Insight Vacations has added 16 new itineraries to its luxury portfolio, Luxury Gold, adding nine new countries, and two new continents to its offerings, plus its first voluntourism extension. The 16 new itineraries include visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.
“We listen to our guests very carefully and the focus on each guest is our north star, guiding us as we expand to new destinations, design new tours and offer even more extraordinary experiences to enjoy,” says Igor Bosnic, national accounts and strategic development manager for Insight Vacations. “We listen to our travel agency partners to determine what destinations are trending and missing from our current portfolio. We work very closely with our expert product development team to ensure we can deliver an experience that is up to the quality that our guests come to expect. It’s this convergence of feedback from our guests, partners and internal team that aligns our strategy for expansion, with the blessing and guidance of our owners,” he says.
According to Bosnic, what guests can expect from these new Luxury Gold itineraries is “a variety of incredible experiences and opportunities to connect with remarkable cultures and faraway lands in ways previously unimaginable. Our guests are drawn to the unique experiences that we offer on each Luxury Gold journey, and with the expansion to new destinations we have new options for them to enjoy.”
In addition, Luxury Gold is launching a new voluntourism extension in India through partners Me to We, which will allow guests to spend time in a rural Rajasthan community. “Both Luxury Gold and our sister brands at The Travel Corporation (TTC) are committed to making a positive impact through travel. We partner with Me to We to promote ‘travel with a purpose,’ allowing our guests to give back to the communities they visit in thoughtful and measurable ways.”
Geckos Adventures, which falls under the Intrepid Travel Group, is now offering travel opportunities for the under-30 crowd. In 2017, all of its trips will be open only to travelers ages 18-29, a market that once extended to 39-year-olds. According to press materials, the change in age came to meet the interest of Geckos’ youngest travelers who expressed that they were looking for a youth product that enabled them to travel with like-minded people of their own age. In addition to changing the age range, Geckos Adventures has also added 20 new trips for 2017 that cater to the youth demographic while providing cultural experiences and adventure. These new trips include experiences such as treks to Everest Base Camp and tours throughout North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
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Meanwhile, Scandinavian Airlines is now the first carrier to fly directly from Miami (MIA)to Copenhagen (CPH). Departures are scheduled for every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 3:50 p.m., arriving the following day at 7:10 a.m.
And Emirates’ daily nonstop service to Dubai (DXB) launches Dec. 15 from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). The daily flight will depart Dubai at 3 a.m. arriving in Ft. Lauderdale at 10:25 a.m. The return flight departs Ft. Lauderdale at 8:20 p.m. and arrives in Dubai at 7:40 p.m. the following day; flight duration is about 14 hours and 20 minutes.
In addition to the new Emirates flight, FLL has also added daily flights to Camaguey (CMW) starting Nov. 3 and daily flights to Holguin-Frank Pais Airport (HOG) on Nov. 10 via JetBlue; both destinations are in Cuba. Southwest Airlines, too, is heading to Cuba with service between FLL and Varadero (VRA) scheduled to begin Nov. 13; and from both FLL and Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Havana (HAV) to commence Dec. 12, 2016, subject to requisite approvals of the Cuban government.
Destination Hotels and Commune Hotels & Resorts merged back in January, as we reported in past issues, and now they’ve announced the new overarching company for the merged brands—Two Roads Hospitality. The new company now has more than 95 properties in eight countries under the brands Joie de Vivre Hotels, Thompson Hotels, Destination Hotels, tommie and Alila Hotels & Resorts.
Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts completed a multimillion dollar renovation of its first hotel and flagship property in Paris, Le Meridien Etoile. Its 1,025 guestrooms and suites, along with its public spaces, including the legendary Jazz Club Etoile and its signature lobby concept, Le Meridien Hub, have all been reimagined.
New to the hospitality landscape is the 41-guestroom Memmo Principe Real, a Destination Hotels property, which opened in Lisbon last month. Hard Rock International, meanwhile, is expanding in Asia with the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast in Johor, Malaysia set for fall 2017. The 365-guestroom property will feature a waterpark and 45 holes of golf, as well as other leisure activities and entertainment, plus the Rock Spa with two outdoor treatment rooms. In addition, Hard Rock International has plans to open properties in Dalian, Shenzhen and Haikou, China. Tribute Portfolio, too, is expanding with new properties in San Diego, Santa Fe, Houston, St. Louis, and Denver, plus its first hotels in Singapore and Bali.
In the U.S., W Hotels has added a new property in Las Vegas with the 289-guestroom
W Las Vegas, which will open in phases with the soft opening on Dec. 1 and the official grand opening in February. The hotel will offer guests the Away Spa, and such dining venues as Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres, Katsuya, Cleo, Umami Burger, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen, and The Perq, as well as nightlife venues.
And for those looking to book the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos’ The Sands at Grace Bay just completed a multimillion dollar resort and restaurant upgrade. The property is offering a “stay three nights and get the fourth free” promotion in celebration of the new enhancements.
Carey Chauffeured Transporation:
Geckos Adventures: intrepidgroup.travel
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast: hardrockhotels.com
Insight Vacations: insightluxurygold.com
Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts: lemeridien.com
Memmo Principe Real: designhotels.com
Tribute Portfolio: tributeportfolio.com
Two Roads Hospitality: tworoadshotels.com
The Sands at Grace Bay: thesandstc.com
Scandinavian Airlines: flysas.com/en/us
Southwest Airlines: southwest.com
W Las Vegas: wlasvegas.com