World Tourism Organization UNWTO, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites more than 450 businesses, governments, and other organisations to address plastic waste and pollution at source.

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Only one more day to wait – this week’s MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST features Tony Mallows, President and CEO of global master planner WATG. If you want to sign up, now, for a regular weekly email that will give you a direct click-through to the current podcast, send an email to yaro@almontglobal.com