The carrier’s redesigned seat will be available onboard some Boeing 777-300s from September offering a fully flat bed of just under two metres in length, plus extra privacy for passengers as well as direct aisle access.
The seat will include a sliding door to create private space for passengers while the centre seats feature a panel that can be lowered for those travelling together.
Entertainment will be provided by a 17-inch 4K high-definition screen and a noise reducing headset, while a Bluetooth connection will allow passengers to use their own headphones.
Several of France’s Michelin-starred chefs will take turns creating a selection of vegetarian options alongside meat, poultry and fish dishes as part of the business class service.
Air France will start “progressively” introducing the new 48-seat business class cabin on 12 Boeing 777-300s from the autumn.
The carrier will also install its latest premium economy (48 seats) and economy (273 seats) cabins onboard these aircraft.
The first aircraft equipped with these new cabins will fly from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport to New York-JFK from September.
Next Article Catalonia seeks to grow awareness as premium destination
After two years of settling for staycations, low-key road trips or giving up on their yearly vacations altogether because of pandemic-related restrictions, many folks are ready to make their next getaway extra memorable.
That might mean taking a long-haul bucket list type trip, taking more days off to enjoy time away or splurging on those luxury-level extras that make a travel experience feel really special.
These could include stays at five-star resorts, dining at lavish restaurants, going on luxury cruises or springing for high-end vacation packages.
And, while all of us may be craving these travel indulgences, most of us can’t afford to live like money is no object. So, service comparison site money.co.uk recently compiled data on the world’s most popular cities to discover which destinations are the most affordable for travelers looking to enjoy the finer things in life on a budget.
Factors taken into consideration in evaluating each city’s combined luxury travel offering in each city included the average cost of a five-star hotel stay, Michelin-starred meal, luxury car hire and a night at a spa hotel.
According to the company’s analysis, Bangkok took top spot as the most affordable luxury destination overall, with a budget score of 9.49 out of 10. Thailand’s capital city proved to be the cheapest when it came to hiring a luxury ride, and was among the most affordable in three other categories, as well.
Brussels, took second place as the next global destination that’s affordable across the board, particularly when examining the cost of a five-star hotel ($363 per night) and luxury car hire ($151). Belgium’s storied capital city is probably most widely known for its exceptional chocolate, beer and many cultural centers.
Situated in northern Italy’s Veneto region, between better-known Venice and Milan, Verona was revealed to be the world’s third-most inexpensive destination for a luxury vacation. One of the nation’s most popular destinations for romance because of its role in the Shakespearean canon as the setting for ‘Romeo & Juliet’, the ancient city situated on the Adige River is filled with historic architecture, local culture and gastronomy.
In terms of representing an overall bargain when it comes to luxury travel, the top ten was rounded out by Osaka in fourth position, Berlin in fifth, Frankfurt in sixth, Rio de Janeiro in seventh, Tokyo in eighth, Lisbon in ninth and Dublin in tenth place.
Other popular global cities were also counted among the world’s most affordable luxury travel destinations in their own individual respects. For instance, it turns out that Athens is the most affordable city for Michelin-star dining, with the average cost of a set-menu dinner being about $104.
Hong Kong was shown to be the most affordable in terms of five-star accommodation, at an average rate of $292 per night (as listed on Booking.com). Meanwhile, the most inexpensive choice if you’re seeking a spa break is Osaka where the cost of one night at a spa hotel averages about $178. Of course, Japan isn’t a viable vacation option just yet, as the Asian country is only now launching a test program for tourism reopening.
There is nowhere I’ve felt happier than in Ibiza, and there is nowhere I’ve felt worse than in Ibiza. These two statements may seem contradictory, but in fact, they’re closely connected. Ibiza is my favorite place on the planet. For the past two decades, it’s been the only destination I’ve visited every year — except one. When the pandemic grounded me in London for 18 months, I missed my friends in New York City and my family in Paris. But what I really missed — missed with a physical ache — were evenings in Ibiza, when the light turns rose-pink and gold, the air fills with the chirp of cicadas, and you can actually feel your skin prickle with anticipation as you wonder what adventures the night will bring.
Like a lot of British people of my generation, I first went to Ibiza looking for fun — and boy, did I find it. It was the early 2000s, the era of the super-club and the superstar DJ. Carl Cox, Judgement, Pete Tong, Manumission: these were the gods of the island, talked about with the solemnity other cultures reserve for philosophers and heads of state. On one of my first summers in Ibiza, I went with a friend who was just starting his career as a DJ. The nights always seemed to end with him playing at someone’s private party in an over-the-top villa, or on the kind of yacht I thought only existed in 1980s TV shows. Once I danced on a beach as the sun came up while my friend played Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” and I thought, Life does not get better than this.
From left: A Moroccan-style doorway at Pike’s hotel, once the location of the island’s most legendary parties; paddleboarding at Punta Galera, in the southwest of Ibiza. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
But no matter how late the party went on, the morning always rolled around. Because I’ve had the most fun in Ibiza, I have also had the worst hangovers there. On my first morning back at work after that trip with my DJ friend, my skin was so gray, my eyes so hollow, that my boss asked if I’d suffered a recent bereavement.
Unlike me, this 220-square-mile dot off the coast of eastern Spain can party hard and still keep its looks. Known as La Isla Blanca (the white island), for the limewash used on the farmhouses, or possibly for the sea salt still harvested on Ses Salines Beach, much of Ibiza remains remarkably unspoiled. The third largest of the Balearic Islands, it’s an irresistible mix of big, bright beaches, tiny rocky coves, and evergreen hills and woodlands.
The Ibiza “scene” began in the 1960s, when hippies were drawn by the destination’s unique confluence of “ley lines” — magnetic fields thought to convey spiritual energy. In the 70s, the island morphed into a gleefully hedonistic place, where parents danced all night at full-moon parties while their children slept peacefully in the parking lot. In the 80s and into the 90s, Ibiza was the epicenter of rave culture and the dance-music explosion that followed; by the 2000s it became Europe’s biggest party destination, attracting everyone from drunken teenagers to celebrities like Diddy and Leonardo DiCaprio, who would moor their megayachts out in the turquoise bays.
The pool at the Oku Ibiza hotel. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
What comes next? Even before the pandemic, some of the best-loved clubs had shut. Ibiza’s notoriously high prices ($100 is a standard nightclub entrance fee) have changed the clientele that vacations there, and the new visitors don’t necessarily want the same things those drunken European teenagers enjoyed a decade ago.
Then there is COVID. This summer, Ibiza’s clubs are said to be opening, but when I went last fall they were still closed, all businesses were subject to a 2 a.m. curfew (the equivalent of 9 p.m. anywhere else), and — most shockingly — dancing was banned. Ibiza without dancing? This would be like France without wine, Britain without pubs. What is Ibiza without any fun? And what next for an island that has priced itself out of casual hedonism? I’d read back in 2019 that the thoughtful hippie culture the place was originally known for was making a resurgence, with a new generation of vegan restaurants, wellness retreats, and organic farms. Was this the next shift? Together with my usual Ibiza partner in crime, Emily, I got on a plane to find out.
In our first night, we went to the place where many say Ibiza’s party reputation began: Pike’s, a hotel as steeped in legend as the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles or Claridge’s in London. In 1983, when George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham needed a nonstop pool party for their “Club Tropicana” video, they headed to Pike’s, and that unmistakable tiled pool is still the focal point of the hotel — although contrary to what Michael promised in the lyrics, the drinks are definitely not free.
From left: A quiet courtyard at Pike’s hotel; flamingo décor at Pike’s hotel. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
Ever since the raconteur and party animal Tony Pike opened the hotel in the 70s, Pike’s has epitomized Ibiza at its most louche: Freddie Mercury hosted 700 guests at his infamous 41st birthday there in 1987, and the place became known for parties that were a little racy, even by local standards. But by 2011, the hotel was looking pretty down at the heels. That’s when club impresarios Andy McKay and Dawn Hindle stepped in, bought the property, and carried out an extensive but sympathetic makeover. Today, Pike’s gleams like a jewel in the night, from Pamela’s, the shocking-pink bar and restaurant, to the kaleidoscopic loungers around the pool. The décor is so joyful that it feels like a celebration — even with everyone obediently sitting down.
“People aren’t coming to Ibiza to party so much anymore,” Hindle told me from her perch behind the bar. “Early evenings are for cocktails around the pool, and it’s become less about dancing, drugs, and DJs. Ibiza’s more about relaxing now, and the restaurant scene is exploding, especially in Santa Gertrudis.”
From left: Pomegranates ripening at Six Senses Ibiza; an olive tree forms the centerpiece of the Farmer’s Market, a restaurant at Six Senses. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
The next day Emily and I set off for this once-sleepy inland village, which is now the heart of a booming culinary scene. We had reservations at Wild Beets, a vegan restaurant that has become one of Ibiza’s hottest tables. We arrived at 12:30 p.m. — not even breakfast time, by what used to be local standards — to find Wild Beets full of bright-eyed, beautiful people drinking protein smoothies and eating Buddha bowls. Like a lot of his clients, the chef, Cliff Grubin, used to be a hedonist, but has since swapped self-destruction for self-care, specializing first in juicing and eventually branching out into raw food.
Feeling a little too hungover to settle for a salad, I ordered a raw lasagna made with zucchini strips, almond ricotta, and cashew béchamel. Emily had a bowl that seemed to include every kind of vegan protein available; both were so good we fell uncharacteristically silent, and by the time we left the two of us were high on the feeling of good health.
From left: Vegan pesto spaghettini at El Chiringuito; a plant-based omelet and parfait at Wild Beets. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
Restaurants are the new clubs,” Serena Cook told me the next day. Few have had a closer view of how Ibiza has changed over the past two decades than Cook, who set up a concierge company, Deliciously Sorted, in 2002. She knows all too well how people’s expectations of the island have changed. Because the clubs were shut in the summers of 2020 and 2021, her clients were focused on hard-to-get lunch tables at new places like Casa Maca, El Silencio, and especially Jondal, the latest “it” restaurant, and a harbinger of what the Financial Times has called Ibiza’s new “gastro-fueled hedonism.”
Yet, as exciting and fun as Ibiza’s new places are, my favorite restaurants will always be the older places that serve traditional Spanish and Catalan food. Es Torrent is the home of the best paella I’ve ever had, and El Chiringuito feels less like a restaurant and more like the most elegant beach party in the world.
From left: Es Torrent’s famous paella; outdoor seating at Es Torrent. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
Once upon a time I would have had only drinks at El Chiringuito, but when we went there for lunch I ate a big plate of spaghetti with a luminous green pesto, and I felt two things I had never experienced on previous trips to Ibiza: healthy and full. “What’s even more striking is that people now want those lunch reservations at two p.m., instead of four p.m., which is how it used to be. But everyone’s going to bed at two a.m. these days,” Cook added.
Emily and I woke early again the next morning and headed out to Fincadelica, an enormous 300-year-old villa that exemplifies, more than any restaurant, how much Ibiza has changed. Owned by Shai Ben Ozair, Mati Rachminov, and Amit Segev, who described themselves to me as a “trio of global nomads,” Fincadelica is in the north of Ibiza, set on 20 acres dotted with olive and orange groves.
This is the most exclusive villa on the island, and it is ultra-luxurious, but not in a flashy way. Instead of an infinity pool, it has a pretty egg-shaped saltwater one. It is decorated with Ibizan antiques and modern pieces by Scandinavian designers — although with nine bedrooms, nine full-time staff members, a private cinema, an underground soundproofed party cave, and, in summer, a $77,000-a-week price tag, this is definitely not your standard summer rental.
From left: Ibiza’s northern coast, as seen from the wildflower garden at Six Senses; Sundowner’s at Pike’s. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
“Even before the pandemic, people were realizing that the ultimate luxury is privacy,” said Cook, of Deliciously Sorted. “In the COVID era, there has been a huge upsurge in people looking for large villas where they can stay with families and friends, and with private chefs, cinemas, and so on, so they don’t have to leave.”
Next to the house is an enchanting — and enormous — biodynamic vegetable garden. The Italian couple who tend it, Lorena Turrini and Davide Rizzi, walked me around the carrots and zucchini, explaining with infectious passion how each one corresponds to a planet, “so walking through the garden feels like walking through the cosmos.” We came to a yurt manned by a couple introduced to me as “Miriam and Essah, gatekeepers of the healing area,” who talked to me about the importance of “connecting with our earth.” Connecting with the earth in a $77,000-a-week villa: you can’t get more Ibiza 2020s than that.
From left: A staffer in the 20-acre garden at villa rental Fincadelica; an outdoor lounge at Fincadelica. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
Most of my favorite Ibizan hotels are converted farmhouses, or fincas, such as Es Cucons and La Granja Ibiza, both of which are lovely. But then Emily and I walked into Atzaró. If you ever find yourself in Ibiza and are feeling a little worse for wear from the night before, there are few better places to recover than on one of the massive daybeds at this agriturismo, which allows non-guests to book day passes to its extensive spa. Dotted with lily ponds and shaded by orange trees, Atzaró’s garden is honestly one of the most stunning places I have ever been. We drank freshly pressed juices and ate salads made from vegetables grown in the organic garden, and as dragonflies skipped over the hotel’s incredible Y-shaped lap pool, we dozed, as contented as lotus-eaters.
“The mid- to low-range hotels on the island were disappearing, and COVID accelerated that,” said Leane Lacase, Atzaró’s head of PR and marketing. “Now there’s a more luxe, high-end, spiritual feel. It’s returning to the sixties version of Ibiza, with an interest in authenticity and going back to nature. It’s luxurious, but not bling.”
In recent years, Atzaró has been swapping out the familiar signifiers of bohemian culture (“Everyone had a Buddha in 2004,” Lacase said with a laugh) and replacing them with traditional Ibizan crafts and natural materials. Greenery is everywhere, from the orange trees in the spa garden to the lush plants in all of the rooms. “Wellness isn’t just about treatments, but about feeling a connection with nature,” Lacase said.
The view from the private terrace of a guest room at the Six Senses Ibiza. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
The part of Ibiza I like best is the wild and rocky northern tip, which is dotted with little coves, instead of the expansive beaches of the south. So when, three years ago, I found out that a giant luxury hotel was being built on the hills above a pretty bay named Cala Xarraca, my heart sank. Great, a cookie-cutter mega-hotel squatting up there like a giant white elephant, I huffed.
Well, foresight was never my strong suit, because Six Senses Ibiza, which opened in summer 2021, is very much the opposite of that. For a start, it’s not white, but built from stone in shades of rust and tan, so it blends in with the hills. And it is very much an Ibizan hotel, built using local materials. With the de rigueur vegetable garden, it feels almost like an agriturismo on a grand scale.
In the evenings there are sunset ceremonies around the pool, in which a shaman blesses and waves incense around willing guests. You can choose ingredients from the garden, such as lavender, aloe vera, or almonds, to make into your own beauty products in the spa. But given that this is a Six Senses resort, these little homespun touches are underpinned by eye-popping levels of luxury. My suite was about three times as big as my apartment, with idyllic views of the infinity pool, the private cove, and the sunsets that illuminated them each evening. The suite even came with its own sizable garden. In the mornings, I strolled through it with my almond-milk cappuccino, my eyes full of the sea, my feet bouncing happily on the grass.
From left: A singing bowl is incorporated in a spa treatment at Six Senses Ibiza, a new wellness-focused property in the north of the island; the spa at Six Senses. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
The food at all three of the restaurants is superb, the list of activities (boat trips, yoga, boxing, etc.) inexhaustible, but the real star is the spa, which is hidden away down a spiral staircase, like the lair of a villain from a James Bond film. I started off with some of the “biohack” treatments, including a “cryofacial,” during which my face was blasted with cold air as if I were downhill skiing, and IV rehydration, in which vitamins were pumped through my body. I was skeptical, but I looked and felt so undeniably better afterward that I booked repeat sessions of both.
The most beneficial treatment, though, turned out to be a (relatively) traditional facial, which involved lush homemade potions, the ultra-natural (and high-end) brand Nottnuit, and a tuning fork being rung in my ear (“proven to assist DNA repair,” I was assured). Maybe it was the tuning fork, or the IV, or my guest room, which was utterly silent save for the sound of the sea and where I slept soundly for nine hours a night. But by the end of the trip, I felt better than I had in years.
“You look…good,” my husband said when I arrived back home. He was confused because he’s more used to welcoming back a broken wraith after my Ibiza trips. A couple of days later, Six Senses sent me the results of the “wellness test” I took at the end of my stay: perfect health and serotonin levels through the roof. Ibiza is still fun — but now, astonishingly, it’s good for you, too.
From left: Lorena Turrini and Davide Rizzi at work in Fincadelica’s garden; the Tower Suite at Fincadelica. | Credit: Gunnar Knechtel
Experience the New Ibiza
Where to Stay
Fincadelica: Set on a lush estate on the northern end of the island, this nine-bedroom converted farmhouse sleeps 18 and is available for buyouts only. Guests have use of a movie theater and a soundproofed dance room. Meals are prepared by the house’s chef from produce grown on site.
Oku Ibiza: This sprawling property in San Antonio, on the island’s western side, is home to Ibiza’s longest pool and has a buzzy daytime vibe. The Japanese-inspired restaurant is also a standout.
Six Senses Ibiza: Tucked on the island’s rugged northern coast, the resort brand’s first Spanish outpost offers 116 rooms and suites, plus a lengthy menu of custom spa treatments and fitness and meditation classes, as well as “biohacking” therapies. The boutique, Agora, stocks ethically sourced souvenirs; guests who are planning a big night out can also rent designer evening wear.
Where to Eat & Drink
Club Tropicana Pool Bar & Terrace: This Ibiza institution at Pike’s hotel, where George Michael and Freddie Mercury once partied, is still one of the best places for people-watching. Sip on a Baby Jane and step back in time.
El Chiringuito: This happening spot near Ses Salines Beach serves burgers, sandwiches, tapas, and more — and the DJ set always keeps things lively.
Es Torrent: Located on a quiet cove, this seafood spot makes the best paella on the island.
Jondal: Getting a table at this lunch-only restaurant on sandy Cala Jondal requires persistence. Once you’ve made it in, try the scorpion fish or stingray, either fried or grilled.
Wild Beets: This vegan spot has a dazzling breakfast menu of smoothies, juices, porridge bowls, and veggie toasts.
What to Do
Annie’s Ibiza: This boutique in Ibiza Old Town has a party outfit for every taste, whether it’s a vintage jumpsuit or a sequined evening gown.
Atzaró: There’s no better place to recover from a late night than the garden of this inland agriturismo, which has a fantastic spa that’s open to non-guests.
Deliciously Sorted Ibiza: Owner Serena Cook has played concierge and event planner to some of Ibiza’s starriest visitors.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline This Enchanted Island
Let us let you in on a little secret… luxury travel can be affordable! It might sound too good to be true, but there are many ways to experience luxury without a hefty price tag.
From epic resorts to extravagant activities, IHG Hotels & Resorts is sharing six tips on how to best enjoy the “luxe life” for less.
1. Stay in less “touristy” areas of town
If you’re searching for a luxurious vacation but don’t want to break the bank, explore a stay off the beaten path (that’s still nearby all the main attractions, of course). Take Quito, Ecuador, for example, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can visit the equator and be in two hemispheres at once! Holiday Inn Quito Airport puts you just 45 minutes from the equator line and after a long day of exploring the city, you can return to the hotel which offers unparalleled, panoramic views of the surrounding Andean mountains while relaxing in the heated outdoor pool complete with hydromassage.
For a nature-filled Canadian getaway, Holiday Inn & Suites Red Deer South is located between Edmonton and Calgary, making for easy travel throughout Red Deer and the surrounding cities. This convenient location puts you close to the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Alberta where you can go on hikes and bike rides. Back at the hotel, take advantage of the pool with waterslide and the property’s award-winning restaurant, Boulevard Restaurant & Lounge, featuring contemporary Asian fusion cuisine by “Chopped Canada” winner, Chef Pete Sok.
2. Be your own tour guide and explore the local hotspots
Taking the time to explore the local hotspots on your own is a great way to make the most of your budget for a weekend getaway. Several IHG hotels, like Hotel Indigo Sarasota, offer free bike rentals so you can easily discover and immerse yourself into different neighborhoods. Sarasota’s Rosemary district is steps away from one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in Siesta Key, where you can pick up local fare at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, or cruise over the Ringling Bridge to St. Armand’s Circle. After a day filled with exploring, enjoy a moment of R&R with a dip in the hotel’s hot and cold spa-inspired wading pools surrounded by lush greenery or check out the hotel’s stunning murals that tell more of the neighborhood’s story.
3. Travel with a group
Traveling with family or a group of friends can maximize your savings. Look for lodgings that can accommodate large groups, such as our Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resorts. For our beach lovers, we recommend Holiday Inn Club Vacations Sunset Cove Resort on Marco Island, Florida. This luxurious getaway features spacious villas for up to eight people with superior amenities complete with fully equipped kitchens, premium furnishings, and personalized concierge services. Plus, with a zero-entry pool, free beach shuttle, kid’s activity center, and close proximity to several restaurants, there are plenty of activities on Marco Island for the whole group to experience. With its unique location between Naples and the Everglades, Marco Island offers the ultimate vacation adventure with beautiful white sand beaches and an abundance of outdoor activities from airboat tours in the Everglades to canoeing or fishing in Collier Seminole State Park.
4. Take advantage of included amenities
Over-the-top amenities, anyone? From relaxing spas to fine dining, don’t miss out on a property’s included amenities or experiences to easily enjoy affordable luxury. Our favorite amenities at Staybridge Suites Bangkok Thonglor include its own Japanese onsen (a natural hot spring bath), sky pool with Jacuzzi overlooking Thonglar Road (known as Bangkok’s liveliest area), sauna, and gym. For experiences geared towards family fun, we recommend Holiday Inn Resort Ho Tram Beach, located in one of Vietnam’s top beach destinations, Grand Ho Tram Strip. Make sure to check out the array of facilities, including entertainment venues with specialty restaurants and bars, gourmet food court, onsite spa and pool. The property also features Holiday Inn’s signature KidSuites featuring an extra kid-friendly welcome gift, themed décor, and bunk beds.
For travelers seeking the best essentials for great value, you can’t go wrong with avid hotels. The brand focuses on offering a great night’s sleep complete with black-out roller shades and sound-reducing features, modern design, friendly service, as well as a high-quality grab and go breakfast including fresh bean-to-cup coffee and a still and sparkling water machine. If you’re in South Florida, check out avid hotel Ft Lauderdale Airport – Cruise just minutes from Fort Lauderdale International Airport, Port Everglades Cruise Terminal, and I-95.
5. Travel in the off season
One of the easiest ways to take a luxury vacation on a budget is to travel in the off season. Not only will you save money, but you will also avoid large touristy crowds – a win, win! One popular getaway that you can snag a great deal during off season is Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber. Located near Waikki Beach, this Polynesian-themed resort features guestrooms with furnished balconies, ocean views, plus kids stay and eat free. Things also heat up at the hotel in the evenings with the “Magic of Polynesia Night Show” dinner performance featuring dancers and illusionists at the onsite art theater. Another budget-friendly option near Waikki beach is Holiday Inn Express Waikiki. The hotel offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Koolau mountains and Waikiki skyline, plus a pool with private cabanas. Make sure you check out the 5th floor sky deck featuring a 9-hole mini-golf course, shuffleboard, giant chess game, ping pong and foosball.
If the beach isn’t for you, why not go for mountain getaway instead? Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre is a great option for those looking for an upscale-feel hotel that is still budget-friendly and offers picturesque views of the mountains and Pacific Ocean. Its central location puts you close to all Vancouver has to offer from Roger’s Arena – home to Vancouver’s Canucks hockey team – to the renowned shopping district, Granville Island.
6. Redeem IHG One Rewards Points
Joining a hotel loyalty program such as IHG One Rewards is a great way to book a trip of a lifetime and score huge savings. With IHG One Rewards, members can earn more points faster and gain rewards sooner. With richer benefits from free breakfast for Diamond members to more opportunities for Elite members to receive early check-in, late check-out and room upgrades, IHG One Rewards offers more choice, value and relevant benefits than ever before. Plus, this summer, IHG One Rewards members can earn up to 4X bonus points on stays through August. To take advantage of this offer, members can register here. So whether you’re seeking a beachside vacation at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros or want to relax on a rooftop pool overlooking the ocean at Holiday Inn Bali Sanur, with IHG One Rewards you can book that dream vacation when you want at a price point that fits your needs.
To start booking your next “luxe for less” trip, visit ihg.com.
WHY IT RATES: Hammock Cove Antigua’s inclusion in the prestigious Virtuoso travel network will bring new sales and marketing opportunities to the network’s more than 20,000 luxury travel advisor partners and their discerning, highly desirable clientele. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer
Hammock Cove Antigua, an Elite Island Resort, is proud to announce its partnership with Virtuoso, the leading global network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. The resort underwent a rigorous vetting process to join Virtuoso’s collection of over 2,200 of the world’s finest luxury hotels, resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and other travel entities worldwide.
According to Elite Island Resorts Chairman Robert A. Barrett, inclusion in Virtuoso will present new sales and marketing opportunities to the network’s more than 20,000 luxury travel advisors and their highly desirable clientele. Virtuoso agencies worldwide sell an average of US$25–$30 billion annually, making the network the most significant player in luxury travel.
“Travel advisors have always been at the core of our business—and today, they continue to be the very backbone of our company,” said Barrett. “When I had the idea of creating Hammock Cove, I envisioned a true, luxurious all-inclusive hotel that catered to a very specific demographic. I talked to many travel advisor partners. This product was years in the making. It’s the first hotel in the Elite Island Resorts portfolio to join Virtuoso.
That significance echoes the very ethos that I created here; to be included alongside the company’s roster of respected hotels and to be recognized as a leading luxury resort among our travel industry peers says that we are getting things right, and we can’t wait to welcome their guests.”
Overlooking Antigua’s iconic aquamarine waters and the dramatic coastline of Devil’s Bridge National Park, Hammock Cove features 41 spacious ocean-facing villas in chic, contemporary design with vast indoor-outdoor living plans, private plunge pools, wet bars with a sommelier-curated selection of wines, and other luxury amenities. Unique to Hammock Cove is the Guest Ambassadors, offering personal assistant and concierge services for guests in the villa and around the property, anticipating the needs of the modem traveler.
With a focus on gastronomy redefining the luxury all-inclusive experience, Executive Chef Marco Festini brings Michelin-starred experience to three restaurants highlighting seasonal and sustainable ingredients, while multiple bars serve on-trend cocktails, premium liquor, an extensive wine list, and of course, a library of local rums. Additional amenities include The Tranquility Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a three-tiered infinity pool, a private white sand beach, art gallery, and much more. All-inclusive nightly rates start at $1,100 for two persons.
Hammock Cove Antigua is located 25 minutes from V.C. Bird International Airport. Rates are inclusive of luxury villa accommodations, all meals offered from each of the property’s gastronomy concepts including breakfast, lunch, dinner, small bites throughout the day, degustation dinners, in-villa dining, afternoon tea, evening aperitivo, premium liquor, wines and Champagne, various wellness, land and water activities, and all taxes and gratuities. Hammock Cove does not accept travelers under the age of 16.
Elite Island Resorts represents an impressive collection of unique beachfront properties in the Caribbean. Each Elite Island Resorts property provides something unique to fulfill every traveler’s desires, with offerings ranging from destination weddings or romantic escapes to family retreats or eco vacations. Resorts include The Club Barbados, Palm Island Resort & Spa in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Galley Bay Resort & Spa, St. James’s Club & Villas, Pineapple Beach Club Antigua and The Verandah Resort & Spa, all in Antigua.
Are you planning a lavish trip with a limited budget? Traveling allows you to relax, connect and explore the outside world. Although planning a budget-friendly luxury vacation is not easy, it is not impossible with proper planning. Some tips and tricks can help you travel on a budget without sacrificing the luxurious feel you desire.
Continue reading to learn tips and tricks for a luxurious budget-friendly trip for the utmost gateway experience.
1. Travel in the offseason
One of the best tricks to follow if you want to have a budget-friendly luxury vacation is to travel in the offseason. Traveling out of peak season is relatively cheaper for flights, restaurants, and places of stay than during peak season when prices fluctuate significantly because more and more people are on holiday. Also, during high seasons, you get plenty of relaxation time since there are usually fewer crowds and queues in popular tourist attraction venues. Consequently, you get more choices regarding restaurants and lounges.
2. Book in advance
Another surefire tip to follow if you want to have an excellent trip for less is to book everything in advance from ticket to accommodation. Usually, travel and accommodation expenses fluctuate depending on several factors, such as increased fuel prices and inflation. Therefore, booking upfront can make a lot of difference in terms of rates.
3. Take advantage of loyalty programs
When planning for a luxurious vacation, it is best to enroll in loyalty programs if you are yet to and earn redeemable points that can enable you to save big. Nowadays, many airlines and hotels offer customers discounts and loyalty programs with spendable points. For example, most popular airlines offer their clients redeemable miles they can use for free flights, upgrades, shop duty-free, or book a car rental. Such programs can help you save some pennies during your luxury travel.
4. Choose lesser known destinations
The destinations you choose for your vacation significantly impact the travel cost. So if you plan to go for luxurious travel but not with a big budget, you can opt to travel to a less popular destination. Usually, popular destinations tend to be significantly expensive since more and more people visit the place and, therefore, are not economical for a luxury budget traveler. Furthermore, visiting less popular destinations allows you to find luxury hotels and accommodations at a cheaper rate.
5. Luxury car rental
Means of transport make all the difference when on a luxurious vacation. Spoil yourself with a fancy rental car instead of using public means of transportation or a standard rental vehicle. It doesn’t have to be expensive but one offering comfort. For instance, at Murcia Corvera airport, you can get cheap and luxurious car hire companies, including Avis, rmu, and Alamo. When choosing a rental car, ensure you check on the insurance coverage offered and whether the company provides an extra driver or not. Also, a car hire company offering a car upgrades option will be ideal.
As you can see, it is possible to enjoy luxury travel even with a limited budget. Traveling during the off-season, booking in advance, and taking advantage of loyalty programs can help you save big while on a lavish vacation. Also, choosing less popular destinations and renting cheap luxury car rentals are some tips that can help take luxurious travel without compromising your comfort and budget.
Luxury travel goes hand in hand with confidence and showing preparedness throughout the experiences at your destination. Whether it may be a first-class flight, an extravagant five-star hotel, a luxury cruise, or a private yacht; it goes without saying you should be sorted from the beginning. Getting your suitcase prepared for a luxurious trip should be one of your top priorities as it’s imperative to travel with style.
Whatever part of the world you find yourself in, you can always feel ready to take on any type of excursion with some efficient packing. Being prepared is just one of the many benefits that packing ahead of time will come with.
If you love traveling but hate to pack, our tips will ensure you enjoy your getaway the moment you start preparing. Check out our five essential tips for packing that make for a lifestyle of luxury along with your travels.
Before you begin packing, an initial step you should take is looking into what you can bring with you on your flight. Keep in mind there may be different luggage restrictions depending on your travel itinerary. Most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag and one carry-on item for international flights. However, the majority of U.S. carriers charge for bags checked on domestic flights. Researching your airline’s baggage-fee policies beforehand can save you a lot of stress and potential overweight fees.
Don’t worry when it comes to bringing your belongings on a flight, there are always additional options available. You can choose to opt for a stress-free, worldwide luggage shipping service instead. Doing so allows you to avoid the inconvenience of going through customs along with carrying, checking, and claiming luggage so you can feel relaxed at the airport.
Not knowing what outfit to wear or not having clothes that match well together can quickly become a drag on your plans. Save yourself the worry and use a sorting method when packing your suitcase that will help you feel prepared and confident each day. Instead of packing lots of clothes and outfits to choose from, pick items that you can mix and match to guarantee you have just enough for the duration of your trip. If your lodging location offers an in-unit washer and dryer, you’ll be able to wash your clothes for multiple wears. Coordinate certain tops and bottoms to accommodate for the weather, or if you plan to partake in an activity such as hiking or working out. Besides just planning your outfits, make sure that you are packing them in an efficient manner. When you’re packing, roll outfits up together versus folding them so you can bring as much as possible and lessen the chance of forgetting something. Taking the time to roll instead of fold also minimizes wrinkles. Lightweight packing cubes have also been a favorite for many travelers when keeping their clothing organized.
On top of casualwear, bring a couple of dresses if you plan to wine and dine at a fancy restaurant, and add in luxury fashion accessories such as a new piece of jewelry, a scarf, a belt, a watch, or shades if you’ll be outdoors. As for footwear, keep pairs of packed shoes like sandals or fancy heels for a night out in protective plastic to keep them from dirtying your belongings. When all is packed and ready to go, it’s best to wear the bulkiest pair you plan to bring on your flight rather than finding room to store them. Plus, you’ll feel more comfortable, especially if you’re flying long haul.
Alongside your suitcase, having certain necessities on hand is a must for luxury travel. This can include anything you would want or need for an overnight layover or a delayed flight. A comfortable backpack, cross-body bag, purse, tote bag, or other trending handbags are all smart choices for carrying everything you need with you in arm’s reach and even allow you extra storage on the plane.
In your bag, you can conveniently store any personal items such as beauty products, perfume, travel-sized toiletries, noise-canceling headphones, a backup outfit, a travel-sized umbrella, important documents, and more. If you happen to be traveling to a more exotic location, make sure to keep sunscreen with a strong SPF in your bag to avoid sunburn, and try to accessorize with polarized sunglasses to block harsh glares and UV rays. It’s easy for the sun to cause harm to your health without you noticing, and squinting constantly can be distracting.
The weather changes can make or break your entire day, and putting a little extra effort into preparing a carry-on bag can save you the hassle of buying new items in case anything arises. Once you are at your destination, this bag can also serve as a place you store any trinkets you’ve gathered along the way.
Certain gadgets and electronics can easily make your travels more comfortable. It’s important to ensure they all work efficiently throughout the duration of your trip because if they don’t, they can take up a lot of wasted space. When you’re on the go, you’ll likely run into times when your battery is running low and there’s no place nearby to charge it. For these situations, using a portable power bank can be extremely helpful with last-minute charging. Besides cell phones, some power banks even hold a capacity of milliamp-hours or “mAh” suitable for an iPad or laptop. Another option for keeping your devices powered up is switching to a suitcase with built-in USB charging. Just be sure the battery can be removed and stored in your carry-on bag before your flight to comply with safety policies for airlines.
You’ll also want to remember that certain countries use different outlets. This is where a universal adapter with multiple slots for USB chargers can come in great handy. Charing multiple devices simultaneously can be great for travel flexibility. Handling all this gear on your journey can be cumbersome, but you can easily prevent cord tangling and electronic damage with a compartmentalized bag.
You often don’t realize you’ve overpacked until it’s too late. Many items become a “just in case” and are never actually used during vacation. Besides, who doesn’t want to avoid the time and extra charges airlines might make you pay if you have too much? You’ll soon realize that packing light is the key to efficient travel and enjoying a more pleasant experience.
Make an organized checklist when you pack, and consider an app where you can digitally check things off if you’re out and about too. This way, you won’t forget anything and have just enough to bring. Leaving that extra room in your bags, even if it’s just a little, keeps things much more orderly and saves room for unique purchases and souvenirs from your memorable destination.
With these essential preparations for packing, you can feel confident knowing the entire experience will be stress-free. Staying organized, dressing accordingly, and keeping your must-haves right by your side will leave you feeling most confident on your trip. When you get to your travel destination, navigating each day will be a breeze and you’ll realize the preparation was worth it. Before you know it, you’ll have already settled into a luxurious state of mind.
Okay, so I admit it, I like a little luxury when traveling. Be it flying Business or First Class, and staying in nice hotels, especially rooms with a view. And yes, I like to eat out in decent restaurants too and maybe indulge in a bit of shopping as I go. But, alas, these things must be paid for, and I am sadly no trust fund heiress.
Until asked by TravelAwaits for some tips and tricks on how to make luxury travel a little more affordable, I wasn’t even aware that I had any. But stepping back and watching myself as I was planning the next trip, I realized that I have traveled the world always incorporating some tricks that do save me some money as I go, and often has me traveling in a bit more luxury than I would otherwise have done. Here is what I tend to do:
1. Make Travel A Priority And Save Up
Before it comes to planning the next trip, you’ve got to have the money in the bank, because there is nothing more depressing than continuing to pay off a vacation that is already a distant memory on your credit card. I have a separate account for travel and try to save a certain percentage of my income every month. When I am close to a trip, I forgo things like takeout coffee, or frivolous food expenses, thinking instead that the money saved on a paper cup of coffee drunk in a hurry can instead be spent on a coffee served on a Parisian café terrace.
2. Put Your VPN On
When it finally comes to researching and booking a trip, I tend to look at flights, hotels, car hires, etc. on one computer, and then either switch devices, or put on my VPN (Virtual Private Network). Travel websites remember when you searched for a flight, and every time you go back to the website on the same device, the price goes up. It should not happen and should not be legal, but it happens, and you can save lots of money by simply hiding the identity of your computer.
3. Join Loyalty Programs
I have so many loyalty cards, I have to keep them in a separate wallet. But to be honest, you don’t even need many cards. As long as you are a member of one airline that is part of, say, One World, you can earn miles with other airlines belonging to that group with the same card. These loyalty programs are especially worthwhile if you tend to do long hauls or are truly loyal to one airline. I was lucky enough — for a couple of years, that my husband had earned Platinum status with Etihad because he used the company for business travel when he was working on a global project, and he was allowed to upgrade my status to gold, so I was constantly upgraded to First Class. It was nice while it lasted. But either way, it is certainly worth trying to achieve a higher level within the loyalty program for all sorts of reasons, be they upgrades, extra baggage allowance, lounge access, or special treats.
4. Upgrading Your Flight
Once your flight duration hits a certain number of hours, it is simply nicer to sit in Business Class or even First Class, no doubt about it. For short flights, I’d rather save the money, but when it is longer, or overnight, comfort is king, as otherwise, you lose the next day, your first day at your destination, by being utterly exhausted. There are websites, such as Fly Luxury for Less, where you can shop around for cheap Business Class flights, or you can use the air miles from your airline’s loyalty program to upgrade. It is often worthwhile buying extra air miles to get that upgrade. My favorite trick is to check in late and then ask for a (paid) upgrade, managing to get last-minute upgrades for much less money than if I had booked it early.
5. Get On Airlines’ Mailing Lists
Agreed, most of the time, you will press delete when the email hits your inbox, but during times when you are planning your travel schedule, being up to date with special offers available from airlines, quite literally, pays. Most airlines have slump periods when they try and drum up business and offer either amazing deals, or double loyalty points, or both. Often these deals are for a very limited and specific period of time, but sometimes, they allow you to book well in advance and you can snap up a great deal.
6. Book A Room On The Club Lounge Floor
Many hotels, certainly most bigger chains, have Club Room floors, or a Club Level. On these floors, the rooms are slightly better, and, most importantly, there is a Club Lounge. That is a lounge where, basically, you get free food and drink, complimentary Wi-Fi, a cocktail happy hour (worth it in countries such as Egypt or Japan, where alcohol is pricey), free coffee, and water throughout the day. The rooms on these floors tend to be pricier, for obvious reasons, but sometimes the price difference is very little, and other times, you can snag an upgrade through your hotel loyalty program. These rooms are not really worth it, if you are out and about all day sightseeing, but if you are planning to spend a bit of time in your hotel or are traveling with someone who is constantly hungry (teenage grandkids, maybe?) or needs coffee on drip-fed, it can save a fair bit of money.
7. Take Public Transport
My favorite thing to do when somewhere new is to take a local bus and get my bearings. It is so much easier to hop in a taxi, agreed, but sitting on a bus — not a guided bus tour — with the locals and seeing the city go by, is a cheap way of spotting interesting places. No, you won’t get a running commentary, but it is cheaper and infinitely more fun. In Paris, for example, you could not do better than the Bus Routes 72, along the Seine, or 42 from the Eiffel Tower down the Champs-Elysées. In many cities, your day pass also includes ferries on the river or harbor, and again, hopping on one of those is cheaper and more fun than an organized, touristy cruise.
8. Find Wi-Fi Hotspots
One of the first things I do when landing in a new country is either buy a local SIM card at the airport or turn my mobile data roaming off on my own phone. Even a minute of roaming can cost you a small fortune, and instead, I am always on the lookout for free Wi-Fi spots, be they fast food restaurants, department stores, or like in Paris, public parks. It all depends on how long I am planning to stay in a certain country. If longer, then a cheap local SIM with a data package is easier. But if I am only somewhere for a weekend, looking for free Wi-Fi is cheaper. Apps like Wi-Fi Finder can help.
9. Shop And Claim VAT Refunds
Sometimes the shopping abroad is simply irresistible, be it buying luxury designer labels in Paris or emptying the local Zara in Spain. And to save, all you have to do is claim the tax. This is quite simple: You either look out for the Tax-Free logo on the front of a store or ask a shop assistant. Usually, you must spend over a certain amount and ask at the counter for the tax refund form. Then, you keep that form and your newly purchased items together — do not wear them! — and show them at the airport at a special window, place the items in your suitcase before checking in, and sit back and wait for the refund to arrive in your bank account. In places such as Europe, where VAT can be nearly 20 percent, that gives you a nice little sum to put in the piggy bank for the next vacation.
Oh, and one final thing. If you book a hotel room and it asks you to pay extra for breakfast, don’t, unless you are out in the countryside somewhere. In a city, there is always a café nearby where coffee and a croissant will cost a lot less than in the hotel, and this way you will not just save money, but also create memories as you go.
TravelAwaits has a wide range of travel tips for our readers. Here are just a few:
Welcome back to another episode of the TravelPulse Podcast.
This week, TravelPulse Executive Editor Eric Bowman is joined by Nick Pena, a luxury travel advisor with Cruise Planners. The two first discuss the latest trending stories in the travel industry, including JetBlue’s offer to buy Spirit, news impacting Mexico tourism and more.
Later, Pena shares his insights into what is trending in luxury travel in 2022. From hotels to cruises to destinations that excel in the luxury experience, Pena highlights the need to know when it comes to true luxury travel. Additionally, Pena gives listeners a preview of what it’s like booking travel for celebrity clients. The discussion on luxury travel begins around the 23-minute mark.