Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

IDEAS: Destination Canada Launches New Winter Pickleball Spa

1 month ago

Destination Canada has launched the the DinkDunk Pickleball Spa, the world’s first pop-up winter pickleball spa.

Canada's DinkDunk Pickleball Spa – the world’s first winter Pickleball Spa.
Credit: Destination Canada

The experience will give visitors the opportunity to take part in a game of America’s fastest growing sport, followed by a cold plunge inspired by the latest wellness trend taking hold of the internet.

A reservation at the experience will also include access to the spa amenities on-site, including massages, a sauna, a hot tub, fire pits and a selection of snacks. 

“We’re pretty excited to introduce the DinkDunk Pickleball Spa, a place where cool dinks meet cold dunks all set in a classic Canadian winter wonderland. We welcome pickleball pros, newbies, and anyone looking to try something new to visit Canada this season,” said Gloria Loree, Chief marketing officer at Destination Canada in a release.

The DinkDunk Pickleball Spa will be open to the public for one week only from March 16, 2024.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: Foster + Partners Reveal Concept Art for Saudi Arabia’s Expo 2025 Model Village

3 months ago

Foster + Partners has released concept images of its design for the pavilion for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Expo 2025, taking place in Osaka, Japan.

Credit: Foster + Partners

The pavilion will be located on the Yumeshima waterfront, and has been designed to create a ‘spatial experience that echoes the exploration of Saudi Arabian towns and cities,’ according to a release from Foster + Partners.

The pavilion has taken inspiration from the organic textures and shapes of traditional Saudi villages, and will be built around a central courtyard – called the ‘Saudi Courtyard’ – which will provide a space for quiet reflection during the day whilst transforming into a venue for performances and events at night. 

Credit: Foster + Partners

From the courtyard, visitors will be able to explore a series of meandering ‘streets’ that will provide entry to a number of immersive spaces.

Credit: Foster + Partners

The pavilion, which will have the ability to be ‘deconstructed and reassembled, or completely reconfigured, to meet different requirements in a future location,’ will also be made from low carbon materials, and feature a host of sustainable features.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Food and Drink

IDEAS: Immersive Hospitality Concept, Level 8, Debuts at Moxy & AC Hotel Downtown LA

4 months ago

Conceived by Mark and Jonnie Houston, in collaboration with Mitchell Hochberg of Lightstone, Level 8 is a multi-layered hospitality concept spread across 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space at the Moxy & AC Hotel Downtown LA.

The new concept encompasses eight distinct maze-like destinations that offer a range of dining, drinking and entertainment experiences.

As you can see from the video above, Level 8 is very design-focused, with a number of themed rooms that have taken inspiration from global experiences, that according to a release, are all ‘held together by their link to Downtown LA’.

Credit: Michael Kleinberg
Credit: Michael Kleinberg

The Level 8 experience is told through the eyes of its fictional founder, ‘Mr. Wanderlust’, and boasts a range of experiential elements including a 40-foot harp, a speakeasy which is entered through a waterfall, a rotating carousel bar, and a space that has been modeled on a 19th-century cathedral. 

Credit: Michael Kleinberg

You can see the full list of spaces on offer below:

  • Mr. Wanderlust: A lively piano bar and jazz lounge
  • Lucky Mizu by Chef Hisae Stuck: An experience inspired by the Japanese art of cooking with water.
  • Maison Kasai by Chef Joshua Gil:  A French-Teppanyaki experience.
  • Qué Bárbaro by Chef Ray Garcia: A South American live fire grill.
  • Golden Hour: A rooftop pool deck.
  • The Brown Sheep: A food truck serving Mexican street food. 
  • Mother of Pearl: An al fresco oyster and ceviche bar.
  • Sinners y Santos: A bar modeled around a 19th-century cathedral.

More information on Level 8 can be found here.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Airlines

IDEAS: Air France to Celebrate 90th Anniversary With Fashion Exhibition in Paris 

6 months ago

Air France is set to commemorate its 90th anniversary with a fashion exhibition that will take over the window display at the Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann.  

The exhibition, which will run from 28 September to 10 October 2023, will showcase five dresses designed by Xavier Ronze, head of the costume design workshops at the Paris Opera Ballet. 

Credit: Air France

The designer took inspiration for the dresses from the signature hallmarks of the airline, including aircraft and technology, uniforms and fashion, its iconic posters, fine dining and tableware, and design and architecture.

In addition to the window display, the exhibition will also feature a selection of vintage Air France memorabilia, as well as a number of pop-up stores carrying items that have been specially created or reissued to commemorate the anniversary.

Visitors will also have the chance to attend real fashion shows retracing the company’s uniform heritage, with models dressed in the uniforms of pilots, cabin crew, airport staff and mechanics taking over a dedicated area of the store.

Air France boasts a rich history of collaborating with famous fashion houses to design its crew uniforms, encapsulating the essence of ‘French elegance’, as demonstrated in the video below:


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ground Transport

IDEAS: Amphibious Caravan Merges Camping and Sea Transport

7 months ago

Sealvans, a Turkish start-up founded in 2020, has begun taking orders for its new amphibious caravans in Europe following the completion of successful R&D studies.

The hybrid camper-boats have been designed to offer a seamless way to explore land and sea using a single vehicle – operating as a traditional caravan on land and a fully functioning boat on water. 

The Sealvans come in two size options, with the Seal 4.20m designed to comfortably accommodate two adults, while the larger Seal 7.50m provides enough space to accommodate a family of four. 

Inside the larger Sealvans model, the flexible layout can be divided into two separate bedrooms at night, while during day time there is enough space for a dining area, sitting area and shower room, all encompassed by panoramic windows. 

Credit: Sealvans

Although an interesting concept the Sealvan is not the first of its kind with the DepartureOne, Caracat and Sealander already in operation. 


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Food and Drink

IDEAS: Putting Surprise and Storytelling at the Center of ‘Dinner’ in Dubai

9 months ago

‘Dinner’ by Heston Blumenthal, which recently opened in Dubai at Atlantis The Royal, offers guests a “relaxed” dining experience driven by spectacle and storytelling. As consumer expectations rise, chefs are constantly upping the ante for not just their cuisine, but also the dining experience in order to stand out to guests.

The menu explores “the tastes and flavors of Britain dating back as far as the 13th century, from the farmers’ table to the royal courts of England,” according to the restaurant. Similar to the elaborate feasts of middle ages in Britain, Blumenthal uses the element of surprise to delight and entertain guests.

Credit: Atlantis The Royal/Dinner Dubai

As guests enter, a giant pineapple rotisserie ‘escapement’ (clock) greets diners and features an intricate spit pulley system that also turns the roasting fruit. It was based on a 16th century clockwork design used for the British Royal Court. “Pineapples, historically, were unbelievably expensive, they were seen as unbelievable luxury… and so ours will signify adventure, exploration and discovery,” Blumenthal notes.

Dinner’s Meat Fruit is an example of edible history that employs surprise to turn a traditional medieval dish from the 1500’s called Pome Dorres, or “apples of gold,” into contemporary cuisine. One of the Blumenthal’s most iconic dishes, it is essentially chicken liver parfait disguised as a mandarin, and requires three cooks to work five hours every day to construct. No one ever said fine-dining was easy.

Credit: Atlantis The Royal/Dinner Dubai

The restaurant has already received a Michelin Star “Special Award”, which was also bestowed to two other restaurants at Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal.


At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects defining the future of hotels and the guest experience, including in-person experiences and activations that utilize a physical environment to impact an end user. 

If you have an exciting project to share, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and submit your entry today.

Hotels

Canyon Ranch to Expand Wellness Resort Brand With Investor Vici’s Help

1 year ago

A real estate mogul has made a small bet on the evolution of experiential wellness in hospitality by helping to back the growth of Canyon Ranch, a four-decade-old, destination spa resort brand. 

Vici Properties said it had tapped a loan facility for up to $200 million to fund the development of Canyon Ranch Austin in Austin, Texas, slated to open in 2025. Vici is a real estate investment trust affiliated with Caesars Entertainment whose portfolio includes 58,000 hotel rooms and casinos. Earlier this year, it acquired the Venetian Resort Las Vegas in a $4 billion deal.

Expansion Plans

The move came as Canyon Ranch, which has three full-service resorts, is pursuing a growth strategy by adding the Austin resort.

More ambitiously, Canyon Ranch plans to open urban wellness clubs. It plans to open mid-size, partial-service facilities in Houston (in early 2024) and Fort Worth, Texas (by the end of 2023), that offer integrated wellness in settings of about 30,000 to 40,000 square feet.

“Wellness is not just components like diet, fitness, sleep, and mindfulness, but it’s all of it delivered in an integrated way,” said Canyon Ranch CEO Jeff Kuster. “We want to be able to follow guests back home, so to speak.”

The company will also create a mobile app that helps customers receive guidance for meeting their wellness goals with the help of biometric data.

The idea is to help guests retain the well-being they found at the resort when they return to their urban lives. Having multiple touchpoints with customers could encourage loyalty and cross-selling as well as raise brand awareness among potential new guests, the company said.

“We are really excited by the evolving of the Canyon Ranch ecosystem because we believe, strongly, that all aspects of that ecosystem will motivate existing and potential clients to seek the ultimate Canyon Ranch experience at the resorts, including Austin,” said Edward Pitoniak, CEO of Vici Properties.

“Canyon Ranch is a global leader in the strength of relationship with their guests, and that’s because they create a client experience that truly encompasses the totality of the client’s life and aspirations,” Pitoniak said.

Vici also obtained a right to acquire a couple of Canyon Ranch’s properties in Tucson, Arizona, and Lenox, Massachusetts — if the wellness company chooses to sell the real estate. The brand would continue to operate the facilities essentially as a management company. Privately held Canyon Ranch isn’t believed to have had other significant external backers to date.

“In this environment, nothing’s being financed,” Kuster noted. “This just speaks to the vision of Vici to build out these pilgrimage-type destinations. It’s a way for us to get a significant ground-up property built in a really attractive market.”

Bet on Experiential Real Estate

Vici said its support of Canyon Ranch was part of a broader bet on “experiential real estate,” or property that offers consumers experiences they can’t easily replicate at home.

“This can be driven by the physical aspects and magnitude of the real estate,” Pitoniak of Vici said. “It can also be driven by the value of the experience being shared, at the same time, in the same place, face to face.”

Skeptics may wonder if a company delivering something as amorphous as wellness can successfully build a competitive moat with high walls to thrive. But Vici is bullish.

“In certain brand categories, the brand’s differentiation is based on the brand’s intellectual capital,” Pitoniak of Vici said. “What we love about Canyon Ranch is that the team has an unrivaled legacy, within global wellness, at continually advancing its intellectual capital around wellness and manifesting that intellectual capital in its guest experience innovation.”

“Competitive moats can’t be static,” Pitoniak said. “They must be defended every day, and, to use the old saying, the best defense is a strong offense, and we love the way Jeff Kuster and the Canyon Ranch team are on offense, especially as we enter a period of tremendous secular tailwinds behind wellness.”