The friendly skies haven't been so friendly lately, but the Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts is trying to change that.
Starting February 2015, the luxury hotel chain will start transporting guests on three different journeys in a retrofitted Boeing 757 with interiors and an exterior customized by its team of designers. The Four Seasons logo will be painted on the fuselage and tail of the 52-seat plane.
The jet will have all the amenities of a business- or first-class section of a commercial flight: leather flatbed seats, an in-flight entertainment system, Wi-Fi, fine cuisine.
And the crew will consist of Four Seasons staff, including an in-flight concierge.
Call it a luxury suite in the sky.
"The Four Seasons Jet takes our legendary service to the skies and speaks to our pioneering spirit and the aspirations of today's modern luxury traveler in an imaginative new way," says Susan Helstab, executive vice president of marketing for Four Seasons.
It's not entirely new. Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, an Indian chain, has for years had its own air charter service that seats six people.
Still, hotels typically don't get into the aviation business, and branding a jet is not as common as chartering one. The vice versa has been done with Virgin Group, which owns Virgin Atlantic, starting Virgin Hotels.
"Branding private jets is a new move for hoteliers, although partnerships with private jet operators do exist at several boutique hospitality organizations around the world," says Maryam Wehe, senior vice president at Applied Predictive Technologies, a software company that works with hotels. "This opportunity to seamlessly experience the Four Seasons hotels is likely to keep the brand top-of-mind for luxury travelers looking for inclusive travel planning."
Reservations are open now for three packages that include airfare, hotel stays, excursions, and meals. That all comes at a hefty price, starting at $69,000 per person.
The three journeys are:
- Around the World, February 2015. A 24-day journey that begins in Los Angeles and concludes with a celebratory dinner in London. The nine destinations include the Kona in Hawaii, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Chang Mai in Thailand, the Tai Majal and Mumbai, and Istanbul. Excursions include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House and a private tour of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Cost: $119,000 per person based on double occupancy, $11,000 for a single supplement.
- Backstage with the Arts, April 2015. Guests will visit Paris, Lisbon, Milan, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Prague and Paris over 16 days. They will make backstage visits to museums and theaters such as the Duomo in Milan. A private gala in the Pavlovsk Palace outside St. Petersburg will cap the trip. Cost: $69,000 USD per person based on double occupancy, $8,000 for single supplement.
- Around the World, August 2015. Over 24 days, guests will visit Seattle, Tokyo, Beijing, the Maldives, Serengeti, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Marrakech and New York. They will stay at three of the newest Four Seasons in the world and at the chain's first safari lodge in the Serengeti. Cost: $119,000 per person based on double occupancy, $11,000 for a single supplement.