Top 10 best hotels in the world

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (December 10,2018): Top 10 best hotels in the world.

The question I am asked most often is “what is your favorite hotel in the world?”. It’s somewhat difficult to answer that question since I prefer to rank hotels in different categories according to the experience they offer, whether it be a city break, a romantic getaway, a wilderness experience or a beach holiday. Nevertheless, there are a few luxury hotels that have left such an overwhelming impression on me that I rank them amongst my most memorable travel experiences ever. So, here you go: this is my top 10 list of the world’s most beautiful and amazing luxury hotels (and I highly recommend to put them on your bucket list as well).

There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below.

Click to view slideshow.

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10. PARK HYATT SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Seated majestically on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, Park Hyatt Sydney perfectly personifies contemporary harbourside luxury with its coveted location between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Reminiscent of an exclusive harbourside residence, Park Hyatt Sydney offers intimate surrounds with architecture, art and design that reflect the Australian landscape. Highlights include 155 spacious guestrooms and suites with contemporary interiors and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to private balconies, some with stunning views of the Opera House. There’s a lot to love about Sydney’s most luxurious hotel, but the jewel in this hotel’s crown is the outdoor rooftop swimming pool, with spa, private sun-deck, cabanas, and magnificent views of the Sydney skyline.

  • Hotel website: Park Hyatt Sydney
  • Other accolades: Park Hyatt Sydney also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Australia, the world’s most spectacular hotel rooftops, the world’s most spectacular rooftop pools, the world’s best city hotels, and luxury hotels loved by celebrities.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (upgrade on arrival, daily continental breakfast, $100 USD spa credit, early check-in and late check-out).
  • Review: read my review of Park Hyatt Sydney here.


9. &BEYOND MNEMBA ISLAND, ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA

If you have ever harbored the secret wish of finding yourself the sole inhabitant of a beautiful tropical island, but without the effort of having to lift a finger to fend for yourself, &Beyond Mnemba Island is just the place for you. This romantic, private hideaway is an award-winning barefoot beach paradise just off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, accommodating a maximum of 20 guests at a time. Guest relax and unwind in the exclusivity of their own stretch of beachfront, where ten beachside bandas peep out onto unblemished sands from the dappled shade of the casuarina pine forest and overlook the Mnemba atoll (a scuba diver’s delight). From snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking to massages in the beach, to doing nothing at all, &Beyond Mnemba Island has something for everyone.

  • Hotel website: &Beyond Mnemba Island
  • Other accolades: &Beyond Mnemba Island also features in my top 10 lists of the most exclusive, private island retreats in the world, the best luxury hotels in Tanzania, the most stunning resorts in Zanzibar, and Africa’s most astonishing beach retreats.
  • Review: read my review of &Beyond Mnemba Island here.


8. BELMOND HOTEL CARUSO, AMALFI COAST, ITALY

Situated in the most spectacular location, almost suspended between sea and sky, Belmond Hotel Caruso occupies a former medieval palace at the highest, quietest point of Ravello, overlooking the rocks and cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean (or, more correctly, Tyrrhenian) Sea. With frescoed salons, arched stone vaults and just 50 highly individual rooms and suites occupying every shape and corner of the ancient palace’s architecture, it is an intimate retreat with an intriguing sense of history. But above all, with its rose arbor leading to one of the world’s most spectacular infinity pools, with sunlit or candlelit dining in the Belvedere Restaurant, and with a rich sense of its past as a retreat for presidents, writers and film stars, the hotel is almost impossibly romantic.

  • Hotel website: Belmond Hotel Caruso
  • Other accolades: Belmond Hotel Caruso also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Italy, the world’s most spectacular cliffside luxury hotels, the world’s most stunning hotel pools, and the best luxury hotels on Capri, Ischia & the Amalfi Coast.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, $100 USD food & beverage credit, early check-in, late check-out, and daily breakfast for 2).
  • Review: read my review of Belmond Hotel Caruso here.


7. SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY, OMAN

Six Senses Zighy Bay is an ultra-luxurious “hidden gem”, located on Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula, only a scenic two-hour car journey (but a world apart) from Dubai. The setting of this beautiful indigenous village-style resort with its private marina is spectacular, with dramatic mountains on one side, and a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) sandy beach on the other. The resort gives the feeling of exotic remoteness, yet offers every comfort, easy accessibility and barefoot luxury beyond imagination. The accommodations are inspired by traditional Omani houses and feature high indigenous-style ceilings, colorfully cushioned living area and cloudlike bed made with unbleached cotton sheets topped with your choice of ergonomic pillows. All villas have a private pool, where guests can refresh within the privacy of high cobblestone walls.

  • Hotel website: Six Senses Zighy Bay
  • Other accolades: Six Senses Zighy Bay also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Oman, the best health spas in the world, the world’s most amazing beach hotels, the world’s most over-the-top hotel experiences, and restaurants with views that match the food.
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, free breakfast, a massage for two people, early check-in and late check-out).
  • Review: coming soon


6. AMANZOE, GREECE

Amanzoe is a hilltop property, laying amongst centuries old olive groves, boasting panoramic views of the Peloponnese countryside, the glittering tranquil sea, the neighbouring vineyards, and the awe-inspiring mountains. The property is located within easy reach of a wealth of archaeological sites and the cosmopolitan island of Spetses. Designed by quintessential Aman architect, the legendary Ed Tuttle, this exclusive haven of unsurpassed beauty has quickly become the Mediterranean playground of those in the know. Classically inspired yet sleekly contemporary, Amanzoe’s Pavilions and Villas open to expansive private terraces, creating a seamless extension of the airy interiors and an unrivalled sense of space and seclusion. A stone’s throw away, the Amanzoe beach club comes with two lap pools and two children’s pools and provides fun and games in total privacy by the water.

  • Hotel website: Amanzoe
  • Other accolades: Amanzoe also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Greece, the most astonishing beach retreats in Europe, and my favorite Aman resorts in the world.
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking Amanzoe via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and one lunch for 2).
  • Review: read my review of Amanzoe here.


5. ROYAL MALEWANE, SOUTH AFRICA

Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge with only 7 one- to six-bedroom villas, located in Thornybush private game reserve on the western border of the Kruger National Park. The lodge, which has Bill Gates, Bono and Elton John among its repeat guests, exudes the romance and beauty of a bygone age while offering every modern comfort and convenience. Here, the classic safari experience is unsurpassed with unrivaled Big Five game viewing and the country’s most qualified guiding team, who will provide detailed insights into the complex and fascinating ecosystems of the South African bushveld. Guests can also indulge in sensual treatments at the tranquil waters of Royal Malewane’s Bush Spa and enjoy nightly feasts under the African stars.

  • Hotel website: Royal Malewane
  • Other accolades: Royal Malewane also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in South Africa, the most insanely beautiful safari lodges in Africa and the most exclusive safari lodges in South Africa.
  • Review: read my review of Royal Malewane here.


4. AMAN TOKYO, JAPAN

Occupying the top six floors of the recently-built Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo is an urban sanctuary high above the atmospheric whirl of tradition and modernity that epitomises Tokyo. The hotel draws its design inspiration from traditional Japanese residential structures, with classic Japanese materials such as timber, Washi paper and stone blended to great effect with modern technology and luxurious fabrics. The hotel has 84 rooms and suites, all with unique layouts, magnificent city views and every contemporary convenience. Each room has a large ‘furo’, a deep soaking tub intrinsic to the Japanese ritual of bathing. There is also a continuous reference to nature, from the hotel’s inner garden in the phenomenal lobby, to the fabrics and art incorporated into the design.

  • Hotel website: Aman Tokyo
  • Other accolades: Aman Tokyo also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Japan, the best Aman hotels in the world, the most amazing hotel lobbies in the world, and the best luxury hotels in Tokyo.
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Aman Tokyo here.


3. SONEVA KIRI, THAILAND

Remote yet accessible by a 90 minute flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s 4th largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. One of the most exclusive resorts in the world, Soneva Kiri offers an unrivaled combination of luxury, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences. The 36 resort villas (including 11 private residences) are amongst the largest in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies, and impeccable service courtesy of private butlers. Highlights include the open air cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate & ice cream parlour, the children’s den and the spectacular Treetop dining pod.

Contact me to receive complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Kiri (e.g. upgrade, resort credit, and a personalized Soneva experience).

  • Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
  • Top 10 accolades: Soneva Kiri features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful hotels in Thailand, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences,  the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, the world’s most remote hotels, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and luxury hotels with private airports.
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Thai tapas on arrival, and a 30 minute spa treatment for two).
  • Review: read my review of Soneva Kiri here.


2. NORTH ISLAND, SEYCHELLES

North Island has a reputation as world’s most exclusive hideaway and I am still blown away by my visit a couple of years ago. The insanely beautiful island has only 11 opulent hand-crafted villas overlooking the pristine, powder-white sands and turquoise waters of the Ile Du Nord eco-reserve. Raised off the ground to catch the cooling Indian Ocean breezes, all villas open up onto your private garden and the beach. Plunge pools and outdoor showers provide the finishing touches to your private sanctuary. The island’s lounge and dining areas, scenically located health spa and gym, library and dive centre, and a rim-flow swimming pool are all built into a granitic outcrop. Keep an eye out for Brutus, the island’s 160-year-old tortoise. The resort was the decor for honeymoon of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

  • Hotel website: North Island
  • Other accolades: North Island also features  in my top 10 lists of the best resorts in the Seychelles, the world’s most exclusive private island resorts,  the world’s most expensive hotels, the world’s best honeymoon resorts, and Africa’s most astonishing beach retreats.
  • Review: read my review of North Island Seychelles here.


1. SONEVA JANI, MALDIVES

Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on Medhufaru island, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The Maldives’ most exclusive hotel, and my absolutely favorite hotel in the world, is fringed by pristine beaches, blanketed with lush tropical greenery, and surrounded by a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean. Currently, Soneva Jani features 24 water villas and one beach villa, although additional beach villas are planned at a later stage. Each one of the 24 water villas is superbly designed and has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze. Soneva Jani is the sister resort of the equally stunning Soneva Fushi resort, which features Robinson Crusoe-style, multi-bedroom luxury villas hidden among dense tropical foliage on the Maldives’ most beautiful island.

Contact me to receive complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Jani or Fushi (e.g. upgrade, resort credit, and a personalized Soneva experience).

  • Hotel website: Soneva Jani
  • Top 10 accolades: Soneva Jani features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful resorts in the Maldives, the most fabulous overwater villas in the Maldives, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and my favorite hotels in the world.
  • Review: read my review of Soneva Jani here.


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Review: Armani Hotel Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a wonderful long weekend in Dubai. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER new Business Class Brussels to Dubai
  • Review: Armani Hotel Dubai (today)
  • Review: PHENOMENAL Six Senses Zighy Bay (Oman)
  • Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER new First Class Dubai to Brussels

Today (December 5, 2018): Review of Armani Hotel Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
  • Location: Google maps
  • Hotel website: Armani Hotel Dubai
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso

Embodying beauty, elegance and grace, Armani Hotel Dubai defines superior service, immaculate design and incomparable luxury. The hotel is a part of a mixed use development consisting of 160 rooms and 144 residences. The hotel is up to the 8th floor and then 38th and 39th floors and the residences occupy levels 9 to 16 of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. Inside the 160 rooms and suites, sophisticated colors, clean lines and unique textures blend together seamlessly with the tower’s stunning architecture and natural light to create an atmosphere of calm serenity where guests can retreat into a world of minimalist elegance. Armani Dubai also features a world-class spa and several excellent restaurants, including Armani Ristorante which is recognized as one of the best restaurants in the city.

Armani Hotel Dubai features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Dubai and the world’s best city hotels.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Armani Hotel Dubai occupies the first 8 floors and levels 38 and 39 of the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Kalifa. Inaugurated in 2012, Burj Khalifa has a total height (excluding its antenna) of 828 m (2,717 ft). The building was originally named Burj Dubai but was renamed in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab Emirates, after he lent money to the Dubai developers, who ran into financial issues during the construction of the tower. The design for the 162-story tower is inspired by the geometries of a regional desert flower and the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture. As the tower rises from a Y-shaped tripartite base, setbacks occur in an upward spiraling pattern, reducing the building’s mass as it reaches skyward. The centerpiece of a large mixed-use development, the Burj Khalifa contains offices, retail space, residential units, and the Armani hotel.
  • Surrounded by green spaces, water features, and pedestrian-friendly boulevards, the 5-star hotel enjoys the best location in Downtown Dubai to explore some of the city’s most famous attractions. This includes direct access to the Dubai Mall, which is the second largest shopping mall in the world and the most visited building on the planet (more than 80 million visitors in 2017). The Dubai mall houses 22 cinema screens, 120 restaurants and cafes, more than 1200 shops, the world’s largest indoor aquarium & underwater zoo, an ice rink, and the entrance to the view decks of Burj Khalifa. Both the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa surround a manmade lake, where you can enjoy every hour (in the afternoon and evening) the world’s largest choreographed fountain system, shooting water up to 500 ft (152.4 m). Some of the hotel’s rooms offer an unparalleled view of the hourly spectacle.
  • Armani Hotel Dubai is one of only two Armani branded hotels in the world, the other one – of course – being in Milan, the home base of world-famous fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Armani oversaw all aspects of the Dubai hotel’s design and style, from elegant fabrics draping the walls to the Eramosa marble and Japanese tatami wooden floors. The hotel’s couture quality aesthetics and discreet minimal opulence reflect Armani’s signature palette of dark greys and neutrals, creating a serene and chic ambiance. Nowhere is this more evident than in the majestic ground-floor lobby: nestled between three glass pavilions at the base of the tower, this symmetric space reveals a cool, almost obscure ambience dominated by a tubular arch construction overhead. The lobby also flanks a beautiful double-volume wall of jewelry displays, leading toward Armani gift stores which feature fashion, jewelry, chocolate, flowers and more.
  • The ultra-stylish guest corridors, with their zebra paneled wood, are trimmed with LED cove lighting at the base for a sleek look resembling a spaceship-alike catwalk as you make your way to the accommodations. The 160 rooms and suites come in 11 different categories, and are all completely outfitted in Armani Casa furnishings with earthly tones and textured fabrics the designer is known for. During my visit, I was upgraded (thanks to Virtuoso) to a magnificent Armani Fountain Suite with a separate living and sleeping area, both featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with unhindered views of the famous Dubai fountains. Offering a haven of Armani signature luxury, the room featured state-of-the-art technology, with an iPad that controlled the 40-inch LCD flat-screenTV, lighting, blinds, and the room audio (as soon as the jets of water of the Dubai fountains began, the music played straight out of the TV). The bathroom’s massive rain shower, limestone flooring, Armani monogramed plush white bath robes and deliciously scented, pebble shaped soaps added to the glamour. The minibar was stocked with complimentary cold drinks.
  • The Armani Hotel Dubai is one of the city’s hotspots for dining. It features five restaurants, offering a taste of Japan, India, Italy and the Mediterranean:
    • Armani/Ristorante is the hotel’s flagship dining venue, a modern Milanese style restaurant offering Italian cuisine in open spaces and private rooms surrounded by exquisite selections of the finest wine.
    • Armani/Mediterraneo, elegant in its subdued tones and rich textures, is the hotel’s casual restaurant, offering buffet dining throughout the day. Each morning, it’s also the scene of a lavish and very well presented breakfast buffet.
    • Armani/Hashi offers an innovative interpretation of Japanese cuisine (with the freshest fish and artful sushi and sashimi expertly paired with hand-selected beverages) in a vibrant setting overlooking the iconic Dubai Fountain.
    • Armani/Amal is the hotel’s Indian restaurant located on the third floor. Interpreted as a sepia reflecting restrained forms and touches of deep colors, the venue offers a culinary road trip to India, with exotic curries, tandoor specialties, and fragrant side dishes.
    • Armani/Deli is modeled after an Italian inspired gourmet market, offering everything from a simple snack and homemade pasta to daily changing menus and an indulgent Friday brunch.
  • Reflecting Armani’s lifestyle, interior design, and wellness ethos, the 14,000-square-foot Armani/Spa on the third floor creates an environment where guests can rewind, refresh and reinvigorate both their body and mind. The spa features gender-segregated, Arabic thermal areas with saunas, dry-heat laconiums and steam rooms, in addition to relaxation lounges and several plush, oval-shaped treatment rooms with adjustable massage tables. Skincuticles and Georgio Armani branded products are used for the treatments, specially prepared for the Armani/Spa by L’Oréal.
  • The spa also offers access to an outdoor deck, which features a bar, two rows of very comfortable sun loungers and an arrow-shaped pool that wraps around one the building’s corners, hereby offering a stunning perspective of the glittering spine of the Burj Khalifa. It’s neither the largest nor the most spectacular pool in Dubai, but the way the design manages to both conform to and reflect the leaf-like curves of the Burj Khalifa in which it is housed is certainly impressive. There is another pool in Burj Khalifa that’s worth checking out, too. Perched on the 76th floor and part of the Armani Residences (not the hotel), it is the second-highest swimming pool in the world and offers excellent views of almost the whole of Dubai.
  • What really sets this hotel apart is the “warm, Italian-style service, providing guests with a “home-away-from-home” experience. Every guest is assigned a Lifestyle Manager, or personal butler-concierge, who handles everything from arranging childcare to booking of the hottest restaurant tables in the city. The young staff at his hotel is clearly very well-selected and well-trained. They make you feel welcome in a way that seems more genuine and relatable than at other hotels.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

With its impressive design, world-class facilities, and spacious rooms, Armani Hotel Dubai is one of the city’s most exclusive addresses, housed in the world’s tallest tower. Yet, the property does have a few minor issues that you need to know before considering a stay here:

  • The views from the hotel are not as extraordinary as they could have been, since most of the rooms are on the tower’s eight lower floors, which means you can still actually see the ground. If a view is what you are after, make sure to book one of the hotel’s Signature Suites or the Armani Suite, which occupy the hotel’s exclusive 38th and 39th floors.
  • The spa and all its facilities are accessible by non-hotel guests, who can make use of the pool, gym, rain-shower, sauna and steam rooms. Although the clientele and vibe is chic and upscale, some guests may not like fact that they have to mix with non-guests on the pool deck.
  • Although the pool deck is very nice, the pool itself is quite small for a hotel of this size. Also, loud music is played all day long on the pool deck, which is at odds with the hotel’s overall tranquil ambience and has the potential to disrupt your state of mental relaxation (I believe though the music is played to mask Dubai’s ever-present soundtrack of construction).
  • Armani Hotel Dubai is a downtown hotel, not a beach resort. If you don’t know that before going in, then you haven’t done your homework very well. The hotel is perfectly located to explore some of Dubai’s main tourist attractions, but if you’re looking to relax on a beach, then you should stay at another hotel.
  • The room windows can be quite dirty (due to frequent dust and sand storms), which can lead to poor visibility, making it difficult to take pictures through the windows.
  • It’s not cheap to stay at Georgio Armani’s Dubai outlet, with rooms normally starting at around $600 USD per night and suites can cost many times that. And that’s not even taking into account the pricey spa treatments and restaurant meals. That said, I found the accommodation rates to be in line with what you would expect at a 5-star Dubai hotel. And you can always save some money by booking via Virtuoso, which entitles you to complimentary daily breakfast, one lunch or dinner, and a small spa credit.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 8/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value for money: 10/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a property like Armani Hotel Dubai (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, one complimentary lunch or dinner at Armani/Mediterraneo for two, and $35 USD spa credit).
  • Room tip: the rooms and suites with the best view are located on the Burj Khalifa’s fountain side. The hotel’s Signature Suites and the Armani Suite, which occupy the hotel’s exclusive 38th and 39th floors, have the best panoramic vistas.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Dubai’s high season – November to March – offers balmy temperatures and mostly sunny days. This is the best time to participate to outdoor activities or simply relax on the pool deck. May to September can be uncomfortably hot, but if you can tolerate the heat and humidity, you can save hundreds of dollars as this is low season.


HOW TO GET THERE

Armani Hotel Dubai is located a 20 minute drive from Dubai International Airport (DXB), which is served by most major airlines. Check the Wikipedia page of Dubai International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Dubai.


PHOTOS
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ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: LOBBY LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: LOBBY LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: LOBBY LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: LOBBY LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO RESTAURANT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO RESTAURANT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO RESTAURANT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO RESTAURANT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO RESTAURANT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO RESTAURANT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO TERRACE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO TERRACE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO TERRACE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: ARMANI/MEDITERRANEAO TERRACE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - ENTRANCE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – ENTRANCE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - ENTRANCE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – ENTRANCE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – LIVING ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – OFFICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BATHROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - GUEST LAVATORY
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – GUEST LAVATORY
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – BEDROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - VIEW
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – VIEW
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - WELCOME AMENITIES
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – WELCOME AMENITIES
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - MINIBAR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – MINIBAR
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE - ROOM SERVICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: FOUNTAIN SUITE – ROOM SERVICE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA - TREATMENT ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA – TREATMENT ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA - TREATMENT ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA – TREATMENT ROOM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA - RELAXATION LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA – RELAXATION LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA - RELAXATION LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA – RELAXATION LOUNGE
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA - GYM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: SPA – GYM
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (VIEW OF BURJ KHALIFA)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (VIEW OF BURJ KHALIFA)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (AT SUNSET)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (AT SUNSET)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (AT SUNSET)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (AT SUNSET)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (AT SUNSET)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK (AT SUNSET)
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: POOL DECK
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI AT NIGHT
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET 
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: DINNER BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI: BREAKFAST BUFFET
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK
BURJ KHALIFA OBSERVATION DECK

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The post Review: Armani Hotel Dubai (United Arab Emirates) appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Top 10 best luxury hotels in Dubai

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (December 3, 2018): Top 10 most exclusive hotels in Dubai.

Between its gravity-defying skyscrapers and stunning desert landscape, Dubai is a dazzling metropolis, blending past and present to electrifying effect and offering something for everyone. You can splurge on a shopping spree at Dubai Mall, the world’s second largest shopping mall, encompassing an aquarium, ice rink, and the Dubai Fountain, or bargain for gold in the Gold Souk, a traditional market composed of over 300 gold merchants. You can gaze over the city’s skyline from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on earth, and explore Palm Jumeirah, an artificial archipelago featuring a waterpark and dolphin habitat. Or you can escape the heat at Ski Dubai indoor ski resort or bask in the sunshine on Dubai’s beaches. Synonymous with world-class hotels and resorts, Dubai is also a luxury traveler’s dream. Here’s my recommendation for the 10 best hotels in this must-visit city.

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Dubai hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below!

Click to view slideshow.

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10. ATLANTIS THE PALM DUBAI

This dynamic property is rising in Dubai from the coastline of the largest man-made island in the world, the Palm Island. Positioned as the flagship property it is, the property is situated at the apex of the Palm Island’s outer crescent, surrounded by the beautifully tranquil sea of the Arabian Gulf. The palatial hotel is one of Dubai’s most impressive resorts, part blockbuster luxury hotel (more than 1,500 rooms and suites!), part aquatic wonderland. The resort has some of the most elegant hotel rooms in Dubai, designed to immerse guests in absolute comfort and unparalleled luxury. The hotel’s underwater suites have breathtaking underwater views, including the “ancient” ruins of the mythical lost city of Atlantis and its 65,000 marine inhabitants. Families will love the hotel’s Aquaventure Waterpark, where they can discover an underwater world at The Lost Chambers Aquarium or meet the incredible marine mammals at Dolphin Bay and Sea Lion Point.

ATLANTIS THE PALM DUBAI


9. RAFFLES DUBAI

Not only close to Dubais best-loved landmarks, Raffles Dubai is one of them. This stunning landmark hotel in a distinctive pyramid shape, merges Asian style with an Egyptian aesthetic. Located in Wafi, the heart of the city, Raffles Dubai is a great base from which to explore Dubai in luxury, since it’s only a 10 minute drive from Dubai International Airport, the business districts and all major shopping, cultural and tourist attractions. The 246 extensive guestrooms and suites, with decor inspired by Middle East and Asian influences, all come with a private balcony with views of the city skyline. The property boasts 7 restaurants and bars, including a nightclub at the peak of the pyramid with great city views. The Raffles Spa opens the door to a haven of relaxation with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, hair salon and seven treatment rooms including a couples retreat.

  • Hotel website: Raffles Dubai
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking Raffles Dubai via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).

RAFFLES DUBAI


8. PARK HYATT DUBAI

Located in Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht club on the banks of the majestic Dubai Creek, Park Hyatt Dubai provides an idyllic setting for a luxury getaway. This 5 star resort offers 223 luxury rooms including 34 suites, all of which offer stunning views overlooking the Dubai Creek and marina. The hotel’s award-winning dining venues offer the finest in Western, Thai and French cuisines. With floor-to-ceiling windows, wood-fired ovens and theatre kitchens, the hotel brings excitement and style to dining, both indoor and al fresco.​ As a premium Dubai city resort, the property also offers its guests a number of exciting activities such as Seawings, the aerial seaplane taking off of Dubai Creek and an 18-hole, par-71 championship course that rolls into thousands of undulating yards, or pampering spa treatments at the luxury Amara Spa, one of the finest Dubai spas.

  • Hotel website: Park Hyatt Dubai
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking Park Hyatt Dubai via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).

PARK HYATT DUBAI


7. JUMEIRAH AL QASR

Al Qasr means ‘The Palace’ – and this hotel truly is the jewel in the crown of Madinat Jumeirah (or ‘city of Jumeirah’). Designed in the style of a Sheikh’s summer residence, the hotel replicates traditional royal architecture, coupled with luxurious modernity throughout. Approached along a tree-lined avenue, adorned with beautifully sculpted Arabian horses, the hotel itself will take your breath away. The design of 292 rooms is a tribute to the age-old architectural styles of Arabia. As part of the magnificent Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Al Qasr offers all the facilities and activities of the wider resort, with traditional wooden abra boats transporting guests to more than 40 world-class restaurants and bars. The resort boasts a re-creation of an ancient market, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, with 70-plus boutiques and galleries, a mile-long private stretch of beach, watersports, 19 indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and complimentary access to Wild Wadi Water Park.

  • Hotel websiteJumeirah Al Qasr
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking Jumeirah Al Qasr via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a bottle of wine in room on arrival, one dinner for two, and one 60 min massage for two).

JUMEIRAH AL QASR


6. FOUR SEASONS DUBAI AT JUMEIRAH BEACH

Bringing fresh, sophisticated style to dynamic Dubai, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach captures the city’s energy and excitement in a glamorous beach resort. Boasting a palatial lobby, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking out onto the beautiful gardens and Arabian Gulf, the property is an oasis nestled into the heart of the exclusive Jumeirah area. With polished marble and custom Murano chandeliers, it exudes luxury with understated elegance. The 237 spacious accommodations – including 49 suites – offer views of the Arabian Gulf on one side and Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline on the other. Three pools, watersports and many shopping and dining outlets provide plenty of activities to occupy all.

  • Hotel websiteFour Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).

FOUR SEASONS DUBAI AT JUMEIRAH BEACH


5. ONE&ONLY THE PALM

Chic and glamorous, One&Only The Palm is an exquisite low-rise boutique oasis located on the lush, landscaped private peninsula of the Palm Island crescent. Blending Moorish and Andalusian architecture with contemporary chic interiors, the property consists of 90 rooms and four exclusive beachfront villas. At One&Only The Palm, you can hide away from the everyday and soak up the sun beside shimmering pools and the private, white-sand beach; capture the calm of the day in the Guerlain Spa, set amidst ponds, fountains and open courtyards; and tantalize your palate with an enviable selection of bars and restaurants under the culinary guidance of three-Michelin-stars Chef Yannick Alléno. Across the water is One&Only Royal Mirage, the property’s equally stunning sister resort, where the world’s most discerning travelers are also assured of a warm welcome, understated luxury and discreet, attentive service.

  • Hotel website: One&Only The Palm
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking One&Only The Palm and/or One&Only Royal Mirage via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one dinner for two).

ONE&ONLY THE PALM


4. ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI

The Armani Hotel Dubai is located within Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, and part of a mixed use development consisting of 160 rooms and 144 residences. The downtown hotel is up to the 8th floor and then 38th and 39th floors, and the residences occupy levels 9 to 16 of the Burj Khalifa Tower. The property is suave and understated, with each design detail personally chosen by Giorgio Armani himself. Behind guestroom doors, understated elegance reigns: walls are adorned with handmade leather from Florence, floors covered with Japanese tatami, and bathrooms clad in gray stones from Alicante, Spain, all blending seamlessly with the clean, curved lines of the tower’s architecture. The elegant Armani/SPA tailors every experience to each guest and features a lovely outdoor pool wrapping around one of Burj Khalifa’s corners. The hotel’s dining venues serve Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese and Indian cuisine.


3. BURJ AL ARAB

The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, a glittering architectural marvel in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, is more than just a stunning hotel, it is an emblem of modern Dubai, a world-famous icon, and a symbol of extreme wealth, hence making the resort very popular among the rich and famous. Still the only (self-proclaimed) 7 star super luxury hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab offers oversized suite-only accommodation, with each suite composed of two floors that are connected by a marble staircase. Here, you can soothe your soul in a spa-like bathroom with Jacuzzi, mosaic floor, and full-size Hermes products. The opulent lobby, dotted with huge golden columns, leads to several boutiques and exquisite restaurants. The property also features a spectacular outdoor deck area, floating above the sea, which includes two pools, a restaurant and a bar.

BURJ AL ARAB


2. THE BVLGARI RESORT DUBAI
Situated on the exclusive, manmade Jumeira Bay, an island carved into the shape of a seahorse and adjoined by a 300 m (980 ft) bridge to central Dubai coastline, the Bvlgari Resort Dubai is a true ‘urban oasis’, for visitors and residents alike. Designed entirely by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the renowned Italian architectural firm that has created all the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, the sunny property comprises 101 rooms and suites, as well as 20 Bvlgari villas with pool, garden and sea-view. A full range of amenities are on offer, such as world-class restaurants, a ultraluxe spa with hammam, Dubai’s most exclusive beach club with private beach, and a unique mosaic-design outdoor swimming pool. To add relish to the guest’s stay, the complex comprises a private Marina featuring 50 boat berths and the first world’s Bvlgari Yacht Club with peerless views over the sea.
  • Hotel website: The Bvlgari Resort Dubai
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking Bulgari Resort Dubai via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).

THE BVLGARI RESORT DUBAI


1. AL MAHA, A LUXURY COLLECTION DESERT RESORT & SPA

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, is nestled among the lush palm groves, emerald canopies and iconic sand dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve where desert wildlife abounds. Offering secluded tranquility and iconic vistas of the sweeping plains and Hajar Mountain massif, the property showcases the heritage and architecture of the Bedouins and also offers a sense of desert adventure. Offering unsurpassed luxury, the suites – reminiscent of Bedouin tents – are faced far apart and blend gently into the desert. Beautifully furnished with a unique collection of authentic Arabian artifacts and antiquities, all suites boast private pools with spectacular views of the desert and its wildlife (gazelles & Arabian oryx). A stay at Al Maha includes all meals and two activities per night’s stay (choose from a camel ride with sundowners, archery, nature walks and more).

AL MAHA, A LUXURY COLLECTION DESERT RESORT & SPA


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Travel news: this month (November 2018) in luxury travel

Friday newsletters always feature travel contests, tips, series, or news.

Today (November 30, 2018): November 2018 luxury travel news.

Every last Friday of the month, you can read my news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:

  1. Soneva to launch private seaplane transfers in the Maldives
  2. Rosewood to open a hotel in Venice
  3. Airbus delivers first A330neo to launch operator TAP Air Portugal
  4. InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland opens inside former quarry
  5. British Airways retires its Boeing 767 aircraft
  6. The ultraluxe St Regis hotel brand is coming to Morocco
  7. St Regis Hotels & Resorts debuts in Toronto
  8. Air France to cut half of its Airbus A380 fleet
  9. Six Senses Maxwell opens in Singapore
  10. United to fly its B787-10 planes to 6 European destinations


1. Soneva will launch private seaplane transfers

Soneva, my favorite hotel brand in the world and the owner of the ultraluxe Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani resorts in the Maldives, announced that they will soon unveil a new 10-seater seaplane for guest transfers.  The luxury seaplane is currently journeying from Canada across Greenland to Iceland, flying above Europe and the Middle East, and will descend in the Maldives on Sunday.  The DHC-6 Twin Otter, which normally seats 19, has been modified by IKHANA to only seat 10 people. The new plane will provide Soneva guests roundtrip transportation from Velana International Airport (VIA) to Soneva Fushi in Baa Atoll and Soneva Jani in Noonu Atoll of the Maldives. The cost of a roundtrip transfer is set as USD 1100. The plane’s exterior is painted purple and features Soneva’s branding, while the interior boasts chrome and purple leather seatings. According to a senior official from Soneva, the company is scheduled to commence operations during mid-December. Furthermore, the official stated that the seaplane will be maintained and operated by Maldives leading seaplane operator, Trans Maldives Airways (TMA).

Contact me to get a complimentary upgrade, resort credit and experience at any Soneva resort.


2. Rosewood will open a hotel in Venice

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has announced the Rosewood Venice, which is set to open in 2020 as the ultra-luxury brand’s second property in Italy and eighth in Europe. Located in the heart of the bustling Cannaregio neighborhood, Rosewood Venice will be housed within the magnificent fifteenth century Palazzo Dona’ Giovannelli and located near many of the city’s most legendary landmarks, including the Piazza San Marco. Designed to preserve the building’s stunning original detailing and rich heritage while simultaneously incorporating refined and modern amenities, Rosewood Venice will feature approximately 50 guestrooms and suites inspired by the palace’s rich history and featuring stunning water views due to its dual canal frontage. The hotel’s dramatic main entrance on the Rio di Noale will be an incredible gothic feature featuring an octagonal staircase created by the celebrated architect Gian Battista Meduna. The hotel’s main floor, or piano nobile, will be richly adorned with breathtaking frescos, stuccos, and coffered ceilings as well as magnificent fireplaces and tapestries. Rosewood Venice will feature two signature dining venues, including a charming piano bar.  Additionally, the hotel will include a spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, and extensive meetings and events space.


3. Airbus delivers first A330-900 to launch operator TAP Air Portugal

TAP Air Portugal has taken delivery of the world’s first new-generation widebody A330neo and, as the launch airline, will be the first to benefit from the aircraft’s operating economics, increased range, and Airbus’ new Airspace cabin offering passengers the best in class comfort. The Portuguese carrier will take delivery of a further 20 A330-900s in the coming years. TAP Air Portugal’s first A330-900 features 298 seats in a comfortable three-class lay-out with 34 full-flat business class, 96 economy plus and 168 economy class seats. The Airspace by Airbus cabin offers more personal space, larger overhead storage bins, advanced cabin lighting and the latest-generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity. The aircraft will be deployed on routes from Portugal to the Americas and Africa. The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft building on the A330’s success and leveraging on A350 XWB technology. It incorporates the highly-efficient new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and a new higher span 3D optimised wing with new Sharklets fully optimised for the best aerodynamic performance. Together these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 percent compared with older-generation competitor aircraft of a similar size. Moreover, new composite nacelles, a fully faired titanium pylon and zero-splice air inlet technology provide the A330-900 with state-of-the-art aerodynamics and acoustics.


4. InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland hotel opens inside former quarry

The InterContinental Hotel Group, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has opened its InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland property, the 200th hotel for the brand worldwide. The Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland is a luxury hotel masterfully built into the side wall of a formerly abandoned quarry in Southwestern Shanghai. Located beside Tianma Pit at Sheshan Mountain Range, this legendary new hotel is mostly subterranean (88 m or 288 ft underground), with two floors above ground and 16 below ground, including 2 floors underwater. Individually designed to best reflect both modern elegance and the unique features of quarry landscape, all 336 rooms and suites provide ample, luxury living spaces with spectacular views of waterfalls and the surrounding cliffs. The stunning underwater loft offers two awe-inspiring levels: the landing deck at water level houses the outdoor terrace and bedroom, whilst the underwater living room are encased within a turquoise aquarium where guests will be surrounded by schools of fish swim by. Furthermore, all hotel rooms on the bottom floor are provided with around-the-clock butler service to ensure a truly hassle-free stay experience and keep guests feeling truly pampered. Located right above water level in the hotel’s rock quarry architecture, the Club InterContinental lounge offers a range of exclusive services and benefits for its guests.


5. British Airways retires its Boeing 767 aircraft

British Airways bid farewell to one of the most iconic aircraft in its fleet, the Boeing 767. The airline’s final two 767s are being retired to St Athan in Wales after the last commercial flight – Larnaca in Cyprus to Heathrow – took place last week. Since British Airways operated its first 767 in February 1990 on a short hop to Paris, the fleet of aircraft have completed over 425,000 commercial flights. Frankfurt was the route where enthusiasts could spot the 767 most frequently, with the aircraft completing nearly 15,000 flights to and from the airport, but the aircraft has also been used to serve routes from Abu Dhabi, to Calgary and New York. While it was initially used for long-haul, in recent years it was reconfigured for use on short-haul, including to Athens and Larnaca as well as on some domestic routes. The retirement comes as British Airways looks to the future of its fleet. Just days ago, the airline took delivery of its 30th Boeing 787 Dreamliner – the newest aircraft in its fleet. Not only is the Dreamliner around 40 per cent quieter than other aircraft it also uses 20 per cent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft. This means a reduction in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. But it’s not just the 787 being added to British Airways’ fleet. Later in the year the airline will take delivery of another pioneering aircraft – its first Airbus A350, part of the airline’s £4.5bn investment for customers over the next five years.


6. The ultraluxe St Regis hotel brand is coming to Morocco 

Located in the stylish epicenter of Tamuda Bay on Morocco’s northwestern coast, the St Regis Tamuda Bay is slated to open in mid 2020. The property will be part of La Bahia Blanca, a landmark lifestyle resort development being built by Eagle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based private real estate investment and development company. The resort will exude Moroccan charm and pay tribute to the Andalusian cultural legacy through elevated design, exceptional service and unique food and beverage offerings. Poised to become the city’s best address, the St. Regis Tamuda Bay will offer easy access to one of the world’s most magnificent beaches. The hotel will include 100 luxuriously-appointed guestrooms and suites with unobstructed sea views and will feature hallmarks of the renowned brand, including the signature St. Regis Butler Service. The resort’s sophisticated culinary offerings will include a specialty restaurant, an all-day dining restaurant featuring a wide range of gourmet selections, and an iconic St. Regis Bar inspired by the King Cole Bar at the brand’s flagship in New York, where the world-renowned Bloody Mary cocktail was born in 1934. Leisure facilities will include a spa, pool, and state-of-the-art fitness center. The St. Regis Tamuda Bay will also offer unrivalled event and meeting spaces, an ideal setting for small and large-scale events.


7. St Regis Hotels & Resorts debuts in Toronto

Some more exciting news from the St Regis brand. Rising 65-stories above Canada’s international enclave for business and culture, the St Regis Toronto hotel is now open after a complete refurbishment of the former Trump Toronto Hotel. The property is a beacon on the Toronto skyline, offering visitors a remarkably central location between the entertainment and financial districts. Within close walking distance from preeminent shopping, live theatre, sports and entertainment venues, the hotel places guests just moments from the city’s most distinguished landmarks including the CN Tower, Union Station, and Toronto International Film Festival. Boasting 258 spacious guest rooms, including 124 luxury suites – the most suites of any luxury hotel in Canada – modern elegance and bespoke service come together at The St. Regis Toronto. Designed by DesignAgency and Chapi Chapo Design, the hotel reflects the layered and diverse cultural history of Toronto, the unique landscape of the Ontario province, and the rich social fabric of the people who make up the city.


8. Air France will cut half of its Airbus A380 fleet

Air France currently has ten Airbus A380s in its fleet. The original Air France order was for 12 A380 aircraft, but the airline asked that the final two aircraft of the order be fulfilled with A350s instead. Now, according to French publication Les Echos and Business Traveller, the present Air France fleet of 10 A380s will be cut to five. Two of the Air France planes will reportedly be returned when their lease runs out next year, while three more will be returned later, possibly in 2020. The news was confirmed by Canadian Benjamin Smith, Air France’s newly appointed CEO. The main reasons for the A380 fleet reduction are that Air France finds the A380 costly to operate compared with its B777-300ERs which carry almost as many passengers, and that refurbishing all A380s is too expensive. Air France will retrofit and update the aging cabins of its remaining A380s by 2020, an approximately $225 million Euro (45 million per plane) process. The refurbishment is urgently needed as Air France’s A380 cabins are dated compared toother A380 operators. Unlike A380 customers Singapore Air, Emirates, and Etihad, the Air France A380 cabins lack First Class suites and fully lie-flat bed in Business Class. Former Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac originally announced a retrofit in 2014 that was supposed to have happened by 2017, but Air France endured a long pilots’ strike and lost 225 million euros in 2014 alone, so refitting A380 cabins was not a top priority.


9. Six Senses Maxwell opens in Singapore

Melding Singapore’s rich heritage and European tradition, Six Senses Maxwell is the second landmark urban property in the Six Senses collection of hotels, following the Six Senses Duxton opening in April. Both hotels occupy historical buildings in Chinatown’s Tanjong Pagar district and each radiates its own distinct personality and charm, while reflecting the neighborhood’s past as a trading center and current status as a vibrant downtown cultural enclave. Housed in a colonial-style 19th century heritage building, the 138-room Six Senses Maxwell features a historically significant Indentures Collection. These comprise vintage land transaction documents that offer a fascinating glimpse into the development of Singapore and the Straits Settlements in the 1800s and early 1900s. The rich sense of intertwined Asian and European history is tastefully imbued in Six Senses Maxwell’s warm and stylish interior, fashioned by the famed designer Jacques Garcia with alluring touches in burnished timber finishes and lightened up with elegant paintwork.


10. United will fly its B787-10 planes to 6 European destinations

United Airlines – who offers more seats between New York and Europe than any other carrier – announced it will operate its newest Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner on six trans-Atlantic routes from its New York/Newark hub. From March 30 the Dreamliner will operate on flight UA960 from Newark to Frankfurt (departing 7.50 pm), and on flight UA84 to Tel Aviv (departing 1655). Then from April 29 the aircraft will be rostered onto flight UA57 to Paris (departing 6.40 pm), and flight UA120 to Barcelona (departing 7.30 pm). Finally on May 22 the B787-10 will operate on flight UA999 to Brussels (departing 6.30 pm), and flight UA23 to Dublin (departing 7.25 pm). United was the first North American airline to take delivery of the 787-10, and is also the first airline in the world to have the entire family of Boeing’s 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliners in its fleet. United’s 787-10 features 44 United Polaris Business Class seats, 21 Premium Plus seats, 54 Economy Plus seats and 199 standard Economy seats. The Boeing 787-10 is 18 ft (5,5 m) longer than the 787-9 and can carry more passengers and more cargo. The -10 aircraft can fly up to 6,430 nautical miles, while using 20 percent less fuel than older generation airplanes. The airline expects to take delivery of 14 787-10 aircraft over the next two years.


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The post Travel news: this month (November 2018) in luxury travel appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Trip report: Emirates Boeing 777 new Business Class Brussels to Dubai

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a relaxing long weekend in Dubai. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER new Business Class Brussels to Dubai (today)
  • Review: Armani Hotel Dubai
  • Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay (Oman)
  • Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER new First Class Dubai to Brussels

Today (November 28, 2018): Emirates Boeing 777-300ER new Business Class Brussels to Dubai.

On October 6th 2018, I flew in an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER featuring the carrier’s newest Business Class product  from Brussels (BRU) to Dubai (DXB). Flying the Boeing 777-300ER is a different experience as compared to the Airbus A380, since Emirates has installed a different Business Class product & seat on both aircraft types. While Emirates’ Boeing 777 offers a highly enjoyable and luxurious onboard experience, its Business Class product with a 2-3-2 layout is somewhat inferior to the one offered on the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet, with the latter featuring direct aisle access for all passengers and a well-appointed bar on the upper deck (read my review of Emirates’ A380 Business Class here).

Emirates features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the best airlines for longhaul First Class, the most luxurious A380 First Class products, the world’s best airlines for in-flight meals, the best First Class lounges, the best Business Class amenity kits, and the best First Class amenity kits.

Have you ever flown Emirates’ Business Class? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.

  • Trip: Brussels (BRU) to Dubai (DXB)
  • Airline: Emirates
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Aircraft registration number: A6-EQO
  • Flight Number: EK184
  • Date: October 10, 2018
  • On time departure: yes (3 pm)
  • On time arrival: yes (11 pm)
  • Miles: 3200
  • Flight time: 6 hours
  • Seat: 10K
  • Class: Business Class

In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  1. Emirates chauffeur service
  2. Lounge at Brussels Airport
  3. Facts & figures about Emirates’ longhaul fleet
  4. Business Class cabin
  5. Business Class seat (+ best & worst suites)
  6. Amenities
  7. Meals
  8. Entertainment
  9. Onboard internet
  10. Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
  11. My verdict (score)

Click to view slideshow.

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1. EMIRATES CHAUFFEUR SERVICE

One of the great perks about flying Business (or First) Class with Emirates is the complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers. The carrier whisks you to and from the airport at both ends of your journey. Chauffeur-drive must be requested online, up to 48 hours prior to your flight.

EMIRATES CHAUFFEUR SERVICE
EMIRATES CHAUFFEUR SERVICE

2. LOUNGE AT BRUSSELS AIRPORT

Although Emirates operates some of the best lounges around the world, unfortunately, it doesn’t have its own lounge at Brussels Airport. Its Business & First Class passengers get access though to the Brussels Airlines lounge in Terminal B, called ‘The Suite’. The Suite is basically a spacious rectangular room, with floor-to-ceiling-windows on one side that offer nice views of the airport apron. The space is composed out of different areas for different travel needs:

  • A working area (with desktops and laptop tables) is available for travelers who want to continue their work at the airport.
  • A quiet zone is reserved for passengers who are (like me) in need of some peace and quiet before their departure.
  • There’s also a reading corner, where you find a wide selection of international newspapers and magazines.
  • Finally, a modest buffet is on display in a separate room, next to the main lounge. It offers a variety of snacks depending on the time of the day. I visited the lounge during lunchtime, and the snacks comprised olives, cheese, several salads, soup, and a hot dish (meat balls with tomato sauce and rice). Belgian beer (including Leffe and Stella Artois) is also available at the buffet area.

The lounge was recently completely refurbished and upgraded. Compared to the previous lounge, The Suite has doubled in size and can now accommodate 160 visitors. At peak moments, the lounge has the ability to expand and accommodate 100 extra guests. As in everything Brussels Airlines does, the Belgian spirit is reflected in ‘The Suite’, through Belgian beers, Belgian media, Belgian culinary specialties and impressions of the surrealist art of René Magritte.

While the lounge is decent, it does not come close to the quality of lounges that Emirates operates at select airports across the globe. I can only hope that one day the Dubai based carrier will open its own lounge at Brussels Airport.

BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)

BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)

BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)
BRUSSELS AIRLINES BUSINESS LOUNGE (THE SUITE)

3. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT EMIRATES’ LONGHAUL FLEET

Emirates is by far the largest Boeing 777 & Airbus A380 operator on the planet.

  • With a current 105-strong Airbus A380 fleet and an order backlog for 57 additional aircraft combined, Emirates’ commitment to the A380 program is worth over $ 60 billion USD. All Emirates A380s are being fitted at the Airbus factory in Hamburg including significant cabin interior work and final livery, and are being delivered from Hamburg. The Emirates A380 program creates and supports manufacturing jobs across the global aircraft manufacturing supply chain. Airbus estimates that Emirates’ A380 orders alone support 41,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Europe, including some 14,500 in Germany alone. Emirates currently operates the A380 to 48 global destinations.
  • Emirates has 165 Boeing 777s in its fleet, one of the most popular and advanced wide-bodied aircraft in commercial operation today. It also has a further 164 B777s on firm order, including 150 of the next generation Boeing 777x aircraft. Emirates is the only airline that operates all the variants of the B777 aircraft. Today, Emirates operates the Boeing 777 to over 140 cities on six continents from its hub in Dubai.
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER
EMIRATES BOEING 777-300ER

4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Business Class on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER is located between First and Economy Class and spread over 2 cabins. A first Business Class mini-cabin contains 2 rows of 14 seats and feels quite intimate, while a second and larger cabin contains 28 Business Class seats spread over 4 rows. The two Business Class cabins are separated by a galley kitchen, the lavatories and the main exit doors.

The layout of Emirates’ new B777-300ER Business Class cabin is identical to the carrier’s old Business Class product (which I reviewed here). The seats are still arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, which implies that not everyone has direct aisle access: passengers in the center and window seats will have to scramble over their neighbor’s legs to reach the aisle. Nevertheless, this ‘traditional’ layout is quite good if you are traveling with a group of friends or family. In comparison: Emirates’ A380 aircraft feature a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, which is much better for solo travelers (and which I reviewed here); also, the carrier is currently in the process of refurbishing its B777-200LR aircraft (used for its longest B777 routes) with a 2-2-2 layout (instead of 2-3-2 across).

Emirates’ new B777 Business Class cabin has a more refined and sleek-looking interior compared to the old B777 cabin. The design and shape of the new Business Class seat is inspired by a modern Mercedez-Benz sports car, with a diamond stitch pattern on the full leather cover and ergonomically designed headrest. In fact, is the first time an Emirates product has been so influenced by another luxury brand. Except for this soft product upgrade, the B777 Business Class cabin still retains Emirates’ signature airplane decor with classy burled walnut veneer, gold trim and pearlised plastic framing the seats (some may find it kitsch though).

It is worth mentioning that all of Emirates B777s (both older and newly delivered aircraft) feature excellent mood lighting, with the colors of the ceiling changing according to the local time. Quite impressive are the stars on the ceiling – called StarLight – which is a technical feature unique to Emirates; it is pretty amazing lying down in your bed at 35,000 feet, opening your eyes and seeing stars.

For a seating plan of Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER, click here.

EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (BOARDING)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (LARGE CABIN)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (LARGE CABIN)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (SMALL CABIN)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (SMALL CABIN)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (SMALL CABIN)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (SMALL CABIN)

5. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

I had selected seat 10A for the 6 hour flight from Brussels to Dubai.

The new B777 Business Class seat is almost identical to the old B777 Business Class seat: it has a width of 20.5 inch (52 cm) and also features touchscreen controls (one tablet and one handset) for the seat and inflight entertainment system, several personal lighting options, privacy panels between seats (so you can turn your seat into a little self-contained pod when not traveling with a partner), and a shoe stowage area. However, there are 6 major differences which makes this product a welcome upgrade as compared to the old B777 seats:

  • The seats are fully flat beds (and not angled flat beds) and move into a fully flat sleeping position, which is a huge improvement.
  • Each seat comes with an ottoman or footrest, covered in soft white leather.
  • The seat has a more sleek look and also feels more comfortable.
  • There’s a personal mini-bar in the arm rest (similar to what you find on Emirates’ A380s). The bar is on room temperature though (it’s not cooled) and only contains non-alcoholic drinks (e.g. Pepsi, Seven Up, fruit juice, and Perrier).
  • The new seat has a pitch of 72 inches or 183 cm (compared to 60 inch or 150 cm of the old seat), making it more comfortable to get in and out of the seat when you are not seated next to the aisle.
  • The new seats feature the industry’s largest personal in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens at 23 inches wide, which is considerably larger than the TVs of the old seats. In addition, there’s a small storage compartment located below the screen, that contains a bottle of water and a bag with socks & eyeshades upon boarding (but that can easily be used to stow away small personal items during the flight).

What are the best Business Class seats on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER? Click here for a seat map.

  • Seats in row 6: at the front of the small first cabin, these bulkhead seats immediately behind First Class have a little extra legroom for manoeuvring (and hopping over the aisle passenger if in a window or middle seat). In addition, the smaller cabin is quieter and further away from the noise and bustle of Economy Class.
  • Seats in row 8: at the front of the larger second cabin, these bulkheads again have a little more legroom. But they are also bassinet crib seats, so business travelers are slightly more likely to be moved for a passenger with an infant.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER? Click here for a seat map.

  • Seats 7A & 7K: these window seats are missing a window, so if you lean back you’re just looking at a wall.
  • Seats in row 11: all the way at the back of Business Class and separated from Economy by only a thin wall and curtain, these are right in front of the Economy Class bassinet crib spots. In addition, these seats also lack a window.
  • Middle seats (designated by the letter ‘E’ on the seat map): these seats are flanked by other seats on both sides, so avoid them if flying alone, and if traveling with a partner aim for the window pairs (A&B or J&K) instead.
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: MINIBAR
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: MINIBAR
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: MINIBAR
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: MINIBAR
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: TRAY TABLE
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: TRAY TABLE
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: TV SCREEN
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: TV SCREEN
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: OTTOMAN
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT: OTTOMAN
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)

6. AMENITIES

The following amenities were offered during the 6 hour flight from Brussels to Dubai:

  • A thin but comfortable blanket
  • A decently sized pillow
  • A duvet (provided by the crew during the flight to enhance the sleeping comfort)
  • Emirates-branded noise cancelling headphones (you cannot keep these as they can only be powered within an aircraft)
  • Flight socks and earplugs

Unfortunately, no amenity kits nor pajamas are offered by Emirates on medium-haul flights. The carrier has phenomenal Business Class amenity kits but only provides them on longhaul flights of more than 8 hours. On a positive note, the lavatories are stocked with toiletries and Bvlgari perfumes (so it’s always possible to refresh a little).

EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITIES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITIES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: SOCKS & EYESHADES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: SOCKS & EYESHADES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: SOCKS & EYESHADES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: SOCKS & EYESHADES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: PILLOW
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: PILLOW
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: BLANKET
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS AMENITIES: BLANKET
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES

7. FOOD & BEVERAGES

One meal was offered shortly after takeoff. The menu read as follows:

  • Appetisers: choice of
    • Roasted tomato soup with herb ravioli
    • Poached prawns with seared scallop and smoky aubergine dip
    • Bresaola served with creamy mustard sauce, green bean salad and parmesan
  • A seasonal side salad and freshly baked bread
  • Main course: choice of
    • Slow-braised beef brisket served with braising juices, snow peas and mashed potatoes with carrots and onions
    • Roasted duck with balsamic honey glaze, served with spätzle and sautéed Mediterranean vegetables
    • Pan-fried cod with saffron sauce, caramelised fennel, herbed potatoes and seasonal vegetables
  • Dessert: choice of
    • Tapioca citrus crémeux served with raspberry compote
    • Chocolate and hazelnut tart served with caramel sauce seasonal fruit
    • An assortment of fresh-cut fruit
  • Cheese board, with Garcia Manchego (hard, textured Spanish ewe’s milk cheese, matured for six months), Cantal Jeune PDO (young, semi-soft French cheese) and Colston Bassett Stilton (classic creamy English stilton)
  • Fine luxury chocolates

Food was decent and definitely above average for a Business Class product. While I found my starter (prawns) rather uninspiring, my main dish (beef) tasted excellent. The tapioca citrus crémeux served with raspberry compote was an interesting but flavorful dessert.

About ninety minutes before landing, all Business Class passengers were served an ice cream. Personally, I would have loved the addition of another pre-arrival light meal service (especially because mid-flight snacks were not offered on the menu).

EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: HOT TOWEL
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS: HOT TOWEL
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS MENU
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS DINNER
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS PRE-ARRIVAL ICE-CREAM
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS PRE-ARRIVAL ICE-CREAM
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS PRE-ARRIVAL ICE-CREAM
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS PRE-ARRIVAL ICE-CREAM

8. ENTERTAINMENT

Emirates entertainment system, called ICE (information, communications, entertainment) is the best in the industry, albeit a bit overwhelming when you are using it for the first time. You have three options on how to control the system: touching the screen (problematic given the seat pitch), using a small wired remote, or using a touch-screen monitor that is about the size of a small tablet.

ICE has an extensive range of new-release and classic films, television shows, box sets and audio options to choose from. You can choose from up to 1,800 channels of the latest and greatest movies and must-see TV shows, on demand and in multiple languages. You can also relax to music from around the world or play a range of fun games.

My favorite ICE feature is the outside camera that you can access on your screen. Emirates’ B777s are equipped with two cameras: one facing forward and once facing straight down (no tail camera like on the A380). When not in a window seat, it can be handy watching the aircraft take off via the cameras.

EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
EMIRATES B777 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: NOSE CAMERA
EMIRATES B777 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: NOSE CAMERA

9. ONBOARD INTERNET

Emirates offers 20MB of free WiFi within the first two hours of log in across all your devices on board most of its flights. That’s enough data to browse your favourite social networks and send messages. If you like to use onboard WiFi for longer or you need more data, you can choose from one of Emirates’ data plans, with a pricing dependent on the fact whether you are a member of Emirates’ loyalty program ‘Skywards’ or not.

If you’re an Emirates Skywards Silver or Blue member, make sure you log in as a member and not as a guest so you can enjoy both the 20MB for free and then buy a discounted plan:

Cabin class Emirates Skywards tier Plan options
First Class, Business Class Blue, Silver, Gold, Platinum Unlimited free Wi-Fi throughout the flight
Economy Class Gold, Platinum Unlimited free Wi-Fi throughout the flight
Economy Class Silver Up to 150MB of data, for USD 4.99
Up to 500MB of data, for USD 7.99
Economy Class Blue Up to 150MB of data, for USD 6.99
Up to 500MB of data, for USD 10.99

The following applies to non-Emirates Skywards members:

Cabin class Plan options
First Class, Business Class and Economy Class Up to 150MB of data, for USD 9.99
Up to 500MB of data, for USD 15.99
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS WIFI
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS WIFI
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS WIFI
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS WIFI

10. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

#CREW: The Emirates crew on this particular flight did are wonderful job: they addressed me by name at every single occasion during the flight, presented themselves individually before take-off, thanked me in person for choosing Emirates, and explained the features of the cabin and seat to all passengers individually. They were doing all they could to make the flight as enjoyable as possible.

# LAVATORY: there are 2 decently sized lavatories for Business Class passengers in the galley between the 2 Business Class cabins. All lavatories were kept very clean during the flight.

EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
EMIRATES B777 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY

# VIEWS: we enjoyed some stunning sunset views during the flight.

EMIRATES B777: VIEW OF SUNSET
EMIRATES B777: VIEW OF SUNSET
EMIRATES B777: VIEW OF SUNSET
EMIRATES B777: VIEW OF SUNSET

11. MY VERDICT
  • Cabin design: 7/10
  • Seat comfort (upright): 8/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 8/10
  • Food (quality):  8/10
  • Food (quantity): 8/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 10/10
  • WiFi: 8/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8/10

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Top 10 best things to see & do on the island of Kauai

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (November 26, 2018): Top 10 best things to see & do on the island of Kauai.

Kauai was the first of the major Hawaiian islands to rise from the ocean floor and it was the first to become extinct some 5 million years ago. The northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs. Sculpted by nature for millions of years, Kauai’s legendary and sensational natural beauty is epitomized by the Napali Coast – 14 miles (22 km) of sea cliffs ascending 3,000 feet (900 m) above untamed shoreline – and spectacular Waimea Canyon, the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. Kauai also boasts the wettest spot on the planet at Mount Wai’ale’ale and the tremendous rainfall has produced sheer-walled valleys, razor-sharp ridges descending to the sea and most amazing array of waterfalls to be assembled anywhere in the world. Here’s my top 10 list of the best things to see & do in the world’s most spectacular island.

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Kauai attraction in the comments section, or take my poll below!

Click to view slideshow.

*** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Hawaii with my online Hawaii travel guide ***


10. SPOT WILDLIFE AT POIPU BEACH

Often voted one of the most beautiful beaches of the USA, Poipu Beach offers crystal-clear waters and a series of golden crescents of sand. With lifeguards, picnic facilities, and a natural wading pool for young swimmers, it’s also a great destination for a family beach day. There’s a bodyboarding site directly in front of the park for older children and novice adults, a surfing site for experienced surfers and a good reef for snorkeling. You’ll also find a narrow sand spit – called a tombola – extending from shore out towards an island, thereby creating two separate beaches. As an added bonus, the tombola is a favorite hangout of the endangered Hawaiian monk sea. From December through April, you can sometimes spot humpback whales in the distance. And if you’re an early riser, head over to Poipu Beach before sunrise and you might catch a glimpse of the giant sea turtles taking a nap on the sand.

SPOT WILDLIFE AT POIPU BEACH


9. SNORKEL AT TUNNELS BEACH

Tunnels Beach (aka Makua Beach) located at Ha’ena Point on Kauai’s north shore is a postcard-perfect stretch of golden sand backed by ironwood trees, tropical palms and lush mountains. Even though much of the shoreline is lined by beachrock, which is usually not favored by swimmers, Tunnels Beach is nevertheless one of the north shore’s most popular beaches because of its large reef offshore. The beach is unique for having an inner and an outer reef. About an eighth of a mile offshore is a half-moon shaped reef. This is the inner reef and it is shallow. This area is ideal for novice snorkelers, while advanced divers and snorkelers explore the outer reef, which has more lava tubes, arches and coral formations. During the winter months or times of high surf, the water conditions are hazardous at Tunnels Beach and swimming and snorkeling are dangerous.

SNORKEL AT TUNNELS BEACH


8. HANG OUT AT HISTORIC HANALEI TOWN

Graced with timeless beauty, this lovely small town is home to everything from historic places to contemporary art galleries. At the foot of Hanalei’s misty green mountains, you’ll also discover fields of taro. These heart-shaped plants grow intensely green in flooded patches and are used to make poi, a Hawaiian staple starch that you can taste at any Kauai luau. You can get a good view of this emerald quilt of land from the Hanalei Valley Lookout. The historic Hanalei Pier was built in 1892 and has long been a favorite gathering place for local residents, who go there to fish, swim and play music on Hanalei Bay. In 1957, the pier became world-famous when Oscar Hammerstein II and 20th Century Fox featured the pier in the classic film, “South Pacific.” After a busy day of soaking up Hanalei Town’s history and charm, kick back, relax and watch a luminous sunset over Hanalei Bay.

HANG OUT AT HISTORIC HANALEI TOWN


7. RELAX ON POLIHALE BEACH

Polihale is hands-down the most breathtakingly beautiful as well as longest stretch of beach in the state of Hawaii. This seemingly deserted seven mile (11 km) long golden sand beach on the western end of Kauai, is several miles from the nearest town and holds a vibe of enchantment and mystique, still alive on Hawaii today. It sits at the southern end of the Napali Coast and offer endless beach-combing and shelling fun amid spectacular scenery of pure wilderness, impressive sand dunes, and desert cactus. The beach can only be reached via a poorly marked, dirt sugarcane road, making a four-wheel drive vehicle preferable (check with your rental car company for restrictions before heading out). Polihale Beach is hot and shade is far from the water’s edge, so don’t forget to bring an umbrella and lots of water if you plan on spending any time here.

RELAX ON POLIHALE BEACH


6. TAKE A MOVIE TOUR

If Kauai looks vaguely familiar — though you’ve never been here before — it’s probably because you’ve seen chunks of the island’s drop-dead gorgeous landscape on your TV or at your neighborhood movie theater. Kauai’s undisturbed beauty and diverse terrain, its shrouded, jungle mountains and miles of golden sand beach, have drawn Hollywood film producers to the island since the early ’30s. Actually, the island rarely plays itself. In ‘Jurassic Park,’ for example, Kauai doubled for Costa Rica. In ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ the island masqueraded for the jungles of South America. ‘Outbreak’ took place in Africa and ‘South Pacific’ in a place called New Caledonia. Take a movie tour to learn about the more than 60 feature films shot on location in Kauai or you can discover them for yourself and make your own movie moments.

TAKE A MOVIE TOUR


5. SOAK IN THE FABULOUS VIEWS FROM THE PRINCEVILLE RESORT

Located in the 9,000 acre resort community of Princeville, the Princeville Resort lays claim to Hawaii’s most stunning location – a cliff overlooking dramatic Hanalei Bay on the northern shore of Kauai. The spectacular views rank among the most beautiful in the world and are framed by lush tropical hills, cerulean blue skies, puffs of clouds, and mist. The resort – which used to be a St Regis property until last month – has 252 rooms and suites which are located in three separate buildings that terrace down from the top plateau of Princeville to the semi-private beach at Hanalei Bay. Calming and seductive, these contemporary Hawaiian designed accommodations reflects the color palette of the sky, sea and earth. The renowned Makai Golf Club winds its way around serene lakes, native woodlands and the spectacular coastline with views of Bali Hai and Hanalei Bay.


4. BE WOWED BY THE SPECTACULAR SCENERY OF THE WAIMEA CANYON

Waimea Canyon, on Kauai’s West Side, is often dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. Although not as big or as old as its Arizona cousin, you won’t encounter anything like this geological wonder in Hawaii. Stretching 14 miles (22 km) long, 1 mile (1,6 km) wide and more than 3,600 feet (1 km) deep, the Waimea Canyon Lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges. The grand inland vistas go on for miles. The main road, Waimea Canyon Drive, leads you to a lower lookout point and the main Waimea Canyon Overlook, offering views of Kauai’s dramatic interior. The road continues into the mountains and ends at Kokee State Park (more on that below). There are numerous trails to traverse for beginners and seasoned hikers alike.

BE WOWED BY THE SPECTACULAR SCENERY OF THE WAIMEA CANYON


3. EXPLORE KOKEE STATE PARK

North of Waimea Canyon on Kauai’s West Side is Kokee State Park. Spread over 4,345 acres on a plateau rising to 4,200 feet (1,2 km) above sea level, Kokee State Park is covered in forest and wild flowers, making it an excellent spot to see native plants and colorful endemic Hawaiian forest birds like the apapane, iwi and moa. Both the Kalalau Lookout and the Puu O Kila Lookout offer views of the Kalalau Valley and the towering cliffs of the Napali Coast. The park also offers roughly 45 miles (72 km) of the state’s finest hiking trails. Some trails lead to views of Waimea Canyon, others wind through wet forests with heart-stopping cliff-to-ocean views of valleys opening up to the North Shore. The Awa’awapuhi Trail is the park’s ultimate trail, bringing you through rain forest, high desert like terrain and to some of the most awe-inspiring vistas on earth.

EXPLORE KOKEE STATE PARK


2. HIKE THE KALALAU TRAIL

Spanning 17 mi (27 km) along Kauai’s North Shore, the Napali Coast is a sacred place defined by extraordinary coastal scenery. Spectacular emerald-hued cliffs with razor-sharp ridges tower above the Pacific Ocean, revealing magnificent beaches and wild waterfalls that plummet to the lush valley floor. The rugged terrain appears much as it did centuries ago when Hawaiian settlements flourished in these deep, narrow valleys, existing only on the food they could grow and the fish they could catch. There are many ways to explore the Napali Coast and one of the best ways is to take in the scenery on foot by hiking the incredibly spectacular Kalalau trail which runs for 11 mi (18 km) along the Napali Coast. It provides the only land access to the legendary Kalalau Valley. Expert hikers can complete the roundtrip trek in a day, but the average hiker prefers to camp along the trail and complete it in 2 days. But take care as some eroded areas are very narrow over cliffs that are hundreds of feet high.

HIKE THE KALALAU TRAIL


1. TAKE A HELICOPTER TOUR

Most of Kauai’s awe-inspiring sights are inaccessible from the ground and can only be seen and appreciated by a thrilling helicopter tour. Not only is helicopter tour the best way to explore the rugged interiors of Kauai without getting your feet muddy, it’s only the best way to grasp the magnitude of the phenomenal Napali Coast. You’ll get a front-row seat to inaccessible scenic areas and get a bird’s eye view of some of the world’s most natural beauty. The most popular tour would be an hour tour that would take you through Kauai’s lush tropical interiors of Waialelale Crater, Waimea Canyon, and along the Napali Coast with a lot of extra in between, such as a flight over Manawaiopuna Falls, a backdrop in the film ‘Jurassic Park’. Some companies offer a 90 minute flight that will allow more time to see Kauai’s unparalleled beauty or an open-door ride for a more thrilling experience.

BOOK A HELICOPTER TOUR OVER THE ISLAND 


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Travel tip: what are the best hotel booking websites?

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (November 23, 2018): Travel tip: what are the best hotel booking websites?

We all want a bargain, but which are the best hotel booking sites online? The ones where you really will get cheaper room rates so that you can book the same hotel for less or with extra benefits such as free breakfasts, room upgrades and so forth? I have selected the eleven best hotel booking websites to ensure you get a great deal on your next trip away.


Club1Hotels

Club1Hotels are a relatively unknown Luxury Hotel Club based in Chicago. They tend to offer the very cheapest way to book 4, 4.5 and 5-star hotels. You should certainly join Club1Hotels for free and always check rates with them before finally making your booking. Here are some examples of the savings that you can make with Club1Hotels over other travel websites:

  • 6 nights 23-29 Dec at Rafayel On Left Bank London is $808.04 USD on Club1Hotels. The same stay on the same rates for the same room and rate is $1,039 USD on Booking.com.
  • 6 nights 23-29 Dec at Bellagio Las Vegas is $1105.51 USD on Club1Hotels. The same stay on the same rates for the same room and rate is $1,597.19 USD on Booking.com.

They also have an interesting Best Rate Guarantee. They say they will guarantee you’ll get the best price per night, by a margin of at least $20 USD on four-star hotels and $25 USD per night on five-star hotels, if you find a better refundable or non-refundable rate before booking. Simply send it to memberservices@club1hotels.com and they’ll beat it by $20 or $25 USD per night.

Pros: Their inventory includes pretty much every 4 and 5-star hotel in the world and particularly for refundable rates, they tend to be significantly cheaper.

Cons: Fees are added on the last page which can make searching for rates confusing. For non-refundable rates they are sometimes the cheapest and but sometimes not, so do shop around and take advantage of their Best Rate Guarantee to ensure that you get the very best price.


Virtuoso

Virtuoso is not your classic hotel booking website. It’s the industry’s leading network of luxury travel advisors, spanning over 26 countries and 9,000 travel advisors. When you book your holiday with Virtuoso, most of the time, you will be in touch with a Virtuoso travel agent and not make the booking online yourself. But there are some Virtuoso travel agencies though that offer an online booking tool, and my preferred one is New York based Classic Travel, which has an excellent website and offers terrific service. Here’s why I like Virtuoso so much:

  • The single best reason to book a stay through a Virtuoso travel agent is that it means value for money as it will get you access to special, complimentary VIP amenities and perks, such as room upgrade, free dinners, spa treatments and/or unique luxury travel experiences. You pay the same as you would by booking directly on the hotel website, but you have the added advantage of all these extra perks.
  • Virtuoso networks with the world’s most luxurious hotels & resorts, most of them belonging to the portfolio of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Rosewood, and Soneva to name a few.
  • The advantage of booking through Virtuoso is particularly evident when staying at an Aman property, the world’s top hotel chain. In line with Aman’s hyper-exclusive and ultra-luxurious reputation, you will never find a lower rate than the one published on the official Aman website. But booking through a Virtuoso travel agent rather than on the Aman website itself will get you some free, extra perks (often worth hundreds of dollars). So if you are an Aman junkie, like me, then Virtuoso is the way to go.

Pros: Virtuoso agents offer great value for money with hundreds of dollars worth of free benefits & perks.

Cons: Virtuoso does not have a loyalty program, nor does it offer the cheapest room rates in the industry or match a lower price found somewhere else. 


Amex Finest Hotels & Resorts

When you own an American Express credit card, you can book almost any luxury hotel via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. This will offer you the same benefits as when you book via a Virtuoso travel agent. The difference being, if you book via a Virtuoso you don’t need the relevant credit card.

Pros: All bookings get hundreds of dollars worth of free benefits & perks.

Cons: Amex Finest Hotels & Resorts does not have a loyalty program, nor does it offer the cheapest room rates in the industry or match a lower price found somewhere else. 


Luxury Travel Diary Travel Auctions

You simply will not beat the prices of the Luxury Travel Diary Travel auctions. Usually stays sell for 30-60% of their actual price. If you bag a stay at the 30% end you will have one of the best bargains on the internet! The concept for these auctions is pretty simple. The website, Luxury Travel Diary, has a close relationship with each of the hotels that they feature and they auction rooms at these hotels with no reserve! This means that you can pick up an absolute steal. With 100 items to choose from, there is plenty of choice.

The only issue with these auctions is that there is not always a stay in the destination you are planning to travel to, so whilst they are undoubtedly a bargain, you will need to keep a constant eye on them to spot the stays in your planned destination of travel, as and when they get loaded in. One way to keep on top of what is available with minimal effort is to sign up for their email newsletter which will keep you up to date with their latest auctions just before they end.

Pros: They call themselves the best-kept secret in luxury travel and you won’t beat the prices that these auction stays sell for.

Cons: There are only around 100 items live at any one time, so there will not always be a stay in the destination that you want to travel to. If you join their newsletter at the bottom of their auction pages, you will be kept up to date with the latest auction items just before they end.


Booking.Com

Booking.com is one of the best and most well-known sites to search for properties. It’s easy interface means that searching for a property is quick and effortless. From cosy cottages to downtown studios, and from Santorini to New York, the choices are endless and Booking.com will have you covered. Booking.com often comes in cheaper than other hotel websites so should always be checked, but this is not always the case, so once again, maybe sure you check booking.com, trivago and Club1hotels before you finally make your booking, just to be sure that you are getting the best price. One nice thing about booking.com is that their search engine displays rooms and properties that include taxes, which means an honest booking and no hidden costs.

Pros: Loads of properties, plenty of filters to choose from to narrow down your search, and the website offers some of the lowest rates making it an essential to check before finally booking.

Cons: Booking.com has no ‘near by’ filter, no best rate guarantee and no loyalty program.


Trivago

Trivago is a hotel aggregator with an easy to use interface comparing hotel prices from lots of different websites. The problem with Trivago is that the array of websites that it selects hotel prices from does not include every hotel website on the internet. It also does not take into account offers such as extra loyalty points or cash back, even though it claims draw prices from 250 websites.

Bottom line, it is not always cheaper. Yes, a lot of people use Trivago as it is so heavily advertised, but their algorithms do not always bring up the cheapest hotel price. Perhaps they should spend less on their (rather annoying) adverts and more on the tech behind their engine to ensure that their prices actually are the best. That said, they are good to use as a comparison and to get a general idea of what price you should be paying. It is then wise to shop around on the websites above to be sure to get the best price.

Pros: Easy to use.

Cons: Often the prices are not the best.


HotelsCombined

HotelsCombined offers many filters specified on property type, for example, the hotel features, theme and whether you would prefer a boutique or a chain. The site lacks any sort of filters that define the location you would like to stay in, with the main focus of the filters suited toward a property. This is great if you know the type of hotel you want to stay in, but a disadvantage if you want to clarify a location. The layout of the website is easy to use, however prices from the third-party site tend to be higher than what is displayed on HotelsCombined, which can be misleading and sometimes a time waste, especially if you want to get the best deal and are in the rush.

Pros: Occasionally finds lower prices direct from the hotel, competing prices are displayed for each property.

Cons: Costs of hotels can be misleading, the ability to eliminate hotels from a search has gone, lacks some specific location filters.


Priceline

Similar to Hotwire, Priceline gives you the ability to proceed with a ‘blind booking’, meaning that you can save anywhere between 18-60% – you do not get the name of the hotel until after you have paid, only the knowledge of the location you’re staying in, and the star rating of the hotel. This can be a spontaneous way of saving money, and also traveling. Up against Expedia, Hotwire and Hotels.com, Priceline is one the best in terms of finding the most accommodation in city centres. Priceline also offers the ability to search for cruises, whereas other sites only offer hotel and flight bundles.

Pros: Save between 18-60% with a blind booking, plenty of options to choose from if you are planning to stay in a city centre, cruise search available.

Cons: No specified ‘accommodation’ type filters, average on the finding the lowest price. Often, you don’t know which hotel you are staying in!


Hotwire

Prices on the Hotwire are neither the best of the worst, and overall the search engine can be quite mediocre in terms of the use of filters. However, you can save up to a huge 60% with Hotwire’s ‘Hot Rate’ service. You can specify either a neighbourhood or star rating when booking, but do not receive the name of the hotel that has been chosen for you until after you have paid. In comparison to Expedia, both sites have almost the same search results, but can occasionally differ. Hotwire mainly caters toward city stays in the USA, so you may find some difficulty trying to search for a property internationally.

Pros: Blind bookings means that you are able to save up to 60%.

Cons: Restricted filters, which means less specified search.


Expedia

Mirroring the same search results as Travelocity.com and Orbtiz.com. Results remain average and Expedia doesn’t really find the best or the worst prices. Expedia offers a loyalty scheme, which, for those of you who enjoying earning points may seem like something worthwhile. You get 1 point for every £1 spent on hotels, for flight and hotel packages you receive 2 points, which can be exchanged for cashback. However, their rate is low which means you wouldn’t get much back. For example, 700 points would mean receiving £5 back, so £700 spent on a hotel gets just £5 cashback which is hardly worth it. Their reward scheme is split into tiers of being blue, silver and gold, and you move through the status level depending on how much money you spend, and not the points that you’ve earned. Initially, you would have to spend more to receive more money off.

Pros: Rarely found the worst prices. Combined flight and hotel deals are sometimes better than other sites.

Cons: Loyalty scheme not worthwhile, can fail to find the lowest rate in comparison to other sites, you can only select one filter at a time.


Hotels.com

Hotels.com – part of Expedia – is my overall preferred hotel engine booking website, mainly because of the following reasons:

  • Hotels.com allows payment in your own currency (the choice of currency can be adjusted at the top of the website). As such, you avoid paying the sometimes heavy foreign currency taxes (up to 3%) that come with most credit cards (a hidden cost that many are not aware of).
  • Hotels.com has almost permanently discount coupons available (subscribe to their newsletter or simply search for them on google). Discounts on hotel bookings vary from 10% (most of the time) to a rare 15%. Unfortunately, almost all of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands are excluded from the list of hotels for which you can use a discount coupon. However, surprisingly, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is the only ultra-luxurious hotel brand that is most of the time eligible for discount coupons on Hotels.com (almost guaranteeing you a 10% discount on every Four Seasons booking).
  • They have a simple but excellent loyalty program, called “Welcome Rewards”. When you book and stay 10 nights at eligible hotels, you’ll get 1 night free to redeem at another. Hotels.com works out the average value of all the 10 nights you’ve collected and gives it back to you as a free night. Unfortunately, hotels stays that are booked using a discount coupon do not count towards the Welcome Rewards program.
  • At first, you may think it does not matter to participate to the Welcome Rewards program: one night free for every 10 hotel stays is identical as applying a 10% discount for every hotel booking (since coupons are widely available anyway). But, contrary to the ordinary 10% discount coupons, the coupon(s) you receive through the Welcome Rewards program (after accomplishing 10 eligible nights) can be used for big discounts at almost all hotel chains, including the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. This is especially a lucrative business when you use Hotels.com for both company & leisure travel: you collect Welcome Rewards coupons through business stays, while you spend them on personal travel.
  • Hotels.com also has an excellent Best Rate Guarantee  program: If you find a cheaper price, Hotels.com will match that rate (and refund you the difference). And finding that cheaper price is not difficult nor time-consuming at all: just use the aggregator websites Hotelscombined and Trivago, which both verify hotel prices at hundreds of other sites (e.g. Expedia, Bookers, Otel.comHotels.comHotelopia.com, Booking.com, etc…) and show where you can book the cheapest rate. So basically, you always book the lowest price, but have the added advantage of collecting points via the excellent Welcome Rewards program.

Pros: Rarely found the worst prices. Combined flight and hotel deals are sometimes better than other sites. Excellent loyalty program.

Cons: Can fail to find the lowest rate in comparison to other sites, you can only select one filter at a time.


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The post Travel tip: what are the best hotel booking websites? appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review of Hotel TwentySeven in Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (November 21, 2018): Review of Hotel TwentySeven in Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Hotel TwentySeven is an extraordinary and sensational all-suite boutique hotel located in the beating heart of Amsterdam’s city centre, Dam Square. Defying logic and re-defining luxury in Amsterdam, no detail has gone unnoticed in the hotel’s 16 sumptuous suites, including a signature scent that infuses the air and the sense of peace that comes from meticulous soundproofing. Service at the hotel is top-notch: as soon as you want something – a glass of champagne, a dinner reservation – your butler is there to take care of it. At Restaurant Bougainville, the culinary masterpiece of Hotel TwentySeven, innovative tastes wait to be discovered, both at breakfast and dinner.

Hotel TwentySeven features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Amsterdam and the world’s best hotel restaurants.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Hotel TwentySeven enjoys an unbeatable location on Dam Square, the historical center of Amsterdam and namesake of the city. The square is home to the Royal Palace (frequently used by the royal family for state dinners and the like), the famous flagship department store Bijenkorf, the New Church (used for exhibitions and royal family occasions), and Madame Tussauds. All of Amsterdam’s tourist attractions are within walking distance. Although crowds of people ebb and flow down on Dam Square day and night, the hotel itself offers an urban oasis of tranquility and serenity within the busy city.
  • The historic building that Hotel TwentySeven calls its home is a turn of the century building from the time of the industrial revolution. Known as the home of the ‘Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club’ (translates in English to ‘Royal Grand Industrial Club’) this historic building dates back to 1913. Built specifically for the famous Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club society, the founders wanted to create a center for the newly booming Dutch industry and trade, where tycoons, entrepreneurs and the like-minded could come together. The society is still located on the first two floors of the building, while the hotel is housed on floors 3 to 7, offering nice views of Dam Square and the cityscape.
  • While keeping intact its historic exterior and framework, the hotel features a bold interior design, created by award-winning Dutch designers Wim van de Oudeweetering and Cris van Amsterdam. From hand-blown contemporary chandeliers to custom-made furnishings from Holland’s top designer Eric Kuster, every corner of the property is sumptuously decorated without being glitzy. Anywhere your eyes land you are treated to colors, silk, art, architecture, woods, history and pride. To give you a few examples: lavish wall dressings are woven with copper threads and woodwork with golden and bronze patinas; sofas are dressed with exclusive fabrics from Rubelli of Venice, using patterns from their 18th century archives to compliment the era of the building; and specialty carpets by Belgium design Lano ordain the monumental staircases and corridors, which are illuminated by original stain-glass windows.
  • The property features a convenient yet intimate layout, that is more reminiscent of a private residence than a hotel. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by the hotel’s charming staff at the backlit onyx reception area. From here, a set of evelators takes guests to the atrium and reception area on the 3rd floor, where a grandiose hand-blown glass light sculpture chandelier plummets from the skylights above the 7th floor to the reception area, 4 floors below. Here, you also find the world-class restaurant Bougainville (more on that below) and an opulently decorated lounge with a glowing onyx bar crafted from a special cut by Solid Nature (with a separate VIP section and a cigar lounge).
  • The hotel features only 16 suites, including 7 signature suites. Each suite has a different layout and is individually decorated in an opulent style similar to the public areas, though with variations in mood and colour. During my visit, I stayed in a one bedroom suite on the 5th floor, which came with a great view of Dam Square. The large living area featured a handmade sofa (made in Spain by Ascension Lattore), artwork curated by a local gallery, and a gigantic curved TV screen. Some strawberries and luxury chocolates were waiting for me as a welcome amenity on one of the stylish cofee tables. Located in a separate room, the kingsize bed was handmade by Nilson Beds with headboards covered in the most beautiful fabrics by Pierre Frey. All the room features – from mood lighting to temperature – is controlled by a tablet.
  • The lavishly designed bathrooms deserve a special mention. They are styled in a classic Roman decor, clad with beautiful sleek marble and mosaics. The special handmade taps and showers are from THG Paris and don’t leave spots when you touch them. All suites have steam baths with double showers and deep whirlpool baths for 2 (or even 3) persons. During my visit, I was also extremely impressed by the luxurious toiletries which are supplied in the bathrooms: they are Lalique branded – the same ones you find on Singapore Airlines’ fabulous A380 First Class suites –  and by far the best I ever received at a hotel. Switzerland-based Lalique specialises in decorative crystal ware, interior decor, perfumes, jewellery, art and hospitality.
  • A signature scent is present throughout the hotel and has been created and branded exclusively for the property by fragrance specialists of Delush. TwentySeven is the first hotel in The Netherlands to do this.
  • Although the hotel is located in the heart of the city on the busiest square, the entire hotel is shielded and soundproofed from the city’s hectic buzz. No cost was spared to create perfect sound insulation for guests, via the walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors. To give you some examples, the door of each suite is fully soundproof and handmade, never done before in Europe; the air-conditioning units are completely silent (also with special air purifying filtration system for completely clean breathing), and the suites do not feature double glass but soundproof quadruple glass windows (2 sets of double windows).
  • On its third floor, besides the small reception area, the hotel houses a top of the bill restaurant, Bougainville, which ranks among my favorite hotel restaurants in the world. Led by rising star Executive Chef Tim Golsteijn, the restaurant offers one of the Dutch capital’s finest gastronomic experiences. The menu features traditional European cuisine, influenced by subtle Latin American and Far Eastern touches. All wines are hand-picked by wine director Lendl Mijnhijmer, who won the Trophee Henriot 2018, which makes him the best sommelier of The Netherlands. Each morning, a refined à la carte breakfast is also offered at Bougainville.
  • The hotel staff delivers impeccable service. Personal butlers and guest services agents are always on hand to attend to every need, often before you even know it. The team is hand selected from The Netherlands’ finest in hospitality, and trained and led by the hotel owner Eric Torren, who was elected European hotelier of the year (2014), European general manager of the year (2015) and nominated in 2017 for Amsterdam’s Entrepreneur of the year for his outstanding performance in the hospitality industry.
  • For parents, TwentySeven will arrange not just a nanny service but a service from a team of passionate child care professionals that will enhance your children’s joy, take them to the Zoo, to a painting class, a children’s museum, a film or whatever their little big hearts desire.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Despite being open less than a year, Hotel Twenty Seven is Amsterdam’s leading luxury hotel and represents what great hotels everywhere aspire to be: the best of everything without being overbearing. This fabulous hotel with its outrageously luxurious suites and world-class restaurant is a reason in itself to visit Amsterdam. There are a few things you need to know though when considering a stay here:

  • Surprisingly, TwentySeven lacks a gym and wellness center. Luckily, the hotels offers plenty of alternatives, amongst others personal trainers and spa therapists that come to the hotel, a world champion Dutch boxer that can arrange a personal training in the suite, or gyms in the area for a self-stirred work out. Most of the suites can also be set-up with a preferred fitness attribute / piece of equipment, which can (preferably) be arranged before arrival.
  • The hotel lacks a public outdoor space although that is less of a problem since you are in a city anyway. However, one of the signature suites – the grand terrace suite – comes with a spectacular private outdoor terrace that offers terrific city views and also enjoys a location towards the south; so if you like to chill in a refreshing Amsterdam breeze after a day of business or sightseeing, make sure to book this suite. That said, I couldn’t help but wondering how nice it would be to convert this suite into a small high-end spa area, so all guests could enjoy that magnificent terrace on a beautiful Amsterdam day after being pampered in a luxurious treatment room (maybe an idea/sugestion for the hotel owners?).
  • As some of you may know, I am a big fan of eggs Benedict at breakfast. Unfortunately, when I ordered them on the first day of my stay, I was told that it was not possible to prepare eggs Benedicte because the kitchen did not have Hollandaise sauce (despite the fact that a supermarket is just a few minutes away). Eggs Benedict could also not be ordered on the second day of my stay. It felt a bit weird to hear a ‘no’ to a simple request at a hotel of this caliber that otherwise seems to go the extra mile to fulfill all your wishes. But maybe I am just nitpicking now, and I am sure that the hotel will add eggs Benedict after reading this review ;).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Food: 10/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9,5/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at luxury property like Hotel TwentySeven (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Room tip: Hotel TwentySeven features only 16 rooms, and you cannot go wrong with any of them. Request or book room at the front if you want the best view of Dam square.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

REVIEWS OF OTHER HOTELS IN AMSTERDAM 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Amsterdam is best visited between April and May (spring) or September through November (autumn), right before or directly after the summertime high tourist season. You’ll contend with fewer tourists, enjoy somewhat mild temperatures (the city’s weather is notoriously finicky), and also experience Amsterdam as the locals do, at its laid-back best.


HOW TO GET THERE

Amsterdam can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane, the hotel is located a 30-minute cab ride from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). Check the Wikipedia page of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Amsterdam.


PHOTOS
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: EXTERIOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ENTRANCE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ENTRANCE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ENTRANCE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ENTRANCE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ENTRANCE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ENTRANCE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GROUNDFLOOR LOBBY
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: THIRD FLOOR WELCOME AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: THIRD FLOOR WELCOME AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: THIRD FLOOR WELCOME AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: THIRD FLOOR WELCOME AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: THIRD FLOOR WELCOME AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: THIRD FLOOR WELCOME AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RECEPTION AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RECEPTION AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BAR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: VIP LOUNGE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: VIP LOUNGE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: VIP LOUNGE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: VIP LOUNGE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: VIP LOUNGE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: VIP LOUNGE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SMOKING AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SMOKING AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SMOKING AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SMOKING AREA
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: RESTAURANT BOUGAINVILLE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: GUEST ROOM FLOOR
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE (VIEW)
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE (VIEW)
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE (VIEW)
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: ONE BEDROOM SUITE (VIEW)
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: SIGNATURE SUITES
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN AT NIGHT
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: DINNER
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN: BREAKFAST
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS

AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS

AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS
AMSTERDAM: IMPRESSIONS

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Top 10 best luxury hotels in Amsterdam

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (November 19, 2018): Top 10 most luxurious hotels in Amsterdam.

Each one of the thousands of buildings that line Amsterdam’s main canals can be classified as a monument, beautifully kept as apartments, offices, cafés, restaurants, and even brothels. All together they form an aesthetic uniformity that make Amsterdam one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a stunning place of bridges and bikes crossing canals, picturesque cobbled streets, and strikingly elegant architecture. World-class attractions include the Rijskmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, and of course, the Anne Frank House. And while Amsterdam is a beautiful place on its own, a trip to the Dutch Capital deserves accommodations that are equally interesting, so here’s my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in town.

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Amsterdam hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below!

Click to view slideshow.

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10. PESTANA AMSTERDAM RIVERSIDE

Rising above the hippest part of town, De Pijp, Pestana Amsterdam Riverside is a sophisticated and intimate 5-star hotel. Formerly the Town Hall and Archive of the Amstel Community, the Pestana is the perfect hotel to visit one of Europe’s most picturesque and exciting cities. The property offers 154 beautiful bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool and sauna, 10 meeting rooms, a gym, and a world-class restaurant run by Master Chef judge Peter Lute.

  • Hotel websitePestana Amsterdam Riverside
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Classic Travel (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, a personalized welcome note and amenity, and $75 USD hotel credit).

PESTANA AMSTERDAM RIVERSIDE


9. HOTEL PULITZER

This unique hotel offers an authentic Dutch experience with accommodations in 25 restored 17th and 18th century merchant houses, all reflecting Amsterdam’s rich heritage. You can explore the city’s canals in the hotel’s own canal boat (Winston Churchill chose to tour the city in this very same vessel in 1946). All 230 guest rooms have been recently remodeled. Each room is different, with either a garden or canal view. Pulitzer Amsterdam is a unique blend of up-market, traditional and modern Dutch craftsmanship hidden amongst the city’s iconic canals.

  • Hotel website: Hotel Pulitzer
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, welcome amenity and $75 USD hotel credit).

HOTEL PULITZER


8. INTERCONTINENTAL AMSTEL AMSTERDAM

The InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam is housed in a striking building on the banks of the beautiful Amstel river. The hotel first opened its doors to guests in 1867 and has been praised ever since for its regal presence and homely warmth. The minute you enter the stunning lobby you are aware of its unique atmosphere with its high ceilings, monumental staircase, and shimmering chandeliers. All 55 guestrooms and 24 suites are furnished with authentic furniture, rich pleated curtains and handmade Delft porcelain.

  • Hotel websiteIntercontinental Amstel Amsterdam
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, Dutch welcome cocktail in the A-bar, homemade Chocolate welcome amenity daily, breakfast, a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam, and one way airport transfer when booking an Executive Suite or higher).

INTERCONTINENTAL AMSTEL AMSTERDAM


7. HOTEL DE L’EUROPE

This legendary hotel has been a member of The Leading Hotels of the World for over 25 years. With its location on the banks of the Amstel River in the heart of historic Amsterdam, it’s impossible to escape the city’s rich history while staying at this iconic 19th century treasure. Expect timeless design, intimate ambience and genuine service. De L’Europe boasts a distinctive decor, enhancing each room and suite with a replicated Dutch Master painting, handpicked in exclusive partnership with the nearby Rijksmuseum.

  • Hotel websiteHotel de l’Europe
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, $100 USD food and beverage credit, and one way airport transfer for junior suites & above).

HOTEL DE L'EUROPE


6. ANDAZ AMSTERDAM, PRINSENGRACHT

Located in the historic centre of the city and within the ring of canals, the five-star boutique hotel Andaz Amsterdam, Prinsengracht, provides a unique refreshing taste of the city. Reflecting its lively and distinctive surroundings through the adventurous and modern Dutch design of renowned local designer Marcel Wanders, the 122-room hotel offers not merely a place to come home to and relax, but a place that will energize and inspire. This is by far Amsterdam’s triendiest hotel!


5. W AMSTERDAM

Just steps away from the vibrant Dam Square and the Royal Palace, the W Amsterdam features 238 stylish guest rooms and suites spread across two historic buildings, an erstwhile telephone exchange building (from the 1920s) and a 1906 former bank. Guests arrive in style when they check in at the rooftop W Loungethe W brand’s re-interpretation of the traditional hotel lobby, on the sixth floor of the Exchange building. Looking out to the Royal Palace and lively historic centre, the 22 meter (72 ft) Wet Deck is Amsterdam’s first rooftop pool and is heated in winter.


4. THE GRAND AMSTERDAM, A SOFITEL LEGEND HOTEL

From a 15th-century convent to royal lodgings to Dutch Admiralty headquarters to the city hall of Amsterdam, this hotel is housed in one of the most historical venues of Amsterdam. Now, after a careful renovation by French designer Sybille de Margerie, it is a place of hospitality, art and culture. Furnished with French elegance and grandeur, the hotel blends sleek design with five-star facilities, including 52 luxury suites with butler service, an indulgent spa, and the Michelin star restaurant Bridges.

  • Hotel websiteThe Grand Amsterdam, a Sofitel Legend Hotel
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD food and beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of The Grand Amsterdam, a Sofitel Legend Hotel here.

3. CONSERVATORIUM HOTEL 

The Conservatorium Hotel is a luxury lifestyle palace, evoking glamour and elegance for sophisticated, design-literate travelers. Located in Museum Square, the cultural heart of the city, the hotel is an architectural masterpiece that combines a landmark heritage building with contemporary design, offering guests a selection of restaurants, a bar, lounge and the impressive Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Facility. The hotel has 129 rooms and suites, all equipped with state-of-the-art in-room technology as well as luxury linens and amenities.

  • Hotel website: Conservatorium Hotel
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, bespoke welcome amenity, daily breakfast, and $100 USD hotel credit).

CONSERVATORIUM HOTEL 


2. WALDORF ASTORIA AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam’s outpost of the famous Waldorf Astoria brand is located in some majestic canal palaces along the Herengracht. Boasting a historical exterior comprising six monumental 17th and 18th century double-front canal palaces and featuring a unique grand staircase built by the architect of Louis XIV, Daniel Marot, the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam hotel offers sophisticated comfort and unparalleled service. The hotel has 93 spacious rooms and suites overlooking the city’s canals or the courtyard garden.

WALDORF ASTORIA AMSTERDAM


1. HOTEL TWENTYSEVEN

Crowds of people ebb and flow down on Dam Square, but at TwentySeven Hotel, you’ll feel you’ve left the city far behind. This boutique hotel, set on the upper floors of an iconic landmark building, brings a new level of luxury to Amsterdam city breaks. Every inch of TwentySeven’s 16 suites has been carefully designed to delight you, from hand-blown contemporary chandeliers to custom-made furnishings from Europe’s finest design houses. At Restaurant Bougainville, the culinary masterpiece of Hotel TwentySeven, innovative tastes wait to be discovered.


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American vs Delta vs United: which one is best?

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (November 16, 2018): Travel tip: Which is the best USA airline to fly long haul in Business Class?

It is pretty fashionable to complain about American carriers, especially about the service they deliver onboard, which is often considered to be inferior to that of their non-American competitors. However, that may no longer be true, since the USA’s main three legacy carriers – American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines – have all recently upped their game as I experienced myself over the past few years:

DELTA ONE A350 SUITE
DELTA ONE A350 SUITE

When choosing one of these 3 carriers, the big questions is whether they differ at all regarding their premium cabin class products? And which one is the best? Well, here you have some facts & my opinion on the cabin layout, seat features, food and amenities of American’s, Delta’s and United’s international Business Class products.

You can share your own opinion below in the comments section or take my poll.

  • Chauffeur service: unfortunately, none of the USA carriers offers complimentary chauffeur service to/from the airport for Business Class passengers.
  • Lounges: all three USA legacy carriers have an extensive networks of lounges within the USA and across the globe. While the lounge experience in the USA does not come close to what is offered by Asian and Middle Eastern airlines, I would rank United’s new Polaris lounges in San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Newark as the best airline lounges on USA soil. American’s new Business Class Flagship lounges (which are open in New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Miami and Los Angeles) are not quite as nice as the United Polaris lounges, but are better than Delta’s unimpressive Skyclubs lounges.
  • Reliabity: despite its aging (but well maintained) fleet, Delta has the best on-time performance of the 3 USA legacy carriers. United is more likely to be delayed, although the carrier is improving its ontime performance. American is the worst when it comes to on-time performance and its flights are increasingly delayed because of aircraft reliability issues (despite the fact that American operates a modern fleet).
  • Frequent flyer program: although it has devaluated over the last couple of years, I consider American Airlines’ loyalty program AAdvantage as the best frequent flyer program in the world, mainly because of its reasonable award chart and its many airline partners, within and outside the One World alliance (you can read my review of the program – with pros and cons – here). Delta’s frequent flyer program SkyMiles is the worst of the 3 USA airlines (it was the first program to become revenue based) but Delta performs very well on other areas as it has a high customer satisfaction, so it doesn’t need to spend a lot on its SkyMiles loyalty program to attract customers. United Airlines’ frequent flyer program Mileage Plus is decent, but it’s not as excellent as AAdvantage albeit not as bad as SkyMiles.
  • Fleet-wide consistency: Unfortunately, the layout of the Business Class cabin and the seat type you’ll get depend on the aircraft type since none of the major USA airlines offers a consistent Business Class product across their fleet. That said, United is the only carrier that strives towards one uniform Business Class product across its entire wide body fleet (although it will still take a few years before its has completed the refurbishment of all its planes).
  • Cabin interior & design: All three carriers have invested in the introduction of new cabin designs, but I feel that United is the winner here (again). The cabins of their newly delivered B777-300ER and refurbished B767/B777 planes are designed by PriestmanGoode and feature bespoke furniture elements like a on-brand entrance area, a bar area and United branded cabin elements.
  • Cabin layout & seats: your Business Class experience onboard United, American or Delta will largely depend on the aircraft type, since each aircraft features a different flatbed seat & cabin layout. The best wide-body Business Class layout & seats are (in order from excellent to mediocre):
    • Delta A350: excellent and super-private suites with sliding doors, arranged in a 1-2-1 layout.
    • American B777: spacious seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout (direct aisle access for all seats).
    • United B777 & B767 (with Polaris seats): a 1-2-1 herringbone seat layout, with rows alternating between seats facing forward and at an angle. This United seat is a great seat, but it’s not as comfortable or spacious as American’s B777 Business Class seat or Delta’s A350 suite.
    • American B787: seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout (direct aisle access for all seats).
    • Delta B777 & A330: seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout (direct aisle access for all seats). The Delta suites with sliding doors will also be rolled out on the B777 over the coming years.
    • American A330: seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout (direct aisle access for all seats).
    • American B767: seats in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration, a so-called Sogerma Solstys layout, whereby the foot compartment for each seat is located between and under the seats in front (the foot space can feel cramped).
    • Delta B767: seats in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration, a so-called Sogerma Solstys layout, whereby the foot compartment for each seat is located between and under the seats in front, similar to American’s B767 (although the latter definitely has a fresher and more modern look).
    • United B767 (without Polaris seats): seats in a 2-1-2 configuration. This seat layout wil gradually disappear on international routes as United is refurbishing these planes with the new Polaris seats.
    • United B787: seats in a traditional 2-2-2 layout, slightly angled towards the windows.
    • Delta B757: seats in a traditional 2-2 layout, slightly angled towards the windows.
    • United B757: seats in a traditional 2-2 layout, slightly angled towards the windows.
    • American B757: seats in a traditional 2-2 layout, slightly angled towards the windows.
    • United B777 (without Polaris seats): seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, with rows alternating between forward and backward facing seats. This seat layout wil gradually disappear on international routes as United is refurbishing these planes with the new Polaris seats.
  • Flat beds: All 3 carriers offer flat beds on their medium- and longhaul international destinations (with the exception of routes to the Caribbean, Canada, Central America and some South American routes). The most comfortable and spacious flat beds are those on Delta’s A350 aircraft type, followed by American’s B777 aircraft and then United’s B777s with the Polaris seats.
  • Amenity kit: all three USA carrier offer above average amenity kits, with Delta being the winner (both because of the look of the kit itself and the quality of its content).
    • Delta’s Business Class passengers get a silver hard-sided TUMI amenity kit outbound from the USA and a soft-sided black TUMI amenity kit inbound to the USA, allowing you to add variety to your amenity kit collection each way. The kits feature travel essentials including Kiehl’s lip balm and grapefruit-scented deluxe hand and body lotion with Aloe Vera and Oatmeal, a dental kit featuring Crest toothpaste, tissues, mouthwash and ear plugs.
    • United Airlines’ amenity kits echo many of the key design elements that distinguish the carrier’s Saks Fifth Avenue luxury bedding and contain a signature padded eye mask, earplugs, skincare products from Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa, cozy socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and a tissue pack.
    • Created in partnership with fashion designer Cole Haan, American Airlines’ amenity kits are available on long haul and transcontinental flights between New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Inside, the kits contain beauty and skincare products from C.O Bigelow, 3Lab, Clark’s Botanicals, alongside a new eye mask, socks, ear plugs, toothbrush, toothpaste and headphone protectors.
  • Pajamas: United offers pajamas to its Business Class passengers, albeit only on upon request and on flights longer than 12 hours. American only offers pajamas in Business Class on routes to Auckland, Hong Kong, and Sydney. Delta doesn’t offer pajamas in Business Class, except on routes from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Sydney.
  • Bedding: all three legacy carriers of the USA offer terrific bedding, with United being the winner here IMHO.
    • United’s bedding is from Saks Fifth Avenue, with a choice of two different blankets: a quilted duvet and a lighter throw blanket. Mattress cushions are also available upon request.
    • Delta’s bedding is Westin Heavenly branded and includes an oversized duvet, a high-quality blanket and down-alternative pillow.
    • American Airlines has a partnership with Casper for their inflight bedding, which comprises a pillow, duvet (only on Pacific routes), and slippers. On flights to Auckland, Hong Kong, and Sydney, passengers also get a mattress pad and slippers.
  • Catering: USA airlines are not known for their onboard gastronomic experiences, but the food they serve is far from bad either. My best meals have always been on United though, followed by American and then Delta (although the difference between the three is only marginal).
    • United Polaris customers get a multi-course inflight dining experience designed by chefs from The Trotter Project, a nonprofit organization committed to mentoring and internship programs for youth interested in the culinary arts. The menus rotate every month, so you’ll continue to have new dishes to experience on board.
    • American collaborates with several celebrity chefs from the USA, New Zealand and Japan to create their inflight menus (e.g. Maneet Chauhan, Sam Choy, Julian Barsotti, Sean Connolly, and Jun Kurogi). Each wine is selected by master sommelier Bobby Stuckey.
    • Most of the time, Delta also offers decent food, with seasonal and regional entrees featuring fresh ingredients and flavors. Delta’s master sommelier – Andrea Robinson – selects wines from around the globe, including regional selections paired with onboard meals.
  • Number of meal services: on longhaul flights, all 3 carriers offer 2 meal services (a full meal after takeoff, and a light meal or breakfast 90 minutes prior landing), so there’s no difference here.
  • Inflight entertainment: IMHO, there’s no difference in the onboard entertainment offered by American, Delta, and United in Business Class. In-flight entertainment on all three legacy carriers is completely free and comprises an extensive library of movies, TV shows, audio options, games, and live TV on select routes. On most flights, you can also stream the library of movies and TV shows to your phone, tablet or laptop (on condition that you have the airline’s app on your phone or tablet).
  • WiFiThe US always has and still is the most developed market for in-flight WiFi. Delta Air Lines tops the list of the most connected airlines, as measured by available seat-miles with at least a chance of getting a wireless connection, according to the survey by Routehappy.com, a site that evaluates in-flight amenities. More than 500 million of Delta’s available seat-miles are covered. It’s closely followed by United Airlines (500 million miles) and American (more than 400 million miles).
UNITED B777 POLARIS BUSINESS CLASS
UNITED B777 POLARIS BUSINESS CLASS

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