Travel News: April 4, 2018

Luxury Travel By Brian Norton |

Virgin Hotels to rebrand Hard Rock Las VegasTravel Weekly

Virgin Hotels and other investors have acquired the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas and will reflag the property in the fall of 2019 after guest rooms, restaurants and other public spaces undergo renovations.

As with its Chicago hotel, the Virgin Hotels property will feature guest “chambers,” in which rooms are divided by a sliding door into one section for sleeping and the other section that includes the bathroom and a mirror-and-vanity setup.

In all, the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will have 1,504 chambers and suites as well as a 60,000-square-foot casino and multiple pools.

 

Australian Billionaire Spends $100 Million on New Fiji ResortTravel Pulse

A billionaire Australian developer has invested $100 million creating an ultra-exclusive resort in Fiji near one of the world’s largest coral reefs.

The resort, Kokomo Private Island Fiji, has just 21 villas and is located on the site of an abandoned Aman resort project.

The property, which soft opened last year, is being created with a focus on sustainability and innovation, according to Bloomberg. But at the same time, Walker said his goal is to land the property on the shortlist of the world’s best resorts.

 

DOT awards Cuba flights to American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest United airlinesUSA TODAY

The Transportation Department tentatively approved Friday four daily and six weekly flights between the U.S. and Havana, after airlines applied for slots that rivals had surrendered.

 

Viking doubles down on ocean cruises, Chinese marketChicago Tribune

When Viking Sun was christened here to great fanfare in March, the big reveal wasn’t so much the influencer Viking has become in small-ship ocean travel but its powerful connection to China.

Viking — yes, that Viking — is best known for its river ships in Europe. What you probably didn’t know: This year, Viking is offering 100 sailings on the Rhine and Danube exclusively for Chinese travelers. Mandarin is the official onboard language.

“We believe in the Chinese market,” said Torstein Hagen, Viking’s chairman. He said he expects Chinese travelers to eventually account for half of its European river cruise market.

Viking’s history with China dates to 2004, when it began operating river cruises on the Yangtze.

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