RAISE THE BAR SKY HIGH
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 only 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 research 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 on 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 having a laugh. And they must be available to travel the world between July and October this year.
Applications close April 22.