Qantas' first direct Perth to London service arriving in London

Qantas’ first Perth to London flight has taken off, marking the start of the only direct air link between Australia and Europe – and the fastest way of traveling between the two continents.

The history-making QF9, carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, pushed back just before 7pm on Saturday evening and landed in London at 5am on Sunday.

Operated by a Boeing 787-9, the flight reduces total travel time by eliminating stopovers and taking advantage of the most favourable winds on any given day without having to factor in a mid-point in the Middle East or Asia when choosing a flight path.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who was one of the passengers on the inaugural flight, described it as a major milestone for Australia as well as global aviation.

“This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel. For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link,” said Mr Joyce.

“The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947. Now we can do it in a single leap.

“The response to the flight has been amazing, both for the attention it’s received since we announced it and the bookings we’ve seen coming in. It’s great for Australian tourism, for business travellers and for people visiting friends and family on both sides of the world.”

Mr Joyce said a huge amount of work had gone into improving the experience for customers taking the 17-hour journey.

“This is hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky.

“Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jetlag, turbulence and noise. We’ve taken that a step further with our cabin design, giving passengers more space in every class as well as bigger entertainment screens and more personal storage.

“We’ve worked with the University of Sydney and our consulting chef Neil Perry to create a menu that helps the body cope better with jetlag and adjusted the timing of when we serve food to encourage sleep.”

The daily QF9 begins in Melbourne, flying to Perth before then flying non-stop to London. Qantas has adjusted the timing of some domestic services into Perth so that passengers from Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane can join the flight to London.

This first flight coincided with the opening of the airline’s new Perth International Transit Lounge featuring jetlag reducing lighting as well as pre-flight stretching classes, and relocating all of the airline’s domestic and international flights into a single terminal at Perth Airport for faster, smoother connections.

Mr Joyce added: “I’d like to specially recognise the support and cooperation of the Federal Government, the West Australian Government and Perth Airport. Without their help this flight, and all its broader benefits, wouldn’t be happening.”

Qantas chose its newest Dreamliner ‘Emily’ to operate the inaugural service, which features a striking livery by Balarinji based on the artwork Yam Dreaming by Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. The initiative is part of the national carrier’s commitment to promoting the best of Australia to the world.

From today, Qantas customers can choose from three routes between Australia and London – the direct Perth-London service on the Dreamliner; a reinstated Sydney-Singapore-London service on the A380; and via Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to London via Dubai with partner Emirates on mix of A380 and 777 aircraft.

Source: Qantas

Stretching classes, jetlag-reducing lights and an outdoor terrace: the new Qantas Perth Lounge

Qantas customers will benefit from stretching classes, jetlag-reducing lights and an outdoor terrace in the airline’s new transit lounge at Perth Airport as part of the airline’s new approach at improving health and comfort.

The Perth International Transit Lounge was unveiled ahead of the inaugural Perth to London Dreamliner service. It has been designed by Australian Industrial designer David Caon and SUMU design, in consultation with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre using an evidence-based approach to wellness.

The lounge offers a range of unique features including ‘light therapy’ in the shower suites to help adjust the body clock, a wellbeing studio with stretching classes and a refresh area providing hydrating face products. Customers can dine in an open-air terrace with a BBQ serving gourmet dishes by Neil Perry.

Qantas Head of Customer Product & Service, Philip Capps, said an emphasis on wellness in the lounge design was a whole new approach to long-haul travel.

“We’ve brought together some of Australia’s best culinary, design and scientific minds to create a lounge experience that will help set our customers up to feel better throughout their journey,” said Mr Capps.

“This sophisticated lounge is the ideal space for customers to unwind in between flights. The design reflects the natural beauty of the WA landscape through natural light and colour choices, and offers some of the best local food and wine.”

Charles Perkins Centre Professor of Sleep Medicine, Peter Cistulli, said the overarching goal was to enhance the passenger travel experience and optimise wellbeing.

“We’ve worked with the University of Sydney’s School of Physics to create an airline-first bespoke body clock intervention using bright light to help kick start the adjustment of customers’ body clocks. Applying light at appropriate times helps reduce the effects of jet lag,” Professor Cistulli said.

“The lounge is just one aspect of our partnership with Qantas to improve the wellbeing of travellers. We’ve also worked together to influence the menu and timing of the food and drinks service on the Perth to London route, cabin lighting design and temperature in the 787 and we are interested in seeing how customers will respond.”

A summary of the lounge features is below.

  • Seating for 141 customers
  • Multiple USB and charging ports, wireless printing, Wi-Fi and TV screens
  • 15 shower suites
  • Sofitel service


  • Designed in collaboration between SUMU Design and lead designer of the Qantas 787 Dreamliner interiors, David Caon
  • The interior is spacious and modern, and the neutral colour palette is inspired by the white sands of the WA coastline
  • The unique curved ceiling promotes the infiltration of natural light.


  • Seasonal menus by Neil Perry from Rockpool
  • Outdoor BBQ with chefs cooking gourmet sausages from local Perth butcher Princi Smallgoods, and vegetables such as grilled mushrooms and corn on the cob
  • Premium hot and cold buffet serving light dishes including soups with homemade damper, healthy salad bowls, crudité and dips
  • Full service bar with premium wine and beer from Australia, including the Margaret River region
  • Hydration station – Quench – serving drinks including fruit-infused water, sparkling water and tisane (herbal tea)
  • Barista coffee.


  • The bathrooms feature ‘light therapy’ in the shower suites to help adjust the body clock – customers can activate bright light via a switch for 15 minute sessions. The light therapy is intended to accelerate the adjustment of the body clock to the destination time zone, increase alertness and combat the effects of jetlag
  • A wellbeing studio offering stretching and breathing classes focusing on mindfulness and getting the body moving. They will be held every 15 minutes pre and post flight with a yoga teacher from Perth’s leading eco-luxe day spa group, Bodhi J Wellness Spa Retreats
  • Classes will be based on customers’ needs such as calming and grounding sequences for those departing on the flight to London and stretches to loosen and invigorate muscles for those arriving in Perth.
  • A refresh area with luxury Aurora Spa products specially made for Qantas including a face cleanser, hydrating face mist and moisturiser
  • Outdoor open-air terrace with natural light, boosting vitamin D and aiding sleep.

The Perth International Transit Lounge is located in the new T3/T4 integrated domestic and international passenger hub at Perth Airport. The international wing features a streamlined immigration and customs area, a large outdoor deck with alfresco seating, food and beverage outlets and a Duty Free store.

The lounge is open to customers transiting in Perth when travelling on QF9 from Melbourne to London and QF10 from London to Melbourne. It is also open to customers beginning their journey in Perth to London. Eligible customers include customers travelling in Business, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers, oneworld Emerald and Sapphire customers and Qantas Club members and their guests.

The University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre is working with Qantas to help develop the airline’s new approach to long-haul travel. This is the first integrated, multidisciplinary collaboration between an airline and a university around health pre, during and post flight. The Centre brings together researchers across a variety of fields from nutrition to physical activity, sleep and complex systems modelling.

The inaugural Qantas 787 Dreamliner from Perth to London departed WST on 24 March. The Qantas Dreamliner seats 236 passengers in a three-class cabin with 42 Business Suites, 28 Premium Economy and 166 seats in Economy.

Source: Qantas

'Ten and Timeless', Southern Ocean Lodge Celebrates a Decade's Contribution to South Australia's Regional Economy

Kangaroo Island’s multi award-winning luxury retreat Southern Ocean Lodge celebrates ten years of operations this month, offering a chance to reflect on the boost generated to the island and South Australian economies over the decade.

The Baillie Lodges property envisioned by life and business partners James and Hayley Baillie was an ambitious project for its location on Kangaroo Island’s remote, pristine southwest coast, demanding some five years’ planning and approvals in the lead up to opening on March 29, 2008.

Designed by Kangaroo Island-born architect Max Pritchard, Southern Ocean Lodge appears to float along its clifftop position and represents a new breed of luxury, where the wildly beautiful location is reflected indoors, and local artworks, sculptures and custom furnishings create a timeless appeal.

Over the past ten years, Southern Ocean Lodge has welcomed more than 37,000 guests to stay from across 40 different countries, with international and domestic visitors arriving in roughly equal numbers. Southern Ocean Lodge has attracted its share of loyal fans, with almost 200 guests returning for ten or more stays at over this time.

In 2017 tourism to Kangaroo Island (KI) brought $137m^ in visitor expenditure to the South Australian economy, on track for an expected $168m contribution by 2020. More than 130 tourism businesses support 500 jobs on the island. A comparison of data from the Survey of Tourist Accommodation* (STA) on Kangaroo Island shows accommodation revenue grew from $6.4m in FY2008 to $16.8m in FY2016, an increase of 163 per cent.

Essential to the Southern Ocean Lodge concept is a ‘sense of place’, where guests are treated to a world-class menu created exclusively from local ingredients – from American River oysters and Southrock free-range lamb to sustainably produced marron and barramundi – enjoyed with a help-yourself bar of fine South Australian wine and small-batch beers and spirits.

On average every month, Southern Ocean Lodge’ local produce orders include:

  • 1200 bottles of premium South Australian wine
  • 14 bottles of KI Spirits Wild Gin
  • 55 kg of live Kangaroo Island marron
  • 390 dozen or 4680 KI free range eggs
  • 85 fresh KI pheasants and 85 fresh KI partridges
  • 65 sustainably produced barramundi from KI’s Parndana School
  • 50 dozen South Australian oysters, from American River and Coffin Bay
  • 85 kg of KI Sheep’s milk yoghurt
  • 345 litres of Fleurieu Peninsula milk and cream.

To mark the milestone, Hayley Baillie has compiled a journal-style book, A Celebration of Timeless Design, charting the journey of the lodge from planning through construction and its first ten years of operation. The book champions the local operators who have played an integral role in the project, including tour operators, food and wine producers, artists, furniture designers and sandstone workers.

A new airport lounge accessible exclusively to Southern Ocean Lodge guests will also be unveiled mid-year, designed by architect Max Pritchard as part of the redevelopment of Kingscote Airport.

South Australian Tourism Commission Chief Executive Rodney Harrex said the standards set by Southern Ocean Lodge over its ten-year tenure had been incredibly high and were a benchmark for high end luxury tourism experiences.

“Congratulations to Southern Ocean Lodge on this incredible milestone. The team are doing great work in building the profile of the region, creating jobs and supporting local communities and industries – all while providing guests a world class experience,” Mr Harrex said.

“The luxury retreat has a strong reputation globally and is a key economic driver for Kangaroo Island.”

Luxury Lodges of Australia Executive Officer Penny Rafferty said Southern Ocean Lodge marked a new era in Australian luxury lodging, with a new breed of super high end, experience-focused lodges established around this time in remarkable destinations around the country.

“Southern Ocean Lodge was an absolute catalyst and leader in the luxury lodge field. The magnitude and plain gutsiness of the project was unlike anything we’d seen previously in Australia,” Ms Rafferty said.

“It gave quality tourism and hospitality operators the confidence to invest deeply in this style of high-end experiential product in incredible, often very remote Australian regions. It was a game changer for Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and Australia globally.”

Baillie Lodges’ James Baillie said Southern Ocean Lodge had been an incredible achievement both professionally and personally for him and his wife Hayley.

“We were really up against it from the start. Southern Ocean Lodge is in a remote, difficult location, where the next stop south is Antarctica. But we both really believed in the project and were determined to see it through,” Mr Baillie said.

“To see Southern Ocean Lodge thriving a decade on, exceeding guest expectations and recognised as setting the bar in luxury lodgings makes Hayley and I feel proud and privileged for the opportunity.”

Source: Southern Ocean Lodge

Aman announces first destination in Mexico - Amanvari - Opening 2020

Aman is pleased to announce the debut of Amanvari, a peaceful escape and private oasis nestled between mountains and sea on the East Cape of the Baja Peninsula. Gracing the calm shores of the Sea of Cortes, Amanvari is scheduled to open in 2020. Comprising a hotel and private residences, Amanvari takes its name from the Sanskrit-derived words for “peace” and “water.”

Framed by the majestic Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, and hugged by the golden sand dunes of its own stretch of beach, Amanvari sits on a canvas of contrasts that was once the site of a hacienda where horses roamed free. The resort will be an otherworldly oasis offering moments of solitude in a dramatic desert landscape enveloped by the gentle calming waters of the Sea of Cortes.

Los Angeles-based real estate firm Irongate will develop Amanvari, Aman’s first property in Mexico which is set within Costa Palmas, a private beachfront resort community with 3 kilometres of swimmable beach. Irongate, in collaboration with Aman, has commissioned architects Heah & Co. who have approached the design of Amanvari with the overriding objective of allowing the surreal landscape to take centre stage.

Nestled between the sea and the mountains, each hotel pavilion at Amanvari will be like a serene island rising from the boundless terrain, allowing the lush flora and fauna to flow uninterrupted below. Resting on slender legs, the stilted structures are in keeping with Aman’s design ethos of ensuring that the destination informs the resort vision.

The resort comprises 20 bi-level hotel pavilions, each offering a generosity of space both inside and out. The pavilions will be spread across the resort’s bucolic landscape and boast floor to ceiling windows that open onto an outdoor terrace and wraparound sundeck, some with a cantilevered pool.

The main pavilion at Amanvari will form the heart of the resort presenting an open-air atrium set on the beach. This pavilion will be a destination where guests and residents enjoy three restaurants, a library and lounge, as well as a 30-metre infinity pool incorporating four hot tubs. The Aman Spa pavilion is planned to be steps from the main pavilion along a treed pathway, nestled at the heart of the site.

For those looking for a more permanent Aman lifestyle, an initial release of only 24 whole-ownership Aman Residences will be offered for sale. Set at the edge of the dunes, with panoramic Sea of Cortes views, facing the adjacent golf course, or within the organic farms, the collection of Aman Residences will range from four- to seven-bedrooms spanning from 1,207 to 1,858 square metres of covered indoor-outdoor living.

An extension of the Amanvari design aesthetic, the Aman Residences will be designed by Heah & Co., in collaboration with the families that choose to make Amanvari home. The residence homeowners will work directly with Heah & Co to customise their own version of the Aman Residence, which may include any combination of pavilions for bedrooms, theatre, fitness, yoga or a casual family room.

Chairman and CEO of Aman, Vladislav Doronin says “As we continue to evolve Aman, staying true to our ethos, brand and the lifestyle it offers, is our guiding force. Our number one priority is embracing our pathfinder spirit, and with it, introducing our guests to new destinations and experiences. In the context of Amanvari, the raw landscape on the East Cape of the Baja Peninsula, is a fitting location for our first destination in Mexico and illustrates our continued commitment to curating resorts of architectural distinction. We look forward to delivering an adventure that is a cultural and spiritual odyssey, as well as a discovery and celebration of its terroir.”

“It is an incredible honour and a dream come true for me to have an Aman resort at Costa Palmas,” says Jason Grosfeld, Chairman and CEO of Irongate. “It is a testament to the beauty of the East Cape that Aman has selected Costa Palmas to be their first destination in Mexico. The unique combination of desert, mountains and palm oasis provides us with an opportunity to create an architectural masterpiece at the edge of the Sea of Cortes. We are thrilled to have Aman join the collection of international brands at Costa Palmas.”

In addition to Amanvari, the Costa Palmas master plan includes a Robert Trent Jones II golf course, 18-acres of organic farms, the private members-only Costa Palmas Beach & Yacht Club to which residence owners will be invited to join, and Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas. Amanvari is set on a stretch of white sand beach at the westernmost edge of the community and will be an architectural jewel and restorative sanctuary.

A 45-minute drive from Los Cabos International Airport ventures away from the popular destination of Los Cabos and takes guests to the East Cape, where there are few tourists. Aman is presenting a rare opportunity to experience an entirely unique side of Mexico and a surreal landscape—one of golden beaches and desert roads that wind to rarely touched mountain trails, clear freshwater swimming holes, waterfalls, and sleepy fishing villages. Diving with migrant whales, sailing and fishing expeditions, fresh water pond visits with a resident biologist and visits to local ranches for horse riding are just a few of the experiences that await Amanvari guests and residents.

Privacy is the ultimate luxury. Aman creates sanctuaries that provide guests and residents with the feeling they so desire—of solitude, of being away from it all, but yet a sense of belonging. Tucked away in a far corner of the thousand-acre development where the sea, the wild desert and farmland meet, Aman is part of Costa Palmas, yet geographically and elementally removed from it. Wild and natural, it envelopes guests and residents in their own private sanctuary. The silence. The stillness. The quiet is all around, except maybe the murmur of palm leaves in the gentle breeze, and the pull of the Sea of Cortes just beyond the windows.

Source: Aman

MGallery by Sofitel hotels launch ‘Inspired by Her’ across the Pacific

MGallery by Sofitel is catering to the distinct needs of female travellers with the next phase of its global offering designed especially for women and Inspired by Her.

Since Inspired by Her’s initial inception in 2013, MGallery has been refining its ground-breaking offering which is dedicated to meeting female travellers’ specific needs. Through it, MGallery has been anticipating and responding to the demands of their female clientele with exclusive services and special considerations throughout her stay.

Through tailored experiences, amenities, packages, entertainment and cuisine, Inspired by Her is about curating special moments ‘with her in mind’ and the next phase of the program, is focused on feminine enrichment.

In 2017, in support of the brand’s Inspired by Her initiative, MGallery conducted an in-depth study to examine the habits and requirements of the female traveller, with close to 3,000 participants in 4 countries – France, Italy, Great Britain and Australia. The survey found that 80% of decisions are made by women when travelling and 86% of them (including 80% of men) favoured a female-oriented hospitality program.

As a result, MGallery by Sofitel is seeking to further elevate its position as a brand of choice for female travellers around the world.

Tailored services offered as part of Inspired by Her in MGallery hotels around Australia and New Zealand, include make-up mirrors, complimentary beauty items, quality hairdryers, fashion and lifestyle magazines, access to beauty appointments and an emergency kit that includes makeup remover wipes, nail polish remover, hair ties and pins, sunscreen, stockings and more.

Across Australia and New Zealand, MGallery by Sofitel hotels are also showcasing a number of enriching experiences and menu items as part of the Inspired by Her programme. Some highlights include:

The Como Melbourne: Inspired by Lady Eyre Williams who acquired the site the hotel sits upon in 1846, the South Yarra Fizz is a refreshing Elderflower Gin cocktail. The hotel owes its names to Italy’s Lake Como , where Lady Eyre Williams married Sir Edward Williams. Elderflowers grow freely in this part of Italy, hence the inspiration for the cocktail.

Harbour Rocks Hotel: Inspired by renowned Chef Maggie Beer, who is a regular guest of the hotel, the Barramundi Fillet with asparagus, tahini, pomegranate and walnut is not only inspired by Maggie Beer, but it is also one of her favourite dishes when dining at the restaurant. Adding to this, every woman staying at Harbour Rocks Hotel will receive $25 off all treatments at Endota Spa.

Hotel Lindrum: At felt restaurant, the Albacire tuna carpaccio is inspired by Stephanie Alexander, a Melbourne born and raised chef who is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest food educators. The hotel also offers a Tea Time Negroni, which is a refreshing cocktail inspired by T2 Tea founder, Maryanne Shearer, who opened her first T2 store in 1996 in Melbourne. The cocktail includes T2 Chai Tea infused with 4 Pillars Gin, Antica formula and Campari, stirred and served on ice and topped with a flower.

Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown: A bespoke house robe and eye mask set will be available to all female travellers at Hotel St Moritz. In addition, Lombardi Restaurant offers a wood-fired lasagne, which has been on the menu for 20 years. This dish was inspired by Lombardi’s opening chef, Giuseppe who was given the recipe from his mother. Despite numerous requests for guests to obtain the recipe, it remains a house secret.


To commemorate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018, MGallery by Sofitel celebrated the launch of Inspired by Her in Bangkok and in Melbourne.

The Como Melbourne hosting an elegant brunch with guest speaker Katie Sarah, the first female to conquer the Seven Summits – the seven tallest peaks on all seven continents. Renowned fashion illustrator, Kerrie Hess will be painting an ‘Inspired by Her’ illustration which will be a symbol of the Inspired by Her campaign in the Pacific.

Source: Accor Hotels