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Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is in the process of converting another private jet to its fleet in 2021, to replace its current one, which debuted in 2015 for extravagant group excursions.
Like the previous model, the new plane allows travellers to book bespoke adventures around the world, with Four Seasons arranging the trip itinerary and lodging at each stop. "Our guests are fascinated with the idea of really being in our hands for three weeks," says Christian Clerc, president of worldwide hotel operations. "We felt we had to continue to enhance the experience."
Booking for 2021 will open in the middle of this year and vary based on itinerary, which will be announced later this year; pricing on the current jet starts at $US147,000 ($A209,000) per person.
In the meantime, here's what's new:
A narrow-body Airbus A321LR aircraft, part of the new Airbus NEO family, will be tailored by Four Seasons and have room for 48 passengers. The previous model was a reconfigured Boeing 757-200ER leased by TCS World Travel (a luxury tour operator) from TAG Aviation that fit 52 passengers in lie-flat seats.
The company chose the Airbus model because it allowed for greater customisation and can go on longer flights, enabling more direct flights, Clerc says.
From the renderings provided by Four Seasons (take a look in the gallery above), interiors seem more sedate with earth-toned carpeting and matching pillows, instead of the spritely blue-and-orange color scheme of the previous jet. One of the key features in the new model is a lounge area, including a full bar staffed with a mixologist. The idea is to allow guests to mingle in the new space and learn from staff about the next destination through hands-on seminars.
"We wanted it to be functional but also very elegant so you don't have a lot of clutter there," Clerc says.
The seating area has been similarly re-thought to emphasis socialising. Custom-made seats by Optimares, with leather from Italian producer Poltrona Frau, are now paired with personal ottomans to allow travellers to speak face-to-face more comfortably, not just side by side. Bonus: when the beds are extended flat, the ottomans also extend the bed length.
And importantly, the bathrooms are larger and more elegant, says Clerc, "the closest you'll have to a residential bathroom."
The In-Flight Experiences
Mitigating in-flight boredom is a top concern of Four Seasons. In the lounge area, a series of artisans will showcase their craft in interactive workshops. For instance, guests can meet and learn from Four Seasons chefs, mixologists, wellness experts and arts/culture specialists.
Each seat will also equipped with an individual iPad for video streaming.
The Culinary Updates
On the new jet, Four Seasons chefs have an expanded gallery area to create menus inspired by the travel journey and whip up spur-of-the-moment surprises, says the company.There will also be more than one executive chef during the journey, to mix up the culinary styles; currently there is a single chef for the entire journey. Clerc says this will allow for even more customisation around individual tastes.