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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Playa Hotels readies expansion

Expect big things to come from Playa Hotels & Resorts, which last year opened Hyatt Zilara Cancun for families and Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos for adults only.

On December 1, Playa will unveil the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, which is undergoing a major renovation with 75 percent of the resort receiving a facelift. In the summer of 2015, Playa will unveil the Hyatt Ziva Cancun where renovations will include a new lobby and the doubling of the resort’s dolphin experience. Both properties were previously operated as Dreams Resorts.

Playa has tagged and trademarked the slogan The Evolution of All Inclusives. Some of the bells and whistles of service include tequila sommeliers and chef dinners set in private dining rooms for seven-course meals. Resorts even feature Romance concierges and beach butlers.

International News

The most expensive luxury hotel in the US is in … Montana?

Forget Park Avenue or Beverly Hills. The most expensive luxury hotel in the United States is a property you may not know: the Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana. In fact, most of the top 10 wallet-busters are far from urban centers. ranked the most expensive US luxury hotels by checking prices for the most affordable rooms from May 26 through September 1, 2014. The all-inclusive Ranch at Rock Creek, southeast of Missoula, came in tops with an average nightly rate of US$2,138.

Second was The Point in Saranac Lake, New York, at US$2,138. By comparison, the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, the most expensive luxury hotel in New York City, showed an average summer price of US$874 for its least expensive room, ranking it 17th overall. Here are the rest of the resorts that made the top 10:

3. US$1,847 a night: Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana

4. US$1,769 a night: Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming

5. US$1,620 a night: Amangiri at Canyon Point, Utah

6. US$1,581 a night: Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont

7. US$1,454 a night: Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, California

8. US$1,276 a night: Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

9. US$1,273 a night, Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California

10. US$1,247 a night: Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona

Air News

New Paris-to-New York airline promises incredible fares

The fledgling new French airline named La Compagnie (French for “The Company”) launched operations on July 12 with both an exclusive seating class and an exclusive route between New York’s Newark (New Jersey) Airport and Paris Charles De Gaulle, the only route it flies. Using a Boeing 757-200, the aircraft has 74 angled flat business class seats.

Over the summer they’re charging less for business class than many carriers are charging for economy class. A business class roundtrip fare is 1,100 € (US$1,500) including all taxes, fees, and surcharges for the lowest restricted fare, regardless of which side of the Atlantic you’re originating on. The fare is available at the last minute with no minimum stay requirements.

And it gets even better than that. If two people are traveling, they have a special for 1,776 € roundtrip for two people that brings down the per person fare to 888 € (US$1,200).

Ready to book your La Compagnie ticket? Too bad! Amazingly enough La Compagnie still doesn’t have a website in English or one that works in North America. So if you’re in the States or Mexico, you’ll need an IP (or friend) in Europe to book your ticket. (It’s rather unbelievable to be operating an airline between two markets without passengers in one of those markets being able to book tickets!)

If you live in New York or Paris and want to fly transatlantic, this is a value that’s really tough to beat. Now, I wouldn’t book too far in advance because I’d be shocked if they’re around for more than a few months, but this is a heck of a deal.

In-flight meal service menus are created by Christophe Langree, the Michelin-starred chef of Hôtel Matignon in Paris, which serves as the official residence of the Prime Minister of France.

And the world’s best airline is…

Cathay Pacific became the first airline to earn the prestigious World Airline Award as the Best Airline four times, as it was named the 2014 winner at the Farnborough International Air Show in England. It previously won the Best Airline title in 2003, 2005 and 2009.

The awards, run by the British aviation consultancy and research firm Skytrax, are one of the most respected and high-profile in the aviation industry. They are based on surveys of more than 18 million airline passengers in 100 countries.

US-based airlines were shut out of the Top 20 as carriers from Asia and the Middle East dominated the Top 10.

Best Airlines 2014:

1. Cathay Pacific Airways

2. Qatar Airways

3. Singapore Airlines

4. Emirates

5. Turkish Airlines

6. ANA All Nippon Airways

7. Garuda Indonesia

8. Asiana Airlines

9. Etihad Airways

10. Lufthansa

Singapore Airlines won the World Airlines Award for best First Class cabin, Qatar took to the crown for best Business Class and Korea’s Asiana was named best Economy Class.

Deal of the Week

Uniworld single savings in 2015

Uniworld has waived the single supplement on a number of itineraries and dates on many popular 2015 sailings including:

•Burgundy & Provence, Avignon to Lyon, 8 Days – March, April & August

•Tulips & Windmills, Amsterdam to Antwerp, 10 Days – March

•Castles along the Rhine, Basel to Amsterdam, 8 Days – March, April, July & August

•Bordeaux, Vineyards & Châteaux, Bordeaux to Bordeaux, 8 Days – March & August

•Enchanting Danube, Budapest to Passau, 8 Days – April, June, July, August & November

•Eastern Europe Explorer, Budapest to Bucharest, 10 Days – April & August


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in designing tours, cruises and independent travel for discerning travelers. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone at 415-111-8765, email, or view the latest travel specials on the website

Sources: Travel Pulse, Los Angeles Times, Uniworld


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