Cleared for Lunch: Japanese airline serves £390 in-flight meals on parked planes

A diner tucks into his £391 onboard meal. Views of the tarmac come gratis. Photograph: All Nippon Airways/AFP/Getty Images

The choice always used to simple – chicken or beef. But Japan’s biggest airline has now started offering luxury dining aboard a parked airplane it has named the “winged restaurant,” for £390 a meal.

Diners grounded by the pandemic rushed to relive the cabin dining experience on Wednesday .

All Nippon Airways (ANA) dining “passengers” can choose between a first-class seat with a meal for 59,800 yen (£391) or a business-class option for about half the price, at 29,800 yen, on board a stationary Boeing-777 at Haneda airport in Tokyo.

Guests are asked to select their meal in advance from a Japanese or international menu. Mains include grilled sablefish with saikyo miso, simmered beef and tofu; Wagyu beef with Kobe wine mustard; and sautéed sea bass and shellfish bisque, served with Japanese sake, plum wine or Krug champagne.

The chef speaks with a customer on a parked All Nippon Airways plane at Haneda airport in Tokyo. Photograph: All Nippon Airways/AFP/Getty Images

Yosuke Kimoto, 42, who had a business-class meal with his 14-year-old son, told Kyodo News: “It was a delicious meal. I’m glad that my kid enjoyed it too.” They were among 60 guests who had lunch aboard on the first day of the service, with a similar number having dinner.

His son was also impressed. “The business class was drastically different from the economy class in terms of both food and the seat. It was so spacious, and the seat was like a bed when reclined,” he told Nikkei Asia.Advertisement

ANA will offer 22 lunch and dinner sessions this month, each lasting about three hours. There is no in-flight entertainment, but customers receive amenity kits and can also use the airline’s lounge at Haneda’s domestic terminal.

Singapore Airlines became the first carrier to tap into the public’s appetite for onboard dining last October, when it started offering meals on two A380 superjumbos parked at Changi airport in Singapore. Tickets sold out in less than half an hour, despite the £360 price tag to eat in a top-flight suite, with the chance to watch a movie too. Economy-class meals were more affordable at £30 a head.

The pandemic has plunged the global aviation industry into its worst-ever crisis, as many aircraft around the world remain grounded amid coronavirus travel restrictions and lockdowns, prompting some airlines to think creatively about what to do with their idle aircraft. At ANA, the idea of the “winged restaurant” was reportedly thought up by employees.

In-flight meals have been surprisingly popular. ANA started selling international economy-class meals online in December and they quickly sold out. It sold 264,000 meals and made revenues of £1.3bn as of 12 March. The airline said beef sukiyaki and hamburger steak with demi-glace sauce served with buttered rice and creamy scrambled eggs were gone within minutes.

An All Nippon Airways flight attendant prepares food for ‘flyers’ on a parked plane at Haneda airport. Photograph: All Nippon Airways/AFP/Getty Images

British Airways now also offers first-class cabin meals from £80 for home delivery, starting this week. It sells four-course meal kits serving two people – in a choice of vegetarian, fish and meat dishes – through the catering firm Do & Co. Starters include Loch Fyne smoked salmon with a mustard dressing, followed by slow cooked British beef cheeks, a cheese selection and dark chocolate and orange liqueur bread and butter pudding.Advertisement

Similarly, Finland’s national carrier Finnair started selling business-class meals at a supermarket near the Helsinki international airport last October, which proved a hit at €12.9 per takeaway meal (£10.90).

The Australian government has launched an A$1.2bn (£660m) package to get people flying again domestically, which will halve the price of 800,000 flights until July. Airlines reported a surge in bookings when they started selling half-price tickets on Thursday as the Queensland government lifted travel restrictions.

The BA owner, International Airlines Group, has called for the introduction of digital health passes for passengers to enable the airline industry to get back on its feet, as the company reported a record €7.4bn loss for 2020 last week.

IAG has worked with the industry body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on a digital health verification app. The IATA travel pass app enables passengers to receive Covid-19 test results and verify they are able to travel via an “OK to Travel” status. It is being trialled by a number of carriers.

BC Parks Foundation: West Ballenas Island

A Message from Our Friends at BC Parks Foundation…


West Ballenas Island is an undeveloped 100-acre island gem floating in the Salish Sea – one of BC’s most threatened environments. Listed as one of the top ten most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands, West Ballenas is home to abundant bird populations, rare plants, threatened species, and marine life.

It’s also in a prime location for human use, being close to the rapidly growing Nanaimo-Parksville region of Vancouver Island. Part of Snaw-naw-as Nation territory, and long popular with local and international boaters visiting the surrounding archipelago, most people are not aware the island is privately held and zoned for development into a number of individual parcels.

To protect this beautiful island and its wildlife, we have secured an exclusive agreement to purchase it but only have until November 17 to secure the funds.

In 2019 proud British Columbians and friends around the world helped us raise $3million in 3 months to protect Princess Louisa Inlet. That incredible story made the New York Times because people like you– from all walks of life- came together to do something great. That inspired the idea that every year park angels would all work together to protect at least one special place, keeping BC beautiful.

This year it’s West Ballenas Island. While this island would normally be out of reach, we were able to reduce the asking price from $2,225,000 to only $1,700,000!


West Ballenas Island is within the Snaw-Naw-As Nation’s territory.  BC Parks Foundation has discussed the purchase of West Ballenas with the Snaw-naw-as Nation.  If this private land is acquired in order to create a park, all communities and the Snaw-naw-as people will regain access to West Ballenas.  Snaw-naw-as have let us know that they “continue to work toward including the Department of National Defence property on Wallace Point and the Nanoose peninsula into properties and uses that the Snaw-naw-as can once again access.” We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Snaw-naw-as in the future.


On top of the reduced price, we are thrilled to announce that a very generous anonymous donor has pledged to match whatever you contribute to protecting this wonderful and fragile island!

That means only $850,000 is needed to permanently protect one of the Gulf Island’s most important places!

Your gift – no matter what size- will make a big difference. As happened with Princess Louisa Inlet, this is about the power of many people, from all walks of life, doing something great together.

You have done it before, and you can do it again! Join other park angels in doubling your gift now to protect West Ballenas.


Once we complete the purchase of the island we will issue tax receipts for all donations over $20 which can be used to claim charitable tax credits – the more you donate the more you can save!


  • Recognized by the Conservation Data Centre as one of the ten most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands with coastal bluff and coastal woodland sensitive ecosystems
  • Home to red-listed Garry Oak-Arbutus community and a rare Shore Pine- Cladina-Kinnnikinnick plant community as well as blue-listed species
  • Contains the endangered species Water-plantain buttercup, one of only two locations in British Columbia
  • As an island, the property is virtually undisturbed by grazing and other human impacts
  • Foreshore serves as winter haul out for California and Northern Sea lions
  • Adjacent to Federal Fisheries and Oceans’ Rockfish Conservation Area
  • Surrounding waters support rafts of diving sea birds, orcas, and other marine mammals; the passage between the two Ballenas islands contains eelgrass beds


West Ballenas Island is the only private non-park parcel remaining in a proposal to establish the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago as a 4900-hectare marine park– a long-standing conservation initiative within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve.

The area has a provincial park (Gerald Island), a private park (South Winchelsea Island), a regional park on Vancouver Island, and four small community parks along the Vancouver Island waterfront associated with the Lantzville community.

With support from the Islands Trust, the Nanaimo Regional District, the community of Lantzville, and a number of non-government groups such as BC Nature, Vancouver Island University, the Council of British Columbia Yacht Clubs, Fairwinds Community Association, and the BC Marine Trails Network, the acquisition of West Ballenas Island could act as a catalyst for garnering support from the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation, BC, and Canada for creating a world-class marine protected area in one of BC’s most threatened ecosystems.

Questions about this campaign? 

Phone – 604 343 3975 ext. 1

Email –

You want to create space in your consciousness for your frequency to shine through. That’s what owning yourself is all about. It is in the stillness that these messages can make themselves known. And you needn’t look further than nature.RuPaul, entertainer

Former Edmonton Petroleum Club to Debut as New Private Club in City’s Downtown Business District

Newly named Edmonton City Club offering pre-opening memberships to city’s professionals for premier private club opening in coming year.

Edmonton Petroleum Club, whose history dates back nearly 70 years, is offering pre-opening memberships for the new Edmonton City Club, a private club set to debut in 2020 in the city’s downtown business district. The Edmonton Petroleum Club sold its building in 2018 and has been a club without a physical home since that time.

The concept for the new Edmonton City Club includes a modernized take on a private club with a downtown location to be easily accessible for members. The new club will provide a place for its members to meet, dine and socialize with peers, family and friends. It will offer first-in-class facilities, including a business centre and meeting space, exciting culinary experiences, networking activities, and social events delivered by a professional team skilled in providing personal service.

“We are excited to start the new year with a membership drive for the new Edmonton City Club. Our Board and members have been dedicated to developing a new private club since we sold the Edmonton Petroleum Club building. This new club is being designed with a dedicated emphasis on the business and lifestyle needs of today’s modern working professional, while respecting the traditions of the past with many longstanding members staying involved,” said Jane McDade, the incoming President of Edmonton City Club and a senior leader at a global consulting firm with offices in the city.

McDade has been associated with the club for a number of years and is working with the Board to spearhead the transition to the city club concept. “We know the business environment has changed for our city, and we are meeting the needs of this new reality by creating a club that caters to the new professional and how they work and interact in our city. The initial reaction to our club concept has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re looking forward to this membership drive to further assess the engagement and interest of Edmontonians.”

The club’s new location is being finalized currently as the Board has identified options within the downtown City Centre area. Several of those options are conveniently situated within close proximity to the Pedway system providing a convenient and easy way to arrive and depart from the Club.

With selection of the club’s location in its final stages, McDade says it’s the perfect time to get Edmontonians signed up and have them take advantage of a special no-risk introductory membership drive with entrance fees reduced by 50 percent. Edmonton City Club is offering Full, Intermediate, Senior and Non-Resident memberships. Specific pricing is also being made available to past members of the Edmonton Petroleum Club. Each club membership includes the primary member as well as the member’s spouse or partner.

To qualify for the special introductory pricing being provided at this time, the Club is asking for a completed application accompanied by the entrance fee to be received by April 30, 2020. Details about the membership options are available at or you can contact Teresa Stange, the club’s Membership Director, at for more information.

About Edmonton City Club
With a debut set for 2020, the new Edmonton City Club will assume its leadership position as the destination of choice for dining, meeting, networking and socializing with peers, family and friends. The private club will feature first-in-class facilities, a prime location in the vibrant heart of the city’s downtown business district, a robust events calendar and personalized service by a professional staff. Learn more at

Jas Madhur: We All Have to Eat

Jas Madhur, pictured, sees sharing a meal as a way to remove religious and cultural barriers
Photo: Mike Zenari

Jas Madhur is a Non-Resident member of the Union Club, having joined in 2005.

Eating with others has always been an important feature of Jas Madhur’s life, from the Sikh temples of his childhood, to the meals he enjoyed in the many countries he has lived.

Now the British-Canadian national is importing the concept of Sikh community kitchens, or “Langars”, to Luxembourg by coordinating free meals to encourage “sharing, participation and togetherness”.

“Anyone who wants to come together and sit with us and eat in peace and share ideas, we will do it,” he explains. Madhur, who moved to Luxembourg in 2011 and works as an external consultant, has been a lifelong fan of cooking. He says: “It’s very much a part of my cultures to invite people in. The first thing you say is ‘Sit down. What would you like to eat?’”

Madhur has a good selection of spices and enjoys cooking for friends who, he jokes, like to tell him how he can improve. But his culinary skills were turned to a different purpose when he hosted his first Langar in August 2019 for volunteers at the Aërdscheff, a sustainable construction project organised by Cell in Redange-sur-Attert.

“It was for volunteers who, in my mind, were doing a very noble thing by volunteering their time to work in the circular economy,” he says. “We were invited to celebrate their final dinner. They had all the facilities and were more than willing to help cook the stuff.” At this inaugural Langar, Madhur, whose family originates from India, cooked dishes using lentils, rice and vegetables with blended spices. But he says a Langar meal can consist of anything. The essential ingredients are the selfless act of contributing, sharing tasks and eating together.

The Langar practice is thought to have been started by Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469 in Talwandi near Lahore. 
He reportedly introduced the concept  to encourage equality among all people regardless of religion, cast, creed, age, gender or social status. The Sikh diaspora has since helped to spread the tradition around the world. “The difference between what I’m trying to do versus my father was that his generation was interested in collecting money, buying land and building temples,” Madhur says. “My push is to make it more open and go out.”

Madhur has a rich experience of expat life–he grew up in Kenya and has lived in the UK, Canada, US, France and Middle East. And he sees multicultural Luxembourg as an ideal place to establish a secular version of the Langar tradition. “As an immigrant, one becomes very conscious of the fact that one does not look, sound or even smell like the locals. As such, there is a tendency to shrink back into one’s enclaves and comfort zones and cultivate mistrust,” he says. 
“I think that rather than creating religious fortresses, the time has come to say that we are here as your neighbours and want to share an important part of what we value, wherever we go in the world.”

To be able to prepare a Langar, Madhur needs a location with cooking facilities and people willing to pitch in. He plans to coordinate four Langars per year, for groups of up to 50 people and he hopes to encourage others to embrace the concept. “I’m now trying to encourage friends of every walk of life to take the idea of a Langar and do it for their friends,” he says, adding: “We all have to eat. It’s nice to share your food.”

Prince Harry Arrives on Vancouver Island to Begin New Life

The Duke of Sussex is spotted at Victoria International Airport, Victoria, BC, Canada after he and Meghan agreed a deal to step back as senior royals.

Prince Harry has arrived on Vancouver Island to begin his new life with Meghan and baby Archie.

The Duke of Sussex was whisked away by a car waiting on the tarmac just days after he and Meghan agreed a deal with the Queen to step back as senior royals.

Sky’s US correspondent Greg Milam, said: “It’s only a three minute drive to the house where they spent six weeks over Christmas and where the duchess returned 10 days ago to be reunited with their son.”

Harry had earlier attended the UK-Africa Investment Summit in Docklands on Monday, where met the prime minister in private for 20 minutes on the sidelines.

No aides were present during the informal “catch-up” chat in a room upstairs at the summit.

Meghan returned to Canada earlier in January after the Sussexes issued a bombshell statement saying they were stepping back as senior royals.

Harry’s departure from the UK comes after he told supporters of his Sentable charity that the couple had “no other option” on Sunday.

He told those gathered at a dinner on Sunday night: “It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly.

“It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges.

“And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.

“What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.

“Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.

“I’ve accepted this, knowing that it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am.”

Harry added that he hopes “that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life”.

He continued: “I was born into this life, and it is a great honour to serve my country and the Queen.”

The Queen held crisis talks with Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles on after Harry and Meghan statement on 8 January.

A deal was later agreed where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will lose royal funds and no longer use their HRH titles from spring.

They will also repay £2.4m of taxpayers’ money spent on renovating their Frogmore Cottage home.

They will still use the property as their base when in the UK, but it is believed they will spend the majority of their time in North America.

It is not yet known who will foot the bill for the couple’s security, but justice secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News there must be a clear “line of delineation”.

“I think there is an issue about how public money is spent.

“Quite clearly there have already been arrangements made about how that family are going to live and how they are going to be able to get private income but there clearly has to be a line of delineation.

“I think we all want a family like that to be safe, but at the same time I think what really needs to happen is they need to understand how their lifestyle is to adapt and what their needs might be.”

Private Clubs in Canada Are Letting Go of Old-School Rules and Turning Their Spaces Into Modern Places for Business

Private clubs such as the Rideau Club are revamping both their decor and their membership policies in a bid to attract a fresh crop of younger members. THE RIDEAU CLUB/HANDOUT

At first glance, the Sun Life Financial Centre in the heart of Ottawa’s business district looks the same as virtually any other office building in any other Canadian city.

However, there is one telling detail. As you enter the lobby, there is a bank of elevators, but one is set slightly apart from the rest. It has only one button. Next to it, on a discreet wooden plaque, the words “Savoir faire” and “Savoir vivre” are imprinted in a rich bronze hue beneath the engraving of a crown surrounded by leaves.

This is the elevator to the Rideau Club, long renowned as one of the most exclusive private settings for Ottawa’s elite.


These days, however, even a storied institution such as the Rideau Club is in the process of revamping both its decor and its membership policy in a bid to attract a fresh crop of younger members.

“The board realized through a whole bunch of indicators that we needed change if we wanted to be relevant and be around for another 150 years,” says Carol-Ann Goering, the first woman in the club’s long history to assume the mantle of general manager and chief operating officer.

“If you’re under 40 and coming in, you’re not going to want to sit in your grandmother’s study,” Ms. Goering says. “But we still want to maintain as much tradition and history as we can.”


As an integral part of Ottawa’s history since being founded by Sir John A. Macdonald and other Canadian luminaries in 1865, the Rideau Club came into being just 22 months prior to Confederation. In the many years since, it has occupied five different locations in the city, including the prestigious Wellington Street building, just across from Parliament Hill, where the club occupied for 104 years. Tragically in 1979, this landmark building was lost to fire, along with most of the club’s original documents.

A short time later, the club became both owner and tenant of the space it currently occupies – the entire 15th floor at 99 Bank St. But the challenge, Ms. Goering says, is that the Rideau Club, unlike many private clubs across Canada, lacks curbside appeal.

The Rideau Club aims to make its spaces more inviting to modern workers.THE RIDEAU CLUB/HANDOUT

“When you walk by some of these other clubs, they have this almost storefront call-out, like, ‘Wow that’s a cool place, maybe I’d like to see in there.’ We don’t have that. I think that’s a drawback about where we are located. We can’t showcase a beautiful heritage building,” Ms. Goering says.

However, the club is looking to add a rooftop terrace – which would offer unprecedented views of Parliament Hill – as well as fully renovating most of the rooms, with the goal of making the existing amenities more attractive to the modern worker.


Ms. Goering says the influx of tech companies in Ottawa has brought in members who are interested in making use of the club as a downtown workspace, and, as a result, the club already has private spaces for interviews or meetings, and the casual dining menu is being expanded to account for the fact that most tech workers don’t even wear a suit and tie, let alone make time for a three-course lunch.

With construction soon to begin on light-rail-transit service in the city’s core, and a downtown condo boom well under way, the Rideau Club’s location is becoming more relevant than ever. The club’s makeup is also becoming more reflective of Ottawa’s evolving identity as a whole. Not only are membership numbers an average of 184 per cent higher over 2018, but 60 per cent of the club’s new members in the past three years have been under 40, and 30 per cent have been women.

“It’s a really different look to the club,” Ms. Goering says.

The Rideau Club’s casual-dining menu is being expanded to account for the fact that most tech workers don’t even wear a suit and tie, let alone sit down for three-course lunches.THE RIDEAU CLUB/HANDOUT

The changing vibe and look to Ottawa’s private club is reflective of other, similarly steeped-in-history social clubs across Canada.

In 2010, the Vancouver Club (formerly the Granville Club) used the influx of money it earned for playing host to the International Olympic Committee during the Vancouver Olympic Games to renovate and update its existing home, a building originally constructed in 1913.

Megan Rollerson, the Vancouver Club’s marketing manager, says the past decade has seen the club – which is also located in the heart of that city’s business district – modernized at the behest of members who are looking for more co-working space. For example, the updated facilities turned a ballroom that wasn’t used during the day into productive working space.


Ms. Rollerson also points to the well-known Soho House as one of the key influences driving so many of these legacy clubs to upgrade and modernize their facilities.

Founded in 1995, Soho House is a hotel chain and group of private members’ clubs. There are 23 locations around the world, including a Canadian Soho House that opened in Toronto in 2012. Located in an 1840s heritage building in the city’s Entertainment District, the 10,000-square-foot club launched during the Toronto International Film Festival. Despite being only seven years old, Toronto’s Soho House holds its own against legacy clubs such as the Albany Club (founded in 1882) and the National Club (founded in 1874) and is thriving thanks to its youthful membership and focus on creative industries.

“What started in 1995 as a bar and restaurant for people to hang out in has changed since prospective members have changed and what they want in spaces for their spare time and business time have merged together,” says Peter Chipcase, the chief communications and strategy officer for Soho House & Co., based in London.

Although there is just the one club in Canada for now, Mr. Chipcase says workspace will play a key role in Soho House’s next big initiative, just as it has for the Rideau Club and the Vancouver Club. He alludes to the creation of a workspace that will be connected to a Soho House location, but not actually situated in the house itself.

“It might be in the same building, but we want to create a very specific Soho House version of shared workspace. That’s the next step,” he says about the concept that is set to launch in London this fall, then again in New York and Los Angeles later this year and in Toronto at some future point in time.

Shawn Hamilton, the senior vice-president and managing director of CBRE in Ottawa, says it’s not surprising to see this bleeding of the lines between a private club setting and a co-working setting.

Private clubs have younger groups of members that are acting as the lifeblood of the club, he says. They want a club to be a place they can work, where they can entertain, and where they can exercise – all under one roof.

“Private clubs are changing,” Mr. Hamilton says. “It’s no longer like walking into an Agatha Christie novel.”

These days, private clubs are about providing all the amenities a member requires to work, live and play. Shared workspace and live-work clubs may just be the next commercial “growth industry because people just seem to want it,” Mr. Hamilton says.

Queen Agrees to let Harry, Meghan Move Part-Time to Canada

The figures of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, left, are moved from their original positions next to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, at Madame Tussauds in London, Thursday Jan. 9, 2020. Madame Tussauds moved its figures of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex from its Royal Family set to elsewhere in the attraction. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

SANDRINGHAM, England — Queen Elizabeth II agreed Monday to grant Prince Harry and and his wife Meghan their wish for a more independent life, allowing them to move part-time to Canada while remaining firmly in the House of Windsor.

The British monarch said in a statement that the summit of senior royals on Monday was “constructive,” and that it had been “agreed that there will be a period of transition” in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will spend time in Canada and the UK.”

The summit at the queen’s Sandringham estate in eastern England marked the first face-to-face talks with Harry since he and Meghan unveiled the controversial plan to step back from their royal roles.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the queen said in a statement. “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”

The meeting came after days of intense news coverage, in which supporters of the royal family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.

Buckingham Palace said “a range of possibilities” would be discussed, but the queen was determined to resolve the situation within “days, not weeks.” Buckingham Palace stressed, however, that “any decision will take time to be implemented.”

One of the more fraught questions that needs to be worked out is precisely what it means for a royal to be financially independent and what activities can be undertaken to make money. Other royals who have ventured into the world of commerce have found it complicated.

Prince Andrew, for example, has faced heated questions about his relationship with the late convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew, the queen’s second son, has relinquished royal duties and patronages after being accused by a woman who says she was an Epstein trafficking victim who slept with the prince.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also face questions on paying for taxpayer-funded security. Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to comment, but said safety was a priority.

There were signs earlier in the day that the House of Windsor had moved to unite. Princes William and Harry issued a joint statement criticizing a newspaper article on the severe strain in their relationship, calling the story offensive and potentially harmful as they embark on talks regarding the future of the British monarchy.

Though the statement didn’t name the newspaper, the Times of London had a front page story about the crisis in which a source alleged that Harry and Meghan had been pushed away by the “bullying attitude from” William. The joint statement insisted that the story was “false.”

“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful,” the statement said.

Sir Richard Branson: Make 2020 the Year of Trying New Things

Sir Richard Branson ponders the landscape for 2020.

It can be really easy to get comfortable in life and to only do things inside your comfort zone. You’re unlikely to get hurt here, you might get really good at doing the one thing you know you can do, and your expectations are likely to be in line with what goes on around you so you’re not disappointed.

But the magic doesn’t happen here. Nothing good in my life has ever happened from the safety of my comfort zone. It’s all those moments where you feel challenged, where you think ‘ahhhh, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea’ and then ponder giving up – if you can get through this stage of doubt and make it out the other side – I promise you, this is where the good stuff happens.

If life is starting to feel a bit samey and there’s a bit too much routine – try something new. This is the perfect time to start. It’s a New Year, a fresh slate, a chance to change it up. At Virgin we are always trying new things – this year we’re opening new hotels, launching new airline routes, pushing the envelope further with our space companies and beginning sailing our new cruise line, Virgin Voyages. I’m sure there are many new things waiting around the corner for me.

Virgin Voyages

If you need a little inspiration, the theme of my autobiography, Finding My Virginity, is all about how we should never lose the thrill of trying something new for the first time. The book starts out where Losing My Virginity left off and tells the story of my life and the growth of Virgin over the past 20 years.

It reveals how my home moved from a houseboat to a paradise island, while my company has grown from a UK business to a global brand and my focus has shifted from battling bigger rivals to changing business for good. In this time I’ve experienced joy, heartbreak, hurricanes, business highs, grief, records, doubt and my toughest ever crisis.

Everything that has happened over the past two decades has happened outside my comfort zone – and it’s been an incredible journey. I hope you get out there and try something new in 2020.

All the best for 2020!

Sir Richard Branson

With ‘Megxit,’ Harry and Meghan Aim to Control Media Image

In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London. In a stunning declaration, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, said they are planning “to step back” as senior members of the royal family and “work to become financially independent.” A statement issued by the couple Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 also said they intend to “balance” their time between the U.K. and North America.

The relationship between Britain’s royals and the media is awkward, mistrustful — and seemingly inescapable. But now Meghan and Harry want out.

After years of growing tension with the press, the prince and his wife have announced plans to quit their senior royal duties, move part-time to North America, seek financial independence and withdraw from regular media scrutiny.

The couple — who have complained of intrusive media coverage and accused some British media commentators of racism — slammed the country’s long-standing arrangements for royal media coverage, saying they prefer to communicate directly with the public through social media.

The British press was stung by the snub, reacting Thursday with articles, columns and editorials that ranged from disappointment to fury.

The Daily Mirror said in an editorial that the couple’s failure to tell Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II about their plans “shows shocking disregard for a woman whose entire life has been ruled by a sense of public duty and honour.” The Times of London accused Harry of “petulance and hot-headedness,” while the Daily Mail said the couple wanted “the status of being ‘senior’ royals but the privacy and freedom of being private citizens.”

The Sun and the New York Post both described the departure as “Megxit,” a play on Brexit, Britain’s impending departure from the European Union.

The 93-year-old monarch moved Thursday to take control of the situation. Britain’s national news agency, Press Association, reported that the queen had ordered officials representing the monarch, Charles, Prince William, and Harry and Meghan to meet and find “workable solutions” within “days not weeks.”

Harry and Meghan’s shock announcement drew comparisons to the abdication of the queen’s uncle King Edward VIII, who gave up the throne in 1936 so he could marry divorced American Wallis Simpson. Once again, waspish commentators noted, an American woman has caused a ruction in the British royal family.

But the relationship between royals and the media has changed dramatically in the intervening decades. Before the abdication, the romance between Edward and Simpson was headline news in the United States but went largely unreported by a deferential British press.

The trauma of World War II and the social revolution of the 1960’s demolished that tradition of deference to royalty. For decades, the U.K. media has proclaimed its reverence for the queen while treating the travails of her family as fair game, from the divorces of three of her four children to second son Prince Andrew’s troubling friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

After Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, the media charted every twist in the marriage: the births of sons William and Harry, Diana’s glamour and charity work, the slow public crumbling of the relationship.

Charles and Diana both used the media as a weapon as their marriage foundered, giving TV interviews to present themselves in a sympathetic light. But Diana — a global megastar, followed by paparazzi wherever she went — was never fully in control of the media attention. She was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by photographers.

Diana’s death provoked a crisis for the monarchy — which was portrayed as remote and cold at a time of national grief — and for the media, accused of hounding a vulnerable woman.

In the wake of Diana’s death, the palace and the press reached an uneasy truce. The British media left young William and Harry alone in exchange for carefully staged interviews and photo opportunities as they grew up. That practice has continued with the three young children of William and his wife Kate.

Harry, however, still blames the media for his mother’s death, and since meeting his wife — the former actress Meghan Markle — he has become less willing to play the game.

In 2017, the prince accused the media of directing “a wave of abuse and harassment” at the biracial Markle, including “racial undertones” in articles. Last year the couple launched a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday newspaper over its publication of a letter written by Meghan. Harry said he feared “history repeating itself. … I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

Yet using the media has been a key part of Harry and Meghan’s strategy, just as it was for Diana. When they wanted to make their unhappiness public, the couple gave an interview to a sympathetic journalist from broadcaster ITV.

In that interview, Meghan said that “very naively,” she had been unprepared for the intense media scrutiny she would receive once she married into the British royal family.

“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair,” she said.

Harry and Meghan now want to use the media on their own terms, dropping out of the “royal rota,” a pool system that organizes media coverage of the royal family’s public events. On a newly launched website, they said the system hampered their ability to “personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public” via social media.

They said in the future they would “engage with grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists.” They also slammed the “misconception” that the British media’s royal correspondents were “credible sources” of information.

Freddy Mayhew, editor of the Press Gazette, a newspaper industry trade publication, said the royal couple was aiming for a “much more controlled, much more private” approach to the media, drawing on Meghan’s experience as a U.S. television star.

“I think they are perhaps seizing an opportunity with the decline of print media to break away,” he said. “That’s something they couldn’t have done before, when papers were at their full strength. But now that a lot of it is moving online, there’s the ability for people like Harry and Meghan to take control of what they put out there.”

Harry, 35, is Elizabeth’s grandson and sixth in line to the British throne, behind his father, brother and his brother’s three children. With his ginger hair and beard, he is one of the royal family’s most recognizable and popular members and has spent his entire life in the public eye.

Before marrying the prince in a wedding watched around the world in 2018, the 38-year-old Meghan was a star of the TV legal drama “Suits.” The couple’s son Archie was born in May 2019.

Less than two years after that fairy tale wedding, the couple was enmeshed in an uproar that began Wednesday with a statement from Buckingham Palace, described as “a personal message from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” It said Harry and Meghan intend to become financially independent and to “balance” their time between the U.K. and North America.

In a subsequent statement just 90 minutes later, though, a difference of opinion was laid bare. The palace said many issues still had to be worked out before the couple’s plan could be realized and discussions with the couple “were at an early stage.”

That communique suggested that Harry and Meghan’s statement had caught the royal household by surprise.

“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” it read.

The announcement left a slew of questions: Where exactly do Meghan and Harry plan to live, and how will they earn private income without tarnishing the royal image? At the moment, they are largely funded by Harry’s father, Prince Charles, through income from his vast Duchy of Cornwall estate.

The move dominated the news in Britain, and divided opinion. Some blamed Meghan for the troubles. A social media storm compared her to Yoko Ono, the widow of Beatles singer John Lennon, who was blamed for the breakup of the famous band.

Madame Tussauds, the famed London waxwork attraction, moved the couple out of the royal section, where they had previously stood next to the monarch and Prince Philip.

Others offered sympathy for the queen, who remains a revered figure.

“We don’t mind them having an ordinary life. What we don’t like is the queen not being informed about nothing,” said royal super-fan John Loughrey, adding that the British public did not want to see the royal couple “isolated” abroad.

“It is a crisis,” he said. “We have got a crisis here. Seriously.”

The 17 Best Resorts in the World, According to Travelers

If you’re looking for the best resorts in the world, go to Africa.

Condé Nast Traveler recently released the results of its 32nd annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey, which chronicled travelers’ experiences, including unforgettable resorts all over the world. 

In the survey, 600,000 voters provided their thoughts on nearly 10,000 hotels, resorts, and global experiences. The resorts that ultimately made the final cut all share an air of luxury, but they span different price points and destinations.

Here are the top 17 resorts in the world. Safari-inspired travel seemed to be popular this year, with seven out of 17 resorts being African bush resorts. A couple of private islands in the Maldives made the cut, as did a handful of Irish castles. Only one US resort topped the list.

17. Ol Jogi Home

Ol Jogi Home kenya bush resort

Location: Nanyuki Town, Kenya

Starting rate per night: Only available upon request

A 45-minute flight from Nairobi and nestled within 58,000 acres of private Kenyan bush, Ol Jogi Home provides a luxurious, exclusive safari experience with all the usual resort trappings: a gym, tennis courts, yoga studio, and spa. The resort accommodates 14 guests at a time.

16. Esperanza, an Auberge Resort

Esperanza auberge resort

Location: Los Cabos, Mexico

Starting rate per night: $581

Located on the Baja Peninsula, Esperanza has 57 beachfront suites and villas. It prides itself on offering a variety of experiences, including a ceviche-making class, tequila tastings, whale watching or clam diving excursions, and ATV rides in the desert.

15. Oliver’s Camp

Olivers Camp Tanzania

Location: Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Starting rate per night: $409 per person

This safari-oriented resort is in a remote part of a protected park in Tanzania. It is small and intimate; the resort only has 10 tents, including one honeymoon suite. It runs on solar power and has previously been celebrated for its sustainability initiatives. Its most popular activities include night drives into the bush and a walking safari.

14. Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Dorado beach puerto rico ritz carlton

Location: Dorado, Puerto Rico

Starting rate per night: $862

Opened by a Rockefeller in the 1950s, Dorado Beach is a luxury community complete with two 18-hole golf courses and two miles of private beach access. 

13. Velaa Private Island

Velaa Island

Location: Noonu Atoll, Maldives

Starting rate per night$2,250

A private island with the largest wine and Champagne collection in the Maldives, Velaa aims to be a resort “beyond luxury.” Each of the 45 private villas and residences were built with local materials and the entire resort was constructed in the shape of a turtle. 

12. Angsana Lang Co

Angsana Lang Co

Location: Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam

Starting rate per night: $140

Angsana Lang Co is a 223-room resort in central Vietnam with proximity to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It also has an award-winning spa and a swimming pool that spans the property.

11. Elewana Elsa’s Kopje

Elewana Elsa Kopje Kenya

Location: Meru National Park, Kenya

Starting rate per night: Only available upon request

Situated in a protected park in Kenya, Elewana Elsa’s Kopje is close to a rhino sanctuary and boasts regular sightings of elephant herds, hippos, and lions. The tiny resort opened in 1999 and has 11 private cottages, each of which has a deck.

10. andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

andBeyond nxabega botswana luxury safari

Location: Okavango Delta, Botswana

Starting rate per night: $835 per person

Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp is a Botswana safari resort on 61,000 acres of exclusive land. There are nine tents, each with a veranda and an al fresco shower. 

9. Naladhu Private Island


Location: South Male Atoll, Maldives

Starting rate per night: $948

Twenty houses, each with a private pool, make up the private island of Naladhu. With “blissful seclusion” at the center of its mission statement, the island has a 24-hour butler service, private dining, and in-residence spa experiences.

8. Deplar Farm

deplar farm iceland

Location: Ólafsfjörður, Iceland

Starting rate per night: $2,612

Deplar Farm is a lodge on a converted sheep farm that features just 13 guest suites and a state-of-the-art spa. Typical activities in the area include heli-skiing and salmon fishing.

7. Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate


Location: Co. Clare, Ireland

Starting rate per night: $275

Dromoland Castle, the ancestral home of the prominent O’Brien family dating back to the 16th century, became a resort in the 1960s. Popular activities include falconry, horseback riding, and archery. There is also a full-service spa and an award-winning golf course.

6. Richard’s River Camp

richards camp masai mara kenya

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Starting rate per night: Only available upon request

Established in 2006 as a getaway for a young conservationist couple, Richard’s River Camp is a seven-tent resort that accommodates 16 people at a time. The intimate resort was entirely furnished and decorated by the couple with fabrics and pieces collected through their own travels. The camp offers driven safaris, bush walks, and even hot air balloon flights.

5. Adare Manor

golf at adare manor

Location: Limerick, Ireland

Starting rate per night: $384

A two-hour drive from Dublin, the Adare Manor is located on 840 acres of private green. There is an award-winning golf course and a Michelin star restaurant on site, as well.

4. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

infinity pool intercontinental vietnam

Location: Da Nang, Vietnam

Starting rate per night: $389

The InterContinental’s Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a beachfront property nestled in a nature reserve and close to UNESCO World Heritage sites. The resort has amenities like half a mile of private beach and a wide array of spa treatments, from holistic therapies to pedicures.

3. Chindeni Bushcamp

Chindeni Bushcamp

 Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Starting rate per night: Only available upon request

Overlooking a hippo lagoon, Chindeni is a bushcamp retreat. It consists of four canvas lodges that can accommodate eight guests. The resort runs on solar power and is only open from May to December. 

2. L’Horizon Resort & Spa


Location: Palm Springs, California

Starting rate per night: $410

L’Horizon is made up of 25 bungalows that were all designed to feel like private residences, with different finishes and furnishings. The property was built in 1952 as a getaway for Hollywood producer Jack Wrather. There, he hosted guests like Marilyn Monroe and Ronald Reagan. It was redesigned as a luxury resort, complete with al fresco dining and an expansive spa, in 2015. It is the only US resort to make the top of Conde’s list.

1. Sirikoi Lodge

Sirikoi lodge

Location: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Starting rate: Only available upon request

Situated on 68,000 acres of wilderness in Northern Kenya, Sirikoi Lodge was built by a conservationist couple. It can accommodate 18 guests and its intimate setup includes one main lodge, a cottage, and four elevated tents, all with private outdoor decks. A staff of 68 people facilitates all lodge activities, including bush walks, game drives, helicopter excursions, and private dining.