Taking flight in early 2021, luxury hotel company Four Seasons has unveiled plans for a lavish new private jet that will feature a lounge for spa treatments, expert lectures and cooking classes. Samuel Ballard reports
Already well known for some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts, Four Seasons will be launching a new fully customised long-range Airbus A321neo for private jet holidays. The group first debuted it own branded private jets in 2015 but this new plane takes the experience to the next level.
Bespoke fittings have been created with modern-day air travel in mind. There will be handcrafted Italian leather seats by Optimares that convert into fully flat beds with 6.5ft of space, hotel-style washrooms with sumptuous toiletries, and even a companion ottoman if you fancy a meal with one of your fellow passengers.
“When designing the new Four Seasons Private Jet, we were inspired by the glamour and prestige of air travel in times past, when every flight was a special occasion,” says Dana Kalczak, Four Seasons vice-president of design. “With a laser focus on comfort and functionality, our aim is to create an environment that encourages spontaneous social interaction between everyone on board, reinforcing the power of connection.”Offering the comfort and services of a hotel in the air, Four Seasons wants to evoke the “magic of a bygone era”. The jet will host just 48 passengers (normally this aircraft would accommodate 244 people) and will even offer personalised in-flight experiences – a first for the industry.
In a dedicated lounge designed for socialising, there will be facials with wellness experts, private tutorials with expert wildlife photographers, and even cooking lessons with the chef. This means that for those lucky enough to afford it, the holiday continues in the sky.
Four Seasons director of guest experience, Javier Loureiro, says: “By connecting our guests with our ‘Four Seasons Masters’ during flight, we’re offering exclusive and even more enriching experiences for our guests to go home with.”
On the St Petersburg to Paris leg of a Four Seasons private jet multi-top journey, for instance, travellers will get to sample rare and exceptional vintages with an in-house master sommelier.
The high-end cuisine is also inspired by the jet’s destinations, with locally sourced ingredients that will take into account people’s unique dietary requirements.
Christian Clerc, president of worldwide hotel operations, says: “Guests journeying with us in 2021 will be the first to travel aboard our brand new, industry-leading aircraft, featuring modern, guest-centric design, [and] a spacious lounge area.”
Four Seasons has also added new destinations to its private jet holiday itineraries, including Jordan, Egypt, Easter Island and Angkor Wat, as well as stops at two new Four Seasons properties in Athens and Madrid. Prices start from a US$167,000 per person.
In 2021, the Ancient Explorer journey will last 24 days and encompass: Miami, Mexico City, Easter Island, Bora Bora, the Great Barrier Reef, Bangkok or Koh Samui, Jordan, the Pyramids, Athens and Madrid.Just like a hotel, the onboard team includes a Four Seasons director of guest experience, concierge, journey manager, assistant journey manager, private jet chef and physician. In addition, the cabin and flight crews are all fully Four Seasons-trained.
“We’re continually pushing the limits of conventional air travel,” says Loureiro.
Although the jet will travel at normal speeds, it is the closest thing to “flight cruises” (proposed in a recent trend report by British Airways) that Globetrender has come across. Up until now, the only “lifestyle” features planes have had in modern times are bars and showers, typically on newer B787 and A380 planes for first and business class passengers.
However, Four Seasons’ forthcoming A320neo will set a new benchmark for flying, turning it into an experience that truly is an extension of a vacation rather than simply a means of getting to a destination.
Although many airlines today offer phenomenally comfortable premium cabins, the future will deliver planes configured with co-working spaces, meeting rooms, cinemas, virtual reality zones, spas, restaurants, play zones and gyms, just like a cruise ship.
Aim Altitude recently unveiled designs for social spaces on planes, which you can read about here.