A round up of some of the most exciting travel news in Australia and around the globe.
Aqua Expeditions takes on the mighty Mekong
Aqua Expeditions the first adventure travel company to introduce 5-star luxury cruises to the Amazon in Peru will launch Aqua Mekong on September 30, 2014.
Aqua Mekong will be the cruise operator’s first vessel in Asia, taking guests on a journey on the Mekong River, between Cambodia and Vietnam on a 7 night, 4 night and 3 night adventure cruises.
The Aqua Mekong will deliver a new standard of sophisticated cruising to the river. Like its siblings in Peru, the ship’s design means it is both spacious and intimate. It will have 20 outward-facing designer suites with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing guests to take in the views and relax.
There is a plunge pool on deck, as well as a generous sized spa and fitness centre, library and screening room. Guests can enjoy nature based guided adventures and shopping trips to Cambodian wet markets with the chef to source the freshest of ingredients. Aqua Expeditions has appointed the acclaimed Australian culinary identity and Michelin-starred Chef, David Thompson as Executive Chef of Aqua Mekong. www.aquaexpeditions.com
W will call Australia home
W, the innovative design brand of the extensive Starwood portfolio will open its first Australian property in Brisbane in early 2018.
With more than 44 hotels and retreats across the globe the brand is currently expanding at a meteoric rate with 15 W Hotels set to open in the Asia Pacific region before 2019. Over the next four years, W Hotels will debut in Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Jakarta, among other Asian destinations.
W Brisbane will offer 305 luxurious guestrooms, including 25 suites and an Extreme Wow Suite®, the W brand’s reinterpretation of the traditional Presidential Suite. The development will be comprised of three separate towers – one for premium office and commercial space another for high-end residences and third will be the home of W. The podium level will feature retail outlets and the hotel will house three unique restaurants and bars. www.whotels.com
From North Korea … with love
The international online travel agency Destinia just signed the dotted line to become the first online agency in the world to offer flights on Air Koryo, the state-owned airline of North Korea.
Destinia will pioneer never before sold routes from Pyongyang to Shenyang and Pyongyang to Vladivostok. They will also offer online booking of the Pyongyang-Beijing route.
Air Koryo is the only one-star airline among 681 airlines rated and reviewed by the Skytrax service. www.destinia.com
Intercontinental puts the glitz back into Double Bay
The much-anticipated InterContinental Sydney Double Bay will swing open its very elegant doors in November. The restored Ritz Carlton is only minutes away from the Sydney CBD and Princess Diana, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Madonna have all called it home at one time.
The hotel’s 140 guestrooms and suites will combine reinstated original timeless features such as Italian white marble bathrooms with contemporary design elements. These rooms feature breathtaking views of the bay, or the cosmopolitan village and internal French provincial styled courtyard. There are 14 Executive Suites and the spectacular Royal Suite features floor to ceiling windows to take in the stunning harbour views.
The hotel rooftop infinity pool and lounge area will be the hottest destination this summer with gobsmacking views and contemporary Californian styling including cabanas.
Locals and Sydney media alike have seen the arrival of the Intercontinental brand as the pre-cursor of the re-invigoration of Double Bay. Once Sydney’s premier luxury shopping destination, the bay side suburb will soon see many new restaurants, cafes and boutiques opening in the village. www.intercontinental.com/doublebay
Cathay Pacific rewards early birds
The 2014 Skytrax Airline of the Year, has just announced an Earlybird Sale to nine European destinations in 2015.
“It’s a great opportunity to plan ahead and save,” says Julie Reid, Sales and Marketing Manager, Cathay Pacific Australia. “Earlybird offers the best value fares for passengers, as well as maximum flexibility in terms of mixing up flight classes, destinations, stopovers and times people want to travel.
“Australians have really taken to Premium Economy, particularly for long haul flights to Europe. They love the additional space, extra baggage, separate check-in and little extras like amenity kits, noise-cancelling headsets, great meals and, of course, that glass of champagne!”
The low fares are for travel between 1 March and 30 November 2015 to London, Paris, Rome, Milan, Manchester, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich and Moscow. Flights depart from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth and can include a stopover in Hong Kong.