Private Jet Travel Rockets In Response to Coronavirus Crisis

Aman Private Jet Interior
Aman Private Jet Interior

Passengers are willing to pay well above standard rates (around USD $5,000 for an hour on a six to eight-passenger light jet) to evacuate areas and get around travel bans during  the COVID-19 crisis

The private aviation industry might just be one of the few in the world to actually benefit from the madness of COVID-19. According to various media outlets including Business Insider, VICE and Slate, private aircraft businesses are booming, with demand from the super wealthy rocketing as a result of the commercial airline restrictions, border closures and Coronavirus fears now in place around the world.

Justin Crabbe, CEO of private jet charter company Jettly – which has headquarters in New York and Toronto and access to over 23000 private jets around the world – told Business Insider’s Melissa Wiley earlier this month that he has tripled the company’s flight support staff in response to surging demand. Thousands of requests came through “within hours” from elite travellers willing to pay thousands of dollars to arrange last-minute travel and emergency evacuations from countries affected by COVID-19, he told Wiley. “In short, we are booming…I’ve never seen so much activity in our evacuation flight department.”

“This time of year we typically see 2,000 to 3,000 flights requested each day, but we have doubled that for almost every news release of a major outbreak in the past weeks getting people out of the affected areas,” Crabbe said.

Crabbe added that Jettly customers, both individual and corporate, are willing to pay well above standard rates (which sit at around USD $5,000 for an hour on a six to eight-passenger light jet)  to evacuate areas within 24-48 hours instead of waiting a few days. “We have seen dozens of bookings that are two to three times the regular rate for the flight due to the increased demand and the shortage of available aircraft and crews in the area,” Crabbe said. “Many aircrafts are having to fly in to pick up customers and evacuate them. All of that additional flight time comes with additional cost.”

The 24-hour Coronavirus news cycle has fuelled the demand, Crabbe said, with media reports of travel bans, city quarantines, evacuations, and new cases “driv[ing] the public to become extremely fearful and prefer to stay away from commercial airport terminals and commercial aircraft cabins due to the increased levels of exposure,” he said.

Even now, with various countries’ travel bans in place, private jets can bypass these bans thanks to loopholes: private jet passengers aren’t subject to commercial security and health screenings because they fly out of smaller terminals, he told Wiley.

London-based Private Fly is another private jet company seeing a spike in business. CEO Adam Twiddel told Wiley that his company had seen an increase in requests for short-notice charters, ranging from the transport of medical teams to new clients wishing to avoid virus exposure that a commercial flight might bring.

“Recent inquiries have included transport of a decontamination team within Asia, and flights from Hong Kong for a family travelling to Bali. They normally fly by commercial airline but on this occasion, are concerned about exposure on the flight,” Twidell told Business Insider.

On 11th March CNN Travel reported that Swiss private jet broker Luna Jets had also seen an “impressive increase” in bookings and enquiries from passengers in recent weeks, correlating with heightened concerns surrounding COVID-19. “In February, about 15% of overall requests were related to coronavirus,” Alain Leboursier, director of sales told CNN. “That’s now doubled to 30%.”

For Southern Jet, a private jet charter company in the United States, requests and demands had increased tenfold from late February. “The demand is basically coming to us. We might get five, 10 requests a day. And the request lines are just crazy right now. We’re booking out to where we don’t have any airplanes available,” owner Jerod Davis told Slate.

“We’re seeing people that never flew private before flying private.”

Daniel Hirschhorn, from USA-based Luxury Aircraft Solutions, which brokers travel between private airlines and flyers, echoed Davis’ comments in an article published by VICE on 16th March: “In the past 24 hours [demand] has really spiked. A lot of people that don’t normally fly private but have the means to do it, and would generally hop on a commercial flight, are very apprehensive to do that. So we’re getting flooded with requests,” he said.

However Hirschhorn also said that cancellations had also spiked for the company: “For people that booked non-essential trips with family, or took elective work trips, pretty much everything we had on the books has cancelled,” Hirschhorn said. “We’re negotiating on their behalf to get as much money back as possible. So we have both ends of this. It’s good for business and it’s bad for business.”

Crabbe agreed: “Even now, while we’re seeing short-term additional demand, other clients are changing or cancelling their travel plans,” he told Business Insider.

From Montenegro to The Hamptons: 5 Luxurious Hotels to Start Dreaming About

Villa Geba, Montenegro, Small Luxury Hotels

From an intimate adults-only bolthole in Barcelona to a sustainable Sicilian farmhouse and an eco-friendly hideaway in Cambodia, Small Luxury Hotels adds more hot properties to its ranks

Small Luxury Hotels of the World has added another round of luxurious properties to its growing portfolio. Hand-picking luxury hotels and boutique properties from across the globe, the company’s current collection includes everything from a boutique resort nestled on the edges of Erhai Lake in China, to an elegant hotel on eight acres near where Pablo Picasso once called home. And now, they’ve announced a further five additions, including two properties in new destinations for the brand – Montenegro and the Hamptons.


Angkor Village Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Located in the heart of Siem Reap just minutes from historic Angkor Wat, the Angkor Village Hotel is a collection of Khmer houses set amongst lush tropical gardens, made with carefully selected local materials sourced from the community. The hotel’s eco-conscious ethos comes from reducing energy consumption with efficient devices and movement sensors, all the way to reducing single use plastics throughout their room amenities.

Guests can eat dinner by torchlight in L’Auberge des Temples – a ‘floating’ pavilion surrounded by lotus-laden pools – which serves delicious Khmer recipes made with locally sourced ingredients. Nearby, the onsite Apsara Theatre allows guests insight into traditional Cambodian dances and Khmer culture.

The 42 rooms start from $233 AUD per night, including breakfast.

The Wittmore, Barcelona, Spain

Bringing a hint of New York sophistication to Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, The Wittmore has a speakeasy vibe with its plush, red velvet interiors, Bakelite telephones and adults-only, no-photography policy. The property exudes intimacy throughout from its baronial dining room decked with tartan motifs and a crackling fireplace and Sinatra and Dean Martin playing on repeat, all the way up to a rooftop sun deck with yellow-and-white striped loungers, a plunge pool and panoramic views of the city.

In keeping with the members’ club vibe, The Witty restaurant feels as if it’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film thanks to it’s bird-print wallpaper, dog-shaped salt and pepper shakers and an old-master-style oil painting of a fictional Lord Wittmore. You never quite know what you’ll find, particularly on a Thursday night when the restaurant is host to a range of musicians playing everything from jazz to Spanish pop.

The 22 rooms start from $685 AUD per night, including breakfast.

Villa Geba, Sveti Stafan, Montenegro

A secret hideaway overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Villa Geba offers privileged views of the Sveti Stefan peninsula, a former fishing village that has recently been named Montenegro’s most photographed site. Each of the hotel’s eight suites comes with its own private butler and is named after a different Greek goddess who was the inspiration behind its design. From the Moorish-themed Salma, to the blue monochrome Appolonia and the black-and-gold Elena, each is individual and tells a story.

Guests are invited to indulge their senses at the hotel’s Muse Restaurant & Bar, serving French cuisine prepared by Chef Olivia Méli, who trained under Joël Robuchon. Specialties include a seabass in salt crust and a lemon meringue pie with notes of lavender. Alternatively, the hotel can also organise a host of bespoke activities for guests including tea ceremonies with Montenegrin monks in a local monastery, dinner in a winery, or a gourmet lakeside picnic.

When it’s time to unwind, the infinity pool, suspended above the Montenegrin coastline and surrounded by ancient ruins is just the place.

The eight rooms start at $1,600 AUD, including breakfast.

Susafa, Sicily, Italy

A part of Northern Sicily’s bucolic landscape, Susafa is a family-run estate owned by the Saeli-Rizzuto family, which aims to introduce a new generation of guests to centuries-old rural life from cherry harvesting and Sicilian wine tasting, to ravioli and tortellini making.

Committed to working in tune with their natural environment, Susafa produces most of its own energy through solar panels and all their water is sourced from on-site wells.

Guests are encouraged to join walking tours of the bountiful gardens that grow the native fruits, vegetables and herbs used daily in the hotel’s restaurant. Using these ingredients, guests are also invited to take part in a Sicilian cooking class and learn how to make tomato sauce, or ‘caponata’, as well as ricotta cheese and cannoli.

The hotel is also home to olive groves they use to produce their own organic extra virgin olive oil, and wheat fields that go into their delicious focaccia bread and pizzas that are served daily, on site.

The 18 rooms start from $277 AUD per night, including breakfast.

Topping Rose House, The Hamptons, United States

Approximately 160 kilometers from New York City on the East End of Long Island, Topping Rose House is The Hamptons’ full-service, luxury hotel. It also happens to be conveniently within walking distance of Bridgehampton’s boutiques, art galleries and cafes, and for guests with an eye for art, the hotel’s personal collection includes pieces from Seattle artist Christopher Boffoli, and Scott Patt’s “Rabbit with Foot” ceramic sculpture.

The 75-seat restaurant is truly farm-to-table, featuring produce that has been grown on the property’s one-acre Topping Rose Farm and also honours the best ingredients from other local farmers and fishermen.

The Naturopathica Spa gives guests the chance to unwind with a host of herbal treatments such as Herbal Hydration Complex masks and anti-inflammatory massages. The staff are also on hand to organise bespoke activities for guests including private yoga sessions, cooking, wine or spirit demonstrations, guided hikes and bike rides, chartered fishing excursions and vineyard visit with wine tasting. Just say the word.

The 22 rooms start from $967 AUD per night, including breakfast.

What it’s Like Inside Air Canada’s New Vancouver Signature Suite

Air Canada Signature Suite Vancouver
Air Canada Signature Suite Vancouver

Air Canada’s Signature Suite concept arrives at Vancouver International Airport, offering a full-service restaurant with an à la carte menu by acclaimed Vancouver Chef David Hawksworth

Not everyone wants to sit down to their dinner at 1am, on a 15-hour flight across the Pacific – this I can attest to, having just made said flight from Vancouver to Sydney. In an ideal world, you would be able to enjoy an à la carte restaurant meal and a glass of wine at a time that suited you, prior to your flight’s departure, rather than eating according to the airline’s schedule. That’s the thinking behind Air Canada’s Signature Suites, located in Toronto International Airport, and now, at Vancouver International Airport.

“It’s meant to be a facility for ultra-premium customers to be able to dine on the ground,” says Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada at the launch of the Signature Suite in Vancouver on Saturday 14th March. “We have a lot of late night departures… and when you have a great product on board, a good lie-flat seat, customers want to get on and they want to go to sleep right away, but they don’t want to miss out on the meal. So you look at a traditional lounge product: yes you have food, but they’re not as elaborate, and as upscale as what we have on board the aircraft.”

This is where the Signature Suite fine dining offering comes in.

The Signature Suite is accessible by eligible Signature Class customers and features a complimentary, full-service restaurant offering an à la carte menu created by acclaimed Vancouver chef David Hawksworth, whose lauded establishment, Hawksworth Restaurant, is located in the historic and iconic Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The menu will change four times a year with the seasons, in keeping with chef Hawksworth’s culinary style.

In addition to the full menu, the Signature Suite offers a selection of upscale buffet options for those who don’t have time for a full dinner, a quiet sitting area, a private dining room and concierge service. From the full-service bar, guests can take their pick of top-shelf wines, various cocktails and even Moët & Chandon champagne (including the rosé variety, which is hard to come by in Canada).

But there’s a catch: just because you’re travelling Business Class, doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in for the Signature Suite. “When it comes to eligibility, we’re actually pretty strict,” explains Yiu. Those travelling on upgraded and point-redemption tickets will have to settle for the Maple Leaf Lounge for the pre-flight comforts, keeping the Signature Suite as an exclusive, VIP offering for customers that have purchased a Business Class international ticket to Asia, Europe or Australia.

Located in Air Canada’s international departure area at YVR above the International Maple Leaf Lounge and with direct views of the tarmac, the 408 square-metre space can accommodate seating for up to 105 premium customers. Designed by Heekyung Duquette and Eric Majer, arrival at the Suite sets the tone for what waits at the top of the staircase, with customers greeted by concierges stationed at bronze podiums, ready to store guests’ luggage.

Art by Canadian artists that nods to the Pacific Coast landscape adorns the space, a cloudscape chandelier by acclaimed Toronto design firm Moss & Lam cascades down the stairwell and the bar is made from Telupana Blue stone, quarried on Vancouver Island. Molton Brown is the skincare brand of choice in the bathrooms – a worthy one, in my humble opinion.

First introduced in 2017 in Toronto International Airport, the Signature Suite was, as Yiu says, conceived as a way to provide a more convenient premium dining option for its high flyers, but also as a way to cut through in the ultra-competitive premium airline experience that already includes top-notch in-flight entertainment, lie-flat seats and priority boarding. “Every carrier has that,” Yiu says, “so how do you make yourself stand out?” The airline has indeed succeeded in standing out, it would seem, having picked up Skytrax’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining Award last year for the Toronto Signature Suite, not to mention Best Airline in North America for the third straight year.

In the last three years, Air Canada has also introduced a series of new destinations to its route network including Zurich, Paris, Brisbane and Melbourne. “As we saw the growth, this [Signature Suite] concept made more and more sense,” Yiu says.

Air Canada’s Signature Suite is open now at Vancouver International Airport. Take a virtual tour here.

The World’s Best Cities for Solo Female Travellers

Solo Female Travel
Solo Female Travel

The cities were chosen by tailor-made travel company Tourlane based on a range of criteria including female representation in local business, legal and gender equality, female safety perceptions, accommodation options and the quality of communication available

It seems girls not only run the world these days but are also running all over it, with the trend in female solo travel continuing to rise in 2020. Cutting out compromises by ditching companions, women are discovering not only new cities and cultures, but a deeper sense of self and wellness from the experience.

An increasing number of women are travelling on their own terms, at their own speed and in their own way, and a range of studies have revealed that this trend for solo female travel is by no means slowing down. Last year, there was a 131% increase in searches for female solo travel, and airport taxi transfer company has recorded over 16,000 searches for the travel style already in 2020.

With interest peaking, women can start packing their bags because tailor-made travel experts Tourlane have just announced the best cities for solo female travellers based on a range of qualified categories. These include female representation in local business, legal and gender equality, female safety perceptions, accommodation options, and the quality of communication available including internet speed and phone data.



The coveted continent holds its claim for a reason. 26 of its cities made Tourlane’s rankings for solo female travel, which was more than any other continent. The highest scoring overall was Ljublijana, the capital city of Slovenia. The small and safe country is easy to navigate and even easier to find adventure. Head to the train station and a ticket will take you to neighbouring Vienna, Dubrovnik, Prague and Budapest, all of which also made the list.

Show-stoppers like London, Paris, and Amsterdam where also given the green light for solo females, along with Ireland’s Dublin, and the Greek capital Athens. Barcelona is another bustling city to consider, with 82.5% of women recording feeling safe walking alone a night.



With laws so tight you can get fined for discarding your chewing gum inappropriately, it’s no surprise that Singapore has been considered one of the safer cities in Asia. Cosmopolitan capital city Kuala Lumpur was also high on the list with a strong sense of gender equality making women feel safe when traveling alone.

Aussies’ favourite, Bali, saw over 5.8 million posts on social media from solo female travellers last year – unsurprising as it increasingly becomes a destination for digital nomads, making connecting with fellow travellers commonplace.



Australia’s Harbour City, Sydney ranked fifth on the list overall, scoring a 9.73 out of 10 in regard to female perceived gender equality. Just across the ditch, Auckland, albeit surrounded by volcanic craters and packed with adrenalin-pumping activities, has the tick of approval for solo travellers.


South America

Surprisingly, there were more South American cities than North American on the list. These included Ecuador’s Quito, Argentina’s Buenos Aires, Colombia’s Cartagena, Chile’s Valparaíso, and Peru’s Cusco, which is also the highest city in the list, sitting at 11,152 feet above sea level. The locals welcome travellers with open arms and smiling faces, but it is still recommended that the further you stray from the tourist track, the higher degree of caution you exercise.


North America

It may be the concrete jungle, but New York City is a jungle you can navigate sans guide, and sans anyone else if that’s what you want. In the last few years, there has been a lot of effort put in to cleaning up the city and reducing crime, making it an ideal spot for solo travellers. It’s easy to get around, easy to connect, easy to find accommodation, and easy to fall for.

Smaller San José in sunny California is home to Silicon Valley and is understandably a hive of activity. Attracting people from all over, it’s a melting pot for the like-minded, and overly open to outsiders.

Canadian city, Vancouver, on the other hand is a place where travellers can unwind and unplug. Famous for their friendliness, it’s little surprise this city made it to the list for solo female travellers.

Read more about women-only travel and solo female travel.

Aman Resorts Introduces Spiritual Sister Brand, Janu

Janu Montenegro Serviced Residence with Pool

The new hotel brand “with a soul” comes with a goal to rekindle human interaction and foster connection

With properties hidden in the middle of a 32-hectare forest in Japan, a restored ancient village in China, and stretching out of a dusty desert in the States, Aman Resorts are renowned for their minimal-luxe aesthetic, inspired by the unique environment in which they exist. Now, Aman has announced the launch of a new concept – Janu, a sister brand which “aims to deliver harmony through the dynamic balance of opposites. While Aman is all about the sanctuary, Janu is about connectedness,” according to the company’s announcement.

So what does that mean, exactly?

“The overlap between Aman and its sibling is mutually beneficial; together they offer a total solution for the fluctuating needs and desires of today’s global travel cognoscenti,” explained Aman Chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin. “With today’s modern fast-paced society, which has seen human connection and communication redefined by the digital world, we wanted to create a new hotel brand with a soul and with the aim of kick-starting human interaction again.”

With ‘Janu’ translating to ‘soul’ in Sanskrit, it’s fitting that at the core of the hotel concept is a focus on the mind and body, and the coming together of both. The brand lives under an ethos of embracing the dualities that life brings – work and play, head and heart, yin and yang – and the belief is that when one acknowledges and accepts opposing elements, total relaxation and restoration can be achieved. Janu, then, aims to instil an environment for kindred souls to come together, to learn and to restore.

Three Janu hotels are already under construction, with each designed to play with the concepts of light and space. While large guest rooms offer the private relaxation the luxury group is known for, energetic social spaces introduce the new concept’s focus on reconnection.

Dynamic dining opportunities will experiment with concepts like low-temperature cooking, fermentation and theatrical open kitchens, while guests can engage over one-night-only exclusivity and immersive experiences that feed the soul.

Time-conscious and high-octane group classes will be available to guests, as well as more subdued, mindful practices; an expansive wellness spa, too, is set to offer bespoke treatments including cutting-edge hydro and thermal facilities for both solo and group visits.

The three forthcoming Janu hotels in Montenegro, Al Ula in Saudi Arabia and Tokyo are set to open in 2022.

Alice Springs’ Festival in Light to Host VIP Dinner Experience

Parrtjima - Festival Of Light VIP Dinner
Parrtjima - Festival Of Light VIP Dinner

Guests have the chance to treat their taste buds at two VIP dinners, set amid the globally renowned, other-worldly Parrjima – A Festival in Light

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, is set to stir up all the senses in Alice Springs this April. The only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind, Parrtjima will bring the stories of Australia’s oldest living culture to life through a range of music, art and light shows, including spectacularly lighting two kilometres of the 300 million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges.

Along with similarly impressive light displays, it has just been announced that guests will also have the opportunity to treat their taste buds at two VIP dinners hosted by celebrity chef Mark Olive from The Outback Cafe television series, and globally renowned bushfood supplier and owner of catering company Kungkas Can Cook, Rayleen Brown.

Together, the pair have crafted a menu available only at Parrtjima, that brings together their individual takes on their culture’s food, heritage and storylines. Guests can enjoy the menu while sipping on premium wines and being entertained by both traditional and contemporary performances.

As an extra special treat, the pair will be hosting an interactive bushfood masterclass taking guests through a once-in-a-lifetime lesson on harvesting bushfood, its storylines, and the songs that connect each ingredient to its country and people.

“The masterclass and dinners will help to educate people not only about our magnificent bushfoods but also the wonderful history of meaning and culture that is such an important part of the mix,” Northern Territory Major Events Company Director Engagement and Culture Paul Ah Che explained.

The free festival will run across 10 nights, from 3-12 April. The VIP dinners will be held on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 April. Tickets are priced at $250 per person for the dinner and $150 per person for the masterclass.

Four Seasons Bali is Opening a 2000 Square-Metre Spa

Healing Village Spa treatment at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Healing Village Spa treatment at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay is set to pamper guests from May 2020 at the newly renovated Healing Village Spa

The all-villa beach retreat of Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay will open its new, two-storey Four Seasons Healing Village Spa on 1 May 2020, offering a dedicated pamper space that is 70 per cent bigger than its previous iteration, spanning 2,000 square metres. Showcasing contemporary Balinese design, the reinvented Healing Village Spa will be home to 10 all-suite treatment rooms including six double rooms for couples complete with a private outdoor relaxation area, outdoor bathtub and shower. The Illume Room feature a heated quartz-sand bed for inversion therapy and surround sound original music and The Longevity Garden comes with a private steam room amid tropical gardens. Products from skincare brand ISUN draw on organic ingredients.

“We feel blessed to have such strong cultural and community connections, from our team of local healers who bring their loving presence to each treatment, to the traditional influences and home-grown ingredients,” said Regional Director of Spa, Luisa Anderson. “By uniting cultural elements with the latest in emerging science, we are able to offer truly transformational experiences in one of the island’s most dynamic wellness hubs.”


The Healing Village Spa highlights include:

Bali’s first ‘Surround Sound Spa Suite’

The Illume Room includes a heated quartz-sand bed made of crushed crystals for inversion therapy and undulating massage and is sealed from outside sources of light to maximise colour therapy healing. Engineered for surround sound technology, it features original ‘Sounds of Jimbaran’ music composed exclusively for the Spa and recorded onsite. Seven alchemy crystal singing bowls add to the high vibrations of the uniquely conceived space.


The Longevity Garden

Guests move through a thermotherapy sequence in The Longevity Garden: DIY salt scrubs and mud wraps; infra-red mats; sun-warmed stone loungers; and an invigorating ice bath, all combining to offer reduced inflammation, increased circulation and endorphins and encourage faster muscle recovery.


Treatments that harness the intrinsic qualities of gemstones

Gemstone Joy is a ritual that uses gemstone oils along with crystal massage wands, while the Celestial Light Facial combines sound and light vibration with crystal wands for skin health.


A Blessings of Bali ritual

Guests can experience oceanside energy healing, simple yoga poses, traditional massage, a Balinese gong ‘sound bath’ and a flower blessing performed by a Balinese priest.

The island’s new wellness destination also features the only Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa in South-East Asia. The Italian celebrity stylist will cater for both local residents as well as visitors to Bali.


On The Healing Village Spa’s upper level, ocean views and state-of-the-art equipment inspire a work-out at the Fitness Centre with the Resort’s personal trainers. The wellness program also includes yoga and meditation sessions daily, not to mention a year-round calendar of visiting practitioners: a rare opportunity to experience one-to-one therapies from Reiki and Clairsentience to Aura-Soma Colour Therapy with global experts.

Israel’s Six Senses Shaharut Promises Desert Luxury

Panorama Pool Villa outdoor terrace, Six Senses Shaharut, Israel
Panorama Pool Villa outdoor terrace, Six Senses Shaharut, Israel

Located in the Arava Valley in the Negev Desert, Six Senses Shaharut will celebrate its arrival this June with a special offer for trips before August 2020

The highly-anticipated Six Senses Shaharut in Israel will open in June offering just 60 suites and villas along with a plethora of experiences, from sunrise yoga workshops to late-night stargazing sessions, hikes and camel treks through the Negev Desert.

Israel has been pegged as ‘hot’, must-visit destination on various worldwide travel lists over the last few years.

Conceived as a modern reinterpretation of nomadic structures, reminiscent of the Nabataean community which occupied the area over 2000 years ago, Six Senses Shaharut has been constructed in an eco-friendly manner, with the masterplan introducing architecture and interiors that blend with its desert environment. Inside, the furniture and fittings have been sourced from local artisans to complement the natural rock formations and utilise natural stone, wood and copper; the interior doors are custom made from reclaimed teak, which was rescued from disused boats, houses and footbridges.

“Six Senses Shaharut marks a new milestone for the brand as it enters yet another unique destination,” said General Manager Manish Puri. “I am very excited about this new opening which will bring the Six Senses ethos of sustainability, local sensitivity, and wellness together with this region’s desert culture and traditions.”

On-site experiences on offer include the Earth Lab, camel stables and an open-air amphitheatre. The desert setting presents a host of activities from overnight camel camping to extreme sports, hiking, jeep safaris and neighbouring Kibbutz tours. Treatments, together with a variety of wellness programs, will be on offer at Six Senses Spa, which draws its inspiration from the majestic landscape in which it is situated.

Located a three-and-a-half hour drive from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, and three hours from Petra in neighbouring Jordan, the resort can arrange transfers for guests, or alternatively, guests can opt for a 50-minute domestic flight from Tel Aviv to the new Ramon International Airport (ETM) near Eliat. From there, it is a 45-minute transfer to the resort.

Reservations are being accepted now for stays from June 1, 2020, onwards, with Six Senses Shaharut offering a complimentary Dusk Camel Trek experience in the Negev to guests who book three consecutive nights or more by the end of August.

Six Senses is in the midst of rapid expansion, with the wellness and sustainability-focused luxury hotel brand having been acquired by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in early 2019. On acquiring Six Senses, IHG announced that up to 60 Six Senses hotels will open by 2029, with other projects currently underway in Austria, Brazil, Mainland China, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand. Six Senses will make country debuts in Iceland in 2022, England in 2023 and Costa Rica, which will also be the first Central American hotel for the brand, in 2021. In addition, IHG opened the last of the five lodges that make up Six Senses Bhutan, just this month.

The Best Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in the World

Twin Farms, Vermont, USA

The best of the best, according to Forbes Travel Guide

For the first time in its 62 year history, Forbes Travel Guide has announced the best hotel, restaurant and spa of the year. Recipients of this accolade were chosen, as told to Forbes by CEO Filip Boyen, based off of a series of criteria that matches Forbes Travel Guide’s “well-known commitment to integrity”.

Covering 76 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, each year Forbes Travel Guide’s highly trained inspectors visit properties as objective mystery guests, evaluating and verifying their quality based on up to 900 objective criteria. The evaluation covers both service and facilitates as well as service, judging what kind of impression the property leaves on guests, how it makes them feel and what they remember most about the visit.

Without further ado, here are Forbes’ travel standouts for 2020:

Hotel of the Year

Located in the Vermont town of Barnard with a population of less that 1,000 people, the 20-room boutique hotel known as Twin Farms received this honour for its achievement of 98.24% on Forbes’ scoring card.

When prompted as to what makes Twin Farms unique, managing director John Graham told Forbes, “in part it’s a beautiful Vermont setting, in part wonderful design and art, in part great culinary and wine, in part memorable activities, but in whole our team truly dedicated to serving, really serving.”

With just 20 rooms spanning 300 acres, Twin Farms’ secluded adult-only property provides an intimate escape among the trees and mountains of Vermont. Visitors to this secluded boutique hotel can venture further afield—about a 1.5 hour drive—to Burlington, the capital of Vermont. Back at Twin Farms, services include such amenities as same-day laundry service, staff members to pack and unpack luggage, fully stocked refrigerators and local craft touches.

Chalet Bedroom at Twin Farms, Vermont
Chalet Bedroom at Twin Farms, Vermont

Restaurant of the Year

Inside Wynn Palace in Macau, sits the five-star Sichuan Moon by Andre Chiang, which received a score of 99.22% on Forbes’ rating scale, leading the restaurant to undeniable victory. The 15-course degustation menu aims to reacquaint the public with Sichuan food—shifting perceptions of the local cuisine as only spice to include the wide variation of flavours presented in Macau.

In an interview with Forbes, Wynn Palace chief operating officer Frederic Luvisutto stated, “Our goal is to reinterpret the flavours of Sichuan dishes and present them on a global stage, by introducing creative new culinary techniques and pairing dishes with extraordinarily rare specialty teas from around the world.”

Sichuan Moon, Wynn Palace Macau
Sichuan Moon, Wynn Palace Macau

Spa of the Year

Neighbouring Forbes’ Restaurant of the Year sits another of 2020’s outstanding destinations: the Morpheus Spa at the City of Dreams complex. Receiving a 99.50 score when compared to Forbes’ criteria, this six-room spa was created b architect Zaha Hadid. According to Forbes, it’s the first spa in the world to feature real snow. Additional amenities include the spa butler and platinum mask.

Chief operating officer of Macau Resorts and property president of City of Dreams, David Sisk, told Forbes that “The globally renowned Forbes award is a tribute to their talent and dedication. With its imaginative guest experiences, iconic design and exceptional amenities, Morpheus redefines high-end hospitality.”

Morpheus Spa at the City of Dreams, Macau
Morpheus Spa at the City of Dreams, Macau

Scenic Sumba is Getting a Boutique Wellness Retreat

Exterior view of Alamayah, Sumba
Exterior view of Alamayah, Sumba

With a focus on nature and healthy lifestyle, a boutique retreat hotel, Alamayah, will open next month on the lush Indonesian island of Sumba

Set to open in April 2020, Alamayah is a five-star all-inclusive boutique retreat hotel tucked away in a jungle beachside village in Sumba – an island that’s home to one of the last prehistoric tribes on earth.

Alamayah offers an holistic holiday retreat replete with just six private suites, a wellness spa, a fitness centre including rooftop yoga, entertainment rooms, blooming gardens as well as a plant-based restaurant.

The Alamayah experience begins with a scenic two-hour drive from Sumba’s Tambolaka Airport that passes mountains, fields and forests to reach the beachside village of Kerewe, where Alamayah sits. Located on the southwestern side of Sumba, Alamayah sits moments away from beaches, waterfalls, mangroves, caves, lakes and lagoons.

Each of the luxury suites offers king-sized beds dressed in cotton linen, outdoor terraces with views of the surrounding beaches and jungles, private dining areas, workspaces, en-suite bathrooms and walk-in showers. Every guest is treated to an all-inclusive experience that includes a healer’s body analysis, three plant-based meals per day, Medicinal Mixology and daily massage treatments.

Alamayah has collaborated with a team of physicists and chemists to create five therapeutic essential oil blends to target and heal the most common human ailments. Ranging from the signature Thrive blend, an oil that nourishes the body, mind and soul, to more specialised blends such as Fulfil and Awaken, guests can enjoy therapies that target specific health concerns.

With a customisable schedule, guests can opt into activities such as yoga, sound healing, surfing, mountain biking, guided jungle treks, art therapy and more at their leisure throughout their stay. Alamayah’s specialists are also available to arrange a flexible daily schedule, freeing guests from the mental load of travel planning to settle into the Alamayah experience.

Understanding that mental health is related to gut health, Alamayah offers Conscious Cuisine, a farm-to-table menu presenting health and sustainability through ethical and environmental methods. The culinary creations showcase foraged ingredients indigenous to Sumba, integrating herbs, fruits, vegetables and edible flowers grown by local farmers in neighbouring plantations and Alamayah’s organic permaculture gardens. Inspired by apothecary potions, guests can also indulge in a plethora of homemade elixirs, foraged garnishes and top-shelf liqueurs in Medicinal Mixology cocktails and mocktails.

For those seeking an even more intimate experience, visitors and retreat organisers can op to book out the full Alamayah property for a private boutique retreat experience.

Alamayah is available for bookings from 2 April 2020.