Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield packs a lot in this week, from carry-on tips to robots carrying room service, and from Bali bargains to cool cruise savings
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
The good news is that when I buy a copy of The West Australian for a measly $2.90 on Saturday (yes, I pay for mine, and it’s less than half a cup of coffee), I don’t get charged extra for the ink. It’s just a “cost of business”.
The bad news is that, increasingly in WA, I see a cleaning charge added to accommodation costs. I just saw $160 was to be added to a three-night booking I was considering, which was already $380 a night. I reckon cleaning is just a “cost of business”. And you can go a fair way on $1300.
Travellers picking their deal in Bali are getting great value. Luxury Escape has seven nights at the five-star RIMBA by AYANA Bali, pictured above, from $1999 per room, including taxes and fees. RIMBA by AYANA Bali has 14 swimming pools, three with waterslides and a swim-up bar, and sits on 90ha of clifftop land above Jimbaran Bay. The deal includes Rock Bar priority access and the property has 11 restaurants. luxuryescapes.com.au
CARRY ON, CHAPS
Seven nights in Bali strikes me as a “carry-on” only situation — so I’d be taking Justin Case, my Antler carry-on luggage. I introduced him recently, which prompted Anna Miller to ask for his measurements. Justin is 500mm x 360mm x 200mm. The last measurement is important. Lots of carry-ons are 230mm — but then some airlines restrict to 200mm. And, of course, the lighter your carry-on case is, the better.
Lots of us hanker after Rimowa original aluminium luggage but, for example, its classic carry-on weighs 4.3kg (empty) and measures 550mm x 400mm x 230mm.
Emirates specifies 550mm x 380mm x 200mm for carry-on.
America’s United Airlines is planning to use 37 million litres of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in 2023 — about three times more than in 2022 and 10 times more than in 2019. The airline will begin using a blend of SAF on departing flights from San Francisco International Airport and is planning to use a SAF blend later this year at London Heathrow Airport. United’s chief sustainability officer Lauren Riley says: “It’s remarkable to see that in just a few years United has exponentially increased its SAF use. While 37 million litres of SAF in 2023 represents a fraction of what we need, we have also made big investments in producers that are using everything from ethanol to algae, to CO2, to help increase our available future supply.”
The travel industry always seems to be trying to identify new trends, and there are those who believe sleep could be it. In fact, wellness resort Preidlhof in northern Italy now has a seven-day Sleep Better Retreat. A spokesperson says: “Guests will be fitted with a smart device to monitor their sleep throughout the stay. A plethora of treatments are included such as a sleep massage, dolomitic sleep rituals, acupuncture and sound and quartz classes.”
The program is supervised by a sleep specialist. preidlhof.it
SLEEP ON PLANES
When it comes to sleeping on planes (or trying to), the neck pillow is “standard”. . . but I rather think a face cradle travel pillow might be a better option for some. This one is $59.95 from sleepsolutions.com.au. It is specifically designed for economy class travel, and, rather than trying to keep the neck vertical (not how we usually sleep!), more closely closer replicates the feeling of being in bed.
Robots are certainly shaping up as a new trend. At the hotel Aloft Dublin City, a robot known as Lofty delivers food to rooms. The robot travels in the lift by itself, and guests are alerted once it’s outside their room. Room service can be ordered using WhatsApp emojis — a pizza emoji for a pizza. The hotel is in the heart of the Liberties on Mill Street, Dublin 8, and there’s access to rooms using a QR code.
FETCH & CARRY
Lofty is actually a robot called Relay, made by Savioke, a robot developer in San Jose, California. Other hotels have started using Relay, too. In the US, Vdara Hotel and Spa in Las Vegas have two, called Fetch and Jett, which are finished to look like a pair of dogs. (Incidentally, the hotel has a pet-friendly policy.) They can deliver all sorts of services, from food to fresh towels.
APT Cruises is going back to Antarctica. The company has just opened its 14-day Antarctic Voyage for bookings — with a saving of $2800 when two people book on the February 3, 2024, departure. APT product manager for South America and Antarctica Kelly D’Aucourt points out that this is their first cruise in polar waters since before the pandemic. She adds: “Our February 2024 cruise has just 200 places and we expect it to sell out fast.” The trip combines three nights in Buenos Aires with a 10-night cruise to Antarctica and prices start from $19,995 per person twin share, including a private return APT charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. 1300 278 278 or aptouring.com.au
A new report reveals that 34 of 185 countries analysed have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels in terms of gross domestic product. The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts that by the end of 2023, nearly half will have either fully recovered or be within 95 per cent.
It also reckons that by 2033, world tourism could employ 430 million people — 12 per cent of the work force.