Phuket’s ‘Heaven of Heavens’ hideaway Paresa Resort was chosen as Best Relaxation & Spa Hotel by TripAdvisor® in its 2011 Travelers’ Choice® awards. Now in its ninth year, the annual TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards honor the world’s best hotels, earning their distinction from those who know them best – real travelers. Paresa has achieved this recognition in its first year of operation.
Unlike any other hotel awards programs in the world, TripAdvisor® Travelers' Choice® winners are based on the millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions about hotels on tripadvisor.com™ and content from across the web.
“With the help of millions of travelers around the globe, TripAdvisor is thrilled to recognize the world’s most outstanding hotels for the ninth year of the Travelers’ Choice Awards,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “From the best bargain hotels to best luxury hotels, remarkable service, value and quality are the hallmarks of our Travelers’ Choice winners.”
Dramatically situated on the stunning sculptured Kamala cliff tops overlooking the spectacular azure blue waters of the Andaman Sea, Paresa Resort embraces the exclusivity of its natural surroundings to create an oasis of tranquility, luxury and relaxation. “This award from actual travelers and guests of Paresa is fantastic recognition for our resort and our team” explains Scot Toon the resort’s General Manager.
A short 30?minutes from Phuket International Airport and situated at Kamala’s most sought after address, “Millionaires Mile”, Paresa is a secluded retreat offering unrivalled indulgence and relaxation. Paresa is also within easy access of picturesque, Kamala village.
Comprising 49 luxurious and elegantly appointed guest suites and villas each offering uninterrupted 270° views across the Andaman Sea, Paresa’s accommodations reflect a newfound respect for the environment and nature as reflected in traditional designs elements combined with the use of natural timbers and materials, while the preservation of magnificent large Banyan trees across the property further confirms the overall beauty and history of the pristine natural surroundings.
All rooms at Paresa feature super king size beds dressed in white linens, feather pillows and duvets, while private exterior verandahs are made all the more enticing and relaxing with daybeds or sun lounges. For those desiring contact with the outside world, WiFi internet access is provided, while the In Villa Bar, espresso machine, LCD TV, DVD player, iPod and sound station cater to every mood and desired form of entertainment.
To visit Paresa, go to www.paresaresorts.com
Thailand’s premier marine expo, the 2011 Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX), was a record-breanking success, surpassing all previous records for both visitors and sales.
The four-day event staged at the exclusive Royal Phuket Marina from January 6 to 9, 2011 attracted an estimated attendance of over 5,500.
Crowds flocked to admire almost 50 super boats from all over the world – with 25 per cent more exhibitors than last year.
Visitors descended from all across the region including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand – and from as far afield as Europe, with Russian interest exceptionally high.
Ranging in size from 30 to 87 feet, the latest super boat designs were together worth more than US$100 million.
With exhibitors extending to marine products, luxury cars and high-end real estate priced up to US$10 million, a record 86 companies were showcased.
“Over US$17 million of sales were negotiated at the event with approximately THB510 million more in the post-PIMEX sales,” said PIMEX Show Director Andy Dowden.
PIMEX 2011 was officially opened by Vice Governor of Phuket, Khun Somkiat Sangkaosuttirat.
"It was encouraging to see so many sales.” said Mr Dowden. “Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the feeling of exhibitors, buoyant and upbeat.”
A novel attraction at this year’s show was Jaguar showcasing its latest XJ marque on a floating pontoon in the centre of the marina.
Also attracting admirers was the arrival of Royal Phuket Marina owner Gulu Lalvani’s stunning new 'Mangusta 72'. His latest purchase is the fastest and most luxurious boat in Phuket. Capable of 45 knots, it can speed to Phi Phi in just 30 minutes, James Bond Island in 15 minutes and Langkawi in around two hours.
Boat sales included a Monterey 298SS Super Sport, sold by Derani Yachts and a 33ft Fountain powerboat private sale, hotly followed by a 57foot Jeanneau by Lee Marine.
Brisk activity in the Exhibition Hall also underlined the expo’s status as a premier Asian showcase for the marine business.
Marine services companies reported transactions for marine accessories, jet skis, kayaks and more.
Exhibiting in the water for the first time, SEAT Boat showcased the latest SeaRay and Thai-built designs. Managing Director Ruangrat Benjarit said: “PIMEX is a great place for marine business and networking. The quality of visitors was very high and we had lots of enquiries."
Ferretti Group underscored their focus on the Asia market with the launch of the Riva brand at PIMEX. "The show was good for us. We had a lot of interest,” said Riva Brand Manager, Paola Procopio.
First-time exhibitor Prout International's Managing Director Matthew Steinert said: "We had a lot of interest and have some keen potential customers."
"The high number of visitors and good sales volume indicate strong growth in the regional marine industry as PIMEX reinforces Phuket's position as the marine hub of Asia," added Mr Dowden.
PIMEX 2011 was in its 8th year. Entry was free. For more information, visit www.phuketboatshow.com
As the merger of British Airways and Iberia goes live this week, we reflect on a year with British Airways at the forefront of aviation history
This week saw the inauguration of International Airlines Group (IAG), the company formed by the merger of British Airways and Iberia, with Willie Walsh officially taking his place as the CEO of the new organisation. This marks the end of a remarkable 12 months for British Airways, with some unprecedented developments, putting British Airways yet again at the forefront of the aviation industry. Here British Airways looks back at the top ten landmark moments of last year leading up to one of the largest and most anticipated airline mergers in history.
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, said: “IAG has a great future ahead of it. The first two airlines in the group, British Airways and Iberia, will retain their strong brands and have complementary networks that operate from two of the biggest hubs in Europe. The merger will lead to annual synergies of €400 million from year five and benefit IAG shareholders and British Airways’ and Iberia’s customers and staff. British Airways and Iberia are the first two airlines in IAG but they won’t be the last. Our goal is for more airlines – but, importantly, the right airlines – to join the group. Today is the first step towards creating a multinational multi-brand airline group.”
1. IAG: a new company is born
This week, the merger of British Airways and Iberia was officially completed, as International Airlines Group (IAG) officially became listed on the London Stock Exchange and Willie Walsh was installed as Chief Executive Officer. Both airlines will continue to operate under their existing brand names and the new company will carry over 62 million passengers a year to over 250 destinations. By combining British Airways’ extensive network to North America and Asia with Iberia’s to Latin America, customers will have considerably more choice of destinations and frequencies. The new company’s headquarters will be in London, with board meetings taking place in Madrid.
2. Airline alliances – British Airways and Iberia form Joint Business Agreement with American Airlines
In addition to the merger, last year British Airways and Iberia received approval from the European Union and the US Department of Transportation to form a transatlantic joint business agreement with American Airlines, providing customers with greater access to a global network of more than 500 destinations, discounted fares and more convenient connections. The joint business also gives greater rewards to frequent flyers who will be able to “earn and burn” miles on both British Airways, Iberia and American flights across the Atlantic.
The joint business will enable the airlines to launch new routes that would not have been economically viable for a single airline and a new route from Heathrow to San Diego which is due to launch on 1 June 2011.
3. British Airways launches New First
British Airways’ new First cabin took off in February 2010, following a £100 million investment by the airline in its flagship brand. Drawing on British Airways’ rich heritage, the new cabin offers an exclusive experience based on classic design and understated luxury, with features including a 60 percent wider bed at the shoulders, a 15” in-flight entertainment screen, a personal wardrobe and Anya Hindmarch washbag with amenities by D.R. Harris & Co. and REN.
The design of the new cabin was inspired by premium British brands and was made more contemporary to create an intimate private jet experience onboard. At the heart of its Quink blue and cream design is an enhanced bed – wider with a new “intelligent” mattress and the finest 400-thread Egyptian cotton bed linen.
The roll out of the new British Airways’ First Class cabin continues and will be completed in 2012.
4. New state-of-the-art product across all classes in the Boeing 777-300ER
British Airways this year became the first U.K. airline to take delivery of the long range Boeing 777-300ER, which is longer, quieter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessors and showcases the future face of British Airways. Kitted out with the all-new First, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins, which were also launched this year, the 297-seat aircraft offers a four-class configuration which also includes Club World. The introduction of the new aircraft reinforces British Airways’ commitment to delivering on its promise to offer the best travel experience to its customers and reduce its carbon footprint. The new World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins now feature new in-flight entertainment systems providing customers with 50 percent more choices on movies and doubling the range of TV and music options.
5. British Airways Goes Private
This was also the year that British Airways launched a new private jet service – Private Connect – exclusively for British Airways customers flying within North America and the Caribbean.
The “PrivateConnect” service gives customers “pay-by-the-trip” access to a network of private aircraft operated by CitationAir and its parent, the Cessna Aircraft Company.
An on-line registration and dedicated phone number allows British Airways customers to simply “pay and go” with a credit card, avoiding the long-term commitment and up-front fees normally associated with private jet hire.
6. A Flying Start with British Airways and Comic Relief
In June, British Airways launched “Flying Start”, a new global charity partnership with Comic Relief, with a pledge to raise up to £8 million by 2013 for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the U.K. and around the world. Comic Relief is a UK wide charity, which aims to create a just world, free from poverty. It is perhaps best known for two major fundraising campaigns that take place in alternate years – Red Nose Day and Sport Relief. Last year, British Airways gave over £5 million to charitable causes, through customer and other donations.
7. Leading the way in carbon emissions reduction
This year, two major announcements by British Airways showed the airline is one of the leading forces globally in terms of minimising the environmental impact of the aviation industry.
In February, British Airways, in partnership with the Solena Group, unveiled plans to establish Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant, with the aim of using the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet from 2014.
The new fuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility that can convert a variety of waste materials, destined for landfill, into aviation fuel.
The self-contained plant will be sited in east London, and will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel through a process that offers lifecycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 95 percent compared to fossil-fuel derived jet kerosene. This volume of fuel would be more than twice the amount required to make all of British Airways’ flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral.
In addition, British Airways, along with other powerhouses of the aviation industry including Airbus, IATA and Gatwick Airport, announced their backing of a pioneering project by Cranfield University to look at harvesting algae to produce jet fuel in commercial quantities.
The consortium, called the Sustainable Use of Renewable Fuels (SURF) will address all major considerations for the successful use of fuels from a renewable source like microalgae. The University already has a pilot facility on campus which is growing and processing algae for bio-fuels but the eventual aim is for Sea Green to be an ocean-based facility for the sustainable production of commercial quantities of biomass for biofuels.
8. New Phone App launched with Mobile Boarding Pass
In July this year, British Airways launched a new mobile application that allows customers to save time by checking-in on their smartphones. In an exciting new development for customers, Executive Club iPhone users were exclusively able to use the new App to display new Mobile Boarding Passes on their phones, which can be scanned at check-in to speed up and enhance the boarding process. This facility has now rolled out to include Blackberry and Android-operated mobile smartphones.
The App’s easy-to-use and stylish new interface, also gives customers instant access to their Executive Club details and updates on flights. The new App ensures customers have even greater functionality and have access to real flight information about their upcoming bookings, full integration with their Executive Club details, and easily and smoothly guides customers through each stage of their flight process.
9. Kingfisher Codeshare
Following Kingfisher Airlines’ inception in to the oneworld alliance earlier in the year, British Airways announced it was to start code-sharing with Kingfisher Airlines, in a move that represents British Airways’ first code-share partnership with has an Indian airline. British Airways’ code has now been placed on 11 domestic Indian routes and one route to Sri Lanka operated by Kingfisher Airlines while Kingfisher Airlines’ code was placed on nine British Airways’ routes from Heathrow to the U.K. regions and continental Europe. The airlines’ customers can now book their whole journey on each other’s websites, earn frequent flyer points on the code-share routes and gain access to each other’s airport lounges. Back then, British Airways Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, said: “India remains one of our most important longhaul destinations. The code-share with Kingfisher Airlines will give our customers easier access to Indian domestic routes and Sri Lanka flying on a young, dynamic, high quality airline.”
10. Flagship airport Heathrow Terminal 5 Welcomes Its 50 Millionth Customer
British Airways’ Heathrow hub passed a landmark moment as Terminal 5 welcomed the 50 millionth customer through its doors during the busy summer season, in its third year of operation.
Since opening in March 2008, Terminal 5 has become an acclaimed facility by travellers around the world – and is looking forward to the launch of further improvements.
Heathrow is the world’s busiest airport and Terminal 5’s efficiency and levels of customer service have helped to raise punctuality to record levels. As measured by industry standards, British Airways has improved its punctuality at Heathrow from an average of around 50 percent of on time departures each month when it was split located in Terminal 1 and 4, to an average of around 80 percent since moving to Terminal 5. Many days the airline can achieve 90 percent of on time departures at Terminal 5.
In addition, thanks to Terminal 5, British Airways now has the best baggage performance of any major European hub based carrier and overall levels of punctuality and baggage operations will improve even further when a new £300 million third part of the terminal campus, known as T5 C, opens for customers later this year.
Air Transport World (ATW), the global airline industry’s leading monthly magazine, today announced that Turkish Airlines is the winner of the “Market Leadership Award 2011”.
ATW’s “Market Leadership Award” is closely followed by the industry and regarded as a highly prestigious recognition. Turkish Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Dr. Temel Kotil will be accepting the award at ATW’s Gala Dinner on the evening of February 8, 2011 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.
In selecting Turkish Airlines for this award, ATW Editorial Director Perry Flint focused on Turkish Airlines’ competitive strengths in achieving both sustained rapid growth and strong profitability during a very challenging period for the airline industry in 2010. Flint noted that Turkish Airlines is the fastest growing airline in Europe and that its traffic and revenue performance in 2010 has far outpaced the airline industry as a whole. The jury committee was impressed with Turkish Airlines' swift development into a network carrier, noting that the number of transfer passengers has risen significantly since 2005.
Dr. Kotil indicated that being selected for this prestigious award is a great honor and motivation for Turkish Airlines, stating, “This award encourages us for achieving even greater accomplishments, and is a testament to the success of Turkish Airlines’ growth strategy.” He stressed that Turkish Airlines is starting to be seen as a role model for managing a sustainable and profitable growth strategy.
Further information about ATW’s Gala Awards and the award winners will be available in the upcoming issue of ATW.
www.turkishairlines.com for more information.
Youngsters treated to ice-skating and movies in community outreach by Mercedes-Benz Arena
Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena (MBA) is celebrating the holiday season with a special treat for the city’s underprivileged children. Migrant school students and their teachers in Pudong are being invited to see Shanghai premiere of Walking with Dinosaurs.
In support of the local community, 110 students and their teachers from Da Bie Shan Primary school, located on Pulin Road, South-west to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Pudong, Shanghai are being invited to visit the new world class venue for international concerts, sports events and spectacular shows.
The school is named after Dabie Mountains, a major mountain range located in central China that marks the boundary between Hubei, Henan and Anhui provinces.
Big Bus Consultant Co. Ltd. is sponsoring two double-deck buses to transport the kids to the new 365 day-a-year lifestyle destination, where they are being treated to a free ice-skating class at the largest indoor ice-skating rink in Shanghai and seats to latest Chronicles of Narnia epic, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, at the venue’s new Shanghai Film Art Centre Expo Cinema City. They also receive free meals from restaurants inside of the Arena during their visit.
Their visit coincides with the opening of the smash international hit for all the family, Walking with Dinosaurs, staged from January 19-23.
A spectacular calendar of major events continues throughout 2011 at the giant 18,000-seat performance venue.
Among a galaxy of superstars and international events soon to be announced are The Eagles and Usher.
The Mercedes-Benz Arena is Mercedes-Benz’s first sponsored entertainment venue outside Germany. It has immediately established itself as Shanghai’s equivalent to such landmark international stages as London’s O2 and Los Angeles Staples Center.
Since beginning its new era, the venue has hosted the dramatic comeback tour of ‘Queen of Mandopop’ Faye Wong and concerts by pop diva Elva Hsiao, Canto-pop sensation Jacky Cheung, Chinese rock stars Xu Wei and Cui Jian, opera legend Jose Carreras and, most recently, legendary Hong Kong star Alan Tam.
Access to the Mercedes-Benz Arena is now dramatically improved with the opening of nine roads within Expo site to private cars, taxis and public transport – bringing the dynamic and fashionable experience even closer to the people of Shanghai.
For more information, please visit the official website of the Mercedes-Benz Arena at www.mercedes-benzarena.com.
Bintan Lagoon Resort & Golf Club is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings, making it the first resort in Southeast Asia to earn this prestigious certification by the US Green Building Council.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most sought after green building certification system in the world. "We are ecstatic to be the first golf resort in Southeast Asia to become LEED Certified," said Moe Ibrahim, Bintan Lagoon Resort & Golf Club's President Director. The certification process, which took approximately 18 months, was made possible by the establishment of a dedicated Green Team at the resort.
"It feels good to go green, literally" said Mr. Ibrahim. "Most people are unaware of the dangers they face when it comes to substandard cleaning supplies and pesticides. By going green, we have taken measures to positively impact the personal health of our guests. We've also managed to save money in the process."
As an integrated resort within the natural settings of Bintan island, Bintan Lagoon Resort felt going green was a necessity to maintaining its brand promise to its guests. The resort has invested wisely to establish an independent power plant, water treatment facility, and has installed a state-of-the-art building automation system to meticulously carry out the resort's new, environmentally conscious operational policies.
"Going green does not need to be an expensive exercise," explains Mr. Ibrahim. "Via the creativity of our team, we have managed to reduce water consumption by 15% and electricity consumption by a staggering 40%. Our investment will pay for itself many times over in the coming years."
Bintan Lagoon Resort has also added a significant number of bikes around the property so that guests can get around without leaving behind a carbon footprint.
"We have a responsibility to preserve the planet," says Mr. Ibrahim, "so that the natural, unspoiled beauty of Bintan can continue for many generations to come."
About Bintan Lagoon Resort & Golf Club
Bintan Lagoon Resort & Golf Club is a 473-room, 36-hole golf resort located just 55 minutes from Singapore on the beautiful island of Bintan, Indonesia. The beachfront resort overlooks the magnificent South China Sea, and is completely integrated with 11 food and beverage outlets, spa facilities, meeting and banquet facilities, and over 50 land and sea activities for guests. The resort has won numerous awards for its spectacular golf courses.
Spread over 750-acres of pristine beach and natural jungle, Bintan Lagoon Resort caters to both the intimate needs of a romantic couples getaway as well as the professional service expected at large group functions.
Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Agnes Water, 1770, Whitsundays, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are accessible and tourism operations are normal.
All Queensland airports with the exception of Rockhampton, are currently open and operating normally.
The Bruce Highway, the main road link from Brisbane to Cairns, is now open. Brisbane, the Darling Downs, Southern Downs and Granite Belt and Capricorn Coast are now recovering with most tourism operations open and affected tourism operations returning to normal as quickly as possible. There are however still some local road closures in some areas. Visit http://131940.qld.gov.au/ for the latest road conditions.
Parts of Central Queensland, Queensland's Outback, Western Downs and the Lockyer Valley continue to be affected and access to these areas is restricted.
Please contact your travel agent, accommodation, attraction or tour provider directly for latest conditions or with concerns about any current or upcoming bookings you may have.
For the latest travel information visit www.queenslandholidays.com.au For the latest conditions Tourism Queensland recommends visiting the Queensland Government's official Queensland floods webpage: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/ or visit the Bureau of Meteorology http://www.bom.gov.au/ to check weather forecasts for your holiday destination. Visit http://131940.qld.gov.au/ for the latest road conditions.
How can you help?
You can help Queensland recover by taking a holiday in Queensland – in the areas that haven't been affected by floodwaters, and in the affected areas once they are up and running again.
If you already have a Queensland holiday booked – don't cancel as most tourism regions and operations are now up and running.
If you don't have a Queensland holiday booked, book one!
Queensland's tourism industry has the welcome mat rolled out ready to receive visitors, so come see us!
People wishing to directly help flood victims can donate to the Queensland Government Flood Assistance Appeal at www.qld.gov.au/floods
What damage will the floods have on the Great Barrier Reef?
• There have been recent media reports concerning possible damage to Great Barrier Reef as a result of floodwaters transferring from the river systems into the oceans around Central Queensland.
• Tourism Queensland is not a scientific expert qualified to speak on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, however our understanding is that the effects of the flood waters on reef systems is currently unknown. However, fresh water runoffs are a natural part of the ecosystem and some plant and marine life actually thrive in these situations.
• The Great Barrier Reef is 2300km along with thousands of reefs, coral cays and islands. The vast majority of these are likely to remain unaffected.
• Currently tourism operations along the Great Barrier Reef including the Southern Great Barrier Reef,Whitsundays, Townsville and Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are operating normally, including dive operators, sailing operators and daytrip operators.
• Anyone concerned about a Great Barrier Reef booking an individual operator, should check with the accommodation provider, tour operator or attraction for the latest conditions.
• Refer to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for further information.
Fueled and strongly positioned for rapid growth in the next four years
The Philippines’ largest national flag carrier, Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) reached a milestone today when it flew its 50 millionth passenger from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (Manila) to Beijing, China.
CEB first flew daily flights from Manila to Cebu and Iloilo utilising four aircrafts in March 1996. It began operating as a full fledged low-cost carrier (LCC) in 2005.
“As the first low-fare airline in Asia, Cebu Pacific Air considers this a major achievement. Since 1996, we have grown to become the Philippines’ number one airline, offering the most number of flights and operating the most extensive route network in the Philippines, and flying to the most ASEAN destinations,” said CEB President and CEO Lance Gokongwei.
“What we achieved in 14 years, we plan to achieve by 2015. That is, we will fly 50 million more passengers in four years,” he added.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III together with Gokongwei awarded the 50 millionth passenger a one-year unlimited travel pass to any of Cebu Pacific Air’s international or domestic destination.
“The launch of our Beijing flights last September strengthened our operations in Greater China, contributing to the 37% growth in CEB’s international operations in the first nine months of 2010. With the expected delivery of more brand-new aircrafts, we are in a great position to expand in Asia,” Gokongwei said.
CEB recently made history when it raised PhP23.3 billion (equivalent to US$539 million) in an initial public offering, which was the largest ever initial public offering made by an LCC globally. The proceeds, among other things, are being used for aircraft acquisition.
The airline will take delivery of an additional five new Airbus A320s this year. It will end 2011 with a fleet of 37 aircrafts. Furthermore, 16 more Airbus A320 aircrafts will be delivered from 2012 to 2014.
“Cebu Pacific Air’s trademark low fares and innovative products, coupled with warm and genuine Filipino service, will continue to stimulate travel and tourism within the Philippines and beyond. The lowest fare from Beijing to Manila starts from RMB788,” he concluded.
CEB was the first airline to offer discounts to guests with no check-in luggage, passing on fuel savings to its passengers. It also gained popularity world-wide when its flight attendants danced the safety demonstration to embody its culture of fun.
The Philippines’ low fare leader, CEB operates services to 16 international destinations, namely: Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei. It also flies to 33 domestic destinations from its four operational hubs in Manila, Clark, Cebu and Dav
Worldhotel The Rilano Munich, Worldhotel The Rilano Hamburg and Worldhotel Saltanat Almaty to open in January 2011
Worldhotels, the leading group for independent hotels, is proud to present its first branded hotels in Germany and Kazakhstan: Worldhotel The Rilano Munich, Worldhotel The Rilano Hamburg and Worldhotel Saltanat Almaty.
To be launched in January 2011, they will be the first of the group’s 450 hotels to display the Worldhotels brand prominently in the hotel name, exterior signage and at various points of the property.
“Our first three branded hotels perfectly represent everything Worldhotels stands for”, says Robert Hornman, Managing Director of the group. “They boast excellent facilities for leisure and business guests to work, sleep, dine and unwind, whilst at the same time featuring a great location and a unique style and atmosphere.”
The new branding solution of Worldhotels was introduced in September as an ideal alternative to standard franchise contracts. For a competitive all-inclusive annual fee, independent hotels competing against global chains can now brand themselves as a Worldhotel and benefit from the impact, support and strong return on investment of a global brand while still maintaining their unique identity. By 2013, the group plans to have added 50 branded hotels.
“Our focus is on guest experience and quality, not on standardising hardware”, says Robert Hornman. “Our hotels offer premium facilities for discerning business and leisure travellers as well as a unique ambience and design. We believe that high standards don’t have to mean high standardisation.”
Worldhotel The Rilano Munich is located in the popular district of Schwabing, just 10 minutes from the city centre and close to the Allianz Arena, the Olympic area and the BMW World. With 700m2 of conference facilities, it is ideal for meetings and events. The four star superior hotel features 150 fashionably furnished rooms, all with flat screen TVs and ergonomic work stations. Guests will enjoy sleeping in specially designed Rilano beds which were developed together with the leading German manufacturer Mühldorfer and boast high-quality mattresses, duvets and an exquisite selection of pillows. Culinary highlights are the bar Coffee Fellows, the Restaurant mamma minuti as well as the modern Jazz restaurant where guests can study the menu and place their orders with stylish iPads and a specially created Rilano App.
Spread over six floors with 170 rooms, Worldhotel The Rilano Hamburg is situated in the Finkenwerder disctrict, beside the river Elbe. All rooms of the hotel are decorated in natural colours such as beige, soft vanilla and woody dark brown and offer amazing views of the river. Guests can enjoy the sauna and fitness area with solarium free of charge. In addition, the hotel offers five modern conference rooms with air-conditioning and state-of-the-art technology. The popular Fusion Bar serves exotic cocktails and a wide selection of wines. Another highlight is the excellent restaurant River View with a summer terrace boasting spectacular views of the luxury cruise liners and impressive container ships passing by on the Elbe.
The new four star Worldhotel Saltanat Almaty is scheduled to open in January and is located in the historical heart of Almaty, Kazakhstan, within walking distance of famous sights such as the Republic Square, Central State Museum and Presidential Palace, and just three kilometres from the main train station and 15 kilometres from the airport. The building has been completely renovated and features 60 modern rooms, all of which are decorated in warm colours and fresh design elements and offer panoramic windows, air conditioning, free wireless Internet and in-room print, scan and copy amenities. Additional facilities include a restaurant with summer terrace, lobby bar and fitness centre complete with state-of-the-art cardio and muscle exercise equipment.
Jandos Kumekbayev, General Manager of the Worldhotel Saltanat Almaty, says: “We are very proud to be among the first branded hotels of Worldhotels and we are looking forward to benefiting from the wide range of sales, marketing, e-commerce and technology assets that the group has to offer.”
Holger Behrens, Director of Rilano Hotels & Resorts adds: “We are excited to become part of the global Worldhotels portfolio with two branded hotels. We will benefit from the international exposure of our hotel and our guests will enjoy the same incentives that the large chains offer, for example frequent flyer miles from 18 airline programmes, which will give our hotel an additional competitive edge.”
Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. Captured the Best Seat Design Award for SWISS First as announced today by Global Traveler magazine in its seventh consecutive year of the GT Tested Reader Survey drawing from more than 25,000 frequent and luxury travelers worldwide.
"We're delighted to be there of course. To earn this award for the second year running is not just an honor and a reward for our continuous investments in our First Class product; it's an incentive to maintain these endeavors, too," said Markus Binkert, SWISS Managing Director of Product and Services. "Our First Class is a cornerstone of the SWISS product range. Needless to say, it's also an area in which we attach paramount importance to offering top-quality service – as one would expect from a Swiss-based airline. The feedback we receive from our US customers is especially vital to us here: after all, North America is our most important market outside Europe," Binkert said.
The Global Traveler survey is an open-ended survey of its readers done to determine the best in 62 travel-related categories. The survey was conducted from January 1, 2010 to August 31, 2010. "The success of the GT Tested Reader Survey has been staggering," said Francis X. Gallagher, publisher and CEO of Global Traveler. "Each year, more and more responses are received. Our readers certainly value the airlines, hotels and products they honor year after year," said Gallagher.
In 2009, SWISS first introduced the new First Class cabin in conjunction with its fleet renewal program. The new SWISS First seat offers an exclusive design, superb comfort, and extensive privacy. The seat can be reclined at the touch of a button into a totally lie-flat bed that is more than six feet long. It is also equipped with a down-filled duvet, and incorporates an innovative pneumatic air cushion that can be adjusted to individual preferences in any seating position. Further extras include a 23-inch (currently the world's biggest) inflight entertainment screen, and generous work surfaces and storage facilities.
Spacious surroundings and adjustable sidewalls contribute to passenger privacy, while sophisticated lighting and the contemporary-yet-warm SWISS design combine to create a pleasant sense of space. There is also an ottoman that can be used as a guest seat, complete with backrest and armrests, enabling the First Class passenger to dine or work with a fellow traveler at a generously-proportioned table.
New for 2011 will be further improvements to the SWISS premium cabin. "We'll be unveiling further First Class product and service enhancements as well as having a SWISS First cabin aboard every single aircraft of our long-haul fleet," Binkert said.