Style in travel

Travel can be a luxury experience, or at least it can be if the environment is designed in the right way. In a market dominated by low-cost flights and stripped down economy-class travel, there is a reaction brewing and it's being led by the design industry.

COMMENT, Design

Travel can be a luxury experience, or at least it can be if the environment is designed in the right way. In a market dominated by low-cost flights and stripped down economy-class travel, there is a reaction brewing and it's being led by the design industry.

Just take a look at the first class lounge for Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi International Airport. With a design by Above Consultancy, the first class lounge is the first phase of a two-step design programme aimed at encapsulating a 'feel of opulence and luxury'. Making its luxury travel passengers feel special is clearly important for Etihad, so much so that the new lounge is three times the size of previous versions.

Further up the luxury ladder is the growth in the private aviation sector. Private jets are a market the Association of Professional Interior Designers is encouraging its members to pursue. Although a niche sector, its lucrative nature makes it one worth investigating, and figures indicate the number of private aircraft being used in the region will continue to increase.

Once on the ground a traveller's appreciation of luxury is in the hands of the hospitality sector. The rooms in the recently opened InterContinental hotel in Dubai Festival City have turned their attention to pampering guests, with a greater emphasis on the bathroom. This new approach was partly driven by a shift in the way guests use their rooms, but also influenced by the spectacular views the building's position affords of the creek and Dubai's skyline. Bathtubs by the windows allow guests to relax, wind down and enjoy the view.

Across town Vista, a bar and restaurant on top of the Holiday Inn located in the Knowledge Village area, is making as much of its position as its name suggests. The design features subtle divisions of the interior space, while keeping the expansive views of the developing Palm well within sight.

Apart from great views, these two designs also share their use of timber in common. While each one takes a different approach, their use of wood sets them apart from other designs in the city and may be setting a trend for the future.

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