RAISE THE BAR SKY HIGH

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - ROWENA RYAN

You can now sip cock­tails in an over­wa­ter, open-air ob­ser­va­tory and bar in the mid­dle of the Mal­dives at Anan­tara Ki­havah’s new Sky Bar. The first of its kind in the Mal­dives, the ob­ser­va­tory and bar has the most pow­er­ful tele­scope in the In­dian Ocean as well as a res­i­dent as­tronomer who takes guests through a stargaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The Sky Bar’s panorama lounge sits over a spec­tac­u­lar turquoise la­goon and a cir­cu­lar bar serves as the cen­tre­piece with over­sized daybeds. The is­land is only ac­ces­si­ble by pri­vate char­tered flights and the bar and ob­ser­va­tory open to guests of Anan­tara Ki­havah Mal­dives. SKYKIHAVAMALDIVES.COM

LOUNGE LIFE

Emi­rates is tri­alling an im­mer­sive cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ence in its lounges at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port by pro­vid­ing Sky­lights the­atre head­sets to its guests. The head­sets are be­ing tri­alled in the busi­ness-class lounge in con­course B for the month of April and in the first-class lounge in con­course B for May. Of­fer­ing a fixed screen with a wide-an­gle field of view for 3D and 2D con­tent, the head­sets weigh just 120g and pro­vide a full HD ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s part of the air­line’s com­mit­ment to cus­tomer ser­vice – on the ground and in flight.

The head­phones have in-built video, al­low­ing guests to im­merse them­selves in movies such as Alien: Covenant, Bat­man vs. Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice and Boss Baby as well as box sets and doc­u­men­taries.

The ser­vice is free and the air­line plans to roll out the ex­pe­ri­ence across all of its lounges in Dubai if the trial is well re­ceived. En­try into the lounges is com­pli­men­tary for those trav­el­ling in Busi­ness or First Class as well as Emi­rates Sky­wards Sil­ver, Gold and Plat­inum mem­bers. Emi­rates Sky­wards Blue mem­bers can visit the lounge for a fee.

SMALL PLAY­ERS FLY­ING HIGH

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines has been named world No. 1 in the lat­est list of the top 10 air­lines, fol­lowed by Air New Zealand and Emi­rates.

The top 10 list rates air­lines ac­cord­ing to TripAd­vi­sor re­views by pas­sen­gers, with the big names joined by lesser-known air­lines in­clud­ing Tai­wan’s EVA Air – best known for its Hello Kitty-themed plane – which ranked fifth; Bri­tish low-cost car­rier Jet2.com (No. 7) and Brazil-based Azul (No. 9).

Other top 10 stars in­clude Ja­pan Air­lines at No. 4, South­west Air­lines (No. 6), Qatar Air­ways (No. 8) and Korean Air (No. 10).

Qan­tas picked up a gong as the best air­line in Aus­tralia.

Air New Zealand was named the best air­line in the South Pa­cific re­gion, with both Qan­tas and Vir­gin Aus­tralia run­ners-up.

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines took the hon­ours for the best first class and econ­omy of­fer­ings, while Qatar Air­ways was named the best busi­ness class air­line, and Air New Zealand was named best for pre­mium econ­omy. TRIPAD­VI­SOR.COM

GRAND JOUR­NEYS

G’Day Rail has se­cured the re­tired 1962 South­ern Aurora sleeper train and is restor­ing the car­riages to their first-class grandeur with three Aus­tralian tours launch­ing in July.

“Think Priscilla Queen of the Desert meets Ori­ent Ex­press,” said G’Day Rail founder Rod­ney Clancy. “Artists and per­form­ers will stay on the train with guests so we an­tic­i­pate the lounge car will be a lively af­fair.”

The one- to three-night itin­er­ar­ies will set off from Syd­ney in July with re­gional cui­sine, tours and ac­tiv­i­ties part of the pack­age. The train ac­com­mo­dates 140 guests in twin and sin­gle cab­ins. Ev­ery cabin has its own toi­let with the twin cab­ins of­fer­ing a pri­vate shower.

There will also be a spe­cial Oc­to­ber tour, War­birds Dow­nun­der, a three-day re­turn ex­pe­ri­ence from Syd­ney to Temora cel­e­brat­ing the largest gath­er­ing of war­bird air­craft in Aus­tralia. GDAYRAIL.COM.AU

LAID-BACK? NOT US

We can’t stand a shared bath­room, won’t tol­er­ate a sec­ond-rate room – and a dirty cup in a ho­tel room might just be enough to send us pack­ing.

Aus­tralia has be­come a na­tion of trav­el­ling di­vas, ac­cord­ing to new from hos­tel book­ing site Hostel­world, which found 72 per cent of Aussies de­mand a pri­vate bath­room when trav­el­ling,

58 per cent would refuse to stay in their booked ac­com­mo­da­tion if they were given a dif­fer­ent room than orig­i­nally promised, and a quar­ter would leave if a cup was dirty.

The study of 1500 Aus­tralians found 52 per cent count hand sani­tiser as a hol­i­day es­sen­tial and 41 per cent take their own pil­low.

The re­search is part of a new cam­paign by Hostel­world, which has en­listed Mariah Carey to star in an ad un­der the tagline “Even di­vas are be­liev­ers”.

De­signed to il­lus­trate how much hos­tels have changed over the past decade, the ad is set in Barcelona’s Casa Gra­cia – a hos­tel so im­pres­sive, not even Carey can refuse a stay.

“Many peo­ple still don’t re­alise just how much hos­tels have changed over the past decade," says Hostel­world global head of brand, Marek Mos­sakowski. HOSTEL­WORLD.COM

YOU BE THE GUIDE

Did some­one say free hol­i­day? If you've ever fan­cied your­self as a travel critic, here’s your chance. The Nine Net­work is cur­rently re­cruit­ing for the next sea­son of its travel re­al­ity show Travel Guides. Film­ing will start in July, and Nine is of­fer­ing new tal­ent a chance to head off or a se­ries of all-ex­penses paid trips – ev­ery­thing from five-star ho­tels to camp­ing.

Po­ten­tial Travel Guides must love to travel, rel­ish new ex­pe­ri­ences, ex­press their opin­ions and en­joy And they must be avail­able to travel the world between July and Oc­to­ber this year. Ap­pli­ca­tions close April 22. TRAVELGUIDESTV.COM.AU

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

Anan­tara Ki­havah Mal­dives, with a cir­cu­lar bar fit­ted with over­sized daybeds, is ac­ces­si­ble only by char­tered flight.

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