July 11, 2014 6:15 pm

Travel updates: London, Seattle and Arizona

Mondrian’s first hotel outside the US, Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9 and a cable car to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
The Mondrian London hotel

The Mondrian London hotel

London The first Mondrian hotel outside the US will open on September 30 in a converted 1970s office block on the south bank of the Thames. The 359-room property, which began taking bookings last week, will occupy Sea Containers House, a building that has been nominated as one of the UK’s ugliest. Morgans Hotel Group, the company managing the hotel, says it will “bring the energy of the original” Mondrian, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, to the building, which has undergone refurbishment, extension and remodelling. Interiors will be designed by Tom Dixon, former creative director of furniture company Habitat, who also designed Shoreditch House. The hotel says Dixon has taken inspiration from ocean-liner cabins and the “golden age of transatlantic ship travel” – perhaps ironic, given that the building is named after its former tenant, a company specialising in steel shipping containers. Doubles cost from £234. mondrianlondon.com

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Boeing 787-9 Air New Zealand©2014@The Boeing Company

Seattle Air New Zealand became the first airline to take delivery of a Boeing 787-9 last week, at a ceremony at the Future of Flight aviation centre, near Seattle. The aircraft, which Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon called “a real game changer”, is a larger version of the original 787 Dreamliner, with a longer range and increased maximum take-off weight. The number of seats varies according to airline, but Boeing says the new plane will typically accommodate 16 per cent more than the original. The plane had originally been scheduled to enter service in 2010, but its first commercial flight, between Auckland and Perth, is now planned for October 15 this year. An even larger version, the 787-10, is due to be delivered in 2018. airnewzealand.co.uk

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Arizona A project to build a cable car to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, as well as restaurants and hotels, poses a “serious threat” to the national park, according to officials. The development site is on Navajo Nation land, just beyond park boundaries, and if the Navajo Nation Council approves it, work could begin next summer. Backers of the Grand Canyon Escalade project say it will enable less mobile visitors to descend into the canyon – at the moment, tourists have to hike or ride on mules – and provide employment. Critics complain the development will be visible from the South Rim, where many visitors come to view the canyon, and that the site, at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers, has religious significance to the Navajo. The plans, as well as a proposed housing project, “are serious threats to the future of the park,” Dave Uberuaga, park superintendent, told the LA Times.

Photograph: 2014@The Boeing Company

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